Sunday, November 02, 2008

I've Moved

I've decided that for a number of reasons, it's time for me to migrate the blog over to Wordpress. Just giving a heads up to the tens of readers who keep track of this little site or have me in their blogroll.

A Conservative I Can Live With

Religulous

Last night some folks from MBCC went and checked out Bill Maher's film entitled "Religulous." In it, Bill combines wit, sarcasm, film clips and interviews to support his two main theses:

1. Doubt is good.
2. All religion is detrimental to society. If society is to move forward then religion must be done away with.

I'm good with the first one, and less good (depending on how one defines "religion") with the second one, but I found the film an overall interesting, bordering on positive experience.

Things I liked/found interesting:
1. Bill is open about calling himself agnostic and admitting he doesn't know. Unfortunately, the so-called "Christians" he interviewed acted as though asking questions was the worst form of blasphemy. Some of them walked out on his interview and refused to speak to someone that would have the audacity to question their faith.

2. Bill seems to have a soft spot for Catholicism in general and Jesus in particular. He was often countering some of the responses and attitudes he saw with the words and actions of Jesus and he was dead on.

3. The scene with the trucker church. He spoke with a group of men who were passionate about their faith but who blinked a lot when asked the more difficult questions. However, and this probably has to do with editing, Bill was silenced when one man spoke of his personal experience of conversion to Christianity from being a Satanist priest. Try as you might, you cannot argue with personal experience. When Bill was leaving the truckers he thanked them for being "Christlike" and allowed them to pray for him. It was an oasis of vulnerability in a sea of derision.

Things that I didn't love, but didn't necessarily hate:
1. With a couple of exceptions, he only interviewed Christians who'd checked their brains at the door, which, in my experience is at least half of them (mostly the evangelical half). Particularly horrifying was "Jesus" from the Holy Land Experience Theme Park in Florida (that hot mess is a post unto itself). Bill came at "Jesus" with very valid questions and "Jesus" answered with standard Sunday School cliches that wouldn't stand up to even the most gentle questioning from an eight-year-old. The few interviews he had with intelligent, reasonable Catholics were cut very short, I'm guessing because there wasn't room in his argument for that. He stayed in the Bible belt and interviewed Southern, dyed-in-the-wool Christians who have probably never had to defend their faith because the culture is so churched, and he didn't speak to any mainline or progressive Christians. It is his documentary, and as long as he's not under the impression that it's journalism, he's allowed to only support one point of view. But I'm also allowed to not like it.

2. Bill is as intolerant of people who disagree with him as he believes the religious people to be of him. Got that? He was open with his distaste of Orthodox (particularly anti-Zionist) Jews and his negative views of Islam were thinly veiled if at all.

3. One thing he did, which I have a tendency to do, is that he used his intellect as a blunt instrument on those less intelligent. When he spoke with Catholic scholars he was gentler with his questioning than he was with the Bible-belt Christians.

4. Bill constantly interrupts people. He walked out on the one person who wouldn't let him interrupt. Rude.

Like I said, it was a pretty good film. While I am on board with Bill's doubt and questioning, I disagree with his method of finding people to support his thesis and then use that lop-sided "evidence" to make general proclamations about eliminating all religion from society. I think we need to eliminate stupidity, intolerance and recalcitrance, but those things don't only exist in religious contexts. There's a lot of hubris in anyone who says their way/interpretation is the only way and Bill is one of those people. Last I checked, the only person who had the corner on the way, truth and life is Jesus. There are a lot of us who are doing our best to follow Jesus and we would do well to admit that we do it imperfectly and could learn from those who have different views.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happy Boss's Day

Me: Do you think that since today is Boss's Day I have to take God out to lunch?

Boss Man: She would probably appreciate a cocktail. Perhaps a bloody Mary?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sabbath Experiment

I'm just about done reading Mudhouse Sabbath and the chapter on sabbath held some interesting ideas on the concept of true sabbath. The quote in the chapter that inspired my experiment was from the patriarch of an Orthodox family. When asked why it matters if someone were to microwave a frozen dinner on the sabbath, he responds, "When we don't operate machines, or pick flowers, or pluck fish from the sea...when we cease interfering in the world we are acknowledging that it is God's world."

Today I'm going to acknowledge that it is God's world by not seeing my free Saturday as a day to get done what I need to get done. I'm going to use today to be mindful of God's presence in the world and in my life. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Open on Sunday....but only after church

Mom and I are in line to pick up lunch on Saturday. A bald, gregarious Baptist pastor turns around and thanks me for singing and asks if I'm part of the church where the conference is being held. I say no, that I'm just in town for the conference and helping out where I am needed. He asks where I'm from and I tell him, San Francisco. His response:

Well, that's a pretty secular culture, isn't it?

NO, YOU MORON, IT'S NOT, is what I say in my head. Not out loud, of course. I'm growing. He's only been once, years ago. I don't really get to explain why not because we are interrupted with people crossing the line, asking a question, or something. He continues chatting with mom asking where she's from and we find a connection from the church where I grew up. He asks if I work in a church and I tell him Mission Bay. I take the opportunity to also tell him that I feel fortunate to be in the first healthy church situation in my life, because prior to that I'd been in Baptist churches. I haven't grown that much.

He looks genuinely remorseful on behalf of his people, and asks what was the most difficult thing about it. I say, it's a boy's club where all the decisions are made on the golf course. He shakes his head again and looks squarely into my eyes and offers a deep apology and I am a little stunned. He considers himself a moderate Southern Baptist, if there is such a thing, and if he's not SBC, he's probably CBF. We joke about the incongruency of women being able to say many things in church, as long as they're not standing behind the "magic block of wood." He mentions the need for many to have a "spiritual gut transplant" and I counter with the greater need of a brain implant. We laugh, and I assure him that things are fine with me, because I left the Baptists and went where I could use my gift. We part ways.

First of all, I am guilty of stereotyping. I saw this obvious former football player, heard the accent, heard that I apparently live in a "secular culture" and immediately he went into a category: chauvanist, idiot, bombastic, narrow-minded, Republican, dumbass, etc., and those are the printable things. I am growing very little, in fact.

The truth is, he's a product of his culture and I'm a product of mine. He's alredy stepping out of his paradigm by being "moderate" and going to a Renovare event. He's doing his best to follow Jesus. Yes, we had just heard about how the sacred/secular divide is nothing but gnostic heresy, but he is from a land where the car dealerships are open only after church on Sunday. He's doing his best. I will try to do mine.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

80/20

For nearly the last two weeks (roughly 80% of them) I've not consciously been aware of any anxiety. There have been some poor eating habits in the last week, but I chalk that up to the work people continually bringing in food for other people's birthdays. I've known in theory that I should have some level of anxiety and today it hit me. I'm a bit scared of what will be on this mammogram. I know that the chances of it being nothing are, well, 80%, so that's good. But today, with about 20% of those 2 weeks to go, I've gotten nervous. I've never had a mammogram before, let alone a diagnostic one with an ultra-sound because there's something in there that maybe shouldn't be there. I've been practicing though - lying on the ground and allowing the garage door to close on me. I'm told it's very similar.

Our church is relocating and today was our last day in the space. Such change can be disconcerting for some and so I chose songs about God being constant and holding us regardless of changing circumstances. A lot of our folks are dealing with personal upheaval as well as our community transition, so I hope the song choices were as comforting for them as they were for me. The songs, with my favorite parts of them were:

The classic Psalm 105
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
God's mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning, new every morning
Great is Your faithfulness, Oh Lord
Great is Your faithfulness

The Solid Rock - my favorite verse is:
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay

Your Love is Deep by Jami Smith

Your love is deeper than my view of grace
Higher than this worldly place
Longer than this road I've traveled
Wider than the gap you filled

In Your Hands by Reuben Morgan
I'm so secure, You're here with me
You stay the same
Your love remains here in my heart
So close I believe You're holding me now
In Your hands I belong, You'll never let me go

Because I'm a church musician I automatically go to music for identification and comfort. These are just a few of the many that I love. I spent the rest of the day madly working to organize my room, putting out a sizable donation for Salvation Army to pick up tomorrow, baking peanut butter cookies and getting myself ready for the day tomorrow. The anxiety has lessened somewhat but it's still there. I would appreciate your prayers (although, given the sensitive nature of this issue, there will be no laying on of hands). I have my dear friend Lilyan coming with me to my appointment. She and I have been friends since sixth grade and she lives in LA. She happens to be up here for a few weeks for work, so it's worked out great. I know that on Tuesday I'll go in, it will all be fine, and I'll see them next year. All good. I just want to know NOW. Until then, I know that I can rest in the stability and covenant love of God that will never let me go.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Johnny Appleseed Friday Five


Raise your hand if you know that today is Johnny Appleseed Day!

