Saturday, July 11, 2020

Parks and Rec

Prior to Brooke and I getting married, Brooke had like never seen a TV show. OK, maybe I am exaggerating slightly. We did watch a few when we were dating. But prior to that, her favorite TV show was Arthur from PBS… Which must have been from like when she was 7 or something.

So after getting married, we first watched The Office as I personally had just finished Parks and Rec recently (Well, I guess the whole world had finished it recently in a manner of speaking). Anyways, after The Office and a few other shows, we have finally started Parks and Rec. Now, with the benefit of a few years of hindsight, I am able to see how formative the show was for me in a number of ways. For example, April Ludgate's favorite band is Neutral Milk Hotel and her favorite singer is the lead vocalist of the band, Jeff Mangum. I started listening to the band when I heard this and I still enjoy them to this day. Brooke and I recently finished the season 6 Grand Finale which had the Decemberists in it, which I now enjoy as well.

As I reflect on some of my political leanings, I can see a resemblance between me and Ron Swanson. At the same time, I do relate to Leslie's character. Ron is often more of a caricature of libertarian ideals than a realistic libertarian. At least in my mind. I don't hate the government; it is a very necessary part of our lives. I do think he has a point often. The government's meddling in our daily lives is expensive and unnecessary. But this isn't my political blog. You can read that here.

No, this is just the personal blog, which I think Brooke and I have been neglecting a bit lately. Just a few months ago we were traveling the world. That’s a part of it. But another part of it is a new project I am working on. I am working on a new book. This one isn’t about bitcoin or money or anything like that. No, this book is about me, and some of the journey’s I have been on in life. This book is about some of the people I have met and my experiences interacting with them. I’m still in the writing phase of the book, so it will be quite a while before I publish it. But you will hear from us again soon, in one way or another.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Coronavirus Pandemic

Things have escalated pretty quickly with the news of this coronavirus, COVID-19. Last Thursday, the 19th, Ricky and I went to Walmart to get a few more necessities. It was so crowded! It was impossible to stay 6 feet away from anyone! The aisles that actually had stuff in them always had 4-5 shoppers, so you can’t just wait until the aisle is empty to social distance because people are everywhere. Walmart was really stocked with water! It had so much water of all brands all over the place! But we thought we should get a few more rolls of toilet paper, and the toilet paper aisle was turned into an Easter aisle! It was like the toilet paper aisle never existed! So, no toilet paper for us. Gratefully, we have a bidet. Here are some pictures of the empty aisles. It was scary how empty many of the aisles were! There were like three choices of cereal, only canned corn, and absolutely no bread, which is what we came for. Luckily, we found some English muffins and cinnamon raisin bread in the bakery section. 


On Thursday night when we were in Walmart, I got a text that I would not actually be going into work the next day. The preschool I worked at closed, effective immediately. We also heard the news that the whole state of California was to now shelter in place, or stay at home. So, I am now furloughed and Ricky is working at home for the most part. It’s been an adjustment and I feel like I’m just starting to get used to it. We’ve been going on daily walks, which allows us to stretch our legs a little and get some fresh air. We love walking in the canyon that is right by our neighborhood.

Also, Ricky has been busy cracking open our macadamia nuts from our tree and roasting them. They are DELICIOUS!!! I tried to capture it and it's hard to see, but the birds were moving in and chirping like crazy! All types of birds were interested by the nuts - there were finches, pigeons, and even a hummingbird flying around, watching Ricky, and waiting. It was so funny!

How are you guys doing during this strange time?

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Bountiful Summer

Recently, my mother wrote a book about my great uncle and my grandfather. I wanted to share some of my experiences living with my Great Uncle Dean. As well as share a link to my Mother’s book.

I wanted to reflect on the summer of 2017 for a little bit. It was a fantastic time for Brooke and me. After I graduated from BYU, we were actually kicked out of our student housing in Provo. My job in San Jose was starting in September, so Brooke and I needed to figure out what we were going to do for 3 months. My great uncle Dean lived in Bountiful, so we got in touch with him and his daughter Becky to see if we could stay with Dean. They were delighted to have us stay. Brooke had recently worked in a mini-retirement home of sorts and helped older people who couldn’t live by themselves. It was a match made in heaven.

At this time, I was preparing for the CPA exam. I set my computer up in the basement, and there I studied continually for essentially the whole 3 month period. I only took breaks during the day to make lunch and dinner for the three of us or sometimes to go to the grocery store.

