Monday, December 28, 2009

a recap

awesome: having a paycheck again

not awesome: working in a large retail center during the holiday shopping season

awesome: free coffee beverages and cheap food

awesome: playing kickball with the cousins on christmas day (lost by one run!)

not awesome: having one of those cousins give you the ped egg for a christmas present and not 'fess up to it. stupid gift exchange. gross. other people got snuggies. (i'm not saying i like snuggies, but the probability of me using a snuggie is greater than me using a cheese grater on my feet.)

awesome: talking to a kid's shoe saleswoman about the twilight book series last week. talking to a homeless guy about the very same twilight series today.

Monday, December 21, 2009

owned

i'm a slave to the man again, as an espresso monkey. no, really, tomorrow is my sixth day of work in a row.
which is why the blog has been lagging. hopefully i will get back on it soon.

Monday, November 30, 2009

raditude

oh weezer. your music always makes me happy and want to play in my car at high volume. rivers may be the most adorable dorky guy ever. conan o' brian also fits in that category. and joseph gordon-levitt.
broadway dance number. sweater vest. check. (i haven't even seen this movie yet.)

this one time...

i went to my 15 year high school reunion over the weekend. the next morning i woke up feeling like i had two wine glasses too many, found that i had cracked my contact lens, and couldn't find my wallet. which makes it sound like i had a really wild night, which it was not - actual glasses consumed: 3, i have butterfingers, and i am more absentminded than i am a wild spender (i let my more successful, gregarious, and self-described borderline alcoholic high school buddy do the buying of bottles). so i just feel old and foolish.

in spite of my aversion to being extroverted, i quite enjoyed seeing people and chit-chatting. i'm glad it was in a low-key atmosphere and not a banquet room as if it were prom: the sequel. who knew that my hometown could have a happenin' wine bar? like many others who grew up in danville, i was convinced that this town was boring as hell. anyway, being 15 years out of high school is long enough to not really care anymore about what you were like in high school. there was some reminiscing over who we went to the prom with, and how one of our teachers would consume 4 diet cokes by 10 am every day, and our regrets over early 90s "fashion."

pity party

wondering how long a streak of bad luck can go. latest casualties: my left contact lens (cracked), and my wallet (though i am hoping it is at the wine bar my high school reunion was at. no one is trying to use the cards. stupid place is closed on sunday and monday.) just sitting here sipping my airborne vitamin supplements.

season's greetings!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

sixteen tons...

i've been thinking a lot about the past year or so. i've been unemployed that long - really? really. makes me wonder if i am ruined for ever having a regular hour-type job again (i would, however, kick ass at a trivia round of law and order: criminal intent). not that i found myself particularly suited to it in the first place. just for fun, let's imagine me in a business suit, wearing white sneakers with panty hose, and carrying an insulated lunch bag. yeah. not to knock that look or that life - more power to those who can/do. i suppose seeing joe vs. the volcano (which, as i recall, was a pretty good movie, possibly the first of the hanks/ryan collaborations. netflix it now.) at an impressionable age has something to do this my revulsion:

(this scene kicks office space's ass in oppressive movie work environments) well, it's this scene and during an internship i had in college my editor told emphatically to avoid jobs that involved wearing panty hose. she said she would wake up every morning, open the closet and go, "ugh" and she drank a lot and gained weight, so she quit and became a bike messenger. and then somehow later she ended up at the magazine where i was interning. thing is, i think that was the best thing i learned during the internship.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Music is what feelings sound like

yesterday was a bit of a blur. again, i blame the inattentive baristas at starbucks for juicing my latte when i specifically asked for decaf. customer service skills, people! learn them.

so after getting very little sleep, i managed to drag myself out to volunteer. i'd been playing hooky for a few weeks; it was good to see familiar faces again. whenever i go, i wear my same old adidas military cap (it beats the lunch lady hairnet) and every time pauline, another volunteer, asks me, "what branch of the military are you in?" she's not all there, but she faithfully serves every week.

after a necessary cat nap in my car, i managed to stay up late enough to hit a show at a jazz club. a kid i know from youth group is in a jazz school big band. i know, expectations may be low for teenagers playing jazz, but this kids are on a whole other talent level. seriously.

you'd walk by these kids in their street clothes and have no idea how much they rock. watch them slouch out on stage in oversize suits because they are growing like weeds, squinting a big in the glare of the stage lights and you'd still wonder what was going to happen once they start playing. and then these 15 or so gangly kids with hair drooping in their eyes begin their first piece and cease being 15 individuals, but a one organism with 30 hands and 30 lungs that breathe as one and create some amazing sound. it is SO MUCH FUN to see this transformation. to see kids this focused, this poised and really loving what they are doing and doing well (this band being on top of whatever school bands they are in, private music lessons, and the high-powered-dryer-tumbling load of regular stuff that constitutes their day-to-day lives). that's why i rarely miss an invitation to see these kids play. it's just not something you see that often.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

come on feel the noise

i volunteered for the high school retreat this past weekend. i suppose i'm a glutton for punishment. but there is also some part of me that is energized from being with them. i don't know if energized is the right word, and while a good part of the time i'd like to drop kick some of them, there is an equal amount of time that i enjoy getting to know them - in a different way from our weekly gatherings. so, yes i still like teenagers, and no i don't plan on returning to the paid life of youth ministry.

here's a snippet of what makes me hang out with high schoolers. it's overhearing things like this that i could not make up:
i'm lying on my sleeping bag, in between activities. the little pack of freshmen girls comes in the room because they are incapable of doing things independently.
girl: let's go get more brownies!
another girl: let's not. (general noises of unenthusiasm.)
(pause.)
first girl: ... want to watch me eat a brownie?
other girls: yeah sure.

they exit. and... scene.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

nerd alert

here's the long awaited post on books. that only applies to dan, really. and the other four of my readers that just like knowing what i'm up to.

i really dig creative non-fiction, and memoirs. it's because i find the oddities and mundanities of life to be equally fascinating.
for this genre:
the tender bar by jr moehringer. a memoir of growing up in a long island town. raised by his mother, jr finds the male influences in his life in a bar down the street from his house. for better and for worse, this community guides him to manhood.

the ramen king and i by andy raskin. subtitle: how the inventor of instant noodles saved my love life. hard to resist a title like that. while a bit long for my taste, raskin still does a surprisingly masterful job of tying together these two parts of his life: his inability to sustain a relationship and his obsession for momofuku ando. some might not buy it, but i liked the linking. those who are somewhat familiar with japanese culture will probably enjoy this.

blind side by michael lewis. yes, a movie adaptation starring sandra bullock is about to be released. read the book first, as lewis provides a lot of background and depth that probably doesn't translate to the big screen. it might be hard for you to get through if you are not a football nut, but lewis makes it mostly understandable for those who, say, aren't in two fantasy football leagues (ahem). even if you skim over those parts, the story of michael oher is riveting. plus, it is nice to hear about evangelical christians in the bible belt that aren't assholes.

now for the fiction. gotta tip the hat to jane halton and dane splinter for letting me know about these.

the lovely bones by alice sebold. i picked up this book in the afternoon and did not put it down until the wee hours of the morning when i was done. that doesn't happen very often. the writing is beautiful. told from the perspective of the narrator in heaven, she observes as her family and friends deal with the aftermath of tragedy.

unaccustomed earth by jhumpa lahiri. basically anything written by this woman is kickass. that's all you need to know.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

it does a body good

as i mentioned in a previous post, i found out that i had low iron levels in my blood. so i have been trying to beef up the iron in my diet, literally. i toyed with the idea of going on a cheeseburger-only diet. but common sense prevailed and i have been eating more leafy greens and legumes and such. okay and i had a few cheeseburgers. because they're good.


that is all. more tomorrow on the books i've been reading that i think you should read too.

