Wednesday, December 22, 2010

San Diego, California

Army recently visited San Diego with Dave and his little family. Their trip included Sea World, San Diego Zoo, The Mormon Battalion Museum, and a quick stop at the beach. Please enjoy the following fun facts about San Diego's main tourist attractions.

Mormon Battalion Museum: Their march of 2,000 miles from Council Bluffs, Iowa to California is one of the longest military marches in history.Battalion members took cash in lieu of uniforms, using the money to support their families and their church during a very hard period.
Consequently, they did not wear uniforms. The uniform collection shown here is in a private collection. It shows
the uniforms that the battalion would have worn had they been issued.

Sea World: Opened in 1964 (thats older than everyone here).
The park occupies 189 Acres, which our little family walked every square inches of. The original investment on the property was $1.5 Million by a group of investors out of UCLA looking to open a Resturant with a small marine show. It now is the home to 5,700 fish from 434 species. One funny story was when I was taking the picture below with the seals, one of the Sea World employees came running up to me wondering why I was putting my animal so close to the exhibit. I assured her that the animal was not real by picking him up by the purse straps. She quickly apologized.

San Diego Zoo: The Zoo holds more than 4,000 animals from over 800 species, none of which were Armadillo. The Zoo got its start when animals were abandoned after the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, but didn't officially become a zoo until 1921. A few pictures of Army were taken in the Zoo, but they didn't turn out very good. Sorry, we can just pretend that the picture to the left was taken at the Zoo.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Penn State Tour

Recently our very own Penn State Steph went back to Pennsylvania for Homecoming at her Alma Mater, Penn State. Army was privileged enough to get his picture taken with the Nittany Lion Mascot (who doesn't have a name), and attend Penn States homecoming in the biggest football stadium in the nation. Beaver Stadium, named after a former Pennsylvania Governor James A. Beaver, holds 107,282 and is Pennsylvania's third largest city, just beating out Allentown by 32 people. The largest crowd on hand at Beaver Stadium has been 110,753. That is larger than a capacity crowd at both BYU and Utah combined (109,062).

Prince Edward Island & Nova Scotia

Friday Oct 15 - We headed out from Salt Lake City and flew east over the USA and just happened to find ourselves over the town where Jennifer was born – Battle Creek, Michigan. Jennifer has not been there since she was a little girl so it was exciting to see. We arrived in Quebec, Canada and met up with the group. The Hills were on a different flight. A day of travel is very exhausting, anyone know why? I don’t but it is. We had dinner that evening at St Hubert BBQ – a flash from the past for Paul. They did give us eating utensils but back in his younger days you had to eat BBQ with your fingers if you ate at St Huberts.

Sat Oct 16 - I loved Quebec. We walked through the “Old City”. I found myself being a leaf peeper. Can you find me looking for you? I loved the architecture found in the old part of the city and the government buildings. Many of the

roofs are made of copper and so are green. I really liked the angel mime holding his globe.

Sun Oct 17 - We had a day at sea with a cruise through the Saguenay Fjord. This fjord is the only area you can see Beluga whales other than Antarctica. We didn’t see any.

Tues Oct 19 - Our first stop was at the SMALL sleepy fishing village of Sept-Ils (set eel) meaning seven islands. It is the largest town on the North shore of the St Lawrence River and founded in 1531. The main industry is fishing and lumberjacks. It was not a very interesting stop and was very cold and windy but I did have my picture taken with the group out in front of a “Dive” that sells crab cakes. I don”t think the big lobster pot we are standing in front of is really used to cook lobsters. I did try finding some new friends by looking in the lobster traps.

I am so excited about the day. We get to eat lobster for lunch and go the “Green Gables”. The ship docked in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Paul had a hard time letting me eat some of his lobster but I got a good close look. Green Gables was a place that felt like you just wanted to stroll down “lovers lane” or walk through the “haunted forest” of just sit and watch the people. We were told that Ann is very popular around the world, especially in Japan where her stories are required reading and many Japanese people come here to get married or vacation. It was just a pleasant, enjoyable place to be.

