Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Staycation

This past Saturday Robyn and I decided we needed a vacation.  You can understand why.  It had been 6 days since we got home from San Diego so we were pretty much due for another vacation.

Unfortunately, since we had just taken a trip it wasn't really feasible to take another.  But we did something almost as awesome.  We took a "vacation from our problems".  It was the most fabulous thing ever.

I got up in the wee hours of the morning to mow the lawn before Robyn woke up.  That way I could be on vacation the rest of the day.  We started by going out to breakfast.   Robyn picked a place that had been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives(she's a Food Network guru).  It was called the Blue Plate Diner.  I had a most delicious omelet with "homefries" (yummy fried potatoes) and pancakes.  It filled my heart with gladness and took away all my sadness.
More yummy than you can possibly imagine
 After that we went to Sugarhouse Park and walked around the whole park.  According to Google Maps we only walked 1.4 miles, so we probably didn't burn off our delicious breakfast, but we had fun anyway.
We found this fun pond

We also found this cool tunnel going under the road.
When I saw the cool tunnel I wanted to be a fugitive being chased by a U.S. Marshal.  I could tell him I didn't kill my wife and he wouldn't care.  Maybe that actually wouldn't be fun.

For lunch, we used our new juicer to make some delicious juice.  It was soo good.  We put in all sorts of things like grapes, carrots, spinach, apples and pears.  It juiced them all for us and spit out this goodness.
I know you don't usually drink green things, but it's awesome I promise.
Look how happy it made me.
That evening we got to go out to eat again.  We went out for some Thai food.  It was awesome.  I need to visit Thailand for the food.  That is how I feel.

When you're on vacation you get to go out for dessert as well.  We went out for cupcakes and "cake bites".  Cake bites are apparently the new trendy thing among desserts.  I'm unaware of what is trendy.  But I am aware of what is delicious.
These are delicious.
The moral of the story is that normal life is lame.  But you can be on vacation just by sayin' so.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grooving in a Wagon

I was posting my San Diego pics to facebook. I discovered that there were two shots of me on a wagon that were kind of awesome when viewed quickly in succession. Naturally, I made an animated gif out of them. I hope you appreciate this awesomeness.
My little jig motivates the oxen

Edit: It appears that the animation doesn't work in all browsers.  If you click on the image it will take you to the raw image on my site where the animation seems to work more universally.

Monday, September 19, 2011

San Diego

This has been a crazy week for me.  I started out the week in Chicago for work.  I flew home and was in Utah for about 15 hours and then got on another plane.  We flew to San Diego for a wedding as well as a bit of fun and relaxation.

We did a variety of things while we were there.  First, we went to the Mormon Battalion museum.  We learned that the Mormon Battalion actually helped build the city of San Diego in its early days.  Cool huh?  They even let us become honorary members of the Battalion.
Robyn and I still look just like we did in 1847.

As members of the battalion we rode our covered wagon.  Graham was king of the wagon.
We also made a stop at the beach.  It was not exactly warm though, so we didn't swim.  Just waded in the water a little and chilled on the beach.
You can't beat the self portrait on the iphone.
I found this sand dollar.  I'm not sure what the currency exchange is between sand dollars and US dollars.
Since we were only a few miles from Mexico it was very important  to stop and get some Mexican food.  We went to the Old Town Mexican Cafe.
I know it's not that great of a picture but I was excited that they were making their  own tortillas.  The tortillas were more delicious than you can possibly imagine.
We also went to Balboa Park which had all sorts of random things to see.

Biggest. Tree. Ever.  I'm pretty sure it's not from Earth.
I wasn't allowed to touch any of the plants in the Botanical Garden.  Not touching things is very difficult for me.  Luckily, they had the scratch and sniff area where you were allowed to touch the plants and smell them.
All in all, it was a great trip.  But I'm definitely glad to be home.  I have been on way too many airplanes this week.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chicago

Sometimes I go to Chicago. That’s just how I roll. I’m actually writing this on the plane on the way home. But since this plane isn’t high tech enough to give me internet access, all of you will have to wait until I get home to read it. (I feel sorry for you. I’m glad I get to read it live as it is being written.)

I wasn’t able to do tons of things because my days were spent in a classroom. (I actually flew out for a training for work. It turned out to be very educational so I’m glad I had the opportunity. Plus, it means that I get reimbursed for travel expenses.) But each evening I went tromping about the city, so I’ll share a few things.

Of course, first I have to share with you the famous landmarks.

I was able to see Cloud Gate.

It’s a cloud, it’s a gate, it’s a giant reflective bean.
You can see the front of me and the back of me.  What a treat.
I went to Buckingham Fountain.
It’s kind of like Buckingham Palace, only it’s a fountain.
I stopped by Crown Fountain
The fountain tried to spit on me but I would have none of it.  I did, however, frolic in the water just like all the children.
This wasn't an important landmark but it should be.  Check out the automatic seat covers on the toilets in the airport.  Every public bathroom should be this awesome.
video


But now we get to the really important stuff.  The next 3 items are items that are on my bucket list.
Eat a real Chicago Dog
This was amazing!  I was a little worried because Chicagoans don’t like ketchup on their dogs.  That is a concern because ketchup is delicious.  But it turns out I wasn’t even offended that there was no ketchup.  With all the other goodness they put on them, ketchup is not required.  Although, I could do without the hot peppers, but other than that it was glorious.

