Sunday, July 31, 2005

Built a Fort/Sandbox for Caiden yesterday

Caiden had this small 5'x4' sandbox that he has out-grown. I've always had this little 6'x10' patch of dirt in the back yard that I wanted to build a fort/sandbox for Caiden and all his friends that come over. So with Alene's blessing, I got it done.

I poured the cement for the support 4'x4' posts on Thursday night:

Then I put up the beams and the floor:

Then I added the sand box and the ladder that will get you to the top:

Then I added the walls. Had to make a solid wall for the back that is on the fence-line so the kids don't toss stuff into the neighbors backyard. Also had to cut down a lot of branches that were in the way (the trees that border my property are these nasty cherry/plumb-type of trees that put out this putrid fruit that falls all over my backyard and stinks it up if I don't clean it every 5 days):

Here is the 85% finished product. Still need to add a slide on the right side and cut in the "escape hatch" that will allow them to open on the floor and climb down a rope ladder. Also have to add the roof and sand (obviously), so maybe I'm only about 70% done :) . I'll get most of that done w/in the next couple of days.

Update: Here is the finished product

Friday, July 29, 2005

Caiden has been to two Karate lessons now

He's really soaking it up and loving it. He attends the class with kids that appear to be as old as 8 or 9, but they have two instructors and one takes the kids closer to Caiden's age and the other instructor takes the older kids.

I was watching Caiden from outside (kind of hidden so he couldn't see me because I know he would get somewhat shy/self-conscious) and he was doing very well. The one thing that impressed me the most was that while the other kids that were practicing with him would flop around on the floor and goof off while the instructor was talking, or speaking to an individual kid, Caiden just stood there calmly and didn't move. His eyes constantly followed the instructor.

It was really cute seeing him learn his 8-point blocking. Once he learned it, they blind-folded him and then put a foam stick out by him as they counted out the blocks and tried to hit him with it (slowly) in the area that the block focus' on. Caiden did very good at consentrating on blocking while he was blind folded.

He really loves Karate. It's the first formal activity (besides pre-school) that he has gotten to do. I'd like to get him in soccer or T-ball this spring as well. Once he turns 9 though, he's on the football field :-).

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I'm so excited for Alene

She just got a phat job promotion and raise. She's such a hard worker (both in her professional and personal life) and I'm so proud of the example she is to me in that regard.

Congratulations baby!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Saw a scene at Home Depot today that made me sad

I was in line behind a family consisting of: A "father" (I use the term father lightly because dude was nothing more than scum to me), a wife or significant other (who was very timid looking and quiet) and a little girl about 3 years old.

The "father" was standing in line and looked like a combination of a white-trash wannabe gangster. He had slicked back hair, a "Reams" tee shirt, and some huge baggy pants. He was dirty and stinky.

His little girl didn't appear to be doing anything crazy or out of the ordinary that any other little kids would do. In fact, I would say she was more behaved than 75% of other kids her age I see in stores.

As her mother and her were standing about 10' from her dad (who had a big cart of cement bags), she was just kind of singing little songs and rocking back and forth. She ran over by her dad's cart and it looked like just to be close to him, and he grabbed her by the arm. It looked like he was going to squeeze her arm right off. The little girl had tears just well up in her eyes and looked so innocent. The dad said something about her going back and standing by her mom. The mother didn't make a peep, nor did it look like she really cared.

I wanted to take that little girl and bring her home with me. I felt so sad knowing that she is going to grow up with parents like that, who likely regret even having her. I was also saddened at myself, for not having the balls enough to pipe up and do something, but I was thinking that I had no business intervening. That poor little girl didn't do anything crazy at all.

The other thing that pissed me off was how he treated the cashier, who was obviously from an African country (he spoke pretty broken english). The cashier was having problems with the customer before Mr. White-Trash/Gangster (aka WTG). He was taking a while to resolve it and Mr. Trash/Gangster was sitting back there raising his voice about how slow the cashier was. Once the cashier got to him to scan his bags of cement, he asked Mr. WTG how many bags he had. The WTG said it kind of quiet, so the cashier asked again and the WTG about ripped his head off with his 2nd response.

It made me sick to know there are people like him out there.

I'm so thankful for the life I've lived after seeing that. I don't want to come off judgemental, because I'm sure it has something to do with the way he was raised. It's just that I'm upset with this dude and the way he tries so hard to be angry. He has a beautiful daughter, whom I'm sure just wants his affection and he treats her like crap.

Anyway, that is my rant.

In honor of my 100th blog post

I'll use the space to tell my wife and son:


Thank you both for being so good to me and for reminding me every day what is most important. I know I get out of line sometimes, but you are both there to guide me back in there. I'm so greatful to have both of you by my side in everything I do.

As a reminder of my endearing love for you both, I leave you with this picture of me:

Ate two fortune cookies after lunch today

Here is the first one:

"Visit a park, enjoy what nature has to offer."
I think I got this one a little too late, but oh well.

Here is the 2nd one:

"You are gifted in many ways"
I already knew that one :-)

Had fun yesterday

Yesterday was the actual celebration of the 24th of July. Had to work 1/2 a day yesterday though, but not a big deal.

Anyway, got home and took a dip in the pool we set up in the back yard. That water is COLD! It takes a while for the sun to really bake the stuff until it's nice water to swim in. Caiden and his friend James had fun. I like to run and do a full jump and 1/2 turn and land in side of it. I'm a little peeved though because the upper part (which holds air) of the pool liner has a leak, so it's pretty flat, but the pool still retains water pretty well. I'll need to patch that thing shortly. I hate finding leaks.

