In the spirit of crowd-sourced instruction, the WikiHow site is a great resource to learn to do various things. Many of the instructional guides include drawings to illustrate what’s being taught, and there’s an entire Reddit group dedicated to taking these drawings and using them to illustrate an entirely different concept. Some of the ones that made me laugh out loud:

How to Cannibalize Your Uncle as a Family

How to Maximize “Quiet Time” for Your Kindergarten Class

How to Remember You Have Legs

How to Physically Delete an Annoying Student

How to Tell Someone Their Diet Failed

How to Think of a Rhyme for “Spaghetti”

How to Use “Enhanced Interrogation” to Find Out Who Tore Up the Living Room

How to Escalate a Thumb War

How to Embarrass a Horse at a Sleepover

That’s helpful

Me: What do all these buttons do?
Manufacturer: Here’s a helpful diagram to explain.

It’s important!

This just came in the mail…

Any time an envelope says Important Information, I know it must really be important. Because they wouldn’t be allowed to put that on the envelope if it wasn’t true, right?

Back to BYU

After a few months living at home, Alex is heading back to BYU for the summer semester. He (wisely) decided that staying in Longmont wasn’t helping him “move forward” with his college and career goals, so he registered for three classes and will be starting next week.

Now that he has a car, it’s much easier for all of us– we don’t have to plan a couple of days to drive out to Utah and back. This morning he loaded everything into his car. I remember the days when everything I owned in the world fit into a single car…

He even had enough room for a passenger. And this is a Honda Civic coupe!

After everything was settled and Laralee had double-checked every last detail, he was ready to head out.

And he’s off! (He even learned to drive stick shift in the last week, so he’s rolling smoothly along without killing the clutch.)

We’ll miss having him around, of course, but I know he’ll have a good time during the summer.


Fifteen hours of daylight today! I thought the summer solstice would be an apropos time to take a few sunset photos. I biked a few miles to McIntosh Lake and waited for the sun to dip to the horizon. It was pretty cloudy, so unfortunately I couldn’t actually see much of the sun, but I managed to get a few decent shots.

I’m always a little sad to know the days will be getting shorter now, but there’s still a lot of summer ahead…


This… speaks to me. Maybe I’ll do it.

All hail the hail

Alex and I headed out to play some ultimate today. When we arrived at the field, there were overcast skies and it was sprinkling lightly. No big deal, although sometimes it’s a little tricky playing with a slippery disc. We started our game.

Then the rain started coming down a bit harder. Still not a big deal; by that time all fifteen of us were pretty wet, but when you’re already wet it doesn’t matter if you get a little wetter, right? We played on.

Then the lightning started coming closer. We paused to count the time between the flash and the bang, to approximate the distance, and decided it was okay. Over the next few minutes, though, it became not okay. The flash-bang dropped suddenly to just a few seconds, and the skies were lighting up all around us. We called off the game and started picking up the cones. A huge bolt of lightning hit right across the street with a deafening crack of thunder. Yep, time to clear the field!

Then the hail started. While driving home, the skies opened up and the rain was coming down in sheets. Hail mixed in with it, and there were roughly quarter-size chunks of ice everywhere. It was coming down hard, too. My car was rattling and banging with the impacts. The roads were covered in ice.

With all the rain that had come down, there were rivers of water running across the roads and along the gutters. People were hitting them at full speed and splashing water 10-15 feet in the air. (People! Slow down!)

When we arrived back home, Alex and I changed out of our absolutely soaked clothes and decided to head out for some pizza. This is the view as we walked through the neighborhood to our local pizza parlor:

Yeah. That’s less than thirty minutes after the pouring hail. Crazy.

Lies, all lies

For Father’s Day, Zaque had a mug custom made for me. It says “My son kicks my butt in Munchkin”.

It’s pretty clever, and of course it only invites retaliation. On his birthday I’ll have to come up with something good.

On the afternoon of Father’s Day, he and Alex and I played some Munchkin. I trounced them both. Twice. Take that!


Occasionally I’ll find a spider in my basement office. They’re usually fairly small wolf spiders– very common around here, and completely harmless. I just squish them with a tissue and go on with my work.

A couple of nights ago, Laralee went down to my office to get something, and came screaming back upstairs. “There are so many spiders in your office!” I went down and, indeed, there were maybe four sitting quietly in various spots. Maybe the cool evening air made them come out of hiding, or maybe they come out of hiding every evening and I just don’t notice because I’m not in the basement. In any case, I squished them as usual.

Then Laralee got a spray bottle and added some essential oils to it: lavender and peppermint, I believe. She proceeded to spray the heck out of my office, hitting all of the baseboards and corners and spider hidey-holes. For good measure, she doused the rest of the basement. Imagine a bomb exploding, but instead of throwing shrapnel it throws lavender smells. It was something like that.

Now, two days later, I’m back in my office. There are no spiders. And it smells like a flowery garden. Yay lavender!

Best girl

I sure do love my favorite daughter. Apparently she thinks I’m okay too, although I question that little dig at the end.

Another car

Alex is getting the hang of his new car but today he decided he might like a McLaren instead.

I’m not sure what model this is, but it’s almost certainly worth somewhere north of $200,000.

Yeah, that’s a sweet, sweet ride.

Jet skiing

A few years ago we went to Horsetooth Reservoir and rented a pair of jet skis for a few hours. It was a blast, so we decided to do it again this summer. We had a reservation for this afternoon, and last night Zaque learned that he’d have to work all day at his new job. I looked into moving our reservation, but there was a “no change, no refund” policy and even though the rental place was willing to bend the rules a bit, we weren’t going to be able to make it work with Zaque’s new schedule.

So Laralee, Alex, and I planned to go, but then just before we were leaving, Hannah texted to see if she could come over to the house and hang out, and Laralee invited her to join us. She’d never been jet-skiing before, so she grabbed a swimsuit and hustled over.

Horsetooth Reservoir is almost seven miles long, and the marina is near the southern end. Since it was a Thursday, there wasn’t much boat traffic on the lake (apparently weekends are crazy). We had a lot of space to play. Alex and Laralee started out driving.

I was with Alex, and as soon as we passed the no-wake buoys he punched it and we shot out across the water. The jet skis topped out around 40mph, which doesn’t sound like much until you’re pounding across waves with the wind tearing through your hair.

To my great surprise, Laralee followed suit and was screaming around the lake. The last time we’d gone, she was much more timid and didn’t put the pedal down, so to speak. But this time she was zipping around, with Hannah shouting and laughing behind her.

We had our waterproof camera with us, which doesn’t always take great pictures, but we managed to catch a few good shots.

After a while, Hannah got up the nerve to drive, so she swapped with Laralee while I swapped with Alex.

Alex and I made a few turns that were a little too sharp, and tipped the sled a few times. I figure if you don’t take a couple of dunks, you’re not driving hard enough. The lake water was cool, but in the hot June sun it felt great.

After we finished, we decided to grab dinner in nearby Fort Collins. Pizza won the vote, and we decided to go to a place called Totally 80’s Pizza. Not only was the pizza really good, but the decor was awesome. It was pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a place dedicated to the pop culture of the 80’s.

They had a life-size Han Solo frozen in carbonite…

Signed photos of the cast of The Princess Bride

A mint-condition Trapper Keeper (under glass, because you know that thing must be valuable)…

And as we finished our meal and headed out the door, I was thrilled to see my favorite line from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

Yep, it was a great day.


Trump must really be screwing up the economy if the sixteen-year-old girl I pay to clean my office is complaining about it.


My 2008 Civic hit a bit of a milestone today.

I figure I’ve got another hundred thousand miles still to go…


Last week, while I was in Arizona, Zaque was at youth conference with about a dozen other high-schoolers, and on their last day they conquered Mt Cameron, one of Colorado’s 56 Fourteeners.

It looks like there’s some ham at the top of that mountain.


For the past three days, Laralee, Alex, and I were down in Phoenix for our nephew Brandon’s wedding. He’d been Alex’s roommate for a semester at BYU, and during that semester, Brandon was dating Kayla and eventually proposed to her (Alex helped with the proposal and was even there for the Big Moment). When La and I went to pick up Alex, we met her and spent the evening with the two of them. It was a lot of fun, so we were excited to be a part of their big day.

Unbeknownst to Kayla, one of the items on Brandon’s checklist of “the perfect wife” was having a wedding reception that involved a mariachi band. He served his mission in Mexico and loved the Mexican culture. So when he first mentioned the idea and Kayla didn’t immediately veto it, he knew he’d found the perfect wife.

The reception was held at a neighbor’s house; they had a huge yard and big trees that shaded a wide area. In the 106-degree heat of Phoenix in mid-June, it was a good venue. The tables all had sombreros and colorful blankets:

There was indeed a mariachi band:

And there were babies everywhere… sheesh. I think this one is the newest addition, the daughter of Brandon’s sister Danae.

The happy couple was all too happy to see the “third wheel” who’d accompanied them on so many dates.

Here are the two roomies/cousins:

As it happened, there was another reception right across the street. It was a huge Mexican party as well, and since the bride was the sister of the husband of my niece, I felt like I was probably somehow related to her so it would be okay to crash the party. Laralee and I snuck over and I grabbed a snow-cone from the vendor they’d hired for their party.

They also had an enormous (as in, five feet high) swamp cooler blowing across their lawn, making their party literally cooler. Even by 9pm it was still in the upper 90’s, although overall I was surprised how comfortable it felt. We had a great time with all of the relatives, old and new.

Saturday morning was the wedding itself. At first I thought it was a little strange (okay, a lot strange) to have a reception before the wedding, but after talking with Kayla about it, I found myself agreeing that it’s smart. The party takes so much preparation and effort, and then the wedding itself is short and simple by comparison. So instead of being worn out on your wedding night, you can head off on your honeymoon with a ton of energy. We drove over to the Gilbert temple, which of course is beautiful.

Laralee is working on her “Kyra selfie” and is getting a little better at it.

It must run in the family, because Kaleb and Luke both have one:

After the ceremony, the happy couple ran the gauntlet.

They drove off into the sunset… well, in fact it was the early afternoon blazing scorching Arizona sun to start their life together. It was tons of fun, and I wish them all the best.

First car

It’s always a big day when you get your first car.

After some thought, Alex decided he’d really like a car while he’s at BYU. There are only so many times you can bum rides off friends, or hope someone needs groceries at the same time you do. Or, more importantly (according to Alex), it’s simply not cool to ask a woman on a date when you don’t have a car. So clearly a car would open up a lot of possibilities!

Today we spent the afternoon shopping and test driving. He decided he wanted a Honda, because they’re super reliable and relatively cheap. I suppose he’s a little biased because we’re a Honda family with our Civic, Accord, and Odyssey. So he and I poked around Craigslist, he made some calls, and we drove a few. We came back home to talk about which one he liked best, how we might talk down the price a bit, and so on.

After a bit of coaching, he called one seller and did a bit of haggling. To his (and my) surprise, she accepted his lower offer without even countering, and it was a done deal! We headed over to his credit union to get a pile of cash, and then drove home his new (old) car.

It’s a 2007 Honda Civic, just a year older than mine. It’s essentially the same car, minus a few features (mine is the “nicer” model), and it’s a pretty shade of blue. Oh, and it has a manual transmission. So we had a few moments of “How the heck do I do this?” as he figured out how to drive a stick shift.

We went out for dinner and he managed to stutter his way along the city streets, only evoking a single driver honking at him as he killed the car at the stoplight when it turned green. Overall he did really well, and he has that “I have a car!” glow about him now. I remember that feeling with a lot of nostalgia.

You’ll transform into a cow

Late last night I was reading a great article about financial planning (yeah, these are the sorts of things I do sometimes) and the discussion shifted to how to teach our kids how to be fiscally responsible and pick up “good habits” as soon as possible. Since I’m not sure how good my own financial habits are, it’s hard to know whether I’m passing along good things or not.

Nonetheless, there was a great comment that spoke to me because I felt the same way back in the day:

It was only after college that I got hit with the reality of office life, bills, debt, and losing my naive idea that somehow I’d make it big in life if I’d just finish college. I always thought of myself as an interested and curious kid who could learn easily, so I thought after graduation there’d obviously be a place for me in a cool organization with a nice pay package. In reality, there’s literally nothing at all waiting for you– you have to go and get it, and there’s a big grind as you start from scratch.

Going from being a kid to being an adult was like having someone tell me I’d transform into a cow in five years, and it’s really important, and I should learn all about it. So sure, I could read the textbooks and articles and do the exercises about cows, but there’s nothing that prepares you for the actual experience, nor convinces you how life-changing it’ll be.

So true. College was an amazing experience for me: challenging and eye-opening and a ton of work mixed with a ton of fun. And as I hit the end of my college career I sort of figured everything would work out (which may be why I waited until spring break of my senior year to even start looking for jobs). It was quite a shock to find out there was nothing waiting for me unless I made it happen myself. Of course in retrospect it’s easy to think, “Well, duh. Everyone knows that.” But the truth is, a twenty-something who’s known nothing but school for sixteen or so years, with a few low-paying jobs and minor responsibilities mixed in, can’t really fathom that post-college experience until it happens.

I just hope I’m preparing my kids well. They’re great, and I know they’ll be successful in their different ways, but sometimes I don’t even know how I can help them. I guess we’ll see what happens in the next few years…