Monday, March 28, 2005

on transitioning

one thing about living in san francisco is that people do not usually stay in san francisco. now, i'm not talking leaving san francisco in quite the same way as one does las vegas. it's just most people don't settle down here to live out their lives until they are old and grey. but maybe that also accounts for my sense of wonder when i see the elderly shopping at the grocery store, methodically taking small steps on the sidewalk- i wonder how do they do it?

my roommate mindy is engaged to be married, as of last monday. this was a long time coming for mindy and her fiance daryl. nonetheless it is a transition. and then there's my friend ellen who is moving to texas to be close to her boyfriend brian. and my friend joel that just moved up to portland. my friend julie who's wedding is in two weeks, will soon be a reluctant resident in colorado springs, where her husband works. people are always in flux around here, which can be kind of jarring until you surrender into its reality and then it stops being this grand affair.

with the invention of the cell phone, email, and jet blue, it's not difficult to jettison oneself to the new location friends are rooting themselves into.

as for me, i'm moving too, but this time into a house with four women. i'm looking forward to cultivating hospitality and as virginia woolf espoused having "a room of my own." so the big question now is if i will paint it hyacinth or a pale salmon, or even a soft robin's egg blue.

tell me your thoughts on what kind of mood you think each will evoke. i'm open to feedback on this people.

Friday, March 25, 2005

what makes it good

today is good friday. and it amazes me how many companies actually give people the day off in san francisco... not sure why, really. my company for one does not, which is understandable, since my bosses are jewish and they don't get yom kippur off.

but i have tried over the past few years to cultivate a discipline of taking the day off and retreating to some place in nature to contemplate what Jesus' death and the moments leading up to the death all mean. the way i see it, if someone you love has died, you will set aside some time to remember them and all that they mean to you. so this year, my friend michelle and i headed out to mt. tamalpais to hike and find a sunny patch of earth to read the accounts from the bible and to journal, while meditating upon them. it amazes me how something new usually peaks out at me from the pages of the bible. today one thing that stood out was the role of myrrh and whether or not in ANE jewish culture it was used for more than just embalming... would love to ask a rabbi.

tonight we went to a good friday service at my friend jason's church. we sat in a mostly dark room as images of jesus emanated on a screen in front of us. a simple statement flashed along the bottom of one slide "if easter makes you want to sing and jump for joy then good friday should make you want to weep in a corner." later jason led us in a reading, where we became the crowd chanting for Jesus to be crucified, for the criminal barabbas to be released. to hear my voice saying, "crucify Him," startled me, saddened me , made me aware that my voice would have resounded with the crowds. that in reality he needed to die for me to live.

we later had communion, which is a symbolic act of Jesus' body (the bread) and blood (the grape juice) being broken and spilled for us. i almost didn't go up and get any, out of overwhelmedness of the reading mentioned above, but i ended up going to the dimly lit table and picking up a square of bread, dipping it in the grape juice and then depositing it in my mouth. while the bread broke up into various pieces on my tongue, i thought how good and sweet the juice tasted, could feel the grainy granules of the bread swirling around.

what makes it good is that He made it good. Jesus could have chosen to summon angels to protect Him and in a flash they would have been attending Him. He could have chosen so many other paths than the final one to jerusalem that he predicted in mark 10 would lead to death. He asked His Father, God, if the cup of suffering could be taken away, but did not abandon the path, even when He knew suffering and death awaited Him. and though He dies, He will be raised to life again on the third day. In this instance, I think probably one of the best ways to try to visualize this is gandalf in the first installment of LOTR, where even before he goes into the mines of moria, he is aware of what awaits him. by his falling into the pit after the balrog, he allows the fellowship to get out unscathed. he then fights the balrog and eventually defeats it. when they meet up with gandalf later, he is gleaming and victorious. no longer is he gandalf the grey- but now gandalf the white. his power is unmatched and he cannot be deterred.

good friday is good because of the death and suffering of Jesus- because of the outcome of what His death means. it means life for all who follow Him and believe. and that is something worth shouting about.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

weddings aplenty- long live lina!