Alene's cousin's came over later on and we had a BBQ before heading over to Liberty Park for the fire works. However, during that time I started working on something I've been wanting to do forever. Build an outdoor toybox. It took me about 1/2 hour to frame it. I now have to go buy a sheet of OSB today to finish the outside on it. I love using my tools, especially my nail gun that I got from my family for my BD. I wish I had more stuff to use it with! I will soon enough (have to put on a roof next spring).

Anyway, after eating, we walked over to the Park and found a good place to see the fire works. The park is HUGE (2 blocks by 4 blocks) and they were setting the fireworks off across the street from the SE corner. We made our way through the thousands of people and found a PERFECT spot close to the corner of the street and set up. We sat for about 20 minutes and saw an amazing show. It was cool to see and feel the fireworks explode right in our faces. Just a cool feeling. Caiden enjoyed it too. I'll post some pictures to this thread later on. Got a cool picture of Caiden waving one of those glow in the dark braclets in front of his face.

Anyway, it was a good day.

Here is our lucious pool :-).

This is Caiden with a glow stick in his mouth :-)

This is Caiden waving a glow stick in front of his face.

Here are some pictures of the fireworks we saw at Liberty Park.

Had a pretty dang good weekend

It was "24th of July" here in Utah, which is a celebrated state holiday in rememberance of the day the Mormon Pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake valley.

On Saturday, Alene and I got a lot of work done around the house consisting of weeding the garden and planters, mowing the lawn, filling the truck with all the branches I cut down from my neighbors yard, and packing our bags for an over-night camping trip later that day.

We rented two NICE backpacks fromt he U of U's recreation store (or something like that) for $12.50 (total!). They were very nice. We loaded them up and met Alene's sister and the rest of her family (husband, Bill, and son Lanik). We went up Provo Canyon to a road called South Fork. We then parked our cars at a lot, which had a trail that lead up to Big Springs. We hiked up about a mile with our loaded packs (Caiden even carried my camelpack, which had all of his clothes in it) and camped at a spot across the creek, which was very private and secluded.

I absolutly LOVE the outdoors and did a lot of camping when I was younger, but not a lot since I was around 16 or 17. I love camping with Bill because I learn a ton from him about the outdoors. The dude has a memory of an Elephant too! After we set up camp, I headed out with him with water bottles to fill up. He has a small water purifier he takes with him. As we were walking, we came by this big open field and he stopped and said, "There's a spring right over here". I had no idea what he was talking about because all I saw was this big open field. We walked about 20' to the left and rest asured, there was a 3'x3' sized spring coming up out of the ground, very fresh looking. We pumped some of the most delicious water I've ever had!

The one thing that was upsetting was that there was a fire restriction in place. That is one of the greater things about camping! I understand they want to prevent fires, especially since this season has been very lush and wet, but it was still upsetting. The area we stayed in, everything was still green. It was very beautiful and I doubt would just burn up quickly. Oh well. We still broke the rules and lit a small fire anyway, but just long enough to cook our food. We brought pre-made burrito's covered in tin foil and heated them up. Not too shabby!

The next day we packed most of our stuff up (except our tents) and did a little day hike another mile up or so, to Big Springs. It was amazing and the water was so cold. It felt refreshing to dip my head inside the water.

The area itself was so over-whelming to me. As we hiked up one trail, we saw many other trails break off, or keep going in directions up giant mountain ranges that surrounded us. I was dieing to know where they went and hike up them. It amazed me at how small of an area of utah this was (just a tiny dot on a map) yet I could likely spend weeks exploring just that one area (if I had the time). Oh well. I just know that I for sure want to go back there someday. It was fun because we carried everything in on our hike and carried everything out.

The next day I ordered two things for Alene and I: 1. A Katadyn Hiker water filter; and 2. A pair of compression covers for our sleeping bags. We also got this idea from Bill and April. We had a problem getting our sleeping bags inside our packs (Bill and April were able to fit BOTH of their sleeping bags into one pack) and Bill showed us these compression sacks they have (which I'm pretty sure are common around the camping regulars). I'm definitely going to love these sacks, which will allow us to likely shrink our bags down to half their size.

Here is a picture of the trail on the way in.

Here is a picture of our campsite:

Here is a picture of the creek next to our campsite (see our tent?)

Here is a picture of the makeshift bridge that Bill made (he also made a handy little fridge in the creek to keep our drinks cold)

Here is a picture of a fern patch on the hike up to Big Springs. There are these fern patches everywhere. I've never seen so many fern plants.

Here is me, Caiden, and Alene at a lower area of Big Springs

Here is a picture of Big Springs. It's beautiful.

Here is a picture of Caiden and I with our packs, on our way back to the trail head.

Friday, July 22, 2005

I love America

I'm feeling somewhat patriotic and have to get a few things off my mind.

I'm a little peeved at the attitude toward America by both American's and non-American's. I believe in America. I believe in the system that was set up. I know that there are very corrupt politicians, but being the eternal optimist I am, I believe that there are also politicians that are good and just and doing what they feel is right.

I hate politics though. At least, I hate getting involved in them. To me, it seems there is no end to the arguing that could go on taking one side or the other. My main POV: Is it a good and just thing to do? Is the person I'm voting for of good character, someone that represents how I feel, or at least close to it? I do my best to research a little about my leaders, but sometimes I prove to be wrong.

I don't feel I'm in any position to judge our current leder, Mr. Bush. I have no idea if he is corrupt, or if they are just slams that try to bring him down, much like others tried their best to bring Bill Clinton down. I think both men are good people that sincerely try their hardest to do what they feel is right for the country.

I'm really fed up with politics though. It's so hard keeping up with all the arguments.

Back to my point: I love America. I know that there are shaky issues in which this nation was formed (taking away land from the natives, corrupt "founding fathers", slavery being the basis for getting the country going, etc.) but I still believe that America is a great nation that has many great things to offer the world.

We spend a lot of money helping other countries out. Some of it is for our advantage (so what) and some of it is just to help. I wish we could do everything, but we can't.

I believe in our Capitalist sytem too. I believe in every person working hard for what they want. I belive that with Capitalism, there are no limits to what you can accomplish, even if you are considered a low-end statistic; PROVE THE STATISTIC MAKERS WRONG! I hate big brother government control. I do believe that our sick and disabled should have some sort of care. I believe that our homeless and children should have some sort of care. I believe that there are opportunities for everyone to get out of the rutt. I believe there are ways of picking someone up off the ground, dusting them off, and sending them on their way. It's not impossible, but I believe that our government argues so freaking much, that the system allows for lazy people to take advantage of it. I'd like to think this system could be fixed, but I doubt it.

But still I believe. I'm very proud of our involvement in the World Wars and the contributions we made in over-coming tyranny. I'm proud of the sacrifices every soldier signs up to make. It makes me so sick to see people that live here, not support them or even show anger toward them. I think these people have issues.

But still, I believe in America. There is no other place I'd want to live. We provide so much for the world, whether it be in trade, or in opportunity. I'm peeved at how many in the world look at us as corrupt, while in their daily lives they are likely positively affected by things that America produces.

We are a world power and that is the bottom line. That statement has nothing to do with our "right as a world power", but more with what we've accomplished in so little time. My thinking is that any non-American's that hate America are likely just jealous. I know we have shady deals we've done, but put on a scale of the good vs. the evil we've been involved with, and I know the positive would out-weigh the negative.

I do believe in world harmony. I hate war, I hate killing, I hate corruption, I hate hate. I wish we could all just get along. I don't have the answers to all those issues either, just a thought in my mind at how nice it would be.

Still, I love America and the chances of competition to be the best that I can be, depending on how much effort I put into it.

I've heard some dudes make statements on how the world needs anarchy. WOW! That is scary. In the same breath, I've heard them mention that nothing will really get done in America unless we have an absolute dictator. WOW! again. Scary to think that people think that stuff will work.

I love America. I'm proud to be an American. I hope that my actions toward others that are non-American are in good light of what every American should be. I try to be a good person and I guess that is the best I can do.

I say God Bless the USA. I've recently seen a bumper sticker that has that saying with the "USA" crossed out and the word "WORLD" put in. I understand that context, but to a degree. I'm proud of my country, which is a place I have more control over than I would in the world. My country has offered me many great opportunities. My country directly affects my life and those I associate with first. Of course I want the world to be blessed, but I have no issues with asking for a special blessing on my own country. I know darn well people in other countries are just as nationalistic as we can be and I don't see others complaining about them.

I love America.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Had to be up at girl's camp from 6am to 6pm today

That sucked (somewhat).

On Sunday our Bishop asked if two of the men in the ward could spend the day up at a girl's church camp where a few of the girls in our ward were going to be at. Me and another dude (new dude in the ward) volunteered.

Had to get up at 4:30am. That sucked. Throw in the fact that on my way up, I cracked my window on the freeway to blow the dust off my lemon filled jelly donut, and my directions/map flew out the window. I pulled over to find it and it was likely on it's way to CA somewhere. I still had a faint memory of where to go.

It was pretty far up there and a really pretty drive up. Above the town of Marion, which is situated between Kamas and Oakley. Really pretty area and a nice camp site. Got there a little late (because of the map fiasco) but everyone was cool.

Basically just hung around all day. I got to know this new guy (Kurt) who is really cool and told me about this dope program for teachers and police officers.

His wife is a teacher and has been teaching for 6 years. He said two years ago when they got married, they bought a house that was worth around 100k, for 50k. The state payed the other 50k for them. He said there are no strings attached or anything, just that you have to either be a teacher or a law enforcement officer. In addition, the house has to be a HUD home. So there are a few stipulations, but buying a HUD home isn't THAT bad. Consider the fact that you only need to be in the house for 3 years before you sell it, and it's a nice deal. If you sell it w/in 3 years, you have to pay a pro-rated amount back.

Still, I'm a little more at ease at some options I may have as a poor teacher. At least I can look forward to having an opportunity to have a low house payment.

So I basically spent the day reading, writing down some FB stuff for my up-coming season, napping on a 12" wide bench, and more reading.

I've been taking my investing a little more serious. I upped my 401k contribution to 6% (because my company only matches up to 6% of what I put in, at 20% of that) and I made some changes to the funds and the allocations (sold some funds completely, distributed among others, and found the next day that because of those changes I made, I had an extra $100 in my account, so I was stoked). In addition, I'm putting 2% of my paycheck into the Stock Purchase plan. After a year, I get to buy stock based on the average price, which will likely get me some good loot. My companies stock trippled over the past year (was around $12 a share, now at $37). These are small amounts I won't miss, but will always be there when I need them.

Soooooo, the last 3 hours was a killer, waiting for 6pm to get there. The leaders there were nice and always talked about how gracious they were that we were there (we were there to assist if anyone got hurt, or needed a blessing, or a ride home) and they fed us. Not too bad of a deal. It was really pretty up there too!

On the drive in, there is this really freaky looking cabin that's being torn down. The freakier part is another cabin kind of built out of the hill-side that has a grass roof (you can't see it in the pictures, but you can see it from above as you are coming down the mountain). The places is plastered with no trespassing signs. I just took time to take a few snap shot's was all.

