Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Plans and Ponderings

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions, the word resolution makes me mad. I think I’m kind of a rebel and non-conformist, so I like thinking of those strange things we all talk about at the beginning of each new year, as "positive life changes". No that’s kind of pompous. What about a new beginning? No that sounds like a Young Women’s program. I’m still trying to think of my own word or phrase that describes my New Year’s “things”. But I won’t wait for the right word or phrase, after all Thursday is the beginning of another new year. So some of the things, SO FAR, that I’ve been thinking about are listed here. I hope you can relate to some and laugh at others. I’m sure I’ll add to the list as time goes on. And I’ll be sure to let you know when I come up with an appropriate “thing” to call this.

Unconditional acceptance. Have you ever thought about meeting someone totally unlike yourself, someone maybe not as fortunate as you are? Maybe someone whose grooming habits aren’t quite up to snuff. What about the lady in line in front of you at the grocery store using her welfare card for stuff you can’t afford, whose kids haven’t had a proper grooming themselves that day? How do you feel? Are you compassionate? Do you mumble under your breath, do you step back from the un-groomed man? I will try this year to be more thoughtful when it comes to acceptance of those different from myself. People everywhere have different beliefs and different ways of doing things, that doesn’t make them good or bad, just different from me. I will try this next year to be more accepting of others, realizing that they too may find me different and strange.

Live for today, not because I don’t want to plan for tomorrow, but because I want to enjoy today. I don’t want to visualize what “might” happen, I want to experience all the good that is happening to me right now. I don't want to create anxiety before it's necessary. To do this I will try to look at situations in a more positive, "it's good today" mode.

I’m going to write in my journal more regularly. I have a “jottings” notebook that will become my “Gratitude Journal” and I will write 4 things daily that I’m grateful for. Doing this at Thanksgiving I realized just how superficial my gratitude is. I’m hoping that I will become more “deeply” grateful as I become more aware of my many blessings.

I will try to be more efficient at work, play and talk less and work more. I will try to be more understanding of those I work with and look for the best in them and let them know I appreciate them and their friendship.

I will study my scriptures more regularly and read good books. I will pray with more meaning and less selfishness. I will be more kind at home, less judgmental at home and away.

I probably will still procrastinate and dislike it as much as I do now. I will TRY to NOT procrastinate.

I will take better care of myself. I will try to eat a little healthier and if that means losing weight along the way, all the better. I will NOT deprive myself of some of the foods/treats I really enjoy. I will rack up the miles on my treadmill until spring, then I'll hit the streets again.

I will walk Baxter more this year. Some smart person said if your dog is fat YOU aren't getting enough exercise.

When I have the feeling that someone needs me or that I can do something to help someone, I will ACT not just think about it.

I will laugh more and complain less. I will try to control the little "evil twin" that lives in my head that feeds me negative energy.

Most of all, I will continue to love and care for my family. I will make sure Rick and Justin know they are the most important people in my life. I will watch my mom very closely, learning from her beautiful example. I will love my brothers and Rick's brothers and their families and completely enjoy the new additions they bring into this world. I will check with and visit Rick's parents more often and let them know that they are loved and how grateful I am for their love and support.

I will probably need to repeat all these again next year. But for now I have good, positive,happy thoughts and think I really can pull it off. At least for the first day or two of 2009.

Happy New Year to all you you!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jewel's Christmas CD

Twas the night before Christmas Eve, I think, when all through the house, nothing was stirring, everyone was snoring. When around 2:30 there arose such a clatter that Rick and I almost emptied our bladders. Out in the front room, surround sound blaring, was Jewel serenading us with Joy to The World, loud enough that it left us staring. I jumped from the bed, ran from our bedroom, wondering how to shut Jewel down and restore our peaceful nights sleep. I stepped on the hearth, depressed the power button on the DVD player with a mind of its own, staggered back to my bed and finished the night a little less joyfully.

It turns out that we had a power outage during the night and I hadn’t turned the DVD player off, having listened to Jewel earlier in the day. So when the power came back on, so did Joy to all the World. Kind of a rude awakening, so to speak, but very fun to talk about later.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve, Eve

Justin came for Christmas, arriving in St. George Saturday at about 4:30. It's always so good to have him home. He keeps me grounded and helps me not be anxious about things I can't control. He's outside right now helping Rick sit the "Otie Tree" back up. Last year, after losing Otis, we started a tradition of putting a Christmas tree on the back patio in remembrance of Otis, and this year the wind keeps blowing it down.

