28 April 2013

It's getting closer

My grandson lurking behind the stripes.  Oh yeah, his mother and aunt are in the picture too
As April draws to a close, which as a completely unnecessary aside, is totally unbelievable to me, the countdown to a huge milestone here in the Den is heating up.

Of course, I refer to the countdown to the arrival of our first grandson, who is still sans a name. The Boy Awesome is due in about four weeks and on the Nigel Tufnel scale, our excitement is at an 11. We are more than a little excited to welcome him into the world.

The Boy Awesome is coming into this nutty world when some of the more cynical amongst us wonder aloud why you would want to bring a child into this mess in a first place. Yep, the world is an orbiting train wreck, no argument here. But seriously, when hasn't it been? Aside from those brief moments of naked (seriously!) ignorant bliss in the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve, things have been a little (he says with a heaping side of understatement) askew. I don't see that changing. But I still see the thing that balances out all that mess and that's the good in the world. There is still good in the world and I know my soon enough to be born grandson is going to feel of that goodness in spades.

How could he not? His parents are the Awesomes, after all. His paternal grandparents, after something like 300 grandchildren (OK, that may be a little exaggeration but they have a SLEW of grandchildren) have the grandparenting thing down cold. His maternal grandparents, us, are all kinds of excited to be a part of his life. Of course, we'll have to see how he deals with me. So long as I get him to have an affinity for Korean fried chicken and NPR fairly early on, we'll be fine. How soon before I can get him hooked on Kyochon?

27 April 2013


Back in October of last year, I posted about walking along the Farmington River with the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML. It was a gorgeous fall day and then winter came. And stayed. And stayed. Like a clueless and unwelcome guest, oblivious to overstaying its welcome, winter stayed. Vicious Mother Nature! Well, it appears that she finally got the hint and that unwelcome guest has hit the road and has made way for Spring.

With her long-awaited arrival, once again, the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and I hit the road on a long walk. We did a 5.5 mile loop through our little town and along the river and it was fantastic. A nearly perfect day. Here are a couple of shots from our walk:
View from one of our bridges

From yet another bridge
It was so nice to enjoy the sunshine, the breeze, and most importantly, some good time together. The Boy is in Albany at a Church youth conference and so it wasn't like we had to be anywhere. This allowed us time to walk, talk, and to enjoy being together. It was, in a word, sweet. I am go glad that after nearly twenty-five years together, we have opportunities like this to be together and that we enjoy those moments. I am blessed. Richly blessed.

So go walking with your best friend. It's a good thing.

19 April 2013

The Russians Are (Not) Coming

This is surreal
Has this been one of the most tragic, and one of the strangest, weeks in American history? As I write this, we are watching - LIVE, mind you - what could be the denouement (how's that for a 20 point word?) of this week's awful events in Boston.

Unless your name is Groundskeeper Willie and you live in a shack, you know the story. It began with the senseless bombings on Monday at the finish line of the storied Boston Marathon, where three people were killed and scores of people suffered gruesome and hideous injuries. While I've never felt compelled to run a marathon, I've ran a couple of half marathons and other races, and I that I've shared some great memories with runners.  They are good people and so the bombings were even more senseless to me.

And now, in what seems like it came from the mind of a deranged Hollywood screenwriter, there is a trail of death and mayhem across Boston, an amazing city that's been in lock-down for hours.  All this perpetrated by two brothers. One dead now and the other is on the run with the clock ticking loudly. It's insane.

When I first heard that the brothers were Chechen, it only underscored the movie thing.  Weren't the characters who hijacked the President's plane in "Air Force One" Chechen? They weren't.  They were Kazhaks. Regardless, then I thought of the craptastic "Red Dawn" and its ridiculous Russian invasion plot that served to fuel the Reagan administration's Cold War fear that characterized the early 1980's. But you know what, this isn't a movie. In 1966, a comedy was made called "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!" but it's 2013 and the Russians, nor the Chechens, aren't coming. There is still much to understand about this. We must wait before we jump to conclusions or to begin painting an entire nation with the terrorist brush. This needs to play out and kudos to how it's being handled right now.

