Archive for July 2007

Harry Potter Movie

Nancy and I went to see the fifth Harry Potter movie today. Nancy ordered the tickets online several weeks ago – reserved seats for the IMAX 3D version. I was having a horrible morning at work (I had to terminate an employee which didn’t go well) and so I was glad to get away from the office for a while. I was skeptical of the 3D part of the film. In my mind, most 3D stuff is that crappy red/blue 3D with the paper glasses that you get on the back of the cereal box. It turned out that my skepticism was misplaced – the 3D fight scenes at the end were really spectacular. The 3D glasses were polarized so the 3D was in full color and was really intense. If you’re going to see the movie then I definitely recommend seeing it in IMAX 3D.

Nancy is a Harry Potter (or, as I tease the kids – a “Hairy Pothead”) afficionado and had all kinds of criticisms about how the movie didn’t really follow the story line but I thought this movie was great – the best of the past three. It can’t really be compared to the first two because the Dumbledore is different in the first two and Harry was much younger in the first two.

Anyway, it was a fun afternoon date with Nancy.

Going to the zoo

My brother and his family is visiting this week from Oregon. He had to drop his two oldest daughters off to EFY down at BYU on Monday and then the rest of the week he had planned to do fun things and invite us along. The problem was that his wife Jaime got sick with pneumonia so for the first half of the week we didn’t do anything. By Thursday Jaime was feeling a little better so we decided to go to Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake. We picked the best day of the week to go because that day we got a little bit of a break from the 100 degree weather we have been having. We got to the zoo about 10am and after getting Jaime a wheelchair we were off.

zoo-posing.jpg
Posing by the tiger statue

cougars.jpg
BYU fans love these guys

fake-elephant.jpg

The kids loved to run around and look at the different animals, but the one that the kids liked the best wasn’t even real. By the elephants the zoo has a big fake elephant and it makes noises and squirts water out of its trunk. The kids all wanted to sit on it’s trunk and get wet when it blew it’s nose. Diana was afraid of it at first, but when she saw all the fun the other kids were having she decided that it was fun too. I didn’t take all of their pictures by the fake elephant because there were lots of other kids around waiting for their turn playing on it. By 1pm we were all starving and wanted something to eat so we went and got hot dogs and hamburgers at the zoo cafe. After that we decided to go home because the kids wanted to play with their cousins at home and maybe go swimming.

Surgery Follow-up

Today Diana went to the hospital for her two week post-op doctor’s appointment. We first had to go to get an X-ray taken and then go to the cardiac waiting room and wait for the nurse to call us back. When the nurse brought us back she took Diana’s blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and an EKG.

followup.jpg
Diana doesn’t like getting an EKG

We then had to wait some more for the doctor and the nurse practitioner to come in to take a look at Diana. The nurse took off the rest of the steristrips and said that she was healing nicely. The best thing about that is now Diana will be able to go swimming with all the other kids. The only thing the nurse cautioned me about was that the scar could easily get sunburned so she either needs it covered when in the sun or she needs plenty of sunscreen on. I expected to be in and out fairly quickly today because Diana has been doing so well and back to normal, but the doctor noticed that in her X-ray, her heart looked larger than it did when they took an X-ray right before she left the hospital two weeks ago. So they had me wait some more so they could do an echocardiogram to make sure nothing was wrong. Diana was pretty fussy by that time and she didn’t want to go, but they are good at bribing kids with toys and lolly pops so she finally calmed down. After the echo we waited some more for the results and when the doctor came back he said that the echo showed that everything was normal and that we were done and could go home. We don’t have to go back to the hospital for 6 months.

Learning About the Silver Bullet

I spent the past two days in Denver on a business trip. I don’t mind going to Denver because it’s such a short flight but my favorite business travel place is Irvine, CA because I know it so well. Denver seems to me to be fairly similar to Salt Lake City in terms of tourist attractions. Like Salt Lake, most of the “things to do in Denver” are centered around outdoor recreation activities. Denver has more pro sports teams but that isn’t really considered a “tourist attraction”. Both towns have about the same amount of museums. Denver probably has better shopping and dining simply because it’s a much bigger town than Salt Lake. Salt Lake has temple square which is unique. So, what does Denver have that’s truly unique? The only thing I could think of was the Coors brewery.

I had a few extra hours to kill so I decided to take the tour of the Coors brewery in Golden, CO (about 15-20 minutes west of Denver). I’m not terribly interested in beer but large-scale manufacturing has always interested me and touring the Coors brewery was a very interesting experience. Here are some things I learned:

  • The main ingredient in beer is water.
  • The main solid ingredient is barley. They actually let the barley germinate until it sprouts in order to get the right mix of starches/sugars for brewing. Coors buys their barley from farmers in Idaho and other western states. They have a test center in Idaho where they are always doing scientific research on barley.
  • Once the barley sprouts, they toast it in a kiln. The darker the toast the barley, the darker the beer
  • Hops is a flavoring agent – it has a bitter flavor. It’s a leafy looking vegetable that grows on vines.
  • Coors Light (a.k.a. The Silver Bullet) outsells regular Coors. Coors Light makes up 70% of all Coors sales. The general public originally nicknamed it The Silver Bullet and eventually Coors decided to trademark that name
  • Beer in Colorado is 5% alcohol. In Utah it is 3.2% if you buy it in grocery stores. According to my friend Dennis, you can buy 5% beer at the State Liquor Store
  • During prohibition, Coors switched to making malted milk and sold it to Mars & Co. for candy bars. They also made a product called “Manna” which was a non-alcoholic brewed beverage. The Coors family also had a porcelain business (who knew?) that kept people employed during prohibition

The history exhibits with old photos of the brewery (actually a former tannery that was converted to the brewery), the original packaging, the horse-drawn beers wagons, etc. were also very interesting. Another interesting thing was the various smells of the barley being cooked and the beer being brewed in the brewing tanks. Of course, most people on the tour were excited about the free samples that they gave out. Each person gets up to three 8-oz. samples of the various brands of beer that the brewery makes.

