Friday, December 23, 2011

Still Here

I had a good comeback, but unfortunately it didn't last. But the fall semester is over now, although I won't know how it went for a couple of months. Nevertheless, I survived, so I may as well make another attempt at this blog. after all, it's bound to stick one of these times.

For now, here's a video of Elliott. She's excited for her first Christmas.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tired, Not Dead

Last year, Catherine and I decided to try to save money over the winter by heating the rooms we were in with space heaters rather than heating the entire apartment with central heating. So when we fired up the furnace last Thursday, it was the first time we had done so in this apartment.

The next morning I woke up feeling sick to my stomach, and immediately assumed there was something wrong with the sandwich I ate the night before. By the afternoon I had a ripping headache and the chills, so I started to wonder if I had a flu, despite the fact that I didn't have a fever. On top of everything, Elliott was as fussy as I've ever seen her. I finally managed to get her to fall asleep in my lap at about 3:00, and once she fell asleep, I did to, and we slept for about an hour and a half.

When I woke up I saw that I had missed about six phone calls, several of them from Catherine who by that point was starting to worry. I called her and explained what had happened, and she suggested I turn off the heater, so I did.

When I talked to Catherine I felt like I couldn't even leave the house, so we cancelled our plans to meet my parents for dinner. By midnight, I was almost completely back to normal, and I even went out for my usual late night run.

The more we read, the more we worried. I was clearly fine, but Elliott was not acting like herself. She wasn't making eye contact, chattering, or smiling the way she had been for the last few weeks. Although we knew she was probably fine, we started to wonder if carbon monoxide poisoning had caused some sort of permanent damage.

On Thursday, our carbon monoxide detector woke us up. I silenced it, and it went off again almost immediately, so Catherine outside while I called the fire department. They sent two engines, an ambulance, an SUV, and a police car for good measure (it must have been a slow morning). After checking our house and our furnace, they decided that it must have been a false alarm, and that was that.

On the plus side, we now know that our heater is fine (and, by extension, that Elliott and I were not poisoned last week). The downside is that we no longer know if we can trust our stupid CO detector. Even so, if you don't already have one you should probably get one, because dying in your sleep would be a bit of a bummer.

Also, Elliott is back to her usual self.

Monday, October 3, 2011

They're Using Real Bullets

I couldn't find the video clip that goes with the title, so you get this instead:

Same movie, just as funny, not at all relevant.

Anyway, I got out for a quick ride on the Dry Canyon Loop this afternoon. On the descent down Trail 51 into the canyon, I almost took out two guys wearing camo and carrying guns. I ran into another similarly equipped guy near the Pipe.

Last year, I remember the first time I ran into hunters while running some trails up around Squaw Peak. I figured that the area was far enough from civilization that I should expect to see hunters, so I made it point to wear brightly colored clothes from then on.

I was more surprised to see the hunters on the trail today. I'd never really thought about it before, but I assumed that people wouldn't be hunting so close to a residential area. Obviously, I was wrong.

Anyway, now I'm thinking about ways not to get shot. Google turns up plenty of articles like this one, although I think I'd rather get shot than follow some of that advice. (Orange safety vest? Pfft--whatever. And if I don't ride at dawn or dusk, when will I?) Sean's advice is a little more practical:"just don't wear Elk antlers on your helmet, or a turkey tail coming out of your pants...then all should be good."

And of course, that reminds of an article I saw in some mountain bike magazine back in the day (probably Bike, because MBA and Mountain Biking wouldn't publish anything so funny). Basically, it was a one page photo spread: what to wear/what not to wear during hunting season. On one side was a guy who pretty much looked like a deer. On the other side was a guy who looked more like Las Vegas at night. Or something.

Anyway, google couldn't find it. But if anyone knows what I'm talking about and has a copy, I'd love to see it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Occupy Wall Street*

Sean, Catherine and I have been closely following the protest all week. I hope it never ends. Seriously, this stuff is pure comedic gold. Who knew that a bunch of stupid unemployed hipsters (sorry--freelance photographers/artists/graphic designers/film-makers) could be so entertaining. They don't even have any coherent message or agenda.

For a quick primer, read this article Sean sent us today:

Consider the case of Erin Larkins, "a Columbia University graduate student who says she and her boyfriend have significant student loan debt." Ms. Larkins is one of the hundreds of protesters who "sleep on air mattresses, use Mac laptops and play drums." (Is it fair to say that anyone with a Macbook has no business complaining about their life of poverty?) Those same protesters regularly "march down to Wall Street, yelling, 'This is what democracy looks like!'"

According to Ms. Larkins, "I don't think we're asking for much, just to wake up every morning not worrying whether we can pay the rent, or whether our next meal will be rice and beans again** . . . No one is expecting immediate change. I think everyone is just hopeful that people will wake up a bit and realize that the more we speak up, the more the people that do have the authority to make changes in this world listen."

Or, as Sean summarizes it: "Like, I'm smart, I go to Columbia...someone as important as myself is above having to face the realities of life. Like, I think the government should re-pay me for the years that I have lived off the money that wasn't mine...because, I'm like smart know, I go to Columbia."

I'd love to know what she's studying. Maybe she should have thought twice before "investing" in an overpriced graduate degree.

Anyways, read through these profiles of the protesters and tell me if you think I'm being unfair.

EDIT: Catherine points out this article, which isn't as "mean" to the protesters. Which is not to say it does their cause any favors. Watch the video. The big problem problem with this "movement" is that every time these people open their mouths, you end up wanting to punch someone. (My favorite is the guy running around in a mask and bandanna [pictured above]. He apparently thinks he's actively seeking employment, and he seems to wonder why no one is hiring him.)

* The pictures are from the New York Observer article I linked to.

** I don't get what she's complaining about. Catherine and I eat rice and beans all the time, and we like it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Last-Minute Dental Work

After Friday, Catherine and I switch from health insurance through her job to the student plan at BYU. In addition to higher monthly payments and less-awesome coverage, we'll also lose our dental plan. In anticipation of that, Catherine went to the dentist a few weeks ago to make sure that anything that needed to be fixed was fixed while we were still insured. Me being me, I didn't make it in until this week.

