Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Here is a shot from early April. It had been cold and there was a new deposit of snow in the Coast Range.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Here is our new home with empty lots around us.
We drive about four miles to a tree farm to cut our Christmas tree. Here we are with our hot chocolate on a hay ride to the tree cutting area.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Some of you followed the blog for Megan Smith's fight against leukaemia after she gave birth to her daughter:
There were so many ups and downs, and so many giving support and prayers. And we were all so griefstricken when she ultimately lost the battle.
Ryan grew up in our ward, and his family still lives here. The daughter, Rylee, came back with Ryan's parents at one point. Rylee is truly a miracle child, born under tragic circumstances.
I was asked to conduct the graveside service here in Oregon last week. It was a gray and wet day, and so sobering to see the white casket with Megan's remains poised to go into the ground. I gave the concluding remarks at the service, which I am including here.
The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 15:19: For if in this life only we have hope in Christ we are of all men most miserable.
We have cause to be miserable. We are griefstricken by the loss of such a vibrant and good person as Megan. Anyone who knew her was immediately impressed with her energy, her charisma, her goodness.
We suffered and prayed along with her and her family during her struggle against cancer, and mourn at the tragic loss.
But because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because of our hope in Christ, we can rejoice. Christ won a victory over death. He gave his life on the cross at Calvary and rose from the grave on the third day.
Paul continues in 1 Corinthians 15:20: But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
We can take comfort in knowing that, while we lay her tabernacle of clay into this mortal grave, her spirit, free from physical pain and suffering, has returned to her Father in Heaven who gave her life and begat her spiritually, for indeed we are all begotten sons and daughters of God. I can imagine she had and continues to have a joyful reunion in paradise with loved ones who have gone before her and welcomed her home.
And we are confident that Megan’s spirit will be reunited with a perfect and immortal body to come forth in the first Resurrection, and that we will one day be reunited with her.
Christ said in John 11:25: I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live
That is my testimony, and that is the good news of the Gospel.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Here is a photo of him in Labrador:
In addition to baseball, Barry and I had interest in football, and we got L.A. Rams helmets for Christmas. In fall 1960 we moved to Gulfport, Mississippi, and here is a picture of Barry and me playing football in our yard (or field next to our house). I love this picture. Such nostalgia.
About this time my favorite football team was the Baltimore Colts, with Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry, and Lenny Moore. Still have some football cards.
I was bugged with the hassle of having to tell people I didn't go by my first name, Alan, but by my middle name, Craig. So when we moved to a new place (Gulfport) for third grade I just told the teacher and fellow students that my name was Alan, and that's what I went by when not at home. It was an interesting experiment, though when we moved again I went back to Craig.
I always thought it was a lame excuse by my parents to name me so my initials would be ACW (and putting my preferred name in the middle), the same as the Air Force squadron where my dad was stationed. Sigh. There are some advantages of going by my middle name to offset the aggravation of filling out forms with space for first name and middle initial. When someone calls on the phone for Alan, I have a pretty good idea they are a stranger. And being "A. Craig Walker" does sound a little distinguished. There is a famous radio and TV personality in Portland with the same name, so often people ask if I'm "the" Craig Walker, and I can just smile and reply that no, I'm just "a" Craig Walker.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Still, there have been fun and profitable times. For a number of years we would use the 50% off coupons for Michael's to purchase picture frames for my Portland Temple picture. Suzanne and I would have to hurry to the store as the coupon expired by 8AM some years. They would stamp your hand upon entry to validate your entry time.
I took the photograph in late 1989 of a brand new Portland Temple and liked it so much that I started giving it as a gift. I entered it at the Washington County Fair one year in the photography section and won a first prize. I pretty much wore out the negative making many dozens of 8x12 prints. It was especially convenient and effective for wedding gifts for those married in the Portland Temple. One year I bought a mat cutting system on sale and with an additional coupon discount at Michael's.
I would buy large sheets of mat and we would get an assembly line going to make several at a time. A few months ago I did a big push and finished building up frames and mats for all my remaining prints, so I only have a dozen or so left poised for gifts.
