Friday, December 26, 2008

A Suprise Christmas Guest

I am really sleepy so I don't want to write too much or it won't make sense when I go back to read it tomorrow. I just wanted to give our Christmas a little shout out, because it was amazing. This is due to my mother in law and husband. When we found out on Christmas eve that my little bro, Scott, was going to be all alone for Christmas Jodie immediately went on the computer and bought him a flight to get here in time for dinner! Then she went with Colt and they ran to the store on Christmas eve to buy stuff for him to open the next day. He was so surprised and excited to be invited to come and then to have a nice pile of gifts waiting for him Christmas morning and Christmas jammies that evening.
I was not able to go on the shopping trip for Scott because I was preparing my family's traditional Swedish Christmas eve dinner. My family has really extensive Christmas eve traditions. This was my first time preparing the meal all by myself. I am so in awe of my Mom that she does this every year! All of the food turned out good. I do have some areas I would like to improve on. My bread didn't rise enough. I was feeling bad about this and then I spoke with my Mom who said that her bread didn't rise well this year either. It is just such a dense bread! A lot of the food we make is rather temperamental. Scott said the food tasted like Mom's and that is the highest praise I could get.
My family flies into Utah tomorrow for a week of skiing and I can't wait to see them! I hope everyone had a Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas. Our was wonderful thank you to everyone who made it so special for me.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fondue Festivus

Okay if you are not on my Faceboook account you may not have heard that Festivus is tonight! This has been an annual tradition for a long time. It will have Fondue, Feats of Strength, Airing of Grievances....and MORE!

The Party Begins at 5:30 and runs till when ever I get tired or 11ish which ever occurs first. The location is my Mom's house so call or comment if you need me to email you directions.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A New Year Coming and a New Start!

Well many of you already know that I am leaving my job at the Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Those of you who didn't know you do now. I am looking forward to the new year and a semi-new job. I have been doing freelance interpreting off and on since I certified but now that will be my job. I am so excited to get to use my interpreting skills everyday. I am really hoping this will help my skills and my confidence as an interpreter continue to grow! I was nervous to make this change but Colt has been very supportive and encouraging, so has my family and fellow interpreter friends. Thank you for all of your advice and support in this decision. I know it will be a good one!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Tim Tam Slam!!!!!!!!

Delicious Tim Tams

Ah the Tim Tam slam where to begin. This tasty treat was taught to me by my research methods professor. It is an Australian treat that is being sold in America by Pepperidge Farms at Target but only through the Holiday season. The cookie itself is yummy chocolate wafers with a chocolate or caramel center (depending on which you get) and a nice chocolate coating. Yummy right? Well wait till you try the slam. This can be done with hot chocolate of coffee depending on your preference.

1.bite off a small corner of the cookie

2. take a small bite off the kitty corner

3. place one corner of the cookie in you hot beverage

4. drink through the other corner of the cookie (like a straw) for 3 seconds or until you are getting the drink in your mouth

5. pop the cookie in your mouth

6. enjoy the melty chocolatey goodness that is the Tim Tam Slam!

If you would like to learn more about the Tim Tam you can read up here

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh

I keep waiting for Colt to write about our great trip to Pittsburgh, but I think he wants me to. It has been a while since I contributed to our blog. We went to my home for Thanksgiving and it was wonderful.
Wednesday was our first day in town. After a red eye we got in and did some movie shopping with Jonny (my awesome lil bro). We found great deals at Hollywood Video! Then Colt and I headed over to see Karen. I was so excited to finally meet her baby! She is beautiful. We went to a great little Italian place by Karen and Tony's house. The food was delicious the company even better.

Madelyn was fascinated with Colt (I can't blame her)

Thursday Colt went to the Turkey Bowl. It has been happening every year in my ward and no one in my family has ever gone. Colt had a great time and he was able to get his football fix in. He was quite muddy and will bring his cleats next time. I got to spend the morning with my dear friend Marion. Colt was playing football with her husband Dave and all the other guys I grew up with. It was fun to see the Chrises reunited too! Oh and there were more doughnuts there than you can imagine so Colt got to get some good cop practice in with eating them.

Mom with the yummy turkey

Back at the house we cleaned up and were so excited at the arrival of my cousin Britta and her family. Her husband Tom and Colt were excited to have someone they could talk football with and they are both Alton Brown fans. Their daughter Ella is so adorable. The table was full that night. With 8 in my family (including spouses/in-laws), Britta and family (3), Amalie, Suzanne, missionaries (2), and family from church (Stephanie, Eric and Hazel). The food was amazing I love my mom's stuffing. Ruth does too I think that is what we pigged out on the most. There was a 26lbs turkey and all of the other favorites too. For dessert we had the most amazing array of pies. Stephanie is an amazing pie maker and many references to The Waitress and to Pushing Daisies were made. After dinner Alan played Christmas carols with the help of 2 year old Ella. We all sang there was also the appearance of a ukulele, guitar, bongos (and other drums), tambourines, and shakers.

Alan and Ella playing together

The rest of the trip flew by too fast. A night with my Schenley High School friends. Going to the Frick mansion and trying to distract Ella from touching anything. Running with my Dad. Movies with Amy and gorgeous earrings along with other assorted gifts, shopping with Ruth and a manventure that consisted of way too many french fries. For you Pittsburghers apparently Jonny did not explain the proportions of french fries at the O in a way that Alan and Colt understood. Colt got a medium!!! To those of you who don't understand they way I explain is the O fries is that a small is bigger than a biggie size fry. After cross country I use to share a medium with 3 friends and be full.

Ella and me with styling hat!

