Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Wedding Day

Today was the day we've all been waiting for. Ben and Sharley got married. The day started out a bit rough and I was really getting worried. You know how it is trying to get out of the house in the mornings. We were all doing pretty good with the schedule when all of the sudden Serene dropped her earing down the bathroom sink drain. It isn't that the earing was of great value or anything but it matched her outfit and she really needed it. I quickly pulled apart the trap and recovered the earing (cut my thumb doing it) but now I was a bit behind on my carefully planned schedule. I gave up the shower but I really needed my weekly shave. I quickly shaved (it's never a good idea to shave quickly) and then put on the tux. I was worried about getting blood on the tux from my bleeding finger but I was successful. I then went down the stairs to head out the door. Lisa took one look at me and about died. I guess my quick shave resulted in a couple of cuts on my face and the collar of my nice white shirt was covered with blood. So much for the thumb. We sent Kira, Justin, Brandon and Serene out the door in one car while Lisa was putting the tide bleach pen to the test. I thought she did a great job but she was sure everyone was going to see the pink hue to the collar. Now of course Lisa and I were late but we rushed out the door and while I finished getting dressed she was seeing how fast our Camry can really go. About half way to the temple as our blood pressure was settling down Lisa asks if I left a key for the Sienna. Well I had my key in my pocket, Lisa was driving one of our Camry's with her keys and we'd given Justin the spare set to drive the other Camry. Nope, Alycia had no key to the Sienna and she had to bring six adults and two babies to the temple. They weren't going to fit in the little Ford Ranger. Well, Lisa takes the next exit and we head back home. I run the key into the house and we head back out to the freeway. We call ahead to warn the Temple that we might be a few minutes late and to please not marry the kids without us. They assure us that they won't. Meanwhile Kira calls to warn us that the main parking lot is full and we need to park in the upper lot. We do so and run for Temple. About half way to the Temple Lisa stops and realizes that she's wearing her prescription sunglasses and I have to run back to the car and change them for her normal glasses. We finally get to the temple about five minutes late so with great trepidation we go and meet up with the group. We then learn that Ben and Sharley had forgotten the marriage license and the license had arrived only moments before us. No one had waited for us at all. We then began to relax and the remainder of the day went off with out a hitch. The wedding ceremony was beautiful, the weather was beautiful and warm. The sun was a bit bright for good pictures and mine are all a smidge over exposed but oh well. It could have been like Kira's wedding. It rained but boy do her pictures have beautiful deep colors. After hours in the sun taking pictures we head back to the house to relax a bit before the reception. It is about his time that I realize that I have thoroughly burned the top of my head. I don't know what I could have done though, it isn't like I could have worn my hat in the pictures. At the house we served everyone left over Mexican food from the family dinner. It was very good, we all just sat around and visited. Peter sacked out on the couch and had a good nap. That is what I should have done. Finally we all had to head over to the Rancho Bernardo Courtyard where the reception was. The Courtyard is naturally a beautiful place and so minimal decorating is required. That made things really nice for us. Sharley wanted only deserts at her reception. At first she was only going to have chocolate but finally she gave in to pressure and decided to have cheese and crackers etc. for the fat people like me and the diabetics in the world. I've heard reports that the food was absolutely delicious but some how I got so into visiting with people that I didn't get to eat anything. I did at one point load up a plate with a delicious looking artichoke spread and some bread but then I saw a good friend so I set my plate down and got to visiting. A little later I went to eat my food and they'd cleaned it up. Oh well, I didn't need the food anyway and I sure had fun visiting. That is kind of funny because I am totally not the sociable type. Brandon has been conniving all week long about what he could do to Ben's car. He has heard all of the stories about what Lester and I used to do and he really wants to repeat the tricks. The problem is that cars and laws have changed so much since I was a kid that it is very difficult to do them. Aside from all of that, I would much rather spend my time in the reception visiting with friends than I would like to spend it in the parking lot jacking up cars. So Brandon wants to hot wire the seats but new cars don't have an ignition coil and the spark plugs are buried beneath the manifold cover. He wanted to make touch powder but iodine is a controlled substance and you can't buy it without a license because it is used to make crystal meth. Saltpeter is no longer sold in drug stores so that cuts out gun powder. Acetylene bombs are out because you need the spark plug or ignition coil to detonate those. He was all ready to buy some iodine solution but I told him that if he got a big iodine stain on Sharleys wedding dress it would probably start the relationship with the new in-laws off on the wrong foot. He finally decided to put a huge balloon over the tail pipe, dump confetti down the defroster, jack up the tire and put a tray of dry ice in water inside the car and fill it up with fog. We get to the reception and Sharleys brother who was supposed to get the key to the car has succumbed to family pressure and has fallen through. They then send Sarah to trick Ben out of his tux jacket with tales of being cold hoping that the keys are in the jacket but Ben isn't about to give up his tux on his wedding day. Finally they put Ben under surveillance and see a bulge in his pocket where they figure the keys are. Sarah hands Sydney (Brandon's baby) to Ben and Brandon shoves his hand in Ben's pocket and takes his keys. Ben of course can't react because he isn't going to drop the baby. Brandon is now threatened with great bodily harm and monitory penalties if any damage is done to the vehicles but Brandon never did succumb well to threats. What did throw Brandon though was that he had the wrong keys. Convinced that Ben had switched keys on him he returned the keys. What he didn't realize was that they hadn't switched keys, they had switched vehicles. Brandon had the correct keys all along. Not knowing this he gave up on the confetti and put the dry ice on the roof of the car. The balloon and blocking the tire went as planned. You can imagine Brandon's disappointment when Ben drives up in Cotters fancy SUV. The one that he had the key for earlier. After the bride and groom had departed we were cleaning up and we heard a rather loud boom. The balloon had worked flawlessly. We ran out to the parking lot and Sharleys brother was also a bit puzzled as to why the car wasn't going anywhere either. Brandon was a good sport and removed the block for him. Going home everyone felt a bit ripped off that we had targeted the wrong car and then it dawned on someone that we knew where they were staying and we knew what car they had. We then grabbed a roll of Saran Wrap, another balloon, some tin cans and off we went. We talked to the security guard to make sure we wouldn't get arrested and away we went. We Saran wrapped the car but we did have to leave the drivers door accessible because they had parked in Valet. I got to bed at 1:30 AM. I need to get the whole story on what the valet guy thought in the morning. It was a good day.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Family Dinner

