Friday, December 16, 2011

I Believe In Santa, I've Met Him

Yes I Believe In Santa..

Maybe not the way that a 5-year-old believes.  And I have met him, I really have.  Once one cold Sunday December morning in Sioux Falls, SD the snow had piled up so high that when the plows cleared the streets it left a wall of snow and ice so tall and thick I couldn't get out of my driveway.  I didn't even own a snowshovel because our landlord would clear out the snow.  I was stuck.  As I began trying to clear the snow with a 2X4 that's when I met Santa.  Rudulph must have been sick because he drove up in a rusty old truck with a plow on the front.  In half a minute he had cleared a way for me to get out then rode off saying "Merry Christmas".

I Was A Santa Helper

In Arizona one year Santa needed my help.  He had some toys and food to deliver and needed my to interpret because I speak Spanish.  I went with him and watched this little family's home light up with hope and grattitude because Santa had remembered them. 

I Wrote A News Story About Santa Today

Across America, from Montana to Nebraska, needy families have put gifts for their children such as clothes and toys on lay-away. Without any explanation, Santa came into K-Marts and paid off the lay-away gifts.  Santa had given so much, but especially his money.

Santa Came To Live With Us

Again in Sioux Falls, my wife suffered from horrible morning sickness. I had to take her to the E.R. several times in a matter of weeks. She could only stay in bed. I had a 2-year-old and a full-time job. That Christmas season Santa came to live with us. He gave us his time.

He Made Me Apple Crisp

One year when I was young, maybe nine, Santa brought my brothers, sister and I out of the cold Idaho winter.  He welcomed us into his home, sat us down and made us this delicious and completely homemade applecrisp.  Then Santa told us he loved us and that we were good kids.  He gave of himself.

I've Seen Santa Many Times

Throughout my 30 Christmases I have seen Santa or experienced his handiwork many times.  Sometimes he is old and gray, sometimes a young woman, other times a bright eyed child.  His  mark can be fround in gifts carefully selected, wrapped and placed under the tree or in a stocking but also in the bright smile of a young child.  Santa means holy, saintly and what could be more divine than spreading love, hope and joy throughout the Earth.  May we never forget what the wise man said, "He that gives money gives much.  He that gives time gives more.  But he that gives of himself gives most of all."

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas this year and may you be so blessed that you can experience Santa's little miracles in your life.  If you open your eyes, I'm sure you'll see them.




Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tyson, Guest Food Critic

Can You Say Yum?

I know.  You're jealous


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My job has a few perks.

I have had to work on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chritmas Eve, the 4th of July, Weekends, Graveyards, late night, and early mornings.  Throw in long hours of beaking and developing news on occassion in a high stress environment and it gets rough.  On the flip side, occassionally I get to enjoy a few perks.  That food was one of them.

Judge Time

I sampled everyone of those plates and loved every minute of it.  The skill of the chefs was amazing.  At that level you begin to notice the little things, does the steak have a nice sere on the outside, is the skin of the fish crispy, did they overseason or not enough season, are the the vegetables an afterthought or a star by itself, what were the extra things they did to bring out different flavors and textures?  It was such a neat experience.  One I hope to repeat.'

How it worked

There was a big taple in the middle of a hotel ballroom.  It had a lot of different kinds of food on it.  All of the chefs got to select their ingredients from that table.  They had 1/2 an hour to "shop" then if they went back it deducted from their score.  After the shopping time came an hour of cooking time.  When the clock ran out, the judging began.

I, along with three other judges, had plate after plate put in front of us.  The chefs weren't allowed to explain what they did, the food had to speak for itself.  There were curries, reductions, steaks, stuffed pork medalions and candied walnuts.  We had time to take one or two bites from each plate and then we had to judge.  I would have loved to just sit down and eat.  We assigned points to the main dish, to the additional dish (some made 2 entrees) and to the teachnical skill.  Scores were tallied up and just four points seperated first from fifth.  The winning score: 103.5

I'm Available

In case you are looking for a food critic, I'm available and I'm always ready to eat.  The chances are pretty good I'll like your food.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hurray! What Am I Getting In To?

Hurray!!

In case you didn't know.  I've taken the GMAT (MBA school entrance test).  I've done well on it.  I applied to two MBA programs and was accepted to both.  One school even offered me some scholarship money. 

U of U PMBA

One of the programs, the Professional Masters of Business Administration at the David Eccles School of Business, is a top tier program.  In fact it is ranked in the top 50 in country.  That sounds impressive right?  It is.  It is an exciting business program with a lot going for it.  It costs $48K and two years of my life.  No, that's not the school that offered me the scholarship.





Weber State MBA

Weber State's Goddard School of Business has also accepted my application.  It is accredited, close and flexible.  Sounds nice doesn't it?  It is.  It costs $19K and two to three years of my life.  Yes, they offered me a scholarship.  Less expensive is good, $30K less expensive is fantastic.  Random fact, my very first "real" job offer was to produce the 6PM and 10PM news in Eugene, Oregon for $10.00 an hour.  That's at least a lot a bit less than $30K.  I said no.  That's a no go Ducks.

Quandary

That's such a fun word but not such a fun situation.  At least my decision is between two good options.  Honestly, part of me wanted to not get accepted into one of the schools just to make the decision easier.  There are a lot of factors playing into my final choice.  I mean, I graduated from BYU, can I really go to the U?  (Yes, it is a valid concern.  No I am not being extreme.  Well, maybe a little.)

Last week I had all but made up my mind, Weber State it is.  Now?  I've done a 180.  I've realized that I may have been asking the wrong questions in my search for answers.  Now the real quandary is, do I know what I'm looking for?  I have no doubt that getting an MBA is the right decision for me and my family at this point in my life.  So, as I type this when I should be asleep I don't know what I will decide.  I feel like both are good options and I will be happy for different reasons at each place. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

7 Years Ago...

We Dressed In White

It was 11:17 AM on Saturday Dec. 4, 2004 when we agreed to love each other for forever.  We knelt down at an altar and promised.  Every day since I've tried to keep that promise.  Sometimes there are flowers.  Sometimes there are kisses after tears.  It has been a journey but we've traveled it together every step of the way and that journey began with two hearts full of love, dressed in white, in a temple of God.



She Brought Adventure Into My Life

We've traveled to Ireland


and Idaho.
We've been to the Oregon Coast













and the plains of South Dakota,

Hawaii and Missouri.


The best adventures have been the little moments of discovery all along the way where I've realized again and again that I love this beautiful woman.  Like the time she was so excited about getting soaked on a ride at Sea World, in December.  Or when we would go dancing and she'd look at me with her sassy eyes during the cha cha.

Through The Best Of Times

We were together to welcome our two beautiful children into the world.  She did all the hard work, I just took care of her as best as I could.


Poor and in a tiny apartment, she celebrated when I finally graduated college and now years later is willing to support my decision to head back to school.

We've gone back again and again to God's temples and there can feel His peace, His love and it strengthens our bond to each other.

We've served and supported each other through trials, opportunities and have savored beautiful sunsets on Western skies.

Through The Worst Of Times

How do you describe the pain of watching your Princess suffer and waste away?  There was so little I could do but love her, pray for her, worry for her and cherish her.

I am so grateful that my Carrie survived and we were blessed with our little Lydia because of her sacrifice of health.

Through Sickness

Once I had surgery on my toes and being the big baby that I am, I was in a lot of pain.  I slept on the couch because my feet needed to be elevated.  My Princess slept on the floor next to me because she wanted to be near me, she wanted to know I was okay, she wanted to comfort me when I wasn't.  She loves me.

Just Because

In the past 7 years there have been dozens of times when I have come home to my version of flowers (chocolate covered pretzels, steaks and spicy salsa).  I'll occassionally put my hand in my pocked only to discover a love note.  I grab the keys and tucked inside the key ring is a rolled up letter of encouragement.  Who does that?  My Carrie does that.

My Promise

I'll love Carrie forever and try to become the man that I should be because that man loves her for who she is and sees her for what she can become.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Halloween

My Son The Builder Morning Weather Man

Carrie, Tyler and Lydia all came in to my work on Halloween morning.  "Tyler the Builder" helped with the end of weather.  Glenn was great with him.

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The way a green screen works is that it keys out any one color.  In our case, green.  Yes that means Tyler's arms were invisibile.  It was fun to watch him from the control room (ie where the producer runs the show).


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Probably just as entertaining as watching Tyler is listening to us enjoying the moment.

(Video to come as soon as I can get it to work)

                                         

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's Dada Time

You Probably Think I'm Crazy

For Christmas I gave Carrie a trip.  No, it wasn't an excuse for me to go on vacation.  The stipulation, she go anywhere she wanted.  She just had to be back after 4 or so days.  I was going to take time off of work to stay home alone with the kids.

Now You Probably REALLY Think I'm Crazy

Carrie and her sister Lisa set their dates and decided to go on a cruise of the Bahamas.  They left Tuesday the 4th of October and got back home late Saturday night (read, after the kids were in bed).  They were able to visit Nausa but unfortunately rough seas prevented their second stop.

Enough About Them, Let's Talk About Me (+kids)

I had a plan.  Mother Nature had different plans.  My plans consisted of going to the Hogle Zoo, going to the Tracy Aviary, maybe time at a park, walks...  Mother Nature?  She decided to open up the sky and rain.  Non-stop.  Well, it wasn't that bad.

Wednesday morning as soon as the kids got up I fed them, got them dressed and then tried to get out of the door as soon as possible.  It was 9:30AM when we drove off (I was aiming for 8:30AM).  The sky was overcast but no rain was coming down yet so I decided we were going to the zoo.  We were bundled but we were going.

Just Monkeying Around

It was the perfect zoo trip.  Most of the time when I've gone to the zoo in the past, it's Summer, the animals are hot, I'm hot.  It's okay.  This time it was cool, not cold.  Overcast, not briliantly sunny.  The animals LOVED it.  ALL of the animals were much more active than I've ever seen them. 

KITTY!

Lydia kept pointing and telling me when she spotted a kitty.  I think the bobcat was her favorite.  Tyler said the fox was his favorite, my guess, that means the wolves we saw.  I didn't see a fox.  My favorite, the tigers or the baby elephant that was playing soccer.

I think I was the only boy there over the age of 15 that day. 

What You Don't Sell French Fries?

After doing the zoo loop one and a half times, we went to Gourmandise in Salt Lake.  A couple of sandwiches and French pastries later, we were on our way to the car.  That's when the sky opened up.  Had we stayed any longer at the zoo, we would have gotten dumped on.

