Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Santa has come and gone...we had a lovely chat.
Holly asked me to download all the memory cards from the cameras so that we could be prepared for the big day and I came across this little clip.
I laughed so hard I almost woke up the kids....
BTW, we were cleaning the house getting ready for friends to come over. Thus the vacuum and the trash can in the middle of the room. This also explains why we're rocking out... I just can't clean without some good music to get me into the mood.
!!!Warning any who would be offended by a 1 year-old dancing in a diaper to awesome "classic" rock Don't watch this video!!!!
Music is one of the all time greatest songs... All Right Now by Free
In a true HR guy spirit I understand that some people out there may not celebrate Christmas and to me that's okay. Whatever you celebrate have a great time!
I think to buck the traditional Happy Holidays salutation I think that this year my broad generic salutation will be Happy Festivus.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Let me know what you think and if this helps you understand how our economy got to where it is today...
Oh, and Merry Christmas.
Friday, December 12, 2008
A few months ago I spent a lot of energy to try and convince my dad that we needed to bail out the financial industry. Maybe it was because I work in the financial industry but really I think that I was swayed by all the hype and energy that the media built up regarding a great depression and financial Armageddon. Last night I called my dad and confessed that I was very wrong and have now changed my view.
Why would I change when the economy is in worse shape then it was before? I realized that there are fundamental principles of business and life. If you adhere to the principles you will win. If you break the rules you will eventually loose. I’ll outline some of these and I challenge you to measure your family financial situations and the companies that you are familiar with by these principles to see what part of this mess each of us is responsible for.
1. Maintain control of your leverage.
The Church often states that they are completely out of debt except for some transactional debt that is required in some situations. I can only imagine that these situations have to do with the transaction of real estate and the timing to free up or sell assets. Perhaps they have a line of credit with building products manufactures so that they don’t have millions of little transactions. I believe that this strong control of debt is inspired and a key reason why the church is generally considered to be the most financially secured religious organization in the world.
This brings us to the housing crisis. Banks and the consumers used real estate as a debit card and got way over-leveraged. If you watch CNBC you will hear about the deleveraging of the markets over and over. We’re more leveraged now then we ever have been. The problem isn’t just the banks—it’s the people, almost all companies . . . it’s everyone! So when times get hard we stick each other with the debts and the only answer is to either go out of business or get the government to take on your debts.
2. Cash is KING, or Cash flow is KING
There are only two problems to a budget. Either there is too much going out or there isn’t enough coming in. So those who have cash and more cash coming in are in a good place. If you’re in trouble you either raise cash or go to #3.
3. Giving up an asset that has future upside in order to survive until tomorrow is the right answer.
So you either increase your income or you tighten the belt to reduce the outflow. Part of tightening the belt is letting go of great parts of your business/life in order survive even if you plan on buying that part of business back at a premium in the future. GM should let go of some plants, brands, and international companies in order to survive. Following the car theme, Holly and I recently bought a new van. There isn’t anything really cool about a van but if I lose my job we’re prepared to sell that van at a loss. In fact it’ll probably be the first thing to go. (You guys don’t have to hold me to that ☺ it’ll be really hard.) But this is an example of the right thing to do. If a company isn’t bringing in more cash then it’s paying out it needs to tighten the belt, cut some people, some production, and even a division or two.
These three principles of business are key fundamentals and I feel that our government is completely ignoring these things. In fact they are making it worse by going into debt at a ridiculous rate. They’re doing this because they don’t believe that the American people can handle the situation. It’s too hard for us to get through this. What if this turns into another depression? What if we loose 2 million jobs? What if, what if…. I’m sick of this crap. We are a great and powerful people who need to be told the straight deal! We need to go to work. We need to stop spending other people’s money. We need to start living within our means. We need to stop squandering our inheritance. We need to give our kids something other than trillions of dollars of debt.
