28 February 2010

A Sunday Nap

This may sound like something so incredibly trivial, so not worthy of a post, but to me, it's just short of monumental. This afternoon, I took a real, honest-to-goodness nap. A nap. Really. The hour long break I got today fits the definition of the word in NAP in dictionary.com.

I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've taken a Sunday nap in my adult life that I can recall. It's simply not often that my Sunday schedule allows it. Calling it a day of rest is a bit of a misnomer when you are serving in our Church. But I'm not complaining. I'd even call this afternoon's nap a blessing. I got my day of rest. It's all good.

27 February 2010

Dating Rituals of the American Teen

As the father of two girls and now a son who is a teenager, I've always been a bit unnerved by seeing them get into the dating scene. With Our Lady of BYU 1,400 miles away in school, she's far enough away where I can claim plausible deniability, which is fine with me. Besides, she never tells me a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g (I am telling you she may know where Osama is and no one would ever know from her), so that makes my deniability all the more plausible.

With CAL, it's a different story. She's here and there's nowhere for me to hide and deny. This past week I've had some unique insight into the fascinating world of teen dating. While we are still in the thick of a never-ending winter here in the Midwest, CAL's high school is getting ready for the big shindig that is the Spring Dance. This is one of the dances where it is tradition for the girls to ask the boys. So CAL and several of her girl friends decided to ask a bunch of boys and have planned a fun night. The invitation process, as it turns out, is elaborate. Each girl did her own thing. To ask her "date," CAL went with a fish theme. She bought three gold fish, put them in a fishbowl, and took them over to his house, with a note referencing all the fish in the sea that ended with asking him to the dance.

Said young man responded today. Here's his response:
A goldfish, as seen from the 2nd floor of our house. Really. It is. I promise.

So he said yes and now we've moved onto the DRAMA of finding a dress. I say we, but the only role I will have in this is paying for it, which is fine by me. CAL is being a real trooper as she tries to find a dress that doesn't look like it was bought at Whores 'R Us. Which, quite frankly, is virtually impossible. But I'm confident she and the stunningly patient SML will find the right one. Better her than me, that's all I'm saying.

26 February 2010

"Taking Chance"

We're not "early adopters" of new technology, etc., here in the Den. We usually wait until something is out of beta or the kinks have been worked out before we get it/use it. This explains why we finally have signed up for a Netflix account. And now that we've done it, I wonder why we waited so long.

It's allowed me to feed my need for documentaries as well as seeing movies I'd meant to see for awhile. One of those was a film that was made by and aired on HBO last year. It was called "Taking Chance" and it is a stunner.

It is the true story of a Marine colonel who escorts the body of a young Marine killed in Iraq back to his home in Wyoming. It honors those that have given their lives for our country with a dignity that Hollywood has rarely touched. It is a moving story, regardless of your feelings about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is well worth seeing. Please rent it and watch it. Take a look at the trailer:

PS - to Kevin Bacon, this role makes up for the travesty that was "Footloose." Well done, sir. Well done.

20 February 2010

10th Timed Race - First 10K

I do not want this blog to become all about my running. I don't want to be that guy that all he can talk about is his PR's, splits, tempo runs, which I am delighted to say I have no idea what that means, oygenation, losing toenails, or unpleasant chafing. All things that come with running. And growing more addicted to it. But a couple of things have happened in the last couple of days that I must mention.

First, today I ran my tenth (10th) timed race since I started this little running thing. It was, ironically, my first 10K. I signed up for it totally spur of the moment Thursday afternoon as I was plowing through the awesome pile of tax documents at my mom's house. A good run seemed an appropriate way to relieve that stress. My good friend's twin boys were working the support of the race for their Eagle project - so how could I not run it?

Perfect temperature for running - 61 degrees. Clearly not in Chicagoland. My mom bundled up (yes, people in AZ bundle up for 61 degrees - ridiculous) and came to the race. She read Sarah Palin's book, "Going Rogue" the whole time, for which she should be ashamed of herself. But I digress. Saw some people I knew, including the OB who delivered CAL and the Boy. I did not go introduce myself. I could never hear a word the man said when the stunningly patient SML was his patient, so no point. Anyway, this was a chip-timed race. Chips went around the ankle a la an electronic tracking thing. Like Martha Stewart got to wear after her time in the clink. Anyway, the first kilometer was fine. And then the ascent began. Three kilometers uphill. Uphill. In Chicagoland, uphill is a ramp at a parking garage. My quads did not appreciate it. Anyway, once that trudge was over, it was literally all downhill from there. Until the chafing kicked in around the seventh kilometer. Not good. Not bloody nipple chafing, which would have been awesome since I was wearing a white shirt. No, this was a much more uncomfortable chafing and since this is a PG blog, I'm not posting pictures. But, no matter, I ran through it, and finished, officially per the chip, with a time of 1:02:34. Made for a pace of 10:05 per mile. A little slower than what I've been doing in the much cooler temps of Chicagoland. I was happy with it, as it was my first official 10K.

