Letter to Obama and State Representatives

I received this letter in my email and I was so impressed by it that I wanted to post it in the hopes that it will inspire others, as it has done for myself, to write to our representatives in our State and in Washington and tell them how we feel.  Also, that we are going to do everything in our ability, no matter how limited that ability is, to stop them from changing our country into a third rate country where we have lost our rights and freedoms.  We have the right, given to us by our founding fathers, to stop the government if they put our country at risk.  I say our country is at risk like it has never been before!  It is in danger of being torn apart from the inside out.  I will be writing my representatives.  Please do the same!

“The following letter was written by John Cyrocki, formerly of the
Orlando, Florida temple presidency. He gave me permission to post it
here for all of you to read. He considers
it public domain so share it all you want. ”

5400 Lake Street
Tangerine, Florida
July 10, 2009

President Barack H. Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC

Senator Bill Nelson
716 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C.

Congressman Alan Grayson
1605 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC

Governor Charlie Crist
Office of the Governor
PL-05 The Capitol
Tallahassee, Florida


I take this unusual step of addressing this letter to each of my
elected officials. I do so because I hold all four of you as being
derelict in your duties and responsibilities and because you have each
violated your Oath of Office.

Charge One: President Obama, you are either knowingly or because of
your ineptness, initiating major initiatives that are adversely
impacting all segments of our once free society and in the process you
are destroying our nation. Your actions could be attributed to your
lack of experience in not having had any prior management or operating
experience in any significant , free market business. The worse case
scenario is that you know exactly what your objectives are. Sir, your
actions thus far clearly indicate that you intend to transform this
nation into a centrally controlled Socialist state. Regardless of the
reasons, the results of your actions are unacceptable to me and I
would hope to a majority of Americans when they finally awaken to what
is happening to their country. During your campaign, you rallied the
gullible to your promises of change and transparency. You have
certainly kept your promise of change. However, little did your
adulating followers realize that the change you had in mind would
result in a loss of freedom and enslavement. I also credit you with
living up to your promise of transparency. Your objectives have been
clear to those who have eyes to see, ears to hear and a brain to
rationally think with.

President, as of this date, you have appointed 34 CZARS to oversea
most every conceivable aspect of Business, Industry, Finance, Health,
Education, Defense, Energy, Global Warming and a host of Social
aspects of our society. You have taken this action unilaterally
without approval or consent of either House of the Congress. I deem
this action to be in direct violation of Article II Section 2 of the

The horrendous financial burden you have placed upon this nation
resulting from your Stimulus Bill, your Budget Bill, and your request
for a Cap and Trade Bill and for a Universal Government Controlled
Health Program may well deliver a crippling blow to this nation from
which it may not recover and may well consign it to become a third
rate nation.

Your personal involvement and that of members of your staff in the
coercive threats and actions related to the Federal government
takeover of GMAC , the firing of their CEO, assigning 61% of corporate
stock to the Federal Government, and giving 17% of the stock to the
Unions are all actions that I consider to be in direct violation of
the 10th amendment to the Constitution.
I consider the Federal Government involvement in other similar actions
with Financial and Insurance institutions to be onerous actions that
are also in violation of the 10th amendment.
Charge Two: Senators Nelson, and Congressman Grayson I charge you each
with dereliction of duty and with gross irresponsibility.
· You have signed the Administration’s Stimulus bill and the 2010
Budget Bill without having read the bills nor have you provided the
means of paying for these bills. And Congressman Grayson, again
without having read the Cap and Trade Bill. You signed it without
knowing the adverse impact that the bill will have on the public. Nor
were you or others who signed the bill aware of the ultimate cost nor
did you provide a source of funding for the bill. The Cap and Trade
Bill is nothing more than a bill that will levy another layer of
poorly cloaked Tax imposed upon every American. It will also result in
a massive net loss of jobs and will tend to drive industry out of our
country to fiscally more hospitable environments. Sir, I consider your
actions reckless and irresponsible. How else could such actions be
described. You are not worthy of being a representative of the
citizens in your district.
· Senator Nelson, I assume that following your previous voting record,
you will also support the Cap and Trade Bill when it comes to the
floor of the Senate. If you do so, I then say pox on your political

Note: The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that we will be
paying One hundred million dollars per day on the interest on the
current stimulus bill. Where will this money come from?

President Obama is “hell bent” on establishing a universal government
controlled Health Care system. Once again the cost estimates as high
as 1.6 trillion dollars will be added to the deficit. When we include
the interest to be paid on the outstanding debt resulting from the
Health bill added to the Stimulus Bills and the 2010 Budget we will be
faced with a debt burden of over 14 trillion dollars on future
QUESTION : Gentlemen, let me ask a basic question . How do you plan to
pay for this??? You can tax every citizen and every b business
enterprise 100% and you cannot generate enough money to pay for the
deficit. The result will be to shut down our industry and have total
unemployment. Your other option is to attempt to sell US Bonds. What
country has the ability and the naivety to purchased US Bonds that
will have minimal potential of ever being redeemed. The last option is
to do what all other Socialist nations have resorted to, and that is
to have the Federal Reserve to start the presses and begin to flood
the market place with false (fiat) money. This will result in a hyper
inflation or a crippling pseudo tax on every American for every
product or service that they purchases or use. The government will
conveniently shift the blame from themselves (the culprits) to the
falsely accused greedy Farmers, Manufactures , Distributors, Oil
Refineries and Retail Outlets for their alleged greedy price gouging.
This is a typical government tactic which we’ve already seen deployed
in this Administration.


Fact : Global warming is not factually supported. There is as much or
more evidence to support that we are currently experiencing global
cooling. The city of Chicago has just reported that in the second week
in July 2009, they recorded the coldest day that they have experienced
in 118 years.

Question: : If we want to become energy independent why are we not
developing the estimated 2,000 Trillion cubic feet of natural gas
reserves that this nation has and could supply our national energy
requirements for the next 100 years? Why are we not drilling for the
oil reserves that we have in ANWR Alaska and in our off shore reserves
instead of continuing to purchase oil from the Mid East at prices
indiscriminately determined by OPEC? Why are we not building more
refineries? Why are we not building more clean and safe Nuclear
powered electrical generating plants? Why are we not encouraging more
research into developing methods of using the vast coal resources that
this country has? Instead, the President has bluntly stated that he
intends to drive the coal related industries out of business by
severely taxing their production. Those who have taken a Freshman
College course in Logic 101 would have to conclude that the evidence
of why we have not undertaken these steps to become energy self
SUFFICIENT!! As absurd as this may sound, what other logical
conclusions could one reach with the overwhelming evidence, except for
possible sheer stupidity ? There has certainly been no lack of mental
deficiency exhibited by many of our elected officials, both present
and past and from both major parties.

Question: One of the preeminent responsibility of the President and
members of Congress is to protect this country and it’s citizens. Why
are we not protecting this nation by closing our borders to illegal’s
who freely enter at will? Again , based upon the action or lack
thereof we must conclude that our elected officials have no desire to
protect us from those who might be determined to take destructive
actions against the citizenry of this country!

Question: Why are we plunging this nation into a debt that will be
impossible to pay and that will plunge us into becoming a third rate

Question: Can any one of you point to the specific clause in the
Constitution that provides the Federal Government with the authority

· Provide loans to Auto manufactures, Banks, Insurance companies etc?
· Commandeer 61% of the stock of General Motors which should now be
called Federal Motors Corporation.?
· Fire a CEO of a private sector of Industry?
· To coerce a major bank to merge with another financial institution.?
· To establish a Government controlled Health care system.?
· To control and dictate the quality and type of medical care a
citizen will have access to?
· To control most all aspects of the Public School systems at the State level ?
· Etc. Etc. Etc!!!!!.

Note: If the Constitution does not specifically give the Federal
Government this authority then does not the 10th amendment to the
Constitution prohibit the government from indulging in this activity?
The answer is obvious !.

Note: Can any of you four gentlemen identify any nation that has
adopted a full blown government controlled Health program that has
provided a better health care system than we’ve had in this country?
Why do the Canadians and the Europeans often come to our country for
major health care if their health care systems are being heralded as
examples that we should hope to emulate?

If Governor Charlie Crist is successful in his bid for the Senate seat
that will be vacated by the departure of Senator Martinez, he will
easily integrate into the group of current members of the Congress.

I have written 3 letters to Governor Crist asking him to meet with the
State Legislators of Florida and ask them to prepare a Bill for his
signature that will place the Federal government on notice that the
State of Florida is declaring it’s sovereignty from the Federal
government in each of the many instances where the Federal Government
is in violation of the restrictions imposed upon it by the 10th
amendment to the Constitution. I’ve received a series of bureaucratic
“mumbo jumbo replies: rather than a simple response of yes I will or
no I will not. The governor has recommended that I contact my elected
Congressional representatives on this matter. How ludicrous, since
they happen to be the very culprits who are aiding and abetting the
President in carrying out these destructive programs. The Governor’s
office obviously does not understand the Governor’s role and his
responsibility in those instances when the Federal government
blatantly and repeatedly violates State’s Rights. Consequently,
Governor Crist is also derelict in his duty in protecting the
interests of the citizens of Florida

Note: There appears to be some similarity between President Obama’s
initiatives and the life of Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson was
surrounded by scores of consultants, doctors, attorneys and advisors
all of whom obviously did not have the courage to tell Michael Jackson
the truth. Consequently his life became a degenerative whirlpool of
weird and destructive activities that eventually resulted in his
untimely death. Are there no men or women of conscience in Congress
who will stand up and pointedly give the President sound council? It
took the innocent objectivity
of a child to say “Look the Emperor has no clothes” !


