Monday, September 27, 2021

What You Don't See...A Simple Box

 A few decades ago we decided to take a more active role in our children's education. We chose to homeschool them. When you make that kind of decision, there's so many things that will literally change not only your life, but your kids's lives as well.

Like...helping out with homework.

Of course, all schoolwork is technically "homework" when you homeschool. Three of our four children have completed their home school experience and graduated. Our daughter is in college and she had a project that needed doing and she needed help finishing that project.

A simple box.

In no way do I doubt my daughter's abilities. She could have put the thing together herself and it would have most likely turned out better than the one we both worked on, but she asked me for help and I was glad to offer assistance. 

Now, admittedly, the final project is not spectacular. It didn't need to be. It's meant to be a mold for a sculpturing project. It served the purpose. And if anyone were to see our simple box, they'd see the imperfections, the poor choice of products used, the less-than-optimum screws used. But, when I see it, I see doing something fun with and for my daughter...helping her with her homework.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Give Thanks...Being Able To Work

 From my work window, I look out to a field. One day it will be a road linking more houses on our hill to civilization. But, for not, it's just a field. It's also a place where the neighborhood developers have building materials stored for future use.

Including top soil.

For the past several months I've watched dump truck load after dump truck load leave the field bound for hopefully greener pastures. Last week I was able to order some of that dirt be delivered to our house. We're nowhere near being done with our yard.

It arrived Friday. We basically had two days to get that dirt moved, or two mornings since I worked in the afternoons and evenings. Friday, I overdid it--worked and worked to get as much of it moved as possible. I paid for it--I was tired at work, but it needed to get done.

We finished up the job on Saturday--I took things much slower and that helped. Work, though a longer shift, was much easier.

I am thankful that I was able to work in my yard. I'm thankful for helpful neighbors. I'm thankful I could physically do the work and that we have a yard in the first place. Slowly, we're getting there. It's going to take many more days to get it done...and, as anyone with yards knows, it's never really "done." But, for one big mound of dirt on our driveway, that part of the done.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

I Live In Aggie Country...And I Don't Mind One Bit

 Back in the mid to late 1980s, the entire state of Utah was BYU Cougar Country. At least, that's how it seemed to me when I attended the University of Utah. Even in Salt Lake City, where you'd think the U would have flags and signs and banners at homes, I remember seeing a lot of blue.

That didn't really make me happy.

I kept thinking that there should be a place where U of U pride could be displayed, appreciated, honored. But, I kept seeing Y stuff, Y flags, Y banner, Y bumper stickers all round the Salt Lake Valley.

When the U began to dominate (yes, I wrote--and meant--dominate...) the Y in sports, that's when Salt Lake began to bleed red. Utah County was, and in my opinion, always should be a place for all things cougar, but I was glad to see Salt Lake County begin to show it's Ute colors. It took a long time--a very long time--but it happened.

Fast forward a decade or so and we moved, moved north, moved to a land where once again the color blue hung in storefronts, except the letter changed from the second to last in the alphabet to the first letter of the alphabet...

A...for Utah State Aggies.

A few days ago we had to run errands in Logan and the bold blue A was plastered everywhere. I loved seeing it. Even in the small town where we now live, you can see Aggie flags, bumper stickers, banners, and license plates. Personally, I love pretty much everything about USU. It was where I first went to college decades ago, where my brother, father, uncle, and many many friends attended and graduated.

Sure, it's not red, but seeing so much Aggie Blue is fine with me.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Author Signings...It's Been A Long Time

 Amidst the chaos of FanX, the comic convention held in Salt Lake, I had the opportunity to participate in a book signing. Me and several others were at the Immortal Works Publishing booth on Saturday, the last day of the con. Those running the booth allowed me to participate.

Boy--it brought back memories.

Back when FanX began in 2013 (it was known as Salt Lake Comic Con at that time...), my number one goal was to get books in which I was an author into the hands of as many people as possible. I participated on panels and at the end of those panels, I would tell people where they could find me at whatever booth allowed me to try and sell my books.

Times have changed.

Since 2013 I've taken more of an administrative roll in the convention. Trying to sell my books has taken a back seat, or no seat at all. I brought my my box of books to the convention, but I didn't even get them out of the car.

But, last Saturday, I had the opportunity to try and talk to people and to see if they wanted to read my book. I forgot how difficult it can be at times. I kept looking for families with younger kids who might want to be more interested in books than video games or trying to look like their favorite superhero. Needless to say, I didn't spot a lot of potential buyers.

Even tough hawking books is tough, I enjoyed it. I've missed it, to be honest. 

Of course, some things haven't changed. I didn't sell or sign a single book.

