Monday, December 11, 2006

Of High Schoolers and Bus Adventures

It's funny... I've never gone to the Christian school and never been a teacher there (other than to sub for a few days) and I've managed to be along on at least 2 trips when the bus has broken down!
Last week we went to Spokane with all the high school students to go out to dinner and then see "Joseph" at the Opera House. About an hour outside Spokane we pulled off for lunch and... the bus wouldn't go forward from the stop sign! It would go in reverse though so we at least managed to get out of the middle of the off ramp...
So, after 2 hours in the Subway/Mini Mart we managed to get enough cars to get everyone to the church in Spokane to change and we were only an hour late for dinner! It was yummy and everyone had lots of fun dressing up.
The play was a bit of a let down as the actors did a great job, but God was missing from the whole thing and it was very Hollywood. Not as good a message as the local productions I've seen before in terms of the story.

Anyway, then we stayed up late and saw them all off in the morning before Brian and I went to visit one of his college friends. The students all made it back to Leavenworth in cars and as far as I know the bus has gone to it's grave in Ritzville.
We had limited success shopping for maternity clothes at the malls in Spokane, but at least that's more than can be said for Wentachee!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Rain rain, go away, bring some snow!

I feel like I'm living back in Oregon or Seattle, sheesh! It was like walking through a river in the parking lot today! And it's supposed to keep raining and not cool down all week. :(

But on to happier thoughts... I was going to call this "A Day in the Life" although it's really a few days. Some pictures of my best friend's kids. Who miss me when I leave and have funny ways of pronouncing my name! Lydia says it something like "Kris-in".

A picture of Brian and the "furnace" he built with his high school boys to try to melt iron before the neighbor lady threatened to call the fire department...

Some pictures of the homecoming football game. Brian didn't believe me when I said we would have a good show at half time... He didn't realize we have like the state's number one pyro living in our town and he always does homecoming, Christmas Eve, and graduation shows that can't be beat!
The Christian school principal is one of the coaches and his son is the #1 fan, and has probably been to all the home games and then some for the last 20 years.

And my friend Kelly, a graduate of the same school where she is now teaching! Go Cascade! Unfortunately they lost the first game in the post season this weekend so that means they are out even though they were undefeated in league. :(

Oh, and it looks like I'm here at the night school more or less indefinately. They like me. If they can find a decent candidate to hire at semester they probably will, otherwise I may be here until the baby is born. I guess I can't complain too much since it pays good and I'm finally figuring out how things work... :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Yay! I'm so excited it snowed today! I actually got up early for once and was sitting at my computer when I happened to look outside and lo and behold there were little white fluffy things falling in the back yard! I took some pictures, but then it got a little warmer and wasn't sticking to anything. Hopefully it will get colder tonight so there will be some actual accumulation in the morning!!! :)

Friday, October 20, 2006


Wow, our house (small apartment) has been busy the last couple weeks! First we had Brian's team leader from Mission Year, Angie, and her friend stay with us for one night. They are on a whirlwind tour of the US since her friend, Claire, is from the UK. They were headed for Glacier and then Yellowstone after us... hopefully they didn't get stuck in any snow storms as they were going to make it the day before Yellowstone closed for the season. And anytime after September is fair game for snow there! (actually any day of the year, but it's more probable then!)

Then last week my friend Molly came with her family. We were neighbors for a couple years way back in Clatskanie. She and her husband currently live in Juneau with their two adorable and quite energetic children, but they are planning on moving to Bolivia in January. They were on a support raising trip. Unfortunately on their second day here their mom's van broke down... and then the repair part was broken... and the dealership was supposed to be closed on Saturday. At the very last minute the mechanic came in on Saturday, a new part had arrived, and the manager called when they were at a rental car agency to say it was almost done. Good thing because it saved mom a trip up from Oregon to reclaim her van! And Adam and Molly made it to Clatskanie with "plenty" of time to prepare for his sermon the next morning and fly out of Portland Monday morning!
Along the way we had fun playing Settlers, watching Curious George in Spanish, playing trains with Elias, and hoping that Natasha wouldn't be allergic to anything in our house! Brian was the main attraction by taking them outside and throwing them up in the air. His height makes it quite the adventure for small ones! And I seriously hope my small one does not have as much energy first thing in the morning as Elias or I am going to be in major trouble!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Summer Recap

