Wednesday, December 28, 2005
We got our car back today from the shop. This is what it looked like prior to having the dent fixed.
- I haven't actually gotten my green card yet but am supposed to photocopy the front and back of one for my citizenship application. What do I do? The answer: Photocopy the bio page of my passport and the page of my passport where my "temporary evidence of permanent residency" stamp is.
- There's a section in the Guide to Naturalization (page 53) that instructs me to attach sheets of paper to my citizenship application explaining why I answered "Yes" to any of the 15 questions in Part 7 of the application or "No" to any of the 5 questions in Part 8. However, Parts 7 and 8 do not have yes or no questions, numbered 1-15 and 1-5 respectively. Huh? The answer: That's a "typo" in the Guide that hasn't been fixed yet.
- When might I expect to get my actual physical green card? The answer: We don't know but we'll forward a request to your service center (Nebraska) to see if they can update you on that.
That was that ... or so I thought. I get an email from USCIS on December 21 (which I didn't find out about until I finally checked email today) that says the following:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Nebraska Service Center
P.O. Box 82521
Lincoln, NE 68501-2521
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Dear M. SMALLWOOD:
On 12/20/2005 you, or the designated representative shown below, contacted us about your case. [bunch of personal information after this which I'm not posting, for obvious reasons]
The status of this service request is:
On 6/22/05) we mailed you an Approval Notice and requested that you make an appointment with your local USCIS office to submit photographs and have a fingerprint taken. We need this information to create your permanent resident card. You will need to make an appointment to visit your local office. To make an appointment you will need to go to our website and schedule an appointment using INFOPASS. You can access INFOPASS online at http://infopass.uscis.gov. In the future, if you change your address please contact customer service at the number provided below.
If you have any further questions, please call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. [it goes on from here, nothing of interest past this point]
Now, anyone who has been reading this blog since before this past summer knows that I did make and keep an appointment by Infopass. I went to the USCIS office in Cleveland. I had a rough time of it too (see August blog archives for details). Argh! What's a girl to do? So, I replied to the email from USCIS to the address it was sent from. Here's what I said:
Dear U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,
On 08/16/2005, I, Eshinee M. Smallwood, went to a U.S.C.I.S. service center in Cleveland, OH (1240 EAST NINTH STREET, ROOM 501, Cleveland, OH 44199; LOBBY) for a 1:00 PM appointment. I had made this appointment online through Infopass, Confirmation No.: CLE-05-9002, Authentication Code: b4b3.
Fingerprints were taken at that time and photographs were submitted and approved. The U.S.C.I.S. representative then stamped and wrote in my passport the following information:
[personal info left out]
PROCESSED FOR I-551
TEMPORARY EVIDENCE OF
LAWFUL ADMISSION FOR
VALID UNTIL AUG 15 2006
CLE AUG 16 2005
I called the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 today, 12/28/2005, to find out what happened to the photographs that I submitted and fingerprints that were taken at the Cleveland office. I spoke to 2 separate representatives and neither of them could tell me why I would receive the email below. Their only recommendation was that I make another appointment on Infopass, have more pictures taken and come in for another appointment. As this would require nearly 4 hours of driving to get to another appointment and further expense to have more photographs taken, I would rather find out what happened to the items submitted at the Cleveland office to see if this inconvenience on my part is actually necessary. Perhaps they haven't been forwarded to you yet.
If you have received these items, please indicate what the problem is with them. For example, if the problem is with the fingerprints and not with the photographs, I'd rather not pay unnecessarily to have more photographs taken.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
Eshinee M. Smallwood
Nice email. Too bad it didn't go through. It was returned to me:
USCIS-SRMT@dhs.gov: User unknown
Double argh. So, I went online and found out who my congressman is. I emailed him from the website, asking him if his office could intervene in my case, find out what's going on. I'll keep you posted on my progress on this front.
- Sunday, 18th - Sang and played with Mosaic at Cross of Christ in Bellevue, WA. Had dinner with the Cruz family in the evening. Had a bit of a rough time trying to get home at 11:30 at night when the road a few turns from the Buerers was fully blocked by police because of an accident. The road had been icy and rain had fallen so an accident was not surprising. Good thing we had my laptop with us, Streets & Trips at the ready for alternate route planning. When I saw the route we had to take, I knew that we would have been wandering tiny, winding neighborhood roads for a very long time before we ever made it to our final destination had it not been for Streets & Trips.
- Monday, 19th - Drove back to Bellingham in the morning. Started cleaning up the place a bit and, if I recall correctly, did the rest of the Christmas shopping.
- Tuesday, 20th - Worked on my citizenship application all day. Made several phone calls to USCIS (a.k.a. INS) to make sure I was filling out my form correctly.
- Wednesday, 21st - Worked on my citizenship application all day. I'm not kidding.
- Thursday, 22nd - Went through papers, throwing away as many as I could. Packed for the trip to Potlatch, ID for Christmas. Went for early Christmas dinner at Rob's grandparents with his folks and the Harris' family.