Because everyone is here, something that rarely happens and will happen less often as the kids get older and busier, Lisa and I felt bad sending Alex and Sarah off to school everyday. Today we pulled them out of school so they could be with everyone else. It is a bad time to do it with finals and junior papers imminent but I can't help feel that this is more important. Today was focused on the family dinner tonight. Of course it is a major job just to keep the house clean but come four o'clock we loaded up the van and headed to the church. Yesterday when the girls went shopping they all bought these funny blankets that they can wrap around themselves and tie them up like a dress. They are all so excited it is funny to watch them. You'd think it was Christmas or something. The first picture shows them all in their wraps. Everyone gets to the church and we all start our different jobs. A very good friend of ours, Molly Sanchez, cooked all of the food. Here is a picture of Brandon in the kitchen with Molly showing her how to cook good Mexican food. You can also see that Peter is very busy as well. Despite the picture Peter really is a sociable fellow. We have forced him to read Twilight. He was reluctant but we assured him that anyone who works at a book store should be familiar with this very popular book. The agenda for dinner was divided into four general sections. Introductions, story telling, video and thank you's. I want you to know that it is very difficult for me to get up and talk in front of a group of people so I was definitely out of my comfort zone doing this dinner thing. First of all we got the tables all set and and looking pretty and then I got up and welcomed everyone and we made all the introductions. I introduced all of our family, Chuck introduced all of the Cotters and then we made Ben and Sharley get up and introduce their bridal party and their significant others. After that I got everyone started eating. As you can tell from the pictures, the whole dinner had a Mexican theme. This seemed appropriate since Ben went to Mexico on his mission. This is the same theme and same food we had for Brandon's wedding reception when he was married. Brandon also went to Mexico on his mission. It was really good then and it was really good today. Once people were all dished up I once again got up in front of everyone (embarrassing) and told a story about Ben. I couldn't think of anything really funny to tell so I just shared one of my favorite memories. I then invited Chuck to tell a story about Sharley and then I invited anyone who wanted, to share a story about Ben, Sharley or Ben and Sharley. A lot of people told a lot of stories and you can see from Sharley's picture that some of them were quite embarrassing. I obviously can't tell all of the stories but I would like to share my favorite story. It was shared by Alycia. In elementary school Ben and Alycia were walking home from school together. Ben would have been older (5th or 6th grade) and Alycia would have been younger (around 2nd grade). There was another kid who kept harassing Ben but Ben was a good boy and ignored him. Finally Alycia couldn't handle it anymore so she tells this punk to take a hike. Immediately this punk starts into Alycia at which point Ben picks him up and shoves him into the lost and found bin and tells him to leave his sister alone. They then head for home and Ben chews Alycia out for picking a fight with an older kid. It was really pretty funny and pretty cool how Ben protected his little sister. The stories went on for most of the evening but as they petered out I got up once again (ugh) and we watched a couple of video's. The first video was of Ben's skydiving/bachelors party. That must have been quite an experience and I'm really quite jealous. The second video was from an experience at Sharley's bridal shower Wednesday night while I was at Sarah's Track banquet. Since Justin, Brandon and Alex were home alone and totally bored they decided to crash Sharley's bridal shower. Some one there had a video camera and caught them on film. Justin found Alex's old Halloween costume and put it on. It was a golden crown , a sword and a long red robe. He represented the long lost prince that many girls are looking for. He didn't have a shirt on so his hairy chest was prominently displayed in the open robe. Brandon had his shirt unbuttoned, wore a cowboy hat and played a guitar and Alex wore a "Tonka" hard hat and carried a tire iron. They showed up at the shower and then once they got some appropriate music on (I believe it was the beach boys) they started dancing. You should have seen it. Justin (quite surprisingly) was quite reserved. Has anyone ever seen Justin reserved? Alex was a bit more animated but Brandon was into it big time. He was really swinging his hips. He ripped his shirt off and tried to get Sharley to dance with him. That wasn't going to happen. Finally Justin was swing dancing with Kira and Brandon was swing dancing with Serene but poor Alex couldn't get anyone to dance with him. It was a very funny video. Before everyone left I got up again and thanked the Cotter family and told them how thrilled we are to have Sharley become a part of our family. The Cotters have always been good friends and I think this is a cool thing. The whole dinner went very well and most people stayed to help clean up. We then went home and had a surprise birthday party for Brandon. His birthday is June 2 but he flies back to Alaska on Sunday morning and won't be here. He had a cheese cake for his birthday cake. The one thing that put a bit of a downer on the day was when Lisa noticed that her ruby was missing out of her ring. This was her Granny's ring and Lisa's birthstone is ruby so it had great sentimental value. She is broken hearted. We went back to the church and looked but we had swept up pretty good. Most of the garbage was already in the dumpster but I brought the garbage bag from the kitchen home. I will go through it but it was late that night and I still haven't done that. Other than that lost ruby it was a very fun day.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sharley and the Temple

