Saturday, June 30, 2012

Week 25

Day 177

June 24: Sometimes our kitchen reaches critical mass -- everything is a mess, everything smells. Please don't stare too long at the contents of my refrigerator.

Day 178

June 25: Welcome to Emma's Outdoor Beauty Salon. Would you prefer red...or red?

Day 179

June 26: There was just this big puddle in the driveway...

Day 180

June 27: Matt and Emma -- missing Jordan, while she's away at Girl's Camp, though unwilling to admit it -- bond over watching fish jump into the sunset.

Day 181

June 28: Say hello to her li'l friend!

Day 182

June 29: I was GOING to mow the lawn, but when I went to get the mower from the shed, I was accosted by a swarm of wasps. How do they build their nests so fast? Well, they won't be inhabiting this any more.

Day 183

June 30: I love the hands of young brides -- they're so delicate and so pensive. One of my favorite things to do is to take wedding and bridal pictures. There are so many beautiful images to be captured and so much happiness -- I love to watch the couple, through the course of the event. Amidst all the craziness, they still find time for stolen glances and little hand squeezes. Or to sit, hands folded quietly, and reflect on the beginning of their new life.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ten Songs on my iPod

It's time for another edition of: The Next Ten Songs on My iPod.

Ipod set to shuffle...and here we go:

1. You're the Inspiration -- Chicago

This song takes me back to my childhood living room, and our record player. I'm singing (earnestly) to any of a number of fifth grade beauties, with names like Abby and Kim and Lisa...

2. Glory of Love -- Peter Cetera

What are the odds? A Chicago song, followed by a Peter Cetera song. This song is iconic to my generation. This is the love song from The Karate Kid part 2 -- the best of the Karate Kid movies. 
Live or die man?!

3. The Living Years -- Mike and the Mechanics

This song ought to make me think about the passing of my father, and the birth of my son -- it practically tells the story. But that's not what it makes me think of -- when I hear this song, I think about the girl I kissed over Christmas break, when I was sixteen. 

4. Grease -- Franki Valli

This is a great movie, but to tell you the truth, I love Grease 2 even more -- the movie AND the soundtrack. 

5. Don't Stop -- Fleetwood Mac

I love the message of this song. Never stop. Never give up. Keep looking for the positive. Things change when you believe they can change. 

6. Playing With the Boys -- Kenny Loggins

Another iconic song. If Kenny Loggins isn't on the soundtrack of your generation, then you're not part of that generation called X. The volleyball scene from Top Gun -- this was the reason girls watched Top Gun. So says my wife.

7. Make it with you -- Bread

This song takes me waaaaaaaaayyyyyyy back to when I was very little. My parents were in to that mellow 70's sound. Why are they called Bread? I've always wondered that...

8.Rhythm of My Heart -- Rod Stewart

I love the visuals that this song paints -- of a neighborhood celebrating. Remember when we used to do things like that? I like happy songs. 

9. Dream Weaver -- Gary Wright

I don't have the same connection to this song that others my age have - namely Wayne's World. I was serving and LDS mission at the time that that movie came out. Actually, I have a two year pop culture gap -- any reference to anything that happened between the end of 1991 and the end of 1993, is completely lost on me. 

10. Here I am -- Air Supply

I was a BIG Air Supply fan when I was young. I went to see them for my twelfth birthday. My next concert was Neil Diamond. Then Lionel Richie. 

Eventually I got cooler. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The "T" Jump

A summer day.

The cereal bowl is in the sink, and I'm outta here!

I look down our street -- Woodchuck Way -- and all I see are possibilities. The games and the adventures, and the pure American kid freedom to waste the day doing nothing at all. Accomplishing absolutely nothing may be the best way of all to spend a summer day. But not today -- today we have a plan. Today we're building the jump. THE JUMP.

Screen doors are slamming all over the neighborhood, and wheels are rolling -- skate boards and bikes and roller skates, that's how we roll.

Up and down the streets, jumping the curbs, you can smell the summer. (Summer smells like dirt and lemonade and Russian Olive trees, in case you were wondering. And hot, summer smells hot). Kids and their you want to know a secret? It's almost more fun to plan the adventures than it is to carry them out. When you're a kid, your imagination is vastly bigger than your resources.

But like I said, we had a plan.

Today, my best friend Aaron and I were going to build the jump.

This was in the hey day of Evil Knievel, and there was no doubt that only one of us was going to make this jump. And it wasn't me. I was generally opposed to the idea of seeing my own blood any place but where it belonged. No, Aaron was making history today. But first we had to build it. And when your resources are limited, you become resourceful...

