Category Archives: friends

Questions and answers

This will probably be my last post about the auto industry for a while.  I’m sure that you’re tired of reading these long winded posts with me begging for your understanding.  Unfortunately, the Senate failed to act on the bill, largely due to resistance from Republican Senators.  Fortunately, it looks as if the Administration will tap the TARP funds to provide short term relief until the next Congress is sworn in.  
One of my friends saw my previous post about the bridge loans and asked me some questions, which I think are fairly common.   I spent a good bit of time responding, and felt like the results were good enough to share.  With her permission, I’ve attached her unedited questions and my unedited responses.  I am by no means an expert, but I feel fairly confident in my understanding of the issues.  

2008 Ford Focus Washington State Drive

I promise to post something not auto industry related shortly.  Maybe a recipe or something.  We haven’t had one of those in a long time.
Questions and Answers:

Ok, if I am wrong or you see a different take on things, maybe you can explain them.  But here’s my problem with giving Ford and the other motor companies a loan…
Why do they need a loan in the first place?  If Ford made a profit in their first quarter and made some cost reductions, well, gas prices are down and while the credit crisis is still very serious, I think that it might be getting better.  So why do they have to have this loan to survive?
Here’s the long and the short of it.  Last year, the US auto sales were something like 17 million new vehicles (This is industry sales, all cars sold in the US).  During the first quarter, the sales rate was trending around 15-16 million cars for the full year, not great, but not shabby either.  By the time the second quarter got here, it had fallen a little more, primarily due to gas prices.  At the same time, the price of steel doubled, from about $500 / ton to $1000 / ton.  Over the summer, the credit crisis starts really fouling things up.  By October, industry sales are trending at 10 million units on an annual basis.  By November, the Year over year (That is, Nov-07 to Nov-08) sales dropped by about 35-40%.  Simply put, the # of cars sold in the US has fallen dramatically to levels that are unsustainable for the industry.  We have a fixed cost base that requires we sell a certain # of cars to pay the bills (bills that we will have to pay regardless of how many vehicles we produce.  Think health care benefits to our retirees, or energy costs to keep the assembly plants heated, things like that).  The American consumer simply isn’t buying right now, not from Ford, nor from anyone else.  
In normal times, the companies would just go to the credit or equity markets and get the funds to cover it.  Unfortunately, no one is lending to anyone.  People can’t get loans for their houses, the auto companies can’t get loans for their fixed costs.  
Ford is fortunately in the best situation of the Detroit.  GM and Chrysler are on the verge of running out of cash.  Ford obtained credit and lines of credit back in 2006, before the credit markets froze up, and so isn’t facing the same liquidity problems.  In fact, we aren’t asking for loans right now, but rather a line of credit (think a credit card, available when you need it, but the cash isn’t in your pocket right now.) in case of a failure of one of our competitors or in case the recession doesn’t end as quickly as people are projecting.  
Ford’s biggest fear right now is that the failure of one or both of the other two Detroit companies would cause a large scale disruption within the supply chain. Basically, as an industry, we have something like 75% overlapping suppliers.  We buy our parts from the same people that build parts for GM and Chrysler.  Now, imagine if one of those suppliers suddenly lost a third of their business.  It’s not an easy obstacle, but you might be able to get past it, maybe.  If 700 or 1000 suppliers and sub-suppliers suddenly lost 1/3 or more of their business, not all of them would stay in business.  Suddenly, Ford wouldn’t be able to build cars, simply because they can’t get nuts or seats or steering wheels.  Obviously, it would take time to find someone to make the new widget, test it to make sure it is safe, and get that new part to the assembly plants.  If Ford couldn’t sell cars for all of that time, it would put us in a very dire position.  That’s why we are asking for the loans to be given to the other two companies. 
What is Ford going to do once they get this loan to make things better for the American citizen?  Are they going to lower the cost of all their vehicles?  Make it easier to get a car loan?  Maybe build even more factories and create more jobs? 
