Differences in Voting between Counties

Differences in Voting between Counties

I haven’t posted on here in forever. (I think it has been a month?) Anyway, in light of election today I thought I would briefly talk about something that is election-related. Please don’t tune me out – this isn’t going to be about who you should vote for, or the oft-repeated mantra about how it is important to vote. By this point, I’m sure that you, like me, are sick of hearing about it. Rather, I would like to describe the differences between the logistics of voting – how you actually cast your vote – between two different counties.

San Bernardino County

San Bernardino County gets to go first, because that was the first place I ever voted. In SB county, you get handed multiple sheets of 11″ x 17″ cardstock. For those of you who don’t like math, that is twice the size of a standard piece of printer paper. All of the options are listed on those sheets. Next to each name, there is an arrow that has a gap in it. It looks something like this:

arrow

To mark your selection, you draw a thin line connecting the two parts of the arrow. You aren’t supposed to circle the arrow, or put a check mark in it, or fill it in all the way. Just one thin line connecting the two parts. Once you have finished marking your ballot, you hand it to the poll worker who puts it in this giant cardboard box and you are done. How those sort-of-finish-the-arrow votes get counted is not revealed to the voters of SB county.

Los Angeles County

Since getting married, I now live in Los Angeles County. Thus, my most recent election votes (including 7 am this morning) have been cast there. In LA county, you get handed something that looks something like a Scranton, like you use for a multiple-choice test at school. It’s about the same size as the larger Scrantons, too. It has like a hundred (or maybe it was two hundred) bubbles on it, all numbered. At the top of the paper are two holes. When you go into the voting booth, there is a stiff-board book there. At the back of the book, there is a slot to insert your voting sheet. There are two posts, which the holes on your voting sheet go over. This makes sure that everything lines up correctly. The spine of the book is plastic (and very wide). To vote, you flip through the book. Next to each voting option, there is a hole in the plastic spine which reveals the corresponding bubble on your voting sheet. To select the option you want, you push this stamp-like thing through the correct hole in the voting-book spine. This fills in the bubble with black ink. The picture below is a screen-grab of the video that LA county offers on how to vote, to give you kind of an idea of what this looks like.

la-vote

Then, you flip the page in the book, which moves the options over to appear on the next column over on the voting sheet. (All of the options for one category appear in a single column on the voting sheet.) Sometimes, like with the propositions, multiple propositions appear on the same page of the voting book. You vote for all that apply, and then move on. When you are done voting, you go over to a machine. The poll worker shows you how to put your voting sheet into it. The machine then reads your sheet and counts your votes, right then and there.

Summary

So, there you have it. How voting works in SB and LA counties. The differences surprised me. If you live in one of those counties, please let me know if you were surprised to hear how differently these two neighboring counties run their polling places. If you live somewhere else, I would be interested to hear how voting works where you live.

We get to move 10 feet!!!

We get to move 10 feet!!!

I’m getting really bad at this every other Tuesday thing…But anyway, there are exciting things going on in the Day household. We are moving into our house!

For those of you who don’t know, the property that Chris and I own has two buildings. The larger is a three bedroom, two bath house. The other building is a two car garage (which serves both buildings). Behind and attached to the garage is a studio apartment. Chris moved into the apartment when he bought the property 2 1/2 years ago, and has been renting the house out ever since. Our tenants have been great, but they just bought a house themselves and are turning in their keys today. We will be doing some renovation work and then moving into the house ourselves, a move that will take us a whole 10 feet!

Our refurbishment plans include painting the master bedroom, the other upstairs bedroom, and the ceiling of the living room. We will also be redoing the flooring in the entire house. Initially we had planned to install a laminate wood floor. That changed last weekend, when a floor-measuring trip into the house revealed that most of the house has a solid hardwood floor underneath the carpet, so we will most likely just refinish that. Interestingly, the living room appears to have plywood rather than hardwood. We will have to get the carpet fully removed and see if there is hardwood under the plywood to determine whether the living room will get laminate wood or not.

All this to say, we are really excited about the house. I will be sure to take some before and after pictures to show the transformation.

Reflections on Siberia

Reflections on Siberia

I have done something that is now illegal.

At church last Sunday, they told us that a law was passed in Russia in early July making it illegal to share the gospel, unless you are an ordained minister and do so on property owned by a church. In the summer of 2005, I got to go on a missions trip to the region of Russia known as Siberia. So, when I shared the gospel in Russia it was not yet illegal to do so. The passing of this law has me saddened, but also has me reminiscing about my experiences in Siberia.

