Friday, November 25, 2011

Need some stocking stuffers?

Ok, I know I'm a little late on the Black Friday bandwagon today, but I have got a special deal just for you!

I recently ordered these handy-dandy download cards, which each have a unique code on the back that allows you to download my Racing & Retracing album.


Right now, on my website, you can get one of these download cards free with the purchase of any physical CD (including both my albums and compilation albums). Or you can buy the download cards separately for as little as $2!

Oh, and did I mention free shipping?

This deal will go through Monday, so take advantage of it while you can!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

NEW music video!

After the roaring success of the video I made last year while Deidra was gone, I decided to make it a yearly tradition (since she always seems to leave me in October). So, without further ado, I present you with the 2nd annual Chris Hartwell music video:


I used a new(ish) animation program available on YouTube called GoAnimate to create it. The free version is fairly limited, so I had to make due with I had. (And creatively work around a couple of things - like the 2-minute maximum video length.)

Feel free to make up your own story as to what's going on in the video, and leave a comment with your take on it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Winter is coming

I think we were spoiled with nice weather during the first half of October, but it has sure gotten cold fast! It's been windy and rainy for the past few days. In fast, I had to throw my umbrella away yesterday after the wind bent it beyond repair.

I don't look forward to winter, but hopefully it won't be as harsh as last year.


video

(I have no idea what that sun laser is all about, but it sure wasn't any help.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I miss this little girl

Millie is about the most awesome baby ever, but she's never been a giggler. She will smile the biggest gummy grin you've ever seen, squeal loudly with excitement, and grunt like she's trying not to laugh when you tickle her. But I've been trying, without success, to get her to giggle almost since she was born.

Well, I'm pretty sure she loves her daddy, because she gave me this little display the night before she and Deidra headed west:

video

Who knew that the trick was just to hit the book while you read it? Luckily, Deidra grabbed her camera and took this video so I can watch it every day that they are gone.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The lock out & The Sing Off

Another day, another short blog post (since our computer mouse problem seems to be more than just a dead battery problem now).

The Lock Out:
I locked myself out of our house this morning with my keys still on my dresser. No fun. 20 minutes and two removed window screens later (the first window was locked), I finally got back in. I just knew someone was going to call the cops if they saw me breaking into my own house, especially considering what happened to our next door neighbor last week. But, luckily, I was wrong. Now I just have to see if I can fit the window screens back into place, or if they'll ned to be replaced.

The Sing Off:
Maybe it's because I was once in an acapella singing group, maybe it's because I am a fan of the judges (Ben Folds, in particular), or maybe it's because I just really love good mucic. But I am really enjoying this season of The Sing Off. There's a cool group of Mormon boys from BYU and a jazzy, soulful DC group from Howard University that have been my favorites so far . . . up until this performance:



Seriously?! Five people using only their voices can come up with something as amazing as that?

Tell me you're not impressed. I dare you.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Survey says . . .

You thought my last blog post was lame? Try this one . . .

I’m currently enrolled in a survey course and was hoping I could ask for 15-20 minutes of your time to help on a class project. We need a number of people to fill out a series of surveys online, which can be found HERE.

If you have the time over the next week or two, the class would greatly appreciate your help. The surveys are completely confidential and are only being used as a learning exercise. Please let me know if you have any questions about our project.

If you take the survey, feel free to comment and let me know. The survey itself does not collect any names or personal information, so I'll never know you cared enough to take it unless you tell me.

THANKS!


P.S. If the link doesn't work, feel free to copy and paste this URL:

https://purdue.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9FC4HOrmshIcJNi

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Canning stash

For those who don't know, Deidra took Millie and flew out west to spend about a week and a half visiting family and friends, while I try to buckle down and plow through a big chunk of school work and research. So, since I've been such a slacker blogger lately, I decided to try to blog each day while she is gone. Unfortunately for you, the wireless mouse just died on our main computer (where most of the pictures and videos are located), and I can't find any replacement batteries. So until I rectify that situation (it didn't quite seem to justify an "ox in the mire" Sabbath trip to the store), no pictures or videos for you.

