Diving in Agat  

I finally got to go diving again today! Andrew, Crystal, Chad, Luke, Lee (Lee has over 3000 dive hours!) and I went diving today. It was great! We did two dives. (Andrew & Luke didn't go on the second one, they kayaked instead.) Crystal's parents are here visiting and they walked the beach and collected shells.

We got to our destination and as we were unloading our gear, I dropped 6 pounds of weights on my toes. That HURT!!! We suited up & headed out. I scraped my knee on the coral a little in the shallow water. I had troubles going down and they added more weights. I ended up with a total of 12 extra pounds!

Once I got down and was able to stay there, I did well and had a great time. I did fall on the reef a few times and get scraped up. It stings!

Crystal's parents left early and went to our apartment and started dinner. We had ham, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, crescent rolls. Andrew, Matt & Megan came over for dinner as well. I told them if they keep cooking like this for us, they can stay longer than two weeks! :-)

I was so wiped that I took a 30 minute power nap after dinner while the others played games.

Click here for pictures of our dive. Click on each of the pictures for a larger view.

p.s. Mom, I didn't see any sharks. (But Lee said we might see some little black or white tipped reef sharks, but they're harmless.)


Guess what I got for Christmas?  

A tan! :-) I spent Christmas Day on the beach with friends. We ate, talked & I played in the water with Brenna (she's 1 1/2). At first she didn't want to have anything to do with the water, but by the end of the day, she was putting her face in and having a great time! (you can see pictures of Christmas Eve & Christmas Day on Chad's photo page. In case you were going to ask, I can swim. The floaty I'm using in one of the pictures is to make it easier to just float around with Brenna!) At the end of the day, we watched the sun set over the ocean. Pictures do NOT do it justice! They are so much more beautiful in person.

On Christmas Eve, we went to the Collier's house for dinner & gift exchange. We played games and I even got to try out their Nintendo Wii. That was a lot of fun! The adults played baseball, bowling, and even tennis doubles. After that, I went to Filipiak's to see what was in our stockings and we exchanged our gifts for each other.

On Christmas Day, I slept in, packed my stuff for the beach and headed to Filipiak's. I hooked up my computer & webcammed with my family so we could see each other open gifts. After that we headed to the beach & spent the day there. I tried something new with my burger. It was good! I marinated it in a teriyaki type sauce and added grilled pineapple, cheese & mayo. MMmmmm...

Today I slept in again, webcammed with my family again since the extended family was over, went to work for awhile & now I'm just being a bum because it's Christmas break! :-)


Shout out to Jamie!  

This post is for Jamie P. She was hollering at me today because I haven't updated my blog in quite awhile. True. I have been incredibly busy lately getting my Christmas shopping done, packages shipped out, working, Christmas cantata, Jeremy & Luke's Christmas concerts, Christmas parties...

We had an 4.5 earthquake yesterday afternoon. Just a baby one.

Speaking of baby, I saw Aayla on the webcam yesterday. She's getting big! And she smiled at Aunt Jenni! She's such a cutie! If you want to see recent pictures of her, check them out here: ertls.blogspot.com

It's Christmas break now - hooray!


I'm home!  

I got home this afternoon, did a little unpacking then headed to church. After church we had a pie & ice cream social. I came home and started laundry & worked on a couple other things. Now it's time to get the laundry out & head to bed. I'm beat.

Hard to believe that I was in Japan just this morning. Seems like forever ago already. HopefullyI can post some pictures soon.


On the road again....  

We headed out Saturday morning to try to get on the Navy base. (Ann has access.) Due to some paperwork problems we weren't able to. Oh well. We headed out for CostCo. I think we spent 3 hours there because Ethel only gets to go every few months.

After that we went to Queens Square in Yokohama and did a little shopping and had dinner. Around 9 pm, we headed back to Ethel's. It's a 4+ hour drive, so it was late by the time we got back. We unpacked the car then packed up our suitcases and headed to bed for a few hours shut-eye before heading out to the airport.

Ann has Elite status, so her ticket was automatically upgraded to Business Class. I wimped out & upgraded with miles. It will be worth it though! I'm pretty tired & it will be more comfortable for sleeping. Coach is pretty booked up for the return trip, so there probably wouldn't have been much chance of me snagging an extra seat for sleeping room.


Day 2  

We drove about 4 hours to Yokohama today. We saw Mt Fuji on the drive. That was cool! We took lots of pictures in the car and stopped and took more at a rest area.

I learned a new word today - toilet. That's an important one to know! I also recognize the Kanji for Exit.

Dinner in Chinatown in Yokohama. We wandered around there for a little bit, then headed out to meet the missionaries in Yokosuka. We found out Mark & Stephanie are working with the church Leo & Rosie used to be at! It's a small world!

After dinner we went to the 100 Yen store. It's like an American dollar store. They have some really nice stuff there!

We're at Mark & Stephanie's house now. It's a traditional Japanese house. We're staying in their extra apartment off the back.

Tomorrow more shopping in Yokohama, then back to Ethel's. Sunday morning we head back.


I took candy from a stranger!  

We SLEPT IN today! (Of course, we stayed up late, so I'm not sure I got a whole lot of extra sleep!) Ethel made waffles and bacon for breakfast. Mmm.... We stopped at the convenience store to grab lunch on the way to Ethel's community choir practice. I had a teriyaki burger and warm lemonade. (Sounds gross, but it's good!) The choir sang Strauss songs (originally in German) in Japanese. I recognized "The Laughing Song", but I know it in French. The choir members were very nice and many of them greeted us in English and we carried on some short conversations. One lady even gave us candy.

