Monday, April 29, 2013


 When I was a kid growing up I had two very close friends besides my brother Lester. Tom Crooks and Rick Cahoon. I think I first met Tom in the second grade but I don't even know when I first met Rick. Until I was seven we lived on a farm and Ricks farm was just a mile up the highway. We moved into town and Rick moved into town less than a block from my house. Everything I did  it was with either Tom, Rick or Lester and usually it was all four of us. I have so many memories and most of them include Rick. 

After our missions we all headed off to school. Rick went to BYU and met Karen and never came home. When Lisa and I got married we went to Utah on our honeymoon. We were able to visit with them there. The next time I saw Rick was about ten years later. I was at a convention in Arlington, Texas and Rick and Karen lived in Dallas. I was able to see them then. About ten years after that I was on a business trip to New York and by this time Rick was working in New York. We went out for dinner then. I guess it was about time I saw Rick again. A couple of months ago he sent me an email letting me know he was going to be at a convention in Dana Point. I was so glad when he told me he was coming in the Saturday before and he was available for the weekend. 

What made it all better was that Rick served his mission in San Diego and one of his area's was our stake. He hasn't been back here since his mission. 

About a month after learning of Rick's upcoming visit we got a message from my cousin Louise Nygaard. Louise is the daughter of my mothers brother and one of my favorite cousins. Coincidentally, Louis and Rick are also cousins. I'm not sure how they are related but Louise's mother was a Cahoon. Even better, Ricks Aunt Lucille married my Uncle Tom. Uncle Tom is my mothers other brother and so he is also Louse's Uncle Tom. So me, Louise and Rick all share Uncle Tom and Aunt Lucille. As you can tell, we're all tied together. In any case, I've really been looking forward to this weekend.  

Louise arrived here completely exhausted. She had been in Thailand with a friend for a week before flying into Las Angeles. She landed around 10:00 PM, rented a car and headed for San Diego. As luck would have it, she ran into road construction. They can't work on the roads here during the day so they shut down the highways and work on them at night. She got here around 1:00 AM.

Of course we couldn't just go to bed so after visiting for a while we were all falling asleep anyway so we went to bed. Unfortunately, the course Louise was here to take started early Saturday morning so we got up early, made a nice breakfast and sent her off to her class. Fortunately her class was nearby.

Not too long after Louise left Rick flew into town. He flew into San Diego, rented a car and drove to our house. We visited for a while then went to a good Mexican place for lunch and drove Rick around to see his old haunts. The first picture is of Rick and I in front of his apartment. We then drove to the temple which was not here while he was and then off to La Jolla. Can you believe that Rick had an apartment on the beach? The house that he lived in is actually gone now but the third picture is Rick and I on the sidewalk approximately in front of where his apartment was. The fourth picture is La Jolla shores, the beach where Rick used to go running every morning. 

We then went back to the house and visited some more until Louise came home. Rick treated us to a nice meal on the beach. It was a wonderful time. Rick then drove on up to Dana Point to check into his hotel room and we went back home. 

Sunday morning we sent Louise off to her class again. We gave her a hug goodbye though because after her class she had to head straight to the airport. Rick on the other had drove down to go to church with us. After church we had a nice dinner and then went to show him the Mormon Battalion visitors center. They actually did have the Mormon Battalion visitors center when he was here on his mission but a few years ago they completely renovated the place. It is a very cool visitors center now. If you're ever here you really need to go see it. 

Alas, all good things have to come to an end. After many hours of reminiscing we finally had to say goodbye to Rick as well. I hope it isn't another ten years before I see him again. 

Louise on the other hand lives in St George so recently we have been able to hook up now and then. It is good to have family somewhat close by. 