1. If either one of the four of you worked for me as an employee
during my career and performed with the same degree of irresponsible
and destructive incompetence as reflected in your current positions, I
would have summarily fired you and I would have canvassed the streets
for your replacements.

2. It appears that the citizens of the United States have no recourse
left except to initiate the legal option provided in the Declaration
of Independence wherein it refers to the unalienable rights of Life,
Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and it states: That whenever any
Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right
of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new
Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing
its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect
their Safety and Happiness.


I am an 80 year old man who is a first generation American born
citizen who’s parents entered this country legally. They taught me the
principles associated with the work ethic, self reliance, personal
freedom and respect and love for God, Family and Country I was taught
that I had the Right to Pursue Happiness. They taught me that my
future depended upon the choices I made and the effort that I put
forth in carrying out the correct choices I made. I served my country
as a USAF pilot having flown 43 combat missions during the Korean War.
I then flew the six engine jet B-47 Bomber as a rated Pilot,
Navigator, Radar Operator and Bombardier in the Strategic Air Command.

I’ve had a successful career in both Industry and in Government. I’ve
also been successful in establishing and operating a private sector
business activity.

During the course of my career, I’ve travelled through 32 different
countries and lived for an extended period of time in two of those
countries. I’ve represented United Statesat major International
Meetings ( ICAO) and I’ve provided foreign governments with technical
advice in matters concerning Aviation Safety . I initiated and
operated the largest and longest sustained Civil Airlift Operations
into SE Asia during the Vietnam War in support of Department of
Defense logistical requirements..

My wife and I have been involved in encouraging and supporting morally
based candidates for public office during the last 50 years.

Shame, Shame. Shame on you four men who have chosen to become serf
serving politicians instead of Statesmen.
I shall continue to do all that I can within my limited sphere of
influence to replace you and other irresponsible and corrupt
politicians who currently occupy cherished elected positions in State
and Federal Government.

With deep sadness, and frustration which all too frequently now
borders on suppressed anger for my concerns over the future of my

John M. Cyrocki
cc: email copies to 200 of my concerned colleagues across the country

Poop Panic!!

I can barely see while I am writing this since my eyes are still recovering from PRK. But I couldn’t let the opportunity go by to tell everyone about our little experience this morning. Jason has been taking the kids to Jeremy and Heathers house for the last few days so that I can lay in bed all day with my eyes closed and ice packs on (Thanks Heather!). Except on Tuesday when they played at my friend Michelle’s house. (Thanks Michelle!)

This morning I was trying to help the kids get dressed and the girls to get their hair done so they could leave on time with Jaosn. Brynn is 2 years old right now and ready to potty train. I have been waiting, however, for a time that was convienient to me to train her. A time when we will be home for a week or two with out many places to go. Well, I don’t think I can put it off much longer. Brynn wanted to sit on her potty and “go potty” just like Kayla this morning. When they were finished I had this brilliant idea to just fix their hair while we were already in the bathroom. Even though Brynn didn’t have a diaper on. I did Brynn first, rather quickly. Then it was Kayla’s turn. She wanted pig tails. Slightly more time consuming, but still easy when she holds still. Just as I was putting the last loop on her second pig tail, I hear Brynn start to scream. It started out as a normal I am unhappy scream. This can relate to anything in life that makes Brynn unhappy. Which is usually anything that doesn’t give her what she wants. I wasn’t too concerened. However, in a matter of seconds her scream went from “I am unhappy” to “Somebody save me I am DYING!!” screaming. Needless to say I was very concerned, so I abandoned Kayla’s hair and ran into the bedroom to see what crazy monster Brynn was fighting for her life. Really I excepted to se her hanging from the bunkbed about to fall or something. I almost laughed out loud at the scene presented to me.

Brynn was standing in the middle of three little piles of poop with some on her hand and all over her feet. This was Brynn’s first experience pooping without a diaper on. It scared her to death!! She was completely panicking trying to step away from it, but everytime she tried to walk away she would step in it. Making her panic more. IIt was really quite funny, if you can just not think about the grossness of it all. 🙂 Especially because Brynn has a small case of OCD when it comes to being dirty. She HATES it. It is most apparent at meal times when she stops eating and refuses to contiue until you wipe off her hands and clothes or bib or whatever it is on her person that is dirty. I am not sure if she is this way at other peoples houses when I am not there. But at home, she is very picky about it. So try to imagine if you will a bare butt naked little Brynn standing in poop trying to figure out what is happening to her while screaming at the top of her lungs and trying to run away but can’t because she has poop on her feet and can’t walk.

If I had had the presence of mind to make her stand there in it while I got my camera, I would have taken a picture. But that would have been cruel anyway. I will just have to try to keep my camera more handy so it can be used in emergencies next time.

I have been putting off potty training for several months now. I guess my time is up. Once we cross the poop line, it has to be done. Oh joy!! But the upside is that we won’t have to pay for diapers anymore!

