Monday, June 30, 2008

A man drives to a gas station...

...to get his tank filled up. The gas pumper spots two penguins sitting in the back seat of the car.

He asks the driver, "What's up with the penguins?"

The man in the car says "I found them. I asked myself what to do with them, but I haven't had a clue."

The clerk ponders a bit then says, "You should take them to the zoo."

"Hey, that's a good idea," says the man in the car and drives away.

The next week the man with the car is back at the same gas station. The clerk sees the penguins are still in the back seat of the car.

"Hey, they're still here! I thought you were going to take them to the zoo."

"Oh, I did," says the driver, "And we had a swell time. Today I am taking them to the beach."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Will you be my Grandpappy?

As long ago as Dillon and I got our new calling, we still haven't taught yet. Our first lesson is this Sunday. We both feel a bit clueless, so Dillon asked the Sunday School President for some advice. He gladly agreed and wanted us to meet with him at his house. He has quite the resume and was more than helpful with teaching strategies. He even gave us a wonderful check list for lessons. Great advise! This wasn't what struck me about him though.

When we walked into his home, he had us sit at his table. The table top was divided into four sections. Each section was wood burnt with images of humming birds and cherry trees that were painted with plant dyes. It was absolutely gorgeous. The chairs were simple, but also very nice with a single oriental symbol in the middle of each back rest and a muted mauve cushion. When I commented on its beauty he pointed out his other oriental pieces in the house. There were several paintings, a large chest, a sideboard cabinet and a couple of things inside it. All so nice. As I wistfully looked around even more, I decided that his taste in decor was delightful.

As we talked he mentioned that he teaches a poetry class at the senior citizens' center every week. With what I am sure were big, awe-struck looking eyes, I said, "You write poetry?" He nodded and said that he is seriously considering getting published. I asked him if he had a sample I could read. As he went to get it from his car, he tossed what looked like a knitted throw at me. "Check that out," he said, "I just got that back from being blocked." My hands moved over its incredibly soft, light brown intricate, yet understated, leaf pattern.

I whispered to Dillon, "Did he say he made this?!?" Dillon said he thought so.

When he came back from his car with a binder full of papers (that I later learned were all poems), I clarified that he did indeed make it. He told me that it's one of those things you put one arm through and throw the other end over your shoulder, around your neck. I pictured him adorning himself with his creation as he motioned with his hands. I smiled, seeing him in it. 'What a cool old man,' I thought.

He set a paper on the table. He explained that he grew up in a very small town - Hyde Park, UT - and that this poem was inspired by his childhood there. He was considering the poem as his opening piece in his first published collection. It was a great poem with great visual images of 'sepia mesas' and 'opaque nights.' Love it. I was also struck by the style he used in that poem. It was like that majority of my poems - free verse, capitals starting every line, no (or little) punctuation. I brought it up to see why he did that and we talked a bit about it. It was great to hear that he liked the effect it had on this particular poem, but, unlike me, he uses different styles depending on the poem. I told him I would love to read all his works and he smiled, "I doubt that." He said that he was looking through his poems on his computer and there were over 1100 pages in the document. I will buy his book though.

He also picked up painting in his mid forties. I think I caught some glimpses of his art in his garage as we were leaving. There was one, at least, that I would buy from him. Very cool.

I felt like the entire time I was there I was a kid in a candy store - a giant candy store. There was so much to take in while I was there, between the things in his home and what I learned about him, that, just as I thought I had gotten over the awe of the previous experience, I would discover something else.

At 77 years old, he is a 'white hair,' as he put it, but, as is, is one of the most fascinating, sharp, educated people I know. I just want to just follow him around all day like a little puppy and would if I could. I feel like I could learn so much from him.

So uh, what do ya say, Florin... you wanna be my Grandpappy?...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Today, I Thought of You

My brother, Paul, loves to put his name (and face) on things. It would seem egotistical to many, but I don't think that would be an entirely accurate assessment. I really haven't figured out what it's all about yet.

He has superimposed his face over Gandi's, a Beatle, some politician shaking hands with JFK, just to name a few. He also built my brother Bill's computer to show a much too large image of his own head with the letters "P-Machine," or something terribly tacky like that, on startup.

That said, I think it was only appropriate that this car I saw made me think of him.


Some dude (named Paul) decided that his POS hoopty needed a personalized license plate with his name and suggestion that he is a secret agent. Holy crap!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's easier to get forgiveness than permission...

This is one of my mottoes. This probably says a lot of bad things about me and how I work, but it's the truth and won't change any time soon.

