Saturday, July 29, 2006

blogging from my porch

a week or so ago, good friends gave me a great gift--a hammock chair. it's something i'd been wanting for awhile and hadn't gotten around to purchasing for myself. this afternoon i hung it.

it's been ridiculously hot for days but today is overcast and there's a lite drizzle off and on. best of all there's a nice breeze. i'm now swinging ever so gently on my porch with my laptop. really, this is brilliant. i may never leave this spot. okay, maybe for a shower and a snack, but then i'm coming back.

oh, wait, as i'm typing this, there's a hummingbird about 3 feet from me snacking on the flowers. this spot is just perfect!!

Friday, July 28, 2006

DC: faith, idealism and stewardship

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.--Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1865.

when i first returned home from dc, i blogged "there's also the bewilderment i felt in visiting monuments and memorials that ascribe to a higher ideal of america and americans than many of our current elected officials seem to be striving towards." i've been really pondering since my trip how my relationship with jesus should impact my role as a citizen. i've always been diligent about voting; but for awhile, i've been sensing that merely voting is just meeting the minimum requirement. our country is a bit of a mess at the moment. jim hancock identifies some of the biggest issues far more eloquently than i can in the "you broke it, you bought it" portion of this post.

quite frankly, it's more than a little easy to be overwhelmed by politics and the process especially when much of the process involves negative campaigning in an effort to either get or keep a job as an elected official. a prime example is our current gubernatorial race here in california. i've yet to see an ad financed by governor schwarzenegger's campaign; however, the california republican party is airing an ad that uses material from democratic primary candidate steve westly's negative ad's towards his opponent phil angelides who won the primary and now faces schwarzenegger in the november election. phil angelides' camp is running an ad touting him as "a leader not an actor". of course, both candidates would say they're for fixing immigration issues, cutting tuition costs, improving public schools, etc. but i haven't ever heard a clear plan that makes sense on how to accomplish these things from either one. it bothers me that campaigns focus more on the candidates than on the details of the issues. i feel like much of the time we focus on the candidates and the politics rather than the end results of the issues. and when we as americans allow candidates and media to focus on anything but the heart of the issue and how it impacts the everyday lives of people, we fail.

in dc, as i visited the lincoln memorial and read the words from his second inaugural address (excerpted at top), i was moved. his words were simple and got right to the heart of the problem: the country was at war, the war needed to end and america needed to heal. now i don't think lincoln was perfect, but it felt as though he was looking beyond himself, his agenda and focusing on the larger issues. in dc, i kept noticing as i visited the different sites that i had a vision, an awareness of being a part of something bigger than myself.

and for me that's where faith, idealism and stewardship come in. i feel like because i want to follow jesus and reflect him to others, i need to be more engaged in being a good steward not just as an american citizen, but as a citizen of the world. when politicians are campaigning on anything but the issues, i should do the research to find out where they stand on the issues. i should email or call my congressional representatives and let them know how they can best represent me. i should get involved in bringing issues that are neglected in the press and the congress to their attention--the genocide in darfur for example. it's also important that when i do contact my representatives, i do so respectfully and graciously even though it may feel futile.

i also need to make lifestyle choices that reflect good stewardship. i need to get involved in my community outside my church bubble. i need to choose to recycle. with curbside recycling, there's no excuse for me not to recycle magazines, newspapers, glass and plastic containers and pressed paper packaging besides the cans and bottles i have been. i'm sure there's more i can do, but for me these are realistic first steps.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

project runway quote of the day

robert to kayne: "she's a beauty queen not a disco ball"

i love robert.

my restless heart and mind

i need to sleep tonite but my heart and mind are restless. the thoughts are bouncing around like a pinball.
  • my heart hurts for a friend suffering. i wonder how best to sit with her in her pain and to hold hope for her when she can't hold it for herself.
  • i'm mulling over my state of singleness, on whether i can or should hold out hope for a relationship and on whether or not doing so distracts me from enjoying all the good things in my life right now.
  • i'm saddened and disturbed by the current state of war in the middle east. on some level it reminds me of siblings in the backseat of the car punching each other and saying with each punch stop, no you stop, no you...
  • the amount of stuff at work that i need to get done this week--the to do list seems endless at the moment
  • concern for a friend whose parents are going through a rough patch
  • excitement for a friend whose newly engaged
  • how to find a rhythm of life that allows me to stay connected and grounded and flow in and out of my routine at home more easily despite upcoming travel
  • what it means for me to be an active citizen and participant in our government (stuff tied to my dc trip and global community stuff that's been rattling around for awhile)
those are the big things. maybe by putting them out there, my head and heart will take a deep breath and drift off to sleep.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

you-had-to-be-there moments pt 3

on the last day of dcla, a couple co-workers and i were the last to leave the center after making sure all of the pallets were properly inventoried and addressed to make the journey to the next event in anaheim. while we were finishing up, a huge thunderstorm blew thru. it was bad enough that all the people who'd already gathered down on the mall had to be cleared off the mall and into the nearby musuems and memorials for safety. for us, we watched the rain through the open dock doors. the rain stopped shortly before we left the convention center to hike back to our hotel. as we're making our way back to the hotel, we're standing on the curb waiting for the light to change. alex comments that we should move to a different part of the curb where there's less of a giant puddle to cross. just as i turn to walk that direction, a car passes too close to the curb, splashing the puddle onto me--one whole side was soaked. my two friends/co-workers laughed and laughed. my lament however was that when it happened to doris day in that touch of mink and renee zellweger in bridget jones the edge of reason, the both ended up kissing gorgeous men, cary grant and colin firth respectively. me, no. just the laughter of friends.

