Monthly Archives: November 2019

Take A Look at PUC’s Scholarships​

It’s really easy to get overwhelmed by the thought of paying for college. The thing is, all PUC students, 100 percent, receive at least one form of financial aid. Our finance team is committed to working with you and your family to be sure the opportunity of an Adventist education is possible whether it’s through scholarships, grants, or helping you understand the loan options available to you so don’t feel discouraged by the sticker price! 

PUC offers scholarships based on a variety of factors, including leadership, participation in music groups or athletic programs, and of course high GPA and high test scores. There are also scholarships available depending on your program of study, like the Adventist Mission Scholarship, available to theology and education majors. Visit puc.edu/scholarships to see all available scholarships. 

Here is just a preview of a few merit-based scholarships available. 

President’s Scholarship (Renewable with a 3.0 GPA)

    – 3.75-4.0 GPA or 29+ ACT / 1350+ SAT 

    – $13,000 / 4-Year Total: $52,000

Dean’s Scholarship (Renewable with a 3.0 GPA) 

   – 3.5-3.74 GPA or 26+ ACT / 1200+ SAT

   – $12,000 / 4-Year Total: $48,000

Trustee’s Scholarship (Renewable with a 3.0 GPA) 

   – 3.25-3.49 GPA 

   – $10,000 / 4-Year Total: $40,000

Founder’s Scholarship (Renewable with a 3.0 GPA) 

   – 3.0-3.24 GPA 

   – $9,000 / 4-Year Total: $36,000 

For high-achieving students, PUC offers the prestigious Maxwell Scholarship, worth up to a whopping $116,000. Students meeting qualifications receive full tuition based on their unweighted cumulative GPA and test scores; requirements are a 3.9-4.0 GPA and a 34+ ACT or 1500+ SAT. 

There are also several other PUC scholarships worth checking out, like the Legacy Scholarship for students whose parents attended PUC, and the Mostert Leadership Scholarship, which recognizes students for selected leadership roles held during their junior and/or senior years. 

Visit puc.edu/scholarships to see all available scholarships. If you have questions about what you might qualify for, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of financial aid counselors, who can give you a financial aid estimate that shows what it might cost for you to attend PUC. Call (800) 862-7080, option 1 or email studentfinance@puc.edu to talk with a counselor now.

 

What I Should Be Doing: An Interview with Music Alumnus Brennan Stokes

By Becky St. Clair

Brennan Stokes graduated from Pacific Union College in 2013 with a degree in piano performance. Having discovered a love for composition while studying with Professor Asher Raboy in the department of music, Stokes chose to continue his education at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, graduating in 2019 with a Master’s of Music in composition. Today he maintains a teaching studio in San Francisco’s Sunset District, passing on his love of music to the next generation of pianists. 

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How did you discover your love for music?

My parents are both musically inclined; they both sang in the church choir, Mom took piano lessons as a kid, and Dad plays the trumpet. They started me in piano lessons when I was in kindergarten, but there was always music in our house. I just took it and ran with it.

How did you settle on the piano?

It was the first instrument I learned, and it was a match from the start. I really liked it, and according to my teachers, I showed some promise for it, so I kept playing. Piano just made sense to me. 

How did composing become part of your musical life?

I always assumed I was going to be on one side of the page. I knew I was going to learn it, research it, analyze it, but I never considered creating it myself. When I found out I had to take a composition class for my degree, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but after our first assignment I realized how magical this process is and I fell in love with it. I continued to take classes with Professor Raboy even after the requirements were done. Creating new music was incredibly exciting for me. 

Tell us about your studio.

I teach 30-35 students a week, all between the ages of 5 and 13. My schedule is very flexible; since most kids are in school, I am relatively free during the day. I start teaching around 3 p.m. three days a week and teach until 8 p.m. I enjoy what I do. I consider myself very fortunate to be working in my field, teaching young musicians.

When you’re not teaching kids to create music, you create music yourself. Describe your approach to practicing.

