Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend

In Canada Thanksgiving is celebrated in October. There is no reason to wait until November because the growing season in Canada is so short that the crops are all in and the snow is flying by October. Kira realized that she would be able to take a trip over her Thanksgiving weekend and suggested tht we could traveling to Utah to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. After all, we do have three kids living in Utah and with Kira there we could have four of our six kids together for the weekend. We were hopeful for a while that we might get Ben and Sharley to make the trip out from Colorado but that didn't work out.

So Thursday I left work a bit early and we headed up the I-15. We drove through the night and arrived at the Sanchez's at about 6:00AM. We didn't want to miss any of the fun. I love the Sanchez family and they are so good to us. I really hope we don't push their hospitality too far and have them ban us sometime but they are always so willing to open up their home to us for all kinds of family activities. 

After visiting for a bit Lisa and I slept for an hour or two and then we headed out to pick up Alex at the U. Alycia took the day off to be with us and she met us at the Sanchez's before we left. 

We spent some time at the U letting Alycia reminisce a bit and Lisa bought some shirts at the book store and then we went to see Kira at Alex's apartment. She arrived Friday late so we let her sleep in but she was up and waiting for us. We then headed down to Temple Square. After lunch at the cafeteria in the Joseph Smith building we headed to City Creek Mall.
We let Kira plan the entire weekend and Friday was the day we spent in Salt Lake City.  We spent most of the day at the City Creek Mall. Of course I can only spend so much time in a store and I start getting claustrophobic so I went and sat by the creek visiting with Cameron. We had a good chat until Alycia came and visited with me. She just had to see how Cameron likes lemons. I think he actually enjoyed it. At least he kept coming back for more. Alycia and I had a good visit.

I also got to spend some time visiting with Kira. I was in my seventh heaven. We then wandered around temple square for a bit. Kira showed us where Justin proposed to her and then Mom really wanted to give us a quick tour of the genealogy library where she has been spending a LOT of time lately. She has some of her genealogy lines now traced back to the 1400's or maybe even earlier. She's really turned into a genealogy wizard. She's making me want to get into it.

Friday night Kira stayed with Alycia and Trevor and we then spent the day in Provo. Alycia and Sam had to work but Sarah joined us. It was quite fun to watch Kira get all excited about places where she used to hang out. Perhaps the oddest thing was when we showed us her old reed room. It was no more than a closet with no windows and only room for two chairs to squeeze into it. She spent hours upon hours in that room making reeds for her Oboe and she nearly glowed as she showed it to us. 

I also spent a year at the Y before my mission. It has changed a lot since I attended there but I still got a bit nostalgic as I wandered past the buildings where I used to attend classes. Mostly the Engineering building which is now called something else and the Eyring Science Center. 

Trevor and Sam joined us for lunch at the BYU Creamery. That place is really good and we can't go there without buying a ton of BYU Chocolate milk and cheese curds. We then went and picked up food for Thanksgiving dinner. The original plan was to be true to the holiday and have Thanksgiving dinner on Monday but Wendy had to work and Sarah and Sam had classes so we had it on Sunday instead. That also made it easier on Sanchez's I think too. Saturday night Kira spent at Sarah and Sams. 

Sunday we went to church with the Sanchez's and then the kids started showing up with delicious food and Thanksgiving dinner was served. I can't beleive that we had all the kids together for the only time during the entire weekend and no one took a single picture of us together. Bummer. Just for the record, there was Mom and I, Kira and Cameron, Alycia and Trevor, Alex and Wendy, Sarah and Sam, Molly, Laurel, Ellie and Tessy. It was  ton of fun. Mahonry took Whitney and Brianna to New York City for a fun trip. We saw him for a few minutes Friday morning before he left for the airport and we went to bed. 

The rest of Sunday we just visited, played pool and enjoyed each others company. Finally everyone left and we went to bed. Kira spent Sunday night with us at the Sanchez's. She really managed to spread herself around this weekend.  

Monday we picked Sarah up from her class at UVU and went for a drive through the mountains to enjoy the many cool colors that we just don't get in San Diego (that is a small price to pay for our eternal summer) and they really were beautiful. It actually snowed for about ten minutes during our drive. It wasn't much more than a few flurries but it just proved to me that it was cold up there. Sam was supposed to be in classes all day long but he decided to ditch them and join us for the day. It was good to have a bit more time with him. I just hope he doesn't get in trouble for missing his classes. After our drive through the hills we stopped by Alycia's work to see where she spends her days and then it was off to Salt Lake again to drop Kira off  

I'm glad we went up there because we got to spend a little more time with Wendy than we did earlier. We considered leaving for San Diego Monday evening but finally decided there was no one there to rush back for, not even our cat anymore :( so we drove back to Sanchez's and left Tuesday morning after a relaxing breakfast.  

It was a very fun weekend and I'm glad Kira suggested it.

