Friday, December 10, 2010

Ron Artest on the Holy Ghost


Artest agreed with a reporter who said that the charitable efforts have become almost a mission for the 31-year old.

"It's fun, it's exciting," Artest said. "It's almost like a basketball game because it's that exciting. It feels like dunking on somebody, and I don't dunk much. It's just exciting and it's weird. It's a weird excitement. It's not like fun and games because it's a real issue, but for me, it's exciting to be a part of.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Origins of Christmas Tree

I just wanted to know why I was decorating an evergreen spruce inside our apartment. I asked Anna, and she did not know either. So I went to Wikipedia and found two plausible origins to placing a tree in our homes in December. The first origin comes from St. Boniface in 16th century Germany. In defiance of the Norse gods Boniface cut down the tree of Thor, a huge oak. In it's place sprouted a fir, which he saw as a sign of Christianity's triumph over apostasy. He said, "let Christ be at the center of your households."
The second origin I like comes from Martin Luther, the reformer, who established the Christmas tree as the symbol of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. Both of these are great. But I have a better origin, compliments of the Tingey family in Montana...
One day, a pilgrim family of six was traveling through the woods. Snow covered the ground. The kids were happy to be outside, walking and talking and throwing snowballs. Someone in the family, probably a boy, sat to rest by an evergreen. While enjoying the great blue sky, the boy noticed two birds racing across the sky. To the boy's surprise, the birds raced right towards him. Instead of flying into him, the flew in for a landing right in that evergreen close by. The boy noticed they were hiding in a nest in the tree. Suddenly, the two birds spoke to the boy.
"Please, help us!"
"Yes, we need help," cried bird # 2. "We are being chased by killer birds. Will you please cut our tree down, place it sideways in the back of your Ford pick-up and drive us to your home. You can disguise our tree by decorating it with lights that will confuse the killer birds. Then you can encircle it with popcorn strands to feed us while we stay in your tree. And don't forget to place neat, glass balls in the tree so kids can come by and grab them to throw at other kids. This will also scare away potential killer birds. And please, preserve our nest while you transport the tree."
The boy, in wonder, walked over to his parents and told them the implausible story of the scared birds in the evergreen nearby. Both parents smiled at each other and walked over with the boy to the tree. To their surprise, they heard the same two birds relate to them the same plea. And so, the pilgrim family cut down the tree and carried it back to their permanent-only-for-a-couple-years house. They protected the nest, decorated the tree, and enjoyed the rest of winter with the family and two scared, but protected, birds. And so the tradition grew, that each Christmas season, families began cutting down trees to protect innocence, preserve life, and enjoy family. And you always wondered where those "two turtle doves" came from !

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tender Mercy of Dish Detergent's Last Ounce

Have you ever noticed the last ounce of dish detergent always seems to pour out just a little more? It's funny because sometimes that last ounce lasts as long as a full bottle. And you can rest assured, when you're on the last ounce, you can remind yourself or your spouse to get new dish soap for a month before that last ounce runs dry. As a side note, if you say or type "ounce" a lot, it begins to sound and look funny. I like the guy in the picture giving his every OUNCE. ouch...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Teddy's Restaurant

Ever want to know how to sell a wedding band to a MAN? Tell him it's the same material used in body armor. SOLD. I saw this happen the other day in a jewelry store. Already that retailer has mastered the art of selling to 50% of his customer base. The tungsten band is the antithesis to the diamond for two reasons: cents and sensibility. Seeing as the man shopper is driven by these two factors, that leaves the woman shopper with the other admirable traits that label them as society's refined and perceptive half. And thus you see why my wife can name 3,000 different items in Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrell, and Williams and Sonoma while I can remember only 3. Let's see: the couch, the wooden spoon, and the candle. Oh, number four would be the bathroom.

The real reason for the post was in praise for The Gun Barrell restaurant. It's a place Teddy Roosevelt would have flocked to (can I end a sentence with "to"?) . Located in St. George, Utah, it caters to the animal hunter and western ranger of olden days. When you walk in you are greeted with a winchester used by a Tucson rancher in defense of his land. In the stock is engraved five notches. One each for the maruaders he shot with that very gun to defend his property in the 19th century. What a way to stimulate the appetite. Seriously, it gave me chills to see that living history. As you are escorted to your table, you pass under the mounts of buffalo head, ducks, deer, antelope, pheasants, turkeys, snakes, and more. Roosevelt was a hunter and taxidermist, so I can only assume he would have visited once in a while. If you go, try the Elk steak, it's gamey.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

American Saturday Manure

Sometimes I feel a strange impulse when out on a hike in rural America. Whether I'm with Anna, my brother, buddies from high school, or my in-laws (hopefully not as often with the in-laws), or parents, if I cross paths with a cow pie, I always feel an urge to reach down and grab it. Whenever I give in, I usually end up throwing it like a Frisbee at the nearest human. That part is for laughs. The real reason I pick it up, I think, is because it brings me joy. Good, honest-Abe, apple pie, manifest destiny joy. Today I think I made the connection that might bring this impulse from the realms of revolting to the realms of nostalgia. It happened out walking around our complex. The lawn was freshly mowed and layered in crumbled cow pie to fertilize the winter grass. Every October in Mesa, AZ I would help my dad prepare the lawn for winter grass by reaching in piles of manure and spreading it out across our lawn. We must have been the stink of Harvest street. But I liked the smell and the feel. It reminds me of Harvest and autumn. It reminds me of Halloween and cold weather. It reminds me of the smell of burning wood and blooming citrus. It reminds me of college football and early NBA season. Okay, enough Dickinsonian foliage talk. I love manure, plain and simple. It makes me feel American. So here's a raised cow pie to you Dad, on the eve of your birthday, for teaching me the joys of manure. Sorry that I never asked if you wanted to spread the stuff around the lawn...

Speaking of American. Anna and I had an American Saturday today. We helped cleaned the ward building. (Service gives license to play the rest of the day) Drove home to stop at a yard sale. Picked out some furniture. Went out for a bike ride. Spent the afternoon cleaning, moving furniture, selling a desk on Craig's List, watching college football, eating hot Reubens, making caramel apples, breaking teeth with caramel apples, and smelling the manure-scented breeze from below in our third-story apartment. Hey, in all honesty, I'd take the smell of manure over emissions or plastic trash any day.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A call for thoughts

Who is/was your favorite teacher in your educational experience? If you want, leave a comment explaining what it was about their style that worked for you.

My favorite teacher was Mr. Helsel, my AP History teacher. He was the first teacher who showed me the power of writing. And he always called ASU the "Harvard of the West," which I agree with, academically speaking.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Anna and I were introduced to someone last week in his nice, spacious office. He had a solid oak desk. The kind with a desktop you could ice skate on. Or at least slip and slide across if it were out in the back yard. Those were my first thoughts when we walked in to his office. He was dressed in a nice suit, tie and polished shoes. He invited us to sit down on his posh couch. Svelte, if I might say so. My cousin, Andrew, and I came up with a good working definition of "svelte." It should be used to describe anything that is trying to look attractive that you would never touch with a ten-foot pole. Like a llama with an under bite.

Anyway, there we were, sitting in a very svelte couch. After some chit-chat, the conversation was going, but it was still luke-warm. And then the gentleman said, "Tell me about yourself Greg?" Anna looked up at the man and said, in reference to my actual name, "He's Spencer."
The man was sitting fairly distant, and all he heard was "He's special."
I nodded in affirmation to Anna's statement, while the man nodded in affirmation to my affirmation that I was special. Major miscommunication.
I repeated that I was "Spencer," which his brain interpreted again as "special," and he affirmed again how good it was that I was special. It took me and Anna a combined effort to halt the conversation and say loudly enough my actual name. Then the ice was completely broken. I don't think we could hold back spurts of laughter for the next ten minutes while we thought about what this fine gentleman thought of getting to know Anna and his "special" husband.

Great way to get to know someone while sitting on a svelte couch.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Magic School Bus

my brother-in-law is currently watching Magic School Bus with his three kids while folding laundry. He is the only one laughing. Either his kids are tired or my brother-in-law has a heart of gold, or both.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Word of the Day

Alias. Noun. Derived from the title "Elias" of the Old Testament. As we know, Elias was the alias for Elijah in the Old Testament.
source: disclosed

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mud Boggs...

Rick Reilly recently published a book about the dumbest sports on earth. One of those sports is a sauna competition where men sit in 145 degrees Farenheit to outlast each other. Another involves chess and boxing combined. Brains or brauns? I wonder if old rickety would have placed mud boggs in his book. If he did I'm guessing he would have included the following thoughts:
1) You know it's going to be a fun day when beer sells more than water in 100 degrees.
2) The most important player in the game is not even in the game (the tractor)
3) For 10,000$ of upgrades and months of preparation, you get twenty seconds to shine before you're stuck for twenty years of loan repayments.
4) The one truck to make it through was a chevy...not a ford. Must have been a ford engine
5) Since we were only drinking water, we could only stay half the event...not enough beer to stay hydrated.
6) Don't ever wear a polo to a mud bog, you'll get the stare down.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Memorial Day Weekend. I'm ashamed to say I was so busy being served by others I forgot to pause and remember the purpose of the day. And then we drove by the cemetery Monday evening, in Tucson. There were flowers everywhere, on every grave marker I saw. It gave Anna chills. I remembered I have not given much. But I have been given much. Holy smack, Anna and I had such a good weekend we (I) forgot the Suns lost. Here's the breakdown:

Friday night -- one last night in Sahara Motel, Benson. Next up on the docket in this train town: Mud Bog Benson Rally, June 5th, the third annual. Everyone is invited. We get to pay 5 bucks to watch gentlemen and ladies romp their vehicles through a mud bog, with the winner taking home 10,000. I asked if I could enter my mountain bike. The organizer has yet to respond.

Saturday morning -- A great temple experience at the Thatcher temple. The Mayberry family of St. David, Benson, and Sierra Vista invited us to participate, and by pulling in a fold-up chair, we were able to fit. The interior design took me back to the Campinas Brazil temple.

Saturday --weeding in 100 degrees, with the Bannanna at the parents' house. It was worth it for a great BBQ dinner. Then we played Risk. If you can't hold Alaska, you really can't do much.
Sunday- Church, risk, sundown walks, good foods from mom, more Risk. Anna and Jake ended in stalemate.

Monday- Anna and Dad rode 30 miles past cotton fields and I hobbled/jogged 3.5 miles. Since I can walk today, I think the jobble was worth it. 5 months and counting since knee break. My brother-in-law, Sammie, and I are going to compete in the Austin triathlon in September, so hopefully I'm not jobbling there. Maybe I'll ask for some EPO. After the morning events, we went up Graham to hike Ladybug Trail. A great walk past a stream and through some gorgeous country. We took the bike back down. I had two thoughts from the bike. First: I wonder how often bikers are knocked off the road from a dust devil. Second: Why do I always feel safe when participating in a life-threatening activity until that night, when I'm laying in bed with my eyes toward the ceiling?
From Saturday to Monday Anna and I were served by everyone and everything. Even Sadie was quiet in her cage while sleeping. I can no longer call my parent's dog Sadistic Sadie. This Memorial Day I remember how it important it is to serve. I was reminded again from the best.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Top 10 Reasons San Pedro Family Clinic rocks for a medical student

10) Looking out the window I see a pile of old tires, a horseback rider, a train, and a Lexus in the same field of view.
9) I learned that in a place like Benson the toothbrush could have been invented because in any bigger town it would have been called a teethbrush.
8) Free cookies on Health Fair Day -- sign of an awesome office manager
7) Cynthia, her mom, and her 98-year-old grandma
6) If the Suns lose no one in the office would know except for Laine
5) Awesome patients who show no fear of the 18-year-old, 26-year-old.
4) Great office staff to tell you where to fish, find candy, and fill out surveys.
3) Proves that in life there is still such thing as a free lunch.
2) Office is kept as cold as Alaska, right Janet?
1) Telling Anna at the end of the day how fun it is to work with two bald doctors!
For those who want in on one of the greatest secrets in the history of the world, Benson, AZ is one of the happiest places on earth. And they have soft-serve...

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Six twelve-hour shifts a week in the ICU. That's my life (or lack thereof) this month. My friend, Ashley, took this picture the other day, and labeled it "brain scrambly"--I couldn't have said it better myself! I just hope I keep loving it as much as I do right now and that my eyes don't get permanently stuck like this...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bean Town: Day 1

Today is day one of my family rotation in the rural (with Super Walmart and McDonalds) town of Benson, AZ. After work yesterday I picked up Anna and we cruised East on I-10 to Benson where we crashed in the Sahara Motel. Felt like our honeymoon again because we haven't been back in a motel-like residence since. We should do trips like this more. After a quick night Anna was up by 5:00 am so she could make it to her day with her preceptor at St Joseph's Hospital back in Tucson. We'll see each other again on Saturday night.

So I love Benson. More specifically, I love Exit 299, Skyline Road. I spent most of my youthful Spring Breaks and summers exiting onto this dusty road winding to El Rancho de las tortugas where Grandpa and Grandma Hansen live. So I'm excited for this next month where I can see them more often. After clinic today I rode my bike up the long hill, against the wind, to their house. All sweaty and dusty, I spent the evening with them, winding down after a fun day.

In the morning I introduced myself to Dr. Mayberry. He has a brother who is also a doctor. They both run the San Pedro Family Practice, which also houses a couple PA's, some nurses, MA's, an office manager and other house staff. It's a full house, with barely enough room for a skinny medical student to squeeze in. I followed Dr. Mayberry around to see his morning patients, trying to pick up his style. He's a no-nonsense, straight-talking kind of guy that likes to work. So the day flew by! After lunch I started seeing patients. The theme of the day was joint aspiration. Two knees were aspirated. I watched. I love procedures. This morning I wanted to do diagnostic radiology. But after spending time with patients again, I want to specialize in interventional radiology.

Feels like a different life out here, wifeless. But it's a good time to ponder the blessings of living in the good old U S of A with the Southern Pacific line chugging along parallel to town. Life always seems simpler in small towns with old men always saying they get by by doing "what the wife" tells them to do. There is wholesome goodness here in Benson, you can feel just talking to those who live here. I think families understand the inherent dependence on each other when you live away from big cities. The dependence is there simply because you spend more time together. It's nice...but I don't think it's nice enough to convince me and Anna to move anywhere with a population less than 500,000. Tucson is pushing the lower limit as is :)

Miss you bird!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pick up your sticks

For some reason I've been thinking about Africa all weekend. I don't know why. But I am remembering a man, on a bike.

Four years ago while driving through pouring rain in a remote region of Ghana, our van hit a villager riding his bike. He was transporting sticks for firewood. After coercing our Ghanaian driver to return to the accident scene, we unloaded from the van to offer the man first aid. While I was wrapping the man's road rashes with gauze from our medical kit, our Ghanian driver began berating the villager for his stupidity in attempting to share pavement with a car. What I saw next was a beautiful expression of human dignity. The villager humbly thanked us for treating his wounds. Then he picked up his sticks and rode off into the rain. Instead of calling his lawyer (which is not an option in a third-world country anyway) he picked up his dented bike and broken sticks and moved on. I hope I don't forget this. I hope I can pick up my sticks to ride on into the next storm in life. Turning the other cheek is a powerful expression of quiet dignity. What does it take to ride this road. Whatever it takes I'm sure that man is out there, still on it...

I want to go back to that sometimes, just me and Anna and a nation of happy humbleness. No things, no money, no real material luxury. There is family, relationship, laughter, soccer and well-forged memories. Sometimes I missed that recipe of contentment. And then I married Anna and she brought it all back. From Ghana to Holladay to Tucson. But we do need a little practice with soccer still. When we score, I know we'll hear the villagers of Kun Kundi Yilli cheer for us!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's in the air...

That sweet smell of early summer sweat....gotta love this time of year :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Restore and Research

Anna mentioned last night today is the 180th anniversary of the restored Church. Someone, sometime, somewhere once said that each invention, including the TV (created in Provo, UT), was inspiration given to aid in the spread of the Gospel. I believe this. I can't believe that what humans come up with is original to us terrestrials only. It has to have celestial input as well, whether we see it or not. Power plants, computers, telephones, neon signs, cars, X-rays, satellites, cell phones that vibrate. These are some things that give me daily wonder. Really, how does a cell phone vibrate?

Restoration is like research. Truth revealed, again and again. Nothing new really, except to an individual. And if true, it all points to Christ. So, in honor of today I wanted to bear my testimony of the joys of research. I know that time spent learning brings me happiness because it's a divinely endorsed activity. I know Christ lives and He wants us to know this. So he has provided us with the Holy Ghost to inspire us with ideas of how to reach Him and help others reach Him. Sometimes it's tough. Sometimes it's hard. Some days I feel I make no progress. Like today, I put the leftovers in the tupperware with the cake leftovers. I bet Anna thinks some things I'll never learn :) But we should keep trying daily. In the call to battle of one of my favorite researchers, Lewis Thomas:

"Keep them at it I say, keep them working, bring in more of them, crowd them together in the deepest water, way beyond their depth. Goad them into swimming into each other, sputtering new bits of information each time they touch, losing themselves in a high surf of metaphor but each time regaining their feet for a new try. Sooner or later something will come of it, something like knowledge, new to them, new and surprising to all the rest of us."

