Friday, October 4, 2013

Memory: The demise of the trumpet

Jess and I were talking to Jackson tonight about art and how music is a form of art, which brought back this: When we were young Dad had a trumpet stored in the closet that he had played as a kid. Every so often we would take it out and make sick cow sounds trying to play it. It wasn't very often that we got our hands on it, and Dad didn't play it unless we were trying to. The valves needed to be greased in order to make the notes, and the slides probably didn't move either. One night Brian and I must have been home alone with Dad when he got a wild hair. I bet he was working on a deadline for a project, but I have no idea. He suddenly had an idea, a Dad idea, that had to do with the trumpet. I don't know if we had the trumpet out or not, but suddenly dad had a chain tied to the trumpet, and the other end he connected to the rear of the van. Brian and I were certainly intrigued and caught up in the excitement of what was about to happen. Dad loaded us into the back of the van in some storage compartments where we could watch out the back windows. Then we went driving around the neighborhood towing the poor trumpet behind. It was dark out and the trumpet made some magnificent sparks against the pavement. Brian and I were laughing and mesmerized by the destruction of the instrument. We were certainly into the destruction of objects; cars (Car Wars), school projects, large cardboard boxes, etc. We drove for a while until the small chain actually broke and left the trumpet in the road. Dad stopped pretty soon after that and went to retrieve what was left of the trumpet. He seemed to almost immediately have remorse for what we just did. I'm sure he was thinking what Grandma Jessie would say if she were to ever find out what we did that night. I remember the trumpet still seemed in pretty good shape considering, and one of us may have even tried to get some sound from it. I think Dad brought the trumpet home but I don't remember exactly where it went after that or what he did with it in the end.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Stories for the kids

Jess asked me to record some of the stories I tell the kids of my childhood. I thought it was a good idea. For my first story I am inspired by a book I'm listening to on my travels. Part of the book takes place in London, and it brought back memories of the trip I took in 1995 with other high school students to the British Isles and Ireland. It was a groups of about 30. On the first day in London we bought day passes for the Underground, the subway system. After the official tour ended that first day our chaperones gave us time to explore London in groups, as long as we made it back by a certain time. I ended up with a group of about 12 and we headed out to the station to find Wimbledon. There was a big tennis nut in our group, think his name was Jason. As a group of wide eyed American kids we made our way through one of the biggest cities in the world, with no map or knowledge of where we really were going. We got on one line after another, asked Londoners how to get to Wimbledon, before finally realizing it was time to get back to the hotel for dinner. That was no easy task either. We were turned around, took trains heading in the wrong direction, and spent hours trying to figure out how to get back to our group. I think someone finally made a call to the hotel to let our chaperones know what had happened and get help making it back. Our poor chaperones were relieved to hear that we were alright, but not happy we hadn't tried calling earlier. Of course this was many years before cell phones were widely used by everyone. After we made it back to the hotel one of the chaperones hugged us and then sent us to our rooms for the night, while the rest of the group went out for a night in London. This experience probably influenced a choice I made later on that trip. The night before we flew back home, after three weeks of touring, Kevin Onabiyi, a family friend who grew up in London, called my room and told me to get down to the lobby and meet him. I dashed out of the room without shoes or socks on, until a chaperone saw me and questioned where I was going. I explained who Kevin was and was allowed to go meet him for just a few minutes. I met Kevin and Caroline, another Brit who had visited my family in Provo. We talked for a bit, then I invited Kevin to come upstairs and meet more of the group. My roommate Ryan and I chatted with Kevin and Caroline until the wee hours of the night. Kevin really wanted us to go with him to see the real London, but we didn't go. It probably would have been really fun.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


This was such an awesome trip. So glad that I was able to go with my brothers.

It all started this summer. I stopped by Seagull Book in Sandy to say hi to Brian. The NFL had just ended their lockout so we were both happy that there was going to be a pro football season. As the conversation progressed it turned to Dad and how he had talked about going to a Denver Broncos football game, he always liked the Broncos and Denver is certainly close enough, so it could have happened.

But it didn't.

So Brian and I said we should plan a trip to an NFL game sometime.

The next time we were at Mom's we brought up our conversation, and Mom suddenly lit up and said something to the effect of, "Let me do that for your birthdays!" When we got home that night we started researching possible games to attend, and sent text messages back and forth, at which time we got Mark involved.

We eventually agreed that Nov 17 NY Jets at Denver would be the game.

That turned out to be the right choice.

The night before the game, I got a wild hair, and decided to do something to bring Dad along.

I recently saw a movie about a man who traveled all the time for business, and at one point in the movie he pulled out a small cardboard cut-out of his sister and her fiance', and took pictures of it in front of famous sites. They asked him to do this for them, since they couldn't afford a honeymoon and wanted to have pictures of themselves all over the world.

