Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday thoughts

Some of your are aware that I'm "pouring" over the pages of Faster, Better, Stronger. I'm about a third the way through it and I find it informing and at times fascinating. Towards the back the authors provide a formula for calculating your VO2max. It's not super accurate but it is a good gauge and so I'm going to keep track of it each week for the next several months and see how it goes. Maybe I'll even list it hear for your benefit. Anyhow, before going to bed tonight I read the last page of the book and it refers to Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert's recent study. He did a study in which the research subjects strongly believed that a $30K increase in income would make them much happier. Are YOU like that? Do you know people like that? Anyhow, the study also found that the subjects also felt equally strongly that adding a 30 minute walk to their daily routine would be of TRIVIAL importance. Really???? Dr. Gilbert's research suggests that the added income is FAR less likely to increase happiness than the addition of a regular walk. Now WONDER I'm so dang HAPPY!

I also found a good article on Happiness in the NY Times. You can google his name and find others as well. Well, carry on, readers of blogs and go for a walk, or a swim, or a bike ride, or SOMETHING!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm a little Brownie.....

Okay, I'm not but my sister WAS a brownie. Not the kind you eat but the Girl Scout kind. That meant yummy Girl Scout cookies each year. Another thing it meant was Trefoil camp. I think Jenny went at least a couple of times to ride horses, make crafts, learn how to sell girl scout cookies, and how to be the best wife (and sister). On my ride Saturday, I rode up South Fork to the end where the ranch is. I love my sister so much and cannot imagine how I would have made it through all of this without her. So this post is for her to remind her of the wonderful memories she had at Trefoil.


Some may not understand and some may think it's stupid but it's tradition and I think it's fun. JJ is going to Homecoming this week. This is his first school dance since he turned 16 this summer. To ask his date to the dance JJ decided to cover her entire room with aluminum foil. Everything. I didn't get a picture but I can only imagine. So a few nights ago JJ got his answer via this snowman on our doorstep. My little jota-bear is growing up.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike"

So I have been looking forward to this week end for YEARS! Okay, maybe not years but at least several days. It looked like at the beginning of the week that it would be crappy but when Saturday came it was party cloudy and I was ready to ride. Clearly we are SO lucky to live here next to the mountains. Nice riding, plenty of hills, and beautiful land. I can still remember the first time I made it to the top of American Fork Canyon last year, and then the first time we made the loop starting and ending in Highland going up American Fork Canyon and coming down Provo Canyon. Next on our "bucket list" was to attempt "Three Kings". Maybe it's known by other things but basically you climb American Fork Canyon, down to Cascade Springs and back, down through Sundance, up South Fork of Provo Canyon and then up to Squaw Peak and back and then back home. I saw a similar ride called Gauntlet Supreme which also included going up the North Forth of AF Canyon. Anyhow, I was a bit short on time so I wasn't able to go up Squaw Peak and I only went down a couple of miles towards Cascade Springs. I knew the leaves were starting to change so I thought I show all of you out there how pretty it is here. I was pretty prepared. I tied some long pants to my bike frame, I put my arm warmers and wind breaker in my back pockets, and I brought along plenty of food.

This is almost at the top of American Fork Canyon. I think it's about a 3000 foot climb from my house to the top (with grades around 6 or 7%). Maybe somebody out there that knows better can correct me but that pretty close. Traffic wasn't too bad and I even had a couple of cars stop and clap ("we don't know what else to do so we're clapping").

This is at the top of the Alpine Loop looking towards Mount Timpanogos. Very pretty.
This is looking down towards Provo Canyon. You can see Sundance (or as I call it Rockdance) ski resort in the background

This is my favorite picture that I took. This is the backside of Mt. Timp. I have NEVER climbed to the top (can you beleive that). Next year for sure. It's a pretty popular hike and I think it actually TOO popular. I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't 1000+ hikers on Labor Day. I was really enjoying my ride. I was enjoying the solitude and the beauty.

This is a shot on the road to Cascade Springs. The aspen trees haven't started changing but the maples and oak trees are their bright orange and red. The road to Cascade Springs is pretty darn steep I would say 9 maybe 10%?

This is a shot going up South Fork of Provo Canyon. This side canyon is pretty short and not that steep but quite pretty.

When all was said and done, I had riden about 65 miles and 5000+ feet of climbing. Not bad for a nice Saturday ride. The weather held out nicely (except for some nasty wind at times). I was cruising down Provo Canyon and this much better cyclist (riding a sweet Seven bike) came up behind me and asked me if I was enjoying the wind. I don't think we'll have many more days where we can ride outside. Then it's back to the trainer (how fun). I hope everyone else out there takes advantage of the few times we have left before the snow flies (unless you live in Florida or somewhere like that.

Look Mom I fit

Need I say more?

We missed you!

