Saturday, July 31, 2004

Gotta love that market economy. Sorry, I still have problems with our capitalism and the human foibles inherent, especially in a totalitarian state.

Hey, why don't we sell them our industrial infrastructure at a bargain price? Wow. What a great idea.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

We are, like so many in our country these days, fighting a simmering battle over private property rights and local governance issues in Central Utah. My friend Brad, a darned good warrior in this battle, sent me this story depicting the similarity between the psyche of the times and that of children put into peril by preying psychopaths. It's worth the read, a portrait of our strange times.
More of our country's industrial base moving to China. Brilliant.

We can further our service economy now, for sure.
i-pod? X-Hatch.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

As a continuation from yestereve, the funeral was informative and very unifying to the family and friends of my grandfather. My dad did the life summary, all of his worrying the day before moot because of his great job in the role. All of grandpa's children did a fantastic job of describing him and his accomplishments. They talked of his sense of humor, and his dedication as a father, soldier, worker and firefighter. One of his nephews with a long association with grandpa spoke at length about who he really was and about his dedication and service.

At the graveside, a "last call" was put out by the Bountiful City dispatch with a moment of silence and a note of his service to the city. That's where I lost it finally, there is something about those who work for the common good with a shared cause and camaraderie, when one moves on, they know how to pay tribute. Too bad teachers don't have that. Heh.

We all ate as LDS people do after the services, shoveling in copious amounts of potatoes, ham and cake. The conversations at these gatherings are well worth the time and good food, it's a place to just breathe and talk if one feels the need. My brothers and sister were there, and they are fun to be with and to watch interacting with the rest of the family. We're all very different, but it's easy to see the similarities when we're all together.

At my aunt and uncle's house later on in the evening, most of the family got together, eating my mom's ice cream and sharing stories and a video the church made of grandpa for a conference talk a few years back. That was fun to see. He played an old farmer in his garden. Tres apropos.

Just about everyone was spent early on after an emotional day, so we took off with the first wave around ten o'clock.

About all that happened yesterday was the big annual trip to the Centerville Deseret Industries to replenish the kid's wardrobe, and the big trip home.

It's amazing how much family can make one feel a sense of belonging. Isn't that really what we're on this planet for? To belong and feel connected, to serve and enjoy being appreciated.

That about sums up the last few days.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

We returned from four nights and five days up in Bountiful just this afternoon. It was one of those classic bittersweet interludes of life, we will benefit from the experiences and interchanges for a long time.

The Twenty-Fourth festivities were nice in themselves,although each successive year seems to make them a bit more hectic and crowded, a little more impersonal and given to a blind obeisance to celebration for the sake of the celebration instead of the celebrated.

The little bit of the parade that we saw was just that, we didn't get there until very late because of our own disorganization and also because of the somewhat lame Suburban with a malfunctioning fuel pump. My grandpa's house is forlorn, without anyone living in it, with no furnishings and being marketed to the masses by those who market for a living. That's probably the root of my problem with the state of the holiday in all honesty.

All in all, t's a true blessing to be with the clan and the fireworks are amazing from my uncle's inlaw's home. I'm grateful that they put up with the lot of us on their back lawn for the evening.

The carnival on the twenty-fourth itself was as it has been for quite a few years, the incarnation of all that bothers me about the current state of the holiday, moneychangers invading a holiday sacred to the ancestors and people who made this culture and settlement possible. Now the carnival is standardized and ticketized, stacked and given to the overpriced carnival hawkers with their elecricized spin buckets and floaty-boats twirling around for dollars, attended to by bored itinerants unconcerned about the occasion or the attendees.

The best part of the day was a get-together of cousins up Mueller Park Canyon, with much conversation, cool breeze and junkfood for all involved. I really miss my cousins, it's good to know they're there. It's good to have a place where one belongs.

Sunday was grandpa's viewing, my first event of getting down to the gritty of why we were all in town together. After heading down to Springtowne to drop off Moshe at the house for the rest of the weekend, the evening came on all too fast. Herding my group here and there took much out of Drie and I, and although we felt to some extent the gravity and levity of the evening, we felt detached and harried. It was good to get to bed after the evening's activities on Sunday.