It's cold today, having snowed again yesterday. Rick, Justin, Baxter and I went into Starbucks this morning and it was beautiful outside. It's truly a winter wonderland right now. Driving is kind of sketchy, but otherwise very beautiful.

Today mom and I both have hair appointments at 1, then Rick and I have to renew our military ID's, then it's off to Albertson's for last minute food shopping (I might decide to cook or something). Then a girl in our ward is in the hospital so Anige, Kamie and I are going for a visit.

Rick, Justin, mom and I are planning on having dinner somewhere in town then off to check out the Christmas lights. We'll go by the Tijuana house, the synchronized house in Fiddlers Canyon and wherever else it looks merry and bright.

We are looking forward to Christmas and are trying to keep the true spirit of Christmas in our hearts. We love this time of year and the happy, loving feelings it brings.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Birthday to me and other ramblings

So, yesterday was my 55th birthday. That sounds so old, but I don’t feel so old. I remember the first time someone asked my mom and dad if they wanted the senior citizen discount, I was totally offended. Now, here I am at that ripe age.

I decided many years ago that I didn’t want to be one of those people who used age for an excuse for everything from not being able remember things to not being able to stay active. If and when these things happen to me I’ll blame global warming or some other ridiculous thing. I promise to try very hard NOT to say I can’t……I’m getting too old.

I have noticed some changes, like my butt isn’t where it used to be, among other things. My butt feels like it sits further down on my legs, and I’m really glad I can’t see myself walking away. I’m working on that though. I bought a treadmill last year, the day after Christmas (Rick couldn’t take a hint before Christmas). I’m sure it doesn’t have even 300 miles on it since December 2007, but I’m trying to wear it out this next year.

I’m also trying to eat more healthy, but during the holidays that could totally go out the window. Don’t you just love the good food this time of year? The carmels (mom makes the best ever), the great chocolates circulating the office, apples, but who wants apples when there are nuts? Oh, and today we have someone bringing in Mexican food for lunch, just because he’s a nice guy (and they rent his restaurant, great advertising if the food's good). Think of all those good greasy chips, cheese running off the burritos, and maybe he’ll have some deep fried ice cream. I’d better try to wear out the treadmill THIS MONTH. There’s always lipo?!?

I had a great day. Renon told the girls in the office they couldn’t sing to me (I’m kind of weird about the attention) so Megan made flash cards that said: Happy Birthday To You Dear Wendy. Then Megan, Renon, Mary, Cathy and Kristin all came into my office and “sang” happy birthday to me. I wish I had a camera here at work, it was the best ever.

Of course Renon couldn’t tell Britain, at Youth Corrections, not to sing. So that’s just what he did, he announced to the group that they needed to sing to me. It really kind of touched my heart. Last night was the last time we will be with him on Monday nights. He “breaks out” on Friday. I think he’ll keep in touch with us and we pray that he will be okay.

Then my weirdest, best friend, Justin sent a cute reindeer filled with Mrs. Fields cookies – YUM!!! He always does something good and I always like what he does. He said I have another package coming today, can’t wait.

And I do have the best family ever. Mom told me happy birthday numerous times, Ione called and had a pretty, holiday arrangement sent, Danny and Randy both called, so did Paul, best brothers ever. Rick got me a cute card with a Starbucks card in it, what more could I ask for. EXCEPT maybe a Lia Sopia necklace, which I purchased for me from Rick – perfect day.

But then, aren't most days this time of year near perfect?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Daily 5 and then some - Thanksgiving 2008

1. Todd and Lorie
2. Nieces and nephews
3. AA
4. Cranberries
5. Rain

Kamry, Kadyn and Nathan

Today is a day to be truly thankful for all that we have been blessed with. We are so thankful for Justin and we missed him this year, we love being together for Thanksgiving and enjoying our traditions. The parades just aren't the same without him here. He celebrated his Thanksgiving in Canada in October. He will be here for Christmas, so Thanksgiving wasn't an option this year. I will take Christmas anytime, it's the best family time ever.

