In California people grow Lemons in the yard!

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The Rainy Season

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Clouds, fog, wind, a drizzle of rain: the past 5 or 7 days.

It’s not so bad actually, and when I think about how hot it got last summer, I remember when I wished for rain.  I grew up in Washington state, so you could imagine my surprise when I found out that Californians melt in the rain…kind of like how Seattleites shrivel in 80 degree weather.  It’s funny actually, but my full assimilation to Californian appears eminent as I myself refused to ride my bike this morning because of the rain.  It’s a different rain here though, a dribble that soaks your socks.  In Seattle it’s more of a constant sprinkle, like walking through clouds.  I’m not complaining though, more taking a pause for reflection.  Up north it’s been snowing, Utah has snow, but in California, we have rain.  Although there was some excitement on the news last night about white stuff in the Sierras…

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Automated Public Toilets

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Ok ok, so I admit this is like my 3rd post about San Francisco, but it was a pretty eventful day.  Here is a photo of an Automated Public Toilet:

One San Francisco Automated Public Toilet

In San Francisco there are 25 Automated Public Toilets, at least according to a post from about 5 years ago.  A lot of cities have installed toilets like these.  Some are free, some cost 25 cents; but the most important fact is that they’re automated (meaning they clean themselves) and they’re expensive.  About $300,000 a piece expensive.  I saw my first one on Union Square but it was occupied so I didn’t get to check it out…This Monday though, I found another in Washington Square and decided to give it a shot.  Yeah, I know it’s kind of weird, posting about public toilets, but if you surf the web, a lot of people actually have posted about automated toilets too.  So anyway…back to my exciting experience…

Gross? "Double yes."

It looked interesting at first, and strangely private, the Automated Public Toilet.  The future is now came to mind as I pushed a button to open the door, which slid to the side –Star Trek style.  I walked inside, pushed another button and the door closed.  “Can you hear me?!” Paul yelled from outside; apparently the world couldn’t see me, but I could hear the world…awkward.  Approaching the usual amenities I noticed that there was no toilet paper to be found, the smell was terrible, and decided there was no way I was sitting on a wet toilet seat with someone’s tobacco remains…Graphic?  “Yes.”  Gross?  “Double yes.”  And so I opted for the Washington Square Park Non-Automated Public Toilets and was completely satisfied.

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Dinner Party

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Hawaiian Haystacks, mmmm

The Nelson’s hosted a dinner party this Provo visit.  Rachel and I brought toppings for Hawaiian Haystacks, while Trina and Kyle made chicken and rice; Michelle picked up some Creamery Ice Cream, and our party was set!

When I first moved to California I noticed a sudden increase in sent and received text messages and I’ve decided that it’s most-likely because it’s cheaper than spending minutes on a couple hours of conversation–Especially since we all live miles from each other–but in Provo, although we do text, I remember physically visiting each other the most; and dinner parties are a common past-time.

Sometimes students will play games after the meal or watch a flick.  This evening we mostly just chatted and played some music.  After Rachel and Jon left, the rest of us watched Invictus.  It was a simple but enjoyable get together.  I’d prefer good company to an opera any night!

Michelle and I love Creamery ice cream!

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The spirit of Christmas and drying clothes

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Thomas is way excited to open these presents

Well, Christmas came and went.  I have to admit that I totally left Sac-Town to enjoy the holiday in Salt Lake City.  Winter in California is like early springtime in Seattle.  The mornings are foggy with a little frost and the afternoons are sunny and chilly enough for a jacket, but really nothing more.  Sometimes late at night I’ll sport a peacoat, but rarely my Utah parka, unless I want something less formal…yeah I’m funny that way about winter clothes.  I love scarves and hats and gloves.  Even if it isn’t too cold.

Salt Lake right now is FrEeZiNg!  Bitter, bite-your-face-off-cold.  But in spite of my shivers it’s making me nostalgic for BYU.  I’ll be visiting Provo tomorrow night, so maybe I’ll sneak in a BYU Student Living post for old times.

It spins!

I took these pictures of my clothes line-drying the week before I left for Utah.  Line-drying is another one of my favorite parts about living in Cali.  I guess I could have line-dried in Utah too, but we didn’t have this convenient clothing hanger.  It spins with the wind: Yeah we are totally professionals -especially when the dryer gave up the ghost.  Luckily we found a new dryer, but on this sunny day, I just had to take advantage and dry my shirts outside.  I love the smell they get from the sun, and the relaxing process of hanging and taking down clothes.  It’s a quiet time to just turn shirts rightside-out and think.  This time I thought about California Decembers, and Christmas.

I was wearing cut-off jeans and a comfy t-shirt [wait, cut-off jeans, outside, in December? -Yes] and noted to myself that it didn’t feel like Christmas… until the sun went down and strings of  lights came on all over the neighborhood…it was just too warm.  I guess that’s just something I’ll have to get used to.  It’s not bad though, just different; and I am looking forward to going back to a Seattle spring in the Sacramento Valley this January 2nd.

