Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Pride of Utah

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Election Day

Happy Election Day everyone. I can't wait to get home from work and start watching the election returns come in. I'm sure everyone is burnt out on all the political debates that seem pop up everywhere you look (family parties, friendly gatherings, work, blogs, facebook, etc.). So I thought I would take a different angle. I would like to congratulate the writers/producers of The West Wing for predicting almost exactly how this election would turn out. Its remarkable. I don't know how many of you watched that show, but it was a great show. Katie and I love it, and we've watched a few reruns over the past month as we walk and bounce Ella late into the night (thank you, colic).

In the final season (2005), the show shifted much of its attention to a presidential election to replace the 2nd term incumbent President. The primary races featured a moderate republican who held off several challengers who were far more conservative, but had the nomination in hand far before the Democrats. Sound familiar? The Republican candidate then faced a major choice about his VP candidate: pick a conservative to satisfy the base, or go with someone more moderate that he would feel more comfortable with. He ended up going with the moderate, so the show didn't predict that right, but so far we're pretty close.

In the Democratic primary, it started out with the clear "next in line" candidate running on a platform of inevitability. But that candidate started facing an unexpected challenge from a young, exciting, likable, minority candidate. The primary contest became a long drawn out fight, and there was even debate about what might happen if the race wasn't settle by the convention. Really!?! Now that's pretty amazing.

The young, likable candidate wins the nomination and then moves into another long, fiercely contested battle for the presidency. In the end, the Democratic nominee wins.

I guess we'll see tonight if The West Wing got the last thing right.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Some Political Musings: The Republic*ns

The presidential election is in full swing, and its been fun to follow over the past few weeks with the two conventions coming back-to-back. Stay tuned for my thoughts on the DNC, but here are some of my thoughts on the RNC:

I think Sarah Pal*n is turning out to be an excellent running mate for John McC*in, but it makes me very nervous that she could be Vice President to a 72 year old President. She's a likable person: she's young, vibrant, attractive, and very feisty. She is proving to be a very proficient attack dog, and she has reinvigorated McC*in's campaign. If McC*in foresaw all of this (which I don't think he did), it was a very shrewd choice by him. The only problem is, if she continues to be this effective as a running mate and McC*in wins, we will have her as Vice President. Two years ago, she was the mayor of a town of 9,000 people! And she is going to step in as President if something happens to McC*in? I'm sorry but the story about her putting the Alaska jet on eBay is cute but it doesn't tell me anything about her ability to lead a country.

But what is bothering me the most is her attacks on her "opponents"--as she calls them (who is she, Urb*n Meyer?). I have no problem with these political candidates pointing and hammering home each others' weaknesses. Both sides have serious flaws, and the candidates consistently harp on them for good reason. But that's not what Pal*n is doing. When she attacks, she sounds just like R*sh Limba*gh or Sean Hann*ty, in that she brushes over legitimate issues and relies on clever jests about insignificant facts. Her attacks are more mockery than legitimate disputes about policy. In her speech at the RNC, her biggest punch lines were mocking Ob*ma's time as a community organizer and his autobiographies. She made fun of the Greek columns on the stage of the DNC. She mocked Ob*ma's eloquence (why is that a reason for mockery in the first place?). And she mocked the fact that he has a lot of foreign policy advisers (also, how in the world is that reason for mockery? Isn't it good that Ob*ma relies on a lot of good advisers? Haven't we seen how things turn out when a handful of white males get together and decide the country's foreign policy?).

What's interesting is that Ob*ma actually predicted that this is the tact the Republic*ns would take. He said that they would take insignificant matters and hold them up for mockery, while brushing aside the real issues that are at stake. Pal*n went ahead and did just that, and people are eating it up. Fortunately, I think this Pal*n craze will fade out, and the decision will be between Ob*ma and McC*in.

I only heard the second half of McC*in's speech, but to his credit, he didn't fall into any of the mockery that plagued Pal*n and Guli*ni's speeches. I actually kind of liked McC*in's speech. He has an amazing story, and I think he is a great American that has spent his life serving the country.

If any of you made it this far through my ramblings, I am impressed. Your reward: a little mockery for mockery (thanks to Christopher for showing me the link). But, Mrs. Pal*n, lets leave the mockery for the professionals (Limb*ugh and Hann*ty on one side and Colb*rt and Stew*rt on the other) and start talking about the real decisions we have to make this November.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Nuggets Cordon Bleu

If your kids liked my Nuggets Alla Napolitana recipe, they're going to love my Nuggets Cordon Bleu. Its really easy. Partially cook the nuggets, top the nuggets with some ham cream of chicken, and then top it all off with some swiss or gruyere cheese. Voila!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Home from the Hospital

We are home from the hospital, and life is good. Katie is still recovering, but she feels good. We finally decided on a name: Ella Elizabeth Davis. My great grandma's name was Ella Elizabeth, and my grandma Davis's given name is Ella, even though she goes by Joyce. And Elizabeth is also Katie's Nana's name, so it is a very strong family name. Ella is still sleeping a lot, and Grace loves being with her baby sister. She loves holding her and giving her kisses. She has been very sweet and gentle with her. Here are some more pictures:

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Few Early Pics

Katie went into labor late last night, and at 11:15 this morning, she delivered a beautiful, healthy baby girl. Mom and baby and doing great. Here are a few preliminary pictures. Keep checking for more and better pics. We are still working on the name.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Nuggets Alla Napoletana

Grace is loving chicken nuggets lately, and I decided to spice them up a little bit for her. One of her favorite meals is now Nuggets Alla Napoletana. Its really easy to make, and she loves it. Just cook up some chicken nuggets, and, when they are just about cooked, top the nuggets with a little pizza sauce and fresh parmesan. Then heat it up a little more until the cheese melts. Its always nice to spice up an old stand-by.

Monday, June 30, 2008

They've Still Got It

The New Kids on the Block are back, and from the looks of it, they still have the magic touch with the ladies. I have to say, though, that their dancing skills are much worse than I remember. Their choreographed dance at the end of the video is lousy. I think we did more complicated combinations in our N'Sync lip syncs at our BYU ward talent shows. At least they brought back their signature sweeping wave of the arms to go with their all-white suits. Classic.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Book Review: By the Hand of Mormon

I just finished reading "By the Hand of Mormon" by Terryl Givens, and I highly recommend it to all Musingian readers. It is a fascinating and well-crafted reflection on the Book of Mormon. Givens is an English scholar and academic, so this book certainly has a scholarly/academic bent to it, but I think Givens does a good job of still making it accessible. Givens reviews a lot of recent scholarship on the Book of Mormon, which is really interesting, and he adds a lot of his own insights that are . . . well, insightful. My review can't do it justice, but I hope you will take my advice and read it. It is well worth it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

We spent Memorial Day weekend down in Moab with Katie's extended family, and we had a great time. We all stayed at this great place called the Red Cliffs Lodge. Its a converted ranch, and it still has a large pasture filled with cows and stunning horses, which Grace absolutely loved. A couple of times, we got a horse to come over and see us. The lodge is about 15 miles outside moab, up the canyon and sitting right on the Colorado River. The views are spectacular, and its very secluded (we had no idea how crowded Moab was until we went into town to buy some groceries). It was a great spot, and we spent most of our time in that canyon. In addition to the cows and horses, there was a family of ducks and plenty of snakes and lizards. Grace loved following Katie's young cousins around as they caught the snakes and lizards. Here are some pictures from the weekend.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Insulted by Pandora

I have been listening to a lot lately at work. Its a really cool concept, and so far, I have been really impressed with the product. For those who are not familiar with Pandora, it is like an online radio station. You can create your own stations based on your own music tastes (just enter some songs/artists that you like, and pandora will find other, similar songs/artists that it thinks you would like). You can further refine your station by saying whether you like or don't like a song that the station plays for you or by adding additional songs/artists that you like. So far, I have created a few different stations with some different genres of music. I can switch between stations depending on what kind of music I feel like listening to. If you haven't checked it out yet, I recommend it.

Anyway, I was just listening to one of my stations that plays songs that are kind of a throwback to the rock music that was popular while I was in high school (Our Lady Peace, Better Than Ezra, Chile Peppers, Foo Fighters, etc.). Then it started playing this crappy Euro, synthesizer-fused love ballad. I pulled up Pandora to see what it was, and it was "Current of Love" by David Hasselhoff. I was so insulted. What had I revealed to Pandora that would make them think that I would like a song by David Hasselhoff? I don't know. I will have to do some retooling to my station to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen again.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Arts & Crafts Time

Here is a fun little video that shows how kids all over the world love to do arts and crafts.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hangin' with Corbin

Some of you remember when I blogged about a year ago about a new club at the U law school called the Jackie Chiles Law Society. It is a club formed to explore how the law is portrayed in popular culture. Last year, for their Year-End Banquet, they got Phil Morris, the actor who played Jackie Chiles on Seinfeld, to come speak. From all reports, it was a spectacular event. This year, they hit another home run, and Corbin Bernsen was the speaker and was named this year's Pop Culture Icon in Residence. Corbin Berson is perhaps most famous for his portrayal of Arnie Becker, the lady-killer family lawyer in LA Law. He has also played a lawyer in JAG and Boston Legal. And, in my favorite of his roles, he played Roger Dorn in Major League (the edited version).

My firm sponsored a table, so I got to go to the banquet this year, and it was a treat. It was quite the event. There was plenty of video and jokes about how lawyers are portrayed in pop culture. One of the crazy professors at they U law school spoke and embarrassed herself and the whole school. But then it was Mr. Corbin Bernsen's turn. He got up and started talking and he didn't stop. He got on a roll and just told the stories that popped into his head. He told us how he got the role of Arnie Becker; he told us about a time on a plane when a lawyer asked him to help him with his case (which he did); he told us about some of his upcoming projects that he's working on. But in between all of these stories, you would get a stream of consciousness of tangent stories, many of which never got finished. He was always funny, and he didn't have much of a filter, so we heard all about an ex wife that he hated, some of his sexual harassment suits, how much he hated one of the TV shows he appeared in for a brief time, and his theory on Rob Lowe's most recent troubles. All in all, it was a great time. Now I need to find some old episodes of LA Law.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

My New Toy

We get our cell phones through Katie's dad's work, and when they recently switched providers to AT&T, I couldn't resist. I left my Blackberry in the dust and went for the iPhone. I don't regret it. The iPhone is awesome. It does just about everything my Blackberry Pearl could do and then some. Some of my favorite things to do with my new toy: sitting in bed reading and being able to look up a word on or wikipedia; sitting in bed with Katie and watching American Idol performances on youtube (we got hooked this year with the two LDS finalists, but we are rarely around to watch the show live); being able to look up phone numbers, addresses, and web sites from anywhere.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Video Games

I really need a X Box or a PlayStation or something. Last night, we had a rockin' Elders Quorum party, complete with Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Mario Cart. And now I see this:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lunch Break

Katie and Grace were downtown today for Grace's doctor's appointment, so we got together for a fun lunch break. We went to my favorite taco stand: Tacos Don Rafa. We had a great time eating some great food and hanging out in the Sears parking lot. Grace loved it! She ate about one fourth of my large steak quesadilla, spicy salsa and all. She liked it so much that we had to go back and get her another mini-quesadilla (along with another steak taco for Katie). I don't know if I've ever been so proud. What a great lunch break.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Of serpents and strychnine

I just finished one of the coolest books I have read in a long time. Its called "Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia." With a name like that, you know it has to be good. Its written by Dennis Covington, a writer/journalist who goes to cover the trial of a preacher in a snake handling congregation who tried to kill his wife by making her put her arm in his rattlesnake cages until the snakes bit her several times. After the trial, he continues to follow the story of the snake handling congregation, and it takes him on his own spiritual journey where he learns about snake handling, religion, history, and his own geneology.

Part of the books appeal, certainly, is voyeurism. After all, one of the main the reasons you're reading the book is because these people and this culture are fascinating. They are poor southern white people living in the Appalachian mountains. They take their pentecostal religion seriously and literally, so literally that when they read verses about handling snakes, treading on snakes, and drinking poison and not being harmed, they take up snakes, tread on snakes, and drink poison at their services. After some preaching and testifying and speaking in tongues, when they get feeling the spirit they pull the snakes out of their cages and pass them around. Some tread on the snakes, others drink strychnine (mixed strong if Aunt Gracie is the one doing the mixing). And they see going to the hospital after a bite as showing a lack of faith, so they either survive the bite or they die. As they see it, its not a bad way to go.

But the book's voyersims is balanced by Covington genuine care for these people. During the nearly two years that he spent with them, he became close friends with many of them, and he's not writing the book so that we can all sit on our perches and reflect on how odd they are; he is writing the book for us to get a glimpse into their way of life and to, in a way, appreciate it.

The book is always interesting, and its filled with great quotes. At one point, a snake handler explining the process to Covington says "There's serpents, and then there's fiery serpents." At another point, Brother Charles imparts some helpful wisdom to Covington about snake handling: "You might be annointed when you take up a serpent, but if there's a witchcraft spirit in the church it could zap your annointing and you'd be left cold turkey with a serpent in your hand and the spirit of God gone off you. That's when you'll get bit. So you really watch and remember what Brother Charles tells you. Always be careful who you take a rattlesnake from." Sound advice, which served Covington well when he did eventually take up snakes. Finally, Aunt Gracie, one of the old-timers who has been handling snakes for decades, explained that she stopped handling snakes in July because she had been bitten the previous two Julys. "I decided I'd just handle fire and drink strychnine that night," she said.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Poor Mitt

A lot of people are a lot more broken up about Mitt dropping out of the presidential race than I am. But for those people who have been left asking "why", Lettermn came up with ten reasons in yesterday's top tn:

10. Harsh midwest weather was murder on his split ends
9. Wants to devote more time to rap persona P. Mitty
8. Polls show public doesn't want a president who looks like a casino greeter
7. Just couldn't compete with the Ron Paul juggernaut
6. Unveiling a new line of honey-roasted Romnuts
5. That bastard Zogby had it in for him
4. Apparently America is not ready for a white male president
3. No number 3 -- writer suffering from Mitt withdrawal
2. There was that little problem of nobody voting for him
1. Lost all of his money betting on the Patriots

A lot of these are lame, but I especially like 7 and 4.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Sorry to have been such a delinquent blogger the past few weeks. My laptop crashed, and the desktop computer is now in Grace's room (the only room besides the kitchen with a working phone jack), so I can never blog at night anymore or I will wake up Grace. Combine that with being busy at work, and you get a serious lack of blogging. But I just got a work laptop, so I should be able to blog more now.

Anyway, I just had a total flashback to my mission. I got to work this morning and went into the kitchen to fill my water glass and found the kitchen floor covered with dead (or dying) cockroaches. They must have had an exterminator come and spray for them last night or something. It was pretty gross, but it brought back fond memories of my mission. We used to buy a can of Raid, and right before bed, we would use up almost a whole can spraying it everywhere around the kitchen. The next morning, we would wake up and the whole floor would be covered on cockroaches. I hope we sanitized after these exterminations, but I doubt that we did. Another testimony of how missionaries are blessed in ways they can't (at the time) imagine.

Sorry for the gross post, but I have been meaning to start writing down more of my memories as they come back to me. Katie has an amazing memory and can recall almost any memory on demand. I usually need something to trigger my memory. So now, when something triggers my memory, I'm going to try to write the memory down. It was just bad luck for you readers that my first effort in this area turned out to be gross.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Carribean Cruise

Katie's grandma (Nana) was extraordinarily generous and took her whole family (minus great-grandchildren) on a Carribean cruise to celebrate her 80th birthday. We had a great trip, and it was nice to be able to spend so much time with family so close to the holidays. My parents were also very kind to watch Grace for us, and Katie and I took full advantage of the time we had to relax, read books, talk, and sleep. Here's a little montage I threw together with some of the pictures from the cruise.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Book Review: Possession: A Romance

I'm not the first one to say this, but Possession: A Romance is a brilliant book. I would highly recommend it to anyone with a serious interest in literature. I started the book expecting an intellectually engaging experience (which I got, and then some), but I wasn't expecting the narrative to turn out to be as compelling as it was. It is a story, essentially, about a pair of English scholars who make an important discovery that a pair of Victorian poets (one famous and one lesser-known) had a relationship that no modern scholar had discovered. A story around the two scholars develops as they discover the story behind the relationship between the two poets. Both stories are fascinating and compelling, and Byatt proved that she has a real talent for story-telling on top of her talent for creating an intellectually-stimulating book. You wouldn't expect a book about a pair of English scholars researching a pair of Victorian poets to keep you up late at night because you can't put it down, but it did.

