I first discovered the A to Z Challenge back in 2012, just as the challenge was starting. I was trying to be a more regular blogger at the time, so jumped right in . . . but was not able to keep up for the whole month, but I was hooked, and have participated in some way or another ever since. Some years I have done better than others, but I feel that this year has perhaps been the most enjoyable and therapeutic challenge for me.
Writing has always been an enjoyable outlet for me and I love blogging. The past few years have been challenging ones. I lost my dear mother during the April 2015 challenge, and my dear father this past February. Last year I blogged about my childhood memories and this year I have been sharing memories of my courtship with my Dear Husband. Both sets of posts have been part of a longtime goal of writing a history of my life. It may not be particularly interesting to others, but it has been important to me, and an outlet for thoughts and memories, and comforting to me in many ways.
I do miss the linky lists of bloggers from years past, but can see how time-consuming and how much work the monitoring of bloggers was in the past, so understand the change in the organization and format of the challenge, and I was still able to visit new blogs and meet new bloggers. I think the traffic to my blogs was less this year than in other years, and I certainly received fewer comments, but that doesn't trouble me too much. I chose to not join up on social media platforms to advertise my posts. I really don't use social media other than Facebook and Blogger, and have only posted links to my blog once or twice ever on Facebook. My audiences for the two media are very different. I use facebook for connecting with extended family, friends, and neighbors, but don't advertise my blog posts there. Most followers of my blog are immediate family members and other bloggers that I have met through various blogging challenges. I like having my different audiences, and am not greatly concerned about gathering large numbers of followers right now.
To sum it up, the 2017 A to Z Challenge has been an enjoyable (not quite relaxing) trip down memory lane for me. I did what I set out to do, and met a few new friends along the way. Thank you to all who have followed along and supported me in the challenge this year. Hopefully you have found a bit of pleasure along with me.
So long for now, but I will return. Just perhaps not every day for a while!
Sunday, April 30, 2017
On my 20th birthday in 1980, my roommates gifted me with a Ziggy 18 Month Poster Calendar:
I love this Calendar. It is full of beautiful inspiring Ziggy Posters and features huge calendar pages with plenty of room to write in appointments and reminders.
You can't see the caption too well in this photo, but on this page Ziggy questions ". . . so far my life's been a lot of on-the-job training ... .when do i get a shot at the real thing?"
This sentiment certainly echoes the way I felt many times during my college career. My roommates may have thought I needed a little bit of help in the getting-a-life area too, since every single page suggested an activity to keep me out of the day-to-day doldrums, as you can see in the photos below:
The month of May gave me remindes that I had one quiz, two exams, and my sister's HS graduation, It also gave me such great advice as: Listen for Burglers, Clean your glasses, Think of something, and Ask Why", and reminded my of the important Ward Opening Social Dance that I went to and where I met my future DH.
I really do love the July page: "We should enjoy here while we're here, 'cause there's no here there." is the advice that Ziggy gives. And DH and I did enjoy that July in 1981 when we were dating. I did have three exams and two dental appointments, but there were also road trips, family reunions and parties, fireworks, the Manti Pageant, hikes, and dances.
And we'll never forget that all important date in August 1981 when DH proposed to me for the first time:
No, this notation was not written in advance. I really was quite shocked and surprised that night when he asked. We sat down together several weeks later and wrote in many of our important dates and activities that had not been recorded anywhere else, so we wouldn't forget. I had been too busy to keep a very good journal that summer, so I'm glad we took the time to do this. It's the main reason that this Ziggy calendar is so special to me. It's a record of a very special time in my life.
Of course, If you've been following my posts this month, you'll probably remember that I turned down this first proposal by my DH and decided to carry on with my previous plans to serve as a missionary for my church for 18 months in Colombia, South America. I was scheduled to begin my training at the end of October, so that month's poster was very fitting also:
"It's Not Easy Being Mortal, Y' know!"
Do you have a record of the special times and events in your life?
"As I view it, in every family a record should be kept of the immediate family: the father, the grandfather, the great-grandfather---at least of those of whom we have a memory. That record should be the first stone, if you choose, in the family altar. It should be a book known and used in the family circle; and when the child reaches maturity and gets out to make another household, one of the first things that the young couple should take along should be the records of their families, to be extended by them as life goes on. It does no harm if there is duplication. There is a strength, an inspiration, and a joy in having such a record near at hand, to be used frequently, the story of our ancestors, their names, the times in which they lived, and something about their lives and accomplishments. Each one of us carries, individually, the responsibility of record keeping, and we should assume it." --John A Widstoe (Church News, Oct 31, 1942)
Saturday, April 29, 2017
This is one of my very favorite photos of my DH and I, taken at Yellowstone National Park while we were on our honeymoon. It is the only photo we have of ourselves on our honeymoon, taken by a kind couple who offered. Selfies just weren't a thing back in the 80's with the cameras we had.
We spent several days in West Yellowstone, getting to know each other, and venturing out each day to see some of the beautiful areas that Montana and Wyoming have to offer. We found that the Lewis and Clark Caverns rivaled our beloved Timpanogos Caves in grandeur, but were not as well lighted. Of course, we enjoyed visiting Old Faithful and Yellowstone Lake, and attended a Melodrama at the Playbill Theater in West Yellowstone,
I loved seeing all of the wonders of Yellowstone. I had been there years before with my family, but it was fun seeing them all again with my new Dear Husband at my side! And I especially enjoyed looking at him and knowing that he was now mine forever!
One day we drove down to Jackson, Wyoming for the day. What spectacular scenery in the beautiful valley! Once can never tire of gazing at those majestic mountains!
We also stopped for our dinner at the Strutting Grouse Restaurant, where we enjoyed Quail with Wild Rice and a delicious chocolate mousse for dessert. I just tried to find any information on the restaurant on the internet. Apparently, it has closed its doors to business, but its legacy lives on in my memories.
What memories do you have of your honeymoon or other special trips?
Friday, April 28, 2017
Kyle Beckerman in XANGO RSL Jersey
In November 2006 management of RSL Soccer team signed an agreement with XANGO, a diet supplement maker, to put the company name on the front of the soccer team's jerseys. Thus began the more than five-year span of time when XANGO became a part of our courtship. Yes, we married way back in 1983, many years before either XANGO or RSL Soccer were even dreamed of, but DH and I do manage to continue courting from time to time, even though we are now an old married couple with grandchildren. For ?? years we were the proud owners of four front row season tickets for RSL Soccer home games. I admit that I did not attend every game with my DH, but I did attend my fair share, along with our children and various other friends and relatives who have been invited along from time to time.
Through the years we have also enjoyed season tickets to the NJ Symphony Orchestra, and have spent other evenings together attending concerts and museums and movies and dinners out. Maybe one of our favorite activities together are quiet evenings at home with good books.
How do you and your spouse continue your courtship?
Alvara Sabario and Chris Wingert celebrating win against Portland Timbers
Thursday, April 27, 2017
As bride and groom, we were then allowed some quiet moments together in the celestial room (pictured above) while waiting for our family and friends to gather in one of the 12 sealing rooms where the marriage was to take place. Summer is a very popular time for weddings at the temple, and I'm sure there were many more marriages performed there that day. Once DH And I were brought into the room, the officiator took a few minutes to share some words of counsel and advice: remember to talk together and pray together every day, to avoid arguments and silences, and to return to the temple often. We then were invited to kneel together at the altar holding hands, and within a few minutes, we were pronounced husband and wife for time and for all eternity.
There was plenty of time for us to gather outside the temple to visit with our loved ones and to pose for photos such as the one below. This famous olive tree was over one hundred years old, and was a very popular photo spot. Unfortunately, the tree is no longer there:
DH's parents hosted a very lovely wedding luncheon afterward at their nearby home, prepared by my new sisters-in-law. After a few hours of rest, we all headed back to my hometown for a wedding reception at our local church.
My best friend and roommate and DH's sisters were the lovely bridesmaids.
And our parents were proud, of course.
The maid of honor and the best man
Of course, we were happy!
Flowers and rings
All of my nieces and nephews in their matching dresses and shirts. A very belated Thank You! to all who helped with the sewing!!
The traditional garter . . . only worn at weddings anymore.
Cutting the cake baked by my wonderful Uncle
After cleaning up the beautifully decorated gully, we were on our way for our first night together as husband and wife!
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
The first time I remember hearing about VHS (Video Home System) tapes while I was in Colombia in 1982. I remember the young people that we missionaries worked with debating the pros and cons of VHS vs Betamax . . . and I was pretty clueless about either one. Of course, as missionaries, we did not have time in our schedules for watching movies or television. The closest we ever came to watching a movie was when we would gather a family or group of people together to watch a filmstrip about Jesus Christ or another gospel topic, the soundtrack being provided by a cassette tape player.
