Tuesday – We left for Oregon at about 5 a.m. The trip took a little longer than usual for a couple of reasons. First we had to make a couple of extra stops along the way. One was to get drinks since I managed to leave the filled ice chest on the kitchen counter. The second was not so much extra as longer. We took the time to sit down and eat our lunch at a Subway in the middle of Oregon. Unfortunately the staff was not very fast so it took a while to get our food. The other problem was that we ran into pretty much steady rain from about 60 miles outside of Portland to where we turned towards Salem. But even with that we managed to make it in just over 13 hours.
It was great to see the Oregon Piers – especially William and Kelli. William had just turned 6 months a few days before and as usual he was happy to be hugged and held by grandparents. Kelli was excited to see us but still is not into too much cuddling.
Tom showed us the downstairs library, family, guestroom he has been working on. He has done a great job and It is getting close to being finished. The main thing left to do is to get the carpet laid. I am jealous of all the bookshelves. But my guess is that he already has enough books to almost fill them.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – They kind of blended together. Mainly I had my teeth worked on – Shauna took really good care of me – and we read a lot. We did spend an afternoon in Silverton looking at stores and then eating at a family restaurant that had an outside deck that stuck out over the river. It was a beautiful day, the food was good and we took our time reading and enjoying the sun before we finally got up and left. Mary spent some time working on her extraction – I did almost nothing really useful. It was rather like a last vacation before heading off for our mission. Speaking of that, the one thing we did not do much of during our trip was to study our Indonesian.
Saturday we were up and away at about 5:20 a.m. Tom, Shauna and William all stood at the door and waved goodbye. Well William is not quite up to the Goodbye waving stage but at least he was there. We let Kelli enjoy her sleep.
The trip home was an hour shorter. I had replaced the cooler and we ate lunch on the fly. The trip through Oregon has some great sites. The Columbia River Gorge in the early morning light is always beautiful. The scenery is always changing with different cliff formations, different colors and even the way the water flow changes along the long path. The other feature that we had not seen before is the changing leaves on the huge pulp wood forests that grow along the freeway. One is miles long and probably as deep. Rows and rows of tall trees planted maybe 20 feet apart. What made it especially beautiful was that not all the sections of the trees were in the same stage. Some were still green, some were lighter green, some were light yellow and some were golden. On our way to Portland the sun was well down in West and it seemed to accent the golden color. On way back home the sun was just coming up and was filtered through some morning clouds. This gave very subtle shading to the colors. It was truly beautiful.
We got home just after 7 – we did stop for dinner in Provo – and it was good to walk into our own house.
At times it is difficult for me to sit down and write about the everyday things that are going on in our world. At other times it is impossible for me to stop. The last week has been one of former. It is not like nothing happened that was important only that I did not feel like sitting down and writing about it – at least not at the time. Another problem I have is trying to play catch-up – my memory seems to get twisted around so I am never sure that what I write is what actually happened. Of course once I write it down it becomes the truth unless someone else corrects me. That soon gets into a major philosophical discussion that I will just as soon leave alone.
Saturday the 21st was a really nice day. I spent the morning working in the yard. Steven Kay came over about 10 and finished up what we had started yesterday. The weather was cool but nice. The Mitchell’s arrived sometime after 1:30 – I know that because the Cal game had already started. After they arrived Mike settled in to watch the game – I had recorded the start so he did not miss a play – and Tyler, Krista and Cindy went out and gathered up the leaves I raked up the day before. I went out and joined them – not in the work but just to talk. ***As I look out now – a week later – the lawn and driveway are once again covered in leaves***
Around 4, Bob, Lisa, Gentry, McKay and Rachel joined us and the rest of the afternoon and early evening was spent fixing and eating dinner, playing Phase 10, watching Cal manage to win their game in overtime and having Mike’s birthday party. The hit of the presents was Cindy’s gift. It was a lawn sculpture that shot flames. Luckily we had a bottle of fuel that worked so we got to see it in action.
All in all it was a really nice family day.
Sunday, since Gordon was out of town, I got to go to the early leadership meetings. I was surprised that I actually enjoyed it. I think the fact that I knew I did not have to do it on a regular basis helped. In the afternoon I went to visit one of my HT families. It was one of those times when I was glad I had the experience of being a bishop. I spent quite some time listening to the problems the family was having and giving some counsel. After I got home I called the bishop and he was already aware of most of what was going on. We talked some about what I could do to help. Mary was busy for much of the day working on an extraction package that she has had for a number of years. When I look at what she must read to try and figure out, I see nothing but a mess. But she has reached a point where she can make sense out of the blurred writing. I doubt I will ever hand the patience to do extraction.
