Friday

Went to see Grandma, who was lucid, bright and cheerful. She watched the girls play with her “kittens” (her stuffed animals) and we had some nice conversations about the holidays, the “triplets” (our three girls.)

Saturday

Went for a run with Dad. Kept an 8:36 pace, which was pretty good for me. I have a hard time with that pace in Utah. Dad ran pretty comfortably, it seemed.

Wendy went shopping with Samantha. I spent some time with Courtney at the apartment and watched some football (9ers, Raiders, and a couple of college games.)

I went back to the house and Wendy and the girls came back.

Cousin Laura passes away

Wendy just woke me up to tell me that my cousin Laura passed away, tonight. I only got to meet her a few times, but I really loved her personality. She is a woman of God and is surely in a happier state, tonight. It has been a pleasure to know her on this earth and I look forward to seeing her in the next life.

My first walkman

Just a quick memory:

When I was a kid, under 12, I guess, I remember that I had Mom drop me off in front of a store in Chico (somewhere in the Almond Orchard, I think), where I bought my first walkman. It was a yellow Sony. Very popular style, if you’re familiar, if you recall.

Anyway, I must have been there for HOURS. I remember that I bought it and listened to it in front of the store. I thought I was so cool. In my mind, I totally was.

This memory is closely linked to my first purchase of a “ghetto-blaster.” I bought this one, I’m pretty sure, somewhere in south Chico (Skyway area.) I can’t remember what kind it was, but I remember that it was dual cassette, so that I could copy friends music and make my own mix tapes. It wasn’t the best one out there, because I couldn’t afford it. But it was sufficient for my desire and I was really proud of it.

These two memories can be quickly linked (last one- promise) to another radio. This one was a Panasonic, that looked sort of like the one pictured here. Except this one looks a little more dated, compared to the one I had. Anyway, I used to keep this thing tucked between the head of my mattress and the headboard, so that I could listen to K100 and especially Casey Kasem’s top 40.

A brutal, necessary run

This morning’s run consisted of my feeling like I was running a 8:30 average.  Really, though, I ran about a 9:23.  Really?  Yes.  And I didn’t even take a walk break.  The truth of the matter is that I’m out of shape.  If you feel like giving me a break, you can take note of the following:

– The temperature was in the high teens.
– There is a bad inversion, right now.
– My asthma sort of kicked in before the halfway point.

Given all of this, I still feel like my effort didn’t equal the stats.  Obviously, it did, but it sure didn’t feel like it.  I took note of my shadow as I ran and it seemed like my legs were moving fast enough to easily grant me a sub 9-minute pace.  Nope.

It also occurred to me as I ran that you lose your calibration when you don’t run too often.  If you run every day, you get a pretty good sense for how fast you run.  Even without a watch, you sort of learn to feel your pace.

I should mention that I also didn’t run with my Garmin, today.  I used my iPhone, because the MapMyTri app has been improved to the point that it’s quite useful.  Instead of coming home and connecting my Garmin to my Mac and going through the sync process, I just answer MMR’s iPhone app when my run is over, telling it to go ahead and publish my run.  I don’t have to do anything except start my run and stop my run on my phone.  The rest is handled by MapMyRun.  It’s really quite cool.

The 2011 Nelson Newsletter, socially-speaking

Well, it’s that time of year, again. It’s time to write the Nelson Newsletter (sometimes called: “Nathan’s longest run-on sentence of the year)”, which will inadvertently lead to hurt feelings, miscommunications, and plenty of drama that will help me to fill the page as I write the 2012 Nelson Newsletter. And it’s pretty much a rehash of things you already know, if you’ve been following Lucy’s Facebook page. Let’s get started…

January through March

The year started off as it does every year. I aged (don’t smirk- so did you). On January fifth, the odometer clicked a single digit over, from a five to a six. Once again, I bucked the maintenance check. I don’t need anyone to tell me I’m 36, overweight and slightly wheezy- I have Facebook friends for that. Speaking of things I’ve posted on Facebook…

I have finally earned the trust of my children. Late in February, as we were sitting down to eat dinner as a nuclear family, I told Roxie that I was so hungry, that I was going to “eat all of the cookies, the ice cream, the macaroni and cheese, the applesauce…”, etc. She panicked and burst into tears. I immediately reported this to Facebook. Which, if you’d been following, you’d have known that…

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Reagan got punched in the face at the neighborhood playground, this year. Hard. By some idiot kid with idiot parents, who have no idea how close they came to “kissing the clouds.” I learned about it from Wendy, over the phone and almost went all “Taken” over it. (“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. But if your kid touches my kid again, I will find you, and I…”) She was pretty affected by it, but seems to be much better, now that we’ve had The Talk about when it’s appropriate to clobber a boy. We’ll have this talk again, much, much too soon. Over a chat on Facebook. But ten years from now, we’ll probably just communicate with each other over our social networking implants, which will now be lodged in our big toe. And when we do, I’ll recount the time in May of ’11, when…

April through June (abridged version)

David and I went to southern Utah, so that I could run the Saint George Triathlon. It was grueling, but I pulled through, finishing with the all-too-familiar quote that we read about in the annals of running, when Pheidippides of Greece, in order to alert his country that they’d won the battle against the Persians, ran 26 miles to his fellow countrymen and said, “GAAaaaarrrrrp…” and died. As soon as I got home, I posted what I’d said in my exhaustion and every inane detail about the trip to Saint George, because, frankly, people want to know EVERYTHING about my life on Facebook, including what I’m eating (cereal), how I feel about bedtime (grrrr!!!), the weather (I like clouds, because…), my kids’ incredible accomplishments (Reagan loves fingerpaint!), fish (?), and why run-on sentences are so, like, lame. And now that I get to thinking, there was another story that I told on Facebook that have received a few comments and caused me to be poked, this way and that…

