Friday, October 12, 2007

Lonnie

My guitar is my favorite possession. Possession, however, isn't quite the right word. Really, it's a relationship, not a consumer/product arrangement, but rather a team of equals. We met in 2001. I was working as a guitar instructor and she was hanging beautifully on the wall.

She's a Larrivee L-05: solid wood mahogany back and sides, solid sitka spruce top. Appointments are classy, understated: abalone rosette, maple wood binding, ebony fingerboard, inlaid silver Larrivee headstock logo, and a clear pick-guard to let her beauty shine through.


I bought my first guitar back in high school. It's a Washburn dreadnaught style. It worked well for several years, until I started hanging out in the 'expensive guitar' section of the music shop. I spent hours playing and talking to Tom at Local Music.

One day Tom was being particularly helpful. He would hand me one guitar and then another. I would play a few minutes on each, sizing up the sound. Most of the guitars in the shop were upwards of $3,000, most decidedly out of my price range (which at the time was about $5). One of them was a Larrivee L-05. I kept wanting to play it again and again, and decided, when I have the money, that's the guitar I want.

While working as a guitar instructor at Summerhays music, they ordered two L-05's. I was so happy. Between lessons I would go out and pull one off the rack and play. I longed to buy one, but the sticker price was more than I could afford. Until I talked to the manager. He would give me 10% over cost. Still a lot of money, but I wouldn't get a better price. I bought one. Biggest check I'd ever written, and to this day not a twinge of regret.

Although Lonnie and I have only known each other six years, it seems much longer. Each time we are together we grow more fond of one another. There is no guitar but Lonnie for me. I've never met one with whom I feel as comfortable. She's heard my songs many times and always knows if I am excited, happy, sad, angry, or tired. Behind every great player there is an even greater guitar, and this is certainly true of our relationship.

Thanks, Lonnie, for your hard work, dedication, commitment, and love. Yours always,
Spencer

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Theologically Gated Community

One of a few metaphors Dave used this weekend. "So you build this theologically gated community. You get the walls tall enough, make sure all the gates are secure, the passwords set, only to look out and He is on the outside. 'What are you doing out there? You're supposed to be in here!' 'Didn't I tell you to love your neighbor?' 'Yea! In here, neighbors like us!'" Hmmm. . . . Easy to love people who are the same as you. What about others?

Another one: Dave was on a mountain bike ride, it was getting dark so he took a short cut through the railroad tunnel. It was a long tunnel. But he could see the light at the end. No sweat. There was enough light at the beginning, so he could see where the rails were and could keep in the middle of them. Bumpety, bumpety, bumpety. . . . As he got further in the tunnel it became darker and darker. He could still see the light at the end, but not anything in front him. "Oh no! I can't see where the rails are! What if I hit one and tumble over, and hit my head, and a train comes?! What if there is something in the middle and I hit it, and tumble over, and hit my head, and a train comes?!" But as he got closer to the other side, gradually, he could see the rails, until finally he made it to the end without incident. "When I got home my father and son were inside smiling at me as I got to the front porch. One still had light from where he came from, and the other could see better as he got closer to the end. But here was I, in the middle, wondering if I was headed in the right direction. I was doubting. But I see now that I can trust that as I ride through the darkness the light will come."

It was a relaxing evening. It wasn't a performance. Dave just sat there and played us some songs. I have seen him a dozen times. I like him. I trust him. He knows what it's like. Thanks, Dave.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

4th of July Salt Lake City!


Fourth of July 2007 began with a wonderful hike to Lake Mary. Mom, Lizzie and Spencer took it easy and enjoyed the scenery, and Dad, in near marathon shape, powered ahead with a "real hike."

Immediately following the hike was the annual Brighton breakfast hosted by the Wasatch 2nd Singles Ward. We each got the 'blue' breakfast, pancakes, eggs, and sausage. The line was long, but the food was good.


Fourth of July evening we rode bikes over to Sugarhouse Park to see the fireworks. It was crazy crowded with lots of interesting people. We even saw a skater dog. (See the skater dog.)

