Wednesday, June 27, 2012


What a wonderful week we have had in our family. Alex came home from his mission and our entire family gathered for the wonderful occasion. The first one to arrive was Kira. She flew into town on Friday (June 15). After Kira had booked her flight however a bridal shower for Sarah was planned on the Saturday so Kira dropped her boys off with me and her and Mom headed north to Utah. It has been a long time since I've had a four year old and a two year old and I'm not sure I've ever had a four year old like Evan or a two year old like Landon. In the end it was like riding a bike and boys will be boys so I built a fire in the back yard and pitched a tent and we had a lot of fun.

Mom and Kira returned home on Sunday and brought Alycia and Sarah with them. It was wonderful to have all of my girls at home. Sunday was Fathers Day but we decided to wait and celebrate Fathers Day after Alex got home. Ben and Sharley arrived Monday evening and we were all on pins and needles awaiting the big day on Tuesday. It was very sad but Justin wasn't able to come with Kira, Trevor wasn't able to come with Alycia, Sam wasn't able to come with Sarah and Brandon (with his new job) wasn't able to take the entire week so he chose to come on the weekend to be here for Alex's homecoming talk and for the big party. Serene and the girls had to choose between Sarah's wedding or Alex's home coming so Alex lost out.

Monday we also went for a run. Since Ben, Alycia, Sarah, Sam and myself are all training for a marathon we decided to go for a run. Of course Sam wasn't there but it was a ton of fun running with my kids. You will have to excuse the picture. I was trying to stay ahead of them and it was getting dark so the picture is quite blurry. They say it is a big no-no to share your bad pictures but I love the whole concept and it's the only picture I have.

Tuesday morning we cleaned up after the little kids (as well as several of the big kids) and then headed to the airport. It was a very surreal experience walking into the airport and waiting for our son that we haven't seen in two years but we were very excited. Lisa was so into this that she actually hired a young girl to video tape the whole event. We wanted to focus on Alex and not have to worry about taking pictures. She did a great job.

We went straight from the temple to our Stake Presidents office downtown where Alex visited with President Ellsworth and then was released. We spent the remainder of the day just visiting and enjoying each others presence. Finally we decided to get Alex caught up on the Avenger movies that he has missed out on so that we can take him to the Avenger movie. We watched Thor the first night and then on Thursday we watched captain America. Thursday we went to Seaworld. Thursday is also the day that Sam arrived in town.

Friday was a busy day. Lisa dragged me off shopping so we could feed the masses. We were all planning on going on a long run Friday night but then one of Alex's friends offered to get everyone into Nickel City for free so all the boys disappeared leaving me and my girls to go on our run. We ran five miles and it was so fun . I would have no problem training for this marathon if I could do every run with my kids. Sarah is home for the summer though so I expect that we will do a lot of running together. 

Brandon was supposed to arrive into town around 8:00 Friday night and that would have been in time for him to go to Nickel City with the boys but alas... his plane was delayed three hours in Houston and he didn't get here until 11:40. I think I have been delayed every single time I travel to Texas. That place hates me.

I will give you all a break and talk about Saturday and Sunday in a follow up email.

Utah has the lowest child poverty rate, the lowest teen pregnancy rate, the third-lowest abortion rate, the third-highest high school graduate rate at 94 percent, the highest scores on Advanced Placement exams, fewest births to unwed mothers (also the highest overall birthrate), lowest cancer rate, lowest smoking rate and the lowest per capita rate of alcohol use. Mormons as a group have the lowest rates of violence and depression among religious groups, are seven times less likely to commit suicide (if active church members), and have the lowest divorce rates of any social-religious group. Sixty-five percent of Utah residents have personal computers, the highest penetration rate in the country. Crime has decreased in the state of Utah by anywhere from 15-18 percent over the past 10 years. Mormon women are more likely to be employed in professional occupations than Catholic or Protestant women (similar to Jewish women) and more likely to graduate from college than Catholic or Protestant women (but less than Jewish women). One survey indicated Mormon women are more satisfied with their married lives than non-Mormons.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Running Again

Today was a great day. I got a ton of items knocked off my "to-do" list and I went on a fun date with my wife but best of all, I ran today. This is the first real run I've been able to go on in six weeks. Tuesday I went on a half mile run to check out my foot. It hurt a little bit but it felt good. I gave it a break on Wednesday and ran a mile on Thursday. Surprisingly it felt much better than it did on Tuesday. I gave my foot Friday to adjust and today I ran three miles and it felt great. It feels so good to run again. The best part is that I haven't lost it all. I don't think I could pull off a seven mile run like I did six weeks ago but I had no trouble with three and that is where my marathon training starts off. Just so you don't think I was in trouble on my second mile on this map I need to explain. Alycia called me while I was running so I talked to her for a bit. I was doing good. No more trail running until after the marathon.

About 5% of all human beings who have lived, lived in freedom.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

St George Marathon

CONGRATULATIONS!!! We would like to congratulate you on being one of 7400 runners selected for the 2012 St George Marathon. We will be hosting runners from all 50 states and 18 countries. We would like to thank you for your interest in our event and we look forward to seeing each of you cross the finish line Saturday October 6th!

I mentioned earlier that I put my name in the lottery to run the St George Marathon. Well you've probably already heard but my name was drawn and I am running a marathon. I've always wanted to run a marathon and unfortunately I'm not getting any younger so I figured I better do it soon or it may never happen. I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad but I am really glad that a bunch of my kids are running with me. We put our names in as a group and we were selected as a group. It will be me, Justin, Ben, Alycia, Sarah and Sam. I think I'm really looking forward to it.

About the same time that I put my name in for the marathon I caught my foot in a tree root while running in the canyon and broke my toe. It was very painful and it was a month before I could walk without a limp and running was just out of the question.

Last Monday, memorial day, I had decided that I was going to try a short run but alas, I was in Provo visiting my girls and I stepped up onto a curb but without thinking I put all my weight on my toes and my poor bones or tendons or whatever were just not up to the task and I about fell on my face. While it wasn't as bad as when I first broke it, that stupid act set my poor foot back at least a couple of weeks. I'm feeling very anxious because I should be starting my training about now. The worst part is that I was already most of the way through my training because I had just run the Ragnar. I ran seventeen miles during that race. Now it has been over a month since I've run at all. I'm going to have to start from scratch. Oh well, I can do it. (I hope). I ran a mile last night and even though my foot hurt I think it is a good hurt. It feels good today. Tomorrow I'll go for two miles and see what it's like.

More than 40% of what you say in a text message or email is misunderstood.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Venus Transit

As a child growing up I think Venus was my favorite planet. I remember how disappointed I was to learn that the average temperature on the surface of Venus was more than 400°C and it has an atmosphere of sulfuric acid. That pretty much guarantee's that no man will ever go the planets surface. Bummer. 

Unless you live under a rock you must have heard that today Venus transited the Sun. As I'm sure you know I love this kind of thing so this afternoon at 3:10 PDT I took our welding goggles and went outside my lab to check out the sun. Sure enough, there on the edge of a very tiny yellow dot was an even tinier black spec. That tiny black speck was Venus. It seemed weird to me that the brightest object in the night sky (not counting the moon) was such a tiny spec. Even though I had to view this amazing event with my bare (but protected) eyes it was much more spectacular when viewed from one of NASA's satellites. Below are a series of pictures that I captured off of my computer screen as I watched Venus transit the face of the sun. It started at 3:10 and ended sometime around 10:00. How exciting.

Venus is hotter than Mercury even though Mercury is MUCH closer to the sun.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

Before I start I would like to wish Brandon a happy birthday. Twenty eight years ago on this day he entered this world and my life has never been boring since. You're a great man Brandon and I'm proud of the good person you've become.

As my kids have gotten older many of my friends have become empty nesters. While I didn't like the idea of my kids all leaving home I have to admit that there was a certain appeal to not having any of the responsibilities that come with having kids. Lisa and I can come home from work and decide spontaneously that we want to go out for dinner or even go a movie if we want. There is no such thing as a "school night" any more. What I found amazing though was how many of my empty nester friends would tell me that they were as busy as ever. It was just incomprehensible to me that with the kids all gone you could be more busy than you were before. Well I'm a bit embarrassed to now say that my life has been crazy busy and what is worse, I don't even know why. I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted a blog.

There are so many things I want to share with but I guess I'll just start with the most recent. We've wanted to go to Utah for a while now to see Sarah and to meet Sam's family so when Desiree Heaton offered Sarah half of the furniture in her house it was the perfect opportunity to go. There was no way we were getting all of the junk in the van so we rented a U-Haul and off we went.

We left about noon on Friday and Saturday was a work day. Not only did we load all of the stuff into their new apartment but then Lisa felt it necessary to totally organize the place. I guess that is part of being a mother. I would have piled everything in the middle of the floor and left them to it but I guess that is why everyone needs a mother.

After a long and arduous day we all went for pizza at the Brick Oven. It has somehow become a bit of a family tradition. They have very good pizza and delicious root-beer with free refills. How can you beat that? I feel a bit bad that Lisa didn't get into this picture but someone had to take it.

After we ate Alycia took us by her office to show us where she works. I suppose I knew that if she worked for a lawyer he would probably have a swanky place but I don't think I was quite prepared with how nice this office was. The place had a little sitting room with a fire place, a nice library and Alycia had her own office. Not only did she have her own office but she had a very nice office. Better than any office I've ever had. She had it pretty good at that place.

 Sunday we went out to Heber to go to church with Sam's family. Sorry, I didn't get any pictures of Heber which is a shame because it is a beautiful place. It actually reminds me a lot of Southern Alberta. It is in a valley rather than out on the prairies but having the mountains in the west and right in your backyard I felt like I was in Cardston. From what I can tell the climate is similar to Alberta as well. They can only get two good cuttings of hay.

Monday was a play day. The girls went shopping (don't ask me how that is a play day) while Sam and I went and shot some of his hand guns. I have a high powered rifle (my 30-06) a nice bush gun (my 30-30) and 22 (every man should have one of those) and a shot gun. That about covers every potential need except for a hand gun. I really want a hand gun. In Canada it didn't make a whole lot of sense since the laws are so restrictive but here in the states I really should have one. I've decided I would rather get a semi-auto since I like the idea of having 15 shots rather than just six but I can't decide on which make to go with. After shooting with Sam I fell in love with his 40 caliber Sig-Sauer. It wasn't until after that he told me it was one of the most expensive guns I could get. Darn.

Before we headed out we decided to have breakfast at the "Awful Waffle". They have some very good Belgian Waffles and it seemed like a good breakfast.

 Because Sam is so into his guns I was a bit worried that I would embarrass myself but I think I did ok. I had the occasional stray shot but if this guy was coming at me I don't think he would have gotten too far.

 Of course Monday was memorial day and I just loved how all of the graveyards in Utah were completely decked out with flags. Everyone was leaving flowers on all of the graves as well. It was pretty cool.

After the girls were done their shopping we met up with them and headed to the Sanchez's for a picnic. It was great to visit with their family again.

After we left their place Sam and Sarah recommended that we stopped at this place for desert. It was absolutely delicious. That is a small shaved ice that Lisa is holding there. I don't have a clue what a large would be but I was just fine with a small. I had a ball of icecream in the middle of mine and the top was sprinkled with condensed milk.

Lisa and I have come home from Utah on Sunday afternoons before and once we hit Las Vegas the traffic is so horrible that we have taken as long as twelve hours to make the five hour trip. There are so many people from Los Angeles who go to Vegas gambling that you don't want to be anywhere near the place on a Sunday afternoon when they all come home. I had heard that for the memorial day weekend they expected 2.5 million people from southern California to travel and about half of them would be driving. The most popular destinations were Vegas (bad), San Diego (double bad) and the Grand Canyon (good). I decided that I didn't want to be caught in the Vegas traffic and I would much rather sit and visit with my girls than sit on the I-15 watching the sun set. That is why I planned on leaving Provo in time to arrive at Vegas at around midnight. We were a bit late but we had no problem with traffic. Focusing at work on Tuesday was a bit rough but we're almost back to normal.

It was a great weekend.

We've decided that we like Sam and we like his family.

In 1943 a Chinook blowing out of the Black Hills of South Dakota brought the temperatures from -4°F to +45°F in just two minutes. The 49°F temperature rise was the most dramatic ever recorded in America. So dramatic that the thermal shock broke everyone's windows.