Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Those Darling Kickball Players

Tomorrow is the last day of school. Sigh. It's just been so fun, especially since the pressure of testing has been missing. Today we had a fifth grade kickball tournament and I laughed my head off, both games, while pretending to referee between home and first. To be clear, I wasn't laughing at the children. I'm not into ridicule. I was just enjoying seeing them figure things out in a different setting. I love how the children coach each other. There are these really athletic, been-doin'-sports-since-diapers, competitive children yelling orders at kids who've never kicked a ball in their whole lives! Kids who have the guts to play, but they have no clue how this game works or what the rules might happen to be. The vocabulary alone can be overwhelming to a non-sport sort. One girl was up to kick. She tried. Her shoe flew into the air. She tried again. Strike two. She went behind the backstop as her classmates patiently explained she had to keep trying. It was still her turn. She mustered and went back to home plate. Got a foul. Gave up for good this time. We all pretended it never happened. One boy was wearing jeans a few sizes too large. I say large, but that was in the waist. As far as length goes...pretty much high water. White socks. Glasses. Such a doll-love him. He kicked fairly well, surprising the whole outfield, and made it to first base with both hands never leaving his waistband, avoiding disaster. Soon after that, he slid into home scoring a run while his shoe came off, but not his pants! After that, he just dropped out. All done playing. Hanging out on the sidelines. And then he decided to randomly catch a foul ball. A very shy, reluctant girl was coaxed into kicking. She made a couple of attempts and finally performed decently enough to run to first. Lucky for her, they overthrew and she made it fair and square. A boy started to coach her and she next made it to second. And then she decided that was enough kickball for her. She walked toward me so I tried to urge her to head back to second for the next kicker and she refused. "I'm tired." That's all she said. So proud of her. In this case, getting to second was like qualifying for the Olympics. She's an amazing person and sometimes I think God might love her best. One of my favorite things, this is going to sound horrible, was the two jocks that smashed into each other as they both tried to catch the fly, both dropping it, and both blaming each other, complete with sour faces and growling. The testosterone was everywhere. Such boys. It wasn't all Bad News Bears. My class actually won their first game and we tied for the championship. Everyone cheered for everyone. Nobody laughed or teased even when students chose to up and quit, even after making it clear to second. Part of the joy of the afternoon was seeing how readily they all accepted the faults of each other. "Oh well. Let's move on." I learned a lot today.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Porker Fledglings

I'm sorry there's been such a hiatus, but the babies got big and left. The above picture shows just how well they were growing out of the nest. And with all that food, comes all the mess!
Yes, they were huge and looking oh so grown up! However, room service couldn't last forever, could it?
Mama Bird finally got to the point where she said, "I'm getting a little tired of bringing food to you. Wouldn't you like to venture out? Look! You could come just a little way out onto this branch. See how I'm right here, but not in the nest? See?"
"Look, now I'm down HERE on the sidewalk! Wouldn't you like to investigate? Come toward me!" She really was chirping at them and calling to them, encouraging the first one to flutter down.
"The grass is FINE! I promise!"
Still coaxing, calling to the babies to make their move. I didn't have to time to see how all the drama played out.
Someone forgot to pay the rent. The nest has been condemned and the babies are all enrolled in flight school complete with survival courses. The end.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ducking Out to a Funeral

When I asked my administrator about attending Mrs. B's funeral, he was against the idea of me taking personal leave. One of the aides at our school covered my class for me for less than an hour which worked out with lunch and other scheduling so that I could dash over, slide into a seat in the back and enjoy the uplifting talks and music. The music was provided by the nieces and nephews--very professional and lovely. Another niece gave the Life Sketch, the father-in-law, a patriarch, spoke next, followed by the big brother, then the bishop, and last of all the stake president. All wonderful talks. Such a strong network of loving family members. I took notes as I have at other funerals, but I'll just share one of the last thoughts presented in the service by the stake president, paraphrased: "We do not focus on the dieing Christ who was crucified by displaying symbols of the cross. Rather, we worship the Living Christ who was resurrected so that we may also be resurrected. Please do not think of the pain that Marlene endured. Do not focus on that aspect of her life. Remember the Jubilant Marlene." And more observation about Mr. B. He wasn't about to let go of her until he had no other choice. He followed her casket into the chapel (helped push or steer perhaps, I was way in the back and couldn't see everything, that's just how it looked to me). He was listed as a pallbearer (unless there's another relative by the same name) in the program. He was doing his duty, everything in his power, to see it all through. I shared this with K and he said, "Yes, if you died, I would want to be one of your pallbearers." This surprised me because he doesn't do well, at all, at funerals. I guess I've always thought of pallbearers as grandchildren, nephews, uncles, or dear friends, not direct, immediate family or spouses. And then my Sweetie said, "And I would want to speak at your funeral." I asked, "Really? Wouldn't you be too emotional or something?" He said, "Maybe, but I would want to make sure people knew some very special things about you." him! And then he said, "Please don't die anytime soon."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mrs. B.