196.5 down 2.4
How do you like my weight today? I kind of blew Brandon out of the water but I didn't really play fair. First of all, Brandon did reach his goal weight just a couple of weeks after Christmas so "technically" that was before Ben's wedding but we both know that we were going to do the big "weigh in" at the wedding. Brandon, of course, lost all of his weight while he was a poor starving student but since he graduated he has been eating quite healthy like. And then, once he arrived in San Diego I can testify that he has been eating even more prodigiously. I, on the other hand have been very careful. This morning I even cheated a bit more. Brandon had gotten up early with his baby and eaten breakfast, I get up and instead of eating breakfast I suggest we go on a three mile run. It sure is a lot more fun running when you have people with you. Kira, Brandon, Sarah and I all coerced Serene into running with us. It was a lot of fun. Serene hasn't been running lately so she and Brandon dropped out after two miles but I can assure you that there is no way I could have run two miles without stopping if I hadn't been practicing. Way to go Serene. So after I got back from my run, I announce to the family that Brandon and I are going to have our weigh in. So I haven't eaten or drank anything since the day before plus I just sweat off another pound of water on my run and I weighed in at 196.5. Brandon has had breakfast plus he finished his run early so he has already drank some water and he weighed in at 175. His goal was 170. I don't have the numbers in front of me but I lost a total of 20 pounds since Christmas and Brandon lost less than ten. I met my goal and he didn't come close to his. I felt kind of bad though so I told him that I would give him until the wedding to lose more if he wanted. He weighed in later in the day at 170.3 so I gave it to him. After all, who wants to be dieting with all the stuff that was going on? The problem is that Brandon and I had a very different memory of what the bet was. I thought it was who ever lost the most won unless you reached your goal in which case you were excused from the bet. His understanding was that who ever lost the most but if you reached your goal you automatically win but we could both win. So I'm thinking nobody owes anybody anything but he's thinking that he owes me an In-n-Out hamburger and I owe him a steak dinner. How's that work? I conceded to his version but I have no idea when it will happen because every minute is planned out until he leaves. I finally got the lawns mowed today, Lisa wanted them done before I left town on Monday and then the first thing she asked me to do yesterday when I called her from the airport was to mow the lawns but today I did them. I generally cleaned up the back yard and then helped out inside as best as I could. I then headed to the temple for my regular Thursday night shift at 4:30. Except today was no regular shift. Sharley was going through the temple today for her first time. When someone goes through for the first time they have a team of two people with them from the moment they arrive until they leave. That has been my job for quite some time. Even though this isn't Ben's first time, because he's getting married right away he is assigned a team just like Sharley. Guess who was on Ben's team? That's right, me! What a cool experience, but it only gets better. The temples are built as a place where special ordinances take place. Some of the ordinances that can be done there are baptism, initiatory, the endowment and of course marriages. These ordinances can be performed for youself (like Sharley) or for our ancestors who died without having the ordinances performed. Well, Ben and Sharley are obviously already baptized so they didn't need that but Sharley needed her initiatory work done. While she was doing that on the womens side Ben and Brandon were doing initiatory work for deceased ancestors on the mens side and I got to perform the ordinance. It was quite special. Following that was the endowment. The endowment is performed as a group and is officiated by one person. In the group were all of Ben's family and all of Sharley's family. Because serious covenants are made in the endowment session non-members and younger members (like Alycia, Alex and Sarah) don't participate. Well, guess who the officiator for this session was? That's right, I begged and pleaded and the guy who coordinates the schedule let me officiate their session. I know it shouldn't really matter who the officiator is but I really wanted to do it and I'm really glad I was able to. It was a good evening all around. So take a look at that second picture, there is Lisa and I with the first three kids and their spouses. We were all in the temple and I'm so happy. I know pride is an evil thing but I can't help feeling just a bit of pride looking at that picture. Three down, three to go.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Everyone's Home