The Boy made an observation last night as this continued to play out that I was proud to hear. He said, "Whoever they are, I hope they aren't Arabs." I asked him why and he basically expressed that he'd had enough of an entire people being painted as terrorists. He then went on to explain that he was a teen-age anarchist, but that's a story for another day.

While we've seen much of horror and carnage this week, we've also seen so much good. Did you see how many people ran TOWARDS the explosions at the Marathon? They were running to see how they could help. Did you see what total strangers did to help those impacted by the bombings? Have you seen how law enforcement have put themselves in harms' way this week in order to bring these suspects down? There is still good in this world. It can be really hard to find, but there is still good. That gives me some hope.

17 April 2013

And then there was one

Thanks to the very odd way the calendar works for CAL at her chosen institution of higher learning, the lovely BYU-I, she has the winter off. Now for anyone that has spent a winter in Rexburg, ID, you know that dying in an airplane crash may, in fact, be a more appealing alternative than hunkering down for that never-ending freezefest of misery. So we have had her home since just before Christmas, but yesterday she jumped off the metaphorical sofa here in the Den, boarded a plane west and is heading back to school. We are going to miss her. It's been fun to watch her solidify the relationship she shares with her mom. I'm sure she will NOT miss my near constant nagging about her employment status. But what else is a father going to do?

For one resident of the Den, though, CAL's departure restores things to their rightful (in his head) order. Of course, I refer to the Boy and his retaking the throne, now that his older sister is gone. He is once again, the one child left at home. He is the One. So the next few days will be filled with readjusted expectations and the occasional demand that is more reminiscent of a hostage crisis than parent-child relationship. The good news is that we've gotten pretty good at navigating these waters. By the time you get to the third, you've gotten a clue or two about how to handle your children. So we'll pay homage to the One and get things back to normal.

I'm going to miss having CAL home. Just like I miss having Our Lady of BYU home and she's been gone for  years. But I've said it before, I wouldn't have it any other way. It's an honor to watch them hiking through this mountain range that is adulthood. I'm glad we've still got the Boy home for awhile. And Heaven knows, he's glad to be the One again.

14 April 2013


Testify, Brother Bart!
In the eleventh episode of the eleventh season of what is the greatest show on television, "The Simpsons," Bart becomes a revivalist preacher/faith healer with his own church. Predictably, it goes horribly and hilariously wrong (proof: the amputated leg sailing through the goal post, scoring the winning point). It also spawned one of the funniest songs that's come out of an episode, simply entitled "Testify." It's 1:42 of brilliance, but I digress.

I would have enjoyed attending one of Brother Bart's sermons, I think. It would have been a train wreck set to a rousing gospel soundtrack. Suffice to say, I don't think Brother Bart will be preaching from a Mormon pulpit, or that of any other faith, anytime soon. The fact that he's a fictional character prevents that from happening.

Yeah, somehow I think his brand of testifying would be a little much for my brothers and sisters from behind the Zion Curtain. But as I've written here before, one of the things that makes the members of our Church a tad peculiar is our testimony meetings. What they lack in revivalist fervor, they often make up for in powerful witnesses. Today was one of those testimony meetings where there was power and it made for a good meeting. It was good because of what people shared. What was shared were brief, pointed, powerful witnesses of belief and faith. It was reassuring, reaffirming, and peaceful. It made me happy. It made for a good Sabbath. And for that I am grateful.

13 April 2013


It pains me to say this but I think it's happened. I believe I have been stricken by a most challenging malady.

Writer's Block

Symptoms of writer's block, thanks to the interweb's arbiter of truth, Wikipedia, include the author losing the ability to produce new work. Causes, and this is not an exhaustive list, include lack inspiration, distraction, illness, or depression. Great.

Up until the dawn of this fine year, I found myself posting regularly, whether you, my good readers, liked it or not. This year, I've slowed down dramatically on my posts and I find myself tapped out of things to say or share. The desire is there but the words aren't coming right now.

