Friday, July 31, 2009

Cleaning the slate: 31 things I don't think I've told you yet...

31 Posts in 31 Days: #31

(I just realized that this is my 32nd straight post. Go figure.)

1. I once handcuffed myself with cuffs that had no key. Had to go to the locksmith. Police had to be called. It was a real highlight.

2. My shoe size is 9.5

3. I've had one article published in a magazine.

4. I splurge on toilet paper. None of that cheap stuff.

5. I gashed my arm open, in the third grade, on my best friend's watch. I still have the three inch scar, and he's still my best friend.

6. I believe in ghosts.

7. I'm an optimist.

8. Trying to take one interesting picture each day is harder than it sounds.

9. I have the odd distinction of having been the oldest child, the youngest child, an only child, and, ultimately, the middle child. I think I may have mentioned this before.

10. I write with gel ink.

11. I like the smell of Sharpie markers -- the big ones!

12. I can't cut straight lines to save my life.

13. I always order the same pizza from Dominos: Pepperoni, mushrooms and olives.

14. Mesa Arch is a sacred place to me.

15. I ALWAYS have at least six of the screw driver that I don't need, and zero of the one I do.

16. I think Thomas Jefferson is flawed and fascinating.

17. I never smoked or drank (you know, alchohol).

18. I have sixteen keys on my key ring. And I have to use every stupid one of them.

19. I'm always on the look out for the perfect pair of sunglasses.

20. I love M*A*S*H

21. And Newhart reruns.

22. I wish I had a brother named Darryl.

23. And another brother named Darryl.

24. If Facebook had a quiz "Which M*A*S*H character are you?" I would be Henry Blake.

25. I'm going to write a song by the end of the year. Hold me to this.

26. I can do that little "flip the pen around the thumb" trick that debaters and nervous people do.

27. My kids think I'm a dork, and they tell me so.

28. I try to see others point of view.

29. I gained two pounds this week. Then lost it. Then gained it back. Should I be worried?

30. I'm going camping as soon as I finish writing this. Pray for me, I'm not a good camper.

31. I won't have time to proof read this, feel free to point out my grammatical errors!

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Photostory Friday: I'm a terrible dad -- finally, definitive proof

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

31 Posts in 31 Days: #30

I have met the enemy, and he is me.

Have you ever witnessed a catastrophic event, and known fully, undeniably, irreconcilably that you are to blame?

And worse, everyone else who witnesses said event also knows, beyond all doubt, that you are to blame? See, I have this problem -- since I was very young I have tended to -- when upset -- supplement my language with, shall we say, colorful metaphors.

The problem is, I have these kids, who have VERY selective hearing.

Here's a quick little video, that Emma made all by herself. We discovered it over the weekend.


But, would you like to know my real character flaw -- the reason I should NEVER have been allowed to procreate?

After I stopped laughing, and decided to post it, I found that it was gone. It had been misplaced, and before I located it, I actually considered trying to get Emma to do it again!



Wednesday, July 29, 2009

365: Week 30

31 Posts in 31 Days: #29

Day 204

July 23: Yes, I shot this same flower last week. And that picture was much better.

But, you see, I got my other camera back from the shop (where it has been for two months), the one with the macro lens.

Apparently I've forgotten how to use it.

Day 205

July 24: Annie came for a visit.

Annie Love is my three year old niece, and she thinks I'm the best uncle EVER! (I have other nieces -- they are not so enamored).

She was hanging out in my hammock, in her Crocs -- the only shoes she wears. Annie is moving to Germany soon, and I'm afraid she won't remember much about me by the time I see her again. So I treasure these visits from this curly headed little beauty.

Day 206

July 25: We had, literally, dozens of dragonflies swarming around in the back yard, and do you think I could get even one to hold still long enough for me to take it's picture?

Well, if that's what you thought, you were right.

Day 207

July 26: Does anyone know who this goofball is?

Surely she has not sprung from my loins...

Day 208

July 27: A utilitarian shot, but what you're witnessing is my son taking a step into manhood.

He set up the tent all by himself! (well, with a slight assist from his sisters -- but no parental involvement).

He's a man now.

I feel like we should grill something, or chest bump, or whatever it is that men do...

Day 209

July 28: Water and sun (and tan lines). That's summer.

