Wednesday, July 27

Rafting Report pt 3

And we went rafting. This is super boring, so I'm not gonna finish it. :) Basically... we had a good time.

Tuesday, July 26

Rafting Report pt 2

Wellllll, we woke up bright and early (the sun was pretty much up and at 6:30 AM) and we all stared groggily at each other as if unable to comprehend how we ended up sleeping on the ground in the middle of a clearing. Hannah had already gotten up and she began to collect the "funds" for our trip. We piled our money together and formulated a "food" list so a few of us could run to the store while the others set up tents.

After these preliminary measures were done, it was hot. Like... 100 degrees + hot. And we were all glazily stumbling around trying to decide what to do with our day (we wouldn't raft until Saturday).

Finally somebody suggested that we find somewhere to swim. And after a little debate over whether or not we came to MOAB to swim in a public pool... we caved and went to swim in a public pool. (Excepting Anilee, who explained that she definitely came to Moab to be in the canyon, NOT to hang out in the town.)
Yeah, we're awesomely lame.

When we got back about 4, we had a few dehydrated people that we threw into one of the cars with A/C and water bottles. The rest of us made spaghetti (Anilee is an excellent cook, and we made a delicious sauce with Hot Cocoa Powder to sweeten it because we had no sugar. Surprisingly awesome!)

After dinner it was cooling off (the nice thing about living in a canyon is the fact that the sun sets pretty early because the cliffs/mountains are so close) and we played some games... as in mostly Pit. It was good.

Then we roasted marshmallows and told stories about stupid things till Lane arrived. With ice cream sandwiches! Yes. And then we all finally turned in to our tents... because tomorrow we were going on the river!

Monday, July 25

Pioneer Day!

Sorry, I interrupt the previous program for a post on pioneers. I know TODAY isn't Pioneer, Day, but I spent most of yesterday cleaning up camp and trudging around in 100 degree weather with sunscreen caked on my legs and a fine layer of dirt all over my body.

Still incomparable, isn't it? My entire trip was pretty rough. We had several people getting sick and the heat was incredible. But who's to complain? The pioneers physically sacrificed more than I will ever really be able to comprehend, and I will forever be grateful for them. On Sunday my rafting group went to church in Moab before we headed out (I love all-Mormon groups.) In his talk about pioneers, one brother described them as "missionaries to future generations".

Don't you love that? My ancestors and the pioneering ancestors of others definitely serve as missionaries to me. I know my testimony of the importance of the gospel is strengthened through the knowledge of what they did and why.

So, in honor of Pioneer Day, I'd like to share one of my favorite pioneer stories about my great-great-great grandparents (on my mum's side), Charles and Sarah Wilkinson.

They decided to follow the new religion to America, and all in the family who could work and save toward ship's passage, did so. At one time, even little 8-year old Joseph worked in the coal mines. Thirteen years after his baptism, on June 3, 1856, Charles and William Charles left Liverpool, England on the ship "Wellfleet" for America, leaving behind a pregnant Sarah and eight other children, to follow when there was enough money to do so. Charles had heard that wages were better in American and they could save faster. They hoped in a year all would be together again. He and William found work in a factory in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Sarah took in washings and did whatever she could to add to the savings fund. Her mother, Mary Hartley Mercer, helped by taking care of the younger children. The last of the children, little Elizabeth Ann, was born 22 February 1857 in Manningham, England. She later died at Lawrence, Massachusetts on 17 November 1860.

More than a year had passed and there was still not enough money for ship's passage for the ten of them. Sarah decided to do something about it. She had to be desperate by then. "That night at prayer she asked the children to each ask Heavenly Father for guidance in the matter. She led, and then the oldest boy was told to follow her, but as she finished she told him he did not have to pray, only to thank the Lord, for the plan had come to her as she prayed" (From story of one of the granddaughters, courtesy Daughters of Utah Pioneers.)

Moses, the oldest boy, was told to go to the docks, find the date of the next ship sailing for Boston, and to write his father a letter that they would be on that ship. Next day, she dressed in her best, took her smaller children to her mother to watch, and taking one boy with her, she went to "a wealthy home" where she had done laundry for years. At the front door, the maid thought she should go to the back door, but Sarah wanted to "see the master of the house on important business." The master agreed to see her and she explained her situation and told him she wanted a recommendation of her character that she might present it to other homes where she expected to ask for money. He not only gave her a lovely recommend, but gave her a pound note, equal to five dollars in American money, to start her on her way.

She went every day she could get away from home, with a boy on her arm, to the homes of the rich. Some turned her away, some helped. By the time the ship "Margaret Tyson" sailed from Liverpool in August 1857, she had enough money and some to spare. "What a heart-wrenching thing it must have been for the loving, caring relatives and friends to see Sarah and her nine children off..." And for Sarah also, leaving all she had known behind her forever.

It was a terrible trip, supposed to last three weeks, but stretched into six weeks. What a trial, with nine children to care for! After a week at sea, the ship was drifted far off course when a terrible storm hit them, and when that was over, they ran into a "calm" where the wind never filled their sails and they just had to sit it out. When they finally had the weather they needed, they were nearly out of food and water, and far south of their course. They had to land at the first port they could reach, which was New York instead of Boston.

They did not have the advantage we have today of sending and receiving messages immediately. Charles had been going to the docks in Boston for three weeks looking for their ship to arrive, and after six weeks had passed since its departure from England, he was told it must have gone down in the storm and all were lost. He was desolate and about to give up when William came with a letter telling them where his family was. He took the next train to New York to get them. What a reunion that must have been.

The family continued on to Salt Lake City in 1862, and they are buried in Hoytsville, UT. I have yet to go see their graves. (Hopefully I will get to before I go on my mission.) Many of my ancestors (not to mention all the pioneers) and my sweet mum have given me a strong testimony of relentless faith in the face of difficulty. Whether it be praying blindly for hope or instruction, or paying tithing and keeping other commandments, my life has been greatly benefitted by the faith of others and my own opportunities to find faith for myself. I only pray I can continue to pass the legacy down to my children and perhaps out to others over the next couple of years.

Sunday, July 24

Rafting Report pt 1

Hi all! I just got back from a rafting trip! A group of friends-which-I-stumbled-upon have begun to go down to Moab each summer because our good friend Lane is a river guide down there. (Which, besides pretty much being a Leprechaun, automatically makes him epic, I swear.)

The trip began Thursday after I got off work. Megan (whom I had never met before) came to get me from the apartment, and after a quick jaunt to fill up her truck with camping things (like tents and... tents) we went to Springville to pick up Devon (who is both an RM and in a very serious relationship, therefore pretty much unrelated to my existence) and then we began the shrubby drive down to Moab. Devon spent much of the trip telling me exactly WHY I was excited for a mission and why it was going to suck even as it would be awesome. Good times.

We got there about... a late time... (probably 10 or so) and I was pretty much going to pass out. So when everyone stopped at Denny's to eat (dinner?), Hannah (good friend from high school who got me in in the first place), Brenda (another awesome individual) Anilee (a fellow river-guide friend of Lane's) and I drove down the canyon to find a spot. (Yes. At 10:00 PM.)

We eventually came to the area we were hoping to find a campsite in, and began wandering around with a flashlight to see if there were any open. We found one we thought may be good, but as we approached it, a light beamed out from the creepy bus sitting next to it, unaccompanied by any other indication of life. The beam followed us out to the road.

We assumed it was taken and moved on.

After some time, we found a good spot. The site next to it was taken, and a man inside one of the tents asked us what we were looking for. We explained what was up, and asked if it was okay that we moved our group in (we didn't explain the eventuality of 14 people, and it was a courtesy anyways so I don't see how it matters.)

THEN to be especially courteous, instead of putting up tents, we decided that everyone would just sleep on a tarp with their sleeping bags. So Hannah and Brenda headed back down the Canyon, and Anilee and I stayed to watch the site. (We both fell asleep.)

The Milky Way was awesome.

When everyone arrived, we unpacked (in a surprisingly quiet manner) and literally "crashed" in our sleeping bags under the stars. (Don't worry, the wheelbarrow handle we had dubbed the "chastity stick" was right at hand.)

Stay tuned! (Unless this is utterly boring. Then ignore the next few posts.)

Thursday, July 21

Computer Time

How do families with a lot of kids regulate time on the computer? My family was made up of gaming-addicts, and when we were younger there was a single PC to serve the needs of the seven of us (father included). Daddy, William, and Andrew played Ultima Online, Command and Conquer, and Age of Empires, etc. Leslie and I loved to play Baldur's Gate, more Age of Empires, etc. Emma and I loved Sims, and Moroni would play all of the above from day 1.

So, with about 6 playing hours in a day (because of school), how does one regulate playing time? We were (supposedly) allowed one hour a day per person. The Ultima Online troupe got around this easily because, one, dad was also playing and, two, because it was a MMORPG (meaning it required the internet). Remember dial-up internet? We weren't allowed to use it for more than a few minutes at a time during the day because it tied up the phone. So the men would play deep into the night. I still remember getting up at three AM and wandering out to find one of them dedicatedly hacking orcs and litches to pieces.

Otherwise, I think the greatest source of contention in our household was the matter of who's turn it was to use the computer, how long they'd been on, and how long before they were going to get off.

After a while the four of us younger kids got sick of the fighting and wrote ourselves a page-long list of rules about how turns were dictated. A PAGE. I still don't remember the particulars... mostly that no one could be on for more than an hour at a time between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM and how turns were passed, etc. My mum thought it was brilliant and framed our list.

It wasn't long before William (recently returned from boot camp) found our list and, dismantling the frame, added some rules of his own. These included (not exactly, but to the best of my recollection):

1. Each individual waiting to begin their turn must stand at attention to the right of the computer until William notices them.
2. The individual will have their start time printed in ink on their forehead.
3. The individual will begin their turn.
4. At the end of the one-hour turn, the individual will stand again at attention to the right of the computer until William has printed the end time upon their forehead and given his signature.