It's a bit late and I'm quite tired even now, so I'll continue the account tomorree. Hope all is well with you.

Friday, July 23, 2004

We ran to the top of Hell Hole Ridge this morning, just because it needed to be done. I, however, did the ascent with shorts on, up and down a ridge with only elk trails and lots of manzanita and scrub oak. Not something to be done very often. My shins are feeling the consequences.

Here's a shot from the top, looking over Spring City, toward Mt. Nebo. The panorama goes from one end of the valley to the other. A very nice spot, too bad it's such a steep hike.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

And for today? Pool filling, garden tending and skewampus schedules.

The kids wanted to get out the pool yesterday, but I was way too slow on the draw to make it happen. By the time I got around to it yesterday, it was four thirty in the afternoon and the thunderclouds were abundant on every side. So, as so often happens in the life of a parent, the intonation of "tomorrow" put the day of reckoning off at least one more day.

I got on it pretty soon today though, realizing at around 11:30 that things were going to be at least as tough as yesterday because the two plugs for releasing, and therefore by the same token, retaining the air had been misplaced by some mischievous gremlin (read: silly father) the last time it was used. I really dislike having to jerry-rig things, mostly because at least three-fourths of that which we own are at this point jerry-rigged or destined to become such within one or two seasons, so I searched and looked and scanned about every place I know of wherein I stash things in a pinch.

There was no luck to be found in said activity, so out came the plastic bags and duct tape and the pool was plugged and filled with air and soon after, water within twenty minutes.

The kids were delighted.

Meanwhile, Drie worked in our poor little garden and herb patches, working herself into exhaustion and a sunburned face. Give that girl respite from watching kids, and she'll find something else almost as taxing if you don't keep a close eye on her. She had fun, though, and always has fun digging in the "soil" around our house in the hopes of a better year next year.

Are you getting the idea about the odd scheduling around here? Next year, tomorrow, in a minute and pretty soon are when everything gets done here, and jerry-rigging or mahoobajobbying are the how. We're lucky anything gets done or stays that way, so we'll see if we're ever finished with anything. I'm not holding my breath.

Happy 24th weekend if I don't get back on until Saturday or so.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Well, we spent some time down at the local cemetery reading headstones today. This was one of the first times we have been able to go down and see them when the a lot of the kids could read them for themselves. They were fascinated with the dates and names, figuring out relationships and kinships between the stones.

I also shared with them the news of the day, my Grandfather, Edward Garrett Burningham, known by most as Ted, departed this sphere of influence as a soul of flesh and spirit. They took it like good, sweet children, sorry to hear such news, but pretty sure that everything was alright and things were just proceeding according to the way things just are.

He's been ailing for quite a few months now, and in the past week has been feeling especially in need of relief from this veil of tears. His wife and my grandmother, Blanche, died more than five years ago, and he has been missing her and his old level of energy much. He was a very busy and handy man. The steady loss of his strength and ability to do things for and by himself has been a very hard thing for him to take.

He lived almost all of his life in Bountiful, Utah, except for the brief but I am sure for him, too lengthy seasons during World War ll. He spent time as a long-haul truck driver in the forties and fifties, as a fireman and firechief in Bountiful during the fifties and sixties, and as a sheet metal fabricator into the eighties and nineties. He was always busy, mowing his lawn early in the morning, aiding those in need of pretty much anything, and working in his garden at all hours possible during the growing season, next to the house where he was born and grew up in Bountiful where my aunt and uncle live now.

He survived all his brothers and sisters, each living a good life, but my grandfather seemed to have benefited from some extreme stubbornness of will, clean and industrious lifestyle and some fortunate heart medicine and surgery in very recent years.

He was a excellent example to all who knew him, a thrifty and responsible man, always taking care of that which was under his husbandry and much more. His eight children are each in their own way tributes to his ways, and each are very much like him, again, in their own way.

He passed on today, after a long and productive life. May his increase be eternal, and his blessings just the same.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Ryan, Paul, a few of our kids and I made it down to Thousand Lakes Mountain this afternoon for a bit of fishing and gazing. This is a beautiful place, and though I wasn't able to coax any fish onto my line, we had a great time.

Here's the lake from the northeast.