Last night I tried the sleep number bed at 50. I slept the same so I'm not sure it makes a whole lot of difference what my bed is like. I sleep well pretty much everywhere. I don't sleep very good on the ground any more though. That much I do know. This morning we got up early so I could get the first flight home. I was anxious to get there because everyone was home except for Grandma Shaw. I landed around noon and rather than having someone come and pick me up Mike offered to drive me home. That was very nice. When I got home the only people there were Grandpa Shaw, Brandon and Peter. The girls were all out shopping, Alex and Sarah were still at school, Ben was out on a final fling with his buddies (the final part of his "bachelors party") and Kira and Justin were at Sea World. It was good to see Peter Brandon and Grandpa though. After visiting for a while Brandon and Peter were killing each other on the X Box so Grandpa took me out for lunch. I had a Carnita's taco and a large horchata at Cotijas. I love their horchata and their Carnitas. The taco is smaller than the burrito so that is what I got today. Grandpa and I were enjoying ourselves when Lisa called and asked if we could go pick up Sarah from school. I was excited to see her so off we went. About the time Sarah shows up (she likes to visit like her mother) I get another call from Lisa asking me who was getting her mother. I asked when her mother was supposed to arrive and she told me 3:10 (or somewhere around then). Since it was already 3:00 I told Lisa that I might be a bit late. I rushed Sarah and Grandpa back to the house and Brandon called to tell me that Grandma had called wondering where we are. I asked him if he had told her we were on our way and he said. "I didn't answer the phone, she just left a message on the machine". I tried calling her but she didn't answer the phone so off I went to the airport. I got onto the I-5 and the traffic came to a grinding halt. Apparently there had been a brush fire along the freeway and the fire trucks were taking up the right two lanes. As I was waiting in traffic Kira called to see where I was and I told her that I was right beside them on the freeway. They were on there way home from Sea World and so would have been heading north on the I-5 while I was heading south. I could see them go by because the lanes are divided with bushes but they told me how much longer my wait was. About an hour after poor grandma had landed I finally got to her. She left her phone in Edmonton so she had called on a pay phone. That is why no one could get a hold of her. Tonight Sarah had her track and field year end banquet. Lisa had a hair appointment so I took Grandpa and Nana in her place. We had a good visit and good food. Sarah of course was off flirting with the boys. She doesn't sit with the girls, she's with the boys. She was recognized for participation in long distance (both mile and 2 mile), sprint (800 meters, since when is 800 meters a sprint?) and 300 meter hurdles. After the banquet we headed back to the house and for the first time I was able to see my wife. It was a long day. To catch my early flight I woke up at 6:30 (4:30 in San Diego) and with all the visiting etc I didn't get to bed until after midnight. Ben comes home and says, "did anyone tell you?" I said "tell me what?" He then pulls out a DVD and shows me what his friends did for his bachelors party. They blind folded him and drove him off and Ben was terrified they were going to do something inappropriate for a good little mormon boy. As it turns out they took him sky diving. I was quite jealous. It was a wonderful evening because we were all there.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Milwaukee - day 2

Did I say it was warm here? I take that back. When we arrived here yesterday it was in the 80"s but within an hour it dropped to 40. It was one of those darn winds that blows down from Canada. I slept OK last night, the sleep number I finally settled on was 25. I like my beds soft. I really didn't sleep any different than I do at home though. I think the whole sleep number thing is lost on me. I guess not everyone knows what a sleep number bed is. It is basically a very fancy air mattress where you can dial in the hardness that you want. It isn't a normal air mattress though. It looks and feels like a normal mattress but you can blow it up to make it hard or let the air out to make it soft. Very hard is 100 and very soft is 0. This morning I got up at 6:30 (that would be 4:30 for my tired body) and I could hardly open my eyes. I had a couple of eggs for breakfast and then we hit the road. It is beautiful out here. They have many lakes and rivers and the place is green. It was quite cold though. We were making great time but just north of Osh Kosh the road was closed. There was no detour and no place to go. I didn’t have a decent map either so I did my best with the map quest printout and we found a way around. We drove past this big fancy garage that was on fire and then down the road a ways we were passed by about five fire trucks. We got to Merrill on time and met with the lawyer dude. This case is real bizarre. The phone definitely got very hot. So hot that it would seem it must be the battery that shorted but the battery isn’t swollen and it hasn’t vented. That is very unusual. It must have been something in the phone that shorted but the lawyer won’t let us touch the phone or the battery so we can’t tell. What is more bizarre though is the poor customer. I read the doctors report and he said it is was a mild first degree burn about 2 cm in diameter. That is about the size of a quarter. If one of my kids had a burn like that I would tell them to go run it under cold water and to be more careful next time. In fact I think Sarah got a first-degree burn on Sunday baking cinnamon rolls. Well this guy went to the emergency room. They gave him painkillers and told him it would heal soon. His file is now about two inches thick and he has four pages of prescriptions he has received. His medical bill is now up to about $15,000. I don’t imagine they have much of a case because this guy has been in an insane asylum and he has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. He has had problems long before this incident but they want us to believe that this “event” triggered some weird disease that I can’t remember the name of now. There are some weird people in the world. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a cheese place. Wisconsin is supposedly famous for it’s cheese so I stopped and bought some cheese curds. I love cheese curds but I ate all of them. Cheese has no carbs so it shouldn’t have a huge affect on me but just the volume of what I ate I think Brandon and I will wait a day or two before we have our weigh in. Well it is late so I’m going to read my book and go to bed. Tomorrow I get to go home. Right now everyone is there except for me, Brandon and Grandma. I hate it when people have fun without me.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Milwaukee - day 1

The arrow marks the spot. I'm right by the airport in Milwaukee. I thought it would be cold here so I brought my jacket but it is warmer here than it was in San Diego when I left. I left home this morning with a heavy heart. I hate to leave Lisa there to take care of everything and to shuttle everyone home from the airport but all I could do was move this trip from later in the week (which I would have refused to do) to earlier in the week. So, today being memorial day and a holiday and all, I left town and abandoned my wife. The trip was a direct non-stop flight from San Diego to Milwaukee. Who would have thought that there would be enough demand for a non stop flight to Milwaukee of all places? I'm glad there was though because it sure cuts a lot of time off the trip. Since I didn't pack last night I missed breakfast this morning trying to get packed plus help out as best I could and then they don't serve meals on planes anymore so I landed at six tonight and all I'd eaten all day was tiny bag of pretzels. I decided to treat myself to a ribeye steak. I'm trying to start Mike on the same tradition that CJ and I had. Every time we land we go and get prime rib or steak. It's a good tradition. I replaced the bake potatoe with a sweet potatoe and I went with the 8 oz steak over the 10 oz steak so I hope I don't gain too much weight. Mike is very different than CJ however. After dinner he wanted to work all night. That was not fun, we went over the case and I brought him up to speed on everything that I have done and I spent two hours in his room when I could have been reading my very good book. He is a consultant so is billing by the hour while I on the other hand am salaried and I don't even get paid. Tomorrow we head out to the lawyers office and he is a four hour drive away from here. It is going to be a long day. We have to get up at 6:30 which for my tired body will be 4:30. Groan, it is ten oclock so I'm going to go read my book and then sleep. They have a sleep number bed here, I'll let you know what my sleep number is.

