Monthly Archives: June 2008

28 June 2008

28 June 2008 – Saturday

I spent the first part of the morning getting all the clippings gathered up so when other people arrived we could just load up the truck and drive it to the chipper. The pile just kept growing and growing. I was afraid that it would take 2 or 3 loads to get rid of it all.

Bob showed up with all the kids and while Bob and I cut back all the dead branches on the spruces on the West side of the driveway, they watched TV and played cards with Mary. Brian worked on bringing more of the dead branches up from under the oaks. Lynn Wardle – our home teacher – came with his trailer and Nate Tanner – our next door neighbor – arrived with his truck.

With 6 of us loading up the debris, the work went quickly. We put Lynn’s trailer on the back of Nate’s truck and between the two it only took one trip to the chipper. I was so relieved and it count it as a tender mercy from the Lord that we have such good neighbors and family. Besides this Bob got the sprinklers working so that we do not have to worry about that while we go to Tom’s.

After lunch Bob and his family went home and Brian and Elliott went camping. I continued to work in the yard and got the drive way completely cleaned off – it actually seems strange to have everything so neat and clean. I cleaned up the area just South of the hot tub. It was the last section that needed major work. There are still things that will need to be done, but the really major things are finished. I could sit under the oaks and read and not feel guilty.

I read the SS lesson for tomorrow – Alma 13-16. In fact I read it a couple of times so that I could participate in the lesson. I had earlier read the PH lesson and then remembered that it will be put off for a week because of the change in group leadership tomorrow.

It was a very good day. Lots of work got done, grandchildren came and had a good time, and the gospel was studied. The blessings of the gospel continue to flow to me. It is easy to see the love and concern of my Heavenly Father in my life. Hopefully I can so live that I show my gratitude for these blessings.

27 June 2008

27 June 2008 – Friday

I spent the morning working on the Creers and our yard. I had decided to call it quits by 10 so I could get ready for the rest of the day but I got a lot accomplished in just 3 hours.

Mary dropped me off at Out N Back and then went off to do some errands – including going to the library to get some novels on CD so we could listen on our trip to Oregon. Keith and I had a good couple of hours talking mostly about the store and things that needed to be done to get it in shape. Mainly it has to do with the roof and hopefully that will not cost a fortune.

Mary came by and picked me up so we could go have our last meeting with the Rebers. I am starting to worry that we gave them much too much to think about. But they are great people and I do not imagine that much can shake them. I think the most important thing we have done for them is to get them learning to use the computer. They had very little experience before their call.

In the evening we went to a movie and dinner with the Alexanders. It is always a treat to be with them. The movie – Made of Honor – was fun but very predictable. The important thing about the evening was that we shared it with good friends – our best friends.

26 June 2008

26 June 2008 – Thursday

I did about 8 hours of hard work today. First I went and worked for a couple of hours at the Creers. Part of that time was spent talking to Cindy Brewer about what was going on with her family – they are going to have a busy summer including her teaching in Austria for a block. They will be back in September.

Back at our house I just kept finding things to do. Mainly I worked under oaks and cleaned off the lower patio so that it can be used. I would work for 90 minutes or so and work up a really good sweat and then come in and drink lots of water and cool off before going back for more. At 3:00 I hit a stopping point and took a long hot bath. When I got out of the bath I realized that my hip was not hurting. I will just be careful with it for the next few days so that I have no problem when we head for Oregon.

After taking a short nap I went to water some of the plants I put in recently. Some of them were rather limp from lack of water in the 90 + degree heat. Mary fixed a great dinner of biscuits and gravy – we like breakfast for dinner.

However the long day of work pretty much took away my ambition for the rest of the evening. I went out under the oaks to read. Lynn Wardle came by to check our phone number and we sat and talked for a while about Indonesia and other things. It was nice to just sit on the bench and enjoy his friendship.

24 June 2008

25 June 2008 – Wednesday

Worked at the Creers in the morning. Mainly I cleaned up Morning Glory by the pound. After that I continued working on our yard. Each day I find something new that needs to be done. Some area that needs weeding and pruning. My hip still hurts but as long as I do not try to climb anything, I can work.

