Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Vertical Challenge Totals...

Here's the totals for the 5th Annual Bob's Vertical'll notice my name is not included. I did ski, but I did not complete the challenge. I'd like to think I can do the entire challenge, but I've got to work up to it. It was a great day...even though we skied through a blizzard, it was a great day!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bob's Vertical Challenge, Year 5...

Thanks For Another Great Vertical Challenge!

The sun came out as we packed up our skis, swag, and memories and headed down the mountain. We had missed the sun all day, but you'd not know it from the looks of most of the participants in this year's Vertical Challenge. And when everything's added up, a lot of people did a lot of good for a lot of needy kids. Bob's Vertical Challenge, the 2012 Edition is in the books, but the effects will be far reaching and important.

Thanks to all who participated and helped to make this year's event our best ever. The addition of FLAIK (Acesss their website: HERE) added an extra dimension to the event that we've never had before. They are a class act. Hopefully we can use them again next year. Everyone loved checking out everyone's vertical feet totals.

Bob summed it up best when he spoke to the crowd and explained why he does the Vertical Challenge. "It's for the get off your butts and buy more door prize tickets." Once you've attended a Vertical Challenge event and you catch the vision of it, you'll want to do it again. As we drove down, tired and beaten by the storm and the slopes, you can't help but feel great. That's how I felt today and I hope that's how I'll feel again next year.

Monday, February 27, 2012

D.I. Skiing...

Tomorrow I'm going to hit the slopes for only the second time since 1993. I don't bemoan my time away from the resorts--skiing is so dang expensive nowadays. Gone forever are the All-Day lift passes at Alta for $10. I feel like a member of the generation that says things like, "I remember when gasoline cost 25¢ a gallon..." and other quaint phrases.

If you've followed my blog for the past month or so, I've written many times about Bob's Vertical Challenge (the website is here). It's a great charity event and it's tomorrow and I get to ski while I help out. I win each way.

I gathered my ski equipment tonight and I noticed a theme in the things I have...a majority of my equipment was purchased at the Deseret Industries, or the D.I. if you're familiar with the area. If you don't know what the D.I. is, it's a thrift store. I got my Marker Olympic coat at the D.I., a pair of Scott goggles at the D.I., my skis and my ski boots were both from the D.I.

I dare say if the D.I. owned and operated a ski resort I would ski there. Of course, if they did own a ski resort, a group of hoarders would gather at the base of the mountain before the lifts opened and would almost run to the runs, each trying to get the best ski trail at the cheapest price. It would not be pretty. But, I'd ski there anyway...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

All-Star Game Vs. Oscars?


All-Star Game Vs. Oscars?

Church was over and dinner was done. The family relaxed on a Sunday evening after a long, busy week. Through the miracle of that new invention called "The Internet," I had viewing options and most people on Twitter were tweeting about two things, the NBA All-Star game and the Oscars. 

Which to watch?

On the one hand you have a group of talented individuals, the tops of their industry. Do they have inflated egos? Many would say, yes... Of course, when you're the best at what you do in the world, it's easy to get a swelled head. Throngs of admirers gathered to see their favorites. It was quite a spectacle and millions of people watched.

Now, the other viewing choice showcased yet another assembly of people dedicated to doing the very best for their fans. They're world famous--entire magazines and television shows are dedicated to them and what they do. Video clips of their activities tonight will be shot, edited, and shown on computers and televisions for days to come. Everyone loves to watch them and some even wished they had the talents to do what--seemingly--only they can do...

So, which one did I watch?

Neither...I read a book and played some Angry Birds.

But the really important question, which group did I describe in each paragraph?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Contest! Imagine That...


It's only taken me over a year, but I'm finally having a blog contest. And here's what you can win!


Yes, it's a Lagoon Cookie Jar. I do like it, but I think it needs a home where cookies are overflowing.


The scenes depicted on the jar are good, except for those of us living close to the amusement park, no longer are there fireworks ablaze on July 4ht and July 24th...bummer. 


I have to say that back in the day Lagoon used to allow children to play on that big ol' Mother Goose shoe. We climbed all over that sucker. No more...thanks lawyers! Yes the kids are safer now, but do they really have a richer life? I think not!

Here's the deal, just leave a comment on this blog about your favorite Lagoon memory (and try not to include anything not "kid friendly"). Include your e-mail address so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner of this truly unique cookie jar showing scenes of a place that means so much to so many people.


I will choose at random at winner on Wednesday, February 29th, Leap Year Day and announce the great news on the next blog post. And, depending on who gets it, we'll see how to get it to you.


Good luck! Happy contesting! And, as was the saying for many a year at the beloved amusement park, HAVE FUN!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Date Night...


It's been a long week and Friday nights are usually the time my wife and I go out on a Date Night. For the past few weeks we've been so busy that we haven't been able to go, but tonight we got the chance. I posted my thoughts on Facebook before we headed out and here's the responses I got:

Actually, we got deli and picked up a show at the Redbox--no grocery shopping or otherwise... Back in the day a date involved (most of the time...) a movie--did that, getting food--did that, and a good night kiss, if you're lucky. I guess some things never change...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Sky At Different Times Of The Day/Night...

What I Saw...

I took a break and left the office just before noon today and looked up. A huge refueling plane flew almost directly overhead. I grabbed my camera and snapped a shot and I hoped it turned out. On my old SLR camera I could look through the viewfinder and block out the light to see the shot. My point-and-click doesn't give me that option and in direct sunlight I have no idea if a picture turns out or not. Luckily, it did.

As I drove home tonight I thought because of the clouds forming in the western sky that the sunset would be a good one. I was turned out to be very nice. I took several shots.

About an hour after the sun set I looked west and the island, the colors of dusk and the moon was amazing. I thought I'd see if I could capture what I was seeing. It's a little blurred because I had to hold the camera steady for several seconds due to the lack of light. All in all, some pretty cool things happening in the sky today...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Cell Phone...Part 2

Okay folks, here's part 2 of the story I posted a couple of days ago.

The Cell Phone, Continued...