Here is a picture of the cabin being demolished (no one was there doing it at the time)

Here is a picture of that cabin up above (very spooky looking and it didn't seem to have any kind of a road going up to it?)

Here is a view of the town of Marion from the demolished cabin.

Over-all, it was a good day. Got some stuff done (oh yeah, got all my "thank you" cards filled out from my wedding), and got to relax (as best I could).

I was a little troubled when I picked up caiden to find that he threw a pretty big fit with his grandma and kicked her. Her husband (caiden's "step grandpa" spanked him, which I was glad he did. Caiden's mother doesn't believe in spankings, I do :). I gave Caiden a stern talk on the way home. He started to cry, so I know he felt bad. I then gave him a hug and told him that I hated what he did, but I don't hate him. I told him he is a good kid and he will grow up to be a Super Hero (it's his goal in life right now). I love my son, but it's so sad seeing him struggle at times. I hate diciplining him, but I won't hesitate to do it for his own good.

Here is one picture I took of him the other night when he was sleeping. I thought it was cute how he was positioned with his hand on his head, as though he was posing.

I'm tired now. I'm going to bed!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

SWEET! I'm an HTML genius!

I just figured out how to tinker with the template. For starters, I changed the entire template as it is (picked a different one). Blogger then allows you to toy with it a bit too. The one thing I hated was how skinny and narrow the text area for each of my posts was. I found an area that said something relating to the header width and the content and main width (I think that was what I found?) Anyway, I kept tinkering with it and widening it. I wanted to be able to pretty much take up the whole page.

Any feedback from others? Does it fit your screen? Does it appear harder to read? I figured if my writing was in less lines, that it would be easier to read.

Feedback please?

The funny part is that I do realize that what I did is pretty much "HTML 101", but when I first figured it out, I felt like one of those computer geeks you see on the movies that can crack into any database and do crazy stuff. I felt like I was the smartest person alive. Now that it's worn off, I feel like an idiot for feeling that way. Oh well.

Monday, July 18, 2005

New Music update

My wife has introduced me to a cool band called Mellowdrone. Cool sounding stuff, very similar to Radiohead, but they have their own style as well. Good stuff. They don't have an album out yet, but they'll be releasing one this Fall I believe?

I recommend the songs "beautiful day" and "Fashionably uninvited".

Sunday, July 17, 2005

My Life Story age 10-14

This is from last November when I said I would continue. Being that I am not busy with classes this summer, I'll have more time to catch up.

10-11 years old. Fuzzy memories, but I think I was in the 5th grade? A really obscure time. I remember starting major insecurites about myself. Kids can be so harsh with each other. We were pretty poor, so the clothes I wore were usually hand-me-downs from a relative or someone in our church. I recall just previous to this (4th grade) my dad quitting his job working for "the man" and starting a business with my mom: Used Car sales and Auto Upholstery work. Sounded like fun to them at the time since they both loved cars.

I remember my continued love for skateboarding and constantly eating anything bad for me. I started to get a little chubby at this time. I remember auditioning for the 5th grade talent show by lip-synching to the song "Born in East L.A." by Cheech and Chong. At the time, I had no idea what the term "racist" meant and saw no harm in the song whatsoever. The teacher had a smug look after our try-out and told us it was an offensive and racists song. I had no idea what she was talking about.

Still scared of girls, I had some frinds that were girls, but no "girl friends". I was so intimidated. Didn't do too well in school. Just went with the motions. Didn't know I was supposed to actually "remember" the stuff they tried to teach us. Bear and I continued to hang out. Bear actually got in trouble at school for having some pot. My loving/understanding parents still allowed me to hang out with him though. He claims it wasn't pot, but we all know it was :-). Raleigh (my skater friend) continued to hang out. He had a huge house, so it was always fun to go over there.

11-12 years old. 6th grade started. Pretty intimidating going into Jr. High as the low-man on the totem-poll. I recall many 8th graders that tried to intimidate us. The biggest threat was being "trashed" where they would lift you upside down and put you in a trash can. Never happened to me. In fact, some 8th graders would be-friend you. To us, they were HUGE adult-like creaturs. Pretty crazy.

I continued to get a little chubbier. I wasn't involved in anything athletic at all and avoided any kind of work-out if possible. I rode a lot of bikes though and my skating became less frequent (because I sucked and there wasn't a lot of concrete in the country where we lived). I recall learning how to drive a car and drove them consistently on my parents car-lot. They were always so trusting of me in that respect.

Another shocker in the 6th grade was seeing all the "couples" in the halls before school, during breaks, and after schools. As the bell would ring, you would see them all stop talking and just start sucking face as though the boy was heading off to war or something. I was jealous, but thoughts of "how does one learn how to kiss like that" ran through my head. It was crazy.

I also had a good taste of boy scouts. Good times. Got to do many-a-camping and working on merit badges. I had a great scoutmaster who worked us to advance like crazy. I think I went up like 3 ranks when I was 12 years old and garnered many merit badges.

I also started working for $$ on my dad's lot washing and detailing cars. I'd drive the car to the back of the lot where the detail stuff was. We'd wash the cars and vacume them. Dad would pay me like $3.00 an hour. It was a dope job and I was quite proud of it. I'd get my check, go cash it at the local store and blow it all there on candy, sandwiches, and soda (mostly Dr. Pepper).

I actually made a feeble attempt at the beginning of 7th grade to play on the flag FB team. I was cut (I REALLY sucked). They basically tested us out by having us hold the coaches couch cushons and hit each other. I didn't have any cleats and had no traction. Plus I was such a wuss anyway, pretty much everyone intimidated me, even if I was bigger than them.