tuesday morning, my roommate calmly told me she's engaged. i couldn't believe her fortitude in not waking me up the night before to tell me her good news. by tuesday evening, they had already booked the church, gotten the minister and set the date- not bad for a day's work after an engagement right?

last night, as a bridesmaid in my friend julie's wedding, we journeyed over to the embarcadero for her first wedding gown fitting. as always, the bridal salon was bustling with activity. a lovely woman named lina took us back into one of the fitting rooms. i had re-entered the netherworld which is the world of brides-to-be, a little scary. while we waited for her dress to be brought in, we sat and chatted about the song she and chris picked to dance to at the reception and pretty banal details about the wedding.

so with a sweep of flare, the large platic bag is brought in- the white material's sheen glistening through the bag. we are all very excited to see how it looks, now that it is the right color, fit, etc... but then she puts it on and we both distinctly remember it being an empire bodice, whereas this one just has side seams- it's the wrong dress!

her face turns from porcelain white to beet red as she tries to hold back the tears because she knows her wedding is in 15 days. lina keeps her cool and tells her she will go and check her records. julie sidles out of the dress and just sits next to me, silent. and i can't tell if her eyes closed indicate she is praying or she is very upset- about to blow.

lina comes back and explains that this is the right dress for the train that has been selected. we consult the photo of the dress julie initially liked and tore out, but it only shows the back, the dramatic train. so lina says she will call the other bridal salon we visited and initially liked the dress. so julie and i are alone in the fitting room again. the prospects are not looking good...

but we start to dress her anyway. we need to get a fitting out of this meeting, since the time is slim. i unwrap her veil and get that ready to hand to her. she puts on her pearls and opera length gloves and she still looks radiant, radiant with a beet-red face that is. lina starts trying to attach the train, which is surprisingly a very intricate process. and i can see the train is looking all wrong, but try to hide that expression from my face, not wanting to further upset julie.

until she and lina and i all see that it is poufy...
and julie is definitely not a poufy girl, so the crying ensues again. i think this going to put her over the edge. but then i remind her that she has made a business transaction and as such, they must deliver the exact product she has purchased, which in her accountant's brain makes sense and calms her down.

we are all somewhat exultant. since the wrong dress was sent down from canada, the designer will have to rectify the situation, and julie won't be stuck with outrageous alteration fees. i escort her from the salon, as she is told by lina that she will take care of it and call julie by noon today.
we head out to one of my favorite french bistros, so she can have a lovely cotes du rhone.

at one point, she and mindy are in the same room, exulting over their newfound happiness of marriages and weddings and husbands. and i start feeling a little weird because even though you want to be happy for the engaged- when it gets to a certain point, you feel kind of nauseous, as if there is more to life (which can feel very traitorous). so we leave, thankfully only after a little while because i've been doing bridespeak for 2 hours already and i've maxed out.

after i drop julie off at her apartment, i head to citizen cake to pick up some gelees for work. as i'm parking my car by the volunteer center, i see two familiar photos in the window. once i'm on the sidewalk, a big cheshire cat smiles slides across my face. it's mother teresa and gandhi...

oh the details in life; how they give it such panache.

Monday, March 21, 2005

wild and woolly

i finished my stint as surrogate mom last thursday and headed down to so-cal for a tradeshow in the natural/organic food realm. what a fun weekend of work! people akin to gypsies rubbed shoulders with hippies, all overtly friendly and very intrigued and into their health and all things paraben-free and organic. vitamin vendors positioned rows away from vegan corndogs gave much to experience. of course there was a booth that would photograph your aura and a chocolate company having some sort of shaman connection, but on the whole most of what we encountered was specialty food and skincare-related (they had a face mask made of pureed peas, which is great for dry skin i hear). how is it that the guys at all the mate booths (argentine herbal infusions) were all hot- it always seemed like a party was going on at the guayaki booth.