That's not to say that it doesn't have its lulls. The book is brimming with references to and uses of British literature and literary theory, as well as long, complicated poems and long letters and journal entries. I'm sure I only picked up on and understood a small fraction of the literary allusions in the book, and because of my poor poetry-reading skills, I skipped some of the longer poems embedded in the book. I also skimmed over some of the unearthed letters and journals when they went long. Still, trying to catch some of the many literary allusions was part of the fun (at least for me), and if I didn't have the patience for something, I had no problem skipping or skimming. As my recommendation implies, this book is not for everyone. Byatt is brilliant and erudite and she expects a lot of her readers. But underneath it all there is a truly compelling story with one of the most perfect endings that I have ever read.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sounds of the Season

We just got back from the annual Christmas tradition of attending the Utah Chamber Artists Christmas Concert. The Utah Chamber Artists is a fantastic chamber choir and orchestra directed by Barlow Bradford, and they do several concerts a year, including a Christmas one the week after Thanksgiving. My parents get us tickets every year, and it always does a great job of kicking off the Christmas season. There's something about Christmas music that gets you in the mood for Christmas (for both the secular and spiritual aspects of it). The concert was great again this year, and I came right home and put on some Christmas music. I'm excited to break out my favorite Christmas albums: the Niel Diamond Christmas album (great Christmas music with a Jewish flare) and the John Denver and The Muppets Christmas album (brings back great memories; my parents had this on a record when I was very little). What are some of your favorite Christmas albums?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Book Review: Rouhg Stone Rollnig

I finally made it through Richrad Bushman's Biography of J Smith (I am intentionally misspelling or abbreviating names/words because I don't want a bunch of anti posts on my blog). It took me a while, but I really enjoyed it. I thought Bushman did a nice job of managing all the information out there about J Smith. Its a cultural biography, so Bushman spends some time giving some historical background to J Smith's story. Bushman's historical biography approach was a mixed blessing. Sometimes, I thought Bushman's historical background was mere apologism (I'm not sure that's a word, but you know what I mean), which I didn't especially like (i.e., talking about how many males of J Smith's time had hot tempers to explain away some of J Smith's less-than-model outbursts at people questioning his methodologies). But sometimes, I thought Bushman used the historical background to make some really interesting observations. For example, when discussing the BOM, Bushman talked about how much patriotism and pride in the United States' form of government there was at the time the BOM was being translated, especially in the northeastern states, where many residents, including J Smith, had ancestors who had fought in the Revolutionary War. Then Bushman pointed out how the governmental structures that the BOM singles out as ideal are monarchies and systems of judges, which were models following the Old Testament, and which were a far cry from the secular, republican democracy established in the United States. If the BOM were a product of J Smith's cultural heritage, instead of translation, one would expect to find, Bushman argues, more favorable discussion of democracies.

The other point I wanted to make was that, while I really enjoyed this book, it was not always easy to read. I say this as a credit to Bushman. I don't refer to the fact that it was long and dense, but rather, that Bushman does not shy away from some of the things about J Smith that are more difficult to swallow, particularly the stuff about polygmy. This book is ultimately faith-promoting, but to say it wasn't also faith-challenging at times would be, at least for me, untrue. Bushman faces these challenges head on, and ends on a very positive and uplifting note. I'm glad I read the book, and I feel that I have a fuller testimony of J Smith, the BOM, and the church for having read it. It was especially cool to be able to read a large chunk of it while I was back in Missouri and Nauvoo at the church history sites with family this past summer.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Celebrity Sightings: Looking for Lindsay Lohan