Divine Guidance

Just a small thought for the day.
Often lately I have felt as if I was drifting and though my circumstances in life are good at this time, I have found it hard to know what to do with what has been given to me. My church has recently started a program to help the sisters read the scriptures and get more out of it. The women in charge give a quote and then we (the sisters) either take that quote or go in our own direction and write down a topic and our goals for that topic for the week or month. The quote they gave this week was “Divine guidance and inspiration are promised to those who “feast upon the words of Christ.”
~2 Nephi 32:3
I decided to study Divine Guidance in the hopes that I can receive direction from the Lord about what to do with what I have been given.
These are the scriptures that I came across before my eyes went kaput. (I had PRK eye surgery yesterday and lots of reading is not in my best interest at the moment. :))
2 Peter 1:3-4 “According as his Divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world though lust.”
Doctrine and Covenants 93:28 “He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.”
We have been promised knowledge if we seek for it diligently and righteously. Not just any knowledge but knowledge of all things. His divine power is there and Heavenly Father is ready and willing to give it to us. Am I ready to take it? I am trying to be.

In Loving Memory of Laurene Williams Hall


On Monday, May 25th, 2009 Laurene Williams Hall died of natural causes.  This weekend, on Saturday June 20th, she was laid to rest in the Ammon Cemetery in Ammon, Idaho. She is survived by her three children and their families, Jonna Lhyn, Jeremy Lee and Jason Lyle Hall; and her two brothers, Duane and Ron Williams, and their families.

I am honored and pleased to have known Lauri for 10 and a half years.  She was a wonderful woman full of wit and humor and selfless love for her family.  Her greatest joys were in spending time with her family and serving others.  Lauri was very intelligent and a wealth of knowledge that she shared freely.  I learned more about sewing, gardening and family history from Lauri than I have from any other person!  Not to mention current events.  Lauri read the newspaper from front to back everyday.  I was always amazed at how Lauri was able to remember the smallest details about my interests and the interests of those that she came in contact with.  Whenever we were together, she would constantly ask about me and my activities and then at seemingly random times she would remind me of a conversation we had had days or weeks before and ask how that particular project was going.  I was usually really hard pressed to get Lauri to talk about herself.  But when I could, she would tell me all the stories she could remember about her time as  a child and Jim (her husband) and of course, about her children.  I will never forget the smile she would get when given the chance to reminisce about the past.

I know that the last couple years of her life were difficult for her and she was not very happy with her circumstances.  But through all the trials she was able to keep her head up and doggedly push through the tough times.  She would always say to me and anyone else who tried to help her that she “didn’t want to be a burden.”  Well, Lauri, I hope you know now how much you were NOT a burden to me and how much I love you!  Serving Lauri has given me a new perspective on life.  The love that is given and gained in service is unlike any other kind of love in the world.  It is deep, and full of understanding and tender admiration for the strength of spirit of those we succor.  Lauri has taught me that life is not complete without this kind of love.

I return from this weekend with a spirit that is lightened and grateful for Lauri’s presence in my life.  I find myself with a feeling of emptiness each day as the time comes and goes without having spoken to Lauri.  She has been such a constant in my life since Jason and I married that it is very strange to not have her here anymore.  Neither Jason or I are very teary people, but the tears seem to come unbidden and at random times lately.  My poor husband, has lost his mother in addition to his father now, at a very early age and I marvel at his courage and faith through this hard time.  The services were wonderful.  There was a time at the end for family and friends to get up and share their thoughts and memories of Lauri and her life.  I loved this!  Between the memories that were shared and the things we have found in her house after her passing, I have come to know Lauri in an even newer light and I cannot wait to see her again so that we can talk and laugh together unhindered by the problems of this world.  I know she is healthy and happy now being back with her beloved husband and though I will miss her dearly, I am glad that she has finally found peace.

See you soon Lauri!

Though the weekend brought us together under sad circumstances, it was really great to see family we haven’t seen in a long time!  Years in some cases!  We arrived in Idaho Falls Friday evening and went right to Ron’s shop so that Ron and Jason could make the urn.  Ron made Lauri’s Urn out of stainless steel and did a great job!  While they were working on that, I took the kids to a nearby park and we played for about an hour.  It was a great park that had everything from a huge sand box to musical instruments to swings and a gigantic play set.  The kids had a ball.  By the end though, Mom was sure ready to go to the hotel!  We picked up Jason from Ron’s shop and went to the hotel were we met up with Jeremy and Heather and Granny Deanie.  Dinner was from Cafe Rio and after we ate, the kids and Jeremy and Jason swam.  Heather (luckily :)) forgot her Sunday clothes, so she just had to go shopping!  She let me tag along with her and we had a fabulous night at Kohls and Target.   The kids were going to sleep when we got back so Jason and Jeremy and I sat in the lobby and talked until late.  It was fun!

