Sunday, July 23, 2006

Two decades of Pinetree.

As of this last Thursday, I am 20 years old.

At the beginning of Thursday, I was at Los Hermanos working a closing shift. I'm now a "Lead Server" at Los Hermanos, you see, so that means I get to stay at the restaurant longer than any of the other servers with a manager to close shop. That's the bad part, but the promotion does come with perks like getting better sections of the restaurant and always being seated with tables. I also get a shiny golden name tag instead of just a regular black and white one.

Brown Sugar gave me my first "Happy Birthday" sometime around 1 AM while I was working on my first very own lead sheet downstairs.

When I got home, Smurf made me grilled cheese sandwiches (one of four things that he can make) and we sat at the kitchen table and talked about this and that and whatever we were thinking about until around 6 AM. I like these talks.

At 6 AM the sun dawned and it was my bedtime, so I slept on the couch in the living room until around 8 AM so that I could go paragliding. Chris and Blueshorts and I piled in the car to be on our way, stopping at a 7-eleven where I picked up some red bull and some caffeine pills. This is the first time I have ever taken any of these things, but I wanted to be as awake as possible for paragliding. In retrospect, maybe that was just silly. I downed some of both and then we called Dale, the paragliding guy, while we drove toward the point of the mountain. He told us it would be better for us to wait until later in the evening to go because then the wind would be better. So we reluctantly took ourselves home again for a while. I tried to sleep, but alas, the caffeine and red bull... My body finally calmed down after about an hour and I got a few hours of shut-eye. After the nap, we all went over to Blueshorts' place where Alecia had made me biscuits and gravy, (upon special request, for my birthday) :) was delicious. She made hashbrowns to go with it and everything. Unfortunately, I may have overindulged.

By the time 5:00 rolled around I was still feeling kinda full. We went to the point of the mountain to meet Dale and his paragliding buddies so we could all jump tandem.

Paragliding was amazing! Well, at least the first 15-20 minutes of it was. The guy who went flying with me just took this giant parachute out of his backpack, laid it out on the ground just so, and then we started running until the chute caught wind and all of a sudden we were riding thermals and flying! The housetops got littler and littler and you could see the freeway and all of Draper. We zoomed around the mountains and went high enough that we could even see over the mountains back to Provo and far out to the Salt Lake. The guy even let me drive for a while!

The incredible thing about paragliding is that one can do it whenever one wants to. You just need one of these special parachutes, and the chutes are small enough to fit in a big backpack on your back. These guys can literally just go flying any day they feel like it. They go up to some mountainside, open their chutes and take off! Wow!

Here is the not so awesome part of the story. Aboiut 15 to 20 minutes up there I started feeling dizzy and sick. When I focused on just one thing like a building or mountain top or lake, I was okay, but the guy behind me kept pointing things out to me and I wanted to look everywhere and we kept goind up and down and right and left and in circles really fast. I quickly realized this wasnt helping and told him I felt kinda nauseous. He said we were about to go down anyways, but it was too late.

I puked biscuits and gravy all over Draper City, all over my shirt and shorts, all over my parachute straps, and quite possible a little on my tandem instructor guy. It was a horrible mess and I felt like crap.

When we got down, the instructors were all pretty nice saying it happens a lot and whatever, but that didnt console me at all. I took off my shirt and shorts and rode home wrapped in a blanket. When I got home I took a shower, where I barfed 3 more times. I then promptly went to bed despite having plans to meet all my friends at Wiggle's house around then.

They all went to Sizzler and had a birthday dinner for me while I slept. I was okay with that since I badly needed to recover. It sucked for poor El Veneno though, who came down to P-town expecting to go have dinner with us and then never heard from me the rest of the night.

When I finally came to, I'm not really sure what time it was then, Garret and Chris and Brown Sugar came to pick me up and we went to Wiggle's house to meet everyone else. I got cake (Alecia made a delicious carrot cake for me) and Wiggle made me a delightful pecan pie. Then I opened some SWEET presents and we played games. Wiggle had decorated the place in green and it looked awesome. I have the coolest friends.

