Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy Birhday to Me - again

Today was my birthday. Well it wasn't really my birthday but it felt like it. With my birthday being the day after Alycia's wedding it sort of got lost in the shuffle and I understood that was going to happen. Today Lisa decided to make up for it. I had my traditional roast beef, potatoes and gravy dinner and angel food cake with strawberries for desert. Sarah's birthday wasn't totally lost but she didn't a birthday cake either so when Ben came out with two birthday cakes Sarah and I each got our own cake. My cake had one candle on one side and five on the other standing for 51 and Sarah's had one candle on one side and six on the other standing for 61, oops, I mean 16. Actually one of Sarah's candles was a sparkler.

I also got a card and presents and they sang to me. Sarah got her boots for her birthday and I got Christus. I've always loved the Christus statue but I didn't see how I could properly display it but ever since we got our built in cabinets we have a perfect corner for him. It's been a long time since we ever talked about it but Lisa is very good at remembering those kind of things and today I got him. Doesn't it look nice. I love it.

After dinner Ben and Sharley watched a movie with us and then they headed home. Sharley starts school tomorrow. They also took their psycho cat "blue". I love that cat but she is a major head ache. I told them to bring him to visit sometime but don't leave him here.

Scientists have discovered that hydrogen can be extracted from urine at a fraction of the cost of extracting it from water. Urine's major constituent is urea, which incorporates four hydrogen atoms per molecule but the molecular bond is weak. Using a cheap nickel based electrode a voltage of 0.37V needs to be applied across the cell - much less than the 1.23V needed to split water.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Good Bye Alex

Saturday was the big goodbye. Alex stayed at the dorms and we stayed with the Sanchez family. In the morning we celebrated Laurel's birthday. Coincidentally we celebrated her birthday with her last year too. I guess we were taking kids to college this time last year as well. We picked up Alex and took him for some last minute things such as shoes, jeans and a "cool long sleeved shirt". I was quite surprised that he chose a flannel, plaid shirt with snaps. I like the shirt but it seems like something I would have worn in high school. I never figured any of my kids would ever wear anything like what I wore. We took Alex back to his apartment and kissed him goodbye. Lisa and Sarah were both bawling for the next half hour. It was late so we spent the night with Sanchez's and left early Sunday morning. Sunday morning is also when Alycia and Trevors cruise ship docked in LA from their honeymoon. We figured since we were heading south on the highway and they were heading north we would have to pass each other somewhere. Why not stop and take fifteen minutes for a shake or something? As it happened we stopped at the In-N-Out in Las Vegas about five minutes before they did. Of course with the smell of those burgers I couldn't just have a drink. I enjoyed a wonderful hamburger and we had a great visit with my daughter and new son-in-law. I like the sound of that. So that was the enjoyable part of the trip. From Las Vegas to the California border is normally a 25 minute trip. I knew that Sunday evening is the worst time to travel because all of the LA gamblers are heading home after a weekend of giving their money away. This I didn't expect. We hit bad traffic about five miles from the California border. The group of casino's right there on the border have many names but the one we use is Prim. With the stop and go traffic we decided to get gas at Prim because pulling the trailer was sucking the gas down and I had a huge pass to go over. The next gas was a long way away. I exited the freeway and instantly I knew I was in trouble but there was no turning back. It was an hour and a half before I got back on the freeway. All I had to travel was about 300 yards. It was so frustrating that all we could do was sit back and enjoy each other or we would have gone insane. It was fun watching people in other cars though because some of them did go insane. It was simply a huge traffic jam with people trying to get into the gas station and out again. We got home at midnight but we should have been home at nine at the latest.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Alex is off to College

Today I'd like to review my whirlwind week that I had last week. I seem to be having a lot of those lately. At work we have a major deadline for a milestone looming over our heads. This milestone is key to closing a major deal that we have. That is why my trip to Germany was canceled in July and it is also why my boss didn't want me to take Alex to college. He figured Lisa should be able to handle that by herself. I could tell he wanted me to skip Alycia's wedding too but he didn't dare ask that. I told him that I had to take Alex but I would try and miss as few days as possible. That is why the trip was so rushed. We left Wednesday after work and drove to St George. We also dragged along a trailer full of Alycia's wedding gifts and some furniture. I'm not sure why but to rent a truck would have cost $1,000 plus a whole lot of gas and we would be driving two vehicles. The trailer was also $400 if we did a one way but $130 if we brought it back. We took the trailer and we brought it back. I think it is so expensive because it is college time plus a lot of people are leaving California with the bad economy and all.

