Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lightning Pictures

There was an AMAZING lightning storm last night. We had a perfect front row seat for the show. This was the best photo opportunity for lightning I've ever had. Here are a few I caught:

Tell me this isn't a forest fire begging to happen. I read that around 20 fires were started last night. This may be one of them:

I was outside for about 15 minutes until the lightning got too close for comfort. I wasn't in the mood to have my obituary in the newspaper the next day. When the lightning gets this close, you don't want to be the nimrod standing outside with a tripod.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Inhumane Treatment Of Students

I don’t blame the pit rings on Mr. Murphy. He couldn’t control the excessive sweat that poured off his body during History class. It wasn’t his fault that he taught in the hottest room of the middle school; a middle school that didn’t have air conditioning. It wouldn’t be right of me to mock the fact that he looked like he’d just left a summer camp in the Mojave Desert.

Classes from May into June were simply excruciating at Mt. Jordan Middle School. I have a hunch that if the Division of Child Protective Services had seen how hot the school was in the afternoon they would have cuffed those school officials and carted them off to jail. Or at least I’d like to think so.

When we didn’t think things could get worse, some brilliant individual thought it would be a great time to re-tar the roof of the school. It was likely a sick joke to see how high they could get the temperature of the school. “Do you think we can get the water from the drinking fountain to boil?”

Mr. Murphy’s room was in the corner of the building that caught every ounce of afternoon sunshine. We felt like chicken nuggets frying in an oven. We’d have to peel the clothes off our rumps when we stood up from the desk.

And poor Mr. Murphy. The students had to be there for one period. He had to be there all day. He had to write on the chalkboard…..fully exposing the enormous sweat rings radiating from his armpits.

It wasn’t his fault. Fortunately for him, the kids in the class were all debilitated with heat stroke and didn’t have an ounce of energy left to make fun of him. Middle school kids can be mean. Unless they’ve sat in a sauna for an hour while hearing about the Revolutionary War.

In a way, I think Mr. Murphy was cheated. I can only imagine how much he must have dreaded going to work each morning. I can only imagine the hurt he must have felt when he got home from work and his wife wouldn’t even talk to him until he took a shower. I can only imagine what portion of his monthly paycheck was spent on deodorant.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Two Minutes Of Whining

If you wouldn't mind, allow me to indulge in two minutes of whining:

I've had more computer problems over the last three days than a cheap motel room has lice. When a big ol' computer problem pops up, you might as well walk yourself right over to the bathroom and flush the next three hours down the toilet. Grrrrrrr.

Other topics to whine about:

**Apparently wanting my dog to pee outside is asking too much.

**My mouth still hurts after having a root canal on Thursday. Don't ask how much I paid for the pleasure of being drilled on.

**Our microwave broke. You don't realize how important a microwave is until you don't have one. I had to melt butter in the oven to make an instant cheesecake.

**For the life of me I can't understand why our insane politicians refuse to use more than seven brain cells.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bryce Canyon Half Marathon 2009

Bryce Canyon Half Marathon: 13.1 Miles in 1 Hour 56 Minutes!

We stayed in a little cabin with the Cowden's which consisted of a bunk bed and twin bed. And a little table fan. It was, um, cozy. We woke up at 4:15am to get ready to catch the shuttle to the beginning of the race at Ruby's Inn. Obviously thrill and excitement were brightly radiating from my face. Yea, I can make my face show the opposite of how I'm really feeling.

This race was very well organized and supported. There were lots of drink stations and a hefty supply of Port-O-Potties at the start. There was nobody who had to make this move at the starting line:

I ran the first 7 miles with Mel Cowden. There were some huge down hills which helped us go faster but our legs paid for it later. Around mile 7 there was a moderate up hill so I pushed hard up it and gained a little time.

I was tired by mile 8. The magical moment happened at precisely mile 8.8. The magical moment when I start to question my sanity. I realized that no sane human being in their right mind would ever do this to their body. This should be illegal. There were a few points where I wanted to quit. I wanted to just walk to the finish line. I wanted to give up. I wanted to curl up in fetal position and suck my thumb.

Then I saw a sign that somebody had hung up on a road post for their family member. It said something like "Keep Going Brittney! No Pain, No Gain." For some reason that gave me a boost. It made me feel good to think about all the many family members who are such a strong support. So I kept going.

