Friday, February 29, 2008

"Literally, for Christ's sake, I'd encourage you to do whatever you need to do to get over yourself....

...Everyone's self-conscious...but in this kingdom, we all matter so, so much." - Dwight Friesen

I'm at the New Conspirators Conference going on this weekend, and I am at that point in conferences where I have thousands of thoughts running helter-skelter all over the place and would like to take a nap. Instead I am writing and talking to Suzannah about the sessions we've gone to. But this is a good one from today. I'm sure I'll have more from tonight, when Shane Claiborne will share, and also folks who've gone all over the city today to learn about what's going on here in Seattle....

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"The food here is terrible, and the portions are too small." - Woody Allen

For those of you who like to plan ahead, please set aside next Tuesday, March 4th, to dine at one of these awesome restaurants, who are donating 25% of their profits to Darfur relief...What an awesome concept: Eat good food, support local business, and impact the world.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"I never really intended to take that long of a hiatus.." T Dolby

Due to unforeseen circumstances, most of which consist of her staying briefly in a place without Internet access, Gretzky asks that you forgive her limited posting of the past week.

Friday, February 22, 2008

"It's good to hear from people with different perspectives, that's how you learn." - Clover Park High School Senior

Folks, there's some serious youth violence going on in our communities these days.....but today I saw some youth taking action, and it was awesome - Kids at Clover Park High School, south of Tacoma, have to do a service-learning project, and they have to do a culminating project in their senior year. So one of their teachers had this brilliant idea: get kids to pick an issue they care about, research it, and create a Public Service Announcement for it....So the process was something like:

1) brainstorm lots of social justice issues going on in the community
2) pick three.
3) research. pick one you think you wanna learn about. (they picked issues like: humnan trafficking, media propaganda, school violence, gang violence, gay rights, domestic violence, etc. Note that kids came up with these, not the teacher.)
4) with the other kids who picked that issue, research it. find out community organizations who are working on this issue and volunteer your time there. create a video public service announcement.
5) at PSA night, show film and invite community partners to school fair, where 500 folks show up. Also, some groups are continuing their work with the community partners, and some community orgs are really using the PSAs the kids created. how cool is that?

It was AWESOME to hear from kids who said they didn't know much about the issue they picked and then the project changed their whole perspective on that issue and for some of them, on their life's direction. Again, how cool is that? It was awesome to see a teacher doing what I think is the point of education: Give kids space to learn about what they want to learn in a way that's meaningful not just for them, but for their communities.

So their teacher was Ms. Robles, and she rocks. She deserves major props for coordinating the project...And the assistant principal was there too, and she also deserves major props for supporting it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"You have stayed me in a happy hour." - Shakespeare

I went to happy hour today and had a fancy-schmancy drink called a reindeer cosmo with Shai and Courtney. It was nice. Sometimes a beer just won't cut it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"They have a lot of firewood stacked up against their garage...and a helium 7." - Gretzky

There's a house we pass while walking Molly inhabited by a woman who thinks every car driving past is out to kill her little kids. I for one am not interested in hitting anyone's child with my car, but even when I'm going about 5 miles an hour, she waves at me to slow down. I find this irritating. I think suburban moms have too much time one their hands. Nothing to do but read Real Simple and make their house look like the houses in it. Or give their kids birthday parties with huge helium balloons tied to the porch. This is probably too critical, but there it is....anyway, the lunar eclipse looked pretty cool tonight. Next one up in 2010.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Women produce more than half the world's food....They own around one percent of the land."

- Food And Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Photojournalist Phil Borges lives in Seattle, and his recent work, Women Empowered, is simply and profoundly moving. I picked it up at a friend's tonight and found myself slipping out of conversation, focusing solely on women's faces and stories. Madeline Albright writes in her forward: "This is a book about hope, based on reality."

It's worth checking out.

Monday, February 18, 2008

"You don't have to worry. Seattle's got lots of hotels. Some of 'em'll even give you a deal." - Grandpa

This was Grandpa's contribution to my confession of worrying about where I am going to live.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"If you run away, I will run after you." - Mama Bunny

Today I bought The Runaway Bunny for a friend about to have a baby. It's my favorite book to give to new mothers. (I've only given it twice, but still...) I love this story.

Today was a day when I felt like telling the world I was running away. I wished for someone to say they'd run after me.

Friday, February 15, 2008

"i'm so much cooler online" - brad paisley

I am so not a fan of country music. I like folk music most of the time, which is perhaps an incarnation of old country music. I really don't like the pseudo-pop sickly sweet crap that is on major country stations (carrie underwood, keith what's his face who's married to nicole, etc...blegh) but this is hysterically funny, and also true. And my friends who do like country music claim Brad Paisley's one of the better ones. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Actually, Jesus was black. Haven't you seen Madonna's Like a Prayer video?" -Meg

Meg's black Jesus quote came after I relayed an overheard conversation from today:

Participant #1:
Jesus wasn't white, he was Jewish.

