Anasazi Ridge Petroglyphs

It’s been a while since i posted on my blog. Mainly i’ve been using Facebook, and/or Google+ for short-form items. But this is rather interesting and a proper blog entry seemed more appropriate.

Over the Christmas break, we visited a few different petroglyph sites. This one, known as the ‘Anasazi Ridge Petroglyphs’ was especially interesting because one of the murals (is that the right word?) is actually a map of the sky. You can see the explanatory image here:

If you like, you can read about it in more depth here:

And if you are ever in St. George and want to check them out, this page has good directions:

The problem solver

Nothing says “I’m going to own today” like breaking out the power drill first thing in the morning to solve a problem.

What problem is this? Well, what’s up with all those fat straws in the convenience stores now?  I have a 32 ounce mug that I’ve been using for refills for 15 years now. It’s been perfect … until the last few months when it seems everyone decided that fat straws were better.

Except that my mugs straw hole only fits the skinny straws. Enter the drill. And the 5/9th” drill bit. Problem solved.

I wonder what other problems will fall before me today?

The ‘kiddies’

This afternoon i stayed home from church with my youngest who was sick. Her two older sisters went by themselves. After church was over, i left to pick them up. As i was leaving, she asked me where i was headed. ‘To pick up the kiddies’ i said. Well, she gets a big smile and goes “ooooohh, how many are you getting? Can i have one in my room?”. Obviously thinking i’d said “kitties”. Well .. who am i to dash a young girls dreams? I said sure, i’ll let of the kiddies sleep in her room. I didn’t tell her it would be her cute little redheaded sister…

A few minutes later i arrived home with the kiddies in tow. Cute little girl – rather than be all said and disappointed (apparently she did nothing but talk about the new kittens while i was gone), she goes “ahhhh DDAAAAAD, you tricked me!”, with a big smile. Which naturally was the reaction i was hoping for :)

Random snippets of my life

Watching the auroras during a night of skywatching in Wisconsin while visiting my in-laws. Beautiful, green/white slowly undulating waves of electromagnetism in the sky.

Watching the sun set next to the lake while camping up Provo canyon with Luann and some of her clients (from the developmental center). There was a large oncoming storm and a shimmering yellow/orange wall – droplets of fire – rapidly approaching us from the west.

Driving home late one night on State Street in Orem when a storm rolled in and gobbled up the mountains. One moment you could see them, the next moment a giant “nothing” quickly engulfed them in a rolling, boiling mass of dark stormclouds.

Walking down a street in Florida on my mission. Dry as a bone, hot, humid. 3 feet in front of me – the sidewalk is soaked and the rain is pouring down. I stay where i am and remain dry for a few minutes before whipping out the umbrella and braving the storm.

Seeing the rings of Saturn and the cloud bands of Jupiter for the first time in my telescope.

Watching flames dance in the air 30+ feet high as they engulf the trees on the mountain-side a few miles to the east of our house.

The mesmerizingly deep blue and perfectly crystal clear pools next to the big lake in Yellowstone.

Seeing a tuft of curly red hair as my 3rd is born.

Taking a tour of a “proper castle ruin” (Rhaglan) in the UK countryside while taking a break from a business trip.

Driving in and out of a thick fogbank that goes on for hours as we’re driving home from St. George. Trees covered in ice crystals. Ghostly shapes fleeting by just out of sight.

On a family road trip, stopping off at Mt. Rushmore. On the self-guided walkway there’s a small offshoot which leads to a rock with a hole in it. Looking up through the hole the sky is clear and blue and all you see, framed by a rough-hewn black oval of the rock, is the face of George Washington, hundreds of feet up and larger than life.

Looking out the window of an airplane while the family is flying out to Washington/Oregan (job interview with HP i think?). Seeing the wind blowing across the top of Mt. Hood leaving a billowing snow trail thousands of feet long.

Wandering the mountainsides in Northern Utah with my dad on a deer hunting trip when we hear something big moving in the trees nearby. Being startled at just how huge a full grown moose really is when you’re standing 10 feet away.

Thanking God for the extra protection affording a hard working missionary as he’s walking along a muddy road in rural Florida when a 6 foot gator suddenly rushes out of the bushes right by your feet and slithers into the swampy stream next to the road.

