Thursday, December 18, 2014

Reasons I Love My Career

In no specific order.....

1- The reaction I get when I tell people I'm an Industrial Engineer
2- I'm usually always busy
3- I learn something new at least weekly
4- Every day my job is different
5- It's not mind-numbing
6- It's made me more organized in my personal life
7- It comes natural to me
8- It challenges me
9- I'm not the lowest person on the totem-pole, for once
10- I travel
11- The job market seems excellent
12- There's growth opportunity
13- I don't deal with customers
14- I interact with people
15- Knowing college wasn't a waste
16- The paycheck
17- I've become better at communication
18- I see ways to make things outside of work more efficient
19- I am more efficient in my personal life
20- Paid vacation
21- Working on high profile projects
22- Health insurance
23- Easy to expand my portfolio
24- Because I tell myself I love my job
25- I'm proud of my career
26- More people than not respect my career
27- I don't have to sit all day. I also don't have to stand all day
28- It's hard explaining what I do (yes I like that)
29- I teach others, but it's not my main function
30- I make a difference
31- I get to go "shopping" weekly (mainly for manufacturing stuff, but still!)

More reasons I love the company I work for...

33- Working with foreigners
34- Using up-to-date equipment. Like getting a new iphone 6
35- Nearly unlimited resources
36- Part of high profile projects. IE the world cup, the Olympics...
37- Casual Friday
38- Up to date work environment
39- Open to innovation
40- I can wear headphones and listen to music while I work
41- VACATION, the 3 1/2 weeks I got, starting.

I'm sure there's more...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Champagne Problems

Without further adieu, I believe it is appropriately time to publicly announce that I have accepted a new job. Beginning officially January 1st (first working day being January 5th), I become a Manufacturing Engineer for the Discrete Automation and Motion division of ABB working with Drives and Inverters!!

Wow has this past month been a learning experience.

For the sake of this being a public blog and my professional discretion being of utmost importance to me, I will not be able to disclose all the events that have led me to this point since October 21st, however, I am very eager to dish the "millions of emotions" I have, once again, had the pleasure? to experience through this journey.

I first want to say that the position I will be leaving is my first professional job post-college. I started as an intern, came back as a contractor, and was hired on a mere 2 months before getting my bachelors diploma. I have held the same title/position since September 2012. You might laugh as I have numerous times over the past couple weeks. "Berea, you're kidding right? Making it sound like 2 years is a lifetime of work? Wake up, you have at least 40 more to go." Well, you're right, and I may be quite naive, selfish, and undeserving, but I've never let those things stop me, so why now?

I want to make it publicly known that I love my job. I've learned many things over the past 2-3 years, and one is that I am part of a minority of people who are generally more happy, than not, with my job. I have had a great support system of co-workers and managers who have helped me grow and learn and I couldn't be more thankful. This job has been a perfect mix of pushing my comfort zone, giving me freedom to learn from my mistakes, and recognition for my accomplishments. It has certainly set high standards for the rest of my career.

That being said, I wasn't particularly looking for another job, but I was willing to entertain the idea of a different opportunity. Here is where I need to skip some details, however within a weeks time I was offered 3 different/new job positions. Champagne problems, first world problems, whatever you call it, I'm blessed. God answers prayers in his own way at his own time. When he closes one door, he opens another.

If I have one piece of advice, it would be to go into Industrial Engineering. If I had another piece of advice, it would be to choose a career based on the job description, not the job title.

Regardless, I am beyond excited to start this new "chapter". One step closer to my dream job, that I may disclose to you some day. Thanks for the prayers in helping to guide me to a decision. As always, I look forward to what the future holds for me and can only try and hang on to the crazy ride we call life.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Not a Draft

I hate this day. Every year I struggle between facing my memories or keeping them locked away.

On the 10th anniversary I wrote a very good blog post. It really tells what I want it to. Every year on this day, I attempt to blog. Looking back, I've started a post on September 11th for the past 3 years that I can never make it through to post. I will try to recap today my past and present feelings.

The numbers "9/11" said together in any context gives me chills. A brief memory of the tragedy. Those numbers only mean one thing to me. Today marks the 13th anniversary. Thirteen years ago today is just as vivid as the month it happened. I still get emotional thinking about it.

This morning, as with most mornings, I innocently got in my car and tuned in to the Milwaukee NPR radio station. Within minutes I had tears running down my eyes. NPR was playing stories of loved ones who lost someone that day. The stories are just unimaginably heart-breaking. I don't want to think about it.

Time is moving so quickly.

I was in 6th grade when the twin towers were attacked and there are now 6 graders who weren't even born then. I've told you my connections, my memories, my experiences, so there is not much new you can learn from me. I just find it interesting to learn more about the events that took place 13 years ago and how much is different and the same.

The kids who lost parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts/uncles in the terrorist attack are now likely in their twenty's or close to it. It is weird to think. The two looming bright lights that lead to heaven at this time of the year probably don't help erase the horrific memories of many people. We did not even take a moment to be silent at work today, and there was no mention of the accounts by any of my coworkers.

As I grow up, I meet more and more people from around the world. It helps me realize how blessed we are. I have had foreign friends tell me stories of having to move because of war. Our own citizens are being tortured by foreign enemies- terrorist (ISIS). Gaza has virtually been flattened this year because of war and that's only the beginning.

There is nothing good about war. I'm just thankful our government seems to provide fairly decent protection. I hope that doesn't change.

My prayers are with the loved ones still struggling.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


This December will be the 10th anniversary of me living in Wisconsin. It is the longest I have EVER lived in one state and with 6 of those years in Milwaukee, it's the longest I have ever lived in one city. I know it is early but I've begun my reflections.....

I think it hasn't felt that long because the change from high school to college and then the abundant number of apartments I lived in throughout college and post-college. I've honestly spent a lot of hours of my life thinking about all the moving I've done and what impact it has on me, and my "conclusions" are inconclusive. Half of me says it's made me a better person and half of me says it's mentally twisted me beyond belief. One thing for certain is that it takes me less than a week to pick up on unique accents.