Saturday was a nice sunny day in the morning and after breakfast we all headed over to the cemetery.  The flowers were delivered and the chairs were set up and at just after 11am the services started.  It got steadily cooler as the services went on, but luckily it stayed dry until we were getting in the cars at the end.  Perfect timing!  After the services, we all headed over to Smitty’s, the traditional family gathering place, for a brunch.  The food was excellent and the conversation was even better.  After Smitty’s we took the kids swimming for a while and Jonna and Eric joined us.  We all swam, played, dunked, and tossed each other for about an hour and a half.  I think Jeremy and Jason are still bleeding from the girls long fingernails. 🙂  As for me, I got so cold at the services and in Smitty’s that the warm spa water was heavenly and I had a hard time leaving it to play!

After swimming, Jeremy and Jason headed over to Duane’s for some more family talk time, and Heather and I stayed at the hotel with the kids so they could all talk in peace.  We ordered a pizza and watched a movie and then went to bed!  Sunday we got up and dressed early so that we could go to church with Duane.  With everything happening this weekend, I forgot it was Father’s day until they announced it.  Don’t worry, I told Jason we would celebrate next weekend under better circumstances. 🙂  The speakers were excellent and the kids were quite for the most part. It probably seemed that way to me because Jason spent half the meeting in the hallway with Brynn.  What  a good daddy!  After church we checked out of the hotel and then went for a walk around Idaho Falls and took some fun pictures.  Thanks for the photography tutorial and letting me borrow your lens Jeremy!  I totally need to get me one of those! 🙂  The last thing we did was meet a Duane’s again for some lunch before we headed out to come home.

All in all the weekend was good and I am so grateful that we were able to spend so much time with our family!  The drive home was pleasant, I read while Jason drove.  He came home and crashed, can’t say that I blame him!

Mother’s Day

I have to say that this was a FABULOUS Mother’s Day!  It started off with my 5k (see previous post) and just got better from there.  🙂  When I got home from the 5k, I was surprised by Jason and the kids with a bucket load of flowers to fill all my pots and planter beds with; including a beautiful hanging basket full of petunia’s and a lawn chair so that I can sit out in the back yard and enjoy the weather comfortably while I watch the kids play. 🙂  So I spent the day in the yard planting all my flowers and I have to say, I have quite a bit of yard pride now!  It makes me excited to finish all the projects we have planned so that I can fully enjoy the yard for the rest of the year.  It is great how much more I love the yard when I put hard work into it.

After I planted most of the flowers, Jason and I took the kids to my nephew Taylors 13th birthday BBQ at Jeremy and Heathers house.  It was really fun.  Heather provided sloppy Joes and some excellent cake.  All the neighbors, friends and family who came each brought a side dish to share.  This has become a tradition for them when Taylors birthday comes around.  I love it!  The weather, which had been wonderful and hot all day, cooled off just for the BBQ.  Cooled off a little too much.  Most of us were cold n our t-shirts and shorts, but even with the cold wind. it was a great time!  Happy Birthday Taylor!!

On Sunday, Jason REALLY pampered me by taking the kids and letting me sleep in until 9am!!  I woke up a new woman with more energy than I really new what to do with.  Even despite the fact that my legs were so sore I kept waking up all night long. 🙂  Then, while the kids watched a Veggie Tales movie, Jason and I had a lovely breakfast on our deck with all our newly planted flower pots and talked about our future yard plans.  At church, it got even better.  The last hour of church, the bishopric gathered all the women in the ward and had the men take over their responsibilities.  This means, that for me, I didn’t have to teach my primary class.  🙂  They took all of us into the gym area where there were tables (complete with nice table cloths) set up and they served us cake and cheese cake!  It was fabulous!  After church, we again went to Jeremy and Heathers and had dinner.  Jason made steak fajitas for us and Heather provided a strawberry salad, strawberry and goat cheese baguettes for appetizer, stuffed potatoes, and then Dulce de Leche cake with strawberries on top for dessert.  Of course, it was fabulous!!  The day ended perfectly.

I love mother’s day!  I feel very appreciated and loved and I am so grateful for my family!  I love every minute I get to spend with them.  I am so grateful for my husband who is so thoughtful and understanding of my needs.  He is my best friend and I couldn’t live without him!  Thank you Sweetie!!!

5K Fun Run

On Saturday, I ran a 5k with my best friend Michelle.  It was a total blast!  The race was put on by a private school in American Fork called the American Legacy Academy.  It was the perfect little community run.  There were about 50 runners, give or take a few and the course was perfect.  Mostly flat with a little bit of incline and small hill at the end.  The registration was quick and thorough.  I was impressed with the efficiency of the volunteers at the end of the race.  As I crossed the finished line, they called out my time, took my bib number and moved on to the next person in a matter of seconds.  The time they called out was exactly the time on my personal stop watch as well.  The refreshments were good and Michelle even won a shirt at the raffle!

