Sunday, December 21, 2008

Top Ten Favorite Things about Christmas

8. Temple Square Lights

A tradition started in Oakland and continued in Salt Lake, the Conlon family loves to see Christmas Lights!
I have to give a nod to the Oakland Temple display in overall grandeur and awesomeness. Plus, it's not so stinking cold!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Top Ten Favorite Things about Christmas

9. Roast Beast

It's become a tradition in the Conlon Household to make prime rib for Christmas Eve dinner. Luckily one of the grocery chains out here puts it on sale for $4.99 a pound the week before Christmas, making it affordable.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Top Ten Favorite Things about Christmas

10. A Charlie Brown Christmas.

The snappy jazz numbers by the Vince Guaraldi Trio playing in the background, the witty lines (Out of all the Charlie Brown's in the world, you're the Charlie Browniest), the underlying tone of the real meaning of Christmas. All of these give this holiday special enough heft to be on my list, but the real reason it is on my list is because of the feelings associated with it.

This animation brings me the joy of the season, but also a longing for the past. It reminds me of many Christmases spent with relatives who have since passed on. Not necessarily specific memories, just the feelings associated with being a kid and spending evenings at my grandparents house waiting to open presents.

The song Linus and Lucy is one of my favorite songs EVER. I was so proud of Kelsey last year, when after months of practice she accomplished what I never could, to play both hands of the piano part at the same time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack the Vote.

Grant Park in Chicago is now the place of the two greatest events of my year.
First, it is where I asked April to marry me, during the July 4th fireworks show.
Second, it is was the site where 500,000 witnessed history as Barack Obama gave his inspired victory speech.
It was great to let the kids stay up to witness this historical event. they were excited to see this and I'm proud of my kids who defended Obama to their classmates when some of the lies (terrorist, Muslim) spread through the school.
Caleb spent the day making 'Vote for Obama' banners and hanging them in his window.

This country has a difficult road ahead, and I feel that Obama is a clean start to begin the work we have to do.

During this sometimes ugly campaign, he kept his head above the fray, even when people told him to go negative, and it has paid off.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Wedding Pictures

Here are the first ones from the wedding photographer.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Caleb at the Wedding

My friend Mason snapped a few pics of Caleb who was feeling sassy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A few wedding pics

My cousin Mickey took some great shots of our wedding.
We are still waiting on the shots from Justin, the photographer.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

They were better off not letting her talk!

Right now I could debate Sarah Palin and win. Her inability to form a direct opinion on anything is frightening! Her folksy Fargo-speak can only get her so far.

She was asked at the end of this clip to give an example of Senator McCain's reform.
Her retort: I'll try to find some and bring 'em to ya.

Give me a break.

Kelsey's Quest for Fame

Kelsey has a strong desire to be famous. Here is her 2nd brush with fame:

Kids say the darndest things - Part One

At church I teach Sunday School to nine and ten-year-olds.

Last Sunday, we were discussing the Beatitudes and got to the verse, Blessed are those that mourn…

I asked the children if they knew what mourn meant, and they didn't. I gave an example of how we had to put our cat down a couple months ago. She was old and sick and even though we loved her, we had to do this. We miss her and wish she were around still, but we know she is in a better place. One girl in the class talked about having to put her dog down.

Then a boy in the back of the class says, "We had to put my grandma down."

I looked over at the co-teacher for help on what to say, but he was already covering his smile up with his hands.

Stunned and not knowing what to say, I replied, "yeah that's a good example." I turned to write something on the board.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tina Fey

Last night after the Emmys, talking about playing Sarah Palin on SNL:

"I want to be done playing this lady Nov. 5," she said. "So if anybody can help me be done playing this lady Nov. 5, that would be good for me."


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tale of a Middle School Racist

Sometimes I am amazed at the depths of idiocy in people nowadays.

We watched a movie recently called Idiocracy. It's a comedy, but parts of it were very sobering. In the beginning of the movie it talks about how intelligent people get together and have a family plan consisting of a couple children, if they have time in their careers. Conversely, dumb people seem to have no problem shacking up with multiple partners and spawning numerous children. It's the baby-daddy effect.

