Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sheba - Olympics

Let me start out by saying that I love my cat. I think she is beautiful, classy, she has a lot of character, she is unpredictable and in her prime she was the queen of the neighbourhood. In spite of my love for my cat I've never been very cuddly with her mostly because I didn't like her falling asleep on me. If she fell asleep on me then I felt obligated to not move because I might disturb her. If she ever did fall asleep on me I would just boot her off and so Sheba and I always had a mutual respect for each other but we rarely snuggled up to each other.

Something has changed with that cat lately and I suspect it is because Alex is not living here anymore. She comes running to me in the morning, she sits on the table while I eat my breakfast and if I sit on the couch she is instantly on my lap. It is driving me nuts but I feel bad tossing her off so there we are with me watching the Olympics and Sheba asleep on my lap. Apparantly I'm not the only one. The other day we were watching the Olympics and Lisa says,"Fred, look at this". Sheba had crawled onto Lisa's lap and she had her nose literally a fraction of an inch from Lisa's nose. It was the funniest thing. Her nose was so close that her whiskers were tickling Lisa's nose.

How about the Canada / USA hockey game. What a great game. I loved the closing ceremonies too. Now maybe I can get to bed on time.

Ammonium nitrate fertilizer was invented in 1947 by Fritz Haber. Without this invention 2 out of every 5 people alive today would not be here because we couldn't grow enough food to feed them. Fertilizer is considered by many to be the most important invention of the twentieth century but have you ever heard of Fritz? No? That may be because he also invented explosives for Hitlers war effort, poisonous gas (ammonia and then chlorine) for his chemical warfare & Zyklon B that was used in the gas chambers to kill millions of Jews.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Alex's Mission Call

I'm sure this news is hitting the web enmasse tonight but how can I not join all of those excited people and tell everyone that Alex received his mission call tonight? Unfortunately Lisa and I are stuck here in San Diego while Alex is up in Utah but through the miracle of modern technology we were able to share in the experience through Skype. We watched him open his call and boy was it exciting. Alycia took a video and if you'd like to see it just click here. Alex is going to the Chile, Santiago West mission and he reports on June 16, 2010. I am really glad that he will be learning Spanish. That means that all three of my boys will speak Spanish plus Justin speaks Spanish and pretty much the entire continent of South America speaks Spanish. All of central America, part of Europe and within just a few years most of the United States will speak Spanish. We are all very excited.

I know Alex would have learned to love what ever mission he was called to but I think he was really worried that he would be called to Utah or Idaho or something like that. I think he really wanted to go foreign and I'm glad that he is. In addition to learning much more about people and dealing with all of their various issues I think you learn just a little bit more when you can get outside of the United States and see what it is like to live in a third world country. He will come home a much better person. It will be tough to say goodbye for two years but I'm excited for him and it is quite obvious that he is excited as well.

I just learned an interesting fact about Chile. Lisa's ancestor was Anson Pratt, a brother to Parley and Orson Pratt. Anson and his wife died early and left a daughter who was orphaned and raised by Orson Pratt. As it turns out I am told that Uncle Parley served a mission to Chile. How exciting.

The average chocolate bar has 8 insect legs in it. A chocolate bar in Chile probably has the whole insect in it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Omnivores Dilemma

I was at work the other day when Lisa gives me a call. She told me that she had heard a big "bang" outside our door and so with a little trepidation she went to check it out. To her surprise there was a package laying on the doorstep. She was a bit upset that the delivery guy handled our package so roughly but Lisa loves to receive packages so she quickly grabbed it up to see what surprises she had received that day. She was quite surprised (and a little disappointed I imagine) to see that it was addressed to me. The only things I ever receive addressed to me are bills so this was quite unusual. She then proceeds to open the package; I never get to open anything in our house (except for the bills of course) and she was even more surprised to see that it was book addressed to me but the "bill to" address was Marilyn McPhie's. That is when she promptly called me to ask me why I would receive a book in the mail from Marilyn. I too was quite surprised and then I remembered a fascinating discussion I had last Sunday with Craig McPhie about the environmentally sustainable farming methods. I found the concept extremely interesting and I told Craig that he would have to let me borrow his book when he was done with it. Apparently he decided to just send me one instead. I am now well into the book and it is every bit as interesting as Craig told me it was. The book is called, "The Omnivores Dilemma" and if you read a few of my trivia's in the future that are related to food it will probably be from this book.

25% of all the food in an average supermarket originates from corn. Beef, chicken, turky, lamb & pork are all corn fed. Most of the fish are corn fed and even Salmon which is naturally a carnivore is being genetically altered to eat corn. Many of the alcoholic drinks are fermented from corn. Virtually every edible product in the super market contains one or more corn products including, corn flour, corn syrup, corn starch, corn oil, lecithin, mono-, di- and tri-glycerides, food colorings, citric acid, glucose, maltodextrin, ascorbic acid, lysine, maltose, HFCS, MSG, polyols, xanthan gum, margarine, mayonnaise, mustard, salad dressings and even many of the vitamins. Radioisotope testing shows that an American's body is made up from more corn than a Mexican. Mexicans eat far more corn than we do if you don't count all the processed stuff.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Weekend in Orange

When Lisa was in Utah Ben and Sharley came down for a visit. While he was here he received a phone call from his Ward secretary asking him to give a talk in Sacrament meeting on February 21. I wrote it on the Calendar because I thought it would be cool if we could go up and listen to him give his talk but then I promptly forgot about it.

Last Wednesday Lisa was looking at the calendar and she said, "Why did you write 'Ben talk' on the calendar?" Aren't calendars a great invention? So somewhat spontaneously we decided to go up and visit Ben and Sharley this weekend. The timing was perfect because it is Ben's birthday this week so we decided to celebrate his birthday while we were up there. Lisa also had a regional convention for her new business so we were able to kill three birds with one stone. We visited, watched movies, ate steaks and pizza's and soaked in the hot tub. It was an all around great weekend.

Our presence I'm afraid caused Ben a bit of anxiety. Because we were there he was too tempted to play rather than prepare his talk so Saturday night after we all watched a movie and went to bed Ben stayed up and worked on his talk. I went to bed at 1:30 and Ben was still working on his talk. I don't know what time it was when I heard his alarm go off but when I got up around 8:00 he was still working on his talk. His hard work did pay off however and he gave a wonderful talk. His topic was basically how we can be happy and enjoy life even during a time of great trials and obstacles such as the economic down turn and the hardship it has created for many of us. We then barbecued steak and had a great birthday dinner after which Ben opened the presents we bought. For several years now Ben has requested a dozen Crispy Creme donuts for a birthday cake. As you can tell, this year was no different. We got him a book, a shirt and tie plus the new Spanish Bible the church recently published with Topical Guide and the Bible dictionary.

And then of course there was Blue. I have scratches all over my hands and arm from playing with that vicious animal. We had a blast. That is definitely one hyper-active cat. She is also vengeful. I seriously believe that I made the cat mad and later when I was unprepared she attacked my foot when I was totally unprepared and then she ran away. I really like Blue. Happy Birthday Ben.

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Global Warming, "Ooops", Make that Climate Change

On July 6, 2009, the San Francisco Chronicle reported the following:

The Bay Area just had its foggiest May in 50 years. And thanks to global warming, it's about to get even foggier.

That's the conclusion of several state researchers, whose soon-to-be-published study predicts that even with average temperatures on the rise, the mercury won't be soaring everywhere.

"There'll be winners and losers," says Robert Bornstein, a meteorology professor at San Jose State University. "Global warming is warming the interior part of California, but it leads to a reverse reaction of more fog along the coast."

This week, the Telegraph headline reads "Fog over San Francisco thins by a third due to climate change". Fog over San Francisco thins by a third due to climate change :

The sight of Golden Gate Bridge towering above the fog will become increasing rare as climate change warms San Francisco bay, scientists have found.