If you ever have a few hours to kill in Denver then I recommend going on the tour of the Coors brewery. Although you may not be particularly interested in beer, the history and the fascinating manufacturing process are definitely worth seeing.

A new calling

On Friday, the 2nd counselor called and asked if he could meet with me on Sunday morning. My first thought was “”Uh oh”.

I spent all weekend thinking about what possible calling I could be getting (I’m currently teaching Primary with Nancy which is a cakewalk calling that I really like). The 2nd counselor is in charge of YM/YW/Scouts so I was thinking that type of calling would be the most likely calling. I was bummed because YM/Scouts callings are very time-intensive callings. Then I realized that the 2nd counselor is also in charge of the ward mission. I got really bummed when I thought about the possibiliy of being called as Ward Mission Leader or Ward Missionary. Anything involving the Ward Mission has got to be the worst calling on the planet.

This morning I went to my meeting with the 2nd counselor, prepared for the worst. When he told me they wanted to call me as Priesthood Pianist I about fell out of my chair laughing. I got called to be the Priesthood Pianist the day I turned 12 years old. I could do that calling standing on my head, blindfolded, with both hands tied behind my back (I could play with my tongue and still be good enough for accompanying the droning men). I told him I would do it as a “freebie” – that they didn’t even need to release me from my existing calling (I could play the song in opening exercises and then go and join Nancy in Primary). The 2nd Counselor said that there are plenty of active people so that nobody needs to have two callings so they will just release me from primary teacher anyway.

Man, I love my ward – from a totally cakewalk calling into an even cakewalkier calling. Sunday only. No preparation required. Heck, I won’t even have to prepary a primary lesson every other week like I currently do. The 2nd counselor even said I could continue to help Nancy with the class during sharing time which means I don’t have to go to Sunday School! Man, being the Priesthood Pianist as my only calling is about as good as it gets.

A Low Key 4th

We had a pretty low key 4th of July. The problem with this year’s fourth is that it was right in the middle of the week. Had it been on Tuesday or Thursday, I would have taken Monday or Friday off and made it a nice long weekend but with the fourth in the middle of the week it just didn’t seem worth taking two days off work to do anything.

This morning Nancy and I slept in and then went on a nice long exercise type walk. When we want to go on a walk for exercise we call it a walk. When we want to go on a walk just around the neighborhood to see people we call it a stroll. After our walk we had lunch and relaxed for a while while waiting for Sam and Caroline to arrive home from their vacation with Grandma and Grandpa. When Sam and Caroline did get back, they seemed like they had a good time and they had lots of stories to tell about their days in Cedar City.

4thofjuly1.jpg
The audience

This evening we grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and then watched another Midsomer Murder movie while waiting for it to get dark enough to light fireworks. Over the years we’ve learned the secret to getting affordable fireworks in Salt Lake. We avoid the firework stands in the parking lots of grocery stores and just go in to the store itself. The grocery store sells a fireworks package for $35 that the firework stand in the parking lot sells for $120.

4thofjuly2.jpg
The show

We always light fireworks from smallest first with the biggest at the end. The small ones we set off two or three at a time, otherwise the kids would be up past midnight before we got them all lit. A couple of houses in the next neighborhood over had some big illegal type of fireworks that shot up into they air. We enjoyed watching those as we lit of our puny but legal fireworks.

4thofjuly3.jpg
The crowd reaction. Note Diana’s hands over her ears. She didn’t really get into the fireworks and went off to bed before the show was over

After the fireworks we got the kids in bed (didn’t really get much argument from them either – they were tired out) and are now off to bed ourselves because tomorrow it’s back to work for me and laundry/chores for Nancy. All in all a very low key 4th of July.

Anne’s $20 shopping spree

Anne is at the age where I have no Idea what to get her for her birthday, so this year I gave her a $20 gift card so she could at least choose some of her presents herself. We left Emily and Diana at home and it was just Anne and me for a fun hour of shopping. First Anne headed right for the purse section of the store and she chose a cute little red wallet to keep her library card and money in. Next she headed to the art/stationary section and she chose some markers and after that it was to the candy section, where she bought two bags of candy that were on sale. One thing Anne did not want to do was to look at clothes, she is not quite a teenager yet I guess.

When we got home the first thing she did was break open the candy and started eating. Her sisters were lucky because Anne loves to share, so they got to enjoy the bounty also. The only bad thing about the candy was that she did not eat dinner.

Anne’s Birthday

Anne’s birthday finally came today. As Grandpa Kent metioned in an email, Anne hasn’t stopped talking about her birthday for the past few months. A couple of Anne’s friends from our old neighborhood came down and they all went swimming in the neighborhood pool for the party. Anne got a brand new swimsuit for the occasion

annebirthday2.jpg
Anne getting ready to open her presents and modeling her new suimsuit

She requested a yellow cake with German Chocolate frosting. I could tell Nancy wasn’t really excited about that cake request but it sounded just dandy to me. Nancy harumphed a bit but ended up making the cake. The birthday celebration wasn’t as much fun without Sam and Caroline who are on vacation with Grandma and Grandpa. The house just seems kind of empty without them.

annebirthday1.jpg
Our birthday celebration sans Sam and Caroline

Anne got new art supplies (she gets these every Christmas and birthday), a video game, the aforementioned swimsuit, and a Target gift card so she can go shopping and pick out whatever she wants. She seemed to enjoy the day and I hope it lived up to her expectations.

annebirthday3.jpg
Getting ready to blow the candles, Emily looks like she is preparing to help from across the table