Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ode to j and k: polar opposites attract

i have been meaning to drop this post for a while now. my parents celebrated their 85th wedding anniversary, or something like that, on 12/21/08. as my father likes to point out, 12/21 is the first day of the winter solstice and the longest night of the year. he likes to act as though he intentionally picked that night as their wedding night for what should be obvious reasons. truth is, the length of the night had nothing to do with their choice of date. knowing mom and dad, 12/21 was the only day they could squeeze in between trips to mississippi. at any rate, big jeff has gotten a lot of mileage out of his clever remark regarding their wedding date.

so, with that in mind, and only a month and 6 days late, i am finally getting around to wishing my parents a happy 68th wedding anniversary. for those of you who know jeff and kenna, you've probably wondered more than once if their union was the result of an arranged marriage. i somewhat jest, but i would be remiss if i didn't comment to some degree on just how different these two people are.

for instance, just how wide the divide is between jeff and kenna can be pretty well understood by taking a look at their working-out routines. big jeff is an early morning treadmiller. he gets up every morning at around 4 am and hops on the treadmill for his daily two to three mile jog and when i say jog what i really mean is something more like a pulsating, heart pounding run for his life. a leisurely trot or a casual stroll won't cut it for big j... the man only knows one speed: overdrive. as such, he sets the treadmill to its fastest speed, raises the incline to the max and goes to town. he pushes it and he pushes it hard, so hard that he has to grab hold to the side rails to keep from flying off the back. sweat flies, cheeks turn red, facial lines crease and foreheads furrow with strain as he fights his way through it.

so intense is his running session, my wife once talked to a guy who worked out in the gym where my dad ran while we were on vacation (yes, he doesn't let up during vacation). when he realized my dad was aim's father in law while she was down running, he surprisingly said "that guy's your father in law? he's an animal. i was in here the other morning and he was on the treadmill going so fast and holding on so tight as if for dear life i had to go over and ask him if he was alright. i thought he was stuck...i was worried he couldn't stop and was going to hurt himself. i even offered to push the stop button for him or pull the plug." big jeff said he was ok in grunt language. are you getting the picture?

on the flip side of the equation is kenna jo. in k-wad's case, i have only seen her run once in my 33 years of life while she was trying to catch a plane in buffalo, new york (that's a story for another day). she ran for about 10 yards and then doubled over on the verge of tears declaring that the strain was more than she could bear. 10 yards. no joke. are you getting the picture? well, here, let me add to it...

my dad's treadmill was always in the master bedroom up until recently. next to the treadmill sits a nice piece of equipment i like to call the loafer's exercise bike. a loafer's exercise bike is one of those exercise bikes that is essentially a la-z boy recliner with pedals. the loafer bike has one of those long back rests that you can kind of just kick back against while moving your legs up and down to make it look like you are exercising. this is how kenna jo works out: laid back on the loafer bike, cruising along with the no resistance wheel setting locked in, and controlled breathing measures in full effect. such is the routine for my dear mom.

thus, picture if you will, big jeff on the tread mill running like a bat out of hell, but with more sweat and strain, while kenna moseys along at her own pace and takes in more moisture than she loses. and that, my friends, is a fairly accurate glimpse into the dichotomy that is jeff and kenna.

in all seriousness though, mom and dad are singular individuals.

big jeff fancies himself as the blue collar guy working in a white collar world. he puts his head down and trudges through the quagmire of the professional sector only wanting to get the job done, while the wise guy smileys and car selling sycophants of the world presume to take all the credit. he's not in it for the glory. he grunts, he laughs, and he's sometimes non-responsive as a result of his more controllable than he'd like you to think ability to selectively listen (thanks to a bad ear). he respects hard workers and struggles with the big mouths that make promises they can't deliver on. he's the rocky balboa from rocky one, and maybe two, who peels himself off the mat everyday to take on the appollo creeds and clubber langs of the world only to start over and do the same thing again the next day.

kenna jo, on the other hand, is the consummate beauty queen contestant and life is her pageant. if kenna jo could sing her way through life as if performing in a road show, she'd win an oscar and be translated. she's the former model turned stay-at-home mom who never cared much about cooking, sewing, or cleaning (that's not to say she got better at one of those things later on), but who are we kidding anyway? we know full well, as big jeff likes to remind us, certain things can be learned, while others cannot. kenna can smile at just about anything and has an uncanny ability to stay positive. she sings with a curler in her hair, she works out in the pool with styrofoam weights to paula abdul and she loves to be pampered more than she might admit. she's princess aurora from sleeping beauty jovially wandering in the woods and singing melodically to the cute little animals nearby while safe in the knowledge that her fairy godmothers are there to take care of her.