This is contributing to the dumbing down of America.

So Kelsey got home today and told me that her friend was in a fight today. Her friend is Muslim, and for religious reasons wears a head scarf. Apparently, another 7th grade girl took offense to this and demanded that she take it off. When the friend refused, the girl attacked her and was slapped with a two week suspension.

The reason I correlate this to the dumbing down of America is I can almost guarantee you that this attacking girl's parents are of the mindset that Muslims are terrorists and that if you are different there is something wrong with you. This kind of racial and religious hatred starts at home.

I have always tried to preach diversity to my kids, not by pointing out differences in people, but by not making it an issue. I'll never forget when Kelsey was in first grade and was trying to describe a child to me (who was African-American) by saying that he has skin color that is darker than ours. When the subject does come up of someone's differences I explain how we are all different in our own way and skin tone or religion are just a couple of ways we can be different. 

Last year Kelsey's teacher was telling her class that  a few years back, she sold her house to the 9/11 hijackers. She told them that they seemed nervous and they looked Middle-Eastern, you know, like the terrorists. I reminded Kelsey that we are half-Lebanese, and even though we don't look 'Middle Eastern' because somehow we inherited blue eyes and lighter hair, we have a lot in common with these people. I told her that if her teacher ever brings it up again to let me know, so I could have a talk with her. Either the teacher didn't bring it up or Kelsey was afraid I would get hostile with the teacher. 

You know, like the terrorists would.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Suiting Up

With the wedding date now less than a month away, I felt the urge to buy a suit.

I only owned one suit in my life. My grandmother insisted on going with me when I graduated from college to get a nice interview suit. I tried to explain that it isn't necessary in the Graphic Design community, but she wouldn't take no for an answer. I did wear it to my first interview and was told, as I suspected, designers don't wear suits.

This time I took recommendations from a couple people on where to go and what to do to get into a stylish, yet economical suit.

Option #1 from Marian who cuts my hair- go to Banana Republic, and open a credit account. You get 15% off and get a nice stylish suit.

Option #2 from a cooworker- go to Moda Italia downtown. They use the finest materials and make the suits from scratch.

Option #3 from family- Men's Wearhouse

First I went to BR on a lunch break and saw a great suit. I would have bought it then, but wanted to get April's approval.  We went back later that night and she liked, but wanted to see what else was out there.

The next morning we went to Men's Wearhouse. NEVER AGAIN!
That place is where bad salesmen go at the end of their career. It reminded me of Glengarry Glen Ross. There were a bunch of guys sitting around and when we walked in, they pounced. They started measuring and pandering. None of the coats I tried on looked remotely fashionable, and they were fairly expensive.

We then drove downtown to Moda Italia. The vibe there was a complete reversal of MW. It was quiet and peaceful in there. We were surrounded by elegance. A little old man comes out and looks at me and says "42S". He then tried on some amazing coats. They fell on me like they were waiting just for me to pick them and take them home. The only problem was the price. I looked at the first coat's price tag, which was $900. The second was $1,200. The gentle suitmaker was understanding and asked me what I could spend on this suit. I told him $500. He said he wants to make this work, because he liked me and people of our height need to look out for each other. He said for $600 he could make me a nice one from scratch that I would absolutely love. 

Problem is, $500 was actually a bit high for my budget, with wedding costs exceeding what I planned. I told him we would go to lunch and think about it. 

We went to lunch at Trolley Square, which has another Banana Republic  in the mall. We checked in to see if they have the suit in my size, to get another look at it. They had the coat, but not the pants. We were leaving the store, when a worker asked if he could help find my size. He did find it and I tried it on. While in the changing room, apparently April used her charm to become his new friend, and with it being Friends and Family Weekend, that included 40% off my new suit.

I am writing a note to the kind suitmaker at Moda Italia, thanking him for educating me on suits and trying to help me out. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Good for you, Betts

If you don't watch Mad Men, you haven't been listening to me. It is the most well-written drama on television.

In last night's episode something happened that was a long time coming. Something I wish I had the kahunas to do about two years ago.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


When I was in 3rd grade, I got my first pair of glasses. This was before they made glasses with spring-back pieces. Within a month, mine were bent out of shape, and busted with tape holding them together.

