Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fantasy Wrap-up

Another year of Fantasy Football has come to a close. This was the closest I came to actually playing any football this year - sad, I know. I set up 2 leagues. In one league I started off with my team being called the Rattlefrogs (leave a comment if you know what that means) and after losing my FIRST SIX GAMES I changed my name to "TrainWreck." Miraculously this strategy worked. I rattled off several victories in a row and somehow go into the playoffs as a 6 seed out of 8 teams. Again I somehow lucked out and made it to the finals against my good friend Larry. Coincidently, he was the 8 seed! Larry beat me, but I've never felt better with a second place finish. (Ha, Becki!!)

In my league with my work friends I had a way better regular season. It's nice that I reluctantly drafted Tom Brady. But I lost in the semifinals simply because Brian Westbrook decided to TACKLE HIMSELF on the one-yard line. (see the video below) If he'd have just walked in I would've made it to the championship game. I have to give the guy props for the selfless act, but wow, I know for a fact that a lot of guys lost a lot of money because of it.

Thanks to all my fantasy football friends! Can't wait for the Madness of March!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Spinning Wildly

Traci (the Mrs. HTF) is an avid exercisist (a word I just made up meaning that she exercises mucho). Every morning at 5 she's up and out the door. She comes back a while later either smelling like chlorine or covered in sweat (I'm told that for women it's called "perspiration") I respect her a ton, while I'm sleeping of course. She most often talks about her "spinning" class. I assumed that this was some sort of aerobic dance class where you spin around to music. I've tried spinning around to music, and I could only go for a minute or so until I could no longer stand, so I can see how you'd need a class to get really good at. To my shock, Traci corrected me and told me that it was a class where you ride a specialized stationary bike to music. She has specialized shoes and everything. It's special.

Well, for months she's been telling me that I need to go with her. Conveniently we have 4 children and getting a babysitter at 5 AM is kinda goofy, so I always have had an excuse. Well, my mother-in-law is in town for the holidays, and Traci said all she wanted for Christmas was for me to go to the "Spinning" class with her. I couldn't say no. So this morning we went. It seemed benign enough when we walked in. There were a bunch of cool-looking bikes that don't actually go anywhere, but I quickly noticed a huge design flaw in all of them. The seats were tiny and harder than the wooden chair I'm sitting on now. I asked Traci about this, but she just thought I was being funny. I wasn't. She got me all set up and the class got started. After the first 8 seconds or so I was hurting in places where I've never felt pain before. That tiny seat was literally "kicking my butt" in ways it's never been kicked before. I figured I'd last longer if I never sat down. Yeah, so that strategy didn't work well either. I toughed it out and I'm sure there were plenty of chuckles directed towards me during those 45 minutes of torture since my form was a little bit shy of perfect. About 30 minutes in I started actually feeling ok, but that's probably my body going numb. Well, I can't really walk up or down stairs now, so I'm thinking that this spinning stuff may not be for me. And this wooden chair is making me squirm.

There's one problem . . . Traci wants me to go again on Wednesday.

Here are some links to a few of my blogs about other exercising adventures:

On Two Years Rest . . .

The Only Guy

That's Great, But Please Don't Crowd

Friday, December 21, 2007

Who feels guilty now?

This morning I asked (told) my boys to go upstairs and get dressed, make their beds, & brush their teeth. To my extreme shock (sarcasm noted) they didn't comply. Instead they were watching TV and playing Xbox. So I told 'em that for their punishment they'd have to stay in their room after they got dressed. They weren't too happy about that, but life's tough. I went downstairs and started in on the dirty dishes. After about 10 minutes or so, a paper airplane sailed into the kitchen. It was clear that something was written on it. So I thought I'd share (click the photo if you can't read it). Needless to say, a few minutes later they were back to the XBox, with Daddy in tow.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Words to live by

"Whenever I’m about to do something, I think “would an idiot do that?” and if they would, I do not do that thing."
(Dwight Schrute, from The Office)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Religion, Politics, and an Awkward Moment

Well, I’m not one who blogs much about politics or religion (although they are two of my favorites), but lately I’m hearing far too much about those two topics in the same sentences. I guess I shouldn’t be too shocked at the role religion is playing as we go through the bizarre process of selecting our next President. Likely my surprise is driven by the fact that it’s very much my religion in question. That’s not a bad news story holistically – hopefully some of the really odd misconceptions that are out there can go away for some folks. However, I’m sure hating feeling like we (using that pronoun generically) have to defend what we believe, while other’s beliefs, even if they’re identical to mine, get zero scrutiny. Let me give you an example:

I’m walking out of the office yesterday and next to the elevators is a TV showing CNN. Wolf Blitzer is interviewing Mike Huckabee, and the text on the screen is quoting Governor Mike’s upcoming NYTimes interview where is rips on “Mormons” using some really goofy speculations about what we believe. You can get more info on it here. While I’m listening a guy in his late 40s, early 50s walks up behind me and starts watching with me. I don’t know the guy, but he says to me, “Wow, those Mormons are a really weird bunch.” I asked him why he was saying that and he referenced what was on the screen and other stuff that he’d heard (none of it true). I stopped the conversation by telling him that I was a “Mormon” and that he was tragically misinformed. (example, he thought there were 200,000 of us and that the church was headquartered in Independence, MO) Of course that made for a nicely awkward moment. I let the silence hang for a while. I told him the names of several prominent members of the church at our own company and in public life. He was shocked. I would’ve taken the conversation a bit further, but he was so embarrassed that I think he just wanted out.

I should’ve sent him here so he could actually read and see what we believe instead of hearing it from a disingenuous politician on TV. Anyway, long post here, and I have a lot more to say on the topic, but I thought you might find the story interesting. Lots of polls have been out there about the "Mormon Problem" for Mitt. I saw one that said 56% of the respondents would be less likely to vote for a Mormon. Wow, are we really still so backward and misinformed?! And don't think for a minute that other politicians aren't using that to their advantage (example above). (even letting their mothers get in on the bigotry) It's frightening to think that we very well may choose our next President based partially on which Christian church he goes to. Absolutely frightening . . .

Monday, November 19, 2007

Some of my favorite things recently

So here are a few of my recent favorite things:

- Having to choose between watching KU basketball and KU football
- My kids cranking up the iPod and singing out loud with headphones on (this is particularly hilarious!)
- My leaf-sucker/mulcher . . . it feels pretty manly
- Employees of Southwest Airlines
- Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
- "What Got You Here Won't Get You There" by Marshall Goldsmith
- Hanging Christmas lights when it's 72 degrees outside
- 5 Fantasy Football wins in a row
- BYU is in the top 25
- The kids all got ready for school without us saying a word this morning
- Riding a trolley in San Francisco
- Watching iCarly with Allison

Friday, November 02, 2007

Corporate Flo

(Disclaimer - any blogs that mention work-related stuff have to be awfully vague, so sorry about that)

Corporate America is an important place where serious things happen and important, serious people have serious meetings about important things that will have serious impacts that eventually will become important to others who are serious about Corporate America being an important place. By which I mean, there's a reason that Dilbert and The Office are so popular. The Corporate-World is laugh out loud hilarious, and that's all because of the people in it.

Example - I recently attended a meeting where there were 5 of us in a large conference room. In addition there were 20 or so people conferenced in on the telephone. Well, 15 minutes after the meeting started this lady blasts into the room. (I will refer to this woman as Flo - for no particular reason) Flo was clearly hurried and stressed. She's texting and apologizing simultaneously, without noting that she totally just interrupted the conversation of 25 people. A simple "sorry" would've sufficed. As she takes her seat she continues to apologize and repeatedly (I stress that word) send to the uninterested audience the following messages with her words and actions:

- First and foremost, Flo is important, and that clearly, is why she is late
- Flo had "back to back meetings" (translation: "I am very important")
- Flo was several buildings away in her last meeting (translation: "I am very important even in other buildings"), and that's another reason she should be excused for being late
- Flo would like to start the meeting over now. (Translation: Flo is so important that the combined importance of the rest of us is way less than her importance alone)

Something to know about Flo - as corporate ladders go, she's at or below the rung that the rest of us hang on to. So it's not like the CEO just waltzed in.

After several minutes of this the moderator graciously (by which is mean she's way too nice) begins getting Flo up to speed. While the moderator is talking across the table to Flo, she pulls our her PDA and starts texting/emailing. Yes, she's that important. The moderator pretended to be blind and just kept on talking. At the end of the monologue, she asks Flo if that all made sense. Without making eye contact Flo's response was, "not really, but I'll catch up." At this point I wisely covered up my laughter with a fake coughing fit.

There were several other comments from Flo as the meeting when on where she again made sure that we understood that she was sorry for being late because she had back to back meetings in another building. Apparently, she feared that after a couple of minutes our child-like minds would forget how important she was. The absolute kicker though was when the meeting was opened up for questions. Now, I'm pretty forgiving on dumb questions. Heck, I ask lots of 'em. But Flo uttered one (which I can't repeat for fear of the corporate blog hounds) that was so bizarre my jaw hit the table. It was akin to you asking the woman who gave birth to you (Mom) if she's ever been pregnant. Have you ever heard something that was so funny that you couldn't even laugh at it? After the initial shock wore off and the meeting ended I was able to get my hearty chuckle.

Long post here, but the lesson is that we corporate citizens probably aren't quite as important as we think ourselves to be. I suspect that several of you know Flo-like people. If so, will you please invite me to a meeting with them some time? I haven't laughed that hard at work in a long time. Meanwhile, I'm guessing that our friend Flo is at this very moment in another serious back-to-back meeting in another building. So if you see her . . . don't open the floor for questions. (If you do though, can I just call in and listen?)


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Not so Off-Duty

On the plane today I had the unfortunate luck to have an off-duty stewardess sit next to me. She was decked out in her Southwest uniform, but must've just been along for the ride. We did the polite head-nod thing when she sat down, and my experience has been that these folks are usually pleasant and nice, but she quickly proved me wrong.

As the plane backed up I was listening to a book-on-iPod, but she annoyingly taps me on the shoulder and said, and I'm not making this up, "you need to turn off all electronic devices." Seriously? The REAL Stewardesses hadn't even gotten close to that part of the schpeel yet. I begrudgingly took the ear buds out of my ears and pushed pause. How is the iPod gonna make the plane crash, can anyone explain that to me?

After we were up and flying I dozed off - and in my mid-snooze the lady again does the nasty shoulder tap asking me if I want something to drink. Would any of you do that?! Sheesh!

To cap the whole thing off I was holding a book in my lap (not reading it) as we were descending to land, and she told me I should "probably put that underneath the seat." So if you happen to ever happen to board the plane and there's an open seat next to the off-duty stewardess - go find a different one.

Friday, October 19, 2007

NPR and the Spoon

That's my brother with his tongue out. Check out this story from NPR. Hopefully a lot of you can catch the show. I'm actually gonna be in DC next week at the same time, so I should be there. They were on Conan O'Brien last night. Fun!!

Here's the first bit from NPR:
The Austin-based rock band Spoon has been making tight, adventurous art-pop for nearly 15 years. On the strength of frontman Britt Daniel's meticulously crafted songs, the group has amassed a nearly flawless catalog — including its latest album, the oddly titled Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Hear Spoon live online in a full concert webcast on Oct. 23. The performance from Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club will begin at approximately 10 p.m. ET.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

United We Stand

Over the last few weeks I've been watching "The War" which is a PBS special about World War II. It goes into decent detail about what was going on abroad and back in the US during the war. And I have to tell you, it looks like a COMPLETELY different world. I get that it was a few years ago and all, but seriously, when I do a little comparing to our world today, it's unrecognizable. I'm not gonna get too deep into current politics here, but it's mind-boggling how extensive the support for that war was and the SACRIFICE people were willing to make to win it. We've absolutely lost that.

I get that the cause was absolutely different than what we're fighting today - I am making an apples to oranges comparison a bit. But can you fathom the Congress in 1944 having hearings about cutting funding for troops, while those troops are dying on the other side of the world - even if the goal was to bring them home? What we're doing in Iraq (right or wrong) is costing $275 million a day - that's over $100 BILLION a year. OUCH! Have you heard a single politician talk about raising taxes or rationing anything to pay for it? I haven't. We'll just tack it on to the deficit we pass on to our kids. In WWII (which cost the US $341 BILLION in 1945 dollars) families made huge sacrifices in addition to sending their husbands and fathers away for years at a time - where over 300,000 of them were killed or injured. That part of our culture is almost (and I stress that word) completely gone. If whomever we were fighting saw our country and the men & women fighting for our country unite and willing to do whatever it would take to win - the bad guys wouldn't have a chance. Heck, they might not even show up.

Our ability to pull together as a nation and get behind something has been so obliterated by a bunch of factors, that I challenge you to name a cause that we would really get behind and be willing to broadly give up something for. For many people, a majority, what we're doing in Iraq isn't the right cause. Ok, I can get the thinking there - to a point. But name one that is, and that we would really get behind. I could write a list of problems I'd like to see us solve, but wow, I could list lost of reasons why we won't get it done. I know that many, many individuals are choosing to sacrifice significantly for our nation. I so admire that, and sure am not trying to discount it.

So, nothing prescriptive here, just observations. Hopefully we'll never have to go through something that requires that much sacrifice, but if (when) we do - I think we're soft.

Spoon - The Underdog on SNL

Monday, October 08, 2007

Pastey Mop

Is there anyone out there who can explain what would possess Braeden (my 6 year old) to put toothpaste on a comb and then to comb his hair? We just found all of the remnants of the crime and he's sleeping happily, but his pillow smells minty fresh. Luv it.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

CherryBomb on SNL

I did end up staying up to see Spoon play on SNL - and I'm so glad I did. It was marvelous!! I was really impressed and I also liked that Roberto got loads of face time on the camera. Here's the second song they did:

Friday, October 05, 2007

Booty Shakin', BBQ, and Brothers

I was on such a roll with consistently posting and the readership was showing it . . . now, not so much. Sorry.

Here are a few things on my mind:

• I’m reading the last Harry Potter book, so I can be like everyone else. I now concede that these books are as good as the 2 billion or so of you that have read them have been telling me they are.
• The new job has been really up and down, but consistently busy. I’m still at Sprint, and overall things are good in the new role, but literally, I haven’t been able to free up the time or the mind to do a lot else. I’ll quit whining now.
• Sydney (4 year old) did her first dance class last night, and for those of you who haven’t seen her dance, this little girl gives new meaning to the term “shake your booty.” Gonna have to keep and eye on her . . .
• I am now a combined 1-7 in my two fantasy football leagues. Mind you that I’m the one who sets ‘em up and gets everyone to play along. I must be some kind of masochist without knowing it!
• General Conference weekend
• Trevor’s in town – that’s a huge happy!
• The new Dashboard Confessional record is a little dark, but I like the acoustic and it’ll grow on me I think.
• The relief society CATERED in Jack Stack BBQ last night for and Enrichment Activity. I’m not ok with that.
• I saw my brother on an SNL commercial during The Office last night – it was wild. I got e-mails all morning from people asking which one my brother was. I made sure they understood that he’s tall, handsome, and has great hair – that’s why they couldn’t make the connection.

Peace Out!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Spoon on the SNL

I've had trouble finding good blog time the last week or so after starting a new job, but I'll get back in the groove soon.

In the mean time I wanted you all to know that Spoon, my brother Rob's band, will be playing on Saturday Night Live on Oct 6th. Pretty big deal. I'm really happy for him and the other guys in the band.

That's way past my bed time, so I'm glad the DVR works. It's been a few years since I watched that show. Is Chevy Chase still on there? He's funny.



Sunday, September 23, 2007

Shout Out to Moms

Just a little musical tribute to the moms out there.

Happily, my mom never had to say any of these things to me!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Spontaneous Sex Talk

(that blog title should get the search engines pointed my way!)

So we had a big event at the Pope house the other night. And it came from out of the blue, thanks to my always spontaneous wife. We had just finished dinner, but 3 of us were still at the table – Traci, myself, and Ethan (our 8 year old). As he got up to leave Traci blurted out to him, “Ethan, do you know what sex is?”

Talk about a question that’ll turn heads and make ears perk up!! Ethan quickly said “no” and tried to escape to the family room. But this was hopeless. I knew that Traci had some kind of plan and that Ethan was in for it.

