Friday, June 25, 2010

The Hunger Games

I just want Sharley to know that she's killing me. A couple of weeks ago she loaned me a book called "The Hunger Games". I just got around to reading it and I can't put the crazy book down. Of course I'm so busy that I don't get to read them until bed time but then I end up reading until 2:00 AM. I'm dying of exhaustion. I love the book. The plot line is a bit bizarre but I love the book never-the-less.

Yesterday was a great day for me. I started at Hi-Z in February of 2009 and shortly after I started I was given a project to do. I've been busting my butt ever since trying to accomplish this task that people have been trying to do since the 1960's. Yesterday I made a successful test. I am so stoked. It has been a year and a half and I bet we've spent over a million dollars on this but we have success. Of course this is just the beginning, we've got to prove it'll last for at least 10,000 hours and we've got to scale it up to be commercially viable but those are all easy tasks compared to what we've just accomplished. I almost want to stay home and work on it. I love to leave on vacation on a high note. Tomorrow we hit the road.

In Hong Kong, a betrayed wife is legally allowed to kill her cheating adulterous husband but she may only do so with her bare hands.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Molydenum Trioxide

This week is a bit strange for me. First of all (as I've mentioned before) there are no kids at home. Second, we just got back from a whirl wind trip to Utah and I will be leaving again in three days. I don't really have enough vacation days for all these trips so I'm trying to put in some extra hours to ease the burden. As it turns out, that is great because my project is going very well and I'm anxious to work on it. I am more than willing to work twelve hour days because I'm making great progress and loving every minute of it. I thought that I'd share one of my failures with you. When I test my thermoelectric materials they have to be tested in an inert atmosphere. Any leaks and the oxygen will quickly destroy the materials good properties. While that is very ugly, our heaters are made of Molybdenum and when Mo oxidizes it forms very beautiful crystals. After my last encounter with a leaking test station I decided to take a picture of the MoO3 crystals to share with you. They really are quite pretty aren't they?

In 2008 the number of minorities born in America exceeded the number of Caucasians born in America.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fathers Day with no kids

This summer Lisa and I will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary. For 28 of those years I've been a father and this weekend was the first Fathers day when I've actually been a father that I haven't had anyone at home on Fathers Day. In fact this whole weekend has been weird. I guess we're getting a taste of what it's going to be like when we're empty nester's next year. I think I'm going to like it. Things are just a lot more relaxed. For Fathers day we did practically nothing and that is exactly what I needed. All of my kids called me and that was nice. Ben even Skyped me from Mexico City. He seems quite lonely but I'm glad to see that he is taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity to check out all the sights. He's been able to see some really cool things.

When we were at BYU Lisa spotted the perfect Fathers Day gift for me. It seems appropriate since Kira and Brandon graduated from BYU and Alycia and Alex are attending the U of U. I can wear this hat when ever BYU and U of U play each other. It is actually pretty cool. They had a window sticker that matched it that says, "A House Divided". That would be us.

This weekend is kind of like the eye of the storm. Last week we drove to Utah and dropped Alex off in the MTC and this Friday we head north of the I-15 once again but this time we're going all the way through to Canada. These few days at home alone are very relaxed and calm. I'm excited, it's been a long time since we've been to Canada. Kira is going to have their little baby sealed to them in the Temple and it's a big deal. The adoption is final and now they can claim him for their own. It's going to be a rushed trip but I plan on enjoying every minute of it. We're going to pick up Serene and her girls in Utah (Cedar Hills) and then in Salt Lake we'll get Sarah and Alycia and then we're off.

Things are really getting exciting at work. My project is starting to look like it will be a success and I am almost sad to leave for a week. Almost sad but not quite. I just hope it is nice weather while we're in Canada. That is always a roll of the dice.

Non-virgins who get married are sixty percent more likely to divorce than couples who are virgins when they get married.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Have a Great Two Years Alex

I can't believe how busy I'm getting. It is frustrating because my blog postings are getting farther and farther apart and today when I went online to finally update my life it took me an hour just to catch up on every one else's lives. I really wish the world would slow down a bit but then what fun would that be. Live has been truly exciting and I've so much to talk about. Where do I start. I guess I'll start with last Saturday.

