20 September 2017

On entering Area 51

Area 51.

What comes to mind when you hear "Area 51?"

Conspiracy? Secrecy? Aliens? Really bad sci-fi films? That's where both Jimmy Hoffa and Elvis are currently hanging out, right? Is that where the FemBot we know as Melania Trump was created?

The questions about Area 51 and, much like the soul of the current occupant of the White House, the answers are non-existent. Today, though, I have answers because I have entered Area 51.

I should be clear that the Area 51 I speak of is not that den of conspiracy somewhere north of Las Vegas but rather it is the fact that I turned 51years old today. I've already discovered some parallels to this august age and the alien landing area that dare not speak its name. There's a few things about this age that are making me feel more and more alien-esque. For instance:

  • Spots on spots on spots - each day it seems like some new age spot or dry patch o'skin makes an appearance on my dad bod. At this point, you could play a nearly endless game of "Connect the Dots."
  • Memory Erasing - remember the fun little tool the "Men in Black" boys used to wipe people's memories? Yeah, so I seem to have one of those that's gone active somewhere in the recesses of my mind that makes me forget odd little things. (Sorry about not remembering to get the 13 bagels sliced the other morning, every body!)
Those are just two things along the alien path that is turning 51. I suspect I've got another reminder from AARP that I have yet to join that army awaiting me in my mailbox today. I'm steadfastly holding out on that one, no matter what my increasingly gray head of hair suggests. The fact of the matter is that even though today I turned 51, I'm not feeling older. Like James Brown belts, "I feel good."

I've got plenty of reason to feel good. The stunningly patient and mighty fine SML has now been by my side (by her choice, people) for nigh on thirty years. We just seen the weekend with our children, grandchildren, and almost new daughter-in-law and that was simply a joyous experience for us as parents. Basically the best early birthday present I could have hoped for. I am a lucky man.

So, I'm a tad curious to see where the mystery of Area 51 and this year takes me. The one thing that I know for sure is I'll be grayer by the time I roll into 52 next year. Everything else is up for grabs. Bring it on, 51st year!

11 September 2017

On 9/11/01

@911 Memorial
Rather than posting the remarks I made in church on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks as I have done for the last several years, today I'm resharing the first post I wrote about that terrible day. I didn't write it until nine years after the event and today, 16 years on, I worry time is softening the horror of that day. I don't want that to happen, not to remember the horror but to remember how it brought our nation and our world together, if only for a few brief moments. Without further commentary, here's that first post:

September 11, 2010
While it's a day after the 9th anniversary of the attacks on U.S. soil that claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people, I've found myself quite contemplative this weekend. My mind has not been far from the events of that horrific day. Much has been said that it was one of those watershed events - one that you'll never forget where were you were when you first heard the news. I know I was in my car on I15 driving into the office and was on the phone with my company's help desk, trying to address an issue with my computer. I'll not forget the gasp of the young woman on the other line as she told me what she was seeing. That was right after the first plane hit. I sensed that whatever was going on in New York City was going to change everything. And it did.

The stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and I had been in NYC the week before the events of 9/11. We'd gone for a few days to relax and enjoy the city. It was an awesome trip and I'll never forget as we were being driven back to JFK the view we had of the Towers. The Towers were not beautiful. However, on that afternoon nine years ago, they were framed by a gorgeous, cloudless blue sky and seemed, at that moment, to embody New York City. I recall saying something to SML about as we drove. Little did I know that one week later, those towers would be a pile of smoking rubble and the tomb of 3,000 people.

I've thought many times over the years about who died in the Towers, the Pentagon, and aboard United 93.   I believe we are indebted to each of them who died to NOT forget what happened that day.  We must live in such a way that we prevent something like this from ever happening again.  We've got to eradicate hate and fear.  Ultimately, we are all children of the same God and are inherently good.  This hate-mongering that has our world divided has got to stop.

I suspect I'm going to close the evening tonight watching the most extraordinary film I've seen about 9/11. I'll watch, and weep as I do, United 93. It simply is stunning. It's a powerful reminder of what a handful of people can do, and what they did, on that day.

