31 January 2008

Brutal. Just brutal...

We are in the middle of the worst snowstorm of the winter - or so declares the various hysterical weatherpeople here in Chicagoland. Frankly, I think this time they are right. It started snowing at 10:00AM and it has gotten progressively harder. I left my office, just twenty miles from home, at 4:30PM. I got home at 7:15PM. That commute is normally 40 minutes at the most. Suffice to say it was heinous and it's supposed to snow until about 10:00AM tomorrow. And I have to be in the office for a 5:00AM meeting with my teams in London and Hong Kong. I'll have to get up at 3:00AM. Tomorrow is officially going to blow...

Thanks to the "Chicago Tribune" for capturing the easy part of the commute home tonight....yuck!

30 January 2008

Wii've done it!

So Parker's quest that began on 26 December 2007 to get a Wii is now over. After 35 days of countless trips to every purveyor of Wii's in the surrounding area, Shari managed to find a brand-new Wii for Parker at GameStop. Let the praises begin! There's much joy in Mudville. Parker, suffice to say, is elated.

I played it for the very first time tonight. For someone whose idea of a challenging video game is PacMan and who really hasn't sat down in front of a TV video game since the days of Atari's beloved Pong, the Wii is intimidating at first. But I figured if retirement home administrators are buying these things more than Geritol for their "guests", I could give it a go. OK - it's a kick. I quickly managed to get the hang of bowling, so apparently I will fit right in when I hit the retirement home circuit. Tennis was a little more challenging. And then there is the full-body seizure that is boxing. Watching Shari and Sarah go a couple of rounds was a riot. I'm still not understanding why I have to face the TV instead of my opponent when I'm in the ring, but maybe I'll get it one day. Maybe.

For now, I know that Parker is elated and that we had a really good time as a family tonight breaking it in. And given that we are looking at a pretty hard snow storm the next few days, it might be good to have something for us to do as a family.

28 January 2008

Bidding Farewell to a Beloved Servant of the Master

The gray and rainy skies that broke over Chicagoland this morning seemed appropriate after learning Sunday night of the passing of President Gordon B. Hinckley, a humble man of God whom we, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, revered as a prophet of God. While it is a sad day for the members of the Church, it is truly a joyous one as he reunites with his wife and those others who have gone before him on the other side of the veil.

While he now will live on in legacy and in our memories, Pres. Hinckley's witness of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ will stand forever. Temples, which were such a focus of Pres. Hinckley's life, now literally dot the Earth and stand as witnesses of God's majesty and the power of prophetic vision. I truly stand all amazed tonight as I count my blessings and ponder on the life of this exemplar of living a Christ-like life.

I've sought a bit of solace this day in the music of the Church. Hymns like "We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet" have brought comfort. It's been touching to listen to the music that my girls have gotten from EFY as well. There is one rendition of "Praise to the Man" by Jenny Jordan Frogley that has brought tears to my eyes time and again tonight. It's from the "A More Excellent Way" CD. It's a powerful, stunning rendition - the arrangement is unbelievable- of that hymn that praised that prophet of old, Joseph, but it applies in many ways to the work of the Pres. Hinckley. Give it a listen - you can find it on iTunes.

There is so much that can and will be said and written about Pres. Hinckley and so much will stand for his legacy. I thought it appropriate to share an example of his sweet, simple, yet powerful teaching. Years ago, he taught the youth of the Church the "Be-Attitudes," six simple guidelines:
  • Be Grateful
  • Be Smart
  • Be Clean
  • Be True
  • Be Humble
  • Be Prayerful
Simple, perhaps. Incredibly powerful, absolutely. How different this world would be if we each chose to live these six principles each and every day in all that we do. It would be a different world.

I am grateful for the witness that I have that Christ lives and that He is my Redeemer and that He guides us through prophets even today. I know that shortly another chosen of God will soon take on the mantle of prophet. There is peace in knowing that God's plan continues to work. I'm grateful for that knowledge. I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to know Pres. Hinckley and am eternally grateful for his life and example. Now, while we may shed a tear in his passing, we must honor his legacy by living the best lives that we can. We must live in such a way that we honor our older brother Jesus Christ in all that we do.

27 January 2008

My 15 Year Old Drives! and some other thoughts...

In more evidence that I am growing older by the minute, I now have another child who can legally drive on the streets of Illinois. And today I got my first taste of driving with Courtney on the real roads. Two things - first, let me just say that for a young lady who has racked up a grand total of about an hour of driving time, she did really quite well. Second, I was so glad that we were coming home from Church. I figured that, first of all, we would be watched over since we had just gotten religion. Secondly, said helping of religion would prevent me from blurting out swear words should the need arise. I'm pleased to say that it seemed to work. It was a swear-free ride home from Church. We got through it without even a panicked scream - from me, Courtney, or Shari (who wisely selected a seat in the back of the mini-van). Sarah and Parker completely wussed out, refusing to take this maiden journey with their sister, and rode home with our neighbors. I should have made them walk home for not supporting her. It's in the high 20's today. They would have been fine.

Aside from the normal first time driver thing of staying as close to the shoulder as humanly possible and thinking that the only way to get the brakes to work is to slam on them with both feet (or at least that's what it felt like on several occasions), she did a really good job. Courtney is now driving! Illinois lets 'em start driving at 15 years old - can you stand that?! I'm still trying to figure that all out. Oh well...game on, as they say.

Good day at Church. Another great discussion in Sunday School about the role and power of the Book of Mormon. Also got the year planned out for Activities Com
mittee. We'll roll the plans next week to the Ward Council. It could all go down in flames at that point. We'll see how it goes.

Looking forward to a quiet rest of the Sabbath. Now that "The Amazing Race" is off until the next season, I can watch "The Simpsons" live and tonight is a new episode. That will distract me from the ongoing political circus that rages. I've been reading several articles, both online and print, today about the Obama win (nice and strong!) in South Carolina on Saturday. Suffice to say, She Who Cannot Be Named got served. So much for the strategy of trotting out your philandering spouse as your attack dog. It will be interesting to see how the Wonder Twins (seriously, the "two for one" approach wasn't exactly a ringing success from 1992 to 2000 - do we really need to revisit it?) now retrench and go after the the Super Tuesday states. And then there's the Republican train wreck. How long before Giuliani bows out? Hopefully after the spanking he'll take in Florida, he will bow out and go back to pulling down six figures for each and every 40 minute speech he gives to loaded conventioneers dining on dry chicken. And then there's Mitt. I found a political cartoon drawn by Jimmy Marguiles of "The Record," a New Jersey paper, that pretty much nails what we''ll get with him should his stroll toward the White House prove successful:
It's not nasty, it's not slamming the religious faith that we share, it's just telling it like it is. All it needs is a little image of Flipper the Dolphin.

25 January 2008

Taco-rama en la Ciudad de Mexico

Cada vez que viajo a la Ciudad de Mexico, encuentro algo diferente y siempre me sorprende!

OK...so I'm back from about four days in Mexico City. It's
really an awesome place. Flying into the city reminds of the approach into LAX in Los Angeles, except the city seems to cover about ten times the area that LA does. Mexico City redefines sprawling. It's chaotic and it's full of surprises. Flew down Monday afternoon for two days of NBTA conferences. I was the opening speaker as well as a panelist at one of the sessions. After two full days of speaking Spanish, my head was ready to explode. It's one thing to learn Spanish as a missionary and talk about the Gospel all day long. It's quite another more than 20 years later trying to talk the language of business without interjecting an invitation to go to church, sing a hymn, or read the Scriptures. Even though it was pretty taxing, I couldn't help but reflect while I was there on how grateful I am for the opportunity that I had to serve as a missionary and to have a learned a language. It's been a blessing in more ways than I could ever describe.

So I stayed at the Hotel Nikko, a Japanese-owned hotel off the Paseo de la Reforma. It was quite Japanese - it was just missing the boss programmed, seat-heated Japanese toilets. It was also very, very close to two of the most awesome little restaurants that I have ever had the pleasure of finding. First, El Farolito, una taqueria. Temecula folks, it puts the Taco Shop to complete and utter shame. Their tacos were unbelievably good. I had tacos de chorizo, chuleta con queso, y nopal. Nopal is this really weird Mexican vegetable that is all the rage with the Japanese now because it supposedly has some medicinal properties. I don't know about that - I just know that roasted over an open fire and thrown on a corn tortilla at El Foralito, nopal is awesome! The other place was Maria Isabel. Quesadillas like you've never had before. I mean this is no open tortilla quesadilla. They look like turnovers...I'm dead serious. Take a look for yourself (and, no I did not take a picture while dining - gracias a Google Images for this one):

I took a couple of pictures (again with the crappy cell phone cam) - one from my hotel room:

And one from a private club called Club de Industriales where I had breakfast Thursday morning:

Got a chance to walk around the city too and it really is an interesting place. After a third day of meetings with my company, I flew back home late Thursday night. It had snowed about seven inches while I was gone. Thus my streak of getting out of Chicagoland in time to miss a pounding of snow remains unbroken. I still get to delight in the negative temperatures. Here's what the air temperature was as I drove into the office this morning:

Yep, -4 at 6:05AM. Seriously. I won't mention what it was with the wind chill.

