Sunday, February 18, 2018

Deer Valley Sunday

My dream Sunday would consist of:
The whole family hanging out in the same room together all day.
Doing puzzles, playing games (SkipBo, Rummikub, Phase 10, or one of Marty's games that are more complicated but we need him here to remind us all how to play), reading books, having FHE, sharing spiritual experiences, napping, watching the newest Pixar movie with an inspiring theme, eating together and having yummy snacks.

Our Sunday at Deer Valley over President's Day is about the closest we get to my dream.
We skip church. Yes we do. I decided about 5 years ago we were skipping and all staying in. 
I'm not sure if it's the right thing to do, but it feels like it.

My dream is not the rest of the family's dream of how to spend a Sunday. 
But we compromise.

We made a delicious brunch. Nick helped mom and dad and 
learned how to make french toast on Great Harvest Cinnamon Bread.
I worked on my homework. I wish it was finished before today so I didn't have to work on it. 
But it wasn't and I did. But I tried to not let it interfere with family time.

Much to the boys' chagrin, we chose to watch Coco for "church." 
They wanted Incredibles -- pitching us that it had a very family-togetherness theme.
Turns out Coco wasn't available yet. So we watched Incredibles.

After, Chris told us about his talk he gave last week in church.
Also shared an experience about Youth Council where he gave "constructive criticism" minus the constructive. Dan and I tried to give constructive feedback on how an important life skill is telling what you like first. Giving positives. Then giving ideas for change.
Christopher said he disagreed and would keep doing it his way because it worked better.
To our credit, Dan and I remained calm and positive and open-minded.

Chris & Nick went to their own rooms to nap. (And probably secretly play some video games.)
We probably all needed a little break from each other given the aforementioned conversation.

Later Nick and I worked on a puzzle together while Dan & Chris napped.
Then Chris woke up and was happy to join us.
Laughing because they're both holding onto "the last piece" seeing who will give in first.
Dan helped us transfer the puzzle from the little table to the bigger table so we had more space.

Just as it began to snow, we all went to sit in the hot tub together. 
Chris got Nick to try something daring -- sneak into the next-door condo's hot tub.
But he couldn't convince him to sneak into the pool across the hill.

We came back to the condo and made a quick, yummy dinner. (Warmed up Costco curry.)
We couldn't agree on another movie. (I wanted to watch an old classic like Backdraft or Frequency or  The Guardian. But it's really hard to talk teens into movies you think they may like.)
We kept the peace and watched Psych instead. We can never go wrong with Psych.
And then one episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

After they showered, I was able to talk Nick and Dan into a final round of Rummikub before bed.
Hot chocolate cups x2, snack bowls. Documented.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Sun to Snow in the Same Day

After getting home from Hawaii, we went straight to sleep. 
Then I did laundry and we got packed up to spend President's Day weekend at Deer Valley.

From the sun to the snow.

The skiing conditions were perfect -- warm, sun, a fresh layer of snow. 

Chris invited six friends up so we got very little sleep, 
(I finally told them they needed to stop talking at 3:00 a.m.) 
but we still had a great day and they're such awesome boys, we love having them around. 

Nick brought Will who is also fun to be with. Skiing, movies, Rummikub, hot tub, 
X-box, dinner and lunch in the condo. Super relaxing, super fun family time.

The chutes (a view from below where I watch!)

Dan, Nick and Will skiing the chutes.

One suitcase for Deer Valley. The other to pack the clean Hawaii clothes back in for our upcoming trip to Atlantis. Seriously.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

We're Baaack! The Big Island

Writing on plane set-up. (Music in the background
to block out man with a sniffly snore.)
Back to Hawaii! This time for a trip with the Executive Board of Dan's company. He loves the people he works with and I love them too -- and their spouses. So "work trip" makes it sound like small-talk with people I'll never see again. Instead its a vacation with people I love spending time with. Our last trip was two years ago and was so fun to get to know everyone. So this time I was really looking forward to being together again.

I spent five hours of our flight getting a start on my short story assignment for my class. Phew, getting an idea down.