So, I cropped a picture of Dad and taped it to some Popsicle sticks, so that we could take him along.

Sometime between that day and a couple of weeks ago, one of us made a comment that we should each grow a mustache for this trip, and much to the chagrin of our better halves we all grew manly staches (well at least Brian and Mark did, I did have some hair above my lip, but nothing compared to Mark's or Brian's).

Brian and I were able to fly out of Provo to Denver, which was really nice. We went to Mom's, and she took us to the airport from there.

Mark found us not long after we got to to Denver, late because our plane's computer wasn't functioning. After meeting up we decided to take a trip to Pikes Peak, because that is a place that Dad would have likely gone. Unfortunately when we arrived it said it was over a two hour drive up, we didn't think we would have enough time, plus we didn't want to fork over $40 for the trip, so we turned around to head back. We made a stop at a Wellness Center down the road to take a picture of it's marquee proclaiming a 25 cent joint, as well as a stop at Santa's Workshop for pictures.

We got to Denver and our hotel a little before 3pm, Brian and Mark each fell asleep shortly after getting into the room. After their quick naps we took the short walk to Mile High Stadium. Mark was told by a coworker that there were plenty of restaurants and other things to do close to the stadium, so we went to check it out.

Turns out there wasn't as much as we were lead to believe, but that was fine. We walked around the outside, checked out the sculptures of a giant mouth guard, helmet pads, and face mask before we headed one block west to find some food. All we really found was a Denny's, KFC, BK, and a Mexican food joint. After looking at the menu at the Mexican restaurant we headed to Denny's.

Our server was quite the hoot. Teresa, a middle aged lady, dressed in Broncos gear, asked what she could get us to drink, as in alcohol. We told her that we were crazy enough without booze and she chuckled and left to get waters. When she came back we had the picture of Dad propped up in a hooded sweatshirt. When Teresa saw that she nearly fell over laughing as she said, "You're right, you are crazy!" Just the type of thing that Dad would do at a random Denny's.

After Denny's we took some pictures on the way into Mile High, focusing on the staches.

The first impression of the inside of the stadium, especially the field, was very impressive. It really let you know that this is the big time, as opposed to your local college team. The lights were so bright, and the field looked immaculate. We wandered around about half the stadium as we made our way to our section, stopping in a room with Denver sports stories, pictures, and paraphernalia.

When we got to our seats it was still 30 minutes or so until kick off, and there weren't many people in the stands, particularly on our row. Our row never filled up completely, which was a blessing in disguise because there was one crazy fan who needed all the extra room for his antics.

There were tributes to the military as part of the pre-game show, and the usual sideshow competitions to keep people "entertained".

The Broncos received the opening kick and on the first play they completed a pass for 30 yards, but after that not much else happened for either the Broncos or the Jets. The Broncos had the ball inside the Jet 10 and went for it on 4th and 1, but the half back got stuffed for no gain. Not much else went on the rest of the first half, lots of 3 and outs, punts, and a field goal for each team. What the first half of the game lacked in excitement, was made up with our own form of entertainment as we interacted with the other fans sitting near us.

By this time the guy down the row from me was really plastered, still flailing his arms around, and stomping as hard and heavy as he could without completely losing his balance and tumbling over the seats. In the group in front of us was a woman who kept turning around yelling at a Jets fan a couple of rows behind us. She would try to get his attention, and eventually asked Mark and Brian to pass along messages to him. She was wearing a Dawkins #20 jersey, I had no idea who Dawkins was and would yell randomly "Come on Dawkins!" The lady was also getting more and more drunk as the game went on, and she would turn around and tell me that Dawkins wasn't out there because he played defense. I kept calling for him to do something, so she asked Mark if I knew anything about football. I played dumb and said something about soccer being called football where I came from. She probably thought "Why does this guy need to sit behind me?" But it was fun razing those around us.

Eventually there were a couple of touchdowns, both of which were scored at the end zone on the opposite side of the field. After that more three and outs, but Jets got another field goal. After a Jets punt late in the fourth quarter pinned the Broncos at their 5 yard line, it was finally Tebow time, as he ran and even completed a few short passes to get the Broncos to the other end of the field.

The Broncos drove to the 20 yard line on our end of the field. The teams lined up and were about to snap the ball when someone went racing out onto the field in the near end zone. The fan was quickly tackled by security and lead away, but that only added to the roars from the crowd. After the fan was taken away and with just over a minute to go Tebow rolled out to his left, the Jets were blitzing and had man coverage on two Broncos in the end zone. As Tebow was nearing the sideline I thought, "Just run it!" and that is what he did. He ran right at us for the game winning touchdown. The whole time the play was developing the lady in front of us was waving her arms and calling for Tebow to come to her.

