Sunday, September 30, 2012

Elder Matangi and others...

After Elder Christensen left, Elder Matangi joined Elder Williams to serve as an AP.  He is of Tongan heritage and was raised in Logan, Utah.  We had a lot of fun with him for one transfer, then he finished his mission and returned home the middle of July.

Sister Pitts and Sister Childers were assigned to the Utica Ward early this year and stayed for three transfers.  They actually live in New Hartford which is a suburb right next to Whitesboro.  Sister Pitts was Sister Childers trainer.  We got to see quite a lot of them when they would come in to use the computers on Mondays to read (and write) their mail.  They treated us with chocolate chip cookies and brownies, so we treated them to lunch just before Sister Pitts was transferred.

Then Elder Becerrill joined Elder Williams.  Elder Becerrill is a good missionary and has beautiful manners--always opens doors for the sisters, waits till they have gone through the food line before he serves himself--you get the idea.  He is also lots of fun and Elder Williams continues to loosen up under his influence.

The other day Elder Williams got a letter and after he opened it, he came over to my desk and said in a stricken tone of voice, "Sister Karlinsey, if I ever get another envelope this size with girl's handwriting on it, I don't want to see it!"

"Why," I asked.  "What is it?"

He pulled out the contents of the envelope and gave it to me as he said, "A wedding announcement!"

"Elder, Williams, I didn't think you had a girl waiting for you."

"I don't, but I was hoping this one would still be available when I got home!"  Turns out he had dated her a few times, but they didn't have a serious relationship, and although he did like her, he was just jerking my chain.

Elder Huebsch (pronounced hip-shhh, hand striking hip then finger raised to lips; people don't forget how to pronounce his name when he goes through this routine) and Elder Hall have been serving in the Oneida area for three transfers now.  Elder Huebsch is fresh from the MTC and Elder Hall is his trainer.  Our branch mission leader made up a calendar which he posted on the bulletin board in Church for people to volunteer to feed the missionaries.  The only dates taken were one night a week and those were with the Sanders (the branch mission leader).  We were standing in the vicinity of the calendar and Elder Hall said to me, "Sister Karlinsey, wouldn't you like to sign this calendar?"

"Elder Hall," I explained to him, "even though we attend the Oneida Branch, we don't live inside the boundaries, and you know that you aren't supposed to leave your area boundary unless it is to attend mission meetings.  The only time I could feed you would be for lunch on Wednesday after your District Meeting, and I know that you often go to lunch as a District after your meeting is over."  Their District Meetings are held in the Utica Church building which adjoins our office.

"That's true," he said, "but not all the time."

"Okay," I said, "why don't you and Elder Huebsch come to lunch next Wednesday, and if the District decides to do lunch together, just let me know and we can move it to a different Wednesday."

The next day, Elder Hall and Elder Huebsch were in the office for their interviews with the President and Elder Hall said, "Sister Karlinsey, Elder Huebsch and I are doing a blitz with the Zone Leaders on Wednesday right after District meeting.  What shall we do about lunch?"

The following Wednesday was transfer day and we both knew that there was a possibility that either he or his companion would be transferred, so I said, "The Zone Leaders eat lunch, don't they?"

"I guess so", he replied.

"Okay, if you'll take care of inviting them, I'll make sure I have enough food to feed four elders."

"Deal!"  He was happy again.  So the picture above is of Elder Huebsch and Elder Hall, then the Zone Leaders, Elder Tingey and Elder Tibbitts.  We had a great time.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Goodbye Elder Christensen

After we said goodbye to Elder McCleve, Elder Williams became the new AP with Elder Christensen.  We are enjoying his quiet sense of humor.  Elder Christensen finished his mission a few days after this picture was taken the end of May.

Thomas and Elizabeth and boys come to visit

Thomas, Elizabeth and their boys spent most of the summer in St. Biarritz, France.  Elizabeth and the boys rested and played tourist while Thomas worked.  They stopped in New York on their way back home and stayed with us for a few days--we had a really great time!

One of the things we did was go to Lock 20 on the Erie Canal.  This is us with the control house in the background.  This is where the electrical controls reside.

We got to see the locks work while we were there--a first for us at Lock 20.  If you look close, you can see two vehicles in the water.

They are sheriff's deputies going down the canal in what look like over sized jet skis.  They were wearing their sheriff's uniforms with shorts--no swim suits.

There was a dock on the upper end of the lock before you get to either gate.  Ben and Sam had a lot of fun playing there, watching water fowl and bugs.

Next we went to Oriskany to the museum where the anchor of the aircraft carrier, USS Oriskany, is stored.  It was given to the town when the ship was taken to Florida and sunk to help stabilize the coral reef there.

 Big chain, isn't it, Ben?
Sam and Noah in front of this huge anchor.

This is one of the jets that flew from the aircraft carrier.  It is on the museum grounds not far from the anchor.

Next we went to the site of the Battle of Oriskany during the Revolutionary War.  This sign gives a nice summary of the battle.  We happened to be there on the 235th anniversary of the battle and the National Park Service was hosting a memorial of the battle.

 This monument looks a lot like the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., but it isn't as big
 There were a lot of people there in period dress for the commemoration.

They even shot period muskets during the ceremony!

The next day we went to Fort Stanwix, which is in the middle of Rome, located about 10 miles northwest of Whitesboro.  The church you see is behind the fort and not part of it.

 The fort was build during the French and Indian War in the 1750s, and abandoned shortly after the Revolutionary War, then it was restored a few years ago.  This is like the cannons used at the fort.

 Above is one of the buildings where the soldiers quarters.  Next is one of the fireplaces.

The visitor's center had some great costumes they let people put on--we got some great pictures of Noah and Tom, didn't we?

 These are the outside walls of the fort with a guard house in the background.  You can see the berm that provided some protection to the fort.  You can't see the sharpened logs (between 10 and 20 feet long) that were stuck out of the walls--they looked pretty wicked!
 This gate looks like it is a tunnel, but "hall between buildings" may be more appropriate.  The curved pieces you see on the sides of the hall are part of the machinery that raises and lowers the drawbridge.
 To the side of the drawbridge you can see the ditches that were dug to create the berm and provide added security for the fort.
This is one of the cannon balls that fit in the cannons pictured above.  Pretty small, weren't they?

Noah's birthday was a few days before they arrived, so we celebrated with a party--his third party so far.  This is the first cake-mix I have made since we got here and it turned out very different than the ones I make out west--the texture was courser and the frosting got very thick.  But we had fun and it got eaten regardless of the short comings.

We also went to the Children's Museum in Utica and had a great time.  It is located in an old building across from the train station.  It looks like an old hotel to me with a beautiful staircase leading up to the 2nd and 3rd floors.  Lucky for me, there is also an elevator that took us all the way up to the 5th floor.  After a quick look at the ground level, we took the elevator to the rest of the floors.

The train display was really interesting and Ben and Noah were fascinated.  The train in the foreground went round and round throughout the display.

Sam, Grandma Marilyn and Grandpa Bill also enjoyed the trains.

There is a live corn snake in this glass cage.  It is native to New York, non-poisonous and is related to the boa constrictor.  It is called a corn snake because his underside looks like rows of corn on a cob, and is about the same color.  His top side is more muted, darker color, probably for camouflage.  It eats live (or when in captivity, frozen) mice by swallowing them whole.  He gets fed once a week.  They had a video of him eating--amazing how wide his mouth would open.  All of the boys had the opportunity of holding the snake with oversight by the museum worker.  Ben said it was pretty cool.

This room also had a huge hairy tarantula spider, as well as a working beehive!  The hive had two glass sides so we could actually watch the bees work and they had their own little bridge from the beehive to the window where they were able to exit and re-enter.  We were impressed.

This was one of our favorite activities in the museum.  It was a musical/light game and whichever boy stomped on the most lit squares while the music played got the most points!  We enjoyed watching them as much as they enjoyed playing.

The time came when the Thomas Karlinsey family had to return to Utah and get back to real life again.  This was the morning before they left for Palmyra to see the temple and the rest of the Church History sites there.  Then it was on to Buffalo where they got on the plane.  We really enjoyed their visit and look forward to seeing them when our mission is over in February.