So, I should have written this a long time ago, but well, I guess I'm being lazy lately. That and my really weird work schedule means I don't get much productive done during the week. I work Monday through Thursday from 12:30 to 7:30 and then Friday from 7:45 to 3. That Friday morning get-up is killer! But hopefully this job will be done in another couple weeks and I can go back to regular subbing - which means I'll have to get up early every morning... is that a good thing or not?

Anyways, so here are some pictures from our August adventure in Oregon. We spent about 3 weeks down at Brian's parent's house in Corvallis. The first weekend was his high school reunion. Notice Brian and friend Dustin laying on the sidewalk after the bar closed down... We all stood around talking and it was freezing!

Then the grandparents came down from The Dalles for a few days. Brian, Allison, and their dad did the Bridge Ride on Sunday in Portland. I opted not to do it since it was starting at 6:30 in the morning and riding 30 some miles... I haven't been on a bike in at least a year... So mom and I went to church in Newberg and then met them for a BBQ in Portland with the uncles that also rode and family. It was seriously yummy food!

Then we spent 3 days down at Crater Lake and celebrated Brian and Allison's 28th birthday with a very nice dinner at the Crater Lake Lodge. We actually stayed down in Prospect and on Saturday there was a "Jamboree" comlete with logging show! Reminded me of 4th of July when I was little in Clatskanie! Some friends were driving through so met us for the afternoon. At the end they had a kids search for change in the pool where they did log rolling. Then after everyone else left David and Dahlia decided they wanted to try log rolling... it's harder than it looks!

After all that we drove home at 2 in the morning. Sunday we went down to the coast and up to Tillamook to see the Roberts. And unplanned ended up spending the night. Good thing because the cheese factory had run out of cheese curds on Sunday night! Horror of horrors! So we got ice creams, but had to go back in the morning when their machine was fixed.

On Monday then we drove, from Tillamook back to Corvallis, packed our stuff, hung out with David and Dahlia, then drove home to Wenatchee getting in at 3:30 in the morning. That was way too much driving for one weekend!!!

Happy Birthday Twins!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bat Guano Adventure #2

What do you get when you combine a cave, a rock, and a head? 13 stitches!

So, last week's Bat Guano adventure was a bust because none of the students wanted to get up early enough to go visit a church a couple hours away and the barn apparently didn't have any bats. Reschedule for this week. One of the students' families owns some property on a hill side that has an old mine tunnel entrance in it. Take one teacher and four students and climb up a pile of mine tailings. One student knocks a rock loose. Another students yells, "rock" just in time for the teacher to look up and get beaned.
Good thing I was out shopping with a couple of my girlfriends because my parents left some pretty cryptic messages on the answering machine! Brian ended up in the ER and has what I call a zipper on the right side of his forehead going back up into his hair. He had a pretty good headache and came home with a piece of skull chipped off in a little container. Yuck!

I'm just glad I still have a husband!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Teaching and ... Bat Guano?

Yes, apparently you can make gunpowder if you have enough of the stuff and you filter it and then run it over some kind of ash. At least that's what Brian's planning to do after he takes his high school chemistry class tomorrow to collect a bunch of the stuff...
I suppose you could call it a kind of service project since they're helping clean out an abandoned church with a bat problem. But they get to keep what they clean up to experiment with... I did not volunteer to go along!

Yesterday I got a call from the Wenatchee sub coordinator asking if I wanted to do a long term sub job at Westside High School (the alternative school). My first reaction was: I'm not sure I want to work at that school because the impression I have is that the students are pierced and tattooed and have major attitude problems not to mention alcohol/drug issues. It's also a night school - at least this part of it is - that runs from 1 to 8pm. And they told me I'd have 4 students for math and science and I'm thinking "what in the world am I going to do with 4 students for 8 hours a day?!!!"
But after talking to the principal for half an hour I decided that maybe it wasn't such a bad idea. So today I went in to get oriented as the sessions don't actually start until Monday. And the "4 students" part is only for an hour and a half. The whole program is a contract and individual study set up so I won't really actually be teaching, as in lecturing. It's more of a tutoring session where the kids are trying to get credit quickly so they can graduate. And the night program is only for juniors and seniors who work during the day due to poverty or other reasons.
They are looking to hire a teacher for this position (I don't qualify due to it being high school) so this will mostly likely be a 4-6 week position. I will actually have 5 different groups of students - the Bridges program which is the 4 students for an hour and a half and then 2 night school groups of 2 1/2 hours each for 2 days a week. Fridays are a planning/grading day from 8-3 with no students. I work with one other teacher and a secretary. I met the other teacher today... he is a CHARACTER!!! He pretty much told me all about himself today and not a whole lot about what I actually need to do there! He is a Buddhist/Athiest married to a practicing Mormon. He was a musician and into the whole kind of rock and roll lifestyle until he decided that life was not going to get him anywhere so he became a teacher (and got clean) and has been at this school for 12 years. He has just started a new band and is also a pretty decent potter on the side... How's that for intersting? :)
But the day science teacher showed me all his materials and I will be in his classroom with a bit of an overlap so he can help me out. He seems a little more mellow then the other guy... and hopefully on Monday I can connect with the day math teacher and get some materials from her so I will actually have something for the students to start on when they show up that afternoon!

Here's to an alternative teaching experience...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Reread the subtitle

Did you do it? If not, go back and check again...

That's right, we're having a baby! Right about the end of March or beginning of April. Yes, it's still too early to tell what it is, and we haven't even decided yet if we want to know. We did get pictures a couple weeks back and you can see the head and some little arms waving!

I'm feeling fine other than being uber tired. Oh, and apparently my new friend is getting car sick... which made for a real fun trip to Crater Lake on those windy park roads. But more on that later.

Brian started school last week and he really likes it. It's so much better than last year. I didn't get a job for the year so I'll just be subbing. Which means at the moment I'm rather bored at home by myself because subbing won't pick up for another week or two. Most of the public schools didn't start as early as his.

In other news: My parents have a foreign exchange student living with them this year. His name is Min-Ho and he's from Korea. He's 17 and his English isn't the greatest yet! Apparently he also didn't have to do much for himself at home because they've been having adventures with laundry and ironing and other things like that! He seems pretty nice, but says his most boring class is Bible so keep him in your prayers!

And... MY DAD GOT A JOB!!! This is very good news although he will have to find a place to live and commute on the weekends since it's down at company headquarters in Longview. He's gonna buy a diesel Jetta for the gas mileage. :) That should be cool!
The job is a support person in the timber department. Basically helping everyone get their stuff done. And because he's been with the company for 28 years he does have a pretty good idea what goes on around there so he should be able to do a lot of things. He wants to get into education too, maybe going to schools or leading field trips or something.
Good thing my parents both have cell phones because they're going to be spending a lot of minutes on them in the next couple years!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Creation Rocks!

Happy Anniversary to us! We went to the Creation Music Festival at the Gorge yesterday. It was AWESOME!!! For those of you who don't know it's a natural amphitheatre above the Columbia River with amazing views. Creation is a 4 day Christian music festival. We got free passes by working in the Compassion International booth. That was almost the best part. Lots of people came by to look at the pictures of children and we got to answer their questions and help them sign up if they wanted to. Over the 4 days over 825 children got sponsored!!!

The evening concert was Chris Tomlin and then the Newsboys. Very very cool!!! Chris played worship music and then of course the Newsboys rocked the house!!! They played a brand new song, a couple I didn't know, and then some major old school songs like Shine and closed out with the Breakfast Club song. I couldn't believe people in the mosh pit had actually brought boxes of Captain Crunch and were waving them around!

