Not for the Faint

Fatherhood--no piece of cake, I can tell you that.  Everything--good and bad--seems to come in extremes: soaring highs, crushing frustrations, and occasionally, unparalleled nausea.

The other day, I came home late and missed dinner but still inherited the dinner mess.  I was cleaning up the dishes and, like many parents, found that the kids had left some perfectly good food on their plates.  J3, for example, had pulled the cheese off of his pizza and had left it there on his plate.  So I ate it.  Waste not, want not, you know.

Later that week, J3 and I were talking about favorite meals and I asked him about the pizza.  "I noticed that you didn't eat the cheese from your pizza the other night.  I thought you liked cheese pizza."

"I do," he answered, "but there was a problem--the cheese all came off and when I tried to eat it, I choked on it and had to spit it back out onto my plate."

Yeah.  True story.

Fatherhood is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Or the faint of stomach.

So, to all you steel-stomached dads out there, HAPPY FATHERS DAY!  You've earned it.


Beethoven--sort of

I was driving L to the church for a youth activity this morning and, while en route, doing what I do: singing random snippets of music.  She asked me what song I was singing, and I answered, "I don't know.  I'm making it up as we go along."  Then I explained how sometimes little tunes will get in my head and tumble around there while I try out different words with the tune.  I whistled the stretch I had been playing with all morning.

"Sounds like Beethoven," was her response.

Beethoven!?  Wow!  I was floored that she would think of him when hearing my music.  A little surge of pride began filling my heart.

Mid-surge, however, she finished her thought: "He's the deaf one, right?"

Um, yeah.

I think I'll just be keeping my future compositions to myself.


Wedding Bells


My little brother got married this week.

So happy for him.  He's such a good guy, but he's gotten an advance degree or two from the School of Hard Knocks, in terms of life, and work, and relationships.  There have been times where it looked like things would just never go his way.  But he never gave up.  I admire him a lot for that.

And then--finally--he met her, and she's great: down-to-earth, loving, always smiling.  It's so nice to see them together.

And she went through with the wedding even after getting to know us!

Now that's love!



Okay, EVERY time I log in to Blogger, I check the "Remember me" box--you know, the one that's supposed to automatically populate my username and/or password the next time I return to the website from the same computer--and it NEVER remembers me.

I've checked that box about a million times.  (Two million, actually.)  Still doesn't work.  EVER.

I find it personally insulting.



Had two amazing experiences yesterday.  The first was that I did my first-ever jury trial.  Very sobering experience--I’ll have to write about that another time.  The second experience was an after-bedtime conversation with S.

I’ve had a lot of “lousy parent” moments lately—frustrating moments where I can’t seem to understand or get through to my children.  But as I was listening to a General Conference talk by Jairo Mazzagardi this week, it struck me that, when asked a question of eternal significance by his grand-daughter, he “silently prayed for inspiration” before he answered her.  I realized, of course, that I have done very little of that, and I resolved to try to remember.

So last night, S told me about something he's sort of given up on, spiritually.  I remembered Elder Mazzagardi and prayed for help.  And the most amazing thing happened.

I talked to my son.

Only, it wasn’t like it usually is, where I talk at him and he throws out one tangential concern after another to disregard everything I say.

We spoke about what repentance is, about how change takes time, about the Parable of the Pickle, and about how God’s vision is so much larger than ours (2 Peter 3:8) that He loves the eternal us: the “now us” and the 96-year old us (and beyond).  That insight was powerful—for both of us. 

I was reminded that God loves my boy even more than I do (much more than I do), and that if I can tap into the grand vision of who my son really is, I could love him more.

I was also reminded that God loves the eternal me, just as He loves the eternal S.  And if I can tap into the grand vision of who I really am, it might just change how I feel about my own life journey.
It was clearly as much a lesson for me as it was for him—something both of us need to learn, something I wish someone had told me when I was ten.

