7.31.2008

Traveling Cat

Zeeba definitely likes me more than MacKenzie. While MacKenzie does mean things like bathing the cat and trimming her nails, I sneak her extra food when MacKenzie isn't looking, and I remember to give her her laxative, which she loves. So it's not surprising that the cat has missed me while I've been gone (as I'm sure you readers have, too). Proof that the cat likes me more occurred when I was packing for my latest trip the other day.

Unfortunately, I had to explain to Zeeba the intricacies of airline travel for pets and the discomfort that she would feel en route. She decided to stay home.

7.30.2008

Wisconsin Adventure II: The random day between the bachlorette party and the wedding

Friday we woke up well rested and ready to take on the day. Oh wait, that was just me. Craig woke up feeling a little less than peppy but when there are state capitols and history museums to see, nothing will stop him.

We started with the Wisconsin Historical Museum. Honestly, it wasn't very good. Now, my thinking it was boring wouldn't really mean much but that was Craig's opinion too.

But I did get to take these snazzy pictures sitting on a tractor so it wasn't a total wash.

We then headed to the Capitol.
It was nice but not as cool as Texas' since you can't do the neat whisper echo trick.
The views from the top were pretty awesome though.
You might not be able to tell but Craig is holding up The Onion we just happened to come across after he picked it up while walking from the museum to the capitol.
Ironic, huh?By then it was time to meet this groom fellow who was going to marry my dear Rachel.
We sat around the student union area at the University of Wisconsin. With so many of us, no one really got a chance to talk to Neal a lot but luckily he will be married to Rachel for a long time so we should have plenty of time to learn all about him.

This picture isn't great but it illustrates three things about our time there.
1. There was beer. Since it was Wisconsin, one shouldn't be surprised. I even took one sip so I could check it off of my "things you have to do in Madison" list.

2. There was a lake. It was big. It was pretty. It had a cow boat on it. (If you didn't know, a cow boat is a boat painted with cow spots - how fun!)

3. It was sunny and I was wearing a sleeveless shirt.

The picture does not illustrate the fact that I did not plan very well and wasn't wearing sunscreen for any part of the 2+ hours we were there. I think you can see where I am going with this, but if not, you will be able to see it in the pictures from my third installment of Wisconsin Adventures. Get excited, it's the one with the pretty white dress.

7.29.2008

I Remember

Beav,

You're turning 15 today! How exciting; you must be feeling so grown up and mature. But ...

I remember when Rick and I went with Mom to go see your ultrasound. When we found out you were a boy, and truthfully, I was really disappointed, I wanted a sister.

I remember how excited I was when Dad told us you were born and how it didn't even matter that you weren't a sister. Even though I was only 8, I was fiercely protective of my baby brother. I even fought with Grandma over who would get to hold you.

I remember when you were two and loved hats; military hats, fireman hats, baseball caps, if you could put it on your head, you loved it.

I remember when you were three or four and went through a phase were the only thing you liked to wear were superhero pajamas. You had batman and superman and they both had little capes velcro-ed to the back. You wore them everywhere.

I remember how you have always loved baseball but refused to play t-ball when you were little because it was "cheating" and not "real" baseball.

I remember in Korea how you started becoming not only my baby brother, but my friend. We were able to do lots of sightseeing together, climbing mountains, going snow tubing, seeing the world's largest indoor theme park and eating all that great Thai food, especially the fish and chips.

I remember hanging out in the basement and playing skateboarding games on the X-box with you. I could compete for the first 2 hours or so of getting the game but after that, I didn't even stand a chance.

I remember helping you do your homework just last year and thinking how smart and diligent you were even though we were reading about the most boring subject in all of science - rocks. I knew then that you were going to be just fine in "real school."

I can't wait to watch you grow up even more and see what great things you go on to do with your life.