I had a pretty sore throat by the end of that show and I was so glad we got to drive home instead of staying there in the campground... which was basically giant grass fields with porta-potties...

Now to catch up on that lack of sleep...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Brother's New Baby

Yes, that's what my mother keeps calling her and freaking out all her friends! She thinks it's funny...

Playing tug of war with Amy's camera strap

But the puppy is adorable, of course. She's a Golden Retriever about 10 weeks old and her name is Mara. It's African for "full of life" which she definately is. The funny part is that she's Kevin's dog, but he's at work all day so mom's training her. She'll do stuff for mom, but not for Kevin! So who's dog will she end up really....

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Penfriend!

At Ohme Gardens where we got married last summer.

My penpal Amy was here for the past week. We have been penpals for almost 20 years! She lives in Melbourne, Australia. She took a world tour and as her last stop came to see me! I dropped her off at the airport last night so technically she is still on the plane somewhere over the Pacific. I'm not looking forward to that flight when I go visit her someday!

We spent 4 days in the Wenatchee/Leavenworth area and then 3 days in Seattle. It was major hot here so we spent all day Saturday up at Lake Chelan. It was lovely.

Up the Icicle Gorge from Leavenworth.

Sunday we drove to Seattle, Monday we did Seattle... or as much as can possibly be done in one day.
Space Needle, Experience Music Project, Pike Place Market, Harbor Cruise, Seattle Underground Tour. That was a long day, but it was a lot of fun!

Yesterday morning we went to a Japanese garden and then a park on Lake Washington before lunch and taking her to the airport. It was very fun having her here!

The Seattle skyline from the harbor cruise

On the Seattle Underground Tour

At the Kubota Gardens in South Seattle

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Visited States

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

This is the coolest thing I've found in a long time! This is where I've been in the US. If we added Brian I bet it would be almost the whole country!
Now the world map on the other hand... would be pretty pathetic for me (none outside of North America) and pretty impressive for him!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

School News (again)

Brian was offered and accepted a job as a high school math/science teacher at Upper Valley Christian School. This is the same school where my mother teaches 5th and 6th grade. He will actually have 7 different classes that he is teaching, but they will pnly have 5 - 10 students in each one.
We both applied for 2 open positions at the school, but they offered the second position (junior high) to another lady. That was really really frustrating for me, but of course there's nothing I can do about it.
I have a friend who teaches at Orchard Middle School here in Wenatchee and she says there may be a math position open there later in the summer. Their enrollment went way up for next year, but they have a hiring freeze at the moment. Here's hoping there will be a math job there!

4th of July

View from Saddle Rock

So I convinced Brian and another couple from our Bible study that we needed to hike up to Saddle Rock to watch the fireworks. What I neglected to convey to them was that it was about an hour hike pretty much straight up! OJ almost didn't make it, but we got there in plenty of time to eat our KFC and then watch the fireworks. Michelle and Andrew and their 2 dogs made it up just before the show as they didn't start with us. It is a very cool view, but the fireworks were a long ways away! We had some natural fireworks too across the river and above the ridges.

The show was nice and then afterwards some guys showed up and started lighting off Roman Candles. We were on a little tiny rocky ridgeline with super dry brush and grasses all around us. All I was thinking was "get me off here before they start a fire". Almost immediately a giant spot light was trained on us from somewhere down in town and I wondered if the police would be waiting for us when we got down! They weren't, but I was also really glad no fires started!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Atlanta is HOT

We got back from 5 days in Atlanta on Wednesday night. Nothing like flying into the sunset all the way back to make for pretty skies! We also flew right over the Tetons so I could look out my window and see Yellowstone. Well, I basically could pick out the Lake and not much else because it was pretty dark by that time. I haven't been that close to the Park in 4 years, a little nostalgia.

Coke capitol of the world

It was hot and humid in Atlanta. Hooray for an airconditioned house and car that we borrowed from the Mission Year director while he was out of town. I even managed not to get sunburned until the last day when we went and played in the Olympic fountain right at noon. Smart!