I guess Christmas comes more from your heart anyway, and remembering the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I’d say spending time with family both in Sacramento and Salt Lake City this season is what made it really feel like Christmas.  The biscuits and gravy my Stepdad made just for me and my brothers before we left.  Text messages from my Mom.  Buying presents with my brothers.  Cleaning the house as a family so we could open presents early.  My Dad and Stepmom making sure we got to all our dentist appointments.  The spirit of Christmas for me was the service rendered by my family; and I love them all so much!

I love my family.

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Hablo Español

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After finishing another work day at my local retail job, I eat the remains of my Chipotle dinner: Burrito carnita con salsa, queso, crema agria, arroz, frijoles negros y lechuga; oh and a fountain Coca-cola.  I originally went for Sprite (I’ve been on a Sprite kick lately) but the machine was out of syrup, so I was surprised with soda-water instead…hense the cola.  I actually love Coke, but that’s another story.

I’m writing this evening to describe an everyday experience in Northern California.  I work in retail, as noted above, and our customers, although all live in California, aren’t all originally from California.  We serve people who speak English, Spanish, Russian and a variety of other Slavic and Asian languages.  I think it’s actually really neat and one of my favorite parts about California.  America of course was born through immigration when many of our ancestors left Europe for the new world; and I appreciate and love the beautiful cultures that continue to complete our nation.

I get to use a lot of Spanish in my job, and with that comes a lot of new words.  Oh yeah, I speak Spanish, cool huh?  Haha.  Lately I’ve learned watchando which I think is more Spanglish for watching and the other word I learned today, was colchón, which means bed.  I also learned the word for size: medía*, at least, that’s what I remember the customer saying.  I can’t find it in Google Translate but it’s most-likely a new word, or one specifically from her country.  I used to be a Linguistics major, so I still have a love for language and new words.  I also used to study Arabic and heard some people speaking it or Farsi today.  I wished that I could remember my conjugations better so that I could speak to them.  Who would have known that being a cashier would teach me so much about Spanish and my community?

This is California, my California and it flows with beautiful diversity.

*Update: since this post I have learned that I heard the word for size wrong, the correct word is Medida. Thanks Carlos!

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A Sunbathing Sea Lion

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Sunbathing Sea Lion

Yesterday we saw a sea lion sunbathing off the Sacramento River.  He’d climbed onto the lower dock in Old Sacramento and fellow tourists stopped by to take a look, while Channel 13 news caught the fun on film.

After the sea lion encounter we walked over to the tall ship Hawaiian Chieftain to see if they were giving any tours.  She’s a beautiful vessel and according to Atlakeunionpark.org: …a replica of a typical European merchant trader of the turn of the nineteenth century.  Unfortunately there was no one aboard, but I’ve found her future tour schedules; and looks like the she’ll be in town through mid-December.  I better plan a trip soon!

Mast of the Hawaiian Chieftain

Apparently the Hawaiian Chieftain tours up and down the West coast often accompanying Lady Washington, the official boat of Washington State.  It’s amazing what a little research can tell you.

Along with regular tours of the ship, adult groups can pay to learn how to sail the Hawaiian Chieftain right now in Sacramento.  School, church, service and senior groups are also welcome to the Hawaiian Chieftain’s Voyages of Discovery educational programs.  Pretty neat huh?  I really hope to take a tour soon!

It’s amazing to me how much there is to do in our little Sacramento.  It’s no small town but it’s certainly no San Francisco either.  Looking back on this summer though, I seriously have a list of posts to catch up on before I’m all up to date on this summer’s adventures.  Let’s just say you’re in for a real treat!

The tall ship Hawaiian Chieftain

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Palm Trees and City Streets

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Spending time downtown in Sacramento is my favorite. I don’t know if it’s all the big buildings, the people, or maybe just window shopping? I love visiting Freestyle Clothing Exchange on 21st and L street. It’s a buy/sell/trade clothing store with a good collection of shoes and jewelry too. Some items are new, others are legitimately retro. I found a great dress there and some nice earings once. I highly recommend checking it out.

Another thing I love about downtown and California in general is the palm tree:

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Step back in time to the 4th of July

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Rayla, Ammon, and me hanging at Discovery Parkice cream cart

This 4th of July I didn’t attend any parades or watch much of the musical, “1776”, but I did have a family barbeque and watched a lot of fireworks in remembrance of the men who fought many battles for our freedom.  I’m so thankful for the sacrifices made and those continuing to be made today.

Before the evening festivities, Ammon, Rayla & I made a trip to Discovery Park in Sacramento.  It costs $5 dollars a vehicle for a day at the “beach” -on the river.

"I'd like to buy the world a Coke"

Discovery Park sits where the Sacramento and American rivers meet.  It’s very pretty and on the 4th of July, full of people.  There were barbeques under the trees, ice cream carts, boats, life jackets and a huge Fire Fighter Dalmation.

We stepped in the river for a bit, but it was really cold!  So instead, while we warmed up, and dried off, Rayla broke out the Cokes.  Now what’s more American than that?

Check out a Youtube clip of our Discovery Park trip here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E38njtmq1Rw

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Rayla & Ammon, looking like movie stars

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