Emmie, Jamie and Erika

Rick and I went to St. George this morning and spent the day at Todd and Lorie's house with all the Bonzo's except Justin and Katelyn. The family gets a little bigger each year with the addition of more great nieces and/or nephews. This year Nikki and Michael added Kamry, what a happy, content baby she is, and in March Dayne and Cortney will add Piper, another cute little great niece. It is such a blessing to be involved in their lives and get to know them and their kids. Rick and his brothers are great fun to be around. All in all it turned out to be a great day. It rained all day, from the time we left this morning and it's still raining now. That's pretty unusual for November in Utah.
Mom had Thanksgiving with Randy, Collette, Danny, Barbara, DaNeil, Steven and Stevie. Then she got to meet another new addition to our family, baby Maddie. They had a great day too and ate too much like we all did, I'm sure.

So today is the last of posting my daily 5 things to be thankful for. This isn't the end of recognizing my daily 5, just the last day to post them. UNLESS there is something like Jill entertaining her family with squats and jumping jacks, then I'm for sure posting that.

Daily 5 - Wednesday November 26, 2008

1. Wednesday Friday's (no work the rest of the week)
2. My own office
3. Cranberry Sauce (mom's recipe)
4. Rick and Baxter waiting for me at home
5. Sleep setting on the remote

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Daily 5 - November 25, 2008

1. My job
2. Lia Sophia
3. Popcorn
4. Good work friends
5. 26 days and counting

Monday, November 24, 2008

Youth Corrections

For the past almost 2 years (in January) Rick and I have been going to youth corrections. This is a church calling, for us to go out on Monday nights for family home evening. When we first started going there were 10 couples and 10 long term youth in custody. We were trained to not ask what offense they committed to end up in a very secure, youth facility. You don't have to ask, they usually really want to talk about themselves.

Having been raised in a kind, loving home, where we always knew we were important and had the support of our parents, we were totally unprepared for the differences we found in how the boys were raised. Some of the boys had been in custody, in the local facility for more than a year, without any visits from family. Our first boy had been in for about 6 months when we started. He was pretty negative and found it hard to find good things in his life during the week. Each week we could challenge him to come and report of one positive thing in his life. We developed a good relationship with him and really hoped he would be okay when he was released, but having been brought up in a home with drug addiction, sexual promiscuity, there was little hope he would be able to find his way. We have seen him one time since his release and were disappointed in what we saw. Hopefully he will turn himself around and find his way in life.

The boy we are currently seeing is a little different. He comes from a broken home, but really loves his parents and they are pretty supportive of him. His grandparents have taken an active role in his life and they provide the stability that may help him when he gets out. He will be released on December 12th and is planning on staying in a half-way house in the area and attending SUU in January. He wants to get his record expunged and move forward with his life. He has shown some desire to enter the military and also enjoys cooking, so maybe a chef.

This calling has been very rewarding and also frustrating. We just keep going and hope we can make a difference. Tonight Rick will be showing his slides of Iraq and talking about the military and gratitude. I'm sure the boys will all enjoy this presentation.

Daily 5 - Monday, November 24, 2008

1. Fixed smoke detectors
2. Windows live messenger - messages from Justin
3. Pedicures
4. Youth Corrections (at least this week)
5. Another beautiful day, possibly the last sandal day this year

Daily 5-Sunday November 23, 2008

1. Rick having a Sunday off
2. Easy soup recipe
3. Beautiful weather
4. A kind mother
5. "Assisted" patience

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Week of Thanksgiving

Okay, so this week is Thanksgiving, so all of you need to give thanks.

My friend, Jill, in Oregon has been posting 5 things daily that she is grateful for. It turns out that she's been doing this in a "Gratitude Journal" since February 2000, that's a really, really long time. I love to read her "daily 5". She has inspired me, and while she started this on November 7th and will post these on her blog until Thanksgiving, I only have a week to post my "daily 5". I will start this on Sunday - that's tomorrow - Yikes!

In my Relief Society calling we have been worried about this next year and the economic troubles that may lay ahead for some. To set the example, we (the Presidency) will be writing in a gratitude journal. We think this may help others look for the positive in a troubled time. So wish me luck. I hope I can find some humorous things to be grateful, like Jill. One post read:

1. Multi-tasking. Today I did jumping jacks and squats while monitoring the pressure in the pressure cooker (and provided some comic relief for my family at the same time!)

Her blog is really fun to read and she posts the cutest family pictures. Good work Jill.