I’ll answer this one in general, because Ford isn’t asking for the loan right now.  The other two need the money simply to survive a few more months to restructure their costs.  They will probably use the money to continue development of new cars, including the Chevy Volt, and other new green technologies.  They will use it to retool plants to make these new cars.  But with the legislation as it stands right now, basically they are buying themselves some time.  According to the bill that the House passed, they have until March 31 to develop and implement cost reductions.  This will probably  include wage cuts and other concessions, a restructuring of debt (i.e. reworking the terms of loans, swapping GM stock for debt, other things like that).  I haven’t read the GM or Chrysler plans, so I don’t really know what they are planning.
I do know that Ford has dramatically shifted development of its product line up to focus on smaller cars and more fuel efficient cross-overs.  We are doing that independent of the government financing, but that requires that we retool plants that once produced trucks and SUVs to be able to produce Focuses and Fusions, etc.  Not inexpensive.
I doubt that the companies would lower the prices of the cars, because the cost of material and assembly hasn’t fallen off that much.  Selling at a loss, especially when you have a big government loan to repay, probably isn’t a great idea.  Hopefully, they would be able to make car loans more available, but that has more to do with the ability of the financing companies to raise capital.  Ford Credit is still making loans and leases, although I’ve heard that isn’t true for many of the other car credit companies.
Who is to say that this loan will be put to good use and not wasted?  Is there any guarantee that jobs will not be lost and things will get better even if it is made?
It’s hard to say how you would be able to tell if it is put to good use.  The current legislation would have the President appoint a “Car Czar” who would monitor the progress of the restructuring, report back to Congress on a regular basis, and would have some say in the decision making process, especially large expenditures.  During the Chrysler bailout in the early 1980s, this kind of watchdog was put in place, and it seemed to be effective.
There is of course never any guarantee.  From my point of view, I’d rather take the risk that it might not work than the certainty of failure.  
Why should a company get a loan when we, the average American family, cannot even get a loan to consolidate our debts and make it a little easier to get by each month?  Is that really fair?
We can’t get a loan from anyone either.  However, if we don’t get the loans, and the industry fails, by some estimates between 3 and 5 million people will lose their jobs.   I don’t think that’s a good solution, by any stretch of the imagination.  I, like many others, thought that the other bailout was supposed to make it easier for the average American family to get loans.  Somehow, that hasn’t happened yet.  The government has serious questions to answer about that, but I digress.
I love ya and want you to keep your job, but if not giving this loan helps to make things just a little bit more fair, if that money could go somewhere else to help more people, then why shouldn’t it?  (And I’m not talking welfare and food stamps either)  Why can’t this loan money be put directly into the hands of those who have high amounts of debt and are trying to pay it off instead?
Again, I don’t have a really good answer here.  The government previously approved $700 Billion for just that purpose.  The amount of loans that are being requested by the auto companies isn’t chump change, by any stretch, but it also isn’t (relatively speaking) a huge amount of money.  The principal difference that I see between large scale debt relief and a bridge loan to the auto industry is where that money will be going.  Debt relief is basically paying back money that has already been spent, (an investment in the past), while the bridge loans will be investments for the future, investments that will pay back by creating value in the economy.  Both would add liquidity to the larger economy, but only one creates ongoing value. 
I’m not trying to be mean or cruel.  I just want to understand why this will make such a difference and why it is so needed.
I understand that many people don’t understand the gravity of this.  Some people don’t understand the complexity of the auto business, or the long lead times, or the costs.  Thanks for giving me the chance to explain some of it.  If you’ve got any more questions, I’m willing to answer any and all of them.  

A well kept secret

It is a fairly well kept secret that I really enjoy dancing. Mostly because the only dances that I usually have any association with are the frenetic, frantic, mostly arrhythmic, awkward “Mormon Singles Dances,” which I kind of hate. Unfortunately, I think my cover is blown as of last night.