I was in Siberia for about two and half weeks. The first week, we ran a VBS-style program at a school an hour drive from Krasnoyarsk. The second week, we ran the childrens program portion of a Christian festival at a different location, which was also an hour from Krasnoyarsk. That took the form of English lessons, followed by a teaching time.

Below are a few memories that stand out to me still, eleven years later. They are in no particular order, other than the order in which I happened to think of them while writing this post:

– Spending time with the locals we were working with. Especially, singing worship with them during our worship service each evening. We sang a lot of hymns. Sometimes I only knew the first verse, and would sing it three or four times. It was really neat to sing with some people singing in English, and others singing in Russian, but all of us praising God together. It was a great reminder of how all Christians are one in Christ, because our worship of God was able to transcend language barriers.

– Getting to teach the Bible lesson one day during the 2nd week. I had been warned that teaching with an interpreter would make it difficult to keep track of where I was in my lesson. I was worried because that was a problem I had even without an interpreter. God was good, and my lesson went really well. It gave me the courage to continue to take opportunities to teach, and is part of why I am willing to teach now.

– Seeing the attitude of service of some of the people we met. There was this one lady (I think her name was Violet?). She came and joined the group for the sole purpose of cooking for us. Her food was really good. She spoke Russian, German, and about two words of English. But, those two words of English showed her heart of service. Every morning, I would go over to the eating area. As I sat there, waiting for other people to come over for breakfast, she would come over with a smile, and use her two words of English to ask: “Coffee? Tea?” She greeted everyone that way, every morning, using the little English she knew in order to serve. Looking back, it wouldn’t surprise me if she learned “coffee” and “tea” just so that she could minister in that way.

– Playing UNO in the evenings. I don’t remember who had brought the game, but it was a great idea. It allowed us to do something together – not just the team I traveled with, but the team of local Russians who we were serving alongside. It worked because it required so little translation.

–  The first week, we were running a VBS style program at a local school. Before we went, the local team had made arrangements with the schoolmaster. He agreed to allow our group to use the school, but warned that we were going to have two problems. One, it was summer and the kids would not want to come to something taking place at the school during their vacation. That turned out to not be a problem. I think we had every kid in that town. The second problem that the schoolmaster warned of was the weather. It was supposed to rain all week, and that would prevent our outdoor game time. I didn’t see this happen, but my teammates did. One day, dark clouds were coming us. Then they split, went around us, and then came back together again. It never rained while we were doing ministry. (On the other hand, every evening around 5 pm, when we dug out the UNO deck, it would rain cats and dogs.)

– The Saturday between our two weeks of ministry, the local team drove us about an hour up the river. There, they had built two giant rafts, big enough to hold all of us. It took six or seven hours for us to float down the slow-moving river back to where we were staying. Their intention had been for us to get warm in the sun, jump in the river and cool off, and then lay in the sun again. Most of the week, it was quite warm (summers in Siberia have highs around 80 F). However, that particular day turned out to be cool, with a light drizzle off and on. It still turned out to be a fun relaxing day on the river.

– The Sunday between our two weeks of ministry, we attended a church service in Krasnoyarsk. Our main translator was not with us that weekend, and the other translators who were there did not feel comfortable enough with their abilities to translate the service. So, we sat through two sermons in Russian. (I have since learned that two sermons in the same service is not uncommon in Russia.) The tone of the second sermon stood out to me. I had read in books about hellfire and brimstone sermons. I had never heard one before, but from the tone of voice, the second sermon sure seemed to sound like one. I was sitting at the edge of our team. I looked over at the Bible of the churchgoer sitting next to me. She noticed me looking. Then she ran her finger over the edge of the pages on the right side of her Bible, behind where it was open to, as if to emphasize how few of them there were, and then pointed to the chapter number. With that, I was able to open my Bible to the appropriate chapter in Revelation, and read the text for myself.

– How green everything was. It reminded me of Oregon. I guess with all of the snow that they get 9 months out of the year, there is enough moisture to help things grow and just look beautiful.

– Our main translator, who told us the story of how God had changed her life. Right after our visit, she was headed back to go see her family for the first time in a year. She told us that if there was even any temptation to return to her old way of life, she would leave for as long as it took.

– The local Awana missionaries giving up their apartment for the weekend we were in the city. They stayed with another family member, and let the gals on my team use their apartment. Fun fact: In Siberia, apparently apartments are more expensive and desirable than owning a house, due to apartments having central heating.

I enjoyed the time that I spent serving in Siberia. I loved the people that I met, and the things I got to see, and the way that I got to see God work.

CAMP!!!

CAMP!!!

 

Okay, I have now officially missed a week of blogging and had to pick it up.I will try to be better.

A week ago I had the opportunity to serve at Summit Leadership Camp. Below are some of the highlights from the week.
Verses
I was really impressed by how the kids did with their memory work. ALL of the students going into 4th-8th grade did their verse cards along with the review. Most of the high school students did as well. It was really exciting to see the younger kids leading the way with their perfect work!
Side note – the kids at the camp wear a bead on a string and a button while they are at camp. At each meal, they check whether the kids all have both of those. The 4th – 8th grade students were also perfect on those for the week 🙂
 
Splashdown
As a reward for the kids doing their review, a bunch of the leaders got thrown in the pool at the end of the week. It seems like such a little thing, but it was super fun and exciting. Most of the kids in the camp showed up to watch, and everybody was cheering as their leader went into the pool.
Crafts

My role for the week was to be in charge of crafts. I alternated between calling it the Kraft Kastle (as it was called when I was a camper) and the Kraft Kabin (as it has been called in the past few years). I loved the creativity of some of the students. This was especially true with the painted crafts. It was also true with the shrink plastic.
Chapel

 
There was a worship service with a sermon for each age group every evening. My craft workspace was just off of the chapel. I could overhear the sermons while I worked shrinking the shrink plastic. My focus on my work kept me from giving full attention to the teaching, but I heard good things about it.
My selections for the 2016 Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team

My selections for the 2016 Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team

For those of you who don’t know, I am a big gymnastics fan. The trials for the Women’s Olympic team take place this weekend, so I thought I would take this opportunity to share who I would pick for the team, based on past performances up to and especially including the U.S. national championships a little over a week ago.

My Strategy

The team is allowed to have 5 members. 4 members will participate on each event in prelims, and then 3 on each event in team finals. Based on this, and team USA’s strong depth of all-around athletes, I predict that the team will be made of 3 all-arounders, one bars/beam “specialist”, and one vault/floor “specialist”. I use specialist in quotes to mean that the athlete selected may be capable of competing all-around, but would only compete those events for the Olympics.

All-Around

Simone Biles is a lock. As four-time US champion and three-time world champion, the only thing that could keep her off the team is a major catastrophic injury.

The other gymnasts who I think realistically have a chance at all-around spots are Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez and Aly Raisman. Some people think that all three of these ladies will make the team. However, I am inclined to disagree. All three are amazing in the all-around, but none of them really fit the model of a two-event gymnast. Gabby’s bars are great, but her beam routine sometimes cracks under pressure. Laurie’s bars/beam combo is good, but wouldn’t outscore that of the other gymnasts in the running for the bars/beam combo. Aly could go vault/beam/floor in combination with a bars-only gymnast, but I have been a big Aly fan for a long time, and I would like to see her get another shot at the All-Around, after losing a spot on the podium to a tie-breaker in London.

For now, I pick those to spots to go to Aly and Laurie, on the basis of their 2-3 finish behind Simone at nationals. However, Gabby has a history of showing up and performing when it counts, so I expect a strong performance from her this weekend which could shake things up. If not on the team, I would expect Gabby to get an alternate spot.

Bars/Beam

The big contenders for the Bars/Beam spot are Madison Kocian and Ashton Locklear. Score-wise they are very close. I think Madison has the edge for two reasons. One, she is the reining world champion on bars. It is a shared title with three other people, but it has to count for something. Second, she trains all around. So, in the case of an injury, she can be put up on any event. I saw some comments degrading her FTY at nationals as a very low-scoring vault. However, she is coming back from an injury and has only been walking for two months. She has competed a DTY in the past, and I expect her to bring that back for trials. However, even an FTY would score better than no vault, which is what Ashton trains.

I will also mention Brenna Dowell here. Her bars and beam can be really good – when she hits. However, she has a tendency to falter under pressure. Given the number of more-consistent athletes in the field, I think that she is not going to make the cut. (She may, however, get an alternate spot.)