Tomorrow should be a good day to find things that I am grateful for. My friend Val Meacham just got her daughter home from her mission. Jenny reports her mission tomorrow in our old ward, Garden Park Ward. Then tomorrow evening Rick and Shay are providing a fireside for the Garden Park Ward. They will be talking about gratitude, imagine that! Having served together in Iraq, they will have many great things to talk about. I hope someone shows up to listen, besides family. You know how firesides go.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Sweetheart Mom and Grandma

Today is my mom's 87th birthday. We celebrated by going to Rusty's for dinner. Those of us that were able to go were Randy, Collette, Barbara, Rick, myself, mom, Shay, Whitney, DaNeil, Steven, Stevie, Lindsay and Nate, Danny had other commitments and couldn't go. We had a great time and it reminded me once again of what a great family I've been blessed with.

Mom was born in Preston, Idaho on November 18, 1921, the oldest child of Hershel and Ethel Neeley. The family moved to Cedar during her teen age years. She met our dad, Max Cowan while going to school here in Cedar. They married after he came home from serving in the Navy in the Philippines. They were blessed (I think we were blessings) with 4 children; Terry Gordon (deceased), Randy Ray, Danny Neil, and me, Wendy Kae. If my count is right there are 7 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren, hope I didn't miss any. Daddy is smiling down on all of us today and also being very thankful for a wonderful family.

Here is a picture that was taken at Cedar Breaks, Labor Day 2006, grandma and Rick.

Mom is an amazing mother, grandma, sweetheart grandma and friend. Lindsay's oldest, Treyson, started referring to her as sweetheart grandma when he was just little, and it stuck. She is a sweetheart with a heart of gold and loves her family unconditionally. She's a feisty little lady who is still very independent, lives alone, but loves the family to overtake her home on Sunday's.

We have been going to moms on Sunday evenings for dinner as long as I can remember. We started with Sunday dinners when dad was still with us and it's evolved over the years, adding new family members then the little ones. Now those little ones are bringing little ones of their own. Mom, Collette, Barbara and I take turns bringing the food, rotating each week what we bring. We are also blessed to have Lindsay, DaNeil and Whitney living here and they are great to help us too. We love going to grandmas on Sunday and I worry about the day this will end, but for now, we party on, celebrating another great year with our mom.

Here is a picture from Christmas Eve 2005. Tanner, Grandma Cowan and Justin, the reining royalty of the evening.

My prayer for mom, on this her special day, is another year of happiness, fun filled days and good health. We love you mom and are so blessed to have you in our lives.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A year without Otie

On November 6th, it will be one year since our Otie dog went to see Grandpa Cowan and Tobey Dog Bonzo. Otis and Baxter were litter mates. They had never been apart for even one night until one year ago when Otis spent the night with Dr. Esplin and wasn't able to come home again. It seems he had cancer and it was better to not make him suffer. He tried so very hard to get well. Danny and Shay lovingly brought him home to stay. It was a terrible, no good, very bad day.

He was such a funny boy. This picture is Otis sticking his head through a fence covered with ivy at our other house (Shay and Whitney's). He was so funny, I ran in the house for the camera and he was very cooperative and kept sticking his head back through. All he was doing was looking at the other side, which he could have walked to, but he was playing and being his silly self. I enlarged this picture and sent it to Rick in Iraq, where it hung on his wall the remainder of his tour.

Baxter Bartholomew really fits Baxie. He's kind of dignified, mellow, quieter. Then there's Otis Buckwheat whose name also fits perfectly. He was the chewer, from little plastic purses to lamp cords. I finally started giving him fabric softener sheets from the dryer when he was a puppy, he couldn't rip them apart as easily. He and Baxter would tug-o-war with them then leave pieces for me to pick up as they moved on to the next adventure.

Otis really was a happy-go-lucky dog. He weighed about 118 lbs and was like a bull in a china closet. His tail was a major weapon, because it never stopped wagging. He was always moving. He loved to have something in his mouth from an empty plastic milk carton to his very favorite, a stray shoe. Justin had to remember to keep his shoes inside his closet when he was home, or Otis would bring them to me or just prance around the house with it hanging out of his mouth. He was my cuddle bug, he loved me to lay on the floor with him in the mornings and snuggle with him.

He always got blamed for things, like he was the trouble maker. But if you watched he and Baxter play, you soon found that it was Baxter that would lie in wait and broadside Otis, making him roll. They really loved each other, sharing everything, including their food. I don't remember them ever fighting.