“I had just got home when my phone rings. It’s Mrs. Lamia. She’s going nuts—where’s my phone? You said you’d send it! She goes on and on… I tell her I just left the warehouse and I have her phone, but I can’t send it until morning—everything’s closed. She says she wants me to drive to California right then and give it to her at the border. I say no way—I’ve got to go to work in the morning. I tell her she needs to send me the title of the car—signed over to me—and once I get that, I’ll send the phone.”
Soudeer looked at Fox hoping he believed him. “I know I should have probably just sent the phone, but I had put a lot on the line for this…I went to a building I didn’t own, drove a car from that building that I couldn’t prove I owned. The deal was she pay me for my services so I was just making sure that happened.”
Fox considered any potential crime Soudeer may have committed by not sending the phone immediately, but dismissed the thought. “So, what’d she say that that?”
“Oh, she hit the roof, man! She screamed at me for like 10 minutes, but in the end, she realized if I don’t get my title, she don’t get her phone. She said I’d get the title the next day.”
“So you get the title?”
“Not yet… But if you’d just let me make a call on my phone, I can prove the car’s mine.”
A gentle knock was heard at the room’s only door. Both men turned and looked in the direction of the knock.
“Come,” Fox said a little relieved at the distraction. A uniformed officer, thin, tall opened the door. “Detective,” the man said. “We’ve got that information you asked for—thought you’d want to know about it.”
Fox stood and said, “Absolutely. Hector…I’ll be right back.”
“Hey, when you come back, can you bring me that water?” Fox closed the door on the thirsty man.
The fellow officer took Fox down hall where both stopped. “We’ve checked the cell phone—there’s nothing on it…no numbers, no history…nothing. It’s like it’s been wiped clean. The guys at Tech say they’ve never seen anything like it,” the cop said as he handed Fox the phone.
Fox mulled over the new information as he looked at the phone. “Thanks,” he said beginning back. Remembering, Fox detoured to the kitchen and fetched a glass of water.
“Thanks,” Soudeer said as Fox set down the plastic cup before him. “Look, if you’d please just give me my phone—one call and we’re done here.”
“You mean, Mrs. Lamia’s phone, don’t you?” Fox said as he retrieved the phone from his pocket.
Soudeer looked at it, then away. “Yeah, it’s hers. I thought about returning it even without the title and I would have, too, but I got a call on that phone. I thought it was Mrs. Lamia but it was another guy—a new guy. He said his name was Turris. I’d never heard of him either.”
“Turris?” Fox asked as he grabbed a pencil from his shirt pocket and scribbled the name on the outside of the file.
“Yeah, Turris.”
“And what did Mr. Turris want with you?”
“Mr. Turris said he was in contact with Mrs. Lamia. He said she had authorized him to deliver the title to me. I thought maybe she’d mail it to me. Now another guy I don’t know is going to deliver it…”
The headache somewhat hiding in the recesses of Fox’s mind chose at that moment to hide no longer. Soudeer’s story, though implausible, at least was consistent. This new character, Turris…he complicated things.
“That’s all he said. I know it don’t make no sense. I asked Turris how he was going to get me the title. He said he could have it to me in an hour. I asked if I needed to send back the phone first. He said no; the arrangement with Mrs. Lamia was still being honored. I even asked this Turris guy why he didn’t just get the phone for Mrs. Lamia in the first place and left me alone. He said this was not how Mrs. Lamia wanted things done.”
Fox considered that very question himself. “So what happened next?”
“Well, we agree to meet yesterday and I hang up the phone. The next thing I know you guys come busting into my house, dragging me down here, and after spending the night in jail, here I am. Look, I know this whole thing sounds crazy, but if you give me one call on that cell, I’ll call Mr. Turris and he’ll deliver the paperwork.”
“That sounds convenient, Hector, but my people can’t find anything on that phone…no call history, nothing. I’d sure like to see how you can contact him with it.”
“Tell you what—you give me the phone and I’ll show you.”
Fox considered his options. Nothing was making sense now. A phone that didn’t work, a two-bit car salesmen being given a car worth almost a hundred thousand dollars… Frustrated, Fox handed Soudeer the phone.
“Here you go. Now, prove it.”
Fox watched carefully as Soudeer picked up the phone and dialed three numbers. As it rang Soudeer said, “Turris said it’s a weird phone—he told me how to use it.” Fox, after hearing what he’d heard this morning, would probably now believe anything Soudeer said.”
“Uh…is this Mr. Turris? It’s Hector and I need you to deliver my title to the Salt Lake Police Department at 123…oh, you know the address?” Soudeer turned to Fox. “How can he get it to me?”
“Tell him to bring it to Detective Fox…tell him I want to talk to him.”
“When you get here, tell the desk you want to see Detective Fox. They’ll take care of it. Okay…see you then.” Soudeer clicked off the phone and placed it on the table. “Now what do we do?”
“We wait,” Fox said.
            It took 20 minutes for Mr. Turris to arrive and another hour for Fox to check the title to make sure the car did indeed belong to Hector Soudeer. “Hector—looks like everything’s in order and you’re fee to go. But stay in the area just in case.” Fox handed the title to the car’s owner.
“Sure thing, boss,” Soudeer replied.
“But I’m going to have to keep this. We’ll make sure it gets back to Mrs. Lamia.” Fox pocketed Mrs. Lamia’s cell phone. Soudeer showed Fox the first genuine smile of the day, took his ownership papers in his hand and left.
            “Detective Fox,” Mr. Turris said with a thick Mediterranean accent. “I assure you Mr. Soudeer story is completely true.”
            “And you know this how?” Fox asked, his eyebrow raised.
            “Because I am Antonio Lamia’s personal attorney. Here’s my card. Feel free to check my credentials,” Turris said handing Fox his card.
“You can count on it,” Fox said.
“I spoke with Mrs. Lamia the moment she got off the phone with Mr. Soudeer Tuesday night. It is all true.”
            Turris turned to leave when he stopped. “You know, they found Mr. Lamia’s body this morning and they arrested Mrs. Lamia for murder about two hours ago.”
            “I didn’t know that.”
            “Very sad, very sad.”
            “Mr. Turris,” Fox stopped the immaculately dressed gentleman. “Why did Mrs. Lamia want this phone so badly?” Fox asked holding up the phone.
            “I have no idea,” Turris said. “It’s not even hers.” The recently unemployed lawyer left Detective Fox alone with only his headache to accompany him.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

T-Minus Seven Days...

One Week To Go!

Seven days, that's all we've got. I sat in a meeting this afternoon as part of a team. Our goal is to put on a charity event in seven days. I've blogged about the event several times in the past and I'll probably blog about it until the day of the event and maybe even after it's over. I apologize if you're sick of it, but it is taking a lot of my time lately and it is for a really good cause.


What struck me as I sat and listened to all the things that needs to take place in a week's time is how much a small group of people can do when they work together. Of course, there will be more people involved than were in the room this afternoon, but when people are single-minded in their purpose, it is amazing all they can accomplish. On paper, it shouldn't work, but it does.

I am saying this before the event has taken place and it may end up being a disaster, but I think not. Last year our team comprised of just as many people and the end result was a complete success. We've got one week to go--one week to do our best and let it all unfold.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Cell Phone...

Here is the first part of another story I submitted for the writing contest and another entry that was not chosen. It's called The Cell Phone. The picture of the cat has absolutely nothing to do with the story.

The Cell Phone

Detective Fox entered the small interrogation room. The smell of bad coffee and sweat filled the room, a room built to reveal secrets. In his hand he carried the file on Hector Soudeer, the same folder he was given only an hour before and the one he’d read while downing his McDonalds breakfast only minutes earlier. It was going to be a long morning, the detective thought.
“Hector, I’m Detective Fox,” the career policeman said. The detective’s first impression of the man being questioned for auto theft was, short, but as Hector extended a tattooed hand attached to a tattooed arm, Fox noticed immediately the bulging muscles underneath his colorful shirt. Short, but works out, Fox thought. Fox also noticed the absence of any gang tattoos…at least he didn’t have that to worry about.
“I guess you know why you’re here,” Fox said as he sat in a chair opposite Soudeer.
“Mr. Fox, this is all a misunderstanding. If you would only give me back my cell phone, in 10 minutes all this,” Soudeer stretched his painted arms. “All this will go away.”
“Later,” Fox said curtly. A misunderstanding…how many times had Fox heard that excuse to explain everything from infidelity to murder? “First, let’s just start at the beginning. Tell me about Mrs. Lamia.”
“What do you want to know?” Fox took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He felt a headache coming on.
“Well, for starters, when did you first come in contact with Mrs. Lamia?”
“The first time I ever spoke with her was last week, Tuesday. Out of the blue I get a call at home, like at 9 o’clock. I see it’s an international call from Mexico. I don’t know who it is, but I have family in Mexico so I pick up. I’m curious, you know...”
 “And the call was from Mrs. Lamia?”
“Yeah, that’s right. She tells me her name, but I don’t know her. I ask how’d she get my number and why’s she calling me?”
“And what did she say?”
“She said I ask too many questions. I’m about to hang up when she says she’s got a job for me and it will be worth my while if I take it. Now, at my car lot, a job can mean a lot of things…pick up a car, drive it to California…stuff like that. But I don’t know what she means. So I ask her…what kind of job?”
“Did she tell you?”
“Yeah—kind of. She starts in on this story that she’s in Mexico and her husband’s gone missing in Tijuana. I know Tijuana—missing’s not a good thing in that town. She says she went down there to find him and now she can’t come back to the States…some problem with customs or something. She says she needs someone to go to her husband’s warehouse and get something for her. She says she needs her cell phone.”
“That’s all—just a cell phone?”
“I swear—that’s all. So now I’m wondering what’s really going on with this lady. I say I’m not going to help her unless she tells me how she got my cell number—I don’t give it out to too many people—and why is she calling me. She says I did some work on one of her husband’s cars…a ’71 Camaro, a few years ago…says her husband’s name is Antonio. Then it clicks—I did work on that car…sweet car, that Camaro. I ask her why one of her friends can’t do it for her—get her phone, I mean. She says she doesn’t know anybody in Salt Lake, cuz she splits time between Phoenix and Mazatlan. She found the invoice for the work I did on her husband’s car and she called me. She said my cell number was on the invoice. I do that sometimes.”