my friend sandra came down to walk the show and hang out saturday, and amy came up sunday to walk the show, barter and help me tear down the booth. we later went out with dan and robert for cheap, greasy chinese food- the only thing open so late (so much for keeping what goes into my mouth organic). i can see why people really invest in this way of life because it is. what a fun weekend, where i made out like a bandit orchestrating bartering sessions any rainbow gathering participant could appreciate. and i think they liked my patchouli oil smell...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


lest i fail to mention, in continuation of my entry entitled: "me: surrogate mother, part deux", the eldest daughter did finally come home, after church, sunday. we had a very good, but strong conversation. and yesterday all seemed to be back to "normal." she and her sister were fighting and yet the eldest cooked dinner for the two of them while i skirted off to clg. tonight we are going to go out and enjoy being together since their parents come home friday and i will be in l.a. thursday until next monday.

the eldest asked me last night, upon my return to clg if i missed being in my house. i paused and reflected on what kind of answer to give.

"well, kind of. but for the most part no. i mean this week and a half has been filled with some challenges to be sure, but it's had some really great moments. it's like sweet and sour chicken, it wouldn't be the same if it was just sweet or just sour. it needs both."

she seemed to accept the answer and went back to watching "wwf: smackdown" and i padded down the hallway to crawl in bed and watch csi: miami.

Monday, March 14, 2005

when black january swooped down on green march


i just got pulled over by this cop with a major lisp. here i'm thinking it's because my registration sticker still is in my wallet and not on my license plate yet... but then coppy asks me if there was a reason i was going 44 in a 30 mile zone. and yes, i'm late to work- i can almost see it from where he has me curbed. then he proceeds with "would i like to use his cell phone to call work"- again "hello, i'm a block away, if you would desist from detaining me, i could actually get there less late."

oh but no, i haven't clued in yet that he's going to write me a ticket AND put the registration sticker on my license plate. not until i see him diagonally positioned so he's in full view of my license plate does it start sinking in.

here's what kills me. i am not a bad driver. i know other people who are far, far worse at speeding, at being stupid about paying attention while on the road. but this latest addition to my driving record (because of course, i am not eligible for traffic school due to all the lapses in black january), this is the icing on the cake.

when he came back up to my window, i had this sincere desire to cuss him out. not very christian-like, i know. but that's what was roiling about inside of me. and i had to restrain myself from speaking my mind too much, so i settled with "that's pretty crappy. it was a simple mistake and i don't see why you are giving me a ticket." which in the end was lame, but made me feel a tad better. except then of course he's all smug and saying, "well i asked if you needed to use my cell phone to call work. i hope you have a nice day." oh that's genuine- give me a ticket with one hand and a wave with the other.

so the crux of this particular entry is this: i can see why so many people are jaded at cops. many of them being homeless friends of mine. this particular cop was positioned in the brush so as to avoid being noticed. He was hiding and waiting for some stupid sap to drive by, speeding. keep in mind, my error happened in an industrial district, far from children, families or small pets. And then he seemed to get delight in issuing the ticket. what an a-hole. police are supposed to protect the public, right? so why the need for quotas and subterfuge? he just went ahead and made a cynic out of me today. and yes, i know i was speeding. but i wasn't hurting anybody. there were no other cars on the road.

so i'm thinking now about God and people's perception of Him. i wonder if a lot of people see Him as a cop waiting to ambush them and taking delight in pointing out their sins. but the cops of this day and age are not about Justice like God is. God does not revel in another person's mistakes or wrongdoings- it grieves Him, so much so, that He knew what the price was and that we were guilty, so He sent His son to die for us, that we might have a fresh start. but the price had to be paid. and i'm just venting on a monday morning, with the sun shining outside my window, looking out at the almost bald tree, still kind of seething, but feeling better post-venting.

if you're going to post a comment i would appreciate it not being an "i told you so" kind of comment because that would be truly crappy of you. thanks.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

me: surrogate mom, part deux

it's now saturday.

