Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friday of Firsts...

In addition to learning how to fly fish, I also learned how to make candy canes. Rather, I should say that I learned how candy canes are made. There is something about traditions that make the holidays that much better. This was a tradition that I was allowed to be a part of. Apparently, the tradition goes back quite a few generations and continues in the modest kitchen of an elderly couple from Layton.

I rang the doorbell and waited patiently on the porch for someone to open the door. The warmth of their home was the perfect contrast to crisp night air outside. They had just finished rolling/forming the candy canes from the first licorice. If you know me, you know I love black licorice. I sampled a few of the small broken pieces that had cooled just enough to be edible.

I was introduced to everyone as we waited for the second batch to be prepared. For those of you like me, who have never made a candy cane, I'll give you the readers digest version. The batter (I guess that's what you would call it) is brought to a boil on the stove. After it has reached the perfect temperature it his poured out onto a cold marble stone (the size and shape of a cutting board), as it cools it is folded over itself until it is 'cold' enough to be handled. The quotations marks are there because it is not really cold. In fact, it is still hot enough that if you were to hold it in your hands they would be burned quite easily. The flavor is added and then it is then placed on a hook where it is pulled, twisted, and then pulled again. It is to allow air to work it's way into the batter and 'cool' it quickly and effectively.

The stripes are then added to batter and it is pulled and rolled into smaller rolls and each is then individually shaped into candy canes. Apparently, that is the ONLY shape they are supposed to be made into. I was warned against making any other shapes...I deviated from that counsel and made a heart out of the root beer flavored batter. If you know me, you know I love root beer.

The third time is the charm. By the third time everyone had been taught the part they would play and it went off without a hitch. The third and final flavor...cinnamon. If you know me, you know I love cinnamon.

After the candy canes were formed and bagged, we were each given a treat bag to take home. After we had finished making the candy canes we sat and listened as they told stories of how they met, their courtship, and their lives in general. I love old people. It made me miss my own grandparents and the memories I shared with them. Those memories left a better taste than black licorice, root beer or cinnamon ever could. If you know me, you know I love my grandparents.

Fly Fishing...

For some 'black Friday' began as early as 10pm on Thursday night. For me, it began a little after 9 am. I got off to a late start and skipped breakfast. Stink wanted me at his house at 10am...I told him no. I knew myself well enough to know that I would not be there that early, so I reluctantly committed to 11am. By 10:45 I was sitting on his living room couch. He was going to take me fly fishing for the first time.

We left his house around 11:30 and I made him stop at Wendy's before going to the river. Bacon Cheeseburger in hand, we drove up the dusty dirt road and pulled up alongside a couple of other cars parked on the side of a gated-pasture. We sat in the bed of the truck getting ready to walk out to the river. We couldn't have asked for better weather. Once we had put on our waders and assembled our fishing poles we set out for the water.

I had debated whether or not to bring my camera with me. After realizing that we would be walking through the river and that I didn't not bring my waterproof bag, I decided to leave it locked up in the truck. I imagine we looked like the 2009 version of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as we walked through the open field and alongside the river. We found a safe spot to cross and when we reached the other side we began 'rigging up.' Aaron (aka Stink) taught me the basics of tying of hooks and the proper way to cast.

By that time the weather, the kind that was 'better than we could have asked for' had changed. It was cold but not unbearable. We stood thigh-high in the water and continued to cast and mend the lines in hopes of catching fish. That never happened. I'm not sure if it was the pessimist in me or the realist, but I had no intention of catching any fish anyway. The good news is, I was not disappointed. Instead, I just enjoyed myself.

For me, fly fishing was never about catching the fish. Sure, I paid $26 for my 365 day license but that was just to make it legal. Instead, it was about learning something new. It was about being outside and being able to clear my mind. It was about appreciating nature, seeing bald eagles and deer in their natural environment. It was about being inconsequential in comparison to the grandeur around me. And, it was about spending time with a friend and creating great memories.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blog Names

I sat talking with a friend earlier this week about creative blogs names that have already been taken...

One of the most frustrating thing is to come up with a 'great' blog name only to find out that it has already been taken by someone else and it's even worse when that blog hasn't been updated in years.

I'm sure I don't run the risk of anyone really wanting the tscotriverside blog address but I figured that is not a good enough reason to stop updating it. Of the 35 posts I've made since I've started this blog, there is a large percentage of them that refer specifically to this same idea...

