My Current Projects: goals and progress

It is Monday so I’d better take a look at my week and check my progress.

In the Navy – Key West Chapter: project about my dad’s 20 years in the U.S. Navy. The priority is the chapter on Key West so he can pass it on to the Under Water Swimmer School website to include in their history page.

Due Date: asap but no hurry either

  • Listen to audio tape & transcribe

I actually put in about 30 minutes on this. Not sure how to handle the transcribing but I got some done. I think this will just take some time. My dad did share some interesting stories about assignments he had that I hadn’t heard before.

Journal for Martin’s Cove Reunion: a half sheet size journal to help make the trek experience at Martin’s Cove more meaningful. Have time line of handcart company with info about Mary Taylor and her family along with space for journaling and possible adding photos or sketches.

Due Date: July 2012

  • Decide on Binding – in process
  • Logo for Reunion
  • edits – waiting for mom to proof read

This is pretty much on hold until my mom gets back with me. She said she was going to show it to my aunt Lucy who will be at Martin’s Cove with us. I didn’t do anything with the binding. I think I’ll plan on getting back to this project in June.

Mary: a small (7×7) book about Mary Taylor’s childhood and her journey to the Salt Lake Valley with the Martin Handcart Company for children under 12 to learn about their pioneer ancestor.

Due Date: flexible – would love to have at least a draft for July Reunion

  • write text
  • get illustrations from Kim

I got an email from Kim this morning that she finished the first illustration! We just have to work out the best way for her to get it to me. I set up a folder on Google Docs that I shared with her. I think it will work but I’ve never done this before so we will see.

Mother’s Day Project:

Due Date: May 13th

I’ve decided to do a project for Mother’s Day. We are hosting a family dinner that day and I’d like to give something to my mom and my mother-in-law. If I can pull it off I’d like to do one for my two sisters and my sister-in-law too. Not sure what I’m doing but I want to do something inspired by the Infographics post. I’m thinking something 8″ x 10″ so I could get a simple frame to put it in.

Goals for this week:

  1. Continue transcribing “Key West”
  2. Pay Kim for 1st illustration
  3. Mother’s Day Project

I’ve admitted to myself that I’m not going to work on Mary or the Martin’s Cove Journal this week. I haven’t been very productive on my family story projects the past two weeks but I do feel good about keeping up on my blog posts. I get sidetrack easily. But it is a new week and I can and will do better this week.

What are your goals for the week?


156 Years Ago Today: 30 April 1856

On April 30th 1856, word came to Mary Taylor and her family that in 21 days they would be sailing to America. It must have been so exciting and scary to have a sailing date for a trip they had dreamed about taking for years. A trip that would take many months to complete. A trip full of many dangers and hardship under the best of conditions.

This is the first of a series of posts about the milestones of Mary’s journey.

50 for 50 #18 – Japan Festival

Japan Festival - Salt Lake City

Today we took Trax downtown to the Japan Festival. It was sunny but cool and the festival was very crowded. In 1985 I went to got to Kobe, Japan to play volleyball in the World University Games. We just missed getting a medal by taking 4th place. That was a long time ago and it feels like another lifetime too. There wasn’t much of today’s festival that reminded me of that trip but I’m glad we went.

Yakira and the CCI dog

balloon artist with samurai warrior hat

As we got off Trax about a block from the festival we started to notice the costumes. Some people were dress in traditional Japanese dress. But more common were young people dressed in all kinds of fanciful ways, with cat ears, tails and other kinds of animals. There were a couple of booths about anime so we think that the costumes were from Japanese cartoons. Most of one side of the street were food booths. The other side of the street had booths with merchandise. The most popular items were colorful umbrellas and samurai swords. We saw several dogs including a working dog from CCI (Canine Companions for Independence). The CCI dog was a yellow lab, who showed interest in Yakira but was not distracted by her.They also had an open house at the local Buddhist temple, so we walked around it for a bit.

My favorite thing was a balloon artist. He had this amazing samurai warrior made of balloons on his head. There were also two stages with Japanese entertainment. One on each end of the street. It was too crowded for my comfort so we didn’t stay very long. Yakira didn’t love the crowds but she handled them just fine.

Trouble with Blossoms

Yakira with a flower petal stuck to her nose

With spring comes blossoms and we have lots of spring blooming trees near our house. Add that to Riverton’s famous wind (did you know that South Jordan, that is just to the north of us, was originally called Gale, for its wind?) and sometimes it looks like it is snowing with all the petals blowing around. Yakira goes through spurts of wanting to chase after stuff that is flying around on the ground and other times she does great. So a few days ago when Bill took Yakira out for her last relieving of the night she couldn’t help herself from investigating a petal on the driveway, but then it disappeared and she couldn’t find it. When I saw her I started to laugh and ran to grab my camera. The petal had stuck to her nose! The really funny part was that it was perfectly center so it looked like it belonged there. I think she could tell that something was wrong with her nose but she couldn’t figure out what it was. Poor girl! She wasn’t in misery long though because soon the petal dried out and fell of her nose. We sure had a good laugh about it.

Yakira trying to look at the flower petal on her nose

Has your dog ever gotten anything stuck on his nose? Or what does your dog do that makes you laugh?



From Felton Annual Report 2010

I came across a different way to tell someone’s life story recently and I had to share it here. From what I can gather Nicholas Felton puts together what he calls an “annual report” each year. For 2010 he put together the life of his father all presented in charts and graphs. It is a whole new way to look at life and the stories behind it. I want to use this concept in a project in the near future. I’m not sure which one yet but I’ll keep you posted. Maybe it will be a quick project for Mother’s Day.

Can you visualize a project that you could use this concept with? I’d love to hear about it.

International Guide Dog Day

Banta on her graduation day - May 2011

Today is International Guide Dog Day and I would like to pay tribute to all the wonderful canines in the world who make life better for their handlers and enjoy the work they do. I am so blessed by my association with a great organization like Guide Dogs for the Blind as a puppy raiser. Being a puppy raiser is truly a win-win situation. Today I am especially proud of Apex and Banta the two puppies we raised who are now working dogs. They love their jobs and both are happy, loved and rather spoiled pooches. Give your dog and extra bit of attention today in honor of all the guide dogs in the world, past, present and future.

Apex - January 2011

I recently read “Thunder Dog” by Michael Hingson and then recommended it to my local book club. Many of the book club members enjoyed it so much that they shared it with others. Roselle is a great example of how amazing guide dogs are. Have you read any books about guide dogs that you enjoyed?

Blurb – my favorite for self publishing

I’m a huge fan of! I have published more than a dozen books with them and I will continue to use them in the future. Blurb has 7 different sizes of books. My favorite is the 7×7. It makes such a nice compact book for those not huge projects. I also prefer the ImageWrap for the binding. It gives you a very durable cover plus the ability to have any kind of image or design on the cover you would like. If you haven’t used them before I highly recommend them. I’m grateful to a neighbor who told me about them a few years ago.

Remember Me

Last week I happened across “Remember Me” by Lesley Graham on Blurb. She uses a very collage style to illustrate the book that is very effective in telling this story. The book is about her grandfather who is losing his memory and his journey. I’m inspired by her work and will keep it in mind for future projects. Blurb has a cool preview feature that lets you see the entire book or just a few pages depending on how you set it up.

You can save 20% on two books with the promo code MOMRULES until May 2, 2012*.

*Offer valid through May 2, 2012 (11:59 p.m. local time). A 20% discount is applied toward your product total with a minimum order of 2 units or more. Maximum discount is USD $150, GBP £75, EUR €100, CAD $150, or AUD $150 off product total. Valid for printed books only. This offer is good for one-time use, and cannot be combined with volume discounts, other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders.

Mary – what we have so far

in process illustration by Kimberli Johnson of Mary and her mother

I’m so excited about this project! The goal of this project is to tell the story of my great-great-grandmother, Mary Taylor and her journey to Utah and do it in a way that is appealing to children of all ages. She was born in England and joined the Martin Handcart Company traveling to Utah in 1856. The fun part of this is that it will be a children’s book with about 30 illustrations. My niece, Kimberli is a talented young illustrator and she has agreed to take on this project.

The scary part of this project is that it looks like I might have to do the writing. I don’t consider myself a writer so this is a stretch for me. I’m hoping that someone will come along who is excited about the book and want to take on the author role. In the mean time it is up to me to move things forward.

Not a lot to show for it yet but the pieces are in place and they will move forward as life let them. We are planning a small square book that we will have printed by blurb. Kim and I have worked up an outline, starting with some ideas that her dad took from reading a history about Mary’s life. And you can see what she has done so far on in the illustration above. Here is an outline of what the book will cover and the illustrations or each spread or page.