After practice, we hit the mall. I picked up a few gifts there and saw some cool stuff. (Especially in the Technology area! Japan is a great place for a geek like me!) After the mall, it was off to supper. We ate at a yakiniku restaurant (cook your own meat over a grill built into the table). I even tried cow tongue. It really wasn't bad!

I've learned a couple Japanese words - "yes" and "thank you"

I'll have to post pictures when I get back. The comptuer I'm using doesn't like my digital camera. :-(

Driving on the left hand side of the road of the road is messing with my head!



We arrived in Japan last night about 7pm. Hwajeong and her mom were on the same flight as us. We were surprised to see each other! We're also flying back on the same flight on Sunday!

We went to Denny's for a late supper. Denny's in Japan is nothing like Denny's in the States. (Or even Guam) I didn't see any cheesburgers on the menu. (Come to think of it, the sign outside said they served them, but I missed that on the menu!) I wasn't very hungry, so I had a cup of corn soup and a roll. It was good!

Ethel lives in a little town outside Nagoya. Today I think we're going into Nagoya to see some sites and shop, go to choir practice with Ethel and whatever else we feel like doing! We'll eat Thanksgiving dinner out somewhere. (Dad- today is a Thanksgiving holiday here too! It's called Labor Thanksgiving Day. They give thanks for all the work done throughout the year.)


I'm going to need my winter clothes!  

I'm going to Japan for Thanksgiving! An opportunity came up for me to go to Japan with a friend & stay with a missionary in Nagoya. I was able to get a free ticket using airline miles, which made the trip affordable! (otherwise it would have been about $450) We're going to go to Tokyo for a couple days while we're there. I can't wait!

I checked weather.com and the average temperatures there are 60/42 during that time. Brrr...


Bryn's 8th Birthday!  

Today I took Bryn to lunch for her birthday (it was actually on Friday). We went to T.G.I.Friday's to eat (Chicken Strips with Honey Mustard and fries), then on to Cold Stone for ice cream! She got Italian Lemon Ice Sorbet with marshmallows!


Outrigger Races  

Yesterday I made it down to Tumon Bay in time to catch the last few heats of the Outrigger Canoe Tournament. On the way back to my car I stopped to watch a few people windsurfing. That looks like fun & I'd like to try it sometime!


Extreme Makeover Home Edition - Oct 29  

I can't wait to watch this next week! (Monday at 8pm here on Guam, though!) This house was built for the Kibe family and is in a town not too far from where my parents live. I went to school K-5th grade with Shawn Kibe and know at least one person who got to help with the house!


What I've been up to since I've been back on island  

Work keeps me busy! I'm back mostly working in Computers again. I've had a couple big projects to work on since coming back. Lots of thinking "outside the box", research, orders and other things. Thursday the power was down for 5 hours. No big deal, we have generators. Oh wait, our internet service provider doesn't have backup power. No internet for 5 hours! Aaaack!!! A lot of the work I needed to do that day required internet. Oh well...I just shifted and did everything I could without internet connection then when it came back up, did all my online research.

I helped Luke and Chad get their blogs started a couple weeks ago. They both picked it up quickly and set photo albums up as well.

I'm having Aayla withdrawls. :-(

Monday I went for a walk on the beach. Due to some storms out in the ocean, the water was high and a little rougher than usual. No big deal. So I thought. Heading back to my car, I was walking along a narrow strip between the ocean and a wall. A wave came from nowhere and was up to my knees. Still no big deal. For about 1 second! Then the water hit the wall and came up over me. My whole left side was soaked and my hair even got a little wet!

Tuesday we had a ladies' meeting. We had snacks, sang songs, heard a testimony and had a prayer time.

Wednesday night I had nursery at church. We had 5 babies and they were all quiet! Two of them even slept. It was an easy night!

Thursday night I watched Jeremy & Luke. Mostly to help Jeremy study for a test. I hope he did well! I even learned a few new things along the way.

I tried a new food - Nutella. I had seen it in grocery stores for years, but never tried it. A friend I eat lunch with kept bringing a Nutella and peanut butter sandwich in her lunch. I was intrigued and took the plunge. It is delicious! It's a hazelnut/chocolate combination. It reminds me of a Hazelnut Snickers bar. (I've only seen those in Japan.)

Today was Saturday, so I slept in! Hooray! I was a bum most of the day, then decided I needed to tackle my "to do" list. I've gotten quite a bit of it accomplished. That's a good feeling! Still more to do, but updating my blog is something I wanted to get done, so here I am...

Next week we are having a church summit with Jerry Sivnksty. He'll be doing meetings Sunday through Thursday, so it's going to be another busy week! But it will be good!

Oh, we had a couple days of sunshine this week! It's rainy season, so it's been quite cloudy/rainy since I've been back. I read today that Guam averages 80 inches of rainfall per year. Iowa average rainfall is 35". Guam average temperature is 81 degrees. Iowa average temperature is 48.5 degrees. (brrrr.....!)

Well...I need to get back to my "to do" list, so I'm signing off for now.


World Business Class  

When I booked my ticket using frequent flyer miles, the only seat I could get from Japan to Guam was a World Business Class seat. It was NICE! Larger seat, footrest, real blanket, my own video monitor with choices of what to watch, food on real plates with real silverware...this is the life! Oh yeah, I booked upper deck too, so there were only 12 seats in my section!

