Jan Dill Hall's Blog


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— Events, opinions, thoughts

Here's what's going on in our family!

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Oct Nov Dec

Mon, 02 Jan 2023

Christmas Vacation 2022

Yay! Two weeks off for Christmas break! Somehow we all decided that this Christmas we would not be exchanging presents, so the month of December was fairly relaxing. Thomas and I went to Fresno the week before Christmas to visit with Wayne and Katie and Mom. That was really nice. We visited with Mom on Friday night and then stayed with Wayne and Katie overnight. They fixed a special dinner on Saturday. I took Mom shopping and then she was surprised with a visit from the Malcolm family singing at her facility.

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Then we went back to Madera for dinner and watching Fresno State play in a bowl game. The game was one-sided, so not too interesting, but dinner was typically fantastic. Thomas couldn't stop raving about how good it was, even though he didn't eat the roast. He loved Wayne's gravy (says it's much better than mine) and the Yorkshire puddings.

We stayed up late talking and playing pinochle. And then enjoyed more visiting the next morning before driving home. It was a nice start to the holidays.

The rest of the week was spent baking and relaxing  (a little) and planning food for the week. Bryan's girlfriend Mandy was supposed to fly in on Friday, but her flight was cancelled (along with thousands of other flights) because of a huge nationwide blizzard. Calvin and Melody and Bryan came over for breakfast on Saturday morning and Mandy finally arrived late morning. She and Bryan headed to Utah to spend the week with her family in the Canyonlands. The rest of us played games and had the traditional dinner. We also made gingerbread and cookie houses. Thomas is wearing a mask in the pictures because he wasn't feeling well and was trying not to spread his germs.

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Instead of exchanging presents, Marc and I had bought a few new games, which I had wrapped and placed under the tree. We took turns picking a present, unwrapping and playing it together. We had a lot of fun.

The day after Christmas, Marc and I went away to celebrate our 31 short, blissful years together. I had reserved our timeshare in Lake Havasu, Arizona. We had never been there and so wanted to see somewhere new. It was fun. We saw the London Bridge and learned the history of the area.

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We shopped at the Shops under the bridge. And we drove to the Parker Dam, drove across the dam, and explored that area, which was very remote and unique.  There were a lot of motor homes around, as well as large areas of mobile homes.

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The next day, on our way home, we stopped in Oatman, AZ, a gold mining town that is now home to tourist shops, burros, and the occasional gunfight.We drove part of the way along old Route 66 to get there. It was quite pretty. The rock formations in Arizona were very interesting.

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The residents of Oatman decorated for Christmas and were welcoming.

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Except for the gunfights, it was pleasant, There were lots of burros, and they even had Prince Albert in a can.

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We enjoyed the antique shops and the candy store.And the mine, even though there was no gold.

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Then we finished the drive and arrived home. Sleeping in our own bed was nice. 

On Friday evening, Bryan and Mandy arrived back in  town and we had dinner together and heard about their adventures. And misadventures as Bryan's car needed some driveway repairs that night.

Saturday morning, Melody joined us for a trip to Calico Basin to take engagement pictures for Bryan and Mandy.


We played more games together the rest of the day and ate the traditional cookies, cheesecake, caramel popcorn, and the occasional real food too. We enjoyed the ending to 2022 and look forward to 2023. Marc, Calvin, and Mandy go back to work  tomorrow, and the rest of us on Tuesday. Happy 2023!

posted at: 01:28 |

Thu, 22 Dec 2022

November trip to Bridgeport

Thomas and I made a trip to Bridgeport, CA in November. I had planned a trip earlier because I wanted to look at locations to stay for Sheila's memorial next summer. I got busy and then realized that I needed to take the trip before the snow hit. Too late. I hadn't realized how much snow the area got so early. And that everything was going to be closed, so that I couldn't check out food places or hotels. Their were only two restaurants in town open and one hotel.

But our second purpose was to take pictures of pretty country and we were able to do that. It was cold though. I thought that Mono Lake would be a fun thing to photograph, so we started there. On the way, we were stopped by sheriffs, telling us that they road was closed while "some sheep" passed through. There were a lot of sheep!


  We watched while they headed up the hill to graze. I don't know how far their destination was, but it was an impressive amount of sheep. When we eventually were able to drive again, there was evidence on the road of sheep for several miles.


Then we continued to Mono Lake. Unfortunately, the dramatic, foggy pictures we had hoped for did not happen because the whole area was too cloudy. Here is one picture that I took, right at the edge of the clouds as we dropped into the lake valley.


Mono Lake was  dreary and the clouds never burned off. We walked out to the lake on the boardwalk and took pictures anyway.

Of tufa towers



And we saw a coyote. 


  But we took pictures all morning.







  Eventually, we went to lunch in Lee Vining, and then decided to go back to Bridgeport and take pictures nearby at a place called Twin Lakes.



  It was a very pretty spot and we heard lots of bird, which was a treat for me, but we did not manage to get any good pictures of them.

Can you find the bird in this picture?


We drove to the other side of the lake and took pictures while waiting for the sun to set so that we could get sunset pictures. 



  Finally, when the sun set, we were a little disappointed because there were no pretty colors. We'd found our nice spot, but were waiting so long that we needed to go and warm up and eat something, so we drove back to Bridgeport. Unfortunately for us, we learned that the pretty colors come later after sunset than we realized, because when we got back to Bridgeport, the sky was beautiful!



Oh well, we learned a lesson. To be more patient? Or to bring more food with us? Anyway, the next morning we got up early to take a few more pictures. It was COLD. But we went out again.







  We ended the trip with a drive to Reno, to visit briefly with Corbett and Dena, to discuss the memorial and pick up a couple of desk parts that Dad had made. We had a nice visit and then drove home. That area is so nice and I wish was not such a long drive. I look forward to another visit this summer.

posted at: 10:46 |

Sat, 03 Sep 2022

Camping! in Zion

Thomas took a couple of camping trips this summer, and that inspired me to go camping too. The whole family agreed to camp last weekend, so we reserved a spot in Zion National Park. I was a little worried because we hadn't done it in several years. We had to find the equipment and remember what we needed. Anyway, it turned out to be a fun adventure. There were thunderstorms on the way up and so we had to sit in the cars for an hour when arriving. We climbed out of the cars when the rain stopped to only a drizzle and we set up the tents.  When the rain really stopped, the clouds cleared and we sat around a fire for awhile. Then we went for a walk to see the stars better. It was beautiful. We don't get to see stars in Vegas because of all the lights.

Marc and I slept on a giant air mattress and were reasonably comfortable. The wind continued to blow all night and I thought of the story of John Muir who climbed a tree in a storm to really experience the storm. It was kind of exciting. The next morning we cooked our omelets-in-a-bag and then packed up to go and explore the park. Here are a few of the pictures I took.
















posted at: 17:32 |

Sat, 14 May 2022

May 2022 Cathedral Gorge and Fossil Canyon

I have been wanting to take a trip back to Cathedral Gorge to try to take some star pictures. Thomas agreed to go with me and we took the three hour drive on a Friday night after he got off work. We arrived late and spent several hours taking some pictures. In addition to trying to learn the techniques, we hadn't counted on how cold it would be. We were at about 4000 feet elevation and had only brought light jackets. We managed to get some pictures of stars, but there was no moon and so we couldn't get the rocks in the foreground to look good. Plus, the Milky Way didn't appear until after we were in bed and by then we were too cold to take more pictures.



After a very cold, mostly sleepless night, we got up to explore the area and take a few more pictures before driving home. We will want to go back and try it again, maybe when there is a moon so that we can get better pictures of the rocks with the stars.







This weekend, the family went on a hike to Fossil Canyon. It's in Red Rock, so only about a half hour away. We went early, while it was still cool and had a nice hike.

We took pictures,

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and looked for fossils,

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and climbed on rocks,

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and it was a nice morning.

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posted at: 22:09 |

Mon, 18 Apr 2022

More from Hawaii…nature pics

I posted earlier the main things that we saw and did in Hawaii. But I also took lots of pictures of birds and trees and other nature that I wanted to save somewhere. So here are just pretty or interesting things that I saw.

I couldn't do justice to all of the interesting trees that I saw. Once when I was trying to frame a large tree in an interesting way by trying to frame it with a plant nearby, I noticed a gecko in my picture. I didn't see it until I was done taking the picture. So I took one with the gecko in focus.


red bananas 


brown kelp in the tidepools





  sea urchins that look like space aliens


yellow tang in the waves


just leaves


  And lots of misc pretty


















  In retrospect, this one was probably an invasive species that I should have killed, but I like snails when they are not eating my garden and I was on vacation…






OK, gotta stop now. So many pictures…I've still got lots more.

posted at: 13:25 |


Marc and I went to Hawaii to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.We had talked about going for quite a while and booked the trip nearly a year ago. It was fun to anticipate going. We decided on the big island because of all the variety and we were not disappointed because there was a lot to do and see. Here are a few highlights. Of course, I took lots of pictures and think that I will post a summary of our trip here and some other pictures in a future entry.

The flight was long and we flew to Honolulu first. Because of this, we got to see Pearl Harbor from the air so that was nice. Our flight to Kona was delayed and we were very tired of traveling when we finally got to the condo.

The first day, we explored the north part of the island.  We saw the little town of Hawi and had lunch at a cute restaurant.


 And drove to the end of the road to see some pretty scenery.


I was impressed the whole week with the variety and beauty of the palm trees. They are so different than what we see in Vegas. I don't like palm trees in Vegas, but they were so beautiful in Hawaii. I kept trying to figure out the difference.  One difference is that we don't have coconut palms.