Wed Oct 20

Another day at sea

Thurs Oct 21

Our port today is Halifax, Nova Scotia. We took a very delightful tour to Luenberg on the south shore. This small fishing and boat building town was a must for Paul. Back in the 1930’s his father happened to be on the Blue Nose I during a race. He worked for the

CBC in Canada and they were testing to seeing how well they could broadcast out at sea for radio. The Blue Nose I was used for fishing and in off season was used for racing. It never lost a race and is so important to the Canadians it is on their dime. We hoped to see the Blue Nose II but it is not sea worthy and so they are in the process of building the Blue Nose III. We did enjoy the fall colors and the rugged coast line. We got some good pictures here. As the message on the back of the bus says, Yes, we are having a good time. Can you tell”

Fri Oct 22

Here we are in Portland, Maine. The best fall colors for the entire trip were found here. The ship docked right in town. Had a great bus tour and stopped at a light house. What fun. We were happy to have a couple hours in town

to shop, take pictures and just enjoy the place before having to be back on board and off to Boston and home.

We have no idea how many miles we traveled this trip.

Army & Jennifer

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Army's Abduction Mystery Solved

After weighing the evidence involved in the case, and making determinations to the best of our ability. We as protectors of Army's well being, do hereby charge the 'dillonapping of Army to Eileen Ramjoue and Chante Fielden. Fielden, 20 something, is the daughter of Ramjoue, 49ish of Riverton. Together they plotted to commit this crime on June 16, 2010. Here is how they did it, and how they were caught.

It was determined that when Missionary Medical employees were together in Division Meeting, Fielden would enter Missionary Medical with the excuse of bringing her Mother her lunch. While she found herself among empty cubicles she bound and blindfolded Army, put him in her shoulder bag, left a ransom note, and went back down to Accounting as if nothing happened. We know this because Fielden was the only Non-Missionary Medical employee to enter the department while we were in Division Meeting (Thanks Boyd). Strike 1!

The second clue to their guiltiness came a day later. After meeting the ransom (around 8:30 am), and sending an email to the dillonappers demanding that they comply to the term of their deal, Brennen and Leslee both admitted to seeing Ramjoue leave the division with an empty bag. Ramjoue entered the nearby stairwell, and met Fielden who had Army still in her posession. They made the switch, and Ramjoue returned with Army stuffed inside a bag, she entered the Kitchen, placed Army inside the fridge and returned to her desk (around 9:00 am). At 9:00 am an email was received telling us that Army had been returned and was very cold. Army was retrieved at 9:02 am June 17th. Again we contacted DMBA security who confirmed that only two people entered the Division during that time; Ramjoue who was carrying a bag, and another who should be left nameless (to protect their innocence). Strike 2!

As you all know 2 strikes are not enough. Prosecutors wanted 3 strikes before
charging the two with 'dillonapping. Finding this clue took a little CSI work from Missionary Medical Associates. We had a few people try and find some of the people in the pictures to get a discription of the criminals. The final break in the case came when Brennen, our lead detective, found that in the picture of the construction worker, you could see a reflection of two people in her sunglasses. We sent this picture to our crime lab, and Brian Wiser (our photo laboratory technician) enhanced the photo, and it is rather clear that you can see two personages. On the left you can see a young woman with a white shirt, shoulder bag, and a short hair style (fitting Fielden's description and dress that day according to Carrie McIlrath, work associate). The second personage is found in the lens on the right. Standing with the same posture, and sporting the same hairdo as one Eileen Ramjoue. Strike 3!

It is uncertain why the two decided to attempt such a horrible crime, but it has been suggested that it may be because of long hours trapped in a cubicle without any natural sunlight. It was also suggested that it may be from not hearing Phil's Elvis impression.

So now comes time for sentencing. What punishment should we, as work associates, acess upon these disgruntled 'Dillonappers?