In the afternoon we went over to the Rebers and I talked to brother Reber about the programs he will be working on. This morning an e-mail from Elder Subandriyo suggested that brother Reber meet with David Monson from LDS Audio/Video before he leaves for Indonesia. I explained this and the other four or five irons he will have in the fire. While I was doing this Mary introduced sister Reber to some of the members she will be working with. I got to feeling that we were adding to the Rebers’ anxiety so I stopped and told them not to worry that the Lord was in charge and things would work out.

After we left the Rebers we went shopping at CostCo and Albertsons – it is amazing how much we spend when we go shopping. I have come to realize how much more it costs to live here than it does in Indonesia. Mainly because there are more things that we can buy here.

In the evening I talked to Mike and he told me that Tyler was visiting UC Berkeley and Cindy and Krista were in So California so he is a bachelor until next week when they are all going to meet in So. Cal.

23 June 2008

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Some pictures from our yard – The Cabassa tree is in full bloom and so it is covered in white flowers. Unfortunately they will end up on the ground and have to be cleaned up, but the tree is still beautiful. These pink and white roses are in full bloom – they are probably my favorite among the roses.

23 June 2008 – Monday

Stupid, stupid, stupid !  I am talking to myself. On Saturday I did something that caused my left hip to start hurting. I decided I did too much work and my old body was complaining. It was not really bad and it only hurt when I moved wrong or too quickly. It did not really bother me on Sunday so this morning I decided as long as I was careful that it would be fine for me to do some light work in the yard.

I went back up on the North hill and cleaned out a section that I wanted to cover with the new weed protection fabric. I think this is the third layer in this area but this time I am going to use rock instead of bark as the covering. I think this will make it much easier to keep down the weeds. Everything went well until I was finishing up and was moving some rocks back into place. I picked up the last and largest rock and as soon as I did I knew I had made a big mistake as pain shot through my left hip area.  So now I am taking Aleve, some muscle relaxant, and basically sitting around for the day. At least this gave me the time and desire to catch up and post this journal. \

After a very hot bath and some relaxing Mary and I went to Pier 49 for their all you can eat Monday lunch. It was very good and I ate much too much but decided I could drink one of my diet concoctions for dinner. When we were through, Mary dropped me off at the house and then went to meet with the Rebers so show them how to do a report and how to fill out a re-imbursement voucher. She did not need me there for that. She will make an appointment for Wednesday when I will go through the files with brother Reber about the projects Elder Subandriyo had asked us to work on.

In regards to the programs, here is a letter from the Taylors telling about how Elder S spoke to the central youth about the new program for helping young people get into better schools and how well the young people are doing in the HS English class. It really makes me feel good when I read how programs we had a hand in starting are doing so well.

Extract from Elder and Sister Taylor’s letter of June 23, 2008

Friday we had to turn around and go back to Solo ( a 1 ½ to 2 hr. drive) to take our high school English students to a fireside with Elder Subandriyo, our area authority.  We didn’t find out about this and our assignment until very late on Wednesday night.  We had to be gone all day Thursday so we had to give the kids the assignment and let them run with it.  We were assigned to give some kind of musical number.  They ended up singing “Teach Me to Walk in the Light.”   They sang the first verse and then each of them recited one of the first five Articles of Faith, then they sang the second verse and then recited the next five Articles of Faith, then sang the last verse (all in English of course).  Rian, one of the young men accompanied then on the piano.  They did a fantastic job and  we were so proud of them.  Rian also had to bear his testimony in English and Omni, our only girl, had to be the pianist for the whole program.  We have more youth in our English program but only five of them could attend as some were still taking school exams.  They had a fun time in the van laughing and singing.  They were all worried  about having to recite the Articles of Faith so they were practicing all the way.  We just love these kids like our own grandchildren.  The whole fireside was in English.  Elder Subandriyo gave a really motivating and interesting talk about the importance of education.  He also announced a new and exciting program sponsored by the Returned Missionary Fund,  where they will give any student completing grades 9 and 12  with an average score of 8 points or above (B+average) one million rupiah ($100.00) to use for school fees or uniforms.  Those finishing grade 6 with that same score will receive a half million.  This program is to encourage the kids to study hard and get the most out of their education and also to build strong leaders for the future of the church in Indonesia .  This is a tremendous blessing to those who qualify as most of them come from very humble circumstances.  Now the exciting part  …grades came out yesterday and five out of seven possibles qualified for the million rupiah, including Ginsa, the young man who needs desperately to raise 2 more million.  The fun thing was they all scored higher in English than they did in their Indonesia class. And Albert (see below) may qualify now  that he is a member, although he doesn’t know anything about the program yet..

