Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chinchilla Cage 2.0

So Nicolle has been after me for awhile to write some of the blog posts, she insists that my posts are funnier than her's are. So I'm going to try and bring humor back to our blog by writing a post about a chinchilla cage.......yeah that skepticism you have is not dissimilar to the skepticism my student's have when I tell them that C students end up holding cardboard signs next to overpasses.

This weekend's task was to remodel and rebuild the chinchilla cage. This is what the chin cage used to look like:

And this is what it looks like now (speaking of remodeling, I need to remodel myself back to what I looked like in that pic, sign #387 that I'm getting, scratch that, AM old):

Ok couple of disclaimers, in this pic the cage looks like Rosie O'Donnell sat on the right side of the cage and squished it. Before I get several gifts of combination squares, levels, and measuring tapes for Christmas presents, the cage looking so far out of being square is because this pic is actually two pics stitched together by Windows Live Photo Gallery (sorry, even I am not smug enough to be a Macintrash owner). WARNING GUY TALK AHEAD: diagonally the cage measures 100 top right to bottom left, and 100.5 top left to bottom right, you'd almost think I knew what I am doing.

A few notable additions, first off the cage is on wheels now.

This pic shows the two most important improvements. First off I added another set of doors which will make the cage MUCH, MUCH, MUCH easier to clean (translation, Nicolle can actually do it now so I won't have to clean it every time). Second, the wheels might make it so we can move the cage in one piece, please no more taking apart and putting this thing back together.

We embarked on our project at 1:30 pm Saturday and this was our attitude

We finally finished, after a trip to TruValue and to Home Depot in Tri-Cities, at around midnight and our attitude was more like this:

Nothing serious, just the usual testiness that occurs when two people have had a long day. But at the end of the day the chins are happy to be back in their big cage. Next up, building a cage for the sugar gliders.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Some Day Soon... We Hope!

So it's amazing how much easier (and more fun) it is to spend money that isn't yours! Steve and I are learning this when it comes to his classroom budget. Don't worry, most of the money is being spent on textbooks, machines for classroom experiments, etc. However, some of his budget was approved to buy a fish tank (pictures to come) and some of the budget is supposed to go towards finches! So the great part is that each of his classroom animals teaches a specific biology lesson. (And I love that I get to make posters using my CSS skills for them once I graduate and have more time)

So right now we're waiting on the district office to give us the purchase orders (which is driving us crazy!) So I just thought I would let you know what we're looking forward to spending Mabton's money on.

First, we have zebra finches, which have such great patterns and colors!

Next, we want to get some society finches.
And because you may think those are a little plain, we are ECSTATIC about finding a woman who will sell us a couple of GORGEOUS gouldian finches!
We are really excited about having these finches to supplement Steve's lessons about Darwin and his finches in the Galapagos Islands. Now come on with that money order please!

Visit Part IV: Ice Harbor Dam

The last day we had Ray and Reva here we went to church, and then headed to Sacajawea State Park. Because we already put pictures up from the park, I didn't take any pictures while we were there. Next we went to Ice Harbor Dam just a few miles away.

The dam and visitor center at Ice Harbor were closed for the season, so we only really got to visit a memorial set up above the dam. But everyone enjoyed the great view from the memorial!
I loved all the different rocks against the water and the blue sky.
I especially loved all of the curves at the memorial. It was really eye catching and visually interesting.

The large rock in the center of the memorial was lower down in the valley and was moved up on the hill when the rest of the valley was flooded. The valley was apparently a Native American burial ground, which is why the rock they brought up was covered by these amazing hieroglyphics.
So this is the last of the pictures we have from when Ray and Reva visited. I realized too late that I hardly got any pictures of family and forgot to take any when both sets of parents were here together on Saturday! I failed. Well, hopefully it won't be another two years before we get both of our parents in the same place again. Thanks again for visiting Ray and Reva! We loved our time with you and can't wait to see family again for the holidays!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Visit Part III: Japanese and Rose Gardens

Welcome back to the Japanese Gardens and Rose Garden in Portland, OR. Because we've already posted quite a few pictures, I tried to get different angles and pictures to post this time. No matter what it is a really beautiful place!

Just like Julie got me for my birthday, this time we noticed that there are Shishi dogs protecting the entrance to the Japanese gardens. Ok, so apparently they are not Shishi dogs, but I didn't know the difference. Julie says they are Chinese Foo dogs, and that the ball is held by the male and the baby by the female. Either way, very neat. Thanks Juls!

