Tuesday, October 30, 2012

20 Years


Twenty years ago today, I married my best friend.  And ever since that cold, rainy, windy day in October, we’ve laughed together, cried together, joys and sorrows.  We’ve made four of the greatest children in the world.  How could they be otherwise… they are mostly their mother.
Although we’ve struggled though these twenty years, trying to keep the realities of this world at bay, I am so blessed to have had her by my side, fighting along with me.

I know that I was not what she expected when she thought of the perfect husband.  When she could have had any tall, dark, and handsome man in the world, she took me… tall, red, and pasty.
I am so blessed that she chose me.

I look back on our last 20 years.  From a tiny one-room basement apartment (with extraordinarily loud neighbors above us) to a tiny home in Taylorsville, to our final home in Oquirrh.  From, our first Christmas together with our little tree, and empty apartment to later Christmases with our growing family and the joyful screams of our little children… from times of financial struggle to those times when we weren’t struggling quite so much.  Through the years, we’ve always found ways to have fun.  Silly String on Christmas morning, super soakers down the hall, flour fights in the kitchen, geocaching in the van, or kilts and bad Scottish accents in the summer.  Those times, and many others, will always be worth their weight in gold in my mind.  Like the song says… “If Good times were dollars, I’d be… a millionaire.”
And so, I look forward to the next 20 years.  I look forward to growing old with my own true love, to becoming grandparents, to the time when our house will once again be filled with the laughter of little voices, and to the joy that that will bring to us.

As I told her on the day I first placed the simple ring on her finger, we will never be rich in money; to the world, we will always be poor, but we will always be wealthy in love and the good things that God has blessed us with and I am so looking forward to these next 20 years, and the 20 beyond that, for they will be the richest that two people will ever have or hope to have.
I love her more than yesterday, but not as much as I will tomorrow.

Happy Anniversary, My Love.

 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Volunteering with a Bonus


I tried my hand at volunteering an event, which turned out to be a blast.  The event was the “Running Scared” 10k in Herriman, Utah.

So here I am, on one of the few Saturdays where I could have slept in, getting up at 5:30 am, so that I could drive to Herriman in the 30 degree chill of the morning.  But it was fun, they had me sort shirts, put up sun shades, have runners sign waivers, then I was taken out to an aid station where I held water out to the runners.  (I’ll never miss a trash can again with my cup… every runner should have to work an aid station at least once.) Then, after cleaning up 300+ cups, and taking down the station, we went back to the start/finish line to clean up and take off.  The bonus was that just before I left, Cheri, one of the organizers, told me that if I emailed her they would give me a free entry into their Half Crazy Half Marathon next summer (Score!).
It was so much fun to work with and get to know other runners in the area on a more social basis, rather than just huffing a “Good Job” to them as they pass me in a race.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What a friggin’ busy week!


I didn’t get a Two Things Tuesday written because my world at work exploded, and I’m still trying to pick up the pieces.  For those of you who don’t know, I’m a CAD draftsman for a small engineering company that primarily does telecom placements (towers, ugly fake trees, roof tops… that kind of thing)  we’ve had so many jobs come on line in the last few days, that our poor little company can hardly keep up.  It’s been… crazy.  But, you know how it is; I’d rather be overworked than looking for work.
So, here’s a little overview of the last few days that don’t have anything to do with work.

Panel

Saturday I wanted to go to a panel discussion up at the Salt Lake City Library.  It was on the topic of a new book about Brigham Young, and had the author and a couple of other people there.  But, my oldest (BB) is at University & the 2nd oldest (Tay) was spending the night and all of Saturday at BB’s apartment, my son was at a scout camp, and my wife was working, so that left me and my youngest together all day.  Now, I was pretty sure that a panel discussion was not going to be very fun for my 9 year old… but… I took her anyway.  So we jumped on the train and scooted up to Salt Lake.  She’s always jazzed to take the train anywhere, especially since she’s found out that she’s tall enough to reach the straps (sort of).  In reality she grabs the strap on tip-toe and then kind of swings around with the movement of the train… pretty funny.
 