And like any good parents, we sent Parker off tonight to a place called Starved Rock for a Scout campout. He'll be fine. He may come back with no feeling in his extremities or maybe hair on his chest, who knows. This much I know - he's going to have a good time! That kid always does.

20 January 2008

TAR'd Out

So another season of the greatest reality show on television has just come to an end. "The Amazing Race" Season 12 has ended. The final three teams tore through Anchorage, Alaska and the surrounding environs to the finish line. TK and Rachel won. I have to say I'm disappointed. It was clear from the beginning that they were in it to just hang out. Frankly for them it was not "The Amazing Race," rather it was the "Weed Around the World Tour." Clearly, they had a good time sampling. And now they have one million dollars in winnings. Perhaps TK could invest a little in shampoo and a shower.

Now it's time to wait for another season. I'll have to go back to plotting ways to get on this show. It's the only one where I figure I might have a chance at winning...

Off to Mexico City in the morning for four days of meetings, back to Chicagoland Thursday night. Here's hoping for an uneventful trip!

19 January 2008

Stupid Cold

Far be it from me to turn this blog into a lamentation about the cold, but brothers and sisters, it is just stupid cold in Chicagoland tonight. I mean stupid cold. Right now it is -2 degrees, with a wind chill of -20 degrees. I'm not kidding. Go check it out on weather.com

And it does feel like -20. I wish that I could properly describe what that feels like but I can't. You know it's cold when you inhale and your nostrils seal shut. Oh, and that -2 is actually an improvement from earlier today. I had to go into the office to take care of a few things before I jet to Mexico City on Monday and as I drove in at 800AM, it was -5. Can you stand that?!

I do have to give a shout out to the Swedes here though. While they did harm us as a nation irrevocably with the double nightmares of IKEA and ABBA, they also gave us the Saab (what is it about their affinity for four letter nouns?). The colder it gets, the better my Saab behaves. And the winter transmission switch makes driving in the snow fairly effortless. I like that...a lot.

17 January 2008

Cracked Windshield at 37,000 Feet

I had suggested that my day today was going to be long and ugly in my last post. I had no idea. It started this morning at 330AM, getting up then so I could make my 600AM flight to LaGuardia. All this so I could get into NYC before 11AM so I could make the speaking engagement, do my thing, and get back on a flight to Chicago.

Long story short....sail to O'Hare, no lines at Security, my First Class upgrade clears, and our flight backs out on time and we are in the air in no time flat. About an hour into the flight, things get interesting. The lead flight attendant gets a call on the cabin phone. She nods her head a couple of times and then calls the other flight attendants. About all I can hear her say is "everything locked up now." Umm...this is not good. She then snatches the meal trays from the three people that wanted the fruit plate and locked them up in no time. The Captain then comes on and announces (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Ladies and Gentlemen, we've developed a crack in windshield up here so we are diverting to Cleveland now. It's going to be a fast descent. Please remain seated with your seatbelts fastened."

Really? Ya' think? And descend we did. It was not your normal, leisurely, circuitous descent. This descent meant business. Kind of a take no prisoners approach to it. Fun? No, not really. Just as we came out of the descent is when the delightfully painful ear-popping fiesta began. Everyone started grabbing their ears or making those ridiculous facial gestures to get the ears back to normal (mine still aren't - FYI). The flight attendant in First Class quickly got up to make sure everyone had kept their seat belts on and she mentioned that they cockpit crew had been on their oxygen masks from the moment the crack was found and that they must have depressurized the plane when the ear-popping began.

I will tell you that I was thoroughly pleased when we landed in Cleveland and I hate that place. They at first said we should stay on the plane in case they fixed it. Yeah, right. I had no intention of doing that. Here's a picture of the plane with the baggage loader going right up to the window that was cracked. Who knew that a baggage loading belt was so versatile?

They cancelled the flight anyway. I spent about two hours in Cleveland trying to get a flight to NYC that could get me in on time but it was not to be. So I turned around and came back to Chicago and went into work. I'll tell you what...this had better not be a harbinger of how the rest of my year of traveling is going to be. I'm in no mood...

