Wednesday, July 16, 2014

CSSA Class of 2004 Reunion

Ten years ago, we did this:

So it seemed like a good time to have a little "check-in" with the cohort.  Those who could gathered in Corvallis last week for a little reunion.  It was great because there was no group work and no Think Cards!  We gathered updates from as many cohort-mates as possible, and they are consolidated here.

Jennifer (Schiefelbein) Wellborn
Since graduation, I've lived in Tucson, Arizona where we get 300 days of sun. I initially worked for University of Arizona as an undecided academic advisor (like UESP at OSU). Then for over 6 1/2 years I worked for my alma mater, Northern Arizona University, as a Program Coordinator for their Tucson Campus in their Extended Campuses division, which has nearly 40 campuses throughout the state of Arizona in both urban and rural areas. I worked primarily with the teacher education programs and did outreach to our community college partner since NAU offered only junior/senior-level and graduate-level coursework. I grew the teacher preparation programs by 400% in 2 years and provided academic advising to all students enrolled in these programs as well as prospective students. I loved that job but opportunities to move up were not available so I had to move on.

About 3 years ago, I left NAU to take a position at Pima Community College, which is one of the largest multi-campus community college districts in the nation (still in Tucson, AZ). I served as Assistant Registrar for Veterans Benefits and Graduation Coordinator. I oversaw the graduation processing for the College, as well as the administration of Veterans benefits for 1300-1400 veterans each semester. HOwever, I missed daily interaction with students so...

Just over a year ago, I took a slight position decrease and pay cut to internally transfer to the position of Student Life Coordinator at one of the campuses and I love it! I advise the Student Government, I plan student activities and cultural events. I get to teach leadership workshops and classes, and take students to leadership conferences. I recently transferred again to a different campus and my immediate supervisor is encouraging and supportive yet challenging. She is gently trying to push me into getting my Doctorate... someday.

On the personal front, just a few weeks after graduation, Dan and I got married in Flagstaff, Arizona where we went to college. In just under 2 weeks, we celebrate our 10th anniversary! Crazy, I know! I included a picture of us at Disneyland from a couple years ago where he is actually smiling even though it was crowded and hot. Several years ago, I took up marathon running. No, I was never a runner before, in fact my first race ever was the 2006 Tucson Marathon. I have run about 10 marathons and a little over a dozen half marathons. Last spring, I did a 202 mile 12-person relay, which was fun/crazy/smelly/tiring/when-are-we-doing-it-again. I haven't been running much lately, running during the summer months in Arizona is hard, the only sane time to do it is 5am.

I wish I could be there with all of you today!!! I had planned for months to be there but life got in the way and prevented me from being there :-(

Ali (Fanjoy) Edington

As far as check-ins go, I'm still at Earlham College in Indiana (8 years!) I'm an international student advisor and recently (today) took over as director of the exchange program we have with Waseda University, in Tokyo. That means more free trips to Japan (yay!) On a personal note, we're starting Foster Parenting classes tomorrow and plan to Foster-to-Adopt. I finally have my own kayak, too, which makes me happy happy happy! I'd love to hear what everyone else is up to. :)

Melinda Brown
After working in higher ed for 13 years, I decided to make a move for myself and not a job. So, in 2011, my canine boys and I packed up our house in Virginia and headed out on a 3-month cross-country trip to find a dog-friendly, service-oriented community. I found our perfect fit in Fort Collins, Colorado - we love the sunshine and lack of humidity, especially! We are approaching three years, and I have a great job working in the non-profit sector for Alzheimer's Association doing fundraising and event-planning across Northern Colorado. I get to meet with donors and plan wonderful events in support of a cause that is near to my heart. I think fondly of my days working in education, but also love the emotional rewards in my new role. I have also been able to engage in several volunteer roles in my new community; joining the Board of Directors for a local animal shelter, steering committee member for a leadership course through our local Chamber, and an active member for Junior League. Hope you all are just as happy as Cole, Spencer and I!

Jill (Gutzler) Taylor
After graduation, I worked at OSU as a study abroad advisor for 2.5 years.  It was fun to be in Corvallis and not have to study.  I loved Corvallis even more.  

Mark and I decided to finally be in the same city so we both moved to Anchorage.  I worked at the University of Alaska Anchorage for 7 years doing academic advising, advising Greek Life and student organizations, and finally Student Activities which I loved.   After our second daughter was born, I decided I wanted to work less.  So last year we moved to Skagway, in SE Alaska.  Mark is the superintendent of the railroad there and I play with the girls. We spend the summers there, so last winter we house sat in Portland and got to take a lot of fun vacations.   Once our oldest daughter Lily is in school we will need a new plan, but for now it's fun. I miss working in higher ed and once the girls are in school I hope to return.  I hope one of you will want to hire me some day. 

