Sunday, November 30, 2008


There certainly aren't as many lights or decorated trees as can be found on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, but 'Light Up Louisville' makes a significant impression in its own right.

For the past 28 years, this community celebration of parades, lights, choirs, fireworks and Santa's arrival in Jefferson Square have signaled the official kick-off to the Holidays for the citizenry of the Louisville Metro area.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Before I forget. . .Even though it is the day after Thanksgiving and we have been sufficiently filled, stuffed, engorged, sated, replenished, suffused and tryptophan-ed to a level that approaches the borders of gastronomical ecstacy, we'd like to let you know about another great restaurant we visited not too long ago. I have never been what you would call and ardent fan of Japanese cuisine. For me, sushi is another word for bait, which in turn is used to catch larger, more substantial fish which are subsequently cooked before ingesting. However, we often take the missionaries to the Ginza restaurant here, in Elizabethtown. We love that place, as we have attested in various postings in this blog. As a result, I have begun to eat a miniscule amount of such offerings as fresh-water eel (Unagi); crab and rice nigiri; squid with green onion tuna (Negi Maguro) and a dish called Sunset which is described on the menu as: crab, avocado, cucumber and cream cheese topped with smoked salmon with lemon slices. mmm mmmm. The name of the restaurant is 'Kansai Japanese Steakhouse' and it also serves great steaks and seafood if, "ya'll don't cotton to bait!". And they have a green wasabe that is fantastic. Lynne smells it and her eyes start to water and her nose runs. It is fiery and somewhat sweet with just a bit of ginger hint to it. So if you like spicy hot. . .go for it. As much as we have enjoyed the great food and experience of eating at the 'Ginza', I believe we will probably visit 'Kansai' more often in the future.

Ah, but I digress. Okay. Having dispensed with that, and in keeping with the season, let's move on to more traditional fare. We had a great Thanksgiving dinner yesterday and got to visit with family members and a few of the missionaries. We all met in Louisville at Mike and Amber's house where Mike had spared no effort in preparing a sumptuous feast that included - as indicated by the photos - turkey, dressing, garlic mashed potatoes, rolls, green bean casserole, pasta and cheese casserole, side dishes and a pumpkin cheesecake with pralines. Well done, Mike. Great food and even greater times with family. Uh. . . oh yeah . . . and football! We missed having more of you with us and the fact that we couldn't travel out West to be with family there. Lynne also struggled with the fact that this was basically her first Thanksgiving without Casey's (Iraq) presence. She has spoken to him in the past couple of days and hopefully will hear from him again this weekend.

Madi had a great time at her first Thanksgiving dinner and enjoyed immensely being passed from one family member to the next. She demonstrated her skill as a virtuoso and prodigy on the piano (see picture). Next stop, Carnegie Hall. She is of course, without question and without exception, very partial to her Grampa Hutch. A source of much consternation and chagrin to anyone else attempting to appease her after she's left my arms. Yeah, I know, I know. It's a curse. . .really it is. But what's a guy to do? Women and the Hutch touch.

By the way, don't be disturbd by the knife-wielding Fernando in the picture below. He's not really unbalanced. The only thing to fall victim to his antics was an already roasted and basted turkey carcass. The facts in evidence not-withstanding, Fernando insited on a thorough post-mortem dissection and examination of the deceased. A culinary examination, if you will under the direction of none other than Fernando himself. I think his intense work-schedule at the hospital has left him feeling a tad overwhelmed and 'juuusst a bit' out of synch with reality. This was evidenced when he kept referring to the turkey-wing he was eating as, "just another chicken hopped-up on steroids!". Fernando, Fernando. Gotta work off some of that stress, brother. Preferably without the carving knife.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Once again, we find ourselves - you, me, us, them - in the midst of the Holiday Season. This is the time of year when we traditionally pause to give thanks for and reflect upon the many blessings of life and family, health, friends, and the multitude of other bounties we enjoy each day. Thanksgiving is one of those special times when families gather to feast, celebrate, reminisce and - of course - in the golden afterglow of the repast, unbutton those pants and hunker down in front of the football games on wide-screen HD. Oh Yeah.

