Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

Another post unearthed from the rubble of this blog…

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Social media has pretty much made this blog a moot point, but I will write a new entry occasionally to justify its continued existence. This past weekend was Jesse’s birthday and Mother’s day. Since he had to work on Saturday, his birthday, we decided to drive down on Sunday following church to have a combined birthday and Mother’s day meal. We also delivered the cards and gifts that grandparents, aunts and uncles sent to him at our address.

After picking him up, we made a trip to Best Buy so he could spend some of his birthday money and then we drove to a discount theater to watch a movie. After spending a few hours there, we went to find a restaurant for dinner. Deciding that we were not willing to wait over an hour for a table at the Cheesecake Factory, we settled on Outback for dinner. Before returning to the Dream Center, we searched unsuccessfully for a hardware store before trying Walmart to get something Jesse wanted for his room. Renee was happy to see Jesse since I had seen him the Sunday prior while in LA to attend the Adobe MAX conference. Jesse and I had gone to see Iron Man 3 and eat In-N-Out when I came down.

The summer heat has arrived and we are glad the cooler is working well. If you have summer plans that bring you out to California, be sure to contact us as we would enjoy spending time with you.

There and back again

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

We traveled down this past Saturday to pick up Jesse and bring him home from the LA Dream Center for the first time in over 3 months. He has been working non-stop and has a lot going on there. Besides the work in the kitchen and food ministry, he completed his 1st semester of Bible School at Angelus Bible Institute. He works on Sunday mornings in the 4-5 year old class at Angelus Temple. Sunday afternoons, he works with a church in South Central ministering to 9-13 year olds. He was ready for some down time and brought his laundry along for the ride.

We stopped at Panera on our way back home to enjoy our favorite “Pick Two” combinations. Afterward, we hit Target and Michael’s looking for a few things he wanted. We arrived home and his Grandma Z was pretty happy to see him. He quickly unpacked and we watched some shows on the DVR that we had saved for him. After watching Tron: Uprising and Walking Dead episodes, he was off to game in his room.

We were up early Sunday and off to church where he spent time talking with his former youth pastor about the Dream Center. I taught the Adult Discipleship Class and then joined Renee in the Nursery as we had a lot of babies to take care of. We went home and grabbed a quick bite to eat before going to see The Amazing Spider-Man at the theater. Upon returning home, Jesse got on his computer and got his gaming fix met as well as his Nick’s Pizza fix.

Monday morning, Jesse and Renee did a little shopping and enjoyed a mother-son lunch for the first time since he graduated high school. That night, I picked up Chinese food to satisfy another of his hometown cravings. More gaming was done as he played DC Universe for many hours.

Tuesday morning, we headed to DMV in Victorville to replace his stolen Driver’s license. The only difficulty was finding where the office had moved to. After searching for it for a half hour, a hunch led us to the right location and he was able to quickly get a replacement license. We returned home for a few more hours of gaming and packing. Grandma Z returned from her overnight trip to San Diego and we were off to LA.

It was great having him home for 4 days and we do miss having him with us. However, we are grateful that he isn’t sitting in his room playing games and finding it difficult to get work in our hometown. He enjoys the work he is doing and has a heart to serve others. While our home is always open to him, he may never do more than just visit from this time forward. We are always grateful for time he has now and cherish the time we had together.

Last year as a teenager

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Earlier this month, we traveled to Los Angeles to pick up Jesse, his roommate James and friend Sean to celebrate his 19th birthday. They dressed up in Steampunk attire while Renee and I wore our usual jeans and t-shirts. We dropped off his birthday presents and cards at the Dream Center and then traveled to the Americana at Brand in Glendale. We stopped at the Jewel City Diner for some delicious burgers and seasoned fries. Afterward, we made our way to the Pacific Theaters to see The Avengers. It was starting its 2nd week of release, but there was still a line and a full theater. It was a great movie with the Hulk having the best scenes. Renee and I even went to see it a 2nd time this past Tuesday.

It is amazing to see the young man our son has become. We are happy that he has found a place where he can do something he loves. He has been at the Dream Center for 9 months now and enrolled at Angelus Bible Institute since January. We talk to him on Skype once a week or more. We went to a baby shower for my goddaughter/best friend’s daughter this past weekend in San Diego and saw many little ones running around. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we had a little one, but now he is a grown man chasing his dreams. We couldn’t be happier for him. We are grateful for the time the Lord gave us with him and look forward to the day we can spoil his kids though not anytime soon. 😛

Time Traveling Through Texas

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Howdy Ya’ll. Last week, we returned from a week long visit to the Lone Star State or as my wife and every Texan I know calls it “God’s Country.” We flew in to Austin on the 21st of July and immediately were made aware of the extreme heat they were suffering under. Before landing, you could see how drought stricken and brown the countryside was. Renee’s parents picked us up at the airport and headed for Copperas Cove. Before leaving Austin, mom was nice enough to stop and pick up some food for us as we hadn’t eaten since United charges for all its meals now. Where did we stop, but none other than Texas own, Whataburger. Tasty burger for the win. We arrived in Cove and would later go to dinner with mom and dad at Logan’s Roadhouse. The next morning we met her brother and dad for breakfast at Lil’ Tex in Cove and then we headed north.

We arrived in Henderson, TX and met up with Renee’s best friend Michelle despite getting lost thanks to the GPS giving us faulty directions to her place. We drove past her work and then went to dinner at the Cotton Patch restaurant where I enjoyed “real” chicken fried steak. We spent the next few hours laughing and playing games at the home of Michelle’s friend Kizzi before calling it a night. We enjoyed breakfast with Michelle and headed to meet our former neighbors and fellow CFNI grads, Sam and Shari Bristow for lunch in Palestine, TX. We hadn’t seen them in 17 years and they brought their son whom Shari was carrying last we saw her. It was amazing how after a 17 year separation, we picked right up where we left off. We laughed and joked through out lunch and thoroughly enjoyed every second we had with them. We left them and headed west toward Dallas/Ft. Worth.

We arrived mid-afternoon in Burleson, TX and checked into the La Quinta. We relaxed in the room for a few hours and got ready for the main event of the night, the wedding of Joni Gingles to Jarid Yankus in nearby Cleburne, TX. When Renee and I were students at Christ For the Nations(CFNI), we started serving as youth pastors for a small church outside of Ft. Worth. One of the very first youth to join us at Aledo Christian Center was the pastor’s granddaughter, Joni. We left Aledo to attend Oral Roberts University in 1996 and Joni would join us there a few years later. We kept in touch over the years and were very excited for her and her announced wedding date. After following a winding country road, we found the location of the wedding. It was a scorching TX afternoon, but the wedding was set in the shade of several giant trees providing much needed relief for the wedding party and witnesses. It was great to see so many families and the men and women we had known as teenagers after 15 years. One of the ministers had been a young man in our youth group along with many of the bridal party. There were a few that were barely recognizable after so many years. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception that we were very grateful to witnesses and attend. It was a pleasure to see and talk with so many people that we knew while in Aledo.

The next morning, we drove south to Copperas Cove and after dropping our luggage off, we headed to our home church, Trinity Worship Center. We met and married there 21 years ago and I have been a minister through the church for 22 years. It was great to see many of our church family and especially Pastor Kirby. After service, we were treated to BBQ brisket at the home of our good friends, Tim and Patty. Tim was my roommate for a short period after I left the Army and before I married Renee. I also performed their wedding 21 years ago this week. We enjoyed catching up with them immensely and were summoned to dinner by Renee’s brother Scott that evening.

Renee’s mom took off the next day from work so they could go shopping. I was along for the first part of the trip as they visited Best Buy and I helped pick out a new monitor and printer for mom. I returned home to set everything up while the ladies continued their shopping. We met for lunch and went to Dairy Queen to enjoy one of my Texas favs, the Dude. It is a chicken fried hamburger only sold in TX. The next day, we did a little touristy stuff as we took dad with us to the Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham, TX. Blue Bell has and always will be Renee’s favorite ice cream and I can’t argue with her on how very good it tastes. The tour was a half-hour and then we were treated to a scoop of ice cream of our choosing from 14 different flavors. On our way back to Copperas Cove, I detoured through Elgin, TX to stop at Meyers Smokehouse. I enjoyed a two meat combo plate of brisket and hot gut(sausage). We got back to Cove in time to go see Captain America with Scott at the cinema. Later that same night, we went to catch up with Carol, Renee’s classmate and former youth group member at Trinity Worship Center. We hadn’t seen her in several years as well, but spent several hours laughing and catching up with each other.

The next day, we were up and packed to return to California. Before leaving, we had another important event to attend, Renee’s mother was having a retirement party. We traveled with the family to include her sister Carla that flew up from Houston to mom’s office in Temple. We laughed and joked until the ceremony began. After meeting all of mom’s coworkers and enjoying some refreshments, we headed back to Cove. We went to mom’s favorite, Red Lobster, for lunch. We spent a few more hours with Renee’s family before mom and Carla drove us to Austin to catch our flight home.

It was great to see so many of our very good friends and family while time traveling through Texas. It was amazing to see how much time had passed, but we were able to laugh and talk as if we were only gone a day. If any of you care to reciprocate, our home is always open. We may not have Blue Bell, BBQ, DQ, or many of the other TX delicacies, but we will share with you all that we have here to include a warm embrace. Thanks again to all of you for making the week we spent there so very special. Special hugs to Michelle, Sam & Shari, Joni & Jarid, Pastor Kirby, Tim & Patty, Carol, and Renee’s whole family. We love you so very much. A note in closing, Jesse actually took great care of the house and pets while we were gone. Thanks son.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Time for the monthly, (used to be bi-monthly) blog post. Since the last post, Mom Zeliff came and spent Thanksgiving with us. We enjoyed having her visit and had a wonderful meal together. Mom also treated us by bringing back Bluebell ice cream from her visit to see Aunt Loretta in Yuma. We can’t get it here and my Texan wife Renee was very pleased to have some. During the time off, we got the Christmas tree up and the lights hung outside. Since that time, the wind has beat the heck out of the lighted garland we hung leaving it unlit for the rest of the holidays. I may take it down and try and fix them, but that isn’t a priority with Christmas bearing down on us quickly.

After mom returned to Florida, we were happy to be visited by the Lantz family before they left Ft. Irwin for Texas. Verna was in our youth group oh so many years ago and is now an Army wife with a wonderful family. It was great to see them again and share the Bluebell stash. We hopped her kids up on sweets for the long ride back to base. I feared that would have put us on her naughty list, but she informed me that everyone fell asleep on the ride home.

We did sneak in a couple of movies in the last couple of weeks. We saw the 3rd, and probably final, Chronicles of Narnia movie: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. We all agreed that is was bit plodding at times and that the sea monster scene was a bit intense for the many toddlers we saw in the theater. We went to see Tron: Legacy this past weekend. We enjoyed the graphics and CG effects, but the story also seemed a little slow. The ending was kind of anti-climactic as well. We had not seen the 1st movie, so maybe that would have helped our enjoyment. We will revisit the original on DVD and see what we think then.

Jesse continues to raise money for his trip by working odd jobs(raking leaves, hanging Christmas lights, etc.) and selling items online. He has raised 60% of the $4000 goal with his next payment of $586 due January 15th. Thanks to all who have sent contributions or offered your support in prayer. His most current sponsorship letter is available here. He finishes 1st semester finals this week and is looking forward to Christmas break.

If you didn’t receive our Christmas card and would still like to read our annual letter, you can read it here. We wish each and everyone one of you a blessed Christmas filled with love and joy. Know that we love each of you and are grateful to count you as family and friends. We look forward to 2011 and all that it holds for us. Hopefully that includes visits from or with many of you. Merry Christmas and happy new year.

What’s up? Work and play.

Monday, April 19th, 2010

The last few weeks have included mostly going to work which, considering the times, is a good thing. A couple of weekends ago, Jesse went to Magic Mountain with his youth group. While he was gone, Renee and I had a day out together. We went to breakfast and then went to see “How to Train Your Dragon” at the movies. I know it’s a kids movie, but we are still kids at heart and always enjoy watching cartoons. Afterward, we went to Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga. We went to Borders bookstore and wondered which novel Jesse would like, but couldn’t get him on his phone, so we left a message. We then went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner and it was busy with students from Etiwanda HS dressed up for prom. We enjoyed a nice meal together and then returned to Borders just as Jesse called us back. We picked up novels for each of us and returned back home. Later that night, Jesse called to be picked up after a full day. A windy, cold day on Sunday kept us inside and out of doing yardwork.

The work week went by and I enjoyed listening in on Live webinars from NAPP on the new features in Photoshop CS5. The weather was great this past weekend so I waged war on the weed kingdom invading our yard with my hula hoe and Renee at my side. We managed to get a large section of the front yard and cleared 10 feet away all around the house. Muscles and joints were a little sore afterward, but the yard looks a little better. I also worked with Jesse to get his speedometer issue resolved on his truck. A little 5w-30 oil on the cable and it is working great. Saturday night, I went into town to see my friend Martial and his band play some R&B style rock-n-roll. They played great. Yesterday, we went to church and came home in time to watch the Lakers get their first win of the playoffs. Renee and I went to the local theater and donated blood in exchange for free movie passes. This also kept me from having to do anymore work in the yard. That’s the latest from our world. Hope that you and your family are doing well and we look forward to hearing from each of you.

Easter Weekend

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Friday, I stopped at the library on the way home to pick up the latest Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi novel Backlash. It is a series set many years after the movies and follows Luke Skywalker and his son Ben as they battle a new Tribe of Sith. The weather was pretty windy so plans of washing the vehicles and working on Jesse’s truck were put on hold. Saturday morning, we did go see Clash of the Titans since Jesse was interested in it. Renee had seen the original over and over because her younger brother couldn’t get enough of it. It seemed a bit slow at times and the dialogue was plodding. They changed the story and it left me thinking the original one in all its cheesiness was a better movie. Great effects, but a badly written remake.

That evening, we met a high school classmate and his wife for dinner. It was really great to see him as I had been told he had passed away soon after we graduated. We discovered that his brother was the one that had passed. Somehow the names were confused and I was told he was dead. This certainly made for great “Resurrection” celebration. Sunday we attended church and afterward, Jesse had his annual hair dye applied. This time he decided against blue. He decided he wanted green hair. Renee and Jesse mixed some of the old blue dye with some new yellow dye and now he has bright green hair. He is either a giant fluorescent leprechaun, a pasty “Green Giant” or the largest Oompa-Loompa ever with need of some time in the tanning bed.

We also had quite a surprise when an earthquake hit Sunday afternoon. The wind was blowing so hard, I mistook it for the house shaking due to it. Jesse said “Earthquake” from his room and when I stood and headed there, I felt like I was going to fall down. It was like having a head rush that makes you lose your balance. It lasted what seemed like a minute. I checked the house and didn’t find any damage.

That was our weekend. Hope you and your family are doing well and had a great Easter/Resurrection celebration.

‘Up’ Movie Review and Weekend Recap

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Friday night, I was excited to see the Lakers return to the NBA Finals yet again. Renee and Jesse went to see his old classmates choir recital at AVCS allowing me to yell and scream at the Lakers until they won the game. Now they need to finish the return and beat the Orlando Magic to win the championship. Saturday morning, I had everyone up early and loaded in the truck on our way to Barstow to repair a downed section of fence at my brother/mother’s house. We made a brief stop at Plata’s for breakfast burritos before getting to work on the fence. I felt bad for the neighbors as we pounded nails from 9:30 to 10 am, but it was already approaching 90 by the time we were done.

Once we returned home, we showered and we headed to the theater to see Up by Pixar in 3D. Jesse stayed home so Renee and I went to see it. Previously, we had seen extended clips of the movie presented by the Pixar design team at NAB in Vegas so we had some idea of what to expect. Renee even made some custom lenses in advance to fit over her glasses so she didn’t have to wear glasses over her glasses. The story is about a widower named Carl who is having to leave his home to enter a nursing home, but opts to escape with his home into the sky and head to South America to fulfill a wish of his wife. He inadvertantly takes a young Wilderness Explorer named Russell along for the journey. It is a touching story of regret and renewal. In trying to fulfill his wife’s wish, he discovers a new life to enjoy. The imagery is great and the story even better. Though Pixar is known for it’s “kid’s movies”, this will tug at the heart of anyone.

Sunday morning, I helped Jesse work on his truck by adjusting the alternator so that it lined up with the flywheel better to eliminate wear on the fan belt.Then along with Renee, I began the scraping of the acousitc ceiling in our bathroom. It was in bad shape and was looking awful. So it was scraped clean. The mess was confined to the bathroom and was cleaned up with some effort. We ran to Lowes and purchased some semi-gloss paint and applied the first coat to the ceiling. A few hours later, we applied the second coat and moved everything back into the bathroom. I don’t think I want to attempt the reast of the house just yet, but I am sure it will get done one way or another. I vote for another, meaning I would like to hire somone instead of doing it myself.

Long weekends are great!

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

I got off early on Friday with plans to do a wedding. Unfortunately, as weddings sometimes go, it was called off. So that afternoon was spent going to the Army Surplus store to get Jesse a canvas tool bag and then to Lowes to get replacement blinds/shade. After quickly hanging the shade and blinds, I spent the remained of the night reading and watching sports on TV. Saturday Morning, Jesse and I went to see Terminator Salvation. I thought it was pretty good and definitely explosion filled. I then read some more before watching the Lakers beat the Nuggets on Saturday night. Sunday morning, Renee and I went to see Battle For The Museum: Battle for the Smithsonian. It was funny and a good family movie. Afterward, we checked on my co-workers animals while she was out of town. Monday morning, I took my Photoshop CS4 recertification exam and thankfully passed. That afternoon, I grilled some steaks and waited for the Lakers game while reading a novel. Unfortunately, the Lakers lost and the weekend came to a close. Back to work now and headed for June.

Star Trek Review and Weekend Recap

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

We went Saturday morning to catch the new Star Trek movie and were surprised at the number of people also taking advantage of the $5 first showing price. The movie recounts the childhoods of Kirk and Spock and how they came together on the Enterprise. It also has that great Sci-Fi trick to tell new stories, time travel. This isn’t the first time that Star Trek has used time travel as part of the movie franchise. Captain Kirk time traveled to meet Captain Picard in Generations. Kirk and the entire Enterprise crew traveled back in time to modern day San Francisco to retrieve some whales in the The Journey Home. Lastly, Picard and the NG crew traveled back to foil the Borg in First Contact. In this movie, Future Spock played by Leonard Nemoy travels back in time with a rogue Romulan named Nero. The movie is action packed and goes by very quickly despite being over 2 hours long. The stories of the two main characters are told well and the inclusion of the original Spock is also done well. I recommend it and would go see it a second time.

As for the past weekend, we watched the Get Smart movie on DVD Saturday night. It was ok, but not great. Some to the classic lines were funny as were some of the new takes on an old series. Sunday morning, I bought donuts for Mother’s Day and we took Renee out to eat for lunch. We went to the new Buffalo Wild Wings at Renee’s suggestion to try it out. It was ok, but more of a sports bar atmosphere and the food wasn’t that impressive. I worked in the yard that evening tring to get some of the neglected yard work done. Monday was Jesse’s birthday so Renee got up early to decorate with baloons and a banner. He was his usually bright cheery self(NOT) after taking a shower. He opened a few presents and a card. He got a Pistols for Pandas t-shirt and some Strong Bad E-mail DVDs. He and I then went to the pst office to pick up his birthday card from my mom. We stopped by Napa Parts and he bought some replacement turn signal bulbs for his truck. We went to Nick’s for the lunch buffet and stopped at Stater Bros. for him to reluctantly select a cake. Jesse retired to his room to continue watching the DVDs and I went to work on the weed jungle that was our backyard. A busier weekend than most, but Mother’s Day/Jesse’s birthday always tend to be.