Friday, December 4, 2009

Gobble til you Wobble...

...and we did. Highlights include: Brent busting out his High School football jersey--although it was a little tight, meeting Ally for the first time, Shelly's amazing cooking, playing nerds, coloring with Keith, watching "mean doggies" (Up) with Cole, late night movies, sistaz pedis, spending time with the Grents. We missed the UT cousins but had a fun weekend giving thanks for all our many blessings.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Strip Searched!!

Yep, that’s right as in airport security stripped searched. (Of course this would happen to me.) Here’s the story… I spend plenty of time in Tel-Aviv and close by Jaffa, so I decided to mix it up a bit and go to neighboring Jordan to see Petra last weekend. It is one of the 7 wonders of the world (think Indian Jones) and I have a goal to see them all.

It would require a flight from Tel-Aviv to southern Israel, crossing the Jordanian border, and then a 2 hour bus ride to the historic site. Because of Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) which is on Saturday here everything is closed from Friday night to Saturday evening. (Incidentally, LDS services are also on Saturdays and I attended the branch in Tel-Aviv. They meet in a bomb shelter—that’s a story for another day). The only available day to go was on Sunday. I woke up at 4am in order to make it to the airport in time to catch my flight. I arrived with plenty of time despite a taxi driver that took me half way to the wrong airport before I realized it and we had to turn around and head to the correct airport. The airport I was flying out of was a local airport about the size of Yakima’s airport—it had one terminal. I made it through the security x-ray machine and one of the security guards pulled me and an Australian to the side. We were both traveling by ourselves and I think that is why they pulled us aside. They then started to interrogate me for 45 minutes. I had to give them hour by hour details of what I have done since I’ve been in Israel, what exactly I am doing for work, and show them pictures on my camera of the places I have visited since I have been here. Two separate guards asked me all the same questions and I had to repeat myself twice. Then they made me wait without my purse which had all my money, my passport, my hotel key, and all my phone numbers and contact information. Finally a female guard pulled me into a sketchy office and told me she had to search me!! I was so nervous—I started talking incessantly. It was so crazy I couldn’t help but laugh. It wasn’t an actual strip search but I still felt violated! I had to take off everything but my pants and a t shirt (including my bra). When she was examining my waistband she was asked me if I was wearing 2 pairs of pants (referring to my garments), I didn’t want to explain so I said yes. She paused and I was so worried she would make me take my pants off and I would be left standing there in my garments so I quickly explained that they are like underwear but longer. It was awkward. By the time they had finished invading my privacy, I had missed my plane thus missing my entire tour. If it hadn’t been such an awkwardly funny experience I would have been really mad. But what can you do in a foreign country in a situation like that? I ended up spending the day at the beach which was relaxing but I am now even more determined to get to Jordan and Petra. So now I can add to my list that I’ve been racially profiled and strip searched! What an accomplishment.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Double, double toil and trouble

Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin'd.
Harpier cries:—'tis time! 'tis time!
Round about the caldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.—
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf;
Witches' mummy; maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark;
Root of hemlock digg'd i the dark;
Liver of blaspheming Jew;
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse;
Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips;
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,—
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingrediants of our caldron.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good. --From Macbeth

Above are some pics from this year's Halloween. the Headless Man and his Sexy Vamp Wife.
Below are some pics from last year's Halloween-essentially, me traumatizing my grandchildren.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Joyeux anniversaire Syd!!

Shelly's cooking apprentice. Shelly doesn't just share her culinary skills with anyone, but Syd has proved to be a worthy study. From cooking up a Sunday afternoon treat to experimenting with a new recipe, Nick's the happy beneficiary of his wife's yummy skills.
Your typical mademoiselle. She's a master of the french language and its culture. And if it weren't for Nick, she'd probably still be roaming the streets of Paris.
Dance Skillz, she’s gotta `em. This girl can get a dance party started anywhere, with anyone, for any amount of time. (She once choreographed a car dance to Dolly Parton’s hit "9 to 5" that last over 10 hours). She’s got moves that have been outlawed in the continental United States and she knows how to move what God gave her(and then some).

