Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Best of 2006

Here's my list of best albums of 2006. Since they are all so good , it's hard to rank them so they are in no order

Asobi Seksu Citrus
Shoegazing was reborn in 2006 with this near flawless album. It's hard not to draw comparisons to My Bloody Valentine , but loud guitars and a ethereal voice is a perfect formula

Thom Yorke The Eraser
No Radiohead this year, but Thom released a solo album worthy of Radiohead. This album reminds me of Kid A and Amenesic in the way it sounds and really challenges classic song structure

Muse Black Holes and revelations
By now everyone has heard of Muse but this is a great rock album. The sound is bigger than their last album Absolution.

Starflyer 59 My Island
This is Jason Martin's best since Old. I've liked everything that SF59 has done but the last album Talking Vs Singing was just a little to slow and quiet. This is another good rock album. Solid yet SF 59 continues to go unnoticed.

Jarvis Jarvis
The debut solo album from the frontman of Pulp still hasn't hit the US yet. Jarvis Cocker can write great pop songs with a little humor. This album, he really speaks his mind and it is worth listening to

Keane Under the Iron Sea
Kind of what you expect for a follow up to Hopes and Fears. Keane continue to put out catchy pop songs that you can hum along to. They tried to be a little darker on this album, but they are only fooling themselves

Mojave 3 Puzzles Like You
I discovered this year the genius of Mojave 3's stripped down and laid back approach. Their songs are simply beautiful. On this one they add a little pop to this formula

Snow Patrol Eyes Open
Probably the best album of the year. This album proves that Snow Patrol is ready to be the next Coldplay. This album is flawless and concert ready. I can't wait to see them in Feb

Editors The Back Room
The best debut album of a Joy Division sounding band since Interpol. I can't wait to hear where this band goes with their sound next

Richard Ascroft Keys to the World
I have to admit, that after Richard's last album, I kind of gave up on him. But this is the best album he's done since the Verve Urban Hymns

Embrace This New Day
This album has been out since the first of the year and still hasn't hit the US shores yet. Embrace doesn't break new ground here but they continue to do what they do best, and that is Coldplayish style anthems that are catchy and uplifting

Monday, December 18, 2006

X mas parties

This weekend Wah-Wah and I went to both our X-mas parties from work. I noted quit a difference in the parties and believe it is because of the differences between our professions.
The X-mas party my work had was at a coworker's modest size home. My coworker's husband did a lot of the cooking and everyone brought something. There was a lot of beer for everyone as well. This was suppose to be a family friendly party so there were other kids there besides mine. One of my coworkers bought gifts for all the kids.
I spent most of the evening talking to my coworker's husband about music. Turns out he likes a lot of the same stuff I do. I also talked to another coworker about her stories of being a punk in London and going to see bands I could only dream of. The karaoke machine was brought out and everyone thought it was cute when Nibbles and Woogy danced to some of the music. Over all, I'd say it was a fun evening.
On Saturday we went to Wah-Wah's X-mas party. This party was being thrown at the Director of Nerou Sciences house which was in a really exclusive part of Portland. Frankly it was a little too stuffy for me. I was the only guy in jeans there. There was nothing but wine to drink and all the food was Asian. Most of Wah-Wah's co workers are very clicky and the rest don't speak English very well. Wah-Wah's director has a very nice house with lots of art work that took some time to look at. But overall, we didn't really talk to anyone and basically stood in the corner holding our wine glasses. I noticed a big difference from the way that social service people host parties from people in science and research.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas in Portland

Last weekend, we visited the Grotto for their annual Christmas festival. The Grotto is a catholic shrine located near our house. I have to say that I really enjoyed it. They have a path through a forest that you can walk through filled with X-mas lights. People are walking around in Biblical clothes and some were dressed like angels. They had a petting zoo and puppet shows for the kids. People were going around selling coffee and hot chocolate. They had carolers outside and a church choir inside. I think what I really liked about it was their was no Santa Clauses or anything else that represented the commercialism of Christmas. This really puts you in the Christmas spirit.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

My House

Here are pictures of my lovely new estate

notice the Xmas tree is a obvious fake

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lost in Portland

I have lived in Portland for almost a month now and I can say I still don't know my way around. This is the most confusing city that I have ever been in. There isn't a lot of landmarks to go buy either. A lot of people around here take public transportation or ride their bikes so the city city apparently invested more on their public transportation system then their roads.
I guess half my problem is that I am relying on Mapquest too much. Mapquest has got to be one of the worse programs I know. It gives the same street three names when all you really need is one.
The other compliant I have is that the streets around Portland are so dimly lit that you can't read the sign until after you passed it. The street signs are also pretty small (or maybe I need glasses). Portland also has more one way streets than most downtowns do. A lot of the streets break up and pick up again a couple blocks later.
The other day I was trying to get to a client's house and some how I ended up in Chinatown (I didn't even know Portland had a Chinatown) . I would have stopped for a visit if I had had the time.
Maybe everyone complains when they move to a new city, but I remember it didn't take hardly anytime to learn KC

Monday, December 04, 2006

Star Wars Muesum

This weekend was our first weekend without my parents around so we decided to explore Portland. I decided to take Woogy to the Star Wars Muesum at the Portland science center. Everything on display was real and used in the movies. Still, I thought the price was a little steep for what you got. I don't think Woogy really liked it honestly. The Stormtrooper greeting everyone at the front door scared him

Monday, November 27, 2006


It seems everyone is having a hard to time adjusting to Oregon, which is what I expected. On Thanksgiving I drove down to Newport to visit everyone. Wah-Wah said she was tired of living with my parents and wanted to leave soon. She had been stuck in my parent's house for over a week and everyone was getting on everyone else's nerves.
We ended up driving into Portland Saturday night and stayed in our house despite the fact we have no furniture or anything else. It was like camping, but indoors. Wah-Wah and I both have noticed that the kids are acting a little different. Woogy is getting more defiant and fighting more with his sister. He is also not listening very well and blocking things out. Nibbles is also not doing too well. She cannot stay in a different room from Wah-Wah without screaming. We went to Imago Dei on Sunday and dropped her off in the 1yr old class. Within 10 mins we were paged to go get her. Apparently she was so upset, that she was upsetting the other babies in the classroom. (Of course Nibbles has never been willing to stay in the classroom in OP either, but this seems worse)
Even the dog seems to be acting odd. Yesterday, Monty ran outside and got in the car when we were leaving to go somewhere. Normally he would get out when we ask him, but this time he wouldn't.
I hope with our things arriving today that life will start to settle in again.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My New House

Since I didn't have much going on at work today, I decided to check out my new house. I wouldn't say that it is much larger than the home I used to live in, but at least it is not a duplex with a neighbor standing outside smoking and bad mouthing the house. In fact, the house is in very good shape. My neighbor is named Oscar and he is retired and lived in the neighborhood a long time. He seems really nice and doesn't swear every other word like my last neighbor.
I don't have much of a backyard either. It's mostly all pebbles with some bushes along the side. There is a lot of storage around the house. First the garage is big enough to hold everything plus our cars. Then there are about 3 storage sheds around the property. Wah-Wah wants to covert one of the sheds to a play house for the kids. Everything else seems good. I'll finally have a bathroom in the master bedroom.
I've driven around the area and scoped out where all the shopping is. Portland is a great place if you don't like Walmart. People around here consider Walmart to be evil and don't allow it around here. Instead, they have Fred Myers which carries everything (The prices are a little inflated too). There is also a large number of ethnic restaurants around here that I will have to check out. We also have a lot of coffee houses and music stores (It's good to see those around).
Portland also has a high number of strip clubs as well. I've heard that Portland has the highest number of strip clubs per any other city it's size. I'm not sure why, it's just the way things are.
We hope to have everything moved in next Monday. I'll be driving down to Newport for Thanksgiving where my family is.
I hope things pick up here at my job. I've never had so little to do. Basically I'm waiting to get a case load going . I've started studying for my Oregon driver's license. It's a pretty thick manual. I've heard the test is hard if you don't read the book.