We'll learn. There's method to all this madness in the world, and it's to get us exposed to the key bits of info that will let us know of Christ, whether through satellite TV broadcast on TV, getting pass-along-cards from a member next to you on a plane, attracting visitors through power-plant-powered Christmas lights at the Temple grounds, or from vibrating cell phones activated by those Home or Visiting Teachers. Long live researchers. Long live...Robin Hood.

by the way, in our research for truth, if you listen to an audio book, can you tell someone later you've read it?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

May 14

PG-13 has never brought more joy to a couple watching tv on the floor of their family room than today...


Spring Break + 2 Free Spouses + Road Trip = Car wreck waiting to happen. But it didn't happen. The closest we got to car troubles came on the trip home to Tucson from Austin when one spouse fell asleep and the other wanted to see how close to the "E" we could get on the gas gauge. Let's just say if it wasn't for the "Daring Drivers" gas station located in the middle of Nowhere, Tx, we'd still be walking. But, we'd also be 3.50$ per gallon richer. Oh, we also pulled up to an 18-wheeler full oh bee hives. Se we could've been stung.

Our trip was priceless and the best of our marriage because it was the first one we spent together. We drove straight to Austin from Tucson, stopping once to eat and twice to sleep on the side of the road. We figured we could sleep beside road kill in the hill country of Texas. I kept waking up from nightmares of running head on into a car while falling asleep and Anna kept dreaming of strangers breaking into our car while we were in it. We didn't sleep long :) On on we went, arriving in Austin on a cloudy, sprinkly Saturday morning. We spent a great three days with Melissa, Sammie, and Brad Markham. There was everything you wanted in a Spring Break: games, naps, good food, March Madness, sleeping in, good looking spouses, reading, movies, and other stuff. In honor of Austin, Anna and I independently compiled a top 10 list. Here's our toast to Austin, enjoyed with a nightcap of milk and homemade apple pie, a la Anna.

Anna 10
10: Drive to Austin
9: Good house upkeep of residents
8: Texas accents
7: Clean down-town
6: Cool river trails
5: Panera Bakery
4: Food
3: Green, green, green
2: Salt Lick BBQ
1: Markhams
Spencer 10
10: Old Faithful (ask Sammie to show you someday when you visit)
9: More Ford trucks than Chevys (Opa!)
8: Recycle Program
7: Yard Work, good, meaningful yard work
6: Mountain Bike Course downtown
5: Churches everywhere
4: No Pollution
3: Texas Mountain Laurels
2: Salt Lick BBQ
1: Markhams
Photos (left to right, top to bottom) Catholic church, downtown mtn biking, Salt Lick, Bradley, Anna, Sammie, and Melissa

Monday, March 15, 2010

Of Arias, baseball and Sabino

Is checking Craig's List on the Sabbath shopping? Not if you just check out the "free" section. Which is exactly what I did last Sunday when I got home from the hospital. I was waiting for Anna's dutiful return from Church when I came across an ad for a free pair of Arizona Opera tickets. The Opera was in two hours so I called the couple and told them to hold the tickets for us. What began as a joke (Anna and I make fun of the opera all the time) turned into an awesome afternoon. This opera was buttressed with a full philharmonic orchestra, harp included. And the songs were Arias. I'm not sure what that means but I think it means a short selection from a much longer, tortuous opera. Short and opera go so well together, like peas and carrots. We heard some great talent and it was a great way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon. I had two thoughts during the opera. My first was how Anna is the harp of my life. I would die a thousand deaths to prove the heart beating in my breast beats only for her and none else...oh whoa!....hold on... that opera has gotten a little too far into my brain. My second thought I shared with Anna on our walk home after the concert. I like to listen to guy opera singers more than girl opera singers. Something about that high, feminine pitch brings back too many memories of angering four similarly pitched sisters while growing up.
Anna and I had a stellar weekend together. We had Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday together without interruption! We called Randy and Mikelah to come help us root our D-backs to a spring training victory over the Athletics. Like the opera, I also had two dominant thoughts at the game. The first was how savvy beer drinkers are about their own bodies. I overhead the following from a guy doing business at the urinal next to me in the bathroom: "Hey, my pee is still yellow so I guess I'm still sober." Please, can we get some more taxis here in Tucson. My second thought was more of a yearning. "Do you have yearn," George Costanza asks? I did today with Randy as we watched the grounds crew mow the outfield after the game. I yearned for a lawn to mow again. I would pay ten bucks to mow someone's lawn right now. The smell of the grass and gas, the feel of the chattering mower, the warmth of the spring elysium fields.
After the game Anna and I splurged at Olive Garden. When we are there, we are family. That means we didn't feel cheap or dirty for cleaning up the leftovers of the tables around us :) All in the family.
We came home and watched X-Men. Anna's choice. Did I ever mention I have the sweetest wife in the world!!!!!!! I love you Anna.
Saturday morning we were up at the crack of dawn to hike Seven Falls in Sabino canyon. If you have not been to Tucson and ever come with an afternoon or morning to kill, make this hike. And do it in March after the winter rains. Prettiest place on earth. I think even the Holladay, Utah native is convinced of this now. Happy Spring Break everyone. And Sam Packer if you by chance read this soon enough or ever, make sure to put Duke and Kansas in the Final Four. Go Cougars!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Try keeping up with this!