16 January 2008

"Delusional" Idol

What is it with our nation's undying bloodlust for watching others make complete idiots of themselves? Why do we feast on watching others come apart at the seams, especially when those seams are held together by the weakest of string and the biggest of delusions? Our family is guilty as charged, as watching America's favorite pastime is truly a family affair.

Of course, I reference the parade of America's most delusional that is "American Idol." It's back. Like a bad rash, it's back. You know that you are as guilty as I am watching the first installments. Watching thousands of people pile into stadiums (stadiums, people, stadiums!) to sing, knowing that 99.9% of them won't even get near a microphone is awesome. And you know you're watching to see the train wrecks. Based on the last two nights, it looks the folks manning the switchhouses on the railroad have gone to sleep, because it's been one cataclysmic train wreck after another. How is it that these people sincerely believe they are talented? That they even have a shot?! Props out to those who come just trying to get on TV - I suspect "Princess Leia" dude from last night made some serious coin off the bets he laid down with his friends as to whether he'd be able to get some camera time. That kind of antic I can get behind and respect.

What I cannot abide are the parents who feed the delusions of their no-talent, and in many cases, psychologically damaged, children. It's tragic that they allow this to go on. It's really cruel. I think a couple of states have grounds to prosecute these parents for abuse based on the parade of goons that flowed through the last two nights. But then, when you see how most of these parents react, you realize that the apple does not fall far from the tree, and that they are all eating from the same plate of crazy.

Do I think "Delusional Idol" is cruel? In most cases, no. Most of these idiots know what they are getting into. However, I won't even go into the whole Temptress thing (although why do parents name children things like that? You know that no good can come from that. None.) and the sob story that is her situation. And I think that a couple of the real, obviously mentally disturbed folks from tonight should never have gotten airtime, but instead should have been given counseling. But America loves a train wreck. And boy are we in for a season full this year. I'm just glad that I only have a couple of more episodes to watch until the auditions are over and I can look away.

Ugly, long day tomorrow. One day turn to New York City - 330AM wake up to make a 600AM flight and then back on the 5PM. Here's hoping the weather behaves. It won't - it's supposed to start snowing tonight....

13 January 2008

Our (My) Own Private Idaho

It's a cold Sunday night in Chicagoland, can I just tell you? And it looks like it's going to be that way all week. And apparently, the cold is something that we, the Lyons, are adjusting too. So much so that it now looks like we'll be going to Idaho more than we would ever have dreamed...and why?

Why? Because Sarah learned tonight that she's been accepted to BYU-Idaho. Should she decide to go there, she can make it her own. Her own private Idaho. I think more than a thinly-veiled reference to America's Greatest Party Band of all time, the B-52's, is more than called for here:

"You're livin in your own Private Idaho. Idaho.
You're out of control, the rivers that roll,
you fell into the water and down to Idaho.
Get out of that state,
get out of that state you're in.
You better beware.

The B-52's were and are fantastic. Although I saw them a couple of years ago at a private concert in Atlanta and let's just say that time had clearly rode that band hard and put them away wet. It was a little rough. Now, they are releasing their first studio album in a couple of months. I hope it doesn't blow...

It's kind of ironic that Sarah got accepted to Idaho first. When Shari was eight, almost nine, months pregnant with Sarah, I dragged her to a B-52's concert at the Marriott Center in Provo. We were so dumb and young that we called the hospital from a payphone (yes, a payphone - no cell phones yet) to see if the rumbling of the speakers would hurt the baby. Once they said no, it wouldn't hurt said baby, it was onto the floor of the Marriott Center to dance. The place erupted when they started to play "Private Idaho." And here we are 18 years later, staring down the barrell of visits to Idaho.

So Rexburg, ID in the winter actually manages to make Chicago look balmy. No small task, I might add. The thought of flying into Idaho Falls in the winter is stomach-churning. Although I think it's all the pocket rocket jets in there now and not the flying lawnmowers that used to serve that airport. And this may all be for naught, as she's awaiting the other BYU to make up their minds. I've promised NOT to go off about that until a later date...the clock, however, is ticking.

I find it difficult to believe that I have a daughter on the brink of going to college. As Shari and I talked about it tonight, it's not something we look at with sadness though. Sending her off is going to be great. Shari and I both felt like college allowed us to create some of the most amazing memories of our lives and it was such a good time. Really good times.

