Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A List of Total Nonsense

Observations from my days at home as a Stay-At-Home-Dad...

1. Stinkbugs are always male.
2. PBS plays the Berenstain Bears approximately 25 times per day.
3. Rarely does the water faucet actually turn off in my house.
4. It is rarely good for a dad to hold an infant above him in the air.
5. Somebody else's slobber in your mouth is not a good thing.
6. Baby poop stinks pretty bad despite what mothers claim.
7. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches eventually harden to epic proportions if not consumed.
8. Our family now goes through a gallon of milk every other day on average.
9. The word, "Daddy" is now heard in the house approximately 1056 times per day.
10. The chances of a "nooner" are now nonexistent completely.
11. The chances of a "nooner" now that I have made this list are dwindling even further.
12. I am strangly attracted to George Shrink's mom.
13. Pink goes with everything to a three-year-old.
14. Getting a shower is a privilege and not a right.
15. It is harder and harder to blog with two kids hanging on you constantly.

Thanks for your consideration in reading this blog entry. You are the first grown-ups I have talked to today.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

A Note on Integrity

"Help us that we might live with integrity."

My stepdaughter, the teenager, repeats this phrase often in her prayers and I have often wondered exactly what it means to live with integrity.

Is it simply that we are honest and trustworthy? Does it mean that we are kind and charitable? Does it imply some type of a moral or ethical code that we follow? Sure. I think all of those qualities lead us toward a life of integrity, but I don't know that we really understand all that is expected if we are to live with integrity.

In my opinion, integrity is more than just moral fortitude or obedience to an ethical or religious code. Integrity is being true to oneself. It is understanding exactly who we are and what we stand for and then carrying that knowledge into action.

I am pleased to say that my little teenager is coming to a very specific knowledge of who she is and is carrying into action. Her life at 14 is full of confusion and pettiness and pressure from a number of different areas and it would be easy for her to succumb to peer pressure or fall into the trap of impressions and appearances, but, to her credit, she has decided that she is a girl that is kind to everyone, no matter what level of coolness they have or don't have. She has decided that she'd rather be kind than popular. She'd rather be friendly than cool. While others are blazing their own trails of teenage fervor, she has remained an intelligent caring individual who refuses to tease or belittle.

She lives with integrity. I hope that I can and you can, too.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Note to the Wizard on his 62nd

62 big years. Wow!

A huge happy birthday goes out to the Wizard on his 62nd birthday if I did my math correctly. Funny, cause Mom looks so young comparatively. My father was born on this day under some special conditions if I remember right. I will let him expound on that occasion if he deems it necessary, but needless to say he has lived a spectacular life to this point and I am very lucky son to have him as my father.

In honor of the oh so many candles on the birthday cake, I offer up this list of ten things about the Wizard.

1. He absolutely loves fish. Sit him down in a sushi bar and he will take it all the way to Tokyo.
2. He has a secret desire to be an interior designer.
3. He is particularly fond of high places.
4. He tires of people who constantly want to psychoanalyze others.
5. He loves to do the dishes in his house.
6. When he travels somewhere, he loves to go and see as much as he can. He won't rest for even a second.
7. He prefers to wait a good hour before eating dessert with his meals.
8. He is probably the best Canasta player I know.
9. He is not a morning person at all. He can sleep in like no other.
10. He really wants to start his own blog but he is afraid he will steal all my many readers.

Well, there it is. A list for the aged.
Love ya, Dad. You're the best and happy 62nd.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A Note on Pioneers

I have spoken only in the comments section of this blog about my pioneer ancestry and a little bit here and there in posts, but today I am preparing a lesson to teach church about the Mormon Pioneer trek across the country, and I thought I should dedicate a bit more time to it here.

I come from a healthy stock of Welsh miners that came to the United States in the mid-1800s and came across the plains in handcarts to settle in Salt Lake City. Because of their skills as miners they were sent by Brigham Young from Salt Lake City south to Iron County, Utah to the towns of Parowan and Cedar City where several iron mines had begun operation. They were not wealthy men and women but they were hard workers and they soon accumulated a modest amount of wealth.