We got left late so we ended up pulling into St George at 4:00AM. Lisa let me sleep until 9:00 and then we were off again. Our first task was to get Alex registered into his dorms. They are actually quite nice. He did luck out and got the largest room and because we were there first he got the best side of the room. His room mate turned out to be a nice kid. His name is Morgan Whipple from Bountiful. The apartment next door shares the same bathroom with them. Alex calls those guys his "bathroom buddies". One of them is called Spencer and the other is Bryce. Spencer is a cool guy but Bryce is a druggie. He actually has a box of cigars sitting on his desk. I don't think you're allowed to smoke on campus so it'll be interesting to see what he does with them.

Friday night was a special night for me. I mentioned earlier that I asked Ben if he would organize a family fantasy football league for me. Well the draft was Friday night. It took a long time to get a day and time that worked for everyone but we finally made it. Lisa was less than thrilled. She was not happy sitting on Alex's bed for two hours while we drafted our players. It was pretty cool how we did it with Justin and Kira in Calgary, Ben and Sharley in Anaheim, Nate and Patrick in San Diego and Alex and I in Salt Lake. It is also funny how nervous I was but I think I have a good team. I really know nothing about any of the players so I can only go by the statistics. My first game is against Ben so we'll see how I do. My starters are:

Quarterback: Aaron Rogers (Greenbay)
Running Backs: Steven Jackson (Seattle)
Clinton Portis (Washington)
Kevin Smith (Detroit)
Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson (Houston)
Roddy White (Atlanta)
Tight End: Owen Daniels (Housten)
Kicker: David Akkers (Phillidelphia)
Defense: New York Jets

How do you think I'll do? Everyone else is making all kinds of trades and I don't know why. It makes me wonder if I should be as well. I did notice that one of my back up running backs is on a three game suspension. I thought about trading him but he looks like a very good player and I don't really need him for the first few games so I think I'll hang on to him. My back up Quarter back also has a sore Achilles tendon but it looks like he may play. I think I'll wait and see. Since I know nothing about football I'll appreciate any advice you can give me.

The state of Utah eats more ice cream per person than any other state.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Today is Sarah's sixteenth birthday. I can hardly believe my baby is now old enough to date. And she's driving too. If you remember from my blog entry last year on September 26 describing our decision to move to San Diego, Lisa had a special experience letting her know that there was one more baby yet to come to our family. We had always planned on having six kids but after Alex about killed Lisa we decided that maybe it was time to quit. I was actually quite excited about having another baby but I was not about to mention it to Lisa because after all, I'm not the one who has to carry or deliver it. After Lisa's experience in the temple we never mentioned having another baby again until one Sunday evening Lisa and I were sitting in the front room and out of the blue she says to me, "we need to have another baby". We were both really worried because we were flat broke and we didn't have any insurance. I don't know if it was irresponsible or not but we both felt good about it and so along came baby number six. I guess the Lord took pity on us because it was by far the easiest pregnancy of them all. After our first year lease was up on our house we decided to move again. Our rent was going up and a fellow in the ward had moved away and was willing to rent his home to us. It was a bigger, nicer house and less money. It was on a canyon, in a cul-de-sac and literally across the street from the Deer Canyon Elementary School. As much as I hate to move we couldn't refuse the offer. Oddly enough, on the day we moved into our house Lisa went into labor the next morning. Lisa called up our brand new neighbour to watch the kids and off we went to the hospital. It was very early in the morning around 7:00. Our new neighbours, coincidentally, were Chuck and Jeanne Cotter who are now Ben's new in-laws. I'll bet she had no idea that the little boy that she was babysitting would end up marrying her daughter. We arrived at the hospital and I dropped Lisa off at the emergency entrance and went to park the car. As I was parking the car Lisa waddled to the nearest wall and leaned against the wall to suffer through another contraction. There was a man sitting outside smoking a cigarette and he was looking very nervous. As I ran up to meet Lisa she told me that her water just broke. That was a new one for us, in all of the previous five births the doctor had to break her water in all of them but not this time. As soon as Lisa mentioned that her water had broke that smoking dude bolted. He was out of there.

