31 March 2008

Defining "Misspoke"

It's been a lazy vacation day - once again the kids have joined up with their friends, leaving Shari and I to relax. It's gorgeous here and we've been by the pool, enjoying the sun and the nice breeze. The downtime poolside has given me a chance to get caught up on the news as well, which leads us to Shrillary.

You have to love Shrillary for her unmatched ability to obfuscate the truth and to work like there is no tomorrow to cover her trail of lies. The latest? Her wonderful quote, "I misspoke" in reference to her death-defying mission to Bosnia when she was First SheBeast, I mean Lady. Boy, it must have been terrifying dodging those flowers that the Bosnian school children were tossing at her upon landing. I guess I can see how one might mistake tossing flowers and schoolchildren for bullets and ethnic-cleansing terrorists. Umm...right, Shrillary.

This clip is fantastic. Ignore the first part with Bill Maher, but enjoy the rest:

Best line EVER: "Cover me, Chelsea!"

Sadly, Chelsea is now having to cover for her mother and the web of lies that is la familia Clinton as she is now on the campaign trail, working for her mother.

Still adjusting to the sun here in SoCal. The skies are so incredibly blue. Looking forward to another night with great friends tonight, including dinner at the Mekong River and a dodgeball smackdown.

Coming home for vacation

We've been back in southern California for a couple of days now and it's been a delight! We've discovered though that we've become like the hive people in "I Am Legend" - we're almost allergic to the sun! Who knew that the sun could be so bright! It was so fun to drive down the I15 to Temecula on Saturday morning. Our old hometown looked very much the same. A few changes here and there, but it felt like being in a pair of comfortable jeans as we drove through town.

As we drove thourhg our old neighborhood, we saw our old house. That launched a wave of melancholy. The new owners have seemingly done nothing to it or keep it up after it sat empty for nine months. That was a bummer. We were stunned though by the number of homes in Temecula that are for sale and how many are bank repos. The real estate market has truly crashed here. Fortunately, the Taco Shop has survived. The burrito al pastor that I had and the little bite of Shari's carne asada burrito confirmed that all was well with the world.

It's been so good to see our friends. The kids are in heaven! We've hardly seen them and I think that's how the rest of this vacation is going to be. I don't think we'll see them again until we leave on Wednesday morning. Saturday night gave Shari and I a chance to have dinner with wonderful friends. We laughed and laughed all through dinner and afterwards. It was so good to be together again. Here's the gang after dinner:

Guess which one of the women pictured should have her picture on the awesome Phil Hendrie Show's "Wall Of Female Listeners?"

We cherish these friendships. There's not much better than the joy of these friendships and the memories that we have. It was really wonderful to be able to celebrate those friendships further as we attended our old ward today. It was great to see everyone again. We were home.

Has it been strange to be back? No. Is it sad? Frankly, yes. Last night, as we sat around the table in the restaurant, as sat next to my wife, looking at the six other couples that were there, I felt an almost tangible sadness. Sad that we weren't there anymore. Sad that we had moved. But that sadness is balanced by a continued sense of knowing that our move to Chicagoland was the right one. I still have that confirmation, but I can't help but wonder what it would have been like if we had stayed....

27 March 2008

Spring Break is here...almost

The Chicagoland spring break is nigh upon us and not a moment too soon! It snowed here in greater Chicagoland today and according to the local weather fascists, it may snow off and on through the night. Which means O'Hare will be a complete train wreck tomorrow (can an airport be a train wreck? or is another metaphor more appropriate?) Hopefully by the time we get on the old gray lady, United, the mess will have worked itself out. Suffice to say, this family is ready to pack their bags, get on the plane, and head to southern California!

It's going to be great to see wonderful old friends, including the sun. We haven't seen that friend in a really, really long time!

25 March 2008

Shut Your Yap, Shrillary

It pains me to have to make the leap from an Easter posting to talking about the Bride of Satan, but it has to be done. Why can't Shrillary just shut her yap? Anyone? Anyone?

BTW - Is that not the greatest picture ever?

So the Shrill One decides today to go back to her "Desperate Campaigning" playbook and gets all imperious today, declaring that Obama's former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, in her words, "...would not have been my pastor." Really? Well, I suppose that's true since I am not aware of that many pastors that would admit to being ordained by Satan. I'm just saying.

But she, like any good politician regardless of party or gender, kept going. Here's another gem from the same interview, "You don’t choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend." You don't choose your family? Hmm...really? Let's see, Shrillary, you chose your husband. You chose to stay with him through years and years of philandering. You chose to stay with him as he LIED time and again to those who elected him. You hung around through humiliation to humiliation. You chose plenty, didn't you? What does that say about your decision-making skills?