The best part of the race was that both Michelle and I made our personal best times!  Michelle took 7 and a half minutes off our fastest practice run time and finished at 32.37!!  I took about a minute off my personal best and came in at 22.09!  I am proud to say that I also came in 2nd overall for the women and 1st in my age group.  I even got a trophy!  I have been running in races since 9th grade and this is my first ever running trophy.  I have lots of medals, but the trophy is a new thing and much appreciated!  I would like to thank the American Legacy Academy for their hard work and the fun morning!

I have walked away from this run with a renewed determination to break some more personal records this summer.  I was, until now, just training for a half with Michelle for the fun of it.  But we are planning on running several other 5k’s and a 10k this summer.  I have found a nice intermediate training schedule on Cool Running that I am going to attempt to do while also training with Michelle.  Obviously, I will have to modify it so that I don’t run myself into the ground, but it should be a fun summer!  If all goes well,  I will be in really good shape at the end of the summer and I can attempt a more advanced training schedule for the LA marathon in 2010.

Lightroom is Awesome!

Last night I had the opportunity to go to a workshop on Lightroom taught by Scott Jarvie.  I am just getting to know Scott through Jason; my brother-in-law, Jeremy and Twitter.  He is a well known wedding photographer in Utah and extremely generous in the sharing of his knowledge for amateurs like myself.  🙂

The workshop was free and hosted at East Bay Studios in Provo.  There were about 50 people in attendance and most of us were new to Lightroom.  In fact, several people downloaded the free, trial version of Lightroom right at the workshop.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my laptop with me so I was forced to write down my thoughts on paper and bring them home for future reference.  Scott did an awesome job teaching the basics.  He has a great sense of humor that made the time both instructional and entertaining.

I am really new to the photography stage and I am just beginning to understand the importance of a good photo processing program.  However, I like things to be simple.  Photoshop has always seemed extremely complicated to me.  After last night, I think I will be investing in Lightroom.  Scott briefly went over the whole of Lightroom and explained the 5 modules, but spent the majority of the time teaching us about the Library and Develop modules.  I found it all very user friendly and self-explanatory.  Scott told us in the beginning that he wanted to teach us the basics so that we would be able to go home and use that knowledge to solve our own problems.  He accomplished his goal.  I feel that I have a very good base to get started in editing my photos.

I was pleased that he took the time to explain some seemingly very basic things to the group that I didn’t have a very clear picture of, even though I am sure the majority of the people there already understood these concepts.  Things like, what exactly a preset is and the difference between a raw photo and a jpeg.   As I said earlier, I think Photoshop is complicated, but I was happy to learn that Lightroom can be used in conjunction with Photoshop should the need arise.  And I LOVE the ease and organization Lightroom provides to speed up and enhance work flow.

Half way through the night, everyone had the opportunity to pitch in for pizza and root beer floats.  The food was good and the conversation was even better.  I just want to thank Scott for his time and willingness to share his expertise and help us to learn what fun photography can be!  I also want to thank East Bay Studios for their hospitality!

Scott is teaching an intermediate workshop on Lightroom Thursday night at 7.  You can get all the info from Scott’s blog.  I am looking forward to attending and learning as much as I can from one of Utah’s most talented photographers!

Home-Made Butter: Worth it?

A couple nights ago, after the kids went to bed, Jason and I sat up reading for an hour or two.  I was reading one of my favorite novels and he was reading something a bit more practical.  His book was called “Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills.”  Now, those of you who know my husband know that this is a totally normal thing for him to be reading.  But he made a comment that there is a recipe in the book for home made butter.  And cream cheese.  It peeked my interest and made me curious.  So I decided to give it a try.  I had no idea how long it was going to take so I wasn’t really planning on trying it for a while.  You know, plan a day when I would have time and when I knew the kids would have other entertainments besides following my every footstep.  However, last week, as many know, we were home bound with my poor little Garion sick in bed with the flu.  What better time to experiment in the kitchen than when you can’t go anywhere.  Turns out, making butter is the easiest thing I have ever done in the kitchen.

The first thing I did was google a recipe for home made butter, made with the Kitchen Aid.  I have a great deal of respect for the women in the old days who use to churn it by hand, but I just don’t have that kind of time or motivation when we have been blessed with modern technology.  🙂  I found a recipe almost immediately on Recipezaar.  The exact link is http://www.recipezaar.com/Homemade-Butter-for-the-Kitchen-Aid-199638.  My next step, after reading the ridiculously simple instructions was to go to the store to buy whipping cream.  However, since Garion was still not really out of bed, I had Jason stop at the store on his way home.  After the kids went to bed, we made our butter.

Step One:  Pour whipping cream into Kitchen Aid with a couple granules kosher salt.  We bought a pint of cream, but only used half of it.)

Step Two: Turn on Medium to High speed.  (Take a nap.)

Step Three: After about fifteen minutes, the butter forms and separates from the buttermilk.  Turn off Kitchen Aid.  We got a bit more than 1/2 cup butter.  Which is also 4 oz or 1/4 pound.  About a rounded spoonful more.