Brains are just part of the package. Not only does this girl get the highest grade in the class, she gets the highest grade the professor had EVER given. She's got more European fun facts then she knows what to do with and when it comes to history she knows it all.
Our resident fashionista. She’s in the know with what is the latest and greatest in the fashion world and insures her family is always in style. She takes risks and shows up her European friends.
Martha Stewart protégé. This girl can make a mean head band out of some buttons, stretchy materials, and hot glue. She makes sure the Jordan residence is the hippest married place on BYU campus and entertains for parties that even Martha would want to attend.
Baller on the court. Whether she's drippling a basketball or shooting a hockey puck, she manages to dominate. She's even trying out intramural softball.
Happy Birthday Syd! Hope Sunday is a good one!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009 Israel

One of the greatest games known to man/women is: WYR. Or for you acronym deficient fools: Would you rather… This basically requires, the brave few, to make life altering decisions based on hypothetical situations. The only rule is that you have to answer. Examples of such questions include WYR…have a hard armadillo shell or gills like Kevin Costner in Water world. WYR…talk like Donald Duck or laugh like Goofy. WYR…eat only hot dogs for the rest of your life OR have to cover everything you eat in mayonnaise for the rest of your life. WYR…Marry the next man that walks around the corner OR never get married. Unless Zac Efron hangs out in your neck of the woods, this decision could cause a single girl some serious distress. The other day at work I was presented with an equally problematic WYR. Here is goes: WYR…get dressed up in your favorite disguise, attend crazy dance parties, and hope for a year supply of high caloric sugar treats OR jump on the nearest plane headed to the Holy Land for an all expenses paid 3 week business trip with the hope of weekend jaunts to the Bethlehem and the Dead Sea. Ok let’s be honest my tiara can wait…Israel here I come!!!

Well actually I am already here in Tel-Aviv! I arrived last Sunday in the NYC of the Middle East. I have to be honest and say that I haven’t seen much outside of my hotel and my office but the views of the Mediterranean Sea from my hotel room are incredible. The other day during breakfast I watched the morning surfers trying to catch some waves as I gorged myself on grape leaves, greek salad, warm pita bread, and grapes. It’s a very international city and I can’t really figure out what language everyone is speaking (Hebrew and Arabic are the main ones—I can’t tell the difference between them) but who really needs to communicate right?

Alas, you think I am living the high life, keep in mind that I am working and that I have to spend abnormal amounts of time by myself which I am finding to be extremely painful. I was hoping this would be some kind of personal sabbatical but after I started talking to myself on day 2, I realized that I need human interaction more then I thought. The worst part is having to go to dinner by myself, but then I remember where I am and that you can eat hummus, eggplant, and exotic cheeses every meal and life gets good again. This is the furthest “east” I have ever been and I feel a little out of my element but go hard or go home, right? I was feeling sorry for myself the other night and Melissa encouraged me to stop being a baby so I ventured out last night and to a market up the street from my hotel. It was a mix between Pike’s market and Tijuana and I felt right at home. Nothing like a little retail therapy to make me feel at better! (Thanks, Mel!!)

So in the spirit of this post: WYR…go to Jerusalem this weekend or FILL IN THE BLANK. I am choosing Jerusalem or J’lm as the locals call it—How long to you have to live some place before you are considered a local?

PS. Sorry no pics-my laptop and camera are not communicating as I would like. Hopefully I can get them to link up soon until then you get Google image specials

Sunday, November 1, 2009

So Run That Ye Might Obtain

Lil’ D decided to not play soccer this year. Despite her obvious talents as a soccer player, we supported her decision. Her soccer career was cut short by a “funsucking” coach (Darcee’s descriptive term for people who ruin an otherwise good time). We supported her decision. I actually felt that her coach was harmful to young women, and was relieved that she quit.

