Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A little bit of luck

One morning a few weeks ago, Marie took our van in to our local tire shop (Johnson's Tires) to get the brakes checked. While waiting she signed up Joel and Will for a drawing sponsored by the Tire Pros (local tires companies in Utah) for boys and girls to win an evening at the Real Salt Lake stadium--where they would get to tour Rio Tinto Stadium and get to go out on the field. She thought our two boys would love it. To her surprise (we never win anything) she got a call last week from Riley Johnson (whose son Clayton is Joel's good friend) saying that Joel had won and that he and a parent (and no one else) were to go to Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday night at 5:00. Joel was excited. So was Marie who watches all of the games with the boys. She was especially excited to perhaps meet player Joao Plata (who does a little Latin salsa dance after he scores--Marie has similar Latin moves). My job in all of this was to come home early to pick up Sarah from musical (The Mikado) practice, take her to piano lessons, take Will to soccer training, go visit mom in Mapleton, pick up Will, then pick up Sarah and go watch Will compete in the Pinewood Derby.

The two hour visit included a stop at the gift shop (to buy a Real pennant for players to sign), a tour of the club house, putting on cleats in the visiting team locker room, 90 minutes of training on the field with three of the players and then a photo op,autographs and Q&A with the players. Marie enjoyed sitting in the stands watching and taking photos with Joel's i-pod. Joel took a few selfies and a nice panorama shot of the stadium.

With Luke Mulholland (from England), who Marie thought was really nice.

With Chris Schuler

With Chris Wingert. Joel came home with a new soccer ball, posters, Real car air fresheners, Real eye glass cleaner and a $25 gift certificate to a Tire Pro. When Marie and Joel got to the car, one of the tires was flat. Before Marie could even get started changing the tire, one of the many tire shop owners offered to help and then Riley Johnson walked by and Marie called him over to help to. They did it lickety split--even though both tire shop owners confessed they seldom have to change tires any more. Riley then took the tire which he will have repaired in the morning for Marie to then pick up. When Marie stopped at a gas station to have the spare tire inflated a little more, another nice man offered to help. Marie is amazed at all of the home town goodness and friendliness she has been experiencing.

I am not much of  Pinewood Derby dad. It is a chore that must be done. Luckily there have always been nice neighbors with saws. This year neighbor Jerry let us use his band saw to cut a wedge shaped car--Will's design and choice. Will then sanded, chose the paints, came up with a paint design and did the painting (with some help with taping).  I put on the wheels, glued them in, added weights (bringing the 2 oz car up to 4 7/8 ozs--just below the 5 oz maximum weight limit) and applied lubricating graphite to the axels. We must have done something right.Will's bright red/orange/yellow car (on the left, leading out in the first heat) won all but one of the dozen heats. There were only 5 participants so that certainly helped his odds.

The average speed of his car in all of the races was 230 mph! We think the aerodynamic shape and the concentration of most of the weight on the bottom (in the form of legal metal bars) was what did the trick. Afterwards while playing around we had Will race the others with his car turned backwards and his car then came in last. Always just behind Will was another wedge shaped red car.

Notice the metal bars on the bottom. (I screwed them in between the flag ceremony and the uniform check). His friend Harrison has a talented wood working dad who helped make a very cool fancy shaped car (black colored on the left in the close-up above) which lacked Will's aerodynamics. Sometimes skill-less dads and their sons get lucky.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A nice time of year

Last week part of the Tueller clan got together to celebrate Uncle Matt's birthday (the US ambassador to Yemen). Aunt Diane and Uncle Lant organized a fun around-Provo high tech treasure hunt. The four sisters were team leaders. Each pre-assigned team needed to have a name and bring props. Five clues were given. After getting to the right destination each team had to take a photo and e-mail it to Lant (good thing I finally bought a smart phone last year) who then called back with the next clue. Teams competed for fastest time, best photo, silliest photo. Clues took us to different places in different orders. One of the few common stops for all teams was the Provo train station. The oUtlaws of Utah coUnty--Aunt Rachel's team (l to r) with Grandma Jean, Sarah, Rachel's friend Courtney and cousin David (who took all of their team's photos). Rachel has a law degree from the University of Utah so her team dressed in red.

The Brobassadors: Diane's team with Grandpa Blaine (l to r) Diane, Aunt DeNeece, Joel and Will. They dressed in Arab garb because brother ambassador has spent all of his career in the Middle East.

The Mad Hatters: Aunt Anna's team in which cousin Emma posses as Gladys Knight with the Pips doing back up moves in the back (l to R) Uncle Bernell, Anna and Matt. The clue for this stop had something to do with "the midnight train to Georgia."

Marie's team--The Fan Club, because we are fans of uncle Matt and of his granddaughter Yuna who was a member of our team. Here (l to r) Marie, Chad, Chris and Yuna run to catch the train.

Also a member of the Fan club was Matt's daughter-in-law, Ayae. This clue told us to go to the gate through which four of the ten Tuellers had passed.  Four kids served missions so we correctly went to the MTC and posed as two mission companionships.

Anna's team recruited exercising sister missionaries for their photo at the MTC. The photo was taken at the lowest resolution so that it would e-mail faster. Perhaps that is why they were narrowly able to win the contest.

This clue took us to the cemetery where the other large musical family (the Osmonds) also has a plot.

This was the prize winning photo of a very pious Grandma Jean praying at the cemetery while fellow teammates sang.

The clue for this stop was to go to the permanent BYU student who does not conform to the dress code. Fans were used to make Massasoit more modest. This was the other prize winning photo.

Also on Diane's team was cousin Sam (behind Will).

 For Labor Day we went for an afternoon drive up to Cascade Springs.  Last time we were there Sarah and Joel were much younger. Marie was surprised at how short the hike was when not having to do it with toddlers. The big toothed maples are the first to start changing color.

We then completed driving the rest of the Alpine Loop (loved the large aspen groves) which took us to Highland and the home of Bob and Annie. There the kids enjoyed a swim and we all then enjoyed a delicious Thai meal.

Today after the soccer games I ventured forth to take a closer look at our garden.  Between my trip to Indonesia and getting ready for a new semester I have had little time to do anything other than to harvest a few tomatoes now and then. The unusual rains of August certainly helped things grow.  I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.

Volunteer cantaloupe and a two too large cucumbers.

Jalepeno peppers (for homemade salsa) and a butternut squash.

 One of five impressive sunflowers.

This sunflower has been picked nearly clean by happy (and beautiful) mountain blue birds. I put paper bags over two of the flowers to preserve the seeds until they have dried properly.

One of maybe a hundred tomatoes harvested today.

Yellow squash and one of four impressive pumpkins.

Butternut squash


Kohlrabi. First time ever planted. I have never eaten Kohlrabi before. Any tips on how to use it?

I am the lone person in this house that likes fresh beets (with lemon). Yum.

 This is what happens when you ignore zucchini for a few days.

Elsewhere in the yard. Tart Jonathan apples.

Walnuts for neighborhood Christmas treats.

Golden delicious apples.

A sad thing. A three year old peach tree where one branch slipped from my meager attempts to support it and snapped.