Just returned from a viewing. Mrs. B. succumbed to a long battle with MS. Mrs. B was younger than I. I learned some things at the viewing and although I'm not going to list them here in some organized way, I hope I can record a couple of things that will remind me later about best ways to live. PARAGRAPH! I met Mr. B. back in '93 when I was hired to teach fifth grade in Utah. He and some other fantastic people were on my team. So lucky for me! Mrs. B. was teaching at another school at the time. She was already battling some serious illnesses. I left that school to help open my current school and one year later Mrs. B. transferred over. She and I didn't teach on the same grade level, but it felt good to have "family" around again. PARAGRAPH! Talk about "soldiering!" That's what Mrs. B. did. She taught as long as she could. She loved the children. Her job kept her going. In my opinion, she was a fine example to all of us in handling very difficult trials with grace. I heard someone say about her tonight, "I loved her face the most. She always looked like she had the characteristics of an angel." When I went through the line at the mortuary, I looked at the photos and the momentos from her life and this thought surged through my mind, "Heavenly Father, help me to be more like her. And more like Thee." PARAGRAPH! First I met Mr. B.'s parents. They said their daughter-in-law was "a real special girl." Total understatement. They talked about losing a daughter of their own. I told them I remembered when their family was going through that. They also said they lost infant twin girls. Had no idea. Loved being in their presence until the line moved. PARAGRAPH! Then I met Mrs. B's siblings. They all look alike. So dignified. So calm. United strength. They practically screamed "Happy Childhood!" One sister mentioned something about probably teasing Mrs. B. a little too much when they were young. Aww...completely normal. Such a loving family. PARAGRAPH! Then I met Mrs. B.'s darling parents. They too lost a child in infancy, a son. It's interesting that these two sets of parents have such parallels. Mrs. B's mother said, "I know she was sick most of the time while she was teaching, but I hear she was still a pretty good teacher." Yes, she was. Your daughter was "pretty amazing." On so many levels. PARAGRAPH! Finally, I reached Mr. B. himself. I noticed something about him that I have never seen at any other viewing. He would not turn away from his wife. Some people stand at the end of the casket and after you greet them, you look at the body. Some stand at the head of the casket, so you see the body first and then greet the spouse. Some stand in front of the body with their back to the dead. But not Mr. B. His back was to the line coming through and he continually faced the casket. He did not turn away. I thought that was grand, darling, appropriate, and such a testimony of their eternal love and dedication toward each other. PARAGRAPH! I hugged Mr. B. and then we stood side by side looking at Mrs. B. I got a little choked up and expressed some regret that K and I hadn't visited more often than we did. The ever humble Mr. B. said, "Now don't you worry about that." He spoke so fondly of her. He expressed gratitude that she's not in pain anymore. He said, "That's what we've been praying for...that she could find relief from her pain." He also said, "I've got some tough days ahead of me." I couldn't help it, I said, "I think you've already been through some of those!" PARAGRAPH! And that was it. Short and sweet. But it impacted my life. I've had the pleasure of knowing the B's for nineteen years and I've been watching them and learning from them the whole entire time. They gave us a ceramic statue of the Savior, which Mr. B. made himself, for our wedding. It sits on a shelf in our living room. They wrote a message on the bottom of it, dated it, and signed their names. We looked at it after we got the phone call on Saturday afternoon and it hit me just then that Mrs. B's name will always be in our home, appropriately attached to an image of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dermatology, We Are Doing It!

