Monday, March 31, 2008

starting to feel out numbered

I wonder how the Chinese felt when the Huns were coming down the mountain...or the English when they saw the Spanish Armada....
but I think I am beginning to understand....
Today begins week 2 of Chris' work in Reno. I am doing better than I though I might. No nervous breakdown or turning to liquor.

But today I started to realize that I am out numbered. The girls came home from school and the barrage of questions, comments and nonsensical talk - Boom , bam, blammy, after time to breath...must catch each comment....
Then we arrive home and the snack invasion begins. Cookies or chips or apple or "we don't have anything good", some ice water, followed by questions of "what's for dinner" ( in 2 more hours) and "will I like it?" "what's that", "why do we have to have that".
A small breath as we head into homework, reading, biking riding, TV break and then Dinner.
Wait, that wasn't a break, some one sold me false goods on that one.

Then to the store, need some milk, diaper rash ointment, "no you don't need a candy bar", "no we aren't buying a Hannah Montana purse", ohhhh candles....

And amidst all this I am trying to complete a spreadsheet for quarterly revenue, answer emails and answer instant messages....

But now it is 8:25pm. The children are in bed, it is quiet...too quiet.
Is this victory or just a break until it all begin tomorrow?

Like I said I doing better than I thought I would. I am missing my better and much loved half, but I am not dead yet and what doesn't kill me or drive me insane will make me stronger.

lots of love

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I have found that the layout of this Blog is a lot like a scab, I just can't stop picking at it.
So I continue to play with the backgrounds and sidebars.
I noticed that while this was an annoying trait when it comes to Blogs,
it does come in handy when I am packing. I get going and just can't box, two box, four....five box, six, box, LET'S PACK S-More!
My goal is one box a day. That should get me done just in time for Chris to arrive and pack the truck.
It is interesting on how much I can pack and we really don't even notice that we are in need of those items or that they are gone. It is strange not to have items on our shelves or pictures hanging, but not really disturbing. It feels clean. And when I put a little paint on top of black marks and knicks, then it gets feeling really blank.
I think I am almost ready to live like a pioneer with one change of clothes, as long as I have seven changes of undies, and one frying pan and a pot. Life would be so simple.
Oh and my debit card, too

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I have listed the other siblings' blogs on the right hand column so that we can all jump around and see what folks are doing.
I am glad to see that everyone is branching out and exercising their creative juices and keepin it real.
If anyone else has a site, let me know and I will add it.


Monday, March 24, 2008

For our adoring fans

We took family pictures on Saturday and our photographer posted a few on her website. Check it out:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tough turning back now!

We finished up all of the cleaning, projects, and touch-up yesterday and then the realtor came by. The papers are signed and the house is listed for sale!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sharing some Photos

A friend from the ward was intent on taking some family pictures of us. First go around resulted in the family photo you all received at Christmas. Our friend was not completly happy with her work and insisted we try again. It was nice to get some pictures done before Chris leaves for Reno.
As I explained to her, " can't unlearn stupid, and you can't hide goofy....but we will give it a whirl..."

I made a slideshow for you. (click on "slideshow", Mom and Dad)
Love Ya


Alternate Blog

Ok guys, as promised, I've set up a separate blog for the Sweden travel logs and photos. One reason for setting up the alternate site is to stop hogging the space on the Blattman space and another reason is so that our friends that are not members of the group can see our photos.

The page is:

Friday, March 14, 2008

Update on Sparks House

These are the same images (but ya'll are smrt, ya cud've figgered it out)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Willie

By day a mild manner man, by night a Pirate of the Seven Seas!

...White as snow

Here is a picture of Emily on her way out the door to the baptism.

It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day and a perfect start to a Saturday.
We had to do the dunking twice due to a trick knee that came popping out of the water.

Emily came out of the water teeth chattering and shaking terribly from the chilly waters. As I helped her out of her wet clothes and through her clenched teethed, she smiled and said, "Mom, I don't feel any wrongs!". Needless to say I gave her a hug and kiss, wet clothes and all.

Thanks to all who sent thoughts and testimonies for Emily's book. She likes to read them in Sacrament meeting and I am sure it will be a treasure to her later on.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Last session of family slides

Trying not to overwhelm everyone with my trip reports, I'm going to set up another blog for those who want to see the photos, etc. I feel a bit like I'm monopolizing this space.
But anyway...

This week, a Finnish coworker and I went to lunch at a hotel restaurant that I've never seen before. We went in and there were 3 items on the special board. The 2nd was a pork cutlett, 3rd was salmon, and the 1st was "blodplatter" ... I think that's what it said. I asked and the lady says in perfect english, it's reindeer blood pancakes...that's right, BLOOD pancakes. The Finn took the pancakes and I said that I'd pass and took the pork. We sat down, got our salads, and then she brought out the entree, my porkchop. Then she sat down a plate with one pancake and 4 pieces of bacon for me saying these were provided compliments of the kitchen and I should try them. Markus (the Finn) said that the blood pancakes were good for you and the bacon is there to balance it out. I tried it, wasn't bad but not my favorite either. I told Markus this and he said he thought they were a little dry; my response was that I didn't think I was ready for a wet/juicy blood pancake.