Because it was so last minute, I ended up choosing a dentist at random from the ADA website. And I was shocked when the dentist told me I needed 7 fillings and one crown a a cost (to me) of nearly $700. (The crown is because apparently I grind my teeth, and I've worn holes into the top of several molars).

Thinking that couldn't be right, I headed up to Catherine's dentist (and the guy I saw last year) for a second opinion. According to him, I needed four small fillings. Because the holes on top of my molars were free of decay, they could fix them with a bit of sealant (at no additional charge). Guess who I let fix my teeth?

Of course, since my insurance ends after tomorrow, I had to get everything done today, and that involved numbing my mouth completely. The dentist told me the anesthetic would wear off in 3-4 hours, but more than 12 hours later my lower lip is still numb. Also, my cheek hurts because I took a bite out of it when I tried to eat something while my mouth was still numb. Live and learn, I guess.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Beloved Tank

I sold an old road bike a couple of months ago and used the proceeds to buy this on clearance from Jenson USA:

I call it my tank because of the color and because, according to my bathroom scales, it weighs over 28 pounds, which I think is shockingly heavy for a hardtail with no gears. But since I'm not doing any racing (nor do I plan to anytime soon), I guess that doesn't really matter. Besides, I can still climb reasonably well, heavy bike or no.

With school back in session, I haven't had much time to get out and ride, but it's great when I do have time. There are few enough moving parts that I can ride without worrying about mechanical issues too much (although I think I did just strip the threads on one of the post mounts on the fork), and it's perfect for the trails in Corner Canyon, where I spend most of my time.

Best of all, Sean has a single speed, too (and has for years), so we've been riding together a lot. Overall, we're at about the same level. I smoke him on the climbs, and he returns the favor on the descents, so we end up at about the same speed over the course of a ride. Someday I'll figure out how to descend, but he'll probably catch up on the climbs by then, so I doubt much will change.

Anyway, I'm not sure what the point of this post was other than to post something. Maybe I just wanted to mention that as far as I am from racing these days, I'm still riding when I can, and enjoying it as much as I ever did.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Red-Eye Express

This weekend I went down to Las Vegas for a few interviews at a job fair the school put on. My original plan was to drive to visit my grandparents in St. George on Friday night, and then to continue to Vegas in the morning.

Unfortunately, thanks to a few unexpected events, by Friday it was obvious that this was not the best week for a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's. We decided not to go as a family, and I decided that instead of driving to St. George by myself on Friday, I would wake up early and drive by myself to Las Vegas. So, I went to bed a little before 10:00, woke up a little before 1:00, and, after a quick shower and a Red Bull stop at Seven Eleven, I was on the road at 1:15.

I love driving late at night. The roads are so empty, and that makes the trip much less stressful, as long as you're not too tired to enjoy it. I had a rough time through Utah County, where there were not only cars on the road, but rain and construction, too, but by the time I hit Payson the road was wide open.

I debated flooring it and gambling that there would be no police out so late at night, but I decided against it. Despite my conservative pace, the GPS still gave me a 6:00 ETA. I was worried that that meant it was broken, but as I rolled through Parowan I remembered that I gain an hour traveling to Vegas. Which meant I could have slept for another hour. Oh well.

Anyway, despite a gas stop, a bathroom break, and a 20-minute nap at the side of the road, I arrived in Vegas a just after 6:00 local time, which means that the entire trip took less than six hours.

I had planned to grab breakfast and then sleep in the car for an hour or so before getting ready for the interviews, but after I ate I realized I had forgotten to bring copies of my resume and some other documents, so instead of sleeping I set out in search of a FedEx/Kinko's or whatever they're called now. Then, I changed into my suit in a parking garage and headed in for my interviews.

The interviews went well, I think. I spoke to three very different people from very different firms. I guess the interviewers are trying to sell their firms as much as I'm trying to sell myself, and I think they did good jobs. I could see myself being happy at all three, for different reasons.

Anyway, I guess this is going to just be a travelogue post. At the job fair I picked up two passengers for the return trip, which meant I didn't have to drive on the way home--a good thing, given my lack of sleep.

We made it back to Prove at about 7:00, and I headed up to AF to pick up Catherine and Elliott, and then we headed down to Orem to watch the BYU game with Kelsey and Matthew (who, by the way, is catching up with Elliott fast and will probably outgrow her within a month). If you're reading this you already know how things turned out, but I'll say it anyway: Worst. Game. Ever.

By the time we made it home and I made it to bed, it was almost midnight. Talk about a long day.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Late Night False Alarms

I was just about to go to bed, but I realized that would mean two days without posting. And considering how well I've done for the past two weeks or so (quantity, not quality,),that's a slippery slope I don't want to start down. So, here's a story without a point.

Our refrigerator is loud most of the time (although it doesn't bother me, it drives Catherine crazy). But sometimes it's very quiet. For example, it decided to get very quiet sometime after midnight last night. I noticed because I was out in the kitchen finishing up a reading assignment and getting ready to go for a short run (my schedule these days is neither normal nor healthy). But when I heard the refigerator go silent, I panicked. I'm not sure why, because the refrigerator goes silent all the time (in fact, it's not making any noise as I type this). But for some reason, last night I was sure that it had broken.

We have about 400 ounces of milk for Elliott in the freezer, and losing it would not be cool. So I jumped in the car and drove to Wal-Mart, where I bought two coolers. They didn't have any dry ice, so I decided to buy 30 pounds of regular ice (better safe than sorry). As I left the parking lot, I thought that maybe there was dry ice at Smith's, so I took the long route home through Alpine, only to find out what I already knew--Smith's was closed.

Anyway, I got home a little before 2:00. Naturally, the refrigerator was running when I opened the door. So I left the coolers in the car and set the ice out on the doorstep to melt. Then I went to bed.

