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365 Day Photo Challenge - November 2012

Updated on April 1, 2013

Daily Photo Project - November 2012

Thanksgiving is in November, so I've decided my theme this month will be things I'm thankful for. Because I don't know when I'll get a picture of different people or places, they'll be in no particular order. I'm thinking that picking a specific theme will help m,e stay focused and get a good shot every day so we'll see how it goes.

A Photo a Day for November 2012 - Things I'm thankful for...

365 Photo Project - Day 83 - November 1, 2012 - my family...

My Family
My Family

My wife is from China, so I never got to meet her parents - until they moved to Sparks for awhile to live with us. The first time they were here for about a year and the second time they were here for about 6 months. I'm especially thankful they were able to come here because if they hadn't, Robert probably never would have gotten the chance to meet them and get to know them in person. We talk to them over Skype all the time, but it's not the same. It's kind of funny, they were here when Robert was a baby. When he was around 2, I was starting to worry because he wasn't talking yet. Then we went on a trip together and he was yacking up a storm with his grandparents - in Chinese! So he actually learned to speak Chinese before he could speak English. This photo is actually a picture of a picture but it shows all of us together - me, my wife, our two sons, and both sets of grandparents.

Day 84 - November 2, 2012 - my son Yuan...

My older son
My older son

My older son Yuan was born in 1990, but I didn't get to meet him until he was 10 years old. When my wife moved to the US to be with me Yuan stayed in China with his grandparents until they felt comfortable the marriage would last:) After 2 years they figured it would be OK so he came to join us in 2010. It was really rough for him at first - he didn't know any at all except his mom, he didn't speak English, and he had a tough time making friends in his ESL class. Over time though we've developed a really close relationship, and he absolutely adores his little brother. He has a disability, but he's very smart and good at chess. He's not my step son, he's my real son to me. I love him and I'm very proud of him.

Day 85 - November 3, 2012 - my son Robert...

My yonger son
My yonger son

Our younger son is Robert. He was born June 3rd, 2005 even though we almost lost him 3 months earlier. One Sunday I came home from church and my wife said she had a little spotting so she wanted to call the doctor on Monday and make sure everything was OK. Well, we'd lost another baby to a miscarriage a few years earlier, so I said no way, we're going to the hospital right now. It's a good thing we did, because my wife had gone into premature labor. She ended up in the hospital for 3 months on a magnesium drip until Robert grew big enough to survive after being born. I love spending time with him. He likes bike riding, drawing, building things, reading, playing chess (he got 3rd place in a tournament at school), fishing, playing exercise games on the WII, working on Dad's cars, and hanging out with his brother. He's really been a blessing:)

Day 86 - November 4, 2012 - almost 15 years of marriage...

Sometimes I still can't believe I'm married. There was a time I thought I'd never find anyone. Good things come to those who wait I guess because finally at 33 years old I found someone to spend the rest of my life with. I had some Chinese friends and one of them had a friend who had a friend in China who wanted to meet an American guy. So... I sent her a letter... and she replied:) We corresponded for about 6 months before I asked her to come to the US so we could meet in person. Well, it turns out it's just about impossible for Chinese people to visit the US unless they have connections, so I ended up going to China instead. It was quite an experience. When I met her, she was even nicer in person than she was in letters and on the phone. At first I was convinced she didn't like me, but by the end of the trip I'd decided to ask her to marry me. I waited until the night before I left - in case she said no I wanted to get on the plane and back to the US ASAP. She said yes though, so after about 11 months of paperwork she got to Reno in 1997 and we were married on December 5. This year will be 15 years of marriage for us.

Day 87

November 5, 2012 - my wife...

Day 88 - November 6, 2012 - Mom and Dad's Reno house...

One thing I'm really thankful for is that my mom and dad have a house in Reno. That means instead of seeing them maybe once or twice a year I get to see them a couple times a month. It's especially nice because Robert gets to spend a lot of time with his grandparents. I also like being able to see them so often. I'm lucky to have a close relationship with my parents; actually other than my wife, my parents are probably my two closest friends. I love cooking with my mom and talking politics with my dad. They are getting old (especially my dad is starting to age kind of fast) so the time I get to spend with them is really precious to me - and I get a lot more of it thanks to their house in Reno.

Day 89 - November 7, 2012 - our house...

Our home
Our home

I love our house. We bought it in 2003, just before the house bubble really took off. I love the way our master bedroom is laid out, and each kid has their own room. In between their rooms and ours, we have a den that doubles as a hobby room and it's also where we have the family computer. Downstairs we have separate living and family rooms, which makes it nice when we have company with kids - the kids can play in one area while the adults relax in the other. Our kitchen has a breakfast bar that I really love, and the back yard is just the right size - not too big and not too small. My favorite part of the house is the 3 car garage though - I call it my Man Cave and it's my favorite place to hang out. One other thing I'm thankful for about our home - since we bought it before housing prices really took off (and then crashing), we're not underwater on our mortgage like many of our friends are. It's been a great home for our family:)

Day 90 - November 8, 2012 - my old telephone...

Westren Electric Telephone
Westren Electric Telephone

You might think an old telephone is an odd thing to be thankful for, but this one has a lot of family history. My mom found it when her cousins were cleaning out their barn. They were going to through it away, so my mom asked if she could have it. The wood was really aged when she got it, so she had it professionally restored. The Western Electric label is original, which I'm told is really rare, and the restoration company was able to save it instead of having to replace it with a reproduction. I was about 10 (I think) and she let me have the magneto from inside the phone because it made it too heavy to hang on the wall. About 26 years late, I got a job working on telephones for a living, so my mom asked me if I'd like to have the phone for our house. Of course I said yes, and now it hangs in our entry hall. Every time I see it I think about my mom's cousins, my mom, and other relatives from the Sacramento area... so yes, I'm really thankful to have this old telephone:)

Day 91 - November 9, 2012 - My first model steam engine...

My Tyco Shifter
My Tyco Shifter

Something else from my childhood that I'm thankful for - my first HO Scale steam engine. I've loved trains ever since I was a little kid. My grandparents lived near a shared Southern Pacific/Union Pacific/Santa Fe line in Pt. Pleasant, and there was a railroad museum close to our home in Bishop that my parents took us to visit often. When I was about 10, I got my first train set for Christmas. I'm almost 50 now, and it's still the best Christmas present I ever got. I still have the locomotive from that first train set - a Tyco 0-4-0 Shifter. It still runs too (though it could use some paint touch up on the cylinders) and it really brings back some great memories...

Day 92 - November 10, 2012 - my HP-11C...


When I graduated from high school, my parents got me this HP-11C as a graduation present. I was planning on going to college in the fall and they wanted me to have a good calculator for the engineering classes I'd be taking. I never finished college - I got sidetracked making stupid decisions for awhile - but I still have the calculator, and it's been a great tool for all these years. After my "prodigal years" I did end up going back to Community College, and my HP-11C finally got used for what my parents intended. HP calculators use an input method called Reverse Polish Notation (RPN), which led to my interest in the Forth programming language. Forth in turn led to an interest in micro-controllers, which in turn led to my taking some programming classes, which eventually led to me getting my current job. So in a round about way, this little calculator that my parents bought me way back in 1982 is the reason I have a job today - and that's something to be thankful for:)

Day 93 - November 11, 2012 - Shepherd of the Mountains...

One of the things I'm really thankful for is that my parents instilled a strong spiritual value in me. Our church in Bishop belongs to a very small synod (Evangelical Lutheran Synod - not to be confused with ELCA) which is in doctrinal fellowship with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod which has a church in Reno - Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church. This church has a lot of history for me. When I moved to Reno in 1988 I started attending this church. I drifted away, but after my wife and I had a civil marriage in 1997, we decided to have a church ceremony at SOTM in the fall of 1998. My oldest son was baptized at this church and attended 6th and 7th grades at a school run by the church. When our younger son was born, he was also baptized at SOTM, by a visiting pastor who happened to be the pastor at the church in Bishop my parents took us to way back in the early 1970's. When I had marriage problems, the pastor at SOTM was able to guide me through them, and again helped us when we were having health issues with our older son. I am SO thankful for Shepherd of the Mountains that I really don't know how to express it except to say "Thanks be to God."