I've tried analyzing different people from the different places I've lived and yet again, I reach no good conclusions. Each place I've lived was during a different developmental phase of my life, so comparing is not apples to apples. All of this thinking only leads to generalizations and stereotyping.

Over the past 10 years I've learned how much of a bandwagon jumper I am. I mean, think about it.....I root for the Badgers, the Packers, and the Brewers, yet I've spent a lot of time outside of Wisconsin. I try to tell myself that I was too young before I moved here to understand sports, but Wisconsin was still not where I was raised. It's just not worth the torment to root for anyone else around here.

Since we moved so much during my childhood, my brother and I face a unique dilemma that many people never experience. For lack of a better word, we get bored very quickly. And I don't mean on a daily basis, but more like we don't really experience complacency like most people, I'd say. We certainly don't have a large fear of change.....I just had an AH-HA moment....

Fact: during my childhood, I experienced a lot of change. Change in culture, in friends, in towns/cities, in schools, in people, in food, etc., which made me learn how to adjust and cope with changes. MAYBE that's why Industrial Engineering is just right down my alley. In my field, I initiate, manage, sustain change. Who better to have that role than someone who is essentially an expert. ;) Note to any youngsters reading this who have moved a lot during a young age: become an Industrial Engineer!

One thing I haven't gotten used to here in Wisconsin is the weather. Every winter I have a sliver of hope that it won't get below 20 degrees it will only snow a couple of times and melt right away, yet every winter I die a little inside from -20 windchill and ruining 10 pairs of boots to salt every couple months. I've learned the best way to accommodate my winter depression is to travel often in winter to warmer places, it really helps.

In conclusion, all I can say is; Congrats Wisconsin, you have held me hostage for nearly 10 years, I will call you home at least for the next 10 years. I've enjoyed the past decade, but I must say, I have never been more ready for change.

Monday, August 4, 2014

24 Years Young

What an enlightening year! Here are my reflections:

I celebrated my 24th birthday yesterday. As a young adult, I'm not afraid to announce my age.....usually after letting you guess how old I am first. This time last year, I celebrated with my boyfriend, in Baltimore, on his work trip. This year, I had 14 of my closer friends celebrate with me on a weekend camping trip.

As we floated down the river, I looked around at each of my friends, the sun beaming off my face and I couldn't help but smile and soak in that exact moment, with those exact people.

I received a handful of gifts that I am far from deserving of and beyond thankful for. As I read my 50+ notifications on Facebook of people wishing me happy birthday, I felt like I have been the worst friend over the past year for not returning the favor to so many people who took time to think of me. If you are one of those people reading this, I'm sorry, I'll try to do better this year and you do mean a lot to me.

My parents said something that really struck a note in my mind. A precursor; they are my parents, and they are bias and extremely loving and spoil me, but in an astonished tone, they both expressed how proud they were of where I am for being 24 years old. They both reminisced of where they were at 24 and it made me think and be thankful.

Berea Janzen will likely always have 10 million emotions and at 24, today is no different. For me, this is a weird age. I think it's safe to say that after 21, most people's 20's are weird. I am a young adult. I don't have kids, a husband, a house, and many other "adult" things, but I'm not a kid. I make decisions, I pay bills, I am fairly independent.

I seem to learn more about myself every year and then look back and realize how much I've changed. It's an interesting cycle.

I've roughly estimated the average age of my friends, and the people I hang out with most often is about 27 or 28. They all tell me how young I am and often call me the baby, in a way I feel myself running to catch up to them, and then I have a birthday and realize, they'll always be older than me. Even if they say this year how young I am, when I'm 30, they'll still call me young. In my exact words from 1 year ago: "I do not look forward to the day when that changes and people stop telling me I'm young. "

It was another great year. A special thanks to God for giving me to my parents on the most beautiful day of the year, my parents, my best friend (JKD), the love of my life, his parents, and everyone else who was part of my special day!! 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

These are a Few of My Favorite Things...

In no particular order...

The view from a high place (especially a mountain)
Going out to dinner
Straightening my hair
Getting a pedicure
Organizing everything
Painting (acrylic on canvas)
Listening to my cat purr
My cat, Mika 
Cars; especially luxury and sports cars, especially the GT-R
Getting dressed up
Watching movies
Smell of the country
Clean sheets
High heels
Winning any competitive activity
Hot, dry weather. 90 degrees, no humidity.
Potatoes- french fries, mashed, twice baked, scalloped, hashbrowns, sweet potatoes.....etc...
Unique nail designs
Studs, rhinestones, glitter
Willow trees
Nature hikes
TV shows: House, Suits, Homeland, House of Cards
Music, in general
Solving problems

"When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad"

Monday, July 28, 2014

Church Shopping

As a PK (Pastors' Kid), our family never struggled finding a church or even really debating religion during my growing up, outside of my dad re-locating to different churches. Religion itself is a huge topic I could write a book about, but I'm going to focus on my experiences "church shopping" after leaving my fathers' nest.

First of all, I am picky. For 18 years, I listened to my dad's sermons, memorized every word in the service, and learned many songs. Quite frankly, I never thought much about what I was going to do when I left home and when I did think about it, of course, as a kid, I looked forward to it. However, I quickly learned that I was picky when it came to finding a church which resulted in me not wanting to go. So, let's get to it....What I'm picky about....

1- The pastor & his sermon
Obviously, I think my dad is the best pastor there is, but realistically there are a few reasons why. I like sermons that relate to me. If it only targets one group of people, I lose interest. I like pastors who use illustrations and talk more than preach. I feel very uncomfortable when a pastor starts yelling. I also think a 15-20 min sermon is good length to keep my quality interest.

2- The order of service
Not literally the order of what happens throughout worship, but the actual readings. Example, I have the Lord's Prayer memorized so when they change up the wording to be "Our Father in heaven..." rather than "Our Father who art in heaven..." it bothers me. I'm not saying one way is more right than the other, but when I'm trying to focus on my confessions and instead thinking about grammar, it loses meaning.

