Friday, May 23, 2008

Rocky Mountain Kai

Wow. Has it been a month already? I got pretty distracted.

One thing that has occupied my time and attention has been my goal to read a book every two months. I know that's not a very ambitious goal, but it's a big improvement over nothing. I never did report back on my January-February reading, but yes, I did complete The Numbers Behind NUMB3RS. Then I picked out a much longer book for March-April -- The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography (alternately subtitled The Secret History of Codes and Code Breaking). It seems the science field really loves its subtitles. Well, as April drew to a close, I knew I would not finish this book in time. However, I did finish, but May was half over before that time. Still, I'm not worried, because since then, I have read another book. While not fitting into my science/math theme, The Five People You Meet in Heaven was a great read.

That makes 3 books in less than five months, so I'm ahead of my goal. But I still have over a month left in this May-June period, so I won't be resting on my laurels. My bishop will be holding a discussion with all of the adult men of the ward in early June on the topic of the priesthood, and he will give out a copy of Men of Valor to each individual. To ensure participation in the discussion, the bishop has given some copies of the book to some of the brethren ahead of time. In light of another event (discussed below), I became one of these brethren. So I need to finish this book with a couple weeks. After that, I'll still be nearly a month ahead of schedule. Maybe I'll use that time to get a head start on another lengthy tome.

Another object of time and attention has been my new responsibilities at church. I was called to be the assistant ward clerk, and I was specifically given the responsibilities for finances. Now, I don't know the first thing about finances, but that's okay. My largest tasks are accounting for donations, reimbursing members for approved expenses, and handling fast offering assistance. Most of these are pretty straight forward in their own right; the difficult is documenting it all properly. It's all done electronically, and I'm no stranger to computers. But the church's computerized financial system is stranger than anything I've encountered before. I require help from my predecessor fairly often.

Last week I also had the opportunity to spend the better part of a week in Colorado Springs. My sister and her husband moved out there rather recently for his work. But the main reason for the visit was the first birthday of my only nephew (so far). Kai is an adorable one-year-old now. He walks with ever increasing confidence, but his shy speech betrays the engineering backgrounds of his father and uncle! His toy collection gathered several new, flashing, noise-making entries, and he made a mess of his birthday cupcake -- just the way a first birthday should be. While I was in town (accompanied by the proud grandparents), I also had the chance to see some of the sights. I spent time at the Air Force Academy, the Garden of the Gods, Cave of the Winds, and the Anasazi Cliff Dwellings. And what trip to Colorado Springs is complete without a meal and show at the Flying W Ranch? Despite the unpleasantness of the air travel (complete with restrictions that resulted in my mother's toothpaste being confiscated), in the end, it was a very fun trip.

Since I really should be working, I won't take the time right now to post pictures. But I'll put some up soon.

Update: The pictures are here! (Finally!)

Here's Kai with his mommy.

And his daddy.

Here's the chapel at the Air Force Academy. My parents got married in there.

It's quite beautiful inside!

It took me several tries to get my dad's camera to focus on the right thing here. This is the Siamese Twins formation at the Garden of the Gods framing Pike's Peak.

The Anasazi cliff dwellings.

And finally the Flying W Wranglers. Apparently a few of them are frequent champions with their respective instruments at national competitions!