The next day, we went out on aboat and did a major snorkeling expedition. We went to three different sites. It was a good day and we got GoPro pictures of the reefs. They all look a little like this.Only with fish swimming around in them. And sometimes Marc or I would swim into the scene.


One of the things that we really wanted to see in Hawaii was the volcanoes. Kilauea is active and so we wanted to see that especially. It took us two trips across the island before we could really see what we wanted because the first time it was too rainy and cold. That first time we detoured to Hilo and explored a park there, went to a planetarium show (meh…winking and walked to a couple of falls. Here are some pictures of those trips.

A black sand beach in the south.


Rainbow falls without a rainbow.


Akaka falls and the hike to it. Lots of pretty scenery here.







  And finally the waterfalls…


And more pretty scenery on the hike back.



A plover in Hilo.


And flowers everywhere.


So, it took a couple of days, but we made it back to the volcano to see it by day.



 I don't know if you can see it, but this is a rainbow over the caldera. It was still rather misty at times this day. And on the left side of the picture is the old observatory for the caldera. The volcano erupted in 2018 rather spectacularly. The caldera collapsed when the lava went flowing out and covered about 700 homes and expanded the island some more. The visitor center has some rather spectacular videos of this. But the resulting collapse, damaged this observatory and so it was roped off and closed.


We could visit some steam vents and a nearby lava tube.


And later that night. The hike was cold and long to the viewing site and we were accompanied by a lot of other people who came to see this rare sight: a lava lake at night. So cool! or rather hot.



  The rest of the week was just relaxing and hanging out on the beach and seeing more beautiful scenery. I will post a few more pictures here to finish off and then do another post later with my some more excessive pretty pictures. We had a great time. Let's do it again.


This is the beach we could walk to from our condo.




A school to learn to surf…


 And our last Hawaii sunset…



  Worth recording several times. It was a good trip.



posted at: 10:37 |

Tue, 18 Jan 2022

Meeting with family

I went to visit Mom over the long weekend and enjoyed meeting some cousins and an aunt who I haven't seen since I was little. We visited all day, shared family stories, and really enjoyed catching up.

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Mom with Edith Wayment (my aunt).

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And with cousins, Roland,  Mark, and Joan Wayment.

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And with Wayne and me. 

posted at: 20:58 |

Sat, 01 Jan 2022

December 27 Valley of Fire

Marc and I went to Valley of Fire together to celebrate our anniversary. (30 short, blissful years!) It was a nice day. We enjoyed exploring together and then drove back via Overton. Later, we went out for a nice dinner.

Here are some pretty pictures of rocks.









Thanks, Marc, for a fun day together, and for 30 years. It's been a wild ride. I love you!


posted at: 21:17 |

Mon, 01 Nov 2021


Marc took Nevada Day off, so we had a three-day weekend together. We didn't feel like we wanted to make a long drive, and after exploring some options, we decided to check out the Eastern part of the state. Nether of us had been up highway 93 before, so we got a hotel in Caliente, NV, and decided to explore that area.

There are five state parks in that area and we went to three of them, along with Pahranagat, which is a national wildlife refuge. We didn't see a lot of wildlife, but saw some pretty areas. It was a relaxing weekend and I got my share of "pretty" nature for awhile. Here are some pictures I took.

A pond at Pahranagat. 


Some cholla cactus along the way


A cave at Cathedral Gorge state park


Some "rocks" to explore


A water tower built by the CCC


Climbing to the top


In Pioche, an old mining town



On to Echo Canyon state park







 And then we finished with Kershaw-Ryan state park.





There are lots of tree pictures here because I was enjoying the beautiful Fall colors and leaves that were not palm fronds.

We had a nice time, saw some pretty things, ate some good food, and just relaxed. Happy Nevada Day!

posted at: 07:29 |

Sun, 11 Jul 2021

A hike on Mount Charleston

We are having a heat wave this week (nothing new) and decided that we would go to Mount Charleston on Saturday to escape the worst of the heat. We thought we could go on a hike and also take some pictures. I left home early and picked up Bryan and then Melody and Calvin. We ate muffins in the car and brought some other food with us.

We took the trail to Fletcher Canyon and also Eagle's Nest. Even though we arrived fairly early (about 7:30) we got the second to last parking spot at the trailhead. Next time we may need to leave even earlier. It was already hot in spite of clouds in the sky. The hike was nice. Melody and I stopped often to take pictures. Even hiking slow, we were sweating and tired.


We saw lots of lizards.


And walked in the sun.



When we ran out of water, we went and ate our lunch at Melody and Calvin's house, in the air conditioning. We may wait until September of October to go hiking again, unless we can go somewhere cooler. 

thumb.DSC00428.JPG posted at: 12:31 |

Jan Dill Hall St. Peters, Missouri  Henderson, Nevada 

Page created: 09 November 2008
Page modified: 09 December 2017

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