12-13 years old. 7th grade was a little better. You felt a little more important at school. I had my own locker (didn't have to share) and we had a different class each period (in 6th grade you were assigned to one teacher and usually had 1 other period with another teacher that did either Math or Science).

Still had a lot of insecurites. It seemed like EVERYONE had a girlfriend and I didn't. The other issue I had was one day splashing on some cheap cologne (trying to attract the opposit sex) and a bunch of the kids on the buss making fun of me and telling me how much I stunk. From there on out, every day the same kids would make the same comments and have the most disgusted looks on their faces. I was horrified about getting on the bus. I hated it. If it wasn't too cold, I just started riding my bike to school instead of riding the bus. School was about 3 miles from my house, so it wasn't that bad. The thing that sucked the most was that most of those that were making fun of me, were very friendly to me in classes and even buddies with me, so long as they were'nt on the bus in that same group. I wasn't good at communication "break-through" skills, so I'd never ask them why they made fun of me. The crazy part is that I only wore the cologne ONCE on that fateful day, and ever since then they continued to say I stunk. Kids can be so harsh with one another.

I did make the 7th grade basketball team though. I was an "alternate" though. I actually think I made the team by default because I went to the try-outs. I SUCKED, then I went to see the cut list and the roster. I wasn't on either one. I went to the coach and told him I wasn't on it, and he said I was an alternate. An alternate is someone that practices with the team, but will likely never get in the game. Such was the case with me and my situation. I didn't understand things like "going to practice every time" and "commitment". Still, the coach put me in the game a couple of times, which was fun. I had NO IDEA what I was supposed to be doing. I just remember on the play "Iowa", that I was supposed to go down by the hoop (low post) and run back and forth. Well, one time I was running back and forth and some idiot on my team passed me the ball! I immediately just turned around to shoot it, but I was fouled. Being fouled was my biggest fear because I SUCKED at shooting the basketball from anywhere beyond 5 feet. I went to the foul line and air-balled both of my free throws. I put every effort into both of those shots (I even jumped, as though I was shooting a three pointer or something) and I still air-balled them. Still, I felt like I was a person of privilage for making the team.

I recall meeting another good friend (Nick Palleschie?). He was a very flamboyant and active person. He liked baseball and liked to perform for people and gain attention. He was in a lot of plays and when we were at our house, he liked to perform made-up skits on our video camera. He got me into Rap music and tried to teach me how to dance. We were really into MC Hammer and the like of that generation. We even went to a Hammer concert together (his mom dropped us off). Nick and I hung out a lot. Bear was still around quite a bit too and he would hang out with Nick and I. By this time Bear had started doing things like Smoking and Drinking, but was still a good and loyal friend. Homeboy always protected me and stood up to anyone.

I recall a lot of the older stoners (guys usually a couple of years older than me) always trying to pick on me or threaten me. If bear told them to back off, they would. It wasn't a threat from him because he was roughly the same size or just a tad bigger than me, but for some reason they respected him. The stoners were losers only looking to take out their aggression on someone younger/smaller. Pissed me off a lot.

My parents began to get out of the used car business after it being more of a money pit than anything. They bought a parking lot cleaning business and started to do very well. I worked for them on Friday and Saturday nights carrying a backpack blower on my back and blowing the debris onto the parking lot streets for the truck to pick up. They paid me $20 a night, which was PHAT money for me. As usual, I'd blow the money pretty quickly.

13-14 years old. Tried out for the 8th grade Basketball team (I was actually really into watching basketball and shooting hoops in my backyard, but I was SOOO uncoordinated, slow, and couldn't shoot). I failed to make the team and pretty much gave up on any kind of sport. I had a good paying job as well, working at the local gas station. I was paid like $4 an hour to change tires and take money. I was also left to tend the gas station on my own (I was 13 freaking years old, but had grown a bit and looked the part of the typical 16 year old gas station attendant). I usually worked this job on Friday night and Saturdays (so the owner could take a break) and had the tedious job of cleaning the entire shop, which was a wreck after the week of being away. I was there from morning to evening, but made some good money. It was a fun job.

I was really into cars and had my dream vision of having an S-10 blazer, 2wd and slamming it to the ground, some booming speakers. I was determined to have it by the time I was 16 (it never happened). I drove a lot to work and back. My house was only 1/2 mile away, so it wasn't too bad.

I also got into some trouble. Bear and a bunch of other hooligans came over to me and Nick and told us about this store that was a couple of miles away. He said he and a friend broke into it on a weekend at night and took a bunch of cigarettes and booze. He told me he wanted to do it again, but REALLY do some damage. I was enticed mostly because I was into collecting baseball and basketball cards and I REALLY wanted more. I told him I'd be in, so long as I got basketball and baseball cards out of it.

So, we had to formulate a plan. We decided to do a camp-out in my backyard. We lived on 3 acres, which were heavily wooded, so we knew we could be out camping as a group, pretend to go to sleep, then slip away. Russ (my brother), who didn't know the master plan, camped along with us as well. This changed things. I didn't want to leave him hanging and wondering where we all were. I told Bear that I was going to stay back with Russ in case he wakes up. I didn't want him going to my parents worried that we were all gone. Nick decided to stay behind too (I think he got scared). I insisted that Bear and the 3-4 others with him, get me baseball and basketball cards.

We went to sleep and Bear and the rest of the gang left. They returned about 3 hours later with BAGS full of stuff. Mostly beer, cigaretts, candy, chips, and the beloved basebal and basketball cards. They left more in some bushes close to the store, so we had to treck back to get it. In addition, I guess they left quite a destruction path at the store knocking over displays and racks. Totally unecessary.

