Monday, April 18, 2005


Originally uploaded by ojane.

Of all the cathedrals we toured, this one - with the suspended twig cross - made the strongest impact. Had no choice but to pause and worship...

Link to view the rest of the photo album:

Saturday, April 16, 2005


All in all, it's been a good night:
1. Got some more meds for my blocked ear problem.
2. Watched Ocean's Twelve with Drew and pointed out scenes, saying, "see all those bikes? It was exactly like that."
3. Found a place to share photos. So, gulp, don't judge me harshly - but I started a new blog:

If you're interested in viewing 527 photos, click on the link. Then sit back and watch. It'll take awhile to get through them all. Maybe grab a coffee. Or brew yerself a tea? Definitely go to the bathroom first. Find a comfy position so that your bum doesn't go numb.

The sad discovery I made was that somehow along the way, all my photos from Rouen, Rothenburg, Luzern, and Pisa got lost. How does one lose digital photos? Sigh.

Clearly I'll have to go back.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

You know... that place...

“Where are the spaghetti noodles?” Clint asked as he came to the table for supper.
“That’s chilli. ‘Member you were craving it on the weekend?” I replied.
“It’s not spaghetti sauce?
No. it’s not.”
“Oh. You didn’t wreck it by adding beans, did you?”
“No dear.”
“You should learn how to make chilli with steak meat.” Max suggested.
“Steak meat?”
“Yeah, like we had in Europe.”
“We had chilli with steak meat?”
“Yeah. Don’t you remember?”
“At that place that wasn’t a hotel.”
“Which city?”
“You know. The one where we had to clear our plates to the kitchen.”
“And we played swords. And chased Mr. Bresett.”
“You know. At the place where you had to stand to use the internet.”
“When I was in that phone booth?”
“No. The place where the Billy Idol look-alike came in. And that other freaky guy with the blonde messy hair.”
“Oh. That place. We ate supper there?”
“Yeah. Don’t you remember? We had chilli made with steak meat…”

Clint interrupts us, “Were you guys even on the same trip?”

That’s the best part about traveling. Everyone comes home with totally different memories.

Monday, April 11, 2005


When I signed up to chaperone the grade 9 Humanities Europe Trip, I did so with a set of unrealistic expectations.
Firstly, I thought my acceptance to join in the fun would be enough incentive to lose 50 pounds. It wasn’t.
Secondly, I thought I’d blog and post pics daily from cities all over Europe. THAT sure didn’t happen.
Thirdly, I thought I’d be sharing the whole experience with Max. That we’d “do” Europe together. Huh. That was so NOT his plan.

He was going to Europe with his friends. His mom just happened to have the same travel itinerary.

Eventually, the other kids who had parents along on the trip, made a point of sitting beside their mom or dad on the bus. Or choosing to share a table with them during a meal time. Or hang out in their bedroom to visit before bedtime. Or something.

Not Max. Not once.
He was not going to be a ‘mommy’s boy’. If we talked at all on the trip, it was in response to my efforts. And even then, he wasn’t too communicative.

Uh huh. I had hurt feelings.
Was he embarrassed with me?
Did he wish I wasn’t along?

Oy vey. In addition to worrying about chin hairs and greasy bangs, I struggled with being ignored by someone I love.

By the halfway point, must’ve been in Italy somewhere, I think I chose not to care. No point getting all worked up over something I have no control over. My hair grows thick and fast. And like a teen, gets greasy every 14 hours. And, if he has issues about hanging with his mom, well… that’s his problem. The other kids didn’t shun my company.

We’ve been home now for two weeks. The first week was an absolute write off. We were both too sick for words. So we didn’t talk for 5 straight days. When Clint came home from Palm Springs and asked Max what the best part was, his comment was “Nothing sucked. It was all good.”

But yesterday, he expressed a thought. On our way to Cultus, we drove through Sardis. As we exited off the freeway, we passed Cottonwood Corner Mall.
“Everytime I see those glass pyramid things on top of buildings now, I think of the Louvre.” he said with a sigh.
“I know. Me too.” I replied.

My heart did a somersault. We have a shared experience. And we talked about it.
Really, it takes so very little to make me happy.

Tonight, just before he went up to bed, he took a peak at what I was working on.
“Oh, mom. That’s a good one. You’re going to save it, aren’t you?”
“Probably. I like the way it turned out too.”
“I think that was my favourite spot. I wished we could’ve stayed there one more day.”
“Really? It was such a small island. I think we saw all there was to see.”
“No way. When we had our free time, Jordan and I went exploring. There was so much more… if you follow those little alleyways and go up all the stairs…”

He was commenting on one of my photos. And remembering Mont St. Michel.
And in my heart I know. Even though he didn’t choose to sit with me on the bus, we shared that trip. We saw the same things from two different points of view. And for years we’ll be able to say, “Remember in Europe when we saw…”

Saturday, April 09, 2005

I think I have to go back...

I wish that I had not brought a 10 day old camera to Europe. We (the camera and I) were not friends yet. We were still in that “getting to know you” stage. And I have the pictures to prove it.
Oh my goodness.
I’ve received 8 “Jane – photo” CD’s from Ray. Each CD contains 250 – 300 shots. Plus I have 200 pictures on my camera, waiting to be downloaded.
That’s like, uh, well 8 times 300 equals two thousand four hundred. Plus another 200 is twenty six hunnnnerd pictures.
My computer is not happy. Even with the extra memory I purchased last weekend (the cost of this Europe trip just keeps climbing and climbin’) to help with the processing, we continue to have issues. I am told this is because I chose to take pictures using the highest resolution, which resulted in mega-sized files.

Life was so much easier with my plain ol film camera.

So, back to me looking at 2600 pictures, slowly, one at a time, in between frozen screens and error messages…
I’d say half of the images I recorded are crap.
Out of focus, blurry.
Incorrect exposure, too dark.

But the most troublesome trend I’ve observed is that far too many of them seem to have been taken as I am in the process of falling over. Dozens and dozens (probably a couple hundred by the time I’m through) look like the camera holder (me, in this case) is a bit tipsy just as she snaps one shot after another. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is supposed to be the only leaning structure on this trip. But you’d think that half the cathedrals and bell towers in Europe were reading to fall based on my photos.

Clint says not to worry. That can be fixed up in Photo Shop. It’ll likely take hours to painstakingly clean up all the messes on all my photos.

Can’t I just go back and try again?
I’ll read the camera manual before I go this time.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

According to the People Magazine...

(Shut up) Jesse James and Sandra Bullock were at the Anne Frank House on Saturday March 12.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Cough cough

Recovering from our little adventure is taking far longer than I anticipated.
My ear is still crackling and spitting like bacon on a grill. My cough is persistant and offensive to everyone living in my home. And my throat? Raw. Talking takes too much of an effort, so I haven't bothered.

Max has personally used up 4 mega-sized boxes of kleenex. Some of the used tissues have found their way to a garbage can.

And our inner clocks are totally off kilter. We're waking up WAY to early (long before the birds) and are fast asleep in the afternoon.

Could be jet lag. Or time zone changes. Or Spring Break. Or the amount of drugs pumping through our veins.

Whine. Whine. Whine.

Got 3 of my photo CD's back from Ray. Probably 1 or 2 more to come.
My computer informs me though, that there is not enough virtual memory to open or view my pictures.
So what does that mean?
I've got hundreds, probably thousands of pics that I can't look at?
I've deleted every single unnecessary file on my harddrive, trying to make room... but I still keep getting the same message.

New technology.
Shoulda just brought my ol' reliable film camera. My scrapbook woulda been done by now.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

We're back

Max and I are at home. He's in front of the TV. I've planted myself in front of my computer. We are both craving Sushi from our local sushi maker, so that'll be dinner tonight. I can hardly wait to go to bed. My own bed. By myself.
Last night Lori and I had a room with bunk beds... a double on the bottom with a single on top. We both looked at each other in dismay. Neither of us felt like hauling our lard butts up a ladder.
"You think" she asked, "We could share the bottom one?"
Thus far on the trip, when sharing a bed, it's been a king. This was definitely going to be cozier.
"Yah." I answered. "It's a short night anyway." (We got up at 3:45 am)

I'm coughing like a smoker and 1/2 my head is fogged up from the air pressure thingy that happens when you fly with a cold.

But crap man, that was an awesome adventure. I'd do it again. But I'd bring along a personal servant who'd carry my bags for me. And I'd splurge and get a private room now and then.

As soon as I get my phots back from the teacher who saved them on a laptop, I'll post them along with a few memories. Kinda like an on-line scrapbook.

Thanks for sharing the journey with me. I appreciate your prayers and comments.

Drew... it was SO good hearing your voice today. I need a hug, buster. Glad you are having a good time. I'm counting down the days til I see you again.

Clint! Heard the good news! You're on the video team at Stillwood this summer... I'm unbelievably proud of you. Congratulations. There are a couple messages from Gilbert on voice mail. Are you still on for Friday?

Take care,

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Munich Internet Cafe

My internet connection curse continues to follow me around Europe. The other night in Salzburg there was a computer in the lobby with an internet connection for the guests. I generously allowed all the other adults to use it first while I showered and collected my thoughts. When I finally got my turn I typed like a madman for 25 minutes. When I hit the "publish and post" icon, the internet connection failed. My time was up and all that I had typed was lost. I coulda cried. But didn't... too tired to summon up the energy to break down.

But today, my first day off on this trip, I'm feeling emotional. Got a head cold, well the early stages of one.Head ache, body ache, chills, sweats, plugged up nasal passages...reading your comments is making my nose run and eyes tear up. Try to imagine a room filled with computers and German men. Not a good place to cry.

Hope the worst of it will be over before I board that plane.

Anyway, I bought an hours worth of time...
Re: Florence - Saw "The David"; all 17 feet of him. Glorious. It depicts David immediatley after slaying Goliath. He has a warrior look in his eyes, not neccessarily victorious or proud of himself, but of a man still caught up in what he had to do. Something sexy about that. He had just accomplished a great feat of intelligent and strategic combat with an air of innocence.
Still, I'd rather imagine David doing his thing with clothes on.

We left Florence and drove to Venice arriving at the boat dock at 9 pm.
We took a vaportta - large water taxi - into the city core, and then carrying our day packs, walked through a maze of alleys and side streets, over a curved canal bridge, through a restaurants lobby, into a hallway, through their kitchen, into a courtyard, around a corner, into a partially renovated TINY lobby, before we were welcomed to follow the owner up four flights of stairs to the attic where a lovely room with three extremely small single beds and a private bathrom with all new plumbing was waiting for us.

By the time we fell into bed it was midnight.
At 4 am the fishermen started setting up their stands in the world famous fish market. They sang, called out to each other and were basically much too cheery for that time of day. Our room with it's shuttered window wide open was directly above the activity.I was annoyed.

Four hours later, after breakfast, our group went and checked out the market. I stomped over there, prepared to carry my grudge right up to those fishermen.
But something about their friendly faces, and the joy that was bubbling from their very being as they sliced, set out and fileted their catches was infectious.
They catch and sell fish in a market where fish has been sold for 1000 years. They were happy. Content. Doing what they do best.
Could learn a thing or two from those guys...

Yesterday we were in Salzburg and went on a tour of an old salt mine, where they had been mining salt for 2500 years. The history of this place is mind boggling.

The rest of our group is doing a walking tour of Munich right now. Iäll join them in a few minutes to go through a TECH museum.

Unless our hotel has a connection, this'll be it from me from Europe.

To Arrow: I definitely won't be in on Monday. After that we'll see... Jer - did L like the card?
Justin - git yer stuff offa my desk boy...
Carson - Jon ran out of money a week ago. Lori lent him 35 and Craig B lent him 50. He was unable to get anything out of his bank account.

Mom - see you on Sunday
Lynn, thanks for praying. Jenny is doing well.
Clint and Drew - miss you guys like crazy.

Note to all - I haven't done any shopping here. Hope your're not expecting souveniers. Some of the girls on this trip have run themselves ragged buying gifts for lists of people, from piano teachers to aunts and cousins...

Love ya,
Take care

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Grouse Grind x 5

I did it. I hiked 16 kilometers. With a back pack.
The kids did it 20 minutes quicker than I, but that is so not the point.
Go and google Cinque Terre and do an image search. Do it now.
I have a few minutes to wait.

THAT'S where we are. THAT'S what we did.
It was an overcast day so the photos will be not so spectacular. But the memories... they are vivid and bright.

Lori hiked a portion of it too.

Some of the kdis just got back from a swim in the Mediteranean. Max forgot his towel so he didn't go in. But Nate and Jon did.
Jenny didn't.
I was the official photographer of the event.
Have I mentioned that I hiked the Cinque Terre?
It is so beautiful here.

One weird thing, there is an abundance of three-wheeled trucks here, similar to the Cushman we have parked at Cultus. Drew, I took a bunch of pictures for you. Those lil trucks look so cute darting hither and yon on these steep, crooked streets.

I'm feeling so blessed to be in this place.
Jenny and I chatted on the trail, and she, like me, gets overwhelmed with God thoughts on this trip. Maybe it's because we are experiencing everything with all 5 senses - this isn't a spiritual week at camp, it's a whole body immersion into the wonderful things God has done.

We're in the home stretch now... Venice, Florence, Salzburg, Munich, then home.
Will be nice to sleep in a room by myself.

And use a normal toilet. These are freaky,

Take care,

Monday, March 21, 2005

Cinque Terre

We're in Italy. ITALY. I love this place. The hostel we're staying in used to be a nunnery, and then a hospital. Very cool. The Mediterranean Sea is 2 minutes away. We had an awesome authentic Italian dinner last night...

We'll be hiking the trail between the 5 villages today, starting with a train ride to get us to the furthest point. I've volunteered to 'bring up the rear' so that I can go slow and enjoy my surroundings. Plan to take a couple hunnerd pics.

My knee has got some flex today - thanks for your prayers. Teachers are all feeling better.

The hostel we were in the other night had internet access, but BLOGGER was down, so I did a quick post in the comments section.

We (our bus) passed a Ferrari on the freeway yesterday. Jus sayin'...

Gotta go. These hostels have rules about internet use... there is only a 4 hour window of opportunity. I feel like ... well never mind.
Gotta go -

By the way, I've made it possible to comment on this post, you don't have to go back to that first one,

Take care,

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Love these internet cafes

Just went through the Heidelburg Student Prison. Heidelburg University is the oldest university in Germany, its been around since the 1300s. If you were caught being drunken and disorderly, or if you were caught chasing piglets down a lane, your crime would be punishable by a stint in the prison. Most prisoners signed their names on the wall, proud of their time spent there. Ancient grafitti. Fascinating.

Prior to that tour, we snuck into a Jesuit cathedral and listened to the choir and orchestra rehearsing for upcoming easter services. Moving.

This is a quaint, safe-feeling little town. The kids have been given the freedom to shop and eat on their own today... they all are frantically purchasing souveniers for family members back home. I so hope no one is expecting me to bring back tee shirts, mugs or spoons... my spare time is spent journalling and snapping pics.

Yesterday we went on a tour of the Heidelburg castle. We had a Canadian tour guide who was funny, articulate and informative. Why didnt I take History in grade 12? Its amaziing. Jon checked out the guide for me. "Hey, Mrs.O - hes not wearing a ring. Hes pretty decent looking. And hes obviously a leader of sorts...."

If you have nothing to do, do an internet search on the origin of the BC City of Prince Rupert...yup - some Freidrich guy here married a Elizabeth Stewart from England when they were both 16. They had 13 kids in 17 years, and one of them came to Canada with the Hudsons Bay Co...

Mandi - congrats on getting your L. Max says hi to you and Zac.
Lynn - your daughter is out there, shopping like stink. She bought a very pretty pink skirt. She wore it the other night at the castle, had her hair straightened and "felt like a princess".

Brenda - Jon too is shopping. He loves the Euro look. Jeans, couple shirts, jacket...

Actually most of the boys bought Euro styled sweaters and all are wearing them. A good looking bunch of kids. Very proud of them all.

I´ll sign off now. Gonna have lunch in the market square. At an outdoor table. Across from the flower stalls. In the shadow of the cathedral.
Life is good.
Thanks for praying for my knee. Its so swollen I cant bend it, which is making walking down stairs tricky. It doesn't hurt.

Love you all.
Drew I´ll go check your blog now,

Take care

Its a little overcast today, but other than the hail storm and rain shower we had in Amsterdam, its been awesome. Look at all the symbols this keyboard has:
ö ä ß 3 Well, theres more, but I dont know how to print them.

Friday, March 18, 2005

From Europe

Who would have thought that Europe was a 3rd world country? This lack of internet access is unbelievably frustrating, We're in Heidelberg, I guess that means I'm in Germany. Short Thoughts:
1. Bathtubs are deep and narrow. No water made it past my hips to the back of the tub
2. No ice on this continent
3. Saw the MONA LISA: No big deal. The rest of the Louvre was amazing.
4. The cathedrals are dark, damp, cold, massive Holy reverend buildings dedicated to glorify God. I am in awe everytime I enter one. Was in the Notre Dame this week.
5. No one cleans up after their dogs here.
6. Europeans smoke alot. There is no fresh air sitting outside in an outdoor cafe. Weather continues to be beautiful.
7. Slept in a castle last night. 6 of us parents walked up the grapevine latticed hillside and watched the sun set. Twas a God moment. One of many.
8. Please pray for my knee.
9. Max has been shopping. So has Jon. They are happy. Actually, everyone is happy.
10. I dozed off on the bus and woke to sounds of the 2 dads behind me quoting their favorite scripture.

Drew, Clint, Hope your flight to PS was good. Look at the moon tonight. Its the same one I'm looking at here. Love you.

Lynn, Jenny says hi, she loves you all, is feeling better and if I had time, I'd write out all that she wants you to know. She's been shopping and smiling alot.

Will try to find an internet cafe tomorrow and blog more.

Max has more to say;
to dad, I watched Scarface the night before i left, it was cool. I need some monéy for a leather jacket, Mr sawatsky said that it would cost around 200 canadian for a 500-600 dollar jacket.

From Max for clint and drew

the plane ride was super long, it seemed to go on forever. so far i have bought...... a puffy jacket (camo), with a matching camo trucker ha t, i also bought a white euro style zip sweater, and a button up shirt. Just buy me stuff from WCC that isnt too evil or satanic looking, well i gotta go watch german MTV theirs some sweet german rap and junk
peace out, MAX

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

message to clint

Clint; The camcorder is in the box by the front door: the cardboard box; drew i cant check your blog right now but i will later LOVE you


I am in an internet cafe and have 12 minutes to post
cant find the period or commas on this european keyboard
we are in paris right now
its 20 degrees
went to the top of the eiffel tower last night words cant describe
the cathedrals weve been to have exceeded all expectations
i am walking arouind in wonder
forgot my tweezers, so that caused some anxiety
toilets in france do not have seats
ive taken 400 photos
everyone is healthy
going to the louvre in a few minutes
Clint and Drew, I miss you Thanks for the surprise package Will try to post again

Saturday, March 12, 2005


Guess What.
How cool is that?
Too Cool, I tell ya.

Plane ride was uneventful. Long, boring, and cried like a baby watching Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland. Sleep depravation will do that to ya.
Going through customs was quick and painless. My passport now has a Netherland's stamp in it. Whooohooo.

We encountered a freak hail storm as we exited the airport, so I've got wet-head issues. Right. You are so not interested in my hair.

We drove through Amsterdam way too quickly. I was freaking out, worrying I was going to miss something.
Because the streets are so narrow and crooked and cobblestonely and quaint and cool, the bus had to drop us off a short distance from Anne Frank's house. Yes, it was wonderful to walk those streets and take a dozen pictures.
The tour of Anne Frank's hiding place was somber.

Then we went to a castle. It was built in the 1200's. TWELVE HUNDREDS.
Took a number of photos there too.

But, the best, I repeat, the best thing so far is this place. Go now and look up images of Brugge, Belgium. OH MY GOODNESS. I love this city. We've been out walking and... uhh, I can't find the words. It's old. Breathtakingly beautiful. People ride bikes. Building are built of bricks. Road are all cobblestones. Our youth hostel is kinda eclectic. Or dumpy, depending on your point of view.

I love it here.
Max loves it here.
This is one place I would love to return to. It's like a disneyland for adults.

Gotta go. I've only got 15 minutes, then it's Lori's turn.

Clint, could you tell Jer about this site? His mom and dad can check here for info re: Jon.
Carson, Brenda - he's doing fine. He did spill his water onto his lap 10 minutes into the flight. He was very glad his mom made him pack a pair of boxers in his overnight bag.
Lynn - Jenny is doing well. She slept the whole flight. And was perky on tonight's walk.

Later gators,

Friday, March 11, 2005

Last Minute ...

Just about everything is packed.
I think I'll bring along some peanut butter. And some crackers. You know, for just in case I crave protein or something.
That oughta bring the weight of my back pack up to over 100 pounds.
Why can't I travel lighter?

Drew slipped an envelope into my backpack this afternoon. "For Mom and Max. Open when you're in Europe. Don't open until then."
"What's this for?" I asked.
"I think you'll miss me, so I made something for you. Only open it in Europe, cuz I don't think you'll miss me until you get there."

Oh my goodness I love that child.

Clint lent me his MP3 player, so that I'd be able to listen to tunes... Max'll help me transfer them from my computer to this little pocket-sized music machine sometime tonight. How lucky am I? Thanks, Clint. Love ya.

That's the hardest part about going away. Leaving loved ones behind is brutal. It tears at your soul.
I think that's why my stomach is unsettled. I wish I could bring everyone along with me.

My burnt skin (from last Saturday's moment of sheer stupidity when I tanned for 20 minutes) is healing. Now, insead of being tender, swollen and sore, it's tight and itchy. Some days I'm blonder than my roots indicate.

Guess I better go finish packing. Do you think 4 pairs of shoes is excessive?

Take care,

Thursday, March 10, 2005

24 Hours

Our plane will lift off in 24 hours.
Whhoooo Hooo.

I feel sick.
Not sick barfy, but sick nervous.

My backpack weighs 89 lbs.
I may have to share a double bed with another full-sized human.
The girls I'm chaperoning are, well, they're girls.

Hopefully this will all be inconsequential once I set foot on foreign soil.

If I get a chance, I'll post to this blog while I'm away.
If you want to get a message to me, use the comment feature.

Later gators,