Monthly Archives: August 2022
We were watching the Denver Broncos in their huge (19-3) defeat of the Kansas City Chiefs. The game had really just gotten started (it had a 4:00pm start time) when the crash, that took the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, occurred in Paris at 12:23am (4:23pm Mountain Time). The news of the tragedy was aired shortly thereafter, and by 3:00am, Paris time, she was dead. That news was announced at 6:00am Paris time.
Diana was a distant cousin of mine…(specifically my 12th cousin 2 times removed), so the news held some significance to my family. There have been many questions concerning the crash that took Diana’s life, and while the powers that be say that they have all been answered, there are many people, including me, who still have questions. I’m sure that we will never have our questions fully answered, and I’m sure that is partly due to the fact that when it comes to Diana, we aren’t sure that the British Crown is telling us everything they know. The mere fact that Prince Charles and Princess Diana were divorced, and at that time, and to many people, his claim to the throne was in question, we naturally doubted the validity of the answers we were given. Nevertheless, no further answers will likely be forthcoming, so we will have to accept the answers we were given…or not accept them, as you please. After the divorce, Princess Diana became known as Diana, Princess of Wales, as a supposed concession by the crown.
Diana, affectionately known as “the People’s Princess,” was 36 years old at the time of her death. Her boyfriend, the Egyptian-born socialite Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the car, Henri Paul, died as well. The lone survivor of the crash was Diana’s bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, who was seriously injured. The car left the Ritz Paris just after midnight, intending to go to Dodi’s apartment on the Rue Arsène Houssaye. As soon as they departed the hotel, a swarm of paparazzi on motorcycles began aggressively tailing their car. About three minutes later, the driver lost control and crashed into a pillar at the entrance of the Pont de l’Alma tunnel. It was later decided that because the driver had alcohol and prescription drugs in his system, the paparazzi held no fault in the matter. That is where I disagree. While the driver had alcohol and prescription drugs in his system, he would not have felt the need to speed through the streets if the paparazzi had left them alone. As a retired insurance agent, I know contributory negligence when I see it. Nevertheless, a “formal investigation” concluded the paparazzi did not cause the collision. Dodi Fayed and Henri Paul, the driver, were pronounced dead at the scene. Diana was taken to the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital and officially declared dead at 6:00am. Diana’s former husband Prince Charles, as well as her sisters and other members of the Royal Family, arrived in Paris that morning. Diana’s body was then taken back to London.
Because Diana was one of the most popular public figures in the world, her death brought a massive outpouring of grief. Mourners began leaving bouquets of flowers at Kensington Palace immediately. The piles of flowers reached about 30 feet from the palace gate. As in her life, her death demanded the attention of the world. She was so loved, and many felt, so mistreated during her marriage. Following her funeral on September 6, 1997, an event that was watched by 2.5 billion people, she was laid to rest on an island at Althorp Estate, which is her childhood home, and is which is where her brother, Earl Charles Spencer lives to this day. The island is off limits, but the estate is open to the public during July and August each year.
Diana was survived by her two sons, Prince William, who was 15 at the time, and Prince Harry, who was 12. Today she has two daughters-in-law, Duchess Catherine and Duchess Meaghan, as well as five grandchildren, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis; as well as; Archie and Lillibet. Today marks 25 years since the passing of Princess Diana. Gone but not forgotten.
These days, we have probably seen more “shortages” of the staples needed for daily life than ever before. Things like food, water, toilet paper, sugar, gasoline, and so many other things that most people use every day, are suddenly missing from our shelves or stations. Today’s “shortages” are mostly caused by forced blocking of shipping channels, and other political maneuvering…at least these days. There are as many reasons for most shortages as there are shortages, in reality, but some shortages have been stranger over the years than others. Sometimes, it’s even for our own good or if it is “perceived” to be for our own good.
