Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mary's

We went over to Mary's (Dillon's cousin) house on Friday for dinner. They live really close, but we haven't seen them since before Christmas - yes, Dillon's a bad cousin. :-P Mary thinks he's a drug dealer or pimp or something because he's always got these mysterious "errands" he's got to run... I wonder.

Carol (Dillon's other cousin) and her kids were in town and we got to visit with them too. It's crazy to see how big the kids are getting. Her youngest started crawling a few days ago. I swear he was just born a week before that.

JD (yet another of Dillon's cousins - all siblings - 7 total from that fam) and his wife, Lauri were there too. Lauri just had a b-day so we ate some awesome icecream cake Carol and Mary made. Mmmmm.

Dillon and I were babysitting Bill's youngest three and brought them along. Brooklyn spotted an awesome rainbow while we were there. It was so big, I had to piece three pics together to get it all.


Hailey had an idea to make a reality show about rainbow chasing - funny girl.


Hailey and Michelle took turns taking pictures of each other...


...and a bunch of other stuff.


Then on Saturday we saw the rest of Dillon's cousins, their kids, and his aunt and uncle at Mike's (the oldest of the 7 cousins from Alan and Ani) youngest, Tyler's, baptism. I absolutely love Dillon's family. They are so warm and fun. I hope Dillon's mysterious work slows soon so we can spend more time with them. ;-)

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Age Old Nature vs Nurture Debate

What is it that makes some value life in all creatures and others blatantly disregard it?And the infinite spectrum in between?

I have been watching a couple of swallows tediously build a mud nest right above our covered parking spot for almost a month now. Although I love my car clean, I didn't mind the mud splats they would drop on it as they passed by.



They built it so well and so quickly. I was impressed. As I was coming and going I tried very hard not to disturb them. Now I am kind of wishing I had so they would have nested somewhere else.

I pulled into the parking lot last night to see two little boys. One was holding a 6 foot or so long stick. When I saw it and them, my heart sank. I didn't know why at that moment, but the next told me as I saw what most would see as just a dirt clot on the ground.


I didn't try to avoid hitting it as I parked. In fact I hoped I would run it over to be sure if anything survived the fall, any suffering would then cease. Seeing me roll over it must have rekindled the little urchins' curiosity for their destruction because they came back over as I got out of my car. As angry as I was, I fought to not show it. I asked in almost a joyful tone, "Did you guys knock this down?" Weapon in hand, they both answered no. I followed with, "Did you see who did?" Again it was negative.

Then the younger, stick-less brother said, "The bird bit my brother," pointing to the stick bearer.

"That's because the mommy bird was trying to protect her babies," I told them.

"Why?" he inquired.

"Because she loves them and wants them safe, just like your mommy with you two," I continued to attempt to teach, "See these?" I pointed to the shattered eggs on the pavement.


"They were her babies, but now they are dead. That's why she's so upset right now." I pointed to the frantic, adult swallow flying around.

"Oh, look, it's BLOOD!" he said as he moved closer to the eggs. His excitement and lack of remorse of any kind infuriated me, and so I walked away.

I was obviously upset as I entered our apartment. I felt stupid for crying about it, but Dillon was very understanding and empathetic. He let me vent and comforted me. He also introduced the question, "What makes some people respect and value life and others not?"

Kids like these are not uncommon, especially where we live right now. In the vast majority of the cases, their parents make one realize their children are mirrors of them and their general apathy. I would say, these kids probably have never been taught differently, but what made the kid lie? If he didn't know better or anything different, why would he lie? Granted, the kid could just be a liar, but I think it's more.

Dillon has specific memories of his mother guiding him while handling or treating animals with things like, "be careful," "not too rough," etc, and I, on the other hand don't. I have recollections of my dad treating animals in ways I didn't like at all. Nothing too serious, but I chose to take animals' consideration into account way more than he did.

Can the way kids act really be blamed on their parents? Especially when they are grown? Could some really be put into a situation that they cannot over come well - whether it be nurture, nature or both? My beliefs make me say, no. Being a product or victim of your environment is a choice that is made and one must take accountability for that.

Another factor that comes into the equation that this debate always lacks for me is the soul. The essence of an individual. The basis of existence. The being that, without mortal limitations, is who we truly are. That is the key to overcoming the nurture and nature we have been thrust into.

I believed ingrained into our souls is a knowledge of its origins and a value of life. Temporal self-service, laziness, vanity, or other mortal vices often cloud and even void these roots, but I believe they are always there - somewhere.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day with Hailey-Bear

My mom and I thought it would be fun to take my niece, Hailey, out for a day for her birthday. It was in May and we haven't had a chance to have her party yet. Her birthday falls on such a busy time for her and her family with school ending, swimming meets, etc.

She had a swim meet Saturday, so we watched her swim before we went out. Her mom, Julie, was a state swimming champ, so all her kids swim. This was the first time I've gotten to see any of them go at it though. It was fun to see, and she did great.

Her first event that we saw was the 100 m backstroke.


Her last even was the 100 m free-style.


I tried to get a shot of her diving off, but I totally missed.


The meet was outside and it was so cold and rainy. She was such the little trooper.


After the meet, we went out to eat. Hailey picked Red Robin because they have the best grilled cheese sandwiches. I thought they were all the same, but now I know.

After we filled out bellies we went toy shopping for her with the money grandma gave her for her birthday. After much debate and swapping out, she settled on two toys she liked.

Then it was off to the movies. Hailey wanted to see Night at the Museum even though she had already seen it. My mom and I hadn't seen it and wanted to, so it worked out well. We laughed a lot and chowed on movie snacks and drinks. It was a cute flick.


I am so glad my mom and I were able to spend some quality time with Hailey. She is such a funny, kind, polite, cute girl and we love her to pieces.

Oh, Doug...

Tonight concluded a series of weekends babysitting Doug the dog - three out of four to be exact. Cevin is so happy it's over. She was best the second time. I think the initial fear lessened the second time and the third she was just being bitchy more than anything. They spotted "cuddling" on Saturday though. Cevin denies the entire thing.


Yeah, that's as "cuddly" as it gets. Doug was just so interested in her and she wanted him as far away as possible. He was so enamored, he cleaned her litter box one time. I almost lost it when I figured out what he had done. Ew! And he's a licker, so he was grounded from that after I found out. Why do dogs do that?!?!

Doug's the only dog I've ever walked that walks too slowly. His bursts of energy are so explosive and brief, after a less than block I am almost dragging him the rest of the way. I wonder how far his walks normally are. I never did ask. He's the only animal I've met that's more sedentary than Cevi.


Heather packed all of his things in his own bag and he so knew it was his. He would riffle through it looking for a toy he wanted to play with, or scratch at it with his paw when he wanted to go for a walk. He's pretty darn cute.


Dillon's nicknamed him roadblock for obvious reasons.

On Saturday, I misplaced him. After calling for him and not finding him, I asked myself, How does one lose a 120 lb dog in a 1000 sq foot apartment? I wouldn't have thought it possible. He wasn't any help in locating him either. He didn't make a sound, but when I looking in the kitchen, I suspected I knew where he was.


He had been sneaking into the pantry to smell the stuff on the selves and in the garbage. I had told him no, but he kept going in.


Sure enough. He had gone into the pantry inadvertently shut himself in with his massiveness. I died when I found him. He acted like he'd been rescued. What killed me is that he didn't even make a sound when I was calling for him. He just stood there, I am sure, in his little dark hole sulking. That was the last time he went into the pantry though. Silly boy.


All in all, he was a good boy and we had fun with him. I am sure he's glad to be home with his fav peeps, and I will be finding his hair around the place for months to come.

My Coccyx!

I just pulled the lamest move. I was sitting in my husband's wheelchair while Nolan, Heather and Dillon were sitting on the couch. I can wheely indefinitely in his chair if I want to, and have been sitting in it (off and on of course) now for almost 7 years with no incident. This time, I wasn't even doing anything fancy. I have no idea how it happened, but I, out of the blue, tipped over backwards in it. I didn't even know all four wheels weren't on the ground. It happened in slow motion too, and, in leaning far forward trying to catch myself, I totally landed right on my tailbone. I cannot count how many times that little bone has broken my fall. It aches at times from the abuse I have given it. Well, now I have another reason for it to hurt. Damn! I am way to beefy to be falling. At least Dillon, Heather and Nolan got a good laugh. Apparently I am hilarious when I hurt myself. Yay! ;-P

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Fall, a Winter, a Spring, and a Fall

Although we were assured yesterday that we would have a summer this year, the weather sure isn't cooperating yet. We were also told last night by a local meteorologist that of the 15 days in June, 13 have had rain. Utah has not nearly been the worst weather in the US either. There are mushrooms growing everywhere, and, while I have been told numerous times that only trained mycologists can determine if they are safe to eat, a part of me is always tempted to do so.

While the weather has not proved to be, we have had a great indicator of summer's arrival - movies. Dillon and I are back into seeing at least one a week and are still behind. Here are the latest and my opinion and rating of them out of 5 stars.



This movie was everything you could hope for - great characters, bad-ass action scenes, love, and depth. So good. Besides, any movie with will.i.am in it has to be great, right? I love the new Sabertooth - so much better. There is a teaser after the credits, but it's pretty lame and not worth the time you spend waiting for it.


Star Trek (twice)4.5 out of 5 stars

Skeptical Trekkies were proven wrong with this one. The cast was amazingly true to the originals while conveying this totally unique story. Each of my family members I've talked to about it have a different favorite. Mine was "Bones" (the Dr). He was so good. Being a Heroes fan, I was skeptical myself that Sylar could convince me he was Spock, but he nailed it! Through the entire movie, I thought nothing of him but good, logical, and all things Spock. There was even a cameo from the original cast. So cool! The way they did the story was ingenious. You don't have to have seen any Star Trek before to enjoy it, and they have left it wide open for sequals - two very good things.



