Monday, October 30, 2006

Weekend in Utah

Although the brilliant scarlets and reds of fall color had faded, the pleasing combination of coppers, browns and glowing yellow trees were a companion to the sunny, slighty crisp mountain air.

A typical home in the Avenues, an older section of the city, where many of the houses date to the 1800s. The governor's mansion is a block away from here. This is actually my sister's house and they've done a TON of work to get it looking so nice. I always love staying there.

Eric, the groom's brother, and John, the bride's brother. Three of the children in the bride's family got the red hair; the others are brunettes.

A door of the Salt Lake Latter-day Saint temple. I never tire of photographing/seeing these doors.

Detail of the doorknob.

Rebecca and John.

The other news is Jenna's engagement to Alex (standing behind her).

The ring!

John made the woven pearl and bead hair ornament for his bride.

John and Rebecca with Mom and Dad.

The next day, Saturday, we went to hear Susan Straight read from her book "A Million Nightingales," in the downtown library.

The atrium of the new library.

And afterwards, we went to lunch with Christine at the Avenues Bakery.

Showing Susan around the city, we ended up at This is the Place Monument.

Mom and Dad--a last photo before I head out the door on Sunday afternoon.

The Oquirrh mountains, with Utah lake in the background. With the snow and the shadows, these looked very sculptural from the airplane window.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Saturday's Post (early): All Things Baby Andrew

Born: October 26 (3:09 a.m.)
Weight: 7 ob. 13 oz
Length: 20"
Appearance: Very Cute

Proud Parents!

Dubious Brother: Alexander
(Do we have to take the baby home?)

Thrilled Grandma

Check our Family Blog for more info (in the next couple of days) when the Dad posts his photos.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

An Argument for Cloning

Today, Chad's wife Kristen went into labor (she was due last Saturday), and I went down to pick up Alex, the soon-to-be big brother, but currently an only child. They live about a hour from my home.

He had helped pack his Superman suitcase. Notable items: two binkies, two pair of pajamas, two Disney videos, two books. He did have multiples of socks and a single snuggly blanket.

Simultaneously, Barbara is awaiting surgery with her five-month old son Riley six hours away in the children's hospital. They're staying in the Ronald McDonald house nearby. Barbara is a skilled decorator, and one of the first things she reported on was the decor of her room (sponsored by Wal-Mart) compared with the room next door (sponsored by Southwest Airlines). Guess which one came out on top? Here's a recent photo of Riley in his Halloween costume, a holiday he'll miss this year.

And here's one from his previous hospital stay last month. He's really quite healthy, in spite of time logged in at the hospital.

And my nephew is getting married this Friday. In Utah, which is neither of the above places.

In honor of their wedding, a photo of a finely-crafted Wittamer chocolate. I bought those while in Brussels last spring to honor our 16th wedding anniversary. I hope this brand makes it to the States at some point, because Brussels is a long way to go for chocolate.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Saturday's Post: All Things Spider

I don't think Jack wants to play.

So his mother Brandi held out the jingle-bell spider for him on the palm of her hand.

One of my friend's fathers (okay, she's 17) spookily decks out their house every Halloween. This giant spider sits atop their front door, scattering electrical sparky-light rays. It's camera-shy, however.

He's been a set decorator before, so he knows how to do it up right.
These giant spiders are in his trees.

Screaming Woman Confronts Purple-legged Arachnid!

Every year we rig this spider so it goes up and down when the door opens. This specimen is going on about twenty years old. It's survived tennis rackets, grabby babies, teenagers furious at their mother, and general wear and tear--but it is down to five legs.

Snarky Teacher Blog a Tonic for Adjuncts and Others

Yes, sometimes you just have to go snarky. I was alerted by my Department Chair that a student had come to talk to him. As an adjunct, this just makes the hair on your neck stand up straight. With no job security, limited contact with fellow colleagues (although those that I've talked to have been great, and I have about the best dept. chair one could wish for), it leaves an unsettled feeling knowing that a student could climb up the administrative ladder Bearing a Grudge.

Needing some perspective, I visited one of my favorite sites: Rate Your Students. After reading for about an hour complaints and rants and general Heaving Ho of Frustrations off the Chest, I felt better, laughed some and realized we're all in this together by ourselves.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday: Favorite Forward Email of the Week
(subtitle: You Are No More Than a Decorative Vegetable)

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin. God lifts you up, takes you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all the yucky stuff-- including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside you to shine for all the world to see. This was passed on to me from another pumpkin. Now, it is your turn to pass it to a pumpkin. Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Live Oak Farms Pumpkin Patch, Yucaipa California

I talked to an older gentleman, who looked official, about some of their specialty pumpkins, asking him how they first obtained the seeds.

He said--mentally backing up in order to launch his forward trajectory--that he had farmed his 400-plus acres, waving his hand in an arc over the fields and towards the hills behind us. About ten years years ago, two of his ten children--sons--were interested in taking over the front forty for a Christmas tree farm in order to keep the farm hands busy all year. Then for a lark they grew a few pumpkins, setting out a wagonful on the highway with a cash box. Both the pumpkins and the cash box were stolen.

So they decided to run a Pumpkin Patch. The boys sent their father and mother out to the Midwest to get a "gander at what was going on there," and to bring back ideas. He walked me over to a heavily ridged fleshy variety, which he said people liked green for decorating, but when fully ripe was a light orange. Patting the thick ridges as he talked--a hollow squashy sound punctuating his words--he said that he and the Mrs. had purchased a pumpkin like this to bring home to his boys, but couldn't figure out how to get it on the plane--it weighed over 30 pounds. So, they took a few pictures and then dropped the pumpkin in the parking lot, scooping the seeds into a bag to bring home.

They grew that one for a few years from the parking lot seed, but with so many varieties in their fields, eventually they start to hybridize, mixing up the characteristics. By that time, the seed catalogues started carrying the more exotic varieties and so they buy their seed now.

This flat-ish pumpkin is known as the Cinderella pumpkin. I bought this one and a grey-green pumpkin for my front hallway.

Domestic Milestones: New Dishwasher

The old:

The New: