Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vacation Part 4... and a side note

A few days ago I read a blog post about someone who had their photos stolen from their blog.  I wish I could remember where I read it, so I could post a link.  The family's Christmas photo, which she had posted on her blog, had been stolen and used in some eastern European country for a billboard!  The moral of the story:  add a watermark to your photos.

So from now on I am going to watermark all my photos that I post on my blog.  If you would like a copy of a photo without the watermark, just let me know and I will email you one. :)

With that said, let's get on with the vacation photos!

Wednesday was our 6th Anniversary!  And we spent it at Carlsbad Caverns, in Carlsbad, New Mexico.  After our little tour at Natural Bridge Caverns, I wasn't sure what to expect, but to tell you the truth I thought that all caves were the same.  Was I ever wrong!

Carlsbad Caverns are unlike any cave I have ever been to.  They are A.MAZ.ING!  

I went a little photo crazy at Carlsbad, while we only spent 1 day there, I am breaking the photos up into 2 posts.  (That, and resizing and watermarking every photo is labor intensive.)  It's difficult to appreciate from these photos, but Carlsbad is HUGE (you descend 750 ft below ground by elevator and walk out into this gigantic cavern).  You can take self guided tours, or you can take ranger-led tours.  We did a little bit of both.  

First, we took a guided tour of the "Left Hand Cavern."  This turned out to be our very favorite part of the entire trip.  Our guide was awesome!  She took us on this off-path tour and we learned a lot about the cave.  This particular tour only allows up to 15 people per day, but that day there were only 8 of us, plus the 2 guides.  It made for such an enjoyable hike!  We spent about 3 hours wandering around totally dark passages.  The only light was from our candle-lit lanterns (in theory, pretty cool; in practice, not so much.  It was hard to juggle the camera and the lantern, plus not step on anything important or stumble down an opening!).

This part of the cave is purposely kept as close to natural as possible.  That's why they don't let very many people tour it.  So many of my photos came out blurry (because of the dark), but I couldn't help but post a few of my favorites.

Isn't that color just amazing?  

Unlike Natural Bridge Caverns, only about 5% of Carlsbad is actually still alive.  But we did find some little pockets of underground pools, like this one:

Our guides would stop us periodically to point out something particularly interesting.  Here she is showing us the "popcorn" formation. Popcorn are formed by evaporation, as opposed to water actually dripping.

Close-up of popcorn formation, and one of my favorite shots of the day.

And here we are!  Carlsbad Caverns is definitely one of my favorite anniversary trips so far!

That's all for the Left Hand Cavern.  Tomorrow I will post more of the main Cavern. Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Fun Continues

Welcome to the next installment of Hollingsworth Vacation 2009. 

After the temple on Monday, we continued north to the Natural Bridge Caverns.  Our plan was to give ourselves a little taste of what was in store for us later in the week.  First of all, let me tell you that the Natural Bridge Caverns are 71 degrees with 99% humidity.  It was HOT and HUMID.  Couple that with climbing up and down and all over the caverns and we were quite the sight to see afterwords.  But we had fun, which was the point. 

Since we are not the best underground photographers, I will only post a few.  

Here we are, all sweaty and gross.  But happy.  

More stalagmites and stalactites.

The great room.  Really big.  With lots of stairs.  

That's all for now, folks!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vacation, Part 2.

[disclaimer: I am learning how to make images larger here on blogger, and I may have gone a little overboard.]

We have a tradition of visiting local temples when we are on vacation.  On Monday, we made our way to the San Antonio Temple.  It is gorgeous.

I especially loved all the stained glass.


Since it was Monday, the temple was closed, so we didn't get to go inside. We did meet some really friendly people outside the temple, though. They told us all sorts of fun facts, like the shapes in the fence are actually the symbol of the Alamo.

san antonio temple


more words of inspiration

I am finding these little words of inspiration everywhere these days.

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands...." 1 Thessalonians 4:11

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vacation. Part 1.

I took 516 photos while on vacation, and the task of sorting and editing has me feeling a little overwhelmed. Especially since I'm a beginner photo editor.  So I thought I would break it up and post a little each day.

We left on Sunday and after the not-as-short-as-I-had-hoped (3 hours) drive, we arrived in San Antonio.  I was excited to stay on the Riverwalk.  Now, I had heard a LOT about the famous Riverwalk.  And to be honest, I had this grand picture of what I thought the Riverwalk should look like.  In my head, it was a great rushing river, with steamboats.  Somewhere between theWillamette and the Mississippi.  I was sadly mistaken.  

As we drove downtown, I asked Dan, "where is the river?"  And he replied, pointing, "right there."  Surely he was joking.  He tries to trick me all the time.  But not this time.  Indeed, the Riverwalk is a tiny little canal. Hm.  Foiled again.

Here is the view of the "riverwalk" from our hotel window.

Once I got over the shock, I decided the Riverwalk wasn't too bad.  Lots of restaurants and shopping.  We decided to take a walk along the river.  It was hot.  6 pm and over 100 degrees.  Yuck!

But we eventually made it here.

That's right, the Alamo. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't know a lot about the Alamo.  Truth be told, I still don't know a lot about the Alamo.  But I think I'll find a book and learn.  One of these days...

I thought this was a cool photo, with my shadow and everything.  

So we walked along the Riverwalk and found a nice air conditioned mall, where we got a much needed bottle of water.  On the way back we found a cute little "all Texas" burger place.  Good food.  We were too stuffed for the ice cream we had promised ourselves earlier.

Stay tuned.


I woke up this morning and I have no Blackberry service. I feel isolated.

I did come across this quote, which I thought appropriate.

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." ---Thomas Jefferson

Friday, July 24, 2009


Thank you for all the kind words about our new home. I am so excited to move in! I just love our neighborhood, and it's nice to be closer in to the city. We could have bought a much larger house in the suburbs, but this time wanted to be close to downtown and also to work. My commute is only about 25 minutes, which is SO NICE! :)

Anyway, I've had some requests lately for Photos of the Day. I know I have been a slacker about posting. I just haven't had the chance to get back on here since vacation. Anyway, here are a couple POTD that I happen to have here at work (because they were on my cell phone, which is why they are such poor quality). I'm going to try and get some photo editing done this weekend so I can post some vacation photos!

Here's one from our new favorite Mexican restaurant, Lupe Tortilla. The food is here is soooo delicious! We are happy to see that they just opened a new location about a mile from our house. Not sure if that will prove to be good for the waistline...

Yesterday I saw this car in the mall parking lot, and had to take a photo for Dan. I have to admit I was proud that I recognized it as a Lamborghini Gallardo.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Big News!!

I've been wanting to share this for a while now (we closed on July 6th!), but we were keeping it a secret until Dan's parents came to visit. 

We are now proud Texas homeowners!!  Check out this little beauty:

It is a lot smaller than our home in Utah, but it really is just perfect for our needs.  3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and packed full of charm!  Lots of details to work out yet, but looks like we will be moving in sometime in August or September.  We're hoping to be in this one for a long, long time.  Yay!

Pleasure. and Pain.

We were on vacation last week, and coming back to the real world has been rough. We had a fantastic time, took lots of photos, and enjoyed some time with the in-laws as well. More on all that later.

So in a round about way, we acquired this little gem last week (thanks Jessica & David!):

It's actually a lot more fun than I had anticipated. While it's not as physically demanding as I had hoped, it at least gets me up off the couch for a few minutes each evening.
Last night I progressed from "medium" to "hard" level, and was doing quite well until right after the "jumping lunges" (really? like lunges aren't hard enough?) and suddenly I was in PAIN. Major cramp in the muscle ... how do I put this delicately?... the muscle that connects the back of your thigh to your butt. I don't think I've ever had a cramp that bad. I could not sit; I could not walk; It hurt to stand. All I could do is lean over and deal with the pain. After about 15 minutes it started to subside. I declined to finish the workout.
So we'll see what tonight brings.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What can we do? Take back our country!