He's A Lady's Man

When I ran out to the car to buckle Lydia in, Tyler waited for me under the covered awning.  It was funny watching him go over to a couple of college girls and just start talking with them.  A lot of grown men won't even do that.

"They like tigers too Dada," he told me as I scooped him up and ran with him through the rain storm.  (Okay it was like 15 feet away but it was raining.  A lot.)

(I'll add pics and video clips when I get the chance, which may mean in 3 years)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

If You Must Do, Do Good

My job is frequently chaotic, stressful and downright deadly for anyone with a heart condition or high blood pressure.  Carrie once asked me if I've ever felt like everyone is demanding my attention RIGHT NOW.  Only ever single day I produce the news.

I've learned the best layed plans of mice and men often go ary but producers don't have time to cry about it, TV waits for no man or mouse. 

I see a lot of stuff.  Some of it pretty nasty.  Still, I recognize that there is so much good in the world.

Don't believe me?  I'll prove it.

In South Dakota I used to get a call after every sob story we ran.  There was this man in Rapid City that wanted to donate $5.00 to this cause or that family and did I know how I could get it to them?  He didn't have a lot, he had $5.00 and he would give it away.  Heaven is full of men just like him.

In Utah: an 11-year-old girl with an adopted autistic brother held a bake sale on her birthday.  She gave up her special day and raise more than a thousand dollars for autism research.

Then there's this story that most of you have probably heard of.  A car pulls out in front of a man riding his motorcycle.  He throws it down and rides it like a metal sled, slamming into the car and getting stuck underneath.  As onlookers watch the wreck burst into flames and burn ever hotter a group of complete strangers rush to the accident.  They try once, twice, three times before they are able to successfully lift the car off the man and pull him to safety.  Everyone of them is a hero.


A wallet with thousands of dollars in it was recently discovered by the Salt Lake City Police.  Whoever found it, returned it and every single penny inside to the rightful owner.  I tried to talk the police into letting us know who it was.  "It was a group of people and they don't want to talk to the media."  I asked if we could at least know who it was.  "They don't even want us to release their names."  Amazing.

A mother bound to a wheelchair has no hope of getting out to see the countryside alone.  So her kids, now fully grown, trained and bought a special wheelchair.  This Saturday they are going to take turns pushing her for 26 miles and 385 yards in the St. George marathon.

I am a realist but it would take an ignorant man to ignore all the good there is in the world.

I love the chance I have to put together live interviews for my morning news.  There are stories of heroes that should be told and I have an opportunity to make that happen.  No matter the chaos, if you must do then do good.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stuff You Really Needed To Know But Just Didn't Know It Yet

On Falling Off and Getting Back On The Wagon

I had a goal of blogging once a week. That hasn't happened for a while. Oops. Lots to catch up on so here are the "news briefs" as we say in the biz.

On Being Old

I turned 30 years old on July 26th. I don't feel older. I don't feel younger either. For me it is just a number but also a good time to evaluate my life. Am I at where I thought I'd be decades ago? I'm not so sure. Life just turned out differently.

I have learned a few important lessons: It is worth it to spend a couple extra bucks on toilet paper. It is not a good idea to see how far you can go when the gas light turns on. Look before you leap (I have the scars to prove it). Your relationship with family and freinds are worth protecting, nurturing and creating.

On My New Schedule and New Opportunities

The week before my birthday I began a new shift. Instead of producing 30 minutes of news at 6PM. I produce 2 hours of news in the morning. Wasn't happy about it at first but it will allow me to study for and take the GMAT and hopefully get into a MBA program. I'll apply to the U of U and Weber State.

I have also already had a couple of neat experiences. With that much time to fill it allows you the opportunity to have live interviews. They're a different beast than regular news. Sometimes the guests have good information but make for bad television. Other times they are great and you want to give them more time. Then there are those times when they just don't show. It happens. A lot. Suddenly you have seconds to fill minutes of air. I'll be honest. It's a rush. Stressful? Yes, undoubtedly it is stressful. It's still a rush though.

Check out one of the in studio interviews I set up.

Man Adventure: Father and Sons



I went on my first "Father and Sons" campout with Tyler this month (August). My dad came along as well. It is the most fun three generations of Plastow men (or boys) have had in a while. Boys is probably more appropriate. You'd believe me if you saw how my dad and Tyler enjoyed themselves.

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videoI was paranoid and was most pleased I didn't let my son drown in the Weber River. Give me a break. I work in the news business, stuff happens.

Lesson learned: 2 large air mattresses won't fit in a 5 man tent that really only fits 2 grown men and a four year old. Barely. Yes I pumped them up, let the air out, put them inside the tent, blew them up again and admitted defeat before letting the air out again.

On Being A Farmer

We weren't supposed to get any raspberries this year. Whoever told me that, yeah, they lied. We've picked a lot and by a lot I mean a handful at a time. That's still a lot more than none. I can't wait until next year. The blackberries? If I had a stake tall enough, it'd be twice as tall as I am. I ate the first berry today (8/24/2011).

Tomatoes? Well, who knew you could over water a plant that is set up with a nice drainage system. I certainly didn't. Chalk it up to the life lessons column.
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pottermania



You all know by know that the final Harry Potter movie (Harry Potter 7.2 as people at my work like to call it) has come out. It would officially bring the end of to the Potter world except its creator came up with something called Pottermore.