I’m a GEAR HEAD. I love cars! I subscribe to three car magazines. I religiously watch a number of car TV shows. I dream about someday being in the car business. (Although I do despise car sales people… well, except for Pinkie). It is my humble opinion that US cars are just OK. I don’t feel that they’re innovative. They don’t induce passion. Generally they’re really ugly (think the entire Cadillac line). They all use outdated technology. The new ecotech engines are really cool and have great upside, especially in forced induction situations, but that’s about it. The companies that build these cars have to cut on quality in order to be competitive. The unions have sucked all the life out of the car companies. The top-heavy management and legacy costs create a huge outflow of capital. There is simply no way that they will be competitive. They need a major chainsaw to cut management, divisions, and the number of cars they build. This should have been done early this year but the fools didn’t do it. They chose instead to let it get so bad that they became too big to fail so the principle-less politicians would throw money at them!
Holy smokes.. Natalie just fell asleep sitting on the floor! She fell forward and landed on her face…. HOW FUNNY!!!!
I’d feel better if we built a border fence, built power transition lines across the country, invested in massive solar power collection stations, or even gave tax breaks to buy cars made in the USA (including all the foreign car models made here). Do anything but give people who have failed a green light to squander and fail again!
So I stand in a new place. I’m not extreme right wing. I do think that there are some worthwhile ways and thing that the government can do but I don’t think that throwing money at rich and high leverage focused people is the right answer. Doing this just supports bad behavior and removes the natural consequences of bad decisions.
Just a note to end the post: I’ve been laid off twice so yes I have some blood in the game. I’m more leveraged than I think I should be. I believe in the American people! I know that if we forget ourselves, roll up our sleeves and GO TO WORK! we’ll all be just fine. It will NOT BE FUN! It will BE HARD! It will take SACRIFICE! But it will be all these things regardless of what the government does. I personally would rather take my whooping now than tomorrow.
Let me know your thoughts… mine were very different 3 months ago so you may get me to change again.☺
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
This is a letter that I wrote to a friend regarding socialism and the presidential campaign. I've filled out my entire ballot already except for the presidential election. This is my take and I need some advice on your thoughts and feelings. I hope that I don't offend anyone here and publicly admit that I can be swayed one way or another.
Thanks for the dialog. I don't think that most republicans are talking about kicking the poor to the curb and cutting them off. I don't believe that taking care of the poor is socialism. I do believe that our current system is meeting many of the needs of the people in that it doesn't give them everything but does support basic needs. No one in the US needs to starve or be without the basics and I think that few actually are. I don't believe that everyone needs a college education. I don't believe that everyone should be able to get fast food to eat every day. I get the feeling that this is where some left side policies are going. People should struggle. It's been that way for all time.
Socialism is when the government controls all monetary transactions on behalf of the people. I believe that the republicans recently have taken more steps in the socialist direction then any politician in the history of the U.S. I don't believe that socialism is an issue in this election. Both parties are leaning towards it regardless of what they say.
When it comes to the big issues though there is a difference between the candidates. I'm looking at where they stood in January of 08 as I believe that both candidates have publicly adjusted some of these views since then and their original views may be more revealing.
Roe v Wade Obama supports, McCain does not support. I'm on the fence. There are times when abortion is appropriate and Roe-v-wade allows for those times in addition to others.
Education, Both candidates support similar reforms in addition to No Child Left Behind
Energy and Oil Neither candidate support additional drilling in ANWAR or off shore in Jan of 08. Both have moved on this subject since then. This is an issue that I have with both candidates. I am a member to the T. Boone Pickens army and believe that comprehensive energy reform is the answer to many of our future issues including the middle east. Neither candidate actually has any idea how to solve this big issue. Their handlers have had the play lip service to energy but neither actually believe in it.
Guns, Obama supports additional gun bans. McCain does not. I am a member of the NRA and a gun owner. My wife is editing a book written by a holocaust survivor. In that book he speaks about how in the beginning of the nazi power struggle some saw what was happening and wanted to fight back but the government had banned all personal weapons so the only people with guns were the nazis. I'm not suggesting that we're going to be the next Empire or anything but I do believe that we will experience difficult times in these last days and I want to have in my possession the tools and knowledge to protect my family from those who would destroy it. This includes assault rifle style of arms which are designed to defend protect and intimidate. Which is what I need them for.
Immigration- Both support a path to citizenship for Illegals and a border fence. I support both these views. But this is a bigger issue to me then anyone except Sharif Joe is making it.