As she got him to sit back down she asked, “Do you friends ever talk to you about sex?”

Even before the sentence was finished Ethan said the fastest “no” that I’ve ever heard.

Traci then proceeded to explain a lot, in a whole lot more detail than I would’ve. To my credit I only busted out laughing once (on the outside). Some of the highlights were:

- Traci asking Ethan where babies come from . . . his answer: The Hospital . . . (That's my boy!!)

- Traci asking how babies got in Mommy’s tummy

- The repeated use of unmentionable, but completely appropriate anatomical and biological words

- The always useful question, “What’s the difference between male horses and female horses?” This was the one where I failed to suppress my laughter.

- Ethan trying to get up and leave a bunch of times.

- I got some words in at the end, and got to ask the question of my now all-knowledgeable 8 year old, “Why do people have sex?” Now I could think of some pretty funny, and some pretty sad answers to that, but he gave the right ones. You can call Traci if you don’t know the “right” answers. Don’t call me, cuz I’ll probably just give you the funny ones.

Poor Ethan was finally allowed to leave . . . I hope he eats dinner with us again someday . . .

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nice Teeth!!

One of the chocolatey benefits of being in the bishopric. . .

All I have to do is . . .

Ethan (8 yr old) happily and proudly announced this morning that he was going to get a new scooter. His brother has one and Ethan has coveted it for quite some time now. I was intrigued to hear how his 8-year-old income was going to fund such a purchase. When I asked how he was going to do it he said,

"All I have to do is be the third grader to raise the most money in the fund raiser."

Oh, good.

I guess that meant that I was gonna buy the scooter vicariously if we go that route. I'm ok with school fund raisers, ensured that some of the money goes to a good cause at the school. But I'm also pretty sure that somebody, somewhere, has a pretty good business going having adorable little kids beg their parents, neighbors, grandparents, and even their elementary school friends for money. The most deadly effective and cheapest sales reps there's ever been.

We'll see what happens with said scooter. But I sure hope that all the other third grade parents are mean/nasty and say no to their pleading kids. It would sure make it easier for us to win!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Spoon on Leno tonight

The title kinda says it all. My brother's band, Spoon, will be playing on Leno tonight (Sept 11th). Their song, The Underdog, has been getting quite a bit of radio play lately, so I'm assuming that's what they'll play. I'll try to get the video posted here if I can find it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

J.D. and The Muggles (my new favorite band)

So over the weekend a buddy loaned me the unabridged book on CD of Harry Potter #6. This is the one that follows the most recent movie, so I'll at least get the story. I read the first book last month and have thoughts on reading them all, cuz I'm the only person in either hemisphere who hasn't done that yet. But today I popped in the first disc and listened to Jim Dale tell me the story as I commuted to the office. I got 3 different phone calls as I drove, and let's just say none of them merited me turning J.D. off. He is absolutely amazing - but I know that's not news to many of you. So in my new spirit of "recommendation" (see last post), I'm gonna recommend that you find some way to listen to the Potter books being read to you by my new copilot. Hopefully you have a great pal like I do who can just lend it to you. Otherwise you can download or buy, and if all else fails there's a library nearby where you can get on a decade-long waiting list or something. One way or another if you do it, you may get a sudden urge to take a long drive around the country . . . a few times.

He's that good, and I guess we should give a little credit to J.K. too.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Facing the book

It's been a few days since I posted - been kinda busy at work and then I got sick. I figured you wouldn't wanna read a play by play of that. So a few days ago I made my first visit to Facebook. I'd heard SO much about it I thought I'd check it out plus I read all the time about the social networking thing. I'm usually several years behind "cool" so I thought it might not be too "happening." Since joining here are a few things I've learned/observed.

- Wow, am I old. Trying to find "friends" on there my age (early 30s) was pretty difficult. But finding people I know in their teens or early 20s - super easy. And they came out and "added" me too. (most of my seminary class is out there, which is awesome) It's hard not to feel like I don't belong or like I'm some kind of creepy guy, but my few 30+ aged friends make me feel better. And it's cool that the younger folks will even entertain me as a "virtual friend." I'll take it.

- One of my friends posted a message on my page calling me "Brother Pope." It wasn't a surprise or anything, but I just wonder how old I have to be to get used to that.

- When you're a Werewolf, "Biting chumps" is pretty easy, but it's hard to get them to join your army.

- Some people must really like themselves, cuz they post loads of pictures, some not so flattering, right there on their sites for the world to see. (not me)

- I had expected that I might encounter a lot of vulgar/inappropriate stuff out there, which would've made me walk away. I found almost the opposite to be true. (But then again, I'm hopefully not looking in the right places for that stuff)

- I'm wondering if parents know their kids are out there doing this. For a parent of teenagers, this would seem a wonderful way to keep tabs on the kids during the times when you're not on speaking terms. (I'm serious about this)

- The term "reconnecting with friends" gets overused, but I'm here (virtually) to tell you that it's happened with me, and that's in just a few days with very little effort.

Anyway, for now at least, I am recommending to you readers (both of you) that you set up a Facebook page (and add me as a friend of course). It just takes a few seconds and it's very self-explanatory. (as demonstrated by the fact that teenagers everywhere can do it) Oh yeah, and one other thing, when my werewolf bites you, which it will, you really need to join my army!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Stunning accusation!!

We are in St. Louis staying with Traci's sister and her 4 kids. (for those of you doing the math at home, that means we're here with 8 kids) This afternoon we knew that we needed to get the troop out of the house and wear them out a bit so they'd fall asleep sometime before church tomorrow. So we chose to take 'em on a long hike in the woods - hoping to return with most of them. It actually went wonderfully, but as you can imagine, corralling 8 kids in the woods and getting them to all move in a similar direction for 3 miles or so can be a little taxing. Plus it was kinda hot outside.

During one of our many rest breaks (as if the adults had any control over when those happened) we ate some snacks and drank water. Ethan had been predictably kinda driving us crazy by not staying with the group and just doing what he usually does . . . (meaning whatever he wants.) During our stop he grabbed a package of crackers, sat down for a couple miliseconds, and then took off to climb a rock, contemplate dirt or kick a tree or something - having decided that he wasn't down with eating the crackers. Traci, of course was all over this - she made Ethan return to the scene of the crime where he dumped the perfectly good crackers down on the ground conveniently hidden behind a log. Now you should know that he habitually eats the middle part of the crackers (the cheese) and then discards the actual crackers. He got a strong, justified, rebuke that we all watched from a safe distance. Traci had had enough. But the moment that we'll never forget was at the height of her rage - she looked down at Ethan, and with all the anger and conviction she could muster said:


Whoa - there's just no good comeback for that. He knew he'd been beat. Traci tried to maintain the scolding eye contact, but by this point Krista (Traci's sister) and I were laughing so hard that the squirrels were coming down to see what all the commotion was about.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Blog on a Plane

So I am at this moment sitting on a Southwest Airlines 737 at Dulles Airport in DC. I boarded the plane at 3 PM for a 3:15 departure. I've now been sitting on this plane for almost an hour. Not one to be a big complainer I still am starting to get a little antsy. The "captain" told us a little while ago that we were going to "sit and wait on the tarmac with our engines off" because of WEATHER between DC and Chicago. Could there be a more vague term than "weather?"

Here is a photo of the "weather" right now:

Update (3:50): Captain "Deep Voice" just told us "not to envy the planes driving past us and taking off." Ok - no problem. He said those were the planes going North, South, or East. Um, ok. At this rate I'm wondering if it would've been better to get back to KC with a layover in Miami or London. Cuz at least those planes are, ... you know . . . flying. But then he pointed out, rightly, the line of planes backed up next to us. These are the Western-bound flights. Given the geographic positioning of Washington DC you can imagine that this line is growing rapidly. He closed with the great consolation of saying: "we're not alone in this pain."

So I'm like Jack Johnson, just sitting, waiting, wishing . . .

Update(4:02): the stewardess just offered us water. Several folks gave them kinda nasty looks as they made the offer. Yeah, cuz the stewardesses are totally responsible for "weather."