Instead, you get a listing of our canning food storage. You see, Millie has been sharing her room with our food storage and, before she gets mobile and curious enough to start grabbing jars of the shelves and/or to attempt climbing the selves (she is Lincoln's cousin, you know), I decided to move our food storage into the spare bedroom while Deidra and Millie are away.

Today shelves included all of our canning. Unshelving it all, moving the five-tier bookshelf, and reshelving it all again, made me realize we have more than I thought. So, because I have nothing else to blog (not because I think you're the least bit interested), here's a run down.

First, the fruit-based:

  • Apple sauce - 35 pints
  • Plums - 2 pints
  • Grapefruit - 4 pints
  • Pears - 12 pints
  • Peaches - 12 pints
  • Peach jam - 3.5 pints
  • Berry-strawberry jam - 3.5 pints
  • Blueberry syrup - 2.5 pints
  • Blueberry butter - 2 pints
And the vegetable-based:
  • Grean beans - 2 pints
  • Garlic green beans - 2 pints
  • Pickled hot peppers - 2 pints
  • Vegetable soup - 4 pints
  • Chili sauce - 4 pints
  • Stewed tomatoes - 10 pints
  • Salsa - 9.5 pints
  • Sweet salsa - 4 pints
  • Dill pickles - 6 pints
  • Sandwich dills - 7 pints
  • Dill relish - 5 pints
So there you have it. It may not be a full years worth of canning essentials, but I think we're off to a good start!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

My baby brother would be 30 today!

It's hard to imagine that it's been almost 20 years since the accident that forever changed my life.

It's hard to imagine that it's been 5 years since this blog post in Stephen's memory.

It's hard to imagine that the 10-year old boy that is frozen in my memory would be turning 30 today.

Happy birthday, Stephen.

(this is the picture I used to carry in my wallet growing up)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Last night, I started watching this video that had a timeline of clips of the news coverage on 9/11. After watching the first clip from 7am, before the attacks occurred, I was struck by how normal the day started out. How the upbeat words "Good Morning, America . . . it's Tuesday, September 11, 2001" seem so out of place now. I wanted to stop the video then, as if that would somehow stop the events that took place.

For a generation of Americans, that day will be forever shrouded in heartbreak and vulnerability. I was looking back at my journal entries as I was living in DC as a college student, and I think they do well at capturing my thoughts and emotions:

Tuesday, September 11: I was awakened by my roommate at around 10am as he flipped on the TV and told me that two planes had been flown into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City. We soon learned that another plane had been flown into the Pentagon building, only a couple of miles from the apartment in which I am writing this right now. And a fourth plane went down in Pennsylvania which was supposedly also headed here to DC, reportedly headed for either the White House or the Capitol building. . . . It is a very scary thought of all the lives that have been lost through these attacks. What is even more frightening is the possibility of a full-scale war. . . . Never have I even imagined something as drastic and traumatic as this event. . . . Many thoughts have been running through my head as I have watched the situation unfold . . . First of all, I love my family. The greatest comforts I have had this day were talking to my mom and dad. Second, nothing material in this world is important . . . Third, I want to do all I can to help the victims of this senseless tragedy. Right now, what that means is getting up early tomorrow to go give blood before class, as there is a blood shortage in New York and here in DC.


Wednesday, September 12, 2001: I went to sleep last night wondering how life could ever go on when I woke up. When I did awaken, the first thing I did was turn on the TV again. But after only a minute or two, I had had enough and had to get out. Going to class today was a blessing to get our minds off of these horrible events. Tonight, I went to a candlelight vigil on campus. . . It was an encouraging sight. I have never seen so many students at this campus come together as one. . . . Life will never be the same, but life will go on.


Thursday, September 13, 2001: The air is kind of still today as the situation is assessed, but it seems only a matter of time before retaliation. It's a nervous time to be here in the nation's capital. Pres. Hinckley is giving a satellite broadcast tomorrow and I am looking forward to hearing his words.


Friday, September 14, 2001: I didn't go to class today. But I did attend a satellite broadcast from the church headquarters in Salt Lake City, because President George W. Bush declared today a day of mourning and prayer. At the broadcast, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke and what caught my attention most was, instead of denouncing violence or retaliation, he said something to the effect that America is a land of freedom and we should do whatever we need to do in order to make sure that those freedoms are not taken away.

