Monday, October 5, 2009

In honor of next monday...

Christopher Columbus = Steaksauce
Christopher Columbus is pretty cool...ish
But thinking America was India was pretty foolish.
He might not be that smart, I certainly don't care
Because I get the day off, I'll have time to spare.

Holidays should definitely be more frequent, I think.
With days off, and bonuses, and lots to drink.
Dream of the joys of sleeping in and relaxing,
Now compare that with work--it's really quite taxing.

So bring on that sleep, and don't do no work!
Forget about that person who's being a jerk!
Christopher Columbus, I thank you, I say
For creating that great federal holiday!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Keep Southeast Asia in Your Prayers

I've been following the weather situation in Southeast Asia pretty closely. Things are not looking good, and there's is going to be a need for MASSIVE clean up over the next few months.

If anyone doesn't know, Typhoon Ketsana plowed through Manila last week. It put 80% of the city (home to millions of people) underwater, killing almost 250 people. They're expecting landfall from a super-typhoon later today, with another one heading in the same direction coming next week. Luckily, the brunt of this most recent storm, Typhoon Parma, is going to hit in the northwest side of Luzon (the big island), which isn't too heavily populated. But they're expecting flooding rains for most of the island.

I use typhoon2000 for most of my updates. It was something I watched pretty closely while I was there a couple of years ago. I'll never experience rain like that again. I remember it just pouring for 14 hours straight over the evening, and I heard it all on the metal roof of my apartment. There was pretty bad flood in Laguna de Bay, and our rice projects were un-workable due to the flooding in Victoria. I'm pretty sure none of that compares to what they're facing this week.

South has a missionary family (with SEND International) that is located in Quezon City. I was in contact with them for a bit while I was there.

I would encourage all of you to be in prayer for the entire Southeast Asia region. With all of the typhoons, earthquakes, and tsunamis in the Philippines, Samoa, and Indonesia, there has been a lot of death and many people are suffering out there. Pray that God will use these events to draw people to Himself, and that the missionaries in the area will present the gospel clearly.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's been a while...

This blog has slowly crept back into travel-blog status. The only time I ever write anything is when I'm going somewhere.

Tomorrow morning I leave for a long weekend in Dallas. It should be fun to see my nieces; they're walking now and much more energetic than they were just a couple of months ago. Without skype, I think my family would be very different than it is now. It's amazing how just seeing each other face-to-face fairly often can help hold everyone together. Now that Dad is back from his stint in Washington DC, we're only spread over three states. I'm not sure how things will change now that Aryn had her baby last week. The grandchildren are popping out right and left, so Mom and Dad are barely ever home.

Things are starting to get interesting around Ann Arbor. Students have been moving in slowly, but with football season kicking off (pun! ...groan) this weekend, traffic is going to become a problem, especially because the entire state of Michigan is under construction.

I'm really blessed that I was able to find a church here in Ann Arbor with such great teaching AND great people. One of my focuses for the Fall Season is to find a place where I can serve in the church. That is one of the things I miss most about South. Unfortunately I am at that age where it can be difficult to find a niche. The youth groups are looking for volunteers... but I'm not so sure it's a great idea for me to be working with young people, lol. But I don't know, maybe it would be good for me.

My small group is in kind of a transitional stage right now. The entire church is starting a new series in a couple of weeks, and it's kind of the "re-launching" for small groups. We've dropped from 6 down to 4 in the last couple of months due to people moving for jobs, so hopefully we get some new people. God has allowed that group to be very intstrumental in my life here, and I am incredibly thankful for all of them. Friends have always been a key part of my life, both socially and spiritually, so it's great to have that second family away from home.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'M ON A BOAT

=D Terrible, but hilarious.

I just got back Tuesday morning from another great weekend in DC. I'm pretty sure I am going to move there eventually. The city just has a lot to offer, and I love it. I finally did the Supreme Court tour, so I can finally check that one off my list. I think I've seen just about everything there now...it only took 4 trips. =D

Some of you may not know that we had some torrential rains a couple of weeks back, and that my office flooded. I wrote this poem in an email, and thought it would make an epic blog post. Enjoy!

Ode to the Office That Crapped Itself.

