Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall Festival and Antique Cars

This weekend we enjoyed some of the activities of Pinetop-Lakeside's annual Fall Festival.  It's the most popular festival in our area, and for 3 or 4 days our population basically doubles in size.  It's also our community's last opportunity to profit from the tourist trade until ski season begins, about 2 months from now.  We are a "resort town," after all.

I had parent-teacher conferences on Thursday night, so we weren't able to attend the big talent show that traditionally kicks off the weekend.  Our first event was Friday afternoon, when we drove out to the highway to watch the "Cavalcade of Cars" go by. 

One of Fall Festival's main events is the nationally-renowned Run to the Pines car show, which features 400 antique cars.  On Friday the owners line up and drive their cars along the highway from Show Low to Hon-Dah, the convention center on the Apache reservation just south of Pinetop.  That's about a 20-mile drive.  Residents and tourists line the highway to watch them go by, waving and cheering while the kids collect candy tossed to them by the drivers.

Jacob, Dylan, and Eric at breakfast; outside the window, an antique car is parked and the parade is just beginning.

On Saturday morning we took Jacob, Dylan, and Dylan's friend Eric out to breakfast with us just before the Fall Festival parade began.  After breakfast we went outside the restaurant to enjoy the rest of the parade. 

Dylan and Eric watch the parade from the curb, keeping an eye out for tossed candy!

Small town parades are fun, but they are definitely low-key and low-tech.  The "floats" are often decorated cars and such.  Half of the parade is made up of fire engines, marching bands, and farm machinery.  There are no shoulder-to-shoulder, standing-room-only crowds.  Plenty of room to plop down your camp chairs or stretch out on the curb, like my kids prefer to do.

There are many different shows to attend during the festival: quilting shows, antique shows, Christmas decoration shows, you name it.  My personal favorite is the arts and crafts show.  I've purchased many nice things there over the years.  The most famous, though, is the Run to the Pines car show.

Ed stands among the classic Mustangs.

Ed had heard of the Run to the Pines car show before he moved here, but he hadn't realized this was where it happened each year.  Yesterday we spent 2 hours wandering among 400 classic and antique vehicles, and Ed was in seventh heaven.  His favorites are the classic muscle cars of the sixties and early seventies (the latest model allowed in the show is 1972).  However, he was extremely knowledgeable about every vehicle on the show-grounds, including the antique cars I prefer from the twenties, thirties, forties, and even fifties.

We spent a lot of time visiting with car owners while Ed talked shop with them.  (Remember, he's a retired mechanic.)  He was excited to finally meet our neighbors, Bob and Ona, who had two cars in the show.  Ed admires their antique cars and Bob's workshop every time we drive past their house on the corner.  They invited him to stop by any time! 

We left the car show sunburned but happy.  Ed often tells people how much he loves living in the White Mountains.  Now he has one more reason to love it!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Callie the TV Star!

On Tuesday, my niece Callie and her mom Dana were part of a press conference from Phoenix Children's Hospital on the subject of children and vehicle safety. They were both featured on the evening news that same night.  Check it out in the video clip above.  Callie is adorable, as always!

Out with the Old

Last weekend we held a yard sale.

It's amazing how much stuff you don't realize you have until you put in all in one place to sell!

We've been wanting to have this sale for months, but we've had an unusually wet monsoon season this summer.  Last week was the first time since June that our area had 4 whole days in a row without rain.

We did very well, earning almost $600, which will pay for our final (we hope) trip back to Colorado and Wyoming next month.  We need to collect the last of Ed's things, including his 1989 Mustang, and winterize his mom's house before the first freeze sets in.

One of two dining room sets Ed brought here from Wyoming

I've never made more than $300 at my previous yard sales, and ordinarily we'd only earn around $150.  However, this time we had a lot of furniture and manly garage-type items that are popular at yard sales.  Most of them belonged to Ed but wouldn't fit into our little house and sheds.  We hope we've sold off enough to be able to stop renting the storage unit where we've been keeping them. 

Jacob and his friends, Kyle and Xan (seen above), load up the old fridge for delivery to the new owner.

One item we sold was our old refrigerator.  Not only was it ancient and slightly worse for wear, but it didn't really fit our family anymore, now that there are five of us again and the kids are practically all adults.

Much more space for our food!

Our "new" refrigerator isn't really new, but it is a newer model that was owned by an older couple who took good care of it.  Best of all, it has much more space inside.

All loaded up with room to spare!

The new fridge is a few inches taller than the old one, and most of that extra space is found inside the freezer.  My freezer has always been packed to the gills, and it was always a trick to reorganize and fill it after a shopping trip.  Now, though, look at all the extra room after I transferred the frozen foods from the old freezer!

The only problem was that the door opened on the wrong side, but Ed quickly took care of that, switching the hinges and handles around.

