Sunday, September 11, 2011

A few thoughts, 10 years later.

Years ago I was given the tremendous opportunity to serve a mission for the LDS church in Venezuela. Like many missionaries in the first few months of missionary service, I experienced a high degree of home sickness. I remember very specifically one Saturday in late November realizing that, most likely, Michigan would be playing Ohio State on that day. I could almost hear Keith Jackson’s voice telling me, and Nelly, what a hot one was in store. I longed to be home, and in that specific moment I hated it there. I also remember very specifically feeling like the people of Venezuela did not fully realize or appreciate how much I had given up to be there with them.

Somewhere around a year later, after an absolutely enumerable number of spiritual and generally character-building experiences, I found myself at lunch with a member of the church there. As we enjoyed lunch, he put on some random college football game, which we saw for about half an hour as we ate. After thanking him for lunch, we walked out into the street and realized immediately that we were still in Venezuela, which can be a harsh realization.

Fortunately, my mission consisted of thousands of amazing experiences, and not just the two I have described above. As Elder Holland once said, I enjoyed my mission more than any other missionary ever had before, or ever has since. As my mission drew to a close, I found myself extremely embarrassed ever to have thought that the people of Venezuela should have been cognizant of what I had laid aside to be there. I realized that the only difference between my situation and theirs was that I had been born where I was, and they had been born where they were. Beyond that, I would eventually return to my embarrassment of riches, while their situation was most likely fixed in relative poverty.

My intention in recounting the above memories is this: football, to me, is home. I love September at the Stadium. I love Super Bowl parties, and I love watching 3+ games on any given Saturday. Keith Jackson’s voice makes me tear up, and I would probably leave my life behind to go live at Ty Detmer’s place forever. Further, when I attend a football game in person, the Star Spangled Banner will often cause me to reflect on how much I love and appreciate living in the United States. This may be strange, but it is also 100% percent true for me.

So, not surprisingly, I turned on the evening football game just now. I found the broadcast right at the beginning of a memorial tribute to the events of 9/11, now ten years ago. As they played Taps, Amazing Grace, and then the Star Spangled Banner, I was again reminded of exactly how lucky I am. I also thought a little bit about the people who perpetrated these attacks, which only served to further my sense of gratitude. These people live in the darkest of places, with the darkest of hearts. Their whole existence is now dedicated to the misery of others. I can only assume this only serves to bring misery into their own lives as well. What a horrible shame that is.

So, I love me some football; which always serves to remind me that I love me some America. I love living in a place where hatred is not the norm. I love living in a country where opportunities are provided us almost universally. Basically, I am grateful not to be living in a cave, with a heart full of hate.

God Bless America. Always. Thanks for putting me here

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An Open Letter to my Friend Dave

Dear Dave,

I just wanted to write a quick note to tell you how much I think of you. When I was a kid, I looked up to you much more than you probably ever realized, or that I ever would have admitted. For years I marvelled at how everybody that knew you liked you, and wondered if people would ever like me that much too. To me you were the epitome of cool.

Years ago when my brother Jeff went on a mission, you started inviting me to spend time with you. You invited me to play volleyball, or to dinner, or any number of other things with your friends, who were always cooler to me at the time than mine. You even invited me to hang out just the two of us, and you never had to do that. For years you had been “Jeff’s friend”, but now you were mine as well. When you told me then that you missed Jeff on his mission, I remember distinctly thinking “if it’s okay for Dave to miss Jeff, I can admit that too”. Even when Jeff returned, you continued to treat me as a friend. I never felt like I was invited just because I was Jeff's little brother. You taught me that it is okay to care about people. When I went away to college, and again on my mission, you made it a point to buy me a nice dinner. A small thing, I know, but nobody does that for their best friend’s little brother. There are a thousand other examples of times when you went out of your way to make me feel included. I will always appreciate the effort you made, when most wouldn't have.

Dave, I will always remember you as a great man and a great friend. You would have done anything in the world for me, and I never doubted that. I’m so sorry that you felt so sad for so long. I wish that I had done more to let you know how much I care. Several times recently I have thought to give you a call and tell you that I miss you, and that we should spend time together. Every time I dismissed it, thinking that you probably would not pick up anyway. I should have at least tried, or left a message. I’m sorry that I didn’t.

I think there are probably hundreds of people that feel the same way that I do. I wish we could have convinced you that you are as worthwhile as I always thought you were. For my part, I’m going to be a better man, and I’m going to treat people a little better than I currently do, because that is what I will always remember about you. I love you, Dave. And I will miss you greatly.