Office, oh office, you fill my nose with stench.
Office, oh office, you smell like something French.
Why did the rain have to seep in through the floor?
Why couldn't it have just stayed outside the door?
Office, oh office, you've made my monday lame.
Office, oh office, I don't know who to blame.

Do I pin it on God, who has power for the weather?
Do I pin it on a raindancer, that pranced with a feather?
NO. I blame the engineer who designed this stupid place.
Yes! It's your fault. Come here. I'll punch you in the face!

Office, oh office, do something. DO SOMETHING FAST.
Office, oh office, I just don't think I can last.
What can we do when your carpet smells like poo?
What do I tell our customers, who think it's me--not you?
Office, oh office, I won't accept your stink.
Office, oh office, this is what I think:

LET ME GO HOME. Right now! Not later!
LET ME GO HOME. I'm a poo-smell hater!
Yes. I dare say it is time for me to leave.
No! I won't wait for the return of Steve.

Office. OFFICE. OFFICE! WHY OH WHY?!?!
That is it. this is all. I SAY GOODBYE.


Some of my better work, I must say. Maybe I'll just start writing poetry for my entries.

Monday I'm off to Oklahoma City until the 24th. I'm looking forward to the trip. As long as the group is fun, I'm sure it's going to be a blast.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

6 weeks of crazy

Well...I don't really know whether or not to be excited or kind of dread the rest of this summer, because it all starts this weekend.

-June 19: Take off for a weekend beach bumming in Holland.
-June 27: Take off for another weekend in Washington DC.
-July 2: Go to Lansing to see Brenda/the twins and do the whole fireworks shindig.
-July 6: Fly to Oklahoma City for training
-July 24: Come back from Oklahoma City
-August: Cottages? Dallas?


It's basically been decided that for the rest of the summer, my weekends are full. I'm already exhausted... But hey, I suppose it's cool that I get to see a lot and do a lot! Maybe once I get my laptop back I can get back into the video blogging...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday Funday

I'm in a super random mood today, and those of you who received emails from me this morning know exactly what I'm talking about.

Nothing interesting is happening in my life right now, so I don't have much to write about. I guess I painted my apartment this weekend. That's mildly interesting, I suppose. The main wall in the apartment was painted light blue when I moved in, and I painted the wall where the slider is and the adjacent wall this color (which you can't see because this text is already brown, lol). It's the same color as the text, haha. It looks pretty cool I guess.

I submitted my third application for Survivor last week. I've got my fingers crossed... I'm running out of time, I'm sure. The application was for season 20, and I'll be pretty surprised if it gets picked up through season 22 next year. I hope so! =D This too is mildly interesting.

I suppose I live a mildly interesting life then. Woohoo! Have a great week.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I'm feeling really crabby today, which is lame because it's Friday. No one should ever be crabby on a Friday. Plus, I have so many reasons NOT to be crabby:
1) It's sunny and warm today
2) I beat a bunch of nerds in Settlers of Catan last night. TESTIFY!
3) My birthday is tomorrow and I'm getting presents in the mail
4) A bunch of my friends are coming down to Ann Arbor tomorrow

See? No reason. I'll get over it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

I love Washington DC. It's basically my favorite place in the United States to visit. So when I found out my dad was going to be on a detail at USDA headquarters for a few months, I got very excited. I just returned from my first trip down there this summer. I'm hoping that I can find a cheap ticket and make it down in late June sometime.

I don't quite know what it is about the city that gets me. Maybe it's that I find American History to be more interesting than those wacky Europeans, but I just love being there. There are so many places to walk around and see, and something is going on all the time. Protests, motorcades, speeches... I just like the energy that the city has.

We're coming up to Memorial Day, which means my birthday is getting closer. I'm sort of past the age of when I look forward to my birthday. I don't mind getting older, it's just not thrilling anymore. I miss the days when a birthday meant that cupcakes were brought to school and we played games in class. I'd gladly take the cupcakes and the games...but let's leave the whole school thing out of it. =D

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nebraska

I recently just returned from NRCS orientation in Nebraska. I didn't expect much from the training OR the state of Nebraska, but I was pleasantly surprised! The place where we stayed was really cool, the people were great, and I learned a lot. I ate far too much, though.

There were people from Wyoming, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Virginia, Utah, Georgia, etc. It was crazy to see how diverse agriculture is in the United States, and how even though we all work for the same agency, we all do very different things.



