January 29, 2011

Come On, Come On, Get Happy!

Disneyland is seriously THE happiest place on Earth—especially when you're escaping the cold and snow for mid seventies and sun. And, especially when you get to spend three days there with your favorite Canadian friends.

We did every ride and attraction (even Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln), ate good food (the Blue Bayou restaurant was a little pricey but worth every penny), and had an absolute blast (waiting in line was even fun). Here are a couple collages of great memories.

(Click to enlarge.) What a good lookin' group.
I'm ready to go back and do it all over again.

I didn't want to bring my nice camera because it's too big, and I didn't want to risk losing it. So, I bought a little point-and-shoot. This panorama shot is one of it's tricks.

Pretty cool, eh?
When I was young, I dreamed about being a tour guide on the Jungle Cruise. Maybe that's what I'll do in my retirement. And, my favorite Disney joke never gets old.

Look! It's the back side of water!
On several of the rides, they take your picture and display them for a few minutes on a screen. I took photos of them to share with the world. Which... Maybe I shouldn't.

First, Katie and Liam's favorite roller-coaster, California Screamin'...

Um... It doesn't really look like it's my favorite, though.
Next, the Tower of Terror...

Why does it look like everyone is having a great time, and I look like I'm about to lose my lunch?
And finally, Space Mountain...

I just don't know.
The only bad part of the entire trip was that it ended all too soon. I need to figure out how Katie and I can adopt seven Canadians.

January 17, 2011

She's the Greatest Star!

Over the past couple months, I have had computer problems which has made regular posting somewhat difficult. (Just let me tell you I will never purchase an HP computer again, and though they advertise their customer service as "award winning," my experience was actually a nightmare.) After I finally got the computer issue resolved, the video camera went on the fritz. It still records, but we can't get it to download to the computer. The camera is about eight years old, so the technology is old, and it would cost about the same to repair the camera as to purchase a new one. So, I checked out a similar video camera from the university, and spent a few days downloading all our videos onto an external hard drive.

We had a lot of fun going through and watching the videos. We've got some good stuff to show our grandchildren someday. "Yes, that's your dad. We don't know why he was doing that." Or, "Your mother thought she was very stylish and insisted on wearing that." I'm just glad my parents didn't have a video camera while I was growing up. I'm sure there would be plenty of embarrassing videos to be used against me. As it stands, I can only think of one video of me acting totally stupid that makes my face turn beet red, and I was probably 25 when it was filmed. For those of you who have seen it, all I can say is, "Hey, you wanna bump?"

Here are a few videos I shot a few months ago that I wanted to post.

This year, Chloe transferred to Mountain View High School and has loved every minute there. She is on the varsity ballroom team and part of the acapella choir. Last semester, Chloe performed in a concert with each group. Before each concert, Chloe would say the concert probably wasn't going to be that good because it was in the first half of the year. So, I went with low expectations. However, each time I was not only impressed but blown away. If this is how good they are at the beginning of the year, I can't wait until the end.

Here is the ballroom team performing a disco. As a child of the disco age who owned all of Donna Summer's albums, I was very appreciative. I've given you some help to find and keep track of Chloe.



Here Chloe is dancing a Viennese Waltz, very apropos since we will be going to Vienna this summer. Maybe she'll be willing to do a little waltzing with me in Vienna's main square. Probably not. That would just make for one more embarrassing video.



And finally, here is Chloe dancing a quickstep. My favorite part of this dance is where Chloe and her partner mess up. Why? Well, I never noticed it; Chloe had to point it out. She and her partner covered it up very well and just looked like they were having a great time. Chloe blames the mistake on the extremely slippery fabric of the dress.



Now onto the choir concert... The Mountain View choir actually performed two concerts just before Christmas, one at their high school and one at Orem High School in a combined concert with their choir. Unfortunately, I did not have the camera with me at the Mountain View concert where the acoustics were better. But, you can still see, or hear, from these clips that this is a very talented high school choir. Their director does an amazing job with them.

This first number is titled "Canticle of Peace."



This next number is "O Magnum Mysterium," which was probably my favorite. It's really beautiful. There are these modulations near the end that give me chills.



The last video I'm going to include is a really fun African Christmas song, "Bethlehemu." This is where I really wish I had recorded the first concert. Because of the acoustics, the drums sort of overpower the choir. But, it's still a great number. (Be sure to notice that it's a student directing the choir.)




Yes, Chloe is our performer, and these videos are definitely not embarrassing but very impressive. Nice job, Chloe!

January 13, 2011

Tree Revisited

It's been quite a few years since the last time I went cross county skiing at Aspen Grove. Katie, Liam, Tomas, and I joined the Student Alumni board on their winter retreat.

Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!
Obviously, I haven't improved much. Although, I must say that this time we went night skiing. I thought the course would be lit up like at Sundance. But, no such luck.

Here I am below with my tree. I call it my tree because it saved my life the first time I tried cross country skiing about ten years ago. It was late in the season and conditions were very icy. With one lesson under my belt, I took to the course. I was doing pretty well until I came to THE hill. This hill was long, and as I went down, I picked up amazing speed. During that minute of absolute terror and panic, I completely forgot everything I had learned. All I could do was scream like a little girl all the way down. Until...

If I weren't have such a difficult time staying upright, I'd have given my tree a hug.
...I met my tree—face to face and trunk to trunk. And, hard. However, after regaining the ability to breathe and to pull myself to standing, I looked just beyond the tree, and saw a giant cliff. Had I not slammed into that tree, I would have certainly been in for a world of pain, or worse. Every time I've been back to Aspen Grove, I've always stopped by and offered thanks.

Tomas did really well and had a lot of fun. I was amazed at how fast he could get back up each time he fell. Katie's pretty good, too.  I didn't get a picture of Liam because he was usually way ahead of me.
Here I am with the students—a fun group that made all the soreness the next day worth it.

Good looking group.

January 01, 2011

A New National Holiday!

We wish you and yours a happy Stay in Your Pajamas All Day...day.*

Here's the rundown of this year's Christmas jammies: Tomas got red and black plaid flannels with bear claw slippers that really roar. Liam got pajama pants with monsters eating Christmas trees with matching monster slippers. Chloe got USU pajamas. (Why? I don't know.) Katie got matching leopard print PJs and slippers. (rrrow!) And finally, I got pajama pants with bulldogs. (Does Katie think I need another dog?)

*Haven't heard of it? That's because we just started it. We had so much fun doing it last year, we decided to continue the tradition and spread the word. Mark your calendars—January 1, Stay in Your Pajamas All Day day. Next year, we'll try and have a new song for the holiday with a selection of festive treats to celebrate the occasion.