Alex's Junior Paper

198.9 no change
It's been one of those weekends. Saturday I had great plans for mowing the lawn and getting things ready for everyone's arrival next week but first thing in the morning I sat Alex down and told him that we were going to get all of his homework done that was due next week. I figured with everyone coming home he would be severely distracted and not get it done while they were here. I told him we were going to make a schedule to have everything done before I left Monday morning but to my surprise he said, "Dad, I want to enjoy the next two days (Monday is a holiday) with my friends so lets get all of my homework done today." Wow, how can I argue with that? In our school everyone has to write a major report in their junior year referred to as a "Junior Paper". Alex is in the middle of his now. Somehow he was able to finagle his way into writing a report on a Tom Clancy book. Much more enjoyable than the dumb books everyone else wrote on. I'm reading the book with him and Saturday we wrote an outline. I say "we" but much to his dismay I did not write much of it for him. My role was to keep him from getting discouraged. Alex is a very bright boy but writing has never been his strong suit. I think he is much better than he gives himself credit for. So instead of cleaning up the yard, Alex got his work done. Probably a better use of my time. Saturday evening Sarah went to the church dance and had a great time. Alycia did her hair for her and she looked beautiful. Today was our ward conference. It was wonderful having our new Stake President speak to us. As I mentioned before, our new stake President is our old bishop. It was just like the good old times. Tonight we watched the movie, "Clear and Present Danger". That was Alex's book for his junior paper. Let's see if I can remember the schedule now for the next three days. Tomorrow I leave for Milwaukee and Serene & Sydney leave Alaska to come home for the wedding. Tuesday, Grandpa and Nana arrive, Serene & Sydney arrive and Kira, Justin and Evan arrive. Wednesday Brandon arrives, I arrive an hour later and then Grandma Shaw arrives in the afternoon. That is going to be a lot of trips to the airport. This is going to be a fun week. I sure wish I didn't have to leave.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fred's weight

198.9 down 2.1
Hurray, I did it. I finally broke 200 pounds. Unfortunately I think I will go over 200 tomorrow because tonight we went to a graduation party for a friend of ours who graduated from college. I actually was good and stayed away from the carbs and ate mostly sushimi and cheese. I didn't eat much of that either but it is late and I'm worried. This morning I decided (actually Lisa begged) that I skip work and finish grouting the tile. I have to go to Milwaukee next week which just happens to be the week Ben gets married. I can't believe how bad the timing is but there really isn't any way out of it. I figured if they're making me fly out on a holiday and right before the wedding I'd better at least finish the house. I did get the tile all done though. The base boards will have to wait until after the wedding. It rained most of the day.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Journal Entry

200.8 down 1.2
Quite some time ago I lost my running shoes. After several days of looking I finally bought a new pair and that is what I've been running in. Anyone who knows me also knows that I bought the cheapest pair that Costco had so they aren't the highest quality of shoe but they work well for me. Not long after I bought my new shoes I found my old ones in the garage. That is how my kids clean the house, they just through what ever they can into another room where it might not be noticed (or under the bed or in the closet). I have no proof and I'm sure they will deny it but that is what I suspect happened to my shoes. Today I decided to run in my old shoes. That made a huge difference. They were also very cheap Costco specials but running in them after running in my new shoes was like running on a carpet. I backed way off and only ran about a mile and a half giving my knee a chance to heal. It felt pretty good. Nothing much to report today. I spent most of the day arranging a trip to China and communicating with different companies about LiFePO4. I have a conference call with China at 5:00 which really bugs me because tonight is my temple night and now I'm going to be late. Do you notice a trend with the family pictures? One kid, two kids and now three?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fred's Knee

202.0 up 1.5
Today was a slow day and not much exciting happened. I mostly worked on a new battery design that is expected to save about $0.20. Since we are expecting to sell about three million of this particular battery that would be a savings of about $600,000. I left work a little bit early to go visit with another company who needs my consulting services. I think they were impressed with me and I will be doing some work for them. I didn't run today for a couple of reasons. When I ran on Monday my knee hurt a little bit. I kept running and the pain went away but when I got up from my desk later in the afternoon I could hardly stand. I was actually limping. It feels much better today but I thought it might be a good idea to give it another day to heal. I'm really paranoid about wrecking my knee but I really like running. I also knew I would be leaving early so I didn't want to take too much time for lunch.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ben and Moxie

200.5 down 1.5
Not much of interest has happened today or yesterday but I just wanted to write something to stay in the habit. Monday night I went to Hi-Z. It is pretty funny, Ben is working the summer for a company called Moxie Pest Control. As it happens Moxie's office is in the same business park as Hi-Z and is literally four doors down. I knew he works quite late so after I finished up a short proposal I was preparing for JPL I decided to send Ben a text and ask where he was. He responded, "walking in the door to see you". It was good to see him and I was able to give him a ride home so Sharley didn't have to come and pick him up. Poor Sharley just caught the bug that Ben has been sick with for the past month. I sure hope she is better before her wedding. What a bummer it would be to be sick on your wedding day. Today I had scouts. I am a merit badge counselor for the "communications" merit badge. We worked on that badge. I have made an interesting observation on losing weight. I hesitate to mention this observation in a public blog but here goes. All else being equal, it is very difficult to lose significant weight on the days you don't have a good bowel movement and you can lose a lot of weight on the days that you do. I thought you might want to know that.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Alex's Junior Prom