I planted these outside my apartment complex. I don't know if they allow it, but I would only assume not, knowing this place.


I figure, if I keep them nice and pull them out if they die, they should thank me for making this place a little nicer. I love mums and am sick of waiting for my own yard to plant something. So there you go. And, to be frank, I am not interested in forgiveness from these people either...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Dillon and I have a lot of good dads in our lives. Fatherhood is so important. Thank you, dads, for all you have done and continue to do. Our own dads, Steve and Doug, have helped shape us into the people we are today. Dillon's uncles and granddads have been great father-figures to him too. My two older brothers, Bill and Rob, are excellent dads. They are shaping some of my favorite people and doing a great job. I cannot thank them enough for that. I hope you dads have a great day and know how loved and appreciated you are. THANK YOU.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Skadoosh!

Kung Fu Panda is skadoosherrific - that means awesome in Panda! I plan on seeing this movie again in theaters and buying it when it's out on DVD. I recommend this movie to everybody. The plot is surprisingly sound. The characters and lovable and not too corny. Jack Black, as Po the Panda, is hysterical. This is a great, all around feel-good movie.


*Hi-Yah!*

Another Live Animal Cam

Click on the images below to watch a live feed of a mama lion and her babies! Hopefully they won't die too...



She seems like such a good mama. So beautiful.

Friday, June 13, 2008

My Fun Day

Today I had to have an upper GI endoscopy with biopsy. The procedure went really well. It was very quick and painless. This is the instrument they use for this kind of procedure.

Images (warning - some readers may find the following images disturbing):

key for the location of each image











Please contact me if you are at all curious about the findings.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I totally LOL-ed out loud from this one!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Mill Creek Fun

We went up Mill Creek Canyon this evening with Nolan and Heather. We had a fire, a picnic, and roasted marshmallows. I love roasting hot dogs. Yummy. I love roasting marshmallows too but don't like eating them.

Nolan's firewood was damp so we had a bit of a time trying to start the fire. Luckily some nearby people had lighter fluid and were kind enough to let us use it. We used it all and they came back looking for it when they switched from using the barbecue to the fire pit. We felt bad that we used it all, so I gave them one of our really hot, embery, on fire logs. They were appreciative. We also gave them the rest of the marshmallows.

I was fun. The weather was perfect - cool enough to need the fire when the sun went down, but warm enough that we were more than comfortable when it was still light. Perfect time of the year too. No bugs out yet.

Dillon bought Nolan a shirt online that he thought he might like. We gave that to him tonight. It fits him really well, and he really likes it.

Nolan looks like a scary commie, the shaved head is a nice touch


Dillon is so cute, you just want to feed him marshmallows


I heard that blackened marshmallows are a delicacy in some places


Okay, you don't like blackened, how 'bout on fire

Friday, June 06, 2008

Freaky Friday

Last Friday, I experienced one of those "pinch me" moments. Photographs taken by Brazil's National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) were made public and were quickly published on most news wire web sites.

The photos in question were aerial shots of a village inhabited by an "uncontacted" tribe deep in the Amazon somewhere along Brazil's border with Peru.

These dudes are firing arrows at the plane!

Holy crap! These photos are so surreal. It's like looking at pictures taken during a trip in a time machine.

Details in the various articles I've read are a bit ambiguous. I guess it's to be expected given that it is probably difficult to know much about these people and their culture without visiting them, and measures are obviously being taken to prevent people from finding this and other remote villages in the area.

My mind reels with observations and questions as I examine these images. How long since this tribe diverged from a larger population? How isolated are they, do they interact with neighboring tribes? Check out their technology: pitched roof dwellings, woven baskets, longer bows than were used by indigenous populations in ancient South America, domesticated animals(?) and agriculture(?). What about that body paint? Were these guys dressed up for holiday, ritual, warfare, or is that an every day thing? How exactly have they remained so isolated? How far do they travel beyond their village? How has this little fly-by in a small plane impacted these people's understanding of history and their belief system? Would their immune systems protect them from our germs?

I'm still finding that these photos are almost too real to believe. These pictures have proven a very fascinating and weird way to be exposed to something that has always been an abstract, almost mythological concept to me. Freaky.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

My Glimpses of Heaven

I have always loved kids. They are so pure and good. I was 11 going on 12 when became an aunt. That seems so long ago, but, at the same time, I can't believe she'll be 14 next month. Since then I have been blessed with 7 other nieces and nephews. They are some of my favorite people on this earth. I don't think they will ever know how much they have enriched my life and how much I love them.