After I returned home in 1983, I soon learned about the wonders of VHS. A popular weekend activity at that time was to rent a VHS player and a movie or two for a day for about $25 or so. DH and I and a group of friends would gather together in someone's apartment for a fun evening of watching movies. The guys would rent the VHS player and the movies and would usually fix dinner too . . . hamburgers or pizza or something simple, and we would enjoy an evening of James Bond and/or Trinity. You could probably tell that the guys chose the movies too . . . but that's ok, it made for a fun group date, and was less expensive than going to the movie theater and out to eat when everyone chipped in together.
It wasn't too long after we married that we bought our own VCR and started collecting our own VHS tapes. We currently have two working VCR players and a nice large collection of movies, but oddly enough, I don't think we actually own any James Bond or Trinity movies.
What are your memories of VHS? or Betamax? James Bond? or Trinity?
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
I believe that it was the summer that I spent in Colombia when my extended family first began the tradition of a family reunion campout in the Uintas. I was not there, but DH may have attended? I don't even remember. However, when I returned in 1983 and we became engaged to be married, we were both able to attend the family campout. With the myriad of parents, siblings with their spouses and children, and many other aunts and uncles and cousins, we were very well chaperoned.
Doing the dishes and sleeping
Because we moved out of state shortly before the family campout the next summer, we were not able to attend the reunion together again in the Uintas. By the time we moved back to the state, the family had abandoned sleeping in tents and trailers in favor of a huge family get together renting a large lodge complete with beds and a modern kitchen located near Mount Timpanogos. My immediate extended family did camp out in the Uintas another time or two, and we and our children joined them, even when I was fairly pregnant with DD4 in 1995. We still do try to take a day trip up for a picnic or short hike in the beautiful Uinta Mountains at least once every year or two, even if now the drive is perhaps more enjoyable than the hike.
My very pregnant self with siblings and parents, Uinta family campout July 1995
Timp Lodge 2008
Where are your favorite places to hike and camp and fish?
Monday, April 24, 2017
Mount Timpanogos overlooks the valley where DH and I met and where we attended college. Legend has it that an Indian Princess jumped to her death from the top of the mountain after being betrayed by her true love, and if you look closely, you can see the outline of the princess lying along the top ridge of the mountain. The mountain, the famous Timpanogos Cave National Monument, and the canyons on either side are popular places for college students and others to hike and picnic, so of course, our courtship had to include several adventures involving Timpanogos.
The first time we hiked Timpanogos together was on Tuesday, September 15, 1981. The fall semester of school had started, but DH had a fairly light schedule and I was not taking classes that semester, so we hiked the 1 1/2 mile-switch back trail to the caves with very few other people on the trail. During the peak season, and especially on the weekends, the trail is normally quite crowded, and you would be advised to purchase tickets to the cave tour in advance of your hike. That weekday in September, we had a very leisurely day and spent plenty of time resting, enjoying the views, and talking about our hopes and dreams for the future. By then we knew that at the end of October I would be leaving for Colombia for 18 months, so our conversations were somewhat bitter-sweet.
Hike to Timpanogos Cave, July 1983
It was nearly two years later when we hiked to the caves again, this time in July of 1983 either on the 4th of July or on the 24th of July, which is a state holiday honoring the pioneer settlers of the state. We made the hike with my parents, my brother and his wife and two little girls, and my sister and her husband and their baby boy. We were engaged to be married in just a few weeks, and were taking a bit of a break from work and wedding planning to hike and picnic and celebrate the holiday.
A few months later we returned to Timpanogos on a Saturday with friends, also newlyweds, and hiked up the Aspen Grove Trail which passes Stewart Falls, Emerald Lake, and the Glacier. We didn't hike the entire 14.6-mile trail to the top, but stopped at the Lake and meadows, before coming back down by way of the glacier. I'm sorry to say that the others may have completed the trail to the top if I had not been along, but I have never quite wanted to make the very last leg of the trip to the mountain summit as I understand it is quite a narrow ledge, and my acrophobia has always kept me from hiking the entire trail. We did stop and enjoy some of the falls along the way and had a very enjoyable day.
We have been back to Timpanogos several times since then with our own children and other family members, and highly recommend the various hikes, the caves, and the whole area to anyone interested in such recreational activities. If you aren't into hiking, the drive up through the canyons and around the mountain on the Alpine Loop also makes for a wonderful outing. For more information, feel free to check out the following links.
Mount Timpanogos from Aspen Grove
Mount Timpanogos Hiking
Mount Timpanogos Timpooneke Trail
Alpine Loop Scenic Drive
The Legend of Timpanogos