Sunday, November 30, 2008

cough drops

Antioch, CA

What is it with Thanksgiving Weekend and being sick?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

temple lights

Oakland CA

The Mormon Temple lit off their Christmas lights tonight.

(BTC - for Amye [The pics you want are at the end])

Friday, November 28, 2008

black friday threesome

Oakley, CA

While others were up at 2 AM helping jump start the economy again, I slept in, went for a massage and then went out to take pictures.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Milpitas, CA

My father and I continued the tradition we started last year and went to Marie Calender's for Thanksgiving dinner. No baking, no mess, no hassle. The only negative is no left over turkey for work lunches.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

star and raindrops

Antioch & Brentwood, CA

Prior to class - I was taking pictures of the rain drops. Then I went to school where I found out class was canceled - so a bunch of us went bowling.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Antioch, CA (but Oakley was only 5 feet away)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Motivation signs

Brentwood, CA

All throughout the campus they have these signs posted saying things like "Attending class is half the battle" or "Do not procrastinate" or "Your teachers are your first line of tutoring." What intrigues me most about this one is (first) that those are 4 people I don't think I would join a study group with a guy with spiky hair and an angry face. Probably not the guy I should be studying with.

The other thing that intrigues me - the fact that the students knew to add the second "o" to 'too' but the study skills center didn't.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Dessert

Antioch, CA

I found the joy of having teenagers tonight. We were all sitting around watching TV tonight when the 9 year old started asking about dessert. Mom said they didn't have anything. I just mentioned that I had eggs and brownie mix back at my apt. That was all it took. Within 5 minutes the 13 year-old, the 16 year-old and the 9 year-old had all volunteered to make them if I'd go home and get my mix. I got brownies tonight and I didn't have to make them or clean the bowl or clean the pan. The kids did.

After tonight I think I would be willing to take on some kids as long as they are teenagers that will work making brownies for me.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

pink flamingo

Vallejo CA

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dancing Talent

Antioch, CA

I went to what I can only describe as a "Talent Show" tonight put on by high schoolers tonight. Some (like the girl who will get uploaded for VOTW) had a lot of talent. Others, I felt bad clapping because that might give them the wrong message about continuing into a career of performing. I was proud of them to get on stage, but maybe some of the performers tonight should consider other out lets.

Sending in others - for their experience

There is a story told of a man who was commanded by God to go push up against a mountain. So the man did just that. Each day he would wake up and go push on the mountain. After a few weeks, Lucifer came to cause stress. He taunted the man by saying "You have failed. You haven't moved the mountain one bit. God must be disappointed in you. Couldn't you have been a better servant." And on and on Satan said. Eventually the man started listening. He stopped pushing against the mountain and he prayed to God saying he was sorry for failing. God replied by saying "Who said anything about moving it.I am God. If I wanted it moved, I can do that myself. I told you to push against it. In a few days your father-in-law will get sick and he will need someone to take over the farm. A few weeks ago you wouldn't have the strength to tend the farm, but look at you now: You are strong and able."

While in Liberty Jail, Joseph Smith prayed and asked the Lord about the hardships he was enduring. The Lord responds in section 122 of the Doctrine and Covenants "...know thou, my son, that all of these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good."

I have been pondering experience lately. Keeping with my new rule that I can't buy any more books until I have read what is on my shelf (which sucks because I really want this book), I have been reading a book recently about four kids and a lion. Three of the kids aligned their will with that of the talking lion. The fourth kid temporarily aligned his will with a white witch that has evil powers. However, when the fourth kid decided he wanted to go back to the lion's side, he was taken prisoner by the witch and she's going to crucify the boy. The lion knows this, but he doesn't go himself, even though "one of those paws could have been the death of [the witch]" or "one bite from his jaws would have cost two or three of [the witch's cronies] their hands." Instead he calls upon a few of the other less powerful allies to go and rescue the boy.

