Thursday, September 29, 2016

Worlds Fastest New Zealander - A Visit To the Salt Flats




I have shared over the past few weeks how I had my Mum and Dad host parents from New Zealand come to visit. 


I spent a few hours one night before they came typing up anything within a few days driving that we could do when they came to visit. 

We decided we would just play it by ear as my family ended up having a wedding and a few other functions so we had to change plans. 

The week they were to arrive, one of their tours was canceled and that changed my plans as they would now be in town for a day that I didn't think they would so we had to adjust a bit and then make plans to take them to the places that were on the tour that was canceled so in the end, it changed my plans more than their plans. 

It all turned out wonderful and I will share some of that in a different post but for today, I want to share about something they were super excited to see. We finished up with Princess Fours exciting day I shared about yesterday and then we squished a whole lot into a little time. 

We went to visit the local capital and there just happened to be a protest there with many tribes of Native Americans. They had some music and speeches and wonderful costumes and dress. They were fascinated by the "natives" and I wish I could have gotten a picture of them with one of the more detailed costumes. 

While were were at the capitol, there was a display about a movie that was made on the Bonneville Salt Flats where they have land speed races. The movie was about an older New Zealand man that had an Indian motorcycle and set two land speed records in his division that are still records. 
 
They said from the beginning they would like to see where that took place. If you remember a few years back, we took our exchange student to the salt flats as my younger girls had never remembered being there. 

We drove through there when they were very small but they didn't remember it so it was good that they had the experience of going but since it is such a long drive and there is nothing for miles, they didn't want to go with us on the excursion.  Here is a link to that post. 
 
I shared that they really wouldn't like to spend much time at the Great Salt Lake. Everyone thinks it is really cool as the old photos show people swimming in it but I gave them the option of the two main places to see it and shared that one was on the way to the salt flats and figured that would be enough for them. Here is a link to the post about our visit years back to the salt lake.

We stopped and visited with a sailor as my "parents" were sailors and enjoy the "Americas cup" and we had a good visit with the sailors we met. They touched the lake and the smell was enough for them. 

My host Mum was so cute. I don't think she has ever read my blog but she kept finding coins and handing them to me. I shared what they mean to me when I find one and throughout the trip she probably found five coins. (If you don't know about my coin "In God We Trust" check it out here.)

She found this dime at the great salt lake and I found the penny at the salt flats. Must have been meant to be that we visit both spots which were on their "list" of wishes. 
 
I had forgotten just how "out there" the flats were and they had no idea of the distances of the places we were to visit as if you drive three hours in any direction in NZ you end up in the ocean! 

Dad was so cute, he picked up some salt just to taste it! They got to see the salt beds and huge piles of salt being processed for home use as well on the long drives but I would say they can now tell great tales of their visit to the salt flats where "The Worlds Fastest Indian" movie was filmed and where the famous New Zealander set his records!   

It was a long day but they returned to the hotel with smiles on their faces!           

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Exciting Day For Princess Four

While we had my New Zealand host parents visiting, we also had an opportunity for Princess Four to do something fun. We were visiting family for weddings, mission farewells, mission homecomings and also taking my host family to see some fun things in those cities.
 
We figured while we were traveling, Princess Four wanted to go to one of our faiths Temples as she is getting ready to go to Japan as a full time missionary, she would need to go to a temple in preparation for that event.  

There are many temples she could have chosen to attend but she wanted one of two that have live people who give instructions rather than those that provide the instructions with different movies. 

We let the family know and my dad and his wife along with Prince One and Princess Two were able to attend. Princess One was busy with babies and met up with us after the event. 

The other girls were helping with the babies and entertaining our NZ family during the time we attended the temple. 
 
After the event, we all met up at one of our favorite restaurant chains for lunch. I forgot to take a picture while my dad and step-mother were with us. They were so great to come and paid for the meal. We are so grateful to have them in our lives being so supportive! 

We got to share some of our local culture with my NZ family and enjoys some good food as well. It was a good day for all and you can see Princess Four was all smiles for her big day!       

