Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Photostory Friday: Five Olives

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Do you remember when you could put black olives on all five of your fingers?

Back then, every day was a new adventure, and dreams weren't just dreams. 

When you looked in the mirror, you liked what you saw. 

Really liked it. 

Your small world was a VERY BIG place, and wonders were everywhere!

Setbacks were just bumps in the road.

You tried again. 

You laughed more than you cried. 

You believed. 

I wish they made bigger black olives. 

365: Week 21

Day 141

May 21: Self Portrait

I'm a drive-with-the-windows-down kind of guy. I can't wait until the weather gets warm enough to let the fresh (-ish)  air blow through my hair -- what's left of it (my hair, I mean).

I also hate to be hot, so I turn on the air conditioning.

While the windows are down -- which is still not as dumb as driving around in a convertible, with the windows rolled up. 

I never said I was practical. 

Day 142

May 22: "No Dad! Don't take my picture! I HATE it!" 

(Can you see the smile underneath?)

Do you know what I love? I love little kid fingers -- they really tell a story. 

Day 143

May 23: I decided to make chocolate chip cookies on Saturday. I followed the recipe EXACTLY (well, I doubled the chocolate chips) and instead of chocolate chip cookies, I got these. 

Whatever they are.

They look like cow pies, don't they?

Day 144

May 24: Sharon has always maintained that Matt is her best snuggler.

Don't ask where I come in on that list.

Day 145

May 25: Remember my nephew Jackson? Here he is exploring his aunt Sharon's hands. 

Day 146

May 26: The sweet smell of summer. 

Russian Olives are the only trees that I can smell before I see. These trees are EVERYWHERE along the roads and highways of Utah. I think they're, basically, giant weeds -- I don't know if anyone actually plants them.

Day 147

May 27: And the sweet taste of summer!

If you have never had anything from the "Simply" people, I suggest you go out and buy all of their products. 

Right now.

Would you like to know the best way to enjoy these? Pour them into smaller plastic bottles and freeze them. Then ENJOY!

It the delicious frozen gift, that keeps on giving!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Photostory Friday: Standing there

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

I came across a story in the local newspaper this morning, about a website called This is a website where people can log on and tell stories and post pictures of the amazing places they have visited. You can also vote for the places that are already listed -- which are then compiled into a top 100 list. The lists are in constant flux as the votes are coming in (number one is always changing) -- until the voting closes. 

There are established lists for the UK and the United States, and some other areas, but they are currently compiling the list for the 100 Greatest Places to stand on Planet Earth. Some of the places in the running I have been to (the Golden Gate Bridge, the Las Vegas Strip), but most I haven't. 

I love things that take my breath away, and the list of places I would love to stand on this planet is almost endless (the pyramids of Giza, Machu Picchu, the Lincoln Memorial, the Great Wall of China...).

Though I haven't been to many places, some of the places I have been are spectacular. 

I'd like to share two with you, one made by the hand of man, one by the Hand of God. 

First: The Salt Lake Temple.


This is the building I was married in, so it holds a very special place for me, but beyond that, the story of it's construction is one of struggle and faith and sacrifice. 

More than once called the St Paul's of the American West, the Salt Lake Temple took forty years to build. It is constructed of granite blocks, quarried from a canyon twenty miles to the south. Those giant blocks were hauled -- essentially dragged -- from the quarry to the building site, sometimes taking as much as four days to haul a single block.  

Today you can still walk through the meadows of Little Cottonwood Canyon and see the debris of the stonecutters -- for me it's like touching the past, connecting with my own ancestors. 

Once the blocks made it to the building site, they were cut so precisely to fit together, that no mortar was used in the construction of the building. Many who laid the foundations of the Temple in 1853, were gone before it's dedication, in 1893. 

Every time I stand before the Salt Lake Temple, I stand in awe. 

Second: Mesa Arch, at sunrise. 

Utah is full of some astonishing natural landmarks, and I've seen many of them, including some that are more famous than this one -- particularly, Delicate Arch in Arches National Park (practically our state symbol). 

Mesa Arch is located in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park. It's an incredible natural arch, poised on the precipice of a 1,500 foot cliff -- and I mean RIGHT on the edge (if you fell off, you could whistle three choruses of Yankee Doodle before you hit the ground).