And, finally, one more entry from a year later:

Wednesday, September 11, 2002: It's been a year since the day that changed the life of every American. Today has been a really sobering day for me. It was really hard to do work today in the office. I didn't even turn the TV on because I didn't want to be bombarded with memories of last year. But I also refrained from putting on any CDs because I felt silence was more appropriate as a tribute of last September 11. . . . It's very strange - I am not sad or emotional, but I am choosing not to watch these shows or talk a lot about things because I feel that, even though this was an event that brought our nation together, the experiences I had were very personal. I have chosen to kind of withdraw from public observance in order to focus on personal contemplation.


Even now, it is difficult for me to watch 9/11 footage because of the memories and emotions it bring up. Memories of nervousness and uncertainty anytime I heard an aircraft fly through the closed airspace in DC. Memories of walking to class and passing armed, stoic military personnel and tanks on about every other corner. Memories of wondering when life would ever get "back to normal," but knowing that, in reality, "normal" itself had changed.

But even though life has changed, it still goes on. I am amazed when I think of all that has transpired in my life since that day. Among other things, I have been blessed with a beautiful wife and baby girl, and I have always had opportunities for growth with work, church and school.

Since 9/11, what "normal" is for me has certainly changed. But it has changed for the better.

(As a reminder, you can still download the song I wrote on 9/11 for free. More information HERE.)



Thursday, August 18, 2011

uno dos tres, cuatro cinco cinco seis

Today marks 6 years since this blissful day:


And six years,
three apartments,
one house,
two schools,
2.25 college degrees,
10 jobs,
75,000 miles,
a few hard times,
a lot of great times,
and one darn cute baby later . . .



. . . here we are.

Deidra is amazing and she and little Millie make me a happy man. Even with a lame anniversary, it's hard to imagine life getting better than it is right now - but I'll keep you posted. 

Somehow it just seems to keep happening.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What's in a name?

We named our little girl Amelia Grace Hartwell. But very rarely does she get called by her actual name (unless she's in trouble). Here are a list of some of the nicknames that she has been called (in alphabetical order):

Baby Girl
Bug
Burrito Baby
Happy Girl
Jabbersquawky
Love Bug
Millie-Girl
Millie Monster
Millie Moo
Munchkin
Pumpkin
Really Silly Frilly Millie Moo
Squawker
Sunshine
Sweetheart
Sweet thing
Tadpole
Thumper
Tookie
Turkey Lu

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tribute to 9/11


Five years ago, I posted the lyrics to a song I had written on 9/11. I made it a goal to get the song recorded and released before the 10 year anniversary this year.

Little by little, I got it recorded and have recently released it online. From now until September 11, it will be available to download for free from CD Baby.

Feel free to pass along the link:
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/chrishartwell3

(It should be on iTunes and other digital download sites within the next week or so, but why pay for it when you can get it for free?)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

One Year Behind Me!

My first academic year as a PhD student is finally behind me. While I am still working and doing research, I have no classes over the summer. So things are a little bit more laid back.

The first year was tough and a lot of work, but surprisingly not as difficult as I had envisioned. I think the fact that this is something I really enjoy helps me to focus the time and effort necessary to complete my classes and research goals well.

If you remember my previous post on my goals at the outset of the program, I have the following to report:

1. I wore a tie at least once a week throughout the academic year. Though, now that it is summer, I am much more casual in the office - sometimes even wearing short, and t-shirt, and/or a ball cap. I haven't decided if I am going to re-institute the tie rule again next year. Any thoughts?

2. I successfully made it through the academic year without buying lunch. Once that goal was set and the other students realized it was a serious commitment, it was pretty easy to stick to. And having frozen burritos and Ramen noodles in the office in the event that I forgot my lunch helped as well.

3. I didn't do any schoolwork on Sunday. I can't tell you how many times I just wanted to read an article, do some research or write part of a paper on Sunday, but I refrained. And with all As so far in the program, I am certain that I have been blessed for it.

