Saturday, December 20, 2008

21 jump street

what follows is a close approximation of an actual friday night phone call:

kid: audrey what are you doing? we're bored! hang out with us!

me: well, i'm actually going to a party tonight.

kid and friend in background: ooooooooohhhhh, a party! can we come? (a freshman in college and a senior in high school.

me (knowing full well that the parties i attend now consist of adults standing around and talking, with a some good booze; not a raging kegger that they might be imagining. but to keep up my cool factor, i do not explain this to them.): no.

kid: no, we think you should hang out with us! we're more fun that a party!

me: well... i haven't hung out with my peers in a while. (it's true. i'm usually with kids, various parents that are now my friends, and only usually hang out with my trivia night geeky crew). i'd like to go. (but only after talking my introverted self into going)

kid: oh, audrey! WE'RE your peers! come on!

me: um right... do you remember that i'm almost twice as old as you? well, i am.

kid: no you're not.

.... and we proceed to argue a little bit about this, until i point out the math.

i am still bemused by this conversation. wondering about many things... a) how cultivating relationships with kids (and people in general) is just a part of who i am (in spite of my sometimes militant introversion), that the word ministry doesn't quite accurately describe it for me. b) that people would find me this approachable, when i consider myself to be generally socially awkward. c) how in the last month, i have been asked what high school i attend in one conversation, and then in a different one asked if i have children (i'm guessing she was asking about high school age kids since i was teen-sitting for the weekend - if only i were as cool as lorelai gilmore); d) why i have been using so many parenthetical phrases in this post, and e) just how it is God figures out how to draw us all into life together in the odd way that He does.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

where teen angst comes from

tonight i went to some friends' house for dinner for dinner. i helped them decorate their christmas tree. tried my first stinger - brandy and creme de menthe over ice. refreshing.

then i watched part of the movie version of the heart of darkness because their daughter had a test on it the next day and she hadn't read the book - but had read the spark notes version (what happened to cliff notes?). not apocalypse now, but some version with tim roth and john malkovich where everyone looks brooding and delivers their stilted lines really slowly. it was pretty bad. while watching the movie, she also finished her essay on the metamorphosis by kafka. you know, where the main character has turned into a giant cockroach.

i read heart of darkness in high school but don't remember any of it. didn't read any kafka, but i do recall a lot of hermann hesse. my general impression is that high school english curriculums are mostly based on how damn depressing the stories are. although i do love to kill a mockingbird. but everything else made me want to slash my wrists. i mean, i alread listened to morrisey and the cure a lot then - how did i not actually jump off a bridge? who picks these books? go ahead and chime in with the books you loved or hated in high school.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

things that suck

hiring freezes.

coupled with the words "for the foreseeable future."

yep.

stupid economy.

rather than write about how i feel, i'll just let you think about how you'd feel if you got an email with those words when you were looking for a job. that's way easier and with less whining here on the blog.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

makes me laugh every time

actual conversation, on internet dating sites:

friend: would you do it again?
me: i suppose, but i don't have a job right now, so i don't think that'd be the best thing to do with my money.
friend: but you could get free food!
me: very good point.

Friday, November 28, 2008

black friday

Wal-Mart worker dies after shoppers knock him down
as if we already didn't have reason to hate wal-mart. on the other side of that, sometimes i don't have a lot of hope for the human race. or america, at least - does thanksgiving mean anything besides being the day where you eat a lot and being before the day of big sales?

much less the attacks in mumbai, and the protests in thailand, and crisis in zimbabwe, and the fighting in the DR of congo, or that even more people are hungry in san francisco.

sigh.

seems a fitting way to begin advent, as creation groans, and we wait even more expectantly for jesus.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

12 steps

i might as well admit it on the internet. that makes it official and all. about a year ago, i gave up caffeine. it made me anxious and crazy. i mean, more than usual.

so it was good to take a hiatus. but i have returned. i have surreptitiously been drinking coke or diet coke (shout out: jane!) here and there. may as well go whole hog. plus the place i'm housesitting has a cool espresso machine and i can make myself a cup of coffee at the push of a button. it's amazing that i have held out this long. plus it energizes me to blog. so it can't be that bad. next post: how i started smoking weed. just kidding.

Monday, November 24, 2008

i have made ... pie!

i know, this isn't such a big deal to some of you out there. but i'm usually too lazy to whip stuff up in the kitchen. but i have been urged by the family i am housesitting for to use up the stuff in their freezer. and there were some pie crusts. so i made apple blackberry pie. on a saturday night, no less. i am old.


origins...

if you've spent any length of time with me, chance are you've seen me make this cheesy facial expression just to be weird in photographs. i guess it's my version of what those models do on the price is right gameshow when they flog the merchandise. the expression changes depending on how excited i am about whatever item is involved. and i don't know why it makes me laugh, but it just does. so you've had to put up with it - thankfully in the digital age, wasting film is not such an issue.

today i bring to you the very image that inspired this bizarre habit - just because i thought you might like to know. behold, the kronos product gyro food model.this poster was up in a greasy spoon diner in georgetown i'd always grab food from on the way home from an evening shift scooping ice cream at ben and jerry's. after all the sugar, i needed the salt. strangely, i never got a gyro there, usually a cheeseburger and fries - this was when i was working out 6 days a week for crew and had the metabolism of an 18 year old. but let us turn our attention back to the poster - it always drew my attention when i walked by it - who gets this excited about a gyro? the filling is scraped off a rotating cylinder of meat. it's not like this is a refined and highbrow product. now that i think about it though, i'm having trouble coming up with what a more fitting facial expression would be. i'd also like to point about that this lady does not look greek at all. look at the greeks reach out to other cultures! and she's holding it with only one hand, which is clearly improper technique that will lead to the filling ending up all over her lap. also note the popped shirt collar.

i've probably analyzed this far too much. but i do have the time on my hands. when i looked through the photos on my computer, i realized just how influential this image has been. for good and for ill i suppose. but to semi-hilarious ends.


beignets at the cafe du monde in new orleans are definitely worth getting this excited over.







i don't know why i was so happy to try this because it was so sweet it hurt my teeth. however, the company is quite exciting.






it runs in the family. my brother shows off the wonder of a fried twinkie.







fudgsicles after playing whiffle ball on a long summer evening in vancouver. this was my last night living in this fine city before i returned to california.









upon further reflection, man, i eat a lot of unhealthy food.

Monday, November 17, 2008

be-rilliant

i can't stop laughing. at least one skit on snl was funny after the election.

