Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Piper Pepper

Today I'd like to give a shout out to my daughter and her friends who wrote a children's book. I'm actually very impressed, the book has a little bit of everything in it.

First of all it is a cool little story about a Garden Fairy in a conflict with her three brothers who are toads. This may sound familiar if you know that Kira has a daughter and three boys.

Secondly, scattered throughout the book are random little pictures of plants and flowers that are native to Alberta. At the end of the book is a cheat sheet so you can go and find them.

Third is a challenge to look for the hidden lady bug (or is it a snail, I can't remember) that can be found somewhere on every page of the book.

On April 15th Kira and her friends will be launching their new book in the US. If you happen to be around Lehi from noon to 3:00PM you should drop by and join them. They will be doing a reading. I would love to sit and listen to Kira reading her new book but alas, I live about 600 miles too far away.

I've included a copy of the invitation below but let me summarize the information here.

Date:     April 15th, 2017
Time:    12:00 to 3:00
Place:    Margaret Wines Park
Address: N Center Street and E 600 N St
               Lehi, UT

Bagged lunches will be available as long as supplies last.

Books will be available for sale and can be signed by the beautiful authors.

If you want to learn more you can check out their website and Facebook page.



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If you can't make the book launch party you should go to her website and buy the book there. It is a pretty cool children's book. If you do buy it I know the author, I can get it signed for you.

Just in case anyone is interested in the real Pipe who inspired this book here is a picture of my granddaughter Piper Palmer. It looks like one of those "Toad" brothers may have punched her in the eye.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Franks Wedding

One of Alex's best friends in High School was Frank Criger. They have remained good friends ever since they graduated and now Frank is a very close friend to our entire family. Frank got married this weekend to Hannah and Alex flew down for the wedding.  

I guess at some point in high school Frank told Alex that he wanted Alex to perform his marriage ceremony and this weekend he followed through with that request. Alex performed the marriage ceremony and I thought he did an excellent job of it. As it turned out Alex played a big part in the wedding. He helped decorate for it, he translated for the food guys who had pretty poor English, he performed the wedding ceremony, he was the master of ceremonies for the reception, and at one point he was the maid of honor carrying the brides train. I thought he performed all of those responsibilities very well. 

Lisa also participated in providing a bunch of the decorations and she helped set up. The wedding turned out wonderful. We were especially lucky because it was supposed to rain on Saturday and there was no tent and no back-up plans in case of rain. We didn’t get a drop and yet it rained on us all the way home after we left.

The wedding was at a cool old adobe home. I loved the place. They didn’t have a wedding cake but had donuts instead. I love donuts much better than I do wedding cake so I loved that too. They also had a food truck there making pizza’s. It was an all-around good evening.
As I mentioned before, Alex performed the wedding and he did a great job. Many people commented on how well he did and were amazed that he didn’t use any notes. Alex has a memory like an elephant so of course he never used any notes. I videotaped the ceremony but some highlights that I liked were how he mentioned that “man is that he might have joy” and that the marriage ceremony is perhaps the oldest ceremony known to man and it has been around so long because it does bring so much joy to our lives. It can bring joy while we’re having a wonderful adventure together but also when we are performing the most mundane tasks together.
Hannah’s bouquet was also very beautiful. I love that it had kumquats in it.
The wedding turned out to be almost a high school reunion because there were kids there that Alex (and us) haven't seen since he graduated. Most of the boys in the one picture have been friends since they were little kids. Brittany was also there and is probably one of Alex's oldest friends going back to elementary school. 

It was a great day. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

They are here!

I am very excited. Today both Alex and Serene arrived and Serene brought Grayson with her. I haven’t seen Grayson since we went out for his blessing and that was nearly a year ago.
Serene’s sister is getting married this weekend so that is why she came and boy were here girls upset that they couldn’t come with her. Brandon took videos of they were crying in the airport after she left. He then told them that Serene was coming to Grandma’s house and the crying turned to all out howling. On the way home Brandon told us that heard the following comments.
            “I guess she is going to forget us now.”
            “She must not have really loved us”
            “Well we know Grayson is her favorite”
            “I wish daddy wasn’t such a cheapskate”
And then from Mackenzie, the youngest…
            “It’s ok, if you give me a surprise”
 Alex is out so he can marry his best friend Frank. Yes, you heard me right, he is marrying Frank. Frank and his fiancĂ©e Hannah asked Alex if he could get his “ministry” license so that he could perform the marriage ceremony for them. The wedding is Saturday. I’m looking forward to a very fun weekend. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Scout Camp

While not very productive, last weekend was a good one. Because I work with the eleven year old scouts we only go on one camp every quarter and this weekend was it. We camped out at Camp Del Mar which is on Camp Pendelton so we pretty much had the beach to ourselves. The Camp Ground itself was full of very large and fancy motor homes that look kind of like a camperized greyhound bus but no-one went out to the beach. 
There were four leaders and seven boys. We camped right on the beach and it was wonderful. I love camping and as long as I can take my air mattress I sleep better than I do at home. It was great laying there late at night listening to the waves crashing on the beach mere yards away. It was pretty cloudy so we saw no stars but it was still wonderful.

