Monday, November 26, 2007

Could the Holiday have been any better!!

Ahh...Thanksgiving, food, fun, family, getting lost in the CA desert? Not usually what we do at Thanksgiving, but that's what happened this year, along with all the other things that are normal Thanksgiving events. I was able to leave SD early, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, to drive home to Concord. I made it in great time, pulling into my parents yard about 2:30, still enough time to go shopping! I stayed there, visiting with friends and having my mom wait on me hand and foot(she wanted to!) and hung out with my brother,till Tuesday, when we packed up my parents car and my car to head to St. George, UT!. My sister and brother in law from American Fork and another sister from BYU, drove down to meet us at my aunts house.
My grandma, mom, dad, and me drove out through the CA desert (anyone recognize the towns of North Edwards, California City, Mojave? if you do, you'll know right where I was). The traffic came to a halt about 5 miles past the turnoff for CA city. For whatever reason, Highway 58 was closed from Boron for 7 miles. How were we going to get around the stalled traffic! We crossed the dirt median, and went back to the California City exit, where our map said there was "another route" that would take us to Highway 395, then south to 58 again, past the 7 mile closure. Well, those "other routes" are unmaintained roads! We were following my dad's GPS system that showed us in the middle of a big yellow screen, with the highway we wanted off on the edge of his screen. The system said, "we were off the map." Great.
Well, we drove California City Blvd. to Rutgers Road to Osdick Road, all ATV/camper roads. At one point, I had 4 wheelers passing me on this washed out dirt/sand road. What fun. My car, not 4 wheel drive, made it over some dunes and what felt like bike jumps! Pearl took flight a couple times. Finally we made it to Highway 395 and found out, that Twenty Mule Team Road, another road taking off from CA city, was an even more direct route to 395, but how were we to know. Now we do. Take the "Team road" when in doubt. So we got to St. George about 2 hours later than we had hoped, a little worn down. But we did find out later as we were talking to a lady pumping gas in front of me at the next gas station, that the wait on Highway 58 had been 3 hours! So we saved some time and saw some scenes!
The rest of the vacation was awesome, with aunts, uncles, cousins, babies, grandma, siblings, niece(cutest one ever!), parents and of course, 2 turkeys, a ham, veggies, dips, potatoes, stuffing, asparagus wrapped in bacon(looked nice and tasted great!), pies, cheesecakes and anything else you wanted to eat. Throw in the trip to the local Dinosaur tracks museum and the entire week was one of the best Thanksgivings ever!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Holiday traveling own testimonials

I think I'm a little bored this week with three posts, but that's life this week at work. With the holiday season coming up and traveling on the mind, I found this helpful article on Yahoo. It lists the top 15 traveling tips to review before flying. I'm not going to go through all 15, but I have a couple experiences in the airport that will testify to the truthfulness of some of these tips.

Airplanes are flying buses
You get little more than a little seat; now quit whining and take responsibility for your comfort. Assume that food, entertainment, blankets, and pillows cost extra, if they're offered at all. Rather than get nickel-and-dimed, carry on anything you want.
Testimonial: I fly Southwest all the time and this is so true on their airline. While they offer the cheapest rates, it is like a bus. You get on, find your seat since one is not assigned, then realize that it just isn't that much room. So we just deal with it.

Hands off the call button
The vast majority of flight attendants have a Pavlovian reaction to the call button: When they hear it, they snarl. About the only time it's acceptable to push the button is when you or your seatmate is having a heart attack.
Testimonial: I have seen many flight attendants get frustrated with passengers for this, just stay on their good side.

Airport security for beginners
1. At home, place gels and liquids (in 3-oz. containers) in a quart-size Ziploc. Wear slip-on shoes, and don't forget socks (going barefoot is gross).

2. In the security line, remove everything except your ID and boarding pass from your pockets.

3. When you're three people from the front of the line, take off your shoes and jacket, and remove your laptop from your bag.

4. Try to be patient with everyone who didn't do it this way.
Testimonial: Different airports do things a little differently. San Diego may not yell at you for not having your liquids in a quart-size ziploc, but Oakland will, and not just yell, but only give you 5 seconds to make your decision, check your bag, or throw it away since you don't have the right size bag! Luckily, they now have bags there just in case you didn't bring one. But I am amazed at how many people don't realize they have to bag their liquids and only have 3-oz containers. By the way, liquid makeup, non-solid deodorant are all things that you should put in the bag, or just check it, just to be on the safe side. Some checkers are picky. And just be patient, why lose years off your life getting mad at the people in front of you who don't know what they are doing, or are slow, does no one any good.

Got a big carry-on?
Then you'd better be at the front of the line for your boarding group. Once you're on the plane, if it looks busy up ahead, stash the bag in any open overhead space. Never allow the bag to end up behind your seat, or you'll have to wait for the entire plane to empty before you'll be able to retrieve it.
Testimonial: Just don't bring a big carry-on. If it can't fit in the test slots, don't bring it. Just plan for a mad dash to the luggage carousels after your flight, you'll be fine. The rest of us want space for our bags that actually fit.

