Thursday, December 31, 2009

High as a Kite

Brentwood, CA

Yesterday I moved out of Antioch, but today I had a few loose ends to tie up. Amy and I dropped off the UHaul trailer, and then went to Lumpy's for lunch. As we were driving from Lumpy's to the movie theater we saw this huge thing hovering over the Mormon church. We stopped to check it out and were informed all about this kite, it's orgin and how fun they are to fly.
Next was a movie and then I turned in my keys with my former landlords. Following that, we went to Benecia to see some Christmas Fairy Vomit. All in all it was a great random day.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

suck on this

Oakley, CA

One of my jobs at work is to take care of the fish across the hall when their care takers are on vacation. This particular fish (I think it is an algae eater) is getting really fat but the other fish aren't.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Birthday Chocolate

Antioch, CA

My birthday buddy struck again this year. Looking at what I got last year and looking at what I got this year - I'm detecting a theme.

Not pictured is the book I got: "have a little faith" by Mitch Albom. I'm 50 pages in and really enjoying it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

from a friend, for a friend

Antioch, CA

A friend of mine sent this to me for my birthday. She is one of those friends I never want to see leave and whom I miss terribly. I can't wait to see her once the cold Idaho winter is over.

2009 Year in Review

This year has been a rather nice year. Despite the bad economy and some serious world events - life for me wasn't all that bad. As I have done in previous years (2007 top ten and Resolutions), at this time I will take a look back and see about the top ten items of the year.

Amy. I really love this girl. She makes life for me rather simple and easy going. She doesn't care that I'm a photo guy. She doesn't mind it when I get too over whelmed with big families or big gatherings and is okay with us just going for a drive. It amazes me that I'm so lucky to have her in my life. We can spend hours talking, cuddling, giggling and teaching each other. It is so very refreshing and has been a great three months. I look forward to many more.

Vacationing. I mentioned to Amy I wish I'd vacation more and then it dawned on me what this year has entailed - a trip to Oregon, a trip to Utah that included a trip to Idaho and Nevada, a trip to Crescent City, a trip to Wisconsin. In addition to that I've had several day trips with my Dad to SF, Travis Air Force Museum, and going hiking. I have taken day trips to the city and to the beaches. I've enjoyed various hiking trails with friends and family this year. This year has been full of adventures, new discoveries and vacations both of the physical kind and just a day filled with mental health and happiness.

Biking/BORP Revolution. In August I was approached by a friend. "Last year you sponsored us as we rode in the fundraiser. How about this year you ride and raise funds for our team?" So I did. I raised $535 for BORP and I rode my bike on the day of the event. In addtion to helping BORP, an organization that creates recreational and competative sports activities for people with disabilities, this event also helped me. I started riding my bike, some times 3 times a week and for 30 miles a week. After each ride I felt more awake and more alive. I lost 20 pounds and started seeing my pants fit differently. My eating habits improved. All in all, I will end 2009 healthier because of the ride I participated in to help others. It was a really great experience.

Moving. Because the top ten is not nessesarily the top ten good or the top ten bad, you get kind of a mixed bag including this negative one. I hate moving. For the three years I lived in Rexburg I had the same address. I would occassionally switch rooms, but I never left that apartment. Since graduating from college I've moved like 10 times. Each time it gets a little more annoying and I am reminded that I just own too much stuff. This year has been filled with various moves and I look forward to the time where I move no more. Or grad school where I'll move less.

Lumpy's. Do you remember watching Cheers? When ever Gearge Wendt walked in the whole bar would cheer "Norm!" Lumpy's this year became my Cheers. Everyone is happy to see me. They care about my opinion on food and Antioch. One time I could only afford a bacon burger but a waitress (Geana) wanted me to try the special. She pooled money with others to cover the cost, because, as she put it, I'm not just a random customer. After 2008, where I struggled to fit in, I liked going somewhere where I felt like I was liked.

Negativity. This year had its large share of negativity. I had friends that chose to dwell on the negative. The pundits chose to dwell on the bad economy and all that is going wrong in the world. One friend actually sought out things that she felt were negatively written about this person - only to find out the negative comments had nothing to do with this person. It was sad to watch this person fight to confirm that she was the victim of these negative comments - instead of being happy these comments weren't directed at her. It reminded of me in the past. I used to play a game with friends - who had the more F'ed up life. I always thought I was the winner, yet really the winner of most F'ed up life is really the loser. In 2009 I tried to steer away from people consumed by negativity. I steered away from friends who focused on their failings, their destructive family history, their need to get into pissing matches, nd any other friends beset by a need to be negative. I'm not saying I'm all good or that I'm putting on my blinders when the negative happens, but this year I really saw the difference when I didn't dwell on the negative.