Monday, November 20, 2006

slow start

Things are moving pretty slow here in Oregon, but I guess that is to be expected. Since my supervisor is gone 2 days of the week, I haven't had a lot to do. I even have time to blog at my work which I never had time to do on my last job. I don't hate my job yet, it's just a little boring. My coworkers seem nice, but I know they don't want me hanging around them all day. Hopefully things will pick up soon.
Speaking of slow starts, it turns out we can't move into our new house until next week. The movers decided to take a early Thanksgiving vacation and stay in KC a few extra days. This means that I'll have to stay at my brother's apartment a few more days and my family will be in Newport another week.
Wah-Wah and the kids flew in last Weds night. My parents got them Thursday morning and showed them the new house. Wah-Wah said she loved everything but the bedroom carpets. Wah Wah has already set up the utilities and we will now be getting cable. I haven't had cable in 5 years and have learned to live without it. I'm afraid the kids and I will turn into coach potatoes now.
Anyway, Wah-Wah met the new babysitter and liked her so hopefully things will work out. Wah-Wah said that there were a lot of little kids Woogy's age around the neighborhood.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Life in Oregon

I've been here in Oregon for almost 5 days and it has rained every one of them. It's called the "Pineapple Express" that brings rain from Hawaii across the Pacific northwest. Everyone tells me to get use to it.
Work is OK. Everyone is pretty friendly and loves my U2 pictures in my office. I can't say I really dig it here, but we do get free lunch from the school program that is on campus.
I attended my first Imago Dei home group last night. It seems a majority of the church's population are young couples with small children. We read through Psalms last night and then everyone starting singing. That was a little awkward. I'm going to a different one tonight. Afterwards, I'm picking up Wah-Wah and the kids at the airport tonight. Wah-Wah reported that we've had some problems with the crazy lady next door bad mouthing our house to the potential buyer. It's a big mess right now, and it could fall through.
Anyway, my parents are picking Wah-Wah up tomorrow and will show her the new house and hopefully meet with the babysitter. She'll stay till next week with them on the coast before we move in next Weds.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

imago dei

I think the hardest thing about moving is going to be finding a new church community. No two churches are gonna be the same. I remember it took us a while before we found Overland Park AOG and even longer before we felt connected. I decided to start immediately on this search for a new church and visited Don Miller's Imago Dei which is right down the street from my house.
Imago Dei meets at a local high school for services at 9 and 11. It's a huge congregation of at least about 1,000. Suits and slacks look like they are forbidden since everyone wears jeans. Most of the people there were young adults between 20 to 40. Many looked like they were married with small children.
The church claims it is a post modern church with many booths that are set up for various environmental and social causes. Other booths sell books (Don Miller's complete works) and CD's of musicians that attend the church. I attended Pastor Rick's sermon that I found pretty interesting and relevant. He was a good speaker. The music was pretty good too and they even played a Violet Burning song for worship.
After worship I checked out their children's ministry which is located in the preschool section of the school. The children's minister was very friendly and said they took the security of small children very seriously. In fact, you can't even get into the preschool without a pass and a picture of your child. The minister explained that they strongly emphasize Biblical teachings the whole year round. The preschoolers go into a room with various stations where the teachers interact with them. There is a strong emphasize in arts and crafts there.
Apparently you meet people through Home Communities which are through out the week and are throughout the whole city of Portland. I was given a complete book of these Home Communities and told to call a few that are near where I live.
On top of the Home Communities, there are Connection groups that connect you with people of similar interest. They have a surfing group that get together and surf monthly, a Mars Hill group, automotive group, Outdoor group and even a social worker group.
They also have a Missional communities that work with pregnancy, elderly, homeless, AIDS, and even the Ronald McDonald House.
If you dig the arts, they have communities with songwriters, writers, a film and faith group, literature group, photography, graphic design, film makers, dance, and architecture groups.
It looks like this church has something for everyone, but the size is overwhelming. I think I'll try a few home community groups and see how they go.

Yesterday I decided to see my new home. It is located in an older section of town with a lot of old style homes. In fact, no two houses looked the same. Most of the homes in the area are built on smaller lots than in KC. My house happens to be the only ranch style home around. Most of the homes are two stories with a huge porch. About a block away, I found a babysitter that sounds too good to be true. She quoted me a rate that was cheaper than what I was paying in KC. She was definitely a Christian and said she was praying for a family like us to move in. She said that she currently watches a girl Woogy's age.
The plan now is for Wah-Wah and the kids to fly in Weds night, then on Thursday, my parents will pick them up and take them out to the new house for a tour and meet with the babysitter. Wah Wah will of course check some references out on the babysitter first. Wah-Wah will then go to Newport with my parents for a week until the house is ready to move into.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I made it

After driving 4 days I finally arrived in my new home of Portland Oregon, and guess what? It was raining. In fact, that is all there is in the forecast. But that's ok, I don't mind too badly. I would share my exciting adventures on the road if I had any, but the trip was uneventful. Just me and the dog, who actually behaved very well and was a good traveling companion. Monty didn't complain once
I spent Tuesday night in Sidney Nebraska. Nebraska is every bit as boring as you think it is. There is nothing there.
Weds morning I drove into Wyoming and was attacked by tumble weeds that blew across the highway. Wyoming is pretty dull too. It was almost like driving across the moon. I spent Weds night in Evanston in western Wyoming. I got a call from Wah-Wah that she had finally been offered a job with Legacy. It turns out that this wasn't the big opportunity that we had been hoping for. As I predicted, when Legacy emailed Wah-Wah saying they were "reorganizing" it meant that they cut the job that she was hoping for and offered another one. It's still pays better than what she was making at her old job, but I kind of knew they were gonna screw her over.
On Thursday morning, I drove into a blizzard which really slowed me down. It snowed all the way into Utah (where I was chased out by mormons)(just kidding)). I was only in Utah for an hour or two before I headed into Idaho. Idaho was a whole bunch of nothing. Excitement didn't pick up till I made it to Boise where I hit 5 o'clock traffic. Once I made it out of Boise, I drove into Oregon where I spent the night in Baker City. I'd say that Thursday was the hardest day. I was exhausted by the time I pulled into the hotel.
Friday morning I drove up in the mountains and into the Columbia River gorge which leads to Portland. After getting through the traffic of Portland, I arrived safe and sound at my brother's apartment at around 4 o clock.
The total trip was almost 2000 miles. That is the longest road trip I ever did.
Tomorrow I plan to check out the house that we'll be living in. I also want to check out a few day cares that are suppose to be near by. On Sunday, I'm going to start the process of finding a new church. I'm first going to check out Imago Dei (Don Miller's church) which happens to be right down the street from my house. I was on the church's web site and it looks interesting. They are acquainted with a lot of music talent. There is also the Faith Chapel Assembly of God nearby too that I might visit in the coming weeks

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Best Concerts

I'm now in the final day of my last day in KS before I drive nearly 2000 miles to Oregon. I've been thinking of all the concerts that A Forest and I have gone to over the years. I don't know what my concert going life will be like in Portland. Wah-Wah is exactly into music, but she's agreed to try a few. Still, it's not the same going with someone who doesn't appreciate the same music you do. A Forest and I saw a lot of concerts (and hopefully more to come some day) and here's a review of some of the best ones:

1. U2 (obviously) in St.Louis 2005 during the Vertigo Tour. --You can't top a U2 performance. The lights and music are so uplifting. I remember this show was especially bittersweet since my three month's of unemployment last year was about to end

2. U2 in KC during the Elevation tour 2002 . The only U2 concert I didn't have to drive all day to get to. It's U2, what else can I say!

3. Sigur Ros in KC in 2006. Wow this band really blew me away. The show was a perfect blend of how art can relate to music. Abstract images with the music was simply beautiful and emotional too. I remember I never wanted it to stop.

4. Coldplay in KC in 2003 during the Rush of Blood to the Head tour. All the reasons I like Coldplay can be summed up in that night. Chris Martin made Memorial Hall feel like a very intimate place. I saw them again in 2005 at Verizon and it just wasn't the same outside

5. Travis in Lawrence in 2002. With a great album ("the invisible band") to draw from, Travis was great. They sound sensitive and serious, but they could be a lot of fun too. I remember they closed the show with "Back in Black"

6. Starflyer 59 in Lawrence at the Bottleneck in 2002. I remember it was a Sunday Night and the weather was really bad. There weren't even a lot of people there which means we had the place to ourselves. We saw Starflyer a little later (or earlier) that year at the New Earth with Jason on guitar and one other guy on bass. That was pretty cool to hear them stripped down

7. Asobi Sesku at the Record Bar in KC in Oct 2006. I can't believe how small the lead singer is, but she could sing. Asobi Sesku did some fine shoe gazing. They were beautiful. Lots of guitars and distortion. Everything I love about music

8. Keane at the Uptown in KC in 2004. I think they won A Forest over that night. Their songs are so catchy. I was surprised that they mixed imagery and art so well with their music. Wish they had more songs to play that night

9. The Stills at the Bottleneck in Lawrence in 2004. Before they changed their sound and released a horrible second album, the Stills had a lot of promise

10. REM at Starlight in 2003. They were doing there first Best of tour and played a lot of songs I never heard live before. I especially enjoyed hearing "Nightswimming" for the first time live.
11. Joy Electric and Violet Burning. A Forest and I have seen these two bands so many times that I lost count. I always enjoy Violet Burning and Michael Pretzil's sermons half way through the show. He's a real man of God and knows the power of music

Shows that weren't so great
1. Mogwai at Lawrence in 2006. I like Mogwai, but I have to say that I was getting a little bored. No vocals, just music that sort of runs together. Nice light show but no images to go with it

