Sunday, August 27, 2006

Temples and rock walls

Today, in priesthood meeting, we had a lesson from President Kidd, former president of the Logan Temple. He talked to us about the importance of temples and it was a very enlightening meeting. One of the things he mentioned was that the temple helps us to remember an eternal perspective and appreciate our spouse (especially when we attend the temple as couples).The following experience from this past weekend illustrates that point:

As part of this past weekend, Deidra and I went to an early session at the Timpanogos temple on Saturday. It was a great session, the temple was beautiful, and it just set a good tone for the rest of the day, which was a good thing. Later on that afternoon, I was backing out of my aunt's driveway (where we had stayed the night). Their home is on a hill and we were parked in such a way that we had to turn pretty sharply to back into the street. Well, I didn't quite turn sharply enough and, while I thought we were still completely on their driveway, I soon found out that I had turned a little too widely and, as a result, I backed over a small rock wall that they had at the end of their lawn. Luckily, it didn't do much damage to Nelly (our car) and we were able to kind of put the wall back together. But I still felt pretty stupid about it and I knew that Deidra would probably be really annoyed with me. But she just laughed at me and kind of shook it off. A little bit later, I asked her why she wasn't upset or annoyed at me and she said, "I think it's because we went to the temple today and it makes me realize that I love you and that some things aren't worth getting upset about." So I very much appreciated her for that attitude in helping me dismiss something that could have very easily been a source of contention. I told her that we should go to the temple every day, but perhaps that's not so much of a reasonable goal. Anyway, I am grateful for the temple for what it teaches and the spirit that it can bring into our lives if we are open to it. And I am grateful for my wife and for everything she teaches me and the spirit she brings into our home.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

And in other news ...

Here's an article from Meridian Magazine about the LDS Music Fest that I am playing in this weekend:

If anyone is in the Provo/American Fork area, come on out to the show. It is free and should be a lot of fun.

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you all . . . I'm famous!

An interview that I did a year or two ago for a newspaper in Washington, DC, finally got printed last Friday. You can find the link here.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

One year down, eternity minus one to go ...

So, the other day, I wrote quite the amazing blog about the happenings of last weekend. As I was getting almost done wrapping up the Sunday happenings – believe me, it was quite long – Deidra came in the room and, while trying to push the computer plug further into the wall (I guess she was afraid it was going fall out), she actually lost the connection and the computer shut down. That’s right, folks, the entire blog GONE as I stared into the dark black monitor in disbelief. I somehow managed not to say any curse words … at least not out loud … well, at least not the whole word. I was more like “What the he…where the … it’s gone … shhhhhaaaaaaaaaafffffffeeeeeggggrrraaaaahhhhddddaaaaaarrrr.” Deidra apologized profusely, but I almost had to hang up my blogging shoes right there. Luckily, I bounce back easily and I am ready to give it another go. So here goes …

Friday night was our one-year anniversary and it turned out pretty well. You can go to Deidra’s blog to learn more about it, if you would like. We spent the rest of the weekend spending time with friends and family.

Saturday morning we woke up early and got out the door a little after 7am to travel to Burley so that I could take part in a little paintball action at 9. It was a lot of fun and, for once, I came away without any welts – probably because Karisa wasn’t there shooting me at point blank range (don’t worry, I was shooting back). But I do feel sorry for the guy that walked right past me while I was lying low in the brush. I pegged him a couple of good time right in the arse from fairly close range before he even knew what was going on. Sorry Kenny! Anyway, it is the same place we will be paintballing for the family reunion over Labor Day, so now I have a clear vision of it and can start strategizing my battle plans.

While we were paintballing, Deidra and her mom went shopping and, upon passing a yard sale, decided to buy a gun case for $4. When we got a call that we need to pick up the gun case on our way home (since we had the bigger vehicle), I was more than a little confused. A gun case?!? We don’t even own any guns! Turns out that it was a rather tall and slender wooden case that Deidra envision putting shelves in and turning into a hutch/display case.

So we picked up the case and then headed into Burley, where both Warren (the father-in-law) and I got haircuts from Deidra’s aunt. Then it was home to the Parish house, where we ate lunch. Warren and I had a little corn on the cob eat-off, and while end supposedly ended in a tie, I hold to the fact that I had a few bites from an additional ear of corn and thus I should be crowned champion.

After lunch, we hitched up the boat and went down to the river, Deidra’s favorite place to go during the summer. She water skied a couple of time and did really well. I tried to get some good pictures/video of her during her last run, but they were on Tameka’s camera, so who knows if we’ll ever see what actually came of it. I got in the water for my usual wakeboard fiasco, but at least I actually got up a couple of times for long enough to look around and think, “Hey, I made it up! I’m pretty much a professional.” This thought was usually followed by a loud splash as I forcefully found the river with my face.

Then Deidra and I traveled to the Hartwell home and spent some time chatting with my parents. Upon finding that they had already eaten, I promptly bummed some money from my old man (since I never carry cash these days) and we went back to Burley to find some dinner at the Cassia County Fair and Rodeo. (More information on dinner can also be found at Deidra’s blog … mmm, pizza and an Italian sub.) The rest of the night was spent cruising the fair and running into every person Deidra has ever known … or so it seemed. By the end of the night I was admittedly a little ornery, tired, and ready to go home and go to bed.

The following day (Sunday), Deidra’s “good friend” (a.k.a. old boyfriend) got home from his mission, so we went to listen to him speak at church. Then we went to a different church to hear a couple of her other friends speak and perform a musical number. After that, we went to a luncheon at the home of her “good friend,” where we chatted it up with all of her high school friends. Not awkward at all, right? J Actually, it wasn’t that bad – I like her friends and they at least pretend to like me, so it all works out.

Then it was back to the Hartwell abode where we met up with my parents, younger brother, Aunt Judy and Uncle Denny, and my dad’s cousin, Mary Lynn. We drove out to Elba, where some of my ancestors settled for a while. We saw their old home (erected in 1901) and spent some time talking to the cute older couple who own it and are restoring it. They knew a lot about the history of the home and of the area. My great great grandfather (Thomas Taylor) was the first bishop in Elba and his son was the first bishop of the neighboring town, Almo. If I ever get a chance, I’ll have to add some pictures in their own little post when I have more time.

We made a brief stop after that to visit another of Deidra’s friends that lives in Elba, and then it was back home to Logan to get ready for another week of work. So there you have it, the second draft of what we did last weekend. If it sucks, you can blame Deidra, since it’s her fault that the first draft was lost.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Miracle of Scout Camp

I taught the lesson in priesthood last Sunday. The topic was "Living by Faith." As I was preparing for the lesson, I was impressed to read through one of my old journals, where I found a story of faith that I had since forgotten. I shared it in that meeting, and I also wanted to share it here, just to illustrate how faith can have an impact in our lives, and the lives of those around us.

As a little background, this experience took place when I lived in Washington, DC, and was over the young men (ages 12-18) in our congregation. This is taken directly out of my journal:

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

I am here at Scout Camp in the woods of Maryland - Broad Creek Camp, about an hour north of Baltimore. When we (the Capitol Hill Branch) were integrated into the Suitland MD Stake, we found out that Scout Camp was coming up on only a few short weeks. So we did quite a bit of planning and were planning on having three Young Men come out here to camp. Well, as time for Scout Camp neared, all three boys developed excuses and/or conflicts that they used to say they couldn't go to Scout Camp. President Degn [our Branch President] and I talked to the their respective parents and re-committed them all to come again. The day before Scout Camp (Sun. June 27), two of the young men called to say they could not attend camp. At this point, I was ready to throw my hands up and wash them clean of the mess, having done all in my power to encourage them to come. But, in talking to my roommate, I felt a strong impression that Scout Camp would be a valuable learning experience and a good memory for them. I came to realize that Satan didn't want them to go. I called President Degn, and he tried to get in touch with the boys and their parents. When that ended in lukewarm reception, I decided that I would stop by each boy's place anyway to see if they were ready - at 4am on Monday morning! I prayed a lot about it Sunday night, called my parents and asked for their prayers, and received a blessing from my roommates. The Lord certainly worked a miracle, as all three boys were up and ready to go to camp Monday morning at 4am.

(P.S. If I ever find the picture of our scout camp "troop," I will be sure to scan it in and add it to this post)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Fantasy Football - last call!

Today is the last day to sign up for fantasy football with the awe-inspiring, and mediocrely-competitive WEPCO Yahoo! Fantasy Football league. So far it looks like Nikkala, Chod, Deidra, Whit, Jeff/Jolyn, myself, and two of my friends (Aaron and Jeremy). It should be lots of fun. Instructions on joining the league are found at my previous fantasy football post (scroll down to the bottom). That is all.

Sometimes biking to work sucks!

I've been meaning to make this post since the fated bike ride incident occurred yesterday morning. I was running a little late for work and, even though my wife offered to drive me to work and drop me off, I thought I still had enough time to make it to work. Besides, if I was a few minutes late, I should still be okay.

I began the journey like I normally do, though maybe pedaling a little bit faster than usual. As I got to the hill that I usually climb during my morning bike ride I saw an orange construction barrier that said "This road closed to pedestrian traffic." I knew the city had been working on the road at the top of the hill, but I chose not to heed the sign (I mean, technically, I am not pedestrian traffic, right?) and began my ascent up the paved path.

Because I was still running late, I stood up off of the seat and pedaled hard the entire way up the path. As I neared the triumphal apex of the miniature mountain I was scaling, I saw only one piece of heavy machinery rising on the horizon, and it was working well down the road from where I was. Good, I thought, they're working on a different part of the road. I should have no problem crossing through. Boy, was I wrong. As the road itself came into view on the horizon, I noticed a row of dirt probably five or six feet high that ran along the entire length of the road and left me nowhere to go and no way to cross. It reminded me of the huge mound of earth that Moroni and his people built around their city so that they could not be attacked ( see Alma 49).

Being extremely disheartened and exhausted from my hard work of getting up the hill, I turned around and went back down the same hill I had climbed with such determination. At the bottom of the hill, I dismounted my bike and walked it up the dugway (an even steeper and narrower hill, with the additional obstacle of automobile traffic) since there was no way I was going to make it up that hill riding my bike.

By the time I made it to the top of the hill, I was panting and sweating, and already late to work. I mounted my bike once again and rode the rest of the way to work as quickly as I could. I arrived about ten minutes late, with my first appointment already there waiting for me. Thankfully, I had called ahead and let the office know I was going to be late, so they had informed my appointment and he was in no particular hurry.

I stashed my bike in the back room and went into the restroom. My head was dripping with sweat and my mouth was filled with that bitter, thick saliva that you get when you go a little too hard working out, playing basketball, running, or biking. It was nasty! After cleaning myself off, cooling myself down, making my self presentable, and drinking a glass of water, I was able to resume the rest of my day. But, oh, how I wish I would have taken my wife up on the offer of giving me a ride. It would definitely have made my morning commute much less of a hassle.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mouse update

Since the last "mouse" post, we purchased a couple of traps and got one set up where we saw the mouse before. Since it had never tripped and we hadn't seen the mouse (or any signs of the mouse) for a few days, we thought maybe it had moved on to brighter pastures . . . until Sunday. As we were sitting down for breakfast, I was taking toast out of the toaster when I saw the mouse dart out from under the refrigerator and quickly scurry around the wall into the front room. And from there it got out of sight quickly.

I went online to learn more about trapping mice and then reset the two traps with new bait - one with peanut butter and one with the cotton end of a Q-tip dipped in vanilla. Apparantly mice are just as attracted to possible nesting material as they are to food - that was news to me. Both are now set perpendicular to the wall.

And there we have it. I would like to get a few more traps bought and set up if we don't catch him soon. More information as it happens . . .

Real vs. Real

On Saturday, Deidra and I drove to Salt Lake City, where we were volunteering to work at the biggest Real soccer game of the year, Real Salt Lake vs. Real Madrid. On our way down, Deidra submitted to my desire to stop at the Guitar Center in Roy. I have this dream of building my own recording studio, so I love to go there and check out speakers, amps, mixers, software, keyboards, percussion instruments, microphones, and so on. Even though I know I can't afford anything there, it gives me ideas of what I could do in that always off in the distance "someday" - you know, the one where somehow you have all the money you need to do anything you want.