Today (Saturday) I went over to my sister's place in Orem where I had a little family celebration which was equally enjoyable. My nieces greeted me as soon as I got out of the car with little wrapped presents. We had all this sushi and stir fry and delicious gluten free food (cuz of the rest of the family). I played Go Fish with my nieces and then opened some more awesome loot. I swear this Birthday was like Christmas! I've never gotten this much cool stuff for my birthday in my entire life. My little brother AND Smurf and Wiggle and Brown Sugar both got me the Calvin and Hobbes anthology! I love Calvin and Hobbes! I've been laughing my head off at these comics since I was 6 and I'd been wanting to get the anthology set reallly bad. Because I had a one copy from Smurf and Wiggle and Brown Sugar, my little brother decided he would just keep the copy he got me (he loves Calvin and Hobbes too) and will get me the Far Side anthology to go along with the Calvin and Hobbes one! He's got his own job now and he had been saving so he could get me something cool ever since I got him a gameboy for Christmas. Man, so cool!

My older sister got me a book, The Alchemist. My nieces got me keychains cuz I keep on losing my keys and told them they could just get me new keychains as I lost the Superman one they gave me for Christmas. My mom is getting me new Sunday white shirts (she had to ask me my size tonight), and my little sister got me two giant bottles of Nutella to spill on them. I love Nutella!

Blueshorts got me this sweet bag of stuff for making sushi, cuz i do love sushi. Theres a cookbook and little roller things and wasabi and ginger and seaweed and rice and chopsticks and a little package of superhero bandaids for when I cut myself with the knife (he and several others have seen me do this before) so I can still feel cool.

Last but not least at all, my older brother who is currently down at SUU left me a birthday present last time he came up to visit my parents. When I was done opening the rest of my family's presents, they brought it out. It was a giant thing wrapped in a blanket. I opened it up to find a slick looking longboard! This wasn't something I had expected, especially from my brother who isnt that big on presents, but he went all out. He had been planning to get me one for a while I guess. I went out and learned how to ride it the same way I learned how to drive stick for the first time: around the middle of the night when no one is watching so that I can make all kinds of crappy starts and stops and near collisions. I'm not doing bad at it now, and I've got the hang of it enough to ride around town a bit. I never thought of myself as the skater type, but I seriously love this, its a ton of fun. I'm gonna start riding it around everywhere. My brother was awesome to think of it.

All in all, my birthday was great. Being 20 has had its ups (longboarding in the middle of the night) and downs (puking all over Draper) but I think I like it so far. The good things have been great and the horrible things make great stories.

Tomorrow I talk to my stake president about going on a mission and/or advancing in the priesthood. I also teach Elders Quorum and need to finish preparing for that. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Uncle Pinetree

Got some pictures developed, so here's a few of the photo-worthy events in my recent life:

I got to babysit my nieces Krista (5) and Kylie (2) all week long last week while their parents were on a cruise in Alaska. It was great, and probably the closest I will ever come to being a single working mom. They made a list of things to do while Uncle Pinetree was babysitting. The objectives for the week were; go bowling, go swimming, play soccer, eat at a restaurant, watch a movie, see the castle (the castle at Trafalga mini-golf/fun center in Orem), play hide-and go seek, make cookies, and go to Chuck-E-Cheese. We managed to get all of this done, as well as 3 square meals a day, working several shifts at Los Hermanos, getting Krista to ballet lessons, and much more. At the end of the week I got paid a ton of money (I don't feel bad about this, I think my sister and her husband are going to be the richest people related to me soon) as well as an oversized Alaska T-shirt and hat. But honestly, I think I would have done it for free. Here's some pictures:

This is the restaurant they wanted to go to.

Kylie gets some help bowling from a special contraption just for people her size.

Cookies :)

Full of Grace.

The Castle



Chris' family's cabin.

Chris and Smurf skipping rocks at the reservoir above Chris's cabin.Bryce Canyon.

Grand Canyon. We only made it four miles down the Grand Canyon because Smurf hurt his leg. I really want to go again and finish the hike. So if you want to go to the Grand Canyon, let me know.

Mentoring at the Gateway in Salt Lake

Blueshorts, Smurf, Me, Brown Sugar, Wiggle, and Tracie at the Manti Temple Pageant.