One of my personal laments at this time of year is that family has become so large and so spread-out across the hinterlands, that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to visit all of them during the holidays. . . or have all of them visit us. I know this is a common source of frustration for many of you as well. . Bummer, huh? When you factor in parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, children, children's families, extended families, blended families, in-laws, out-laws, etc., it can become a logistical nightmare. As an illustration - we have family in such diverse and far-flung locales as Idaho Falls; Louisville; Salt Lake City; Oregon; Lehi; Baltimore; Arizona; Frankfort; Tennessee; Egypt; Florida; South Carolina and Iraq! Any way you cut it, that would be a lot of frequent-flyer miles!

As much as we would love to spend time with everyone, it's physically impossible. And as much as we'd like everyone to be here with us. . .well, that just isn't possible either. I know, stinks huh? This Thanksgiving finds us having a small (by usual standards) dinner that includes Michael, Amber, & Madi; Fernando and Penny; and at least four of the full-time missionaries (alas, no sisters just elders).

And in less time than it takes to bat-an-eye, Thanksgiving will be gone and we will be that much closer to Christmas. Ahhh. Christmas. The time of year when we traditionally celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. A time to pause and step out of the whirlwind, often mundane, sometimes robotic day-to-day mentality and actions that can conspire to keep Him in the back of our minds the other eleven months of the year. It is a season for pausing to contemplate and celebrate His birth and the personal relationship we share with the Prince of Peace. Only when we reflect upon the promise and realization of the temporal and eternal blessings and goodness, righteousness and peace that His birth ushered into the world for not only ourselves, but all children of a loving Father in Heaven, do we begin to comprehend the true meaning of the season.

Much has been espoused, written, spoken, argued and debated about the infringement and usurptation of crass commercialism into and upon the true meaning of Christmas. I won't delve deeply into that topic here, other than to say the following. . . Loving benevolence, charity, brotherhood, and the true spirit of giving has often been replaced by greed and self-absorption. Love and worship of the Savior is replaced in many instances by love and worship of the dollar. A sad commentary, but a situation in which I think each of us, at times and in varying degrees find ourselves.

Lynne and I have decided to make a change in our approach to giving each other Christmas presents this year. As always, we will send Christmas gifts to each of our children, grandchildren, etc., but we have promised NOT to buy ANYTHING for each other. Yeah, right. Sure. You bet. Uh huh. Not possible you say? We're gonna do it. . .really. We have a beautifully decorated tree this year, but there are no presents under it. What?!? There is method to our perceived madness and possible dementia. We are going to celebrate our Christmas in March of 2009. . .in China. Yes! We are saving the Christmas money we would have spent on each other and using it instead to spend two - three weeks in China. Cool. As fuel prices and airfares have continued to drop, we thought this would be a good time to lock in some decent rates, especially this far in advance.

With so many travel requirements and restrictions now in place, I finally talked Lynne into getting her passport. We can no longer return from a trip to Mexico or Canada to the States without a valid passport, so now the world is Lynne's oyster and the sky is the limit. Literally. While in China, we plan to visit the University where I taught; the Mountain Resort in Chengde; The Forbidden City and the Great Wall. We will also spend a couple of days in Hong Kong visiting some of the areas where I served my mission and attend the Hong Kong temple. A Christmas to remember, to be sure.

You may have noticed that the music on this blog has changed. I added a Christmas music player at the bottom. If you'd rather listen to the other music, pause the Christmas tunes and select one from the other player. Or, you can choose another Christmas tune. Whatever. Enjoy.

We wish our family members - as we wish each of you and yours - a happy, joyful, safe and wondrous Holiday Season. May the love and comfort of the Savior be found within the walls of your home and the folds of your heart. We are so grateful for each of you. Our prayers are with you. Happy Thanksgiving. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


We do love to hear from our missionaries! Sister Ita'aehau celebrated a birthday last month, so of course we sent her a bouquet of lilies to celebrate. Last week we received a letter from her that included a couple of photos of her with the flowers. She also told us that she has been transferred from Tell City, IN to New Albany , IN which is just across the Ohio River from Louisville. Her new companion is Sister Salsbury, who was with Sister Hartmann earlier in her mission. It's kind of like coming full circle because Hartmann was here in Elizabethtown before being transferred to Beattyville and then Ita'aehau came here. Now she's with Salsbury and they have the commonality, to a degree, of Hartmann. Did that make any sense? Cool. "Ofa Lahi Atu!", to you too Sister Ita'aehau.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Major Bummer...Utah goes to a BCS Bowl once again and the Cougars are left to ponder, "What might have been", as they probably head to the Las Vegas Bowl, AGAIN!