More Random Things

Because my first list was so incomplete, here are a few more:
  1. I can't name all of my parents' siblings, let alone the fifty bzillion cousins I have.
  2. I still don't know what Trigonometry is for.
  3. I regularly cheat on my longstanding relationship with junk food.
  4. As a teen, I learned that when my dad holds a full cup of Sprite over your head, "You wouldn't!" is NOT the right thing to say. (I learned, on the same day, that Sprite gets stickier and stickier over the course of a two-hour drive home.)
  5. I've been out of the United States several times, but never by more than a few miles.
  6. My 3rd-grade teacher, Mrs. Helms, taught us to play a few songs on the ukulele. Man, we rocked!
  7. I own one bow tie, which I love because, unlike a necktie, it never flops into water fountains, paper shredders, toilets, or spaghetti. Had I the resources and a few more scoops of social audacity, I would replace ALL of my neckties with bow ties and never wear another necktie as long as I live.
  8. My parents abandoned me in Las Vegas when I was five.
  9. When Catica asked me if I would marry her, my answer was (and I quote) "Heck, yeah."  
    • I'm sure I could have come up with something better if I'd have had a chance to think. The whole thing just took me by surprise, given that she was on the phone with someone else at the time.
  10. I lost my hearing on my left side in my late 20s.  Because of that, I can't tell where specific sounds come from.
    • This can really be disorienting at times, like when I'm crossing a street and someone, somewhere, honks their horn. Can't tell if it's directed at me, so I never know whether I'm moments from being roadkill or not.
  11. Though it often took me a long time to get to sleep when I was growing up, I now fall asleep within 3 minutes of lying down.
  12. I am slowly overcoming a fear of flying. I am now fairly comfortable on relatively short flights. Anything over the ocean is out of the question.
  13. It was the fourth grade spelling bee. After everyone else was eliminated, Chelsa and I battled it out through a dozen or so rounds that were too easy for either of us. Eventually, I got careless and started rattling off the answers without thinking. "C-H-I-K-E-N" lost me the bee. I haven't misspelled that word since.
  14. Sometimes I wear brown shoes with a black belt. (Take that, Sneetch Police!)
  15. During a Boy Scout meeting when I was a teenager, an irate leader (who shall remain nameless) slammed me up against a wall and shouted threats at me. 
    • I didn't deserve it. 
    • Seriously.
  16. It is very difficult to find glasses that fit me.  The bridge of my nose apparently measures about 21 mm, and the bridge of nearly every pair of glasses on the planet is . . . well . . . smaller than 21 mm.
  17. I've learned you should never underestimate an angry person's ability to accurately arc a large rock up into the air and down onto the top of your head--even when they are really far away.
  18. I've done some interpreting for the Deaf, but my signing skills are at that annoying place where non-signers think you're amazing and signers think you're an idiot.
  19. I recently discovered that I like pickles on salad.
  20. My heart rate is slower than yours.
  21. Contact lenses make my eyes bleed.
  22. I like cake, but only if it's stale.  
  23. I hope to eventually hunt down and destroy every childhood photo ever taken of me.
  24. When I was a kid, I couldn't stand eggs.  Mom tried several different preparation/condiment approaches, but they always made me sick.  I would rather go to school hungry than eat them.  Now, I like them quite a bit, especially scrambled.  
    • Still hate oatmeal, though.
  25. I sincerely hope to finish college before my children start college.
  26. I recently realized that I have long held three major goals in life: (1) to never wear cuff links for any reason, (2) to never own a car that I have to park far away from everyone else's, and (3) to determinedly split infinitives at every opportunity.

    Race #5 (July) -- MARATHON!

    Okay, so maybe, "Race #5" isn't the right term to use, since the word "race" makes it sound like I was competing against someone else and, truth is, I was the only runner in the event!

    But still, I am officially now a MARATHON SURVIVOR!!!

    I mentioned, a few months ago, that I'd been wanting to run a marathon, but wasn't sure I could really handle it.  So it was just a "someday" goal.  Instead, I made specific plans to run smaller races this summer--one per month.  (Blogged about that HERE.)  I ran a 5K in March, another in April, another in May, and a 10K in June.

    This month, however, there was a problem: all of the local races were planned on weekends when I would be out of town.  So it looked like my run for this month would be homemade.  And since I was going to be doing it on my own anyway, I decided not to a 5- or 10K.  Heck, I do that every morning in my "regular" run.  I wanted to do something different.

    So I planned the First Annual Makeshift Marathon: I mapped out a 1-mile track in my neighborhood and set a date (yesterday) to run it 26.2 times.

    I expected it to be hard.  I expected pain.

    But I had NO idea.

    The first 16 miles weren't bad.  The last 10: woah!  Much much much harder.  Around mile 19 or 20, my knees were killing me.  I'd sort of forgotten that I've had bad knees since I was a teenager--or maybe I just underestimated how much of a problem it would be.  Bottom line is that I finished, but I definitely had to walk the last few miles.

    And I've been hobbling around ever since.

    I seriously hope the first part of this t-shirt slogan is true:

    Otherwise, the name of this historic race will be changed to:

    The First AND LAST Annual Makeshift Marathon.


    Year of Loss

    It was one year ago today.

    I had been watching my weight climb higher and higher for a decade and had failed at a dozen attempts to stop slipping down that hill.  I had finally hit 220 lbs.--not just overweight--on the verge of obesity.  It was a wake-up call.  I gave up treats and began to make progress--for the first time in 10 years.  But after a year of my best efforts, I had still only lost 10 lbs. 

    Then, on June 19th of last year, I found and it gave me the tools that made my journey possible. 
    It hasn't always been easy sailing.  As I look at my weight loss chart on, I can see a 4-month period of setback-ing--I got sick, school got hectic, I got "holiday-itis" . . . and I gained back half of the weight I had lost.  But early this year, I got back on that treadmill and began making progress again.

    I even went from walking to jogging, something I never thought I would be able to do.  Just a few months earlier, I couldn't get through 3 consecutive days of jogging without horrific pain from shin splints.  Suddenly, I could jog again, and I began to dream of training for a race.  In March, I ran my first 5K.  I ran another in April and another in May.  This month, I ran a 10K.  I jog 5-10 kilometers (3-6 miles) six days a week.

    And it feels great!  Just over a week ago, I finally reached my goal weight of 170 lbs.--fifty pounds from where I began.  (C thinks I look better at 175, so I've since put a couple of pounds back on.)  It is SUCH a good feeling to have finally accomplished something that felt so impossible for so long. I literally feel better than I have in years--healthier, stronger, younger.  And I have more energy than I've had in a long time.

    I can't describe how good it feels to have reached this goal!

    Now, my goals are changing.  Rather than trying to lose weight, I now need to maintain my weight.  And while that seems like it should be easier than losing, it's a challenge for me.  Frankly, "just say no" is easier for me than "moderation in all things."  Once I have some of something I love, it's really difficult for me not to overindulge.  (It's already been a struggle--putting back on those pounds C recommended was way too easy--it took me one day!  One!  Do you know how long it takes me to lose 5 pounds???)

    So I'm beginning a new adventure: welcoming chocolate back into my life without being dismembered by my inner Treat Hulk.

    I'm ready for the challenge.

    Bring it.


    Race #4 (June) -- 10K

    Ran my first 10K today--the (first annual) Tour de Gravity sponsored by our stake.  It was grueling!  The race began way down the hills on 2nd Avenue, came all the way up to 18th Avenue, and then returned back down to 2nd Ave--a vertical ascent of 226 yards (678 feet) from bottom to top.  In other words, take a normal 10K and add a climb of more than the length of two football fields!


    ...but fun.

    Very glad I did it.  I was having some back pain earlier in the day, so I debated about whether to run at all, and if I ran, whether I was really up to doing a 10K--maybe just stick with the 5K, since I know I can handle it.  But I decided to run the longer race and, despite a (literal) flash of terror moments before the race began (and a Tic Tac mishap soon thereafter), I survived.  I knew if I could just make it to the top of the course, the 2nd half of the race would be almost entirely downhill.

    With the intensity of the climb and the subsequent descent, it was a wild ride.  My legs already feel like jelly.  I'm not looking forward to how sore I'm going to be tomorrow!



    Just been thinking about how much I love being back in Utah--the Crossroads of the West--because it doubles as the Crossroads of the Family (probably since Mom lives nearby).  My brother Brian was in town last week--we dropped everything to drive down to Provo to see him.  Family, lots of laughter, and Olive Garden.  Doesn't get much better than that! We also got to see Rick and Ashley within the past few months, each as they were in town for just a day or two.

    We didn't get to have family "just passing through" very often before moving back here--Texas, northwest Washington, and Pennsylvania were a bit too far off the beaten path, I guess.

    It has truly been a blessing to be here.  Still blows me away sometimes.