Things have been pulled off the shelves because of recalls, like vegetables that may have Salmonella, and even if the source was confined to one small area of one plant, as was the case with baby formula. The government shut down all the plants, causing a serous baby formula shortage. No one wants to buy unsafe formula, but that was really never the case, and they knew it. Excedrin was pulled off the shelves because it “might” have an ingredient that was unsafe, and then weeks later, it was back, in exactly the same formulation.
The closing of a business is one of the biggest reasons for items to suddenly be missing from the shelves. Twinkies is a prime example. When Hostess Brands Inc, the maker of Twinkies and other cherished American treats, announced bankruptcy and closure in 2012, consumers made a mad rush to their local supermarkets to get their hands on the cream-filled pastries before they were gone for good. It is that act that prompted the myth that Twinkies have an unlimited shelf life. The snacks were back on the shelves by summer, when Hostess and all of its brand holdings, including Twinkies, were purchased out of bankruptcy by the private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos and Company in 2013.
One of the funniest shortages, though not funny at the time or in the repeat of it in recent times, was the 1973 toilet paper shortage. It happened as the result of a joke by Johnny Carson. He said, “You know, we’ve got all sorts of shortages these days. But have you heard the latest? I’m not kidding. I saw it in the papers. There’s an acute shortage of toilet paper.” The remarks that were meant as a joke, caused people to rush to the stores and buyout all the toilet paper. To make matters worse, some stores began rationing. Finally, Carson took to the airwaves to apologize, saying, “I don’t want to be remembered as the man who created a false toilet paper scare. I just picked up the item from the paper and enlarged it somewhat…there is no shortage.”
There are so many ways a shortage can get started. Some are real events, while others are manufactured. While some are not exactly detrimental, as was the case with Twinkies, some can cause serious harm and even death…even many deaths. Some shortages cannot be helped, but those that can, in all prudence, should be avoided at all costs.
For the first time in about a decade, my niece, Lindsay Moore and her sister, Jessi Sawdon live close enough to each other to get together often. Lindsay has lived in a number of different places over the years, Brookings, South Dakota; Miami Florida; Greenville, North Carolina; and now Laramie, Wyoming. Her husband, Shannon Moore is a football coach and is currently the Tight Ends / Fullbacks Coach University of Wyoming. Jessi’s husband, Jason Sawdon has had a long and successful career with the Wyoming Highway Patrol and was recently promotion to Sergeant of Equipment and Technology, as the next step in his decorated career. The promotion came with a move to Cheyenne, Wyoming. That was sad for all of us, but it put the girls about 45 minutes from each other and made frequent visits possible. In fact, the visits feel like popping over to a friend’s house. Their play dates are as much for Lindsay and Jessie as they are for their daughters, Adelaide Sawdon and Mackenzie Moore. Jessie tells me that she finds Lindsay to be very funny, and that it is so much fun to “mom” with her. Lindsay loves the kids, hers as well as her nieces and nephew. Sometimes she decides to take the kids for a day or even a week, and they all have a wonderful time.
Lindsay is such a faithful daughter of God, and she is developing into quite the inspirational speaker too. She has spoken at two Women’s Conferences at her church, and everyone has learned so much from her…especially her own family. They have come to really rely on her if they need encouragement. Lindsay has been really digging deeper in the The Word this year, and she is really starting to see the vision that the Lord has in her life. Jessi tells me that “it’s so exciting and fun as an outsider to see that relationship in action.” As a family of Christians (Lindsay and Jessi’s as well as our whole family) watching any of our members grow more and more in the Lord is something that we all rejoice over. In fact, we all strive to grow deeper and deeper in the Lord, so it is a real joy to see it happening. Lindsay has always been a joyful person, and each new step makes her more and more joyful, and what a blessing it is to watch that growth.
