Category Archives: Journal Writings

Fashion District

I would call this past weekend a pretty good success. We did some stuff and with Zoe and crew still in town it was nice to get out and about. But I hit the wall on Sunday and I couldn’t seem to recover. I went to bed, not super early and I am still dragging. I want to claim “under the weather” but I don’t have enthusiasm for anything so staying here at work is just as relevant. But first, the weekend:

All I had planned for Saturday was a quick walk up Signal Hill. I am still thinking about training for our Whitney hike. I took us a while to get going because I was asked to make a tortilla for breakfast. Our walk was really quick. The point was to just get steepness into our bones. After that Zoe had mentioned that she wanted to go see the “Hunger Games” costumes that she heard were being displayed somewhere in LA. We found out that they were on display at the the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Gallery in LA. So we went. It was interesting to see not only those costumers, but the costumes from other movies like Les Miserables. There wasn’t any explanation, like was the material hand made or off the shelf selected. Was that dress really made from scratch or was it bought at a thrift store. So we looked at the costumes and marveled at being close to something real from and unreal experience such that movies are. No pictures allowed. Why? After that short visit we needed a place to eat. CK always like Taco Bell. We headed towards the closest Taco Bell and we ran into huge crowds of people. What the heck was this? Here are some pictures

Fashion districtFashion district2It turns out that his area is the fashion district of LA. There were hundreds of shops and thousands of shoppers. It felt like they all knew something that we didn’t We got out and started walking around. CK bought some shoes, I bought a pair of 501’s and McKala bought a cover for her iPod. As an example the 501’s I bought cost me 20 bucks. (Normally $40 – $50) We just got out of the car expecting to spend 30 minutes. We were there for several hours. I think everyone had a good time. We will want to come back when we are in a shopping mood. We probably bought stuff that we wouldn’t have shopped for. I had no idea that CK’s shoes had fallen apart, so he needed the shoes. We normally spend $10 for cheap shoes at Target. We spent $40 on some Nike shoes. Were they really Nike? I don’t know. Were they $10 shoes? I don’t know. I know he needed new shoes and he got them. Dakota bought a dress, Xenia bought some leggings. Again a fun adventure. I wish Jenny would have come with us, but we couldn’t have fit her in the car anyway. On Sunday she said that Patrice had mentioned that we seem to always be doing stuff. I liked that compliment. The strangest part of the experience is that it seemed like we stumbled across something that obviously a lot of people already knew about.



Catchup A Birthday, A Walk, and Skid Row

I have had some ups and downs and it has been awhile since I wrote anything. I would say that I am mostly up right now. I have found that my job is causing the eb and flow of my emotions. It is Monday and I am stilling riding the wave of a good weekend. I also wanted to catch up with a few pictures that I took. I would have more and better, but we can’t find the charger for the camera battery and so I all I have is a few pictures from Xenia’s phone. I am going to work backwards starting with yesterday.

A month or so ago I had set up for us to go help out at breakfast for the Midnight Mission in LA. It is the center of skid row. It was not a good weekend to be doing this since we had to go move our stuff from AZ and everything else we had going on. I even confessed to Kim that I didn’t want to admit it, but I was wishing we were not doing this. I told her at 11PM so it was a little late to do anything about it but not show up the next morning. We went to bed at midnight and I set the alarm for 5AM. I still had to print out the forms, unhook the trailer, print off directions and get all the kids out the door. Somehow it all came together and we were on the road by 530AM. Since we had helped out at the St. Vincent DePaul center in Phoenix we all kind of had an idea of what was expected. That is why when they asked for volunteers to work in the back Dakota and Xenia jumped at the chance. They ended up cracking eggs for the entire hour and half we were there. The rest of us worked in the dining room. At one point near the end of our shift I was overcome emotionally. I felt it was an honor to be doing this on Sunday morning. We were home by 830AM in plenty of time for church though it was tough to stay awake. I can’t describe what it felt like to be helping with out judgment the most vulnerable and needy of our population. I didn’t care if they were addicted to drugs, criminals, or even bad people. I was just there to help them get a single meal for a single morning. I wouldn’t be anyplace else. Last night I whispered to Kim that I want to go back next week. That may be too much for the kids, or even me, but I want to go back.

As part of our preparation for whitney we walked from Grandma’s house to Seal Beach. We had dropped a car off the night before so that we did not have to walk back. It was 6 miles of walking. It took us about 2½  hours. The reward at the end was to eat at the end of the walk cafe. It was a real treat and expensive ($75). The food was ok, the view was fantastic and the rest was needed.

End of the Beach CafeBefore that walk we had gone up to Korea Town for McKala’s birthday. We walked around, there wasn’t much to see. We tried to find a place to eat. One place looked good, but the table setup was intimidating and the prices were too much for us. We ended up just eating at the local mall in their food court. We were the only non-Asians there. Korea Town Food CourtIt was adventuresome. We spent way to much on McKala’s birthday, but in a way I feel like we spent too little consideration. Sure we let Xenia buy a $30 gift instead of a box of her favorite cereal, but did we celebrate McKala? Did we make it special enough? I don’t know. She is 18 now. She already drives. She says she wants to change, but she knows she does not want to make any effort. I don’t envision success for her in doing that.

Touched by the angels

I had a much better day yesterday. Again the goal is to keep my job. I do two things. 1. Arrive before my boss and leave after him. 2. While he is here I do nothing but work, except for lunch. That actually made me feel good and made me feel like I had a good day. I rushed home to get to CK’s orchestra concert. Traffic was heavier than I expected and I walked into the auditorium as they were finishing. I was glad I was there, but I wish I hadn’t missed it. And because I was late the other kids did not get to go. I was supposed to pick them up, but instead I had to go straight there. We went to In-N-Out for a celebratory shake. Eric called and I spent too much time talking to him and not paying attention to CK. Afterwards we got home and I ran by Stater’s to get water. I was very touched by the number of people who gave to a man begging out front. One family came out and the father had given each of his kids a dollar to give to the man. The woman thanked the man for calling her girls angels. They were. Very touching. This can be a very good world. So I got home after 9PM and for some reason we have let Dakota finish watching a TV show, “Ever After”  We stayed up too late and though we had prayer we did not read together. We are going camping this weekend. High achieving Xenia doesn’t understand why we would be gone all weekend. I think she wants to practice her violin. She is an interesting child like they all are.

Keep that Job

This is only my third post this month. The “new car smell” of work is starting to wear off. I have to focus on keeping my job and nothing else. Sometimes I get carried away with aspirations. I help the new VP of finance get logged in. He is not even 40 although his balding head makes him seem older. I think that may have affected me. How pitiful. The house in AZ sold. We will soon have $170K in the bank with a $200K loan outstanding on mom’s house. Hmmm. Not quite equal that. We are going to use part of the money to get another house and then gamble the rest in the stock market. We may lose it all. As long as I have a job we will be OK. I need to keep my job. That needs to be all I care about. I do get in before my boss and I leave after he does. I think I just need to add that during the hours that he is here that I do nothing but work. I get distracted, bored, or I just feel like I need a break. I browse the web or like yesterday I do my taxes. I need to do better. I need to keep my job. Odd that I am at work 12+ hours a day and I do not feel like I am doing enough. Acceleration is all we sense.

Quick Trip to AZ

We got into AZ about 230 in the morning on Saturday. We had planned on going on a hike, but then we just didn’t get going. The kids all made plans and were off to their friends pretty quickly. I think McKala misses her friends the most. She even proposed that she be allowed to come back and stay in AZ for her Senior year of highschool. She knew we would never agree to that even though she turns 18 next month. We weren’t that thrilled with her friends. They were ok, but… She definitely is feeling the loss in CA. It is interesting because of the “Autism” tag I would think that those relationships would not be meaningful to her. They are. What IS Autism? We went to Miranda’s play. “Children of Eden” It was odd. There were parts I really liked. I was amazed how much talent there was at the local community college. It was still a community college play. Adam had inadvertent unexplained tattoos. Couldn’t they put makeup on him? Oh well. It was a little sacrilegious  God seemed petty, angry, and flawed. It would be interesting to tell the story without God being flawed. Jarom, Tara (I miss them) and Veda came to the play. They didn’t come with us to Denny’s afterwards. I liked sitting with the family eating breakfast food at midnight. It was absolutely lovely. I love this family. It isn’t complete without Eric and Kendra, but it is very full. Church isn’t until 1130. Kim is right I should have done “priesthood interviews”. I didn’t Yesterday Kim and I went to Lowe’s after we dropped all the kids off. I was so sleepy that i got a scooter cart at the store. We bought some potting soil and some flowers and planted them in the front of the yard. I am glad we did it. It cost us $50 and I doubt it will help sell the house, but you never know. I pushed through nap time but not enough to pull all the weeds in the yard. Rock yards are harder to maintain than lawns. We spent too much money this week. With our budgeting we may have to eat Top Ramen all week. Kim’s budget doesn’t include gas but we spent a lot of going out and the tickets ($12!) and other things. Well it is time to go to church, then a potluck at the Mitchell’s (DRAMA!) then on the road again.

Hang In There Baby

I caught two accidents yesterday. One coming into work and another going home. Therefore I was on the road for 4 hours yesterday. Not a real productive use of my time, but they paid me and we can put food on the table. So there you have it. Dakota wanted me home last night and I could have left a lot earlier but I am leaving early today and so I thought it prudent to stay late. I should have gone home early. I accomplished very little in staying late. I want to be more focused at work. My emphasis has been on working longer than everyone else. I am hoping at some point that I am not just trying to keep my job. That is my attitude. And unfortunately working 11 or 12 hour days is the easiest most visible way to prove my worth. Eventually I want to move into the next phase which is actually doing significant things. Not that I have not been appreciated or that I haven’t done anything. I have been praised for what people see as a positive change, but that is due in part to that fact that if I am here 12 hours I probably am going to get something done. I do not have a lot of confidence in my staying power. I could easily be dismissed tomorrow. So my second goal is to make sure I create the experience that will allow me to leave with propulsion. The eventual hiring of a CFO (something that unnecessarily and strangely bothers me) is in the way of that. I can sweep the floors as long as they keep paying me. I do not need any more money. I need security and a backup plan. Hang in there and don’t sacrifice your family too much.

Journaling Generically

I am still getting a little used to journaling here. Should I make small entries by categories or one entry with several tags. I don’t know. So I will try the several entries for a little while. One thing I like about the several entries is that the categories remind me to think about other things. For example 100 books before I die reminds me that I need to get a book to read. I don’t know when I would do that, maybe books on tape for my long commute makes sense. But by having the category I am reminded to at least think about it. So this is just my personal thoughts and journal.

I took McKala and Xenia to seminary today. It then took me 2 hours to get to work. I enjoyed the podcasts I had, but that 2 hours is long. I can do it in an hour if I leave at 530. I am a little slow at work today. I do have some things I could work on, but I am not motivated. I call Kim several times during the day just to have some company. We found out that Miranda got into BYU – Provo. That is what she wanted so we are all very happy. Eric called me last night and asked for some advice on what to say to Ernst and Young about his C+ last semester. He must be sweating. I am glad he felt comfortable telling me. I hope he still has the job and is in LA at the end of this year. Miranda’s friend Alicia ran away from home yesterday. Miranda is mad because Alicia did not confide in her at all. Her friend David said it was because Miranda would tell her she was insane. Miranda asked if we could take her back to CA with us. Kim said yes. Where are we going to put her? In a bunk bed with the kids? Interesting. I can’t imagine that she will come. She ran away to be with a boy and coming to CA does not let her be with him. I am ready to have our own place. Of course we have to sell our current house. One of our goals this weekend is to gussy up the house a little.

Emotions running high

I listened to a podcast from This American Life. I was overwhelmed by the grief I felt. The story was about Harper HS in Chicago. The life that these kids had to live was terrible. The next podcast was from General Conference where the choir sang “I am a child of God” The contrast really hit me. I am still feeling it. We watched a church video “Mountains to Climb” Excellent video. We were all crying. I want to explain to the kids that emotions are a sense that the Holy Ghost will use, but it is not used exclusively by the Holy Ghost. One of the inoculations I want to inject. Does that make sense?

I gave my talk on Sunday. I feel really good about it. Now it is done. I feel a sense of relief. I don’t know what pressure I was unknowingly feeling, but I do feel a sense of relief. Of course that just leaves room for trouble. That may be Dakota feeling overwhelmed by school. Kim thinks she is really struggling. I need to figure out how to help her. McKala is trying to find her place too. I prefered the troubles of unemployment being upon me rather than having our kids struggle, but it is not always my choice to make.

I feel like cruising at work. Let’s see how today goes. It is an eating day and I feel obligated to fill it

Socialist Thinking

It has been four days since I last wrote. I am at work, but I am emotionally done. I am not disliking work, but I have put in a lot of hours and I feel like I have done enough. I was here until past 8PM and then back at 7AM. I was supposed to write about my experience with praying for service opportunities. I really haven’t had much. The opportunities are or were all small. Maybe that is the point. I don’t know what I am going to talk about on Sunday. Going back to work. Fernando asked that Julia and I, really Julia, define who can be the go-to developer for our NetSuite implementation. Because I have heard Fernando talk about it I got with Julia and suggested Davit in order to establish job security. I think Julia was taken back by my motivation to create job security. It is how I think. It is in my DNA. I guess I could never be a Nate (founder of Sonic).  Ok I don’t have a lot more to say.

Work babble yech!

No posting on Sunday. I am already back at work. Have less hope than I did last week that my little experiment will tell me anything. I did pray that I might be inspired to serving someone, but after a weekend of no bites my faith has diminished. I took a big nap yesterday, but it was so hard to get up this morning. I was very disappointed at my weight, but I soldier on and today is another non-eating day. I can do better. I stayed up late watching Downton Abbey. The season is over now, so maybe Mondays will be a little easier. We went to bed after midnight and I was up and out the door by 530. I like work, but not that much. In fact once I got in I laid back and closed my eyes. The idea of working was and is more exciting than the actual working. Now that I am here with the whole of things to do sitting before me, I am less enthusiastic. Sunday they called me to work with YM. I like that I will be working with CK. I see that I am going to have to leave at 5PM on Mondays (FHE) Wednesday (YM) and earlier on Fridays (SCOUTS). And that is where I settle in on the work. I have taken on a little more than I can handle. I mean I really should just be managing other people’s task and as long as they are busy I should sit back. But I have sort of taken on some new project definitions and all of reporting. In addition Fernando is always throwing tasks at me, some of which are soon forgotten. I am babbling on about work, yech. I am done