So, I won't spend any time tonight trying to recap the events of the past month, I'll just make a renewed commitment to do it going forward...

Monday, October 26, 2009


A couple of weeks ago Lindsay and I decided that we were going to get together and take some pictures of the fall leaves. I picked her up on Friday afternoon and she suggested that we go to Memory Grove in Salt Lake to see what was left of autumn. The great part about two people, each with their own camera, is that you get to see the world from the eyes of two separate individuals. I hope you take the time to check out some of the pictures that she took as well. You can find them here.

Apparently I like to take pictures of ugly hydrants happy to be one of them...

I've gotten behind on some of my posts so I will try to catch up on those soon...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Mayan Adventure...

I sat across the table from 'lil Corey'. He was wearing a red beanie with a DC logo just left of center and his shirt bore the logo of Independent Truck Company. He ordered the bean and cheese burrito that turned out to be more cheese than bean or burrito. He scraped the excess cheese off the top as he spoke about his goal of becoming a professional skate boarder. I asked who his idol was using my limited knowledge of the skateboarding world. The obvious question, 'do you want to be the next Tony Hawk' was answered quickly in the negative. Next I asked about Bob Burnquist (he's Brazilian) and he was a little more receptive and said, 'yeah, he's a little more street.'

I decided to give up on guessing and asked who his favorite skater was. I should have known the answer...Rodney Mullen. If you've ever seen him skate, you would probably agree with Corey...he's one of the best 'street' skaters of all-time.

Corey is no different from any other kid who has dreams or aspirations of becoming the next professional athlete. In fact, his story is strikingly similar to a variety of them. He lives in a two-bedroom apartment with his mom, little sister, older brother, his niece, and sometimes his brother's girlfriend. He doesn't have much contact with his father and sadly, he prefers it that way.

The few hours that we spend together a few times a month provides him with a chance to escape his harsh reality. I call it harsh but I've never heard him complain about his circumstances...not even once. If ever there was a 'chain-breaker' Corey is it. He is one of the most polite and respectful children you'll ever meet. He's not perfect, he still struggles with his grades and fights with siblings (who doesn't?) BUT, he tries AND that is what matters.

As I sat and picked at my food I thought about what the few hours we spend together a few times each month means to me. It is a chance to learn and to grow, it's a humbling reality check, it's a time when I can forget about my own concerns and worry about his, and, perhaps the best part, it's a chance to let the kid in me come out.

At 7:15, we put down our forks and made our way closer to the edge of the balcony to get a better look at the show that was about to begin. A man and a woman alternated turns taking dives from different platforms. When it was over Corey turned to me and said, 'that was too short'. He was referring to the entertainment but that same sentiment rings true for life. Life is too short not to take advantage of the time that we have been given, and to spend time with the people that matter most.

The Mayan is a place for decent food, good entertainment, and great conversation.

If you're in the position and you have a few extra hours a month that you would be willing to set aside and volunteer...try out the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. There's a good chance you can help a child from a broken home BUT, more than likely, that child will end up helping you.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Colorful Colorado

Colorful Colorado:

When I first drove across the Colorado border and came to this sign, I wasn’t really seeing it.

That changed. On my return trip from the Four Corners area I stopped by Mesa Verde National Park. During this time of year it’s more like Mesa Amarillo, Rojo, or Laranja. Mesa Verde is primarily known for its ancient ruins. I was only able to scratch the surface of what the park had to offer.

Mesa Verde is generally pretty resistant to fires however, over the past century there have been a variety of lighting-sparked fires that have burned their way through thousands of acres of the National Park.

As I drove through and saw the scars of those fires, a thought came to mind…it was inspired by a book that I had finished the week before. It was this: ‘God can take even the greatest of tragedies in our lives and turn them into something beautiful, or at the very least create something beneficial to us.’ I guess is along the same lines of the ‘silver-lining to every cloud’ theory.

In the past 15 years there have been two large wildfires in Mesa Verde and archaeologists were able to discover many of the ancient artifacts, etc. hidden by the vegetation. In addition, to those wonderful discoveries, the old/burned trees provide a beautiful contrast to the vegetation that has now taken the place of the ash covered ground.

Colorado is indeed Colorful!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Dream Home

Located just a few miles up Spanish Fork Canyon on Highway 6 is my dream home. I know, I know...guys probably aren't supposed to have those. I like this house more for it's location than anything else (i could do without the pink exterior...but i'd also put up with it just to live there). Anyway, I'm sure after looking at the picture below, you'll understand why.