Soudeer looked around the small room. “Can I get some water?”
“Later,” Fox said wondering where all this was going. Soudeer looks annoyed but he begins again.
“So since she’s told me how she reached me, I ask her what’s she mean by worth my time. That can mean different things depending on who’s deciding.” Soudeer gave Fox a sly smile to which Fox only nodded.
“She tells me her husband borrowed her phone on his last trip to Utah, but he left it in the warehouse. She needs it and all I have to do is go to the warehouse, get the phone, and send it to her. That’s it. I ask her what’s in it for me? And she says, ‘look, my husband’s missing and is now God knows where. I need that phone and if you do this for me, you can have anything in that warehouse—just get me my phone.’ I say, ‘lady, if your husband’s warehouse is anything like my warehouse, all I got in there is parts to cars they don’t make no more and crap I can’t fit in my garage.’ Then she says, ‘Mr. Soudeer, my husband collects cars…exotic cars. That Camaro is one of his least-valuable acquisitions. The warehouse is full of his cars.’”
Fox straightened up in his chair. The department assumed Soudeer broke in and stole a car but giving him a car for just sending back a cell phone was new.
“Hector, you’re saying Mrs. Lamia said you could have anything in the warehouse for just getting her phone to her?”
“Damn straight! Look, I’m not dumb. I wouldn’t just break into a place when I’m pretty sure they have cameras and stuff all over.”
“So what’d you tell her?”
“I told her, yeah…I’d do it, but I didn’t have a way in. She says no problem—it’s got a keypad lock. Once I’m there I call her and she’ll give the combination and I’m in. So I drive to the warehouse…it’s on 70th West just off 21st…” Fox nods—he was there just last night. “When I get there I call the number she gave me and she gives me the combination. Just like that I’m in.”
Fox watched Saudeer’s eyes light up and knew exactly why. He had been in that same building and saw what Soudeer saw.
“I couldn’t believe what I saw. I thought I’d find some old Chevys, maybe a half-built Porsche... The guy had a few Austins, a Bentley, a Rolls—no, two Rolls Royces. There must have been 20 cars in that warehouse. I was like a kid in a candy store.”
“Then what happened?”
“So I call Mrs. Lamia back and she says again that all of these cars mean nothing to her. She says if her husband is really dead, she’s going to donate them all to charity anyway. I’m thinking if he’s missing in Tijuana, he most likely is dead so I look at the cars again. I see the one I want, if this is really on the level—I’m taking the Benz. She’s still on the phone and she asks me if I’ve found the cell. I tell her no because I was looking at the cars. She tells me to find it, so I go into the little office and there’s the phone just sitting on the desk. I tell her I got it and now I ask just how do I get paid.”
As Fox listens, many of his questions are being answered. Fox knew Soudeer accessed the warehouse with no forced entry. He knew also that one car—the Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG was missing, the same car found last night in Soudeer’s garage.
“And what did she say?”
“She said in the office safe are the keys every car there. She says she’ll just give me the combination to the safe. But I start thinking…if these are her husband’s cars and he’s got the titles, she can’t just give me one. So I ask her about this and she says all the cars are in her name. Her husband’s a Mexican national and she’s an American citizen so every car he collected he put in her name to avoid any problems. I still can’t believe what’s happening. She says to just tell her which car I want and she’ll get me the title. All she wants is the phone.”
“You open the safe?”
“You bet I did. She gives me the combination and I open it…” This answered yet another question for the detective. The safe was actually left open by someone who knew or had access to the combination. “And there they were, all the keys. I find the ones to the Benz and I’m about to leave when I remember the cell phone.” Soudeer laughed at his own memory lapse.
“I call her and tell her I got the phone. She gives me the code to open the garage door, and I drive my new Mercedes-Benz out of the warehouse.”
“Then what happened?
            “I leave my Chrysler there and take the new car straight home—I’m not taking any chances with this car—don’t want to get pulled over or anything. I mean, what would you think if you stopped me driving a $80,000 car and all I got is this story?”
“Good point,” Fox said returning Soudeer’s smile.
To Be Continued...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Snow Shoveling, Church Style...