2. Michael Knott at the New Earth in 2004. I hadn't heard a lot of Michael's material, but he's got a very distinctive voice. Unfortunate this night he was intoxicated and a mess. Apparently he was having marriage problems and actually broke down while performing. He didn't even finish any songs

3. Depeche Mode at Starlight in 2006. I've been bitchin about this for a while. First the opening band She Wants Revenge was done playing by the time we got there. We actually arrived when the show was suppose to start. When DM took the stage, it was pretty impressive with the props and lights. Soon however, it was obvious things weren't right. During his first break, Dave Gahan took off and didn't come back. I expected better from them

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What I will miss

It's hard to believe, but I am leaving KS. Things are going as planned. My dad is purchasing the house today in Oregon and I am leaning towards driving out to Portland next week. I'm up for a little road trip and adventure. Besides how often do I get a chance to drive cross country. All is preceding except Wah-Wah's job. She did get a email congratulating her but said they don't have a offer until her background check comes back. This has got to be one of the longest job screenings I've ever seen.
I've been thinking a lot about leaving and what the future holds and I've thought of things I will look forward to and things I will miss

What I'm looking forward to about Oregon
1. A new house
2. The weather
3. No sales tax
4. being so near the mountains and ocean
5. More mountain bike trails
6. Never pumping my own gas again
7. Fresh sea food

What I won't miss in KC
1. Living next to rednecks
2. The summer heat and humidity
3. Driving my car into the ground for work

What I will miss in KC
1. Thursday night coffee group (I have a near perfect attendance)
2. Overland Park First Assembly of God (and everyone in it)
3. Concerts with A Forest
4. Logic and wisdom from Shakedust
5. Sci Fi talk with Dash
6. BBQ-- Oklahoma Joe's
7. Walks on the Plaza
8. Papa Keno's Silician Pizza

Sunday, October 29, 2006

When last I posted, it was looking like we may not be moving, but that seems to be changing. I was offered a job at Trillium in Portland. The pay isn't great, but better than I expected. We still haven't received an offer from Wah-Wah's future employer. They have checked references twice and said that they are very interested, but no offer. I think I'm starting to lose patience with them. The final decision to move will be based on her offer and how much it is. I'm suppose to start my new job in two weeks, but I haven't decided on how I'm going to get out there. I know I don't want to drive the kids out there since it's over three long days of driving. I'm hoping we can ship both cars and just fly out there.
Things seem to be coming together on finding a place to live. My parents did some house hunting and found a home near my work and in a good school district. It's a three bedroom ranch style house. It's got a two car garage and a fire place. I don't think we could afford it, but my dad said that he'll buy it and rent it out to us with the intend on selling it to us later . It's nice to have rich parents. He said the house was in excellent shape. I do trust his judgment since he seems to have good taste in property. I don't like the idea of my dad owning my house, but realistically we couldn't afford this place. Plus I can get out of the house easier if we decide to move. I like the fact that there is a park across the street and it is in a up and coming neighborhood with lots of shopping near by.
Frankly, it's got to be better than what we have now. Apparently I couldn't dump my house off on the neighbors. That plan sank, so now we are going to try to sell out on the market.
We spent the weekend cleaning it up and Wah-Wah even painted the whole inside. She's pretty efficient when she decides to do something. Still just taking it one day at a time

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Two for Two

It is beginning to look like my plan to move to Oregon isn't working out. Today I got my second rejection from one of the 3 companies I interviewed with in Oregon a few weeks ago. That's two down, one to go. The guy from Mid Valley Rehab said that they promoted someone from within the company. It is a little discouraging especially when I went out and bought a new suit and spend a couple hundred on interview coaching. It is good to see that money went to a good cause.
Now my only hope is with Trillium children's services and a really good offer. They called my references last week, but I still hadn't heard anything. I've got a few applications into DFS, but haven't heard back. Wah-Wah hasn't heard from her interviewer yet either, which is really strange. I'd thought they would have an offer when we came back to KC. Unless Wah-Wah gets a really good offer, I'd say that we aren't going to move at this point (which is fine with me). But who knows? We have been back and fourth on moving for so long now, I'd like to see it come to an end and a decision be made. It would be nice to know were you are going to live in a month.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Taking one day at a time

I'm still here and haven't moved yet, but it looks like a good possibility that we may be going to Portland. Last week, I took Woogy and flew out to Portland for some interviews. I ended up staying with my brother (who just moved there the last week) and had my parents drove me around.
My first interview was with Mid Valley Rehab. This is a organization based out about an hour outside Portland. I thought it was a pretty unique company. They find work for MR adults. I interviewed with a bunch of the supervisors and afterwards they took me out to lunch and ice cream (they run a ice cream parlor),. The position was manager of an industrial plant that employed MR adults. Basically, the clients make "widget's" and I would be in charge of the operation. They gave me a tour of one of their facilities to see what they did. We then ran out of time, and I was invited back the next day to see the operation that I would be in charge of and meet with the director.
After that interview, I drove across Portland to Columbia Mental Health. I got caught in traffic and was 15 mins late (I called them to explain the situation. I hope they were forgiving). I met with the supervisor that I was keeping in contact with and was interviewed for a QA position. I thought the interview went well, but I got no tour or anything.
Wah-Wah flew into town the next day and did her interview with Legacy while I met with the director from Mid Valley. I tried everything to sound interested in the job, but he seemed a little skeptical about my lack of business experience. I met with one of the supervisors again, and he drove me out to the site that I would be working in. He seemed like a nice guy and told me all about Oregon.
Following that interview, I drove to downtown Portland and interviewed at trillium Services. Basically this is a position working with foster kids. I pretty much coasted through that interview. I liked the location of trillium, but the pay didn't sound very good.
After all that, I met with Wah-Wah to hear how her interview went. She thought hers went well, but the director seemed skeptical too, however the hiring guy all but told her she got the job.
I am skeptical too about this job Wah-Wah will get. The pay is alright, but she would have to take a train to get to work. Last week we learned just how bad Portland traffic is. Their freeway system is awful, and to get to downtown, you pretty much have to take the train.
We flew back on Sunday, with still no clear idea if we are moving or not. I felt a lot of pressure from my dad this weekend to move. I didn't appreciate it a whole lot and was starting to get a little pissed.
Since we've been back, my boss told me that trillium called her for a reference check, but no one else. I'd say out of the 3 interviews I did, this is the one I'm least excited about. Not because of the work, but it would be a pay cut. They told me during the interview, they take experience into account, but I doubt if they will come close to what I need. The guy who interviewed Wah-Wah already emailed her and said that he would be checking her references too. As of now, no offers, but I think that is going to change.
Wah-Wah believes that the Lord wants us in Oregon. Wah-Wah says she sees signs in her life everywhere. She says that her current boss is unhappy with her. We also have people interested in buying our house. Finally, our babysitter for 4 years announced today that she was returning to work part time. She says that she can watch the kids most of the day, but needs to leave at around 4. If we stay, we will probably need a new babysitter (I'm not looking forward to Nibbles going to a new babysitter). With all the uncertainty in my life, I'm just taking it one day at a time

Friday, September 22, 2006

Big decisions

I haven't posted in a few weeks because things have been pretty crazy at work and at home. However, now I face the real possibility of moving to Oregon in a few weeks. To update everyone, Wah-Wah seems to really want to move, I however am not sure. Things are starting to move along however. Wah-Wah got a call from a professor in Portland at OSHU and is really interested in hiring her. He is even willing to fly her out on Oct 6 for a interview. I figure most companies don't pay to fly you to a interview unless they are serious. The professor said that Wah-Wah is a strong candidate and could almost guarantee a better salary than what she is making now. Her position is working with AIDS and monkey tissue. I'm not sure if there is a moral dilemma here, but Wah-Wah doesn't seem to think so. I guess that's a step up from working with the bird flu. Anyway, Wah-Wah is really excited about this and really wants to move.
I, on the other hand don't think life is that bad here in KC. Sure I don't have the greatest job in the world, but I don't hate it either. We've been here for almost seven years now.
Last week I interviewed with Columbia Mental Health over the phone. It was a second interview with them but the first regarding a QA position. I was pretty sure that I bombed it, however much to my surprise, I received a call today that they would like me to come in for another interview for either a QA position or a crisis CM position. Unfortunately, they didn't offer to pay for my flight (most nonprofit organizations wouldn't). Columbia Mental Health is in St. Helen which is about 20 or 30 miles outside of Portland (that's not too bad considering I drive 3x that working for Comprehensive each day).
I'll be flying to Portland a few days before Wah-Wah. I intend to go get a new suit and maybe get some interview coaching in (since I hate interviewing). This might be a good job opportunity. However being the pessimist I am, I'm looking at all the complications moving across the country means. Honestly, I feel torn. I've been praying about it a lot and wonder if this is what is meant to be

Monday, September 04, 2006

Phone interview

Last Friday I had a phone interview with Columbia Mental Health in Astoria Oregon. I'd like to say that it went well, but it didn't. I've never done a phone interview before, and I hope I don't have to any time soon. I was put on speaker phone and I could barely hear what I was being asked. I must have asked them to repeat each question twice. Come to think of it, I might not have answered the questions that were even asked. Another thing, I learned about phone interviews is that you can't tell when the interviewer is writing or listening. This caused a lot of awkward silences between questions.
I have to say that I hate interviews and I'm not too good at them. This whole experience reminded me of last year when it took me 3 months to find a job. I did a lot of interviews, but I didn't get a lot of offers. I got so tired of being turned down for jobs that I was qualified for. The truth to me is that interviewing is all about being in the right place at the right time.
Anyway, the interview lasted about an hour and I got the usual "we'll call you when we know something" speech. This wasn't my dream job anyway and honestly I didn't want to live in Astoria. My plan for now is to apply at Oregon DHS office and hopefully end up in Portland. If not, then we'll stay here.
It's pretty discouraging being a pessimistic when looking for work.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Oregon Pictures

Here are some pictures of Oregon.