Nothing beats a leisurely drive up the canyon during this time of year. Unfortunately, the camera just never seems to do it least not when I'm behind the camera. But, you get the idea.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Life's Aim...

In a letter to his brother Theo, Van Gogh wrote the following words:

"And my aim in my life is to make pictures and drawings, as many and as well as I can; then, at the end of my life, I hope to pass away, looking back with love and tender regret, and thinking, “Oh, the pictures I might have made!”

I was on a trip to New Mexico this weekend and because of past experiences, I've learned to never leave my camera home. And, after this trip, I'll learn to never leave my spare camera battery home. I thought I was doing well to charge it the night before leaving. But, as I quickly learned, a charged battery does little if you don't have it with you.

After making a couple of stops along the way to take pictures, I looked down and noticed that the 'low battery' light was flashing on my camera. Fortunately, I had taken all of the pictures that I wanted to take that day...knowing that I would be back in a few days to take any others that I might like.

On my return trip to Salt Lake City, I made a quick stop at my favorite 'elephant graveyard' and took a few more pictures. A few miles down the road I also passed a familiar tree. The last time I saw it was on a cold December afternoon. This time it was a lot different. It turns out that the last picture I was able to take was of this tree against a blue sky.

I made many more stops on the way home and as I did, I looked back with tender regret and thought, 'Oh the pictures I might have taken.'

I came across long stretches of straight roads that trailed off over the horizon, the silhouette of deer feeding along the side of the road, the Balanced Rock & Delicate Arch, as well as many other photos that made wish I had remembered to bring the spare battery.

So, take as many pictures as you can, as well as you can...then, when your battery runs out, you can look back on the pictures that you might have taken and save them for another day. But as 'way leads on to way' it's never certain you'll be back.

This is what is believed to be one of Van Gogh's last paintings (Daubigny's Garden...there's also a version with a black cat).

He followed up his thought to Theo with these words: 'But this does not exclude making what is possible, mind you.' So, do what you can while you can...AND do the best you can.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sunflowers and Trees

For anyone that doesn't know me (or at least this fact about me)...I like to take pictures of random trees. Of all of the trees I've ever seen, this one has to be my favorite. It stands tall along one of the busiest sections of I-15...on average, over 115,000 people pass it daily. I finally took a second to snap a picture of it.

I also happen to love sunflowers. If you drive through Colorado around this time of year you'll come across miles and miles of sunflower farms (the seeds have to come from somewhere). But, if you live in Utah you might just have to settle with a sunflower growing in between the asphalt and sidewalk...

Or, you can get a close-up of a flower and your favorite tree in the background.

If you haven't had your fill of sunflowers and trees, you can check out a couple more pics on my other blog.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Number 12

I know it’s a little bit late but I was inspired by a ‘wounded mosquito’ to pay tribute to one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game. Last week John Stockton was enshrined in the Hall of Fame. As I listened to his speech and that of Michael Jordan I was grateful that I had chosen number 12 as my childhood idol.

Stockton, like many of the memories I associate with him, has faded into relative obscurity over the years. As he spoke, those memories came flooding back along with my admiration for him. He seemed just as humble and gracious as ever attributing a large part of his success to those who helped him along the way.

I spent countless hours in the backyard pretending to be John Stockton. I watched him every chance I got. In fact, one of the most meaningful experiences of my younger years was the night that John Stockton broke the NBA All-Time Assist record. My dad bought two tickets to the game. He calculated when he thought that Stockton would do it and he was right.

There were banners hung over the upper bowl counting down the number of assists until he broke the record. Half-way through the second quarter, he did it.

From the draft pick when he was booed, to the night we was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame with a standing ovation, John Stockton has always maintained the characteristics that made him great, integrity, loyalty, humility, etc.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Red White And Blue...

"They say time heals all wounds. I don't agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone” – Rose Kennedy

It was a day that we promised to never forget. A day that the American spirit was rekindled in each and every one of its citizens. A day that age, race, religious denomination, and political faction were set aside and we became united as one people, ‘indivisible with liberty and justice for all.’ The American Flag was displayed in car windows and store front displays. ‘Old Glory’ hung from the highest buildings and was hoisted up throughout large cities and small towns across the country. There was a renewed sense of pride in the Star Spangled Banner and a strengthened conviction to defend the ‘red, white, and blue’ and everything it stood for and symbolized.