From the time we arrived at the hospital to when Sarah entered this world it was less than an hour and with no pain killers of any kind it was a very easy birth. As the doctor went to cut the umbilical cord I made him stop. I informed him that I had cut the umbilical cord on all of my other kids and it was only right that I do it for this last one as well. Cutting the umbilical cord is a very weird experience. It is big and rubbery and not easily cut. It also seems like you must be hurting someone as well but neither the mother nor the child cries so I guess they're fine.

Sarah's birth seems to have been a foreshadowing of how she would live her life. She is the kindest, sweetest, cuddliest and most obedient child you could ask for. I can't even imagine life without her. I'm so glad that we decided to go for number six after all.

Scientist have now determined that warp travel (as in the Star Ship Enterprise) to other stars is actually physically possible. At least according to string theory. Unfortunately, the energy required to just start the warp drive (not even considering the energy required to travel anywhere) far exceeds all of the energy that exists on earth. I guess I'm not going to other stars any time soon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Getting Back to Normal

The rest of the week after my birthday went quickly. Thursday I had the temple, Friday the investors working with Hi-Z threw a party for the company so Lisa and I went to that. We also took Brandon and Serene, after all, Brandon is a "former" employee of Hi-Z. That was a fun evening visiting with everyone. Saturday we did some clean up around the house and yard plus we kissed Brandon and family good bye.

Sunday was a nice calm day. Today was work as normal and it was strange not having Alex there. I gave him the last few days off work on the condition that he gets everything ready for his move. Let's see if he actually pulls through.

I'm trying something very unusual for me. I've asked Ben to start up a Fantasy Football League for the family. This is very unlike me but I figured that if most of the family is into football a little competition could be fun. Trevor and Alycia obviously bowed out since they're on their honeymoon and they have things other than football on their minds and Brandon bowed out because he thinks football is "barbaric", Mom bowed out and I didn't even think to invite Sarah. Our teams are Me, Ben, Sharley, Justin, Kira, Alex, Pat and Nate. Pat and Nate are like family members so they count. Wish me luck, the draft is on Tuesday. I really don't know what I'm doing but it should be fun.

Number of States won by:
Democrats: 19
Republicans: 29

Square miles of land won by:
Democrats: 580,000
Republicans: 2,427,000

Population of counties won by:
Democrats: 127 million
Republicans: 143 million

Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by:
Democrats: 13.2
Republicans: 2.1

"In aggregate, the map of the territory Republican won by Republicans was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the country.

Democrat territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Today is my birthday!! As of 3:00 AM this morning I turned 51 years old. That seems very bizarre to me. How can I be that old? It seems like for the last several years something has happened that has conflicted with my birthday. With Alycia's wedding the day before my birthday I fully expected that would be the case this year as well. It did turn out to be a very crazy day. My first trip to the airport was taking Kira and Evan to the airport and the second trip was taking Grandma Shaw and Tearsa. Greg, Gay and Jackie and kids also left today. Before they left however we made a trip to the beach. The waves weren't very good but we still had a fun time.

Alycia and Trevor came by the house while we were gone so it was good to see them when we got home. I was told that they wouldn't be opening their presents but when we got back they had opened them all. It looks like they got some really nice stuff. Alycia had a nice surprise for me. She was really concerned that her wedding was overshadowing my birthday (I think a wedding outranks a birthday) so she bought me a present. She got me a book I've been wanting to read for a long time. "Guns, Germs and Steel". Grandpa and Nana also got me a birthday present that was a real surprise. They got me the 2009 Star Trek Ship Christmas tree ornament for my collection. This year the ship was a Klingon Battle Cruiser. It was a surprise because they normally get me my star ships for Christmas. Ben and Sharley also bought me a card. This makes it much better because now I can put it on the tree before Christmas.