Today at lunch my family was discussing the Potter series. I mentioned something about how some professor somewhere had created a Pottermania college class. Where isn't really important. It's college. Pottermania. In. College.

The Boy Who Lived Becomes The Boy Most Read

The potter series does hit on a lot of psychological archetypes. That's why it hits home to so many readers. Wether or not they connect to "The Boy Who Lived" there are enough characters in the series that most readers, especially young ones, can identify. Who hasn't wanted to punch the rich, uppity kid in the nose like Hermione did to Malfoy? You may not admit it but did you experience that awkward relationship stage like Harry and pretty much every other character he came into contact with, especially girls he was attracted to? Did you know a Luna, someone in you school who thought a little more outside the box? What about a Neville, the quiet, loyal intelligent guy who didn't have the self-esteem or whatever it takes to really shine until when it really counts? Then there's the Crab and Goyle (sp?) the dim wit thugs. Come on, my school had at least a dozen of them. They're not always large but they are always dim and cruel.

Like Harry, Want To Be Like Harry

Harry is the ideal of what everyone always wants to be when they are growing up, awkward and going to school. He's got the talent, the scars (and we know chicks dig scars), he's a jock and a bit of a geek too. He gets it all and the chance to spit in the face of ultimate evil. In some way we all imagine ourselves a little bit like Harry. Or at least we would if we had a wand made from phoenix feather, a broomstick faster than any other and a lightning bolt scar on our forehead. So maybe we don't ALL want to be Harry but J.K. Rawling in her crafting of the Potter world created characters that we relate to. Because of that, many manic fans will have a large empty void in their hearts similar to when I don't get to eat the last bite of tri-tip. Come on, "You would cry too if it happened to you."

Lunch Topic: Do you think J.K. Rawling did it on purpose?

Yes: I'm sure she wrote based on her experiences in life and in school. Perhaps she knew some punk rich kid named Luke Foy, spruced up the name a bit added "mal" Spanish for bad, to "Foy" and came up with Lucious Malfoy. (I spelled it both ways because I don't know how she spells it.)

No: I don't think she looked up psychological archetypes and thought "How can I get 'Racial Outcast' 'Class Outcast' and 'Orphan' all together as friends?" She probably thought, "How can I create characters that fill a role in the story and feel real to my reader?"

I Knew Dumbledore Had To Die

Archetypes are great for writers. They help the story move forward because we, the writers, know what to expect from them and what we want out of them. That's why I knew 2 books ahead of time that Dumbledore was going to die. He had to as part of Harry's "journey into manhood". You can hate me for saying it and Rowling for doing it but it's true nonetheless. Obi Wan had to die and so did Dumbledore.

Archetypes played a large role in Rowling's success. But that was just part of the formula. You need to throw in her creativity and writing before you get success.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Freedom Isn't Free

May We Never Forget

On September 1, 2010 Captain Ellery Wallace of the 101st Airborne was killed by a rocket propelled grenade in Afghanistan.

Approximately 6 months later, at an event held by the UT state legislature, his wife would join families of too many other members of the military who had died in the Middle East.

"Freedom isn't free," she said, tears filling her eyes. Cpt. Wallace's youngest daughter would turn 3-years-old just days after the legislative event.

"Those who are left behind, we'll never forget," Janelle said. 1,649 families made up of mothers and wives, sons and daughters, husbands and father will always remember the true cost of the fighting in Afghanistan.

Later in the Fall, a young father was in a serious firefight. A fellow soldier had been shot by a sniper. This young man, a medic, ran out from his protective cover and shielded the wounded soldier with his body whil he attended to his wounds. He became the sniper's next target. His name was Jordan Byrd and he had only been a father for a matter of days. Now his young bride is a widow. His child, fatherless.

How Do You Measure Freedom's Value?

The value of our freedom cannot be measured in dollars and cents, gold or silver. The value of our freedom is measured in the mettle of the men and women who protect it. Freedome isn't free. You see, those 1,649 men and women who most recently have given their lives protecting our right to choose are following a path that has long been forged by those who put the value and love of something outside of themselves above their own lives. They are following in the Savior's footsteps.

His Example

The Savior came to this world, dedicated his life to service and in the end laid it down so that we all might have the ability to choose for ourselves. The men and women of the military dedicate their lives to service and too many of them lay down their lives so that we all might have the ability to choose for ourselves.

You Have A Choice

What will you do with your choice? A wise man once told me we will go where we feel most comfortable, where will you choose to go?

May We Always Remember Them

I am grateful for the sacrifice, honor, and service of the Savior. I am grateful for the sacrifice, honor, and service of the heroes in the military. Those brave men and women may not be perfect, they may even be far from it but at the end of the day they are willing to put their lives on the line for someone else.

Freedom Isn't Free

No, freedom isn't free. Someone paid the price for yours. I hope and pray you use it well. We owe it to them, the heroes of the world.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

News Passion And Personal Promises

10.. 9..

The videos have been checked. The anchors, reporters can all hear me in their ear pieces.

8.. 7..

Triple check everything. The live shots look good. Teleprompter is on the correct script. Weatherman is in place.

6.. 5..

You sit back but can't help and make sure everything and everyone is in its place... Again.

4.. 3..

A reporter forgot to put in their name supers, quickly add them in. Double check the spelling.

2.. 1..

GO.

