February 25, 2012

Snug in Harness

Snug graduated from Guide Dogs for the Blind on January 21st.  We are so excited that all our hard work training her paid off.  We were so happy to make contact with her partner Jan.  Jan very kindly sent us an email "from Snug" and a Photo of the two of them together (see below)!

Dear Megan,

I thought I'd drop you a line to let you know how I'm doing.

I went to training when you dropped me off at Guide Dogs. . It was a lot of fun and hard work. Then, after Christmas, there was a little break. Suddenly, I wasn't in a kennel any more but in a room with someone I didn't know. She seemed okay enough and I like new people anyhow. She told me I was her tenth dog. I heard about all of them. Apparently, I am in the top level of what she calls her wonder dogs. .

She is 62 and did social work and therapy for decades. Now, she plays mandolin and we go a lot of places. We go to the gym and I lay around during a yoga class today. She thought I would try to lie on the mats that seem like dog beds to me. She didn't take in to account how much more comfortable any  dog bed is.

We live in San Anselmo, not far from Guide Dogs. It is a walking kind of town with all kinds of restaurants and stores. She has been taking me everywhere to show me off. Her eighth dog, Addie, was supposedly really wonderful. She now lives in Northern California with Jan's sister and her family. The ninth dog was only out a month because it turned out the bad work she did was caused by really bad knees. She lives with her raiser in Reno. Jan says that dog just prepared her for me and gave her some distance from her Lovely Addie.

I did something good. When we come back from the gym, it is a little complicated. There is a street we have to cross mid block. Jan was not sure exactly where to cross. She made a mistake and got lost. We both tried to figure it out. Then, I found a landmark I thought she would recognize because she took me there once. She got so excited because I showed her the door  handle of the vet clinic where we  go. I was praised up one side and down the other. She said this kind of initiative and team work generally happens later, not one week after coming out of the shoot, so to speak.

My household consists of Jan and her boy friend, Tal who she met during her first guide dog class way back in 1969. They wrote for a couple of years and drifted but always thought about each other. Jan was married to her husband, Charlie  from 1976 until his death late in 2007.
I like it here and hope you get the chance to talk to my new people.

Say hi to everyone for me. I hope you are raising another puppy. You are good raisers, Jan wants you to know. I haven't done anything bad, not even trash stealing. She does keep a watch on me though.

Yours in Harness,

February 24, 2012

The Casts are off but the Memory Lives On!

Rebekah's cast was removed (by a professional) on Monday.  The pictures are so cute, and even cuter now that the casts are gone! (Thank you Lydia!)

Prepare for the broken arm Wrestling Tournament!

1 project off the to do list

November 3, 2011

Feb 23, 2012

I am glad to move on to another project!

Here is Hazel being the first person to sit in the finished chair. 

  (Now I have to go put away all the tools)

February 23, 2012

Fashion Slippers

You just never know what kids can do with a little newspaper and a lot of tape!

February 20, 2012

Past performance links

Truman on tuba in 6th grade and Syd on sax in 5th grade Who is that baby with a 1/2 size tuba?  Syd is in front of him and to the right a few people.

Christian the same year 2009.  Wow, how they change.  Christian is on the left at the back.

February 19, 2012

Performance Links

Abby in the district honor choir

Sydney in the Rhodes Jazz Band at the district board meeting

February 14, 2012

Happy 100 to the "Baby State"!

Abby was in a District Honor Choir, the concert was Saturday.  They sang this song (although not quite so coyboyish).  All of our older kids learned it in 4th grade and sang it as part of a  4th grade musical that taught Arizona State History.


I was thinking about when Kenneth asked me if I wanted to move to Arizona.  I thought he must be kidding.  Who would move to that desert?

It took me a while to acclimatize.  My skin has finally learned to tan and not burn.  There is so much I have learned to love.  I love sneaking out on Christmas morning in my PJs to pick myself a grapefruit.  I love being able to ride my bike year round (without snow or  freezing weather) .  I am happy taking a little swim in October.  I like The citrus blooming on groundhogs day!  I also love the roguishness of not observing daylight savings.

12 years we have lived here.  I'm not sure I could leave...  I love you Arizona!


