Friday, April 19, 2013

When Life Hands You Lemons...

The company I work for has been in the process of being sold for about 2 months now. All employees have been in limbo wondering if we'll still have jobs when this is over. I was told by my general manager Wednesday night that it's not looking good and I would probably get some pretty bad news Friday (today). We had a webinar this afternoon for "new" news. Basically they haven't heard anything back definitively from the prospective buyer but said that they should hear from them by 5pm tonight. This is something we keep hearing over and over - "we'll know by xxx". If the company does not take over (not purchase but just take over [because our owner has gotten us into that bad of shape]) then Wednesday will be the last day that our comany is "alive" and all of us remaning employees (about 13) will be unemployed. As of right now our general manager and owner do NOT anticipate this other company taking over.

I've been looking for other employment options for 2 months now and have only found 2 jobs to apply for. There are not any RT jobs out there that I qualify for. Dan is applying places for part time work to help out.

I have faith that Dan and I will be taken care of. I know God promises to lead me into a new role for our family. I think I've been more frustrated then anything. With our savings right now plus unemployment we will be able to live for several months. We're just so frustrated - we have been working really hard to pay off my student loans and are very close. We feel like as soon as we get a hold of the student debt something comes up and we can't tackle it (the debt). With the savings we could almost completely pay off 2 of the 3 loans, which would have a big impact on our monthly expenses. So frustating. I know God has a reason and a plan. I'm trying to cut the frustration and be overjoyed tha twe have the cushion built up that we do.

Thank you all so much for your love and support.

We love you all,

~Jen & Dan

Monday, April 8, 2013

I got a little bored (and nostalgic?) tonight and decided to see if MySpace still exists. Shocker - it does! I read old emails from friends, past and present. I looked at old pictures. I laughed at who I used to be. I also read my "blogs" from years and years ago and found a few I'd rather not loose. What better place to store something you want to keep forever then Google?

August 14th, 2007: Playboy Event: Midsummers Night Dream Current mood:tired I keep meaning to write about the last Playboy Event: Background: One of my old co-workers and I are EMTs for Playboy Mansion events. We worked 4th of July and now this past one, which was the biggest party of the year. Midsummers Night Dream (August 4th, 2007): Tiffanie (one of my old co-workers from the ambulance company) and I arrived at the mansion at 7pm and left at about 3:45am. We went to the briefing meeting with the security guys and main employees. Then we went to the security room and got our radio (walkie-talkie) and employee pins (little Playboy logo pins) and then walked around until the guests started arriving. The front of the mansion was all lit up with different colored spotlights and Christmas type white lights. The backyard was completely transformed under a tent. A HUGE tent. There were short tables with pillows (reminded me of I Dream of Genie style) around in the tent, as well as buffet tables, a dance floor, and a private mini-tent for Heff and the girls. The guests started arriving around 8pm. They all park at a parking garage somewhere in Westwood and take shuttles up to the mansion. There are about 10 shuttles that run the entire night. Tiff and I stood where the people get off the shuttles and walk in to the Great Hall (where the coat check is set up). We smiled and said hello to the people as they walked by. The theme of the party was Arabian Nights. This mean nothing, really... The females were in lingerie - the younger ones in basically skimpy underwear, the older ones in 'nighties'. The men wore either pajamas and a robe or dressed to the Arabian Nights theme (think Aladdin...). There was a handful of about 5 to 10 girls that were in only body paint. And there is a dance floor. These girls danced. This means that they were sweating. You're getting it... Picture streaks of body paint on naked women walking around. We had a conversation with Jamie Kennedy (comedian - see below) as he arrived. He approached us and asked what we thought of his costume. We talked with him for maybe 2 minutes. Polly Shore also said hello as he walked through. Every shuttle was full of tall, skinny blondes in ridiculous underwear and even more ridiculous high-heels. After the shuttles started slowing down we walked around a bit. We went and sat in the Game Room (it's basically and arcade with different games and a pool table) for a while and saw some interesting things. Behind the Game Room is where the smoking (not cigarettes) goes on, so it was interesting to see who participated in that ( Paris Hilton ). We also spent a good amount of time sitting to the side inside the tent near the dance floor. Some of those girls could really dance - and some could really not ( Paris Hilton ). At one point two guys (they claimed to be brothers) came over to Tiff and I and hit on us. They invited us to their after party. Ha! They were clearly drunk; there were hundreds of naked - or nearly naked - women, whereas Tiff and I were completely clothed - khaki pants and a sweater. We also had an interesting conversation with Tina Jordon - former Playmate. She came over to us and just started telling us her life story. She told us about her 10-year old (daughter?) and how life throws different things at you. She told us about a movie that changed her life (the title is escaping me...). The entire time she was crouched down to be eye level with me and Tiff (we were sitting) and she was holding on to our hands and arms with a death grip! At the very end she put her arms around our shoulders and brought us in real close so our heads were pretty much touching and started praying. It was so loud that we couldn't really tell what exactly she was saying, but she was clearly praying. Her boyfriend came over and dragged her away. Funny stuff. At the very end of the evening Tiff and I were standing outside by the shuttles while people loaded on to be taken back to their cars. I spotted a girl that looked like someone I went to high school with and then she walked by... It WAS a girl I went to high school with! In her lingerie! At the Playboy Mansion! What are the odds? I didn't say hello - at the end of these parties people are either completely drunk or bitter because they aren't completely drunk. I looked her up on MySpace and apparently she does some stand-up now. I guess that's how she was there. Anyway, that was the weirdest part of the night for me - seeing someone I knew. We did nothing medical the entire time we were there, which was nice, but also a little boring. There were plenty of people puking in bushes, but they didn't need our help to puke. We got back to the ambulance station at 4am and I got back to my house in Camarillo around 4:45am and was in bed at 5am. I slept until about 11am and then went to the Ventura County fair with my roommates and hung out and studied the rest of the night. Here's a list of celebrities we sighted (I'm sure there were more, but these are the ones we could pick out): Scott Baio - Chachi on Happy Days ( Jamie Kennedy - Comedian ( John Lovits - ( Gil Godfried - ( Adrienne Curry - Pauly Shore - J.C. Chasez - N*Sync ( Alfonso Ribeiro - Played "Carlton" on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air ( Paris Hilton - Nicky Hilton - Corey Feldman - Stephen Dorff - Shanna Moakler - David M. Navarro - Brody Jenner - Todd Anthony Shaw (aka Too Short) - Rapper ( Tina Jordan - Former Playmate ( Taye Diggs - Ian Ziering - Beverly Hills 90210 ( Edward Herrmann - Richard Gilmore (Grandpa) on the Gilmore Girls ( Jose Canseco - Baseball Player (

March 16th, 2007: How I Dealt Current mood:nostalgic I took the first half of my shift off on Thursday and spent the day in Santa Barbara remembering a very, very good friend: My day in Santa Barbara was nice. My sister and I went and bought flowers and then went up to the cemetery early in the morning (we left the house at 9am). The cemetery is up highway 154. It was a pretty drive, and as we climbed higher in the mountains the fog lifted and the sun came out. No one was at the cemetery except us and we walked around and around looking for the headstone. I had been there once before (august) and there wasn't one up yet, but the manager told me where the spot was. Kristi and I had to ask the manager again, though. I thought the stone would have been out, but it still wasn't. We left the flowers and a picture on the tree next to her spot. I had been OK until then, but started crying when I set down the flowers. Kristi was crying, too, which made me cry even more. We stayed a couple minutes and then I went and waited for Kristi in the car. I want to go back when her parents have the stone put in. On the drive home we listened to some of Carrie's favorite music and some other music that was fitting (I put a play list together on my phone's I-Tunes), which made us cry more. After we got back into SB we went and got more flowers and went to visit Carrie's parents (she was an only child). We sat with her mom for about 10 or 15 minutes. She gave us each a jar of homemade jelly that was Carrie's favorite. I had some tonight and it was really good. Paula (Carrie's mom) is so strong. Every time I have seen her she has come up to me and said the most beautiful things. She told us how much Carrie had loved us and had loved spending time with us. She said that she knows that Carrie was who she was because of who we were. I couldn't believe that - I've always thought it was the other way around. I have always felt that Carrie has shaped me. There were lots of pictures all over the house (it was like that before) and her room was exactly the same (she said she hasn't been able to go through her stuff yet - she's hoping she can do that this year). I pretty much cried silently through the entire visit. Then I took Kristi home and loaded my stuff and all the camping stuff into my car. I met my two friends, Catherine & Christine (whom were both close with Carrie) for lunch and we visited for about an hour and fifteen minutes. At first we just caught up - I hadn't seen Christine since the memorial service (almost a year ago) and she's gotten married and stuff since then. Eventually we reminded each other of stories and they made fun of me in places Carrie would have. It was nice to be with them. After lunch I went and had my car washed and then drove back to Camarillo (where I live). I listened to my "Carrie Music" on the drive and cried a little more. I got to Camarillo around 3pm and quickly unpacked all the stuff from my car. I added a few things to my lunch/dinner/breakfast and headed to work (in Van Nuys). It was an emotional day, but it felt good to remember in the ways we did. People are what matter. Thank you to my friends / roommates / family for being supportive these past few days (weeks?). It's meant a lot to me.

March 15th, 2007: Remembering - March 15th, 2007 Current mood:nostalgic March 15th, 2007 - One Year without Carrie For the past few days I've felt like a shell – a hollow person. Like one of my old dialysis patients who has no idea what is going on around them. I'm distracted and tired. I find myself taking the wrong freeway exits at work, staying up until early in the morning when I have to get up for work and then when I finally do go to bed I can't sleep. I've been trying to remember. Not just major things, but every single, tiny thing. I want to remember it all – everything we shared. I want to remember every moment, every game, every step, every word of advice, every joke, every laugh. I can't. The more I try to remember, the less I can. I started a list, because I remember random things at random times. My list is very small compared to the amount of time we spent together. My list makes me mad, because in no way does it compare. It's not like I've forgotten, though. I remember general things, mostly – how you would make fun of me, what you always wore, general activities we did together, how you made me feel special. I can hear your laugh. I am so grateful that I can still hear your laugh after a year without it, after a year without you. So much has changed since this date last year. I've found strength in myself that I didn't know existed. You showed it to me. As corny or cheesy as that sounds, I really do believe that. You helped me so much while you were alive, and you continue to help me every day. I don't need to update you on my life, but I know you always loved highlights, so here are a few: -Nixing Meds -Driving across the Country and seeing Odd America at its best -Driving across the Country and seeing meaningful exhibits of American history (and thinking of you at particular ones, knowing you would have loved them, wondering if they were places you had wanted to go) -Moving Out of my parent's house - Knowing you would have been the catalyst for a house-warming party. You would have brought me something original, like a plant, even though I probably would have killed it. You taught me an appreciation for life that I never understood until a year ago. Your mom is so strong. I can't believe how strong she is. Every time I've seen her I've had to hold back tears. Once she called my cell while I was at a coffee shop studying with a hot fire-fighter guy for my EMT class. The number showed up as "private" and I answered. I had to excuse myself and go outside to talk to her. I stayed outside and pretended to be on the phone for at least 5 minutes after she hung up. How does she do it? How can she find the strength to reach out to others when she has suffered such pain, such loss? I hope that I have strength like that hidden in me somewhere. Here is the list I compiled of memories. If anyone has any to add, I would really appreciate it (that's if anyone actually reads this). -The Page Center (where we spent many a summer at Fit Kids together). -"I's be poo'" (Carrie's way of explaining that she was a poor college student). -Using my neighbor's hot tub while I was house-sitting. The hot tub turned out to be turned way down and it was more like a "luke-warm" tub. We didn't stay in long. -UCSB Pool field trips. -Carrie never buying a new bathing suite - even when hers was basically see-through in the back. -"The Trick" (our trick – you on my back making a hulk-like face and growling when I was the scrawny small kid) -Goleta Beach Field Trips. -Rides in the Pony (her old Nissan Sentra) -Swimming to the buoys with the boogie boards - she pulled my board with my strap in her teeth once when I was really little. -Carrie doing Roll Call on field trips. -Spite & Malice wars between Carrie and my sister, Kristi. -MTD Bus rides – I was so stressed out we would leave a kid behind. You were concentrating on keeping the kids busy. Lauren was organizing the "HONK" sign movement. -Carrie's khaki corduroy shorts. EVERY DAY. -Knock-Out Basketball Games in the gym. -Walking to San Marcos High School. -Playing golf – Carrie met my friend (and avid golf player), Sumika and I at the course. Carrie came in flip flops and put her shoes on while holding her yogurt cup in her teeth on the first tee. Sumika reminds me of this story often. -Spiking the volleyball around at Goleta Beach. I was never good at it, but Carrie let me join anyway. -One day I was sitting on the curb and Carrie came and sat next to me. I didn't have to say anything. Neither did she. -The card Carrie made and had everyone sign the summer I got my wisdom teeth removed. (I still have this card) -Carrie's backpack that she always wore tight. -Every morning Carrie would come in wearing flip flops and set herself down on the curb and put on her sneakers while eating something (usually yogurt). -Carrie's tongue half out of her mouth while shooting the basketball. I loved the memorial service. It was wonderful to have everyone together in one place. The pictures that Phil projected to music were wonderful. Everyone shared such wonderful stories. The story Stacey told of you going to Ikea, measuring furniture with your arms, and then going 30 mph on the freeway with the stuff on your Pony cracks me up. Stacey also shared a quote that I now love: "dare us to remember the promises we made to ourselves of who we want to be. They offer us a guiding hand, along with the hope and courage to go forward." –David Wilcox. Stacey wrote in one of her blogs (which I have started to stalk): "And it is true that a friend can double your joy and ease the burden of your sadness." You did both of these things. For everyone around you. For everyone lucky enough to call you a friend. And, last but not least, this is my speech from the memorial service. I butchered my speech as I choked through it infront of 400 people. It still applies. Carrie and I spent many summers with the rest of the Fit Kids Posse, monitoring large amounts of children at our Summer Home – also known as the Page Youth Center. Summer after summer Carrie would put ridiculously goofy spins on older games, insist on getting into the pool EVERY Tuesday even if it was freezing cold outside, and tease me about the latest weird thing I was (or wasn't) doing. Every morning she would walk in wearing the same khaki-colored corduroy shorts with her sneakers untied, hair wet, some form of breakfast in hand, eager to get going with the day. She had a way of making everyone feel important and always took the time to check in with you to make sure things were going alright. I'd like to share an email that Carrie wrote to me a few months ago. She entitled it: Best Hair of My Life "Okay, so that may be going a bit far, but I got your attention... Though seriously, today I have some damn fine hair. In visiting my lovely neighborhood Fantastic Sam's, I only meant to have it cut, so it would look more like normal citizen hair, rather than crazy, nasty, like straw, bag lady hair. Man I am good with words... But seriously, after a trim, my hairstylist blew dry it, and lemme tell you, if I wasted 30 minutes a day on this, I could apparently be way more attractive." Carrie then went on to explain that she wanted to go for a run, but that would mess up her great hair. That was the dilemma of the day: have great hair, or go for a run. She liked to finish her emails with, "In BruinLand, you spell trouble with a capital Carrie the Master P". Her cheeriness and enthusiasm was contagious, and because of that, a part of Carrie lives on in all of us that were lucky enough to call her a friend. For Carrie, whom I was lucky enough to call my friend. Whom I was lucky enough to grow up around. Whom I am lucky enough to remember, miss, and love every day.

