Friday, April 18, 2014

Holly Berry Bunny

Ready for my close-up, Mom!
In keeping with my tradition of posting silly animal photos on Fridays, I am featuring Miss Holly Berry today. She is very shy around people, but likes dressing in her bunny ears during Easter.

Holly is a sweetheart.  She wishes each of you a very lovely Easter holiday.

In the midst of the silliness that often accompanies our Easter celebrations, and getting some time off for Spring Break, let's not forget what Easter is really all about.

Because of Christ's sacrifice for us, everyone who has lived on earth (Holly Berry included) will one day live again.  What a wonderful gift we have been given  - one that has nothing to do with chocolate, eggs or bunnies.  It is a gift given out of infinite love.  One that we should probably be a lot more mindful of in our day-to-day lives, and a lot more thankful for.

A Joyous Easter to you all, 
wherever you may be in the world!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Happy Birthday, Jay!

Jay Douglas
Today is my brother Jay's birthday.  He's one of those totally great guys that you really enjoy having around. I've felt that way since he was ten or so.  (Ha)  No, I'm totally kidding.  I've kinda enjoyed having him around since he was born - on April 17th, a very long time ago. 

Jay is a "hat man".  He enjoys wearing hats and has a large collection of them.

This is a recent purchase (below).  He tells me that you get to put the "bash" in the hat yourself, and steam it to set the bash the way you want it. 

There's evidently an entire, complicated procedure to this. As well as a long history behind it.

The new hat without the "bash"
I'm not sure I understand the hat thing, but it's interesting, serves a useful purpose (keeping my brother from getting sunburn and skin cancer) and mostly harmless.

One of Jay's hats after "the bash"
I think men in hats are dashing, of course.

But there's the question of the weather.  The climate in Utah is probably much more conducive to wearing hats, than that of Southern California!

I really love my little brother.  He's the best.

It's always nice to run a blog about him now and then.  He's pretty important in my life.

Happy Birthday, Lillebror!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

He Lives!

Jesus Christ
The Holy Messiah and Savior of the World

... the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about.

  And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness;

  And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever.

  And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

  For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

  That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

-        Doctrine and Covenants, Section 76

                              May this glorious message 
                          fill your heart this Easter season.
                         Have a Blessed Easter Weekend!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My New Toy

The Graphic Tablet
I have a new toy at work.  That's my graphic tablet and it takes the place of the computer mouse.  So far I'm liking it a whole lot better!

I find it doesn't hurt my wrist like the mouse does.  I'm still getting used to it, of course, but I found I immediately preferred it, and will reach for it first, before my mouse.  The model I have been given to "test drive" seems to have trouble with the right and left click buttons, but even so, I've been happier with it than I would have previously thought possible.

Cool, huh?

I love technology.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sweet Home IKEA

The familiar IKEA logo is found all over the world
This photo is from the Hong Kong home furnishings mall
My friend Jonathan, our Hong Kong correspondent, says he went to IKEA a few weeks ago.  It was very similar in set-up to the California IKEA franchises, except for the size.  The store was about a third of the size of its American counterparts.

Jonathan also noted that some of the furniture seemed miniature compared to furniture found in the States.  He goes on to note that smaller furniture makes good use of vertical space.

Space is at a premium in Hong Kong, and most residential flats there are small - averaging between 400 and 800 square feet.  When space is precious, you make the best use of it, which includes buying much smaller furniture.

The Home Furnishings Mall
The home furnishings mall contains all kinds of stores in addition to the IKEA which is found in there.

Jonathan is proud of his sons, who are getting quickly accustomed to life in a foreign country.  Jonathan is of Chinese descent, but having grown up in the United States, his Chinese is limited.  When he was at the mall, his 5 year-old son asked him if he knew how to say the two Chinese words on the wall:

Jonathan said, "no", and asked his son if he knew.  The boy said the two words with a big smile on his face. Not bad for a child who has been in China less than a year.  Jonathan was quite embarrassed that "even my little baby has better command of Chinese words than me."

When I asked what the words meant, Jonathan told me the first word means "commercial" and the second stands for "site", in translation that is a shopping mall.

I asked if it helped him to feel at home, to have an IKEA close by.  He writes:
Not when there are 100 Chinese sitting around on the sofas.  It is very crowded.  We tried eating at the IKEA restaurant and gave up because there were no available seats.  People stand next to the occupied tables to wait for people to finish eating.  This is common practice at crowded places.


I really enjoy hearing about life in Hong Kong.  I hope you do, too!

Friday, April 11, 2014

This Is the Life, Man

Jack lounging in the sun
Oh, for the life of a cat...

Here we see my sweet Jack taking a siesta in the California sun.  Yes, that's his famous shoe lace underneath him.  He drags it around everywhere.

This is a cat kid who has a toy box brimming with toys, and he chooses to play with an old, dirty, shoelace.

May you have a terrific weekend, and maybe even a few relaxing moments of your own in the sun!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Everyday Living in Hong Kong

Beautiful high-rise living
My friend Jonathan, our Hong Kong correspondent, lives with his family in Hong Kong.  He recently sent me a few photos to share his world with us. The above picture shows his neighborhood.  Look at all those high rises!

He writes that he lives in a vertical world, now:
I still can't believe how different it is here compared to L.A.  I am finally getting used to it here.  Everything is vertical ... including my sons' 7-foot drawers in their bedroom.  
This is because of the population density, something we don't see a lot in the western United States.

He also sent me a copy of the ferry schedule!
This is the schedule of the ferry that I take from North Point, which is near where I work, to Hung Hom, which is where I live.  The ferry is very punctual.  If it says it will leave at a certain time, it will almost certainly leave exactly on the minute.  I have on several occasions seen my ferry leave when I was one or two minutes late.  The good thing is the frequency... so waiting for the next one is not that bad.

Jonathan also mentions that he has four ways to get from work.  Which one of those four ways he chooses each day are often dependent upon the weather.

Life in Hong Kong is greatly influenced by the weather.  Jonathan says the weather is crazy!  (It's okay, Jonathan, the weather is crazy here, too!)  There is extreme summer humidity, winter chills, high winds, typhoon season and year-round bad air quality.

So, most days he takes the MTR, or Ferry between his work at North Point, to Hung Hom where he lives. Taking the ferry gets him from door to gate in about 18 minutes. This costs HK$4.10.

The Hung Hom Ferry Pier

The Ferry at Hung Hom
The second choice for transportation is the "ding ding" or tram (HK $2.30), which takes from 20 to 30 minutes.  Don't you love that name for the tram?

I do.

The Ding Ding
Another option is the bus.  Riding the franchised bus costs HK $4.10, and takes about 15-25 minutes.  Jonathan adds that "on a nice day, when I'm not too tired, I walk".  This is free, but it takes about 30 minutes.

For comparison purposes a US dollar is worth about $7.75 Hong Kong dollars, so all the travel options are highly affordable.

I've never had to ride a ferry or a cable car to work.  Have you?

Living in Hong Kong has it's challenges, but obviously some fun cultural advantages, too!  Thanks, Jonathan, for sharing glimpses of your life in Hong Kong with us!