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.


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


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.