4. The goal was to treat school like a job. And maybe that is why it hasn't seemed overly difficult. I have forced myself to focus and put in time that I know I haven't done with my previous college degrees. Now that it's summer, I am treating it less like a full-time job and more like part-time job.

5. I take the bus nearly every day to and from school. Sometimes, if Deidra is out running errands or shopping, she'll pick me up at school. Other times I bring my running clothes to school and then run the 3.5 miles home at the end of the day.

Next year will bring with it the final year of coursework, and then the all-inclusive comprehensive preliminary exam comes around about this time next year. If and when I pass that, I am basically done with classes and will spend the next 2-3 years focusing solely on research, teaching, and my dissertation.

I am open to suggestions for revising my goals and/or introducing new goals for the next academic year. Any suggestions?

Monday, June 13, 2011

2 Months Old

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this little girl?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Trapping greens

When Deidra's parents were here, one of the many things they accomplished was the building of these 4'x12' vegetable traps in our backyard.


With retractable lids covered with chicken wire, the traps are specifically designed to only trap live produce, while allowing birds and animals to escape safely and humanely. (The construction design was inspired by dolphin-safe tuna nets.)




As you can see, we've already captured some lettuce, carrots, spinach, radishes, onion, peas, and peppers so far. We have also put in some bait that will hopefully attract some cucumbers and squash. And no squirrels, rabbits, possums, chipmunks, or birds have been harmed in the process.

Monday, May 09, 2011

We like using SkyMiles. Help us get more!

I have entered a contest for 100,000 Delta SkyMiles. After a few days, our entry has moved from about 5,000th place into 219th place. The top 4 get 100,000 SkyMiles. I know it's a long shot, but I thought I would try anyway. Plus, I haven't blogged for a while, so this was a good excuse!

If you have a Facebook account, you can click on this link, allow the application, and vote for us. You should see this pretty little face when you do:




You can vote once a day, so keep the votes coming! Thanks!

You can copy and paste this link if the links above are not working:
http://apps.facebook.com/dreamredeem/gallery/view/categories/1_2_3_4/6417

Friday, April 29, 2011

Welcome to Fatherhood!

Warning: This posts contains references to infant bodily functions and is not for the squeamish.

I had one goal for tonight - to mow the lawn before it got dark. Just one goal.

Deidra was going off to a Relief Society meeting and I volunteered to keep Amelia here while she was gone. As long as Millie got fed before Deidra left, I figured I had a good 2-3 hours of a content, sleeping baby while Deidra was gone. It was the first time Millie and Deidra would be separated, and while Deidra was a little nervous, I assured her that I would be okay.

Somebody should have checked with Millie to see to get her thoughts.

Millie had been recently fed and was contently sitting in the front room in her bouncer when Deidra left at 7pm. Thinking of my one goal, I quickly accounted for what I needed to do to get the lawn mowed:

  1. Change a stinky bum.
  2. Put Millie in her PJs.
  3. Swaddle her in preparation for bed.
  4. Rock her to sleep.
  5. Put her in bed.
  6. Go mow the lawn (checking on Millie periodically).
I was convinced I could accomplish these tasks before it got dark around 9pm, and I got started in on the checklist. The first thing I did was pick up the bouncer, Millie and all, and walked into her room. I put Millie and the bouncer down on the floor and went about getting a new diaper and getting PJs ready. I then went to grab Millie, but before I got to her, I saw a stream of milk launch out of her mouth like water from a firehose. I had no idea that one little body could hold that much fluid, and that it could all leave her body so quickly.

If only I had know that this was just the beginning . . .

I quickly got her burp cloth and cleaned up the bouncer, her blanket, and her face as well as I could. I threw the blanket and burp cloth into the hamper and set Millie down on the ottoman of our glider to change her bum. I knew there was trouble as soon as I took off her pants and saw the mustard color seeping out of her onesie. 

Great! Millie's first blow out, and it happens on my watch! 

I got the new diaper and PJs out of the way and carefully undressed Millie, throwing her pants and onesie in the hamper along with the blanket and burp cloth. All this was done one-handed, while holding her feet up with the other hand to keep the blowout from contaminating the ottoman or anything else in the vicinity. I grabbed the wipes and before long had her bum spotlessly clean. I reached for the new diaper, and just at that moment, pee starts flowing like a dam just broke - all over the ottoman. I didn't know what to do, so . . . I didn't do anything and just let her do her business. No use wasting a brand new diaper when she's already peed all over the ottoman.

