Saturday, November 28, 2009

New York, New York!

Thing number 11 was originally supposed to be to go see the Supreme Court in session. However, I got sick a couple of weeks ago and didn't feel it was appropriate to miss any more work. So I amended this thing to be visit the Statue of Liberty. This was something I had never done before. It was really cool. We didn't get to go inside, but just being close to Lady Liberty was worth the ferry ride. The narration on the ferry said that when immigrants coming to Ellis Island saw the statue, the whole ship would erupt in cheers.

Thing number 16 was to attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This was really fun. I'm glad we did it. My mom, sister, and I got up early and found a place on 6th Avenue about 7:30 am. We had a prime spot: everyone in front of us was on the street and we were on the curb, so it was easy to see everything that went by. The marching bands were great, the clowns and other characters were entertaining, and the balloons were fabulous. It is a different experience watching them come down the street and then float overhead. This was hands down the best parade I've ever been to.


Snoopy makes the turn onto 6th Avenue from 42nd Street.

We finished the rest of our time off in New York by seeing the Rockette's Christmas Spectacular, eating at Bubba Gump's in Times Square, seeing a play with two of Jenny's favorite actors, going to the top of the Empire State Building, and eating Thanksgiving dinner.

Current Tally: 24 done, 2 in progress, 1 to do!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


"With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you." - Jeffery R. Holland

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thing #10 and surplus things

Thing number 10 was to go whale watching. Here are the whales!

This whale hangs out at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The aquarium is full of beautiful living creatures, but this whale is obviously not real. And he doesn't count as whale watching.

I had been thinking about modifying this thing since whale watching season was over in the mid-atlantic states when a trip to California for work was approved. So I left it on, did some research on whale watching trips and found one that worked with my schedule. However when I went to buy the tickets before I left, the tour that I had planned on taking was no longer on the schedule. None of the other trips worked with my schedule, but I left it on the list just in case I could get the tour. I also added seeing the Redwoods to this thing, so that one way or another something would be accomplished this week.

I drove through Henry Cowell State Park on my way from Monterey to San Jose to come home. The road winded through the mountains and the huge redwoods went for miles. It was gorgeous. I met a rancher named Jim in the San Jose airport waiting for my delayed flight (picture a leathery, grampa-type wearing denim and a cowboy hat and boots). He told me that Redwoods don't burn in a forest fire beacuse of their thick bark, but actually need the heat in order to grow.

While in California, I explored Monterey (where the conference was) and Carmel-by-the-Sea. For more pictures go here.

Surplus #1: The trip allowed me to visit with a mission companion and dear friend Rachel, who was very pregnant. She and I hadn't seen each other in about 3 years. We played with her son AJ (too cute for words), helped prepare for her sister's wedding, made chocolate cover pretezels, and caught up on things. Such joy!

Surplus #2: Due to my delay in San Jose, I missed my connection in Salt Lake City. At first they wanted me to fly from SLC to LA to Atlanta to DC, arriving at 9 am. Spending the whole night on a plane didn't sound like much fun to me, so I scheduled a flight out for the next morning. Hurrah for the unexpected. I must admit I was a little frustrated in San Jose, but talking with the rancher named Jim and realizing that I could visit Temple Square helped change my attitude. Kathleen picked me up from the airport and we had dinner at Leatherby's (an old favorite) and then went to Temple Square. Oh how I've missed it! We walked around the temple and chatted with a couple of sisters - one from California and one from Mexico. We visited the new Chuch History Library (mostly just walked in and did a random search in their catalog). We sat in on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearsal for a few minutes - absolutely gorgeous - and walked up where the Christus is. Such memories came flooding back and I was very grateful for the delay that made it possible. I stayed with my cousin Megyn and her family overnight. Her kids are getting so big and are lots of fun. It was great to catch up with them and my aunt Linda.

Current Tally: 22 done, 2 started, 3 to do in 42 days!