Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snowed In!

I doubt it will ever happen again, but our Oregon weather has actually given the Minnesotans a run for their money! We've spent the better part of a week and a half "enjoying" the snow, and got quite an ice storm over the weekend as well.
(These trees are normally tall...and straight!)

Considering the fact that there are almost no plows, sanders, or deicers in the Willamette Valley, we found ourselves pretty paralyzed by this strange white fluff falling from the sky. I ended up in Salem mid-storm and found myself snowed in there for about four days. Thank goodness I was able to hole up at Tim & Jessie's house even though they were away. The code to their garage door has saved my bacon more than once. Thank you, Tim & Jess! Having very little to do, I documented my snow days and the antics of the Adams' kitties.

This was the car on day two. It doesn't look like we had much snow, but this was taken after freezing rain flattened everything with almost an inch of ice. Did you notice how poorly this car is parked? Facing the wrong direction, at a wacky angle, and completely blocking the driveway? Yeah...that was the best I could do. I'd had to abandon the car at the bottom of the hill the night before, so the fact that I'd been able to get it up to the house was a major victory. When I came slip-sliding up to the curb I called it "good 'nuf" and bailed out to head for higher ground.

Having grown up in Montana, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the snow thing, but this Northwest freezing rain is a whole new deal. There was about 3/4" of ice encasing my car. Nothing like having to chisel your way in...These two goofy cats were my company. They were really concerned about the weather. Really concerned. Like it might interfere with their napping.
So, the kitties and I adopted a life of leisure for a few days. We were really roughing it. We had a nice fire... ...and we laid around...
...and we watched the crazy weather come and go...
...and we blogged...

Finally, on Tuesday, there was enough of a lull in the weather that SoundGuy's sister and I were able to make a break for it! We slipped, slid, skidded, and scraped our way up to Portland on the worst freeway conditions I think I've ever seen (and it had actually improved from previous days - sheesh!)

Sadly, my flights home to Montana were canceled (as were almost all the flights in and out of our airport) so I'll be missing Christmas with my family. Thankfully SoundGuy's family took me in, and have begun to teach me their family traditions. (Along with telling me lots of stories about their son. I'm wracking up the ammunition here).

A peek out the window reveals that there is still about a foot of snow to deal with - and another storm on the way. Who knows what we'll resort to for amusement...stay tuned! As long as we can collect SoundGuy from the airport on Saturday we'll be good to go.

Hoping you're somewhere safe and warm! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oregon VS Minnesota - FIGHT

[Burntvedt covered in snow]

While Oregon shuts down with 3 inches of snow and fear of driving when its not raining I am stuck in 4-6 inches without a sled or a thing to do. Finals week is over. Papers are turned in and all I have to do is play with the neighbors dogs (thanks mike and naomi for letting me overstay my welcome this afternoon) and clean the apartment that I have not even yet managed to get dirty.

Nothing better than a nap on a snowy day with dad.

Hoping that regardless of the weather you are enjoying the advent season and winter wonderland that waits outside your door.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We have a Winner!

Erin Schmerin will be receiving a Starbucks card in the mail! We always knew she was a winner, but now we have actual quantifiable proof. Thanks for playing =)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Negative 7

So while Oregon enjoy's a snow day (all accept my beautiful girlfriend), Minnesota is plowing along with a layer of ice under 4 inches of snow an -7 degree weather. Yes, when I left this morning, it was -7 and it has now gotten up to -4. How does one do it you might ask?



I Jinxed It

Yes, as predicted EVERY school in the valley has declared a snow day. Except OSU. Good old OSU. Charging blindly on in the face of adversity, blah, blah, blah. This is what happens when your President is from Ohio. "Snow day? We don't need no stinkin' snow day!" I'm sure that's just how Dr. Ray said it, too.

Do you know who made it to the office today? Two of us. Me, and the other gal from Montana! I am in full righteous martyr mode this morning, laboring away while the rest of the world gets their precious snow day. So all y'all better get out there and enjoy it! And tell me how it was.