I have been pointedly avoiding these types of dances for the last four years, ever since I moved from Laramie to Salt Lake. At some point, they became very unpleasant for me. I was speculating last night that it had something to do with when I became fat and lazy in Salt Lake and my endurance took a nosedive. My interpretation of this kind of dancing requires a whole lot of energy and staying power, which I didn’t really have in Salt Lake. Add to that the whole “Make a fool of yourself in front of people that you barely know and maintain at least some hope of asking out on dates,” and it was a recipe for disaster.

I have been pointedly avoiding the Hill Street Soiree for the last few years. My first year, I really didn’t know people well, and my second year, I may or may not have purposely procrastinated writing a talk to have an excuse to leave before the dancing got underway.

Some background, I think might be in order. The Hill Street Soiree is what some might call a Big Deal. This is the one Hill Street Ward activity each year to end all activities, quite literally. The Soiree, in its 8th incarnation last night, is a semi-formal dinner dance held in December each year. The HSAC goes all out: a catered dinner, a marvelously decorated space, and lots of music to dance the night away. The other singles wards in the area are typically invited to the dance (We’ve selfishly kept the dinner to ourselves in the past.) This year, it was an official multi-stake activity, and much better attended than the other activities this year.

I had planned to go last night, and avoid dancing. You know, to go along with the plan of keeping my enjoyment of dancing secret. During dinner, we discussed leaving to test out my new surround sound system. As the dance started, I moved as far away from the dance floor as possible to talk to others who weren’t dancing. Everything was going according to plan. I decided that I should probably make an appearance on the dance floor. So I headed out on what I thought would be a good crowd dance, but which turned out to be some bizarre hip-hop-like called line dance. Talk about genre defying music. I don’t line dance, I haven’t got the coordination for it, so I sat it out, but I was close to the dance floor. Way too close…

At some point, my resistance cracked. I ended up on the dance floor, and I. Had. A. Blast. I couldn’t stop. My endurance has been finely tuned over the last year, to the point that a 9 mile run seems challenging only in trying to find 9 miles to run it in. I couldn’t use that as an excuse. The headache that I had been planning to use as an excuse went away. I had nothing.

I tried to leave early towards the end of the dance. That didn’t work. I got sucked into a few dances that I couldn’t avoid dancing too (such weak will power, must… keep… dancing…) and suddenly it was the Last Dance. I’m principled enough to not skip the last dance. That’s just bad form. But suddenly, my chances of showing the front that I don’t like dancing was clearly gone. After all, I had stayed to the end, and ended it on the dance floor.

Ah, well, at least we got to dance to the Numa Numa song.

I’ll add some photos once I can steal some from Facebook. Strangely, by 10:30 the day after the Soiree, no pictures have turned up yet.

Running: A history

I recently crossed an important milestone… According to my Nike+ iPod system, on November 8th, I ran my 500th mile since I started using the system back in November 2006. So 500 recorded miles in 2 years, plus some amount of non-recorded miles. Not too shabby!

Mike made me this logo in celebration of my 100 miles since his last run. Awesome what you can do with Paint and WordArt, isn’t it?

To me, what is really impressive about all of this is that amounts to approximately 475 more miles in those 2 years than in the previous 8 years. In high school, I was a runner. Ok, kind of a runner. I did run cross country for two and a half seasons, and long distance track for a season. I was consistently middle of the pack, but I’m pretty sure it was in the front middle. The important part was that I enjoyed running, and was at least in enough shape to do it regularly.

Some persistent injuries and high levels of stress during my senior year forced me to drop cross country that year, and I fell out of the habit of running. Over the next several years, I tried occasionally to run again, but I was never able to hold the habit consistently. My best attempt was during my last year of grad school. My roommate over the summer, Adam Miles, was crazy into running, and he talked me into a nice pair of running shoes, which I did in fact really use to run in multiple times. But grad school was more important, and I didn’t have a real goal in mind, so I fell off the bandwagon again.

With this in mind, once I moved to Michigan to start at Ford, I decided that for once and for all, I was ready to become a runner again. I had a good deal of time on my hands, as I was living by myself in Canton, and hadn’t really integrated myself into the ward here yet. I decided that beginning in September of 2006, after the completion of a travel audit in New York City, I would buy myself new shoes, and reacquaint myself with the road.