In the morning Sarah had to write her ACT test so we got a late start. As normal, our actual time of departure was several hours later than what we had hoped for. That was OK though because between Mom, Sarah, Alex and myself we had plenty of drivers and we finally pulled into Brandon's house at 4:30 in the morning with out any remarkable incidents. You may be wondering why we pulled into Brandon's house. Brandon has in internships this summer with the Church. This required that he find a place to live for the summer.
As it happened, our good friends the Sanchez's have decided to move to Mexico for the summer and their house was going to be empty. They made Brandon and his family an offer they couldn't refuse and so Brandon has a house for a very good price and the Sanchez's have someone in their house plus they aren't paying double rent for the summer. Everyone is quite happy. We're happy too because we have a place to stay with lots of bedrooms. After pulling in at 4:30 it was really tough getting up for church at 8:30. Other than a brief snooze during Priesthood meeting I stayed awake for most of the meetings.

When the kids were in town for Alex's farewell we all went to the Mormon Battalion visitors center. In the opening part of the tour there are a bunch of pictures on the wall that talk to you. Alycia and Trevor swore that the lead woman on the wall was someone in their ward. Before Sacrament meeting Alycia saw the woman from the picture and told her about our visit to the Mormon Battalion. She told her that the woman looked just like her. The woman responded, that might be because it was me. I got to meet the woman from the picture on the wall. It was a bit weird though because the woman on the wall looks about twenty years older than the real woman.
We had planned a barbecue on Monday for Alex's Utah friends but Greg called and told me that he had to work Monday. We invited Greg and his family to Sunday dinner. I wasn't sure how I was going to make it because I really wanted a nap but it was so much fun having them there. He invited all of his kids to come but only Damon, Robert and his girl friend Michelle, Byron & his wife Shelly and new baby were able to get there. I am so upset though because I was having so much fun that I completely forgot to take any pictures. Sarah did ask me to take a picture of her and Uncle Greg so I did get one picture of Greg but I didn't get any of Gaylia, Damon, Robert and Michelle.
Monday we bought some last minute stuff for Alex to take with him and we got the stuff for the barbecue. We were going to have it in a park in Salt Lake City but in the end we decided it would be much safer (weather wise) and easier to have it at the house.

For lunch we decided to eat at the BYU Creamery. We love that place. It was great when I attended BYU and it is still great. I lived off their milk. As we were pulling into the Creamery parking lot Lisa says. We should stop in and say hi to Elder Elkington and Sister Morgan. They
were both missionaries who served in our
ward at different times. We loved them both and were thrilled to hear they got married. They manage the Heritage Apartments which border the Creamery. We decided we probably didn't have time for a visit but as we were getting out of the van we heard, "Brother and Sister Leavitt!!". It was great to see them and their new baby. His name is Jackson after his mother whose name is Jacquie. The barbecue was a ton of fun. We drove in and picked up Aunt Nola for the barbecue and it was great to see Alex get to know her a bit better. Once again, I was having so much fun that I didn't get any pictures of her. Brandon also invited his neighbours across the back yard. He was a Gallup from Cardston - Dan & Suzanne. I actually went to school with his sister Paula Gallup. What a small world. He also has Cahoon's in his family so he is related to Aunt Nola. We also invited some of our Rosemary friends that have moved to Utah. Sadly they all couldn't come but Luetta (Baxter) her husband Doug & girls showed up. It is always great to see old friends!

Tuesday Morning we stopped at the U of U to take care of some stuff for Alex and then it was off to the temple. The Salt Lake City Temple is very unique and it was great to attend a session there. We also met up with a friend of Alex's name Harrison. He came with Alex to our place during spring break. We used Brandon's parking pass to park under the Conference Center and we were going to get the grand tour of Brandon's work but we ran out of time. We did get to eat in the cafeteria. I'm really hoping for the tour on our next trip up but we'll have to see. That promises to be a very rushed trip as well. After the temple we met up with Sarah and Marie who were
passing time in the malls and then we dropped Marie off at her home and met her parents. It was great to meet them and it was a ton of fun having Marie with us for the few days we were there. We then headed off to Alex's Stake Presidents house for him to get set apart as a missionary. His Stake President lived in this beautiful tree lined cul-de-sac in a large brick home. His name is President Rees and he was a wonderful man. He gave Alex a beautiful blessing. Alycia and Trevor showed up as well so 2/3 of the family was there to share in this experience. We really missed Ben and Kira. It is tough when the family gets spread from Mexico City to Calgary.