Who cares if one of the newest Nobel Lauretes lives in Utah. Our beloved State's most famous new resident is none other than Lindsay Lohan! That's right, celebrity fantasy leaguers beware, Lindsay is returning to her good girl ways, and her first step in that process is becoming a resident of Utah. She's trying to stay away from the L.A. party scene that keeps dragging her down into the depths of addiction. Here she is in her own words: "I'm staying in Utah until it's time to shoot 'Dare to Love Me,' and then I plan on returning to Utah so I can stay focused, and avoid other distractions." (see Musingian welcomes Lindsay to Utah and hopes she finds peace. Look for Lindsay Lohan at the next multi-stake regional dance!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Facebook Superstar

In my ongoing quest to expand my online presence, I have started a facebook account. Blogging is a great way to stay connected with people, but I have a lot of friends who facebook and don't blog, so I decided to expand my horizons too. Plus, its so hot right now. I'm still trying to figure out how to do it, but it seems pretty cool. Any tips from you experienced facebookers out there?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Mesa Falls Marathon

Many of you know that I have spent much of the summer training for a marathon. I can't say its been the funnest thing to train for--way too much running. I think its much better on you body if you mix your exercises up a bit. But the day finally came to run the marathon, and I did it. I can't imagine a more beautiful place to run a marathon. The marathon started at 6:30 am in the middle of Targhee National Forest. It was about 40 degrees outside, but it didn't feel too cold because the adrenaline was pumping. We got started, and the first nine miles of the race was on a national forest service dirt road through the forest. It was so beautiful. You would be running through thick trees and would round a corner to find a stunning mountain meadow. And to the East, the sun was rising over the Tetons. Just seeing the red sunrise over the Tetons was worth the price of admission. You would also occasionally hear a moose or wolves greeting the morning.

After the nine miles in the forest, we ran down a paved road past Lower Mesa Falls, which was also quite pretty. Just after mile 13, I was Grace and Katie, who were there cheering me on. Their cheers were needed because we then dropped down into an old railroad trail that ran along the Warm river. The views were spectacular again, but my lack of training on trails caught up to me, and my IT band flared up. My knee just killed. I quickly downed the advil that I had in my pocket, and I had to stop and walk a lot of the trail (which I didn't mind because it was so beautiful).

After the trial, we had a three mile long climb out of Bear Gulch, which was killer. My knee was still killing, so I had to alternate walking and running every five minutes or so. But after climbing out of the gulch, it was only six miles of rolling farmland to the finish. I had to stop and rest my knee fairly often, but I kept plugging away, and Katie, Grace, and my parents were there cheering me along.

We ran through the booming metropolis of Ashton, Idaho for the last mile of the race. I was feeling good, and I thought I was there. But at mile 26, with .2 miles left to go, I encountered an unexpected obstacle--a train crossing with a train beginning to cross. I was shocked. The train was being pulled along very slowly by a tractor. I looked down to see how long the trail was, and I didn't see an end to the train. At the slow speed that it was moving, I was going to have to sit and wait for five minutes for the train to pass--unless I could beat the train. I summoned all of my strength and began to sprint (not an easy feat after 26 miles. I had to veer left to make sure I had plenty of clearance, but I made it. After that, it was an easy .1 mile to the finish. What a great feeling! It was fun being cheered by family and friends.

I made a little video montage commemorating the event. Enjoy:

Monday, August 13, 2007


Katie's parents were generous enough to bring us along on their trip to Nauvoo. It was so much fun. We flew into Kansas City, Missouri and saw the sites in Missouri (Independence, Liberty, Far West, and Adam Ondi Aman). Then we drove to Nauvoo and spent a few days there. My favorite part by far was the temple. It is so beautiful, both inside and out. Its such a great tribute to the early saints who built the first one. It was fun seeing all the other historic sites as well.