Now the frosting on the cake…. Saturday we had the baptism of Margretta and today we had the baptism of Albert and Tasha, his mother.  Both baptismal services turned out super.  We also had the confirmation of the three of them today.  There was really a wonderful spirit there.  The branch really supported them.  This is really getting the members excited about missionary work.  It is a wonderful privilege to be a small part of this work.  It is so rewarding to see people accept the gospel and change their lives.  Today people were commenting on the actual physical change that has come over these three.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is TRUE and we are so grateful to be able to share this message with the people here in Indonesia .

After a nap, my back was much better. That is I could walk up and down the stairs with little pain. There is hope that by tomorrow I will be able to get in and out of the car without gritting my teeth.

One of the things I did before throwing out my back was to look for the leak in my new/old water feature that I got ready on Saturday. Of course it was almost at the very bottom. I wondered how to fix it when I remembered about Seam Grip which plugs all kinds of holes in inflatables. I found our supply but it had long ago dried up so I gritted my teeth and drove down to Out N Back to get some. Keith has done some good things and it looks like it is well stocked. Unfortunately there did not seem to be enough sales help for the number of customers. I almost started talking to some of the customers to see if I could help.

I just was going through the pictures I took while at the MTC. It seems like that was a long time ago and not just 18 months. So much has happened since then and so many people have touched our lives. We really had no idea of what was ahead for us but the love and friendship that we felt in that small group of couples was great. I did not take enough pictures and I did not write down names – I will not make that mistake the next time.

Even with my being stupid about my hip, it was a good day. It feels good to read the scriptures in Indonesian. Although my hip does hurt, I can still do many things and I am sure it will be better tomorrow. But the best part is the information from Indonesia that says a number of the programs we started are moving forward. The Lord has touched our lives today.

22 June 2008

22 June 2008 – Sunday

I received a call last night asking us to meet with President Esplin this morning. Before and after going I worked on my lesson and I can not say that I felt that I had much to talk about. I just never found that spark that would cause the lesson to touch the rest of the group. It turned out I probably worked to hard and should have gone the easy way and kept it simple.

Our meeting with President Esplin was probably the shortest interview for a calling I have ever had. We were already fairly certain what it was going to be and only a detail had to be cleared up. I of course was happy to accept and I hope that in the next 5 months I can do some good. The people I will be working with are old friends and we have served together before.

We read for about 30 minutes from the A&P – it is good to get back into studying Indonesian. Hopefully we will continue doing this even while serving our next mission so that we do not lose what we have gained. After all we never know when we will need to use Indonesian again.

My lesson went about the way I thought it would. I hope someone got something from it – I do think I hit on a good idea but it was only after 95% of the time was over. Sister Poggio did an excellent job on teaching the SS lesson on Alma and Amulek preaching to the people of Ammoniah. She is a lovely sister and always has a smile. It is a shame that Max is so sick and what they can do is so limited.

Sacrament meeting was the YW reporting on their camp experiences. From what they said they had both great fun and some had powerful spiritual experiences. The leaders should get immediate entrance to the Celestial Kingdom for the great work they do. I am not sure I could call any of the young women by name – but then there are times when I have a hard time coming up with the names of our children and grandchildren.