The flight home. The part were it would have turned really ugly. We were suppose to get home at 10:30 pm on Sunday. We got in about 5 pm on Monday. I had 2 presentation that I missed on Monday one of which was worth 10% of my grade. But I was able to make them up. We stayed the night in an amazing hotel in Phoenix with a great breakfast and we got food vouchers for lunch at the airport. Best of all we got to see Tyson who is one of Colt's best friends. They have known each other since 6th grade.
Over all it was a trip to be thankful for. Thankful for an amazing family, wonderful friends, good food, each other (if I haven't said it enough I am so thankful for my husband), the fact that our checked luggage made it to Salt Lake. All in all it was amazing!!!!

Holiday Film Fest!

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is Christmas movies. For your contemplation I am going to post some of my favorites. I promise that there is an update coming on all of the many wonderful things Maggie and I have been up to including Cracking Nuts, Aquabats, DJ Lance Rock, and our many other adventures.
Christmas In Connecticut
This is a 1945 classic comedy about a Martha Stewart (Barbara Stanwyck) of the 1940s. It is one my essentials that I do not currently have in my collection. It can be a little difficult to find as I experienced this past weekend, but it is sure worth the effort, or you could just make it easy on yourself and go to Amazon.Com.

Christmas Vacation

This is usually the first film I watch over the holiday season. I am a huge fan of Chevy Chase and think that his classic dry delivery and excellent timing lead to Christmas classic that reminds of how frustrating the holidays can be for all of us, but still reminding us that it could be worse, we could be the Griswolds.

The Ref

A Christmas Movie for those that hate Christmas. I do not hate Christmas in fact I was part of movement to celebrate it twice a month when I was in high school. This movie is about thief, played by Rescue Me's Dennis Leary, who takes a dysfunctional family hostage. Kevin Spacey has some fantastic lines, along with a great supporting cast (Christine Baranksky, and Judy Davis). This film is another one that you have to be in the right cynical mindset to enjoy, and leave the kiddies in their beds when you watch this yule-tide treat.

Its a Wonderful Life

What can I write about a film that not only works as a great Christmas message, one that we should carry with us all the year round. None of us know what impact we have on others, and how much we all depend on one another. This movie isn't as much about George Baily as it is about the rest of Bedford Falls, and our communities that each of us is vital. What would the town have been if there were no Donna Reed or George Baily Sr. or Mr. Potter(well not Mr. Potter)?

A Christmas Story

I still remember my Red Rider BB Gun Christmas, and I still have both of my eyes!

Holiday Inn

This is my Christmas Eve tradition. After dinner I watch Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby try to out sing, dance and woo Marjorie Reynolds the whole year round ending with Bing singing White Christmas for the very first time. I then head for Midnight Mass. This movie did every thing right, and for those of you who are fans of the film White Christmas I recommend Holiday Inn. I am not a huge fan of White Christmas. I feel that White Christmas did little more than add color and Danny Kaye to a maxed out version of Holiday Inn as an excuse to reuse Irving Berlin's classic song.

The Muppet's Christmas Carol

I am a huge Michael Caine fan! I also will argue till the bitter end that he was far and away the best Ebenezer Scrooge ever! He may not have been in the same serious style of Christmas Carol that George C. Scott was or even Albert Finney, but is spot on and the man is playing opposite of elaborate sock puppets! Give the man a Best Actor Oscar already. (Please note that Michael Caine is my second favorite British actor coming behind Peter O'Toole; who would also be an excellent Scrooge given the chance.)

Mickey's Christmas Carol

As good as Michael Caine was, Scrooge McDuck was literally born to play that role. Plus this may be the only Tiny Tim that doesn't annoy me, and then make me feel guilty for being annoyed.

West Wing: In Excelsis Deo

I know this isn't movie, and I really could list every West Wing Christmas episode (the one where Josh can't hear the music*sniff*). This one however takes the fruit cake for superb writing and making me feel the Christmas spirit. The story of Toby and the homeless soldier, and Mrs. Landingham missing her boys at the holidays(I am getting a little fuhklept thinking about amongst yourselves I will give you a topic a Mistletoe is neither a Missile or a toe...discuss.)

It's Charlie Brown Christmas

I have always loved this movie from the time I was a kid. I now really love the Vince Guaraldi west coast jazz soundtrack. This was a landmark animated feature. Before this time children were never used as actual voice actors in a cartoon. At that time rock and roll was used in most kids productions (picture School House Rock) that tended to turn off adults from watching cartoons. This production used a jazz piano as its main soundtrack, and from the very beginning drew in both children and adults alike, much of which is credited to its innovative soundtrack.

This is not a complete list there are many other films that I consider essential to the holidays Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas, The Christmas Toy, that episode of MASH where Radar O'Reiley gets Winchester's toboggan hat sent to him from his mother; Winchester has given all that expensive stuff to the orphanage(fuhklept again), How the Grinch Stole Christmas(Boris Karloff is amazing) Elf, The Weird Claymation Ones, and many many others. If you have suggestions please let me know, and enjoy your egg nogg.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Funny Thing happened on the Way to the Wood Shop

I had my practical scenarios on building clearing. Building clearing is when police enter a building to ensure that no one is inside. This could happen because an alarm goes off, or someone notices a broken window and wants the building to be secure before entering. I can not disclose any details of the scenarios for fear that a cadet who has not yet gone through this portion of the academy will read it and have an advantage. I will just tell you some non-specifics of the evenings.
First off you get shot at during these scenarios with something called Simunition. Simunition is a modified 9mm cartridge that is fired out of modified Glock 17. The round recoils and fires much the same as a normal lethal round would. It explodes on its target with a water-soluble detergent(so your clothes don't get messed up by paint) tip. They hurt and leave red welts on your body that make your wife want to mother your wounds, and you to say things like "It ain't nuthin babe, just leave it alone." This type of training has several benefits. It creates stress and allows you to see how your body will react under stress, it creates a painful memory of how you screwed up and not to do that again, it also allows you to experience a gun fight with out a trip to the ER or writing a long report. We did our training at Joel P Jensen Middle School in rooms like the wood shop; that room just sounds scary doesn't it?

