Monday, August 29, 2005

Road Trip - Photos, Days 2 & 3

At a Johnson County rest stop in Iowa. The bricks on the wall and the explanantion thereof.

Iowa rest stop; bricks

Iowa rest stop; explanation

Cornfield, viewed from an Iowa rest stop.

Iowa view at rest stop

Welcome sign in Doniphan, where we spent Saturday night.

Doniphan, NE

This is the view from the car on the passenger's side, Wyoming.

Wyoming highway view

Road Trip - Day 4

Yikes! What a day of driving we had. First, we noticed that the "low coolant" was coming on sporadically in the early morning part of our journey, leaving Laramie, WY. Odd, since we just had our 90K tune-up (presumably refilling the coolant in the process?) just a few weeks ago. We weren't sure what to do. When we got to Little America, we saw that they had a mechanic onsite so we checked to see how long a coolant fill and oil change (due for that too) would take. He said it would be 1.5 hours before they could even start on it. Sigh. Praying, we rolled on.

We saw buffalo today, roaming the Wyoming plains. So much plains, so few buffalo. Seems a bit of a waste, all that un-buffaloed land. They were fun to see; they were running! Stark contrast to the clumps of cows we saw, standing or laying about. Easier to control, I guess.

I made some calls as we approached Provo, UT, trying to find a Chevy dealer who could service our Cavalier. Found one, navigated our way to him. They fixed us up in about 40 minutes for $32. Nice! Brent Brown Auto in Provo ... great service.

We got a free carwash with the oil change so we went for it. I had commented already on the great varieties of bug represented on the body of the vehicle. Never having gone through an automatic carwash before, we knew it might be problematic with the convertible top. See how little our brains work after 10 hours of driving? We took a chance. We lost.

As the sprayer (it was touchless) came around the sides and over the top, water began to stream in at the tops of the windows. We yelped and buckled away from the flow, I over my laptop, stupidly placed in my lap. I may never truly know the feeling of "Save my baby!" but I got a taste of it in those moments. Rob laughed at me each time the sprayer came around my side and I lunged forward once more, wrapped around my technoffspring. Finally, after the wax and all, we pulled out and into a parking space to survey the damage. I think I successfully shielded "the Untzer" (that's my Toshiba Tecra M3's name) from all water damage. We were soaked ourselves though; Rob on his left and I on my right. For the rest of the trip to the hotel, little streams would come in unexpectedly. Well, I did see a pattern. It happened whenever we turned or stopped suddenly. We must have looked silly coming in half wet on a hot, sunny day (it's 88 out there, right now).

We're at the Sleep Inn tonight, here in Provo, waiting for pizza. Finally; wireless internet access!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Road Trip - Day 3

We spent last night in Doniphan, NE, at the USA Inn there. We went to St Paul Lutheran for church this morning before we hit the road. We looked at the local Pilot for a power adaptor that would plug into the lighter thing in the car and run the laptop but couldn't find one we could be sure would work. The battery is only running at about 2.5 hours, which leaves less time for work on the laptop during the trip than I would like. Rob and I have had to [gulp] ... talk. :)

We made more stops than we had planned today. We had lunch at a Mi Ranchito. Our meal selection choices were limited by the local presence of e. coli in their water system. So, we could only buy soda to drink. However, they did put shredded lettuce and chopped tomato on our stuff as a garnish. Like, what did they rinse it with? And before she handed me the bill, she ran her hands under tapwater. Handed the bill-holder over with hands dripping. Ugh. Like, why bother telling us they were dealing with e. coli? We did have some fun pit stops this afternoon, at the Cabela's outlet in Sidney, NE and at the Sierra Trading Post outlet in Cheyenne, WY. Didn't find anything to buy but sure had fun looking.

And here we are, in Laramie, WY. Tomorrow is the real exciting day. We hope to make it Salt Lake City by early evening, visiting the Young Living farm the next morning. If we get there in time tomorrow evening, we could eat at the onsite restaurant. They have a store there where I can smell a hundred essential oils! Yippee! Rob admitted today in the car that he's excited too.

So, today is Sunday. Monday gets us to Utah. We will overnight in Reno, NV on Tuesday. That puts us in Redding, CA on Wednesday.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Road Trip - Day 2

We're trying to leave by 7AM so I'll just toss this up real quick; our route today.

Hopefully we'll have a dataport at the motel tonight so I can update more.