Speaking of that after Sacrament we called Tom and wished him happy 46th birthday. I find it impossible to think that I have a 46 year old son. Where did those years go?

I was delighted to see Matt Shumway for a few minutes after sacrament. He is serving at the MTC in a branch presidency and we talked a little about the experience of serving at the MTC and how it is almost impossible to talk about it with someone who has not served there. He is truly a good and faithful brother. I asked the bishop about getting us signed up for our next mission application and he said it has been done for a week. He did not realize he needed to call us.

Later this evening we both got the paperwork started. All we need is to have our physicals and dental exams done, be interviewed by the bishop and stake president and they can be sent in. I am anxious to know where the Lord needs us this time.

It is still strange to be home and hearing English in church. It is good to see old friends and meet new ones. Today I met the Greens and the Riddles – the Greens almost bought the house next to us that the Tanners bought but were too late so they bought the ‘boat house.’ The Riddles moved into the Wilson house. Last week I met Mike Griffith a new High Priest who is here working at BYU and also working on his doctorate. He is quite young – we are getting a number of younger High Priests it seems – and very friendly. He added much to the lesson today. We will just get to know them fairly well and then leave, but when we come back there will be other new friends to get to know.

21 June 2008

21 June 2008 – Saturday

I slept for over 6 hours last night – this is only the second time since we returned home. It felt good. I spent the morning working on the lower pond that I started 4 years ago. I decided to just clean it out and put in a simple pump and spitter fountain. It is always gross to clean up the wet, dirty leaves that accumulate each year at the bottom of a pond, but it went faster than I expected.

Once it was cleaned out and the area around it was weeded, I went to Lowe’s to get a fountain. This task was made harder by the fact that once again I left my glasses at home. I truly am blind without them. But with the help of some nice associates, I managed to get what I needed for the pond. I also could not stand not to buy some plants.

Back home I quickly set up the pump and got the frog spitter working. It is nice to hear the sound of water splashing as I sat on the deck. Later one problem did show up – there is a leak somewhere in the liner. Which means I am going to need to either repair or replace it next week.

I planted the plants on the North hill – the heather is especially rich looking and hopefully it will produce the same bright flowers in the years to come. The other heather I have planted do not bloom much but perhaps I need to feed them with an acidic base.

I think what ever I had is finally going away and I am thankful for that. In it’s place it the same raspy throat that I had for months in Indonesia. I guess it did not have anything to do with the pollution. If it continues for more than a week, I will go see the doctor and hopefully get it cleared up.

During and after a delicious dinner of homemade hamburgers, I worked on my lesson for tomorrow. I am having a difficult time figuring out what to teach. I do not think we really have any strong, spiritual traditions in our family. I doubt if fixing tacos for family gatherings, reading novels, etc. would count as the kind of traditions that is being promoted by this talk.But I will continue to study and pray and I am sure something interesting and uplifting will come from this lesson.

It has been a good day. The Lord has blessed me with the strength to work in the yard. The yard itself is a great blessing. I love to just walk along and see all the different plants growing. I am not a great gardener but I am an enthusiastic one. I guess my whole life has been that way – I am not really good at many things but I enjoy doing a wide variety of activities.

19 – 20 June 2008

19 June 2008 – Thursday

The main event of the day was our meeting with the Rebers to get them familiar with how to pay bills on line. Hopefully it will save them some time and make them more comfortable when they get to Indonesia. They are a great couple and will touch many lives on their mission. What ever the Lord has for them to do they will do well. After our training, they took us to dinner at Sizzlers. We had a good dinner and lots of interesting conversation.

Other than that my day was filled with yard work. Mainly raking leaves from under the spruces. I am amazed at how many leaves are produced by Cline’s tree. It does not seem possible that one tree can produce so many each year.

20 June 2008 – Friday

Slept fairly well but still cough too much. The yard is getting closer to being finished. But each time I think that I am about there, I find another area that needs some attention. Once again I spent much of the morning getting rid of leaves under the spruces. I must not have raked them before we left on our mission. At least in some areas. At least I have plenty of leaves for stopping the vinca from spreading.

