Friday, July 30, 2010

Utah Site: annual Alta to Brighton hike

We did our annual Alta to Brighton hike this past 24th of July. My family has done this hike now for 30 years, so since moving back to Utah, its been fun going with the family again. We had 29 of us on the latest trip. All of us brothers/sisters/nephews/nieces and 1 grandpa.

It is not a totally easy hike. It is about 4 miles with some good steep climbs and great views. Becks did a good job and hiked probably 80% of it. In fact, on the backside, he ran down the mountain the entire way urging me to keep up with him. He fell about 10 times, but we would dust him off, put on some imaginary bandaids (thanks to his cousin Brigham) and off he was running again.

Carter had a great time leading the hike with his grandpa Frank. Carter had to either stay 1 step ahead or 1 step behind Grandpa Frank the entire way.

Anyway, look forward to next year's hike.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer night + Meatball Stand = I'm not quite sure

Carter is obsessed about making money. He is constantly looking for ways to make more money. Well, he may have come up with his most genius idea yet. He came up to Brodi and told her that he was going to set up a meatball stand. Yes, our 7-year old decided that instead of selling silly things like lemonade on a hot summer night, he would sell tasty meatballs.

Brodi asked him how much he was going to sell the meatballs for and he told her, 2 for $5. Brodi smartly explained that may be a little much and he adjusted that to 3 for $1. Or as he would say, '6 for $2. If someone walked by his meatball stand, he would hold up his notepad and say 'May I take your order please?' Every new person that came around the corner, Carter would say to Brodi, 'Looks like another customer is coming up.'

Shockingly enough, his meatball stand did not make him hundreds of dollars but thanks to nice family and neighbors, he was able to bring home a little cash. At the end of the selling frenzy, he let us know that tomorrow that he is going to sell steaks.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Camping, Logos and stupid frakkin' automatic hand thingy

So, we had a neighborhood campout and we took up the boys. They had a great time of running around in the wild and then sleeping in the big tent. Asleep by 10:30pm and not up until 7:30am...that is what I call a success. I was in charge of entertainment. For some reason, Twister, Monopoly and Risk were not good games to choose for a campout.

I walked by this house the other morning and saw this--two air condition units with Utah and BYU logos painted on it. First off, that is craziness to have them next to each other, I mean Ute and Cougar things need their space away from each other...but the second question is, someone paid to have that done to their air conditioners? Third question--where do I go to get mine done? I am willing to spend thousands of dollars to proclaim my love of the Utes.

These are an abomination. Automatic hand driers. It plays out like this: I wash my hands and then I want to dry my hands. I wave my hands in front of it. Nothing. I shake my hands in front of it. Nothing. I end up doing some crazy dance (like the running man dance) all in hopes of getting this frakkin' thing to turn on. It usually ends with me cursing like a sailor and wiping my hands on my shirt. Technology, its Fabulous!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The latest books

This latest batch of books has been among my favorites of the year. Very entertaining reads. You can catch up on all of the books that I have read this year by going thru the column on the left of my blog. I have ranked the books from my favorites to least favorites in order, fiction and nonfiction.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
This book is fabulous. It is the story of ultra runners. These are guys and girls that run 50 or 100 miles through mountains, towns, etc. These are the crazy people. This book focuses on a group of runners who do it for survival and because they can, the Tarahumara. It ends up having a mega race with the Tarahumara and other top runners in the world, Scott Jurek, Jenn Shelton and others. It is fascinating. This book has also created a huge buzz because it analyzes and discusses the benefits or running barefoot or in sandals and how that is the way to keep your body from breaking down. It makes the case that the latest and greatest shoes from Nike are causing more harm to your body than just running without shoes. Interesting and a fun read.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson
The final of the trilogy. If you have yet to read these series of books, go pick them up. Great reads. Difficult as it can be very dark, but the action and pacing is well done. This wraps up the series very well with really no loose ends. This was my 2nd favorite book of the triology and it gave some good closure to the main characters, Michael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander.

English Assassin by Daniel Silva
Silva's books are addicting. The main character, Gabriel Allon, is an art restorer but he is also a jewish operative who tracks down terrorists or anyone out to harm Israel. This book focuses on the art world and Switzerland and the loss of hundreds of paintings stolen by the Nazis and hidden in Switzerland. Allon goes in to determine what happened to many of these paintings while also focusing on those that murdered to get the paintings. As usual, it is well written, interesting and a great read.

61 Hours by Lee Child
These books star Jack Reacher, a former military policeman, who is now just traveling across the country homeless. It is the middle of winter and the bus he is on crashes and he is stranded in a small town where a woman is about to testify against a drug lord. Reacher is asked to protect her but not everything is as it seems and the next 61 hours of Reacher's life is about to get crazy. I did not love the ending, but the story was entertaining and definitely worth the read.

The Associate by John Grisham
I have usually liked Grisham's books. They are easy to read, entertaining and quick. With that said, it really seemed that he was phoning in this book. It was pretty typical of his books--young lawyer in trouble, how does it get out of it and what does he need to do. But you never really like the main person. Nothing is really developed. The story is lazy and the ending is absolutely brutal. Terrible ending. There are a lot of Grisham books out there, go find one of those instead of this latest offering.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

'Grate' lunch yesterday!!

I grabbed some lunch at McDonalds (DON'T JUDGE ME!!!). Now, I can make some spelling mistakes. I understand when you are typing up an email and you make some mistakes. It happens to all of us.