We will be revealing to Ramjoue, today during her lunch time, that we know. We will do this by placing a large picture of the Construction woman on her desk. Please Go to her desk and write your request upon the picture so that she may know how to regain our trust. Please do not write near the head so that she can see her own reflection in the glasses.

Justice will be served today!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Army's Recent 'dillonapping

On the Morning of June 16th, 2010 it was discovered that our Army had been taken away from his friends of Missionary Medical. He had been taken, and a ransom note had been delivered while the rest of us were in Division Meeting.

Our first instinct was to search for the 'dillonappers.
Many people immediately suspected that this was the doing of DMBA's Membership team, but we had no proof other
than suspicion, nevertheless they become Suspect #1.

We contacted Boyd, DMBA's security officer. Boyd gave us information about who had swiped their badge and entered
Missionary Medical during the 8-9 o'clock hour. The only non-Missionary Medical employee to enter was Chante Fielden, possibly acting on behalf of the Accounting Department, who had previously expressed interest in taking him for an outing of their own. The Accounting Department and Chante Fielden was Suspect #2.

Speculation arose as to why we were asked to deliver treats to our own division, could this have been an inside job? Someone who walks amongst us has just become Suspect #3.

Throughout the day pictures were delivered via email showing Army, obviously in a state of humiliation and being treated in a manner that is very crude and hard to look at. As a word of
caution, if there are kids present you may want to ask them to leave the room.

The first picture was taken in what appears to be a 6th floor bathroom, and shows Army bound and tied. It is assumed
that this could have been taken right after abduction.

Army then went on what appears to be some sort of "Humiliation Parade" where the captures were trying to break him emotionally. Army, being the warrior that he is held strong and seemed to be bigger than the situation.

As the day progressed the captures tried to thicken the
humiliation in an effort to try and break his spirits. Yet Army continued to hold strong, as you can
tell by his face in the picture with two Sister Missionaries he is frightened, but is calm and waiting for the right time to make his move.

A second ransom note was slid under the door half way
through the day. When inspecting the hallways directly
thereafter there was no sign of any Non-Missionary Medical associates in the hallways. We did find Stephanie Lincoln coming back from lunch (further strengthening her status as a more specified Suspect #3).

When the work day was over many of us went outside to see if we could catch a glimpse of the 'dillonappers going home in a car, or waiting for a bus, but nothing was reported.

The next day many of us brought the ransom as requested. Heck what do we care, either way we still get treats, and Army comes back. After all the goods were laid out on the Treat counter, an email was sent asking for them to return Army.

As promised Army was returned between 8:30 - 9:00 am. The captures in another cruel evil act placed him in the fridge which not only is cold but there was little room to move around, and at one point Army stepped in something very gooey and sticky.

We asked Boyd to search the videos and see who entered Missionary Medical during that time frame, and there were only Missionary Medical employees that entered. Therefore we know that if this is an outside job, they also have an insider. Thus strengthening Associates of Missionary Medical with strong ties to those outside of Missionary Medical.

The Mystery has yet to be solved, and we are looking hard to find the perpetrator. If anyone has information regard the abduction, we would be very interested in hearing it.

We are happy to have Army back in Missionary Medical!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Seattle with Ragena!

Recently Army got to go PLAY with Ragena in beautiful Seattle. Ragena went up to Seattle to celebrate her sons 5 year wedding anniversary.

Ragena stayed at the Edgewater Hotel one night. Ragena's son works there and was able to get them a great rate at this 4-star Hotel. Many famous people have stayed at the Edgewater; everytime the Beatles came to Seattle they would stay here because it would help MAKE THEIR DAY. There was a little bear on the pillow of the bed, which Army became friends with. This was taken on the patio of Ragena's room, overlooking the Seattle Sound. If you look closely, you can see the gantry cranes in the background.