Plus, we were planning on refinishing that ottoman anyway, right?

Once she finished, I cleaned her off and put on the new diaper and pajamas and put Millie immediately into her crib. To her credit, even though she was wide-eyed and alert, she contently lied there in the crib while I washed out her soiled pants and onesie, applied stain remover, and put a load in the wash. Then I  took a wet hot rag and scrubbed down the ottoman. Finally, I washed the bouncer cover in the sink and hung it to dry.

Almost immediately after I finished these chores, Amelia started to cry. 

I guess she missed me, or she felt bad about putting me through all this. At any rate, she didn't want to go to sleep, but she would stop crying if I held her. So we just sat on the glider and read a couple of stories and chatted for a while. As her eyelids finally started getting heavy, I looked at her and just started laughing, thinking about everything that had transpired. I gave her a kiss on the cheek and told her that she was a little stinker, but that I couldn't help but love her all the more because of it. As soon as I said this, she got a silly little grin on her face and let out a few giggles. And my heart fully melted.

She fell asleep soon afterward and I put her in her crib, the adventures of the evening behind us.

And I even had time to mow the lawn.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Way to go, Deidra Zoe!

I am writing this blog post as I watch my wife and baby girl sleeping all snuggled up together. Dang they're cute!

Deidra and I welcomed Amelia Grace Hartwell into the world today at 12:09am. She weighed in at 7 lbs. 7 oz. and 20.5 inches long. And, of course, she is the most beautiful baby ever born into existence!

And while I am a new proud father, I am also an amazingly proud husband. If men had to go through what women have to go through in carrying and delivering a baby, I'm pretty sure humans would have been extinct long ago.

I was thinking of childbirth in comparison to running a marathon, since it takes so long and is so exhausting. However, I have come to realize that a marathon is about 100 times easier. Childbirth is like running an ultra-marathon that you can't really train for, you are not sure when it will happen, and you don't know how long the marathon is going to be. So you just keep running and hoping that somehow you'll reach the finish line. Oh, and did I mention that you have to sprint up increasingly steeper hills for bursts throughout the marathon at increasing frequent intervals?

But the pay off at the end of childbirth is much more rewarding (and a heck of a lot cuter) than a medal!

So, good work Deidra! You are an amazing woman. And good work little Millie, because I'm sure you've had a rough day as well. And rest on - I think you've both earned a peaceful sleep.

(P.S. I am sure more information and pictures will follow at some point soon!)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mission Areas - Volume 1: Salem, IN & Louisville, KY

When I began my two-year Mormon mission In the Kentucky Louisville Mission back in October of 1996, the first area I was sent was Salem, Indiana. I spent about four months there before being transferred to a different area, and had never been back until today.

Since this upcoming week is my Spring Break*, we decided to take a weekend trip to the National Maple Syrup Festival in Medora, Indiana (see Deidra's 12x12 recap review). And, since Medora is only a half hour away from Salem, we decided to stay the night and go to church in Salem this morning.


I recognized a few of the old timers in the congregation, but a lot had definitely changed. The congregation is smaller than I remember, but I guess that might be because there are now two congregations where there used to only be one.

After church, we went to the city center, where the courthouse stands.


As a missionary, we had an apartment on the square, directly across from the courthouse. At the time, it was above a nice, fun little flower shop. Apparently, now it's a sketchy bar:


Our final stop before turning around and heading home was another 45 minute drive south into Louisville, Kentucky. About a year into my missionary service, I spent a couple of months in the Louisville suburbs, but it was the quickest and least memorable area of the mission, so we didn't even bother stopping. However, we did stop to admire the Louisville temple. It was built long after I had ended my mission, so this was the first time I had seen it.


Until the Indianapolis temple is built, we may make Louisville our usual temple destination, since it takes about the same time to get there as it does to get to the one in Chicago, and it's a much nicer drive.