Friday, August 26, 2005

at LBT

We've been here since Wednesday, in the office since yesterday.

We're actually in a meeting right now but it's about Rob's gear so I'm kind of sitting here.

Will post more as things coagulate. That's an awful word, I know.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Road Trip - Day 1

We got up early to finish packing and loading the car. Man, it's stuffed! I'm passengering with a backpack between my feet and a briefcase on my lap; there's just no more room in the rest of the car. We left Mansfield, OH just before 9AM and rolled into Aurora, IL just before 5PM. We took 30W the whole way. Not sure if that was the best idea or not but ... oh well. It was my idea.

Karen from LBT met us at her friend Betsy's place and let us in, gave us the keys. We're staying here until Saturday morning when we hit the road for northern CA.

Monday, August 22, 2005

This week's search engine results

Here they are, a disproportionate number of them coming from an old post related to the movie "A Beautiful Mind":
  • "giving of the pens" - from my posting on "A Beautiful Mind"
  • "princeton" and "the pens"
  • carroll d osborn - Hmmm ... I have no idea at this time
  • chicken a'la king recipe - Ditto for this one, although I have posted recipes for other things in the past.
  • dancing exam work - I have no idea.
  • dark ash blonde looks - The haircolor post again.
  • giving pens at princeton - "A Beautiful Mind" again ...
  • john nash nobel prize speech - Seeing the theme of the week here ...
  • jumpoff - This would be connected to my postings in the spring about Rob's recording project at Jungle Jumpoff at JAARS in Waxhaw, NC.
  • kids in cameroon - From my postins on our decision making process for which country Rob and I were looking at working in with LBT.
  • kids of cameroon - Ditto.
  • mama lena's waxhaw - A great restaurant in Waxhaw, NC that we ate at from time to time.
  • nobel prize john nash speech - "A Beautiful Mind"
  • princeton +pens +tradition - "A Beautiful Mind"
  • princeton pens ceremony - Ummm ...
  • princeton pens tradition - Stilll ...
  • colorspa moisture actif on blonde hair - The haircolor posting again.

And there we have it, the things people searched for last week that brought them to this blog. You can never tell ...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Church visits

Last Sunday we visited Dennis and June's church, First Presbyterian in Mansfield. Today, we're going to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, also here in Mansfield. We'll be attending their 11:00 AM "Service of the Heart".

Saturday, August 20, 2005

some Put-in-Bay pictures

Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial at the base

Rob takes the glamour shot ...

Eshinee and Rob make peace at Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial

in the Crystal Cave

Dennis and June on the train

bay view from Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial

more LTSS photos

I just finished uploading my remaining pictures from Summer Greek. Click on any picture to see all of them at the flickr site.

before the last class

Ryan, Jason, Craig, Dave and Seth

Wade, Dan and Joel


Here's what we did:
  1. went to the Merrygoround Museum in Sandusky, OH
  2. took the Jet Express to the island, leaving the mainland at 3:00 PM
  3. travelled around the island on the Tour Train
  4. toured the Heineman winery
  5. went into Crystal Cave; the world's largest geode, located beneath Heineman's
  6. went into Perry's Cave
  7. went up Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial
  8. had dinner at the Boardwalk
  9. walked around downtown until the Jet Express took us back to the mainland at 10:15 PM

We got to see Lake Erie water snakes while we waited for the late ferry to arrive.

After the daytrip

Went with Dennis and June to Put-In-Bay for the day yesterday. We kind of swapped Saturday for Friday this week, did our sabbathing early. Today, I get to do my online work. I'm lining up churches in Redding, CA area for speaking stuff. I also want to get a head start on NW churches for October to December. Rob did our August newsletter last week and we need to tweak it slightly so it can go out next week.

INS photos

This was the first of the passport photos taken. I was pretty happy with this one; it looks like me being happy and alert. It's overexposed.

This one had to be redone because of the eyes.

Again with the eyes being a problem.

This one was my favorite. I went to my INS appointment happy to have this as my official face for the duration of my permanent residency. But, alas, it was not to be. I look a little too happy. Which leads us to the final photo ...

Yucko. Note the bulging eyes that scream, "My thyroid is having a field-day! Look what situational stress can do to a face!" Rob says it doesn't look that bad. He says I just look a little disgruntled. But he gets paid to say things like that.

When I become a US citizen, my passport photo will be smashing. I will bathe in asses' milk and take valerian for a week before the photo. I will also practice smiling with my mouth closed and eyes open.

Friday, August 19, 2005

INS photo guidelines

Here's my INS photo journey:

  1. Went to the USCIS (INS) website to get photo specs for my green card
  2. Was directed to this page, a pdf document. This document contains the information that photos are now to be full-frontal, not 3/4 pose and a webaddress (not hyperlinked) where full specs can supposedly be found. The webaddress is
  3. Here, I navigated a sidebar to find photo composition guidelines and head position and background, with a listing of more guidelines. The photo after this list is one of their sample photos on this site. Note her facial expression, particularly her teeth.

I will be posting a scan of my photo series that I had taken, trying to get an acceptable shot. Ah, if only I had gone to the FAQ section of the website, where I would have read the following:

What pose should the photos show? The photo should show a clear, front view, full face of the customer. The customer should be in normal street attire, without hat or dark glasses against a plain white or off-white background. The customer should have a natural expression, mouth closed, and eyes open and looking directly ahead. Photos in which the face of the person being photographed is not in focus will not be accepted.

Note the words that I've highlighted: mouth closed. This was not mentioned in the composition guidelines or in the head position specs. One of their sample photos clearly shows someone open-mouthed (showing teeth). And, if you download their complete photo guide, which presumably would contain all the information one would need to take or have taken a proper photo, it's full of photos of people just grinning their fool heads off. Not a mention of a closed mouth in sight. You can probably guess where this is going. Yes, I arrived for my green card finalization appointment and was turned away because I was showing teeth in my photos. Sigh. At least the customer service person was very pleasant about it, told me where I could go to get another set done and said I didn't have to wait in line a second time when I returned with new photos. She handed me a sheet with photo guidelines that clearly said no teeth could be visible. I didn't bother to point out that the sheet she handed me isn't available to anyone but INS staff and that those explicit guidelines aren't available either in the waiting room at the local office or on the website. Double sigh.

The real downer for me was that the photo that I had taken in a rush, trying to complete this process, the thing that will be on my new green card, looks disgruntled and puffy. Triple sigh.

"You're so vain ..."

Monday, August 15, 2005

The first of the LTSS pictures

Click on any of the following pictures to go to the site where I'm posting LTSS Summer Greek 2005 pictures. More posting still to happen ...


Eshinee and Amy

taking a break; Peterson and class

Now in Ohio

Didn't exactly post my head off last week, did I?

Reading week was full but exciting. Found myself spending scads of time on the translation work, mainly looking up unknown vocab. We made it through alive ... yay! A bunch of folks in my class took me out to that great Mexican place on Forest Drive, the one I mentioned in an earlier post, San Jose; Jackie's idea. We had a blast. I split a pollo fundido with Amy and a peach margarita with Lindsay.

I had run on Friday to buy a laptop case at Staples as the one I ordered online didn't arrive in time for my flight on Saturday. I like the case I found; nice and well-priced. Got back in time to do some packing before the Friday night BBQ.

Wade gave me a lift to the airport shortly after noon. Made all my flights and connections OK. Rob and his parents picked me up in Columbus, OH. We went to an "Irish" pub for dinner and drove home to Mansfield in a blazing lightning/rain storm.

Slept well Saturday night, visited Dennis and June's church on Sunday morning. They had a nice little service, friendly people. I think I freaked the pastor out, though. They're going to do the 40 Days of Purpose thing as a church and June was chatting with him about that after the service. I commented on how nice it was for the church to devote an entire 40 days to celebrating porpoises. He kind of looked at me funny, not horrified but but with a sense of "Must you?". I'm sorry ... I'm a linguist, it was a pun. Therefore, I must.

We ate at Chipotle in the afternoon and I got some passport style photos done at Cord Camera for my trip to the USCIS (a.k.a. INS) office tomorrow. They were overexposed so I had to go back and get them redone this morning but they were very nice about everything and redid them several times until they looked like I wanted them to.

I will be posting pictures soon from the last day of class.

This week's searches

After this post, I'll do some real news. But I'm still amused.
  • clairol natural instincts - That single posting I did last summer while in Dallas, the one with tips on restoring the natural color of bleached hair, has generated more traffic to this blog than any other single post!
  • colorspa moisture actif on bleached hair
  • flowchart of how to make sugar - Must be a combination of my Greek flowchart postings and one of my recipes.
  • https://www/
  • i used hydrience tawny breeze
  • snake dancing pictures - This one I have no idea about.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Still more searches

I'm afraid I'm still amused by this. Here's what people searched for and found at this blog last week:
  • dancing happy anniversary
  • eshinee
  • fix bleached hair

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Toni eats strawberry yogurt

So, I finally get around to fixing the red-eye on my favorite pictures of Toni from the trip to NB in June; the "strawberry yogurt tube" series. Enjoy!