Really, it starts slow. Paying attention to fingerings becomes essential; training my hands to do smaller tasks automatically. Then I focus on rhythm, hand by hand, figuring out what each part of the piece sounds like, then I put it all together. A valuable tool Dr. Wheeler gave me is reverse practice. If you only ever start your practice at the beginning of a piece, that’s always going to be the strong part. But if you start at the end, which is often the hardest part, you ensure the end is also strong. Then you feel even more comfortable with the piece. 

What is the difference between hearing a piece and playing it?

It’s a totally different experience to hear a piece than it is to see what the hands have to do to make the piece happen. You may feel like you know a piece after listening to it multiple times, but when you sit down to actually play it, you realize there are little rhythmic or harmonic nuances you didn’t realize were there. For example, the harmonies in some Chopin and Rachmaninoff pieces are super crunchy. It sounds like you’re playing something wrong and you check the notes three times, but that’s really what it is. You learn it, and suddenly it’s not crunchy anymore; it works. 

Aside from providing a way to make a living, how has studying music contributed positively to your life?

The last several years I’ve been getting into poetry and it has turned into a cycle of self-enrichment. I read poetry and feel like it was meant to be an art song, so I create some vocal music to go with the poem. Also, music allows me to meet really incredible people from all over the world. Music is the most universal thing; it doesn’t matter where you come from or what language you speak, you can bond over music. I love how it brings people together.

Who is your favorite composer to play, and why?

I’d say Chopin and this relatively new 20th century English composer named York Bowen. Chopin changed the game for solo piano. Yes, it’s technical, but once you get it in the fingers, it becomes so fluid and so natural. There’s playfulness, there’s sadness, and the composer’s intentions are really clear. Bowen utilizes really rich harmonies and has a bit of a jazzier feeling. I don’t think he’s well known but he’s written a ton of music; in particular, his preludes and ballads feel really nice to play.

Who is your favorite composer to listen to, and why?

There are two to whom I constantly return: Ravel and Beethoven. I have yet to encounter a piece by Ravel I’m not stunned by. He was a wizard of music and his chamber and orchestra music is stunning. Every instrument’s shape and technique is magic because he thought about more than the obvious ways to use the instrument. He utilizes every aspect of shading to get different tone colors and sounds.

Beethoven takes his time with his surprises. What he did to change musical form is a reminder that if you feel like doing something, you can. He’ll pull a fortissimo out of nowhere or move through his harmonies in an unexpected way. His sonatas are really rich; one movement is fiery and passionate then another is lyrical and serene. It’s incredible to realize you don’t always have to do the same thing all the time. He reminds me to come back to things that are good and innovate. I’m still looking back to these masters and finding ways to influence my music-making process. 

What is something you want to improve about your musicianship, and what are you currently doing to move in that direction?

Right now, rhythms and the finer points of notating what I want, maintaining my ear to get the intricate harmonies I love. I constantly have to work at how I put the complicated pieces together in the way I want them. During my first year of grad school, I took a musicianship class, and it was insane but incredible. Walking out of that class, my ear was so much sharper than it had been walking in. I still use techniques from that class to keep track of what has happened in a piece and what I’m doing next. 

What is the highlight of your career thus far?

Definitely my first composition recital in November 2017—the first time I heard one of my pieces performed. I had composed two songs for mezzo soprano, violin, cello, and piano, and I was terrified. I’m so used to being in the driver’s seat, and it was terrifying to be the composer just sitting in the audience watching four other people do my music and having zero control over what happened.

It was an immense learning curve handing my music over to other musicians; what I think works initially may not actually work after a second pair of eyes looks it over, especially when I’m composing for instruments that are not my primary. I also learned that how performers interpret music is also a part of the creative process.

A lot of people came up to me afterward and said it was amazing. It was a moment when all of my fears of not being good enough vanished. To be positively received by an audience was wonderful, but for my music to be positively received by the musicians playing it was even better. It was confirmation I was doing what I should be doing.

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If you could change one thing about society’s perception of classical music, what would it be?

