Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Denver Video

Those of you who missed the Thanksgiving movie need to check the previous post. This time I'm showing the funny movie where it looks like someone pushes Izzy off the stage backwards. And of course one of my favorites-Grady in pursuit of invisible floor monsters/Klingons/bad guys from Star Wars!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Denver Doings

Fast and furious was the pace, but fun and fanciful was the party. Delightful brine-prepared turkey, then turkey sandwiches, then turkey soup. Good sleepover with Izzy and Grady (notice the cookies and hot chocolate bedtime snack), to include breakfast at Hampton Inn followed by a good swim in the heated pool with the whole Parker clan, then a tree lighting ceremony featuring Izzy and her choir, then the movie "UP" on the wall with surround sound, then saturday with football games [yay BYU!!] and finally dinner at Papadeaux where we got to watch Laurel browbeat the service staff into getting us seated and comping our spinach-crab dip.

This video may be a little hard to hear. I think I may have had my finger over the built-in microphone. Whatever, sit back and learn about Thanksgiving folks!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Denver Bound (again?)

Once was a time when heading for Denver meant reliving my mother's life. We lived in Manassa Colorado during my Dad's stationing in Saudi Arabia and then Eniwetok Atoll. A drive to Denver meant getting cool board games, going to May D & F Department store, and maybe Elitch's Gardens--an amusement park. How it has changed. Now it means deplane (there is such a word?), drive through Aurora to the new suburbs of Parker to visit my daughter, her husband and three grandkids. That's where we are bound on Thanksgiving Day itself. Flight back on Sunday, so there's really no time for sightseeing, is there? So much fun to roll around the carpet with the kids, capturing them and having them miraculously escape, eating turkey and turkey leftovers and no doubt singing around the piano in the evening. There'll have to be some shopping done, to save December postage, and I'd love to go to Papadeaux now that I know there is one near Denver. Sleepover for the two oldest grandkids and a wonderful Hampton House breakfast buffet for the four of us! Oh yeah--I'll be sure to take my warmer coat to face les nieve du hier. Right? Jingle jingle, save me some gravy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Not so bad

There are times when everything comes together--good weather, good company, fun things to do. This is from County Fair time when the fam made a trip to the Pasco Farmer's market. Not too big a deal, Pasco hasn't realized how wonderful this all is.
Brandon or Carol serves as photographer, but where is Dennis? Ah, yes, being the magic grandpa. I have Ade in the child seat and am driving circles around the market, lulling Ade to sleep with my smooth chauffering and cool tunes. Later, I pick up some of the clan and we push on to other exciting (well, for the Tri-Cities) things to do. We love it.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A buccaneer used my bathroom

No, I did not see him
But, he left his buccaneer hat on the back of my toilet
And an almost perfectly round rock next to the soap dish

Other clues

He moved my truck keys from the key bowl to the back bedroom bookshelf
He hid the remote control from the sewing room
He scattered my office paper clips to each room of the house
He left a Tommy Tippy cup in the dishwasher
He left a longing in my heart

He must be a strange buccaneer
I hope he comes again real soon.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Grease is the word

Yes, just when we thought we'd entertained ourselves to death, here comes our annual trek and anniversary celebration in Walla Walla, the home of the coolest outdoor musical theater in the state. Our dear friends, Bill and Laurie Pofahl get the tickets every year (reserved seats $20 each--a deal after the AI concert) and we go out to the finest restaurants available in Eastern Washington that night. On this night we chose to go to a gourmet restaurant in Waitsburg, a mere pimple on the nose of progress here. Oh yum, as the women munched down on lobster ravioli, I had a wonderful Jambalaya and Bill had a seafood etouffe. Not to be found anywhere else this side of the Cascades. Then off we headed for the production of "Grease" on the outdoor stage you see in the photo above. The production did not have the quality of voices one could expect in a Phoenix or Los Angeles venue, but the enthusiasm was there and the orchestra was a rockin' 50's band, so as the subtle burps of Andouille sausage and smoked venison rose to the surface we settled in to the fun of Southeastern Washington, where everyone talks to the people in the rows in front of you and at intermission you buy popcorn you know came from one of those industrial bags cooked somewhere in Stockton, CA about 2 months ago. Oh well, something about "les bon temps rollez!!!" What's next in this whirlwind summer?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yes we did, we really did