September 26, 1774 was his birthday. "Johnny Appleseed" (John Chapman) is one of America's great legends. He was a nurseryman who started out planting trees in western New York and Pennsylvania, but he was among those who were captivated by the movement west across the continent.

As Johnny traveled west (at that time, the "West" was places like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois) he planted apple trees and sold trees to settlers. With every apple tree that was planted, the legend grew. A devout Christian, he was known to preach during his travels. According to legend, Johny Appleseed led a simple life and wanted little. He rarely accepted money and often donated any money he received to churches or charities. He planted hundreds of orchards, considering it his service to humankind. There is some link between Johny Appleseed and very early Arbor Day celebrations.

So, in honor of this interesting fellow, let's get on with the questions!

1. What is your favorite apple dish? (BIG BONUS points if you share the recipe.)

I like a good old fashioned apple pie.

2. Have you ever planted a tree? If so was there a special reason or occasion you can tell us about?

I've never ceremoniously planted a tree. One year we got a live Christmas tree and then planted it in our yard and it was ginormous.

3. Does the idea of roaming around the countryside (preaching or otherwise) appeal to you? Why or why not?

I love the idea of roaming around the countryside - I think it would be great fun. Preaching would make it all the more enjoyable, but not in a Great Awakening sort of way (not that there's anything wrong with that). I just love the Bible and love sharing its truths with people.

4. Who is a favorite "historical legend" of yours?

I don't know if I have a favorite "historical legend" but I have a favorite historical person about whom there are many legends - Teresa of Avila.

5. Johnny Appleseed was said to sing to keep up his spirits as he traveled the roads of the west. Do you have a song that comes when you are trying to be cheerful, or is there something else that you often do?

I sing all the time and often don't realize it. I sing when my spirits are up but not to keep them up. My spirits are rarely down, but if they are, it's usually a mani/pedi, walk in the park or a light comedy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Weekend While You Wait

Last weekend was the best one I've had in recent memory. It was an intentional effort on my part to have a great all-about-me weekend that came on the heels of some...well....interesting news from my doctor. It seems as though in my physical she found a lump. The standard procedure is a mammogram and a consultation with a surgeon and those things are on the books, but I have had to wait a bit to get in for those appointments. I'm genuinely not worried about it because these things are very common and are much more often nothing than something. The good news is that if I did need a mastectomy, they can reconstruct using fat from various parts of the body. Now that's what I call a win-win. However, I felt it necessary to ease my waiting time with some great time over the weekend that would make my two-week wait a bit more palatable. Here is the breakdown by day:

Friday

I have the best work crew imaginable. I've mentioned how great the boss is, but the rest of the team is brilliant as well. I've told them about the mutinous boob in case I end up needing to be gone from work any more and they've been great about it. Friday afternoon they presented me with a gift card for a spa day. Very sweet. It got a little less sweet when Boss Man Spa Nazi emphatically noted that it WASN'T TO BE USED FOR SHOPPING AND WAS TO BE USED THAT WEEKEND. Easy there, killer - got it. I had already made an appointment with Cynthia, facial lady extraordinaire, so now it was covered.

Friday evening my friend AM came over and I made a chicken and corn chowder for dinner. If I may say, kids, this is an amazing chowder. It's quick, warm, comforting and filling. For dessert I made this cherry-crumble-type thing that is an old family favorite. It's called Mix-Mix-Mix but oddly, there's no mixing. It's more assembling than anything else. It's a can of cherry pie filling, a Jiffy (b/c it's a small box, or half of a regular one) white cake mix, dry and sprinkled on top of cherries. Then cover with a cup of oats and then melt a stick of butter and drizzle over it all. You can sprinkle on some pecans if you're so inclined. Then you bake the whole think at 425 for about 30 minutes. I can't describe how satisfying this is. I served it with chocolate ice cream and it was amazing.

As we ate our dinner we watched Children of Men. Interesting. Lots of spiritual overtones. Clive Owen is hot. Those are my take-aways.

Saturday

I woke up at my leisure (although I was excited about my day so I didn't sleep too long) and made pumpkin biscuits for breakfast. This is a fall favorite of mine and a traditional breakfast on Thanksgiving day for my family. I have a Saturday morning ritual of making breakfast and watching The Soup from the night before, then I showered and went to get a mani/pedi. Following my nail time I went up to Marin to see Burn After Reading at my favorite movie theater. It seems as though it was See Your First Coen Brothers' Film day at the Corte Madera theater. About 2/3 of the way through the film a woman behind me whispered to her companion, "This is really kind of strange." Mmmm hmmm. Yeah. Then in the restroom, a lady was discussing the film with her friend and her recap was, "It started out funny, then it got cynical and then it got really dark." IT'S A COEN BROTHERS' FILM. And, for them, this was pretty "radio friendly." There were only 2 murders, and only one of them was particularly grizzly. Really, it was Coen Brothers' Lite. Brad Pitt was HI-larious in it and John Malkovich played his desperate former intelligence agent to self-indulgent perfection.

Following the movie I did a little errand running/shopping and then headed off to my facial appointment at 4. Got home around 6:30, had some leftover chowder for dinner and got to work on some church stuff.

Sunday

Did church in the morning and I have to say it was a blast. I was leading worship and the songs were fun, the band was fun and it all just went really well. Following our Town Hall meeting regarding the move to OAPC, I went and met Annelies for brunch. We went to Brenda's which is a French soul food restaurant. It is, in a word, foodgasmic. Brenda herself was there cooking and I told our server, who told her, that if I were on death row, this would be my last meal. I had the fried catfish eggs benedict with Creole hollandaise sauce and hash. The biscuits are beyond description as is the homemade strawberry preserves. It was altogether fabulous.

After brunch we headed over to the Opera Plaza cinema for TransSiberian. Interesting suspense thriller with some plot holes, but overall a good flick. After a stroll through the nearby bookstore and some grocery shopping, I headed home. The Cowboys beat the Green Bay Packers (in Lambeau Field!!!) rather handily and then I watched the Emmys.

It was truly the best weekend ever and so very needed. I'm looking forward to the upcoming swirl of activity and it will all be made much easier by last weekend's relax-a-thon.

Friday, September 19, 2008

RevGals Fall Equinox Friday Five

Songbird writes:

It's that time of year, at least north of the equator. The windows are still open, but the darned furnace comes on early in the morning. My husband went out for a walk after an early supper and came home in full darkness.

And yes, where we live, leaves are beginning to turn.

As this vivid season begins, tell us five favorite things about fall:

1) A fragrance: baking, cinnamon, apple cider, nutmeg

2) A color: deep purple, cranberry, gold, brown, orange

3) An item of clothing: new sweaters!

4) An activity: football, but it's more an activity for the teams I'm watching than for me. I have to turn on the TV, though, so it's not like I'm doing nothing.

5) A special day: Thanksgiving b/c it's my favorite holiday and I do much of the cooking. The Cowboys play, I get to see my babies and the food is fantastic!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Friday Five: Back to School


It's time for a Back-To-School Friday Five!

1. Is anyone going back to school, as a student or teacher, at your house? How's it going so far?

Nope. No students or teachers here. Kinda miss it, kinda glad.

2. Were you glad or sad when back-to-school time came as a kid?

Both. I liked school, for the most part, but I also liked spending 3 months in the swimming pool and watching my favorite block of TV shows on KPHO TV 5 in Phoenix - Dick van Dyke, Andy Griffith, I Love Lucy, Hogan's Heroes - then back to the pool!

3. Did your family of origin have any rituals to mark this time of year? How about now?

We bought school supplies and clothes. The parents also took pictures of us on the first day of school. I also often would get a new hairdo before a school year. Kindergarten was Tenille and First grade was Dorothy Hamil.

4. Favorite memories of back-to-school outfits, lunchboxes, etc?

Hands down it's the metal Battlestar Galactica lunch box from second grade. I had a pretty cool red plastic Peanuts one as well.

5. What was your best year of school?

My senior year of high school. Our class ran the school (in a good way) and we had great relationships with our teachers. I had a solid group of friends and the whole year was great fun. At our graduation our teachers begged us not to go b/c the juniors were a total disaster.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Vulnerability Friday 5

Sally posted this Today:

It seems almost crass to post a Friday 5 after Mary-Beth's last post and prayer request for our dear Gannet Girl and her family. So I hope that folk will take this in the spirit with which it is offered; that of continuing prayer and concern tempered by the knowledge that we are called both to weep and to rejoice with our communities.

I have recently been reading a book entitled Jesus wept, it is all about vulnerability in leadership. The authors speak of how Jesus shared his earthly frustrations and vulnerabilities with a select group of people. To some he was the charismatic leader and teacher, to others words of wisdom were opened and explained and some frustrations shared, to his "inner circle of friends: Peter, James and John, he was most fully himself, and in all of these things he was open to God.So I bring you this weeks Friday 5:

1. Is vulnerability something that comes easily to you, or are you a private person?

I'm pretty private and not a big sharer. I tend to process emotional information internally and then I can share about it when I'm done. I have a few friends with whom I share everything, but I don't just give it away.

2.How important is it to keep up a professional persona in work/ ministry?

At work it's important, although I can't always say I'm successful at it. I'm a creative type amongst lawyers, but cool lawyers, if that's possible, so they are sweet enough to help me channel my creative inappropriateness toward projects that don't make me look like such a doofus. In ministry it's tricky, especially as a single female. I have to be appropriately vulnerable without being dishonest or manipulative. It's also important for me to discern between actual friendships and ministry relationships because occasionally I've gotten the two confused. In those instances it's an issue of unmet (unrealistic) expectations, because I've assumed a reciprocity that the other person is not capable of and have therefore been a bit drained. It's a process.

3. Masks, a form of self protection discuss...

Sometimes a necessary social evil. Overall,I think masks aren't necessarily a bad thing because not everyone needs to know everything. I have a few friends who will figuratively hold back my hair while I emotionally vomit but that's not everyone's business.

4. Who knows you warts and all?

Anni, Vanessa, Heather, Kenny, Momi and my family

5. Share a book, a prayer, a piece of music, a poem or a person that touches the deep place in your soul, and calls you to be who you are most authentically.

Brennan Manning's The Wisdom of Tenderness

Hey Minnesota - Do You Smell Smoke? 'Cause a lot of pants are on fire

This is an Associated Press article - not an article from a "liberal rag." The Republicans are continuing to use the Karl Rove strategy of lying through their collective teeth to try to convince the American public that Sarah Palin is qualified for the VP slot. I am blown away that she chose her timeslot at the convention to pander to the lowest common denominator with sarcasm and outright lies rather than actually address what makes her qualified and what she actually would do for this country. As Jon Stewart pointed out, basically all we know about her now is that she can read Wikipedia. I won't even go into her snide community organizer comment because that is absolutely ridiculous and I'll get to it in another rant. As you read through this article, please notice that the one statement categorized as a "whopper" comes from former Baptist minister Mike Huckabee, the center of his own little axis of evil.

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer Wed Sep 3, 11:48 PM ET
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her
Some examples:


PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."
THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."


PALIN: "There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate."
THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.


PALIN: "The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."
THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.
Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.
He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise.

MCCAIN: "She's been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America's energy supply ... She's responsible for 20 percent of the nation's energy supply. I'm entertained by the comparison and I hope we can keep making that comparison that running a political campaign is somehow comparable to being the executive of the largest state in America," he said in an interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson.
THE FACTS: McCain's phrasing exaggerates both claims. Palin is governor of a state that ranks second nationally in crude oil production, but she's no more "responsible" for that resource than President Bush was when he was governor of Texas, another oil-producing state. In fact, her primary power is the ability to tax oil, which she did in concert with the Alaska Legislature. And where Alaska is the largest state in America, McCain could as easily have called it the 47th largest state — by population.

MCCAIN: "She's the commander of the Alaska National Guard. ... She has been in charge, and she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities," he said on ABC.
THE FACTS: While governors are in charge of their state guard units, that authority ends whenever those units are called to actual military service. When guard units are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, for example, they assume those duties under "federal status," which means they report to the Defense Department, not their governors. Alaska's national guard units have a total of about 4,200 personnel, among the smallest of state guard organizations.

FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States."
THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor's election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOV. MITT ROMNEY: "We need change, all right — change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin."
THE FACTS: A Back-to-the-Future moment. George W. Bush, a conservative Republican, has been president for nearly eight years. And until last year, Republicans controlled Congress. Only since January 2007 have Democrats have been in charge of the House and Senate.
___
Associated Press Writer Jim Drinkard in Washington contributed to this report.

Welcome to my World

I work with some ridiculously funny and creative folks at Mission Bay. We've got some great folks as part of our worship crew and one of them, who's leading this week, sent this e-mail for purposes of recruiting musicians, but it totally cracked me up, so I had to share. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Shawn Alpay.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Musical worship at Mission Bay Community Church is to be led exclusively by newly-minted congregation member Shawn Alpay this upcoming Sunday, sources close to the organization have disclosed.

Alpay, 26, who typically coordinates the music with the help of church elder Megan Dunchak, seemed upbeat about the need to lead alone. "You know, our fellowship is blessed to have several talented musicians," Alpay is reported to have mused. "And hopefully some of that talent will show up at 9am on Sunday September 7th for practice in preparation for our weekly 11:08am service. And if not, well, I guess we'll be fine; I'll just berate them all later." A wry smile played on his lips as he made this declaration.

"I'm not so sure about [Alpay], or this whole thing, really," Worship Coordinator Tiffany Flaming said. "Any hack can play the cello, but will he really be able to lead our congregation to the foot of the cross, Jesus-style? I have my doubts." Sources say that the setlist of music for September 7th has been drafted, but a final list has yet to be decided upon. "See what I mean?" asked Flaming.

PresbyPope Bruce Reyes-Chow was not immediately available for comment.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Fashion Faux Pas of the Day: The T-shirt Tuck

Yes, gentlemen, it is in fact quite warm here in San Francisco. We're not used to these 90 degree temperatures so it's quite possible that we don't have the wardrobe for it. Let me tell you what not to do: do NOT wear a t-shirt (however "dressy" said t-shirt may be) TUCKED IN to DRESS PANTS. This is never ok. Ever. There are no exceptions. Since this look was spotted in the elevator in my building, I know for a fact that more casual pants are acceptable and t-shirts are worn untucked here all the time. It's ok. Fly your Casual Friday Flag on this warm Thursday and chill out.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Freddie Highmore's Opus

Tonight my friend Heather and I watched August Rush. I've had it in my queue for a while and had planned to see it, knowing it was a cheesefest but that it had some Oscar-nominated music so I wanted to check it out. I swear, this thing shoved me right out of my Myers-Briggs T zone and I think I might now permanently be an F. It would be interesting to see how test results differed if people took the MBTI while looking at Freddie Highmore's face.