My seat was in the red section of this plane. First window above the last "T" in Northwest, but on the other side of the plane. See my photo album for more pictures.

Because I was on an international World Business Class ticket, I got to go in the World Business Club in Narita. That was nice too! US power outlets, so I could use my laptop. Cappuccino machine, pop machine, snacks, etc! All free! I only had about 20 minutes there. My plane was delayed, so I could have stayed longer, but I didn't know until I got to the gate. Oh well. It was nice while it lasted!


Lost in Translation  

I stayed at the Holiday Inn again in Narita. The hotel I had planned on staying at was $600/night when I went to book it! (If someone wants to donate to the cause, I'll stay there next time. Email me!)

This warning sticker was on the tub. It was so funny, I had to take a picture of it! I think most of the English meaning was lost in translation!


Minneapolis to Japan  

To readjust myself back to Guam time, I tried to stay awake most of the flight to Japan. I napped for only a couple hours of the 12 hour flight. I read a book, listened to my ipod, watched a dumb movie. So dumb I don't remember the title was or what it was about! As we neared Japan, we hit some good turbulence! I had my seatbelt on, but came up out of my seat a little. It happened twice in a row and people started screaming. One of the stewardesses later said she had gone up about 3 feet! That was the extent of our turbulence other than just a little bumpiness here and there.

Oops! This somehow got stuck as a draft & didn't actually get posted!



Early Friday morning we headed to Johnson's Bakery for doughnuts on our way out of town to Chicago. Heather & I slept part of the way. (I think my trip can be summed up by these three words: Eating, Sleeping & Shopping! If you want to alliterate it - Supping, Sleeping & Shopping!)

We really didn't go into downtown Chicago, but stayed in the Schaumburg/Wheaton area. Again, we shopped & ate! We went to Wheaton to visit Steve, Yoko & Aya. That was fun! My aunt and uncle stayed at their house, so we all went out to breakfast one morning. Ask mom about the bunny! ;-) We did more shopping at Woodfield Mall (and had to go to the basement at Macy's for awhile because of a tornado warning!), IKEA, Streets of Woodfield, Lands' End, the Container Store... Before we left, we ate at Macaroni Grill. Heather & I split a Tuscan Chicken Pizza. They accidentally made a different kind, so we got our pizza free! :-)

On the trip back, we wanted to eat at Fuddrucker's in Davenport, but it was closed by the time we got there. We ate at Red Robin.

Monday, Heather and I shopped more! Then we had to pack. :-(

Tuesday, my family all came to say goodbye to both of us at the airport. It was hard, as usual! Heather and I got on the plane and headed to Minneapolis again. We parted ways with tears in Minneapolis.


Back to Iowa  

I think Heather & I slept and talked on the trip back to Minneapolis. It was mostly uneventful until we got to MSP. I ran into a guy I knew at our gate. We caught up on life & what his family and some other mutual friends were up to. (BTW, his wife got to work on the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition house I wanted to go see!)

As we were waiting for our plane, they announced the flight was overbooked asked for 2 volunteers to wait for the next plane. Heather & I jumped at the chance! That is kind of a long, comical story, but they couldn't count and we were able to get on. As we get on, the stewardess said she miscounted again. Only one of us could get on. We opted to both stay, but one take the free ticket. So we got off. Again, they had miscounted and we both ended up with free tickets! Hooray! (BTW, they let 2 guys on that wanted to fly standby & gave us free tickets! We didn't care, but it did make us go "hmmm....") I had my laptop with me, so we rented a movie and headed to a gate that was closed for construction. (The construction was outside, so we could go sit in the empty gate.)

We made it home safe and sound a few hours later!


Greenville, SC  

Early Monday morning I headed out to Greenville, SC to stay with Heather and get some shopping done for Harvest while she was at work. I got on the plane & they told us we were overweight and 7 people had to get off. (Was that a FAT joke?) ;-) Turned out to be a paperwork error and we could all stay on. (I was hoping for a voucher for another flight!)

I arrived at the Minneapolis airport safe and sound. Just as we were about to pull up to the jetway, the plane stopped. We had a malfunction and had to be towed to the jetway. Better on the ground than in the air! (As one of my pilot friends says, "If you walked away from it, it was a good landing") I had some time to kill, so I wandered around the airport, then headed to my gate & took a nap!

I got on the plane to Memphis and slept most of the way. I'm pretty sure they pump sleeping gas into the cabin. I slept on just about every flight! I had an hour layover in Memphis. I checked the board to see if there was an earlier flight I could get standby to Greenville. There was one leaving in just a few minutes, so I headed to the gate. It was at the other end of the terminal, of course! I had an hour to kill, so I started walking anyway. As I got closer, I heard "Last call for Greenville!" I figured I'd never make it, but I kept going anyway. The next announcement, they were paging ME for the flight! That was my original flight. I never did figure out what happened. I guess my plane from Minneapolis got in late, but they didn't announce it when we got off. And when I checked the board & added up the time to Greenville, it was earlier. I forgot about the time change. But it still doesn't explain the hour layover that turned into just a few minutes! ;-)

The flight from Memphis to Greenville was uneventful. I slept again!