The Salt Lake City Library is amazing!  Huge open spaces, fun reading rooms for the little ones, and lots to see.   We got there about an hour early, so we spent some time riding the glass elevators up and down, up and down, over and over until I was ready to hurl; especially since I’m afraid of heights.  I know… there’s no way I can fall out of an elevator (glass or otherwise) but hey… I don’t make fun of your irrational fears.
We then spent some time in “the attic” (one of the kid’s reading rooms), and then went to my “Boring” (so the 9 year old said) panel discussion.


It was fascinating… I bought the book… we went home…
 
Dinner Theater



Later that night my wife and I went to a local dinner theater, “The Desert Star Playhouse,” to see “Wicked-er.”  The Desert Star is one of those places where they do parodies of anything popular.  It was funny.  If you’re in Utah, you should check them out.  I’m really looking forward to next season when they do “The Hungry Games.”
 
Quiet Halloween

So, some of you know that I’m a part time makeup artist, and in past years, the weekend before Halloween has been pretty busy for me, with people wanting makeup for parties and such.  I don’t charge much, pretty much just enough to cover the cost of the makeup, but this year… not so much.  Maybe it’s because Halloween is on a Wednesday or something... or maybe... no it can't be because I suck!

Snow!?!


Ugh! I'm just not ready.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Prayer on a Sunday

Thought that... being Sunday and all, I'd post a prayer...


To whoever wrote this... I thank you.

Friday, October 19, 2012

What is that at the top of your blog?


A question was asked about the picture I have at the top of my blog… well, maybe I should explain it and why I use it for both my blog and facebook sites.

The picture comes from the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. An earthquake that devastated San Francisco and lead to the development of many of the seismic codes we have today.

During the earthquake, Stanford University was rocked so much that a ledge on the Zoology Building which held a marble statue of Louis Agassiz broke away sending the statue tumbling to the concrete courtyard below. The statue hit head first and buried itself up to the shoulders. The students, even though shocked by the devastation of the earth quake, could not help but laugh when they found the statue with his feet in the air.

I find the picture fascinating to look at, and a little funny since I know that Louis Agassiz was a naturalist and a paleontologist who was also a staunch Creationist and a major critic of Darwin and his theory of Natural Selection.  And since I believe in Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection, and evolution in general (even though I’m a Mormon and a Christian) I thought that it was kind of appropriate for Agassiz to have his head in the sand.  I know that's kind of dumb, but it works for me.

More information on the earthquake of 1906 can be found Here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Two-Things-Tues… er… Wednesday?


Ok, so I didn’t get Two-Things-Tuesday done yesterday.  I tried, but every time I sat down at my word processor yesterday, I had nothing.  I’m not sure I have anything today, but… here goes.

Reading
I have a goal of reading 100 books this year; I even put it on Goodreads as a challenge for myself.  Now, I usually read 2 books at a time, one at home and one at work.  And so far I’ve done pretty well, been on track, and at one time I was even ahead by a book or two.  But this month I fell behind, and I’ll tell you why.  So far this year, I’ve been reading quite a few Terry Pratchett’s Disk World books.  Which are great by the way, and I can read them in a couple of days, and that has kept me on track, but I’ve been feeling that I need to read something with substance.  And so, when I finished my last book, and having no money to buy a new one, I went to my book shelves… I have wonderful bookshelves, overflowing with books.  I call the room my library and it’s my favorite room… I should take some pictures and put them up on the blog… but I digress.  So not having money to buy a new book, I went to the bookshelves and pulled out Herman Melville, yep, that ponderous volume… Moby Dick.  It’s been a lot of years since I’ve read it, so I thought that it was time to hit it again.  Then, while walking through the stacks at the county library, I came upon Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  Well it’s an election year, and every 4 years I tend to get a little Marxist in my thinking and need to be pulled a little right so that I can maintain my moderate political stance, so I thought that a good dose of Rand would be just what the doctor ordered to bring my thinking back to center.

But the consequence of reading two behemoth books is that I’ve fallen behind of my 100 book goal for the year.  Oh well, 2013…

Heebie-jeebies
I don’t know if it’s the fall weather or all of the Halloween decorations, or just my over imagination but I have had a serious case of the heebie-jeebies as of late.  Monday night I was out on my normal run around the neighborhood, and I found myself seriously freaked.  I swear that one of the inflatable yard decorations turned its head and looked at me as I passed the house he was in front of.  It’s not like I’ve been watching a bunch of horror flicks or anything…

Maybe I just need to put happier, bouncy music in my iPod.