Dogs. Through the course of this year I have found that I am a dog person. I once feared those 4 legged friends but now - I'm in love with them.

Job. I really like my job. I like going to work every day and generally enjoy working with my clients and co-workers. Several months ago I had a poll about what future career people feel I should go into. Rehabilitation Counseling or Occupational Therapist or Social Work. No one voted for Social work and the other two were in a dead tie at the end of the polling period. The more and more I consider it, the more and more my heart leans to Occupational Therapy, despit the additional 18 months of pre reqs I would need to take to get to the point of even qualifying for Grad school. Working with my clients, though, really solidifies my desire to continue in this field.

Photography. This year I continued with Photo a Day. Additionally, I spent the last 4 months of the year learning the art of film photography. After spending this past weekend with a boy who wants nothing more than to spend his whole life playing video games, I am so grateful for the gift of photography that i have been granted. It keeps me active. I'm more observant to my surroundings (because you never known where the next great shot will be). Additionally, I'm able to produce something that other can enjoy. If I killed 3000 zombies in one 5 hour period of time, I'm not sure how that can be enjoyed by others. But with photography I am able to have a digital journal for my kids, a bunch of great photographs that capture a moment in time, and, lastly, the ability to share with others places they may never go to. Photography has been a blessing this year and one I look forward to in years to come.


I think this is a great place to also write down my resolutions for the coming year. I resolve to continue to eat healthier, exercise more, and spend less time with my computer. Additionally, this year I resolve to going camping* at least once, pay off my credit card, and continue doing well in school.

*I do consider using one of these as camping

Sunday, December 27, 2009

the forest through the trees in northern CA

South of Crescent City, CA

Today we drove home from Amy's Sister's place. It was a very nice drive filled with scenery like this. Once we got home, we un packed the cars, fed the cat and then went to celebrate my Birthday with a nice quiet dinner at Black Angus.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Waves of Oregon

Brookings, Oregon

I haven't been to this part of Oregon or Northern California for about 13 years. So Amy and I went for a drive today. We first went to a light house, then a campground. We saw surfers and the US Coast Guard at work before just getting an eventual taste for Oregon while we were there.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sugar Plum Ring (minus the plums)

Crescent City, CA

Keeping with my families tradition, Amy and I made a sugar plum ring for breakfast this morning. Unfortunately the dough wasn't ready to be shaped until the afternoon so it wasn't technically for breakfast but it was still good.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

the presents have the tree surrounded

Crescent City, CA

In a big change from my personal life, Amy and I drove up to Crescent City today to spend the holidays with her huge family (It's actually not that big except for people like me that are used to spending Christmas with just my dad). Hopefully the next few days won't be too over whelming for me.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kissie Kissie Time

Oakley, CA

There is mistletoe that grows every year out side my office.

I'm not the only one

Last year about this time I wrote that Santa was bad for children. His growing obesity was a cause for concern and that it sat a bad example for our youth. Evidently, I'm not the only one that feels that way. Recently a Australian scientist wrote a satirical piece about Santa's bad image. However, this scientist was much better at writing his piece and therefore has gotten a lot of press. I find two things rather interesting about this. 1. He thought up some things that I didn't. I really like some of his add ins (such as drunk driving Santa). 2. I like how the media has latched on to this and some are questioning our use of Santa as a "hero" to our children.

Recently Target has been running a series of commercials that deal with Santa. My favorite has got to be this one that bad mouths Santa's Elves.

It's no secret that I'm anti Santa (It is so hard gaining the trust of children that it bothers me that I have to lie to children daily this time of the year. I'd rather be honest with kids than lie to them over trivial things like Santa). It is nice to have company who are now getting their digs in on santa as well.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Temples at Costco?

Antioch, CA

I was getting my tires rotated tonight and wondered Costco while I waited. I was surprised to see a book on temples at Costco. It had some good pictures in it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

pea fog

Oakley, CA

There was a time in Idaho where I didn't see fog for two years. For the past two weeks I've seen it every day.

Failing all of the people some of the times

In May of 2008, John and I were sitting around our apartment talking about another friend Robin. We hadn't seen robin for a rather long time and thought it would be nice to have dinner with her. So John, Robin, Jeremy (Robin's son) and I found a night when we were all available and met in Concord at an Italian resteraunt John and I both love. Things went well so we made a plan to do it again in June. This time we met at a pace called the Front Room. Things once again went well. In July we met as a group for the last time. Jeremy was moving out of state and John and I had a strained relationship after we were evicted from our apartment. In August Robin and I met for dinner. This time she brought two other friends: Amy and Shell. As the months progressed and word of our "dinner group" got out, various people rotated into the group.

Our dinner group now has a standard eight with four more that show up as time permits. In the group is friends and friends of friends. From the dinner group at least two relationships have started and one relationship was started but couldn't get off the ground.

Now the Dinner group is progressing toward the 19th month mark and it seems to have become filled with drama. There are bad feelings that are interchanged between group members. There are people in the group that RSVP and then bail at the last moment. There are members of the group that never come but get offended if they aren't invited.

I feel the group has gotten too big and that limits my ability to have close relationships with all people in the group - and to remedy that I have tried meeting with individuals. However if I meet with person A and person B finds out they are sometimes hurt that they weren't invited. If I set up to do something with person C and have to cancel, they tell me it is because I spend all my time with person A and they are getting shafted on their Sean time.

Beyond eating together, the group has also morphed into an activities group. Once again, if I want to go on an activity with Person A, Person D gets offended they weren't invited. If Person D organizes an event I'm just not that interested in and so therefore decline - Person D gets offended that I'm not going and not supporting her activity. (even though she supports mine - like it is some sort of contest that we are keeping score at)
This month was particularily rough. I planned an Activity on the 11th. One person was offended that she wasn't invited. One person RSVP'd and didn't show up. One person was mad at me because I had done something to tick her off.

On Saturday, I was having a special day with Person A. We decided to invite two other people to spend time with us to go see a movie. That person then invited one other person. We built our movie time schedule around that 5th person. They RSVP and then bailed 30 minutes before the movie started.

After the movie on Saturday, I checked my e-mail to see if any one had solidified plans for Sunday. No one had. So I made plans for a dinner of 6 people. I was BBQing and I was buying the meat. I purposely only invited 6 people. Other members of the big group got invited by those I had invited. I wasn't sure we would have enough meat and it being the sabbath I didn't want to promote making a purchase (we did anyway). But instead of seeing it from that perspective - the people who invited others accused me of shunning the others in the group. I tried to protest this idea but I was out ruled. The person that I didn't invite that others invited - came, made a big deal out of what there was to do and how she had to wash dishes to help, and then left without eating anything after we had gone out and bought extra meat for her.

On alternating Mondays for the last 8 weeks, I have had some one on one time with Person Z. We get together, eat cookies, and watch TV - all the while complaining about school. I had to cancel for tonight because I'm running out of clean clothes and because I'm packing to move on the 31st. However, Person Z automatically blamed the time I spent with Person A over the weekend as the reason I had to cancel with Person Z. In fact she said that friends in relationships always become unreliable.
This being a rant I guess I should rant and not just state facts in evidence. I'm annoyed at my group of friends. I'm tired of planning events and being bailed on or yelled at about not inviting certain people. I'm tired of people hi-jacking events and adding others who I didn't invite because i was trying to keep the group small. I'm tired of all of the drama that comes with trying to organize events. I'm tired I'm tired I'm tired.

and now I'm done ranting. Have a great rest of the day.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I make fire

Vallejo, CA

I don't remember who I started this tradition with but I try to have a bar b q on the first day of winter every year because of a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants. Tonight was tri-trip.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

getting friendly with each other

Vallejo, CA

Robin, Jeremy, Amy and I were hanging out at a Michael's tonight while we waited for the movie to start. Are imaginations got the best of us.

(BTC - the short hike)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wedding balls and cakes

Fremont, CA

I over came my fear of wedding receptions and went to the first one in over 5 years tonight. I took Amy and Robin with me. They both knew the groom. I not only have known the groom for 8 or 9 years, but I've known the bride since she was born. Additionally, the reception was attended by people that have known me since I was 2; People I adopted as mom after my mom died; people who helped get me my eagle or taught me how to build roofs. And many of these people I haven't seen for a year at least. So it was nice going "home" again to see friends from the past and watch a union for the future.

(a note on the cake - each layer was a different flavor and my friend Barbara made it. She went to a culinary school and is probably the best pastry chef I know.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Abandon School

El Cerrito, CA

I had to go to El Cerrito for a meeting today. It being my first time in El Cerrito in the 30+ years I've lived in CA, I went out at lunch and toured the town. I came upon this abandoned school where children used to shoot hoops but now the weeds reach toward the hoops.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Soup at Lumpy's

Antioch, CA

Today at lunch I had a soup and sandwich. It was really good. It was so good that I bought a little extra soup and took it to Amy's tonight for dinner.

A Day in the Life of Sean

from smaller eyes

mamma is gettin bigger and i'm scared.

at first i thought she swallowed a basketball but now i'm sure it was more. she has been so hungary lately that she eats everything and gets bigger and bigger. i'm scared.

mamma and daddy took away my bed last week and moved it into the room they just painted PINK! i was mad until that night when i saw in my room a big boy's bed where my old bed had been.

i thought maybe once my old bed was eaten mamma wouldn't be so hugary but she keeps getting bigger.

despite the smiles on their faces, i don't think mamma and daddy are tellin the truth. daddy says not to worry - mammas not going to eat me. but she keeps gettin bigger what will be left to eat but me. then mamma tells me that soon their will be a new child in the house. i guess that means after she eats me they will get nother child to fatten up for her belly to eat.

everytime we go to the park people ask her if she has names picked out and they point to her belly. mamma's going to name it Krista, Amy or Melinda after she eats me. i am scared to get a girl's name after i'm eaten. i like being kyle.

so i'm scared. mammas gettin bigger and i'm scared i'm next to eat.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Preventing homicide

Brentwood, CA

As seen on the back of a car at the Michael's Craft store. I LOVE my anti depressant so I feel this is a cause worth supporting.

In an unrelated item - Welcome Home Melinda!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Amputated Sugar Cookie Men

Oakley, CA

I don't want to sound demented or anything, but when I saw last night that there were two amputated cookies I just knew I had to bring them into work. I work with severely disabled children.

Possible Date Activities

Now that I am dating steady with Amy, people randomly come up to me and offer date ideas. I'm starting to forget them so I thought I would just keep a running list on my blog. If you have suggestions for dates that are either inexpensive or unique to the San Fransico Bay Area Experience, please feel free to add them.

Sandhil Crane Wetland Tour
Rainforest Cafe
Monarch gathering
Marine Mammal Center
Walking on that path Matt told us about in Napa
Robert Luis Stevenson Museum
Tour the Caldacott Tunnel
Hiking or biking the Golden Gate
Hiking Muir Woods to Stinson Beach (put a car at either end)
Hiking the back of Mt. Diablo from Clayton to see the waterfalls
Hiking Little Yosemite to see the waterfalls.
California Academy of Science.
Golden Gate Park.
Asian Art Museum.
Santa Rosa Safari.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Cookie Tradition

Near Vallejo, CA

I'm spending Christmas with Amy's family where I will be introduced to her family's traditions. Tonight I introduced her to one of four traditions my family has of making and giving away Holiday Cookies.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

going grey

Near Vallejo, CA

Amy has this beautiful black hair. However, today as we building a ramp at her house, the rain was drizzling in. Add to that the sawdust and her hair started turning different colors to the point she almost looked gray today.

(BTC - the ramp in waiting)

Friday, December 11, 2009

White Elephant

Antioch, CA

I'm going to a white elephant gift exchange tonight.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Service Giftafied

Oakley, CA

Yesterday at work there were two people in the building struggling with some software. They struggled for 90 minutes before coming over to the therapy unit and asking for my help. I fixed their problem in 10 minutes. They were both so grateful. One brought me in a half loaf of Pumpkin Bread. The other brought me this. I'm so happy I'm so loved.

(BTC - I'm fatter than Santa)
(BTC- Random act of Violence)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I endorse these potatoes

Antioch, CA

I finally got to talk to the head chef today at Lumpy's. Scotty confirmed for me that these potatoes come from Idaho. So I fully endorse these potatoes.


I watch each breath like it was a hike up a steep incline. Each time she inhales I imagine heavy feet trudging up some hillside desperately hoping to land further up the hill than when they left mother earth. Each time she exhales I can feel the relief in those troubled lungs - just as I imagine the relief of those spasming calf muscles on a hiker after reaching the next foot hole on the hill.

Each breath adds to the many we have shared over the years together. Breathes playing Frisbee at the beach; breathes inhaling the smell of hickory as the bonfires in the sand burned low and embers warmed our toes as we nestled to the sounds of the crackling fire and waves smothering the shore before us.
We shared breathes as we kissed each other and caressed each other both in moments of comfort and in moments of passions run rapid. Each night we shared our breathes as we laid in bed, face to face whispering stories from the day and telling each other about our dreams, hopes and plans. I loved those shared breathes.
We shared breathes as we screamed at each other in frustration, heartache, stress and argument. Those were moments when it would have been better for me to hold my breathe than to exhale it with miscommunicated misunderstandings, but at the time I couldn't see what a few wasted breathes would mean when all I saw was me winning the argument. Those were prideful breathes we both shared.
Later we would share breathes chasing the two little ones around our tiny little piece of land - a castle for our kids. Breathes blowing out birthday candles and breathes inhaling the sweet scents of Easter dinners; Quickened breathes when a child was 30 minutes late for curfew on a snowy night; Calm relaxed breathes once the family was all home again, safe in the beds we built for them.
So many breathes, I should be grateful for each one, but now as I watch her rest all I can do is plead for more. Soon we will share breathes no more and I will be forced to breathe alone. But for now, I will simply enjoy the breathes we are sharing and have always shared.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

the snow is still here

Antioch, CA

The snow remained.

(BTC - Pano)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Antioch, CA

Last night the temperature dropped and we got snow. That isn't all that significant, but the fact that we got snow at about 500 feet above sea level is rather significant. We NEVER get snow that low around here.

I will try to take a better shot tomorrow, if it doesn't all melt away.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Pittsburg, CA

In an effort to stop the spread of the H1N1 flu, Health Services gathered 6,000 people together, put them on close quarter buses and then had them stand in line together before getting a poke in their arms.

I volunteered as a traffic enforcer.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Back on the court

Berkeley, CA

After a year long absence - I returned to being an Assistant Referee today. See me in my cute out fit.
I did a lot of running today which brought to my attention a need to get back to exercising and eating right. Since I had the flu in October, I let my healthy eating subside and I felt it today. Man did I feel it today!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fairy Vomit

Antioch, CA

According to Nina, this is an example of what it looks like when the Christmas Fairy vomits all over your house.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The return of the snowman

Oakley, CA

The snowman returned today and the tree went away. I decided I hated the hat it used to have, so I gave it a new hat along with a scarf, which I hate. I have a therapist coming in on Monday to help the scarf.

(BTC - I finished the project for my photo class)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Turkey "Sandwich" Dinner

Antioch, CA

Today the special at Lumpy's was open face Turkey Sandwiches. It was really good, though I might suggest that if you get it - ask for extra gravy. The bread really soaks it up.
(Once again I was unable to confirm if the potatoes were from Idaho so I can't attest to their quality.)

Reminder - to see all things Lumpy related on this blog, simply click on this link: Lumpy's

The Planner, The Girlfriend and The Miracle of Service

I am a planner.

I have always been very good at seeing a project or a problem, organizing a plan and executing it to work through the project and the plan. I have had several tech directors in several theatres that have kept me around not because of my lighting or sound skills but my way of seeing the project or event from the beginning, middle and end, and then creating a plan that would work well for that. One time, at church, I was given (and set apart) for the Activities Committee. My specific calling was Activities Think and Plan Committee Member. I was to think up ideas for activities, plan them and then give them to someone else to carry out.

Another thing I have always planned well are dates. If right now someone was to wander up to me and ask me for a date idea for tonight, I could plan one of 20 dates that ranged in price from FREE to rather expensive. This is really great for everyone but those that are dating me. The person dating me gets to experience a lot of the things I like to do and gets to pretty much not have to worry about the coming date beyond showing up and looking beautiful (which shouldn't be too hard because I don't date ugly people). However, if our relationship is going to grow, dates can't just come from me. I need to learn what my date wants to do - what brings her excitement and gets her going. The only way for that to happen is by having her plan dates.

Amy is not a planner.

She has loved having me to just plan and go.

For our two month Anni I asked her to plan a date for that Saturday. She was rater annoyed at me. How was she to know what to plan that would interest me. What would keep my interest and not make me run screaming from her yelling "Really? You want me to go with you to do THAT? Do you hate me?" Amy tried desperately to find something to do but plans kept falling through (We were supposed to go to the Robert Luis Stevenson Museum but they were closed that weekend. We were supposed to go for a hike but it was supposed to rain. Etc). Then on Thursday Evening I got a call. Harold needed me to come in on that Saturday and build a set. So, to the relief of Amy, I had a plan for Saturday and Amy was off the hook. We did Service instead.

I told Amy that she could plan a date for December 12th. That gave her 3 weeks to plan something. She started working on it. Since then, Amy's Grandma fell and broke her leg. Later this week, Grandma gets released from the hospital and will be in a wheelchair at home. Now, on December 12th, Amy is saved again. On that day, Amy and I are building a ramp for Grandma to get in and out of the house. This means that Amy gets out of planning a date until December 31.

My first thought for Amy is to tell her to plan a service project - that seems to be how her dates end up going.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beginning of Christmas lighting

Antioch, CA

Now that it is finally December I feel safe publishing pictures of Christmas lights.