So...I took a sick day on Friday for medical appointments. I managed to drag K along with me to the dermatologist. For years now, I've been going annually to disrobe, get inspected for keratoses, and then become the recipient of some fairly harsh treatments, namely the spraying of liquid nitrogen on my face to freeze off those keratoses, which are pre-cancerous cells. If left untreated, they WILL progress to skin cancer. It's a proven fact. The damage was done in my youth. These days, I'm a proponent of sunscreen, longer sleeves, and wide brimmed hats. I just embrace my caucasian-ness. Since I have no paragraphing ability yet with blogger, I will continue to ramble on! Last year, Carrie, the dermatologist, began the exam by saying, "Have you noticed anything?" I pointed to spots on my face that I had noticed. She said, "Well, you know what comes next!" And then with no time to, sh. Shhh, shh..." And it does hurt. But not to the point of tears. It's not as bad as getting cortisone shots in your heels or having an HSG or a few other things I can think of. This year, she said, "Let's start with your back and then we'll look at your face last." She does a full, thorough exam, but it's quick. And right before she sprayed my face, she said, "My apologies." Of course, I had to be tough, because K was sitting right there in his first ever dermatology appointment watching my reactions. I only had two spots this year: one on the left cheek and one on my upper lip. The blister on my lip now looks like a cold sore and just like a cold sore, it's going to take about ten days to clear up. Oh joy. At least we can say she saved my life. K was more concerned about a couple of moles, but she said he "may keep those." Nothing dangerous. However, while inspecting him, she found THREE keratoses! Ouchie. I felt really bad for him, because one was on his ear--so tender. One was on his nose. The third was on his back. He's still not convinced the appointment was worthwhile, but I really like K and would like to have him NOT succumb to melanoma. Ya know? While treating us, she told us about some of the old farmers she's sees and how they have thirty or FORTY spots that need to have treated every year. I guess she sprayed this one guy like forty times and after the spots had blistered and started to scab, a friend of his said, "You know, you really need to see a dermatologist!" One time when I got sprayed, both my lead supervisor at the cave and the law enforcement ranger asked if K was treating me well! When I lived in Hawai'i, I always noticed at the beach that the locals would hang back under the palm trees in the shade. Even when they went into the water, if they were just hanging around in the water, they would keep a large, wide-brim, straw hat on at all times. Not the haoles, boy. The haoles would bake ALL DAY in the sun. I hope they're enjoying their dermatology appointments as much as I am. Years ago, my teammate, Calvan, and my friend, Sterling, both went to the doctor for moles on their ears. Both were malignant. Both had parts of their ears cut off. Both had lymph nodes removed. Calvan died and Sterling lived. Don't play around with this stuff, folks. If you keep your yearly appointment with the dermatologist, they can promise you that you will never die from skin cancer. Sounds like a deal to me! Are you still reading at this point? I'll make the eye doctor a shorter story. Later in the day, I went for my annual eye exam. For the first time EVER, my eye pressure was in normal ranges! Still on the high end, but the scores actually landed in normal ranges. We/I/They have no control over this pressure by the way. However, high pressure before has always meant "glaucoma suspect." For one day at least, I didn't get that title. I have never been to an eye exam where they did not have to give me TWO sets of dilating drops. Brown eyes don't dilate as well as blue and my brown eyes are especially stubborn. It takes longer while you're in their office and it takes longer to recover. I wasn't much good for anything until about six in the evening. Then I felt like my eyes were mostly back with me again. SO thankful for access to healthcare!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Our First Garden, Come What May

This picture is similar to the one I posted recently. It's our empty garden plot. However, just one week later, the weeds look healthier than ever, so green, so ALIVE. I also mentioned earlier that so far, the garden has been a great source of contention between us. And it was again last night, until we arrived at a certain point. That point was...Actual Manual Labor. Suddenly, we were Team Kyburz again. Don't worry when I use the word contention. It wasn't that bad. It's just that with our very different gardening backgrounds, we had to negotiate until we reached a point of agreement (tolerance?). We drove over to Cook's Nursery and chose some plants. I let K choose ALL of the tomato varieties. We had originally decided on five vegetables to plant, but K suggested three and now I see his wisdom. He chose the corn and I chose the cucumbers. My big "win" if you will, was getting the plastic. K's still not sold on that, but after weeding and hoeing and working that 10'x15' plot over by hand last night, I think he's partially sold by now.
It was fairly windy and so getting the plastic DOWN was a challenge. We were grabbing all sorts of things to keep the stuff in place. Fortunately, most of our outdoor meals have been challenging in this way, so we were fairly practiced up at overcoming this obstacle. We know how to "hold down the fort" so to speak. K directed me to lie down at one point until he could get it staked. No, there's no picture. We planted nine tomatoes, three cucumbers and two rows of corn, and then routed our water hose as strategically as we could around the plants, staking it down every few feet.
All done! It may be the jungles of Africa. It may fail completely. However, it is what it is--our first garden, come what may.
We affectionately refer to the neighboring plots as The Felt Farm. The plot directly East of ours belongs to Emily who is all of eight years old. She and her mom said she's planting corn there, so we put our two rows right next her so that all of our corn can cross-pollinate. Hope it works!
Grow, Cucumber! Grow, Tomato!