Woogy outside by parents backyard. This was his first look at the Pacfic Ocean in over a year. Water is 60 degrees, yet Woogy didn't seem to mind

Wah-Wah outside the sand dunes in Florence. For $45 bucks you can ride an ATV for an hour. Wah-Wah rode extra cautious

Coos Bay
We spent the night near this lighthouse. The High Tide Cafe has got some great clam chowder

AchtungBB on the sand dunes. I love riding ATVs. It's so much freedom till you get stuck in two feet of sand

Oregon's aquarium inside the mammoth shark. We always get our picture taken here when we visit. This is this year's picture

Wah-Wah at Beaver Creek. Relaxing ride up the creek into the middle of the moutains. Lots of wild life

Drift Creek falls. We do this hike every year. It's three miles down to the falls and another three miles up a steep mountain to get back

Friday, August 18, 2006

Oregon vacation part 4

Things haven't worked out the way I wanted them too. First of all Nibbles is very sick. Last night, we took her to the hospital for the second time. This time, she has been running a fever for 6 days and her mouth was breaking out with little bumps. Turns out she contracted herpes Simplex 1. The doctor explained that this is not the STD (thank God). In fact 99% of the population has been exposed to it. If you have ever gotten a cold swore, that's what herpes Simplex 1 is. The doctor said that occasionally young children get exposed to it and they can become very sick.
Where Nibbles got it from is anyone's guess. She's lost 4lbs already because she can't eat solid foods. In fact her mouth has become very swollen. She's been on a steady dose of tylenhol with codeine. It's hard for a parent to sit while their child suffers from a fever for over a week. Anyway, the doctor said that she should be better by this Tuesday or Weds. That put a damper on my job hunting plans. I had decided to do the interview in Astoria, but that isn't going to happen now. First we need to get Nibbles back home, second I found out that it will cost $600 to change my airline ticket, and frankly, that is just not worth it. So I will be heading home on Sunday as originally planned.
Reflecting on my Oregon vacation, it was a memorable one. Coos Bay was nice, but Nibbles has been so sick, nobody has really been able to relax. I guess things work for a reason

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Oregon Vacation PT 3

Wow three blogs in three days! Usually I'm lucky to do one a week. I seem to have a lot of time on my hands in the evening. Tonight I'm writing my blog from the Best Western in Coos Bay. I thought we were going to Pelican Bay, but it is actually Coos bay. I'm somewhere in southern Oregon in what appears to be a small little lumber town.
Today we left Newport and drove two hours south to a town called Florence which has lots of sand dunes. Wah-Wah and I rented a couple of ATVs and went out on the dunes. I'll post pictures when I get home. Anyway, these are really big dunes and I got stuck a few times, but it was a blast. One of the best times we've had as a couple.
The other news is that I actually got a call from one of the resumes I sent out. Colombia Community Mental Health wants to interview me next Tuesday. I'm not sure I know what I want to do. The position is in either Astoria or St. Helens. Astoria is a small town on the coast in on the boarder of Oregon and Washington. They filmed the "Goonies" there. St. Helens is a town about a half hour outside Portland. I'm not feeling too confident about the position because I'm not sure if I'm qualified. Both of the positions I'm interviewing for are in management, and we all remember what happened the last time I was in management. I also thought I wanted to be closer to Portland. I'm not sure I want to leave a big city for a small one. Plus there is the fact I didn't bring any clothes to interview in, which means I'll have to go shopping.
I haven't decided yet if I'll pursue this interview or not. Wah-Wah and the kids will leave this Sunday and I'll end up staying till at least Weds. What to do?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Oregon vacation part 2

Today our vacation turned a little. Nibbles got a high fever of 104.5 this morning. After spending an hour messing with our insurance, we drove her to the local hospital's ER. We waited about 3 hrs and when the doctor (the only doctor on staff) saw her, he ruled out basic things like an ear infection and determined it must be a virus.
This is a little unsettling since the rest of us could catch this virus anytime. It seems odd, but every time we leave home recently someone gets sick ( our trip to St. Louis comes to mind). Nibbles has been acting alright despite her fever. After getting out of the hospital we went to the Oregon aquarium. This was my third visit there and I still enjoy it. There aren't a lot of sharks and jellyfish in KC.
After the aquarium, we walked down to the harbor were all the fishermen and seal lions are. There are lots of small little unique shops down by the harbor. Tomorrow we are heading down to Pelican Bay and plan to stay the night. I have no idea what's down there but it is suppose to be nice.
As I suspected, my phone hasn't been ringing off the hook reponding to those resumes I sent out (of course I only sent them out yesterday) but I'm not going to worry about it. I'm going to try to enjoy the rest of my vacation and hopefully not get sick.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Oregon vacation

We've been in Oregon now for a few days and I think I'm finally adjusting to the time change. The trip over to Newport was pretty tough. We left KCI at around 8am on Saturday. We of course needed to get there 2 hours early, but surprisingly KCI wasn't a whole lot different than normal. We were suppose to fly out on America West. Little did I know, that America West was bought out by US Air, so I ended up in the wrong terminal. It would have been nice if KCI posted that info. A few hours after leaving KCI we arrived in Phoenix were we waited a hour before flying into Portland. Woogy did much better on the plane than last year, but Nibbles was all over the place, and made the trip unpleasant
Once we landed in Portland, we realized we forgot Nibbles car seat and the car rentals would not rent us one. My dad picked us up and drove us another 2 hours to Newport. We figured it was 9 hours of traveling by the time we finally got to my parents's house. Everyone was pretty tired.
Yesterday, we walked down the hill to the beach. Woogy and I discovered a cave in the cliffs that he liked exploring. The ocean air here is so invigorating compared to the oppressive heat in KC. For the afternoon, Wah-Wah, my dad, and I hiked down the Drift Creek Falls trail. It's a pretty steep trail coming back, and I carried Nibbles on my back the whole time.
Last evening I spent looking for jobs out in Portland. Wah-Wah and I are warming up to the idea of moving out here. I've been praying about it a lot. Portland is a pretty progressive city with lots of culture and arts. It's a beautiful area with mountains and the ocean. I'm not too hopeful about finding a job out here however, but you never know. I'm just keeping my options open.
This morning, Wah-Wah, my dad and me went kiyaking down Beaver Creek. It's a pretty calm river so it was pretty easy . Our guide took us about 3 miles into the woods were we saw some eagles and beavers. It was really peaceful. We spent the afternoon playing on some sand dunes down on Agate Beach. Woogy had a blast playing in the sand and rolling down the dunes.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

St. Louis

This weekend, Wah Wah said she needed a vacation and couldn't wait till our official vacation to Oregon in a few weeks. So we decided to head to St. Louis for the weekend. Unfortunately, after about a hour on the road, Wah Wah came down with a fever but insisted that we don't turn back.

After exactly four hours in the car, we arrived at the St. Louis zoo. It was a pretty nice zoo with not nearly as much walking as our KC zoo. Best of all, it's free. Woogy and Nibbles liked the butterfly garden while I enjoyed hanging out with the penguins. After about 4 hours at the zoo, Wah Wah couldn't take anymore, so we left to find a hotel.
Without sounding totally cheap, I was hoping to find a Super 8 or a Motel 6. Unfortunately since I didn't plan ahead, we couldn't find one and ended up in the Drury Inn in downtown St. Louis. For dinner, we walked over to Union Station and ate at the Hard Rock Cafe. I always wanted to eat at one of those but didn't find the food that impressive.
The next morning, Wah Wah was feeling a little better so we went to go see the Arch. I always wanted to go up in the Arch, but I wasn't too comfortable being in a small "egg shaped" tram, squished in with 5 other people traveling up the Arch. Woogy was at first scared, but got over it and really enjoyed the view from the top.
After the Arch, we were kind of pressed for time since we had to be back in KC by 7pm to pick up the dog. So we stopped at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. I wish we could've had more time at the Gardens, because there was a lot to enjoy.

