Until recently, I didn’t really understand when people said, “So-and-so and I are just alike. That’s why we never get along.” Then there was Evan.

It’s horrifying to see all my flaws and weaknesses mimicked and thrown back at me by a four-year-old. Beyond that, it’s aggravating. I know I’m to blame for a lot of Evan’s bad habits and unpleasant behavior. I have a short temper; Evan escalates just as quickly, and within minutes we’re both furious. He shouts that he’s not my friend anymore and I mutter that I don’t care as I stomp off to lock myself in the bathroom for a brief moment of privacy.

Parenting is hard. And lately I feel like I’m doing it all wrong.

I have been making an enormous effort this past week to stay calm and patient when Evan is being his normal belligerent self. It’s exhausting! I’m crossing my fingers that persistent effort will pay off eventually, but for now I still have a surly kid on my hands. I think Jarom is both amused and frustrated by how similar Evan and I are.

Today was Evan’s checkup, and we always do ice cream afterwards. Because his appointment was at lunchtime I decided to use a little of my spending money to get Happy Meals for the kids and let them play for a while at the play area, with the condition that they could only open the toys when we left – and only if they left without fussing. When Evan went to go play, he told me, “If you call me, I will come with no fussing because I’m a good listener.” We’ll see if that actually happens. I’ve been trying to praise more than correct, which I hope will help mini-me be a little nicer in turn.

Any other advice? I’m struggling mightily!



I haven’t really ever had to deal with losing a loved one. My mom’s dad died when she was a little girl, and my dad’s mom passed away when I was just a little too young to feel sad about the abstract concept of death. The first time I remember being impacted by a death was when my bishop passed away when I was 16. I was impressed by how upbeat his family was at his funeral – they’d known he was going to die soon, and their faith gave them perspective. Since then, I’ve only been to two other funerals – one for our stake patriarch, whose wife had passed away many years before, and who everyone felt was ready to go; and one for my aunt, who’d had a long battle with cancer. I remember that occasion as being sacred and reverent. Every aspect of it was carried out with deep respect and love.

Jarom’s grandmother passed away yesterday. She had been in poor health for the past year and hospitalized recently, but her condition had been improving, so this was sudden and unexpected and heartbreaking. His grandparents had been married over 60 years, and I can’t imagine how his grandfather is feeling now. It’s been hard for everyone, with so many prayers in her behalf and great hopes that she was on the mend. I’m glad we all got to visit over Thanksgiving, and have that memory.

We’ll be heading down to the funeral soon – I don’t know the exact date yet – so there may not be regular posts for a few days.

Have you had to deal with this kind of loss? What would you suggest that I do to help Jarom and his family out?


I used to think being a Jack of all trades meant a person could do many things with great alacrity and skill.  I was happy to think of myself as a Jack of all trades; a person who was always willing to jump into something new and do it well.

Imagine my disappointment when I learned that Jack of all trades is only half of the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none.”  As it turns out, this may be an even more apt description of myself.

Much like my lovely wife, I find that my interest and focus changes with some frequency.  In the past, the following things have captured my interest: fishing, woodworking, cycling, my 280zx, jogging, Magic: The Gathering, and writing.

Part of the problem is, however, that in a desire to not do anything half way, I throw myself into each of these pursuits with great vigor.  I will give you an example which is perhaps (though reports cannot be confirmed) a source of great ire from Mika: my 1981 Nissan 280zx.

Initially, we purchased the car because it was affordable, and it appeared to be a good opportunity for me to learn about car maintenance.  Soon, however, I didn’t want to simply maintain the car, I wanted to improve it!  So I set out to learn as much as I could about the car, and I quickly discovered that many people were able to successfully change out the engine in my car for the turbo version of the engine in other models of the same car.  Quickly, the completion of this project became my ardent desire.

Around the time of graduation, I even went so far as to purchase a car for parts which had the engine I wanted.  I began work on the transfer, which I had been assured was a simple process.

I quickly learned that when mechanics say that swapping out an engine is easy, they mean two things: 1) It is easy for mechanics, and 2) it is easy compared to other engine swaps.

As a result, I am left with a half-finished project.  The engine has been taken out of the donor, and placed into the silver car,  that is as far as it has gone.  I mostly blame winter, but maybe I can now also blame myself.  Just a little.  Don’t tell Mika.