It was SO good to see Heather again. We're such good friends that we haven't seen each other in almost a year and half, but that doesn't matter...we just pick up and keep going as if we were never apart! We went to dinner that night with the Woods and Aunt Shirley. It was good to see them again and meet Aunt Shirley. I had talked to her on the phone several times, but never met her in person before.

While Heather was at work, I did some shopping for Harvest. Things we need, but _________ (can't get, don't have selection, too expensive...fill in the blank) At my first stop at Target, I filled 3 carts to overflowing! I also went to Wal-Mart and two other Targets! It was great fun! After Heather got off work, we did some more running and a quick sightseeing trip.

On Wednesday, I went to BJU to have lunch with Heather. She gave me a tour of the Dining Common where she works. It's huge! It's the 2nd largest in the United States. We had lunch & I ran into a few people that I knew. Later that day I went and saw Dan Wooster. He teaches computer classes at BJU. I met him & his family when we came to Guam at the same time for a missions trip.

Wednesday night we went to the brand new Red Robin. Long story short, it was training night, but they let us in anyway! We got $30 worth of food for free! I think dessert was included too, however, we were too stuffed to eat it, so we left! The only thing better than going to one of your favorite restaurants, is getting your meal free too!

We left early Thursday morning to head back to Iowa. The trip to Greenville was too short! I'll have to stay longer next time.


Trip to the States update  

Well, I've been back on island almost a week and a half. It's been busy & I haven't had a chance to update with much about my trip. So here's the start!

Thursday Mom, Dad, Mike, Kris, Aayla & I went to the local fair. I haven't done that in YEARS! Mom had entered a couple things she made for Aayla. She won a blue ribbon and a red ribbon! Go Mom! We went to the rodeo that night. Aayla slept through most of it.

It was a great trip! On Saturday we got together with both sides of the family at Doughy Joey's Peetza Joynt. (At least the ones that live in town or close enough to make the drive!) Then everyone came over to Mom & Dad's for dessert. We had some good laughs and it was nice to catch up with everyone, see how the kids have grown and meet some of them for the first time even!

Sunday we went to church, then went to Aunt Louise & Uncle Gary's for lunch. It was nice to relax and hang with the cousins.

Early Monday morning I headed out to Greenville, SC. Check the next post for that trip!


The word for the day is "torrential"  

It has been raining since I got back. (Actually Kelly told me it started awhile before that.) I've seen the sun shine for a short time one day, I think. Friday morning I was getting ready for work & realized it was pouring down rain and blowing sideways! I had left my umbrella at work, so I got out the poncho. At least part of me stayed dry!

Today Kelly & I ran to the grocery store. It was raining when we left, but not too hard. By the time we were leaving the store, it was a torrential downpour! We tried to wait it out, but it didn't look like it was going to stop anytime soon. We made a mad dash for the car. After the short run, the bottom of my pants were soaked about six inches up from all the puddles!

We met Chad & the boys for dinner at KFC and we all froze because we were so wet and the air con was running. We turned the heat on in the car for the trip home! :-)

After dinner, Kelly, Jeremy & I ran a few errands & got even wetter. As we drove home, we saw a police car blocking off the middle lane of our side of the road. We couldn't figure out why until we got closer. A manhole cover had come off and water was gushing out of it! The next one we passed was still intact, but water was gushing out of it as well. I guess it's been raining a lot!


How adorable!  


Back home  

I arrived back on Guam safe and sound. I had a great trip to Iowa/South Carolina/Illinois! It was VERY busy, but fun! I'll hopefully post more about my adventures soon! Aayla is cute and I had to spoil her rotten while I was there since I probably won't see her for another year. (Although she's only 2 months, I don't think she realized I was spoiling her!)



The flight from Japan was long, but fortunately, I slept for most of it! There were 2 empty seats between me and another passenger, so I put my bag in the seat next to me and my pillow on top of that. That made it semi-comfortable for sleeping!

I arrived in Minneapolis about noon, cleared customs and checked my bags back in. My flight didn't leave for 5 more hours, so I checked about getting on the next flight home that was leaving in about 45 minutes. I was told I wouldn't be able to make it. I went through security again, then decided to check the departure board and see what gate the next flight was at. I found it and headed that direction. I checked at the gate about getting on and they said "no problem!" Hooray! I called my family and told them I'd be home in a little over an hour and boarded the plane in about 10-15 minutes.

My parents, my aunt, Kris and Aayla all came out to meet me at the airport. (Mike had to work.) Since I switched planes at the last minute, my luggage didn't make it on my flight. Aayla is adorable!

We went to Texas Roadhouse for supper and then did some shopping at a REAL mall! We stopped by the airport and picked up my luggage. Both bags made it!

Jet lag hasn't been too bad. I was tired, but stayed up until about 11:30, so I'd hopefully sleep all night. It worked! I slept all night and woke up at 9am, when my alarm went off. The room I sleep in is pitch black, so I knew I'd never get up if I didn't set an alarm!

Today I think we're going to do some more shopping. Shopping is going to be the theme of my trip! ;-) We're also going to the fair this afternoon and the rodeo tonight.

Hopefully on Saturday we're going to the "reveal" of an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in a nearby town. I went to school with the guy that the house is being built for! I thought it would be kind of neat to see & when I mentioned it to my family, they thought it would be neat to see too!

The weather has been nice. I thought I would freeze to death, but it hasn't been that bad. I just make sure to keep my jacket with me at all times. Or hold Aayla. She keeps me nice and warm.



I have arrived safely in Narita! I had the whole row to myself, so I slept most of the way on the plane. I woke up for breakfast. Fried rice and something they said was beef. It wasn't too bad.

5 hours to kill in the airport here, so I came to one of my favorite spots - Yahoo! Internet Cafe. Free computer acces. The one drawback is that a lot of the web pages show up in Japanese, so I either have to go by memory or guess! The keyboard layout is slightly different as well, so that slows me down some, but hey, at least I won't go into withdrawals without internet!

Now I'm heading out to kill more time - get a massage, wander around the terminal, find the observation deck and go outside and see how cold it feels to me! It's 68 degrees. I have been living in 85 degree weather for almost a year and a half now, so it's going to feel cold!


counting down the hours!  

In 5 more hours, I'll be heading to the airport! I checked in my bags tonight. I love checking in the night before! No lines and it saves time in the morning! (I just hope I didn't pack something I'll need in the morning!)

From the time my plane leaves until the time I touch down in Iowa, I will have been traveling for almost 27 hours! Whew! I'm tired already.


name game part 2  

So far I'm leaning toward PC, which I suppose could also stand for "Pet Critter" ;-) That name wasn't suggested on the blog, but Heather thought of it while we were webcamming the other day.

I stopped by my desk for a few minutes yesterday (I spend more time away from it than at it!) and good thing I looked before sitting in my chair! I would have sat on PC! I tried to get him to crawl on my hand, but he just sat there. Scared I suppose.

5 more days, then I leave for the States! Look out Texas Roadhouse and the shopping malls!


The name game  

This is my new friend. The baby gecko lives on my desk & the windowsill of my new office in the server room. He needs a name. I've thought about calling him IP. Does anyone else have a creative "geek" name for my gecko?

This picture of him next to my cell phone shows how tiny he really is.

Every once in awhile he darts out from behind something or jumps from the window to my desk and startles me!


New Office  

This is the view from my new office. You really can't see it in this picture, but I can see the ocean from my window! Posted by Picasa


A ring tone I don't want!  

I ran across this article today in the NY Times about a new ring tone teens are using. The premise behind it is the tone is so high pitched that older people can't hear it & they can get text messages in class.

I listened to the tone and it is ANNOYING! Guess I'm not old yet though because I can hear it! :-) I can also tell if a TV is on down the hall even if the volume is off because it emits a high pitched noise as well. http://tinyurl.com/qvgx2 Below the picture is a link to hear the tone and a chart to see if your ears are "younger" than you!

Leave me a comment and let me know if you can hear it or not!


the "bug"  

A nice little bug has been passed around the staff the last several days. I was the lucky recipient today. Ugh! I didn't sleep well last night & didn't feel "up to par" this morning, but figured it was lack of sleep. I worked for a few hours, then had some time I felt I could take to get away and try to sleep so I didn't get sick. It didn't work. Maintenance was at my house replacing our ceiling fans, so I went to my friends house and napped on the couch. I didn't feel any better after a 1 1/2 hour nap, so I called & said I wasn't coming back in to work. I stayed up for a little while, then napped again. Woke up from my nap and well...I'll spare you the details! Let's just say I felt really bad bringing a bug to their house, so I disinfected everything I had touched!

I don't know when the last time I had the flu was! So long ago, I think it might have been in elementary school! Must be new germs out here!

On a positive note - for anyone counting it's 28/33!


All clear given  

The governor has declared a Condition of Readiness 4, which means everything is back to "normal". Still cloudy & rainy, but the storm has passed!


Condition of Readiness Updates  

We've moved up to a Condition of Readiness (COR) 2! Campus is secured. The storm still hasn't been named, so it's not a typhoon yet. Here are some links to watch the storm.

(Watch our webcam until it gets blown off the building or the internet connection goes down!)
http://www.goes.noaa.gov/guam/guamloops/guamvs.html (If you have Java installed, you can see this one. Click on the Start button.)
http://www.npmoc.navy.mil/jtwc.html - Click on the blue links to the right of TC Warning Graphic & 3 Hour Updated Position Graphic
http://www.guamhs.org/main/ Department of Homeland Security

Tomorrow is supposed to be 35-40mph winds. If you're reading any of the stuff on links above and care to convert knots to MPH, 1 knot = 1.15077945 mph

Just as I tried to post this, the power flickered for a few seconds and knocked my DSL out for awhile. Since then, the storm has been named. That makes it an "official" storm. It has been named "Saomai". That is the Vietnamese word for Venus.

As I'm writing, we moved up to a COR 1. It's still not a typhoon, but a tropical storm. Lots of wind & rain.


I didn't mean THAT MUCH rain!  

My last post was titled "Bring on the rain!" So...today we are in Condition Readiness 3 for a tropical storm! We have to batten down the hatches and we're expecting up to 6" of rain and very high winds over the next couple days.

Going to go start working on preparations. Filling up water, do a load of laundy( in case power goes out for awhile), close typhoon shutters, eat all the ice cream in the freezer (bummer, I don't have any!)

Mom- just in case you're worried...it's not a typhoon yet! We get everything ready just in case! I've been through this once already since I've been here.


Bring on the rain!  

Tonight after work I did some work on my car. Nothing major, just stuff I hadn't been able to get to in awhile. I put on my registration sticker and changed my wiper blades. Bring on the rain! I want to try them out! :-)

Today was sweltering! As soon as you stepped outside, you were dripping with sweat! Ugh! Thank goodness for air con!

Still no uniforms today. :-( Keep praying!



New pictures of Aayla are posted on my brother's website. Follow the link on the right-hand side of the page. She's a cutie! (BTW, Mike & Kris- you need to post MORE pictures! Or we need to webcam soon!)

Work has been busy. School starts in 1 1/2 weeks. More things came in yesterday on the container, so we were busy putting school supplies on the shelves and everything that goes with that. Many hands made light work & we got a lot accomplished yesterday & today! I have a great staff working for me! Unfortunately, we don't have the new stock for our uniforms yet. There have been some holdups and they're not here! Please pray about that! We are completely out of stock on a lot of things! (It's a really, really long story. Don't ask! The short version - the vendor promised them to us a week and a half ago, but they're still not here!)

Staff inservice started today. My former boss, Bobby Wood and his dad will be here doing sessions. Looking forward to seeing both of them again! (To the rest of the fam - have fun with Grandma Flash!)

41 days until I go see Aayla (and the rest of my family)! I booked my ticket to South Carolina last weekend. I'm going to spend a few days in Greenville with Heather, then we are flying back to Iowa together. I was having a very hard time finding the same flight she had booked awhile ago. (I wasn't able to book at the same time as her.) That meant we were going to fly to Memphis separately (planes leaving 5 minutes apart) or she could try to get standby on my flight. I called her to check on a couple other details and her flight had been changed to the only one I saw available! We were able to book seats with each other on all our flights! Hooray!

I'm a total geek! I love technology. Heather tells me she's not sure if I would be able to survive without a computer, pda or phone. Probably not. Over the weekend I did something pretty cool. I hooked up a cordless (bluetooth) headset to my computer and called Heather's cell phone from my computer (which was wireless as well)! It was weird to think that this little piece of plastic and electronics was able to hook up to my computer, which dialed a phone in the States! What would Alexander Graham Bell think!?


Pictures of Aayla Olivia  

Aayla and the doll Grandma made for her.


It's a Girl!  

I am now officially an auntie!

Aayla Olivia Ertl
July 21, 2006
1:15 PM CST
8lbs 10 oz 20 1/2" long

I am eagerly awaiting pictures! Congratulations Mike & Kris!


This one is for the Woods!  

Robin said the kiddos might forget their "aunt Jenni" if they didn't see any pictures of me, so this one is for them! Give them hugs & kisses for me!

Just for the record, I don't sit on the beach all day! But this is the beach where I go walking. I start before the palm tree and walk all the way around to a hotel behind the tree. (Almost to the one to the left of it, but that is up on a cliff.) It's about 4 miles round trip - a good workout!


We went diving today!  

It was great! I had to get past the mental part of diving - your brain tells you that you can't breathe underwater. I was breathing and relaxed, but my head kept telling me to surface and breathe "real" air. First you work on skills in shallow water that you can stand in. While the instructor was testing the others, I kept working on getting over the mental part. Eventually it just "clicked". (I had done a one day "discover diving" course a couple years ago as an intro & had the same problem, so I knew I'd eventually be fine!)

Once we finished practicing our skills in the shallow water, we headed out into deeper waters. We dove about 20 feet down. It is an awesome experience. You are basically weightless and you see a whole different world underwater. We saw parrotfish, puffer fish (but it didn't puff), flounder, picasso triggerfish, lizardfish, butterfly fish, and other ones I don't know the names of yet! No, I didn't find Nemo yet, but I'll keep ya posted! ;-) It's like swimming in an aquarium!



A few of my friends and I are taking diving lessons. We did all our class work a week ago and tomorrow we're getting in the water! We were supposed to do it last week, but the weather in the morning was nasty - raining buckets and very windy! Which I was just slightly grateful for - I was SUPER exhausted last week and we got to go back to bed & get more sleep! I'll have to post tomorrow after lessons!


hit the beach!  

Tennis shoes.....$50
Walk on the beach at sunset for exercise.......priceless!

Last night I went for a walk on the beach. It's a 10 minute drive to get there and the view is great! All the hotels there have outdoor restaurants and it was suppertime, so it smelled great too! I was racing the sun hoping I could finish my walk before the sun set. I did! I watched the sun set, the silhouetted paddlers in their outrigger canoes, people walking their dogs, kids playing in the sand, fishermen on their cellphones, snorkelers, tourists, locals... It was great exercise and you can't beat the view!


Lazy Saturday  

Some friends and I were supposed to head to the ocean today. Got up early at 6:45am. (On a Saturday! Ugh!) It was pouring buckets and pretty windy too. We checked the weather and it was supposed to continue all day. Bummer. We cancelled our plans and went back to sleep for another 3 1/2 hours. Guess I needed it! It was a pretty lazy day today, then a friend called & was having trouble with her wireless connection at home. I walked her through several things, but nothing was working. I told her I'd be over in awhile to take a look & see if my computer would connect. It takes about 20 minutes to get there. Last time I was there was about a year ago, in the dark and someone else was driving! I found the house. (Just as I was going to call them for directions!) Thanks Dad, for your sense of direction & ability to remember places we've only been once! :-) After much trial and error and testing, the wireless still didn't work. I finally resorted to completely resetting the access point. It worked! After that I headed to Filipiak's house. Grandma & Grandpa (Kelly's parents) left this morning :-( I enjoyed seeing them again! Kelly made potato soup for supper. It was delish! It's kind of funny. On the way over I was thinking that a nice warm bowl of soup sounded good! After supper we had more laziness and watching some HGTV and Food Network. Then some ice cream with strawbabies. (Strawberries, but when Luke was little, he called them strawbabies.) Now I'm home & should go to bed now! Good night!


