Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

After having been tagged by my sister, a cousin, and a friend in Virginia, I guess it's time to tackle the 25 random things about me entry. No promises if my list is horrible. I often feel like I'm not a very interesting person!

1. While I was on my LDS mission, I was shot in the forehead with an air rifle. To this day, if anyone mentions Nashua, NH, I get chills. What was really crazy was that later on in my mission, when I was finally in Portugal, the customary water balloon tossing from windows during Carnival really freaked me out. I hate things coming out of high windows above me. Also had a chunk of cement thrown at me from a window on my mission, which luckily hit a parked car next to me.

2. I won a school spelling grade in sixth grade by spelling the word "lingerie." I couldn't believe the other kid couldn't spell it.

3. I suffer from depression, asthma, and sleep apnea. Still a lot of things out there I'd rather not trade my ailments for, though!

4. I graduated 3rd in my high school class, then proceeded to lose my full-tuition scholarship at college as my untreated depression weighed me down. Even had a semester with three C's and a D. I think my friends from high school would find that interesting.

5. I'm a huge fan of the Minnesota Vikings, despite only having lived in Minneapolis for a year when I was too young to remember anything about it except how cold it was. My dad was a fan of the team since their inception, and it rubbed off on me. I decked my room out in purple growing up, and I still like purple to this day.

6. My crushes on girls during my teenage years had to have been legendary for how obvious they were. Except to the girl I had the biggest crush on right before, during, and after my mission. She had no idea. We remain excellent friends, though. Even my wife has pointed out, frequently, that I was not subtle about my feelings for her while we were dating. It annoyed her a little, but it worked...'cause I got the right girl after all!!

7. I love music from the 1980's. I think that's also a product of being my father's son, as he used to have music on all the time.

8. Law school was never on my list for possible careers until very late in college. I was a year away from a degree in chemical engineering, which I wanted to use as a springboard to medical school, when I decided it was time to get out. I finally finished my bachelor's degree in chemistry since I was already so far in thanks to the engineering studies I'd already done.

9. If I could do it all over again, I'd have taken a mathematics major. I've always loved math, and usually feel it's been a wasted day if I haven't been able to use math in my job (which, being a lawyer, is not often!). I did manage to minor in math, though, so I've always been proud of that.

10. I really treasure my friendships with others. There's no bigger thrill for me than to come across an old friend who I haven't seen or heard from in a long time, and to find out how they're doing. That's why I love Facebook so much...it's enabled me to catch up with people I thought were lost.

11. As accident-prone as I feel I am, I've never really experienced major trauma. I've only ever broken one bone (my thumb, which I slammed in my friend's car door not long before high school graduation), and only had stitches four times (once because of the wound I suffered above in number 1; the three others for mole removals and minor surgery). I have, however, crushed toes with a bowling ball dropped by my youngest son, and crushed two fingers in an unfortunate tiller accident (those fingers still hurt, almost two years later).

12. I enjoy making people laugh, although I'm nowhere near as gifted in that department as, say, my father is. I'm too slow on my feet to think of the quick funny thing to say, so I usually have to resort to outlets like my blog, which is primarily there to entertain others.

13. I don't have much trouble poking fun at myself, which has often gotten me in trouble with my wife. I've always thought, though, that if you can't laugh at yourself, you're taking yourself much too seriously.

14. I've never drunk alcohol, smoked, or taken any illicit drugs. Yes, this is a product of my LDS faith, but I've never thought I've missed out. After all, I am a grown person now and can make my own choices. I've just never had the desire, honestly.

15. I moved thirteen different times with my family before I graduated from high school. The longest stretch where we didn't move was right before I started 7th grade, and was able to stay in Pennsylvania through my high school graduation. I've lived in California, Utah, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania with my parents, and then have lived in Oregon and Utah with my own little family.

16. I love doing crosswords, logic puzzles, and other brain games. I'm not really good at them still, but I always enjoy the challenge.

17. I'm very risk-averse. I generally hate roller coasters, heights, and risky investments. My wife still makes fun of me for a trip we had while we were still dating in Jackson, WY, where we went down an Alpine slide and I nearly burned the brake out by riding it so hard the whole way down. Just not a thrillseeker. Must explain why I don't like skiing, either, even though I live around the greatest snow in the whole country.

18. I'm a homebody. It's not to say I never leave the house, but if given the choice, I'd rather probably stay home and read or watch a video.

19. I can't dance. I'm kind of like Steve Martin's character in "The Jerk" before he hears his first white music.

20. I'm a grown man, and not ashamed to admit that I love Disneyland. If I don't get there once every two years or so, I go crazy. Disney World is good, too, I just live closer to Disneyland at the moment!

21. Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love winter, and am happy my birthday is also in the winter after Christmas, so I don't have to be depressed when the Christmas season is over.

22. I think my wife and I were truly made for each other. I don't think there's anyone else out there who could do as a good a job as Laura has in dealing with my personality quirks and needs. She's fantastic.