the final odd memorable moment of the trip was the cab ride when we changed hotels for the last night. there were 5 of us making the trip with luggage. i went out and asked the doorman to arrange for a cab that would accomodate us and all our luggage. he motions to the first cab over in the line up and asks if a suburban would work. i glance in the direction he's motioning and see a big vehicle done up as a cab. sure, i tell him and go into to get the rest of my friends and my luggage when we come back out and approach the vehicle, i realize it's not a suburban. it's a ford f350 converted into a cab with a camper top over the bed. it does serve the purpose as it will hold the 5 of us and our luggage. we pile our bags into the back of the truck and climb in. our driver who's wearing a cowboy hat (which fits since it is a big pick up truck he's driving) tells he's 85 and from south carolina. my one friend tells him we're rock stars and that we were thrown out of our hotel so that's why we're going to a different one. after that the driver talked the whole way to the other hotel, but so low we couldn't understand a word he was saying. it was all a little odd.

ah, the little moments that make trips memorable.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

you-had-to-be-there moments pt 2

fast forward to friday night about midnight. normally we do setup for our events in two days but for scheduling reasons we had to do it in one. we'd worked from 7am until a little after 11, stopped off for a late snack and headed to the hotel. to say we were slaphappy is an understatement. we (david, jay, jen & macall) got onto the elevator to head to our rooms shortly after midnight. macall forgot to push her button for 3 and we were laughing about it and jay said she should get out with them on 7 and then go back down. we were laughing and she forgot to get off at 7 so she decided to ride all the way to the top (12) with david and i. we were laughing some more when the elevator jerked to an odd stop and then nothing. the door didn't open. we all look at each other (david, macall and i). david tries his key since 12 is a key access floor. nothing. i try hitting the door open button. again, nothing. i start figuring out the phone and david is telling me not to panic. i'm not panicking, i just want someone to come get us out.

after the call to the hotel operator, she sends up engineering. engineering can't help and calls the elevator repair company at which point i recommend calling the fire department. david tells me to stop telling them how to rescue us. i tell him that hey, if we're getting rescued the chances are way more in favor of cute fireman than in cute elevator repairmen. instead hotel management comes up and tries to pry open the doors with little success. by this time, david, macall and i have discussed whether or not they could get pillows into us, water and snack supply between us and whether or not the elevator car will drop. david begins taking pictures. someone else tries to get the door open and david snaps a pic. when the flash goes off, a stern voice warns david that if we want out of there we need to quit taking pics because he can't see with the flash going off. this person gets the door open about an actual inch--just enough for david to see that he's actually dc metro pd. he can't get the doors further than that and we hear him calling dispatch for fire and rescue. at which point the operator calls us back and tells us the fire department is on the way. a little bit later we're told the fire department is there and we'll be out in another 15-20 minutes. at last the firemen open the door just wide enough for us to climb down and out. the elevator car had overshot the 12th floor by about 2 1/2 feet. 3 of the firemen were holding the door open for us to get through and the fourth one (the only cute one) stood to one side and watched as we climbed through them holding the door open and jumped to the actual floor. finally we were out more than 45 minutes after we went in.

the whole thing was a little surreal. the one hotel manager who was there when we were rescued told us he'd contact us the next day about compensation. he never did. we contacted the manager on duty who called me back but i missed his call. i called him back and left two messages, neither of which were returned. truthfully, i was so happy to be out, compensation wouldn't have occured to me. however, since they brought it up, they could have at least followed through. i think i'll be writing their corporate office.

i'll post the other two moments tomorrow.

you-had-to-be-there moments pt 1

wow...i'm just still wiped from my last week and a half so i'll post about the lighter side of things from my trip.

i should've known it'd be a weird trip based on our flight's landing. just as we were landing a toddler across the aisle from me started throwing up. this didn't phase me--she's little, she can't help it and she hadn't been feeling well the whole flight. what did phase me is a jerk of a guy who started making gagging noises and commenting loudly about controlling the kid. i try to turn off my sense of hearing and start thinking to myself "lalalala i'm not listening" to block out the jerk behind me. finally we touch down and make it to the gate. as we all start standing up to get our stuff from the overheads as the door is being opened (i'm in row 10 and the door is at row 8), this tiny little asian lady heads back and is trying to reach her carryon which is stowed in the overhead across from jerk guy. he starts griping at her loudly and she just looks up at him and keeps repeating "bag, please" and it becomes obvious that she speaks very little english--she doesn't understand a word that jerk guy is yelling at her. finally a couple people get into the aisle between her and jerk guy and get her off the plane along with the couple with the sick kid. and then everyone clears a path for jerk guy to exit. finally i get into the aisle to exit and am behind either the captain or co-captain (i can't tell which) who starts telling the jetway operator to contact the gate agent and stop the boarding process for the planes next flight because "there was a problem with the nose and we had a hard time setting it down correctly. the first officer is on the phone with maintenance and this plane can't leave until it's been thoroughly inspected." okay could have lived without hearing that.

i'll break this segment up into 3 posts instead of doing one really long post.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

my last 9 days

i spent the last nine days in washington dc. it was my first time there. i went for work--dcla. the event was july 1-4 with an additional day on either end for set up and move out. and after move out, i took an extra day and a half to explore dc.

i'm home tonight resting bruised feet and trying to process the last 9 days. when i reflect on dcla, i think about the people i met there--youth workers and students, both of whom stirred up an array of thoughts and emotions. i also have to think about the weird-convention-you-had-to-be-there moments with co-workers which include more than 45 minutes trapped in an elevator and a dousing by a passing car. there's also the bewilderment i felt in visiting monuments and memorials that ascribe to a higher ideal of america and americans than many of our current elected officials seem to be striving towards. and finally, how all of this impacts me who i am and who i want to be.

in the next few days, i'll post more about each of these.