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[Comments] (3) The Train in Spain Stays Mainly on the Track: Had to work in LA three days last week. Took the train and Metro twice (cuz then I was forced to leave work at a certain hour) and carpooled with a co-worker the third time. Taking the train made me realize that a lot of people are gone from home just as much as I am, but instead of working long hours, like I do, they commute their lives away.

I have to go back this week, and the project has to go out, no ifs, ands, or buts. Which means I have to drive, since the last train leaves Union Station at 6:30, meaning I have to leave the office by 5:45. Not an option. So thankfully Uncle Ernie has offered to let me get a hotel room at the Wilshire Grand. I hope I'll actually get to use it, as opposed to sleeping at the office this week.

Last night at Disneyland I ran into Patti, my coworker, who was with her crying five year old. She had just experienced the Tower of Terror and didn't appreciate the experience. And I saw a friend from high school, Liz Boggess, whom I haven't seen in eight years. I didn't recognize her; I recognized her father. And a month ago I ran into a sister missionary from my days in the Kong. So the morale of the story is: if you need to find a lost acquaintance, get annual passes to Disneyland and, chances are, they'll all turn up eventually.

Time is going by way too fast, but that means Thanksgiving is coming. Then Christmas. And I really don't have time to go shopping. Or vote this week. That's why I am planning a different sort of Christmas present this year for Susie.

Today in nursery I didn't have to hold Ethan the whole time. We all evolve on our own timetable I guess.

[Comments] (3) The Epitome of Customer Service: I booked online for myself a night at The Wilshire Grand while in LA. I never was very tech savvy, and apparently put through a reservation through December 8 instead of November 8. I always did hate those little drop down calendars. Anyway, imagine the surprised look on the concierge's face this morning when I announced I was checking out.

He quickly regained his composure, asked why I wasn't staying until December 8, to which I became surprised and told him I didn't think my wife would like that one bit, and that's why. Once we figured out where each other was coming from, I apologized for clicking the wrong button online. To which he apologized for their system not being user friendly enough, and even so, it was probably an internal problem and not my fault in the least.

Bull. I checked my online statement, and sure enough, it said I had booked an extended 31-night stay at The Whilshire Grand. But it sure was nice to have him straight faced take one for the team like that. So nice, in fact, that I think I'll spend three nights there in December and three weeks there in January (thanks to audit training).

FYI--He did tell me that if you ever stay for more than a month, the hotel will pay the tax.

[Comments] (5) Overtime: Last night was a Stake Primary Leadership meeting. Susie and I chose to attend because we are already in a Nursery rut and thought we would pick up some new ideas. We were wrong.

I don't mind so much the first hour of the meeting, even though the Stake Primary Presidency was reading verbatim some script they had written, and between the activities, songs, and "primary woman voice" thing (you know of what I speak) going on, I felt like I was a CTR B again. That I can handle.

What I canNOT handle was the split-off meeting, taught by some member of the Stake Presidency. He went overtime by 20 minutes. And after the closing prayer, he decided to share two more scriptures. That I mind. Who is he to decide that what he has to say is more important than my schedule? I love speaking last in church, or any function, because I get the exciting opportunity to tailor my speech to the remaining time constraint, which, admittedly, I find fun. So naturally, I wouldn't understand how the other half lives. That half that thinks it's ok to throw time, structure, and people out of wack simply because he prepared too much and wants to somehow fit it all in. What he had to say was not so important; I've heard it all growing up my entire life. It must come down to pride (ie, he is so cool that what he has to say is obviously way more important than my own personal obligations). One of these days I'm gonna get the nerve to start walking out when time is up.

The highlight of the night was the donuts, because, well, our stake is rich and they were good kinds (spared no expense). I felt fully justified in taking two. Bottom line: no new ideas, so I guess we'll stick to the old routine of playtime, snack, and playtime.

[Comments] (11) The State of our world: A lot of people I've talked to lately, including a lot of Mormons, have told me that they only want 2 kids. Some already have one and say their reason is that they can barely handle one, but they want one more, hoping it'll be of the other gender.

The others cite cost, difficulty of raising kids, stress, self-fulillment, etc. And a lot of these people share my religious beliefs. I wonder what has happened. When I grew up, everybody had at least four children; many had more. Are kids more expensive? Are parents more selfish? Are kids tougher to raise? Are we not as tough as our parents were? Were they just naive?