Greg and his group showered and then headed down the highway. It was really good to see them and I'm so glad I was able to spend this time with them. I also got to know Damon. I think he was a baby last time I saw him. I think Grandpa and Nana were planning on taking Lisa and I out for my birthday dinner tonight but with Alycia and Trevor there and all of the other people around I guess it was decided to forgo dinner and order pizza. A nice quiet dinner would have been nice but I really did enjoy visiting with everyone. About the time everyone started to leave Brandon figured we needed to have a boys movie night so Brandon, Ben, Alex and I went to see GI-Joe. We said good bye to Alycia and Trevor and to Grandpa and Nana (who were leaving early the next morning) and off we went to the movies. It was a nice change from the chick flicks I am so often force fed.

So that was my birthday. I knew it would be crazy with things winding down from the wedding and everyone leaving and I didn't expect much but it was a wonderful day never the less.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Alycia's Wedding Day

My little girl got married today. The entire day went without a hitch and it what a wonderful day it was. It was a complicated schedule but everything went as planned. Alycia and Lisa had to be at the Temple by 9:00 so the three of us headed off first. She looked so beautiful standing out there in front of the temple. When we entered we found that the Crowley's and Greg & Gaylia and Jackie were already there. We went on in and waited for the temple to complete all the paper work. Kira, Brandon, Serene, Ben & Sharley had to be at the temple by 9:30 so they actually came in separate cars and then finally Alex & Sarah had to load up Evan, Sydney and Grandma and have them all there by 10:45. I was a bit worried about that one but everyone was where they needed to be when they needed to be there.

The Temple ceremony was beautiful. Because I work at the temple I decided to ask the temple president (President Olsen) to perform the sealing ceremony. He agreed and he performed a beautiful ceremony. The ceremony itself is always the same but the council they give before hand is what ever they feel inspired to say. The other cool thing is that Claudia Warner is a shift coordinator on the Tuesday morning shift and so she spent the entire time with Alycia and even attended the sealing with us. It was nice to have her there. They don't like us to wear Tuxedo's into the temple so following the ceremony (and after I gave my siblings a tour of the temple) we quickly changed into our tux's and went outside to meet the family members who couldn't come inside and to wait for Alycia and Trevor to come out. It's a good thing it takes so long to get a bride ready because I had to run out and get the headband for Alycia out of the car and then I was having wardrobe malfunctions. I love the head band, Alycia was trying to decide what to wear in her hair because she wanted to do something different than a veil. Lisa found this beautiful headband and they decided to go with that. I thought it was so appropriate for Alycia because all she wore for the first eight years of her life was a headband because she didn't have enough hair to do anything else. When they did finally come out they looked so beautiful. The day was nice, there was just enough breeze to keep it cool and the only thing that went wrong was that my poor bald head can't take two hours in the sun without a hat. My head got so burned that it looked like a cherry. After everyone got pictures we all headed back to our house while Alycia and Trevor went and got more pictures taken at the beach, Balboa Park and other destinations not known. We had some sandwiches waiting and we all relaxed for a couple of hours before we headed down to the Officers Club.

I love to take pictures and when I go to weddings I usually take a ton of pictures for the bride and groom. It is nice to get pictures immediately after the wedding and I also try to take pictures that the photographer wouldn't normally take. I got some nice pictures at Ben and Sharley's wedding but because I was more involved in this wedding (being the bride was my daughter) I decided that I wouldn't have time to take many pictures. Therefor I decided to just enjoy the reception and not worry about the camera. That is why I have no pictures of the reception. If anyone gives me any I will post them for you to enjoy. For now you will have to take my word for it that the club where we had the reception was beautiful. The building is older and very cozy and it is mere yards from the ocean. This is actually where we wanted to have Kira's reception but when 9/11 happened and there was threat of war we had to change our plans because no civilians are allowed on base in a time of war. As it turned out we were at war during Kira's reception and we would have been in big trouble. Kira's reception was still very beautiful however.

The down side of having the reception at a place like this is that the seating is limited. We were only able to have 200 people there and that meant that a lot of people we would have otherwise invited didn't get invited. I am truly sorry if you happen to be one of those. The good thing is that the reception line is also limited so I didn't have to stand there for hours and hours like I did with Kira's reception. Following the line up we made a grand entrance and ate a wonderful meal. Trevor's best man, Stanton made a very nice toast, Lisle (Trevor's dad) also made a very nice toast and then I thanked all of the guests for coming.