If you haven't seen the movie and don't want to know what happens, then stop reading. I'm not going to do a full review here because I didn't expect it to be a high quality film and it wasn't. I just have a couple of things, beginning with young Freddie. I cannot express to you how much I love this kid. I swear, I look at him and I just start crying. He is so sweet and adorable and how anyone could abandon any child let alone him is beyond me. His character is a supposed orphan living in a group home but he hangs on to the belief that his parents are alive and will come for him. He knows this because he can hear them calling to him in the "music" he hears in the world around him. He's one of those true prodigies born with a gift but in his context he had no way to work it out until he ran away to the big city where he is snatched up by a disturbed Robin Williams.

Robin Williams is always disturbed but this is more actually disturbed, not Robin Williams disturbed. He finds homeless or foster children with some musical ability, takes them in and sends them out to play on street corners and then collects the money. He clearly has a drug problem and is emotionally and psychologically manipulative. He does have enough sense to recognize the talent in Evan (Freddie) so he decides to create a persona for him and put him on the most profitable corner. During the conversation when they're creating this identity Robin asks him what he wants to be in the whole world. His simple answer: found.

That pretty much sent me over the edge and I was done for the rest of the movie. Anything with children who are abandoned or abused already just puts my soul through a cheese grater but his frank vulnerability in the face of such hopelessness was more than I could take. In this nearly throwaway moment young Freddie Highmore gave voice to one of the deepest human needs of people of all ages and backgrounds. Everyone wants to be found in some way - to be sought out, waited for and cherished. As a child, Evan wasn't afraid to say that because he didn't know you weren't supposed to. When we "grow up" we learn fear, apprehension, self-preservation and self-defense. Evan knew when his parents were there because he kept his heart open to being found and connected to what he'd heard. He never let the bullies in the group home talk him into saying that his parents were not coming for him. He clung stubbornly to his belief and kept his heart open to being found and in the end he was. Life may not always work that perfectly - more often than not it doesn't. But I think there's something to be said for living in such a way where we believe that we can be found and are open to that possibility.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Labor Day Friday Five

Songbird says:

Here in the USA we are celebrating the last fling of the good ol' summertime. It is Labor Day weekend, and families are camping, playing in the park, swimming, grilling hot dogs in the backyard, visiting amusement parks and zoos and historical sites and outdoor concerts and whatever else they can find to help them extend summer's sun and play just a little bit longer.

It is supposed to also be a celebration of the working man and woman, the backbone of the American economy, the "salt-of-the-earth nieces and nephews of Uncle Sam. With apologies to those in other countries, this is a Friday Five about LABOR. All can play. Put down that hammer, that spoon, that rolling pin, that rake, that pen, that commentary, that lexicon, and let's have some fun.

1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.

Gainey Ranch Hilton Gift Shop while I was in college. I had a manager call me up at 10:00 at night and cuss me out for not processing a shipment the night before when I was closing alone and slammed with business. She once also made me close 14 days in a row after I got back from a vacation. After the cuss out call I quit the next day. Hell no.

2. Tell us about the best job you ever had.

My favorite job was at a theology library. I got to interact with students writing sermons and papers and help them with their research. The problem was they didn't pay a living wage and they hired an idiot as the library director who actually asked our systems manager what a "monograph" was. Seriously.

3. Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions.

There are a TON of things I would love to do. I'd love to do community organizing, I love cooking, I love public speaking, I love writing, I love traveling. Something with all that stuff.

4. Did you get a break from labor this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do about it?

I had more labor this summer than I knew what to do with. I'd like to do a little getaway but I don't think it's going to happen any time soon b/c I need to go to a couple of conferences in the next couple of months. I'll figure something out.

5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading?

With my day job things will change b/c my boss (best boss in the world, love him, mean it) has been given more responsibility (well-deserved because, have I mentioned? best ever) which means more work for me and some fun extra projects. He piles on the work until I say stop but I'm a workaholic who doesn't say stop. Should be fun. Boundaries, anyone?

Church job is a whole other thing b/c Pastor is Queen of the Presbyterians (I think it's called "moderator") and is traipsing all over creation this fall and we're moving to a new facility. Lots of trial and error this fall. Looking forward to it all.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Very Encouraging Day

1. Was told I was a creative genius at work. Granted, it was said to coerce me into yet another project, but I'll take it.

2. Told by the desk chick at the gym that I always make her day.

3. Told by yoga instructor that I looked great. That's the cleanse. I've lost about 8 pounds so far.

Honorable Mention: Random dude in the Castro last night told me he liked my necklace. You know you're doing something right when you get fashion compliments in the Castro.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Isn't She.....Smart? Articulate? Accomplished? No....it's LOVELY!?!

I need to speak a word here about this evening's Democratic National Convention. So far, so good. There is a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm, and some very disturbing hats. Because I'd recorded it on CNN, I got WAY more side commentary than I wanted and they talked over people's speeches, like Nancy Pelosi, James Leach and Donald Miller's benediction. Love how they lowered their voices during the benediction by the way, like they didn't want God to catch them talking during the prayer. Now I'm going to have to go online and watch the speeches, which is exactly what they want me to do, I expect, just so they can try to entice me to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal.

One of the highlights was the tribute to Ted Kennedy. The Kennedy family is one of the more fascinating and controversial in our history and one of the more colorful characters in it is Teddy Kennedy. Chappaquiddick anyone? However, regardless of your feelings about his politics, you can tell that he is deeply loved by his family and friends and the tribute they paid him was quite beautiful. He seemed healthy, energetic, and ready to take on another year in the Senate. Maria Shriver was just bawling during his speech. It was really great.

The keynote of the evening was Michelle Obama and she was introduced lovingly and respectfully by her older brother. She did a beautiful job. She told us that Barack was, in fact, the same man that she had fallen in love with 19 years ago. She spoke eloquently of his passion for the under-privileged, his desire to make a difference, his appreciation for those who have gone before. She noted the importance of this week being the 88th anniversary of women being given the right to vote and the 45th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech. It was a home run on all counts. And then....the band.

The band began to play Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely." Seriously. I could not believe it. You know what - I don't care if it was their wedding song, or her favorite song or whatever. I'm not in on those kinds of inside stories. It seemed to me probably the most patronizing music choice in the history of political conventions. "Wow. That was a great speech. And look how pretty she is." WTF? Yeah, she's gorgeous. No argument from me. But what about playing something inspiring, even patriotic, something remotely befitting a future first lady?

To watch or not to watch?

The new 90210. I'm torn. Yes, I did in fact watch all 10 seasons of the original and I'm not all that ashamed of it. I don't even have the excuse of being in high school when it started because I WAS IN COLLEGE. Don't care. Love drama. But the new one. I'm not sure. The cast is mildly interesting, especially Shannen Doherty and Jennie Garth. Jennie is a hometown girl and I have friends who went to high school with her, so I feel I need to support her. I'm a little sad about Tori being in the group but I fully support her bowing out after they refused to pay her as much as the other two. That's ridiculous. Did any of us chant "Kelly Taylor Graduates! Kelly Taylor Graduates!"? No. It was Donna Martin for whom we were cheering so enthusiastically when she was threatened with losing her diploma b/c she drank champagne before the prom. And whose was the big wedding in the series finale? That's right DONNA & DAVID!! So why wouldn't she get paid as much as the other two? Whatever. Anyway, I haven't decided if I'm going to indulge in the new offering that premiers next week. What say you, dear readers?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Five: Dates

1) Datebooks--how do you keep track of your appointments? Electronically? On paper? Month at a glance? Week at a glance?

I use Outlook at home and at work, but I don't put my personal appointments on my work calendar. I keep a small datebook in my purse to write stuff down in the moment and then transfer it to the computer at home.

2) When was the last time you forgot an important date?

I forgot an appointment with my spiritual director earlier this year.

3) When was the last time you went OUT on a date?

I have no idea. Probably last year sometime?

4) Name one accessory or item of clothing you love even though it is dated.

I am actually quite eager to get rid of things and don't keep them more than a couple of years before I donate and replace!

