Easter, family and reflecting…

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Spring time in Utah always brings mixed emotions for me. First of all the temps change and that always triggers the end of the ski season. I go through this every year, but I said “mixed”.. I know once the snow is no longer skiable, it’s time to do other sports, like hiking, biking and more flying.

Spring skiing

Spring skiing

This year we decided to take the weekend to visit with family and celebrate my Grandfather’s 95th birthday. My Grandpa is an amazing guy. He has lived his life in Southern Utah. As a young boy he lived in a sheep camp herding sheep on the Arizona strip outside of Saint George Utah. He also served in WWII as a radio operator. He served several LDS missions in places like Samoa and New Zealand (hence my love for the polynesian culture). This guy has always been outside fishing, hiking, hunting and exploring. He made his living as a plumber. Not just any plumber, but the “go-to” guy when it came to complicated boiler systems all over the state. My grandma would complain that if he got a call in the middle of the night from a neighbor to come over and fix a furnace, blocked toilet or general fixit projects, he’d jump out of bed and help anyone that asked. Never waiting for the next day to help.. always in the moment.

When we first got to St. George, we stopped to see my Grandpa at his condo. The lights were out and I thought that maybe he wasn’t there. Then I realized that because he’s blind, lights are for for everybody else. I was right, he was there and asked us to come in. As we sat down he said.. “now, who are you?” I said “Dain.. your oldest grandchild?!?” He went on to tell me that getting old has caused his memory to not work right. I didn’t feel bad, I was sad to see that one of my childhood heros was mortal and showing the signs of getting older. As we spoke, my Grandpa started remembering that I teach skiing and do radio, we have 3 kids and other details that really amazed me how sharp his mind really is.

Me and Grandpa at his 95th birthday party

Me and Grandpa at his 95th birthday party

I love this guy and love hearing his stories of his past. He always tells us how much he misses Grandma.. she passed away 4 years ago. They did everything together. These guys were the ultimate adventurers. Traveling and living all over the world.. with a home full of decorations from all these magical places. When Grandma died a piece of Grandpa died too. At the time he wouldn’t admit it, but now it’s pretty obvious how much he loves and misses Grandma. My grandpa is blind, yet he still walks for several hours at a time when he gets bored. I asked how he gets around town on his walks, he said,”well I’ve lived here my whole life.. I should be able to find anything here”.. what a guy.

Because it was his birthday AND Easter weekend we got to see cousins and family too. It was nice to reconnect with all of them. Dale, Chris, Kim, Marci, Jen, Jami, Russ, Preston, Joey, Scott, Jenny.. extended family and their spouses. My baby brother Jon and his wife made the trip too..

Me and Jon

Me and Jon

Jon and I have always been close.. he’s a good dude. Plus a drummer.. so hey! We’ve decided to go audition for Blue Man Group.. I’ll let you know.

One of my favorite things to do in St. George is to climb the red rocks around town.. as a kid, we would always challenge each other to see who could climb the highest, fastest and furthest.

Red Rocks

Red Rocks

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Today as we talked about leaving town, Lelani decided that she and Emi wanted to go to church with Grandpa. So while they were in church I decided to head back into the red rocks and do a little hiking and soul searching. It’s amazing how all my adventures with Grandma & Grandpa started flooding back. All the picnics, hikes and fishing trips.

I remembered one Easter I was hiking with my Grandparents on Cedar mountain. My grandma had hidden Easter eggs along the trail.. I found one that looked a little different so I bit into it…. it was crunchy, gooey and not candy.. I found a Robin egg and attempted to eat it. This one event has become family folk lore. I remember it like it was just a few years ago… I think I was 4 or 5..

While hiking I decided to stop by the cemetery and chat with Grandma…

Grandma

Grandma

I miss her.. she was a funny lady. Grandma and I had a heart to heart.. just like when she was here. I felt her presents and started to cry… I can’t believe it’s been 4 years since she passed away. I told her I missed her and will see again someday.. then it hit me. Easter!! That’s the promise! She taught me again.. to remember the significants of things. I smiled, said goodbye and walked through the cemetery where I found Lelani’s Grandmother and Grandfather.. Netty was a special lady too. I miss her as well.