Iraq- Obama apposes the war and supports troop withdrawal McCain believes the inverse. I'm on the fence here and actually see both sides. We do need to get out of the mess we are in there but we need to do it in a way that is supportive and respectful to the people who we have ditched to their own problems with the Soviets before. Most people don't understand the history of the U.S. in that region very well. I don't assume to have a clear picture myself but I respect that we have had a hand in making it the unstable place that it is and we have had a hand in creating the fierce hatred by our past actions. Besides. all those who believe in the second coming of the Savior understands that there will be a lot going on in this region in the time to come regardless of our political views. If we pull out and it destabilizes the area bringing the second coming sooner I guess I'm ok with that but I still think that we need to do it in a respectful manner and I believe that McCain would actually do better at this. Even though he comes across as a bit of a war monger.
Minimum wage- Obama supports and increase and McCain does not. I've never been a support of the minimum wage.... well since I was 16 that is. I'm a free market capitalist even though we screwed up the housing and lending markets I think that in most areas free market capitalism gets it right. Besides I believe that the minimum wage is supporting illegal immigration.
Same Sex Marriage- Neither support same sex marriage and neither want a constitutional amendment to ban it. Obama supports civil unions and McCain supports something like civil unions. These guys are both taking a politically safe middle ground on this subject. I'm actually a little torn here and wish that I actually had any idea where they each stand on this.
Taxes- Both of these guys are going to raise taxes. I believe that the small business people will be hit the hardest and it's tempting me to scale back some of my own business ideas. It just isn't possible to do the things that we are doing today without raising some capital. This is depressing but I believe that Obama has a more feasible plan.
Finally the VPs Biden is a career politician and comes across as slimy as ever and it's fun to see Obama have to tell him to sit out campaigning when he says stupid things. Pailin is awful. She has been portrayed by the McCain camps actions as a weak stupid woman who can't speak for herself. There are more effective choices he could have and should have made.
I still don't know who to vote for. I believe that Arizona will turn out to be a swing state even thought the poles don't show it to be there are a lot of people here who really don't like McCain. I'm trying not to be a pawn to the media but I have a doubt implanted in my head about Obama and his past/present relationships. Both sides are pushing to either downplay or up play these relationships but I don't know if I believe Obama when he simply brushes them away as nonsense. It just feels fishy to me.
So what it comes down to for me is guns, iraq, energy and free markets. This would put me in the McCain camp but then I just feel like he's a grumpy old man who does some stupid things.... which reminds me of a current president who I'm not very happy with. So do I do as the politicians do and buck my beliefs for someone who appears more intelligent and much more polished?
That's my struggle.
Monday, October 6, 2008
I received the greatest shock and surprise of my life this weekend at the wedding of Phil’s brother Chris. A few months ago, Chris called us and asked us if Natalie could be a flower girl at his wedding. Phil, confident in our daughter’s abilities, bluntly stated, “Sure, as long as you don’t need her to do anything, because if it requires more than just standing there, it won’t happen.”
Well, the fateful morning eventually arrived. We begged, cajoled, and pleaded with Natalie for us to let her do her hair in a respectable bun. She was very excited about her beautiful blue dress and “diamond” necklace that the bride-to-be, Kiersten, had graciously provided. We showed up at the reception center early for a quick rehersal before the main event.
The mansion was beautiful. The wedding was to be held on the lawn about 50 yards away from the house alongside a waterfall and in a picturesque gazebo. The bride and her entourage, including Natalie, were to walk from the house down about three flights of stairs, pausing for three seconds at each landing, and then walk across the lawn and down the aisle to the front of all of the guests and stand for the duration of the ceremony next to the bride and groom. I stood at the top of the stairs with Natalie (Phil had Alana on the lawn with the other guests) picturing our very opinionated daughter alone with strangers and thought, “Yeah, right! Good luck with that!”
To top it all off, the two flower girls were to descend the staircase immediately before the bride. All sorts of visions of various calamities crossed my mind. I saw Natalie, walking with the older and, we soon discovered, much faster flower girl and falling down the stairs, breaking a limb right in front of the bride, severely crippling the ceremony. I saw her sitting down half way down the steps resolved to go no further, with Phil and me a hundred yards away with the other guests unable to do anything besides helplessly watch. I saw myself, a big pregnant lady, running across the lawn to chase her as she ran, throwing the tantrum of her life, in whatever path would make us most visible for the longest period of time. I saw her jumping into the fishpond and splashing in the waterfall. In my mind’s eye, I saw her doing everything besides walking graciously down the aisle, delicately dropping petals from her silk-covered basket.