In the afternoon we went to see “Get Smart” with the Alexanders. It was so natural that it does not seem possible that we have not done this for over 18 months. “Get Smart” was very funny but “86″ was not as funny as the original. He was too dead pan and just did not quite work. I am afraid it will not do well in theaters – there were no young people at our showing. Just us old folks who use to watch the original on TV.

After the movie we went to Pier 49 for pizza. It was good but expensive – I will not suggest it again. However they have an all you can eat Monday so I think I will give it a try next Monday so I can see if it is still as good as I remember it.

The Alexanders are such good friends. We have been doing things together for almost 20 years and it never gets old. We are blessed to have two such good friends. The Campbells are the same kind of friends but we have not been close to them since we left California. When we do get together it is just like old times but that is about once a year and many years not even that.

18 June 2008

18 June 2008 – Wednesday

Today was our 48th anniversary. It was very low key as I was busy working in the yard all morning and Mary worked on genealogy. The first thing I did this morning was to clean out the swamp cooler – some of the water holes were plugged and so the full core was not getting wet. I will check it again tomorrow.

I continue to make headway in cleaning up the North hillside. It will take at least one more morning. I went to Costco and bought a roll of the really good weed block, some geraniums, and a 3 gallon lavender. I am getting into the planting mood but I will not be buying many plants this year unless they are really well priced and I know exactly where I want to put them. I am going to thin some perennials and ground covers to use in areas where some plants died while we were gone. I did filled three planters with geraniums to put on the front railing. It is strange to see so few flowers around the door at this time of the year.

After lunch it was just too hot to work outside so I decided to read under the oaks. Instead I fell asleep. I would very much like to have a full nights sleep – at least 5 to 6 hours.

Once the sun was off the hill, I went back to work there. I also did some more pruning. I think that by this time next week, the yard should be back into shape and if I can get rid of all the piles that I have made, we will be ready to have people over for dinner. Tomorrow is trash pickup so I filled our two and used any empty space in the neighbor’s containers. It does not really make even a dent in the pile but it feels good to see some of it go.

I have to say that Cindy and Bob or someone did do quite a bit of work in the yard because the leaves from last year had been cleaned up and it seems that some areas had been weeded. What did not get done – and I don’t think I asked anyone to do it – was the roses and the clematis were not pruned for two years so they are really wild. I am not sure some of the roses can be cut back far enough to get them under control. But that is no big deal. I can always plant more.

As I sit here I realize that one thing we have not done since we got home was to read the scriptures together. I have a number of good excuses but no good reasons. I do find it hard to sit and think for more than a few minutes – which is why I am behind on this journal – and I often start coughing. For that same reason I have not felt like we could go to the temple or visit the elderly – that seems strange being said by a 70 year old but it is the way it is.

17 June 2008

17 June 2008 – Tuesday

Basically it was another yard working day. Lots of weeding and pruning – mainly on the North side of the house. The hill is not fun and once the sun hits it, it is time to quit. The temperatures are getting into the 90’s but the humidity is very low so as long as I stay out of the direct sunlight, it is not bad at all. Very different from Indonesia. Mary has been indexing for a couple of hours a day.

In the evening we went to Red Lobster for our anniversary dinner a day early. The coconut shrimp is as good as I remember but I found that 9 were too many of a good thing. Mary had lobster and shrimp and loved every bite. One of the tails was mushy so our very good waiter got her another one. It is nice to be able to communicate with the waiters and folks at the store. Mary has often mentioned how hard the sales folks in Indonesia tried to understand what those crazy bules were trying to explain to them. Sometimes they understood and sometimes they gave it their best shot – we were often surprised at the results of our ‘discussions’ with them. I am sure they went home and talked about those crazy foreigners that could not speak decent Indonesian.

For some reason we are not able to access our AOL e-mail account – it keeps saying that it is not available at this time. I can not figure out what is wrong but it is annoying. But not as annoying as the cough that continues to plague me. It would be wonderful to have at least one good night’s sleep.