I did some research, being the meticulous type, and decided to use the Coach Potato to 5K training program. It is designed to ease you into running. My failures in the past were probably from trying to do too much too fast, and this program, which I highly recommend, keeps it simple by moving from walking with jogging to jogging with walking to jogging. I made my own music mixes with the timing built in, and eventually found that someone else had done that too.

To keep myself motivated, I have used running to bribe myself. For example, I really wanted a new iPod nano to replace the clunky iPod classic I had that would skip after exactly 20 minutes of running, and of course, if I was going to get the nano, I wanted the Nike + to go with it. I determined that if I could consistently make progress on my Couch Potato plan, I could have the whole setup for my birthday in 2006. It did, and I got my running bling. (Leilani once asked if I liked running for running’s sake, or for the gadgets… I’m not ashamed to say that its for both.)

I also used it to earn my Wii, which I officially earned last Saturday when I crossed the 500 mark. I decided that if I was showing adequate progress, I could open the Wii at 400 miles… which I also did, as long as I made it to 500.

One of my tricksiest motivation techniques to keep myself going, and to remind myself that I was a runner again was to take out a 4 year subscription to Runner’s World. On eBay, you can get anything… even 4 year subscriptions for less than $10. Now, I get a monthly reminder to get back on the boat.

It took me a year to be ready to run a race after I started running again, but last Thanksgiving, I finally decided I was ready for it, and talked Amy into running the Turkey Trot in AA with me, on a whim and at the last minute. She did very well, and I finished, and that was enough for me. It was possibly the best thing that happened to me in 2007.

Amy placed and I finished! Sweet Victory!

I’ve managed to run 3 5Ks this year, each with slightly better times or finishes (2nd place in my age group at the Tara Grant Memorial!) and I’ve trained myself up to a 10K finally. It took two attempts, but here I come Turkey Trot. Here I come. This may be one of the few New Year’s Resolutions that I actually keep!

That’s me, streaking to the finish line at the 2007 Turkey Trot.

I’ve also managed to conquer new distances, ones that seemed impossible. The day of the Tara Grant memorial was supposed to be my first 7 miler, and I was terrified. But once I knocked it out, those longer distances don’t really scare me anymore. You’ve seen my casual talk of an 8 miler that may have been a 9 miler. I’ve got a 10 miler on the horizon, and I’ve realized that I’m practically at the half-marathon distance. If I can keep myself healthy and running during the winter and into the spring, I’m seriously considering a 2009 half.

This was the run that put me over the 500 mile mark. Amazing!

I have found peace while running, and for the hectic world we live in, I’ll take peace where I can find it. Running has brought me a sense of purpose, as well as a sense of pride. These last 500 miles have been a wild ride, and here’s to 500 more!

So what are you waiting for? Go running!

Happy Halloween!

So, probably not the most timely of posts.   I’ve been fighting with my computer, my browser, and Blogger to get these photos uploaded.  I have finally vanquished the computer gnomes that prevented this post.
I’ve officially been 29 for 12 days now, but I wanted to post about what I did on my birthday.  I had a wonderful time, thanks in great part to some wonderful friends.  I took the day off, to take advantage of the quirkiness of Ford’s holiday schedules and work my way into a 5 day weekend.  
I had been having a hard time trying to schedule a get-together with friends.  The timing was just off.  Someone took it on themselves to organize a breakfast at the Northside Grill.  I’m still not entirely sure who it was, but I am very grateful to that person or persons.   I would have never thought about breakfast.   The waitress brought out a brownie cake with candles for both me and Seth who shares my birthday.  Brownies at breakfast.  Who’da thunk?
The second plan of the day was to go hiking after Friday Forum.  I had managed to convince Jonathan that he should come hiking, as it would probably be one of the last great days of the fall.  Together we persuaded Amy to join us, and Amy brought Jin

