Friday, December 24, 2010

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Christmas Bells

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse 12/20-21 2010

This is with my new camera - a Kodak Z981.

Monday, December 06, 2010

"I Spy" or "Find It" Jar

When I was Christmas shopping, I saw this game at Target called "Find it." It looked pretty neat, but definitely expensive at nearly $20. The idea is to find the objects hidden in the container (without opening it, of course). So, I decided to make my own.

I used bird seed and mason jars and various little things inside the jars. When I was looking for things to put in the jars, I found some wood beads that had letters on them and put the whole alphabet in each jar so the jars could also be used for spelling practice and word-finding.

I've gotten good feedback on the few I made so far - kids and adults both enjoy them. I think I may leave one in my classroom as well.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stupid Things You Did as a Kid

(I had the Weeble Wobble tree house - one of the best toys ever!)

Memes seem to be making a comeback. Here's a few Stupid Kid Things I did that I can think of - maybe if you share yours I'll think of some more.

1. mixed bleach and ammonia while cleaning house - thought since both cleaned well, they'd go well together (5th grade I think) (definitely don't do this)

2. played with my dad's pound of pure mercury because of its neat surface tension properties

3. used my dad's bullets as writing utensils

4. my friends and I used to play this game that we'd have to get to/from school or each other's houses only going through people's back yards (dogs or not, of course without permission)

5. we used to play the choking game, too (don't do that, it can kill you, but we didn't know that!)

6. fed live grasshoppers to my friend's cat

7. tried to pass tic-tacs off to the junior high assistant principal as drugs

8. stole political yard signs of people we didn't like, put them in the trunk of my car, and then went around telling people, "So and so is in my trunk!"

9. Took the city bus downtown to the Fashion Bar with my friend and spent the afternoon pulling the ugliest clothes we could find for the other to wear, much to the annoyance of the sales staff.

10. Put KILO stickers all over downtown and then came back a week later to see which ones were still there.

11. went into the tallest buildings we could find downtown, went into the stair wells and entertained ourselves for hours by dropping pennies to see how many flights down we could get them to go.

12. spied on halves of cordless phone and CB radio conversations using the UHF dial of my old black and white TV.

13. Drive like an idiot (turning lights on and off, swerving, etc.) on seeing my friend's car on an otherwise deserted road at night, only to discover that it wasn't him - it was his police officer dad.

14. looked up names of people in the phone book like James Bond or Jack Daniels to prank call, or call parents of friends pretending to be pollsters asking embarrassing questions

15. took lots of things apart - phones, radios, etc. - not always able to get them back together, but usually

16. I had this recurring dream about going into the heating vent in my room late at night, crawling through the ducts, and ending up in a secret 'room' behind my closet. I thought it was real for years until one day I suddenly realized there was no way a person could fit into the tiny heating duct. I could still draw you a map of the tunnels/ducts in my dream, though.

17. I had a huge doll house my dad made. My favorite way to play with it were to use my brother's GI Joe's to 'break' into the house and tie up the house people and hide them behind the stairs or fireplace, etc. Then the Avengers would come, sliding in on sewing thread through the windows and a big war would break out.

18. Go and put things on the railroad track then watch the train crush them - especially coins

19. Ride our bikes and sleds down "Dead Man's Bluff" - I once saw a kid slice his hand open to the bone when he flew off his sled and the metal runner crashed down on it

20. leave early for school to be the first kid on the streets walking to school so I could break all the ice in the gutters before anyone else

21. throw fireworks down the manholes, blow anthills up with firecrackers, shoot each other with pop bottle rockets and other various firework miscellany.

22. pour gasoline into pop/beer bottles, stuff rags in and light them and then use those as torches while we went and crawled through the sewers under the streets, exploring (with my cousin)

23. Tried for hours and hours and hours to make weeble wobbles fall down.

24. smoked oregano rolled up in post-it notes - strangely reminiscent of burnt spaghetti

25. pencil fights were all the rage in elementary school

26. spent hours trying to make Rube Goldberg machines with Legos, dominoes, marbles, and my brother's racing tracks and Matchbox cars.

27. ate crayons, coins, Legos and marbles and just about everything that grew in the yard including dandelion (nasty!) (some flowers taste good, fyi) - but my friend ate glue and that's just gross. Thank goodness I didn't encounter the hemlock that can grow down in the park

28. hid in the dryer and took turns riding in it (don't do that)

29. tried to hang ourselves with belts in the closet - not suicidal, just really stupid

30. spent hours and hours recording rock and metal records onto cassette tape, then unscrewed the tapes, flipped over the reels, and replayed them (now backwards) listening for hidden satanic messages. Found a few (not satanic, though).

31. Burning like 144 pencils because I discovered through experimentation that that particular brand the yellow paint boiled and sizzled, which I thought was really cool.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010

Visiting my veteran grandparents (WWII Navy) at their VA home in Walsenburg, CO.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud - William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company;
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

I'm looking forward to a late first snow of the winter season, but this poem reminds me of the thrill of excitement upon seeing the early spring flowers. Natural beauty is surely one of the greatest medicines for the soul.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10 10 10 Greg Beatty

I have my grandparents' photo albums and thought to post some photos Greg - there are probably many more so if anyone wants to me look for something, just let me know. Greg passed away today after a long struggle with throat cancer. He is survived by his parents, brothers, wife and step-children. Also, today is my dad's 60th birthday.

Greg and grandma's birthdays were close to each other so they often celebrated together.

This is Greg and my brother mid-1970's.

Grandpa, Uncle Jack, Dad, Uncle Greg, and my brother Jeff, 1970's.

Both of these are the Beatty family - Grandma Gladys, Grandpa Park, Dad (Lynn), Jack, and Greg - early 1970's or so.

Greg and his wife Ann, 1990's.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Lots of cool math stuff about the number 36.

I used some information linked there to write a message for you in base 36 ASCII:

2C 2W 2P 32 2Z 37 W 2U 33 36 W 36 2T 2P 2S 2X 32 2V W 31 3D W 2Q 30 33 2V W 34 33 37 38 1A

Born within a month of me were Xzibit, Jimmy Fallon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Joaquin Phoenix. Oskar Schindler and Ed Sullivan died a few days after I was born. According to Wikipedia, I share the same birthday as Rumi on the Gregorian calendar. I was supposed to be born on Pearl Harbor day, but I came quite a bit early.

When my parents were thirty-six, my brother was entering high-school (which started at 10th grade) and I was transitioning from elementary school to junior high. My father was working as an electrician, as he had pretty much since getting married at 17. My mother was approaching 5 years in the work force, first in laundry then secretarial and eventually (probably after 36) paralegal work.

When my grandparents were thirty-six:
My dad's parents had a toddler and two more boys in double-digit ages. Grandpa worked in various sales jobs, and grandma was busy raising boys.
My mom's parents had five kids including my mom, the youngest baby. Grandma was busy raising the kids while grandpa taught science.
My grandparents were all in Colorado Springs.

When my great-grandparents were thirty-six:
Walter and Vera had four girls and my grandpa who came quite a bit later and was still an infant. Walter worked in Zion country in Utah as a cowboy or wrangler.
Ernie and Viola had one daughter. Ernie had learned to be a shoe cobbler from his step-father George Snurr. They were in Colorado Springs.
Albert and Rachel were probably divorced, but had three children. According to his WWI draft card filled just a few years earlier, Albert worked as an Iron molder in Minneapolis, but had immigrated earlier from Sweden.
Joe and Nancy were in Colorado Springs with two daughters. Joe worked as a coal miner. Joe had immigrated more than two decades earlier from Austria.

I had a lot of nice messages from friends for my birthday. I got a card from a coworker's 4-year old daughter, and I had more than 50 nice messages on Facebook, as well as a phone call from my parents and from my brother. Very nice.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Best Example

Many people in America are expressing concern that this year the Eid is likely to fall on or near 9/11. Many non-Muslims may take 'Eid celebrations and prayers as being celebrations of the 9/11/01 Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks, despite many announcements as to their real purposes. We know that some "Christian" groups are planning Burn a Qur'an Day on 9/12. There is a possibility of violence against observers attending 'Eid events, so please be careful as always and pray for the safety of all of us the world over.

In the meantime and after, we can continue to try to live the example of real Islam.

The video nasheed below (The Chosen One) is inspired by Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Quoting from the makers, "Maher Zain and Awakening Records felt they had to respond after the recent attacks on prophet Muhammad through cartoons and Facebook. It's a small token in portraying the true character of our beloved Prophet Muhammad." The album can be purchased from iTunes and other sources.

Note: There are instruments in this track, it is not purely a cappella.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Aunt Nancy's Burial

My Aunt Nancy died last September 2nd. My Aunt Susie was executor of the estate and now things finally got to the point where Nancy's ashes could be put in the ground with her parents (my grandparents) according to her wishes. Aunt Susie, my cousin Frankie Sue, me and my mom buried her this morning with the cemetery staff.

Many many more people are opting for cremation these days - it is less expensive for the family by a long shot, and many communities are encouraging it due to burial space and sanitation issues as well. But some religions have very specific burial instructions which don't include cremation. Why is that? Is it traumatic for the soul or does the soul even care, or are there other reasons? How do you want to be buried and why?

Monday, August 09, 2010

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Castlewood Canyon State Park

Today I met my friend Carol at Castlewood Canyon State Park just south of Franktown, Colorado. We were there from 9am until after 3pm and saw the majority of the park. It was green and we saw lots of great wildlife - baby toads, an adult toad, two kinds of lizard, lots of butterflies, lots of grasshoppers, crayfish, minnows, a green hummingbird, and a Rainbow Trout on an adventure from Cherry Creek Reservoir - I wonder what that trout was thinking - where is he/she off to and why?

Lots of pretty flowers and choke cherries, apples at an old homestead site, and lots of poison ivy, too.

Each trail was different from the others - different terrain and views - which made them all great. Some of them you were looking on neighboring hay fields, some of them you were following the creek, and some of them were like mountain hikes in pines. Lots of rocks, stairs and bridges to make the trails interesting!

I highly recommend this park, just don't pick a really hot day!

Here are some more pictures I took.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Spring of Quran

(Originally written last year for

In the month of Ramadan, Muslims the world over devote more time to reciting Qur'an. The Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) said, "Everything has a springtime, and the springtime of the Qur'an is the month of Ramadan," and "Whoever recites a verse from the Qur'an (in the month of Ramadan) will receive a similar reward as the one who recites the entire Qur'an in other months." Perhaps in zealousness for reward, or from misunderstanding of the saying about reciting the Qur'an, often during this month and even at all times, many Muslims have sadly adopted a practice of hastened recitation without understanding.

One example is the form of Taraweeh prayers in many Sunni communities today – the community is so focused on achieving a certain quantity of recitation in their prayers, one-thirtieth each evening, that they may be tempted to rush through the recitation without any reflection or understanding. The origins of dividing the Qur'an into 30 parts and reciting one part each night in the month of Ramadan is in some writings attributed to Uthman for the purpose of use in the taraweeh prayers. The goal of reciting the whole Qur'an in the month of Ramadan is admirable, but not at the expense of quality over quantity.

The purposes of Qur'an might be described as to remove rust from our hearts, to guide us, to purify us, and to educate us. While there is reward in reciting the Qur'an even without understanding, the true benefit of such a recitation is extremely limited and completely leaves aside the benefits of the Holy Book as a reformer and guider for one's soul.

"A book We have sent down to you, blessed, that men possessed of mind may ponder its signs and so remember." (38:29)

"What, do they not ponder the Qur'an? Or is it that there are locks upon their hearts?" (47:24)

Qur'an recitation should really be slow, contemplative, and reflective. A person hearing, reading, or reciting the Qur'an should be engaged with the text: they should have an emotional response and a rational response to its words, not just a response to the voice of the reciter. The Fourth Imam (peace be upon him), "The Qur'anic verses are treasures of knowledge, and whenever a treasure is opened, you have to see what lies therein. Ponder over the verses of the Qur'an, and learn from them, for they are the best of lessons."

The aim of the many deeds we perform in the month of Ramadan is not reward as much as it is reform or purification. In the springtime of the Qur'an, it should be flowering in our hearts, in order to bear fruit. This cannot be accomplished if the meanings of the words never enter our hearts and minds in the first place, nor if the meanings are not allowed to linger with us, occupying our attention beyond a few passing moments. Understanding the Qur'an can be achieved by reading through translation if needed, reading slowly, and in as small a quantity as necessary to allow the time for processing, responding, and applying what one has read. One verse of Qur'an in translation that is understood and taken to heart and used to reform a person may be of more value than a lifetime of chanting the sacred Arabic text but knowing it only as sound.

Most mosque functions rightly begin with recitation of Qur'an, but sadly, we often find that for many of the reciters and listeners, it is only a beautiful noise and an honored ritual. It is a shell of Qur'an that falls like dried leaves rather than taking root in the hearts. Perhaps if there are people in the audience who do not understand the Qur'anic Arabic, a recitation of Qur'an should never be concluded without a translation, so that understanding might bless the hearts of the congregants. Indeed, perhaps the aforementioned saying of the Prophet – "Whoever recites a verse from the Qur'an (in the month of Ramadan) will receive a similar reward as the one who recites the entire Qur'an in other months." – was really meant to make us focus on each verse more slowly and more contemplatively in this month, not to recite more for more's sake. If that means that fewer verses are recited as a result, then so be it. If that means that the whole Qur'an is not read in the month of Ramadan, but only a portion, there is no sin in that. Is it not better for a community of believers to come together and reflect on the Qur'an than to merely parrot it?

I'm not an expert when it comes to Qur'an reciters, but here is my favorite Surah Yaseen recitation - with transliteration and translation.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Fast Friends

Working on a group blog for the month of Ramadan - you're welcome to join.

Ramadan Fast Friends

Friday, July 30, 2010

Capacity of Hearts

"Tell them that God's Mercy is on those who direct peoples' love toward us, on those who teach the people that which their hearts can accept to their capacity, and on those who put aside that which is too heavy for the peoples' hearts to bear." Imam Sadiq (as)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

History Detectives -The Barton Letter - recommended viewing

History Detectives is one of my favorite television shows.
In this week's episode, one story really moved me - entitled "The Barton Letter". Clara Barton was a true heroine who made valiant efforts to help people discover the fate of missing soldiers in the Civil War as well as to get soldiers basic supplies they were lacking like socks and food. She later went on to found the American chapter of The Red Cross. Despite her huge efforts, 60% of the war dead in the Civil War were never identified and their families and friends never learned their fates. "The Barton Letter" is about one man's efforts to enlist the aid of Clara Barton in finding out what happened to his missing neighbor. A very sad chapter in American history.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Passing of Sayyed Fadlullah

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un (انّا للہ و انّا الیه راجعون)

Sayyed Fadlullah influenced me in a few profound ways; of all the maraje', I felt a human connection with him. He is the only marja' that I'd ever seen in person; when I went for hajj in 1999 he was also there and I saw him in a meeting room near where our group was staying. He made arrangements to meet with people from the group to answer questions, etc., - he made efforts to be accessible to all. Also, a few of his writings touched me personally. He wrote a short biography of Fatima (as) called The Infallible Fatima (as) - A Role Model for Men and Women that remains the best work about her I've ever seen in English. I also have his World of Our Youth which contains questions and answers in a wonderful readable, mild, informative style. He was a true champion among the elite for the causes of women in particular, and his rulings were found by many women to be easier on a practical level and liberating from traditions that may be more cultural than religious in nature. What I liked about his fatawa is that he explained his reasoning in many cases - very simply and clearly, especially when he differed from the more traditional views, such as on moon sighting for the start of an Islamic month, or rulings about following a marja, and so on - and those explanations always meant a lot to me because they gave me room to reflect, ponder, absorb, and understand. I think those explanations helped to provide the human connection and addressed the need for appealing to reason. Through his website he and his appointees answered questions in a timely manner compared to many others. His Friday khutbas were regularly sent out in e-mail and on his website and he always had good messages and did a lot for the cause of unity worldwide, not only among Muslims but also particularly between Christians and Muslims. He often took strong political stances compared to some other scholars, perhaps due to his position in Lebanon instead of certain other locations where he might have been more restricted - but he also was far removed from hard line absolutist us-them world views, in the true moderate Shia tradition. His death is a great loss.

Obituary of His Eminence, the Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
"To Allah we belong, and to Him we shall return"

"And among men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is Affectionate to the servants." (02:207).

"If a 'alim dies, there will be a rift in Islam that nothing, whatsoever, could fill."

At a time we are in most need for him, this great man has died, leaving in the hearts of those who love him a grief that has incorporated all the tragedies of history.

The leader, father, Religious Authority, renovator, guide and human being has left us.

He left with the prayers and the remembrance of Allah on his lips and the nation's causes in his heart.

Finally, his heart has stopped after 75 years that were spent in the struggle for the cause of Allah, as well as in jurisprudence, renewal, opening up on and committing to the cause of the nation and confronting all the powers of arrogance and tyranny…

He left, after a lifetime of embracing the cause of Islam, as a thought a movement, a methodology and a commitment in all the fields of life. He left saying, as he has frequently expressed: "These are my only wishes. I have never had any personal wishes. I lived all my life and strived to be a servant of Allah, His Messenger (p.) and his Household (a.s.), as well as Islam and Muslims."

His most essential advice for the Muslims before his demise was to preserve Islam the Islamic nation and its unity, for he believed that the arrogance would not be defeated unless the Muslim unite and support one another.

He was, with his illuminating mind and radiant soul, a reference, a guide and an advisor to all the aware Islamic movements in the Arab and Islamic worlds that were inspired by his thought and methodology.

His Islamic integrity and originality lead him to institute a school of dialogue with the other on the basis that truth is the child of dialogue.

He opened up on all people and he embodied dialogue in his movement, thought and entire life away from any slogans that lack any realistic content.

He experienced Islam in complete awareness of the responsibility that ought to be shouldered and the line of justice that ought to be followed. He was the mastermind who launched the resistance movements, which inspired from his thought the spirit of confrontation, opposition and steadfastness and were able to achieve big accomplishments and victories in Lebanon and Palestine and any position of Jihad [struggle]…

His main concerns and top priorities were always the big issues of the Arabs and Muslims, knowing that Palestine was his biggest concern since his early age and until his last breath, for he has always said: "I shall not rest until the Zionist entity falls."

His Eminence was a distinguished mark in the movement of the religious authority institution towards being concerned with the nation's pains and ambitions… Actually, this institution guided the people to the light away from backwardness, and shouldered the responsibility, side by side with the people, of building the future and confronted all forms of exaggeration, myth, and Takfir, guided by the path of the Messenger of Allah (p.) and his pure Household (a.s.).

Armed with piety and righteousness, Sayyed Fadlullah stood against the strifes amongst Muslims, for he rejected that they undermine their existence as a result of narrow sectarian fanatic acts. He also called on the nation's aware religious scholars and people to fear Allah when dealing with issues pertaining to people's lives, considering that whosoever knits seditions amongst Muslims aiming to rip apart the unity of Muslims and their word is a traitor to Allah and His Messenger, even if he fasts and prays…

He always strived to make sure that the relations between Muslims and Christians be based on "common terms" and understanding over the mutual issues, and he called for developing the relations between them on the basis of moral and humanitarian conceptions that take part in elevating man's status at all levels, and the value of justice in the face of all forms of oppression.

Actually, he adopted the Quran as a basis for his activist and missionary methodology and jurisprudential and activist movement, for he regarded the Quran as the book of life that could only be really understood by the activist and innovative people…

The Sayyed was known for his modesty, humanitarianism, and supreme missionary morals. His heart encompassed those who loved him and those who did not love him as well, and he used to advise all people to: "Love each other, for love is what authenticates and enables one to be creative and productive… Join us in love away from personal, regional, partisan and sectarian considerations… Let us all meet and gather under Allah's shadow instead of disagreeing in His name…" This can only mean that his pure heart held no grudges or spites towards anyone, for it is he who always repeated: "Life cannot bear spite, for spite is death and love is life…"

Moreover, he believed in the role of the institutions which he considered to be the primary and most essential civilized pillar for the rise of every nation and society… Thus, he established minarets and buildings for knowledge and care, which represented a sanctuary and shelter for the orphan and the needy, and an oasis of ambitions and high hopes for the physically-disabled, and a lighthouse for the learned towards the wide and open horizons, and a haven of security and safety for the sick and the elderly…

O Sayyed, you true master! Your house was and will remain the destination of the seekers of knowledge and whosoever is in need, for the call of "love" towards people, all the people, was your everlasting call.

The poor and the downtrodden were the closest to your heart, and you saw in the youth an aspiring hope, provided that they arm themselves with culture and knowledge…

The heart that filled the entire world with activist Islam, and missionary awareness and humanity that endlessly poured love and good until the last breath… this heart has rested in peace…

O Dear Sayyed, your pure body has rested whilst aspiring to achieve all hopes and ambitions at the level of constructing the present and future of the nation…

You left us having undermined all the conspiracies, threats, distortion campaigns and assassination attempts, be they physical or moral… you left after you surpassed all that and preserved the all-purity of your mind, heart and soul…

O Abu Ali, you left, yet your blessed name will remain curved in the conscience, heart and mind of the nation. O Sayyed, you left, yet you will remain present and vibrant by your thought and methodology in the life of our present and the future generations…

The Sayyed's body has gone, but his soul thought and line will stay with us. The nation whom he loved and made every effort to serve, will continue the march of awareness that he has set out its line throughout his life.

Dear brothers! As we offer our condolences to the entire nation upon the death of this great academic and religious scholar and this great missionary pioneer and struggler. We vow and promise Allah, and we vow and promise you, your Eminence, that we shall proceed with the march that you established its foundations and that we will execute your will that calls us to defend the nation, uphold its unity and maintain the humanitarianism of the Message.

"O soul that art at rest!Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (Him),so enter among My servants,and enter into My garden." (89-27:30).
04/07/2010 A.D 22/07/1431 H

Monday, June 28, 2010

Visiting Grandma and Grandpa Beatty

Today my cousin Dawn and I drove down to Walsenburg to visit our grandparents. Dawn and I reconnected at the 2010 Beatty reunion in Utah earlier this month - before that we'd only seen each other I think once since high school, even though for a fair chunk of that time we'd lived in the same city. I think we're both pretty excited about making that connection together.

This was one of the nicest visits I've had with grandma and grandpa (Gladys Marie Allison Beatty and Park Forsythe Beatty). We looked at photos and chatted for a good two hours. Dawn showed them pictures from the Utah trip and I brought a few of their photo albums from their Navy days and high school days (I'm holding onto their albums for them because they don't have room in their place) and they looked through the albums and talked about a few things they remembered. One story that comes to mind right now is that Grandma told us about how they got married - they'd met while stationed in San Diego in the Navy, but grandpa got out before grandma and was back in Cedar City, Utah. When grandma got out of the Navy, she stopped in Cedar City on her way home to Fairplay, Colorado. She stayed over at the Escalante for a few days and told grandpa, as she put it, "to either sh** or get off the pot", or rather, told him to marry her or she was going home to find someone else. Well, they just had their 64th anniversary earlier this month. They started out in a basement apartment in Cedar City, but Ernie, grandma's dad, thought no daughter of his should live in a basement, so he set them up at his house in the 500 block (513?) of E.Del Norte, near the Patty Jewett golf course in Colorado Springs. I want to go find that home.

Grandpa claims that he was such a fast runner in his high school days in track that he was actually faster than the current world record but they didn't keep records back then. :) Grandpa also got a kick out of pictures of grandma in her Hawaiian grass skirt and beachwear.

Another story grandma told that was new for me was about how her dad Ernie (Millard Ernest Allison) became a shoe cobbler. He was raised as a farmer/rancher, but his stepdad Ned Lenari trained him to be a shoe cobbler and that's how he made his living in later years. Grandma showed me a picture of her and a Navy girlfriend wearing cowboy boots that Ernie made for them.

I also learned Grandma had a few nicknames in the Navy - she was called "Al" - short for Allison, her last name. Even grandpa called her that. Grandpa said she was also known as Happy Butt because of her first name, Gladys - I'll see if you can figure that one out. :)

They both seemed to be in good spirits. Grandpa has some holes in his memory - he almost completely forgot that he lived in New Mexico for years and had occasional confusion about who we were, but it comes back to him with some time and some prompts to jog the memory now and then. Grandma has a few holes in her memory, too - I've never noticed it before - but she's still very sharp over all. They also seem to be getting more involved in activities available to them where they live. They've been playing Bingo and going to a weekly movie and Sunday church, etc.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Beatty Family Reunion 2010 Trip

I uploaded lots of pictures on Facebook as well as here, please have a look.

Logan, Sam and I left around 5 a.m. Friday morning heading for Hurricane, Utah and the nearby town of Toquerville, where my great-grandfather Walter Beatty lived and a large amount of family that I'd never met still resides. The kids were asleep and missed the antelope and bison in South Park. We made our first stop in Grand Junction for an early lunch. It had to be Subway, that's what we all wanted. And then the rest of the trip we enjoyed a little game of reading the road signs and seeing all other towns that had Subways - almost all of them did! We stopped at the Colorado/Utah border for pictures, and stopped at one rest stop on I-70, but did not need to stop again for gas. We took pictures of beautiful scenery all the way. We got to our hotel around 5 p.m. and ordered pizza for dinner and went swimming in the hotel pool. We watched America's Funniest Home Videos on the hotel TV until we fell asleep.

The next morning, we enjoyed making our own waffles at the hotel continental breakfast, but we had to wait in line for the machine, testing the kids' patience just a bit. Then we drove the few miles to Toquerville's LDS church for the reunion. We all got shirts representing that we are descended from Walter Beatty; people descended from his siblings had different colored shirts. There were introductions at the reunion, then a tour of my great-grandpa's house two doors down from the church, followed by lunch and entertainment put on by various cousins and family at the reunion. Sammy was inspired by one young girl's recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and decided to recite the Preamble of the Constitution for everyone. Another older girl sang the National Anthem very well - so there was plenty of patriotic sentiment at the reunion. The children were excited by a candy bomb - black powder being used to launch candy across the parking lot for fun. One story that Samantha learned from relatives is about my great-grandmother's wedding ring. Walter was a horse wrangler and guide in Zion National Park and was hired by a famous rich lady to take her to the top of Angel's Landing. When they got there, she was about to throw off her ring, but Walter asked her if he could have it instead to give to his wife Vera, who had a gold wedding band but no diamond. She gave it to him and he of course gave it to Vera. Great-Grandma Vera passed it on to my dad's cousin Vera because she was named after her. Vera has passed it on to her son Ryan's bride, Shay, but the stone is now in a different setting. At the end of the reunion we posed for a group picture, then Logan, Sam and I and some other folks headed over to my dad's cousins Paula and Vera's house to chat. My great-grandpa's saddle was there and Logan and Sam posed for pictures on it. It had hailed during the reunion and the yards looked almost like they were covered in snow. That evening, we went to the movie theater in Hurricane and saw The Karate Kid - which we thoroughly enjoyed. The kids feel asleep to The Toy Story playing on the hotel TV.

Sunday morning we had waffles again and then drove into Springdale to the beautiful place that my Uncle Jack was staying with his daughter Dawn and her family called Cliff Rose Palace, if I recall correctly. Then we followed them in Zion National Park, the entrance being a very short distance away. We explored the Emerald Pools trail, had lunch at Zion Lodge and then walked the Temple of Sinawava trail. Logan and Sam had the opportunity to meet and play with their second cousin Duncan, Dawn's son. We took lots of pictures. I hadn't seen Dawn since her mom's funeral and before that we were probably children, so it was nice to connect with her as well. Jack hospitably took care of us all and planned our route since he was the only one who had been there before and was kind of acting as our patriarch that day. We stopped at the museum to see the large picture of great-grandpa Walter there and then we headed back toward Hurricane. We stopped at a very touristy gift-shop in the town of Virgin where Logan was incredibly excited to find and buy a samurai sword set and Sammy got gifts to take home. We were invited to my second-cousin Richard and his wife Sara's house for dinner, and that was a wonderful highlight and end to the trip. Richard showed everyone how to ride a horse and everyone took a turn. The children showed Logan and Sam the other animals and they played together very well. I think everyone was sad to leave when it was time to go.

Monday morning we were on the road by 4:45 a.m. As on the way out, the kids fell back asleep quickly and it was a beautiful quiet drive through Utah. Finally in Colorado they started keeping me company again. We met a little snow up in the mountains before the Eisenhower tunnel, and some rain we got back to I-25 and home, but we made great time and I dropped the kids off at my brother's house at 3:15 p.m. The car did well and averaged about 43 mpg - yay for that! Thanks to all the family and friends we met, we had a wonderful time. I am so happy to connect with family - what a blessing!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Favorite Poems

These were some of my favorite poems as a kid, and still are, really:

The Jabberwocky and 'The Walrus and the Carpenter' by Lewis Carroll.

The Giving Tree or Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.

O Captain my Captain and When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer by Walt Whitman.

The Raven and The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe.

maggie and milly and molly and may and 'since feeling is first' by e e cummings.

Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson.

Let America be America Again and A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes.

Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night by Dylan Thomas.

Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The Three Little Kittens by Eliza Lee Follen.

Dutch Lullaby (Winken, Blinken and Nod) by Eugene Field.

Anything by Ogden Nash ( such as: The trouble with a kitten
is that eventually
it becomes a cat.)

The Purple Cow by Gelett Burgess.

Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore by William Brighty Rands.

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Tyger by William Blake.

Thanksgiving Day (Over the River and Through the Wood) by Lydia Maria Child.

Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer.

Fog by Carl Sandburg.

The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams.

The Unknown Citizen by W. H. Auden.

Robert Frost's Road Not Taken and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

Shakespeare's Sonnett 18 (Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day).

For whom the bell tolls by John Donne.

If and Hiawatha by Rudyard Kipling.

How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

What are your favorites?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Fort Logan

This afternoon I drove up to Fort Logan National Cemetery and found the graves of my great-grandfather (dad's mom's dad) and his wife Blanche. Blanche was his second wife, and the poor lady killed herself about a week after Ernie died, so she joined him shortly - at least that's the story I was told; this all happened before I was born. I don't know anything else about her. However, I've often had the distinct feeling that I've met Ernie somehow, sometime. I have a feeling my dad is a lot like him, but I don't know. I'd never been up there before, but although bad traffic made the trip long, it wasn't too hard to find his grave because they were all numbered right on the stones - very helpful - especially because I went after the office closed. The grass was totally dead in the area where my great-grandfather is buried - it looks like they laid down new sod awhile ago and then didn't water it at all, or something.

Then I went to the center up in Denver for Thursday night prayer, etc. It was hard to find - I got a little lost and had to wander around in the middle of nowhere a bit to eventually find it. So, I saw some people I hadn't seen in probably almost a year, which was nice. Got home around 11:30pm - there's a reason I just can't make it up there very often!

I think two of my brother's kids are up for the Beatty reunion, so insha'allah next weekend I'll be driving to Toquerville, UT. Long drive - I hope we'll be safe and have a good time, and meet plenty of cousins we've never met.