Musings defined: ponderings, reflections, meditations, contemplations.
I aim to share experiences, past and present, with the goal of learning and appreciating what life presents.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

All Decked Out

What do you see through our open front door that is new. If you said snow, you would be correct, with about fives inches in the last few days.  If you said, What is new is the deck, then you are on the right track.
I finished building the deck last week.  I feel very blessed that during the last phase of construction, the weather cooperated so I had joyous times in the sunshine and only one day of cold wind.  It was actually enjoyable.  But then don't we have projects so we can use our time enjoyably?
I was telling a friend of mine, Peggy, about how it was all going.  A week after it was almost done she asked what my next project was.  Let's not rush it.  I am getting caught up on my writing, like this blog, although Carroll and I have started a new project, a delicious one.  But that is for next week.
Construction started back in August when I dug out the grass down about 6 inches covering the 21 foot area in front of the house.  Next I dug six holes.  Actually I dug 9 holes but covered 3 of them in; deciding I didn't need them.  After all, this is an exercise in physical exercise.  Wheelbarrow was handy to carry away the dirt and to mix the concrete in.  Six 8 inch sono tubes filled with concrete about 21 inches deep.  The double outside frame of 2X6 treated lumber is securely nailed and screwed and attached to each of the 6 metal saddles that were secured in the concrete when I poured it.  This should ensure the deck does not move eventhough it is not secured to the house.  I have never built a deck before and didn't know what I was doing.  I am grateful to framer Chris next door; Pieter, best friend cabinet maker; clerks at Home Depot, Home  Hardware; and most of all, Harvey at Trans Canada Lumber who had built his own elaborate deck and had lots of tips and ideas for me. 
I am especially grateful to my friend, Scott, who spent a day with me setting up the construction and brought his chop saw over for me as long as I needed it.  That made me faster and more accurate than my old skill saw.  I also bought a new yellow De Walt drill because my old blue drill didn't have the power to put the 3 inch screws in.

Once I listened to my team of experts, (who didn't always agree by the way, aka the extra holes), I could relax more and enjoy the work.  Carroll was a big help when the 16 foot deck boards needed cutting.  She also helped me keep the angles straight.   

As usual this project took longer than I expected.  I was glad I poured the concrete posts before we left in September for our 3 week trip, because the night temperatures fell to freezing when we came back.  As much as I enjoyed building this deck, once I knew what I was doing, it was good to get up off my knees and pull down all the yellow CAUTION tape I had strung up for so long.  Now we can relax on the front deck
or the back deck; in sun or in shade; but in actual fact we seldom just sit around when outside.  When we bought a smaller home, Carroll wanted room to garden.  Maybe I wanted room to landscape and make projects; as long as I don't have to complete them in too speedy a fashion.  The deck is our answer to the increasing tilt of the sidewalk - cover it over.
The bit of wisdom:  I have discovered that idle time gets me into trouble.  I thought retirement meant I could do pretty much anything I wanted, including watching all the TV I wanted.  No!  I am happier when engaged in something productive - like building a deck.  As I reflect back on the blogs I have posted, most tell of effort, whether it is work or play and many include family.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Travels in October

After General Conference in Salt Lake City, we drove to La Verkin and stayed in the home Mom grew up in.  She met with all her sibs.  They also sorted books.  Both of us grew up loving books.  We also stayed long enough to meet Christina's fiance', now her husband.  Christina is usually so reserved - but not with Shon Jessee.  We met lots of family at the reception.

Sarah and Rob invited us and Micah, Keziah and Arrianna for Thanksgiving dinner.  They warned us that it would not be a traditional dinner, as you can see.  Rob spent much of the day making fresh California sushi, won tons for the soup, and cubed pork, chicken and mushrooms to cook in the soup with the shrimp.  What fun! and so delicious!  The girls brought 2 pies.

Rob is the master chef at work.

Isabella is so cute and talks lots now.  She gets her  white blonde hair from both her dad and her mother.  She loves to go for walks outside.

I love to see cousins having fun together.
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Arrianna and the rest of the family all have winning smiles.

Guest blog by Keziah

I am taking over my grandfather's blog. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! He asked me to write a little diddy to improve his blog, so I accepted. Grandpa and Grandma are over visiting MY house while my parents are gone for their anniversary in Mexico. It's been fun having my grandparents around but they don't like playing the same games as I do (strategy and long... like Risk). The house is much more quiet than normal but I'm getting used to it.