The price that was paid that day for the unity that was borne from such a senseless act has been increasing ever since. In addition to the innocent people that lost their lives on September 11th, there have been countless more who have given their lives to ensure that something like that never happens again.

Pride, honor, respect, and love were not the only emotions that we experienced that day. Sorrow, anguish, fear, anger, and multitude of other feelings ran through our veins. Time will not heal those wounds, and that pain may have lessened with time but it will never be gone. I do not pretend to understand or comprehend the pain of loss that was experienced by family members, co-workers, and friends that day and every day since. The best that any of us can do is to maintain that sense of community, unity, and brotherhood…and, treat each other accordingly.

To the innocent people that lost their lives and to their families that were left behind, I offer my deepest sympathies. And, to the people who have given their lives throughout the history of this great nation to defend a cause greater than themselves I give my utmost respect for the ultimate price you have paid. I am deeply humbled by your sacrifice and eternally grateful for it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sun Valley

Every year my family has a tradition of going to Sun Valley, ID. If you've never been, you need to go. If you've been before, you need to go back. May I suggest Labor Day as the perfect time to go. The weather is perfect, the commemorate Wagon Days, and they hold an auto auction. The only thing better than that is to be able to spend the weekend with family.

You may notice that there is a certain individual missing...(Kurt). As part of the celebration for Wagon Days, there is an art gallery stroll held on Friday night. Last year we only caught the tail end. Determined to see as much of it as possible this year, we made sure to get to Sun Valley early. We had time to get settled in and to grab a bite to eat before walking between the galleries. We settled on mexican food. Kurt is deathly allergic to cilantro. Being the concerned brother-in-law that I am...I made sure that he made it to the emergency room in time and then rushed back to check out the art on display. He reassured he'd be in good hands and that he would call when he was ready to be picked up. Unfortunately, this photo was taken before he made it back.

Labor Day Weekend was an adventure to say the least. The important thing is that we got to spend time together as a family and we ALL made it home safely.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

365 1/4 days (aka 1 year) later...

“A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this?” – Henry David Thoreau

On September 5, 1847 Henry David Thoreau spent his last night at Walden Pond. The following day, he left the simplicity and solitude behind and moved in with his dear friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Whether they were speaking specifically of one another or of friendship in general both quotes illustrate the depth of true friendship.

To say that I lived in solitude or simplicity prior to meeting Lindsay would be a disservice to the many other friends that I have been privileged to have throughout my life. But, on September 5, 2008 I embarked on what would be the epitome of the immortalized words of Thoreau and Emerson.

Another one of my favorite quotes that has become increasingly more meaningful as I have gotten older is the one below:

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some moves our souls to dance. They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same.”
- Anonymous

Lindsay, in addition to 'making the sky more beautiful to gaze upon,' 'moving my soul to dance,' 'awakening me to new understanding' and leaving 'indelible, elephant-sized footprints on my heart,' has also taught me that LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL.

Mr. Charles Darcy, accounting for his falling in love with Elizabeth, said the following: 'I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or THE LOOK, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.'

In a similar fashion, I was in the middle of an amazing friendship before ‘I knew it had begun.’ Lindsay and I actually met a couple of weeks before September 5th, but it wasn’t until that Friday afternoon that I began to understand what a truly unique individual I had met.

So today, on the anniversary of our first date, I pay tribute to the ‘best of bests’. In an attempt to describe her in my own way and in my own words I will move away from quotes and other literary references and give you my words without 'arranging them in flowery bouquets' and just say them 'as they enter my mind of their own accord.' RAW!

Perhaps the best way to describe her is by sharing a little bit about our first date.

I remember the feelings of anxiety and anticipation before picking her up. I was nervous that we would run out of things to talk about, that she would think I was a ‘dork’, or that she wouldn’t have a good time. Less than five minutes into the date most of my fears had disappeared but, admittedly, I was still intimidated by her.

We showed up at UMFA for the Monet-Picasso exhibit. As we waited patiently in line for our turn to enter the exhibit we read a variety of quotes on the wall. I can’t for the life of me remember any of them but, to this day, she and I exchange random quotes (which is why it seemed so fitting to start this tribute to her with some of the quotes that she has shared with me). Lindsay has an affinity for good literature and is a talented writer herself. For proof you can visit her blog.

