Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Happy Birthday, Lily!

Rob's efforts on eBay

So far he's put up for sale a collection of Planet of the Apes figures and some AD&D books. He's putting more things up even now. His eBay user name is eorthman.

Planet of the Apes figures

Kefir Klosure

By the way, I must say that I'm pleased with the customer service that I received from the dairy that produced the kefir that I had problems with back in October. When we got back from southern CA, I had a package from them. It contained cash reimbursement for the spoiled kefir, a handful of coupons, a canvas tote and lovely card that expressed wishes that I was doing well and hopes that I would try their product again some time.

Why, I believe I will!

Free-range wireless internet

We got our newsletter ready, all the revisions completed, yesterday and were set to mail it first thing this morning. We also had a Christmas List to insert with that and needed to get the copy approved so it could go at the same time as the new newsletter. So, we headed out to send it to LBT head office at a free wirelss coffee shop. Here's the route we took to accomplish this:
  • 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?

Snow day

I'm afraid that I'll have to upload the pictures later but yesterday Rob and I were working in a winter wonderland! Yes, it snowed on Monday night and we elected to not go anywhere yesterday. I actually declared it a bed day for myself and only left the bed for the most serious of reasons (e.g. eating soup). I have been a little under the weather since Thanksgiving and thought, "Hey ... I can't do anything online because we can't drive to a coffee shop (for the wireless). I think I'm going to stay in bed and get some extra rest, maybe lick this nagging bug-like scratchy eyes and nose, sore throat and fatigue once and for all." So, I did. I crawled back in, set up pillows behind me and gathered donations, road-trip receipts and church speaking reports around me, laptop in hand. By nearly 1PM, I had everything processed and ready to be mailed. Next, I wrote copy for a mailing to go out this week along with the newsletter and finished up the text for our Christmas letter. Rob will compile that as well this week, with the pictures we selected from this past year. I entered new addresses in my Outlook contacts and went through the rest of our mail from November, while we were gone. I sorted stacks of paper that had been piled on the dining room table since we arrived in B'ham at the end of September. By 4PM, I had done a surprisingly significant amount of stuff ... for a sick girl.

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

Cross of Christ

It was a good service this morning. We were there for both services, the 9:30 and the 11AM. There was a guest preacher, Karen Ward from Church of the Apostles over in Fremont. The responsive piece done by the women's schola at the first service was amazing. My eyes filled up and I got mondo chills. Lots of harmonies and near-harmonies, many layers of same. Gorgeous.

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

Thanksgiving Holiday

We actually turkeyed twice; once with Rob's family in Bellingham and then with the Buerer's on Friday. I got to make soup with the carcass today, between gaming with Dave and Rob and practicing songs for tomorrow morning. Rob and I are doing much of the music portion at Cross of Christ as well as doing a "faith story" segment for the children. I think I'm doing most of the talking for that one.

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

going home

We're in Wilsonville, OR tonight, on our way back to Bellingham. We're stopping in Woodinville for one night and making it back for Thanksgiving at Rob's parents' new place in Ferndale.

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

more on the Winchester house

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

Winchester Mystery House

We hung out at St James in Redding for 2 services this morning. It was a good time, talked with a lot of people. We're at Yaks now, tying up e-loose ends before we head home for the afternoon.

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

this weekend

We're on our way to Redding, which is on our way to home in B'ham. We're speaking at St James tomorrow and I'll be picking up the results of the alternative gift fair they had a few weekends ago. We also get to see the Rostens again on the way through.

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.

Santa Barbara days

We spent from Monday to Thursday morning with the Crocketts at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, where Rob did his undergrad degree. Carter is teaching in the business department there.

They had wireless in the Study, the campus eatery/study spot, so we worked there most days.

Ventura, CA wildfire photos

These are shots that I took from highway 101 yesterday morning on our way out of town.

Ventura wildfire smoke over highway 101
Those aren't clouds ... that's smoke.

driving into the smoke in Ventura

Ventura burning as seen from the highway
The view of Ventura as we were passing on the south of the fires.

view from highway 101

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

Out of the frying pan

Will blog more tomorrow. The short of it is that we got out of Ventura during the wildfires this morning, arriving in San Jose just after dark. I have some pictures of the fire that I got from the highway on our way out of town. Amazing.

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

to Los Angeles and back

We drove to Knotts Berry Farm in Anaheim yesterday.

Eshinee's view of most trips these days

On I-5 going to Anaheim

light Los Angeles traffic

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!

L.A sign on I-5 at night

L.A skyline at night

driving on I-5 at night near Hollywood

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Coming down

Sunday went really well, I think. My sermon illustration for the 3 morning services ended up running about 10 minutes each time, about half the sermon. The first run through went well; I pretty much read it word for word off the pages, just as I had written it. I got a little bolder in the second service and managed to lose my place completely at one point. There was utter silence for about 5 minutes (OK, more like 5 seconds) while I scrabled to figure out where I was on my pages. But by the third service, I did it almost from memory.

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.

Friday, November 04, 2005

the Mount Cross weekend begins

I did a 45 minute presentation on Bible translation at a luncheon. I'm getting less nervous all the time. Which is not to say that I didn't sweat right through my shirt. It is to say that my legs didn't quiver and my hands didn't shake. And people laughed at the funny things and "hmmm"ed at the intriguing bits. Enjoyed myself, I did.

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

Quality Inn in Merced, CA

I don't usually blog about hotels we stay at but this one is weird enough to mention. Here are the highlights, in the order that I discovered them:
  • 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


How could I forget? Our beautiful friend Rachel got married on Saturday. Twas a festive occasion, wonderful service, sumptuous feast. I was surrounded by swashes of gold and bright silks; felt a little drab, me, in my black dress with the pastel spots. It was a feast for the senses and the heart.

Congratulations, Rachel and Shehan!

On the road again

This will be short and sweet because I'm falling asleep. I hope to have more energy and time to blog in the next few days.

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.

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