BYU was undone by their own ineptitude on offense (can you say 5 interceptions?!) and a paucity of consistent defense. Heads will be hanging low at Church tomorrow. Kudos to the Ute Nation. Utah had BYU's number from the get-go tonight. It was a painful thing to watch unfold, indeed. BRING ON BYU BASKETBALL, BABY!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The War of the Wasatch. . . The Battle for the Beehive Boot. . . Good vs Evil. . . North vs South. . . Luke Skywalker vs Darth Vader. . . Lex Luthor vs Superman. . . Church vs State. . .and dare we say it?. . . THE HOLY WAR! YEESSSS!!!! The annual regular-season ending game between the Brigham Young University Cougars and the University of Utah Runnin' Utes is once again upon us. With regard to this titanic struggle for football supremacy in the Beehive state, the term - 'The Holy War' - has not only become entrenched in the vernacular of the fans living along the Wasatch Front, it has been carried far and wide across this nation and even to far-flung corners of the world. In fact, if you google The Holy War you will find its explanation and history in Wikipedia, replete with the scores of each contest in the series. Cool. Wherever graduates, families of graduates or just plain FANS of these two schools travel or relocate, their allegiances travel with them. As indicated in these photos those feelings of Blue or Red alliance are even evidenced halfway around the world in Iraq.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


We received a call from Casey late last night. He has been in Kuwait for just over a week and will be setting foot on the ground in Iraq's Camp Rustamiyah on Tuesday of next week. Camp Rustamiyah is a Forward Operating Base approximately 11 kilometers Southeast of Baghdad. It was the former home of Saddam Hussein's top military school, Ar Rasheed. Rustamiyah was known as Camp Muleskinner before being renamed Camp Cuervo in 2004 to honor Pfc. Ray D. Cuervo, Apache Troop, 1st Squadron, 2nd ACR, who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving there. In late 2004 it was renamed Camp Rustamiyah as part of an Army-wide effort to rename bases around Baghdad with friendly connotations. Casey says that Kuwait has pretty much been 'boring' while he has been there. I have an idea that his perspective and impressions are about to undergo an incredible change. After he had been talking to Lynne for awhile, he asked her,
"What time is it there?"
"It's a quarter to one in the morning."
"A quarter to one? What are you doing up so late, mom?"
"Uh..hello? I had to answer the phone, duh."
"Oh...yeah...well..sorry about that. I didn't know what time it was there."
"That's okay...whenever you call, we'll answer."

Headshakes all around. Kids. Whatcha gonna do? And by the way, the time in Baghdad is eight hours ahead of Kentucky.

I have included a couple of pictures of Camp Rustamiyah that I found on the internet.

Saturday, November 15, 2008



Due to the fact that I usually don't work Fridays, we generally make that our date-night. . .or date-day. . . or date-all-day-night time . . .thing. Occasionally, we'll have our date on a different night of the week and sometimes we'll even have (gasp, oh-my-heck!) TWO date-night thingies in the SAME week.

This week was just such a week. I had appointments with doctors on Wednesday so I took the day off work. We decided to have an early dinner (to beat the crowd) at the 'Ginza Hibachi and Sushi' restaurant where we like to take the missionaries. This time, however, it was just the two of us. We love that place. It's like a Benihana but not as upscale. There are four very large preparation/cooking steels and seating for approximately ten people around each. The chefs are all magicians with their cooking utensils. They are masters of food prep and they keep up a very lively and funny conversation as they go about their slicing, dicing, cutting, cooking and serving. And the food is incredible... swordfish, scallops, shrimp, chicken, filet mignon, lobster, vegetables, salmon, mahi-mahi, calamari, rice, sushi, shark-fin soup, onion soup, you name it. That was our first date of the week. Then, yesterday, we did a two-fer-one day/night date thing-a-ma-jig. For the first part, we had a seafood lunch and then later in the evening went to the 'Movie thee-EIGHT-er'. Yup, that's a word in Kentucky - THEE-8-ER. Yesterday was the opening of Quantum of Solace with Daniel Craig, but after brieflyconsidering all of the options, I decided that the chance to watch Lynne as she watched 'Madagascar 2' was too great an entertainment bargain to pass up. It's like buying Certs with retsyn. . .only instead of breath mints you get, "two, two, two shows in one!" For the price of one ticket, I was treated to two shows. Trust me, if you ever have an opportunity to go to ANY animated movie with Lynne, don't pass it up. She is more like a little kid than the little kids. Cracks me up. Believe me, not all of the funny animals or funny characters are on the screen. When you go to a movie with Lynne, you have a ring-side seat to two performances.

