Saturday, January 17, 2015

Problems Problems

Whew, now that we've gotten through logging our vacation, we can get to back to real life on the blog.  Unfortunately, we've been challenged by tons of problems recently.  The first was my dear mother passing away.  I went down to Arizona to be with Dad for a few days.  Ever since coming home, it's been one additional problem after another.  And I thought things were supposed to get easier after the kids got grown and off on their own.

First health problems.  I had to take this cardio stress test to check out my heart and I failed the first test.  It was probably a mistake and the test not that accurate; they said, but I had to schedule another and that was a lot of stress waiting and wondering if my heart was okay.  Then I got a really bad cold, and a few days later, hurt my back.  I rarely get colds, and only once before hurt my back.

Then there were the problems with things breaking.  We were already having problems at the Triplex.  We're having to hook up to sewers after just getting the septic system redone, part of the fence was down, a ceiling fan stopped working in number 3, and we had squirrels in the attic.

What should happen next, but the transmission went out on my trusty old Ford that I drive every day.  I had to sit in traffic for 2 hours waiting for a tow truck with a cold and a sore back.  Then the very next day our refrigerator died.  Jacquelyn was stuck with no car, since I took her's to work all week, and no refrigerator.  Adding to the stress of all these problems, they are doing massive layoffs at Boeing in my department and the first layoff notices were coming out the next week.  They are trying to get rid of a lot of the senior people.  Talk about a lot of problems.

Now the problems are all resolved (and it wasn't as stressful as raising teenagers, after 8 teenagers these problems were a cake walk).  Let me tell how they got resolved.  We got our car back last Wednesday with a repaired transmission.  We got a new refrigerator on Thursday.  We survived fine for a week and they both work great now.  At the triplex I put mesh up to keep the squirrels out, the sewer people came and got us all successfully hooked up to sewer, they also rebuilt the fence for us, and just today Malachi helped me replace the ceiling fan.  All done.

 In the meantime, I got over my cold and my back is totally recovered and I feel fine.

I re-took the cardio stress test, this time with nuclear imaging, and I ran so fast it was like The Flash and they didn't know what to think.  Seriously, they said my heart was perfectly healthy and strong and no problems what so ever.  I did not get a layoff notice at Boeing this Friday (although I really wouldn't have minded).

Now we're off to a good week, and I'm looking forward to my birthday on Friday, the big six-zero.  Malachi, Layne, Andrew, and Mallory took me out to lunch today at Old Country Buffet for my birthday and it was great fun.  I'm going to see a movie on Friday with Jacquelyn (thanks Tianna for the tickets), and on Monday going out to dinner with some more of my wonderful children.  Life is good.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Day 17 Jordan - Petra

On this day, in Jordan, we went to Petra, which is one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World.

First we had to hike through this immense canyon of red brown limestone.  It was fantastic.  Here's Jacquelyn with two of our friends.

 It was an incredible canyon and this was the ancient way to approach the city of Petra.  They had horse drawn carriages for tourists, but we decided to walk.

 It was so beautiful.  We didn't stay with the tour group on this last day, and went on our own with some friends.  We didn't get the tour talks, but we got to see a lot more and covered the whole canyon.

Jacquelyn with two ancient Petra warriors.

 Finally the canyon opened up on the fabulous Royal Treasury of Petra.  This is all carved out of the rock canyon walls.

 It was quite amazing.  The people of Petra were related to the Israelites and they considered them friends.  Isaac had two sons (Jacob and Esau).  The Israelites were descendants of the twelve sons (tribes) of Jacob (who was renamed Israel).  The people of Petra were descendants of Esau and were called Edomites.

Jacquelyn looking at the Treasury and camels.  There were camels available that you could ride for a fee, and they were always trying to get you to ride rather than walk; but we were having so much fun walking around.

The camels were very interesting and sometimes noisy.

I wanted to put my hat on one camel and take a picture, but the camel didn't like it and started baying at me.  Then his owner yelled at him until he let me.  So here's my Indian Jones camel with Jacquelyn in the background wondering what I was up too.

 We continued on down the canyon with our friends.  We were moving fast so we could see it all.

 These are some homes.  Dr. Madsen said this is probably where Paul was when he was preaching and the people got mad at him and wanted to kill him and his friends had to lower him down out of the city through a window in a basket.

 It you didn't want to ride a camel you could ride a donkey.

 More buildings carved into the sides of the clifts.

 It was a long walk but we were having fun.

 More ruins.  This was an amazing place.

 A picture that I took out of a small cave, which was probably a house.  This is Russ and Dianne, (from Salt Lake City) who were friends that we spent a lot of time with on the trip.  Also Michele who we hung out with a lot also (from Oregon).