You need two basic items to make a bike jump -- a ramp, and something to elevate the ramp. The higher the elevation, the greater the acclaim -- and the greater the possibility of death, a plus in any situation involving ten year old boys. We opted for an old, red, wooden toy box lid, and a stack of bricks. (This was a new subdivision, and it seemed every house had a left over stack of bricks in the garage or the unfinished basement).

The sight of the event would be in front of Aaron's house. The sidewalk had a nice upward slope to the West -- it was just long and steep enough to reach optimal speed, the speed of no return. The speed where bailing on the idea of the jump is as dangerous as the jump itself. Boys like to keep their alternatives simple -- in this case potential death, OR potential death with a healthy sprinkling of legend!

The ramp was up, and we decided to give it a couple of short test runs. I say "we" because Aaron always insisted that I at least try whatever hair brained idea we hatched. So I tried. But, the thing is, when you're talking about bike jumps -- especially jumps held up by a stack of bricks -- you have to be committed. If you hesitate at all, the bricks, that really don't want to be there in the first place, will just fall over. I timidly hit the bottom of the ramp, and the whole thing fell apart.

The funny thing is, this didn't seem like an omen at all.

Aaron decided -- he instinctively KNEW -- that you had to be going fast enough to fool the bricks. You had to be airborne before the bricks new what was happening. That requires speed. But, with Aaron there was always a twist. This time it was a "T" made of two spare bricks, placed about four feet from the ramp.

Aaron got on his bike. The Lone Ranger had Silver, Zorro had Tornado, Roy Rogers had Trigger -- Aaron had Gold Fever.

It was a disco bike. 

I don't even know what that means, but that's what he said. 

And here, ladies and gentlemen, is THE JUMP, as faithfully and clear as it plays back in my memory, thirty years later:

Aaron is about thirty feet up the sidewalk. The angle of the slope is about thirty five degrees. The temperature is in the low 80's. My palms are sweaty. Why are MY palms sweaty?

This was 1982 -- no helmets, no pads. No hovering mothers. No worries. 

I can see his face, nothing but determination. This jump matters. This jump is immortalizing. 

And now he's moving. The distance is closing. Fast. The wind is blowing his red hair -- in 1982 Aaron still had hair. He must be doing ninety! This is for all the marbles. This is for GLORY!

And then he's there. The bricks are clueless. The ramp holds, and the next five seconds are in slow motion:

Gold Fever leaves the end of the jump... foot...two feet...

The front tire is six feet in the air, but the rear tire is so close to the "T"...

It's inches away.....and...(I can hear my heart beating in my ears)....he...CLEARED IT! HE MADE THE JUMP LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!!!!!!!


A jump -- the verb version, not the noun -- requires two things, a take off AND a landing. 

It never occurred to me that he might not stick the landing. 

I look up from the "T" to see that Aaron is still airborne. He actually seems to be rising, like gravity no longer has a hold on him. And then Aaron and the bike separate. They just split apart. Gold Fever shoots out from under him, bounces on the back tire, and comes to a rest three houses away. 

And Aaron goes horizontal. 

As God is my witness, he was flying. HE WAS FLYING LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! 

Knievel never flew!

Did he plan this? He would.

Well, everything that goes up, must come down, and down he came, at about the same thirty five degree angle that he started at -- he came down like an F-14 on an aircraft carrier. With no landing gear. 

He landed on his stomach, in the full Superman position, and slid across the sidewalk, to the end of his yard, and I went for his mom, and the band aids. Not for the first time -- or the last. But, before I reached the front door, I turned back at the sound of screaming. It wasn't screaming in pain, it was screaming for joy! There was Aaron, sitting up, basically bleeding from the entire front of his body, but looking triumphantly back at the "T" -- wobbly from the wind of the passing bike, and the impact of the F-14 crashing into the ground -- but still standing. 

Still standing. 

That's how we spent one summer day. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


If done right... can defense!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

This One Time I Was Sleeping And...

Mama’s Losin’ It
This one time I was sleeping and...

...Well, it's hard to jump right into the middle of the story...

This one time I was sleeping and...

...It's just that, it wasn't really my fault, that's important...

This one time I was sleeping and...

...see, I was working this horrible graveyard shift -- Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights. It's a killer. If you ever get the chance, call in sick and move to another state...

This one time I was sleeping and...

...I was REALLY in love with my wife (then girlfriend). REALLY...

This one time I was sleeping and...

...ok, I can't be the only person this has ever happened to...

This one time I was sleeping and...

...You know, the truth is, Disney makes movies about this kind of thing...

...sort of...