Monday was a get ready day. We took the car down to Doug’s to have it serviced. Later we went to the distribution center where I bought the garments I would need for our mission and Mary found she had to order them from Salt Lake. I spent a part of the day cleaning up my music room. I had let it become a real mess with stacks of books, papers, cds, and other things everywhere. I would not say that I got it really clean but at least I can walk across it without watching where I step. In the evening we went over to the MTC to try and take part in the evening lesson. When we got there we found out that they did not have class. But the trip was not wasted because Mary made a copy of a chart in the room that shows how prefixes and suffixes are used. Later in the evening we packed up for our trip to Oregon.
I studied Indonesian for a couple of hours in the morning.
Steven Kay came and we worked on rock moving and yard cleanup. We finished the path from the Southeast corner to other paths or hard surfaces so now I can walk almost everywhere without going through mud, etc. We got about ½ of the yard cleaned. Steve filled both large trashcans and eight 45 gallon trash bags but still has a lot more cutup and bag tomorrow. At this point I do not think I am going to miss yard work while on our mission. However I will probably feel quite different come next spring – that is when it is spring in Utah.
What I am going to miss is the beautiful fall weather. The air was crisp, the sky changed from blue to clouds to blue again. In the afternoon, a stiff wind blew fall leaves from North to South. At times it looked like huge flocks of bright gold birds were flying over the neighborhood.
While I was working in the yard, Mary went to ONB and helped Kristen figure out the quarterly taxes. Then she went to the Costco to get things for the family dinner tomorrow. When she got home she studied Indonesian while I went home teaching to Fred Takasaki.
I had a nice visit with Fred. I am one of the few people in the ward that he seems comfortable with. Especially when it comes to church doctrine. After knowing Fred for almost 20 years and home teaching him for 12 of those, I still do not fully understand his line of thinking. But he is a good man and is usually fun to be with.
On the way home from Fred’s I met up with Bill Lambert. He was on the way to have his blood pressure checked. We had a nice brief talk about everything from our mission to how well dahlias winter over.
In the late afternoon we went to see ‘The Prestige’ with Tom and Marilyn. I thought it was a good movie with some great twists and turns. Good acting, interesting characters, and few slow spots. All in all it was good entertainment.
By the time we got home I was really tired and fell asleep while we were watching ‘Numbers.’ Later I woke long enough to stagger to bed.
19 October 2006 – Thursday
I woke at 4 and studied Indonesian for a couple of hour. It continues to go in one eye and out the other. But so be it — all I can do is keep studying and trying. At about 8 we made a trip to the drivers license office down in Eastbay to get my license renewed or extended and to get copies of our driving record. The very friendly clerk informed me that I needed my mission call showing I would be out of the country when my license expired in 2007. So after getting a copy of Mary’s record we went home where I got my call and made another trip to the office. Luckily the place was still empty and it took only a few minutes to get everything finished. I am sure we will never have any use for driver licenses in Indonesia; I do not think they will let us drive in what was described to us as the worse traffic in the world. The rest of my morning was spent working in the yard. Steven Kay came over to help. We continued to move the pile of rocks to make paths through the oaks. I am trying to make it so I can walk from the house to the upper garden without getting my feet muddy. While Steve did most of the rock moving, I blew and raked leaves. This is a task that will not end until well into November when the fruit trees finally give up their leaves.
While I was doing yard work and later talking a nap, Mary was studying Indonesian and working on her extraction work.
At 4 PM we were at the MTC for our language lesson with sister Tippets. She tries very hard to keep me from becoming discouraged but I think has finally realized that she will only hold up Mary’s growing Indonesian if she tries to teach at my level of understanding. I am thrilled that Mary is starting to understand what is said when sister Tippets speaks Indonesia.
After the lesson we went to the mission store to buy another Indonesian book. As we were passing through the mail room line and in the store, I became aware of the multitude of languages being spoken. I told Mary that other than the United Nations building I doubted if there was anywhere in the world where you could hear so many languages at one time.
While we were in our lesson we got a ticket for illegal parking. They have changed it so the whole campus now requires an “A” permit. Since we need to park 2 to 3 times a week, I stopped by the office and got a temporary parking permit.
When we got home I fixed dinner – actually it was more like breakfast prepared 12 hours later in the day.