Monday, November 02, 2009

this post has been sponsored by...

last friday, my good friend molly jenson blew through town. she does that, being a musician and all. i set up a house concert for her on the roof of my brother's apartment in the city. musicians gotta eat.

thus i tested the loading capacity of my good ol' honda fit. there were 20 folding chairs, an outdoor firepit, a box of firewood and a bag of christmas lights, in addition to the other junk that is usually in there. with room to spare, i might add.

so this is my little shout out to my car, probably one of the few consistent things in my life right now. oh, in addition to loading up the car, i also had to go a long way around the san francisco bay because the stupid bay bridge is broken right now (going on 6 days now). it's commuting hell. luckily i don't have a commute, so i just like to watch the drama unfold on tv.







anyway, the concert went off without a hitch. my bro and his roomie got a keg of PBR which was classy. it was a beautiful night in san francisco. and molly rocked. well, as much as you can rock with an acoustic guitar. give molly a listen on itunes or pandora.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

ah, youth

so then i get this message on facebook from a kid i hadn't seen at youth group in a long time

initial message
me: why did you unfriend me? jerk.

response
kid: cuz ur old and i dont want to have any association with any religion at all, as my new beliefs have lead me to believe that organized religion is evil.



awesome!

this warmed my heart...

a college kid told me, "i like you because you're one of the first christians i know that didn't pretend to be happy all the time." guess i'm doing something kind of right.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

tried to donate blood today. apparently my hemoglobin levels are too low. my hobgoblin levels though are just fine for halloween. shoot.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

for what ails you

been in a pessimistic mood of late. hardly surprising, eh? doing my best to fight off the blues.

if you are in the same boat, try this: while driving, sing at the top of your lungs to "greatest love of all" by whitney houston. because that pretty much makes me laugh every time. i might have to do that song the next time i go karaoke.

further disclosure: my ipod then served up "holiday in cambodia" by the dead kennedys, then "paint it black" by the rolling stones (which i also rocked). next time i am in a job interview and they ask what i can bring to the position, i'm going to ask them who of their other candidates has that series of songs on their ipod shuffle. because that's what i call an intangible skill that also demonstrates what a well-rounded person i am. no, i am not grasping at straws here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

it's funny (and insulting) cuz it's true

my friend showed me this site, target women with sarah haskins. pure hilarity. she was on npr today, and i found out she was an american studies major in college. i minored in this when i was in school, and man, do i feel like i missed the boat. sign me up for a gig like this. anyway, you'll think twice about ads after this. my personal peeve is the glade candle and air freshener ad campaign.

this one's about yogurt, the very first segment.


this is the newest one, about how ads help men know how to get hot chicks.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ultimate power anthems


this takes me back to 1999. and do i ever want to party like it is 1999. (sorry)

it's week 2 of the dogsitting extravaganza and i've been watching too much late night television. don't worry, i'm not so far gone as to think getting this cd is a good idea. oh cheesy christian music. so cheesy it hurts.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

keep on truckin'

i just had an amazing experience. i bought 2 pairs of jeans that i am quite happy with. it took me 30 minutes, if that. i only tried on 3 pairs of jeans. it's still blowing my mind.

see the last time i went jeans shopping was at costco, where i found some calvin kleins in like 2004 for 20 bucks a pair. i loved how they fit, and bought several pairs. because i hate hunting to find the right rise, leg length, and fit. on the list of things i hate doing: 1. going to the dentist, 2. bathing suit shopping, 3. jeans shopping.

anyway, it's this tiny shop in berkeley. the basement shop (cheaper jeans) is filled with jeans from floor to ceiling and the standing area in the dressing room is probably one square foot. the key here is that you can walk in, tell the people that work there, "i want jeans that look like this" and point the faded, well-loved pair that you are wearing. they eye for the waist and length, ask you what color/wash you want, reach into the impossibly huge pile of jeans and hand you a few pairs of levis. it's freaking awesome. i wanted to hug the women that helped me.

i have been on a short blogging hiatus because i am currently dog and housesitting. said dog is some kind of mutt with german shepherd in him. he's massive, but is kind of a big baby and can't be alone. he is used to sleeping on the bed next to the owner which i am not so thrilled with. it's one thing for a cat or smaller dog to do it. it's another thing for a dog that probably is more than 80 pounds. ah well, it's "work" and i enjoy having a reason to walk regularly.

said house is also without an internet connection and i am reduced to mooching from my neighbors. coverage is spotty at best.

likely to have another interview soon. prayers would be appreciated. this is for the same job i interviewed for last fall. anyone have any interview tips?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

in other words (alternately: accentuate the positive, in light of recent events))

i haven't even written about the book reading and launch party, which was the whole reason for this spontaneous road trip. partly because i don't like to toot my own horn - this is where jane and dane would be useful in the production of this blog post.

after fighting the traffic through olympia and tacoma on my way up from portland, i found mars hill grad school (where the reading was taking place) changed in my car (which was of no concern to the woman walking her dog while i was doing so) and walked up the street to meet the other authors for happy hour. we made introductions, i sat down and ordered a drink and appetizer and then bit into the quesadilla i ordered and promptly had a few beans spill down the front of my sweater. super.

in a wonderful twist of fate, i was not wearing white, and the waiter kindly brought over some club soda for me. my only response to this was to laugh - i was not at all surprised that something like this should happen.

this book was three years in the making. maybe about a year in the selecting of essays and editing. then two more years finding a publisher. many thanks to our editor hannah notess for all her hard work in getting this to press. it was awesome to meet her after only having email contact for so long. and it was good to meet the other writers - always good to find people with the same odd bent towards writing.

in reading the book so far (and this is long after the reading), i have enjoyed the breadth of experience the many essays offer. the book offers honest insight as to what the evangelical experience has been like for women, which obviously hasn't gotten much consideration. my hope is that is sparks further conversation and sharing of stories for women and hopefully men listen well. i kiddingly told a friend of mine that i could just kick him in the balls instead of reading the book of women's stories. rest assured, there is more to the collection than that. there are real glimpses of struggles with faith and family and church.

reading my own essay out loud (to more than 50 strangers!), was exhilarating. and makes me once again scratch my head over how my faith has it's roots in the the youth group culture of chubby bunny (a potentially, possibly already, lethal game), a lot of chaos, and talent shows. how i got from that point to where i am in my faith today makes me laugh in surprise. only god could construct something as bizarre as that.

as any kid (and adult) in my old youth group will attest, i am awkward in front of large groups. it's the persona i adopt for them - because they have such a heightened sense for awkward, it's the only way i can get their attention - like how you rubberneck at a car accident. after many years of making friends laugh, i was quite pleased and surprised to be able to make a room full of strangers crack up. in my humble opinion, i killed. and my friends reading this will probably roll their eyes and go, "well, duh!" come on, i'm a little slow here. and neurotic. cut me some slack.

before the reading, i happened to walk past the mars hill free book shelf outside the library. of course i have to take a look to see if there are any steals. no dice, but i did grab a copy of the purpose driven life which i gave away at the end of the night as a prize to the first person who named a woman in the bible. i almost chickened out doing it, but there was no way i was going to take the book home that night.

people actually wanted me to sign their copies of the book. that was cool - i need to work on having a cooler signature. i get a deal on the book as a contributor, so let me know if you would like a copy. help a starving artist out.