The finished product:
Thursday, November 25, 2010
There are a few more I could add.
One is that we are shopping for and/or moving to a new house. As dreams go, there are always weird complications involved, either with the selection/purchase of the house, or the poor construction/layout of the new house, or the inability to find things after moving in. My past experiences also blend in one way or another. Even though in real life I can't fathom ever moving again, this doesn't seem an obstacle in the dreams.
Another is that I am called to serve another term in my mission in Germany. This used to be a lot more common in the past.
I sometimes dream that I'm in a passenger jet that is on the verge of crashing. We lose altitude and struggle to find a place we can land safely. Oddly (and fortunately) the crashes have never been bad nor caused injury. Flying from Dubai to Frankfurt last month on a red-eye I was dozing off and having one of those dreams.
After moving from my first job at Naval Weapons Center in California to HP in Boise, I often had dreams of going back, or of them contacting me to help solve work problems. They were strong dreams. I had similar ones after moving to Oregon, but not as much.
One dream theme I'm thankful I don't have is one that a SWAT team member shared with the YM at their activity last night. He related an account of how his team was called to a hostage situation and they ended up shooting and killing the suspect (he came out of the house firing his gun at them). After this experience he has had nightmares of someone burglarizing his home, or shooting at him, and it is the guy they shot. He wakes up like in the movies, bolt upright in a cold sweat.
Why are dreams so weird, though? A strange mix of reality and bizarreness.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Here I am wearing it at wedding number three in 2005:
Also in 2005 (I like this photo with my mom):
With the beautiful bride:
And with my beautiful bride:
Since I already own the tux, I have worn it on several other occasions. Two or three times I have worn it at Halloween, instead of a costume (and just for fun). I wore it at grad night where I was a volunteer card game dealer. And just last week the Young Women in our ward had a special event where everyone dressed up, so we as a bishopric wore tuxedos (I and my 2nd counselor owned ours, and my 1st counselor was able to borrow one). We must have looked sharp because we got a lot of compliments.
To make the tux useful for several years it means I can't grow out of the size. It has gotten a bit tighter, but I'm happy to say all that cycling and tennis must be keeping me in shape as it still fits. And each time I wear it I feel such satisfaction.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
This was before computers and many other technical marvels, so short wave radio was pretty exotic stuff to a growing boy. At some point along the way I was motivated to learn morse code, and got very serious about it when I was in junior high. I listened to practice code tapes and got to where I could copy code at 15 words per minute, plus or minus.
After I graduated from college with an electrical engineering degree my dad suggested I apply for an amateur radio license. With my schooling in electronics and my morse code background, it shouldn't take much study and practice to pass the exam. I started out with a novice license, and got the call sign WD6CCR. My dad gave me his old Heathkit radio and we were able to communicate with each other--I in Ridgecrest, CA, and he in Riverside. His call sign then (and now) was W6WUG.
I obtained more code tapes and practiced. I needed 13 words per minute to pass the general class or advanced class license exams, and 20 words per minute for extra class.
I studied from the license manual to bone up on radio and electronic theory.
In addition to added privileges and frequencies, each upgrade in license class provided a more exclusive call sign, with a 2X3 for general class or lower (e.g. WD6CCR), a 1X3 or 2X2 for advanced class (W6WUG or KD7JS), and a prestigious 1X2 for extra class (N6ID). I studied the book's theory sections for general and advanced class pretty hard.
In the exam room the first test was morse code at 20 words per minute. The code came flying at me and I doubt I copied more than two thirds of the characters. But for the multiple choice questions I was able to piece enough together to pass the exam at 20 wpm!
Next up was the general class theory. I passed that one without difficulty. I went into the hallway and briefly reviewed the section on advanced class, and then passed that exam as well. I had already exceeded my expectations at this point and was very pleased. But since I had 20 wpm code I was eligible to try for the extra class test. I again went into the hallway and frantically studied the extra class section. I had nothing to lose by taking the exam. After they graded it I learned I missed it by one question. Oh, so close! If only I had studied more beforehand.
