Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Look Back at 2009

As 2009 winds to a close we take a moment to look back in reflection on what this year has been. In his first year of existence Army the Armadillo traveled an estimated 27,653 miles that took him all over the United States, including Hawaii, Philadelphia, Arizona, San Francisco, a MoTab Choir Tour, a Pacific Cruise and so many more beautiful and serine locations. The Blog was pretty successful as well as it was visited nearly 700 times by friends wanting to read one of the 11 blogs posted throughout the year. The whole adventure has brought a new dynamic to vacationing at Missionary Medical and Army is excited for the upcoming year and the places it will take him.

To begin 2010 Army will be going international as he visits the Panama Canal with Jennifer. Army also has a trip planned back home to San Antonio, TX with Nicco in February. One thing that Army has asked for is the opportunity to meet some famous people in his travels. He is excited and looks forward to many Road Trips, Flights, and Cruises with the great people of Missionary Medical. Here is to 35,000 Miles in 2010.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Queek Creek, Arizona

Courtney recently drove for 24 hours in an 84 hour vacation (can you say CRAZY!) to Queen Creek, Arizona to support some friends of hers at a baby blessing. Along the way Courtney decided to take a few dam pictures (Caution: if you were just offended by that pun, you may not want to read on as there will be a few dam puns throughout this posting, as Hoover Dam also plays off the "dam" pun humor). As Courtney was about to take this picture traffic was at a stand still. She got out to take the picture, and when she turned around to get back in the car the dam traffic had picked up and Courtney had to run across Hoover Dam to catch up with Curtis.

The trip actually started from Syracuse, UT and moved speedily down to Las Vegas, NV where Courtney didn't even spend a penny on gambling. Good Job Courtney! She did manage however, to take a picture of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. The Stratosphere boasts the title of being the Tallest Freestanding Observation tower in the United States. It also has claim to the three highest roller coaster thrill rides in the world. Big Shot (1081 ft.) Insanity (900 ft.) & X-Scream (866 ft.).

The next eventful stop was just outside of Lake Mead at the Hoover Dam. The Hoover Dam weighs 6.6 million tons, which is the equivelent of 13.2 billion lbs. It produces over 2000 megawatts of energy with it's 17 dam generators, and provides water to over 25 million people by storing up to 9.2 trillion gallons of dam water. It is now the 18th largest dam in the world, though at one time it was the largest dam. It was also the first structure to contain more masonry than the Great Pyramid at Giza. The first death of the Hoover Dam Project was JG Tierney in 1922, exactly 13 years later to the day, his son was the last person to die by falling from an intake tower.

The Hoover Dam is currently constructing a bridge that will end up taking the traffic off of the dam, and moving it over to a bridge opposite the Lake Mead side. Courtney and Curtis may have been the last people from our office that were able to brave the dam traffic of Hoover Dam. Though it would have been fun to stop and take a dam tour, or a dam helicopter ride, they kept on driving straight through to Queens Creek, AZ.

This is an 8 foot mural in the home of Courtney's friend. It was painted by Courtney's friends brother-in-law (did you follow that?) and given to Courtney's friend as a gift. Notice that Army is posing in the bottom right corner of the picture. After Courtis and Curtney arrived in Arizona they helped their move from a city outside of Mesa, to Queens Creek. Then they attended the baby blessing and then drove back home. Not exactly your typical relaxing vacation, but one valuable lesson is learned. If any of us happen to move 12 hours away, and then need to move again, you can always ask The Larsen's to help out.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

San Francisco, 2009

Golden Gate Bridge Facts - The Golden Gate Bridge's paint color is orange vermillion, also called international orange. Architect Irving Morrow selected the color because it blends with the bridge's setting
The bridge was fully painted when it was first built and then touched up for the next 27 years. In 1965, the original paint was removed because of corrosion and replaced with a inorganic zinc silicate primer and an acrylic emulsion top coat, a project that took 30 years. Today, painters touch up the paint continuously.
38 painters work on the bridge, along with 17 ironworkers who replace corroding steel and rivets.

One of the most interesting Golden Gate Bridge facts is that only eleven workers died during construction, a new safety record for the time. In the 1930s, bridge builders expected 1 fatality per $1 million in construction costs, and builders expected 35 people to die while building the Golden Gate Bridge. One of the bridge's safety innovations was a net suspended under the floor. This net saved the lives of 19 men during construction, and they are often called the members of the "Half Way to Hell Club."
Total length: Including approaches, 1.7 miles (8,981 feet or 2,737 m).
Middle span: 4,200 feet (1,966 m).
Width: 90 feet (27 m).
Clearance above the high water (average): 220 feet (67 m).
Total weight when built: 894,500 tons (811,500,000 kg).
Total weight today: 887,000 tons (804,700,000 kg). Weight reduced because of new decking material.
Towers: 746 feet (227 m) above the water. 500 feet (152 m) above the roadway. Each leg is 33 x 54 feet (10 x 16 m). Towers weigh 44,000 tons each (40,200,000 kg). There are about 600,000 rivets in EACH tower.

