BB King Concert!

Last night I surprised Casey with tickets to the BB King concert at the newly renovated Granada Theater. Casey has really gotten into playing his guitar and loves blues music, so who better to go see live than the King of Blues himself?! We couldn’t believe BB King is 86 years old! It was a great show and we had lots of fun 🙂

A Good Weekend :)

We started off our weekend on the right foot by scoring some free swag from REI. It is one of Casey’s favorite stores, full all kinds of outdoor recreational equipment. This weekend they were having the grand opening of their new Santa Barbara store, so everyday they gave water bottles and gift cards out to the first 200 people in line. Guess where we were bright and early every morning?! Yep, one of the first 200 every morning, even in the pouring rain.

Friday afternoon we checked out the horse show going on at Earl Warren Showgrounds. There were not very many people there to watch the show, so it was fun having the whole arena seats all to our selves as we enjoyed a horse show!

Friday night we went to dinner with Casey’s sister Molly. On Saturday night we went to a musical with Kori at our old high school. It was performed in the new huge theater and was very well done. We really enjoyed it!

My dad surprised us on this rainy Sunday morning with our favorite donuts before we headed out to get more free swag at REI 🙂 We had lunch with our friend Tanda at this new smoothie/fruit bowl/really yummy place called Backyard Bowl.

Casey is going to be finishing up his EMT class in the next few weeks. I just got an order for me to do a custom painting for a customer, so I am busy trying to make that perfect. Can’t wait to see the finished product! We hope you all had a good weekend too 🙂

Love and Hugs,
S & C

If you’re a birder, I’m a birder

Casey just finished taking a bird watching class, and let me tell you-he is HOOKED! He loves going out with his binoculars and his beloved bird ID book to look for new birds. He even got a special notebook to document his sightings. He has succeeded in getting me into it too. I find myself sketching birds and taking notes on their color pattern so I can look them up later. So if you see two people peering through binoculars with a little black dog running around with them-it’s us! 🙂

If Sharell Won the Lottery . . .

If I won $1,000,000:

Pay off all of my family’s and my own debts and loans
Buy everyone in my family new cars and computers
Remodel my parent’s kitchen and finally get them a dishwasher!
Give enough money to my parents so they can retire
Get my dad a new Jacuzzi
Get Kori a sweet camera and lens, and money for school
Get the best health insurance for me, my family, and pets
Have Penny get another eye surgery
Let Robby build his dream fish aquarium
Random acts of kindness (giving care packages out to the homeless, donate to animal shelters)
Save a dog from a high kill shelter
Go on a shopping trip with my mom and sister
Go on a great vacation with my family
Go on a vacation with my friends
Buy the best painting supplies
Put some aside to have an awesome wedding someday
Get some new fun toys like a telescope, kayaks, cameras, and skis
Invest the rest for future fun and retirement

If I won $10,000,000:

All items from $1M and (or instead of if applicable)
Buy a house and decorate it, complete with an art studio with an awesome view
Let Robby, Kori, and my mom and dad pick out houses wherever they want
Set money aside for Casey’s medical school
Remodel my parent’s house in SB
Let my grandparents retire
Buy the house below Casey’s grandparent’s house in Lee Vining and let his grandfather knock it down!
Let my mom build her own dog park
Eat only the best, organic, healthy food
Donate to Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation, cancer research, sponsor children in Africa, donate supplies to fight malaria, do anything I can to raise the water level of Mono Lake.
Give presents to favorite past teachers
Go to a bunch of concerts and fancy dates with Casey
Save for my children’s education
Travel the world and do a lot of things on my bucket list

If I won $50,000,000:

All items from $10M and (or instead of if applicable)
Donate to wildlife conservation organizations
Buy a bunch of land and create a wildlife preserve
Donate to UC Davis and pay to remodel their Arboretum
Buy vacation homes all over the world
Give close family friends a large surprise gift

If I won $100,000,000:

All items from $50M and (or instead of if applicable)
Have my family buy vacation houses
Donate to animal shelters, medical research programs, and herpetology centers all over the world

Casey’s Presidential Platform

My first contribution to this series of 3 blog posts–my platform if I were to run for president! (Also, feel free to request a position on any issues I didn’t include, or to elaborate on anything listed)

Healthcare: America’s problems with the healthcare system are not ultimately an issue of scarcity of resources, but instead a fundamental imbalance in how those resources are applied. That is why I support a federally-run public insurance plan that will put emphasis on providing access to the Nation’s primary care physicians. By proper management of chronic disease, and addressing problems before they require costly acute care, we will spend less money on medical bills, and more time living happy, productive lives.

Drug Policy Reform: The criminalization of the use of certain substances has inflicted profound damage to the fabric of our Nation’s society and that of many of our neighbors. We’ve spent a great deal of energy punishing those who actually need treatment, and fostering the growth and entrenchment of a vast and violent drug trade. By decriminalizing the use of illegal substances and developing more effective rehabilitation programs, we can keep more of our citizens productive, reduce the burden on our already overcrowded prisons, and allow our police forces to concentrate on catching real criminals.

Reproductive Rights: I wholly support the right for women to make medical decisions for their own bodies. Limiting access to abortions infringes on the right of women to start families on their own terms, and when they are ready to adequately provide for new life.

Equal Rights: I stand firmly with our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters by supporting their rights to be lawfully wed, raise families, and defend our country. It is not the place of the government to judge its citizens based on the person they love.

Our public educational system needs to be overhauled from the ground up. Wider implementation of year-round school schedules in primary and secondary schooling will improve knowledge retention and prevent burnout of students and staff. Teachers must be rewarded for seeking additional training in both pedagogy and their teaching subject. Furthermore, we must make the teaching profession as a whole more attractive to the sharpest talent via significant increases in salary, credential program accreditation standards, and credential program admissions selectivity.

Energy: Although we cannot yet support our Nation’s powergrid on wholly renewable resources, a clean and practical stepping stone already exists, and America pioneered its use herself: Nuclear power. Modern reactor designs are safer and more efficient than ever before, and using domestically abundant and difficult-to-weaponize Thorium fuel will enhance our national security by reducing our reliance on foreign energy sources.

Financial Sector Reform: The recent economic collapse is the fruit of the deregulatory policies enacted over the course of the previous three decades. If America is to have a strong and lasting economic recovery, a better balance has to be struck between protecting consumers from the volatility of the derivatives market and maintaining the liquidity of capital.

Government Corruption:
The inordinate influence of monied interests must be earnestly divorced from U.S. politics. Publicly funded elections, an amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision, and stricter lobbying regulations must be enacted to allow our leaders to fight for the opportunities and dreams of the many, not the few.

Defense: In a world where many nations can scour much of the life from the surface of Earth with the push of a button, our greatest defense is diplomacy and multilateralism. By keeping open dialogue with even those we consider enemies, we can stop conflict without needlessly spilling young American blood. At the same time, the savings from closing many of our unnecessary overseas bases can be applied to maintaining our military’s technological advantage via DARPA and other research agencies.

Taxes: Because the poor and middle class have no choice but to spend larger portions of their incomes on necessities such as food, housing, and utilities, I support a progressive income tax that places more of the burden on those who can afford it—the upper middle class, the rich, and the ultra-rich.

A Creative Photo

Robby, Casey, and I came up with 3 blog post ideas and decided to each take a turn doing them. I am starting with posting a creative picture. It can be a neat picture you took, a unique self portrait, a picture you stylize in Photoshop-anything! I took this picture of myself holding Penny and had a bit of editing fun. It is overlaid with what else than the text from one of the final drafts of my turtle manuscript that is soon to be submitted to a scientific journal for publication!