During the late 1850s and early 1860s, the Mormon pioneers were trying to establish a good rapport with the Native Americans of the area with mixed results. One of the areas of concern was the area of the Navajo homeland. Because of its sheer population, Brigham Young felt that the Saints needed to be in the good graces of the Navajos so he called a group of Welsh miners (my ancestors) to travel from Iron County across the area now known as Lake Powell and settle the area near the Abajo Mountains and the San Juan River.

The trek these pioneers took has been known in history as the Hole in the Rock Expedition and its leaders were all in some distant way related to me. It is considered by many to be one of the greatest and most daring treks of all time and I am proud to call those people my ancestors. One of their leaders, Kumen Jones was my Great great grandfather. He was a scout and a leader for the expedition is considered by my family to be the first one to descend the Hole in the Rock.

It is with the recollection of this history that I ask you.

Who were the pioneers in your history?
How did they shape your world?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Memory of My Father

In honor of the Wizard's birthday this week I have decided to give you all a glimpse at the man that is my father.

As a young boy, I once made the egregious mistake of calling my brother a "Son of a %#&$". I was in third grade and I'd heard my Grandpa Kay use the phrase before so I knew it was a doozie, and, well, my brother was a pain in the behind. I figured he deserved it.

Once the words left my tongue, and my brother went straight to blab to the parental units I knew I was in deep doodoo.

My father erupted into his room, where I had holed up awaiting my sentence, and he was steaming mad. He immediately yelled at me, but not for calling my brother names, but for calling my mother a name. I was totally baffled. I didn't know what he was talking about, but he soon explained just exactly what my phrase meant in all its graphic detail and I was mortified. I had never meant to call my mother anything of the sort. I was terribly embarrassed and I even asked my father to ground me for eternity I think.

My father, of course, scared me out of my wits for a while but ultimately forgave me (I think he was just messing with me to teach me a lesson). I have never forgotten that exchange. Not because I thought it mean or because it scared me, but because it showed me the respect my father had for my mother. He was willing to kick my butt to preserve and defend her honor.

I always appreciated that.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A List of Places Before I Die

Okay, before I really get to my post, I have a completely unrelated comment I need to make. The child next door (he's six or seven and should be in school) is currently playing in my driveway. Now the parents have decided that he is going to be homeschooled but they don't do anything. Nothing against homeschooling (apologies to Travis) but if you are an idiot parent with no education, do you really think you are the one to educate your own child.

Now on to my post. I picked up the book entitled, "The Thousand Places To See Before You Die" and I decided to see just how many of them I have actually seen. Well, the list is as follows.

1. Moorea
2. Grand Canyon
3. Sedona
4. Hollywood
5. Lake Powell
6. Mesa Verde
7. Walt Disney World
8. Oahu
9. Lake Coeur D'Alene
10. Sun Valley Resort
11. Glacier National Park
12. Bellagio
13. The Las Vegas Strip
14. Carlsbad Caverns
15. The Badlands
16. The Black Hills
17. Moab, Arches, and Canyonlands
18. Monument Valley
19. Park City and Wasatch Range
20. Zion National Park
21. Pike Place Market
22. The National Mall
23. The Smithsonian
24. Grand Teton National Park
25. Jackson Hole
26. Yellowstone National Park
27. Chichen Itza
28. Roatan
29. Iguazu Falls

Now I have also seen a portion of Rio and a similarly short portion of the PCH so I can kind of count them in a very small sense. All in all, though, I found it disheartening to know that I have seen just less than 3% of the great sites in the world. I have so much more traveling to do.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Note on Predestination

The wife just yesterday revealed this little gem of a story that reminds us all that there is a fine line between reality and fantasy in the mind of a three-year-old.

While driving around in our trusty minivan, Touchdown paused from her normal endless chattering to ask the wife a question.

"Mom, how did you get me?"

Like all good mothers, my wife seized on the opportunity to both teach and perhaps catch a glimpse of real innocence.

"Well, Touchdown, Heavenly Father sent you to Daddy and me."

Touchdown thought about things for a good long while and the wife sensed that maybe she had forgotten about it, but after five or six minutes, Touchdown took a deep breath and responded as only she could.

"I remember now," she began. "He said, 'Goodbye, Touchdown', and he gave me a big hug."

The Wife perked up at this revelation and listened carefully over the roar of the air conditioner.

"Then he gave me a toy for Baby Indy. It was a SpongeBob. He (as in the Big Man Upstairs) was wearing pink flipflops."

Now, for those of you with the visual, I caution you to remember that three-year-olds don't possess the capacity for sacrilege. So either God was really wearing pink flipflops, which really throws my view of heaven into utter chaos, or my child is a wonderful little freak. I have opted to believe she is a little freakish if only because I think He might prefer blue.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A Note on Table Manners

On a day like today, when we commemorate some pretty heady stuff, I thought I would go in a completely opposite direction and opt for a little observational humor. I hope you all don't mind a bit of levity.

I am a good upstanding Mormon but I think my children might be Jewish. There is nothing wrong with that but it confuses me slightly. I offer this for an example...

The teenager apparently read somewhere in the Talmud that cucumbers must not touch any potatoes lest they become unclean. She definitely believes in the Mosaic law of some foods not being safe to eat if they even touch some other food on the plate. I don't recall where it mentions that gravy must not touch corn or where Moses wrote the commandment, "Thou shalt not let iceberg lettuce touch spaghetti," but it must be in there.

She also must have read that cheese on pizzas, potatoes, sandwiches and salads is good, but cheese on a hamburger (something we call a cheeseburger) is bad.

None of this concerns me in the least as I am really not that concerned with the ins and outs of teenage eating habits but when I innocently place a dollup of red sauce in an unapproved area of the teenager's plate, I hope that the Sanhedrin won't show up at my door demanding justice.

As for little Touchdown, she has apparently adopted the angle the Pharisees took at the time of Christ. On the Sabbath it is unlawful to take more than six bites of any food lest the sabbath be broken. I tried to tempt her into more but she held to her beliefs religiously. No, Daddy, no more.

I am tempted to blame the wife, as she started the whole thing with the gravy and the corn, but some of their little habits are unaccounted for.

How can Touchdown literally place 25 fishy crackers in her mouth at one time? How can an 80 pound girl of 14 out-eat her stepfather who is easily three times her weight? It cannot be totally attributed to metabolics.

I have changed my mind. The wife IS to blame. She can down a whole onion at a single sitting. Oh, and then she claims to have heartburn when I try to get a little romantic. It is starting to make more sense now.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

A Note on the Night Out

The wife and I and the whole family went out tonight and ventured to a little place called the Fiesta Fun Center. Our whole intent was to play a little miniature golf and get out of the house a little bit. I am here to report the findings of the evening. They are as follows.

1. You can apparently stuff an entire bull and carry it around in the back of your pickup truck. My wife was a tad perturbed at the sight but I told her to remember where we live.

2. Touchdown might just turn out to be a little golfer. She is not quite three but she hit the ball into every single hole. Don't think we didn't mention that her poopies should go into the hole in the toilet just like the golf ball goes into the hole. No pressure just a constructive suggestion.

3. I am still the king of WilkeWorld as I took both the miniature golf competition and the computerized road rally game in the arcade.

4. Skee-ball is an evil game that is worse than bowling. The wife took it to me twice in Skee-ball and managed to secure about double the amount of redeemable tickets. I can't for the life of me roll a wooden ball up a ramp. It is so frustrating.

5. Necklaces made of hard candy are evil as well. Not only did Touchdown elect to choose the candy necklace with her 38 tickets but she then licked the candy and dropped it promptly on the floor. That can't be sanitary can it. We employed the WilkeWorld five second rule and picked it up and washed it off, but I am not convinced she should still eat it.

6. Family activities rock. The teenager was smiling, Touchdown was elated, and Baby Indy was a farting machine, but because we were outside, none of us had to smell it.

7. We are now ready to host the Wizard and his lovely wife once again for Canasta now that we have placated the children. Bring it on, old man!

Oh, and the photo of me in the sea cow t-shirt is still being cropped and developed (Okay so we haven't taken it yet, but it will be posted. I promise.)

BTW--the Wizard's Birthday is creeping up on us (September 21st). He's been so busy with his horse races we haven't been able to harrass him properly yet. Don't worry, I'll get to it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A Note on Potty Training

No, this is not another post about my struggles with Touchdown, although I could go on and on about that. No, this post concerns a question found here at Indy's blog that has got me all riled up.

The question refers to the fact that when the toilet is found sprinkled with urine and a man is the only man around, why does he deny that it was him that did it. The insinuation is that we, men, are idiots.

Hey, it is true that we are sometimes cursed with the occasional stray ray that may or may not glance off the seat, but I offer here, a story for all the men.