Tracy (Glumich) Hovland

Hi, everyone! Sorry I'm missing the first official CSSA check in since 2004. I'm doing well living in Minnetonka, Minnesota with my five-year-old daughter, Ava, and my husband. We are currently getting ready to add a fourth family member -- a dog -- this summer. I'm not working right now but I am enjoying spending time at home with my daughter. If we haven't already, please connect with me on Facebook. I'd love to see how you are doing.  Miss you all!

Kris Nessler

I am disappointed that I cannot make it out. Plane flight was a little pricey for Katie and I at this point - just bought our first house and are doing everything we can to get our savings account back in good shape!

Update - got married (finally) back in September. Started working at Georgetown in April of last year, scary how fast a year went, scarier how fast 10 went!

Nikki Olson
From Nicole: Nikki's update to me was something along the lines of "will you please tell everybody what I'm up to?"  Sounds like a busy mom of three!

After graduation Nikki stayed in Corvallis and met her husband, Henry.  Nikki took a job in Recreational Sports at Univeristy of Minnesota-Duluth (her alma mater) and they moved to Minnesota.  Their son, Oscar, is about 3.  Their twins, Rosemary & Eleanor, are about 8 months old. 

Glen Miller

Debi Stabler

Wende (Feller) Fischer

Maren Oates

Nicole Kent

Monday, September 2, 2013

Buddy Modifications

It's been a bit of a drama with the scooter lately.  I thought I'd post my stupidity and lessons learned with the hope someone else out there might not make the same mistakes.

Details: 2009 Genuine Buddy Scooter 125
  • NCY No Rev CDI (no RPM limiter which gives me about 2-3 MPH more on the top end then stock)
  • Deadlight replacement with 3watt LED's
  • Electronic flasher relay ELFR-1 (so I can run LED's in the turn signals)
  • Replacement amber LED's for the turn signals
  • Red LED strips from Autozone installed under the tank for more visibility
The Story:

I initially read about the now defunct and their bob combo conversion.  I liked the idea of using the dead lights up front but wanted more than amber turn signals. I found some people who had put white lights up front and stole some of their suggestions. 

Superbright LED's has 1156 LED Bulb - Single Intensity 1 x 3 Watt High Power LED w/ Reflector Lens that fit perfectly in the dead light location. I ordered two and installed them with some junk wire and quick splice adapters.  I found the positive wire running to the turn signal that is activated with the key and crimped on with a quick splice.  It's amazing what damage a little knowledge can do.

Of course I killed the battery by leaving my keys in the ignition in the garage right away.  That foolish choice was only the start.  Everything seemed to work just fine for over a thousand miles. Around the time I was about 800 miles past the second oil change, I took the scoot for a run to Eugene and back.  The next day the scooter wouldn't start.  Assuming it was just time to replace the plug or maybe the fuel filter, I took it in for maintenance.  I was right about the oil change, plug, fuel filter, battery...sigh.  It still wouldn't go more than a block from the mechanics.  

Turns out my crappy quick splicers and the low grade wire were shorting out the whole system. Only took my mechanic at a couple hours to shock himself and yank my crappy wiring out.

Lesson: Use the right gauge wiring with good insulation.  Don't use the quick splice adapters to tap into a secondary power source.  Sure it might work but these scooters are pretty sensitive.  One short and you'll lose power to the plug which will flood the engine and cause it to backfire (or die).

Now everything is 14 gauge, all splices are soldered and heat shrunk.  I've used connectors at all key points so I can disconnect the whole thing as needed.  It's run through a switch hidden just inside the storage compartment.  Power is directly from the battery (for now) with a 3 amp fuse on the whole thing.

In the end I think it worked out.  Much higher visibility at night from the front and the rear.  Might add a racing stripe out of retroreflective tape next. Then on to messing with weights and maybe add a 161cc conversion kit.  :)

BTW - My friend and I took both scooters on that Eugene trip.  I drove Nicole's red buddy and rolled over 1000 on the odometer.  The black one's got over 4000 now.  Wonder who rides more?

Happy Scooting!

Monday, February 11, 2013

XOXO Valentine's Cupcakes

As usual, I found inspiration on Pinterest this week.  Check out these cute XOXO cupcakes!

