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Grandma Hill is doing very well indeed!

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

I got home from the Tabernacle Choir tour last night after being gone for 10 days and watched as Grandma Hill walked (carefully) down the stairs tonight with no assistance. We are very proud of her courage and tenacity as she recovers from her recent health issues.

New entryway into Grandma’s home.

She has a handsome new front porch built by family members that will make it easier for her to get into and out of the house. The handrail has been ordered but has not yet arrived and will be installed soon. She has things at her fingertips in her bedroom and a family member with her at all times to assist when needed. She is eating well and although her blood pressure is still a concern her health is remarkably good under the circumstances. We look forward to having her around for many more years as we work on our family history and other associated tasks.

Day 9- Tabernacle Choir Tour

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Today was a wonderful culmination of the music-making we have done as we shared our music and message with the people of the North Central States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Last night and this morning we had a little free time to visit places in the city. It is a beautiful place. We marveled as we drove into town on our buses, through St. Paul and then into Minneapolis. What a busy place this is! There are beautiful parks and parkways we walked through and many beautiful museums and churches.

A group from the choir visiting the sculture garden

I went with a small group of choir members to visit a modern art garden that we were told was “not to be missed” when visiting Minneapolis. The beauty and intricate planning that went into the organization of the park were immediately evident. We enjoyed the wonderful cool weather, and there was no rain on this day during a period of many weeks when there has been much rain in this area this year.

Spoon and cherry representing the sculptor and his wife

I went with my roommate, Cal Simmons, to visit a few of the beautiful churches we could see in the area.

Basilica from the bridge over the freeway

The Hennepin Avenue church has a large beautiful steeple that is very appealing. They have a beautiful art collection we looked at and a comfortable large sanctuary made of stone and wood, with a beautiful 4-manual tracker pipe organ in the front.

Pipework of the tracker organ in the Hennepin Church

Services at this church must be very enjoyable for their parishioners at this lovely location. We also visited the Basilica of Saint Mary just a few blocks away from the first church. It is over 100 years old and is said to be the “Pope’s church” or the place he would visit should he come to the city to visit with the people of his faith. This spacious building was also very well taken-care-of and beautifully lit.

Organ console in the Basilica of Saint Mary

The organ is a 4-manual Wicks instrument with a large console near the front of the building, which plays the pipework in the front corners and the center of the front of the building, both areas of which are behind that large altar area that is seen from the congregation and thus not immediately visible from a seat in the building. I asked about recordings of the instrument and was told that none were available at this time. The acoustic of this beautiful building must certainly be very complimentary to the sound of the organ. These was a lovely representation of the beautiful sights to be seen in the city.

Me and a few of the men from my section in the last concert

The concert went very well tonight and was a lot of fun for us. The audience was greeted by someone from Minnesota Public Radio who indicated that it had been 22 years since the choir had been in Minnesota and asked the audience to take the pitchs he gave and have them sing “welcome back” in 4 parts, making a c-major chord. Their simple welcome was beautiful and delightful to us! The large crowd was very enthusiastic and responded readily to our music. The guest conductor at the end was a man who is some kind of professional musician, who won an a written contest sponsored by MPR. He wrote that 30 years ago when he was 2 years old their family had visited Sat Lake City and were going to hear the choir perform, but he was behaving badly and caused

Day 7- Tabernacle Choir Tour

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Today we had a great day because we didn’t have to get up early. We had breakfast and lunch on our own so no special schedule other than we needed to be on the bus by 12:30 for a departure shortly thereafter for Madison. I went with a friend. To visit the Harley Davidson museum. Harleys are manufactured in Milwaukee. It was very interesting.

A view of the stage with the organ pipes.

We arrived at the Overture Center for the Arts at about 2:30. What a beautiful theatre! It has a very large stage with a 55-rank (?) pipe organ. Rick’s solo was better than ever on that instrument. Then entire instrument is on heavy tracks that allow it to be moved (slowly!) back to the back wall of the stage area to open up even more depth. The orchestra shell swings from the sides to cover the front of the organ when it is retracted, and the ceiling moves up and becomes as if it were a flown piece of scenery.

A view of the house from the front

The room is finished up with maple so the wood is very light in color. The theatre has a very high ceiling, and features three balconies with a total capacity of about 2200 persons, and this concert was sold out. Rehearsal went very well, and our guest conductor was selected to represent the Music Teachers around the country. He was terrific; it was really nice to have someone who really knew the music (not to take anything away from our other guest conductors).
We had a very nice catered dinner in the beautiful lobbies of the Concert Hall and enjoyed each other’s company for a short while. The concert was memorable for many reasons, especially for the superb acoustics of the theater. We will remember this place as one of the beautiful treasures in our history for having had the chance to perform there.

Tour Day 2- Columbus Ohio and Family

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

David and Tamara came to the Choir concert last night and they said that they really enjoyed the evening. Their seats were in the highest part of the arena at the rear but they were able to hear very well and the balance was good. Sanja particularly enjoyed Alex Boye’s solos and his choreography during the second number. It was so fun to see them and the rest of the family. Thank goodness the choir got a day off after the 22-hour day we had yesterday.

My cute grandkids!

Today we did a little work around the house, and then Robyn and Eric came with their kids which is always a treat for Tamara’s kids, both David and the girls. We went and watched while Sanja and Amie went to their ice skating lessons. It was interesting to see this indoors on a large rink where hockey players practice during the hot summers. Fun! We cooked a nice dinner together and had a little visit while the kids were playing at full-tilt as if they hadn’t seen each other for many months. We look forward to seeing everyone again (with a little more time on our hands) when Mom and I return in a few weeks. See you then!