When he scored the place erupted, it was electrifying. Eventually the cheering turned to chanting "TEEEEBOOOW!" It was awesome. A perfect ending.

The final seconds were run out as the Jets took the ball to midfield and Sanchez threw a hail mary to the goal line, which was knocked down.

After the game we weren't in much of a hurry to leave, it was fun to just take in all the excitement and energy of the crowd.

It was too bad that our super fan left early, but probably a good thing too, there was a high probability of me being mauled or at least smacked by his flailing arms.

When we made it to the hotel Brian lay down and was out quick. He actually said that he nearly dozed off in the 4th quarter, it wasn't really that slow.

It was so fun and crazy! It was great to be able to go with Brian and Mark.

The next day we didn't have any solid plans, so we decided to check out a tour of the US Mint in Denver, something Grandma Jessie would have done, but all the tours were full. So we just took a walk through downtown Denver. It was fun. We saw some interesting art, the Denver library, a used book store (where I found a Book of Mormon for sale, you know the kind that missionaries give out for free all over the world). We didn't really have any idea what we were looking for, but we had a good time just hanging out together. There were lots of Blues Brothers references and jokes.

Just want to say thanks to Mom for sending us on this trip, and to Jess for hanging out at home alone for two more days so that I could go.

It was an experience that I will always remember.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Open the Door...

I have been thinking about this old song for quite a while, and finally remembered to google it. There are a bunch of versions of this song, but I think this is the one we listened to at Grandmas.

Lots of memories.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jackson's 12 days of Christmas Song

The other day Jackson was singing the 12 Days of Christmas song, so I challenged him to write his own, here it is plus a couple of bonus days:

On the 1st day of Christmas my parents gave to me 1 Ventus Bakugan.

On the 2nd day of Christmas my parents gave to me 2 Haos Bakugan.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my parents gave to me 3 clear Bakugan.

On the 4th day of Christmas my parents gave to me 4 Aqous Bakugan.

On the 5th day of Christmas my parents gave to me 5 Subterra Bakugan.

On the 6th day of Christmas my parents gave to me 6 Bakugan Battle Brawlers.

On the 7th day of Christmas my parents gave to me 7 Special Attack Bakugan.

On the 8th day of Christmas my parents gave to me 8 Pyrus Bakugan.

On the 9th day of Christmas my parents gave to me 9 cars.

On the 10th day of Christmas my parents gave to me 10 Video Games.

On the 11th day of Christmas my parents gave to me 11 Books.

On the 12th day of Christmas my parents gave to me 12 Computers.

On the 13th day of Christmas my parents gave to me a lot of love.

On the 14th day of Christmas we all get presents and more love.

If you can't tell, he is really into these Bakugan figures. I have also been exposing them to Dr. Demento's Christmas program this year, and they get a kick out of it.

Now onto other happenings...Ruby was seen by the pediatric cardiologist yesterday, and was able to come off the oxygen. She really looks different without the tubes and tender grips on her face. It is also much easier to get around the house without cords from the apnea monitor and oxygen tubes. It sure has seemed like a long 6 + weeks since she was born, but it also seems to have flown by. It also feels like Ruby is a different baby without all the extra stuff, which I guess she is is some way. But it is a great Christmas present to know that she is improving and that she is already outgrowing the issue with her heart.

About that though, talking personally with the ped. cardiologist yesterday was sure enlightening, what we had been told by the NICU doctors and others from the beginning sounded much different coming from the cardi. The way she explained it, Ruby had high blood pressure building up in her lungs, which caused her heart to work harder and so the muscle of her heart grew and became thicker, just like any other muscle will grow larger and thicker if it works hard. So finally after 2 weeks in the NICU and 4 weeks at home we have a clear explanation of what the issue actually was.

In the end, we are happy to have her home, and especially happy that she is doing so well now.

Friday, September 25, 2009

66th, #53 and #68

Those numbers refer to the items that I am thinking about tonight from my list on dad. It being dads 66th today, Happy Birthday Dad. Tonight at dinner we were talking to the kids, I asked Jackson if he could think of anything special about the date today, it took a couple of hints then he said, "Oh, it's Papas birthday! What should we do to celebrate?" They wanted to go and see Mor Mor, but she was on her way to St. George, so we couldn't do that, but it got me thinking, then I remembered Papa's 40th birthday. That year he and I smashed whipped cream pies in eachothers faces. I got to go first with the smashing, then was very reluctant to allow him to return the favor, but eventually he got me. I told the kids about that, and they had a good laugh. Too bad, the Cool Whip in our fridge was too old to make any pies to smash with, we would have had a good way to celebrate! Then, as I was thinking about pies I remembered sitting in the backyard eating Kentucky Fried Chicken and a strawberry pie in a red and white striped box with dad. It was a nice sunny day that day, I don't know why just the two of us were in the back sharing fried chicken and strawberry pie, but that was usually how things worked with dad, spur of the moment and kind of random. That is what made dad so fun!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The week of motor vehicles.