May we never forget their sacrifice and may we live in such a way that there is no longer a need for people to feel that we have to kill one another like this.

09 September 2017


Last night the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML was perusing the Facebooks when she insisted that I look at a picture posted by one of her friends. The picture featured this friend's daughter, in a hospital bed (rightfully so as she had just delivered twins), and her OB/GYN standing next to her, holding the babies. SML wanted to know if I recognized the doctor. I didn't, so I assumed it was the new grandfather. 'No, silly,' she decried. 'It's Dr XX!' Dr. XX delivered both CAL and the RM. Apparently I was supposed to have his image seared into my memory. I did not. The last time I recall seeing or speaking to said doctor was twenty two years ago today when he delivered The Boy aka The RM.

That's right, twenty two years ago today, our lives were inexorably changed with the arrival of The Boy. He was more than a week late, finally turning up when he felt the time was right. That time, of course, was when I was right in the middle of delicious burrito that I was never able to finish (not that I'm still bitter) because a nurse insisted it was time for SML to start pushing. It was our third child and he was our smallest. I mean she could have sneezed and shot him out like a cannon. I could have finished that burrito (again not that I'm still bitter).

While I didn't get to finish that burrito, I am forever grateful for the Boy that we got that day. Each of our children have brought their own unique spirit into our home and he was certainly no different. With two older sisters and his mom, he essentially grew up with three mothers. For the most part, he's been a good sport about that. He's never left us wondering why our lives are dull. He's made sure they aren't. From a cavalcade of broken arms to inexplicable dents in his car during high school to his absolute transparency in telling us all kinds of things, he's made sure our lives have been anything but dull. Frankly, I'm grateful for that. Not sure I'd have it any other way, as I look back on his shenanigans over the years, as a parent does on a child's birthday.

You can't help but look forward to what lies ahead on a child's birthday as well. The RM has grown into a darn good young man. He's wading through young adulthood and is making his way through the minefield of adulthood with aplomb, so far. He's found himself a really lovely young woman and they have a lot of exciting things ahead of them.  We're excited for him, to be sure.

Happy birthday, son. I'm lucky to be your dad. It's been an honor and it's never been boring. My gray hair thanks you.

04 September 2017

So summer ends with a nap

Today, September 4th, we celebrate Labor Day in the United States. Ostensibly, it is the day we honor the American labor movement and their contributions by taking the day off. We celebrate the day by making a whole group of American workers, who are largely underpaid and under appreciated, work so that we can redeem coupons for stuff we probably don't need, like linens, toasters, paint, and yet another HDTV. Is there any better way to thank an American worker than to brave a long line of people at their register, so you can yell at them for not taking that crumpled expired coupon you found under the driver's seat of your car? Because 5% off. Yea, Labor Day sales!

In addition to celebrating America's labor movement, the Labor Day weekend also signals the unofficial end of summer. This summer has sped by as quickly as the Megalomaniac in Chief's approval ratings have sunk. I didn't take a lot of time off this summer and you'd think that would have made it creep by, but it didn't. The summer weather we had here was pleasant, with hardly any weird overly hot days. So it's not like a dreary heat made the days go by slowly. To be sure, we stayed busy, opening the summer season with visits from our children and ending it by visiting them behind the Zion Curtain. It just seems like we blinked and the summer was over.

The last couple of days have brought a relative chill to the night air and we find ourselves looking to what looms ahead on the fall calendar. There is the not insignificant business of an October wedding awaiting us. Fortunately, as the parents of the groom, most of what we had to do for it has come together, thanks to the formidable and slightly terrifying Wedding-Industrial Complex that is Utah County, UT. I could go on for days about that but that's another post for another day, but I'll just say this, these wedding people are wasted in what they're doing now. Send them to North Korea and they'll wear Kim Jung-Un down to nothing in no time with their blindingly white smiles, matching black outfits, and eternal perkiness. He'll give up his nuclear weapons in no time, I'm telling you right now.

So with summer essentially over, I'm not going to indulge in the Labor Day sales shenanigans. I think I'm going to go back to bed. A nap seems like a fitting way to celebrate the day.

Take a nap today, my friends. You won't regret it.