A birthday party at our old condo with lots of family and friends around (is it Alex’s 1st?). Walking into the kitchen to grab something, looking up and being stunned by the beautiful girl who’s profile i’m seeing. Her name is Luann.

A tale of carwashes, waiters, tips, and wedding rings

A few weeks ago my wife and i drove past an old carwash near BYU where we both went to college.  We shared a look and a smile.  We both remembered the story of the wedding ring.

Flash back to early 1994.  Poor starving college student Scott has just recently purchased a wedding ring and is getting ready to officially propose (the unofficial proposal during a cold winter evening in SLC at temple square, and the subsequent laser light show at the planetarium, and then the broken down car and freezing cold wait for my grandpa’s tow truck is another story entirely).

I’d purchased the wedding ring.  It took all the money i had.  There were two parts to the ring – the wedding ring itself, and a wedding band.  Why there are two pieces is a mystery to me, but hey whatever.  In order to keep the wedding band safe, i “put it in a safe place”.  More on this later.  That night, i took Luann out to the Olive Garden on University Avenue.  Big spender i know!  But hey – it was expensive at the time.  When we got there, i feigned a bathroom break and tracked down our waiter.  I slipped him the wedding ring and asked him to bring it out a few minutes after our dinner arrived.  He was pretty excited.  I’m just glad he didn’t take the ring and run off with it!

Unbeknownst to Luann (or to me at the time [i guess is shouldn’t have told them where i was going]), her roommates had followed us and were lurking about the restaurant, waiting for the big moment.  Our food arrived and we began to eat.  A few minutes later, 3 or 4 waiters/waitresses came out with this big silver platter.  There was a beautifully arranged veggie tray and in the center was a little grey box.

As you can imagine, she was quite surprised.  Thank god she said yes!  Her roommates came over and congratulated us.  Luann completely lost her appetite (unrelated to the roommates).  Which was too bad, because it was a really good meal.

But here’s the part that nobody knows.  (Even Luann only found out about this a week or two ago).  I’ve felt really bad about it ever since then.  But after the meal, i left this poor waiter a five dollar tip.  Serious.  It was all i could afford at the time.  I wish i could go back and give they guy $50 or something.  He really went all out in the veggie tray presentation.  So wonderful waiter – if you ever read this, contact me! :)

Our story doesn’t end here.  Remember the poor wedding band?  Well, i had to put it somewhere.  What better place for it than wrapped in a piece of tissue and placed in my car’s ash tray, next to the spare change?  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, i’ll tell you what went wrong.  Early one morning I took my roommate and good friend Kevin to the carwash (yes, the one mentioned above) and he proceeded to help me clean out my car.  Good friend that he is, he even cleaned out the tissue wadded up in my ash tray.  Later that evening (probably around 10pm or so), i broke into a cold sweat and ran out to my car, a sinking feeling washing over me.  Sure enough – no wedding band.  Begin heart attack.

I run back in, grab Kevin and tell him to come with me.  We fly over to the car wash in record time (yay for no cops on the road right then) and i make Kevin start digging through the trash can we had used earlier that day.  I guess the hasty prayers muttered on the way over worked, because we found the tissue and the wedding band safe and sound in the trash can (buried under a bunch of other icky gunk).  Disaster averted, heart attack over.  What a day.

Alex’s first Jr. High concert

From the Utah Valley Daily Herald newspaper:

January 20th was the first concert of the year for Springville Junior High’s eighth and ninth grade orchestras. They played many different songs.

Alex Hawker, a seventh grader in the eighth-grade orchestra, said, “We will play six songs, and one we learned it without any music!”

Dr. Tsugawa is the director of these orchestras. Students in his eighth-grade orchestra think he is funny. According to Yamina Castro, Dr. Tsugawa teaches music concepts well and jokes with them.

In orchestra, the students learn many songs and do music theory. Dr. Tsugawa helps them with everything they do. Alex said, “Dr. Tsugawa is nice and funny. He makes learning theory fun and exciting.”

Yamina Castr’s favorite part of being in orchestra is “being able to play with many different parts and harmonies at the same time to make beautiful music.” They play songs called “Frolic,” “Fiddles Down Under,” “Joust,” “Nightrider,” “Ashgrove,” and “Two English Dances.”