Update(4:16): Whoa, here come the peanuts. That'll buy at least another hour of passivity from the crowd. Someone behind me just asked for pretzels. If the stewardess is wise, she'll hold off on distributing those until hour 3 starts up. I'm thinking about asking for some cajun stir-fry, just to liven things up.

Update(4:17): My two bags of peanuts are totally gone and I'm eying my neighbor's. (I'm hungry in case you can't tell) Sure wish they'd have offered the water after the peanuts . .

Update(4:19): We were just informed that if we're hot, closing the window shades will help cool things down. Instantly I saw at least a dozen windows shades close - making me question the collective intelligence of my now close friends here.

Update(4:20): Captain "Tarmac-Man" just told us that "we've been instructed to find an alternate route to Chicago." Really? All of us? Are we on our own in finding a route or with "the tower" help us out? Should we have a meeting or something?

Update(4:21): El Cappytan says we're leaving in about 5 minutes. There was a collective scoff of disbelief. For some strange reason that comment made all the "wise people" reopened their window shades. A moment later they turned to the stewardess and complained about being hot.

Update(4:36): The scoffing people are looking pretty smart right about now - it's been 15 minutes since the 5 minute declaration. I wonder what would happen if I declared "Nevermind" and asked to deboard (is that a word?) the plane. I'll bet I'd have some followers.

Update(4:45PM): When the captain came on the speaker his voice was kinda foreboding. The report was "were were about the pick up our clearance (nice phrase), but then everything was shut down. I guess there must've been some sudden weather that appeared. He then made the comforting statement, "we're just as confused as you are." I'm not the world's best communicator, but that was not the comforting phrase I would've used.
Then he confirmed, "you can still use the lavatories if you need too." Everyone stood up suddenly and ran for the bathrooms. j/k
The most ominous comment was "you can use your cell phones if you need to." There was something in his voice that implied something like, "you may never leave this plane, so you should probably bid farewell to your families."

Update (4:58): If we wait long enough, the "weather in the west" will make its way to us. Maybe that's the new crack FAA strategy.

Update (5:13): Hour #3 has begun. At this point the kids on the plane, and there are lots of them, are really starting to make the flight even more enjoyable for their parents.

Update (5:15): Captain "I have a more comfortable seat than you" Just gave us a great update: "We do have our clearance for our route, but the route is closed" "We'll be the first to depart when the route is opened." Is that kinda like give your teenager the keys to the car when the car has no engine?

Update (5:20): Captain Good News says "we've been released, please return to your seats and put your seatbelts on. (cuz most of us were out of our seats I guess) So they're now saying to turn off the electronic stuff. Looks like it's really gonna happen. I'll hide my skepticism!

What a great afternoon in DC!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

You want me to look at WHAT?!

(This post was originally removed by Traci because of "icky content." I don't blame her though, cuz she heard the story without the punchline at the end. You'll get it when you read . . .)

A couple of nights ago Ethan, our 8 yr old who had been taking a shower in our bathroom, came running out into the hall yelling (at the top of his now fully-developed lungs):

Him: "Daddy, Daddy, you gotta come see this!!"

Me: "What is it, Ethan?"

Him: "A FLOATER in your bathroom, a huge one."

Now if you're a guy, or if you ever think like a guy you'll know the unpleasant image that flashed in my mind. If you're not, you can quit reading now, cuz this posting won't make much sense or be very entertaining.

Me: "You want me to look at WHAT?!"

Him: "Just come, Daddy, hurry, it's getting away, and it's all different colors!!"

At this point the image in my head was way too weird, so I decided I'd better play along, despite what I might be about to see. So I entered the bathroom. To my surprise he was looking out the window (as opposed to where I assumed he'd be positioned). The "Floater" was his name for a huge hot-air-balloon that was making its way over my neighborhood. In my relief, and through tears of laughter, I quickly taught my son the proper name for what we were looking at.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Worst Tooth Fairy Ever

We have a little problem at our house. Santa Claus works out fine each year, but we have, literally, the worst tooth fairy ever. I don't know what is up with her. (when I say "her" I mean it to be gender-neutral for obvious reasons) Our tooth fairy has been know to "forget" about dried-up, nasty teeth under little boy's pillows for days and days. These are the same little boys who, in their prayer right before they lay down at night, BEG for the tooth fairy to not be too busy to make it to our house. Last week Braeden lost a tooth - the first one he'd ever pulled out completely on his own. This was a supernal moment for him, and he immediately began talking about the impending visit from the ever-so-lame tooth fairy. When he woke up the next morning, true-to-form, the tooth in the zip-loc bag was still under there . . . and no money. He protested to Traci. Since Traci and I are the tooth fairy's helpers she encouraged him to go back and look again. (of course she offered this suggestion after she had "visited" the pillow herself) To Braeden's shock, and glee, there was a dollar now, magically, under the pillow. But he was suddenly confused too.

You see, the tooth in the baggy was still there.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dental Chatterbox

So nobody in their right mind likes going to the dentist. It’s always been funny to me how the dental assistant has deep conversations with you while they’re violently probing your mouth with sharp metal instruments. I kinda assumed that in dental school they are taught that they need to talk to patients to keep the focus off of what’s happening inside that open mouth. Anyway, every time I’ve gone to the dentist I’ve had that fun discourse where my answers to questions are limited to grunts, thumbs up signals, and tiny head nods . . . until last week. Here, verbatim, is the ENTIRE conversation with the dental assistant:

Me: “Hi there, how’s it going?”
Her: “Fine”
(I sit down, she puts on the bib thing . . . and I keep sitting for several minutes waiting for something to happen)

Her: “Have you had any problems with your teeth?”
Me: “Nope”
(Over the next 10 minutes or so she does her thing with sharp instruments and powerful scrapping sounds)

Her: “Is mint ok?”
Me: “Uh-huh”
(she then does the polish/floss thing and disappears . . . a few minutes later the dentist comes and actually speaks to me)

That’s the last I heard from my social-butterfly of a dental assistant. Oddest dental experience I’ve ever had.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tactful Dis

My friend Andrea told me a story recently that totally cracked me up. She was in musicals in high school (something we have in common), and while she wasn't the star of the show, she thought she was a decent singer. Until one day during rehearsal, while she happened to be right in front of one of the microphones, the director stopped everything and tactfully said, "Would the people near the microphones please lip-synch?"

Beautifully done I'd say. He could've been much nastier, but the point was made. Andrea took it all in stride and still did good things in theater, but I thought that was a pretty funny quote.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Tuna Casserole for the Ears"

I wanna put a quick plug in for "The Mormon Potluck Podcast" (also available on iTunes). This is a podcast that my brother-in-law, Troy is a part of. I've really enjoyed it and it's improving too! If you're Mormon (LDS) it'll all make sense and is pretty entertaining, if you're not, it's still a decent listen if you wanna learn a little bit about Mormon culture from different points of view.
Let me know if you have any comments.

Friday, August 17, 2007

School's in?!

Here are some photos of the kids (3 of 'em this year) on their first day of school this week. Don't they look happy? (we'll see how long that lasts . . .)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Extreme Multitasking

We all work and live in a world where people are multitasking constantly. My guilty habits are texting or watching video podcasts while driving. Bad, I know. But yesterday I happened upon something that made me understandably uncomfortable. I walked in the men's room (isn't that a funny term?) at work. There are like 6 urinals (another word that gives chuckles . . . wouldn't it be a good name for a pro baseball team - like the Louisville Urinals!) in this restroom. I walked in on a guy who was "stationed" at one of these urinals and talking on his bluetooth headset WHILE HE WAS TEXTING on his phone with his "free hand." Not cool at all. He even took time to give me a head nod, which I didn't want at all. I quickly made my way out of there.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fun with the Sneak-Peak

We had our “sneak peek” at the elementary school last night where we met the new teachers, saw a bunch of the school friends/parents, and ate ice cream and cookies. A pretty successful deal I’d say. I was feeling a little bit for the teachers though – they essentially have the same conversation 20+ times which includes statements such as:

“Hi (Insert child’s name here), I’m Mrs. Snicklefritz (not an actual name)”

“We’re excited to have you in class” (not sure who the “we” is)

I was thinking that the teachers should have a little more fun with it and say things like:

“Sometimes I sleep in and don’t make it to school until around lunch time, but I’m sure the kids will find something to do.” OR

“We’ll be spending at least 3 hours on interpretive-dance each day” OR

“I really like letting poisonous reptiles roam around in the classroom, I hope that’s ok.”