Salt Lake City is the only State Capital with three words in its name
The term "seventh heaven" is from Islamic doctrine which teaches about 
seven heavens with the seventh heaven being the highest

Tuesday, October 08, 2013


In Alberta you could legally ride a motorbike when you were 14 years old as long as it wasn't bigger than 100cc's. I really wanted to get one but my Dad finally talked me out of it. He convinced me to save my money and buy a car when I was 16. Of course, when I turned 16 he talked me out of that as well but that is a different story. The point of this story is that I've wanted a motor bike as long as I can remember. That dream remained in the back of my mind until I was about thirty. One time we were in Taber visiting Patsy and LeRon Litchfield. We visited them often in those days. In his back yard he had an old Honda Supersport that hadn't been moved in years. I'd seen it there for some time but this time I asked him how much he wanted for  it. He said a hundred bucks but what ever it cost to get it running I could deduct from the $100. It cost me a few hundred dollars to get it running so I never actually paid LeRon anything for it but thinking back I really should have. It was a very fun bike and I rode it to work as often as I could. The problem is, in Canada that isn't very often. Between winter, rain and snow there isn't much time left. When we moved to the States we sadly left the bike behind and once again my dream of riding a bike was relegated to the back of my mind.

Four or five years ago Ben and Sharley moved to Orange County to go to school. Since Ben went to Fullerton and Sharley went to Long Beach they really had to have two vehicles. Ben decided to buy a motorcycle. This is Southern California after all. We only have a dozen days of bad weather a year and we never get snow so it is ideal weather for a bike. We looked up a bike on Craigslist and Ben and I went and bought it. I was really jealous. That sort of moved my dream of riding a bike back to the front part of my mind but I have resisted the urge. At least I did until Ben moved to Denver. He gets a company paid truck and with winters and all he didn't see himself riding his bike much. When he told me he was going to sell his bike I promptly told him that I wanted first dibs. He gave me the friends and family deal and I am now the proud owner of a new motorcycle. 

I love my bike. I ride it every day except Thursdays when I serve at the temple. Thursdays used to be my favorite day of the week but now when I climb into my truck on Thursday morning instead of hop on my bike it puts a bit of a downer on the whole day. I need to figure out a good way of packing my suit into my back pack.
Let me share with some of the reasons why I love my bike so much:

1) I love the shiny chrome mufflers, pipes and headers. Especially when I wash them.

2) I have always loved driving with my window down. I love to hold my arm out the window and let the wind blow over it. On my motor bike I essentially hang my entire body out in the wind. I love the sensation.

3) I love stopping at an intersection and standing in the middle of the road. It sounds dumb but I love it.

4) I love when the traffic is at a stand still and I can zip between the two lanes of traffic right up to the stop light. 

5) I love leaning into a tight curve and looking down at the asphalt which seems very close to my face. 

6) I love taking off from an intersection when the light turns green and flying through all six gears in a matter of seconds. I know the feel of my bike so well now that I don't even use the clutch.

7) I love the acceleration. When I crank that throttle I take off so fast that I'm hanging on for dear life. And then when the engine speed hits its sweet spot it very suddenly takes off even faster as if I had been sitting still. What a rush.

8) I love the visibility. On my bike I can see over the top of most cars and when I look around there are NO blind spots. I can see everything.

9) I love spending $10 to fill my tank every other week.

10) I love putting smart-alec rich boys in their place. One time I was lane sharing at a stop light and some idiot in a sports car convertible saw me and tried to pull into the gap and cut me off. I managed to squeeze past him and ended up next to him at the red light. Since he was in a convertible we were only a few feet away glaring at each other. He actually started revving his engine and nudging into the intersection. I took off so fast that I lifted my front tire. It rather startled me but I left that fancy sports car way behind in my dust. 

11) On a crisp sunny morning (pretty much every morning here in San Diego) I love the sun on my face as I ride down the street.

12) I love parking in very tiny parking spaces.

13) I love the smell of the garage about half an hour after I park my bike in there. The smell of a hot engine is wonderful.

14) I love how I am now so familiar with my bike that it feels like an extension of my body.

15) I love that my bike is a Vulcan. That's right, it is a Kawasaki, Vulcan. What better bike for someone like me?

There is one down side to riding a motorbike however. Here in San Diego, when a small side road enters a very busy street the light is always red for the side street (and green for the main road) unless a car comes to the intersection. The problem is that the sensors in the asphalt can't detect my motorbike so if there is no car at the light  I have to sit there until a car pulls up behind me. There is one intersection like this on my normal route to work and one on my way home. Normally there is enough traffic that I don't have to wait but every once in a while I'm sitting at a red light patiently waiting for another car to come.

It is very difficult for me to spend money on a big ticket item without properly justifying it. The way I figure it, I save more than $2 every time I drive my bike to work. Much more when the price of gas shoots up as it often does here. In the time I've had my bike I've saved over $200 and the bike will be paid off in a little over a year. What more can you ask for? Save money and enjoy a sensational ride all at the same time.