Right now, life might seem like it is getting more difficult as you're getting older: more choices, harder decisions, and longer lasting consequences but without the independence that you sometimes might want. And it must be harder without Dad being right there with you, you're having to step up and be the man of the house. But if you ever doubt that you can do it, if you ever feel like giving up, just you remember that I believe in you and I've known you since before you were even born so I know what I'm talking about.

Happy Birthday!

7.28.2008

My Travel Ordeal

Stories such as the one I am about to tell are not uncommon, but I'll go ahead and share anyway.

I was flying from Salt Lake City via Denver to Fargo Saturday. I made it to Denver OK, but then learned that my next leg was delayed two hours. Great, I thought. I'll have to be picked up from the airport at 12:30 am. Later, though, the flight was pushed back another half hour, then another hour. All told, it was to be 3.5 hours late. Lo and behold, 11 pm approaches, and I'm ready to board, at which time I learn the flight is canceled, as was the flight to Billings at the next gate. So that means there are four planes worth of people (the two canceled flights and the two planes of people who missed connections) who need accommodations and reassignment. We all headed for the one customer service desk. I've heard that, in this situation, you should call the customer service line to get taken care of instead of waiting in line. However, Frontier Airlines does not have a 24-hour phone number, unless you want to order a gift card. So I stood in line for an hour, commiserating with a young gal from Billings and an old couple also headed to Fargo.

At this time, I figured my options were 1) the 10:40 am flight the next day, 2) the 7:30 pm flight the next day (in which case I'd tell them just to send me back to Utah), or 3) another airline. I ended up receiving a noon flight on United, which wasn't too bad of a resolution. I also got a night at the Doubletree, breakfast and lunch vouchers (worth a paltry combined $12), and $150 towards a future flight (I was expecting a larger amount for this). I did not roll into the Doubletree until 1:30 am, thanks in large part to the fact that the Denver airport is in the middle of nowhere (25 minutes by shuttle to the hotel). Also, what's up with this piece of "art" at DIA?

(Note: CC license for this photo here.)

Which of the four horsemen of the apocalypse rides this one? My money is on "famine."

I was faced with two more ignominies before I could reach my destination. First, likely due to my recent flight switch and my one-way status, I was selected for additional screening at the airport (pat-down, luggage search, etc.). Although intrusive, this may have sped my way through security, and I had nothing overly embarrassing in my luggage, so it wasn't too bad.

Second, after I was ensconced in my first-row seat on the little 50-seater airplane that would take me to North Dakota, the flight attendant asked for a volunteer from rows 1-4 to move to an exit-row seat further back. Nobody else piped up, so I thought I'd be a good guy and get some extra leg room, so I raised my hand. I immediately felt volunteer's remorse as I saw that I would be sitting to an apparent ex-football player that probably weighed 275 pounds. In the window seat. I was able to survive his bad smell, loud nasal exhale, and blocking of the armrest for the two-hour flight. I'm not sure why the attendant needed two people in the exit-row seat. This guy could have handled the door in an emergency, although he may have gotten stuck in the opening, resigning us all to a fiery death. As things turned out, I guess I would been the sole survivor of such an incident.

Finally, I leave you with a recommendation. Chef Jimmy's Bistro is a good place to eat at the Denver airport.

Wisconsin Adventure I: The bachelorette party

Obviously you have already seen the best picture from the bachelorette party but I thought I would share a bit more about our super fun time.

Since both Rachel and Neal had lots of friends flying in, they decided to be very modern about the whole bachelor and bachelorette party thing and send all Rachel's friends, both boys and girls, to the b-ette party and all Neals friends, both sexes, to the b-party. It was a great idea.

We started with some Mexican food on State Street which would have been a pretty tame start except Craig had made a joke about bringing a penis cake and Rachel doubted him. Of course, he was then a male who had been challenged and told me I had three days to come up with a way to get a penis cake made in another city.