Day 94 - November 12, 2012 - First house in Reno...

When I moved to Reno in 1988, I lived in a studio apartment for about 6 months but then my parents decided to buy a house for me to live in while I went to school. The idea was I'd rent out the extra bedrooms (which would cover the house payments) then they'd sell it at a profit when I graduated after 4 or 5 years. Well, things didn't exactly work out that way:) I ended up quitting school to join the ANG. I had lots of crappy room mates over the years but a few really good ones I ended up becoming good friends with. When my wife came to Reno in 1997 I was still in the house, and it became our family home until 2003 when we bought our own house. In all, I lived here for about 13 years. It was the first house in the US my wife and older son lived in, and it has a ton of good memories for me. Also, it's still in the family - my parents never sold it, deciding to keep it as a rental when I moved out. When Robert goes to college in 10 years there's a good chance he'll be living here - all because my parents decided to do me a favor about 24 years ago...

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Day 96 - November 14, 2012 - Childhood memories...

Hot Wheels Watch
Hot Wheels Watch

I'm a very sentimental person - I like keeping things from my childhood. Not because I'm a materialist, but because I cherish the memories they represent. One of the things I was really big into as a kid was Hot Wheels cars. My friends and I would get together, race them, crash them, play with them, trade them... I kind of wish I'd kept at least a couple in good condition but being a kid of course I didn't. One thing I did keep though was my Hot Wheels watch. It wasn't in good condition either, but my mom was going through all my old stuff after I'd moved out and found the watch. Instead of throwing it away, she put it aside (I guess to see if I still wanted it) and forgot about it. A couple years later she asked me what I wanted for Christmas (we still exchange gifts every year). I told her I wanted something with sentimental value. She (unknown to me) remember the watch, found it, and had it sent to a shop that professional restores watches. When the got it, it didn't work, the band was broken, the lens was cracked, and the chrome was scratched up. They got it working, polished out the scratches, replaced the lens, and put on a new original style band - it really looks better than new. So that year for Christmas, my old-new watch was my Christmas present from my mom and dad. It's one of the best presents I ever got:)

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Day 98 - November 16 - Our first rental house...

Last year, we decided we'd better start investing our money instead of just spending it. Stocks didn't seem like a good idea so we started looking into getting a rental property. Our search could probably be used as a case study in how not to invest in real estate. We couldn't agree on what house to buy or what neighborhood to buy in. We lost a couple of good deals when we couldn't make up or mind and someone else bought them while we were still wondering if we should make an offer. the house we finally bought (this one) needed way more work than we could do, and or first handyman turned out to be a total flake and we ended up having to evict him (long story - don't ask). In the end though it all worked out. We have a great little vintage house in an historic neighborhood, our tenant is awesome, and I love the house. In fact it turned out so well that we decided to invest in another rental property. I'm really thankful we were given this opportunity...

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Day 100 - November 18 - Springs Lutheran Church...

When we moved to our new house in 2003, everything was awesome - except the drive to church. From our old house, church was about a 10 minute drive. Our new home was almost 30 minutes away though. The time didn't bother me as much as all the gas we used. After a couple of years though, Shepherd of the Mountains had a new pastor with some new ideas - like starting a mission congregation somewhere in Reno. It turns out the place they decided to start it was in Spanish Springs, about a 5 minute drive from our new home. Pastor Hillmer at the new church is awesome too. It's nice to be able to a church that focuses on the Word, and I love going to Springs with my family. Our older some especially likes going there. I'm so thankful I have a church home so close to our house...

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      5 years ago

      that's really interesting


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