Well, all was fine for a couple of weeks. There were reports of the robbery and questions were being asked. Eventually Bear and his friends had bragged about doing it and it pretty much set us in. The big tip though was Bears mom finding his drawer FULL of cigaretts. She shopped at the store and knew the owners well (as did my parents and myself; I had actually done some light work around their store once). Bears mom immediately asked him if he did it. He confessed and the rest is history. I recall it getting around school and Bear being picked up by the police. I knew I was in for it. I recall riding my bike home and seeing a sherrif car in our driveway. I rode away and came back later. My grandpa was there and said the sherrif was with some of my friends and they went out in the back yard. My buddies had ditched some of the stuff on our property, so they were likely gathering it.

My dad came home with the most upset look on his face. My dad would never lay a hand on me (that was my mom's doing most of the time) but to see the upset look on his face, killed me inside. I never wanted to disappoint him. He worked so hard his whole life and he struggled most of the time to provide a stable income for the family in which I know weighed on him heavily. He tried so hard to show as much love and respect for his family and here I was doing something so stupid. I was frozen silent.

My dad drove me to the store to face the people I robbed. They knew me. I knew them. It was the most horrible feeling in the world. My friends were being questioned one at a time in the back of the store (by the sherrif). I could hear them laughing and it sounded like they were having a good time. I was shocked. I Couldn't believe how they were acting! My dad marched me up to the store owner and made me apologize to both of them. I couldn't look at the man in the face. He was very upset, pulled me into another room and wanted to talk to me. He gave me the biggest guilt-trip grilling I've ever had. He could not believe I was involved in this. He was hurt. I started to cry.

Then the worst came. The sherrif said it was my turn to talk to him. He took me to the back of the room, frisked me, handcuffed me and made me sit on a milk carton. He told me to tell the whole story of what I knew. The moment those handcuffs came around my wrists, a waterfall of tears came down my face and they lasted the rest of the day. I felt as low as one could feel. I told him everything. I told him that Russ wasn't at fault. He didn't know what was going on. The poor guy was being dragged into this and just going along with everything. He was a couple of years younger than everyone else and had no idea how serious this all was once he learned (he eventually found out before we were caught). I'm sure it was very hard for my dad to see me on that carton, crying my heart out and confessing. It was probably one of the best things that ever happened to my teenage life.

Anyway, I ended up getting released, had to pay restitution (with my own money earned over the summer) and had to do 40 hrs of community service. That stuff SUCKED, but was indeed deserved.

I rebounded from that life. I still be-friended Bear from time to time and hung with Nick a lot as well. I made a lot of decisions to be a better person and just focus on my work at the gas station and work with my dad at his lot. The crazy thing was that my parents NEVER punished me. They were upset, but once it was over they said they were not going to ground me because they felt it would do no good. I was eternally greatful.

8th grade graduation came up. I was the pimp-dog that day. Wore my black Z-cavaricci pants, Green w/ black print rayon shirt, black skinny tie and a silver necklace over the top of the tie. I thought I was mackin' and smooth.

So summer came and I wasn't doing much other than working and swimming at our community pool. The head Football coach at the high school I was going to be going to, called our house asking for me. I was shocked that the HEAD COACH of a high school would call me, a puny soon-to-be freshman. He told me that he was the head coach and he was looking to have kids come out and play football on the freshman team. I was impressed that he would call ME of all people, to come play football. I had not a CLUE about football, other than I hated throwing that stupid ball and people hit each other. I played one season of little league when I was like 9 years old, but I didn't know what I was doing. I just hit the dude on the other side of the line and knew my position name was "guard". I had figured that the head coach had been scouting me out somehow. Maybe he saw me and was impressed for some reason and wanted to make sure I came out? Like I was some diamond in the rough? "WOW!" I was thinking.

So, I decided to go out for football. However, a little reality hit when I showed up for summer camp that ran through the month of June. Almost every soon to be 9th grade boy was there. A little history on the Head Coach. It was his first year as the HC and he was looking at re-building a program that had been struggling. He had to get a completely new staff and wanted to start at the bottom with the new kids, get them used to the system, then work them up to seasoned vets by the time they were Jr's and Sr's. In the past the freshmen numbers had been low in participation. He determined to bring them up. He individually called every 8th grade boy from all 3 Jr high schools that were feeding his school. I didn't find this out until years later when I was a coach on his staff.

So, I show up and the usual faces of kids that beat me out the 2 years ago to make the flag team, were there. I was let-down, but the our coach gave us encouragement. He told us that as long as we were there every day and worked hard, we would be on the team. There were no cuts. I was stoked and figured I'd stick with it.

Next up: The high school years: Freshman Year....

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I always forget what I want to blog

I consider my blog my journal (from here on out). It would stuck if somehow the Blogger server crashed and lost everything I ever did. I want this blog to be my lifes writings and work (for the most part). I type so much faster than I can write. Throw in the fact that even I can't read my own handwriting and it's a win-win situation (as Stephen R. Covey would say).

So anyway, while I'm out and about I often have all these thoughts that I wish I could blog. Stuff that really is important. Things I want to remember, etc. Still, doesn't happen. Upsets me to no end.

Anyway, one thought that has been weighing on me for sure is the thought of what kind of person I am and how I want to be remembered. It's interesting that when we're younger (babies, toddlers, elemetary, middle, Jr. High and even High schoolers) we can only seem to think about the now, not the future. We seem to just focus on what makes us happiest and the things we want then and now.

As I'm older, with a son, and an amazing wife, I tend to only think of the future and the legacy I want to leave my family when I leave this life. My thoughts dwell on this mostly because of my reading and study of history. I've been focusing a lot lately on the "Greatest Generation", which is of the people of WWII. I recall as a lad (well, about 18 years old) hearing of Tom Brokaw's book come out about them, with the title being that what they were (The greatest generation). I was a dumb kid, not knowing much about our history and involvement of WWII. Knew of Pearl Harbor, knew about Hitler and his ideals, knew about what the Jewish people went through, knew about our "storming the beaches of Normandy". However, with all my knowledge, I had no idea what each person went through personally. I've recently been focusing on history of that erea just through a few boooks/movies.

The first was Band of Brothers. Saw the TV series first, then started reading the book. I'm about 3/4 way through the book. Great TV series and an even greater book.

The second was another book I've been listening to on my ipod (audio book) called "Medal of Honor: Profile of America's Military HHeroes from teh Civil War to the Present". It's a great book that tells individual stories of people that earned the Medal of Honor. The losses of life and the way they are lost is a lasting impresion on me, in addition to those that survived some of the most amazing battles and what they do with their lives.

I was also reading this story by Rick Reily, who writes for Sports Illustrated. My list of Hero's continues to grow. I hope to someday at least be someone that was well-respected by my family, my peers, and those I associated with. I have sincere feelings on helping people and being a good person. I just hope I come out that way.

I'm just forever greatful for all the sacrifices those have made for this country and for humanity in general.

That is all.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Finished a Tub/Shower tile job yesterday

Fun stuff :-). Not too bad. I clear about $250 every time I do one. I think this is my 6th tub/shower. I had to rip out the old plastic insert they had on the tub walls, fix some of the sheet rock, put up the cement backer board, apply the tile, then grout.

Stupid me though. I always have intentions of getting before pictures, but I forget and end up taking pictures on the 2nd or 3rd step. Pisses me off. Either way, the previous set-up was disgusting! Had tons of mold in the corners and about 2" thick of caulk along the bottom (which was all moldy too). Anyway, this looks much better. Got it done in 3 days too!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Had a good time this weekend

Went with Alene and Caiden down to our family reunion in Fairview, Utah. We've done it every year that I've lived here (except the first year I moved here, which was at my Aunt Claire's MIL's house in Midway).

We got down there on Friday and settled into our Cabin. I played some golf and Alene took Caiden to the pool, which was cut short because a baby decided to have some diahrea in the kiddie pool. They made a rule from there on out that no babies were allowed in the pool, even with swim diapers. Oh well.

Anyway, we rented some 4-wheelers and had a blast. I've loved motorcycles and 4-wheelers since I was young. I used to ride dirt bikes a lot when I was in Jr. High. There is such a fun feeling on them of freedom to go anywhere you want. It was a blast. We took Caiden on a ride on Saturday morning as well. He had fun. I even let him drive. He did a good job. I would sit back and let him steer and give it gas as he drove. It was a 350 Yamaha and he handled it quite well, considering that his feet couldn't even touch the foot pedals (it was an automatic). He drove us home for about the last mile. I think it made him feel pretty special.

I also took Caiden golfing. He lasted about 4 holes before he was tired of it and didn't want to golf anymore. Still, it's a proud moment golfing with your son :-).

We swam a lot on Saturday. Golfed in the morning too. I had a better day that day (shot a 40). We had our family get-together that night. The theme was 50's, so we all had to dress up like someone from the 50's. Alene was able to borrow a poodle skirt and shirt. I put Caiden in some jeans and a Tee shirt with the sleeves rolled up. I dressed up like a 50's basketball player. I wore the shortest shorts I've ever worn, geeky Buddy Holly glasses, and a basketball tank-top. Also wore a head band. Here are the pictures:

It was fun to see the little nephews do their skits and stuff. One of my cousin's sons (who is 6) takes a hip-hop dancing class. He was hilarious. All serious out on the floor doing all these moves, then looking to see everyone's reaction.

We spent the rest of the night playing volleyball and just hanging out. Alene and I went to the cabin next to ours where Nate, Krystal, Brock, and Amanda were staying. We played Texas Holdem. It came down to Brock and I who had the most money and in order to end it, we bet everything we had at the end. I lost the last hand very closely (he had a pair of Jacks and I think I had a pair of 9's). It was fun. I'd like to play that more.

Sunday we got up and just got ready to go. On our way home we drove up Fairview Canyon and along the Skyline drive. It was the most amazing country I've ever seen. I could not believe there could be something so beautiful up above the San Pete Valley. Full of Aspen's and pines and lakes everywhere. Someday I'd like to spend a whole day driving the Skyline drive. It's mostly dirt road, but just beautiful. It drives right along the Eastern mountain range from the valley. There was even some snow up there. There are so many trails up in the area. Someday I want to take a 4-wheeler up there and just explore it all. The Skyline trail runs from Highway 6 to the north, down to I-70 at the south. All of it is dirt road (according to the map). Along the way, it passes about 4 or 5 lakes. We saw Huntington resivoir and Fairview Lakes. We continued on the main route (off of Skyline drive) heading NE toward Electric Lake and Schoefield resivoir. Both just beautiful, although I think I like Electric Lake better. Electric lake was so rugged and lonely. My brother in-law (Jere) said it used to be pretty full, but some miner was digging close to the south end and hit the bottom of the lake, which drained it. I could tell from my pictures what he was talking about.

Anyway, spent last night just un-packing and relaxing. Picked up Tim's car and had fun getting used to driving that. I'm going to get too attached to it while he's gone :-).

I'm going to be very busy this week. Got a big tub-tile job to do this week. I feel rested enough to get it done quickly though.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Changed the belts on my truck tonight

They were getting horribly bad and squeaked every time the truck idled (especially when I start it up, which I'm sure the neighbors loved in the morning).