5) Dates--the fruit--can't live with 'em? Or can't live without 'em?

I like them, but haven't had them in a while. My mom loathes them so I used to eat them just to gross her out.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

When did THAT happen?

Today, my niece started preschool. PRESCHOOL. She's 4. And-a-half almost. How did that happen? Seriously. It seems like last week she was the baby you see there on the left. Now this morning, she's this grown child who's starting preschool. I called her today and got the scoop on all of it and she seemed to really enjoy it. I have to say though, that the first time any child hurts her in any way I am not above boarding a plane and giving that little mongrel a serious beat down.

In the last couple of weeks I've been doing some growing myself. I've not felt great for the past, oh, two months or so, and I finally got fed up with it last week when I spent much of the time in bed crying. It's not as bad as it sounds. I came to the conclusion that the meds I'm on to help me sleep aren't helping me as much as they need to be and so I was approaching all of life as a sleep-deprived person: irrational and useless. I took appropriate steps and went to a regular doctor and an Eastern practitioner just to cover all my bases. Regular doctor upped the dose and Dr. Nature did some chiro/acupuncture stuff and put me on a cleanse. The cleanse sucks, but I know it's good. I may do some modifications just to get me through, but so far I'm being really good about sticking to it.

As much as not feeling well sucks, so far it's been a great exercise in asking for help for me. Monday in yoga I had a bit of a breakthrough about why I have trouble with that. I think it's because that for the first time in my adult life I'm surrounded by more healthy people than not. I'm really used to needing strict boundaries around myself because as someone who wasn't always in the most healthy place, I tended to attract people to me who were also a bit of a wreck. This is not to say I've achieved health - far from it - but rather I'm more honest about my own brokenness but also my strengths and I have people in my life who are more like that. It's more about adjusting to a new reality for me and allowing myself to trust the people in my life that I know that I can trust. I am so thankful for my friends, church community and co-workers who are truly great people from whom I learn something every day. Even the boss, who is, well, wow - can I just say... oh wait. He's probably reading this. I should stop.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

An Act of Supreme Douchebaggery

If we have not already gathered, I am not a fan of the Religious Right. They do not speak for me. I find them ridiculous, none more so that the abhorrent Focus on the Family. They are the pinnacle of all things hateful, paranoid and ignorant. Given their complete lack of sense, then it is not surprising that they should actually call on people to pray that it rain in Denver on the night that Obama is to speak at the convention at Mile High Stadium. Why? Because we hate the gays and love the unborn babies. These are the two reasons given - abortion and gay marriage. Because that's all we should care about, right? The way marriage is defined and whether or not "all babies want to get borned"? And, we are whiny spoiled brats that need opposing voices to be rained on so we don't have to listen to them. They're asking for a meteorological equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears and saying, "La la la, I can't hear you." Here's what really creases me - why can't we listen and disagree? Why must we perform a rain dance to drown out? Why is everything Obama says wrong because of 2 issues? For the record, Obama has said that he's not in favor of redefining marriage or legalizing gay marriage but rather he's in favor of civil unions. Listen critically and engage in dialogue, I say, but apparently that's too much to ask.

Friday, August 01, 2008

We Interrupt this Friday Five....

to bring you a true life story of how I am my own biggest barrier. This week's Friday Five was on the subject of barriers and I had every intention of playing, but then my own life interfered. Let me begin with apologies to Boss Man as we have a "gentleman's agreement" that he doesn't get blogged about but he plays a significant role in today's drama. I would also contend that I have kept my end of the bargain because I don't blog about his personal life, which BELIEVE ME, is a blog unto itself. And I only say really nice things about him. But I digress. The events of the morning are as follows:

1. I am getting ready for work this morning when I discover the mysterious lack of mascara. I have no idea where it is. Having been raised by a mid-western woman, I have a firm belief that one does not leave the house without having first applied mascara and lipstick, at minimum. As living on the west coast has softened me, I decide to buck up, leave the house, and will go immediately to Walgreen's on my arrival and purchase stop-gap mascara until such time as suitable mascara can be procured. Fine.

2. Arrival at office. Get settled, start up computer, go get mascara. Need purse and wallet. Huh. It seems that my purse is nowhere to be found. I know in an instant that I had left it on the train. Instant nausea sets in. I inventory all the things in my purse - wallet with bank stuff, license, muni pass, etc., calendar, lipstick, mail, OH MY GOSH MY TINY CONDIMENTS THAT ABBY GAVE ME. My tiny condiments! How would I ever practice safe sandwich? This is intolerable.

I had spent my rather lengthy commute this morning standing toward the front of the last car and therefore staring at the back of the previous car and the number 1520B. This is important. It may be the name of my first child. As soon as I discover that the purse is gone, I call MUNI, and get a very cool, very sympathetic person who takes a description of the purse, time and place I got off and that very important number. Then I proceed to wring my hands and stare at the phone.

I receive a return call in about 15 minutes that indeed my purse had been located and I have never been more relieved. The train is at the Civic Center Station and the purse will be dropped off at the MUNI office at Church & Duboce. Here's the thing - I can hop on the MUNI and go get it, but my pass is in the purse, so I could get a ticket, I could fight it, etc. What a pain.

After I learn the whereabouts of my purse, I take my adrenaline-addled self into the boss' office to let him know the scoop. No purse, no mascara. Which is worse, he asks? Obviously, the mascara, I reply. He offers to say something nice to me but knows that I won't like it, so refrains. Then the nicest boss in the universe offers to drive me over there and get my bag. Very sweet.

We hop in the big manly truck and head over there. I run up to the door and knock on it and a very jolly elderly gentleman opens the door and says, "You're much better looking in person than the photo on your driver's license." This I can agree with, so I allow. Then he playfully asks, "Are you looking for something?" Funny. He is great about it, hands over the purse and I gush with gratitude. Boss Man and I stop at a taqueria in the Mission and grab lunch and then head back to the office.

This post is already long enough so I won't go into the details of what my personal barriers are but I will list them and then perhaps do a more detailed re-working of them at another point (aren't you lucky). They are, in no particular order:

1. The inability to accept compliments with which I do not agree. Seriously. How arrogant is that? You can't possibly have an opinion that is different than mine? What is wrong with me?

2. I HATE being the damsel in distress, and that's what I was yesterday. Ack. Let people help. Let people help. This must be my mantra.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

God Invites Us Both to the Table

One morning last week while I was in ABQ, I was reading the passages from the lectionary for that day. Relax - I'm not that holy and I don't do it every day but I felt a spiritual compulsion that day. I opened up and read the Romans 14 passage and I have to say it was the reason I felt compelled. I've posted it below. Please don't give me crap about using The Message. Sometimes I like it.

Because God is funny, that same day I met a man at the office named L. L is a very Texan, retired police officer who is also a church-goer. He's got Jesus-related mugs all over his desk. Somehow, we got on the topic of church, probably b/c I work at one, and he said he used to attend a Presbyterian church but they left the denomination or split or something and there was a lawsuit and they lost the property. He said there were two issues - one tolerable and one intolerable. The tolerable one was the ordination of women and the intolerable one was the ordination of LGBTQ people. Now the building houses a gay church and there are rainbow flags all over it, which in his estimation was not what God intended.

I really can't even begin to discuss how much of that is not in line with my theology, but the important thing to note here is that I chose not to discuss that with L. Granted, we were at work, which is odd, and I was also on my way out the door for dinner. However, I choose to believe that my restraint had more spiritual groundings, specifically in Romans 14. The phrase that sticks with me is "treat them gently." I really want to learn to do that. Not in a condescending or patronizing way, either - but with genuine gentleness. After all, God invited us both to the table.

Romans 14:1 - 5 (The Message)

1Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do. And don't jump all over them every time they do or say something you don't agree with--even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.

2For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume all Christians should be vegetarians and eat accordingly. 3But since both are guests at Christ's table, wouldn't it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn't eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. 4Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God's welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.

5Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Five - Travel Necessities

Ah, the road trip. I have been on many of them in my life, back and forth from home in PHX to So. Cal, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Texas. I've criss-crossed the country and gone up and down coasts. As I get older I'm more and more about the flying but sometimes taking off in the car is just what the dr. ordered.

This week's RevGals Friday Five is a simple one - list the 5 things you can't be without no matter where you are.

1. Hair products

2. Computer

3. Options - I have to have books and trashy magazines for reading and way more clothes than I actually would wear, just so I at least have the choice.

4. I realize this is totally cheesy given that this is a clergy thing, but honestly, I can't go anywhere without a Bible.

5. iPod for books, movies and music

Thursday, July 24, 2008

An Introduction

Customer Service, I'd like you to meet Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Albuquerque, this is Customer Service. I'm sure the two of you will be good friends.

Oh. My. Gosh.

I've just come three days in the ABQ for work, and if I may say, there is a reason that it's only a place you pass through to get to your actual destination. Let's start with our Hotel.

The Hotel Albuquerque.

Nice place. Parts of it are beautiful, actually. There are two restaurants and a nightclub in the hotel. The restaurant service was hit-or-miss. Catherine, who served there in the evenings, was absolutely lovely. There was also a gentleman on breakfast service who was delightful. Otherwise, it seemed that all of the servers would rather be somewhere else.

For some reason, my key kept getting de-sensitized and I could never get back into my room and had to do up and down the elevator to get that resolved. It was not that big a deal on its own, but taken together with everything else, it was frustrating.

The worst thing was on Tuesday evening we went to hang out in the Q Bar after dinner. It's a lovely place, decorated well, comfortable, etc. However, I'd called their food and beverage manager and left a voicemail asking for a place to be reserved and never heard back. When we got there I asked the bartender about it. He said they had no reservation for us and the place was pretty full. I said I had called and never heard back and the response was that if I didn't hear back, I didn't have a reservation and there was no place where we could sit together. Sweet. So we found a back room with a pool table and proceeded to take it over. No problem...

In struts a cocktail waitress, demanding that we all proffer IDs, b/c it's New Mexico law. Fine. The head of our group, P, who is visibly over 35 and I (also visibly over 35) were the only ones who didn't have them on us. We told her that we wouldn't be drinking but she said she didn't care and that to be in the bar we had to have IDs. Here's the thing - I had had one of my aforementioned key snafus and could not get into my room to get my ID, which I told her. I also told her that the manager was going to bring my my key and that when he did I would go get it. Time passes. The boys play pool, we chat. The manager appears and I assume he has my key. He comes in to tell us that the server has told him that some of us were REFUSING to show ID and that it was state law and we absolutely had to. Since P had gone to get his, she could only be referring to me. She thought I was LYING and went and TATTLED on us to her manger. So I said to him, DUDE - YOU HAVE MY ROOM KEY. I CAN'T GET MY ID. He apologizes, says he's getting conflicting stores and that he'd bring back my key shortly. Whatever.

Now when P had been asked for his ID his response was, "You're kidding." When she said, "No," his response was "That is so f%@&ed. " Which it is. No one is going to bust that bar for him not having ID, I don't care how strict the regulations are. Think for yourself, lady. So, during all of the tattling mess, the music on the PA had gone off. My boss was all, "Dude, wtf? Where's the music." So he goes out and asks her if the music is off on purpose. Her response was, "We close at 10, so we're winding down." The nightclub closes at 10. Alrighty. His response, "But it's 9:30." She proceeds to go into a tirade about her not making the rules and how she doesn't appreciate being cursed at and she now doesn't feel comfortable coming into our room.

Here's the thing - You're a cocktail waitress, not a preschool teacher. From what I understand, drinking is a big deal in New Mexico, and we really weren't being jerks. She's got to have experienced worse. She may need to consider another line of work.

Subway

We went to Subway for lunch yesterday. The boss got a bottled Coke (not realizing that they had fountain drinks) and asked for a cup of ice, after we'd paid. The dude at the counter tells him that he's got to charge him another $1.59 for the cup of ice b/c when they sell drinks they're really charging for the cups. He had just paid for 4 people's lunch and the guy can't step outside the box and give him a frigging cup of ice? Ridiculous.

Airport Shuttle

Last night I booked a shuttle to take me to the airport at 7:30. I came down to the front desk about 7:40 having received no notification of a shuttle. I checked with the front desk, no record of me booking a shuttle. The lady at the desk calls the company. Turns out the guy pulled up outside without notifying anyone, waited 5 minutes and left. Awesome. So they called a cab and I only had to pay the shuttle price for the cab. Who the HELL does that? If your whole job is to take people to the airport, wouldn't it be part of the program to LET THEM KNOW YOU'RE THERE?

I've not been to ABQ for almost 20 years, and most of the times I'd been before that it had been to pass through. Because of my department's working relationship with our office in ABQ, we may be having a second date, and I have to say, ABQ, you had better shape up, go to charm school and learn to treat your guests with respect.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I can't even believe this actually happened

This audio is courtesy of Shine at Yahoo and was posted by my friend V. Seriously. Seriously. I can't even believe it. There are no words. You must listen to all of this because it just gets better.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Friday Five on Saturday - What's in a Name?

1. So how did you come up with your blogging name? And/or the name of your blog?

I don't use an alias for myself, so my blogging name basically came from my birth certificate. The name of my blog was explained in my very first post. I'd heard Avery Badenhop speak on his flying work and he said "God loves it when I fly." I decided to name this Flying Lessons because I'm learning how to become the best version of myself with God's help.

2. Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there?

I just use first initials for people whom I'm quoting and I use other people's code names that they have for themselves. I use a code name for the company I work for - the Khaki Khonglomerate, or KK. The only story there is that I don't want to get fired. It's pretty easy to figure out, though.

3. What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama, or sheer, crazy fun?

I loved Peripatetic Polar Bear, but she has closed up shop. I'm ashamed I didn't think of Shoephoria first. Apocalypstick is a great name as well.

4. What three blogs are you devoted to? Other than the RevGalBlogPals blog of course!

1. McWatterblogged
2. La Vie en Route
3. Random Laundry

dooce is sort of the "R S T N L E" of this question.

5. Who introduced you to the world of blogging and why?

My pastor, Bruce Reyes-Chow. He didn't so much introduce me, I guess, as he made it seem less narcissistic than I previously thought. I'm not sure how I was introduced - just one day it was there.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

EDDIE IZZARD TONIGHT!!!

Wednesday at the Office

  1. Chocolate fondue spread with fruit, pretzels and home-made marshmallows
  2. A cakegasmic multi-layered chocolate confection that defies all convention and description – proof of God’s existence.
  3. PKD's peacock boots
  4. P completely embarrassing T during a discussion on the extent to which we wear our brands - I'm KK all the way down to my dainties and apparently T felt like he didn't want to know that
  5. A disturbing IM conversation between me and J re: finding men with hairy backs on craigslist
  6. A rumor that they are taking away our 50% discount – that would be LESS THAN AWESOME
  7. A particularly good hair day for me
  8. Another cookie bet with R because she WON’T PUT AWAY HER DAMNED FILES. She has until end of day tomorrow.
  9. I’m considering applying for a Recruiting Coordinator position in GID. I spoke with K about it and with someone who was in the position and I think I may go for it.
  10. A great phone conversation b/t SVP and his wife b/c SVP has invited people to the house that they’ve recently moved into and only told her around 6:00 PM.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

AIDS Walk Sponsoring


Hi Folks -

Just wanted to let you know that there's still time to sponsor me in this year's AIDS Walk. This Sunday, I'll be joining thousands of folks as we step out to fight AIDS around the world. I'm double-dipping, team-wise, and am walking for my work team and the Presbyterians. It's a huge event and I'm so excited to be walking this year - it's my first time! I've always had church gigs that prevented it or have been traveling. This year, we relocated our community gathering to be the AIDS Walk. Last year there were maybe 10 people at church, so we decided to go ahead and move everyone over. If you'd like to sponsor me, click here, and it will take you to my page. Remember - my company matches all donations of $25 or more, so your money can do double the good. Thanks!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Rancher's Reserve isn't the only meat at the market

Sunday evening as I exit Safeway at 7th & Cabrillo I am accosted by 3 guys, one of whom is wearing a helmet and standing next to a flourescent green crotch rocket.

