Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pad Thai and a side of Sushi

I love my job! I remember meeting with a career counselor at BYU when I was still deciding what to study. She asked me what I liked to do and I said, "Travel, can I major in that?". Luckily, she had more insight and encouraged me to seek a degree what would actually make me employable.

As part of my job responsibilities, I was asked to attend a conference in Bangkok, Thailand. The purpose was to discuss the best practices in maternal and child health and family planning in the Asia and Middle East region. So 15 countries all met together to discuss what was working and what isn't in their countries. It was an amazing learning experience to rub shoulders with very impressive people.

I took advantage of the opportunity of being in such an amazing country and tried to act like a local as much as possible. I drank from coconuts.

Got an "fish" pedicure. Which is basically where you put your feet in a fish tank and all these tiny fish eat all the dead skin off of them. Sick, I know, but the end result is amazing!

Spa treatments are so cheap there I also got a regular pedicure, a manicure, a facial, and a hour and half massage!

I visited the many temples.

Learned to dance--I missed the dance gene!

Attended sacrament meeting in Thai.

And even used interested toilets.

On the way back I decided to stay a night in Tokyo in order to relive some childhood memories of being forced to eat with chopsticks, taking 7 am Japanese classes, and not owing any English books.

I didn't have a lot of time but I did manage to eat one of the most amazing (and most expensive) meals of my life eaten with real chopsticks, served by women in kimonos. And I explored a little of the city. Tokyo is the largest and cleanest city, I have ever seen. Unfortunately, my knowledge of head, shoulders, knees, and toes in Japanese didn't serve me well but I hopefully next time Dad will be able to come with me!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I've never really understood girls and their ability to turn a simple high school dance into a major production that involves weeks of discussions about what girl is going to invite what boy and making sure that the feelings of their friends are not injured too badly, weeks of agonizing shopping to find the perfect dress, special activities to issue an invitation (or accept an invitation), shopping for the young man's tie to make sure that it adequately matches their dress, several trips to alter the dress to perfection, multiple tanning sessions and then hours of prep (or is it "primp") time to make sure that hair, skin and dresses are the picture of perfection. In contrast, my recollection of every major high school dance that I attended involved two simple rules: 1) remembering to take a shower, and 2) a liberal application of Hai Karate cologne. (Adherrence to these simplistic rules might explain my high degree of high school popularity. However, when my kids of have viewed the only extant picture of me at a high school dance they have accused me of being a bit delusional. Who knows for certain? At some level I am sure that my memory is mostly intact to protect my ego.)
In the end, I have to admit that when I witness the final production of my girls in formal dance mode it takes my breath away. It also makes me so very grateful that I married such a beautiful and sophisticated woman who has blessed me with four most exceptional, beautiful and amazing daughters. Here are some pictures of Lil' D, her date Max and her cronies. Beautiful creatures all, don't you agree?!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Chelsea has graciously given me until Friday to post on the family blog before she publishes some secret scary photos of me. I'm not sure why I really care, since Syd seemed to have pretty well taken care of that with her last post. Thank you, Sydney.
So, in an effort to retain some sort of blog-dignity, I'm finally posting.
Part of the problem with posting on the family blog is that I feel a need to post about some exotic travel or riveting experience. With Sydney reminiscing about Dublin, my parents spending the last 10 days in Tahiti and Chelsea jet-setting in Thailand and Tokyo for the past 2 weeks, I feel that I have little to offer by way of culture, refinement or even relaxation.
Perhaps I can make up for that in raw shock-value. Let me explain. Tonight while making a quick dinner for my fam so I could scoot out the door to go to the Relief Society Birthday dinner (BTW, I really can't figure out why they serve dinner at these things when you have to make dinner for your family anyway. It's not like I'm getting a night off or anything. Anyway, that's a whole other post for another day.)
So, I'm hurriedly making dinner when all of a sudden Cole walks in the kitchen with no pants on and says, "I need help wis my shirt." He was trying to take it off. He turns around and I can see that not only is he pant-less but also diaper-less. I reluctantly help him take off his shirt but quickly put a diaper back on him. The second I turn around again, he strips off his diaper and is off running around the house "ala naked". He eloquently explains, "I just want to run with my pee-pee out." Brilliant. The re-diapering routine continues 3 times as I insist that he wear a diaper unless he is willing to go potty in the toilet. He responds with, "No, I just go potty in my diaper." Triple GRRR.
So, finally, I return to wrapping up dinner preparations when all of a sudden I look in the entryway and see a bare bum up in the air with hands splashing in liquid below. I don't think I have to explain much further. Cole runs up to me and shows me his hands, "My hands dirty." I quickly wash his hands, diaper him for the FOURTH time, clean up the urine with a rag, disinfect the floor with 409 and return to my noodles which are now very, very beyond "al dente". They are more of a soft mush. Awesome.

So, in short, please forgive me for not cataloging my adventures on the family blog. When your days mostly revolve around goobers, boy anatomy, Buzz Lightyear, spit-up, drool, potty-humor, T-rex and an occasional outing to the local library, it somehow pales in comparison to Dublin, Tahiti, Tokyo, Thailand, Paris, London, Peru, several small countries in Africa, and any other destinations I've failed to mention where a member of the Smart family has traversed in the last year.

Sydney, for future reference, you haven't even begun to fully understand the phrase, "Scratch and Claw".

Where is the Love?

Right HERE. Calling all Smarts ... who is anxiously awaiting our family reunion in July?
I seriously CANNOT wait. And because I have been so blessed with a virtue/vice called impatience, I'm posting pictures to get everyone excited about it as well.

Thank Goodness Utah has Cafe Rio or I would die waiting for an opportunity to get out of here!

Enjoy the pictures everyone! It was a week of looking-great for all of us! ... You can thank me for all the beautiful pictures when you see me in July!

Until then... Scratch and Claw!!!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Captain Ron

If you are stepping onto a boat in a foreign country where the crew does not speak English and your captain gauges the success of his voyage on how many bags of weed he is going to score on the weekend, you know you’re in for a fun trip. Behold—Captain Ron! Actually, his name is “Siki”, but as you can tell from the dreadlocks we had a pretty awesome boat ride. We got to swim with the Rays and the Sharks. The She-wolf and I were fearless—well, not exactly fearless. Every time the brother of the very ray that killed Steve Irwin brushed his jagged death dagger of a tail across our abdomens, we freaked out just a bit. I kept reminding the She-wolf that I was “made for danger” but when she observed my reaction to a 20’ shark swimming towards me, she obviously guessed that I was just playing the macho card. Well, regardless of the extreme hazards we stared down, we had a most excellent nautical picnic with Captain Ron in Moorea, Tahiti.

The She-wolf even loved the "Lagoon Salad" that Captain Ron made us for lunch (Raw tuna, veggies, lime juice and coconut milk--Yummo!)