Manuka's Place

Saturday, August 27, 2005

My Life May Never Be The Same

My life may never be the same, and I say that not necessarily in a bad way. Jill and I attended an adoption orientation meeting today in Long Beach. This was the first official step in our process of adoption. We have been thinking about this for a long time now and we even went to a few other meetings but this time we submitted some paperwork and have the very large application in hand. The next step is to sift through the document and fill it out. Then we have to get fingerprinted (again) and get the house ready for our "in home" study. We will need to get a bunk bed and some other furniture before the study can be done. After that we have to enroll in a parenting class. (Sidebar: I think everyone should have to take one of these classes before they are allowed to have kids, but I digress) That class is 33 hours and takes place over 6 consecutive Saturdays. We will start that sometime in the next few months. Once that is complete we will be licensed foster care providers. Only then will we be set for placement. It take a while to get everything in order but we are looking forward to it. One other thing, if you want to babysit for us you will have to get fingerprinted. It's the law. First offense $500, second time, up to $3100. I think the $55 for fingerprinting is a better option. Let me know if you have a lead on a bunkbed and some other kid furniture. We will need it. I will post some cool websites for the county of Los Angeles Children and Family Services division in a few days so you can check them out for yourself. I am busy now getting some practice watching my nieces. Maddie is 2 and Sophie is 1. I always seem to be here when they need to be changed. Oh well, I can hear them both crying on the baby monitor. Gotta go.......

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The doctor will see you now....


O.K. So here is the scoop on my ankle as of right now. I went to the orthopedic specialist today and he took more x-rays and poked and prodded and found out that I chipped a bone in my ankle. Now that was on the side that was not giving me much trouble. So he ordered an MRI for next week to check out what is going on with the other side. He said there could be some ligament damage there. So the prognosis is surgery for sure to take out the bone chip and to fix anything that shows up on the MRI. I am not looking forward to that! I also had him look at my knee that I hurt way back in high school. It has been bothering me more and more lately. He also ordered an MRI for that one and hinted at surgery to repair a weak patella. For now I am walking with one of those cool black boots that keep your foot stable. I am stylin' now!!

In other health related news, I had a CT scan of my head on Monday (yes I still have a brain). It was ordered by my ENT doctor. It turns out that I have a deviated septum and that may be the cause of my intense snoring (just ask Jill) and breathing problems at night. I go back next week for a follow up for that one.

Man, I am way too young to have this many things wrong with me. I talk like I am 70 something. Yeah I take seven pills a day, see the doctor at least once a week etc. Man this sucks! What is going to be like when I am 70? Oh well, I guess you play the hand you are delt.
I will update later in between doctor appointments, naps, and games of cribbage. Until then...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Red Sox Nation = Raider Nation


Found a cool new website that I have spend some time on in the past couple of weeks. It is called ThatWasRandom.com. I stumbled upon it while searching for that famous Randy Johnson Fastball vs. The Bird video clip. This site has some video clips and pictures of some of the most bizarre things. Well being a fan of AFV (that is America's funniest videos for all the non-geeks out there) this site was just up my alley. I enjoyed the two legged dog who walks upright and the redneck rollercoaster just to mention a few. Enough of the plug.

I made it to an Angel game this week. I went on Wednesday with my good friends Rich and Heather. We got cheap tickets and then I got "upgraded" when I saw my ex-coworkers from the stadium. We sat on the field level out by the left field foul pole. You know there is something about the pace of a baseball game that lends itself to good conversation. We talked about all kinds of things, sports, friends, family. It is nice in our busy age to just sit and talk to one another. Unfortunately the Angels lost to the stinkin' Blue Jays but the real treat was to hang out with good friends. This is the weekend that I am sooooo glad I am not working at the stadium this year. The Red Sox are in town and talk about a bunch of rude, selfish, myopic fans. The Red Sox games were always the worst to work. I am sure it will be at another level this year since they won the world series last year. Now I don't have anything against the Red Sox team per se except they are playing my team. And I like the city of Boston, but the self proclaimed "Red Sox Nation" has a lot common with "Raider Nation". You know what I am talking about. The fan who believes that his teams poop don't stink and that everyone is out to get them, and F-U if you don't like their team. So needless to say I will be thinking of my friends who are working at the stadium this weekend. I just hope none of them take a bottle in the head or worse. I on the other hand will be enjoying my last weekend of the summer before the onslaught of reading comes. Have a great weekend. Take care and God Bless!!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Just your standard update


