Monday, August 31, 2009

Another darling couple

I had some real fun at the temple with Nick and Lindsay. They were married in Ohio (at the Columbus temple), but since Nick is from Twin, they had an open house here. Their open house was at the stake center adjacent to the Twin Falls temple, so we took some pictures there. Here are some o' my favorites....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Great new restaurant in Kimberly

I'm a fan of new things. I like new pencils and notebooks. Newly mown grass makes me feel calm and settled. The breath of a newborn is like aromatic ambrosia. New is, in a word, good.

Keri and I and some friends went out to eat last night (a late birthday celebration). On the recommendation of one of those friends, we tried a new restaurant in Kimberly called the Fire 10 Grill. It's located next to the Kimberly High School on the eastern-most end of that new strip mall (931 Center Street West to be exact). My friend and former neighbor Ben Watson manages. The decor is new, the menu is new, the building is new. Everything is new. It was very, very nice.

I especially like the Chicken Louie I had. It too is something new-- to me anyway. It's grilled or crispy chicken with crab (not krab) and avocado and swiss cheese on a soft bun. I ordered it with onion rings and a coke. It was delicious! Really!

Keri had a chicken, bacon, avocado that she said was very good too, and others in the group raved about their selections, including a burger (the name of which slips my mind) that had all kinds of hot things on it, including jalapeno poppers. If you are into throat scorching, that one sounds rather decadent and delicious.

We finished up the night with some cheesecase, for which we chose a succulent raspberry topping. One piece was big enough to share-- especially after the filling meal that we'd just had.

My only reservation-- a tiny one, really-- is that I wish there'd been a few more onion rings to go with my sandwich. The rings were fresh, crispy, and big, but I want maybe one or two more. I think you can always go for one or two more onion rings, though.

If you live in the Magic Valley, stop in and give it a try. I think you'll be satisfied.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Prep week is done

and I'm not nearly ready for the semester to start. Poor me. I did get quite a bit done today though. I have a full Unit One finished for 101 and 102.

In other news, the watermelon I got was delicious. Nothing quite like a crispy cold sweet melon on a hot summer afternoon.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cute couple!

I just finished a photo shoot at the Twin Falls temple. Paula Weeks, a friend from church and the neighborhood, invited me to shoot this weddding with her. She's a very talented photographer but hadn't done a wedding before and wanted to do a couple with someone else before tackling one on her own. I haven't seen her shots yet, but she set up some excellent angles, etc. for today, so I'm confident we have a great set of proofs for the bride and groom (and their families).

I really enjoyed taking pictures of this beautiful new family. They looked very happy. It was fun to see how much their parents were enjoying the day too. What a wondeful occasion.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Which knowledge . . .

Of all the things you know, which is (or are) the most valuable?

How do we value knowledge? How do we measure the worth of what we know?

Most of my loyal readers know that I teach literature and writing at the college level. I've been doing that for 10 years now (wow, how the time flies). When I tell people that "I teach writing & literature" (or sometimes I just come right out and say it... "I teach English") I typically get one of two reactions. Either people's eyes glaze over and they mumble something like "I was never good at English" or "I hated my English classes," or they light up and say something about what they've been reading or what they liked about a lit class or writing experience they had.Both are reasonable responses, I suppose (though I have never said to my friends who sell cars or build houses "Oh, I HATE selling cars!" or "I can't stand floor joists!").

Not once have I ever had that respectful silence or awed look that suggests that what I do really matters, however. Not in the way that being a doctor (the medical kind) or a social worker matters. In fact, all in all I suspect that most people put "English teacher" on a par with some kind of circus act or reality TV show. It just doesn't matter.

Knowing about the impetus for Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury isn't crucial knowledge, after all. Differentiating between metaphor and simile (not to mention synecdoche and metonymy) won't save some one's life. Being able to recite a Hopkins poem isn't necessary skill for contemporary survival. Is it?

(Now, lest I get a bunch of outraged replies to this post, I know that I'm being a bit overdramatic. Hang in there. I'm making a point.)