1. Arizona has 3,928 mountain peaks and summits—more mountains than any one of the other Mountain States (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming).
2. All New England, plus the state of Pennsylvania would fit inside Arizona.
3. Arizona became the 48th state and last of the contiguous states on February 14, 1912.
4. Arizona’s disparate climate can yield both the highest temperature across the nation and the lowest temperature across the nation in the same day.
5. There are more wilderness areas in Arizona than in the entire Midwest. Arizona alone has 90 wilderness areas, while the Midwest has 50.
6. Arizona has 26 peaks that are more than 10,000 feet in elevation.
7. Arizona has the largest contiguous stand of ponderosa pines in the world stretching from near Flagstaff along the Mogollon Rim to the White Mountains region.
8. Yuma, Arizona is the country’s highest producer of winter vegetables, especially lettuce.
9. Arizona is the 6th largest state in the nation, covering 113,909 square miles.
10. Out of all the states in the U.S., Arizona has the largest percentage of its land designated as Indian lands.
11. The “Five C’s” of Arizona’s economy are: Cattle, Copper, Citrus, Cotton, and Climate.
12. More copper is mined in Arizona than all the other states combined, and the Morenci Mine is the largest copper producer in all of North America.
13. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, two of the most prominent movie stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, were married on March 18, 1939, in Kingman, Arizona.
14. Covering 18,608 sq. miles, Coconino County is the second largest county by land area in the 48 contiguous United States.
15. The world’s largest solar telescope is located at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Sells, Arizona.
16. Bisbee, Arizona is known as the Queen of the Copper Mines because during its mining heyday it produced nearly 25 percent of the world’s copper and was the largest city in the Southwest between Saint Louis and San Francisco.
17. Billy the Kid killed his first man, Windy Cahill, in Bonita, Arizona.
18. Pioneer filmmaker, Cecil B. DeMille originally traveled to Flagstaff to make his first film but he arrived there in the middle of a storm and decided to move operations further west, to Hollywood. His film, The Squaw Man (1914), went on to be wildly successful, launching the fledgling movie industry and establishing Hollywood as the movie capital of the world.
19. Arizona grows enough cotton each year to make more than one pair of jeans for every person in the United States.
20. Famous labor leader and activist Cesar Chavez was born in Yuma.
21. In 1912, President William Howard Taft was ready to make Arizona a state on February 12, but it was Lincoln’s birthday. The next day, the 13th, was considered bad luck so they waited until the following day. That’s how Arizona became known as the “Valentine State.”
22. When England’s famous London Bridge was replaced in the 1960s, the original was purchased, dismantled, shipped stone by stone and reconstructed in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, where it still stands today.
23. Mount Lemmon, in the Santa Catalina Mountains, is the southernmost ski resort in the United States.
24. Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch in Picacho, Arizona is the largest privately-owned ostrich ranch in the world outside South Africa.
25. If you cut down a protected species of cactus in Arizona, you could spend more than a year in prison.
26. The world’s largest to-scale collection of miniature airplane models is housed at the library at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.
27. The only place in the country where mail is delivered by mule is the village of Supai, located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
28. Located on Arizona’s western border, Parker Dam is the deepest dam in the world at 320 feet.
29. South Mountain Park/Preserve in Phoenix is the largest municipal park in the country.
30. Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, located about 55 miles west of Phoenix, generates more electricity than any other U.S. power plant.
31. Montezuma never visited Montezuma National Monument—he was born 100 years after the prehistoric dwelling was abandoned. The monument was misnamed for the Aztec emperor when it was rediscovered in the 1860’s.
32. Oraibi, a Hopi village located in Navajo County, Arizona, dates back to before A.D. 1200 and is reputed to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in America.
