Monday, May 28, 2007

talk about a buzzkill

after spending a delightful weekend celebrating the wedding of dear friends in a beautiful city, i returned to california. and to my phone - where there were 2 messages from my place of employment wondering where i was because i was scheduled to work today. wtf? i gave them the dates for when i was going to be out of town ages ago. i'm somewhat annoyed.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

chicken or egg

is vancouver awesome because the people here are great, or are the people here so great because vancouver is awesome? both?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


wading through this week. this "part-time" job has taken over my life. i've been so tired and stressed, i didn't go to class tonight for the sake of my sanity. this is not how i want things to be.

in other news, it's season finale time. i am too ashamed to admit just how much television i watch, but these freakin' season/series finales are freakin' depressing. grey's anatomy and veronica mars, i'm talking to you. gilmore girls and heroes, though, that's some good stuff.

Monday, May 21, 2007

tired and cranky

jobs with relatively low responsibilty have two edges to them: on one hand you don't have to care too much (unless you're me and have a streak of perfectionism/ generally have a pretty good work ethic); on the other hand there are several layers of management above that get to boss you around (and i would prefer if people asked nicely). throw in nutty customers; helping new coworkers and the alarm clock not going off in the morning and having to rush to work - and you got yourself a pretty draining day.

i'm already one of the more senior staff. praying for a way out of this situation. even if the church job doesn't pay much (which has not been discussed yet, still to early for that); it's got other benefits to it that i would find much more preferable. first one being that my feet wouldn't kill me at the end of the day. what the heck? i sound old. i'll be talking about the condition of my bunions next. for the record: i do not have bunions, nor do i know what they are exactly beyond that they are on your feet and they are painful.

at church last night, we've been talking about the concept of family. it's been quite good actually. last night our pastor posed an interesting thought: that in american culture, we are about the "avoidance of particularity." rather than being in a relationship with a particular person, we are more dealing with ideals, and about "collecting" a series of relationships - say multiple marriages, or similar relationships, say, church-hopping, for instance. i think of the rootlessness and sense of being transitory that plagues our generation. the idea of being connected committed to a particular community or particular person for the long-term is something we shy away from. whereas, God always reveals himself in the best ways to people in his particularity - as Yahweh, the God of the Jews, as Jesus, a particular human being, and not as a mysterious and distant deity. that's not totally verbatim, just what my tired brain can recollect. but the concept of "avoidance of particularity" is something that i'll be mulling over - i haven't thought of it that way before.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


seriously, i am housesitting for friends the first half of july. there is a pool, a hot tub, a barbecue and a cute golden retriever named tino. you people need to come visit me. the people won't care. random blog stalkers need not reply. friends near and far definitely should reply.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

many irons in the fire...

working 6 days in a row to get time off to attend the heckel-chapman wedding next weekend. for those not in the know, i'm in vancouver from thursday to early monday morning. sorry for not more advance warning.

several extended family members are crashing at my house for the weekend for my cousin's graduation from law school. the first i heard about it was 4 days ago. it's crowded; and someone thought it would be fun to try out my brother's drums at 1:30 in the morning.

i have pages due for critique on tuesday. i'm starting to wonder how my story can fit in the genre of memoir; questions of theme and structure and self-doubt plague me. what compels me to keep writing? the sheer fun of it all? i am a masochist.

in the middle of discussions about a youth ministry opportunity at my church. the more i think about it, the more i want to do it, and the more i agonize in the slow process. but it is good.

people! you know how much i love sleep! it doesn't look like i'll get much in the next few days. i look forward to the change of scenery, kicking back and hoisting a frosty beverage with many of you and catching up.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

rocking and rolling

in my wanderings on the internet, i stumbled across at church whose vision statement read: "Releasing men, women, boys and girls into the marketplace as Kingdom entrepreneurs to reclaim it for Christ." this hits all the wrong notes in me, but i can't really explain why. kind of reminiscent of "the gospel according to starbucks" feeling. anyone else want to chime in?

for some reason i've been scheduled to work 6 days next week. i think i will keel over right now. i feel like i don't really get to have a life besides customer service. and my feet still hurt.