I wish more people understood if you have the context of 20th century music, it will make more sense. The 20th century saw a lot of horrible things happen, and that’s reflected in dissonant 20th century music. It’s not necessarily pretty to listen to, but if you understand what they’re trying to say you don’t necessarily disagree with it. It takes a moment to transcend what you’re hearing and realize what the composer is saying; for example, a minor key with shrieking strings can express how a Polish composer feels about the Holocaust. If you understand what it is they were experiencing or reacting to, it contextualizes their voice and makes the music more accessible. 

How do you deal with performance anxiety?

I read a book on performance anxiety and the author said if you don’t get nervous, if you don’t feel anxious or get a boost in energy (whether positive or negative) before a performance, it’s apathy. You don’t really care. If you’re nervous before you perform, it means you want to do a good job and perform to the best of your ability to make sure what you put out there is wonderful. That really changed my way of thinking. I’ve learned to recognize what happens to me and where my nervousness affects me the most, then find a way to adjust. I try to fully relax my body and tell myself I’m going to give a wonderful performance. I reassure myself I’ve practiced, I’m ready, and I’m a good enough musician to find my way through the performance. This is music and music is fun, and sharing it with others should be enjoyable. That nervous feeling just means I’m doing the right thing. I’m doing something that matters to me. And that’s how it should be. 

 

Faces of PUC: Sebastian Anderson

You may recognize this week’s #FacesOfPUC. His name is Sebastian Oliver Anderson and he’s the Student Association Executive Vice President. Sebastian is a junior in the department of visual arts focused on graphic design. In his spare time, he sometimes designs for the public relations office and is responsible for some incredible designs including the PUC bus wraps and this year’s PUC t-shirt! 

What is your dream job?

Growing up, I always wanted to be a roller coaster designer, but I think as I discovered my passion for graphic design and my strong interest in the film industry, I would really like to design movie posters, intro sequences, and other design elements necessary for film. I’m also interested in web design and UI/UX design!

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family?

I love the community I have here, especially my visual arts family in Fisher Hall! I am so thankful for my department.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Right now, it is definitely Asia. I got to go on a tour two summers ago where I visited Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. I also got to spend two weeks in Malaysia with my girlfriend’s family and friends, and I can’t wait to go back.

What show are you binge-watching right now?

I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls with my mom! It’s a fun show and it’s nice to be able to spend time with her. 

What is something you’re passionate about?

I really want to make an actual, meaningful change here at PUC by the time I graduate. One of my biggest pet peeves is when my friends complain about issues on campus and have no initiative to try and seek a solution. I hope through my role as EVP, I can seek and find our student body’s strength in order to create an even better PUC.

Recommend a place in the Bay Area to visit on a weekend.

Mendocino is a beautiful little town only a few minutes away from Fort Bragg—where I live—and from our Albion Field Station! It has beautiful beaches—they are Norcal beaches, so don’t expect sun—and a lot of cute stores to visit. There’s even an ice cream store with mushroom ice cream!

 

Get Started on Cal Grant

Hey California seniors! We hope you’re enjoying this new(ish) school year! It may seem early but it’s never a bad time to start thinking about applying for Cal Grant. 

What is Cal Grant?

Cal Grant is a financial aid program administered by the California Student Aid Commission that provides aid to California undergraduates, vocational training students, and those in teacher certification programs. The short version: A Cal Grant is money for college you don’t have to pay back!

Cal Grants can be used at most colleges in California. If you’re planning on attending a private non-profit California college like PUC, Cal Grant is worth up to $9,084 per year. That’s over $36,000 to help pay for four years of college—and it’s free!

How to Apply for Cal Grant

Applying for Cal Grant takes just two easy steps! To be considered for a 2020-21 Cal Grant award, you must complete the following requirements by March 2nd:

  1. Submit a 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA)
  2. Ensure that a certified GPA is submitted to the California Student Aid Commission 

GPAs are accepted only if certified by a school electronically or submitted by using the CSAC official GPA verification form. No transcripts are accepted.

