Sunday, August 31, 2008

This is the start of something new...

Not only has a new school year started for both Karen and I this year, but a few shake ups have occurred in my job.  Recently I responded to a craigslist job posting which was asking for photographers with no experience required.  Since the position was in Lawrence, I was interested and sent a message to them explaining that I did have experience and wondered if they had anything for me.  They had me come in for an interview and were impressed with my website and photography experience and offered me a position.  The company is called University Photography and they specialize in portrait and event photography.  They hired me on initially as a group photographer for Bid Day at KState and KU taking pictures of sororities.  After meeting with them and getting to know them better through these new assignments, they offered me a regular position that would work around my school schedule.  I will now be the Assistant to the Operations Manager (not quite the Assistant Operations Manager, I'll have to wait for that promotion...) and I'll be doing any number of things that I am apparently already qualified to do.  I was told not to get used to doing the same thing every day.  In addition to my 9-5 job, I will also be shooting other events in the future that will better compensate me for my time.  So, my last day at Payless will be September 6th.  It just so happens that I am covering someone else's shift that day and I will be working a full 12 hour day to finish things off.  I'm really excited about my new job because I will finally be able to save some money on gas, I can now save the time it takes to drive to and from Topeka all the time, and I can do something with photography again.  I am sad to leave a lot of really cool people at Payless though.  The job at Payless certainly won't be missed but I had a lot of really good friends there that kept me sane when things got crazy.  I will miss parts of that job, but so many more things are in my favor at University Photography.  

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Back to school, back to school...

So, I'm back at school!  I had been jealous of Adam starting a week earlier than me, but that has definitely worn off.  It's crazy how quickly we've had to get back into our busy schedule of school, work, church, and family.  Unfortunately for me, that was the my last real summer for the next few years.  After I graduate in May, I'll be spending the next two or three summers cramming in graduate classes.  But...before I do that, I'll have to get through these next two semesters!

Even though we've been busy with school, we've luckily had time with friends and family.  On Monday, we celebrated my mum's birthday in Topeka with a trip to the neighborhood Tortilla Jack's.  Good times were had by all (except maybe the employees - I don't think they were used to loud groups of 13!).

The next day, I ditched Adam for a girls' night with my old roommates.  Lacelle Rochelle is heading off for Espana, so we got the gang together for some good food and the Olympics.  Here's the picture Tyler so kindly took for us (I wonder how many pictures we've taken like this!?):

Well, it's official - Adam is a loved uncle.  Bubba has always been a big fan of Adam, even when we were just dating, but Lili's taken a little bit longer to warm up (when we asked her to come to our wedding she politely said "No, thank you.").  That has all changed!  She will hold his hand on walks, tickle him, ask him to tickle her, and call him Uncle Adam!  Here's a photo of the three of them in action:

I've become quite domestic lately...I am making my own bread!  It started by making potato bread with Lili and Bubba (picture below wearing my assorted aprons), but I've decided to stop buying store bread and bake my own each Saturday.  This week?  Good, healthy wheat bread.  I'll let you know how it turns out!  This could be an adventure that doesn't last too long...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What is wrong with the world today?

A little shout out to Nicole for kindly reminded Karen who then bugged me to write in "The Blog" soon because everyone is tired of looking at the vacation pictures.  So here goes.

School started for me on the 14th.  So not cool that JCCC starts a full week ahead of KU.  I didn't realize how much I really enjoyed this summer and its freedom until my first day back in school.  We went over the syllabus and all of the huge projects that will constitute the majority of my semester grade.  After my first day of school Karen and I went to Nicole and Kevin's house in KC and had an amazing dinner and a rousing game of Pictionary.  Karen and I rocked the first round with accusations of off-season practices held with the dry-erase board.  The second "speed round" was lost in a nail-biting battle to the end to Brooke and Tyler.

Our recent media doses have been continued episodes of Lost thanks to, the Beijing Olympics, and a sensationally funny group we found on YouTube called "Flight of the Conchords"  Check out one of our favorite videos from them.  Get ready for some of the deepest evaluations of the world's issues packed into 6 minutes and 45 seconds.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

Well, we are back from our lovely vacation - but still need to post pictures from our cruise to the Bahamas!  Even though we were only there for 8 hours...we took just as many pictures there as we did our whole week in Florida! And here they are...

After taking way too long waiting in line to get on our ship, we had to go to a ship orientation and then a safety drill.  It took way too long and we missed our afternoon nap.  At least we got to wear these fashionable life jackets!

We had assigned seating for our formal dinners, and boy, did we luck out at our table!  All six of us were 23, college students, and trying to spend as little money as possible on our vacations!  All the meals were included in our cruise and we definitely took advantage of that!  We would each order about two entrees, three appetizers, and every single dessert! We definitely put our waiter to work!  We ended up spending each evening as a group and met up on the Bahamas to visit Paradise Island.  There's even talk of a reunion cruise!

Just off the ship and ready for a day of fun!

We rented a scooter for the day and traveled all over the island.  Adam was excited to be back and I was happy to be driving on the correct side of the road again (the Bahamas has lots of things from England that I beaches, ocean, and beautiful weather!).

For some reason, this picture seems all muted.  The colors were insanely vibrant...and the water perfect!  We stopped at Jaws Beach to take lots of photographs and decided to jump in for a quick swim!  Look for some new beach pictures on Adam's website soon...

We spent some time at Clifton Pier, which had a memorial for all the slaves traded here.  There are old slave quarters, a memorial sculpted out of dead trees, and the actual staircase used to transport slaves from the ships to the islands.  It made it much more real and a very important part of our trip to the Bahamas.  It's definitely a must see for anyone traveling there.

Because we were outside ALL day driving around....we got a little sun!  For once, Adam actually got burnt worse than I did!  Here's some proof (check out the lines from the camera strap!):

After spending 13 hours in three airports and two flights...we were so ready to go home!  We had a little surprise when we got back...our key wouldn't work!  Turns out KU changed our locks...while we were out of at 10 PM, I had to run over to Jayhawk Towers to get our real keys.  Luckily, we were able to laugh about it...but seriously?  Of all the days to change our locks...the day we get is crazy sometimes!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

We're not in Kansas anymore...

Well, we're finally here in Florida.  After months of preparation and anticipation we finally made it back to where I served my mission in South Florida.  We are at the half-way mark now and wanted to post a few pictures to catch everyone up on our travels.

Here we are in the Twin Cities airport trying to get internet access so we could watch episodes of Lost while we were waiting 3 hours for our flight.  This picture depicts the frustration and anguish we felt for having to pay $10 for 24 hour access or $5 for 1 hour access to the airport's WiFi network.  We were too cheap to succumb to such outrageous rates and instead Karen read a book and I worked on some family pictures I took on Monday evening.

As part of our vacation package that we already paid for, we were given an economy sized rental car with unlimited mileage.  Little did they know that I knew the area like the back of my hand and that I would take advantage of the unlimited miles.  When we got to Alamo to pick up our rental car, the guy was very impressed by Karen's binder with all of our vacation information neatly organized and gave us a free upgrade to a mid-sized rental car.  We had pretty free reign on our choice of cars and the guy said that I should let the wife choose the car.  Leave it to Karen to choose (with some subliminal encouragement from me) the only Toyota Prius that was parked away in the corner.  We found the keys on the dashboard but were very puzzled for the next 5 minutes as we tried to find where the key was, where to put it in, how to turn the car on, and make it go.  We discovered that the key fob WAS the key that we inserted into a small slot, the big button that closely resembled a computer power button was how we turned it on, and the small joystick looking thing was the shifter that eventually put us in drive and sent us on our way.  We didn't feel too bad about our brief troubleshooting because several valets looked just as puzzled and took almost as long as we did to get things going.  Considering we are driving more of a computer than a car (just to prove my point, whenever you have any problems with it, just shutdown and restart.  All we're missing is the nice startup noise we get on our Macs.), we get excellent gas mileage.  55 mpg average on our last fill up.  And we've only made one on our 740 mile journey thus far. :^)  This picture is Karen looking confused with the key fob/Key thingy in front of the computer car.

In order to get such a good "deal" on our vacation package, we were roped into sitting through one of those presentations where they try their best to overcome all of your objections and get you to sign the dotted line on one of those exclusive time shares.  When we went to our presentation we were paired up with our own personal guide that was going to sit down with us for breakfast and then sell us a condo.  Seemed pretty straight forward.  As we were being seated for breakfast, the interrogation began.  It started off with an innocent, "So, where do you work?" and evolved to, "What do you mean when you say you're BOTH full-time students and you work part-time?", and finally escalated to, "Let's talk numbers here, how much do the two of you make every year?"  Our fully trained and licensed personal real estate agent/guide was reduced to a "Let me talk to my manager real quick to see if we can get you guys out of the presentation.  I mean, let's face it, you two could be my grandkids and you don't have the money for this anyways," within 5 minutes.  Once we got that awkward bit out of the way, we had a delightful breakfast with Janet.  She began asking about why we were in Florida which led to the discussion of my missionary work in Florida.  We had a very open discussion about religion and family  (Janet is a strong Catholic) and learned a lot from each other.  After saving about 2 hours of our morning, we decided to take a drive along the beach and stopped here at a public beach in West Palm Beach for a nice stroll along the sand.

Later that day we found some time to actually go swimming in the ocean.  This was taken at a beach in Hollywood (Florida).  Gosh, ocean water does NOT taste good.

This picture was taken in Tap Tap, a Haitian restaurant on South Beach.  Those of you who follow Wyclef Jean would recognize its name being incorporated in his songs.  I have wanted to go here for so long but never was able to go until this trip.  It was pouring down rain outside but we were undeterred.  We had some excellent Haitian cuisine and live music.  Karen ordered Griyot, which is a deep fried pork dish with Banann Peze (fried plantains) and Diri Kole (mixed rice and beans).  I ordered the Kabrit nan Sos (Goat Stew) which also came with Banann Peze and Diri Blan ak sos pwa nwa (white rice with black bean sauce).  The best thing was the Ji Papay (Papaya Juice).  You can see it on the table in front of me.  The way Haitians make it is with Carnation Milk, which may sound gross but it really makes it the best thing in the world.  We ordered two.

After a full day of visiting old friends from my mission, we headed up to Orlando.  Before leaving southern Florida we made a quick trip down to Ti Ayiti (Little Haiti) in Miami.  While on my mission I sent pictures taken here to Karen and we decided to recreate some of them here.  Karen looks way cuter next to the road sign than I ever did and she's even giving Churchill some lovin' too.  Who would ever thought a double decker bus could be found in Miami, Little Haiti no less.

After driving 3.5 hours from Miami to Orlando, we went to the Temple and had a great time there.  Pretty, huh?

Many of you may remember our trip to Chicago and my excitement in front of the Apple Store.  This doesn't even hold a candle to the excitement that Karen had for finding an IKEA in Orlando.  It was a pretty cool place that has space efficient stuff (Karen interjects: "And looks cute too!") for affordable prices.  Kansas better get one by the time we move into a real house!  Check out their stuff here.

Tomorrow we are going on our cruise to Nassau, Bahamas and will wrap up our trip on Wednesday.  We will post the other half of the pictures next week.  All I gotta say is, we love vacations!