Friday, May 11, 2007

tripping along

the mundane: my feet hurt. i stand on cement most of the day. i need better shoes. there's been a lot of turnover, staff-wise at my job. so instead of being part-time, i have a full slate of shifts each week. having a 5 day work week again takes some getting used to. all those with regular jobs reading this just cursed me out. it's okay, that's what i would do too.

the thought provoking: i watched hotel rwanda the other night. i felt sick to my stomach, similar to when i read jesus land. injustice and abuse on an individual or a large scale is hard to witness. i wonder how and why these things happen. perhaps god should just send a flood again and try something else. i know that's a harsh thought; i don't dare to assume i'd make it onto the ark. i just wonder what god's up to in the midst of all this. i realize that it's not so hard to see why my teacher should pitch religion altogether; it's difficult to have faith. and somehow i still chose to.

the down low: there may be an opportunity to work in youth ministry again. still too early to say, but it looks promising and i am intrigued. it has been easy for me to forget that this situation i have been in for the past year is temporary and largely in-between. and now the chance to be somewhere for a good length of time doing something i love is exciting and highlighted again this state of limbo. so if you remember, please pray.

also: if your a NPR nerd, last week's this american life broadcast was about the ten commandments. it spans the poignant, the quirky and everything in between. check it.

Friday, May 04, 2007


i've been to two tutoring sessions so far. i can't remember if i've written about it before, but i'm volunteering at a school near my church. the church has decided to make a long-term commitment to support this school that is just a mile away from them. the demographic of the church is pretty much the opposite of the school.

mostly i've just sat there; secretly entertained by their clowning around and teenage posturing - i dont' want to encourage them to mess around. i kind of want them to be used to me before i start saying "do you need help with anything?" - sounds too much like my job. i've answered one or two questions - i barely remember algebra, ugh.

the class is largely black kids, a few hispanic, and one asian kid - mostly girls (the boys cut). they're 8th graders and are in danger of not graduating, which is why they have to be in this room after school.

sitting the the room with them i am made more aware of my own context of growing up upper middle class suburbs. hah - funny sidenote: the homework room leader, this really cool woman, told me how she had them divided into "tribes" for some kind of weekly activity. the kids can never agree on names and once the mexican kids told her they wanted to be named "the beaners." and so they were until someone else told her that was a racist slur. oops. i knew that one, but these kids operate in a world that is pretty different from my own. probably another reason i feel like i a mostly observing at first. i wonder if jokes i make or how i would have acted with kids in my old youth group would be funny in the same way to them ; waiting to see a point for connection. i am glad to be there. i keep finding myself in situations where people are different from me, like in the last post. it is interesting.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


it just occurred to me recently that i now spend the majority of my time with people that aren't christians. at my job, at this memoir class. it's been quite a few years since this has been the case - about 7, actually. sometimes, i feel a little bit like a deer that has wandered of the reservation. most of the time i like it (no metaphor for this leaps to mind). it's been really different.

on an irrelevant note: i might join the fantasy baseball league a few of the chef and waiters at the restaurant have going. that would bring my participation to 2 leagues. but instead of just doubling my dorkiness, i think it increases a hundredfold. but money is involved, so i don't feel so bad.
second irrelevant note: conan o'brian is in san francisco right now doing shows. this past fall, i had insomnia often enough that i really got into his show. i'm sad all my other friends have jobs and can't go loiter outside the orpheum theater to get tickets.

back to my original thoughts... today i was telling my spiritual director about the little conversations that i've had with one of the chefs. none of them have lasted longer than 3 minutes, usually him wandering up and asking me a question and then ending with him wandering off. i try to answer as best i can off the top of my head.

upon initially telling him that i went to school and studied theology:
him: "so were you trying to figure out if jesus actually existed?"
me: "um, well, we were kind of operating on the assumption that he did."