Okay, this post is mostly for the girl that lives in Kansas that didn't bother showing up today for September birthdays. You could have EASILY driven over and back this weekend. We had VERY tasty salmon (grilled by John), a nice appetizer of humus and bagel chips and pita chips, yummy salsa from Mike. We topped it all off with cake and pie (peach and raspberry). Some people had already left (Megster, Alma, Adam), some were in the car (Trish and kids), some were on the phone (John w/ Matt), some were home pretending to be sick (Tom - but we really know that he was home making out with his girlfriend). Anyhow, Happy B-day Sandy, Alice-Ann, and Noah. We missed you Sar-bear.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dilbert's perspective on the economy

Okay, it's not Dilbert's perspective but Scott Adams the creator of Dilbert. Since the beginning of time I have followed Dilbert. I have a stuffed Dilbert (and Dogbert) in my office along with other paraphernalia. I read an interesting article this morning which I'm not sure really helps me in the end. I did enjoy these two quotes:

"Moneywise, I can't support a candidate who promises to tax the bejeezus out of my bracket, give the windfall to a bunch of clowns with a 14 percent approval rating (Congress), and hope they spend it wisely.

Unfortunately, the alternative to the guy who promises to pillage my wallet is a lukewarm cadaver. I'm in trouble either way."

One thing I can agree with and stand up for is that in this particular poll the highest economic priority was education. Besides our out of control spending I think education is the most important issue. Energy and Security are below this. I really feel strongly about the need to address the education of our children and our children's children. What we are doing now is not working. We are falling further and further behind the world's learned.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Millcreek Canyon and Hobo dinners

After our Labor Day activities we decided that before the snow flies (I shudder to think that it's just around the corner) we were going to have a picnic up in the canyon. Grammy and Wolf just returned from Germany and we decided to go up Millcreek Canyon. I was amazed (and jealous) by all of the bikes going up and coming down the canyon. It appears pretty popular with the cyclists. I made tasty dinners with ground beef, red onions, mushrooms, corn and tater tots. Afterwards we roasted marshmallows and made smores. It was so nice to be up in the mountains. We are lucky to live so close to such beautiful land. The kids had a great time. BTW, the Y rocked UCLA and the Utes squeaked out a win against the Aggies. Next week I'll get my canyon bike ride in. It was hard to choose the photo to capture the afternoon. Fireman Chit (less) Blaine tending the fire, Grammy putting down a tablecloth on a table that we didn't use, Krat preparing the KFC chicken dinner for her family, Olive drinking her gigantic bottle of Sprite and Jake holding his Powerade. Maybe we can do it again soon?

Yum Yum

Let's feed Eddie! Eddie is a brown cow. Well, actually he's a brown bull (with tiny horns). We decided to make breakfast this morning for Great-Grandma Davis this morning (well, she's my grandma). She still lives on what some would call a farm. A big garden area, lots of fruit trees and a big pasture. I have so many fond memories growing up and spending time at Grandma and Grandpa Davis. Feeding all of the animals and milking the cows. And in the old days we'd irrigate the farm by "turning" the water and moving pipes all over the place. Fun times. I am glad that I can give my kids just a taste how it "used to be". Olivia picked grapes and flowers but obviously she loved feeding Eddie.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Never Forget

Shortly after 9/11 the citizens of Sandy organized the Nation's first Healing Field. Since then, more than 200+ other healing fields have been created around our Nation. If you have a minute, I would highly recommend reading Paul's letter of how this all got started. You can also learn about the new Pentagon Healing Field which is adjacent to the new Pentagon Memorial. My children (missing JJ and adding Blaze) learned about Ellis Island, took a mini immigration test, and then the Immigration Oath. I thought it was very cool. Just like Memorial Day I believe it is important to teach our children. Do I remember? Yes. I was in Denver preparing for a groundwater conference. I turned on the TV just after the first plane crashed and witnessed the second crash. It was difficult being away from my family. This event has changed us all. On our soil we were attacked. We must be diligent in preventing this from ever happening again. Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Almost 21 years to the day

Mas o menos 21 years ago I got transferred to Cathedral City. I haven't been back since. Pretty amazing. I got off the plane this afternoon to 111 degree heat. Are you kidding me? It's freakin' September. Driving down East Palm Canyon drive, it was pretty strange. 21 years is a long time. Many, many things have happened since I was here. I was able to drive right to the apartment that I spent my last 5 months of my mission. Right there on Bankside Drive. It seems like kind of a scary area but I really don't think much has changed in the past 21 years.

While I was here, one of our favorite places was this Mexican restaurant, El Gallito. It was owned by a member of our church and we could go there once a week and eat for free. And I'll be, that place is STILL there. I couldn't beleive it. It was very good then so it probably is STILL pretty good now. The sign on the front indicated that they were doing some remodeling of the kitchen and would reopen in another week or so. Too bad. I would have LOVED to grab a bite there. Anyhow, that was my trip down memory lane today. I worked really hard in this area. It was the last 5 months of my mission. It was here that I got my "Dear John" letter just a few weeks before I came home. So long ago but I have fond memories of the people here in Coachella Valley.

A better camera

While waiting for our "cave tour", we drove down the canyon to find a picnic area. The kids enjoyed running around. We also decided to take a few pictures. I took some nice ones but they certainly aren't as nice as the ones BA took. So I'm putting my favorites here. Olivia wanted JT (and all other boys) to know "Friends are forever, boys are whatever"

My two favorite pictures are the ones that BA took of Olive, Nicky, and Becca, and then one of the teenagers. Those classes that Blaine took sure did help. He's a great photographer!