And that's the end of my story. Like I said, I don't think there's any point to it. Then again, maybe the lesson is that I need to sleep more. It's a lesson that I obviously didn't learn, because it's 1:30 right now.

Good night.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Elliott on her Belliott . . . in HD!

I'm sure this is boring to many, but not to me. I could watch her do this all day.

It's hard to imagine something so simple taking so much effort. Then again, I haven't been three months old for a while.

(The video works pretty well in full-screen.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Not Cyclists -- People with Bikes

I went out for about as early a ride as I have in a long time. I was supposed to be on the road at 6:00 (still dark) so I could meet Aaron and Ryan at the mouth of Provo Canyon at 6:30. I got off a few minutes late, which stretched out into a few minutes more on the road to Provo, but eventually we all found each other in the parking lot by Will's Pit Stop.

The parking lot was surprisingly crowded for a Saturday morning before sunrise, and the River Trail was correspondingly busy as we headed up toward the Alpine Loop. Once we turned onto the loop, we climbed at a nice, conversational pace, hitting the summit in 57:xx.

As we started down the American Fork side, a white SUV was right on our tails almost immediately. I was bringing up the rear, and since we were going way over the speed limit anyway, I didn't think there was any reason for us to stop and let the driver pass. When we hit the sharp 180 degree turn (anyone who's ridden the route knows what I'm talking about), I took the outside line, and the driver stomped the gas, sliding his tires through the inside line and cutting me off, before blowing down the road (one lane, with two way traffic) at about 60 mph, barely squeezing past Aaron and Ryan on his way.

I've been riding long enough that there are plenty of jerks in cars, but this was a pretty blatant example of bad behavior. But what was most disheartening was that the SUV had a rack with several mountain bikes on the back. In a way, I felt betrayed, because I've always thought that at least some of the drivers on the road are fellow cyclists who wouldn't risk my life to save a few seconds.

The most likely explanation is that the driver and his passengers were not cyclists but people on bikes. Whichever trail they rode, I hope they crashed.

Speaking of cyclists, I consider myself one, even in my semi-retired state. But you know what? I'm not very good at riding bikes. I can put the power to the pedals--it's pretty straightforward, and I seem to be pretty good at it. But when it comes to basic things like turning, not a chance. Seriously, every time I ride with other people I'm reminded of what a terrible bike handler I am the instant we start descending. There's a reason I couldn't cut it as a racer . . .

On a completely unrelated note, Catherine and I went to the temple with her grandparents, her cousin, and her cousin-in-law. It was the first time we've been in a while. (Last time we planned to go, we ended up going to the hospital to have a baby instead.) While we were there, Amy watched Elliott for us. It seems like Jin has taken a liking to Elliott. It's nice to know that she won't grow up afraid of big dogs.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

All Is Well

Whether Catherine's procedure was a success or a failure depends on how you look at it. On the one hand, we know her heart is healthy and ready to handle some serious stress. On the other hand, the doctors were unable to induce any irregular beats and therefore unable to perform the ablation, so the possibility remains that Catherine's condition could come back in the future.

We got a late start this morning, but only because of some miscommunication. The appointment was at 6:30, but somehow I thought it was at 6:45. Catherine couldn't understand why I was so relaxed and sure we'd be on time until we figured that out. Despite the mix-up, we were only a few minutes late, and really we were there with plenty of time to get set up.

Catherine's mom was there to watch Elliott, which was a huge help. She and Elliott stayed in the lobby, while Catherine and I headed into the bowels of the hospital. The prep went quickly. Catherine was lucky enough to have a fantastic team working today; the nurse set up the IV without a hitch (often a much bigger problem than you might expect) and the anesthesiologist was excellent. At about 7:30 they wheeled Catherine out and that was the last I saw of her for a couple of hours.

I knew Catherine would be gone for at least 2 hours and possibly as long as 7 hours, but there was no way to know for sure until the procedure was done. So after they took her away I went and ate some breakfast at the hospital cafeteria, then I hung out in the lobby with Elliott for a bit while working on a law review article. After about an hour I headed back to the hospital room so I would be there for sure when they brought Catherine back. Right as I got there, one of the nurses came in and told me they had been unable to induce a bad beat after one hour, so they had put Catherine under a general anesthetic so they could try some heavier stuff. The nurse said that the last thing Catherine did before going under was ask her to go find me and tell me that she loves me. I thought it was very sweet.

About an hour later, the team brought Catherine back, and I knew then that there had been no ablation. The plus side was that I got to see her sooner. Also, she's pretty funny under the influence of anesthesia, although she doesn't remember much of anything she said. When they came into the room, the anesthesiologist tested her alertness by asking if she knew who I was. She told him I was her "awesome sexy husband." He thought it was hilarious. I was embarrassed.

While under the influence, Catherine was pretty convinced that she could still make the procedure work. Back in the room, she was actively bargaining with the nursing staff to see if she could get them to try a few more things. (Catherine: "He has a few more tricks, right?" Nurse: "What?" Catherine: "You know--the tricks. That he has up his sleeve."

The staff and I had a great time laughing at the things Catherine said. I guess it was so funny because even though she wasn't making much sense, she was so serious about what she was saying. At one point, a nurse told Catherine there was nothing more they could do. Catherine emphatically declared, "that's crap." The nurse explained that the reason for her earlier arrhythmia was the hormones related to pregnancy. Catherine thought about that for a minute and then suggested that if they took her back in she would pretend she was pregnant. Eventually the nurses managed to explain why that wouldn't work.

When the nurses were leaving, Catherine asked her favorite to go "advocate" for her so she could try another procedure. The nurse tactfully told her that she would tell the doctor everything she had said. Catherine thought about that for a while and decided it sounded like a fair compromise.

By the time the doctor came in, Catherine was still coming around, but not there completely. We discussed future options (if Catherine gets pregnant again and the arrhythmia returns, they can operate without x-rays), and then somehow the conversation turned to the lack of cooperation between the IHC hospitals and the U and how it's been that way for more than 50 years. With a very serious expression, Catherine suggested to the doctor that he could change that by inviting someone to lunch.

