what's the best day of YOUR life?

After preparing for a three-day weekend bash with our younger siblings, we threw a few of our well-made plans out the window when we found a big pile of new dirt in a parking lot just south of BYU. After half an hour of climbing around 30-foot hills, jumping off the top into dirt up to our knees, and somehow collecting as much sand in Sophie's pant-cuffs as she weighs, we headed home. On our walk back to the house, Sophie sighed, "This is the best day of my life."

A little hyperbolic? Perhaps. But tell me the last time you jumped off a gigantic pile of sand in your bare feet. If you haven't done that in a while, try it out; there might be something to it.

olive butter

I slather butter on my bread. It's a Finnish/American tradition. But today I decided to switch to olive oil.

Butter is solid at room temperature. It melts at about 90°F. This means it is more likely to form solid globules and clumps in your arteries, like the ones that killed Tim Russert.

I got the idea from Dolce Vita, the Italian restaurant that I endorse. Their appetizer was bread served with an olive oil and vinegar dip. I didn't have vinegar at my house, so I substituted grape juice, which is the same color, and lemon juice, which is about the same acidity. I then put a capful of olive oil on top, and dipped some of Kathy's homemade wheat bread in.

Mmm, delicious.

Our taste for fats and oils is acquired, so your preference can be changed in about eight weeks. I suggest the switch for your heart's sake.

The dip is a little messy, but a heart-attack more so.

Pretty much a doctor

My brother Nick quoted the classic Chris Farley: "lots of people go to school for seven years." "Yeah, they're called doctors."

I'm in my fourth year, but have probably two more coming. I'm going to school full-time over the summer to try to get done.

But I have this accomplished feeling. I'll have as much education as a doctor by the time I graduate.

I'm studying food.

nursery is true

Every Sunday, Christopher and I work in the nursery while the grown-ups go to Sunday School meetings. For two hours, we make towers and imaginary cakes, sing songs with hand actions, drink out of miniature dixie cups, and blow bubbles. Our lesson consists of a 45-second sermon on the benefits of sharing.

Grown-ups should take a lesson from the little guys. Imagine it. Pretzels for Sunday School snack time—just the way church was always meant to be.

double take

When we dropped my brother off at the Missionary Training Center, we were told the fences built around the premises kept out concerned mothers and grandmothers. They asked those mothers to avoid "running into" their missionaries at the Provo temple.

So when my brother sent us a picture of him in front of the Provo temple (where I didn't "run into" him), I wondered what this woman was doing . . . crouched down behind the wall . . . in the flowerbed . . . with a camera. . .

so much for world domination

When we started the Risk game on Sunday at 7pm, I was pretty sure I would win. My little blue pieces and I snatched up North and South America faster than you can say "imperialism." And we were strong.

I don't know what happened, though. By 11:30, I was cornered in Madagascar.

And when it really mattered, when everything was on the line, I rolled this:

While I sat at the table for another hour, watching yellow and pink duke it out without me, I got thinking that global domination just isn't all it's cracked up to be. I mean, if you spend your whole life controlling the world, amassing lots of little wooden blocks—or designer handbags, or plasma TVs, or whatever's your thing—it might all just end up in an unexpected, low-rolling letdown on the far edge of Africa. You never know.

Problem is, next Risk game—I'm in. And next time, I'm sure I'm gonna win.

Not pregnant . . . yet.

me with my nephew Jonas:

I love this kid. Some delusional people have asked my wife if she is pregnant. Never ask that question; it leads only to tears, people.

Kathy and I work with 2 year olds in the ward nursery every week. I'm pretty crazy about the idea of having a baby soon, kath might be too. We want to move into an apartment that doesn't grow disease-inducing mold every fall before we do.

glowing in the wrong place

I was five when my parents bought me one of these:

It's a glo-worm. This little guy wears a night cap and his head lights up when you squeeze him. But I just watched BBC's Planet Earth, and turns out that real glow worms don't actually wear jammies and their heads don't light up. Glowing goes more like this:

I guess I can see why Playskool took a few liberties. I don't see too many parents buying Glo-worms for their toddlers with this catchphrase on the box:

"Squeeze me and my butt lights up!"

talking: the lost art

Christopher and I dropped by a neighbor’s house last night to pick up a bag of things she needed to give us. I thought it would be pop-in-quick-and-take-off moment. It wasn’t.

She invited us in and made us feel so at home that when she went to answer the phone, we looked through books on her shelves and went out back with her son to hunt for potato bugs. We ate grapes in the kitchen while she made dinner and talked about things that actually mattered. We went home four hours later.

It made me miss cultures that invite people in and take time to talk to them for real—Brazil, Hawaii, my parents' house. Opportunity for epiphany is opened up in ways that just aren't available in a conversation like this:

—Hi. How are you?
—Good. How are you?
—Pretty good. I don’t like the rain these days.
—Yeah, me neither. Been cold.
—Yeah. What’s going on with you?
—Nothing much. Working, going to school. You?
—Just working.
—Well, see you later.

Forty-three words. Lots of words to say a whole lot of nothin'.


Kathy and I have injured our feet. Kathy likely has a lisfranc fracture, which was discovered by a doctor who worked for Napoleon's army. Napoleon's troops got it by hopping off their horses so they'd land with one foot on the ground, but the other still in the stirrup.

Kathy dismounted four cement stairs on our porch in the same manner, with her left foot still on the top and her right on the bottom. It was an icy January night. The speed of the dismount gave the tendon enough force to snap bone off of the foot.
If caught on time, the lisfranc fracture can be treated in six weeks. Unfortunately it is the most misdiagnosed foot fracture. Kathy's is no exception. It was a family member/doctor who gave the diagnosis, our local health center doctors are still guessing. We plan on telling them the diagnosis on Thursday.

I have plantar faciitis, which is like tennis elbow of the heel. I just need to take it easy for a while. I self-diagnosed myself with the help of google and wikipedia, which are faster, more patient, and perhaps more reliable than most doctors.

All grown up

Yesterday, we threw a big bash for my grandpa, who turned old on his birthday this year. It's tough to pick a present for a guy who's been around for more than 8 decades, and has already received all the world war fighter plane paraphernalia ever made. I kind of copped out and returned something to him that he already gave me.

Two years ago, my grandpa co-signed on my student loan; last night, I gave him a copy of the letter from the bank, congratulating me for paying it off. Maybe it wasn't a big deal to him, but—regardless of the $ aspect—it was a big deal to me. My grandpa—who had always pinched my elbows, or stepped on my toes (affectionately?), or called me little—took me seriously and thought my education was worth it. Here's to you Grandpa, for helping me feel all grown up.