I warned myself I would not be able to write as often when I started inpatient medicine. I wouldn't trade it, mind you.
Tonight's thoughts are a shishkabob of ideas. Shiskabob #1: Thank goodness for Valentine's. Many would attack this kind-hearted holiday. But how can you not enjoy it when kneeling down to pray and hearing your very own better half thank God for a day to celebrate our love and relationship together. Whew! Life does Not get better than this. For all who have suffered more than I can dare dream or comprehend because of failed relationships, all I can say is thank you for teaching me that your feelings of love have given you strength to endure the heartache of loss. Love transcends everything, I believe even failed commitments, because it invites the Atonement into the recovery process.
Amazing where writing can take you when you sit down to a blank blog. Speaking of taking and amazing, I had my first Corvette ride this past week. Another classmate (don't ask me where he got the money for this) gave me a ride to the hospital in his 2009 6.2 L 8 HP charcoal corvette, just like the one in the picture. Now we all know we laugh at speedracers who accelerate in their fast cars out on the streets only to be stopped at each red light where we easily catch up like the tortoise following the hare. Well, I gained insight into the speedracer's mindset when riding with my classmate
. He doesn't mind the red lights. In fact he welcomes them. All of the fun was seeing how fast you could accelerate and then decelerate before the next light. It was better than Indiana Jones at Disneyland! Pure adrenaline. So
now that we slow drivers know this simple fact, we can no longer laugh at the cars flying by us on the roads. They really don't have anywhere to go, they just want to be
on the road hitting the accelerator as many times as possible. And every red light is one more reason to hit that pedal.
Shishkabob #3 (since I've been counting even though you thought I lost count). A DNR is a "do not resuscitate" form for patients in the hospital. If someone signs this form and they go into cardiac or respiratory arrest, then doctors will allow natural events to progress, eventually leading to death. As standard procedure, all patients should be offered this form. It was bad timing this morning though when a resident brought this form to a patient who five seconds earlier had said, "I think I'm going to live!" Irony.
Shishkabob #4.
Anna and I celebrated our third Valentine's together with our tradition of Shishkabob's for dinner. They are colorful and tasty. This year we added mango sticky rice to the menu.
Shishkabob #5. I also included a picture of a cork oak. This tree's oak is the stuff wine corks are made out of. This whole time I thought they were synthetic material. Who knew? Also, I included a picture of a deciduous tree in front of an evergreen, an African Sumac. The sun is flowing through both of them. I call the picture, "Life After Death." Am I not merciful?
Shishkabob #6. I just quoted from Gladiator.
Shishkabob #7. Anna is awesome. Friday and Saturday she was packed with clinicals. Sunday morning she spoke for both of us at church since I was on-call, then she taught the lesson in Young Women.
Tomorrow she has a major nursing exam. And the next day she is getting ready and playing the harp in New Beginnings. She has no weekend to speak of and she still went on a two-hour walk with me down the River Trail this 71 degree afternoon.
Shishkabob #8. I drove past this bus in Tucson while dropping Anna off at work one morning. The best part of waking Folger's in your cup. Unless you live in Tucson, where you drive, get coffee, and then wake-up. Car insurance is pretty expensive here. See you in the future...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Valentine for Sisters?