Setting aside for the moment the well-known irony that our society chooses to trust its children to people that it, at the same time, chooses not to pay very well (comparatively speaking), what I'm wondering is how we tend to rank what we know. Of all the things you have learned in life, which are the most important? Why? What makes them important? How do we use them?

How does knowing, for example, how to change a tire compare to knowing when your child is old enough to eat honey? In what ways is knowledge about making a garden thrive different than the ability to keep a computer running efficiently? What about the ability to solve crossword puzzles or complete that d*&# Sudoku game (the former I can do, the latter I cannot)? Where do those skills rank in the grand scheme of things?

Perhaps I'm also asking about why we choose to do the things we do (for a living, I mean). What made me an English teacher instead of a chiropractor or entomologist? What made you do the "thing" you do?

Of course, I'm also asking about other kinds of knowledge-- the spiritual salt that many of us have tasted. What would you say is the relationship between that kind of knowledge and other kinds?

What is one to do when concepts seem to be conflict? What does a Mormon or Catholic geologist do, for example, with the apparent contradiction between contemporary knowledge about the age of the earth (4 billion years old?) and biblical literalness which gives a something different answer (more like 7,000 years)?

I'm just sure that I'm opening a can of worms here, but give me your thoughts. Or, to be briefer, tell me the one bit of knowledge that you can't live without.

Just wondering . . .

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Draney Camp '09

My brothers and sisters (and I) have taken to calling our annual camping-trip reunion "Draney Camp." The concept may sound boring and lacking in imagination to some, but getting together in the same campground on the same week of the year (basically) every year is a wonderful tradition that our family looks forward to every year.

We hang out, we share meals, we shoot each other with paintballs (some of the guys anyway). We even share a few spiritual thoughts. It's a great thing.

This year I was feeling a bit down because Keri has been mostly out of commission with her back problems. To tell the truth, I was feeling sorry for myself. It was more than a little heartening how my family rallied round to help me feel better. They're a great bunch, those Neola Draneys. Thanks everyone.

We didn't take as many pictures this year, for whatever reason (I think our record was 1,000 + a couple of years ago), but here are a few of the favs that I took. I hope to get some from Dianna soon too.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Scout Camp pictures

I'm posting this note by remote control. That is to say I wrote it last night and scheduled it to appear this morning.

It's simple, really. I'm just posting the link to the best of the best scout camp pictures. The way they appear here is also a preview of a little slide show that I'll be posting eventually.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Stop gap

I'm stealing time from housework and packing to scribble this little blog note. We're off to "Draney Camp" tomorrow and may or may not be in Internet range in the meantime. So, to keep the grass a little bit green, here's a tiny little posting...

Scout camp was good. Very, very good. By turns it was restful, invigorating, delicious (maple bars on the last day), spiritual, and hilarious. Of course every joke told after midnight around a campfire is the funniest you've ever heard, and scouts add to the hilarity quite innocently when the subject matter is just barely over their heads. Good clean fun all around.

Perhaps the highlight for me was the tenacious way that a couple of our first-year scouts stuck to their tasks and earned some tough merit badges. They got in the cold, cold water of the arctic lake, they slept out without tents, they braved the famed "Yeti hike," and they endured the Environmental Science badge. Well done, scouts!

On the leaders' side, we learned how to splice rope, identify a few plants, and avoid gaining a million pounds while eating 3 carbohydrate-rich meals (with seconds) every day. Official weight gain this year-- a mere 1.7 pounds. A friend even asked me yesterday if I'd lost weight. How nice is that?

So... we're off to the Basin for a few days. I probably won't be able to blog there, so... until next week, enjoy your last weeks of summer.

I know I will.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Back from Cape Horn

Got a bit of laundry done (just enough to get through church etc. tomorrow). Downloaded the over 700 pictures to the computer, but didn't have the chance to do anything with them yet.

I'll post something soon-- both pics and bloggy things.