Here are some more things to think about:

1. $11 Billion to $22 billion is spent on welfare to illegal aliens each year by state governments.
Verify at:

2. $2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens.
Verify at:

3. $2.5 Billion dollars a year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens.
Verify at:

4. $12 Billion dollars a year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of English!
Verify at:

5. $17 Billion dollars a year is spent for education for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies.
Verify at

6. $3 Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens.
Verify at:

7. 30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens.
Verify at:

8. $90 Billion Dollars a year is spent on illegal aliens for Welfare & social services by the American taxpayers..
Verify at:

9. $200 Billion dollars a year in suppressed American wages are caused by the illegal aliens.
Verify at:

10. The illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that's two and a half times that of LEGAL aliens. In particular, their children, are going to make a huge additional crime problem in the US.
Verify at:

11. During the year of 2005 there were 4 to 10 MILLION illegal aliens that crossed our southern border also, as many as 19,500 illegal aliens from terrorist countries. Millions of pounds of drugs, cocaine, meth, heroin and marijuana, crossed into the U.S. From the Southern border.
Verify at: Homeland Security Report:

12. The National policy Institute, estimated that the total cost of mass deportation would be between $206 and $230 billion or an average cost of between $41and $46 billion annually over a five year period.'
Verify at:

13. In 2006 illegal aliens sent home $45 BILLION in remittances to their countries of origin.
Verify at:

14. 'The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One million sex crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants In The United States.'
Verify at:

The total cost is a whopping $ 338.3 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.

Are we THAT stupid?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why I Love Independence Day

I realize that this post is a little late.  But I have a good excuse.

AT&T U-verse.  If you haven't already heard me whining about this on Facebook, then read the post below.

But seriously:  I love the 4th of July!  It has long been my favorite holiday.

First, I love the nature of the holiday.  Independence Day.  Our Independence Day.  I love our country, and though there are scads of things to fix, I love the idea of America.  I love who we are and what we stand for.

John Adams said:

"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

He was off by 2 days, but we won't worry about the details.  (If you really are a history nerd, you already know that the separation of the American colonies from Great Britain really did occur on July 2, 1776.)

I love this day because there is no stress or worry or pressure associated with this holiday.  No presents to buy, no parties to dress up for, no cards to send, no awkward office parties to attend, no decorations to put up - or take down, no special clothes or costumes to wear, no protocol.  

Just pure fun.  Hang out with your family. Eat summer foods like hot dogs and hamburgers and corn-on-the-cob and potato salad and watermelon.  Run thru the sprinklers or lounge by the pool.  Wear shorts and a t-shirt and a baseball cap.  Relax!  Enjoy your family and friends!  Listen to big band patriotic music, attend a parade and watch fireworks displays.  

This is why I love the Independence Day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Time for a Rant, or "You Might Want To Think Twice Before Ordering AT&T Uverse"

**UPDATE #2** As of 7:30 pm on Tuesday, we have been re-connected. I shall say no more.

**UPDATE** OK, so I waited until 8:00 last night and finally the guy showed up. He asked me what the problem was. Um, I don't have TV or Internet! Don't you think he would know that? I escorted him to the room where the modem is, and he "tested" the line, while I explained what we had been told about the neighborhood box problem. He confirmed that we were not receiving data (duh). Then he went to test the cable on the outside of the house. Still nothing. "It must be a problem in the neighborhood box, " he said. No kidding, I thought. So he went to check the box, and wonder of wonders, there was a problem. And he couldn't fix this particular problem. So he told me he "called in a ticket" and someone would be out to fix it first thing in the morning. He said I did not have to be there, but when I got home, I should reset the modem and everything will be fine.

I am still skeptical. But I will do as I am told tonight when I get home from work. Heaven help me if we don't have service..............