It's back to reality for me. I spent most of last week trying to get back in the swing of things at work. Being out of the country for a while does weird things to you. I find myself trying to translate everything I hear. I guess that is a good thing but it definitely means that I am not fluent in Spanish. At any rate I was in charge of all four services this weekend. I did the whole shebang. I wrote the liturgy and did the sermon. It was the first time I had done that for the morning services and I was a bit nervous but it went well. At one point during the 10:45 service I totally lost my place in the sermon and spewed out about 2/3 of a sentence and just said, "I don't know where I was going with that one, let me start again." It was scary but I heard from many people that they would rather here that than a bunch of nonsense.

This week finds me finishing up paperwork from the Alaska Mission trip as well as working on the presentation we are giving to the congregation, planning my fall Bible study (on C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), planning a new young adult and DINK's (double income no kids) fellowship group, and gearing up for school. Speaking of school I am taking three classes at Concordia this semester (Christian Ethics in Contemporary Culture, Greek II, and Pastoral Theology). And I am taking three classes at Cypress College (Intro to Computer Design, Beginning Voice, Beginning Piano). I will spend Tuesdays and Thursdays at school again this semester, leaving the house around 8:00 AM and returning around 10:30 PM. I am ready to get back into the swing of things. That's about it from here. Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mexico Pictures

I am safe and sound back in the states and am glad to be home. My trip to Mexico had its ups and downs, but I learned alot and will use what I learned for years to come. Here are a few pictures from my trip. (These ones are from my camera, not snatched from the internet.) If some of the pictures don't make sense, look back at the previous posts from Mexico City. Enjoy!
















In front of my School.






















The Symbol of Mexico City- "The Angel"

















Standing on top of the pyramid of the sun, looking at the pyramid of the moon at Teotihuacan.

















The freakin' sidewalk that ate my ankle.

















The BUS!!!!! Broken of course.

















A beautiful San Carlos Sunset.

















The Catherdral in the Historic Center of the City.

















The National Palace and the crowd of people in the Historic Center.

















Traffic, on a good day.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Diving!


Well I take off for the States tomorrow. I hope it takes less than 36 hours to make the trip, but I am flying America West so there is no guarantee. A few thoughts about the dive trip. After the hell of travel, the trip was spectacular. The weather was good for the most part except for some thunderstorms and the bugs didn't bite too hard. We stayed in the new Casa de Schulz in San Carlos. You can visit my friend Ron's blog for some pics of the house. It is beautiful with a great view of the marina. We took the boat out for five days and saw some great sites. The only bugger was the copious amounts of jellyfish in the water. I got stung several times by those bad boys. Not a fun experience. I was pretty well protected except for my face and I am still showing the marks of one sting on my lip. With that said, it doesn't get much better than hanging out with some of your best friends and eating some great grub and diving in a wonderful location. The beer was cold and the tacos were spicy. I look forward to next years trip. See you in the states soon! Hasta luego!

P.S. The picture above has not been retouched or photoshopped in any way (really!!)

Friday, August 05, 2005

Take me out to the ballgame!!


As many of you know I am a big baseball fan and my favorite team is the Los Angels/ Anaheim/ California/ whatever you want to call them Angels. I even got a job at Angel Stadium so I could be close to the game and watch without the high-price of season tickets. So you can imagine that it has been pretty rough for me this month being in Mexico City and away from Major League Baseball. I have been trying to keep up via the internet but it is not quite the same. Here in Mexico City we get ESPN Deportes, and a few times a week they show a MLB game. It is of course in Spanish and is always an east coast game but I watch anyway. It is a good way to work on my language skills. Well on Wednesday, to my surprise, they showed the Angels vs. The Orioles from good ol' Angel Stadium. I was in heaven. The announcers could have been speaking French and I wouldn't have cared. It was great to see the boys pound out some hits and get the offense working again. It was hard to stay up past midnight to see the end of the game but it was worth it. Thank you ESPN Deportes you made my week!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Bus Ride from Hell !!!