Day 210

July 29: I came. I saw. I kicked it's @#$!

I'm just knocking out these home repair projects like a pro! First the kitchen sink, then the sprinkler lines, now the outside faucet (which would not shut off, and no one mentioned that to me yesterday, and the back yard was a swamp...)

Next up -- the sprinkler head I mowed last weekend.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Running a little late tonight (so what's new right?)

31 Posts in 31 Days: #28

It's a good thing that July is almost over.

You know, I'll bet I could easily post everyday, but since I've self imposed this daily deadline for a month, I find myself sitting, staring at the screen, wondering who would care if I missed a day.

I would.

It would bug me until the end of time -- that's the truth.

I'm running a little late tonight, so if you don't mind, I'd just like to take this chance to get something off my chest:








(sound of ragged, labored breathing)

I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but high school english really took hold in my brain, and I just can't abide this -- I'm also the guy who sends grammatically correct, and properly punctuated text messages.

I feel much better now, thank you.

(Just don't get me started on their, there and they're, or too, to and two, or......)

Monday, July 27, 2009

The one you've been waiting for: Fry Sauce

31 Posts in 31 Days: #27

Some might say Utahns are a quirky bunch.

We love ice cream.

We love the Osmonds (okay, that's a stretch -- we like them a lot, they're our Jackson Five -- in a manner of speaking).

We do not all have plural wives, but we sure get asked that a lot when we go back East.

We love green Jell-O. With stuff in it (raisins, shredded carrots, baby marshmallows, pineapple, pears, goldfish crackers...)

We love Funeral Potatoes. Everywhere else you would call this dish "Cheesy Potato Casserole" or something like that. And we like to top it off with crunched up potato chips or corn flakes.

But the thing, the piece de resistance, the queen mother of all Utah quirkiness is Fry Sauce.

It is the essential condiment for a complete meal -- not ketchup, not mustard, not relish, not A-1 Steak Sauce, but fry sauce. In Utah fry sauce is ubiquitous. But when you venture outside the state boundaries, and you ask for fry sauce, the person behind the counter of your favorite eatery will likely look at you as though you have just landed from another planet. And if they're feeling generous, they'll toss you a couple of ketchup packets.

Ketchup is not fry sauce.

Fry Sauce was invented in Utah, by the founders of a local fast food chain: Arctic Circle. This Utah origin helps to explain its dull, if utilitarian name: Fry Sauce. In Utah, when it comes to names, we're long on othodoxy and short on imagination (we name our streets 100, 200, 300 etc...)

At the time of it's creation, McDonald's was just coming on line, and the founder of Arctic Circle wanted to do something to make the taste of his burgers unique (at the time burgers were prepared with ketchup, mustard, pickles and onions), so he changed the condiment selection.

And he changed the world. (Okay, maybe not the world, but you have to understand, we are VERY passionate about this stuff). And I am about to unveil, right here on this very blog, to each of you denied this little taste of heaven in your backward and repressive home towns, the recipe for Fry Sauce:

Stir together.
Dip fry, place in mouth.
Roll eyes back in head, curl toes with ecstasy.

There you have it. The secret is out. Now you can know what we in Utah have known since 1950 -- that Fry Sauce is ambrosia.

Nearly every food establishment in Utah, that sells french fries, has some version of fry sauce. Some fiddle with the ratios -- adding more or less of one of the ingredients. Some places even substitute items like barbeque sauce for the ketchup, but if you stray too far from the recipe, it won't be fry sauce, and the people will not eat it. Franchises new to Utah learn quickly that if you have fries, and no fry sauce, you will have a lot of unsold french fries.

When the Winter Olympics were here in 2002, we even had an official fry sauce trading pin (we had a green Jell-O pin too.)

Enterprising souls have even bottled and sold fry sauce in the grocery stores. This is where I draw the line -- surely you have ketchup and mayonnaise in your refrigerator, and if you can't mix up your own fry sauce, you have bigger issues than your condiment dilema.

So, there you have it. Maine may have it's lobster, New Orleans may have jambalaya, New York it's pizza but for pure, unadulterated, universal food love, nothing -- NOTHING -- touches fry sauce in Utah.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Facebook Friends: This Blog's for you...