Scientist have proven with genetics that every human being alive today is descended from a single woman.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ragnar 2013

Wow, what a wonderful few weeks this has been. I have so much to talk about that I scarcely know where to begin so to make it simple I will start with this last weekend. You may remember that for the last couple of years I've participated in the SoCal Ragnar Relay. I have done this for the last two years. 2011  2012. Alan Bird has been a team captain for the last two but this year he couldn't do it so I decided to put together my own team. I was rather excited because it looked like I could put together a team almost entirely from my own family. Somehow I was able to talk Lisa into running, Kira and Justin both wanted to, Ben and Sharley were game, Alycia was ready, Sarah and Sam wanted to and Alex wanted to. That is ten people and you only need twelve for a full team. In the end Justin couldn't come because their son Cameron can't fly yet, Alex, Sarah and Sam were in the middle of finals and Alycia decided her knee needed more time to heal after the Marathon. The problem is that by the time I realized they were "no go's" it was too late to recruit people. It is not easy to find people who are trained enough to just go and run fifteen miles on three weeks notice. In the end Maricela Knapp who has run with me before was willing to run again and Ben was able to recruit six people. We had a team and we were ready to go. 

Our day started at 4:30, we picked up Maricela Knapp and Patrick Carey at 5:00 and arrived at Ben's apartment by 6:30. Van 1 then loaded up and headed for the starting line. Our race started at 9:00 but Van 1 had to check in by 8:00.

Sharley started Van 1 off.

Sharley ran along the beach for a couple of miles and then headed inland. 4.9 miles later she handed off to Maricela.

Maricela half way through her run.

Maricela ran for 5 miles and then handed off to Ben.

Ben then handed off to Jose who ran for 5.7 miles.

Ben survived his run.

Ben then handed off to Pat but I don't have any pictures of Pat. Sorry Pat.

Pat ran an easy two and a half miles and then handed off to Chardonnay. By this time it is climbing over 90° and getting a bit rough. 

Chardonnay finished up for Van 1. After running 3.8 miles she handed off to Ken from Van 2 and now we were carrying the baton. At this point in time we were seven minutes ahead of our predicted schedule.

Van 2 consisted of me, Lisa and Kira, Ken Francis, Aaron Hoke and Jeff McAninch from Ben's ward. We had a very fun time and are now good friends. 

Ken is a beast. He ran eight miles through a hot dry riverbed and still made seven minute miles. I have no idea how he managed that. After ending his long grueling run with a steep uphill climb he handed off to Lisa. Check out how Lisa jumps when a big truck cheers us on with a loud honk of his horn.

Lisa's run was only 3.8 miles long but she climbed 775 feet in near 100° heat. If you know Lisa you may know that she doesn't do well in heat. By the time she made it to the exchange point she was experience chills and was no longer sweating. Not a good sign. She was a very good sport about it and was handing out high fives while flat on her back. She did great. She handed off to Jeff who ran 4.9 miles through suburban Corona. Jeff then handed off to Kira who ran 5.7 miles. 

While the rest of us were cursing the heat Kira was worshiping it. Up there in the snowy north country she doesn't get to see it much and every chance she gets she tries to generate as much vitamin D as possible. 

Here she is heading up a hill.

And here she's coming down the other side.

Kira handed off to Aaron who ran 5.4 miles.

Aaron then handed off to me. You may notice that unlike everyone else I am wearing a reflective vest, a head light and a flashing red light on my back. I wasn't too thrilled about that but the rule is that if you're running between 6:30 at night or 6:30 in the morning you have to wear them. I suppose it was a good idea because it was pretty dark by the time I arrived. 

I ran my longest run on this leg which was 8.5 miles. The 8.5 miles wasn't so bad but three of those miles were up a big long hill. The hill itself wasn't so steep but it was so long and it just wore me down. The only cool thing about that is that I crossed over the highest point on the entire race at 1,519 feet. I also finished the race at sea level so that is pretty cool. 

Here is Lisa and I with Kira by a little fishing lake just north of Lake Elsinore. This is where I started my first leg. 

I like this shot of me heading out of the exchange point. 

And like I said, by the time I ended my run it was pretty much dark. This is me handing off to Sharley who started Van 2 for their second turn carrying the baton. At this point in time we were eighteen minutes ahead of our predicted schedule. Van 2 had gained eleven minutes.

Sharley ran 5.9 miles and handed off to Maricela. After the heat of the day running at night was very refreshing.