So perhaps a little reconsideration of your choices and what you say in public is in order, but methinks you have so completely blurred the line between fact and fiction that you don't even know what the truth is on anything anymore.

This much I know - we are just over 72 hours away from leaving for SoCal. Could not be more excited. Although today was another sunroof day - almost 60 degrees today. that being said, it's supposed to be snowing when we leave Friday night.

23 March 2008

He Lives!

It's Easter Sunday and it's a joyous day. One in which we celebrate the triumphal resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the witness that I have that my Savior lives. In Him, there is hope and comfort and I am so grateful - grateful beyond words - for His life and His sacrifice and triumph over death.

I so enjoyed the hymn "He Is Risen" and the feeling of happiness that washed over me as we sung that song in Church today. It simply can't be said enough - we are sons and daughters of a loving God, our Father in Heaven, who sent His son, Jesus Christ, to show us the way home to our Father. Of course, that meant that Christ would suffer the pain of our sins and then suffer death, but He triumphed over it all and we have hope. I am so grateful for my witness of the divinity of Christ's mission.

We've had a good family day and we will spend the late afternoon and early evening with good friends, enjoying Easter dinner and friendship. Looking forward to that.

22 March 2008

Give Blood, Give Life and Pass Out!

I didn't start donating blood until I was about 35 years old. My buddy John in Temecula and I finally convinced one another that it was time to stop being wusses and that we cold survive a blood donation. Once we did it, I was hooked so to speak. I was a pretty regular donor, all incident-free. I even started doing the double red blood cell donation when we moved to Chicagoland. After I went to Kolkata and Chennai, India, at the end of 2006, I found out that I could not give blood for an entire year.

So this morning, I was looking forward to our Church Blood Drive. My first opportunity to hop on the Bloodmobile and donate away since the one-year ban ended. I had signed up for the double red procedure again as well. I was the first one there, got my forms filled out, and climbed about the Mobile.

The staff was great and got me started pretty quickly. So I don't know how much time had passed, but I know I had finished the "This American Life" podcast on my iPod and had just selected a Mozart piece when I felt myself getting really hot and that was it. FADE TO BLACK. Next thing you know, I look up and I have the faces of three staffers in my face, my legs are being shaken by one of them, and they are covering me in cold, cold compresses. They are peppering me with questions - "Do you know where you are?" "How do you feel?" "Do you know what you are doing here?" I just wanted to know what had happened. It felt like I had been down for about twenty minutes. Apparently, it was just a matter of seconds.

I guess it was pretty exciting for the Bloodmobile staffers. They were on me like white on rice. I was really concerned that they had not been able to get the donation. They had to yank out the needle as soon as I blacked out. In doing so, I got a cool spray of blood across my jeans. They were mortified about that - even offering to get my jeans dry-cleaned. So not necessary, really. So more questions - more vitals and then out came the Gatorade and the chocolate chip cookies. I really felt fine pretty darn quickly. But then more questions - "When you seized, did you lose control of your bowels?" That was the question of the day - it was an easy response.

ME: "Look if that had happened, every last one of you would know. There would not be a lot of happy in the Bloodmobile if that had happened."

THEM: Lots of laughter and a big thank you. Apparently, things get messy sometimes at the Bloodmobile when people pass out.

More fretting about my bloody jeans - I told them that I was going to tell people I got into a knife fight with Lindsay Lohan.

So the good news is that they were able to get the blood that they needed from me but they couldn't get my plasma back in me. They showed me my bag o'plasma. Who knew that your plasma (well mine at least) looks a little bit like a bag of foamy pee (sorry!) - same color and foamy top. So anyway, I'm kind of down for the day. Lots of fluids and food. I'm just glad that they got what they needed. This blood donation thing is pretty important. Get out there and donate if you can!

21 March 2008

Trump'd by Spring

So it's the first full day of Spring in Chicagoland and I am once again at the Saab dealership, preparing to give the Swedes more money. Gotta love that quirky Saab. Here's what's killing me....it's snowing and it's sticking. We may get as much as six inches of snow by the time this Spring storm ends. What a wonderful way to welcome the sweet relief of Spring. It did the same thing last year, so I don't know why I am shocked by this storm. I mean we got pounded last year in April...