Hogging All the Food

The babies have grown up! They are looking like real robins now. Notice their feathers hanging over the edge of the nest which they will quickly outgrow. No wonder baby birds fall out of their nests! Predators below must be so glad about this! Once they've been fed, they go back to their hidden, quiet pile of feathers.
Baby Red Breast--starting to look more like the parents!
"Mom, I love you! Pick me, pick MEEEEE! Put the food in MY mouth! I'm your BEST HOPE for survival of the species. Give ME the food!"
"Did you swallow ALL of it? No dessert until it's gone! I'll be back shortly with MORE food!"

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Little Jewish Mother

Piles of fluff. That's what you see until The Little Jewish Mother shows up to feed. then you see those piles of fluff suddenly lurch skyward, beaks agape, cheeping for food. This happens every three minutes on average. I've been listening. "Here, have more! Did you get enough? I'll be right back! Is it too hot? Too cold? That's my boy!" I've only lived with one Jewish mother. Hope she's not insulted that this Robin reminds me of her.
I'm only counting four orange beaks, so I'm not sure that Egg #5 made it. Could have. The leaves aren't cooperating. Once the food is swallowed, the baby birds go back to their gig as piles of fluff. It's like a three minute Power Nap.
The gangly legs are becoming a little more apparent. They are growing so quickly. I read online that each time a baby robin swallows, it poops.
So there you have it: party, poop, power nap. Repeat as often as necessary. Meanwhile, our Little Jewish Mother has got to be exhausted.

Parents of Students seems like I've had some of the most incredible room mothers on the planet. The other day, mine brought a Mangoberry Salad from Zuppa's for my lunch. She started preparing way ahead of time with a pirate theme for teacher appreciation week. She had my students write these really sweet notes to me about being the "Treasure." She decorated the door, brought flowers, collected donation money for the Barnes & Noble gift card, AND...brought popsicles for the class (donated by another previously mentioned mother). The notes are my favorite. Chocolate pales in comparison to notes. These parents are phenomenal, I tell you. Phenomenal.

The Garden

This is our very first garden together ever. Until now, it's been one tomato plant on the porch or something easy like geraniums. Now we have ground, People, actual land. We met the garden three weeks ago when Brekke distributed our hose to us and explained the watering system. K finally came home to Base Kamp this last weekend and we made a second trip to flush the hose. We plan to visit a third time this weekend and plant something real in the earth. They tell us the plot is 10' x 15'. We'll see how this goes. So far, it's been a great source of contention between the two of us. I hope this means that like Family Home Evening, we're doing the right thing even if the blessings aren't immediately evident. K is from Iowa, Farm Country, a place which boasts restaurants called "The Machine Shed" where you can order a platter with a registered trademark called "The Combine." I've dabbled here and there with square foot gardening and a small plot once upon a time. I want to keep the garden flat and cover it with black plastic to keep the weeds down in case we travel for extended periods of time. K wants bare ground and un-flat ROWS. Why do we need rows? What's so special about rows? Rows look like more work to me.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I was invited to walk across the street from my school to have lunch at the home of a student of mine. It was amazing! All of the teachers at my school who have taught any of the five children of this family were invited. It was sort of an open house since we all have varying lunch schedules. The incredible mother of these children prepared Chicken Braid and bowtie pasta. The chicken braid was a delicious mix of chicken and other stuff baked inside some beautiful bread served with sauce. I can't name all the ingredients in the pasta salad, but it was first rate! They also had fruit and donut kabobs (donut holes mixed in with several berries) and Chocolate Lasagna, a lovely dessert. We sat at their diningroom table and chatted and ate. If you can imagine, SHE thanked US for coming! She also talked about sending her "treasures to school every day knowing they are in the best hands." It's very humbling to hear a parent talk like that. But she's right, her son IS a treasure and he's got a gem of a mother.