I guess Easter took on a different meaning for me this year.. not just because we ate at Sizzler.. that was different.. It was all the family, reflections and Grandparents. What a gift..

I hope I get to see my Grandpa again soon… before he reconnects with Grandma… Of course I know that will happen someday, and of course that will be a mixed emotion day/event again. I think I’m starting to see a pattern here.

Yes… Today I am Rich!!

Sometimes no simply means… no.

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This is a word I’ve heard most of my life, but never paid much attention too. You see, my nature is to do things or at least attempt to prove the naysayers wrong. To this point in my life I have always been able to do it. I remember my parents telling me not to do things because it will hurt me, or that I just might not be prepared enough for the task.. needless to say I have had a long series of adventures and temporary set backs my whole life. I don’t remember all the times my parents were right.. but I do recall most of the time that I proved them and the naysayers wrong.

I have been a firm believer most of my life that facing your demons pushes you past your fear of failure. I still believe this. What have added to this mantra, is the idea that the process or the “journey” really is the adventure. This is the harder side of hearing the  word “No”. Sometimes I want my career back on track.. now.. today, or at least some guided direction for my next step. This process has taught me a lot of things. Mostly that we don’t completely have the power to control the outcome of our lives and that accepting the process is harder than it seems… sometimes longer than we want.

On the positive side, I have found myself breathing in the life I have now and really trying to appreciate the people and opportunities that are in front of me now.

I am continually amazed at the support I have always had around me. Friends, family, co-workers, random conversations… messages from the universe. One of the coolest “no duh” moments happened this past week. Lelani and I were at the movie Wander lust with Jennifer Aniston. At the end of the movie, I realized that I have always had a partner/lover/friend in Lelani.. my wife. She is the nicest, most loving, relaxed, smart person I know. Being “on the beach” affects everyone around me… not just me. She really keeps me grounded and less stressed about the obvious… I do wish I was more like her in many ways.

This last couple of weeks of reflection have been interesting. I didn’t pass my Cert III skiing… again. I felt good about my performance, but was told “No” you don’t ski well enough to be one of the 10% pass this exam. I turned it around and applied for the board of directors at PSIA to see if I can create some change for better consistency and learning inside the organization… we’ll see what happens, but again an adventure.

Church was amazing this week… The Church of the Mountain of Powder-day Saints…

Amen!!

The husband of a good friend passed away unexpectedly this past week. He was younger than me, in relatively good health. His young son found him on the floor unresponsive. Very sad situation.. but another lesson about how short and cruel life can be sometimes.

I had a private lesson at Deer Valley the other day. This was a very cool family from Indiana. They stayed at the Stein Erickson Lodge.. a very nice expensive hotel in Deer Valley. Anyway, spending the day skiing with this very affluent family was fun. The kids were nice and polite, the moms were cool too. In fact, I’m sure we’ll keep in touch in the future. What I learned from this adventure is that being positive and having a good time is a universal common thread we all share, regardless of our income. These guys were always happy and excited to get out on the snow… at 8:45 am.. the lifts don’t open until 9. Even though they usually ended the day at 2 or 3 to go get a message or shopping.. can’t blame them.

I also got a call from a friend that was just inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame… he’s a real smart, talented dude… He called me the night he got the award to tell me about a possible job opening in radio. I was blown away.. on a night he should be celebrating his new title, he was calling me. Not sure the opportunity is a good fit, but he reached out to me to help. So impressed.

Yep, I’m pretty blessed. My life is 180 degrees different than it was two years ago.. and that’s not a bad thing. I do miss some parts of that “old life”.. but not all.

So here’s what I’ve come to… Sometimes “no means No“..