We drove out to Pinckney Rec, and it was a beautiful day!  The leaves were still  colorful and mostly still on the trees.  The temperature was perfect for hiking!  We set out on the Crooked Lake trail, a five mile hike.   Amy and Jonathan weren’t on vacation like I was, so they walked part of the trail with me and then went back and did important things, while I did my best to wear out Jin.
Jin and I did fairly well together.  I think he didn’t realize that there might be squirrels off trail.  He did get a little impatient with me when I stopped to take pictures.   Right towards the last half mile of the trail, Jin noticed something off trail.  Unfortunately, we were at the top of a steepish hill, and the squirrel or woodland creature or whatever was at the bottom of that hill.  It was a fun ride down.
The final part of the day was the Monster Ball.  I had been intending to exercise my birthday right to not dress up on Halloween, but it came to me that I should go as Dr. Horrible.  I posted the video a few posts back to get a few of my friends up to speed, because i knew many wouldn’t really know who I was.  
I think I pulled it off fairly well.  For an internet meme that not many people around these parts had heard of, I only had to explain myself a few times.  My welding goggles and my freeze ray made it.
One of the events at the Monster Ball was a Mr. and Miss Monster Ball 2008 talent contest.  The HSAC had invited a few people to participate, Mike and Brian notably.  I was not in the original set of contestants.  However, someone didn’t show, and I got asked at the last minute if I could do something so there was an even number of guys and ladies in the contest.   Fortunately, I had my iPod in my car with the sound track for Dr. Horrible on it. 
I quickly put together a lip sync to the Laundry Day / My Freeze Ray song.  I convinced Amy to be the Penny to my Billy.  She had seen the show, and knew what was going on.  We ran through it once before the show, me listening to the iPod and narrating the actions as we went along.  The lip sync went well and got a rousing round of applause.
Somehow, against Mike’s rendition (and real singing) “The Monster King” and Brian’s excellent song about vampires, the crowd gave its approval to my obviously lip-synced song and crowned me Mr. Monster 2008.  Still no real idea how that happened.  

Kara Stowers, dressed as Kimmy Gibler, was crowned Miss Monster Ball. It was a fantastic way to end the night. Thanks to all who shared a part of their day with me. I couldn’t have picked a better day

An Alphabet Tag Thing

I got tagged. I guess. Whatever that means. Silly internet memes.

A-Attached or Single: Single

B-Best Friend: Pierre, my roomba

C-Cake or Pie: Pie… Apple Pie

D-Day of Choice: Thursday

E-Essential Item: iPod + Nike. I can’t run without it. (And that’s really about all the usage my iPod gets!)

F-Favorite Color: To wear: blue. To look at: red

G-Greatest Accomplishment: Learning to juggle scarves

H-Hometown: Lovell, Wyoming

I-Indulgences: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

J-January or July: July

K-kids: Nope, see M.

L-Life is incomplete without: 3 books in my to-read list

M-Marriage Date: Should I speculate about the future?

N-Number of siblings: 7

O-Oranges or apples: Honeycrisp Apples (But really, it’s a seasonal thing…)

P- Phobias or fears: Falling and Failing

Q-Quotes: Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.
– Christopher Morley

R-Reason to smile: Because it’s all fun and games until someone loses $23 million.

S-Season: Fall (Really, apple season) (and sometimes oregano)

T-Tag 5 friends: You, you, you, you and you. You’re all it.

U-Unknown fact about me: I’m terribly self-conscious about my chipped tooth.

V-Very favorite store: Borders

W-Worst Habit: Blogging / Facebooking at work

X-X-ray or Ultra-sound: I prefer to think of this question as X-ray vision or Ultra-sonic hearing. I choose X-ray vision.

Y-Your favorite food: My favorite food is really sharing what I’ve made with friends. So whatever that is. It’s probably not a casserole. It’s more likely an oven omelet.