Acting like teenagers Carol and I drove over to Tacoma on Tuesday night to catch the American Idols 2009 road tour at the Tacoma Dome. Actually, it was the Adam Lambert show and that's the reason we went. Amazingly, everyone around us also indicated that's who they were here to see. Left me wondering who the heck made all of those darn phone calls for Kris? Due to that miserable traffic around Seattle we got to the Dome only 12 minutes before showtime. Fortunately, we had anteed up the $25 for premium parking so were within quick walking distance to the right door right outside our section. Anoop was smooth and sexy, Allison rocked the house, and Matt was a fantastic performer (how did we not like him?). After six performers, they even had a 20 minute intermission. Yeah, Allison, then Gokey did well. Everyone then knew the next performer and when the lights went out, they started stomping on the floors until there was quite a rumble. Then, the stage lights started going crazy and everyone got on their feet and screamed their heads off before we even saw anyone! Sure enough, next comes the main riff for Whole Lotta Love and whatever energy we had left was directed to the stage as the most impressive rock star in the last 15 years walks out and starts jamming. It became exhausting for us 60 year olds to pour this all out. When Allison ran out to sing Slow Ride with Adam, I nearly fainted. Okay, so anyway, we all sat down about 8 bars into the follow-up act--oh yeah, that Kris Allen guy. Turns out he was good, too, but the audience declared the real champion. I think Kris can handle that--just two different but both excellent styles. We got up the next morning and drove back to Kennewick, and I was at work around 1 p.m. My office mate says I'm acting like either a 14 year old girl or a 21 year old gay guy. Whatever.....Adam rocks!!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

McCain Reunion 2009

Every evening, the kids would gather around Carol for "Red Purse" night. This is based on the tradition she has when visiting grandkids--she always has something special in her big red purse. For this vacation she had a bag of treats each of four nights. First night--books for all. Second night--toys for all. Third night--crafts for all. Last night--treats for all. We are convinced we are not buying our grandkids' love--simply giving them cause to express it. Carol is a wise and beloved grandmother.

Okay, here we are in Yellowstone--our first attempt at a Dennis and down McCain family reunion. Pushed and organized by Aaron and Candace, it was a huge hit. We stayed in a large home in Island Park. One person (Candace) bought all the food based on menu suggestions from all four couples (Carol and I, Aaron and Candace, Laurel and Tom, Carl and Devin). Using precise engineering datasheets, the costs of room and board were equitably determined. We hit Yellowstone for two full days, starting with Old Faithful first and the second day the kids focused on Yellowstone Falls walks, while Carol and I drove the big loop from Madison up to Mammoth east to Tower, south to Yellowstone falls, back to Madison.
We saw this buffalo peacefully grazing alongside the road. Sort of a token expression, but kind of endearing

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Camas you are

Well, what would Memorial Day be without a road trip with our Empty Nesters group? For 2009 we decided to revisit Orofino, ID--a city rife with Northwest history, from the Canoe Camp for Lewis & Clark in 1805 to the mighty Idaho Gold Rush of 1877, with a whole lot of Nez Perce History thrown in the pot.

This picture at the left has in its background a somewhat curious mound of basalt, rising maybe 40 feet. Called "The Heart of the Monster" it represents the origin of the Nez Perce people. I couldn't resist seeing it so dragged the rest of our crew down to Kamiah, Idaho Monday morning, following a restful night beside the Clearwater River in our wonderful hotel.

Here we are Sunday night in the spacious lobby of our hotel, playing our usual card game, "Hand and Foot." Partners lay out cards on the table and attempt to use up the cards in their respective hands (and feet!) to go out, kinda like Gin Rummy. Carol and Dorothy Hibbs won this night--a rare but joyful event.

