Saturday, May 31, 2008


My birthday was just a couple of days ago. I had emails, text messages and phone calls from family and friends. My mom and dad called from Idaho Falls as did my sister Susan, who sang an improvised Happy Birthday song. I also had a great voice-mail from Tyler, Kim, Nick, Lily and Andrew. They sang Happy Happy Birthday (not Happy Birthday, but Happy Happy Birthday) in the round, followed by an enthusiastic and heart-warming, "Happy Birthday Grampa!" from Nick and Lily. It was awesome. Priceless. I still have it saved on my phone and I want to turn it into a ring-tone or something. If I figure out how to do it, I will also put it on the blog. It rocks. I missed their call because Lynne took me out to dinner and the restaurant had excellent cuisine but less than ideal cell reception. Major bummer, but the voice-mail was great.

Those of you that know me are aware of the fact that I enjoy fishing.. I mean, I REALLY enjoy fishing. Sooo. . . owing to the fact that I had the day off work, I started my birthday activities with a sunrise fishing excursion that lasted about four hours. I know what you're thinking....and yes, I did invite Lynne to go with me. Knowing that she also likes to fish - and has had a great time whenever we've gone together - I extended a semi-formal invitation to her the night before and she responded by saying,"hmm... that would be fun. Sounds good to me. OK!"

Now, in the interest of fairness to her - and because I am in the intial stages of suffering the pangs, proddings, and promptings of a searing-hot, guilty conscience - this is where I need to say that I never again mentioned or reminded her about the fishing trip that night. Was this an intentional act of omission? Who can say for certain? I'll let you make the call on that one. Regardless, we went on about the evening's activities and then went to bed.

Ah, the night. It was a nice, quiet night. We enjoyed what could have been described as a nearly blissful slumber. The tranquility of the perfectly peaceful night that had fallen over the Kentucky countryside -and therefore our humble home - proceeded into the early pre-dawn hours and was intermittently interrupted only by the chirping of crickets... and the occasional rustlings of the wind through the trees along the fenceline. Ah, the sweet and silent sanctuary of the Sandman. In fact, I'm certain there were genuine smiles of contentment on our child-like countenances all night.

Until. . . . . the silence was shattered and split asunder when the alarm on my cell phone shrieked to life at 4:15 a.m. My smile remained. I'm fairly certain hers disappeared.

"Lynne, time to get up... the fish are calling my name and we need to be on the lake in an hour. Lynne? Helllooooo. . . Lynne?"

Muted, muddled and muffled responses seemed to come from somewhere under the pillow that was now atop her head instead of underneath it.

"What's that? I couldn't hear what you said. Lynne?"

"I said" - the voice now more distinct and clear with a touch of morning gravel and grogginess - "I said to go ahead without me. Have a good time. I want to stay in bed a little longer."

"Are you sure? Last night you said you wanted to go. I'll wait while you get ready. No sweat."

"No. . . you just go. Have a great time."

"You sure?"

"Yeah, I'm gonna rest."

"I dunno, maybe I should just stay home. I was really kinda looking forward to both of us going."

"No, no... you go. I'm okay. Really. Just go ahead without me."

"OK. . .but only if you're sure."

"I'm sure. . .have a good time baby"

"Alright. I'll see you in a few hours."

"See ya. Be careful."

"I will. . . Lynne?"


"You sure about this?"

"Yeah baby, I'm sure. It's all good."

"OK, I'm outta here."



"Happy Birthday baby."

What a woman...

Now, another thing that I greatly enjoy is cooking. I mean, I love to cook. I like spending time in the kitchen and experimenting with old recipes and trying out new ones. Although Lynne is a good cook, she has turned the lion's share of the cooking responsibilities over to me. Especially things like the Holidays, big meals, Sundays, missionary meals and other such occasions. It's not that she can't or doesn't want to cook - and she still does. She simply prefers that I do it and I am more than willing to oblige. Knowing how much I enjoy cooking, Lynne surprised me with a new stainless steel, humongous, awesome and beautiful electric-start propane barbecue grill for my birthday. It also has an infrared style rotisserie and is a smoker as well. FANTASTIC! I love it. There are photos that follow this posting.

This magnificent piece of Americana now comfortably reposes on the patio at the back of the house, accompanied by Lynne's (our) new patio swing. Cool.

Once she had purchased the grill, she felt it was only prudent and necessary to buy a SECURITY DEVICE for the grill. Thereby dissuading and discouraging any would-be thieves or other individuals with less than noble intentions. What kind of security device did she opt for? Check out the photos that follow.