*sadly snl and nbc do not see fit to allow this video of the skit to be viewable online. try googling for it, there might be holdouts somewhere but that is doubtful. here's a still from the video...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

talk of the weather will do

it has finally shifted into fall here. daylight "savings" time has kicked in - someday we should just abolish this practice, as it seems to serve little purpose. indian summer has given way to "chillier" temperatures (it's all relative to what you are accustomed to - me, i kind of miss the vancouver drizzle days - which means that i have been away from vancouver long enough for my memory to be rose-tinted). people here complain about a slight rain shower as if it is a typhoon.

the grey days that make you want to stay in pajamas all day and hibernate. i slept in, lazed around, took a nap, and see where it gets me? wide awake at 1:30 am. i have never known how to use this time. read a book, do some writing - not activities conducive to lulling me to sleep. nor is being online or blogging. alas. insomnia wouldn't be so bad if it weren't so boring, i say.

the season of waiting in my life drags on. however i am on new tenterhooks, with a new job prospect. something that could really pan out to an occupation, one that i'd be willing to give a shot for a good length of time. i hesitate to share the details, not wanting to jinx things. but if you really want to know, just email or call. prayer friends, activate!

it will be some time for the decision to be made, and in the meantime i contemplate holiday retail employment. you could probably just drop a cash register on my head and it would feel about the same. if you have any tips as to how i could speed this employment process up and convince them to hire me now, let me know. i need to go to the dentist for a check up.

in other news, even in the boredom of unemployment, amusing things keep happening. somehow i work myself into a right state of grumpiness, but when i got to see my spiritual director, funny stories just spill out of me and we end up laughing really hard. i think that at the time, i was not so amused, but in the story-telling, in the recollection, i find the humor. i guess it's just a part of my dna. i think i can almost HEAR my friends roll their eyes reading that last sentence, and say "well, duh." i'm a little slow. anyway, this is what i was for halloween. beekeeper outfit courtesy of my housesitting gig; the giant bee courtesy of my brother who bought the thing at a garage sale for a dollar about 11 years ago and this is the first time we ever found a use for it. the humor is not so subtle on this day, yes? neither is the sugar intake. somehow i thought it would be fun to volunteer at the little carnival for kids at church, and i would be the bouncer of the bounce house.

it will not be soon when i do this again, if ever. EVERYONE loves the bounce house - that is the problem. the most difficult part was how the kids waiting for their turn would just stare at you, closely followed by the kids who would try to sneak past me through the small entrance. by sneak i mean, just plow right past me. subtle is not a word applied to 2-9 year olds, either. at one point, a little girl was in there crying because she had basically been tackled by another kid. i went in to retrieve her; quite forgetting that my beekeeper costume was not comforting at all, but quite terrifying. she would have probably curled up into a ball if she could move in the bounce house when i loomed over her. i pulled off the mask, apologized and gathered her up to hand off the her waiting mom. i told the kids that i lived IN the bounce house, and when the carnival was over, i crawled in there to lie down as people left. i needed the quiet.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

no atheists in foxholes

i like to think i'm a pretty articulate person.

i had a job interview today. whenever i start to pray about it, all that comes into my head is "please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please..."

Monday, November 03, 2008

the nitty gritty

with all this time on my hands, it's easy to feel like i'm going in circles, or not moving at all. my mind is racing (visualize the cartoon image of hamster running on its wheel in my skull), but i can tell that i feel a little stuck because i've fallen off calling friends, not to mention blogging. but when i get a chance to clear my head, to chat with friends, somehow these funny yarns spill out of me. they laugh, i laugh and i wonder, where the heck did that come from?

the highlight lately has been volunteering in the tenderloin for the past month and a half now. Just 9 years and 10 1/2 months until i get an apron with my name stitched on it! something to shoot for.

when i was done for the day, i was walking back to the bart station, and passed a man who waved at me and said "hey thanks! i remember you from lunch!" in the city, where it is crowded and you have to fight for privacy, it is easy to close yourself off to what is going around you - a skill i had acquired from my time of living in different cities. this friendly greeting from a complete stranger snapped me out of my reverie. i ducked my head and shyly mumbled a "you're welcome."

i have enjoyed my times there, for the most part (more on that later). i've started to recognize different faces, and become familiar with the regulars - the woman who comes back for seconds and thirds on dessert and thanks us for the "diet cakes." i laugh every time.

bussing tables is when i get to interact with people the most. so far this has meant that men try out odd pick up lines on me. it kind of startled me at first, but then i figured out how to brush these aside humorously and move on. i suppose it is good practice for brushing off all of my actual would-be suitors (i mean the other option is beating them off with a stick. i mean, really!).

first conversation went like this:
before i picked up a tray, i said to the people sitting there, "does anyone want these leftover cookies before i take this tray?" one guy gruffly replies, "i want you!"
i blinked and said, "uh... well, i'm not on the menu."

last week:
me: hey, how was your lunch? (as i stack meal trays on the table)
dude: it was good, but it would have tasted a lot better if you had cooked it. (i didn't really follow this logic. a nice sentiment, i suppose)
me: well... thanks, but i can tell you for a fact that would not be true.

as for the the "for the most part" comment i made earlier. i thought the hard thing about volunteering would be in dealing with people different from me. and i was right about that. the part that i was wrong about was exactly who the different people would be. not the people i am serving - but the other volunteers. it kind of makes me laugh when i think about it. the age distribution is such: 1/2 of the volunteers are senior citizens, then there's me, my new friend who is in college, and then there are different groups of high school kids that come in everyday to volunteer. i have been mistaken for a high schooler several times, which is sort of flattering but mostly perplexing to me. i'd make a joke about 21 jump street if anyone there would know what i was talking about!

anyway, the seniors are a wonderfully quirky bunch, but it has taken me some time to get used to them. when the dining room coordinator is waving at us to bring out more meal trays, they are often chitchatting about timeshares, or software to view pictures of grandchildren and then saunter out like they have all the time in the world. i mean, i know we're not mcdonald's or operating at fine dining speed, but still - we are there to serve. my college friend and i have to bite our tongues sometimes, but even then have brusquely told people to get a move on. i'm not sure those with name-embroidered aprons appreciate us young whippersnappers.

conversely, a tiny woman who moves at the speed of a glacier and whose height is about chest high on me (and i'm 5'4" so that's pretty small) has snapped at me a few times and then mumbled something in spanish that i guessed was not complimentary but hey, maybe i'm being paranoid.

inwardly exasperated, i tried to avoid her but something made me look at her again (maybe because she cut in front of me in line). i saw that she was dressed rather nicely; wearing somewhat impractical dress shoes, she had taken the time to put on makeup, no matter how wonky she had pencilled about her eyebrows. and i guessed that maybe this time meant something to her, just like it did to me - we were there to serve. and i got the message: LIGHTEN THE HELL UP. now i suppose that's what i could have told her, but i didn't know how to say that in spanish. i figured i'd just take it to heart myself and then see what happened from there.

i don't know what i expected when i started volunteering, that we'd all be happy and holding hands and singing happy songs, and then we'd all spontaneously break out into a choreographed dance. we human being are far too odd a collection of people to really get along like that. but that doesn't me we don't try to get along as best we can.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

a spoonful of sugar

my ennui of late has lifted a bit. perspective arrived in appropriate doses. lunch with a good friend helped (especially when she treated). hearing the insecurities of another friend who has spent the last 8 years working at the same company exactly mirror my own (as i curse my paltry-feeling resume). and then another friend who shall remain nameless told me about once discovering that she left the "l" out of "public" AFTER sending out her resume. thanks for being in solidarity with me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

differently abled

a while back, i went to the "how berkeley can you be" festival. basically, it's like most street fairs - freshly popped kettle corn, handmade crafts and such. apparently the being as berkeley as you can involves gluing strange objects to your car, say, poker chips, markers, or dinosaur figurines.