Lombard Street
Lombard Street is one of San Francisco’s most enjoyable attractions. Lovingly referred to as "The Crookedest Street in the World," it's actually crooked for a very good reason. It’s unbelievably steep! If not for the serpentine curves taming this treacherous slope, people would likely be killed rolling down. This stretch between Hyde St. and Leavenworth St. was built in the mid-1920s to accommodate the steepness of the slope.
Lombard Street is "The Crookedest Street", because of its eight sharp turns on a 40-degree slope. But it continues in both directions, going all the way east, up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower, and continuing west down through the Marina, where it becomes the major conduit to the Golden Gate Bridge. A walk in either direction makes for a pleasant hike.
Some of the classiest and most expensive Real Estate in the city exists on Lombard Street. This Russian Hill neighborhood, somehow possesses stately mansions, condos and townhouses, even with the endless array of tourists pouring down the street every day. In the spring and through the entire summer, Lombard Street is alive with color, as the chrysanthemums, and other well tended flowers are in full bloom.

San Francisco Skyline

San Francisco has 215 historic landmark buildings, ten historical districts and 14,000 Victorian homes. From Alamo Square, the city skyline is a modern contrast to Victorian "postcard row."
Just found a little story about Army's cousin, this proves that we are in elite company with carrying around an Armadillo purse on our vacations. I don't know if this is true, but take it for what it is worth. http://tinyurl.com/y9tgvse

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Washington DC

I got to go to Washington DC with Stephanie and Amy Lincoln. It was short, but fun trip. We pack a lot of stuff into 2 1/2 days.

My new friend Aidan Larson.
Aidan is a cute little guy, who is a lot of fun to hang out with. Here we are waiting for our flight to take off.

Thursday after we got to DC - Amy and Stephanie took me on a twilight tour of the monuments. It was great. This is our tour guide Mel. He sure knew alot about Washington DC. His dad is even burried in Arlington National Cemetary.

This is Stephanie and I hanging out with FDR - he was the 32nd President of the US and in a wheelchair due to polio.

On Friday we went to the Washington DC temple. I stayed in the car while the girls went to a sealing for their cousin. Afterwards - we totally met the President and Sister Belliston from the Baltimore Maryland mission. They were so excited to meet people from Missionary Medical. Sister Belliston even apologized for calling so much. We assured her, it was not a problem. We are always happy to help!

There was also a group of elders from the Baltimore Maryland mission. See those big healthy smiles.

On Saturday we went to Mount Vernon. This is the plantation home where George and Martha Washington lived. In case you did not know - George Washington was the 1st president of the United States. When he lived at Mount Vernon, there where 8,000 acres. He gave most of it away in his will. The George Washington Ladies club has been able to purschase 500 acres back. It is still a working farm with orchards. If you can not tell from this picture - Stephanie does not like to smile for pictures....silly girl.

This is Stephanie and I with the Washington's. George and Martha and their grandchild Washy and Nelly. (Washy is a nick name)

On Sunday before we left to fly home, I got to with Stephanie to visit with a friend of hers frm her mission. This is Matt Anderson - he is lives in DC. He was not very excited about having his picture taken with me, but when Stephanie explained the importance of it - he humored her.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Tour

From the crossroads of the West, we welcome you to a blog about inspirational music and Army’s spoken word. The 2009 MoTab Choir Tour began with a visit to Cincinnati, Ohio. Army was most excited to visit Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals. While there the Cincinnati Enquirer announced in a publication that “Nothing prepares you for the expressive power of the choir heard live”, and Army would have to agree.
The next stop on the trip was to Missouri. For the first time in 51 years, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir preformed in St. Louis, and according to stltoday.com, “left everyone smiling”. Army celebrated this successful l concert with a picture of himself in front of the famed Gateway Arch.
From St Louis we headed North to visit the Nauvoo Temple, and other church sites. Here is a picture of Army by a statue of Joseph Smith. Then we made our way over to Des Moines, Iowa for a concert at the Wells Fargo Arena.
The MoTab’s next stop was on to Norman, Oklahoma to sing for the first time in over 40 years. Then down to Kansas City, Missouri. One of the fun sites Army visited was the Missouri River. Army was kind enough to get out his camera and take this picture of a line of the 11 busses that were used to haul the MTC all over the country.
One of the highlights of the trip was our visit to RED ROCK’s in Denver. Red Rocks is a fabulous amphitheater in Denver with a beautiful backdrop of big red rocks, similar to Tuacan in St. George, but much bigger. President Monson paid a visit to let us know that he was supporting the choir in all of our endeavors. Unfortunately, Security stopped Leslee from getting Army in a picture with President Monson.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fish Lake, Utah with Ragena

Hi, it is me, Army again, with my latest adventure. I just returned from a trip to Fish Lake, Utah over Memorial Day. I went for the fishing and the atmosphere. I wish I had a nice boat, but this is what I was stuck with. Oh well, I decided to try and make the best of it.