Friday, November 14, 2008


In a recent posting, I indicated that gasoline prices in Louisville and Elizabethtown had dropped below $2.00 per gallon. Euphoria and a heady state of elation reigned supreme in the wake of that monumental announcement. Imagine if you can, then, the feelings of utter jubilation when I filled up the day before yesterday and payed $1.72 per gallon. One of the great benefits of the continually dropping gas prices (aside from the obviously lower cost of travel) is that it provides more money for me to engage in the quintessential pastime of the ages. . . "Trickin' and Killin'.

Ah yes, 'Trickin' and Killin'', a quaint euphemistic expression that many other people commonly refer to as FISHING! Because when you get right down to it, that's what fishing is all about. It's all about trickin' em and then eatin' em. . . so there's gotta be a little killin' 'em involved.

The exception of course would be catch and release, which I call "Trickin' and Playin'".

In the final equation it simply means fishing. Yes boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen. . . Fishing! Glorious, magnificent, peaceful, relaxing yet stimulating FISHING. Fishing in November in the temperate climes of Kentucky. And because of lower gas prices, I now have a small, but sufficient, bump up in my disposable income that justifies more frequent trips to Walmart, Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas for fishing equipment. The only significant wrinkle to actually ENJOYING this increase in fishing equipment is finding the time to go as often as I'd like.

Hmmmmmm. . . wonder how many vacation days I have remaining. Incidentally, I fabricated the picture of the gas station but the story is true. . .we really paid $1.72 a gallon when we filled up this week with the Kroger discount card.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


About six weeks ago, Sister Michelle Hartmann came back to pay us and other members of the Elizabethtown Ward a visit. Michelle is from Boise and will soon be attending BYU-Idaho in Rexburg. Her original plan was to live with us in Idaho Falls (because we were supposed to be moved out there by now) while she attended school. She has seen fit to forgive us for thwarting her well-laid plans.

While here she also travelled to the eastern part of the state to visit friends in Beattyville, KY. It was a real treat having her back in our home. We hit all of the usual spots including dinner at Texas Roadhouse and taking her shopping. While Michelle was here (we can call her that now) we also talked to one of her buds and another of our girls, Sister Genni Clark. Genni is back home in Utah and will be getting married soon. She has, in Michelle's words, "A big honkin' diamond on her finger!"

We stay in contact with as many of the missionaries as we can. It seems the sisters are the only ones that continue to call or write. Sisters Hair, Curtis, Roque and Clark are all either married or engaged. Jacci McFarlane calls or texts us often. We still hear from Sisters Jensen and Gregory who have returned home as well as Sisters Bartholomew (still serving in Kentucky); Itae'ehau (serving in Tell City, Indiana); and Nakajima (still serving in SLC).

We have been very fortunate and blessed to become acquainted with these quality people and to have them in our home. We have taught with them, been taught by them, laughed and cried with them. Our lives are enriched for having known them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008




Lynne's sister Ruthie went into the hospital for an anything but routine appendectomy last weekend. Her appendix had ruptured, spreading peritonitis infection throughout her body. Additionally, although she hadn't complained of any symptoms, it was discovered during or shortly after surgery that she had double pneumonia. In addition to the fluid and infection in her lungs, Ruthie aspirated fluid at some time during the procedure. Further compounding an already bad situation, an abcess was discovered in her stomach. Ruthie's systems began to shut down and she was placed in the ICU in critical condition at Baltimore's Harbor Hospital.

Lynne received a call from Ruthies daughter AshlEY, on Sunday of last week giving us the initial report. The following day, Ruthie's condition worsened and she was placed on a respirator. By Tuesday her physician had told Katie (one of Lynne's other sisters in Baltimore) that it might not be a bad idea to gather the family together.

We had already made the decision to fly Lynne up there on Wednesday morning. I couldn't get away from work on such short notice, so Lynne got on a flight with her brother and sister Chris and Penny. They stayed at Katie's house in Baltimore.

By Thursday, a medical decision was made to place Ruthie in a paralytic state of sedation (NOT induced coma) to expedite her healing. On Friday Ruthie was upgraded to serious condition, but remained on a respirator. Lynne returned home Sunday evening after five long days in which Ruthie's condition remained much the same. We have appreciated all of the prayers and well wishes for Ruthie and her family.