The great bus adventure was truly an adventure. I called for a cab from the apartment using by broken Spanish skills and it actually arrived and did not cost me too much ($10 US). I arrived at the bus station and checked my bag. I had about an hour to kill so I got a snack and read my book for a while. When I went through the gate a saw my bus I knew that I was in for a long trip. There were all these nice new shiny deluxe busses parked at the station and then there was my bus. It was smaller, older, and dirtier than all the others. It was like the ugly duckling, but there would be no happy ending here. Well I took a deep breath and boarded my home for the next day and I was greeted with a rather pungent aroma. This was the freshly cleaned bus. Oh Crap, what have I got myself into. Well we left on time and that was the last time we would be on schedule the rest of the trip. We fought the traffic out of the city and headed north. About two hours into the trip we ran into our first bit of trouble. The bus was having a hard time climbing up the hills. So we stopped and the two bus drivers got out and banged around for about 20 min with no luck. We proceeded to advance very slowly for the next two hours. We finally arrived at our first stop and the driver said we had a 20 min. Break. Well about one hour later I saw about 10 guys standing around the back of the bus trying to figure out what was wrong. They sent for a new part and put it in and we were off again about 2 1/2 hours later. With all that work the bus was still not woking properly. Luckily the roads were rather flat and we made some good time. That is until we turned onto this two lane road to head to this small town. Since we were already about 4 hours behind schedule we ran into major traffic on this two lane road because of a local fiesta that took up one lane of the road. It took us about 2 hours to go about 5 miles. Finally we arrived at the station and once again the bus driver said 20 min. Well about 45 min later we hear that they are bringing us a new bus. An hour later (mind you it is now about 1 in the morning) the new bus arrived.

This bus was bigger and nicer and didn't smell as bad so that was a positive. We finally get on the road and we traveled for about 10 min and the bus stopped at a taco stand where the driver and a few people got out and ate. This was after we had been at the station which had its own taco stand for about two hours!!!! I was pissed!! We finally got going and I tried to get some sleep. I would sleep for about 15 min. at a time and then I would wake up with some pain in my leg or my back or my backside. I dozed until about 6 AM when we got stopped for a state inspection. We got going again and about 10 min later had to stop for a federal inspection (this turned out to be a pattern as we were inspected about six times). Each time took about 20 min. We finally get to Mazatlan at noon. The driver said 20 min, and 50 min later we finally left. I was supposed to be in Guaymas by about 2:30 local time and it was already almost 1:00. I checked my map and figured out we had almost 11 hours left to go!!! The rest of the day was a series of inspections, 20 min breaks that lasted 45 min, and very bad B movies being blasted on the TV. I think there was a Steven Segal movie, a Jet Li movie, a Jean Claude VanDamme movie and many others. Some were in English and some were dubbed into Spanish. They were all terrible!! I brought enough food along for four meals and I was going to need more than that so I bought some tacos from one of the many vendors who came on board during each stop. There were selling all kinds of stuff including food and drinks and all sorts of knick-knack crap. My tacos were pretty good and only cost $10 pesos ($1 US). I bought a phone card at one of the stops and made a call to the house in San Carlos to tell them that I would be late. I finally arrived in Guaymas during a heavy downpour with some wicked thunder and lightning 36 hours after I left Mexico City. A fitting end to a hellish experience! There was a lot more that went on during this trip including the Mexican immigration officers coming on board and the three hours that 10 people did not have seats and had to stand (there were no chickens or livestock aboard that I could see). Needless to say, I sucked it up and Jeff and I flew back to Mexico City. That was much better. A two hour trip and they even fed us some breakfast. What a trip. The diving in San Carlos was great! We had some great weather most of the week. I will post more about diving later. See ya soon.