Thursday, October 29, 2009

She Has A Big Chest

Every girl should wear a dress. Always.

And every dress should have a big, beautiful bow. Always.

Just ask my daughter Danica. She loves to draw. She loves to draw girls in dresses. She loves to draw girls in dresses with big, beautiful bows.

At least she claims they are bows. Is it just me, or do the cute little girls look more like well-endowed stick figures?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Wrinkly Pumpkin

My pumpkin is getting wrinkly. It reminds me of an old man who forgot to put his dentures in.

The kid's pumpkins have already rotted to the point where it looked like someone had vomited on our porch. Despite the "smiling-barf-with-a-stem" look the pumpkins had acquired, the kids were still distraught when we decided it was time for the pumpkins to meet a garbage can.

To deal with their immense grief......they adopted my toothless senior citizen.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scary Moments

There are a few times in my life when I knew some guardian angels were watching over me.

***One night when I was 20 years old I was out on a walk with Mel. We were on a bike path and it was very dark outside. Suddenly, in the distance we heard a motor start. It was too dark to see what it was or how far away it was. A few seconds later I saw movement rapidly coming toward us. I grabbed Mel’s arm and yanked her off the path a split second before a truck flew by.

Later, police found the teenage boy who was driving the truck. He said he didn’t turn on the lights because he was hiding from some friends. He sped down the bike path because he thought they were coming from the other direction and he didn’t see us. I walked away with only some scraped up knees.

***When I was 16 years old Mel and I left her house to walk across the street to the high school. She lived on State Street in Salt Lake. The cars were speeding by when finally I thought there was a break in the traffic. I went to run across the street and stepped one foot over the white line when a car rushed by, coming so close that it hit my arm.

There was an RV to the side of me which had blocked my view. The driver slammed on his brakes after he hit my arm to see what had happened. Because of the limited view, he hadn’t seen me either. If I had been a few inches farther I would have been crushed by a car going 45 mph. That makes you think about life a little differently.

***Another guardian angel moment happened yesterday. I was driving to work and noticed my car acting strange. I stopped at a gas station to put air in the tires and saw that a front tire was completely worn down and I could see the metal thread popping out. There was a rip in the tire and I didn’t know how it was staying inflated.

We dropped the car off at the mechanic who later told Mel that he was surprised the tire hadn’t blown out between our house and his shop. The scary thing is that the day before, I drove with my brother-in-law and Jackson to Parowan to take some pictures of the changing leaves. I had driven more than 200 miles on the freeway. It’s unsettling to think of what could have happened while we drove down the road.

I’m thankful someone was watching out for us.

Monday, October 26, 2009

More Than Messy

Our upstairs is a disaster zone. You have to wear a bio hazard suit to enter the premises. I don’t know what happened up there. It could have been:

  • The remnants of a bomb explosion.
  • The aftermath of Hurricane Offspring.
  • A hungry wolverine scoured the closets looking for little children to eat for supper.
  • A group of homeless carnival workers moved in and tried to turn stuffed animals and crayons into a Ferris Wheel.

    Or maybe it’s because we have three little kids.

    The bedrooms and family room upstairs are in such a state of disarray and chaos that all you can do is shake your head and go back downstairs. It isn’t even worth getting mad at the kids. It is so messy that you get depressed even thinking about where to start cleaning up. You consider the possibility that the damage is beyond repair.

    How did this happen? I thought we were attentive and involved parents. Judging by how our upstairs looks, you’d think we went to the Bahamas for two weeks and left the six year old in charge.

    I’m considering starting a fire upstairs to take care of the mess. Then we can just start over again. Let’s start from scratch. I’d roll in a bulldozer if only the mess were on the bottom level of the house. Please….pray for our family. And call the Red Cross.

    Does this happen at anybody else’s house?
  • Friday, October 23, 2009

    CSI: Hurricane

    My spouse loves the show CSI. I truly can not understand why. It's violent. The acting is horrific. The plot is amazingly predictible. Every terrible show is the same. But she likes them all. You name it: CSI New York, CSI Las Vegas, CSI Miami. She's a fan.

    I have come up with some story lines if they ever want to do a show about my home town: CSI Hurricane, Utah.

    Episode #1: Who stole Brother Hall's tractor?

    Episode #2: Breaking up the fist fight at Walmart over the last can of food storage rice.

    Episode #3: Man is taken to jail for wearing sandles over his socks.

    Episode #4: Police respond to a disgruntled woman upset that the neighbor's roosters wake her up every morning.

    Episode #5: A certain neighborhood petitions the court to increase the legal limit of yard art.

    Episode #6: Did he actually PAY for THAT haircut? (The violator: the Mayor who is also the city barber.) (Disclaimer: I've never heard any complaints about the Mayor's haircuts. Please....please don't raise my taxes.)

    So there you go.'re welcome. Feel free to pass on any royalties. I'll need them to pay my tax increase.

    Did I miss any episodes?

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Great New Music - Britt Nicole

    I have to tell you about an incredible new CD by a singer named Britt Nicole. Her album "The Lost Get Found" is some of the best music I've heard in a long time. She has an amazing voice and catchy songs.

    The song styles vary from happy and energetic to sincere and heartfelt like this one:

    This one hasn't left my CD player for quite a while. You can pick it up from Amazon for $6.99! (Click on the album cover for the link.) Enjoy!

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Thanksgiving Point Pictures

    I recently came across these photos on my memory card. A few weeks ago our fam went to the gardens at Thanksgiving Point.

    Kylee was the only child in the mood to have pictures taken of her. The other offspring clearly didn't realize that they were in the midst of a photographer's paradise.

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    One Week Of Happy

    I have concluded my week of conscious effort to be happy. And my week of wearing a rubber band on my wrist for a reminding snap when I start to get sassy or grumpy.

    I've noticed a few things:

    1) I've been more aware of when I'm going to say something whiny or complain. And sometimes I decide to bite my tongue.

    2) Sometimes it's worth taking a snap on the wrist when something really ticks you off and you say an occasional word you shouldn't say.

    3) A wrist can stay red longer than you'd think. Hmmm. Who knew.
    4) If you smile at people, they smile back. And it makes you happy.

    Making a concerted effort to smile, be happy and positive, and refrain from complaining has been good for me. I definitely haven't been perfect (just ask any family member). But by golly, I have less red marks on my wrist than I did a week ago.

    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    We Have Mice

    We've got mice at work.

    Clue #1: Little brown droppings on the break room table. And they weren't chocolate chips if you know what I mean.
    Clue #2: Molly had a bag of chips in her drawer. She lifted up the bag one day and chips came spilling out the bottom of the bag. Courtesy of a huge hole chewed in the bottom.
    Clue #3: The half-eaten Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in my desk. Heaven knows I Would Never leave anything half-eaten.
    So the manager gave me a fancy new mouse trap. The mouse pushes down a little lever to get inside the trap to get his food, but the lever springs back up when they get in and...PRESTO....they're stuck in the trap.

    Unfortunately, the mouse trap I've used in my office that lets mice in the trap but they can't get out......hasn't worked so great. Maybe mice are tag-teaming to let each other out after the buffet. After loading the trap three times I've come to know his food preferences. Here are the grades he would give each food:

    Peanut butter granola bar: B (Not as good as chips, but it's better than nothing.)

    Frosted sugar cookie: D (He'd have to be really hungry to eat this. Obviously hunger isn't much of an issue here. A little nibble is enough.)
    Cashews: A+ (Life does not get any better.)

    Almonds: F (Only in circumstances of desperation would he go for this.)
    I gave up on the fancy mouse trap. I bought me a pack of the real deal traps. The You-Touch-This-Puppy-And-Your-Body-Will-Be-Snapped-In-Half traps. Suddenly the mouse has decided he isn't so hungry anymore. My traps have sat empty for a week now.
    I'll get you my pretty.......and your little tail too.

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Be Happy - Day 1

    I've been listening to Malcolm Gladwell's book "Blink". The whole book is fascinating, but I was particularly intrigued by research on emotion. He talked about studies linking how we feel physically with what we portray on our face. The studies showed that smiling and being positive has a direct, positive physiological effect. Likewise, frowning or thinking about negative things has negative effects on how we feel physically.

    That got me thinking. I know people who are grumpy or have something to complain about no matter what. I also know people who are "doing good" and being positive no matter what.

    I decided that I am going to make a conscious effort to be positive and not complain. For the next week I'm going to work extra hard to be friendly and happy. I'm going to focus on smiling. I have also put a rubber band on my wrist that I can snap to give a gentle reminder when I catch myself whining or being negative.

    I've had to make use of it a few times today on Be Happy - Day 1. I caught myself telling Mel in a slightly whiny voice that I had a headache. SNAP! Ouch. Note to self: don't whine. I think everyone can find a multitude of physical ailments, but for this week I'm not going to give them focus or attention. So there body! You're just going to have to suck it up.

    Here's the thing:

    People who always complain still have at least a few good things going for them. They just choose to focus on the bad parts instead of the good. Sometimes I'm in this boat. And...

    People who are always doing good still have bad things going on. People who are positive don't have any less physical problems or family difficulties or work struggles. They just choose to focus on the good parts. I want to be more like this.

    It's possible that I'll be snapping my wrist so much this week that the rubber band will break. But if it does, I'm not going to complain. I'll just get another rubber band.

    Monday, October 5, 2009

    Injury At The Reese House

    You shouldn't laugh at people when they get hurt. No matter how funny the injury was, it is just plain rude to laugh at someone who just got hurt. Mel's sister and brother-in-law don't practice this Golden Rule EVER. It's always hilarious when someone else gets hurt. But when an injury befalls them, they throw a temper tantrum if someone even cracks a smile.

    It's simply not in my personality to laugh at someone who is suffering. Except for last week.

    Mel was in the kitchen and I heard her yell in pain. Then she came into the bedroom crying, huge tears rolling down her face. I was concerned and felt bad, but had no idea what happened. Finally her crying subsided long enough to tell me the cause of her injury........she shut her nose in the cupboard.

    I tried with every fiber of my being to keep a straight face. "Quick, Cory! Think of something sad! You're dog just got hit by a car! They need to amputate your wee-wee-wee-all-the-way-home toe! Hostess went out of business!" I gave all I had, but eventually a smirk crawled across my face. Then, without any warning, I burst into laughter.

    Even with her red nose and teardrops, I couldn't help myself. Cognitively I couldn't understand how an injury like that could happen. It simply does not make sense. She tried to explain it to me but I'm still unable to wrap my brain around how that kind of brutality is possible.

    I'm thinking I will affix this sign to our cupboard. At least then maybe next time this injury occurs, Mel can say she did it on purpose.

    Sunday, October 4, 2009

    St. George Marathon 2009

    St. George Marathon – 4 Hours 25 Minutes

    I got 4 hours of sleep before the alarm went off at 3:15am. Ouch. I rode the bus to the starting line with the Dansie’s, Nielson’s, Shelley, and Darrel. That bus ride seemed to take FOREVER!

    We arrived at the starting line amid the chaos of thousands of people, bright lights, and loud music. I was nervous and excited and cold. We took a few photos before heading to the bonfires.

    The guy on the loudspeaker would come on every once in a while saying it was 39 or 40 degrees. We were cold, but in terms of racing weather, you could not have picked a better day for the marathon. The starting line had long rows of bonfires that we huddled around to try and stay warm.

    A horn sounded and the marathon began. A mile or two into the race, the sun started to come up. I had to pull over to the side a few times to take some pictures. The sunrise was beautiful.

    It was a crazy feeling to be among a sea of thousands of runners. It was a little claustrophobic to not be able to speed up or move around. I was praying that I didn’t step on someone or have someone step on me.

    Early in the race I glanced over to the left and my jaw dropped. I’m being totally serious – running right to the left of me was Abraham Lincoln! I ran the St. George Marathon with Lincoln. I felt too sheepish to pull out my camera and take a picture of him, but trust me, this guy looked exactly like Lincoln. If this happened at the end, I’d attribute it to a hallucination, but this happened at the beginning. When race pictures are posted, I’ll scour the photos to see if I can show him to you.

    By mile 8 we were in the midst of the dreaded Veyo Hill. One of the best signs I saw was in the middle of the hill. It said “Don’t you wish you were a Transformer right now?” The wave of people heading for the hill made me need to stop again for a few more pictures.

    Before the hill started a guy named Andrew asked if we new each other. We talked for a while but concluded that even though I looked familiar to him, we didn’t know each other. It was nice to talk to him for the next five miles and have a bit of a distraction from the pain.

    It was his first marathon too and we both didn’t know what to expect. We were trusting the pace group leader to get us to the end. But somewhere in the craziness of a drink station we lost each other and I never saw him again.

    My plan was to stay with the 4 hour pace group. The pace group leader was experienced and I trusted that he knew what he was doing way more than me. I paid for this decision later though. When he came to a drink station he would grab a drink and then sprint ahead. I didn’t want to lose sight of him so I’d speed up for the next few minutes to catch up to him. I was right next to him until each drink station when he would dart ahead.

    At the mile 15 drink station I decided this wasn’t working for me, but I think by then it was too late. It was disheartening when I grabbed a drink, then looked ahead to see his balloons way down the road.

    I committed the cardinal sin of running a race – going out too fast. Comparing the suggested pace chart to my actual miles makes this blatantly obvious. If I had stuck with this chart instead of the pacer I might have had more strength at the end. Notice the yellow area where my wheels completely fall off the cart:

    By this time I wasn’t feeling so good. My legs were starting to cramp. But we were coming up to Snow Canyon (and another stop for a few quick pictures). I was pushing myself to Snow Canyon at mile 16 because I knew I had visitors. My awesome mom and sister came down from Salt Lake to cheer me on. They had Jackson with them too.

    I was so happy to finally see them, with balloons and signs in hand. I stopped for a minute to say hello and they gave me a bottle of water which I desperately needed. I felt dehydrated. Hollie encouraged me to be a winged liger. Then I set off again.

    Shortly after that I got a choked up, although I didn’t have the physical strength or fluid to cry. I thought about all the support my family has given me over the last year. I thought about how thankful I was that my mom and sister drove down to support me. All the cheering from the crowd touched me. I was happy.

    A few miles later I saw my grandparents who were waiting at Winchester Hills. This gave me another boost. They were so excited. My grandpa who has the funniest sense of humor yelled “You’re In First Place! You’re In First Place!” That made me smile and laugh.

    Around the same time, there was a little girl that was handing out Otter Pops to runners. I wanted to give her a big hug and tell her this was the most welcome gift I’d ever received. Instead I just took one and kept moving.

    At one point in the race a guy ran up by me and said “Hi Cory!” I think I gave him the “Hmmm, am I supposed to know you?” look. He said “You have some amazing music! I have your songs on my iPod.” I felt sorry for him if he was actually trying to run while listening to my music. That stuff can put you to sleep. But I appreciated the boost he gave. I wanted to give him a big hug and tell him this was the most welcome gift I’d ever received. Instead I just kept moving.

    The last ten miles of the race were truly excruciating. I’ve done three 20-milers and never felt close to this bad. My legs remained cramped continually. When I was 19 years old I had a charley horse that woke me up out of my sleep and hurt so bad that it made me throw up. This is what my legs felt like for the last ten miles.

    At the drink stations there were people rubbing Bengay or Icy Hot on runners. I took advantage of this at 4 stops. But when someone touched my calves, it felt like they were rubbing my legs with curling irons. My legs were so cramped up that they were as hard as baseballs. This was my view as a volunteer whipped me around and started working on my legs. I was so thankful for his curling irons. I mean....hands.

    I can’t describe how bad my legs hurt. I tried to stretch them out, but then another part of the leg would shoot with pain. Sometimes I had to walk because I knew I would fall if I tried to run. I thought it was possible that my legs would give out and I would be eating concrete for lunch. For a few miles I was woozy and worried I would pass out.

    Around mile 22 I became emotional again because of the pain I was in. The emotion wasn’t at all about the fact that this was the worst pain I’ve ever been in. The emotion was because of the fact that I was in such pain, but I was still moving forward. I was proud of myself. I knew that even though I had to slow down, there was nothing that would keep me from crossing the finish line.

    By mile 20 I knew I was not going to beat 4 hours. But I truly didn’t care. I knew that I had given absolutely everything I had. I had obviously made tactical mistakes the first half of the race, but it wasn’t worth dwelling on. I knew I had worked hard over the last year and worked hard at the marathon so the finish time became unimportant.

    The last three miles were indescribable. All the runners around me were suffering. I wanted to help them but had nothing to give. The crowds were cheering, but at some points my legs just refused to go fast. My friend Ben met me around the last mile of the marathon. He had finished in 3:01 (Crazy!!!) and was going back up the course to look for his brother. He walked/jogged with me for about a half mile as I got closer to the finish line. He reminded me of the ice cream waiting at the finish.

    Finally I saw the balloons and finish line ahead. My legs slowly plodded ahead and carried me across the line. I had never, ever been so exhausted. I was feeling worse than I thought I would.

    A volunteer put a medal around my neck, and another volunteer was handing out ice cream to the runners. I ate a huge ice cream sandwich. Then I ate another. I felt famished and dehydrated. My watch said that I burned 3005 calories. I felt honored to have that medal around me neck.

    Eventually I met up with my family. They showed me more signs they had made. Mel had another surprise for me. She made a shirt for each of the kids that said MY DAD RAN 26.2.

    Sometimes runners make specific goals for a marathon: an Ecstatic, a Happy, and a Satisfied goal. My Ecstatic goal was under 4 hours. My Happy goal was under 4 and a half hours. My satisfied goal was to finish a marathon. I was thrilled to have even completed a marathon. After all, the first guy who ever ran a marathon….died.

    Now I know what “The Wall” feels like when you run into it. I happened to hit that wall way too early in the race. I’ll know better next time. I heard that you get an adrenaline rush with the crowds cheering you on. That never happened once. I can identify with a runner from Spirit Of The Marathon who said “I’ve never had a ‘runner’s high’. The only ‘runner’s high’ I’ve ever felt was when I stopped running.”

    The awesome thing about my first marathon is that I set a Personal Record. I also have some leeway so that I can cream that record the next time I run a marathon. 26.2 miles is an absolutely obscene distance to run. It was excruciating and painful. It was challenging mentally and physically. It was rewarding and exhilarating. It was a hard-earned triumph.

    I can’t wait to do it again.

    “The pride in finishing a marathon is much greater than all the pain endured during the marathon.” Hal Higdon

    “The miracle isn’t that I finished; it’s that I had the courage to start.” John Bingham