Clearing The Snow

The call came in at 7am. I was not expecting our phone to ring at 7am this morning, but ring it did. If I thought a call was coming, I would have gone to bed earlier last night. "I'm at the church and we've got some snow to clear. Could you call Brother _____ and let him know we could use some help this morning? He signed the list to help shovel snow at the church."

"Wasn't the time to meet at the church on Sunday morning when it snowed 8am?" I asked, but really I pleaded for permission to go back to sleep. "Was it 8am? Well, it's 7am now and I'm here, so 7am? 8am? I'm not sure--just as long as we get it done before people start showing up."

I hung up the phone. I did call my neighbor and reminded him that since he signed up to help shovel snow, I was calling in the obligation. My son, just finishing up his breakfast, accompanied me and we drove to the church. There weren't too many of us, but we were able to clear the sidewalks quickly (I say quickly because the one who called did most of the work before we arrived...). We were lucky not to have had a lot of snow last night.

Because of our church schedule our congregation is responsible to clear the walks if the Sabbath greets us with snow. This snow shoveling schedule only happens every three years, and this winter has been very mild so far. We've been lucky. Shoveling snow wasn't that big of a deal today, but getting that 7am call on a cold Sunday morning, that's another story...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Framed Art...

 Let me just say at the onset that I apologize for the reflections in these pictures. I hope you can see the beauty of the photograph because it really is a great shot. Just Google: Sabine Weiss, Vers la lumière, Paris, 1953, or go HERE to see a better representation.

There's some history to this framed art that hangs on our wall and it goes back over 20 years. Back when I worked as a computer sound technician, I worked for a company that made a Macintosh language learning program to help Asians, and specifically Japanese business leaders, to better speak English. The program was called MacEnglish for obvious reasons.


It was a really great job, but the problem was, it didn't make it. Around 1989 the company folded and we all went our separate ways. The company was started by a man who was also a professional photographer and the entire office was covered with great art. On the day the company closed the employees were given the opportunity to pick a photograph to take home. Because I was at work earlier, I chose the Sabine Weiss. When my friend Clif showed up and found out what was going on with the artwork, the picture he wanted was already picked. I had already claimed it. I can't remember what picture he got. I'm sure it was almost as nice...

When we first built our home almost nine years ago Clif and his wife came to visit. He saw the picture on the wall and we shared a smile. If you ever drop by the cottage, you'll see the black & white photo hanging on the eastern wall. If and/or when you come by, you'll be able to see the picture--hopefully without the reflections.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Writer...

          A few weeks ago I entered a writing contest. Today I found out my submission was not chosen to be part of the short story anthology. And since the story will not appear anywhere else, I hope you enjoy it. It's a little weird, but's art.

