Thursday, January 28, 2010

Start em while their young

oh yea, hebs and hans have taken their first steps. So cute!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Perfect Storm

Since school has started (3 days ago) I have been riding my bike to school. It is about 15 miles one way and takes me 45-60 minutes to ride (as opposed to 25-30 minutes driving). Despite bad weather, I have continued to ride. Yesterday morning it was the rain. By the time I arrived at school I was drenched thoroughly from my hair to my shoes, only important items in my backpack wrapped in plastic bags were somewhat dry. But it was a nice ride and good training.

Yesterday evening was different. I was already late getting off from my school work (5:00 pm), but the elements combined against me as to try and keep me from ever getting home. At first it was just the wind coming from the south. I ride in a southeasterly direction, so I was either going against a headwind that was slowing me down or in a crosswind that was pushing me toward the street. I admit that the first half of the ride home was a rather fun challenge. It provided good training for my legs, keeping the bike steady on a straight path and just riding in difficult circumstances. Granted that it was taking me twice as long to travel, I was somewhat enjoying it. The powerful gust of wind would blow rocks and dirt on me that stung badly. Thanks to my sunglasses, my eyes were not damaged. However, as the intensity of the storm increased, I started to become worried for my safety.

Because of my slow progression, it got dark much sooner than I had expected causing me to remove my eye protection just to be able to see. The road got very narrow at some points and it was everything I could to not lose control of my bike and have it veer into busy traffic. The only rest I got was in a short span of neighborhood where the height of the houses diverted the wind and left me in somewhat of a calm. But the rest of the time I was going against a head wind that at times would cause me to almost come to a stop and then would let up just enough that I could keep moving forward.

When I got to the last 3 mile stretch I really started to worry. This was an open stretch on Ironwood from Empire to Bella Vista with no protection and no lights. I decided that I would try to hitchhike, but did not want to stop my progress in fear that I would never get home. So I continued forward. That stretch usually takes me 10 minutes, but now seemed to not get any shorter as I rode. I carried no water with me as I'm used to a 45 minute ride that doesn't require it. At this point I was pushing 1 and 1/2 hours of riding and really starting to feel the fatigue (I had not eaten since breakfast either). I kept telling myself that it would be alright though and that I would eventually get home, slowly but surely.

The storm did not let up or pass like I had hoped. Instead it got worse. I started to stick my left hand out with my thumb up as I saw the lights of a car coming up. I was hoping for a generous passer-by, but didn't have enough confidence that one would actually stop so I had to keep pedaling forward. I eventually stopped doing this as it caused me to lose control of my bike. Thoughts of wanting to see Rachel and the kids again were motivating me as well as that of a warm dinner waiting for me (which Rachel delivered on). But the storm's peak was too much. It finally stopped me in my tracks and I had to twist out of my pedals and start pushing it. Only after getting off the bike did I realize how weak I had gotten. I felt like a drunkard staggering along the side of the road, and who'd stop for that? Nevertheless, I pushed the bike with one arm and outstretched my left arm with my thumb up hoping that someone would stop. It would take a special person, however. Traffic was going too fast to give people a chance to think about stopping. They would have had to already made up their minds and just react.

After 10 minutes of trudging along, that person drove by. In a compact car, they stopped about 50 yards ahead of me. When I finally made it to their window I looked in to see a lady in nun apparel. She told me to put my bike in. I first tried the trunk but could not get it in and was getting beat by the wind blowing the trunk door down on me. I told her and she said I could put it in the back seat which I knew would work. Opening the door caused some trash and piece of Tupperware to fly out and get lost in the darkness. The door did not want to stay open and I had to wedge my body between it and the car. I eventually got the bike in and then assumed my place in the front seat.

Happier I could not have been to be safe and know that I was going to make it home. the lady introduced herself as Sister ______ (I immediately forgot). She seemed so happy to help and got me home within minutes. After she dropped me off and before she left, I asked if I could have a way to contact her to which she replied, "No, no. I'm just returning a favor for all those times others have helped me." Not willing to argue I said thanks, again, and bid her off. I was safe at home and so grateful that for a house in which the effects of the storm could not be felt while within.

A few things can be learned from this story.
  1. We need to be prepared to react. I believe that because helping others was on the forefront of this lady's mind she was able to. I have found that when situations for need arise, I seldom have time to think and decide what I'll do.
  2. Attitude is everything. I don't think I would have made it as far as I did if I didn't have the right attitude. In fact, I saw it as a fun challenge and a blessing to my training. I compare it to a time in8th grade after a basketball game when I had to walk home because someone forgot to pick me up. I was already mad because we lost, but I also didn't feel appreciated. It was a long miserable walk having to carry my things while dressed in a shirt and tie and feeling sorry for myself and mad at others. But in reality it wasn't that bad of a walk. If I had the right attitude it would have been fine.
Going off that last point, I don't think that having a good attitude is a matter of just being positive out of sheer will. It is about having the right perspective, which can cause us to be positive. Knowing that God loves us and what our purpose is here on earth can give us that perspective. It can help us to see trials as being for our good (training) and know that God is in control and will watch over us if we obey Him (and even sometimes if we won't). I'm sure there is much else that could be learned, but that is all I have for now.

This was written before I had heard how big this storm was. A call went out from our Stake President asking us to check on all our home teaching families and see if they were all right. Someone else said there was even a tornado.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The $1 Chicken Sandwich Experiment

Written By Talmage Hansen

This past Winter Break we went on a vacation to Utah. I don't think I'll go as far as Jared Scott and covenant to never drive to Utah again, but I will definitely avoid it--especially with a small car like our Volkswagen Beetle and 2 babies. So, in order to spice things up (no pun intended), I decided to do a taste test/experiment on the drive up.

Goal: Determine which of all the fast food dollar menu chicken sandwiches was the best.

In order to do this I tried to control the experiment as much as possible by making sure that each scenario was the same.

Controlled Variables:
  1. I would be in the passenger seat and take notes on the sandwich as I ate.
  2. The chicken sandwich was always a snack food, not a meal, so the level of hunger was the same going in.
  3. All cost 99 cents or $1.
  4. I would eat the sandwich "as is" and no add any condiments to it.
Uncontrolled Variables:
  1. Varieties of chicken sandwiches (i.e. spicy or not)
  2. Unexpected sickness which seemed to increase with each chicken sandwich
Results: Following are the results from this test on a scale of 1-10.

  1. Carl's Jr. 6.0 Overall it was the best. Good bun, awesome lettuce, zesty mayo sauce, bigger, and good flavored and textured chicken. Their new commercial should say "Chicken sandwich. Fries. and a Coke. Get the _____ away from me. I'm eating!!!"
  2. Wendy's 5.5 The chicken was very real tasting and looking (irregular shape) which is the reason this got 2nd. The bun wasn't special and the lettuce was poor (1 big floppy piece).
  3. McDonald's 5.0 The chicken had an all-around good texture. The flavor was good too but a little unnecessarily spicy, the kind that detracts from the flavor. The mayo was okay. It gained some points on the chopped, crispy lettuce and a bun slightly toasted on the inside.
  4. Jack-in-the-Box 4.5 Had a bun toasted on the inside as well, but also had 1 big slightly limp lettuce. Mayo-okay. Okay texture. There wasn't as much flavor in the chicken which actually wasn't a bad thing, it gave it a more natural taste.
  5. BurgerKing 4.0 Had the best lettuce, it was a compromise between the 1 big piece and the many chopped up little pieces, like homemade lettuce. Unfortunately, I did not order lettuce, I ordered a chicken sandwich. The bun was toasted on the inside, but it was big and engulfed the chicken (not the bad actually). the reason it lost was the chicken which had the worst texture and flavor of all the sandwiches.
*I also did try a KFC sandwich but eliminated it from the results because it wasn't the same style as the others. It was smaller and different shaped. But as far as taste went it was the best.

Although, I did start to dread having to eat another chicken sandwich each time we pulled up to a restaurant, I don't think that it skewed the results. I am known to eat until I am full and then continue until I am sick. So I can differentiate between feeling nauseous because I am full and because of bad food. And don't think either that just because BK got last I won't be returning there. In fact, I probably eat KFC and Carl's Jr. the least because they are not convenient.

So there it is folks. A solid chicken sandwich evaluation to kick off 2010. I've heard (and read) a variety of opinions about differentfast food and there is no consensus. Too often people associate a bad experience or many other factors into it. But not here. "Unprejudiced. Unbiased. Fair." (Two-Face)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Live Pooping

I found Hannah in her crib bare bummed. She must have wiggled out of her diaper, which might I add was as clean as a wistle. I was suprise to see poop all over blanket and more suprise to see it coming out of her!
:) Good times, good times.

Upcoming Feature:
I have written up a post on our Holiday Vacation, Talmage wanted to add his 2 cents before I post it. So wait for his Dollar Chicken Sandwhich Study that he did while on our trip.