Gordon Creer called and told me he would like to hold a group leadership meeting at 7:00. It was a good meeting that concentrated on home teaching, the health of some of those we are responsible for, and how to meet the needs of the members of the group. It is a real pleasure to serve with Gordon and Steve. We seem to be really united in our thoughts about the group’s needs and how they should be met. There is a spirit of peace and fellowship when we meet together. It is a oneness that I hope we can help instill in the whole group.
It was a good and I think productive day.
We were up early on Monday for our trip to Salt Lake. Although there were lots of cars on the freeway the drive went quickly so we arrived at The Inn on Temple Square a little early. This gave us enough time to study a little Indonesian before heading over to the Church Headquarters Building. The weather had changed overnight and it was quite brisk as we walked though a very quiet Temple Square. We spent a minute watching a crew start to put up the Christmas lights.The building security is quite tight. No one can get to the elevators without getting a pass. If you are a visitor you must check in at the security desk so they can let you though the turnstiles. Later in the day I forgot to do that and a gate came out and an alarm sounded.
The two days of training was interesting but I thought a little too long. The best part was getting to meet Elder and Sister King who were leaving on Wednesday to be PEF missionaries in Northern Brazil. Brother King was born there and Sister King is native South American. She speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and French. Both are lovely people and should do well there. They were worried because their duties are not clear and they both like to have their duties neat and clear. As the training went on it became evident that they are going into a situation where there are some disagreements between the different PH leaders in the area about how PEF should be run in Brazil. I kept insuring them that the Lord would help them succeed. I think in trying to give them comfort, I was also counseling myself.
I think the staff were not quite sure how to handle Mary and myself. We were not called to be PEF missionaries but took the training because we knew Gordon Creer and Indonesia maybe the next country to be opened to PEF. The main problem is to find a way to legally extend loans in Indonesia. It turns out that Indonesian law prohibits private organizations to give loans and there is no bank in Indonesia that they feel will treat the students — especially those who are not paying on their loan – in a manner the church would approve. If there is to be a PEF program in Indonesia I am sure the Lord will provide a way to solve this problem.
Just before our training was over, Elder John Carmack came in to say hello. He remembered us from over 30 years ago when we went to him to get help with mom and dad’s estate. He was just about ready to leave to become mission president in Idaho. I have met him a couple of other times when he came to Torrance North Stake as part of the area presidency. Except for his hair being a little grayer he looks exactly the same. He has a smile that lights up any room. He invited us to come back sometime before we leave on our mission and have lunch with him.
After our training on Tuesday we picked up our car and went by to see Cindy’s family. There was no one home and when we called her, we found they were at piano lessons and would not be home for an hour. We decided to go have dinner at “Little America” and perhaps when we were finished we would go back. By the time dinner was over I was so tired that I just did not feel like doing anything but head home.
Since there was snow on mountain, about the first thing I did was moving the bougainvillea plants inside. I do not know if anyone will keep them while we are on our mission, but I decided I did not want to let a freeze kill them. Besides unpacking the car and writing a couple of e-mails, Mary watched ‘Dancing With the Stars’ I did not do much before heading off to bed at about 8:30.
It is surprising how quickly the days are going by. In two months we will be in Indonesia sweating while the snow should be falling on our home in Provo.
Sunday seemed busy from dawn to dusk. It started with Stake General Priesthood at 7 am. There was an excellent talk by a recently returned mission president who said that it is never too early to prepare for a mission. President Esplin discussed the new Family History program including extraction and indexing. Mary’s name got mentioned a number of times. The final speaker was President Jackson. Once again technology failed him – he could not get his powerpoint presentation to work. Since this is at least the third time this has happened during early morning meetings, I hope that he gets the message that his talks do not need powerpoint. His testimony and spirit is very strong when he just speaks.
After the block – Don and Caroline Petersen spoke about their mission in Russia – it seemed like there was something for one of us to do each hour. At about one Lynn Wardle came over to home teach.
After that I had an appointment with the bishop to get my temple recommend renewed. Since he had asked me all the questions a couple of months ago when he interviewed us for our mission, he gave me the short version.
I am sitting at the computer surrounded by lists of Indonesian words and sentences. This is not unusual because about anywhere I go in the house I will find something to do with learning Indonesian. I even carry lists of words, prayers and my testimony around in my pocket when I go somewhere so if I have the time and inclination I can do some reviewing.
I mentioned to Mary this morning that I was afraid that when it came to learning Indonesian my mind was like a strainer – where all the good stuff runs through and all I have left is the debris.
However I have finally reached the stage where I do not get frustrated – or at least not often – but just plug along learning what I can at the speed I can.