What a blessing it is to have a husband who has the know-how and the want-to to take good care of our home!  I'm so ignorant about home care that I didn't even know how many things I had been letting fall into ruin.

Over the past months, Ed has handled many indoor repairs of items I had given up hope of saving.  He has tackled the cleaning and repair of our roof and prepared the storm drains for the coming snow.  We have purchased a new front door and a storm door for him to install, and he has plans to correct the insufficient insulation of our home before winter.  He and Jacob have cleaned our old shed from top to bottom, and soon Ed will replace the shed door, part of the floor, and two broken windows.  They have also hauled away two truckloads of trash, leaving our tree-covered property looking more beautiful than ever.  Ed also plans to start a garden in the spring and has already borrowed my dad's roto-tiller to prepare the plot before the ground freezes. 

And that's just the tip of the iceberg!  We have many more plans to remodel, replace, refurbish, and repair in the coming months and years.  I'm very excited to work by my husband's side and make our home into a comfortable place where we can grow old together.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Message Is Love

At church today we had a special stake conference attended by members of all the wards in our area.  Richard G. Scott, an apostle and one of the general authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was in the area so our stake president asked him if he would address our congregation.

Once upon a time, when I was very young, it wasn't so unusual to receive an occasional visit from one of the twelve apostles or even the prophet of our church.  Now, though, the mormon church has grown to more than 12 million members in about 25,000 congregations around the world, so it is a rare treat and blessing for us to listen to an apostle in person today.

The stake building was packed.  Cars were parked blocks away.  Those who couldn't find seats in the chapel or cultural hall were seated in other rooms with closed-circuit television access.  Our family got up extra-early this morning and arrived at 7:20.  The conference didn't begin until 10:00, so we were early enough to get cushioned seats in the chapel near the podium from which Elder Scott would speak.

Today's conference began with an inspiring message from our stake president, President Shumway.  Then Elder Scott invited President Shumway's wife to share her testimony of the gospel.  A teenaged girl and an elderly sister were the next speakers.  Finally, we were addressed by Richard G. Scott himself.

Elder Scott began by speaking lovingly of his wife, Jeanene.  He told of her love for God and family, her self-discipline, and her strong and loving character.  She was an amazing dancer who trained alongside a young actress named Shirley McLain, but Jeanene gave up that career path to serve a church mission, marry, and raise seven children.  Elder Scott is still clearly in love with his wife, who passed away 15 years ago after a battle with cancer.  To him, she still is and always will be his eternal companion.

For me, the message of today's conference was all about the power of love, especially within the walls of our own homes.  Love can turn lives around, change hearts, and save souls.  If we were to sum up Christ's mission on earth, it could be expressed in that one, all-encompassing word: LOVE.

As an apostle of the Lord, Elder Scott is called as a special witness of Christ to the world.  The conference closed with his powerful testimony of the divinity of our Savior and the great love He has for us.  It was that indescribable love that led Him to atone for our sins and die for us.  He suffered more than we can comprehend in order to save us, because He loves each of us that much. 

The Spirit filled the room with warmth and brought tears to my eyes as Elder Scott closed with this special testimony.  I hope to never forget it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Double Birthday

In my last post I told about our birthday weekend getaway.  Now here's the scoop on how Ed and I spent our actual joint birthday on Wednesday.

This was a big year for Ed, turning 50.  He was happy with a small family celebration, but I'd have given him a big surprise party if we were in Wyoming or Oregon, where his closest friends live.  I wish there had been a way to ship them all to Arizona for a day so I could have given my sweet husband a party he'd never forget!

Instead, we went out for a steak dinner at Chuckwagon with Jacob and Dylan.  Sarah was unable to join us since she was working.  A family at the next table was also celebrating their dad's birthday, and they were amazed when we told them Ed and I were both having a birthday that day.  They mentioned it to our waitress, who treated us to a delicious slice of apple pie a la mode!

Later that evening we had a small family party.  The kids sang "Happy Birthday" and served us cake and ice cream.  Jacob baked us the delicious chocolate cake above.  (And I blew out all the candles on my first try!)

After that we opened our gifts and, as usual, the kids were very good to us.  Sarah gave Ed a shiny black tie with a cool tie pin featuring Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty (from a Book of Mormon story).  Jacob gave him a fleece jacket with "Remington" embroidered on the breast (something to do with guns, I think; it's a guy thing).  From Dylan, Ed received a 2-disc set of the "Call of Duty" video games.  Over the past several days, they've spent a lot of time together playing that game!  As for me, I gave Ed the pottery bowl.  I know it seems an odd gift, but Ed needed something to empty his pockets into at night, and the elk motif fits my hunter husband.  Like any good newlywed husband, he claims to like it!

I think Ed liked the bag his gift was in even better than he liked the gift itself.  While I was at work that day, I spent some time decorating a brown paper bag with some of the wild animals Ed loves.  It's a little bit corny, I know, but after he saw it, Ed decreed that we were definitely keeping that bag!