We arrived on Friday night and had time for a late dinner with Chad and Kristin. It was nice to get a chance for some one-on-one with them.

Saturday early morning we all went in helicopters to try to see lava. And... we were successful!! Bucket list item! Last time we'd tried was with Rasch's and Hoole's on the Big Island for Spring Break 2011, the lava had stopped and the clouds were covering and we didn't see a thing! (Plus we have terrible volcano luck!) But this time we got a great view of lava bubbling and popping! Our pilot was very excited saying this was the best visual she'd ever gotten. Plus we saw red hot burning along the big lava flows as well as trees on fire from the heat.

Bucket List!!

Beautiful Hawaiian coast
Back at the resort, our rooms were amazing--condos only two stories tall and spread across five different pools and a golf course.

Ours was on ground level so we could walk our our back door to the pool. We also had an outdoor shower on the ground level which was gorgeous and very tropical. By the end of the week the largest snail in the world (probably 8" long) appeared in our shower. Tad bit unsettling.

Saturday afternoon I continued working on my short story. It was pretty amazing sitting on our patio overlooking the pool and ocean writing.

That evening we went on a night manta ray dive. What?! We all held on to a surfboard above a light placed on the ocean floor. Plankton are attracted to the light and manta rays are attracted to anywhere plankton are. About 10 rays with a 10' wing span swam all around us. Soon they started swimming right next to us! We were all screeching through our snorkel gear! It was super cool and super scary all at once.

Sunday morning Dan and I got up early for a morning walk. After, a lot of us went to church then met back at the hotel for lunch. A group went hiking but we stayed back at the hotel so I could finish my assignment. We ended up staying in that night and ordering room service and watching a movie. Felt good to just relax together.

Sunrise on the Big Isalnd

Rock art while talking to Courtney on the phone.
Monday morning we lifted weights at the gym. Dan had to go to meetings for the morning, so I went to a spin class and then had a massage at the spa. For lunch all the spouses met up at the pool and enjoyed time talking. That afternoon a large group had a mixed doubles tennis tournament. I hung back with a few friends and enjoyed more pool time and talking.

That night we had a group dinner near the ocean and spent a long evening talking and laughing. A few people had to leave that night or the next afternoon.

Tuesday morning we went on a boat tour and swam with dolphins in the ocean, and Dan and I made our first dive in 4 or 5 years. I was pretty nervous I wouldn't remember what I was supposed to do, but our dive master (a young kid) was very patient and it all turned out beautiful. Good visibility. We swam through a few arches which were cool but didn't see anything unusual except for a couple of eels and a leaf fish.

There's a manta-ray swimming next to our boat in this photo!
Back at home we warmed up in the hot tub and then Dan had meetings at our room so I slept near the pool with a towel over me because it was so cold!

Wednesday, our last day, we took a morning walk again and then read and napped by the pool the entire day. It was very relaxing and a great way to end our trip.

Many of our meals were buffets all together. It was so fun to show up and take an open seat next to someone new and get a chance to get to know each other better or catch-up on life. What a great group!

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Hiking and Hiking

Have I ever documented the stairs that begin the hike to Mt. Olympus? I wrote a scene from this spot for my class. I rarely hike on Saturdays, but it was the perfect spot to be outside and get a quick workout. Because I've been strolling too much when I walk.

Monday I debated if I should meet Christie's group to hike, because I was soooo tempted to go back to bed! But I committed and I'm glad I did. Everyone else cancelled so it was just her and me. We hiked to the top of Desolation in Millcreek. KT and I often hiked on that trail but missed the turn off to the top and ended up doing a quick, short loop instead. So it was fun to learn something knew with Christie. It was a good thing we had our poles and cramp-ons. The trail was super icy and snowy but you have so much traction you don't even notice. It's amazing how helpful the simple idea of cramp-ons are!

This week Jacob came and stayed while his parents were in Ecuador. I took him to school and home from the bus stop. He's such a cutie and was fun to have around. Showers two times a day! That was something new!