I remember the night I moved us into our new home. Rick was still in Iraq, we had a fenced yard with dirt, rocks and no shade. There I was moving them from a nice grassy, shady yard to the desert. I felt so bad for them that I sat out in back, on a lounge to feed them. This started a ritual that still exists 2 1/2 years later. Whether it's Rick, Justin or myself that feed Baxter, we have to sit outside with him until he eats, or he doesn't eat, period.

Otis and Baxter really were best friends. They slept like this a lot, always touching, with their toys nearby. Otis is on the left and Baxter on the right.

One of his favorite things was to pack around one of their food bowls. Sometimes there would still be a lot of food in the bowl, he'd pack it around spilling it as he went. Here he is during the winter of 2007 having fun in the snow.

Otis was only 3 1/2 when he left us. Justin described it best, he said that Otis knew he wasn't going to be with us long so he had to squeeze his entire life into a short 3 1/2 years. We miss our Otie Dotie, but wouldn't bring him back and have him suffer. I'm sure he and Tobey, who was about the same size, are having a ball and watching over us till we see them "Over The Rainbow Bridge".

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Iraq and Back continued

I thought I'd add some more pictures, details and thoughts about the 571 days.
Rick left with the forward party on a cold January day in 2005. It was a pretty sobering time, seeing him leave and knowing there were some hard times ahead. This is a picture I took of Rick at the Armory that day. They were standing in final formation, just prior to going to the airport to fly out. The look on their faces pretty well sums up the general feeling that day. It was pretty somber.

After spending 6 months in Camp Shelby, Mississippi, they spent about 3 weeks at the NTC in California. Rick said this was the hardest part of the training, very hard living conditions and even harder training. They were able to spend 2 weeks at home before heading back to Mississippi prior to deployment to Kuwait and into Iraq. Justin came down during this time and was able to spend some quality time with Rick and I. Justin and I took Rick to Las Vegas to fly out the day he left. It was a pretty emotional day, not knowing when we would see him again.

As I was telling Rick good-bye, Justin was snapping pictures of us. I love the pictures he took, they were totally unstaged. They still make me cry, they remind me how sad we all were that day. This is one that shows our emotion and how tender Rick was with me that day. I promise I will post some happy stuff too, this is just such a big part of our separation, how can I not share it?

We spent a long time in the hot Vegas sun, most of the families gave up and left because the planes were so late leaving. Danny and Barb's family and Justin and I were among 7 or so who braved the heat, waiting to see them fly out. Justin paid later with a pretty good sunburn. It turns out that we were very lucky to be there. Someone on the plane took the Battalion flag into the cock pit and the pilots allowed them to fly it out the front window. I took this picture as the plane taxied away from us. Pretty awesome sight!

On a lighter note. After they left Justin and I went to the Aladdin Hotel, where we were staying. We cleaned up a little and drowned our sorrows by shopping 'til we dropped. We also ate at one of our favorite places, PF Changs. It was a great temporary fix.

I would never have survived the 571 days without Justin. He was my strength and my sounding board. I know it was very hard for him, having his dad in harms way and being so far from home. We talked almost daily and he was always doing nice, thoughtful things for me. He just made me so happy and reminded me to be ever so grateful for the family I've been blessed with. LYT!! Me

Friday, October 31, 2008

Crash Dummies in person

Just when you think you've seen it all, in walk our good friends Vince and Larry, of crash dummie fame. Larry had a little trouble with the door frame, good thing his head is kinda foamy.


Here we are, the "bigwigs" from upstairs and the rest of us, trailer trash, rocker girl, witch, super hero's and don't forget our very own wrapper girl. Have a very scaaaarrrrryyyyyy day!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The countdown is on

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just Stuff

I just wanted to say what an awesome mother I have. In 2 weeks she will be 87 and she is "just a little" slower than she used to be. Yesterday afternoon she got her hair done, had a pedicure and then went to the drivers license office and renewed her license in person. All this was done by herself. She is very energetic and has lots of spunk. As I grow up, one of my goals is to be more like her. I love her so much. What a blessing she is in my life.

Also this morning, I was reading an email from a friend, one of those that talk about soldiers and a good deed done for them at an airport and on an airplane. At the end was a sentence that pretty well sums up a veteran. It said:

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check Made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.' Hooah!