  • Illustration #1 cover (Mary)
  • Illustration #2-page 1- title page
  • Illustration #3-pages 2 & 3- Mary Taylor born in England and in small village of Coton-in-the-Elms, that means cottage in the Elms. (image of Mary, her mother & village)
  • Illustration #4 –pages 4 & 5 – When Mary was little her parents, Joseph and Harriet, heard the missionaries tell about Jesus and Heavenly Father’s visit to the prophet Joseph Smith. Her family read about Jesus in the Book of Mormon and all were baptized. (baptism)
  • Illustration #5 – pages 6 & 7 – Mary learns how to sew dresses and marries William Upton They all wanted to go to Zion in America to receive temple blessings, be with the saints, and hear the prophet. The prophet, Brigham Young, had a plan to help Mormons, like Mary, go to Zion for less money. They would pull handcarts, instead of needing horses or oxen to pull wagons. (wedding)
  • Illustration #6 – pages 8 & 9 – In 1856 Mary and her family sailed with other Mormons on the ship Horizon from Liverpool, England to Boston, in America. Some days the seas were rough, making all 856 people seasick, including an old woman who lost her false teeth when she heaved over the ship’s railing. (Horizon)
  • Illustration #7 – page 10 & 11 – Near America, the ship was surrounded by thick fog, because the saints prayed the fog parted just in time for the ship to avoid an iceberg and then the fog surrounded the ship again. (Fog)
  • Illustration #8 – pages 12 & 13 –  From Boston to Iowa City, Mary’s family road in train cars used for cows. When the train stopped one night a mob of angry men surrounded the sleeping Mormons and threatened them but the Lord blessed them so the mob left without hurting anyone. In Cleveland they helped put out a fire. (Train)
  • Illustration #9 – page 14 & 15 –  The weather was hot when Mary’s family loaded a wooden handcart to pull and push across the plains from Iowa to the saints in Zion. They slept in round tents with their feet toward the middle and cooked over fires. (Tents & Camp)
  • Illustration #10 – pages 16 & 17 –  Mary walked all day pushing and pulling a handcart with her mother, father, husband and cousin in the Martin Handcart Company. One day, Indians rode by the handcarts. The Indians did not hurt the pioneers. (Indians & Trail)
  • Illustration #11 – pages 18 & 19 – At Winter Quarters in Nebraska, the pioneers rested for a few days, bought more food, fixed handcarts, and the children swam in the river. (Winter Quarters)
  • Illustration #12 – pages 20 & 21 – It was a long hard journey and Mary would sing the handcart song to help her continue on the long journey, day after day. The pioneers were running out of food. Elder Willard Richards, an apostle, rode ahead to tell the prophet that the pioneers needed help and more food. All the pioneers prayed every day. (Singing & Willard Richards)
  • Illustration #13 – pages 22 & 23 –  Near fort Laramie, more Indians visited Mary and the pioneers. The Indian children shared candied fruit with the pioneer children. At the fort they hoped to buy more food and clothes, but they had sold all the food. (Fort Laramie & Indians)
  • Illustration #14 – pages 24 & 25 – One day as they crossed the Platte River it started to snow hard and it was very cold. Mary and the pioneers had to wade across the river. It was so cold there was ice floating in the river. (Platte River)
  • Illustration #15 – pages 26 & 27 –  When Elder Richards got to Salt Lake City it told the prophet, Brigham Young that Mary and the other pioneers needed food and help. The prophet told the men to gather food and wagons to go save the pioneers and he ended church early. (Brigham Young)
  • Illustration #16 – pages 28 & 29 – Burt Simmons already had a stout carriage full of food. He was ready and left to save the pioneers before the other wagons. (Burt Simmons)
  • Illustration #17 – pages 30 & 31 –  Mary Taylor was very hungry and cold. None of the pioneers had enough food. Some of them died, including Mary’s Father, Mother and her husband. (Death)
  • Illustration #18 – pages 32 & 33 – They stopped for several days to wait for the storm to end in a place now called Martin’s Cove. Burt Simmons and the rescue wagons found Mary and saved the Martin Handcart pioneers. (Martin’s Cove & Rescue)
  • Illustration #19 – pages 34 & 35 – Burt Simmons took Mary home where is wife nursed Mary back to health. (in bed)
  • Illustration #20 – pages 36 & 37 – Later Mary married in the temple and had nine children. She taught them about Jesus and Heavenly Father. (temple & children)
  • Illustration #21 – pages 38 & 39 –  (Mary & Irene sitting between Mary’s knees playing with a doll)
  • Illustration #22 – page 40 – Because Mary joined the saints in Zion, her great, great, grandchildren learn about Jesus in the Book of Mormon and follow the prophet. (posterity – single page)
  • Illustration #33 – back cover (this might actually be part of the front cover Illustration that just wraps around to the back cover)

I’ll post updates as this project moves forward. I can’t wait to see how it develops. Do you have any dream projects like this, that you have done or hope to do?

