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