Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Down with the Baseball Haters!!!

Anybody that knows me is well aware of my obsession with Major League Baseball. I love the crack of the bat, the smell of dirt and leather, the roar of the crowd, sunflower seeds, a sharply turned double play and even a well executed sacrifice bunt. So, with the start of the World Series tonight, I need to get something off of my chest.

I read an online article today about the D-Backs parting ways with Eric Byrnes (good riddance) and then I made the mistake of reading some of the reader comments. Most of the commenters are complete idiots. One such idiot commented that nobody cares about baseball because it is just so slow and so boring and that the games take forever, blah blah blah blah blah. What a tool.

It reminded me of a conversation I had with my brother-in-law a week ago, who shall remain nameless (Matt Peel). He was over at our home and I was watching the National League Championship Series and he made the comment that this was the only time of the year that baseball was entertaining. I think I replied with something along the lines of: "You are a tool."

Seriously though, in my opinion, anybody who subscribes to the philosophy that baseball is only entertaining during the playoffs SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO WATCH IT!! I agree with Matt; there is no better playoffs in any organized sports than the ALCS, the NLCS and the World Series. However, if you don't watch a single baseball game all year and then decide that you will become a fan only when it is the most exciting, you are not worthy to watch, and you might be a tool.

Down with the baseball haters, I say! You can have your college football, your NFL and even the 1st two weeks of the NBA season. Leave baseball alone - it is America's pasttime and it is brilliant all 162 regular season games as well. Down with the haters!

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Kate

I thought I would post pictures of my daughter. Michelle shot these pictures of Kate this morning; it shows off her beautiful ladylike fingernails and how gorgeous she is, in all modesty. Who does everyone think she looks like? Michelle thinks we finally got our Cherrington baby; I am not sure yet. Any comments?

Friday, October 16, 2009


Katelyn Ruth Cherrington was born yesterday at 3:45PM here in Scottsdale. Michelle was induced around 10AM and had a perfect labor, besides me standing around looking like I hadn't already done this 3 times before. She is our smallest baby: 7 lbs, 2 oz. and 20 inches long and she couldn't be more perfect.

I am such a proud Daddy and husband. I will post pictures later today after I figure out where the camera is and decide on a hairstyle for Julia.

Kate is another in a long line of the Lord's tender mercies for me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Top Ten Women

For most of my life, I have been surrounded by women. It's not what you think; I am definitely a 'one woman man', but I have been so heavily influenced by wonderful women in my life. There was an article in the Ensign last month about the influence of good, righteous women and it has made me think about the wonderful women in my life. Here are my top ten:

10. Wonderful women in the wards where I have grown up and lived who I won't mention by name - I absolutely could not begin to name names of the wonderful women who have taught me as I have grown up. I would forget somebody, and they would be offended and I would feel bad. If it were not for these women, my testimony of the Gospel would not be where it is today. I am so grateful to the wonderful women of the Church.

9. My cousin Shannon - I think Shannon would be surprised to know that she is on this list. I haven't seen Shannon in a long time and have rarely talked to her over the last several years. Shannon, much like me, grew up with nothing but siblings of the opposite gender. I have four sisters, she had FIVE brothers. I have always felt close to her and can recall wonderful memories with her in several different times during my life. I remember the flood at Yosemite - I look back on that disaster of a trip and smile. (Shannon would probably not smile at that memory) Shannon lived with us for a time in Arizona and I remember those times fondly. I loved being in Utah with Shannon for a time and getting to spend time with her there. I have admired Shannon from afar and how she is raising a wonderful family in the Gospel. She has been an inspiration to me, even though she probably doesn't know it.

8. Michelle's Grandma Rowley - Grandma Rowley is such a wonderful woman. She has been so generous with her time and her love and her means. My family could never begin to repay her for all that she has done for us. She absolutely adores my children and makes them feel so special and loved. I love Grandma Rowley for how she loves me and my family and my children.

7. My Aunt Sheryl - I haven't seen my Aunt Sheryl in a long time. I sure miss her. She has had such a strong influence in my life. She always has the kindest words for me and makes me feel so good about myself. (She calls me Chaddy) I love my memories of going to Chatsworth and spending time with Aunt Sheryl and Uncle Rog and all of my cousins. I especially love my memories of going to Yosemite with her and her family. I look forward to when I can see my Aunt Sheryl again.

6. My sisters-in-law Nabby and Carrie - there are many things I admire about these two ladies. First of all, they are both beautiful inside and out. They both inspire me to take better care of my body (Nabby's brother owns a health company that has recently helped me to lose 20 pounds and Carrie and I occasionally take fitness classes together). They are both wonderful mothers and are doing their best to raise their children righteously in the Gospel. Carrie, Nabby and I share one common thing: we are the ones who married the Hazar kids. It takes a special breed to be a Hazar in-law. (Just joking - it actually is wonderful to be a part of this family) Finally, I consider Carrie and Nabby to not only be family who I love, but also my good friends; each of them in their own way makes me feel better about myself and makes me want to be better.

5. My Grandma Julia - Just thinking about this woman makes me laugh and smile. I loved her so much. I loved spending time with her. I had the unique privilege of being around her during the last years of her life and got to spend so much time with her. She always said the funniest things and made me feel so good about myself. The funnest times I had with her were during the last couple weeks of her life, laying in bed with her, watching videos, eating Creamies and laughing until my stomach hurt. My daughter is named after her and I think about my Grandma everyday when I call to her. (Apologies to my Grandma Ruth - who I will also name a daughter after. Grandma Ruth died when I was so very young that I don't remember her all that well. I do remember walking with her and eating Trident gum. I am sure she will have a powerful influence on me someday.)

4. Candace Hazar - what can I say about Candace? Unless you know her and have felt of her warm kindnesses, there isn't a good way to describe her. In my over 12 years of being a part of the Hazar family, I have never felt like an in-law; I have always felt like I belonged in this family. I attribute most of that to Candace. She is always willing to lend a helping hand with the kids and is so generous with her time and her love. She is a wonderful grandmother who loves her grandchildren unconditionally, even when their parents might not. She is absolutely devoted to her family, and more recently, I have been able to be a witness to her absolute devotion to the Gospel and in particular, her Church callings (not that she wasn't before, but recently I have gotten to witness this firsthand in my calling in the ward). I love her and am so grateful for her and her example to me and my family.

3. My Sisters - I was blessed with four sisters and zero brothers. Most of my childhood years, I was surrounded by girls. My Mom, my sisters, their friends - mostly women. As I grew up, I always thought I had been cursed; now I see the error of my ways. All four of my sisters are very intelligent, accomplished, spiritual women who are wonderful examples to me in many different ways. Some are funny (not as funny as me) others are serious. Some are wonderful athletes and physical specimens and inspire me to be fit. Each of them has a powerful testimony of the Gospel and magnifies her calling in the Church, wherever it is she serves. I don't tell them this often enough, but I have learned so many things from each one of them. Don't get me wrong, we rarely see eye-to-eye on everything and we frequently disagree on important things; but at the end of the day, I am proud of each of them and their wonderful families. I definitely would not be who I am today if I had brothers instead of sisters.

2. Mom - Elder David A. Bednar gave a talk a few years ago entitled "Tender Mercies" in which he stated that "the Lord's tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from the Lord, Jesus Christ." I believe that my Mother has always been and will continue to be the most significant "tender mercy" that the Lord has given me. Last night, as I spoke to her about tomorrow's impending baby birth, she assured me that she would do absolutely whatever we needed and be wherever we needed her to be. That is the way it has always been with Mom. Whatever I have needed, she has done. Wherever I have needed her to be, she has been there. I am so grateful to be her only son.