But sometimes No means “not now.. later”

Breathe deep, soak it in, ride the ride, smell the clean fresh newness of it all…. cuz it won’t last.

I hope.

New work schedule, teaching and family

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So much has happened since my last post. First of all I got to finish the apprentice training and hiring process at Brighton. The snow is pretty good and the weather has been great. By going full-time at Brighton, I have decided to cut back at PCTV. Starting last week, my schedule will be TV show live Monday and Tuesday.. Ski school Wednesday through Sunday. This will allow me to make a little bit more money and do something I really enjoy. Skiing has always been bittersweet for me. I struggle with getting better at it. My list of movements that need to be improved is long and frustrating. I started this adventure 16 years ago to simply face my skiing demons. After breaking my leg at age 12 skiing at Beaver Mountain up Logan canyon, I developed a huge fear of getting hurt again. This has affected my movements even now. In fact today I taught a clinic to the ski school staff and my movements that I’ve been working on decided to show up again. It was pointed out to me by one of the participants in the clinics. This is a funny lesson of continual growth. The harder I try to improve, the more I find things to improve upon. Always working for improvement, never completely arriving or crossing the finish line. This is how I feel my radio career has been too. Lots of struggle and hard work only to be reminded how much more work there is to be done. I’m not complaining, just pointing out how so many things we strive for seem out of reach and hard to accomplish or get close too. So illustrates my personal growth challenge.. appreciating what I have right now, without hoping for more. Crazy?? Never taking anything for granted is harder than it first appears, but necessary for a happy life.. or so I’m told.

So here we go..

Thanksgiving.. I have never been a fan of the holidays. Seeing family and friends is always nice, but the formal side of the holidays has always been tough for me. This Thanksgiving I was asked to work at the ski resort in the morning, so Lelani got to spend the morning making food. I think she liked it since Alyssa (our oldest daughter) was staying for a couple of days. So it became a Mommy/Daughter day. I came home later that day and we had the traditional Thanksgiving foods. Turkey, mashed potatoes, salad, rolls, yams… One thing I have every year is sauerkraut. Yes.. I know, but it works so well with turkey. My friend Sue Kelly introduced me to it many years ago.. and now it’s a tradition. Oh and pie.. pumpkin, apple and peach.

We went over to my dad’s house that afternoon for dessert and to see family. After that we stopped my Lelani’s brother’s house to say hi.

As we got home Alyssa, Emi and Lelani decided that it was “time” to put up the tree. Now I don’t know why I hate these traditions so much. I of course voiced my opinion about how we should wait…. duly noted, my opinion was not taken. So the tree came out.. a pre-lit tree.. and the boxes of ornaments and decorations showed up in the middle of the floor. As we assembles the tree, many of the lights weren’t working… “wait, I got this..” I said. Come on, everyone knows that fixing lights is a God given right for all men.. much like carving the turkey. After the getting most of the lights to work, we started pulling out the ornaments. Our tree is anything but traditional. All the decorations and ornaments are all memories from our past. Like the rubber chicken my Mom gave years ago as a joke, The Hawaiian memories, In-n-Out Burger ornaments, reminders of past doggy friends, past vacations from around the globe, classroom projects from the kids, towns we’ve lived in, gifts from friends and of course flamingos. As we put the memories on the tree, I realized the same lesson I had forgotten from last years experience. All the stories and emotions all came flooding back, and yes the tears stopped by too. Looking at the tree I realized again, that this is OUR tree full of OUR memories. Everything has a story and deep meaning.

Our Hawaiian/Texas tree of memories

I have so much to be thankful for.. and that damn tree reminds me of many of those things every year. This is a great lesson of living in the moment, because nothing stands still. We are already making our new memories that will no doubt end up on the tree next year.

I look at my commute every morning and love what I have.. great health, strong body, great wife, kids, family and a sense of adventure that drives to keep looking for more…

My commute this week...

nice view huh??

Yup my life doesn’t suck…

Today I am rich!!