Whitney - was the first. I remember how smart she was from the beginning. She was always 'blowing my mind' with things she said or comprehended at a very early age. When she was born until she was 5, we lived in Idaho while she lived here in Utah. She is the only one that called, and still calls, my mom 'Grandma-Idaho.' She is so energetic and has her dad's sense of humor - sarcastic and witty. I have many pictures where everyone is in focus except Whitney. She is a blur doing something that has her moving quicker than my camera shutter. She, being the oldest, and I have had some neat opportunities to talk and bond after her siblings went to bed when I babysat them. She is always in charge and demands the 'spotlight' when it comes to her friends and siblings.

Hailey - came into my life 4 years later. She was so much rounder than her sister as a baby and had bright orange hair which has turned into a beautiful auburn. From the beginning she has been a 'screemer' as I like to call it. I remember one time in a crowded restaurant, out of the blue, 2 year old Hailey screeched at the top of her lungs, and it seemed to quiet the entire place. She wasn't upset or anything. She stopped immediately after she got the attention she was after. To this day, her extreme vocals get results. Hailey has always been so polite and grateful too. She enjoys being by herself. She has an imagination that is out of this world and has a fantastic ability to entertain herself with whatever she has before her. She also uses it to create drawings that are very good for her age.

Brooklyn - was third. She just turned 8 and was baptized last month. She has an appropriate birthday for an accountant's daughter of April 15th. She has always been the most cuddly of the kids. She just wants to be with you and is perfectly content with sitting on your lap for hours. I remember when she was born it was like looking at baby Whitney all over again. They still look very similar. Brooklyn is very mature for her age in many ways. She a great ability to be the peacemaker and help reconcile her older sisters' arguments. She is very honest as well. She is intuitive and loving. She has always seemed to come by friends quickly and easily.

Aubrey - was the first for my second oldest brother, Rob, and his wife. She was born just 7 months after Brooklyn and has been a great friend to her cousin. Aubrey seemed to hit the ground running. She started walking so early in life - I want to say 8 months, but I'm not for sure. She didn't walk for long before she ran and climbing came so quickly after that. She has always had such an advanced physicality about her. She has a curious nature about her when it comes to her younger siblings. You can almost hear her think, 'I wonder what will happen when I do this...' It usually results in anger and/or tears from the recipient, yet I believe the intentions are rarely menacing. She's not a typical girl in that she can usually shake things off pretty easily. She is also tough and fun to get rowdy with.

Jordan - was a nice surprise just after her older sisters first birthday. They are exactly 13 months apart. Since the beginning she has had adorable curls that won't quit. She says that she got them from Emily, my brother Paul's wife. Jordan is timid and sweet, but sometimes, when you're least expecting it, she'll knock your socks off with the funniest comment or observation. Her face is so expressive when she's doing it too. Just last month she said something to her dad that I died over. Rob will have to remind me if he remembers. She is a care giver and helper. She is always helping her mom out around the house and taking care of others. They used to have a Chihuahua that was totally Jordan's. She was so good with that dog, and it went everywhere with her - even as a stow-a-way. There were many times when Rob and Sheri brought the dog with them and they had no idea because Jordi snuck her along.

AJ - was the first boy and is Bill and Julie's last child. He came in December of '02. From day one he has been a spitting image of his dad. The only big difference I see is his amber eyes to his dad's blue eyes. AJ's eyes are very pretty and unique. He has always been so affectionate too. Since he was very young he has loved kissing things - especially people's faces. Sometimes I couldn't breathe but I was so hard telling him no because he was so adorable. A couple of years ago I remember picking up one of his favorite DVD's and noticing it was filthy. The readable side was covered in something. I asked AJ what happened to his DVD and he said, "I was kissing it." I think AJ also has a world record for cognizant video game playing. He has been playing video games and knowing what he was doing since he was a year and a half old. He's really good and loves to play.

Dalan - was the second boy. He was born just 5 days before Dillon and I were married. He also looks just like his dad, but not in the same way as Bill and AJ. Dalan looks like Rob now, not when Rob was a kid. It's so funny. He is his 'Mini-Me.' He is such a little man too. I never would have thought a 2 year old could be full of testosterone, but he was and is still. He and his dad wrestle relentlessly. One time when Rob was working on landscaping his yard, Dalan stood up on the rock wall, puffed out and banged his chest and growled. Too funny. This boy's huge too. He was wearing cloths made for 4 year olds at 2. Good thing his dad is training him to like football. He does have a softer side as well. He lets he auntie see it almost every time we get together. He can be so sweet and inquisitive and just want to play or read with you.

