Monday, March 31, 2008

An Aunt for the Ninth Time

There really isn't anything better than being an aunt. I love all nine of my nieces and nephews, including the newest addition--Brian Liang-Wei Hsiao.
Being an aunt is great becuase you can play and laugh and enjoy your neices and nephews without dealing with messy diapers, sleepless nights, tears, fights, whining, or any of those fun side activities that come with children. Yes, being an aunt is great!

A Sad Tale

For several weeks now Kati and I have been looking forward to competing in the "Pond Skimming" competition at The Canyons ski resort. The competition consists of about 100 contestant, dressed in wacky costumes, skiing or snowboarding down a hill to where an ice cold pond waits. You need to get up enough speed to ski or "skim" across the pond and make it safely to the other side. It is about 100 feet across, so it is a daunting task, but we were prepared to do what was necessary! Dressed as an escaped convict, a rebel nun, and the flyin' Hawaiian, we were all set to go to Park City and try our hand at pond skimming. We woke up early (around 7:00 which is incredibly early for a Saturday morning) and made our way to Park City. Only.......

We found out when we arrived that this year you could pre-register online, and that all the slots had already been filled! We were very sad, and since Kati took her role as escaped convict so seriously (almost as if she had done it before) ........
She grew angry and threatened my life. After extensive anger management classes, she seems to have returned to normal, although she still keeps her costume beneath her bed, which worries me a little.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

D.A.M # 3

As a precursor to this entry I would just like to say that I have been thinking long and hard about some of the issues brought up in the last D.A.M. entry, which seemed to cause quite a buzz, and have come up with at least one perfectly good reason why fishing is necessary, other than the fact that girls like (or think they like, or pretend to like, or won't admit it but deep down they really to like) the game. Fishing may be necessary because of relationphobia, a not-so-rare disease that is quite serious and should neither be mocked nor laughed at. For more info on this disease, please read on........

Relationphobia n. – A fear of anyone wanting to date you
Most of us by the time we are in the dating stage of life have discovered many of our own faults. There are those of course who have not (Gomers for example, a tricky word I may soon attempt to define) which is why these people can usually be found in relationships, to the surprise of many. For those of us however who are acutely aware of our quirks, oddities, and faults, developing relationphobia is a pressing concern. “If you want to date me there must be something wrong with you” is the motto of every relationphobic person. Perhaps this is the real reason that nice guys who don’t play games may find it difficult to get into a relationship…they are trying to date someone with this disease. You see if a relationphobic person thinks that someone is interested in them they immediately begin to think “Is this person crazy? No one would want to date me that easily.” Then they begin to list all the reasons someone wouldn’t want to date them. Two hours later, after they have finished the list, they realize that “Yep, this person is definitely crazy,” and the rest is history. It stands to reason then that when someone seems not interested they immediately become more desirable because hey, they must be normal right? After they realize that this person is normal (for not wanting to date them) the relationphobe wants this normal person to be able to overlook all their faults and date them anyway. So you see fishing becomes necessary when the goal is someone with relationphobia. It’s not about game playing, it’s about appearing normal, even though my feelings are that such a thing as “normal” doesn’t really exist, but that is a completely different issue.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I wrote this funny little poem in high school and found it the other day. I decided to dedicate it to my sweet nephew Brigham since he loves hats so much!
Big hats small hats
As many varieties as there are cats
Some are blue and some are red
Some you can even wear to bed
Hats for women hats for men
Hats for children one to ten
Many hats are warm but some are not
Some are worn when it is hot
If you don’t like hats you can’t make excuses
For hats, there is no doubt, have many uses
I could stay up so late
Giving you reasons why hats are great!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