Anyway, just thought that would make things more fun for our teachers because it's always good to make that great first impression.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Quick hits

- A while ago Traci hurt her big toe - to the point that she lost the nail. Over the last several months she's frequently complaining the people keep stepping on it, over and over. Yesterday she showed it to me and sure enough, it's nicely bruised. The funny part is that she's convinced there's some kind of a vast conspiracy (right wing or otherwise) out there focused on stepping on her toe. She says that people (by which she loosely means kids) she doesn't even know will find some way to "randomly" step on or otherwise injure that big toe. Next week we'll probably have dudes in black suits showing up with sledgehammers asking to inspect Traci's feet.

- So I'm sitting in an Omaha hotel room again, Traci is at the temple and the TV and I are doing our best to entertain the kids while we wait for mommy. Yesterday Allison, our 22 month old, did, well, "poo poo on the potty" for the very first time. (I never want to know how many times I've used that phrase in my life, but it's a huge number) Well, a few minutes ago Allison decided to remove her diaper and show us her "poo poo prowess" by doing a live demonstration here in the hotel room. Luckily I was able to intercede before things got too, well, messy. Did I mention how glad I am that this is our last potty-training experience?

- Ethan is about to try to order room service again, beginning with desserts. That'll eat up the tooth fairy money pretty quickly.

- Preseason football started this week. It feels like life is good again!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Scissors and cell phones

Last week I was sitting on my Papa’s front porch when I get a picture mail on my phone from Traci. (Even though it’s several years old now, I still love the cell phone/camera thing.) The subject line was “Ethan’s Doing.” That’s particularly ominous if you know my 8-year-old son, Ethan. When I opened the picture I didn’t know whether to laugh or yell at my helpless phone. I chose to chuckle and got show it to other folks. Yep, Ethan had cut Sydney’s beautiful hair in many random places and by many inches. She tries to play off like it was all his fault. Clearly though, she was a willing accomplice – it might’ve been her idea. Anyway, I get lots of good feedback on the stories about my kids, so here’s another special one.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Last week, on my birthday, my Papa (we never called him Grandpa) passed away. Click here for the obituary. I traveled to the funeral over the weekend and actually spoke at it. Tough few days, but I won't dwell on that at all. I wanted to share something Papa had hanging on his wall.

It's worth a read. I think it describes my Papa pretty well. He was the most patient, selfless man I've ever knows - those are two things I really struggle with. Anyway, I thought it was appropriate that this was on his wall.

Much love Papa!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The only guy . . .

Traci has successfully talked me into taking "resistance training" class with her at the YMCA. I prefer to call it weight lifting. Resistance training sounds significantly less manly . . . and I guess that's the point, cuz I've been about 7 times now and the class is 99.99999% female. I'm a pretty secure guy, but I gotta admit to feeling kinda odd on Monday when the class was so packed that we ran out of weight bars. Yeah, as a substitute people were lifting chairs, large purses, even some of the smaller kids from the nursery - it was that busy. Anyway, the only spot left was right in the front/middle behind the teacher. As you might say, quarters were close. And you guessed it, in this room of 3,000 or so (yes, I'm exaggerating, Traci) women, I was the only guy. And not only that, my position in the room made me feel like everyone was looking at me, because, well, they were. It was unavoidable. The instructor is cool and knows me by name, cuz I'm the only "Scott" in the room I suppose. But I was kinda weirded out that day. Guys out there, comment for me - how would you feel? Traci thinks I'm just crazy.
Anyway, I did my little sweat thing for an hour and scurried out of the mirrored room as quickly as I could. From now on I'll keep going, but the class will be called CO-ED WEIGHT LIFTING. (at least in my little mind)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Great Glitter Disaster of 2007

And I'm not referring to Mariah Carey in any way.

So on Sunday afternoons we give the kids (the older 3) a bit of free reign downstairs while we take naps or read upstairs. Oh we're used to coming down and finding special kinds of messes, but they're usually clean-up-able (with industrial-grade chemicals or a bulldozer). But today we were greeted with a special, sparkly, surprise. (I love alliteration!)

My first sign of trouble was a shriek from Traci, who went down first. The typical thoughts went through my mind dealing with some combination of permanent markets, a recently removed diaper, and some honey. The noise summoned me downstairs, and Traci called for me just as I was getting there. What I saw amazed even me, who isn't surprised my much in terms of evil-doing by small children. We still don't know the full story, but the culprits had broken into Traci's craft stuff (which gets used twice a decade or so) and located a large container of gold GLITTER.

The four of them had started in the kitchen, but the glitter soon was spread like Ebola virus from room to room. You could literally make out footprints. And in all their toddler wisdom they had decided to add water to the mix - helping the glitter like an adhesive. They even made their way outside the front door and our porch and bushes are similarly covered. We tried mightily to clean up with brooms and vacuums, but I'm sitting here right now still surrounded by golden glitter on the floor and the bottom of my feet. It's now spread to every room in the house.

At this point it's so pervasive that all I can do is smile a bit. I'm kinda guessing that these little specks of golden happiness have become a permanent part of life. So my advice is to lock up your glitter and only use it under strict adult supervision, or at least use it when you're at your neighbor's house.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Backseat Quoters

This afternoon we (the entire O-Town crew) loaded up in the minivan and drove to Omaha for a mini-vacation. It's entirely possible that we're the only people to ever vacation in Omaha, Nebraska, but well, . . . It's close, and it's cheap. Just a few minutes after we pulled out of the driveway for our 3 hour drive the quotes started flying from the miniature backseat judges. Traci had the wise idea to make note of the best of 'em. Most of these insightful questions came out about 5 minutes after we left:

1. Is this the way to the hotel?

2. Can I have something to eat?

3. How long does it take? (Traci answered "3 hours") How long has it been then? (Traci answered 5 minutes)

4. Is this the right way?

And of course:

5. Are we there yet? (repeated roughly 4,879 times between Kansas City and Omaha, beginning in our neighborhood)

As we were driving through downtown Kansas City . . .

6. Where are we? To which I sarcastically answered "New York City"
Sydney's response: "Wow" "Ooohhh"

7. I gotta go now, . . . bad!! (3 of the 4 kids said this multiple times)

8. It's taking FOREVER (20 minutes into the drive)

Pulling into the hotel parking lot . . .

9. Is this Omaha? (Said by Sydney with wonder and amazement in her voice)

10. (Said by my 7 yr-old, Ethan right before going to bed in the hotel room) - I looked at the room service, it's not that expensive!

So as you can see, my kids are keen observers of their environment and a joy to travel with.

I'll have more quotes tomorrow - the Zoo is always good for that!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

When "under water" doesn't involve getting wet

I had a conversation with some friends over lunch today. The term “underwater basket weaving” came up. This was in the usual context where we were talking about really easy school classes. One of my friends pointed out that actually it sounded kinda hard because it would probably involve scuba gear or at least someone holding their breath for a really long time. Fair point. Another person asked where in the world the term came from. So I had to look it up on wikipedia. Click here for the article.

Here’s the blurb I found interesting:

This generic term for an undecided major first arose during the Vietnam War era to describe the sorts of majors that many young men, who would otherwise not have entered college, undertook to escape the draft. See also: Mickey Mouse degrees.

And then as if to complicate the problem:

The University of California, San Diego's recreation department first offered an underwater basket-weaving class in 1984. Saint Joseph's College in Indiana offers this class as well, as does Simon Fraser University in Canada. Reed College in Portland, Oregon also offers an Underwater Basket Weaving class during Paideia, its festival of learning. [1]
Most recently, University of Central Arkansas actually went so far as to issue a document apparently outlining a proposed Doctorate in Underwater Basket Weaving, replete with required courses, for example "College Chemistry I and II (to determine pH of the water)", presumably satirical[2].