When Kelsey was in 3rd grade, she got her first pair of glasses.
When Karissa was in 3rd grade, she got her first pair of glasses.

Caleb, once again, is ahead of the curve!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Big C started Kindergarten today! He was pretty excited. All his daycare pals were there too, so it wasn't so scary. I saw one other boy from our neighborhood, who has been able to stay at home up until this point, and he looked as though he were about to mess his pants.

Caleb is also pretty excited because he gets to ride the big daycare van the two blocks from school to daycare every day.

He got the strict disciplined teacher who comes off a little scary sometimes. I am pretty excited for this. The other teacher's rep is that she kind of sing-songy and lets the kids have fun. If Caleb is going to graduate from med school by age 12, a la Doogie Howser, he better hit the books.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Barenaked Ladies – Snacktime

Your favorite 90's band has created a kid album with catchy beats and clever lyrics your kids will laugh while not annoying the crap out of you (I'm talking about you, Barney)

I dare you to not get the Popcorn Song running through your dreams after hearing it just once.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


My friend Don Kilpatrick illustrated a children's book, which his mother-in-law wrote.

It is called "You Can't Go to School Naked" and tells the tale of a boy who does indeed want to go to school naked. When I showed the book to my emerging reader, Caleb, he said each word of the title until he got to Naked. He then covered his mouth and laughed for about a minute and a half. It has since become THE bedtime book of choice for about a month.

It's prose is very clever and the illustrations remind me of old-school books from my youth.
If you don't buy it for your kids, i'll be sending out copies for Christmas to those of you lucky souls that I buy presents for.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Karissa's cupcake birthday

Recipe for a crazy night
12 nine year old girls
48 cupcakes
4 containers of frosting
10 kinds of candy toppings
1 piƱata

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Wedding Planning

Seeing as we don't have trust funds set up to pay for a wedding, we are finding ourselves trying to balance the fine line of having a nice memorable day, while not going broke doing so.

With this in mind, we came to the decision to have a small family soiree. For the wedding itself, we are renting a room in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. It is very nice, and the rental fee for just a wedding is very reasonable. It can actually hold quite a few people. It also has a nice view of the temple, which we hope to get sealed in the near future.

Our options for the reception are to either spend a lot of money for an open house and have limited food and maximum stress in planning, or to take the immediate family (which on April's side is about 40 people) to a nice dinner. After much debate between hurting people's feelings and hurting our pocketbooks, we decided to do first option. Seeing as this is the second wedding for both of us, we are foregoing the pomp and circumstance of a big celebration. 

Now we are trying to figure out if it's proper etiquette to invite people to the wedding and share in the moment with us, but without the reception. Or do we just say that it's for family only. Any thoughts??

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I've gotten behind again on my blogging. This summer is flying by.
At the end of June, the kids and I flew to Chicago for a family reunion planned by my parents.
It was nice to see all my brothers and sisters in one place, and it meant a lot to my parents.

Here's Caleb and his dog 'Tuffy' enjoying the plane ride. Caleb had a lot of fun flying the friendly skies and was a non-stop chatterbox. This conflicted a bit with my usual plane ride ritual of catching up on my sleep, but I enjoyed sitting by him.

Here's a picture of my parents with almost all of their grandkids.
Josh, their oldest grandkid, was in Peru filming a documentary.

Deciding not torture April with 4 days of my family, I waited until after the reunion to fly her out to see what Chicago is all about.

We went to the Taste of Chicago on July 3. The crowd was estimated at over a million people, and it felt like it. It was at that romantic secluded spot that I asked April to marry me, and she accepted!

We are currently planning an October 15th wedding.
I'll keep you posted on the deets.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I love to ride my Bicycle

Our summer goal for Caleb is to teach him how to ride a bike.
Day One was good. He was hesitant to get on the Schwinn Pixie that I had learned on 33 years before. It's in pretty good condition.

We're still working on the trust issue. He's under the impression that I'm going to let go at any moment crashing him to the ground. That's not until lesson 3 or maybe 4, though.