Dutifully Disgruntled.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas All Over the Place!

It's officially Christmas in my corner of the world (despite regular Advent ramblings from SoundGuy...don't tell him I skipped ahead to Christmas already, okay?). I am proud to say that I haven't felt harried or stressed (yet!) and I'm really enjoying "the little things" that I associate with the holidays. So, here's a little photo-tour of holiday goodness 'Pres-style..."just for funs!"

Christmas cookies have been baked, carefully packed up, and shipped to my two favorite men - Pop and SoundGuy. I thought I'd better post a picture so they'll know what the box of broken bits and crumbs they've received was supposed to look like.
Holiday cards hit the mail yesterday! I usually make my own cards, but gave myself permission to do store-bought cards this year. Doesn't mean I love ya any less. ;) (Note the very cute Jingle Bells candle in the background - a gift from Erin Schmerin years ago. Now THAT girl is crafty!)
Because I live alone and never spend the actual holiday in my own home, I've skipped Christmas trees most years. I still decorate though, and decked out my big picture window.
I watched my favorite Christmas movie of all time. "The best things happen when you're dancing..." Maybe I can be Rosemary Clooney in my next life? That would be rad.
My stocking is hung from the bookshelf with's the same stocking I've had my whole life. Considering my ravenous approach to Christmas mornings during my childhood, it's a testament to my mother's sewing that this thing held together. I love it - I smile every time I look at it.
Pop, careful to ensure that my stocking would be full, mailed me "Stocking in a Box!" The poor mail-carrier needed help to get it out of his bag. Note the fresh new Tide Pen and margarita salt. =)
My Christmas shopping is done, and gifts are wrapped! Actually, the wrapping is probably my favorite part. I need to find some little old folks who need their gifts wrapped so I can do more. It's so satisfying.
I've been re-reading my favorite Christmas stories from childhood. The one in the center was a gift in 1981!
In true holiday fashion, I cheated and opened a Christmas gift early. And was I ever glad that I did! Pop sent me my very own Cricket!!!! Like any mature adult, I jumped up and down when I opened it. And I might have shrieked, "it's a Cricket, it's a Cricket, it's a Cricket!!" into poor SoundGuy's ear (we were on the phone at the time). I'm sure my parents are proud to know what a graceful, even-tempered woman I've become.
And, finally, this morning my Christmas spirit got an additional boost with the arrival of "snow."
This is what we call "snow" here in the Willamette Valley. For a girl raised in the Rocky Mountains, this doesn't really qualify as the real thing but it's as good as we're gonna get! Those of you back home (and those faithful readers in Minnesota) will get a good laugh out of this. Due to this "severe winter storm" most of the Valley has shut itself down. Chains are required on the freeways around Portland, events are being cancelled right and left, and the news stations keep breaking in to the regular programs with urgent weather updates. I betcha money the schools close for "snow" days tomorrow. Tee hee!

And there it is: little bits of holiday goodness happening around my house. I hope you're finding plenty of joy in the season. Do you think I should go build a "snow" man? HA!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot...

I know, I know, I owe you a real post with pictures and something interesting to read. Yadda, yadda, yadda. This isn't going to be it (but I swear you'll have one by the end of the weekend). This is fully self-serving! I'm trying to come up with fun ideas for New Year's Eve and I'm having planner's block. The logical next step? Post a contest on our blog!

To play along, leave a comment with one of the following:
a) a brilliant suggestion for New Year's festivities in Portland
b) your own plans for NYE, whatever/wherever they may be
c) your funniest/most embarassing/favorite NYE memory

The winner will be randomly selected from all those posting a comment, and will be announced Sunday evening. There's a Starbucks card in it for the winner ;) mmmm.....Starbucks.....