I liked this movie well enough. It held my attention and was a lot easier to follow for me than The Da Vinci Code. Dillon says it's because we were in the theater so I didn't get up and wander around like I did watching Da Vinci Code in our living room. I don't know though. I just found the plot a lot more entertaining. The twist in the plot seemed a little forced to me, but I would recommend it anyway. Tom Hanks is great no matter what he's doing.



I was surprised by how much I liked this movie. It even made me tear up at the end. What also surprised me was that John Conner wasn't really the main character. It really focused on the machine that thought he was human. He was more like a cyborg and super nice to look at. ;-)


UP (twice)4.5 out of 5 stars

We saw this in both 3D and regular. I would definitely recommend saving your buck and watching it regular. I hate how dark the 3D glasses make movies, and there weren't any "super pop-outs" that make the lack of brightness worth while. The colors, on the other hand, were brilliant and used throughout to set tones and moods - yet another reason to forgo the 3D. No surprises here that this movie was amazing. Dillon and I loved Russell and Doug (the kid and the dog) and are still quoting them. Yes, we are quoting the dog - he talks. "I just met you, and I love you." (soooo like our Doug the dog - which we dog-sat again this weekend) Anyway, this movie was amazing and is a must see for 2009. I gained some pre-appreciation for this movie as well while listening to NPR on our way out of town last weekend.



And last, but not least (barely), Land of the Lost. I think it only deserves 3 1/2 stars, but that, by no means, means I didn't thoroughly enjoy it. It was so cheesy, corny, and odd and I LOL-ed the entire time. I adore Will Ferrell and he didn't disappoint as a jack-ass, self-absorbed scientist. As with Star Trek, you don't have to have seen the original series to get this movie. Actually, it's probably better if you haven't. Holly and the Dr are kind of an item in the movie, and that would have been so wrong in any country or parallel universe, for that matter, in the original. I was disapointed that Chaca wasn't cute at all - so ugly and horny - not cute. If you get a kick out of that crazy, SNL-esque humor or even if you just don't hate it, I would recommend this movie.

These seen, I still have a list of recently released/almost released movies that I need to see too:

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
The Proposal
Imagine That
Year One
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
My Sister's Keeper

So even if Brian Williams is wrong, at least we will be entertained throughout the summer months.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Come What May, and Love It

We had the best lesson in Relief Society today. I was all misty and pumped even over an hour after church let out.


Last October one of my favorite apostles of all time, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, gave a great talk in Conference. This is what our lesson today was on. It turned out to be his last Conference talk. He passed away just a bit later in December of 2008.

I remember as he was giving another talk a year before, he started shaking and appeared as though he may fall. Even from my living room, I could feel the nerves of those at the Conference Center and my own that he might fall, yet he didn't stop sharing his message. His daughter told us today that that was something his mom instilled in him from the very beginning, to endure to the end.

Yes, his youngest daughter came to our Relief society. I guess she and our Relief Society President (Marilyn) lived in the same ward in Taylorsville for 25 years or so and are good friends. She was so humble as she told us about her father. She told us about his life. She had two tables full of mostly pictures from it as well. She passed around a even more pictures along with letters and notes as she talked about him. It was such an amazing, once in a life-time opportunity to hear about a man that I so revere from his closest kin. She knew him and loved him so well.

A few things stuck out to me that she said. First was that he always had such a quick wit about him. He was so funny and fast to respond. As he got older and needed help, she would be helping him do whatever, and then just stop and squeeze him and say, "You are so cute."

And he would come back with, "Is that the best you've got?" It reminded me of Dillon and how he thinks "cute" is so overused. I can just imagine that Elder Wirthlin (like Dillon is) was unimpressed with the lack of thought and creativity that is the word "cute" these days.

Just like in this talk, his daughter mentioned his mother often in her stories. She seems like such a strong, faithful woman. She always wanted her kids to be busy to keep them from getting into trouble, so she had hundreds of chickens and rabbits for him and his siblings to care for. Elder Wirthlin hated the chickens and often begged her to get rid of them. His daughter recalled today that her father wouldn't ever eat chicken.

Joseph's father received prompting that Joseph should serve a mission before attending his senior year of college. Wirthlin obediently served his mission then instead of playing football his senior year which he so loved to do.

His father also instilled honesty in him at an early age. Wirthlin once told his daughter of a time when he was very young and went to the store for his father. When he returned, his father noticed that he was given too much change and had Wirhtlin go back to the store to return the over change. Wirthlin carried this lesson of honesty throughout the rest of his life.

She told us that her dad was "quite the typist," and that he was constantly typing things. He would get up at 5:30 a every day and often head right to the typewriter to make a little note for someone he was thinking about. She said that it's been quite the treat coming upon so many little notes he's typed over the years as she and her family have gone through his things. There were two she shared with us, and I found them beyond wonderful. I will have to get them from Marilyn and post them.

Again, I feel that this was such a great and rare opportunity to learn more about this wonderful apostle of the Lord, and I feel so blessed to have had it.

This talk of his is worth taking to heart no matter what your faith. It's invaluable. I love how simple yet profound Wirthlin is.

Marilyn also brought us these adorable little tiles to remind us of the lesson. Mine fits perfectly right next to my Christus Statue. (I got it from my mom and Clyde for Christmas)

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