Jan Dill Hall's Blog


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Mon, 02 Apr 2018

Spring is here

It has been an odd winter. It has been mild, except that when it usually warms up here, it started to get cold. I usually put out tomato plants in February, but this year it froze after that and I had to replace my tomatoes. The weather is finally warming up though. 

There was unusual weather across the nation. Hardly any snow in the Sierras until March. Four major snowstorms on the East coast in March. Anyway, plans for Spring break were hard to make because we didn't want to end up somewhere it would be raining or snowing. So at the last minute we decided that the ocean would be our safest bet. Of course, I was missing the beach and wanted to go anyway.

We started our trip with a night at Mom's. We met up with the Dills for dinner. Mom had bought a birthday cake for me also. yum. 

  thumb.Mom with birthday cake.jpg

Then Marc and I left for Pinnacles National Park. I had been there once before, but wanted a second chance to see a California condor up close. We took a pretty hike, but unfortunately still did not see a condor. We did attend a ranger talk and learned interesting things.


After Pinnacles, we drove to Santa Cruz. We checked into our hotel, walked downtown to explore. We had a good dinner and then sat in the hot tub to relax.

Then next morning, we got up and drove to the marina. We had tickets to go whale watching. First we explored the marina and lighthouse.


Then we met Chuck, the sea otter. 


We saw quite a few humpback whales feeding. It was fun to see them up close.

After whale watching, we went downtown again to explore. We had pizza and salad for dinner and then sat in the hot tub again. We were on vacation to relax after all. 

The next morning, we checked out of our hotel/ We had about 30 miles to go for our next accommodations, so we wandered leisurely  up highway 1. We stopped to see a real blue whale skeleton.


The coastline along here for about 50 miles is almost undeveloped. There are a lot of farms and ranches. I did not realize that when I made our reservations. The address said Pescadero and I'd remembered that there was a lighthouse there, with a youth hostel, but didn't realize that the town of Pescadero was tiny.But the remoteness made the beaches beautiful and uncrowded.



We explored some and then got to Ano Nuevo State Park. We found out that we were just in time for a ranger walk to see the elephant seals, something that I'd always wanted to do. We were in the wrong season to see the males fighting, but there were still seals around to see. We saw two juvenile males that were old enough to have large noses. Most of the seals were just lying about, saving their energy. They don't eat while on land, so they had been fasting for months. They lose a lot of weight while there. Soon they will swim back to sea. 




We finally checked into our tent cabin at  Costanoa. This was just like the tent cabins at scout camp, but not at all like the cabins at scout camp. We had a cushy queen-sized bed with down comforter and four pillows. The bathrooms had heated floors and hot showers. We also had a hot tub again for ultimate relaxing. 


Here, we discovered that we had to drive to Half Moon Bay for dinner, but had a good Italian dinner.On the way back we saw the sunset behind pigeon point lighthouse.


The next day we explored the surroundings, including the redwoods at Butano State Park.









Then came back in time for low tide and more tide pools.

Thursday was my actual birthday, as opposed to the whole "birthday week," (which I took advantage of). We stopped at the best bakery in Davenport for a cinnamon twist for breakfast.

 Then went to the pier in Santa Cruz for a last look at the ocean. We saw sea lions and a lot of fish under the pier.

I decided to get a second breakfast if fish and chips. The fish was delicious. 


We headed for home, stopping for dinner in Bakersfield. We had fish tacos at Rubios. 

And we drove home, arriving in Las Vegas about nine to celebrate my birthday again (this time including Thomas) with ice cream.

What a great vacation and a fun way to celebrate all week. I'm so glad Marc was able to take the week off so that we could do this together.







posted at: 12:05 |

Mon, 01 Jan 2018

November and December 2017

I set a goal to have my blog updated by the time Christmas break was over. Once again, I am having technical difficulties. This time it is my phone that is the problem. I need a new phone but have been putting off getting one because I hate learning how to use a new phone and I hate the fact that they only last two years or so. I hate disposable electronics. Oh well, things keep breaking on my phone and I think I can make do, but now I can't seem to transfer the pictures. That may be the last straw.

Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and post about Thanksgiving even without pictures. Normally my blog is just a way to post my pictures, but now I may  have to actually write something…we'll see how that works.

Since Melody and Calvin spent Christmas with us  last year, they planned to spend Thanksgiving with us this year. We reserved our timeshare in Eden, Utah, so that neither they nor Bryan would not have to drive too far. This year for the first time, both Marc and I had the whole week off. We were really looking forward to it. I thought that we might have snow and would maybe even do a little cross-country skiing, something we hadn't done for a long time.

Well, it looked a little like winter when we arrived, but it rained the first night we were there, and all the snow melted. After that, it was sunny and warm. That was OK because Melody, Calvin, and Bryan all already get their fill of snow. The timeshare had a lot to do. We played racquetball, pool, took walks, sat in the jacuzzi, and played games, in addition to eating. I loved the racquetball and vowed to play more when I got home, but have not done that as yet. Melody and Calvin also brought some homework and so worked on that. They had robots to build for a class they were taking together, and Melody had drawing to do. 

The timeshare was smaller than we had expected, so I was a little worried that we'd be able to fix a whole turkey dinner in the little kitchen. We managed. There was a great little market just about a mile away and we ran to the store practically every day we were there, in spite of the fact that I'd tried to plan and bring what I thought we would need. The last day I took a picture of all six of us standing in the tiny kitchen to show that we'd all fit. I wish I could show you the picture. We are all so cute.

The last day, we all drove to Ogden and went to the air museum there. It was a pretty nice museum, with a lot of planes to look at. Since the weather was so nice, it was a real treat to be outside for awhile in such a pretty place.

After this trip, we headed home. In early December, I flew to Fresno to spend some Christmas time with Mom and Wayne. Katie was there too, so that was nice to see her too. We did the traditional bowling thing. We seemed to roll more gutter balls than usual. I lost, but I always have hope that one of these trips I will be amazing. Maybe I should practice so that happens. Right after I get good at racquetball…

Christmas this year was going to be quiet. Bryan had to work on Christmas, but was planning to came for the New Year. Melody and Calvin were going to Malad, but ended up staying in Rexburg because of bad weather. So the three of us, Marc, Thomas, and I, had a quiet Christmas. We did the usual, watched movies, ate quiche, opened presents, ate ham, drank eggnog. It was relaxing. 

On the 27th, we celebrated our 26th anniversary by taking Thomas to get his wisdom teeth out… He had made the appointment, and it needed to get done, so we went ahead. It all went fairly smoothly. Thomas was uncomfortable on Wednesday, so we sat together and watched movies all day. Thomas felt much better on Thursday, so Marc and I went out then for a nice dinner together. 

Bryan came home on Friday. We went to the REI garage sale on Saturday morning together, but otherwise we've just been relaxing too.I guess that I should mention that neither Bryan nor Marc are feeling very good, and Thomas has been taking it easy too, so that explains all the movie watching and relaxing.  New Years was wild, with staying up until midnight watching more movies. 

And now this blog is up to this very day. We just took down the tree together and had BBQ tri-tip for dinner. The rest of the nation is having a cold spell, so we needed to celebrate our warm weather by eating BBQ. Now that I can cross this goal off my list, I am going to join the family and watch more movies. I should mention that I still have 6 days of vacation left, so should be able to get everything done that I'd planned during these days off.

Happy New year!

posted at: 21:49 |

Sun, 31 Dec 2017


Halloween is not much fun now that we don't have kids at home who like dressing up. I do get to dress up for school and that is kind of fun. 


Halloween is not much fun now that we don't have kids at home who like dressing up. I do get to dress up for school and that is kind of fun. 