10 Reasons I Love Oakley

1. Oakley will always remind me of family
2. The canal always provides several different forms of summer fun

3. The sunsets from the front porch are amazing

6. You can shoot guns off your front porch (even in the dark) and there are no neighbors to care

5. The beautiful Uintah Mountains are in our backyard

6. You can always escape the summer heat with a daily dip in the diversion
7. There is always work to be done

8. But never more work than play

9. Winter provides as many adventures as summer

10. It is undeniably beautiful

Saturday, March 15, 2008

D.A.M. # 2

Fishing. v. – A ritual “nice guys” often have to resort to in order to catch a girl’s attention.
Have you ever noticed that many girls date jerks? Well if you are a nice guy and you have been wondering this, I have some tips for you. You must learn to master the art of fishing, and I don’t mean for delicious bass. The first step to fishing is putting yourself out there. Dress nice, smell good, act confident (confidence is key) and when you find a girl you may be interested in, talk to her. After she gets to know you a bit she is probably thinking “this is a pretty cool guy, he is fun to talk to, dresses nice, and smells good” now is when you make your second move—ask her out, in a nonchalant, off-hand kind of way. She will probably say yes, but let me warn you, during the date she will begin thinking “This guy is really nice (warning bells should be going off at this point) but I’m just not sure that I like him in that way and I don’t want to hurt his feelings” if you know she is thinking this then you are still one step ahead of her. Now that you have presented the bait (you are the bait) and she is thinking about whether she wants to take it or not, you need to take the bait out of reach. Don’t call her. If you see her, be nice, but not interested. Flirt with other girls. By doing this you will be using her natural insecurities to your advantage. You see, if you act this way the girl will begin to think “Wait a minute, he really is a cool guy. Why does he seem disinterested? Is there something wrong with me? A girl would be lucky to be with this guy, why am I not the lucky girl?” Now is the time to start the cycle all over again. You can ask her out again, and this time she will probably give you more of a chance. You will probably have to repeat the process several times before you really have her hooked however. Once she is hooked though you are free to be the nicest guy in the world, and she will still like you, because for most of us, once we are hooked we are hooked.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Leap Year

It was girls night out on Leap Year, and we wanted to do something extra special with the extra day we had been given this year. We started the night out with some dancing.....

We ended the night with a sojourn through the "Tunnel of Doom" which is a long cement culvert in Orem. We don't know where or if it ever comes out becuase we only made it halfway through before we scared ourselves with stories of dead people or crazy mass murders hiding in the shadows and turned around and ran back.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Canyonlands Memories

Family Vacation: Those two words inevitably bring back memories of Southern Utah and jeeping over Elephant Hill in the good old Pathfinder. Of course the vacation would not be complete without listening to Simon and Garfunkel on the drive down, and of course the soundtrack to "Ladyhawk" on the way over Elephant Hill itself. To commemorate those wonderful and often frightening times I have put together a little video of our last trip over Elephant Hill this past fall--and what music would I use besides "Ladyhawk"? Nothing would fit better! Although Dad could not make it on this trip he will always be the ultimate king of Elephant Hill.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Random Question of the Day

What makes some cheese yellow?

I am sure there is a perfectly simple explanation to this, and if you know the answer feel free to enlighten me. I mean, shouldn't all cheese be white, or creamy colored? I can understand blue cheese, becuase hey, we all know what makes that blue, but yellow cheese? If I am not mistaken cheese originally comes from milk, and I dont know about you but I have never seen yellow milk. And what is going on with that colby jack cheese that is like spotted white and yellow? If it is a mixture of white and yellow cheese shouldn't it just be a very light yellow? Do they just take yellow cheese and white cheese and then squeeze it together to make colby jack cheese? Until I get an answer to all these questions I think I might just eat white cheese--I just don't trust those yellow ones (I am exluding you in this Mark).

The Dictionary According to Mandy - Entry # 1

Dork. n. – You will know one when you meet one
It doesn’t take a magnifying glass to spot a dork; in fact, it doesn’t even take mild prescription lenses. Trust me, you will know a dork when you meet one. You know that guy who uses a really stupid pick up line like “Hey, I once sat on a sprinkler and my speedo exploded, can I have your number?” (This was actually used on me) is probably a dork. He is probably a dork if he interrupts your studying to ask if he is being too loud, and then, as if the interruption isn’t enough, continues to talk to you for half an hour about what you are studying. Does he honestly think I believe that he is interested in Shakespeare’s view of women? And if he was sorry about being too loud in the first place, why is he still talking? You know he’s probably a dork if after staring at you for a moment he breaks the silence by saying, “your shoes match your sweater.” All the while you are thinking, “Thanks genius, I had no idea! Did it ever occur to you that maybe while I was getting ready this morning I thought to myself…hmmm, I think I will wear brown shoes since I am wearing a brown sweater? Then again, judging by your outfit, a thought like that would never enter the small recesses of your brain.” You know he is a dork if he tells you that he once had a coat that was the same “lavender” color as the one you are wearing (which is actually blue). You know he is a dork if he asks you how long you think it would take to put your pants on if you had a cast on your leg. The list could go one, but I think you get the picture. As it turns out, I have met my fair share of dorks, to my delight and amusement.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mexico 2007-08

