Monday, July 30, 2007


We need some advice, tips and opinions from you, our friendly blog readers.

First, we are leaving the Bay Area for good on August 26, 2007. That leaves us about three weeks to goof off. What are the fun things we should do with our time off before we leave? We are looking for anything from a great park to day trips to overnighters. All (responsible) suggestions welcome (there are children involved, after all). So that is the advice we need.

Second, we have set a goal to "lose 30 by 40." That means thirty pounds between the two of us over the next three months, before certain un-named person(s) turn 40. We are desperate for tips. Has anything worked for you? Any small and simple things through which great things have come to pass? Any helpful advice greatly appreciated.

Third, below are a few pics of Kath's family home in Bountiful, Utah, which we are thinking very seriously about purchasing from her dad. After looking around we really didn't feel like McMansion people, and weren't up for 6000 square feet on .33 acres, which seems to be all you can buy if you look for new houses in Utah these days. This house was built in 1978 (which means it has an older layout but has been well maintained and was recently updated), but it is on 3/4 of an acre with a great, usable back yard and views. It is worth more than we want to spend, but we are thinking about stretching to get it. What do you think?

This is a view of the front of the house (not on the immediate right, but up and to the center, with the pink brick).

Here is the view from the back. The yard extends beyond sight down the hill, and is terraced.

This is what the back of the house looks like from the yard.

Here are Kath and Keegan enjoying the deck at sunset.

Here is a view to the west from the back yard.

And here is a view west, towards the Great Salt Lake, at sunset, from a trail near the front of the house.

So what are your opinions on that, dear readers? Thanks in advance!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm Back . . . . From Scout Camp!

So five days after having stents removed from my nasal cavity (and with stitches still in my wrist) I decided (or rather was begged into believing by my new, desperate Bishop) that the perfect way to convalesce was to spend 3 days with several hundred 12 to 16 year old boys shedding excess testosterone -- i.e. attending scout camp at Marin Sierra. And you know, there is nothing like fine Sierra dust on recently scraped and still raw sinuses. Unless, of course, that dust is accompanied by fumes that can only emanate from a pit toilet. I'm afraid I may have done permanent damage. Oh well. As you can see from the following, little Chubb lake is a beauty.

This is the location of Scout Camp, below Donner Pass, which is up and to the right, and very near Lake Spaulding, which is the dam in the center foreground.

Our first day began with a six a.m. swim test. Why six a.m., you ask? My thought exactly . . . (still haven't received a satisfactory response, other than the testosterone thing.)

Franco wouldn't let me post the great shot I have of everyone but him jumping in on the first command . . . but I did get one of him finally jumping after everyone else had taken the plunge.

After the swim it was breakfast with all the other troops.

Our fearless patrol leader looking the part as we wait for the morning assembly.

Adam waiting for assembly.

Nate waiting for assembly. . . .

After assembly, it was off to classes.

Franco headed straight for the rifle range, where the master of the range, our own Larry Salarpi, helped him hone his skills. Then he headed to archery. I'm sensing a theme here. . . taking the role of family protector very, very seriously, I guess.

Others decided to head to the water front right away.

Adam canoeing through Chubb Lake without drowning or fighting with his canoe partner.

Jason learning the fine art of securing a rowboat with a sturdy knot.

Nate started with environmental science.

"This is First Aid, scout, and you will be injured!" Our very own Charles, just doing his usually thorough job as a staff member at camp!

All in all it was great fun. There are worse places to spend time . . . though I hope my nose actually survives and can still smell. The jury is definitely out on that.

Monday, July 9, 2007


4 and 1/2 hours of surgery. Nasal cavity packed to the brim with gauze and "stents", which are due to be yanked out on wednesday. ("Take a vicodin before you come--I've had people faint." Actual quote--at least he warned me.) Blood oozing down my throat in gobs. And a useless right hand that must be held "above the level of my heart" for 5-7 days due to carpal tunnel surgery. I may be out of commission for a few days. Ouch.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

A Sunset in Our Life

I was released as Bishop of our Ward today, and a foggy sunset over Mount Tam from our bike trail seemed like an appropriate picture.

It was both a wonderful and a wistful day. Being Bishop was, without exception, the sweetest, most profound spiritual experience of my life, and so a very hard thing to leave behind. It was also 4 years of very hard work, that required so much sacrifice from my family, and particularly from my sweetheart. How I love her for letting me have that experience. I can never repay her or the Lord for that opportunity. I have come away with such a deep and abiding testimony that there is more than just this life, that there is a God, that he lives, and cares for us in His way. Sometimes it is hard to explain how it all works or why things happen the way they do, particularly through the tragedies that impact so many truly good people. But I know that there is a light shining through the darkness, if we just look for it and are humble enough to accept God's will in all things.

Our thoughts and prayers will always be with the special people from our Ward. We love you all. Thank you for all you do and have done to support us and serve the Lord. We are also excited for Bishop Johnson, and the new experience that comes his way. We love him dearly, and pray for him in his new responsibility. God Bless.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Greater Love

I promised more photos of sacred places in San Francisco. I know of no place more sacred than the Presidio Cemetery, which is where my 4th of July began this year. It was early morning and I was alone but for robins and stone.

I always cry in these places. I've tried not to. Can't. Too many fathers and mothers, daughters and sons and spouses facing the day they prayed would never come. It compels reverence like nothing else I know: immediate, profound, absolute. My heart even seems to beat more quietly, as if thumping in its normal rhythm is out of place, disrespectful. I feel pedestrian. What can I possibly do in the face of this sacrifice?

Today, two thoughts seem to help. The first: I will never take my freedoms for granted. Ever. And I will use them as responsibly as I am able. It does not seem like much of an offering, I know, but it is what I can do.

The second comes from scripture:

"Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life . . . . Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 10:13, 15:13)

And so today I began in the presence of those loved by God. I know that on some levels that can seem so ironic. But the spirit of this place commands otherwise: what a hallowed, humbling, giving place it is.

The evening was much less contemplative but also very wonderful. Our dear Johnsons (plus Emma Cole!) came over to barbeque, and then we headed up Old St. Hillary's preserve, from whence we watched the fireworks in Martinez, Richmond, Oakland, Emeryville, San Francisco and Sausalito. A few pics of a great night below.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Bridges and Fog

Change and I are among the most uncomfortable of companions, and yet, it appears that change is upon us. As many of you know, we have determined to move to Utah. It likely took an act of God to get us there, and I am very grateful for that. But how does one say goodbye to our life here in this unbelievable place? I can't begin to answer, except to say that my mind thinks much on bridges and fog.