31 Posts in 31 Days: #26

So I was blocked tonight. I had nothing. I sent out a plea on Facebook for blogging ideas, and got back some whoppers.

Andrew suggested Chippendales vs The Thunder from Down Under. I was thinking cute, animated, vaguely asexual cartoon characters versus some sort of American Gladiator. So I looked it up. Turns out I wasn't even close.

Sorry ladies, this is a family blog.

Dave suggested mayonnaise. That subject is far too voluminous to be covered by just one blog. If I start writing about mayonnaise you'll never shut me up. Mayonnaise to me, is like political corruption is to Grisham, or wacky conspiracies are to Dan Brown.

If there's one thing I know, it's mayonnaise. The world's most complex and revolutionary condiment deserves more attention than I can shower on it at this time.

My friend Shawna mentioned the 80's. A real possibility. I have a love/hate relationship with the 80's. There are movies and music from the 80's that I love. But I hate 80's music and movies. Do you know the difference?

And Molly Ringwald, I hate Molly Ringwald.

Elizabeth, my fellow Old Time Radio junkie, had nothing, but was looking for suggestions as well. Elizabeth you see you've come to the wrong place for inspiration -- just look at what I'm doing here!

My brother-in-law Pete suggested writing about my favorite book (well, actually he said FAVOITE book, but I'm not splitting hairs tonight). I have two favorite books: A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain.

I know these books inside and out. Someday I will write about them, I'll tell you why everything you ever needed to know is in these two books. But it's late, and I need to post.

My son, whose ears needed to be cleaned out, didn't hear me correctly when I read these suggestions out loud, and suggested I write about Alvin and the Chipmunks versus Mayonnaise.

That's just stupid.

Susan reminds me that tomorrow is the anniversary of the first Bugs Bunny cartoon, "The Wild Hare," in 1940. See, Susan is telling me this because she assumes that I'm preparing a post for tomorrow, rather than being EXTREMELY late for today's post.

Silly Susan.

(Actually Susan, if you carry around information like this in your brain, you and I would get along famously!)

Pete chimes in once more to remind me that tomorrow is Monday, and that Garfield hates mondays. He also loves lasagna. Garfield and I have far more in common than I realized.

These were all terrific suggestions, but I think I'm going to write about....

...Wait for it...


Unfortunately, it looks as though I've run out of time. So the highly volatile and subjective debate as to who has the best fry sauce is just going to have to wait...

(Right about now, those of you reading from outside the State of Utah are wondering what fry sauce is, aren't you?)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Down to the wire...

31 Posts in 31 Days: #25

Have you ever had one of those days, where the world comes crashing down around you, and you look around for something strong, something stable to hold on to? Something that tells you God is still there, that he sees the big picture?

These are my children. I love them with all my heart.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pioneer Day

31 Posts in 31 Days: #24

Today is Pioneer Day, in Utah. It is a celebration of the day the Mormon Pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. Actually, the 24th of July, 1847, is the day that Brigham Young finally straggled into the valley, with the small sick detachment, and made the arrival official. Most of the rest of the company arrived two days earlier, with two, Orson Pratt and Erastus Snow, actually arriving on July 21. For the next twenty-two years, until the railroad came to town in 1869, more than 70,000 Latter Day Saints, seeking freedom from mobs and persecution, seeking the freedom to worship as they chose, in a nation where that right is a guarantee, crossed the plains of the midwest and over the Rocky Mountains, to this new home in the high desert of the Great Basin. More than 6,000 of them never made it to the valley. They are buried along the trail, mostly in unmarked graves. There was little time for grieving along the trail west.

In 1856, in order to accommodate the many converts to the church in the British Isles and the lands of Scandinavia, who longed to come to Zion, but were often destitute, Brigham Young introduced the idea of making the trek in handcarts. A handcart was a small wagon, just big enough for essential supplies, that was pushed and pulled by the immigrants all the way from Iowa City to Salt Lake City. This is the way that Sophia Mason Crook came to Utah.

