Saturday, September 19, 2009

We're WAY Over Due...For An Update


Howdy folks! It’s been quite some time since the last update. In several months, lots has happened! At the beginning of August, we went on a long road trip from North Carolina to Utah, Arizona, and all the way back. In 12 days and 6200 miles, it was a long and fun adventure. Especially with our dog along for the ride. Since then, it has been back to school all the way (which is why we’ve been strangers to the ‘blogosphere’). Marina is working 40 hours a week with her assistantship and internship, plus clients and class. Most days from 8am to 8pm she’s out the door doing all kinds of things. I’m slightly less busy, but not by much. I’m going to school almost full time and working the same hours as always. I’ve even started biking to class, which gets me almost 5 miles riding time each day.

Well…what blog post is any good without pictures? As such, here are tons of pictures from our drive across the country!


When we left for Utah, we only had two days to get there, which made things really rushed. We did, however, stop at Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. Here’s a happy Marina in the black cave. When you go on a tour, they turn off all the lights—it is amazing how dark it gets!!

If you can’t tell by the picture, we couldn’t get a very good night shot while driving past the St. Louis arch on the freeway —at this point we had been driving for 18 hours or so, and were trying not to fall asleep. We ended up staying in scary truck stop on the west side of St. Louis for about 4 hours to get some rest. We didn’t stop to sleep the rest of the 44 hour drive.

You may have to squint to see, but there in fields of Kansas, we saw what I like to call “Jesus of the Wheat”. Not sure what purpose it served, other than a reminder—no notice about what church sponsored it—just a sight you don’t see too often. Kansas wasn’t as boring to drive across as I originally thought—parts of it reminded me of what I picture farmlands in Scotland to look like - except slightly less hilly.

We advanced through Denver—and I took Fletcher for a walk in the foothills of the Rockies west of Denver. It was the perfect temperature – it wasn’t too dry or humid, about 75, and a slight breeze. I could’ve pulled up a hammock and pulled Rip Van Winkle and slept for ages there. Of course, I might’ve had a hard time when winter came!

Here’s the other view of when we took the dog for a walk—a really beautiful sight. You can’t tell super well from the picture, but it had been very stormy from the plains east of Denver, all the way through to the mountains; but there was a break in the clouds which opened up on Denver and made a great view.

I haven’t a clue where this is, other than it is in the middle of the Rockies somewhere. This picture was taking while going 70 on a freeway, and it still looks as still and serene as anything with a tripod (except for the blurry road signs). Sign me up for a cabin there!

Part of the reason for our trip was so we could be at a good friend’s wedding. Marina got a shot of me looking all….funny. I think my mustache needs some work.

Mike and Jewel! They got married on August 8th at the Mount Timpanogos Temple. It was great to be there and enjoy the festivities.

The Stephens. Need I say more? Stephen Godfrey, and his wife, Sarah, are really good friends that were really nice and let us stay with them for the weekend in Utah.

Stephen (closed eyes), Marina, Sarah, and Stephen. It was a fun time—and Fletcher loved them to!

During the trip, we got to see lots of family. Here’s Marina with her older sister, Elisa, and her daughter, Becca. Fletcher’s giving a funny face, but he enjoyed the park anyway.

Fletcher! Apparently he gets timid around cats…but then he warms up to them and starts playing, puppy style!

No wonder he was timid – Emily’s cats have red glowing eyes, atop their Sauron like perch :P

Our 4 year old (almost 5!) nephew, William. I think I caught him mid “I’m going to karate chop you” wave. He’s pretty much the coolest kid. EVAR.

We drove to Scottsdale and got to spend the next 4 days with Marina’s family. It was a really good time. Marina took this picture of her mom and brother atop a horse somewhere in the desert outside of Queen Creek. I don’t know how they handled it, since it was August—in Arizona. Looks like a good time though!

The whole family got together after going to the temple and we had ice cream. And then more ice cream. Becca sure enjoyed this as well!

Marina and Fletcher were just hanging out; Miri (Marina’s mom) also joined for a quick photo.

All the ladies together! Elisa, Kristine, Miri, and Marina.

We had to go home, sadly. The rest of the photos are from our trip back. We were driving outside of Tucson (not pronounced Tuck-son :P) and saw this dinosaur. We have no idea why it is perched outside of McDonalds, but pictures were necessary.

When we drove through Texas, it felt kind of like going home—sort of. I was born in El Paso, but moved away when I was four—I don’t have many memories, but its still my birthplace.

Speaking of ‘going home’, we decided to stop and check out my parent’s house when we lived in Texas. I know they lived in a few other places, but I think this was their first house they bought. It seems like a cool old place to me. I think I remember seeing a picture of the house when it snowed there once. After going there in August, I just can’t imagine it ever snowing in El Paso!

Yet another reason to move to Texas! This is another one of those ‘driving down the road at 70’ (or more) pictures.

We stayed the night at Marina’s brother’s home. Here is Marina and Leslie overlooking an inlet near Lewisville Lake in Little Elm, Texas. It was really beautiful and its up near the top of my list of really great places to live.

On the other hand….we could live here! This is taken to catch the distant rainbow—on one of the many bridges outside of the New Orleans area. I don’t think I’ve ever driven on bridges for so long. It started to feel a bit like waterworld.

We stayed our last night of the trip in New Orleans. We wanted to see a few sights, so we went to the French Quarter on a Saturday night. I highly recommend not doing that. It was a crazy zoo and the only places that you could actually go and see were a bit sketchy. Here are some little donkey horse things that had money stuffed in their collars. Not sure why, they’re too small to go for a ride on.

We really wanted to see one of those hauntingly cool cemetaries with the mausoleums. Here is a night shot of Lafayette Square Cemetary. It is hard to see very well, but just imagine the spookiness!

Here’s that spookiness I was talking about.

Beignets are my new favorite treat. If you ever go to New Orleans, you MUST stop by Cafe du Monde on Decatur Street. It is the most fantastic, powdered sugar concoction of all time.

Beware the “It has been so long since I haven’t been in a car” lion face. I’m pretty sure I’ll be in time out for a month for putting this picture up.

We made one last visit on our way home in Auburn, Alabama. Marina and a fellow MFT student friend, Kristy got to spend some time catching up while I tried to keep our dog from attacking her roommate’s cat. Good times.

Well folks, that’s about all for now. I’m sure we’ll post again in a few more months (or sooner, hopefully) once we’re no longer submerged in the rigors of academia/life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Dog Days of Summer

Well, summer is about over. That's sad. To avoid feeling sad, I'm going to put up some pictures of our funny little dog. Since we can't inundate our blog with pictures of a child, our dog will have to do. We just went on a gargantuan trip (which I'm sure Marina will blog about soon), and got some funny pictures of Fletcher. He had a bit of a hard time on the trip, but overall was a great companion for the many hours of driving. Let the funny dog pictures commence!














Monday, July 20, 2009

Savings

I succumbed. I have fallen victim to the craze called "couponing." I am pretty proud of myself however! (It's also pretty addicting!)

Kroger:
The total before savings for the food: 168.35
Spent, after rebates and refunds: 44.92--Savings of roughly 75%
Items less than $.75-- water, soda, cheese, Keebler cookies, Santa Cruz Lemonade, Kraft dressing, chapstick, Kraft Cheese, Chex Mix, cream cheese
"Free" items: Amp, deodorant, dog food, & Tyson skillet dinner

CVS:
2 packs of paper and 2 packs of pens: FREE after rebate

Monday, July 6, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Three posts in one week-- GASP!

A long time ago in the faraway land of B.Y.U., there was two beautiful women, who happened to be my roommates. One day, these two wonderful roommates decided that they were going to "do a marathon." They asked people if they would like to "donate" to said marathon. At the time, one of these young ladies had not one, but two dashing suitors that clambered for her hand. Both suitors agreed to donate, as to not be outdone by the other. When the day of the "marathon" came, my roommates happily announced that it was not to be a traditional marathon, ney, but a movie marathon. They proceeded to watch extended versions of all three Lord of the Rings.


I have decided to "do a triathlon." In the spirit of me getting more fit, I have just registered to participate in the North Myrtle Beach Aquatic & Fitness Triathalon (Sprint) on Saturday September 12th which will benefit Muscular Dystrophy.

This event features a 700 yard open water swim, a 13 mile bike leg, and a 5k run in beautiful Myrtle Beach. I just registered, and I am so EXCITED but sooo NERVOUS! Any "donations" (wink, wink), support, encouragement, spectators, or anyone with an extra road bike I could borrow would be greatly appreciated!

I can't believe it's not...


Juice!

Steve LOVES juice. Let's just say, if juice was a woman, I would have some serious competition.

We recently discovered that Ocean Spray Started making Sugar Free Drink Mixes, they are similar to Crystal Light, but fulfull Steve's need for juice without the sugar.

We LOVE the White-Cranberry Peach, it actually tastes a lot like the juice! We've also tried Cranberry Lemonade, and Cranberry Grape (the grape was good, but had a slightly odd aftertaste). They have 3 other flavors-- has anyone tried those yet? I would love your opinion on them!

Monday, June 15, 2009

My life... in a nutshell

I've been a blog slacker. You see, I was under the impression that once the summer started, I would have free time! Haha. Yeah. Right. Aside from the weekends, I am just as busy as ever. But ahh... the weekends. We have been using the weekends as time to explore the East Coast-- but more about that soon!

During the week, I am working on several things:
  • Internship at the Pediatric Healthy Weight Clinic-- I am a Medical Family Therapist as part of an integrated care team working with a nutritionist and pediatrician to help children and adolescents that are "not at a healthy weight." While the nutritionist helps them with healthy food choices, and the doctor focuses on their health, I am there to help with anything else that may be a problem-- self-esteem, teasing, family problems, etc. I LOVE IT! (It's also motivated me to be more active myself!)
  • Assistantship with Dr. Hodgson working on a Substance Abuse Grant. We are starting a grant to assess people that come to the doctor for substance abuse. It is a challenge, but it is great experience, as I get to see first-hand how a grant comes together!
  • Seeing clients-- now that I can officially see clients, I have a caseload of 8-9 clients I see on a regular basis at the ECU Family Therapy Clinic (pictured below). It's a converted Frat House, and is a bit ghetto, but I love having an actual therapy clinic building!
I love my Marriage and Family Therapy program! I am learning so much: about people, about myself, and really coming to develop deeper empathy for the struggles people face. Although I miss friends and family out West (and everywhere else ;) ), I am grateful I am here and loving this opportunity to grow!

*Note-- I am busy, but I don't want to give anyone the wrong impression-- I am NEVER too busy for friends!!! After all, that's what life is about!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Neato Mosquito

As anyone who knows me knows, I'm kind of a computer junkie. I work in front of my computer, I get my news from the internet, my collection of music/video is vast, etc. As such, I come across alot of cool things. I am going to share some of the more recent ones, because I can. :)

1. This one wasn't found on the internet originally, but I have to show you what I'm talking about. I'm not a big hip-hop/rap fan - Marina can attest to that. I generally find the musicianship lacking greatly, let alone the messages music in that genre sends. I found one fantastic exception though. I was staying up really late one night from a bout of a sinus headache, and I was watching Letterman. Usually I turn off these shows when they do the musical act, but I didn't this time. I really won't explain further. But listen to the sound of her voice at 2:24-2:30...its amazing.




2. Again, as anyone who knows me knows - Honda is my favorite. Here's a commercial they came up with a couple years back that I thought was pretty awesome. It is a fantastic example of a "Rube Goldberg" machine.





4. After watching a recent Nicolas Cage movie, Kn0wing, I found this article. It shows some interesting time capsules - I'd love to attend some of the opening ceremonies for these!

5. Did you know the church uses Twitter now? Seems everyone is on that bandwagon. I found that at this site. I think it would actually interest more than just techies like me--it has all kinds of cool ways to apply the gospel and technology. Just check out the Projects section - especially the Google Maps one.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Half Blood Prince



For anyone who is interested, there is a new trailer for the upcoming Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, which comes out July 15 of this year.



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 15th

April 15th.

A day that has become synonomous with Taxes being due. April 15th. In my life, April 15th is synonomous with the day I become a "real" therapist. Watch out world! I can start seeing clients on my own today.

I "should" feel like this:














But I feel more like this:















*Disclaimor, this is a picture from an 80's dance, not what I REALLY look like. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Facebook

Monday, March 16, 2009

Adventure in the Bahamas

We went on a cruise for our 2-year anniversary/birthday/etc. Here are our favorite pictures! Our top 25 favorite memories:

25. A leisurely drive to Miami, with an overnight stop in Savannah, Georgia
24. Figuring out our "Blues Name" at a BBQ restaurant in Savannah, mine is "Jailhouse Dog Davis"
23. Getting an amazing deal ($83!) on a four star room at the Hyatt in downtown Miami overlooking the river-- thank you hotwire.com!
22. Watching cars go by in Nassau, Bahamas and looking for the scrapes on their bumpers-- apparently they drive like we play bumper cars!
21. Finding the "real" Happy Valley-- it's a Chinese restaurant
20. Getting up early to watch the sun rise over Half Moon Cay
19. Going to the obn-board sushi cart every day :)
18. Rolling with the movement of the ship, and being the only ones NOT drunk!
17. Eating lots and lots of yummy food!
16. Eating real Cuban food in Little Havana, Miami
15. Shopping in Nassau, and bargaining for a "Coach" purse.
14. Laughing at everyone else who apparently fell asleep in the sun.... they had some amazing sunburns!
13. Enjoying 70 degree weather in March
12. Seeing beautiful and picturesque beaches
11. Being amazed that the water really is THAT clear!
10. Not having to cook, clean, or make our bed!
9. Snorkeling just off the beach of Half Moon Cay and snorkeling over corals teeming with fish in Nassau
8. Finding cool towel animals on our bed
7. The Love and Marriage game show--hilarious!
6. Hearing some of the FAQ's aboard the ship-- including, "What elevation are we at?" and "What religion are the people who wear the patches behind their ears?" The cruise director blithely answered "A-pache"
5. Exploring Gibbs Cay, a beautiful uninhabited island just off Grand Turk
4. Snorkeling in Grand Turk less than half a mile from a 7,000 foot underwater precipice
3. Kissing a sting ray
2. Kissing each other
1. Being suspended 500 feet above the sea going 50 miles per hour-- parasailing is AMAZING!


* No stingrays were harmed in the making of this video


Friday, March 6, 2009

Our Dog is Funny

Friday, February 27, 2009

Memory

As I've been sitting here in my chair at 2:30 in the morning working on an Oracle upgrade for work, my mind has started to drift. Luckily the upgrade is running several hours of self-automated scripts.

I'm reflecting on memory, specifically. Recently in one of my classes, my professor stated, "When everything else goes away, all you have left is your memories". I am going to attempt to recount some important or interesting memories I have had, hopefully without waxing too nostalgic. Maybe one day when I have amnesia, this will help me remember.

1. When I was probably 7 or 8, my family lived in California. My mom has always been a major green thumb and always interested in plants and horticulture. One day a fellow of what I remember to be hispanic origins was talking to my mother about the landscaping in our neighborhood. I think at the time my Dad was at work. I distinctly remember not liking him. At all. He and my Mom went to examine some ivy or vines or something for what seemed like an eternity. She started to be gone so long that I became extremely upset. My 7 year old mind had decided my mother had run off with this guy. It was truly heartbreaking for me for the hour or so she was gone. Of course she came back and didn't leave my dad for a hispanic landscaper. I think this is one of my earliest memories that taught me the importance of family.

2. In the winter of 1993 to 1994, my family moved from Stanton, California (for real.) to Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. That was an INCREDIBLE adjustment, even for a 9 year old. Some of the most important lessons and developments I have made, were made because of that move. I met some people that were great friends for a long time. It also exposed me to prejudice for the first time. People in CA were by in large very progressive and tolerant of differences, but I found Bloomsburg to be somewhat different.

3. The setting is winter 2001, Cincinnati, OH. I was on a charter bus, somewhere. I was a member of a singing/dancing group known as the Glen Este Counterpoint Show Choir. Some of my most fond and painful memories come from this time period. Without digressing, suffice it to say that I hope my children get involved in something half as meaningful as that was to me. Being involved in a competitive team with a morally straight leader is an experience to be coveted.

4. Las Vegas, Nevada, August 10, 2004. Imagine the picture of a 19 year old young man in a suit, walking down Fremont Street. Not the glitzy part with the Stratosphere; take Fremont east a mile or two, and you know where I was. In a suit. In 117 degrees. Talking to every drunk, drug addict, prostitute, and down to earth good person (quite the mix, no?) about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I don't know if that day had any impact on others, but it helped shape my character that would allow me to spend 2 years serving the people of Las Vegas. I've come to love them, despite the wayward ways of many of them.

5. By now you're probably not reading anymore. If you are, time for a nice juicy memory :P. The love of my life, Marina, and I were sealed for time and eternity in the Mesa Arizona Temple. An unusually hot day in March, we were surrounded by our family to celebrate the best decision I will ever make in my life. That was nearly 2 years ago, and I wouldn't have done it any differently. I love you, Marina.

Ok, ok, I suppose after writing all that a couple of things come to mind. One, why on earth does it take so long to update an Oracle database??? And two, maybe this is more appropriate for a journal; BUT, my hope is that those few that read this will delve back into their past and relish the memories of both the happy and sad times. You'll be pleasantly surpised at what you can learn, feel, remember and enjoy.

Good night all!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I got bangs!

I gave myself a haircut and got bangs! 
I was going for Kate Hudson in "Bride Wars"












The last time I had bangs was High School, so it's been an adventure!