Yesterday took me downtown for a meeting, where I was a speaker. It was a great drive into the city - couldn't take a train as I had to drive to my company's new headquarters building after the meeting. That new building is friggin' Wisconsin adjacent (it was an ugly, ugly ride home - reminiscent of those heinous LA commutes!). Anyway, the meeting was at the new Trump International Hotel and Tower right along the Chicago River. It's a great new hotel and very beautiful inside.

My speech to a crowd of about 190 people went well and just after the second speaker started, we were interrupted by the GM of the Trump Hotel, who wanted to present a special guest. Said guest was the Donald's daughter, Ivanka. Who knew that she really holds a position of power within the Trump organization. Turns out she really does.

Ivanka spoke for just a few minutes, but she was clever and well-spoken. She's about nine feet tall too, which was surprising. We chatted very briefly. I don't think I'll be offered a job in the Trump Organization anytime soon, which is fine with me.

So yet another brush with psuedo-celebrity. Excellent. I have the day off today and it's started early here at the Saab dealership. The kids are off too. Not sure what we'll do today as the snow is hampering activity. Maybe we'll spend it shoveling snow. On that note, just over 168 hours until we leave for California and Spring Break! But who's counting...

18 March 2008

Can I Get An Amen?

Finally, Shari has returned from the wilderness that is Phoenix. Here twelve day trip is over and she's back home. O'Hare has never looked so good as she walked down its crappy hallway towards Baggage Claim! She was late (thanks to an aborted landing and a go-around) and so that put us in early evening traffic on the perpetually under construction freeways/tollways of Chicagoland. Didn't matter - it was just great to be together and to be able to talk to one another. It is so good to have her home!

Hoping you got a chance to see/hear/read Barack's speech in Philadelphia today. In a word, brilliant. I defy Shrillary to even try and give a speech like that without sounding like the calculating, soulless candidate that she is. If you didn't get a chance to hear it, here it is:

Thought-provoking and really quite brilliant.

15 March 2008

Chicken Fried Rice - Diggin' It

So as we close the door on Day Nine or Day Ten (who knows anymore?) of Shari's sojurn to Phoenix...I've become fixated on making different versions of fried rice. Now that may not sound particularly healthy, but here's the thing...No MSG, first of all. Secondly, using very little oil, using brown rice, loading it with freshly chopped vegetables. A few nights ago, I made it with lean flank steak and tonight I did chicken. Marinated the bird in yakitori sauce (purchased from our neighborhood Korean market, the Super H Mart, and also did some B-B-Q pork bao on the side. I plated it all on big leaves of romaine lettuce, and much to my delight, there was no weeping and/or wailing from the girls. Parker loves this stuff so it was all good to him.

At this point in their mother's absence, I think the girls' have adopted the "Stockholm Syndrome" approach to my Asian cooking. I mean there's no use fighting it and so they are digging in - they are like the Patty Hearst's of my Chinese food fixation now. I suspect they'll be glad when Shari returns, but until then, fasten your seatbelts, ladies!

Today was a whole lot of running around...two basketball games - Parker's Deacon's team won the Stake Championship, which was awesome. Parker is a tough player and also a graduate of the FIFA School of Dramatic Reaction to Bad Calls and Fouls. He could grab his knee and flail on the ground with the best of the European footballers - just watch a World Cup game and you'll know EXACTLY what I mean!

There was still one baseball practice, two runs to the Saab dealership (enjoy my money, Swedes!), plus touching up the last of tonight's Ward activity to be done today. In spite of being the Ward Activity Chairperson (or ChairFascist, I suppose), I am not going to the event. That's because we've got about six couples hosting dinner for about 10-12 people each at their respective homes, with games afterward. No progressive dinner, just hanging at one home with different folks. Since Shari is gone, there was no way I was hosting and I really didn't feel like going out as the lone man in the Garden of Eden. So Parker is watching a friend's two-year old so they could go the activity, Courtney is babysitting for another family in the ward, Sarah is going through the heinous hair-straightening ritual (why she won't let the curly hair of hers be curly is beyond me?!), and I am done.

Can I just say that I am really ready for my wife to come home! Missing her terribly!

14 March 2008

C'mon People! Get behind this candidate...

Look people...it's time to get behind a real candidate. I think this commercial says it all:

Suffice to say, I dig the Wig! And it's time you did too. By the way, Hulu is one boss website. Check it out - you'll even find some really awful (but awful in a good way) shows from the 70's on there. Clearly, I've been holed up in the basement too long today.

11 March 2008

Single Dad - Day Five

So Shari high-tailed it to Phoenix five days ago to watch her nephew and niece...it's day five of single parenting here in Chicagoland. I have to say that we've gone the entire time so far without weeping, wailing, or gnashing of teeth - and the kids have done great too!