Now, Rachel is a fun girl but she is also a good modest Christian girl who I thought might not be totally appreciative of a big penis cake sitting at her table in a very public restaurant. Plus, I had no idea where to get one on such short notice she we just stopped by the Pick n' Save, picked up one of those semi-decorated cakes and added our own little embellishment.

She found it quite amusing. But after all the pictures, it was covered with a napkin until the appropriate time came for the cutting and eating. We aren't vulgar people.

Now, all those embellishments that Craig wore were not really intended for him, they were for Rachel. At first she only had the banner/streamer thing (what are those called?) but then she was given a string of penis beads.

Here she is looking skeptical after we forced her to try them on for a picture. If I were into titling pictures, I would call it "I'm smiling because y'all are my friends but inside my heart, I do not like this."

But then she put on a feather boa and veil and we convinced her that you could barely see the beads with the boa on, so she kept it. Which, at least in this picture, was kind of a lie but who cares, yeah for Rachel! Sorry about the arm but she was blinking in the other one.
By this time we had also had a couple of pitchers of margaritas brought out. There were lots of flavors, some of which I actually liked. I had Craig pour me about 1/4 of a margarita at a time so I could sample all the flavors (I liked peach but not guava) but by the time I had tasted about 3/4 of a margarita I looked over, saw Craig, and realized I was now the designated driver and stopped drinking. That's okay, because alcohol is not really my thing.

And here is a picture of Eric. He is such a cutie and I think this is the only good picture I have of us at dinner that contains more than just his arm. Sorry Eric.
Now, it was a bachelorette party so we (and by we I mean, the women folk) did have to talk a little about s.e.x. It's true. The boys thought this was funny so they took a bunch of pictures of it. Here's one. See Rachel soaking in all the information - but that was a week ago when she was young and niave. Now she is old married woman. My, how quickly things change. But the night didn't end there, even though by now you readers are probably wishing it did. We went and did some karaoke. I don't really have much to say about karaoke other than it was quite amusing. So just look at the pretty pictures.
Okay, so that is the bachelorette party. All I have left to say is "I do hope Rachel doesn't kill me after reading this post."

7.27.2008

True Aggies, True Friends

Okay, I promise that we actually did go to a wedding and I do have pictures. The posts are coming up soon but here is a little preview to tide you over.



7.26.2008

Oh dear, I'm confused.

I joined Twitter. I was told it would be addicting and amazing and like a bored fool, I jumped in without having any idea of what I was up against. But now what?

What twitter etiquette should I know? Can I just start following anyone ol' blogger whose blog I read or is that rude and stalker-like? And I can't seem to find any bloggers I know - if you are out there, please by my friend (follower sounds like I'm a cult leader).

And why would I make a comment a favorite? Is that so I can find it later or to help it's rating? Do comments have ratings? And I am pretty sure they aren't called comments but what do I call them? Twits? - surely that isn't correct.

HELP!

7.25.2008

Another holiday post

Several people have asked me why I wasn't going out and celebrating the holiday yesterday. Well, the simply truth is I'm not a Mormon. I know, I know, it isn't just a LDS holiday, it's a state holiday too - but it is a holiday to celebrate LDS history and I just don't care about that. Maybe if I considered myself more of a Utahn, I would, but I don't really think so.

Having said that, I have absolutely no problem with it being a religious holiday and a state holiday. The LDS church is a huge part of Utah history and it would just be silly to pretend otherwise. I feel the same way about Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas in the US. I say Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays (and especially not X-mas!)

It has been really interesting to live in such a religious environment when that religion that isn't my own. I have lived in places where the overall predominant religion wasn't Christianity before (like Korea) but even then, my little community was mostly Christians. That's just the way I roll. And in Texas, almost everyone you meet would at least describe themselves as a Christian, whether or not that actually effected their lives on Sunday or any other day. But never have I been a part of a community, and yet, in such a large way, not been a part of it.