Facilitator: Actually, Jesus was of North African descent.

So the last time I looked on a globe, Israel was in the Middle East, but it does turn out that some people wonder if Jesus has roots in North Africa...Once Laura overheard an argument in her classroom between two kids, debating if Jesus was black or white.

Anyway, I met Meg at West 5 for dinner with Laura and we talked about our days... Meg built some fish habitats, Laura taught kids about the American dream, and I sat through what might have been the worst "training" opportunity ever.

It was awful for many reasons. One of the facilitators kept using the phrase "these people" - seriously, she said it like 18 times, as in, "how would 'these people' feel about that?" and I wanted to raise my hand and ask her 1) who she was referring to with the phrase "these people", 2) how the phrase "these people" impacts the people about whom she is speaking...and I wanted to send her Obama's remarks to the NEA on the use of the phrase "these kids" - This is just a serious pet peeve of mine, and I should probably work on letting it go.... I didn't call her on it because I had already caused trouble previously and felt like it wasn't in anyone's best interests to argue.

(If you want to see Madonna in all her 80's glory, check out the Like a Prayer video.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"is it possible to get placed with friends in the same place?" - random college student.

I am not a good recruiter.

Well, that depends on the product - I could probably sell Kait's pie to just about anyone, and I can convince even those who hate the thought of opening a book to try lifting the page to a book they could be interested in....

Last night I volunteered to do a recruiting event for TFA at UW. Their final deadline for 08 is Friday...the first question I got was whether or not groups of friends could ever be placed in the same place. I did not have a great answer for this. I mean, the likelihood of this happening is so slim as to be non-existent, but saying that in a diplomatic way that would encourage someone to still apply seemed to be out of my grasp at that moment....I said something to the effect of how many friends you make while in TFA and how great a community it is and all that jazz, but I was really thinking it was a silly question.

Monday, February 11, 2008

"my life is full of things I haven't said to boys I liked" -katherine

Interupting the P.J. Political series to briefly comment on male/female relationships.

My friend Katherine got broken up with today over e-mail. I am not going to use this as an excuse to rant about the insensitivity of men, because here's the thing: he was a decent guy. We all liked him. In fact, we thought he was funny, cool, decent, hard-working, fun. They kissed and went rock-climbing and made dinners together, and it was good. Until he sent her an e-mail at work declaring they had no chemistry, but hey, could they be friends?

And now she is sad. Not really mad (except about the over e-mail at work part, which, let's be honest, was more cowardly than one would have expected. Man up and do it in person, please), but sad, because she liked hanging out with him a lot.

I'm sad too, because I liked him, and I liked that she was happy around him. And I wish...I don't know what I wish. I wish all this relationship stuff was easier to figure out, or at least that people were more gentle with each other's hearts. And also that people weren't afraid. Fear makes us do stupid things that generally don't work out too well for us or for those around us.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"I would rather dig a hole in the ground and live under the earth for four years than have huckabee be president." - P.J.

Continuing the P.J. political conversation series.

Turns out P.J.'s interest in Obama has perhaps been influenced by the following:

1) He's a poker player. (Note Huckabee's stance on internet poker.)

2) He smokes cigarettes.

3. The sports guys' endorsement. Also note how much the sports guy loves The Wire in this column.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

"How can the wife of a former President be the most qualified candidate for the American presidency? This is not an oligarchy." - P.J.

I was at Key Arena yesterday. I sat on the steps in section 211, next to two high school kids from Lynden who knew friends of mine from college. There was a baby behind me in her mama's arms, and a 4 year old hopping up and down to her right, and two grandparents to my left. As we listened to Obama say "I can't make change by myself" I wondered if this was it, if there is really going to be a change in our nation...and I thought of Sweet Honey in the Rock, coming to sing their hearts out this weekend like they always do, their song "We are the Ones we've been waiting for..."

While things like the Patriot Act drive me nuts, and I once was headed to law school, I have never wanted to support someone in the run for president as much as I have wanted to support this candidate. The hope in the arena was almost something you could touch. I think we need some of this hope in the other Washington.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

"do you think I could find a guy like Wendell Berry?" - Kait

Wendell Berry's been an author crush for a while. I like hanging out with folks who read him. The poems, especially.

I wonder what Berry thinks of this new economic plan to jumpstart the economy. As if it's a car whose battery needs to be replaced. And spending will of course make everything better.

My dad, whom I love dearly but with whom I do not discuss politics for fear one of us will have a heart attack, actually asked the other day what the heck Bush was thinking. He said James Madison would be rolling over in his grave in horror if it actually got passed.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"i'm into checking out, not checking in." - the C

Today I had a meeting that was actually productive. I was worried at first, but it actually turned out to be good, and I left feeling like it was a good use of my time.

