Sunday, July 31, 2011


On Saturday we borrowed our nephew Josh to go check out the new exhibits at the Living Planet Aquarium. They have improved A LOT since the last time we were there. Sadly between Josh being totally against posing and the aquarium's request not to use flash, most of my pics didn't turn out. We had so much fun though! All of the animals seemed very healthy and happy plus you could actually see them! In the touch pool they had rays. Josh had a good time watching me pet them as they glided by but had no interest in feeling them himself. They also had a great exhibit that looked like sea rocks that kids could crawl around on and under to get a better view at all the little aquariums that were embedded in it.

Josh's favorite exhibits seemed to be:
the seahorses (they had 4 or 5 tanks with different types)
the penguins (so fun and lively! I think they knew we were there and just showing off)

the shark tank (well the little ones anyways, with the big ones it was more of a love-hate relationship for him)
and this really fun tank full of toads.

One of the employees had a crested gecko out that we got to touch. It was so cute and nice, we still couldn't convince Josh to pet it but we had had a similar experience with him and our geckos so that was't very surprising.
Richard especially loved this turtle:

She was severely bitten by a large shark and then hit by a boat! Shortly thereafter she was rescued by The Turtle Hospital in Florida. After a year of care she was still unable to fully submerge and therefore would not survive in the wild on her own, so now she travels the country in aquariums. In order to assist with buoyancy, she got air under her shell when the boat hit her, custom made lead weights have been applied to her shell with marine epoxy and Velcro.

There was a pretty good sized octopus and an awesome coral reef tank. In the Amazon area there was an anaconda that I'm sure weighed more than me! There was also an exhibit with a lot of fun tropical frogs with a button you could press to hear what types of sounds they make.
On the way home we had lunch in the park and played on the Jungle Jim for a bit. We stopped by our house for an ice cream cone. Josh kept doing the head nod thing and almost face planted into his ice cream twice. We loaded him up in the car seat to take him home and before we even got to the freeway Josh was dead asleep!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Internet Killed the Video Star!

Alright that title only loosely has to do with this post... I just really like that song :) So what really is happening I got invited to be part of this:
I've applied to be on the show as the CAD girl, 3d modeling and I may also do interviews with inventors. If everything works out we will start filming in September and have our first web episode out after that. I'll keep you posted. Here is the synopsis:

Mech-Sci Synopsis

From the caveman who invented the wheel, to Archimedes, to Leonardo Davinci, to Dean Cayman the inventor of the Segway, mankind has built machines. For many of us, it seems to be in our dna to create interesting and often unusual devices to make our life easier or merely to entertain ourselves. Mech-Sci is a celebration of these individuals and their devices. From the engineer to the backyard tinkerer, we seek out these people and their creations and ‘Showcase the tools, talent and technology that make ‘em work’. We at Mech-Sci aren’t armchair inventors either. Coupled with our interviews, will be footage of the Mech-Sci ‘Mechanical Misfits’ building our own ‘unique and interesting projects’. No phony drama, no unnecessary deadlines, just interesting mechanical creations and the people who make them. On tap for the first season are:

Kerry Mclean and his Monowheel

Dezso Molnar and his flying motorcycle

Cam Rauhf and ‘Chain Link’ extreme travel off road vehicle

Waldo Stakes’ land speed record rocket car

Yves Rossy and his strap on jet wings

Doug Malewicki and Carnosaurus

Scott Truax and Evel Knievel’s ‘Skycycle’

Ivo Zdarsky’s VTOL ultralight

The planned Mech-Sci built projects are:

4x4 Mini buggy

1000 lb thrust liquid fueled Rocket

Screw-drive boat

Along with the show will be the Mech-Sci website, a place where fans can share ideas, debate, network and purchase merchandise. The site will also feature behind the scenes footage and a blog where we can connect with fans. Viewers will also be able to submit ideas for future shows.

In addition to the website will be the Mech-Sci Ebay store where people will have the opportunity to bid on projects created on the show.

Mech-Sci plans on being the quintessential ‘edutainment’ production, blending science, technology, people, personalities and humor in a show that is driven by the creative people producing it and fueled by the people who watch it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I'm keeping my blog on a word document and updating it every night. When I get to an area with Wi-Fi I will post what I have so far (so keep checking back to this post because I will just use the edit function). When I get back to Utah I'll add in the pictures :)

California Trip

Day 1:

Today was the first day of my California Trip. Instead of cleaning house and packing all weekend, I managed to just do a bunch of fun stuff with Richard. We are so awful about accomplishing stuff on the weekends. We did however cut his hair. He had grown it out to 5.5”! Now it’s less than an inch! I really liked it long, but I think short is probably my favorite. It seems manlier on him, I think. But, back to my story: Normally when we go on vacation I pack for weeks in advance, and have an agenda for each day planned out with reservations and everything. This time is the complete opposite and so far I’ve really enjoyed that. Richard did a bunch of laundry while I was asleep last night and we just grabbed a bunch of things we thought I might need and packed them in a bag this morning. I don’t think we spent more than 40 mins. On top of that, until I got here, I didn’t know whose place I was staying at. (I’m up at the Cabin with Eli and Ben tonight and tomorrow)

I left about 7:30am Mountain Time. It was hard to say good bye to Richard. I almost never go anywhere without him…especially not drive clear to California alone. In fact this is only my 2nd solo road trip and the last one was only a 4 hour journey. I got into Hat Creek at 4:30 Pacific Time

I’ll spare you the stories of mind-numbing I-80, the important part was I got here safe and no tickets J Its been a wet year here too in California and everything is super green because of it. I Love it here so much! Even with as excited as I am to leave for Hawaii this spring, it will be sad for me not to be able to just hop in a car and get here and I think part of my heart will always reside in NorCal.

Eli was at my parents place so I stopped there to say hello and have some AWESOME dinner. Then we drove up to Lassen. It was like I never left! I think it’s so fun here at the park because no matter when I come or how long I am here I always end up making instant friends with the other people living here. We watched part one of the last Potter movie and now everyone is fast asleep. I think I’ll join them. See you tomorrow.

Day 2:

I’m sleeping on the living room floor at the cabin so I woke up with Eli and Ben since they have to be to work by 7. I leisurely got ready. I drove up to get the pass from Eli so I wouldn’t have to pay to park. I found him and Ben up at Summit Lake campground, digging fire pits and picnic tables out of the snow! There are still huge drifts up there. I think there is even more snow this year than last year, and last year was an unusually heavy snow fall. Ben told me they got a foot of snow this year in June. I hung out with them for a little while and then drove back down to Manzanita Lake. It was so weird to walk around the lake and not be greeting people and answering questions. It’s actually pretty weird to be anywhere in the park and not be working here.

Manzanita Lake was especially beautiful. I forgot to charge the batteries for my camera so I took some on my phone. Before I had even made it ¼ around the lake I came across two teenage deer eating the fresh growth from the manzanita bushes. I was at most 10 feet from them. They couldn’t decide if I was a threat or not. They would get all nervous and stare at me, then calm down and eat some more, then get panicky again. Eventually they decided it would be best to wander off. Oh I forgot to tell you it’s very cold here still. I had to wear a long sleeve thermal shirt, a sweatshirt, full length pants, wool socks and hiking boots just to be comfortable. I have the trail all to myself. I just love how empty the park is. Its also pretty early still. About ½ way I found one of my favorite hangout spots and watched the fish jumping to catch their breakfast. They would send ripples through the otherwise perfect reflection of Mt Lassen. Little wispy clouds kept getting caught on the peak. I hope the pics from my phone turn off. I propped up against a rock and took a little cat nap in the sun. That warmed me up enough to take off my sweatshirt. As I continued around I found the most adorable family of ducks. Mama Duck had 8 little tiny babys darting in and out of the reeds and playing on the log. It looked just like a scene out of a kids book.

The rest of the way around the lake was more and more happy nature. A fence lizard was out doing his morning pushups, and a pygmy nuthatch was searching for bugs. I also got to see a western tanager and a red headed woodpecker, along with the usual jays and cowbirds. I got to last year’s burn area and a mama chipmunk was scolding her 4 tiny babys that were dashing around one of the trunks of a burned out tree. I just love baby animals so much! The chipmunks and golden mantled ground squirrels seem to particularly like this stage of the burn recovery. I was finding a ton of deer track in the ashy soil too. My favorite muskrat wasn’t at his spot this trip. I wonder if he is here this year.

Went and saw some of my old coworkers at the museum. The 2 older ladies were telling me that a few of their sons were in the same educated and unemployed category as me. I’m so lucky Richard has a full time job. It’s too bad he couldn’t come this trip. I would be nice to share all this beauty with someone else.

Day 3:

We went to watch the last Harry Potter last night. It was pretty good! I had watched the first half earlier and got bored a lot, but this one was much more entertaining! I even cried at one point. We got home and I crashed. Slept from 11:30pm til 10:00am! I went over to our friends Jeff and Amy’s cabin. Amy just had their first baby and he is a handsome little boy. He has just started smiling and I got to see some of them J they lived in Hawaii for several years. I got to talk to them a lot about ins and outs of island life. I’m just so excited when I can post about our life in Oahu! There will be soo many pictures.

Went back to Hat Creek today, I am staying with my mom and dad at our friend’s vacation rental. It’s a duplex to the home I grew up in from age 3-9 so it’s been really nice to hang out here again. It’s so quiet and there are tons of fence lizards running around outside on the cinderblocks and lava rocks. Basically I spent the day just hanging out with my parents and enjoying the relaxing time. Still no internet but we do have a land line here so I got to talk with Richard during his lunch break! Funny how no cell reception can make you so grateful for a land line. I’m finally decompressing from city life too, it usually takes a few days. I just love it out here – it calms me on a cellular level. It’s a total mind and body detox. I’m sleeping in a real bed tonight too! I have been sleeping in a mummy bag on couch cushions at Eli’s and Ben’s so I am especially excited to spend a few nights in a nice comfy queen sized bed. Good night everyone.

Day 4:

AHA! Today we went back to my parent’s place in the orchard, aka Orchard House. Here the internet is hooked up HOOORAY!!! So everything above got posted then. Sadly I haven’t been taking many pictures… Maybe I’ll take more when Eli, Ben and I go camping. The big event of today was me giving my mom a perm! It scares me every time. She has long hair like mine so it takes almost 2 hours to roll. It turned out awesome! I have given her 2 or 3 perms before but I think this one turned out the best! She is super happy with it too. It’s really nice too because it would be almost $150 to get it done in a salon but we can do it for about $25! I’ll see if I can get her to pose for a picture but she’s kinda camera shy. After we finished her hair I went to go visit our family friends around the community. I started out with Peggie. She might as well be my aunt. We hung out for a while just talking about life, her family, our move to Hawaii. On the way out from seeing her I ran into her husband Ross. It was funny because I was in my pick-up and he was in his and we were those two people who block the roads in rual areas hangin out our windows and yakking at each other. Eventually some tourists needed through so I told him I’d try and swing by later so we could have a real conversation. Next I went to visit the Shannon family. I used to babysit their 2 little girls when I was younger… Now they are both taller than me!!! Totally messed with my head! It was fun though to see how grown up they both were. Oh and today marks the first day in a new chapter in my life. My dad had been saving this book for me for a while now and today I started reading it. It will be the first book I have read casually since I started college! I am loving it! It’s called The Highest Tide. So far it has been a really good read. I have discovered though I am a much slower reader now than when I was a teenager. I bet it will come back though.

Day 5:

Today was more visiting with friends. Got to see our friend Page. He is a cool old guy who taught me just about everything I knew about computers before I left for college. I always extra enjoy showing off my work from school because he understands how much work it takes to create this stuff. Also got to see our friend Jim. He has spent time both in Utah and in Hawaii so it was really fun to talk about our move with him. I sure am going to miss everyone here in Hat Creek.

This afternoon my mom took me to her physical therapist; she has been very worried about me having chronic back pain at age 22. He is really really good at what he does, so I was excited to get to meet with him. Sadly it wasn’t good news. He is pretty sure I have arthritis in my lower back’s vertebrae. He told me what kind of doctor to go see in Utah once Richard and I get our insurance figured out. He also showed me a bunch of exercises that can help with the pain, so I’m excited to try that. When my mom and I got back from town I had to hurry up to Lassen to meet Eli. We were going down to Redding to go swim suit shopping. We stopped at Burrito Bandito for dinner!!!! I LOVE their burritos! NorCal Burritos are the best! They seriously weigh at least a pound, possibly two, and it takes me several meals to consume it all. The place we were hoping to look at suits closed before we got there, but we may try again after we go camping. We are picking up our dog tomorrow (she has been living at a friend’s place) and this will be the first time I’ve seen her this trip!

Day 6:

Awe.. Jenny! Eli and I went to pick up our dog Jenny this morning. She has been living with a friend of Eli’s. She is soooo dirty!! He’s got a creek on his property and playing in and out of it is her new favorite activity. She was pretty excited to see me, But more so to see Eli because she is in love with his truck. We took Ben and Eli’s truck out to our favorite campsite only to find they had blocked the road out to it with boulders and ripped the road up with a caterpillar L … We decided this was unacceptable, found a way around the road block and off-roaded it in J It was so beautiful just like it always is. Extra water this year though so it was extra nice! The creek (Butte Creek) was surprisingly not as frigid as usual. It still was cold enough to chill the drinks though so I constructed us a beautiful little creek refrigerator out of stones. It was fun to explore the creek and meadows. We did a little shooting but we didn’t want to attract any unnecessary attention so it didn’t last long. We had hobo dinners and Dutch oven apple crisp for dinner, willow biscuits and S’Mores for dessert. I finished that book I got from my dad. It was really nice, my reading speed has started getting better, but it’s still slow.

Day 7:

It didn’t get really cold til about 4 am then it was soo cold I woke up with muscle cramps from shivering so hard lol. So I pulled the hood of my sleeping bag up so tight I looked like Absolonthe caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland. When I finally woke up for real I made us some yummy breakfast of eggs, bacon and cinnamon rolls. Oh I forgot to mention I’ve just been making food for Jenny along with ours, but more dog friendly of course. I think when I’m grown up and have my own family and dogs that’s what I’ll do too. She seems to enjoy it quite a bit, except when I try to feed her vegetables. She just glares at me like I’m trying to pull off some horrific prank, and slinks away looking betrayed.

We packed up camp and left for my parents. We decided to clean up there considering they have full size showers and then Eli and I went down to Redding to take another shot at swim suit shopping. We came up blank for me but got him all kinds of good stuff. Now I’m back up at Eli and Bens for the night. I’m going to do a little more visiting with friends tomorrow and head home on Monday. I sure miss Richard, but I’m having so much fun out here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Before I tell you of the Lagoon Adventure we have to start with some back story. When I was growing up in NorCal my brothers and I used to ride our bikes down to the sand pits. It was a dug up area that had been excavated for sand, then later used by ATV's, and finally pretty much abandoned. At this time my brothers and I discovered it. We would ride our bikes on the trails that the ATV's had made for hours with playing cards taped in our spokes so we would sound like dirt bikes! There was one hill that was particularly steep on the way up. I could never make it up this hill because I couldn't get enough momentum built up to clear even the 1st third before all of my pedaling would just dig into the sand. Well one summer when I was about 5 or 6 my Uncle Marc came to visit. We took him out to the sand pits to go riding with us. While we were there I decided that the real reason I couldn't make it up that hill was because my bike was to small. I talked Eli into letting me use his for a run. I got all pumped up with the help of my 2 older brothers and an uncle, started waaaayyy back, and went for it! I was pedaling like a little demon child! I figured I must be going 100 miles an hour by the time a got to the base! I'm gonna make it I'm gonna make it! Still pedaling my little heart out! Half way up! I'm Half way up! I'm at the 2/3's mark and a start dramatically loosing speed. no no No No NO! I can make it! just a little further! at the 3/4 mark the bike stops moving. I go to plant my feet in defeat but Oh no! This bike is too big for me, I can't reach the ground! Everything goes slow motion.... the bike tips up on its back wheel, I've got a death grip on the handle bars. Time freezes with me suspended in mid air and then... WACK! bike flips me onto my back and the handle bars crash into my nose with a horrible Thud! I return to my senses covered in blood and sand and all the boys yelling! THAT WAS AMAZING!!! Well it wasn't amazing for me. This was followed by a nose that refused to stop bleeding and I'm sure some pep talk from Eli "Be a man, Abby"... I don't think he ever really got the fact that I was a girl. Many of my early childhood memories are of me bleeding or crying and Eli telling me "Be a man Abby, Be a MAN!" Anyways his pep talk must have worked because I managed to ride home at the same time using my uncle's shirt to sop up the blood that refused to stop flowing from my poor nose.
As you can imagine the are still some lingering psychological effects from this incident. One of these is a deep and penetrating fear of riding or driving up steep hills. I have miraculously managed to avoid them until Friday.
Oh yes and one other quick bit of info. I had never ridden a roller coaster prior to Friday either. I always thought they could be fun but I think the closest one was probably 5 hours away from where we lived, so I just never got around to it.
Ok so now here is the actual post:
LAGOON! and Lagoon-a-beach
The local theme/coaster park is Lagoon! Last Friday we were there from 11:30 am to 10:30 pm! We went on all the big kid rides. At first I was terrified!!! I screamed out of pure horror and was convinced we were going to die! I had to close my eyes and hold my breath as we got slowly dragged up all those steep hills. As we survived ride after ride Richard was finally able to use the logic of odds to convince me that our lives were not truly in danger. After that it just got AWESOME!! I am cured of my fear of hills! Hooray and by the end of the day I was even enjoying Wicked. This bad boy's specs are below:

• Highest Height: 110 feet high
• Length of Track: 2,000 feet long
• Speed: 55 mph
• Max G-Force: 4.85 g

It and the Colossus:
• Highest Height: 85 feet high
• Length of Track: 2,850 feet long
• Speed: 55 miles per hour

were my top two followed closely by the Rocket:
Height of Towers: 217 feet each
• Acceleration: 4.5 G-force

I have to say I'm now some what of an adrenalin junkie. They have a deal where you can come the 2nd time for only 10 bucks so we are heading back tomorrow. I can hardly wait, though I don't think I will ever be able to trust those wooden roller coasters...

Something about a thrill ride built in the 1920's is just unsettling. They have a water park in lagoon (lagoonabeach) and it was fun. The lines were awefully long though. Honestly I liked playing in the kiddie park just as much as any of the slides.
So all and all it was a great time! Take that lingering childhood fears :P

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thank you Internet!

This week I've had several conversations about how AWESOME the internet is! How when I was little no one really knew what it was and now - none of us can live without it. Its becoming more and more uncommon to not carry the internet in your pocket! And while I could talk for hours on the pro's and con's of this phenomena (for example I can't spell that word without google chrome's auto spell check) I'd have to say I'm happy the internet is a part of my life and this week has been one of those weeks where though the Internet has not particularly made me a better citizen, or a more intelligent human, or enlightened me in any way, it sure has entertained me!

Today I was stopped on I-15 in a traffic jam for 30 mins! Lucky for me the radio started playing "Dog Days are Over" and this video I had watched earlier in the week instantly popped into my head (watch it so the rest of the post makes sense) So instead of being frustrated with the hold up I just started dancing like this little boy! I'm sure everyone in the other cars had thought I had lost my mind but for a moment everything was happy! Thank you Internet!

I'm not a laugh out loud kind of person. I smile really big and occasionally I'll chuckle a little. Recently I became reacquainted with the blog Hyperbole and a Half. I was reading "The Party" (here's the link By the 8th illustration I was already uncontrollably laughing. It was so fun to laugh that hard again. I honestly cant remember the last time I cracked up like that! So ya... thanks Internet!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

2nd Interview

Well it was today! It went well.. or ok? or something... I dunno. I'll be surprised if I got the job. They really seem to like me but they are looking for a lifetime employee, and I was honest about my goals to be an architect, etc. It would be such a nice position and they seem like a great company to work for. Anyway, if I do get the job I will be very very happy and if not, its been a great confidence boost to know that I can make it through 2 rounds of interviewing and the only thing really against me is my future goals. Overall I'd have to say I'm a happy girl. I'm so lucky that Richard has a job during all of this. It really takes the edge off. They'll let us know sometime next week and I'll pass the word along to you guys :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pyro Princess!

Utah legalized aerial fireworks! (For any of my non-pyro readers these are the kind that shoot up into the air before they explode in their colorful ball of happy fireyness!) As a California girl who used to have to smuggle sparklers and ground boomers in from Oregon my cerebral cortex practically fused from the exhilaration of being able to purchase these. Richard and I find the largest of the tents and rush it. I stumble in eyes as big as saucers.

"Hi guys! can we help you find something"
I suddenly turn into Beaker: "memo me me me me mo" Super high pitched and going way too fast. I do manage to audibly get out the words "Kaboom!" and "Super High!"
The sales lady gets a gleam in her eye, "I know just what you need... Its behind the counter."
She hefts a huge green box to the counter top, "Its called the Pyro Princess! We were out testing these last night and we're talking 75' in the air multiple color fire blasts. Its got the highest ratings in height, color and sound"

Sadly that one was out of the budget but we did leave with 3 aerials and a few of the regular festivities.

Saturday night was my niece Kysa's Birthday Party. And since Richard was going to be working on the actual 4th we decided to do the fireworks there. Richard and Jeremy were lighting off the little ground bloomers and cracklers. I come outside to hear the sound of my nephew chanting "More fire! more fire!" During this time all of the neighbors started rounding up their kids to watch. Everyone was thrilled with the small ones. Then it got dark enough to light off the big stuff:

They made quite a show, it was extra fun with all the little kidos ooing aweing and shreaking in delight. I am proud to say I have only 1 small burn in my arm :)