I was spoiled with gifts, as well.  Dylan gave me a blue storage crate.  I haven't decided yet whether I'd rather use it in my classroom or in my home office.  Jacob gave me the hummingbird feeder above.  Although it's been hanging on the porch for just a few days now, we already have quite a few little visitors sipping the sugar nectar.  From Ed, I received the Gospel Art book, a bag of orange chocolate Milano cookies (my favorites!), and a Cadbury chocolate bar.  He knows I cannot resist chocolate!

And, finally, Sarah added another Willow Tree figurine to my collection, the little girl holding an armful of lilies, called "Beautiful Wishes."  My collection is growing and I love it!  Even Ed, who isn't a huge fan of feminine "gewgaws," looked at it admiringly and called it "pretty nice."  High praise, indeed!

As I mentioned, I did have to work on my (our) birthday, but I had fun celebrating at work, too.  When I arrived that morning, I found that my secret pal had strewn a "Happy Birthday" banner and curly ribbons and tiny colorful pom-poms across my desk and computer.  My aide, Kim, had brought me a beautiful bouquet of my favorite flowers, carnations.

Later in the day, someone brought me another carnation bouquet with a card, this time from my secret pal.  I placed both bouquets in the vase and enjoyed them on my desk all week.  Now I'm enjoying them in the kitchen window here at home.  They are still beautiful!

Kim brought in lots and lots of cookies for my classes, so we finished early each period to enjoy the food and celebrate the teacher getting a year older.  Kim brought in a cheesecake sampler for us to enjoy (we'd already indulged ourselves by the time I took the picture above).  She also gave me her "most special gift," the first ripe tomato from her new garden.  We ate it in a salad the following day, and it was delicious!

All in all, it was a great day.  I have quite a few friends who hate having birthdays and prefer not to acknowledge them.  However, my philosophy is this: I'm going to be a year older whether I ignore my birthday or not, so why not celebrate?!  Therefore, surprise me, bring me presents, sing me songs, feed me sweets, laugh with me, be joyful with me!  Many thanks to all of you who celebrate my life with me all the year through!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Getaway

Ed and Mary enjoy a romantic dinner for two at The Pasta House.

Not many married couples enjoy the pleasure of having the same birthday, but Ed and I have the distinctly quirky delight of having been born on the same day, September first.  We weren't born in the same year, mind you.  On Wednesday I turned 56 while Ed finally hit the big 50. 

In honor of this special double-birthday occasion, Ed and I decided when we got married that we would make Labor Day weekend memorable each year, since our birthdays will always fall on or right before that holiday. 

Our little condo in Pinetop

This year we had a romantic getaway, spending Friday night at the WorldMark resort right here on our mountain, in nearby Pinetop.  It was dreamy to have a whole night and an entire morning to ourselves, to luxuriate in each others' company. 

The view from the patio of our condo

Last night we went to dinner at The Pasta House.  The food was delicious, the waiters were entertaining, the atmosphere was fun, and the uninterrupted conversation with my husband was delightful.

[By the way, this is the same restaurant where some of you may recall I had dinner with Orlando Bloom just 17 months ago, in March 2009.  To read that story, click below:]

Our living room for the night.

After dinner we rented some DVDs and returned to our condo.  We enjoyed a quiet evening together, drinking sparkling cider from champagne glasses (thanks, Wyndie and Charla!) and nibbling on cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies and each other!

Since it was just the two of us and just for one night, we chose to try a studio-sized condo.  After the kids have moved on and Ed and I begin traveling alone together, we won't need the 2-bedroom condos any longer.  Reserving a 1-bedroom or studio unit will save us WorldMark credits and give us more vacation time.  However, I'd never even seen the inside of a studio unit before and wondered if we would like it.

The dining area

It was much roomier and nicer than we expected.  Even so, we decided to go with the 1-bedroom in the future.  For one thing, the Murphy bed (the kind that unfolds from the wall) was only a double-bed, and we've been spoiled by our king-size bed.

The abbreviated kitchen

Also, the kitchen was nice but limited.  The stove consisted of two burners and no oven, although there was a convection oven and microwave.  There was no dishwasher, either, though that's no big deal since we don't have one here at home.  My favorite features of our WorldMark resorts are the full kitchen and laundry room in each condo.  Those are real money-savers, so in the future we'll be sure to book 1-bedroom units for the two of us.

This morning we went out to breakfast at Hilltop Restaurant, and then we returned to the resort and enjoyed holding hands and walking around the pine-covered properties.  It was so cool and green and peaceful.  Ed and I talked about how blessed we are to live in a place so beautiful that people pay to come here and vacation with their families.  Ed calls it "Elk Country."  To him, that's just one step away from heaven!

It's amazing how refreshed I feel after just one night of indulgence.  I think I can get used to this new tradition!