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Right Now, Seven Countries are Reading My Blog

I have so many wonderful things to post about and each day, I am so exhausted that all I can do is put up the latest pictures on my camera and find something easy to write about. 

It is sad to me that I am not writing about the exciting times we have had recently with friends visiting but at the moment, I am ready to collapse. It has been such a long year. I never had a chance to recover from my mother living here, then her death, then the accident, then, then, then. Recently, I have driven all over the state with my wonderful friends and host parents from New Zealand and I hope to get feeling better and get caught up on that and many other things. 

I stopped taking my thyroid medication a few weeks back to see where I am with it as I haven't had any gluten in just about four years. I stopped eating eggs which seemed to cause problems. I also gave up drinking Coke this week and truly, I think that was the only thing keeping me going most days as I am so tired. 

I notice that I am not as hot as I usually am being off the medication and am back to being cold all the time which my children thinks is funny but shows that my thyroid isn't functioning well. I wake up every night freezing... Time to put the heated mattress pad back on.

Just today, I got a crown put on which is the fourth on that same tooth which has bothered me for 12 years. It is tight and has caused me stress all day. I took care of fees at the high school. I went and ordered two pair of glasses with Princess Four for her mission and now we need to order contacts. The first pair we ordered were $106 out of pocket and the second, she chose the cheapest frame and lens with no coating and got 20% off the second pair so they were about $25. The bills for her mission keep adding up but she paid for the glasses as my coffer is empty at present!

We went to the bank and found some hidden "fees" and "Insurance" payments on her new credit card which are very dishonest and should be illegal. Check your card statement for small amounts on your card. They were $.31 in fees over the month for insurance in case she loses her job and can't pay her bill! We were not told about it and I guess if you don't pay your bill by a specific date in full, you get these fees. However, these fees are not near the actual due date for your card statement due date so you will always get these hidden 'fees" each month. We asked them to take them off her card but I am sure the million other owners of the card have no idea they are being charged that monthly!

We dropped something off at the woman shelter in our area and a few other things needing to get out of the house. I paid some bills, bought groceries and worked on the house some. 

I haven't quite recovered from the food poisoning and the stress from this past year and am so tired that I am not sure how things will work out. I fell off a chair at Princess One's at the beginning of the month and my foot didn't hurt for a week or so but now I am sure I have a stress fracture and have had a limp for weeks. 
 
The girls have been telling me for weeks my eyes look yellow and I am feeling rather diabetic since the food poison thing a few weeks back. 

Truly, I think I need a few weeks in bed but it won't happen with everything going on....... Keep me in your prayers..... 

On a happy note, I have been noticing the past few nights when I get on to blog that I have people from all over the world reading my blog as I type my new post. It is a bit of a weird feeling thinking someone from Pakistan is reading something I wrote as I currently type. I think it is rather cool!  

It is times like this, the world seems rather a small place....... 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Biggest Spider in My Yard - Orb Weaving Spider



The night of our yard sale a few weeks past, we were cleaning up and I about walked into this HUGE spider and VERY LARGE WEB just in front of my shut off valve area near the front of my home. 

 
I was very freaked out by the large and hairy / spiny spider. I figured it would have to be poisonous as it has such distinct markings and angles which usually denote poisonous spiders. 

I got some spider killing spray and sprayed it after taking some identifying pictures. Funny thing is that I didn't even see the large black widow spider in the lower right hand corner of the pictures near the actual water turn off! 
 
It was dark and I was so focused on the large spider and web that until I looked at the pictures to post, I didn't see it! It starts out just at the spot where the brick and cement meet at the foundation and when I spray the Orb spider, it moves up on the brick more. 

I think it is time to spray the foundation again! I used to spray often when we had the biting bird mites years ago and the spider population went down quite a bit but I just did the window wells last year and it seems like we have had more spiders in the past year in the house than in many years combined. 
 
I have NEVER seen this spider before and hope I don't again as it is huge and the web was enough to walk through which would give someone a heart attack. 

