The Watchman

The Watchman

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let's Make a List

I don't know how I would function without my lists - To Do list, Shopping list, Important Numbers list, User Name and Password list, Packing list, Birthday list, Valentine's List and especially my Christmas list.  I've found as I am getting older, I am relying on my lists more and more to help me remember all those things running around in my head.  I even have a list for things I want to blog about.

There is nothing like a list to help me focus, remember what needs to be done and provide a sense of accomplishment when the last item is checked off.  Because of this, my lists are personal and meaningful to me and usually to me alone.  They are often written in shorthand that only I can understand and sometimes my husband if he is feeling especially in tune with me that day.  So I  have become very frustrated with the need Facebook has to assign my friends to a list.

I have been Facebooking for two and a half years now.  I know that is not as many as some, but it is longer than others.  When I first started, I created some basic lists with titles like Family, Ricks College, High School, South Ogden, etc.  While these categories may have been meaningless to anyone else, they readily allowed me to check in on specific groups of friends and receive or relate information that would only be pertinent to those in the category.  There were also those friends that were just that - friends; with no other connection than we had made a connection and wanted to keep in touch via social media.

So now Facebook has decided to "improve" on how the List feature works.  This doesn't bother me too much except for three little things:

1. Now when I assign a friend to a list, FB lets them know.  I have received feedback from friends asking why they were being added to a specific list and in one case the friend let me know that she had been able to delete themself from my list.

2. Facebook is randomly populating my already established lists with other friends.  One example is a list I had that were friends from high school.  This list consisted of those friends that I attended Clearfield High with.  Now this list contains anyone who used the words "High School" in their profile.

3. Facebook is generating lists for me based on my profile and then populating them with friends who have similar features in their profile.  The other night I added Stevens-Henager Business School to my profile.  Within just a few minutes there was a list category entitled Stevens-Henager and it had friends added to it.  While it is interesting to know that these friends attended the same business school I did, they did not attend with me.

While I have always enjoyed FB making suggestions for friends, since it has helped me locate individuals I may not have otherwise found, I do not appreciate the need it now appears to have to categorize my life.  To me a list is only meaningful to the person who makes it.  With these changes to the List feature on Facebook, the lists generated may have meaning to the company, but they are proving meaningless to me.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Zion Canyon Music Festival

What an amazing weekend!!!  The Town of Springdale is located in one of the most beautiful places on Earth - the mouth of Zion National Park and the Town Park sits at the base of the West Temple.  Now imagine some of the best music echoing off those canyon walls.  The audience could not get enough of the music, the food, the art and the atmosphere.  That was my weekend - The Zion Canyon Music Festival.

The Festival couldn't take place without the great Town staff and so many volunteers.  I spent my weekend in The KidZone which was strategically place next to the Army National Guard activities.  This worked out well for me, since my girls love to participate in with the ROTC Cadets and their advisors.  This great group of individuals also pitched in and helped pick up the park in time for Day Two of the Festival.

Lela showing that she really can do pushups.
Lela throwing the football into the tank cannon.  The goal was to get four  in a row to win a T-shirt.

The girls with their swim coach Isaac, who is now in the ROTC at Dixie State College.

Yes, there is my mountain goat.  This time she did climbed the wall with bare feet.
Brittney and Kristy helped me keep the KidZone hopping with games, crafts and bounce houses - all  FREE!!!

The crowds this year were the largest ever.  There were also more vendors than ever before.  In prior years the Festival has been mainly a one-day event on Saturday.  This year the decision was made to split it in to two events with a country/bluegrass theme on Friday and  a rock-n-roll/funk/jazz theme on Saturday.  The performers are a mix of local groups and nationally recognized performers.  I liked this idea, because even in September, the temperatures can reach into the 90s in Southern Utah and so it was nice to take better advantage of the cooler evening temperatures.

My favorite story of the event was a couple who planned their wedding around attending the Festival.  They came to the Festival Friday with the bride still in her wedding dress.

Here are some quotes from people who attended, along with pics from the festival:

 Thank You!!!Danced the nights away!!

Can't wait for next year!

We had a brilliant time! Black Carl rocked the house!

My first time to this event! WOW! AND the location is sooo beautiful... its beyond words... Can't wait till the next event!

Great show last night from Porterhouse Bob!... and really good pizza.

My son Wil and my niece Brittney took these pictures.  The quotes were taken from the Zion Canyon Music Festival Facebook page.  Here is a link to the Festival website.

