Friday, September 10, 2010

Memories of September 11th, 2001

During the drive into work this morning, the man on the radio was talking about 9/11, and having forgotten a lot about it. As he played back some sounds from that day, my mind was moved to put down some of my own memories.

Jason was attending a preschool over in Provo at the time, and it was my job to drop him off each morning. As we got into the car and prepared to leave the garage, I turned the radio on. They were talking about a plane that had crashed into the World Trade Center. Lori, Emily and I had been there less than a month before, so my interest was peaked. At that point, it sounded like a bad accident. I went back into the house to tell Lori, then left to drop off Jason. After I had dropped him off I went into the office. News was poring in at that point, and it definitely was a lot more serious than one bad accident.

Of course, the only thing we were talking about was what was happening back east. We struggled to find out any news. Rumors circled. Too many people were trying to stream the regular news services on the internet. Cnn, foxnews, etc. were all unusable - they were too busy. We finally found a feed to the BBC news that was working, and we all watched in disbelief. I don't think there was any work done that day. I don't recall much talking either. We all wanted news, but I think most of all we all wanted to go home. We didn't last more than a few hours in the office. Something about the circumstances made each of us want to huddle up with our families, to hug our children. I think it was just as much for our own comfort as for theirs.

I didn't know what to do or think. I recall watching hours and hours of news. It was addictive. Somehow, I think I felt I had to watch. The images were unbelievable. I just kept thinking about having been there recently.

I remember struggling to find a way to explain this all to our children. How do you explain such violence and hatred? You can't.

We attended a candlelight gathering in our neighborhood. We sang, we cried, we tried to find comfort. Honestly, there was little solace. They say time heals all wounds, but as I have pondered the events of that day, my heart still breaks. I recall it all so vividly. My own conclusion is that we should not forget, that we should not let those memories fade. We need to remember that day. It should serve as a reminder to us, to not become complacent or to lose our vigilance. We should remember all those who died, and do our best to honor their memories.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A New Perspective on the Morning Run

This morning, Braden and Jason were off to football early, and it was just Traven and I awake. I asked him if he wanted to go on my morning run, and he said yes. He did insist on staying in his pajamas and bringing Boo (his favorite blankie). I wasn't overly excited to be pushing about 40 extra pounds (that's T plus the stroller!), but thought he would enjoy himself. I also decided to leave off the music and just enjoy the morning.

I marveled at the many wonders Traven found in the morning. He made sure I saw each bird, and wanted to know where I thought they were going. He insisted we stop to talk to an older man out walking his two very small dogs. He took the time to pet the dogs and talk with the man. He talked to each runner we encountered, wanting to know where they were going. He was concerned that we were going much slower than most of the other runners. We stopped to watch some ducks cross the road and made sure they made it into the river. Of course, we stopped to examine the various cows and horses along the way as well.

Traven examined the nearby mountains, and thought we should climb to the tops of them. I told him we should do that someday when he was older. He enjoyed the shade, and made sure to tell me when it was "sunnin" and when it wasn't "sunnin".

We talked about each car that went past. We talked about colors and shapes. And in true Traven form, we made sure to talk about each different smell along the way.

It was probably my slowest 5 mile run to date, but it was also beautiful and wonderful. I hadn't realized the many wonderful things I routinely run by each day. I now have several new friends, who I'm sure will be disappointed if I am out running with Traven.

Thanks for the run buddy!

Monday, June 28, 2010

My childhood home is up for sale!

I'm always trying to tell my children how nice they have it. I'd like to point out a few items from this listing that really stand out to me.

First, check out the number of bathrooms. Yes, it has 1 "partial" bathroom. This leads me to wonder, what was it missing? And how did it ever manage the needs of 6 people?

Second, it lists two bedrooms. I'd just like to point out, once again, that my first bedroom was actually the back porch! That's the room that's listed as a back room, which could be a potential office. Potential buyer, please be aware the room has no heating, and that external entrance goes right out into a tree! It did have 3 bedrooms, plus the back porch when I lived there, so I'm not sure what happened to the other bedroom. I'd be interested to know where it went! One of the bedrooms had a distinct feature - it had a window that looked out onto the other covered porch. I never really saw the vision for that one. The other bedroom opened directly into the kitchen. I still remember the sound and smell of Dad's coffee pot firing up each morning.

Third, the home has no cooling system. So please remember to be grateful for central air.

Translation - "some plumbing redone downstairs = either find a good plumber or learn how to weld". The plumbing was done long before plastic piping came into use.