Madison - is last but certainly not least. She is just 2 1/2 years old now. When I look at her I still have flashbacks to her sister Aubrey. They look so much alike. As Maddy gets bigger though she develops more and more things that are just hers. She has the cutest dimple - just one - on her cheek below her eye when she smiles. I don't think she ever did crawl. Before she walked, she used to navigate the room by sitting on the floor and pivoting on her feet with her hands and back on to her bottom. Then she would shuffle her feet to change the direction she was facing and do it all over again until she reached her destination. It is one of the most complex modes of getting from point A to B that I have ever seen, but she had it down. It was incredible. Madison's favorite expression is a scowl. He uncle TJ calls her 'Moody Maddy.' Even when she smiles she still has a bit of a wrinkle between her eyebrows. These days it looks more contemplative than grumpy. Maybe I have just been misreading her all this time.

So that is the gang. That's all that Bill or Rob will have so it's up to the rest of us to make more. Like I said, these children have brought more joy into my life than I think they or their parents will ever know. I love them all so much.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Am I Dead Yet?

Yup, I'm still sick. This is the worst (longest) sickness I have had, that I can remember, were there wasn't a serious condition that caused it. This has just been an awful cold/flu thing. This is also the first time that I have missed more that one day in a row from work due to sickness since I started over two years ago. I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel though. I went to the doctor yesterday and got on antibiotics. I can already see it helping. Let's just say, the secretions from my face aren't nearly as colorful as they used to be. I was planning on going to work today, but when morning rolled around, I couldn't move. I was exhausted. I slept until nearly 2pm today and I probably will go to bed early tonight. I told my boss that I would be there with bells on tomorrow, and I sure hope I will be. These two days I have missed are the busiest on my schedule, so I am sure my absence has been felt. I hate making other people do my job. Anyway, I am hoping to be back at it tomorrow and not feeling like I am dying...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

My Bishop Calls it Bold

Many words have been used to describe my strong personality, including (but definitely not limited to) bossy, argumentative, stubborn, aggressive, know-it-all... you get the point. I have chosen one that I like the best. On Tuesday our bishop referred to me as bold. I like it!

Why were we meeting with out bishop you ask? Well even if you didn't, I will tell you. He decided that Dillon and I needed a new calling.

I've always loved callings as opportunities to grow and learn. I am a true believer in degression when opposition is lacking and whole heartedly believe the opposite to be true as well. Because of this I love and embrace change and challenges.

For those of you that haven't experienced this, one can kind of always tell when they are going to be given "an opportunity to serve" in a new church calling. There is a look on the bishop's face that seems to be universal. I can't pinpoint it, but I have always been able to anticipate them.

Last Sunday someone from the ward called Dillon to schedule an appointment with the Bishop for Tuesday - just Dillon, not me. We went to the church together and I was just going to wait outside for him but he wanted me to come in with him. When the bishop saw that we were both there he had me come in too. That is when I saw the look and knew a calling was soon to come.

I was thinking primary because we sub a lot and the primary presidency always makes comments about how they want to have us there permanently. I know primary. I have done it a lot and it's pretty easy to me. That should have been my first clue that this was no primary calling.

Dillon and I have been called to be Gospel Doctrine teachers. Repeat after me class, 'gross feelings of inadequacy.' I can genuinely say that I do not feel like I know enough to teach the adult Sunday school class. I trust the bishop enough to know that he knows what he's doing, but it's scary. I am close to the (if not, the) youngest person in that class and Dillon is not far behind.

With that said, I am really looking forward to the challenge and potential to grow and learn. I think that Dillon and I compliment each other very well in so many ways and our teaching styles are certainly one of them. For example, he keeps me on track and factual while I tend to add emotion and feeling to the topic. It will be fun to work together to prepare lessons and learn more about each other too.

I have many extreme emotions right now: excitement, nervousness, anticipation, fearfulness, anxiousness, hopefulness... boldness is not one of them at the moment...

One more thing, Dillon and I were sustained today in sacrament meeting. I am still deathly ill so I didn't go. When I picked him up from church he said that the bishop needed to meet with us later in the week and that we weren't sustained today. I was like, "Ok." I just thought he meant that they would do it next week. Then Dillon said that one of the relief society ladies raised their hand in opposition to me being in that calling. The look on my face must have been pretty funny because Dillon started cracking up almost immediately. Or maybe he just couldn't stand how funny he thought he was. I didn't think it was nice for him to pick on his cute, sick wifey...