Sometimes you just have to wait for one of the parents to feed you. They think you're cute, so they do it, even if you do have eyes that look like alien eyes.
Look what I've got!
Everyone has to share...
Survival of the fittest!
Can't HEAR you...
Say "Please!"
Please, Sir, more porridge.
Opening the bright orange beak must be reflexive because they do it while they're hiding in their own pile of fluff. However, when one of the Parents show up, not only are the beaks wide open, but there's a certain straining upward to call dibs on the food. They say birds don't really have a sense of smell and their eyes aren't openend yet, so this is so instinctive for them. And thus they progress. Their little voices are darling, "Cheep, cheep, cheep."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Those PTA Ladies

You're just going to have to visualize this! It's Teacher Appreciation Week and I don't know how it's possible, but the PTA just put on the most amazing luncheon ever. All of the previous luncheons have been so wonderful, but somehow, they've outdone themselves. The faculty room was decorated from floor to ceiling, literally. There were tiny white lights installed above all of the tables and around the room with extra fake plants brought in for the mood (regular overhead lights turned off). All of the tables were covered with red gingham. Vases of pasta and bottles of Italian soda decorated each table with baskets of grapes. There were posters around the room of Roma and other Italian icons. Vinyl letters decorated the wall: Ciao Amore! They had a huge pasta bar with four kinds of pasta, meatballs, chicken, and two sauces: alfredo and marinara. Following that were the most beautiful roasted vegetables you have ever seen in your entire life including broccoli, carrots, and baby reds. Then there was a big green salad with those wonderful olives (not sure what the name is), followed by an amazing basket of freshly baked rolls which had Italian herbs--fresh, hot, soft, and delicious! There was a soda bar with a variety of flavors and a cute poster demonstrating for us first timers how to build an Italian soda. Now I know! And cute straws to boot! Dessert? Trifle. Uh huh, TRIFLE. Who does that? I just can't imagine that any other faculty ate any better than we did yesterday. So incredible. All of the teachers were oohing and aahing while dining. Could NOT get over it! PERFECTO!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Devil's Playground and the Hogups

There will be a couple of simple photographs later in the post. Also, I still haven't solved the paragraph problem (drives me NUTS!), so sorry about that. Our weekend didn't turn out the way we had hoped. We were actually going to visit Antelope Island yesterday (I've never been but K has). Something else became the priority. K and I haven't had the same regularly scheduled day off from work together since early February. I had to take personal leave once so we could do our taxes. Yesterday was our first day off together in MONTHS! And this is how it all went down. Warning--the adventure is mostly his, not mine.
K has been itching to kick off the camping season. In previous years, we've been able to sleep out somewhere as early as March or April, however, with no days off together, it's been rough. He decided to go to a place called Devil's Playground on Thursday after work. We've been there before so I could picture it in my mind. He called me after work to check in and then headed out to a land with no cell phone service. He also mentioned he would be exploring the Hogup Mountains. I wonder who named those. The plan was to meet at Kamp Kyburz on Friday in the late afternoon as soon as I could leave school. K said he thought he would beat me there, but if I got there first, I shouldn't think about calling Search and Rescue before Midnight. Midnight? Doesn't SAR deserve a little daylight to begin with? So I was just hangin' out by myself at Kamp Kyburz looking at the clock every so often. However, I had a very calm and peaceful feeling. It was getting a little late, but I wasn't franctic with worry.
My phone rang at 6:45 p.m. My guess was that K was calling from the road to let me know he was back in cell phone service range and that he would arrive by a certain time. The number was not K's, but it was him on the line. I said, "Hi!" He said, "Hi." I said, "How are you?" He said, "I need you to make a long drive." I asked, "What happened?" K said, "I blew two tires in the Hogups!" Ouch. K was calling from a very nice person's home. This person happens to reside across the street from the LDS Meetinghouse in Park Valley in northwestern Utah. I've been through there several times (six in the last thirty days, actually), so I could picture that too. I asked if he needed me to do anything, call anyone, buy anything, etc. He said he couldn't think of anything. He still had plenty of food and water. And besides, the tire shop was closed. So I topped off my gas tank and was off to retrieve my darling husband. YAY for audio books!
K threw the first flat tire in the trunk of my car and I started driving us back to Kamp Kyburz. He began to give me the whole story. He was on the west side of the Great Salt Lake overlooking Dolphin Island while enjoying his explorations. Having just crested Big Pass (I know, the NAMES just slay me), he heard a very loud "WHOOSH!" sound. He stopped immediately and looked at his front driver's side tire which went flat within seconds. Rather than a donut, his vehicle has a full size spare tire, so he began jacking up the car only to notice that the rear driver's side tire looked quite flat as well. From what he could ascertain, that tire had a bit of a slower leak. The only cause he could see for these flat tires was sharp rocks. K said a prayer. He explained to Heavenly Father that he was thirty miles from pavement and forty from a landline. He further explained that with the spare tire for the first flat and a can of Fix-a-Flat for the second tire, he was hoping he could make it to a telephone. He asked for help and blessings. He also knew he had everything he needed to camp for another night. And then he went to work.
He headed toward Kelton, taking it easy. He stopped at one point and noticed that the Fix-a-Flat tire had actually plumped up more than it did at first, which is what happens when you use that stuff. What a relief! K wondered if he should try to make it back to Golden Spike or try to find an inhabited ranch house somewhere, but he just stuck with his plan to get to the highway. Kelton came and went and he was still doing fine. Once he made it back to pavement, he headed for Park Valley, not wishing to push his luck any further than that. And just so you can picture these places, Kelton is a ghost town from the railroad in the 1800's--nothing there. Park Valley is a ranching community with no services--no gas, no store, no pay phone, etc. On Saturday morning we took the tire to Big O and after a few minutes the employee approached us in the waiting room and said, "Sir, this tire is NO GOOD." It was split. We bought a used tire from them, threw it in my trunk and made another lovely trip back out to Park Valley. We stopped in Snowville for refreshments and restrooms (last restroom until we got back to Snowville!) on the way. We also ran into a very slowing cattle drive, but that always happens to us, so why do I mention it? The spare still looked like it was doing fine. K put the newly purchased tire on the rear and back to town we went, me following in case there was trouble. Turns out the second flat was fixable.
While waiting for the repair, we visited a diner/cafe called Bert's. K ordered the "famous" Garbage Omelette. The description read "whatever the cook can find." He had to get a to-go box. I ordered the Navajo Taco and felt some disappointment. That's really all I can say about "Bert's."
Later last night we attended the Golden Spike party for this week's celebration of May 10th, 1869. K's days are numbered at the Spike. It was a tad bittersweet. This morning, K headed off to work and I came back to Base Kamp for my church meetings. Such a crazy life we have! God does watch over us--I know this is true! I just thought I would end with a list of things that K did right/well when faced with a difficult situation, a list of blessings if you will: 1. He left a travel plan with me and proper time frames. He actually advised me what time to call SAR (we've had that discussion several times on several occasions). 2. He stayed with the car. If the quick fixes for the two flat tires wouldn't have worked, he would have stayed with the vehicle rather than walking such a distance. He would have camped another night. Smart Guy! It's so much easier to find a bigger vehicle than a smaller human that has walked away from the vehicle. 3. He had plenty of supplies: fuel, shelter, clothing, food, water, light sources, gear for bad weather, sunscreen, hat, etc. And, once I picked him up in Park Valley, he reminded me that he still has the emergency kit I made for him earlier this winter (it's the nicest one I've ever made)--I forgot that I had given him that. If all else failed, we figure the Air Force might have saved him. He was cooking his lunch on Friday when four air force jets (F-16's?) flew right over him really low to the ground. It was thrilling! And then a few minutes later, four more flew over him. I'm certain they picked up on the fact that there was a red vehicle in the Hogups. I asked, "Did you hear that an Air Force jet crashed today in the West Desert and the pilot ejected?" K responded, "Really? Maybe that's why all those jets were flying around!" That pretty much sums up my 540 mile weekend. All's well that ends well and in case you didn't know, the loveliest choke cherry trees are in bloom at the Park Valley Meetinghouse right now!