After the "Setting Apart" Alycia headed off to her late night class and the rest of us headed for dinner at the Chuck A Rama. What a great place. I ate way too much. That is always a problem for me at these all you can eat places.

All day long I'd been watching this bright white cumulus clouds form behind the mountains.
They just got bigger and bigger all day long until finally after the Chuck A Rama they almost exploded in this amazing formation. The picture doesn't do it just but perhaps you can get an idea.

We brought Alycia back to the house with us and then it was Wednesday, the big day. We had lunch at the Brick Oven and then it was off to the MTC. What a bunch of mixed emotions. You're glad to see them go on a mission but it is tough to think that you won't see them again for two years. It will be a wonderful experience for him. He will certainly come home a man. Alycia and Sarah were crying their eyes out but Mom and I did well.
Alex fell right between Alycia and Sarah so it was only natural that they would be the closest to him. They've shared many wonderful
experiences together.

Thursday morning we left Sarah with Brandon because she will be attending EFY next week and Mom and I hit the road south. The last picture was taken on our way out. It is a view of Utah Lake from the Sanchez's little community. They are on the foot of the mountain and they have a pretty nice view of the valley.

I'm sorry for the long discourse but it was a pretty full week. If you'd like to stay in touch will Alex's adventures in Chile Lisa is keeping a blog where she will be posted excerpts from his
letters home. You can follow it here.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Father / Daughter Campout

This was another great weekend. It was the father/daughter campout. Unfortunately it was a bit rushed because Sarah had made a prior commitment for Saturday morning at 10:30. That meant that we had to leave around 8:30 to give her time to get home and then get ready. It was a beautiful evening and night. Sarah and I decided that we would sleep under the stars. The sky was clear and being out in the countryside like that you can see millions of stars. This is a view of the sky we got to look at all night long. I just love laying there during the night enjoying the birds singing, the soft breeze drifting over me and taking in all of Gods beautiful creations. What a wonderful experience it is and it is made all so much better to have my daughter there beside me just as awed by the experience as I am. I woke up a couple of times during the night and I just laid there taking it all in.

I don't even mind mornings when I'm sleeping outside like that.
The warm sun came up and brightened everything.

After a wonderful breakfast it was time to head home. This was a terrifying experience for Sarah because I told her she was going to have to drive. That would normally be no problem for her but we'd driven the pickup which is a stick shift. I insist that all of my kids learn to drive a stick and they all have except for Sarah. It is about time that she did. We were only a couple of miles down the road when she finally admitted that it is kind of fun to drive a stick. She was pretty funny though anytime we came up to a stop light. She would slow way down driving about five miles an hour hoping that the light would turn green before she had to stop. It actually worked pretty well for her.

Now that we have all of the celebrations over we are in the midst of last minute preparations for Alex's mission. We leave this weekend. It doesn't seem quite real.

Nearly 100% of all Canadians are deficient in vitamin D.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Trail Mix

Last week a girl at work bought some trail mix from the vending machine. As she was eating it she saw that it had live worms crawling through it. Of course she about freaked and complained to the owner of the vending machine. He compensated her with some more "free" trail mix. The other day she opened one of her free trail mix's and to her dismay there were some more worms crawling in the trail mix. Being curious we decided to put one of the raisins with a worm in it under the microscope. We recorded a video of the little guy for your viewing pleasure. To give you some perspective of the size of this little guy, the worm is on a raisin.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Alex's Farewell Weekend

Wow! I don't even know where to begin. What a fun and exciting week. Lots of emotions and LOTS of fun. This weekend was Alex's big farewell. We don't actually leave San Diego until June 11 but next Sunday is Fast Sunday and we don't have speakers in church on Fast Sunday so Alex had to give his farewell speech this weekend. Kira and Justin were already vacationing in Florida so on their way home they separated in Denver. Justin flew north to Calgary and Kira and the boys flew west to San Diego. It was great to see her and especially to see my Grandsons. You have really have a great conversation with Evan now. He talks and talks and talks and I have no idea what he is saying but if I agree with him then he thinks it is great.