I worked for four years in a luggage shop in Las Vegas. While there I worked with primarily women as we also sold women's handbags (go ahead Wizard and take your shots). Well one day a dastardly dusting of the tinkle juice happened to be spotted on the toilet seat and I was the only dude working there. Rather than pull me aside and confront me privately, the gaggle of gals decided it was appropriate to bring the matter up in a store meeting.

What was I to do? I was caught redhanded with my butt in the proverbial sling. Oh, they laughed it up and threw the jeers my way. "Watch out, here comes K, get out your rain boots." Ha ha. Hilarious. Now, I am not saying that I've never showered the seat with a stray ray, but I was pretty fastidious about clean up and I knew that I was not in the wrong on this one. They had picked a fight with the wrong butt.

For the next several weeks, I watched the toilet like a hawk, but I never found any evidence to clear my name. In fact, I eventually came to believe that maybe it was my tinkle tainting the toitoi.

Until one day, the little back room girl (who had been one of the main lyncher of the mob) came up to me with a contrite spirit and motioned for me to follow her to the facilities. There on the seat was the evidence I had been looking for. Just proudly sitting there. I felt like Johnnie Cochran. If on the toilet you can't sit, you must, luckily for K, acquit, acquit, acquit.

Oh, the glory was mine. I was not a pig after all. Come to find out it was a 70-yr-old Japanese gal who worked with us that couldn't bear to have her precious bummie touch the seat, so she hovered. That's right. A hoverer! Now don't tell me girls that you haven't hovered at some point in your existence. In the mall? Or at the ball park? Maybe the airport?

Let this be a lesson to you all. It is probably us and we are almost surely to blame, but keep an eye out for potential hoverers lurking about. Beware the hoverer!

A Note on the Bet

The previous note notwithstanding, I feel compelled today to mention the bet. Yes, I know that the wife will be very displeased but I have to record the circumstances surrounding the bet for my posterity's sake. My wife thinks the bet is very disrespectful, but I am quite certain that it was providential in some sense.

As a single Mormon man, the threshhold for acceptability in my society ran out at about 26 years of age. Beyond that magical number single Mormon men are considered by many to be menaces to society. Let's be honest though, single men in general over the age of 26 need to be institutionalized for one reason or another.

Well, at age 32 and in the conundrum spoken of above, I found myself desperate to escape my menace status. I was still marginally social and I wasn't totally defunct of charms, so I was still active in the dating scene, but there just weren't any prospects that I felt were worthy of my attention and affection and as such, I didn't date much. How, you may ask, can someone be actively dating but not date very often. I don't know. I am uncertain of my answer to that question, but I still considered myself active despite my inactivity.

Back to the bet. In this state, I found myself a little bent out of shape when a close friend started dating and seemed sure to find marital bliss. I was discouraged, as was another friend of mine. Instead of miring in self-pity, I proposed a bet to my buddy. First guy to make out with a chick wins the bet. Now before I get roasted on this deal, let me explain the details of the bet.

First of all, the kiss could not occur on the first date. That was against the rules.

Second, the kiss had to be with a girl that we thought worthy of our affections. To prove our honorable intent, we had an independent judge (a woman who knew us both and considered us her little brothers). She would resolve any disputes and vouch for the pureness of our intent.

Lastly, the girl could not be aware of the bet at the time of the kiss.

The payoff was a rafting trip down the Colorado River.

I was determined to win, mostly to avoid the pain and monetary calamity associated with losing the bet. To avoid such a calamity, I employed the help of my friend Kaipo, who was a total womanizer before his marriage. I knew he would know tons of chicks. He did and he hooked me up with two hot chicks one weekend in Salt Lake City (I lived in Las Vegas). That weekend was Super Bowl Weekend and it was destined to be a life altering one.

I went on the first date on a Saturday night. Oh, I so could've kissed that chick but the rules would not have been satisfied cause I didn't really like her and the first date was off limits. The second date wasn't until Monday evening so I had Super Bowl Sunday free with no place to watch the Super Bowl. I had mysteriously placed a piece of paper containing my wife's phone number in my backpack just in case I needed a place to watch the Super Bowl. I did and so I called.

"Uhhh, sure, come on over, I guess," was the response when I called her up. She had no intention of watching the Super Bowl but condescended to do it when I called.

We had a marvelous date if you can call it that and we kind of hit it off, but no romantic involvement at that point. I couldn't risk losing the bet. I did go on the second date the following evening and thought I might have a shot at winning the bet there as well, but she wasn't nearly as interested.

Long story a bit shorter...the wife came to Vegas a couple of weeks later and I won the bet in the hallway of the World Trade Center Hotel and Casino, which was imploded a few months later just months before 9-11. Spooky, huh?

I won the bet. Still haven't got paid off as my friend is really cheap, but I got the prize in the end.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A Note on Gender Perfection

This month's prompts are now up and operating over at the Alchera Project and I have decided to tackle the free write option which is about the perfect man or woman. Well, since I wouldn't dare write about the perfect man which would seem too self-aggrandizing, I have decided to write a little essay about my dear wife, a woman whose perfection seems to know no bounds.

Seriously though, my wife has so many of the qualities that make a woman perfect in my mind that I would be remiss in not explicating them in this essay.

First and foremost, a perfect woman is, in fact, a woman with numerous imperfections. Ironically, the imperfections are what creates perfection. My wife doesn't have the perfect physical characteristics that the world esteems. She is not 5' 8", 110 lbs. with luxurious blond locks and, as far as I know, she hasn't been in any Sports Illustrated magazine photos, but she has a beautiful figure, dark tender eyes and a gruff sexy voice.

I am an analyst. I love to figure people out and what motivates them and I am very politically active and opinionated and I thought that I wanted that in my perfect woman, but my wife is none of those things. She is opinionated, but on none of the issues that interest me. She is an analyst but rarely makes judgments on those analyses. It used to drive me nuts, but now I find it endearing and it saves me from a lot of unneeded arguments.

A perfect woman is supportive but not subservient, opinionated but not oppressive, caring but not mothering, loving but not mushy. The Wife passes on all accounts. She is a spitfire and a hardnosed worker and her co-workers have been known to shrink in abject fear to her wrath, but with me she is a teddy bear.

The Spanish refer to spouses as medianaranjas or half-oranges saying that both partners must be of the same sweetness to be real partners. Well, I guess that we are both medianaranjas amargas or sour half-oranges. The Wife has somehow convinced my parents that she is a sweetie, but I fear that the Wizard will shed some light on that herewith.

The perfect woman can get out of the house looking like a million bucks in less than ten minutes when called to do so. The perfect woman looks just as good in sweats and a clippy as she does in a cocktail dress. The perfect woman burns the chicken on occasion and has been known to clip her toenails near the bed, but she always finds a way to put a smile on my face with a wink and a pout.

The perfect woman loves her daddy and is a little girl around him. The perfect woman defends her children with a quiet ferocity. The perfect woman is very forgiving of her supremely imperfect husband. She sees something worthy of her affection in the ugliest lump of coal and somehow makes a diamond of it. She is my soulmate, my partner, my lover, my friend, my eternal companion.

Now if I could just get her to make those brownies, tonight.....

Friday, September 02, 2005

A Note on the Gulf Coast

I waited a little bit to write this post as I felt that I would be too reactionary and, therefore, too emotional and angry, but I feel as though I can write it now. I apologize for the overt sentimentality but I want to make a comment about the horrendous and lamentable state of things in the Gulf Coast states.

First and foremost, I believe the Federal Government is doing all it possibly can given the unprecedented circumstances. That being said, it is not enough and I find myself angry and yelling at the television hoping these people can get supplies and food. I keep wondering why the people on rooftops aren't being given food and medicine by air and why so many people are still in life threatening situations five days after the fact. I guess a sliver of blame needs to be directed at the Federal Government given the events and the lack of control.

Secondly, I applaud the efforts of all those people giving service in the face of oppressive heat and their own hunger and hurt. May God continue to bless you all.

Thirdly, I wonder how I can help. I have been urged by my ecumenical leaders to contribute to funds that will benefit those in need, but I wish I was there personally, cleaning up the mess and helping those in need. I feel so inept and handcuffed living 2500 miles away in the desert.

Lastly, my heartfelt love goes out to all of the people affected by this tragedy. I will state with all my heart the fact that God loves all of his children and he loves all of the people who are suffering. It may not seem so now, in the heart of the affliction, but He does love you all and our prayers are with you.