The day after Christmas my parents and I boarded a plane and left our White Christmas behind to travel to Chiapas, Mexico. There in the high mountain village of El Pozo we constructed a school. After living for a year in Mexico and visiting every summer and Christmas for three years, it almost seemed like coming home. Riding over the many topes, or speed bumps, that are so prevelent in Mexico jolted back memories of my stay in Monterrey. It felt good to be back among such warm and friendly people. In El Pozo the villagers had next to nothing, and yet they were willing, prepared, and even eager to share what little they had with us. They prepared quite a party for our arrival, including a dinner of chicken soup served to us on makeshift tables. It cost them nearly two months salary to prepare that meal. Many of the villagers did not speak Spanish, but Tsotsil, their indigenous language. After our stay in the village we traveled to the ruins of Palenque, Yaxchilan, and Bonampak. From the tops of the ruined pyramids you can see how the jungle stretches on and on. I wondered how many strangled ancient cities remain covered and choked by the merciless jungle, inhabited only by the sleek jaguar and the screaming monkeys. We traveled by boat down the Ucumacinta river that marks the border between Mexico and Guatemala in order to reach the ruins of Yaxchilan. The ride was made more exotic due to persistant rain and low hanging mist. It did make our wanderings around Yaxchilan enjoyable however, since we were almost the only people there, and the rain had slackened. We also convinced our boat driver to let us hop off on the Guatemala side for a few minutes. So now I can say I have been to both Bolivia and Guatemala illegaly! All in all the trip was an incredible way to spend Christmas break, even if it was a departure from my usual Christmas break agenda---sleeping, skiing, and wild six-wheeler activities in the snow!

London Town

London Town....oh how to describe you? You are such a mix of the new and the old. It was an intersting feeling to descend the stairs at Victoria station, pulled along by the bustling crowd of people heading for the tube, and then emerge across from the Tower of London, its century thick walls still protecting the sturdy fortress. The past and present merge in a place like London to create a place both grand and chic. From our quaint little hotel, with its endless flight of narrow stairs to the top floor and its traditional English breakfast, to the decadence of Harrods department store, I loved every minute in London and the surrounding areas. I have dreamed of visiting England since I fell in love with the tales of Shakespeare, Robin Hood, and Peter Pan at a very young age. During a summer of record and torrential rain in England, we lucked out and had wonderful weather during our stay. The sky was a rare robin's egg blue as we strolled along the Thames, admiring Big Ben and Parliment. My only regret? That we didn't have more time (and money) to spend there!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Africa, 2007

My mom once told me that Africa gets in your blood. The people, the land, the smells, the beat of the sun--it all seeps into your blood and changes you forever. Of course I never believed her. It was not until I stepped off the plane onto the tarmac and saw the African sun rising in the east--twice the size of the sun I was used to--that I began to think she might be right. Day by day, first in Kenya, and then in Mozambique, I found Africa making a place for itself inside my heart. The overwhelming vastness of the Masai Mara, with its endless herds of Gnu and Zebra, its lumbering elephants and prowling felines, made me feel as small as a fire ant, and nearly as insgnificant. But the fire ants too have their place on the Mara.

The Masai themselves--tall, slender, proud, and dressed in checkered red were one of my favorite parts of Kenya. Cows are their livelyhood, and the tall Masai warriors can be seen on the plains--a bright spot of red--guarding their precious cows. One Masai warrior asked my mom how many cows she would ask in exchange for me (remind anyone of Jonny Lingo?) and she said at least 50. The Masai warrior laughed and said, "50? She is worth more than 50! More like 100, or 1,000!" Well, at least now I know my mom values me at only 50 cows--thanks mom.

It was the children that changed me the most. The children in the village of Piri Piri in Mozambique were full of life and laughter, despite their ragged clothes and bare feet. They were up every morning waiting to greet us, eager to hold our hands, touch our hair, and laugh as we struggled with the few phrases they had taught us in their native language. After we installed the first pump over the main well, and my dad began to pump up clear fresh water, the children jumped into the stream, cupping their hands to catch the life giving liqued. Their laughter as they played in thewater was the sweetest sound I had ever heard. I will never forget Africa becuase it became a part of me. My trip lasted three weeks, the memory will last forever.