And just to make this a little more fun, I'll start. Clearly I cannot yet respond to A or B, so you're gettin' C. I'm not sure if this counts as funny, favorite, or embarassing, but I clearly remember spending more than one NYE at the home of my Dad's friend, Jim. Jim was the weather guy on the local news and I always thought he was a bonafide celebrity (when you grow up in the Bitterroot Valley, the guy on the news in Missoula might as well be George Clooney). Because he was famous going to Jim's house was extra rad. Back in the day, Jim had been a radio DJ (see - famous) and he still had his collection of reel-to-reel tapes in the basement. And they were CATALOGUED. Oh, it was a beautiful thing. Can you guess where I spent my time? Like any awkward 6th-grader, I took it upon myself to badger all the adults for their song requests. I'd write them all down, then race down the stairs, use the CATALOGUE to locate the requested tapes, charge back up the stairs, and spend the next 17 minutes tediously threading them onto the player. Eventually I'd actually get the song to play and then repeat the whole process (after filing the used tapes back in their appointed slots, of course). And I thought it was the best thing in the world.

So, as you can see, I've set the bar for "awesome NYE experiences" pretty low. Can you see why I need your help?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Little Churches, Apartments and Snow

Update from MN

I am finishing up a Worship Class this semester where we approach and analyze different aspects of Christian Worship. For the final project, our professors decided we should do a retreat and put together three of the (arguably) most important services in the church; Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil.

They went in search of a historic place to hold these services and found this historic Church in the middle of nowhere MN. (Ok, it's a little place called Scandia, MN)
As you can see the Sanctuary is no bigger than a little old prairie school house. The space is wonderfully intimate and in the Summer Time this would have been awesome! But as you can see, there is about 3 inches of snow on the ground and the temp was 14 in the daytime and as the sunset, it dropped to about 6.
Here is the alter and pulpit in the little church.

The sunset was quite spectacular though and lingered for a good 30 minutes.

At the very least I was able to return home to my new apartment which is slowly coming together. I don't think I will get to really settled it before Christmas but for now it has had the affect I wanted. I am thanking the Lord once again for my own bathroom and a decent space to actually sit and read.

Note the $4.99 Pink Arm Chair from Goodwill, the Orange coffee table from my pastor and his wife (thank you!) all clashing with the very nice and new Target Desk on the right.
And the creme de la creme is the brand new Hemnes IKEA bed which is awesome!

If you have been one of the many praying for snow. Please stop. I am not really ready for my first snow storm in MN. Note the snow outside the window in the living room shot. I have a feeling that the people in other places are just making it snow more here. We already have a nice couple inches and I am enjoying actually having a White Christmas. I don't want to see what it likes when a storm rolls through. Sigh. The Farmers Almanac isn't on my side though, people say it's gonna be a snowy winter in MN.

Here's to spending New Years where it's in double digits.


Monday, December 1, 2008



Meeting up with old friends reminds us how far we have come and how important relationships really are. It makes the little frustrations we deal with day in and day out disappear and shows us that there really is an overarching theme that pervades our lives. Thinking how far my friends have come and seeing them doing amazing things with their lives really makes me proud to have been a little part of it.

Viele liebe grüße an Euch beide und ich hoffe daß wir uns gleich weider treffen kann. Tschüs!


Sunday, November 30, 2008


As I diligently read in an attempt to be prepared for this week, I hear the muffled screams of youthful voices through my window. Looking out I see bundled up kiddos with multi-colored plastic sleds sliding down the large (for Minnesota) hill with screams of joy and delight. I of course woke up, looked out the window and dreaded driving around in 3 inches of snow. Makes me a little frustrated that I did not think to go play in the snow myself. At the least someone is enjoying it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weekend Update: Magic Apron Edition

Are you picturing Tina Fey? Alas, this weekend update probably won't make Saturday Night Live anytime soon. Nonetheless, it was a great weekend!

Jessie came down for a slumber party on Friday night. The baby was hungry for dinner as soon as she arrived so we went to try the new Pastini that just opened near my house. Even though we arrived relatively early - 6:30ish - there was a 40 minute wait. Baby Ella was having none of that. So we drove to Applebee's. 40-minute wait. Then we drove to Block 15 and saw people spilling out the door onto the sidewalk. Finally, we settled on a newer place downtown. I'm referring to it only as "a newer place downtown" because it was ho-hum at best and I'm trying to be nice. So, being dissatisfied with our partially-eaten dinners we did the sensible thing and proceeded directly to Dairy Queen for blizzards! No waiting ;)

Saturday found us trying really hard to sleep in, but failing miserably. So, a little after 8am we were off to Starbucks to fuel up for a day of crafty goodness. Having just received an amazing baby-book kit, Jessie set to work and whipped out about twenty 12x12 layouts. Now all she needs are pictures of Ella to fill them up! So, what was I up to while PJP churned out all those great pages? I finished exactly two pages. Apparently the barista switched Jessie's decaf and my regular as I was in low gear.

When Jessie left on Saturday afternoon I started feeling that weekend obligation to actually do some chores. Boo for chores! In an effort to make it slightly more fun, and to keep myself slightly cleaner in the process, I wrapped my fun apron around my waist and set to work.
Guess what? I have a magic apron! Putting it on transformed me into a domestic goddess! And I got all sorts of things accomplished:
  • ran, folded, and put away four loads of laundry
  • changed the sheets on both beds
  • did some ironing
  • cleaned out the refrigerator
  • paid some bills
  • took out the trash and recycling (so the neighbors could admire the magic apron)
  • swept and vacuumed
  • cleaned wax dribbles off all the candle holders and replaced the candles
  • finished a baby hat for Addison
  • cleaned the laundry room
  • baked peanut-butter cookies for SoundGuy's upcoming visit
See what I mean? MAGIC! I put it on again this afternoon and ended up baking banana bread and banana muffins and doing the dishes. Should you be interested in having your own magic apron, you should check out our friend Andrea's ETSY site, "Knittybitties."

Another highlight of the weekend came this afternoon. After singing the Mozart Coronation Mass -not once, but twice- this morning I got to visit this precious new addition to the world:
This is Addison "Addi" Elizabeth Thompson, born to my good friends Jen and Jonathan on Thursday. I'm not normally a baby person, but had a hunch that my girlfriend's babies would probably be different, and Addi totally proved my theory! She is stinkin' cute! Her alternately-proud-and-overwhelmed father has been a champ, changing every last one of her diapers. Did you notice that she already has great vowel shape? Because that's what I noticed. Look at that nice dropped jaw "ah." I think Addi and I are going to get along fine. (As long as she doesn't take off with my magic apron...)


SoundGuy has definitely been keeping our tech-savvy readership (notice I did not call them "geeks." I'm learning.) happy with his recent posts, but what about the crafty contingent? Given the fact that I am blogging on an outdated 6-year-old laptop, listening to NPR on a 1992 boombox which only plays CDs when it's rigged up to my 1994 discman, and uploading pictures from my 2.0 megapixel state-of-the-art-when-I-bought-it-eight-years-ago camera, I think it safe to say that I will be looking out for the crafty contingent. The tech-savvy readership isn't exactly recruiting me to be their poster-child. All that jibber-jabber was basically my round-about way of saying, "if you aren't interested in seeing crafts I made recently, you can stop reading now."

And there went the tech-savvy readership. Right back to their Google Reader to see what "Make" magazine will tantalize them with today. It's been real, Techies! Twitter when you get work!

So, for Jessie, Erin, and Andrea, here's what I've been up to...

I finally finished the May Picture-a-Day book inspired by Andrea. I'm not normally a mini-book kind of gal, but this was such a fun project. Especially because May was a busy month and lots of great things were documented by this little book.