1. Michelle - I continue to be amazed at my wife. Hopefully, she knows how much I love her and appreciate all that she does for me and our family. As most people know, she is about to give birth to our 4th child tomorrow (she is being induced early tomorrow morning) and I continue to be amazed at how she handles everything that is thrown her way. She is the most amazing mother and the support and encouragement that I receive from her is unmatched. She is the best friend that I could ask for; she puts up with all my weaknesses and flaws and loves me unconditionally. I am not nearly the husband and father that I should be or hope to be someday, but if there is one thing that I appreciate the most about Michelle, it is that she makes me want to be a better person. I love her with all my heart and has influenced me more than any other person in the world.

Wonderful, powerful women in this world are plentiful, I believe far more plentiful than wonderful men. I don't think I could come up with a list of ten men like this so easily. Thank you to the wonderful women in my life and for wonderful women everywhere.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

For the Last Time . . .

I am not blogging for the last time, even though my recent blogging history shows otherwise. Michelle and I have unequivocally decided that this new child will definitely be our last. And so, I have been thinking lately about things that I am doing for the last time:

I happen to think that my wife is stunning. I know, lucky me. But there is something about her when she is pregnant. I love the way she looks pregnant. I think her body was made to carry babies - she just looks soooo good. So, I will miss seeing Michelle pregnant. On the same token, this is the last time that I will get to hold my wife and put my hand on her belly and feel a baby inside kick or roll over or stretch, or whatever it is they do in there to make Michelle's belly move like a scene from Aliens. I will miss Michelle being pregnant.

I will never have to go through the agony of naming another child. I don't think there is another responsibility that on the surface seems so easy, but the ramifications of the final decision are so very very far-reaching. I mean, it's not like naming a dog or a hamster. I don't think the animals really care about what their names are. I am not quite sure they even know they have names. But babies inevitably grow up. And the one thing that they carry with them that they generally cannot change is their given name. What if they don't like it? What if the name rhymes with something embarrassing? What if the name "doesn't go with the other kids' names"? Have we been politically correct in using family names from both sides of the family? It's all a giant nightmare. Tyler, Julia, Justin and Kate. Sounds like a sitcom - I am OK with that.

After Michelle delivers this child, and unless I make a drastic career change, I will most likely never get to witness the actual birth of another child. The process is truly a miracle. I am so looking forward to seeing her face and cutting the cord and waiting for that angry first cry and all for the last time. I don't know of anything that I have ever witnessed that is more spectacular than the birth of a human being. I will miss seeing that.

Tonight we went to my Mother's home and my sisters were there and we gave away 4 giant garbage bags of boy clothes. My sisters all have small boys and hopefully they were able to benefit from these clothes. This is the last time I will ever have a little boy. Justin is my last little boy - kinda makes me sad. And Kate is my last little girl (wimper).

In a month or two, for the last time I will hold this little girl in my arms and surrounded by some of the most important men in her life, I will get to call on the heavens and give her a name and a blessing. I have blogged about baby blessings before. Blessing my children is a unique and fantastic privilege; it's one of my favorite things about being a father.

Finally, for the last time I will get to watch a child grow and be a witness to all of her firsts: first dirty diaper, first roll over, first sleeping through the night, first crawl, first steps, first words, first potty training, first day of school. All of her firsts will be my lasts.

Even though I am sure about Kate being our last child, I am not sure how I feel about doing all of these things for the last time . . .

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Random Thoughts

It has been awhile since I have posted anything on this blog - I guess you could say I am struggling with blogger's block. I am not sure if that is actually a condition, but I am claiming it. This is what has been on my mind lately.

As all of you know, my 4th child is expected to be born in the next 28 days. We will name her Katelyn Ruth. Ruth, after my maternal grandmother who passed away long ago and whom I don't remember all that well, and Katelyn because I love the name Kate and Michelle wouldn't allow me to just name her Kate. Kate, as in Kate from Lost. I know, I am a loser.

Update on my weight: I told Michelle yesterday that I feel like I have plateaued. I am at a solid 210 pounds, down about 14 pounds from when I started, and my motivation was struggling until this week I watched the season premiere of The Biggest Loser. Wow. I am once again motivated. Nothing like watching morbidly obese people who can barely walk up a flight of stairs without literally dying to motivate you back into eating perfectly. 17.2% body fat - down about 5% from when I started. I feel great - except that I have to get 4 new pairs of suit pants altered.

The fall television schedule is upon us. I have decided that I will not be watching any new shows that air on NBC. There is not a more despicable channel on the planet. I will however continue to watch The Office, 30 Rock and The Biggest Loser. Some habits are hard to break.

My BYU Cougars are ranked 8th in the country with a home opener this afternoon against highly ranked Florida State. This could be their toughest test to date. After the opening week's unexpected win over Oklahoma and last week's trouncing of Tulane, Florida State will be ready for this game. If they get past this game, I see the BCS in their future.

Last weekend, my mother spoke in Stake Conference on what it is like to be a single adult member of the church. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it there to listen to her but I did get a copy of the talk. It was most inspiring and I have since forwarded it to several of the single adult women in our ward. Each of them was completely inspired and grateful to have read it. I am proud of my Mom.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Niece's Blessing

Today being the first Sunday in September, it was Fast and Testimony meeting in our ward. It is the Sunday that is customarily used for the blessing of newborn babies. As such, my new niece Mackenzie was blessed today in their ward by her father TJ. Unfortunately, I also had to conduct the Sacrament meeting in our ward today.

So, after our Sacrament Meeting today, so that I could be a part of Mackenzie's blessing, I jumped in my car and rushed to the Cave Creek building, which is about 40 minutes north of the Stake Center, where our ward meets. I had to hurry to get there so I wouldn't miss it and honestly, I wasn't looking forward to the drive. I walked in just before the meeting started and squeezed into the pew next to Michelle.

The Bishop called TJ and Mackenzie up to be blessed, along with all the other family members that had been invited to be in the circle. We went to the front, formed a circle around Mackenzie, and something very special happened. I am not sure if anybody else in the circle or congregation noticed, but I did and I am sure TJ noticed as well.

Mackenzie was a little fussy and began to cry softly. Having blessed three of my own children, I know the stress that this can cause. There is nothing more difficult than trying to feel the promptings of the Spirit when blessing your child, who you love more than anything and want to bless with everything that is appropriate and good, and she is crying. This happened to me in at least one of my child's blessings. As TJ laid Mackenzie into our hands and we began to rythmically bounce her (because that's all we know how to do), she spit out her pacifier and began to cry again, a little louder and I knew that this would be distracting to TJ.

Instead of putting my hand under the baby, I took her pacifier and put it in her mouth and held it there as softly as I could and kind of cradled her head to try and calm her down. She continued to wimper a little bit and it wasn't until TJ actually started the blessing and she could hear his voice that she calmed down and stopped crying.

Because I was holding her head and her pacifier, I actually kept my eyes open most of the blessing. I know it's not the reverent thing to do, but I didn't want to choke her with the pacifier or accidentally poke her in the eye or something. It was the coolest experience to watch Mackenzie, whose eyes were open and were fixed on TJ the entire blessing, and I knew that she knew who was speaking to her. She didn't make a sound for the entire blessing and TJ was able to concentrate calmly and listen to the promptings of the Spirit and give a beautiful blessing.

After the blessing, as is customary in the LDS Church, I took the pacifier from Mackenzie so that TJ could hold her up and show her to the ward much like Mufasa did with Simba in the Lion King. I handed TJ the pacifier, he gently kissed Mackenzie on the forehead and I made the 40 minute drive back to our ward to attend to my responsibilities. I am thankful not only for the priesthood that allows fathers like myself and TJ the blessing of being able to bless our children, but also for a Heavenly Father who loves me enough to allow me to have spiritual experiences when I least expect them.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Are the Cards Who We Thought They Were?