Sunday, June 28, 2009


Well, it is official. I am a real cowboy. For several years now I had been claiming to be a real pretend cowboy. But now, thanks in part to my Dad and my Uncle Jim, the “pretend” part of that title can officially be removed. You see, I have actually now moved cattle on horseback. And not just one or two cows, but about 300 head ( “head” is how us real cowboys refer to them, a lot of people don’t know that).

For the past several years, Dad and Jim have had this tradition of going on a ride from the bottom of the mountain by Kanosh, UT, to a cabin that is located about 5 miles up the mountain. Every year Dad comes home raving about how beautiful the terrain is and how much fun he and my uncle had. Fortunately for me, this was the year that I finally got to go too.

Now, I knew that this would be a long ride. What nobody told me until we left was that included in this ride would be some genuine, bonafide cowboyin’. I should take a second and explain why. My Uncle Jim runs the business side to a ranch and farm in Kanosh. The reason he and Dad are able to do this ride every year is because the cowboys that run the cattle up and down the mountain have a cabin up there from which they operate. So, once a year, Jim and Dad borrow that cabin for a nights rest. This year, our ride happened to fall on a Friday on which the cowboys were moving quite a large number of cattle. Since we were there, and had horses, we volunteered to help them move these delicious, but disgusting creatures.

It should be noted at this point that, while I have some horse experience gained over the last two years, I’m not a cowboy. Or at least I didn’t used to be. So the idea of moving 300 head of cattle 3 miles was at first a daunting task. However, once we got moving, I found it to be pretty exciting. Often one of the calves would try to double back behind the herd to try to make its way down the mountain. It then became my job (with the help of others) to cut the calf off and return it to the group. This can be difficult. But also really fun. See, most of the riding I had done previous to this was trail riding, in a line. I enjoy trail riding, and am willing to go pretty much anytime I am invited. However, cutting off stray cattle is much more exciting. You have to dart back and forth, start and stop, and generally wear the horse out to stay in front of the renegade calves. There were a few times that I even had to do so in the middle of thick trees and brush (yup, even got to wear chaps). So, I had me a great time.

There is one thing that I ought to note, however. While I am now a real cowboy, I am definitely not a seasoned cowboy. By that I mean that my endurance for being on a horse is not the same as the cowboys with whom we were working. After 7 hours in the saddle on Friday, I was pretty much done with being on a horse. My legs and bunners were pretty sore. But it was most definitely worth it. Besides, after a good stretch and a nights sleep Friday night, I was ready for more. Which is good, because the only way back down the mountain would have been to use my own hooves.

p.s. Happy Birthday James Logan!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Things I've Been Doing, Part I

Recently a few of my friends have mentioned to me that I ought to post something on this blog. I was going to make one post that contained a few of the things that have either happened to me lately, or thoughts that I have recently had that I felt like expressing. But, after writing out the post below (Part II) I realized that it might end up being quite a long post, and decided to divide it into two parts.

Anyhow, something that has been on my mind lately is the fact that I am right at the verge of actually being as old as I have told people I am for the last five years. Truthfully, I have had lots of birthdays in my life (29 to this point) and for the most part I don't think much of them either way. I don't take the day off work (Jami) and I generally don't even tell people that it is my birthday. But I am somewhat apprehensive about the idea of turning thirty. I think that my biggest concern is that people generally assume that a Mormon kid who gets to 30 and unmarried must be really weird or something.

Now granted, I may have a fairly dry and random sense of humor, but I don't really think the word "weird" is a fair description of me. Maybe goofy, but not weird.

So, anyway, I have been thinking a lot about turning 30 and what it means and the like. But I also had a very interesting thought the other day. I realized that in the 10 years since I turned 20, 8 of those years have been really good. I've been really lucky in the people that I have met and the things I've been able to do. Granted, I've had my problems and issues (which pale in comparison to what many people have to deal with), but I'm a pretty happy guy overall.

So, if you're reading this, and you have been a friend to me over the last 10 years (or ever); Thank you very much for making my life as great as it's been.

Things I've Been Doing, Part II

The second part of what was originally going to be one post, comprised of an experience I recently had with my beloved car Lorna.