Anyway, after the doctor left, I went out and brought Elliott and Catherine's mom in. An hour later they let Catherine go home, and that was it. On the one hand, I'm happy that her heart is healthy and that she didn't have to have surgery. On the other hand, it would have been nice for them to resolve the problem once and for all. Of course, after today they say there's a good chance that the condition may never come back, so hurray for that.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Big Day Tomorrow

Catherine, Elliott and I will be at the hospital tomorrow morning at 6:45 for a heart procedure. (Heart surgery, actually, but that sounds so serious.)

Basically, the tachycardia that Catherine had during the pregnancy has gone away, which would be a good thing, except that it will likely pop up again during another pregnancy, which would mean more medication, which might be bad for the baby, etc. Arrhythmias such as Catherine's can be fixed pretty easily through ablation, but there's a catch--they can only perform the procedure if they can see where the irregular beats are coming from. Since Catherine's condition has cleared up, they're going to shoot her full of adrenaline and hope that her heart goes crazy. If it does, they can perform the ablation and the problem will be gone forever. If it doesn't, we cross our fingers and hope the condition is gone for good.

Elliott and I are confident everything will go smoothly. (That is, I'm confident, and I'm projecting onto Elliott.) But as you might expect, Catherine is pretty nervous, she being the one who has to have heart surgery. Please keep her in your prayers.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back to Work

After a long break (I only have classes on Monday and Wednesday, so thanks to the holiday I haven't been to school in nearly a week), I started my externship this morning. This semester, I'll be working twice a week at the court in American Fork. I took the position because I thought it would be convenient and because I thought it would be a good way to expose myself to a wide range of legal issues. So far, it looks like the position will deliver on both.

The courthouse is no more than a mile from our house, so I was able to head out the door at 7:45 this morning and walk over just in time to start at 8:00. Convenient.

I'll be dealing with civil issues, criminal cases (on my way in I walked past a dude in an orange jumpsuit and manacles with a huge tattoo on the back of his skull), and family law. In other words, I should experience a much wider range of legal issues than I did over the summer.

Right now I'm helping with what seems to be a particularly nasty divorce. I read one side and I'm convinced the husband is a jerk. Then I read the other side and I'm convinced the wife is a jerk. (Of course, I guess they can both be jerks.) Then again, I'd expect things to be nasty when so much money is at stake. I hope that someday I make as much as the husband is paying in alimony and child support alone. Yikes.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Faceless Ghost

I googled "faceless ghost" a few minutes ago. (In case you think that was some sort of ego trip, let me explain. I was looking at results from the Park City Point to Point this weekend and I noticed some pretty funny names in the "representing" column of the results. I googled some of them--my favorite was "really fast donkeys"--and then I got to wondering if there were any Faceless Ghost teams anywhere. So I googled "faceless ghost." And now, back to my post ...)I think this blog came up fourth or fifth.

Anyway, I was most interested in the first hit (wikipedia). Apparently, "the Noppera-bō, or faceless ghost, is a Japanese legendary creature." Pretty cool, I guess. For a minute I thought that meant I was part Japanese, but then I remembered that I'm not really the faceless ghost. I just stole his name.

In other news, Sean and I went mountain biking this morning. We decided to go to Spanish Fork to explore some new trails. Things didn't go quite as planned with the route finding, but we still had a good time. It usually turns into an adventure when I decide to try a new route.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Why I Hate Cycling

I don't actually. In fact, I love it. But I do hate bikes.

More specfically, I hate bike ownership. It's fun to see all the new bikes that come out, and to covet something newer and shinier than whatever you already have. But once you own the bike, the problems never end. It could be that I've just had a tremendous run of bad luck. Or it could be that I'm overly sensitive to mechanical problems. But it seems that once you have a bike, things start breaking. And then it seems to get to the point that you can never just go out and ride because you have to patch a tire, replace a chain, fix a spoke, etc.

Obviously, broken is not a bicycles default condition. As long as I'm reasonably diligent about maintenance, my bikes are usually in good shape and ready to ride. It's just that when something breaks at an inconvenient time (is there ever a convenient time for something to break?), the experience sticks with me.

The reason for this post is a busted disc brake on my mountain bike. While I was lubing the chain and inflating the tires for a ride with Sean tomorrow morning, I noticed a rasping from the front brake. As I tried to figure out what the problem was, the brake seized completely. It turns out that there's some loose piece of metal in there jamming things up. I can't tell for sure, but I think the problem will go away with a new set of pads. But for now, the brake is unusable. Which means that instead of going to bed at ten I've been up trying to swap brakes over from another bike so I can ride tomorrow.

I've got that problem taken care of, but now I've noticed a loud, occasional pop coming somewhere from the front end. I can't tell if that's a sign that something is about to break on me, or just that a new sound is about to drive me crazy. And early this week the bike was out of commission because the wheels were knocked out of true and the bearings in my front hub were loose. With bikes, if it's not one thing, it's another.

Mechanical issues were one of the main reasons I switched to running last year. But then I discovered that mechanicals happen there, too. They're called injuries, and you can't fix them nearly as quickly or easily as a you can a broken bike.

I won't be complaining when I'm on the trail tomorrow morning, but for now I want to cry about it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Alpine Loop

Really, this is another one of those post-just-to-post days.

I got out this morning and rode the Alpine Loop for the first time in a while. In fact, the last time I rode it was during the 2009 Tour of Utah. Come to think of it, after a week of racing that climb hit me so hard that pieces of my racing career are still scattered along the side of the road. I guess there's a reason I haven't been back for a while.

Anyway, the climb is still there, and still as good as it ever was. I rode from our house in American Fork to Provo Canyon, then up the Sundance side. (I've been riding in Utah for at 8 years, and I've still never ridden up the American Fork side.) I felt strong on the climb, but I hit the summit in 50 minutes flat, so I only felt strong. I think the compact crank helps a lot with that. Maybe I should spend more time on the back. Then, I might actually be strong instead of just feeling that way.