Olympic Centennial Fountain

All the flags are from where the Olympics were held the last 100 years.

I finally got to meet all of Brian's friends that still live there that he talks about ALL the time! It's nice to have a little reference! Sunday we went to his church and he got a royal hard time for not telling anyone he was coming! Still we got invited to the Clarks house for lunch and a game of Scrabble for the girls while the guys all slept!

We went through Reynoldstown and met all the boys that he used to work with. They are not doing so well, into some bad stuff and starting their own gang. We tried to hang out with them and do stuff with them, but they really didn't want to and kept disappearing from the Wheelbarrow Festival so we didn't know where they were. It was kinda sad and really frustrating for Brian.

We spent the most time hanging out with Brian's friend Corey who is deaf. I never knew my husband knew so much sign language! We took him with us to the new Georgia Aquarium. It's pretty cool, but not like the most spectacular thing you've ever seen. Although maybe I'm biased since I've been to a few aquariums.

A Beluga Whale - there were 4 of them

Then we went to the Atlanta Braves game that night. $5 seats can't be beat! We were supposed to be sitting on the side facing into the sun, but I was so incredibly hot and the stadium was half empty that I convinced the guys to walk around to the other side and just take some empty seats. We did with no problem and the coolest part was we ended up sitting right across the isle from another deaf guy. Who happened to be a pastor and had gotten his master's degree. With Corey trying to go to college it was the perfect opportunity for him to be encouraged and make a connection. The guy said he would help him out so pray he does. As if that wasn't God already letting us "move out of the sun"... :)

My very favorite picture, a flock of manta rays that looks like a space fleet

Overall it was a pretty good trip and I am so thankful that we live up here where it's not 90 degrees and 90% humidity in the shade!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Student funnies...

I'm turning into my mother... I come home with crazy quotes that my students have written or said...

One of my advanced biology seniors wrote this on the final…

Question: How do your cells obtain energy?
Answer: They steal it from your heart and that’s why when you are old you get mean like old ladies because all their heart is stolen and hatred takes over.

The real answer is by cellular respiration and glucose :) Definately not as interesting though!

Another question asked how you could have a blue eyed child of two brown eyed parents.
The student wrote a whole long explanation of how the granparents could have had blue eyes and given the recessive trait to the father and then the child got 2 recessive traits to be blue eyed. And then he wrote: Or the second option is the child could have been adopted!
As if adopted kids don't have biological parents too!


Family reunion!

So on Sunday we took my grandma with us to Seattle to my great aunt Lilly's 85th birthday party/family reunion. There were about 50 people there, most being Strand family relatives (my mom is a Strand). We had it at her church and she told stories and mom's cousin Sandee made Swedish food and it was yummy!

Happy Birthday Aunt Lilly!

Strand family crew! Originally 5 brothers and one sister (Lilly) from Sweden.
Lilly and Uncle Richard in the front row are the only 2 left. Grandma was married to one of the brothers.

Brian tries the pickled herring... yum!

I did when I was a kid and just about got ate for it so now it's a family joke.

A sunset on the way home after we stopped to see Brad and Holly and Baby Carter. She was my master teacher last year in McMinnville, but now they live in Monroe.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ever heard of Geocaching?

Well, I hadn't until last fall. Brian got us into it with his old GPS unit. There's an online place where people record the coordinates of caches they hide and clues, etc. Then you go find them and record back that you did or didn't find it. Today we were looking for 4 and found 2 of them. One required me to decrypt a poem that was in gibberish to get the coordinates. A puzzle for my head! And then it took us up on this dirt road to the top of a plateau where we could see the bottom of the canyon with a stream, a bit of the Columbia River, and the Cascade mountains off in the distance. Gorgeous! And the first one I actually found the container!

So, a good end to a rather long week. I did not get the middle school science job I interviewed for. I didn't feel good about the interview and they hired someone with a lot of experience. However the principal did say they had another opening coming up for 6th grade science in a week or two. We'll see...

The high school kids I'm teaching are interesting. Funny, seems like I was doing the same thing this time last year... in St. Paul, Oregon! Only 4 weeks left of school!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

School News

An update here: I subbed a couple times for a science teacher at my old high school. Last Wednesday he called and asked if I would be his sub for the rest of the year. His mom is dying of cancer and he wants to be with her. So there I am! He showed me where they were and said "have at it". So I am now teaching Chemistry, Biology/Zoology (dissections, ugh), and Advanced Biology. The main class to worry about is Chemistry and those kids need help. They all just failed a test on the main thing you need to know, how to do math and conversions with chemicals and reactions. Yikes! Biology is doing a section on ecology and water quality. Something I know a little bit about after my lab job in Seattle! We're taking a field trip at the end of the month to do a program called Kids in the Creek. Thankfully there will be professionals at the other end to lead it otherwise I'd be way in over my head! ;) Advanced Biology is also doing a major ecology project and they've done most of it so only have to do write-ups and presentations. I'm not a biology person so good thing I don't have to teach that class!
All classes are an hour and a half, wow, I never realized how hard that was as a teacher!

Second school news: I have an interview on Tuesday for a 7/8 science job at the middle school just around the corner from our apartment. The principal is a Christian and the school seems pretty good. There were 20 applicants and he's only interviewing 4. It's exciting and scary at the same time! Subbing, you don't have much responsibility...

Finally, Brian's one math class is just causing him a lot of trouble. He wants to be able to help them, but they don't want to be helped. Kind of hard to force that. He's really frustrated and the school really hasn't supported him all year. Needless to say I would never consider nor recommend a job in that school to anyone.

And here I thought the school year was almost over...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

School's almost out!

Or that's what it feels like at least. I was reminded by our small group leaders that George Fox graduation is this weekend. Gosh, it's been a year already. A year since we got engaged, a year since I became a teacher, a year of a ton of changes. Now it's almost summer and we don't have jobs yet nor know entirely what we're going to do for next year. We have people giving us all kinds of suggestions, but most of them require moving. Something I'm not real keen on doing.

There's a middle school science position open just around the corner from our apartment that I've applied for, but I don't know when they'll do the interviews, or even if I'll get interviewed.
I've started doing training to work at the local Crisis Pregnancy Center. I think I would really like it and could be useful with my Spanish skills. I guess they see a lot of Hispanic girls.

The weather's turned quite nice and I'd like to be out in it more, but it seems like I don't ever have any energy. I'm exhausted from working and seem to have a constant cold, or Brian does keeping me awake. Yuck.

If it sounds like I'm complaining, I am. Sorry. Not that my life is anywhere near as bad as those who lived through Chernobyl. It's been 20 years this week. We forget, but their lives are still devasted. There was a slide show with narration on MSN this morning. Haunting. It detailed what happened, truly a lot of stupid decisions on the part of some engineers working there that led to the explosions. They never knew what they did because they all died instantly. Makes me wonder what other countries could do who have the technology, but not the knowledge to be safe with it. Or the ethics. Scary.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Photos from the Gulf Coast

Here are half the photos we took - they don't hardly do it justice.
Click here


Where to start...
Brian and I returned last night from a week in Mississippi. I could say that we stayed in Pass Christian, but there really isn't a city of Pass Christian anymore. The entire coast line for about 100 miles is gone. There is a highway that runs right along the beach and as you drive along all you see are foundations, steps leading to nowhere, and rubble. It's hard to really believe.

We stayed at a recently vacated FEMA tent camp. There were about 80 tents with probably room for roughly 10 people each. They were the nicest thing around with wooden interior walls covered by the tents and then air conditioners. Coolness and no bugs... heaven! I don't know much about MASH, but people say it looks like that. The only bad part was porta potties and water in a shower trailer for only 3 hours morning and night.

