Thursday, February 28, 2008

The King's Singers

I've always believed that a good "concert" is attended not for the band or the atmosphere, but for the music. I enjoy musical groups that strive for excellence in music, and are not only performing for the entertainment value.

One such group that achieves excellence time and time again is "The King's Singers." They may not be familiar to you, and that may be because you may not enjoy classical music. But this six-part men's acappella group originating from King's College in England is the gold standard for small ensemble vocal groups.

And Jessi and I attended their concert at BYU-I on Tuesday night.

As an example of their excellence, after the concert started the group was introduced by a BYU-Idaho student. Everyone burst into applause. The King's Singers walked out on stage and up to their music stands. There were no instruments. No pitch was played. But once the last clap could be heard, the six men burst into six-part perfect harmony.

Now that is hard to do.

While the King's Singers sang, they listened. Listening probably comprises 1/3 of their talent. Why? Because they strive for perfection in their harmonies, and this requires that a group listen to each other. And there is no more amazing musical feeling than to feel, and know, that a music chord has just achieved perfection.

The Singers also excel at breathing. Breathing is one of the other 1/3rds of their talent. They can hold out long notes and their breaths don't make noise. I hate it when you can hear a singer's breathing just as loud as their singing. Also, the Singers used no microphones. They were, of course, in the wonderful Barrus Concert Hall, but they also could sing out because of excellent breath control.

You know you're listening to a classy music group when they explain the composer and background of a song before they sing, and do not spend each non-singing minute blowing their own horn. This, also, is the King's Singers.

They sang intensely soft, and beautifully strong--two very difficult things to do. When they sang as six, they sounded as if they were one. When they sang as three or four, they sounded like an entire choir.

I just cannot say enough about the King's Singers. I hope you get to listen to them someday.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bowling

We hit the bowling alley on Saturday.

Nice form, Jaydn!
Grandpa Grigg was a pro. Before we got there he said his average was 180 --10 years ago. He finished with 183.
Graceful!
Then there's me. Gag! It look like I'm letting go of my lunch or something!

You may notice that the bumpers were up the whole time we were playing. That's because we were playing with Jaydn. But the lanes never put the bumpers down when it was the adults' turns.

Even WITH the bumpers I didn't even scratch 100.

Jessi beat me with her "shuffle."

video

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Believe it or not

Here's a crazy story from American Samoa. Or maybe not. Actually, for AS, it seems pretty normal to me.

http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=38170

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Snow Cave

My boy has an unfortunate bad case of eczema on the back of his legs that is taking its toll. I don't usually do this, but any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

Boy, doesn't that cave look fun?

Monday, February 18, 2008

MARK IS ENGAGED

Check it out:

http://mark-and-andrea.blogspot.com/

Apparently they credit their Idaho Falls trip to their decision to get married. Really, we take all the credit.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Battleground

After a nice, inspirational Sacrament Meeting, I was ready and conditioned for what the next two hours would bring--shell shock.

I stepped into the Nursery room today on this, my second week as a Nursery leader. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was the only one called to this position that would be in attendance.

With 12+ kids.

Fortunately, I had three very capable parents who stayed and assisted.

The first 20 minutes of Nursery is--pure and simple--cry control. Some children were born to be in Nursery. They are affectionately called my "no-cling kids." If there are snacks on the table, they are oblivious to the fact that their parents have left the room. They entertain themselves, are tough as nails, and never shed a tear.

Others you may call "duct-tape children." These children require some of your effort to remove from their parents. Some are simply "super glue kids;" they are not removed, and remain with mamma or daddy for the duration of adult meetings.

I especially love my "duct-tape children." I think it is because once I get them off of their parents, they are stuck on me--just like duct tape. They don't particularly care about the snacks, but can be distracted by goofy adults trying to entertain them with small toys. They may often be seen either hanging from the Nursery door handles or playing with cars while crying to themselves, "mamma... VROOM... mamma... VROOM."

The best part about duct tape children are that they simply want your attention. They love to be held. And I enjoy that, too.

Then there's the lesson. I realized that it's somewhat difficult to get a two or three-year old to understand that the Holy Ghost doesn't have a body. Picture YOURSELF as a two year old trying to grasp that something is simply invisible.

That's why lecturing this age is like talking to leaves on the tree. Nothing you simply "say" to them is going to keep them engaged. Pictures are children's best friends (aside from tangible objects, of course). But keeping children sat on the floor while attempting to show them items in my lap is practically impossible. "Look at this... oh, now go sit down or I can't show it to you. See this? No, you need to sit down. And this... NO..."

Am I sending mixed messages?

Lessons only work for 2-3 minutes TOPS. Any longer and most children are wrestling, pushing, playing, or picking noses. I learned that the hard way today. Only one girl followed my mouth until I was finished, but I'm afraid she still didn't understand my inability to speak in two-sies talk.

All the while, parents in attendance could do nothing but chuckle at this madhouse.

But my saving grace is the last 20 minutes of bubble blowing. What toys or fruit snacks can't accomplish, small spheres of goopy soap amazingly can. Children are innocently awe-struck at bubbles. There is, of course, the amusing child who sits smirking at the soap bubbles that smack into his face, but can't bring himself to trying to pop them with his hands.

At the end, it is with mixed emotion of adoration and relief that I stick the duct-tape children back on their parents. No-cling kids are simply released back into the wilds of the hallway, and super-glue kids reappear attached to parents who are peeking into the Nursery to look for other children.

After I am released from my tour of duty every Sunday, I can't help but look back and tell myself how lucky I am to work with the cutest and most adorable bunch in the church. Much better than sitting next to scruffy, smelly, ugly Elders, right?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Valentine

Can I just tell you about my valentine?

She's perfect, but can settle for imperfection. I'm a perfect (?) example.

She's makes me smile the instant I walk in the door,

And I smile inside every time I think of her.

She's of secondary importance in her own mind,

But she consumes mine.

She just makes me want to be

everything,

And I am, when I'm with her.

BOY, I LUCKED OUT, DIDN'T I?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This surely makes you appreciate something

The next time you think, "man, I hate my job" (this doesn't apply to me--I like my job, just not my trip to Bozeman), just think of this guy. He spent 37 years tracking the Loch Ness Monster. Now he's convinced that it died because of global warming.

Doh!

Everything is White

Today I drove from Idaho Falls to Bozeman, Montana for a deposition in a civil case. My planned route was to drive through West Yellowstone and up to Bozeman.

As I passed through Ashton, the roads were so bad that you could not see any yellow or white lines. It was snowing sideways, and the wind was blowing hard. I stopped at a post office to get help with my directions.

I was told to change course. I should take Hwy 87 up to Ennis, and then pass over to Bozeman from there.

Boy was that bad advice.

If I thought that the lack of lines on the road was bad, I hadn't seen anything yet. For the whole drive on Hwy 87, I had absolutely no hills or mountainside to protect me from the wind and blowing snow. The only way I knew that I was on the road, or in the right lane (two lanes, one northbound and one south), was to carefully follow the snowplow right in front of me. I only knew that the snowplow was there because I could barely see two flashing lights.

But all of the snow that the plow was shooting off into the air was landing on my windshield. I couldn't get it off well with my wipers, and I didn't dare stop to scrape the windshield. So I had to turn up the heat in the car as high as it went in order to keep the windshield hot enough to melt the snow. After a while it was just so unbearable that I had to let the plow go ahead. I would have to depend on the snow markers on the side of the road, which I could barely see because the snow was so high anyway.

Everything was just a big white blur. I couldn't see cars ahead of me, I couldn't see cars driving toward me, I didn't know what lane I was in, and there was 8-feet of snow to the side of me. I couldn't stop, because there was no place to pull over. If I did, I'd get halfway stuck and be hit by oncoming traffic. I could have just as well been blindfolded and still drive as well as I did.

Suddenly, I realized I was too close to the 8-foot wall. I slightly jerked the wheel, and immediately I was spinning and hopelessly trying to adjust at the same time. I spun into the oncoming lane, and, thank goodness, I thought to back up instead of doing something stupid. I'm grateful I got out alive.

One thing I noticed on my trip was that there were almost NO cars on the road for my entire trip. I was practically the only one foolish enough to drive a Toyota Corolla on those roads.

On my way home, I took the West Yellowstone route instead. I'm never asking for directions at a post office again!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Coletti Family Reunion Update

For those of you Colettis out there, here are the final details on the family reunion.

People invited: All descendants of Peter and Josephine Coletti and their families, and particularly all descendants of Joseph and Violet Coletti and their families.

Time: April 26, 2008, 9 am - 5 pm

Place: North Ogden Park, North Ogden, Utah, at the East Bowery.

Please Bring: Your favorite dish. It's Pot Luck.

Hope to see you there!

http://www.colettireunion2008.blogspot.com/

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Obama Effect

As a Mormon, I instantly took a fascination with Mitt Romney's campaign. Don't get me wrong--that wasn't the only reason I wanted to vote for him.

Now that he's gone, I understand that a lot of my fellow believers have become torn between candidates. Some conservatives tell us it would be better to vote for Hillary than McCain. Some are saying it would be better not to vote at all. And SOME have gone so far to say they will vote for Obama. Even whole articles have been written about this "Obama effect" on Mormons.

Aside from being able to read their thoughts, I think I understand the "Obama" effect. He's young. He's a family man. He is a good speaker. He's handsome. He's new (one term in the Senate, and an African-American--can't get much newer than that for the Presidency). And, he's nice, or, in other words, he comes across as being friendly.

Did I hit all of the reasons for voting for him? Oh, I almost forgot--he always talks about working with the other side. These are all tremendous plusses for Obama, in my mind as well.

But all of this begs the question--WHY VOTE FOR HIM?

I'm not sure conservatives are thinking when they say they intend to go for Obama. Why? Do you know what he stands for? Do you really think he'll be stronger on the social conservative issues than McCain? Do you really think he has a better plan for Iraq?

Do you think Obama will be more fiscally conservative than McCain? What about tax reform? Do you think he's got more know-how and ability on foreign policy than McCain? Do you think he'll appoint more conservative judges than McCain? Especially considering that Stevens is 87 and Ginsburg is 74? Not to mention Scalia (71), Kennedy (71), and Breyer (69)?

Do you think a Democratic Party-controlled Congress and a Democrat president will be good for our country?

McCain has one of the most solid conservative voting records in the Senate. And he's got just as much experience as almost anyone else running--if not more.

I guess what I'm getting at is, have all of these conservative Obama supporters stopped to think about what really matters? What about the issues that truly make us conservatives?

Shake off the "rock star" effect. Obama is a demagogue, a cultish figure, what some are even calling akin to a "messiah." He does not wear his issues on his sleeve. He'd rather you not know them at all. He plans to ride this wave of popularity all the way to the Presidency.

And that's why I think people need to THINK before jumping on this latest "American Idol" bandwagon.

And I just don't have time to touch on the sheer idiocy of conservatives voting for Clinton or sitting out the election JUST because you don't like McCain. I think the talking heads--Limbaugh/Hannity/Beck/etc.--are WAY wrong on this one.

This is about the most political blog entry I've ever done. I hope this doesn't turn anyone off from the blog. I may be a Republican, but rest assured, my blog is certainly an uncommitted Independent middle-of-the-roadian. It enjoys the "what are we up to" blog entries MUCH more than this drivel!

Our House

I'm sure everyone is SO curious about what our new house looks like inside. So on Saturday, after we had cleaned the house, I had the perfect opportunity to show you.

Our house is a four bedroom, three bath (with one unfinished) home. What does a three-person family need with a four bedroom home, you ask? SPACE TO GROW.

Here's the front room as I stand by the door to the garage:

And here's the kitchen from the same vantage point:

If I walk into the kitchen and turn back toward the dining room, this is what it looks like:

Turning to the main hallway, we see Jaydn walking on his knees:

Jaydn's current room, soon to be a reading room, and, hopefully some day, a baby room:

And here's Jaydn's new room, but first we have to eliminate all traces of "Princess Room" from it, including the putrid purple paint:
Jaydn's very own bathroom (he was very excited about this):
Our bedroom:
A WALK-IN CLOSET! This is MUCH better than our closets in AS:
And OUR very own bathroom!! Here's the downstairs family room, with WONDERFUL carpet:
An unfinished bedroom (which actually brings the home to 5 bedrooms):

Jaydn's toy room (he gets a whole room to himself for toys):
And the unfinished downstairs bathroom (which is already wired and plumbed):
Laundry room:
And food storage room:
So, that's it. We're in a home, FINALLY! And there really is NO PLACE LIKE A HOME!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Trepidation

Last week Jessi and I got new callings in the ward. This week, I meandered past the nursery door just to see how things were going.

5 out of 6 crying children. We can handle that!?!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Vote for Romney

If Wesley's gonna vote for him, then you should, too.

Friday, February 01, 2008

I can't believe it!

You know what I saw yesterday? A STRAY DOG. Seriously.

You'd have to be from American Samoa to understand what's so funny about this.