Beach bum!  

I'm feeling better now. Still get somewhat tired, but was back to work on Thursday and Friday. This morning my friend Christina, my roommate Crystal and I went to Ypao Beach and did some snorkeling. I took some pictures and a video. (I have to figure out how to post the video later.) They're not the greatest, but they're the best I have so far. For some reason, I just can't get the fish to pose for me. They kept moving around!


Hangin' out  

Not much going on here. Been parked here on the couch for the better part of 2 days now. Still not sure what is wrong with me. I've been breathing OK & sleeping well. I am just mostly feeling really tired & worn out. I think some of it is side effects from the meds I was on. I finished them on Monday, so hopefully I will start feeling better soon! If not, I'll have to go back to the doctor. :-( But so far, they haven't really been able to pinpoint anything.


One year!  

Today marks the one year anniversary of my arrival on Guam! Wow! I can't believe it's been that long already! In some ways it feels like I've always been here (not in a bad way, just "normal" & that Stateside living was a lifetime ago!) In some ways it seems I just left the States.

80 days until I leave to go visit my family/friends in the States!


To move or not to move...that is the question!  

Well, I'm sure some of you read my post about moving. You can forget about it. On Thursday I was asked if I wanted to stay in my apartment. Apparently "the powers that be" had been doing some rethinking (maybe they felt sorry for me trying to move while being sick & extremely busy?!) and reworked some things & I could stay in my apartment if I wanted to! Hooray! Now, I have about 1/2 of my belongings packed up and the entire apartment is in disarray from it, but it's easier to unpack what is boxed up than to continue packing, move across the street and find new places for all my stuff! While the apartment is all torn up, I'm turning it into a "Spring Cleaning" too!

I am temporarily displaced for a couple days. My new roommate painted her room yesterday & with the breathing problems I've been having I didn't think it would be healthy to sleep here with all the paint fumes! Not a big deal. I'm staying with my old roommate in her new apartment. (She was mostly moved already and had made plans with her new roommates, so she decided to go through with her move.)

This last week I went back to the doctor (Urgent care. I can't get in to see a "normal" doctor for a month!) He is the same guy I saw when I went in for bronchitis, so I was able to bring him up to speed on what had happened since I saw him 2 weeks before! I did well for a couple days after the ER, but then had 3 bad attacks in one night where I woke up & couldn't breathe. The inhaler helped, but it's hard to go back to sleep after that, so I wasn't getting much sleep! He upped my medications a little and thinks if we can give my lungs some rest, they will heal on their own & this won't be permanent. It seems to be helping. Last night I slept through the night!


Asthma, the ER & roaches  

Over the last weekend, I suffered two attacks of not being able to breathe. The first time it was in the middle of the night and I thought it was random related to being sick with bronchitis the week before & not quite better yet. The second time, I was sitting watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and all the sudden I couldn't breathe. Kelly & Christina took me to the ER to get checked out. (Kelly had been off island and wasn't supposed to return until 4:30am the next day. I had been staying at her house with her kids while she was gone, so was thankful that God had allowed her to come home early because the second attack happened at her house while she was home!)

The ER here is very different than in the States. Kelly & Christina were waiting with me and Security periodically came through and kicked everyone out who wasn't waiting to be seen by a doctor. Now, the waiting area was getting a little full, but if a sick person came in, they always gave up their chair and stood. But then the guard told them they couldn't stand and wait either. They had to go outside. One of the other patients explained to us that here on Guam, if someone goes to the hospital, the entire extended family goes too! We quickly realized that many of these people had at least 4-5 relatives or more waiting with them! The waiting area seats only about 15 people, so no wonder they don't let everyone in! It definitely a new experience for us!

I am now on some medications to help and an inhaler if I need it. I also have been doing some research on asthma triggers. (warning, this next part is kind of gross!) One of the main triggers listed is cockroach droppings. Yuck! We do get roaches here. (I always thought of them as being in dirty, unkept places, but not here on Guam. They like clean houses too!) Roaches are so disgusting! And they're fast little boogers too! So now that I know this could be what is triggering my asthma, I'll try to take more steps to prevent it. Including a treatment for allergies!


Weekend of Fun!  

Chad & Kelly were off island for a few days. I decided to have fun with the boys and have a mini-vacation of our own! We started off the weekend by going to Outback for dinner. This is Luke enjoying his pasta. (Sorry, no picts of Jeremy - the camera battery died!) Posted by Picasa

Below are a couple shots from our balcony. Visit my Photo Album to see more pictures!


Middle of the night excitement!  

I woke up at 3am with a coughing fit. (I'm recovering from bronchitis.) At 3:10am, I heard a screech, screech, CRUNCH! I looked out my window and saw a truck had hit the utility pole across the street. The driver desperately tried to get his truck to move, but it was damaged too badly and wouldn't budge. For two hours there was commotion out there - various people trying to help move it, tow truck hauling the vehicle away, police, etc. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep!

This morning I took a look at the damage. The wooden utility pole was split in two and the telephone pedestal (grey box that sticks up about 3 feet out of the ground) was completely destroyed. He had mowed it down. Amazingly enough, we still have telephone service!