- Tip's Eve, 23rd - Drove to Potlatch with Rob's folks. Nearly hit a white horse in the middle of the road somewhere in eastern Washington.
- Christmas Eve - Did as little as I could get away with. Went to Rob's brother's church (Larry is the pastor) for Christmas Eve service.
- Christmas Day - Went to church in the morning after opening gifties. Did as little as possible in the afternoon. This included watching Ever After with the girls; June (Rob's mom), Suzanne (Larry's wife) and Pat (Suzanne's mom).
- Boxing Day - This was both my parents' (39th) and Rob's parents' (40th) anniversary! Not much I could do with my folks from here but we had a feast for Dennis & June. Salmon, truffles, salad, Chinese dumplings, champagne ... a good time was had by all. After dinner, Rob and I performed a couple of songs for the anniversarying couple; Love Song (by Bruce Cockburn) and A Taste of Honey (by the Beatles). Later that evening, Rob and I watched Spiderman with Larry.
- Tuesday, 27th - Drove back to Bellingham.
- Today - Today deserves a post of it's own ...
Saturday, December 17, 2005
That's just plain funny, on so many levels.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Well, we spoke at a luncheon at Cross and Crown in Renton and we're in Bellevue now, waiting for Mosaic practice tonight. I'm in the library, doing internet stuff. I should probably go look for Rob; he's in here, somewhere.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
We're going to see this at 3:45 today with the family (Harrises and Veiths).
Tomorrow, we bring the car into the shop and pick up the rental car before we head to Renton for the luncheon we're speaking at, at Cross and Crown Lutheran Church. We have worship team practice in the evening in Bellevue and will, just generally, be in Seattle area all weekend, doing stuff.
I'm also planning on checking with housekeeping at JAARS up in Waxhaw, NC and see if we can borrow some stuff from housekeeping there. They do stuff for missionaries so they may help out in this way.
(per month rate)
1301WE Sofa - $25
1305CR Table - $5
1405CR Desk - $6.75
Monday, December 12, 2005
We made it to and from Potlatch, ID just fine, speaking in Rob's brother's church on Sunday. Sunday afternoon, we went sledding. A good time was had by all, although the wee twins (nearly 3 now) had a few rough moments when the snow sprayed over the front of the sled and coated their faces. It was dry, fluffy stuff, not packing down real well.
We weren't sure what the weather would be like coming back through Snoqualmie Pass but it was clear from the moment we turned off of 26 onto 90W. Smooth sailing. We got back here to Bellevue faster than we went out to Potlatch. At the library now and heading to an early dinner, I think, before we biff back to Bellingham.
Home sweet home.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Interestingly enough, one of the guys at the Christmas party has been to Zambia, working with AIDS relief. We talked a bit about the stuff I had been seeing online, the statistics that can't be relied upon. He explained to me how difficult testing is there, largely for social stigmatic reasons. But he confirms the ravaging effect of AIDS on that country, as he's seen with his own eyes. It's like we need to have the statistics to quote here in North America in order for us to take the crisis seriously. A barrage of photographs won't sway us; we're numb to the media, anymore. We've been watching people die in Africa on our TV screens for decades. But scary statistics - that'll move us. In fact, we won't believe without them. So, they come up with some for us. "Studies show that 30% of people in Africa have AIDS," they say. And we sigh, make tsking noises ... take out our checkbooks. Whatever it takes, eh?
Hit the road this morning, on our way to Potlatch. We made it as far as Bellevue this afternoon and stopped for Christmas shopping. Amazingly, I got tons done. All I need to do is print photos and wrap gifts to ship to Newfoundland, for my family side of things.
We're in Woodinville tonight. I just cut Rob's hair (all those curls ... gone!) and I think we're going to do a little computer gaming before we hit the sack. Rob has an online meeting tomorrow morning before we drive to Idaho.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
There it is; an official mention of the ELISA test in statistic gathering for HIV in South Africa. And the latest statistic for HIV prevalence given from this study is 29.5%. There that is; the 30% I've heard so often.
ELISA is also used to identify antibodies to HIV in blood, urine, or saliva. Generally, a blood sample is taken with a needle from a vein in the arm, and sent to a laboratory for testing by technicians.
The limitations of ELISA include the following:
Tests are done in batches of 40–90 specimens.
Positive results must be confirmed either with another ELISA (using a test kit from a different manufacturer) or by Western blot. The Western blot is a highly “specific" antibody test because it is particularly accurate in providing a negative test result on samples from people who are truly negative. Both confirmatory tests can be done on the initial blood sample.
Reporting of results may take several days or weeks, and women may not return for test results or may give birth before the results are ready.
Laboratories and trained laboratory technicians are required.
The test is sensitive to temperature, and reagents require refrigeration.