We moved from exhibit to exhibit looking at various paintings and listening to the narration that went along with some of the better known paintings. It is amazing how a story changes a painting and adds significance to it. The most touching of the exhibit was that of Monet’s ‘Red Kerchief’…it was meaningful then and perhaps even more so now. As we walked throughout the exhibit she reminded me of the need to ‘keep an open mind’ because that’s what artists do. Lindsay is an artist…it is evident in everything from her writing, to her graphic design…to her photography. (if you happen to visit one of her blogs, I have it on good authority that she likes comments).

Lindsay possesses a childlike curiosity and adventure for life which is both adorable and endearing. That curiosity may at times get her into trouble…at least with over-zealous security guards at an exhibit of priceless paintings. I’ve never seen an overweight, underpaid civil servant move so quickly. Who knew you were supposed to stay at least 6” away from the art?

I quickly realized that one of the things that I have admired most about Lindsay is her ability to love. She has a deep and abiding love for God, Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation, for her ENTIRE family, for life, for photography, for traveling, for cheesecake, for all things Italian, and the list goes on.

Knowing beforehand that she had a mild obsession with Italy, I took her to Cinnegrill in an attempt to impress her…it is a quaint little Italian eatery for dinner. We even ordered the cheesecake for dessert. Since I had picked her up so early in the afternoon, we finished eating by six o’clock or so. At that point I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t want to make her go through a marathon date and I didn’t want to take her home either.

We decided to visit a place that neither one of us had ever been, the International Peace Garden in Rose Park. If you’ve never been, you need to go. It is a park with a variety of countries represented by individual gardens. After taking random pictures at random places throughout the park we came to a rock near the center of the park. We climbed on top of it and sat talking about anything and everything. We spoke of our families, of our dreams, and of the purpose of life. The conversation was effortless. We began talking that night and haven’t stopped since. I was surprised by her ability to articulate her thoughts so well but, more than that, I was impressed at how mature and intelligent she was.

It ended up being a marathon date of sorts. From the time I picked her up until the time I dropped her off…we had spent over 9 hours together and they ‘seemed but a moment’. After visiting IPG we came back to my house, ate chocolate covered pretzels, played the piano, and talked some more. Finally, I took her home. I walked her to the doorstep, thanked her for spending time with me, and then she gave me an amazing hug.

In summation, Lindsay is an example and an inspiration not only to me but to all of those around her. She will brighten your day and light up your night with her unique sense of humor and her contagious smile. If you’ll let her, she will change your life for the better as she did mine. I will forever be grateful for the friend that she has been. She has helped me to grow and progress in ways that I never could have done alone. I am humbled by her innate goodness and amazed at her sincere interest in others. She is a genuine a person as you’re likely to fine. In the beginning I struggled to ‘break-the-ice’ with her but that ice has long since melted and formed rain-like puddles at my feet…I have been splashing in those puddles of friendship ever since.

Finally, I will end with her words and speak them as though they were my own: ‘Lindsay, you are a dear friend that has left a remarkable set of footprints on my heart. Footprints that the waves of time may beat upon again and again and never erase.’

I doubt if I will ever be able to thank you enough for your friendship but I will always strive to be the friend to you that you have been to me for the past year…cross my heart!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Demolition Derby

I can't remember the last time that I went to a Demolition Derby. It must have been years ago. I had forgotten how much fun they could be. Really though, I just like County Fairs in general. The demolition derby was just icing on the cake. We began the evening like any evening should begin at the County Fair...with a hot dog. I spilled ketchup all over my shirt but thanks to the wonders of Photoshop (the digital stain remover) you'd never know.

We watched one round of the derby and decided to explore the rest of the fair. We went to the animal portion where kids fed all of the caged animals. One of the best things that the fair has to offer is a variety of booths. One of the booths we came to had a man doing caricatures. I've always had a mild obsession with them...not sure why. The first time I ever had one done the artist looked at me and said, 'wow, you've got some big eyebrows'. It happened to be on a first date...he tried to recover for it by saying that it was a good thing because it made me look like 'Burt Reynolds'. To this day, the girl still calls me Burt.

This time was a little bit better I suppose. The artist turned to me and said, 'do you know who you look like?' I was not surprised when he responded with, 'John Cusack.' For whatever reason, there seems to be a general consensus that we look like each other. I'll take John Cusack over Burt Reynolds any day of the week...(no offense Burt).