Simunition Gun looks real, only blue

Simuntion round. The pink stuff is the soap. Brass stuff is the loud stuff.

Friday I had both work and school off. I finished my Christmas shopping for Maggie and most everyone else on my list. I had to go the Library to return season one of the Sopranos and check if season two had arrived (it had not). I got there before it opened so I went to kill time at Barnes and Noble.

I made several small gift purchases there and as I was leaving noticed three ladies with a table of gift wrap. They were volunteering for a local animal advocacy group to wrap your presents for a donation. I hate wrapping and further more use enough paper to deforest Guam when I attempt conceal holiday gifts, so this was a good deal. One problem, I am extremely picky about the paper that I choose to put under my tree. It needs to shiny (preferably foil) so that the light reflected from the tree lights is maximized to fullest degree. This enhances the holiday spirit for all those observe our wonderful Costco tree that will not be allowed to be erected or lit until after Thanksgiving. I told the ladies I would love to let them do one of my most hated holiday chores, but I thought there paper was ugly, and explained my Yule Tide Light Reflection Theory (Shiny Paper X Tiny Lights squared = Holiday Enjoyment or S(T2)=H). They laughed and thought I was cute and charming as many middle aged charity involved women do. I went about my shopping, but then I got an idea! An awful idea! The Colt got a WONDERFUL AWFUL IDEA! I went to purchase my own shiny paper and then would take all of my gifts to be wrapped for the cost of a donation. The volunteers were extremely helpful and asked many questions about Sparky, why I was giving certain things to certain people etc. I am now done with my shopping and wrapping before Thanksgiving!
That night Maggie and I got SugarHouse BBQ and watched one of my favorite movies that Maggie had never seen the Maltese Falcon. Saturday Maggie worked a few hours and attended some BYU vampire movie with bad lighting (Twilight). I went to class for more scenarios one of which was really funny, but I can't put it in writing so please ask me about sometime. That night we went to see Westminster's production of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." I have mentioned before that I am a big Steven Sondheim fan; which is as big a fan as I am of musical theatre...which isn't much. I decided however that Sondheim is more light opera than Broadway musical theatre and therefore more a kin to Gilbert and Sullivan (which somehow makes me like it more). The production was very well done. We both really enjoyed it. The other good news is of course the result of the Holy War. Utah won and is going to a BCS bowl.

Comedy Tonight!

Sunday we went to church I had to stay for Elder's Quorum meetings. I then went home and watched football. The Bears won against one of the worst teams in the NFL so that was good as well. We then headed up to Elton's for Sunday dinner. Which was very entertaining complete with a fashion show and my learning of the existence of Hobbit Town.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In Other News

This past week was for the most part relatively uneventful. I actually had three nights off from class, but Maggie had to work on two out of those three nights so I finished the final season of Six Feet Under on DVD, and I have to say that its series finale was possibly the best I have ever seen. I also managed to finish season one of the Sopranos on DVD. I am a huge fan of mob movies. The Godfather really can teach you some of the most important lessons of life (my wife and I had our first dance as a married couple to the Godfather Waltz. How freaking cool is my wife? Pretty cool I know.) and Goodfellows? Fa get about it! I started the Sopranos before I went on my mission during the first season's run on HBO, but when I came home it was on its third season and I was too far behind to catch up. This was one sacrifice that I placed on the mission altar that I have now taken back thanks to the miracle of DVD, and the large collection at the Salt Lake City Public Library.

"So there's no frigin ziti."

"Six Feet Under RIP 2001-2005"

Friday night we went to dinner with our friends Liz and Robert at Maggie's former stomping ground the Old Spaghetti Factory. She was really excited to see the changes including new Italian soda glasses, menus in plastic (not just paper ones covered in dried spaghetti sauce...very la ti da), and former specials now as regular entree options. I had crab stuffed ravioli in a creamy pesto sauce. Maggie had mushroom and mizithra. We then tried to go see Quantum of Solace, but would be unable to get in a show until well after ten. Instead we went back to our place to watch a film. It was Robert's birthday so he got to choose (this is a good thing, because it meant I was assured to not have to watch anything where Meg Ryan or Reese Witherspoon falls in love.) He selected Open Range (Kevin Costner should be allowed to make two types of movies westerns and baseball, and that's it). I am a big fan of the western genre so this was more than an acceptable choice. Maggie ,who is not the biggest western fan in the world, even enjoyed the movie. In her defense most of the western I have exposed her to are the Man With No Name series, and other Clint Eastwood or Sergio Leone films that could be considered an acquired taste. She did love Lonesome Dove, but how could you not?

Saturday I went to scenarios in the morning and I am happy to report I did not get shot. I then went to a shotgun familiarization course in the afternoon. This was a lot of fun. I have always liked shooting shotguns more than any other firearm, and after shooting some of the triple-ought buck shot and big slugs I made the decision that I want to find a way to carry my shot gun on my duty belt. That night we went to the Plothow's for dinner. We picked up baked beans from Sugarhouse BBQ and Apple Beer from Costco as our contributions to the last BBQ of the season. Brad cooked up some awesome burgers, and Steph made a fantastic pumpkin pie. We watched Get Smart, which I really liked. I was worried because I loved the old TV show on Nick at Night, and this movie got such terrible reviews. I thought it was funny, and Steve Carell was a great Max Smart.