Woogy enjoyed the maze garden and Wah Wah liked the Asian Garden. I always love places that are photogenic. After a couple of hours there, it was time to go. It was a nice mini vacation.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Anniversary weekend

This weekend Wah-Wah and I celebrated our 6th anniversary. We decided not buy each other anything since we had our kitchen floor replaced this weekend. I've been wanting to replace the tile that I installed in our kitchen four years ago (Not because I did a bad job, but it was cheap tile and was showing scratches and water marks). Wah-Wah knew some guys from her work that said they would be willing to put some ceramic tile for a good price (I sure wasn't going to try to put in ceramic tile). I thought it might increase the value of my house by a couple bucks.
The original estimate was going to be $1000 bucks and half a day labor. I thought that was fair. Unfortunately the job ended up taking 2 full days and about $1500. Some estimate. These guys did a good job but I prefer a more accurate estimate. I think what really irritated me was these guys kept leaving the back door wide open when I had the air going. I can't wait to see my electric bill.
Anyway, Wah-Wah and I celebrated on anniversary by dropping the kids off at the sitters and headed to the Capital Grille down at the plaza. This was the nicest meal Wah-Wah and I ate since on dinners on our honeymoon cruise. I have to say that the service was excellent well. They decorated our table with rose pedals and gave us complimentary champagne and a appetizer. Wah Wah and I both order steaks and we got complimentary dessert. Despite all the complimentary stuff we got, we still went over $100. It was a very romantic dinner

Sunday, July 09, 2006

My Birthday weekend

I must say, my birthday (Thursday 7/6) kind of sucked. It started with Wah-Wah giving me reminders that my driver's license was expiring today. It would of been nice if I got those reminders earlier, like weeks ago when they came in.
I hadn't said a whole lot about my birthday at work, but my boss remembered and she brought a Tippin's cake. Unfortunately all my other coworkers were out, so we had a lot of cake between the two of us.
By the evening, I was on my way home when I got a call from the Independence police department telling me that one of my client's was missing and they would like to talk me (since I was the last one to see her). As I was driving back to Independence, I missed my exit and had to go a couple of miles down the road to get off the freeway and turn around. By this point, I was getting pretty frustrated that I was missing my birthday at home and it was getting late. I guess I wasn't paying attention and ended up being pulled over by the police. I was doing 77mph in a 65. I did my usual "I'm sorry officer, I didn't realize I was speeding, my you look nice this evening." As always, the officer didn't care and gave me a ticket anyway. I even tried explaining my situation at work. He said that he was doing his job by keeping the freeway safe, and I told him thanks for the birthday present and what a great job he was doing and truly I was headed for disaster. The officer apparently didn't appreciate that remark and got in my face and told me that if I kept it up, he'd take me in. I told him that I better shut up then and drove off.
I'm sick of the Independence police, they have given me 3 tickets within 6 months, which is bad news for me. I called a lawyer and he said he could probably get the last ticket off my record (for a couple hundred dollars) . Thank God for lawyers! I've also decided that I'm buying a radar detector.
By the time I got home, my family had gone to bed and I had to take a driving test to update my license. Some birthday.
On Friday, I went into the DMV and got my license updated and found out that I could use glasses. That makes you feel old. I ended up working a few hours and that evening me and the family drove up to Iowa to see my good friend Dave. He always can find a way to cheer me up, and I could use it by this point. We stayed at my parents house but they weren't there. They had just put their house for sale left that morning to Oregon.
On Saturday, me, my family and Dave went to Iowa's only theme park-- "Adventure Land". It's no Disney or even Worlds of Fun, but it's alright for Iowa. This was my kids first trip to a theme park and I wanted to get pictures, but Wah-Wah forgot the camera. Usually when I go to these theme parks, I'm on the roller coasters and all the other "thrill rides", but with little kids we spent most of our time riding things they enjoyed. I did ride a few good rides, but Woogy lead the way most of the time. By the end of the day, the kids were pretty tired and Dave and I got together with another college friend and went out on the town.
On Sunday, Wah-Wah and the kids went to one of her old college friend's house, and Dave and I went to see "Pirates of the Caribbean 2." I don't think I could explain the plot, but it was entertaining and I did like seeing parts of the ride come to life in the movie.
I guess my birthday wasn't so great but turned out to be a good weekend

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My 4th

Since this 4th of July fell on a Tuesday, many people I know had a 4 day weekend, but not me. I ended up working on the 3rd and just settling for taking the 4th off. I really wanted to spend the 4th at a pool, but Woogy seems to be going through a phase where he doesn't want to go in water (even though he'll play in his plastic pool). Wah-Wah thought the kids would have a better time at Paradise Park instead.
In case you aren't familiar with Paradise Park, it's a cross between a children's museum and a Chuck E Cheese, divided up into two sections. In the play side, there is a ball pit, a kitchen (where they help the kids cook), and lots of little rooms where kids can play dress up. This place is a blast for kids Woogy's age, but sort of a drag for the parents who end up chasing their kids all day.
After spending the better part of the day at Paradise Park, I took Woogy out to see the fireworks in Shawnee Mission Park. Wah-Wah has decided she doesn't like going since she gets bitten by bugs and we usually spend an hour or two exiting the park. I've always have gone to firework displays, so it's sort of like a tradition to me. Woogy and I had a good time. We took Monty and played some soccer while waiting for the fireworks. Monty always attracts attention everywhere he goes. Everyone says he's so cute and want to pet him. He'd be a great babe magnet if I wasn't married.
The fireworks are always pretty late at Shawnee Mission and it always takes a long time to ext the park. If you get in the wrong car lane (like I did), you end up driving around the park and having to turn around way out at Bonner Springs. I never seem to learn my lesson so I'm sure I'll go back next year.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I need a vacation Part 2

About a month ago, I written a blog stating how I needed a vacation. I thought the matter was solved when Wah-Wah and I decided to drive up to the Black Hills for a week. Unfortunately my mom was offended that we were not planning on visiting her in Oregon. She had previously stated that she wasn't going to fly us out this summer and I couldn't afford a couple thousand dollars to fly out there. She changed her mind and is booking us tickets in August to fly out. I told her as much as I appreciate it, Wah-Wah and I really want to see something different besides Oregon. Mom didn't take that too well, so we decided to visit Oregon again.
I'm beginning to believe that I may end up living in Oregon someday. I don't like the idea of my parents flying me out there a couple times a year and having to spend all of our summer vacations with them. It's like they want us in their lives but at the same time they are moving across the country. Then there is the fact that my dad is trying to bribe us to move out there. It seems we are stuck. Wah-Wah's side of the family doesn't want us to move (even though we hardly see them anyway despite the fact they are in town), and my family is putting the pressure on to move. I'll have to decide some day.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Shared Birthdays

Last Saturday we had what was the first of many shared birthday parties of our two kids. Woogy and Nibble's birthdays are only two days apart, so we will probably always combine them. Keep in mind, we didn't plan it that way. This year, Nibble's didn't care about sharing her birthday, but I fear what she might think in the future about sharing her party.

Most of the party focused on Woogy. We had both sides of the family come down from Iowa (as you can see the two grandfathers proudly taking pictures in the corner of the picture). Woogy had a few kids from his babysitter's house, and a few neighborhood kids come over. We decided to have a Star Wars theme party, since that seems all Woogy plays now. I used to love to play Star Wars when I was his age, so I can relate. He actually plays with some of my old figures.

As far as presents go, I bought Woogy a Power Wheels jeep. He never asked for one, but I always wanted one when I was his age, so I thought he would like it. Instead he likes his new X wing fighter and lightsaber better. Just a couple of years ago, all he wanted was Thomas the Tank Engine. Now it seems he could care less about trains.

Since Nibbles only enjoys playing with her brother's toys, we only got her a couple of her own toys. Nibbles still had a good time eating some of her birthday cake and being held by Wah-wah.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Our church's food pantry

I just wanted to give a"kudos" to our food pantry at church. I've worked with several families over the years that have struggled to afford food for their family, and our church has always provided. They have never turned anyone away that I can recall.
Last week I was working with a mom who didn't get her disability check on time (because of the holiday) and they had no food in their house. She had already used the $10 in food stamps the state provided. I called to various agencies in the Independence area, and nobody said they could help because she didn't live in their catchment. I was pretty frustrated when I finally called our church and they arranged a couple bags of groceries for me to pick up.
Many other families have benefited from our church' s pantry. What I like best about connecting with our church is that they don't ask questions. I've worked with a few families that have been too embarrassed to go and really don't' want to be a burden. I also appreciate the fact that our church doesn't really care where the family lives. I realize there probably isn't a lot of starving people in Overland Park, but it is nice to know that they will give to families outside the area

Monday, May 29, 2006

May's music

Despite a disappointing concert at the beginning of the month, May was a good month for music. He is some of the goodies I picked up this month.