It has been decided that Corina and I look like the same person in this caricature...

After the derby was over we hung around and took a couple of fun pictures. I had to have some proof that I was wearing one of my favorite outfits...bandanna and a cowboy hat.

Take off the cowboy hat and flip the bandanna around and you have the makings of the Rose Park Renegade.

The Many Faces...

It was a bit coincidental that the week after my post about the movie Seredipity that I should find myself in the newest addition to the Serendipity Family...Serendipity 3 at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. The food was a bit over-priced but then again, it is Las Vegas.

So, we got bored while we were waiting for dinner at Serendipity so I took full advantage of the opportunity to make faces for the camera.

The highlight had to be the frozen hot chocolate (also over-priced). It was large enough for all 7 of us to share which was no surprise after having a 24" chili cheese dog for the main course.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


A couple of months ago I spoke with a friend about some of my fears. On that list was the fear that I would leave this world without ever telling those I cared most about how I truly felt about them.

It is in the spirit of facing that fear that I’m going to begin a series of random posts about the people that have had a profound and lasting impact on my life. Since there will be no rhyme or reason to the sequence of the posts I will likely write about these individuals the next time I share a meaningful experience with them.

Just a little over 4 years ago I got up to give a toast to Aaron Bell at his wedding. We’ve joked about it quite since then. The idea was to record all of the toast that were given. Oh how I wish that had been done. I gave what I thought was a nice toast. It was a little bit of humor mixed in with some serious sentiments about his friendship. Unfortunately, the only thing he can remember is me telling him that he was a bum/mooch.

Allow me to take this opportunity to set the record straight. I do not remember what I said that night verbatim because it was off-the-cuff but, I remember the point I was trying to get across. I spoke of the many things that Aaron had been called over the years that I had known him. When I first met him, everyone called him Taco (see last name). As I understand it, he hated that nickname. As time when by his nicknames changed. I later began referring to him simply as Bell.

Bell always had a knack for getting something for nothing. It was a bit of a talent. This is where the confusion about my words that night comes in. I said that he was so good at getting things from people that he could probably get a bum to give him the shirt off of his back. After I said that I got a little more serious and this is the part that people missed, I said, ‘of all of the things that Bell has been called or known for, the best thing that I have ever been able to call him is, friend.’

I mean it even more now than I did then. He has always been a true friend to me and the many others that he has. As is often the case, it’s the small things that have the greatest significance in any relationship.

I’ve actually been sitting at my computer for awhile now thinking about the last 10 years that I have had the privilege of knowing Aaron. We’ve shared a lot of fun experiences. If I were to compile a top 10 list of memories that I have of Aaron it would read something like this (in no particular order):

- Long weekends in Bear Lake with Chad Heitz out on the Mastercraft.
- Doing doughnuts in the parking lot of Acres
- Drinking full bottles of sparkling cider after long days at work
- Snowshoeing and sitting on the tailgate afterwards having sunflower seeds/Gatorade
- Vacations (‘surfing’ in San Diego / SIA Tradeshow in Las Vegas)
- Drinking some Yerba Mate with fresh limeade
- Being roommates for a couple of years (going to the Laundromat, climbing up on the roof, doing yard work, grilling steaks on the deck, etc.)
- Riding longboards up at the U…going down the steps at the Huntsman Center
- Making a fence out of railroad ties
- Many, many more….

While all of those experiences have left an impression on me, perhaps the greatest experience I had with him was this past weekend. Aaron became a father for the first time on Sunday morning (11:56 a.m….I think). I was on my way back from Las Vegas so I wasn’t able to see him until later that night. I showed up at the hospital around 6 o’clcok to find him in the room with his in-laws, his wonderful wife, and their beautiful new baby girl (Isla Sue).

Like most guys, I was hesitant to hold her at first because she was so small and so fragile. After a half-hour went by I finally decided to hold her. Aaron told me that the most important thing was to support her neck/head. I took her and held her in my arms for awhile before we got up to take her into the nursery to have her IV removed and to get a shot.

He placed her into the crib and with a heart full of fatherly pride he wheeled her across the hall. He invited me into the nursery with him and I followed closely behind. As the nurse carefully removed the blankets and took out her tiny little hand to remove the IV Isla began to cry. Aaron reached out and touched her gently and whispered quietly to her that everything would be okay.

