April 27, 2011

An Elephant Story...

This is an incredible story I heard today:

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya,
after graduating from Northwestern University .

On a hike through the bush,
he came across a young bull elephant,
standing with one leg raised in the air.

The elephant seemed distressed,
so Peter approached it very carefully.

He got down on one knee,
inspected the elephants foot,
and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it.

As carefully and as gently as he could,
Peter worked the wood out with his knife,
after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

The elephant turned to face the man,and with a rather curious look on its face,

stared at him for several tense moments...

Peter stood frozen,
thinking of nothing else but being trampled.

Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly,
turned and walked away.

Peter never forgot that elephant,
or the events of that day.

Twenty years later,
Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo,
with his teenage son.

As they approached the elephant enclosure,
one of the creatures turned and
walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing.

The large bull elephant stared at Peter,
lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down.

The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly,
all the while staring at the man.

 Remembering the encounter in 1986,
Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant.

Peter summoned up his courage,
climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure.

He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.

The elephant trumpeted again,
wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs
and slammed him against the railing,
killing him instantly.

Probably wasn't the same elephant...

********At least I'm in a better mood! ha, ha, ha!!!*******

April 23, 2011


Not really sure what this post is about. I'll just type and let the thoughts flow.

I'm pretty sure that I am in a much better place but some days I have a hard time seeing any light at the end of the tunnel for many reasons. This is nothing that anyone causes or generates; it just happens. I don't like it and I sure wish I could always have a reason to celebrate and focus on all the positive things in my life--believe me I have plenty of them--but oftentimes the gloomy stuff manages to win--and I'm a glass 1/2 full kind of a guy!

I'm going to be running in a 5K in two weeks--it has been in my bucket list for a few years and it is finally going to happen. I had a mini-physical this week. I'm about 30 pounds lighter, glucose levels are normal but my cholesterol is still high and my blood pressure is borderline. I guess I have to go take medication to get both of those things under control. These things might be giving me some stress which when I combine with other issues transforms into anxiety--I hate anxiety, it is like a bill collector for an old account I had forgotten I had and every now and then manages to find me, dang, that's a poor example but that's how I can illustrate.

I was just thinking that it has been about a year since I've had vacation time. Sure I've taken a day off here and there and a couple of sick days but no consecutive days off. I will take a week off at the end of June but that will be to move so I'm not sure that qualifies as a vacation. The thought of moving to a new place by myself scares me--how can a 40-something feel scared I say? Maybe I should consider moving in with a roommate, I don't know, I have some soul searching to do and decisions to make within the next couple of months. I just hope I don't become unbearable for those who I lean on for support and drive them away.

Last year has been a hell of a roller-coaster emotionally, physically, financially and in many other aspects. I think I'm just...tired. I know I've said it before about the whole "it gets better campaign".... it really does right?

Isn't there a better way to be human?

April 13, 2011

Easy Cooking: Pastel Azteca...really?

Aztec Cake? Sounds interesting. I saw this entry on the blog of eazy-cheezy Mexican food I read and have tried some recipes which are actually quite good. The author says it is more or less the equivalent of Mexican Lasagna. I don't think I'll fry the corn tortillas, and it will save a lot of calories, most of the time you can't even tell the difference in flavor. I might try to make it on Sunday for brunch with the kids--hope they like it, if not I'll have lots of leftovers to eat the rest of the week! Sounds easy enough that anyone can make it, serious! I entered the recipe into my calorie counter and it adds up to about 500 Cal a serving, but that's a dang big serving, still a serving of lasagna ends up being about the same! I'll translate and post the recipe here for my non-Spanish speaking friends:

4 Portions
1 Chicken Breast
1 Corn (I'll probably use a can of corn)
3 Poblano Peppers
Olive Oil
8 Corn Tortillas
1 Onion
2 Tomatos
1 Garlic Clove
1 Cup of Cream (table cream)
1 Cup of Cheese (I'll probably use Mozzarella or some other kind)

90 Minute Preparation (or so)

-Cook the chicken breast on water/salt and 1/2 onion and shred. (I sometimes cheat and just get a roasted chicken from Costco or Smith's, but if you want to cook it go for it!)
-Roast the poblano peppers on the stove/grill, put them in a plastic bag and let them sweat for 10 minutes. Peel the skin under the water faucet and remove the seeds, cut them in strips.
-Fry the tortillas in oil--I'll just layer the tortillas, no frying here, maybe I'll do cooking spray--no calories!
-Cut the other 1/2 onion, chop the garlic and saute in a pan with a little olive oil, then add the strips of poblano pepper and cook them together for about 5 minutes.
-Blend the tomatoes with a little bit of water. Add the tomato sauce to the pan with the onions/garlic/pepper. Add the shredded chicken and stir for about 10 min. Season with salt/pepper to taste.

-Put a layer of tortillas in a baking dish. Add a layer of the chicken/peppers/onion mix. Add layer of cream, corn and cheese. Repeat until you have covered the dish or you're out of ingredients. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for about 20 min or until cheese is melted. Uncover and keep baking from 5-10 min until the top layer of cheese is crusty (or as you may like it). Cut and serve as a cake.

If you are daring enough to try it, let me know how you like it? So far all the stuff I've tried from there has been pretty good!

En Español

Esta semana vi una receta llamada Pastel Azteca en el blog de comida de El Universal donde he aprendido a hacer comida Mexicana facil. Me parece facil de hacer, casi se ve como lazagna (que es lo que dice la autora. Voy a tener que intentarlo, quizas el Domingo, haber si les gusta a los hijos...La receta se ve facil! Si lo haces, dime si te gusta?

April 10, 2011

Coming out to God?

I've had this love/hate relationship with God or the concept of God anyway. I've been very vocal in the past but so far had not really had one of those Come To Jesus Awakenings that people talk about and for better or worse have concluded that I'm somewhere between a Quasi-believer and a Hopeful Agnostic, I suppose it helps me keep the concept somewhere in my sleeve should the opportunity ever arise to need a favor, a miracle or blessing or for those times when someone says: "Please pray for _______".

I went to see a friend sing in a concert last night in one a small Christian church. The concert was good, certainly not something that I'm used to seeing or attending all the time, but just different. There were the standard "Amens" being shouted out ever so often that I'm not sure if I find them uncomfortable or just plain distracting. The songs were of course of praise to Jesus and all that is good, saving souls, curing people from illness and affliction of all kinds and at the end they asked people if they wanted to pray there'd be people available to pray individually with them. Of course I didn't go up but I have to say that I enjoyed the stories and the music.

Towards the end of the concert I heard the phrase: "I didn't have to come out to God, he knew me then, he knows me now, he knows my heart and I'm his creation--" and caught me by surprise. I remember those dark days way back when I used to loathe myself, thinking how scared, lost and alone I felt because in my mind the only way to hide my "condition" was to keep it to myself and not ever let it out. You can imagine the pain I felt when I'd hear things like "let your light so shine before men" and me thinking: "There's no light to shed here, if anyone knew what I have to share they wouldn't like it"... yeah I know such are the thoughts of being scared and lonely in the closet--or something like it anyway.

I suppose I had felt it before, but until last night it the thought that God could possibly know me, be there for me or just there looking out for me--the real me without conditions or because of covenants I had made-- had not really sank in. Back when I was a strong believer (LDS-style of course) I always pictured God as a loving father who knew, loved and cared for his children, but I suppose I never thought of him in the context of being one of the children he loved because I wasn't like the rest and perhaps there were explicit conditions for his love---now I think I understand it better but I also have some self-reflexion and thinking to do. Funny how somethings just catch you by surprise. I can't say that I'm more of a believer or still agnostic still. I guess this will be something I'll have to continue during my life, finding just where is it that I fit in with God. If you have had anything similar or even if you've had something of a confirmation, epiphany please share?

April 06, 2011

All young men get married, PRONTO!!

This posting, it is 1/2 rant and 1/2 my not-so-humble opinion. As soon as the words of urgency came out of North Temple and Main Street on Sunday, I noticed Facebook feeds going nuts. Now before anyone accuses me of being a bitter old man, let's just say that I am probably the last qualified person to speak on marriage--after all, look at where mine ended and the reasons why...Still, there's a Spanish phrase that says: "Mas sabe el Diablo por viejo, que por ser Diablo" which loosely translates to: "The Devil knows more because of being old than being the Devil"---dang that sounds so much better--and wiser--in Spanish, doesn't it?

So with the wisdom of my old age and knowing now what I wish I'd known then I write this for anyone who is/will might be feeling the pressure to "just find someone to marry" and sort everything else out later or as it maybe in some LDS circles--quickie weddings. I was probably guilty of that, I started talking marriage only a few weeks after dating, I mean we were all doing it, partly because everyone else was at it in my peer group. Was it the big dream wedding & reception? Was it the respect from family, friends and society that we all wanted? I'm sure no one in the church hierarchy sits in councils and says: "Get them married fast, before you know it they'll be popping kids and trapped in the system" but isn't that inherently one of the by-products?

At about the time when a guy is off the plane from their mission, the message of marriage is pounded and drilled into them. Not women, because face it by age 21 most of them have a kid or two in tow, that's just the way it is... LDS society as I recall really has little or no regard for singles and let's face it a single man in the church can pretty much resign himself to being without a calling--maybe a lowly clerk, ward missionary or Elder's quorum teacher if they're lucky, but in reality there's no respect or hopes for higher callings until they're married, as if the marriage alone makes one wiser, nobler and qualified to move up the leadership ranks. I suppose it is more about culture than policy or worthiness but again, that's based on my experience and very unscientific observations. Now having made all those generalizations, I know there are some people who have better sense than that and actually try to finish school, have a career and have done a little soul searching and find themselves before jumping into a lifetime of marriage. The other 85% of us jumped right on and trusted that the $8.50/hr job and good blessings from heaven would make our marriages work...eeeek!!!

So if you're still reading this and thinking that I might say something like "in spite of my bad experience marrying young, broke, uneducated and before I even had a chance to figure out which team I really played for I still think we should follow the prophet's counsel and hurry up and marry" WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!! I hope kids (of both sexes) have more sense than that. Graduate from college, do that semester abroad, go to graduate school if that's where your heart takes you, travel a little and run with the bulls in Pamplona, get a real job that pays a professional salary, date around (sleep around?--ok if my kids are reading this this doesn't apply to you!!). If you're not sure you're straight, please figure that out and live with it, being in a relationship of any gender is not easier because anyone has the body parts you want/like, people are complex no matter what we think we are and by all means please don't think that marrying someone of the opposite sex is going to make you straight--that's just not how it works!

You may call me a hypocrite and that's OK. My failed marriage gave me two beautiful children who are my life and my world, but man, how much better a parent and a person would I had been if situations were different, had I waited to be in a better place and let's face it in a better position to be able to more educated decisions instead of the alternative. I suppose it is probably best to be glad for what I have and not grieve for what is not. Obviously my grumpy old age and life experience makes me say extreme things like this and that's OK. You may or may not agree with me and that's OK, I was a know-it-all 20-something at one point and nothing or no-one were going to stop me.

Enough rant yet? Oh, I haven't even got started...