Super Creepy Dream

Last night I had a short horror-movie dream. I was standing near a dirt country road, when an old gray Ford pickup pulled up with a man inside. Also inside was a doll-sized figure. After a few moments, the doll suddenly turned face up and shrieked “Scarecrow!”  The man was literally scared to death, and his body kind of shriveled and shrunk like the doll. I knew that if we left, the scarecrow doll thing would keep popping up out of nowhere and screaming at us (I was suddenly with an unnamed friend), so we cut off the heads of both bodies and buried them (just the heads, for some reason).

Goals Realized

We all probably have a few things that are mysteriously difficult to do. For example, I have never successfully built a snowman. The whole "rolling the snowball" thing never really worked for me.

On a related note, my dad has been wanting for years to fly a kite with Sam. But, bless his heart, my dad always buys fancy, expensive kites that are just too heavy to fly in anything less than gale-force wind. (Meanwhile, I got a $2 cheapo plastic K-Mart special that worked great.)

Anyway, on Saturday there was finally enough wind that they were able to fly this box kite:

Big Turk

Last night I dreamed that I was speaking with Enes Kanter of the Utah Jazz, who is from Turkey. I asked him how to say several things in Turkish, which I tried to remember to look up and see if my brain was super amazing, but I forgot them when I woke up.

I do remember, however, that he said that Turkish word order was object-verb-subject, which as I recall is relatively rare among languages. But I just looked that up and, alas, Turkish is subject-object-verb. So I'm not subconsciously a genius.

(Note: That doesn't preclude my being a conscious genius.)

Three-Fourths

Here's a boring running post that I'm mostly writing because this is my current version of a journal. So read at your own risk of boredom.

On Saturday I ran 20 miles for the first time, which is 76 percent of a full marathon. It went well, and I'm getting the hang of taking in calories during the run. Most marathon training plans have 20 miles as the longest you do before the full thing, but I am planning a couple longer runs so I'm not in unfamiliar territory on May 5, which is the date of the Provo City Marathon. It feels weird to be so close to this goal that I have been working toward for several years.

Separation of Sleep and State

Last night I dreamed that I was in school, and Rick Santorum came to ask my class to record a radio promotion for him. A few of us objected, and I told him that some people think he is a little crazy, and that I wasn’t comfortable being a part of the promotion. Then Mitt Romney came to our class in response, and he asked me if I was going to vote for him instead. I was a little annoyed that he asked, but I told him that I would if he secured the nomination. Also, I remember the teacher complaining to him, as if he were the principal, that my little group were being difficult in general, and weren’t doing our homework.

In the end it seems like I was in kindergarten, which is funny because it would render the whole voting thing moot.

Instant Nostalgia

Do you remember how exciting it was when you were a kid (or possibly a college student) and you found a prize in your breakfast cereal? Why not relive that magical time of your life? All you need is a child who enjoys playing in your flour canister. Just turn your back for a moment, and presto—a necklace chain in your cookie dough!

No Soliciting

The days of the friendly door-to-door salesman are long gone. Aside from the worry of letting a dangerous stranger into your house, you can get anything you want delivered to your door sans creepy person who won’t leave, through the internet. Since moving into our new house, we have been constantly beset by salespeople, especially for water softeners. I have no idea if “no solicitor” signs really work, but if they do, I’d like to come up with something more creative, that will at least give them a chuckle as they leave me alone. Here’s what I’ve got so far.

Abandon all hope, solicitors who enter here.

Solicitors will be subject to merciless mocking.

(skull and crossbones) solicitors

Flowchart: Are you selling something? -->Yes-->Get off my property

He who wishes to sell to me must first answer these questions three: Do you value your life? How much? Do you want to live to your next birthday?

Thanks, I already have a water softener. Or whatever other crap you're selling. In fact, I have two. Now go away.

Any other suggestions?

A New Record

Yesterday morning I went running, then went to the park with Sam, then took him out to practice his fishing skills in the river behind the house, and then played outside with the kids some more. So I was outside for 5 or 6 hours, and I managed to get a mild sunburn. March 10? I think that's a new record for me.

The Purge

One of the challenges of today’s lifestyle is clutter. In this case I don’t mean the accumulation of physical possessions so much as the use of our time. Periodically I find that I need to weed out some of the things I spend my time on, not because there’s anything wrong with them individually, but because I could be doing more valuable things with my life.

