Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Good News All Around

Sister Ortolani

Well, it’s been an interesting week!  Last Tuesday we sent Melissa off to Brazil.  It was an emotional day for us all.  I think it was worse on Cindy than anyone.  But, we got her off.  We were told that we would only hear from the MTC if there was a problem.  I did a little math and figured that Melissa should land about 3:30am our time.  So I predicted, and told Cindy, that she would wake up about then wondering if Melissa was ok.  Sure enough, I felt Cindy get out of bed about 3:30 am and go head for the computer.  She was up the rest of the night.  No news was good news so we figured she must be OK.  The next day, we received an email from the MTC saying that our missionary had arrived safely, had a companion, and was now working for the Lord.  Today we received our first email from Melissa (Sorry, Sister Ortolani).  It was great.  Very emotional for us just to read it.  I know Cindy forwarded it out, so you have probably all read it.  We are so proud of her for choosing to serve the Lord in this way.  We know she’ll be blessed for this.

Monday was another good day for us.  I received an email at work that my retirement has been approved.  Happy day.  Tuesday, I received about 50 different forms and clearance letters that need to be completed before leaving. Also, a copy of my retirement orders, stating that I will be released from active duty as of 30 September 2009, retired effective 1 October 2009.  I filled out one of the worksheets, did the backwards counting and determined that my last day of work, and my retirement ceremony, will be on 10 July 2009.  We are very much looking forward to it all.  It’s very exciting.  It’s also hard to believe that the last 20 years have gone by so quickly.  Seems like not that long ago I was a young 2nd Lieutenant in EWO school.  Now, here it is, 20 years later, my military career coming to a successful end.  Cindy and I both know that retiring is the right thing for us to do at this time.  We also know that we’ve loved the Air Force and wouldn’t trade the last 20 years for anything.  We are looking forward to moving back to Utah and being close to our family again.

Monday, October 13, 2008

We had big fun on the Bayou!

As most of you know, Melissa is spending a few weeks with us before leaving for Brazil. We’re having fun with her down here. Anyway, she wanted to see New Orleans before she left, so we went down there this weekend.

We left home on Friday afternoon and drove to Covington and checked into our hotel. It’s a fairly long drive, so we didn’t get there until about 7:30 or so. Not a problem. After dumping our stuff in our room, we took a drive over the 30 mile bridge across Lake Pontchartrain and into New Orleans, and Bourbon Street.

As you can imagine, Bourbon Street on a Friday night is something to see. I think Melissa had a good time.

Melissa on Bourbon Street


We had a great dinner, enjoying the local Cajun cuisine, then we wandered Bourbon Street for a bit, then back to the hotel.

The next day we headed back to New Orleans. Once there we stopped off at the Metairie Cemetery. It was pretty cool. Melissa liked all the mausoleums.

DSCN1914 After that, we headed to the Bayou. We’d signed up for an airboat tour of the swamp. It was a lot of fun. The swamp has it’s own eerie beauty that’s difficult to describe. Maybe the pics will help.

IMGP3671 Here is a picture of the type of boat we were on. That was another group that went out when we did.

DSCN1923 DSCN1924

It was a bit loud at times, depending on how fast we were going. The ride was fun and the breeze kept us cool. The drivers sure knew their stuff. I would have been totally lost in the maze of waterways in the swamp, but they all seemed to know exactly where they were going.

We toured the swamp, saw the flora and fauna. Of course, there were my favorites, the gators. Here are some pics.








Yeah, I love the alligators. After we’d been out a while, we came across this huge gator. 13 feet long. Although, you’ll see from the pics, he was quite friendly.





For some reason, our guide liked to feed them all marshmallows. They seemed to really like them!

On our way back we saw this pretty cool cemetery. I guess even folks on the bayou need them too.


We had a great day. On our way back, we made a little detour to see the Baton Rouge temple. It’s one of the smaller temples. Reminded me a lot of the Bismarck temple in North Dakota.


We had a great time. It’s a long drive between New Orleans and Shreveport. We didn’t get home until after midnight. It was well worth it. Hope ya’ll enjoyed your summer. I hear it snowed yesterday in Utah. It’s still warm down here. Ya’ll come out and visit sometime!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Calling all Liberals

Hey Ya’ll.  Just stumbled upon this great video!  This guy has a great knack for putting the truth out there in a way that’s very easy to understand.  Watch and enjoy.  Vote McCain/Palin!