This is what camas in bloom looks like. It is still breathtaking to me as it was to the Lewis and Clark parties who described the appearance of a lake or stream, only to be the delicate blooms of thousands of camas plants. This is only the second time I have ever seen this sight outside the podunk town of Weippe, Idaho. But this time, my buddies could see. We even dug a couple of camas bulbs up and I ate one. Like most things in the wild, they are mostly functional and tasteless (think salmonberries).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Happy Times

I finally did it! Impulse shopping at its max! Yup, I bought two tickets to the Tacoma Dome performance of the American Idols 09 tour! I like Adam the best, followed by Allison, then Gokey, Kris and even Matt! The concept of seeing them together on a single stage boggles my mind. In the future you will have to spend 5 times that money to catch their individual acts--they are that good. When my little rock group asked me to sing lead for them, I was extremely flattered to go and try me stuff. They asked if I could sing "hotel california". Well, of course I could sing "hotel california"--give me a downbeat. Oh my gosh! It was a such a high register I couldn't hardly get a note out. Fortunately, the guys could all transpose, so we got it down to a manageable range for me to handle. As we worked out our playlist I was amazed at how high all the professionals sing--don't even ask me to try Boston, for heaven's sake! So, yes I am just short of obsessed with Adam Lambert. He will be a rock god, as predicted by Kara! My boss is the next biggest AI fan I know and he is encouraging me to blow off work one afternoon and one morning after, just to go see this on a Tuesday night! Okay, everyone, be ready to air play the background to these lyrics--Deep down inside........Woman! need (three big notes).....LLLLOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVEEEEE! (Fade to black with head banging Zep notes)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

One final ALOHA

Here we are outside the entry center at Waikeloa with our orienter, Mailee, who has told us what to see and where to go. She has also gifted us with these bigger and better leis. Last time, it was miniscule sea shells. No gift certificates, as they think their gift was letting us stay in a "Tier 3" condo for the points usually used for a "Tier 2" condo. So, lah-ti-dah! Mailee is giving the "shaka" sign, which Hayden is thoroughly checking out. Can't tell if Devin's blouse is wet from a swimsuit beneath or Hayden above. Let's go have some fun!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Kings of Hawaii

Yes, we just finished an invigorating week at Kona with Carl and his family. Amongst the beauty of our Waikoloa Hilton timeshare, we still found time to go visit Kameheahea's birth site on the north side. I love his violent history that has been modernized to hero worship.

The story behind this statue is incredible. Bronze, it was cast in France and sank near the Falkland Islands on its way to the Big Island near the town of Hawi. Of all the coincidences, a traveler to the Falkland Islands saw the salvaged statue outside a drugstore and made an offer. It was taken to Hawaii and painted annually. Cool. I had to see it, so drove up from Kona with Carol, Devin, Carl and Hayden. They indulged my historical fascination, then we ate at the Bamboo Restaurant (go ahead and google it--look for "best restaurant on Hawaii) My wanderlust thus satisfied we returned to our comfortable apartment and watched General Conference Sunday morning, starting at 6:00 a.m. What a hoot.

Now this one, on the left is the official gold plated King, standing outside the Hawai'i state capitol building in downtown Honolulu. The dude in front of him is basically the same except for a hat that is about 2 sizes too small and cost $10 more than the one above because I bought it at the Dole plantation instead of the simply situated Wal-Mart in Kona. We were in Honolulu exactly one year ago. We still have yet to see when they droop these statues with yards of floral leis, but if we keep going back, maybe we'll find it. By the way, there was a third statue cast and it is still visible to many tourists every day. Kudos to who can tell me where he is located.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

There's a place where I can go....

There is one room in my house in which I am totally at ease. It is my office and I love it. Against the tearful pleadings of my wife, I painted one wall a red-orange and have hung various mission paraphenalia (mine and my boys'). I have a wonderful bookshelf with my favorite books (mostly church and state nonfictions like history and/or unusual facts) and a cheap stereo where I play my CDs. I file everything and work from an In basket to my four drawer or two drawer file. It is also a showcase for memories of raising five dynamic children. You can see in this shot some of the photo albums that chronicle those early years, and you can also see some of the homecoming court photos or student body officers photos from their high school years. My wonderfully indifferent cat, aka, Steve Compton Martial Arts Master of the Universe sin Huevos sits on the window sill, wistfully hoping he can bring down the birds outside and avoid that horrible bully the squirrel. I can while away hours balancing the 5 checkbooks we maintain, or playing Freecell. I love it--do you have a special place?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Clean Fun in a Worldly Setting