I was racing to prepare donations for the youth group's Valentine Dessert Auction, and decided these would be quick and easy.  I even took a short-cut by ditching the piping bag and opting for frosting in a can.

I think the frosting would have looked a little nicer if I hadn't taken the shortcut, but not bad for a quick treat!

Oreo Truffle Pops for Valentine's Day

I was enlisted to help a friend make truffle pops for a wedding shower.  When I figured out that they were easy, cute AND delicious I decided I'd better find a reason to make another batch.  Thank goodness the youth group needed donations for their Valentine Dessert Auction!  You might need this "fancy" trick up your sleeve, too.

To make truffle pops, you'll need:

  • One regular size bag of Oreos
  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • One bag of chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles
  • Cake pop sticks (from Michael's)
  • Clear treat sacks (from Michael's)
  • Cupcake papers
  • Decorative wire garland or ribbon
1.  Place cream cheese and all the Oreos in a food processor.  Pulse until combined and lump free.

2.  Shape dough into balls about 1 1/2" in diameter.  Place truffles on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Insert a stick into the top of each truffle.  Refrigerate for about 20 minutes. 

3.  Using a double-boiler (or your microwave), melt the chocolate chips to a consistency that will be good for dipping.  Dip each truffle into the chocolate until uniformly covered.  

4.  Shake on some sprinkles while the chocolate is still wet.  Return truffle to the baking sheet.  When all the truffles have been dipped, refrigerate for another 15-20 minutes.

5.  Slip a cupcake liner into the bottom of a treat sack.  Add your truffle pop (stick side up) and secure with a piece of wire garland.  You can twist the ends of your garland around a pencil if you want them to have some curl.

Happy Valentine's Truffle Pop Day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 Holiday Greetings!

We're looking back at a very pleasant, low-key 2012!

In January...
  • Jim went to San Francisco to work at the MacWorld conference.  All his tech-gadget itches were scratched.
  • Nicole opened a new learning center for Engineering students at OSU.  It continues to be a big focus of her work.
In February...
  • Mom & Fred came to visit.  Since our birthdays are three weeks apart, we shared a party.
Celebrating a combined 98 years! 
In March...
  • Jim and OSU Glee hosted their first "Sing Off" concert.  They collaborated with OSU's a ccappella groups to rock our socks.
OSU Glee

In April...
In May...
  • Nicole got to go to Anchorage on a work trip and snuck in a quick visit with the Taylors.
  • We were "drafted" to the Methodist Marmots softball team. Nobody can tell us where the team name came from, but we won a few games and had a lot of fun!

We did some landscaping...and discovered a convenient way to transport trees.
In June...

Uncle Jim & Eloise snuck in a little beach time
Mom & I met up with Brenda in Seattle

In July...

  • Jim chaperoned the youth group mission trip to Juneau.  They built a community garden and celebrated the 4th of July Alaska-style.

In August...

We spent a week in Montana.  Sunsets at Mom & Fred's are the best!
Nicole's grad school pals had a super fun Corvallis reunion.
In September...
  • Our sister-in-law Treena visited for Labor Day weekend.  We shopped till we dropped!
We got the dog dirty. 
In October...

Nicole traveled to Nashville for a conference and saw the Grand Ole Opry
In November...

Jim & Nicole reunited with old friends for a Willamette Choir Reunion

Jim served as Music Director and Band Leader for a production of RENT.
(See the back of his head under the platform?)
In December...
  • We spent a few days in Phoenix enjoying 80-degree weather with Erin & Aiden.
  • Jim hung enough Christmas lights to ensure that our house can be seen from space.
As always, we are reminded of the many blessings of this life, and are so grateful for the family and friends we share it with!  We wish you the happiest of holidays and a joy-filled new year!

Jim, Nicole & Sugar

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Wave

I can remember vividly the interior of my uncles tow truck.  The dingy saddle blanket seat cover embedded with dirt and cigaret smoke.  The quarter inch of dust and smoke layered on the dash, CB and miscellaneous paperwork that wouldn't get touched for months.  I can still remember getting woken up at 5am by my uncles low cool voice and slow demeanor.  A mixing bowl of Frosted Flakes in my lap as I tried desperately to keep up with him at breakfast.

The cab of the truck afforded a great view of the north-east tip of the Olympic Peninsula.  Most of it was viewed with my head out the window gasping for air as my uncle filled the cab with cigarette smoke regularly.