We also want to express our love and appreciation to Katie for allowing everyone to crash at her house in Baltimore. She's a sweetheart and continues to keep us updated. We love and miss her and all the 'fam' in Maryland. Our thoughts continue to be with Ruthie. As of this writing on Tuesday, she is a bit more alert, but remains on a respirator and is still on mega-mega antibiotics. Her white count continues to be elevated as she fights off infection. It's going to be a long, hard road according to Ashli and Katie. Please continue to remember her in your prayers.

Lynne brought back some pictures of the family and some sights from the Baltimore Harbor area that we are sharing with you.


Halloween has pretty much freaked me out for a long time. I'd just as soon be spending my time watching a good movie (in fact, I often have) or out fishing somewhere instead of engaging in halloween celebrations and festivities. That's not intended to be a social commentary on the relative merits of the holiday, I just don't get into it like I once did. And I used to really get into it (ask my kids about my gorilla costume sometime). But more and more I find the creepy and darker, malevolent side of Halloween a big turn-off. There are other reasons that don't need explanation, but it suffices to say it's not my favorite holiday by any measure.

However, it's still a lot of fun for the kids and grandkids and I've enjoyed looking at all of their pictures on the blogs. For them, it's all about the fun of dressing up and going out for candy and hitting the parties with family and friends. And, oh yes, the grandkids like it for the same reasons. Tyler and Kim's blog has some great pictures of their kids decked out in halloween garb. . . and for pure entertainment value, it's tough to beat the following shot of Ty and Kim as Axl and Slash from Guns 'n' Roses. They really make it work.
Like his cousins, Kayden goes all-out for Halloween. Last year he was Optimus Prime from Transformers and this year he was the pint-sized personification of the Ghost Rider. Cheniel bedecks her front yard with tombstones, cobwebs, ghosts and the whole nine yards. To top it off, their house is or has been the repository for such things as pet black-widow spiders in glass cases (that have produced egg sacks); scorpions; four-foot lizards and bobcat skulls. Not much has changed. . . when she was a little girl, Cheniel spent more time chasing lizards, horny-toads and snakes than she did playing dolls with her friends. That's my girl.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Just received some pictures from Casey and Jordan. They are getting ready to move into a new house (for them) in Stansbury, having locked in the interest rate on their loan. Nice!! Casey, dude. . . . that is one butt-ugly dog, man. He's all head. Where's the rest of his body?


Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I believe my personal reaction can be most succinctly and eloquently summarized and expressed by the following quote:

-Ronald Wison Reagan

Monday, November 3, 2008


YEE HAW! Two months ago, gas was selling (gouging?) at $4.49 in Louisville. It has finally dropped to under $2.00 a gallon. For those of us who can remember the gas wars of the late '60s and early '70s when gas was 35 to 50 CENTS per gallon, this seems somewhat ironic. . . .a sense of elation at gas for ONLY $2.00. The times they are a changin'.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Kayden called again just a couple of weeks or so ago. You may remember his last phone call, wherein he made the announcement that he was going to be a 'Big Brother!' We just live for this little guy's phone calls:

"Hey, Grampa Hutch."

"Hey, Kayden! 'Sup?"

"I'm gonna have a baby brother!"

"Awesome! Wait, you already know he's a brother?"

"Yeah, I saw his picture at the doctor's office."

"Was he wearing a shirt and tie? Was he smilin' for the picture?"

"Nope. He's in mom's tummy. No shirt."

"Cool beans, Kayden."

"I used to say I was gettin' a little brother slash sister. . now I just say I'm havin' a little brother. I don't have to say slash sister anymore."

"You're alright, Kayden. Are you excited to have a little brother?"


"What if it was a slash sister?"

"That's's a brother."

"Okay, Kayden. I love you man."

"I love you Grampa Hutch. . here's my mom."

That, "little brother slash sister" comment slays me. He actually was telling people that he was going to have a little brother slash sister. The little guy just blows me away. You never know what's going to pop out of his mouth next.
Cheniel's due date is still May 4th, but it may be moved up because the baby is farther along in development than anticipated for that date. We'll wait and see. Both she and Trevin are doing well and the doctors on her team say she's progressing right on schedule. That is very comforting and welcome news, coming as it does on the heels of the CRS (Congenital Rubella Syndrome) possibility that had lingered briefly just a month or so ago. Trevin. Cool name. Haven't heard it before. We like it. We hear that Trevin Gregory is even a possibility. WAY cool name. Pregnant pictures to follow as soon as we get some.