3- Actions
I don't like being forced to kneel on the church floor, or raising my hands, or drinking from a common cup. It's hard enough for me to greet people that early on a Sunday morning. It's just my personal preference and again detracts from the reason I'm there. It doesn't make me any more or less Christian than the person next to me doing all of that.

4- Songs
I am not a good singer, but I enjoy singing in church, especially when the organ drowns my measly voice. However, when you have a church full of singers who likely aren't taking choir lessons, trying to coordinate 80 people singing an advanced hymn is like giving a toddler a violin. Songs with a bunch of eighth notes and rests and highly varied note ranges are very hard to keep up with. Again, I'm not trying to become a better singer, I'm trying to worship God.

I think this touches on my main church shopping criteria...I don't mean to be picky, it just means much more to me when I don't have to think about all those little things and can focus on the only thing that matters.
Going to church I'd say is similar to working out. Maybe it's not easy to start, and you can make all the excuses in the world not to go, but it's good for you and the hardest part is the first step.

Have you thanked God today?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer 2014

Hello Wisconsin!

I must say, it is pretty weird coming into work 3 consecutive days after having been out the past 2 weeks at 2 different training classes, in 2 different parts of the country. I feel like the 4th of July was so long ago and July has come and passed!

To catch you up, I joined some friends, out of town, during the 4th to spend the day on a lake. It was the first time I actually got up on a wake-board! Proof:

First Time Up on a Wake-Board 7/4/2014

I then spent a very cold 5th of July on a private beach for a firework show. Yes, that is my boyfriend below in a sweatshirt at about 3pm July 5th on a beach just north of Milwaukee.

16" Mortar Being Loaded (by Licensed Professionals) 7/5/2014

I left Monday, July 7th for ABB Leadership Training in Memphis. It was nice to have a week semi-off from work and focused on professional growth. I learned a lot, mainly about myself, that I see myself trying to use in the day-to-day work environment. It was also a great experience for meeting new people (resources) in my organization across different functions. Simple road-blocks I have encountered in the past were easily solved by talking to the right people. The experience gave a good perspective of how ginormous ABB is. I love it.

The following week, July 13th, I left for Salt Lake City for training in a 3D simulation software, FlexSim, that our division recently gained access to. Utah was great! My training class only had one other person, so we were able to get almost personal training. I went hiking one night in the mountains, which was really fun! 

Stewart Falls Near Sundance, Utah 7/14/2014

I got back just in time to have under 24 hours of downtime before leaving to the Wisconsin Dells for my cousins' wedding. As my brother said in his blog, this was a big deal for us because we only have 4 cousins and she is the first to get married. It opened the door for a weekend of thinking about many different things. 

Me and the Bride 7/19/2014

I discovered on my 2 hour drive home from the Dells I had a nail in my tire and prayer the whole way home I would just make it. $300 later, my oil is clean, tire is fixed, and I have gas to get to work. 

This week, I'm back in the office, back to the grind, back to the hourly interruptions. Having 2 weeks away was so refreshing. I came back with an open mind, semi-outside perspective, and tons of new tools. If it was my choice, I would like to travel more. Learning and exploring has such a big importance to me. Thankfully, I'm finding more ways to do so so that it is beneficial to me and ABB. 

I also just booked a vacation to Jamaica for this coming January. Already excited for that. My birthday is also quickly approaching and I have some fun plans planned for that also.

Stay tuned!

Matthew 13: Parable of the Weeds

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Web Therapy

I recently listened to a segment during my morning commute, on NPR, about Web Therapy. First of all, web therapy is online counseling, usually via video conferencing with a professional therapist.

I can already hear the older generation making snide remarks about what a joke it is or how phony it sounds, but I might disagree. There are many aspects to this topic and I hope to provide you at least an understanding for why people would participate in such an activity.

First of all, our generation has not had to wait for anything. Prescriptions are ready the moment you walk out of the Dr. Office, Chinese is delivered to your front door, gas is sold at nearly every intersection, pictures can be printed the moment you take them, and Pomegranate Lemonade Green Tea is available at your local grocery store. Point being, there's not much we need to wait for, which has made us a more efficient society (at least how I see it). I don't have to waste 2 hours of my time driving to the Apple store to buy a car charger for my phone. I just open my eBay app and purchase a new cord with a few clicks and it will be delivered to my house as soon as tomorrow. Point being; why waste transit time to visit a therapist, when you could just open your computer, sign on and begin therapy? Maybe those 15 minutes saved from driving turns into a 15 minute cardio workout.

In manufacturing, if an assembler has to walk 100ft across the plant to get a tool, we consider that to be waste and find every way to eliminate it. It's not called being lazy, its called productivity.

I know I'm switching topics without a good transition, but as I love saying, this is my blog and how I think and want to convey. I'm not forcing you to read.
Anyways, the security of web therapy can be questioned and rightly so. If that's something you're concerned about, maybe it isn't for you, which is okay. I, personally, don't have anything so horrible I wouldn't want someone else hearing, but that's just me.

I spoke with someone briefly about this topic and they said that web therapy is just a tool for those addicted to being online. First of all, I think that being "addicted to being online" is relative. What does that mean? My family would certainly say that I'm addicted to being online, but how much does that effect my relationships? I'd say it doesn't (of course I would). How are my online habits compared to others with different online habits and so on? At what point is being online bad? If I, for example, need professional help and am only willing to talk to someone online, I would certainly say that is better than not going. So why would you discourage web therapy?

I think that technology has so much further to go and so many more uses to be pursued that no matter what, it will be a topic of debate.  We have already seen the controversy it causes and this is just the beginning.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I've spent a lot of time in the past year thinking about my future and also trying not to think about my future. I find myself getting caught up in dreams of being a global manager, working in Switzerland, and my patience just flies out the window. I've worked for 1 company since the start of my engineering career and all my dreams have this company in them. Would someone please capitalize on this?

If I spend 3+ years in every job I have, it will take me approximately 30 years to get my dream position, which is about right considering the average age of past CEOs of ABB is around 50.

