As the end of another year approaches, it’s time for the sending out of our annual Christmas newsletter. If you don’t receive it the old fashioned way, you may dowload and read it here. We wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Our granddaughter arrived on December 5th to end our year on a high note. She is adorable and will be thoroughly spoiled whenever we have the chance. Our year end Christmas letter is available for your reading here. Once again, if you want more current information on us, friend us on Facebook as it is updated more frequently than this blog which has now been relegated to once a year posts.
Another year has passed and the blog has been a desolate place since I last posted anything. If you tried coming here in the last year to find anything out, I apologize for the lack of activity. Facebook is the best way to keep up with us and our activities throughout the year. We have had highs and lows this year which are catalogued in our annual Christmas newsletter that you are free to download and peruse. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
I don’t think the blog world has missed my infrequent posts on this website. Facebook saps any desire to write posts on this blog so I recommend anyone reading this that is not already a friend there, add me now to keep track of the Zeliff family exploits. Time as expected has continued to march on in our lives. Another year has ended and another is set to begin. If you desire to read a recap of the events that transpired in our lives over the last 12 months, I encourage you to download our annual Christmas letter linked below. Hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas and a happy new year.
We returned to Comic-Con after missing the last few years since 2010. This time we brought a newbie with us to attend her first Con. Sabrina, Jesse’s girlfriend, had never attended Comic-Con so this was her first exposure to all there is to take in and do while in San Diego for the convention.
Thanks to my best friend Jim, we were able to come down a day early and get settled into his condo in Santee. We dropped off our stuff and hopped on the trolley to head to the Convention Center. Our goal was to see what we could do outside the convention center on Thursday as we only purchased passes for Friday. After about an hour ride on the trolley, we hopped off and headed to the Merchandise area in the Marriott to pick up the shirts we pre-ordered for Jesse and Sabrina. They decided to go with the Steampunk version of the 4 designs that were being sold. We stood in line, a common theme while at Comic-Con, for about a half hour before reaching the area and obtaining the shirts. Afterward, we headed to the Omni for the annual SDCC Blood Drive sponsored by the tv show, True Blood. We ended up spending 4 hours waiting for our turn to donate. In the end, Renee was denied the opportunity because her veins were so deep, but we both received the blood drive swag anyway. Jesse and Sabrina were glad when we finally exited, but we had to rush to make the trolley as we were late for dinner with Jim and his daughter’s family back in Santee. We enjoyed a great time with them at Oggi’s Pizza before calling it a night.
We were up early Friday morning and rushing to the trolley so we could get our passes and get on to the show floor as quickly as possible to try and get autograph tickets for the WWE signing at the Mattel booth later that day. Despite nearly sprinting through the pass lines (careful to get exactly the bags with capes we wanted) and circling the convention hall at a rapid walk, the tickets for the signing were already gone by the time I arrived at the booth. I was encouraged to come back early to get in the stand by line for a chance to get an autograph. We stood in an extremely long line for posters/poster tubes from the Fox booth only to be told they ran out before we had even journeyed 1/3 of the way. We wandered the booths on the expo floor stopping at several Steampunk booths which Jesse wanted to see.
I eventually left everyone to get in the standby line for the WWE signing. I struck up a great wrestling fan conversation with a British kindergarten teacher who was teaching in Hong Kong. As the WWE wrestlers appeared, the crowds chanted their names and I held out hope we might be able to get an autograph. A few weeks prior, I had found a Daniel Bryan t-shirt in the bargain bin at Hot Topic for $5. The week prior to Comic-Con, he had been named the title contender for the WWE championship at Summerslam. I brought my shirt and was pleased when I was able to get it autographed and a photo with Daniel Bryan. I chatted briefly with WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley though his autograph was hardly distinguishable after singing so many things that day. I left that booth pleased and reunited with the family at The Tick booth where I snagged one of the few remaining 25th Anniversary Tick shirts in my size along with a “SPOOON” bumper sticker.
We wandered the Expo hall some more stopping at many booths before returning to wait for the Del Rey/Random House Star Wars novel signing by John Jackson Miller. I wanted to get a signed edition of his Lost Tribe of the Sith: Collection they were giving away. I was able to get one for myself and one for my brother Chris thanks to Renee standing in line with me. We went back by The Tick booth and I was able to get a signed collection of Tick comics by the creator Ben Edlund who was very nice and took time with each person in line. By now, Sabrina was excited about the chance to go to the XBox Lounge at the nearby Hyatt. We walked over to the Hyatt and she was able to try the new Halo game and enjoyed playing their new XBox One system. She also got a badge that encouraged her to visit many booths on the expo floor to collect Halo badges and Helmet pins. She managed to get all but one as the vendor ran out before we arrived.
Renee and I managed to walk a little of the Gaslamp Quarter while Jesse and Sabrina hunted Halo pins on the show floor. We saw several areas that were outside the convention center that looked cool. One big disappointment was the limited availability of the Godzilla Encounter. I had hoped to see it, but they only gave away 300 tickets each day. All in all, we had a great time and hope to be back again next year. We ended our day after a trolley ride back to Santee with a trip to In-N-Out Burger. It was enjoyable and thoroughly exhausting. It’s funny how we forget the energy you burn when mingling with over 100,000 other excited people at Comic-Con. Though the lines were longer than ever and we didn’t go to panels as we had in the past, we enjoyed ourselves and talking with fellow Con attendees. If you have never been, it really is a great experience that I recommend everyone try. If you want to see more photos from Comic-Con, check out my profile on Facebook.
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.
Ok I admit I have been slacking on the blog. With Twitter and Facebook being the dominant way I have been keeping in touch with people I just have been ignoring the blog. Let me see if I can cobble together a brief summary of what has transpired so far in 2013.
Jesse came home for a few days at the start of January. He is still at the LA Dream Center serving in the kitchen as an intern feeding over 300 people every meal. He applied for and received a full internship scholarship for the next year. He has started back at the Angelus Temple Bible Institute with a 3 year scholarship there also. He enjoys being in LA and keeps very busy working at the ministry there. We might see him sometime soon, but for now he is there and blessing others through his service.
Renee and I both celebrated birthdays this month. We didn’t do much other than go out to eat. Our anniversary was another story. We took a flight to Portland, Oregon and were hosted by my brother Chris and his wife Paloma. We had not been to visit them since they moved from Texas to Oregon. We had a great time catching up and enjoyed their beautiful home. We went bowling thanks to a Groupon gift card from one of Renee’s clients. Paloma schooled us in the first game and I hung on to win the second game. They took us to Stanford’s for our anniversary dinner. One of the main destinations while in Portland was the great used bookstore, Powells. It was great to see so many Star Wars novels in one place. I brought home many hard to find novels that are waiting to be read.
Well, that’s the latest from our neck of the woods. If you want more recent info and photos, send me a friend request on Facebook.
You read that title right, the end is coming. No, I am not referring to some Mayan prophecy hooey. The end of another year in the Zeliff household is coming. Jesse has lived for the last year at the Dream Center and still enjoys what he does there feeding the people that live and work there along with the homeless as part of their Adopt-A-Block program. As far as what has transpired since I last posted, we did go back to LA and take Jesse and his new roommate Justin to dinner on Veterans Day. We have plans to see them again to go see The Hobbit when it comes out.
On Sunday December 9th, I will be “The Great, Late Potentate” for our church’s Christmas play. I have been rehearsing with the children for the past two months and hopefully won’t flub my lines or hurt anyone’s ears with my singing. We don’t have any travel plans set for Christmas so we will most likely be spending it at home with just the two of us as we did with Thanksgiving. Jesse chose to stay in LA and all indications are that he will again for Christmas.
As thought’s turn to family and friends, we hope this year finds you all well, loved and enjoying your holiday. We acknowledge the Author and Finisher of our faith for humbling Himself in the form of a servant and being found as a babe in a manger. May you know His love and care for you and our love and care for you as well this Christmas.
We returned on Wednesday from a trip through the Sierra Nevada Mountains with our son Jesse, his roommate James and their friend Tim from our church. They are all interns at the LA Dream Center and wanted to enjoy some time off together before James returns to Texas at the end of the month. We picked them up on Friday and brought them home to do a little laundry before heading out on our trip.
Saturday morning, we picked up our rental van from Hertz for which we got an amazing deal. We left around 10 am and headed north on US 395. We stopped in Lone Pine at the Interagency Visitor Center and ate a few sandwiches. We stopped a few miles later at Mazanar National Historic Site. Manzanar was a Japanese internment camp where Japanese-Americans were forced to live after World War II began because of fear that they might sabotage their own country. It is a sad part of our history, but one that everyone should know about.
After leaving Manzanar, we traveled north to Big Pine and headed up into the White Mountains to see the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. We stopped on the way up the mountain to see rain falling along the Eastern Sierras. At an elevation above 10,000 feet, the temps were quite cool when we arrived. We were able to see the newly reopened Schulman Grove Visitor Center. We left the visitor center and headed back down the mountains and north on 395 to Mammoth Lakes, CA where we had a condo reserved for two nights. Jesse and Renee cooked us dinner.
We enjoyed a great breakfast prepared by Renee and Jesse before heading to Devil’s Postpile National Monument just a few miles away. It was great to see it again after last seeing it when I was only 12. Tim and James wanted to see Rainbow Falls, so I joined them for the 2.5 mile trek. It was a little warm hiking back through a deforested area recovering from the Rainbow Fire. We returned to the condo for lunch and the guys changed into their Steampunk attire for our trip to Bodie State Historic Park.
Bodie is a ghost town from the gold mining era of California history that is now a state park. It has been preserved in a state called “arrested decay.” Which means, they don’t allow it to fall down, but don’t make improvements to it either. The guys enjoyed this place a lot as they posed around various antiquities and explored the abandoned town in their Steampunk garb. We managed to capture plenty of photos before they closed the park at 6pm. We stopped along 395 on the way back to the condo to take photos overlooking Mono Lake.
Monday morning, we cleared out of the condo and headed back north on 395, turning left crossing up and over the Tioga Pass into Yosemite National Park. We stopped at the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center before heading to Yosemite Valley for lunch. We ate sandwiches at the base of El Capitan with Bridalveil Falls across on the opposite side. We headed south and stopped to take photos of Half Dome and also of the whole Yosemite Valley before taking CA 41 south out of the park toward Fresno. We made our way through Fresno and stopped briefly in Clovis for gas and groceries. We arrived at the beautiful Victorian-style home in Squaw Valley a few miles from Kings Canyon National Park. It was a magnificent place to stay and quite a peaceful respite from our travels.
Tuseday we were off to see the Giant Sequoias of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. We stopped at General Grant Grove to see the General Grant Tree, the 3rd largest tree in the world. Tim remarked that the size of the trees was “stupid”. We traversed the winding road over to see the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree in the world. Jesse decided he would wear a paper bag over his head for the remainder of our time at Sequoia National Park drawing plenty of strange looks from other visitors. We climbed the 350 steps to the top of Moro Rock before stopping at Giant Forest Visitor Center. We relaxed that evening in the hot tub at the rental house.
We traveled home on Wednesday and took the guys back to the Dream Center on Thursday afternoon. Jesse had a great time as did James and Tim. Renee was outnumbered by all the testosterone in the van, but coped with it well. It was a great trip and something we will all remember fondly.
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.