"Slide 16 lists data obtained when testing 281
subjects with non-HIV disease but with potentially
interfering substances. Subjects included
people with autoimmune diseases, kidney disease,
liver disease, STDs, urinary conditions,
neoplasms, and pregnant women. These urine
specimens tested by ELISA were problematic.
Assuming all of these people were uninfected,
several categories were very reactive by urine
EIA. It was demonstrated that 32/50 people with
kidney/liver conditions, 22/47 with urinary conditions,
25/63 pregnant women, and 17/35 with
neoplasms were repeatedly reactive by the urine
ELISA. Overall, in this group 113/281 (40.2%)
were repeatedly reactive by ELISA and would
advance to Western blot. Two subjects were
urine Western blot false positive (specificity
99.3%) and 11/281 (3.9%) were urine Western
blot indeterminate. The remaining 268 were
urine Western blot negative."
So, this would seem to indicate that the ELISA test is problematic for testing pregnant women. That's almost half the pregnant women giving false positives. What does that do to a 30% statistic arrived at by ELISA testing blood from pregnant women? According to this one study anyway, about 39% might have expected a positive, HIV or not.
The CDC states that the combined accuracy of the ELISA plus either the WB or IFA is greater than 99%.
The CDC recommends retesting any positive ELISA twice; if either retest is positive, then a confirmatory test is performed. Only when the confirmatory test is also positive is the result reported as HIV positive. Again, reputable test sites automatically follow this procedure, so results reported to you can be relied upon completely."
These preliminary figures are based on testing pregnant women at ante-natal clinics every two years to indicate the prevalence rate in the country."
This would, presumably, be the ELISA test that I've seen mentioned in other articles on AIDS statistics in Africa.
Modified 1985 WHO case definition for AIDS surveillance (the “Bangui definition”)
An adult or adolescent (> 12 years of age) is considered to have AIDS if at least two of the following major signs are present in combination with at least one of the minor signs listed below, and if these signs are not known to be due to a condition unrelated to HIV infection.
• Weight loss >10% of body weight
• Chronic diarrhoea for >1 month
• Prolonged fever for >1 month (intermittent or constant)
• Persistent cough for >1 month
• Generalized pruritic dermatitis
• History of herpes zoster
• Oropharyngeal candidiasis
• Chronic progressive or disseminated herpes simplex infection
• Generalized lymphadenopathy
The presence of either generalized Kaposi sarcoma or cryptococcal meningitis is sufficient for the diagnosis of AIDS for surveillance purposes.
I hope this is true.
The overall HIV/AIDS prevalence in the South African population (over the age of two) is estimated at 11,4% (4,5 million). Among the age group 15–49 it was 15,6%.
Gender: Women are biologically more susceptible to HIV infection than men, explaining the fact that 12,8% of women were HIV positive, compared with 9,5% of men. Among the youth (15–24), 12% of women and 6% of men were infected.
Race: HIV prevalence was the highest among Africans (12,9%), followed by whites (6,2%), coloureds (6,1%) and Indians (1,6%).
Provinces: HIV prevalence was highest in the Free State, followed by Gauteng and Mpumalanga. KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) – until now regarded as the province with the highest HIV rate – came in fourth.
Age: The highest prevalence was among the 25–29 age group (28%), followed by the 30–34 age group (24%). Prevalence among children 2–14 was unexpectedly high at 5,6% and it remains unclear how these children were infected – an important area for further investigation.
Locality: People living in urban informal settlements had the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence (21,3%), followed by formal urban areas (12,1%), tribal areas (8,7%) and farms (7,9%).
Insurance covers $30/day for car rental as well, while the car is getting fixed. I'm thinking we'll have to actually do that on a couple of the weekends, when we have places to be. Olsen's says they'll need a week and a half for the job. Gotta check some costs on that now.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Basic Rate Access (BRA)
Main service plus MSN 340.91 -> 392.05
Basic Rate Access (BRA)
Main service plus MSN 128.86 -> 148.19
So, it'll cost about $62 US for installation and about $24 US a month for our access. That's really reasonable. I hope that I'm understanding what I'm reading correctly because it looks positive.
It looks from the basic ISDN info page that we may need to have a landline as well to have ISDN but that shouldn't be much more of an expense. The website says that, for phone service, "a once-off activation fee of N$13.75 is payable upon application with a monthly rental of N$9.70." Small potatoes.
"If you are fortunate enough to stay for a while, you will soon experience that living in Windhoek holds privileges that add quality to life. Unlike other capital cities, the city centre has no traffic congestion and offers ample parking within walking distance from modern offices. A weekend out of the city in the tranquillity of nature is a ten-minute drive away. Furthermore, compared to other capital cities in Africa, Windhoek is one of the safest.
The ethnic inhabitants of the city reflect the rich mix of Namibia’s people, as does the mixture of languages heard on the streets. While the official language is English, Afrikaans, German and other indigenous languages such as Oshiwambo and Otjiherero are used freely.
