Sunday, October 24, 2010

O' Daughter My Daughter

As far as daughters go mine has got to be the best. I know that one might find my opinion somewhat biased in this but I can tell you that it is not. I conducted a scientific study which did indeed find that my daughter is the best. If I were not her father, I would want to be.

So that being said and my own objectivity being beyond reproach I give to you a brief recap of the 1st (and best so far)father and daughter campout a somewhat substandard father and his A#1 daughter attended recently.

Soon after moving back to Mesa an announcement was made at church regarding a father/daughter campout. Curiosities were peaked and nerves were set on edge as my employment at that time required working the weekends. The fates intervened and pushed the outing back a bit, while also granting me a new job that didn't require weekend work.

So this weekend G-mama and I headed out to the White Mountains to camp out with the other dads and daughters. After a brief detour to Wally World (because what campout doesn't start out there?) and a ruggedly cooked meal (at McDonald's, her choice)we took the back roads past Saguaro Lake. Gracie said that she loved the road because it felt like a roller coaster and asked if we could revisit it on the way home in the daylight. We hit the spot after a quick roadside potty break (I'm not saying who had to go!) and a long discussion as to the merits (or lack thereof) of vault toilets. The aroma of broiling steak could do nothing to touch the satisfaction I felt with a tummy full of McNuggets.

We walked around and decided it was a little too cold, and a little too wet, and a little too wet to set up the tent. Gracie hatched a plan: let's sleep in the sub. So we did it. And were rewarded by a nice warm night's sleep. But I get a head of myself. First we braved the cold, had some hot chocolate, made a s'more, and tested the above mentioned (and thankfully lighted) vault toilets. Then we slept.

Morning arrived and with it some cool (no pun intended) fog, awesome breakfast, and the promise of a hike to the creek. While at the creek Brother Musgrave of the Bishopric asked if we wanted to try fishing for crawdads. Grace was all over it. She turned out to be pretty darn good at it as you can see below. After fishing, we headed back to the camp, packed up, and headed home. On the way home we absolutely did not stop at DQ in Payson and partake of a cookie dough and strawberry cheesequake blizzard.





A scene or two Gracie liked



The fisher woman


And her catch!






Friday, October 8, 2010

A Break (In the weather)

After two months of punishing heat, heat that seems to make your whole body cry as sweat beads drench your clothes, a storm with a bad attitude and admirable perseverance broke the will of the heat and washed away a long Summer's worth of torridness. As I sat in the comfort of my chair in my air conditioned room and listened to the wind begin to whip up leaves and dust outside excitement began to whip up inside me. It had been a while since we have been able to enjoy a decent storm. This one started up like a typical monsoon, although it was really too late in the season to be considered a monsoon. The rough and tumble winds. The intermittent rain drops falling fatly with a splat on the hot concrete like the flirtatious lover's kiss, the tease of more to come. Then finally the literal calm before the storm. Darkness in the late afternoon, swirling heavy clouds in the final throes of labor. A weird quiet, probably owing to the saturation of the air. It was sultry, to steal a movie line...
Finally, the heat rolled over like a beaten dog submitting to its master. The clouds broke over the Valley of the Sun and drowned out the warmth. Seemingly in an instant the temperature dropped. Children ran out to play in the cooling rains no matter how hard the plummeting drops fell upon them. Unlike the heat, these little hooligans had no intentions of bowing to the will of the storm. They laughed in the face of Zeus and his lightning bolts as he hurled them down from Olympus. They laughed at their parents' for scolding about soaking clothes and ruined umbrellas. Playing in the yards while giants drops imitate jumping beans hitting the ground and bounding back towards the sky. The rain was cleansing them like a baptism. Washing away, as it were, the Summer sins of dust and salt and granting them a new beginning.
After a night filled with Mother Nature's sound and fury, the dog days tried to give one last little bite as they turned tail to run. The morning sun was warm again and the humidity was wilting, but quickly, like a mail man with his pepper spray the rain clouds came again and finally chased that mangy mutt away. To emphasize its point the rains flooded out freeways bringing traffic to a stand still. Nature showing Man's creations again who was boss. The storm, as I said, had attitude even casting down some of nature's own proud trees, perhaps for the audacity of trying to reach the cloud's own domain of the sky. Roads littered with debris, pebble strewn yards washed out, and the basins formerly filled with children's games now filled with the remnants of the storm's own offspring.
We were left with cleaning up to do, but were excited by the prospects of the outdoors being cooler than indoors. With a spring in our steps we ventured out to enjoy the break.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Trade-offs