(P.S. Don't hold your breath for the future installments of this series. I figure about one mission trip per year is all I can expect Deidra to humor me with.)

* As  a PhD student, "Spring Break" basically means you still have to work, write papers, perform research, and attend meetings, but at least those pesky classes won't bother you.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

No Go BOGO


We've all seen the BOGO (Buy One, Get One) ads in mailers, commercials, storefront windows, etc. To me, that means you buy one at regular price and get one FREE!

Unfortunately, there's been a trend lately that defiles the 4-letter BOGO moniker by offering a deal that is much less enticing:


Yeah, Payless, I'm talking to you.

And sometimes it's even worse:


Buy one, get one 25% off? That's hardly even a deal! LAME!

Ok, random rant over.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day to me

I take the bus to school. And because I have class early in the morning this semester, that means waiting outside at the bus stop in zero degree weather before the sun has even come up. Brrrrrrr! That means stocking cap, winter coat, scarf, and gloves. I have even taken to wearing my snow boots to school so my feet don't freeze.

Once I get into the Krannert building and start to warm up, I can shed most of the extra clothing. The only problem are the boots. I am stuck with clomping around in them all day, even though I don't even go outside much once I get on campus. And when I heard a friend and fellow PhD student tell me that he kept a pair of slippers at his office, I was immediately jealous.

But because my wife is awesome, she convinced me to go slipper shopping. After an unsuccessful attempt to locate slippers on the clearance rack at Old Navy, we found this pair of slippers on clearance at Kohl's for less than $10. They quickly became my early Valentine's Day present. I couldn't wait to get to school today and try them out.

The verdict?

They were so warm and toasty - and much more comfortable than my snow boots. I was sad to leave them behind and put my boots back on as I left at the end of the day.

I highly recommend that a pair of slippers come standard at every office desk.

Friday, January 14, 2011

2010 Blog Awards

I thought it was interesting to look back at my blog for the past year and pull out some winners, losers, and statistics. So here you go:

The "Post with the Most" Award: The most commented post was, by far, the "Again" music video.

The "States that Rate" Awards: The top 5 states viewing my blog are (1) Utah, (2) Idaho, (3) California, (4) Michigan, and (5) Washington.

The "Googled & Oogled" Award: The search term that brought the most people to my blog in 2010 was "five guys vs in n out," thanks to this 2009 post.

The "Send 'em My Way" Award: The top referring website from last year was Deidra, closely followed by Whitney. I have a feeling it might have something to do with a trip to Paris we took together in January. They were too lazy to blog about it, so they just sent their readers to me. :-)

The big winner . . .

The "Peoples' Pick" Award: My most viewed post of last year was Part I of the Paris Trip (the prior award may have something to do with that). But, as with most sequels, apparently the fourteen subsequent Paris posts didn't bring the audience back.

And the big loser . . .

The "Viewed by So Few" Award: My least viewed post of last year was my call out for fantasy football.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Travel Tip from El Cheapo


Some of you may have read about my beverage of choice when flying, and I am proud to report that I held strong with the Cranapple again during our holiday flights. But today, I want to talk about the other part of the snack & beverage service. Yeah, it's the snack . . . how did you know?

It used to be that you were simply given peanuts, but now there are usually choices. On Delta flights (I don't really fly other airlines too often), the choices are always: peanuts, pretzels, and cookies. So which do you usually go with?

My el cheapo travel secret is that, if you're cool about it, you don't really have to make a choice!

Picture yourself in your seat as the snack and beverage cart draws near. You hear the flight attendant asking your fellow passengers what drink and what snack they want. (This is where I start to get a little nervous, because I feel like I'm about to get away with something.)

All of a sudden it's your turn.

"What can I get you to drink?" the flight attendant asks.

"I'll take a Cranapple."

That's the easy part. Just a simple drink - nothing out of the ordinary. Then comes the question you've been waiting for.

"Would you like a snack? We have peanuts, pretzels, and cookies."

Non-chalantly, you reply, "Can I get one of each?"

BOOM! Triple snack deliciousness, baby!

Usually the flight attendant doesn't mind, and it kind of catches them off guard. The next thing you know, you've got all three snacks piled on your tray table like a feast fit for a king!