Maricela ran 8.6 miles and handed off to Ben. Maricela loves to run and has run every single SoCal Ragnar since the very first one three years ago. This is the third Ragnar for both of us. The difference is that she can run much faster than I can. She calls herself the "Feline" because she feels like a cat when she runs. She looks like one too. 

Maricela also calls Ben the Cheetah. They were both making extremely good time during the night. 

Ben ran 9.4 miles and handed off to Jose who ran 6.7 miles. I think Jose was our only casualty. His route took him across a golf course. With no lights the golf course was pitch black and a group of them ended up getting lost. Somehow a Ragnar team found them and got them back on track. 

Jose handed off to Pat who ran 5.8 miles and handed off to Chardonnay who ran 7.5 miles bringing the baton back to Van 2. All in all, everyone ran faster and enjoyed their runs a lot more during the night than they did during the heat of the day. It is common for people to fall during their night runs but Van 1 was incident free. 

While Van 1 was running we looked for a place to get some food. After a humongous hamburger we all headed for our Motel room. In its true tradition, Ragnarians are supposed to sleep in their vans or out on the ground. Aaron didn't think this sounded like a whole lot of fun so he booked two motel rooms. I wasn't about to argue with that so we cheated and slept in comfortable beds. At least we did for a little under three hours. At 1:30 Sharley called us and told us that Chardonnay had just started their last run. That gave us about 80 minutes to get ourselves put together and get to the major exchange point in time to take over. 
Most of Van 1 was sleeping in the van when we got there but we were able to sit and visit with Ben, Pat and Jose for a while. Exchange point 18 was at the Lawrence Welk Resort. Chardonnay came in at 3:00 and Ken once again got Van 2 back on the road. We were now 12 minutes behind schedule. Van 1's incident had cost us 29 minutes. 

Ken took off like a bullet and after 3.7 miles handed off to Lisa.

Lisa also took off like a bullet and surprised us all with her speed. We were at the next exchange point waiting and Jeff decided he needed to go to the bathroom. We figured we had plenty of time but no sooner was he gone than here comes Lisa. 

After four miles Lisa pulls in and see's no one there. She throws her arms in the air and calls out, "Where's Jeff?"

Jeff finishes his business, takes the baton and runs his 3.9 miles handing off to Kira. 

Kira runs a quick 2.2 miles and then hands off to Aaron.

I was only supposed to run 4.9 miles but as I'm heading down the final stretch I see that there is a rather serious car accident up ahead. All of the emergency vehicles are there and the Ragnar people have diverted us around the accident. The diversion causes us to miss our turn so we now have to run an extra half mile to the next light, cross the road and then run back UPHILL to our exchange point. My 4.9 mile run turned out to be nearly six miles. I was not a happy camper. 

Of course once the run is over all is forgotten and I'm quite thrilled. On my first run I got to watch the sun set and on this run I got to watch the sun rise. Of course that meant that I was the only person on the team who had to wear the vest for two runs but it was kind of nice watching the sunrise and sunset. 

I came in at 6:44 which was 9 minutes behind schedule. Van 2 had gained 3 minutes. 

While I was running both Vans are hanging out at the major exchange point which was the Taylor Made Golf Club headquarters. I'm not exactly sure that they are doing in this picture but I do know that Sharley and Chardonnay woke up feeling a bit queezy in the stomach. I'm sure it was some combination of the lack of sleep and the very irregular and less than healthy eating habits. While we were running we gave the keys to the motel rooms to Van 1 and they enjoyed a peaceful three hours of sleep. 

Sharleys run started at 6:44 when it was quite chilly but by the time she got half way through her run she had warmed up considerably. She decided it was time to strip. 

She then ran her 5.5 miles and handed off to Maricela. 

Sharley is now done all of her runs and she seems quite happy about it. 

Maricela runs her 7 miles hands off to Ben
and then she too is done. Van 1 had decorated their van and here Maricela is checking off her final leg.

Ben ran his 8.6 miles hands off to Jose and then he too is done. Ben had the longest run of everyone on the team running a total of 22.4 miles. After this last run which had a couple of ugly hills Maricela says that it looks like the Cheetah is dead. 