Angels and Airwaves We Don't Need to Whisper. I was never a huge fan of Blink 182, but I have to admit that Enema of the State is one of my favorite albums to go back and listen to when I'm not feeling my age. Anyway Blink is gone and the lead singer formed Angels and Airwaves. He has matured on his song writing and incorporates a lot of 80's sounding guitar fuzz on this one album without losing the fun of Blink 182. Some of the teenagers I work with dig this on

Athlete's Tourism is right along the same lines of Coldplay (only not as good). I thought this album was alright. The sound is very fragile yet has an a indie feel to it

Buy Snow Patrol's
Eyes Open. This is a fantastic album, nearly flawless. I have to admit that when Snow Patrol first did "Run" and "Chocolate", I dismissed them as Coldplay knock offs, but this album shows that can give Coldplay a run for their money. Gary Lightbody fills this album with catchy hooks with building chorus. With out a doubt, the best album I got so far this year

I had to get Embrace's This New Day from Amazon UK since it is not available in the states. Like their last album Out of Nothing, this album will probably go largely unnoticed, which is a shame, because it is so great. Embrace continue to do what they do best, stellar chorus and big catchy anthems.

I picked up Bill Mallonee's Locket full of Moonlight on itunes. itunes is great for finding some gems like this. I haven't found this album anywhere else, not even at his gigs. Bill is a brilliant artist who writes real heart felt songs. Bill covers so many topics and emotions in his music. It's a shame that when I saw him a year ago, he needed $20 to make it to his next gig

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I need a vacation

I've been working at Comp Mental Health for almost 6 month's now, and I'm starting to think "vacation". Unfortunately, there is no paid vacation with my job. They justify screwing us out of vacation time because we are "contract employees" and are hourly rate is so high. Regardless, we are welcomed to take off as much, or as little time as we want, we just don't get paid for it.
Lately, I've been feeling "burned out". This isn't the first time, and I usually get over it. Last weekend, I just wanted to veg and start to look forward to a vacation. I promised Wah-Wah when we got married that we would have at least one nice vacation a year. This year we were planning on going to Oregon to visit my parents with their free airline tickets they were providing. But then my parents said they were going to save our airline tickets for an Alaskan cruise next year. It's their 40th anniversary and they wanted to fly everyone to Alaska. Suddenly we were no longer had our free tickets to Oregon. Wah-Wah decided she wanted a vacation this year without my family.
For several weeks, we've been trying to figure out where to go this year with 2 young kids. We've decided someday we'll do Disney, but when the kids are older. We thought of flying out to Vegas and maybe driving down to the Grand Canyon, but we weren't expecting airline tickets to be as expensive as they are. So now we are looking at where we could drive.
Wah-Wah really wants to go to the Black Hills in South Dakota. Almost 25 years ago, I swore I would never set foot in South Dakota again (I lived in Sioux Falls for 2 years and absolutely hated it), but I always liked the Black Hills. There is Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Crystal Cave, Devil's Tower, and Custer just to name a few things to see.
I'm a little worried about the drive which is about 10 hours. The kids have never been in the car longer than 4 hrs. The drive itself looks boring with nothing along the way. Personally, I've never driven longer than 6 hours so I hope I can handle it.
Nothing is final yet, since we are trying to keep the same vacation time as our babysitter, but South Dakota is what we are leaning toward. It would be nice if we lived closer to something exciting (say the Corn Palace or Wall Drug)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Trekkie's paradise

Iowa is known for the "Field of Dreams, the Bridges of Madison County, and the only state where pigs out number people. However, what you may not know is that it is also a Trekkie's paradise.

This weekend we drove up to Riverside IA, to watch my brother graduate from U of I with a degree in nursing (I'm aware of the stereotypes). Anyway, we visited him at his home in Riverside. Riverside is a small little town outside of Iowa City too small for a McDonald's or Walmart. Infact,the only restaurant in town also has the only gas station attached to it. Riverside is also where they hold the annual "Trek Fest" (which my brother is the chairman for). Riverside has long claimed it is the future birth place of Captain James Kirk (even though it has never been mentioned in the "Star Trek" series). Riverside take's great pride in this since as you drive into town, you see the "USS Riverside" and signs leading you to the sacred spot where Captain Kirk is born. I thought this was so cool, I had to pull over and get pictures. I have to admit, that without this little piece of Trek paradise, Riverside would just be another little Iowa farm town.

Monday, May 01, 2006


It's been a few weeks since Monty has come back and I find it hard to remember why we left him out on a farm. He's settled down a lot since coming back. He no longer eats socks, or chews up books and toys. In fact aside from trying to "get it on" with some stuffed animals, he's a perfect dog. Woogy loves having him back and chases him around the back yard. Nibbles is just fascinated with him. Monty holds back from snapping at her even when she pulls his tail.
Recently we took Monty on the Shawnee Mission Park dog walking trail. It's one of our favorite hikes. It's the only area around where dogs don't have to be on their leashes. Monty always stays with us and doesn't run a head like all the other dogs. All the other dog owners always say what a cute and well behaved dog Monty is.
unfortunate I feel guilty taking Monty back from my in-laws. They were apparently pretty attached to him too. I guess I rationalize it by the fact that they never took him to the vet to get his shots updated, and they let him roam freely with a herd of angry horses. I felt that he wasn't going to last too long out there. I feel like I should offer to buy them another dog, even another sheltie if they want one. I do feel like I owe them, after all they did take Monty when I was too depressed over losing my job to give a crap about him. I sure don't want to cause a riff in the family either. Wah-Wah's side of the family is notorious for being angry at one another and not saying anything about it. Wah-Wah called the in-laws tonight and they just said they didn't want to talk about Monty since it was a "sore subject"

Monday, April 17, 2006

He's back

I'm a real sucker for my son. Ever since we left our dog Monty on Wah-Wah's sister's farm 8 months ago, Woogy has been asking when he's coming back. I've tried to explain to him that Monty belongs to his cousin's now, but he doesn't seem to understand. This weekend, when we were back out on the farm, Woogy again asked me "why can't we take Monty home?"
I started to think about the good times I had with Monty and taking him to Shawnee Mission Park dog walking trail and to the park. I decided I wanted the dog back. Wah-Wah's sister was relucant to let Monty go but did say it was probably for his own good. She was expecting the horses to eventually kill Monty because he keeps trying to heard them. She said that he's already been kicked a few times.
Monty seems to remember his old home. It's got to suck for him. He's used to looking at wide open land and now all he sees is our backyard. He seems to have settled down however. Woogy is happy for the time being and is very possessive of Monty.
Personally, I'm feeling a little guilty since my 3 year old niece was getting attached to the dog, but she does have 5 other dogs, so hopefully she'll get over it. 6 months ago, things were much different. Between a new born baby and losing my job, having a hyper little dog was just too much. Let's hope things work out this time

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I'm still pretty busy most evenings with progress notes, but I still like to tab into my creative side which is writing. I wrote this thinking of some of our pop ideals. So far it is untitled and is a work in progress

I heard a song
I heard the saddest song on WSUK
They play it every other hour
of every other day
Because the greaser DJ thinks it is fit
for regular air play
All your heroes are whores

I saw a movie
I saw the saddest film where everyone got killed
and the crowd went wild
I didn't understand the end
I couldn't spot the good guys
All your heroes are whores

I guess sometimes it rains from the sky
The statues all start to cry
Someone, somewhere writes another beautiful song
Anyway, I predict
the next meteor that hits
will be a monster
and I for one am looking forward to it

Monday, April 03, 2006

What's new

I finally have time to write a blog! After several weeks since my last blog, I finally have time to blog! So what have I been up to? A lot of working.
After working 8-9 hr days, I come home, eat, read a few stories to Woogy, and go down stairs and do progress notes till bed. What a life!
Well I do have a few moments here and there. I spend some time on itunes sampling lots of music. Since I've discovered the joy of getting my music off itunes, I no longer frequent CD stores (which are all but gone anyway). I've also recently indulged myself and bought a new PS2 game. I usually don't buy games and just wait for my birthday or X-mas for new ones. But with "Star Wars :Battlefront 2" I couldn't wait. Finally there is a good Star Wars video game for PS2. You can play in any battle, fly any ship, and play any character. I've been really enjoying this game.

Over last weekend, I remembered why I don't like the warmer weather--it means I have to do yard work. I spent nearly all day Saturday mowing the lawn, fertilizing it, pulling weeds and cleaning out the garage. This weekend I'm going to start putting wood finish on the fence. This will probably take the rest of the summer.
I also signed up for the Blockbuster Online thing so I don't feel so left out on Thursday nights. Seems to be a good deal, and it is a pain to go to the video store all the time. My first movies : "Proof", "the Man", and "Saved" have already arrived.
Also this weekend, I took Woogy to see "Ice Age 2". He's getting better at the theater and will stay in his seat most of the time. Judging by all the previews, it looks like a ton of animated movies are coming out this summer, so I'll end up seeing a lot of those. We also saw a trailer for the new "Simpsons" movie due out next year (another pivotal moment in my life!)