bands played all afternoon, and we lolled in the grass while eating overpriced food. my friends and i noticed this girl tumbling and dancing exuberantly to the music. cartwheels, somersaults, handstands, other little acrobatic moves that i can't name. about half an hour later, she was still twirling with the same energy, and we were impressed. then we realized that she had one leg. we couldn't tell how high the prosthetic went, if it was up to her knee or what. you could tell from the way she danced that this was a non-issue for her. when i was the same age as her i think i managed pretty good somersalts and that was about it with my two good legs.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

wtf

Christians feud over Church of Holy Sepulcher
this, among a myriad of other things, makes christians look ridiculous. one of those, "i like the church, if it weren't for all those stupid people in it" kind of moments.

mood ring is black

last week i tried giving the unresponsive job market the silent treatment. "that'll show them!" i thought to myself. surprisingly, that did not provoke anyone to give me a job, or at the very least, an interview. sigh.

in brighter news, my brain is not atrophying i have much time to read and an excellent balcony to read on. "real" summer in the bay area is indian summer - september and october. pity to tourists who think a good summer vacation trip is to come here in june.

last week, i was fortunate enough to see n.t. wright and bart ehrman debate the nature of suffering & God ( this link is to their online debate on beliefnet - some of what they write is what they covered live). unfortunately i missed the free booze and hors d'Ĺ“uvres accompanying the hefty admission. it was well worth it though. ehrman kind of reminds me of psalm writers in the old testament - they look around at the state of the world and demand, cry out, to know why it is happening. wright reminds us of the long-term plan of god to bring total reconciliation and healing to the world. of course they could both talk until they are blue in the face and be no closer to an answer. but it is good to consider suffering, to care about what is happening in the world, to push our assumptions in our faith and see where it cracks and figure out how to respond to that. i find myself sympathetic to ehrman's position, but cannot bring myself to become an agnostic - i would be intrigued to read his book. i was talking about the debate to someone, and they responded "oh, well it's because ehrman went to princeton seminary, that's how he lost his faith" ... this statement irritated me, in the same way as when another person stated to me that "she didn't believe in global warming." i'm not really getting the jump in logic there.

it was interesting to go from this debate between calm collected academics to the conference "global slavery and the plague of poverty" at my church. speakers came from india, southeast asia, bolivia and uganda. through a written account, elizabeth shared how she had been forced into the sex trade, spent a year in a brothel and how the international justice mission helped her. she just graduated from college, the first in her family to do so. in the face of incredible abuse and suffering her faith remained intact she prayed each day, wrote this psalm on her wall:
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

i found myself silent in the face of ehrman's questions in the same way i was silent after her testimony. in the great tension, in the great awfulness and evil present in the world, we cry out, and we find that He is there. in more ways than we can ask or imagine. in other ways that we ask or imagine.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

calling all techies

anyone out there in the internets want to tell my why my sidebar of links is now displayed way at the bottom of the page? it's been like that for a while. i was hoping that the problem would resolve itself as spontaneously as it began. what the heck.

Monday, October 20, 2008

bad theology

acutal text conversation with a student:

me: hey did you see the trailer for the movie? (ed note: referring to the film call and response, about global slavery)
student: yes i did. scary shit.
m: you said shit.
s: i'm sorry.
m: whatever. see you in hell.
s: yeah, i'll see you there.
m: at least it'll be warm.
s: yeah, we'll have nice tans.
m: and possibly smores!
s:and we'll know satan.
m: yeah that guy knows everyone cool.

utter nonsense! it still makes me laugh.

Friday, October 10, 2008

noted

to a cat, a laundry basket with some folded clean shirts in it doesn't look like a laundry basket with folded clean shirts.

it looks a lot like a litter box.

thus, my shirts need to be washed of cat urine.

lesson learned.

omg

ok. so just for fun i join the "bacon" group on flickr.com

i forget about joining until tonight, when in my unemployed boredom i click on the link.

and see this...

this here is are chocolate chip cookie, with bacon bits in the dough, maple glaze, and then more bacon topping. i should hope that is real bacon and not bacon bits. i mean, come on, now.

i am repulsed and tempted at the same time. anyone else?

Monday, September 29, 2008

new hobby

so like i mentioned before, i'm housesitting. the fam out of the country for a good little while, so as i get cranky about my lack of job status, i have to look around and remember that things could be worse. anyway, my duties are minimal - mail, feed & care for one crazy lightning fast black cat, and keep any eye on the two bee hives. yeah, bees. so i'm sitting here next to a stack of paper and a book called "first lessons in bee keeping." i'm most excited about the accoutrements required for the care of said bees - it may double as a halloween costume. in fact, i'm fairly sure that it will beeeeeee. oh, i crack myself up. i'll be sure to post pictures.

where god is

(saw this poem up on the wall in the break room @ the place i volunteer)

Jesus doesn’t smell of beeswax,
plaster statues, or polished wood.

In this Franciscan church,
Jesus smells of unlaundered clothes,
of smelly socks, of sun-dried perspiration,
of soiled shoes, of urine and used underwear.

He smells of last night’s dinner, of stale beer,
of cigarette smoke and marijuana.

Here one smells poverty and weariness,
one smells not enough sleep
and lack of privacy,
and one smells the great, humble efforts
of pride and human dignity.

My mouth fills with sweetness
For the smell of God envelopes me.

There is no need for incense
to carry my prayers to Heaven.
God is here.

-Anonymous

Friday, September 26, 2008

same ol' rigamarole

not much to report lately. still looking for a job. trying to keep the spirits up, the ball rolling, and the resume current - full of active verbs and vigor. there are other things i'd rather be doing. such as... traveling to exotic locations like upstate new york, eastern montana, and central missouri besides the places already on my list - vancouver, seattle, san diego, portland. writing the great american novel. collecting more 80s movie dvds.

it is easy without realizing it to slip into hermit habits. being alone with your brain too long is no good. i'm a go with the flow kind of person, but when i am in the unemployed situation that i am in, it's like hitting a patch of slow patch of water in a river. have to manufacture my own current of movement.

try as i might to regain the writing bug, i can't say i have jumped to the task, as you may have noticed. not quite sure where that burning desire in me to play with words and to tell stories went. i still get ideas, experience things that i want to write and share, but it doesn't seem like a priority. it is... important to me, but tends to get pushed back in favor of thinking where my next paycheck is going to come from, am i still covered under health insurance, how do i write a snappy cover letter, and why the hell no one wants to interview me, hell, i'll just get a job at trader joe's.

a few things recently that remind me that there is more:
1. i saw anne lamott speak in berkeley. yes i am stalking her. yes she makes me laugh. and yes, it is good to know there are people out there that are more neurotic than i am and still have an authentic faith. quote of the night: "well you know, i am a reformed christian, that means i can believe that God dislikes her [sarah palin] as much as i do." yes, she still inspires me.