Dinner was hamburgers and hot dogs, not very original but still good. The other good thing about campouts is that once it gets dark there is only so much you can do so I usually get to bed hours before I would at home. After a solid eight hours of sleep I woke to hear Brad ask if anyone else wanted pancakes before they shut down the stove. That got me out of bed quickly. We ate a good breakfast of pancakes and then struck camp.
I always have to get my feet wet but it was still rather foggy and while the water was beautiful I was not tempted to go more than knee deep.
Aaron had to get to his son’s soccer game so he left first with a load of boys and we were supposed to be mere minutes behind him. Unfortunately, Aaron was unable to find his car key. We looked for half an hour checking every possible place including lost and found but to no avail. Since I didn’t have a kid there and no place I had to be (but I really wanted to get some painting done this weekend) I volunteered to stay back with Aaron while everyone else got the kids home. Tim was going to meet Aaron’s wife at the church and drive back with a spare key.
Once everyone else was gone I sent Lisa a text explaining that I was going to be late and then Aaron decided to go look around the beach. I had thought about looking at the beach earlier but I didn’t because first of all, we didn’t do anything that would make a key fall out of your pocket and secondly, if it did fall out how would you ever find it in all that sand?
Because no one else had gone to the beach it was easy enough to find exactly where we were by following the footprints. We looked around the spot where we had left our shoes etc. and then I decided to go find the spot where we had taken pictures. I walked over to that spot and there, stuck in the sand blade first right up to the hilt was a key sticking straight up out of the sand. It was literally a miracle. It was in virgin undisturbed sand looking just like the sword in the stone.
We called off the plan to return the key and ended up no more than fifteen minutes behind the others.
As far as getting stuff done around the house I managed to pick more weeds in the flower bed, went for a six mile run and then headed to Home Depot. One spot on the wall where I repaired the plumbing needs better texturing so I went and bought a texturing gun and a bag of texturing mud. I didn’t actually start on the job because by the time I got everything ready we were getting close to the time to leave for our ward party.
The ward party was a trip through time. We all sent in pictures of ourselves from our high school years and Marissa Shoemaker had created “Year Books” for every decade with the pictures of everyone that graduated in that decade. They also asked for stories and then read peoples stories. I told about my touch powder escapades and Lisa told about playing on the boy’s hockey team. They also had desserts and two of my favorite desserts were there, doughnuts and lemon meringue pie. I of course had one of each. I may have had an extra doughnut or two as well.

It was a good weekend.   

