Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The longer you know me = me getting less funny

The other night, I was talking to Brodi and I said something that was incredibly funny yet got little reaction from her. I became exasperated and said to her that "You do realize that I am very, very funny." She quickly replied: "You used to be very funny" and then there was a long pause and I could tell that she began thinking and that she realized what she was implying. After that 3-5 second pause, she added: "...and you still are very funny." Yep, nice try to recover.

Maybe I need to get new material.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving activities, Days 2 and 3

The Ashton family is quite a bit different from the Johnson family. Thanksgiving with the Ashtons was made up of the 12 of us. The Johnson family Thanksgiving consisted of 12 adults and 23 kids ranging from 17 years old down to 2 years old. Let me just say that 35 family members can make a lot of noise.

We had a nice dinner with the Ashton family on Thanksgiving which also included everyone going to an afternoon movie of 'Enchanted.' We then waddled our way home after eating way too much.Our family has a tradition of going down to the family ranch the day after Thanksgiving. It works out great because all of the Johnson kids can spend Thanksgiving day with their inlaws and then head down to Emery County the day after for another huge feast and some fun.

As usual, it was a great time. Brodi got to go out and do some 4-wheeling with her niece Mary Martha and also to go out alone with Carter and his two little cousins Hope and Faith. The ranch has a bunch of long stretches of dirt roads to have fun...nothing quite like going into winds and 30 degree weather but they were dressed for it.

Carter loves going down there because he gets to ride the horses. He has rode a horse by himself for the past 3 years and this year was no exception and he was none too pleased when he finally had to get off. He is becoming a little cowboy.
Beckham even got on the horse and rode by himself. After a couple of minutes, he realized that he was all alone on top of a big animal and he became a bit nervous, but he sure did enjoy it for a bit. We also had some great food, a mean game of Uno with all of our nieces and nephews and some fun hanging out time. All in all, it was a great weekend and a long holiday. We headed on home just in time to catch the Utes lose to BYU in yet another late game heroics from the team in blue. A depressing way to end a terrific couple of days.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Festivities, Day 1

So, Thanksgiving has been a pretty big deal in both of our families and it seems like it is one tradition or one party after another. Most families spend one day in celebration. We laugh in the face of 1 day. After one day, we are just getting started. The day before Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday long weekend and we begin at the Ashtons.

We started off with some fabulous squash soup from Erin. Good stuff and it keeps your system working. After we ate it all up, it was off the main event of 'Shuffling the dressing.' This starts with everyone washing their hands like there is no tomorrow. The scrubbers come out, the kids keep their hands in the sink and we wash and we wash and we wash. We want no little kiddie 'food was on their hands' surprises in our stuffing.

When the hands are clean, everyone hangs out on a large clean sheet and we begin to gently tear out the insides of loaves of bread. It is stuffing time. 4-5 loaves of bread were quickly taken apart and deposited into a big pot. The kids worked very hard to get every bit of white bread out of these loaves without leaving behind any untasty crusts.

Now, for the mixing. Let me just say that this stuffing is not for the faint of heart. It involves things that will clog your arteries and make you gain 4 pounds on your hips instantly. 4 loaves of bread, 1 pound of butter and 2 full spice jars of rubbed sage. Did I mention 1 pound of butter? Yep, 1 pound.

Now, we get to eat it tomorrow. Thanksgiving day is spent with the Ashtons. The day after Thanksgiving is spent with the Johnson family down at the ranch. And the never ending holiday of Thanksgiving continues.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pakistan, Dairies and Good Times

People ask me all the time what I do for work. It is pretty simple but it sounds a little different and a little complicated. Our company, Sweetwater International (www.i-sweetwater.com), works to improve the quality of water throughout the world. Our technology is in 15 countries around the world including Pakistan, Mexico, England, Australia and United Arab Emirates. Our machine improves the water quality which improves the soil quality which improves the crops. So what does that mean? It means that I am a dairy farmer. What? Let me explain: We are using our technology to improve the water...to improve the soil...to improve the crops...which improve the feed for cows to eat...which improves the quality of their milk and increases the quantity of their milk. So, we are in the dairy business. We are building dairies and then managing these dairies. In Pakistan. Our company has worked in Pakistan on various projects for over 10 years now so we have dealt with new governments and new situations but we are comfortable there. We love Pakistan and judging by the cover of Newsweek, the world loves Pakistan:

We have an office/farm/dairy of 40 employees there and we are improving the dairy world there. We have built our first dairy and we are working with the largest bank in Pakistan to build more dairies in country there to help with their milk shortage. We grow our crops, feed and raise our cows and we milk them. A lot.