Friday, February 02, 2018

Final Ceremony

Grandsons as Pall Bearers

Three gun salute and taps.

Two representatives from the Navy attended the ceremony.

View from Earl Martin Shaeffer, Jr.'s burial site.
August 13, 1931 - January 26, 2018

Beautiful Santa Fe

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Dan's Tribute

Dan's Tribute
E. Martin Shaeffer, Jr.
1931 - 2018

Honor my father by trying to live like him and be like him.

Key attributes:
  1. Generosity: Dad was always generous and loved to provide great experiences for his family. Fun trips, weeks in Pagosa Springs Colorado, support for college and educational pursuits. Few quick examples:
    1. Always willing to pick up the tab for dinner – no matter who was there (the more the merrier)
    2. Always snuck me some extra $$$ when I was home for a break and headed back to college
    3. Purchased and gave a Car to Laotian Immigrants who needed help...tough time for him in the 80’s
  2. Optimism -- saying I use at my company all the time..”you can’t go around looking at the have to go around with your hands up so you can catch the good stuff that falls into it
    1. At age 55, the real estate crisis of 1987 put a huge dent in his personal balance sheet and business prospects (almost wiped him out), but he didn’t give up. He was optimistic about the future and even told me that it was easier the second time around to get back in the game since he had so much experience. The 90’s and 2000’s were his best decades for his business career as he got into the aviation business and started investing in real estate again. He was the ultimate optimist.
    2. He was a great businessman and had great judgment. “He who spoke first bought it”...great negotiating guidance.
  3. Supportive: Angela and I got married at age 21. He had a strong view that I needed to wait to marry until I graduated from college...but the second I told him I made up my mind to get married and not wait until graduation he embraced the idea and was so supportive of us both. He adopted Angela instantly. Dad loved Her.
*During one of our first years of Marriage we traveled together to Albuquerque for a wedding and stayed in the same hotel room. As Angela made her way to climb into bed in the dark she was feeling around and was just getting ready to jump over me...except she had the wrong bed....“Who’s getting into bed with me!” Dad yelled at the exact right moment for fun and Angela jumped a mile! EC and Angela laughed for an hour at least in the dark after that happened.

*You felt like you wanted to brag about everything good you accomplished...he was always so excited to hear about everything in my education, then my career,

then what was happening in my company. He was a great conversationalist and great listener. He used to call to just “hear about all the great stuff we were doing”...made me feel so successful, even in the toughest of times during the last great recession
  1. Slow to Anger: It’s hard for me to remember my dad getting angry (I imagine the older kids who may have been a little crazier in high school than I was might have a different opinion). He was always so calm and rational and seemed to have good control of his temper. I can really only think of one time when we was really upset. Airplane experience landing in crosswinds in Clovis, NM when controller called in wrong runway and the winds blew us off the runway. Luckily dad was cool under pressure and was able to give full throttle and get us around before crashing. They sent a car out to our hangar to apologize...I still remember him saying to the person “I had my FAMILY in there”...
  2. Loving & Dedicated: Dad really loved his kids and grandkids and he showed it by example as the patriarch of our entire family.
    1. Just a few year ago I asked him why he never grew out his beard...he told me that a number of year ago he grew out a short beard one year when we visited him in Colorado. He told me that when he held Courtney (my oldest who is now almost 23) but was a baby at that time she looked at him and started crying so he immediately went a shaved his beard so she wouldn’t be frightened
    2. When our son, Marty (serving a mission for our Church in Japan currently), was a high school teenager, I was asking Dad for some parenting advice and his only advice to me was “Dan, just put your arms around him and tell him how much you love him.....”
    3. When that same son was assigned by our Church to a mission in southern Japan (you don’t get the luxury of choosing), Dad was deeply moved as it was the same place that he was stationed for some time as a young submariner during the Japanese occupation when he was about the same age as his Grandson (also named Marty).
    4. Finally....He has demonstrated an amazing example of love for our mother...they certainly had tough times and struggles...but they stayed together for 60 years...and you could just tell that they were the best of seemed like it just got better with time. thank you dad for your example of love and dedication to our mother and for your unending love for our own kids. We love you.
What a legacy he left for us...we will miss him dearly. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Work Trip

Catherine and I planned a "work trip" to Los Angeles to look for outdoor furniture and get ideas for my office. Catherine warned me she usually packed a granola bar for breakfast and lunch because she stayed so busy the whole time. I told her not to worry, I was raised an Adair which meant going from sun-up to sun-down with no food in between was standard.