So this is a picture from the end of the week, which I must say was far more enjoyable than the days preceding. This is a picture of Dad's 1988 Fiero GT which Chris entered into the Concours d' Elegance at Thanksgiving point. It was fun to go to a car show where you see a very familiar car. The Fiero looked great, and was awarded first in the American Sports Car category, I think that was the category anyways. Later on they paraded the first place winners across a carpet laid out under a pavilion. It was fun to see all the winners and hear the Grand Marshall as he told us of the history of each car. So, that was definitely the highlight of the week. Jackson had come along with me, he and Jemma roamed about taking pictures of their favorite cars. Mom commented that this is the nicest car show to go to, and I agree, people were very courteous and interested, and most kept their shirts on, except for at the end when at least one attendee decided he needed to air out.

The weekdays leading up to Saturday were filled with frustration. We took our van in for a tune up which went fine, just that it took longer and cost more than expected, but I guess that is usually how it goes.

After that we needed to get a wheel stem replaced, it had somehow broken off. I was on State St in PG, and decided to just stop at the first place I came to and ask them about the repair. So I stop in and ask the "salesman", if I had known he was just a salesman and not much of a repairman I may not have stayed, how much and how difficult this repair would be. This was at a little after 9a.m. He told me it was a simple procedure and wouldn't take longer then 30-45 minutes and would be about $40. I thought heck, if it is that easy why don't I just get it done now, I was going to drive to a shop near Lehi, where I usually take my work truck and where I have come to know the manager, but thought I would just get it done and then be able to go about the day. This was on Tuesday. So they pull the van in and shortly thereafter a young mechanic comes in and asks me "Which tire is flat? I checked the one but it isn't flat." Warning number two. He is quickly corrected and told there isn't a flat that needs repair, but it's the wheel stem that needs to be replaced. So then they get to work on that, there sure was a lot of banging on the rotor when they were getting it off, which I thought was odd, warning number 3 and I should have gotten out of there.

After about an hour and a half I ask the salesman how much longer it is going to be because I want to get on with my day, and he tells me they are having trouble finding the right size stem for the wheel. He apologizes for the time it is taking so I am feeling pretty good, at least this guy feels bad for the hold up. After another hour or so they still aren't done, so they let me take the shops truck and go home so that I can get some stuff done cause they were still having issues. Only an hour later they call me, not because they are finished, but because the owner needs his truck back to go to lunch. So take the truck back, and then they drop me off at home. We are waiting and waiting, then finally at about 2:30 pm they call and say it is ready. I wasn't able to get down there until about 3:30 though. When I get down there and pick up the van I turn the key on and the "ABS" light is on, which wasn't on when I dropped it off. I immediately go back in and say, "We've got a problem." So the owner comes out and takes a look at the rear brake and wires, they look fine to him, so he consults a book to check what might be causing the light to come on, warning number 4, instead of running a diagnostic to find the true cause. He tells me that since they had to remove the rotor and take apart the brake, that the computer wasn't reading the rear brake but give it about 20 miles of driving for it to kick back in. So, the next day the light hasn't gone off and there is a rubbing & squeeling coming from the wheel they worked on. We take it back and tell them the light is still on and about the noise. They say they have to take it to a dealership down the street to fix the problem and run a full diagnostic. So the next day I show up right when the place opens, and end up going down to the dealership for the repair and diagnostic check. I spend two hours there while they put the wheel back on and run the test. Finally I get the car back, there is no more noise but the "ABS" light is still on. I am told that the "ABS" rear sensors are not reading correctly. Apparently they both were not functioning at first, but then the mechanic cleaned the one on the left side where they were fixing the wheel, and that only the right side was bad. Yeah, right.

Finally, I take the car to the shop in A.F. where I trust the right work will be done. They run the diagnostic and tell me both sensors are bad, so we replace them both in pretty much no time at all, comparatively. We did have to get them done one at a time at different times of the day because they had to find the sensors. Now, I need to go back and talk to the guys at the first place and tell them what crummy work they do and get them to reimburse me for the left side sensor, which the owner had previously said they would pay for if it was needing to be replaced. I called on Friday to get that done, but the owner had left for the weekend and wasn't reachable, also the whole thing with the dealerships mechanic and just cleaning the sensor seems real fishy. This shop, Larkin Tires on State St in PG,and the Low Book mechanic, sure seemed like they were in cahots with each other. Very frustrating, but nearly over, just need to get the money back.