Later that day, my boss Chris and I drove to Svappavaara to see a pellet plant (they take the iron ore, concentrate it and make little iron briquettes) and then to Kiruna where one of the biggest underground iron mines in the world is located.

This is a photo of the pellet plant (the steam in the background) in Svappavaara.
Nothing really fancy to discuss here, just thought it looked good with the flags and signs.

We drove around town for a bit and then backtracked to the famous "Ice Hotel". It's a hotel made completely out of snow and ice; there are ice sculptures every where, the walls are snow with clear ice for windows. It was -20C by that time, so inside a room of ice seemed warm. There was even a couple from England getting married in the ice hotel. They were in the grand hall of ice sculptures taking pictures; the only said part was the bride was in a dress with bare shoulders...she looked like she was freezing.
This is the ceiling in the chapel at the Ice didn't look like much until you see the pattern.

The pews are all blocks of ice with reindeer hides for covers.

This is the couple getting married. It was a little dark and therefore fuzzy, but I didn't feel like bugging the professional photographer to let me take a shot at it. Between me and the couple are rows of ice sculptures.
This is one of the rows of ice sculptures between me and the happy couple. Is it ok to say she was frigid on her wedding night?

We walked around the hotel, none of the rooms had doors on them, just a shower rod and a velvet curtain. So Chris and I walked around poking our heads into the various rooms to see how they were set up. Only one room had anyone in it at the time we looked! Each room had a different theme, Maori warriors, Polar bears, Northern Lights, etc. One was a bed supported by ice swords. Each bed has a real mattress on top of reindeer skins and then a block "box spring".

This is the footboard for the horse chariot themed camera batteries died about here. They really weren't that bad, but the -20°C temperature seemd to make them die quickly. When you check in, they issue you snowmobile suits

We ate dinner at the restuarant across the street...not made of ice. You could pay $500 per person to take a dog sled out in the forest to see the Northern LIghts and drink Absolute Vodka. We passed and drove on. Along the way, near the Swedish/Norwegian border, we saw an incredible display of the Northern Lights. I'd seen a little of them before and they always reminded me of low lying clouds over Reno with the casino lights reflected off of them. Some of these looked the same as the casino-clouds, but then others were dancing and changing, just like they always describe.

From there, we crossed into Norway and drove down to one of the fjords to the town of Narvik to spend the night. Turns out there's some sort of music festival here this week and all the rooms are booked. We were about to drive 30 min back up the road to a small town to stay at the "Viking Inn" when we checked the last hotel in town. Sure, they have two rooms, smoking on the 4th floor.

This is a photo of the room I got, yes, it's only about 8 feet across (from the door to the back wall) and 12feet from left to right. But, it was better than driving back to the previous town and hoping they had a room or staying at the youth hostel.

In the morning, we drove around and looked around Narvik, Norway. This is a church right near the ports that I thought was interesting.

This makes the town look like it's in the Rockies, but it's really a fjord with huge mountains behind it.
We pulled into a street to take some photos of the port and I saw these mailboxes. Besides the weird picture of a couple kissing beneath a moon and letting their "tails" twist together, I just thought the names on the mailboxes were stereotypically Norwegian.

We drove around town trying to get a good view of the competitor's operations and found the high school. Imagine how hardcore these kids must be to keep the soccer field clean all winter for practice. This is astroturf, but still....

This is Narvik as we were leaving town. Notice how little flat land there is to build anything on. The houses are all on steeps slopes, all the way down to the shore.

Road map on the road back to Lulea from Narvik....thought was an interesting story about King Olaf's road.

This is a mountain I saw as we passed back into Sweden from Norway, about in the same place we saw the Northern Lights the previous night.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Kathy and Emily

( I believe that grin is foreshadowing to a gentle push to Kim into the waters....)


we had a trojan horse comment made on one entry and it was a link to a spyware virus. So I deleted the comment and then protected our site.

So now you have to log in and only the family authors, which should be everyone, are allowed access and comments.

Sorry for the security but would rather we don't get any future bugs.

Just watchin out for my peeps,

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Marching for Dimes

Who can turn down this fabulous lady for such a good cause. Synnova has a goal to read 16 books through the month of March. If anyone would like to donate either per book or flat rate please have it in the mail by the end of the month. Our address for those who don't write us religiously is: 206 Beauclair Dr., Simpsonville, SC 29680.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Just a reminder

Just a reminder that I am compiling testimonies, spiritual thoughts, or advice for Emily's baptism book.
Thank you to those who have already sent something! I really appreciate it!