Look at this fish. Ragena’s husband caught it. It is a Lake Trout, 37 inches long and 21 pounds. ( For all you "Fact lovers" out there, you will be interested to know that 37 inches is just one inch smaller than the stack of papers on Phil's Desk, and 21 lbs is the exact amount of birthday cake served to the March birthdays).

The Fish is as big as the 3 year old holding me. But he wasn't the only one with success. Though it rained a lot while we were there (which is a little foreign to me as I am more used to the desert conditions where I was raised). We only had a few hours to get in some good fishing, but hey this is not too bad for a couple of hours of fishing. The kids caught these fish , one of them on his Tigger pole. They were so excited.

Leslee Bingham and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir are going to be departing tomorrow for the Tour of a lifetime. They will be visiting several major cities through the midwest. Go MO TAB!

Friday, March 13, 2009


My latest adventure was with Pearl and Gene Simmons (the Mail room guy, not the rock star). We were going down to Arizona to attend the graduation of their son Slade, who is now a Doctor of Audiology (he is the one that outfits Pearl with the special earpeice on her phone). Our first stop was at the Glen Canyon Dam. Please read and enjoy some fun facts about all of the stops on my trip.

Glen Canyon Dam - By 1959, the Glen Canyon Bridge was completed permitting the trucks to deliver equipment and materials for the dam and the new town of Page, Arizona.
The next year concrete placement began and continued night and day until the final bucket was dumped three years later. A bucket held 24 tons of damp concrete and it took over 400,000 of them to build the dam. Over five million cubic yards of concrete make up the dam and power plant -- that's equal to enough to build a four-lane highway stretching from Phoenix, Arizona to Chicago, Illinois. Construction began on the 3,700 foot dam with blocks of concrete 7.5 feet high.
Next, turbines and generators were installed from 1963 to 1966. The dam was dedicated by Ladybird Johnson on September 22, 1966. It took 17 years for Lake Powell to completely fill for the first time. The plant generates more than 1.3 million kilowatts of electricity with each of the 40-ton steel shafts turning at 150 rpm, generating nearly 200,000 horsepower. With all eight generators operating at full output, over 15 million gallons of water will pass through the power plant's penstocks each minute. The electricity is upgraded on a transformer deck from 13,800 volts to 230,000 and 345,000 volts for transmission to distant markets.

Sadona, Arizona - I met a Sheriff of a little town on my way to Slades graduation. He was the Sheriff of Sadona, which is located 120 miles north of Phoenix Arizona. The population is around 24,000, and the average rainfall is 17.15" per year. Found here are cliff dwellings constructed by the Southern Sinagua people, who inhabited the area from about 650 A.D. to around 1300 A.D. However Sadona's first settlers came in 1876 but wasn't founded until 1902. The City of Sadona became incorporated in 1988. I made it across three streets in this town without getting hit! YEAH!

Next stop on this plesant little trip was to Slades Simmons graduation as a Doctor of Audiology.
How many years of schooling did Slade take?
Bachelor's Degree = 4 years. Master's Degree (Audiology) = 2 years. Doctorate Degree (Audiology, Au.D.) = 2 years.

How many training or precepting hours did he put in? I don't remember the specific hours, but as a Master's Student, I probably did about 20 weeks of full-time externship, another 12-20 weeks part time, and maybe 3 semesters seeing patients at the clinic on campus (U of U). After completion of my Master's Degree, I moved to Palm Springs, CA to complete a required fellowship which was 9 months full-time.

What was your favorite class?
Probably anatomy courses. Usually these were among the toughest classes, but it was a topic I enjoyed and found it easy to study.

Is the Anatomy Similarities in the ears of humans and Armidillos?
Unfortunately, I don't know!? I tried to find some info on the Armadillo ear but couldn't get any details. There may be some differences either with the hearing or the balance mechanism, but I can't say for sure.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Pacific Cruise

Army was invited to go with Jerrine and her husband Brian to L.A. California for a fun filled weekend cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean’s “Mariner of the Seas.” Royal Caribbean repositioned this beautiful ship from the Caribbean to the West Coast. Army was a special guest on the West Coast inaugural voyage.

We departed the Salt lake airport right after work on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009.