Climbing the corporate ladder often has a negative connotation, but that is very much how I want to spend my career, per say. It makes me work harder and more efficient and gives me something to look forward to. I would not do well in a dead-end job.

The biggest feat I have to master is the politics of the ladder. My marketing skills aren't the best, so it gives me something to work on, at minimum. At least I began learning at an early stage.

Forbes wrote an artice, "16 Ways to Fast-Track Your Way up the Corporate Ladder", and I think it offered some great advice. I added my own opinions below each..

1. Make a Plan
A timeline. What you want, when you want it. 
2. Get an Education
And don't stop! I have an education but I'm continuously searching for more courses to advance my skills.
3. Network
If people mention someone you don't know, simply ask to meet them. Facial recognition is huge. Show up to events. I was once asked by the North American President for my division (at a baseball outing) what the biggest problem facing production. Within 6 months, we got approval to invest in my suggestion. 
4. Work Hard
Because there is likely someone working harder that will get recognized easier
5. Dream Beyond the Job Description
Don't over-step your boundaries, but get noticed. My title is "Industrial Engineer", but I am often introduced as "Senior" IE or Project Manager. If people assume that's what I do, it must mean I'm qualified.
6. Develop an "I will do whatever it takes to get the job done" attitude
Don't make excuses and NEVER say "that's not my job".
7. Become a Resource
Find ways to make your job easier and teach other people those tools. 
8. Dress for Success
People take you more serious if you're wearing a blouse instead of a polo in an unexpected important meeting. I wouldn't recommend a drastic change, but doing one thing at a time gives people time to adjust to your new behavior and longer term, gives you a better image.
9. Get to know your Company and your Boss
Align your goals with each.
10. Keep an Ongoing Success File
Keyword: ONGOING
11. Be a Team Player
Gives you a large advantage when you can get along with coworkers
12. Be Keenly Aware of Broader Company Goals
It helps you relate them to daily goals and makes the company goals easier to obtain. Maybe someone will recognize.
13. Think and Act a Level Above
Ask higher, next-level questions.
14. Be an Initiator Not Just an Executor
Have information ready before it is asked of you and don't be afraid to make suggestions.
15. Consider Yourself a Free Agent
Having options proves you're worth something.
16. Express Appreciation
Never assume.

I am not all-knowing about this stuff and clearly have a long way to go, but these pieces of advice have helped me get where I am. Hopefully they're preparing me for the next step also.

Friday, June 13, 2014


In 2013, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of women in an engineering occupation was 14 percent.

Other low female to male ratio jobs included: construction occupations - 3%, engineering managers - 10%, cost estimators - 11%, maintenance related occupations - 4%, and there were a handful more. Even clergy came in with a higher female ratio than engineering at a whopping 16%.

Anyways, there is certainly a stamina amongst women in positions similar to mine. I often get into conversations with other women about entering male-dominated jobs or activities. I recently had a female friend talk about her experiences working in a male-dominated field and her shock about the difficulty doing so. I'm not sure I can explain it since even when we talk about it, we say, "....since I work with mostly men....well you know what I mean....".

When you work with a lot of men, you get a certain......tough skin, understanding, tolerance, perspective.

I remember going to an admission fair the year before I started college and being told the female to male ratio at MSOE was about 1:5. Everyone seemed worried for me, but I was excited. Out of the 4 years I was in school, I think I run out of fingers counting how many classes where I was the only female. It was an extremely rare occurrence to have more than one woman in the elevator at a time, so much so to the point of people pointing it out when it happened. Where professors would have to correct themselves "......okay guys, turn to the next page......oh and lady..." I worked in the bookstore for a couple years and more than once had an older male alumni come in and say; "Do girls go here now? When I went here, it was all male."

Anyways, it didn't take too long for me to realize I had two options; 1- let the dominance discourage me or 2- take advantage of it. Apart from my intelligence being questioned every step of the way because of my chromosomes, being part of the minority had it's benefits. I got doors held for me daily (which after a year became quite the annoyance) and because many people seemed to have low expectations for me, it was easier to prove them wrong or get help when needed.

I suppose I could write a book about my experiences at college, especially correlated with being a female, but I am now out of college and still face many of the same battles.

The blank stares and jaw dropping expressions I receive when I tell new acquaintances I'm an engineer would astound you. It both annoys me and gives me pride. I've been commended as well as what would probably be considered verbally assaulted. I have learned a lot about responding to all of these reactions.

I'm not sure what the point of my story is here. If going through what I have/am was easy, every woman would do it, however, if I can do it, I believe so can a lot of other women.

As Geraldine Doyle showed the world, We Can Do It! :-D

Monday, May 5, 2014

Another Adventure

Memphis in May.

This goes down as my 3rd trip to Memphis this year. I learn more and have a different experiences each time I'm here. This time, I'm alone. I arrived this past Friday and am here until Friday.

I don't have any friends in Memphis outside of work which makes having a good weekend here more difficult. From past experiences, I really try to keep business and pleasure separate entities of my life. I'd like my coworkers to respect me and am afraid what information in my personal life could be used against me at a critical time. That's not to say I'm hiding something, I just don't enjoy additional pressure of pleasing people outside of work.

Anyways, the past few days have been a struggle filling my time with activities I can do alone. I wasted a good hour or 2 getting my nails done, but that can only be done once while I'm here. I've gone to bed early. Going out to eat alone is depressing. I got the courage to go to the Memphis Zoo yesterday which was enjoyable especially being able to relax while mothers (some near my age) were chasing around their crying, snotty babies...I'm thankful I could enjoy my time alone. I laid in the sun for a couple hours this weekend, which was highly enjoyable since it's been 80+ degrees every day.

So, I guess my point is two-fold. 1- Being alone is extremely hard for me, so sometimes being forced to be alone is good for me. I need to enjoy it more because I am extremely blessed to get these opportunities. 2- It makes me thankful for experiences I get to share with people.

I'm proud of myself for not just sitting in my hotel room alone

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Constant Reminder

It is only my petty little problem that I am going to take a moment to complain about not sleeping well with my brother on Everest.