Friday, October 02, 2009

blerg

so i was in the middle of writing a different post, which i will probably finish tomorrow.

today was just one of those days. i had an interview yesterday for a job that i wasn't particularly excited about, but i'm not that picky these days about what my source of income is. besides, i was more than reasonably qualified for the job, and actually had direct experience doing this job. i had resigned myself to making the best of it and accept the job if it were offered to me. so i was surprisingly disappointed when i got an email informing me that someone else had been hired for the position. SUPER. i can't even get hired for a job that i've actually done before. on one hand, i am a tiny bit relieved, as my previous experience kind of sucked. on the other hand, what's it gonna take for me to get a damn job? seriously.

and then tonight i go to read at a coffee shop, get my mind of my misfortunes and decide to wander around the shops a little bit. when i walked back to my car it was nowhere to be found. i wandered up and down the street racking my brain and wondering if i was going crazy. walking farther down the street, this drunk girl walks up to me and asks me where she is. then we proceed to have this odd conversation and she keeps asking me if i'm okay. she then focuses on me and then declares, "i'm undercover, i'm undercover, what do you need?" about 10 minutes before this, i had seen her running down the street and duck around a wall, look around and then keep walking. so i didn't really believe her. but she seems to want to help me when i tell her that i'm looking for my car, even if she is talking cryptically. abruptly she asks one more time if i'm okay, and then turns around and walks away. real helpful and bizarre.

i finally call my dad and he comes to get me. we drive around the area a little bit, telling me that once this happened to him at the mall and my car is probably around somewhere. making me think i am really going insane.

finally we give up. the proximity to the police station in this town makes me believe that my car has been towed, rather than stolen. and of course, my dad gets pulled over as we are heading home - because of some deal with the registration claims the cop. it's friday, we're near a bunch of bars (hence "undercover" drunk girl seemed somewhat believable) and we had just been circling the area slowly in our car for 15 minutes. yeah, i'd have pulled us over too. after the cop takes down the registration and scolds my dad for not getting the smog test done on his car, my dad asks if he knows where we can find out if my car got towed. when he say, "blue honda fit" the cop says, "oh yeah, i towed that car." turns out i had parked behind a car that was in a red zone. the dude had showed up right when they were towing it so he got cited and left. i had probably been in the barnes and noble down the street reading entertainment weekly when this was all going down. so ... it's a consolation that my car was towed and not stolen. even better if it hadn't happened at all, but what can you do. my dad and i will pick it up tomorrow. hopefully it won't cost too much.

of course, i wouldn't mind if some things went my way. this is getting a little ridiculous.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

dust has settled

okay, i think my brain has caught up to me after the road trip. it took a bit of time. first i was tired, then i was lazy, and now i'm looking around remembering what my ramshackle life was like before i took off.

when i went on my road trip, about a week in, i realized i missed home (SF area) a little bit, even though i was in another place i consider to be home (vancouver). i i went to church in berkeley on sunday and was suddenly hit with a gladness of being there. i was a little more surprised than i should have been, i think - i have been living here for 3 years now. but it's taken that all that time to feel connected and familiar with this community.

as i have mentioned before, it's been hard going in this flashy and speedy culture. interesting that the sermon should be on acts 2:42-3:17 - the nice little passage about how great church community can be - how we often view community as a scarcity that we try to hold on to and be exclusive with our own power, rather than this abundant and wonderful openness based on the abundant love of God.

because on my nomadic stint, i felt incredibly blessed to know that i could drop in on 3 different cities and experience the love and care of many friends, in addition to the one i am currently in. even though i was exhausted by driving so much, my soul was refreshed by playing scrabble (jane wins the series 4-3. i will have my revenge), watching twins moonwalk across a kitchen floor, drinking a few pints of beer or coffee or sharing diet cokes (why do i keep accidently type a part of the male anatomy when i type that drink? it's something freudian i don't want to spend any more time considering, i bet), and mostly just being in the same room with people i've got a some history with. and then also to appreciate the connections i have made here, even as it has been difficult.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

kids these days

video
benjamin wade halton and his witty, incisive thoughts on cleanliness. i have the same reaction when someone says, "cupcakes."

you may notice that we comment in the video that ben's reaction is a little "subdued." sometimes ben likes to hold his true feelings on the inside.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

938 miles in pictures

wednesday: danville to portland
thursday: portland to seattle
friday: stretch
saturday: seattle to vancouver
sunday: play scrabble. lose. win. lose.
monday: more scrabble
tuesday-?: TBA

the honda fit is running with flying colors. excellent gas mileages. getting caught up on podcasts. talking on my phone while driving because it's not illegal yet in washington.







here's a few more images that speak for themselves:





i neglected to take pictures at the reading. i was a little blown away seeing copies of the book, and had a great time meeting the other writers. great stories - can't wait to read the whole thing.

going where the wind blows. like a big blue honda fit-shaped tumbleweed. good times.

Friday, September 11, 2009

807 miles later...

day 2 of the great northwestern voyage.

pics to come soon - tomorrow when my brain might be more functional.

the skinny: had a great great time meeting other contributors to the Jesus Girls, reading at the release party, and giving away a copy of purpose driven life that i found on a "free books" shelf as a door prize. am now tired from sitting on my ass in a car for most of 2 days. but also exhilarated with a sense of accomplishment.

incredibly glad and thankful that i came up here.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

this morning i got up and couldn't figure out why my arms were sore. goodness knows i don't work out. then i realized that it was because i had spent the better part of the day before bussing tables at the dining room. it was the last day of the month, so it was really busy, people get low on cash before they get the next welfare check. every time i turned around, there were piles and piles of meal trays. however now my triceps are super toned. next week: work the deltoids.

i may have mentioned this before... but i am always struck by people's faces: they are the toughest and most fragile looking people i have ever seen. my favorite table during the senior citizen seating time is this group of filipino men that all look like they could be my grandpa.

so i still volunteer... i'm not sure how much longer. it's been hard to lose this small hope that i will work there. rationally, the chance are still about the same and who knows what will happen you know? but i still feel pretty hurt about how i got blown off with this last job. i know this economy is tough and people are really busy and trying to make things work with fewer resources and so on and so on... but it still doesn't mean that you get to treat people with less respect. i thought i had some sort of relationship after volunteering there for a year. i'm not really sure what to do about this situation. note: not going to engage in internet bash-fest. just thinking out loud.

Monday, August 31, 2009

begrudging

ok. so taking a nap on the lawn at union square on a 70 degree day in san francisco? doesn't suck.
like i said, i'm trying to rally to a positive outlook on life.

plan b

took a little field trip this morning with a friend. i've been wanting to do this for a while - we went to the church that anne lamott attends in marin city.

it's pretty much as she wrote - oh, she wasn't there, which was a little disappointing. we weren't going to accost her or anything. although we were hoping she would think us cool and invite us to have lunch with her.

it was nice to be at a small worship service that wasn't a slick production. i'm not saying the church i usually go to is like that (i guess the extreme end of the spectrum would be tv church), but larger services require more organization and some of the intimacy is lost. so it was good to be in a different setting.

not much to say beyond that - we hope to go again another time, when the regular pastor is there; she was on vacation. and of course maybe have an anne sighting. the guest preacher, provided some insights to the healing ministry of jesus (john 9) but also presented some thoughts on today's universal health care debate in such a way that would have really ticked off those of a more conservative stripe - and i agree with the need for health care reform! i don't find it helpful when jesus gets crammed into boxes - anywhere on the political spectrum.


