Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rockin' Rythym

Redeeming Corrupted Perfection

As I was scrubbing my kitchen floor today, I was singing worship music when suddenly, a dart hit me right in the heart.  I wept because my tiny Dad experienced physical death. 
As Parkinson's Disease chipped away at his body and mind, I know he prayed for the release of death.  But he'd always hoped that the rapture would come before his body gave out.

I chose not to see my Dad's body after he died.  Parkinson's Disease robbed Dad of his easy smile, quick puns, and baritone laughter.  I truly did not want to see his body without his personality inhabiting it.

Today I grieved, not for the loss of Dad himself, but that he had to experience physical death.  I wonder what it was like for God when his beloved children rebelled and turned the universe inside out.  Did he feel grief like this times a billion billion?  Grief for every living thing that would now experience decay and death?

No wonder why we had to have a supernatural savior and champion!

My eyes are still leaking but I'm trying to remember that Dad is home and safe now.

What would it be like to live in a body that wasn't breaking down and decaying? I can't even imagine it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Finished spinning and plying the yak.  Can't wait until it's dry so I can see how truly soft it is.  I doubt if I even got 50 yards from 1 ounce but it was worth it.

The yak fiber was incredibly soft and dense.  The staple length was almost non-existent--maybe 1 - 1 1/4 inches.  I had to really inch worm along as I drafted the fiber.

It's amazing at how satisfying it is to experiment with a new come to the end with a beautiful hank of yarn spun by my own two hands.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Spike's Fish House = DoublePlus YUM

Spike's Fish House has opened in the Marketplace at Laguna Niguel and it's total yum.  What's to love:  the focus is on informal dining which lets you can buy good quality seafood for rock bottom prices. 

The menu is fairly simple:  fish + rice + veggies in whatever incarnation you want:  salad, wrap, plate or bowl. Rounding out the menu  two tasty sides:  sweet potato fries, coleslaw.

I went with the soup & sandwich combo which included a good sized bowl of tasty seafood chowder and a half sandwich.  My seafood chowder had big, plentiful chunks of seafood, potatoes, and corn.  My sandwich had 4 ounces of grilled mahi mahi, field greens, and dressing on a toasted garlic roll.  At only $7, it seemed like a screamingly good deal.

If I was feeling a bit more spendy, I could get a seafood plate for ranging from $10 - $14.  At $17, swordfish is the most expensive item on the menu.

The staff was super friendly and my food was prepared very quickly.  This will easily become my go-to place for dinner on the run.

Things from my office wall: office supplies from hell

Saturday, November 19, 2011

all through the night

Late last night and early this morning was EPICFest 2--the all night lock in party for the junior high and high school kids at church. 
  • They drank sodas, ate candy and popcorn
  • We worship together and Eddie taught the Gospel
  • We went to cosmic bowling
  • We played broomball
  • We watched Soul Surfer
  • We ate pancakes 
It helped me see into some of the kids and love them more.

When I started working in the Junior High ministry, I promised myself I'd stick with it for 3 months and then decide to stay another 3 months or to throw in the towel.  I started on September 28th.  I wanted to quit on October 28th.  I'm tired today but starting to care about the kids.  I wonder what will happen by December 28th. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rattled and spun

Today I was a panelist for the crisis intervention training at the Orange County Sheriff's training facility. Normally I just tell my story and go but today was a majorly emotional day.

First, our presentation was recorded by Stephanie O'Neill for a story that will run on NPR. The goal of her story is to raise awareness of the crisis intervention training police officers receive. Second, I got to "reunite" with an officer who changed my life.

One of my storypoints is that, during a period of profound depression, I didn't take care of my truck the way I should--unregistered, uninsured, everything. A police officer stopped me, saw my truck was piled with trash, and he cut me a break. He didn't take my truck. He told me that, if he stopped me again, he would.

That traffic stop was a pivot point for me because I'd tried to walk the road of profound depression alone and it wasn't working. Because of the officer's toughness but fairness, I was forced to get help from my friends and family so I could live and function at a better level.

Even though the officer didn't remember me, I got a change to tell him he changed my life. Stephanie decided to interview him, too. I don't know what will become of it, but I got to tell Officer Toyer that he made a difference to me.

Still, the emotion of the presentation, the interview, and meeting has really left me rattled and spun. I feel like an overloaded circuit.  A piece of me is proud and thrilled.  Another piece of me is really scared that, through the radio show, I'll be much more "outed" than I intended to be.

2012 "Bucket" List

I love to make lists.  But, to me, making a true bucket list is daunting.  It's too much pressure to think of everything I want to do before I kick the bucket and then even more pressure to accomplish all of it.  I guess that, even if it was full of fun items, it would end up feeling like work.

I can make peace with a one year bucket list, but I'm NOT calling them resolutions.  Again, the idea of a resolution seems so formal (liked work) and doesn't allow for a sense of fun or play.