Here's Catherine, Spence and Brinton (with Hillary on the phone).



The fireworks show lasted half an hour and had a wonderful finale. (See the finale.)

All in all, it was a great Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Chocolate Breakfast

I love chocolate. I crave chocolate, a lot. No meal is complete without at least a morsel of cocoa to end on. I'll take milk chocolate in a pinch, but dark chocolate is my favorite. (Semi-sweet chocolate chips are great for chocolate emergencies.) Last winter I found a place, Hatch Family Chocolates, that sells dark hot chocolate. Holy cow, that stuff is good.

I love chocolate fountains. The first time I saw one was at a wedding reception. I couldn't believe it: there was flowing chocolate, just like in Willy Wonka's factory! It was a dream come true. At this reception there were two fountains, one milk, one dark (wonderfully). Strawberries, cinnamon bears, bananas, and other things, were used as mediums to get the chocolate to your mouth. It was heaven.

I eat a lot of cereal. (I'm a bachelor.) Growing up we never ate 'sugar cereals.' Mom didn't think it was good for us. We never had Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Golden Grahams, or Lucky Charms. This was hard as child, with all those 'sugar cereal' ads between the cartoons. Once, I went to Blake's house and saw in their cupboard a bunch of 'sugar cereals.' I was astounded. "Oh, lucky!" I shouted. I was depressed that the next morning I had to settle for Cheerios. Cheerios, Cheerios, Cheerios; I had so many Cheerios growing up, I still have a hard time eating them now. Anyway, when I left home, I thought "I'm going to treat myself right. Bring on the sugar cereals! Mom ain't buying the cereal now, I am, and I'm going to buy sugar cereals!" It was great. I discovered the Malt-O-Meal discount cereals--the same as the name brand, but cheaper, and in bigger quantities. Cinnamon Toasters, Honey Graham Squares, Marshmallow Mateys; it was fantastic.

So I overcame my childhood conditioning that one should not eat sugar cereals. But, there lingered in my mind this idea that one should not eat chocolate for breakfast. I couldn't bring myself to do it. In spite of my declared liberation from 'healthy' cereal breakfasts, I still couldn't bring myself to eat chocolate cereals for breakfast. Yes, I love chocolate, and yes I love sugar cereals, but chocolate for breakfast? Certainly this went against nutritional wisdom.

Until. . . . John left a bag of Cocoa Dyno-Bites (brand named Cocoa Pebbles, i.e., Rice Krispies covered in chocolate) on the counter. I came home from work, looking for a snack. "Hmmm. . ." I thought, looking at the over-sized bag of Malt-O-Meal cereal. "I wonder. . . ." It wasn't breakfast. This was just a snack, right? I would eat Oreo's for a snack. That's chocolate. Why not some Cocoa Dyno-Bites? I poured a bowl (with whole milk) and dug in. It was soo good! I poured a second bowl. I was hooked.

I'm on my sixth or seventh bag (these are big bags, mind you), and I don't feel the least bit bad about it. I eat them for breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, after-work snack, bed-time snack, whenever the heck I want. Nutritious? I'm not worrying about that now: I'm a bachelor, and bachelor's don't have to eat right. I don't have kids, so there's no one to teach about eating right. I can eat whatever I want. Including chocolate sugar cereals.

Cocoa Dyno-Bites, anyone?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Seven Peaks Water Park

I was the most scared I've ever been in my life! They have this new ride called the Boomerang. It's kind of like a half pipe, but it's shaped more like a V. You slide down one side (3 stories), around the curved bottom, and up the other side. I thought I was for sure going to fly off the ride and land in the asphalt. I got off and I was shaking. Literally shaking. I could not control the trembling and made some half-hearted attempts at playing it cool by saying, "yea, that was intense," which slowly degraded into comments like, "that was really scary," and "I'm never doing that again."


(See Lizzie and JT on the Boomarang!)