The good part was we ate meals at Camp Gospel, a music camp, and also got to use their shower facilities which had way better pressure! I'm so glad we didn't have to stay there though because they didn't have air conditioning or screens in the windows! The worst part of the whole week were the tiny gnats that hurt when they bit. We though they didn't itch and for that we were grateful... for a day. Then we all were going crazy. Delayed reaction bugbites... only in the South! I look like I have some disease on my arms and legs! Oh, and bug spray did nothing to them...

After about the first day the humidity wasn't too bad. The food was wonderful, prepared by Amish and Brethren women, mostly from Pennsylvania. We spent Monday and Tuesday working at the camp, renovating one of the dorms. We mostly sanded drywall and mudded. I'm not very good at either! Brian and I hung some insulation and put up some drywall in the downstairs that wasn't quite as far along as the upstairs. This was where the Free Methodist Care Team (which we were part of) was supposed to stay, but since it was getting renovated we got booted to the tent camp. Thank you Lord!

Wednesday I went to help at the local distribution center located next to God's Katrina Kitchen. Anyone can come for free and get food, clothing, basic medicines, and hot meals. They are starting to drop off in food donations and are thinking of closing that part down as it doesn't seem to be as big a need. The food kitchen is going strong though and feeds almost 1000 people a day, many of them volunteers that have come down to help.

Thursday was more painting upstairs and then to a Volunteers Lunch put on by some ladies from the church we went to on Sunday. Southern Black Baptist church 2 1/2 hours long... awesome!

Friday all our team went home except Brian and I and Gillian, a doctor who had come in on Tuesday. She helped in the tent camp medical tent and Brian and I went out to a couple's house to help them. At first we thought they didn't need much help and we wanted to be more "useful", but after talking to them we found out they are older than they look with quite a few medical problems and no insurance. They wouldn't know where to start without the volunteer labor. Their house has a 10 foot carport area underneath on stilts and then the house on top. There was water 7 feet up in the living area... 17 feet of flood water on their property basically. They lost everything and are currently living in a FEMA trailer next to their house. They are so grateful for the volunteers that in a little two room place on the ground level they are going to let some of the Free Methodist long term leaders live there. (because the camp will be in use this summer) Their names are Leah and Jared and they were just so thankful we were there even though in a day and a half it didn't feel like we'd been able to help that much.

Over the course of the week we drove to various surrounding communities to see the devastation. It was unreal. We also went to New Orleans Sunday night. We went to the French Quarter which wasn't flooded, but all the way there we saw abandoned houses and FEMA blue roofs. Many of the places haven't even been touched since the storm. One school in Long Beach we were able to walk through. There were chains on the doors, but holes in the walls. The water line was about 5 feet. I went in the library and all the bookshelves were tumbled with mildewy, soggy books everywhere. A few pictures on the walls above the water line were perfect and there was a clock still telling the right time. Down the hallway, even rooms without holes in the walls, their furniture was all jumbled. And you could still read the writing on the white boards and calendars that said August. Eery.

Driving down the roads there were a few houses tall enough and strong enough to withstand the water. Their lower levels were gone and the upper story would look perfect. It was very odd. And then you could see all the pipes and wires just hanging loose. Most of the homes that were very badly damaged haven't even been started on. Right now those that only needed gutting and remodeling are being worked on. This area will be nowhere near normal a year from the storm. I sincerely hope that we do not forget about the Gulf Coast because they will be rebuilding and needing help and support for years to come.

We do have a ton of pictures, but at the moment the blog is not being cooperative. Stay posted for a link to pictures.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Mississippi Update

So, we had a meeting at church last week and got a lot more details on our trip. First we will be going with 9 people total, 4 of whom are also on our flight down there. Most of them are leaving on Friday and we will be staying until Saturday.
We will be staying at a Mennonite music camp (?) and there will be Amish women cooking for us! Breakfast however is served at 6:30am. Brian is looking forward to greeting me then and watching my face... He gets to sleep in another room - camp style bunkbeds.
We are going with a group from our church - the Free Methodist - and they have organized various projects that we can work on while we're there. Picking up where the last group left off and leaving it ready for the next group. It sounds like this will be a very very long process. There is also the opportunity to work in Katrina's Kitchen which a man started the day after the hurricane by barbequing hamburgers. People started donating food, some kitchen equipment from a damaged restaurant, a tent, etc. and now they serve 1,000 meals a day and haven't missed a day since the hurricane. I think I'd like to try that for at least one day! I'll probably be better at dishes than cooking though!