In case anyone is wondering, I haven't given up on the ATV dream. I spent a $1000 bucks the other week on car titles and a new set of tires, so I didn't feel like that was a good time, but my tax return is coming soon so maybe I'll see how I'm doing then

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

off the road

When I was 8 years old, I rode my first ATV( Back then, they didn't have four wheels, but three). I have wanted one ever since. Then a couple of years ago, we went to Omaha to visit Wah-Wah's uncle and he had a ATV and a lot of land to ride it on. I had the time of my life. I remember it felt like such freedom, to be able to go over any terrain. The truth is, I always love going off roding. Even now I spent my weekends mountain biking for the adventure of it.
Lately I've been strongly considering buying my own ATV. This has to do with the fact that I finally own a car that is strong enough to tow one. Wah- Wah knows that I have always wanted one, so she is being understanding. I've also justified buying one to Wah-Wah because I told her that someday Woogy may want to go with me on one (which kid wouldn't love to go off roding with their dad?). It's pretty "Wild At Heart" (John Eldridge would approve)
Anyway, last Saturday I went shopping for one and found one at a store in Bonner Springs that was exactly the price I was looking for (used, in good shape). The only problem with it was that I didn't know how to ride it since it was a manual. Up till now, I've always rode a automatic. I didn't even know they made manuel's. Once I got on the ATV, it was pretty clear to the salesman that I didn't know what I was doing. He was nice enough to invite me back this weekend to show me how to ride it.
I haven't made a final decision yet if I'm going to actually buy one. I still got to price trailers and gear (helmet). My brother in law has plenty of land and if I had an ATV I would actually look forward to visiting them

Friday, March 03, 2006

Tired all the time

Since I've been working at Comprehensive, I've noticed that I am suffering from ADHD. Lately, when I try sitting down and talking with my client's and their parents, my mind is wondering all over the place. This isn't a good habit for someone who is trying to counsel someone.
I think this is because I am tired all the time. My job is a hourly rate which pays top dollar for my education level in the mental health field. Basically, I get paid for the hours I work. In order to keep my job, I need to bill 60% (26 hrs) of my time. However, I'm welcomed to bill as much as 40 hrs per week (no more since they would have to pay overtime). Since I get no paid vacations, I figure that I need to bill as much as I can. This is pushing me to keep working and is tiring me out. Plus there is so much driving that I do on top of all that.
So far, my supervisor has told me that I'm doing well, but is concerned that I might burn out too. She really doesn't want me doing any work at home (which I do so I can have more billable hours during the day). Even my client's are noticing that I'm tired all the time. One of them is offering me "energy" drinks every time I come over. I even started taking vitamin B pills (which is helping)
Getting up in the mornings is always a struggle. Even after a shower and several cups of coffee, I'm still tired. Back when I supervised CM's I told them that you can't take care of others unless you take care of yourself. Some how I need to find a way to do that

Monday, February 20, 2006

2 shows in two weeks

I hope I never get tired of going to concerts. I went to my first rock show when I was 13 and have enjoyed ever since. Sometimes they are life alternating experiences (as in U2 in St.Louis and Coldplay at Memorial Hall). Though I wouldn't quite give last Thursdays performance of the Violet Burning on the level as U2 or Coldplay, it still was a great show.
Last Thursday night, A Forrest and I went to some family's house to see the Violet Burning play in their basement. Talk about a small venue! These must be really cool parents to host a rock concert in their basement. There were about 30 people that showed up. It looked like most of everyone knew each other and I was figuring that this would be some sort of a revival coming. But it never did. There was no hidden purpose to share the gospel. Even Michael Pritzel (the lead singer) usually spends 15 mins talking about the Bible and in prayer, was relatively quite about the gospel. He's usually a very good speaker and is really inspiring.
The Violet Burning instead played mostly songs from their new album which I enjoyed. A Forrest and I talked briefly to the guitarist and where pretty amazed that he just joined the band a day ago.
This week, on Wednesday, we are seeing Sigur Ros, a band I've really been getting into. In case you've never heard of them, they are a band from Iceland whose songs are very ethereal, and atmospheric. As far as lyrics go, they are either in Icelandic or nothing at all. This is good for your imagination since you have to listen to the music and make up your own mind. Their music is so unique, abstract, and complex that it will be interesting to see how they pull it off live. Their new album "Takk" is a masterpiece. I listen to it nightly before I go to bed and discover something new in the music every time.
I obviously have high expectations going into this show, so we'll see what happens. Two shows in two weeks is pretty good for me

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day has come and gone and like always, I don't plan things out in advance. A great example: I had a great idea a few weeks ago of taking Wah-Wah to the Nelson Art Galley for dinner, music, and to browse the art work. Unfortunately, when I went to get tickets, they were sold out.
Fortuately things worked out and we had a good Valentine's Day. This is actually our ninth one together (she remembered that, I didn't). I had the day off (since our babysitter wanted a day off)and I dropped off flowers at Wah-Wah's work. I couldn't see her since her company is working on the bird flu and it is pretty restricted. Afterwards, I took Woogy and Nibbles to the Wonderscope. Woogy always has a great time there as long as we don't go more than once a year.
After several hours of playing, we went to pizza street for Woogy's first all-you-can-eat-pizza buffet. When lunch was done, I stopped by "Need More Disc" and picked up the new Ester Drang and then took Woogy home for a nap. While Woogy slept, I spent some time with Nibbles and got her to go for her first crawl.
When Wah-Wah came home, we exchanged gifts. I gave her the first 3 Harry Potter books on hardback since she doesn't own them. Our babysitter did agree to watch the kids for a few hours tonight, so we dropped them off and went out to Outback Steak House. Calling ahead did no good since it was still an hour wait when we got there. We decided to order our food to go.
I'm glad we did that, because we had a nice quite meal at home by candlelight with some wine. I had Over the Rhine's "Drunkard's Prayer" playing which was perfect background music.
I'm glad things worked out. Next year, I just need to plan more in advance.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Speed trap

My job is pretty consuming. This is the first chance I've had to blog in a while. I've been getting home late and having to do progress notes for a while. As busy as I am, I'm not complaining that much. I do enjoy my job (somewhat)but it is starting to cost me.
I've noticed that the Missouri side of KC is one big speed trap. I drive all over the place from Independence to Grain Valley, and cops are everywhere pulling people over. I've been pulled over twice with in 30 days (that's not good). Both times were for less than 15mph over the speed limit and both times I was given tickets (which proves a fact I've longed believed: cops never cut me any slack). My second ticket, I had a hysterical mother in my car that I was trying to get to the hospital, but the cop didn't seem to care.
I admit that I've got a lead foot and my job puts pressure on to drive from one end of the city to another in order to get contact hours, but this is getting annoying. Up till now, I haven't gotten a ticket in almost 3 years, now I'm lucky to go three days without getting one. Well I've slowed down, but I'm considering a radar detector before I get another ticket

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Our new car

Today we bought a new car. A '04 Chevy Impala. I certainly didn't wake up this morning with the intentions of buying a Chevy, but I'm usually pretty quick to settle on a car when I see one that meets our needs. We found our new car at Carmax which I would recommend to anyone that has little kids. Woogy loved the play area for kids and was fine while we took care of business.
This is the first car I've ever owned that was designed for comfort. Every car I ever owned up till now has always been a compact (Nova, Escort, Civic, Matrix, Focus)so it is nice to ride in something that is actually comfortable. So why the Impala?
We decided we needed a bigger car with two kids. Wah-Wah decided she didn't want a mini van (why, I don't know). Reviews were pretty positive, both from consumer reports and Edmunds. Finally, I didn't feel like driving all over town looking for something better since I'm running out of time on my rental
As for our old car, the Focus, it was totaled out and the quote I got from the adjuster was much more than I expected. I wonder if he was looking at the right car? He appraised it for a thousand less then what we paid for it. I'm not complaining.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Found focus

After giving up all hope, the police found our stolen Ford Focus. Believe it or not, they found it in Wyandotte County (image that!). Sadly, I don't think it will ever be the same. I don't remember the three bullet holes in the driver side door and I'm pretty sure I had a rear window. Other things that seemed out of place are the cartons of cigarettes and cans of beer, not to mention the new odor of urine that wasn't there before.
Yes, someone had a good time in my car judging by the condom wrappers on the floor. But the lowest thing was they took Wah-Wah's Barbara Striensand X-mas album (which was in the glove comparment). What kind of animal does that? I mean it is bad enough they took the stroller (in the trunk), but Barbara?
The focus was towed to a body shop, and I'm pretty sure they will total it out. Now we just wait and see what the insurance company will give us on it. If it breaks $1000, I'll be surprised. We are deciding if we want to get a mini van or a more practical fuel efficient car. Honestly, I never saw myself in a mini van, but then again, I never thought anyone would steal Barbara's X-mas album.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