A couple of years ago, when Dennis Green was still the coach of the Cardinals, he had one of the greatest postgame rants ever recorded on video. His lowly Cardinals had just absolutely broken the hearts of Cards fans everywhere on a Monday night home game against the Chicago Bears by basically handing them the game after having it won. They truly stole defeat from the jaws of victory. It was pathetic.

After the game, Denny Green let loose with his now famous tirade about the Chicago Bears, "The Bears are who we thought they were!!!" He said it like 10 times; it was an instant classic. He was also out of a job at the end of the season because the Cardinals that year were exactly who we thought they were: a very bad team.

After last year's unexpected and glorious run to the Super Bowl, I have very high hopes for the Cards this year. They should have one of the more potent offenses in recent NFL history. They have who I consider to be one of the brightest coaches in the NFL right now. They also have a new running back in Beanie Wells, who if he stays healthy, has no limits. Their defense pretty much is the same as last year; logically speaking, this means they should be better because they are a year older and have all that playoff experience under their belts.

Having said all that, the Cardinals have looked lethargic at best during the preseason. Their first string offense has been horrible, although Matt Leinart has looked fantastic on the 2nd team and their running game is much improved. Their defense has been absolutely abysmal; they can't stop anyone. Needless to say, I am a little worried about this team. It seems to me that they believe they can just flip the switch when they need to and be that same great team from last year, and I am afraid that no such switch exists.

The one bright hope that I have in this team is their coach, Ken Whisenhunt. I believe him to be much smarter and far more dedicated a coach than Dennis Green or any of his predecessors. I think he has a way of motivating this team, although they have seemed very unmotivated the last 4 weeks.

My question to the reading audience is: Are the Cardinals going to be who we think they can be? Or will they revert back to the Cardinals of old: a huge, fat disappointment? I sure hope they can start playing like the Cards of last year, because I believe that deep down, Phoenix is a football city waiting to erupt.

Update on my weight: 215.4 pounds, 19.4% body fat, 36 inch waist (I started at 38). I am feeling pretty good.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lifestyle Change is Hard

Last night, Tyler and I went to the Cardinal Preseason Game with some family. It was a great time - the game wasn't so good, for the first 3 quarters, they got worked. They were down 38-10 at halftime and it was nasty. Enter Matt Leinart. 360 yards passing and 4 straight touchdowns later, they had an extra point to tie it with 37 seconds left in the game. It was a great comeback. Instead of tying the game, they went for 2 and the win. Unfortunately, they couldn't convert and ended up losing the game, but it was very fun to witness. This is not what I am posting about.

For the last week, I have been on this new nutritional and workout regimen. It has been fairly difficult. As previously posted, I love to eat; it's one of my favorite things to do. Anway, I have been so good all week, I haven't cheated and I have followed my diet to the letter. I have done my workouts religiously and have done everything that has been asked of me. Enter Cardinals game and Univ. of Phoenix Stadium.

One of my favorite things to do is go watch a game, any kind of game. I love baseball the most, basketball is great to watch and I am learning to love football. I love sitting at the park or stadium or arena with way overpriced, greasy, fatty foods with my family and enjoy watching the world's best athletes compete in their preferred sport. (I have always found it quite ironic that the type of food that is served at professional sporting events would never be consumed in a million years by the athletes who are actually participating in the sporting events)

Anyway, we arrived at the game and I was slightly hungry. I knew I was going to be there for about 4 hours and that waiting it out wasn't going to be an option. Tyler was hungry, but not starving. So, just before halftime, I went to the concession stand to see what they offered. I was blown away; not only by the types of food and how unhealthy they are, but the exorbitant prices that were being charged. A hot dog? $7. One hot dog. A pretzel, one pretzel? $5. Large Coke? $6. I couldn't believe it. My personal favorite item - Twizzlers. One package of Twizzlers that sell for $1.50 at the store? $8. Unbelievable.

I was in a bind - I had to eat, but I didn't want to go crazy. I thought of getting the Cardinal burger for $8, but I didn't want to undo all the good I had done this week. The chicken strips and fries looked particularly good for $9, but I passed. I almost pulled the trigger on a giant hot dog; I love hot dogs. They are wonderful. But it seemed silly to buy a $7 hot dog when I could get the same hot dog, plus a drink at Costco for $1.50. I settled on a small bag of popcorn for $3 for Tyler and a frozen lemonade cup for $3.50 for me. I only spent $6.50 and I still had my dignity. Nobody said lifestyle change was going to be easy.

Update on my weight this morning - 217.2 pounds, 19.7 percent body fat (tested at the gym this morning by some guy who pinched me so hard with these calipers that I think I am bleeding internally)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Update on La Pansa

I am about 6 days into this lifestyle change. Actually, I just started the dieting portion of it on Saturday. I am a little skeptical; I am eating foods I normally wouldn't eat such as cantaloupe, nuts, fruit leather (there is an entire blog about fruit leather - it's like eating a really tasty dress belt), green beans and other healthy items. However, the biggest change is not what I AM eating, it is what I AM NOT eating.

A couple of things I am learning about this diet. First, it's not really a diet, it's a change in the way I am eating. I eat more often; smaller, lighter meals and lots of snacks. I haven't really felt hungry over the last 48 hours; but, I haven't really ever felt stuffed either. Second, I am going to have to learn that it's ok to not be completely stuffed when I am done eating. When I am done eating, I am done and it's ok that I normally would otherwise eat until I feel full. As long as I am not feeling hungry, I am going to make it.

The exercise part of this program is different as well. On Saturday, I went to the gym and did the resistance training that was set up for me. It took a long time because I am supposed to do all of the reps really slow. It makes for a harder workout. I didn't think I would be very sore, but I woke up on Sunday and what is left of La Pansa was really struggling. I also ran on the treadmill for 20 minutes - something I absolutely despise. I struggled because I was supposed to keep my heartrate in the 140-150 range which is the fat burning range. I had to slow down several times to get my heartrate down.

Anyway, against my better judgment, I got on the scale this morning and was down to 219. 3 pounds and I am feeling pretty good, except for the pounding headache from my decreased caffeine consumption. Diet Mountain Dews are frowned upon. One of life's simple pleasures has been taken away from me. :( Onward and upward.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Say Goodbye to La Pansa

In November, I will turn 36 years old. I can't believe that I am in my late 30's - this wasn't supposed to happen to me. I was supposed to always be young and athletic and in shape. Father Time can be very cruel.

I have always felt like I have been in pretty decent shape. There have been various stages in my life where I have been in better shape or worse shape; no one would have ever said to me that I was too skinny or too overweight. When I graduated from high school (1991), I weighed 168 pounds. When I got home from my mission, I weighed 190 pounds (1995 - sickly looking). I have fluctuated between 205 (2000) and 240 (2003) for the last 15 years. I usually hover around 225 pounds, which is where I currently am.

I write all this because I have determined once and for all that I am going to get into shape. I have decided to do this publicly for two reasons. First, I know that if I write it down, it becomes more real and more important to me. And second, I know that if other people are reading what I write, I will be more accountable and hopefully, be more careful with what I eat.

Confession time: my problem areas lie from about two inches above my knees to the top of my belly (I call my belly 'La Pansa' - it's a Spanish term that means belly or gut. I like that my belly has a name - it reminds me of one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes where Jerry and Kramer say to hello to each as if their bellies were speaking. Sounds stupid and it was, but it's really funny)

Another confession: exercising is not my problem. I work out constantly. I lift weights, I take Michelle's muscle conditioning classes, bootcamp classes, I play basketball weekly, I swim pretty much every day - working out is not the issue with me. I love to exercise. My problem lies in my diet. I eat like a man on death row. I love to eat. And I generally don't eat very healthy foods. I do not like most fruits; vegetables are OK but I avoid them when I can. Fast food has also been an issue with me. My diet is my downfall.