This one time I was sleeping and...


This one time I was sleeping and...

...I'm not saying I wasn't having a good time...

This one time I was sleeping and... was very relaxing. That's a compliment, you know...

This one time I was sleeping and...

...Look, in my defense, I'm probably a necrophiliac...

...or is that nymphomaniac?...

...narcoleptic. THAT'S it....

So, this one time I was sleeping and...

I suddenly woke back up and realized that my girlfriend (now wife) was STILL kissing me.

I knew I'd fallen asleep mid kiss.

And so did she.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I Don't Know

So, I asked Emma what I should write about tonight, and her response was:

"I don't know."

That would be a very short post because, the truth is, there isn't much that Emma doesn't know.

For example:

Emma knows that eagles have see thru eyelids -- so they can still see, when their eyes are closed.

She knows that vultures have bald heads, so they can eat dead animals, and not get blood in their feathers.

She knows that owls don't blink a lot, and they have to turn their heads to be able to see peripherally.

(Emma just checked out ten books on birds, from the library)

She knows how to skip and hula hoop, at the same time.

She knows precisely which buttons to push on everyone.

She knows what iridescent means.

She knows she doesn't like to be mocked. Not "made fun of." Mocked.

She knows that some starlings can mimic the sound of human voices.

She knows that Grover Cleveland was the only President of the United States to serve two, non-consecutive terms.

She knows where everything is. If something is lost in our house we check with Emma first. Seriously.

She knows how to do her mom's nails. And her dad's too -- but that's a secret.

She knows how to climb waterfalls, and make rainbows.

She knows how to find your weak spot -- whatever it is.

She knows how to braid hair.

She knows what makes you tick.

She knows what makes HER talk -- she says that talking is her gift.

She knows the benefit of being the youngest daughter.

She knows that I'll always need her more than she needs me.

Oh, and she knows who Pablo Picasso is.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Brother is Strange

My little brother is strange.

Strange, but always entertaining.

Every time we see him, something new has happened to him, or he remembers something that once happened to him.

He does things differently than other people. He sees the world from a very unique point of view.

Did you ever watch Friends? Remember Phoebe Buffay? Do you recall how she was always saying quirky, off the wall, irrelevant things, like "I once spit in a pig's mouth"?

That's my brother.

We got together with him tonight, and as I was telling him about a chipmunk we saw on our hike yesterday, he comes out with this whopper:

"I once got attacked, and bitten by a squirrel."

But it gets better.

This happened at La Caille -- one of the most famous and exquisite restaurants in Salt Lake City (Tim was a dish washer at the time)

It happened inside a walk in refrigerator.

And the weird thing is, I believe him. This is the kind of thing that happens to my brother. But he tells the story in manner that makes you think this kind of thing happens all the time.

Because it does.

To him.

But, I can't help but laugh, as he talks about the squirrel making eye contact with him, and then running all over the refrigerator, as Tim throws everything he can get his hands on at it -- knives, bowls, tubs -- until he finally runs out of ammo, and the squirrel swaggers up to him, knowing he (the squirrel) had won. Tim takes one last swipe with his hand, and the squirrel sinks its fangs into his hand, and won't let go. He talks about the blood all over the refrigerator, and the call he had to make to some office to let them know that he might have rabies, and how no one seemed the least bit concerned that there was a possibly rabid squirrel running around in the walk-in refrigerator of a hundred dollar a plate French restaurant.

My brother's life is a cartoon.

That was just tonight.

He also swears his cat talks to him. In broken english.

He often forgets about occasions requiring presents, until the last minute. Last Mother's Day, he completely forgot, until he was on the way to our mother's house. He stopped at a convenience store, and bought her a Sprite. She drinks Coke. But it didn't matter anyway -- he got thirsty on the drive, and drank half of it. But he still offered it to her -- with the whole story to go along with it.

When we went to Disneyland a few years back, the elevators of the hotel we were staying in, had no floor indicator in the lobbies on the different floors, to tell you what floor the elevator was currently on. But one day Tim decided that they had had those indicators the day before, and he could not be persuaded otherwise. To this day, he believes some construction crew came in over night, and took all the floor indicators out. Of the entire hotel. In one night. The quietest and most efficient construction crew off all time.

Tim can recite every line of the first three Star Wars movies (the REAL first three movies), as well as the Indiana Jones movies. But he doesn't just know the lines -- he gets the nuances right. He knows what music is playing at any given part of the movie.

When he was a kid, one of his favorite past times was giving weather forecasts on a chalkboard we had in the basement.

And it goes on and on and on...