Lindsay has lived far away from her family for a long time, so she knew that daily phone conversations and texting were always going to be very important. She is so good about calling all of her family and taking time from her day to make sure she knows what’s happening in their lives and to support them when needed. Lindsay is more than just a daughter or sister. She is their good friend. In fact, we could all take a lesson from her caring nature, and her continued relationship with her family. I know that her family is so thankful that she doesn’t let her busy life keep her from keeping in touch with them every day. They are all really thankful for her friendship. She’s such a good sister and friend.
Lindsay has always been “Lindsay” and that means she is herself. She is very real, and she doesn’t worry about how she might look to others. Lindsay has a lot of funny and awkward stories about interactions during the week. It’s not that they happen all the time, but that she is a just a funny storyteller, so they always seem awkward and funny. She is never afraid to be herself, even if “herself” is silly. That is an endearing quality for sure. Most of us are afraid to look silly, and while Lindsay doesn’t always “look silly,” she doesn’t mind if she does. It’s all a part of her charm. Today is Lindsay’s birthday. Happy birthday Lindsay!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
It’s strange how the longer a person has been in Heaven, the more you sometimes find yourself talking about them. My father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg was like a second dad to me, in fact, my mother-in-law was also like a second mom to me. I was very blessed to have the sweetest in-laws in the world. The first years of having my in-laws were wonderful, but the last years of having my in-laws were quite possibly the ones I will always treasure the most.
While my mother-in-law wasn’t always able to contribute much to our conversations, she always added a bit of a humorous flair to them, because of her dry sense of humor and her off the wall moments of lucidity. My father-in-law, on the other hand, had a sharp mind. He also had a great sense of humor, and we had many times of laughter. We also had many conversations about their care. I wanted Dad to be involved in the care they were receiving. He needed to be comfortable with all of it. He never felt like he understood the medical side of things, and so he was happy to turn that over to me, and even have me speak for them with the doctors…a plan the doctors didn’t always get until we explained our arrangement to them. Then they were on board, and everyone was comfortable. Dad and I became very close in those years. It was like a partnership of sorts.
While some time was spent with medical things, there was also lots of time spent just visiting. We talked about so many things, and I really felt like I got to know both my father-in-law and my mother-in-law much better than I ever had. It’s amazing just how much you can become good friends with someone, when you spend a lot of time together, and we really did, especially when my mother-in-law began to need more care. I went over four times a day in those days, and I believe they really looked forward to the increased visits. It can get lonely when there are just two people in the house, and one can’t really carry on a conversation very well anymore. Dad got a chance to visit when I was there four times a day, his sons Bob Schulenberg (my husband) and Ron Schulenberg were also there pretty much every day, and his daughters Brenda Schulenberg, Jennifer Parmely, and Debbie Cook were there at times too, along with my daughters, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce and their children, Chris Petersen, Shai Royce, Caalab Royce, and Josh Petersen. And we had the occasional help, when needed of my sons-in-law, Kevin Petersen and Travis Royce. We were a team, and for my in-laws, that made all the difference. Today would have been my father-in-law’s 93rd birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Dad. We love and miss you very much.
John Wesley Powell was an American geologist, US Army soldier, explorer of the American West, professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, and director of major scientific and cultural institutions. As if that accreditation wasn’t enough, Powell was most famous leading an 1869 geographic expedition. The expedition was a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers, which included the first official US government-sponsored passage through the Grand Canyon. While it was successful, the expedition was not without issue. During the trip, three men became convinced that they would have a better chance surviving the desert than the raging rapids that lay ahead of them. So, a bit of a mutiny ensued, in which the three men left Powell’s expedition through the Grand Canyon and decide to scale the cliffs to the plateau above.
As with many mutinies, the men quickly found out that they didn’t necessarily know as much as they thought. In fact, theirs was a serious mistake. Still, their fears were not totally unfounded. The men feared that the plan to float the brutal rapids was suicidal. To make matters worse, Powell was a one-armed Civil War veteran and self-trained naturalist. One arm and those rapids could prove catastrophic. Powell was, however, accompanied by 11 men, which could have helped, but they were in four wooden boats, meaning that all hands were needed. Powell was fearless, and he led the expedition through the Grand Canyon and over punishing rapids that many would hesitate to run even with modern rafts.
For the group, the worst was yet to come. Near the lower end of the canyon, the party heard the roar of giant rapids. They decided to explore the situation further, before they took that plunge. The party moved to shore, and then walked down river to explore the river first. The men saw was could only be referred to as “the worst rapids yet” and Powell agreed, writing that, “The billows are huge, and I fear our boats could not ride them…There is discontent in the camp tonight and I fear some of the party will take to the mountains but hope not.”
Overnight, the fears grew, and the next day, three of his men left to take their chances in the desert above, because they were sure that the rapids an impossible barrier for the boats. So, on August 28, 1869, Seneca Howland, O G Howland, and William H Dunn said goodbye to Powell and the other men and began the long climb up out of the Grand Canyon. The rest of the party mustered their courage, climbed into the boats, and pushed off into the wild rapids.
Amazingly, all of the river crew survived, and the expedition emerged from the canyon the next day. The three men who left the group were not so fortunate. Upon reaching the nearest settlement, Powell learned that the three men who left the group, had encountered a war party of Shivwit Indians and were killed. While the killings overshadowed the excitement of the successful expedition, the next expedition through the Grand Canyon in 1871, was much better funded than had been the first. I suppose knowing that it can be done, made it easier to donate to the second trip.
My grandniece, Aurora Hadlock is growing us so fast. It seems impossible that she could be going into middle school this year, but she is very excited about that. Aurora is a social girl, and she is really looking forward to the changing of classes, and the very real possibility of making lots of new friends. Middle school is such an exciting step for kids. They begin to take responsibility for getting themselves from class to class, and moving from teacher to teacher, and having different friends in each class. The newfound variety is new and lots of fun. It makes the student feel very grown up…and after all, they are getting very grown up.
While middle school is so much more grown up, there are still things that make school fun for the students. Aurora is signing up for Lego Robotics again this year. I am always amazed with the things the kids make with the Legos. We had Legos when I was a kid, but the things we made were pretty elementary. These days the Legos move like robots. They open up and show you how they are made. They just aren’t your grandma’s Legos. These Legos have been transformed by these kids to the next level…and Aurora is very good at Lego Robotics!!
Aurora is also joining the book club. She loves to read, and this girl loves books. I can understand that too, because reading takes you to places you could never go otherwise. If you have a good imagination, and I believe she does, books can change the way you think and the way you see things. They open up the world to you, if you take the time to read the pages. I think Aurora is much like her mom there too, in fact she is her mini-me.
This summer, Aurora and her family got to go to Florida with her Grandma and Grandpa Hadlock (my sister, Allyn and her husband Chris), and the whole family. They rented a beautiful house down there, and everyone had a wonderful time. They got to swim and play on the beach, and they even got to take a little harbor cruise. Everyone had such a wonderful time, and it was such a memorable trip and such a blessing. It was a wonderful way to round out the summer, and I’m so glad that they got to go. Now Aurora is all ready to head back to school. She has had a great summer and now she is ready to head back to school. I know that she is going to have a wonderful first year of middle school, and I am very excited for her. Today is Aurora’s 11th birthday. Happy birthday Aurora!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Josh Griffith, who is married to my niece, Susan Griffith, has had a busy summer, and that means that they haven’t been able to go camping as much as they would have liked. They only got to go a couple of times in June and July, and for a camping family, that just isn’t enough. So, before summer officially ends and the weather gets cold, they are trying to go every chance they get. Anyone who has made the preparations to go camping, knows that just getting there is a lot of work. Then, once you’re there, camping is also a lot of work. It’s not like getting in a car, driving to a hotel, eating meals out, and then going back to the room to relax. Camping is chopping the wood for the fire, preparing all your food, cleaning up the dishes, making your own beds, and then doing it all again the next day. I guess that’s why we don’t go camping. When we go on trips, we hike and then eat out and relax in our motel room. I figure the hiking makes up for the lack of work camping, haha!! Susan said that she sometimes wonders if it’s all worth it…and I get it, but the next time they are out in the mountains and totally unplugged, Susan knows it’s worth it after all.
Many times, the family goes to the Big Horn Mountains, but this year they have only been there once. The rest of the time they have been going to the Beartooth Mountains, that border Montana and Wyoming. Going to the Beartooth Mountains is a lot more work, because they have to keep their camp super clean, and make enough noise to ward off the bears in the area. Susan calls it being “bear aware” and that makes sense. She tells me they definitely don’t have any trouble making noise, and if that keeps the bears away, I wouldn’t either. What they are doing must be working, because out of the 19 years they have been camping in the Beartooth mountains, they have never had an encounter with a bear, and I’m praying they never will. After a couple more camping trips, they will go back up a couple more times for firewood.
Then, it will be time to start hunting season. This year’s hunting trip will be special, because Josh is taking their daughter, Kaytlyn on her first hunting trip on horses this year. They have been trying to get the horses in shape and ready for hunting. Josh and Kaytlyn are really looking forward to the trip. They got a young horse this last winter. Hes only about 4 or so, and not broken yet. Josh has been trying to break him and plans to ride him for hunting season. Susan says it’s pretty interesting watching that unfold and hoping no one gets hurt. Susan says, “You never know when there’s going to be a rodeo. Haha!!” When I said that I didn’t know Josh broke horses, she said that he really doesn’t, but they just don’t want to pay to have someone else do it. At which point, I said, “Josh does break horses then!!” The horse came to them with the name Dudly, but they just didn’t like the feel of that name. The horse is a Tennessee Walker, so they changed his name to Tennessee Whiskey. That’s much more distinguished, for sure. Tennessee Whiskey sure is a pretty horse. Today is Josh’s birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a great day!!
Ever since my grandniece, Aleesia Spethman was little, she has loved owls…all kinds of owls. I don’t know if she still does or not, but her interest in owls sparked an interest in owls for me. It was almost surprising to think of a little girl loving owls, but Aleesia did. She loved all kinds of owls. Suddenly, I wanted to know more about owls too. I find that I really like owls too…all kinds of owls. They are just so different. Normally, owls are nocturnal birds, and so spotting them isn’t so easy. I’m always amazed that photographers manage to get pictures of them, but then I’m sure it’s only after hours of sitting and waiting.
One of my favorite owl pictures is of an owl that had its head sideways, looking at the photographer like it was wondering what they were doing. I found that to be even funnier when my grandniece, Mackenzie Moore did that exact same thing when she was little. The fact that I found that picture, really piqued my interest in the burrowing owls, and the things I have found out about them has really made them my favorite owl, I think.
The burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), is a small, long-legged owl, which is also called the Shoco. It is mostly found in the open landscape areas of North and South America. Burrowing owls prefer grasslands, rangelands, agricultural areas, and deserts. They actually nest and roost in burrows, often using those that have been excavated by prairie dogs. While Burrowing Owls don’t like the midday heat, they are often found out during the day, unlike their fellow owls of the nocturnal type. Still, they do most of their hunting at dusk and dawn, like many other kinds of owls, when they can use their night vision and hearing to their advantage. On strange thing about the Burrowing Owl is its longer legs. These allow the Burrowing Owl to sprint, as well as fly, when hunting, something that is a great advantage, since it lives in open grasslands as opposed to forests.
I particularly like some of the antics of the burrowing owls. In addition to the funny head positioning, they like to stand on one leg, stretch to their full height, and even kiss and hold hands…er feet. They are so cute, and they seem like such a loving owl, at least toward their mate. I don’t suppose their prey would see them that way, but when they aren’t hunting, they really are just as cute as they can possibly be…and funny too.
My grandniece, Adelaide Sawdon has had a very busy summer. Since her family moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, putting them about an hour away from her cousin, Mackenzie Moore in Laramie, Wyoming, Adelaide has had the opportunity to have many play dates with her cousin often. That has been really fun for both of them. Makenzie has always lived far away from the rest of the family, so this is a first for both of them. They are almost like sisters. Adelaide also got to spend time with her Casper cousins, and her Michigan cousins this summer. Her Casper, Wyoming family all spent a vacation in Florida, and her Michigan cousins met up in Custer, South Dakota, so Adelaide had some really great quality time with her cousins this year. Adelaide is so smart. She loves school and all things learning. She’s been learning to read and is reading all the books and things she can get her hands on, and she loves her cousins and grandparents so much.
Adelaide’s Daisy dog, who had been a part of the Sawdon family since before she was born, went home to Heaven unexpectedly in February, and that was a really sad time for her and her family. They miss her very much, and it has been very hard. Now, they decided it was time to let a new puppy into their hearts, and Riley arrived. Riley is a Boxer, like Daisy was. Boxers are so sweet, and Riley has been a lot of fun. She has helped their hearts heal. Riley is already growing like a weed. Adelaide just loves her. They were instant pals, and it is the beginning of a great new relationship. Adelaide has had a dog all her life, so when Daisy went home, it left a void. It took time to be ready for a new puppy, but when the time finally came, Riley came in and stole their hearts…and she continues to wiggle her way deeper into their hearts every day.
It’s been a big summer for Adelaide in another way. She lost her first tooth. Losing that first tooth is a big step toward becoming one of the big kids, and Adelaide was so excited. She started 1st grade yesterday, and she’s a grown up six years old today…two exciting days in a row!! Her mom, Jessi Sawdon tells me that it’s such a fun time to be the little Adelady…a nickname from her mom and her dad, Jason Sawdon. Adelaide is really her mom’s mini-me, but there are definitely “Sawdon” things about her too…and anyone who knows her can see that’s true. Today is Adelaide’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Adelaide!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Steve Spethman is a great husband and dad. Steve joined our family when he married my niece, Jenny Spethman on September 21, 2002. Their marriage has been blessed with five children, Xander, Zack, Isaac, Laila (who lives in Heaven), and Aleesia. They have such a strong bond, and I think much of that is due to the fact that Steve is a romantic and a protector. He loves Jenny so much, and no matter what happens in life, he is there to show her how much he loves her. He recently took Jenny to a 311 concert just so he could listen to one song that he plays to her all the time, called “Love Song.”
Steve loves to cook and many of us in the family have had the wonderful opportunity to eat some of the great dishes he makes. He also has his own forge, and he has made lots of wonderful knives…all of which he has sold for a very nice profit. Steve also does metal art, but he rarely sells any of that, because he pretty much does that for Jenny, as a labor of love. He is such a hard worker. He works all day and the comes home to work in the forge, making knives and such for extra money. Really, it’s because he loves to make things and he’s very good at it.
Steve is an avid gun owner and loves to go out shooting. He has trained all their kids to shoot, and the boys have all passed their hunter safety classes and go hunting with Steve to help provide meat for the family. The children have also been taught the value of life and to respect life. A big part of gun safety is to teach the gun user that to use the gun in deadly force against another human being must be carefully thought out and used only to protect from attack. The children have been taught these important values.
Steve loves to take his family places and show them the many great things this country has to offer. They love to go to Rapid City and the Black Hills area, especially the water parks. They also love the things that the Casper area has to offer, often going to the summer “Rock the Block” programs and other things that are held at David Street Station. But they also love to go to the Alcova Lake and to Casper Mountain, where they enjoy hiking. Steve also loves to take everyone for rides on his motorcycle, but of course, his favorite riding partner is the love of his life, his wife, Jenny. Steve has made the lives of his family so blessed, and they all love him so much. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We all love you!!