Sunday we went to church, and came home so I could watch the Bears lose to Green Bay, even with Kyle Orton behind center (it was so much easier when I could overlook poor defensive play and the lack of solid running game and blame everything on Rex Grossman). We had a pizza and watched one of my favorite Mark Wahlberg movies, and went to bed. The upcoming should prove to be exciting with my having courses on building clearing at a middle school with Simmunition this could result in welts and interesting stories. More on that in my posting, or the posting after that depending on if I get inspired to write some more odd ramblings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Family Isn't It About Distance?

Family Isn't It About Distance?

This past week I was very excited that my cousin Brady was coming home from his mission in North Carolina. I was going to try and go see him on his layover at the Salt Lake City Airport, but those plans fell through when the mission home would not let me talk(on his last day in the field...give me a break) to him arrange plans. This was still okay because Maggie and I were planning on heading south Saturday after I got out of class around five. We would be there in time for his homecoming Sunday.
I was extremely excited for his homecoming. Brady is the first of my cousins to serve a mission. I have known him his whole life and feel like he and his siblings are the closest things I will ever have to little brothers and sister. I have been really proud of him for the past two years, and enjoyed reliving my glory days in Oakland through his letters and emails.
Maggie picked me up after my scenario training at the academy. We then headed south to St George. The drive was long, but Maggie and I had a good conversation. We listened to a lot Jimmy Buffett, Grateful Dead, and a little AC/DC when I was getting sleepy (Back in Black always wakes me up). We went to see my cousin's now finished and open salon. We then went home and celebrated Judy's birthday. We also learned that somehow Sparky has learned how to work my mother as well as I do, and is now able to sleep inside as long as he stays on his bed. Which he does...most of the time.
Sunday morning Maggie got up and went for her run, while I got up and watched the NFL pre-game show on ESPN (ahhh cable...just hook it to my vein). I was nervous about the day to say the least. My cousin and her boyfriend were coming, and her boyfriend is far from welcome by her mother and other members of my extended family. I was nervous this would erupt in grand show of Sims Family melt down. Once ready Maggie and I left to pick up my cousin Ceira who recently moved home to St George. It was so good to see her again. She has become such a wonderful young woman and I know how proud her late father and grandmother would be of her. After I took us to the wrong church on Snow Canyon Parkway in Ivins (seriously can't we just build bigger churches instead of ones on every street corner?) we arrived at Brady's homecoming.
It was so good to see some of my family and friends I have not seen in long time. Uncle John's Family, Steve and Jill, the Madsens and Sprages. It was also great to see my cousins who I have not seen in several months. Of course it was great to see Brady home from to two years of service. I was just a little annoyed that he came home skinny however and I came home heavier even after getting sick. His talk was excellent he has really improved over the two years. His little brother was one of the youth speakers and he also did an excellent job. I still had a few notes for both them(mostly about eye contact or building the emotion...there are so few us who can wow a room like Obama), but I was overall very impressed.
I went to say hello to my great aunts and my Aunt Becky only to met with a somewhat icy reception. Becky refused to acknowledge my existence. Her husband was warm and still offered me his hand once again validating my belief that he was a "good guy." This hostility mostly stems from my mother's decision to to allow Sariann's (Becky's daughter) boyfriend Mike back into our lives after he has made several stupid choices. This following in the grand tradition of those who made bad choices in our family, but were still welcome at every holiday or family event with open arms Sariann's companion will not be afforded the same grace.
Once back at the Ences' home I was good. I hung out with my cousins and old family friends. The great aunts however decided to let it out on my mother, and tell her what a terrible daughter she was to my now departed grandmother. This after my mother was trying to get to the bottom of why this year they decided to not exchange gifts with the rest of the family. I was to say the least pissed at this. What really annoyed me however was the way they made Maggie feel. Maggie has totally stayed above the fray with all of my family drama, she stayed neutral and loving to everyone in the family. During the fights after grandma's death she would be the first to leave the room and comfort the crying daughter which ever one the other two were mad at. She only got see the remnants of how close my family once was, and this was the first time she felt pushed her aside and made to feel unwanted. This made me mad. I can handle someone being mad at me, and my mother is more able to cause ire in someone, but Maggie had done nothing wrong.
I am not sure where to go from here. I felt awful that the whole drive home, and I never thought that Salt Lake's freezing cold temperatures could feel warm compared to cold hearts in St George. I didn't feel clean until I was in smoggy air of Salt Lake. Its hard to feel this way about the Aunt who taught me to foxtrot, the one who gave me my first haircut, or shares my love for Sinatra and mob movies, but I do. These were the people who hugged my when my father died, and came to my school plays, and now family almost makes the Corleons look functional ("Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.") I recently read an article that was in The Daily Spectrum years ago written by Mary Phoenix and Clark Hafen that talked about the Pymm family and how close we were, and how we were always there to support one another, my how times have changed. It is truly a testament to how strong my grandmother really was to be able to reign in all of the insanity the boiled under the surface. I am about to enter a dangerous and dirty profession, and feel terrified that if the worst should happen, my family would not be there for my loved ones.

"Don't ever go against the family Fredo."

The only hope I see is that all of the cousins in my generation get along really well. To explain it in Star Wars we would be the Luke and Leia to the Anakin and emperor( I know they weren't really related, but there was family feel to it). We all love each other, we are proud of each other's accomplishments, and enjoy seeing each other, and I believe this will continue in spite of the ice formed between the previous generations.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Got Just What I Wanted for my Birthday...A NEW President!