So many cool chairs everywhere!
Our plan was to go out early Wednesday morning and return late Friday night. One of the reasons I love Catherine so much is she arrived with a notebook and a list of every store we needed to see, including addresses or Design Center locations. She included an exhaustive list of items we still needed. (Even if we didn't intend to purchase them now, it would be good to get ideas while we were together!) She's so organized! (Say that again in the little girl from Despicable Me "It's so fluffy" voice!)

We got to work as soon as we sat on the plane. Then when we landed in LA, we were prepared. Also flexible as we noticed our fastest route was to stay on La Cienega which would take us past our first store on the list: Big Daddy's Antiques. It was so fun! A HUGE warehouse with a very vintage/industrial vibe. Just so much bigger and fresher than our shops here. More interesting things to look at for sure.

Next up the furniture shops near La Cienega and Wilshire. So many stores. So little time. Two different rug shops, more antique stores, outdoor furniture and specialty furniture.

These are ceramic!!
Day two was spent at the Design Center. So much fun to be surrounded by furniture and fabrics of all styles. I think we went into every space. We met some wonderful people who were so friendly, knowledgable and helpful. It felt like the epitome of customer service. A couple of places we collapsed on their couches and the sales guys were happy to chat. Another guy said "we had beautiful auras." (Which we do.) One place a guy called us the Bobsy Twins, which we took to be a compliment. Not sure he meant it that way.

Amongst all our furniture shopping, we didn't stop talking the whole time. Literally, from 7 am to late into the night. Wednesday we went to bed by 11. But Thursday night we sat in one bed next to each other pouring over furniture layouts, styles and pricing until 2:00 a.m!

We didn't do well choosing restaurants for dinner, unfortunately. The first night was fine and it was fun to be able to walk to it from our hotel. The 2nd night we kept striking out. Highlights were the bratty hostess from Ceccrio's (or something like that). "Details, Angela!" when I couldn't hear that she was asking me for my name for the reservation. And our second try, "The Stinking Rose" that looked like we'd been thrust into a carnival scene from "Something Wicked This Way Comes." It was haunting. We ate 2 rolls then left $5 on the table and fled. Our 3rd option we didn't even stop because they only had outdoor tables and when we drove by we saw they were literally on a dark, busy corner of Wilshire! Finally we drove all the way from West Hollywood into Brentwood and ate at a Hamburger Joint on San Vicente. We pulled out all our catalogs and worked away on a tiny bar table for two. But it was fun!

Even the bathroom had inspiration.
Afterward we drove around Santa Monica past our old neighborhood and through Brentwood. It was dark so hard to see anything, but I LOVE those areas! So beautiful! And even though we couldn't see, we could talk so we told each other our life stories which is one of my favorite things to do with a friend.

Friday morning I was awakened by a call from Dan that his dad had passed away. Too soon! So sudden! Catherine and I had meant to get started by 9:00 a.m., but instead we laid in bed talking about Dan's dad. Both our dad's. Our mom's. Our siblings. What made our families special. What we had learned from each of our families. I so appreciated being able to talk. It was cathartic and peaceful.

Dan had rebooked my flight to come to Phoenix instead of to SLC late that night, but I spent the morning rebooking so I could get to Phoenix sooner. We checked out of our hotel and still spent our remaining hour quick-tripping to sit in some furniture at Restoration Hardware (their showroom was much more extensive than we have here) and evaluate sizing. (SHORT!)

I set my phone alarm so I wouldn't accidentally get distracted and miss the time I needed to leave. Then I dropped her off at the Design Center where she was going to continue working until her later flight.

I mapped my way back to the airport and had a good cry all by myself.