November 13th, 2006: I'm A Lot Braver When It's All Just Talk Current mood:indifferent As I find myself preparing to move I realize that I am growing more and more anxious about it. I'm moving out of my parent's house. This is something I have been waiting for since I was 15 years old. This is something I yearend for. There were times in my life where I thought that I would be ok – I would be better – if only I was out of my parent's house. I am a horrible person for thinking that. So many people are family-less. So many people aren't fortunate enough to have their families in their lives. So, now, when moving is only 4 days away, I sit here. My room is a mess – it will have to be cleaned before I can begin to pack. I haven't begun packing. I haven't even made a list. I don't know where to start. I'll be living between my two houses for a while. What do I take? What do I leave? I feel lame for not knowing. But I do know. What I know is that I'll be living between two houses, which basically means living out of a suitcase for parts of it. I'm afraid I'll stress about money, even though I know how it will work out every month. I'm afraid my mother will be sad without me, even though she has the dog and cats and my sister (and my dad?). I'm afraid that my mind will go back to a bad place; that living with strangers will make me feel isolated. My pictures – my most prized possessions – are the only things ready to go. But don't think they're the originals. No, they're duplicates – an extra set for my new room, so when I am at my parent's house there will still be my friends on the wall. Am I excited? Yes. Not as much as I thought I would be. Wanting to do something and getting to do it are two very different things. I'm a lot braver when it's all just talk.

March 26th, 2006: Carrie's Memorial Yesturday was Carrie's memorial service. When the memorial started it was raining, but at the end when we went outside to do the balloon launch the sun was shining. It was a wonderful service that did a wonderful job of capturing Carrie's beautiful personality and spirit. Catherine and Phillip did a wonderful job - you two are so special. Carrie loved you very much and was lucky to have you as friends. I spoke at the service: Carrie and I spent many summers with the rest of the Fit Kids Posse, monitoring large amounts of children at our Summer Home – also known as the Page Youth Center. Summer after summer Carrie would put ridiculously goofy spins on older games, insist on getting into the pool EVERY Tuesday even if it was freezing cold outside, and tease me about the latest weird thing I was (or wasn't) doing. Every morning she would walk in wearing the same khaki-colored corduroy shorts with her sneakers untied, hair wet, some form of breakfast in hand, eager to get going with the day. She had a way of making everyone feel important and always took the time to check in with you to make sure things were going alright. I'd like to share an email that Carrie wrote to me a few months ago. She entitled it: Best Hair of my Life Okay, so that may be going a bit far, but I got your attention... Though seriously, today I have some damn fine hair. In visiting my lovely neighborhood Fantastic Sam's, I only meant to have it cut, so it would look more like normal citizen hair, rather than crazy, nasty, like straw, bag lady hair. Man I am good with words... But seriously, after a trim, my hairstylist blew dry it, and lemme tell you, if I wasted 30 minutes a day on this, I could apparently be way more attractive. Carrie then went on to explain that she wanted to go for a run, but that would mess up her great hair. That was the dilemma of the day: have great hair, or go for a run. She liked to finish her emails with, "In BruinLand, you spell trouble with a capital Carrie the Master P". Her cheeriness and enthusiasm was contagious, and because of that, a part of Carrie lives on in all of us that were lucky enough to call her a friend. It was a special day and the 200+ people at the service will never forget Carrie or what she did for all of the people that she touched. We love you, Carrie. :-) You'll be with us always.

March 20th, 2006: She's Still With Us Current mood:sad Carrie E. Phillips ~4/23/1981 to 3/15/2006~ "To my dearest friends and family, some things I'd like to say. But first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay. I'm writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above. Here, there's no more tears of sadness; Here is just eternal love. Please do not be unhappy just because I'm out of sight. Remember that I am with you every morning, noon and night. That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through. God picked me up and hugged me and He said, "I welcome you". "It's good to have you back again, you were missed while you were gone. As for your friends and family, They'll be here later on. I need you here badly, you're part of my plan. There's so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man." God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do, and foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you. And I will be beside you every day and week and year and when you're sad I'm standing there to wipe away the tear. And when you lie in bed at night the day's chores put to flight, God and I are closest to you.. in the middle of the night. When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years, because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears. But do not be afraid to cry, it does relieve the pain. Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain. I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned. If I were to tell you, you wouldn't understand. But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o'er, I'm closer to you now than I ever was before. And to my very many friends trust God knows what is best, I'm still not far away from you I'm just beyond the crest. There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb; But together we can do it by taking one day at a time. It was always my philosophy and I'd like it for you too; That as give unto the world, the world will give to you. If you can help somebody who's in sorrow and pain, then you can say to God at night... "My day was not in vain". And now I am contented.... that my life was worthwhile. Know as I passed along the way I made somebody smile. So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low, Just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go. When you're walking down the street and you've got me on your mind, I'm walking in you footsteps only half a step behind. And when you feel the gentle breeze or the wind upon your face, that's me giving you a great big hug or just a soft embrace. And when it's time for you to go ....from that body to be free. Remember you're not going..'re coming here to me. And I will always love you from that land way up above. Will be in touch again soon. P.S. God sends His Love" ~Author~ Ruth Ann Mahaffey ©Copyright 1998-2001

March 19th, 2006: Carrie Phillips - Article Current mood:crushed Carrie E. Phillips ~4/23/1981 to 3/15/2006~ This article was in the L.A. Times: Carrie Phillips, a month shy of her 25th birthday, had worked as a teacher and coach at Turning Point School only a short time, but she seemed to turn everyone around her - students, parents and colleagues - into her biggest fans. So it was no surprise that students chatted eagerly with her Wednesday afternoon as she escorted them back to school from a Frisbee tournament at a nearby park in Culver City. At the private school, parents and students were convinced that her death was the ultimate sacrifice of a teacher who gave much of herself to her pupils. "My daughter's sense of it is that Carrie acted as a human shield," said Andra Vaccaro, whose daughter Alexandra, 14, was in the group of 15 teenagers. "I know she gave her life for those children," said actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, whose son, Etienne Maurice, was one of the students with Phillips. "I really loved Coach Phillips," Maurice said. "If you needed any help, she was there. If you had any problems in math, she would help you. If you wanted to know how to make a jump shot in basketball, she was there. If you weren't acting right, she'd put you in your place. "Just before, she gave me a great grade in math for my past report card, saying how I had improved and how I had become such a leader," he recalled. "That really touched me." Ralph credited Phillips' firm encouragement with helping her son finally master math. "She's the kind of teacher you want. She's young, she's excited. She had a way to engage students in the class," she said. "She was a great teacher." The accident occurred a few days before Phillips was supposed to help chaperon the school's 25 eighth-graders on a trip to Washington, D.C. In addition to teaching math, Phillips coached the girls in basketball and volleyball. Students and parents said Phillips would happily go the extra mile for her students, whether in physical education or math classes. "This young gal was very loved by the coaches and students," said Cathlene Rosha, whose daughter, Claudia, attends third grade at Turning Point. Rhonda Alan, the mother of two students, said the school prides itself on a balance of challenging academics and nurturing. The school has classes for preschool through eighth grade. "It really is a family," she said. Friends lauded Phillips as a passionate athlete who played soccer, basketball and flag football; an avid Lakers fan; and a teacher and coach who glowed when talking about her students. The UCLA graduate, who wore her auburn hair just past her shoulders and smiled often, played on the Gold Diggers volleyball team in a Westside league. She shared an apartment in Santa Monica.

February 28th, 2006: Santa Barbara Grown Current mood:awake You know you're from Santa Barbara when: 1. It's 85 degrees on Valentines day. 2. You can see the ocean from the mountains. 3. You're little broken down shack goes for at least 1 million dollars 4. You know that your friends are up to something if they say "lets head over to the Westside." 5. You know what the Square, the Pit and Paseo are. 6. Kids drive more BMWs than any other car, except for maybe Jettas. 7. There are more than 10 stores in town that sell jeans for more than $250 8. Down on Haley means something to you 9. You think Carp is the ghetto 10. You think the East side is the ghetto 11. You think the Mesa is the ghetto 12. Mexicans are the majority...but they live in different neigborhoods. 13. You've eaten mexican food at Super Cuca's, La Super Rica or Mr. Ponchos. 14. An 8th grader's wardrobe could feed a third world country. 15. Santa Barbara hates San Marcos, San Marcos hates Santa Barbara, they both hate Dos Pueblos and Bishop Diego is completely forgotten about. 16. You hate G-town. 17. There are more private schools than public schools. 18. Rich girls try to make themselves look more hardcore by dressing EMO 19. Bums ask you for money on every single block when you're walking on state street. 20. You know who the "back flip for a dollar guys" are 21. You've touched the "Snake Guy's" snake....yup 22. You've popped a big huge bubble on state. 23. You've laughed at the weird bellydancer on state. 24. You were pissed when Kava Lounge started charging for their hookahs 25. You've swam in the Biltmore pool over a billion times, especially since the Coral closed 26. You know which kids are tweakers, cokeheads, stoners, and alcoholics just by looking at them. 27. You know that when people say they want to go on a "mission" they dont mean the Santa Barbara mission...... (ha im on a mission myself) 28. One word for weekends: mickeys :) 29. When you get drunk all you crave is a fat Freebird's burrito!!!!!!! 30. You laugh in a persons face when they say they are going to drive down DP on a friday night

October 25th, 2005: Don't Wait - NOT a forward or Chain Mail A few minutes ago I learned a new appreciation for a very important lesson: seize the moment. Sure, we’ve all heard it before, and we’ve all said to ourselves that we would take our opportunities as they come, but do we really? I didn’t, and now I will not get the chance to say goodbye to a dear friend. I’ve got an older friend that has taken me under her wing and guided me through the necessary classes and applications for Nursing. She was a Nurse for more than 25 years, with experience in almost every aspect, from emergency rooms to operating rooms to neonatal care. She has always offered her help and guidance, asking nothing in return. I always enjoyed our lunches together, listening to her great stories, her good advice, and her encouragement. Chris has been living with Breast Cancer on and off for about ten years now. She’s had healthy times that she spent on the back of her motorcycle – her favorite thing - and times where she was so sick she couldn’t even have her beloved Toby in bed with her (Toby is a Schnauzer dog). I don’t remember her ever being in denial of her disease – she was always blunt and never spoke of death with fear. She never complained about all of her treatments, the weeks in the hospital, the months lying in bed. Her Breast Cancer came back a few months ago, so the treatments began over again, leaving her body tired and weak. A few weeks ago she found out that the cancer has spread to her lungs and other parts of her body. She decided that she was going to stop treatment. I found this out about a week ago and decided I should write to her (she moved to Florida to be with her family at the beginning of September, otherwise I would visit). Well, I never “got around” to sitting down and writing to her, partially because I didn’t know how I would even begin to say goodbye in a letter, didn’t know how to convey my appreciation in mere words on a page, and partly because I thought I had time. She’s gone downhill faster than anyone thought. She’s gotten so sick that she doesn’t recognize her family members anymore, and there’s no way she would know what they were talking about if someone read her a letter. I missed my chance. I missed my chance to tell her what she meant to me and to thank her for all that she has done, not only for me, but for everyone that she has touched throughout her life. Maybe nothing would have been different if I had sat down and written to her when I first found out – maybe she was too far gone then, too. I don’t know, and I probably never will. People always say things like “they know how much you cared for them,” and I would like to believe that this is true for the people in my life, but I can’t be certain that it is. I didn’t know how to say goodbye, and now I’ll never get the chance to. This isn’t meant to make you all sad or something. I just needed to remind you all once more of the need to live in the present. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring and we need to take advantage of our opportunities and seize the moment.

September 23rd, 2005: My Night in the Emergency Room... Current mood:bored So, I got to spend a good portion of my Thursday night in the Emergency Room (and I missed the new episode of E.R.!). I was helping some friends catour an event and someone thought that someone else put a candle-thing out, but they really hadn't, and the grate that the candle-thing was in got tipped over next to me and it fell and some splattered onto my foot. As I was rushing away from the fire on the ground I thought "huh, my foot is really hot even though I'm not near the fire anymore". That's when I looked down and saw that my foot was on fire - my skin was burning. I yelled that my foot was on fire and some guys jumped on it with some wet towels. I was wearing flip-flops. I was sitting with wet/cold towels on my burns and I was trying to be brave, but the pain got really bad and tears started rolling down my face, so they decided I should go to the emergency room. Ulises drove me and I got right in and they put in an IV to give me Morphine. My parents got there and they wouldn't let them come back and see me for like a half hour, but then they finally did. My dad took Ulises home and then went home and my mom stayed with me. The Morphine wasn't working, so they had to use two other drugs and then I was a little loopy. I don't remember the staff wrapping my foot and I have no idea how they got me into my car. I also don't remember getting from my car into my house, into my pajamas, and into bed, but I woke up in bed, so it all happened somehow. I'm alright, but it was hella scary seeing my own foot on fire. I've got a 2nd degree burn on my left foot and I have to wrap it and go to the doctor to get them to re-wrap it and pick off dead skin every day for a while. I'll probably be on crutches for a week or so. ~Jen~

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Merging Homes

The move went really well yesterday. I requested to work a halfday and have the afternoon off so I could help out some, but there was no one to cover the store for me so I had to work all day. I was stressed out about not being able to help, but it worked out just fine.

Dan had the day off from school (Presidents Day) and Chris had the day off work and Ruthie wasn’t watching the little girl she normally watches during the week, so it actually worked out for our schedules. Dan picked up the moving truck at 9am and they loaded Chris and Ruthie’s house into it. 2 friends of Chris and Ruthie helped out for a few hours. Around 11am I got a call from a lady in our small group at church. She asked if they’d like some help, so I gave her directions to the new house to help unload. Later I learned that she took her husband to help, too, and Dan and Chris said he was a huge help. Her husband has only met us once and doesn’t go to small group with us, so it was SUPER nice of him to help out! They helped for about 2 hours.

By about 4pm they had both our houses emptied into the new house and had returned the rental truck. I couldn’t believe they had gotten so much done! It took 2 trips for Chris and Ruthie’s house and 1 trip for our house, although they didn’t move any of our garage stuff. I picked up dinner for the 5 of us on my way home from work and we ate amongst boxes. After we ate Dan and I went back to our house to get a few random things. Chris and Ruthie’s house is completely empty except their cleaning stuff. Our house has some of our food and some random stuff here and there, but I think we can get it all over to the new house in 1 car load. We didn’t move any of our garage stuff – the new garage is pretty full of boxes that need to be taken into the house to be unloaded. Hopefully we can work on some of that tonight – we have to have our house empty and clean by Saturday morning. I’d like to get it done Thursday night so Dan can turn in keys on Friday.

The new house is great. There’s TONS of storage under thestairs, which will be really nice. I think we’ve agreed to all put our bulky jackets and stuff in that closet and we’ll fill the back portion (where all the storage room is) once we’ve unpacked our stuff. The pantry is HUGE! It’s great! It’s about 5 ft wide and has deep shelves from top to bottom. The kitchen has a lot of cabinets – we unpacked a lot of the kitchen last night and still had a lot of empty space in there even with some doubles of things, so that was encouraging. Our closet in our bedroom is smaller than our previous closet, but we didn’t have the old closet full at all so I think that will be fine. Our bedroom is a nice size and the bathroom is nice, too. Chris and Ruthie’s 2 rooms are really small, which makes me feel kind of bad, but they said they don’t mind at all. The formal dining room is quite large and we have Chris’ desk with computer set up in there right now. We’ll add more to that room as we unpack – we might even put our couch in there. The living room is a decent size and holds their nice corner couch really well. The gas fireplace puts out a nice amount of heat and the house holds the heat really well – we turned off the heater last night and the house was still toasty this morning when we got up. Unfortunately I think the ferrets are going to have to be kept in our bedroom, which I don’t like because they make noise at night (drinking their water and walking around and stuff), but we’ll get used to that. The only thing I would change about the house is the size of the 2 bedrooms that Chris and Ruthie have. Overall it’s a great house with some pretty decent storage. We are already glad that we got the ceiling storage thing for the garage – we may even get another one just to keep things from being piled on the floor. We stood on the back patio last night and instead of hearing trains we heard hundreds of frogs – it was REALLY neat! We decided we’d have to camp out in the backyard when the weather gets better.

Kenai has known something strange was about to happen. She was very clingy all weekend while Dan’s mom and our sister-in-law were in town (Dan was out of town with some guy friends for a guy’s weekend). She was in my lap every chance she got and was a lot more needy than usual. She was a little overstimulated last night and I think she was a little relieved when we went to our room and went to bed. Some friends brought over their 2 little kids at about 8:30pm and visited for a while last night. All 3 kids were running around amongst the boxes and yelling a lot, and Kenai was fine at first but you could tell she got a little uneasy – it was a lot of change at once and I imagine she’d been on edge all day. She’s at the vet today to be spayed. Dan dropped her off and said she was perfectly happy to go in with the vet tech. I imagine she got in the room with the tech and turned around and thought, “where’s my dad?!” We’ll be able to pick her up late this afternoon. We’ve got her crate all set up in our room so she can be contained and still and quiet for a few days.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Snake River Rams

My family, plus Sam Johnson, were camping at upper Two Corral Creek on our third day of our annual Snake River trip. My dad and I had been in the boat fishing for sturgeon when we heard a pack of coyotes yipping, howling, and barking. It was incredible to watch them chase chuckers across the steep canyon hillside. While watching the drama unfold I noticed a large ram laying on the edge of a cliff right above our camp. My dad rowed me back to the shore and I grabbed my camera. Aaron, Sam, and I crept up the cliff and to within about 12 feet of these three bighorn rams. It was amazing.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

March Ketcham Update

Hello friends and family! I realized that I haven't written an update for several months - I believe the last one was sent before Christmas.

We had a wonderful trip down in CA for Christmas (we drove and took "our girls" [our ferrets] with us). We spent about 10 days there, mostly in Santa Barbara, visiting friends and family. We spent New Years in Klamath Falls, OR with Dan's family for a few days.

I'm proud to report that Dan finished his first term of college in December and we received the great news that his grades made the Honor Society! He's almost done with his second term now - he has 2 weeks left until finals, then a week of spring break, and then the spring term begins. He's still doing really well with his classes and enjoying school, although he's looking forward to a week of fishing and relaxing down in Klamath Falls for his Spring Break.

In the middle of January we got plugged in with a small group from our church, which has been really nice. There are three couples (including us) and a total of 10 kids (each couple has 2 biological children plus 3 foster children). The kids are really good about entertaining themselves during our 2-hour time each week. It's been really nice to meet other people in town and we're really appreciative to have these new friendships.

At the end of January I interviewed with Lincare, a nation-wide, home-based respiratory company. I got a job offer and accepted and my first day working there was February 14th. I've really enjoyed my 3 weeks there and hope to make it a long-term job. I'm really fortunate to work 3 miles from our house, which is wonderful (I go home almost each day for lunch!). I am in charge of setting up patients CPAP/BiPAP machines (machines that help people with respiratory sleep disorders), fitting patients with correct masks, doing in-home check-ups for patients, and other aspects of their respiratory care. Sometimes patients come into our center and sometimes I drive to their houses. I spend a few hours each day doing office work, which I enjoy, and the rest of the time doing patient care. It's been a great mixture of both, which I really like. We have two wonderful women who run our office, schedule my appointments, put out "fires", and generally make life a lot easier. They are a wealth of knowledge and are great resources for me. I have a conference I have to go to in Portland this Thursday. I have to give a 5 minute presentation on a drug (Spiriva). There will be a total of 10 of our centers there (with about 3 people from each center). I'll be the only one there from our Albany center - nothing like throwing the new girl in the mix quickly! It's been an adjustment for Dan and I for me to be working full-time, but we're getting used to it. One of the great things about working this type of Respiratory job instead of working in a hospital is the set hours. I work M-F, 8am-5pm and I am on-call every-other weekend (which I haven't started yet since I'm so new), but I don't have to regularly work nights or weekends and I have this set schedule which means we know how many hours I'm working in a given week. It's nice to have that consistency while Dan's in school.

Last weekend (February 25th-28th) my old roommate, Alex, flew up to Oregon and we drove to Idaho to visit another old roommate, Katie, who is pregnant (and due in a week!). Katie had no idea we were coming (we'd set it up with her husband) and she was definitely surprised (we got the surprise on video - it's great!). I haven't hung out with Katie in over 2 years, so it was nice to catch up in person instead of over the phone or in an email. It was funny to see her pregnant - she's due in a week, so she's pretty big (but only in her stomach). The baby (Elijah) moves a lot and it was kind of fun to see her belly move around when he moved. It was really wonderful to spend the weekend sitting around talking. It was so fun to spend so much time with them - we lived together for over 2 years down in Camarillo, CA and we've been really close.

Dan is down in Klamath with his family this weekend to go goose hunting. It's the last weekend of the 3-week season for this particular kind of goose and they've been doing really well. He left around noon Friday and will be back tomorrow evening. He's having a good time and last night they did great in one field, but today his brother is helping guide some people from CA and Dan could only go for a few hours early this morning, so he's been just hanging out this afternoon. I've been enjoying having a quiet weekend since I don't have a lot of down time during the week anymore.

When I got this new job we got a rental car for a month (for those of you who don't remember, my SUV broke the day after we arrived in Albany last July and we've been a 1-vehicle family since then). We've put more then 3000 miles on rental car so far (we've gone to Salem several times, to Eugene twice, and we've also been taking advantage of the great gas mileage and have taken a few scenic drives on the weekends). I bet they'll be surprised when we turn it back in with so many miles! We've got unlimited miles, so we're good. We will be spending next weekend car shopping.

Our weather has been interesting - last Thursday we got 3 inches of snow, which is pretty unusual for our area. Just a few days later it was 55* out. We were fortunate enough to have 2 weeks of no rain last month. We even saw some sun! The weather is back in "winter" mode, with at least a little rain each day and gloomy skies. We're looking forward to spring - I can't wait to see the sun and wear flip-flops!

I hope you've all been doing well! We miss all our family and friends and think about you often!

~Jen & Dan

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Holiday Travels

Left: Dan & Me with the triplets I used to nanny for (they'll be 5 this month)
Right: Dan & Me on the bluffs behind my parent's house
Bottom: Dan & Me at my parent's house

We traveled for Christmas (again) this year. We've only traveled for Christmas 2 years now, and I'm already looking forward to the day when we can put up decorations (because we'll actually be home to enjoy them), have our own tree, and have everyone at our house.

We spent 2 days in Klamath Falls (OR) with Dan's parents, then a week in Santa Barbara (CA), then another 4 days in Klamath Falls (over New Years). It's a 4 hour drive from our house to Klamath Falls, then an 11 hour drive from Klamath down to Santa Barbara. We used our rafting dry bags to keep our luggage, etc. dry on the drive to/from (snowed/rained a lot of the way). On the way back from Santa Barbara to Klamath Falls we had a run-in with some ice. Luckily we were only going about 35mph, there was a guard rail, and no oncoming traffic. We slid around, slammed into the guard rail, and ended up facing the opposite direction in the opposing lane. We were a bit shaken up, but we're fine (and so are the ferrets, who traveled all over with us). The bumper needs work (but the brand new headlights I got Dan for Christmas were unharmed)...

Being in Santa Barbara for the week was awesome - it was the right amount of time, we got to see all our family and most of the friends that we wanted to see, and the weather was nice for us several of the days. Being in Santa Barbara also has made me really homesick, which is something I haven't experienced before.