Vault/Floor

I think there are two players for the vault/floor spot – Maggie Nichols and MyKayla Skinner. This is a hard one to call, as Maggie is coming back from injury and only competed bars and beam at nationals. Maggie and MyKayla both have international experience. At worlds last year, Maggie was the only gymnast to compete all-around in the team final, while MyKayla was an alternate. Based on that history, and reports that Maggie’s vault and floor looked good in training, I think the final spot on the team will go to Maggie.

Not Mentioned above

For completion, I  would like to mention the rest of the gymnasts who qualified to trials.

Ragan Smith – Ragan’s gymnastics is great, but I think she lacks a little bit of maturity and just needs another year or two. I think if she sticks around, she has the potential to be a major player in the coming quad. She is also my pick for the third alternate spot.

Alyssa Baumann – Alyssa injured her elbow this past week. It will require surgery and she will not be able to compete.

Amelia Hundley – Amelia has been a senior for a bit, but injuries have kept her from gaining international experience. I think this lack of experience is what will keep her off of the team.

Rachel Gowey, Emily Schild, Cristina Desiderio – I will admit that these are names I am not as familiar with. These ladies looked good at nationals. However, the great depth of the US team will most likely keep them out of talks for the 2016 Olympics.

Summary

In summary, my team is: Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian and Maggie Nichols, with Gabby Douglas, Brenna Dowell and Ragan Smith as alternates.

Things I am Thankful For – June 2016

Things I am Thankful For – June 2016

It’s time for another edition of “Random Things Amy is Thankful For”

Finding Dory

Note: What follows is spoiler-free, for anyone who hasn’t had a chance to see the movie yet 🙂

My family has been fans of Dory from Finding Nemo ever since the first movie came out. We were all really excited when Pixar announced that a sequel was in the works. I knew immediately that I would want to see it in the theater. To put things in perspective, I personally see an average of one or two movies a year in theaters.

My sister is a huge Dory fan. She discovered a special showing of Finding Dory for opening night, and talked the family in to going to see it together. The showing was called “Dory After Dark,” which was a double feature of Finding Nemo and Finding Dory. It started at 9 pm Thursday night. It started at 9 pm, and ended a little after 1 am.

Finding Dory is a really good movie. The movie flashes back to Dory as a very young fish, and baby Dory is possibly one of the cutest things from any Pixar movie, ever. I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of kids movies.

Father’s Day – Part 1

We have plans next week to officially celebrate Father’s Day (more on that later). However, we decided at the last minute that not even trying to get together with my parents on Father’s Day was lame. We kept it pretty low key, but it was still really fun. We grilled hot dogs and watched a movie off of a DVD. My parents recently put in a fire pit, so we roasted S’mores. That was really fun.

Our official plans for Father’s Day are to go to a Quakes game next Sunday. For those who aren’t familiar with the Quakes, they are the minor league team for the Dodgers. My dad is a big baseball fan. The advantage of a minor league baseball game is that the stadium is a lot smaller, and it is a lot more affordable to get a really good seat. We have seats on the rail, a little over halfway along the first base line, and I don’t feel like I broke the bank for four tickets.

Memorial Day Weekend in Cayucos

Memorial Day Weekend in Cayucos

Chris and I spent our Memorial Day weekend in Cayucos, which is a little bit north of Morrow Bay. It was a lot of fun.

The weekend served as a family reunion of sorts. Most of Chris’ family is in central CA. They are spread in a couple of locations as much as 1-1/2 to 2 hours apart, but they still all get together regularly. From us it is about a four hour drive, but Chris and I make the trip to go see them a few times a year. What made it a family reunion was that Chris’ brother and his family flew out from Virginia. Their daughter Emmaline turned 7 months old over the weekend.

This was the first time that most of the family had gotten to meet her. Chris and I had met Emmaline when we went to Washington DC, and Chris’ mom had also made a trip shortly after she was born. As a result, one of the number one activities of the weekend was holding Emmaline.

We all stayed in a big house that was on the beach. I counted 150 steps from the house to having my toes in the sand. Cooler-than-expected weather prevented the entire weekend in the water. However, I did take an hour or so one afternoon and try boogie boarding for the first time, and had a lot of fun.

Other activities over the weekend included driving about a half-hour further north to go see a beach covered in Elephant Seals. (For those who will be in the area at some point and want to go see it, it is about 3 or 4 miles north of Hearst Castle.) We also made a  visit to the cookie store which was next door to the house. One could only walk by it and its yummy smells in route to the beach, or the pier, or just walking around without wanting one.

Overall, the weekend was fun, and a good time was had by all.

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