12 January 2008

Be Quiet - I'm Begging You

It's been one of those Saturdays - no real plan, no real need to get anything done. My main objective was a haircut. I got that done but not without some pain. One of the drags of moving to Chicagoland was giving up my barber in Temecula. It was an old-school barber, with old guys who learned their trade as a part of the GI Bill and for a couple of them, the war (which one? - well, it really didn't matter) never ended. They knew how to cut hair. No such barbers to be found here, at least not in our 'burb. And I'm not going to get on the train and haul it into the city every couple of weeks for a haircut, where I KNOW I could find an old-school barber. Anyway, so I'm forced to go to one the many storefront haircut franchises here, not that there's anything wrong with that. Wait...yes, there is. The woman who cuts my hair is good and she does not yammer on incessantly while cutting my hair. Sadly, I can't say that about the rest of the stylists/hair technicians/whatever you want to call them. That yammering is what makes it rough. It only takes about 10 minutes to cut my hair and all I want to do after about two minutes, is scream, "Be quiet, by all that's holy, be quiet! I'm begging you!" Seriously, I can count on no hands the number of people that want to hear all the drivel that gets spouted. I mean a couple of questions about how you want your hair cut and your day is fine, after that it's enough already. But oh no, the stuff you hear just drives me nuts. Just be quiet - it's a lock for a bigger tip, I'm telling you.

We did get to our ward's Young Men's basketball game today. It was a hysterical game to watch. It's obvious why Church Ball is more commonly known as the Brawl That Begins With Prayer. Our ward team is "highly focused" and they play to win. Our opponent today was the rival ward (is that really Christian to be rivals with another ward?) and I have to say that our boys schooled them. The win was decisive.

After the game, Shari shocked me by saying she wanted me to take her to the local Super H Mart. The Super H is this great Korean grocery store that is just chock full of the foods and smells of Korea and Asia. They have wicked good produce and Shari needed some stuff. Courtney shot the idea down like there was no tomorrow. She would have none of it, so I guess we'll do that another day. Nothing like a little kimchee sample on a cool afternoon to warm you up!

So it's shaping up now to be a quiet Saturday night. Parker and Courtney are heading to a friends' house to watch a movie and Sarah's got homework. Bummer for her!

09 January 2008

Global Warming?

So could it be that Al Gore is right? Probably not, although the weather in the Chicagoland area over the last few days made me think maybe he might be onto something. Our high on Monday was 65 degrees. I drove home with my sunroof open. Of course, there was no sun, but seriously! 65 degrees on January 7th. It was in the high 50's yesterday and even today, in the 40's, it still didn't feel like Chicago in the winter. It looks like we'll go back to the awful winter normal this weekend, so too bad, Al, not so much on the global warming.

It's a strange time, to be sure. She Who Cannot Be Named took New Hampshire, but not by much, and McCain wins one too. It's a world gone mad. Those little upsets seemed to tone down the "change" rhetoric, but I fear that is only for a moment.

All I know is that all this has me thinking that I need a trip to one of my favorite places, sooner rather than later. I hear the siren song of Hong Kong calling me...

I took this picture of the Hong Kong Central side from outside the IFC Mall next to the Four Seasons last year. Man, I need to go back.

I doubt I'll be there before April given my work calendar and association commitments. Heck, it'll be here before I know it.

The kids are back in school after their holiday break. All seems to be going well. Courtney in particular is excited about Driver's Ed. She takes her permit test this Friday. I don't know if I'm ready for this.....

06 January 2008

The Sunday Block Changes

Ahh Sunday...a day of rest and renewal and today, trauma. Why trauma? Our Sunday block schedule changed today. For those of you unfamiliar with the term "block schedule," let me define. First things first, it has nothing to do with my new-found ability to work on engine blocks - I have no such talent. The "block schedule" refers to the three-hour block of meetings that we Mormons attend each Sunday. That's right - three of hours of getting religion. For the last year, our ward has met at 9:00AM, getting us home right after noon. Those sweet days are gone. We moved to the 11:00AM - 2:00PM block today. I am going to have to get used to it. I much prefer starting earlier. It sets the tone better for me. And it's not like it lowered the noise level at Church (some argue that later Church works for younger kids' nap times - I'm not buying it). It was also the day when kids move up classes and that affected Parker the most. He's now officially out of Primary and into Sunday School and Young Men's. He got it figured out, although it was funny when he got home he complained that there's nothing to do (read: keep him entertained) like there was in Primary. That lamentation brought a big smile to his mom's face.