Next, one of the zen gardens was imprinted this time and was so impressive I just had to post a picture. That's a lot of work! We listened to a mom tell her young toddler over and over that he could not go play in the sand. Very cute.
Our reflection with Portland behind us in their activity building.
This is the "Poets' Stone" which is supposed to inspire people and has a Haiku written on it. Don't ask me what it says.
I loved that the leaves were starting to turn and kind of wish even more trees had turned so we could get great pictures of all the different colors.This was the "tea room". I just love all the green surrounding the beautiful wood.
A beautiful stone staircase.I just love how green and beautiful everything is!
Ray was nice enough to take pictures of us on the bridge there. Soooo Pretty.
Next we stopped at the Rose Garden. We're not positive, but there's a chance that we accidentally (wish we could take credit) brought Ray and Reva to the exact garden they visited on their honeymoon 41 years ago! Regardless, I hope they enjoyed the beautiful roses as much as we did. Enjoy a few of my favorites.

Visit Part II: Multanomah Falls

Next on the road to Portland was Multanomah falls. We drove past it when we went to pick up the boy gliders and this time decided we had the time to stop. It's impressive even from the road. One day we'll have to stop and hike up to the bridge and get an even better view.

This was the first thing we saw as we walked under the freeway and over towards the falls.

I really liked the old railroad bridge and it lets you know how far you are from the main hubs surrounding it.
Steve and I in our typical shot.
Ray and Reva. I promise he like the falls too. Steve says this is him just about smiling. Nice smile Ray!
And just for good measure, one more full shot of the falls.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How Did That Happen???

I know I still have other blogs to catch up on, but thought I would vent by informing you all that somehow, in less than 5 minutes, I suddenly became the new coach for a girls basketball AAU team...

Steve and I were discussing Mabton sports with the athletic director and that I was considering getting involved with basketball this winter but was nervous having never coached before. So he says, there's the head girls basketball coach for the high school, let's go introduce you. And then he tells the coach my situation and adds that I may be the coach he's been looking for. Huh? Well, apparently he has been coaching his daughter's AAU team since they were in 1st grade, but now they're in the 7-12 bracket, he can't coach them as a high school coach. So he has practices, plays, everything figured out, but needs someone to do the actual coaching as he's not allowed. The next thing I know, he's telling me he'll see me this NEXT MONDAY for our first practice! What just happened???

Apparently what just happened is Steve, the athletic director, and this coach just decided I'm going to coach an AAU team. Terrified much? Yes, yes I am.

Trial by fire, here I come!

Ray and Reva Visit: Part 1 Bonneville Dam

The Friday that Ray and Reva (Steve's parents) came to visit, Steve took the day off and we traveled to Portland, Oregon. Our first stop was at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. We stopped at the Bradford Island Visitor Center and took a tour.
This is a view from the outside of visitor center of Tabletop Mountain.
The dam.
This is the display they have outside of one of the old turbines from inside the power house. These turbines are being replaced with ones that decrease gaps in the turbine in order to be more fish friendly. We were impressed that the new turbines will increase smolt survival rates to as high as 98%! And that's just the smolts that don't get diverted before the turbine.
The fish ladder. It has 60 steps and rises 60 feet.The underwater viewing window of the fish ladders from the basement of the visitor center.The inside of the power house. The nearest turbine was under construction to have the newer turbine installed.This is one of the two cranes that they use for construction in the power house. It stretches across the whole building and was massive!Us outside the visitor center.
Next we went to the fish hatchery. They have a sturgeon viewing area where they have a number of HUGE sturgeon in a big pond. This first picture is just to give you some idea of how large some of the fish really were. And this was a small one!So this is Herman. Herman was like 40 years old (I think) and 10 feet long! He was massive and I think if I ever went swimming and ran into Herman I would never swim again!The hatchery also had a trout pond. There were so many trout and you could feed them out of a quarter machine. They were so used to being fed that we watched people just stick fingers over the edge of the pond and the fish would jump out of the water to get them. They were fascinating to watch.

We had a lot of fun during our visit with Ray and Reva and this was just our first stop!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Calling

So for those of you who haven't heard, I got a new calling.

I am now the Beehive Advisor in our ward. Starting this upcoming Sunday I will teach the 12 and 13 year old girls for the last hour of church, go to all of their activities and camps, and try to befriend and support them. Most importantly, my Young Women's President says that it is our job as Young Women's leaders to teach them how, and invite them to come unto Christ. That's quite the intimidating task! I hope I am up to it... I am grateful for the amazing leaders and experiences I had in young womens and family members who I can turn to for support, encouragement, and advice. Most importantly, I am grateful for the knowledge that "whom the Lord calls He qualifies." As soon as I got the calling I could just feel this great love for these girls and I look forward to getting to know them in the upcoming weeks and months! Since I was never really active when I was a Beehive, hooray for finally becoming a Beehive at 22!