Price Increases

I got notice tonight that SmugMug, a company I do business with, is raising their prices from $150 a year to $300 a year.  Some of my colleagues are saying the price is justified and they will continue using the service.  You can read my comments on my photo blog at

Personally, I think they would have been better off to raise it a little at a time.  Its kind of like the frog in the frying pan analogy.

The heat wave is back.  It is another hot day here in Palmyra.    It has been great for some crops, and not so great for others.

I listened to Clint Eastwood’s comments at the RNC.  I thought his comment, “I thought it was because someone had the stupid idea of trying terrorist in downtown New York City…”, was classic.  One of the liberal media commented that Clint’s comments were “empty”.  It wasn’t an eloquent speech, but it wasn’t empty either.

Going back to price increases, I think we’re going to see a lot of them.  I think food and energy prices are going to continue to rise.

Speaking of which, one of the companies started with bailout money, Solyndra, went out of business last year and their building sits empty in California.  $535 million of tax-payer money down the drain.  That’s just one example of how government spending fails us.  I bet if you were to compare Bain Capital’s track record with that of the U.S. Government in the private sector, you’ll find more success from Bain than Congress.

It’s time to clean house.

Still Playing Catch-Up

Is our current president a modern-day Amalickiah? Is Mitt Romney a modern-day Captain Moroni? I’ll leave that up to you to decide — prayerfully decide. I think the 2012 election is going to be a crucial turning point in our American society.

I’m still playing catch-up after taking time off for my trip to Utah and California.  After a networking meeting, I took my car in for its annual inspection and an oil change.  I then got the house ready for our guests who are due to arrive tonight.  I ran some errands and so on.

When the day was done, I happened to catch Mitt Romney’s closing remarks at the RNC.  I am impressed with his maturity and dignity.  Ironically, after watching that, I stumbled upon President Obama’s YouTube channel.  What a vast contrast, and what really scares me is, most of the information in his commercials are deceptive and in some cases, out-right lies.  I find this embarrassing that our Commander-in-Chief would stoop so low.  But then, all three branches of our government have been embarrassments as of late.

The Book of Mormon talks about secret combinations.  Starting in the 45th chapter of Alma, it talks about conditions that would lead to the destruction of the government.  Helaman chapter 8 talks about corrupt judges and politicians.  There is a reason these accounts are in the Book of Mormon.  (With all the upset about President Obama’s birth certificate, lack of evidence that he attended Columbia, how his education was financed, etc., I’m really surprised Congress hasn’t stepped in.  To me, that’s more evidence of secret combinations.)

Is our current president a modern-day Amalickiah?

Is Mitt Romney a modern-day Captain Moroni?

I’ll leave that up to you to decide — prayerfully decide.  I think the 2012 election is going to be a crucial turning point in our American society.

There is one thing we need to remember through all of this.  It comes from Alma 30:60:

And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell.

Now, contrast this statement with what various politicians say on issues of morality.  In the end… the very end… the right will prevail.

Yellow Squash

I also put up 7 pints of salsa. Three types of chilies, two types of peppers, two types of onions, and whatever tomatoes were ripe. It was pretty good.

I’ve been overcome by zucchini before, but now it is yellow summer squash.  My kitchen table is full of the stuff.  We’ve made relish, pickles, we’ve froze it in chunks and shreds, but now what?

After a trip to the grocery store to get more sugar, some limes, onions and hot chilis, I made BBQ sauce from tomatoes I picked in the garden.  I cooked them all night in the crock pot, blended them, ran it through a sleeve and then cooked it down and added spices and sweeteners.  It tasted pretty good.  A little more tomato-ee than store-bought.

I also put up 7 pints of salsa.  Three types of chilies, two types of peppers, two types of onions, and whatever tomatoes were ripe.  It was pretty good.  I snacked on it all afternoon while working in the kitchen.  (If you are going to make salsa, you need a bag of tortilla chips for testing it.)

I got all that done, and then mowed the lawn.

It has been a long day.

The Red-Eye Flight

My flight left Oakland around 9:30pm.  It was a full plane, but at least it was on time.

We got to JFK around 5:30 am.  I pulled out my lap top and copied some files from my CF and SD cards to it while I was waiting.

I noticed some elders walking towards the gate.  It turns out there were 4 elders and a sister on their way to the Washington, D.C., North Mission.  They had flown from SLC having just finished up at the MTC.  We talked for a while and then it was time for me to board the plane.

I got in to ROC around 9:30 am and headed straight home.  I tried to get some sleep before heading to the temple.  I managed to get a couple of naps in, but I still feel unrested.

