Saturday, August 25, 2012

New pix

Monday, August 20, 2012

Brave girl at the dentist!

Slight height differential

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Treat from mom


Just got back from another interesting job hunt, this time in Miami. It's still somewhat of a long shot-it likely won't pay enough to pay for a place in a part of town that would be safe with good schools (finding both is expensive in Miami). But still, it was an interesting trip.

When it started out, I drove straight from the airport to the interview. Jan wondered how Miami was so far and I texted her that "it's like Mexico if it was run by strippers." It looked like this:

Tons of vandalism, some really rough spots, and absolutely every sign everywhere was in Spanish or another foreign language I couldn't read. I drove straight to the interview, going through the Miracle Mile, which is a famous shopping area and has been seen on several TV shows. Things improved quite a bit there.

The interviews went very well; I'm nearly certain I will have an offer. I just don't think it will be enough to pay for some safety and a good area that's not a very long commute. HR told me the average commute for people there is 45 minute to an hour. One woman I talked to commuted from 90 minutes away. Since my current commute is only 10 minutes, it would be very difficult to extend it much more than, say, 20.

I wound up staying in Coconut Grove, which is an artsy area that was really cool, and was safe. I went to a mall called the Coco Walk and looked around.

Oh, and it was here that I found that all the shows that are set in Miami actually have no soundtrack at all. Miami just sounds that way naturally.

These pictures are all rainy since a rain storm came up around 4 pm and stayed through the evening. I was told that is an extremely common late summer occurrence there in the tropics. Fortunately, no hurricanes on the horizon.

I continued to walk around the Coconut Grove area. It was nice-it was like Seattle had been transported to Florida. Lots of cool shops and restaurants. Unfortunately, most of the restaurants were bars, but still they looked cool.

Anyway, I was going to eat at a normal chain restaurant but decided to go with a local hole in the wall 'street pizza' place. It was run by Cubans who were really nice. The woman there kept calling me 'love,' like, 'Here you are, love,' and didn't even roll her eyes when I ordered a 'small pretzel' and was told it was a Cuban garlic roll.

I wandered out to the pier and took some pictures but they didn't turn out very bright since it was, by then, sundown. But here is the view from my hotel the next morning.

 I drove over to Key Biscayne, which had been recommended to me as one of the best places to live relative to where the job was. It's this little island 5 minutes off the coast of downtown Miami, connected by a long bridge (you can see it in the far horizon of the picture above. That water is Biscayne bay). It was a beautiful island but it was far outside of my price range, unless this job wants to surprise me with something about $30K higher than I estimate.

On the key, I went to a cafe that I was told had great breakfast. I walked in and found I was the only gringo there among about 20 cuban/latin american people. The food was all odd looking baked things in a big glass case. I didn't recognize anything at all, and I looked up at the menu and saw it was all in Spanish. Latin music was blaring and everyone was looking at me. I checked my phone, pretended like I just got some important news, and backed out of the store. Jan says she wishes she could have seen video footage of that.

I drove back to the downtown area and snapped many shots from my car. Most of them look stupid so I won't post them here, but this was a common sight:


I drove through downtown-it was incredible and really gorgeous, until you actually got into the streets and found they were really rough. I drove across the bay and drove through the eclectic Miami Beach area. On the way I passed by enormous cruise ships, shown completely without doing them justice here:
I also passed by some insanely extravagant islands where I'm told most of the local celebrities live.

Miami Beach was buzzing with activity-there were people and restaurants and cafe's and hotels and rollerskaters everywhere. And Cuban music was going every 15 feet.

Those pictures don't do it justice whatsoever either. It was like another country. Had a completely different feel. I also recognized some local sites from TV shows set in Miami.

Familiar, yes? The beach itself was white sand and crystal clear water. I felt pretty bad that I was on a tight deadline and couldn't hop in and swim around!


Before leaving, I had one final stop to make. No Miami trip would be complete without stopping by here.

Anyone who is cool will instantly recognize that picture as the single coolest travel picture ever. If you're not cool, you might recognize that picture a little better as the home of this guy:

Yep, it's Michael Weston's house from Burn Notice. I didn't get out and take more pictures because it was in an extremely dangerous area of town called "Little Havana." But with that picture taken, the trip was complete.

The trip was pretty interesting. It was lined up as a back-up plan should my 'main' job possibility fall through. Now that that job has fallen through, Miami is an actual option again. But still, the stars would have to align quite perfectly to even consider going there. I would also flat-out have to lean Spanish if I moved there. No question.

So it's a stretch but it was a fun trip. My life has been pretty interesting so far-I find myself in situations I would have never dreamed. If anything, I've been very blessed to have so many adventures.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Love is all around


"America cannot continue to lead the family of nations around the world if we suffer the collapse of the family here at home."

Thursday, August 16, 2012


"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

-CS Lewis

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


"Are we interested in treating the symptoms of poverty and economic stagnation through income redistribution and class warfare, or do we want to go at the root causes of poverty and economic stagnation by promoting pro-growth policies that promote prosperity?"

-Paul Ryan 



It sounds like my post from yesterday bummed everyone out, and everyone thinks I'm suicidally depressed and such today. I'm definitely not. Certainly frustrated and disappointed still, especially given how many stupid hoops I had to jump through, but not devastated. There have still been some very significant blessings at work in my life, even my work life, which is the last thing I expected. And there is very much to be grateful for. Just sometimes it's nice to blow off steam.

How can I reconcile posting such positive quotes and such when things don't always work out for me? While I can say that these things are much easier on paper than in real life, getting to a point where I can actually have that be my natural perspective is certainly a goal I try to achieve. Maybe some day I'll get there.

And certainly in times like this I very much like to go back to one of my all-time favorite President Hinckley quotes (don't worry, I won't try to draw him again).

“Things work out, it isn't as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out, don't worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in him, if we will pray to him, if we will live worthy of his blessings, he will hear our prayers.”

Waking up


"You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: never try."

Didn't get my job that I interviewed for in Pittsburgh. And Ft. Worth. And Phoenix. And had a ton of phone interviews for. And used like 3 vacation days for. But you know? I'm really OK with it.

Ha, just kidding. I'm bitterly disappointed and angry and upset. But there are other sort of good things going on and I'll be able to keep my current gig for a while longer. 99.9% likely I will be staying put. We also had to turn down SC because we kept returning to the finances and didn't feel we could make it work given the realities of unplanned expenses and so forth.

So it is definitely good to not be having to pack up and move at the moment. That much is true! Especially with a new baby and such, this would be a difficult time.

On to the next! Not really, I'm not going to apply for another thing again for the next 30 years, or whenever the Sun explodes, whichever comes second. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Cousin mini-reunion!

Big thanks again to the Fairchild fam for the hospitality on my trip!