Sunday, November 30, 2003

More Potty-Training Disasters

Nearly had a repeat of the August 28 post but this time it was in church. Our main meeting, in which the entire congregation gathers, was over and I was taking my three-year-old and my five-year-old to their respective classes. I told them we needed to go to the bathroom first, just to avoid any problems. My five-year-old asked me a question and when we got that taken care of, I turned to see my three-year-old standing in the room just outside the main chapel, surrounded by a crowd of people, with his pants and undies around his ankles, ready to go. I scooped him up as quickly as I could and swept him into the bathroom. The amazing thing is, everyone was so preoccupied with visiting amongst themselves that I don't think any of them noticed. He's learning...I guess.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving

The holiday was fun and it wasn't. We made the 2 1/2 hour trip to Idaho to see my wife's parents in our van, the one with a hundred bazillion miles on it. Shortly after we were underway, I realized I hadn't put the jack and lug wrench in the car. I'll get a lot of crap for this after my wife reads this. She nagged me all morning to do it and I finally said something like, "Ok! Ok!, I'm not stupid. I'll take care of it." Of course I didn't so I worried most of the trip that we would have a flat tire. At one point the road was pretty rough and it made the van feel like it was throwing a wheel. I don't think I let on how nervous I was. Then my five year old did something he hasn't done in a long time; he got car sick. He gets that from her side of the family. I never get motion sickness. But there it was, all over the back of my seat and all over his clothes and the blanket we'd packed and just about everything else. We stopped and got some ginger snaps and ginger ale, which always does wonders, but we did it a little too late. We cleaned up as best we could and he spent the first couple of hours at grandma's trying to pull his shirt over his underwear and bare legs while his clothes tumbled around in the washing machine.

I'm not a social creature. I always do my best to avoid conversation, so I spent a lot of time in snowball fights with the boys and playing with the cats. I haven't been around cats for a long time--so long that I forgot I'm allergic to long haired ones. My eyes puffed up and I was preoccupied for much of the rest of our visit with trying not to rub them which always makes it worse.

The dinner was lovely and I ate too much. I felt the effects of this when I had to get up in the middle of the night and take some antacid.

Still, it was a great holiday and a great reminder of all that I have and should be thankful for. I have a job that provides for us in these less-than-booming times, I have a wonderful family and extended family, I have a car that will get us where we need to go. I really have it all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

The Weather Outside is Frightful

It's early enough in the season that I still forget to go out a little early to warm up and brush off the car. I hate being in a hurry to get the kids to school and get myself to work and realizing that the windshield is frosted over. I've tried driving that way, with the defrost all the way up, but it doesn't work. And it's really dangerous. Trust me. This morning I forgot, again, but this time my car wasn't merely coated in a layer of frost, it was blanketed with two inches of snow. This bothered me, but not why you'd think. Light, fluffy snow is easy to clean off. It's just that that much snow is a sign of what the commute is going to be like. Sure enough, it took me twice the time it normally does. People just don't know how to drive in the snow, so there are lots of accidents. They think you can go as fast as in the summer, but even if you have 4-wheel-drive you can't stop on icy roads. I proved that myself when I overshot the driveway at work and had to drive around the block to the other entrance. It reminds me of when I was living in Chipley, Florida when it snowed. It never snows there, but I go there and it snows. Go figure. Anyway, it was just a skiff, hardly visible, but they shut down all the schools anyway. No one knew what to do. When my downstairs neighbor opened the door and saw what happened I heard her shouting, "Lawdy! Lawdy! Lawdy!" All the way to the car. I'm sorry she was shouting all the way to work. I grew up in the snow. I remember winters when we could walk nearly to the roof of our house on the drifts that built up there. I have also experienced the cold. I remember a windless day waiting for the school bus in 40 below weather. Spit freezes before it hits the ground in that temerature. Winters here are much milder, something I'm grateful for. But I find myself hoping it keeps snowing this winter. I never thought I'd say that, but I'm told if it keeps up like this, our six-year drought will be over. Wouldn't that be grand?

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Funny Lines

Guess which films these lines of dialogue are from. First:

Any news on the boyfriend front?

I was kind of seeing someone: an author.

And what happened?

He committed suicide.

Oh I'm so sorry.

It's alright. I didn't really like him very much. I liked him even less after he committed suicide.

How did he do it?

He threw himself off a building. He didn't even do that properly. It was only a 3 story building. He would have survived only a car ran him over.

What sort of books did he write?

Self-help books...


To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love, but then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer, to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love, to be happy then is to suffer but suffering makes one unhappy, therefore to be unhappy one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness. I hope you're getting this down...

and third...

Kids, this is a message from your Uncle ____. Don't buy drugs. Wait until you're a rock star, and they give them to you for free!

Monday, November 24, 2003

A Three-Year-Old's Prayer

"Heavenly Father,

Thank you for our house. Thank you for the lights. Please bless that monsters won't get us and make us scared. We will run away," (runs a few steps), "and we will go over here, and . . . amen!"

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Nerves of Steel Driving Survey

I found this to back up my claim about Utah drivers. According to the survey, the city I live in, Salt Lake, ranks 10th in the nation for rude drivers!