The coastal fog along the Californian coast has declined by a third over the past 100 years – the equivalent of three hours cover a day, new research shows.

And it is not just bad for scenery, the reduction in the cooling effect of the fog could damage the health of the huge Redwood Forests nearby.

No matter what the weather does these guys will blame it on "Global Warming". Except now they don't call it Global Warming anymore. Since the Earth has been cooling for the last few years they now call it "Climate Change". How can anyone possibly take these guys seriously?

28% of Africa is wilderness--38% of North America is wilderness

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Olympics

Ever since Sarah got her drivers license I have been much more rested throughout the day. I’m really enjoying that but today I was talking to one of my guys and he was complaining about how tired he was. I also realized that I was dragging too and I was wondering why I’m so tired when I get to sleep in until 7:00AM every morning. And then it dawned on me…. Ever since these crazy Olympic Games started Lisa and I have been staying up and watching them until 1:00 AM. Let me clarify, Lisa sleeps on the couch beside me and I wake her up when one of her favorite figure skaters comes on so she can watch them. I’m loving it but this year is kind of strange. They give these personal histories on people and I start rooting for them to win because I like their story. My allegiances are torn all over the place. I want the Russian pairs skaters to win because I feel bad for the poor Japanese girl who defected from Japan to Russia to skate under that very successful coach. I want the Chinese pairs skaters to win because they’re married, they're old and they've won every medal in the book but still don’t have an Olympic gold. I want the Australian freestyle skier to win because I love how he told Canada to take a hike because they didn’t like that he was an internet millionaire at 15. I want the Canadians to win any gold because they’ve never won Gold at home yet and I love that Alexander Bilodeau won it because he looks very wholesome, he has a handicapped brother and his brothers name is Frederick. I really want Shaun White to win because he’s from San Diego and he loves his family so much and because he seems like a nice boy. And then there’s Apolo Ohno. I want him to get the American record for the most medals in a Winter Olympics. I’m hopeless, I want everyone to win. Meanwhile, I’m really enjoying watching the Olympics while Lisa sleeps beside me.

The flag flying over the parliament buildings on the Canadian $10 bill looks an awful lot like the US Stars and Stripes. Upon very close examination you can tell that it is probably the Canadian Ensign.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day

When Kira was just a toddler I brought her home a little daisy on Valentines day. I've done that ever since for all of my daughters on Valentines day up until they left home. Since Sydney was here yesterday when I brought home flowers for Lisa and Serene I also brought Sydney a little daisy. She was speechless and that is something for Sydney. She's never speechless.

This morning when I got up there were heart shaped pancakes that Serene had made for me and chocolate covered strawberries by my plate. What a wonderful way to wake up. This year our Sacrament meeting doesn't start until 12:30 in the afternoon. I don't like that too much because by the time you get home from church the day is gone. It does make for a very relaxed morning however so since we don't get to choose our meetings time I'm making the very best of the relaxing mornings. That is very nice.

In honor of Valentines day I have two interesting bits of trivia to share with you.

2% of all Americans who get married met on e-harmony.
80% of all married American men say the would marry the same woman if they had it to do all over again. Only 50 % of American women say they'd marry the same man.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm Coming Hayley

Right now my life seems terribly boring and I don't have much to talk about that you would find interesting. The most exciting thing that has happened is that Brandon went to Utah for some law convention (or something like that) so we invited Serene and the girls to come down for the weekend. At the moment I'm babysitting Hayley and Sydney while Lisa and Serene went out to run some errands. Sydney is down for her nap and Hayley is really wishing I would pay more attention to her. This morning we all went up to the park and Sydney must have spent an hour on the swings the entire time yelling "Higher Grandpa, Higher". Of course I felt compelled to oblige but Serene made me stop when Sydney was going so high that the chains began to go slack.