The utility company came out today and replaced the pole with a concrete one, so we were without power for a little while today, but we have generators on campus, so we kept working!

Here's my take on the situation - 3am, driver hits utility pole 8 feet from the road (on a straight stretch). Driver is gone when the police show up. I'm guessing he was drunk!



A lot has been going on the last several months. Every summer Harvest ships 2 containers (a container is basically the trailer of a semi) from South Carolina with help from Men for Missions. I have been doing a ton of work to get things ordered and on the container. It is quite a process to coordinate getting supplies & equipment to the container within a window of about a week and a half! (Some things have to be ordered months in advance, but timed to arrive during the "window".)

In addition to the container stuff, the Uniform Store (which I manage) had to be completely packed up and stored in another location. A crew of people came and helped me pack everything up and get it moved. (We're talking thousands of shirts, shorts, skirts, pants, etc.!) The next day the Maintenance crew knocked down a wall and began remodeling. They redid the ceiling, repainted everything, installed new carpet, cleaned the air cons. It looks wonderful now! I'm very excited about doubling our floor space and having room for the customers to move around! And we now have a WINDOW! It was such a depressing, dreary place before. Unfortunately, I didn't take any "before" pictures & I don't think anyone else did either. I'll try to post some "after" picts when we get it finished!

So, now that it's remodeled, I have to get everything put back together! I couldn't see how in the world I can get everything done before school starts! I have to keep reminding myself that God is in control and take it one day at a time! (I think I'm a slow learner!) God provided - Christina has graciously volunteered to help me out. I did some of the layout of what goes where & she's been stocking the shelves for me. I've felt a little guilty about not helping very much, but I've had last minute loose ends to tie up before the container ships next week. And I've been out sick on top of that! (Not a good time to be sick, I feel like I am wasting so much precious time! But again, I remind myself that God knows what I need to do and how much time I have to do it!)

So, the moral of this story - stop stressing and worrying about everything you need to get done! All my tasks looked huge and insurmountable at the beginning, but God has worked everything out His way and in His timing. Ways I hadn't even imagined.



No, I'm not moving back to the States! I'm moving my blog. I started a blog a little over a year ago on MSN. I'm moving my blog here. I like the flexibility blogger offers. If you haven't seen my old blog, you can check it out here: Ertlnet on MSN

I'm also moving out of my apartment and getting a new roommate. We aren't sure of the exact moving date, but somewhere around the 20th of June. I'm moving across the street, which is kind of a pain to move such a short distance, but after moving halfway around the world, it should be cake!



I've been sick off & on for a couple weeks. On Thursday I had an especially bad coughing fit, so my boss said, "Take the rest of the day off and go see the doctor!". So I did. He tested for strep - negative. I got an antiboitic and some cough medicine. He said I may have a touch of bronchitis.

After taking the first dose of cough medicine, I noticed a difference. I was still coughing some, but it wasn't as hard/severe. I slept pretty well last night and planned to take Friday off to recoup and just work on things from home. (I have plenty of catchup work to do on the computer!) I did sleep in some and hung out on the couch, resting & working. I did go in to do a couple things on the server that needed to be done. (Our other network guy is in the States right now, so I had to do it.) I ended up working for about 2.5 hours and it was past time to take my cough medicine! I am now home resting again. I think I'll take a nap now!


The countdown!  

100 days until I see my family in the States!
104 days until I see my best friend in the States!

By the time I go home, there will be a new member of the family! My brother & sister-in-law are expecting a baby mid-July! I'm excited to be an aunt!


my nicknames  

2 posts in one day! Wow! I think that's a record for me! I've been really busy, so I don't get much time to post. But I'm staying up late tonight to do an airport run.

My first nickname is Jenner - given to me by Joshua when he was little. He couldn't say Jennifer. His way to say my name was "Jenner". It stuck. His family calls me that. My family calls me that and my best friend calls me that. Josh just graduated from high school I feel old!

My second nickname is ertlnet. Kelly gave it to me because I have a knack for being able to find just about anything on the internet. I love the challenge. One of my favorite things to do is search for the best price on things.

My third nickname is is Queen of Search. Mr. Bob gave me that one. Also because of being able to find things on the web.


Random thoughts  

Life is busy. We have a couple containers shipping with supplies for next year. One shipped at the beginning of May. The second is leaving South Carolina mid-June. We have a lot of work to do and coordinating to make sure things arrive at the loading dock at the right time - not too early and if they're too late, they'll miss the boat. Literally! :-) I'm almost done with most of my big orders.

My birthday was yesterday. It's the second time I've celebrated here. The first time I was here visiting. Happy Birthday to Nadine too! My parents called in the morning, my brother called later & I webcammed with my sister-in-law for awhile. I was a bum for the day and went to Filipiak's for dinner. Then Kelly & I went to Tamah's house to "see her kitchen". She had just finished painting it a hunter green. It looked great, but I later found out it was all a ploy to get me over there & we went out to TGI Friday's for dessert. We took Brenna along too. She turned one on May 31st. She's a cutie! She just learned to walk this week & is practically running now!

School has been out for a couple weeks now. We have since emptied the uniform room and it is being remodeled and expanded to twice the size we had last year. Now I have to figure out how to rearrange everything! Maintenance finished the remodel. It looks great! They redid the ceiling, knocked down the wall, gave the whole place a fresh coat of paint and new carpet. Now we have to figure out how to arrange our existing shelves to make the best use of our space and make room for a couple dressing rooms.