Residential properties are readily available and prices are attractive by international standards. The suburbs have a full range of social and sporting facilities. On a cultural level, Windhoek offers a National Theatre, National Art Gallery, several national museums and a Public Library, all situated in the city centre, as well as other excellent venues strategically located in the various suburbs. Regular art and cultural festivals and events are hosted throughout the year.
Windhoek has a passenger bus service, operating primarily between the low-cost suburbs and the industrial estates, as well as serving the residential areas. In the city centre transport is provided by taxis."
Bus service ... good to know. Still looking for apartment listings ...
Security - Electric Gate, Alarm System, Burglar Bars
Features - Eye Level, Stove, Undercounter Stove, Carpets, Tiled Floor
Special Features - Totally Fenced Or Walled, Built In Braai, Driveway, Paving, Lapa
Reception Rooms 2 - Lounge, Dining Room
Kitchens 1 Open Plan
Bathrooms 3 - Full, Half, Toilet
Established Garden Y
Region - Windhoek - Avis
Not that I know what all of this means. But it seems like good real estate pricing. Still looking for rental options.
Anyway, we don't really know what to do about it yet. It was a hit and run obviously but we don't know if we need to file a police report before calling insurance. And what would we say? We're not even sure where it happened. Ack. The dent is about 2 feet wide, 1 foot high. Yuck. There's even a scrape on the door.
It all started back in late October when we came out to the car and found a traffic ticket under the wiper on the driver's side. We looked it over. The only indication of what it was for were the words "IMPROPER DISPLAY" and, further down the ticket, the following bunch of letters NOREGISVIS. There were only 3 options on the payment envelope:
- Yes, I committed the infraction and here's my payment.
- Yes, I committed the infraction but would like to have a mitigation hearing.
- No, I did not commit the infraction and would like to contest in court
Well, we didn't know where we fit in because we didn't know what it could possibly be for. So, after a call to the police station to ask what that meant (the woman who answered the phone didn't know and the officer who wrote the ticket didn't return my call), we drove down there to ask in person. We still couldn't speak to the officer and the woman at the front desk didn't know what it meant either. She called the officer for us and the officer said that it was that our vehicle registration wasn't displayed properly. Well, that was crap because the officer had to reach over our Texas registration sticker on the windshield to put the ticket under the wiper. The officer clarified that it was because we didn't have WA registration. We replied that we still had out-of-state registration but were within in the 30 days of WA residence we had before WA registration was required by law. The officer replied (all this via the receptionist, mind you) that they had no way of knowing that at the time the ticket was written and we could contest in court but that's all that can be done after a ticket is written. We walked across the street to the courthouse and booked our court date for December 6.
Last week, I found a bunch of receipts for our trip across the country from the east coast that clearly showed the earliest date that we could have arrived in WA. I put the addresses from those receipts into Streets & Trips as numbered pushpins and printed out a map of our trek across the country. I made a table of those receipts by date, location and credit card signer, showing that we were both on the trip, therefore neither of us residing in WA. I was ready.
We showed up for court at 9AM this morning. After watching everyone else take their turn at the stand for about an hour and a half, it was Rob's turn to go up. It went roughly like this:
Rob joked later that he should have said, "Wait! We've made a bunch of guesses as to what that might have been and we gathered evidence to contest all of them! Don't you want to see?"
JUDGE: Let's see ... this ticket is for ... "improper display". Hmm. What is that?! The infraction number is [He reads off the number to the clerk, looks at the screen as she types the number in. They both look puzzled for a moment.]. Well ... apparently this infraction doesn't even exist.
ROB: [not missing a beat, delivering in his most casual, calm voice] Well, I can hardly be held accountable for it, then, can I?
JUDGE: Case dismissed.
Monday, December 05, 2005
These are my favorite of Rob's items for sale. Love the legless Conan. Which is what happened of course; he loved his toy's leg off when he was a little boy. Many of his action figures have the missing leg thing. They must have stomped just a little too hard on many imaginary enemies during many imaginary battles in his youth.
What I think is really cute is that he kept all the legs.
1996 Mitsubishi Pajero 3.5 - Green 90000km - $N 125000
1996 Mitsubishi Pajero 3.0 V6 - Blue 137000km - $N 125000
2002 Hyundai Trajet 2.7 LTH - Red 55000km - $N 115000
2000 Toyota Corolla GLE LTH - Silver 35000 - $N 82000
1996 Toyota Rav 4 - white 105000km - $N 99900
2002 Hyundai Elantra GLS J4 - Silver 47000km - $N 95000
1995 Toyota Rav 4 - Blue 75000km - $N 89000
2000 Toyota Corolla 1.6 GLE - Silver 90000km - $N 82000
2001 Mazda Etude CD - Gold 19000km - $N 79000
2001 Hyundai Elantra GLS J4 - Silver 85000km - $N 75000
$1000 Namibian is the same as $157.60 American. So the 2001 Hyundai Elantra would be $11,820. For rural road travel, though, Rob might need the Rav 4. That would be $14,026. That's not so bad, I guess.