So I learned a little something. I’ll think a bit more before using the term. Oh yeah, and by the way, here’s the real definition:

Underwater basket-weaving is a process of making wicker baskets which involves dipping reeds or stalks of plants into (or, as the name suggests, under) water and allowing them to soak. This process will provide a very supple and flexible reed which can then be woven into a basket given enough time. The baskets then will be allowed to dry and provide a sturdy container. For example, some kinds of basket-weaving are done with the canes submerged in water from the Arabian sea to preserve suppleness. The weaver is generally not fully immersed using scuba gear or otherwise.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

6 Year Old Birthday, and I'm a Rock Star

Last week our Braeden turned 6. It was a beautiful thing to watch. We had a baseball-themed party for him in the gym at church. He had a ball, but got a little frustrated with us having he and his friends play games while there were perfectly good presents piled up ready to be opened. As a result he kinda moped for a bit, but eventually got better - the healing power of opening presents I guess. That evening he walked up to me, unsolicited, and said, "Daddy, this was the best birthday ever." Yeah, so that made it worth whatever effort and money we (by which I mean Traci) put into it.

On Sunday we had our family party to celebrate my Dad's b-day too. (they're both July 11th) Braeden got more cool stuff. One of his favorites was a 3-foot-tall plush penguin. He quickly named him "Pen-gwee." (that's along the line of "wormy" and "fishy" - you get the naming convention.) Later that night the named changed to "Happy." And last night when I referred to Happy, Braeden corrected me and let me know that the name was now, obviously, "Nick." Of course it is . . .

Somehow though, one of the items that has given my little man the most glee was a Shrek card from my parents that sings, "All-Star" by Smashmouth when you open it. He can't get enough of that thing. Last night he walked up to me and said,

"Daddy . . . You know what you are?"
"What Braeden?"
He opened the card and it sang those profound words: "Hey now you're an All-Star . . ."
So I said, "I'm an all-star?"
He emphatically said, "No way, Daddy - Keep Listening!"
Then we hear, "Hey now you're a Rock Star . . ."
He says, "See Daddy, you're a Rock Star!!!"

So now everyone knows.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Night in NYC

Click here to read an article about Spoon in the NY Times today.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Spoon on Letterman & #2 on iTunes

Ok, in case you missed it, here is Spoon playing their new hit song, The Underdog, on Letterman last night. My brother Rob is playing the bass in front of the brass section.

Incidentally, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga hit number 2 on iTunes!!! Congrats fellas!

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Monday, July 09, 2007

DDR and the 5-year-old

My kids have really gotten into Dance Dance Revolution at the YMCA. It's a ball to watch do it, but I guess this kid is what they'll all aspire to.

The Underdog Video

Here's Spoon's newest video. My brother is the happy bass player! I dug the one-shot action. I'll have to find out how many takes it took.

The Underdog

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Spoon swoon

So my brother Rob started playing in the band Spoon a while ago (he plays the bass). I heard a few things here and there, but last week he gave me their new CD that hits stores on the 10th. WOW! It's really good stuff. I won't do a full-on review or anything, cuz I'm clearly too biased to be objective, but I'm a big fan now. You can pick it up in Target on the 10th-14th for only $7.98.

They are going to play on Letterman next week on the 11th. (the birthday my Dad and 5 yr old, Braeden) So be sure to check that out.

Here are some more Spoon links:

Their MySpace site

Their newest video for "The Underdog" This is a marvelous song that I can't stop humming this morning!

Let me know if you're gonna try to see one of their shows while they're touring this Summer/Fall.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Attention spans, sleep deprivation and fireworks

I'm a big fan of the Fourth of July for all your typical reasons (patriotism, BBQ, swimming, family, not-working . . . etc.) But I remember absolutely living for the fireworks. At the mall here in O-Town the city puts on a pretty good show every year. We have our designated spot on the backside of an Aldi. (yeah, you're jealous) The view is ok, and we can actually drive home afterwards without being snarled in traffic. (I just really wanted to use the word "snarled" for some reason.) Yesterday our kids played hard. We spent the morning at the YMCA, and the afternoon at a multi-hour BBQ with some friends. There were several kids there and all four of mine played hard. By the time we were headed to see the fireworks it was pretty clear that the kids were wasted. (Oh fun) We waited for the show to start for what seemed like an eternity. The kids went through all the kid-phases of being tired. (combative, goofy, apathetic, whiny, hyper, lethargic, and comatose) You could also use those names for a new version of the Seven Dwarfs, but it wouldn't be as fun. By the time the thing got going it was almost anti-climactic. The kids barely paid attention to the massive explosions going on right above our heads as they continued to cycle through the phases. They all agreed on the "comatose" phase during the short drive home. Anyway, it was a fun day. We just need to find a way to get that sun down about 4 hours earlier on this one day a year. =)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Good People and the Boob Tube

I like Jack Johnson's music a ton - I heard his "Good People" song on the radio yesterday and I was really digging the commentary it makes on our fascination with the television set. Anyway, thought I'd share the lyrics:
Oh, you win, it's your show now
So what's it gonna be
Cause people will tune in
How many train wrecks do we need to see
Before we lose touch of
We thought this was low
Well, it's bad, getting worse so

Where'd all the good people go ?
I've been changing channels
I don't see them on the TV shows
Where'd all the good people go ?
We got heaps and heaps of what we sow

They got this and that
With a rattle a tat
Testin, 1, 2,
Man, what you gonna do
Bad news, misused
Got too much to lose
Gimme some truth
Now whose side are we on ?
Whatever you say, turn on the boobtube
I'm in the mood to obey
So lead me astray, and by the way now

Where'd all the good people go ?
I've been changing channels
I don't see them on the TV shows
Where'd all the good people go ?
We got heaps and heaps of what we sow

Sitting around, feeling far away
So far away, but I can feel the debris, Can you feel it ?
You interrupt me from a friendly conversation
To tell me how great it's all gonna be
You might notice some hesitation (Because)
It's important to you, it's not important to me
But way down by the edge of your whole reason
Let's beginning the show
And all I really wanna know is

Where'd all the good people go ?,
I've been changing channels
I don't see them on the TV shows
Where'd all the good people go ?
We got heaps and heaps of what we sow

(Where'd all the good people go ?)
They got this and that
With a rattle a tat
Testin, 1, 2,
Man, what you gonna do
Bad news, misused
Gimme some truth
You got too much to lose
(where'd all the good people go ?)
Now whose side are we on today ?
Anyway, ok whatever you say
Wrong or resolute, but in the mood to obey
Station through station
Desensitizing the nation

Where'd all the people go ?

Going, going, gone...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What could be more important than batting

Braeden's (5 yr old) little league baseball experience has been a ball to watch, from a safe distance. I could write a bunch of stories of what I've seen out there as these mini-men try to play ball. One of the more entertaining, recurring, events that we see is that these little guys have to, ...well,... go. But they are very involved in the game, so we end up with full-on potty dances right there on the field. We parents are always looking for these poses so that we can laugh, I mean, take quick action. Recently one of our better players was walking to the batter's box for his turn to bat. It was very obvious that he should have been walking to the outhouse instead. But he was undeterred. As he stood there ready to take the first pitch the squirming and dancing got more pronounced. His solution was to get in his stance and raise the bat in his right hand and with his left hand he, . . . well . . . grabbed himself. He was determined to take his turn at bat even if it meant doing it with one-hand. His mom was mortified and coach quickly swooped in and called a "time-out" while the little boy took care of business in the outfield. As a group of supportive parents on the bleachers our response, of course, was hysterical laughter.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Following took place between Day Six and Day Seven

Preface - So we've been home for about a month now and my hiatus from the blog has actually caused a couple of you (probably both of the people who actually read this) to question what was up. So I'll close out the Great Hawaii Adventure now . . .

We had a rough time deciding what to do on our final, full day of Hawaii. Happily we landed at a one-word-consensus . . . BEACH. We started the day at our favorite beach, Waiamea. We got pelted with some large, but spotty rain drops while we traveled there and set-up. I spent extensive time trying to get beat up by waves - it worked, and I kid you not, I'm still, a month later pulling sand out of my ears occasionally. Traci also spotted several sea turtles, so that was sweet. Those things are huge, and it was pretty cool how close to the beach they were swimming. Our several hours at that beach ended with a downpour that pretty much cleared the place out . . . made me wanna be a sea turtle. We took that chance to run back to the "Triple-B" (see previous posts) for munchies, and then went to the beach that my sister says was her favorite - a month later the name is escaping me (help me out here, Sis) but it lived up to its billing. I was happily able to score some prime snorkeling time. But we were essentially trying to soak up as much sun as we could. Traci and I are still debating her prolific use of sun screen - as if we weren't pasty enough already. I tried to keep her slimy hands off of me. (that sounded kinda odd) Anyway, the evening was spent back at the BBB just chillin'. For the record, yes, I did watch Dancing with the Stars that night, and yes, I did like it.