So many memories. So little time. Next week my sisters are gathering in a hamlet in Utah, somewhere in the snow. The sun will surely be missed. But I think the brother will be missed more. How can I be so sure? Well, after a day's reflection in preparation for this fairly-narcisstic column, I've come to the conclusion that my sisters don't know how to have fun without me. First, introductions: in the picture associated with this post, the girl on the left is Whitney, the one next to her is Erin, then me, then two cousins, who will represent Rachel and Sally, my other two sisters.

So back to my day's reflections...which in fact, have become memories.

My earliest memory together with my sisters is, I think, a funny one. It's funny because I remember it so clearly, and I remember knowing I was truly innocent at the time. I was like Adam in the Garden, as you're about to find out. My sisters were sitting in the front room. I walked down the hall from my bedroom to the front room and stared at them. I then dropped my pants and showed them something they didn't have. When my parents got home, my sisters told on me. That was the night I learned about respect for anatomy. A funny memory because I think they don't remember it at all. But it was a turning point for me. (at least until Jonathan and me got caught mooning Whitney's friend, Becky Tanner, who also told on us) Red moons that night when we went to bed. :(

Another memory proving how much fun my sisters have with me involves "fraggle-rocks." I'm not sure that's how you spell it, but for fear of PTSD symptoms, I will never type those two words into google. Never. For some reason these buggers creeped me out. One night, sick in bed, my sisters came in to see if I needed a glass of water. (I might not have been sick but this adds drama in a Stephen King way) I said yes. What pleasant little women for sisters I have. With three standing sentry at the door, one came back with a glass of water. I raised the glass only to have fraggle rocks tumble down into my face! Knowing me today, I must have cursed a storm and thrown the glass back at them as they ran laughing out of the room.

Times were better when I got older. When I say "better times," it always means for my sisters and rarely for me. One of my joys in life is either buying a new hat, or a new watch. I still remember my first hat. It was a Lakers hat my dad bought for me. I'm sure I wore it everywhere. One night with my parents gone (for some reason I always remember them being gone at night to the temple) I was sitting on the couch reading a book. From behind, one of the sisters, I won't name names but her's starts with an "r," grabbed my hat. I jumped back for it but she threw it to "w." "w" then threw it to "e." And around it went...r...w...e....e....w...r. After reducing me to tears, my happy sisters replaced my hat on my head. Life went on. Can you begin to imagine now that next week my sisters won't know how to have a good time if I'm not around? :)

My next memory isn't really a memory as much as a legacy. Talk to my sister Sally someday about the art of sneaking out at night. She is Houdini. When there were locks, she went through them. When there were no locks, she made a lock, and still went through it. Good times in Fruit Heights. But Sally, I think it's safe to say, I trained you in the art, no? For many a weekend you monitored my sneaking out our Harvest St. home, off to battle dragons. Oh the things we do in the name of Valentine. Good times.

Sadly, I have to burn the rest of my midnight oil on more important things, like sleep. So to keep the post thematic, I will end on a romantic memory. It's a memory I've always wanted to share with Erin. We moved away from our Harvest Street home in 2000. I stayed in AZ with Erin to attend ASU while the family moved to Utah. During this time Erin was dating her current husband John Tingey. One night my friend Jonathan and I were walking by our sold home. The home was completely empty, awaiting new occupants. We were curious when we saw a light on in the house. We walked up to the front door and peered through the arched window at the top of the door. There, in the front room of anatomy, my sister and future bro-in-law were making out! Jonathan and I looked at each other and after a nod and chuckle, we rang the doorbell and ran away....Happy Valentines Whitney, Rachel, Erin, and Sally! Your brother missed you today and always.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Quote of the day

From columnist Bill Simmons:
He analyzes when it's okay to say you have the worst team. I love the Suns but I love the reason for the worst team immunity even more

"Warm weather mellows you out, removes that life-or-death dynamic and puts sports in somewhat proper perspective. Suns fans are a good example. On paper? Level 1 eligible. Forty-one seasons, no titles. Lost the Kareem/Neil Walk coin flip. Lost the famous triple-overtime game in 1976. Lost three agonizing games in the 1993 NBA Finals, as well as Mario Elie's "Kiss of Death" 3-pointer that ended their season in '94. Their Nash era stretch from 2004 to '07 was basically one long liver punch. And yet, how could Suns fans be truly tortured? They live in Arizona! They have things to do!