The Final Word on Bear Lake

Okay, sitting here in McCarran airport is giving me a few minutes to catch up on other's blogs and finish up a bit here as well. There were SO many good pictures taken on our Bear Lake trip. I just can't include them all (nor do you want to see them all). Our second day started with a 10 mile run around the lake. Yes, it was just myself. No one else wanted to join me (whatever). It didn't even turn out to be 10 miles (only about 9). I was NOT looking forward to my long run but once I got a few miles into it I was enjoying it. I had a nice trail to use and it was a beautiful day.

The rest of the day was mainly centered around our visit to Minnetonka Cave. I had never even heard of this cave. It is quite long and a bit chilly but it was well worth the 2 hour wait we had to go inside. The nice thing is that there is no 1.5 mile straight up hike to the opening of the cave (like Timp cave). Lots of stairs, however, inside the cave. If you're in the area, I recommend a visit. They are only open June through Labor Day.

This was Olive's favorite scene, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". Can't you see them? BA and I joked through the entire tour about how much imagination and make-up-stuff the tour guides come up with. "Hey, everyone, this is Casper. Over there is a witch, and there is Abe Lincoln, the entire solar system, a collection of ants, grasshoppers, and butterflies". Whatever! It's just like in the summertime, looking up at the clouds and saying, "Hey, can you see the pirate ship?" Oh well, the kids liked it, and BA loved "the cave bacon"

The was ONE rock that you could freely touch inside the cave. Of course we had to snap a picture.

I tried locking my sister (and everyone else behind her) in the cave, but she was too smart and figured out how to get out.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Something I'd like to see

Now, the chances of this happening are probably not very good, but I would DVR and watch the Oprah Winfrey show if she invites Sarah Palin to be on. I can't think of a bigger guest that would draw better ratings than Sarah right now. The show could even be shown primetime and I would bet millions of people would tune in. I read a couple of political blogs talking about the possibility and unlikelihood of this happening. It would be interesting.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

One Fun Family

I know I need to update and include more pictures but I wanted to post this one. While waiting for our cave tour we went to a campsite, ate snacks, explored the surrounding forest and more importantly, took a family photo. Although this isn't all of the family, this is most of them. The rest were in Germany and Grantsville.

Texting Teenagers

Even on vacation, those thumbs are still cranking away. WYD? NM, JK, LOL, ILOVEMYDAD, and the airways are filled with alphabet soup as they talk back and forth never stopping.

Ah, peace and quiet

Jenny would often sneak out on to the balcony of the cabin to read her book - The Wednesday Letters. I think she just about finished the book on the trip.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Best of Times in Bear Lake

I can't believe my sister, Krat, beat me to the blogging. I would recommend reading her report and also looking for something on Andersonian soon. I'm having trouble uploading pictures so I'll write now and post my favorite pictures as soon as I can.

First off, my two sisters Jen and Kath (or is it Kath and Jen) planned for a fun weekend up at Bear Lake. We were all going to stay in a cabin close to the lake. It's too bad that Sharon P and Wolf were in Germany because they really missed out on a great family experience. After school (and after Tri-Rich and I finished the B-Fit B-Day Challenge) the kids and I packed up the TL. An SUV the TL is NOT but we got everything in that we needed and headed out. JJ was super excited because I let him drive for the first part. He got to drive on I-215 and also I-80. The kids were excited to see their cousins and to have a mini-vacation.

We rolled into Garden City not too late and everyone was still up waiting for us to get there. The cabin was plenty big for all of us (5 adults, 4 teenagers, and 5 younger ones).

The morning of the first day we started out with a bit huge breakfast of pancakes, sausage, eggs, juice, yogurt, and course oatmeal for me. The day was gorgeous and we went to the lake. The lake temperature was around 66 degrees. We had a nice spot on the beach and drove our cars right out on the sand. We thought that was a great idea until the mob came and boxed us in. By mid-day there were tons of people, cars, waverunners, and such all having a great time. BA in an effort to run back to the cabin to watch his Utes pound on Michigan got stuck trying to get out. We had to borrow a shovel and with the help of a dozen or so people we were able to push him out. Krat got a pic and put it on her blog. I think for a few minutes, BA was thinking that he wasn't going to get home to see the game.
We had a great time at the lake. We had little raft boats and floaties. Of course the kids made sand castles and buried themselves in the sand. Adrian and Terrell (I mean Matt and Jake) played football for a good portion of the day.

I had a great time playing with my kids and nieces/nephews, talking to my sisters, and also reading. I picked up this book this week. Pretty good stuff. We decided to leave my car and come back later after everyone had left. Good choice.

Time for dinner. Again, it was tons of fun all being in the cabin. Lots of noise, TONS of food, and great memories. We had tacos and everyone was super hungry. After dinner it was time for shakes. On thing that Bear Lake is famous for is their fresh raspberry shakes. Yum Yum!

I think I'll end this post and continue with another one. How could any day that ends in yummy shakes not be the best day?