Friday, October 19, 2012


My family and I recently took a weekend trip to Utah and made some wonderful re-connections with friends and family. 

For our first stop, we attended a reunion dinner in Salt Lake City for Guatemalans living in the area. Obviously, my family is not Guatemalan, but we were invited by my former mission president Julio Alvarado and his wife Blanca. We enjoyed some great Guatemalan food and a re-kindling of old friendships. Brother and Sister Alvarado looked through my mission book and reminisced about old times. 

Rhonda also re-connected with two of her former mission companions. 

We attended the Saturday afternoon session of the LDS General Conference. 

Ironically, my favorite part of conference is the chaotic environment at Temple Square with protesters and counter-protesters each trying to win the other. 


Inside the Conference Center. 

A family picture in Salt Lake City. 

On Saturday evening, we attended a live performance of South Pacific at the Hale Theater in Orem, Utah. We were invited by actor and performer Dallin Vail Bayles (pictured below).  

Dakota and Dallin Vail Bayles stood together for this picture outside the Hale Theater in Orem. 

Our family stayed with Rhonda's father in a tiny place called Elberta, Utah. He and his wife were service missionaries at a church camp that does re-enactments of the Mormon handcart pioneers. 

Family picture with Ron and Linda. 

Van Gogh and Merlot

My sister invited me to attend a painting workshop that is offered in a variety of locations throughout the area: Van Gogh and Merlot. I love to paint, so I wentThe day I attended, we gathered in a hallway outside the Luxe Cafe in downtown Spokane. 

Van Gogh and Merlot requires no special talent for painting. Ulysses, the instructor, provides all the materials, and then using a predetermined reference piece, he leads each participant through a step by step painting process. He demonstrates every aspect of the project, including how to mix paints and how to compose the elements of the painting. All the while, this event offered a glass of wine (or a non-alcoholic substitute) and the enjoyment of creating a project with friends and family. 

For my part, I skipped the Merlot, but I loved the painting.  

Most events cost between $30-$40. My sister has attended multiple events and was given a special Van Gogh and Merlot apron for her participation. 

Ulysses, Michelle, and I. 

A statue inside the Luxe. 

My painting. 

Michelle's painting. 


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