A fifth point - about 1,500 square feet. That's pretty small!

It's listed as being built in 1951, which is old. However, I think they should mention that part of the house actually sits on an old cabin, which is well over 100 years old.

The property does have some unique features. It has a somewhat scary "stone building", which we used for carving up game. It has a coal chute - you won't find those on many newer homes. The basement is straight out of a low budget Halloween movie - I would never, ever go down there if I was the only one home! It sits on 1.7 acres, a portion of which is actually the steep hill that sits behind the house.

The irrigation canal does run right through the property, so that'll keep you entertained in the summer. It used to have an abandoned well in the back, which I never quite understood.

It was a wonderful home to grow up in, and it never felt small or outdated to me. It's certainly full of wonderful memories for me. I'd buy it in a heartbeat, but the Morgan to Provo daily commute is a bit long for my tastes!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

School District Politics

When did we decide to treat our children like cattle? At what point did the numbers become the most important factor in decisions? I need to rant to someone, and you, my few blog readers, will now fill this personal need of mine.

The boundary for Spanish Fork junior high is the street 1400 East in Spanish Fork. The boundary for Spanish Fork high is 1700 East. Canyon Elementary is directly to the north, East Meadows is just to the east. My address happens to be at 1662 East.

Check this out. My children go to Canyon Elementary. 99 percent of their peers go to SFJHS. But guess what? Due to the infinite "wisdom" of the school district, my kids go to Diamond Fork. That puts them in with a whole new set of friends. Then guess what? When they transition to high school, they get sent back to SFHS! Basically, they lose the majority of their friends from elementary, make new friends for 3 years which they turn around and lose, only to be thrust back to the original friends, who have changed a lot in 3 years.

I've been waging an email battle to at least bring this issue to light. One district official replied that "hopefully most kids have found friends in elementary that follow them to jr. high and then jr. high friends that accompany them to high school". Oh, ok. Well, I'll just tell my friends to only associate with students living south of Canyon road and between 1400 E and 1700 E. My goal of not using profanity is ruined, yet again!

Of course, this is only an issue because SFJHS is at capacity. Of course, the district office posts the enrollment numbers on their web site, and it turns out DFJHS is at capacity as well. So what's the difference? And the district is having issues with keeping enrollment up at SFHS, since they completely blew it with the new boundaries for the openings of Salem Hills and Maple Mountain, which are bursting at the seems since all the growth is within their perimeter, while SFHS was pretty much land locked. And all I get is discouragement and roadblocks. If I want to provide consistency for my children, I need to look outside the district to private schooling or charter schools. Real nice Nebo. All you'd have to do is allow for a choice for those of us living in the DMZ, and you'd have a problem solved. You'd have most Canyon students wanting to follow their peers to SFJHS, then onto SFHS, thus helping bolster enrollment. But instead you come up with the best freaking idea ever, to heard around a handful of students like a bunch of sheep!

I'd run for the school board, but I'm afraid it'd be detrimental to the other board members. If this decision is a sampling of their decision making and planning capacities, we wouldn't last long together.

Thanks reader. I feel a bit better now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Measure of a Man

Recently, I attended a viewing for a friend's father. The service was held in an LDS stake center. The line stretched down one hall, into the cultural hall, then wound around until it was almost circling the room. For those of you who have not been in a stake center, the cultural hall is actually a regulation sized basketball court. Imagine how many people it takes to wrap around a court. We were in line for about an hour and a half. In that time, the line never went down. It was amazing. What a testament to a person's legacy. One of his daughters remarked that anyone who knew him instantly liked him, and if anyone didn't there was obviously something wrong with them. It was a very thought provoking experience. How many people who know me would stand in a line that long to pay their respects? What type of legacy am I going to leave behind? Do I do enough for my faith, for my community and for my family? How do I treat others? How will I someday be remembered.

I contrasted that with the position my dear parents have chosen. They chose to retire and move from Morgan to Ivins. Since they've been in Ivins, it's been hard for them to make friends and get to know people. They have avoided interactions with members of their faith. They live far enough away that it's hard for most of the family to stay in touch with them. I love them tons, and certainly don't judge them for the choices they have made in their retirement years. But I do think I've learned from them, and realize how important it is to stay active and involved. I do think they might have been happier if they had chosen to differently. I hope to learn from these two lessons and make choices in life that will help me be happy and to stay happy. It's seems to me one of the keys to a happy life is to give of yourself to others. I believe you receive far more back than you ever gave away.