After that, we proceeded to Salt Lake, arriving a couple of hours before we were scheduled to start working. So Deidra suggested visiting the new Salt Lake City Public Library, which was awarded the honor of the Library Journal's Best Library for 2006, a title that I think is well-deserved. The architecture is really cool - kind of a sleek/modern feel to it. They have shops lining the outside of the library, amazing art, sculptures, waterfalls, and quotes almost everywhere you turn, and the actual library itself it huge. Deidra and I like to go to the Logan Public Library and check out DVDs. It's free and convenient, but the drawback is that there are a limited number of titles to choose from. The Salt Lake library, on the other hand, has shelves full of tons of DVDs. I don't know why anyone would go to a video store in Salt Lake. I think you could find almost any movie you were looking for right there at the public library ... except maybe the newest releases, and that's what RedBox is for.

Finally, we made our way to the Olympic stadium (aka University of Utah stadium - aka Salt Lake Real stadium) and found a place to park about two blocks away. We walked to the stadium and arrived about 30 minutes before we were even scheduled to be there. But they put us to work right away. The first thing that we did was blow up these inflatable play areas for the kids. One was a bouncy house and the other was a huge soccer goal where the kids could kick balls and tray to get it into one of the holes at the end of the goal. Then we were stationed with two others at gate D (the main entry into the stadium) to hand out free "souvenir" tickets to the crowd as they came in the door. We had a whole box full of them, and I thought they would take forever to give out. But we actually completed the box within about 30-45 minutes, whereupon we returned to the workers' base station, thinking that we were done. Unfortunately, since it was still about an hour until game time, our supervisor made us go back to the gate with a small number of additional souvenir tickets to hand out. When those were done, she showed up at the gate with even more tickets that she had taken from the volunteers manning the other gates, since they were not as busy as our gate was. We made quick work of those and returned to the base station, thankfully seeing other volunteers that were also done.

They had dinner waiting for us - burritos and chips from Bajio, and cake from Sams Club. The burritos were huge and surpisingly good, considering that they had been sitting out for a while and were only slightly warm. We took our dinner down to tables behind glass panels that looked out onto the field. We were directly behind the south goal of the stadium, right between both lockers rooms. So we saw the players up close and personal, both on the field and as they entered and exited their locker rooms. This included arguably the most famous soccer player in the world, David Beckham, who plays for Real Madrid.

We got to watch most of the game, only having to spend one 20-minute shift overseeing the inflatable play areas at the beginning of the second half. David Beckham did not get into the game until the second half and it was so awesome to watch a million camera flashes in the crowd go off every time he kicked the ball, especially corner kicks. I guess he's quite the celebrity. We also found out after the game that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were in attendance, as they are good friends of Beckham's. Of course, that fact that they were there at all was kept under wraps until after they had left the stadium.

After the game, we took down all of the inflatable play areas and went onto the field to take down all of the advertisements that surround the field. Finally, we left the stadium at about midnight and drove back to Logan. Deidra didn't last too long before falling asleep and I just listened to the final disk of The Silver Chair (one of the Chronicles of Narnia) on CD on the drive home. We arrived home and got to bed at about 2am. Luckily, we don't have church until 1pm, so we got a good night's rest despite our late retirement.

All in all, it was a really fun experience and I am glad Deidra was there to share it with me. She made it even more fun and enjoyable. You can check out her blog for more information about the game, as well as pictures (including Beckham with his shirt off), when she gets her post completed.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Rockin' the Cache County Fair

Last night, I participated in the Farm Bureau Talent Competition at the Cache County Fair and Rodeo. We arrived at the gate a little before 6pm and the security guard called for a Mule to help us pack our stuff. So we unloaded my keyboard, the stand, the stool, and the briefcase containing cords and CDs from the car and proceeded to wait around for about 10 minutes before Deidra decided that she would go park the car while I was waiting. Well, 10 minutes later, she comes back and I am still waiting for the stupid little Mule. So we decided just to pack it all to the stage instead of waiting longer. So I grab the long, awkward, heavy, expensive keyboard in one hand and the stool in the other. Deidra grabs the metal keyboard stand, which is also extremely awkward to carry for any extended amount of time, and the briefcase. We walk down a ways until we find the stage and we set all of the stuff on the ground and take a deep breath.