We also got to see plenty of musical theater, which Grace loved. She would just sit and stare at the stage, amazed, while the actors sang and danced. I've never seen her sit still for so long. It was a great trip and a great testimony builder. We took a ton of cool pictures, so I put them together in a little montage. I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fun in the Sun Valley

Last week, Katie, Grace, and I made our first trek up to the Utah State Bar convention in Sun Valley, Idaho. We love Sun Valley, and I got the firm to pay for enough of the trip to make it worth it to go. We had a great time. I spent the mornings in classes that were mostly boring, but I need to attend a certain number of continuing education classes to stay licensed. While I was in classes, Katie and Grace got to lounge around the hotel. When I got back from classes, we walked around town, went on some runs, ate good food, and bought some ice cream. The weather was great, and we had a great time. We had to come home a little early so that we could go to Nuavoo with Katie's family (watch for a forthcoming post on that), but we had such a fun time, we'll have to go back.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

First Fruits

We planted a little vegetable garden this year, and it has really done well. I didn't expect much because I just dug up some irises that were being overgrown by grass to make the garden. I thought it would take a while to bring the soil along. I just worked in a few bags of fertilizer at the beginning of the year and have been watering with miracle grow regularly, and the vegetables have really taken off. The tomatoes are going crazy, and the zucchini is huge. The pepper plants are still a little small, but they're starting to bear fruit. We picked the first ripe cherry tomatoes yesterday, and they taste great. Can't wait to eat all the fresh summer vegetables picked fresh from our garden.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Odes to Chuck

One of the highlights of Youth Conference was hiking around the Double Arch and telling Chuck Norris facts. I heard some that I hadn't heard before, and we were all laughing pretty hard. I am guessing that you all have been enlightened by at least a few Chuck Norris fact, but just in case you haven't, I decided to dedicate a post to it. Chuck Norris facts have become an online rage and are pretty pervasive now. There are thousands and thousands of "facts" about Chuck Norris all over the internet, but I think this is the main site for them. Here are some of my favorites:

There is no chin under Chuck Norris' beard. There is only another fist.
Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
Ninjas want to grow up to be just like Chuck Norris. But usually they grow up just to be killed by Chuck Norris.
Most people have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Chuck Norris has 72... and they're all poisonous.
Someone once tried to tell Chuck Norris that roundhouse kicks aren't the best way to kick someone. This has been recorded by historians as the worst mistake anyone has ever made.
Chuck Norris is the only human being to display the Heisenberg uncertainty principle -- you can never know both exactly where and how quickly he will roundhouse-kick you in the face.
When Chuck Norris falls in water, Chuck Norris doesn't get wet. Water gets Chuck Norris.
Chuck Norris ordered a Big Mac at Burger King, and got one.
Hellen Keller's favorite color is Chuck Norris.
Chuck Norris eats beef jerky and craps gunpowder. Then, he uses that gunpowder to make a bullet, which he uses to kill a cow and make more beef jerky. Some people refer to this as the "Circle of Life."
Along with his black belt, Chuck Norris often chooses to wear brown shoes. No one has DARED call him on it. Ever.
Chuck Norris can set ants on fire with a magnifying glass. At night.

And my favorite: Chuck Norris has counted to infinity. Twice.

There are tons of them and most are pretty entertaining. What are your favorites?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Strength of Youth

I spent last weekend in south eastern Utah with the youth in our ward for Youth Conference (I am the secretary of our ward's Young Mens organization). We camped in Green River State Park, which is right on the Green River in Green River, UT. It was a nice campground. We spend one day rafting the Green (the rapids were pretty wimpy, but its always fun to spend a day on the river). And on Saturday, we drove down to Arches National Park and did an early morning hike to Delicate Arch, followed by quick hikes to Double Arch and Devils Playground.

Everyone had a great time, and I was yet again amazed at how good these kids are. All the kids got along really well with each other, they stuck together, they were grateful and helpful, and they happily did everything we asked them to do. We never had to get on them for staying up too late, for being too loud, for texting or listening to iPods while we were talking, for straying too far from the group, etc. Basically, they made it really easy on us leaders. One night, some Young Women leaders from another camp came up to us and said that they had found out that their girls were planning a midnight rendevous with some boys from another camp. We didn't even sweat it because we knew our boys wouldn't do that. And they didn't. I love being in Young Mens because I am consistently blown away by how good these kids are. They're smart, they work hard, they are kind, and they are very sensitive to spiritual things. I love it. They're great examples for me.