Sunday, October 26, 2014

Things I am grateful for today

So I've been thinking recently that I need to look more for the miracles and good things in my life and be more grateful for them.  So I think that I will start using this as a chance to write and share some of those.
I'm grateful for good friends and neighbors who watch my house and get my mail and newspapers while I am gone. :)
I'm also grateful for the week-long trip that I took with my American Foundations team to Washington, DC this past week.  It was amazing and I loved the interesting intellectual and not-so-intellectual discussions that we had all week long.  Here we are on the steps of the Supreme Court.
Steps in front of Supreme Court, Washington, DC, October 22, 2014

I really appreciated the talks that I had with my seatmates on my two separate flights.  I normally spend the time reading a book, but this time I just struck up some really interesting conversations.  One woman, Cindy, worked for/with Samsung and I learned some cool new things about my phone from her as well as some of their other products (did you know that they did ultrasound?).  But we also talked about books and apps and games for our tablets and all sorts of interesting things.
On my second flight, I talked to Hal, who has had an amazing and interesting life.  He has invented some revolutionary techniques for discovering hidden print on old or damaged manuscripts or even things in photographs.  He has actually invented quite a few things.  He even came up with an idea for something new while we were talking!  He had brought a project with him that he intended to spend the 3.5 hours on the plane doing, but we spent nearly 3 hours talking.  However, he said that our conversation was so mentally stimulating that it made the words and creative juices flow that he was able to finish his work much more quickly even though he only had just over 30 minutes to work on it!  It was really interesting talking to him about his life and how he ended up involved in the various projects that he was doing and how, despite an undiagnosed learning disability (ADD), he was able to become a doctor and an inventor in various fields, including his hobbies.  It was actually his interests in so many fields that has helped him to invent things as he uses cross-overs from the various fields to inspire applications in a completely different field.  With my background in physics and economics, we actually had a great opportunity to talk about a large variety of topics, some with overlapping knowledge or familiarity with the topic.  I also talked a little bit about my research with gap year students and he was able to apply it to his personal life and to his son who is trying his best to decide what to do after high school and is considering taking a gap year.  Anyway, it is hard to describe, but it was a great conversation that flowed fluidly for several hours.  I hope to be able to share his story of success with some of my students who struggle and don't always get As in their classes, but to know that doesn't mean anything or even dictate their fate.
I'm also grateful to my Primary class.  I love those guys.  They are just so great!  Several of them have told me that they are planning to stop by my place on Halloween night for trick-or-treating and I am excited because I didn't get very many trick-or-treaters last year!
I'm grateful to my great home teachers who invited me over for lunch today.  It was delicious and the conversation and company was great.
I'm grateful to my friend Julie who also came by.  It was great to chat with her for an hour and to catch up with each other's lives a little bit.  It's good to have some familiar faces here in Rexburg that also know my life in Ithaca.
I'm grateful for the midsingles group here in Rexburg that gets together to do fun things - not that I have done any, but tomorrow night we will have FHE.  Last time I went a couple weeks ago, there were only 5 of us there, but we had such fun and we laughed and laughed.  Laughter is a good thing.

Okay, that's enough for now, but I hope to share more tomorrow or very soon!

It's been a long time!

It's been a long time since I posted a blog and I have decided that I want to do that again.  I really do have lots of adventures and I never share them so I am not sure that I appreciate them as much as I should.  So I am going to share a few thoughts and hopefully blog more often.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Watkins Glen

Went to Watkins Glen for the first time with my sister and her husband Ryan and with Lipeng.  It was kind of like a double date.  I had a great time and the park is beautiful!  I climbed about 600 stairs too!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Christmas Theme continued

Here are some pics of the Gingerbread House I made with my team during FHE.  I like a lot of the little details that we were able to add.  Enjoy!
Notice the cute little dog with his HUGE bone.  Also, notice the little cars in the driveway. :)

And, of course, the lollipop orchard behind the house.

Favorite Christmas Decorations from 2009

So I was looking through some older pics from earlier in the year and these are some of the Christmas decorations that I had this year.  I thought I would post a few of the pictures that I thought came out best.  The cool thing about the Christmas tree is that I only set it up halfway or 2/3 so it looks full from all sides, but it is resting right up against the wall without any branches in back.  It worked out pretty well.  It looked good, it saved on space, and I was able to put it into a different spot.
So here are the pictures of my tree, my little Christmas village, the nativity, and some fresh pine boughs to give the apartment the right scent (since the tree is fake... easier when I leave for 5 weeks right before Christmas).

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Village (Night and Day)

The Nativity

Pine Boughs

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hope's Way is gone...

On Thursday, January 28, 2010, Hope's Way, a local restaurant, cafe, and caterer, closed their doors for the last time.  They had been in Ithaca for 16 years and had made a nice name for themselves.  I had attended many lunches that they catered and had been to their restaurant/cafe inside of Triphammer Mall a couple times.  Every time I went I was always very impressed with the fruit/vegetable decorations they had on each tray of their salads.  They had amazing creations in the shapes of different animals or funny looking people using just different kinds of fruits and vegetables and a little creative cutting and carving.  It was amazing! 
I was surprised to learn of their closing just the day before it happened.  Spontaneously, a group of friends and I decided to visit Hope's Way one last time before they closed and enjoy a final meal and dessert there.  Here are the pictures from that event. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nashville, Tennessee

This past weekend I went to Nashville, TN to meet up with my parents there. My dad had a conference in a town nearby and he and my mom arrived a little early. Since they were practically to where I live and the flight was cheap, I decided to meet them halfway. It was especially nice since it was Mother's Day weekend. I was able to make breakfast in bed for my mom and be there in person for the day.

While there, we went to this restaurant called the Aquarium. They have this really cool 10 foot tall aquarium right in the middle of the restaurant. It is really big and it has all kinds of really big fish, sharks, moray eels and manta rays in the tank. While we were there, someone went scuba diving in the tank to feed all of the fish. It was pretty amazing to watch. The food was pretty good too, but the fish were captivating. There was a particularly interesting looking fish called a Shovel-nosed Guitar Fish. It looked like a cross between a manta ray and a shark.

Next door to the restaurant they also had this little area where they had a few more creatures on display like poison dart frogs and different lizards. Best of all, though, was a shallow pool containing several manta rays that you can pet or feed. Some of them were really big. There were two ways to feed them. You could stick your hand under the water with a shrimp stuck between your fingers and your hand in a loose fish. You would hold your hand near the wall and a manta ray would soon sweep over your hand and suck the shrimp right out of your hand. The time that I did it, it felt kind of like a suction cup on my hand. It is pretty scary to do it that way though, because some of those guys are really big and it is a little unnerving when they come swooping down on your hand. The other way that they often get fed is by people kind of holding the shrimp right there on the edge of the pool. The rays have learned that people do this and so they have learned to jump out of the water to get the food. They have to since their mouths are on the bottom of their bodies and not near the edge. It was amazing to watch some of the really big rays hoist themselves 6-7 inches out of the water in a big splash of water just to get a shrimp hanging off the edge of the pool. It was so crazy. They usually hung out for a minute there on the side while they were chewing or digesting or whatever so that you had a good opportunity to pet them between the eyes. They feel soft and a little bit slimy, but it's pretty cool.

One of the other great adventures that we had while in Nashville was going to the Grand Ole Opry. This was actually one of the items on my list of approximately 50 Things I Want to Do in Life. So I was pretty excited about it. I was also excited because there were two performers that were going to be there that I like pretty well: Darryl Worley and Reba McEntyre. They both did an excellent job - and actually, all of them did. I really enjoyed the entire show, even the ones that I had never heard of before. They were all really good and it was definitely a good value for our money. Darryl Worley sang a new song of his that I really enjoyed called "Sounds Like Life to Me" as well as the hit that first made him famous, "I Miss My Friend." Reba sang four songs including her new single, "Strange," and "And Still" which comes from her show as well as another from her show and another one that I don't remember the name of. She's a good stage performer as well as singer though. There was also this gospel barbershop-type group that was really good called Ernie Haas & Signature Sound. They were really good and their final number, an a capella number, received a standing ovation from some people in the crowd. I was really glad that I got to go and I was thoroughly pleased with the entire concert. I was very impressed with the Opry and would love to go again.

On of the other adventures that we had in Nashville was that we went to a place called the Hermitage. It was the home of General Andrew Jackson, war hero of the War of 1812 and two term President of the United States of America. It is one of the best preserved presidential homes. I really liked going there because I enjoy learning about history, especially when you can see where it happened and what shaped it. I liked it because we learned a lot about what it was to live life during that time, both as a land owner and as a slave. It is also interesting to see how different facts are represented and what things are emphasized or demphasized. I also liked it a lot because Andrew Jackson was one of the people that we spent a little more time studying when I took either Block or AP History. The book The Age of Jackson was one of the extra books we had assigned that I actually read instead of just skimming. Anyway, I really enjoyed seeing it and I'm glad that they were able to preserve it so well.

I had a lot of fun seeing my parents and I am glad that I was able to spend some time with them as we explored parts of Nashville together.