After searching for a while, I finally find the person I need to check in with and then I search out the stage manager to know what I need to do with all of my gear. Upon seeing my keyboard and other items, he says "Well, if you want, you can just use the Clavinova digital piano that is already up on stage." Piece of crap! You mean Deidra and I just lugged our heavy gear halfway across the fairgrounds when we didn't even need to bring it in the first place? I'm glad nobody made me aware of that when I registered for the competition over the phone. Deidra and I decided that we would stash the gear backstage anyway, since we didn't feel like lugging it all back to the entrance again right then.

After we go that taken care of, we sat down on the grass to enjoy the program. I was told that I was in the "Senior" division, and they were starting it off with the "Beginners." Well, actually, they had a couple of little high school punk bands that were performing as we first arrived. There's nothing like hearing little punks with cracking voices trying to muddle through Alice in Chains' "Man in a Box," which just happens to be one helluva long song anyway.

Anyway, they started with the Beginner division and it was a bunch of probably 3-6 year olds hula dancing, singing, and clogging. At this point, I started thinking: Maybe this is just for kids and I'm going to be the one old man competing against high schoolers. People will think to themselves 'Who is this lame-o old guy?' After the Beginners, they moved on to the Intermediate group, which looked to be about 7-12 year olds. At about this time, Deidra's cousin, Whitney, showed up to offer support as well. (Which, by the way, means that it's possible that you'll get three different blog versions of this experience.) After that group, they began the Advanced group, which were high school-aged competitors. As this group of performers started, they asked for the Senior division to meet backstage to get us all ready for our turn. I was still a little nervous about being the lame-o old man, so I kind of sheepishly went backstage to check out my competition. When I got there, I saw what I thought could be a young adult woman with a pretty formal black gown on, and soon realized she was a performer in my division. She still looked fairly young, but as soon as I saw a wedding ring on her finger I realized that if she was married, she was most likely a full-blown, out-of-high-school adult. My fears subsided and I prepared for my five minutes of stage time. There were only a total of four people in the Senior division (two ladies singing, one lady singing/playing piano, and myself) and I was the second to perform. I performed my song "Keep Me Down," and I thought it went pretty well, though the competition was stiff! All three ladies had beautiful voices and I was impressed with everyone’s performances.

When the judges had tallied their votes, the awards were handed out. They began with the younger children and I soon realized that there was a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place award. Oh Great! I thought. I am going to be the one loser* that doesn't even get an award in my division. But instead, I was awarded 2nd place (which I was happy about) and I got a nice ol' red ribbon and $30. Not a bad payday for singing one song ... even if we did have to pack all of my gear unnecessarily. Combine that with the $75 that I made last week at my Raspberry Days Festival performance at Bear Lake, and I think my music career is really starting to rake in the dough! (Looks like I may not need any chickens after all, Warren.) Maybe I should quit my day job. I think we could make a living on $100/month, couldn't we, Deid?

* No offense to the young lady who didn't win a ribbon in our division or any other performers who were shut out in their respective divisions.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Melon update - one week later

Look at this mammoth! Ok, so it's only the size of a small cantaloupe, but it's certainly grown in the last week. Wouldn't you agree? I counted about five melons that are growing now, but this is by far the largest. I pulled off a number of the flowers that could have started new melons, because I want to make sure that the plant puts its energies into the melons that are already there. Deidra thinks I'm a little bit obsessive about this little guy, because I take a new picture of it on my phone every time we go to the garden (every two days). Maybe when it's all grown up, I will have to put together a little slide show for you all. Until then, you'll still probably get weekly updates from me, because ... well, because I am boring and this is the most interesting thing I have to talk about right now. Pretty sad, huh?

