Friday, October 31, 2008

Lessons From Vacation

We returned safely on Tuesday from our family vacation in San Diego after having a wonderful time. I took away several lessons from the trip:
1. It is great to go to major amusement parks during the off season. We rarely stood in line.
2. Legoland was Ethan's favorite because, though he loved the San Diego Zoo and Sea World, Legoland is built for kids his age right down to the urinals!
3. Legoland does not serve beer while Seaworld and the Zoo do. It would be fun to contemplate whether or not Legoland's low urinals for kids and the lack of beer are related, but I digress.
4. Even though I'm an experienced traveler and negotiating traffic has never been a problem for me (not to mention, having the Pacific Ocean on the left -West - and mountains on the right -East -made directions easy), my last minute decision to pony up 9 bucks a day for a dashboard navigation system in the rental car was well worth it.
5. We would plan one day of down time for the pool or the beach rather than packing in three major amusement parks in three days. Ethan and Heather were troopers, was a lot to ask especially for a 3.5 year old whose legs, while reaching the magic 42" marker for many rides (unless they made him remove his baseball cap of course), make keeping up with grown ups kind of tough.
6. At the end of the day -- or three days in this case -- Ethan may have enjoyed playing in a sandbox as much as anything else he experienced.
And so it goes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sea World!

Today, we spent the entire day at Sea World after Ethan woke up unusually early (about 6:45 am!). By the time we left later in the day, he'd been awake almost 12 hours which is a record for him. We saw multiple animals, he got to hold a starfish (but refused to pet a stingray because it was slimy), and ended up at the end of the day playing in a large sandbox with dump trucks and bulldozers. Yes, we travel over 1,000 miles, get to see whales and seals and dolphins, and he ends his Sea World experience much like he spends a day in Boise: Playing with construction equipment! He had fun at the whale show but was disappointed we didn't get splashed. Mom and Dad weren't! Off to Lego Land tomorrow!

Lions, Tigers, and Bears! Oh My!

We are having our first real family vacation this weekend in San Diego, and we spent hours yesterday at the famous San Diego Zoo racing from one animal to another with Ethan exclaiming "Wow!" at almost every one. He said he enjoyed the penguins (we didn't see any...), and the pandas were kinda boring. He really did enjoy the bears, the bus ride, the sky car ride, and the reptiles. We're off to Sea World today!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting Older

My brother Dan turns 58 today, and my brother Steve turned 56 yesterday. How did that happen? I still think of the four of us as the young "Dunham Brothers" who could conquer the world. In some respects, the years have been kind. We are all relatively healthy, happy, and successful. There have been disappointments through the years, and the loss of our father too early continues to be painful 15 years after he died. But, it's been a good life for all of us. When I look at us now, I still see us when we were young. The graying hair (and in my case, the thinning graying hair), the wrinkles, etc. aren't really visible to me. But, calling my brothers to say "happy birthday" and realizing they are in their late 50's seems unbelievable to me.

I'm Running For Public Office!

I never aspired to public office. Having been a professional lobbyist and Political Action Committee "guy" since 1984, the prospect of being on the other side of the table should send shudders down my spine. However, here I am as a candidate for elective office in an election to be held November 4, 2008...a date most pundits suggest is the "most important election of our time" though its importance has nothing to do with me frankly. I am grateful to be unopposed in my election to serve a four-year term on the Board of Trustees of the relatively new College of Western Idaho.
I am often amazed at the naivete and/or ignorance of voters in general, and I have frankly been even more incredulous that many people I know don't realize that:
1. There IS a college in the Treasure Valley, and
2. that Trustees have to run for election.
In Idaho, a state with about 1.3 million people, the most challenging elections from a "numbers game" would be a statewide race or a congressional district. Next to one of those, running for the CWI Board encompasses the largest potential block of voters in Idaho! The two most populous counties (Ada and Canyon) with a combined population of perhaps 600,000 people votes at large in this election. What can the Trustees do? Make a considerable difference in the future of the valley through education, work force training, and economic development which seem especially critical at this juncture when the economy may be faltering. Cynically, some suggest our major role is to impose property taxes on the public which is an unfortunately short-sighted view.
I am also disappointed in the media for the most part for missing the importance of this election. The Idaho Press Tribune is an admirable exception to this because they have covered the races in Board elections carefully, interviewed candidates, hosted candidate forums, posted information on their website. The rest of the media has been indifferent at best. If you are interested in this election and want to learn more about the candidates for the Board of Trustees, you should visit the Idaho Press Tribune at:
I'm actually enjoying part of the process which is talking to people about the college. But, I have it easy....I'm unopposed!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

You're a big boy Daddy!

The other day, Heather took Ethan to get a flu shot. I've tried to make all of his doctor appointments especially those when a shot is given. I will never forget the look of shock and betrayal on his face (right before the screams erupted) during the awful series of immunizations early in his life. One of those visits was complicated when the "nurse" cut his toe with the needle resulting in two bandages and a continuing distrust of that woman. I wasn't able to go the other day, however, and Heather reports Ethan was brave. Whenever he falls or somehow hurts himself, he instantly tells me "I'm OK Daddy." He did the same when I got home that night though he told me his leg hurt a bit as he showed me his Scooby Doo bandage. Heather reports that he ran around for a couple hours that afternoon but sometimes limped -- mainly when she asked how his leg was. Feeling bad about missing out on being there to support him as he got this shot, I told Ethan I would be getting a flu shot myself soon. I asked him if he would go with me and hold my hand to make me feel better. He looked at me with wide green eyes, and said, "You're a big boy Daddy! You shouldn't cry."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Shoshone Falls

Over 40 years ago, I visited Shoshone Falls outside my home town, Twin Falls, Idaho with my mom and my grandmother. I have a vivid memory of my mother slowly and nervously driving up the narrow steep grade that lacked a guard rail. Standing on the front seat between her and my grandmother (no car seat requirements in 1964!), I said "Uh Oh! I think we're having an accident!" My grandmother recounted that visit and comment for years afterward. Now, all these years later I took my son and my mother back down that same grade which hasn't improved much. Nor has Mom's attitude which was white-knuckled and characterized by small gasps of fear. Somethings never change. Shoshone Falls is still breath taking, and my mom still hates going there. Ethan loved it!