33. Built in by Del Webb in 1960, Sun City, Arizona was the first 55-plus active adult retirement community in the country.
34. Petrified wood is the official state fossil. The Petrified Forest in northeastern Arizona contains America’s largest deposits of petrified wood.
35. Many of the founders of San Francisco in 1776 were Spanish colonists from Tubac, Arizona.
36. Phoenix originated in 1866 as a hay camp to supply military post Camp McDowell.
37. Chino Valley’s Fort Whipple was a U.S. Army post that served as Arizona Territory’s first capital prior to the founding of Prescott. The post was founded in January 1864, but was moved in May 1864 to Granite Creek near present-day Prescott.
38. Prior to President Abraham Lincoln signing the Arizona Organic Act on February 24, 1863 to create Arizona Territory, Arizona was part of the territory of New Mexico.
39. Rainfall averages for Arizona range from less than three inches in the deserts to more than 30 inches per year in the mountains.
40. Rising to a height of 12,643 feet, Mount Humphreys north of Flagstaff is the state’s highest mountain.
41. Roadrunners are not just in cartoons! In Arizona, you’ll see them running up to 17-mph away from their enemies.
42. The Saguaro cactus is the largest cactus found in the U.S. It can grow as high as a five-story building and is native to the Sonoran Desert, which stretches across southern Arizona.
43. Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, grew up on a large family ranch near Duncan, Arizona.
44. The city of Phoenix was named for the mythical Egyptian phoenix bird—which burst into flame and was reborn from its ashes—because the town sprouted from the ruins of a former civilization.
45. Santa Cruz County (1,237 sq. miles) is the smallest of Arizona’s 15 counties, but is larger than more than 72 countries.
46. Spanish Franciscan friar Marcos de Niza was the first European to explore Arizona. He entered the area in 1539 in search of the mythical Seven Cities of Gold.
47. The best-preserved meteor crater in the world is located near Winslow, Arizona.
48. Camels were imported in the 1850s to survey the future Route 66 across northern Arizona.
49. The Arizona Cardinals are the oldest continuous franchise in the National Football League, dating back to 1898.
50. The worst range war and family feud in the West, which claimed the lives of dozens of ranchers, ironically occurred in a place called Pleasant Valley, Arizona.
51. The average state elevation is 4,000 feet.
52. The cactus wren is the official state bird. It gets its name from the fact that it likes to build nests in the protection of thorny desert plants, like the saguaro cactus.
53. The Navajo Nation spans 27,000 square miles across the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, but its capital is seated in Window Rock, Arizona.
54. The amount of copper utilized to make the copper dome atop Arizona’s Capitol building is equivalent to the amount used in 4.8 million pennies.
55. Between the years 1692 and 1711 Spanish missionary Father Eusebio Kino did more than just found missions in Arizona; he also taught many tribes the basics of agriculture and supplied them with cattle and seed grain.
56. The Castilian and Burgundian flags of Spain, the Mexican flag, the Confederate flag, and the flag of the United States have all flown over the land we now know as Arizona.
57. Near Yuma, the Colorado River’s elevation dips to 70 feet above sea level, making it the lowest point in the state.
58. The geographic center of Arizona is 55 miles southeast of Prescott near the community of Mayer.
59. You could pile four 1,300-foot skyscrapers on top of each other and they still would not reach the rim of the Grand Canyon.
60. Nearly 5 million people visit Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park each year.
61. The hottest temperature recorded in Arizona was 128 degrees at Lake Havasu City on June 29, 1994.
62. The coldest temperature recorded in Arizona was 40 degrees below zero at Hawley Lake on January 7, 1971.
63. The Lost Dutchman, Jacob Waltz—who is alleged to be the owner of the yet-undiscovered Lost Dutchman Gold Mine in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains—was actually a German.
64. Arizona’s official state colors are blue and gold.
65. The Palo Verde is the official state tree. Its name means “green stick” and it blooms a brilliant yellow-gold in April or May.