~~friends out there - i'm kind of back to the drawing board regarding the whole job search. it is quite discouraging and frustrating. i am trying to rally. it's an uphill battle. so if you are inclined to send me some positive words, clever sarcasm, or want to share your hatred of cover letters - comment here, or email. it would mean a lot.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

i think i'll move to australia

got knocked around a bit yesterday. am trying to regroup.

so, i applied to a job at the place i've been volunteering for almost a year. i found out yesterday that i didn't even make the cut to get a call for an interview. this was just minutes after one of the volunteer coordinators told me that she liked it when i was there because she had confidence in telling me what to do. needless to say, i was really surprised/disappointed. i have grown to love the people i see there and the community. next week, i will find out why/how i could be a better candidate. basically, i'm pretty bummed.

it was not the best thing to find out right before i headed to another interview. but i think i managed to rally and present myself well. friends ask me how it went, and i am so mixed up right now that i'm not sure. i mean, i didn't accidentally curse or punch the interviewer in the face - but i also didn't get offered the job on the spot. so it's somewhere in between there. i can see how i might be a good candidate, and where i would be weak. this is an organization that i would love to work for.

it's been a year, for those of you keeping score at home. a friend on facebook used the term "funemployment." which cracked me up. things are getting thin though. and how long can one wait in expectation? i know, i know ... a pretty damn long time. it's just hard - especially when i can't even get a stupid retail or food service job and the temp agency lady says it's really competitive even for stupid filing/data entry jobs. time to panhandle. or to make a name for myself in underground bareknuckle boxing circles.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

stories to tell

i don't get all star-struck and giddy very often. but when i am face to face with one of my literary idols, my mind gets stuck on coming up with something witty to say in the 30 seconds of interaction i get with them that would make them want to be new best friends with me. fortunately, i realize how ridiculous that is, and i come to my senses before i make a gushing fool of myself. this here is dave eggers, who also wrote "a heartbreaking work of staggering genius," an amazing memoir that is equally poignant and humorous (plus he's got the cojones to give a book that title, even sarcastically). not only does he write a great book, but he then starts up a nonprofit, 826 Valencia, "dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their writing skills, and to helping teachers get their students excited about the writing." I've seen some of the work they've done in the mission district and it has been amazing to see what the kids in their programs have created. He also founded mcsweeney's, an indie publishing house that produces great off-the-beaten-path kind of works. one of them being a book series called voice of witness, a "non-profit book series that empowers those most closely affected by contemporary social injustice. Using oral history as a foundation, the series depicts human rights crises around the world through the stories of the men and women who experience them." i may or may not have a bit of a crush on him. what's not to love?

i spotted this book when i was browsing in one of my many favorite indie bookstores (i like to torture myself since i can't/won't buy any of the books). it's his newest book:
When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun (pronounced "Zay-toon"), a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four, chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. In the days after, he traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and helping those he could. But, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared.

i haven't started the book yet, but what i gather is that he was detained by the US government without a trial. as i said, i don't get giddy very often, but i'm really looking forward to reading this book. when i spent time in new orleans post-katrina, i was shocked with how the government acted/didn't act during/after this disaster. i am eager to read a story about this, in a story-telling style that i love. read more about the author and the book here.

and that's how i broke my restriction (again - like i said, i am weak) on buying new books and ended up at moe's books last week for dave eggers' signing appearance (at least i held out on buying a copy until i got to the signing). at the front of the line, no less. i didn't know how that happened. i was just looking wistfully at the books on the shelves and there i was. i felt like a total nerd. which was totally fine with me.
dear job market,

you suck.


very sincerely,
audrey
it's the birthday of the man who founded the place i volunteer. "Father Alfred was the Franciscan Friar who founded St. Anthony’s on October 4th, 1950. Father Alfred wanted a place where hungry people could be served, be filled, and create community while breaking bread."

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

sigh

i'm currently sitting in the lounge at the honda dealer, listening to huey lewis and the news songs being played at an unacceptable volume at this point in the morning and drinking bad coffee. non-dairy creamer powder is a disturbing substance. (love shack by the b-52s just came on. i find this a tad more acceptable, but still a little too loud - oh my god, i turned 33 and became a crotchey old lady that is sensitive to noise. however, i did also snicker at using the word crotchety.)

anyhow, my brakes are getting serviced. while i prefer to not die, it just hurts to spend this money, knowing a) i don't have a lot of cash, and b) my parents will help me out. it's a small matter of pride/responsibility - again with the being 33 years old thing.

considering selling whatever organs i have two of - cornea, kidney... um, lung? my unborn twin that i've been carrying around since birth? i'd sell my eggs, but that pesky age thing again, apparently i'm past the preferred expiration date. besides, a small version of me running around somewhere out there is kind of weird to think about.

btw, don't worry, if you know me, jokes are just how i deal with this - i'm not really that poverty-stricken. no one is every that happy to shell out cash for their car. now considering walking to denny's down the street to escape the godawful music. peace out.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

oh bla di, oh bla dah

hey, so i'm 33 now.

kind of scratching my head over how that happened. didn't i just leave for college? that was 15 years ago. some parts of those years were like walking through molasses. and others like tumbling down a sand dune. i'd like to think i'm wiser. at least i can tell that some things that would have crushed me years ago, i can now turn aside with a shrug of my shoulders. all part of becoming more comfortable in this peculiar skin that i am in.

stories like this keep me from going totally crazy. so far life in the thirties have brought more of the same limbo and life questioning that the twenties did (i was hoping for a change of pace). only now i don't care as much about what other people think of me. this past stint of unemployment (would you believe i've spent more time unemployed than employed in my 30s?) may have forever ruined me for a regular schedule or office environment, and i'm not terribly disappointed with that prospect.

so who knows what this year will hold? certainly not i. although i do hope that it might involve raising a pint and sharing a laugh with some of you readers out there. cheers!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

rage against the machine

blerg. it's a good thing to know a God that cares about your humanity and have friends that affirm that, along with things that remind you that there's a lot more to life that what you can see. all this metaphysical thinking comes after a somewhat irritating conversation with a woman at a temp agency. it was the kind of phone call that had me feeling like i had no transferable skills from any of the jobs i have ever had. such is the kind of thinking when you don't have a job. i recovered however, and am going in tomorrow to take the software tests and such - mostly i am motivated by wanting to spite this lady. is that so wrong? anyway, i've recovered my sense of humor about the whole thing, so that's good. plus, there are some other good opportunities on the horizon. i think that will keep me from ending up like that michael bolton guy from "office space."

if you are looking for some good podcasts, lately i have really been enjoying "speaking of faith with krista tippet" and "stuff you should know". it's come to the point now where i barely listen to music. i'm getting to be a nerdy geezer. i turn 33 in a week. that's weird.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

hmmmm

either the guys in the car next to me in traffic today were checking me out because they thought i was hot, or they were amused that i had spaced out and was listening to MMMMbop while my ipod was on shuffle.

yes. i have mmmbop on my ipod. you're jealous.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

out for a spin

trying out this new blog title. saw it on the marquee of a liquor store in berkeley, and i just liked the sound of it, even though i'm not totally sure what it means. classy days, seedy nights perhaps. yeah, that is SO ME. usually i am just kicking back in a recliner and watching tv while dorking around on my computer. i'm so edgy. anyway, not sure if i'll keep it, but i thought i'd try the name out. thoughts?

the warm temperatures continue. like i said, i escape to cooler climes. though today i tried to even out my farmer's tan - i couldn't handle the heat in the backyard. on monday, i headed into sf for my regular volunteering gig. some city employees were cleaning the front of the abandoned bank on the corner that looks a historic building. as i crossed the street, i saw a woman walking towards me, pause and lift up her raggedy jean pant legs to step over the streams of water runoff from the building. it was an oddly dainty gesture for the tough neighborhood. she smiled a greeting to the custodian guy and asked him a question. grinning, he turned his hose on to her feet in old pink flip flops to wash off the grime. she had chipped red toe nail polish. i strolled past quickly, and felt like i was intruding on an intimate moment. just another day surviving in the tenderloin.

i mentioned the people's grocery in a previous post about fresh, the documentary. i volunteered in one of their gardens on wednesday, clipping the dried blossoms off a chamomile plant. the plant grows wild around here, and help attract butterflies and bees to the garden. the plants would usually be composted when thinned out, but the gardner thought people might like the option to have fresh herbs for tea. we passed an agreeable afternoon, chatting as we clipped flowers. it was cool to learn more about the organization and the garden. looks like they are going to be expanding with a few more new locations in west oakland. here's hoping i can overcome my black thumb.

the job hunt thickens. that's all you get for now.

