Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Am I A Hockey Fan Now...?

I've said it before on this blog, I wish I liked watching baseball more, because at this time of the year, we're heading into a sports desert. What's a sports desert? Kind of like a food desert, but with sports. For the next few weeks, we've got championship games in basketball and hockey. Then, not much. I was interested in the NBA finals earlier, due to our local team retuning to postseason play, but this year's final is literally a "been there, done that" situation.

So, between now and when the University of Utah college football season begins exactly three months from today, there are few sports opportunities for me, except catching a MLS game now and then, and enjoying the NHL finals.

Finals, in any sport, are usually entertaining. Maybe they play better when the trophy's on the line. 

Hockey isn't the most popular sport where I live, in a high-plains desert. What's a high-plains desert? It's like a food desert, but an actual real place. We do have the occasional hockey fan. There's a minor league team in Salt Lake and from what I understand, is supported by hearty fans. I just haven't been one of them. 

So, as I watch the Penguins and Predators, two teams clad in yellow and black, beat up each other on frozen water, I wonder if, when the NHL season begins next fall, will I watch any of the regular season...

I guess we'll find out then.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

My Friend Rex Is Selling Alfalfa...

I've known Rex Sorensen for over thirty years. And now the man is selling alfalfa. When I think back of when I first met Rex, imaging him selling alfalfa was something I would have had a difficult time imagining. Not that he's not capable--Rex is one of the most confident people I've ever met.

And, I suppose, I am having a little difficulty imaging him selling it now. I must admit that Rex and I haven't seen much of each other in the past thirty years--we've maybe spoken face-to-face less than five times since we both left the amazing country of Denmark where we first met. Since I haven't kept up with the doings of Rex, I guess growing, harvesting, and selling alfalfa is as noble an activity as anything else out there, probably more so considering what's required.

Now, if any of you are in the market for alfalfa, let me tell you about this particular crop (borrowing heavily on how he's described it because I know pretty much nothing about alfalfa...).

Per Rex: 

Premium 1 alfalfa. 3 string. Just baled yesterday (he posted this today on Facebook...). Lots of leaf and it flakes great. $9.75 per bale. We deliver or U pick up. Let me know.

Couple of things to try and help out my friend. I imagine Premium 1 alfalfa is good--usually things with a "1" attached are the best. 3 string = good, I guess. Recently baled = another plus. And great flaking must be superior to crappy flaking.

And finally, he delivers or U (thanks for the unintended U of U shout-out...) pick up. This alfalfa is in Gilbert, Arizona, so if you're in Gilbert or the sounding area and you need alfalfa, let me know and I'll hook you up with my friend Rex.

If you're not in his area, like me, I wonder just how far he'd deliver. I mean, I have absolutely no use for alfalfa (as far as I know...), but it would be great if he'd deliver some product the several hundred miles that separate the both of us. It would be great to hang out with him and even take him to dinner.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Friend's New Puppy...

You know how if you get a new car and you may think it's not the most popular model, but once you start driving your new car all of a sudden you see the same model you're driving all over the place?

Maybe that doesn't happen to you, but I noticed it when I got a new car.

The same thing happened to me the past couple of weeks, except this time, it wasn't cars, it was friends who lost a dog.

Last month I went to my friend's house and saw their ailing pet. They knew they were going to have to put her down soon--the cancer was too advanced. She had trouble walking, but she went from person to person, as if making sure everyone was okay and happy.

Since that day, I waited for the news. It came last week. But an interesting thing happened. Between last month and last week I noticed several Facebook friends post that they had to make the same decision. Their pet was so sick, keeping it alive was the less humane thing, so they too put down their animal. It got me thinking, maybe it happens more than I think and I just wasn't paying attention before.

Today we saw my friend's latest edition. It's a puppy, except an almost full-grown puppy. I'm not sure if my other friends have replaced their lost family member or not. I'll be watching to see if they post anything. This new dog, I'm sure it won't fully replace the one they lost, but when you look at that face, it's got to help.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

May...In Pictures

I've had people come up to me at church, at work, or other places, and complimented me on photos I've posted online. That happens when you post a daily picture for over six years. Of course, not all the daily pictures are what even I consider "good." Some are just for fun, some are so I can remember a specific moment in time.

I do, however, try and get the best possible shot, no matter what the subject. This month there were a couple of pictures that even I thought were pretty good (my favorite shot of the month is the very last one, the dancers...). That's the thing about art and creativity. When something's good, you more than know it, you feel it. I liked these shots. And who knows--I might even capture a couple more...the month's not over yet.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Immortal Works...Will Publish "Chaser," My First Novel

From my experience, there are a lot of reasons to write a poem, a short story, or even a letter. And there's as many reasons to write a novel as there are novelists. 

Last November I wrote a novel.

A few weeks ago I found out it's going to be published.

I'm not sure exactly when Chaser will be available, but I received more information on the process today. I'll be working with an editor until it's as good as it can be. Then a cover will be chosen and all the other details that go into releasing a book. Finally, that moment will come when a finished book will come, usually in a box, and I'll get to hold it in my hand, open the pages, even smell the paper and ink. I've been fortunate enough to have several short stories published, and the feeling I got holding those anthologies for the first time was magical. I also self-published a collection of short stories.