For the next half hour you're monitoring screen after screen. Putting out fires. Making decisions based on instinct and reaction. Live shot is :30 away, tell the reporter. :10 away and it's gone. You don't know how, you don't know why. You don't know if it will be back. All you know is you now have :07 to tell everyone what you are going to do about it. The Plan: move on to weather, your weatherman is ready because he's good and your good. You told him to be ready. The :30 he's talking is enough time to get your live shot back. Quick tell the anchors, tell the director, tell the reporter, ready go. Live shot is up. Then it's gone again. Still don't know what happened but you roll the tape. You have exactly 1:23 to figure out what to do before the live shot is up. Easy. You have the anchors handle it. Get the information from the reporter, pass it on to the anchors. 1:23 later the anchors are ad-libing like they were the ones to put together the stories. You're all professionals, what's more, you're journalists.

Move through the rest of the stories. 7:38 later and you hit your first commercial break. You breathe, probably for the first time since you lost the live shot. You have 2:30 to go until you're back on air.

I Love What I do

My son asked me what I do at work. SO I told him I make television. That's the easy way to describe it. The better way? I run the 6PM News, it is my brainchild, my baby, my evil mad scientist creation. I organize chaos, lead a team of people who are very good at what they do and together create something every day. Not just anything, we create news that informs and brings people into what's happening in the world around them. I love what I do.

They Said It Wouldn't Be Possible, But I'm Stubborn

In college I had a couple of professors who said that it wouldn't be possible to not work on Sunday. It's just part of being a journalist. You have to work on Sundays. Thing is I have never worked on a Sunday in my life. I made a personal promise not to.

But, I was scheduled to work this past Sunday, June 26th. I asked everyone I could think of to cover for me. No one would. One person even went as far as saying they would cover for me but then changing their mind when they heard why.

What could I do? The decision was easy. I wasn't going to work on Sunday. I talked with my boss, told her how I'd tried to get someone to cover, said I was willing to work whatever other crazy hours. At one point she asked me, "So you would rather work 18 hours straight than work on Sunday?" "Yes". I said that part of the reason I took this job over other jobs that offered more money is because I had other obligations on Sunday, I couldn't work on Sunday.

I went home one night, the day before my "deadline" to get my shift covered thinking I'd tried everything I could. Maybe I'd lose my job over this.

"We Have A Bit Of A Compromise"

My boss called me into her office, showed me a schedule. Said if I was willing to work it, I could have Sunday off. Without hesitation I said yes and emphatically thanked her.

The Schedule

Weds: 9-1:30, back at 11:30pm
Thurs: Off at 7:30am, back at 11:30pm
Fri: Off at 7:30am, back at 11:30pm
Sat: 12pm-11PM, no break
Mon:12AM-7:30AM, back at 11:30pm
Tues: off at 7:30
Regular Weds/Thurs: 9am - 6:45pm
Fri: Off
Sat: 12pm - 11pm

I'm almost through it. One more Saturday to go.

I'm so grateful for that crazy schedule because one day isn't on it. Sunday. Some decisions you worry about right now but when you lift your view, they become much easier to make.

So Grateful

Thank you Carrie for supporting me in that choice and for helping to raise my vision. You inspire me.

I love my job and appreciate the people that I work with. I'm grateful for my boss but especially for the one producer who had no problem switching with me.

There's A Lesson In All This

A long time ago I promised Heavenly Father that I wouldn't work on Sunday and would always pay my tithing. I've been infinitely blessed because of it.

"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)

I'm far from perfect. I'm just someone who has made a promise and loves his job (almost as much as my family).

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fatherhood Is

My First Day As A Father

I took a picture of Carrie standing beside a sign. She wasn't really happy about it. Would you be with a scheduled labor now 2 weeks overdue? We checked in, were all set up in the delivery room and Carrie was hooked up to monitors and tubes.

We waited. "Go get some lunch Tyson." "You sure?" "Yeah." We had been there all morning. So I did. There is no more sure fire way to start the delivery process than to have the husband and father step out of the room for a moment.


I ordered a turkey sandwich. Best turkey sandwich I've ever had. Carrie would agree with me, we used to go to the hospital cafeteria on dates. What? You do strange things too I'm sure. Don't judge me.


As I casually strolled back up to the delivery room my phone started to buzz... several missed calls were only now showing up. Uh oh. I got there and the contractions were coming. I had them start on the epidural. What seemed like a short time later (to me at least) we met our first child. I went with the nurse as she wiped our son down.

Word of advice, don't tell your wife your baby looks like Yoda. That won't earn you brownie points.


Baby Boy Gets A Name


I asked Carrie what we should call him. She let me decide. She wanted "Joshua". I wanted "Tyler". It was a tough decision. So I debated and debated inside. "What do YOU want to be called?" I asked the little guy as the nurse took us down to the nursery where Baby Boy received his first bath. He didn't like that. Not. One. Bit.


When we met up with Carrie back in the room where we would be staying we held Baby Boy. I was going to do the good husband thing and decide on Joshua. Then in that room and holding him I looked down at his face (he grew out of the Yoda stage real quick) and felt like he was a Tyler. Carrie asked and I told her. She just said okay.


Monkey See, Monkey Do


Tyler is 4 years old now. Lydia is 1 and both of them are so beautiful.

I just love my kids.