When we made the decision to re-relocate to Arizona it was definitely a leap of faith. But it was one we really felt good about. I knew there would be trade-offs and that there would be things about Idaho that would be missed. When I see Facebook updates or blog postings from friends and family in Idaho and hear about Fall, about archery season beginning, about a freeze this past weekend it made me a little homesick. And then I thought about snow, never ending wind, and frozen body parts and I like the trade off. To mountain bike through the desert chasing lizards, to watch the dark clouds roll across the rusty red mountains and feel the humidity build as the monsoon prepares to release its pent-up aggression, to wear shorts 24/7... It really doesn't get any better than this! Love and miss all my friends and family back in Idaho, but I'm glad to be back in Arizona.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On Driving, or, Thoughts From The Road

Well really they are my thoughts not the roads, I did converse with the road but mostly it was quiet and contemplative which is okay because sometimes I just need someone to listen. So back to the story at hand. In an effort to bring on a nervous breakdown, or at least put a lot of miles on my poor behind I drove to Idaho and back over a three day period. According to mapquest that is 909 miles each way or 1818 miles in total, i thought that was cool. Anyhow I had a notebook along with me for lists etc... so I could remember what I needed to get done... and I jotted down a few things a long the way. Without further adieu here they are:

Northern Arizona and Southern Utah are incredibly beautiful.


Euro dudes in manpris and sandals with brown socks are about as hot as 50+ year old chicks wearing booty shorts.


There must be a psychological trigger in slow drivers that causes them to speed up in passing zones/lanes.


Driving with the runs is crappy, no really.


In what I presume is an effort to discourage sex in public restrooms in Utah, they make the restroom stall walls low enough that an oompa loompa can watch you poop.




Try to avoid family reunions/camping in the forest during a forest fire.


Who would've thought that a organic grocery store/cafe called Laid Back Larry's would fail to thrive in Kanab, Utah?


Avoid hotel buffets that offer "all you can catch crabs".






Riding a motorcycle is not a crime, failing to signal while sliding into my lane in front of me and my loaded trailer while going about 20 MPH slower than me is, and its dumb.

Summer dresses are always okay, except when they're not.


Watching a creepy dude walking up and down the parking lot of a rest stop at 2AM looking into sleeping people's car windows was a little unsettling...





Morale to this whole story? Never ever ever sleep at a rest stop, I don't even think I will pee at one again...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thoughts on tolerance and openmindedness

Is openmindedness a word? It sounds right, but it looks wrong.

The other day I was looking for some information about an event happening in a town nearby. Being the tech savvy guy I am I Googled it to see what I could find. Of course a million entries came up, one looked good so I clicked it to see what it said. It happened to be an article written for something called the Jackson Hole Underground. Guessing that this was an online publication for the "underground society" of Jackson (BTW how underground can you get in a city of about 9000 people?) I wondered what they would have to say about the subject matter I was looking up, a Glenn Beck speech over the Independence Day weekend. The author was not shy about letting everyone know where he stood on the subject calling Beck a racist that inspires terrorism. I am guessing the author would say he leans somewhat to the left of Glenn Beck politically I really don't know, but using that presumption I would guess that the author is a Democrat, maybe with liberal leanings. I have heard a lot from Democrats about how they are the party of tolerance and inclusion, how they champion the causes of the less fortunate, homosexuals, and illegal aliens just to name a few. How we should all have one love etc... The problem I have with this is that it seems to me that when it comes right down to it, they only want to include those who feel/think the way they do. I have had some conversations with Democrats who wouldn't include me in anything but a hit list. I have found it is very difficult to have discussions with these people because they just keep telling me that I am wrong, narrow minded, and less educated than they are. There isn't a lot of tolerance for my thoughts on many issues, so it makes me wonder.