23. I have a thing for the Muppets. Kermit, Gonzo, Fozzie, Beaker, and Animal grace my computer tower at work.

24. The best pet I ever owned was an albino dwarf hamster I named Newman because he was small and pudgy like the mailman from "Seinfeld." I bought him about a year before I got married on a whim, and thought he was the coolest pet ever. He'd respond to my voice (he became blind after a couple of eye infections), and would happily run out of his cage to run across my hands and floor. He never bit me, which was remarkable.

25. I've only ever gone to a handful of music concerts. Coldplay, Ringo Starr, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, and the Dixie Chicks have been about all.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A couple new pictures

Just so you don't start to think I ever take pictures of my kids, might I present some evidence to the contrary (that's not lawyer-speak...I've always talked like that). One night a couple of weeks ago, I came home from work to find this:



And this:
If there was ever any doubt these were truly my sons (and sometimes, I do wonder, as I think they look nothing like me, although Laura swears up and down there's no milkman on the side), this settles it...these kids like a good sleep just like I do. It made for a very peaceful evening.

So, anyway, tonight I'm out in the living room while Zach watches "Blue's Clues" (thank you, On Demand programming) while Kyle coughs himself to sleep and Laura tries to suffer through an ear infection in the bedroom. I'm just hopeful that this is the last sickness we experience until we are through with our Disneyland trip in a couple of weeks. The last time we went, right after I graduated law school, we all came down with the flu. Kyle puked after the first ride he went on, the amazingly rough Peter Pan's Flight. It was a miserable, miserable experience, and I would consider selling my soul to some otherworldly being in order to make sure that we don't repeat that experience. Be assured that if anything happens, you'll read about it here.

After I get back from Disneyland, I have a business trip to Brisbane, Australia about five days later. I'm looking forward to this, as I've never been to Australia. I'm not too thrilled about it being the middle of the summer down there when I get there, but it will still be awesome. I'm extremely fortunate. Add to that the fact that I just found out a couple of days ago that I'll be accompanying my dad on our company's annual incentive cruise for our top distributors, which will take us all over the Caribbean, including to an island (St. Maarten) that I visited with my dad when I was 16 years old in an incentive trip he had with another company. That happens a week after I return from Australia. All in all, not a bad way to spend the winter. Again, I'm very fortunate for my opportunities right now. I just wish I could afford to take my wife, too. I guess that will come.

Last of all, I've decided to take a cue from my sister's blog, and keep a list of books I've read and movies I've seen for the first time this year. No one else may care but me, but I thought it might be kind of fun for me to at least keep track of what I've done that way this year. You'll notice that my first couple of entries are for "Band of Brothers." I've finally gotten around to reading the non-fiction book and watching the HBO miniseries about the E Company from the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division in World War II. It's a fascinating story to both read and see depicted on film, and was a pet project for Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg after they made "Saving Private Ryan" (Tom's recent dissing of the Mormon church aside, 'cause apparently I'm a bigger man than he is and don't feel the need to impugn an entire group of people just because I disagree with them). The miniseries is a pretty tough watch, although I'll say that compared to "Private Ryan," it's a lot less brutal. I've been on a history kick recently (HBO's "John Adams" was another favorite), and it's been fun to read about this group of men who I'll admit I never heard of before now.

You'll also notice that I just got around to watching "The Dark Knight," and I'll have to admit that while I thought Heath Ledger's performance was truly fascinating, the movie left me a little disappointed. Eh, can't win them all. Still made for a pretty good viewing, though. And now you can see why I'd never make it as a film critic.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Feelin' Fine in 2009...So Far...

It appears I made it through the new year transition without any major issues. Thank heavens, since you never quite know what's going to happen with us. Well, OK...maybe there were a few minor issues. Like our kitchen sink deciding it's had enough of us and refusing to drain water. Thankfully, a visit from Roto-Rooter and $230 later we were able to declare that 50+ years worth of who-knows-what buildup in the drain was completely gone, so I guess that's a good thing.

We also noticed one bright morning around New Years' Day that the steel belt of our tires on our minivan was beginning to wear through. The minivan was a gift from Laura's parents to hold us over as a second car until we were able to get our footing beneath us financially. Luckily, that van (a 1994 Dodge Grand Caravan) lasted us about a year and a half, long enough for us to get a couple of raises at work in the meantime. I looked at those tires, coming to their forlorn end, and decided that it was time to get a new car to replace it. Laura did some stellar research, and found a used 2006 Toyota Sienna in Bountiful that had 40,000 miles on it that we absolutely loved. So, we went up shortly after New Years' and brought the van home, only to have its battery totally die on us the next day. Luckily, the dealership warranted the battery for us, but it was still a pain, as the van died in the street outside Kyle's preschool (a tow zone in the winter), and we couldn't get the thing jumpstarted. Anyway, everything is now fixed, and we're good to go. It'll be nice to have a new-ish car for our road trip to CA in a few weeks, and since the minivan has a DVD player installed, hopefully it will make for our easiest trip yet. If we can avoid getting the flu like we did last time we went down there as a family.

So, Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo, and SeaWorld are coming up the second week in February, and then I get to go to Brisbane for business on Feb. 20th. That will be nice. I think. I've never been on a plane flight over about 6 hours long, so this will be a new one for me. Almost 15 hours from LA to Sydney. That's a long time. Hopefully, they have DVD players for adults on the plane!