Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Sleep For An Eon, One Eye Open

I sleep for an eon, one eye open. The cold is absolute. The dark is not, and I go towards the light. For half an eon I roll downhill, for the second half I roll up, to slow myself. All the while, my hunger grows. I reach the place where my prey waits for me, watching for me, signaling me to come, although it knows it not. I poise myself over its burrow, a spider who needs no web, lowering my delicate and deadly thread. Then I wait. Time passes. What is an eon? I have waited one, I can wait another.

My prey comes. Creeping up my thread, slowly, cautiously. Fearing what it will find, but drawn irresistibly regardless. I open my mouth. My mouth is filled with the bones of prey past. I have learned: prey is drawn to prey. The prey enters, I can feel it move through the bones. I wait. More will come. Patience is always rewarded. The prey leaves, taking the bones. I wait. More will come. Patience is always rewarded.

The prey returns, more in number. They fill my mouth with their bones, and I am satisfied. I retrieve my thread, my deadly, delicate thread, and my mouth closes. I am filled. I look to the next light, for the dark is not absolute. The cold is, however, and I sleep for an eon, one eye open.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cardboard of Steel

Our cardboard boxes are getting a real workout. It's been raining on and off for the past couple days, and we have a pretty serious rainfall going on right now here in Draper. For the first few weeks, I was careful to cover the boxes with a tarp each time it rained, but I finally gave that up. I couldn't protect them forever; at some point, they would have to strike out on their own. We'll see how they look in the morning. Or whenever it stops raining.


Guys and girls are never on the same page. The girl will be on a page, while the guy is shuffling through the pages, glancing at the girl out of the corner of his eye, trying to figure out what page she's on so he can get somewhere in the vicinity.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Insurance Pics I

A week or so ago, Child and I finally got renter's insurance. Along with that, we decided to take pictures of all our belongings. I found a webpage that talked about taking pictures for insurance purposes to see if there were any tricks I should know about, but there was nothing particularly difficult about it. The webpage did have a few suggestions, however, one of which was, "Set aside several days for the process."

Child and I laughed at that. What sort of mansion did they think we were living in? I decided to start with pictures of my office, and Child went downstairs to make dinner. "Come down when you're done!" she said.

An hour later, my camera battery died, I was only halfway through my office, and I was no longer laughing. I was starting to realize that this was going to be a long process. I couldn't just snap a few pictures of the room and call it good, I had to pull out each individual item or set of items and arrange them on the floor, then take the picture. I also realized that there was a definite downside to storing my life in banana boxes instead of on easily-accessible shelves.

126 pictures and a day later, I was finally done with my office. Only seven rooms and our backyard to go! Fortunately, I think the office was the hardest room; it definitely has the largest collection of (expensive) objects since it holds my electronics, camping gear, and tools.

I really saw the need for the pictures, however. Pulling stuff out of the boxes, I was finding stuff I didn't even remember I had, and things I would have never remembered owning after the trauma of a fire or theft or something. That expensive graphing calculator I havn't used since graduating from college? That propane lantern I haven't used since getting a battery-powered one? The raincoat?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Edible Return On Investment

Yesterday I was shocked to discover a giant pea on one of our pea plants! The plants are only a foot or so tall, so I wasn't expecting peas for another month or so. Looking over the pea plants, I found several more as well. Our first return-on-investment! Gardening is fun!

Here's our pepper plants. There were originally three, but you can tell that the third one (center, back) had...difficulties. It went to "Happy Acres" yesterday evening and was replaced with a row of carrots.

Here's Child's herb starts. She planted a little mint, catnip, and basil, I believe.

Yesterday evening we planted our seeds: squash, zucchini, green beans, and carrots. Rather than use cardboard boxes, we used these large pots left over from trees we helped my sister and brother-in-law landscape at their home in Idaho. (The green stuff is grass clippings Child mixed in with the soil.) The small tin can on top is Child's basil plant, which had outgrown its small container and needed transplanted.

Monday, May 18, 2009

New dog, meet old trick.

I had to laugh as I read a CNN article. It's about a church in Texas that decided to (gasp!) give away money from the offering plate instead of just taking it. A couple of choice quotes:

"It was a eureka moment for Slough [ed. note: the pastor]"

"'You don't hear about a church giving money away,' Amy Sullivan [ed. note: a church member] said."

"The church has now formed a group to look into the best ways to give out money. And, Slough said, it plans on doing so as long as there is a need in the community [ed. note: forever?]."

The reason I laughed (especially about Amy Sullivan's quote of never hearing about a church giving money away) is because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been doing this in a formal manner for over 150 years through fast offerings.

These aren't new ideas, folks. This is what Christianity is SUPPOSED to do! As a basic tenet! It shouldn't be newsworthy when a church actually does what Jesus commanded, i.e. "Help the poor and needy."

Religions these days...


I have no idea why, but Blogger posts pictures in the opposite order that you upload them. Seems a silly way to do it, and one that's easily correctable, so who knows what their rationale was. Laziness, maybe.

So you're getting this trip description in reverse order!

Most canyons have an "exit hike." This exit hike is usually hot and exhausting. By this point, you're done with the fun part of the canyon and you're tired, and you want nothing more than to get into an air-conditioned car. However, due to a grievous oversight, the BLM didn't see fit to park helicopters at the exit of all back-country canyons, so you have to make your way back to your car on foot.

In many cases, including Shenanigans, this involves hiking straight up the canyon wall. A narrow rockslide gives you enough of an incline to climb up, while cleverly strewing the path with loose rocks and sand that threaten to send you hurtling backwards into space (or into the climbers behind you, if you're lucky) at the slightest misstep. Vertically, it's probably only three or four hundred feet...but that's vertical feet. Time-wise, it took us probably a half-hour of exhausting climbing in the broiling sun to get to the canyon rim.

This is a picture of the canyon we came out of (we're probably halfway up the exit at this point).

I liked how this picture turned out just because of the almost black-and-white feel to it. This was taken deep in a slot.

Halfway through Shenanigans, there's a nice hole you can crawl through. Right before the hole in the wall, there's also a deep pothole in the ground, which Randall is standing upright in.

I always take too many pictures of flowers on our canyoneering trips, but I'm always amazed by how many flowers there are in the desert. I don't think I've seen these yellow ones before...if so, not in the numbers that were in this particular rock bowl. Looking through just my pictures of this hike, I count six different types of flowers! And this is in the desert!

This group was a small one: Randall, Josh and I. The day was beautiful, and the weather was perfect as we started our hike to the canyon. Later, it would get warmer, but not the three-digit temperatures it might be hitting in a few weeks.

This picture is actually the previous day, Friday. Since we got to camp ("Sandthrax" Campground) fairly early in the afternoon, we decided to do a short canyon. We chose the left fork of Blarny, and it was a decently interesting canyon for only being two hours, end to end.

This is one of the more common flowers we see in the desert. From the side, it's a little harder to see the bossom itself, but I like the closer view of the cactus part.

Anyway, it was a fun trip.

Church Notes

As I may have mentioned, Child and I teach the six-year-olds in Sunday School (Primary). Actually, due to a temporary teacher shortage, we actually teach several five- and maybe even a four-year-old. Anyway, a couple open notes to the Sunday School leadership:

1. Mother's Day should not be celebrated by handing each kid a bag of candy and two long, sharp skewers and telling them to make two "candy flowers" for their mothers. The candy will not survive an hour and a half of Sunday School in the hands of small children, and the skewers will be used to impale everything but the candy. The teachers will curse (religiously, of course) your name as they spend the next hour and a half trying to keep the candy out of their children's' mouths and the skewers out of their own skin. It's just a bad idea all around.

2. Music leader: if you don't know the second and third and fourth verse to a song without reaching for your songbook, it's a good bet none of the teachers do either, much less any of their six-year-old children. Either stick with the first, familiar verse, or hold up a poster with the words (or better yet: pictures) on it.

3. Other teachers: turning around and shushing one of our kids or telling them to get back into their seat is not helping. I've already done that several thousand times in the past hour, and expect to do it another thousand times before Sunday School is over. It's like you're second in line at a red light, and honking your horn the split second the light turns green. Don't worry, give me a moment and I'll get that kid back in their seat and shushed myself. Oh, and P.S., one of your own kids is halfway across the room climbing a stack of chairs.

Despite how this post may sounds, it's actually been somewhat fun serving in Primary. The kids are wild and noisy and impatient and bored and energetic and it's like playing Whack-A-Mole to keep them in their seats, but they can also be funny and cute and it's good experience for our own imminent kid. Who will be perfect. And who will never get out of his seat. And who will not skewer their teacher like a rack of lamb.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Luck o' the Irish

Tomorrow, I'll be leaving to do a canyon in the "Irish Canyons" area. Canyons are named after Irishy things, like Leprechaun, Blarny, Shillelagh, and the one we're doing, Shenanigan.

Apparently the luck of the Irish decided to reach out a little early. Instead of the two cavities I thought were going to be filled today in my final dentist appointment, the dentist decided that one spot might not be a cavity after all, and he would just keep an eye on it until my next visit. In addition, the remaining cavity was such a small one that I wouldn't need any sort of numbing shots. Seriously, how often do you get out of a shot? It was great! The whole visit was over in 20 minutes! I love dentists!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Open Question

Would you take your dream job if it was in the last place on Earth you wanted to live?

Would you take your dream job if it was the last place on Earth your significant other wanted to live?

(The above questions are slightly exaggerated: it's more like "a really good job" and a "fairly disliked place to live")

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Dentist Visit

I left "...of Doom" from the end of the title because it would be a little redundant.

Actually, my first dentist visit in years went well. (Well, technically, second visit. I had one two weeks ago so the dentist could jot down a list of everything that needed done, chuckling gleefully as he pulled out "the really big calculator" to add up the price tag.)

The dentist filled three cavities today, and will fill another two next week, while his assistant did a thorough (read: painful) cleaning of some tartar buildup. I can't really complain since it needed done, and it was fortuitous how our appointment was arranged.

A woman in my mom's home-school group sent out an email asking if anyone would like to trade massages for some dental work here in Draper. My mom forward the email to me, and since Child and I needed some dental work down, we responded to the email. Apparently quite a few people were interested, but we were the closest people so we got selected. (Lucky break? Or result of paying tithing? You be the judge... DUN DUN DUN!!!)

Anyway, interestingly, it turns out the dentist (an older, graying gentleman) was also a canyoneer! Two weeks ago he did a canyon that my friends and I are considering doing in a couple weeks. We talked about a few canyons, then he showed me an online video of him going through a canyon. "This is me...this is my son...this is a sort of odd guy we invited along..."

I looked closer at the "odd guy." "Is that John Smith?" I asked, and the dentist laughed.

"So you know him too."

I did. He kind of attached himself to our group, and had gone through a few canyons with us before we (as kindly as possible) extracted ourself from the relationship, mostly because he, well, complained a lot. Maybe that was just his personality, I don't know, but it got old after a while.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Kids These Days

Sometimes I wonder if technology is really all that good. My coworker just called me to see if I was at work. He is sitting in an office three doors away from me.

I would have IM'd.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Mechanical Mouse Pill Delivery System

In case it's a little tricky to pick up from the audio on the video clip, Acouchi has taken to hiding at the far end of the ledge over the stairs, which we had earlier given her access to. Unfortunately, she was recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, which means she needs a treatment of meth every morning and evening (methimazole, a small pill).

Fortunately, my brother Matthew gave her a present last Christmas of a remote-control mouse. As it turns out, that's the perfect delivery mechanism to get the pill to her.