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 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)

Long Live the Queen

As many of you now know, Bruce Reyes-Chow, my pastor, friend, and, let's face it, my boss, was elected Moderator of the 218th General Assembly of the PC(USA) Church. This is, for lack of a better term, HUGE. He is the head of a denomination of 2.2 million folks worldwide and is now beginning a two-year term of leading that group into a 2.0 world. Seriously - when he walks into a gathering, everyone has to stand up. Seriously. Needless to say, we're so not doing that at Mission Bay. We'll be keeping him grounded. Jokingly we've called him the Queen of the Presbyterians because on some level this is a powerless figurehead position, but in reality this really is a big deal.

As I sat in the convention center listening to the speeches and the Q & A I got a real sense of what's at stake when one of the questioners shared with the assembly about a transgender man in his community who asked that the decisions made at these meetings not "take Jesus from him." It brought to bear the responsibility of not just this denomination but of the Church Universal. Three of the four candidates really seemed grounded in openness and compassion and there was one other one I would have been sort of O.K. with getting it, but I'm really glad Bruce got it. It's totally what he was born to do. Bruce is the ideal person to lead the PC(USA) in the 21st century and I'm proud to know him. Go BRC!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Five: Word Association

Think summer......are you there? Below you will find five words or phrases. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem, a memory, a recipe, or a story. You get the idea:

1. Rooftop - Picnic (we have a cafe on the the roof here at work and there's some grassy areas where you can eat overlooking the bay - gorgeous!)

2. Gritty - Houston

3. Hot Town - Phoenix (I was born and raised there and will be there in 2 weeks. Ack.)

4. Night - Swimming (a Phoenix favorite)

5. Dance - Salsa

Monday, June 16, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Multi-Cultural Communication and Look How Clever I Am

Chloe finished her first week of Vacation Bible School ever this week and it was quite an adjustment. She loved it, of course, but this new routine of getting up and out of the house every morning was taxing and it wore her out.

Me: So, how do you like Vacation Bible School?

Chloe: I LOVE it. But I'm very tired.

Me: You know, in England, when you're very tired you say you're knackered.

Chloe: Knackered?

Me: That's right.

Chloe: Well, in Arizona, where I live, when we're very tired, we just say we're very tired.

Friday I had a massage at the Burke Williams Spa here in town. It was awesome. At the end of the massage, the guy did a thing where he massaged chakra points on my forehead and sternum, at least I thought that's what he was doing.

Me: So, how are my chakras?

Adam: I think I got them lined up pretty good.

Me: Any of them blocked?

Adam: Well, number 4 was a little...I'm just kidding. I don't do that stuff.

Me: OMG. You're a chakra con!

They're Heeeere.....

RevGals Friday Five - Beach Combers

1. Ocean rocks, lake limps? Vice versa? Or "it's all beautiful in its own way"?

It's all beautiful in its own way. I live on the west coast, and our beaches are pretty gorgeous, but Lake Tahoe is nothing to sneeze at either. It's all gorgeous.

2. Year round beach living: Heaven...or the Other Place?

It's heaven if I don't have to get anything done. I have to say, though, now, that living here I rarely go to the beach. I should do something about that.

3. Any beach plans for this summer?

I'll probably go a couple of times.

4. Best beach memory ever?

I have great memories of bonfires with friends down at Ocean Beach.

5. Fantasy beach trip?

Costa Rica or somewhere in the Mediterranean.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Weekend Snapshots

  • Friday evening I saw the Sex and the City Movie with a friend and some of her friends. I have to say I really liked it, but my expectations were incredibly low. I watched the show, but I recognize that it wasn't necessarily good, but merely addicting. I felt like the film was very true to the progression of the characters in the series. All the outcomes were fairly predictable and made sense. The character of the assistant was meh. I understand the need for the character because she was a catalyst for Carrie's process, but anyone could have done it. The casting of Jennifer Hudson seemed tokeny. There wasn't enough written in nor did she bring to the character anything that made it her own. Insert young twentysomething actress here.
  • Saturday was quite full. The first thing I did was get a pedicure. For some reason I was obsessed all week with getting my toenails painted hot pink, so I did.
  • I had a bridal shower for a work friend in the afternoon. I'm not really a fan of the shower, mainly because of the ridiculous games they make you play at them. WTF? So, I showed the girls by winning 2 of the 3 games and taking the prizes away from the formerly perky and squealing shower goers. I got a bottle of wine that was wearing a dress and movie tickets. I hate the game but I play to win!
  • There was a woman at the shower who is, not psychic maybe, but more spiritually sensitive, psychicish, I guess. Anyway, she was quite taken with me and immediately asked how old I was. She said that I have an extremely old soul and have been around a number of times. Apparently in my last life I was a person of high importance but great tragedy befell me. I don't really buy the whole reincarnation thing, but I think she picked up on my spiritual proclivities and used the language that she knows to describe what she sensed.
  • In the afternoon I went to the Ronald McDonald House in Palo Alto to visit a friend whose 3-year-old son just had a kidney transplant. She and I walked around the Stanford Shopping Center and I was very good and didn't buy anything.
  • In the evening I had dinner at Elaine's house. Elaine is a delightful woman from my church community who lives down the peninsula and she had a visitor from SoCal called Jennifer. We had a lovely evening discussing life, faith, church, travel and family. I love meeting new friends with whom I can have great discussion and share thoughts on faith. I hope to be able to spend more time with Jennifer and continue our discussion.
  • Sunday morning church was a little chaotic. We had some coffee problems and we were all doing a good bit of running around, but we all made it work. Afterward, I came home and sat out in my back yard and read a magazine and enjoyed the warm sunny afternoon. Then I made some seared scallops and sauteed spinach for dinner and homemade shortbread and chocolate ice cream for dessert. It's been a lovely weekend.

Friday Five on Sunday - Enjoying the View

Yesterday I was driving down 280 to Palo Alto and was enjoying the beautiful view of verdant hills juxtaposed with bright blue water and big fluffy clouds in the sky. It brought me back to this week's Friday Five, a couple of days late. Here we go:

1. How important is the "big picture" to you, do you need a glimpse of the possibilities or are you a details person?
I'm a big picture person all the way. I see everything in possibilities and am much less detail-oriented

2. If the big picture is important to you how do you hold onto it in the nitty gritty details of life?
It's a discipline for me. If I'm ever bogged down in the details I always back up and remember what I'm out to do.

3. Name a book, poem, psalm, piece of music that transports you to another dimension.
Any of Dallas Willard's books. I know it's corny, but Shout to the Lord has some personal significance to me and has a profound effect. As a worship leader, I find myself easily transported in a worship service.

4. Thinking of physical views, is there somewhere that inspires you, somewhere that you breathe more easily?
I love the Northern California coast, particularly up near Mendocino. I also love the view of San Francisco from Twin Peaks. The view from my office is pretty good, too.

5. A picture opportunity... post one if you can ( or a link to one!)
Castle ruins on the northern coast of Ireland.