Mom said it was remarkable to watch. Lily refused all forms of intervention and did the whole thing herself, delivering on a mattress on the floor. She apparently made it look easy and was walking around the next day as if she'd hadn't given birth the day before. Cool cat.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
They got a couple of hours in while I attempted to read a book. I was exhausted from a restless night; had a weird nightmare involving my feet and legs that woke me up at 6AM. And so my eyes refused to focus on the words on the page. Yet, when I finally gave in and put down the book so I wouldn't damage it when I gave in to sleep, sleep would no longer come. I was no more energetic but I couldn't actually nap. I've never been a good napper.
In the evening, Kate took me to her fitness club for a massage. She treats me to one every year. It used to be something we did together on her birthday but I wasn't around on her birthday this year so we're doing it late. This was good a time for it, after all my time in the car and her moving into her new place.
We got up at 5:30AM today and drove to Des Moines for a couple of services at Resurrection Lutheran Church. We hung around with Jim and Kayoko for a bit, friends of ours, Rob's in particular from his days in the newspaper business in south CA. Got back to Woodinville at around 4:30PM, in time to run off to Kate and Dave's small group for "fun night". And it was fun! Saw people we hadn't seen in over a year. Particularly good to see Hannah. Hopefully I get to hang with her a bit more in the next month. I think Kate and I are going to try to fondue with her soon.
We're actually playing D&D right now. I'm waiting for my next turn, blogging in the breaks. Man, I love wireless internet!
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Rob's Planet of the Apes toys are up to $14.50 already, with 6 days left on auction. He's got 5 lots up for sale right now.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Why, I believe I will!
- Tony's - Closed for renovations this week.
- Toad Mountain - Internet down; we weren't that surprised. Whoever is supplying their service sucks. it's down about 50% of the time these days.
- The Black Drop - We saw a bunch of people with open laptops sitting around so we assumed that their interent was up and running. It wasn't. Unfortunately, the coffee was paid for and in the process of being made before we realized this. We chilled for a minute, drank our coffee before heading off to ...
- Rob's folks - It occurred to Rob while we sat in the Black Drop that, hey, his parent's have high-speed internet. And now they just live in Ferndale, a handful of minutes away! So, a quick phonecall to make sure the timing was right for them and we hit the road. And we had a lovely lunch with them to boot. All's well that ends better, eh?
Rob did leave the house once, to fetch us afternoon lattes at a nearby espresso stand. He walked, not drove. Aunt Connie gave us minestrone for dinner; yummers. Nothing like hot soup on a cold day.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
We did most of the music for the contemporary service, a children's "Heroes of Faith" segment in children's church and a presentation/update of ministry after communion at each service. People are so supportive there; we found a good home.
On the way back to the Buerer's place after everything, we stopped in Redmond to pick up a library reserve (a history of the Winchester mystery house), some DIM, Airborne (to ward off whatever bug I appear to have acquired in the last few days), black ink for the printer and rechargeable batteries for the digital camera. Rob is hoping to sell off some of his toys on eBay this week and we also hope to get a Christmas letter together. We also got Jamba juices for lunch.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Monday we head back up to Bellingham and take care of business; prepare and mail reports from speaking in south CA, clean up bills and mail that accumulated while we were away. Also, we wanted to prepare a special Christmas mailing for family and friends. We'll see how that goes.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Driving was pretty good today. Low traffic, overcast enough to make the road easy on the eyes. However, I was working on the computer enough that my eyes are still sore. Gotta stop using them for a bit.
Monday, November 21, 2005
One of the quite beautiful stained glass pieces in the house. This one's placement is odd; it's located in a place where, because of surrounding structures, it never gets the sun shining directly on it.
This is what the house looked like before the earthquake that knocked down it's tower and destroyed much of the front of the house.
These are the stairs that go nowhere (i.e. directly into the ceiling).
The door goes nowhere but out. Our guide said that "legend has it" that Sarah built stuff like this in so that the spirits that were killed by her husband's product (Winchester rifles) couldn't find her and, perhaps, might just fall out of the house if they tried to go this way.
A view of the house from one of the windows.
We were told that there were no blueprints for the house. Sarah got the plans during seance sessions in her special seance room which noone but herself ever entered. She would scribble them on scraps of paper and hand them to her foreman the next morning.
Building took place there for 38 years, 24/7. Apparently, she was told by a medium that if she bought a house and built it, never finishing, she would have eternal life. Well, not only did that not work out the way she anticipated but she ended up with the most bizarre dwelling ever. Some of the lowpoints:
- Rob and I, when talking about it later, recalled that there was nowhere in this house where one could feel truly private. Every room could be looked directly into from some other room.
- There's shiny glass everywhere. Even if you aren't seeing someone in another room, you're always seeing someone reflected somewhere. Talk about a structure that would feed into your fears.
- There's more than a hundred rooms, some with doors that don't go anywhere. Her favorite room, the Daisy Room, had one of these doors. When the earthquake hit and the wall slid to wedge her entrance shut, she was trapped. Sure, there was another door in the room. It opened on an intact wall.
- The earthquake damaged the front of the house. They say that Sarah believed that it was because she was close to completing that section and that the earthquake was a sign that they should close off the front and not use it anymore. Myself, I'd start doubting the supernatural beings giving me the building plans if I discovered that they'd planned a building on a fault. Any dummy can build on a fault.
- While we expected (somewhat) to be a bit freaked by the fact that the building plan was acquired through supernatural means, we actually weren't. It was more sad than anything else. To think that she lived her life in bondage to her fears, obeying either her own delusions or malicious beings, leaving behind a monument (literally) to this bondage that screams out for mercy ... it boggles the mind.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Arrived here last night after driving from San Jose. We visited the Winchester House of Mystery yesterday morning before leaving town; what a nutbar place! Well worth a visit, if you're in the neighbourhood. Not scary, just sad on a massive scale. Will probably blog more on that later. Yaks is closing in 5 minutes, gotta post this before they do.
Someone working at the WMH has a blog, incidentally.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
We should make it back to B'ham in time to spend Thanksgiving with Rob's immediate family, for the first time in many years.
They had wireless in the Study, the campus eatery/study spot, so we worked there most days.
Those aren't clouds ... that's smoke.
The view of Ventura as we were passing on the south of the fires.
This was my first wildfire. The daughter of the folks we were staying with Thursday night had to evacuate and so she and her housemate grabbed their favorite things and joined us for breakfast. We watched the extent of the burning for a bit on TV after we were done eating.
Friday, November 18, 2005
They have weird street lights here in San Jose that make it impossible to tell what color a vehicle is on the side that faces the street lights. Our red car looks deep purplish grey in these lights. Very freaky.
And we spoke at a church in Simi Valley on Sunday. Rob went to the church of his youth (Eastminster Presbyterian) to speak for the second service.
We're on our way to Redding. My eyes are closing of their own accord. I shouldn't be surprised, given the current time.
Friday, November 11, 2005
We got to spend time with Shawn & Jill Boylan, LBT missionaries in Namibia who are back on a tiny furlough (a couple of months). Shawn was speaking last night at an LBT dinner for supporters. It was so good to talk to the Boylans. We found out tons more about what we might expect to encounter and how we can better prepare for going to Namibia. They also said that we can email them about anything we're wondering. We rolled in around 2:30PM and hung out with them until the dinner started around 6:30PM.
Dinner was huge. I don't know how anyone could eat all of it. We took away enough for a whole other meal. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, salad, biscuits, stewed rhubarb, boysenberry pie ... the whole nine yards.
Took pictures on the way back. It occurred to me that turning off the flash on the digital camera might lead to some fun pictures ... and here they are!
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Rob's 45 minute presentation ended up being more like an hour but it was OK because he was engaging and entertaining. I realized that I've never actually herad him speak for any length of time before. I mean, I've heard everything he could have to say on the subject of vernacular media and ethnomusicology and I still wasn't bored. Great fun was had by all.
Yesterday, we spent all morning at the tire place. One of our tires was flat when we went to drive to first service on Sunday but we just topped it off at a gas station and drove on. It seemed to be a really slow leak; the air lasted all day but would be gone in the morning. Well, turns out it wasn't the tire. It was the wheel itself that was punctured. So, they ordered a new wheel in for us and Rob went to get it put on yesterday afternoon. I spent the afternoon at the Underground coffee house, emailing churches in Washington state to see if they'd have us visit their church.
I'm posting a list of the Lutheran churches I contacted yesterday so that if you know someone at one of these churches, maybe you could get them to speak to their pastor for us, put in a good word.
- Trinity in Seattle
- St Lukes in Federal Way
- Gloria Dei in Lynnwood
- Prince of Peace in Shoreline
- Lord of Life in Renton
- Our Redeemer's in Seattle
- Queen Anne in Seattle
- Gift of Grace in Seattle
- Bethlehem in Seattle
- Gethsemane in Seattle
- Central in Seattle
- Holy Trinity in Mercer Island
- Bethany in Bainbridge Island
- Maple Leaf in Seattle
- St Matthews in Renton
- Bethany in Seattle
- Phinney Ridge in Seattle
- Bethel in Shoreline
Friday, November 04, 2005
We're at the Underground coffee house now, working on Rob's big presentation for Sunday. The vernacular media and ethnomusicology session. I had it easy for mine; the presentation we did at Denny Park a few weeks ago was mostly general info and things about Bible translation so I just had to pull out 2 pages of stuff and add 4 pages. So now I must go be helpful.