In "Preach my Gospel" we read a quote by Harold B Lee "Missionary work is but home teaching to those who are not members of the church, and home teaching is nothing more or less than missionary work to church members." For anyone who knows anything about Mormon Missionaries - they are far from perfect people. It would be much easier for Jesus Christ to come down and show Himself than it is to get imperfect people to teach about Him. So what good is it? The good comes from experience.

After a super long introduction, my point on this post is: I wonder what times in my life have been for my experience? How many times have I been called as a home teacher because I needed the experience, and not that the family needed a home teacher. How many times have I been placed in a refiner's fire by the Master Teacher for no other purpose but to give me experience. I wonder how many times the Lord could have come down and done the job Himself, but instead He sent me so that I could gain experience. Cindy's Mom made a similar statement in her post from a little while ago. Sometimes - we need these experiences. Both the good and the bad. We, as imperfects need these bad experiences to help shape us for the better.

Today I received another letter from my Melinda. (She didn't send me any leaves, but I bet she still loves me). She talks about how much she can't stand her current companion. In her first area she got along better with her companion but they were in a bit of a drought when it came to finding people wanting to hear their message of peace. Now she is in an area with much success and work, but is with this sister she can't stand. In recent weeks we have been discussing how much we wonder what these experiences will be for in the future? I have little doubt that, like me, she is experiencing a refiner's fire for her good. I hope she is better than me at standing the flame.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

through the blinds

Oakley, CA

I was closing up the therapy unit this evening when I saw this through the blinds. Unfortunately, it didn't photograph well.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Goodie Goodie Gum Drop

"What is it good for/Absolutely nothing/Uh-huh" - Rush Hour

"Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives; some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't." - Mary Schmich

I often read on a friend's blog that she inspires people. Random people will read a post of hers (anything from struggling with a lifetime illness to creating Christmas presents to blowing up food in her oven) and they will write in her comments, "You inspire me." I used to get that occasionally on my old blog,and reading her's reminds me of a question that I always had:

What do I inspire you to do? What does Cindy inspire people to be?

President Hinckley had said several times "It is not enough to be good. You must be good for something. You must contribute good to the world. The world must be a better place for your presence." Are we inspiring good?

I struggle a lot with the idea that I must be good for something. At BYU-Idaho I had 18 different declared majors. Each major was something I could be good at, but I wondered if it was something where I would be doing good. I never answered that question at BYUI. I'm still not sure I have that answer now.

In my P - Blessing it says to pray and ponder over my occupation so that I will know the service I am to provide. Service - not goods. (As we all remember from high school senior econ - the world is made up of goods and services. Apparently God grants me to do service.) I often wonder what service I am to do. There are four grad school programs I am considering: Physical therapy, Occupational therapy, Rehabilitation Counseling, and Marriage and Family Counselor. I wonder where I can provide the best service, where I can not only be good, but be good for something. Where I can inspire greatness, despite my limitations. I'm not necessarily looking for a legacy, but I want to do what I can do to better serve and give service to those around me.

Next semester I'm taking Abnormal Psych because it is required for all of those. Maybe, once I'm done with that class - I'll know better what to do with my debt to society - the debt of goodness. Maybe, I'll inspire once more and maybe I'll be inspired.

PE landing

Oakley, CA

It turns out that the school next door's fields are also the landing pad for East East County Medi-Vac. So today, during the middle of school, they ushered all the PE kids to the side and landed the helicopter. My father used to say there was nothing like the sound of a huey. If they sounded anything like this copter I understand now a little bit of what he meant.

Monday, November 17, 2008

peeing art

Antioch, CA

I'm not a big fan of themes. Don does ABC Wednesday and Sky watch Friday. I just can't bring my self to do a theme every day because for me PAD is a spontaneous adventure. it allows people to see into my world for just one second of the day - for one second where I was inspired to pull out the camera and take a picture.

However, that said, if I was to ever do a theme project it would be one of two projects:
"Mail boxes of Antioch" or "Urinals at Restaurants." Tonight's urinal from Johnny Carinos.