I moved to Meridian, ID, and got my new 2X2 call sign of KD7JS. I strung up a simple antenna on my roof and scheduled weekly radio chats with my dad. Most days we got through okay. I would get my kids on with me to say hi to grandpa. It seemed pretty exotic and was cheaper than calling long distance on the phone.
After moving to Beaverton, OR, I put up an antenna in my attic and bought a better used radio.
Monday, November 22, 2010
When we visited Europe last month we used the wealth of internet resources to find hotels and B&B's to stay in (especially booking.com). But for Humenne information was very scarce. There is a new Best Western in town, but it was booked, and also expensive (by Slovak standards). We couldn't find the Hotel Chemes, but there was a Hotel Alibaba. Through further research we determined it was at the same location as the Hotel Chemes, so must have been renamed. There were no customer reviews to rely on, so we took another chance and reserved a room
This time we were pleasantly surprised. Though the exterior, lobby, and elevator were pretty tired, the top floor of rooms where we stayed was newly renovated. And we had great views of Humenne out our windows.
Can't quite see it in this photo--maybe just a bit bottom left--but the final step down to the pavement is quite high, so you have to pay attention when stepping down.
A wonderful and spacious room!
Here is a side view showing the debris dropped down from ongoing renovation.
In a previous post I mentioned how we were concerned about car theft in Eastern Europe on our recent trip to Slovakia. This is what I asked Hotel Alibaba via email:
"Is there secure parking nearby? Has there been car theft in Humenne?"
Here is the email reply I received:
"Parking is next-door hotel.Car us not just yet shake."
Huh? We got a good laugh out of that and tried to surmise what Slovak/English dictionary words might have been used to arrive at the result. Thankfully, our car survived two nights just fine outside the hotel.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
But after hours I found enough energy to spend time with family members who would come up from Riverside. We would tour the sites around Las Vegas and watch the shows, some free and some with admission charges. The last year we watched the Blue Men Group, for instance. Usually my mother treated us all to the shows.
One year in particular we had so much fun driving from one casino to the next to take advantage of free gambling money. We were all such cheapskates but enjoyed the thrill of the hunt. Often we would crowd several of us into my hotel room to sleep, spilling out onto the floor. I can't recall if it was Kevin or I who clogged the toilet one year and inconvenienced everyone. We would eat inexpensive meals at the hotel buffets.
When I got home we would have a family gathering for everyone to choose gifts from all the free stuff I would get at Comdex. T-shirts, hats, pens, candy, travel bags, alarm clocks, balls, pads of paper, key chains, etc. Suzanne and each kid would take turns choosing one item, first through last, then last through first. It was pretty exciting for everyone.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Later in life I really got hooked on road cycling. I started commuting to work regularly and went on lunchtime rides, as well as many Saturday club rides. We would routinely do 50 to 100 mile rides. In the summer of 1990 I graduated to a week long summer tour with a group of about 20 cyclists. We had a van haul our gear and we stayed in motels each night, riding 70 to over 100 miles each day. Our tour in 1990 started in Walla Walla, WA, went over to Lewiston, down to Enterprise, Halfway, Baker, Ukiah, Pendleton, and Walla Walla. This photo is near Enterprise:
1991 was an ambitious tour beginning in Roseburg, OR, over to the coast, down to Eureka, back inland to Weaverville, up to Yreka, Ashland, Klamath Falls, Crater Lake, and Roseburg. I can't locate any pictures from that tour.
I didn't do a 1992 summer tour, as Steven was a newborn. In 1993 I joined the group for half of their scheduled tour, beginning in Wisdom MT (staying at the famous Sandman Motel), over to Yellowstone, and down to Jackson Hole. Here is the Sandman and a traumatized Teresa:
In summer 1994 we started in La Grande, OR, over to Halfway, to McCall, ID, Emmett, Vale, OR, Burns, John Day, Ukiah, and La Grande. The road to Ukiah:
1995 was the most ambitious tour. We rode in the Rockies in Colorado, starting in Gunnison, down to Ouray, Durango, Pagosa Springs, Creede, Gunnison, Buena Vista, Aspen, and Gunnison. Here is a view near the headwaters of the Rio Grande in the San Juan Mountains: