Wednesday, December 29, 2010

For the Birds

At Kerr's house we were watching Pixar short films and I just had to share this one. It is so funny! Every time! I love it!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

 Usually, I don't take pictures of myself (let alone post those pictures) but this one turned out pretty good, I think. :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hitting Houses with Song!

Christmas Caroling!!!

A new tradition for us is to go Christmas caroling! We've done it every year since we moved to Tucson and it is so much fun! I love it!! I even went twice last year!! (Because I had other friends who were doing it as well.)

We usually do our whole street and maybe one or two other streets as well. It feels a bit awkward at first but once you get the hang of it, it is really really fun!

Every year it really blesses people and this year was no exception! I think a lot more people answered their doors, compared to previous years. In fact, we got goodies from three houses! It was like they were expecting us!!

One woman gave all of us candy canes. Another older couple was so blessed that they gave us a whole bag of the most delicious cherry chocolate chip cookies ever!! They said they'd been caroling through the neighborhood but we were the first to ever carol to them. There were a couple families that said that. There was another older couple that gave us snickerdoodles.

We made a point of visiting Carl, a man we sort know. And I freaked him out by running up and hugging him! It was dark so he wasn't sure who I was but after I identified myself (which, in my excitement, my dad had to help..) we all had a great laugh!!

Then there was the cute three and a half foot little lady with the foreign accent. We caroled at her house last year and she was so thrilled that she gave all of us hugs! Well, she came out again this year with more hugs!

And there was another elderly gentleman. We met him and his wife the first year we did it but they were sick last year. He told us he was so sick he almost died!!

After we were done caroling, we all came back to the house for hot drinks and cookies and we visited with each other and it was great fun!

We didn't take any pictures but here are some from the first year:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Stock Game

In Financial Peace University (which I was taking for a school credit! Yay dual credit!!), and we were learning about stocks and mutual funds!

Enter: the Stock game!!
In the stock game, Dad gives me imaginary money to play with and spend on whatever stock I want. And after that I'm not really sure what happens. A few weeks ago, I was brainstorming for the different stocks I could "purchase." I am not allowed to use any of the stocks we already own...

We began this game a few years ago before my dad moved down here and became a financial advisor. However, the game was never finished (as it stands now... we haven't moved beyond the brainstorming point.) and we are still trying to play it.

I am not sure what happens but if/when we finally get it going again, I will update! :)  I think I have a greater understanding of stock now than I did a few years ago, so hopefully I will do better and understand the way stocks work even more!! Yay! *fingers crossed*

One day, I am going to be very smart on the subject of stocks.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

capitol? capital? Capitol?

 The word is "capitol" folks and that is where I spent the weekend!! (warning: long post but with pictures!)

As some of you know, I am in YMCA youth and government which is very similar to a debate club, but not.

Y&G is a program that teaches students how the state government works through doing it. By letting the students role-play politicians. In the program, there are legislators (House and Senate), lobbyists, and press members. Several very official-looking newspapers were printed throughout the weekend.

I was a House representative. Everyone wrote a piece of legislation, researched it, perfected it, re-drafted it, researched it more... until we debated it.

I will briefly explain how a bill passes into law. It needs to pass five times. First, in a committee of a few members (mine, public health and welfare, had six members plus a chairman and vice chairman.). Bills rarely fail in committee. Most people pass bills just to give them a chance to be debated, even if they don't exactly agree with the bill.

Then, the bill goes to the House chambers. You debate it in the house (and there were some crazy good debaters...) Mine passed committee of the whole (COW), unanimously (minus abstentions). After it passes committee of the whole, it goes through third read.

In third read, the chambers are sealed and they briefly review all the bills and you vote on the final passage. To gain final passage there must be a majority plus one vote. One of the bills I sponsored passed in COW and failed in third read.

The same process happens in the Senate. I had someone in our delegation sponsor my bill and he did a great job! Yay Stephen! And I felt bad because his bill failed third read in the House but he said it was okay.

After the bill passes both the House and the Senate, you have to convince the Governor (of the program, not the real governor) to sign your bill. Sometimes, your lobbyist can do that for you, but I personally talked to the governor. He signed my bill!! ^-^ It was really exciting! I was beaming when I returned to the House chambers! (and this whole time, we are actually in the real live capitol... O_o)


left to right: Gabriel Martinez, Chris Jordan, Meara Clark, myself, Christian Hagedon, and Carlos Ochoa.

Gabriel had a very cool abortion bill and he spoke in favor of my bill in the Public Health and Welfare committee. I spoke in favor of his abortion bill (banning 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions) in the House.

Chris Jordan was a very good debater. I had a great time hanging out with him and listening to him talk. There were some truly great minds at Model Legislature; he is one of them.

Carlos Ochoa is another great mind. He was a beast in the House. He was a total bill-killer. As well as Chris, but Chris stood in favor of more bills. Carlos opposed most of the bills (even mine!)  and when he stood in favor of bills, he only mildly supported them... He was a great debater though. Always thought of the one thing you didn't research!
Me and Christian at lunch. I don't remember this picture...
This is the House chambers during joint session.

Another lunch picture!!

A picture from pre-legislature.

Most of the bills were heard in their respective chambers. Some weren't. Many more weren't heard in the opposite chambers. And there was a great deal of political underhandedness as well. But overall, the weekend was extremely enjoyable. I got to meet a lot of great people, the debate was good, and everyone was pretty friendly off the floor. And also, my bill was signed by the governor. That was a big plus. I'll probably be back next year. It was super fun!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Staring Contest

Picture this: Staring contest. Me and Cam. Across the room. Me-on the verge of tears. Him-eyebrows twitching involuntarily. Us-laughing at each other.

It was pretty funny. I won. Barely.