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Last week was spring break for Sarah so she had the week off but it was also Sam’s first week in his new job and he had to spend the week in Orem. Rather than spend the week at home alone she hitched a ride with some friends to Southern California. Her friends live in Huntington Beach so they spent the first few days up there and then when her friends did Disneyland on Monday and Tuesday, Sarah took the train to San Diego and spent a few days with us. It was wonderful to see her. Her friends came down this morning to pick Sarah up they were spending the day at the zoo and the beach. To say goodbye to Sarah Lisa and I both went into work late and had a nice relaxing breakfast of pancakes and bacon with her.
Sarah then surprised us when her and her friends stopped in at the temple to see us. We went out into the lobby and visited with them. They looked a bit uncomfortable in their bathing suits but I’m glad they came.
In case you missed it, Sam started a new job this week. I feel bad for poor Sam, he has had a long string of raw deals mostly due to people making empty promises to him and taking advantage of him.
Sam’s first problem was due to a poor choice in a college degree. He graduated in “Wildlife and Conservation Management” (or something like that). That would be an ideal degree and one that I would enjoy tremendously but what no one told him is that there are about 1,000 applicants for every job opening. Even seasonal jobs have people with Masters Degrees applying for a minimum wage job. It is next to impossible to get one of these jobs unless you know someone. To make it even more frustrating is that he would make it all the way to the short list and have to fly to far away places for an interview and screening (on his own dime) and then get passed up at the last minute.
When it became clear that this wasn’t going anywhere Sam noticed that many of the people getting these jobs were coming from Law Enforcement. It makes sense that if you’re a forest ranger interfacing with the public in what could be a confrontational situation, being an ex-cop could be of benefit. He then decided to take a detour to his ideal forest ranger job and become a cop. Well, that wasn’t a whole lot better. He finally came across an opportunity where he was “promised” that if he paid his dues and worked in the jail for a year or two they would train him and work him out onto the street. Off they went to Manila, Utah. I never knew such a place existed. It is out by the Flaming Gorge Reservoir and is in beautiful (if remote) country. Well, they did partially train him but two years came and went and it quickly became obvious that he was never going to make it onto the street. 
One good thing that did work out for Sam was that he put himself through school by pulling network cables and fiber optic cables at BYU. This made him good money but many of the jobs involved crawling in nasty grungy crawl spaces and getting into unpleasant places. He finally found a job posting in St George. They guy was thrilled to have someone with Sams experience and offered to pay him the higher wage he could get in Salt Lake City and to let him lead a crew of workers so he wouldn’t have to take the grungy jobs and he would train him to become an “Engineer” who designed the network systems rather than just pull cable for them. Sam and Sarah (Samarah for short) were thrilled and confident that this could become a new career for Sam off they went to St George.
Well, once again, they had been fed a load of bull. They guy failed every promise he made. He never did pay the promised wage, he refused to pay for training and the “crew” he was leading was himself. There was no crew and had never been a crew. All of this may have been acceptable if the boss was at least a decent human being but it turns out that he was demeaning and the kind of guy who was constantly yelling at his employees and telling them that he can treat them anyway he wants because he’s the boss.
Well the guy soon found out that he can treat his employees any way he wants but they can also choose to leave if they want. Sam was able to find work with a friend doing carpentry who was very flexible with his hours which allowed Sam to once again try and find a new career.
Back when Sam was still at the Y he was introduced to a company that would set up wireless networks for conferences, trade shows and conventions and that sort of thing. The guy would contract Sam to work for a week or two at these shows and pay him more in a week that he would make in a month. The guy loved Sam as did many of their customers who specifically requested for Sam to come back the next year. Sam really wanted to get on with this company full time but since their jobs were random and unpredictable it was impossible to keep more than one or two people full time. You would have to ask Sam to get a full listing but they do shows in Argentina, Switzerland, China, Jordan, Columbia and Las Vegas just to name a few. In addition to being able to travel to cool new places, set up networks for shows like this doesn’t involve crawling through any basements. It is all nice and clean.
Well, I think the Lord was watching for Samarah because almost immediately after Sam gave notice he was called to go on another job and to make a long story short, the job led to a job offer. A position had opened up and the company made an offer to Sam. We are all thrilled. They are currently located in Orem but will be moving to Salt Lake in the next few months. They have full benefits and a decent wage and when Sam asked if they would support his desire to train to become an “Engineer” (I don’t think they should be allowed to use that term) they were thrilled. They have been wanting someone who wants to learn the business. This way Sam could lead some of the jobs and the boss can stay home once in a while.  I personally think this could lead to Sam becoming a partner at some point down the road.
Congratulations Sam. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I'm Healed

A couple of weeks ago Ben, Brandon, Alex, Sarah and I ran the Spartan Super race in Phoenix to celebrate Bens birthday. It was a great weekend and I enjoyed myself immensely. What wasn’t so much fun is that I tore off a patch of skin during the process. We’ll, I’ve always wanted to document the healing process so this time I remembered to take a picture of my wound every day since then. I can now tell you that it takes me two and a half weeks to completely heal from a minor injury. It was only a skin deep wound so I imagine a deep cut would take longer and a young person would heal faster but I personally found this fascinating. I thought I would share the pictures.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

La Brea Tar Pits & Pantages

Saturday was a very fun day. Lisa has a good friend, Beth Sczempka. Beth and her husband Joe have three kids, some of whom are similar in age to our kids. Their son Cameron grew up with Alex and was big in theater as well as into many sports which is where Alex got to know him.

Cameron graduated from college with a business degree in marketing and then told his mother that before he embarks big time on his career he would like to give theater and shot and see if he can make. Well he has done really well and is current touring with “Finding Neverland”. Last year he toured with “Beauty and the Beast”. He was Gaston. It was fun because when he was in Calgary Kira took her kids to see the show and Cameron came out and talked to them. Alex was also able to see him when he was in Salt Lake.
Lisa and I decided to make a day of it and we went to see the La Brea tar pits while we were up there. I was excited about the tar pits when I was a little boy growing up in Canada and I can’t believe that we have been living this close to them for twenty five years and I haven’t gone to see them before now.
They were very fascinating. I learned several new things. First, I always thought that a Dire Wolf was a mythical creature. It turns out that they were real and they are perhaps the most common thing found in the pits. In fact most of the animals in the tar pits are carnivorous because they would try and eat other animals that fell into the pit and got caught themselves. A lot of birds of prey were there too which is cool because bird bones don’t fossilize very well so not may so not may bird fossils are found but there are lots of well-preserved birds in the pits. Especially hawks, eagles and vultures.

Another new piece of trivia that I learned is that camels used to be native to Los Angeles. Who knew? Horses as well, I was always taught that horses were introduced by the Europeans, and they were but they were native before that. I actually knew about horses but I had no clue about camels.

The big tar pit is pretty much what I expected it to be but I was quite surprised to learn that the whole area has many small pits some small enough that you could step on it and mess up your shoe.
They actually had an entire wall of Dire Wolf skulls. There were hundreds of them.

 The mythical Dire Wolf isn't so mythical.
 An American Camel, who knew?

They actually had an entire wall of Dire Wolf skulls. There were hundreds of them.