And yet that’s what happened (just about). Now we know that miracles happen in our times! She was amazing! She walked without stumbling down all of those stairs, pausing at approximately the right times. She made it all the way across the lawn and even stood with the line of bridesmaids for the entire ceremony! Phil and I just sat there with our jaws on the floor. It was the surprise of our lives. The only hiccup was that we hadn’t practiced dropping the petals, and Natalie had grown so attached to them that she would throw a handful and then stop to pick them up. She didn’t hold up things too much and frankly a lot of people thought it was cute. Since she didn’t destroy anything, we were more than pleased with the way things turned out.
What’s the moral, you may ask? Well, I think that Phil and I will have to work on not standing in our children’s way. We don’t let Natalie try things because we don’t have the confidence that she can do them successfully, when she might have more talents that we are stifling. The bride and groom had more faith in her than we did, and it turned out to be a great experience, both for us and for Natalie. Thanks, Chris and Kiersten!
Some other highlights from the trip were hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa, seeing Buddy and the cat, going up and down all of the stairs hundreds of times, visiting with good friends such as the Graves family, Aslynn, and Jodi, and seeing all of our great aunts, uncles, and cousins, and hanging out with Great Grandma. The girls had a fantastic time.
Alana also gained the confidence to walk at the airport. She has been walking short distances for a while, but she just couldn’t make the switch from crawling to walking full-time. When we were trying to keep her contained near our luggage, she saw her opportunity and made a break for it. She wanted to get out in the crowd in the main aisle of the terminal and walk with all of the people. We got looks that could melt iron from busy travelers as I followed this little girl around the crowded terminal and Phil followed with the video camera. Alana has been running around ever since.
Overall it was a fun trip. Thanks, everyone!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Now as a general rule I try not to post pictures of other people on my blog... I'd hate to be liable but I know most of these people really well and.... they know where to reach me if they don't like it...
This picture is from the MTC. James, Michael and I all ended up in the MTC at the same time! Go figure. A bunch of goofy junior high school friends back together again...
This is by far my favorite picture from the mission. This was probably my most challenging time on my mission but at the same time it was the most rewarding too. This picture and the following are in front of Prague Castle. Prague is in the top 3 most amazing places that I have lived.
Monday, September 22, 2008
These pictures are some of my favorites from Family Reunion at Bear Lake. What a great adventure!
Monday, September 8, 2008
Everything else was really fun! I don't remember worrying about anything. If we could dream it we could do it. Mike Jensen and I made up some of the best group dates ever and I believe that we really were on the leading edge of the popular creative dating trend in LDS society. One of my favorites was the Plan of Salvation Date. It was so awesome!
I don't remember sitting around very much and it seems like I was always doing some kind of activity with friends, hanging out in the TImimos' man cave (garage), tooling around the Vancouver back roads with Jared only breaking a few traffic laws. I spent a little time at the Ogden household which was the safest and most uplifting place any high school kid could be. Though I think that Emily and Sarah got a little fed up with me at times and i don't think that Brian really liked the idea much. They introduced me to bean soup and tuna on toast! What great times!!!
I don't think that I was best friends with everyone in High School. I can think of a few fellow priests who didn't care for me much but I don't remember that ever bothering me. What I remember most from High School was a that I had friends who excepted me for who I was, with all of my weaknesses and faults. I had friends who helped me set rules to stay pure. I had friends who were great examples!
I feel that I had one of the best High School experiences possible and I hope that those that were there with me felt the same way. It may be true that I only remember the good times and none of the tough times but hey I'm okay with that.
So a special thanks from my wife and I to all those who took part in molding a goofy boy into a semi decent adult. My parents are at the top of my list as they are the most Christlike people I know and at the same time the hardest working... not to infer that the Savior wasn't hard working.... Then in no specific order; Mike, Angel, Tim, Eric, Stacie, Womack, Draper, Lori, Dan and Bev, Jared, Reed, Michael, Ben, and Livvy. I know that there are more people that I missed... always a worry with such a list... I'm sorry if you were missed. Just pretend that you weren't and send me an email so I can add you!
