Monday, May 31, 2010

A Memorable Day at Nicholls Park

For today's Memorial Day holiday, the Plowmans invaded Nicholls Park in Fruit Heights for a picnic.

If my recommendation is worth anything, Nicholls Park is a nice little spot for this type of event. Until today, I didn't really know that it existed, even though I had previously passed it many times going either north or south on Highway 89.

At any rate, picnics, of course, involve a lot of food, and Jackson put a lot of it both in his mouth and on his face:

Jenna, Mike, and the others enjoyed some watermelon, carrots, pizza (now what would a picnic be like without that?), and the like:

Following lunch, a large group of us played "Cuub," a game that Mike's friend Jason introduced to us a few years ago and which has since become a staple at many of our summertime family gatherings. The rules of "Cuub" are kind of difficult to explain, but they involve throwing a set number of wooden sticks (eight per team) to knock over a certain number of wooden blocks from a certain distance away. (Everybody got that?) Here, Luke and Ben help to get the game set up:

In the first round, Ben, Steve, Biz, and I were matched up against Mom, Dad, Mike, and Dave.

There may be no fiercer competitor in my family than my mom when she really gets into the game, but somehow my team barely escaped with a victory. (If you're in my family, and you don't quite remember things happening that way, then start your own blog.)

In the meantime, Jackson played catch with a Frisbee, with varying degrees of success:

Jenna and Kenna played around in the water and near the communal drinking fountain:

At one point, Jackson got into trouble for clocking his older brother, Dallin, upside the head with one of the "Cuub" sticks, which made Dallin, as you might imagine, rather upset. However, after Jackson has finished paying his penance in timeout, his dad went over to sit next to him and to let him know that all was forgiven (I love these pics):

It was a fun-packed day spent with the fam damly, and I look forward to more of the same over the course of the rest of the summer.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Message on Texting

Today at church, we heard a message from Bro. Wendell Moon, the first counselor in our bishopric.

Our bishopric is still relatively new, and so this was a great opportunity to learn a bit more about Bro. Moon. He shared many stories from his lifetime, including the tale of how he and Sis. Moon met. He also offered what, I think, was some wise counsel.

"I'd counsel you to do away with your texting," he said - and I know he said that because I copied down his exact words.

But what's so bad about texting? you say? My entire social life revolves around it, and I would literally dehydrate, shrivel up, and die right before your eyes if I couldn't send and/or receive at least 75 texts every day.

Granted, I believe that texting is good for a few things. For example, when I have to send out a message to the members of my family or to my Improv troupe, it certainly saves a great deal of time to send a group text than to call them individually. It's also a good thing to have when you're, say, in a work meeting and can't pick up the phone to talk to somebody.

In any other kind of setting, however, I really don't see texting as more of a "Plan B" choice of communication. The problem, I think, lies in that so many people use it as a "Plan A," if you catch my drift.

I think this was what Bro. Moon was getting at when he said that texting was bad. And it has nothing at all to do with texting while driving, which is both incredibly stupid and dangerous. It has to do with the fact that, as a society, many of us are losing the ability to communicate on a one-on-one basis.

When he was courting his wife, Bro. Moon said - now I'm paraphrasing - he spent many anxious moments, between dropping her off from a date and picking up her for the next one, looking forward to the next time he would see her. These days, he said, that's not enough for people, who are already texting each other on the way home from dates and in other, less-formal settings. In this sense - and in others - texting becomes such an impersonal means of communication, and it sort of spoils the anticipation of seeing someone in person (gasp!) on a regular basis.

Not to mention the fact that, at least for me, it takes me about 10 times as long to type a text message as to say what I often need to say to people. After all, I don't have one of those phones with a fold-out keypad. It has an app for making and receiving phone calls and maybe one or two other minor things.

But that's how we've been trained to be now. We have our cell phones, Twitter, and Facebook and - yes, I realize I'm posting this message on a blog. Maybe that's why it's so hard for us to be honest with each other. . . . I dunno.

If people text me, I'll still reply to them. But I would still rather hear their voices on the phone.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Graduation Celebration

Earlier this week, my cousins Eden and Sydney graduated from Lehi and Pleasant Grove high schools, respectively. In their honor, a graduation party was held this afternoon at Scott and Claudia's (Eden's parents') home in Lehi.

Many friends and most of my Utah-based extended family gathered for this event, and - of course! - good times were had by all.

Claudia captured this picture of part of the motley crew at lunch, in which I look like I'm trying to make some sort of weird face, but I'm really not:

Here's one of the proud graduates, Eden - I'm not sure if the other one stopped for pictures at all during the day - next to his graduation cake:

I love this picture of Luke and Jenna - especially Luke's pose, if you can call it that - chowing down on the cake:

Today also marks Madison's 11th birthday, so we sang "Happy Birthday" to both her and her older sister Ashlyne, whose 15th birthday falls in just a few more days (June 2).