Same lake, looking west.

The party, getting ready to head out to the sound of booming thunder in the not-too-distance.

The view from a place just east of the lake called Merril's Cabin. Merril is Paul's dad.

He and his brother spent the summers here from when he was thirteen years old until he moved away from home cutting timber and working the mountain. This is where they had their sawmill and cabin. A magnificent place.

Wild strawberry plant.

Rain advancing up the mountain.

The mountain we were on is out there in the distance. In the valley is a nice fishing stream if you can catch them unawares in clear water.

A pelican taking off from Johnson Reservoir, just north of Fishlake. It's fun to see them hanging out in high mountain lakes.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Had the rare opportunity to head up Maple Canyon today with our friends Marcus and Melinda. They dropped their three fine children off at Melinda's parent's house and they headed down for a couple quick routes.

Luckily they remembered Adam and had the patience to belay my sad butt as I did my best to make it up a couple of walls, too. Even more fortuitous was Drie's willingness to allow me the time to strap on my old neglected hardware for a few hours of rock-joy.

The cool thing was that I had a pretty good excuse for my performance in my bout with e-coli debilitation. The bad thing was it was pretty a pretty humbling experience even without my excuse, all things considered.

I'm not in my twenties anymore, Dorothy.

Good, solid, bracing fun, though.
The presentation went fine. There weren't crowds beating down the door barred because of overflow or anything like that, but we enjoyed doing our little thing and talking with those concerned with kids like our students.

Cedar City is beautiful. Lots of trees with an amazing group of mountains behind and stunning desert in front. SUU is a great campus, with a good faculty and a damn good Shakespeare program. I thoroughly enjoyed my short time there...

But on Thursday, after the presentation, a quick hamburger and a celebratory trip up to Kolob Reservoir with Ryan and his dad, I was slammed with an awful case of food poisoning. Just as we were getting off the lake, I started feeling pretty crappy. By the time we left, I was pretty sure I was in trouble, so I concentrated hard on moving stuff through my system without involving ejecta in the situation with a moving car.

I made it to the hotel (barely) and got into the tub with a sigh of both relief and exasperation. The night was one spent without sleep for many and various reasons, knowing that I would have to drive home at some time the next day.

I survived the night and gratefully felt much less sick by morning. Unfortunately, my muscles, head, back and more importantly, my energy level, didn't fare as well. I headed to the conference late, but while selecting a session to attend, I surmised I might as well head out as soon as possible to avoid wasting time phasing in and out of concentration in a classroom. Bleah. That's hard enough with normal levels of sleep, nourishment and desire.

Read the highly informative signage on this one after clicking... Buh ha ha.

It was a pretty trip home. I did lots of deep breathing and a few minutes on the side of the road with eyes closed, though.

I'm not really sure how I made it, but I did. And here I am absent-mindedly typing away, wondering why I haven't called the silly restaurant to inform them that they ruined my last hopes of sleep and some relative relaxation at the conference.

Perhaps tomorrow. Silly teenagers.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Only ten minutes 'til sink or swim, here's a pic from yestereve's hijinx with Ryan and his kids.

Until later!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Today's talley:

One presentation, as ready as it's going to be before the scalding cauldron of the moment.

One Suburban, still in the shop, a mystery to all who touch it.

One stressed out Me, and will probably be such until the danrned presentation is over and the Suburban is fixed and the financial talley is in for that one.

Will post as gain access, look forward to some good photos, at least.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Today started out with a trip into Ephraim to get a stripped bolt hole fixed on the Toyota. Some more repairs on the truck that was supposed to have been rebuilt a couple of years ago. Ha.

After that, I headed over to the Snow College Library to pay a fine incurred from overdue videos at the chaotic end of the year. I have thrown too many dollars into the library system in my life because of fines. They probably won't be the last either, as I have resolved after at least a half of those fines to not do it again. And in spite of the fact that I know almost all of the librarians there, one can call to renew, and one can renew three times on line, I still get late fines. It has something to do with having children, I'm sure.