We lost our TV and Internet connection on Thursday evening. We had a tech scheduled on Friday from 12 to 4 pm. We waited and nobody showed up. We called to see why they hadn’t and were told that the Tech was re-scheduled because they couldn’t get access. I was there the whole time, so I do not know why they couldn't get access! I think it was just an excuse. Anyway, when we told them that their tune changed and then they said that there was a cable cut in the neighborhood and that is why the tech was cancelled. We were told that we would be called back soon.

Saturday morning comes and we hadn’t received a call so we call in again. The customer service agent informs Dan that the cable had been repaired and sets us up with another tech appointment from 12 to 4 p.m., once again, a no show. We call in after 4:30 p.m. and the customer service agent informs me that the cable in our area is still down and we won’t see a tech until that is fixed, and they will call us to schedule (uhh Huh, where have I heard that before?). I was advised that they were working on the problem currently and it should be fixed soon. I then asked for a manager and was placed on hold for 20 min. Finally a manager came on, went through the same info and told me he would personally call me back Sunday morning after 8:00 a.m. With that information we decided to take a drive to see if we could see any AT&T crews were working in the neighborhood. Of course there weren’t any to be found. After the drive we realized that another home in our neighborhood has had programming since Friday morning, so I called in to inquire about that. After talking to a first line customer service agent I was transferred to the Level 2 service agents who (shockingly) were very informative and spent considerable time troubleshooting everything they could. I also gave him the address of the family we knew that had working service. He came back and said that there were several homes in the area without service and ours just happened to be one of them. He said that we needed to wait until the cable was corrected and that he would stay on top of it and call me back. I then told him that I have been told that before and that I was going to call back Sunday morning if it wasn’t corrected overnight.

Sunday morning comes and no call was received from management (as promised) or from the Level 2 techs. About 11:00 a.m. I decide to call in and see if I could get an update. The Level 2 tech I reached was nice and started off by stating that it looked like everything was OK with the line. I then stopped her and explained what had happened and what the status was the last time I called. As she starts to trouble shoot she sees that 6 homes in our area are without service and she was shocked that it had been so long that the service was down. She started to try to schedule a tech to come out as soon as possible but dispatch wouldn’t let her due to the fact that the cable was still cut and needed repair. (Mind you we haven’t seen any AT&T trucks in our neighborhood since we reported the outage.)

Once again I was told to wait and that dispatch would call. So we went about our day and when we got home from church we saw an AT&T truck pass us on our street and another AT&T van parked by the box that needed repair. Nobody was around the parked van but hope started to grow. Of course that hope was dashed when we got back inside the house and re-booted the modem/cable box, and once again, nothing. I walked outside to see if there was anyone working by or around the van and the van was gone.

Here we are Monday morning and I get a call at 11:12 am from AT&T asking me if I "was experiencing any trouble with my service." I told her yes, and proceeded to tell her the entire story about what had happened over the weekend. She told me she would call the tech office to see if the neighborhood issue had been resolved (wouldn't you think that she would check that before calling me??), and would call me back.

Lo and behold, she called back at 11:17 am to tell me that the neighborhood issue had been resolved and she would like to schedule the tech to come by and fix my modem box. Tomorrow. I asked if there was any way they could come today. She checked the schedule and was able to secure me an appointment from 4 to 9 pm tonight.

I don't know about you, but I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bad Blogger.

Somewhere in the past couple of weeks blogging has started to feel like a chore.  Something I have to do.  You know, to post my Photo-of-the-Day.  Well, I've decided that just because I'm taking photos every day, doesn't mean I have to post them for all to see every day.  Right?  So I am changing things up around here.  

Here are a few of the things that happened this week.

This past Sunday, my class had to present "Sharing Time" in Primary.  These were a few of our props, symbolizing  emotions we might need to rid ourselves of via forgiveness.

I have an obsession with puppy feet.  I love them. They are so cute.  Plus, they smell like Fritos.  

And there you have it!  A guilt free post!