If you would like to send to me in email (, I will put in Emily's book for Saturday.Doesn't have to be earth shattering, just something you would like to share with her.


Updates from Sweden

Ok, so, I haven't sent out an update since arriving here. I've finally got a day off and a little time to myself sooooo....

I arrived in Lulea about two weeks ago, on the 18th. I spent the first two days recovering from jet lag and doing a little maintenance-stuff (getting my laptop up and running, etc). Then started the meetings...oh did they ever start. Wednesday through Friday were meetings with the consultants, Saturday was spent with the environmental consultant working on permit applications, Sunday we traveled to London, Monday and Tuesday with more consultants, Wednesday with the management consultants, Thursday to Newqey/Truro in Cornwall, England to meet with the mining consultants, Friday meet and then fly back to Heathrow; Saturday fly from Heathrow to Stockholm to Lulea and then a 2.5 hour drive to Pajala. Finally, last night was spent with mayor of Pajala for some festival of lights. It was snowy and overcast so there wasn't any northern lights to see!

This is the hotel in London (Epsom actually). Our management consultants selected the place for us, it's called the Royal Automobile Club but it's really got nothing to do with cars. It's the clubhouse/hotel/restuarant/bar for the private golf course. The sign down under the stairs says a fire burned down the original building and it was rebuilt in 1935. The 2nd floor was being renovated so they gave us a deal, pay for one night, get the next one free. Nice rooms and a bit more posh than I'm used to. We got in trouble the first night we arrived because each of the 4 of us came down individually and immediately were asked to leave. Apparently the club has a ban on denim; we were all wearing jeans. We had to go back to the rooms and change before we could eat. Shouldn't be a problem, but by this time, I had already been living out of my suitcase for a week AND I only brought one pair of slacks. So, for the 4 days I was there, I had to wear the same slacks with a variety of shirts. To make matters worse, I had hoped to some laundry done but there was no laundry service. So, it was always the debate in the morning, do I re-wear a dirty shirt or wash one in the sink for the next day. Oh, one other item, no irons in any of these hotels. All of them had electric pants presses but no iron. The pants press do not do a very good job with shirts! P.S. there was also a rule that if you were going to exercise, you need to wear only white... needless to say, there wasn't a lot of "ethnic diversity" in this place.

This photo was taken as we were flying from London to Cornwall, probably somewhere between Plymouth and Newqey ("new-key"). It looked very stereotypical of the UK so I thought I'd at least send it on.

This photo is from our hotel in Falmouth (I think that's where we were!). The harbor here used to be one of the ports where the Cornish tin was shipped from. The whole area is full of old tailings dams, "coyote-holes" (as we'd call them in Nevada), and underground workings. The mining consultant we are using here says that whenever you buy a home in this part of the isle, you have to have a mining survey before closing to prove there are no old workings under the house.

This is another view from the same spot, just looking at the houses that line the harbor area. We had lunch this day in a place called "The Norwegian House". Apparently, during the tin mining boom, lumber was shipped from Norway down to England for use in the underground mines for ground support. The wood was brought into the port and then barged upriver to this particular saw mill and then cut for use. The river has since silted up, but the building was definitely old and had the low ceilings and exposed old beams. I tried to get some real Cornish pasties but there wasn't any on the menu at this restaurant. However, at the end of the March, I'll be back for a week; one of the mining engineers promised to take me to his favorite shops, he considers himself a "Cornish pastie quality control engineer" and knows all the best places.

This is our brand-new office in Lulea; they just signed the lease the Friday before I arrived. It's really big inside, almost too much for what we need but has all the infrastructure we wanted. It used to be an electronics company. It's got a locker room, showers, etc and even a sauna. Apparently the electronics guys used to use the sauna to test the reliability of the circuit boards under harsh conditions. All the Swedes and Finns are looking forward to commisioning the sauna, however I can't say it means much to me!

This is a view from the main bull-pen area of the office. In the background of the photo is a row of offices, one of which will be mine as soon as we get some furniture. The sauna is on the right wall.

This is the view out one of the windows in the office. It was -10C yesterday but the Swedes all keep saying it's been a very mild winter and they hope it cools off soon!

Because of the way I loaded up the photos, some of them came out of sequence. This is another view of the RAC, the golf course is on the right, this view is of the pro-shop and golf clubhouse. The front door of the hotel, in the previous hotel photo, is on the left.

So, tomorrow we'll be here in Pajala attending to some administrative issues and checking on project status. Then on Tuesday, we're going to drive to Norvik, Norway to look at some port facilities, drive to Kiruna where LKAB mines iron ore from deep underground mines, and look at a couple of other towns we're considering for locating some of our facilities. Nothing exciting but it'll interesting to see the Norwegian side of the Atlantic!
Thursday I'll be back in Lulea, stay until the 13th and fly home for a week. My trip home will coincide with the kids' spring break so we should have a good time.
Will try to post more when I can!