I'm still going through withdrawals from my scout calling. It was mixed feelings Tuesday night when I would normally go to my Scout meeting but I got to stay home instead. Right now my boys are on a scout camp at Big Bear that I'm missing as well. Oh well, if I was camping I would be missing out on visiting with Hayley.

This week at work we had visitors all week long. There are still many challenges but we're making good progress and exciting things are happening. I'll update you on all of that when I can.

Living at a high altitude increases your metabolism so people living at high altitudes are generally thinner than people living at low altitudes.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The End of an Era

What a sad day. Today in Sacrament meeting I was released from my calling as the scout master. I have been in this calling since Alex was a deacon and as best as I can remember I think it has been about seven years. If you add that up with the other two times I've been in scouts I think it totals nearly fifteen years. I'm really going to miss it. Since I'd been told it was coming I went prepared. Sarah suggested that I make my boys a batch of cookies. In the end Sarah was a sweetheart and she whipped up a batch of "no-bake" cookies for them. What a wonderful child she is. I was scheduled to teach the lesson today so at least I got to sort of say good-bye. It is funny but every single young man who is in the young mens program in our ward today was in scouts with me at one time. I even had Alex in scouts and now he will be going on a mission before long. I'm really going to miss those boys and I think they might miss me too. Other than that tho, this has been a pretty good weekend. Friday night Sarah had a party with some of her friends from church so I was home alone. I took the opportunity to go through some old mail that I've been procrastinating on and then watch a movie. Saturday was my chance to sleep in but instead I went over to the church at 7:00 AM and helped set up some chairs for a womans function that they were having about gardening or something like that. I got home just in time to send Sarah over to the school to take a practice SAT test. It went from 9:00 until after 1:00. She came home briefly to grab something to eat and then headed back to the school to record the stats for the wrestling team. In her brief visit home she managed to let me know that the practice SAT was perhaps the most miserable experience of her young life. It was Math and before she could finish it switched to English and then before she could finish that it was back to math and then English and then math and so it went for four hours. The poor girl. I just pointed out that if she thought that was bad wait until she does it for real. Meanwhile I was puttering around the house knocking items off of my to-do list. I know I've discussed this before but I do love crossing things off of the to-do list. Finally, around 5:00 Sarah came home and while I'm sure there were plenty of things for her to do she told me that she wanted to stay home with me and we could do something fun. We then whipped up some semi-healthy junk food and rented a movie off of the cable. By semi-healthy I mean things that won't bother her IBS too much. It's been acting up lately.

This morning as we were getting ready for church we got a call from Ben. As you may recall the super bowl was today. Ben & Sharley had been invited to some super bowl parties but they decided that they would rather come down here and watch it with us. How fun. I whipped up some sloppy joe's and in deference to Sarah we served them on whole wheat buns. Cameron also came to church with us so he came over after to watch the game as well. What a great game it was. Both teams played very well and made few mistakes. Both Ben and Lisa told me that I was rooting for the Saints. They gave me some very good reasons to. 1) Drew Breese used to play with the Chargers, 2) Reggie Bush is from San Diego and Ben has actually played against him in High School, 3) The Saints have never been to the super bowl before and 4) even though we don't hate Peyton Manning specifically, we just hate the Manning name in general. His Dad was a jerk and his brother was especially a jerk. Apparently he was drafted by the Chargers but he refused to play for us. Sounds like good enough reasons to me. On top of all that we just don't like the colts. I've learned that sports are much more fun if we are able to hate one of the teams.