The Writer
By Scott Taylor

          The writer woke and crept to his writing desk. The noon-day sun blinded his hung over eyes as it blazed through the bedroom window. “Damn sun,” the writer cursed as he closed his bamboo blinds. Darkness flooded the room and the man’s mind breathed.
          As the writer’s computer awoke from its hibernation, the writer’s gaze focused on a framed document gathering dust on a corner of his desk. An emotionless smile crossed the writer’s lips as he remembered again the day the single printed page arrived in the mail. Years had passed and other awards were bestowed, but the letter proclaimed his first national writing contest award winner—his first child, he often joked.
          A gentle “bing” brought the writer to the present. Someone sent him an e-mail. When the writer accessed his e-mail program and read the electronic message, he thought he must still be drunk. “What the he…” The writer’s words stopped as if hitting a prison wall. “Who’s messing with me?” He asked no one.
          The writer read and re-read the message and with each reading, he understood the e-mail less and less. The message came not from a person, but from a story…the first story he ever wrote. The simple message contained few words, “Writer, are you there?” The writer’s fingers, known to fly over the plastic keys, remained motionless.
          The writer laughed nervously. The story existed only in the writer’s memory. The day the writer quit his law practice he took with him only a yellow legal pad and a pencil. For the next week the former lawyer became a writer. The hand-written story progressed with a lacking plot, fractured structure and undisciplined grammar. With the tale half-finished the writer took legal pad and threw it into the incinerator of the apartment building where he then lived. That was several years ago. In fact, the last time the writer even thought about the story was a year ago last Easter during a terrible bout with writer’s block. Once the literary obstruction was gone, so was the story.
         But here it was, returned from his past, a past long dead. Quickly the writer searched his mind, wondering if he ever told anyone of the story. If he had, he could not remember who he might have told. He kept the story as secret as any in his life, but here it was, returned. The writer thought since he couldn’t explain the e-mail, he might as well play along.
          “This is the writer, and yes, I am here,” he typed silently on his laptop. “So, you’re my first story. Why are you contacting me now?” The writer typed quickly, sent the e-mail immediately, and looked around his bedroom wondering when—if ever—he would receive a response. The darkened room annoyed him and just as he reached for the cords to allow light to enter his room once again, the softened “bing” returned. An answer had come.
          “I have waited for you to return to me since you last thought of me at Easter time. I’ve returned to ask why you abandoned me.” The writer focused on the message’s final two words…abandoned me, abandoned me.
          The writer did not respond straight away, but thought about the message. He shook his head as if to clear some unwanted spirit that had infected him. Had he abandoned the story? In the most blatant definition of the word he had indeed done so. But he could not have abandoned a thought, a memory, a dream created in his imagination. It still existed in his imagination…just not physical, not anymore.
          The effects of the night before returned to the writer. His head swam as he began to compose an answer to the story’s question. Since his rational mind couldn’t comprehend a story actually coming to life and communicating to him through his computer’s e-mail, the writer thought he would go for broke.
          “I abandoned you because I no longer had a use for you,” the writer typed vindictively. He used his words to hurt whatever entity existed on the other side of this digital world. Quickly the writer sent the message and began a new one on which to express more of his thoughts. “I took what I learned from you and moved on. If you want to know the truth, you had nothing else to offer me.” With an air of melancholy the writer hit “send.”
          The writer shut his laptop disturbed at his thoughts. The story had returned to his consciousness and it haunted him. The story, written while the young ex-lawyer was drunk with bitterness over his failures, spoke of heartache and pain and despair. The writer discarded it; it reminded him of poor decisions. The writer slowly opened up his laptop computer and heard the familiar sound of an incoming e-mail.
          “I knew of your success. I saw it and felt it and I cried when you cried after your first win. My heart burst as did yours when you opened the letter and read the words saying you were the contest’s best writer and I knew—as did you—that it meant the door would be open to even bigger opportunities, which it did. And I knew also that all these things would take you further from me…which it did.”
          “What do you care?” The writer yelled into the empty room as he typed. “You shared my joy which means you must understand why I cannot return to you. I am happy now. I receive e-mails everyday from dozens—sometimes hundreds—of fans telling me how great my writing is. I cannot look back; I cannot return to who I was when I wrote you. You must accept where I am now, and where you are…and will always be.” The writer sent the message and as quickly as if the story were standing right beside him came the reply.
          “Look at you now; you are the writer, the one who communicates to the masses, and yet, you turn your back on me, on your first love.”
          “It was not love!” the writer yelled. “I created you out of pity. I never loved you. How could I? My life was Hell when you were with me! Your existence mocked me even as I wrote you! You were all that I hated about myself and I found satisfaction in destroying you! Why can’t you accept this?”
This time the response came not instantly, but after a few minutes had passed. “Will you ever return to me? Am I lost forever?”
          The writer’s response took as much time as the story’s. “Maybe there will be a part of you that continues with me for as long as I am a writer,” the writer wrote. “We are connected by history and maybe you can still feel what I feel even though I have stopped thinking of you. I am so different than the writer you knew. I have grown so much. You cannot possibly know me now.”
          As the writer finished his thought, something else came to him. “No, I don’t believe I will ever return, at least not as I am now. Maybe depression or another impediment will send me to you, but I will adamantly fight it. No…please consider this your last e-mail.” The writer sent his message somehow knowing it would be his last.
          The e-mail arrived and the story felt a sadness coming from its maker. The story saw the writer reach into a desk drawer, retrieve a yellow legal pad and find a pencil from a collection near the framed award. The story knew the writer was beginning a new story, one that would one day reach more people than all his other stories combined. And with this knowledge the story disappeared forever.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Doin' The Daily Double...