Do you ever get the heebie-jeebies?  How do you get rid of them?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

10 Running Tidbits

Meredith over at This Runner’s World had this up on her Blog (I even think that she stoll it from someone else)… But after reading what she wrote, I thought that I might give the questions a try. So... Here goes…

1. FUEL: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other?

I’ve tried a couple of these things. Stinger Waffles are awesome, but I don’t think that they work as well for me as GU or Shot Bloks. I do like Shot Bloks pre race because they are a little hard for me to get down on the run, for that I like GU.

2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other?

I do like little 5k’s from time to time, but since my training runs are usually longer than 3.1 miles they really are no longer a challenge and I hate paying for them. I just ran my first ½ marathon this summer and I’m hooked. My Goal for next summer is to fun 3 of them. My big vice… the race I will sacrifice and train for to no end... Ragnar Relays. Oh, how I love me some Ragnar!

3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants or Other?

I’m a guy and so Skirts & Capris… well that’s just not going to happen. I like longer shorts, and wind pants in the winter. I’m thinking that I’ll wear a Kilt for the Wasatch Back Relay next summer though.

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, you stick to water when you run or Other?

I used to be a water guy. Gatorade, Powerade, and all those other sports drinks are so sugary, I just can’t use them on the run. They make my mouth so gummy that I just can’t stand it. Lately I have discovered NUUN, and I fell in love. The fact that it has a light taste and provides electrolytes, well I’m sold!

5. Running Temperatures: HEAT or COLD?

I hate heat! I don’t know what it is, but when it’s hot I just can’t run. The temp right now (I love fall in Utah) is right around 50 to 60 which is perfect. When it gets bitter cold in the depth of winter… forget about it. I’ll head over to the Olympic Oval and do endless circles.

6. Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brookes, Asics or Other?

Brooks! I started out in a pair of Adidas, and hated every one of the 400 miles I put on them. I could hardy wait for them to wear out so that I could justify to my wife that I needed a new pair of running shoes. I then took a couple of hours at our local running store, and probably drove the sales guy crazy trying different shoes over and over again until I found my perfect shoe… the Brooks Adrenaline.

7. Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other?

Toaster waffles with butter and maple syrup. I know, I was surprised too. On the morning of my first half marathon, I got up a little late and had to shove some carbs down my throat, so I opened up the freezer, found my kid’s box of Eggos, and thought “Why not?” They worked great!

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or Other?

I try to run every other day (M, W, F) and then a long run on Saturday. Let me reiterate, I TRY to do that. More often than not I squeeze in a late run on Tuesday after my Boy Scouts meeting because Monday didn’t work out for me, then I’m playing catch up the rest of the week and usually have to shorten my Saturday run… Life just gets in the way sometimes.

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it?

I’m no purest… Music all the way, I mean, why would I want to listen to my own thoughts? When I run at night, I usually turn the music way down, and then run with only one ear bud… for safety reasons only. There was a time during my first Vegas Ragnar, where at 2am, I found myself alone in the middle of the desert. It was so peaceful that I took out my ear buds and ran to the sound of the desert… I’ll never forget that night. It was awesome.

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or Other?

Wow, good question… Back in 2008 I had a physical, and after taking my family’s health history (Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, on and on) my doctor looked at me and said “They didn’t give you a lot to work with.” I’ll never forget that. So I took up running… and failed.  You could say that I gave up. Then My boss decided that it would be a great team building experience if we formed a Ragnar Wasatch Back Team. Well that was the motivation I needed to keep going, to work hard, and to build miles. I worked myself so hard that I got a serious case of Shin Splints. So I missed the 2009 Wasatch Back due to injury, but I did take one of the volunteer slots, which was great motivation to get healthy. I did, and went on to run Ragnar Las Vegas later that same year. So, I missed out on the Saints and Sinners Medal, and have been Jonesin’ for it ever since. I think that I’ll get it this year. So reason for running… Mostly so that I won't die... Secondly, For the Fun!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Seeking Advice for Winter Running