The next morning we loaded up and said farewell to our "Triple-B." One comment - I have to admit to being a little skeptical when I first walked in the place, but it turned out to be one of the definite highlights of the trip. Holler if you ever want info about the place. We spent the morning at the temple again in Laie, and had to revisit the PCC. There was just so much there that we had missed and they let you back in for free. That afternoon we made our little drive and got reacquainted with Waikiki. We bought a few parting knick-knacks and ate at the Planet Hollywood. It was great stuff! Getting on the airplane that night was a kinda bittersweet thing. The only "sweet" part was knowing that I was flying back to the kids. But I have to say, that was about the only non-bitter part. We flew all night, and as is usually the case, there was no snoozing for me. We were so numb by the time we got to our gate in Vegas that I just laid down on the floor. Again, there was no sleeping but it was more comfortable that the airplane seat.

The arrival home was great. Sarah, heretofore known as Best Sister Ever, picked us up and we surprised the boys getting out of school. For them it was, "hey, the parents are here . . . I guess that's cool, I'll give a good hug, and then ask if I can go play with my friends." But for us there were tears involved.

And that kinda wraps it up. I am so ready to go back . . .

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Following took place between Day Three and Day Five

Aloha! So I had intended to blog a bit more often, but we've kept nicely busy. Here's a little recap of the last 3 days here on Oahu. One thing you should note before reading, my wife has asked that I point out that we are having a really great time here. Almost everything has been wonderful and I can't get enough of the beaches. I guess I tend to dwell on the negative in my blog and she doesn't want anyone to think that we're not having a marvelous time, which we are. I can prove it with pictures and everything!

Day 3 - This was to be our final morning in Waikiki. We were determined to maximize the beach time there. As we were walking towards the beach from our hotel we decided to "shortcut" through one of the beachfront hotels (one of the really nice ones). With the beach in sight, we took like 10 steps into the lobby area, before we were confronted by a security guy with keen observation skills asking us if we were looking for the beach. (we were carrying towels, beach mats, sunscreen . . . etc.) What he really meant was, "you guys so don't belong in this insanely expensive hotel, why don't you step outside with the rest of the public." He had one of those earpieces with a wire, so he looked even more serious than your typical hotel security guy or maybe "W" or at least Rosie O'Donnell was upstairs. So we made our way AROUND the hotel to the beach. Later that morning we checked out of our hotel and started our drive around the island towards our bungalow.
All of the tourist stuff tells you that there are a gazzilion cars on the island and only a few miles of roads. So this obviously leads to pleasant traffic situations and lots of gas stations. Congestion is just part of the deal, so it takes quite a while to get very far. Couple that with tourists taking in the "view" (I'm an offender) and driving on Oahu is slightly frustrating. But I have to admit to kinda digging the slow pace of things. We stopped at a few spots along the way, including the famed Giovanni's Shrimp Shack. I don't really do seafood much, so Traci took in this piece of Hawaii. She assured me that it was great, and there were several Japanese tourists sitting around us nodding and smiling, so I think that was a stamp of approval as well. Or they were laughing about paying $12 for 12 pieces of shrimp sold out of some Italian guy's trailer.

Traci just pointed out that there's a beach here called "Sandy Beach" - that made me chuckle. I hope to also visit the "Wet Ocean" some day.

We arrived at our Beautiful Beach Bungalow (I'll call this BBB from now on). We rushed out to the beach right next to us to check things out. What we saw stopped us in our tracks. The huge waves were breaking right on the shore - apparently these are wisely called "Shore Breaks." There were signs posted everywhere warning against swimming at all. They even had a drawing on them of a guy being flipped upside down by a wave. You don't wanna be that guy. It was still very impressive to see, and of course, so was the BBB.

Day Four - We spent Saturday morning at Waimea beach. This beach also had the forboding shore breaks, but they were quite a bit smaller. It took some time to get used to, but after a while we were having a blast getting pummeled by the waves. (by "we" I mean "me" - Traci wisely swam out past where the waves broke) The waves would drag me up the beach - I routinely had to empty my pockets and shorts of the sand that mysteriously got together there. Good times though. Another odd highlight was that we met a family from Wichita. We Kansans get around!!
After a quick shower back at the BBB we cruised over to the Polynesian Cultural Center. (PCC) Everyone told us this was a must-do, and they were absolutely right. I got to do a Samoan Dance, kill a "pig" with a spear, and we had a big-time luau where our table-mates were all from the Philipines. We had a fun time observing all of the different nationalities that were visiting. For one of our shows they asked for 3 volunteers and they ended up with a guy from Korea, one from Egypt, and a dude from Australia. The shows were really well done, and we're contemplating going back tomorrow since we only saw about half of what we'd have liked. It was a long day though and the drive back to the BBB couldn't end soon enough.

Day 5 - Since today was Sunday we tried to keep it low-key. We did church with a ward in Laie in a building right next to the temple. It was fun to hear every speaker say Aloha and then have the congregation respond in kind. I'm so gonna try to get that going back in Kansas, but Traci is skeptical for some reason. We spent most of the rest of the day driving around the island - we even got to see our first, and only, WalMart up close - a real treat to be sure. We did squeeze in a nap, and a decent rain burst blew threw that really cooled things down. It's wild how the rain blows in and out here. We went for a walk on our beach when it was sunny again, and another shower blew threw - leaving us running for the BBB. In the PCC we learned that in Hawaii the men do lots of the cooking, so thanks to that bit of useful knowledge, Traci told me that I would be making dinner tonight - we had marvelous pasta with sauce from a jar. (that'll teach her)

Coming up: our last precious beach moments (trying to get a tan), we do last-minute, mad-dash, souvenir shopping, and the joys of long plane rides

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Following took place between Day zero and Day two

We've been here in Hawaii now for a couple of days, so I thought I'd share a little bit about our voyage here and what we've done since we got here.

Day Zero - Let's just say that the trip here took way longer than I expected. We flew from KC to Vegas just fine. But while in Vegas our ATA flight to Honolulu was delayed almost 3 hours (that's following a 3.5 hour layover). I felt like I needed to declare Nevada residency or something. The Vegas airport is very classy to say the least, that is if you're into questionable airport food and frantic gamblers trying to hit it big, by which I mean get their money back on the slot machines before their flight takes off without them. I'm actually convinced that several folks knowingly missed their flights in an attempt to, well, lose even more money to the slot machine gremlins. Our delay was caused by a hydrolic fluid leak on one of the wings - sounded ominous enough that I have no complaints. It took 'em so long to fix it though that they actually had sent a plane from Phoenix to try to pick us up. Here's a photo of Traci watching Dancing with the Stars (yes, those are slot machines in the background) and me staring at my Treo/IPod (those of you who know me well now have photographic proof of my Treo addiction now) while we waited for the plane to get fixed:

The flight to Honolulu wasn't terrible as much as it was monstrously long and terribly mind-numbing. But it is what it is. By the time we got to the hotel it was 5 AM Kansas City time, so we were feeling energized.

