Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pleasant Green Taylor, A Real Pioneer...

Pleasant Green Taylor

Pleasant Green Taylor

At church today I did a little web search on my ancestors. There's some pretty cool stuff out there. And because it's Pioneer Day weekend where I live, I did some research on my Great Grandmother's father, Pleasant Green Taylor.

The guy was amazing!

In our religion there are certain events we remember, stories of people who lived long ago and the things that happened to them. Born in 1827, Pleasant experienced persecutions, poverty, theft, the death of his father at a young age, like most of the early members. He also was there when the cornerstone of the of the Nauvoo Temple. He remembered how the saints felt after Joseph Smith was taken to Carthage and saw the messenger come into town with news of the Prophet's death. He crossed the frozen river from Nauvoo and made his way with his family to Utah as a pioneer. And this is only a summary of his early life. He lived to be 90-years old.

He lived and experienced the history I've known and studied for years. I knew many of my ancestors came to the state with similar histories, but reading it today, it made it real.

So I thank you, my Great Grandmother's father. Thanks for everything!


* Photo used without permission from:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Maytag...Pretty Dependable

Eleven years ago, this month, actually, we moved into our house. It's exciting to move into a new house and what made it more exciting was it was brand new. We did a lot of the sweat equity and even got to pick out everything inside...floors, paint colors, light fixtures, and even the appliances.

We picked Maytag.

The dishwasher's kind of falling apart, but it still works. One of these days we'd like to see it replaced, but that's not going to happen anytime soon. Unless it dies, of course.

But, it's the washer and dryer that I thought of today as we did our usual Saturday laundry. I realized that for all of those eleven years we've averaged three or four loads of laundry a week. After loading in the second load of the day, I went to the Maytag website and wrote them a little note which basically says the same thing I'm writing here, only with fewer words.

We've never had a problem with the washer and dryer. We thought about six months ago that the washer was dying. It was making a horrible sound. Turns out, the kids had left a Lego® piece in one of their pockets and it was rattling around in the washer basin. You'd never know that a small piece of plastic could generate such a terrible sound.

I suppose if our washer and/or dryer stop working, we'll replace them. When that time may be, I don't know. But if the past is any indication of the future, it might be a long, long time. Looks like our Maytag appliances were a pretty good purchase.

Friday, July 25, 2014

But, I've Always Had Eyebrows...

Whenever I do a show, it's time to put on the make up. I don't normally put on make up--only when I'm on stage. Still, I believe (and she will back me up on this...), I wear more make up than my wife.

Still, there's one thing that freaks people out whenever I put on stage make up. 

I suddenly have eyebrows.

Since it does freak people out, I decided to take some before, during and after selfies of my make up transformation. Here you go!

The before picture...

Base added...

Eye's done...

One eyebrow...

And the other...

Until it's all done.

As you can tell, I'm not an expert at applying make up--I'm completely self-taught. But after so many shows, directors and stage managers seem to be okay with how I look. And, after I'm done with my make up application, I have to say, everyone's pretty much right--I do look freakish with eyebrows. 

The funny thing is, I've had them all along.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Days Of 47 Parade...One Century After The Original

Many of my friends are posting on social media today about their ancestors. You see, where I live many of us can trace our family roots to a remarkable group of people who left their homes, their jobs, and many times, other family members to join others of their faith, far away, in the west

Today my state celebrates Pioneer Day, which is weird because the 24th of July is not the date our state achieved statehood. It's the day Brigham Young rose from his sick bed and told those with whom he traveled that they have traveled enough. This was the place.

I've always been amazed that the famous church president chose such an amazing place. The weather is is wonderful (except for those days it gets too hot...). There's beauty in the mountains and the plains. It's an incredible place.

A tradition of Pioneer Day is, of course, the Pioneer Day Parade. People begin camping out days in advance to secure a prime viewing location. I once ran a 10K race and we ran along the parade route, so technically, I've been in that parade. As a youth, I participated in the Youth Parade. We dressed as vegetables. I think I was a giant corn or a bean.

But my mother takes the cake when it comes to having a cool parade story.