these are the people that raised me. perhaps that explains some things. never mind that though, all in all i think they did a pretty good job and continue to do so. with that, i will say thank you mom and dad for your examples and for your love and your care. thank you for your streak of 45 years of marriage and what it means to me as your son. i anticipate many more years of wedding anniversary celebrations on your and your offsprings' behalf.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

jameson's vegas birthday: rockin' the suburbs

disclaimer: i hope this post does not offend anyone who was not invited to jameson's party. we kind of threw it together last minute and didn't put a lot of thought into the guest list. i have already thought of several people we forgot to invite. believe me, it wasn't intentional and if you like, i'd be happy to hang out with any of you who were/are offended and sing you a guitar hero set for an hour to make up for it. actually, you'd probably have a better time listening to me sing than you would have had at the party. not that the party was bad, but i am just that good at guitar hero. just get in touch with my agent to arrange it.. and please, no press at the event. but in all seriousness, we apologize if we have offended you.

because jameson had his actual birthday in utah, we decided to let him have a party with the vegas coops and his friends from church and school a few weeks later at the homestead. it was good stuff. we did a guitar hero theme party and split the boys up into two bands when they arrived. one band called itself krispy kreme and the other dunkin' donuts. the boys then designed their band t-shirts and did their hair to match the occasion. once everyone was decked out we made our way upstairs and played some guitar hero.

i think the boys had a good time, but even if they didn't, i did... and that's all that really matters. aimee made a life-sized cake of jameson with a guitar on stage that had a fog machine and light system surrounding it. the candles were actually a five-minute fireworks and laser light show with the elvis impersonator from "legends in concert" singing him happy birthday. we then had the killers perform a set for the kids. let's see if any of you can top that. again, i am lying except for the part where i think everyone had a good time.

i'd like to give special thanks to grandma k and auntie jo for their help with the party... especially grandma's moving rendition of michael jackson's "beat it." maybe i'll post the video someday after i've safely secured my inheritance.

check out the invite and the pics for yourself.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Christmas pics and jamebo's utah b-day party pics: it was da bomb

here are some pics from Christmas in utah at the hodges... good times. also, there are some pics from jameson's b-day festivities in utah: a trip to lazer assault and the build a bear workshop. you will also notice the cake aimee prepared for jameson. no, you're not confused that black ball you see was jameson's cake. no, it's not the death star. no, it's not a bowling ball getting acupuncture. it was a bomb.

it actually looked pretty cool. what you can't see is the candles... well, they weren't actually candles, they were sparklers. aim thought it would be fun to add a little extra spark (kenna would be so proud of the double entendre there) to the birthday cake by using sparklers instead of candles. after all it was a bomb and that would make things more authentic... i mean, who doesn't want to feel like they are eating an explosive device as they celebrate someone turning one year older?

it was a great idea in theory. what kids doesn't like sparklers? what's more is my kids are a bunch of pyros, so it was the surest way to create cool parent birthday legend. like i said, it was a cool idea in theory... it was actually even a cool idea from an aesthetic standpoint. when the lights went down and the signing started, the pyrotechnics were in order as we all sat bedazzled by the sparkling display of light before us. wow.

then it started to get a little stuffy in the kitchen and some of us had trouble breathing. then we had to crack a few windows to let the smoke out and the really cold air in. then we had to withstand the stench of burnt sparklers in close quarters. no matter, the crisis had been averted and it was time to enjoy a forkful of ice cream and a weapon of mass destruction. i grabbed hold of my first bite and stuffed it into my mouth with great anticipation only to realize my sense of taste wasn't agreeing with the sparkler ash that had gathered on the black frosting as a distinct blend of amaretto and sulfur was tantalizing my taste buds in a way taste buds weren't meant to be tantalized. as caleb would say, "delicious" (it sounds a lot funnier when he says it).

no hard feelings aim. the cake and sparklers looked cool and as long as you got a piece not affected by the radioactive fallout of the ash, the cake was great... or so i am told.

in closing, let me just say that Christmas and new year's at the hodges was great fun and i'll leave it at that since i think i am about to break a record for the shortest blog post ever by me (not including the pictures).

iinitiate the blog

iinitiate the blog