But this isn't just a story of where, but when. Many people visit Mesa Arch during the course of a year -- almost none of them comes at the right time. 

Mesa Arch, Sunday morning, just before sunrise. 

 As you stand before the arch,  amongst the boulders and sage brush, you are treated to a show like no other. The sun comes over the Eastern horizon like a nuclear blast. It fills the ancient valley with golden light, and blazes right through the center of the arch. For nearly five minutes it sets the sandstone on fire, changing it from brown to yellow to orange to red and back.


And the only other people I have EVER seen there, at that time, were other photographers. Those who chase the light. 

So now, I'm curious -- where on earth have you stood?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

365: Week 20

Day 134

May 14: Matt says this shot makes him look like a ninja. I say it looks like a shot from the closing credits of Grease 2.

Day 135

May 15: Another weed. Is this a dandelion too -- are there different kinds of dandelions? Either way, it's a bit of sunshine. 

Day 136

May 16: Action shots. 

This is not a great picture, but it was a great moment. This is Matthew (in green)  scoring his last goal of the season -- this is the only goal I came to close to capturing (a sports photographer I am NOT). The Green Gators went undefeated this season!

Day 137

May 17: The great sunday night water balloon fight! My kids are not great shots from a distance -- so they decided to try the up close and personal approach.

Day 138

May 18: At first glance it looks like a stand of aspens in the Autumn afternoon...but it's not Autumn and these are just weeds in the field behind my house. 

Day 139

May 19: I think May is the best month of the year for sunsets. The longer evenings are still a novelty, and we have yet to barricade ourselves in our air conditioned homes, from the hot summer nights. 

This almost looks tropical, doesn't it? 

It's just a good old Farmington Utah sunset. 

Day 140

May 20: Self portrait. 

No, that's not me on the surf board. 

I live in Utah, and have only tried surfing a couple of times (and mostly just tried not to drown, or get eaten by sharks) -- though I do love the beaches of Santa Cruz and San Diego. But, I think maybe I have an old surfer's soul -- the ones that ride the long boards on the long slow waves. 

This is how I dress all summer long. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Things I did once: #5

Let me state, to begin with, that my wife is a great, passionate and tender kisser. She can singe the tips of my crooked toes with one of her smoldering lip locks. 

Let me also state that, at the time, I was working a very odd graveyard shift -- every other night, which just wrecks you. 

I'd also like to enter in to the official record that I was very relaxed -- a state I also attribute to my wife (then girlfriend). 

I would like to point out that this only happened once. 

AND Indiana Jones did it in Raiders of the Lost Ark. 

While my wife (then girlfriend) was kissing me (tenderly, passionately, smolderingly):

I fell asleep. 

And I will NEVER live it down. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Photostory Friday: The Emma Show

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Tender moments have a way of sneaking up on you. 

We went to Disneyland last week, and it was a wonderful trip, where memories to last a lifetime were made, but the most moving moment for me came, unexpectedly, as we sat on the shuttle taking us from the rental car agency to LAX, to return home. 

Emma had chosen the seat at the very front of the bus, right next to the driver. She sat there, unaware that I was watching her, with her Disney Princess t-shirt on, and her Disney Princess backpack, wearing her Disney Princess Mickey Mouse ears -- the ones with the tiara and the lacy veil -- and holding tight to her Sleeping Beauty doll, smiling as she looked out the window -- wide-eyed and awaiting the next adventure. 

I began to think of how many of those precious memories this little girl had provided to us. 

To me. 

Dissolve to Emma, feeding her adrenaline addiction on the Indiana Jones ride. Each time she went on hesitantly, and came off with enough energy to power the whole park. 

Fade to wide eyes, dangling feet, open mouth and giddy laughter as she experienced "Soarin' Over California." 

Fade to Emma announcing loudly -- and proudly -- to the entire boat, on Pirates of the Caribbean, that she had kept her eyes open THE WHOLE TIME!!

Fade to Jordan, Emma and myself as we walked, exhaustedly, through the World of Disney store when, out of nowhere, Emma starts beat-boxing, and then rapping "It's a small world" -- complete with dance moves. I honestly have no idea on Earth where she learned to do that.


Fade to Emma, braving the Green Grilling Ghosts of the Haunted Mansion (Grim Grinning Ghosts).

