Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Day

Not a creature was stirring...except me. My body alarm clock woke up at 5:30 AM. So I got up and did the whole bathing thing, got dressed quietly, and headed downstairs.

I turned on the Christmas tree lights, put on Christmas music on the stereo, and then tackled the dishwasher. Next I washed all the dishes in the sink, dried them and put away those that I knew where they went. I then proceeded to clear the table so that I could set it. I now know where Princess got her filing system from...her Mother. Piles and Piles of paper, I carefully put on the computer desk. Then I scrubbed the table top and dried it (I tell you, raising parents is tough business).

The phone rang and interrupted my cleaning frenzy. It was Princesses niece Kara. We talked and laughed and then she asked to speak to "Grandma or Grandpa". I told her I was the only one awake - now about 8:30 AM and she said "Uncle Jim, go wake her up and give her the phone!" Now being the dutiful Unlce, I obliged and snuck back upstairs, snuck in her room, and announced "Old Woman, your granddaughter Kara would like to speak to you" to which she replied "Hush up old man!". We laughed and she took the phone.

I went back downstairs, and was joined by Linda who helped me start breakfast, then came Princess, and finally Bill. After breakfast, we proceeded to exchange gifts. I got some good cologne, Euphoria, and it smells great. Cleaned up the kitchen and then we all headed to Christy's house in Henderson for the meet up with the whole "fam damily".

Everyone enjoyed their time together, no fights, no yelling matches, good food, and Mom cried her eyes out when she opened her present and found a memory box with pictures of her and Dad, and all us kids, and all the grandkids decoupaged in a very beautiful arrangement. Then other presents were shared, all the sisters-in-law gave each other candles. It was great! We played Dominos with Christy, Shane (her hubby), and nephews Kyle and Tanner.

Next we skeedaddled to OLDER brother Rich's house to visit and to see my lovely niece Nicole (better known to the world as CPK "Cabbage Patch Kid"). Back to Vegas amongst the neon and Christmas lights to head off to dream land.

It was a wonderful Christmas with the families for the first time in 6 years.

Vegas Day Four and Five

Saturday was hectic. We got up did laundry, grocery shopping, and then went to our favorite sub type sandwich shop, Capriotti's. If you ever get to Vegas, you must, and I mean must, eat at Capriotti's. It is not "Subway or Quiznos", it is great sub sandwiches, from shredded turkey and roast beef, to cheese steak. MMMMM, they are delicious.

Saturday night, we were invited to Bert's house for dinner. Papa Murphy's take and bake was had by all. It was good to visit with them and to have time with my B.J., RL, Kelley, and our newest addition to the Price family name, Mallory Kate. Brownie, their dog was smitten with Princess and followed her all over the house.

Sunday (Christmas Eve) I was up at 5:30 AM, showered, shaved, and shined, to iron my shirt and steam out any wrinkles in my suit and Princesses dress. We attended our old Church Ward so that we could see everyone. It was great! As we sang the closing hymn, Silent Night, Cardon, our dear sweet friend, began to cry. She said it was too much, the music, the talks, and us sitting beside her at Church like old times. She made us cry too. We Love you Very Much Cardon!!

After Sacrament meeting there, we headed back to pick up Linda and go to Princesses old home Ward. We saw many familiar and smiling faces, some tears were shed, but it was great overall. The music from these two Wards was overwhelmingly superb. It still gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. Also, it being Christmas Eve, we went to Lindo Michoacan for Mexican food (again). Then home to wrap last minute presents. Got to bed late, so late, I even heard Santa's bells ringing on his sleigh.

Vegas Day Two & Three

The next several days of our vacation at "home" we spent running errands to tidy up the Christmas shopping.

On Thursday, I was at our Vegas factory at 6:30 AM for a conference call with our purchasing department. Three hours later, I was back at the in-law's helping Princess make some Holiday treats for the big Christmas dinner at my sister's house. We then headed back up to the factory for a retirement party of one of my former bosses. It was great. Princess got to see a lot of our old friends and we had a great time.

We went to the Sunset Galleria Mall to do some more shopping, got a call from our friends from Utah, and the wife, Carollee and the kids, Spenser, Addison, Mollee, and Emillee, were at the mall while Doug was at the NY NY Hotel. We hooked up with Carollee and the kids, did some shopping and then caravaned back to the NY NY to pick up Doug. Off to our second favorite Mexican restaurant, then up to the LV Temple to see the sights and lights of the Holiday, then back home to bed.

Friday I took Linda while Princess took Bill and off we went shopping in separate directions. When we re-grouped, we headed out to Del Taco to eat lunch (are you seeing the trend? Mexican food everywhere), then to the mall and Costco. Later, we headed up to Danny and Paulette's where we were joined by Dan & Teri Willey. Pizza, wings, cheesecake and lots and lots of laughter. It was great to see them, visit with them and to be able to continue our tradition of getting together at Christmas time.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Vegas Baby - Day Uno

Merry Christmas...late, and Happy New Year early! Ha! I know that I have not been keeping up with my blog - too much work and too little fun time. So a quick re-cap.

We left for Vegas a week ago today, at the crack of dawn 4:45 AM. We arrived in Vegas at 9:00 AM PST and were greeted by my brother Bert at our gate (he works at the airport) and it was pretty cool to have that happen since all the regulations changed back in 2001. Bill & Linda (Princesses parents), met us in baggage claim, where surprise! Our luggage was number 1, 2, & 3 off the plane. We gathered it up, and headed to the in-laws house.

