goodbye summer hiatus



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episodic season has begun! 

P.S. Stanley ate a hole through the roof of his habitat and escaped. The little bugger.

scandinavian travel hacking



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Did you know Norwegian Airlines is a ridiculously cheap way to get to Europe?
Did you know that if your flight has a layover and you book the two legs separately it might be cheaper?
Did you know that if you change the website from English to Norwegian the price goes down even more?


#1
Bergen to Riga Cheapest:
$86.40 (one ticket)
Leave Bergen 8:45am 
Arrive Riga 3:45pm
(3hr 20min in Copenhagen)
6 hours total

#2
Bergen to Riga Fastest:
$114.00 (one ticket)
Leave Bergen 9:20am
Arrive Riga 1:50pm
(1hr 5min in Oslo)
3 hours 20 minutes total

#3
Bergen to Riga Time/Cost Compromise:
$88.00 (two tickets)
Leave Bergen 8:25am
Arrive Riga 2:05pm
(1hr 50min in Trondheim)
4 hours 40 minutes total

I'm nixing #1 because the other options give us more daylight time in Riga.
#3 does show up as an automatic Trondheim layover when booking Bergen to Riga on one ticket but for some reason that costs more vs booking two flights: Bergen to Trondheim then Trondheim to Riga. But it's the same exact flights.

The credit card fee is 1.99%

Book as one ticket
#2 English website: 114 + 2.27 = 116.27 USD
#2 Norwegian website: 848.00 + 16.88 = 864.88 NOK = 105.32 USD (save $10.95)

Book as two tickets
#3 English website: 62.90 + 1.25 and 25.10 + 0.50 = 88 .00+ 1.75 = 89.75 USD
#3 Norwegian website 499.00 + 9.93 and 199.00 + 3.96= 698 + 13.89 = 711.89 NOK = 86.69 USD (save $3.06)

$105.32 - 89.75 = save $15.57 book #3 in English
$105.32 - 86.69 = save $18.63 book #3 in Norwegian

$18.63 - 15.57 = $3.06 If you book #3 in English you are essentially paying a "Simplicity Tax" for not having to translate Norwegian emails and travel documents :)


And that my friends, is how I learned about travel hacking in an afternoon.

stanley



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After work today I came home to this creature waiting for me on the doorstep. Meet my new pet caterpillar, Stanley. He's named for Stan Shunpike, conductor of the Knight Bus. Currently listening to the HP audio books in the car.



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Back when coonskin hats were all the rage.

mount serendipity



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Hayley and I wanted to go hiking before I left Utah. We were headed to Albion Basin but we were so busy catching up while driving up the canyon that we didn't notice we had gone up the wrong one until we got to the top and saw Brighton. Big Cottonwood Canyon, Little Cottonwood Canyon - it's all the same right? Nope. Rookie mistake, especially considering how many times I've driven to Brighton to ski. No matter though, a mountain is a mountain and we just wanted to be in nature so we adjusted and found a trail to hike up where we were.

We circled around Silver Lake then saw a sign that said Twin Lakes was only one mile away. And 700 ft. elevation gain in that one mile. Great workout to say the least. :) The wildflowers were in full bloom, we saw a deer, three chipmunks, and a fish. Quest for nature: success. This wasn't Albion Basin by any means, but it was a fortunate accident.

Now if only I could convince my LA friends to start liking outdoorsy things...

In which I feel sympathetic for the fish



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We took the kids to Cold Springs Trout Farm in North Ogden today and they got to catch two fish each. They had a blast. 
I had to unhook a couple of the fish and I felt kinda sorry for them, flopping around on the ground with poky things stuck in them. 
Flashback to the last time I was here: a 1994 preschool field trip with my cousin Brad. We were the same age that Levi and Lydia are now.
This place was beautiful and had several large ponds with different sizes of fish in each one. I think the kids especially loved that they could run wild and free.
And then they all disappeared and I found them in the bushes trying to coax a kitten to come out and play.
We fried the fish up for dinner and had s'mores for dessert. An excellent day if you ask me.
Pro tip: you will jump higher if you stick your tongue out. :)

