Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Personal’ Category


Zen Habits: Lessons Learned

Leo Babauta wrote an article at Zen Habits describing 38 life lessons he’s learned in 38 years. He explains each point. Many resonated strongly with me. Worth taking a moment to read and consider.

2. Possessions are harmful.
3. Slow down. Rushing is rarely worth it. 5. The moment is all there is.
6. When your child asks for your attention, always grant it.
13. You will miss a ton, but that’s OK.
14. Mistakes are the best way to learn.
15. Failures are the stepping stones to success.
16. Rest is more important than you think.
17. There are few joys that equal a good book, a good walk, a good hug, or a good friend. All are free.
19. The destination is just a tiny slice of the journey.
20. A good walk cures most problems.
21. Let go of expectations.
22. Giving is so much better than getting.
27. The world is full of distractions, but very few are as important as creating.
29. Don’t sit too much. It kills you. Move, dance, run, play.
33. Do less. Throw out the checklists and focus on what you love.
37. You’ll shy away from doing great things, from going on new adventures, from creating something new and putting it out in the world, because of self-doubt and fear. Do it anyway, because they are wrong.

The earliest comment I can remember my then future wife making is, “Giving is the best gift anyone can receive.” She’d bought someone else lunch on her own birthday. Her happy attitude was one of the main reasons I (eventually) asked her out.


The Homeless Woman

Received via email:

A woman was walking down the street when she was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked her for a couple of dollars for dinner.

The woman took out her wallet, extracted ten dollars and asked, “If I give you this money, will you buy some wine with it instead of dinner?”

“No, I had to stop drinking years ago,” the homeless woman replied.

“Will you use it to go shopping instead of buying food?” the woman asked.

“No, I don’t waste time shopping,” the homeless woman said. “I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive.”

“Will you spend this on a beauty salon instead of food?” the woman asked.

“Are you nuts?” replied the homeless woman. “I haven’t had my hair done in 20 years!”

“Well,” said the woman, “I’m not going to give you the money. Instead, I’m going to take you out for dinner with my husband and myself tonight.”

The homeless woman was astounded. “Won’t your husband be furious with you for doing that? I know I’m dirty, and I probably smell pretty disgusting.”

The woman replied, “That’s okay. It’s important for him to see what a woman looks like after she has given up shopping, hair appointments and wine.”



Someone Cool Wants To Buy My Car

On my way to work today, while waiting at a stop light, a guy in the car next to me leaned out of his window, smiled and signaled that he wanted to talk. I took off my sunglasses, pulled my earphones out and rolled down my window.

“Want to sell your car?” he asked. I admit to being a little taken aback. My car isn’t for sale. He was in a van obviously owned by his employer with another guy driving. He’d seen my car and had the guts to ask a complete stranger waiting at an intersection if he wanted to sell the car he was driving.

“Sure,” I smiled. I don’t really want to sell my car. Not for market value anyway. It’s too much hassle to replace. But if he’s really interested, maybe I could get a good deal. I suppose he already knew how awesome an old Honda Civic can be.

“How much?” he wanted to know. “I have no idea,” I shrugged. He asked how many miles it had (about 200,000) and got my phone number as the light changed.

“I’ll call you,” he promised as we drove off in different directions. I guess I’ll find out. Meanwhile, I am taking a look around my life to see if there is something I want that I haven’t had the guts to ask for.


Family Pictures Summer 2010

We took the kids down to get their pictures taken recently. We ordered digital copies of the pictures this time because I’m too lazy to scan them into the computer. They turned out great.

Kid collage

Kid collage

Kid collage


Cold Water Shaving

After reading about shaving with cold water, I’ve tried it several times over the last few days. It’s a much better experience for me.

Shaving with cold water seems like a hardship, a practice that must be endured in Spartan living conditions. After all, it’s wet shaving doctrine that a man must always shave with hot water. It not only feels nice, it softens the beard and supposedly gives you a more comfortable shave.

But what if that advice is wrong? What if it’s actually better to shave with cold water…?

Well, according to a bunch of authors in the 19th century, cold water shaving is indeed superior to shaving with hot water.

The biggest improvements for me were:

  1. Much easier to cut my hair. I have a smoother shave with one pass than I was getting with two.
  2. Getting fewer nicks and cuts on my face.

I have to admit, I’m sold.


Family Pictures Fall 2009

A few months ago, we dragged grandma up into the mountains and took some family pictures. We took a lot of pictures, but very few seemed to turn out. Now that we’re finally finished sifting and editing, I’ve uploaded some of the best ones.

Family sitting on a fence in front of fall leaves

We got some really good pictures of Grandma with the grandkids.

Grandma with the grandkids

And Cheryl always seems photogenic.

Dan and Cheryl

Pretty girl


The Cheerios Sugar Factor

Like many people, I often eat cereal for breakfast. When my wife went on a no-sugar diet a while back, it wreaked havoc on our cereal eating habit because, you see, most breakfast cereals are stuffed with sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

Reading the nutrition labels, however, taught me something interesting: Cheerios has by far the lowest sugar content of any cereal we eat. While shopping, I found myself in disbelief, telling random people in the super market, “Do you know this stuff has twelve times as much sugar as Cheerios?” I started calling it the Cheerios Factor.

To give you an idea, here is a list of some breakfast cereals and their sugar content. Full nutrition information is available online from General Mills, Kellog’s and Quaker. However, Post prefers to summarize it for you.

CerealServing SizeSugarFactor
Apple Jacks28g12g12.0x
Froot Loops29g12g11.6x
Lucky Charms27g11g11.4x
Frosted Flakes30g11g10.3x
Golden Grahms31g11g9.9x
Cinnamon Toast Crunch31g10g9.0x
Honey Nut Cheerios28g9g9.0x
Raisin Bran59g19g9.0x
Cinnamon Life32g8g7.0x
Honey Bunches of Oats30g7g6.5x
Multigrain Cheerios27g6g6.2x
Frosted Mini Wheats51g10g5.5x
Special K31g4g3.6x
Rice Krispies33g4g3.4x
Corn Flakes28g3g3.0x
Corn Chex31g3g2.7x
Rice Chex27g2g2.1x
Fiber One30g0gNone

Yes, Cheerios has half the sugar of Grape-Nuts. The only cereal I’ve found that beats Cheerios at its own game is Fiber One, which I’ve never actually eaten.


There’s No Progress Like Personal Progress

My wife works with the young women in our church and is helping with the New Beginnings program this year. During one of the planning meetings, someone suggested singing a song with custom lyrics to a popular tune. Cheryl is good at that sort of thing and immediately piped up with “There’s No Progress Like Personal Progress.” The others liked the idea and asked her to come up with something.

So she wrote some lyrics.

And sang them.

Then asked me to mix it with the music from the original Broadway show.

And here is the finished version:

There’s no progress like personal progress
To help your testimony grow
Getting your medallion is so thrilling
There is so much more for you in store
If you just keep your feet a-moving
Then you are proving that you are more
Than before
There’s no people like you people
There’s no people I know
Setting goals will help you and you will go far
It doesn’t matter where you are
This is your movie and you’re the star
Let’s get on with our goals
Let’s get on with our goals

They are planning to perform the song for the girls during the program. Should be fun. :)

We’ve places the lyrics into the public domain. Please feel free to use them.

UPDATE: Here is a video of the leaders performing. Cheryl was disappointed she was out of town and couldn’t be there.


Dear Tooth Fairy

When our 9-year-old lost her most recent tooth, the tooth fairy was a bit slow in paying her. Each morning, we’d hear all about how the tooth fairy must be on vacation or overly busy.

One evening, our daughter spent some time relating the situation to her grandfather. That night we found the following note on her door:

Dear Tooth Fairy,

I charge 10% every day you haven’t come to pick up my tooth. I lost my tooth on Monday June 29, 2009.

P.S. A molar tooth is special so it costs more money. Do 10% more.

The next day she was paid in full, interest included. She was thrilled, though I don’t like to think about what she learned from this. I’m going to have to have a talk with grandpa. :)


My First Mountain

I live along the Wasatch Front which is surrounded by beautiful mountains. Not quite as pretty as the Tetons in Wyoming perhaps, but I’ve always wanted to climb the nearby Mount Timanogos.

Of course, I thought I’d start with one of the smaller mountains closer to Spanish Fork and work up to the 12.4 mile round trip hike up Timpanogos. But when my employer Mozy sponsored a company hike, I decided I’d jump on the bandwagon. About 20 people took the hike that day, including two who got to the top (the vertical elevation gain is almost a mile at 4,652 feet) in less than two hours.

Copyright (c) Eric Ward. Used by Permission.

I started out keeping up with those guys. I’m sure that the embarrassment of having a newcomer like myself tagging along is what caused them to pull ahead after about 10 minutes. Yeah, that was it.

We hit the trail at 6:17am. In my rush to keep up at first, I didn’t notice much of the scenery. But it’s a gorgeous hike.

Starting the hike

Pheasant overlooking a valley

One of the waterfalls crossing the trail

The trail consists of the following:

  1. Steep climb
  2. Bushy semi-flat walk
  3. Steep climb
  4. Meadowy semi-flat walk
  5. Really steep climb

This is the view of the top (on the right) from the second meadow area. Well, I thought it was the top. It turns out that you can’t actually see the peak from here. It’s a higher point behind the peak on the right. There’s nothing quite like thinking you’re at the top only to to realize you aren’t.

The peak from the second meadow

From the meadow, you go up this trail to the saddle where you can see Utah Valley for the first time.

Trail up to the saddle from below

This is what the trail up to the saddle looks like from the peak. The saddle is just above and to the left of center.

Trail up to the saddle from above

View from the saddle

The climb from the saddle to the peak was, by far, the most exhilarating part of the hike. Slower going and entirely rock, but with victory close at hand.

Trail from saddle to peak

Reaching the top was awesome. I got there in 3 hours 23 minutes.

Me on the very top

Five of us summitted fairly close together. Mark (back left) took much better pictures with the nice camera he lugged the whole way up.

Mark, Jamie, me, Derek and Corey

After getting down, I found out that Mount Nebo is actually the tallest peak in the Wasatch Front (and Utah County). Since Nebo is about as far south of me as Timpanogos is north, I guess it’s next on my list. Just need to get rid of this limp first.