Just had some blackberry cabernet sorbet ... yummm.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
- a dial telephone on the wall in the bathroom, 2 feet from the toilet
- the loudest bathroom light/fan combo I've ever heard; sounded like it was going to fly into pieces
- no trashcans anywhere in the room
- mismatched towels (OK, not extreme, but notable)
- the roughest sheets I've ever slept in; Rob didn't notice but I went to bed feeling like all my sins would be forgiven by the time I woke up. They were, of course, but for entirely different reasons.
- the cable box hanging out of the wall, having been ripped out and the cable cord going into the TV with it's end fully pulled off. I called the front desk on this one, so they didn't think it was us.
- no "Do Not Disturb" sign for the door
- 2 paintings next to each other on the wall that are not matching but identical
The whole place has the feel of an absentia owner who ordered everything by catalogs and hired strangers without references to set the place up for him.
In stark contrast with the Comfort Inn we stayed at in Lincoln City, OR on our way back from Coos Bay 2 weeks ago. It was about $20 cheaper and exponentially better maintained. Same chain, no consistency. Oh well ... we're getting 1 free night for every 2 stays with this chain so it'll all work out in the end.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Congratulations, Rachel and Shehan!
We spent the last of last week in Woodinville with the Buerers, helping them get set up in their new place. It was great to spend a nice chunk of time with Kate again; miss that much with the running around this last year. Sang and played with the worship band at Cross of Christ on Sunday. Did a brief on our ministry and intro to the Luther film on Sunday night at Trininty Lutheran in Bellingham. Spent Monday running around like headless chickens, trying to get ready for the trip to CA. Dinner with the Swigarts Monday night (Rob's mom's side of the family), celebrating Grandma Gerry's birthday and seeing Rob's mom June for a bit.
This morning we hit the road at 5AM, headed for Ventura, CA. We're overnighting with the Rostens in Redding. We're both utterly exhausted. I think we'll stop at Yak's coffee shop before we leave town, blog a bit more, work on a few online tasks before we trek off to the south. Gotta get to Camarillo before Friday lunchtime.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
However, she is recommending that I see an oral surgeon to get them checked out, see if they need to be removed. So, I'm online finding out which local oral surgeons my insurance covers and checking their licenses for legal action and/or validity. Here's the weirdness so far:
- 9 of the 11 oral surgeons listed as covered by CIGNA PPO within 75 miles of Bellevue and Bellingham are 2 people: German Trujillo and Sohrab Moshiri.
- Neither of these 2 people are actually licensed in the state of Washington to do surgery; their licenses are for dentistry and general anesthesia. Yet, their specialty is oral surgery. Hmm.
- One of these 2 people has had action taken against them, according to the Washington State Department of Health. It involved a patient being hospitalized for dehydration and stuff post-oral surgery.
I'd appreciate any input people could give me; this will show up on the prayer calendar at the bottom of the page but I'd like people to specifically pray that I would know which surgeon to see and, if you're comfortable, share anything with me that you sense in prayer. If you have personal knowledge of either of these doctors, I'd like to know that as well. You can email me about it at email@example.com.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Was also remembering an artist my family used to visit in Quebec, Marcel Gagnon. His work is different than it was when my parents were buying it. Looks kind of cartoony now. His paintings used to be more oily, viewed-through-patterned-glass looking. I can't describe it, really, but I like them alot. His concrete sculptures going out into the ocean were (and still are) pretty neat.
I remember having lunch with the family, watching the tide moving over statues to either reveal or conceal them, depending on when we were there. Lovely.
This is the first church I've ever been to that has tsunami evacuation instructions on it's information table.
We're staying in Lincoln Bay tonight, roughly halfway back to Bellingham, WA, and making it to Seattle by early afternoon on Monday.
I'm about to set up a Veith PD Tour first; a looping slideshow on our display table. That should generate a little interest. Either that or it'll be so annoying that no-one will come near us. The prospect of being annoying rarely even slows me down ... this is a chance I'm willing to take. The visuals are pretty fun. I'm thinking of texting the slides so they're useful when no audio is used. Names, places, stats ... stuff like that.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
- keep my Greek reading skills up
- pick up new Greek vocab
- get familiar with the software before needing to use it in country
- finally be able to read the Bible interactively
Interactively: there's a loaded word. What do I mean by that? Well, I want to be able to see in front of me at all times:
- the plain Greek text
- an interlinear Greek-English version with grammatical tags
- the Louw Nida lexicon for any word I click on
- the Biblical background on the passage I'm looking at
- exegetical tips for the passage
- an editable Bible in which I can replace the text with my own translation as I go
For this last part, I have selected an NIV translation. Many of you may know how much fun I must be having directly editing the NIV translation. I duplicated the base file, changed the title and am now going to replace, on a weekly basis, the Gospel reading for the week in my heart language. And what is Eshinee's heart language? I was trying to explain this to Rob yesterday, not sure how clearly I can do that yet. Will try, though.