Almost as much fun as the super bowl however was Sharley's camera. If you read her blog, she talked about it and if you noticed my comment, I suggested that she bring it down here for me to play with it. Guess what? She did. I sort of doubt she brought it just for me but I like to think she did. It was fun to see them though and we did have a good time. Sharley even made a very delicious lemon cheesecake thing. Anyone who knows me knows that I love anything citrus. This cheesecake was good and the best part is that it is apparently easy to make. I think I'm going to try it next Sunday for dessert.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

What a Restful Feeling

What a great day this has been. It all started at 3:00 AM. My normal bedtime lately seems to be midnight or later. I have no excuse except that it is often late before I can get started on some of the things I really enjoy and then when I get into it I find that before I know it, it is after midnight. Last night Sarah went to bed early and I did a few things around the house and then I looked at the clock and it was only 10:00 and I decided why not go to bed? Well five hours later I woke up in the middle of the night. I guess my body figured that after five hours of sleep I normally wake up so I should wake up tonight as well. I looked at the clock and thought "that's weird" and promptly went back to sleep. I never wake up in the middle of the night.

I had set my clock for 5:45 to wake Sarah up for seminary but at 5:44 she pokes her head into my bedroom and says, "bye Dad, I'm going to seminary". She had set her own alarm for earlier and so had gotten herself up. If you read my blog yesterday you will remember that Sarah has her drivers license now. That meant that for the second time on this wonderful night I just rolled over and promptly went back to sleep. My alarm finally did go off at 6:50 AM and so after nearly nine hours of sleep I got up and got ready for work. I can't remember the last time I had more than eight hours of sleep on a work day but I'm sure it has been many years. I felt great. I also think that eight hours of sleep when you go to bed early and get up early is more effective that eight hours of sleep when you go to bed late and get up late. I can't think of any logical reason why that would be the case but it just seems to be the way it is.

I think I'll try going to bed at ten o'clock a little more often. I like this.

In the 40's, the spelling for the Bich pen was changed to Bic for obvious reasons.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Drivers License

Today was a day of some crazy ups and downs. It started out with a big down, Lisa left me. At least she's gone for the weekend. We had everything timed to perfection. I'd run her to the airport and get back just in time to wake Sarah and run her over to Seminary. We were just a few miles from the airport when Lisa realized that she'd forgotten her cell phone. What a dilemma, if we went back for the phone then we would risk missing her flight and to make things worse, I wouldn't be back in time to get Sarah to seminary. If we didn't go back for the phone then Lisa would be in Salt Lake for six days with no way to keep in touch with Alex and Alycia not to mention Sarah and I. After about 60 seconds of deliberation we took the next exit and headed home at 90 mph. Lisa grabbed her phone, I woke up Sarah (who was quite confused), we ran Sarah to the church and left her on the doorstep wrapped in a blanket and then off for the fastest trip to the airport that I've ever made. As it turned out, not quite fast enough. Lisa was there 25 minutes before her plane left and they would have had no problem getting her on the plane but they couldn't get the luggage on the plane. I actually think they could have but they didn't want to try. The problem is that they won't put her luggage on another plane unless she's on the same plane. That meant that she had to rebook on the next flight out and that cost us an extra $50. Oh well, I guess it is worth it for her to have her phone. That is one of the reasons why I never check my luggage. If she'd had carry on she could have made her original flight. Oh well. She's in Utah to see her babies. I'm jealous.

Meanwhile, back on the home front, I got to run Sarah around. First we took her to her orthodontist for a retainer check. Guess who never took her retainer? Pretty tough to do a retainer check without a retainer. From there we headed to the California DMV office so Sarah could take her drivers exam. She was so nervous she about wet her pants. I must admit I was a bit nervous myself. As I was sitting there watching the other kids come back into the office I would see them smiling or frowning but pretty much under control. All of the sudden I see Sarah jumping and bouncing down the side walk and then screaming the whole way she ran and jumped on me. Yes, she passed. Sarah is actually a very good driver, perhaps one the best of all my kids but she has one very bad flaw that scares me to death. She is very easily distracted and doesn't always check her surroundings. Of the ten demerits that she got, six of them were for "traffic check". I guess the examiner agree's with me. She's allowed fifteen demerits so our baby is now driving. Tonight we went and made her a set a keys. She's one exited girl. Guess what? Tomorrow I get to stay in bed while she drives herself to seminary. Yay.

The Gutenburg bible used the skins of 300 sheep for each bible printed.