Last year I said I was thinking about going to Guatemala. Well, I did it and it was great! My brain was getting used to having new vision from my silicone lens implants and I was really enjoying it. My only concern was my digestive upsets, but my body cooperated and I had a good trip with no problems. The trip was BYU sponsored and the director of our little group of 23 was Terry Call, the institute director at Boise State University. We stayed in really decent hotels, had our own air conditioned travel bus and ate very well. We had very qualified archaeologists for guides and were able to ask questions and receive very good information.
Load on head(To see my Guatemala gallery, click the colorful ladies to the right. At the bottom of the image, choose a size that fits your screen. Warning! You need a high speed connection.)
I got great pictures which are posted in my Internet gallery and made large prints for our front living room which I have named the Guatemala Room. I brought along a little 30 Gigabyte storage gadget that organized my photos into slide shows that were shownto the group at the end of the day at the hotels we stayed in. Although everyone brought a camera, everyone also bought copies of my DVD of the trip. My tour mates came from Hawaii, Canada, Utah, and Idaho. We went in the “dry season”, one of the two seasons of the area. Between the equator and the Tropic of Cancer there are no traditional seasons, merely wet and dry. In the north of Guatemala and the border of Southern Mexico we saw some unusual tourist construction and activity which we later discovered was part of the TV reality show, “Survivor: Guatemala”.
We were scheduled to visit a remote hot waterfall and swim but it was mysteriously not available and our schedule was corrupted by some other unexplainable events. Many of the TV shots of the area are the same as I took. The scenery in the introduction of the TV reality show is very familiar to me now.

Some  of the local artwork in Hailey.
The next big event was our twentieth wedding anniversary which we spent in Hailey, Idaho (near Sun Valley). We stayed in a lovely B&B and took in some of the local talent in a small theatre playing “Nunsense”. It was a relaxing time for us and we took a little time to enjoy the scenery as well. Of course I got some great pictures.

Shortly after that we all headed for New York for the wedding of Eva’s nephew. Of course the camera came along also, and we were able to present the happy couple with a complete wedding album gift.

Danny  and Jessica,
 June 18, 2005.

Ann, Rachel (the lovely bride) Steve (my son) and the rest of the Grandchildren, Grace ( one month younger than Sam) Eli and Jerimiah.
(Click for bigger picture)
I wasn’t home from New York more than a couple of weeks and I was on my way to Virginia to the wedding of my granddaughter Rachel, Steven’s daughter. This was a chance to see not only Steve and his family but Kim and her family and my ex-wife Jane. We had all been to Washington, DC about 40 years ago when the children were seven and eight years old. Of course we toured the National Mall again and Kim reminded me that I had once taken a picture of Steve on Lincoln’s lap at the monument. At first I didn’t remember that but later, my  daughter Dee also said she remembered the event, so it must be so.

Big brother Steve and
little sister Kim
Again my camera was put to work and I created not only a large batch of pictures for their album but a DVD of the entire event. I really enjoyed the DC area and want to take Eva and Sam next year. I think Sam is old enough now to really enjoy seeing our Nation’s Capitol and all the museums.

Kim's family; Kim, Alex, Shannon, and Alejandro.

Vietnam Memorial
 Back home again and time to visit some of the lovely places in the Northwest. This time it was Glacier Park, Montana and the Clear Water Valley. We are blessed with great scenic beauty around Idaho and enjoyed ourselves immensely. We traveled back through Sun Valley and decided to take a "shortcut" across a mile high mountain more fit for 4 wheel drive than our ancient Plymouth Voyager. (Eva: It looked like a shortcut on the map. Who knew?)
 We made it to Baumgartner’s Hot Springs, our destination and reason for the detour and after three days and on the way home, only hours from home, we finally blew out a tire on a gravel road. Surprise! Our spare had a slow leak and could not be used. Fortunately a nice man came by and said he had a battery operated pump at his campsite. (Eva: a similar pump became the perfect surpise birthday gift for Leon in October.) We made it home again by the skin of our teeth.

After a month to recover there was another wedding in the David Ries family who have been our friends since we first came to Boise. I made one of my best DVDs from digital camera stills as a gift to the bride and groom. I am really getting the hang of this now.

One of the videos I made this year was a memorial to my mother while she is still alive. Only a few members of the family have seen it, but I have shown it to Mother and she comments on the phases of her life about things that I did not know. She informed me that the fluffy dress she wore on the first day to kindergarten was made of crepe paper by her mother, Edna Sabin.
There was an era when fancy clothing was made of crepe paper for vaudeville shows and special occasions. Although she continues to grow very frail and has lost most of her recent memories, she still can recall events in her early life. She injured her left eye earlier in the year and lost sight in that eye, but after a lens replacement in her right eye she is still visually functional. She has her ups and downs, very literally. One day she will be anxious and getting packed to go and the next day will be completely worn out and sleep 24 hours. Attempt to rouse her are futile. We are very pleased with her care at Ashley Manor. Her caregivers are very loving and attentive.

I suffered my seventieth birthday this year and am officially a septuagenarian. Eva and I enjoyed a dual massage visit to a local spa and a nice meal at a French restaurant for a pleasant experience.

The big birthday was for Eva this year with a three day fete for all her best buddy girl friends from all over the country with spa visits, restaurants, a house party, and a slumber party at a local B&B. She turned 50 and can now officially wear the red hat and purple dress. (Eva: As if I ever let age dictate when and if I'd wear my red hat. And as for purple, I've been wearing that since high school.) I will let Eva describe that one.

 My Family living in Spokane, WA

DeeAnna, the pool shark came to visit in May and then again in December.
Sam loves to challenge Dee to pool. And since we didn't get to Spokane
this year, Dee brought Spokane to us with these photos.

Domanic, my #1 great grandson demonstrates his flexibility.

Leigh Ann, summer 2005. Number 3 is on it's way early next year.
A new sister for 4-year old Audrey.

Audrey, my #2 great grandchild, has Leigh's big eyes in
blue instead of Leigh's brown.

For me, it was a good year, great photo ops, good travel, good health, and the market was good to my IRA. I had a lot of visits with friends and family. I have had some thoughts about a visit to Russia, but who knows? We will have to see. I have really been blessed. If it ends now, I am way ahead.

I hope that 2005 has been good for all of you and I have high hopes for us all in the future. God bless us, every one.

Leon's Web Page