Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sarah's Flickr Mosaic

1. What is your first name? Sarah
2. What is your favorite food? peanut butter
3. What school did you go to? California State University, San Bernardino
4. What is your favorite color? yellow
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Matt Damon
6. Favorite drink? ice water
7. Dream vacation? Hawaii
8. Favorite dessert? angel food cake
9. What you want to be when you grow up? grandmother
10. What do you love most in life? families forever
11. One word to describe you. dedicated
12. Your nickname. Honey Bunches of Oats or "Bunches" for short
1. Before the world was made… the innerlight of Sarah.K was!!! :))), 2. Apples and Peanut Butter, 3. Grounds of San Bernardino State University, 4. Girasoles acariciados por el viento .../ Sunflowers kissed the wind ... (Dedicada a mis 7500 visitantes/Dedicated to my 7500 visitors), 5. Matt Damon, 6. Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake - Iceland, 7. Sunset Beach, 8. Angel Food Cake, 9. A Helping Hand, 10. Day 27/365: Two years, 11. The Old Odd-Looking House HDR, 12. I'm better keep an eye on this guy.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Personal Mosaic

This is a mosaic that represents me. To find out what this is all about, and how to make one yourself, please visit Holly's blog post that gives all the ins and outs HERE.

Click to enlarge:

The questions that match up with each image.
(Questions go with images going left to right):

1. What is your first name? Daniel
2. What is your favorite food? pasta
3. What school did you go to? University of Redlands
4. What is your favorite color? electric blue
5. Who is your celebrity crush? N. Portman
6. Favorite drink? Dr. Pepper (diet)
7. Dream vacation? Trastevere quarter of Roma
8. Favorite dessert? Creme Brule
9. What you want to be when you grow up? master (ended up using the word "guru")
10. What do you love most in life? God
11. One word to describe you. exuberant
12. Your nickname. Although "Danny" is my common nickname, Sarah insisted on her nickname for me, BELUGA (a white whale mammal...cute, smart but chubby and white...hey!)

Copyright of images:
1. El lobo de Daniel, 2. You'll never find it, 3. University of Redlands Chapel, 4. electric blue, 5. Natalie Portman - Closeup, 6. 106.365 - "Old School", 7. Trastevere remake, 8. Crème Brulée, 9. The Old Tree, 10. From above..., 11. Zion, 12.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A good ole fashion blog update

Hey ya'lls, it's me, yer old slack jawed yokel (see above). As I sat down here on the couch after riding my bike down Blaine to get air in the tire and to get some exercise (and after watering the plants out front and digging through both big trash bins with a flashlight looking for our TV remote which we believed Claire might have thrown away since she often throws cell phones, jewelry, etc. in the kitchen trash can) I thought to myself, "Hey, I should actually try writing something about my day-to-day life and thoughts on the blog." What a concept!

This week has been quite busy for me at work and in terms of church service. Since I'm the Chair of the English Department at the school, as well as the technology coach, the beginning of the school year is always quite busy as I help teachers, old and new, set up their hardware (notebooks, desktops, LCD projectors, document cameras, etc.) as well as get their software up and running. Our attendance is done completely online now so that changes in student attendance-- as well as behavioral reports, grades, etc.--can be tracked in real time. Believe it or not, I still have to help a lot of folks figure out how to use the district's email program (Outlook) so I get calls throughout the day and am scheduling many after school trainings which few people show up to and then, according to the natural laws the govern organizations, everyone ends up calling me and asking for one-on-one help. Despite this minor complaint, it's challenging yet fulfilling, especially working with the new teachers since they have that spring in their step that only a new teacher has. I get it every once in a while myself, mostly on Fridays. I had some meetings, however, after work that had me getting home toward five o'clock which I know it probably early for a lot of people, but to me it feels like abuse, especially now that I'm growing used to not being at the university until 9PM during the week. Hey, don't snicker, I don't make that much money, so I like to be home earlier than the average schmo! Actually, I think teachers make great money, we just don't work very much so I deserve the extra time with the family which is the primary reason I love my job. Although I'm excited to make the jump to admin, one thing I will miss is getting home around 3:30PM, and even earlier some days. It gives me time to mow the lawn, go shopping with Sarah and do all those things that are often reserved for the weekends.

I also made some visits with Mike Taylor, the first counselor, on Tuesday evening. I always find visiting people in the ward who haven't made it out to church in some time quite fun and fulfilling. There are so many good people out there who have just lost touch for one reason or another and regardless of how you're treated, and most of the time I find myself being treated quite nicely, I always come away with a good feeling.

Today Sarah and the kids had a good time. Sarah went with a few other women and their children to the local California Pizza Kitchen and the kids had a tour of the restaurant and even cooked their own little pizzas. When I got home from work I found a couple little pieces waiting for me which I appreciated on many levels, mostly on the gut level though. Sarah also had a visit from her nursing school friend Christina who brought her kids down from the high desert.

Final thought, next week I turn thirty years old (Friday). Since when am I thirty years old? That just seems wrong, literally. Last thing I remember I was twenty-four or something...and deep within I'm ageless, but aren't we all?


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Doing Something Today
The following is an excerpt from Pres. Thomas Monson's recent discourse, "May We So Live." I thought I'd share it here, despite the fact that most of you who visit our little blog have likely read it. The idea behind this particular excerpt is the age old adage, "Carpe Diem."