This was the third year for the Festival and I think it keeps getting better every year. For those of you who could not attend, here are some YouTube links for the performers so you can see what you missed.  Hope to see you next year.  I can hardly wait!!!

Stillhouse Road

Shannon McNally

The Folka Dots


The Trappers

Black Carl

West Coast Jazz Players

Porterhouse Bob

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Aaargh, It's Fun To Be A Pirate

At Back-To-School Morning for our local elementary school, I was greeted with the anticipated volunteer sign-up sheets in my children's classrooms.  I have to admit that this was the part of the experience I was most looking forward to since this would be the first time in a long time that I had been in a position to volunteer.  Not being able to be involved in my children's classroom activities has been one of the things that I most regretted about working.

I had to determine how to best split my time between my two girls so they didn't feel neglected and what would provide me with the best opportunity to observe and impact their education.  For Emily, I volunteered to go to the classroom on Fridays and help with math.  My one experience doing this also led me to helping their class rehearse for the upcoming dance festival.  When Rick arrived home that night, he was met by Emily stating, "Dad, mom can really shake her hips."  Rick not missing a beat responded with, "I know, that's one of the reasons I like her."

For Lela I volunteered to help with two parties - Valentine's Day and Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Yes, this is a real day.   (Click here for more information)  Like most of you I was completely unaware of this movement until now and so signed on not know what to expect.  Lela's teacher made the day alot of fun.  The students were allowed to dress up and Mr. Tanner even came in full Captain Hook regalia.  The day was filled with piratish songs and the party in the afternoon.

I was asked to provide a game.  Lela helped me with this project and it was determined that the most pirate type game that would result in the least amount of bloodshed or chicanery was Liars' Dice.  In preparation, I totally descimated the stock of dice at our local Ace Hardware and WalMart.  Golden Hershey nuggets were used as the prize.  Other mothers brought treats - rice krispie treats complete with skull and crossbones stored in a treasure chest and Chips AHOY cookies.

It was a great afternoon to be with my girl and her friends.  Very touching was when one of Lela's classmates came up to me and told me how sorry she was our house had burned down.  Her grandparents are some of our neighbors and she is glad we are back by them.  How truly sweet this little girl is.  I'm going to make sure she gets an extra treat this Halloween.

9/11 Remembered

The Healing Fields
Sandy, Utah
September 11, 2011
On 9/11/01 I was starting a new phase of my life - owner and operator of my own vending business. I had spent most of the night before loading up my car with the soda, candy and chips that I would need to deliver to my customers. I was in a hurry because I needed to get the boys to school and my 1 month old little girl to my parents' house before I went to pick up the few items I was still missing. Rick called to me to come up and watch the Today show.While we were watching, the second plane hit. We were in shock.

As I went about the day, I was able to talk about the events with so many of my customers. Everyone was in shock and there were many tears. By the end of the day I was so numb and I didn't think I could shed another tear. Then I saw my baby; my boys and Rick came home. We hugged and cried and were grateful for each other.  Although it had been hard to be a part of the shock and grief of so many, it truly was representative of what was going on all over the country.

What I most remember in the days and weeks following was the sense of unity and patriotism that came over the country.  So many people we knew enlisted in the military and many of our friends who served in the Reserves were activated.  People seemed to care about each other more.  There was an increase in faith and a desire to be more Christlike.  How I wish that those feelings of unity and humility remained today.  President Thomas S Monson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wrote a beautiful article about this for the tenth anniversary that appeared in the Washington Post.  You may use the link to read the whole article, but here is an excerpt that I found very touching:

Sadly, it seems that much of that renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed. Healing has come with time, but so has indifference. We forget how vulnerable and sorrowful we felt. Our sorrow moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives. The darkness of our despair brought us a moment of enlightenment. But we are forgetful. When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well.
If there is a spiritual lesson to be learned from our experience of that fateful day, it may be that we owe to God the same faithfulness that He gives to us. We should strive for steadiness, and for a commitment to God that does not ebb and flow with the years or the crises of our lives. It should not require tragedy for us to remember Him, and we should not be compelled to humility before giving Him our faith and trust. We too should be with Him in every season.

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, our family listened to and watched many memorial programs together. The boys shared their feelings of that day with their sisters. It was amazing to me that they too can remember where they were when they first heard the news and began to understand that our nation had been attacked in such a horrific way.