The Bible in Eshinee's Heart Language (EHL) has the following features:
- English words in the same order as the Greek -May be more cumbersome but, hey, I like to stop and think about every sentence. Word order isn't arbitrary in any language so I'd like to retain that. The only reason I'm doing an English translation at all is it will make it faster for future reference, particularly if I'm trying to discuss a passage with someone in English.
- retaining all the kai, de, gar conjunctions - kai and de don't mean exactly the same thing so, if the writer used one word instead of the other, they must have had a reason. I may not know what it is yet but I hope to get a feel for that. So, I'll keep them as they are, just transliterated and put into CAPS, until I figure out what's up with that.
- verb tenses are the same in English as they are in Greek - I think this is an important peak-indicating device in Greek. I want to be able to see where tense is switched, particularly if it looks weird in English. This will trigger the "Aha!" response in me, in future readings.
- one English word or phrase for each Greek word or phrase - I'd get in trouble with most translators for this, I think. But, for my own reading, this will make it easier for me to recognize places where the same Greek concept crops up repeatedly, even if the meaning relationship between the Greek and English words aren't a neat and tidy one-to-one map. Like, I'm probably going to bring agape neatly into English as agapeh, or something. I don't exactly need a translation for that.
With these in mind, here's my first rough translation, of Matthew 22:34-40
DE the Pharisees, having heard that (he) silenced the Sadducees, gathered
KAI (he) questioned, one out (of) them, [a lawyer], tempting him: “Teacher,
which commandment (is) great in the Law?”
DE (he) said to him: “ ‘(You) shall love Lord the God of you in whole
the heart of you KAI in whole the being of you KAI in whole the mind of
you.’ This is the great KAI first commandment.
DE a second (one) is like to it: ‘(You) shall love the neighbor of you as
yourself.’ In those the two commandments whole the Law is being hung KAI the
Later that day, I drank a glass of milk and felt something slip into my mouth. I spit that out. It was a white blob, looking like the size and texture of an egg-white. Again, grossed out.
I'm trying to figure out what I ingested, if either of these things need treatment. Here's what I've found so far:
The white disk in the center is a common dairy mold, penicillium. So, may not be toxic for me. Might have been dangerous for Rob, who is allergic to penicillin.
Except for the colored center in most of these cultures, it could also have been a young fusarium mold. This one is most associated with sinusitis.
This is the closest aspergillus so I'm thinking it was a penicillium.
I think I'm done with drinking cold dairy products for a bit.
Monday, October 17, 2005
- sang "Ancient Words" - 3 minutes
- first part of talk - about 10 minutes
- slideshow - 12 minutes
- last part of talk - about 10 minutes
- sang "Hear Our Prayer", by Steve Bell - 4 minutes
And people seemed to enjoy it so it was worth the grueling Saturday. Our weekend starts today, I think. Maybe Monday/Tuesday is the best combination of weekend for us. Or maybe we should split our weekend, break the week up a little more. Maybe go Monday/Thursday. Ah well, one day at a time, as they say.
We're sitting in Toad Mountain right now, having the morning coffee. The young woman who made our coffee has the coolest color hair; like a Razzmatazz Crayola crayon. It kind of looks like this, but a little lighter and brighter:
Friday, October 14, 2005
We're in Bellevue, WA at the Buerer's tonight and Rob is celebrating his birthday by running a D&D campaign that he put together.
While we're in Seattle for the weekend, we have to run back to Bellingham tomorrow to get our Sunday best. We thought we'd have to run back to pick up a package after Thursday so we didn't bring everything we were going to need. [sigh] Ah, well ... as long as the weather is nice.
Like fine wine ...
Here they are:
I took this shot when I went camping with my sister, Lily, and our dog Mookie at Shallow Bay Campground in Newfoundland, back in the late 1990's.
This is a fun photo from the same camping trip.
Lily and I did a Christmas photo shoot in the woods behind our house in Newfoundland, Christmas 1999, I think. This was my favorite shot. For the shot, I had dressed up as a reindeer and she had dressed as an elf. This is her "I'm about to be attacked by a reindeer" face. Can you see my silhouette on her chest?
When I worked at my parent's pharmacy, we had a lot of giveaways for a while there. This was one of them, again, back in the late 1990's.
I was licensed as a layminister in the Anglican Church, in Newfoundland in 1999. This was taken on the steps of the church where I was baptized as an infant, in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.
Here I am with my YWAM Haiti teammates, in Haiti in 1996.
Giving my first linguistics presentation; "The many faces of Na" - on focus marking in Tagalog. Yes, I did get extra marks for the floor-length red velvet dress.
My graduation photo, from Trinity Western University in Langley, BC in 2001.
Taken after our engagement, at a concert.
Eating crawfish in New Orleans, when I travelled there with YWAM in 1997. For those who know of my rocky relationship with sea creatures, you'll know that this is a disturbing picture, on so many levels.
Dad, at the Pointe Riche lightchouse in Newfoundland.
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