The other running-related thing...thanks to finally hooking up with Netflix, I got my first DVD as I was leaving for PHX. It's a documentary called Spirit of the Marathon and it's awesome. It's about six runners training for the 2005 Chicago Marathon. It was compelling, exciting, and cool. It's worth seeing. did it inspire me to run 26.2 miles? That would be no. Look, I need to get the 13.1 done in May and we'll see where this adventure takes me.

18 February 2010

Dear Mr. 5C

Dear Mr. 5C,
I wanted to congratulate you on your impressive fit-throwing skills on last night's flight. While not particularly volcanic or emotive, your complaining and pouting would put the most obnoxious two-year old to shame. And what set you off was ridiculous. Seriously.

Sir, as you let all those within earshot know in the First Class cabin, you used two of your mileage certificates to upgrade (which on a flight of less than two hours on a 757, Economy Plus is a better bet) and you were somehow expecting filet mignon and Baked Alaska? Sir, when was the last time you were on a US airline? And may I also point out, to expect a full meal on a flight operating several hours after the dinner hour is, well, just silly. Silly also describes your demands of the Purser (who by the way was one of the best Pursers I've flown with in a very long time) for her to provide you a written letter that it was awful to offer nothing to eat on the flight. FYI, sir, it's not like she was holding the good stuff back. That galley had a whole lot of nothing in it, other than the "premium" version of the Fiesta Snacks that you were offered. Good luck in your quest to get your upgrade certificates back and sure, demand your money back. Dare to dream, sir, dare to dream.

A Fellow Flyer

PS - Here's an image of the "snack" that set it all off:

16 February 2010


On February 15, 1990, around noon, a young couple, expecting their first child, entered the birthing factory that is the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Utah, not knowing what lay ahead. Why didn't they know what lay ahead? Have you ever attended a Lamaze class? Or seen those gritty 1970's Swedish home birthing films? Both are amazing deterrents to ever having children, but I digress...back to the story.

Several hours later, after much pushing, a "decell" in labor that led to the use of the word "stat" and the room filling with emergency personnel, and a break to watch a little "LA Law," in the early hours of February 16th, 1990, a daughter was born to that young couple. That young couple was absolutely amazed by this little girl. The father would quickly march out and buy the latest They Might Be Giants album, (yes, I said album, even though it was a cassette) "Flood" to welcome her home. From the moment they brought her home, this girl would bring them great joy.

Twenty years later, that young couple is not so young anymore and that little girl is now a young woman and today we celebrate her birthday. My first-born child, my little girl, is twenty years old today! I can hardly believe that the stunningly patient SML and I have a child that is no longer a teen-ager. We don't! Our Lady of BYU is twenty. She's in her second year at BYU, on track in her major, and having an amazing time.

As hard as it is to see her growing up, it's good to see her growing up. And she is. I'm proud of her. Happy birthday, Princess. Love you, Dad
Me, Our Lady of BYU, and her gaggle of friends

14 February 2010

Another Valentine's Day - and I'm still voting no

Utterly brilliant and I could not have said it better myself. And Heaven knows I've tried to articulate the above sentiment for years.

Now that being said, I am married, happily, to the most amazing woman in the world. Blog readers know her as the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML. I summed up my feelings for her last year on this lamest of days in my Valentine's Day 2009 post. Read it and you'll see I'm not heartless. I'm not. As one person who knows us said earlier this morning, upon learning about my staunch anti-Valentine's Day stance, "At least she's been on some great vacations." Thank you. Yes she has. My feelings for the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML only grow stronger and deeper with each year. We'll celebrate twenty-two years (22!) of marriage this year. Not bad. Not bad at all. Living with me is no walk in the park, I know. I'd be in a world of hurt without my wife. Seriously. My mother told her this past Friday, "I'm glad you love him, because I'm not taking him back." Aah,a mother's love is timeless, isn't it?

Now, to the anonymous (so far) person who sent the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML the dozen red roses yesterday, please identify yourself. We'd like to thank you. Really.

12 February 2010

Did I Suddenly Become the Bionic Man?

My work day dawned before the dawn today, as I was up and going at 530AM. I really needed to track down someone in Europe for some answers, which alas, I never got. I also had a lunch meeting with one of the company's preferred suppliers so I had to break away to make that. By the time 430PM rolled around, I was ready to be done with my work day.

With temps in the high 20s and the sun falling, I went for a run. I'd gotten through the drama of linking the new Nike+ device and as I started my run, I saw that it was tracking. Yes! All good. It was a good brisk run. No ice on the roads I ran, which was a relief. I wasn't paying much attention to my pacing as I was feeling good. So I was more than a little shocked when I got home and checked my stats. According to the Nike+, I'd become a bit of the Bionic Man on my run:

DISTANCE 4.57 Miles
TIME 36 Minutes
PACE 7:54 min/mi

Um, as much as I'd like to think that I'd become some kind of speed demon, there was just no way. The only thing demonic about it was my calorie burn -666- thank you, Mark of The Beast.

