Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dear Shooter

Dear Shooter,

In the note you left you said you were sorry, you knew what you were about to do was selfish.  I wonder, were you apologizing only to the people you were about to kill?  Did you realize how wide a swath of pain you were going to leave in your wake?

Did you have any idea how completely you were going to devastate the family of the girl you thought you loved?  That her mother's heart would, in her own words, break into a million pieces?   That the loss of Daddy's little girl would extinguish the light from his eyes?  That you were taking her sister's best friend and room mate?  Did you think about the fact that these sisters planned to graduate together? That now the surviving sister will have to take that walk alone?  That someday when she gets married the girl who without a doubt would have been her maid of honor won't even be there?

Did you have any idea of the larger family that would be affected by the loss of this girl who was surely the bright light of the family?  The grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who would be heartbroken both on their own and for the pain of the immediate family which they can do nothing to soothe?

Surely you did not think about the hundreds of friends who would also feel powerless to help the grieving family in any real way.  You probably did not realize how we will remember you in the future when our own children begin to date; how your memory will create a nagging fear inside of us as we wonder if the man our daughter is dating might turn on her, as you did on this beautiful girl.  Or if the girl our son is dating might need protection from someone like you, and if our son might be her protector as the young man you murdered was trying to be.

Did you think about that young man's family?  Did you think about how searing their loss would be when they learned that the reason their son and brother was killed was that he was good and honorable?  Did you think for a second about the fact that this young man was trying to protect the girl you claimed to love?  Did you think about the larger family and the circle of friends of this family?

Did you think about the other young man you intended to kill?  When you wrote the note you did not know that you would not find him.  You could not have imagined the hell this man is now living in. That he would attend the funerals of two friends in a week - friends who were killed by another man whom he considered a friend.  How he would overcome his fear to speak at their funerals.  These things you could not have known, but did you think about his family, since you intended also to rob them of a son and brother?

 Did you do the math and realize how many hundreds of people were going to be hurt by the actions you were about to take?

And what about your own family?  Did you give any thought to the fact that their grief is coupled with the horrific knowledge that their son is responsible for the grief of hundreds of others?

No shooter, you could not have thought about these things.  I have to believe that if you had thought about all of the people you were about to destroy you would have realized your intended actions went far beyond selfishness.  I have to believe this realization would have stopped you.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Adventures in Camping without a Man

Eric is away on business again so the kids and I ventured out on our own this week.  We went just a few hours north to Stanley Lake, Idaho.

Idaho is a much maligned state, which is easy to understand if you drive through on it's only freeway.  Interstate 84 stays in southern Idaho which is practically nothing but sagebrush and sand.  (Interestingly, despite the fact that my iPad auto corrects and auto capitalizes, it never auto capitalizes Idaho.  Apparently programmers don't even know Idaho is a proper noun!)   However, if you travel just a little bit north in Idaho you will find some of the most spectacular scenery in the U.S.

This is where we camped, on Stanley Lake with McGown peak as a backdrop.

A funny thing happened while we were camping. We had been at our campsite just a few hours, had roasted the obligatory hot dogs and then marshmallows and I was washing dishes while the kids played outside. Suddenly I heard a strange hissing sound coming from the engine compartment. I rushed out. The kids were looking frightened and there was steam coming from under the hood. I grabbed the fire extinguisher and the dog out of the RV and told the kids to run get the camp host. But within a minute or so the hissing and steaming stopped. I stood for a few minutes, completely befuddled. Turns out the host was gone and there seemed to be no one else around who could help me. I was at a loss to know what had just happened. The engine had been off for at least 3 hours so I couldn't imagine what happened. I did what I always do when I have a problem - I sent a text to Eric. In Singapore. Silly! But he responded and through multiple texts we tried to figure out what had just happened. His conclusion was a hose from the air conditioner must have broken. I settled down and prepared to enjoy the great outdoors.

The next morning, Ethan handed me a piece of paper and bolted out the door. The paper was folded twice and he had written "urgent" on the front. I unfolded it to find Ethan's mea culpa and a plea that I not kill him! Turns out the kids had been sword fighting with the roasting sticks and his stick had flown off the handle (literally!) and, as he put it, "into the RV." There was time separation here, so I thought he meant it had gone into the side of the RV. I took my time thinking about it but eventually called Ethan in with the reassurance that I would not kill him. I asked him to show me where the errant stick had struck and to my horror he led me to the front of the RV and pointed inside the grill. There it was, a fairly large hole in what I thought was the radiator! Now the pieces were coming together.  I was sick. A hole in the radiator meant I would not be able to drive. We would have to be towed from a campground far from civilization, and the radiator would have to be replaced. Dollar signs were spinning through my head and I was no longer a happy camper.

In a panic, I called my brother-in-law who, among other things, is a mechanic for a friends race cars. To make a long story short, he found a mechanic in the nearby town of Stanley (population 63!) who drove to the campground to help me. GOD BLESS THEM BOTH!! When he saw the hole he told me it was not, in fact, in the radiator but rather in the air conditioning something-or-other. Turns out Eric's diagnosis from Singapore was not too far off! I was safe to drive, just couldn't use the air conditioner. WHEW!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Rushing Through the Rest of Spring Break

I need to finish posting pictures from our Spring Break trip back in March, so I'm just going to put up a bunch of pictures and call it good.

This was the view from my chair at our campsite.