So, first off, I recently had the opportunity to spend a whole day under the hood of my car. On Friday, two weeks ago, I was driving home from work. I was happy as a clam (pre-chowder, of course) cruising with the radio on, and the A/C full bore. Suddenly the refreshing cool air blowing from my dashboard vents was considerably less refreshing and considerably more warm. So immediately my eyes darted to the temperature gauge on my dash to find it had begun to climb. Quickly. I mean really, really quickly. So I immediately got off the freeway (coasting, down to about 25 mph by the time I got off) and called some friends of mine from the area to see if they could offer any suggestions/help. Eventually, I was able to get my car over to my friend Aleese's house, where I left it overnight.

Now, for those of you who may know me, this would not be the first time I have had car trouble. In fact, when I got home, I told my roommate that my car had broken down, and he looked at me surprised. My brother Jeff, who had given me a ride home, asked him if he had ever met me. I guess to know me is to know that cars hate me.

So, I admit that most of the interesting part of the story (and I'm not entirely convinced that this IS an interesting story) has been told. I spent the day Saturday first changing the thermostat, and then, when that didn't solve the problem, the water pump. Aleese's dad, who I don't really even know that well, spent almost his whole Saturday helping me change the water pump. At one point it poured rain for about an hour, and he showed no sign whatsoever of wanting to walk away. Between his help, Aleese and Clint's, and my brother Jeff, I was reminded again that I am really, really blessed to have such good friends and family in my life. I'll never understand why I'm so lucky, when others so often seem not to be.

p.s. Haley, if you read this, please know that Lorna (Mabel) has basically been quite good to me. This was an aberration in an otherwise healthy relationship.

Friday, January 16, 2009

An Addendum: Reasons I love my job.

1. Molestache Monday - This will be held on Jan 26. A few of the guys in my department are growing beards/goatees, all of which will be shaved into mustaches on that day.

2. Wednesday's Weekly Wiener - I have recently discovered that you can get a really big, really delicious Polish sausage at the Cosco for $1.50. With a Coke! Every Wednesday we go get one (or two).

3. Asian Accents - I'm not kidding when I say that somedays I speak more with a bad Asian accent than a normal American one. Besides, how can you not laugh when someone emails you, "Please to be kindly actioning the below request". Okay, maybe it's not that funny to you.

4. Your Mom Jokes - Not replying to every question with "your mom" but actual, well thought out jokes about dating your mother. Good times.

5. Banana Peels - Everyday I eat a banana for breakfast and put the peel in my Lead's garbage can. Everyday he comes in and tries to figure out who it was. Hee hee. Now half the office knows it's me, but he still doesn't. Some of them have started bringing bananas too and putting their peels in Jimmy's garbage. Best part, he's enlisted me to help him find out who it is.

6. Monotone Karaoke - Quite often early in the morning, you'll hear someone break out an eighties classic with no voice inflection at all. There's nothing quite like Journey or Chicago just butchered at 7:30 in the morning. "Don't Stop....Believin'"

In short, I'm a lucky man.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome back. Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.

Yes, it has been an abnormally long time since I have updated this blog. It hasn't been for lack of something to write about, but mostly due to lack of motivation. But don't you fret, it's time for an update.

Mostly I want to write about my new jorb. When last I wrote, I was still doing temp work packing candy (see previous post). But, as many already know, I have acquired a new jorb working for Expeditors International. As many also may know (but most probably don't) I love this new jorb of mine. I work as an Ocean Import Agent. Expeditors in general imports and exports goods on behalf of clients. Specifically, I do everything involved in getting those big steel containers you see on the road from the ocean to the customer's front door, save for the customs clearance. Even more specifically, that means arranging for the containers to be moved from the ship to a train, from a train to a truck, or directly from the ship to a truck. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!!!

Now, this might not sound like a super exciting jorb, but it's actually very interesting work. I work with a bunch of really nice, really funny people. Okay, maybe not always nice, but definitely funny. It's like they hired me to work with me. Beyond that, there are a lot of steps involved with moving a container from point A to point B, so I get a large variety of tasks on any given day. And the best thing about my jorb is that there is actually a future in it. If I do well, there are abundant opportunities for advancement. If not, I'll probably get fired. But I've never been fired, so that's just ridiculous.

Anyhow, I realize that there is not much entertainment value in this post, but people been getting on me about not writing. Additionally, I like this jorb, so for those of you who may read this blog in an attempt to find out out more about my current situation, now you know. So this has been my feeble attempt and placating them. I hope to come upon a more entertaining topic in the next few days, and if I do, you're in for a treat.