Ocean Size


Yesterday, we went to Cape Lookout for a Saturday hike. We were expecting it to rain, but the weather was incredible. We were walking along the edge and looking at the ocean a bazillion feet below. The kids were asking about its size relative to Bear Lake, and Claire said, “This particular ocean is the largest ocean,” and I chimed in and said, “this specific ocean…”

If you say it quickly, it sounds like “this Pacific Ocean”…get it? It is one of my better old-man jokes. Thanks for setting it up, honey.


We had been on the boat for about 10 minutes, but I had already lost hope of seeing any whales. I really like whales. Whales and octopuses (or “octopi” if you prefer) tie for first place on my list of coolest living creatures. (Have you seen this video? Or this one?)

So, in order to avoid disappointment, I was comforting myself with the fact that the boat ride was already a lot of fun. We were all standing at the front of the boat, enjoying the wind and the waves. Everyone was looking off to the right, where the most recent sighting had been.

Maybe I was wallowing a bit (I really wanted to see some whales), but I was staring down at the water in front of the boat. Suddenly, the water became slightly grey, and the grey was expanding, replacing the blue that was there before. There was a little monologue happening in my brain:

Hey, what’s that?
I think that might be a whale!
A whale!
That’s a whale!!

Although my brain was screaming, I wasn’t saying a word — and no one else was either.


Noise erupted as everyone noticed the whale emerging from the water. It was so close, the boat had to slam on the brakes and quickly switch to reverse to avoid an accident.

On second thought, maybe the octopus is a close second.


Sometimes it is entertaining to read old journal entries. This is what I wrote one day in 2008:

…Claire said if I can’t find a good job in Portland, living in Utah is still a really great option. She described it as a win-win situation. Here are some other win-wins from yesterday:

1) Conrad threw up a few times, but the rug needed cleaning anyway.

2) I lost my silver iPod, but who needs four iPods anyway.

3) I broke my toe, but this particular toe is sort of useless anyway.

Double Dragon

I have decided that my world revolves around food enough that I want to post about restaurants that I thoroughly enjoy. Today, I went to a regular favorite, Double Dragon. I normally get the amazing pulled pork sandwich, but today I tried the special, a Szechuan peppercorn burger. It was delicious! Check them out if you’re in SE Portland.


Double Dragon 5-spice burger

Follow that Rope

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is under construction, so the exhibit is currently housed in the Hermitage Museum. I followed the map (iPhone’s Maps) to the museum that’s under construction where they are still selling tickets. When they gave me the tickets they told me to follow the rope and pointed up. I looked up and saw a red rope wrapping around the building. I thought this might lead to a map.

When I got to the other side of the building, I saw the rope extending out through the city, stretching between buildings, trees, and lights — criss-crossing streets and rivers — turning corners, hopefully leading to where I might find the exhibit. I’m sure I looked like an idiot walking down the street, staring up at this red rope. The path stretched over three miles — and not in a straight line. It seems like an idea one of my kids would have come up with but that never would have gone anywhere in the US. Props to Amsterdam for making it happen.

Passport Photos

On a trip to Amsterdam last week, I was reminded how truly horrible my passport photo is. We were in New York and I had to renew my passport. I was directed to a little shop down the street. I have no idea what this shop actually sold, but the man at the counter was somewhat willing to take a passport photo. He didn’t use any words but gestured for me to sit on a chair against the wall. As I turn and move to sit on the stool I hear the camera click. I froze, hunched over, somewhere between sitting and standing. By the time I realized it was no longer necessary for me to finish sitting, he pulled the photo out of the camera and walked over to the register. The whole process took about two minutes — how’s that for great service?

New York Mormon

So, I’m buying a car and the salesman asks where I lived before Oregon. I told him New York and he asked if I was a Yankee’s fan. I, of course, told him that I was a Red Sox fan. He gave me a strange look and said, “That’s like being from Utah and not being a Mormon.”

Beyond Our Control

I called the IRS yesterday and got the following message:

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we cannot answer your call.

That’s it. No “leave a message and we’ll call you back” or “call back during regular business hours”…What does this mean?