WHAT DAY IS IT?
JULIE, WHAT DAY IS IT?
MIKE, MIKE, MIKE, WHAT DAY IS IT?
IT'S HUMP DAY!!!!
It is hard to believe it has been nine months since we entered the MTC and that we will be released in nine months......and although a camel didn't march through the office announcing it as he does on the Geiko commercial, I did find his close cousin, the llama, at my favorite property along the river here..and when I stopped by the fence to take his picture he looked like he was coming to talk to me and remind me that today is hump day ;-) We are halfway through our time of service already!
Last Monday, the other couple that works in the office was a bit late arriving and said they ran into a 10 mile back-up of traffic before the tunnel (lots of tunnels under the water around here). Usually if there is a backup it is due to an accident in the tunnel - this time it was due to a "goose chase". Approximately 6 a.m. two geese wandered into the tunnel. One was hit and killed and the other would not leave the tunnel. This caused "rescuers" to go into the tunnel and capture the remaining goose with a net and relocate it to the other side of the freeway/tunnel. There are lots of Canadian Geese that have decided to make Chesapeake Virginia their home and I quite frequently see traffic stopping for them.....but it doesn't cause a 10 mile backup. This gaggle of about 25 lives about 1 mile from our apartment.
The ill missionary flew home on Tuesday morning and President and Sister Baker headed to North Carolina to spend the rest of the week interviewing missionaries. We are coming up on the largest influx of missionaries this mission has ever had (31 set to arrive on Tuesday, August 4) and there are tons of logistics that have to be worked out. I know the President has been planning how to handle this but has not had a chance to share those plans with us. We have our fingers crossed that the new trailer that was purchased a couple of months ago will handle the weight and size of luggage for 31 missionaries! The mission has rented a 12 passenger van and already owns one of those. So we are hoping between the two vans, the trailer and a couple of SUV's we will be able to pick up all the missionaries at the airport. Guess we will see if plans have changed any when we meet with the President this week.
Last Sunday evening we took a short drive around some neighborhoods here in Portsmouth. I was hoping to find the houses that sit out on a point (called Drum Point) in the middle of the River. We didn't find them on Sunday but found other interesting and pretty things.
It is not uncommon to see bushes of these huge greenish white flowers in yards around town. This picture was taken just after a rain storm that beat some of the flowers down. They are about 6-8 inches in diameter!
Sunset over the trees lining the river bank. There are some beautiful sunsets here in Virginia but they don't come close to what we see in Arizona on a regular basis! You can see indications of a typical Portsmouth Virginia yard with the vehicles, trailers, etc. parked on the "grass" in the yard.
I am still loving the flowering Crepe Myrtle trees. We are just now beginning to see the true scarlet blooms....we've had white, pink, purple, choral, lavender, fuchsia, and now this bright red. As we are driving to the office each day, I am usually quiet and just looking all around and enjoying the flowers and trees.
I still get excited when I see wildlife - ducks, geese, squirrels, birds, etc........
I find it interesting to watch the progress of many of the blossoms back here. This is what the end of one limb on a tree outside our office door looked like on Monday afternoon.
Buds ready to "pop"
This is what that same limb looked like when we left the office on Friday. As you can see there are still some buds that haven't flowers but most have....and it smells and looks great!
We took another drive on Wednesday evening and finally some of the houses that sit out on the point in the river. We couldn't get all the way back to the one I see on the very tip of the point but I was impressed with how many nice homes are hidden in the trees back here!
This one backs up to the water.
This one is not quite as close to the water but I thought it was a really pretty patriotic home and yard.....something I would totally expect to see in Virginia.
The office was rather quiet on Thursday afternoon and I was looking out the window when I noticed a flash of bright red/orange. It was this little cardinal come to visit the robins that were already enjoying the bugs and seeds they were finding on the ground. He seemed to enjoy the shade provided by the shiny red truck as he stuck around there for awhile :)
Elder and Sister Shaw who have been handling housing, phones, and supplies and referrals since March will be leaving for home on August 6, just as we finish up the big transfer/incoming. I have been wondering if Elder Ashton and I could handle it all without cracking up, but I'm happy to say that that we have a new couple (Elder and Sister Wright) that will be coming into the office. They live here locally and I think they will do a great job. I'm sure there will be a period of adjustment as we adjust to one another's personalities but we'll all feel comfortable soon enough.
Saturday morning I was snoozing away when I heard the home phone ringing. We don't answer that phone very often because it is usually a solicitation. But the ringing did wake me up enough that I was just turning over to go back to sleep when I heard my cell phone buzzing and answered it to hear Elder Ashton telling me that he was stuck. I knew he was out riding his bike but didn't have any idea where he was and he said I needed to come pick him up as he had two flat tires and couldn't ride any more. I got up, got dressed and started to drive - trying to find him on these twisty overgrown roads back here with him giving me direction from what he could remember about where and how he turned. I finally made it to him after about 35 minutes and he loaded his bike up in the back. Once he was settled in the cab, he shared the information that he had a wreck - ran into a runner. Well, I guess the runner put out his hands to stop the bike, but Elder Ashton went flying. He hurt his back and his leg and has been moving like me for the last day and a half. He says he is starting to feel a little better.......but that might be because I have threatened to take his riding privileges away;-)
Unloading the bike once we made it home.
It was a bit hard to be in Virginia this weekend.....my mother's family was having a reunion in Evanston, Wyoming and I really wanted to be there....AND, it was pioneer day celebration in Arizona where a number of other family members were and I wanted to be there. But, we had some pretty exciting things going on here to make me not feel so homesick....a baptism of a young couple yesterday afternoon (the culmination of the miracle that I mentioned earlier) and then we had a couple of our surrogate granddaughters to dinner last night. We always enjoy having them and I really like the hugs I get from them.