Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Middle Aged Moment

I come from a family with a lot of heritage. The Leavitt's and the Lybberts go way back and have been very prominent pioneers. I have inherited much from my forefathers and I am proud to be their descendant. One thing that I have definitely inherited from my father is his eyebrows. I love it and I am proud of my eyebrows but unfortunately they drive Lisa nuts. Especially my right eye brow. If my eyebrows were ever allowed to grow naturally as they were meant to they would look just like Spock's eyebrows. They have mutant hairs on the outsides that shoot out and up and just as soon as they start looking really cool Lisa grabs a pair of scissors and cuts them off. It is really quite sad. 

As I get older it seems as if my eyebrows only get more distinguished. Also as I get older my eyesight seems to get dimmer. I need reading glasses to see closely and a good light has become more and more important. Lisa used to give me all kinds of grief as I would be hunting down a pair of reading glasses but now old age as caught up with her too. Now she too needs a good light and in order to see closely she needs to take off her glasses and use her myopia to help her see close up. 

Now that I've shared this bit of background information you may understand why the "Baby Blues" cartoon last Sunday was so funny to us.

Eyebrows evolved to keep sweat from getting into our eyes

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Javier's Having a Baby!!

I started working at Hi-Z in 1992 and the first person we hired after me was Javier. Javier and I quickly became very good friends. He has a very colorful past and I have encouraged him for a long time to start a blog and share some of his fascinating stories with the rest of us. He can go on forever. Javier is only a few years younger than I am so he is no longer a spring chicken and after being together for more than twenty years Javier and his wife still have no children and it isn't for a lack of trying. Imagine my surprise when he comes to work a few months back and tells me that he and his wife are expecting a baby. I was very excited and then I calmed down long enough to check and see if Javier was excited as well. He was and we've been talking about it ever since. Rosi comes from a very large family and she is the youngest of them all. Ever since the news her family has been coming from all over Mexico to celebrate with her. Javier finally decided to rent one of those places where you can invite all of your friends to watch an ultra sound on a big screen projector and he was kind enough to invite Lisa and I to join them. It was pretty cool. It was kind of like being in a movie theater watching the baby. I wish they did this when we had babies or even when Kira and Serene had their babies. So I would like to introduce you to Xavier de Jesus Valdez. Knowing his dad, this kid is going to be a handful. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Wonderful Weekend With Sarah

Sarah has recently finished her summer semester at UVU and so came home for a week or so. It has been wonderful to have her here. Since Lisa has once again flown the coup it has just been Sarah and I for a few days. Of course there are many people who want to see Sarah in the short time that she's home but my wonderful daughter told me that I could have her undivided attention for one whole day. What a wonderful daughter I have. 

Of course, with an invitation like that I made the absolute most of it. I asked her if my day could start Friday night and when she agreed I booked a camping spot. Friday I left work at noon and packed up the van and off we went to Dos Picos park. Sarah and I have camped quite a bit together and I believe this is the first time we actually arrived at the campsite in the day light. I was quite fun. They have a few hiking trails ( more like walking paths but still quite nice) and we checked those out. 

On one of the trails we passed by a hill with the strangest wooden structures built on top of them. I have no idea what they were for but you can't have a tower like those without some one climbing them. They made a pretty tower for preaching from. Sarah looks like she's singing in one of the pictures.

Since we were out of the city we decided to head out on one of the trails after dark to get a better look at the stars. You can't see them very well from in the city but they were sure nice out there. Every year around my birthday the Perseid meteor shower comes around. I know it is late but we were hoping that we'd catch a few stragglers from that and we actually did see a few cool meteors. 

I also had to try out a new app I got for my android called Skeye. You hold your phone up to the sky and it shows you a star chart. It isn't much use in town but it was really cool out there. I learned that the brightest star out last night was Vega. One of my favorite stars as a kid was Betelgeuse and I used to be able to find it but I haven't for years. I checked it out but unfortunately it hadn't risen yet. It is also a very bright star and I'm told a common one used for navigating. 

As we were walking in the dark we learned that a lot of animals like to come out and warm themselves on the path after the sun goes down. We came across a tiny little snake and it freaked Sarah out. It didn't have a rattle but it looked just like a rattle snake. I believe baby rattle snakes don't have rattles and I also understand that they can be more dangerous than adult snakes because they haven't learned how to control how much venom they release when they bight. If they bight you they dump everything they have into you. We navigated carefully around him.

The next sample of wildlife we came across was a humongous wolf spider in a very intricate web that spread completely across the trail. The spider was dead center in the web. I felt bad destroying the poor guys web but we did need to get by.

You can imagine that I was watching the trail pretty closely at this point in case we came across any more wildlife and I watched Sarah step right over a big old tarantula. She didn't even see it. When I shone the flashlight on him she about died again. I have to give her credit though because she was completely game to keep going.

The whole time we were hiking we kept hearing a weird screeching sound and I couldn't figure out what it was. Suddenly a huge owl flew by us. I kept the flashlight beam on him and we watched him fly from tree to tree. We finally figured out that it was him that kept making the screeching noise. I thought they only "hooted".

We finally made it back to our beds and laid on our air mattress under the stars. This is the view we had but in the dark it was even more gorgeous. I love sleeping under the stars. Just laying there with the cool breeze blowing by and admiring the stars and listening to the sounds of the night is almost intoxicating for me. I'm so glad that Sarah was willing to give me this one last adventure.

As the sun came up and shone in my eyes I laid there once again soaking in the wilderness. Somebody was cooking bacon and that made be briefly wish that I'd brought some but I didn't want to waste any time cooking and cleaning so we enjoyed our granola. As we were eating some kid was climbing in the rocks and fell and broke his leg. He leg was severely dislocated and wedged so tightly in the rocks that he couldn't get it out. An ambulance came and they had to shoot the kid full of morphine before they could get his leg out.

After the ambulance left we loaded up our gear and off we went to hike up Mt Woodsen. That is actually a rather tough hike. It is only four miles to the top but it was hot and in places pretty steep. What a beautiful view though. 

The trail starts out at Poway Lake so it is beautiful right from the start. I was so sad though because I was enjoying looking at the sky so much the night before that my battery died on the hike. I got some good pictures but they have a cool rock that juts out over a cliff and I really wanted a picture of me on that rock. Just so you can see the rock I downloaded some random dude standing on it from the internet. I did stand on the rock but I have no photographic evidence that I did so. 

After racing down the mountain so that Sarah could use the bathroom we changed into our swimming suits and headed for the beach. It was almost eerie but as we headed out the parking lot there was another ambulance there. A lot of people were having a really bad day. 

The water felt really nice after the hike but I was so tired I was ready to go home after twenty minutes or so. On the way home we stopped at Cotija's and order a Carnita's Taco for me and a Bean and Cheese Burrito for Sarah. Of course I had to have my large Horchata. You're not going to believe it but as we left the Vons parking lot there was another ambulance. I was beginning to feel like we were leaving a path of destruction behind us.  At least we were having a ball. 

The original plan was to relax and watch a movie but we had to go and represent our family at Chris Birds wedding reception. It was great to meet his wife and to see Ryan who just got home off his mission on Wednesday. He looks pretty good. We get to hear him report his mission tomorrow. When we did finally get to turn on our movie we were both so tired that we fell asleep. Not much visiting at that point but what a wonderful day doing all kinds of fun stuff with my baby. 


 The spleen is the only organ in the body that scientists have no idea what it is for.

Monday, August 15, 2011


This has been another action packed week. I've wanted to write something several times but things are so busy I never get a chance to sit down and do it.

After having my wife home for all of a week this last Wednesday I gave her a kiss good bye and off she went again and left me for St George. Alycia's friend Jamie Havertz was getting married and Alycia was her brides maid. It worked out well because Sarah just caught a ride with one of Jamie's relatives and met up with Mom in St George. If you look at the top picture the middle boy is Jamie's little brother Brett. I had Brett in scouts and he is a good kid. I wish I could have been there. 

The original plan was for Mom and Sarah to come home on Friday but Mom ended up giving some of Alycia and Jamie's friends rides and one of them needed to be back for work on Friday so they left for San Diego after the reception on Thursday night and drove through the night. I was pretty groggy when they got home but I think it was somewhere around 2:30 AM. It was great to see Mom again but I was really thrilled to see Sarah. I've missed her. 

Friday was my birthday and when I opened my bedroom door Friday morning I was rather startled to see a barrier of streamers in my face. I guess Sarah had stayed up late to decorate the house for my birthday. It was very sweet of her. At first the sign said that I was 53 years old but when I went through the streamers and looked back I was only 35. I think I like the 35 better. Lisa made a picture that contains a bunch of cool post cards that she got from Waterton for me. I love Waterton and I have so many wonderful memories from growing up there so when I look at the pictures I get all these wonderful memories coming back to me. Unfortunately we only had five post cards and the frame has six slots so I'm going to get a picture and use special effects to make it match the cards. I'm torn between a picture of Vimy mountain or a picture of our motel.

Friday after work we went for dinner at this hamburger joint that just opened in our neighborhood. It is called Smash Burger and they have some pretty good hamburgers. We then went home and had a Marie Calendars lemon cream pie. I really love their lemon cream pie. I then picked a movie to watch. It was a fun birthday and it was especially thoughtful of Lisa who only got home at 2:30 that morning. 

Saturday was just a work around the house day and one of the items on my to-do list was to figure out why the downstairs bathroom keeps backing up. I figured I knew what the problem was since almost exactly one year ago today I'd pulled a mass of roots out the sewer line. To no ones surprise, this was the same problem. All I can figure is that some very aggressive tree has sent roots under my slab looking for water and somehow has found where my toilet is. 
The root is coming up from under that slab, working it's way through the wax seal and then going down into the sewer line. I have no idea how I'm going to kill it. I guess I'll go to Home Depot and get some of those root killers and see if I can wash some of them down into the space where the root is coming up. It's a stretch but I've  got to do something. I can't see any evidence that water is leaking through the seal but I'll make sure I have a lot of extra wax just to make sure. If there isn't any water then I can't imagine how the roots can know where to go. We'll see what happens next year. I'm getting tired of lifting up my toilet every year. 

Last night we went to another wedding reception for Veronica Zanini, another friend of Alycia's. The reception was in Poway Park and  was outdoors. I thought it was a very beautiful setting. Next door to the park is a hamburger place and they had the hamburger place cater the wedding. I must admit it is the first time I've had hamburgers at a wedding but I really liked it. 

Today I gave a talk in church. The topic I was given was Personal Revelation. I picked a few examples from my life where I felt personal revelation had helped me to be a better father. I felt like I did a good job and I received enough complements that convinced me that I did OK. I always feel more comfortable when I can talk about my own kids. I like to talk about my kids. 

Tonight they had a going away party for the Jensens who are moving out of our ward. I think I heard them say that over the last few months we have had over thirty active members of our ward move away. That makes a fairly big dent in the ward. 

Ben also came down tonight for a going away party for his friend Derek Libby. Derek is going to Texas to attend a Chiropractic college. It was good to see Ben again.

Human life expectancy increased very slowly until it hit 30 years old. At that point much of the population was able to become grandparents at which point life expectancy surged. When grandparents were able to help pass on their knowledge to the younger generation (culture, art, health and child care) life expectancy increased dramatically.

Sunday, August 07, 2011


My wife is home and I like it a lot. Even when I'm at work and she is home I feel better just knowing that she will be here when I come home. I also find myself leaving work a little bit early just from the anticipation. I think I'm going to like this empty nest thing. We almost never went to a movie or did anything on a school night just because we wanted to make sure the kids were in bed at a reasonable time. Wednesday night I came home from work and we went to go see Harry Potter. Ben told me that he didn't like it but I really did. Sure they change the movies a lot from the books but that is to be expected. It was a good movie in it's own right. 

There is one thing that is suffering from Lisa being home. Me, Ben, Brandon and Justin are all playing this on-line World War II game. With Lisa gone I got way into it and had several games running. The four of us had one game going but when Brandon started writing his bar exam he dropped out so Justin Ben and I had another game going and then Justin went to Waterton so Ben and I got a third game going and so when Mom got home I had three games going. It took me almost an hour a day just to make my moves. Of course now I wanted to spend most of that time with Lisa so of course the War had to suffer. I think it will settle down to just one or two games and become manageable but it is a lot of fun fighting a war with my boys. 

Saturday I went sailing. That is my boat that you see in the foreground. As you can see the tide was out which always makes it a bit tricky getting the boat out but we did fine. Because Dan and I are only part time sailors and because we race against some real hard core people who wax the bottom of their boats to get a little extra speed out of their boats we don't usually do all that well. Saturday however I had my hopes up. The first race we weren't well positioned at the start so we started out behind. We almost passed the people ahead of us but then they cheated and we never caught up. We could report them but hey, it's just a game. The second race however we had a good start and were way out ahead of them all. We had made two full circuits around the coarse and all we had to do was not screw up and we could have won but coming around the windward buoy we misjudged our tack and had to dodge another boat. That made us clip the buoy which meant we had to do a penalty loop and in a matter of seconds we went form a solid lead to last place. We did manage to pass one boat and came in second to last but it sure felt good looking back at all those boats for half the race. It really is a lot of fun but today I have a bit of a glow. Next time I'll try and remember the sun screen.

So this week Sarah writes her finals and then she'll be coming home for a week or so. I'm quite sure I've missed her a lot more than she's missed me. She's having a ball in school and that makes me happy. As far as I can tell she's getting good grades too and that makes me even happier. 

Computer technology today increases more 
in one hour than it did in all of the 1900's

Monday, August 01, 2011

Peter & Maren are leaving :(

It is so sad, Peter has been offered a very nice scholarship at the U of A and this week they will be moving away from San Diego. Their ward had a going away party for them this weekend and with Lisa out of town I represented our family. It was good to see them but I'm going to miss their occasional Sunday evening visits. I guess we'll just have to make a trip out to Tucson to see them. It won't be in the summer though. I think Tucson in February sounds like a good idea. 

For those of you who know where Peter got his undergraduate degree you may be a little confused by the U of A. The U of A (The University of Alberta) is a very prestigious University in Edmonton, Alberta and that is where Peter (as did I) received his undergraduate degree. The U of A is also a very good University in Tucson, Arizona and that is where Peter is going for graduate school. I will miss them. Maren's mother lives just a few exits up the I-15 though so I expect we may see them once in a while. 

So my wife has finally decided to come home.She fly's in tomorrow and if she ever decides to let me know what plane she's on I will go and pick her up at the airport. Maybe she's having too much fun with the grand kids and she's decided not to come home. That would not be good. I really do miss her. I suspect however that after ten days with toddlers she just might be ready to come home and get a full nights sleep.

The leading cause of death in America is medical error.