I've never changed belts before. It wasn't too bad, but my hands got REALLY dirty, not to mention my face/the back of my head. A lot of grease and grime fell underneath the truck and I had to lay on my back underneath to get to a couple of bolts. My head was mushed in the stuff and it took forever to wash . Check it out:

The cool thing is that I saved about $130 in labor by doing it myself. Plus, by getting so dirty, I feel really manly after accomplishing such a thing.

Last post of the day

Man I love my son.

Sometimes I wonder if he really cares about me and the fact that I'm his father. Not that I don't think he loves me, I know he does. But I worry about it just being for the fact that I've always been there and that is it. I've always wanted to be a hero to my kids the way my dad was to me. I can recall fondly looking up to my dad and believing he could walk on water. It seemed there was nothing he could do wrong. I truly believed he had super powers and could over-come any obstacles. Eventually I know it would wear off and settle in and he would realize I'm just a schmoe (much like it did with my dad, hehe. Just kidding dad), but in his youth, I wanted it that way.

See what I'm getting at?

However, my son is very smart and very realistic in things. I think he looks up to me and I know he loves me. Don't want to lead anyone in the wrong direction.

But, moments like this morning really make me feel loved by him. I took him to the Dr's office this morning to have a cough he's had for the past week or so, checked on. We had a good time just being goofy while we waited for the Dr. to come in. Lately Caiden has been obsessed with bodily function noises. Non-stop. So he gets a good laugh at making them with his own mouth.

So, turns out it's just a simple little cold and the Dr said no meds, just time. I took him over to his grandparents house so I could go to work. When I dropped him off, he separated from me quickly and went to his grandma. I had a little small talk with them, then told him it was time to leave. He gave me a big strong hug and held on for a while. It made me feel good. Then, he continually kept waving by to me and telling me he loved me. He did it over and over again, as though I wouldn't feel enough of it, or as though he knew I needed it. He followed me to the door and kept saying "bye daddy. I love you" and flashing the

symbol for "I Love You".

He does this from time to time. Almost like he feels he's not going to see me for a while. He never gets emotional about it though.

Except one time. The day I got married, Alene and I came back to the house to get changed before we headed off for our honeymoon. Caiden came back to the house with my parents and I had arranged for him to stay with them. He seemed really surreal during the whole day. He just kind of went with the flow of the day and posed for all the pictures.

So, when Alene and I were getting ready to leave, I gave him a big hug and whispered in his ear that I loved him. I told him I was proud of him and that we have a family now. I told him to be a good boy and do what grandma and grandpa tell him to. As we walked away from the house, he came running out with the most innocent tears in his eyes and yelled out "DADDY!". It broked my heart. I had never seen him get emotional over anything except when he gets physically hurt, or when he is tired and just whining. This was something new. He jumped to me and just held onto me. It was an amazing feeling as a father to feel your child love and need you so much. I just told him that everything was going to be OK and that I'd see him in a few days. He seemed to calm down after that.

Man I love that boy so much.

Super-STOKED!! I get to drive Tim's car

Tim is going to Norway for 12 days, so guess who he trust his car to? ME! :-)

Thanks buddy. I'll take good care of her and abide by (most) driving laws :-)

Had a fun past weekend

Even though it's already the middle of the week, I am going to post about it.

We left for my parents after church on Sunday and hung out there for a bit. Our plan was to head up to the Payson Lakes area, which is part of the Mount Nebo Scenic loop. I've never been up there before, so had no idea what to expect. We don't like to camp in camp-sites, so we planned on just finding a place on the side of the road.

The following went:

Me, Alene, and Caiden

Kristen and John (Friends, Alene works with Kristen)

Amanda, Brock, and their son Jonathan (my sister and her family)

Krystal and Nate (my sister and her husband)

Bobby (one of my brothers)

Alana and Billy (more of my siblings)

So we a little trip up through Payson and to the back of the town and you take this small road, which w/in 10 minutes becomes some of the most beautiful scenery you can see. It's covered with Aspens and Pine trees. Take away the pine trees and you'd think you were in the Sierras (where I grew up). It was beautiful. It took us about 30 minutes total to get up the canyon. Krystal and Nate's car broke down about half way up, so we had to make arrangements. Good thing Bobby's truck was a X-cab and had extra room for them.

We found a dope little campsite and set up. It was so nice being up in that area. I wanted to stay longer, but we only had Sunday night and Monday day.

We had tin foil dinners (mine was cut-up marinated steak strips, and veggies: Delicious). Plus, we had all kinds of snacks/drinks to eat. It was fun just being with family and friends and having a good time. Caiden had a blast too. His favorite part of camping is wearing the headlamp flashlight.

I dig wearing them too. I picked up on it from Alene's sister and brother in-law, who wear them as soon as it gets dark when camping. It makes total sense. Why carry around a flashlight trying to cook, or look for things, when you can wear one on your head in convenience? I won't have it any other way.

I definitely want to go back up to the area and stay longer. It's a place I'll go a lot from now on. Here is more info on the nebo loop:

4th of july we made it back home. I was sooooo tired. Alene took Caiden for a bike ride to the park while I napped. When she got back, we rode our bikes up to Sugarhouse Park and watched the fireworks.

Riding bikes to and from that mad-house is the only way to go. There had to literally be over 50k people there! The streets were a walking nightmare for drivers. People just walked down the middle of the streets with no regard for cars trying to get down. It was nuts. The ride up there killed me, but the ride back (mostly downhill) was awesome and refreshing. I loved being at the 4th of July with my wife and son. It is a great feeling.