Shotgun Falls wasn't too bad. I went in front, JT behind. It's dark in there so you don't know when the drops are, but you're on a tube, so there is some cushioning. Jagged Edge was kind of cool. It was the tamest of the scary ones. It required some not so minor suit readjustment, but all-in-all it was good.


JT, the accounting wiz of the group, did the math to see what food we could buy with exactly $6.25. He did it, even with a last minute menu change. All-in-all, it was a fantastic day.

Here's JT being a show-off on the rope swing.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cart Wheel Competition

Remember doing cart wheels as a kid? Catherine and Jon decided to turn back the clock at Brigham Young Historic Park. It was a well manicured field, perfect for spinning cart wheels. Let's see who can cart wheel the fastest:
videoLooks like Catherine ran into some trouble. But it doesn't matter who won, we all had a good time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

David Wilcox

I’ve been listening to Big Horizon recently. This was the first Wilcox album I bought. There are some real gems there, some of Wilcox’s best. These songs are introspective, thoughtful, insightful. I believe this album is also musically the best by Wilcox. The songs are arranged well. The music matches the spirit of the words. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about:

“That’s What the Lonely is For” Take hope as you walk the depths of sorrow and loneliness, for the deeper the loneliness, the greater your capacity for happiness. How big is the fullness of your heart? A mansion.

“Show the Way” Love, another name for Deity. Are you surrounded by darkness and depression? Does the world seem a cold place to be? Remember, Love built the stage. The plan will not fail. “There is evil cast around us, but it’s Love that wrote this play / And in this darkness Love will show the way.”

“Break in the Cup” Maybe you’re the secret missing piece of my heart, finally going to make me happy! Nope. We can’t solve each other’s loneliness with our own capacity. We must go to the waterfall, to God, “From whom all blessings flow.” He will continually fill us with His love, and when we love another we are full.

“Farthest Shore” Shiny junk? What’s really important, what can I take with me? What should I work for? U2 reminds us of “all that you can’t leave behind.”

“All the Roots Grow Deeper When It’s Dry” “In the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me,” (D&C 101:8). Suffering has a purpose. In times of trial and affliction, do we feel after the Lord? Doing so will plant us more firmly in sacred ground, and when the winds and the storms blow we will not be uprooted.

“Hold It Up To The Light” “I see if you gave me a vision, I would never have reason to use my faith.” Boyd K. Packer said there is a “moment when you have gone to the edge of the light and step into the darkness to discover that the way is lighted ahead for just a footstep or two.” Will he guide us? Yes, if we step forward in faith. The light will come, and with each step we may say, “This far it feels so right.”

Monday, June 4, 2007

Look Unto Me


I met Emily Dyches in Copenhagen. She was there working on the murals in the Copenhagen temple. I was there with Gramps for the dedication. We met in the church where the original Thorvaldsen Christus resides. She is a rising super-star in religious art. She did this painting for my birthday this year, January 2007. It only took 2 days. It is a wonderful gift to remind me of that trip with Grandpa, and is special because Emily was there, too. My first original piece of art, a true family heirloom. Thanks, Em!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Do you want your milk in a bag?

Do I want my milk in a bag? Why do they ask that? Of course I want my milk in a bag. You put everything else in a bag, why not the milk? Perhaps you're lazy and don't want to bag one more item than you have to. Or you're trying to make it difficult for me to get my milk home. Perhaps next time I will say, "yes, I want my milk in a bag--a paper bag. That would be the most inconvenient way to transport my milk, don't you think?"


And while we're on the subject, what's with this new "Self Check-Out" business? I spend all this money buying groceries, and instead of serving me, you make me scan them myself? It's easy enough to scan the ones with barcodes, but what about bakery items, doughnuts and muffins? I don't know the codes for those. "Please wait for customer assistance, " the computer says. So the lady, from her supercomputer checkout mainframe, has to yell over, "What are those?" "Two doughnuts!" I wait for a few moments until the machine shouts at me, "Please place item in the bag." I guess there is an upside of self check-out: I get to put my milk in a bag myself.