It was good prep for my three weeks in Oklahoma later this summer. I wasn't too optimistic about that trip either, so hopefully it goes just as well as this one did. It's really all about the people at the trainings. If they are fun, the trip is fun.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Scroll buttons and the lappy...dead

Well, my laptop is now mostly dead. It still works...ish. Yes. It's true. My Philippinized compy (aka the Ant Graveyard) has finally met the fate of all of the ants inside of it. Muerte. Therefore I am on the prowl for a new lappy 5000. Oh Strongbad, I wish I still found you funny.

Given my history with laptops, I am considering bypassing the lappy and going for a...desky? I'm kind of a laptop murderer. Laptops come to me when they want to die. I can keep plants alive for 6 years, but can't keep a lappy alive for more than two. Figures. I just have an unfortunate affinity for destroying portable electronic devices.

This is where I need all you tech-savvy nerds to help me out. Below is a list of pros and cons:

Laptop Pros/Cons:
-portable. I can travel with it.
-A lot of laptops now have built in webcams. That's a plus.
-Fewer wires

-Generally more expensive
-Lets face it--I destroy them. It would probably only last 2 years because I drop them and forget things are plugged into them, and then things fall off and quit working. humf.
-the fan/heatsink always gets really dirty and overheats. It's annoying.
-Batteries and power cords. bleh.

-Really hard to open up to clean, etc.

Desktop Pros/Cons:
-Typically I don't murder these
-Significantly less expensive
-It's pretty uncommon for a desktop to overheat
-No battery

-Easy to open up
-Not mobile

Now comes the other debate: Apple or PC? I usually hate Apples because of the STUPID apple key that you have to use instead of Control. I know that I could LEARN to use an apple. It just might drive me crazy and take a while.

Apple Pros/Cons:
-Minimal virus threat
-Better graphics

-Stupid Apple key
-unfamiliar
-More expensive

PC Pros/Cons:
-Familiar operating system
-Compatible with all of my games. I have to be able to play the Sims/Zoo Tycoon, people. Come on.
-No Stupid Apple key
-Significantly Less Expensive

-More prone to virus threats

Obviously, the transition from a laptop to a desktop will take some adjustment. The key factors in the decision definitely revovle around price, mobility, and durability. Yes--I have put a lot of thought into this.

I need suggestions! People with knowledge need to comment and tell me what to do. Please?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Here's a list of events and observations from the last week:
1. I got some tall bluestem grass at my forages training. There's a bug flying in it. But plants on my desk=happiness.
2. I made the mistake of telling my small group the story of when I almost ran over Tom Izzo while on my rollerblades near Mun Field. Now they just think I'm crazy.
3. It SNOWED last night. >:o BOOOOOOOOOO.
4. Chelsea is moving into my complex, which means I get $250! =D Guess I can start saving towards that saltwater fish tank.
5. Sugar cookies+confetti frosting = delicious. Unfortunately sugar cookies+frosting also =fatso.
6. The Office managed to get interesting again, while Heroes managed to get stupid again.

I only made it to six. This is my exciting life.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oh the Irony

I cannot tell you how guilty I feel sitting at home on Tuesday nights eating potato chips and drinking coke while watching The Biggest Loser of all shows. They have these little "trainer tips" during commercial breaks, where Bob or Jillian gives diet/workout advice. Yeah...I often find myself contradicting those very tips right as I watch. Nice going Bryce. Not good.

Anyways, it's technically almost 2:00 pm in the Philippines right now--which would be me wrapping up my last day in Los Banos one year ago today. Sometimes I feel like I'm still readjusting to life in the US, but I guess I'm way past that now. It's unbelievable!

Not much going on this week. I get to learn about grasses and forbs on Thursday. Should be good times.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Emo

Life moves so fast. I was sifting over Laura's blog today, checking out her pics, etc... and it scares me that it's almost been a year since I returned from my semester in the Philippines. Looking at my blog history, I've only made 11 posts in that year, probably because I'm so busy I've totally forgotten about writing. And THAT bothers me because I told myself I was going to hold on to the relaxed and slow-paced Filipino lifestyle, because I honestly believe it's a healthier and better way to live--and I failed. That's something to work on, I guess.