I have been delaying writing my blog because I have not downloaded any pictures. I decided that I better just write the thing and add pictures latter if I can. I will start by writing about the election. November 4th was my birthday. Maggie worked very hard to make the day special for me and truly succeeded. That morning I had an interview with a Salt Lake City Homicide Detective about my background and suitability to become a police officer; the detective came to my home. The interview went really well I think. The fun part for me was that I was watching one of my favorite shows Homicide:Life on the Street while waiting for the "murder police" to arrive at my door.

We then opened my birthday gifts. Maggie gave me a new ski coat, and a movie I wanted starring her favorite actor Mark Wahlberg. My mother gave me the complete Young Indiana Jones on DVD, and copy of Indiana Jones' Lost Journal. Judy gave me Terms of Endearment on DVD (NOTE: This may sound out of character for me, but it is part of my goal to own every Academy Best Picture and it is based off of a book by one of my favorite authors Larry McMurtry). There were also cards from friends and family with cash that allows me to shop for something fun. So thank you to all of you I have not thanked.

Next we went to Gateway Mall to look for something fun for me to spend my birthday money on. Maggie ended up with new running attire (which she totally earned by doing her five miles in pouring rain one day, and falling snow the next). I got a Bobby Flay cookbook. We went to the Broadway and watched the new Oliver Stone movie W. We both felt that it was an appropriate way to say goodbye to the past eight long years. The movie was good with great performances, but it was defiantly directed by Oliver Stone with lots of strange stuff. I would recommend getting the Red Box DVD.

I went to class that night and learned about accident investigation, but was mostly concentrating on my mothers text messages...we got Pennsylvania...OMG AZ too close to call...waiting on Florida, damn Florida. I normally love class, but I flew out of there like Seabiscuit when we were done. I got home in time to watch Ohio called, and the rest of the election.

I can say I have not felt like this in a long time. I was so impressed with John McCain's concession speech. He sounded like the man I have admired for years again. I hope that this speech is how we remember John McCain, and not for some the past two years pandering. When Obama took the stage and began to speak I could not contain my emotions (something that for those of you who know me, know is something I do well). I cried, and I am only a little ashamed of it. I felt hope and excitement. I partially wondered if this speech really was that good or if after having W. for president for eight years the bar was so low on what a president should sound I could not tell the difference. I however am sure it really was that good. My friend Holly came over and ate birthday cake and celebrated change with us.

Over the weekend we went to Park City Saturday night to see some friends of mine and mother's that we have not seen years. We spent most of Saturday night talking with them drinking tea and eating pie. It was good to reconnect with old friends and for Maggie to make some new ones. Sunday we had dinner at the Elton's, I correctly guessed both dinner and dessert this week in Maggie and I's weekly guessing game "What's for Sunday Dinner?" We ended the night playing Mario Kart on the Wii.

On Halloween Maggie and I went to the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Tower Theatre. The Rocky Horror Picture show is yet another event that everyone needs to do at least once in there lifetime. If you don't know what happens the movie is played on the screen while people act out the parts in front of the screen. The audience participates by throwing rice during the wedding scene, yelling lines back at the screen, dancing the Time Warp in the aisles. Our friend Qualye(there is no way I am spelling that correct, but its pronounced qu-a-lee) played Rocky and got us the hook up for some sweet tickets. I didn't do anything spectacular other than put on the Elvis costume, and Maggie revived her costume from last year which was a black slip covered in the words Id, Super Ego, and you get it? She was a Freudian Slip. Its very clever. We then went home watched my Halloween tradition Young Frankenstein.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fruitcakes in Las Vegas or The Year of We're Still Here

This past week has been we have been anticipating for quite sometime. Maggie, My Mom, her friend Cindy, Brad Neve and his wife Mandy and I went to Vegas and saw Jimmy Buffett. Friday Maggie drove to St. George to go with my mom and Cindy to see the Elton John's Red Piano show at Ceaser's Palace. I was really envious. I have seen Elton before when he was touring with Billy Joel, but I have really wanted to see the Red Piano. I had to stay in Salt Lake because Friday night I had my Defensive Tactics Final Exam(Butt Kicking 101). I did really well scoring 185 out of a possible 188(Walker Texas Ranger's got nothing...just kidding Chuck Norris please don't hurt me.) Saturday Morning I had to shoot so I was flying to Vegas that afternoon and would meet up with the motley crew to go see Jimmy. This is where the story gets interesting. ..

Maggie, Mom and Cindy at Red Piano

Maggie at the pre-Buffett Street Fair

I flew to Las Vegas dressed in my white sequined Elvis jumpsuit. For those of you unfamiliar with what it means to be a true Jimmy Buffett fan this might sound strange. When one attends a Jimmy concert, one goes in costume: be it tropical, pirate or any Jimmy song related attire. I have seen people dressed as tequila bottles, boats, and blenders. Jimmy is a good ole' Mississippi boy as was "The King." Also one of my favorite Jimmy songs was on the album Take the Weather with You and was entitled Elvis Presley Blues. That is what made my choice to go as Elvis all to appropriate(not that appropriate matters at a Jimmy show.) I came home from the firing range showered(I was really paranoid that all of the gun powder residue would set off bomb sniffing dogs.) Dressed as Elvis and waited for Dale to come take me the airport. I was more than a little worried that this would result in my ending up on watch lists that might keep me from ever flying the friendly skies again. However, people loved it. In the terminal people were trying to sneak photos with their camera phones. When I got on the plane one of the flight attendants said "They are already asking if they can take pictures with you." I asked who was. The flight attendant answered "They entire flight crew." I then learned that Vince Vaughn was on my flight and that none of the the crew had asked for his picture, but me they all wanted one with.

When I got off the plane in Las Vegas I had a line of people wanting to get photos with me. I of coursed obliged them all. It was AWESOME. I have come to the conclusion that doing something just a little bit crazy from time to time is the best way of never truly growing up, after that flight I was probably 15 again. Brad and Cindy picked me up at the airport. Brad was in an Elvis costume he had made himself that was pretty sweet if I say so myself. We met up at our favorite Vegas hotel South Point(Affordable Luxury is what they do best). My mom and Cindy were in tropical attire with hats Cindy made featuring Margarita glasses and "lost shakers of salt", Maggie was dressed in her pirate best, and Mandy was dressed as a sailor. Once we got the MGM Grand for the show people started chanting "ELVIS, ELVIS, ELVIS" as we entered the concert area. We again were in about a dozen pictures with people. One inebriated parrot head remarked "whoa two Elvises!" I responded "hey, pal you've been drinking way too much there is only one of me."

Pirate Maggie, King Colt, Sailor Mandy, and Hunka-Hunka Burning Brad

Holy Rock n' Roll Batman...2 Elvi

Two kings with Pirate kicker

Once the show started we did not sit down(We did sit down for the God's Own Drunk, but that's a really long slow song). Jimmy also did an updated version of Fruitcakes that talked about being screwed by oil tycoons. Maggie cheered extra loud ,on behalf of her Deadhead Dad, during Jimmy's cover of Scarlet Begonias. Jimmy also told a great story about wanting to do a show for the US Navy's Pacific fleet. The admiral is a parrot head and wanted Jimmy to show when the USS Harry Truman was docked in Dubai. The problem was that Jimmy had to fly home for his son's soccer game on the day the ship was set to anchored. The admiral then asked "Well Jimmy when do you want the boat to be there?" Jimmy said "Hell, I guess they work for me." Jimmy then showed a video of concert for the sailors while playing the song Son of Sailor.

Parrot Heads waiting for the show

Here we are somewhere southeast of disorder

I was totally struck with why I love this Jimmy's music so much. For those of you only know Margaritaville and 5 o'clock Somewhere you don't really know Jimmy. The songs known to parrot heads are the ones that really give incite as to why this 60 year old can sell out shows in 20 minutes all over the world. It is totally about having adventures, and giving yourself a life well lived.

After the show we went to Johnny Rocket's so I could get apple pie with melted cheese on top...yum the king would be proud.

Us pretending were normal before we all head home

We headed to St George Sunday after breakfast at the Cheesecake Factory, and a little stroll through the forum shops at Cesar's Palace. It was great to be able to spend a little extra time with Brad and Mandy who we just don't get to see enough. Maggie and I got our hair done that night Sariann's new shop Sinful Pleasures. I hung out in the hammock with Sparky for a little while before going to bed. We hit the road at 4am the next morning so Maggie to be to class by 10. She slept in the backseat while I rocked out to Jimmy on my Ipod.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Things I Miss About Cable

Maggie and I had pretty slow week with little excitement. We did go to dinner with the Plothows Saturday night at Johnny Carinos. The food was good, the wait was awful, the company was excellent. We then watched "The Others." I enjoyed it, and was able to cross another movie off of my "List of Films to See when I Get Home from Mission." I am still working through this list; in large part because a good portion of these films were recommended by sisters, and I have no desire to Kate and Leopold.

I have however been mulling over some of the things I miss most about cable TV. Here in no particular order are my most missed things about cable TV.

Sports Center

It may sound strange, but when ever I was feeling low on those two years of service to God when I was without even broadcast television all I had to do sing "Da-Na-Na-nanana"(guys know how the tune goes) and I felt better. While I miss Sports Center the most, it is really representative of all of the fine programming at ESPN: Baseball Tonight, NFL Live, Monday Night Football, PTI, and even to a lesser extent Around the Horn.

Alton Brown

I am a foodie. I love to cook, and I love to eat. Alton Brown's Food Network show Good Eats taught me how to do both better. I miss being able to know how the denaturing of protein strands in eggs will improve the texture of my next omelet.

The CNN Crawl

I miss being informed on all of the useless crap that is happening somewhere to someone, but more than that I miss reading it at the bottom of the screen while remaining oblivious to the news broadcast with pictures and live video filling the majority of my television. Reading the crawl was like reading the newspaper headlines, only I was watching TV so I looked, and felt, much lazier.

The Daily Show

One of the few newsmen I really trusted is lost to me now that I live in a land of broadcast television. He asked the questions you really wanted asked, and actually held people accountable for what they said. The sole consolation I have is that the Bush Administration is ending, and so are the Daily Show writer's days of being able to phone it in and still produce an amazing show...unless Palin is elected VP then a whole new era of comedy begins.

The History Channel

I still have PBS which is a great source of documentaries and high culture, but during the afternoon when I want to learn about Hitler's obsession with Little Debbi Snack Cakes, or what a true marvel of engineering the battery operated pruning shears are. PBS can only offer me children's programming. I have developed a renewed respect for Sesame Street in my 20s, but alas even Grover can not fulfill my need to watch 10 hours of programming on the men who tamed the island of Guam at 2 o'clock(in the afternoon or the morning).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sinatra, Lies,and Oinks

This past week was quite an eventful one for Maggie and I. It started with my mother coming to Salt Lake to attend the Utah Treasure's Academy, at the University of Utah's Sandy Campus which is near where I attend the police academy. She arrived on Sunday and joined us for our weekly Sunday Dinner at the Elton's home. The highlight of that evening was watching Kathy trying to introduce her dog Frito to the Pedi-Paws; a device that resembles a rotor-tiller, and is supposed to make it easier to clip your dogs nails...I am sure the infomercial made it sound like this would work.