Motorcyclists are 34 times more likely to die in an accident than someone in a car.
Cars are 6 times more likely to get in an accident than a motorcycle.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

General Conference

Twice a year our church has a general conference. Back in the old days all of the members would go to the Tabernacle and meet together. Today with 15 million members spread all over the world that is no longer possible. Fortunately technology has advanced along with the church and 97% of the members world wide are able to watch conference in their own language either on their TV's or on the internet. 

It is a wonderful weekend that consists of four two hour sessions. Two on Saturday and two on Sunday along with a priesthood session on Saturday evening. Let me share with you just a few of my favorite quotes. Forgive me if I don't get them word perfect but I'm not going to go back and check if I scribbled them down correctly. 

We gather to hear the words of the Lord and then return to our homes to live them.
Robert D Hales

The past is to be learned from, not lived in.
Edward Dube

Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.
Elder Dieter F Uchtdorf

The diversity of our members is one of our strengths.
Elder Dieter F Uchtdorf

To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.     Peters response to the Lord when the apostles were asked if they too would leave. (Asked at a time when many of the Lords followers were offended and leaving him)

If we allow our culture to reduce the special relationship between children and their mothers we will come to regret it.
Gene R Cook

A man may open the drapes to allow the sunshine into the room but he does not own the sunshine nor the light and warmth that it brings. 
Neil L Anderson

We must align our will with Gods and then he can bless us like he wants to.
Terence Vinson

Freedom from self slavery is true liberation.
Russel M Nielsen

If anyone wants to watch any of these conference talks just go to the link below.

When a new dress color or design is introduced, the Tabernacle Choir orders 2,000 yards of fabric direct from the factory. The most recent addition to the wardrobe was what they call the “rose” dress. The committee used 1,100 yards of fabric for the dresses and put the rest on the shelf for future needs. Each woman is measured for her dress, and each pattern is adjusted for fit - neckline, sleeve, front, back, length. Each dress is then made to fit. The process takes about five months.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Simi Valley

 Last weekend Lisa and I went to Simi Valley to visit our good friends (and also Lisa's cousin) Thomas and Vicky McCormack. We used to go and visit them quite often but as the kids got older our lives got more complicated and we just didn't make it up there as often. We drove up Friday night and Saturday morning I went for an early morning run in the hills north of Simi Valley. Vicky and Thomas live in that neighborhood near the freeway. 

When I say I "ran" through the hills that may be a bit of an exaggeration since those hills are steep. In some places it may be more accurate to say that I "climbed" through the hills.  The hills are beautiful and I loved running through the rocks and trees etc.

After I got back and showered we headed out to see the Reagan library. I've always wanted to go but never had the opportunity. This was the opportunity since it is right outside of Simi Valley. 

I learned something new this weekend. A presidential library isn't a library at all. It is actually a museum. The museum was pretty cool. They had a Lincoln exhibit there and I learned a whole lot of stuff about Abraham Lincoln that I didn't know. 

In addition to the history of Lincoln and Reagan the the "library" also had several other interesting things. First of all, Ronald Reagan is actually buried there. That was pretty cool. 

Another interesting item is a section of the Berlin wall. The coolest exhibit that have however is the Airforce 1. I didn't know this but up until Reagan the airforce 1 was a Boeing 707. Reagan ordered a new one that was a 747 but it didn't arrive until Bush was president. When it came Bush gave the old one to the Reagan library. I actually got to walk through it and everything. Very cool. It was interesting to see the old equipment they had in there. Laptops that were about two inches thick and a VHS player. You don't realize how much technology has improved until you go back twenty years and take a look. That stuff was state of the art back then. 

After the library we went out of Italian food. We then spent the night with the McCormacks and went to church with them the next morning. It was cool to the Stevensons there. They used to live in our ward. Now they live in Simi Valley.  

One of the three surviving hats that Lincoln owned.

10 Weird Coincidences between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy
1. Both presidents were elected to the House of Representatives in ‘46:
Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
2. Lincoln and Kennedy’s name each contain seven letters in their name.
3. Both presidents were elected to the presidency in ‘60 and inaugurated in ‘61:
Lincoln won the election in 1860 and his inauguration was held on March 4, 1861.
Kennedy won the election in 1960 and his inauguration was held on January 20, 1961.
4. Both defeated an incumbent vice president for the presidency:
Lincoln defeated Vice President John C. Breckenridge.
Kennedy defeated Vice President Richard Nixon.
5. Both their vice presidents and successors were Southern Democrats named Johnson.
6. Both Johnsons’ were born in ‘08:
Andrew Johnson was born on December 29, 1808.
Lyndon Johnson was born on August 27, 1908.
7. Both men were shot in the back of the head and in the presence of their wives.
8. Both presidents were shot on a Friday.
9. Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theatre. Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln, made by Ford.
10. Both John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald were killed and never faced trials.