"You smoke yet?" he'd ask every summer when I came to visit.  It was almost ritual.
"Nope," I'd reply.
"Good, don't start, it's a nasty habit." Of course his way with words is hard to recreate in type.  The low voice and almost kung-fu like pace of speaking somehow put extra weight on things.  The irony of him telling me not to smoke as he habitually tapped the pack of cigarettes on the steering wheel and lit another wasn't lost on me, even in my teens.  He should have died of emphysema, not 25 bullets.

Conversations with my uncle were usually short, sweet and to the point.  Much of them fundamental in driving or a great life lesson.  It's amazing how much you learn from a person who doesn't say much.  The company he kept always intrigued me with its wide variety of characters from all walks of life.  He was a man's man but the way he looked out for those around him showed deep compassion.  He seemed to always have an eye out for the future, how his actions now might best affect the world around him later.

My head's out the window, it's mid-afternoon and we're passing Jefferson County International Airport.  As a 15 year old kid I'm watching everything, soaking it all in.  I notice my uncles hand raise up off the steering wheel in an almost obligatory wave.  The truck going the other direction returns the sign.

"He must know that guy," I thought to myself.  A few more cars pass and another pickup truck passes, the hand goes up but this response.

Odd, he's only waving at specific people but not all of them return the wave.  I keep silent and start to monitor this pattern, wondering if I can build the courage to ask about it.  I start to figure it out.  He waves when it's a truck but not at cars or vans.  But then, just as I think I've got it, a couple Harley Davidsons pass and he waves.  Amazingly enough, they return the sign.

Now I've gotta know.  What's with this wave thing.  I finally muster up the courage to ask late in the afternoon.

"Why do you wave at oncoming trucks?"
"I want them to notice the tow truck so I wave," he replies.
"But you only wave at certain vehicles?"
"Most of our customers are local and drive pick-up trucks, plus now that we can tow motorcycles, I wave at bikes too."

How often do you see people waving from the drivers seat?  The friendly gesture intrigued me but disappeared from my memory as life barreled forward.  It was a genius way to drum up a report with the locals and caught potential customers off guard when they received a friendly gesture.

Half a lifetime later I found myself waving just like my uncle used to, but for different reasons.  Now I own a Jeep Rubicon and a Scooter.  Both vehicles build a population of drivers who wave at one another when you pass. It's not about building a customer base but encouraging a community.  The obligatory wave is a recognition of another human in a similar situation.  You might not know them, you might never actually see them again but the wave does something to the soul.  It's hard to be emotional distressed when your riding around with the top off and another Jeeper waves at you.  It's a gentle reminder how good life is and that there are people out there always willing to wave back.

I don't think I got into riding motorcycles or jeeps just to wave at other people but the ever constant reminder of my uncle every time I gesture at a passing rig is a welcomed God-wink.  I'd like to believe that action is paying it forward just a little bit.  Heaven forbid we reach-out to others, even when it's just a simple wave.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

DIY Tablecloth

A nice dining room set is currently on our wish list.  In the meantime, we get along just fine by covering up our sad old table with a nice tablecloth.  I went out and bought a formal white tablecloth and a festive tablecloth for the holidays, but was wanting something more casual for everyday.  Not seeing anything that fit my criteria (1. must love it, 2.  must be able to afford it) I was biding my time.  

And then I stumbled onto this Tablecloth Tutorial on Pinterest: 

Photo & Tutorial from Hamburger Panda
Duh!  I own a sewing machine.  I can sew straight lines with it.  Therefore, I can make my own tablecloth.

About a week later we were helping Jim's family with an estate sale at his Aunt Judy's home.  Judy was an avid seamstress and had an enviable stash of fabric.  Low and behold...there it was...perfect tablecloth fabric for $1 a yard!  

I like it when Pinterest teams up with the Universe to send me important messages. Make your own tablecloth, Nicole.  Seriously!

When my mom came to visit in February I felt confident that I had the back-up necessary to fire up the ole Singer.  In one afternoon (which was more measuring and ironing than actual sewing) I was able to whomp up our new tablecloth.  

Ta da!  Of course, my initial attraction to the fabric might have been motivated by the perfect match with our Peacock and Scarlet Fiestaware.

I like to call them Ms. Peacock and Miss Scarlet.  We have Mrs. White, too.  Looks like any future Fiestaware purchases will need to be Plum, Mustard, or Green...

Nicole did it.  With the Singer.  In the Dining Room.  

PS - The Hamburger Panda tutorial was great - very easy to follow and lots of good photos.  

PPS - Whomp up is Montanan for make.  As in, "bein as I'm hungry I oughta whomp up some dinner."