Well, if you've followed Heather's or Carl's blogs by now you'd know we spent a marvelous weekend in Vegas last Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We stayed in a three bedroom condo in our Hilton timeshare building. (at this point I pause because I can't for the life of me get a photo to post in under an hour--any hints?) I think we planned it well. Carol handled the housing--getting a 3 bedroom condo for us and the Phoenicians (Hev, Brandon, two kids, David) and then 2 one bedroom condos for the Ferndaliens and the Springvillains (not too evil those villains). Carol and I arrived late Thursday night. The next morning we awoke to chirping grandsons. I had a hankering to visit the "best breakfast in Vegas" (you can google it yourselves) at the Egg Works. We drove north on Flamingo Blvd so far we swore we could see Oregon, but enjoyed the goods. I had their famous Spinach Benny (as in eggs Benedict) and all was well with the world. Back home, Brandon and Hev cashed in their Christmas promises from us to get them their choice of spa treatments in the timeshare. Skipping lunch to get ready, we went to the famous Spice Buffet at the Planet Hollywood for our venture into the buffet line. Getting there around 5:00 p.m. maybe we got a price break, but it was still about $60 for two. The Phoenicians decided to walk the 4 mile trek from the condo to the buffet, so we started the King Crab legs, barbecued lamb and fried shrimp without them. They finally showed up all tuckered out, but willing to take a stab at the sushi, seafood enchiladas, pork ribs and all else that makes this place a piece of heaven. Carol and I took our departure and hustled over to the Palazzo theater to catch "Jersey Boys", a spectacular live musical about the formation, performances and breakups of the 4 Seasons. In true Vegas fashion, drum sets disappeared into the floor, microphones arose from nowhere and over 20 songs were presented in perfect four part harmony. I had a grin the whole night. Back to the condo, I then ran to the airport to collect the Ferndalians, and barely got them back in time to guide David in to the timeshare. Carl and Devin had arrived at the backdoor without my knowledge. What a fun reunion that was into the night. Saturday we served breakfast for all ala Ken and Mary McCain in our fairly roomy kitchen. I went with Aaron and Candace & babe to see Hoover Dam and the awesome bridge they are building just downstream over the top of the canyon. The others went to the strip to visit the Mandalay aquariums. The big event for the evening was a steak fry down at the grills by the pool. Aaron and Carol did the honors and brought them back upstairs where DB had chopped up the salad and the baked potatoes came out of the oven. Laugh, eat, watch the muted Oklahoma-Texas basketball game on a muted plasma television. Old people went to bed while others went out to see the sights and dabble in the dark arts of blackjack. Fortunately they were all broke within 20 minutes, so we face no Satanic challenge from the weekend. Sunday came too soon as we packed up, checked out and sat in the lobby, chilling. The Ferndalians and the Kennewickians drove around town for a while, waiting for our Allegiant flights home. We went to the temple and did some geocaching, then it was time to call it quits. What a whirlwind that was! But we had great housing, great food, great entertainment and great family in spite of it all. Carol wants to go every two years so we can catch these top Vegas shows. AND...we all want more King Crab.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Visit to Elk Country

President's day involved a trip with our "empty nesters" group into the foothills on the east side of the Cascades. We have lived here for 34 years and never once went to see the winter feeding of the wild elk and bighorn sheep. They come down out of the mountains and used to wreak havoc on Farmer John's crops and trees and anything they could munch. So, a consortium financed construction of an "elk fence" at the highway and figured to feed the elk with surplus hay once per day. Total herd we watched get fed was over 1,000 elk.

This last picture is of an adjoining area for feeding the wild bighorn sheep. Hard to see but there is one in the rocks at left center. They ate before we got there so we didn't get to see very many. Afterwards we all drove into Yakima and ate at Miner's, an institution for all my kids.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Intro to the blogworld

This is a man and his grandchild at the Lagoon at Waikelaua Hilton resort near Kona. I got the exhausting job of sitting while his mom and dad and my wife (aka grandma) went snorkeling. It tires me just to remember. I think I'll have another fresh pineapple juice, please!