Opera Magnifica

The OCC Music Department presented “Opera Magnifica!,” directed by Susan Ali, on Saturday, February 23rd, at 8:00 p.m. in the Robert B. Moore Theatre. Students performed arias and ensemble numbers from operatic hits from many lands and many eras.

Sarah and Joanna sang “Dew Fairies’ Song” from Humperdink’s opera Hansel and Gretel. They were also performed in four other numbers including “Try it, Try it, Try it” and “Will the Shoe Fit?” from The True Story of Cinderella.

On Stage with Dr Soto

Victoria, Sarah, Elizabeth, Joanna, and Nicole after the performance.
Victoria, Sarah, Elizabeth, Joanna, and Nicole after the performance. Click for full size.

Afterwards Sarah and Joanna and about a dozen other cast members went to a Red Robin restaurant. They sang for the staff and received three free (enormous) slices of Mud Pie.

The Huntington Library

On Thursday, February 7th, 2013, we took a school field trip to the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. The library/museum/gardens offer free admission on the first Thursday of each month. Jeri reserved tickets for us. Jeri, Tim, Victoria, Jeffrey, Elizabeth, and Josiah all went.

Although it was winter and many of the flowers weren’t blooming, the outdoor gardens were beautiful and very relaxing.

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Click for full size

Japanese Gardens

The Japanese Garden area was probably our favorite. Here’s Josiah watching the koi. Apparently they thought that we were going to feed them. They gathered around us.

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Click for full size

Here’s one of many bonsai.

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Click for full size

A Japanese house was part of the gardens. Although we couldn’t go into it, we could view inside of it because some of the exterior walls were removed from the design.

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Click for full size

Victoria, Elizabeth, and Jeffrey

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Jeffrey and Victoria near the Japanese Gardens

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Click for full size


Many gorgeous flowers were blooming. However all of the roses had been pruned. Here’s a flower that had fallen into the brook.

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Click for full size

The rock garden was very different from what we are used to seeing. Here we are relaxing for a few minutes.

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Click for full size

Chinese Gardens

There were many interesting rocks at the Chinese Garden.

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Click for full size
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Art Collection

Probably the most famous painting in the large art collection is the Blue Boy. Although the room was dimly lit and we weren’t allowed to use flash photography, we were able to take a picture by having a long exposure.

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Click for full size

Around 1:30 PM, we decided to head home. I needed to get back to work (I was working from home that day). Plus we needed to pickup Sarah and Joanna from Orange Coast College. As we began our trip home, the van surged slightly a couple of times. Then when we were on the I-5 freeway, the van lost power.

Adventure on the Freeway

So now we are in the far left lane traveling about two or three miles per hour. Tim eyes an exit less than 100 yards away. However without any power, there is no way that we can cross multiple lanes of traffic. So Tim stops the van and traffic backs up behind us.

Tim has us pray for help and safety. Jeri gets on the phone with roadside assistance. Tim works to find the emergency blinkers. Within a few minutes, a CHP (California Highway Patrol) officer pulls up behind us. Someone else must have called 911.

The officer gives us instructions, breaks traffic, and pushes us off of the freeway. Now that we are safely off. Jeri finishes coordinating with roadside assistance to get a tow truck. Tim walks down to the Denny’s restaurant just down the street in search of a quiet place to make a phone call. He calls Enterprise Rent-a-Car in order to get a car that would get the rest of the family home.

Sarah and Joanna called the Sebo family to get a ride home from college. Mrs. Sebo asked if there was anything else they could do to help. So Jeri asked if she could pick us up and take us home. Tim then cancels the Enterprise reservation.

Getting Home

Tim rides with the tow truck driver back to the repair shop close to our house.

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Click for full size

Because we hadn’t had lunch, the rest of the group grabbed some food at Denny’s while waiting for the Sebo’s to pick them up.

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Click for full size

Many thanks to the Sebos for helping us out!

Josiah and Tinker Bell

Everyone (except Tim and Jason who had to work) went to California Adventure on Friday (Jan. 18, 2013). The weather was hot…sunny with temperatures reaching the low 80s. They got to the park early and did a number of rides including California Screamin’ (roller coaster), Mickey’s Fun Wheel (ferris wheel with swinging gondolas), Goofy’s Sky School (a different type of roller coaster), Hollywood Tower of Terror (a few did this one), and Toy Story’s Midway Mania (3-D shooting game).

Jeri took Josiah to Disneyland. Josiah loves the Peter Pan story and likes the ride, Peter Pan’s Flight. He got a chance to meet Tinker Bell as well.

Josiah and Tinker Bell

They finished their time with the new Radiator Springs Racer in California Adventure before heading home (via Taco Bell) around 2 PM.

Tim (who took vacation on Tuesday and Wednesday), Jeri, Victoria, Jeffrey, Elizabeth, and Josiah all went to California Adventure on Wednesday this week. After a few weeks of cool weather (highs never getting out of the 60s), we had a really nice day. It was sunny and around 75 F.

Christmas 2012

This year Grandma Stogdill came to spend Christmas with us. As always, we very much enjoyed spending time together with her.

Come Christmas morning, we were still wrapping a few presents so we didn’t open presents until early afternoon…and, of course, we had to take our annual Christmas photo before we begin unwrapping. Click on the photo below to see it full size.

Front (L to R): Sarah, Elizabeth, Grandma Stogdill, Victoria, Joanna, Nicole.
Back (L to R): Justin, Jason, Tim, Jeri, Jeffrey, Josiah

Our “New” Big Screen TV

Back in 2006 when we lived in San Jose, we purchased via Craigslist a beautiful oak entertainment center. Our current TV didn’t come close to filling the opening designated for it. Then we spotted a Craigslist moving sale that listed a nice TV for $50. So Justin and I drove and picked it up…it just fit in our Audi sedan.

Oak Entertainment Center

That TV served us well until 2011 when it finally died. Watching Craigslist, we found someone selling their stuff. Because she didn’t like her landlord, she was determined to get rid of all of her stuff so that her landlord. So for $25 she sold us her TV along with other items.

In the year 2012 as flat screen TVs kept coming down in price, I start wondering if we should spend the money to buy one. We don’t have cable or satellite TV nor do we watch much television. However I thought that a better TV would enhance our Friday-night movie nights. But I just didn’t get a peace about proceeding.

Then came New Year’s Day 2013, Jeri and some of the girls leave to go to Kohl’s to do some clothes shopping. Just a few minutes after leaving, Joanna calls home to say that there is a flat screen TV sitting on the curb just down the street from our house.

Samsung LN-T4642H

Figuring that there is nothing to lose, Justin and I walk down to the house. I knock on the door. Someone comes to the door but doesn’t open it. The man asks through the door, “What do you want?”

So I ask about the TV. He says that the TV doesn’t turn on; the power supply just clicks. When asked, he gives me permission to take it and adds “It might be a simple fix.”

Justin and I carry it home. I immediately go to my computer, open a browser to Google.com, and type in “samsung tv doesn’t turn on power supply clicks.” I soon discover that because of a class-action lawsuit that Samsung opened an 800-number hotline where owners can call to get the TV repaired for free.

The next day, I call the number and schedule an appointment for the next day. Sure enough a guy shows up, replaces a few capacitors, and gets the TV working.

So the Lord provided us a free 46″ TV. The vertical resolution is only 720 instead of 1080…but, heh, we’re not complaining!

What a beautiful example of God providing.

A Birthday Visit to Disneyland

Tim was able to take a personal day off from work to celebrate Jeri’s birthday (a day late). Nicole, Victoria, Elizabeth, and Josiah joined us. However after a few hours, Nicole wasn’t feeling well so she and Victoria went home.

We enjoyed the new Radiator Springs Racer in California Adventure’s Cars Land. We made it through the park gates a few minutes before the official opening time of 9:00 AM. Tim immediately got in the (already-long) line to get FastPass tickets to the Radiator Springs Racer ride.

The weather was very nice…clear skies with a high around 72 F. The park wasn’t crowded. A few of the popular rides had wait times over 30 minutes. But for those, we used FastPasses. Most of our wait times were five to 10 minutes; a few were as long as 20 minutes. So we got to do a lot of stuff.

We saw a few shows with the last one, the Candlelight Christmas Processional, being absolutely FANTASTIC! The quality of the production (stage, scenery, sound, lighting, etc.) was first-class Disney. We enjoyed in immensely.

Afterwards, we did Astroblasters. Our family nicknamed it BLAB for Buzz Lightyear AstroBlasters). A person in a wheelchair got on the ride shortly after we did; this enabled us to rack up some serious points while the ride was paused. Here are our results. Elizabeth was the winner (but only by a little).

Elizabeth gets high score honors. Click for larger image.
Jeri and Josiah. Click for larger image.

Christmas Open House 2012

Dear Friends. Stop by any time on Saturday, December 8th, from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM. We will have outdoor and indoor games plus refreshments and fun. (If you’d like, bring your something to share.)

You can RSVP by leaving a comment below.

Miramar Air Show 2012

On Saturday (Oct. 13, 2012), six of us went to the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California (near San Diego) to see the 2012 air show. Jeri, Justin, Nicole, Jeffrey, Josiah, and myself (Tim) made the 80-mile trip.

Although I knew that the drive would take a while, I was amazed at the volume of traffic on I-5 both southbound (our direction) and northbound. We left our house at 10:20 AM and after a quick stop to pick up a couple of bagels, we were on the Interstate by 10:30 AM. The drive was stop-and-go most of the way.

Around 1 PM, we arrived at Miramar. However it took us another half an hour to make it into the base and to a parking spot. Then we had to walk about 20 minutes from the parking area to the show.

Here we are watching, the AV-8B Harrier perform its vertical take-off and landing demonstration.

Nicole, Justin, Jeffrey, and Jeri at Mira Mar Airshow
Nicole, Justin, Jeffrey, and Jeri at Miramar Airshow

Of course, the Blue Angels were fantastic! Except for Josiah (who wasn’t born at the time), we had seen the Blue Angels before at the Quad City Air Show back when we lived in Rock Island, Illinois. They never cease to amaze. I was most impressed when the six Blue Angels started from six different directions and they all crossed at the same time in front of us!

Tim and Josiah at Miramar Airshow
Tim and Josiah at Miramar Airshow

The afternoon show ended around 4 PM. Then we looked at the various ground displays. Here’s Josiah with a Marine Captain who has flown the Cobra helicopter in battles in Afghanistan.

Marine Captain and Josiah In Front of Cobra Helicopter
Marine Captain and Josiah In Front of Cobra Helicopter

We stayed for the evening show. The best part was F/A-18 afterburner passes. We left before the fireworks show. The drive back home was fast; we made it from the air show parking lot to our house in less than 90 minutes.