To get ready for the day I do what Tyler calls "scrumples up his hair". I rub product on my hands and then run it through my hair and finger-comb it into place.


One day Carrie goes up to the bathroom attached to Tyler's room. He has soap on his palms and his hair. His explanation, he was scrumpling up his hair.


I built a couple of raised gardens for raspberries. To level the ground I had to dig and move a lot of dirt. Tyler grabbed a little shovel and would chopped at the wet dirt with it. Every now and then he would sigh, look up at me and say, "We're working hard dada".


The day Lydia was blessed we went to visit our family in their hotel. My parents, Carrie's parents, Matthew and Kristen all stayed at the same place. At one point Tyler announced, "It's time for the prayer." He stood in the middle of everybody, held up a pretend microphone to his mouth and started to give a prayer. "... Amen"


Making Memories


When Tyler, my dad and I crossed the plains from SD to UT I called it our man adventure. Now Tyler and I will occasionally go on mini-man adventures.


One Saturday I took him on the train down to the Gateway and Salt Lake City. On Father's Day when asked about a special memory of his dad, that's what he talked about. "And the police man gave me a badge" "And Dada didn't know where he was driving" "We rode on the top of the train"



Another day I took him to the airplane museum attached to Hill Air Force Base. His favorite part: The toys.


Snuggle Time




Lydia is so beautiful. Most of her life I've been able to get her to go to sleep. She would just settle into my arms or on my shoulder and it would only be a matter of time. There were a lot of middle-of-the-nights or oh-it-is-so-early and then the my-back-is-killing-me days. But now we've sleep trained her and I honestly miss snuggling with her until she closed her eyes and looked like an angel lost in a world of peaceful dreams.


Now That It's Been 4 Years


I feel like I have an idea now of what fatherhood is. Not just making a baby, but fatherhood.


Fatherhood Is...

Change the sheets, change the diaper, change the blankets, change the pajamas. Fatherhood is waking up in the middle of the night to a very poopy diaper. Fatherhood is holding a sick child in your arms until you're so tired you want to cry like he is. It is about cleaning the poop off the wall. It is about standing outside a closed bedroom door listening to your two year old throw a tantrum inside. It is about being the bad guy, about telling your child what he can't do, about getting told "I don't like you."


Then, in quiet moments, it is about angelic voices softly saying, "I just love you Daddy."


Fatherhood is singing bedtime songs even when you don't want to. Telling "one more" bedtime story about Phineus "the most mischievous leprechaun in the world" at the end of an exhausting day. Fatherhood is making memories and sharing special moments not dictating orders and observing from afar. It is about answering question after question after question after question.


Fatherhood is about choice. It is about the choice to lose patience or to lead discovery. The choice to sit a child down on your lap and teach them what he did wrong or to yell at him over and over until he complies to your will. The choice to watch another football game or to play "builder worker man".


Fatherhood is about holding little hands struggling to walk. It is about setting limits and letting your child run free. It is about hard work. It is about patience. It is about giving not just time but yourself. Fatherhood is about love.


I'm grateful for my father, James Plastow, and what he has taught me. I'm grateful for my grandfather, Paul Rowe, and the stories he would tell me. I'm grateful for my father-in-law, Robert Hillier, and all the hard work he puts in. I'm grateful for my son, Tyler Plastow, and the kind of man he already is.




My little Lydia is a princess, my Ty Ty is a king. I love them both. Always have, always will.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

15 Years Ago...

It Was Supposed To Be An Adventure...

15 years ago I was in Montana with my best friend Jared and his Dad. We were laying tile at what Jared and I called Chateau Le Green outside of the robust metropolis of Anaconda. No, it wasn't a rain forest. It was Montana.

We went were at our motel, Jared and I were hanging out in the room. We might have been reading or watching TV. Bob, Jared's dad, came and got me. He had been on the pay phone with Paula, Jared's mom. I'm not sure of the details but somehow I started talking with my mom. She was distraught. I didn't understand what was going on. My heart sank when she told me what happened. Tanner, my two-year-old brother had gotten into the pool. They were in the hospital. I asked if I needed to come home, my mom didn't know. I had no idea how bad it was.

It Was All A Blur

On the drive to Butte we didn't talk much. We drove to the airport. It was closed. It's not a 24 hour airport sort of place. So we stayed the night. I remember asking Jared to pray for my brother, that everything would be okay. I prayed too. I prayed all night long.

Propellers cut through the clouds. I stared blankly out my window as the miles passed below me. The tiny plane felt every little bit of turbulence. I didn't really notice.

I Bought Him A Get Well Present

We landed in Salt Lake. I had time to kill so I bought Tyler a white tiger stuffed animal. He had this stuffed cougar and kissed it so much the fuzz was coming off its nose. The little tiger was for Tanner for when he got better.

On the flight to Arizona I think some college student sat next to me. She tried to console me. It didn't work.

All Alone...

Brianne and the bishop's wife came to pick me up from the airport. That's when it happened. We were getting my baggage. I asked how Tanner was, if he had gotten any better. I remember that exact words, "You mean they didn't tell you? Tanner's not going to make it." I don't know where my sister went. Maybe she was right there. I don't remember if anyone hugged me. I just remember standing there in a building full of people and being so incredibly alone. How could Tan-The-Man be dying?

He Called Me "Titan"

We shared a room. He would come in there all the time, give me a hug and leave. Five minutes later he'd be right back climbing up on my bed, jumping up and down on me. I never got to take a nap.