Monday, June 29, 2009

seriously. cackling with laughter.


oh, will ferrell, you kill me. also, little doll hands are terrifying.

milk was a bad choice

it's so damn hot. hot enough that i take a siesta in the afternoon, and now i am up late. alas. but being unconscious is the way i like to pass the time during a heat wave.

i usually escape the the other side of the hills, closer to the sf bay for more reasonable, less than 100 degree temperatures. this morning during church, we were informed that the food waste, paper plates, napkins and cups for our post-service meals will now be composted, instead of sent off to the regular landfill. they apparently had been haranguing the city of berkeley for a while to make this happen. i was quite happy to hear this news and that this was one of the ways God has been calling people to live differently.

then i went home and logged on to facebook. this is one of the first status updates i see from a youth...
...hates when churches deliver political propaganda. Just FYI, as many green house gases are produced during the composting process as at a landfill. The only difference is that most landfills capture the methane that is produced and reuse it. But for some reason I thought we were in the Jesus business and not the BS business. I guess I was wrong.
there is much i find troubling in this statement. i'm not sure how to respond quite yet. of course facebook is a less than ideal forum for this. but mostly i am curious as to how this kid came to this conclusion and how this fits in with faith and worldview. any greenie friends out there want to pipe up? your thoughts are welcome.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

how to feel better about yourself

everytime i feel like i'm the dorkiest person on earth or worry about not acting my age (whatever that means), i google live action role playing game... and then i don't feel so bad.

i wanna be like ira glass

last week, i was facebook chatting with a friend of mine here in berkeley. as we caught up on things, she suddenly chimed in with "i know what you should do for your next job." in response to my questions, she only typed, "i have to tell you in person. it's good." my guesses of rodeo clown and drug dealer were left unconfirmed.

at dinner a few days later, she excitedly prepared me for her epiphany on my life. "i think you should be on the radio." in response to my perplexed look, she added, "no it totally fits. you are hilarious. you are good at talking to people and drawing them out. you could totally do it." i begrudgingly acknowledged these two facts. i have secretly been harboring a dream of writing something for this american life someday. and a secret crush on ira glass before i knew what he looked like. and when i did, i found him sweetly nerdy. crush is still on.

i am intrigued by this possibility. any suggestions/input/feedback on this? how should i go about becoming the next howard stern? hah! just kidding. i hate that guy.

in other news, it looks like a position is opening up in the dining room where i volunteer. i got the lowdown from some people i befriended that work there. send up lots of prayer about this. it goes without saying that i'd really love to get it.

p.s. the guy that looks like flavor flav that i mentioned in a previous post told me yesterday that if he were a younger man, he'd be chasing after me. meaning that he could actually catch up to me? i laughed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

fresh: new thinking about what we're eating

i saw this movie last friday. if you're all up on michael pollan's books, or part of the slow food movement, or are a farmer yourself, then not a lot about seeing FRESH will surprise you. but it's a pretty good flick. joel salatin of polyface farm is in this movie, and it was cool to see him after i read about him in the omnivore's dilemma. actually, that was how i found out about this movie - after finishing the book i googled the farm to see if they had a site, and then i followed a link there to the movie. i know you all wanted to know about that. sorry. it's my blog and i'll ramble how i want to.

the film also shows several different people doing what they can to change the way we think about food. For you urban farmers, i think you'll like this guy, will allen, and his organization, growing power. they are based in downtown milwaukee, and they've created a neat little ecosystem (go the link just to see what they cooked up, it's pretty great) on 3 acres of land to show people from all backgrounds that access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food is possible. as an ex-nba player, he is a monster of a guy, and the perfect guy to point out to your kids, and say, "that guy eats all his vegetables."

i could keep going about the people in the movie, but you just have to see it yourself. after the screening, we heard from a panel michael pollan (he lives here and teaches at the Cal journalism school). another panelist was george naylor, a farmer featured prominently in the movie, representing a farmer caught in between his principles and the agricultural industry. there was also, Brahm Ahmadi, the director of the people's grocery from oakland. these last two panelists talked about the "food desert" phenomenon in rural iowa and urban oakland. in George's entire county (in iowa!), there is 1 grocery store for about 30,000 people. meanwhile in west oakland, the situation is much the same - 1 grocery store for about 25,000 people. there are, however, 40 convenience stores - with ridiculously marked up prices on staple goods and produce, if any. that, my friends, just ain't right. this just isn't a nutritional/ethical issue, it's a social justice issue.

see if the film is coming to a place near you. order a dvd for a home screening and have a party with your friends (say, sans cheetos). i might even try to overcome my black thumb. anyway, two green thumbs up for the movie. hawhaw.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

oh the mundanity of it all

not a whole lot new to report. my grandma stayed with us last week. she lives alternately with us and with my cousins in concord. i got her some large-print books from the library to change up her routine from the price is right, the news, and jeopardy. of the books i randomly grabbed off the shelf, she liked obama's "the audacity of hope" the best. that obama, reaching across the generations.

my parents went to southern california for the weekend. my mom handed me $100 bucks before they left. a) that's cool. b) i felt like i was 15. oh well. full disclosure: i did use some of "my allowance" to buy a used copy of the lego batman video game for my xbox, so i basically am about 15. i do love me the lego video game series though.

i would have made some headway into the game by now, but i have unexpectedly been sucked into the twilight book series. somewhat shameful, i know, but it's not as bad as i thought it would be. the writing doesn't really grate on my nerves, but the super mushy sentimental adolescent true love junk. i've only read the first two (so you know what i'm doing the rest of this week) and i already wish he'd just bite her and get the whining over with. of course, where would be the fun in that? might as well work that into a 4 book series.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

warm fuzzies?

i volunteered in the dining room earlier this week; it had been a while since i was there last. getting to sf from danville in a timely manner is a little more challenging - especially with my sleep patterns of late. despite that, i am always glad to be there. it was good to see familiar faces. given the nature of the tenderloin, i'm not really sure if a person i meet will be there again next week. the people that come in for lunch, are somehow the toughest and the most fragile people i have ever seen. i wish i knew more of their names, it gets pretty hectic in the dining room, so i don't get to chit chat much.

one dude there would be the spitting image of rapper/crazy man flavor flav; he just needs the viking helmet and oversized clock on a chain around his neck. i'm not kidding - it's pretty awesome. there's another woman that comes in, and i've never seen her face. she pulls her little cart behind her with one hand, and with the other holds a flattened cardboard box over her face. she sits in the corner and props the box upright to form a little barrier around her while she eats. it makes me wonder how she got to be that way, if she ever wants to talk to anyone. even in the short time i have been volunteering, i can see a growing variety of people coming in for lunch, as the recession continues to hit the poor the hardest. where's their damn bailout?

as i stood in line with other volunteers - incidentally, more unemployed people are volunteering since they have the time on their hands - the people ahead of me made idle chitchat. "oh, i just got laid off recently," a women explained, "i figure while i'm looking for a job, i should do something useful and it makes me feel good." feel good? really? i'm still thinking about that remark. i like being in the dining room, but i don't think i would ever say that it "felt good." quite the opposite i think. i feel angry, sad, inadequate, and i do find some joy in being there in connecting briefly with people who largely go unnoticed. but feel good? nope.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

miscellaneous rants and raves

in a perpetual state of catching up with my blog. like the pile of books, ideas keep piling up and collecting dust or being forgotten. this annoys me.

you know what else is annoying? insomnia. i've had more than my fair share of sleeping/not sleeping issues. on the whole, it's just plain boring to be awake and not wanting to be. i suspect the main cause this time to be the inattentive barista at starbucks giving me a caffeinated mocha and not the DECAF i requested. mistakes happen, i understand - i've been a barista. but when you only have ONE CUSTOMER in the store, you better DAMN WELL get the order right. thanks for the time i spent at 3 am watching asinine youtube clips for lack of anything better to do. (it may be time to go on another caffeine hiatus)

which brings me to my next rant - coffee and espresso beverages are just plain better in vancouver and seattle. while i was up there i had some outstanding cups o' joe and the highest quality foam on lattes i have seen in a good while. see - i told you i used to be a barista, and in vancouver at that. two thumbs up to the many indie coffee shops up there that take the time to train their baristas right and roast some damn fine tasting coffee beans. if you are a major coffeemaker that rhymes with "glarbucks" or or "veet's" - take the time to establish some quality control and learn how to really steam milk. (this also applies to the many indie coffee shops here in the bay area, not just the big guys. so much for being coffee snobs here.)

speaking of which, a few weeks ago i had a latte from "veet's" that i swore was a cup of dirt and hot water flavored with a paper napkin that had wiped up some vanilla syrup. I AM NOT EXAGGERATING. this statment should be taken seriously because it was written in all caps. the beverage quality could just apply to the one near my church, since that is the one i (used to) frequent. since "veet's" originated in this area, people are absolutely fanatical about them, but i am not impressed - and some would say i am blaspheming here. ooh, it tastes strong? that means it's probably been roasted to a crisp - and the real kicker is that there is less caffeine when that happens. it pains me a little to say this, but i tend to prefer "glarbucks" - at least for the espresso drinks, the baristas seem to know what's going on (though the night-time energizer i mentioned earlier was from there). i have never had to explain what "skim milk" is to someone there, like i had to do once at "veet's." yes, this "barista" actually said to me, "what is skim milk?" my jaw dropped. "ummm... nonfat milk?" "ooooh, right, okay."

wow. that obviously needed to get out of my head. more later.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

sweet nostalgia

it's that time of year, when kids are lauded for surviving high school. congrats - once you survive adolescence, you can survive anything. can i get an amen? anyway, it made me scare up an old photo i had scanned a while back. on this day in history, i graduated from high school, and o.j. simpson went on his crazy freeway chase. name that date, friends.
these friends i have not seen in a good long while. there's a doctor on the left, a high school french teacher (at our alma mater), and some freeloading yahoo there on the right.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

the park of oversharing: a critique of cell phones and public spaces

seeing as how i am free lots of the time, i end up hanging out with one of my trivia (now defunct) friends and her cute kid. we go for walks and usually end up at this toddler park. it's tucked away from busy streets, and pretty quiet, usually no more than 5 kids and their moms/nannies plus me, the child(ish)less unemployed friend.

somehow, this little cul de sac in an urban area is also a haven for people to bare their souls. at the very least, they bare the souls of people they know. i first noticed it when a woman pulled over on the narrow street while we lolled in the shade on a hot day. she was on her cell phone and sat with the windows rolled down, i thought she was just finishing her conversation before she went into one of the nearby homes. instead she just got out and leaned against her car, loudly discussing what i guessed to be a client's mental state. i tried not to listen but it was fruitless since she made no pains to lower her voice. something about his course of therapy, my friend caught a bit about his divorce. then she got in back in her car and drove off. i suppose confidentiality was maintained, since we didn't know who the guy was, but the spirit of the rule was violated.

when we got there the next week, a mom was sitting on a bench asking about a relative's cancer condition while her child went down the slide. the other day i get a text from my friend alerting me that i was missing out on some people discussing their juvenile mental health patients. seriously? wtf, people. keep it at home or the office.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

cattywampus

i don't know what it is that has been going on lately. i can only call it an accumulation of big event hangover. not a real hangover, mind you, just the aftermath of a ton of different stuff going on. the month of may brought a more than welcome change to life, what with a lengthy trip to the northwest, and then our annual church conference (accurately not designated a retreat) and end of the school year happenings, and our head pastor leaving. anyway, my fragile schedule was disrupted, such as it was. so i still feel askew. not my optimum operating conditions. getting used to life back in danville, even though much of my life is concentrated back in the berkeley area.

for those keeping track, it's been 10 months since i left my last job. hey, i didn't know the economic shit was going to hit the fan like it did in september. dude, i could have done many things in the last 10 months - had a baby, for example. but if we're going with more realistic scenarios... learn to play the guitar, trained for the AIDS lifecycle ride from SF to LA, gone to barber college, or sucked it up and been a barista this whole time. i didn't think things would have played out like they have. there has been much blessing, and much frustration. i long for a little bit of certainty.

Friday, May 29, 2009

time has lost all meaning

been trying to get back into a routine since my northern travels and church conference gallivanting. my sleep rhythm is all whacked out for some reason and i've been a bit at loose ends. staying up late, getting up late, sometimes getting up too early, then falling asleep in the early evening, that kind of thing. kind of puts me in a hazy state of mind. so perhaps i should stop blogging right now and go to bed. meh...

summer approaches. at least it is more fun to be outside. could use some boundaries on my time, though the fluid schedule is something to which i have become very accustomed.

more tomorrow... at a more reasonable hour.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

role model

a while back, i was asked to serve on a scholarship selection committee. as i read the applications, i was worried that we would end up supporting whichever kid had the most shiny application, so we'd be guaranteed a feel-good story later on, instead of supporting the kid who might need that extra push to get him or her through. i guess my heart naturally goes to the underdog. i was pleasantly surprised during our meeting to find everyone else was on the same page as me. i don't know why i make these assumptions in the first place. i feel good about the kids that we picked to interview before the final selection.

during the meeting, the committee assigned me the task of looking over the applications again, and coming up with the personalized question for each interview. disappointingly, they already ruled out:
how many knives do you have in your collection?
can you score me some drugs?
how much would you pay me for these drugs?

... i'll make do, i suppose.
(if i could, i would have writting those last few sentences in the universally accepted font used for sarcasm. i'd just like to make that clear for those that can't tell when i'm doing so.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

nationwide

this is chris andersen, also known as the birdman. he's a fan favorite for the denver nuggets, who are on a great run in the playoffs right now.this is a video segment about the birdman. it played last night during halftime of game 4 of the lakers-nuggets series. it's all inspirational and such. the dude really turned himself around, overcoming adversity/drugs/ your basic inspirational kind of story.
at the 1:14 mark, you may have noticed this picture depicting the birdman's downward spiral.
that's my brother off on the left there. sadly, that is not actually the birdman with my brother - just one of his buddies that is tall and white, naturally the perfect person to dub the birdman. i find it quite amazing and hilarious that my brother and his friends made it onto tv this way. someone at espn was way too lazy to see a) this is clearly not chris andersen and b) if they read the tags on the photo, they'd have seen it was clearly a joke. however, if you google chris andersen birdman shenanigans, this is the first photo to come up. which is just weird enough for it to probably be exactly what happened. in any case, it made my night.

Monday, May 25, 2009

head like a hole, black as your soul

hey blogland.

i spent the weekend with my church in santa cruz for our annual church conference. i appreciate that they call it a conference as opposed to a retreat. it's really fun and one of my favorite events of the year - but restful it ain't.

a short list of highlights:
playing knockout in the gym
eating a lot of good food
hearing good words from our speaker, craig barnes
going to the boardwalk and riding the giant dipper - one of those ol' fashioned wooden roller coasters
taking a hilarious picture on the giant dipper
eating a freshly made churro
playing mini golf and winning a free game by getting a hole in one on the 18th hole

unfortunately, i lost the game of mini golf. which isn't such a big deal, but i had made a bet with one of the kids. i led for most of the game too, and fell apart at the end, to lose by 2 strokes. so that night in the dining hall, as a few hundred people enjoyed their meal, i went up on stage, said hi to everyone, and sang "i'm a little teapot." with hand motions of course. yeah. this kind of thing doesn't even faze me anymore. perhaps it is the camp setting that brings out this side of me.

the low of the weekend was the awful awful awful headache that knocked me out of commission on sunday morning. it had been low grade most of saturday, and i tried to be dilligent about being hydrated and also getting my caffeine fix. i managed to down some breakfast and only lasted about 3 minutes into the morning session - when the band started to play and i had to get out of there. i lay on a bench outside and tried to stick it out for the speaker but i soon gave up. i needed drugs. i drove myself down to the drugstore. i was in such a hurry to get back to camp and could barely think straight, other customers had to tell me i dropped my wallet as i staggered out to my car.

i got to the far side of the parking lot in my car before the motion finally put my hurting brain over the edge. i had to pull over and throw up in a corner of the parking lot. god knows what the dudes at the bus stop thought of seeing a car pull over on a sunday morning, the driver throw up out the door without even turning the car off, and then driving away.

i am mostly recovered now. i stayed in the youth dorm, so of course i did not sleep all that much, which was probably a factor. basically, it was the only way i could go to the conference, pauper that i am. quite honestly though, i find these guys these guys to be the most fun.