A native of England, Sophia, and her daughter Eliza, boarded the ship Thornton in Liverpool, May 1, 1856, with 759 other immigrants, headed for America. The ship arrived in New York harbor June 14, 1856. From there Sophia traveled to Iowa City, Iowa, by steamboat and rail, suffering much hardship and persecution along the way. When Sophia and Eliza reached Iowa, they learned that it was very late in the year for starting a handcart journey across the plains, and that they were not expected in Salt Lake City. Sophia and Eliza ultimately became part of the fourth handcart company in 1856, headed by a man named James G. Willie. A fifth company, headed by Edward Martin, would follow behind the Willie company, about two weeks later. The two companies would share a similar fate.

Running late into the year, running low on supplies and unsure if any would be forthcoming from the Salt Lake Valley, Sophia, Eliza and the rest of the two handcart companies, starving and freezing, came to a deadly halt in an early snowstorm on the high plains of Wyoming. They could go no further.

On October 4, Brigham Young learned that there were still two handcart companies on the trail. Astonished by this news, he ordered the saints to "go, and bring those people in". The subsequent rescue was the largest in the history of the settlement of the American West. But despite the valiant effort and sacrifice of the rescue parties, 210 of the 980 people in the two handcart companies, died before reaching the Valley.
Sophia and Eliza were there, on October 19, when the "Valley Boys" appeared like angels on the horizon. They would be on the trail twenty-one more days before entering the Salt Lake Valley, November 9, 1856.

Sophia Crook, who was, at the time, sixty-five years of age, suffered greatly from the hardship of this experience. She moved on from Salt lake to Farmington, the city in which I now live, where other members of her family, who had come to Utah earlier, were living. Sophia's feet and legs were frozen, and were amputated below the knees. Sophia died three weeks later, on November 26, 1856. She was buried in Farmington.
A year later, when the U.S. Army came to the territory to put down the supposed "Mormon Rebellion," Farmington was abandoned and Sophia's family moved to Payson, Utah, never to return. The location of the grave of Sophia Mason Crook was, over time, forgotten. To this day, nobody knows where she is.

Was it worth it? Was the sacrifice and pain of the journey worth the price paid in the end? The story of Sophia Crook and tragedy of the Willie and Martin handcart companies, I think, teaches all of us that there is something greater than ourselves out there. It is the story of laying your greatest sacrifice upon the altar of faith, and meeting God in the hour of your greatest need.

Sophia was my great great great great grandmother.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Photostory Friday: The Importance of Proper Annunciation

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

31 Posts in 31 Days: #23

One of my favorite ways to pass a summer evening is to lie out on the trampoline, and stare into the heavens. We have hordes of dragonflies who put on quite an air show (and keep the mosquitos at bay). The horizon blazes like an inferno as the darkness rolls westward.

Blue to cobalt to navy to black.

The stars wink on, and you find yourself looking in to the face of time itself.

Normally I do this solo, but last night I had a companion...

Emma: Daddy, (I love being called Daddy, and she knows it) can I come up on the trampoline with you?

Me: Sure punkin'

She snuggles in close, and lays on my outstretched arm (I could do this all night). She follows my gaze upward. She watches for a moment.

Emma: Daddy, what are we doing?

Me: Just laying here, looking at the sky.

Emma: Oh..........(stares intently for a few seconds)

Emma: What guy?

365: Week 29

31 Posts in 31 Days: #22

Day 197

July 16: Thursday Morning Sunrise.

For some reason we have uncommonly pretty sunrises on Thursday mornings.

It's spooky I tell ya...

The sun looks like a giant light bulb, doesn't it?

Day 198

July 17: Self Portrait.

With all the dragonflies, and beautiful late evening skies -- and the focus on the Apollo moon landing -- I find myself in this position nearly every night.

At least until the sprinklers run me off.

Day 199

July 18: This is in my front yard, and it's pretty.

Can anyone tell me what to call it?

I'm serious, I have no idea....

Day 200

July 19: For my two hundredth day, I wanted to take a very special picture.

And then I forgot all about the two hundredth picture, and shot this.

I love Eskimo Kisses.

Day 201

July 20: I focused on Matt's nose, and zoomed while I shot.

It reminds me of the face melting scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Day 202

July 21: We have beautiful sunrises on Thursday mornings, and gorgeous sunsets nearly every night. It's hard to resist just taking sunset pictures each night.

Day 203

July 22: No ma'am, I said a little OFF the top, not a little left ON the top.