Call someone who cares
To reduce the number of cars circling the arrivals area, airports are creating "cell phone parking lots" where people meeting an arriving passenger can wait for that person's call. The lots are the best thing to happen at airports since Auntie Anne's pretzel-wrapped hot dogs.
Testimonial: Lucky for me, I have great friends, who even when they forget their cell phones at home, and my flight is 1 1/2 hours late, will drive around, then park their car in the cell phone lot for a hour while waiting for me. These lots have saved my life by allowing my rides home to wait for me. Thanks so much!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Finally, a movie worth seeing!

I went and saw this movie last Friday and I really enjoyed it. I find The Office pretty funny, but this wasn't office humor. DAN IN REAL LIFE was everyday moments in a big family. A family would like this movie as well as adults. I found it very refreshing to go to a movie that portrayed a family we all liked and, secretly, would like to be a part of, interacting with eachother and why they love and help eachother out. It had the humor, but was a side of Steve Carrell we don't usually see, and I also cried! When a movie can take you across the board of emotions, I think it's a keeper!

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Big Three are Back

"Yes, Pierce told Garnett that opening night here would be something extraordinary, because Pierce understood the ache of the old Celtics fans. He understood the embarrassment, the humiliation that comes with forever failing under those 16 dusty banners. It is never easy to struggle in this league, but no where do the ghosts haunt a franchise the way they do in Boston." (Yahoo Sports)
I love basketball, especially NBA basketball. I am a big fan of the San Antonio Spurs, and also enjoy the Suns, Dwayne Wade of the Heat(not a big Shaq fan). But I grew up watching the Celtics. My dad has always been a Celtics fan, he loved Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Danny Ainge(who he got to open gym with at BYU). So it has been really exciting to see Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen join Paul Pierce to bring the Celtics back to their glory days. The big three are back. And they have played like they are. I am excited to see a resurgent Celtic team take it all the way and then play against my beloved San Antonio Spurs in the Finals, the storied franchise against the new dynasty. How fantastic!
"As the Celtics' season crept toward tipoff, Allen watched the video montage of Red lighting his cigar on the bench, and Cousy dribbling out the clock and Bird stealing the ball and passing it underneath to DJ who laid it in. He watched it all, and the goose-bumps ran up and down his arms. It made him, he said, feel so insignificant. And it made Allen ask himself a question.

“What can we do to put our little dent in Boston sports history?” he wondered later."

Mormon Helping Hands

This last weekend was really great. My ward was asked to participate in a multi-stake service project up in Ramona, where the fires had swept through a week ago. About 20 of us from my ward went up, met at the church building there, had a little devotional, received our work shirts(yellow 'Mormon Helping Hands' shirts), water and our assignments. The group I was in was assigned to a members home, where they had lost their garage and another out building. As we chatted with the owners for a bit, we heard a little of their story. They had been given only 15 minutes to evacuate their home. The fire burned up their hill, destroying the home below them and coming up onto their patio, burning their furniture and brush outside, but the firefighters had fought to save their home for 2 hours. They pulled water out of their pool to save their home. They lost their large garage with all of his tools, their school supplies for their children, whom they home schooled, their kiln, all their outdoor equipment and so many other possessions they had stored out there. This was a huge garage.
So we were assigned to clear away the debris. One of the guys in our group had brought up supplies his work had donated, like work goggles and wonderfully tough gloves which were so appreciated and made the work manageable. We didn't have worry about what was getting in our eyes! We sifted through the rubble for any items they could identify for insurance purposes then started shoveling all the rubble and ash into bags to go into the dumpster. The stucco walls had collapsed in and needed to hacked apart and the chicken wire that runs through stucco needed to be cut so we could move the walls by piecemeal into the dumpster. The garage doors were twisted, melted metal and needed to be removed. The tile melted into a huge, really heavy mass that needed to be moved as well. By the end of the day, we were covered in ash and dirt but we left a completely flat and cleaned space that had been their 4 car garage. I am so amazed with the church and their ability to organize so many people. Our stake provided 600 bagged lunches for everyone and water. While I am sad for those who lost so much, it was satisfying to be able to help them and make their rebuilding process a little easier. The family was grateful for what they did have, they had their home and lives and all they needed was that. It was truly amazing.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Lost all my links

For those of you who may know about these blog templates, I need some help. I have recently tried to revamp my layout here and in the process, I lost all my links to your pages. I am working on getting those back, so if you don't see yours on the side, please feel free to send me the link to yours, but is there a way to change your template WITHOUT losing info? Just wondering...this really came about when I looked at Krystle's page, saw a link to a template site, tried to change it, did and lost all my links. While I'm not blaming a faulty link on my friend:), I do wish I could find an easy way to change my blog template, any suggestions?