During church I'd hold him in my arms until he fell asleep.

Part of me was afraid when I left for Montana that Tanner would kind of forget me. My mom told me before everything happened that Trever had to sleep in my room because Tanner kept pointing to my bed, refusing to sleep.

When I left to go on my trip I thought about waking him up to say goodbye. I didn't. He just looked so peaceful. I've regretted that. Oh how I've regretted that. I don't know how to explain it but part of me knew something was going to happen. I went anyway. That was my chance to see my brother smile, to hear him laugh, to even hear him cry would have been a blessing. It was my opportunity to get a Tanner hug. Yes, regret, so much regret.

My brother was going to die. Everything sort of washes over you when you hear something like that, at least it did for me. It is so unreal you're not sure how to react.

Lifeless

At the hospital I saw Tanner hooked up to the machines, breathing for him. Arms, lifeless. Eyes, closed. Smile, non-existent. In those final moments of my little brother's life we each held him in our arms. But it wasn't the same. I made it just in time to watch him slip away and breathe his last breath. My dad, my poor father. I can't imagine. He didn't make it in time. No one should have to bury their baby brother. Absolutely no one should ever have to bury their child.





My Choice

Amidst all of that pain and soul wrenching anguish I realized I had a choice. I could be angry and bitter at God. Or I could accept His will and His comfort. I chose discipleship. I never doubted for one second that God had the power to restore Tanner to complete health. I never doubted even after his death that He could restore him to life. I never doubted. But it still hurt and so I allowed God to heal my heart, my soul.

Since that dreadful day the Spirit of God has seared upon my soul a personal witness of some of His Truths. I know. I don't believe. I know that the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken straight home to God. I know God loves His children, He hears and answers prayers and God has not left us comfortless. I know families can be together forever, Tanner never stopped being my brother. He is not lost to me. Someday I will see him again, and thanks be to the Savior, not a hair of our head will be lost. I will hug my brother again some day. I know that. I will hug my brother again some day and see his smile.

There are some children of God that are too pure for this life. They are taken home before they reach the age of accountability and enter straightway into Heaven. God has saved them from the sorrow of the world. Tanner was such a being. For now he is an angel but he will always be my brother.




Life Is A Test

Life is full of terrible things, of crying alone in dark rooms, of watching innocent loved ones die and suffer from horrible illnesses. But we do not have to go through the great trial alone if we will just turn to Him. Jesus Chris has died for us. And we will live again.

Life is so short. I hope I can pass the test and live to cherish every moment with those I love.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

New Goal: Post Once a Week

Really this goal is just an old goal that I didn't tell anyone because then you have to go through with it.


And in honor of the wild ride that this is going to be....


Me and my brother-in-law on a wild ride.



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Yes that was two minutes of grown men giggling at Disneyland.

Quick updates:


1) My garden: Raspberries in box 1 are growing like weeds! I'm pretty awesome... well except the raspberries in box 2 all died. I bought more, planted them and now those are growing like weeds. My awesomeness is restored. In box 3 I planted blackberries. They are growing well. My little garden retreat makes me happy. And awesome.


2) My story: After writing close to 9k words I emailed it to Jenn Johansson for some feedback. I'm so grateful. She tore it apart. Did I mention I'm grateful? I finally started to rework it. So far so much better. I'm even trimming where possible.


3) My grilling: We haven't really experimented with anything new. We've just learned the value of marinating food-to-be-grilled in zip-lock bags. Who likes cleaning up a dish covered in oil? I don't. Carrie doesn't. Marital bliss has been restored thanks to zip-lock bags.


4) Other Projects: A) I built a sandbox for my son. Pictures soon. B) I'm trying to convince my wife we need to buy more power tools. I feel she underestimates my woodworking prowess. (I probably overestimate it but I still have all my fingers so that's saying something) C) I'm Ward Mission leader. This is now the 3rd time in the 9 years I've been home from my mission. It is entirely different being a WML in Layton, UT than it is being a WML in Sioux Falls, SD. I welcome the challenge. I just miss my family. Ironic in a way, the Patriarch that gave me my blessing told me this, "Your blessing didn't say anything about a mission. I assume you'll still go on one." D) Since my last post I visited AZ and was able to have lunch with a lot of my high school friends. It was a lot of fun to see everyone. In a lot of ways it felt like we picked right up where we left off. Yes, that's a lot of "a lots" but I felt like alloting a lot of "a lots" under the letter "D".



(SIDE NOTE)


What's up with blogspot's formatting? You press enter and it skips 4 lines. Add a picture and it throws 8 lines inbetween every paragraph. And why can't they add pictures where I want them to? They always throw them in at the top and it is like David battling Goliath to just drag them right where you want them.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yeah, I Built That

It is amazing how much fun it can be to build something. Take a bunch of materials, mix it all together in the right way and you get... well sometimes it is a mess.

Luckily this time I didn't make too much of a mess.

Here was my plan. Make three raised garden boxes, two for berries and one for vegetables. The berry boxes would be 3 ft by 8 ft by 16 inches. The vegetable box, 3ft by 3ft by 16 inches.

I used (8) 2"x6"x8', (3) 4"x4"x8', (4) 2"x6"x12' and 2lbs of 3 inch deck screws. Then all I needed to build the boxes were a saw horse, power drill and skill saw.