Here's why:

1) At the beginning of the meeting we talked about how the last meeting sucked and what we needed to do to make it better. (We did not use the word sucked. We were very polite.)

2) We put up all possible topics for consideration, gave them time limits, and stuck to them. And we crossed them off as we went. There's something gorgeous about crossing things off, let me tell you.

3) We took a break and stretched.

4) We figured out some more about who's supposed to be doing what. (i.e.: Gretzky had a revelation about what her job entails and how she's supposed to do it.)

I don't really think this is replicable, but it was good enough for today.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

"...hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

I was listening to MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech yesterday and all these great words kept jumping out at me. It's way more powerful listening to it than just reading it. And you've got to listen to the whole thing. But the words around hope in particular - his words are full of hope and this kept jumping out at me - even though we have so much farther to go, there is hope to "make real the promises of democracy."

Reminded me of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams, where Hallie tells Codi that the very least she can do is figure our what she hopes for and live inside that hope.

Also reminded me of Jim Wallis' visit here Friday, telling the story of being in a South Africa still under apartheid, when Desmond Tutu preached, and when the army broke into the church, how Tutu told them they had already lost and they should join the winning side. And how the men with guns let the congregation leave without arrests. This is hope unlike any I have known. It's not rational, logical, reasonable, or prudent. It could be considered madness. And yet there is something so profound about it, makes me want to grab it and not let go.

Monday, February 4, 2008

"i love you babe. we've got magic." - intoxicated Sonics fan

(Sadly this was not said to me, but to the woman standing next to him.) I don't know if she knew him or not. It was unclear from their interaction. She wasn't really standing in close proximity, she also looked a tad worse for wear....

It was a sad night for the Sonics. At one point they went two minutes without scoring and I thought I might die. The little girl in front of me was wearing a Payton jersey, which reminded me of when I was a kid and we'd go to games and actually win, since they actually played well. At the current rate, I think we're on track to win 20 games this season. Seriously.

I got these tickets during what I think was a marketing ploy to get folks in seats. I don't think it worked. They said on the radio after the game there were 10,000 people there, but I don't believe it. It was pretty empty, especially considering it was Nick Collison bobble-head night. The crowd was pretty low-energy and quiet, except for my dad, who thinks it's his personal responsibility to point out everything the refs are missing to everyone around. This is what makes him a good fan, but also hard to sit by sometimes.

I think the city of seattle was mistaken in their negotiations with the Sonics. It's turned into a reactive strategy instead of a proactive one...we aren't seeing them as an asset. My question is what's going to happen to Key Arena when they leave? The Thunderbirds are moving south. So what's gonna go on at the Key?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

"The only way I could tell the teams was by their helmet colors." - Mom

Mom often surprises me, and last week's birthday party for Grandpa was no exception. Mom is not a football fan, but Dad informed me that Mom knew the outcome of the Seahawks' season BEFORE they ended it on the snowy field of loss...Apparently, the night before the game, she had a dream about the Packers' beating the Seahawks. No joke. She says sherecognize the Seahawks helmet anywhere, but she had a harder time recognizing the Packers'...

...she didn't have any dreams about the Giants or the Patriots today, although I wasn't terribly invested in this game since Brady rates even lower than Manning in my world. I was more excited about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I must've played "I Won't Back Down" on repeat about 80 times a morning my first semester of teaching high schoolers. Someone once put "Wildflowers" on a mix cd I cherish...Classic stuff. And this oughta bring back some good memories...I've been singing this one an awful lot lately. Patience has never been my strong suit:

Friday, February 1, 2008

"Who would Jesus torture?" - Jim Wallis

Jim Wallis spoke at Seattle's First Baptist Church tonight on his latest book, The Great Awakening, and I wished more of my friends were there. He raises some profound questions about faith, government, and democracy that can be wrestled with regardless of where one falls on the religious or political spectrum.

Lots of thoughts are tumbling around, but one is lingering. Wallis responded to a question from the audience about national interest, and in his response declared we need a re-visioning of what national security means. He asked the question about who Jesus would torture here...Folks laughed at this, but I think he might be onto something. I mean, there was the time in the temple when Jesus got pretty mad and threw some tables, and that time when the disciples fell asleep and he was annoyed, although I think he was more sad than mad at that. But...the question is a good one.

And this idea of hope, that hope is what's behind real change, that hope is what leads to the action of getting things done, hope is what sustains when you see what is possible but not currently happening. I can get with the hope piece. Wallis posits the big choice as being between hope and cynicism. I'm not sure this is a choice everybody has, but much of privileged America does have it.