Since we are usually in the middle of our worm project in October, I usually  hand out dirt and worms. Otherwise, Halloween is pretty low key.

posted at: 22:15 |

October trip to Fresno

Marc and I drove to Fresno so that we could visit Mom and Wayne. We did the now traditional bowling. While we waited for a lane at Fresno State, we played some pool. We are not very good at either. We also went to  the reopening of the renovated Downtown Mall. They allowed cars to drive on it after many years of it being a pedestrian mall. There was a display of old-fashioned cars, Fresno style (they were all low-riders). It was a fun trip. thumb.P_20171021_075232_BF.jpg




We also played some pinochle. Marc got 1500 trump, so that was noteworthy.



posted at: 22:12 |

Fall 2017

School started two weeks before the eclipse.That was two weeks earlier than usual, which meant that the first semester will be out before Christmas. That is a nice change. It was still difficult to start so early. Our summer seemed way too short.

Anyway, I bought a new pet for my classroom. The class voted and named the new snake Gucci. We also got a betta fish named Bubbles.


We got  teacher appreciation tickets to ride the High Roller.Wayne came out in September so we did this with him and Lara.




We'd all gotten tickets to see The curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time.It was not amazing. We all thought it was way too long. The staging was interesting though.





In October, Thomas finally got his driver's license.


Which means that I am almost caught up with this blog. I have to post about a couple more trips…October, November, December, and I will be caught up. No more time tonight though.


posted at: 00:04 |

Sat, 30 Dec 2017

Eclipse 2017

We'd anticipated the total solar eclipse for about two years. We didn't really know what to expect with regard to traffic. Luckily, Melody and Calvin lived in the path of totality, so we were able to camp on their lawn and didn't have to pay outrageous prices for a hotel room, as some people did. We took two days off work, and drove to Provo, picking up Bryan and his friend Claire there, then on to Rexburg with a totally packed car. We had been warned to take everything we'd need in case of huge crowds. It was not necessary.


Melody and I had planned food and she'd done the shopping. We had fun eating and playing games and anticipating the actual eclipse, which of course only lasted about 3 minutes. 


Michael, Jenny, and Ollie were staying with friends nearby, so we met at a nearby park to see them.



Calvin's friend (who took their wedding pix) came to take pictures of the eclipse. His were good.



We hung around waiting for the first contact. Melody had provided eclipse glasses.


  The shadows turned into ellipses.


Our car was too  packed to bring the big camera, so this is what I took with my cell phone.


It got dark. Not as dark as I remember in Guatemala.


And then the sun started to come back. Everyone cheered and we needed the glasses again.




 We drove home, dropping Bryan and Claire off in Provo, stopping briefly to see his new car. It has a spoiler. Enough said.



posted at: 23:43 |

Summer 2017

When Thomas and I got back from San Francisco, Marc suggested that we take a day and go to a local ComicCon together. It was pretty fun. I was impressed with all the art work there. 


 Then I had a week of training for a new class that I was going to teach, AP Environmental science. It was held at a local high school and was fun. I was looking forward to teaching a subject that I love. he picture is of the garden at the school.  Since I have a school garden too, I was hoping that I could incorporate the garden in my teaching more.We hung insect traps to get an idea of what was hanging around the garden.


  On July 2nd, Marc had a birthday and his usual lasagna and ice cream cake.


 I went to visit Dad and Sheila and their new kitten, Sunny. He/she is really adorable.I say that because they thought it was a girl at first, but then found out it is a he. We kept calling him "her". Very confusing.



Besides playing with the cat, we had a nice time visiting, and playing cards.  

Then I drove to Fresno where I also got to visit with Mom and Wayne. We went to a play at Roger Rocka's Second Space. 


I then drove back north to visit Claudia in Coloma. Again, visiting was the priority, but we also went berry picking.


  Did you know that geese will eat berries off the vine? I didn't.