P.S. Maybe the melon needs a name. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Not a creature was stirring ... well, maybe a mouse

As I was getting lunches ready for work today, I saw a flurry of movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head just in time to see a little mouse scurry behind our washer and dryer. It kind of startled me for a bit, and when I told Deidra, she definitely got a little freaked out. Why are people afraid of mice? They're just these tiny little furry rodents about 1% the size of humans. Is it because they supposedly carry all these diseases? Or because they move so dang fast? I'm not quite sure what it is, but one thing is for sure - we're gonna get that mouse. I will keep you posted on the mouse hunt and maybe post pictures, though - then again - pictures might not be the best idea.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Let the looooooong days begin!

It's 5pm, and I am here at my desk for another hour and a half or two hours, even having arrived at work at 8am. But I guess I should get used to it, because this is merely the tip of the iceberg. When the schools start up again (in just over two weeks), I will be arriving at work at 6am every day and staying until 4pm for three out of the five days of the work week. Luckily, I will get off at 2pm on Tuesday and Thursday, but I might be taking a class at USU starting at 3pm on those days. Hopefully I will survive. I have been given strict orders to let my boss know if I start getting burnt out, and I have also been told that any time I work over 40 hours each week I can use as comp. time in the summer. So that part of it should be nice. I figure I could pretty much take a whole month off next summer, if not more.

And, for those farmers out there ... I know you work a lot more hours than that during the planting and harvesting seasons, so I feel for you. At least I am in an air conditioned office, right? I'll count my blessings.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Fantasy Football is starting soon!

Since a number of people who read this blog are involved in my fantasy football league this year (and anyone who does not have a team and wants to join, feel free to do so!), and most of the teams have not listed an email address, I figure this is the best venue to post some information. I created the following post on our league homepage, but I will paste it here as well:

We have eight teams now, and if no one else posts or emails me letting me know that they are not ready, I will list our league ready to draft by August 15th. Technically we have until Sept. 9th, but I would prefer to get an early start. As with last year, we will be doing the draft offline and the order will be chosen by the computer at random, unless anyone else has any input on it. We could do the draft in the order that people signed up, or we could do the draft in the order that teams placed last year, with the newly added teams at the bottom of the draft order. Just let me know if any of you have any thoughts on the subject. Otherwise, here is how is stands: The league will be locked on August 15th for an offline draft in random order. Good luck everyone!

PS If anyone else would like to join, the league ID# is 57453 and the password is roxor. It is a Yahoo! Fantasy Football league. You've only got until August 15th, so don't delay.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

My little baby melon

I was delighted upon returning from Montana to see a few little melons in our garden. I have been told from the beginning that trying to grow melons would probably not yield any results, but things look good so far. The biggest melon was about golf ball size when we returned and is now about the size of a large apricot or plum. Here's a picture from my camera phone. I'll keep you posted as it continues to grow.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

If you want her, you can Havre!

What a long and tiring weekend. I'm almost too drained to type this post, but I feel like I owe it to my friends, fans, and family. So here goes! Get ready for the longest post ever about the longest trip ever.

I left work a little after noon on Friday and biked home, knowing that the long drive to Havre, MT, lay ahead of me that weekend. My older brother, after two year of cohabitating and an 18-month old daughter (the cutest little girl known to man, of course) was finally tying the proverbial knot with his long-time fiance. Not only was it a twelve hour drive each way, but Deidra and I were traveling up to Havre with my 26-year old younger brother in tow. Thankfully, we stocked up on Books on CD at the Logan Library - it turned out to be a great investment. We finished Book 5 and half of Book 6 of The Chronicles of Narnia on our journey, which certainly helped the time go by.

We left Logan a little before 1:00pm. My brother fell asleep in the back nearly instantly, only to awake about 20 minutes later and ask if we were halfway there yet. Not only were we not halfway there yet, but we weren't halfway to being halfway to being halfway there yet! I guess he thought he napped for a little longer than he actually did. Three hours later, we stopped in Dubois, ID, for gas and then back on the road. There wasn't much to see in Dubois anyway.