The seasons are changing and the weather is getting cooler.  This isn’t something I’m entirely sad about, since I hate running in the heat, and this summer was especially nasty with the heat and the smoke from wild fires… ya, clean crisp air is what I want for a change.  But I also fear the winter, just a little bit.
I’m in Utah, and we can have some pretty nasty winters.  And while I have, in the past, resorted to going to the Utah Olympic Oval in order to avoid running in the cold, I just don’t think that I can really do that much this year.  The endless, mindless, never changing circles are worse than anything “Old Jack Frost” can throw at me.  But then, two winters ago, I took a spill on the ice which turned my ankle into something that looked like a big, purple grapefruit and sidelined me for the better part of a year.  (That’s one reason why I missed the 2010 Ragnar Wasatch Back.)
I also can’t take the winter off, I’m in such good shape right now, and I have a goal of running a minimum of 3 half-marathons (including Disneyland), on top of the Wasatch Back again.  For me, that’s a hefty goal, but also very doable, if (and this is a big IF) if I continue to run consistently throughout the winter.
But if I’m to do that, how do I stay warm in the sometimes frigid subfreezing weather?
I read in Runner’s World that layering is best, and that I should have a long sleeve base layer on top, with a short sleeve shirt over that, and then a jacket that zips open over both of those (and that all of those layers should be made of some sort of tech fabric in order to wick away moisture, thus keeping me from turning entirely into some kind of strange redheaded meatsicle).  Now, I have run enough races to have a plethora of different tech shirts, one of which is long sleeve that I use as a base layer… but is there something better out there?  I do have a great jacket.  Last year I asked my wife for a running jacket, and she got me a wonderful fitted jacket from Ragnar… I love this jacket!  It keeps me warm and pulls the wet from my body so well.  It’s way better than the fleece hoody that I used to wear.  Man, that thing held water better than a camel.
In really cold weather, I do put wind pants over my normal running shorts and long compression socks.  I’m not a great fan of these pants since they’re a little too short for me, but they were the longest pair I could find and were not really expensive.  They were made by Nordic Track, and have this… kind of… 1970’s look about them…I don’t know if that matters much… and they also have this “Zip Zop” (to quote Calvin and Hobbes) sound to them when I run.  Which I guess is pretty common to wind pants.  Is there anything else out there that may work better and not be so expensive that I’ll need to sell a child in order to afford them?

Runner’s World suggested getting trail shoes, or something with more of a Gore-Tex type upper that will better keep water and slush out of my shoes.  Well, there’s really nothing I can do about shoes.  The shoes I have will have to be the shoes I have for at least another 300 miles.
Is there anything else I should be looking at doing?  Suggestions?  Changes?

How do you stay warm while running in the winter?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

5 dollar 5k (in Utah?)


So, yesterday, I was reading over at Shut Up and Run about what happened to an overweight news person…  I’m not sure where she lives.  Anyway, then this morning I found out that Portland, Oregon has a program in their Parks and Recreation they call “5 dollar 5k” where they organize a bunch of 5k’s in city parks throughout the summer.  So, my mind starts going at this point.  I love to run; I would love to get my wife, kids, and friends to join me in running.  But… running can be drudgery unless you have a specific goal in mind.  I mean, most people (unlike me) need to do baby steps so starting with a 5k is perfect!  I mean, who wants to jump right into a Ragnar, Right?  I mean, that would be crazy!  (FYI... I did that... Ya, I know...)
But even little 5k races are so danged expensive anymore, who really wants to dish out $25 to $35 for your first 5k anyway?  It’s easier just to sit on the couch with the xBox… right?
So why couldn’t we, here in Utah, have a “5 dollar 5k” program of our own?  Yes, we’d be blatantly ripping off Portland, but I don’t think that they’d mind to much… would they?