Dungeons & Dragons Electronic Labyrinth Game

My brother gave me an early Christmas present this year while we were down visiting my parents for Thanksgiving. It was the Mattel electronic Dungeons & Dragons Labyrinth game that my parents gave me for Christmas in 1980! What an awesome blast from the past.

Let me give you some background on this awesome little game. I would have been 8 years old. An electronic toy with dragons and mazes and treasure! It was possibly the coolest thing i got that year (aside from some possible competition from the Star Wars lineup). I remember the beeps and bleeps and ominous sound when the dragon would start chasing you around!

Over the years i’d dig the game out from time to time and either play myself (it was one or two players), or talk someone into playing it with me. Well, after a while, i packed all my old toys (including this and the aforementioned star wars collection – which was considerable, btw) into some boxes and stashed them in my parents garage while i went away to college. I fully intended to get them back out once i had a place of my own. I’d fill up a room in my new house with all my old toys and collectibles. It would be right next to my den.

Alas, my plan went awry. While i was away to college, my parents moved. I didn’t give it much though – i assumed my boxes were safe. So i left for two years to go sell fire and life insurance in Florida, blissfully unaware that perhaps something was wrong. When i got home, i resumed college life. Somewhere in here, i asked about my old stuff. I wanted to dig it out of storage and check on its safety. My mom (who loves to keep a tidy house) informed me that those boxes were either thrown out or sold off in a yard sale when they moved! My wonderful collection of toys and games was lost to the sands of time.

Over the years i figured that someone, somewhere (assuming the yard-sale option; the trash option is too morbid to even grant thought) was enjoying my old toys. Perhaps i could buy them back on ebay some day. Then several years ago, i went to my brothers house and he pulled out my old D&D labyrinth game! He had saved it from the yard sale. Happy days. It was all i could do not to steal it from him, but … being the nice brother that i was, i figured it was better that he have it than someone else. That was probably close to a decade ago.

In the interim, i had forgotten all about the old game. But this year, my brother comes to my parents house and hands me my old game. “Here you go, i figured you might like to have this back.” [insert misty-eyed sentimental comment here]. Thanks bro! That’s the most awesome gift ever. And the game still works. Sure, it’s missing a few pieces (all of which i can easily replace with acceptable substitutes), but the electronics are good. It still makes all the beeps and bleeps. I can’t wait to sit down with my kids and defeat that pesky dragon again!

Bathroom advice

We were traveling the other day on our way to my parents for Thanksgiving dinner.  We stopped at a gas station for one of the many obligatory potty breaks.  When my wife got back into the car with the little ones, she told me a story.

After the two little kids had gone to the bathroom, she was helping them wash their hands.  She turned on the faucet, got their hands lathered up, and they rinsed off.  Somehow during all this, an old lady in the bathroom was watching them and made the comment: “You should turn off the water while they’re lathering up.  We do live in a desert, you know”.

Wow.  I have no response to that.  How annoying.  Do you even have kids?

After thinking about it a bit more, i tried to imagine what i’d have said.  And all i could come up with was “this would never happen in the mens room”.  Men don’t sit around watching other guys wash their hands.  They don’t talk to each other.  They go in, do their business, and get out.  The only quote i can find that would apply would be from Office Space.

Does anyone ever say “looks like someone has a case of the Monday’s?”

No.  No man.  I believe you’d get your *** kicked if you said that.

Castle Windsor and the flight home

Click the image for more pictures

I’ve finally gotten over the jet lag and caught up on things at home, so i’ve got a spare moment to blog about our final day in the UK. We got up around 5:30am local time and headed back towards London. We decided not to risk getting lost or missing our plane by stopping at Stonehenge along the way, so instead we visited Windsor Castle. We got there a bit early, so we wandered around town a bit and took some pictures of old knights tombs.

Once the tour opened, we only had about an hour. That’s just not enough time to check out Windsor. The place is HUGE. And opulent. Opulent doesn’t even begin to describe the interior of this place. It’s insane. And it’s pretty cool that the place has been constantly lived in for over 900 years. You can see where additions and changes have been made over the years.

After a quick trip through the castle we skipped out, got to the airport with only one wrong turn (and one loud honk around one of those @$()$*& roundabouts). The flight was … long. Very very long. Oh so long. And here i am :) Glad to be back in the good old USA where i can drive on the right side of the road and eat big juicy hamburgers.