I clipped and pasted some information on the spider about its common names and toxicity etc. I truly don't ever want to walk through the huge webs it creates and hope it didn't lay it's eggs anywhere before dying as they hatch in the spring, I guess I will find out then. 

Here is the information I got off several different sites:

Venom toxicity - the bite of Orb-Weaving Spiders is of low risk (not toxic) to humans. They are a non-aggressive group of spiders. Seldom bite. Be careful not to walk into their webs at night - the fright of this spider crawling over one's face can be terrifying and may cause a heart attack, particularly to the susceptible over 40 year olds.

Spider Identification - an adult is about 2/3 to more than 1 inch in body length - has a bulbous abdomen - often colorful - dark to light brown pattern. The common Golden Orb-Weaver Spider has a purplish bulbous abdomen with fine hairs.
 
Habitat - often found in summer in garden areas around the home - they spin a large circular web of 6 feet or more, often between buildings and shrubs, to snare flying insects, such as, flies and mosquitoes.

 I got this information off another site:
 
Among the more interesting orb weaving spiders is the "cat-faced spider," which is formally known as araneus gemmoides. It gets its nickname from the fact that many people think the projections and indentations on its abdomen look like the ears and eyes of a feline. 

These strange-looking spiders are known to spin geometric webs near lights outdoors, but don't pose a threat to humans. Cat-faced spiders are commonly collected during the fall.

 Another orb weaving spider is the banded orb weaving spider, which is especially common from August until the first freeze of the fall season."The adult female wanders looking for a spot to lay the egg sac and may enter people's homes or areas around the home, the eggs will hatch in the spring. These spiders are an excellent predator of pest insects and should be released back into the yard." 

I for one, don't want them spinning anything in my yard! I guess they are just in time to make it look scary for Halloween!       

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Moving Forward Foot By Foot

Princess Four and I have been shopping the past few days trying to get some of the items for her mission to Sapporo, Japan. 
 
We have been to many stores and before this in her life, we really haven't had to find many shoes at the same time buying one here and one there. 

She needs four pair of shoes and some boots. We aren't exactly sure what type of shoes and boots would be best as it is wet, cold / hot and humid. 


We contacted several people who have been in that area asking what would be best but we have gotten many different and conflicting reports from them about the situation. 

Some say to wait and purchase everything there. Others have told us that they couldn't get what they needed there. The one that struggled said she was a size 8 1/2 shoe and couldn't find shoes in her size there. 
 
That was what I was worried about. I can't send her there without all the items on her list as I don't know what she can get there and if they will have it in her size etc. 

In the past three days, Princess Four has tried on about 200 shoes. She has a wide flatter foot with a very thin heel and most of the shoes she tried on have bigger heels where they rub so we don't want her to get blisters. 

We found a pair of boots when shopping earlier that are from a company named Naot that fit her well. In all the shopping, they were the only comfortable shoes she tried on. They were like new at a second hand store for less than $10 so I was excited about it. I was getting very frustrated with the lack of shoes fitting her. 
 
Today we spent another four hours shopping for shoes. The first place we went, they sold the Naot brand of shoes made in Israel. We looked at the price of the boots that were similar to the ones we purchased and they were $200. 

We were excited about the deal we got but since the shoes were $185, we tried on every shoe in the store and none fit. We then tried on the Naot shoe and it fit. So, for $185, she has a pair of shoes for her mission. 


We moved on to the boots. She needs tall boots as the snow gets deep. She also needed water proof. Several people said galoshes but  I still worry about the cold. 

We almost bought a pair of grey with polka dots but they were quite heavy and I was hoping to find a pair of black. 

The store that had the expensive shoes had some crock brand boots that are quite light and fit well and my favorite part is that they have a fabric band at the top that would keep the snow out. They were just under $100. 

She tried them on with a pair of wool socks and said they were comfortable and warm so hopefully she can wear a few pair of warm socks and keep her feet from freezing but still be warm. 

The socks we bought were for snow boarders and were thinner at the ankle on the fold but she said they were really warm and got rather hot wearing the boots and the socks for a few minutes walking around the store. The boots were just under $100 and the wool socks were $14 each. I bought one thinking I may have a few I purchased for emergencies at home.

We then went to a more common shoe store and found a black / airy type shoe that was laced which wasn't something we wanted as she will have to remove her shoes at every home but she could get her shoe on and off without tying the shoes so I think we will exchange the laces with black elastic and avoid the laces at all. 

At that store, there was 25% off the shoes that were $60 and they had a sale on their socks. They had buy two and get one free. In her paperwork for her mission, they said that I can't mail her anything ever as it costs her more to get it out of customs than to purchase the items there and that by the time it finds her, she will most likely have moved on. 

So, we purchased 15 pairs of the footie nylon type socks that have the little non-skid pads in the back. Since we need to have summer socks and very cold winter socks, I still need to figure out the other wool socks but at least we have the summer months covered. 
 
There were also some plastic Danskin ankle boots that were super cute with a heel and were $100 but were very heavy and I worried about the weight. I looked on Amazon Asia to see if I could purchase them on there and mail them directly to her in Japan but they were $270 on Amazon so they cost us $170 more than if she bought them here. She did say that if we want to buy them she could wear them on her flight over to save on weight in her suitcases. 

We saw some Slogger brand cloggs that looked interesting and we are going to try and find some of them locally to see if we can see some in person and try them on. They were a bit cheaper than the Danskin pair and don't have heels like the Danskin pair so if we can't find one she likes, we will buy the Danskin pair. 

If someone had ever asked me if I would pay $185 plus tax for a pair of shoes, I would have said "no" but if it allows Princess four to be comfortable, it was worth it. 

So, today, we spent about $365 in shoes and socks. Hopefully, we can find the last pair of shoes and the wool socks I think I have at home will work. They may be too irritating for her so I may just pay the $14 each for a few more pair as I know she liked those and they have a bit of spandex so the won't be falling down in her boot.   

I was super stressed after charging the $285 at the first store and we were talking with another person shopping there who is also going to Japan and while we were walking out of the store, "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World came on. I looked at Princess Four and we both knew that we needed to trust God and that "everythings gonna be alright, alright!" Check out my blog about that song here. 

What To Do With A Free Day - Trust In HIM


One would think I would enjoy a free day where I didn't have anything scheduled. 

I actually would like one of those type of days if I didn't have such a long "to do" list waiting for such a day as today.

I thought since my out of country guest have continued on their way, I would edit my mothers manuscript of her autobiography. 

She wrote the book when she was a national beauty queen back in the day and thought she would get it published. Over the years, it has been revised between kids, life, and health issues, it just never got published.

Her dying concern was that she never finished her book for her children and grand children. We paid out of her estate to have the book published before she passed and my brother read some of  the preview of her book and showed her all the pictures the week before she died. 

I think she was at peace knowing the book was paid for and all the pictures were scanned and in order and the publishers were able to plug the pictures in with the events she was talking about in the book.   
 
I started to work on editing the book as I know the pictures and stories better than anyone in the family after having spent so many hours sorting and scanning her stuff. 

The phone started ringing mid morning and from there, I never got back to editing. 

Princess Fours car is at the shop after breaking down. He isn't sure what is wrong with it. Princess five left for a Rotary weekend where she is jr staff. Princess two had part of her back molar fall out and while we were waiting for the car to be looked at, I shopped at a second hand store near the mechanic shop and found lots of silver and some gold in jewelry grab bags. I sorted after Princess Two took me to all you can eat sushi! It was so sweet of her to do that and I truly enjoyed myself as I had only had a cup of yogurt all day and it was now after 7. I ate five rolls! I sorted the jewelry and everyone got a bit. There were lots of pieces they were happy with which is good. The best part was that I found a penny made into an earring which was just a reminder to trust in Him more!

I am tired and hope tomorrow comes with better news but I figure things are going to be "OK" as when we took the car in late last night, we found two pennies at the shop and today, as I returned the car as he thought just resetting the check engine light may have fixed the problem, I found another penny on my way out. God is good and I do feel like He is in charge and I do need to trust in Him. I know things will be "OK" in the end.