Ok, I guess I have some phone calls to make… what is the number for Salt Lake County Parks and Rec.?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Two Things Tuesday

NUUN


Oh My Gosh!  Nectar of the Gods! Where have you been all my (running) life?  So after reading about NUUN over at RicoleRuns (Sometimes) I headed over to my local running shop to see if I could pick up a tube.  I figured that if it made me want to puke, well my kids would probably drink it.  The taste is light and not sugary, which is why I just can’t run with traditional sports drinks; they just gum up my mouth.  And since NUUN comes in a little tablet, I can carry a bunch of them in our (generally) overloaded Ragnar van without adding to the clutter.
I run with a Camelbak Quick Grip bottle… which I love… by the way.  It has a nice little valve so I can close off the mouth piece, and since it’s strapped to my hand instead of on a belt it’s not slamming against my butt while I’m trying to run.  Here’s the only problem I have with NUUN… since it’s an effervescent tablet, it makes the water slightly fizzy.  This is fine because it’s not overly fizzy, but pressure tends to build up in my bottle, and for the first couple of miles or so, every time I open the valve a small jet of NUUN water shoots out onto the street, my hand, or the runner next to me.  I’ve tried several things to keep this from happening, but it’s always the same thing.  So, I live with it.
 
Looking Back.


I was thinking this morning while walking in to work, I’ve been in the Boy Scouts, as a Scout Master for 12 years, longer if you count my years as a merit badge councilor.  And in that time I’ve mentored, I don’t know… Hundreds of Boys in learning what it means to be a boy scout.  I’ve seen them come in from the Cub Scouts, all full of fun and fire for the activities, I’ve seen them drop out, move away, go on to become Eagle Scouts, some to join the military, serve LDS missions, get married, and in one case, even to go to their grave far too early.  And in almost every case, I’ve hoped that I had a small hand in helping them to become who they are today.
This month a strange thing happened, my entire patrol of 11-year-old scouts moved up to the older patrols, and 3 brand new Scouts, fresh from Webelos came into the patrol.  I’ve never, in 12 years, been able to start entirely fresh with a brand new group of boys.  Usually they trickle in and trickle out at different stages, which can become a challenge for us as Scout Masters.  But these guys are new, blank sheets, and I am excited to begin teaching these new scouts.  And as I teach, and carry on traditions, and to make new ones, I wonder what the next 12 years will bring.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Two-Things-Tuesday


Strange…
We have a semi-professional theatre here in town that does some really incredible productions.  We just love to go to their performances, because it’s such a small, intimate theater, and their production quality is so high.  But anyway, when they close a show, it is our honor to go help them “strike” the show.  Which, in Theatre speak, means we help take apart sets, put props back in storage… that kind of thing.  There are several of us that go and do it, I’d say about 20 volunteers and another 10 theater staff.  So, last Saturday night, we showed up to strike their last show, and were able to work with the set designer packing up pillows, and sheets, blankets, bed skirts… Funny, I went to see this play, and I didn’t remember that many beds… strange.  Anyway, to my point… Much of this stuff is packed into big plastic totes and then stored in the basement.  While walking through the shelves, my eye was caught by one particular tote, and it made me laugh.  Only in the theatre would I ever see this box, and not have it be tied to some kind of police investigation.


I love the theatre!

 

Been Kinda Ticked-off Lately
It’s fall, and I’m involved in the Boy Scout’s which means that it’s time for “Friends of Scouting.”  Oh, yes, that one time of year when we get to go door to door in order to solicit funds for our local councils.  I hate… I’m using the word “Hate” here… Hate friends of scouting because it means that I get to go door to door with my son, and hear how Scout Executives make too much money and other kinds of bull crap from every pseudointellectual dough-head who really just doesn’t want to pull out his check book because it would cut into his beer money.

So, while we were out we come upon the home of a young couple from our church, and I’m thinking, “cool, a friendly face.”  Boy was I wrong.  Now, I know the guy, he and his wife attend the same congregation that my family does, he teaches in one of the classes I attend(ed).  And I know that he’s an Eagle Scout.  So I knock on the door, he answers all high and mighty and proceed to make me out to be some kind of groveling worm in front of my son.
Ya, that was nice…

Look, I don’t really care if people want to give to the BSA or don’t want to give… its cool either way, I’m no sales person… I couldn’t sell a free hamburger to a starving child… so I just flat out ask, “would you like to give?” if the answer’s “no,” I’m all, “have a nice day” and on to the next door.  I don’t need to know all of the reasons you hate the boy scouts, the uniform, the camps or anything else.  And I really, really don’t need to hear it from an Eagle Scout, and a member of my same church.  Ya know…
And so, to this particular pseudointellectual dough-head, “Have a nice day.”



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