Update on Grandma- Heart Attack but she is OK

Friday, June 7th, 2013


Talking on the phone to Richard

I got a text in the afternoon saying that Grandma had suffered a mild heart attack. She had atrial fibrilation that stopped during a blessing she received. A short time later she complained of not being able to breathe and something didn’t feel right in her chest. She was in the cardiac unit already since she the earlier episode so they were monitoring her closely. The technicians checked at that time and said they thought she was having a heart attack right at that moment! They took her directly into the lab and performed an angiogram to locate the blocked artery. It took them a little longer than they wanted, trying to go through her arm at first. This didn’t work so they went in through the large artery in the leg where the hip was replaced. The blockage (about 95 percent) was quickly located and an angioplasty put a stent was put in place to open it. Then they put a second balloon into it and expanded it a little more. We were shown the process from a recording they made of motion-picture views, and the blockage cannot even be seen any more. This was the only major blockage they found. She is feeling much better now and resting comfortably, even being able to eat what she wants. She has spoken on the telephone to several of her children and visited with several as they have come to see her. I will probably ask her if we can open a Skype session with a few of you on Saturday if she is feeling up to it. It was suggested that possibly the heart condition was the cause of her fall, maybe she even came close to blacking out; she doesn’t remember. There did not appear to be anything there for to have tripped on. The nurse told us she was likely to be released on Sunday at this point. Thanks to Jean and Joyce who stayed in the hospital last night with Grandma. If I get a report this morning I will add it to this post.
Jean just sent out an update from this morning (now) saying Grandma is doing great. The Cardiologist said she can go home tomorrow and can walk as much as her tolerance of the pain will allow her to. She is tired but seems to be doing as well as can be expected. She did some walking today and a physical therapist worked with her for a few minutes. This is great news. Please keep praying for her and for the family that we can provide everything she needs.

Grandma Hill update

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Mom stayed two nights with Grandma and then Aunt Janice was in town and stayed with her last night. Grandma is having some discomfort (small wonder) but is doing very well, going walking at least twice a day around the hospital corridors with some help from staff. We believe she will be released to go home on Friday but she will need LOTS of help for several weeks. Arrangements are being made for Home Healthcare personnel to visit (they only come Mon-Fri) so we will need to learn what they do so we can duplicate it to the best of our ability on the weekends. There are many things that need to be taken care of, and we hope that the arrangements can be finalized for most of them before she comes home. I will add more information as I get it.

Grandma Hill fell, is now in the hospital

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Charlotte and Andrew gave us a call this evening when they went home to say that Grandma had fallen and we needed to come over right away. Fortunately it wasn’t very long after she was injured that the kids arrived at her home. We have since taken her to the hospital and we were just told that she has a broken hip, which we suspected. She was out watering her garden and tripped over a hose (we think). She said she fell on the concrete and was stuck there, having to kind of drag herself into the garage. The kids found here there on her knees and they ran to help her, and when we arrive they had managed to get her seated on a chair. She was in a lot of pain but we were able to get her in the car with some effort and discomfort. She was x-rayed just a few minutes ago and the break was confirmed. We don’t know how bad it is at this point but she will need surgery of some kind, probably on Sunday.

Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

This Memorial Day was almost like the first “day of the summer” and school will be out in only a week for the kids in the neighborhood.


Here we are with much of Mom’s family at the cemetery

Sunday was a beautiful day following a week of very high temperatures. This coming week is supposed to be quite cool and rather wet, much like the spring we never had this year. We went to the Orem Cemetery early Sunday evening and afterwards drove out to Rosie and Derek’s place and has a nice evening with the grandkids and with Derek’s folks who are here from St. George. Buzz is having some health issues but Susan seems to be doing very well. It was so nice to see them and to watch the kids as they played together.
I worked on Memorial Day but right after work we went to Salt Lake and visited Mom’s grave, and then went to Darrell and Heather’s home to join the family for the annual barbecue in their back yard. It was so fun to see everyone that was able to come. Leslie and Laurel had just returned from eastern Europe with the community choir they are part of. Darrell has done so much with the house, it almost seems like a different place in some ways.

Olivia’s First Birthday

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Feeding herself birthday cake

We celebrated Olivia’s first birthday on Saturday October 20th at the park. Dinner included some very delicious barbecue chicken prepared by Charlotte, as well as her famous cottage cheese and jello salad. These were enjoyed much by all, along with other items brought by us and by other family members including Andrew’s parents and grandparents. It was really nice to see everyone! Olivia seems to sense that this was a special day. When she was presented with a little cake in her Bumbo chair with its tray we got a real kick from her response as we sang, and then she had some help blowing out the candle. Then she was allowed to eat her cake on her own.

Opening gifts!

It was very entertaining and we all loved seeing her go after it! The gifts from everyone were very nice including books, toys, clothes, and other cool things. She had a lot of help from her sister and her cousin, who were very willing to help her unwrap things and examine what she had been given. They had a good time too! Thank you everyone for coming and being so generous with us and with Olivia and her family. We love you all!

Visiting and working in Kansas

Monday, October 15th, 2012

I spent several weeks in Kansas teaching newly-hired engineers some of the responsibilities of their new positions to support NetApp customers. The time there went by fairly quickly. We were able to arrance for Mom to come spend several days for a visit. While we were together we traveled to Kansas City and then also to Nauvoo to do work in the temples at both locations. It was a treat to visit these beautiful buildings and feel the spirit that was there. The people are always very kind, and we fit right in as if we were locals in both locations. Since we went so late in the season Nauvoo was very quiet, not the usual bustling community with hundreds of tourists and other visitors crowding the grounds and the Visitor Center. The time together was great. We had to part ways again after a few days so Ruth could get back to her job at the Mt. Timpanogos Temple on Thursdays but I was able to come home only a little over a week later. It’s nice to be home again!