My Current Projects: goals and progress

Another Monday and time to account for my work last week.

In the Navy – Key West Chapter: project about my dad’s 20 years in the U.S. Navy. The priority is the chapter on Key West so he can pass it on to the Under Water Swimmer School website to include in their history page.

Due Date: asap

  • Listen to audio tape & transcribe

I didn’t progress like I hoped I would but at least I got something done. I put all the photos I have from Key West on my parents Kindle. Now my dad can look at the photos and record information about them. I think I’m a bit intimidated by the thought of transcribing an audio tape. I haven’t had to tackle this before. I just need to get started on it and over come my procrastination.

Journal for Martin’s Cove Reunion: a half sheet size journal to help make the trek experience at Martin’s Cove more meaningful. Have time line of handcart company with info about Mary Taylor and her family along with space for journaling and possible adding photos or sketches.

Due Date: July 2012

  • Decide on Binding – in process
  • Logo for Reunion
  • edits – waiting for mom to proof read

As I reported in another post I gave the proof copy to my mom to check over for mistakes. I’ll probably let this project rest until I hear back from her.

Mary: a small (7×7) book about Mary Taylor’s childhood and her journey to the Salt Lake Valley with the Martin Handcart Company for children under 12 to learn about their pioneer ancestor.

Due Date: flexible – would love to have at least a draft for July Reunion

  • write text
  • get illustrations from Kim

Nothing done on this last week other than giving my mom a copy of the outline. I feel like I should do some more reading about the Martin Handcart company before I try to tackle the narrative. Also until Kim gets a few of the illustrations done there is no pressing need.

Goals for this week:

So this week I’m going to dig into the Key West project and give it my focus.

  1. Start transcribing “Key West”
  2. Explore more binding options for “Martin’s Cove Journal”
  3. Check with Kim on “Mary”

Although I didn’t get to the Key West transcribing last week I did do another task that has been on my  list for a long, long time, cleaning up my hard drives. Even though it isn’t directly working on family stories it will help as I look for things and save new projects. Over the last few years I ended up with 4 different hard drives with info. My main computer was in good order but the other three drives were a mess, with stuff scattered everywhere. It could still use some more organizing with in some of the folders but at least now all the history stuff is in one place as well as all the photos. Plus I have a plan for where everything needs to go.

What tactics do you use to keep all the info in you life in order? I work hard at being organized but with varying success so I’m always open to new ideas.

50 for 50 #17 – Volleyball Game

Smith Fieldhouse - BYU vs Long Beach State

This week as I was deciding what to do to celebrate my 50th year I investigated going to a volleyball game. When I check the BYU Men’s team schedule I discovered that they had finished the regular season but they were playing Long Beach on Saturday. So I called Bill to see if he would be interested in going down to Provo to the game. He said that sounded great. A couple of days later my friend, Tricia called and I mentioned about the game and she wanted to go to. Then later in the week she picked up tickets for all of us in the reserved section. This was really nice because today we were slow getting clean-up from yard work and getting on the road. But even though we were late for the game we still had good seats.

Tricia and Raelyn at BYU volleyball game

BYU won the first two games and then lost the next two. It brought back so many memories of long drawn out games in the Smith Fieldhouse back in the early 80’s when I played at BYU. Some of those games we didn’t come out on top but tonight BYU got the momentum in the 5th game and won easily. It was fun to have Tricia there too. She has been really busy the last month and we haven’t gotten together since early February.

Yakira curled up at my feet - BYU vs Long Beach volleyball game

We also ended up with two puppies in training at the game. Our puppy club leader was evaluating a dog from another club and had too many dogs at her house so her puppy in training, Hallie came for the weekend. It was a great socializing experience for Yakira and Hallie with all the noise and all the people. They both adjusted to the new situation and slept through most of the game. They even did good with all the people who kept going in and out of their seat and so they had to climb over the pups every time.

It is interesting all the rule changes that have happened over the years since I played. The down official was one who refereed when I played. He has gray hair now. Another thing that shows the passage of time was to see Chris McGown coaching with his dad, Carl as one of his assistants. Carl was instrumental in teaching me how to play volleyball. I remember Chris coming by when he was just a little kid and hanging out at two a day practices or volleyball camps. Chris’s team is doing a lot of nice things. They had some amazing blocks. You can watch the game here.

BYU vs Long Beach State