Thursday, May 9, 2013

Update on our Son, some house progress, and a wildlife sighting in the Valley of Fire

Our son's name is Gil, but ever since he was an exchange student in high school, his chosen nick name and his internet identity has been Joko.  I'm sure he has told me what it meant,  but I have forgotten. I asked again before he left. It seems "Gil" is very hard for many Southeast Asians to pronounce. Joko is the equivalent to  "Joe", an easy name to say and remember.

In his blog Leaving Amerika, he has been chronicling his new life in Thailand. Both good and bad things have happened to him, but he has carried on as only Gil would do!  Even if I was not his mother, I would recommend his blog and his videos as interesting and amusing reading.  If you check it out, leave him a comment.  We all know how important it is to know someone is reading what we write.

Tell him his mother sent you.

We've been home for almost a week, and we have made good progress on a couple of big jobs.  We have selected and ordered new vanities and cultured marble sink tops for both of the remaining bathrooms. Making decisions is hard work! We were a bit distressed when we found out that the company, from which we bought the sink top for the first bathroom that we remodeled last spring, had gone out of business.  Craig wanted all of the vanity-tops to match.  Fortunately with a bit of research and phone calls, he was able to track down the original manufacturer.

The vanity in the first bath came from Lowe's stock, and the new two are being ordered from Home Depot.  We couldn't order what we wanted from Lowe's. The ones from Home Depot are similar in design, but a slightly different shade of wood.  

A funny thing happened when we were ordering them.  It seems that if your purchase is more than $1000 and you open a Home Depot card, you can get 10% off.  Since we intended to pay for them in full on delivery, this was an option that appealed to me.  I will just pay the bill when it comes instead of writing a check when we get them. We saved $200 by opening an account. 

So what was funny?

To process my credit card application the sales representative swiped my American Express card to transfer the information on it. When she had me check the information, the phone number was wrong. It listed our old second line which was also our fax number. I told her the correct number. When I was reviewing the print out of the order, it listed me as Merikay Fax MacKenna. I now have a new middle name. She claims she didn't do anything to my name, so perhaps American Express also lists Fax as my middle name. 

When I wrote about our days at theValley of Fire, I didn't include a most interesting (to me) wildlife sighting.  

On our first evening we took a walk shortly after sundown when it was cooler. I noticed there were some rather delicate looking white flowers along the path that we had not noticed during the day. Years ago my sister had grown some Moon Flowers that opened in the evening and I thought these were the same type. As I started to photograph them I heard a loud buzz. 

If you look closely you can see a pink and brown blur just above the lower blossom.  

It is a White-lined Sphinx Moth. 

I kept snapping and got one better image.

Its body was substantial, and its wings were moving so fast you couldn't really see them. I learned about these moths during my butterfly collecting days as a child, but I had never seen one before. It was unexpected and exciting.

This is what his wings look like.
image from the Web

Don't you just love seeing new things?

Note: I've put a link to my son's blog Leaving Amerika on my side bar under "Other MacKenna Blogs."  Perhaps one of these days we can convince Craig he needs to write one too!


  1. Now that is definitely an interesting middle name you have there. But your visitor at Valley of Fire was fascinating. Your son really is a great writer. I thoroughly enjoy his blog.

  2. I stopped by your sons blog tonight and add it to my list of reads.

    Your name ertainly is original

  3. It was great to hear more about your family and thanks for sharing the link to his blog...It's a great blog!

  4. WOW! what a great photo of the white-lined Sphinx Moth...don't you just love those lucky shots? I will have to check out Gil's blog when we get to a place with better internet...

  5. Have to hit the road right now, but I hope I remember to check out your son's blog tonight.

  6. Hi Mrs. MacKenna! I recently found your blog and have been enjoying reading your stories. What a fun adventure. Say Hi to Mr. M for me. With love, Anne (Dalquest)Benda

  7. We don't do enough walking after sundown. But we didn't stay at the Valley of Fire anyway. Next time there, that will be the intention.

  8. The moth is fabulous! I love it when there's something extra and wonderful in a photo that I don't find until it's up on my laptop screen. He is so clear, except of course for those fast moving wings. Good photo!

    I'll go over to Gil's blog and see what's up with Joko. :)

  9. Thank you for passing along Gil's blog about his journey in Thailand. I can't wait to read more how exciting for him.

  10. Hi Mom! Thanks for the plug, or to an old term used on the internet: pimping my blog.

    Beautiful pictures!

    And, as Joe Friday used to say on Dragnet, "Just the fax, ma'am."

  11. That moth is outstanding. Love the colors and the photography. And I am heading to your son's blog as soon as I post this.


Leave a comment, or send an email.