As soon as we got back I started applying for RT jobs in the area. There aren't really any. I have applied to 10 jobs this week, and only 1 of them was an actual RT job. The rest are jobs branched off an RT license (such as, working in a sleep study lab, doing home health care, etc.). Job hunting is frustrating. No one ever emails to say that they've chosen someone, so move on. It's an employers market. I'm trying to be positive - I know the right job for me will come along. The lack of human interaction (besides Dan, who's at school half of each day) is really getting to me. I've been out of school for 9 months, we've been here 6 months. I need to get back into a routine (besides laundry, cooking, taking care of the house, the truck, our ferrets - that's all fine and good and I enjoy doing it, but I need to interact with people).

In other news, Dan started school again on January 3rd. He did really well his first term (3 As and 1 B) and likes his new classes, so far.

Happy Day!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sanctus Real - Lead Me

I feel like sometimes we live to work, instead of work to live. This is a nice reminder to slow down and focus on the important things in life.

Sanctus Real - “Lead Me”

I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling
But on the inside, I can hear her saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They're just children from the outside
I'm working hard, I tell myself they'll be fine
They're independent
But on the inside, I can hear them saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I'm called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love,
Chasing things that I could give up

I'll show them I'm willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

Father, lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ketcham Update

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Hello family and friends!

It’s been a while since our last Ketcham Update, so I figured it was time to sit down and try to summarize the past few months.

Fall is underway up here! The trees are changing colors and the temperature is dropping. It will be nice to experience seasons after so many years of either sun or fog.

We’ve been enjoying living up here in Albany, OR. It’s been nice to be able to have time off to explore things. We did a lot of fishing this summer at local rivers and lakes. The Willamette River is literally 2 blocks away from us, and we’ve taken advantage of the boat ramp several times. We definitely miss Camarillo and all our friends (and family) down in Southern California. It was wonderful to have a group of friends and know that at least one would be willing to hang out at any given time.

In August we went on a week-long rafting trip on the Snake River with Dan’s family (minus one of his younger brothers, Tyler, who was in Iraq). The trip was wonderful, despite some ugly weather the first few days. We ate lots of bass, got really good at putting up our tents in the rain, and perfected the art of packing and unpacking the rafts. It was great to be on the water and get to spend quality time with Dan’s family. We can’t wait until next summer’s trip, and are hoping Tyler, and his fiancĂ©, Chelsea will join us on the water.

Towards the end of August I got the opportunity to go back to CA for a few days. I was hired to drive a woman’s car and her two dogs from Santa Barbara to Aspen, CO. She flew me down to LAX and I got to spend about 4 days with friends and family before beginning my journey. The dogs and I had a nice drive to Aspen - we broke it up into two days. Before flying back to Oregon I got to spend one full day in Aspen. The trees were just starting to change colors and it was really beautiful. I was surprised how similar it was to some areas up here.

Lately we’ve been deer hunting in our area. During bow season we saw several deer (lots of doe, but only 1 tiny buck), but they were too quick for us. Rifle season opened up yesterday, so we got out of bed earlier then we have a quite a while and drove out to nearby “Mary’s Peak“. Several hours of sitting and driving around with no luck. Dan’s decided we should wait until the weather changes before going out again.

Dan just finished his first week of school. He’s in four classes (English, Psychology, Religion, and Wildlife Conservation) and really likes it. He’s currently at Linn-Benton Community College and wants to transfer to Oregon State University to get a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife.

This coming week I will be able to schedule my board exam to get my Respiratory Therapy license. It’s been a long time coming (I’ve been out of school 6 months now) and I’m very ready for the waiting to end. I’m hoping to take my exam before Dan’s birthday (the end of October), but that all depends on what test dates they have available. Sorry, but I’m not going to be telling anyone when my test date is - you’ll find out after I pass. Once I pass I have to wait a few weeks to actually receive my license, then I have to apply to transfer it to Oregon. We’re hoping that I will be able to begin applying for jobs after Dan’s Christmas break.

Last week I decided I needed to do something to get myself out of the house, so I talked to the athletic director at the Albany Boys and Girls Club. After hearing about all the different jobs I performed for so many years at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County he offered me 4 different job options. Two of them required a 5-day a week time commitment, which is more then I am looking for. The other two were with their basketball program - either coaching a Kindergarten team or refereeing games a few times a week. I’ve decided to ref the younger kids basketball games a few times a week. I loved doing it in Santa Barbara, and I’m hoping I’ll like it just as much here.

Next weekend we’re going to the Roloff Family Farms (it may sound familiar if you’ve heard of the Reality TV Show “Little People, Big World” on TLC). The farm is up near Portland, and ever since seeing it on TV I’ve always wanted to go. They have a large farm and sell pumpkins every year. They even have a wagon ride that gives you a tour of the farm (they have a “western town” and other various things on the farm to see). We’re going with Dan’s best friend and his wife, who live about an hour north of us. Don’t worry, I’ll take lots of pictures.

These updates always end up being a lot longer then I plan. I hope that you are all doing well!

All our love,

~Jen and Dan

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oregon Move

Hello family and friends.

We are happy to report that our move last week went very smoothly!

On Monday we got to have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Camarillo (Wood Ranch - they also catered our wedding back in November) with our good friends Stephanie and Joseph Crisostomo from Bakersfield. It had been several months since we had seen them and it was wonderful to get to spend some time with them before our move.

On Tuesday morning we picked up our 16 foot Budget rental truck and car trailer. We took it to be weighed empty (per Navy requirements to be reimbursed for the move) and then took it back to our apartment to start loading it. We were lucky to have a little help from a friend for a bit in the middle of the day. It's amazing how much stuff two people can accumulate! I didn't think there was any way we would fill the 16 foot truck, but we almost did. Tuesday evening we got the chance to see various friends who came to send us off and spend one more evening with us. They helped load Dan's truck onto the tow trailer and helped load the last minute items into the moving truck. That night Dan and I camped on our apartment floor out for our last night in Camarillo.

Wednesday started early - we got up at 5am and hit the road at 6am. Dan drove the rental truck towing his truck and I drove my SUV with our one backpack of clothing, our ferrets in their cage, and a few of our taxidermy animals. It was SLOW going up the grapevine. We were both glad to have that portion of the drive over with. The drive that first day went well and in the middle of the day we were surprised with the temperature (not as hot as we thought it would be) and our distance. The drive from Camarillo, CA to Albany, OR is usually 13.5 hours in a normal car. With the rental truck towing Dan's truck we figured it would take between 16 and 18 hours. We were pleased to make it to our goal of Medford, OR to stay the night. We made it to Medford around 7:30pm. Our ferrets LOVED the hotel room (they love anything new) and especially enjoyed the shower, which was a handicap walk-in shower that they could run in and out of freely. It felt wonderful to sleep in a bed. We took advantage of the free Internet and free breakfast before hitting the road again on Thursday.