Friday, November 21, 2003

Friday Traffic Report

I'm thinking of starting a new regular entry detailing my adventures in traffic. Almost every day as I huddle behind the wheel on my way to or from work, some near-calamity thrusts itself my direction. If I only had a nickel for every close call, every "just a couple more inches and I would have been . . . ." I'm not from Utah. Where I grew up, Utahns were notorious for being terrible drivers. But those were just stories told from the front lines to those of us who were safe at home, far away from the battlefield. Now I'm in the middle of it, immersed in a war in which I'm an unwilling conscript, singing the battle cry stolen from "Syncronicity II:" "Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes/contestants in a suicidal race" which gives little comfort.

Since this is the first traffic report here, I'll start by describing some of the most harrowing incidents I can remember. The road I take from work is of the two-lane county variety--speed limit 50 mph. The average speed, however, is more like 60 or 65. I go the speed limit. I can't afford traffic tickets and it seems like every time I've forgotten myself and gone over the limit, I've been pulled over. So I don't speed. This makes me and others like me a real pain in the behind to most other drivers as it is difficult to pass someone on this road. One day someone who was directly in front of me and obviously in a hurry was weaving in and out of the lane looking for a chances to pass. The opportunity never arose so he went anyway, causing the oncoming car to swerve out onto the shoulder to avoid a head on. After that car passed, our friend--who now was clear to go back into his lane in front of the car he was passing--decided he didn't want to after all and slipped back in behind me. I decided it was best to put some distance between us and slowed down. Then he tried it again and again had a near head-on collision. This time he pulled in front of the car he was passing but a little too close and almost hit it, causing the driver to swerve out of his way. The way in front of him now being clear, our hero romped on the gas pedal and sped away--until he had to slow again three seconds later as another car was going the speed limit. Luckily, by this time I had reached my turn off and was able to exit the situation.

Today as I was getting on the freeway, a woman would not slow down to let me merge from the onramp. I had few options myself. There were cars directly behind and in front of her. She sped up just enough to let me squeeze in behind her, the polite thing to do in utah, I guess. She got her come uppance, however. She signaled to change lanes and began doing so when the car next to me (at least two car lengths behind her) saw her doing this and accelerated so she couldn't. Apparently in Utah, when someone signals, it means, "do everything in your power to keep me from changing lanes."

Thursday, November 20, 2003

IQ Test

Can't sleep. So I took an IQ test at Emode and this is what I got:

Congratulations, Dinky!
Your IQ score is 129

This number is the result of a formula based on how many questions you answered correctly on Emode's Ultimate IQ test. Your IQ score is scientifically accurate; to read more about the science behind our IQ test, click here.

During the test, you answered four different types of questions — mathematical, visual-spatial, linguistic and logical. We analyzed how you did on those questions, which reveals the way your brain uniquely works.

We also compared your answers with others who have taken the test, and according to the sorts of questions you got correct, we can tell your Intellectual Type is an Insightful Linguist.

This means you are highly intelligent and have the natural fluency of a writer and the visual and spatial strengths of an artist. Those skills contribute to your creative and expressive mind. And that's just some of what we know about you from your test results.

Cool, huh?

Of course, this also means that I am intelligent enough not to pay to have the detailed results emailed to me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Very Punny

Have you ever noticed how news writers think that the abundant use of puns is creative? I used to think it was limited to local writers, but yesterday I heard Tom Brokaw say that the new Kentucky Fried Chicken ads have people "crying fowl." So I thought I'd do my part to help out the news writers by passing along a list of puns my mom sent to me:

1. Those who jump off a bridge in Paris are in Seine.
2. A backward poet writes inverse.
3. A man's home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.
4. Dijon vu - the same mustard as before.
5. Practice safe eating - always use condiments.
6. Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.
7. A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.
8. A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
9. Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.
10. Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
11. Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.
12. Reading while sunbathing makes you well red.
13. When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.
14. A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two tired.
15. What's the definition of a will? (It's a dead giveaway.)
16. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
17. In democracy your vote counts. In feudalism your count votes.
18. She was engaged to a boyfriend with a wooden leg but broke it off.
19. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
20. If you don't pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.
21. With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
22. When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.
23. The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.
24. You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
25. Local Area Network in Australia: the LAN down under.
26. He often broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
27. Every calendar's days are numbered.
28. A lot of money is tainted - It taint yours and it taint mine.
29. A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
30. He had a photographic memory that was never developed.
31. A plateau is a high form of flattery.
32. A midget fortune-teller who escapes from prison is a small medium at large.
33. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
34. Once you've seen one shopping center, you've seen a mall.
35. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.
36. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
37. Acupuncture is a jab well done.