I used redwood because it is naturally more weather resistant and should last 20 years before needing to be replaced.

To make sure the ground was level I moved around all of the dirt in my garden area. Saturday as I was digging and digging like a mad man I thought for a moment, this has to be the first time in my life I am actually enjoying "yard work". It is fun to create, did I mention that already?

One corner of the garden area was lower and since it was up against the house I moved more dirt over there that way it creates a sort of slope away, taking most of the moisture away from the house and hopefully foundation.

Tonight (Monday) when I got home from work I put all the finished boxes in place.

It was dark, the boxes were heavy but I managed to do it by myself.

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I can't wait to get the berries in! Too bad it will probably be next year before we get to pick any berries.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let's Grill It!

Oh yeah!... Cooking food with FIRE! Get the gas going, turn the knob and click ignite the burners then BAM, you're ready to grill.

Carrie signed us up for Bountiful Baskets, we got a lot of produce that we wouldn't normally buy. Turnips? Let's grill it! Green beans (yeah people buy fresh green beans, we just aren't those people) Well, let's grill them too! Golden Pototatoes? Grill it.... Acorn Squash? Throw it on the barbe!


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I was particularly proud of the Acorn Squash. Somehow I managed to take a vegetable that tastes horribly boring and spruce it up. The secret? Well it is obvious, "say cheese".

Just out of my wife's mouth "Thank you SO much for grilling! I am so converted!"

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That was the first time I grilled any fish. Tilapia fillets, throw some lemon juice on them. Add some cajun seasoning. It was the best tasting thing of the bunch.. besides maybe the green beans. Yeah, I know. I just wrote that. The green beans, a vegetable, may have taken the grilling item trophy of the day. Red wine vinegar, a drizzle of vegetable oil, and my own seasoning to give it a BBQ flavor, wrap it up in tinfoil and put in a little water then throw it on the flames. Well, the grill over the flames at least.

I cooked up some pineapple yesterday. I love that glaze it gets over the edges so quickly.

Yeah, I think you can grill just about anything.

... Icecream cake? Let's grill it! I bet it tastes better that way!

Building a Raised Garden

I think I'm in love. Mix the whine of power tools, the raw smell of sawdust, and the shriek of a saw slicing through wood. Throw in a couple of hours worth of planning and work and you end up with something beautiful.

All my father-in-law and I really did was build a box without a bottom to it. But the wood has character. I was honestly expecting a finished product that was a little ugly even, just functional.
I'm proud of how it turned out. We're going to put the raised bed on the side of our house for a classy looking garden. I'm almost finished with another box (3 feet by 8 feet by 18 inches) and one more smaller one ( 3 ft by 3 ft by 18 inches).

We're putting raspberries in one of the larger boxes, blackberries in the other. Vegetables in the smaller one. Eventually I want to put mulch down along with stepping stones in the pathways it creates. Maybe I'll build a bench?
I'm just glas we got all of that work done before the rain came.

Now all I need to do is convice Carrie we need to buy more power tools so I can build more projects.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Real Story Telling Is About The People...



I wrote the story, Robert Maxwell voiced it but the families of the fallen warriors live it. We all cried when we did our part.

I pray that we never forget.

Writing Adventurer: I am an Executioner


I am an executioner.
At work everyday I kill stories. I have to. I'm in a business of seconds and sometimes you just can't squeeze in another 15 second story.
I don't even feel bad about it.
I give the stories life and then take it from them.
Now I've gone and done the same thing to MY story.
I didn't kill the entire thing, just one of my favorite parts. But the more that I thought about it the little adventure just didn't fit. I'm sure I'll find a way to work it in eventually but it may not be in this manuscript. I feel disappointed in a sense. My entire story is all plotted out and this was part of that plot. When I got into it, writing it, feeling the story, living it, I just couldn't do it.
One of the things that I love about writing is the chance to go to this new world of mine. The characters there are old friends, sometimes even enemies. Is it weird to say there are some characters who just don't make me feel comfortable? Then again I have my favorites. One of my favorites I created with the intention of kill. Horrible aren't I? I mean he is absolutely my favorite. My wife gets upset with me over it sometimes. But I'm an executioner. I kill stories so the show goes on. And eventually I will kill my creation so the story can go on.
Have you ever seen the Will Ferrel movie "Stranger than Fiction"? The character, my favorite, has to die. I've gone over and over it again and the character has to die.
So tell me, how do you react when one of your favorite characters is killed?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cooking Meat With Fire

There is something extremely manly about cooking meat with fire and on Sunday I had that chance with my new grill.

My wife and I had a deal, I bought her a house, she bought me a grill. But since we bought our home in November it was always too cold to BBQ. So when I did get to fire up my new cooking utensil I started grilling everything in sight. Steak. Chicken. Tomatoes. Onion. Zuccini.
Everything tasted awesome. I told Carrie that I want to grill every Sunday. One bite of my steak and I had her convinced.
I think one of my favorite cooking ingredients, especially when using steak, is olive oil. It's the secret to a juicy steak. Guess the secret is out now.
I used a recipe for the marinades. Next time, I'm making my own.
Have I mentioned I love my new cooking utensil?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Catching Up: Working The Holidays

The newscast doesn't take vacation. I'm grateful for my job and I love what I do but I sure don't get a lot of holidays off.

Check out how I spent Christmas Eve.

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