So, with my confessions complete, I begin a new chapter of my life: the healthy chapter, without La Pansa. I have paid a family friend of mine to create a diet and a workout for me which is supposed to help me lose body fat and turn it into lean muscle mass. I have even taken "before" pictures which I was going to post . . . until I saw them. I will post them when I have my "after" pictures to compare them to. That should be in 12 weeks.

In the interest of full disclosure, here are my measurements. As of this morning on my special scale in my house, I weigh 222.9 pounds, my body fat was 22.3% and my waist size is 38 inches. My goal is that I would like to weigh about 205 pounds with about 14 to 15% body fat. I will keep you all posted weekly.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thank Heavens for Plumbers

Our special Sunday dinner for our kids, who went back to school today, was rudely interrupted by a plumbing nightmare. It started with a peach pit in the garbage disposal; or at least that's how we noticed that there was a problem. We fished the peach pit out but then quickly noticed that we had a clogged sink drain - a very common problem I thought. Admittedly, I don't do plumbing. I despise plumbing jobs; they are dirty, yucky, smelly and did I mention dirty and smelly?

Luckily, my father-in-law, who was over for dinner, quickly assessed the situation and took over. We started with Drano - you know, the burning acid-like liquid that you poor down the drain and all your problems are supposedly solved in 10 minutes? After 10 minutes, the Drano proved to be completely useless except for ruining the finish on my faucet and sink.

He next asked for a plumber's snake to manually insert into the pipes and grind up the clog. As previously mentioned, I don't do plumbing and do not own a snake, mostly because when you get to the point that you need a snake, that's not a job I want to be doing. Fortunately, I do have a lot of wire hangers and we were able to fashion a makeshift snake. We removed the P-Trap under the sink and began probing with our hanger contraption. This also proved to be pointless except for now I think I have part of a wire hanger lodged in my piping behind my sink which should lead to many years of plumbing nightmares.

Next, he asked for a plunger; luckily I had one. He began plunging the sink like a man possessed - it was as if he were performing CPR on a dying person. A few times, just for fun, I yelled, "Clear!" He wasn't as amused as I had anticipated; the aforementioned Drano was eating into his skin and was permanently removing all of his fingerprints. It might have also ruined his Rolex, but I am not sure.

After 20 minutes of chest compressions (sink plunging), we decided to call in the big guns. I don't call Pablo lightly, only when I am in dire need. A few years ago, I called Pablo to come and fix a leaky toilet, something he thought I could do myself, and he made an entire Relief Society object lesson out of the experience. He used my lack of handiness against me and I still hear about that story from several ladies in our ward. They laugh and have a real good time at my expense. So, I try to never call Pablo unless there is a real emergency, such as removing a live chirping bird from my chimney. Pablo is quite handy in such emergencies.

Pablo came right over, all decked out in his plumbing gear and fully prepared with several different types of plumbing snakes. It made me wonder if there is a handiness gene that might have skipped a generation. Anyway, after trying unsuccessfully with the snakes, we removed the trap on the back of the house to get better access to the pipes. I finally learned last night what that trap is for. Pablo decided in a last ditch effort to insert the hose into the trap and seal all of the other exits for the water to escape. This was done in an effort to create pressure in the pipes and force the clog down into the sewer pipes. Seemed like a solid idea.

After a couple of minutes, Pablo noticed that there was water seeping up through the carpet next to the back wall in our family room. It soaked a lot of our carpet and our carpet pads. Pablo informed me that I must have a broken pipe under my foundation and all of the water that we were shooting into the pipes was coming up through cracks in the foundation. Wonderful. So much for Pablo being handy. After spending an hour with my ShopVac sucking the water out of my carpet and carpet pad, Pablo went home, telling me that I had a serious problem.

I decided to call a plumber. Long story made short, my friend the plumber came over this morning. He was there for no more than 10 minutes. He inserted an electric snake into the trap and about 35 feet into my pipes, he found the clog. (I wonder how many wire hangers I would have had to twist together to reach that clog.) He informed me that I do not in fact have a leak under my foundation, a fact for which I am quite grateful. He took my check for $106, patted me on the head and told me to leave the professional jobs to the professionals.

Today, I am most thankful for plumbers.

Friday, August 7, 2009

School Starts Too Early

I can't believe that my childrens' summer vacation is over. School starts on Monday for both Tyler, who starts 4th grade, and Julia, who will begin Kindergarten. I am going on the record and saying that I think starting school the second week of August in Phoenix is absolutely absurd. Whoever came up with this idea is completely out of his or her mind. Never mind that school just ended like two weeks ago; how about checking a nearby thermostat before making the decision to start school during the hottest month of the year.

Last night, I attended my first of several open houses for parents - you know, the meeting where the parents go and meet the teacher and learn his or her teaching philosophy and see all the fun things that he or she has in his or her classroom. (I am tired of being politically correct - from this point forward, I will assume that all grade school teachers are female) I noticed a few things that are worthy of mention during this open house. First, the temperature outside was about 113 degrees. It was 6PM. 113 degrees. It was ridiculous. Second, the temperature inside the classroom was about 108 degrees. Perfect learning atmosphere.

Another tidbit that I found interesting was when the teacher kindly told us that for the first few months, recess would be held INSIDE the classroom. Huh? We were informed that it is just too hot to do anything outside. Really? Too hot to go outside and play ball when it's 115 degrees?? Are you sure?? This was just after we were shown the brand new state-of-the-art playground that is right outside the kindergarten door complete with a metal swingset and astroturf. I immediately envisioned Julia jumping onto the swingset and getting 3rd degree burns on her legs and backside and then, in an effort to escape further agony, jumping off the swingset and landing on the astroturf and losing about eight layers of skin. Wonderful, no outside recess until Halloween.

Finally, the teacher informed us that we would be required to send at least one giant cold water bottle to school with our five year old to prevent what the teacher referred to as "unavoidable dehydration". Unavoidable dehydration?? Unbelievable.

I don't claim to be a genius (OK, sometimes I do, but this doesn't take a genius to figure out). However, I have come up with a way to avoid all of the aforementioned problems that will await my child when kindergarten starts next week. (Drumroll) DON'T START KINDERGARTEN NEXT WEEK!! Why in the world do we feel like we need to start school so early? Would it really hurt to start school a couple of weeks or a month later? It would still be hot, but not excruciating. Maybe recess would actually be fun then too. Maybe we could actually send our daughter to kindergarten without worrying about her unavoidable dehydration.

Julia, my new kindergartner, is ecstatic about starting school on Monday. I will send her with a giant water bottle, a huge hug and a kiss, and I will pretend that I am really happy about it. I just hope the air conditioning gets fixed over the weekend.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Kids in Pinetop

I thought I would post pictures of my kids. This was our final day in Pinetop and Michelle and Carrie made tie-dyed shirts for the kids. We got some really good pictures of the kids. I am a proud papa and uncle so I wanted to show just a few pics.

This is my youngest, Justin, who just turned 3.

This is Julia, currently my only girl, who is 5 and starting kindergarten.

This is my oldest Tyler, who will be 10 in December and is starting 4th grade. I can't believe he is so grown up.

And this was my favorite picture of the week; all of the cousins after a "nature walk".