Before the nurse could administer the shot she had to confirm that the consent forms had been signed. She sent one of the other nurses out to retrieve the chart. Aaron caressed Isla’s face while we waited for the nurse to return. Once she was ready to give the shot Aaron took Isla by the hand and again reassured her that everything was going to be okay.

As I sat there watching the whole thing take place, and for some time afterward, I had this thought come to my mind: ‘the same characteristics that had made Aaron such an amazing friend, were the same things that would make him an even better father.’ He has always taken a sincere interest in his friends and their well-being. He’s been loving and supportive. I believe that Aaron would do almost anything for any of his friends and I know that it is true for his wife and daughter.

Allow me to raise my glass, or my keyboard, in a toast to Aaron:

“Here’s to the amazing friend that you have been and to the amazing father that you will be. To the memories of the past and the experiences of the future. To late-nights and long-chats. To rolled-down windows during evening summer drives. To the lessons learned and the growth of friendship. To your great example and strong support. May you be blessed with the type of friendship that you have always extended and receive the best that this life has to offer! I toast to you Aaron! CHEERS!

Monday, August 3, 2009


I was driving down the road the other day talking to my little brother about preparing to go on a mission. I found myself starting sentences with: 'when I went on my mission'...

I'm getting old. Age is just a number, right? At least that's what I tell myself.

Here are a couple of examples of some of those sentences:

'When I was on my mission we still used film cameras and had to get the film they have digital cameras.' Isn't that crazy? It makes me appreciate the camera I have now that much more.


'When I was on my mission we had to hand-write all of our letters. It would usually take two weeks for the letter to get home and another two weeks to get a response. By the time the month had past any concerns from the original letter had already been resolved.'

While it would have been nice to have a nicer camera on my mission, I'm actually grateful that we still had to hand-write our letters. My family was nice enough to keep them all. To this day, the hand-written letters that I have received are among my most prized possessions. There is something about how personal they can be...they are more RAW and consequently more real. There is no delete key. Every word, every sentence has to be thought out before writing it.

I received one such letter on my birthday. In tiny blue ink in the lower left hand corner of the page is a quote from Henry David Thoreau:

"The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this?"

I have been abundantLY blessed by friendship. Because of it, I am a different person...a better one. Perhaps the greatest measure of friendship is the size of the void that is left in its the depth of a footprint and its indelible impression (impossible to be removed). Here's to you, CHEERS!


I've been told on a number of occasions that I bare a resemblance to John Cusack. He happens to be one of my favorite actors...maybe I'm a little vain. He's been in from of my favorite movies. Some of them are a little more on the 'weird' side than others.

About 5-6 years ago I saw the movie Serendipity for the first time. Out of curiosity, I looked up the etymology of the word serendipity. I always assumed it to be coterminous with the words fate and destiny. It turns out it's has a separate meaning. Perhaps that is why it was chosen as the name of the film.

The basic idea is that when we are in search of something we discover something entirely different...accidental discoveries.

In the movie Jonathan Trager is already in a committed relationship as is the girl he meets, Sara Thomas. At the end of a wonderful evening together, Jonathan suggests that they exchange phone numbers...Sara instead decides to leave everything up to 'fate'. She explains that if they are meant to be together they will find their way back into one another's life.

Neither one of them was looking for love they 'accidentaly discovered' it.

What is the correlation between seredipity and destiny? Is there one at all.

I spoke at length tonight with a friend who had come across three 'coincidences' this weekend that made him question the reason for those coincidences. Since similar thoughts had been on my mind this weekend, I asked him what he thought of them. I asked him if he attributed those coincidences to fate or destiny. He said, 'I believe we make our own fate, and choose our own destiny.' That sounds like a contradiction. Isn't it something that is determined for us? If it is determined for us who is it that makes those things happen?

If it's not fate or destiny...does everything really happen for a reason? If it does, it would be important to us to find out what that reason is but how do we do it? I certainly have my own thoughts and opinions but I will reserve those for now.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Clearing the air...

Here are some wonderful truths about me:

Sometimes, in moments of unoriginality, I use the words of other authors...but, often times I use their phrases in different contexts. For example, Tom Stoppards 'smell of smoke' is different than mine. He refers to the burning of bridges we've crossed, and I am speaking of the smoke coming from a red hot iron. Nothing depressing about that...

Along the lines of red hot irons, I often times find myself doing things to make sure that the brand of such irons remain.

I tell people that I had my tear ducts removed when I was young and that's why I don't cry. The truth is, I just pick weird times to cry. Like when the janitor runs out in front of the plane in The Terminal. I use the term cry lightly because it is usually confined to a few tears...but man does it feel good when it happens. What a release.

I also like to tell people that I have small feet because my mom used to wrap them up when I was younger so they wouldn't grow as quickly...that way she could save on the cost of buying shoes. Truth is...never happened.

For the most part, I don't think anyone makes better cookies than my mom. That's not to say that I don't like the cookies that other people make and, in some instance, some people can do it better than her. Luckily, she won't be reading this.

I hate the feel of fleece.

I was once told that I was 'emotionally detached'. The real truth is that I often times allow myself to get too attached but I don't consider it a bad thing. Some of the most meaningful friendships I've ever had have come from such attachments.

I used to have a yellow blanket with it white pieces of yarn.

I like my alone time but would gladly sacrifice it for some good conversation of just about's not the subject matter that is important but the person you're talking with that counts.

I used to have a variety of stuffed animals. I was the proud owner of a pound puppy, a cabbage patch kid, an penguin and a carebear. I had the blue bear with the storm cloud on it...that's either where my love of rainstorms came from, or my grumpy disposition.

Against my better judgment I find myself hoping for the long-shot...I always root for the underdog, the Dark Horse (James K. Polk), or the outcome that is least likely to happen. At least it keeps life interesting...even if it ends in disappointment.

There are things I would like to do but won't and should do but don't.

This list could probably go on forever...but I'll save it for the sequel.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Seatlle Part 1

The Ferry area in Bremerton has changed quite a bit since the last time I went. They have done some amazing things with the area and it sounds like there is more to come.

If you look closely, you can see that there are some etchings in the large propeller.

For some reason, I decided that I liked the Bird's Eye View of this photo.

It had already been a long day so we spent most of the 60-minute Ferry ride into Seattle asleep on one of the large benches. I woke up in time to get a picture of the city as we drew closer to it. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the city some of the main attractions (i.e. Pike's Place) were already closed.

But, I was still able to do what I wanted to do most...get some fresh clam chowder. While it is no secret it may still be a little-known fact that I have a strong affinity for clam chowder...and, the Pacific Northwest does it best. Each restaurant has its own variation of the delectable dish and each one seems to be just as good as the next. Ivar's was no exception. They have various locations but the one that I went to was at the Ferry Harbor/Pier in Seattle.

After eating our soup on the pier we took the leftover french fries outside to the hungry seagulls anxiously awaiting to be fed. Seagulls will allow you to get pretty close when there's a chance that you're bringing them food. I'll be the first to admit that I actually like pictures of seagulls but in this particular picture I like the blurred out boat in the background just a little bit more.

If you've never been to Seattle GO, if you have been GO BACK! I love that place.

Sunset in Seattle

Seattle is easily one of my favorite places to visit. In addition to the wonderful city, I have some of the most amazing friends that are just a ferry ride away. On the first night of my visit last week, some friends and I took the Ferry from Bremerton to Washington. Since it had been a long day I spent most of the ride to Seattle asleep on one of the long benches. After spending a couple of hours in the city we boarded the ferry for the return trip.

We made our way to the top of the ferry to get a better look at the sunset. As is often the case, the picture below will not do it justice. I believe it's because when you look at a picture, you're limited to your sense of sight...the others are left out except where imagination fills in the blanks. As you look at the picture below, try to use that imagination and picture yourself atop a large ferry in the middle of Puget lean up against the cool steel railing as a soft gentle breeze caresses your face. You look out toward the horizon to see the sun bid a fond farewell to the day it leaves behind. Beneath you you can hear the sound of breaking waves as the ferry slowly makes its way through the water. You take a deep breath and fill your lungs with fresh air that cools and calms you as you do. A woman says more to herself than to you, 'I've never seen those hues of pink and purple in a sunset before,' and another man nearby sighs, 'this is what life is about...beautiful sunsets.' You silently agree as you grasp for your own elusive words to describe the sunset. You settle with the feelings of peace that it brings to you, and leave words for another day and turn your thoughts and attention to two sail boats drifting in the distance...

Hopefully that allows you to enjoy, at least in part, the wonderful Seattle sunset.