Couldn't resist a little 8x8 page to document my most recent slumber party with Miss Erin. What you don't see in the photo are a heart-monitor, the partially deflated air-mattress, and two cats trying to share it with us. Erin and I sure know how to party. Sidenote: Don't you think a story that starts with "...a heart monitor, a partially deflated air-mattress and two cats..." is intriguing?

Some miscellaneous photos I've been meaning to scrap.

And, speaking of the crafty contingent, here's some great girl time celebrating Jessie's birthday. Incidentally, that mimosa turned out to be her last adult beverage for quite a while. I think she went out on a good note. And what a treat that we all got to be there for the big news the next day!

One of my new favorite things is the 6x12 page. Yay for new shapes! And yay for Brenda Lee's wedding shower giving me yet another excuse to scrap!Link
Yes, as the particularly astute readers may have noticed, this photo was taken on our NYC trip almost three years ago. Yes, I am just now getting around to doing something with it. When I said miscellaneous, I meant it!

But here's my favorite thing about this page - it's not really paper. It's actually more like plastic. I excitedly pointed this out to Jessie yesterday, thinking I was really on to the next big thing, and discovered that this is old news. Apparently I am among the last to know, but that's okay because the see-through-ness totally floats my boat. Now I see why Pioneer Woman always complains about the way her hands look in photos...

A two-page LO from our recent Chicago trip. I sound like one hip chick using the layout abbreviation, huh? Saves time, too. I didn't even have to bother typing the whole word "layout." Instead I typed several sentences about how I just saved myself some typing.
The next two pics go together. I did four 6x12 pages and put them all in one sleeve, stitching down the middle (an idea stolen from Erin). Here's one side:

And that's the other.

Finally, I was feeling totally overwhelmed by the HUNDREDS of scenery/wildlife photos from our Alaska trip in June. My dad bought a fancy camera just before the trip. It had way more than 2 megapixels and the "blast" function that lets you take multiple photos per second. (Is it called "blast"? I can't remember. And I just called both of SoundGuy's cell phones to ask him but didn't get an answer. Oh well, if I'm wrong I suppose it's just in keeping with the nature of this post). Needless to say, SoundGuy got his hands on that gizzmo and ran amuk. Luckily, I recently got a new printer (thanks, Pop!) that will print contact-sheet sized photos. I still plan to do some other Alaska pages with bigger photos, but this was such a great way to remember the amazing sights.
I actually finished a couple more pages with Jessie yesterday, but couldn't photograph them because the teensy little 16MB card in my state-of-the-art-when-I-bought-it-eight-years-ago camera was full. Good grief. Maybe I'll go pop a video in the VCR...

Tilt-shift Video

Dickie turned me on to tilt-shift photography which makes shots look like a miniature creation and not real. This video is that tilt-shift method used in amazing video clips. Check it out.

The North Wind Blew South from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What Happy People Don't Do

According to this article they don't Watch TV

Interesting. I may have to make myself one of these then.

Watch the video to see it in action.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coley's Undeniable Message

I'm not very good at theology. I'm better at banging on the piano, riding in the wagon, and pulling the dog's tail. Oh, and pouting. I'm good at pouting.
Is it time for snack yet? Cause I'm good at that, too. I was told there would be graham crackers...

Christ's Undeniable Message

Warning: Today's blog posting is religious in nature. It makes two major assumptions; Christ died for our sins, and secondly, you agree with me on the first statement. For anyone who doesn't agree, this is in no way an Evangelical outreach but merely and expression of my personal thoughts. May you be blessed in whatever walk of life you find yourself.

Having now spent what feels like years in Seminary (ok, three months) and studying a brief overview of Systematic Theology I am constantly running into a battle in my head I feel I must present to the world somehow, so here it is.

No matter what period of history, no matter what denomination you belong to, no matter what theological basis you connect yourself with, Christ's message is undeniably clear. Godliness is not found in ultimate power but through ultimate sacrifice.