Z-Zodiac sign: Scorpio

“It’s not a casserole, it’s an oven omelet”

I’m about to share another recipe, though I promise that this blog is not a food blog. I promise! I took an oven omelet (definitely not a casserole, Jessica ) over to Adam’s Alliterative Birthday Breakfast Bash this morning, and someone asked for the recipe. It really wasn’t that difficult to make, and it makes a great take a dish to share kind of recipe because it can be served at most any temperature.

I’ve put the full recipe that I was riffing on in the first comment, so as not to take over the screen space. The basics of the recipe is that you take a vegetable saute and cover it with an egg, milk, and cheese custard, and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, the first 30 covered with foil.

For my saute, I used three peppers (1 red bell pepper, 1 orange banana pepper, and a bit of jalepeno pepper), onions, yellow zucchini, garlic, and 1 fresh tomato. I seasoned with salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash. I used 6 eggs instead of 5 like the recipe called for, but like I said, I was riffing off of the recipe instead of following it. It seemed right at the time. Many of the ingredients came from my CSA, which made them even more delicious!

Check the full recipe in the comments. And remember, it’s not a casserole. It’s an oven omelet.


A while back, I went to Pennsylvania to a reunion of friends who had been involved in the A Treasure’s Trove arm-chair treasure hunt. Among the festivities, we played a freaking hilarious game called “1000 Blank White Cards.” Apparently, this game was “invented” a while back, but I’d only heard of it recently. It has even been included in the Hoyle’s Book of Card Games. The rules are very basic and mostly deal with the structure of the game.

In a nutshell, you get to make the cards yourself. You make a few before the game, but you are encouraged to add to the deck during game play, modifying the rules, giving yourself points or others penalties and creating general havoc.

I’ve got some scans here of the cards that were created. One of my favorite plays in the game was when I played the “Soccer Rules” card on the player sitting next to me. The card prohibited her from touching her cards with her hands. She immediately got the Yellow card played on her, and resorted to turning over the cards with her mouth. Someone then played the “Icky Spit Card -5pts” on her. Eventually she got around to labeling her cards as belonging to someone else so that she could play them. It was hilarious!

Really, there’s not much point to the game, but I had a great time thinking up new rules, trying to thwart other rules, and at the end of the game, I don’t even know if anyone won or not. It was a laugh a minute though.

You can check out more info on 1000 Blank White Cards at Wikipedia. There are some online repositories of cards around the internets, which are fun, but I will warn that they can tend to be slightly more “adult” in nature.

What would your card be?

Why I love the Mingle

Some of you may know that my favorite thing about my calling at church is the fact that I am nominally in charge of “The Mingle.” Most months, Leilani is actually in charge, but when she wasn’t on the STW committee, or when she is out of town, the responsibility falls to Elizabeth and me. Elizabeth is usually happy to let me have the limelight, and I’m usually more than willing to take it.

When I first came to the STW committee the Mingle was a spotty little activity called “Break the Fast,” which, you guessed it, happened on Fast Sunday after church. It was lightly attended and always held at the chapel. We decided to move it from the first Sunday to the third to prevent it from interfering with people’s fasts. And to capitalize on the fact that many ward activities fall on the third Friday or Saturday.

Now, as I said, it is my favorite activity each month. Why? I have a hard time figuring it out. I think the following reasons might have something to do with it:

1- I love to cook, and Mingle gives me a reason to try out a new recipe. Usually I have some inspiration while I’m trolling recipe websites, (One of my favorites is 101 Cookbooks) or reading my cookbooks. Something I want to try that I haven’t tried before. I’m not sure the last time I actually took a tried and true recipe to Mingle. Some turn out great… Other times, not so great. (My contribution this week, a simple bean salad, wasn’t anything spectacular.)

2- I love the chance to talk to everyone. Mingle brings people together to, well, mingle. And I love it.

3- It always works out. Every mingle, I start to freak out that we won’t have enough food about 5 minutes before we are to begin. And we always have enough to eat. Some months, we only have just barely enough, but everyone always gets at least one full plate of food. Even if it was from an industrial size can of corn… We’ve had some serious Loaves and Fishes moments at several mingles, but they have always turned out. It’s kind of faith building.