during the week, no major fires to report. well the eldest daughter did spend the night out two nights in a row, without letting me know where she was and having her phone turned off. i'm not happy about this at all. but we have had three conversations about her need to tell me where she is and it goes in one ear and out the other. i ended up talking to both my mom and my dad about the situation to get their read on how to handle it- it's that sticky.

today i had the sneaking suspicion she didn't come back inside last night when she said she had to "grab something from her car and would be back in a minute." i was in my bed about to turn off the light and hoping she truly was going to her car and wasn't trying to pull a fast one on me. but this morning, my suspicions were confirmed when we checked her room and found it empty... so we called her tia maria in l.a., just to let another family member know what was going down.

the younger one and nancy and i ate a scrumptious brunch of burned pancakes (oops), cantaloupe, chicken apple sausage and eggs with chocolate milk. we then did our own chores around the house and then set out for the Marina, so i could get my car washed at no charge. we walked around book stores and into the gap, killing time until the car was done. later we drove to see the movie "hitch" which has a much better plot than i would have imagined, and we laughed throughout the movie.

when we returned home this evening, there was no sign the eldest daughter had been at the house. that sucks. and i really hope she comes home tomorrow and that she is okay. i don't want to call the cops and have to file a report...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

me: surrogate mom

so i am spending two weeks taking care of alexis and ashley- two girls who are very dear to me. one is age 14 and the other 18. alexis' friend nancy is also staying with us most nights.

it's funny because i have a household to consider: a cat, a dog, three kids. life as i know it has been suspended in time. and i am learning to think outside the box, outside myself and see their needs. such are the challenges that face being even a surrogate parent.

i had a very fun time yesterday walking to haight street with one of the girls and eating ice cream cones before we came home to make a dinner out of asian chicken salad and watch "a cinderella story." the other girl and i ended up having to have "a chat." to be honest, i haven't had to wield that kind of authority since my RA days. and i thought we understood each other. but here it is tuesday and she made dinner for all of us, set the table and even expressed that she had been thinking about what i'd said last night and wanted to follow the guidelines. yet, i (we) have a sneaking suspicion that she has lied again. not fun. but it has been expressed that i am not to police her- she is older after all and will make decisions as she will... we'll see how this plays out.

Monday, March 07, 2005

green march and its various diagnoses

last week i had the pleasure and sheer fatigue of getting to fly on 8 airplanes within one week. i jetted to new orleans for work, then back to san francisco and then out to minneapolis for work, which was no small feat (considering i had two 4 a.m. wake-up calls within the week).

i have dubbed this month green march, for the logical connection (st. patrick's day) and the pointed, personal one (money). i even found that oprah's march issue is on money, so her editors and i must be on the same wavelength- maybe i'll be the next big thing in her o list of favorites, who knows.

while in new orleans, i endeavored to contemplate the piracy of things at work through prayer and meditation of key passages in the Bible. it was a great time of me being cooped up in a hotel room, finally forced to do some necessary evaluations and having no distractions or conflicts to prevent me from focusing in. through this, i remember having to push through fatigue because i wanted to hear from God badly enough on these things. so here's a brief synopsis of my discoveries:

-- though the last two students from my grad school put in their two weeks notice a week apart from each other, it doesn't mean it's my time to move on.
-- but i am moving housing-wise (have an idea of the where and am 85% convinced)
-- my boss had a dream one night two weeks ago of me being in another country among village children, happy with a big smile on my face and short-haired.
-- so living overseas is relegated to the periphery of things for now, again.
-- i am contemplating getting a small dog.
-- not sure that it's more than a contemplation at this part.
-- was made aware that i am weak in and need to change at work in certain behaviors.
-- was made aware that i need to take a different tack when it comes to my finances.
-- but specifically when it comes to wanting to live a simple life, but wrestling with the overindulgence that is the american dream.

i have a new theory that i might be well suited to be in a bedouin tribe having profound appreciation for being nomadic. may green march find you ready. drop me a line and tell me what you're contemplating these days, if you'd like.