Thursday morning we got to sleep in and left the hotel around 9am. We needed to be in Albany to sign our lease at 2pm and we gave ourselves a time buffer. There were a few more large hills, but the truck and my SUV made it through. We pulled up to our house in Albany at about 1pm. We took the truck off the trailer and the trailer off the rental truck, then got lunch and went to sign our lease. It took about 30 minutes in the leasing office and then we did a walk-through. The manager decided he wanted to clean our carpets in the living room one more time, which was a bit disappointing (that meant we couldn't move our furniture into the living room for a few days). It was pretty warm (about 90 degrees) and we unloaded about half the rental truck. We decided to take a break for dinner and then we finished unloading the truck completely in the evening while it was cooler. All our living room stuff got put into the garage.

On Friday we returned the rental truck and trailer and ran random errands. The Cable/Internet guy came and installed service in the early afternoon, which was wonderful (in CA it would take a week for Verizon to come out!). The carpet cleaner came and didn't clean the whole carpets - just sprayed a few spots. My SUV started making an awful noise, so we stopped driving it (of course the noise started at 4:45pm on Friday afternoon - no time to get it to a mechanic before the weekend). Dan's Mom (Loren) and younger brother (Aaron) came on Friday evening and stayed with us until Sunday evening. Aaron was entered in the Oregon State Shooting Competition up in Brooks, which is about a half hour north of us. It was nice to see them and great to have Aaron help move the couch and TV into the house with Dan.

We spent Saturday and Sunday in Brooks at Aaron's shooting competition. It was fun to get out and walk around and not do anything related to moving. They also brought our boat up for us (it was being stored with them in Klamath Falls, OR since we didn't have a place for it at our apartment in Camarillo) so we took it out on the Willamette River, which is right behind our house.

We took my car in on Monday to a mechanic that was recommended both on the AAA website and by one of our very friendly neighbors. We heard back this morning that it needs a new engine. We're trying to decide what to do about that right now - we're not putting a new engine in it. We should be fine with one vehicle for a few months - Dan is taking his placement testing for school right now and doesn't start classes until the end of September. Hopefully by then I will be eligible to apply for jobs. In August we'll be going on a rafting trip on the Snake River (boarder of Idaho and Oregon) with Dan's family. They do it every year and we're excited to join them this time.

Our new address is:

Dan and Jen Ketcham
120 Chicago St. NE
Albany, OR 97321

Wishing you all the best! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

~Jen and Dan

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Life Update

We went to Oregon for 2 weeks at the beginning of June. We spent the first week in Klamath Falls with Dan’s family. We had lots of fun taking our boat out on Klamath Lake and fishing in the Williamson River. The second week we went to Albany, OR to look for a house and set up Dan’s school stuff. We got the school stuff squared away pretty easily. He’s all signed up and once we move up he’ll have to take placement testing and register for classes. It took nearly the entire week to find a house for us, though. We were kind of picky - we’ve got the boat which requires space to park and the ferrets. There were lots of apartments for rent (which didn’t have room to park a car, let alone a boat) and lots of houses for sale. We finally found a house we really liked, but another lady had an application in on it already. We were pretty discouraged and were ready to just rent a duplex month-to-month, leave the boat with Dan’s parents, move up, and continue looking for something more suitable for us once we were up there for good. Luckily, when we called back the next day the lady had backed out of the house, so we snatched it up. It’s a cute little 2-bedroom house with a nice sized detached garage and a nice size yard (large yard by California standards). The boat will easily fit in the garage and there’s plenty of room for a pen for Fred (my turtle) in the backyard. There’s even the Willamette River a few blocks away with a boat launch just down the road. Now we just need to get a washer, dryer, and lawnmower. It was great to finally get the house hunting out of the way. While we were up in Northern OR we got to visit some of Dan’s family that I’d never met before. We also got to see Dan’s best friend and his wife - it’s always fun to spend time with them. We went back down to Klamath Falls and spent the weekend with Dan’s parents before driving back down to Camarillo.

Since being back in Camarillo we’ve been hanging out, not doing a whole lot. I’ve packed a few boxes and we’ve set up the moving van. It’s been a bit tricky to figure out the Navy moving stuff (they’ll be reimbursing us for the move), but I think we’ve finally gotten it figured out. We’re picking up the moving van the morning of July 13th and plan to pack it up that day. We’re driving the moving van and my SUV and we’ll be towing Dan’s truck behind the moving van. We’ll officially be hitting the road for Albany, OR on July 14th. We’ll stay overnight somewhere in Northern CA (it’s a 14-hour drive in regular cars from Camarillo to Albany) and continue on the next day, arriving in Albany at our house in the 15th of July.

At the beginning of August we’ll be going on a rafting trip with Dan’s parents, brother, and brother’s friend. The 6 of us will be rafting the Snake River, which boarders Idaho and Oregon. It’ll be a 6 day trip with 4 days rafting on the water. His family has done it almost every summer for years and years. We’ll be fishing throughout the day and Dan and his brother are planning on going Bear hunting part of the time. We’ve been having fun gathering different supplies for the trip. Dan has just about everything he needs for himself, but I get to get my own life vest and water shoes.

Dan’s school starts up at the very end of September. He’s going to the local community college and plans to transfer to Oregon State University (go Beavers!) to complete a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife. OSU is in Corvallis, which is about 10 minutes from Albany (which is why we’re moving there - figured it was better to just move once, especially since the Navy is paying for it).

As for me, I’ve had more hiccups with school. Due to some paperwork, I won’t be able to sit for my Respiratory Therapy Board Exam until the beginning of September. This was a big disappointment - I’ve been out of school since the end of March. For now I’m focusing on the move and tying up loose ends here in CA. Once we get to Oregon I’ll begin my marathon studying for the boards. We’re not sure yet if I’ll need to come all the way back to Ventura County to take my exam, or if I’ll be able to drive down to a location in Northern CA (I have to take my test in CA to get the CA license. A CA license transfers to any state, but an OR license does not. If we ever moved to another state and I only had an OR license I’d have to do school and the exams all over again).

We’re spending our last few weeks here visiting friends and family and packing up our stuff. I’ll be sending another email out in a few weeks with our new address and contact information.

~Jen & Dan