I'm imagining, when this novel comes out, the same thing will happen this time. 

Writing brings moments of extreme excitement and amazing disappointment. Having someone say they loved the story--the not-yet-polished story--is one of the former, as is receiving an e-mail from a publisher with a contract attached. 

Originally, I wrote my story to see if I could complete the NaNoWriMo challenge and to write a story my 12-year old would enjoy reading. I also had hopes of getting it published. Looks like, with this particular novel, there's more than one reason for writing it. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Moments At A Dance Recital...

Parents do many things for their children. In some ways, everything parents do--one way or another--are for their kids. I work to not only feed myself, keep a roof over my own head, and make sure I'm properly clothed, but to feed, shelter, and clothe my kids as well. Without kids, there would be no need for parents, and without parents, there would be no kids.

Tonight I attended my daughter's final ballroom dance recital. I've been to several this year and I'm glad I could attend. I've videoed almost all her dances, some of then several times. But tonight, I wanted to capture moments, and especially the faces of those performing. I took more shots, but these were my favorites.

I hope you enjoy these scenes, these glimpses into the wonder that are children expressing themselves through dance. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Capturing The Fire On The Mountain...

"Look at that!" my daughter said as we pulled into the parking lot of a local grocery store. Of course I saw it--it was spectacular. Above us the sky blazed in orange and red and the mountains caught the colors as they reflected off the sky. "It's beautiful," she said. And it was.

Because it was so amazing, I wondered if I could capture the scene in a picture. I pulled out my phone and tried.

Some would say I was successful. When I looked at the pictures when I got home, one shot came close, one was way off--that picture's the one below. I wish I could have found a more advantageous vantage point to take a picture, but with photography, as with life, you have to make due with what you're given.

I must say, when it comes to taking pictures of sunsets, I've been spoiled. Except in the winter when there's less sunlight, I'm usually at home when the sun sets in the west. Most nights I'll go to our back porch and see what we've been given. With sunsets, as with life, you make due with what you're given.

Point is, I usually havec a vantage point to get a good picture when the sunset is photo-worthy. When I saw the sky explode above us at the grocery store, I was where I was. And even though the finished product wasn't what I would have wanted, I'll always have the picture to remind me of the night my daughter and I saw the fire on the mountain. And, after all, isn't that what a picture is for anyway?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Then Frito-Lay Did This...

I came home and as soon as I walked in the house, I watched as my youngest went from the couch to the kitchen then back again. 

Then he did it again.

"Look," he said and he pointed to the kitchen counter. "We got healthy Doritos."

Now, I know what you're thinking--no such thing as healthy Doritos. And that may be true, but I was curious. Of course, my son could have said, "We got healthier Doritos."

Nah, some of you are still shaking your heads.

A few years ago we decided to only eat foods that contained no artificial colors, flavors, and/or preservatives. We're going on something like eleven years with this diet. At first it was tough, but just like anything, you get better with practice and time. We've been able to pretty much eat whatever we want.

Except for a few Doritos. 

Trader Joes makes a similar product, but they're all the way downtown, and...well, you know, so we haven't purchased many of those. When we go to Trader Joes, we do.

Because we've been eating this way for over a decade, whenever I see something like this, I wonder why. Why did Frito-Lay decide to do this? Are they trying to reach people like us? Possibly, but I wouldn't think there's that many of us out there. Maybe there are--I'm sure they've done the research. Maybe they're trying to give us the impression that they're getting healthier. Possibly. That's a big hill to climb, but every little bit helps. Maybe they created this new invention for another reason entirely.

To be honest, I really don't care. Because they're pretty darn delicious. So much so, I found myself following my youngest's example. Then I did it again.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Team Staff Meeting...

At work, I am part of a team. I'm not self-employed, nor am I unemployed. My job requires the processing of information to the benefit of others. At work we each have our own assigned work, however, my employer has chosen to employ a team structure to better process the work, to get the work done quicker, and do it with fewer mistakes.

I think it's how humans are built--no man is an island (no matter what Hugh Grant's character says...). We're just designed to get more done if we work together. Families are more successful when they have and work for a common goal, marriages definitely are. Ever since I began working for my employer almost twenty years ago, I've been on one team or another.

And in an attempt to build a stronger team, we meet occasionally (unlike marriages and families that meet quite often...). Today we traveled in cars, trucks, and Priuses, and gathered at Jen Johansen Park located on Eightieth East and First North in Logan, Utah (I remember that address because we spent several minutes trying to find it...) for a team meeting and lunch.

Both were successful.


Of course, we had the one before the other and I don't know if the team meeting would have been more successful had we the training part after lunch than before. Probably not because, even though most of us were starving as we discussed policy and procedure, trying to go through that after stuffing ourselves with salads, Dutch oven bacon and potatoes, and stacked hamburgers would have proven disastrous. We would have all most likely laid down on the grass or picnic tables and fallen asleep--the instructor included.

I am fortunate to be part of an excellent team, a team that works together to get the work done, a team dedicated to doing a great job. Having a blast at a team staff meeting where lunch is served is the dessert.