Dude 1: (to me) Hey, do you like this bike?

Me: Not particularly

Dude 1: What kind of bike would impress you?

Me: To be honest, my parents ride motorcycles, so it really doesn't do a thing for me

Dude 1: What would impress you, then?

Dude 3 (in the helmet): How about leaving her alone?

Me: Good call

(Dude 2 never spoke)

And....SCENE.

Boys are dumb.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Who say's we'll be sober?

Me: You're welcome to crash at my place that Thursday, as long as you don't mind the couch.

L: Staying at your place Thursday evening sounds great. I haven't slept on a couch sober in awhile, so that will be kind of nice.

Strong Person Fatigue

My quest to become human continues. This week when I returned from my trip to see my family I was greeted with a very tangible reminder of my forgetfulness and stupidity. Apparently my car was jealous of my shoe shopping sprees and got itself a brand new bright yellow boot. It's completely my own fault. I got some parking tickets (5) and forgot about them. I was actually planning to fight a couple of them, but I just never got to it. I took care of it - it was expensive, but I took care of it. This is what I do. I take care of things. But this week, I was tired of taking care of things.

For the most part I love that I am independent, strong and capable, but sometimes it gets to be too much and I want someone else to do that for me and I just want to be a blob on the couch. Here's the thing, though, and this is my own fault: I'm not so good at the letting people take care of me thing. The combination of me being the person people come to for advice and help and me being a complete control freak makes it somewhat difficult. I totally get that I have great friends who love and support me. The good thing is that I have been able to ask for help a bit this time, and hopefully I'll continue to get better at it.

Walked Right Into It

Me: Seriously - they got a lot of cash. Do you need to get married to have a money dance?

Boss: No. You just need a pole.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

My Reputation Preceeds Me

Chloe: Auntie Tiffy, why don't you like to share?

Me: Huh?

Chloe: My daddy says you're not married because you don't like to share.

Me: .....

How does one respond to the perfect encapsulation of the truth?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Tale of Two Movies

Today we saw two movies. Chloe has been to a couple of kids movies now and Lisa, Mom and I really wanted to see Wall-E so we basically took Chloe as an excuse. I loved it and thought it was hilarious. It was a bit long for her and a little over her head as it was very non-verbal, but she still liked it and dubbed it "hilarious." Then this evening Todd and I saw Wanted. I give it a "meh." It had some pacing issues, we decided. Spent WAY too much time demonstrating how James McAvoy's life sucked and then rushed the third act. The effects and music were good, though.

What I'd like to talk about here are my two experiences at the theater - very different. This morning we went to a 10 am showing of an animated kids movie. You go to those things expecting a certain amount of chaos and distraction. No problem. However, I do NOT have the same expectation going to see an action film at 8 pm.

Todd and I were sitting in the front row of the stadium section so we could put our feet on the railings. The theater wasn't very full and there was an empty seat on his left and a couple sitting in the next two seats. They were chatting rather loudly through the previews and as the movie started, but I erroneously assumed that they would stop once the movie started. No no. They continued to talk in normal tones about things completely unrelated to the movie. At one point the dude was singing along with the music. YOU ARE NOT AT HOME IN YOUR LIVING ROOM, PEOPLE. I DID NOT PAY $9.75 TO LISTEN TO YOU TALK. A couple of times Todd glanced their direction and he sort of looked at me and rolled his eyes. Finally, when the movie got quiet and they continued their banter I could take it no more, and sat up, looked directly at them and said, "OH MY GOD - SHUT UP!!!" That seemed to do the trick as not a peep was heard from them for the rest of the movie. Todd said that he might have been more polite, but was happy enough with the results to let it go. He was weighing the man's size vs. his obvious dim-wittedness and was considering yelling at him and then confusing him with a paradoxical statement so he could make an escape.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Observations from the last few days

  • Only a true friend would sort and count DAMP currency taken off the bride and groom following their money dance. I am that friend.
  • Catholic communion wafers are a bit like Holy Tiddlywinks.
  • The Sherman is a great place to have a party.
  • I am truly destined to be a lounge singer. Someday.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop is a great way to deal with caterers.
  • I must truly love Chloe because when we were playing Dora Candyland tonight I actually felt terrible when I was ahead and really wanted her to win. I am normally extremely competitive and I have to win EVERYTHING. The idea of me causing her to lose something was more than I can bear. She expresses full-body joy so beautifully that I want to watch her do it all the time.
  • Chloe giving me a huge hug and telling me how much she loves me and missed me is pretty much my heroin.
  • Watching fireworks on a widescreen plasma TV indoors is better than fighting crowds and sitting outside in 100 degree heat to watch them.
  • Ian has a very curious shoe obsession and I can't wait to see how that unfolds. He's lucky to have a liberal auntie in San Francisco.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Music Meme

Here's the deal - put your iPod on shuffle and write out the first line of the first 25 songs. No cheating! Let the commentators figure out what the songs are. Bolded ones have been figured out.

1. I'm trying to tell you something about my life
2. I went to church last Sunday so I could sing and pray
3. You're my bad habit, trying not to love you like I do
4. I can hear the rain come down, I can listen with my heart
5. When you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand
6. All this feels strange and untrue and I won't waste a minute without you
7. Show a little inspiration, show a little spark
8. You might think I'm crazy but I'm serious
9. Something in the way you love me just won't let me be
10. She said something about going home
11. Hope you're feeling better now, hope you got my letter how
12. Heard you're talking about leaving
13. Go ahead as you waste your days with thinking
14. Sweet sugar drips from his sweet lips
15. So now there's somebody new
16. Cry as much as I want to
17. It's very clear, our love is here to stay
18. Please don't talk my mind is out for a walk
19. Stop me if you think you've heard this one before
20. This here's a jam for all the fellas
21. I heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord
22. Strangely out of place
23. Do you know who I am? I'm alive, you understand.
24. Some girls like candy
25. Drove downtown 9:30 on a Tuesday night

We're Gonna Need More Chairs

New moderator seeks to unite Presbyterians

Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Religion Writer

A 39-year-old San Franciscan has risen to the highest elected post in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

The founding pastor and leader of a young Potrero Hill church, the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow uses technology in an innovative way to connect and build his congregation. Many hope he will bring new dimensions to a denomination wrestling with dwindling numbers.

Part of Reyes-Chow's challenge will be trying to integrate the needs of younger Presbyterians into the traditional leadership of the church. He believes that younger generations are less divided by ideological conflict than in the past, more adept at accepting differences of views within one community - such as over homosexuality.

"There's a whole generation that's trying to find their voice within the denomination," said Reyes-Chow, who became the 218th General Assembly moderator of the Presbyterian Church. "The line between what is liberal and what is conservative is far blurrier for most folks than what the institution would like it to be."

The election gives Reyes-Chow a more powerful pulpit. As moderator, he becomes the face of the church, an ambassador within a sometimes divided church body as well as a bridge to the outer world.

But becoming moderator does not give Reyes-Chow power to decide things unilaterally. The pastor holds one vote on the 45-member General Assembly Council.

Mission Bay Community Church has an active online life, and Reyes-Chow is at the center of that. The congregation has a Facebook group. And they use Twitter, a social networking tool that allows members to keep track of each other throughout the day.

The church's online presence gives it a possibly outsize reputation on the Web.

Reyes-Chow said his congregation has 150 to 200 actively involved members, and about 100 show up on any particular Sunday. But on Yelp.com, Mission Bay Community Church is San Francisco's best-rated church - a fact Reyes-Chow touts.

A graduate of San Francisco State and San Francisco Theological Seminary, Reyes-Chow sees his ministry as naturally existing online. While other pastors might do house visits, Reyes-Chow said he might have 200 online interactions with congregants per week.

Compared with a pastor who operates purely through personal contact, "I'm able to interact with people more consistently and at a greater level," Reyes-Chow said.

At last week's General Assembly in San Jose, where Reyes-Chow was elected, the discussion of church actions was being streamed live. Bloggers kept up a real-time commentary to parallel what they were seeing.

"We've never seen anything like it," said the Rev. Jerry L. Van Marter, news director for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Past moderators have brought their own distinctive leadership to the position, advocating for peace, missionary work or, in the case of the most recent moderator, prayer. Reyes-Chow is seen as having particular facility with technology and new ways of engaging with parishioners, especially younger adults.

"He is the most wired moderator we've had - by far," said Van Marter, who said many are expecting that kind of high-tech connection to more broadly reach into the life of the denomination.

E-mail Matthai Kuruvila at mkuruvila@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page B - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Friday, June 27, 2008

RevGals Friday Five - Summer Reading

I'm a serious bibliophile and reader. I started reading on my own at the tender age of 3 and have never stopped. I used to read the dictionary. When I was in the 3rd grade I had to get permission from my parents to check out books from the more advanced sections - so I could read historical biographies. I remind me of Anthony Michael Hall's character in The Breakfast Club. When Emilio Estevez asked him why he had a fake ID in his walled, he curled his lip in a disdainful sneer: "So I can VOTE." Exactly. When I went to Powell's Bookstore in Portland, it sent me into a straight up bookgasm. I keep buying them even though I don't get to reading them because just the accumulation of books makes me feel literate. My favorite job to date was Circulation Supervisor at the theology library where I went to seminary. Currently, I do audio books through www.audible.com because I listen to them on my train commute to and from work.

This week, then, a Summer Reading Friday Five.

1) Do you think of summer as a particularly good season for reading? Why or why not?

Since I've not operated on an academic calendar for some time, I pretty much read year round. When I was in seminary, though, I took the summer off of reading becauase I was actually sick of it. And during those years I only read theology, church growth or spiritual formation stuff. I've currently swung the complete opposite direction and am now only into fiction with your occasional spiritual formation text.

2) Have you ever fallen asleep reading on the beach?

I've fallen asleep reading in a lot of places.

3) Can you recall a favorite childhood book read in the summertime?

My favorite books were the Little House Books, Nancy Drew books, Phantom Tollbooth, The Trouble with Jenny's Ear, and Island of the Blue Dolphins. Again - I read year-round, so time of year not applicable. Also, parents limited TV in the summer to 2 hours a day, so I read a lot anyway.

4) Do you have a favorite genre for light or relaxing reading?

I'm enjoying modern fiction. I'm currently reading Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie. I'm also obsessed with Jewish Culture, so I love all of Chaim Potok's books. I've not found Chick Lit to be terribly worthwhile because it usually just makes me feel dumber.

5) What is the next book on your reading list?

And Sometimes Why by Rebecca Johnson

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Isn't it ironic?

No, Alanis, it's not. Rain on your wedding day is merely a bummer, as are traffic jams when you're already late and no smoking signs on your cigarette breaks. This bane of English teachers everywhere at least served to spark conversations on the actual definition and use of irony, so it's not a total loss. When I taught music in a public school in the East Bay I used to eat lunch with a couple of other teachers and we would discuss the true definition of irony, citing situations and events and determining, as a group, the degree to which they were truly ironic. We were never able to top one particular situation that occurred right on school property.

We had a set of very over-protective parents whose oldest child was in the first grade. The child was not allowed to walk alone from the entrance of the school to the classroom. On field trip days, one of the parents had to take off work and drive because they wouldn't allow their child to ride in the car with anyone else. One such field trip day happened to fall during our annual Safety Week emphasis. The dad was driving and as he entered the parking lot he ran over one of the teacher's aides and broke her back. The overprotective dad. Who wouldn't let his kid ride with anyone else. During Safety Week. See?

This evening has turned into one of the best ever because my dad has been diagnosed with heart disease. Hang on - it's not that bad. He has a descending aortic aneurysm and the doc isn't concerned because he's in otherwise good health. It is hereditary though - thanks for that. The part from which I am deriving a HUGE amount of glee is the fact that his dr. has ordered him to drink a glass of wine every night. My parents are Mennonite. My mom grew up going to Women's Christian Temperance Society rallies, of which her grandmother was a founder. I love them very much but they're very judgy when it comes to alcohol. They don't like the taste, they don't see any reason to drink it, and for a while they took it as a parental failure that I do occasionally imbibe. Very occasionally, and I've never been drunk, which should be worth something, but it's not. So, now, after all this time, and the lectures and the heated discussions about this, they're asking me for recommendations on what to get. I realize this makes me a total adolescent but OMG - MY PARENTS ARE WRONG AND THEY'RE FINALLY ADMITTING IT. Should I be this excited? Probably not. Dad has been driven to the bottle by heart disease and Mom is, well, being SUPPORTIVE.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Flashes of Regret

I'm not a past-dweller. I'm a future-looker. This sometimes keeps me from being a present-sitter, but that's another post. While I don't tend to necessarily look back at the past, I was thinking today about the younger me and all the things I didn't do because I was afraid. I didn't apply to schools I wanted to because I didn't think I'd get in. I didn't declare a music major right away because I didn't think I was good enough. I didn't try very hard in school. I didn't make decisions easily. On the one hand it's made my life somewhat meandering, but interesting, fun and enjoyable. Today I was tempted to wish I'd made different choices and had more of a direct trajectory, but one could argue that I wouldn't be where I am had I done that, and I do really like where I am. It's one of those times where I'm really working with the tension of free will and the sovereignty of God. Some would call the belief in the sovereignty of God a cop out for adult decision-making. I think to rely on guidance from the God of the Universe who sees the big picture is really the wisest way to go. I could have done more or done what I did better, met different people, lived in a different place, etc., but that would mean I wouldn't have now.

On the other hand, some of the things I avoided out of fear were smart. I didn't get married young. I didn't skip out on college. I didn't do drugs. I didn't commit any felonies (that came later).

I guess what I'm saying is that I wish I'd done some things differently, but I'm happy with now, so never mind. Forget the whole thing. Resume normal activity.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Life according to google

A meme liberated from MezzoSF & Wyld

Using Google, type in the following and choose the first result to pop up.
(I used my real first name in the search).

1. [your name] needs:
Tiffany needs to go back to being pregnant and funny.

2. [your name] looks like:
Tiffany looks like a toasted Miss Piggy on crack.

3. [your name] does:
Tiffany does a sexy dance (because I'm all loosened up from the crack)

4. [your name] hates:
Tiffany hates golf. (that's true. I do hate golf)

5. [your name] goes:
Tiffany goes fishing with Frank Gehry.

6. [your name] loves:
Tiffany loves to be held like a baby, be kissed on the neck and only the neck, rapped up in her baby blanket, deflea her baby dolls (like a good little Mommie would), go through the drive thru at Burger King, bark like a full size Doberman Pincher, hunt bugs, smack frogs, tan in the sun, be over dramatic, wrap her Granddaddy around her little paw, wrap her Daddy around her little paw, eat dried earthworms, and ride in the Drivers seat (boat & car), and of course take warm/hot baths. (that's about a dog, just so we're clear)

7. [your name] eats:

Tiffany eats something she likes, identifies the ingredients and then creates her own version of it.

8. [your name] has:
Tiffany has raised money from investors within the venture capital community to implement her life's passions into self-sustaining companies that have a philanthropic focus.

9. [your name] won't:
Tiffany won't be my friend anymore!

10. [your name] can't:
Tiffany can't take the heat.

11. [your name] wants:
Tiffany wants to be a witch.

12. [your name] makes:
Tiffany makes low score. (I somehow doubt that, unless it's math)

13. [your name] killed:
Tiffany killed the prom queen. (I wouldn't put it past me)