This morning I had to laugh when I got to the statement: ‘Bagi saya abjad Indonesia itu susah.’ The given translation is ‘The Indonesian alphabet is difficult for me.’ A direct word for word translation as far as I can tell would be ‘For me alphabet Indonesian that difficult.’
Part of the reason I laughed was because the grammar manual starts out by assuring the student that, except for adjectives and adverbs, Indonesian has basically the same sentence structure as English. When I originally read that I thought
Then I thought how hard it must be for an Indonesian to figure out our language with all it’s articles, strange phonetics, tenses etc. None of which exist in their language.
It should be an interesting 18 months.
Just an addition to Friday –
Mary and I went to see the new Robin William’s movie ‘Man of the Year.’ It was really quite funny and much better than the local reviewer suggested. It presents a problem that could occur in the future or at least one like it.
After the show we went to see an art exhibit at the UVSC gallery in the mall. I did not even know it existed. The two artists I knew were Gary Smith and Robert Marshall. Marshalls’ works are big, rich and beautiful outdoor scenes – which is why he sells well to banks and lending institutions. Smith’s are deeper and more thoughtful. None of the works said ‘You have to buy me!’
We ended date night by eating at Mi Ranchitos. I guess we have been eating nachos ther for the last 18 years. If I remember correctly Diane Golledge first took us there.
When we got home I meant to study more Indonesian. Instead we started watching some TV and I fell asleep on the couch.
Wow Friday the 13th and so far – knocking on wood here – everything is going well.
Except for spending a number of hours trying to get some Indonesian to stick in my head, about the only things that happened on Thursday that are worth mentioning is that we spent part of the day at the lawyers starting to get everything in order. Then we went to our language lesson. And finally I went and visited Cline Black and tried to visit a couple of other of the sick or single members of the ward. I enjoy doing this.
In the evening Mary went to play the organ at the temple and I did almost nothing except catch up on some TV series I like. I think since we are not going to be watching any for 18 months, I am trying to cram a lot of TV in these last few weeks.
The morning went by rapidly because I was finishing up a novel. I was going to work in the yard but when I went out I saw a couple of beautiful dahlias and decided to take them to a couple of sisters in the ward. A deep purple one went to Marilyn Alexander who is recovering from her knee operation. I took a huge white one to Sister Watkins who just got out of the hospital. Although she obviously does not have a lot strength she looks good. I had a nice chat with her and Norm. On the long way home I stopped by the Hutchings and spent some time just talking to them. They were both in good spirits but their age is really catching up with them. Bey is coming up on 89 – I felt like a youngster. We talked about their mission experiences and a little about what we would be doing.
The weather was beautiful which made the walking enjoyable and as always the visiting was uplifting.
When I got home, Mary and I spent a good hour studying Indonesian. I think I am making a little progress. After lunch we went to the lawyer to go through some legal stuff.
I have been thinking about the fact that we are going to miss two winters. When we moved to Utah some 19 years ago, I was worried about winter. I immediately bought a large snow blower – which we still have – and a four wheel drive vehicle. It was lucky that I looked ahead because the first winter was one of worse in many year and there has only been one to compare with it since.
Now I think I will not just miss – meaning not experience – but also miss in the fact that I have come to enjoy the season. To be honest I do wish it only ran for three months but I would like those months to be full of snow. This is because the land looks so beautiful and peaceful under a blanket of white.
Of course in Indonesia we will have only two seasons. Hot/wet and hot/dry.
Today was rather quiet and I must confess I did not put much time in on learning Indonesian. We had an appointment at the bank where we changed all the store account signature cards into Keith’s name. People have a hard time with the idea that although we sold the stock in the business the corporation itself does not change. They all want to close one account and start another. That is not bad since that means my signature and any guarantee that goes with it are cancelled.
Later in the morning we drove up to Midway to attend the funeral of an old acquaintance Bob Johnson. Bob was part of the Lennox Ward crowd and had been dying of cancer for the last couple of years. After seeing Bob and what the illness did to him, I told Mary that I looked that bad, I did not want an open casket. I do not want friends, children and grandchildren to remember me that way.
For lunch we went into Heber to eat at Grannies. I was surprised when we could walk right in and order. I was used to Grannies being filled up for lunch. My guess is that it has not recovered from being shut down for a time after the new owners could not make a go of it.
Mary spent the rest of the day working on Indonesian, extraction and watching TV. I took a long nap, went visiting people in the ward, read and watched TV. I did manage to study a little Indonesian before going to bed.