It seems a regular occurrence this past week being woken up in the middle of the night to updated news from my brother about what's going on on Mt. Everest. Obviously since the situation is directly effecting him and consequently effecting me/my family, I have a bias opinion on the importance of what's happening in Nepal.

I suppose I'm still shocked by all that's going on that I haven't really processed it. It's a weird interim right now between mourning, summit excitement, climbing continuation, labor wages, and political confusion. There's a lot going on right now and Isaiah seems to be smack dab in the center of it.

I've been thinking and talking about the situation a lot so I feel almost redundant having to explain it again here, but in case you aren't aware, here is my brief summary....

My brother is ON Mt. Everest. (Base camp the day of the avalanche.)
16 High altitude mountain guides died, more still missing in avalanche.
Many guides/teams/companies left the mountain concluding their expeditions to summit Everest 2014.
Eco Everest (company my brother is with) is staying indefinitely.
Mountain guides and families protesting labor wages. 13 demands submitted.
Nepal government supplying little to no answer on situation
Current future of this seasons climbing continuation still unknown.

The best I can suggest is that you follow @isaiahjanzen on twitter for live updates and join the crowd unable to sleep. You could also donate to The Juniper Fund, which is an organization created by some of Isaiah's team members to help and support the guide community in Nepal.

Until further notice, prayers always welcome.

Friday, April 18, 2014

My Boring Life

It's all relative. Like arguing with someone whether a certain shirt is blue or purple.

Me saying my life is boring is relative.

When I tell people I have a brother, the conversation often leads to them asking more about him. I say; "He's an Aerospace Engineer with his masters' in Material Science, working for John Deere. He is also a marathoner and mountaineer." That's like the ultimate elevator speech. If you don't have questions after those statements, you're probably just in shock. Whatever the case, it makes my background seem so dull and boring.

On the other hand, I know many people who were born and raised in the same house, still live with their parents in that house, and have never left their home state. Maybe I'm more exciting than that.

I woke up a little past 2am this morning to news that woke me up very quickly. I received a text from a friend I don't hear from often saying she saw the news about an avalanche on Everest and asking if I had heard from my heart went straight to my stomach.

I frantically starting searching for more information on every outlet available. I had about 5 notifications from Isaiah's Twitter with live updates. "Accident...Bad day...This is really really bad...The bodies..." he tweeted. The avalanche happened about 3 hours prior to me waking up, so his continued tweets confirmed he was okay. I also had an un-read email from Isaiah with details too personal to share online. Long story short, he is safe and that was enough to get my heart beating again. It's still not calming knowing this is the worst accident to ever happen on Everest in terms of number of lives lost and knowing my brother is there.
An event such as an avalanche is uncontrollable by humans and therefore, is in Gods hands. Please keep Isaiah and the remaining climbers in your thoughts and prayers that they return home safe.

How's that for boring?

On a separate note, I hope you are all having a Good Friday and have a Happy Easter.

"Thou shall have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Local Milwaukean

Okay. I've lived in Milwaukee over 5 years now. I consider that a long time based on my childhood fiasco's often moving every 1-3 years. As I was driving around "my city" as I now call it, I was thinking about all the places I have and haven't visited and believe in my 5 years of living here, have a pretty good idea of the best "local" places to visit. Whenever I'm in foreign towns, I always wish I could talk to someone like me to give me a good idea of what there is to do or where to visit if I'm only in town for a short period.

I realized, I have all this knowledge and information about Downtown Milwaukee and I've never shared it. Partially because I still think there is so much I haven't done and partially because not everyone would be as interested in certain places as myself.

So, here is my list.

Milwaukee Public Market
-Visible from i794 Eastbound just East of i94, the big red sign is hard to miss. Parking is free for the first 30min next to the market if you make a purchase inside and get your parking ticket validated.
-Why I like this place? Sushi is half price after 5 or 6pm. They have the best selection of oil/vinaigrette around. On Wednesday's, lobster, fries and cole slaw is only $15 cooked fresh. They have THE BEST fresh, homemade carrot cake I've found and it's only $5 for a HUGE portion. And if you're visiting, make sure to stop by the "Brew City Brand" shoppe and pick up a Milwaukee/Wisconsin souvenir, they have a lot of cute, funny knick-knacks that you can't find everywhere.

Milwaukee Ale House
-Located on the Milwaukee River, this is a fun place to visit any time of the year, but definitely in Summer. There's nothing special about their menu, just American style food, but the beer is what you go for.
-Why I like this place? I enjoy sitting out back during summer since you have front row seating to the river. On Thursday's, if you buy a drink, you can get on their pontoon boat for a trip down the river for free. I especially enjoy their black bean burger. It's a place I often take my family because of the nice atmosphere. Certain nights they also have live music if that's something you're in to.

Safe House
-Don't be fooled. This restaurant is hard to get to, but a famous spot for an adventure. Hidden in an alley with no signage, this restaurant is a replica Speakeasy. To get in, you need the password or you may be asked to do something silly to get in. Warning: The entire restaurant is watching you do the macarena or chicken dance inside on TVs, but they'll never turn you away. They give a fun history and it's a good way to break the ice. If you're easily embarrassed or uncomfortable about this sort of stuff, stay away.
-Why I like this place? It's unique and fun. It's not a regular spot to visit, but certainly fun for out-of-towners.

Lakefront Brewery
-Located downtown in Brewers Hill area, this brewery is my top pick for brewery tours. Although Milwaukee is known best for Pabst (which no longer operates in Milwaukee) or Miller, Lakefront Brewery takes the cake on best brewery tour.
-Why I like this place? They offer a fun ~hour long tour that has crowd interaction, fun history, and lots of free beer. The tour guides are really good at what they do and give you lots of fun facts. If you want a good ole fashion Milwaukee experience, on Friday's they have a family style fish fry and different polka bands. It's very loud, just keep that in mind.

North Lake Drive (which begins as N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.)
-Recommend you start by the Milwaukee Art Museum and drive north, this stretch of road is my favorite in the city. It stays within feet of the lake and provides good scenery. Winter or summer its a beautiful place.
-Why I like this place? It's relaxing to get a hint of scenery in downtown Milwaukee. In the summer it buzzes with beach-goers. At the bottom of E Lafayette Hill resides Colectivo (formerly Alterra) which is a local coffee chain. Far enough north you get to oogle at the nice lake view mansions. It's a fun place.

Cafe Benelux
-Placed within a stones throw of the public market, this is my favorite brunch spot. Brunch is my favorite meal of the week, so I've visited my share of hoppin' brunch places. Close seconds are: Wicked Hop, Cafe Centraal, Honey Pie Cafe, Trocadero, Cafe Hollander, and Zaks Cafe.
-Why I like this place? Although this place is always PACKED on weekends during brunch time, it's one of the largest brunch places in Milwaukee, so seating isn't usually too long. Especially in summer when they have the roof and patio open for seating (definitely choose roof if asked). However if you have to wait, they have a great selection of Bloody Mary's and Mimosas while you wait. I'd suggest the elderflower mimosa, Wisconsins famous beer-mosa, or a bloody which doubles as an appetizer. Also- the sweet potato fries are my favorite.
The downfall is parking. If you can, park at the public market and visit before/after and buy something to get free/close parking.

Henry Maier Festival Park
-I know I'm saying a lot of places that are good in summer, but Milwaukee is really the most alive in Summer. Since it's Wisconsin, we only have a few shorts months/weeks to take advantage of the nice weather so we really do! Anyways, I huge attraction to Milwaukee are the Summer Festivals. Every heritage is represented during one week or another.
-Why I like this place? A festival grounds right on the lake. (Not to mention blocks from my apartment.) It's a great place to be outside, enjoy music, try new food (cheese curds!!!). So, if you're in town during the summer, check out what festival might be going on. Even if it's Indian fest (or whatever) and you don't have an ounce of Indian in you, it is still a great experience regardless. Summerfest also takes place here which is the worlds largest music festival. Prepare yourself for crowds and crowds of people if you choose to go to Summerfest. If you can find a good concert to go to at the Marcus Amphitheater, it is also a phenomenal experience.

7 Mile Fair
-This is a short hike from downtown, but a unique experience. If you enjoy flea markets, this is the perfect place to visit.
-Why I like this place? It's huge, it's cheap, it's unique. Fresh food, knockoff purses, and a day of fun.

As a current "young professional" who lived in Milwaukee during my college experience, I've gone through a few stages of what I enjoy doing on the weekends/at night. I'm going to say downtown Milwaukee is split into 4 nightlife areas. Water Street, Brady Street, North Ave, and Cathedral Square. Get in a cab, mention any of those spots, and the cabbie will know where to take you. Here's a quick run-down of each.
North Ave- Located nearest the University Wisconsin Milwaukee, this popular drinking spot is mostly and mainly college "kids". My recommended places would be: Hotel Foster- more modern/trendy, house music, classy dress, or Landmark Lanes- which is an underground bowling alley/bar that has been around for decades.
Brady Street- Simply put, this street is hispter/trendy. You could get away with jeans or a dress. For a quite, dim, sitdown, tapas place I would recommend Balzac. For loud music/DJ, a popular place is Hi Hat.
Water Street- Drunk college kids. Water street is by far the busiest, most "happening" place on weekends. Be prepared to wait a while for drinks, deal with many drunk people, and not-so-classy restrooms. This is definitely an under 30 crowd. McGillicuddy's is known for "Sunday Funday" if that's your thing, Trinity has live music on weekends, Duke's/Scooters is the cheapest and has beer pong, Red Rock if country music is your thing, or Rougue's if you want house music and dancing. Bar Louie is for the over 30 crowd still wanting to go out and is a bit pricier, but you get what you pay for and has the best bartender in Milwaukee (say hi to Braulio if you stop in there). Also within walking distance is Old World Third Street which has some more good bars; ie Buckheads, Old German Beer Hall, Loaded Slate.
Cathedral Square/ Milwaukee Street- Dressy/Dancing. You probably couldn't get away wearing jeans as easily in this part of town. It's been done, but you won't fit in as well. This area has a wide range of nightlife from wild and rowdy to quiet and classy. I didn't go here much in college because the prices are higher, therefore you don't see as many 21 year olds out here. Whiskey bar is my favorite for dancing or having more of your own space. This is more of a club without the negative "dirty" connotation. Don't mistake it for a country bar because it's not. I think they might have a dress code also. Taylor's is a good hangout, but it's so small, waiting is the name of the game. My favorite spot right now is Distil. It's not a super popular place, so there is room to breathe and the bartenders are all trained to make the best drink for you. They have tapas and usually a local DJ that doesn't hurt your ears. Be prepared to pay $12+ a drink. Be sure to check out the Milwaukee Athletic Club (MAC) at least once during the summer. They open the roof and it's a very popular place. Hard to find as it is the top floor of an athletic club, so it's kind of hidden.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Neither Here Nor There

Wisconsin, Mississippi, Tennessee, Dominican, Chicago, Louisiana........

You can call me a traveling woman! I think I've slept in more states in the month of January than all of last year! WOO! My dad texted me today asking literally where in the world was I? The answer currently: Memphis.

I enjoy traveling. It is so eye-opening to indulge in the local culture, eat new things, not understand local accents, and learn what the local grocery store chain is. I remember traveling as a child and just assuming everyone knew I was an out-of-towner, but as I grow up, I realize that until you don't understand what a "well" drink is, are shocked people still smoke in restaurants, and have bad driving habits, no one knows you're not local as well.

So, a huge part of traveling is exploring local culture, particularly food. Which is my topic of discussion today. I hope to share with you what I've learned that will help you vacation without it ending up like a Thanksgiving feast.