After desert we had a dance. The father / daughter dance was to "Butterfly Kisses" and the emotions you have during a dance like that are so confusing. You're happy but you're also very sad. It is the end of a huge phase in your life but the beginning of a new one for your little girl. You're glad to see her embark on a new beginning but so sad to see her leave. Life sure does keep us hopping doesn't it?

The dance was actually quite fun. At one point I was swing dancing with Alycia, Brandon was swing dancing with Kira, Ben was swing dancing with Sharley and Alex was swing dancing with Sarah. The entire audience formed a circle around us and watched. It was quite unnerving being the center of attention like that but it was very fun. The only part I wasn't so excited about was when the DJ announced that it was my birthday the next day and then dedicated a song to me. A bunch of girls surrounded me and danced. I'm not much of a dancer so I'm sure I looked like a fool out there. I hope there were no pictures taken of the incident.

Finally it came time to end the party. We had sparklers that we were going to light as Alycia and Trevor were leaving but where as other venues could ignore the fact that they're illegal in California, the military base couldn't. They wouldn't let us light them. Instead we all waved unlit sparklers in the air as the bride and groom left. There was one final surprise left.

Alex and I had prepared an acetylene bomb for the car at work. We made a few test firings and found a combination that worked very well. Brandon taped it on underneath the car and as the happy (and oblivious) couple were climbing into the car Brandon pushed the button. It is now two days later and most of his hearing has returned. Alycia and much of the surrounding crowd screamed and I looked around to see if the MP's were coming. I was prepared to take the fall for Brandon so he could keep his criminal record clean but to my relief they never showed up. Trevor then decided to circle the car looking for any other booby traps and when he spotted the balloon on the tail pipe he was a good enough sport to leave it on. When he started the car the exhaust blew up the balloon and when it popped it was surprisingly loud. We also had some tie wraps on the cars axle so that it would make a bunch of noise hopefully making them think that the bomb had caused some damage to their car.

We all waived them farewell as they drove off to their new lives it was the end of a beautiful day. With many helping hands the mess was quickly loaded up and we all headed home. This was one day that no one had the energy to play a fun game of "Settlers".

Evan loves the freedom he gets from his cool motorized wheel chair. He loves to "run away" from his mother when she calls him.

Aren't they the most beautiful couple you ever saw?

Mom is congratulating them on their marriage.

Alycia and Trevor with Tearsa and Jamie.

Me and my brother Greg.

Serene and my little granddaughter Sydney.

Sarah and Nana

Now that is a man's flower. None of that "frilly" stuff.

Derek, Stanton, Trevor, Ben, Brandon and Alex

My girls - Kira, Alycia and Sarah. Don't I have beautiful daughters?

That's my son throwing his little girl high into the air. He learned that from me. You can see that Sydney loves it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Family Dinner

I took today off work to help get everything ready for the big day tomorrow. The house was mostly clean so it didn't take too long to make it look presentable and then I made a trip to the airport to pick up Grandma Shaw. I then loaded all of the stuff into the van that needed to go to the officers club at the MCRD. The reception is to be held on a military base. MCRD stands for Marine Corps Recruiting Depot. On the base they have an officers club which you can book for various functions as long as a member of the military signs for you. My boss is a Navy Captain so that was good enough. On my way down to the base I stopped and put gas in Bens motorbike which ran out of gas and was parked just a block from his work.

Monday night was the family dinner. We had suggested to the Crowley's that it might be less expensive, more intimate and more casual if we just had the dinner at the church and had it catered. We recommended Oscars because they have good food, they're economical and also Alycia used to work there. Too bad she couldn't still get her employee discount.

The dinner was a blast. We ate and then as everyone was finishing up we decided to tell Alycia and Trevor stories. It was really funny how it turned out. All of Alycia's stories were how her brothers tortured and tormented her and all the Trevor stories were about how he terrorized other people. After several stories had been told Lisle (Trevor's Dad) commented on how a theme was developing. Trevor loved to torment others and Alycia loved to be tormented.

Not long after dinner got started Greg, Gaylia, Damon, Jackie, Christin and Christin's two girls arrived. It has been a long time since I've seen them and I was so glad that they were able to come.

A panty line

That is delicious cake