And Tim thinks this is a normal life...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

366: Week 24 -- The Alphabet

 June 17 - 23

Days 170 through 176

This week I took a little detour from the norm.

I decided to try and shoot the entire alphabet in a week. The rules were the letters had to NOT be intentional letters, and I had to shoot four consecutive letters each day, but once I had taken a picture of a certain letter, I allowed myself to shoot the same letter again, if I came across a better example.

It was a more fascinating project than I had anticipated, to walk around for a week, looking at everything as a potential letter.

I tried to steer away from the really obvious choices.

Some worked better than others.

Lessons I learned?

"Q" is easier to find than "R"

Sometimes you just have to call it what you want it to be, and hope everyone goes along. See "R" and "V" and "G" and "J"

People will think you're weird if you stop and stare at a rock wall outside a restaurant, hoping to find an "S"

Friday, June 22, 2012

The perfect roasted marshmallow

Sitting in front of the fire pit, contemplating the perfect roasted marshmallow...

Here's the breakdown, so far, family member by family member:

Emma: Put it in the fire until it burns and falls off. Repeat.

Matt: "Take a marshmallow, and put it on whatever marshmallow roaster you have. Then you want to stick the marshmallow over some hot coals. No flames, so it doesn't burn. Then slowwwwwwwwwly twist it, to make sure every part is golden brown. Once you have that you pull the marshmallow back and enjoy. Unless the marshmallow is on fire. That's not as enjoyable." Repeat.

Jordan: Stick it in the flames until it is a raging ball of molten sugar, then pull it out and bring it way too close to your face as you try to blow it out. Flaming marshmallow attaches to your bottom lip. Fling it around hysterically and try to get burning marshmallow on as many family members as possible. Try NOT to repeat.

Sharon: See Matt's version. Let the marshmallow just start to bubble. The bubble is the thing. When the bubble appears, perfection is near.

Chris: Untwist hangers because marshmallow roasters are MIA. Place marshmallow on skewer and stick in fire. Help kids with their marshmallows, forget about yours. It burns. Place another marshmallow on skewer, place in fire. Dodge Jordan's flaming projectile. Marshmallow burns. Place ANOTHER marshmallow on skewer, place in fire. Get mesmerized by the flames. Marshmallow burns. Eat it anyway.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Photostory Friday: 13 Things I Hate About My Son

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Thirteen things I hate about my son.

Matthew turned thirteen today and, frankly, I'm not very pleased about this fact, and here are the thirteen reasons why:

1. I hate that Matt is so easy going and even keeled. Nothing bothers him. Ever. And it constantly reminds me that I worry too much about everything.

2. I hate that Matthew's smile is going to attract a lot of pretty girls. Don't we have enough girls around this place?

3. I hate that Matt is just plain cooler than I will EVER be.

4. I hate that Matt lives in a world, where evil is bigger and scarier than anything anyone has ever seen.

5. I hate that Matthew's example of unconditional love can't be felt by more people. He makes loving anyone look like child's play.

6. I hate Matt's smelly feet. No, seriously, I HATE his stinky, odor of death, rotten, if-they-were-mine-I'd-self amputate, disgusting feet.

7. I hate Matt's friends. They are so loyal. So noble. They make the rest of us look like amateurs.

8. I hate that Matt will do anything I ask him to -- one of these days it's going to get us both in trouble.

9. I hate that on our last hike, Matthew finally outpaced me. It doesn't mean I'm slowing down. It DOESN'T!

10. I hate that Matt has no qualms whatsoever about dropping everything to play catch with me. I could get more accomplished if he wasn't so accommodating. When your son is one of your best friends, it's just WAY too easy to go and play, when you should be doing more important things like......well, I can't think of anything more important right now....

11. I hate that my dad never knew Matthew. I feel my dad watching, when my son and I play basketball, and I know he hates not being here too.

12. I hate that I will never be as powerful an example of all that is right and noble and good to Matthew, as he always will be to me.

13. I hate that for thirteen years -- since the day he unexpectedly arrived five weeks early, since the day we brought him home from the hospital with an oxygen tube taped to his giant cheeks, since the day that he took his first steps (when he FINALLY got around to it), since the days he had to repeat everything Buzz and Woody said before he went to sleep, since the first time he was able to throw a football across the entire yard, since the day he scored his first soccer goal, since the day we saw BYU comeback and beat Utah  State, since his voice began to change, since his feet got bigger than mine, since I realized that I don't think I could go more than a couple of days without his smile and the warmth he brings to our home -- I've known that as the years go by, eventually we'd get to the point where he was closer to leaving than staying.

I hate that.