202.0 up 0.8
Today we had a special stake conference. Our stake president was just called to be a mission president in Argentina so they had to replace him. It was so very cool, the new stake president is Ken Ellsworth. Ken was our former Bishop who was just released a month or two ago. The funny thing is that we spent last night with Ken and Jearldene. As I mentioned yesterday, all of Alex's plans for prom fell through and he was in quite a funk. Lisa finally decided that she would take matters in her own hands and made plans for him. First of all he had no one to go with and Prom is always much more fun if there is a group. Lisa called the mother of Caitlin (one of Alex's friends) who's date had bailed on her and asked if she would go to prom if Lisa could find her a date. Lisa then called another friend of hers and asked if their son Keith would go to Prom with Caitlin if Caitlin would buy the ticket. We then arranged to have Mahonri Sanchez pick the kids up from our house in his fancy car and drive them to dinner. Mahonri is a good friend of ours who is also good friends with Alex. He comes and picks Alex up every Saturday morning to play basketball with the men in the stake. We then arranged to have dinner on the back patio of this real rich family in the ward. Finally Lisa asked our old bishop, Ken and Jerldene Ellsworth if they would serve dinner. Alex really likes Ken and Ken treats Alex like a real person and they get along well. Alex of course had no clue what was going on. Everyone showed up at our house for pictures and then Mahonri showed up dressed in black with an ear bud in. He looked like a real driver. Alex thought it was hilarious as did we all. I picked up Mexican food and drove over to the Smoot's house where Lisa and Jearldene loaded the food onto fine china and Ken served it. After dinner they loaded into our car and headed to Prom. After Prom Alex was pulled over by a cop who harassed him for being out late and for driving other minors. They have a law here that you can't dive other minor children until you've had your license for a year. Alex's year is up and he is allowed to drive other kids. The cop finally gave Alex a breathalyzer test. We're all quite pleased that he passed. I think Alex rather enjoyed the whole experience and I think everyone had a lot of fun. The cool thing is that Ken Ellsworth, who served dinner last night is our new Stake President. It's a good thing we got him last night because I think he will be a very busy man for the next ten years. The poor guy. What a great Stake President he will be, I couldn't be happier. Ken is the guy serving food in the pictures.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Father Son Camp Out

Last night and today was "Father-Son camp out". I love to camp and I love my sons so I've always loved to go to Father-Sons camp out. They have it every April so I'm not quite sure why it is in May this year. Brandon is in Alaska so he couldn't make it this year and Ben had to work so that left Alex and myself. Alex almost bailed on me as well because his Volleyball team was in the CIF semifinals last night. For those who may not know what CIF is would be equivalent to State. Since California has more than 30 million people (that is more than the population of Canada) they figured they should give high school sports a chance to win so they broke the state down into smaller areas that would be equivalent to a smaller state. Alex's game didn't end until well after 9:00 but he was a good sport and we still went camping. He was afraid that everyone would be in bed so I asked him what time he went to bed on father sons camp out when he was younger. He knows darn well that he never went to bed before midnight. He says, "yeah but dad, that was a different generation". He was right, we got there around 10:30 and not a single person was still up. Father-Sons camp out is not what it used to be. That was alright, we pitched our tent and still had a good time. It worked out just perfect, we got up just as they had finished breakfast. We ate our breakfast and then went for a walk around the lake. We camped at Lake Jennings so it was only about a half hour from home. We then packed up our tent and came back home. I just love laying there at night, smelling the fresh air and listening to the breeze and the night animals. I do love camping but I've noticed a big difference since I've gotten older. I can no longer sleep on the ground. I have to have a mattress. I had a real nice battery powered air mattress I used for a couple of years but alas, it sprang a leak and does make it an hour before it leaves me on the hard ground. I'm using some old cushions from a lawn chair right now but I need to go and find me a new air mattress. When we got home this morning we started getting ready for prom night. Poor Alex has had several disappointments with Prom. I won't get into all the details but every time he would get in a group of friends things happened that he couldn't go with them. He was getting all mopey so Lisa decided to plan it all for him. Since I don't want to turn this post into a book I will talk about Prom tomorrow. I'll just say here that it turned into a great experience. We'll see if Alex agrees when he get's home tonight.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bike to Work Day