Jose ran his 6.6 miles and then handed off to Pat. Jose was now done.

Pat then passed off to Chardonnay who ran 4.2 miles and passed off to Ken from Van 2 meaning that Van 1 was done. They then headed off for dinner and Van 2 dashed for the finish line. 

I'm not exactly sure of the time when Chardonnay came but they were about 26 minutes ahead of schedule. Van 1 had gained 35 minutes. 

Many of us were running slower than the day before but not Ken. He seems have endless energy. Here he is at the top of a big hill. Aaron has just given him a bottle of water.

Ken ran 7.0 miles and handed off to Mom.

Mom ran 2.9 miles and handed off to Jeff. She did really well but someone had said that her run was flat. There was a bit of a hill at the end of her run and she wasn't at all impressed by it. Listen for her comment about "it wasn't flat" in the video clip below. You also need to check out the guy in front of her doing the cart wheel. 

Jeff got to run along the beach for a little while but then had to turn inland and climb a nasty hill. I can't believe that he is actually still running. I don't know how they do it. I always have to walk steep hills because they just suck out your energy and ruin the rest of your run if you don't. On the other hand I always run down hill. No matter how tired you are you can go very fast down hill. I love it. 

After running 6.2 miles he handed off to Kira.

Kira had a beautiful 4.1 mile run overlooking Mission Bay and then she handed off to Aaron. She was making great time but then a train came and she got stopped at a train crossing. She was not happy about that. 

She was happy that it was her last run.

Aaron had a beautiful run down the San Diego river. He followed the river until it hit the Ocean and then ran a short distance along the beach. We met up with him there to give him a bottle of water before he had to climb a very ugly hill. 

After running 7.4 miles Aaron handed the baton off to me to bring it in for the team. My run was a very easy 5.0 mile run along the San Diego bay. I started by Rosencrans street ran past the airport, around by the Star of India, past Seaport Village and ended to the Convention Center. I had to run through a lot of crowds by the Star of India and the cruise terminals but it was fun. I felt a little bad at the end though because in true Ragnar fashione the rest of my team met up with me about a hundred yards before the finish line to run in with me. They even made a cool little tunnel for me to run through. The problem is that I had been anticipating the end for five miles and as soon as I hit the tunnel my adrenaline took off and I sped up quite a bit. The team wasn't expecting it and I about left them all behind. Luckily they caught up with me before I hit the end.

We came in at 6:52 a full hour and eighteen minutes a head of schedule. Van 2 had gained 50 minutes.

It was so much fun. Here are some shots at the park at the finish line.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Spring Break

Before Alex headed off to school he asked if it would be OK if he brought a few friends home for spring break. Figuring a "few" meant 2 or 3 we of course said it would be no problem. We began to be concerned when we saw a facebook page all about the upcoming spring break trip to San Diego and it looked like there were many interested people. 

The first car (Alex, Wendy, Ryan and Harrison) arrived in the wee hours of Friday morning.  The second car  (Parker, Felix and My) arrived Friday night. There was a trip to the airport on Saturday to pick up Mark and the third car (Matt, TJ and Scott) arrived that night. Sam and Sarah got here on Tuesday. All totaled we had thirteen people here for spring break and it was a lot of fun. 

If you're not familiar with Instagram you should be. It is an app for smart phones where you can upload a picture and give it a short description and share the picture with your friends. You can add little tags to the pictures and tie all the pictures together. Alex and his friends took a ton of pictures of spring break and tagged them all "sdtothe13". It doesn't make a lot of sense to me but I guess it was supposed to be a cool way of saying "we are going to San Diego for spring break in 2013". Clicking on the flag you will find over 100 pictures of the fun these 13 kids had here for spring break. Rather than try and describe the week I have chosen to upload all of their pictures and share them with you. 

It would take far too long to sort the pictures in the correct order so you will have to excuse the random order. 

The fun actually started before they even got to San Diego. They had to stop in Las Vegas and drive through the strip.

This is Sunday dinner at our house. We must have gone through $500 worth of groceries this week. These boys ate a lot. For Sunday dinner we boiled up a full bag of potatoes and cooked two large roasts.