It did get interesting this morning though...I flew to New York City yesterday morning for two days of meetings, leaving Sarah (now 18) as the Comandante of the Casa. When I checked in last night before going to a black-tie dinner, all was well. So this morning, I'm racing up Madison Avenue, tux bag slung over my back so I can return the stupid thing before the late fee kicks in, I call home, mostly to make sure everybody's up. It's then that I discover that Parker spent the night puking a lung and that he's sick (I knew he was not faking because he said he was not going to the Bulls-Jazz game tonight.) Nice...I'm in New York City and Shari's in Phoenix. He sounds pretty pathetic at this point...I talk to Sarah and she assures me that he's fine. I call Shari and we talk and then I decide I need to come home.

My airline of choice, United, came through big-time. No change fees and a First Class seat on the delayed 10AM flight back to O'Hare. That delay rolled into almost ninety minutes on the taxiway, as we were like number 16 in line for takeoff. But I was on the ground in Chicago by 130PM and back home by 200PM, just in time for Parker to puke on the only carpet we have in the house, in the basement. Fantastic!

I put on my best bedside manner and we work on getting him better. I am pleased to report that by 5PM this evening, he seemed to be well down the road to recovery. And I got the stain out of the carpet. Color me happy.

Meanwhile, I discover that I have once again been implicated in politics (but not serious implications like the Governor of New York! For more on that trainwreck, read the New York Post - wild coverage - the headlines are priceless!) Our photoshopping mother of eight (yep, count 'em), Kelly, is at it again. Linking me this time to Shrillary. At first, my rage-o-meter started rising, but then I realized, no, this is good. When she tied me like glue to flypaper to the Mittster, he was out of the race in pretty short order, so I say keep tying me to She Who Cannot Be Named. Let's let it play out. And besides, we'll be back in SoCal soon...we can play it out live there. It'll be awesome!

08 March 2008

The Friendly Skies? Really?

I just found a hilarious old United Airlines commercial - are they kidding? This is awesome:

So if this were true and "Nancy" started flying in 1982, that means she'd have 26 years seniority. She'd still be too junior to work my flights to Asia. Apparently, you need to have something like 40 years seniority. That's a fun crowd, can I just tell you?

07 March 2008

Oh My Eye

There's a comic, who I really like, called Kevin Meaney, and he does a bit about ramming himself in the eye with a mic while on stage and while doing it, he howls, "Oh my eye!" I have been screaming that for days now. For the last several days, it's felt like I've had shards of glass in my eyes, particularly my left. Since I wear rigid gas permeable contacts, I kind of do have shards of glass in my eyes, but they have like to have killed me in the last couple of days in particular. I've been walking around like a pirate with one eye covered and the other weeping profusely. It's not been good.

This morning at around 11AM I threw in towel, as well as my male pride, and called the eye doctor, and said that I was on my way in. Fortunately, they could see me at 1230PM. The doctor did a lot of hemming and hawing and then started to use subjunctive language (I hate when they do that and I hate it worse when an airline pilot does it at 37,000 feet), like "It seems" or "It appears" or "I'd like to say..." Say what? That I'm going blind. Make with it! Here's the verdict - apparently, I managed to get something "embedded" (the doctor's word - not mine) in my right eye. However, it's now gone. But while it was embedded it left an indelible mark, much like a reporter embedded with US forces in Iraq. I have a gash in my eye and I have been exacerbating the issue every time I put a contact in my right eye. So it's swollen and fighting back. Apparently, pain isn't just annoying, it's sending a message. Since I don't speak pain, I didn't quite understand that. So, the contacts are now on temporary hiatus and it's back to my glasses. I am also dropping antibiotics into my right eye every hour and then I have steroids to drop in my eye if the pain gets heinous.

Courtney doesn't want me to use the steroid drops. She thinks my right eye is going to get bigger than my left. That got me wondering...could I get eye rage? That would be kind of cool. Have your eye go all "Hulk" when things get interesting.

Anyway, day two of Single Dad and no one's complaining or wishing for the sweet relief of death yet. Score one for me! Have talked to Shari a couple of times and all appears to be going well in Phoenix. I am very glad about that! That being said, I'll be thrilled when she's home!

05 March 2008

"Don't Go!"

Do you remember Yaz's totally boss song, "Don't Go"? It was one of their cooler songs and Alison Moyet belting that song out has been in my head all day because that's what I keep wanting to say to Shari as she packs up tonight to head to Phoenix for the next ten days. What am I going to do? The spectre of playing single dad for is leaving me cold, can I just tell you? I'm already exhausted just thinking about it.