In place of soccer, Lil’ D decided to run cross-country. What a great decision it turned out to be! We love her coach, Bob Allen. The other runners are outstanding young people and she was required to work really, really hard. Everything a parent could ask for in a high school sports program. She made significant improvements and despite a late start, showed some real promise for next year. She is not only beautiful, but talented as well. I am always happy when my kids choose to do hard things, and I can’t think of anything much harder than running cross-country. Good choice Lil' D!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous

Well, at least half of that is true. Chels may not be striking it rich working for the U.S. Agency for International Development, but she is definitely famous. Check out her quote in the George Washington University Medical Center paper: (4th paragraph)

For those of you who may not know, Chels was the driving force behind a HUGE conference this month for global health professionals, GW students, members of the military and the general public. Over 1,000 people attended and she was the Head Honcho (or is it Honcha if you are female?) Regardless, the event was an enormous success.
There is no rest for the tireless jet-setter as she is off to Israel later this week. Did I mention that the government flies her first class on all these trips? How's the high life up there, Chels? Bring us bottom-dwellers a souvenir would you? Just kidding. I know you'll be hard at work saving the world, one family planning tip at a time. We all can't wait to hear about your trip but PLEASE be careful!

Below is a snapshot of her most recent work-related trip to Africa. Cheers to another stamp in your passport. I swear I'm joining you on one of your adventures soon. I'm beginning to forget what the world looks like beyond my front door.

By the way, I think my house qualifies as another planet, so consider visiting us sometime soon! I can't guarantee a stamp in your passport, but you'll get lots of loves from your favorite nephs and niece.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


U2 Concert center stage concert tickets: $100
Gas to the concert: $15
Hours had to leave early from work in order to get a place ten feet from Bono: 2
Earplugs I should have bought: $10
Pre concert Diet Cokes: $1.59
Being winked at by Bono and getting the Edge's sweat dripped on me: Priceless

In order to celebrate the end to LSAT studying, we bought tickets to see U2 live in the flesh and ended up about 10 feet from them the whole night it was magical!

Melissa described it best in an email to friends who weren't there. She sums up the night here: "Well, considering I hardly have a voice and I think I have permanent hearing damage - I would say it was one of the best nights of my life! Their stage was a circle and there was a section (the inner circle) blocked off right in front of the stage and we were in it! We were SO CLOSE to BONO!!!!!! And The Edge; one word - HOTT!! It was really AMAZING! The only thing that could have topped it was if we got to go on stage with them. When Bono came a cross a bridge 3 feet from me singing "She Moves in Mysterious Ways" I think I wet my pants a little bit! When the crowd was a moving sea of people jumping up and down during "Elevation" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" my heart was pounding so hard it almost came out of my chest! And when our group was swaying in a giant group hug during "With or Without You" I seriously almost cried! The night just went on and on, great moment after great moment!"

I may have wet my pants a little and cried too!! Someday I will tell my kids about this and remind them that there was a time when I was cool.
PS. During one of Bono's musical pauses he mentioned his work in Africa--does that mean I can write this off as a work expense??

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's Official.

Yes, it's true I finally turned 16! I'm officially able to date and drive. Two weeks ago during Sacrament meeting my mom got up in front of the whole congregation and told everyone that I was about to go on my first date. Although it was probably the most embarrassing moment of my life, I'm thankful for all the "Dads" in my Ward who came up to me afterwards and said "If your dad needs any help taking the guy down, I'll be there." or "Who is this boy, I need to meet him." My sisters (mostly Sydney) have been pestering me to put pics up of Homecoming, so here are a few. I did actually have a really great time and I'm glad I got to go.