To that end, last night I purged a bunch of apps from my phone that I rarely use, which frees up system resources and probably speeds it up a bit. Then, this morning I deleted several of my Google Reader feeds. I had collected a lot of items that I enjoyed reading at first, but after a while it became a chore to read every post.

I have also whittled down my TV consumption over the past few months (having no TV reception and no cable/satellite is great for that). I could catch most of what I wanted on various websites, but it has ended up being enough of a chore that even the few shows I used to watch just don’t seem important to me anymore. These days the TV is mostly showing cartoons on Netflix for the kids.

That leads me to another lengthy train of thought that I didn’t intend to post here, but I will give you the short version. (Warning: cranky old guy alert!) I kind of resent that so much of our society is based on creating and consuming entertainment, and that we have nothing better to do with our lives than to watch and talk about TV and movies. It seems insulting to us, somehow. I think I will lead a much richer life if I get off the couch. Anyway, I know it’s not an original though, so I’ll end that there. But it is interesting to notice the changes in myself as I age and realize that it’s a natural progression to cranky old man, and that’s okay.

Lost

I was thinking recently about some of the possessions I have somehow lost over the years. I lost a couple of important souvenirs from my mission for example: a tie given to me by a great family, and a set of brass chopsticks made especially for me by a wonderful lady we taught. I also managed to lose my original wedding ring, which has since been replaced by a less expensive one. “This is why we can’t have nice things!” (Tangent: I’ve noticed that hand lotion is the cause of 100% of ring losses in my family, as we have had several scares with Katie’s, caused by taking the rings off to apply the lotion.)

What have you lost?

I Scream

We often buy vanilla ice cream, and I usually use it for root beer floats. But we’ve had no root beer for a while, so I’ve been trying a few different things to jazz it up. First I put some caramel-filled Hershey kisses in the cup and smashed them, then mixed in the ice cream. Oh, yes. That was fine. Then, another day I crumbled up some girl scout thin mints and mixes that in. We had another winner! And finally, last night I put a little hot chocolate powder in. Fantastic!

Any other ideas?

You Are Wrong

The world has a lot of problems; I think we can all agree on that point. And each of us, as selfish individuals, contributes to that in our own small way. But we can solve, or at least mitigate, a good portion of those problems, by accepting two simple words: I’m wrong.

Stay with me here as I explain. The odds are, each of us has at least one closely held belief that is completely wrong. It may be something as simple as believing that traffic lights always turn red just for us, or a belief that the trees are secretly controlling our every thought. In particular, the vast majority of our problems in individual relationships are caused by our dogged refusal to admit that WE ARE WRONG in a given situation. Politicians refuse to admit that they made a mistake until they are backed into a corner with photographic evidence. Spouses feel they have to constantly one-up each other. When you’re at the grocery store and something rings up “wrong,” maybe you just read the sign incorrectly. Is that so difficult to believe? Well, we’re all wrong a good portion of the time, and here’s the second part of the equation: It’s okay to be wrong sometimes! Life is about being wrong and learning. Maybe accepting our own mistakes make us less jerk-tacular to each other.

If you read this, I want to you take at least one opportunity within the next 24 hours to say to another person, “I’m wrong,” or at least, “I could be wrong.” And maybe, just maybe, next time you’re in some sort of conflict with another person, you could stop and make an attempt to be objective about the situation. Maybe you really did run the red light when you hit that other car. Maybe you really did put insufficient postage on the package you sent. Admitting that we are wrong frees us from trying to be perfect all the time even at the expense of the truth.

But then, I could be wrong.

Red Light Turn Green... Now!

Can I just say that I love when things happen that make me feel more significant than I am? Last night we were gone for most of the evening, foolishly driving up to Salt Lake in the worst snowstorm we’ve had all winter. While we were up there, we found out from a friend that the power had gone out in our neighborhood. We stayed in SL a little longer than we had planned, but eventually we decided to head back and hope the power was restored soon.

As we entered the neighborhood, it was interesting to see where the outage began. We pulled onto our dark street and stopped for a moment to talk with a neighbor out shoveling his driveway. All of a sudden the whole street lit up, and we got to pretend that it was just because we came home.

Sam, however, was disappointed. He “wanted to see what it was like” to have the power off at home. We tried to explain that it was the same as when we turn off all the lights, but he would have none of that.