In other news, Elliott has slept straight through the night for two nights in a row. We're hoping this is the beginning of a new era.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Time Multiplier

I know I'm stating the obvious to anyone who's had children, and this isn't something I just discovered today, but things take a lot longer when you have kids.

After last night's botched trip to the library, I had to head back with Elliott today. The first delay was waiting for her to wake up and eat. I figured that if I let her sleep until she was hungry and left right after she ate, I'd be able to make it to Provo and back before she got hungry and fussy again.

She slept through the entire drive in, and she was pretty calm when I walked over to the library with her in the Baby Bjorn. (I noticed during the summer semester that I get all kinds of "isn't that cute" looks when I walk around campus with Elliott. It was funny then, but now that there are so many people on campus it makes me a little uncomfortable.)

As soon as we set foot in the periodicals section of the library, however, Elliott decided that she would scream every time I stopped moving. This made it very tricky to get things done.

I still couldn't get the moving shelves to move, so I asked a librarian for help. She came over and pressed the same button I had been pressing and the shelves moved, so maybe the problem was me. But it turned out that the volume I needed was in an auxiliary storage area, so I wouldn't have had any luck last night even if I had figured out the shelf thing.

Anyway, once I got the article I needed I had to figure out how to scan it. Normally, that's pretty easy. But as I already mentioned, Elliott had decided to start screaming every time I stopped moving. And since I was in a crowded library, that meant I couldn't stop moving. After several attempts to get her to be quiet long enough for me to scan my article, I gave up. I tried calling Amy, but she was unavailable. I decided my only choice was to hang out on campus until she was done with her class or her meeting or whatever else she was up to so I could leave Elliott with her for five minutes and scan my article.

Fortunately, just as I was leaving the library I ran into another guy from law review who took five minutes and scanned the article for me. And that was that. In short, I ended up spending over an hour to do what should have taken ten minutes. Daddy-daughter bonding time, I guess.

And of course, Elliott fell asleep as soon as we got back to the car and didn't wake up until after we got home.

Daddy's little monster.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Posting Just to Post

I was all ready to go to bed, and then I remembered that I hadn't posted today, so here I am. And guess what--I don't have much to say tonight. I stayed home with Elliott today and studied while Catherine went to work. Of course, being on daddy duty cuts my productivity in half, but the advantage is that I get to spend time with my daughter. It's a good trade. Especially this early in the semester, when finals are so far away.

I did run into campus tonight, because I needed to pull one article from the periodical archives on campus. But once I got there the sliding shelves were broken and the staff had gone home for the night, so there was no way for me to get at the article I needed. I guess it's possible that the shelves were fine and I was just too stupid to figure it out, but I've been in a library enough that I'm pretty sure that's not the case. Anyway, it was a bit of a wasted trip. I guess I'll be taking Elliott in tomorrow, which is exactly what I was hoping to avoid by going in tonight.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Peach Cobbler v3.0

Even after Monday's cobbler catastrophe, I wasn't ready to give up. And everything went right today: I didn't destroy any personal property, and the cobbler survived long enough for us to eat it. And it was delicious.

I got out of class earlier today than I did on Monday, so I was able to pick up peaches at the Allred Orchard place on University. Much better than the peaches at Harmon's, and much cheaper, too.

Of course, they were even better after stewing in their own juices, with a cup sugar thrown in for good measure.

Last time I mixed the batter, it cost me $400. It went better today.

Like most things, it's better with butter.

And peaches.

Here's the finished product. Unfortunately, some of the mix boiled up onto the side of the dish and burned in the oven. The cobbler turned out fine, but it didn't look as nice as I had hoped.

It looked fine with ice cream, though.

And that's the end of my cobbler adventure. The recipe turned out to be pretty simple, once I eliminated all the mayhem, and I think I'll use it again sometime. Cobbler is one of Catherine's favorite desserts, but I don't usually eat much of it. This one is different, though. I think it's the fresh peaches that make the difference.

This last picture has nothing to do with cobbler. But I've posted a picture of Elliott every day this week, so why stop now?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Worst. Interview. Ever.

It's interviewing season at the law school right now. I was going to go into more detail about that, but I changed my mind, at least for now.

This afternoon I had a phone interview with a large firm in Southern California. I'm pretty sure the big firm path isn't for me, but the attorney I worked for this summer advised me to pursue opportunities in the biggest firms in the biggest markets available to me, so I figured I should at least apply. (In the off chance that they don't say no to me, I can always say no to them if I want to, right?)

Anyway, I scheduled the interview for this afternoon because Elliott was supposed to be with a babysitter, and that way I wouldn't have to worry about what to do with a fussy baby during the interview. I was especially worried about that because I knew that if she started crying during the interview, I would have to not only ignore her until I was done, I'd have to move to a different part of the house so that the I wouldn't have to be competing with a screaming baby for the interviewer's attention. That seemed like a bad idea to me.

Unfortunately, something came up, and Elliott was with me this afternoon rather than with a babysitter. And as expected, she woke up and started fussing about 30 minutes before the interview. I fed her, but that didn't help, so I put her in her little Bumbo chair on the table where she could watch me work, and that seemed to do the trick.

Elliott was still happy five minutes before the scheduled interview time, so I decided to leave her in the chair (although I put her and her chair on the floor in case I had to leave her unsupervised for a bit.) I was sure things were going to work out, but less than two minutes into the interview Elliott started to fuss.

I moved into the kitchen so that the interviewer wouldn't be able to hear anything, but a few minutes later Elliott started to cry and I had to move out into the yard. I think moving away from your crying baby is the most counter-intuitive things you can do as a father

Needless to say, I don't recall much of the interview. I remember answering questions, but my mind never left the living room. At one point, the interviewer was giving a fairly lengthy response to one of my questions, so I covered the mouthpiece on my phone and ran inside to check on Elliott. I felt like the worst parent in the world when I stepped inside and saw her sitting there alone and crying her little head off.