 At last, after going up 900 steps at the end, we got to the monastery, at the end of the canyon.  We made it; but we weren't done yet, and also hiked up to the lookout point (see last picture in blog to see how high we climbed to look down on this building).

On the way back we saw a Byzantine Church that was built later in the canyon after the Edomites of Petra had disappeared.  It even had a baptistry for baptisms.

That was the end of our sight seeing, and the end of our trip, except for traveling home.  On Day 18 we flew from Amman to New York, went through customs, and got a hotel in the Bronx.  On Day 19 we flew to Seattle.  Talitha picked us up at the airport and drove us home to Puyallup.  It was the trip of a life time for Jacquelyn and me and we'll never forget it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Day 16 Jordan - Jordan River and Amman

We left Israel this morning by bus and went into Jordan.

The highlight of the day was seeing the place along the Jordan River that is the spot, or close to the spot, where Jesus was baptized.

While in the bus driving out of Israel our driver made a detour so we could see the clifts where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  We didn't get to stop though.  But you can see a lot of the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were hid.  They were found by a small Bedouin boy who was throwing rocks into the caves and heard pottery breaking, and then went to investigate.

 We passed out of Israel and into Jordan and had a lengthy process getting through the border.  You had to have your Israel passport stamp on a separate piece of paper because if they saw it in your passport they wouldn't let you in.  Along the drive we saw lots of Bedouin tents and camels and donkeys.  They still live a nomadic life.

 We got to the spot on the Jordan side of the Jordan River where they think is the closest to where Christ was baptized.  Dr. Madsen also pointed out the places where Joshua and the Twelve Tribes of Isreael crossed the Jordan River and also where the prophets Elijah and Elisha crosse

 It was brown with mud and the water was warm.  We had a nice visit there and it was very peaceful.

 Then we went to the Dead Sea where we got to stop at a town and go swimming.  What fun.  The water is so salty you could hold your hands and head and legs straight up in the air, and still float.  I know because I did it.  The waves were a little choppy that day with a storm brewing.

 This is the Earth's lowest land elevation place on the whole globe, 997 feet below sea level.  It has 34.2% salinity; whereas the Great Salt Lake is only about 25% and the ocean only 3.5%.

 We had a lot of fun swimming.   But the salt was so abrasive you couldn't put your head under and my mouth burned once because I got a little water in my mouth once, and my cheeks burned from where I'd shaved that morning.  Jacquelyn got some in her eyes and had to get out, but she got back in.

Then we drove to Ammon, the capital of Jordan.  It was so different from Cairo, very modern and well to do compared to Egypt.  We ate dinner at an authentic Jordanian restaurant.  Jacquelyn didn't like the lamb, but I did.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Day 15 Israel - Garden of Gethsemane and Tomb of Christ

This day we were still in Jerusalem and toured more places around the city.

This was my favorite day because we visited such sacred places and it turned into a very spiritual experience.  This is the Garden Tomb where Christ was buried and rose again in three days.

 But our first stop was the Garden of Gethsemane.  This is where the atonement of Christ took place and he took upon him the sins of us all.

 It was an ancient olive garden just outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem on the side of the Mount of Olives near the bottom.

 Christ and the disciples came there frequently.  We got some time to walk around and reflect.  The trees here weren't old enough to have been around that long; but this was the same spot, and some may be offshoots of the trees that were there back then.

 This is one of the older trees.  They get really big and gnarly.

Here's Jacquelyn at the stone where Christ probably kneeled to pray.

 Our educator, Elder Madsen, gave some excellent talks.

 Next to the Garden of Gethsemane is a beautiful church built by the Byzantines and rebuilt by the crusaders.

 Inside the church.

 Inside the church.

 Next we saw the Tomb of King David.

King David's coffin.

 Our next stop was inside the city of Jerusalem.  We met in the room where the Last Supper was held.  It was the right building and location, but had been remodeled as a church and looked different back then.  This was also a place where Jesus first appeared to all his disciples after his resurrection.

  Our next stop was St. Peter's church at Galicantn, where the High Priest Ciaphas' house used to be, where they took Jesus and he was whipped and mocked.

 This is the walk way up through Jerusalem that they would have taken him, from the Garden of Gethsemane to Ciaphas' house.

The courtyard where Peter denied Christ three times before the cock crowed.

 The highlight of the day, and maybe the whole trip was coming to the Garden Tomb where Jesus Christ did the resurrection and rose from the dead.

The tomb from a distance.

 Inside the tomb.

 In the distance we could see Golgotha where the cruxifiction took place.

 Later that evening after the tours were done, Jacquelyn and I went back into Jerusalem and walked around some by ourselves.  Then we took a tour down under the city and went on an underground walk along the base of the Western Wall of the temple, down 30-60 feet at the Herodian Period level.  We saw some blocks that were 600 tons, way bigger than any used in the pyramids.

It was a great day.