It's fun to get to the airport at 6 in the morning on the day of a trip and want to hit up the airport Collectivo and get that delicious potato burrito, but just don't. I don't eat breakfast because the only things that look good to me are overly fatty, greasy, sugary items. I'm not a health nut when it comes to breakfast, so to curb that craving I start my day with a low-calorie drink. 12-16oz. non-fat, sugar-free vanilla latte or 12-16oz. iced, non-fat, two shot, chai latte. Both have under 200 calories and give me my espresso boost for the day while giving me enough fill to avoid a cheese danish or McGriddle. The airplane usually provides a snack (except American Airlines and United-both of which I hate flying) but a small snack I think is fine as long as you don't eat 10 bags of those peanuts.

I also want to mention airports are eating traps. No matter what time of the day, if you are traveling and stop at an airport, in order to waste time, grab a glass of beer or an appetizer, but that's just stupid. If it isn't during normal eating times (lunch/dinner), don't do it.

When you reach your destination, your first instinct is to visit a local restaurant and try the "local" food. I've made the mistake plenty times wanting all the fresh seafood socially acceptable to order or Jambalaya, craw fish, and gumbo all in one sitting, but trust me, it is just not worth it. If possible, get the people you are with to all order different entrees and share or order small portions like appetizers. Otherwise, before you visit, figure out one or two local things you want to try and save the others for your next visit.

I've also made the mistake of ordering room service. It's easy and comfortable to order breakfast, lunch, and dinner from your hotel, but that is the worst. A whole tray of food in front of you. Since you aren't at a table or somewhere public, you can munch on all the food until it's gone instead of just eating until you're full. And if you're like me, you'll order something substantial enough to make the trip worth while for the wait staff.

Lastly, since you're just visiting, chances are you are at a hotel that has a workout facility. If at all possible, pack some tennis shoes, a pair of shorts, and an old T. Most likely, you'll have a few spare minutes to hit the gym. If not, good for you for getting out and making every minute count.

I set rules for myself that I don't break regardless of where I am. No soda. No eating after 8pm. No more than 2 alcoholic beverages on a work night. I have more, but you have to create ones that fit your needs.

Enjoy <3 p="">

Monday, February 17, 2014


“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

I could stop there. I mean that explains so much of what I want to say, but I feel the need to explain some more. 

I've come to terms that my childhood royally screwed me over for the rest of my life. I have plenty of bad things to say to my classmates in Buffalo, Oklahoma who had such an impact on my vulnerable childhood. If any of you (or your families) happen to read this, say a prayer that my blood isn't on your hands, figuratively speaking. You tormented me and treated me in a way that no child should have to live through. I've never heard an apology, but I forgive you. Thanks to my super strong, supportive, loving family who gave me an ounce of confidence throughout the years, I'm here to talk about it. The things I dealt with in Buffalo paved the way for my insecurity in Sabetha, Kansas where I felt little relief from my classmates. I've discussed the details of the "bullying" I went through, so to save time and anger, I am not going to re-live that here today. 

However, I want to blame those years of my life for the personal problems I still face. As a child, the things you hear, learn, and experience effect you for the rest of your life regardless of what aspect of your life they come from. 

I have had plenty of antagonist, mostly ex-boyfriends, point out behavioral issues I have, which is interesting to think about. Let me tell you what, I KNOW I'm not perfect. It's not a hidden secret that I am not perfect, I never will be, but what's the point of you telling me my issues? Do you have your own issues to address first? (Hint: no one is perfect.) 

I know that because I was verbally abused as a child, I have grown to sub-consciously think of myself in a lower respect than my peers. They made me believe that. I don't have the confidence I should perhaps have and it causes me to be jealous more often than not, but it makes me work harder at being confident. It's not natural for me to be confident, I have to fake it or teach myself how to be. That's the easy part. The hard part is actually believing it. 

I also find it interesting that people can accuse me of certain behavioral issues without having an example to support it or even know what they are accusing me of. 

My favorite is when I'm told I don't have a lot of friends. Because I don't hang out with them often because they have just as busy of lives as I do? Or because I don't keep friends who do not treat me as a friend? Or because my best friends live an hour away from me? Or are married? Interesting. Have you counted the number of friends you have recently? Because I haven't. It's quality, not quantity.

When you accuse someone of having a problem, they are more likely to prove why they don't have it rather than work to fix it. So accusations are probably the worst form of solving problems, FYI.

I guess I don't have a great point or realization to this story. Everyone is looking for the perfect companion or friend and that just doesn't exist. The closer you are to someone, the easier it is to see their flaws, but just the opposite, they can see yours. If you morally don't agree or can't handle those flaws, likely you won't be friends. On the other hand, those flaws could help you both grow. I like the saying "you're not perfect, but you're perfect for me". Seems to hold fairly true. 

I also want to say, this post was not instigated by a fight I had with my boyfriend. He is extremely supportive of my past and present and growing together and is considered in the "perfect for me" category. :)

Matthew 7

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dominican Republic Visit

Let me give you the precursor that I had a blog post written and somehow lost it. So my patience and writing isn't as good as it was the first time....

SO- This weekend was my first trip out of the country, off the mainland. (I've been to Mexico and Canada, but pre-passport days.) I'll start at the beginning.

My boyfriend, owning his own company and having clients all over the country/world is continual getting more opportunities to visit them which was the cause of this trip. He invited me along to share the opportunity.

I've heard horror stories about going through customs, especially in foreign countries so I was quite nervous to experience it for my first time. Upon landing on the island it was a big blur from touching down to eating our first meal. Did you catch that? Customs was too easy, I didn't even realize I had gone through it. We filled out some paperwork, got our passports checked, and were out the door. I was for sure it would be an ordeal and I would stutter causing us to be detained for potentially hours. But it was no such thing.

 We had been told we would have a chauffeur waiting for us and sure enough, he was waiting for our arrival. (I'll tell you more about the driver in a bit.) With the communication barrier, I not only got good at charades, but good at going with the flow. So, we stepped into a strangers car and were on our way. Assuming we were being taken to the hotel, it was a surprise when we were dropped off at a restaurant to meet with the people we were there to see. Let me rewind to say the culture shock we experienced within seconds of leaving the airport. Armed guards, loco traffic, goats y pollos on the side of the road, motorcycles with 2+ men. It was interesting.