4- The themes. Coming up with a theme has always been fun. We instituted themes quite a while back to get people thinking about the mingle mid-week, rather than Sunday afternoon. My favorite to this day was “Food that begins with the first letter of your name.” We got some extremely creative food that month.

This month, I decided to not stress out about the Mingle, even when it was 5 minutes to showtime and there was an abundance of salads, but no main dishes. It was hard, but I think I was successful. And of course, I loved it. Even after I dumped my entire plate on the table right when I was sitting down.

Ultimate Frisbee

Last night I played in my first game of Ultimate Frisbee since I moved to Michigan. I was apprehensive. Frisbee was one of my favorite sports/games/pasttimes while I lived in Laramie, and even while I was in Salt Lake. It worried me that I was apprehensive. I ended up having a lot of fun playing, but on the way home, I think I figured out why I was so reluctant to play.

It all has to do with unspoken expectations.

In Laramie, there were two years when we played almost every week, usually at least twice a week, and during the summer, almost every night. We had a set field, one that we knew by heart, and a set time. It was just expected that a game would break out on Tuesdays around 6pm or so. It was always Derek’s game, he was the one who started it up, and it was to him we turned if there were problems or scheduling conflicts. Tuesday was a fairly open night. Anyone (and everyone) in the Institute showed up to play. We didn’t talk about Thursday night as much because we wanted a smaller group, more for our immediate circle of friends to play.

We developed a lingo, and a chatter, and a set of rules. The rules were fairly standard, but they were customized to our game. We counted how many times we hit cars with the frisbee. We offered points to whoever could do some obscenely difficult thing with the frisbee (usually hit someone on the other team in the back of the head on a kick-off). We chattered, and had a running dialog through the whole game. We didn’t really play with strategy, as much as we played for fun.

Once Derek talked us into playing in a co-ed intermurals tournament (and then left town and didn’t play). We ended up handily beating our first round opponents and ended up in the final versus the University Club team. That was one of the most physically exhausting games I’ve ever played. Our opponents did hammer throws and stall counts and all sorts of things we didn’t do. We ended up winning, mostly because our girls were better than theirs.

Fast forward… When I moved to Salt Lake, I tried to find a regular frisbee game. There were always games going on, but I never really felt like I fit in. I didn’t know their rules or their chatter, and I didn’t feel the same passion for the game as those who were playing did. We had a sporadic game in Salt Lake, but it never had the momentum that playing in Laramie did.

I’m pretty passionate about frisbee, don’t get me wrong, or I was, anyway. I just played for a different reason. I played to have fun and spend time with my friends. I never figured out how to straighten out my kick-off throw and never wore cleats, but I did have pretty good accuracy in throwing short and catching. I’m somewhere middle of the pack, skill-wise, I’d say. But I love to play.

Which brings me back to Michigan, and my experience with frisbee here. I have found other ways to spend time with friends, and frisbee never came up. I knew that they played it at Sports Night, but I didn’t know them and it was a longish drive anyhow. Last night, I wasn’t sure I wanted to play. I didn’t know how they did it here. Eventually, (and unfortunately right after two hotdogs), I got into the game.

Turns out, they have a different style of playing here. I got called out for what I considered playful banter with the other team. They also play with a very strict sense of boundaries, and there are rules that I didn’t know about that go with those boundaries. One member of the other team in particular got in my face about a rule I didn’t know I was breaking. (which of course makes me want to come back and play again, right?). It was those unspoken rules again…

So, I had fun. Will I play frisbee again with this group? I don’t know. If I were really daring, I’d try to organize my own game, but one where we’ve talked about the rules.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m totally cross posting here: Amy makes the best cookies and she shares her secrets!

Update: I made my first attempt on the recipe. And it turned out deliciously! I added some fresh cherries and a little bit of cinnamon. My first sheet came out completely underbaked, I had to increase the time a minute or two for other two sheets. I think my oven wasn’t quite hot enough. But still! Delicious!