2. started volunteering in the tenderloin neighborhood of san francisco serving lunch (visualize the downtown east side, vancouver friends). i am eager to get to know the people there. i've applied for a few different positions at this organization at different points in time. i figured that it was just time to jump in and get to know the place. the pace of serving is hectic and i feel a bit like a lunch lady (the required hair net doesn't help). but it is good to be there and serve. i usually wander around the city a bit on the way back to BART. i am struck at how this neighborhood is bordered by city hall and federal buildings, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the whole city, and an enormous mall and tourist center. when tourists walk down the wrong street and stick out like sore thumbs, they are gruffly greeted, "welcome to san francisco." i hope to spend more time here.

3.i saw point break live. what's point break live, you ask? only one of the funniest things i've seen on stage in a long time. read the synopsis. sheer genius. i never understood the obsession for rocky horror picture show, but this, this is something i could see multiple times. in the second picture you can see the ponchos they sold the audience so that they would survive the show. i got squirted in the face with a water gun. and one of the ex-presidents sort of spit on my face when he was yelling at me during a bank robbery scene. the ponchos were a necessity. think sea world splash zone. the evening's johnny utah was excellent, sounded just like keanu. the girl holding the cue cards/johnny utah's stunt double was also hilarious.



all in all, good times. when life practicalities are looming and unanswerable (for now) it's good to do things that get you out of your head.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

wtf

It's extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can't find $25 billion dollars to saved 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases.
- Bono, rock star and anti-poverty activist

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

too cool for school

caution: heart may melt.

and if tiny converse hi-tops don't make your heart melt, then you are probably dead on the inside. for real.

this might be the only thing i buy for small children from now onw.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

another day another coffee shop

the routine has developed as such... get up, feed cat, head to library or coffee shop with free wireless, play online scrabble, check facebook, write cover letter, email. it's not a bad gig. it could be worse.

it doesn't give me a whole lot to blog about, beyond the enjoyable episode of seeing an older black woman suddenly spout off a long lecture about men and relationships to this group of jr. highers loitering in the library. "don't go around telling everyone your business!" the looks on their faces were priceless, like they couldn't believe anyone older than them could possibly have a good idea. the woman, on the other hand, seemed to be giving them advice she wishes she had taken... stuff about playing it cool, being friends first, blablabla.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

improv

owing to the unscripted nature of my life thus far, i found myself wandering around the uc berkeley campus at 9:30 pm. the masses of young fresh faces wandering around in packs made me a) feel way old, and b) remember the stomach churning anxiety of moving in to the dorms/college life and the general anxiety that accompanies the beginning of every school year. [pause to consider if i would trade my long-term low grade anxiety of what to do with my life for the short but intense shock of facing another year of school - it's a toss-up right now]

it was funny to find myself in the college setting... i hadn't thought of it in quite a while, and i couldn't help but wonder what other people my age were doing at the same time. sleeping most likely. somehow i have managed to avoid the 9-5 rigamarole. while that has been good and i don't regret anything, not adhering to obvious "life script" of get a job, get married, buy a house, get a pet, have kids, buy minivan, etc. etc. has always kind of loomed in the background (and nothing is wrong with any of that stuff; i quite love all of my friends that are in these stages of life). you all know what i'm talking about in some form or another so i don't need to elaborate further.

why was i on the campus? not looking for a date you jerks. i was there to see one of my former youth group kids in her new digs as a college freshman the night before her first day of college. i saw the tiny dorm room, the high beds for storage space underneath, her desk, carefully selected posters, as well as her own shelves in the house fridge and cabinet, her very own jars of peanut butter and jelly. i forgot how exhilaratingly liberating that kind of thing was. maybe i'll drop off some mac and cheese as a housewarming gift. like a costco size box of it. she could store what doesn't fit on her kitchen shelf under her bed.

see, this kind of thing feels... right to me. the relationship. the conversation. the listening. the laughs. and perhaps that is the script for me. and that is where my wandering thoughts end.

ah, this whole unemployment thing makes me wax all philosophical and introspective. someone out there take me out for a beer.

Monday, August 25, 2008

how did i get here?

here i sit, under a blue california sky, unemployed and getting wireless for the price of an americano (decaf). the man across from me has a macbook too, but is employing the index-finger-only-hunt-and-peck style of typing. haven't seen anyone do that in a while. i suppose the kids i know find it archaic that i would actually spell out whole words while texting, so it's all relative.

i am again in the all-too-familiar state of transition. i am rather more at peace this time than the last time i was in this state. the time that passed in between showed me not to put so much weight or meaning on current life circumstances or spending a lot of time wondering if THIS WAS THE RIGHT CALLING OR PLACE OR OCCUPATION... that kind of thing, how everything seems to be in capital letters and i am stuck in lowercase and a tiny font. i like lowercase, and things are what they are.

i feel a tad more anchored in this geographical place, by the gravity of friendships and familiarity. it is tenuous still, like i am bouncing on the moon, but it's better than a vacuum.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

moving trip, by the numbers

grovers successfully settled in america's vancouver: 3.5

meds to calm gus the dog: 4

caffeine consumed: 1 peet's medium vanilla latte, 1 starbucks double shot can, 1 diet coke (mat: large coffee, 7 diet cokes)

this american life podcasts: 5

radio lab podcasts: 2

off tune dashboard confessional singalongs: 1

flaming hay trucks in oregon: 1

hours stuck in traffic jam because of one flaming hay truck: 3

days of 100+ degree weather: 3

hours spent at powell's books: 1

books bought at powell's books: 12

regent friends seen: 4

overate: 4 times

temperature on last day in portland: 67 degrees, hallelujah

really good friends now far away from bay area: 3.5 ... but not too far, at least.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

transition

head is spinning. will try to alleviate the dizziness by writing about it. but i'm not making any promises.
anyone want to revamp my resume and write some cover letters for me?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

injured bad


i came across this tonight. i think i nearly busted a gut laughing with bw and aupps one day at the well counter. oh the good ol' days. classic.

Monday, August 04, 2008

changeover

it's time.

after many good years and travels with my trusty ol' nalgene bottle, the cancer-causing comments from everyone around me finally convinced me to retire it. i'm a pack rat and person that holds on to beloved t-shirts until they are practically disintegrating. so this was a little harder than i thought it would be. there are many good memories associated with this bottle. the first that comes to mind is the summer that katie and i decided to undertake "the water challenge" - consuming our recommended daily amount of 64 oz. of water during our 6-8 hour shift at the well; for the lack of anything better to do besides eat day old sandwiches and pastries. mostly we just had to go pee a lot. and we found it quite hilarious.

ring in a new era of the lime camelback "safe" water bottle! i'm sure in time, some other health hazard will be discovered with this new material. but i do love the smaller and lighter size. so now i have a sticker-less new bottle. anyone want to send me some to celebrate the new dynasty? perhaps something to show the geographical diversity of my friends/internet stalkers.