I think it's safe to say that this is something most of us need to work on. I know, for example, if I don't get out and visit the families whom I home teach when I know I have time, it doesn't end up happening. Fortunately, my home teaching has gone quite well for the past few years--I have Sarah to thank for this in a big way due to her support and willingness to let me go in the evenings, especially despite how busy I've been with school previously on other nights)--but there are so many other areas in my/our lives where we could apply this principle better.

"How fragile life, how certain death. We do not know when we will be required to leave this mortal existence. And so I ask, “What are we doing with today?” If we live only for tomorrow, we’ll eventually have a lot of empty yesterdays. Have we been guilty of declaring, “I’ve been thinking about making some course corrections in my life. I plan to take the first step—tomorrow”? With such thinking, tomorrow is forever. Such tomorrows rarely come unless we do something about them today. As the familiar hymn teaches:

There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.

In the big scheme (and I mean the BIG scheme) of things, this principle is truly paramount.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"My littlest sunshine"

For those of you who don't know, I absolutely love sunflowers! Santa Clause must have known since he brought me some dwarf sunflower seeds for Christmas in my stocking last year. I have to add, that Santa Clause still comes in the form of my parents. One year when my oldest brother wasn't living at home, but came home Christmas morning, he almost cried when there wasn't a stocking for him! Ever since, Santa comes to visit us complaining about that!

A couple of months ago, Carter and I planted our seeds in the area by our front window. Thanks to some good potting soil and Danny's TLC, we have sunflowers in our yard! The best part is that the first one opened on Claire's first birthday! When Carter was a baby, I made up a song called "You're my littlest sunshine...". After Claire's arrival, she became the littlest, so I found it fitting that our first sunflower opened on her birthday! I just love walking outside or coming home and seeing our sunflowers there. I have never been able to look at a sunflower and not feel happiness...that is why I love them some much...they radiate happiness and sunshine and so does our littlest sunshine, Claire!

He's really done!

I've been meaning to post a couple of weeks about Danny finally finishing his big research paper and really being DONE with his master's. He is back to work now and it so nice not to have school on top of it. The first picture is of our kitchen table the entire WEEK his paper was due. I told him no Ph.D. program until he learns not to procrastinate:)
So after his exit interview was complete and the paper turned in, the kids and I had a celebration waiting for him. Decorations courtesy of Dollar Tree. BTW, did you hear that 99 cent only is raising prices above 99 cents? It is a travesty really. I heard it on the news in a confused patient's room at work last night, so she wasn't able to commiserate with me. Really, what is the world coming to? Back on topic, the kids were excited to have our little "party" and we are all happy Danny is home more now!
Claire got her first blood nose by falling in the garage just prior to our celebration!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Saddest Picture I've Seen in a While

Regardless of how one feels about the current war in Iraq, whether it was necessary to invade Iraq or not, images like this remind us why war is always sad.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Taste of Zion in the Form of Angel's Landing

That's a brief video I took when we (my mom, Ned, Wes, Rob, Laura and me) reached the pinnacle of Angel's Landing in Zion National Park during our family trip in June (everyone else stayed back at the camp for various reasons). The photos I took are better at illustrating the grandeur of the hike, but I just happened to have uploaded this video first, the photos will come later.

There is no way to sufficiently describe this hike, but suffice to say that it's one of the most thrilling and scary things I've ever done in my life due to the dizzying, sheer cliffs that drop off on either side of the trail at times.

Here's a description I found of the hike online:

"The Angels Landing Trail is one of the most famous and thrilling hikes in the national park system. Zion's pride and joy runs along a narrow rock fin with dizzying drop-offs on both sides. In complete contrast to the level Zion Narrows trail, the route to Angels Landing, one of the high mountains of Zion National Park, ascends 1,500 feet over a distance of 2.5 miles to the slickrock summit, which is ringed on three sides by the Virgin River far below and has amazing views in both directions up and down the canyon. The a perch boasts magnificent views in every direction. Rarely is such an intimidating path so frequented by hikers. One would think that this narrow ridge with deep chasms on each of its flanks would allure only the most intrepid of hikers. Climbers scale its big wall; hikers pull themselves up by chains and sightseers stand in awe at its stunning nobility. The towering monolith is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Southwest and is generally considered the best high elevation viewpoint in the park. The round trip can be done in less than 2 hours, though the NPS suggest 4 hours is the average time [we did the hike up in about 2 hours]."

The chains are a must during portions of the hike:

I will be doing a "mega post" with all of the photos and videos we took during our 4 day stay in the beautiful park, but I'm trying to find all of the photos I took when I went up to Utah for my cousins Christianne's wedding in May which have disappeared (I think they're on my external drive).

How "scary" is it? Well, if you keep one foot in front of the other and think clearly, it's not THAT bad, but I think this photo shows how crazy it actually is:

Monday, August 4, 2008

$664...for gas!

Yes, that's right..

That's exactly how much money we spent on gas during the month of July. We did take two trips: one to San Luis Obispo and another to San Diego, but other than that our driving was to work, to visit friends and family, and the normal day-to-day driving to run errands, shop, etc. I think it's time to attack Venezuela. Did you know it costs about $1.50 to fill up a TEN GALLON TANK in Venezuela right now?

Now, although this is difficult for us, we're not naive; we understand that we could drive less, we could stop eating out -not that we do so very often- and have more money for gas, etc. but one has to admit that compared to a year ago, gas is $&%# expensive!