Sunday, August 27, 2006
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
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.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Friday night was our one-year anniversary and it turned out pretty well. You can go to
Saturday morning we woke up early and got out the door a little after 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
While we were paintballing,
So we picked up the case and then headed into Burley, where both
After lunch, we hitched up the boat and went down to the river,
The following day (Sunday),
Then it was back to the Hartwell abode where we met up with my parents, younger brother,
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
Thursday, August 17, 2006
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
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
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 . . .
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
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
P.S. Maybe the melon needs a name. Any suggestions?
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Monday, August 07, 2006
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
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
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
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 on Friday and biked home, knowing that the long drive to
At about , we took the Logan (MT) exit, hoping to find the home of
The next morning, we went with
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
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,
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
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
P.S. If this post almost put you to sleep, then you know what we went through this trip.