Brandon, Alycia and Trevor arrived on Friday and the partying began. Late nights playing Settlers" and visiting. I could make this a very long blog if I gave a blow by blow so I'll just summarize the weekend and share some pictures.

Saturday we all went to the Mormon Battalion Visitors Center. This visitors center has been here for decades but a couple of years ago they closed it and remodeled the whole thing. You wouldn't recognized a thing. It was good before but it is spectacular now. I really want to go back. Anyone, Mormon or not, must go and see it if you're ever in town. Sunday of course was church and Alex's talk. We had invited all of Alex's friends to both church and to an open house at our house that evening. A ton of people came to the open house but a few came to church. One of the coolest was Alex's fifth grade teacher. They had a definite "love - hate" relationship. Alex was in Miss Bosco's 4/5 split class one year and then he had her again the next year. At first he wasn't too thrilled but he ended up loving her and her him. I think she is thrilled with what a fine young man he has turned out to be. I imagine she wondered a time or two eight years ago. I couldn't even guess how many people came by the house that evening. I'll bet it was more than a hundred. Friends from high school and from church. As young as three years old like the Kooyman girls who just love Alex and older than me. A lot of people love Alex.

Before you can go on a mission for our church you need to go to the temple and participate in the ceremonies there. We would normally have done that Saturday but Ben and Sharley had a serious conflict with a Birthday/Reunion for Sharley's grandpa in St George. It ended up being a compromise with Ben missing all of our fun on Saturday and Sharley missing they're partying on Sunday. Ben flew down Sunday morning so he could be here in time for Alex's talk and Sharley drove and was here for the open house. I'm really glad she was able to get here. We then all went to the temple on Monday morning. The earliest they could do Alex's endowment (that is what the ordinance is called) was 9:00. That was good and bad. Good because I didn't have to get up as early but bad because Brandon, Alycia and Trevor didn't get on the road until nearly noon. that made it a late night for them and Alycia had to work on Tuesday.

The endowment was wonderful and after a few pictures in front of our "wounded" temple it was off to our wards memorial day picnic. They had some really good food and even though we were quite late they still had plenty of food for us.

After the picnic we just came home and collapsed on the couch. It was the weirdest thing. I could scarcely move and after a two hour nap I had to force myself to get up. I'm only now feeling somewhat recovered. Tuesday it was back to normal life. I kissed Kira and the boys goodbye Tuesday morning and then it was off to work and Mom took Kira and family to the airport. I miss everyone already. The weirdest part is that next week we head to Salt Lake City to take Alex to the MTC (mission training center). It hasn't quite sunk in. I'm very conflicted. I'm so excited for the wonderful experience he is about to embark on but I miss him already.

Check out the picture of Evan with the musket. He couldn't wait to get his hands on that thing.
Evan at the pump.

Landon at the pump. He really wanted to get into that tub.

Alex and Trevor panning for gold. They had real gold colored "nuggets" in the gravel.

Evan and Alex at the cannon.

After the Mormon Battalion we ate at the "Old Town Mexican Cafe". Good food.

Alex and Ms Bosco.

These four boys have instilled fear in many a Sunday School teacher. One teacher dubbed them the "four horseman of the apocalypse". Alex was the red horse.

Just some of the visitors that came to the church. Some had already left.

Kira and Mandy. Mandy is one of the very first people that we met when we first moved to San Diego. Mandy has been a very good friend of not only Kira but our entire family ever since. I consider her one of my daughters and I'm very excited because she is expecting her first baby. I predict a girl.

Evan was really getting into ping pong.

Alex making the circuits at the open house.

I'm not exactly sure what Evan is doing here. I think I might be getting a spell cast on me with a licorice wand. Do you notice the "future missionary" badge on his chest?

Alex and the Kooyman girls. Do you remember them from the Football game?

Peter and Maren were there as well.

As always, as the evening wound down Halo started up.

Poor Sarah was the only one not at the temple. We also missed Justin who had to work and Serene who was introducing her family the youngest Leavitt grandchild.

Ben, Sharley, Kira and Evan at the picnic. My mouth is watering for another hamburger.

Two years ago almost at this very hour we were taking pictures of Ben and Sharley in front of this temple. This day was their two year anniversary.

Not your normal picture in front of the temple is it? This will be a unique picture for Alex.