Now I realize that I am making a generalization here, it is a generalization based on my experiences however, and my perceptions are what my reality is based on. For what its worth I have listened to Glenn Beck for about five years now, not everyday, and I've never watched his t.v. show for more than five minutes. In that time I've never heard him say anything racist. Ever. I've never heard him incite terrorism, or have I ever heard of a terrorism act claimed by him or those who listen to him or who believe what he believes.

I have had similar experiences when it comes to religion. I happen to belong to a faith that believes in proselytizing. We believe that our religion is true, that it will bring others peace and joy, and a fuller meaning to their life. For two years I spent time in England trying to share that message with others. When you knock on doors for 12 hours a day you meet some amazing people. Most of those I met did not share my beliefs. That's okay with me because I respect people's ability to choose. Some of these people I met welcomed me into their homes, offered me food and drink warmth and the opportunity to discuss my beliefs. They were respectful, kind, and generous with their time. They didn't often believe what I said but they listened. I'd like to think that these discussions were mutually informative. More often I would run into people who would not listen, which again is fine I respect their ability to choose, but not only would they not listen they would insult me and my beliefs. It wasn't that they just didn't believe me, they had to insist that I was wrong. From there they had to tell me that I was in fact going to hell and that this would be too good a destination for me. I don't get that. Especially when this would come from "born again Christians."

I might be wrong, but wouldn't one who has accepted Jesus as their personal savior feel some obligation to follow His example to the best of their abilities? To, in whatever way they could, try to be Christlike? Much like my experiences with Democrats I haven't found a lot of tolerance from these "Christians." It seems to me that Jesus spent His time with lots of different people. From publicans, to lawyers, lepers and the crippled, non-believers and zealots alike. Christ listened to the woman taken in adultery and listened to her accusers. He heard out both sides and offered His counsel. He seems to me a good example of tolerance. He included all who would listen into His discussions and delivered sermons to one and all. I wish we could all be a little more like Jesus of Nazareth. More kind, more willing to listen to other's opinions, more willing to reason one with another.

What would your choice be? To be like the man who commented that if Glenn Beck would believe in Mormonism he would believe in anything? Or like the man who said suffer them to come unto me? Irregardless of your personal beliefs, wouldn't the world be a better place if we could respectfully listen to others, to accept that they can have their own thoughts/opinions on issues, and to realize that just because they do they are not less intelligent or more gullible than we are? I'd like to think so, but, I respect your ability to think otherwise.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fatherhood

My children are my most effective teachers.
I learn joy listening to them laugh.
I learn heartbreak when they try and fail.
I learn pride when they try again and succeed.
I learn valor when they face their fears.
I learn kindness in their selfless acts for others.
I learn faith when they pray.
I learn heartbreak when I fail them.
I learn humility when they forgive me.
I learned the depth and breadth of love, when I became a father.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mormon Bachelor Pad Author Revealed

OH MY GOSH!





Really I couldn't believe this when I saw the headlines here that the "boys" behind Mormon Bachelor Pad had been revealed. I have been asking Eliza why she reads "their" tripe anyway aways complaining about the content. She said its like a train wreck that you can't walk away from. Well babe, this ones for you!





Salt Lake City, Utah




Person behind controversial "Mormon" blog revealed:




Janet Mahonri Smith, 54, acknowledged today that she is in fact the person behind the exploits of several "young mormon men". Why did she do it? "Well I started to feel like a funk had set in." Smith stated that she was an English major at Brigham Young University before dropping out to become a wife and mother. "I really feel like I did the right thing." She explained referring to her domesticated life. But as she matured things began to change. "I found that the passion was eking out of my life. " In fact Smith says, "the only thing my husband would get excited about is the BYU vs. Utah games." Referring to the hot blooded rivalry between the two universities. What could she do to help ease her tension that wouldn't drive her from the tenants of her dearly held religion? "I had to create a separate life." A nom de plume would not be enough for Janet. "I started and stopped several other blogs." It just didn't work for her writing about difficulties creating center pieces for her weekly church lessons under another name. What she really needed was a break from her deeply committed life. And it was a break she got in the form of NCMO's, or non committal make outs in the parlance of her subjects. "The posts really began to take on a life of their own, and I couldn't believe that people didn't see right through me." Smith originally thought it would be tough to pull off the charade. "I mean, I'm a middle aged mother." But it appears that she knows what it takes to boil the blood of her predominantly female readership. "I think that deep down a lot of mormon women want to just let their freak flag fly and make out with young men with no attachment." But what about the seedier aspects of her blog, the so called "dry humping" episodes? "Oh my heck people get over it, I'm a married woman just trying to blow off some steam!" So what is the future for the "bachelors"? We may have to wait and see, and for Janet? The best maybe yet to come "I'm thinking of having the boys grow up and graduate, maybe even start exploring their sexuality..."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Christmastime remembered