Friday, May 22, 2009

engrish

seen in my favorite bagel shop in vancouver. a) obvious grammatical issues b) in a bagel shop, wouldn't it be safe to assume that there would be cream cheese, making this sign unnecessary?

adventures in babysitting

while in vancouver, i was lucky enough to spend a good bit of time with one ben halton/splinter and one charlie oudshoorn. now, their parents and probably other friends of mine with kids would want to know where they rank on my list of cool kids i know. rest assured friends, that my heart is large enough to hold them all equally. that was probably the cheesiest but sincere sentence that has been written here on this here blog. pardon me while i throw up a little bit.

anyhow, i passed agreeable afternoon with benny while his mom went to work. he only cried a little when she left, and when i let him play with my cell phone, we were bff. at one point, he seemed restless, so i decided to brave the rain and go out for a walk with the stroller. i figured i would be the only fool out in the rain for an aimless walk, and it would be less likely to be embraced by the filipino nanny corps of vancouver (though if it means i'd get to stay in vancouver and my friends don't exploit me too much, i'd consider it).

while my relational skills with kids and babies are pretty good, my knowledge of baby gadgetry fails me. during my time at regent, i was taking hudson to meet his dad there after his class got out. i successfully maneuvered us onto the #4 bus, stroller and backpack and toddler in tow. i was rather pleased with myself, folding the stroller to get on the bus and i even let hudson pull the line to signal our stop. of course, once i got off the bus, though, i could not, for the life of me, get the stroller to unfold. i could find no secret button. to my chagrin, i had to walk the block to school holding hudson's hand and dragging the stupid folded stroller with my other hand. i'm sure we made for an amusing sight.

of course, i had forgotten that fiasco, and i strapped ben into the BOB stroller and threw on the rain fly. of course, i can't figure out where the straps attach to the stroller. i was undeterred and we went out into the drizzle. periodically i would look over the stroller every few minutes to see if inspiration would strike. i was actually glad i didn't run into any other nannies or BOB-owning parents. i was fairly sure mensa would never accept me for membership now (even though a rain fly is basically like wrapping the damn thing in saran wrap and ben would have been fine). especially 2 days later when i went with jane to the grocery store in the rain. as i watched her expertly put it on - i had the fool thing upside down. some au pair i am.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

every picture tells a story

in case you were wondering, this is how exciting it was to see my friends up north.

triple nerd score

so, thanks to facebook, my obsession for scrabble has been revived. i loved playing this game growing up. i also recall getting into vehement arguments with my brother and cousin when we played at one of his favorite college pubs. good times.

many friends share this obsession and thanks go out to jane for tipping me off about this book. can't go wrong with a title like Word Nerd? when i told another friend about the book, she responded, "so it's a story about you?" good burn! anyway, it's "youth" fiction. but when a story is good, it works with any audience. the story itself is great, and the fact that scrabble is an integral part of the story is icing on the cake. (there - you happy now jane? and don't think i haven't forgotten that we left our series tied 2-2. time for another game!)

preferential option?

here's another book from the same used bookstore. somehow i managed to hold off buying this one.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

weird parenting

on my last day in seattle, i accompanied my friend katie to work. after unsuccessfully trying to convince her to take me into her office and tell her colleagues that it was "take your daughter to work" day, i went and hung out in the park to read. this was after i had wandered into the used bookstore and went on the binge i mentioned previously.

while awkwardly tossing a frisbee that almost hit her to an equally awkward man, this mom (who appears to not know him all that well) tells him, "oh we're just at the park for johnny to ride some laps on his bike. it's been a long winter, and he's gained a good bit of weight." WTF? i wasn't so sure i heard her right, until her son rides by and she calls "ok one more lap! real fast this time." the kid puffs past me, and he didn't seem all that overweight to me. again, i must say, WTF? i'm not quite able to do this scene the full justice in how freaking weird this was.

i mean, fine, take your kid to the park to be active. but to announce to near strangers your intentions? about something that could be really sensitive for your son? i wanted to beam her in the nose with her frisbee.

oh em gee

so i'm back in the hot state of california. my travels were quite fun. it did my soul much good to see old friends. more on that later.

i just wanted to share this great book i picked up at a book store... which i then promptly threw on the ground and stomped on. don't worry, it wasn't at the regent bookstore, but a used bookstore chain. i did find an NT wright book and a jim wallis book, in addition to other good books i have found at this chain before. so i find this to be the odd exception, rather than the frightening rule. i didn't even open it, though i am now curious to see how they structured the book. it probably would have made me really angry, so it's just as well.

rather than try to write about the past week and a half in one big post, i will try to break them down into smaller ones, divided according to my whim. that way i'll be more likely to blog. i know you all love it when i do. if you are good little readers, i might even post something later tonight! i probably shouldn't taunt you this way. i'll stop. ... but checking back later wouldn't hurt.

Monday, May 18, 2009

i done a bad thing.


like a moth to a flame, i am drawn to bookstores. i broke my vow not to buy any more books until i finished my current pile of books at home. i've done all right since last summer. but i was on vacation this past week. and i've pretty much pushed the pile of books back to it's original size.

i am weak. and nerdy. come kick sand in my face.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

word nerds

scrabble competition has been fierce here in the vancouver division. evenings pass in companionable silence and concentration, while the dulcet tones of the rachel maddow show streams on the computer in the background. if you a) know what dulcet means, and b) have actually heard rachel maddow then you would find this ironic.

i realized at one point that, while the evening was damn near perfect to me, perhaps others would consider this to be a setting for old people. about 10 seconds after that thought, my friend played the word "penis" on the scrabble board (scoring way more than just the 7 point tile value, because that's how we roll). this elicited a flurry of snickers, thereby demonstrating our maturity level. which is somewhere in the neighborhood of late adolescence. don't think i'd have it any other way.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

back 40

a friend on facebook is on vacation in hawaii. each day there is a new little picture of the places she's been to. i've blocked her for the week. nothing personal. but come on. clearly i will not be doing that here. besides all i've taken pictures of so far are my friends' cute children. and no, my biological clock is not ticking.

in any case, vancouver is as blue as i have seen it in my dreams. wait... that's that pacific ocean at the end of shawshank redemption. vancouver is as green as i remember. and erratically sunny, cloudy, rainy, warm and cold. and the people are as great. and the hockey fans are as disappointed in the canucks' losses.

this was typed on the back porch of my friends apartment, since she was out running errands when i showed up. her neighbors don't seem too perturbed that someone climbed over their railing and is just sitting on the patio. unfortunately there is no bathroom out on the patio. that might perturb the neighbors.