I was able to keep a decent pace for the last mile and was so relieved to finally see the finish line. I was able to achieve my goal of finishing under 2 hours with a time of 1 hour 56 minutes, and beat my last half-marathon time of 2 hours 3 minutes. I was happy. My parents left their motel to be at the finish by 6am before the road was closed. That really meant a lot to me and Mel. The minute breakdown for each of my 13 miles was:

Mile 1: 10:17 minutes
Mile 2: 9:36
Mile 3: 8:00
Mile 4: 8:16
Mile 5: 8:31
Mile 6: 8:22
Mile 7: 9:18
Mile 8: 8:07
Mile 9: 9:40
Mile 10: 9:12
Mile 11: 8:43
Mile 12: 8:58
Mile 13: 8:30

This was Mel's first race ever and she hasn't been training very long. She hadn't reached the finish by the time we expected and I started to get nervous. I knew something wasn't right. I ran back up the route to find her. When she saw me she started crying. She said she was crying because she was happy someone came to "rescue" her, and because her knee had started hurting really bad in the first mile and she struggled through the rest of the race. I felt so sad for her. She is doing a little better now and said that still said it was a good experience that she'd do again because of the sense of accomplishment she felt. I am so proud of her.

There was a big gaggle of friends who ran the race also. It was kind of like being at a big block party. We missed the Dansie's and Darrel Humphries, but here is the rest of the gang at the finish line:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Enjoy The Candy

Mel took a nap with the girls yesterday afternoon. When they woke up, Jackson told her he hadn’t taken a nap. Instead, he organized a campaign to increase awareness of the book The Black Stallion.

He recently finished the book and thought that other kids who were between eight and fifteen years old would love it as much as he did.

So he made up signs advocating for readership of The Black Stallion, taped some candy to each of the signs, then went and hung them up on mail boxes around the neighborhood. We thought that was pretty cute and funny. Here is one such sign:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pioneer Trek - Walk As A Witness

Mel and I returned from the 3 day pioneer trek on Saturday. This is one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. I have so much respect for the youth, and all the leaders, Ma's, and Pa's who came with us. Words couldn't do justice to the feelings I felt and the lessons I learned.

Our trek was around a beautiful area in Cedar Canyon:

There was only one thing I didn't like about the trek: my allergies went NUTZ! My nose was running like a broken water fountain and my eyes looked like I had been sucking back on Grandpa's cough medicine for five days straight.

Our dinner on the second night made some people queezy (including me). The meal had a beaks. And feathers. And some big ol' attitudes. I prefer to not eat anything that I've had to look in the eyes.

These kids were strong, bold, and inspiring. There was a "Women's Pull" during one particularly challening section of the hike. It was so hard to watch the girls pushing by themselves. The boys all went ahead and moved rocks along the path to make it easier.
During a fireside that night, a young girl who is wise beyond her years said something profound. She said that she was in the back of the cart and couldn't see anything ahead of her. She didn't know that the boys were ahead moving rocks. She said "I think this is how our lives are. I think there are probably angels ahead of us moving rocks to make our paths easier and we don't even know they're there."
I'm not a very emotional person but there were a few times over the three days that I was brought to tears. The fireside was one of those times. I couldn't even blame it on the allergies.

I was so thankful to have Mel with me for the whole weekend. I can't think of anyone I would have rather shared this experience with. And it was quite funny to watch her get tossed by Elizabeth during the stick pull.

Our weekend was a truly unforgetable experience. Every single person there - everyone - made a deep impression on me. The theme of the trek was "Walk As A Witness". I hope I can do this.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

16 Seconds Of Funny

I'm constantly on the look-out for a good chuckle. We saw this commercial a few nights ago for Klondike Bars and the Funny Meter was off the charts. Your time watching this video could possibly be the best 16 seconds you'll spend this entire week:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Brad Paisley - Then

I've never been much a fan of country singer Brad Paisley. Always been pretty picky about country music. Then I saw this performance on the CMT Music Awards a few nights ago. Holy guitar playing - this guy is good! And his writing! What?! And his singing?! You've got to be kidding me!

Sappy? Well, yea. Still, this is one of the best songs I've heard in a while. See what you think.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Party At The Pioneer Trek

A few months ago Mel and I were asked to coordinate a Pioneer Trek for our ward youth. Time has flown by and suddenly the Pioneer Trek that is four months away is less than four days away.

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we will be covering lots of miles on rough dirt roads in the middle of summer with hot clothes, minimal food, a hefty supply of mosquitos, blisters, and less-than-desirable latrine facilities.

Actually, I really am excited for the experience. A few of the great things that will come with the trek are:

*Spending time with some amazing friends and kids
*Gettin' me some good hill workouts.
*No grocery expenses for three days.
*A greater sense of heritage.
*A renewed appreciation for the simple things in life such as frozen pizzas, cold Mountain Dew, a soft mattress, getting up at night to comfort a child who just had a nightmare, toilets, and air conditioning.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Unbelievable Sky

It's not often that you see a sky like I saw yesterday. Luckily my camera wasn't far away. I drove around to get some shots from different locations and took almost 100 pictures over the course of an hour. This was a photographer's heaven. Here are a few of my favorites: