Christmas Skating

The night following Christmas many of the cousins got together for the second annual outdoor skating night. The following are some moments from the event.
Cousins, uncles, aunts, siblings, nieces, and nephew

Hot chocolate by the fire to warm up--it was frigid.

Finale of a Biff Contest: There is a loud crack when I go over the fence, that is my skate slamming on the concrete. It felt like my foot shattered.


The Last Battle of Salus

Twelve-year-old Choir Christian.
I found this short story on my computer while cleaning out my documents folder; I wrote it for an assignment in sixth grade on May 5, 1998. There are a lot of errors but give me a break, I was twelve. I was very proud of it at the time and received high marks. If for no other reason, I post this for posterity.

Hail my friend, I am known as Salus.  Now I am old and retired, but when I was young, I rescued fair maidens, slaughtered dragons, and stood for truth and justice.  My most difficult, dangerous, and sadly last deed was fighting a thought to be extinct dragon.  It begins in my quarters in the King’s castle.

“Salus, Salus!  Come quick, the king summons you on a extremely urgent matter.”  Of course, I quickly sprinted to the chamber where the king meets with the nobles of the land.  In that chamber, I found that a dragon had taken up residence very near to many Villages.  Adding that he had burnt down a few of them already and eaten the cattle, sheep, and other livestock of the rest of them.  I was ordered to go right away but I refused.


Christmas Wrapup

Another Christmas come and gone. I made it to Colorado safe and sound despite the apocalypse and a small pot hole incident. I'm staying with my brother Seth for the holiday which means we've been pretty laid back. Most of my time has been relaxing with family including simple pleasures like watching TV (I've gained a new appreciation for Family Feud) and playing games. Also I went to the Celestial Seasonings factory and drank about a gallon of tea herbal infusions.

Christmas itself was just as fun as ever if not more. On Christmas Eve we went over to my Grandmother's house and had a meal of appetizers and desserts (I made pavlova which made out as a hit) followed by a short Nativity play acted out by some of the children. I'm not going to say it was reverent but it was enjoyable.

On Christmas Day I opened presents with my brothers and my nephews and nieces. Santa brought the kids presents to their house so it didn't take forever. I received exactly what I was hoping for--a fountain pen and auto emergency kit which I tweeted as proof that I am an adult.  Later that day my brother hosted a big Christmas dinner for 35+ family members. It was loud and chaotic but the food and company was excellent.

Not sure when I'll be heading back to Provo yet--looks like I might hang out until January. Outdoor ice skating tonight, more thrift store shopping, and Les Mis are all in the plans, and New Years is always a party. I will return though, I am already missing the "at home" feel of Utah.

Oh, and the cards were a hit. I have prime positions at several people's houses. I kept one for my memory box but I still have a couple extra looking for a home.


Christmas Card 2012

This is my first year writing a Christmas card since—I am twenty-six now—it’s about time I get on with this adult tradition.
It’s been a busy year for me: I left my job at a local call center in June which freed up a lot of time for me to pursue other opportunities. Conveniently this lined up with the start of summer which I made full use of. I explored southern Utah with some friends including both Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Towards fall I visited my brother Uriah and his family in Arizona and was privileged to finally see the Grand Canyon in its glory. Other events this year include seeing Radiolab live in Salt Lake City with my sisters, and a Thanksgiving in Colorado.
Photo Credit: Miss Mirielle
Since October, I have been employed with Utah County helping run the General Election and am hoping to continue in a permanent position soon. I’m still serving in my local congregation as an executive secretary which takes up a good part of my week as well. Despite the shortage of leisure time I am enjoying both positions considerably.
For those concerned, yes I am dating many young ladies in attempt to avoid a life of bachelorhood; unfortunately you will have to keep waiting for my engagement announcements. Until then I have been told that renting a room from my cousin Keera for the past two years and dealing with her four children is preparing me well for a future career in fatherhood.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Years.


I have discovered that Christmas cards are quite a pain to put together. I wrote my first draft today and found it to be a significant struggle to keep it interesting and terse. The photo shoot was yesterday and I think we got a couple solid shots. I have to give a big thanks to my friend Mirielle who put her semi-professional skills at my disposal. She's still working on them so no pictures yet but rest assured--I look fantastic in my thrift store suit.

Co-currently I am starting preparations for my birthday party next month. I'm going to have a waffle bar with Belgian liege waffles and assorted toppings. This is my entrance into the late twenties so I need some sort of party to help myself feel okay about it. Last year my friend Jon ran my party which made it really nice since I stress out when I host. I asked my sister, Allison, to design my invites (and my Christmas card) since she is a graphic design student so I'm sure they will be super trendy.

Last on my priorities is cinnamon almonds as a neighbor/home-teachee gift. I just don't know when I'll make time. Being an adult is hard.

Speaking of time--I might have a lot of it starting in January. My job posting is ending around the end of the year it seems and I haven't quite worked out the next step. I'm hoping to find another position in the county so cross your fingers.

Next post will be either my completed Christmas card or post-Christmas special.


Thanksgiving Wrapup

Thanksgiving was a blast. My passengers were lethargic so I was able to listen to my podcasts in peace. Of course the normally tame and non-reactive podcasts I listen to decided to focus on the most awkward of subjects but maybe I was just hyper aware. The girl I was with said the only radio she ever listened to was Rush Limbaugh so I think I improved her life by exposing her to NPR.

We had dinner at my Uncle Michael's house along with him family, my grandmother, and some other extended family. My brother, Seth, commented that while we considered the sixteen or so people in attendance to be a small turnout many would consider that to be quite large. I had the lucky task of preparing the traditional "scalloped corn" that has populated our Thanksgiving table for my entire life. It's the best job to have because my Grandma is always quick to praise it and even though I messed up the recipe--to be fair though I was going off of memory.

During the rest of the holiday I spent a lot of time with my siblings as well as my nieces and nephews. Instead of hitting the normal Black Friday venues we explored some of the local thrift stores. Unbeknownst to us--they were having sales of their own and mixed with some good luck and a small stature I walked away with several cool things: gray three piece pinstriped wool suit, tan corduroy sports coat, dress pants, and an ANTIQUE World War II Army officer jacket (perfect condition) and all of it was only about twenty bucks. My mother has requested photos but my suit needs some hemming at the pants so that will have to wait. Instead here is a picture of a sunset I saw this past weekend.
Facebook peer-pressure made me post what I was thankful for this year and I responded with the following: 
I am thankful for the future of sustainable technologies and the pioneers in the field who desire to allow us to be better stewards of the Earth. In connection to that, I am thankful for the beautiful and varied planet we live on and humanity's perseverance for advancement in science and culture.
I realize its a little bit heavy handed and environmentalism has been spoiled by some of the radicals but I really believe its something we can accomplish while still maintaining a productive society. Sweden is managing its waste so well that it has to import trash from Norway to fuel its powerplants so its entirely possible.
I always wanted to be Fire because he got the hot chick.
As a side note--I'm getting entirely too addicted to the Les Miserable music. I listened to it for the first time this week and so far I've listened to the entire show maybe five times. Good thing there is a movie coming out.


There is a new puppy in my house. The McClellans decided they couldn't wait till Christmas to give Kemarie her present so once they found a deal on a puppy they snatched it. Once you get past having to clean up its urine and the strange odor--Rufus is a pretty decent puppy and the kids are happy with him.

Canvasing officially ends tomorrow which means no more overtime. It's bittersweet really, as much as I missed the free time I have really enjoyed the overtime pay. With the bulk of the counting done we're back to about five boxes of data entry. I'm being sent to the warehouse to preform repairs on some of the voting machines though so that will keep me occupied. Co-currently I am working on a curriculum to continue my informal education. Since graduating I have noticed my world view narrowing need a method to continue expanding my knowledge--more to come.

On Wednesday I will be driving over to Colorado for Thanksgiving weekend. I'll be giving a couple strangers a ride so here's hoping none are ax-murderers or talkative. I have a few podcasts I've been looking forward to and I need to be alive and in a quiet environment to listen to them.


Provo received the first snow fall of the season and if its anything like last year--it will be the only snow we see. Still, eight inches is quite a turn out for a desert valley and if it's viable tomorrow I'll see what I can do about a snowman.
Non-artsy shot I nabbed while waiting outside work.
We're in the middle of canvasing for the Election--meaning counting thousands and thousands of votes. If nothing else, this job will have given me a wonderful insight into what goes into making an election happen. Election day itself was a seventeen hour work day filled with paperwork, push-up contests, and missing votes. We have a little over a week left before the madness ends but it's fun to get wrapped up in all the hullabaloo. Unfortunately, everything I'm dealing with is "no pictures" so nothing fun to post for now.