The rest of the week was pretty standard we went to dinner with my mother after I got out class a couple of times, and I got to watch Monday Night Football at her hotel. This is exciting for me because we have not had cable ,hence no ESPN, since we moved to Salt Lake. I was not sure I would be able live with out Sports Center, but somehow against all odds I have endured. I also had a class from one of my favorite academy teachers Captain Kenny Payne from the Davis County Sheriff's Department. It was a class in Death Investigations so it had lots of gory autopsy and crime scene photos that would make normal people cringe, but being a cop wannabe; I was captivated. The best story of the night(this might be a little gruesome for some, others will laugh) was the story of a plane crash that scattered body parts across the county, a policeman trying to recover these parts comes across two kids trying to steal a ring they found on a missing arm. Capt. Payne said "I know what your thinking...Armed Robbery." Cheesy? A little. Did I laugh? Uproariously.

Thursday we went to the Hale Street Theatre to see a performance of Into the Woods. I am a big Steven Sondheim fan(as much as a fan of musical theatre I am...which isn't much). The performance was good, and the theatre had great special effects. I must say that Dixie High School did a better job, but they had Justin Hansen as their musical director so you would have expect that.

Friday I went to visit the Psychiatrist. I have to as part of the application process for Salt Lake City's Police Department. I was very disappointed I wore my inkblot tie, and was fully prepared to talk about what animal I would be and why(a platypus, because they are kind of like the X-Men of the animal kingdom). It was just a normal little interview, with boring questions. Oh, well Maggie is in an abnormal psych class maybe she will ask me "What historical figure I most envision my father as?"(Thomas Hart Benton, because the shrink will have no idea who that is...He was a Missouri statesman nicknamed "Old Bullion.")

That Afternoon we went the Red Iguana for lunch. I had puerco pibil; one of my favorite Mexican dishes. Maggie and my mother both had mango enchiladas. I drank my weight in horchata. Maggie had a Jarritos Naranja(orange soda), and Mom had a margarita. I then went to POST where that night instead of our normal PT we ran the South Jordan Race For the Cure. It was a lot of fun to run in race for a change, and I was pretty happy about my time. I had wanted to Race for the Cure with Maggie last spring, but had class that day and was unable to do so. That made being able to run this fall particularly nice.

I have my eyes closed to show the excellence of the food;
Maggie is much more interested than I in the camera at this point

Maggie, Mom, and Jose Cuervo

Saturday I went to the shooting range to qualify for the first time(I did so). I then came home went to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory(I had Wasabi Crusted Ahi-Tuna YUM, Maggie had a killer Mac-n-Cheese, Mom had Shepard's Pie.) We then went to a performance of the Rat Pack at Kingsbury Hall. It was great. I am a huge Sinatra fan as almost anyone who knows me well knows. I went clad in my Stetson Fedora, top coat and all. I was debating going in my tux to complete the Rat Pack uniform, but decided it was just a little over the top. We had a few extra tickets so we invited Hillary and Shawn, and Holly. They were seated behind us. I was talking over my shoulder to Holly and was telling her about my upcoming CVSA(Computerized Voice Stress Analyzer) Test(Lie detector). The man sitting next to her leans over and says "I am sorry I didn't mean to over hear, but where are you doing this test?" I answered "Salt Lake City P.D." He then replied "I'll see ya Tuesday." It turns out he is a detective working in the office that will be giving me my truth test.

Me doing my best to look like Frank. Ring-a-Ding-Ding!

Holly, Maggie, Colt/Frank, Shawn and Hillary

Sunday we went to church and then had breakfast before my Mom headed home to see her lonely dog(remember when he was our lonely dog? Not so much anymore). I watched my Bears do everything in their power to loose a game they had won. Then off to beef stew at the Elton's.

Monday Maggie got to come to POST with me for a class in Mental Conditioning for Combat(is that not the freaking sweetest title for class ever?) The class went over some the bad things that can happen to you in the line of duty and what a spouse can do to be supportive. It also talked about how to prepare your mind for what to do when bad stuff goes down. Maggie enjoyed the class,(as much as one can about when hearing of the perils of your loved one's impending job) but after having been in class all day herself at Westminster she was ready to be done listening to people.

Tuesday I went in for my CVSA at 7AM. The guy at I met at the Rat Pack walked into the darkened lobby and greeted me with"What's up buddy, come on I'll take you upstairs." He took me up the detective's division and toured me around a little. I went into the homicide division where he worked and where I would be tested. It was awesome. It looked and felt like I was in one of my favorite cops shows ever "Homicide:Life on the Streets." Cases on a board, discussion about the first 48 hours, talk about who would get the next call, it was great. I felt like Frank Pembleton(Andre Braugher's character from Homicide) would walk around the corner at any moment. The CVSAs were double booked, so I had to come back that afternoon. I went home Maggie went for a run, I folded laundry, and then we went to traffic court.

Frank Pembleton from Homicide:Life on the Streets(Note: He has the same gun I do. Pretty sweet I know)

Maggie was given two parking tickets for having an expired registration on her car even though we she had the temporary one in her rear window. I told her to fight it, and was trying to be supportive. This was hard because she called me and yelled "This is why people HATE cops!" I started to say something when she OINKED at me. It was pretty funny. When we got to court the clerk made us pull the car up to show her where the registration was, and then dropped the tickets.