2 weeks and counting...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

News Flash

New adventure! This just in: Brian and I are heading to Gulfport, Mississippi for spring break. Tasks yet to be determined. The sum total that we know is we are going with 2 other couples from our church. Our contact is a church down there that will tell us what to do when we get there! Hurricane relief, here we come!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Epiphanies and Midnight Hikes

No, the two do not go together...

This weekend Brian and I decided to go up to camp so I could take him out to Inspiration Point. This is the camp that I spent my high school summers working at. I wanted to take him at night because it's out in the middle of nowhere so there are no lights (other than a far off glow over a ridge from our city) and you can see all the stars! This was the perfect weekend what with Monday off and all. We were going to cross country ski out there, but considering it was very icy and I haven't been on x-country skis in years and Brian never, we decided to walk. It was a good decision. It was also all of about 15 degrees out so we didn't stay at the point long. But long enough to get this picture of the stars!

And then Brian got in some games... don't ask me what this one was, something with spiders I think. I wasn't really paying attention, I was knitting!

The epiphany I had the other day: It occurred to me that being up in front of a classroom doesn't intimidate me anymore. I'm in a different classroom almost every day so it almost doesn't matter what the kids think of me. Of course I do get to know some of them after awhile, but somehow it doesn't matter. I wonder if it will be the same when I get my own class or if I will want them to like me more. I don't know, my mom's kids still liked me after 2 weeks and I didn't let them get away with too much! I was going to write this to my professor, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I wonder if any of his students this year are having as many self doubt issues as I was last year...

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sore legs

Too bad I don't have any pictures from this weekend. I'm sure you'd all enjoy them. Neither Brian nor I saw each other crash, but if mine was any indication they would have been great photos! He took a lesson and I skiied a bit before leaving for work. We were both having trouble walking yesterday! I haven't been on my skis in 2 years (due to no snow last year) and he hasn't skiied in 9 years! I think I may take a few lessons as well and see if I can't get better before he shows me up!

Pray for snow...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Falling off the face of the earth...

For those of you who think I've disappeared and are wondering why I haven't responded to your emails... some of you for months! I promise I'm still here and reading them. I honestly care about you, yes, I do! It's just that I seem to have caught everything that's come around in the last month. And it's not even from the kids at school! Who knew having friends could be so detrimental to your health! We did manage to get to Portland this weekend between illnesses and take in a Blazers game with Brian's grandparents. (Thanks Aunt Gayle) It was a very exciting game, right down to the wire... and I'm not sure but what the grandparents didn't enjoy it more than we did! :) Thanks also to Jason and Amber and their two lovely wet nosed greyhounds for housing us. Sorry I'm such a picky eater, Amber! The snow made us hurry back on Monday, but there were no major issues other than stupid drivers and we made it back in good time. For now I'm finally feeling better... I love you very much, but please don't come visit me if you're sick!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Year's Week Photos

Girls night out - foot spa from Aunt Cindi

Aunt Cris provides the comic relief!

Allison tries to smell the lotion with a cold...

New Year's Dinner - family style!

The VIEW on the way home - Columbia Gorge

giant pants I made Brian for Christmas... before I remade them!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

The past week spent with Brian's family has been great... except for his sister giving me her flu-thing! This house has 7 beds... tonight there are 13 people here representing 6 different branches of the R family! The girls all had a hilarious time getting a foot spa from Aunt Cindi... if I had the connector cord from the camera you could see it, but that will be after we get home. We are also indoctrinating all the cousins into Settlers of Catan. If you haven't played that game yet, you are missing out! But watch out for Brian's running commentary! :)
Happy New Year all and blessings!