Ugh. Why so serious all the time? No. :-p

I found a church in Ann Arbor! I went to a small group on Sunday, and we're going to meet again this week. It's a funny (but embarrassing) story on how I ended up there...but I'll tell it anyway.

Last Sunday was Daylight Savings Time, which means since it's spring we're supposed to "spring forward." I, being the genius that I am, could not figure out what that meant. I just couldn't make it make sense in my mind that I needed to set my clocks forward an hour. So after an hour (seriously) of agonizing over what to do and unsuccessfully searching online for answers (again...seriously), I just gave up and decided to go to an 11:00AM service and check my phone in the morning, which hopefully would just automatically change.

So therefore I ended up at Huron Hills Church, a place that I had visited before. And it worked out perfectly because they were starting a new series for the spring, and with it, jumpstarting new small groups! I met some great people, and I'm excited to be getting involved somewhere again.

Well, hopefully more to come from this blog... It's amazing how writing stuff out brings clarity.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Change/Convert/Develop

I've been thinking a lot lately about the subject of transition. It's been the title of my blog for a while now, but I recently have been struck with the profound meaning that this particular word has in my life. The whole concept of transitioning from one phase to another plays a part in every living organism, every atmospheric cycle, every form of matter. Our world has been, is currently, and always will be in a state of continuous movement--Everything changes. Whether it's winter into spring, plant matter turning to soil, water evaporating, growing older--everything is destined to morph and develop into something else.

I've been having a lot of conversations with friends about change. New places to live, new friends, marriage, babies, new jobs... To be honest, I've always sort of held a grudge against change. That is why I chose the word to be my blog title. It is my most significant fear, and often plays a part in the decisions that I make on a daily basis. The idea of "fixing anything that isn't broken" or "ruining what we've got" is just very unappealing to me.

But you know what? What a lousy way to live! I find it interesting that the single thing that does not change in this messed up universe is the only PERFECT part of it--God. God's character and plan have been the same forever before, and will remain forever after. Obviously, God being that one Constant is enough. He created this world for new experience, new ways to glorify Himself. Fighting change is fighting God's plan in a way...

So now for some application, which I know we all love. I'm living in a new town, with a new job, trying to find a new church where I can meet new friends. NONE of those things are comfortable to me at all. I have quite a few friends in this similar situation. Some are coming out of bad break-ups, some are just starting new families, some have moved across the country (and the world!)--the important thing is that WE REMEMBER what it is that we all have in common. God is that constant, who provides direction, peace, and fulfillment--even when we're totally convinced we've messed up our lives for good.

Now, I know there are a few specific people who actually read this blog:
-Laura and Mercedes: Enjoy the heck out of Thailand/England. I love reading about your adventures, and I am confident that both of you will capitalize on your experience abroad and learn from it. I hope that God revealing to you the constant reliability that only HE can provide. I learned that lesson in the Philippines, and it's way too easy to forget here in the US.

-Danae: You're in a boat similar to mine. But you're home. I have complete confidence that you're doing what you need to do. You've always been good at networking and meeting new people. Just remember to stay open minded to opportunities that may come your way. You never know where they might take you.

-John: You can climb in my red boat if you'd like. But you're right--I think your blue boat is probably better. No one knows what I'm talking about, but you get it. =D

-Katie?: I'm not sure if she's still reading this or not...but good luck with that marriage thing. I'm not going to try to give you marital advice. Good luck with that. =D I just want to remind you that even though you're in IOWA, and when things get a little weird and you're tired of looking at corn and old barns--God has you there for a specific reason. I hope that you can find a place in your town where He can use you to serve Him like I know you want to.

If anyone else actually reads this, I'm sorry I didn't mention you. As a general rule for everyone--seek God and His kingdom above all things. If you don't know or believe in God, I'd encourage you to truly examine your views on life and what your purpose on Earth is. In this world of ever-changing circumstances and uncertainties, let me tell you--it's absolutely amazing to have that solid foundation, that constant, unchanging force in your life! And it can't be found anywhere else than in God.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

HEAT WAVE

It was like 40F yesterday! It's nice to see some of the snow melting off. Bethany came down on Saturday and we walked around UofM campus for a while, and found this super-cool Chinese restaurant. Good Mongolian Beef. I'm a fan.