Uncle Dean often had trouble moving around. He really liked to go to the grocery store, but often a trip would take more than an hour. I was prepared for this. In the car I would read the CPA exam textbooks, and in the store I would bring flashcards with me. Any free minute I had was filled with flashcards. Our favorite store was a place we called Market Square (I think it is labeled the NPS store; I don’t know where our name for it came from). There we would buy all sorts of expired or nearly expired food for bargain prices. I really haven’t seen too many stores like it. I don’t know if you can sell expired goods like that in California, where I am from. We also would get lots of produce for super cheap. For example, the Costco salad mixes could be bought for a dollar or less at Market Square (I think it's like 4 times that much at Costco). You would just need to use the food up pretty quick. It was a great chance for me to try out some new ingredients in the kitchen. It was a fun time. On the nights I didn’t cook, we went out to dinner. I think Uncle Dean also really liked to go out to eat. He had lots of restaurants he liked. Some of them his daughter Becky, was understandably not a fan of. So I felt especially good when we were able to go somewhere he wasn’t able to go to normally (Like Chuck-A-Rama).

Somehow, even though Uncle Dean was barely able to walk on his own (with a walker, granted), he was able to live on his own with an association of help from different people. For example, the neighbor Chris would help with the yard work. Uncle Dean’s cousin Eldean would help clean the house. Eldean was quite a character. She was an avid Trump supporter, and would just gobble up propaganda from PragerU and other extreme right wing sources. Sometimes I would try to tell her these crazy conspiracies were simply not true, but she wouldn’t have it. Even Uncle Dean, a lifelong republican, didn’t like Donald Trump. In fact, Uncle Dean was such a republican, I recall once a driver was driving a little fast/recklessly down the street and Uncle Dean said, “must be a democrat.”

There were also nurses that would come from Midas Creek. They would help Uncle Dean put on his compression socks in the morning. It was quite an ordeal. His diabetes caused his legs to swell up quite a bit. They would only come 3 times a week or so, so the other times, Brooke would help.

And of course there was Becky. Becky would come at least once a day, often twice or more. Every night she would help put Uncle Dean to bed. Putting Uncle Dean to bed was also a bit of a task. To end the day, his compression socks had to be removed. I think it was a little easier removing them versus putting them on, but not that much. Uncle Dean’s nighttime pills also made him sleepy, so it was important that he not spend too much time in his chair getting ready.

Once or twice, Brooke and I helped put Uncle Dean to bed. On one of those nights, Uncle Dean slid out of his chair and was on the floor. We had to hoist him up somehow and get him into bed. Uncle Dean was a few inches taller than me, and quite a few pounds heavier, so this was quite a task. Becky, Brooke, and I struggled a bit. On one of the occasions, we had to get John to help, Becky’s husband. John easily picked Uncle Dean up and put him into his bed. The other time, Nick and his girlfriend came and the 5 of us all worked together to get him into bed.

Prior to our arrival, Becky would bring food to Uncle Dean everyday as well. Becky was also often the voice of reason. Sometimes Uncle Dean would want to buy all sorts of crazy stuff. For example, he wanted to buy medical scrubs as pants. I think I may have discouraged him a little, but when we got back, Becky told us he had way too many pants already. So we helped bring them back for a refund.

Ultimately, our time in Bountiful was one of the most fun periods of our married life. I passed three sections of my CPA exam with scores in the mid to high 90s. We bonded with my Great Uncle and Becky and her family.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Moving and a Mini-Retirement

Ricky and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving in Utah, and wish you a happy holiday season!

We have been so behind on our blog posts for some reason. I guess there has been a lot going on lately! For those of you who don't know, we quit our jobs and went on a pretty big vacation/mini-retirement (Here's the announcement video we made to share the news with people). We had both been working really hard at under-staffed jobs and were just really burnt out. I loved my job at the beginning, but it was just time to move on. I was definitely taking work home with me. And Ricky was working like 70-hour work weeks!  Work was literally taking over our lives. So, we needed a vacation. Plus, we wanted to move to San Diego! So we did!

We moved to San Diego shortly after quitting our jobs, we got a little settled, and then headed off on a long vacation. We went to Miami, boarded a cruise ship for our first time, traveled with Norwegian Cruise Line to Key West, Florida and to Nassau, Bahamas. We were supposed to have two more ports but Hurricane Dorian caused our port in Freeport to be cancelled, and the port at Norwegian's private island Great Stirrup Cay was also cancelled. That cancellation was due to the inability to be tendered to the island from the ship because of the wind (Norwegian, you need a dock on your island!). That was REALLY disappointing! We even arrived at the island and saw it and noticed how fun and awesome it would be, and then they announced it was too windy to tender people to the island. We were so sad! But the "at sea days" were actually pretty fun! They had all sorts of activities going on all throughout the day. And yummy food! We loved the food! It was our favorite part! Being on a ship in the ocean and not seeing any land around you is a bit scary, but we were never toooo far out in the ocean (compared to some other cruises where you're at sea for days). It was a good first cruise experience, and we definitely want to go on another cruise again sometime! It is a great way to travel and actually more affordable than I ever thought before I actually looked into it.

Anyway, after the cruise, we flew over to Orlando to experience Disneyworld and Universal Studios Florida. Those were fun! We did a day at Epcot, a day in Animal Kingdom, and a day in Universal Studios. That was definitely enough for us for one trip, but we do want to come back and do the rest of Disneyworld one day!

After Florida, was a stop at my family's home in Utah for a little rest and family time. We also went with my family to Park City! It was so cold, but so fun! After 80-90 degree humid Florida weather, snow in Park City was a bit of a shock to our bodies. Ricky actually was sick with a cold for awhile (which I think he caught in Disneyworld), but luckily we could get a lot of rest in Utah.

From Utah, we flew back to San Diego for just a night, and then walked across the border using the bridge to the Tijuana airport early the next morning. We went with Ricky's friend Fernando and Fernando's brother. We could not have done this trip without them because we literally understood like less than 5% of what anyone said to us. Fernando translated EVERYTHING for us, and Fernando's brother rented a car and drove us all over which was awesome! But traffic was an actual nightmare!!! Traffic in Mexico City is the worst traffic any of us had ever been in!!! It was horrible! Other than that, it was a good trip and fun to see the sights. We saw the Pyramids of Teotihuacan, went to Six Flags Mexico with our Six Flags passes, went to the museum of anthropology, and did a canal ride in Xochimilco. It was fun, but we were all so excited to come back to the states. Our Airbnb didn't really have hot water, so we were excited for hot showers again. Plus, we were sick of the traffic.

Mexico City was the last leg of our big trip, and then we rested awhile and did some work and renovations on our house in San Diego. We haven't quite started new jobs yet, so we drove to Utah for Thanksgiving. Since Ricky was sick during our last time in Utah, we packed this Utah trip full! We caught up with so many friends and family! It was awesome! And it snowed a lot, so that was fun! It was a wonderful trip, but too short. We had to work our travel days around the weather, since we were driving.

We are getting our house festive for the holidays and just wanted to say hi to our followers on here (I did not expect to write this much! wow). We wish you happy holidays! What are your holiday traditions?  How was your Thanksgiving? We absolutely love to hear from you!

If you're interested, here are a few links!

Here is the link to our Youtube channel, where Ricky is slowly getting up our travel vlogs:

Here is the link we use to send easy, custom postcards to our loved ones (if you use this referral link, you get a free 3 dollars, which is enough for your first postcard!):

Here is a referral link that you can use to get some free money to use on Airbnb (I think it's like 40 free dollars towards a stay and 15 free dollars towards an Airbnb experience!):

And here is a link to Rakuten, which we always use when buying things online (especially this time of year) that gives out cash back for all the things you buy (on Amazon or other online retailers). It's a referral link, and you get 10 free dollars if you sign up using it!
(They literally send you a check in the mail - it is awesome!!!)

That reminded me of one more link to share. You guys know about Ricky's podcast, right!? He talks about frugal living. It is legit!

Love you all! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Mexico city has been an adventure

Mexico City has been an adventure. I'm writing this on my phone in the back of the rental car. Yesterday we went to the pyramids, which was a spectacular sight. I will include a related video once I make it.

There were vendors selling all sorts of souvenirs. Someone even tried to sell me an obsidian dagger. I don't think airport security would have liked that. We also saw some ocarinas for sale, mostly 5 hole pendants which I'm not a huge fan of. Those are mostly just a toy.

Driving back from the pyramids was a nightmare. It took over 3 hours. Google maps said it would take 1 hour and 20 minutes. The last 2 miles took 2 hours. There were police and road closures everywhere. It was the worst traffic I've ever been in. And I have lived in the Bay Area and driven in Los Angeles quite a bit, etc. Mexico City takes the cake.

On the way to the pyramids, we were stopped by the Mexican police. They wanted 6,000 pesos for some nonsense laws they made up on the spot. Brooke and I didn't have any pesos, so my friend and his brother paid 2,000 pesos of the fine and we got out ok. Still, it was pretty upsetting. We had to find a bank to get more pesos.

The place we are staying also lacks some of the comforts of the states. The hot water may or may not work. So far, I have taken one cold shower and one lukewarm shower.

The windows in the building have no screens, so you could just open up the window and jump or fall out if you were so inclined. The apartment is on the 4th floor and there is no elevator, which is the highest I've been without one. Some of the stairways are quite tight and require me to duck. It certainly is an interesting place.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Twin falls

It looks like my posts are a little backlogged. Here is a post about our vacation this summer.

On our way to vacation in Idaho, we stayed in a hotel in Twin Falls. It is a very interesting town, lots of shopping, then banks, cars, small businesses, and stuff. I don't know what people do for work outside of retail.

We went to a McAlister’s at about 8 pm, an hour before close. They were out of almost everything! I got a salad with spinach instead of lettuce. It had Bleu cheese and a shallot sherry dressing. It was pretty good. Pretty French haha. I had a reuben as well. The employee gave us some cookies to make up for all the missing items.

We went into the small town of Shoshone which was so small and quaint, I loved it. We looked through an antiques store. Brooke and I finished and sat on a bench by Ace Hardware. Suddenly, a cat appeared. I told Brooke and she was startled, the cat was already under the bench when she noticed. Brooke being startled startled the cat too. It wanted me to pet it, so I did. Its slightly mangled fur indicated it was a street cat. It was quite sweet though. Like a big Maple, just a lot more quiet (Maple was the name of our cat friend on the ranch). It went into the Ace Hardware. I followed. Inside the store, the cat kept looking back at me, expectantly. Eventually it proceeded through a side door where there was water and cat food.
Brooke and I walked across the street to the gas station to wash our hands. The gas station was super cute. It had little booths to sit, and a milkshake machine thing!
We also explored a little more, seeing a Mexican shop run out of an old school bus. I took a picture. The lady who owned it saw me, so I said hi.
We continued down and saw some active shops, but many were closed. We saw an apartment above a store for sale, imagine living in a town like that. Across the street, we saw a creepy mansion. Look at these pictures and see how big it is. It is kind of wild.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


At the end of July, my mom, sister, and brother were in our neck of the woods. My sister had a friend's wedding in Oakland/reception in Sonora to attend. My mom drove Brittany and her friends here for the wedding (and for some sightseeing). Brian flew in just for the weekend. We all stayed in Sonora at a cute little hotel there. The day after the big wedding day, Brittany and her friends went to a fun little lake in Sonora for the day, while Brian, my mom, Ricky, and I went to Yosemite for the day. I had heard from a lot of people that Yosemite was awesome, but I didn't know what it would be like or what to expect. I was happy with what we fit into our one full day there. We saw many of the waterfalls. They were so pretty! We first saw Bridal Veil Falls. It was pretty and not much of a hike to get to it. Then we hiked lower Yosemite Falls. It was so nice to sit at the bottom and feel a little mist from it! Lastly, we hiked Vernal Falls. Vernal Falls was definitely the big hike of the day for us. It was so uphill and so hot! Then, we made it partway and saw this little view of the falls still so far away. It was kind of a disappointment after all that. But we could luckily fill up our water there and then continue onward. I'm so glad we did. We walked right up by the waterfall with the mist from the falls just soaking us! It really cooled us down and gave us the energy to keep going! Then, we got to the very top of the waterfall! It was so amazing to have made it to the top of it! We relaxed and ate some snacks before heading back down. It was a full and amazing Yosemite day! Here are a few pictures:

Right when we arrived in Yosemite, Ricky spotted a bear! We pulled over to see it. It was enjoying a snack from this tree.

so pretty!
On our way up Vernal Falls - you can see how soaked we got!
A happy squirrel relaxing at the top of Vernal Falls