While I know we are going to be fine while she is thawing out in Phoenix and watching our nephew and niece, Case and Madison, I am going to miss her terribly and the kids will realize once again just how good they have it with a mom like her. I realize that fact all the time....

23 days and counting until Spring Break vacation, but who's counting?

02 March 2008

As the snow melts...so California, here we come!

When we left for Church this morning, the temperature read 50 degrees! I can't remember the last time we saw that high a reading! It was really nice. It rained while we were getting religion and it was warm enough to put a nice melt on the three foot drifts that have become a permanent part of our driveway decor. While I still don't think winter is done, this has been a nice break today.

It's been a good day of rest. Parker is working on a project about Odysseus - it's due tomorrow of course; Sarah's been sleeping, and Courtney has been working on mastering the skill of cupcake decorating. She's working on that for her Patterns class at school. She's been rolling out the fondant and getting all Martha Stewarty (which is fine so long as we avoid the sour personality and prison sentence). It kills me that she's making cupcakes. I LOVE cupcakes! However, now that I've lost a nice chunk of weight (hasta luego, man boobs!) the last thing I need to be throwing down are cupcakes. That being said, I did eat one.

I've also been grateful for the blessing of a family that still likes to do stuff together. We went out as a family last night after going to the Chicago Temple. It was really nice to be together as a family, laughing and talking. It was there that we made the decision about our spring break plans.

California...here we come! We aren't heading to Florida. It's back to our old home! We are really looking forward to several days with wonderful old friends, great Mexican food, and no threat of snow. Still not sure what all we will do, but the airline tickets are bought, the car reservation is secure, and most of the hotels are done. I will not belabor the nightmare I've had trying to book a room at a certain hotel in Temecula. Two of the four nights are confirmed. I actually have to get the National Sales Director for the hotel chain in question involved tomorrow. I am amazed at the lengths businesses, especially hospitality businesses, will go to not take your business. Stunning! But it's Sunday, the Sabbath, and I need not invoke curse words. We are so looking forward to our trip back!

I am not looking forward to going back to the office. It's going to be a rough week and with Shari leaving on Thursday for twelve days, ugh! Like I said, it's going to be a rough week....

01 March 2008

Rise and Shout! And not because it's the second post of the day...

No, we are going to RISE AND SHOUT because BYU has made it official - Sarah has been accepted to Provo for the Summer and Fall 2008 terms! Suffice to say we are enormously excited and proud (but not in that bad scriptorial definition of pride)! Sarah is very excited as well.

I found out yesterday quite literally as I was telling my cab driver to take me to the Philadelphia airport. Of course, I was advised via a text message. It was all I could do not to start jumping up and down in the back of a cab, but somehow I think my driver, Khalil, would not have been amused. This truly is an answer to prayers. We were so grateful that she had already been accepted to BYU-Idaho, but knowing that her first choice was Provo, we were really praying that this would come through! I have to give props to the Admissions Department for NOT making us wait until 15 March as they had originally stated. That was going to get ugly, with a capital U!

So now we can get planning for our summer and for bidding farewell to our money, as well as our oldest daughter. We had some friends over for dinner and Wii playing last night and Mark and I are already planning a trip out to Provo for a football game later this fall. He will have a freshman there as well.

So everyone, let's rise and shout and sing the Cougar Fight Song - for the uneducated, please find the lyrics below:

The Cougar Song

By Clyde D. Sandgren

Rise, all loyal Cougars and hurl your challenge to the foe.
You will fight, day or night, rain or snow.
Loyal, strong, and true
Wear the white and blue.
While we sing, get set to spring.
Come on, Cougars, it's up to you. Oh!


Rise and shout, the Cougars are out
along the trail to fame and glory.
Rise and shout, our cheers will ring out
As you unfold your vict'ry story.
On you go to vanquish the foe
for Alma Mater's sons and daughters.
As we join in song in praise of you our faith is strong.
We'll raise our colors high in the blue
And cheer our Cougars of BYU.

Go, Cougars and way to go, Sarah!

It's Good To Be Home!

Just a quick update from Chicagoland ... man, is it good to be home. Nine days is just too long. While it was a good trip, with lots of good learning at Wharton and a memorable time with my dad, nine days away from my family is too much. I'll be updating later today or tomorrow...but the new laptops are working, the wireless network is not, and big news on the college front! More to come once I can work through the tragedy of the wireless network!