Today I'm going to find a park, I think. I need to get out and enjoy sunshine a bit.

Not much going on since I got home from Washington. Just work, trainings, and apartment stuff. My apartment stinks now. They had new carpet installed right before I moved in (which is great--no complaints), BUT it stinks. New carpet smell is not great. So I bought this thing that I thought would mask the smell, but instead it combined together and it just REEKS now. :( Sadness.

Maybe it will all just disappear...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Washington

I've been in Washington since Thursday, and we just returned from a ski trip to Mt. Baker. I went with Aryn and Tim and 6 other people from their church and we rented a cabin about 30 minutes from the mountain.

The place was amazing. It had a woodstove (that later made the place WAY too hot), a hot tub, and pretty much a room for each of us to sleep. It was in a vally with a river running right through the back yard, and the contrast of the snow with the moss and the conifers was really cool. It was basically sunny for the entire time, which was a blessing.

We spent the entire day yesterday skiing on the mountain. I did pretty well-- only a couple of minor falls. I was pretty happy with myself because it was my first time out for the year. The runs at Baker are much, much longer than anything I've ever skied before, so my quads were killing me by the end of the day. Some of the lifts took like 10-15 minutes just to make it to the top.

Last night we just sat in the hot tub and ate. We had so much food.

Overall it was a fantastic weekend. I think I'm seriously going to consider the Northwest when I am done in Ann Arbor. This area is absolutely beautiful, and the skiing is awesome.

My flight leaves tomorrow at 12:45, so it's back to the real world.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Titles are hard to come up with...

First, a couple of questions to answer:

have you decorated your apartment?
Yes. I received a "complementary wall painting" upon signing my lease, so I have 1 blue wall. It looks splendiferous. And I also hung all of my posters and pictures in my living room. It looks great! Although, in my room I just have a Heroes poster...and it has Maya on it so it's not even a GOOD Heroes poster... I need to do something in there. I don't know if this link will work, but it's worth a try. Aryn's Facebook has some pictures of the apartment.

have you found a church?
Not quite yet. I was only there for 1 Sunday so far, and the church I tried was my family's old church when we lived there. I may try a few other places before returning there as a default. It's a good, solid church; there just aren't that many people my age and they don't have anything else other than Sunday mornings that I know of yet.

And Danae--what do you mean your blog is not up to par yet? Your blog doesn't even exist. Better get on that. =D

Laura--I'm so glad you're enjoying your time in the tropics so far. Your entries make me hungry. Very hungry.

I'm in Seattle right now for a ski trip to Mt. Baker for Tim's birthday. It should be fun, but all three of us are sick. We're going to be meeting up with Ben and Becky, and some other people from their church, and spend the weekend up there. Should be a good time. =D

Next week, I'll be back at work. GIS is keeping me pretty busy... Any of you want to come down to Ann Arbor to eat good ethnic food, just call first!

Friday, January 16, 2009

How did I become such a bad blogger?

*sigh*, I was doing so well a year ago. Maybe that's because my life was interesting then.

NOW--
-I live in Ann Arbor
-I work full time for the Natural Resources Conservation Service as a Soil Conservationist
-I NEVER have to attend classes ever again. (YES.)
-I have to pay rent (sadness)
-I can wear all of my U of M apparel without fear of violence

Interesting stuff... lets see...

The job is going well. I've been working with a lot of GIS stuff doing wetland determinations and doing soil ratings and other such things. I have tons to learn.

I went with a new friend to a Thai restaurant on Wednesday. It was expensive, but oh so good. I'll be returning.

Next week I'm leaving for Seattle for 3 days of skiing in the mountains, which I'm pretty pumped about. I had to get advanced leave from work...but you know, it's worth it.

I love my apartment. It's strange how quickly it became home. I am back in Lansing for the weekend, and it was weird to be packing like I was going on a trip...to my old house. It was very strange. I have nothing at my parents' house.

Well, that's all. I suppose I should try to keep this active as I have multiple friends who are abroad right now writing about their experiences.

Check them out!

Laura is in Thailand: http://lauralouwho.blogspot.com/
and Mercedes is in England: http://mcinuk.blogspot.com/

Both very interesting reads. ;o)