 Two Daily Blogs...Keeping Pace

 In just under two weeks Bob's Vertical Challenge will celebrate its 5th Anniversary and for the past week I've been writing two daily blogs. I've written my own blog every day for over a year...some blog posts I've been proud of, and others...let's just say I wrote something everyday.

Writing for the Vertical Challenge has been just that, a challenge. One thing about the Challenge is that it has an end date, the 28th of February so until then I'll be writing two blogs every day (except for Sundays...I never write for work on Sundays...). I thought of a few Vertical Challenge things to write about yesterday and as of this evening, I'm out of ideas--the two ideas have been used. I don't know what I'll write about on my own blog tomorrow, but I'm confident I'll come up with something (this blog post is an excellent example of what I'm talking about...). But, as of tomorrow's post for the Vertical Challenge...I'll have to think about that one.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rita Jensen--A Great Lady

Rita Classen Jensen 

Rita Classen Jensen

Rita Classen Jensen
Born: August 24, 1936 ~ Esbjerg, Denmark
Passed Away: February 10, 2012 ~ Salt Lake City, Utah
Daughter of Otto Henrik Classen
and Mette Marie Nielsen Classen
Wife of A. De Von Jensen

 The call came in Friday night, a little late, but we're usually awake when the call came. My friend was calling, a friend I had not spoken to in several years. We chatted a little bit then he told me the main reason for the call. His mom had passed away earlier in the day and he felt like he should let us know. I was so glad he called.

Rita Classen Jensen is an amazing woman. I remember first meeting her while I was in college. I met her son in my university choir class and he told me his mother was a native Dane. Any chance to meet a Dane is something I jumped at. Not only was my new friend's mother from Denmark, but his father served his mission in Denmark. That's a bonus!

While a student at school and a few years after, my friend and I stayed in touch, even doing things socially. But as the years passed, our families drifted apart, but on the day his mother passed away he called and let us know.

Everyone who knows Rita knows how incredible she is. She left her family and country as a young bride and immigrated to Utah. She sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for years and I even heard a rumor that she would bake danish pastries and give them to the cameramen who photographed General Conference. Of course, it was just coincidence that her face appeared on so many conference broadcasts... And there's a very good chance you've seen Rita before. She was the beautiful blond caroler in the film, Mr. Kruger's Christmas. Yup, that was her.

Tonight my wife and I attended the viewing. It was nice to see my friend and his wife. We only stayed a short time, but I'm glad we went. It's a strange feeling to lose a parent, something he's going through now. He was right when he told us, "It gets easier." God bless the Jensen family.