April 30, 2009

Victor's Piano Solo

Well, Joey is up to his old tricks again. We downloaded a new song for him on Saturday, Victor's Piano Solo from the movie "The Corpse Bride" and by yesterday he had it memorized. I didn't help him at all on this one and there are some seriously tricky parts. I'm not sure where Joey's insatiable appetite for new songs is coming from but he's building his repertoire nicely. Here is the video of Joey playing the song.

video

April 23, 2009

Pins and Needles




















Six weeks ago today Jeni broke four bones in her right foot. Surgery two days later involved the placing of 3 pins and a screw into that foot and today she had the pins removed. It was shocking to see how long the pins were, especially the one you can see on the picture above that spanned almost the entire foot! It is amazing to me how the body can handle having such crazy foreign, metal objects in them. Who in the world would have ever come up with that idea? I can see the moment of enlightenment now:

George: Hey Bill - I'm so sorry about your foot. It looks three times the size of your other one! Who would have thought that kicking that rock with your bare foot would have done that? It looks painful and I'm sure something's broken inside of there. What should we do?

Bill: I've got it. Grab me 3 long metal skewers from the barbeque and shove 'em into my bones! Just make sure the skewers are really long. Then let's leave them there for 6 weeks. I'm sure that will do the trick.

George: Brilliant! Why didn't I think of that? And hey..... wait just a minute! Let's grab a giant metal screw from my toolbox and shove that in there too. I have no idea what it will do but it sounds really medical, it has to work!

Bill: Now you're talkin'.

Well, crazy or not, it did seem to have worked for Jeni who should be back on her feet in the next few weeks. Thanks Dr. Clegg!

April 12, 2009

Easter 2009



























Today was a great day at Church and then we spent the evening at Bob's celebrating his 30th birthday. The picture above is of Joey and Maddy in their new Easter clothes, a tradition of Jeni's we've continued through the years. I can't believe how quickly these two are growing up!

Tomorrow I'll post a new recipe I made today - Chocolate covered Potato Eggs. I know that the combination of chocolate, powdered sugar and mashed potatoes doesn't sound too appetizing but they combined together to make an incredibly rich and sweet treat. Happy Easter everyone!

April 10, 2009

Miss Independent

Maddy has been working hard on her voice and was recently voted "Most Musical Girl" in the 7th grade at her Junior High. About a month ago she auditioned for the "Stars Assembly," a talent show for any 7th, 8th or 9th graders that wanted to perform for the whole school. Maddy wanted to sing and narrowed her choice to Kelly Clarkson's "Miss Independent," a very fitting song for her! Maddy made the show and her act was one of about 10 that performed in the assembly. Unfortunately parents weren't allowed so there's no attached video. Maddy agreed though to record herself singing it and today we had fun putting that recording to some very "independent" pictures of her. Below is the video. You rock Maddy!

video

April 09, 2009

River Flows in You

I am still in awe. Joey heard Yiruma's "River Flows in You" last week and asked if I could buy him the sheet music. I downloaded it for him on Saturday and then left town on business early the next week. When I came back on Thursday, Joey surprised me with this. I was completely floored. The recording below is Joey, 11 years old, very little formal piano training but who just loves to play, who learned and memorized this song in less than a week. I was so proud of him I could have burst.

video

April 07, 2009

Chopped















I have a new favorite cooking show! "Chopped" on the Food Network combines the pace of Iron Chef with the creativity of Top Chef. In the show, 4 contestants start out with a basket in front of each of them containing 3-5 mystery ingredients. Their job is to each create an appetizer combining those ingredients and they only have 30 minutes to do it. They can use other items in the fridge or pantry but the basket items have to be the predominent ones. These are not ingredients you'd normally put together either. On one show they had Sea Bass, brie cheese and celery root. I find it fascinating to watch what the contestants come up with. After they present each of their dishes to the judges, the one with the worst dish is "Chopped." The remaining 3 move on to the entree round with a new basket of ingredients and the final 2 move on to dessert with again a new basket of ingredients.

Joey and I have had fun watching this and on Sunday night we were all craving something chocolaty but didn't really have anything to make so Joey and I decided to play "Chopped!" Our ingredients were chocolate graham crackers, bananas, chocolate chips. Here is what we came up with!