66. The saguaro cactus blossom is the official state flower. The white flower blooms in May and June, opening in the middle of the night and closing the next day—surviving only about 18 hours for pollination.
67. A saguaro cactus can store up to nine tons of water.
68. The Arizona towns of Adair and Alamo Crossing are now underwater, having been swallowed up by the formation of dams that created Fool Hollow Lake and Alamo Lake (respectively).
69. The State Motto is Ditat Deus, which means “God Enriches” in Latin.
70. From 1973 to 2007, Arizona was the only state with official state neckwear, the bola tie. In 2007, New Mexico also adopted the bola tie as the official State Tie.
71. The state of Massachusetts could fit inside Maricopa County (9,922 sq. miles).
72. The westernmost battle of the Civil War was fought at Picacho Pass on April 15, 1862 near Picacho Peak in Pinal County.
73. There are 11.2 million acres of National Forest in Arizona, and one-fourth of the state forested.
74. Tubac was the first European Settlement in Arizona (1752).
75. Turquoise is the official state gemstone. The blue-green stone has a somewhat waxy surface and can be found throughout the state.
76. World War II brought many military personnel to train at Luke and Thunderbird airbases in Glendale.
77. Jerome, Arizona was named for Eugene Jerome of New York City, who never visited the town.
78. Two Arizonans have won their party’s nomination for President: Barry Goldwater and John McCain.
79. Wyatt Earp was neither the town marshal nor the sheriff in Tombstone at the time of the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral. His brother Virgil was the town marshal.
80. The Navajo Nation Zoological and Botanical Park is the only tribally-owned zoo in the U.S.
81. The ringtail is the official state mammal. It is a fox-like, nocturnal animal that measures about two-and-a-half feet long.
82. The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona holds more archives and individual works by 20th-century North American photographers than any other museum in the nation. Its archives contain an estimated 3.8 million items.
83. On June 6, 1936, the first barrel of tequila produced in the United States rolled off the production line in Nogales, Arizona.
84. The world’s tallest Kachina doll, measuring 39 feet tall and fashioned of concrete, is located in Carefree, Arizona.
85. Once a rowdy copper mining town, Jerome’s population dwindled to as few as 50 people after the mines closed in 1953.
86. The Sonoran Desert is the most biologically diverse desert in North America.
87. The Arizona tree frog is the state’s official amphibian.
88. Bisbee is the Nation’s southernmost mile-high city.
89. The two largest manmade lakes in the U.S. are Lake Mead and Lake Powell—both located in Arizona.
90. Arizona is the only state in the nation that elects a Mine Inspector.
91. The longest remaining intact section of Route 66 can be found in Arizona and runs from Seligman to Topock, a total of 157 unbroken miles.
92. The 13 stripes on the Arizona flag represent the 13 original colonies of the United States.
93. Thirteen species of rattlesnakes live in Arizona, more species than in any other state.
94. The University of Phoenix Stadium, home to the NFL Cardinals, retractable roof and rollout field combination is a first in North America.
95. The negotiations for Geronimo’s final surrender took place in Skeleton Canyon, near present day Douglas, Arizona, in 1886.
96. Prescott, Arizona is home to the world’s oldest rodeo, and Payson, Arizona is home to the world’s oldest continuous rodeo—both of which date back to the 1880s.
97. Downtown Yuma, Arizona is one of only two designated National Heritage Areas west of the Mississippi.
98. Kartchner Caverns, near Benson, Arizona, is a massive limestone cave with 13,000 feet of passages, two rooms as long as football fields, and one of the world’s longest soda straw stalactites: measuring 21 feet 3 inches.
99. The Litchfield Naval Air Facility (now called the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport) was the training base for the Navy Blue Angels aerial demonstration team until 1968.
100. At 221 miles long, Apache County is the longest county in the U.S., stretching from the Utah border to just south of Alpine, Arizona.
This list was compiled and researched by the Arizona Office of Tourism and the Arizona Centennial Commission staff with the assistance of Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s Official State Historian