We were doubly blessed to be with my parents and listen to my dad remember Pearl Harbor.  He recounted how many of his neighbors in Ogden at that time were Japanese, but were as anxious as any to join the military and serve this great country that they so loved.  They did enlist and were sent to fight for their adopted country in Europe.  I find it amazing that so many continued to do so even after their families were placed in interment camps.  I think that the love and dedication to the United States by those who choose to live here is what makes this nation so great.

On our way home to La Verkin, Jon suggested we stop in Sandy and visit the Healing Fields.  We had done this previously in 2003 and the boys thought it might be a good experience for the girls who were so little at that time.  I was truly touched by the stories or thoughts of the individuals that died that day that appeared on each flag.  For those who have never been there, an American flag is placed in for each person who died on 9/11.  There are also flags representing all the nations that lost citizens that day and another area with Utah flags for each soldier from Utah lost in the war since.  The first year we went, Rick and I remember that this portion of the field was for every soldier lost till that point.  How humbling it was to see that now the number is so large that it has been limited to Utah soldiers.

My children in 2003, Healing Fields, Sandy Utah

September 11, 2011
While we visited the Field, our children took time to look at the cards and read the stories.  Often times they would find a connection to themselves, whether it was the name, something the person liked to do or where they were from.  Lela first wanted to see if there were any Wixoms (there weren't), but she did find one flag for a soldier from Hurricane.  The boys remembered holding flags lining the street as another soldier was brought home to Hurricane to be buried.

Hunter with Lela and Emily, July 2005
The motto "We Will Never Forget" is synonomous with the events of 9/11.  I want my children to remember not the destruction of that day, but the stories of heroism and how this great land came together.  I have always been taught that the Spirit of God cannot be where contention reigns; that contention is of the Devil.  My hope it that the hearts of our leaders will be softened, that they can do away with their bickering and humble themselves to do those things that will allow the United States to forever be the greatest nation on earth, one truly blessed by God.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lagoon Day

On Saturday we headed north for a day trip to Lagoon.  Hunter was able to drive down from Logan and met up with us.  The kids have been looking forward to the trip all summer.  We usually do one trip a year and have for years although we skipped last year, so there was extra anticipation attached to this trip, especially by the girls who knew they would no longer be consigned to the "little kid" rides, but could go on the coasters with their brothers.  Wil did wonder if after having gone to Knottsberry Farm earlier this summer and riding REAL coasters, if Lagoon would be a bit tame for him.

When we arrived at the park, it was Crowded with a capital C.  I have never had to park so far from the entrance gate before.  When we got in, I was also glad that the girls would not be riding the kiddie rides.  The park was packed with company party groups and family reunion groups and they all came with lots of little kids. The lines for rides like Bulgy the Whale and the Helicopters looked like you would be waiting forever (remember time is relative when you have a five-year-old who is anxious to get going).  Even the rides like the Tilt-A-Whirl and Boomerang were a minimum of 30 to 40 minutes, yet we consistently could walk on to the Fire Dragon and the Roller Coaster and only waited 15 minutes for rides such as the Bat and Wicked.

By the time we got to Lagoon, Lela had psyched herself out and didn't want to ride any rides that had steep drops, so while everyone else hit the Roller Coaster, Lela and I rode the Merry-Go-Round.

Luckily, by the end of the day, she was over this and had a great time with Wil on the Tidal Wave and Turn of the Century.

Jon did have to devil Wil a little and refuse to go on certain rides, so dad and mom did have to intercede and negotiate a compromise that allotted equal time to scream inducing coasters and rides that spin you till you want to hurl.

Emily found great amusement on the Space Scrambler by deliberately throwing herself onto Wil as the ride spun around.  Wil classified this behavior as obnoxious.

It was also nice to spend time with Hunter and see that he is learning to relax and adjusting to post-mission life.  He was his former goof-ball self, even mugging for the camera.

At the end of the day, everyone agreed that they had had a great time.  Favorite rides were the Bat, Wicked and MusikExpress.  The least favorite ride as far as the girls were concerned was the Spider and I don't see them going on that again for awhile.

Of course a trip to Lagoon has to include two things for our family -

A ride on the Wild Kingdom Train

and a stop in Pioneer Village to visit to my Great....Grandpa Bingham's cabin.

I just have to add this last picture just because it is so fun being with my honey.