But it was even worse when I stepped back in a few minutes later and she wasn't crying any more. Instead, she was slouched in her chair panting with her eyes red and tears streaked down her cheek. As for as I could tell, she had cried until she couldn't cry anymore, and then she just sat there wondering why no one was coming to get her. I'm not sure if I've ever felt so bad in my life.

The interview ended shortly after that and I ran inside, pulled Elliott out of her chair, and sat with her in the rocking chair until Catherine came home 45 minutes later. As I write this, I'm pretty sure she's forgotten the whole thing. But I haven't, and I won't, either.

As for the interview, who knows. Honestly, at this point I'm not sure I even care.

Monday, August 29, 2011

One of those Days

Today is Catherine's birthday. Last year, Amy got some peaches from a roadside place in Provo and gave them to Catherine as a present. They were some of the best peaches we've ever had, so I told Catherine I'd get her some on my way home today. This afternoon I decided I'd do one better and use the peaches to make her a birthday cobbler (Catherine loves peach cobbler).

Unfortunately, I don't get out of class until 6:00 on Mondays, so the peach place was closed by the time I got there. Not to be deterred, I picked up some peaches at Harmon's and went home and got busy in the kitchen.

As I was preparing the batter, I knocked my mixing bowl over, spilling the contents on my computer and destroying it. (It being my computer, not the cobbler. Although the cobbler was pretty dead, too.)

Since I'm at a point in my life where I can't be computerless (and since Catherine is one of those Mac people, I can't really borrow her computer), I had to run over to Costco to see what I could find. I was lucky enough to find a screaming deal on a computer comparable to the one I had just destroyed (better in some ways). Although it was a bummer to have to shell out so much on short notice, I can take comfort in the fact that (thanks to Costco's 2-year warranty) I now have a computer guaranteed to last me through law school. Unless I spill cobbler on it.

While I was at Costco, Catherine called me and I could hear Elliott crying in the background. Catherine had left her on her little play mat, as we always do, and Elliott had then kicked herself back hard enough to bop her head on a bookshelf. She was fine, but it was a bit of a scare for us first-time parents. The silver lining here is that Elliott is showing the first signs of mobility. We're proud of her for that, and we're bracing ourselves for the fact that this won't be the last time she bops her head.

Also while I was at Costco, Catherine had pulled my cobbler v2.0 out of the oven and set it out to cool. Because we have limited counter space, we usually let things cool on the stove top. Unfortunately, I had been so flustered after destroying my computer that I forgot to turn off the stove. A few minutes after Catherine set the cobbler down, it exploded. There's no silver lining here--it was an awesome cobbler, and we were excited to eat it.

Happy birthday, Catherine. I love you, and I'm sorry things didn't go more smoothly today.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

An Experiment

For the past year or so, Catherine and I have been slowly reading through mission journals together. And while mine is not as interesting or as detailed as hers, it is pretty complete in the sense that there was only one day throughout the who two years that I didn't write, and that day was in the MTC.

Since I got home, I've never managed to keep a journal with any consistency. The lack of motivation has carried over into my blogging.

Of course, the key to my writing on the mission was that I wrote something every day. Sometimes that only amounted to a sentence or two. Other times I wrote pages. But I always wrote.

So following the example of another blog I read, I'm going to try this week to write every day. Even if I have nothing to say, I'll put something down. After all, I can always post baby pictures:

Speaking of babies, today was Elliott's blessing. The comment I heard most about her blessing afterward was "short and sweet." Which I guess means that I had a noticeable lack of things to say. But I was nervous (I hate public speaking). And besides, quality over quantity, right?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

2011 Speedgoat 50K - So Not Cool

I signed up for the Speedgoat 50K last year, shortly after a successful run at Sapper Joe. But I injured my knee for the first time a couple of weeks later and ended up deferring my registration. Unfortunately, I've spent most of this year injured, too, so I was going to defer one more time, but a few weeks ago Jared called and peer-pressured me into running. So, after a couple of weeks of light training and a longish run a few days before the race, I found myself heading up to Snowbird with Catherine and Elliott bright and early on Saturday morning.

Here's the elevation profile for the Speedgoat:

And here's my training mileage for the year up to the day before the race. Can you spot the problem?

Anyway, Jared talked me into running by telling me that he hadn't run much either. Of course, his not running much involved a ton of backcountry skiing, including a new speed record on the Grand Teton, whereas my not running much involved not running much or doing anything else.

We decided to take at easy on the opening climb and stay together until the tram. (Andy said he would do the same, but he was gone fifty feet into the race—probably a good call, as he would go on to finish seventh). And we mostly stayed together, I ditched Jared twice on the way up—once when he stopped to figure out how to get water from an aid station with no cups (how's the no bottle strategy working now, Samurai?) and again when he stopped to figure out how to cross a stream without getting his feet wet—but we were still together as we came into the final half mile to the tram station. But then we overshot the trail while climbing straight up a snowy slope, and Jared opened a small gap that would hold for eight miles or so when he slid back down to get on course as I tentatively picked my way after him.

I reached the aid station at the summit and paused long enough to drink some soda before tackling a quick, steep descent along the ridge and then climbing to the top of Baldy. From there it was a longer descent into Mineral Basin, which included a rocky shoot with ropes set up to help me and the other runners not die. Scary stuff.

From Mineral Basin it was a short climb over a ridge, followed by a long descent into American Fork Canyon. The descent was infuriating. I guess you could call it a fire road, but it was covered in rocks and super technical, making it impossible to maintain any speed or develop any sort of rhythm. Also, the course had been heavily flagged up until this point, the flags on the descent were few and far between, making me wonder if I had wandered off course. I reminded myself that I could always just run home if that were the case, but that turned out to be unnecessary, as there was a course marshal at the bottom directing me to the feed zone at the turnaround.

I arrived at the feedzone, comfortably in the top 20, just as Jared was leaving. I loitered for a while before setting back out on course, because I just couldn't bear the thought of the climb in front of me. Although I had felt pretty good for the first half of the race, the long descent had trashed my quads, and 16 miles was about as far as my training had prepared me for. I ended up hiking almost all of the five-mile climb back to Mineral Basin. I wasn't the only one hiking, but based on how many people passed me, I must have been hiking slower than almost everyone. (I say almost everyone because I caught and passed Jared about a mile out of the feedzone.)