Monday, July 28, 2008

sigh

worst case of insomnia in a while. perhaps i took too long of a nap yesterday after church. maybe i shouldn't have sat around and watched so much television and played scrabulous. so there i lay, unable to get comfortable, and watching the room slowly become more illuminated by the dawn. dammit.

i mean, i am finishing up at the church this week. i don't feel overly anxious; i do think it is the right thing to do. and i am happy to continue to be part of this community. it's a place that has started to feel like home. took damn near long enough. seriously.

and i do turn 32 in 2 days. i think it's kind of a cool number.

here's hoping for a few more hours of sleep tonight.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

stomping grounds

after a blurry two days of work and a lazy friday, i think i am recovered from my trip to vancouver. i lost my camera on a plane a few weeks ago after my brother's graduation, so i am sans pictoral evidence i was there. (potential birthday present? anyone? anyone?) well, i did steal this picture from a camera crazy friend. i walked off the plane, got picked up, and immediately went to get pedicures. the little one did not, though later we did play some mario kart together. he's not a very good driver.

but it was wonderful to be there. vancouver summer days are beautiful as ever, though i probably would have loved it anyway had it been a more typical vancouver grey day. it was good to see old and dear friends, and i was largely content to bask in their presence and conversation. i think at other points in my life i would have pressed to create some kind of big experience, but i have since mellowed and enjoyed good meals and just being in the same room together. the wedding was a simple and beautiful celebration. i never cease to be amazed at two people coming together in marriage.

old words i hadn't heard in a while were musical to my ears... community, sasamat, toonie, sleeman's. that pretty much sums the visit up. i saw my favorite wisest custodian in the world, relaxed with friends like i hadn't in a long time, and found parts of my brain and personality reawaken and dust themselves off. thanks, friends! did my soul much good to see y'all. hopefully it won't be so long 'til we raise a pint together again.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

frick

i've been housesitting for the past 3 weeks. it's been nice to pretend that i've got my own place to live, and nice to be closer to friends. stupid gas prices. anyway, i thought maybe i'd get the chance to read more, since a) i've got basic cable, and not the hundred or so tv channels at my parents' house and b) i have restricted myself from buying more books until i have finished the stack that i have piled up over the past year.

so that hasn't happened. it's 1 am, and i am watching yest another episode, because i have become addicted to deadliest catch. now this is reality tv - crab fishermen in the bering sea. i've watched it before, but now in the absence of other channels, this is the most compelling thing to watch. so, rather than read, i'm totally into watching these grizzly blue collar dudes risk their lives. apparently, cell phone tower technicians have a higher occupational fatality rate than these guys, but the fisherman thing is still way cooler.

another post coming soon re: my night watching roller derby.

vancouver: comin' at ya in 2 days. are you ready to rock? i said, are you ready to rock?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

whatever happened to opposites attract?

the other day after church i was having lunch in the gym with my friend. church lunch is reminiscent of soup tuesdays at regent. anyhow, she and i were chatting when a couple approached us. the woman wanted to introduce her new fiancee to my friend.

they chatted as i looked on. the woman exclaimed to my friend, "we met on eharmony! our profiles were so similar! his said, "i love my kids, and my family is really important to me. and mine said, "i'm passionate about my family and about caring for my daughter." i haven't been able to shake this sentence out of my head since i heard it; i almost stared cracking up right there. really? i mean congratulations to them and all that, but it just struck me as odd.

in this techy day and age of online dating and profile scoping, is that what compatible is? are we basically looking for a version of ourselves in the opposite sex? i seem to recall a seinfeld episode like this, when jerry dates janeane garofalo. he's all excited then i think he gets annoyed that she is more funny than him. i suppose finding someone just like us holds a small measure of attractiveness, i suppose it would be really easy to get along if you had the exact same interests and way of thinking. ah, what the hell do i know.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

"If The Flintstones has taught us anything, it's that pelicans can be used to mix cement." -Homer

i am trying to resurrect my latent drive to write. i can't say that it's been working very well.

sometimes it feels like life issues are too big to fit onto a page. or a computer screen. and who really wants to read about those anyway? i have no wish to verbally vomit and leave the mess on the internet. nice mental image, eh? you're welcome.

the end of my present job is near. it's a good move that is also tinged with sadness, as transitions are wont to be. fighting the panic of wondering what comes next, rolling out the resume and trying to word cover letters just so. mostly i am looking forward to living life outside of a church bubble. i plan on still being a part of this community (it will be nice not to be in charge); i think community was what i have really been looking for, as opposed to, you know, a real job or something. i could say more but that would verge on regurgitation. i think most of you know how neurotic i am, and i am happy to report that it has been kept at healthy levels. well, healthy for me. yay for meds!

right now i am content to hang out with kids on summer vacation, drive around with the windows down to get gelato, and singing along to silly songs. and rest in faith that God is on control.

vancouver: 10 days. woohoo!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

indoctrination

somehow, i have convinced kids to watch significant pop culture movies from my own childhood. anything mid 90's or earlier. so far they have eaten it all up. fist there was karate kid. then so i married an axe murderer and the cutting edge on our ski trip.

at the end of the school year, it was goonies. it's still as excellent as i remember. though i totally missed the "one-eyed willie" innuendo the first time around - i was 9. and in the era preceding political correctness, it was okay to laugh at chunk, the fat kid. these are the details the kids picked up on right away - i told them they were ruining the movie. but they agreed with me on wishing to live out being goonies in reality. seriously, who wouldn't want to?




last night, we watched tranformers. the animated version from 1986. before any of the kids were alive by at least 5 years. yeah. i keep getting older, and they stay the same age. because i was watching this as an adult, i was able to enjoy it more for it's campiness and not be so enraged/traumatized by the fact that most of the original cast from the cartoon series gets killed in this movie in the first 30 minutes. it's set in 2005 by the way, and i'm hugely disappointed that reality isn't at all like this. where are the giant robots? dammit. at least give me a jet pack, or hover skateboard.

at the end of the movie, one of the kids turned to me and said, "i wish we grew up when you were growing up." long live the 80's!

vancouver count: 15 days...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

go local sports team

went to my first baseball game of 2008 last night. for some reason, the quality of play resembled how these guys on the right would play, if they played baseball, and say, didn't eat people's brains.

the cubs, however, were excellent. somehow those crazy kids are doing well this year, fingers crossed. whatever. with little to cheer for, i chose to root for the ball park food. "yay for nachos! i like cotton candy." yes, i really yelled these things.

the countdown to vancouver begins. 18 days...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

summer daze

i can't say that i've been particularly motivated to blog lately. as you may have guessed. it's nice to be outside.

