Saturday, September 26, 2009



My car was stolen from my garage a few days ago. It is a 2001 Honda Accord, just 2 months away from being paid off. It had a snowboard rack on it, a wallet with $400 cash, an I-pod and all the CDs I have ever owned, and some other sentimental items.

I don't even want this car back I just made this flyer to tell you that I hate you, car thief. I hope you drive my car and get hit by a monster truck. I hope my car takes you straight to hell.

(Disclaimer: This is taken from a funny flier that someone made about their missing bike. I just changed a few things and don't worry, I don't really wish that on anyone!)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Celebrating Peace, Love and Uncle Al

On August 28, 2009 we lost our Uncle Al at 63 years young to a dissecting aortic aneurysm, the same condition that almost took my dad's life 9 years ago. We have all felt such a profound loss in our lives now, but Al would want us to celebrate his life, not mourn for him. So that is what we have tried to do. This is my favorite picture of my favorite uncle- shining in the sun in Zion.
He was our mentor and was so fortunate to live in the most beautiful place in the world. We often took trips to Zion, staying with Al, and had the opportunity to explore this land that he loved in a way that most people never do.
Atop the peak next to Johnson, one of my favorite times hiking with Al. This is the area just behind his house, and from this view we pointed out many of the other peaks we would plan to bag together. We never thought our time would run out so soon.
His funeral was held at the Springdale cemetery, a beautiful place to be laid to rest. His wishes were to return to the earth in the most natural possible way- not embalmed, buried in a pine box, with no nails.
My father's tribute to his brother was very touching. He spoke about the reunion he hoped Al was having with his mother and other brother who preceded him in death. Half of my dad's family has now passed away.
An impromptu indian flute piece "Amazing Grace" by one of Al's comrades from the paramedic/ firefighter group he was a part of. Adrienne's husband Dave and daughter Davenne in the background.
Bench cousins.
Al's daughter Adrienne felt that it would be more personal if the members of the family helped bury him, rather than some random workers. It was very emotional but felt like the right thing to do.
Later that evening we had an informal gathering at the park where people from the town of Springdale and those that had traveled from very far away to pay tribute to Al by sharing memories and stories. This is Dick Dotey sharing a piece of amazingly detailed leather work done by Al, the artisan.
The Bench family reunion.
Avery, Adrienne's darling little boy was delighted to see his great-grandpa. Family connections.
Al's collection of cochina dolls from Hopi land. He traded cottonwood root and other goods with the indians. Al gave us one of these special pieces as a wedding gift.
Feeling the love in Zion.
We have been so lucky to stay here with Al at his house so many times. Coming to Zion just won't be the same again.
But we will always cherish our times with Al and know that his memory will be here forever.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Summer Climbing

A few weeks ago we took a trip to the City of Rocks in Idaho. It was a fun little get-away for us, and the dogs absolutely loved it! They ran around, got into some cactus again, and kept look-out in the tent at night for us. We got some great climbing in too!
Brandon loves his little Annie. He gave her a ride on his pack when she started getting tired.

We've been coming here together for 5 years. We love this place!
It gets a little chilly at night in the City of Rocks, even in the summer. Glad to have our coats!
After part of the Labor Day weekend spent in Zion (more on that later), we headed to Maple Canyon for some climbing. We love going there because it's only about 20 min away from Brandon's mom's house.
We've been climbing pretty hard lately, so we feel a lot stronger now.
Anthony had a good time climbing with us too. It was his first time out for the season, so he was done after the first day.
Brandon leading "Pipeline" 11.D
We met up with several friends and had a lot of fun with them. Michelle brought her dog Jude who could almost be mistaken for Cole. They all got along great. They played so hard that the next day all they could do was sleep.

Summer is my favorite time of year, and practically all our free time goes to climbing. It's always a little sad when the days get shorter and cooler because I know our time outside is coming to an end. But we have done a lot this summer and I hope to squeeze a few more trips in before the snow flies!