Eric encouraged me to take a photography class while we were in Yosemite.  I don't know how much I'll remember of what was taught, but it was a great experience.  The teacher was the official staff photographer for Yosemite National Park, so it's fair to say he knew a thing or two about the subject. Besides knowledge, he was very friendly so the class was quite enjoyable.  The "class" took place while on a 4 hour walk through part of the park.  Here are two of the pictures I took during the class:

The following day our family hiked through another part of the park.  I found this remnant of a tree which I thought was interesting.

While taking the above picture I thought that top hole would make an interesting frame for a photograph, so I recruited Ethan to be my subject.  Unfortunately, though I tried and tried, I couldn't get the camera to focus on Ethan.  It's possible, I just didn't have my manual with me and couldn't remember how to do it.  Sad face, that would have been a cool picture.

Moving on...

From Yosemite we went to Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.  Along the way we drove through a wind storm in the Mojave Desert.  The high winds tore the awning part way off of our motorhome.  We pulled off on the side of the highway and realized we were going to have to cut the awning off before it caused more damage to the RV.  So in high winds on the side of the highway, Eric had to crawl up on top of the RV with a scissors and cut the awning while I held on to part of it to prevent it knocking him off or... who knows!  It was extremely scary at the time.  

A few pictures of the canyon:

I love unique architecture, so was happy to see this Indian building called "Hopi House".  However, it was not anything historical or educational.  It was just a souvenir shop.  

We ate a very nice lunch at the El Tovar Hotel, the oldest hotel in the Grand Canyon.

I was shocked to find this plaque at the entrance to a shop within the canyon:

The Bible verse and the words of the poem are so fitting!  But as more and more Biblical references and Christian symbols are being removed from public places in our country, I wonder how long that will be allowed to remain.

A few more pictures of the canyon.

Now on to other adventures!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Just a peek

So many pictures to catch up on!  I didn't finish posting our Spring a Break trip yet, and I've travelled twice since then!  Here is a sneak peek at our last trip.  This was taken near Orofino, Idaho.  Hope to catch up some day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Break, Part 2 (Entering Yosemite)

I took a LOT of pictures in Yosemite.  Actually, I took a photography class while there so I took a lot of pictures of the same thing while I experimented with light and movement.  So of all the pictures, not many are actually very good or even very interesting.  But I will share some that might give you a sense of the journey. (Hopefully!)

Last year there was a wild fire around Yosemite.  Driving in was rather disheartening, as the forest was charred.

It was interesting to see how in some areas trees that were killed by the fire stood next to trees that appear untouched.  Perhaps the dead ones were killed by heat rather than actual fire?

At this point I was beginning to worry that all of Yosemite would be a wasteland.

Thankfully, the devastation ended before we arrived inside the park.  Along the side of the road there was something that looked like snow.  I believe it was actually remnants of the chemical retardant the Forest Service uses to help put out wild fires.

Finally we were arriving at the park.  It was an absolutely perfect day, weather wise.  Look at that blue sky!

Our first peak at the grandeur of Yosemite was Bridal Veil Falls cascading down from the sheer granite...mountain? cliff?  I don't know what you should properly call these massive granite rocks.

Yosemite is a huge national park.  761,268 acres to be exact.  (3,081 sq. km for my European readers.) Considering that we spent just 3 nights there (not to mention that I am extremely out-of-shape and getting old!) we did not see much.  We SHOULD have hiked in closer to Bridal Veil Falls. At this point I thought we would get back to it.  However, once we got to our campsite and started planning our days we realized we weren't going to get more than a cursory overview of this enormous park.

That's all I have time for today...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Break, Part 1

Spring break happened a few weeks ago; finally a chance to take a planned trip in our "new" RV.  So anxious to get on the road were we that we picked Ethan up from school IN THE RV and hit the road.

The first night we drove to some little town in Nevada.  The second day we drove from Nevada to Yosemite National Park in California.  Today's pictures were taken along the way to Yosemite.

We stopped at a scenic pull off at what I thought was Lake Tahoe.  It was actually Donner Lake which is much smaller than Lake Tahoe.  Oh well, a very pretty spot nonetheless.

The kids took off up the hill where they found some pinecones.

Huge pine cones, actually.  We gathered up a bunch of them and brought them home with us.

Prior to this trip I had only been to the main tourist parts of California:  San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.  This trip took us through some beautiful agricultural areas.  We saw acres and acres of vineyards and orchards.  After driving by several produce stands we decided it would probably be wrong not to stop and sample some of the local produce, so we just stopped at the next one we came to.

Denise's Farmer's Market in Ripon, California was a great find.  We picked up strawberries, blackberries, apples, pears, almonds, flavored olive oil, homemade salsa and...firewood! The food was all great.  The firewood was awful.  I believe it was from almond trees and apparently almond trees don't burn well.  

I had never seen almond trees before, but the Farmer's Market was set in a grove of the trees.  Initially Eric went into the market while I wandered outside and took pictures.

Here is a close-up of the almonds:

And here is a picture of part of the grove:

I would enjoy spending more time in this part of California.  It was a different world from their famous cities and one that I found much more pleasant.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Boring routine

I was just reading a blog that I enjoy and thought I would leave a comment. But this particular blogger has a huge number of followers and there are always many, many comments. So I clicked the box to leave a comment but then decided against it. I would be lost in the sea of voices. I like leaving comments for bloggers who have a more modest audience, where I know they'll be appreciated.

I'm sorry I haven't posted any new pictures in awhile. Seems I'm in the boring routine of life again! Just to give you something visual, I'll post a picture of the valentine cards I made for my family, including a couple of little ones that my son gave to classmates (one of which is upside down. Oops!)