Friday, May 08, 2009

baby baby, i'm taken with the notion

sometimes you see old friends and it's like no time has passed at all. in spite of the fact that time of course has passed, and the evidence of that is a baby. yeah, a whole new person that is small, and cranky much of time, but still charming. it is good to be around people you have a (relatively) long history with, who you know and who know you well, and then to sit around with them on a couch all day talking. holiday so far: two thumbs up.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

all i can do is pour some tea for two

so i'm in vancouver. the change of scenery is quite welcome, even if the rain seems to have followed me from california to canada. whatever - it's vancouver, it's to be expected.

it only took roughly 11 hours from my door in california to the door of my old housemate and his wife and baby son. subway train, plane, bus, cab. who knew that sitting on your ass for so long could make you tired? i always stay up late packing, and ended up sleeping for most of the plane and bus ride. i also had a ipod of newly downloaded podcasts, a couple of books, and the bus even had wireless on it - which kind of blew my mind. i would have blogged on the bus, but staring at the screen for a little while made me feel carsick.

looking forward to seeing people i dearly love. except for maybe dan. even if he is a new dad, he is still a dirty bastard. oh, it's fun to have friends to talk to like this.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

nice day for a white wedding

going to a good friend's wedding tonight. looking forward to celebrating them, seeing old friends, eating good food, and a little bit o dancing. wedding band name: bust a groove. can't lose.

i certainly miss the habit of writing everyday since lent. i think trying to find something to share with friends on the blog keeps me from getting into more melancholy states of mind. of which there have been plenty of late. what can i say? since i turned 30, i think i've spent more time unemployed than employed. that gets your spirits down at some points, no matter who you are.

the other thing that helps my mood is volunteering in the tenderloin. it's break from the "woe is audrey, the universe revolves around me" show in my mind. i have it on tivo anyway. i enjoy the community there.

i suppose the downturn in spirits has something to do with the fact that i am back in my parents' house. dont' get me wrong, i am thankful for a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in. it's just the same old familial patterns and driving distance (albeit it relatively short) from my nascent friend network. on top of the futile job market. stupid job market.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

wanderlust/homebody

i've been oscillating between these two extremes as i consider life. on one hand, i'm a diehard introvert that hates making small talk... and yet as things don't seem to be happening here i've started wondering what else is out there. a friend pointed out to me that what i view as rootlessness, could also be seen as freedom. it depends on my mood.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

end of an era

tonight was our final trivia night. our faithful host is moving on to greener pastures. i'm not kidding, i think he's going to work for an environmental non-profit. how does that sucker find a job when he already had one? i'm jealous. woe is me.

through the long winter last year, trivia night was undoubtedly my favorite part of the week. friends, cheap beer, laughs and nerdiness abounded. and on the odd night, we won free drinks and once even the cash prize. it was a great way to meet people outside the church bubble. we've actually ended up hanging out more outside of monday nights. good times. i suppose we could try to find another trivia night, but this was just the right combination of being nerdy and having juvenile humor and being raucous all in one.

Monday, April 27, 2009

today's bitterness has been assuaged by the fact that some kind soul found my wallet and turned it in to the cal student store, near where i ate my lunch. the cards and everything in it were intact. amazing.

someone in the store security called me to let me know and i booked it over there. the day has improved a great deal.
can't find my damn wallet. on the bright side, it is a change of pace from applying to jobs that you know that no one is going to get back to you anyway.

today is a bitter day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

hedging bets

yeah, i was right. after temperatures in the 90s over the past few days, tomorrow it's supposed to drop a whopping 30 degrees for tomorrow. and maybe rain on friday. what in the world? it's actually pretty welcome relief.

oh lord. i'm talking about the weather on the blog. my apologies.

status: holding steady. still no job. i'm hanging in there. considering selling my plasma. i'm not that desperate (yet). besides, i heard it doesn't even really pay that well. i kind of want to do it just so i could write about it. has anyone actually done this? please share.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

driving with the windows down

it's that time of year to throw the frisbee in the trunk of your car, because you don't know when you're going to want to use it.

then again, it's also that time of year the bay area gets hit with an unseasonal heat wave for a week. then it goes back to being early spring chilly weather and overcast for most of may and june. and then the heat wave comes back to kick you in the ass again in late september and october.

then again, it's the bay area, so i really ought not to complain.

Monday, April 20, 2009

poor me

some good friends visited for the weekend. didn't realize how much it would lift my spirits to spend that time with people. still not very good at balancing my introverted lifestyle choice. not that there's anything wrong with that. but the happy social time seems to feed the writing time and vice versa. haven't booked my flight to the van yet, trying to figure out if i should pass through seattle first or go direct. time to dust off the ol' passport.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

walking uphill in the snow both ways

one day i'm going to be this cranky old lady talking about how times were hard in my day. "why back in '08 and '09 i didn't have a job! and that's the way it was!" i'll just leave out the part how i house-sat some super nice houses for nine month.

take the red pill or the blue pill

i put my phone in with my laundry the other day. i tried to dry it off, but i think it is beyond repair. i feel so out of the matrix. as if i am important enough to need to be reachable 24-7. i'm not a doctor or anything.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

good things

since most of my readers are the people i'm about to mention, this won't be much of a surprise to them. however, i feel the need to write about this. it's taken me a little while, as i was largely struck speechless. thanks, friends. of course words fail to convey the depth of feeling on this unexpected surprise.

there were also warm fuzzies, but less in a cutesy sentimental way and more in a sense of deep blessing and care kind of way. friends came together from vancouver, seattle, chinook (MT) and marion (NY) to fund a visit the good ol' pacific northwest with cash to spare for a round (or 3) of pints. your generosity inspires me.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

owned

this morning as i drove up to church, i saw two youths, brothers, standing on the corner. in a jolly mood, i rolled down the window to say hi. they returned the greetings. then the older one gives me a grave look and says, "it makes me sad that you drove to church this morning, audrey. you should have taken the bus." a flip answer failed me, and he had a good point - i was driving alone. he was also so serious about it, i could only say, "i know. i'm sorry, man." and then pull away to park in the garage.

p.s. the tooth pain seems to be shifting daily to different teeth. very odd.
happy easter, friends!
may the wonderful absurdity of this day soak into your heart.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

wha?

during a recent conversation about life, the place where i've been volunteering comes up. i explain is it is franciscan and blablabla serves in the tenderloin, etc. etc.

person's response: "i could see you as a nun."

umm... thanks? but no thanks.
tooth aches. dental insurance, please.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

famous last words

house and pet sitting still.

after scoffing at a friend, "dude. it's a pet tortoise. it's not going to sneak up on you," a few nights ago, said tortoise has startled me no less than three times. it might be a teenage mutant ninja tortoise.

Monday, April 06, 2009

whoops

well... i missed 2 days in a row. my bad. my excuse? i was outside. i live in california, what do you want from me?

i also wanted to post some pictures, but it is hard to keep track of things when my belongings are in three different locations. really, the third location is my parents house, and the extraneous stuff is there. but even in having things in 2 different places is hard enough. so i don't know where the stupid cord is.

attended a hollywood themed volunteer appreciation dinner. when the majority of the volunteers are over 60, that just makes things hilarious to me. as i walked up to the building, i spotted an 80 year old man in a top hat, and tux, with a cane. a lot of them took their costumes seriously. i was not costumed, in case you were wondering. it was cool to see all the volunteers together. the dinner is when they recognize volunteers who have been there for 5, 10, and 25 years. one woman had even been there for 31 years! you know what i've done for about that long? been alive. actually the only other thing i can think of that i have done on a consistent basis for a long time: been a christian (doing a middling to fair job at that. man, i really like grace). a little bit over half the time i've been alive. so i've got that.

anyway, i hope i am a part of things that long. only 9 years and 5 months until i get an apron with my name embroidered on it. the only bummer is then i have to wash the apron myself. the lord giveth, and the lord taketh away.

yesterday was a most triumphant palm sunday. makes the shock of good friday even more stark. i love holy week for all its highs and lows and unbelievable surprises.