Our family has discovered a hard working, gruelling, risk taking, savage, inopportune, irrelevant, freezing, burning, sweltering, aggressive, bloody, bright, dark, filthy, drab, ugly, homely, bad, annoying, crazy, dead, helpless, horrible, odd, poor, old, tough, wild, angry, annoyed, arrogant, stupid, awful, clumsy, condemned, cruel, dangerous, depressed, disturbed, frightening, nasty, naughty, terrible, troubled, uptight, disagreeable, uncomfortable, heavy, broken, damp, dreary, rough, weak, empty, crooked  job... Delivering newspapers! We have been delivering newspapers for about three years and at one point we had nine paper routes, just a little too many. Now we have three and it takes us an hour to finish, which is actually pretty fast. We get paid about $250.24 every four weeks for twelve hours of work. :) (can you count the adjectives in the first sentence of this paragraph?)

Our family life is pretty busy and we don't have that much spare time. My only free day is Thursday, but not really even then because that is the day that I have youth. Church, papers, piano and supper, papers, youth, papers and chores. That is my week and sadly my life. I love my life though, don't read that wrong, it's just really busy, but we all need something to do.

As you now finish reading the best post in this whole blog I would like you to think about your family and what they mean to you. How much time do you spend with them? How often do you do activities together? I know that I love spending time with my family and playing games with them. I am thankful that my grandparents took the time and effort to travel down to little old Lloydminster to visit their grandchildren. Toodledoo!
Keziah Jensen

NB:  Keziah wrote this post in October when Carroll and I were there.  Thank you Keziah.  A sad post script is that Keziah's Uncle Seraft was murdered earlier this week in St. Vincent in the Caribbean.
Grandpa, November 18th.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

 Carroll and I were fortunate to obtain tickets in our stake for the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference, October 1st in Salt Lake City.  We were delighted that our grandson, Ben, wanted to attend with us, and we had the extra ticket.  This Conference Center holds over 21,000 with nothing to impede the view, except the distance in our high balcony seats.  For close ups we relied on the large screens on either side.  The choir seats are occupied by Primary children as they replaced the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for this session.  They sang with gusto and with simple faith.  Tears came to my eyes as they sang "I Thank Thee Dear Father".  Another highlight came when Ben rested his head on my shoulder during the conference.  I don't think he was napping because he answered my question.  Love that grandson.

I like this view from in front of the Conference Center because you can see the spires of the Salt Lake temple, across the street, just beyond the trees.  We ate dinner the next day with Ben and all the family at their home in Payson.
General Conference is a special time because we hear the apostles and prophets and others remind us of what we need to hear for our time and in our day and age.  I particularly liked the talk by a Seventy, Ian Arden, who reminded us of priorities of how to spend our time.  In my notes from that Saturday afternoon, I wrote: family, things of God matter most, seek deligently from the best books, service to others.  Be as quick to kneel in prayer as we are to text.  Cease to be idle, but be profitable.  I have a great deal of discretion of how I spend my time.  I am making an effort to waste less time so I might be more profitable: to the Lord, family and others.

In the general priesthood session, President Dieter Uchtdorf reflected on our caring for the poor and needy.  Our commitment to welfare principles should be at the root of our belief.  President Henry B. Eyring is one of my favourites.  "We need faith and humility to rediscover" what we learned of the Plan of Salvation.  The Lord calls weak and simple people (versus the worldly learned people) to carry out His purposes, [like the young farm boy Joseph Smith].  Our beloved prophet and president, Thomas S. Monson, announced more temples for people around the world.  He also reminded us that, "We are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven."  Even now I stop to ponder the meaning of these great talks for my life today.  I find answers to my challenges in the inspired words of their talks.
To read all their talks given during the five sessions of Oct. Conference, go to:

Monday, 14 November 2011

Kayaking on the Okanagan

Over two months with no posts.  Tch, tch.  I will give some reasons later.  For now I am repenting and will create some posts that I have wanted to make for over two months.  One of the benefits of our family reunion at the end of July this year, was that we were able to spend some time with families just one on one both before and after the reunion.  The water of Okanagan Lake is a great attraction.

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My close friend, Pieter Bakker, is generous with the loan of his two kayaks.  We carried them across the road from his home in Peachland and enjoyed some quiet time paddling on the lake.  The rest of the story...
Near the end of August new move-ins to our city, Mike and one of his daughters, Kaitlynn,  joined Pieter and I in with their kayak.  I like to check out this and that in the water on this warm evening.  I was just taking big strokes of the paddle to catch up to them, when all of a sudden -- I ended up in the water over my head.  Couldn't believe that so quickly the kayak turned over, dumping me out; leaving me no say in the matter.  First time in 3 years of kayaking I ended up in the water.  A couple on the beach asked if I needed help and I said, "No, my friend Pieter will help me.  Mike, in his more stable kayak, came back and allowed me to hold on while he towed me and my paddle back to shore.  After we dumped all the water out of the kayak, we paddled some more, but it gave us something to talk about.