Helpful Links

 

Faces of PUC: Kharolynn Pascual Smith

Kharolynn Pascual Smith has been working as an admissions counselor for the past 10 months. Her focus is mainly on students interested in transferring to PUC, so if you’re thinking about transferring or know someone who is, Kharolynn is the perfect person to reach out to. Let’s get to know a little more about Kharolynn! 

What brought you to PUC? How/Why did you decide to work here? 

An interesting conversation brought me to PUC somewhat unexpectedly. I decided to work here because I value Adventist Christian education at all levels and believed I could use my experience and abilities to help students. 

What is the best thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

I appreciate the diversity and contributing to a shared purpose, vision, and mission.

 Where is your favorite place to eat in the Valley and why? 

Il Posto Trattoria in Napa. The food is freshly made and tastes great, it’s casual with unpretentious service, and I don’t have to save up for months to eat there.

 What is something you can do/want to do that might be surprising for people to learn? 

I’d like to do a jungle canopy zipline tour, which is surprising because I’m quite terrified of heights. 

 What is one song you’re listening to on repeat lately? 

I tend to repeat entire albums rather than just one song. Recently, I’ve been listening to a Yo-Yo Ma album of Bach Cello Suites a few times a week. It’s peaceful.

 Who is someone you admire and why? 

I admire people like Job in the Bible who have experienced extreme adversity and retained their trust in and praise for God in spite of everything. My grandmother and my friend, Mike, are two examples.

 Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings you can find me …

Enjoying the chance to sleep until I wake up naturally rather than being forced awake by an alarm, then doing something leisurely, like reading, knitting, or baking.

 

 

 

 

There’s No Wrong Way to Worship

One of the benefits of attending PUC is being a part of our community of faith and learning. Our campus is comprised of caring faculty and staff who give students the support they need on their spiritual walk with Christ, through a multitude of opportunities.

PUC offers weekly vespers and church services for those who enjoy a more traditional fellowshiping. There are also dorm worships, small group Bible studies, and various student-lead ministries running throughout the week and open to everyone on campus. If that’s not for you, PUC is in a prime location for communing with God in nature. From the back 40 trails to breezy beaches, the destinations are endless and inspiring. Prefer to serve? Not only does PUC offer multiple short term mission trips but weekly opportunities to give back to the community. 

However you prefer to worship, PUC makes it easy because we feel, there is no wrong way to worship! 

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The Twelve offers a personalized, student-focused Sabbath worship. “Our goal is to develop an open spirit-driven community that reflects the life and teaching of Jesus through discipleship.” — Leah Dopp, 2017-2018 lead coordinator

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Students receive one-on-one spiritual nurturing from campus chaplains, pastors, residence assistants, and their residence hall deans. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Enter a captPUC has multiple short-term mission trips to places like Brazil, Nicaragua, Arizona, Bangladesh, and Fiji.ion

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Our Campus Ministries team leads visits to Clearlake, Oakland, Berkeley, and other local areas each weekend helping to give back to the community. 

 

 

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Students participate in freshmen Life Groups and quarterly Week of Revival.

 

How to Build Relationships with Your Professors

Ally Romanes

One of the great things about studying at PUC is the student-to-teacher ratio. Unlike larger classes in bigger universities, PUC gives students the opportunity to get to know the faculty and build relationships with them. This allows students to not only get the help they need but build lasting and meaningful relationships. 

Faculty at PUC are well known for going above and beyond to not only help their students succeed in class but in their everyday lives as well. They care about your future and want to prepare you for the real world. Building a relationship with your professor allows them to know who you are, and that can only help when it comes time to ask them to write you a letter of recommendation! Go out of your way to get to know your professors and let them get to know you as well. That will not only change how you learn in their classes, but it will also benefit your college experience. 

Here are some tips to help you build relationships with your professors, and guess what? They’re really simple!  

Introduce Yourself

Let your professors know who you are beyond roll-call. Go up to them and introduce yourself. 

Be Respectful 

Make sure you know how to address your teacher. If they prefer being called Dr., Professor, or even their first name, make sure you address them as they have told you.