I went to the USATF website and traced my run-it showed a 3.57 mile course-and from what I can tell, the calibration is off by a mile. Lovely. So I'll need to reset and recalibrate tomorrow for my long run. If that doesn't do the trick, I may have to get a Garmin. But do I really want a laptop on my wrist? Not so much.

I mentioned I had lunch with a supplier today. It was pretty funny to find out that several of them had found my blog (yes, this blog) and had read up. Realizing that they had read about me puking a lung at 37,000 feet made me laugh. I don't think I've ever made much of a secret of who I am and what I experience. This blog certainly reflects that. And I'm going to keep it going.

06 February 2010

Trying to class up the family

Based on what the local weather liars were saying, we weren't quite sure what we'd wake up to this morning. What it was was a whole lot of nothing. We got a dusting of snow and that's it. Nothing compared to what our friends in our nation's capital are currently enduring. Frankly, that's fine with me. I had a long run planned for the morning and then we wanted to go in to the city. We were able to pull off both today.

MY LONG RUN - left the house at about 730AM, with a pretty stiff wind blowing and temps in the mid-20s. It didn't matter. I wanted to get in a long (for me) run. And I did it. Here are the stats:

DISTANCE: 8.02 miles
TIME: 1:18:53
PACE: 9:49 min/mile

Now I know I'm not setting the world on fire with times like that, but save for about two minutes worth of slowdowns for water, I ran the whole thing. For someone who two years ago really wasn't bothered that his man-boobs were blocking his sightline to the TV, this is nothing short of miraculous. I start my group runs with my half-marathon training group in two weeks and I am completely excited about that. I really think I may not humiliate myself. Don't worry...I'm not getting cocky. I don't have that luxury.

So after getting home on a pretty big runner's high (it's true), the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML, CAL, and the Boy and I drove into the city. It's the first weekend of the month which means free museum entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago, thanks to Bank of America. This is an amazing program and I encourage you to check out what is available in your area and take advantage of it. Well, three of the four of us hold BofA cards, so we were only going to have to pay for the Boy, but, bonus, February is free for all, thanks to ComEd. AWESOME! Let me just say that ARTIC is amazing. The Asian Art collection - a whole lot of Vishnu - is spectacular. The new Modern Wing and its collections make you go "huh?" The Impressionism collection is stunning. Seurat's "Sunday in the Park" is the showcase piece of work and it was amazing to see. I would have included the picture I took of it but it went horribly wrong as it included an unintended shot of someone's prominent crack as they bent down to count the dots in that incredible piece of work.

It was so cool to take in some of the other artists - Van Gogh and Lautrec, come to mind. The American collection is pretty awesome, too. Here are shots of Lautrec's "Moulin Rouge" and Garth Wood's classic "American Gothic:"

It amazes me that these amazing works of art, and so many others, are so readily available for us to take in. So this was our attempt to class up our kids and I think it went OK. For some reason, they weren't as taken by the Asian art as I was. C'mon, guys, it's Vishnu! And it wasn't long before the Boy began to lament that he might DIE if he didn't eat. So we caved and decided to head out in search of food.

We planned on trying the new Chicago French Market in the Ogilvie Transportation Center. This is an amazing walking city even with its infamous winds barreling off the Lake so our walk wasn't that bad. The French Market is just what it sounds like - a collection of food vendors all under one roof, with a couple of French bakeries as a nod to the French name. We all wound up with something different for lunch - CAL, an organic turkey sandiwch; the Boy, steak tacos from the Mexican taqueria; me, a pork bahn mi from Saigon Sisters; and the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML, Belgian fries from Frietkoten. If you've never had the goodness of the golden double-fried goodness that is the Belgian fry, you have not lived. I ate these twice a day whenever I was in Belgium or the Netherlands. There used to be a place in NYC just south of David Letterman's studio on Broadway called BFrites that sold them - again, twice a day whenever I was in the City. When it closed, I nearly died. Seriously. While I liked my pork bahn mi, it didn't fill me and the scent of the double fried goodness was more than I could take, so I got my own order, with a side of curry mayo. This was an outstanding choice. So I'll close with a shot of the golden goodness:
So if the art didn't class us up, this did.

03 February 2010

Waiting for my recall notice

A few weeks ago, the Swedemobile and I ended our tortured two-plus year relationship. It was time. I went back to the comforting arms of my Japanese friend, Toyota. This time, the arms had a little more heft and were covered in leather, with a few bells and whistles to boot. And now, it's now a part of what is shaping up to be the largest automotive recall in history. The car I bought is currently NO LONGER being produced and is NOT BEING SOLD. Fantastic.

But here's the thing...I don't care. Am I concerned that my floor pat is suddenly going to seize up and force my gas pedal to do all sorts of craziness. That would be no. My floor mats are anchored at the bottom and so long as they remain in their tethered position, they aren't going anywhere.

So I'm going to wait for my recall notice and when I get it, I'll take the car in for the obligatory inspection and get a free oil change. And I'll keep driving.