Maybe next time...

Thursday, September 23, 2021

"How 'Bout That?"...She Pointed To A Facade Of An Old Creepy House

 "AAhhhh!" Becky screamed.

"I hate it when they sneak up on me like that," Becky said to her best friend Sarah.

"He didn't sneak up on you--if you'd ever get your head out of your phone, you'd have seen him coming."

Becky thought of responding in a manner only appropriate from one teenager to another, but decided against it. After all, it was Becky that practically begged her friend to come to the amusement park where "all things fun" had transformed into "all things scary" for the Halloween season--a season in which Sarah was not a fan.

"Hey..." Sarah said stopping, which in turn caused Becky to stop.

"Yeah?" Becky asked.

"You want to try some of those Haunted Houses they have here?"

The question surprised Becky. A sly smile crossed her face. "Sar--that's not like you. I don't know if I can trust you now that I don't recognize a person I thought was my friend."

Sarah began walking. "You think you know me, huh?"

"I thought I did," Becky matched Sarah's stride. "But, to be honest, I don't think you have the guts to even step foot in one of them."

"Wanna bet?" Sarah said.

"You're on." Becky still couldn't believe her friend wanted to actually go inside an actual haunted house. "But," a thought suddenly came to Becky. "I get to chose which one we  go in."

Becky noticed a look of determination cross her friend's face. "Okay--you got a deal. Which one?"

Becky looked around. They ended up near the old arcade. "How 'bout that?" She pointed to a facade of an old creepy house.

"I think you have to get tickets--it costs extra," Sarah said.

"You backing out?" This time Becky knew she had her friend--no way Sarah was backing out.

"Nope--let's get tickets and get in line."

The two walked to the ticket booth. "Two tickets, please."

The girl with BROOKLYN on her name take took her card, processed the transaction, and handed back the card and two tickets.

"So, is this scary?" Becky asked.

"You've never heard of this?" Brooklyn asked. Both girls shook their heads. "It's terrifying," Brooklyn said with a knowing smile. "If you like to get scared, you'll love it."

"Well, we like to get scared, don't we Sarah?" Sarah made a face. Becky laughed.

The two made their way to the lines in front of the house. The sun had set and darkness surrounded the group of others who bravely chose to "be terrified." Becky scanned the faces of the others--some scared, many exited, several with faces illuminated by the warm glow of their phones.

"Excuse me," a man smartly dressed complete with suit, vest, pocket watch, and wearing a white theater mask to shroud his identity interrupted the teenagers as they waited. His appearance slightly unnerved the pair. "Have either of you ever seen our show before?"

"Nope," Sarah said.

"Well...," the man began and the teenagers's lives changed forever.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

It's Been A Great Twenty-Nine Years...And The Best Is Yet To Come!

 A few weeks ago I spotted a tweet reminding me to watch the season premiere of ABC's The Goldbergs. It caught my attention because the premiere was to air on September, 22, 2021...our wedding anniversary.

When things happen on your anniversary, you notice...

Or should.

Because I had to work today, my wife and I spent our non-work, non-homeschool time running errands for the kids and each other. We also picked up dinner for us and the kids.

No, we did not fly to some far-off location and have dinner under a famous landmark. No, we did not book a cruise or spend the day at a swanky hotel somewhere far away from our troubles (of course, paying for such extravagant trips would usher in new troubles...). We drove around Logan, Utah in search of license plates, ear buds, vitamins, and food.

It wasn't flashy, but in many ways, it was a perfect setting for us...just a simple outing with my favorite person in the whole world. I do love her so and I can't imagine life without her.

After dinner and the kids going their separate ways, we watched The Goldbergs, a personal favorite. It was a tribute to an amazing actor by those who worked with him and obviously loved him. Thanks to their show, we saw his talents showcased--it was a beautiful and hilarious episode. It was indeed a great way to help celebrate our anniversary.

Wendi McLendon-Covey agreed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Honoring An Artist...Lori Nicholas

The display hung in a building where other works of art resided for those visiting the Box Elder County Fair. If you walked by quickly, you'd miss it...a shrine to a fallen hero...a local hero.

Someone I've never met.

But, I didn't need to know her to understand her importance to those who created the display, who took the time to honor this person.

Lori Nicholas was a western artist who passed away one day shy of her sixty-eighth birthday. I know it's hard to read the dedication, but I'm sure she was more than what was printed on the paper describing some of the highlights of her life. She sounds like an incredible person and artist.

The building now sits empty, the artwork--paintings, sculptures, photographs, quilts, even lego masterpieces--all gone from the walls and aisles. Gone too is Lori's art, her dedication, her tribute.