201.2 down 1.1
Today is the national bike to work day. I clearly remember my very fist day at Qualcomm on May 11, 1998. A friend of mine named Alan Bird, who worked at Qualcomm called me up and said, "Hey, next Friday is bike to work day, do you want to ride?" That seemed quite impossible to me, after all, it was 13 miles from my house to work. Nobody could ride a bike 26 miles in one day could they? Well, I'm game for anything so off we went. Between my house and my work is a beautiful canyon called Penasquitos Canyon. I've included some pictures of the bike path through this canyon. What a beautiful ride. It about killed me and it took about 75 minutes that first day. The problem with the ride is not only the fact that there are some killer hills in the canyon but when I get to work on the other end there is a big mama hill coming up out of the canyon and then when I get home at the end of the day there is another big mama hill to come up out of the canyon. That first day I almost puked going up what is called the goat track. The very name gives you an idea of what it is like. Well we enjoyed ourselves so much that we said we should do this once a month. I don't think we did it again until the next year on bike to work day but then we did it pretty much once a week until daylight savings time ended. I've been riding off and on ever since then and I don't think I've ever missed a bike to work day. It now takes me about 45 minutes to make the ride. It is a beautiful ride and I've seen skunks, deer, coyotes, a bobcat, rattle snakes, and thousands of rabbits. I encountered the rattle snake one morning when it was quite cold. I came around a corner and there was the snake stretched across the trail. He was a good six feet long. I figured I could maybe stop in time but there was a good chance I would stop right on top of the snake and that wasn't too appealing to me so I peddled harder and lifted my feet as I went over top of the snake. I needn't have worried, he didn't even flinch. I guess it was so cold that he wasn't moving too fast. I'm a little sad now because they put a new freeway in and they added a bike path along the freeway. It is paved and smooth and though it is a little longer they've changed that very steep hill at the end of the path to a long gentle slope that is eight miles long. It is much easier to ride and I haven't ridden the canyon since. Although the ride is so beautiful, when it is 90° outside and I'm tired, the paved bike path is much more attractive. I think maybe it is time to ride the canyon again. Maybe next week, today I'm taking the paved path home. Guess what else I'm doing today? I'm donating blood. I'm not sure it was a good idea to donate blood on the day I rode my bike but the blood mobile is coming to Kyocera today and I want to line up with Alex so we can donate together next time so here I am. I hope I don't pass out riding home.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Temple Work

202.3 down 2.8
Not a bad weight loss for one day do you think? Let's see if I can do it again tomorrow. Thursdays are my favorite days because Thursday evenings I work at the temple. I love working at the temple. It has such a calming influence on me. Not much happened today, I got in to work late and I went from there to the temple and then I got home late. I helped Alex with homework that he has been procrastinating on so it is late and I'm going to bed. It was a beautiful day today.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


205.1 up 1.1
OK, that was embarrassing. I didn't want to even report my weight this morning but I made a commitment so I stuck with it. I am now recommitted and you watch the weight drop. I'll bet I reach my 200 lb goal by Sunday.

How many of you knew that today is the 50th anniversary of the peace sign? How many of you actually know the origins of the peace sign? How many of you care? It was actually a very controversial symbol initially and people would make fun of it calling it a crows foot or the foot print of the American Chicken. I'm sure I would have been one of the mockers because it was originally a symbol for nuclear disarmament. Nuclear disarmament sounds great in theory but why would we want to get rid of all our nuclear bombs when many of our enemies have them and are quite willing to use them? For some reason people don't seem to understand that when you're dealing with evil people the only way we can have peace is if our guns are bigger than their guns. Aren't we all glad that the Americans are the ones who got the nuclear bomb first? Oh, well. Off my high horse and back to the peace symbol. The symbal was design by some guy named Gerald Holtom in 1958. That was the year I was born by the way so you can guess how old I'm going to be this year? He used the flag signaling system for the letters "N" and "D" to create the symbol. The letters "N" and "D" stand for "Nuclear Disarmament". The letter "N" using flags is with made by holding both flags down at an angle as shown in the first flag picture. The letter "D" is made by holding one flag straight down and one flag straight up making a vertical line as shown in the second picture. When you put these lines together you get the peace sign as shown after the flag pictures. The symbol was first used by anti war demonstrators in the 50's and by the 60's it was synonymous with the anti-war movement. Today it just means peace. The last peace sign I just threw in here because I thought it looked cool. I wish I could still bend like that.