Humanity in its inherent nature is prone to evil doing. God promises Israel deliverance into His promised land through a messiah while laying the foundation for the moral underpinnings of how one lives righteously (ten commandments). Christ comes and fulfills the messianic prophecies of the old testament (in view of the Christian Tradition). Yet instead of placing himself on the physical throne (like King Harod and many others expected), he lays himself at the feet of human hatred and wrath and submits to humiliation and crucifixion.

Think about it, what do you want in this world? (Alright, your stocks back to where they were and a decent retirement plan isn't what I am getting at, or is it? how about what a kid wants?) Money, Power and Fame. Right? I mean don't we look at being rich as having lots of wealth and wielding power in one manner or another?

Greek Gods were wrathful, jealous and mean. The idea of a God is power, not love. Maybe you have thought about this before, but here is where the tension lies for me.

The Challenge
If Christ's message is one of love and sacrifice, where does our current culture and nation land in its self professed identity as a Christian Nation. A claimed 80% of Americans say they are Christian. We are also supposedly a culture of tolerance yet take two seconds to look around. Does capitalism and our current form of politics and/or policies reflect that identity?

Christ breaks all the boundaries. He eats and gets drunk with the tax collectors, adulterers, low life's of first century Galilee. He talks with women (Samaritan women at that!). He breaks the Jewish laws enforced by the Pharisees. Lets not mention claiming to be able to forgive people for their sin, cure them of their ailments and say that he is the Son of God. Christ says the greatest law is 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Matthew 22:37-39

How does this affect me?
Are we loving our neighbor? He doesn't say love your best friend or the dude you went to high school with. He says neighbor. The dude next door you are scared to run into cause you think he's creepy, or the girls who live above you and never make a peep, the old couple down the way who always give you the evil eye when you drive down the street. You don't know these people and you probably don't agree politically or religiously but Christ clearly states, Love them.

Christ's Example
If that is not enough, he gives us the example he expects. He fully places himself in our midst and lives out the life we are bound to live. While on this earth does he dine with the rich and enjoy the best of the best with the coolest of the cool? No, he hangs with the forgotten, the tread upon, those we mistreat and demean. Christ wanders around on foot, homeless, jobless, living off the kindness of those who take him in. God comes to earth and walks among us and finally dies the death we all are inevitably faced to die. He doesn't die a natural death. No we beat, torture, curse, spit on him and put him to a death that is arguably one of the most painful ways to die.

Personal Political View
God's ultimate sacrifice isn't an excuse to wield our power to promote our self interests (oil in the middle east). It's not a right to build fences and patrol borders and to deport people away from their families (Mexico). It's not a right to institute rules that discriminate against anyone (segregation, woman's rights, sexuality). It also does not give us a right to make a theological claim and continue the divides that keeps people separate and against one another (continued battle between denominations and world religions).

The message is clear. Godliness is not power. It's limitless love and sacrifice for the greater good. How do any of the current "hot topics" in our culture fit within this message? I know I can't live up to it but I am doing my darnedest. And I am sure as heck not going to make a stance on an issue that contradicts this clear and undeniable message. A struggle I am sure I will face for the rest of my life.

May Christ's message permeate our personal lives, spill into our communal lives and slowly affect the world we live in.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weddings and Such

Every once in a while there is a wedding at Luther Seminary in the Chapel of the Incarnation.  Today I ran sound for my first wedding.  The bride and groom were quite cute and very relaxed about the whole thing.  With two pastors and 5 different musical groups plus a children's sermon, the service was rather packed.  In the middle, one of the little children who I assuming is connected to one of the bridesmaids decided to roam around the church.  She ended up perched on the step.  Although I didn’t have a zoom or a decent camera I attempted to catch her in her act.

On the way back to the dorm I did get to see a beautiful sunset.  I wish you could see it because Minneapolis was towering in the distance completely backlight by the soft fall orange and pink sunset.  
The temps are dropping, winter is just around the corner.  Time for fires in fireplaces and snow.  
Peace and grace on you this winter ~soundguy