Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Fall Break Report

This is two weeks late but we still need to keep our dedicated readers updated.

Two weeks ago involved a lot of traveling.  I started out the week flying to Tampa, Florida to train a new freelance photographer for my job at University Photography.  I felt rather grown up on my first business trip.  I stayed in a hotel, rented a car, and had everything expensed to University Photography.  It was great.  The only drawback was that I was in Tampa for a total of 24 hours.  That's it.  Oh well.  I still got to eat some great Haitian food while I was there!

Our next destination was Salt Lake City, Utah.  I was the wedding photographer for a couple in our ward that wanted to be married in the Salt Lake City temple.  This gave us a great excuse to catch up with old mission friends and family members in Utah.  So, after staying up late doing laundry and packing for the trip, Karen and I were scheduled to leave KCI at 6:45am.  With 3 hours of sleep we left Lawrence at 4:45, thinking we would have plenty of time to park our car, take the shuttle, check our bags, and board the plane with relatively little stress.  Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.  For starters, the shuttle to the terminal was late.  When we walked into the terminal we were surprised to see it packed with hundreds of people bustling about and standing in lines that snaked around whatever open space could be filled in the terminal.  It was the busiest either of us have ever seen KCI!  And it was 6:15am on a Thursday morning!  Fall break apparently was a big deal to a lot of other people that day too.  So we waited in line and before checking our bags we noticed that our flight had begun boarding.  We hurried up to the counter and scanned our tickets and a loud sound came from the scanner indicating that we were late arrivals.  The lady at the counter put tags on our bags and explained that she could not guarantee our bags would arrive on the same flight to Salt Lake.  We dropped our checked luggage off to be x-rayed and crossed our fingers, hoping that they would arrive in SLC when we did, and ran to our terminal for the security check in.  We started going through and heard our names being called over the intercom at the gate saying that our flight was in its final boarding call.  We stripped down all of our metal items, emptied all pockets, and I divided up my camera equipment/electronics I was taking as carry-on.  I got through first and Karen was pulled aside for a more thorough inspection because she set off the detector.  I ran, barefoot, to our gate and told them that we were almost there, but that Karen was being held up at security.  I ran back, got dressed again, and fortunately Karen got through the security after a very observant worker spotted her huge metal earrings as the cause for the delay.  We ran down to the plane and took our seats as we were being pushed back from the gate.  We were the last ones ones on the plane.  

We had a lay over in Denver for an hour and a half.  Denver, by the way, is a great airport to be laid over in if you have a laptop.  They are very technologically conscience.  They had these great chairs with power outlets and USB ports to charge/power your many electronic devices that just about everyone has these days.  The cherry on top was the free wifi access.  I think every airport in the world should have free wifi.  With the price we're paying for plane tickets these days, the least you can do is provide stranded travelers with some free internet surfing.  Stepping off the soapbox.  We also thought ahead and brought a movie with us to watch in the airport/on the plane.  I have a paper to write in my sociology class where I have to compare/contrast a pair of movies from a list of selections by my professor.  I chose the James Bond movies and will compare Dr. No, the first of the 007 series, to Casino Royale, the most recent.  We found Casino Royale much easier to come by and brought it along with us.  It was a great "escape" movie for traveling.  Good suspense and a relatively well thought out plot.  Of course we had to start boarding the plane when it got to a good part in the movie.  We watched most of the rest of the movie before we landed in Salt Lake.

When we arrived in Salt Lake, we decided to just go to the baggage claim office and find out what we had to do to get our bags that were most certainly not on the same flight we were.  We were told that we would need to come back to the airport 3 hours later to pick up our bags.  A little bummed, we took a quick bathroom break and were about to find the car rentals when I decided to just go look at our baggage claim for our flight, just to see if we got lucky.  As I was walking up, I spotted Karen's bag and mine was a few bags later.  We felt like we had won the lottery!  There were maybe 15 minutes between when we dropped our luggage off and when our plane pushed off from the gate.  Those late tags saved us a major inconvenience.  Southwest Airlines gets a major thumbs up for that one.  They have a lot more leg room than most airlines and they didn't lose our luggage or even make us wait for the next flight to bring it.  Kudos to Southwest!

The rest of the trip went by very fast.  We started out heading down to Provo.  We took Karen's ring in for repair as one of her small diamonds fell out.  Fortunately it was under warranty and all we had to pay for was the shipping back to Kansas.

Next, we met Kiersten Halladay at Cafe Rio.  Keirsten was Karen's last companion on her mission in London.  Cafe Rio is one of the best places to eat when you go to Utah.  It's like Chipotle but better.

After lunch and a nap in the car, we went to see Karen's sister Susan.  We bought the food and she prepared everything and we had a great time.

We then went to visit my old mission president and his wife, Noel and Sydney Reynolds.

We stayed over night in Salt Lake at one of Karen's Aunt and Uncle's house and the next morning we woke up early to go to the temple for the sealing and then pictures for the rest of the day.  It was beautiful weather and Kevin and Amy were a very fun couple to photograph.  Karen was also a great help too.

After a short luncheon, we went to visit one of my old mission buddies, Trent Guzy.

That evening we went to the reception which was held at a beautiful greenhouse.

After the reception we headed up to Centerville to stay the night at another Aunt and Uncle's house and to meet up with Abigail Cannon, another of Karen's mission companions.  We met in a Wal-Mart parking lot and then she came with us for a sister missionary slumber party.  

The next morning we met up with Kimberly Panchuk, another missionary companion, at IHOP and then headed back to the airport.

We had a great time seeing old friends from our missions and seeing family too.  I took some beautiful pictures and got some more experience with some new photography equipment I bought recently.  What a great fall break.

Monday, October 6, 2008

My weak.

Yes..I misspelled that on purpose.  Weak has been the story of my life since last Wednesday.  As Adam mentioned previously, I have been sick, which is altogether quite new to me.  Last Wednesday I started feeling horrible at work and had a temperature of 101.3 when I got home.  So, maybe that's not a big deal to most people, but my last fever was when I was 3.  I almost cried.  I felt like I was melting, I felt so hot and uncomfortable.  To top that off, I had a pulsing headache and my lower back had been hurting again.  Adam gave me a blessing and I tried to go to sleep.  I no longer felt hot, but I woke up every single hour.  Not a fun way to spend a night, I don't recommend it.  When Adam woke up, we discovered my temperature had passed 102, so I missed school, took Nyquil, and finally got some sleep.  I had a previously scheduled doctor's appointment, so it worked out perfectly....that is until my stomach decided to remove the small amount of food I had been able to eat that day 10 minutes before my appointment.  I didn't make it to the doctor's.  Thursday night was the same - no sleep, until I remembered Nyquil at 1 AM (remember, I'm a novice at this whole sick thing).  Friday I still had a temperature, but I was so bored of being home!  Adam's mom gave me Tylenol, my fever broke and I was a happy 98.3!

Then came Saturday morning....General Conference favorite Saturday.  I wake up with a fever!  And headache.  And back pain.  I waited to go to the doctor because my fever was only 99.5 and I didn't want them to laugh at me.  After a horrible morning, I "Asked A Nurse" who told me to go to the ER.  I cried.  And texted Adam (who I didn't want to know I was crying...then he gets really worried.).  He left work early to pick me up.  I told him I googled how much the emergency room was and told him I wasn't going for a measly fever.  We compromised on Watkins Health Center (I really just wanted to take a Tylenol and call it good).  We got there, they told us there was an after-hours fee and Adam forced me to do it anyway (he told me it isn't always healthy to be a cheapskate...literally).  Well, we're glad we went.  Initally, they just thought I got something from the little two-year olds I work with.  Nope!  Turns out I have a full blown kidney infection!  And all that lower back pain?  That's my kidney!  Who knew?  My doctor gave me some heavy duty antibiotics and some anti-nausea medicine.  I didn't understand why the anti-nausea pills were described until my doctor told me my antibiotics were $20/pill and she didn't want me to throw (up) my money away.  Smart doctor!

So now....I haven't been to school or work since Wednesday and won't be until maybe this Thursday.  I'm quite sick of being sick.  I did arrange to work from home this week (I feel so professional and un-student hourly!), so that gave me something to do this morning.  I still have a paper to write for tomorrow (my teacher hasn't told me if I can email it to her or not, so I might be making one trek on campus tomorrow after all).  I should find ways to stay busy tomorrow - the house is a mess after a week of no cooking or cleaning and we are running out of dishes!  Maybe I'll get a burst of energy and tackle the 350 sq. feet we call home.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


First, Dallas...
Then St. Louis...
Winter Quarters (Omaha)...
and now......Kansas City!  How exciting!  I can't wait to find out more about where exactly it will be built and when.  This will make it possible to go to the temple even more (especially with the cost of gas nowadays!).

Friday, October 3, 2008

Self Portrait

So, this may be a little strange for many of you out there.  I'm posting out of turn!  Karen has been really sick for the last two days and that's big news.  I don't think she's ever been this sick for this long.  She doesn't know how to be a good sick person.  The good thing is that she reads up all she can on what to do to make herself feel better.  

During her sickness, however, I have had a chance so experiment with some of my new photography equipment.  I have been reading a lot in a professional photographer's blog about off-camera flash techniques.  I've been itching for a chance to start using the stuff I've learned and I finally got enough money to invest in some amazing gear.  I bought, among many things, radio remote triggers for my flash so I can make my flash fire from up to 1600 feet.  Excessive?  Perhaps.  But I'm going for reliability and compatibility for the future.  The brand, Pocket Wizard, is the industry standard, and that's what I plan on using.  I love being able to learn by trial and error.  That's pretty much how I've learned everything in photography and it's addicting for me.  That's a benefit of doing something you love to do.  Anyways, check out some of my self portraits I've done between the hours of 10pm and midnight.

Self Portrait Strobist Style

Self Portrait 2

I have all of the behind the scenes information on the description of each picture if you are curious how each shot was made. I have also discovered Flickr, which is a really cool photo sharing community. I'm getting so many more ideas for pictures after seeing some of the stuff on there. Professionals and amateurs alike share some great techniques and ideas on there. Check it out.