I have really learned a lot living here because of that, especially in the area of church/state relations. Most of my opinions on what is acceptable and what isn't haven't really changed, but I do understand how "the other side" feels now and where they might be coming from. And it has challenged me to sort out why I believe what I believe and to ensure that I have solid reasons and logic for thinking a certain way. I don't want to just go along continuing to think what I have always thought because that is what I have always thought so why not keep thinking it?

What about you? How does your religion and your community's compare and how does it affect your life, thoughts, etc?

Another blog to read

I designed another blog! This time it was for friends, not family. I tried to make it as cute as the authors, Scott and Carrie. You should go there and read all about them...there is even a story about a plane, a wallet and a Fedex package. And be sure to leave some comments and give them a big welcome to the blog world.

7.24.2008

It's a holiday!?!

Didn't you know that today was a holiday? You didn't? Then you must not live in Utah. Today is Pioneer Day so I don't have to work, which I must say is pretty sweet. I called my mom just to talk and when she picked up she was concerned I was sick or hurt or something since I wasn't at work.

But nope, it's just your typical LDS/state holiday to spend lazily around the house, thinking about packing but not really getting much accomplished. I don't feel at all bad about that though since K. came over last night and we packed up our movies, games, and knickknacks from the living room plus all my kitchen stuff (except a crock pot and plates, bowls and utensils for two since we still have to eat for the next two weeks). We were packing fools.

But I have been semi-successful at writing posts to save up for the next week or two when I know I won't have time to post anything. Other than that, it's been a day full of nothing.

All this nothing has got me worn out so I think I'm gonna go take a nap now.

7.21.2008

And we're back.

Whew, we're I'm home. We got in around 2am and get a few hours of sleep before 8am when I had to be at work and Craig had to load up his work's truck and drive 8 hours to Nevada for his last week of work. I'm so sleepy but I am sure he is more so I won't complain.

We had a great weekend and I have lots of fun pictures to post but that will have to wait. I have so much to do before Wednesday when people come to take our dresser away and K. comes to help me pack. I'm not organized enough to pack yet!

I did a little after dinner today but then had to rush to bible study and after I got home I realized I only had energy for one more pre-move task - making these cookies. I stumbled upon this recipe a while ago and have meant to try them for a while but here are the three reasons I choose today to finally do so:

#1. I need chocolate right now. And as I am a women, that is a valid excuse all by itself but there is also

#2. It uses up a lot of ingredients in my pantry that I seldom use but don't want to just throw out when we move.

#3. Wednesday I will be packing up my big pot so this was my last chance.

Now that I have finished writing this, the cookies should have cooled so I am going to have myself a snack then finish up some books. Oh wait, "finish the library books and take them back" is another of my pre-move tasks. Man, I am being so efficient tonight.

The Great Land

Here's a classic, informative clip in honor of the city we flew in and out of this weekend. Enjoy.

7.17.2008

Off for our own Wisconsin Adventure!

Remember this winter when Rachel got engaged? Well, now it is time for her to get married! Craig and I are currently on a plane flying to Wisconsin to meet up with her (and a bunch of old friends) and meet the gentleman caller/soon-to-be-husband before watching the two of take the plunge. I'm excited - there will be flowers, cake, at least one very pretty dress and I've even heard rumors that some Weird Al will be played. Who could ask for a better weekend?

Good Luck With That

I saw this on Main Street the other day:

As you can see, this behemoth is for sale. I'm not sure if it's a bus, an RV, or a bus converted to an RV, but in this era of $4 gas, I suspect this will be sitting there, unsold, for quite some time.

7.16.2008

No craziness, stress or whining here

I'm so glad it is finally out in the open that we are moving. I am the world's worst secret keeper but I did a pretty good job this time, if I do say so myself. It was very hard for me to do; I had so many posts I wanted to write but couldn't because they would either spill the beans or be completely nonsensical..."That's odd. Why is MacKenzie writing about people giving her strange looks as she is "stealing" all the cardboard boxes she can find from the recycle bins at work?"