I'm overfilled with joy that I reconnected with some of these people in the past week. A few years have passed since high school but the memories are still very precious to me.
Monday, September 1, 2008
So we've had a lot of family updates lately and though my title "hard times" may be a little misleading our life is still interesting.
So a couple of months ago my company told me that I was to be effected by some corporate downsizing, they're going in another direction and wanted to help me "find a job somewhere else" Lay offs are an adventure in and of themselves and this one turned out to be a good thing. Most people who know me know how much I despise the bank and working for one wasn't a very good fit for my personality. It was still tough to be compelled to make an adjustment on their timeline rather then mine.
I started one month ago with a new much smaller private firm in the same HR job I had at the bank only with national responsibility. It's a great job and a fun company. Most importantly is that they need me whereas I don't thing that a Fortune 20 company really needs anyone. Best of all is that I work out of a home office. I can't believe how much I am able to accomplish in the same workday with out all the office distractions. Being home more has effected my girls in a very positive way too.
So we broke down and bought a mini van... I can only find 3 cool things about the van. 1. the power doors are awesome. 2. the engine is awesome, I love blowing the doors off of sports cars at stop lights in a mini van it's sooooo awesome. 3. I really like the gages, they look like the ones in a Lexus. And that's about it... The space is a plus but no very cool. So with the van I had to sell my car.
I think that summer is finally coming to a close... oh, wait. I just looked at the forecast and it's above 110 all week. Never mind about the summer coming to an end comment that was a "false and shocking statement". But the pool season is still in full swing now the trick is to keep the pool clean! (no rodents allowed)
Alana is on the verge of waling she is growing so fast and gets so excited that the is standing on her own that she falls down. It's an amazing process to watch your kids grow and develop.
Natalie is potty training with is an adventure as she really likes the stickers and treats so she's always asking to go potty.
Finally for those who don't already know we're expecting number 3!!! And it's another GIRL!!! I'm really excited for the lame reason that we don't have to buy a bunch of new stuff. But even though we would love to have a boy someday I guess I have to make up for my parrents 6 boys so I'll take it like a man and be happy. I have told my wife that one of these girls had better be into cars because I'm putting someone into go-cart racing at the age of 8. It's my retirement plan. In fact Natalie has take to reading car magazines upside down. I think that it's a sign... or she just thinks that dad is cool and want's to do the same thing he does.
Well on that bombshell it's time to close another quarterly post. Please leave a comment so that I can subscribe back to your blogs!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
You are all probably scratching your heads about the title of this post but Holly decided to surprise me with a graduation present and fulfilling one of my life goals. She talked me into spending a bunch of money on a pure bred Boxer Puppy. I know we already have the worlds most perfect dog Mahana. We rescued Mahana a couple of years ago from the pound and certain death. We were looking for a boxer then but Mahana looked up at us with her big brown eyes and Holly couldn't leave her there. I'l so glad too because she's the perfect dog for our family. Mahana is mostly boxer and just a tiny bit pit bull which you can see in her nose.
Well tonight we got an 8 week old boxer puppy. We met her parents and they were awesome dogs. The mom was gentle as can be with Natalie and all her pups trying to get her attention. The dad was HUGE! and full of energy. Our dog was one of a litter of 6. 2 girls and 4 boys. All the boy dogs were super rambunctious but our dog was involved with the style of a lady.
So we met all the dogs and I backed out telling the breeders that we'd have to think about it. We got around the block 3 times before Holly and I talked each other into taking the dive and going for it. I then accidently miscounted the $ and gave them $40 less than they asked for... they had to run out to the car to let us know that if anything went wrong or if there were any issues that they would only refund the total minus $40. Boy did I feel stupid.... and I call myself a banker. So a stop at Petsmart and another $100 later we finally made it home an hour after our little girls turned into pumpkins. Of course we had to start the house training right away, we had to introduce Mahana to her new puppy and then we had to take pictures for which Natalie was happy to dance.
The puppy couldn't fit in better! Everyone is so happy and we've all received a ton of boxer kisses tonight. Now all we need is a name. We're open to suggestions but since we went with Mahana for Mahana we're thinking about sticking with the Pacific Islander names for the new puppy. So far we've thought of Kalani and Laka. Any how here are some pictures...