Summer was extra short this year, because school was to start two weeks earlier than usual. So I am nearing the end of summer now. Just a few precious weeks left. I had fun sewing a couple of wall hangings for my classroom. I learned to sew with my glasses on from now on. To learn the lesson cost me a trip to the emergency room with a needle in my finger. 


My drive home from Placerville had been so much fun because I had taken a new route and come over highway 88 and driven along the back side of the Sierra. When I'd gotten home I'd suggested to Marc that we take my final week of vacation (and Marc's only week) and go to the same area. We visited with Dad and Sheila again, and this time they took us to Calico. It was a beautiful day for a visit. 





  Then Marc and I drove on. We found Lake Tahoe unusually high after a good snowfall year.


We stayed at Sorenson's in Hope  Valley for two nights.


And explored the area. I miss the mountains still.


We saw lots of wildflowers.



We stayed in a cabin.


  On the way home we stopped at Mono Lake.



And continued on to  Mammoth Mountain and Devil's Postpile.




The whole trip was very  relaxing and a nice way to end the summer.


posted at: 23:11 |

Sun, 10 Dec 2017

Graduation trip

Thomas and I had fun planning a trip. First, Thomas wanted to go to Seattle, but after looking at Seattle, and then Portland, he decided that there was more that he wanted to see in San Francisco. As much as Thomas wanted to stay in a nice hotel, to stay even close to our budget, we ended up in a "hostel" like hotel. We shared a bath and we were just south of Market. It turned out to be a comfortable place. Breakfast was included and we were close to everything. The only problem was that San Francisco was in the middle of a heat wave while we were there and our room didn't have AC.OK, it was only in the 80s, but the first two nights were bad because there was no air flow. Then we got a fan and were fine.

Anyway, we flew to  San Francisco instead of driving so we didn't have to worry about having a car. On the way there, I thought it was cool that we passed over Yosemite Valley.


We took BART from the airport to our hotel, checked in, and then spent time exploring the area. We went to Yerba Buena Gardens, 


The weather was beautiful and there was so much to explore. 



We toured a local maker-space.


The first night we went to a really good play. The tickets were expensive, so I was hoping that it would be worth it, but we were not disappointed. It was great.


The next day when we could pick up our City Pass, we started going to museums. We did the Exploratorium





The Museum of the Bay,



and The Academy of Sciences.






The day we went to the beach was cold and foggy. What's new in San Francisco? It was still pretty.The sun eventually came out.



  We walked all over that day, and went back pretty tired.




We even went to see the Yoda fountain.



And saw a statue of Philo P Farnsworth, distant relative.



 Ghirardelli Square



Boy, in looking at all the pix, no wonder I was so tired after this day. We went all over.



Although we did ride a cable car, and other transit, we did a lot of walking too.



Our final day, we took a bay tour and hung out in the financial district.



We took BART back to the airport and then flew home. I had so much fun. I hope Thomas made some good memories too.






posted at: 21:38 |

May and June 2017

I just accidentally hit a wrong button and wiped out several hours of work here, so I am going to post again, but it may be  shorter than the first time. Grrr. I hate it when that happens.

In May, we started getting ready for Thomas to graduate. It finally looked certain that it would happen (just kidding?). I took Thomas to Sunset park so we could take some pictures. He never got an announcement made, but I'd left that up to him and he really didn't care that much about such things.


Isn't he handsome? He was a good sport about letting me take his picture. We took several shots and did it a couple days with different outfits.

On Bryan's birthday, he took another big step and got his learner's permit at the DMV. He hadn't been too eager to jump through the hoops involved in this, but I was super excited to see him start this process, even though it meant letting him drive my Prius.


 The very next day, my good friend, Claudia, came up and we went  on a trip to Utah together. We stopped first at the dinosaur museum in Saint George.


Then we went to Zion Park. We stayed at the Bumbleberry Inn. It was interesting, because it turned out that Claudia had work at the original Bumbleberry Pie Restaurant when she was young.  We saw some beautiful country. Claudia had not been to Zion before so I enjoyed sharing the sights.







On the way home, we stopped again in Saint George and explored the old part of town. It was a really fun trip. I wish we did not live so far apart.



 When we got home, the next day was Mother's Day, so Claudia went to visit Sara in Southern CA. My kids made the day nice for me. Melody sent me a beautiful hand-thrown ceramic vase. Guess who gave me this?


 On May 21st, it was Thomas' birthday! He turned 18 so we had to have a sophisticated, adult meal of macaroni and cheese, followed by ice cream cake, and presents.




Then he had friends over to watch a movie.


  Sice May is also teacher appreciation month, I got a free visit to Escapology. Thomas and Marc came with me to try the escape room experience. We had fun although we were not successful. We are now wiser and more humble, and so will have to try again some day.


 Finally, school was out and it was time for Thomas to graduate.


My mom came out. Unfortunately, Bryan and Melody had work commitments and were not able to come. 

He graduated at noon at the Orleans Arena. Marc had to come from work and leave after, so we were not able to get a group picture. 


In the picture below, Thomas is talking on the phone with Melody, who is congratulating him, while I am trying to take a picture…



 Two days later, I went back to the same venue to work at the Valley High graduation.


And the the next day, Thomas and I went on a graduation trip. Thomas did not want the present that we had given to Melody and Bryan. He wanted to buy his own laptop, so we gave him a graduation trip instead. We had fun planning on it, and Thomas finally decided on San Francisco. I will write about our trip in my next post.


posted at: 19:25 |

Spring 2017

I took a lot of pictures the last of 2016 but hardly any in early 2017. I went to the bird preserve several times an annual science conference in February. I have pictures of my garden club at school as well as the worm project, and the trout project we did. I had fun at Sunset park.I met this roadrunner with an injured foot. I guess he's there a lot.


Here's my baby trout.


  Thomas and I went to visit Bryan in March, and enjoyed exploring BYU campus and seeing Bryan.



Since this was Thomas' senior year, it was still filled with forensics tournaments for him and judging for me. He did well, this time in individual humorous interp.


Thomas and I went skiing at Eagle Point in March.


We made good decisions and did NOT ski off any cliffs.


We had surprise visitors in March when Warren and Jeff arrived in town and we were able to have dinner with them at Juan's Flaming Fajitas.


 Dad and Sheila came for a visit too. We were able to play pinochle and visit. They brought THE redwood table with them. We went to see the stacked rocks…


Still in March, on my birthday, I flew to the National Science Teachers Conference in LA.   We had beautiful rooms, right downtown. The last time I went to this conference, it was in Salt Lake City and I was a college student still.


The conference was incredible. I learned a lot and got great resources and ideas. Since it was in LA, we even had beautiful weather and got to see the filming of a movie (or was it a TV show? don't remember now, just have the pictures…winking


 April found Thomas and I once again driving north, this time for Spring break to visit Melody and Calvin. We worked on a house they were moving into. It comically took four of us to change a doorknob (before we got in the groove of things), then we changed fixtures and put up smoke detectors, etc. 


Calvin and his brother started tearing out and framing the old laundry room in preparation of making a kitchen for Melody and Calvin. 


Somewhere I have pictures of the finished kitchen, but I'm not sure where they are right now.  It was fun to see Melody and Calvin and do a little work together.


On Earth Day, Thomas and I participated in the March for Science.


And we discovered a pasty restaurant downtown.


We got to help celebrate Lara's birthday. I babysat Ollie as Wayne took them to see O.


  Ollie is a cutie.


I'm going to end this for now because May takes us into more birthdays and Thomas' graduation, so I think I'd better stop and then write about those things in a separate post. 

posted at: 13:53 |

Jan Dill Hall St. Peters, Missouri  Henderson, Nevada 

Page created: 09 November 2008
Page modified: 09 December 2017

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