And now for my driving story.. Most of you may not know but it took me three times to pass the driving test. I obviously inherited my driving skills from dad and Chelsea. We always pay attention while were driving and we truly have a talent. But in my defense, the first two times I took the test i got the same lady. If her looks alone weren't scary enough she had a great personality to go along with that. You can even ask Dad and he will tell you she was a "Trogolodyte." The first time I went to Ellensburg I got a 77 (3 points away from passing). And the second time I got the Trogolodyte again and I didnt even get to finish the test! She said I didn't stop twice at the stop sign and that it was illegal. So the third time I decided I had to take it in Yakima because I couldn't have the Trogolodyte. The lady in Yakima loved me and I passed with a 92. So friends and family I am officially legal to drive.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Many years ago, I briefly practiced Judo at the Buddist Church in downtown SLC. The first thing I learned was a shoulder roll. This was particularly helpful for me because in Judo class I spent most of my time airborne. A shoulder roll is an amazingly effective way to avoid injury when you are being thrown to the mat. As wrestling coaches, we teach this to our wrestlers to help them avoid injury. The shoulder roll that I learned almost 40 years ago has come in handy on many occasions. There have been many moments in my life (while being hurled to the ground like a human projectile) where I have thought: "If I can just rotate my body enough to get my shoulder to the ground, I will survive this fall." My faithful crossover readers from Darrell's Yakimania might well ask, "To what moments could you possibly be referring?" or "Are you sure you are not being just a little dramatic here?" Let me assure you, I am not exaggerating in the least. If nothing else, I have always reported my life experiences modestly and accurately. These airborne experiences have occurred while participating in various and sundry physical activities. Oftentimes, they involved a dare, a bet or somehow involved someone calling someone else a "chicken." (There's a lot of things I can tolerate, but being called a chicken is not one of them, and I have fake teeth to prove it.) To be certain, however, most of these harrowing experiences have been while losing control of my mountain bike.
At any rate, after taking up mountain biking a number of years ago, I learned the term "Endo." "Endo" describes going over the top of your handlebars head first. I still proudly exhibit vestiges of my first Endo on a mountain bike that occurred over a decade ago. Some of my Endos have been rather benign, others more impressive and memorable. This past summer I had 3 significant "Endos".
One of my life heros, Rangi Smart introduced me to the Disneyland of downhill mountain biking--Deer Valley Utah. I had never ridden trails with stunts prior to this introduction. Half way down the first run, I was hooked! I returned the following week with a most excellent son-in-law, Nick Jordan to ride Deer Valley. I took a hard Endo while riding with Nick (my third Endo for the season) and for a moment thought I broke my neck. After regaining my wits, I am happy to report that all I broke was my seat post and my helmet. While I am still nursing a sore left thumb (the same thumb that was surgically repaired several years ago), my neck feels pretty good.

Above are some pics of Nick negotiating some really cool trails.
Below is Nick hitting the turf pretty hard!

Nick was an amazingly quick study and kept pace on some fairly challenging trails. We had a great time. Below are some pics of our little adventure.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mom knows best...

...and I should have listened. In preparation for Sarah's wedding, Meliss and I attempted to dye our hair a few days before we left for San Francisco. It was one of those late night ideas that seemed like a good one at the time. Mom hates it when we dye our hair and I was reminded of her wise council when I rinsed my hair and the dark chocolaty brown looked blue. That's right as in navy blue—like its so dark it has blue hues. Or plum—depending on the lighting. I look like one of those UT girls that dyes their black in order to be really edgy. Or like someone who is planning a trip to a country south of the border and wants to fit in. Or like I got little carried away with a Sharpie. Or like I am trying out for Wicked. I could continue if you don’t have an accurate picture of what it looks like yet. So the next morning I thought maybe I a wash would lighten it up a little. After five washes—it looked the same. I pulled my hair back in a bun, put on a headband and hoped that wearing navy would offset the ebony color on top of my head. As soon as I arrived at work, in order not to burst into random fits of hysteria, I called my hair salon and as luck would have it they were closed. I called 4 different places and finally got an appointment for that evening at a random place. When the girl showed up to "fix" my hair, she had the same exact blueish black color of hair. In an attempt to not offend her I tried to explain that my new hair hue wouldn't match the bridesmaid dress I would have to wear the following weekend. She gave me two options: bleach or warm toned wash. I figured I go with the least drastic option. I guess Sarah really loves me because she let me be part of her wedding even with navy blue hair.

On a happier note, we had a great "SMIKAH" wedding weekend in Oakland and San Fran. Sarah and Mike looked great and everything turned out perfect.

Mike spent so much time at our house, I feel like we went from 5 roommates down to 3. We can't find anyone as great as Sarah so Meliss and I are turning the "spare" bedroom into our study. Maybe it will help us get into grad school.

We had fun exploring San Fran and we squeezed a lot into our long weekend, including a drive across the Golden Gate, Pier 39, crab chowder, Ghiradelli Square, Lombard St (twice!), Alcatraz, and Berkely. (Visiting Berkely made me grateful for my singles ward in DC!)

We're happy the Johnsons finally made it "offish" and even more happy they are only 2 blocks away. Our west coast adventure was the my 5th trip to the opposite coast this year and while I am sick of the 7 hour flight I love the west coast!