At about 7pm, we took the Logan (MT) exit, hoping to find the home of Deidra's high school friend's mom, where we were staying the night. We knew we were on the right track when there was a list posted of residents directly after we exited. P. Frelier - 4.6 was one of the listings. After those 4.6 miles, we came upon Eileen's home, and what a magnificent site it was. Out in the country, nestled between buttes and ridges and overlooking the Missouri river was a very spacious, comfortable, and inviting home, where the weary travelers were taken in, fed, and sent to bed for a good night's sleep (once the heat subsided a little bit).

The next morning, we went with Eileen to Three Forks, MT, where we partook of the Lion's Club breakfast and took a 20-minute tour of the entire town. It was very quaint and had quite a relaxing atmosphere. Afterward, we got back in the car for the second leg of our journey. We twisted through mountain passes to Helena and Great Falls, and then turned on to the most boring stretch of highway ever invented ... of course this would be the road that led to Havre. I don't know why I expected much else.

Upon arriving at Havre, we were told to travel all the way through town to the hotel where my parents had booked us a room. After 20 blocks and passing 14 casinos, we were in the parking lot of the Best Western, feeling a little bit out of place already. We got in our room and laid down for a while before getting right back up to change into our reception clothes and trudge across the street for the reception. (Note: My brother and his wife actually got married a couple of weeks ago in the Bahamas and were having their reception in Havre.) We arrived at 5pm and took all sorts of pictures, and then sat at our table, awaiting the dinner that was to be served at 6pm. Well, 6pm came and went with many tables still being empty and I overheard the groom say to the bride, "Yeah, I may have told some people 6:30." People continue trickling in and by 6:30, the tables are beginning to fill and most people at most tables (my family's table excluded) were purchasing drinks at the bar. 7:00 comes and we have still yet to be served. I guess it doesn't matter much when you're getting liquored up, but without that luxury, I was getting pretty hungry. Finally, my brother announces that dinner will be served ... after the toasts. Luckily they were fairly short and painless and we moseyed up to the smorgasbord for fried shrimp, fried ravioli, salad, pigs-in-a-blanket, pizza, vegetables, peas and potatoes, brisket and all sorts of other randomness. But it certainly filled the belly. We were stuck there until after the first dance, where the groom dances with his mom (We hand to lend moral support to my mom) and then we got the heck out of there and went back to our hotel.

I didn't feel well that night and I tossed and turned in bed until I got up and tried sleeping on the quintessential uncomfortable corner stuffed hotel chair. After that unsuccessful attempt, I promptly went into the bathroom and proceed to relive the eating of fried shrimp, fried ravioli, salad, pigs-in-a-blanket, pizza, vegetables, peas and potatoes, brisket and all sorts of other randomness in reverse motion. Not pleasant. From there, I sat against the hotel wall, wrapped in a blanket with my piercing side throbbing consistently. The next thing I know, Deidra wakes me up at 7ish as I am sleeping on the hotel floor.

I was feeling better, and we went down to get breakfast from the hotel, where we also stole a couple of bagels for our lunch. My younger brother had returned home that morning with my parents, so it was just Deidra and I for the drive home. We attended the LDS sacrament meeting there in Havre and then got on the road a little before 11am. We didn't know how far we wanted to travel that day, but I think we both knew that we wanted this trip to be over with ASAP. So we actually made it all the way to Idaho Falls, where we stayed the night at the Hillman Bed and Breakfast. The pancakes really are amazing. It was great to spend time with Brent, Karisa, and Hudson. Chod, Nikkala, and Bentley even came and visited, too.

We finally arrived home Monday evening and picked our garden's produce. (Thanks, Whit, for pillaging as much as you could while we were gone. You do good work.) And, to my surprise, I found that I have a baby watermelon about the size of a golf ball beginning to grow. Woohoo!

Anyway, I am glad to be back in Logan. There's nothing like spending 24 hours in a car to make you appreciate getting out of it once your home. I'm glad Deidra is my wife because she made the journey enjoyable (when she wasn't asleep). Even though she doesn't particularly like long road trips, she is an enjoyable companion to have on one. And if we ever go to Havre again ... it will be by plane.

P.S. If this post almost put you to sleep, then you know what we went through this trip.