The flight was short and uneventful

. On the shuttle bus from the L.A. airport to the rental car, THEY THOUGHT I WAS LUGGAGE!!
Once we arrived at our hotel – The Double Tree – at the Marina at San Pedro, all was forgiven~~

I was finally treated like the royalty I am!!

After a great night sleep the sightseeing began. The marina was just steps from our hotel.
We drove along the Pacific Coast stopping at a scenic point near Palace Verde….Next we saw some beautiful sights at San Pedro~~~~
BOY! I wanted to surf, but Jerrine said that I would sink like a rock - - and wouldn’t let me in the water!!!

Finally, it was time to head for the ship. 3500 guests and 1200 crew members it’s like an “army”… J

We breezed right on to the ship, being a VIP (Very important Purse), they didn’t even check my I.D. The Bon Voyage party was all ready in full swing. Everyone was nice and friendly…
My new friend, Ray, tried to share his drink but it wasn’t my Diet Coke, so I declined.

Soon it was time for our Muster drill to make sure the less traveled would know what to do in an emergency!

After that I was ready to hit the high seas. I explored the ship and the many wonderful things to do.
I tried my paws at rock climbing with my friend from Brazil; he was so happy that I was on board. I make him think of home. He said, that there are many armadillos in Brazil. He let me rock climb before any of the others!

I slept in late and then started off the day with milk shakes at Johnny Rockets. There was a sexy leg contest, sorry, I forgot my camera for that one, and that was followed by a belly flop contest! Tons of fun!

That evening we watched it rain as we sipped diet Coke in the Crown Lounge at the top of the ship. After disembarking we still had a bit more time for sightseeing before our flight home. It happened to be the night of the Academy Awards so we headed to Hollywood Blvd. Jerrine was afraid that the paparazzi would mob us if I made an appearance so I had to hide in the trunk of the car while they got the last pictures of our fun trip.
Oscar is just behind Jerrine’s head, but she was much more excited about the poster, as she and her daughters do love to shop!!
I Love Bob Hope!! And yes! We were right there at the OCARS! There were hordes of people. The area you see is a secure area, only a few people were allowed in. You had to go through security and get wanded and searched before you entered. There were police and swat teams and even a bomb squad there!!!
All in all we had a fantastic weekend!!

Jerrine had a lot more fun on the trip that we didn't even have room enough to put all of her pictures in this blog.

Stay turned Army just got back from Arizona with Pearl, and you will really want to see that one.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Viva Las Vegas

Hi everyone, it’s been a few weeks since you have seen or heard about some of my travels. My most recent trip was to Sin City with none other than Mother Teresa (Nola Baker) and her husband George. We went to attend a Psych Conference held at the South Point Hotel and Casino. It was a lot of fun running around the Vegas strip and enjoying the warm weather. I even got a little gambling in before Nola noticed that I was using her gambling money.

So it was rather unique being at a Psych Conference, every morning we would get up and go down to the lobby for a continental breakfast. As I sat there eating my food, I would hear two Behaviorist’s begin a conversation, one would say to the other “Good Morning, How am I feeling today?” They would talk for hours and hours, those two were nuts!

Later, I went down to the pool to go for a swim with some of my buddies. They had a really neat pool with beautiful trees and landscaping. The water was a bit too cool, but still refreshing and yeah I know, she is wearing a bikini, but it’s okay because she also had on a Freudian slip.

After I went swimming for awhile, I went back into the hotel and sat in a dark hotel room because the lightbulb had gone out. When the custodian came up he asked me “How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb?” I replied that I wasn’t sure. He said “Just one, but the light bulb has to WANT to change”. He began telling me of some of his problems. I guess this guy thinks that he is only visible to Armadillos. He told me of a problem that he had recently when going in for an appointment, he told the receptionist at the Psychologist office that he feared that he was invisible, and needed to talk with someone about it. The receptionist walked back and talked to the psychologist about it, and came back and said to the custodian, “I’m sorry but he can’t see you right now.”

Now I had learned a thing or two about psychology on this little trip, and decided to talk with him about some of his issues. We went all over the place, just talking about everything. Here is a picture of the two of us talking in the hall way of the hotel. Here is another picture of us standing on the hot sun. After some very thought provoking conversations, I felt like I should let him know that I appreciated our conversations. I also told him to always remember that he is unique, just like everyone else. I hope that he gets through this tough time.

My final stop was to visit a Centenarian. Not many people get to visit with a centenarian, but I got my picture with one. Her name is Della Baker, Nola’s mother-in-law. She is 100 years old. When I got up on her lap, the first thing that she did was pull open my zipper to see if there was any money inside for her. There wasn’t Nola spent it gambling in Vegas.

Here are a few more pictures that just didn't get into the story above.