One appropriate stop in wonderful Seattle was at Pike Place Fish Market, the one in the FISH training video we have all seen a time or two. Here is Army with Ragena and two of the Pike Place Fishmongers, they were happy to BE THERE and pose for pictures. One of the fishmongers, upon Ragena's volunteering, even gave Army a little toss just like the fish that was "Goin' to Montana". Army didn't like the idea at first but he decided to CHOOSE HIS ATTITUDE and went for a little ride. So check out his flight by clicking on the box below.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Paris & Normandy France

Welcome to France!
There are hundreds of little villages scattered over the hills of Northern France. Every village has a church, but we did not let Army out of the ‘bag’ inside of the churches. This church was built in the 1400’s. The insides are still quite decorative with gold leafing on the alters, etc. The French used to be very active in their Catholic religion, but they are now very apathetic about religion. It is a socialist country and their response to the missionaries is ‘we don’t practice religion’. There is a traveling priest who does hold mass in the chapels on a rotating basis.

Mont-Saint Michel: George would not let army go into the abbey, but he did enjoy the warmth of the car that day while we battled rain, wind, and cold weather. Here is some history of this amazing site. Before the construction of the first monastic establishment in the 8th century, the island was called "monte tombe". According to legend, St. Michael the Archangel appeared to St. Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, in 708 and instructed him to build a church on the rocky islet. Aubert repeatedly ignored the angel's instruction, until St. Michael burned a hole in the bishop's skull with his finger.The mount gained strategic significance in 933 when William "Long Sword", Duke of Normandy, annexed the Cotentin Peninsula, definitively placing the mount in Normandy. Ducal patronage financed the spectacular Norman architecture of the abbey in subsequent centuries, completed in 1496 (500 years under construciton). It was converted into a prison during the French Revolution, but the ‘prison’ closed in 1863. The mount was declared a historic monument in 1874.

Notre Dame: Army loved the crowds and was very tired of being photographed with me, so I approached this young woman from China and in my best Chinese dialect asked her if she would hold Army while I took a picture with this marvelous edifice in the background. Of course, she had no clue what I was saying and thought I actually was trying to sell Army to her. She backed away from me and waved her hands, no, no!! I grabbed the camera from George and pointed to it and said ‘photo’…which I am sure is Chinese. She finally understood….so voila!! But she refused to hold Army… do you think they were warned before their tour, not to accept packages from strangers?

Louvre: This museum is massive. You had to check packages before going in….therefore, Army was back in the bag. Plan on several days just visiting the Louvre if you go to France. It was so windy that I did not dare set him down to take a picture or he could have been blown into the Seine river!

Eiffel Tower: Army did not get to go to the top of the tower. This tower is like a giant erector set made of 12,000 iron pieces with 7 million nails holding them together. I have always pictured it in the lovely park-like setting, but it is just stuck there right off the sidewalk. I understand that at night it is fabulous to view. It was built for the World Exhibition in 1889 in celebration of the French Revolution in 1789.

Omaha Beach: Again, windy and cold, and raining! Omaha Beach is the code name for one of the main landing points of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June, 1944, during World War II. It was one of the beaches of the D-day victory.

Napoleon Bonaparte: Army was excited to meet Napoleon who staged a coup d’etat and installed himself as Emperor of France in 1799.. and is remembered for being defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. He spent the last 6 years of his life under British supervision but during his reign his policies laid the foundation of politics in Western Europe.

Where’s Army cemetery: Army got lost in this unique cemetery. Most of the flowers on the graves are glazed ceramic pottery pieces. The graves are covered as you see with stone plaques and various flowers… some of these graves were pretty current, so it is not an ‘old tradition’. The view in the back is Cherbourg harbor an important harbor during WW II where also Napoleon had built fortresses to guard the harbor.

Bread Shop: Army loved the baguettes in France. This was his favorite bread, purchased at a bar just around the corner from my brother’s apartment. I bought two loaves one day, left the bar, then went right back to buy another since I knew we would not be content w/ just two. My brother did not come so I had to communicate in French, “Encore! Un autre pain”. That did provide some humor for those in the bar.