July through September

There are varying versions as to how it happened. All I know is that I was at the Cracker Barrel with Mom, Dad, Nancy, Mark, Nandy and Reed, when Wendy called, shrieking, to explain that Lucy had a large gash hurt herself and required brain surgery minor medical attention. Also, that she might have lost an ear or something. Really the phone conversation was all garbled, so it’s hard to tell. By the time I got to the hospital with Mom, everything was pretty calm. The (licensed?) doctors at American Fork Hospital were awesome. In the end, it wasn’t as bad as we thought, although Wendy claims that, initially, she could see, coming through the cut in Lucy’s forehead (and I quote)- “brains.” But either way you tell it, Lucy did great and her mother was once again placated. Soon after this experience, Wendy and I both hopped onto Facebook to wish each other a…

Happy tenth anniversary! The first anniversary that we shared wasn’t really a big deal. You can weather just about anything over the course of a year- an obnoxious mission companion (you know who you are), squeaking brakes, a smoke detector’s faint beep as it tells you, for months on end, that it would really appreciate a fresh set of batteries, a bandmate that insists that the chorus to Paradise City could really use some some light xylophone, milk from February…

Still, five years is a huge accomplishment. I get that. But ten- that’s really something. And before some of you “wiser”, more “experienced” and “intrusive” couples start in with me about your twenty or fortieth or whatever anniversaries, let me remind you of something- you are not the one writing this newsletter under duress.

So, Wendy, if you’re still online, upstairs, on Facebook, I just want you to know how much I love you and that I look forward to our better-late-than-never tenth anniversary celebration in Hawaii, this March, and also it would be really, really nice if we could somehow work a special tenth anniversary triathlon into it…and if you’re still on chat, please humor me, because I’m struggling for another Facebook transition so that I can work into this next 2011 event, which was when…

In September, a sad thing happened. Our old home in Butte Creek Canyon burned down. Some of my favorite memories were in that home. I played with Courtney and Marisa, there, chopped wood, rolled rounds of a tree down the hill that Dad had sawed, with Courtney, paid the price for that one, spent time in the tree house in the front yard, cut holes in Dad’s fence, he never found out, thank-goodness, he would have killed us, raised a parrot, buried a parrot, used that parrot’s name for every online password from 1998-2008, don’t bother, it’s no longer operational, but where was I, right, watched Mom make bread in the kitchen, walked to the creek with the family- and on and on…great memories. I’m really going to miss that place.

Back in the Butte Creek Canyon days, there was no such thing as taking a nice picture, like the one above and “tagging” every one you knew. There was a reason for that. It would have gotten you beat up. Nowadays, kids just torture each other publicly on social media sites. Adults have their own version of “bullying.” We take pictures of family members, while on cruises or whatever and post the most heinous pictures of each other. Sort of like the following story I’m about to relate, after I figure out how to make this sentence connect seamlessly, forget it, this is a rough draft, anyway…

October through December

In October, we dropped our daughter, Lucy, off at the kennel (some kindly relatives) and flew to Orlando for our cruise to the Eastern Carribean Caribean Cuhribein’ Caribbean, where we prepared for a week of paying large quantities of money to men with hats who clamored to make incidental contact with our luggage.

But we had a great time. Roxie and Reagan spent a good portion of their time in Camp Carnival, where a semi-mature staff of, what I think were 11 year-olds, watched after the kids who were funneled into a room where they could stumble around with crayons and scissors as the ship rocked them, back and forth, across the playroom. Roxie and Reagan claim that it wasn’t nearly as primitive as I’ve described, that they made friends easily and “really enjoyed watching The Titanic with the other kids.”

Some of you know that a cruise conditions you for laziness. Everything is done for you. Beds are made for you, breakfast is served for you, children are watched for you- you are basically catered to in every conceivable way. It’s like being a blank, but with way more blankity-blank. Hahaha!!! (Wendy, before this goes to print, help me think of something really funny for that last sentence, but not personally insulting to a potential reader- especially family. Let’s not recreate the incident of ’03, if you know what I mean.)

But the cruise wasn’t all fun and games. There was a lot of work involved, too. There were several times (hundreds), as we were playing cards, up on the Lido deck, when someone would mention how good ice cream sounded. There was an ice cream machine about ten feet away from our table, but it got to the point where we would pay kids to walk the short distance and get us another cone. “Cone me” was not an uncommon phrase on Deck 10. “That is not a royal-straight-flush and you are cheating cheating cheating- OHMYGOSHYOUARETOTALLYCHEATING!!!” was another common phrase.

After the cruise, we spent a day at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The girls met Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse and some princesses. This thrilled them (Roxie and Reagan) to no end. Wendy and I enjoyed taking the girls on several children-themed rides, like Dumbo the Flying Elephant. But mostly, Dumbo the Flying Elephant. They loved this ride. As soon as the 36-second ride would end, they’d run back to the line for another Dumbo ride and wait. They will probably remember it for the rest of their lives. I know I will. Twenty years from now, we’ll compare notes and see how accurately our memories of Disney World line up…over a Facebook Stream, of course.