Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Online Dating

Who knew using the word "crap" would take me from a G to a PG rating? I will have to be more careful from now on.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Genealogy, I am doing it! My genealogy...

Did you know they changed the words to that song to be “Family History – I am doing it”…? I wonder why. Is genealogy too big a word for primary kids? That can’t be it, the next line has the word “progenitor” in it.

Last night I went up to the Durham cabin in Midway to have dinner with my family. I took some of the old photo albums we keep up there with me because for a long time I’ve wanted to scan the taped and torn photographs and touch them up with my Photoshop skills.

This is Grandpa Durham at the University of Iowa. Before and after my touch-ups. Sometimes I can’t believe how much he looks like my dad. And Carter kind of.

I got a little sloppy with the shading on his face. If I were an artist I probably could have done a better job. But if you click on both of them up close, you'll see I got rid of a lot of spots and scratches.

I love reading about my Grandpa and his family. It makes me want to strive to do more with my life because they’re all so accomplished.

Grandpa was one of five brothers. Below is a picture of Great Grandpa George and all his sons in 1941 behind the State Capitol where Great Grandpa George worked for awhile. I'm not sure what he did up there. I think he was a representative (that sounds like something I should know for sure, doesn't it). My Grandpa is only 24 years old in this picture.

From left to right: The one on the far left is Grandpa’s dad, George H. Durham. And then there’s G. Homer, Wilby, Lowell M. (that’s Grandpa), L. Marsden and Wayne.

I'll touch that one up later. This scrapbook of Grandpa’s (my mom actually put it together) is amazing. It has pages of letters to and from my Grandpa on his mission, letters from apostles and the First Presidency thanking him for the compositions he wrote for missionary conferences and other meetings, and of course, some great pictures.

I’m really proud of my Grandpa. He died when I was 14. He actually stayed at our house when I was much younger for a couple weeks when he was really sick. I would bring him Cokes and he would call me “Beautiful.” But what I remember most about him was when we first moved to our house in Sandy (I was probably 7 years old) he took us all to Hardees and some clown there made him a balloon hat, which he wore the whole time while we ate. I thought that a silly thing for my refined and sophisticated Grandfather to do. But I loved him for it.

This picture is of Marsden, my grandpa’s little brother. Marsden served in World War II after his mission and was wounded in 1945. Later that year he died in Hawaii. My dad says my grandpa never really got over his death. It's funny how when someone dies at a fairly young age, much lore develops about them and their life. All the stories about Marsden color him as a saint, too good for this world. I won't bore you with the stories though.

I was surprised and a little disturbed to find a lock of his hair taped to the back of the photograph. My mom said back in the day everyone kept relics like that. I just feel like there was a better place they could have kept it. I mean, I have his DNA right here.

Marsden attended Harvard. Last year when I traveled to Boston I went inside the chapel on the Harvard campus to find his name. Shoot. I have a picture of it, but not on this computer apparently. Maybe I deleted it. Anyway, they have a whole wall in the chapel dedicated to Harvard students who died in the war. Under 1945 it lists Lucius Marsden Durham.

This is probably uninteresting to most of you to say the least, but I love looking at old pictures of my family. And I’m excited to fix up all these photographs, make a digital archive and print copies for myself to keep.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Happy U.S. Open Dad!

Well, it was a happy Father’s Day yesterday. I went to my parents’ house along with my brother, his wife and their three girls and my sister, her husband and their little boy.

When it was time to eat we all gathered in the kitchen. We seem to have a lot of these celebration days when Mom spends most of the day preparing an abundance of food and fun for the rest of the family (for a related story, read my post about Mother’s Day here).

So we had a beautiful Father’s Day meal of barbecue pork sandwiches, fruit, salad, and chips. The only thing missing was Father.

“Where’s Dad?” I asked.
“Oh,” my mom began to explain, “Our Father's Day present to Dad is to let him receive us today at his leisure – which will probably be when the U.S. Open breaks for commercial.”

So we all sat in the dining room eating and Dad would occasionally pass through to get more food from the kitchen and we would exchange a few seconds of pleasantries.

“Hey everyone!”
“Hi Dad! How’s the golf Dad?”
“Great, thanks for comin!”
“Good. Our gift to you.”

When he was ready to receive us, we were all on the porch eating butterscotch pie. My dad asked my two-year-old niece Piper if she wanted him to read a story. As always, her answer was, “Yeah.”

And this is what he came up with.

On a more serious note, I will say some nice things about my dad. This story makes it sound as though he's not really around, but I had the fortune of having a college professor for a dad, so his schedule was the same as mine growing up. We would leave for school at the same time and he was usually home when I got home. My dad was around a lot. And he also got summers off like I did.

One of my favorite things about Dad is that every summer he made it a point to take the family on vacation. Vacations were great because most of the year we were very frugal with everything, but when we were on vacation we were free to eat whatever we wanted and buy whatever we wanted (within reason of course).

He took us to the Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City just about every year since I can remember, and then San Diego most years. He's taken us on road trips to Monterey, San Francisco, Oregon, Canada and South Dakota. We also were fortunate enough to spend two months in London as a family when he taught school there. As I got older, he would take me on his little business trips to Boston, New York, Chicago, Minneapolis and Toronto. Dad's great to travel with.

Thanks Dad for instilling an importance of not only education and family, but travel as well. It's an expensive importance, but like you said, "It's an investment in yourself."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bye Kaila

After about two years living with Kaila she has decided to move on and get her own place. I'm proud of her for trying something new, but I will definitely miss her on Apricot.

Kaila left us without a television, kitchen table, couch, plates, microwave and silverware. I knew I was going to miss Kaila when she said she was leaving but I didn't think about all her possessions that would choose to go with her as well.

The night Kaila left I made myself some dinner in the kitchen. As I remained standing to eat my salad in a mixing bowl with a plastic spoon I looked at Baby Laura and Baby Maria on the wall and they looked lonely as well.

I may have to plan a coming out party for our house. I will dress it up really pretty to attract new suitors. But in the meantime, if you know of a girl who wants to hang her baby picture next to ours, please let me know!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Vegas 07

I attended my second Americans for the Arts Convention over the weekend. There were maybe two really good sessions that I went to. Not bad. It’s a 3-day conference with sessions from 10-5 and then evening social events if you so choose. I chose not. I don’t know why. I think if I hadn’t had friends there with me I would have been more inclined to try and meet new people and network, but eh. I thought back to the convention 2 years ago in Austin and I went to all the receptions and stuff and it wasn’t anything to write home about. So I thought I would enjoy myself a little and play with Rich who moved down there from Salt Lake a few weeks ago and then my friend Kristi who came down on Saturday, because I told her she could stay in my hotel room for free if she wanted a little vacation.

So besides the Conference on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I did have time in the evenings to play with my friends. Friday night Rich took me to the Stratosphere. He had been talking about it for over a week so he was super excited. We already made up our minds that we would ride the Insanity.

I wasn’t nervous at all until we got out of the car and he said, “I hope I don’t throw up” like he did on the Tornado at the State Fair last year. Then I not only got nervous for him getting sick, but I got nervous that I might get sick. It’s never happened to me before, so “maybe this is my time” I thought. I got even more worried when the elevator out of the parking garage made me a little woozy. If a simple elevator ride turns my stomach, what was the Insanity going to do to me?

The long line up to the top didn’t help matters either. They took a “before” picture as we were going up. I’m not sure why. I know they take one of you while you’re on the ride. All these macho guys in line started wincing and covering their mouths like over-dramatic teenage girls when we stepped out onto the platform. But by the time we got up there and I actually saw the ride, I wasn’t that nervous. It really wasn’t that bad (sorry Rich, I know you told me to hype it up). If you’re not afraid of heights, it’s not that bad. It was way fun though. Next time I want to do the Big Shot.

The next night Kristi came with us to ride the roller coaster at the New York New York. That is a very jerky ride, but I love it. I love roller coasters. That was a long line too. Vegas is great for people watching. Kristi came up with games for us to play while waiting in line or making our way through large crowds. The games were “Real Ones or Fake Ones?” and “Guess Their Day Job”. Rich, Kristi and I guessed the day job of these guys behind us. I thought they looked like Real Estate guys, Kristi thought Sales of some sort. Rich agreed. After awhile, I couldn’t help myself, I had to ask. So I asked the guy behind me. He said they all work together but he’s the only one in sales. He does their marketing. Ding! Ding! We were right. Kind of. And then he guessed our jobs. He said I was a teacher and Rich did something with computers. Well, Kristi is a teacher. Close. Rich however, is an attorney. And it turns out he’s handling a case for this guy’s company.

The next night we went to the Tropicana to see “Bodies” -- an exhibit with actual human cadavers. Everyone has been telling me I need to see that exhibit because it’s really cool. It was interesting. I’m not quite sure how I felt about the ethics of it though. There’s some controversy surrounding how they acquired those bodies. I don’t think they murdered them or anything, but they might have acquired them illegally is what I hear.

Before we entered the exhibit they made us pose for yet another before picture, which I thought was kind of funny. Well, the implicit thought of there being an “after” picture was funny. I think an “after” photo from a cadaver exhibit would have been more telling than an after photo from an amusement park ride.

It was down in the dusty depths of the Tropicana Hotel’s basement. I felt like we were being led to a sketchy place. And then we get to the admissions desk and it cost $28! I wasn’t quite prepared for that. I usually expect $15 for a museum or something. But for a single exhibit? That came as a surprise. But that’s all right. We made it all the way there. And then they wanted us to pay six more dollars for the audio tour. And at the end they had a "Donate your organs to science" table. In my head I screamed, “What more do they want from me?”

We spent about an hour there and then headed out in the 100-degree weather to find some dinner. This was our favorite spot on the strip…

We were all feeling physically weak because we were so hungry. The Cheesecake Factory was still a good 20-minute walk away and we just couldn’t take it anymore so Rich bought us a big kiwi strawberry smoothie to share. Rich said that was the most worthwhile six dollars he ever spent.

Well, that’s all really. A few thoughts about Vegas though: I walk a LOT there. Next time I go I’m bringing a pedometer. Things like Mandalay Bay don’t look that far away, but forty minutes later, when you’re still not there, you realize it may not have been the best idea. And even inside my hotel I’m walking a lot. When I first checked in, I thought I would never reach my room. I kept turning down more halls and more and more. And the convention rooms were really far away. After the first day I walked out of the last session with this one lady and I said, “Well, I guess it’s time for the 15 minute walk back to my room….” She said, “15 minutes? Wow. Aren’t you staying in this hotel?” I knew right then and there she wasn’t going to get me, so I told her I liked her skirt and then picked up my pace.

This one lady noted how much sex they sell on the street. Referring to all the “clickers” (is what we called them) on the street, she said, “I have three tickets to strip clubs in my purse and I don’t know how they got there.”

Someone else noted how slow everyone moves on the street. Tell me about it! Maybe I’m a fast walker outside, but I felt like I was constantly weaving my way in and out of all these people who are just gawking at everything out there on the streets. We decided it’s because it’s only tourists out there. In other busy touristy cities like New York or London, people move faster because there are actually residents who live there. Las Vegas residents avoid the strip like the plague. But it’s all relative. As the saying goes, “Anyone walking slower than you is a moron and anyone walking faster than you is insane.” Or something like that.

I still love the Bellagio Fountains. It’s a great thing to anticipate and watch. Kind of like fireworks. There’s something about light and water that fascinates people. I think I like the fountains better than fireworks though. They’re just pretty to watch as they dance to the music. I love it.

Next time I go I have to see Cirque du Soleil. Our keynote speaker was their creative director or something like that and she showed us some clips. She was kind of self-congratulatory when it came to her address, which she didn't bother to tailor to our group at all, but their shows do look amazing. I’ve only seen The Journey of Man in an Omni-max theatre. And when they performed for the Academy Awards on television. Never live. So that’s on my list for next time.