The biggest recent development is that I finally registered to vote in Utah. I've lived here for over six consecutive years so I figure its time. I joined a political party for the first time--the Green Party. I feel like the two party system only works if you buy into it so I guess this is me fighting the man. Hoorah.


The above is the movie I mentioned previously--I play a minor but important role. Unfortunately my speaking was cut out but I'm still in several scenes. Be warned, there is some swearing at the very end starting at 4:08.

I would post more but my life has mostly been work. There are some pictures floating around of me in my Halloween costume at work but I have yet to acquire them. Halloween consisted of trick-or-treating with a baby elephant, dance party at the neighbors (my friend dressed up as a killer weeping angel), and a viewing of Hitchcock's "The Birds."

More life will occur post-election.


Election day is almost upon us which means lots of work to do. The past three days I got out of the office to run over 1200 tests on 360 machines in the warehouse. In a lot of ways it was nice to get out of a computer desk but I don't think my feet would want to do it every day.

Over 1400 voting machines processed and ready to go.
I can't take all the credit for the work though, we had around ten inmates come in each day to help/do the menial tasks which left all the fun stuff to us. Several times my primary job was to "supervise" the inmates--which meant stand there and watch them do a task that I wasn't even trained on. It was like having slaves--handy but layered with guilt.

Probably the best thing was the high praises I received by the IT and Warehouse supervisors. They both said my co-worker and I were some of the best workers they've had and encouraged me in my quest to become a merit employee (i.e. full time). The warehouse guy even went so far as to offer to set me up with his daughter who he--unsolicited-specified was "thin, my other daughters are heavier but she's pretty thin."


I'm going to do a Christmas card this year, I'm writing this so I'll have something to answer to if I don't follow through. As I stated on my Twitter, this is a selfish act as I just really want a picture of myself on the mantles of various friends and family members.

Life is going good, the job is going good as well. There are times where I feel like the data entry is killing me but I make a games out of watching the documents be filed away and it becomes actually quite fun--to the point where I forget to take my breaks and work overtime every day. With a little bit of luck I'm hoping this will lead to something more permanent or at least serve as a connection to another job that I can enjoy as much.

Playing "Charlie's Angels" in the yard on Saturday.
This past weekend we pulled up the last of the garden. While it's sad to see all the greenery go, the fresh chocolate dirt has its own beauty and I'm already excited to plan next year's crops after all I've learned this season. We're not sure out artichokes will make it through the winter but we've moved them next to the house hoping the radiant heat will help. I also finalized the front yard by planting three dozen tulips, which in addition to the other perennials will means year-round (minus winter) flowers. In a lot of ways I am grateful to be learning all this on a house that is not mine.


A week into my new job and its going all right. Most of my day is spent processing and typing up voter registration forms which, while mundane, keeps me busy. Probably the two best parts of my first week was processing my friend Kersti's registration and seeing Donny Osmond come in to request an overseas ballot.
Blurry picture of my desk. The view is nice.
My favorite thing about this job though is that it is two blocks away from my house. Coupled with an hour lunch means every day I get to walk home and eat and relax in an environment that is actually relaxing. It's pretty hard to beat that kind of commute.

Oh I also was in a movie this past week with a speaking role and everything. Well okay, I was only an extra but due to accidental scene placement I felt like I was in the background of almost every scene beside the one where I'm actually talking to one of the actors. I actually don't know anything else about it but maybe it will be posted on Vimeo and I'll link it here.

I forgot how busy having a job makes you. All my social networks are suffering.


Since my new job hasn't started I took a long weekend to Colorado to see my family. It was the first time in four years that all the siblings were together. Most of the weekend was dominated by General Conference so we didn't do much besides hang out but it was wonderful to see everyone together again and be reminded what family dynamic means.

Photo credit: Seth. Alternate by Allison.
Since I was in Colorado for five days, I was able to attend my Aunt Gail's weekly Cousin Night. The premise is basically FHE with cousins and their kids but with a dinner but a bit more rowdiness. I taught the lesson this week and discussed about how to keep bad thoughts out of our mind. When I asked for suggestions I got a great response from Tanis, my oldest nephew. Tanis suggested (excuse my paraphrasing) that we use essential oils--especially lavender oil on the pillow before one goes to sleep--to help calm us and put us in the right state of mind. I scoffed in my head but it's actually not a bad idea.


I may have accidentally conned my way into a job with the county today.

There was a posting online for an Elections Clerk, which unlike normal, told me to contact a Scott H. for more information. Normally these postings just tell me to drop off an application at the County personnel department but I wasn't going to argue. Since the county office is just two blocks away (love living in Downtown) I decided to walk over instead of call.

When I arrived at the Elections department I asked for Scott H. in reference to the posted job. Luckily he wasn't there because I'm pretty sure they misunderstood since they immediately took me over to the personnel department to fill out the new employee paperwork.

It's a temporary position and I'm not sure when I'll start but it seems like I have a job.

Sometimes I have entirely too much fun with Draw Something.


I went on a little field trip up to Rock Canyon with my cousin Kemarie. She needed to find a dozen rocks of various descriptions and document them for her homework. I expected this to take about thirty minutes but I also forgot I was going with a second grader. It ended up taking about an hour and a half but it was a beautiful day so it was fine. It sprinkled on us a few times so we took shelter under a bridge and I got to explain how different rocks form and a few other natural science principals. We also got to see a few cool sights by straying off the beaten trail.

I was able to help with vision screening at the local elementary school this morning and was amused at the kids. I asked one of them to "read the line" in order to see if they could make out each character. The little boy then phonetically pronounced "ohrnc" the best he could with a hint of concern that he was being a bad reader. After trying to hide my laugh I reassured him that it was not a word and that he just needed to read each letter.

I got another lead on a job this week so as my friend Kersti says, "press [your] thumbs." The lady I applied with called me the next day and asked me what my phone number was so I'm not really sure what that means.


Sunday was the temple dedication for the Brigham City Temple (hour north of Salt Lake City) and to encourage all members in Utah to attend the broadcast they canceled our normal Sabbath meeting block. It was a beautiful service. President Packer wrote the dedicatory prayer however, he requested that another read it. It was good that he did since it was immensely difficult to follow his remarks prior to the prayer. Not pictured below is an old-man pillow which I brought to make sitting in hard plastic chairs a little more bearable.
LR: Pres. Mackay, his daughter Courtney, his wife Luanne, Kersti, Me, Miffy, Anna, Jonathan
I actually had the opportunity to meet President Packer a few years ago while employed at the Museum of Art on campus. He came in on a Sunday for a private viewing of the Carl Bloch exhibit and chatted with me briefly. He told me that he'll probably forget my name but never forget meeting me. He later chastised me for skipping church, stating that anyone who skips church on account of him owes him five dollars. I never did get around to giving him that bill.


Friday was my first test of PTA loyalty. Our big fundraiser for the year is a carnival which I was lucky enough to be able to help out with. Besides setup and take down, I ran the shell game (aka thimblerig) and after a couple hours I got really good at it, at least good enough to switch the ball between cups without people noticing it. A creepy old man even came up to me between kids and complimented me on my quick hands and more then once I accidentally cheated by dropping the ball behind the table making it impossible to win. The whole ordeal was about 8 hours but it was a lot of fun upon reflection.
Mitch took over during my dinner break.
This weekend also hosted a triward activity in which a dessert contest took place. I don't often feel compelled to enter contests but I have been wanting to do something new so I decided to go exotic and make baklava. It took me two hours to prep and cook the damn thing but as I poured the honey syrup over the final product it cackled with pleasure. Twenty-four hours later I had my first bite and it was delectable. The effort paid off extrinsically as well as I tied for first-place and came home with a $20 gift card.
How about a little more baklava-ah-ah?


I had my interview yesterday and I think it went rather well. I attempted to appear knowledgeable and confident while preserving a sense of humility and willingness to learn. The company is small which is nice but in the meantime I'll keep applying for other jobs. It was fun to be unemployed for the summer but now that Fall is beginning I'm just bored out of my mind.

To help mitigate that I joined the Provo Peaks Elementary PTA. Keera, my cousin, is the president and looked into the rules where she discovered that you do not actually need to be a parent to join. It will be nice to give back to the community in a way, I feel like I constantly benefit from the network but since I'm a single adult they have never expected anything in return. I'm also planning on putting it on my resume since it doesn't hurt to show I'm invested in my home.

Contemplating the sunset, photo credit: Claire


This afternoon I got a callback for a job interview. The prospect of an interview is exciting enough but when she initially suggested a time it just happened to conflict with a blood donation appointment I had that day. I would have never brought it up otherwise but because it was a conflict I got to tell my interviewer that I was going to donate blood. I'd say that's a good first step.

The Springville Museum of Art (which is about 10 minutes south of me) hosted a "College Night" tonight and I had the opportunity to take a date. They do these events a few times a year and every time its a blast. There are always free milkshakes, some variant of an art scavenger hunt, and an art project. The best part about these nights is that they are 100% free and are actually a lot of fun. This time we did printmaking with styrofoam squares. We engraved an image using a pencil tip and then printed them on some card stock.
It's actually a vivid pink; scanner issues.
I think my print came out really well though for some reason all my art projects revolve around trees. The important thing is that I got several compliments from the interns working the event so my ego was satisfied. The date ended up going quite well and there will probably be a second, especially if there's another great free event going on.
Seasons project from last College Night
Oh, remember the kitten from a few posts back that we gave away? She found her way back. I almost stumbled over her last night as I was walking around the neighborhood. Unfortunately we don't have the contact information for the people we gave her to so we're not really sure what to do!


Last night I got in my first car accident; it was just a fender-bender but still it was nerve wracking. I rear ended someone at a stop light--I make no excuses--and of course it had to be a pregnant woman. Luckily she was really nice, we pulled over to a parking lot and waited for her husband to come,and after we swapped information to his satisfaction we were off. The damage was really minimal: on my car it just scratched the paint a few places, tore out a licence plate screw and bent it about thirty degrees. Her bumper was just scratched a bit and somehow my license plate screw turned around completely and lodged into her bumper.
But wait, a twist! They called me this morning and suggested that we just both forget it happened as they didn't want to jump through the insurance hoops. They are such kind people, I need to call them back so I can give them some gift cards to go out to eat or something.


One of my favorite things about making friends is their ability to open your eyes to brand new things. This summer I befriended a young lady who, through her passion, opened my eyes to several new things including biking. I've always enjoyed biking but ever since my bike was stolen back in 2008, I hadn't thought much about it. Today though I got on my cousin's bike and took a ride north and eventually ended up near the temple.
I had to hike to a spot where the view was good enough.
It ended up being about an eight mile ride and after some hiking it took a couple hours of my day. I didn't realize how out of shape I had become but it was a lot of fun.

Provo is doing an overhaul of their downtown area and tonight they had a little shindig to educate people on their plans. It was pretty swanky: a live jazz band, custom (non-alcoholic) mixed drinks, and upscale catering but unfortunately it seems they didn't really get the word out. Jana, Mirielle, and I were some of the only people there and the raffle jar only had about twenty entries in it a half hour before it ended. Poor Provo.
The cityscape was nice.


This year I celebrated workers rights by going to a parade about Onions! It was Onion Days in Payson, UT and I was invited by my friend Jana to go down and watch it. Like all parades it was a blast to get involved with the floats and be as boisterous as possible. While I got several compliments from the people around me for making it "the best parade ever" for them, it also meant I completely neglected taking any pictures.

The McClellan's gave their kitten away to a new family. They are a young married couple and will probably be much kinder to Sparkles Rosieboots then a seven-year-old girl. Kemarie had a hard time parting with her and only let her go after we had her bring SRB to her new owner's car.
One last embrace.
As is Labor Day tradition, I joined a barbecue at a neighbor's house along with the McClellan family. While some of it was parents-talking-to-parents it was a lot of fun. Afterwards we lit a fire and enjoyed some s'mores.
Ivie trying to get as messy as possible.
I ended the night with the ward FHE where we had another fire and discussed the subtle differences in hugs. It was highly educational and we all agreed that a hug is not just a hug, especially when it comes to the double-pat or rub. Then again, we're all single so we obviously don't know how this courtship thing works.


The advantage of being unemployed is that many activities that would normally not be worth your time suddenly become viable past-times. Today I noticed several bikes strewn on the front lawn from some local neighborhood kids. Normally I would just sit on the porch swing and play on my phone but today I had the irresistible urge to stack them on top of each other.

The kids came out later with a mixture of awe and annoyance. Apparently they don't appreciate when someone touches their new bike.

four bikes up on top
precariously balanced
don't touch my new bike

For a month I composed all my text messages in haiku. Excluding flirting with certain females, it was probably the most fun I've ever had texting.

Edit: A few days later I went outside and discovered the neighborhood kids found the stacking idea intriguing.


This is a blog about Christian.

I don't have kids to post pictures of all the time but maybe fun things happen some time!