Well, I went to pay for my meal and the card reader was not working and the well-crafted sign let me know that fact. But as you can see, there is a pretty brutal spelling mistake. I asked how long the card reader had been down...all day. So, that sign has been up all day and no manager fixed it and nobody corrected it. I still have yet to decide what is worse--spelling it 'grate' or that strange creepy drawing at the bottom of the note. And for those curious, my meal was fine. DON'T JUDGE ME!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Utah Site: Donut Falls

We took the boys up this weekend for an afternoon hike to Donut Falls, which is up Big Cottonwood Canyon. It is a nice 1.5 roundtrip hike up a trail to see a nice little waterfall. We thought that going up in the afternoon on a hot day (though rather cool in the mountains, around 80 degrees) would discourage others from going. We were wrong. There were cars parking for a half mile down the road, but we kept going to see if we would get lucky and find a car space. We did. Right at the trail beginning. How much do we rock?

It is a popular hike because it is short and very pretty. There is a little river, wide hiking trails, little animals running around and the trail is easy to follow and well maintained.

You can tell though who hikes quite a bit and who doesn't. There is very little etiquette on these hikes as people will basically be climbing over you in narrow areas or down a little rock wall. Sorry our 2 kids are slowing you down about 1 minute.

Anyway, if you are looking for a nice easy hike with kids which they will enjoy, head on up there. 1-2 hours and it will be a fun afternoon.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bananas and Trunks, Oh my

I saw this hanging from the rearview mirror of a guys truck at the grocery store. If you can't read it, it says 'My exwife is in the trunk.' Sheesh, really? Nothing says classy like 'hey everyone, my ex-wife is in the trunk and she is probably dead, good times, huh?' I will say that I am glad that I took the picture quickly and left quickly or there would be another thing hanging from his mirror, 'stupid nosey picture taker is in my trunk.'

This banana was found in a desk, in the office that we just left from...yes, that banana is well past the ripe stage and has moved into the rock hard stage. And no, I didn't try it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Trip Review: North by Northwest (Seattle, Parks and Islands)

We got back last week from our great Northwest/Washington trip. I had actually never made it over to Seattle, so it was a lot of fun to visit an area that I have heard so much about. Let me just say, my lovely wife did a much better job talking about our trip here and here so if you want a laugh and see more pics visit her site.

Let me start by saying--it was a lot of driving. We decided to drive. And we drove and we drove and we drove. We went with Brodi's parents and her sister and their family. Let me just say that 6 total kids under the age of 11, there will be a lot of bathroom breaks, snack breaks, lunch breaks, etc. Carter and Becks both decided that they didn't care much for the seatbelts either after about 3 most of the driving was with me saying/yelling 'get back into your car seats and put on your seat belts!!'

There were two main components of our trip--visiting the Olympic National Park and the San Juan Islands. Both places are absolutely beautiful. It always took some long driving, but it was well worth it to see countless waterfalls, ride many ferries, many hikes, and do lots of exploring.

We also drove through Forks (Twilight reference for all of us that were not quite sure the importance of really small little town) on our way to the national park. Let me just say, Forks is much prettier on the big screen than it is in real life, though the trees and everything is very pretty that surrounds the town. I will say though, just outside of Forks is 2nd Beach which was pretty terrific with a nice beach, cool rocks sticking out of the ocean. We spent several hours just exploring that beach.

Seattle was very cool. We only spent a day there, but we were able to visit the Aquarium, the famous Pike Market as well as the Space Needle. At the Space Needle, they also had a little crummy looking amusement park-we skipped that. At Pike Market, Carter found fresh shrimp and that boy loves few things more than big fresh shrimp, so we got him a couple and he ate as we walked.

The San Juan Islands were awesome. Even with the bumpy ferry rides, I somehow managed. I get car sick pretty easily. So imagine the joy knowing that we were driving our car onto a boat and taking a boat ride. A car + A boat = not awesomeness. But with the views and everything, it was very cool. The kids kept themselves entertained by running around to see everything and when they got bored with that, they huddled around a DS.

Olympia National Park is very cool. One of the most impressive things was seeing Thunder Ridge. You go from sea level and then drive up long winding roads to get some spectacular views of the mountain range. The kids quickly headed for the snow for some bum sliding.

We spent a lot of time in this park exploring. Whether it was the mountain range or the Rain Forest, there was always a lot to see and do. I believe that it is the only rain forest in the United States.

Every hike had a water fall, or so it seemed. Our oldest nephew, nephew A would say 'Are we going on another hike to see another waterfall.' Why yes, we are. Another one. We have only seen 37 of them. 2 of our nephews also lost a battle with stinging nettle. I have bumped into poison ivy and that was bad...but these boys just had welts and bumps all over their legs. Pretty brutal.

Overall though, a great trip. If we weren't hiking and exploring, the kids were using their scooters, playing tennis and swimming. 8 days. 2705 miles. Thumbs up to the Great Northwest.

Friday, July 2, 2010

June is done. Yay.

This was a wild month for good and for bad. I am glad though that it is over and we can begin to start the real are the past 30 days:
  • Brodi had her heart surgery and had her hole in the heart filled with two tiny umbrellas.
  • Rebuilt the entire transmission of our car, the Scout...note, I did not rebuild the transmission, I can barely find the hood of my car.
  • Traveled 2700 miles over one week visiting the states of Washington and Oregon with 2 boys who were not pleased to be locked up in the car that long.
  • Carter graduated from 1st grade
  • Garage door broke and needs to be replaced
  • Replaced our two side fences and gates
  • Saw the Utes get invited to the PAC-10 for athletics
  • Won 3 matches and lost in the finals of a pretty big state tennis tournament
  • Pulled a groin and twisted an ankle in that tournament
  • Moved our entire office to a new location (from downtown to the East bench)
Here I come July.