Mt. Diablo with John

After spending the morning on the phone with insurance companies, credit card companies and the rental car company, it was time for me to leave and meet up with John Kidd.  Elizabethe is staying another week, and about the time I was taking off, she was heading out with Tobreth to get one of the girls from school.

I wish I could spend more time with the girls.  They are sure sweet and fun to be around.

John and I went to Mt. Diablo and took a few pictures.  I told him all the things I have planned when he comes to visit us in New York.  I warned him that he better plan on spending 10 or more days and that I will keep him busy.

On the way home we stopped at Nations.  They don’t have all the different shake flavors any more.  Only chocolate, vanilla, coffee and strawberry shakes are sold now.  I was kind of hoping for a pineapple.  But, their burgers are still quite good.

The rental car check in went better than expected.  They agreed that you can’t tell that the car was hit.  But, better safe to report it, than sorry you didn’t.

Homecoming in Pittsburg Ward

We attended Pittsburg Ward today.  It was so nice to see so many old friends.  On young man who has lived there since I was Young Men’s President the first time in that ward was glad to inform me that he had gone to the temple and was now 2nd counselor in the Elder’s Quorum.  For the most part, very few people have moved away in the last 3 years.  The kids all looked bigger, but everyone else looked pretty much the same.

After church we headed to Jason and Tobreth’s place in San Jose.  The girls were happy to see us and, like most little kids, had more to show us than time allowed.

Saturday at Ge’s and JJ’s

We spent the night last night at JJ’s and Agenor’s place in Vacaville.  This morning, JJ was busy getting ready for Agenor’s birthday party.

Elizabethe sewed Ms on t-shirts and taped Ms to balloons and other decorations.  Aside from helping them, we took it pretty easy.

Came party time, the wind was ferocious.  It was that typical Bay Area August wind.  You have a couple of hot days and then the wind picks up to 30+ mph and the temperatures drop to the 60s and you feel like you’re freezing to death.  It was another reminder of why I don’t like California.

I feel bad for JJ having gone to all that work and then to have the guests dessert because it was so cold.

Retirement Dinner

Former Co-Workers: Len, Charlie, me, Terry, Robert, Kathleen, Ann and Karen

Today was the big day of my AT&T retirement dinner. It was attended by 7 of my former co-workers (see above photo), as well as John and Stephanie Kidd, my in-laws and Elizabethe and me.  Back Forty BBQ in Pleasant Hill put on quite the spread.

We had quite a bit of left-overs which were quite welcomed when we arrived at Elizabethe’s sister’s house.  JJ had been busy all day and hadn’t had time to feed her family, so it worked out quite well for everyone.

AT&T and Aunt Vicki

Elizabethe and I went and saw a lot of people at AT&T whom I hadn’t seen for quite a while.  Karen, Kathleen and Sam had lunch with us, and then we headed down to San Jose (Campbell area) to see Aunt Vicki.

The last time we saw Aunt Vicki was when Elizabethe and I had been married one year.  So, that was 14 years ago.  She’s now nearly 87 years old and is as sharp as ever.

Aunt Vicki and Me

Aunt Vicki was the youngest of the two girls my Grandma Knowles had from her first marriage.  Her sister, Lorna, died in the mid-1980s.  My grandpa had a daughter, Gwen, from his first marriage, and she died around 1955, before I was born.  Grandma and Grandpa had 3 children together:  Shirley (living in Pullman, Washington), Joyce (my mom, died 9 years ago) and Allen (living in Boise, Idaho).

Vicki and I talked about how wonderful it was that my Grandpa Knowles was born in 1879, and the legacy he provided for us.  Because grandpa was 21 years older than grandma, it made for a unique family dynamic, but he was a wonderful man who linked us to a the era before cars and modernization.

On the way back to Pleasanton, we were at a dead stop on I-680 when someone rear-ended me.  He wouldn’t let me see his driver’s license, and he showed me a proof of insurance.  I didn’t let me see it long, but I got as much information as I could from it.  I took a picture of his truck before he took off.  When the C.H.P. arrived, the questions they asked made me believe the guy has a history of D.U.I.  Nobody was hurt, and the damage to the rental car is unnoticeable.  But, I took photos, and made all the reports to be on the safe side.

California Bound

We flew out of SLC to Long Beach where we had a 5 hour layover.  I would strongly recommend avoiding layovers in Long Beach.  In fact, I was not impressed with the airport at all.

We made it to Oakland on time, picked up our rental car, and drove to our friends’ home in Pleasanton.

It’s been a long day.