*You can stop here if you want to.  Take your butter out and store in an air tight container.  However, we continued because I wanted to keep the buttermilk to make cinnamon rolls with.

Step Four: Squeeze butter in cheesecloth to remove the last of the buttermilk.  We got 1 cup of buttermilk.

Step Five: Enjoy!

The butter turned out pretty good.  It tastes like butter. 🙂  I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was just normal butter.  I was proud of us and happy that we could make it and have it be every bit as good as what we can buy in the store.  I think next time I will add just a bit more salt.  I also think the butter would be better if we used farmers cream instead of the pasteurized stuff from the store.  But I will have to do some research to figure out where to get my hands on that kind of cream.  There are enough farmers in our area here that I am sure it can’t be too hard.

Jason and I were also speculating on the cost comparison of home made butter to store bought butter.  One pint of cream will yield about 1/4 pound of butter and about 1 cup buttermilk.  At our local grocer right now you can get one pound or 16oz of Land O Lakes butter (on sale) for $1.99.  A quart of buttermilk at the store costs about $2.85.   So to buy one pound of store made butter and 2 cups of buttermilk you are spending about $4.85.  Our local grocer also has regular 10 for $10 sales where the whipping cream goes on sale, bu I can’t remember if it is the pints or the quarts that go on sale.  If you wait for the sale, and buy your cream at $1 per pint (if it is the pints that go on sale), then you can get a little more than 1/4 pound of butter  and 1 cup buttermilk for $1.  Which then equals 16 oz or 1 pound butter and 4 cups buttermilk for $4.  That is a pretty good deal.  A little more cost on the butter, but twice as much buttermilk and then your homemade bread (or cinnamon rolls in our case) are that much better!

Anyway, it is completely dependant on the sales on whipping cream, but if you can find the cream at the right price, it is worth making the butter.  It is so simple and really pretty fun!  The left over buttermilk is an added bonus.  Enjoy!

Influenza? For Real??

Let me start this post by saying that when I think of the flu, I think of a runny nose and headache, maybe a fever and stomach ache possibly diarrhea and anything else that can go wrong with our bodies from a virus.  How many times do people get the “flu” and it is actually influenza?  Hardly ever.  At least in my experience, never.  I have only know one person ever who had the “flu” and it actually turned out to be influenza.  Everyone else was sick, but it was a virus of some sort or other that we all call the “flu” because we don’t know what else to call it.  Now I know two people who had the flu and it turned out to be the real thing.  Who knew?

On Monday morning, Garion woke up and got ready for school.  I have taken to sleeping in until about 7:20 lately, so he is usually dressed and eating breakfast by the time I make it to the kitchen.  As was the case Monday morning.  But he didn’t look right.  His clothes matched and his hair was brushed, but something was off.  He was really pale and kind of slouched over his bowl of cinnamon toast crunch.  Which was almost untouched.  Totally weird!  I asked if he was okay and he sad his head hurt.  Unfortunately, I have a hard time believing Garion these days when he says he doesn’t feel good.  It has become one of his favorite excuses to get out of school work, chores or anything else he doesn’t want to do.  Kinda like the boy who cried wolf!  So, Monday morning I told him to finish his breakfast and that food in his stomach would probably help him feel better and he better hurry up about it so he isn’t late for school.  What made me stop and take notice was his immediate agreement to my statement in a dead like voice.  The agreement would have made me do a double take anyway, he never agrees with me lately.  But the dead voice was really something.  He is either turning into a really gifted actor, or he is really is sick.  I went with the sick theory.  I got out the thermometer and took his temperature.  Sure enough, he had a fever.  So his head ache and dizziness were legit.  He stayed home from school and slept.  Around 3 pm he woke up and his face was so red it looked like he had been out riding his bike in 100 degree weather.  His fever had spiked to 105.2!!  Needless to say, I took him to the doctor the next day.

If I had more then a few minutes of speculation in the doctors office, I could have really panicked!  She was very concerned about his high fever and was ready to take blood tests for appendicitis, x-rays for pneumonia and she was feeling his neck up and down for spinal meningitis.  Then, after all this, she says “before I order any tests, we will test for the flu.”  Does the flu and spinal meningitis even fit in the same category of illness?  I consider one a “Take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning” illness and the other a “Quarantine, I might die!” illness.  I was very confused.  Luckily, they swabbed him for influenza and it was positive.  A test that usually takes 5-7 minutes to test positive was positive in less then 2.  I was relieved, to say the least.  But then reality hit.  The doctor says 5 days of of and on fever and he should stay home from school.  5 DAYS!!!  This was only Tuesday!  What am I suppose to do with 3 kids home all week?  And since we don’t want to spread influenza around the other kids can’t play with their friends either.  So there are 4 of us in the house without outside influence until Saturday.  If we get lucky and no one else gets sick, we can emerge victorious on Saturday, hopefully because we will all still be in one piece, and hug the beautiful outdoors!

Dentist Drama!