utah summer



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Every time I go to Utah I end up in full time aunt mode, only this time I got a head start when Ammon came to visit last week. Naturally we had to visit the minions, get soaked on the Jurassic Park ride and load up on cotton candy at Universal Studios. 
On Thursday I drove to Utah with Michelle and the kids and it took a lot longer than when I normally drive haha. This was my view for most of the trip, awkwardly stretched backwards from the front seat to pass out snacks, toys, read books, keep them generally entertained, etc. I felt like a pretzel at the end of the drive. Not pictured: 6 month old Sage in a carseat facing the other direction on the left. 
Just out side of Victorville a truck was towing this car and it came loose, barreled across 3 lanes of traffic, hit the median, and ricocheted right at us. Michelle slammed on the breaks so hard you could smell the rubber burning and in my mind I saw it happen in complete slow motion and I just thought "stop stop stop STOP" and miraculously, it did. The picture was from after we had backed up a bit, but when it came to a stop it was literally just a few inches from us. This is the third time I've had near misses with car wrecks where they other cars got smashed and I walked away without a scratch. The kids in the backseat had wide eyes for the next hour or so. And somehow Sage slept through the whole thing.
Sunday I drove in to Ogden and had a nice visit with my grandma. She has been around the world and we looked through her photo albums of her travels to Scandinavia. I am heading to Norway, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden and Denmark for 16 days in November. She found these notes my grandpa wrote from one of their tours in 1989. The notes read:
"Visited quaint town 'Mariefred'. Toured Gripsholm Castle (excellent), quint Swedish little town, stopped at 'Orebro' Loraine's grandparents lived here. Took pictures from unique mushroom water tower, beautiful clean town. Loraine might have been a 'resident here'. She was thrilled 'ecstatically'. Drove thru beautiful forests 'like Yellowstone' all thru Sweden. Staying at 'Karlstad' - excellent hotel, smaller Swedish town. Swell 'salmon dinner', walked around town.
Changed money at Norway border. From pink trees (like Yellowstone Park) to tall mtns. Passed many lakes, stopped at Lillehammer (1994 Olympic site). Rain. Walked to cemetery & church. Quaint 'European' town."
Today the cars needed washed, so naturally I practiced the art of delegation and supervised while Tyler and Lydia had fun soaking each other just as much as the car. :)
These last two pictures are everything summer should be. Bugs, bare feet, water fights... but if it wasn't approaching 100 degrees I would totally be ok with that too!
I head back to LA in a week and I have great plans to tackle before then: take the boys fishing and to visit the bison on Antelope Island, hike in the Albion Basin and maybe Adam's Canyon, and of course light a firework or two.


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I think it is good to have moments that are not pre-meditated. A little bit spontaneous, maybe even reckless, that's what keeps us human as opposed to machine.

I love L.A.



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[click to enlarge]
Never a dull moment. 4 squad cars and a police helicopter later, all is quiet in our quaint alleyway once again.

bucket list



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Everyone has a bucket list. These are specific things I want to do at some point in my life.

  • Go to Skagen where the Baltic and North Sea meet in the middle but never lose themselves in each other
  • See the northern lights
  • Visit Chichen Itza 
  • Pet a bison
  • Visit Tahrir Square and go inside the Great Pyramid of Giza
  • Help the stubborn homeless man on the corner
  • Have a house with a vegetable garden
  • Speak French conversationally
  • Skydive and live to tell the tale
  • Have an excuse to be in the Oval Office - the real one. A set doesn't count!
  • Go to an NBA game. Jazz or Lakers, court side seats preferred :)
  • Have a key role in making a feature or series with a story that I feel strongly about
  • Go to all 50 states and 7 territories under U.S. jurisdiction
    • So far I have 24 states and 1 territory
  • Learn to make really amazing Indian curry dishes
  • Create music as a side project
  • Walk on the black sand beaches of Iceland
  • Make my future kids mow the lawn (the ultimate karma)
  • Take direction from Drake Doremus and Mark Raso
  • Read all of the books on my never ending Read List
  • Learn to surf
  • See a show at the Magic Castle
  • Earn a million dollar paycheck
  • Live in Hawaii
  • Be involved with adoption in some capacity
  • Drive from the Pacific to the Atlantic
    • I just need to connect Ozark, Illinois to Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Create a grant for BYU cinematography students
  • Go on tour with a band
  • Walk on the Great Wall of China
  • Run a full marathon
  • Take tennis lessons
  • Visit the Holy Land and put a face to the name for Biblical stories
  • Live in a very small town where everyone knows everyone
  • Buy back both family properties in Ogden
  • Learn what it means to be proficient with my hands

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