You see, when she was in high school, her high school marching band was invited to march in the 100 year anniversary of the famous Pioneer Day parade. Though my mom's no longer with us, I do have a couple of pictures. She played the tuba (or baritone or sousaphone...) and I believe you can spot her in the top picture. I think she's on the left, between the two tall men, one playing a sousaphone and the other playing a trombone. Of course, this may not be her, but I like to think it is. Then I can say, "See kids--that's your grandmother! Right there and she's marking in the Pioneer Day Parade in 1947."

And they will agree with me that that's pretty cool.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Danyelle Leafty's "The Curious Leaf"...A Book Review


But a wish, once wished, cannot be unwished. It finds purchase in our hearts and waits, remembering even when we forget.  Danyelle Leafty, The Curious Leaf: An Adventure in Wishing (Curiosities) 

I met Danyelle for the first time at Westercon, but I had seen her novella on social media before that (you can download or buy a copy of this book: HERE). When I finally got a copy of this story, it intrigued me. A wishing adventure?

Sure, why not?

As I began the story, I thought it was a children's tale (and it is...), but as with most good writing, the story expands beyond a simple story about a flower who wants to fly. It's about life and how we as humans view change, desires, restrictions, hard work and facing the unknown. No matter what you've experienced, there's a part of this story with which you can connect, can identify and relate. 

I enjoy stories where, as I'm reading, I do not know how it's going to end. Could the flower and its companion meet a grizzly end, thus confirming an age-old adage to "be careful for what you wish for?" Or will the characters ultimately find fulfillment and peace after their struggles? In my opinion, it could have gone either way and proved a satisfying story.

The Curious Leaf is a fast read, but it contains so much more than what's printed on the pages. At least it did for me.

 * Photo used without permission from:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jack London's "The Sea Wolf"...A Review


My wife got the audiobook for Jack London's The Sea Wolf for our kids school and when I saw it, I just had to download it.

I'm glad I did!

But, to be honest, I was a little apprehensive about reading it. The last time I read a book about a sea voyage (not counting Kevin J. Anderson's excellent novel Nemo...) was Herman Melville's Billy Budd, Sailor and I had a really tough time getting through that.

Of course, I read Melville's book as I was just beginning grad school and I'll bet if I read it again, it wouldn't be as difficult. So I thought maybe this book might be similar even though they were written roughly a century apart.

I was wrong.

I found The Sea Wolf had an incredibly contemporary feel, at least to me. The story was engaging, even  considering the different styles of today's adventure tales. If I lived in 1904 when this work was published, it would be the equivalent of the latest summer blockbuster. Imagine, people excited to read a new novel the same way we think about wanting to see a new movie. There's an innocence in that.

If you haven't read The Sea Wolf, I highly recommended it. London packs his relatively short story with adventure, intrigue, betrayal, and even a love story. So, if I do go read Billy Budd, Sailor again, I think I'll also re-read this one.

* Photo used without permission from:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Blast You, Ghirardelli!

Okay, I admit it. I enjoy eating Ghirardelli chocolate chips. I like them in cookies, in muffins, in cupcakes (and cakes...), or just by themselves. I like all the various kinds the chocolatier produces, but I'm especially fond of the dark.

After all, dark chocolate is good for you. Really! I read it somewhere!

I don't eat a lot of chocolate, other than an occasional chip. I mean, after eating this stuff, a lot of what's out there doesn't even compare. So, imagine my shock when I was notified today that "Big Chocolate" has sneakily made changes to they way they operate. 

And I am none too pleased.

It seems, at some point in the past, when we purchased a package of the deliciousness known as Chirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate, we were buying 12 oz of the addicting almost black ambrosia. And unbeknownst to us, a change was made. No longer do we buy a 12 oz package--oh no! We're only getting 10 oz and for the same price!

Oh, the humanity!

The change was so subtle we don't know when this crime was committed, and a crime it surely is. Still, I'm not so worried about today, but it's the future that troubles me. Will we one day be required to spend the same amount for 8 oz? Or 6 oz? Or, Heaven forbid, 4 oz?

If so, that will be a dark day indeed!

Oh, and my own serving them right out of the bag!