first summer youth group is tonight. which is a mark that i have been at this job for a year. weird. i spent the afternoon filling knee high stockings with a little cup of flour. it's a game from my own high school experience. time for a short period of mayhem whacking each other with these things and flour flying everywhere. harmless mayhem can be fun. provided you don't get any in your eyes, i suppose. weird that i do things like this for a living.

in a bit of a post-vacation funk. had a good time playing video games, hanging out in the pool, and consuming enormous burritos with my brothers. and the routine of work, even while filling stockings with flour, well, it ain't vacation.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

don't stop believing

i know, i know. you keep checking the blog (i look at my little site counter) and there's nothing new on it. i don't have a particularly good reason for not writing; life has been pretty all right. i'd say it has been as different as summer is from winter. it has done my heart good. i have felt connected in a way that i have missed for a long time; and even managed to get out and have fun.

this afternoon i am going on a mission trip with a bunch of jr. highers to san francisco. i am looking forward to serving people in the tenderloin district of the city. it will be cool to see kid's perspectives expanded. we're only roughly 25 minutes away from the city and it will feel like a world away. back on wednesday, then on friday i'm heading down to san diego to see the bro graduate. burritos aplenty!

to make up for my lack of posting, here is a little candy for you:


this is arnel pineda, the new lead singer for journey. they found him on youtube, singing cover songs with his band somwhere in the philippines. and darned if he isn't a darned vocal ringer for steve perry. it's making me love journey all over again.

Friday, May 16, 2008

under the influence

normally i love sleeping. seriously, i nap like a champion. but i have spent the majority of the last 2 days sleeping, and i didn't really enjoy it. codeine helps with coughs, but also replaces brain cells with a substance not unlike silly putty. that's sort of what i feel like.

also, i'm pretty sure that instigating a water balloon fight, then having a bucket of water dumped on you is not a good remedy for a chest cold. but when it's 90+ degrees, some things need to be done. and when you've changed shirts, only to have awkward damp spots on your dry shirt in the shape of your damp bra, the only thing to do is let the kids around you point and laugh.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

why things said on mission trips should always be written down

"God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Audrey. It’s the frinity."

they even drew a diagram that looked like a four leaf clover. soon after, i was replaced with bill nye the science guy. you win some, you lose some

Friday, May 09, 2008

nation-wide

laughtrack is a little tiresome. but worth a chuckle. and its fun to talk like this guy.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

"I'm no theologian. I don't know who or what God is. All I know is He's more powerful than Mom and Dad put together." - Lisa Simpson

Monday, May 05, 2008

the darndest things

two of the favorite things i have said this year:

during winter retreat, while watching the cutting edge.
kids: "what are they doing?"
me: "well, they're doing tequila shots." (main characters are celebrating getting into the olympics)
kids: "why are they doing that?"
me: "the salt and the lime are suppsed to make it 'taste good.' let me put it this way... you could drink tequila, or you could just hit yourself in the head with a hammer a bunch of times and it would be about the same and it would be cheaper."*
kids look puzzled.

*seriously, this advice i wish i'd gotten. perhaps it would reframe the partying discussion if we just show what people look and feel like when they're hungover.


during new orleans mission trip, while painting.
kid: "when you get married, are we invited to your wedding?"
me, without missing a beat: "sure."
kid walks away.
site supervisor: "is that happening soon?"
me: "i'm not even dating anyone right now." laughs.
kid comes back: "is there going to be an open bar at your wedding?"
me, puzzled, but again without missing a beat: "well, i'm not sure, yet, we're still picking out the centerpieces."
kid: "ok." walks away.

Friday, April 25, 2008

trials of life

check this. sparky here was discovered yesterday in my friend's car. when your croatian mechanic calls you up after changing the oil and says "there's a squirrel in your engine," it's not a figure of speech from his country. who knows how long he's been there. the mechanic tried to get him out, she called animal control, they sprayed him with a hose. no dice.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

learned extroversion

well, time ticks on by pretty fast. suddenly it's like mid-april and spring has sprung here in the area. I'm sitting in a coffee shop listening to a down home genuine n'awlins radio station playing jazz and other southern music. it's not bad. apparently, it the french quarter festival this week.

that's one of the things i learned about the new orleans area - they love their parties. mardi gras is rather infamous, but don't let that be your only impression of the place. it's not all debauchery (great, what google searches will i show up on now?). it seems like there's a parade or party or festival, or something including all three. we were lucky to be there during the louisiana crawfish festival. i think the gator festival is going on right now. the jazz festival is later in may. and we all hope that there is a biscuit festival somewhere out there, because biscuits are goooood. pretty much all the food is good there. it must be all the butter an salt they use. i figure, if i live there, i'd quickly balloon up to 400 pounds then die shortly thereafter. but i would die happy.

speaking of butter, there was plenty to be found at waffle house. these places are more plentiful than starbucks in the south. we went here after our first full day of work. the girls, for some reason, really wanted chicken and waffles. i figured we'd find both there, even if it turned out to be just grilled chcken.

we pretty much took over the joint, as it was a slow night there. that's how we convinced our servers to come outside and take a picture with us. of course, it was my idea to boost someone on top of the sign. anyway, we lingered there for almost two hours, learning how to talk southern, and hearing their stories about life before and after katrina. people for the most part were overwhelmingly happy to be back HOME. people spend their whole lives in the parish. one of the servers, ashley, had given birth to her daughter 6 days before katrina, and had only spent one night at home before they evacuated. crazy. we had a good ol' time visiting with them. so much, that we came back again 2 nights later so we could hang out with them again and eat more chicken and waffles. and try cheesy grits. grits remain a mysterious substance to me.

Monday, April 14, 2008

i've got a river of life...

i know, i'm up late. it's a habit i can't seem to shake.

today was a good day. i seem to have that thought a little more often now, which is amazing. after a string of many bad days, wondering if i would ever feel any different ... i am thankful.

this morning's sermon was from ephesians 2:1-10, concerning the lavish grace of god, even in the face of our immense sin (perhaps because of it). put any words you can think of, the the two words in vs. 4 "but God..." cancel them out. on our own, we are empty and craven and broken, even with the best intentions. it is the grace of God that flows in and through us that gives us true life. the visual illustration of pouring water into a glass and over the brim, made me catch my breath... because for the first time in a long and empty feeling time time, i could feel God's grace. maybe because it was hot this morning in the sanctuary, but mostly because i have so craved grace and am so unable to give it to myself, i wanted to take the pitcher and pour it over my own head. like peter who demanded that jesus wash his hands and head as well as his feet.

Spring up, O well, within my soul!
Spring up, O well, and make me whole!
Spring up, O well, and give to me
That life abundantly.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

pure genius

Garfield minus garfield. click on this link. you won't regret it.
"Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

feast of heaven

i've been sleeping a ton for the last few days. leading a trip takes a lot of energy. but i had a really great time last week, and so did everyone else, praise the lord. it's hard for me to figure out where to start in talking about my experience, beyond declaring that new orleans is awesome. so i'm gonna start with what everyone knows ... food. when i think about what heaven will be like, i think it'll be something like this lunch the James family brought us on our last day of working on their daughter's Dominesha's home. they brought us boiled crawfish, crabs, fried chicken, red beans & rice, corn on the cob, biscuits and shrimp. we ate and ate and talked and laughed and ate some more. we spent the whole afternoon visiting with each other, and the neighbor randy, swapping stories, learning how to properly crack open a crab. southern hospitality at it's finest.

in keeping with the theme, i will now list everything i ate.
for the first time:
boiled crawfish
boiled crab
cheesy grits
crawfish bread (a bread baked with crawfish and 4 kinds of cheese)
seafood okra gumbo
crawfish etouffe
crawfish pasta
crawfish beignets w/ remoulade sauce
(we were lucky enough to be there during the louisiana crawfish festival, we could walk to it from the church we stayed at)

classics:
fried chicken
shrimp po'boy (basically a fried shrimp sandwich, what could be better?)
red beans & rice
beignets w/ cafe au lait
waffles from the waffle house, a southern establishment
mexican hot chocolate in a waffle cone from the creole creamery (the spiciest ice cream i've ever had. amazing.)

southern food is damn good. i'd love to live in new orleans; i think i'd end up being 300 pounds. but i'd die happy, that's for sure. more on new orleans to come.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

happy easter

he is risen indeed my friends. not that my posting on easter signals the resurrection of this blog. hah!

tomorrow i am going to new orleans with 7 kids and 3 other leaders. all female, so that will be interesting. we will be working with the st. bernard project. it's a rebuilding organization, helping people get back into their homes after hurricane katrina. it's almost been 2 1/2 years since the hurricane. people are still living in FEMA trailers, or elsewhere. besides the physical damage - 100% of the area was rendered uninhabitable, it was under 20 feet of water - this community, the st. bernard parish, was like "an oversized cheers bar" according to the founder. everyone knew each other. moving far away meant moving 20 minutes away to slidell. you knew your neighbors, often since childhood, and depended on them. katrina was a big double whammy. it will be good to be there, eat a lot of fried food, and get to know people's stories. and try to eat my weight in beignets, the french -style doughnut. i believe it is french for "fried doughy goodness." but don't quote me on that. anyway, prayers for the week - ranging from safety to keeping my arteries clear - would be very appreciated.

anyway, on my end, spring could not have arrived any sooner. curse me all you want, northern folk. this is why i keep returning to california. i'm wearing flip flops right now. my spirits have risen, even as freakin' daylight savings time give me sunshine but robs me of sleep. the past month or so has revealed depth of community and caring that had not been obvious to me before. the value of simple meal around a table in a warm home has just increased in even more value to me. it makes me curious to stay here longer and see what comes of these relationships. well, we'll see.

marshmallow art

the only acceptable use for peeps. certainly not for human consumption.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

post #600

a brief hiatus is needed. this writer is not on strike (a joke that is probably well past timely). life has been hard.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

sweet victory, or, when nerdiness pays off

pictured: Team "We're So Green That We Recycled The Name 'Ramrod' (after use, please compost)"

a bright spot in my week has been going to trivia night with my brother and some of his ex-coworkers. i pretty much laugh for 2 hours. anyway, we won the bonus round this week. a little bit over 160 buck between the 5 of us. it's good that we won, because the bigger the jackpot gets, the tenser the players get, which is no fun.

to win the money, we must answer all 3 bonus round questions correctly. two of them i knew right away - "Igby Goes Down" (what movie includes these actors ...?" and Alaska (what state flag has the big dipper in it?). the third we recalled from an old "got milk?" ad: Aaron Burr (what vice president, besides dick cheney, shot (and killed) another man? - that man, btw, was alexander hamilton) so it was a good night for me, and in turn, for all of us.

the other good things about this night include: lots of great obscure 80s-90s music to hear between rounds, a decent latte (great foam with the soy milk - impressive), a green business, and a cute baby girl that is fun to play with.

JACKPOT, BIOTCH


JACKPOT, BIOTCH
Originally uploaded by Moment of Inertia
i need to work on looking hardcore.

Friday, February 22, 2008

the hard thing about coming back from a retreat is that you have to come back from the retreat. alas.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

rest stop

well, to celebrate my survival of the past weekend, i have spent the past 2 days in my pajamas. glorious. that doesn't mean i didn't leave the house; i did watch a 'blades of glory' with some kids, visited my spiritual director, and picked up a few books from church, all in my flannel pajama pants with penguins on them. i was never one to go around like that before, not even when i was in high school or college. i rather liked it. tonight i went to another kid's house to watch 'project runway'. interesting. not bad as far as reality shows go.

don't really know what to say about my time away. mostly i am thankful to God for carrying me through the weekend; and for the simple time of being together. the communal aspect did wonders for me; though i was pretty ready to go home on the last night when some girls decided to try to have a dance party in their room after i told them to go to bed. the walls in the place were VERY thin. i was already headed down the hallway to break things up when the music started up and they started singing. right when i got to the door, i heard someone say, "do you think she can hear us?" and i threw open the door and said "yes." they all screamed. any opportunity for me to seem omniscient, i'll take. silly kids.

my good friend cari talked about seeing God in the everyday, which is what i told her was my heart's desire for these kids to know when we were talking about the retreat. this is something that requires a shift in thinking for them; as it is still easy to confine God to Sunday and the church sanctuary. but i do hope and pray that God would become more real and immanent to them. seems an uphill battle, what with all the other distractions and pressures.

other than that, we played silly games. went to the snowpark for sledding and snowball fights. some people went skiing and snowboarding, and the rest of us slept and lazed around. these kids are so overscheduled that this down time is just what they need. i forced them to watch "so i married an axe murderer" (classic) and "the cutting edge" (painfully classic). my legacy shall be a deeper appreciation for odd 90s movies.

hard for me to say exactly what i can take from this weekend. deeper knowledge that God and friends are supporting me in this time. a better appreciation for me to see God in the everyday; i saw him at work in many ways through the last few days - through the laughter at the snow park, cooking together, the servant hearts of the adult advisors, sitting on a bed talking with a girl who was feeling sick eating clementine oranges & saltine crackers together, seeing an old friend meet the new world that i was in. and now... well we're all back to our regular soul-sucking routines. wondering how to carry a little corner of retreat in my heart.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

back from the mountain

i'm back from our winter ski trip/retreat. good times. i don't know how i survive it, but i attribute a lot of it to the prayers of the people.
highlights in brief:
cooking and eating meals together
lots of snow on a beautiful sunny weekend
introducing kids to early 90s movies wonders: "so i married an axe murderer" and "the cutting edge"
inviting an old friend as the speaker and watching the kids fall in love with her
more details to come.

