September 21, 2003

Two months since the last update, and a lot has happened. July was such a busy month that I needed a long break. Unfortunately, that break never came. After the convention in mid-July, Elijah, Kari and I went to Arizona for a week. It was nice to go somewhere where we had friends. Oh, Orem is fine and we have a few friends, but not many. We can appreciate Tucson now, because we don't have to see anyone we don't want to when we go there.

In Arizona, we spent the first part of the week in Sierra Vista, with my family. I think my parents enjoy being grandparents very much, or at least they get a kick out of Elijah. Karen and Kari had some good bonding time. I'm glad my wife and sisters get along really well. I got to see Jason for a while, too, although he did get food poisoning the night before we saw him and still felt ill. We went to the Outback Steakhouse, a place Kari has never been to before. Of course, Elijah decided to throw food all around. Always a pleasure to eat out with him. We also got to see the finished house that Jason's brother built. It was pretty nice. Only problem (in my mind) is the location. They live really close to the Mexican border (only some mountains between them and Mexico) and illegals come through the area all the time. The other problem with the location is that the canyon they are in is conducive to some pretty bad storms. We almost got stuck in one on our way back to my parents. Also while in Sierra Vista, my dad got me stuck on a game called Ghost Recon. He downloaded a demo of it and let me try it (my dad, playing games? How strange!). I almost immediately bought my own copy (well, the next day), and used, too. I was very excited. Not only is it fun for solo play, I got to play it multiplayer and it was even better. I've almost completed the second expansion pack (2 months later) and have been playing it through in the hardest level. Fun stuff.

Anyway, Sierra Vista was fun. My parents' back yard is so . . . green. I have never seen it produce much of anything. But they have gotten it into very nice shape. And the house is getting fixed up very nicely. New bathrooms, new kitchen, new skylights, new siding on the outside of the house. While with my parents, we went to a couple museums on the fort (Kari's first time seeing Fort Huachuca). One museum was on Army intelligence (some would say that is an oxymoron, but oh, well). I've been to the other museums, historical mostly, before, but never appreciated it as much as I did this time. By the end of the visit, Elijah had fallen asleep in the stroller.

In Tucson, we stayed with our friends, Dave and Trish Tegan. They had their son, Aaron, the day after Elijah was born, in the same hospital. Elijah towers over Aaron, but he towers over most kids his age. He's still in the 100th percentile. Anyway, we got to spend some good quality time with the Tegans, who were kind enough to give up their bed for us. I fixed up their computer, which had been giving them a bit of a problem. With the Tegans, we went to a drive in movie, The Italian Job. Elijah and Aaron slept in the cars while we watched. The movie was actually pretty good, but . . . because there was a storm in the area (that would be monsoon season for you in southern Arizona), reception for the sound was pretty bad on our radio. Oh, yeah, it was raining, so we had to keep the wipers on a lot of the time. And to top it off, the projectionist cut off the top and bottom parts of the screen, so we didn't get to see everything. Despite it all, we had a fun time.

We did get to spend some time with Heidi and Ryan. I fixed up an old computer given to me by Kerstin (Kari's sister) and gave it to Heidi. Then Heidi, Kari, Elijah and I went to find a cheap monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. It was fun to be with my sister. We then went out to a Vietnamese restaurant called Three Sisters (one of Kari's and my favorite places in Tucson). My friends Ken, Lars and Karen also came. I think they all enjoyed it, although Ken tried their Chinese food, which no Vietnamese restaurant is going to do as well as their own food. Ah, well. Afterwards, we went to the Cornwalls, where Kari showed them (and Lars and Ken, who followed) our Wiggles DVD's. Now, for those of you who are uninitiated, the Wiggles are a singing quartet that appeal to preschoolers. Elijah loves their stuff. Oddly enough, I have grown to like them, too. They aren't nearly as bad to watch as a lot of other children's entertainment, which might be good for them, but cause adult IQ's to drop perceptibly. They even have catchy songs. Now, why were a bunch of adults watching this? No children were there, as the Tegans were watching Elijah for us that night. Well, because Heidi went to Australia for her mission and wanted to see what they were all about. The rest of us just joined in to watch. It was pretty fun, and people were laughing, but apparently, Ryan found it somewhat painful to watch. All I can say is, he will be surprised at what he will watch when he starts having children.

Kari and I got to check out the used book store Bookmans, while we were in Tucson. Let me just comment now on the pathetic selection of used media stores (movie, game, music, book, etc.) in the Utah Valley. We were happy to be back in Tucson for that, too. Of course, when we moved from Tucson, we couldn't get away fast enough, but the truth is, now that we aren't living there, we can actually appreciate the nice parts about the place.

The last night we were there, I got to have a lan party with Ken, Lars and Ben. Ben was kind enough to volunteer his workplace again to play. We all tried the new games I had been exploring lately. It was a blast. I really hadn't had a lan party since right before I moved from Tucson over a year prior. I got to borrow Ken's laptop for the gaming. A big part of the time was spent in setup, but that's part of the fun of a lan party. We had some good game time, and a lot of talking time. At subways for dinner, stayed up till 3 (Kari told me she would kill me if I stayed longer, so that's what it was). All in all, a successful night in my mind. That night, the people upstairs to the Tegans kept us up all night having sex really loud. Not normally the kind of detail I would include in my website, but it was really bad, and it woke up Elijah, too (and he usually sleeps through everything at night, once he's asleep). So we were tired the next day. At least we were just going to Vegas that night, to stay with Kari's aunt and uncle. Before leaving, we did go out to eat once more, with Ken, Lars and Karen, to an Etheopian restaurant. It was very unique, with no utensils and all food eaten from a common platter. I really liked it, though. Unfortunately, Heidi and Ryan were not able to come, because Heidi's job (apartment manager) wouldn't allow for it, and she ended up driving my parents to the airport later on that day, ruining all chance of us spending more time with the Cornwalls.

All in all, it was a very fulfilling trip, but we returned exhausted. Long drives, poor sleep, lots of social activities, all crammed into one week. Elijah was very good for most of it, but eating out is not as much fun with him as it used to be. He screams and throws food, more, now. Thankfully, the last day, while at the Etheopian place, Karen wanted to hold him a lot, gave us a break. She seems to be thinking about children more, and it appears that she and Lars will be getting married soon, although still, nothing is official. Oh, well.

There is more to write, but not tonight. This has gone on long enough.

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