It is probably a good thing though since most of those posts would have been a bit on the crazy/stressed/whiny side. But I am doing pretty good now. I am excited about moving back home, and yes, Texas is home. There are some things I will miss but I don't want to think about that right now.

Most of the craziness came from the idea of moving across the country. Surprisingly, as the moving date gets closer and closer, I get less and less stressed out. It's a total God thing because not being stressed out is not my thing (how's that for a double negative).

Even when I found out that after this weekend, Craig is going to be gone till just a few days before we load up the truck, leaving me alone to do all the prep work. (And this weekend we will be in Wisconsin so absolutely no packing will be happening then). I'm still calm - it's amazing. I just hope that this stress-less existence continues, because it's nice.

7.15.2008

Manly WFMW: Home Depot Sunglasses

I might be the first guy to ever do one of these, but here we go. There are two types of people when it comes to sunglasses: those who buy expensive ones, and (attempt to) take great care of them, and those who buy cheap ones, on the expectation that they will break, lose, or scratch them. I am one of the latter. I bought a pair of (real) Oakleys once, and I still remember the day I stepped on them. I have found the perfect pair of shades to satisfy my sunglass style, and they come from none other than Home Depot.

I am referring to the AO Safety Stylish Ice Blue Safety Glasses, which retail for only $7.98. I originally bought them because I needed safety glasses for a work project, and not only are they impact protective, but they block 99.9% of UV rays. In addition, they are stylish, at least to the extent that I care about such things. See for yourself:

















I am currently on my third pair of these; I lost one, and scratched another. So when it comes to cheap sunglasses that do their job but can easily be replaced when necessary, Home Depot sunglasses work for me.

7.14.2008

Movin' On

It is time to scrounge up some boxes and load the e-truck, because in a couple of weeks, this blog is packing up and moving to Texas. I (Craig) will be pursuing educational opportunities back at Texas A&M. While my coverage of Utah liquor laws will come to an end, you can otherwise expect the same level of service from us, as well as occasional updates on what's happening in Texas. Also, I'll no longer be doing my thing over at the KVNU blog (where I have a couple of posts up now), so I'll probably subject you to some more opinions here (hey, I heard you groaning). We will miss the Cache Valley blogging pals we have made while here, but we will continue to visit your sites, and hope you stop by here from time to time.

So, pardon the dust around here for the next three weeks, and the unpacked boxes for the next month or so after that.

7.13.2008

A Party, A Picture, A Poll

Last Friday, my friend K and I went to the aforementioned party. It was fun and I was correct in my assumption that there would be lots of gabbing. Afterwards, she invited me to go with her and her husband to the gallery walk/sidewalk sale around town. Lots of the shops on (and just off of) Main Street host artists' work and put out snacks so everyone wanders around eating and gazing. It's free and fun and since Craig wasn't getting home until 10ish, I appreciated having people to wander with. Both K. and her husband S. are artists and are quite informative to have around at these types of things, but they aren't snotty at all about it and welcome my opinion on what looks good and doesn't. I heart them.

At one of the stores, there was a contest for a pen and ink drawing of yourself but you had to be present to win. We probably would have moved on by the time a winner was drawn but S. saw someone he knew and they had stopped to chat. 5 minutes later they drew a name, and lo and behold - it was mine. Isn't that a shocking plot twist to the story, I mean, you could not have possibly seen it coming :-)

After sitting kinda still for 30 minutes (hey, it's hard) here is the result. What do you think?




7.11.2008

Update: Men on a Mission

Craig posted about the Men on a Mission calendar back last September but now it seems that some church officials are not to happy with him. Check it out.

Maybe it's like killing Kenny?

Is anyone else concerned that they killed off Rat in Pearls Before Swine, because I am. He's mean and rude...but funny. I hope he isn't really going to be leaving us.