Fade to the little hand within the big hand, holding tight and squeezing tighter, to punctuate her words, as she talks about what's coming next.

Fade to the little girl who hangs her Minnie Mouse sunglasses from the front of her shirt. Just like her dad. 

Dissolve back to me on the airport shuttle, taking my own sunglasses from the front of my shirt, and slipping them on -- not wanting to explain why my eyes are suddenly tearing up. 

She's slipping through my fingers a little more each day, and if she's going to fly, I know I have to let her go. But, as she steps into the spotlight at center stage, I'll happily fade into the wings.


Because I love to watch this show. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

365 Weeks: 18 and 19

Hi! Remember me? I used to blog here. 

And then I went on vacation, and fell off the face of the earth. 

Day 120

April 30: Another Spring surprise. Our home was landscaped by the previous owners, and we keep finding new surprises. When we moved in, last July, there were daisies and roses and ferns in the front yard. We thought they were very beautiful, but we had no idea what was awaiting us this Spring. 

When the ground thawed, we suddenly had a yard full of daffodils. We were pleasantly surprised. But, imagine our greater surprise when, after the daffodils wilted, we suddenly had a yard full of tulips.

Thank you previous owners!

Day 121

May 1:  After 120 straight days of taking pictures, after sleet and hail and rain and snow and cancer and surgery and work and 


Day 122

May 2: Matt got some sweet new prescription sunglasses. He doesn't usually wear his hair like this, but it was a special occasion. 

Day 123

May 3: Ah, the hammock. The perfect place to kill time. By this point -- 48 hours before the trip to Disneyland -- we were all pretty much useless. 

Isn't Jordan's pre-teen scowl coming along nicely?

Day 124

May 4: This is one of the luggage tags sent to us by the Walt Disney Travel Company. That's right, we went in style! This picture was snapped very late, as I finished packing -- narrowly avoiding the mistake I made on Friday (May 1).

Day 125

May 5: Here it is ladies and gentlemen, the eighth wonder of the world, coming to you straight from the World Famous Jungle Cruise....The Backside of Water!

Day 126

May 6: Pssst. Have you ever heard that Disneyland is home to a super secret, and exclusive private club called Club 33? Well this, my friends is a shot from the lobby of Club 33. 

I went on a tour at Disneyland called A Walk in Walt's Footsteps, where you tour the park for three and a half hours, getting the backstories of many of the attractions that Walt Disney had a personal hand in developing. One of the stops was the lobby of Club 33 (that's as far as they let us go). If you find yourself there, and you're a big fan of Walt Disney (the man), I encourage you to take the tour -- you'll never look at Disneyland the same way again. 

Day 127

May 7: Self portrait. Plus one. 

Emma and I on the Autopia ride. 

I was driving. 

She was backseat driving. 

Day 128

May 8: Our last day in Disneyland, we finally got to one of my favorite attractions -- the Mark Twain Steamboat. This is a shot of one of the massive stacks. 

The Mark Twain is an island of serenity in a sea of chaos. 

Especially on Fridays. 

Day 129

May 9: Heading home. 

What you can't see is that Emma also has a Disney Princess T-shirt on, and that back pack is full of Disneyland paraphernalia (and that's a Sleeping Beauty doll in her hands -- the greatest of all Disney Princesses, according to every female in our household).

I'd say the trip was a success. 

Day 130

May 10: This caricature was drawn, and painted, in Disneyland (duh). The artist did a portrait of Jordan last year as well. She commented on something that I had never noticed before:

All of my kids have different noses.

Don't tell anyone, but Emma's is my favorite!

Day 131

May 11: For those of you with short memories, did I mention that our home was landscaped by the previous owners, and that we now have a yard full of tulips?

Day 132

May 12: I title this picture "Bored and waiting in the Bronco for soccer practice to end, and looking for something to photograph, because I am now paranoid that I'm going to forget again."

It's kind of catchy, huh?

This is the Polynesian whale-bone fishhook that hangs from my rear view mirror.

Day 133

May 13: Have you washed your car at a self serve car wash lately? The suds that come out of the foam brush are rainbow colored. I was so mesmerized that I failed to notice that I was flooding the place in rainbow soap. 

Don't you just want to...taste it?

I'm sure no one saw me snapping pictures of the foamy rainbow. 

Pretty sure...