Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June Wedding with a Twist

Before we leave this first month of summer,
I want to tell about a June wedding in my family.

My brother's seventh and last child finally stepped up to the plate
and tied the knot.

My bro and his wife have been waiting about a decade for this to happen.
When she got engaged, her parents shouted HALLELUJAH
(which was actually printed on the announcement in italics.)

CK, the bride, my niece, has over 100 first cousins.
Yep. It's true.
A good many family members made big sacrifices to be a part of the celebration
. . . and brought their little crop of bambinos.

However, there was one person missing - the father of the bride.

My brother is a mission president in Russia for the LDS church.
That's a 3-year calling.
Meaning = He goes. He stays.

Ken oversees legions of young missionaries from his home base in Moscow.
It's a big deal. By staying, he made the BIGGEST sacrifice of all.

But OH how my brother wanted to BE THERE for his daughter's wedding!!!

I know how he felt about it.
Down in my bones, I know.

I also know that Ken is a highly creative problem solver.
he devised a way to be there
and still stay in charge of his missionaries in Russia.

He showed up VIRTUALLY.

A camera and two large monitors were stationed near where the wedding guests entered.
Signs were posted "Chat with Ken".

Basically, he SKYPED his way into the celebration!

For at least FIVE HOURS my bro sat at his desk in Moscow,
greeting the wedding guests in Utah.

Below you see his 90 year-old mother-in-law
having a good ole chat with Ken.

(Her very young face is illuminated on the right-hand screen.)

Notice she is cupping her hand as if she's shouting to someone very, very far away.

This virtual thing was, indeed, an atypical modality
for congratulating the father of the bride
and host of the party.

Look at the little slice of Ken's projected face on the left of the groom
as he watches the cake cutting ceremony from his front row seat.

The bride and groom are now beginning their life together in Manhattan.
They've even purchased a sweet lil bungalow
on the 'Upper West' side.

CK will continue creating gorgeous dresses
via her company Shabby Apple.
And Carl will continue settling disputes on the legal front.

On the home front, it's a whole new life.

Hats off to my dear SIL Athelia
who stood alone as the Mistress of Ceremonies.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The High Uintas

This week,
my true-blue friend - Bonsey - and I took a wee adventure in my 4-wheel drive vehicle,
up to Utah's most lonely and lovely mountain ranges.

The High Uintas are a 150-miles-wide protected wilderness area
in northeast part of our state and it is , indeed,

Like, the ridgeline rarely drops below 11,000 feet altitude
and there are mountain 'basins' above 12,000.

Even though it's almost July,
the aspens are barely greening up. - as you can see in the photo BELOW.

A few minutes after this shot was taken,
we were forced to SLOWLY & CAREFULLY back the car down a mountainside dirt road,
impassable due to SNOW!

We also found ourselves FORDING STREAMS,
getting stuck in MASSIVE MOATS created by nature's folly,
strategically WEDGING FALLEN LOGS beneath the wheels to get back on the trail.

Bonsey is FEARLESS and therefore a perfect companion for such adventuring.
(I took this photo 35 years ago. It's about time I publish it.
My travel-mate is still over-the-top cute!)

Let me just say,
the back roads of the Uintas
are better navigated by the LOCAL SHEEPHERDERS on HORSEBACK.

We DID see bounteous flocks of SHEEP and herds of CATTLE.

Sometimes, it was a task
to maneuver my Honda Element around these oblivious beasties.

My favorite (and only) daughter-in-law, Jill, grew up
raising sheep in the Uintas.

Her dad still herds livestock from the saddle.
Again - GOOD CHOICE, considering the terrain we traveled.

We traded in our tent for a $35-a-night cabin at the
Defas Ranch on the North Fork of the Duchesne River.

The next morning, after hiking along the river (above),
we hopped back in the wagon to explore another part of the territory -
the 'Mirror Lake Scenic Byway'

It's NOT just about Mirror Lake.

There are HUNDREDS of lakes in the Uintas.
Well, some are large ponds, like this one. Still lovely.

The Upper Provo River flows alongside the road - a totally asphalt road, btw.

In the afternoon, we stumbled upon these falls, still roaring with the spring run-off.
Simply spectacular.

Right there, we shook hands on a DEAL.

We're going to return.

With a TENT.

After all, the High Uintas are just 50 miles from home.
Definitely a 1st class, low-budget Utah vacation
during the summer months.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Part 2 - Family Reunion

No doubt about it, my grandchildren had MOUNTAINS of fun
with their cousins, up at the cabin.

I don't know which kid started this messy activity - above -
but they ALL tried their HAND at it. Miss Avery got into it Big Time.

Auntie Jill taught them how to make musical instruments.
A real hit.

I brought up a croquet set.
Some played the game. Others simply wielded the mallets with glee.

While the little squirts were busy with art creations . . .

. . . the adults flopped into camp chairs on the side lines.

One of those RARE RELAXING MOMENTS for these dear young parents.

Kenneth decided to fill an ENTIRE 5-foot strip of freezer paper
with COLOR, using a little paint roller.
It was quite impressive when he completed his goal.

Miss Brinley discovered the art of decorating ROCKS.

(Plentiful in the Rockies.)

Another bit of spontaneous fun -
jumping into Grandma Ginger's Honda
and touring the countryside sans seat belts @ 3 miles per hour.

BOISTEROUS SINGING - a vital (and necessary) component of the experience.

Yep. Excursions in my Honda were great.

On the other hand,

expeditions on Uncle K's OPEN-AIR BUGGIES were the COOLEST EVER!

On our second evening,
the Big Boys rode the ATVs way, way, way up to some remote mountaintop
where they enjoyed a camping trip - guys only.

The evening provided them with non-stop entertainment:
Thunder & lightening.
Hail, hail, and more hail.

We listened to the pelting on the roof of the cabin
and took guesses on how long they'd survive.

They stuck it out.

By morning, they woke up to BLISSFUL SUNSHINE and CHIRPING BIRDIES.

(Dramatic and swift weather changes are delightfully common in Utah.)

Well, I saved the BEST for LAST.

This short little music video really CAPTURES our time together. It's funny.
For a nice large video, it's best to click the link
located below the video box.

Lewis-Woolley Gathering 2010 from Duane Johnson on Vimeo.

Kudos to my son-in-law and his video creation talents!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Family Time @ Uncle Ken's Cabin

We gathered in the Utah mountains.

My SIX kids (including kids-in-law),

my SIX grandkids (mostly under SIX),

And ME.

Getting up to Uncle Ken's cabin always an adventure.
It's UP there.

More thrilling THIS year, because the rivers were raging.

(There USED to be a tiny creek where you see that lake-ish area in the shot ABOVE.)

Here's a mini-clip of an 'irrigation ditch' in the valley below Ken's place.

At this year's reunion, the toddlers were non-stop entertainment.

Behold, the gal who MUST feed herself, no IFs, ANDs, or BUTs!

One night, we all performed in a TALENT SHOW.

My grandson, who barely turned 4 in May,
attempted to sing while doing the guitar chording for Skip to My Lou.

His 7-second flub-up,
followed by a cheery "I have to practice again!" is worth a share:

In the evenings, there were lightning storms.

During the days, we took strolls, played games, gabbed, ate.

Can you see the HIKERS in this shot?

Good energy. Lots of laughter.

To be continued.

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