In addition to eating, we partook in a few other activities at this party. While much of the gang played a rough-and-tumble game of flag football, Dave and I hung out with some of the kids at the adjoining playground behind Scott and Claudia's backyard.

Kenna picked me some flowers from the field and presented them in a makeshift bouquet:

Perhaps my favorite moment of the afternoon occurred when a boy called Scott and Claudia's home, asking to speak with their 13-year-old daughter, Meikayla. Scott then picked up the phone and said (I'm paraphrasing, but this is pretty close): "She’s 13 years old; call back in three years," and then he hung up. It was hilarious.

All in all, it was a fun afternoon spent with the fam damly.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Disney Declares War on Itself!

The image I have posted today just about speaks for itself.

Suffice me to say that I got to spend some quality time yesterday with all seven of my nieces and nephews at family dinner, during which the kids drew some pictures. My 10-year-old nephew Dallin was especially creative, coming up with a drawing in which various Disney characters had, apparently, declared war on each other.

As you can see, Nemo has grown a body and legs and is firing his machine gun; Goofy is lying dead, in a pool of his own blood; Pooh is firing rockets at everybody from his tank; and Dumbo, from up above, is dropping bombs on everybody else.

In other words, it looks like just another average, ordinary day in the "Happiest Place on Earth." Naturally, this drawing is now proudly displayed on my refrigerator.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hula-ing with the Seniors

On Thursday night, the yokels in my ward and I provided slave labor for the annual stake seniors' banquet up at the stake center.

Okay, so I may have overexaggerated things a bit. I meant to use the term yahoos, not yokels.

Every year, we do all of the planning, preparing, cooking, serving, cleaning, and often entertaining for this banquet, and it is quite often a thankless job. Nevertheless, when I say "we," I cannot necessarily include myself among that group, having missed helping out at the past few seniors' banquets. Still, I signed up to help out this time around and showed up at the stake center to do whatever I was needed to do.

The theme for this year's seniors' banquet was a luau, and so we were invited to attend wearing Hawaiian attire. The food mainly consisted of Hawaiian haystacks, and the entertainment, provided by Tina and two of her friends, involved a lot of hula-ing, as well as getting the seniors to join in on a hula lesson toward the end of the presentation.

I was assigned to help cut up and serve the upside-down pineapple cake for dessert. And a surprising thing happened: I found myself having a good time. Throughout the remainder of the evening, I also cleared dishes and tables, swept floors, and put away chairs.

I suppose the old adage is true: Doing just about anything can be enjoyable as long as you're surrounded by good company, and such is always the case with the peeps in my ward.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Shameless Plug: The Sheik of Persia

A shameless plug goes out tonight for The Sheik of Persia: Like Sands through the Hourglass, now playing at the Desert Star Theatre in Murray. Included in the talented cast are my Improvables colleague Bryan Dayley and my friend and high school classmate Matt Kohler.

Thanks to some free tickets from Bryan, a group of friends and I were able to attend tonight's final dress rehearsal performance, and we found ourselves enjoying it and laughing quite a bit.

Apparently intended to be a parody of the forthcoming Disney movie Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, this production also spoofs Disney's epic cartoon Aladdin, as well as referencing several current events and Utah cultural references. In other words, it is another typical show filled with the type of gags and humor that you would expect from the folks at Desert Star.

The Sheik of Persia runs through July 10.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Spicy Meatball!

Ever since I was a kid, going to the dentist has been one of my least-favorite things to do. Today, I learned that there is something even more frightening than going to the dentist: going to the oral surgeon.

My story begins many years ago, when I was in the sixth grade at Hannah Holbrook Elementary School. I was running up the slide on the "Big Toy" at recess - something only "cool" kids like me did - when one of my classmates slid down the slide toward me, knocking me off my feet and face forward onto the slide. As a result, I chipped one of my front teeth and also managed to get a lot of blood all over the slide and my shirt.

Whether or not my classmate slid into me on purpose is a debate that, in my mind, has never been properly settled.

At any rate, to make a long story short (too late!), I have had many problems with that tooth over the years. Here and there, it has chipped again. Six months ago, as I posted in November, the whole tooth came out and had to be reattached. Last week, the tooth came out again, and it came out a third time just this morning.

My dentist referred me to an oral surgeon for a permanent solution: getting the remainder of the tooth extracted and having my mouth prepped for an implant. I went to see the oral surgeon this afternoon, and to my surprise, he wanted to extract the remnant of the old tooth right then and there.

If you've ever had the misfortune of having to go through this, then you know that having a tooth extracted an and implant is a costly procedure. To help cut down on costs, I elected to have this first part done under local anesthetic - in other words, I would be numb but awake for the experience.

If you've not had the misfortune of having to go through this, I'll give you a nickel's worth of free advice: Choose being knocked out over the local anesthetic.

The procedure unfolded like this: I was first given a rather painful shot to numb the area where the oral surgeon would be working. Thinking it was fully numb - it wasn't - he began to yank on the tooth, and all the while, tears are pouring out of my eyes and I'm screaming from the bottom of my throat. Fortunately, he noticed this and gave me another numbing shot. For some reason - go figure - I began thinking of Steve Martin singing "Dentist!" in Little Shop of Horrors, especially the line about "causing great pain."

Once I was fully numb, he extracted the tooth as blood spurted out of my mouth and onto the surgeon and his assistant. The next step was to insert small bone fragments - taken from either a cadaver or a cow (yes, really) - into the now-empty tooth cavity to clear a path for later inserting the implant. To do this, he used either a hammer or a chisel (again, really) - remember, I was under the influence of not one but two numbing shots - to pound it into my mouth, shaking my skull and head and basically making what was really about 90 seconds of hammering feel like a half-hour.

At any rate, I survived to tell the tale, and I have been at home resting since, replacing the gauze in my mouth every 20 minutes or so, because I keep bleeding from my wound. After this, I have to wait eight-to-twelve weeks for the bone fragments to heal in my mouth, and then I go back to have the implant inserted. To cover up the large gap in my smile, I am going in to my dentist tomorrow to be fitted with a retainer, or "flipper," with a temporary tooth, adding a whole new level of sexiness to me.

Some guys have all the luck!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I Think I'm Paranoid

So, I'm driving down 500 South in Bountiful this afternoon when I happen to pass a Bountiful City police officer driving a Bountiful Police Department car.

Nothing unusual about this story so far, right? Our city absolutely teems with police officers and police cars. Assuming my Driver's Ed. teacher was correct, in fact, Bountiful City has the highest police officer-to-per capita ratio west of the Mississippi River.

Yes, really.

Anyhoo, getting back to the story: Just a few seconds after I pass this police car, I happen to glance up at my rearview mirror. What do I see but the police car making a quick U-turn, coming right up behind me, and starting to tailgate me.

Almost needless to say, I was a very careful driver for the next minute or so. I kept expecting to get pulled over - for what, I couldn't fathom; it hasn't yet happened to me in over 15 years of driving. I was a rather nervous nelly as the police car followed me for a few blocks. As we approached the next intersection, I decided to make a left turn, even though I didn't need to turn left, and made sure to signal my turn well in advance. Fortunately, the police car continued straight ahead and left me alone, possibly to tailgate someone else and make him/her, likewise, extremely nervous.

Has this ever happened to you? Or am I just imagining things?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Did I Do That?"

This photo gave me a really good laugh today.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"Dew You?"

A handful of my ComedySportz colleagues produced and acted in this very funny TV spot for Mountain Dew, made for a Utah Valley University filmmaking contest. I just thought that I would share the link here with y'all:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rebekah and the Lionesses

Instead of going to our usual church meetings, we got to attend a stake conference of sorts today. It was broadcast from the Conference Center right to our very own church house.

Pres. Henry B. Erying, First Counselor in the First Presidency, presided and spoke. We also heard from Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Relief Society President Julie B. Beck.

All were good messages, but I must say that Sis. Beck's talk, in particular, stood out to me. She had my attention at the use of the phrase "lionesses at the gate" - a metaphor (simile?) she used to describe what the role of the women of the Church ought to be. Another example that she used was that of Rebekah from the Bible. She spoke of the "millions of Rebekahs" who will influence the success and future of the Church by understanding what their roles are and by choosing to follow that path.

Well, I'm paraphrasing - but that's what I got out of it. I gotta say that Rebekah is one of my favorite women of the scriptures, and I love her example of service that is recounted in the book of Genesis. (Isaac was a very lucky man!) If there were a female equivalent of Captain Moroni, as far as the ideal mate for whom one can seek - this, at least, was the standard that people used to judge from in my mission field in Peru, and I know that many people use it here - then Rebekah has got to be it.

Something else that stood out to me was when Sister Beck spoke of the "nice-to-do things" of life. Though these things add variety and make things more interesting, "they are not the things that save." We all need to take a look at our priorities, in essence, and see that they're in the right place.

Today's meeting was actually the second time in the past four days that I got to hear Pres. Eyring speak. On Thursday night, I attended "A Celebration of Family History" at the Conference Center, at which he also delivered a message. The keynote speaker was author David McCullough (of John Adams and 1776 fame, among other notable works), who gave a rather inspirational talk about learning from history and the people who helped to write it. Interspersed throughout were favorite songs by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and videos of Family History success stories.

Final note: I think "Rebekah and the Lionesses" would make a great name for a rock band, or at least possibly a lost children's cartoon from the '80s (I'm thinking "She-Ra" here).