(More leaves from TN)

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Antioch, CA

I get a lot of crap from people who say I don't smile with my teeth enough. So here's a picture with me smiling with teeth.

(not nearly as cool as Josh's self portrait of the day)

Knee Mail

I practically live with this one family. I do all of my gardening there. I raise my rabbits there. I fix my truck there. Oh, and I eat there a lot.Being there so often I can confirm that the oldest married daughter and the mom talk every day. Even though said daughter lives in Utah, it is fairly common to hear from her at least twice a day. Sometimes she calls the house and I even get to talk to her.

Please contrast this with my dad. I can go weeks and months without talking to him. I call him occasionally and he calls me (usually when I have mail to be picked up or if he got tickets to go see the A's lose and would like me to come along.) He once said he need a score card to help him in knowing who I was interested in or dating. I don't date all that much, but my interests vary and if he doesn't hear from me every two weeks, I could have been interested in one girl two weeks ago and now we're not talking. (This happened in September. I was going on dates with a girl who lived near my dad. I introduced them in the first part of September. The next time we talked about her, I had already moved on and it was only October.) In short, we just aren't big people on conversation.

Neither is My Heavenly Father and I. I know that I'm supposed to say my prayers every morning and every night. And some weeks I do. Some weeks I'm really good about kneeling down besides my bed and praying every morning and then returning every night and doing it all over again...but then I get bored with it. You see, I live a pretty simple life. I work, I go to school, I work some more and I go to church. I don't date a whole lot. I don't socialize all that much. I don't really have a whole lot of variety in my life. So the things I'm praying for don't change all that much. I am always grateful for the blessings of rest the night before. I'm always thankful for warm showers and breakfast. I'm grateful for the blessings others enjoy and I pray that God will bless my family, my friends and specifically Nina, Melinda, KNJ & Adam, John, Mahon & Cindy, and Katie F. I recently added Audra, but beyond that - my prayers sound almost exactly like that every day. Just like in Million Dollar Baby, I get to a point where my prayers are "Well do your best lord, other than that, you know what I want, there's no use repeating myself." And that's about the time I stop.

I think impart this comes from the lessons of my father and just the way I look at life. My father is really the type of guy to follow after the counsel of Joseph Smith: "Teach them correct principles and let the govern themselves." My father raised us the best way he knew and now he lets us make our own choices. He hopes that we make good choices, but he's not going to be there to hold our hand through the whole process. We can always come to him if we get stuck or need a little more help. I think that's the same way prayer with my Heavenly Father is. I know what's right (Listening to the prophet helps), and I'll keep plugging along until I get stuck or I need additional help.

I know many that think there is something fundamentally wrong with that perspective, but I just don't see any reason to change it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

the beginning of the turkey feasts

Antioch, CA

Today was my first Thanksgiving dinner. So far I have 5 offers for dinners this Thanksgiving. This is the only time of the year I really enjoy being a bachelor who doesn't profess any cooking skills.

(The End)

Friday, November 14, 2008

liquid healing

Oakley, CA

Every morning for two days now I've had a soar throat. When I was a boy scout we used to have herbal tea and hot chocolate mixed together, and ever since then I mix the two anytime I have a soar throat.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

sun kissed chrome

Oakley, CA

Ms. Smarty Pants

I love and hate this time a year. I love shopping for my family and buying them gifts. For the past 4 years because of college and unemployment, I wasn't able to give gifts to family, but this year I can. I already have purchased my Sister-in-law's gift and I think I know what I'm getting my brother. And then we get to the annoying overly smart 4 year-old.

My niece was born with natural smarts. Additionally, as a testament to her mother's great parenting skills, Little Olivia has been molded, shaped and given every opportunity to grow. My SIL has taught Olivia way beyond her age level. And there in lies the problem. I was out shopping last night with a friend. While in the "toy" section I found toys that said they were appropriate for a 4 year-old, except not my 4 year-old...which then leads me to trying to guess the smarts age for my niece. Should I get her age 5 stuff? Age 6? I want stuff that will challenge her yet at the same time be enjoyable to her. Most sadly is that I used to be able to send her cardboard boxes and crayons and she was happy. Not any more.

On Tuesday I won a little plush Mustang from my junior college prize bin. I'm going to send her that, but as to the rest of Christmas - not a clue. Hopefully my father and I can figure this out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

tennis ball art

Oakley, CA

I came into work today and one of the Occupational Therapists showed me this tennis ball with a slit in it and asked me to draw a face on it. This was the end result.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans, Poppies, and sunsets

The first Shot is in Antioch, CA and the second Shot was taken on Bethel Island, CA

Today is Veteran's day. My father served in Viet Nam. My grandfather served in Korea. My other grandfather served in WWII. Prior to becoming US citizens, my family was in Quebec fighting for the rights of Canadians everywhere. I try to remember them all the time. I ask that you remember them today. I hope you showed your vets your appreciation today and (if you are Canadian) I hope you wore your poppies today. That first picture comes from a house in Antioch where that young man won't be a vet. Unlike some who gave some, he gave it all and died for his country.

The second picture is a sunset picture that I just couldn't resist posting. I was helping install a hot water heater and got to see a light and cloud show. More beyond the cut.

(BTC - Methyl Island)
(BTC - Leaves)

Monday, November 10, 2008

south looking sunset

Oakley, CA

Sadly - this is the only picture I took today.

I was sharing this blog with some people that work across the hall from my office. One of them asked: "What about the days when you don't get a great shot?" I told her that I just post crappy shots. I took the time today to look back through my shots and I must admit that a lot of them have been crappy lately. I am so sorry for that. O Saturday I should finish the fence and then I'll have my Saturdays back to take good shots again.

The big secret

I have about 6 other blogs that are all half written, but for some reason - I want to post this one before finishing the others.

Just over a month ago, the brother, the sister-in-law, and the niece came to visit. Good times were had by all and there was very little arguing (which is rare for us as my conservative views often clash with the rest of my family.) On the Tuesday night prior to their departure, my father came to me and said, "So has Chad talked to you about that thing?" Being too dumb to respond, "Oh yeah! Can you believe it?" I responded that Chad in fact had not talked to me about anything. "Oh, well I'm not allowed to tell you so just forget I mentioned it."
Let's break from this for a moment. Imagine for a moment that you have a brown bag. Inside that brown bag you have let's say 40 cats. In a moment of sheare genius you decide to open that bag and the cats get out. Have you ever tried to heard cats back into a bag, once the cat is out of the bag?

I haven't been able to simply forget my dad mentioned it. Instead, I've shared with some of my friends and co-workers the idea that my liberal sister-in-law and liberal brother have a secret they are holding onto that my father says, "Really Sean, it's no big deal."

But I didn't think it was fair to hold this discussion off line, so I open it up to you - all two of you that read this - and welcome your ideas. What could the big secret be?

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Antioch, CA

Back out with Nick and his friend for drinks at Unos.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Fremont, CA

I graduated over a decade ago, but I still cheer for my old high school. We sucked when I went there, but I had heard that tonight was the night that we were going to make-up for that: We were going to beat Logan (This is the goal of every Fremont football team). Tonight my old high school came as close as they had ever been. With one minute left in the game my high school had 10 and Logan had 7 (BTW - when I was in high school, Logan usually had 40 and we had zero. They were playing their 4th string people and our first string still looked bad.). Then, with 12 seconds left, Logan scored a touch down and we lost 14 to 10. So close...

Friday, November 7, 2008

last ride

Fremont, CA

I went to a friend's funeral today.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Antioch, CA

Tom and I finished building the retaining wall tonight. On Saturday I will spend a great deal of time back filling the wall. Slowly but surely this fence is getting done.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Antioch, CA

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

triple trouble tuesday

Oakley and Antioch CA

Today was a fun day in that I got a leaf from Tennessee (I can't even begin to tell you how giddy this made me).
Then I caught the sunset just as work ended.
Then Tom and I fixed my starter and my truck rose from the grave that it had been in for the last 48 hours.

buying rabbit food

(The conversation happened at PetSmart Today)

Cashier - Do you have a PetSmart Card?
me - No, but I just got four rabbits so how can I get one?
Cashier - Just fill out this form and we'll give you a card. Rabbits eh? Are they such a fun pet. They are fun to pet or play with or just watch. What type did you get?
me - The type that taste good.
Cashier - Taste good? Are you going to eat them?
me - Yup. For Easter. But not before I get some manure out of them for the garden.
Cashier - Sir these rabbits are pets, right? (holding back either tears or angry rage)
me - Oh, I'm sure they were some one's pets before I caught them in the backyard, but now they'll just be food and manure. What's my total?
Cashier - $17.68.
(I pay)
Cashier - Well hve a good day and good luck with your rabbits. I hope they taste good.
Next Customer - I'm sorry miss, are you promoting people eating their pets...?

Monday, November 3, 2008

hot chocolate

Brentwood, CA

I've been having a really bad couple of days which ended today with getting a F on my stats test (I still have a 92% in the class). So Nick took me out to Johnny Carinos for hot Chocolate tonight after class. He bought Debbie cake and me cheesecake and Hot Chocolate. She got a 50%, I got a 59% and Nick got a 83%. The kicker was the girl Nick tutored got a 98%.

Introduction Part 4 - Home

"You know that point in your life when you realize that the house you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore…all of the sudden even though you have some place to put your [stuff], that idea of home is gone…or maybe it's like this rite of passage…you will never have that feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, for your kids, for the family you start. It’s like a cycle or something. Maybe that’s all family really is: a group of people that miss the same imaginary place." – Garden State

"Home is where your history begins" – Where the heart is

"Home is where they catch you when you fall." – Where the heart is

"Why do we fall? So that we might better learn to pick ourselves up." - Batman Begins

I often think about home. My home growing up was peaceful and traumatic. There was a sick parent, a workaholic parent, an angry brother and a sick (very sick) self. There were very many near death experience, which were caused by accidents, depression and health. There are some really good memories buried in my mind’s eye: Ballgames and car trips; Awards and trophies; holidays and traditions; and food and food and food. There are also some very defining memories burned into my thoughts and onto my minds carousel of slides: Ambulances and vomit mixing with blood on the kitchen floor; thumbs with rubber bands strung through and to them; sheriffs and tears; screaming and slammed doors; silent dark houses with the odors of two week old dirty clothes and no one to do them. Lastly my mind can recall the mundane: Turtles walking in the hall way; roses blooming and being pruned; my father hawking stuff at flea markets; my mother selling Avon; my brother playing leap frog on bridges with cars; me being towed around a cul-de-sac in a Radio Flyer filled with cold water on a hot summer day.

In July 2003, my home came to a conclusion. The home that I grew up with was down two people and was no longer any resembles on the home I knew. In a few short months, I would leave that house forever and move to Idaho. While in Idaho, my father would move out of the house, after a 13 year stay, and move into a condo which had rules dictated to you by a HOA. Gone were the days of working on cars in the bitter cold using the bar b q for warmth. Gone were the days of pictures of Temples, Angels and Christ plastered on the walls. Gone were the hallways decorated in Thomas Kincaid. Gone was the huge back patio for parties and socials. Done were the gardens and the roses and the everything. All that is left of that home are memories.

For three years I lived in apartments on the west side of Rexburg I lived with a bunch of roommates - some good and some I wouldn't mind locking out on a cold winter day. When I returned to California, I moved in with an old friend. He was in need of some financial help and I was in need of a cheap place to stay. It was a bad idea from the beginning. We fought all the time. It wasn't anything close to a home. I actually started working two and half jobs just so I wouldn't be home as much. I hated going home.

Recently, I moved in with a retired LDS couple. I live in their home. It is their home, but for me it is just a place to stay.

If you've read this far, you're probably asking "And your point is?" My point is this blog. In addition to needing to pay the price, value the reward, and not run - I am looking for home. I'm looking for that place where I look forward to every moment. I'm looking for more than just a place to store my stuff.

And I can't do that without her.

A portion of this blog will be about me preparing for home. Both a home and a Home (one on a concrete foundation and one on a sure foundation.) I look forward to that day and to that home.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

when dark clouds hang over us

Brentwood, CA

Teaching Sean
is back up for any of you who care.

Closure Part 1

"As ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort...” - Alma 18: 8-9

"It is a ward with members who are following the admonition of Alma and the Savior—members who care and love and bear one another’s burdens, members who are willing to mourn with those that mourn, members who are willing to comfort those in need of comfort, members who endure together." - Richard C. Edgley

On the 18th of October I awoke to a strong feeling. "Go see your patriarch." Because of the way I live my life, I don't often get promptings from the Holy Ghost. This is a trade off I sadly have agreed to and hope one day to fix. But when I do get a really strong prompting - I act. Saturday was booked solid with post hole digging and birthday celebrations. I decided to go on Sunday. I skipped out on a fireside date (with a super cute girl) and drove back to my homeland to see my Patriarch. I knew he had been sick for some time, but as I locked up my truck, stuffed my keys in my pocket and moseyed toward the front door, I was stopped by a friend and told the news: Patriarch was diagnosed with Leukemia on the 16th. He was given 4 weeks to live.

I mustered up my courage and went into the house. We talked. I listened and he shared just that last breath of life with me. After a few hours, my time was spent and it was time to journey back to my home. I promised to return in two weeks.

Just 10 days after my visit, My Patriarch died.

My mother died 5 years ago this past July. From the date of the first diagnosis to the date of death we spent 8 months together. And then she was gone. I spoke at her funeral giving the eulogy she requested (not the one I wanted to give) and then I stopped going to funerals all together. My mother would be my last if I had my way. And then it happened: Someone else had the nerve to die - to leave me and this earth and to return to our loving Heavenly Father. I was left empty. I refused to go to the funeral. I didn't want to rehash the memories of my mother's funeral. So I suffered in silence and away from the smells of death. I avoided it and I never got better.

Since her death, I have been to five funerals, either in person or via satellite transmission. (I went to this one and this one via Satellite)

On Friday, I will go to one more.
I have found in my life the importance of others. In Moroni 6:5 we read "the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls." I have found that there is great closure in meeting together as a church and as friends and as family and to care for the soul. I know the importance their in lies to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. I know that for me, this is the only way I can receive closure.

On Friday, I will awake and again return to my homeland. I will dress in my best and I will sit in my seat and ponder the life of my Patriarch. He gave me, and my mother, our Patriarchal Blessings. He prayed and fasted and then he laid his hands upon my head and told me the essential items in my life. Who I am. What lineage I came from. Lastly, what blessings are in store in this life if I will but simply obey God's commandments. But he did more than that. He also was a trusted family friend that we could call on in case we needed a healing blessing. He blessed my mom prior to nearly every surgery. He was there in that noisy ER room back in 2003 calling down the angels of heaven to guide me and keep me, just moments before I was rushed into the OR for an emergency appendectomy. He taught me about model trains and about the joys of family history work. And lastly, he was always in the temple when I was there, which brought me comfort. I missed being in the temple with my mother. It was nice to be there with one of her heroes.

On Friday, after someone struggles to to summarize my Patriarch's life into just an hour, I will rise to my feet and watch as my friend and my Patriarch is wheeled out. And then the closure will begin. For as the congregation leaves their respective pews - we will comfort one another; we will mourn with one another, and we will endure together. I will miss my patriarch, but I know he has gone on to bless the lives of others, just as he has blessed my life and the life of my family.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

All Saints Day

Antioch, CA

Today is All Saints Day, and even though I'm not Catholic, my father was and my sister-in-law is. I was thinking of them as I pondered today.

(temples not protesters)