Richard and I got together for a strategy session on the presentation down in Cedar at the Rural Schools Conference on Thursday as well. We've been thinking about this thing for at least two months, and it took us until T-minus three days to get anything serious coordinated. Yes. Teachers are pretty good procrastinators. I get a pretty big rise out of pulling things off at the last minute and it probably comes from all the years of school I've been to and all the students I've had to help through the last minute hurdles. It's got to be the rush. It burns serious B-vitamins, though.

I had to rush home before we were finished to be able to watch the furnace repairman fix our little heater. Now I probably won't have to call him again, bless his heart. Stallings is good about that, helping people afflicted with terminal money shortage disease to do things by themselves if they possibly can. Now, the house is almost ready for winter! Well, there's always the subject of the leaky roof. Neh, tar will be the solution again, more than likely.

Other than that, a day at home with the family. At home with the swamp cooler on high, feeling groovy that the coal-burner is clean and stocked and the heater is fixed, in the middle of July.

Kinda odd. But it makes me feel good.

Thursday, July 8, 2004

At times it all seems like a dream; slow motion, blurry effects, dramatic lighting and all.

Things have become considerably less exciting and worthy of description around the old Burningham home since I went back to my summerschool duties. It's pretty much back to the old cycle of dragging myself out of bed, teaching disgruntled kids stuff they don't know they want to know anything about, getting groceries and mail on the way home, and helping our kids to clean house and take care of animals between backyard adventures once I'm there. That's about it.

I was outside around dusk taking a break from harassing the kids about their newly-torn apart rooms when a poem started coming to me. I then noticed that the chickens hadn't been taken care of and toys were strewn all over the area, so the inspiration passed from my weakened grasp.

Sometimes I like to imagine that this is an odd little necessary time-out life that we find ourselves in, to make necessary preparations and build some mundane patience, and that the next time through will really be an effectual and stimulating round.

But then sleep overcomes consciousness, and it all seems like a dream.

Monday, July 5, 2004

The third, Fourth and fifth have been an enjoyable three days.

My mom showed up on the third at ten thirty at night, surprising the us by being in our driveway when we got home from the fireworks show. The kids have enjoyed her far more than all the fireworks in the world.

My friend came home from Evanston with a ration of bottle rockets and the like and we set some off throughout the day. Stuff that goes into the air with noise and booms is lots funner than streams of sparks and whistles any day.

I'm beat, tomorrow will doubtless be more wordy.

Doubtless, I'm sure.

Friday, July 2, 2004

A late-afternoon trip to Reader Ridge yielded some rare delights, delights not so difficult to find a few years ago, but nevertheless, becoming more infrequent in many areas of this world.

We saw the "green camp," an old delivery wagon on an old Model A chassis used as a sheep camp for years and years. Lately, its been used as a community yurt and hospitality stop. People would weather storms inside pr stop off during a hunt to find a stash of viennas, candy bars and other such camp food. You were only expected to leave a note saying who took what, and on one's next visit, to replace the item. Most of the time, my sources say, it worked.

The Forest Service has decided that the green camp is a blight on the land, unfit to remain in this beautiful place. It must be removed entirely, they say, or large fines will be levied on the grazing permit holders. Apparantly, the self-appointed governmental stewards don't think human history and community belongs in the wild places of the earth, and I count it as a shame among many other greater shames being perpetrated upon our wilderness in the name of management and high-minded opinion.

During our walk, we saw a beautiful buck just up the trail from us. He just stood, watching us watch and snap photos of him for a couple of long, beatific minutes before bounding off, out of sight.

The crowning event of the day was a gigantic herd of elk cows and calves. We caught sight of it as they began running across the base of the hill to avoid us, just inside a line of trees. The herd took at least a minute to pass completely, leaving us breathless and enrapt by cow calls and voices that accompanied the movement,perhaps meant to keep the calves from lingering to investigate the strange two-legged creatures down the hill.

Their smell and occasional sounds kept us riveted to the possibility of catching sight of them as a herd once more. Neither of us had seen so many elk in a long while on this mountain, and we were happy to see a herd so healthy in these lean water and high-intensity and length hunt years.

We didn't see them as a group again, though the hike was certainly not spoilt by that small disappointment. In a way, it kept us in our place, grateful recipients of a small glimpse of their beauty in their place, feeling very blessed while wishing for a little more as we left for our own homes down in the valley.