I can't figure it all out. I enjoyed having lots of siblings around (and still do--more options to talk to, etc). But I can see the benefits of fewer children, and it's not just financial. I would have felt more special, had more opportunities, had more attention (which I think all kids could use more of, though that's not a given for parents who have less kids).

Or maybe it's just cuz I'm in California now.

In other news, it is my goal to leave work by 6 every day this week, and have succeeded thus far. It's a nice change of pace.

[Comments] (5) Damn I'm Good: I got my latest CPA score back today (in 13 days time, thanks to being strictly multiple choice). 89. I seriously didn't think I passed, and had visions of "73" dancing in my head. Even though it's my lowest score so far and drags down my entire average, so be it. It's over. I am 75% done and on my way to becoming certified and expense-reimbursed. I failed to fail.

Work was nice this week; I even left at 4:30 today. Tonight we have a ward Thanksgiving dinner (we're going for the food), tomorrow we are going to see the reindeer at the "Merriest Place on Earth," and Sunday we celebrate Tyler's 4th & Justin's 11th birthdays. Unfortunately for Justin, we had to order his gift online and it won't be delivered until next Tuesday. Then Monday night we hope to go see GOF.

In completely unrelated news, Susie says that Garfield and Leonard share multiple similar characteristics. I'm not so sure I agree.

[Comments] (1) Mele Kalikimaka: I'm feeling like Christmas will be quite different this year, considering Thanksgiving is next week and it is 80 degrees outside. We went to Disneyland yesterday to see the reindeer and they were panting. I'm not sure they can handle this weather. But they were cool to see. We made it a Christmas day yesterday and also saw the Christmas Parade, and went on the It's a Small World Christmas and Holiday Haunted Mantion rides. The latter is changed at Christmas to reflect Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Pretty neat. Oh, and we also went to Mickey's house in ToonTown and got to take a personal foto with the mouse!

Then that night we put out our Christmas decorations. I know we are a bit premature this year, but it couldn't be helped, since tomorrow we are going to see HP 4, the next day we will be leaving for SF, and the week after Thanksgiving I am in LA. So Santa, consider our halls decked to the max!

As far as a wishlist, here goes (I'm terrible at these things):

1. Any Disney classic DVD, as we are trying to start a collection (ask Susie for details on the few we actually do own).

2. The Rankin-Bass Christmas DVD Collection (totally awesome; I know le Target has it for a mere $30. It includes the Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph shows we all know and love).

3. I know it's a lame cop-out, but a Target gift card would be nice, as we have decided to buy a digital camera for our upcoming Alaska extravaganza.

4. Anything with caramal, marzipan, or eggnog in it!

5. Wise and Otherwise, the board game.

That's about it. Hope everyone enjoys Thanksgiving (I know I will)!

Even Steven: Went to HP 4 last night. Pretty good. Disagreed with a few thing the directors did, but I do that in most movies. Overall, they had a lot to fit in, and they did a decent job at it. That said, there is something I really wish could be changed but cannot....I want the old Dumbledore back.

After the movie I found a $5 bill on the ground. I was not a bit ashamed to retrieve it off the cold ground and put it in my warm pocketes.

We made it safe to b-town. It's cold here; I miss my place already. Happy Turkey Day!

I left my cold in San Francisco: I am so happy to be back in the land of sunshine. Man, I'm such a wuss.

But NorCal was alright. Rachel, Susie and I hit Chinatown and FilipinoLand on our own, and Rachel liked the chinese bread! She can be my future travel buddy. The zoo was very nice, and it was neat to see the penguins and felines get fed. And Fisherman's Wharf is always an experience I enjoy. Who wouldn't enjoy yummy fish n chips and free Ghiradelli's chocolate? I like seeing all the people having fun during the holidays. I could have done without the penny cade, though.

Took the train to LA this morning. Here until Wednesday, then it's up to B-town for Grandma's funeral. I am very happy for Grandma; she has seemed very lonely and unfulfilled since Grandpa died. Now she is with him again. But, of course, it is always hard to lose someone special.

My favorite season is finally here-I love the holidays.


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