Side note: Put your phone down! (unless they ask you to use your phone for class).

Participate

You don’t need to sit in the front row or raise your hand every time a question is asked. Just show you are paying attention and do your part when it comes to group activities. Who knows, you might even get called on, so listen and be prepared. 

Write Professional Emails 

Treat being a student as a job. Don’t write an email to your professor as if you were texting a friend. Students who write professional emails stand-out to faculty. Use the subject line of the email to let make your questions or concerns clear. Some faculty teach more than one class, so use that subject line to show what you need. 

Be clear in what you need in the body of your email. If you need to schedule a meeting with your professor, have a concern with your grade, or didn’t understand something in the homework, be up front about that and be specific in what you need. 

Communicate

Take the time to talk with your professor about what you want out of the class. If you are struggling, let them know. Ask them for advice on how you can improve. 

Check Office Hours

Faculty put their office hours on the syllabus for a reason! Take advantage of their hours and get the help and advice you need to excel in your classes. Never worry about bothering them, that is what they are there for. 

 

Fall Fest Fun

This weekend was PUC’s annual Fall Festival where the Pioneers family came together to enjoy food and fun. With booths full of things to buy, things to eat, and causes to support, Fall Fest is one event everyone looks forward to.

Here are just a few of our favorite moments.

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Members of SOL Club pose for a photo before the crowds come! 

 

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These lovely ladies are taking a break by the English table! 📚 

 

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The Biology Club had the cutest succulents for purchase! 🌿  

 

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No explanation is necessary.🤣 Thanks for the laughs, REVO! 

 

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The Mabuhay Filipino Club really wowed everyone with their Tinikling which is a traditional Philippine folk dance! 

Browse through the Fall Fest album on facebook for even more! 

 

A Moment in Time: Artist Davis Perkins Exhibits at PUC

By Becky St. Clair

Always drawing as a kid, Davis Perkins doesn’t remember a time when art wasn’t a part of his life. Perkins attended the University of Oregon, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, and he has now made art a career. He has original artwork in a permanent collection at the Smithsonian as well as in the Pentagon and has done one-man shows at the Alaska State Museum and the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum.

On Nov. 9, Perkins will host an opening reception and artist talk at 7 p.m. in the Rasmussen Art Gallery right here on campus. His exhibit, Landscapes: A Moment in Time, will be on display through December 8 (the gallery will be closed Nov. 23-Dec. 1 for Thanksgiving break). We caught up with Perkins and asked him a few questions to get to know him and his craft better. 

What first sparked your interest in painting?

I was always drawing as a kid. It was something for which I seemed to get a lot of “praise.” I was raised on a farm in rural Oregon and was always outside. It was during my three-year stint in the Army I really started to draw a lot, and when I got out of the service I attended college, initially studying history, but taking more and more drawing and painting classes. I had great support from my professors and they encouraged me to pursue painting seriously. I switched majors to art and began in earnest. I initially started in oil painting, and it’s what I love most to this day.

How did your career start?

While in college, I was a smokejumper (parachute firefighter), and I worked during the summer fire season. After graduation, I moved down to the Bay Area to paint during the winter, going back to Alaska to spend the summers jumping fires. It was a very seasonal lifestyle! When a professor advised me to start a series of paintings of my experiences as a smokejumper, I began jumping fires with a small sketchbook, documenting my work during the slow times. The series ended up being my senior thesis project. I had a lucky break with that final series; first, the Alaska State Museum gave me a one-man show of the work, and the next year, the Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum gave me a one-year solo exhibition of my work. The Smithsonian has three of my paintings in their permanent collection. I also have a painting in the Pentagon with the Air Force Art Collection.

How does your environment play a role in your art-making?

As you will see in the exhibit at the Rasmussen, I consider myself a traditional landscape painter. Much of my life has been spent outdoors, and the wonders of nature are what inspire me, therefore much of my work is plein air. For larger studio pieces I always work outside for reference studies.

What is one of your favorite pieces you’ve created, and why?

Hmm … that’s a tough one! I’d say some of my favorite pieces are the quick studies done on location. They often seem the freshest and most spontaneous. I am constantly attempting to not overwork a piece; I try and limit an outdoor painting session to no more than two hours. By that time, the light has changed significantly. I will often start a painting in the morning and move on to another in the afternoon. If there’s more work that remains, I can return the next day.

Tell us about your studio. What kind of space have you created in order to be comfortable expressing yourself?

I’ve got a great studio! It’s located in downtown San Rafael and is part of a complex called The ArtWorks Downtown. There are about 35 studios in the building and it is a wonderful complex in which I have many good friends. I have a high ceiling studio with a skylight, as well as good artificial lights. I’ve been in ArtWorks Downtown for about 15 years. Come visit anytime!

What’s something you still want to learn about art-making, and what are you doing to acquire that knowledge?

A good question! I am obviously still learning and it is an ongoing ambition, but I’m focusing on the study of color primarily. For the past three years, I have been on the faculty of the annual Plein Air convention. The four-day convention attracts painters from all over the world, and individuals give wonderful lectures and demonstrations. I gain a great deal from attending these lectures and learning from some of the world’s top artists. I also try and take advantage of living in the Bay Area and travel to museums here as often as I can. We are so fortunate to have access to the de Young, the Oakland Museum, and others; they have wonderful collections!

large-Perkins_Doc's PondWhat makes oil painting different from other kinds of painting?

What is delightful about oil painting is the ability to alter your work: You simply wipe it off! Often when I’m painting a cloud, for example, I will decide to start again. During the process of wiping off the paint, a new shape will emerge that I like and will develop. I especially like the ability to glaze over the dried paint with a translucent layer of color. It’s a technique used by oil painters for hundreds of years. As I mentioned, I am constantly exploring and reading about mixing color. It is an ongoing process!

How do you start a new piece? 

A large white canvas staring you in the face can be intimidating. So I always start a painting with a thin wash, usually in an earth color. I then use a little darker, thin paint to start developing the composition. This is really the most fun time to paint; you’re exploring, wiping out, redrawing with thin paint. You can’t screw it up! I then start to develop the basic values–light and dark. When I’m satisfied I’m on to something, I’ll start applying heavier layers of paint. Then it’s, “Fingers crossed!” Ha!

Who is another artist you admire, and why?

I would have to say Richard Schmid is one of my greatest inspirations. He is nothing less than a National Treasure. I have had the pleasure of meeting him, and I own all of his books. He’s been an inspiration to hundreds of young artists.

 

Faces of PUC: Dale Withers

Dale Withers has worked at PUC for 35 years and currently holds the title of director of facilities management. But Dale is a lot more than just the director, Dale is a PUCite through and through. He honestly just might know everything there is to know about PUC! Did you know under the PUC campus sits a bunch of secret tunnels? He does! And I can guarantee he’s been in all of them.

We asked Dale to answer a few questions so we can get better acquainted with him.

What brought you to PUC? How/Why did you decide to work here?  

Was working for Dwight Shogren in Texas before he came to PUC. He called me a few months later telling me he needed me at PUC. I wanted out of Texas so bad I never even asked about the benefit package, just asked what day I needed to be there!

 

What is the best thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

Working with students and getting to help people.

 

Where is your favorite place to eat in the Valley and why?  

Haciendas in Cloverdale, because it’s not in the busy Napa Valley so it’s quiet like restaurants used to be.

 

What is something you can do/want to do that might be surprising for people to learn?  

Some days I wonder if I am actually making a difference but then someone brightens my day with a compliment.

 

What is one song you’re listening to on repeat lately?   

Sunshine on my Shoulders.

 

Who is someone you admire and why?  

My crew because they are my feet and legs. Without them I could not get what we as a team get done here at Facilities. I am blessed to have good people that work for me and care deeply about this institution. And as an added bonus they know how to laugh, which makes for happy times.

 

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings you can find me …

Working mostly lately. Hopefully we can get back to Kayaking and cabin trips again soon!