Day One - Thanks to the magic of time zones we woke up at like 7 or 8 in the morning. We were able to do coherent sentences and everything.
Our first stop was the Aloha stadium swap meet, so we could load up on authentic Hawaiian souvenirs made in China. Traci bought a cool flower dress and I got a ball cap and a hoodie. Of course we made excellent purchases for the kids as well. Never have I seen so many t-shirts in one place at a time - you could buy like 30 of 'em for $5. Somehow we held back. We also learned about "liquid sunshine." This is when it rains on you, sort of, while the sun beats down. Oddly enough, you hardly get wet and you can count on the clouds to pass quickly.
After this we visited Pearl harbor. As you may recall (see earlier post) we were advised by many to arrive there before the sun came up so that the line would only be 3 hours long. Well, we showed up around lunch time, hung around for 45 minutes, and we were in. The whole thing really was humbling. I had no idea that they raised and repaired several of the sunken ships, which were then used later on in WWII. I couldn't help but wonder what the old Japanese folks that I saw were thinking as they looked at everything. There were lots of 'em there at the memorial, and I know it was a long time ago, but still . . . anyway. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Waikiki. And I mean walking. We did hang at the beach and swam for a while. We continue to be confused about why everyone told us that Waikiki was so terrible (dirty, stinky, crowded . . . etc.) That hasn't been our experience at all. I'll elaborate later. Some of the highlights, and I use that term loosely were Traci walking me to spots that she had visited as a little girl. I think the one I'll most remember was the dramatic "Changing of the Guard." (see photo) This is where at 6:15 PM an impressive group of seven "pretend" soldiers appears in front of a shopping center. The say Hawaiian things, and do that really great stuff with the fake rifles (you know what I mean). Then they lower and dramatically fold a Hawaiian flag. Afterwards, they ask everyone to follow them to the center of the shopping center, where they do even more impressive things with rifles and hand out coupons. It was even more impressive and dramatic than I'm making it sound. Traci was enchanted though, so I'm good with it all.

Day Two - This morning was our Hanauma Bay excursion. This has easily been the highlight of the trip so far. Interestingly though, before they let you walk down to the bay they show you a powerful video explaining two basic things: 1. Don't touch the reef or the fishes (yes, they used the word "fishes" repeatedly) and 2. If you touch the reef or the fishes you might tragically destroy the planet. The bay itself is amazing. This goes on the "must-do" list for anyone going to Hawaii. Yes we did snorkel, and we didn't even need calculators or spreadsheets (see previous post) This was every bit as relaxing and entertaining as everyone made it out to be. We saw many different types of fishes (I just love that word) and other underwater things like coral, sand, rocks, other people's snorkeling fins . . .etc. Our trip there ended when we both woke up for beach naps to realize that "like bread in the oven too long" we were cooked.
Tonight we had our first terrible experience since arriving here. We made a really, really bad choice for a dinner restaurant. Now I'm a pretty easy to satisfy guy, but the place we ate dinner at, and remember that food here is astonishingly expense, left me feeling sick before I took a bite of anything. It was a buffet place with a fairly typical list of items, but EVERYTHING tasted horrific. The place even smelled bad. We barely ate a thing and quickly left. I'll be sure to post something to the internet travel boards about the place. We then returned to the "Changing of the Guard" thing for night number two. This time so Traci could video tape it to watch again and again later. (actually, so she could share it with her parents and sister) For the rest of the night we watched several different "native" shows at the various hotels along the beach. At one point there were hula dancers performing and wearing coconuts (and you know where they there wearing them). Traci thought this was a bit in poor taste, but she was ok with the almost entirely naked "Samoan King" dancing, yelling, and twirling fire-sticks. But we did get a good bit of the Crash Course on Hawaiian Culture for Tourists (CCHCT) tonight. We ended the evening by re-eating (is that a word?!) dinner at a restaurant that served actual food.

Coming soon: we meet our bungalow, a real Luau (there better be a pig), and a full day of Polynesian Culture!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hawaii advice

Well tomorrow we embark (EQ quote) on our Hawaii adventure. This has been a long time coming and the planning, which I observed Traci doing (from a safe distance of course), has been extensive. As the date has gotten closer, more and more people have found out about our trip. We're a little bit surprised at all the people who seemed to have found out, and chosen to care. What I have learned though, also to my surprise, is that everyone I ever come in contact with, hasn't just been to Hawaii, but they are certified experts working for the Hawaiian Commission of Tourism. EVERYONE has a very strong opinion of what we should do and not do while we're there.
For instance, I've never been snorkeling in the ocean, which shouldn't be a big surprise given my childhood and adult life in, well . . . Kansas. So in the planning snorkeling was a "might do." Well, I had several folks ask if I planned to snorkel (you have to admit that's a funny word - I think the IRS should use that word instead of "audit" . . . i.e. "Mr. Farnsworth, we've reviewed your records and in the next few weeks you will be "snorkeled" by several of our brightest agents.) So because we hadn't decided yet I said, "no, we probably won't get to the snorkeling." The looks I received were similar to those I might receive if I told somebody to give me their new car so I could use it in a demolition derby. I was met with disdain and disgust (two really rough "D" words.) So for the record, we will be snorkeling. We even have the masks and stuff in our suitcases to prove it. Here are some other things our dear friends have told use we should/shouldn't do in Hawaii:
  • Do make the time to go to the Dole Plantation and eat the pineapple
  • Don't waste your time with the Dole Plantation - it's totally boring
  • Do check out Waikiki beach, it's beautiful
  • Don't waste your time with Waikiki beach, it's a trash pit
  • Do get in line early in the morning at Pearl Harbor
  • Don't show up at Pearl Harbor until lunch time or so
  • Don't leave anything in your car, ever - it will be stolen, guaranteed. In fact, just leave the doors open so the thieves can easily get what they want and not break the car windows (actual advice). Actually, if you see a surfer who looks a little shady, walk up to the guy and give him everything of value that you have with you. (not actual advice)
So you can see, just based on these few points, we now have a wonderful idea of what to do and not do.

PS - Look for lots of posts over the next week or so about our Hawaiian Adventure

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Some things I like (Part 1 of many)

So for whatever reason I thought I'd post a list of things I like. It's just stuff that's in my head at this moment. They're not in any particular order, and probably no one would care, but well . . . I'm gonna do it anyway:
  • Ed (the TV Series)
  • NCAA March Madness
  • Peter Breinholt, particularly live in concert
  • Being a human jungle gym for all 4 kids at once
  • Speaking Spanish
  • When Larry talks me into playing ball
  • 24
  • When it's just warm enough to roll down your windows while you drive for the first time in the spring
  • My friends from my freshman year at BYU
  • Watching my kids realize that they are learning something, anything - and that they're proud of it
  • Counting Crows
  • When my wife laughs at my little jokes
  • Reading a news story that has a happy ending
  • Hitting a 3 pointer
  • When I can be with my siblings, for any reason
  • When I get home from work and my baby Allison is always the most happy to see me - I get that huge smile, maybe a little "Da Da" and always a hug & kiss
  • The West Wing (TV series)
  • Watching people at work who struggle, but eventually succeed in doing something that they thought was over their heads
  • Monet paintings
  • When I get a voicemail from Traci and she's just calling to say hi and for no other reason
  • Dashboard Confessional
  • Waking up in the morning (usually on Saturday) and knowing that I don't really have anything I have to do, and then getting out of bed in spite of that.
  • Answers to prayers
Yeah, it's an odd list I know, but I'll be adding to it.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

What the pile is trying to tell me

So this afternoon I faced down something that I'd been avoiding for months . . .


Just kidding. I got to "clean out the closet." By my wife's definition this means choosing the clothes that I never wear and putting them into a large bag destined for donation. (or possibly to sit in our garage until I need something she put in there) I took my first shot at it, and apparently shot an "airball." I thought I had created a sufficiently large pile, but Traci made it clear that we were just getting started. You see I have what I call "the rotation." This means I have like 4-6 outfits that I've worn over and over the last 7 years or so . . . and that's about it as far as clothing that gets used. To my credit the rotation does change a bit with the seasons - for instance, I try to keep the grey cotton shorts in the drawer during the most serious blizzards. But I also have my essential back up drawer of miscellaneous t-shirts. Few, if any, of these have ever seen the light of day. But I NEED them, all 36 - unfortunately I can't really explain why to my lovely wife. There are quite a few other things in there that get worn maybe once every 2 years, but I can't part with them. Well, after my feeble attempt, she sat me down and took over. Over the next 20 minutes or so my "wardrobe" (I feel silly calling it that) decreased by exactly 92.56%. In the process she helped me to understand that I have as much sense of style as my three year old does - expect without being cute in any way whatsoever. Also, this enjoyable 20 minutes that I'll never get back served as a pleasant reminder of the several pounds that I've packed on since I last went clothes shopping in the 90s. So that part was fun. Anyway, everything turned out fine. And there's a large bag of clothes in the garage (for now) to prove it.

Here's a little photo of Sydney with "The Pile"
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