His additions served to end the computer-feud, to the best of my recollection. I guess we finally realized we were taking things too seriously. Besides, whining had worked plenty fine in the past.

Tuesday, July 19

Desktop Backgrounds and More Whining

I switch things up... a LOT. Between my blog and my actual computer (and my work computer) I have way too much fun changing themes again and again and AGAIN...

That said, recently I put my mac background to a folder of "fantasy" paintings. Here are a few of my favorites. I like to "tile them" and get a stained-glass appearance:

This last one is probably my favorite.
Those of you who recognize the subject matter of the first one may understand my most recent sorrow. There are so many books and movies coming out while I'll be gone! The Dark Knight Rises, A Memory of Light (as seen in the first picture above), and The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey....


Sheer agony.

Oh, and there IS a second part to this. No shortage, eh cinema?

Friday, July 15

Some More Lack-Of-Sleep-Haiku

Brought to you by Curious George, going to bed at four, and Erin's obnoxious alarm song today.

My plants are dying.
The sunlight cannot reach them.
I can do nothing.

I am still waiting.
After two years of trying
To ready myself.
I am so afraid...
The future is uncertain,
Even as it's set.

Walking up a hill,
Something sharp is in my eye-
Walk into a bush.

Every day for lunch,
I eat frozen burrito.
Oh monotony.

Fantasy exists--
Not just to entertain us,
But to remind us.
Our lives follow theirs.
We set out on our own quest
To find our spirits.
Mentors rise and fall.
They teach of our destiny.
Our private epic.

I should not be at work today. Two men just came and asked for Michael Hunter. I took their names and called Michael. The conversation went something like this: (asterisks indicate mind blips.)

"Michael Hunter?"
"... yes?"
"Oh! Michael Hunter?"
"Yes, what did you need?"
"Uhm... * two men are here to see you."
Sorry, what was your name again?
"Michael Hunter, Bo is here to see you."
"Ok... I will be there in a minute."

Lovely use of the full name, there. I think I'm creeping people out...
Anyhow, happy Harry Potter day! 13 years and we've reached the conclusion.
Perfect timing, really. This saturday I will see my sister off to France and with my mission, I shall likely not see her for a good two years. Seems as though we're beginning a new era...

Wednesday, July 6

Another Fond Realization

Please remind me to take summer off in the future! This morning I'm feeling excited at the prospect of classes next month... and to be frank, it's an awesome feeling. :) I'm feeling super nostalgic for high school summers--what with hearing the marching band playing, chilling at my house, watching fireworks and hanging out with my cousin... and now feeling excited at the prospect of school in the fall!

This is, of course, undermined by the fact that I may NOT take classes, seeing as I put my papers in during the beginning of August. But there's a good chance I could still manage to take them. We will see, right?

Also, you may have noticed I forgot to post a picture yesterday. I DID draw one. But I didn't have time to post because Grosland and I were busy defeating the stupid Chinese Dragon that we'd been stuck on for the last month.

Grosland (Will) and I (Jack) spent ludicrous amounts of time battling clay giants and crazy chinese pirates, and then defeating a psycho witch woman and her summoned dopplegangers-- only to be defeated by a giant magical dragon that inevitably managed to kill us no matter how hard we tried to get away.

And... victory is ours.
I mayn't post a picture every day since, frankly, I don't want to hoard Erin's equipment. But hopefully you'll see more of my stuff from here on out.

p.s. Wasn't yesterday's storm amazing?! We sat in our front room with the lights off and the sliding door wide open and just watched the lightening streak through the area. Honestly, there is almost nothing I love more.

Monday, July 4

Because I Said I Would

Hope everyone has an excellent week--despite the awesome heat and such. Hopefully we can get our air conditioning fixed in any case...

Happy 4th! Hope it was a fantastic display of water balloons and fireworks and hotdogs! Mine was. ;)

And, as promised, another drawing. This one isn't finished, but what ho. I don't have anything else to post.

Sunday, July 3

Forgetting to Draw

Today I hung out with my awesome cousin Shawna. She is an aspiringly fantastic artist, but I felt a little disgruntled when her response to my usual "I don't draw much anymore" was "but you were one of the things that made me want to draw in the first place!"

I felt... a little more than disgruntled. I felt disapproving of myself. This happens often--about singing or playing piano or any talents that I take for granted and shove under the couch unless I need them. Then people bring them up. "Don't you do plays anymore?" "You were so amazing in the color guard!" "Didn't you write a book?" "What have you been drawing lately?" If I have a talent, I should cultivate it, right? I should strive to maintain it. Luckily some things (piano specifically) keep being brought up--often against my will (see: church callings.) But drawing is the one talent that I leave alone unless I have some particular need.

This is going to stop. I've decided to begin doing... stupid sketches... and at least practicing a little each day. Erin has a tablet she is willing to let me use, so each night I will attempt to fish out a random doodle. I apologize in advance--I'm not a patient person, so mistakes are usually left in evidence. I'm not good at erasing.

Here are three--my cousin Shawna, and my roommates Erin and Jessica (Grosland).

Shawna looks nothing like that...
and Erin's chin isn't like that, I promise. >.<