Sunday, January 31, 2016

Personal Hallmarks of 2015

As I contemplate my big personal events of 2015, infinitesimal as compared to the world catastrophes, wars and rumors of wars, jihadi murders, corrupt politics, and the suffering of multitudes, I did pass through some personal events that were big to me.

My father died in January, and we traveled down to California twice for memorial services. One in La Mirada, where he coached football and other sports and was athletic director at the high school for many years, where many of his former students and fellow coaches spent an afternoon remembering the "Old Buzzard." He was very loved and respected. I, my sister and brother, and our spouses attended that gathering and were thrilled by the remembrances shared by those who had been influenced by our father. The La Mirada High School stadium is named after him, and the football team dedicated the 2015 season to him. The team won the state championship game for 2015 in Goodman Stadium! The other memorial was at the care center in San Diego where he lived the last five years of his life. That was a big family reunion with all the children, grand children, and great-grand children celebrating his life with his friends and acquaintances at the center.

19 June 2015 was the 50th anniversary of my Huntington Beach High School graduation. I had contacted several classmate who still live in the area, but no one in the class tried to organize a reunion. That was a big disappointment for many of us who would have gladly traveled back from our far flung abodes to join in a celebration. Oh, well. Maybe there will be one for the 100th. I know of many of our classmates who have passed on, and I wonder how many of us are still breathing.

October 16th was the 50th anniversary of my baptism in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has been a wonderful and interesting 50 years, and I have never regretted that decision to join the Church. In January I was ordained a Patriarch.

2015 was a year of construction for us. We moved our bedroom into the family room and then knocked out the whole back wall of the house expanding the kitchen and adding a dining room; turning the office into a master bedroom with bath and walk in closet; and taking out a wall between the living room and our old bedroom to make an alcove for the piano. There is a new basement under the addition as well. It has been a year of construction dust and dirt in and on everything. Hopefully everything will be finished soon, so that we can move out of the family room which has been our kitchen, dining, living room for the last eight months. Fortunately we have a bathroom and a very small kitchenette in the family room, so we have been able to wash dishes in a sink and not in the bathtub like some other house remodelers we have known.

Near the end of summer, my wife and I had our cataracts removed and had new lenses put in each eye. I am amazed at how much better my distance vision is. I don't think I have seen this well in the last 60 years. I can now drive without glasses, AND I can read the street signs, which I couldn't do even with my glasses before the surgery. I only need glasses for anything closer than about four feet.

My wife retired in June after 24 years of teaching, and I have turned in my intent to retire in June of this year, making 43 years for me. So we are embarking on a new phase of life in 2016.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

An Hour with Norman Rockwell

One of my college roommates, Jack Peterson, with whom I have stayed in contact for the last 43 years, is visiting the area with his wife, Suzi. We spent the afternoon together at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art viewing the American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell exhibit. I have always loved Rockwell's illustrations and paintings. He certainly captured the spirit of an America that no longer exists. I wish I had all those Saturday Evening Post magazines that came to our house in the 50s amd 60s. My favorites were the April Fool's covers where you could find all sorts of strange images worked into the painting.
On the steps of the museum.
Down to the basement for the special exhibit.
Chris, Suzi, and Jack in the lobby.
My mother had several books of Rockwell's collected works. Her favorite painting was of the farm boy and his father sitting on the running board of the farm truck waiting for the train to take the boy to college. It is called "Breaking Home Ties." She loved the emotions written on the faces of the two and the dog.

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Project for the New Year

I have joined a mail art blog called Mailart 365. The idea is to create and mail 365 decorated envelopes during 365 calendar days. I chose to start on this first new day of a brand new year. From looking at the postings of other bloggers on the blog, one may post several images of decorated envelopes on the same day  and then skip a few days. The goal is to create and mail 365 envelopes in 365 days. I joined this blog to motivate me to get more envelopes done. Hopefully it will work. Here are my first six envelopes for the new year. They were finished and mailed last week, but I am counting them as part of this year.