Joey: Glazed banana under chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce and a graham cracker crust with vanilla wafers and strawberry syrup.

















Ro: Caramelized bananas with chocolate sauce over a chocolate crust with strawberry jam syrup

















Jeni and her mom were the judges and without hesitation, I was chopped. Good job Joey!

April 03, 2009

Reality Check

















Reality has a very dry sense of humor. I’m at Lagoon last year, an amusement park north of Salt Lake, as the summer is winding down. I’ve been very unmanly, failing to win any kind of prize or teddy bear for either Jen or Maddy, despite several attempts while losing loads of cash. I’m not leaving empty handed. I stop outside a booth where I had had some success in years past. The guessing booth, you know, the one where the person guesses your weight within 10 pounds or your age within 3 years. If they’re successful, you’ve just wasted $3. If not, you win a prize of your choice. I’ve always done well at this one due to my youthful looking face and my deceptively slim physique. This is my only chance, I convince myself, plus I’m running out of money.

Just to be sure, I give the young man (I could easily guess his age – 12 or 13 – I should have won a prize for that) $5, good for an age and a weight guess. I'm not taking any chances. I stand there as he looks me over, preparing to guess. I’m 36 at the time and weigh about 190 pounds but do my best to look 26 and about 175. This is a skill I've developed that’s hard to describe but involves subtle eyebrow movement, slightly twitching my right shoulder and humming "Eye of the Tiger." He’s getting ready to guess my age and I’m sure he’s going to be somewhere in the high twenty’s, maybe low 30’s but I’m feeling good, feeling young. I’m just praying he comes in under 33 as I’m eying my choice of prizes.

42.

Did he just say something? Excuse me I ask? 42 he repeats. How do I look 42?! I know I have a few gray hairs but 42? Where did he get that from? Do I look old enough to be his dad? Wow! I’m still getting over the shock when he asks if I’m ready for the weight guess. No, I’m not ready – let’s get back to the age issue. Are you sure you’re looking at the right person?

230.

Excuse me? I thought we were still talking about my age. Wait a minute. 230? You have got to be kidding me! 40 pounds off, and off in the wrong direction? He doesn’t believe me when I tell him my actual weight and then he has the nerve to ask me to step on the scale to prove it.

Completely embarrassed now, my ego annihilated, I do some serious introspection. I’m standing there in front of this booth with Maddy and Joey picking out my hard-won prizes and find myself going through the four stages of grief in quick fashion.

Denial
This is not happening to me. I am laying in bed at home having a nightmare. I really look like I’m in my late 20’s and weigh as much as I did in high school. This young man has got it wrong. I’m going to stay right here until shift change and then play the game again with someone that knows what they’re doing.

Anger
Now it's my time to play a guessing game with this teenager! Within 1, how many minutes is it going to take me to find some strong psychotic medication in your backpack? Within 3, how many years has it been since you stopped wearing diapers? Within 10, what was your score on your “please the guest at all costs” test? Within 20, what is your eyesight? I’m mad at Lagoon who clearly does not train their people correctly. They should invest in better education on how to make more accurate guesses. If they had, surely he would have been swayed by my eyebrow trick.

Depression
What has happened to me? Do I really look like a 42 year old overweight man? I am getting older, though I still feel so young. How did this happen? I have gained a few pounds, but are they that obvious? Do my gray hairs make me look much older than I am? Where is that fudge stand? I need some chocolate, quickly.

Acceptance
Ok, I’m getting old. I admit it. I’m not in the tennis / basketball shape that I was in high school. I can barely do 20 pushups without gasping for air. I nearly threw up after playing in my last tennis match in last year's tournament. As I come to accept reality, I start to realize the following things:

1. I'm not getting "old," just older. Its a gradual process and I’m not going to spend so much time worrying about it anymore. The hours and days move forward regardless of my protests, as well organized as they are. Instead, I’m going to spend that time enjoying each day and being grateful for the days I’ve had and the days I hope to enjoy in years to come.

2. I’m not going to spend so much time worrying about my weight either. Instead, I’m going to focus on being healthy. Elder Holland taught recently that there is no optimal size or shape, just optimal health. If I can do the things I enjoy doing, then I’m probably in good enough internal shape, regardless of my external shape.

3. Absolutely, without equivocation, I will never play the guessing game at Lagoon again.