About one month ago, every person in our family had an opportunity to go to the dentist and have our bi-annual cleaning.  I have always hated the dentist.  Ever since I left home and got married, I have had one bad dentist after another.  I have had painful and bad fillings and really poor bed side manner.  But finally, after about 8 years of searching, we found a dentist with expertise, good bed side manner, and a gentle hand.  He is even good with the kids.  But after yesterday, if you didn’t know this about him and were sitting in the waiting room, you may question what you were doing there!!

Lucky for us, Jason and I escaped the dentist with no cavities.  However, Garion and Kayla were not so lucky.  We try to get them to brush well!  We have tried to teach them and guide them in good dental hygiene.  But it is like talking to a blank wall sometimes.  🙂  Not all the time, but apparently more often then we thought, they are skimping on their brushing.  We kept telling them their teeth would fall out if they didn’t brush well enough.  Maybe we should have told them the truth though.  It is almost more scary.  It could have gone something like this.

“Garion and Kayla, if you don’t brush well, then you will get cavities in your teeth.  If that happens, then we have to take you to the dentist who is going to take x-rays by putting really uncomfortable square thingys in your mouth in a whole bunch of weird positions that keep you from closing your mouth without getting poked painfully in the jaw.  Then after they look at the x-rays and find all your cavities they are going to have to fill them.  Only they won’t fill them right away.  They will make you an appointment to come back in a week or two and then leave you to your imagination, dreams and horrible anticipation for all that time until it is time to go back.  On the anticipated day, you drive to the dentist (hopefully on a full stomach because you won’t be able to eat or feel or taste anything for several hours afterward), and they lay you back in the chair and put a nice orange mask on your face.  This is the gas that is suppose to help you relax.  I works wonders until they pick up the long and incredibly torturous looking syringe that they plan on shoving into your mouth.  When you heart is beating so fast you think you are going to have a heart attack, they stick it in your mouth and tell you not to move while they jam it into your gums and wiggle it around.  All the while, pulling on your lip like they want to take it off your face.  Once they are done with the shot, they leave you alone for awhile so you can get your heart back under control and wait for half of your face to go numb.  Then they come back with big smiles and tell you to open wide again so they can drill.  That’s right kids!  They pick up a drill like the one daddy uses to put holes in the walls and they put holes in your teeth to get rid of the cavities.  Once the cavity is gone, they fill the hole with some weird stuff that looks like tooth, only it isn’t and tell you to have a nice day.  And by the way, please be sure you don’t eat anything or you might just bite your tongue off since you can’t feel it.”

I think that is the story I will go with when it comes time for Brynn to go to the dentist.  Maybe she will listen to me.  Kayla refused to let me help her brush until after her dentist experience.  Now she practically begs me to help her brush every night!  And Garion brushes for a full 2 minutes or longer now if he can spare the time.  Kayla had 2 cavities and they had to be filled on different days because they were on opposite sides of her mouth.  She had both filled before Garion went in for his appointment.  I was really proud of her!  She didn’t want me next to her so I waited out in the waiting room with Brynn and watched a movie.  She didn’t cry or whine or whimper or scream or anything.  She did fabulously.  Both times.  Although, with her increase in brushing, I am sure she doesn’t want to repeat the experience. 🙂

Garion was a completely different experience.  The funny thing here is that he has had one other cavity filled in the past.  He was in and out of there the same as Kayla.  No tears or fears and I don’t even think he knew they drilled on his teeth.  They just “tickled” the cavity away. 🙂  This time, he either figured out what was happening ahead of time, or has out grown the silly terminology the dentist uses to put kids at ease.  Again, Brynn and I were in the waiting room watching a movie while Garion was taken back to the room.  About 5 or 10 minutes later, I started to hear the screaming.  Not just one scream, but several.  After about 40 seconds of non stop screaming I decided to go see what was happening.  I didn’t want Garion to be in pain, but I was more worried about the dentist.  We have always taught Garion that it it okay to defend yourself if someone else wants to hurt you.  I wasn’t sure if he would apply this lesson to the dentist with the torture syringe.  I got to the room just as the dentist was finishing and in time to hear him tell Garion that if he grabs his hands (the dentists hands) then he can’t hold the shot steady and it huts more.  Turns out the assistant had to restrain him for most of the injection.  I retreated back to the waiting room so the dentist wouldn’t feel like I was going to hang over his shoulder.  He gave me a look like I was the one at fault here!  Pshahh!!  I am not the one shoving needles in peoples mouths!  Anyway.  The rest of the appointment went pretty well.  I only heard him one other time as the dentist started to drill.  Not as loud and definitely not as long.  Then it was over.  He had a numb mouth probably until bedtime with a birthday party to go to in the  meantime.

And we are dentist free for 6 more months.  In one year, we take Brynn for the first time.  I wonder if she will be the quiet type or the screaming type?  I am sure I will be surprised.  I certainly was with the other two! 🙂