After much thought, reflection and prayer we have decided that I will not travel to China to translate at the Olympics. I received communication from the Beijing Olympic officials again last week. I would need to be in Beijing by June 15 and then would stay at the conclusion of the Games to teach for a couple of months until probably October as a guest professor of English at the Shiyan University. Much like my previous teaching experiences while in China a couple of years ago. In some respects, this has been a difficult decision to make. In other respects it was somewhat of a no-brainer.

Many of you know that Lynne has had a continuing situation with her health. Don't get me wrong - she's not extremely ill or anything of that nature. Those of you that know - know. She's in good condition and healthy overall so don't be overly concerned.

Our original plan was that she accompany me to China and then team-teach with me as an assistant after the Games. This plan was amenable to and accepted by Mr. Tsang of the Chancellory Office at Shiyan. But in light of Lynne's medical evaluations, we both agree it is more prudent to stay here instead of going abroad for a five to six month stretch. We have some very real concerns about being able to maintain the quality of her treatment, not to mention being away from her physician's experience and expertise with her case if we are gone for an extended period.

Instead, we have decided that we will take a two week vacation to China in the Fall of this year or possibly Spring of '09. We will visit Hong Kong and then travel up to Hebei Province and visit the Universities and area where I lived and taught.

Additionally, the decision on when to move out West (Utah or Idaho) has been placed in a holding pattern. We still want to do it. Just have some additional things to consider.




Sunday, May 25, 2008


We had the missionaries over for a final Chinese/Japanese meal before transfers take place on Tuesday. Poor Sister Nakajima was duped into eating a hot pepper by one of the elders (can you say Haldeputz?) much to her chagrin and to the general dismay of all others in attendance. What can we say...sometimes the transfers go the way you hope, and other times.....well,... not quite.

More missionary pics

Shots from Uof L graduation

Memorial Day Weekend Update

Whew!! It's been quite some time since I've updated our blog. There will be pictures coming soon, so keep the faith. Until then, let me bring you up to date on some of what has been going on.

In the past three weeks or so we have attended Michael's graduation from the University of Louisville, had a great Mother's Day and Mother's Day Dinner, attended the NRA Annual Meetings and Convention in Louisville where we got to meet and greet Glenn Beck, Wayne LaPierre and Lt. Col (ret) Oliver North. Also attending were Sen. John McCain, Gov Mitt Romney, and rocker/hunting activist extraordinaire Ted Nugent, Utah Jazz great Karl Malone, Tom Selleck and a host of others. We missed most of them. There were some fantastic exhibits, booths and products at the convention. It was pretty cool and we both had a great time. I am a LIFE member of the NRA and we signed up Lynne while we were at the convention. Oh yeah, I have done a TON of fishing in the past three or four days!!

We learned yesterday that all three of our sister missionaries are being transferred out of Elizabethtown. Major bummer (to quote Sister Nakajima). Elder Morgan is also transferring out. He will become a Zone Leader in Lexington. Elder Haldeman remains and will get a new companion. We will also receive another set of elders to replace the sisters. The volume of work that the sisters have accomplished here is incredible. We are excited to meet the new elders who will be in our ward but we are very sad to be losing our dear, wonderful sister missionaries. Lynne and I will be driving the sisters into the Mission Home on Tuesday morning and then returning with the new elders. In the next day or so we will have more photos of all of the missionaries.

Additionally, Tyler and Kim are sending me some photos of them and their chillunz (our grandchildren) so we can get them on this here blog thingamajiggie too. Also, a reminder that you can click on their Blog-link to check out their latest comings and goings.

In the meantime, Lynne wants to take me to Mammoth Cave (which is just down the road aways) before I go back to work on Wednesday. She wanted to surprise me with another trip to Atlanta to catch another Braves game for my birthday but I found out about it...BUSTED! Mammoth Cave is closer anyway.

Actually, I really appreciated the thought of her going to all of the effort to surprise me with a trip to watch the greatest team in the history of the National League, but we would have been really rushed to get down there, see the game, shop around and get back in time for work. We've already been down there a few times for games. Hey, as much as you might enjoy watching the Braves on TV (come on, you can admit you're a closet fan) there is nothing like being there in person and sitting right behind the Braves' dugout. The smell of the freshly mown grass in the outfield and the musky, earthy aroma of the still-damp infield wafting over, around and through Turner Field . . .underscored by the subtle yet unmistakable fragrance of buttered popcorn laced with the essence of Nathan's Famous Hotdogs infuse and conspire to create one of the most intoxicating bouquets known to man. Aaaaahhhhhhh.... I may have just talked myself into yet another trip to Atlanta. (Was that growl from your stomach or mine?) Maybe we'll just need to run down there another time or two this season. Good idea Lynne.

She is a pretty awesome lady and I am proud and honored to be her husband. She is always doing stuff like that for me and for others. She never asks for anything for herself. Pretty darn special, I say.

We'll be talking to you again soon.