Cows: We planned a picnic on one of our day trips. We stopped at a ‘boulangerie’(bakery) and purchased the sandwiches then drove through many quaint villages. This is the only ‘park’ we found and we were hosted by some French cows. Army loved having other ‘animals’ around.
Hope to be traveling with you sometime soon. Where in the world is Army Armadillo?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Panama Canal Cruise

Army’s Panama Canal Cruise Adventure
Jan 2,2010 to Jan 16, 2010
January 1 -Jennifer, her husband Paul and I flew to LA and took a shuttle to San Pedro for the night. Lots of Sail boats. I can’t wait to get on the water. Hey Pat, If this is what Group Therapy is like I am sure we would all like to sign up. Maybe this could be considered for our Division Retreat 2010.

Our stops along the way were Cabo San Lucas, Mexico where we went whale watching. Picture is for our favorite pirate, Phillip.
Acapulco, Mexico - where we watched the cliff divers. I tried playing the marimba and drums with my tail.
Huatulco, Mexico - where we saw Spanish folk dances. The local people loved me. I didn’t have the heart to eat my friends ( grasshoppers) a local delicacy.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala - where we visited the museum in the town of Baul to see Myan and Taltec artifacts. I found many new friends here. I also saw lots of sugar cane fields. We stopped in the town of La Democratia and saw several large stone carved heads called Olmec “fat heads”
Puntarenas, Costa Rica - where we took a taxi to church. Brother Gil and his wife from Portland were also at church. They were on another ship and I really felt small between the two ships. He served a mission in Puntarenas 30 plus years ago. First person he talked to as he came into the church was a man he baptized as a young elder. I found the Elders here.
Panama Canal, Panama - We were up about 5 AM as we did not want to miss anything.
Canal facts:
Canal actually runs north and south. It connects the Pacific on the South, and to the Atlantic on the North. Panama City is on the Pacific side and has many high rise buildings. The temple can be seen nestled in the jungle foliage on the hill side just outside Panama City. There are a total of six locks, two locks together and then a small lake. One lock and then the Culebra Cut that was dug for the canal. Then we crossed a big lake. Three locks to the Atlantic. It took between 8-9 hours to go completely through. It takes about 26,000,000 gallons of water to move a ship our size through the Canal. Water flows by gravity through the locks. The canal employs over 9,000 people and is open 24 hrs a day 365 days a yr. The toll or fee for our ship to use the canal was about $360,000 paid in advance. As we passed through the Culebra Cut, we also crossed the Continental Divide. Each lock raises or lowers the ship 27 feet.
Cartayena, Columbia - South America we took a sight-seeing tour of the city. We were amazed to find a large city with high rise buildings next to the old city that was very clean and well kept.
We were told by the tour guide to ask for Coca Cola if we wanted a drink. Jennifer got her first Coca Cola here since leaving LA. Boy did it taste good. Ask for Coke and you may end up in jail. Columbia is a main producer of Emeralds in the world.
The Pacific was calm sailing with wavelets (0.5 ft to 3 ft) but the first day and a half on the Atlantic side was rough (7.5ft to 12 ft.)
Some of my experiences on the Norwegian Star:
Lots of food
Over 2,000 passengers
Over 1,200 crew. My favorite was Madi who left me a new towel animal every night.
It was nice to have a new friend to hang with.
Chris Archer - fantastic banjo player
Jon Stetson - Mentalist just like on TV. I personally did not like him
The Second City - Improve comedy show
Ken Groves -Ventriloquist with dummy George and then Howard on another night.
He also used people from the audience
Chris Riggins -great singer - does modern, opera & broad way kind of stuff
Bob Trumell- magician
Dr Scott Lewis - Hypnotist- couple shows and seminar on stress and weight loss
We had a show put on the ships crew and another one put on by the passengers
Live music several different places on ship every night
Miles traveled by water - 4554 nautical miles (1.15 miles) from LA to Miami. Miles flying - 3243 miles. Total - 7797 miles give or take. There are many more awesome pictures that I wasn't able to include in the Blog, so if you would like to see them, please go and talk with Jennifer about them.