One of our kids favorite places to eat is In-n-Out. One smart thing that In-n-Out has done is they have a complete "off menu" list of specialties. Such things as "animal style"meaning the onions are fried. This is a 4x4. It is a hamburger with four hamburger patties and four slices of cheese. You won't find it on the menu. It doesn't seem possible but some of the boys told us they were still hungry after eating one of them. I've never had one myself.

Alex and Wendy down by what looks like mission bay somewhere but I'm not sure.

This is somewhere around La Jolla Cove I believe.

Scripps Pier

Instagram has all kinds of filters you can apply to make the pictures look all fancy. Personally I don't like any of them and I usually upload my pictures as they were taken. This picture showing off Alex and Wendy's new coats at the beach has some weird beige colored filter on it.

Some rich old lady built a large wall to protect a section of the beach so the children could swim without the surf knocking them around. The seals decided it was a nice place for their children so now the Childrens beach is Seal beach. Alex decided to pose next to one.

Tuesday was Alex's twenty second birthday. It was fun to have him home for his birthday because the last time he was home for his birthday was in his senior year in high school. Alycia posted this picture of when her and Alex reconstructed the scene from Lady and the Tramp when they were sucking on spaghetti.

I think Mom posted this picture.

This one would be Sarah

We celebrated his birthday with a barbecue. I cooked over thirty hamburgers and I'm sure if there had been more they would have disappeared.

Alex and Wendy back at the beach.

This is Alex and Scott. They served together in Chili and knew each other quite well. It is a bit of a coincidence but Scott came on the road trip with another friend of his not knowing that he was coming to Alex's house. They had a ton of fun reminiscing about Chili.

There are many wonderful places to have very good Mexican food but one of our favorites is Cotija's.

Cotija's carne asada fries. Not exactly pure Mexican but they are good.

This is a Grande Burrito. It is as big as Marks head.

Alex's Grande Burrito

A half eaten Grande Burrito

I'm not sure why but some of the boys apparently went into the local pet store and took a picture of this budgy bird.

No sooner did the guys wake up but what they headed for the beach. I'm not quite sure what Parker is doing here but it looks like it might be some Matrix stunt.

Parker cliff jumping at La Jolla Cove. This is a very pretty beach.

Matt Roundy used to live in our neighborhood. He was loving being back home. Here he is skim boarding at La Jolla Shores.

I think this is Scott skim boarding

Parker still playing.


Matt Roundy 

Ryan and My served their missions in Riverside California which is an hour and a half up the freeway. Sunday evening they both headed to Riverside to see the old stomping grounds. I'm sure this place means a lot to them but I know nothing about it. Maybe I'll have to go give it a try some day.

This dude kind of looks like Einstein but I have no idea where it is or what its for.

Sarah goes to UVU and had spring break the same week as Alex. Sam however goes to BYU and they do not have a spring break. Some how he managed to break away for a few days and they showed up Tuesday late. Sarah and Sam brought the total number of people staying in the house to fifteen. There were beds everywhere. Here is a picture of them at Sea World. Sarah loves Polar Bears.

While the weather at our house (8 miles inland) was absolutely beautiful the marine layer at the beach was quite heavy making the beach a bit on the cool side. Here Sarah and Sam are at La Jolla Shores but she eventually decided that while she loves the beach she could freeze in Utah. That is when they came home and went to Sea World.

It looks like Sam is about to eat that lizard. They are at Sea World.

I assume this is while Ryan was in Riverside but I have no idea what he's doing with a signed baseball.

Sarah and Sam

This might look like a serene picture of some seagulls gliding by the setting sun but it is no such thing. Alex saw a bunch of seagulls on the beach and decided to run into them. As they were frantically flying way he was snapping pictures as fast as he could. He got some rather amazing shots like this one.

And this one.

The Beach

All I will do for this picture is quote Alex's comment that he posted with it. "Spring break has officially started!!!"

One of the nights they were here they went over to the church to play basketball. All but one of the guys are wearing Alex's high school uniforms.

Alex found a friend at the beach.