The kids had a wonderful week out of the heat in Pinetop. But, I am so glad they are finally home.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Great American Steroid Era

Baseball is the greatest sport in the world; there really is no close second. I was fortunate enough to go to a Diamondbacks game this week and see a wonderful pitching matchup. Even though the D-Backs ended up on the short end of a 4-3 game, I got to see the longest homerun hit in Major League Baseball this year. In the bottom of the 9th inning, Mark Reynolds crushed a hanging slider about 485 feet into the furthest reaches of Chase Field. It was majestic; even though the D-Backs lost, seeing that homerun was more than worth the price of admission. (By the way, my price of admission was $0 - thank you to Spence Price)

Earlier today, the "shocking" news broke that another couple of huge baseball names tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in that 2003 drug test that was supposed to be anonymous and sealed. What a surpise. David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were added to the growing list of names of superstar baseball players whose reputations and massive power numbers are now, to say the least, tarnished. The following are players whose names have been associated with steroid use: Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa . . . . and the list goes on and on and on. Honestly, the only names on the list that I can honestly say I respect even a little bit are Jose Canseco and Jason Giambi because at least when they got caught, they owned up to it.

Most of the players on the list hide behind the excuses of, "I didn't really know what I was taking," or "I have never, I repeat, never used performance enhancing drugs" or my personal favorite, "It was just part of baseball culture at the time". Personally, I don't believe any professional baseball player anymore when they say they haven't taken any type of steroid or performance enhancing drug. Too many of them have proven to be liars.

What has come to be known as "The Steroid Era" has absolutely killed baseball. It has turned off the average fan. Young kids don't want to play baseball anymore because they don't watch baseball anymore. They don't watch baseball anymore by and large because their parents don't watch baseball anymore because they have been turned off by all of the cheating. The numbers and records and statistics of the great players of the past have been shattered by cheaters. And that's exactly what they are: big, fat cheaters. Any player that ever shot up with any type of performance enhancing drug, whether knowingly or not, is a cheater. End of story.

Every couple of months, some big name is leaked by the press as having tested positive for steroids - and baseball takes another big hit. After a few weeks, the shock wears off, only to be followed by another bombshell like today - Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz join the list. Baseball cannot afford to keep taking these types of hits month after month after month.

And so because I love baseball and because I want "The Steroid Era" to be a thing of the past as quickly as possible, Bud Selig, if you are listening, this is what you need to do and do quickly: RELEASE EVERY NAME OF EVERY BASEBALL PLAYER WHO HAS EVER TESTED POSITIVE FOR ANY TYPE OF DRUG. Don't seal anything; don't protect anybody - everybody needs to be outed. And I wouldn't allow any of these players to ever be allowed in the Hall of Fame. Ever.

Doing this would eliminate the need for the endless speculation that goes on every day. It would liberate the players who actually don't cheat and use drugs. It would eliminate the doubt that is cast on non-cheating players who have had fantastic seasons, like Luis Gonzalez (he very well might have cheated, but I don't know. I want to know). It would discourage future players from taking PED's because they won't want the embarrassment of having to admit that they really weren't as good as their statistics said they were. It would eliminate all the lying idiots like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds who both will probably go to prison for lying under oath to federal grand juries. But most importantly, it will allow baseball to begin the healing process. And baseball fans, like me, want that more than anything.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Must be a Total Loser

As many of you know, Michelle is expecting our fourth child sometime in October. (Can it really be that soon? This pregnancy has flown by; for me, maybe not Michelle) In any case, we try to spend as much time as we can during the summers in Pinetop at the Hazar cabin. It has become one of our favorite family traditions to spend weekends up where the temperatures are about 30 degrees cooler than here in Scottsdale. (Current temps: Scottsdale - 108 degrees, Pinetop - 76 degrees. Where would you rather be?) The kids love to spend time up in the mountains with their grandparents and their cousins.

Michelle decided early on in this pregnancy that she would be taking an entire week off from teaching classes sometime in July and taking the kids to Pinetop to get out of the heat. Well, I have been dreading this week for some time now and it is finally here. I drove Michelle and the kids up to Pinetop on Friday afternoon. We had a barbecue on Friday night, got up early on Saturday and went on a nature walk with the kids (could be an entire post in and of itself), went to a movie on Saturday afternoon with the family and then an early dinner and then Jim and I drove home Saturday afternoon so that I could attend to my church assignments today and work all week.

It has now been a little less than 24 hours since I left and I am BORED OUT OF MY MIND! I thought that I would be able to get a lot accomplished around the house such as cleaning and laundry and dishes and other items that are difficult to do with kids in the house. It turns out that Michelle decided to leave me ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do. The dishes are done, there isn't a stitch of dirty clothing in this house, the beds are all made, the carpets vacuumed, the windows are cleaned, the kitchen is spotless and the only thing I can think to do is clean the tile floors, which I can't do until tomorrow.

I admit, I like to watch TV - there are certain shows that I enjoy tremendously. It turns out that watching TV by yourself is no fun at all; in fact, it's downright painful. Last night, I tried watching an episode of Wipeout by myself and the old adage is definitely true: if a man lying in bed laughs really loud at a stupid TV show and nobody is there to hear him, he really DOESN'T make a sound. Interesting.

I enjoy playing a video game now and again - it turns out that video games aren't near as fun unless you can play with your kids and let them beat you. (More accurately, they actually beat you and then you pretend that you let them win)

The wife of one of my friends in the ward told me today that her husband can't wait until she goes out of town because then he gets to go out with his friends and hang out and watch movies and do guy stuff. After that conversation with her, I have come to the following very sad conclusion: I don't have any friends. I don't have guys that I can just go "hang out with". I must be a total loser. I have friends that Michelle and I go hang out with and have fun with, but it's always as a couple. This makes me wonder if these people actually like me at all or if they are just putting up with me so they can hang out with Michelle.

So, it's Sunday afternoon. Luckily, I have plans for the afternoon. I am heading to Mesa to eat some dinner with my Mom, who graciously accepted to have me over (after I invited myself). Come to think of it, she didn't sound real excited when she found out that Michelle and the grandkids weren't coming. After that, I have a couple of Church meetings to attend. After that, I have no idea what I will do. And I deleted all my Wai Lana Yoga from my DVR.

Our former Bishop in the ward just called and invited me to help with a move in the morning at 7AM - yeah!! Something to do!

Five days and counting . . . .

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dave the Fish Guy

There was a different feeling at Church today. I learned the sad news this morning that Dave Hibbert, a long-time member of our ward and friend to everybody, had passed away on Saturday in his home. If you weren't privileged to have known Brother Hibbert, there is not much that I could ever say on this post that would do his life and his legacy justice. Everybody that knew him loved him. Everybody, including me.

I would never try to eulogize him or give his life story on a blog because I could never say enough; however, I feel that it's important to recognize wonderful people and the wonderful things they do. Among his many many years of Church service, he most recently was released as a Counselor in the Bishopric, a calling that I have held now for about a month. I am desperately trying to fill the giant shoes of Brother Hibbert.

For the last few years in our ward, Brother Hibbert was most famous for two things: First, he was the person to avoid if you didn't want to speak in Sacrament Meeting, and second, he always carried red swedish fish in his suit pocket to hand out to the young children. The Primary kids (and sometimes the older kids like me) knew they could always count on Brother Hibbert for a sugar pick-me-up. Except for Fast Sunday, he always had these candy fish with him. He would hold the fish in his closed fist and wouldn't give the fish away until the appropriate response was given to his famous question, "Who's the Greatest?" I have watched now for 8 years as all three of my children have weekly sought out Brother Hibbert and completed the red fish ritual. Some friends of ours in the ward have two very young sons. The older of their two boys made it be known to his parents that he had named his teddy bear, Dave the Fish Guy. He undoubtedly had received countless red swedish fish from Dave Hibbert, the Fish Guy. There are not many things more important to a 2 year old than his teddy bear, and for him to name that teddy bear after Dave Hibbert is quite a tribute.

I was sitting on the stand and looking at the faces of our ward congregation as our Bishop made the announcement of his passing. The grief and the pain and the sadness in the faces of Dave's friends upon learning of his death is something that I will never forget and I was reminded of Russell M. Nelson's words, "The only way to take the sorrow out of death is to take the love out of life."

There are many good men in the world, I get to meet them on a daily basis. I have come to know that there are very few great men. Brother Hibbert was one of the great ones. I mourn today because of his passing and look forward to the day that I can see him again and enjoy a red swedish fish with him. I am grateful that I was able to know and love Dave Hibbert, the Fish Guy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Could my Wife be Nesting?

It was a good day in our house today. Connie came today. A couple of months ago, we were introduced to Connie. We were introduced by my wonderful sister-in-law, Carrie Hazar. I refer to Carrie as wonderful for two reasons: First, because she told me that she wouldn't become a follower of my blog until I mentioned her lovingly in one of my posts and second, she actually is pretty wonderful. TJ is a lucky man. (See more about her family at And because I am an equal opportunity brother-in-law, I have another sister-in-law who is also wonderful; her name is Nabby, but she has yet to promise followership. (see And yes, David is a lucky man as well.

Back to Connie. Connie is a wonderful woman who cleans homes for a living. She has cleaned Carrie and TJ's home for awhile now and they swear by this woman. I never thought we needed somebody to come and clean our house. Michelle is an excellent housekeeper and I am completely obsessed with trying to keep our home as clean as possible. So for me, the prospect of having Connie come and clean our home once a month seemed unnecessary. However, at the urging of my wonderful sister-in-law (followership), and because she is very reasonably priced, we decided to give Connie a try.

Connie has come to our home once a month for about 5 months now and I honestly don't know how we ever lived without her. I remember the first time Connie came to the house and cleaned. I knew that it was possible for a home to look clean because our home normally does. I had no idea that a home could actually SMELL clean. There is clean, and then there is Connie Clean. Connie Clean actually has a smell. They should make Connie Clean candles. If Connie could bottle up the Connie Clean smell, she would be a billionaire. She is the most amazing, hard-working woman and does an unbelievable job. Maybe she'll read this - we love you Connie!!

I do however have a problem with Connie, and it's not her fault. For whatever reason, on the day before Connie comes to clean, Michelle cleans the house like SHE is getting paid to do it. I simply do not understand this phenomenon. As I mentioned previously, our home is normally quite tidy - I am quite a taskmaster, one of my many flaws. BUT, our home is NEVER cleaner than the day before Connie comes to clean. I have asked Michelle about this several times and she explains that if the house isn't clean when Connie arrives, she will have a hard time cleaning it. Huh???

I am paying Connie to clean our home and Michelle already has it 90 percent done. I feel that the day before Connie comes, the house should be the dirtiest. I mean if it's been 30 days since Connie has been here, the house is SUPPOSED to be dirty, right?? I would think Connie would appreciate it. :)

Michelle is definitely nesting. Believe it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

You Have Got to be Kidding Me

I have been struggling over the last few days to come up with a topic for my next post. My loyal friends and followers have been asking, "When is your next post? What are you gonna blog about next?" My answer has always been, "When I have something funny or important to say." Well, last night while watching the O'Reilly Factor, a commercial came on during one of the breaks that qualifies as both funny AND important. Honestly, I thought that the channel had been inadvertently switched to Saturday Night Live and I was watching one of their skits. The fact that this commercial is being aired during the highest rated cable news show in the world is absolutely unbelievable to me. I swear I couldn't make this stuff up.

I give to you . . . . . . . . . (drumroll) the Chia Obama. "Ch Ch Ch Chia!" That's right, the makers of the Chia Pet, you know, the crazy statues of different animals that double as pots for Chia seeds, have made a special edition of President Barack Obama's head to "celebrate and honor our 44th President". Uhhhh . . . . are you freaking kidding me? This has got to be a joke. A Chia Obama???? Their tagline is . . . wait for it . . . "Hail to the Ch Ch Ch Chief." YES WE CAN!! Absolutely unbelievable.

A couple things about this product are particularly amusing to me, other than the fact that it actually exists in the first place and that there are people out there that would actually buy it. The first thing is that there are two different models:

HAPPY CHIA OBAMA And my personal favorite: DETERMINED CHIA OBAMAThe fact that there is a Chia Obama is unbelievable enough, but TWO different poses? Give me a break. Is there really a human being out there that is such an Obamaniac that he looks at the Determined pose and says, "Huh, if only he looked a little happier." Conversely, is there a moron on earth that wouldn't buy the Happy pose because Barack just doesn't seem determined enough?? YES WE CAN!!

The other amusing part about the commercial that aired last night was the special promotion they were running. If you bought TWO Chia Obamas, they would reward you with FREE SHIPPING!!! I don't think I want to meet the person that decides that they just can't live with only one Chia Obama. YES WE CAN!!

It is no secret that the mainstream media is in love with President Obama. They practically worship the man - why??? I have absolutely no idea. Maybe because he is a great speaker, maybe because he is the 1st African-American president, maybe because he is a good-looking man. I believe it's mostly because he's not President Bush. I have had conversations about this with members of my family and some of my friends before he was sworn in. Hollywood loves him, mainstream media adores him, he honestly can do wrong - and for the life of me, I can't figure out why. He has done nothing before his presidency nor in his first six months as Commander-in-Chief to persuade me that he is worthy of all the praise he receives.

Admittedly, I am not a fan of Barack Obama. I disagree with pretty much all of his policies, foreign and domestic. With all that being said, I can understand why his fans support him and praise him and even want to celebrate him. But, a Chia Obama?????? I wonder if the President himself considers his own bust with green afro-like chia plant-hair an honor. I doubt it. I liked President Bush, but I would never own a Chia Bush. I would never own a Chia Reagan or if it came to it, a Chia Romney (and Mitt has the best hair of all of them to display in the Chia style). I wouldn't even own a Chia Chad. (OK - I might, just for the novelty of it)

Let's be honest, this doesn't honor or celebrate Barack Obama. It's an embarrassment. YES WE CAN??? Well, I can't.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Miracle of Life . . . Again

I remember distinctly about a year after my youngest son Justin was born. I remember feeling, "OK, we did it . . . We have three now . . . . We have fulfilled our quota . . . Our litter of three has both genders represented . . . . We have successfully obeyed the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth . . . . We are done . . . . We can rest now." I honestly remember thinking that I would have no more children and I was content and at peace with it.

I think the reason that I felt like that was in part because I was, and am still, so very pleased and proud of my three children. Aesthetically speaking, they all take after their mother and are generally pretty easy on the eyes.

I am also very grateful that for the most part, they all three are very well-behaved and obedient children. Tyler is the most easy-going, mild-mannered 9 year-old that I have ever seen. He rarely needs to be scolded and is always trying to help out whenever and wherever he can. Julia, although slightly more animated (and when I say slightly, I mean extremely), is still more obedient than most 5 year-old cartoon characters. Justin can be a loose cannon sometimes and occasionally throws an all out temper in the most public of places, but never when Daddy is around. (Mommy hates that) But generally speaking, he is a very well-behaved 3 year-old.

There are two things about my kids that I love most: First, they absolutely, unequivocally worship the ground that Mommy walks on. (Michelle is having girls night out right now at the movies and I have been reminded several times in the 20 minutes that she has been gone that I run a distant second behind Mommy) And secondly, there is no place that any of them would rather be right now at their current ages than at home with Mommy and Daddy or playing with each other. They get along so well together. Now, I am not so naive to think that this will continue for much longer; each will eventually find out that Michelle and I are not as cool as we tell them we are. They will inevitably discover flaws in their siblings and not want to play Star Wars or Pokemon with each other, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.

In any case, I honestly thought Michelle and I were done having children, until a certain day last spring. I don't remember at all what we had done that day. All I remember is that we didn't feel like cooking dinner, so we went to Subway to eat. We were eating at Subway and I remember being very tired and somewhat cranky. Justin, who is the entertainer of the family, was doing something that had everyone except me in stitches. I was sitting in a booth with Michelle and all three kids were crammed in the booth across from us, laughing and eating. At one moment, I remember looking at my children and having the distinct impression that somebody was missing. There was somebody, and at the time I wasn't sure who, who was supposed to be with us, but wasn't. I can't explain it, I just felt like somebody was absent.

I remember stopping what I was eating and turning to Michelle and telling her, "I just had this feeling that there is someone missing from our family and I think we need to have another child." Michelle of course, is much more in tune with spiritual matters than I am, and she smiled at me and said something like, "I know. I have known that for a long time."

I share this story partially because of my deteriorating memory; I want to be able to read about this someday. But, mostly I share it because Michelle is now six months pregnant with our fourth child, a girl, and I couldn't be more excited. We have no idea what we will name her; I like Kate. Michelle likes Alexis. Julia likes Lucy or Kaitlyn. Tyler doesn't really care as long as it's not Lucy or Kaitlyn, and Justin is completely clueless; I am not sure he has even grasped the concept of another child living in our house and sleeping in his crib that he still asks if he can sleep in. He will be affected most by the birth of this new Cherrington as he will no longer be able to use the excuse, "But, I'm the baby." My hope is that she looks like her mother, although Michelle would like a girl with what she calls, "beautiful, thick Cherrington hair", like any one of my sisters. I would welcome that too.

Whatever we end up naming her or however her hair turns out, I am anxious to meet this missing child.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday Top Five

Top Five Reality Shows and Why I Enjoy Them

5. Wipeout - Wednesday Nights ABC - I consider all gameshows reality TV. If you haven't seen this show, you need to just trust me, and take the time to watch it. Remember the fat kid in grade school that used to get picked last for kickball? And the bimbo blonde cheerleader in high school whose whole world revolved around what other people thought of her? Well, imagine hundreds of people like that, but now they are all grown up, they are fatter and dumber, and are on giant obstacle courses with foam and mud. I cannot do it justice, you must watch at least once.

4. The Bachelor/Bachelorette - not sure where or when it's on - but Michelle watches it occasionally as I am falling asleep. I am not a fan of this show. In fact, I can't think of a worse premise for a television program. However, it's amusing to hear all of the guys talk about how they have this "special connection" with the current season's attention-starved bachelorette. Then, they get sent home and they cry about how they are heartbroken over a girl that they have been out with twice. It's like a trainwreck - you don't want to watch, but you just have to.

3. So You Think You Can Dance - Wednesday and Thursdays FOX - those who can't dance, watch. That explains why I think I like this show. I never thought I would ever understand who is a good dancer and who is NOT a good dancer. But, I am starting to get it. This is the 2nd full season that I have been watching, and I can honestly say (and I promise, I am the most manly of manly men) I really really love this show.

2. The O'Reilly Factor - everyday 5PM Fox News Channel - I know what you are thinking, not a reality TV show. You are wrong. Nothing is more reality TV than the news. And I think my favorite news guy in the world ever is Bill O'Reilly. In fact, for Father's Day, I was hoping to receive a No Spin t-shirt, or an American Patriot t-shirt, or at least a No Pinheads bumper sticker - no such luck. I never miss an episode - the Factor is the best, except when he has that moron Glenn Beck on.

1. American Idol - I can't wait for Idol to start again. This show has turned into a cultural phenomenon and (once again, manly man) I absolutely love this show. From the hideous auditions, to the Hollywood week, to the top 24 contestants, I love it all. I love the judges, except for when Paula gets excited and can't form complete sentences. I love that every year, there is some crazy contestant that is not that good that makes it to the top 5 (like Sanjaya). And I love that ever since I have been watching, I think America has gotten it right every year.

I would be interested to hear some of your favorite reality TV shows . . . . .

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bad News Backs

I mentioned in a previous post that the D-Backs are suffering through a bad season because of various reasons: injury, offensive woes, managment, etc. I would like to retract that statement after this weekend's series with the Angels and replace it with the following assertion: The Arizona Diamondbacks suck. Bad. Real bad.

There have been several moments during this season where I have decided in a fit of fury that I will not watch this team anymore because it is just too maddening, only to return to watching them because of my passion for baseball. However, I decided yesterday, after the absolute embarrassment that was the top of the 5th inning, what I was watching WASN'T BASEBALL. I cannot watch them anymore.

For those of you that didn't watch the ill-fated 5th inning of yesterday's game, it started with a fairly routine groundball to shortstop. Stephen Drew picked it up, made a perfect throw to 1st baseman Mark Reynolds. It hit him right in the glove, and he dropped it. Just dropped it. Error number 1. Then, the AL pitcher, who never hits, EVER, singled to left field. Then, a hard hit ground ball to third was bobbled which cost the D-Backs a run. It wasn't counted as an error, because he actually recorded an out. Then, a fairly hard hit line drive was hit right at Justin Upton - I mean right at him. It glanced off his glove and rolled to the wall - I mean, I honestly thought I was seeing things. Another run scored on the D-Backs 2nd error of the inning (actually 3rd if you counted the 3rd baseman's bobble). At that point, the D-Backs were still in the game so they pulled the infield in to stop the runner on third from scoring. What happened next was so spectacular, I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it. Ground ball RIGHT AT the 2nd baseman, Felipe Lopez. I mean, he didn't have to move one step in either direction. The ball went right through his legs. It was so ridiculous that even the homer D-Back announcers starting bagging on the team. 1 hit by a pitcher, 3 errors (actually 4), 3 runs scored, 1 out recorded. The pitcher, Max Scherzer, got pulled, the new pitcher came in, threw 3 pitches and gave up a two run homer. Game over.

If it weren't so laughable, I probably would have cried. The Bad News D-Backs were swept by the Angels and not only have the 2nd worst record in Major League Baseball, but also have more errors than any other team IN THE WORLD. I honestly don't think I can watch them again this season. It's too painful.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday - A Day of Rest?

For those of you who know me well, you know that I am a Latter-Day-Saint. I am a Mormon - you know, Mitt Romney, Steve Young, Orrin Hatch, just to name a few. (Hopefully, there's no one out there saying to themselves, "Wow, I never would have guessed HE was Mormon.") Anyway, we believe that the Sabbath Day is on Sunday and that it is sacred and a day of rest. So, I have decided that if I am going to try and blog at least a little something everyday, on Sundays, I will try to talk a little about religion and my faith. Hopefully, for those of you who might not be LDS, reading these Sunday blogs will take a little bit of the mystery out of what sometimes seems to be a mysterious religion.

One of the major tenets of our faith is remembering the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. This generally means that we try to take it easy on Sundays - we attend our church meetings and work with the other members in our areas, we try to provide service to others, we worship, we try to stay away from commercial activities and spend time with our families. The Sabbath Day is SUPPOSED to be a day of rest. I guess my question is - When do I actually get to start RESTING on Sundays?

This morning, I woke up at 6:15, showered, shaved and made it to the Church building right around 6:45 for a 7AM bishopric meeting. I met for 45 minutes with the Bishop and the rest of the Bishopric. Then, at 7:45, we met for another 45 minutes with other leaders in our ward talking about various members who are in need and what we can do for them. Then, with a couple other men, I set up around 150 chairs for a Sunday School class later in the day. We made it back to the chapel just in time for 9AM Sacrament Meeting only to realize that the A/C wasn't working and it was about 90 degrees in the chapel. We met for an hour, then I went to Sunday School for an hour, then to a meeting with the young women's group in our ward. After the regular block of meetings was over at noon, I attended a special ordination of a young man that lasted another 30 minutes, only to be followed by more Bishopric duties and preparing for the week's activities and service projects. I got home around 1:30, helped feed my kids, and prepared for a monthly youth meeting that night at the Bishop's home, which was eventually cancelled.

After catching a quick power nap, we left to go out to Mesa to have dinner with my Mom and sisters. Although I love going to my Mom's house for dinner, because I love seeing my Mom and sisters and eating good food (and man, did we eat some good food tonight), there really is nothing restful about 14 grandkids under the age of 10 running around and playing/fighting/loving each other. The highlight (or lowlight) was when Julia, my 5 year old, somehow cut her lip and bled all over the place and she honestly thought she was going to die. I don't know how my Mom does it - she is the picture of composure and patience. But generally speaking, NOBODY was getting any rest.

Bottom line, it's 10:50 at night and after fighting to get our kids' teeth brushed, and saying prayers and telling stories about my childhood and finally wrestling our kids to bed (and there is NO WAY they are actually asleep right now), I really don't feel like I got much rest today. In fact, I think if you ask pretty much any member of the LDS Church if Sundays feel like a day of rest, most of them will tell you emphatically, NO! they do not.

However, I love the Sabbath Day. Sunday is absolutely the best day of the week. The Sabbath Day is not necessarily ever a day of rest, it is more like a day of stress. But for me, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

There Will Never be Another King of Pop

When I heard about the untimely death of Michael Jackson, as most people, I was saddened but not shocked. If there is a more tragic figure in my entertainment lifetime, I would like to know who it is. (All due respect to Aaliyah, Tupac, the Notorious BIG and that Left Eye chick from TLC) At first, I didn't think that I would be all that affected by his passing; I mean he really hasn't put out a good album since . . . well . . . since he transformed himself into a creepy white woman.

However, today Michelle and I took the kids swimming and as we swam, we listened to nothing but Michael's music, sort of as a tribute. Most of it was from the Thriller album - released 27 years ago when I was 8 years old. As we listened and watched our kids dance and sing along to the music (even Justin, who just turned 3, was grooving to PYT), I came to the realization that some music reaches across generations and transcends time. Song after song after song came on and Michelle I would look at each other and say, "I love this song".

As I got home this morning from helping a new lady in our ward move into her new home, Michelle was watching what seemed to be some type of documentary on MC Hammer (another tragic figure). He has to be about 45 or 50 years old and he was singing (well, sort of singing/rapping/breathing heavy) Hammer Time. I said to myself, "I can't believe I used to love this song". MC Hammer's music, although it was good in its time, is a good example of music that does NOT transcend time.

The genius of Michael Jackson is that his music will ALWAYS be great - no matter when or where you live. He will always be The King of Pop, and there will NEVER be another like him.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Why Arizona Sports Stinks (Right Now)

Before I rant for a minute, I would like to publicly thank my sister Wendi for becoming my first of what I am sure to be millions of "followers" of my blog. I am going to figure out a way to hang a picture of Wendi on my blog - much like a small privately owned business frames their first earned dollar on the wall next to their business license.

It's really no fun to be an Arizona sports fan right now. My favorite NBA team, the Suns, just finished a woefully dismal season, where they didn't make the playoffs, traded Shaq (OK - no complaints on that one), and are about to trade away a 25 year old Amare Stoudemire coming into his prime for pretty much nobody all in the name of cutting salary and saving money . . . . er . . . . I mean rebuilding. It's pathetic. The Suns can expect to be a lottery team for at least a few years. Meanwhile, who is the best team in the NBA??? The Los Angeles Lakers. I hate L.A. sports teams.

My favorite MLB team, the Diamondbacks, are suffering through one of the most brutal seasons I can remember in terms of injuries, bullpen meltdowns, offensive inadequacies and inept management - not only in the front office, but the dugout as well. (Bob Melvin got hosed and AJ Hinch is a moron) They are currently 17 games out of first place and cellar dwellers in the NL West. Meanwhile, who is the best team in baseball right now??? The Los Angeles Dodgers. And the D-Backs got waxed again tonight 12 - 3 by who??? The Anaheim Angels. Did I mention how much I hate L.A. sports teams??

The ASU Sun Devils yesterday lost their only hope of winning the PAC 10 as James Harden was taken #3 in the NBA draft. Who will probably win the PAC 10 - you guessed it. UCLA or USC. At least he wasn't drafted by the L.A. Clippers. Yeah, I hate the Clippers too.

The Coyotes, who honestly I could care less about, are in bankruptcy and about to be sold to an owner who wants to move them to Canada. Too bad - I guess. The next time I watch a Coyotes game will be the first. I wish they would move to L.A.

The only thing we have to hang our hat on right now, ironically enough, is the Arizona Cardinals. I honestly never thought that Arizona's best hope for a professional sports championship would be the Cardinals, but that is the reality. They have an excellent coach, a terrific offense with the best passing game in the NFL (all due respect to Tom Brady) and they are poised to make another run at the Super Bowl. Thank goodness that L.A. doesn't have an NFL franchise.

So for now, I sit depressed at the thought of the Suns in the lottery, the D-Backs losing 100 games, the Coyotes in Canada (well, not so much) and the Sun Devils in the NIT. However, the Cardinals give me reason for hope - and the fact that Clippers will always be terrible. Always.

Reasons for Having My Own Blog

I have decided to start my own blog for several reasons. Some people will ask why have my own blog when my family has a blog that gets updated regularly. My response can best be formulated in a list. I like lists. Here it goes - the reasons why I have started my own blog.

1. I am the self-proclaimed funniest person in all of my family. Honestly, it's not really even that close. Natalie, my younger sister, is amusing. Wendi, another younger sister, can be rather comical. My wife Michelle every once in awhile says something that makes me chortle. But, there really is no one in my life that is consistently as funny as I am. You want proof? Just ask me.

2. I love to talk and I am quite opinionated. This is a forum where I can say pretty much whatever I want and absolutely nobody can stop me. It's beautiful.

3. I am sure that I will talk a lot about my family and my life. A blog is a very easy way to keep a journal without feeling like I am keeping a journal. My mother-in-law will be so proud.

4. I am a mortgage broker by profession - let's be honest, I've got time to kill.

5. I like to talk about sports a lot. I am a regular emailer and caller to several sports talk shows. This is a forum where I can get people to read my posts and someday I might land my dream job of sports commentary or sports analysis or sports anything. My wife will be so pleased.

6. I like to speak publicly - it doesn't get much more public than this.

7. I don't talk to my sisters as much as I would like - they generally avoid me. Who could blame them? This is a way to communicate with them without them having to admit that I am their brother. It's a win-win for all of us - communication without talking to each other. (I am just kidding, Mom) And I have a huge extended family that I would like to communicate with without having to go to family reunions. (Again, Mom, kidding)

8. I have the worst memory of any generally healthy 35 year-old male that I know. Sometimes, things happen that I don't remember in a couple of weeks. This way, I can read my own past blogs and entertain myself.

9. I like talking about things that are important to me - sports, politics, government, economics, religion, family, etc. Maybe people will be amused as I opine.

10. I have so much to be thankful for. I am about to be a father for the 4th time, I have a wonderful wife and mother of my children, I have beautiful, healthy children and a wonderful extended family. I want people to know that.

I hope to add to this blog daily and have several million readers . . . . . OK - well not really. I will be satisfied if my family reads and is amused. Actually, I don't much care who reads it - this blog is for me. Someday, I hope I will enjoy reading about my life . . . .