Have a great day, be happy and thankful.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Don't be a dead beat - Get out and vote

With such turmoil in the world, we really need to exercise our right to vote. Even if we aren't really voting FOR someone, we need to make a statement that we are concerned. Early voting is all next week at the Cedar City and Enoch City Offices. Get out there and voice your opinion.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Iraq and Back

I haven't been able to think of things to blog about. We don't have kids at home, so I've wondered what to share. Then I realized I could write volumes about Rick and his military service. So here goes, the first installment, of what may be many, about his Iraqi Freedom experiences, and my feelings while he was away. This will serve as a kind of journal.

Speaking of journals, Rick wrote faithfully, every day in a journal. He didn't write much, just short descriptions of his days. He ALWAYS ended with "God Bless America" and "Good night Wendy, Justin, Otis and Baxter". It makes me cry still to remember the tender feelings we all had during that time.

Rick was put on alert the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, 2004. He was at the Enoch City Offices at a meeting when the call came. What a Thanksgiving that was. We went to Todd and Lorie's for dinner, it was pretty emotional thinking he might be leaving for an 18 month tour in Iraq. While in St. George he and his brothers and some nephews were playing football. Rick must have torn his ham string. He was in extreme pain, didn't go to the doctor, and it was about 6 months before he felt better. All this time he was running on the torn muscle and not letting on that it hurt.

The Triple Deuce was activated and left for training in Mississippi in January 2005. Rick went with the advance party and left January 5, 2005. This started our 571 days of activation, WOW what a long time. I remember seeing his orders and reality finally hitting me, this was going to be a long separation. I remember I almost felt like someone had hit me in the stomach, it really took my breath away realizing it really was happening. You kind of get caught up in the excitement and preparation, but reality does set in and it's not very exciting anymore.

The 222nd spent about 5 months at Camp Shelby, Mississippi training for their tour of Iraq. I was able to spend a few days in Mississippi with Rick in March 2005. It was a beautiful area, lots of trees and pretty sandy beaches. Hurricane Katrina hit Gulfport hard, devastating the coastline and casinos located there. We had a great couple of days, but it was almost not worth the visit, having to leave him there and fly home alone.

Here is a picture of Rick on the Beach in Gulfport, Mississippi, March 2005.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

First snow of the winter

Well, we got our first snow storm of the winter. It's beautiful outside this morning. As you can see Baxter loves the snow. The first thing he does is lick it then he scoops it with his nose. Pretty fun to watch. Crazy Southern Utah weather, we should be back up in the low 70's by mid week. I knew sandals were still in fashion.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Special Families

I've just been blog hopping, looking at my great family. I am truly blessed to have the great family that I have. I've watched in awe as Lindsay and Collette have posted updates and pictures of our beautiful Madelyn Jane Marriott, what a gorgeous baby she is. I'm so happy for Tim, Alayna and Dawson that they will soon be taking little Madelyn home. It is so fun being with my nieces and nephews and their kids, so fun to watch them turn into parents and find instant unconditional love. I've been watching as Nikki posts pictures of little Kamry and am still amazed that Nikki is a mom, and what a great mom she is. I'm especially lucky that I have good looking nephews and nieces, (and spouses too) because they make beautiful children.

I just talked to Justin on the phone and am totally stoked about him coming for 10 whole days at Christmas. It really gives me something to look forward to. He'll be here on the 20th and not leave again until the 30th, way cool.

Tomorrow is Justin's 36th birthday. That isn't even possible. It was just the day before yesterday that we were planning for his birth. Time has gone so fast. I'm so proud of him and his accomplishments. He is a great man and my very best friend. (Even if he is a weird boy).

Rick is in the midst of the mighty hunting season. This week it's Elk, then a week off, then the deer hunt. Right after the deer hunt, he's off to Camp Williams for another 2 week 1sg Course. He'll be home before Thanksgiving and then maybe we can have a little "normal" time together. The whole summer, at least the past 2 1/2 months have been crazy for us.

I'm in Salt Lake this week attending out State Treasurer's Academy that is being presented by the University of Utah. I'm staying at the Cottontree Inn on 106 South, right across the street from South Town Mall - what a tough place to have to stay!!! We are in class from 8-5 each day except Friday, then we are out earlier for us to drive home if we desire. This should be a great week, I have a lot of good friends who are Treasurer's around the state, and we'll have lots of fun, besides the long days.