Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I know fecal matter is not really an appropriate subject for public discussion, but I've been thinking about things that relate to it lately.

I work at a spiffy new Biomedical building in downtown Phoenix. Many things stand out to me about the building. For one, the building is about 4 stories tall and the they create wet biohazards there. Take a guess which floors they make the wet dangerous stuff on that could spill? The 3rd and 4th floor. Good planning. Now you can spread smallpox or flesh eating bacteria down to the boring programmers on the 2nd floor or the academics on the 1st floor.

Another thing that stands out to me is that they did some weird stuff in the bathroom. For starters, they have urinals that don't require any water. Surprisingly, they don't stink. The other interesting thing is the toilets. They have green handles and a set of instructions on the wall. You are supposed to pull up if you have liquid waste and push down if you have solid waste. I feel bad for people that already have a hard time using the toilet quickly. They'll get even more stopped up by the stress of whether or not they'll make the right decision when they are done.

One thing I think about from time to time is a list of stuff that I hope will never happen to me. Think of it as the opposite of the bucket list. We started this in the car one day on a family trip. The list is pretty practical, stuff like you hope you never get food poisoning, you hope to never smell a poopy diaper again, etc. Sometimes I think it is bad karma to have a mental list of stuff like that. I remember back in motoricycle training the instructor would say don't look at the things you want to avoid, otherwise you'll drive right into them. The mental conversation would go "I don't want to hit that tree, I don't want to hit that tree. Darn, I hit the tree." My memories of this list come to mind at the most random of times, such as when I'm in a restroom.

One of the things I really hate is going in to use a public restroom and finding a hair on the seat. It is kind of like finding a bug in your salad at a restaurant (which I saw happen once when I worked at Sizzler in my younger days). Something like that just seems to ruin the rest of the experience, even when it is gone. I expect women don't have to worry about it is much because they are generally less hairy than men. Some men, however, have a backside like a baboon and can leave the toilet lid looking like a haircut took place there. The only thing to do is to grab some toilet paper and pull it across the offending hair in a way that reminds you have playing with yarn in front of a cat. Sadly, even after removing the stray hair and you make a nest to sit on, you still have memories of what was there before.

That reminds me of something else, the toilet paper dispenser wasn't designed very well at the high tech building I work at. Generally speaking, it leaves a huge window between the two stalls big enough to pass a sandwich back and forth or shake hands. Whoever the engineer was that designed that thing really didn't get his fair share of common sense.

And that pretty much leads me to my last thought. While driving with the family back from Christmas vacation we stopped at a rest stop. It was freezing cold (well, as freezing as Arizona can be) and I was chasing my son around when I walked into an air pocket downwind from the restroom. Man. That was bad. Smelling that immediately made me add it to the things that I don't ever want to experience again. Of course, it got worse when I actually went into the bathroom. Out of nowhere came the thought that the thing I would really never want to happen is to have my ashes someday spread at a rest area public restroom. Nope, but I could think of one jerk I knew once for whom I'd be happy to do the honors with his ashes in about 50 or 60 years.

In closing I'm reminded of an episode of Dirty Jobs I saw once on tv, in which the host worked with a guy who cleaned out septic tanks, in particular ones that were stopped up. When asked why he had decided to take up that career, he said he used to be a school teacher, but got tired of dealing with everyone's crap.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mexian Masked Wrestling

Here is an email I sent to a friend in September:

On Saturday I went to Mexican masked wrestling (lucha libre) for $15.00.  The pictures are lame, but it was fun to be there.  Everyone spoke Spanish and all the matches seemed to pit the Mexicans against the evil American's with names like "sexy mustache".

Pictures are lame, but at least I can prove I was there.  Danielle wasn't happy about the match babes that they borrowed from the local strip club. I won't go on record with my thoughts about that.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Rant

So how about those Olympics? They have been pretty fun so far. The men's swimming relay was one of the coolest things I've seen. The Frenchies promised to "smash" the Americans. Looks like they left their Hulk Hands at home though.

Have you seen those women's volleyball uniforms? I'd say that those have to be some of the most underdressed people at the Olympics. They wear less than the swimmers, how could that be? At least the men don't follow the same line of reasoning. Can you imagine if they all looked like Borat? I think I'd prefer the old school Olympic naked to a thong.

My first taste of the Olympics this year was cycling. Somehow it struck me as wrong for an Olympic sport. Granted, I love cycling myself, but watching it on tv is almost as bad as watching golf. The idea that someone is going to bike for 150 miles--and the idea of watching it the whole time--just doesn't make sense. Can you imagine all those early Greeks waiting in the stands for 4 hours while the guys on bikes toured the countryside....or what if they did laps around the track for 4 hours....oooh, intense. How could you keep count as either a spectator or a rider?

I'm glad to see the American men take home a medal in gymnastics (somehow calling them men seems like a stretch--how about boys--nice boys, strong boys, patriots, but certainly not manly, they have more of the kid brother thing going on) . At one point, they were in contention for the silver medal, but the Chinese-American kid blew it on the pommel horse and got one of the lowest scores ever at that level of competition. My wife openly wondered how it was that a Chinese-American tanked it in China at a key moment. Maybe he's on the Chinese payroll.
Far stranger, however, was Raj Bhavsar. The guy has some serious guns on him. And considering the name, it begs the question, is he Indian? Which got me to thinking, when have I ever in my life seen an Indian guys with muscles. Better yet, when have I ever seen an Indian guy exercise? The closest to it I've ever seen is Mathletes, which like the spelling bee isn't even a real sport (unless you run ESPN2 and think you can throw it up there with poker). Speaking of Indians in sports, where are they? There are over a billion people in China and they put huge numbers of people into the Olympics. The Indians have a billion people too, but I don't think I've ever seen any of them at the Olympics. Weird. Come to think of it, I have heard that they play cricket. I spoke to the CIO of a local company and he said that when they get on the cricket field that the Indians change from quiet people to screaming energetic people. Maybe I'll live long enough to see that someday.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Photo Journal For a day

Hello, this is Dad (Degan). Today I thought I would do a photo journal of what I did all day. The day started off at some time in the middle of the night with Gabi puking all over her room. It was on the ladder, both beds, the floor, the rug, the clean clothes sitting out for the morning, the closet door, etc. Normally it would bug me to be up in the middle of the night cleaning that stuff up, but it wasn't so bad. Here is Gabi in the morning, resting on a chair in our bedroom.

As I left today, here was the rabbit in the front yard. It is always in the front or back of our house. Kind of cute. I wish it would eat more grass so I wouldn't have to mow.

We moved from Phoenix to Russia recently, where we stand in food lines to collect our food. Actually, this is a "coop" near our house where we pay about fifteen dollars and get a basket of produce. There didn't use to be lines, but it has gotten popular lately. In the second photo you can see the baskets--you select from two of them and then fill up your own. Today the special ingredients were mushrooms and sweet potatoes.

While unloading the car after I got home, I noticed the door to the van was open in the garage. We have to leave it open after trips so McKay can play in the car. We just close the garage door and let him play in the car/garage until he is ready to come in.

While unloading my car, somebody went into the house across the street and closed the garage door really fast. The people there will never say hi, and whenever we see them oustide they quickly close their garage and go inside. It is like something out of that movie the Burbs. I think they are burning bodies in their furnace or something.

I made french toast this morning. I asked Danielle to help me cut the strawberries for me to serve with the french toast and she resisted. I put on some classic Mexican tunes while I was cooking and eating. It brought in a good vibe for the day.

Ha ha! McKay pooped his pants and then he stuck his hands in it. There's Karma for you for not helping me cut the strawberries. I would have helped with the diaper but I was still cooking breakfast....except for the break to snap this shot.

McKay looked like this after changing his diaper. Guess he didn't want to get dressed. You probably can't tell, but he is wearing girls cowboy boots. He loves them because they are the only shoes he can put on by himself. He is pretty funny running around in these noisy, heavy boots all the time.

I felt bad that McKay didn't have any shoes he could put on himself, so I took him over to Target after breakfast and bought these sandals. Katie had a nuclear meltdown because she's always wanted this exact kind of sandal....even though she just got a couple new pairs of a different style this month.

While I was at Target, Danielle was heading out the door for training at her new job. Today was going to be a lot like summer camp training with lots of kids half her age being trained for their summer jobs at the same time. [She decided to take a part-time gig at a gym recently because she could get high pay and free summer classes for our kids. Well, during the interview process they lowered the pay and took away the free classes for our kids as part of a new policy. She decided to do the job anyway.] When I got back from Target, Gabi was asleep after having been up all night puking.

A few hours later she came downstairs and was miserable on the couch. Somehow she perked up nicely for a picture and then went back to being miserable again. She should be a dancer or ice skater or something with the ability to smile for the crowd like that.

McKay wasn't feeling well today and appeared to have a fever. You don't ever see him lay his head down (wouldn't it be nice if he did--he's a whirlwind usually). Today he laid his head down all over the house--poor guy.

Katie spent the whole day desecrating the house. This looks cute, I'm not sure what it is, but I can guarantee you she didn't put it away and did this about 20 times over today.

I made home made spaghetti sauce today with the fresh vegetable we got. I used to do this on my mission, so it has been a while. It made for a nice dinner. (By the way, did you notice I cooked for Danielle twice today! Man, do I walk on water or what?)

Here she is, back just in time for dinner with her name tag on.

Oh dang, she distracted me and I melted the top of the vegetable oil bottle on the smooth top range. Oh well, nothing a little piece of plastic bag under the lid can't solve.

Danielle made a smoothie and we drank them outside. Yummie! (1 point Danielle, 2 points Degan, not that anyone is counting). Although I didn't get a picture of it, I had just finished repairing our treadmill before drinking my smoothie. Over a year of having a coat hanger...I'm glad to have it working now. It is only May and already it was 96 degrees today, so I may want to use it soon if I can't get out by 8 a.m. or so for a jog on any given day.

"Hey McKay, let me get a picture of those sandals again." He said cheese because he thought it was a picture of him.

Katie kind of went psycho on us again about the sandals, so Danielle gave in and let Katie spend some gift money that she had on the sandals. Hers are the purple and pink ones. Gabi got pink and white ones (but she didn't have to pay for them out of her gift money because she didn't have sandals already like Katie did).

Alright, well, the kids are down, time to go kick it on the coach downstairs. Happy Saturday!! Oh, and go Lakers!!!! Next stop, the western conference finals and then the championship.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day. Gabi playing a Game Boy game right now and Katie is cleaning her room before she goes to bed.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

McKay's 2nd Birthday

Watch how he reacts to his cake.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Christmas Fun 2007!

This year we spent Christmas in Indiana with the Anderson's (Mark, Susan, Elizabeth, Ben, Josh & Lauren) and Jordan & Rebecca & Darin as well as Grandma and Grandpa Butler and Allison and her boys Jackson & Mason. We all enjoyed Susan & Mark's hopitality at their home in Bloomington. We had 10 days of fun! We ate lots of yummy food and enjoyed opening our gifts on Christmas together. We seldom saw Gabi or Katie though because they were off playing with cousins the whole time. We knew they were still arond however because we would stumble upon their messes throughout the house. They really enjoyed making various paper crafts (as they always do). In the picture above and to the left sits Uncle Jordan with his special cup hat that Gabi made for him...it doubles as a candy-holder, just in case one is in need of something like that. Notice Gabi's proud look at that piece of apparrel she personally designed and created. We also played quite a bit of "Guitar Hero" which Josh got for Christmas. I (Danielle) even played it and admit reluctantly that I actually went through withdrawals from it after we left (it was that fun!). I'm sad we didn't appear to get any pictures of Becca, Grandma & Grandpa as well as Ally and her boys on our camera. Sorry guys! I do think we got them on the video camera though. We also sang a few rounds of Karoke which was fun with the family. My personal favoite was Rebecca's rendition of "All by myself" by Celine Dion. It was very touching and poignant, sniff, sniff. It got a lot of laughs. McKay enjoiyed playing with all the fun stuff around the house that was new to him. He really seemed to get into feeding Lucky the dog from his highchair...it was amazing to watch it disappear! He continues to throw food off of his tray at home, but it just makes a mess on our floor:-) McKay also loved to disappear into the cavernous basement many times a day and loved to play out at the jungle gym in the backyard. Gabi & Katie got to go sledding one day when it finally snowed slightly but it quickly melted. Degan went and watched "I am Legend" with the boys one night and the girls went out for a lunch date to an oriental restaurant. We also enjoyed a nice chocolate fondue fountain on New Year's Eve and got to ring in the new year with the Anderson's and Jordan and his secret friend Emily. On the last few days of our trip we were all glued to the TV for many consequetive hours introducing Jordan to the world of "LOST." Good stuff. We had a great Christmas break and can't wait until we get to visit with everyone again:-)