Got any more you want to add to the list? Post a comment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

More Family Pics

Are you sick of all the pictures yet? Well, here are some more anyway.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Family Pictures

My good buddy Scott Frederick used his trusty new camera to take some family pictures of us. He took around 175 shots. All of which we get to keep. Thanks Scott! This one is my favorite:

So today, my oldest boy asks me if I want him to tell me what he wants for Christmas. I tell him, sure. He says, I want a whole bunch of ties to wear with my new shirt. Won't he be easy to shop for when he's a dad. My middle boy joined in and said he want a toy dog that's bigger than his big toy dog so he can call his big toy dog medium dog. Whatever.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Listening to The New Testament

Those of you who come here frequently should know that, though I am very religious, I don't preach often. I don't want to give the impression that I think I'm better than anyone else. Because I'm not...really. But I know God lives and religion is a huge part of my life, and since this blog is about my life, I can't keep silent about that part of it. Sooooo, I've been listening to the New Testament for the past two weeks. I listen to many books on tape. It's become quite a habit. I can't go a day between books. A couple of weeks ago, there was a lull. I couldn't think of what to get next. I love Atwood but I've listened to a lot of her stuff and I need a change for awhile. Since I've never been able to read the Bible all the way through in print, I decided this would be good a time to try it on tape. I thought it would be huge, but it was on only 12 cassettes, which is about average for a book on tape. I was a little worried. I had tried to listen to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich for the same reason: I just couldn't get through the book, it was so large. But I couldn't get through the tapes either. I found myself drifting off, thinking about other things. I never finished it. So I was sure the same thing would happen here. On the contrary, from the moment I put the first tape in, I was riveted. The narrator, Alexander Scourby, was perfect. I learned that it took him a year to produce the Bible on tape. And it was worth it. His performance and obvious knowledge of language and diction were superb. I found myself becoming immersed in the stories, my mind never wandering, and, at the same time, I found my belief in Jesus Christ and in the fact that he is my personal savior, the only one through whom I can be saved, growing. This experience has done wonders, not only for my faith, but for my daily attitude as well. My family would probably say that I haven't changed, that I'm still grumpy as ever. But the seeds of change are in me. The desire is in me. I'm afraid to quit the tapes. Now that they are done, I find myself wanting to start them over. I'm listening to Diamond Age now, because a friend brought it from his home, and it really is very good. But I'm afraid I'll never have an experience with a book on tape to match this one. Even Harry Potter, which was my last wonderful experience--one that I didn't want to end and I was down in the dumps when it did--doesn't come close to this one.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Happy Ogre

The other day my wife heard my three year old say several times that he loves Happy Ogre. She thought this must be some new cartoon character we hadn't heard about. Then he began to say that he wanted some happy ogre. What could that mean? The other boys told her that on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Mr. Rogers went to Chef Brockett's catering company and learned how to make tapioca pudding. Ohhhhhhh. That's what happy ogre is. Mystery solved.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Finally Done!

I've officially handed off the drawing to the client and he was jumping up and down. Apparently he loves it, which is quite a relief to me:

Monday, November 10, 2003

Rock Star

I was showing some people here a music video I did back in 1990 and I thought I'd show you what I looked like without the extra forty pounds and with hair:

Friday, November 07, 2003

Drawing Progress

The end is in sight! I'm getting close to being done. Here's what I've done so far:
The photo was taken by Scott Frederick. We took it really quickly last night. When the drawing is done, we'll set up some lights and get it without the glare so you can see it more clearly. It's 18x24, too big to scan.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

The Earth at Night

My sister showed me this a long time ago and I was astounded. It's a composite of hundreds of pictures taken from space. It really puts things into perspective, like how we of different cultures and nationalities think we're so different but we're really the same, like how we've developed differently. And many other political and social assumptions can be made just by studying this photo. For instance, look at the difference between North and South Korea. And look at the Nile River. Just amazing.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

What is hell like?

Back when I was in college we had a project for which we had to write our version of hell. For me it was being locked in a room with an always-on radio tuned to a station that played only David Hasslehoff and Chuck Norris singing their respective theme songs. Next to that is a television with 24-hour reruns of Baywatch Nights and Walker: Texas Ranger. Aaaaiiigggh!

What's your version of hell?

Monday, November 03, 2003

Bad Day

I rarely have a bad day at work. I love the people there and I like the work, for the most part. There are occasions, however, when things don't go well. I'm sorry I can't be specific, but I don't talk much about work here. Suffice to say that I was so angry I was trembling and felt like vomiting. It didn't help that I hadn't had anything to eat and have been working on very little sleep since Princess Rufflebutt was born. I fumed the entire day, still growling to myself about it during the drive home. When I got home, the first person I saw was my three yr. old. He was looking out the window and excitedly shouting, "Dad's home! Dad's home." I went in the house and he hugged me and said, "I love you, Dad." I instantly felt better.

Later, at dinner, we were talking about Rufflebutt. My wife said, "She sure is cute," to which my five yr old replied, "You're kinda cute yourself, Mom."

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Halloween Fun

I got some pictures of last night's fun to share with everyone. First, we have our very own young Frankenstein:

And here are our cowgirl and our Ben Franklin:

Here's the whole motley crew, with my brother as himself (The clown is my youngest, backed up by his cousins and brothers):

And, finally, the pumpkins we carved. Our five yr. old did the middle one. He fancies himself a picasso, I think:

I did the make up and designed the costumes for our kids. I think I did pretty well.