him: "was mary magalene really a prostitute?"
me: "yeah, i think so."
him: "I don't know, i like to think of her as being the girl next door."
me: "i like to think that jesus would hang out with people that no one else wanted to."
him: "hm." shrug, walks off.

him: "where did the three wise men come from?"
me: "the east?"

him: "what can you tell me about seventh day adventists?"
me: "umm... they meet on saturdays? that's about it."
him: "what's the deal with people not eating shellfish or pork? i mean, i understand that back then, if they ate pork, they would die. but now that wouldn't happen, so why not eat it?"
me: "well... i think it kind of depends on how you view scripture. these people are pretty literal and strict about it, that if it works then then it works now and don't really think about changes in time and culture ... me, i don't know, i like shellfish. and pork."

then there's my writing class. my teacher wrote this book, jesus land. it's a memoir abut the relationship between her (she's white) and her adopted brother (he's black) who are the same age. they live in rural lafayette, indiana, and under the strict and abusive rule of their fundamentalist parents. it's a bleak life, filled with day to day racism, even within their own family. she deals with it by nursing a secret drinking habit and he withdraws into himself. to the two of them eventually get sent off to a reform school in the dominican republic where they endure even more harshness. the two of them survive, but her brother tragically dies in a car accident two years later, at the age of 20.

i read the book in one very late night and an afternoon. it is very well-written; hit pretty high on the new york times bestseller list. the story stuck with me for days. it boggled my mind and turned my stomach that people could read the Gospel and then twist it into something so ugly and mean. the school is real and thriving today. i don't get how i share the name christian with people that would treat other people - kids!- this way. at the same time, the beauty of the relationship between her and her brother shines brightly. as does the love of her older sister (who at this point in the story has been thrown out of the house for dating a catholic boy, who she ended up marrying, and converting - i found this part out when we met). i do recommend this book.

i met her when i was thinking about taking the class - before i had read the book. we chatted amiably, i told her part of story and how i'd written stuff. i knew that she didn't have a very high view of religion, but she did encourage me to take the class. i was a little nervous but figured that things would stay professional, and i was right. after i read the book a few days later, i couldn't really blame her for giving up on religion. we both remarked how our stories take such different directions from each other in regards to religion.

when i told my S.D. about it, she mentioned that she had read the book too. and she pointed out that through history people have been messing up the gospel message. i don't know how to feel about that ... it kind of depresses me. that there are glimpses of grace at all makes it all the more miraculous to me, and that God is indeed a forebearing God.

things that are stupid

just seeing ads for the game show "deal or no deal" makes me irrationally angry. i want to hurt howie mandel. opening briefcases for an hour - awful.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


went to my second writing class tonight. it was good. learning a lot about storytelling and memoir. tonight my writing was critiqued in class; since i had stuff written already i figured i'd get it over with. it was helpful in getting at a more focused theme which my writing can fit under. i'd felt like what i'd written before covered a lot of different things. of course, writing about my life again means visiting some awkward/painful times again, and i'm not all that excited about that. i am drawn to it at the same time. i've read two memoirs concerning lives that were much more harrowing than mine, and i hardly can imagine how they were able to survive the retelling of their stories. memory is a strange living thing. that all being said, we agreed in the frst class that no one really wants to read about how perfect and normal someone is.

on another note, i remember graduating from regent a year ago. a hearty congrats to my friends that just graduated! way to survive a graduate program and let God change your lives. i can't believe it's been a year since i graduated myself. i can't say that it's been particularly easy. but then school wasn't really, either. there's a whole lot of good stuff in with the hard stuff too.

i'm tired - being busy is still new to me. work has been going without further incident. i feel like i've got a schtick down. me a sales person - ha! but i trot out my little jokes, try to smile a lot and be helpful. anyway, it's an interesting study of people. we'll see how long before i go nuts.

also, friends, i'll be housesitting in july for a 2 weeks. come visit. really!