(And then you realize how much you spent for the flight, how it's an hour and a half late, how you had to cram all of your belongings into a carry-on so you don't have to pay for checked luggage, and then how your all the overhead space was already taken up before you stepped on the plane and you had to check your bag anyway . . . all of a sudden your feast looks a little smaller. But at least it's a victory! And you want to tell all seven people that read your blog about it, so that they, too, can partake of the goodness.)

Anyway, for some reason, it really does make me nervous. Just ask my wife. Sometimes, if I don't think I'll be able to pull off the trifecta, I'll respond: "Can I get peanuts and cookies?" (Pretzels aren't integral to my snacking pleasure - just an added bonus.) Though, to be honest, I've never had a flight attendant shut me down on any request yet. Maybe as this becomes common knowledge, they'll have to crack down. And then I'll curse the day I ever posted this blog post.

But, until then, enjoy the triple snacking crown.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fantasy Football 2010 Champion


After eight years of heading a fantasy football league, including six years of the WEPCO league, and after years of enduring injuries, archrivals, and curses, I finally took the championship trophy in fantasy football. Not that anyone cares (nor should they), but I just wanted it stated for the record.

P.S. Thank you Michael Vick, for making it all possible.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Top 10 of 2010

Following in the tradition of last year's post, the following are what I consider the top ten accompishments, creations, experiences and highlights for me of 2010:

10. Bizarre HR blog: I'm pretty much the worst blogger around, but it was fun to create a blog about something that is a large part of my previous, current, and future life at work and school. I keep emailing myself ideas to add to the blog, and someday I might even post them on the blog!

9. Having my gall bladder removed: Hopefully that means no more sleepless, pain-filled nights.

8. Releasing "Iris": I have long wanted to record a number of cover songs, and when I won the opportunity to release a free single on CDbaby.com, it gave me the opportunity to start with this Goo Goo Dolls cover. (It is now available on CDbaby and on iTunes.)

7. Completing a Children's Book: I got the idea for a children's book 15 years ago and I started writing it about five times since then. This year, that became one of my Sunday activities. I wrote a little here and a little there, and eventually it got completed. Now I'm trying to figure out what to do with it.

6. Recording the video for "Again": Sometimes I miss the time for personal creativity that I used to have when I was single and in a dead-end 9-5 job. (Though that's about the only thing that I miss.) So I had to make use of a full Saturday with nothing planned and Deidra away. Now the only problem is coming up with a good idea for follow-up video . . .

5. The Ragnar Wasatch Back Relay Race: Running almost 200 miles in about 30 hours. I don't really think I ever posted about it on this blog, but you can read recaps from other members of the Wilkins Wonders team here, here, here, here, and here.

4. Paris: My first time outside of the U.S. that was not tied to some sort of school excursion. Deidra was the queen of planning a great experience. Who needs a live tour guide when you've got Rick Steves? It was great to spend the time with Deidra and with Whit & Brian. It's probably my favorite vacation ever (so far). About 1/4 of all of my blog posts last year were spent recapping the trip because I thought it was so awesome. Next up? Convincing my dad that we should take a family trip to Norway (where he served as a missionary many years ago).

3. Expecting our First Baby: Ok, so many of you (my wife included) might be thinking, how can this NOT be number 1? . . . Well, to be honest, I initally had it there, but then I realized that it still seems kind of surreal to me, and it's not like it has impacted our lives all that much so far. But don't worry, my guess is that baby girl will be at the top of the list next year.

2.  Buying a House: It's quaint and it's old, but it's been well maintained and it's ours. No sharing walls and no landlords to deal with.

1. Starting my PhD program: We moved from Utah to Indiana, and I feel like the rest of my life has now been put in motion with the start of this degree. I'll spend 4-5 years working on the degree so I can find a job as an Assistant Professor, the next 7 years or so working toward tenure as an Associate Professor, then a few more years working toward becoming a Full Professor, and perhaps even a few more to become Chaired Professor. It's kind of crazy to think of my next 20 years mapped out like that, but also comforting to know I've got a plan.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Daddy-daughter duet

It's stuff like this that makes me even more excited to be a dad: