Sunday, March 27, 2011

Long Beach, California

I was able to go to Long Beach for a writers conference. While the conference was held at the Hyatt in downtown Long Beach, I stayed across the bay on the Queen Mary. I was the envy of the conference goers.
Queen Mary with the Russian sub The Scorpion
The ship is rich with history. Its maiden voyage was May 27, 1936. It was designed to serve as a luxury cruise vessel, but at the start of WWII in 1939, she was drafted into the war effort.

In 1966 she sailed her last time before being put on the auction block. With 20 something bids, Long Beach acquired her for $3.45M. (The next closest bid was something like 800k.)

The Queen Mary is huge! It is 1,019.5 ft. (310.74 m.) in length (The Titanic was 882.9 ft.) It still holds the record for the most passengers (soldiers) at 16k! The men had to take shifts sleeping, and they say the sheets were still warm from the last guy. Normal occupancy was 1,174.

Toward the bow of the ship on the sun deck.
Looking across to downtown Long Beach
I jumped in on a tour. We pause just below the entrance to Sir Winston's Lounge.
A port for cruise ships right next door.
In my bathroom. Passengers were able to choose the source of their water!
This is how I flushed my toilet.
Before AC became a staple.
This is how you get heat/cool air in your room/bathroom.
My room window with a great view.
 I took my roller blades on the trip. Each morning I went exploring. I made a new friend in a blue heron. He followed me around on my exploration.

Looking back toward the ship
My friend for a day.
My friend follows me.
My next post will show some of the funny things I saw in LA. Here is a hint, what do crazy, eastern block people do for work in LA?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Temple Square

Jess and I had a wonderful Saturday with the kids at Temple Square. Two sister missionaries gave us a tour of the Assembly Hall and the Tabernacle. After that, we hit the South Visitor Center, and then the Joseph Smith Memorial Building where we watched the movie Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration.

Outside the Assembly Hall
The sisters told the children the story of the crickets and the seagulls. Inside they explained the amount of effort the early saints expended to make the Assembly Hall, their first church building in Utah, a truly remarkable edifice.
Organ inside the Assembly Hall
The Tabernacle is an unique structure. The sisters gave us the acoustic demonstration. Mason and Carter were impressed with the sound the pins and the nail made.
The Tabarnacle
The wood inside is white pine. Every one of the grain marks in the wood was painstakingly hand painted.
Inside the Tabarnacle
The Salt Lake Temple. We love it. After the movie, when we walked out of the Joseph Smith Memorial building, it was dark. The temple was beautifully lit.

The Salt Lake Temple (where Jess and I were sealed)

We saw Carole Mikita filming outside the temple...that can only mean one thing...its conference time again!
Inside the Salt Lake Temple, via an amazing replica

We plan to return soon and visit the Church History Museum and the Conference Center.

Snow day!!!!

Jess has hosted several all-neighborhood snow days in our backyard. One Saturday afternoon, she had ten neighbor children over for a snowball fight. They built forts and made flags for Capture the Flag.

You wanna' piece of this?!

A cold, little snow angel
Jess said she stopped crying quickly to ham it up for the camera