We dropped off the luggage, headed off for some errands and got a bite to eat at...the suspense is killing...IN-N-Out Burger!!! We then went into Henderson to my younger sister's to pick up my parents car (no rental car charges). While there we got to see my two nephews who have been living in New York state with their father, then my younger brother's wife came over with 3 of her 4 kids, and we got to hold and make kissy face all over my new 2 month old niece, Mallory Kate. She is such a cutie patootie!!! We left there, did some more errands and hooked up with our wonderful friend of many years Cardon. We got Linda to meet us and we ate at Macayo's for dinner...our favorite Mexican Restaurant. Bill is a professional real bearded Santa and he was working at a live Show at the FASHION SHOW Mall on the Las Vegas Strip (It was quite a production).

We got back to the in-laws around 9:00 PM and crashed! It was a very productive day.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Aussie Trip Recap

Arriving in Sydney, going through the usual customs immigration etc. I grabbed a cab to the hotel and $50 AU dollars later arrived at the hotel. It was now about 8:30 PM Friday night. I was beat and had no desire to go out and about by myself. My other travelers had arrived earlier and had departed for sites. Sleep drove me to bed about 9:30, and I was finally able to check my e-mail just before bed.
Saturday morning we ate a very expensive (in my opinion) breakfast, then headed out to the ferry over to Manly beach. I got some great photos of the beach, ocean, and cliffs. We walked, and walked, and walked. My poor old fat body was dying at the end of the day. For dinner, we headed out to Watson’s bay and ate at Doyle’s Restaurant. A 106-year-old establishment and I ate fish for the first time in about 30 years. I ate Snapper as my fish and chips (fries). It was delightful, not fishy at all, and very delicious. I even ate it without drowning it in tartar sauce.
Sunday morning we ate breakfast at an open-air café right by the Sydney Opera house. Beautiful view and really good food. We decided to head to the airport early to travel to Melbourne. In the end, I went ahead alone cause my ticket was changeable and my other workmates tickets were not. Left a cold and rainy Sydney for a warm and dry Melbourne.
Sunday night we dined on the balcony of an Italian restaurant overlooking the Yarra River in Melbourne. Monday we headed out for a 2.5-hour drive to the next audit. I audited all day; we finished and drove about 2 hours to Ballarat. My company has a plant in Ballarat. We met up with some Aussies from the plant and had a wonderful meal lakeside in Ballarat.
Tuesday drove about 2.0 hours to do a follow-up audit, saw more of the Ocean and some very beautiful but dry countryside. The state of Victoria has had drought conditions for about the last 7 to 8 years. We were hosted Tuesday evening at a barbecue at the home of one of the Aussies. Steak, Sausage, Lamb chops, a delightful potato salad and equally delicious green salad with Avocados, Mangos, and what they call "Rocket" greens here.
Wednesday visited and toured the plant in Ballarat. Great site, lovely people, and a wonderful production facility. It is so good to know that even 14,000 miles from home, the processes and standards are uniform throughout.
We left the plant and I was delivered to the airport in Melbourne to depart from Hong Kong. Which is where I am recording this while in my hotel room. I’m gonna post this and the NZED recap, then check out of the hotel, take a train to the city and sight see before my 11:00 PM flight tonight.
CAN’T WAIT TO GET HOME! Look out Texas, here I come.

New Zealand Trip Recap

So the past 11 days have gone very quickly. No time to get homesick for Princess or the girls cause work was so demanding.
I havenÂ’t had much time to blog, with the travel and spotty Internet connections. So I have resorted to using Word to record my travels and then be able to post them to the blog. I have posted once whiletravelingg, and I hope you will let me re-cap in this post.
Arriving in New Zealand (henceforth Nzed) as they call their country. Very green country from the plane. Anyhow, I digress, I went through customs and Immigration without a problem, took my two suitcases and comp bag, jumped on a bus and went to the domestic terminal, where my two bags were over weight by 1 kilo and I had to pay $20 NZ dollars to check them. I went through security, and waited to board my plane to Christchurch, on the southern island.
In Christchuch, I met up with my NZED contact and my Aussie counterpart. We then flew to Invercargill where it was coldÂ…about 6 degrees C. We got right down to auditing and finished the day at 5:00 PM. We checked into our hotel (the old post office turned into long term apartments). It is a beautiful old building with lots of charm and character. Tuesday back to auditing, finished, then fly to Christchurch again and drive to our destination. We did the meet and greet, set the audit schedule, and drove to our little town about 20K from the plant. We had a great meal and great views of the ocean from our hotel room.
All day Wednesday we audited our facility, ending about 6:00PM. Thursday, we finished up the audit, drove back to Christchurch and flew to Auckland. We went to dinner at DINE, a divinely inspired restaurant that had delicious food. I was ordering the duck (first time) and the waiter suggested the NZED beef. I changed, and was greeted with a beautiful portion of meat on beetroot green and beets (first time also).
Friday morning we flew to Whangarei (Fongarei is how it is pronounced in Maori) to audit. Beautiful portion of the Northern island. We audited, ate a delightful lunch (as you can see, food is very important to my two chins and me), finished the audit and I flew to Auckland so that I could fly to Sydney.
It was a whirlwind trip in NZED, but a wonderful lifelong dream fulfilled by work.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Just call me...

International traveler.
I arrived in New Zealand on Monday 27 November and have traveled around the entire country...from Auckland to Invercargill (North Island to almost Southern most point on the Southern Island). I have seen a lot of NZ from the air and from a car window. Unfortunately, not a lot of time to tourist visit some of the wonderful places that are here.

Today is Saturday, 2 December and I am in Sydney Australia. Got here about 9:00 PM last night, unpacked, have sorted my laundry to turn in for washing, and had a really good night's rest.

Today I get to go out and about to see Sydney and experience Down Under. I'll try to blog about those experiences later today. So far, it has been a really cool trip. No issues, No problems.

I'm missing Princess a lot and my two little four legged girls. At least we have been able to talk for a few minutes each night.

Gotta run and shower to start my day.