You can imagine that when you get ten unmarried young adult men together, a common topic around the house was girls. I don't know the story behind this picture but I know that on one of their trips to the beach they did hook up with some girls. This must be one of those occasions. 

At the beach

On Wednesday night they all went to the beach and had a bonfire.

The very first day the first car load of boys arrived I warned everyone to wear lots of sunscreen. The first day they all came home with some pretty nasty sunburns. They didn't let it ruin their week but we did have to be careful how we touched them.


This is the crowed before they all head off to a young adult dance on Friday night. They had a lot of fun. they came home with some phone numbers. We'll see if they actually call them. Everyone but Sam and Sarah are in this picture so I will try and name them. Standing left to right is My,TJ, Mark, Parker, Ryan, Scott, Matt, Wendy and Alex. Kneeling left is Felix and right is Harrison.

Playing cards out on the deck in our back yard.

Fish taco's at some joint at one of the beaches. In case you've never had one, fish taco's are very good.

A few of the boys really wanted to go deep sea fishing so Thursday morning they headed out on a boat. I was hoping for some good fish for dinner on Friday. It never happened. What little they caught they cooked up on the boat.

Dinner on Friday was three large New York Giant Pizza's. We actually had some left overs.

They were all rather excited.

I'm very interested to learn the story behind this picture. Parker never left any description on it.

Everyone was going full steam this week and they were always dead tired. We had two air mattresses in our front room?

It was only ten minutes to the beach but Harrison couldn't keep his eyes open that long.

Friday Sarah and Sam went to Sea World a second time and the rest of the boys went for their first time. There is Sarah's favorite animal, the polar bear enclosure.

I don't know where this is or what it's about.

Thursday night a car accident on the freeway took out our power. Everyone is eating their In-n-out burgers by candle light.

And Harrison is heating up his soup on my camp stove with my headlight.

Beans and Rice. I'm not sure why they like to take so many pictures of their food.

Going for a run on a beautiful sunny day.

Settlers of Catan

More Settlers

Seagulls (presumably this is before Alex ran them down)

Sarah and Sam arrived late Tuesday. They normally make the drive in two days but Sarah was so anxious to get here she talked Sam into doing it in one day. As you can see, long car rides drive her a bit batty.

Sam enjoying a turkey leg at Sea World. Looks better than that lizard did.

Alex knows the best place to sit at Sea World for the Killer Whale Show. This is Shamu.

A sea shell?

Once again, I don't know anything about this shot.

There is Alex's friend again.

Street taco's, they are very good. I believe this is on Ryans trip to Riverside.

A turtle at Sea World

This is a huge tree at Balboa Park. It's too bad you can't get an idea of how huge the thing is.

The boys had two or three plans to go to the temple but they all fell through. They did make a few trips over there to look at it though.

They were doing their best to get some fancy angles with the cameras. Some of these pictures look pretty nice. 

Our back yard opens up onto a small canyon that leads to the Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. Hiking (or running) through this canyon is gorgeous. One of our traditional hikes was to the waterfall in the preserve. Some of the boys made the hike.

The hike to the waterfall crosses the Penasquitos creek. It is one of my favorite places in the world. It is also where I broke my toe on a run last year. By the bridge is this huge tree that is growing sideways. It is fun to sit on.

Alex fell off this cliff when he was a kid and broke his thumb. He is lucky he didn't crack his head open. It sure scared us. 

Parker doing his lion king act with his back pack.

A very common pass time was playing on the XBox. One team is in the family room and the other team is in the guest room.

Saturday morning we all packed up and headed different directions. It was a sad day. Some of the boys were near tears. Sarah and Sam headed up to Placentia to visit Ben and Sharley.

And to play some more XBox

Wendy left Alex a nice love letter on our car window and then they head for Salt Lake City.

The other car load of boys decided to go up and see Los Angeles. This is Santa Monica.

Lisa, Alex and I headed for Arizona to go to the home coming talk for one of his missionary companions. On the way we had In-N-Out for lunch. Alex had to take a parting picture. 

The boys left some nice thank you notes for us. It as a very fun week.

The house is very quiet right now.

Students spend more than $1 billion during their spring breaks.