I stopped at the feedzone in Mineral Basin to stock up on Jolly Ranchers, salt capsules and water, and I actually felt a lot better for the brtually steep climb straight up a ski slope to the tunnel. But the following descent took everything I had left, and by the time I hit the climb back up to the tram station I was done.

As I shuffled up the ridge, Jared blew past me, then another runner, then another. I eventually staggered into the aid station with my head pounding (from the altitude, the dehydration, the lack of carbohydrates, or some combination of the three) and unable to to walk in a straight line. One of the volunteers asked what I needed and I said a chair. As I sat there with several cups of soda, a tram arrived at the top, and I seriously thought about hopping in and DNFing, thinking I still had 8 miles and another climb to the finish. But when one of the volunteers told me it was only five miles, all downhill, I knew I had to get up and finish.

The descent was slow and painful and slow. And did I mention slow? My quads were so trashed that 12 minute miles downhill were a struggle, and I may have even walked a few stretches. For the last two miles or so I checked my Garmin every 10-15 seconds, wondering why the stupid miles were passing so slowly. But finally I hit the finish line in 7:26. Catherine and Elliott were there waiting for me, and I don't think I've ever been so happy to be done running.

Honestly, this was not a fun race. I was woefully unprepared, and I think I got lucky it went as well as I did. But although I promised myself repeatedly throughout the day that I was going to quit doing this to myself, I'm already planning to go back next year. Assuming I my knee will let me put in the training miles, I know I can do much, much better. My time was the time I deserved, but it wasn't even close to what I'm capable of. Watch what happens next time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guest Post: Mt. Olympus West Slabs

This blog suffers. It's not that I can't blog--I write at least a little bit on my training blog every day. But I have no theme here, and that makes it hard for me to be consistent. If you have any ideas, please let me know. In the meantime, here's a guest post from my brother, Sean.

After hearing about the West Slabs of Mount Olympus from Jared, I have been itching to climb them. Jared recently free-soloed the route, so I felt that was the best way to do it. The timing was finally right the day after my birthday, and having no one to come along with me, I made a go for it solo. I had never been anywhere near the route—I had just seen it from the U of U hospital in the distance—so I gathered whatever beta I could off the internet and from Jared, and then set out.

Originally, I had planned on taking a 30 meter line with me in case I got in over my head on either the ascent or descent. But, after loading my pack up with that equipment, I decided it was too heavy and I’d rather have a lighter load to move quicker. Having told several people, who worry about me, that I would have a rope in case of trouble, I second guessed the decision the whole time on the approach. How dumb would I feel if something happened that a rope could have prevented…but the light pack sure felt nice on my back.

The approach was really straight forward. I followed the trail from the parking area up, then picked up a nicely maintained trail to the east that ended in a dry river bed. I followed this up until I hit the snow field that led to the base of the slabs. I have very limited experience on this type of terrain so I was a bit hesitant at first. But, once I realized that my shoes would hold in the small steps I kicked out, I felt pretty secure.

Once I hit the top of the snow, I found a good boulder to sit on and strap on my climbing shoes. After letting a couple siblings know that I was starting the climb, I began my ascent of the West Slabs. From all the beta I gathered, the route basically goes wherever looks good. So I looked up, saw a good hand hold, and started going up. The second I started climbing, I found the zone. Every doubt and uncertainty if I should be there alone disappeared quickly. All that was on my mind was my dance with the stone. I stopped occasionally in ledges to look down at my progress, but the draw of the climb kept me going up. The first few hundred feet was the most fun. I wish that the route was that steep the whole way, but it mellowed out the higher I got and eventually became a 4th class scramble to the top.

Once on top, I nearly missed stepping on a rattlesnake poking his head out from a hole on the ridge, ate a cliff bar, took a couple pics, then began figuring out how I was going to get down. Jared had suggested that I traverse the ridge, eventually hitting the South Summit, and then descend via the main hiking trail. But the rattlesnake spooked me a bit and the last thing I wanted was to be alone on the ridge with a rattlesnake bite. So instead, I decided to go down the gully just west of the West Slab route.

There were several trees with rap slings, but the descent was easy enough that I was able to down climb the gulley back to the base of the climb. From there I descended the snow field I had gone up. This was the scariest part to me. Some snow spikes on my shoes would’ve been nice, but I made do with a flimsy stick as a trekking pole instead. One part of the snow field had collapsed during my time on the rock, and getting around it became quite a task. I had to descend a corner system on the side that rolled off under the snow into the river beneath it…and one slip half way down gave me a nice shot of adrenaline. But, it turned out well and I was able to finish the descent with no problems.

I got back to the car in about three and a half hours; no speed record by any means, but one site I looked at suggested the time from the car to the top would take 5-6 hours. So, 3.5 car to car was alright by me. Now that I know the route, I want to head back and do it under 2 hours. The descent took the most time, the snow field especially, so I think I could easily shave a lot of time.

The climb was a great way to celebrate my birthday. If anyone is looking to do an easy free solo with very limited risk, this is the place to do it. I’ve done a lot of climbing, and this rates among the best.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Filler Post

I've been slacking in the blogging department. So, until I come up with some new material, I give you demon baby:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Elliott Isabella

On Friday, Catherine walked past the employee health center in the Church Office Building and fatefully decided to check her blood pressure. It turned out to be 160/100, and because Catherine was 8.5 months pregnant, we had to take her to the hospital.

We got to the hospital at about 4:00 and within two hours the staff had diagnosed preeclampsia and decided to induce labor. So, rather than enjoying the date we had planned for the night, we made some calls, got a few changes of clothes, and settled in for the long haul.

At 6:28 on Sunday morning, Catherine gave birth to Elliott Isabella. At 5 pounds 6 ounces, she's tiny. But her height is right in the 50th percentile, so she's pretty lanky. We're not sure where she gets that from.