Monday, February 11, 2008

you're the meaning in my life, you're my inspiration

well, i met anne lamott. she shook my hand and asked what my name was. then she offered me and the women sitting around me weight watchers cookies. this was before the reading started, a benefit for the marin services for women, "A Healing Community for Women Recovering from Chemical Dependency". a delicious bakery had donated some amazing desserts, which made her offer all the more amusing.

it made my heart glad to be there, not just to hear anne, but also the stories of women who had come through the program. they, like anne, like many of the audience, were survivors. there is rebirth and healing and growth.

she read two essays from travelling mercies, the book i mentioned before. she also spoke briefly on the "6 things she knew for sure in life." one of them being: in the unique situation we find ourselves in, that we have each been given a human life, how shall we live? because in the grand scheme of things, it's really like an hour and a half, so if there's something you really love and want to do, don't waste your time. but don't start new things on saturdays. wait until monday.

also: be willing to do things badly. she and her boyfriend have been taking dance lessons for a while now. learning the foxtrot, the steps are: slow, slow, quick, quick. which apparently is difficult - they were dangerous to each other and the dance instructors had to stand between them and innocent bystanders.

all this was told in the earthy, humorous way that she communicates. i aspire to be as honest as her about life, and to be able to see things in a unique way.

afterward, i brought my copy of travelling mercies over to ask for her autograph - this the book that started it all for me, as it were. as i approached, i racked my brain to think of what i could say in the 15 second interaction that would be so scintillatingly witty that would make her immediately want to be best friends with me. instead, i simply thanked her for writing this book and how it changed me, in that i realized i could be a writer, and i could be a Christian, and not be cheesy about it. and that's the truth.

the book is still in the car, 3 days later. it's on my passenger seat; i like to look over at it when i'm driving. i guess it's sort of like she's there, but that sounds a little fan-stalker-i-stole-the-coffee-cup-you-drank-from. it's not like i have the seat belt buckled around the book, but it didn't seem right to me to take it home and put it back on the shelf. looking at it reminds me of a blue sky day that i sat before one of my heroes, ate brownies and laughed. it helps me remember that writing (and thinking) is important (not in a strictly utilitarian, self-important way, but more in that every flower in a field is important and valued). it is knowledge that i need these days.

Friday, February 08, 2008

hero worship

this book right here changed my life. i found this book way back in 2003, in the guest room i stayed in when i worked at a church. i was inspired by anne lamott's humor, her honesty and her faith. she inspired me to be a writer. and i get to see her in person tomorrow, for the first time ever. she's doing a reading to benefit a women's shelter. i am excited, at least, as excited as i can get these days. i hope i get to talk to her, even though i tend to get very tongue-tied in those situations.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

art imitating life

Ash Wednesday was yesterday. Went to our evening service. This painting was on the front of the service bulletin, it's by an artist that's a member of the congregation. it's far too accurate to my mental/emotional state right now. each person was given some stones along with their ashes when they came in, representing our burdens/sin. when we came forward for communion, we gave the stones to the pastor who prayed over us before we took the bread and wine.



















her paintings are all over the church.
this one is in the congregational care office. it's pretty apt to how people feel when they come in. her website is here.



a blurb about her art:

works in acrylic on canvas and wood panels from her studio in Oakland, California. Her figurative paintings are emotionally-charged narrative fragments infused with mysterious tension and secrecy. She often places her figures in precarious environments where anything could happen. Sometimes celebratory, sometimes lonely and disturbing, her paintings express a wide range of human desire and yearning. Aust’s work consistently features strong and vibrant colors along with figures that are both engaging and vulnerable. Through her own private study she has been influenced by artists such as Emil Nolde, Marc Chagall, Kathe Kollwitz, and the German expressionists. Her work is represented in private collections throughout the United States.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

i said, "Science again!"

I saw Francis Collins speak the other night. He's the director of the Human Genome Project, mapping out the DNA sequence and doing stuff that makes my brain hurt. He's also a Christian, though, I'm sure more conservative Christians would like to throw stones at him for his views on evolution as a part of the process of creation. Regardless of that, he was a very good communicator, funny, and honest about his journey of faith and conviction that science was an opportunity to worship God. the man loves his work, and the God who created it. plus, you have to respect a man that's willing to go toe to toe with Steven Colbert.

Part 1


Part 2

in brief

i've been a person of few words of late. i just like to acknowledge that every so often. the block is large; the heart heavy. the winter season of dormancy, perhaps. long-distance phone calls and free pedicures (and other acts of kindness) will hopefully get me through to brighter days.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

new look

i've been wanting a new template for a while, and i just couldn't find or decide on one. any thoughts on this?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

ouch

courtesy of banksy. interesting.
on the weekends, i try to do my best impression of our cat in being fat and lazy.

Friday, February 01, 2008

ray of sunshine

yesterday, i visited the church i used to work at. i was chatting with carolyn, a woman i used to work with, when another friend of ours, jenifer called. carolyn and jenifer get pedicures all the time together, but she wasn't feeling well. when she found out i was there, she insisted that i go in her place, and that she would pay for my pedicure. i do love pedicures, how could i turn that down? anyway, i also got some quality time with a friend, something i sorely needed.

Monday, January 28, 2008

winter

the days have been long, and short on sunshine. i feel ground down by the pace, and am perpetually catching up. life seems overly complex. this is a prayer i wrote for sunday school one morning, slightly modified from a prayer i found in a book.

Thank you for the sun this morning, God. We thank you for the past few days of rain. There is no sound like rain - on the roof, on the ground, or in the trees. It is hard to be in the rain sometimes, in the grayness, in the dark, in the dampness - the rain keeps pounding down. Sometimes it feels that way in our lives - too many things come down on our heads, and it feels like we are being flooded, and that the storm will never end.

Help us to remember that storms pass; that the sun will come out again. Help us to see that rain brings life. Our mistakes cling to us like dirt. Let the rain wash away our sin, and make us new again. Thank you for hope and for second chances. Thank you for the ways that our lives our nourished, both in the sun and in the rain, God. Amen

say what?

we're doing a short series on sex & sexuality at church. i had to teach a 2 weeks ago. imagine my joy. my opening line: "sex is a touchy subject ... wait, what?" (pause for laughs)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

i made a potato leek soup tonight. it looked like dirty water and tasted about the same. sigh.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

my cup runneth over

... but not really in a good way. last week was one of those weeks in ministry that was chock full of overly long work days. i slept for 10 hours last night. it was amazing. some people seem to thrive on schedules like this. i don't understand how that can be the case; i kind of wanted to curl up and die. or at least sleep for a week. how do i make the space in my schedule to write when i'm either at work or exhausted?

on sunday i have to talk to a room full of teenagers about sex. as you might imagine, i am less than thrilled about this. mostly because, of the seeming futility of the task. i could talk for 20 minutes about a healthy biblical view of sexuality for say, 6 weeks. that doesn't even compare to however many messages kids get in probably 20 minutes of television.

on a distantly related note: i went to ikea the other day to get stuff for work. we spent an awesomely juvenile time there based on this imagined scenario: what if all the swedish names for stuff there were really profanities in that language? and sweden is just laughing at the rest of the world for buying "shithead" bookshelves or an "asshole" tv stand. try it the next time you go to ikea when you're trapped in the blasted store and can't find your way out.