I make the dog look good.
Eat real Chicago Pizza
This pizza was like 4 inches thick.  It kind of blew my mind.  It was good but it wasn’t necessarily any better than other pizza I’ve had.
Swim in one of the great Lakes
I need some input on this last item.  I walked to a beach of Lake Michigan, but since I was just out walking the city I wasn’t in a swimsuit or anything.  I did wade into the water until it was about knee deep but I didn't actually swim.  Can I cross “Swim in one of the Great Lakes” off my bucket list?  I need to know if the people think that I would be cheating.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Let's Remember

It was ten years ago today that tragedy hit our nation.  At the time I was serving as a missionary for my church.  As missionaries we didn't have a TV or radio.  I was just sitting, reading my scriptures when a phone call came notifying me that the United States had been attacked by terrorists.  I was in complete disbelief.  Of course, the call came from other missionaries who were almost as clueless as we were.  We found someone nearby who would let us watch their TV so we could see the news for ourselves.


That day changed our nation.  We all felt that "Freedom itself was attacked", as our President at the time put it.  Over the next few weeks, I marveled as I saw our nation become truly united.  Suddenly, everyone wanted to talk to missionaries.  Suddenly everyone wanted to have more of God's presence in their lives.  Suddenly, we truly were "one Nation, under God."

Now, ten years later, our nation is once again divided.  Our government has so much fighting with itself that our own President calls it a "Political Circus."  We fight and argue about politics, about our beliefs, about things we see as important and about things that are trivial.  Somehow, as a nation we've again forgotten how to love.  We've forgotten to remember our God, our Father.

The President of my church wrote an excellent op-ed in the Washington post.  He put it better than I could, so here is a brief quote from that article:
Our Father’s commitment to us, His children, is unwavering. Indeed He softens the winters of our lives, but He also brightens our summers. Whether it is the best of times or the worst, He is with us. He has promised us that this will never change.
But we are less faithful than He is. By nature we are vain, frail, and foolish. We sometimes neglect God. Sometimes we fail to keep the commandments that He gives us to make us happy. Sometimes we fail to commune with Him in prayer. Sometimes we forget to succor the poor and the downtrodden who are also His children. And our forgetfulness is very much to our detriment.
Today, on this tenth anniversary of a great tragedy, I hope we can all remember how we felt on that day.  Remember the great heroes who responded immediately, some who gave their lives trying to save others.  Remember the innocent people who died before they could even know we had been attacked.  Let's also remember who we became as a nation in the months following the attack.  We became a people of faith again.  We became a people of love again.

Whatever name you may give to God, please bring Him closer into your life.  Or perhaps you don't believe in God, but you do believe in love.  Try today to love more.  Show love to your neighbor, to your spouse, to your children, to friends, to strangers.

Let's not forget this time.  Let's never forget to be a people of love and faith.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Two Dreams

I had a dream last night.  It really stressed me out.  I don't know if it was really a nightmare but it's one of the most stressful dreams I've had in a long time.  Therefore, I'm officially going to call it a nightmare.  Robyn also had an interesting dream.  I'm going to share them both, I have some theories regarding the interpretations thereof but I may need your input as well.

Here's what happened in mine:

I dreamed that Robyn and I were in Hawaii.  At first everything was great, but then I realized we had forgotten our camera.  I was so sad that we wouldn't be able to take pictures of all the pretty scenery and all the fun things we were doing. Then we were walking out to the beach and I realized I didn't have my hat.  I became very concerned that I was going to burn my head.  Then I realized we didn't have any sunblock.  I knew in my heart that I was going to get sunburned the first day and be in pain the rest of the trip.

This is how sad sunburns make me

I became so worried about getting sunburned that I just went back to our hotel and sat in sadness.  Robyn had fun the rest of the day and returned that evening.  I was depressed that we were in Hawaii and I had to hide from the sun.

When I woke up I was so relieved that we weren't in Hawaii.  I thought to myself, "there's still time to get everything we need."  (We're planning a trip to Hawaii in June.  We're totally going to bring sunblock.)

I later sat and pondered what this dream might mean.  I came up with two possibilities.
1. I'm deathly afraid of sunburns and I think the Sun is a monster.  (It makes sense, have you ever been sunburned?  It hurts.)
2. My nightmares are more awesome than yours.  (This is the most likely meaning of the dream.  I mean, I wasn't naked in front of a crowd.  No scary people were chasing me.  I was in paradise.   I just didn't have sunblock.  Plus, you can totally buy sunblock in Hawaii.)

After I awoke, I explained my dream to Robyn.  It turns out she had a good dream last night as well.

It started out with her finding out she was pregnant.  (From her description I don't think there was any pregnancy test.  She just knew somehow.)  She wanted to come up with a creative way to tell me she was pregnant, so she went to the store to buy whatever she needed for her creative stratagem.  When she got home, I had apparently emptied our cupboard and thrown away lots of things.  She was confused by that, but went ahead and let me know she was pregnant.
This is an artist's rendition of what Robyn will look like pregnant.
Yes, I consider myself an artist.

After she told me, I became terrified.  I was very upset about it and she was very concerned that I was so upset.  Eventually, though, I told her, "Even though I'm scared, I kind of already knew.  That's why I got rid of the toilet in the front room."  She became confused.  So I showed her where the toilet used to be in the front room.  I had boarded up the hole with plywood or something.  I also showed her pictures of the front room with the toilet in it.  She had no memory of the front room toilet, but after I showed her all the evidence she became convinced that we used to have a toilet in the front room.

Here are the possible interpretations that I've come up with:
1. Robyn is scared that I'm scared of children.  (Makes sense, children are scary.)
2. Robyn really wants a toilet in the front room but she's afraid that I'll remove it after she gets one. (Also makes sense, that would be awkward.)
3. Robyn's dreams are more awesome than you can possibly imagine. (This is clearly true.)

Those are my interpretations.  What do you think?
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