Its St. Valentines day so of course the happy little elves at wally world are busy setting up the Easter candy displays, and right on cue, I'm posting about Christmas! We were very fortunate to be able to take a trip to SLC the weekend after Christmas with my family and my step brothers and their families (we missed you Brian and Val!) and see the Christmas lights at temple square and enjoy the wonderful spirit of the season. An especially fun part of the trip was taking the kids to the Church History Museum. I really love museums of any kind, but this one has some pretty cool exhibits that truly help you appreciate what the founders of my faith went through. I wanted to post some pictures and try and share with you the feelings I had. Hope you enjoy.




A view of the Christus in the north visitors center, He is the reason for the season


Joseph, Mary, and the Christ child


The Assembly Hall (for some reason I really like this building)



Joseph and Oliver receiving the Aaronic Priesthood


Mom and Lynner (thanks guys!)


Almost the whole group (do you think it was cold?)


This is my shot (not the first time this view has been taken but I like it)


Rexy enjoying the comforts of a ship at sea (this was cool because I served in Liverpool, England on my mission were tens of thousands of Saints left Europe for America on these ships)



Katie Grace checking out some dress up clothes


The Two Amigos



TROUBLE unleashed, and of course climbing on things!

My beautiful wife (moments before yelling at me to GET OFF THE FLOOR!)

A portion of a letter from the Prophet Joseph Smith (The Spirit at this and the Book of Mormon section was so strong. It really amazed me to see his actual handwriting)

The pistols Joseph and Hyrum used to defend themselves and John Taylor's watch and staff (The letter was hand written by Willard Richards and the books is the Doctrine and Covenants)



Death mask of Hyrum Smith


Death mask of the Prophet Joseph Smith
Standing there looking at Joseph and Hyrum's face I really felt the Spirit. It was comforting to me to know that finally they were at peace. It was truly an honor to be there. Seeing the death masks again. Seeing Joseph's actual writings. Seeing an actual page from the original translation of the Book of Mormon. These things just made the Gospel feel so much more real. It gave me such a great appreciation of the lives of the early Saints. It was much like our visit to Martin's Cove, where the spirit of sacrifice exhibited by the early Saints to make it possible for me to worship and follow the Gospel without persecution and trial truly humbled me. This trip to SLC at Christmastime was a great blessing. I'm so glad our family was able to go, and I hope that you feel a little of how I felt when you see these pictures. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true.

Catching up...

Wow, I just realized its been since September that I last posted on this poor neglected blog. I'm glad they didn't shut it down! I thought about closing down my Facebook account the other day because it killed my blogging and it can be a monumental time waster (coincidentally this thought occurred about the same time FB changed its layout unannounced for the 400th time but I digress). I didn't pull the plug on the FB yet because it has helped me to reconnect to some degree to friends and family who I don't communicate with any other way. It certainly puts me in a quandary because, no offense intended, although I do love seeing what people are up to; I really could not care less about someones lost trouser trout in aquiriumfarmmafiaville (full disclosure, I did post my all time highest Bejeweled score, but it was 300k + who wouldn't?). I know that FB is trying to pull in the almighty dollar, which is their right and I don't blame them, but it as my right as a consumer to pull they plug when I can no longer see what friends current updates are without hunting them down like a cold case file killer. I hate to re-enter the blogosphere with a complaint post, but hey it was on my mind. I hope this post finds all you faithful readers (hahaha) well, KG