Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Free Range Children


Coop-free chickens

I fear I have raised free range children. It started when I could no longer keep Isaac strapped in a high chair at around 1 year old. To my ultimate horror, the kid could walk by 8 1/2 months at which point my pocket full of sanity got ripped. Isaac is now 3 and follows his 2 six year old brothers everywhere and in everything. For instance, on occasion, mommy will reprimand Douglas or Reed for saying a naughty word in Isaac's presence and then Isaac will start shouting the word intermingled with laughter. I can't win! I believe I need to start treating my children like the free range children they are by herding them into good behavior. The free range metaphor was thought of while trying to coral them back into their seats during meal time. Isaac, in this case, was the trend setter for this leaving the table and running around with food in his hand thing. Reed and Douglas thought they could too since their little brother could. This misconception of "privilege" sharing has made it difficult to maintain good table manners and rules of etiquette. Since we've moved into my parent's place in Ogden I have had to really step up the corralling efforts. I've decided that we really aren't as house trained as we thought we were back in Lansing.

boneless chicken ranch

These are obviously not free range, notice the gates. Well, maybe, the door is open.

At the moment, Chris is in Sandy at a dive of a Motel 6, of course it's a dive, where he is enjoying some peaceful quiet time between the 2 days of the Utah State Bar Exam. And, I am here all alone trying out my new herding skills. I must admit that I have fallen victim to a stampede. During dinner tonight,while Douglas was telling me that there was something red on my chin, Isaac was climbing down his chair with his juice and heading for the living room. As Douglas was concluding that the mess on my face was either "potato" sauce or blood (we had spaghetti for dinner) I ran after Isaac. When I finally got him back into his chair, I looked over to see that Reed had disappeared, apparently nature called in between bites of his intestines. Yes, this was the next conversation. Reed and Douglas were deciding which body parts they were eating. The spaghetti noodles were the intestines, the sauce was obviously the blood. Then the conversation changed over to which kind of dinosaur the other one was. Of course they were both carnivorous but who was the T-Rex and who was the Carnitor? Douglas said if he bit off Reed's head he'd be a Carnitor, whatever…I was loosing focus after this point as I'd almost finished my intestines and Isaac was wiping his left-overs on my arm.


The evening continued in this manner and after I tripped over a major mess, the mommy interested in becoming a child herder decided to make a strategic career change transforming herself into a character like unto Malificent, Cruella de Vil, Ursula, or Medusa. The free range children were banished to the basement for their own good. If not, daddy would be coming home after his exam to be once more tested in how to untie several new knots and gags. Thank goodness for basements and chicken coops!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

From Michigan to Utah armed with Cheetos, Diet Coke, and a sedative called DVD Player


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Friends in Michigan who will be really missed. (Reed got stuck with an Oreo in his mouth)

Good bye to lush green forests of maples, sparkling fire flies, Lake Michigan, pasties - (n. [pas-tees] - A pie or turnover, especially one filled with seasoned meat or fish), wonderful friends, the Slowest Driver in Lansing, Ludington, really bad roads, the YMCA, Michigan State University, parks, and much, much more. I got a bit weepy as we drove out of our townhouse parking lot and I thought of how much Michigan had felt like home for these past three years of law school. Now we are done and on our way to Utah, a grueling bar exam, and then hopefully, and soon, a job. These last few days and weeks have been filled with all kinds of emotions concerning our future and basically can be summed up as existing in a state of limbo.

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Well, we managed to leave the parking lot and get on the road not at our 9am goal but at about 4:30pm. Mike and Melissa (Chris' brother and his wife) volunteered to fly out to Lansing and drive back with us to Utah. They are certainly angels to have done this and I'm sure they saved Chris and I a few trips to the psychiatrist because of their benevolence. We took turns riding in the Penske truck and the van. Our first stop was Warren Dunes Beach on Lake Michigan, just two hours from home, so that we could show Mike and Melissa the lake. We stayed the night there and recovered from the long day of packing and cleaning. We love "hotello" pools.


I can't really remember much about our drive though this state other than keeping my eyeballs wide open for the signs that said either "Welcome to Indiana" or "Welcome to Illinois" for Douglas.


We were properly welcomed with a sign and a toll road. The best part of this state was crossing the Mississippi River. Of course there was that incident when we had to pull over nowhere near a rest stop and discover another use for a corn field. I wouldn't eat corn from Illinois if I were you this summer.

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We finished crossing the Mississippi River and tried to gain an appreciation for corn field after corn field, one of which was fostered earlier in Illinois. One thing of note for future travelers of Iowa is that it's the home of the World's Largest Truck Stop, just outside of Davenport. We stayed the night in Council Bluffs at a not so "Best" Western, starting slowly the next morning with a border crossing into Nebraska.


Flies. I believe I could be charged with mass murder should I some day be captured by a fly army and brought before a tribunal. Isaac doesn't have a fear of flies unless they are locked up in a car with him. Because of the many stops we've made we were reluctant to stop and properly expel the flies from our car. Besides, every time we'd stop a whole new herd would find their way into the air-conditioned vehicle bound for Utah. So, being the agile passenger I was I squeezed myself through the birth canal of our car coming out breach and landing in the back seat encrusted in Cheeto crumbs and M&Ms. I found the stiffest piece of paper I could (the instruction pamphlet for proper car seat installation) and began hitting and whacking anything with wings that went buzz. I performed this ritual twice until Reed started helping. Nebraska will be preserved in my memory as a state with flies, more corn fields than Iowa, and a wonderful hotel in Sidney called the AmericInn.


Since before this trip my only opinion of Wyoming was from some wonderful trips to Yellowstone Park up in the north west corner of the state. My opinion of the states' beauty has changed, boring! We actually did have one exciting experience at a rest stop when we discovered a family of prairie dogs. Cute! With the help of some sunflower seeds we attracted a few of these adorable animals. We fed and even pet them. I was surprised they'd come so close.

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After leaving Wyoming the questions of "when will we be there?" and "how many more miles?" escalated from every hour to every 5 minutes. Starting in Wyoming and continuing into Utah we were in a state of awe as we remembered and enjoyed the awe and grandeur of these magnificent mountains. We made it and are partially settled into my parents' unused house in So. Ogden as we await our future.

Today is Pioneer day and what took us 3 days in a car took the pioneers 3 months or more to travel. We are glad and grateful to be here and are also grateful for those who came with faith and fortitude to this beautiful state before us.

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Who couldn't use a bath after a journey like that?! They even have a few days of bubble growth to attest to it.

Just a funny memory from the trip...

I just remembered something said by Douglas to Mike and Melissa on our drive. Douglas noticed some skid marks on the road made by truck tires. Douglas told Mike and Melissa that they should have wiped their tires. Douglas' audience didnt' know about our battle with underwear and skid marks and therefore added a whole new stinky perspective to the marks left on the side of the road.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Isaac in denial of turning 3, "No! I'm 2!"

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I think it finally started to set in when he got to blow out 3 candles instead of two.  Mommy was very proud of this cake.  Because all of the cake pans were packed all I had was a batter bowl and with the advice and instructions from a few friends I was able to bake my cake in it.  The volcano turned out great, or at least great for the eyes and imaginations of boys 6 and under.  Reed and Douglas were in charge of the dinosaurs on the verge of extinction.  In the end none of them survived.

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That really had to hurt.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


"Als Gregor Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Träumen erwachte, fand er sich in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheueren Ungeziefer verwandelt."

(As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin).

Gregor Samsa

I've joined a cardio workout class with my friend Melisa, faithfully attending 3 days a week. I totally recommend getting out of "the Machine" room and exploring the other sweat infested rooms of the gym. I've gotten a much more thorough workout with the jumping around, stepping, and faux boxing then I ever did confined to my Eliptical. Not that I plan to completely abandon the Eliptical for we have had a great relationship and I have gotten many a book read while in its presence. But, if you don't move other parts of your body, you discover, quite to your surprise and disgust, that you have muscles in other places that have atrophied to the point of deflation. Of course, with any unexplored territory, there are pluses and minuses to muscles rediscovery.

I came home after one of my workouts and moved my arm only to hear the tune of one of those newly discovered muscles as it wailed in a high pitch, "ouch!" The inspiration for this entry came from the final stage of our work out. As I lay with both legs and arms in the air, struggling as best I could to place them into an abdominal strengthening position I instantly saw myself as Gregor Samsa in Die Verwandlung. I was the bug, lying on my back and looking up at the white tiled ceiling of the exercise room, unable to roll over or move. I thought at the moment, this must be what it would feel like if I were a bug and were to meet my end under florescent lighting. It makes me wonder if the final muscles to atrophy in a bug are the abdominal muscles.

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The countless number of spiders, beetles, cockroaches, and other vermin might all still be around if only they'd taken the time to work out those vital life saving muscles. "I...can't...roll..over...aaaahhhh....I always thought it would be different. Perhaps a violent crunch while meeting the bottom of a big shoe, but not the low buzz of a flickering florescent basement light and the gentle clacking of the owners coins drying in the dryer. Where's the glory in finding oneself dead on ones back because of a life bereft of sit ups?"

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Independence Day

IMG_0277 [640x480] "Oh say can you" hear?

We had a wonderful holiday celebrating our freedom in this wonderful country. Our very nice friends, the Tews, invited us over for dinner and fireworks. Our legal fireworks consisted of the innocent fountains, Pop-its, and Sparklers. Thankfully, I was treated to some midnight entertainment by our not- so- law- abiding neighbors up the street who must have gone to Indiana for some not so innocent fireworks (the Wyoming of the East). It sure was beautiful seeing them in the sky just 150 feet from my bedroom window.

IMG_0270 [640x480] Jolly Good Show Dad! Do it again! Every good light display deserves a round of applause.

IMG_0284 [640x480] Great view from down here.

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IMG_0306 [640x480] How sweet is my sweety?

IMG_0290 [640x480] Sure do love that manual function on the camera, thanks for pointing that out Naomi. (By the way, Naomi rocks! She taught me how to make homemade soap too, the kind where you use lye,very cool).

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What kind of 4th of a July would it be without watermelon?

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Douglas kept asking me why I wouldn't touch the snake and instead of saying I was scared I just said "I don't touch reptiles", that way it sounded like it's a matter of principle, not a fear. But, I think he knew the real reason as he followed me around asking me if I wanted to hold it. Isaac liked it when the snake licked his hand. I have to admit that it was a very cute black tongue. As for you health conscious family members, yes, they did wash their hands after handling Chloe the snake.

Well, that was our 4th of July. Fireworks, watermelon, friends, and a snake named Chloe. Oh, and my lovely neighbors up the street working on acquiring a criminal record. If you're going to have one you might as well go out with a bang! (Ha! That was funny, admit it!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

This was right before the house landed on the Wicked Witch of the East. She had the cutest ruby slippers!


Michigan sure knows how to have a beautiful and very dramatic storm. I love how the thunder just goes on and on for miles.  I'm going to miss so many things about this state like trees, rain, Lake Michigan, the farmland, and pasties from the U.P. (not those kind of pasties, get your mind out of the gutter).  We'll be moving to Utah on the 16th and I'm so sad about it. We're going to also miss so many of you, actually all of you, well, maybe not the slowest guy in Lansing (see earlier blog entry) or the horrible roads.   Don't ask us what our plans are yet as the only ones we are certain about is that we are moving and that we'll be living in my parents house in So. Ogden, for which we are very grateful.  We still have to sell our townhouse and find that vital life sustaining thing called a job. I'll let all the readers of this blog know when either of the last two happen.  There will be much rejoicing, jumping in the air and clicking of heels on that day.

Merry Christmas!

December 2018 (Cliff’s notes version:  Merry Christmas, we love you all, and have a happy New Year!) Dear Family and Friends (...