I always get the looks when I tell people that we do business in Pakistan. I can truly say that I love the country and I love being there among our staff and our farm. It is an exciting opportunity that we have over there.

We feel safe when we travel there. Now, the travel is a beast. It is 32 hours total from leaving SLC to finally getting to Pakistan via New York City and Dubai. The NYC to Dubai flight is 14 hours in the air. I was stuck on the tarmac in Dubai coming home for 2 hours, which does not sound too bad until you realize that you still have 14 hours to go in flight. Thankfully, you have your choice of around 100 movies, 30 tv shows and 200 bands to listen to. Emirates Airline is a fabulous carrier. Our staff picks us up from the airport and takes us everywhere and never leaves us alone. We have security at our office and our farm. We stay in one of the nicest hotels in all of Pakistan. I gained 4 pounds on my last trip there because of all of the good food that I ate at the hotel and with staff and friends.

It does not end with Pakistan though...we are working with groups in China, India and Morocco to start changing the way they do things there. The coming year will be interesting and we will see a lot of changes in our headquarters in SLC and in our offices overseas as we continue to grow.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Flashback Sunday: our London studio apartment

Ok, I have a feeling over the next year, we will have a bunch of flashback Sundays dealing with our days living in London. London was a perfect time for us. But, I just came across some of these pictures and decided to put them up today.

We lived in the Bankside House which was located in a fabulous part of London...Southbank. We lived on the south side of the Thames River, in the artsy area of London. Now, it was not action packed like where our friends Brad and Raina lived--Leicester Square (they had a fabulous less than one bedroom place there), but it was a great location. We lived right behind Tate Modern and kittycorner from the Globe, across the Thames from St. Paul's Cathedral.

Out of our windows, we had this view. These are pictures that we took out our windows. Out of our side window, we could check out Blackfriars Bridge as well as the London Eye. Out of our other window was Tate Modern, the Thames River and St. Pauls. Each window had great views...Brodi would often sit on the window sill and do her homework and just look out over the city. This could not have been comfortable...about a 6" window sill and Brodi would sit there all evening studying and just looking out at the city.

Our room consisted of two desks, two single beds (extremely romantic!) and a very comfy little bathroom. We had a nice little 13 inch television (which according to London law, you have to pay a $50-70 tax to use it...we just imagined that if we didn't pay the tax, some London police would bust down our door and give us a citation, so being the good citizens/foreigners we were, we payed it) and a mini fridge which would hold, for the most part, Diet Coke and yogurt. No kitchen. We had a fun community kitchen though which was shared with half of the 7th floor residents, all cultures--let me tell you, an aroma of indian food, chinese food, italian food and alcohol is not a good combo but that was the smell for 90% of our evenings.

This little apartment was a short 15 minute walk to the London School of Economics. Though a bus did service our apartment complex, we walked almost every single day (usuall 2-3 times a day). And you know London, we walked in rain and cold for many of those days. But that was back in our tough days. Now, we would probably just get a taxi every day. As a sidenote, our apartment was subsidized by the school and this 100 square foot apartment still cost us well over $800 a month.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A classic Carter conversation

First off, we know that we are slackers. It has been a long couple of weeks since we last posted and we know that we have been missed. And yes, I am aware, that probably none of you missed us but it makes us feel better to act like your blog reading world revolves around us. We are back.

This evening, Brodi and I got into a spirited discussion about something. We were not arguing, but we were talking loudly. All of a sudden, from the backseat, Carter yells at us: "Mommy, don't yell at daddy." Brodi responded that she was not yelling at daddy, to which Carter replied back, "Mommy, don't yell at Daddy." Brodi replied again that she was not but that he should tell daddy to not yell at mommy. Carter quickly replied "Daddy is not yelling at mommy." We got a good laugh at it all. I then decided to apologize to Brodi (though I obviously had nothing to apologize for :) and Brodi thanked me for the apology but said nothing else. After about 5 seconds, Carter spoke up and said "Mommy, you need to apologize to daddy." That got us laughing again. So, let the record show, Sam was just an innocent victim and Brodi was the aggressor! I will have to remind Brodi of this often to show her that I am a sweet, sweet man and that I was being picked on by her.

You gotta love kids and Brodi and I will keep our conversations quieter.