When we got to the restaurant, James and I took a seat and both let out a sigh. I was just taking it all in. Appreciating el sol, the ocean, the warm breeze. It was paradise. The restaurant was basically on a dock that extended into the Caribbean Sea. It was like the movies, with white drapery flowing in the wind, blue water to each side, bamboo and palm trees, and drinks in coconut shells. We were introduced and talked for a while before deciding to freshen up after the day of traveling.

James and I were left alone for dinner as the host was inclined to let us enjoy our time together. Dinner was another struggle trying to communicate, but everyone was very nice and it could have been worse. For dinner we had, oysters (ostra), shrimp, calamari, chicken risotto and some interesting bruschetta. The bruschetta had roast beef, feta cheese, and banana along with some sort of chocolate dip. It was fantastic. (I'm not totally convinced that's what we ate by the way.) Even paying was a struggle trying to determine the peso to dollar conversion and appropriate tip. We managed and ended our date early as James needed to work the following day.

The next day James went to work with his clients (the reason we were there in the 1st place) so I was instructed to do whatever I wanted with the help of our driver, Gregory. So, he picked me up at the hotel and our adventure began. He took me to a restaurant where all I wanted to do was lay in the sun and have a mimosa. I set up camp and enjoyed the sun. Gregory sat behind me in the shade. I was served like a princess, having the local wait staff cater to my every need. After a couple hours in the sun, I got bored so went and talked to Greg. He is a 26 year old Dominican native so we talked about basic things and how different our lives are. I taught him some English, he taught me Spanish. It was interesting to compare cultural differences and talk about things we both understood. After that, I wanted a change in scenery so he took me to the local beach stopping along the way to get some papaya, mango, and something they called chinas (sweet orange).

We walked along the beach getting stares from locals who knew I wasn't local. As with anywhere, the people watching was fun. We had vendors trying to sell us everything under the sun including sugar cane, fruit, toys, gum, paintings, and fake tattoos. I was intrigued when I saw a fisherman. He sat down by us and started cutting up his days' catch which included; fresh oysters, fresh calamari, and OCTOPUS (or maybe squid, I couldn't understand via translation)! It was all delicious including the homemade salsa he served with it. It was very enjoyable. I gave him $20 to give me everything he had caught that day so Greg and I had our fill and saved some for James to enjoy as well.

On our way back to the hotel I learned that it was their Independence day from Spain. The streets were packed and traffic was even worse than usual. It made for a longer trip back to the hotel which caused a small panic for my boyfriend. (I didn't have service to send/receive texts/calls.) Sun burnt and smiling I got back safe.

We ended up having American food that night which I figured would be better for my stomach anyways. A few drinks at a local bar was all the night had in store and with that my short trip was coming to an end. I said adios sol and savored the last couple hours enjoying the vacation.

Customs coming back into America was interesting. I finally got to see what all the fuss was about from foreigners. It was much more comfortable being able to read and understand signs and people. I breezed through customs and security, making a few friends with the TSA agents bored of talking to people who couldn't understand them.

After a day of traveling I arrived home with a slap in the face from the cold weather.

All in all, it was a fantastic, relaxing, short vacation. I learned a lot in the few short days like;
-Radio in DR is unedited
-2 men on a motorcycle isn't considered gay
-MANY spanish words/phrases
-Whistling at a waiter is okay
-42 pesos is the current exchange rate to a dollar
-Converting Celsius to Fahrenheit and kilometers to miles
-Americans are thought of highly
and likely some more stuff I can't think of right now.

I look forward to traveling mas!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Big E

It was sometime late November, early December. I had the flu the worst I've had it in years. Temperature through the roof, extremely tired, vomiting. There were very few people I wanted to see or talk to in those moments, yet as I was laying miserably in my heated bed, my phone rings. Isaiah.
"Hello" I answer, barely able to squeak an eager sound out of my body.
"I need your help" he responds.

Very few times in my life have I been asked for help from my older brother, so when I am, it's like the first day on a job. I knew this conversation was going to be serious or he would have reached me via other means of communication.

He proceeded to tell me he would be climbing Mount Everest in the coming year. To myself I thought, "Isaiah, you've been saying that for years. You have a job. I'll believe it when I see it." Well, February 3rd he booked a round trip flight to Kathmandu. He's doing it.

The purpose of his call that night was to ask me for any insight, questions, concerns I might have about his plans to ascend Mt. Everest. He has literally thought about it so much for so long, he knew his focus or thoughts may have missed some important reflections. With no hesitation, I began spouting off questions like it was an interrogation.
Why are you going?
What are you afraid of? What's your biggest fear?
What if you don't summit?
Do you think you are composed enough to make good decisions in life threatening situations?
How are you going to justify leaving work for that long?
How can you afford that?
Why now?
What about after climbing it? What's next after climbing the tallest mountain in the WORLD?
If you don't summit, will you go back?
Is traveling to that part of the world safe right now?
How will you combat the high traffic on the mountain of inexperienced climbers?
How long will you be gone?
God forbid, thoughts on death?
Why choose to climb with no bottled oxygen?

The list continued for over an hour. It was a nice distraction from my illness that seemed so minor as we began discussing an endeavor at such life-changing magnitude.

He has now made a deposit for the trek, bought flights, done more research about every facet of Mt. Everest imaginable. I'd say he's more capable of climbing Mount Everest than 99.99999994% of the people on this planet, to be exact.

 Some facts:
About 4,000 people have tried summiting (rapidly increasing)
About 660 people have actually made it to the top (16.5%)
3.6% chance of dying
Youngest person to summit was 13 yrs old
Oldest person to summit was 80 yrs old (in 2013)
1st ascent was 31 years after 1st recorded attempt

As for me, I am terrified, excited, and jealous. Why don't I do extraordinary things like Isaiah? I'm excited for him and scared for him. I pray he has a wonderful experience.

Congrats Isaiah. This is a huge milestone.

"Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." 3 John 1:2