Toni eats a tube of strawberry yogurt

Toni likes the yogurt

Toni isn't so sure anymore if she likes the yogurt

No, Toni does like the yogurt

Toni's yogurt leaves her perplexed

Yippee! ... um .... [sniffle]

Well, that's it. The graded portion of this course is over. What's funny about that is that on The Comp, which we were trying to decide whether or not it would count toward my final grade, my test score was 0.4% less than my course grade to date. As in, will not actually change my grade. Teehee!

Went to my first pig-picking last night. Seth and Wade procured a fully-cooked whole pig for the class to pick to greasy pieces at the weekly picnic last night. Everyone was pretty exultant. They ate the entire thing, and I do mean all of it. There's a good reason I don't have pictures. :) However, if you want to see what a pig-picking looks like, this guy took lots of pictures at his family pig-picking.

My contribution was a modified version of a side dish recipe that I found on, Curried Chickpeas and Black Beans. My modifications were pretty simple: 1 tsp sugar, 2Tbsp minced garlic and sea salt to taste. And I used the parsley, not the cilantro. Had I my time back, I probably would have gone ahead and chopped up a Fuji apple to throw in, instead of adding the tsp of sugar. Would have achieved the necessary sweetness for balance but with a kick of appley flavor, which I like in a curry.

I had considered making the Perky Penguins but, in the end, decided against the massive effort involved.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Special days

I hardly ever remember to do this, but ...

Happy Birthday, Marsha!

Happy Anniversary, Gary & Connie!

One exam to go

The test went well yesterday. When we all got out, it was hard to get back to work and prepare for The Comp (-rehensive final exam) on Friday. We had a field trip to a Greek Orthodox church in the afternoon and afterwards, while we were driving back to the school, I just felt really antsy. Most people in the car were saying, "Well, better get back and do some review for The Comp or Friday." I just couldn't do it. I felt like I'd been stranded at the dorm for days, mainly because it's true. I turned to Jackie, who was sitting next to me, and asked her if she felt like doing something. She did indeed! We took off to a movie, The Island, and dinner at San Jose which, as it's sign proudly says, is "the best Mexican food in Columbia, SC". Mmmm. Good stuff. We both felt much better when we got back to the dorm. I said that it felt like a Saturday. She agreed.

We had a review class this morning, going over the test and preparing a little more for tomorrow. Got my test back; did as well as I'd hoped. Dr. Peterson says The Comp will count as 3 points (of 12) toward my final grade.

We also wrote suggestions for who could be next summer's TA (teaching assistant) for Greek and handed those in to Dr. Peterson. Man, I'd love to do that! I went to him afterwards to see if a non-student could TA. If I understand correctly from our conversation, I could if I did the advanced Greek reading course in the spring. He also said that he'd recommend the reading course for me before I do any translation overseas. I'd love to figure out a way to swing it. Maybe if I could arrange to do partnership development at every Lutheran church in the Columbia area for the 4 months from January to April. That would give me something to do during the days while I wait for the weekends (and Wednesday nights) to do speaking. I mean, if there's stuff in that spring course that get me slicker with the discourse level Greek and closer to the heart of Scripture, it'd be nice to to do that before doing any real, live translation. Also, even if Rob and I got to full support by December, my US citizenship process should take about 7 months from application, which will be roughly in December, 3 months after continuous single state residence. That puts me as unable to leave the country for longterm service until at least August.

I'll have to talk to the LBT powers-that-be and Rob about this as a possibility.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Search referrals

Hah! Here are the latest keywords people have searched for on yahoo and, as a result, they ended up on this blog:
  • "crucifixion in the philippines" - I know where this must be from; a posting after one of my Religion & Worldview classes at GIAL last fall
  • christian rpg - Just before Christmas last year, I was looking into these (Christian role-playing games) and must have blogged about it.
  • can seminarians use cellphones? - This one is a stretch. The search engine must have included keywords from the whole site, blogs where I talked about becoming a seminarian and getting cellphones.

I am enjoying this function of my ticker way too much.

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