I then went back to the police station for my CVSA. I must say it is one of the most stressful things I have ever done. The detective did a great job of putting me at ease and trying get me through the interview. It was hard, but I got through it. I joked that having spent most of my previous years in politics it is sometimes hard to tell the truth for that long.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Whiskey for my Men, and Beer for My Bloggers

Two weeks ago Maggie, my Mom and I went to the Toby Keith concert at USANA amphitheatre. IT was AWESOME!! During the day Saturday Maggie and my mother went shopping for Maggie to get a new western outfit. She got a great new cowboy hat, and a cowgirl shirt that she looks great in. I went to class where we did scenarios and shooting.
This was Maggie's second country concert (Willie Nelson was her first she went to last year) that she can remember. She has been to a few folk-country shows before not many pure country shows. She got dressed up and was pretty excited. I was stoked because I have not worn my Bailey(cowboy hat) or boots in a long time.
That night we went to concert and really enjoyed all of the opening acts. Trailer Choir which is one of the smaller bands on Toby's label was really good. I would recommend anyone who is a country music fan to check them out. Then Montgomery Gentry performed. I have never been a big Montgomery Gentry fan until I saw them live. They put on a great show. I knew a few of their songs, more than I thought I would, but I just learned the chorus quickly for the ones I didn't.

Montgomery-Gentry Rockin' It

When Toby came out it was awesome. Our seats were five rows from the front of the stage, and the pyrotechnics were awesome. The stage was set up to look like the grill of a Ford 150 pickup truck(Ford was the sponsor for the tour). It was the last night of the tour and the show was just awesome. Maggie said she was surprised at how many Toby songs she knew, and was able to sing a long with. I went nuts during "Beer for My Horses" (with all of COP wannabe spirit). One of the more fun moments of the show was when Toby started giving toasts. He started by toasting the firefighters really loud cheers from everywhere(everybody loves firefighters...darn firefighters), then he toasted "Police, Sheriffs, Highway Patrol, FBI and everybody else keeping us safe." 60% cheers 40% boos....darn firefighters. I have to say that Toby put on one of the best shows I have ever seen, and I have seen some great shows.

Toby wearing his Bailey, playing his patriotic guitar while singing "The Angry American"

Maggie and Me in front of the stage
Mom, Maggie and Me

Maggie showing off her new boots

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Die Hard

Yippee-Kay-Yay COLT!!!

This past Saturday I tested with the West Jordan Police Department. West Jordan would be a great place to work they have the highest starting pay of any department in the state, and its a pretty good department to boot. I went to the PT and prepared for the first set of challenges

Part 1: Vehicle Accident
Pick up a 75 lbs. barbell and run 25 feet with it.
Grab a robe attached to a 120 lbs crate and drag it 30 feet.
Push a pick up truck 30 feet. All under 30 seconds.

No Problem!
Part 2: Rescue
Exit the patrol car sprint to vehicle remove 190 lbs. dummy and drag said dummy to safety.
No Problem!

Part 3: Obstacle Course
Run to a six foot fence and climb it
Run to flight of stairs and do 3 times up down to simulate running up 6 flights of stairs(Remember this part for later).
Sprint the next station and run 400 meter sprint(track flash back).
Jump over a ditch
Sprint through a series of cones in a zig-zag pattern
Jump a 4 1/2 ft fence
Wrestle a 190 lbs dummy(same one you just rescued), flip and handcuff.
So as I began my sprint I cleared the 6 foot fence just fine, but when it came to the stairs I slipped 200 pounds of Colt went one way, my arm went the other. This completely dislocated my shoulder. This is where I look good though. I stood up told my proctor I was fine and proceeded to finish the obstacle course. My fellow cadets were in total awe one even remarked "I could barely do the dummy with of my good hands after that thing...that was awesome!" I definitely felt like John McClane after that! One other person applying came to me and said "Your Batman, aren't you?" then I went to ER. Once there they x-rayed me, gave me some wicked pain medication, knocked me out(where once knocked out I apparently was talking a lot about DUI law...weird), and finally put my shoulder back where it belonged. I am still in a sling for this week and will most likely be there at least one more.

That night Maggie and I went the Utah Symphony with Dale and Kathy. It was the opener for Keith Lockheart's final season conducting the Utah Symphony. The Ode to Joy sounded wonderful and we had a great time. I was on a high dose of prescribed Loritab so I was pretty happy anyway.

Hopefully Maggie can help fill the rest of the details on this weekend, and there should be some pictures coming in a couple of days, and maybe even the x-rays!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Want me to interpret that??

I just got the letter on Saturday and it is official I am a certified American Sign Language interpreter in Utah. I am a novice level certified (sorry for using certified again I just can't stop I'm so excited) interpreter. It makes all that time away from Colt when I was in the program and we were long distance finally worth it. It also means I didn't waste two years of my life Hooray for that!
People keep asking me what that means. Well let's start with the obvious it means I can get paid to work as an interpreter (which is AWESOME). It also means I have 3 years to pass the intermediate test. If I don't pass in that time I loose it all (that part is scary). So think happy thoughts as I prepare to test again. I am working with wonderful mentors who I know will be a big help to me.
Most of all I'm just super Super SUPER excited. I can't wait to get involved with more interpreting and learn more. I know this is an amazing opportunity and I am so grateful for it. I am also so grateful to all my friends and family who have been so supportive and encouraging to me through this process!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Finally some pictures!!!

We have finally posted pictures for July and August so if you want to scroll back you take a look at some of the fun things we have been doing! There are some good ones.

Say goodbye

I had to say goodbye to a dear friend this past week. My friend Ashley got a new job and left me. It was wonderful having a friend at work. It meant always knowing someone would be happy to see you and be there for you on a bad day. Ashley got an awesome job as an interpreter and her college degree will be paid for! I am so proud of her. I went shopping for her goodbye gift from the office. Normally we get a cake and then a little gift. We decided to get Ashley an awesome gift, because she deserves it and well I know how to shop for her. We still get a little treat for the office to share. The majority of the pooled money was spent on an awesome gift. We got her a cute brown purse, a scarf, lip gloss, sunglasses, snickers (her favorite candy), and hand lotion. I'm sad but I know we are buddies for life no matter where we work. I love you Ashley!

I think she likes it!

Checking out all the goodies