Catherine may want to share her story later, but for now I'll just say that things have been going well: Catherine is recovering quickly, Elliott is healthy, and we're thrilled to have her.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

At Least My Knee Will Heal Itself

A week or two ago I realized that, thanks to my left knee, I haven't had a single solid week of running all year. And now half of the year is gone.

But I managed to run every day in the week leading up to the Grandeur Fun Run, and every day in the week after, too. And although I didn't run a lot (high 30s and low 40s), I did log plenty of vertical, and I started thinking my knee was finally coming around. But after my run on Monday I could feel trouble brewing. Things were a little worse on Tuesday. And yesterday I finally had to admit that I pushed past the limit and now I'm injured again.

Based on past experience, there's a good chance that this will pass quickly if I just stop running for a week or two. So maybe it's good that I'm actually injured rather than sitting on the cusp of an injury, because now I'll do what I should have done before and take some legitimate time off. And if I can get my knee back on track quickly, I may not have to defer my Speedgoat registration for another year.

Anyway, for better or for worse, since yesterday evening I've been cross training at the gym (specifically, logging time on the stair stepper) rather than running. Which leads me to what I was going to write about.

Earlier today Catherine and I took the Mazdarati to the car wash. So I was surprised when I stepped out of the gym tonight and walked over to the car and saw that it looked pretty dirty. I looked closer and saw this dent running from the rear quarter panel to the passenger door.

I thought, "you've got to be kidding." I went back into the gym and told the employee that someone had sideswiped my car. I filled out an incident report while he went out to have a look. He pointed out that it looked like blue paint on the car, and suggested that I take a look at the blue cars in the lot to see if any had white paint on their bumpers.

That sounded like a good idea, so I took a look around. There were a few cars of the right color, but none had white paint on their bumpers, so I headed back to the car, feeling justifiably angry.

I got back to the car, and something didn't seem quite right. Then it dawned on me: same model, same color, same trim, but not my car. I looked over a few spots and saw my car, as clean as I remembered it.

Anyway, I went back in and told the employee what happened. We both had a good laugh, he tossed the incident report, and I went home.

It's funny how a false alarm can make the status quo seem better than it did before. Right now, I'm just happy my car is okay. My knee is still injured, and that still sucks, but at least it will heal itself, and at no cost to me.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Grandeur Peak Fun Run

I ran my second Grandeur Fun Run on Saturday. It's a bit of a misnomer, because it hurts too much to really be fun, and much of the course is far too steep to run. But I had a great time this year just like I did last year, even if I was ten minutes slower. I miss my pre-law school fitness. Sigh.

Anyways, Jon carried a camera during the race, and his video is below. Look for me in the yellow shirt at the start. If you miss that, look for the bloody knee at the end. Because apparently I need training wheels.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's Over. For Now.

This week was the law review write-on, and at the recommendation of several reliable sources, including my uncle, I decided to participate. Basically, the contest involved two parts: writing a 15-page article based on a series of sources provided by the law review committee, and performing a technical edit on the footnotes of a sample law review article. Both parts were difficult. Both parts were frustrating. And there wasn't really enough time, either (especially since I spent so much time this week taking care of other, more important things, like a death in the family and maternity appointments with Catherine).

But I got everything done by the 5:00 deadline on Friday. And after I read my article, I realized it wasn't awful, which is much better than I had expected as I was writing it.

The best part of the competition was the relief I felt when it was over. It was exactly what I hoped to feel (but didn't) after finals ended last week. Because now, at least for the rest of the summer, I have some breathing room. Sure, I'll be busy--I start my internship next week, and Baby is coming next month--but for the next few months I can leave my work at work. For the last two semesters, I've been living with this feeling that I should be always doing something. I think I did a good job of balancing school with the rest of my life, but I could never truly enjoy my time because there was always a paper that needed to be written, a class that needed to be outlined, a case that needed to be read, or notes that needed to be studied.

After turning in my law review materials, I locked up my carrel, picked up my Nook, walked over to a couch in the library and spent an hour or so reading a novel while I waited for Catherine to come pick me up. I don't think I've ever enjoyed the simple act of reading so much.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I'm Back ... Again

I can't remember how many times I've tried to keep this blog going over the years. But Catherine asked me to start it up again, so I promised I'd start this one again as soon as finals were over. And as of this morning, finals are over.

Technically, that makes me a 2L. And although I am relieved to be done with the testing, the relief really isn't as great as I would have hoped. Because now I have to wait and worry for two months for grades to come out, because apparently grades are everything in law school, and apparently last semester went well enough that I kind of dread (and expect) that I didn't do as well the second time around.

And besides, being done with finals doesn't really mean much. Tomorrow I have something like 5 hours worth of mandatory meetings. On Saturday, I'm taking the GMAT, cold (the story of why I'm taking the test now instead of two months ago would have made a great post by itself). All of next week belongs to the law review write-on. And the week after that I start my externship. And so on.

So anyways, that's school. As for running, I've been plagued by recurring knee injuries, of which there have been four or five in the past 10 months, depending on how you count. Despite the injuries, and the resulting gaps in my training, I managed to finish the Buffalo Run 50K a few weeks ago, and I even managed to do so only a few minutes slower than last year. But the result seems to be a new and exciting knee injury, which means my training continues to be less than it should. Which is troubling because I'm supposed to run the Squaw Peak 50 in six weeks or so.

Anyways, I'd say I'm starting to feel off topic now, but I don't think I was ever on topic to begin with. And that's pretty much why I've never managed to get this blog to stick--lack of direction. I don't want or need this to be a training blog (I already have one of those), and I don't want this to be a law school blog, because nobody wants to read about that. But this may wind up being a bit of both, or neither. I guess it depends on what I feel like writing on any given day. For now, I'll just say that I'm going to write something once a week. And we'll see where we go from there.

Also, Catherine and I are expecting a baby girl eight weeks from today. If you're reading this, you probably already knew that, but I thought I'd throw it out there, just in case.