February 13, 2012

Rebekah's Magnum Opus

Rebekah was treat for family night last week.  She made this beautiful sugar cookie.  For scale, the pan it is on is the 14 inch pizza pan.

February 12, 2012

Peer Pressure

Kenneth was under the impression that no girl in her right mind would marry a boy who didn't know how to dance.  He took several dance classes at BYU and married me.  We will just say that he must not have been in his right mind when he married a girl who can't dance.

When I married Kenneth, I had the misconception that since he was a big strong guy, he would like to camp.  Boy, was I wrong. (although many years of good food on camping trips has convinced him of the error of his ways)

Kenneth had the idea of having lots of children who love to play the piano.  He had visions of us all gathered around singing and playing duets.  He has been a bit disappointed in this area.  He has been the conductor for our "Family Band".  I don't think it is as satisfying as actually playing.  The most recent music I brought home included trombone parts.  Truman and Christian have played the trombone, and Nate is thinking about playing trombone.  So I figured it wouldn't hurt to copy the part.

Kenneth was passing out the music to the kids so they could practice it, came across the trombone parts and a few minutes later I heard him warming up.  He hasn't played trombone since 7th grade, but didn't sound too bad.  

I have to say the family band is way more crazy than anything either of us dreamed up, but also more fun than I dreamed I would have as a mom.

Six more weeks of Winter? Bring it on!

Saturday the weather was up to 79 degrees.  So Nate and Hazel headed out to play in the yard, then they got "sooo hot and sweaty".  They just had to swim.  Nate got the wettest.  Mostly they ran around in their swimsuits and the bigger kids sprayed them with the hose and made them squeal!  They were out there and happy most of the afternoon, so I have no complaints.

February 7, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened in Math Class Today...

I was working with a small group of 3rd graders today, practicing our estimation skills.  We were trying to decide how many packages of things we would need to supply a party of 14.

Out of the blue Little Girl turns to me and tells me that her dad works for Direct TV.  She writes it on her whiteboard for emphasis.  She asks if we have Direct TV.  No?  You must have Satellite.  No?  Oh... Cox?  They aren't good. No?  I guess you have to get the cheap canadian cable thing.

No, we don't watch much tv at our house.

I am sooo glad I don't live with you, what do you do then?

Little Boy #1 comes to my defense.  There are other things to do in the world.

Little Girl: Like what.  They all look at me.

Little Boy #2 says: Yea, like what.

Little Boy #1: Super fun stuff, right?

Right I tell him.

Little Girl can't get over it and tells me her custody arrangements and how she is glad her dad works for Direct TV because they are the best and she gets to watch it lots at his house!

I guess if I need to subscribe to a tv service I will look into Direct TV.

February 6, 2012


Hazel came home the other day with her spelling pre-test.  She was really mad because she misspelled 2 words.  I asked her what happened.  "Well, this one I missed on purpose.  The other one I spelled the wrong beet."  Why did she miss the other word on purpose?  "Well, if you get them all right on the pre-test, she just gives you another list to learn."

This week, she brought me this math worksheet.  I can see her father has been a positive influence in her life. (Smart aleck)

February 5, 2012

Ohh, the SMELL!

I have been debating the ethicalness of removing Nate's cast at home.  On the one hand: It is most likely healed, it didn't look too bad when he first broke it.  I don't want to pay to have superfluous x-rays and unnecessary office visits.  On the other hand:  What would I say when he breaks the same place the next week and I have to take him in and explain.

Nate made my decision for me.  He is showering right now. (Hallelujah!)  He has picked and chewed the cast for 5 long weeks.  Tonight he got his wrist free.  Hello dremel... Goodbye cast!

February 4, 2012

By Golly, It Works!

Thank you Mrs. Derr for the great idea to have Nate record himself reading.  His thespian nature has been driving him to read (for his audience of course).  Today he declared he is going to record James and the Giant Peach, a chapter at a time.

If you want an invite to his blog email me.

February 3, 2012

On a Personal Note

I am so in awe of my own children.   They are so smart (they think I am smarter than them, but I have to study up while they are at school to keep the appearance) and they get better grades than I ever did.  They are talented, they play sports and practice their musical instruments.  They are much more confident than I was in high school.

I was sitting in a fabulous concert last night watching Sydney play her amazing jazz solos, and Christian play the piano part for Danzon, and hearing Bessie (Truman's tuba) ring out loud and clear.  I was suddenly overwhelmed with the magnitude of life.  I hope I am paying enough attention to the things that are of the greatest importance.  I don't feel qualified to "bring up" children who are that amazing.

My own parents are such great examples to me.  They love and enjoy us at every phase of life.  I have much hope in the idea that if I try my hardest and love and enjoy them it will be enough.  In the mean time, I think I will cross my fingers and knock on wood.  (and hurry to get the dishes done before they get home from school.)