Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Wish you were there...don't ya!?

Here is the latest from New Zealand:

Hello all,

We are in Picton, at the top of the North Island, waiting to cross on the ferry to Wellington. It seems strange that I will be meeting my penpal in just a few hours after writing to her for so many years. Should be fun. We've had a great time. Saw some awesome scenery along the coast and got some close-up shots of seals. The country has every kind of scenery imaginable, so we have ocean, glaciers, meadows, sheep, mountains, sheep, cool churches, sheep. Oh yeah, they have a lot of sheep here. They also raise a lot of deer and elk on ranches. Also saw the infamous Bra Fence (you'll just have to see the picture if you want to know more). On the North Island we're hoping to catch some Maori culture and the Glow Worm caves. Should be cool. Talk to you all again soon.

Love,
Kathleen and Doug

Friday, March 24, 2006

New News from New Zealand

I got another email from my dad and Kathleen today.
...I'm writing from a little restaurant in the mountains between Haast (on the lower west coast) and Queenstown, which is in the lower middle of the South Island. From Queensland we head to Dunedin to see the haunted Scottish castle. Yesterday we saw lots of cool ocean scenes (there's a lot of ocean when you're on an island) and the famous Pancake Rocks. Today we've hiked through a lot of rainforest that's so thick you can barely see through it let alone walk off the trails. Doug is on the trail of the elusive NZ possum. We've seen lots of dead ones on the road but no live ones. The fur on the NZ variety is extremely soft and is highly valued for all the usual fur items. It's like a cross between mink and rabbit. I'm hoping he doesn't find one because I can just see the scene at customs when he tries to sneak that one by.

We've made a few new friends, including Phillip, a 24-year-old from Germany who is backpacking around the country for 8 months, stopping every now and then to work and make a few bucks. We also have a new best friend in Christchurch who likes the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We plan to send him a CD when we get home to thank him for driving us around the city, getting us a great deal on a rental car and taking care of lots of other details. Everything is really expensive here so we haven't bought much. A plate of eggs and toast at the place we stayed last night was $17. We're eating a lot of grocery store stuff and avoiding restaurants.

We should be in Dunedin Sunday morning, so I'll let you know how church goes. I'm also hoping to get to the temple when we get up to Hamilton, but we may not have time (and it may be closed anyway since it's conference weekend at the time we'll be there). At least we can see the outside and visit the visitor's center.

Doug and Kathleen
Sounds like fun guys! Keep in touch.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Promotion!?!?!

Monday morning, a week after my first day, I was in the office working, and the boss called me into his office. I went in and met with him and my immediate supervisor, and they offered me a position as a customer service representative (CSR). A CSR works directly with clients and processes their payrolls.

I discussed with them the flexibility of the scheduling with my school schedule when I start; I will be able to take full class-loads on Tuesdays and Thursdays - I can have Fridays off too, but it's not very likely that many classes I will be taking will be Fridays only. With that good news, yesterday I accepted the position and started training. I am excited to take this job. I think it is going to be a good opportunity for me, and it will mean more $$$!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Latest from Down-Under

I received this email today from my dad and his wife:
G'day from Down Under,

No worries, for those of you who watch the news. We survived Cyclone Larry and are now in Christchurch, NZ. It's been a rocky holiday so far ... for those who care, we'll provide details later.

Suffice to say, things are looking better now thanks to our new Kiwi friend Alan. We're "starting" our vacation now, or will be tomorrow, by heading into the Southern Alps to the Northwest. So wish us luck - we've had very little so far, so we can use all we can get.

See ya when (if) we get back.

Love,Doug (Dad) and Kathleen (Mom)
Stay tuned for more...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Dinner With the Fam

Cerra and I had dinner with Cerra's dad, Doug, Doug's wife Kathleen, Cerra's brother, Paul and Paul's fiancé, Emily. Doug and Kathleen were in town during a five hour layover on their way from Boise, ID to New Zealand. Cerra snapped this pic with her cell phone.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

This Day in History

1954 was well... relatively uneventful. At least where most people reading this post are concerned. There were some pretty important scientific and political milestones. By March that year, the USS Nautilus was launched, the first mass vaccination of children against polio began, and officials announced that a successful American hydrogen bomb test had been conducted. I can see eyes glazing over already.... Okay, how about Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio getting hitched?

Those boring things aside, March 1954 was a terribly important moment in history. To be specific, March 18, 1954. I am by no means an authority on the sequence of events that day. My uncles Alan or Eric could probably give a good oral history, and perhaps even eye-witness accounts. I am, however, an excellent source for testimony regarding the long-term aftermath of the most important event of the day: the birth of Kathleen Marie Hawkins, my mom.

There is of course the obvious. Where would my sister, brother and I be without Mom? Interesting philosophical question, I guess. But assuming that our family relationships were the same, with the only difference being Mom's absence, I hesitate to even imagine the consequences of such a reality. Sasha, Nolan and I owe so much of who we are to the loving intervention of our mother. And I would argue that anyone touched by her influence over the past 52 years is better for it.

So, happy birthday, Mom! You have given us all so many wonderful gifts. Thank you. I love you.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

New Job - Day 3

I am liking my new job. It's looking like I am going to be a "jack-of-all-trades" in this position too. I have my title and then the "other duties as specified" come in to play. My job is merely to sort reports and checks, fold and seal checks and mail reports - it sounds a lot easier than it is; accuracy is a MUST, and most of the clients have different requests for how, what, etc. they want their stuff mailed. It sounds like I am going to be the go-to-girl for data entry, doing tax stuff, and I am told, more to come as I get trained.

I hope that I can work out my school schedule and work schedule to my satisfaction because I really like the people that I work with, what I do and the environment. They just got my work area set up today, so I have a brand new computer - the others are jealous - and a desk so far.

The company is called Qqest. They are a payroll company and have a lot of clients, so it's really busy - that's how I like it. They are located in Jordan Commons in a nice, newer building.

I will keep you posted...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

New Job

I have been working with a staffing agency the past week and accepted a position they offered me. My first day was Monday. I am a packing clerk for a payroll company in Sandy. I sort checks and mail them. There is a ton of data entry also. It pays really well, but I think it's because of the demand for accuracy. I can see it getting very mundane. Depending on how flexible they can be with my scheduling for school, I may or may not stay. We'll just have to see...

Friday, March 10, 2006

Dillon

On this day, three decades ago, a birth occurred before I was even born that would make my life whole. Dillon is the most incredible person I have ever known. My love for him is immeasurable. For this, I celebrate his birth. Happy Birthday Dillon! You are my everything.
I have been taking his picture for 2 months now (ever since I got my new camera).
Sadly, this is the best one I have...maybe this will be motivation for him to cooperate better...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Love is in the air...

My brother Paul and his fiance Emily gave me the opportunity to use my new digital camera to take engagement photos for them. It was a great photography experience for me. We battled with wind and a high sun (we couldn't get out to the park until afternoon), so I had to work on keeping shadows/light spots and hair out of their faces. We managed to get some pictures I think they will be able to use. I am posting my favorites. I have added some color effects to some of them. I had to make them small for the blog, but you get the idea - the actual pictures are a much higher quality.







Here are some fun ones we did that I though were cute.



They are getting married in the Salt Lake City Temple on April 8th. Congrats Paul and Emily!!!