Now, based on my scan of the interweb as well as high-quality, and by that I mean craptastic, television observation, there does not appear to be a pill that I can take to cure this case of writer's block. Other writers have turned to certain vices to help them overcome the block, but my faith prevents me from darting down that path, unless you count my absurd fondness for Coke Zero. I can tell you it's not turning on the creative chariot.

So, I have some work to do. I have to get that missing mojo back. It's time to find a way to get past this block. Suggestions are welcome from all two of you who keep up with the shenanigans here in the Den.

05 April 2013

Figuring it out

I grew up being taught that the purpose of our time on earth was a time for learning, testing, growing and preparing. I've come to believe that through my own experiences and I know that's what this life is about. There are times though when the reasons for that testing and growing are hidden like Lindsay Lohan's commitment to sobriety. And that is confounding and that's when you ask, 'When will this start making sense?'
Lately, I've been asking that question a lot and I wonder when certain things will start making sense. The issue in question is banal in the grand scheme of things but right now it is something that weighs on me. It's been something that the mighty fine SML and I have discussed at length and I am amazed at her patience and willingness to support me and figure it out with me. To say I'd be in a world of hurt without her is one of the great understatments.

At lunch today with an old friend, he asked me if I'd had my mid-life crisis yet. I talked to him a little bit about the challenges that have me a-pondering and when they are going to start making sense. 'You may not know for awhile,' he said. He's right. Sometimes the answers aren't revealed for awhile. I need to make peace with that.

This weekend, because of these meetings, I'll be seeking that peace.  Looking forward to it.

02 April 2013


Did no one tell him Depp got the Pirates role?
As the father of two daughters and the husband of one amazing woman, I have come to know precious little about the rituals associated with women and their "foxification." I will never pretend that I get it.

There is one part of that ritual that I don't get and it tears a little bit of my heart on the occasions that it happens. I speak of the dyeing of the hair. For some reason, it busts me up when my daughters dye their hair. Now let me be clear - what is happening here is not the stuff of a father's nightmare. It's not like they are Nikki Minaj extreme or going to Stormie's House of Highlights for said work. No, it's tame stuff but it rips me up just the same. Why? Because as far as I'm concerned they are perfection.

What's brought this on? Last night, in a bold and wise move of timing, CAL announced she was getting her hair colored today, thus saving her from my nagging. 'What color?' I sputtered. Blonde was the response. This from my brown-haired beauty. After I was revived, I was informed it wasn't a full dye job but highlights. I chose to say no more and go to bed, knowing that by the time I got home today, I'd see the results. Thanks to social media, I saw the results via Twitter and she looks beautiful. It's all good.

It got me thinking about my own unfortunate, and ill-advised, time with some blonde in my own hair. It was not nearly as unfortunate as the above-pictured train wreck of Mr. Cage but it was not good. This all went down in March of 1985, as I was thawing out from my first full winter in Provo, while at BYU. In yet another poorly executed attempt at trying to be cool, I'd been to the tanning salon a couple of times and decided that getting a little bit of color in my hair would be the perfect compliment to my mildly orange 'fake'n bake' tinged skin. It most decidedly was not but adding a little blonde seemed like a way to raise the hackles of the Honor Code militants looming over us from the 12th floor of the SWKT. Anyway, so I went to see Tova at, wait for it, Bon Losee, and she subtly applied the blonde. When it was all said and done, it looked barely colored. It would only light up in the sun.

About a week later, I put my all mid-80's cool on the plane to go home for the weekend. My father met me at the airport. He looked, well, distressed disappointed, as I disembarked.  Apparently, the subtle color was not subtle to him. I was going to Stake Conference that weekend, where he was presiding, and my chemically treated coif was not what he envisioned. Suffice to say, it made for a long weekend.

I let the color fade, along with any hopes of ever being 'cool.' Or so I thought at the time. So nearly 30 years later, I can say no dye has hit this scalp since that fateful spring of 1985. As the gray takes over aggressively, I'm fine with it. What other choice do I have?