I've always loved irony. I think it has a way of making things funny that would other wise be sad. I had a ironic experience at work the other day. Most of the kids that I work with are good kids (just have messed up parents). The other day, I was talking with a client's mom who was feeling pretty down and was complaining that her son is a pretty awful kid (because he fights his siblings, argues a lot, etc). I told her that that wasn't the case and in fact, her son was a very likeable kid. I started going on about all the good things that I saw in her son (such as he has never been in trouble with the law).
At that very moment, I noticed a few squad cars parking outside her house. I told the mom that it was probably nothing, but I soon noticed that the police were talking with her son. He had been busted for breaking neighborhood windows. Even worse, the cops found him with some switchblades.
I felt like I had to eat all those nice things I had said about my client. I still believe that deep down, this is a kid who has potential, but I just found it pretty ironic that as I was telling this parent how great her son is, he is outside breaking windows.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

dad's retirement

Last Thursday, I drove up to Des Moines for my dad's retirement (I was in my rental which is a sweet ride. Still no word on the Focus yet). My dad is 63 but has apparently done well enough that he has enough to retire. When I first arrived at the Wells Fargo headquaters, all the staff was down in the cafeiteria saying good bye. I was pretty impressed with what people said about my dad. They called him a manager who took the time to walk the floor talking to everyone. I was surprised to hear that since he doesn't acknowledge me when I come home. Nor does he (or ever) seemed that interested in what is going on in my life.
After the long party, we went to a nice dinner at a country club with the executive board of Wells Fargo who continued the stories of my father which I never heard. My favorite was the one of him down in New Orleans foam dancing in a club with a few vice presidents. I had a pretty hard time believing this since he usually goes to bed around 9. My dad is obviously a different person at work. The party that I attended was apparently just one of 9 retirement parties he has. Right now he is in Oregon attending more parties. He plans to move there in few months now and spend some time making jewelary and wood carving. I wonder if he'll do more foam dancing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Need a new car

Wah-Wah and I had a pretty rotten morning today. Wah-Wah went out to start her car (our Ford Focus)to get the engine warmed up. Minutes later I heard her scream that someone had drove off with her car. I've told her time and time again, that leaving her car running in the driveway isn't a good idea, but I was still surprised that someone would take off with it. Of course, our nosy neighbor (who seems to see everything on our street saw the guy who did it, but didn't recognize him.
The police were called and they seemed to think that the car will turn up.

Hopefully it will be salvageable. Since our car was salvaged when we bought it, it isn't worth that much. If we have to buy a new car, we'll take a financial hit. I learned that our Focus seems to attract crime. Apparently our car was used in a high speed chase which originally got it in a wreck. The guy that sold me the car forgot to mention that part. As a precaution, I decided that it would be best to change the locks on our doors since the thief now has our house keys. Unfortunately, the bastard also has our stroller which was in the trunk. But the joke is on him, the only music in the car was Wah-Wah's Barbara Streisand and Johnny Mathis X-mas albums(so hopefully I'll never see those again)

Thank the Lord, Wah-Wah didn't have her purse or the kids in the car, only Barbara and Johnny where stolen. I'm beginning to realize that I might live in a high crime neighborhood. This is the second time in 3 years that something has happened to our cars. Maybe it isn't as bad as I think. After all, a free car with the keys is a tempting offer to anyone, but since our neighbor said that she saw the guy walking up and down our street a lot, makes me wonder if he was scoping the area out. Maybe we would be better living in the "Dot". At least there you kind of expect stuff like that to happen

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Now that the holidays are over

With the passing of New Year's, the holidays are over and 2005 is history. Frankly I'm glad 2005 is over. There were some good times such as U2 in St.Louis, camping, Oregon, and of course the birth of Nibbles. But there were some bad times as well--mainly 3 month's of unemployment and the uncertainness of what comes with it. Thank the Lord I'm starting the new year off with a new job which I'm hopeful for.

My X-mas was some what uneventful. This will probably be the last X-mas we celebrate in Des Moines since my parents plan to move to Oregon this summer. Wah-Wah and I gave Woogy his gifts before we headed up to Des Moines so he didn't get overwhelmed. This year we gave him plenty of new stuff for his train table and Bob the Builder figures. I gave Wah-Wah her favorite show on DVD- "Charmed" seasons 2 & 3. Wah-Wah surprised me by getting me a year subscription to "Q magazine". This is my favorite magazine from England that covers British music.

X-mas with my family was typical, we all watched my dad open extravagant gifts he bought for himself. This year he bought a ATV and a 1930 Model T. I think he misses the point of X-mas. He did give the wives jewelry that he always hand makes for them. I enjoyed watching him open the gift that I got for him- the "Retirement" picture from Despair.com. He got the joke. I did get a digital camcorders which is about the size of my camera. I can start making movies of the kids now.

Wah-Wah had to be back to work on Monday, so we left early. I returned a week later for New Years. Wah-Wah knows how much I hate staying home on New Years, so she was OK with me taking off back to Des Moines. I went out on the town with a couple of college friends to a few clubs. I think I'm getting too old for that sort of thing. Very little drinking was involved since I didn't want to chance a DWI.

The next day, my mom and I went to see the only movie I'll see this holiday season--King Kong. You gotta hand it to Peter Jackson, he knows how to put a human side on everything. He also doesn't over do it with special effects.

Monday, January 02, 2006

My Year in Review of albums

Here's my quick review of some of the albums I bought this year:

Coldplay: X&Y-- If you don't have this album buy it. Album of the year. Coldplay achieves the heights they had hinted at during their previous albums

Embrace: Out Of Nothing-- This album was actually released in 2004, but it took a year to make it to the states. This is another album you must own. In some ways they pass Coldplay with the heights they achieve in this album. It is the kind of album that will stay in your head long after it is done playing.

The Church: El Momento Descuidado-- acoustic album that catches the Church performing their best songs from their 17 album catalog. Very intimate performance. Great album to play to candle light. Beautiful "Van Gough" style art work on the cover

Billy Corgan: The Future Embrace-- Lots of old Smashing Pumpkins fans will not dig this. No real guitar work, mostly synth. So you got to give credit to Corgan for making an album that he wanted to make. You can tell this is the real Billy Corgan. He could have embraced any style he wants to, and choose electronic.

Depeche Mode: Playing the Angel-- Not their best, but it does grow on you. "Precious" is a great song.

Rob Dickinson: Fresh Wine For the Horses-- A late entry this year, but overall good. In case you don't know, Rob is the singer for the late "Catherine Wheel". He doesn't rely on the feed back of guitars like he did in Catherine Wheel, instead just good song writing.

Echo and the Bunnymen: Siberia-- It's OK. Not their best.

Erasure: Nightbird-- catchy pop songs. Very gay.

Fine China: Jaws of Life-- Stinks when you compare it to their last album "You Make Me Hate Music"

Garbage: Bleed Like Me-- Nothing on this album will surprise you, but overall it is pretty solid if your a Garbage fan

Gorillaz: Demon Days-- With the success of this album, I would be surprised if Damon Alburn reforms "Blur". Since Alburn is the brain in this one, he deserves credit for perfectly mixing Brit-pop with a little rap and trip-hop. Definitely one of the better albums of the year.

Joy Electric: Ministry Of Archers-- I'll come out and say it, Ronnie really dropped a bomb on this one. I don't mind experimenting, but this just doesn't do anything for me. Why Ronnie Martin wrote a song about a terrible archer, I'll never know. I found the songs on this album hard to relate too on any level.

Kevin Max: The Imposter-- This is definitely Max's best work--even if you like DC Talk. Max is really developing to be a outstanding solo artist.

Moby: Hotel-- Less electronic, but still really good. I appreciate Moby for adding a bonus ambient disc on this album

New Order: Waiting for the Sirens Call-- A pleasant return for New Order. The album drags in some places, but this band that has been around for 30 years still writes some of the best britpop around.

Oasis: Don't Believe the Truth-- Worst album of the year. A lot of the critics say that this is their best since their heyday, but I can only find one redeeming track on it. This should be a curtain call.

Over the Rhine: Drunkard's Prayer-- They can write some songs I really dig, and others I don't care for. This one is mostly good. Another good album to talk and listen to by candle light.

Sigur Ros: Takk-- surprisingly good follow up to their last album (). Sigur Ros has a very unique artist vision for their music. Clearly lyrics are not important here. Where Sigur Ros will take their music next is anyone's guess.

Starflyer 59: Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice-- A rather soft album, doesn't have the kick and distortion of Jason Martin's previous work. He can do better.

Tears: Here Come the Tears-- With the singer and guitarist of Suede reuniting, it promises a killer of an album. Unfortunately it doesn't deliver. Their is no trash, glam, or raw animal energy. Instead, it is the same "safe" sound that caused Suede to break up.