Sunday, November 16, 2008
More importantly, the other reason I haven’t updated this is because I have been spending the rest of my free time with Wendy. We met at the end of April at a Single Adult Conference in California. She lives an hour away in South Denver so my car has been getting more frequent oil changes.
Since pictures say a 1000 words and there is no way I can explain what I have been doing for six months, I’m posting some pictures.
Wendy convinced me to run the Boulder Boulder. It is a 10K run that is fairly famous around here. She is the runner of the group, and I am the goof ball.
We both like to cycle, which is one of our most enjoyable activities to do together. It is nice to see the amazing landscapes of Colorado by bicycle. In the early summer, we drove up to Estes Park and went exploring.
For Pioneer day, we drove to her house in Alamosa Colorado. We watched a few parades, enjoyed a demolition derby, sat underneath some fireworks, went dancing in a barn by ourselves (almost), and just relaxed. We drove up to the sand dunes and found a waterfall.
In August, my mom came into town and we got up real early to go to the balloon festival. Some amazing colors bouncing off of these brilliant balloons.
Over the Labor Day weekend, we flew to Portland and spent the weekend with my family at the beach. Wendy served her mission in Portland and it was the first time she had been back.
We are heading back to Portland for Thanksgiving. So that is the summary. The two W's in my life right now. Work and Wendy and Writing isn't one of them. I'm going to try and do better.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Yesterday I went into a war zone. Last week a tornado ripped through a small town less than an hour away from Longmont. A good friend of mine lives in the town and fortunately was not seriously effected by the storm. However, several homes belonging to members of his ward were completely destroyed.I decided I needed to drive up to help out for a few hours. Ground zero had been closed off to everyone for several days after the storm so that inspectors could enter the homes and determine if they were safe. The neighborhood had only been open for a few hours when I arrived. Hundreds of people with trucks and trailers where there to empty out the houses and get them ready for demolition. At some homes, there was a very obvious common thread...the yellow T-shirt proclaiming, “Mormon Helping Hands.” I couldn’t help think of the yellow jersey.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Our dental office is located very near a small airport where there is a parachute school. From our office we can watch the parachuters jump from the plane and dive. Our office has very large windows and it is very fun to watch them fall from the sky and then glide to earth. Often, they do tricks while falling.
Each morning during our morning huddle I share a joke with the staff. Yesterday I shared the following.
Four people are in an airplane, the pilot, the smartest man in the world, the richest man in the world, and a punk teenager. The airplane experiences some difficulties, and the pilot informs the three passengers that the plane is going to crash, and there are only three parachutes on the plane. The richest man in the world takes one, because he says that his lawyers will sue everyone else on the plane if he doesn't survive. The smartest man in the world takes a parachute, because he thinks that the world would be a worse place without him. The pilot says to the punk "There's only one parachute left, I'll fight you for it." "That won't be necessary," said the punk, "The smartest man in the world took my backpack."
I thought it was a funny joke. About half of the staff chuckled. The other half had a weird look on their face. Timing is everything and it pays to read the newspaper. The day before there was a man killed at the nearby airport because his chute didn’t open. Not so funny when good intentions go bad.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Its a bird...
Its a plane...
There was a 70-75 year old couple that joined us for the canopy tour. After the third platform the gentleman bashfully admitted to his wife that when he signed them up for the canopy tour he thought they were going to be on a walking tour. Oops. Little did they know they would be joined by three rambunctious men.
And a few more pictures too.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Saturday February 23
Arrived Saturday evening to Guatemala City and stayed at a Holiday Inn.
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Sunday night we slept at the branch presidents house. It reminded me of my days in Brazil while serving a mission. Early Monday morning we started working on the orphan children. Each one of them laid on our make-shift chair (a round table covered with a sheet and pillow) while we examined their mouth. We fixed the teeth that could be fixed and extracted the teeth that couldn't. Jeff did a great job jumping back and forth to translate for us and assist where he could. The process was slow, which made me really grateful for my trained assistant back home. We were able to see most all of the orphan kids on Monday. On Tuesday we opened our services up to the members of the branch and the community. We had a manageable steady flow all day.
It was interesting to me that the condition of the teeth between the orphans and the public. When we opened the clinic up to the public on Tuesday, we saw significantly more decay and tooth problems. It was immediately apparent and obvious that one segment of the population had access to sugar and the other segment did not. The orphan kids had relatively good oral health. They also didn't have access to candy and sweets like the other kids did. Many of the kids outside the orphanage would beg and cry until they could get candy, or the parents would use candy as a mechanism to control behavior. "If you stop crying...or if you are good...you can have some candy." The question really is; who is controlling the behavior of who?
We packed up late Tuesday afternoon and drove back to Guatemala City. We had to "get out of Dodge" before it became dark because the road we were traveling was pretty dangerous. There had been many roadside blockades while thieves stop the cars and steal everything. When we got into Guatemala City we went out to a nice restaurant to celebrate the work we had accomplished. 58 patients, and 170+ procedures: Not bad for two dentists, two days, a headlamp, a make shift dental clinic, and no trained assistant.
It was at dinner when we had one of the more funny experiences of the trip. After we ordered our meal, three singers came to our table and began to sing to us. We enjoyed their performance and tipped them accordingly. When they looked at the tip, they got very angry and said that the cost for three songs was $10. (Interesting that they didn't tell us before they started singing). After a few very awkward and tense moments, we satisfied their request and then mentioned the scam to our waiter. A few minutes later we saw the three amigos arguing with the manager as he kicked them out of the restaurant. We later found out he fired them from all three of his restaurants in town. Apparently, the singers had been warned before for their questionable business practices and that night they got the boot. We were afraid we were going to get jumped and beaten with a guitar as we left the restaurant.
We spent Tuesday night at the hotel and got up the next morning to catch a flight to Tikal. We arrived in Tikal Wednesday afternoon and went on a zip-line adventure before entering the park. You can see in the video that we had a rambunctious time. We walked around the ruins and climbed on the ancient temples. The next morning we awoke at 4:30 a.m. to go on a tour of the park and sit and watch the sunrise while listening to the monkeys and other wildlife wake up. It was a beautiful sight and sound. We finished walking though the park and then that night we flew back to Guatemala City.
Friday we took a taxi to the Guatemala City LDS temple and went through a session before we caught our flight back home. It was interesting to me the oasis the temple provided. The city was dirty, rough, dangerous, busy, and uncaring. As we entered the grounds of the temple a feeling of safety was palpable. What a blessing the temple provides to the members of the church to have a place to go and remove themselves from the struggles of life. Though I've had those feelings before, the safety the temple provided was even more apparent in an environment where safety was not the norm. God bless the USA.