I really like our Gospel Doctrine teachers, the Castletons. Our course of study last year, the New Testament, came alive in their hands and I am looking forward to the study of the Book of Mormon this year. It's a familiar course of study but I sense that the Castletons will bring some new insight.

One thing about this new schedule is that it breaks my routine of reading the Sunday New York Times in one setting. I read a couple of sections before leaving for Church and got it finished up this afternoon. There was an interesting article in the New York Times Magazine entitled "What Is It About Mormonism?" The author, a Harvard academic named Noah Feldman, poses some interesting thoughts and while there things I would dispute in the article, it's worth reading. Here's a link to the magazine:


Mr. Feldman's closing paragraph in the article is excellent: "America changes, too. Today the soft bigotry of cultural discomfort may stand in the way of a candidate whose faith exemplifies values of charity, self-discipline and community that we as Americans claim to hold dear. Surely, though, the day will come when we are ready to put prejudice aside and choose a president without regard to what we think of his religion."

I hope that day comes soon - that we can put prejudice, of any kind not just religious, aside, and elect the best candidate for the job.

We'll have dinner with friends tonight - Thai Chicken on the menu - excellent. As a result, have to DVR the new "Simpsons" episode as well as "The Amazing Race." Truly the best things about television and it's a pretty shallow pool.

05 January 2008

"Change" - The Buzzword of 2008

Here we are, just five days into the New Year and the results of the Iowa caucuses have sent the nation's media into a full-blown grand mal seizure of coverage, with an unending use of the word "change," trumped only by the Chernobyl-esque meltdown of one Ms. Britney Spears. More on that travesty later...

The Iowa caucus results were interesting to watch. We were at the Bulls-Trailblazers game (Bulls looked pretty good in spite of losing in double OT - had Ben Wallace actually tried to make an effort they might have won) Thursday night so didn't really know what was going on until a friend of mine in DC (thanks, Zane!) texted me with some of the early results. When we got home from the game, Sarah was watching the results and filled us in further. Huckabee's win over the Republican snoozefest was not entirely surprising, but I was really pleased with Obama's win over She Whose Name We Dare Not Speak and the rest of the Democratic pack. It was a decisive win. It was funny to watch and hear how many times "change" was brought up by all the players. It's a lot of blowhard rhetoric and "change" is going to be the unending mantra, but I believe there is potential for positive change in this election cycle. I'm somewhat surprised at the way I'm leaning now...I figure my name will be stricken from the records of Maricopa Country Teen-Age Republicans....

Now, this another instance where I can't NOT say something, and of course it's about Ms. Britney Spears. While I think the media has said about all it can, I just have to give a shout out to Washington Post for giving her the Train Wreck of the Year award:

Probably the most deserved award ever. She's starting to make the late Anna Nicole Smith look like a model of stability. And that is a Herculean effort. I heard that Brit's mother (and I use that term loosely given what's happened to her children), Lynne, is asking the public for prayers on her daughter's behalf. Really? What publicist told her to do that? Is she thinking that will get her book back on the market? Suddenly playing the concerned mother. That's a nice touch.

Looking forward to a quiet weekend. It's not snowing nor is it freezing but it's the kind of weekend where you just want to curl up and relax. And NOT go to Costco!

01 January 2008

Welcome 2008 - Happy New Year

So 2008 has arrived and Mother Nature decided to go to it starting about 2PM yesterday by letting the snow fall and she's not stopped yet. It's still snowing! Mercifully, it's not a heavy wet snow and it's not like we've got a foot of snow on the ground, but we have enough. Enough to start the day off shoveling. You can see from the pictures above what it looked like before the shovels came out.

Parker came out as soon as he woke up to join me in the shoveling escapade. This snow was a drag because as it came down last night we had a lot of people walking up to the house before we could shovel so it packed it down and we had a lot of ice to jam through. Lovely.

So today it's time to strip the house of all things Christmas and get back to normal. The kids are off the rest of the week but I go back to work tomorrow. It's time. I've been off eight or nine days straight. Time to get back in the swing of things professionally.

The rest of the day will probably be spent watching a couple more DVD's, especially the BBC's "Planet Earth." If you've not seen it, carve out some time, rent it and watch it. It is some of the most amazing footage you've ever seen. I think it may drive Courtney to become a vegan and join PETA, but it captures nature at its best and it's incredible. The "Shallow Seas" section has got to be some of the most unbelievable stuff ever captured on film. Good, good stuff.