  • Learn to shear a sheep.  In 2012, I want either to go to on a shepherding retreat or learn to shear a sheep.  It's one of those things that take my interest in knitting and spinning to their extremes.

  • Learn to ride a motorcycle and buy a 250 street bike on or before June 14th.

  • SUP in the Standup for the Cure paddleboard event in May.

  • Learn to use my rigid heddle loom.  It's been sitting around my house since June.  Even though I took a class, I feel daunted in chosing the right supplies and getting the loom warped.

  • Become a certified scrum professional and become part of a coaching circle.

  • Play harmonica in front of people.  Maybe not on a stage, but to practice with actual musicians.

  • Take a road trip on my way to Portland to see Melinda.

  • Go to a workshop on how to be a better youth group leader.  I know I can improve my chops by praying for the kids, studying "ahead" of them, reading Christian living books, and just showing up.  I think I want to go to a workshop to hear other people's experiences...maybe just to hang out with people who share my interest in it (passion for it?).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Punk Rock Girl

Punk Rock Girl was one of the most mainstream punk songs of the 80's.  It's lyrics have stuck with me for decades. Whenever I'm in a truly brain-numbing meeting, I think of "jumping on the table and shouting 'anarchy!'"

Your position has been eliminated

Today I learned that one of my favorite people will be leaving the company at the end of this year.  It breaks my heart because she's always such an encouragement.  When I see her, I automatically smile because I know she'll have something good to say.

Her Dad died this time last year.  She took time off to grieve and to celebrate his life.  She had such a great attitude about it.  When my Dad died a few months later, she said all of the right things that offered true comfort and hope.  I could trust her because she'd already been there and done that.

Thoughout the years, she's been a champion for me.  She helped ensure that I got training to be a scrum master which moved my career ahead.  She is an awesome sounding board when I need to talk a problem through.  She oftens seems as proud of my successes as if they were her own.  She is a person I can confide in and whom I trust.

My grief at losing someone who is such a blessing from my daily life is profound.  It's like swapping a 75 watt bulb for a 40 watt.

It feels like a terrible mistake.

I'm trying my damnedest not to let sadness get me down.  I want to be an encouragement to my remember that God has a perfect plan for adventure...something new for her to do or become.  Maybe other people need her "light."

It will mean that a lot of the rest of us will have to grow up and step up. 

Things from my office wall: Picasso's mom

Monday, November 14, 2011

Acts 8: Samaria responds to the gospel

Philip (who was one of the 7 Hellenistic Jews who served in the ministry with Stephen), went to Samaria. He taught people about Jesus, drove out demons, and healed people. And because of what he taught and did, people believed in Jesus, were baptized, and there was great joy in the city.

There was a guy in the city named Simon. He had previously amazed everyone with his sorcery. People gave him all sorts of attention and praise. When he saw what was going on with Philip, he believed, was baptized and started following Philip everywhere.

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard what was going on in Samaria, they sent Peter and John to check it out. They laid hands on the new believers and prayed for them, and the new believers receive the Holy Spirit.

When Simon saw that, he offered Peter and John money so they could give him the authority of dispensing the Holy Spirit.

Peter said, “Get out of here! You can’t buy the Holy Spirit with money. You are bitter about not being the center of attention anymore. ”

Simon said, “Please pray to the Lord for me.”

Acts 8: Saul rips on the church in Jerusalem

Acts 8 shows that Saul is a hardcore Pharisee. He approved of Stephen’s execution by the High Council and began actively trying to destroy the church in Jerusalem. He dragged Christian men and women out of their houses and threw them in jail.

Christians had to take off because of the intense persecution. The good news is that, everywhere they went, they told people about Jesus.

This shows me how passionately anti-Christian Saul was. Unlike the High Council, he wasn’t just a defensive player. He didn’t stir up little pockets of trouble or threaten and beat the disciples. He went on the offense with executions and imprisonment.

But, the sovereignty at God is at play here. What Saul meant for evil, God used for good. God let the persecution come so Christians be scattered. They’d continue to break cultural boundaries and move the gospel to other cities and countries. Maybe it was the only way they’d leave the comfort of their homes and church. I know God would have to light a stick of dynamite under me to get me to move past my comfort zone, into another city or into another culture.

It also says how much these Christians loved Jesus. They didn’t abandon Jesus when persecution came and they had to leave their homes and friends. They were sold on the saving power of Christ.

Waves of Hope for Asia

TransWorld Radio is celebrating the installation of two transmitters in Guam with Waves of Hope for Asia

For those of you who, like me, have a barbarous lack of knowledge about geography, Guam is a tiny island in the middle of the Philipine Sea.  It's easily 1000 miles from Manila.  Replacing the two transmitters in Guam will produce a strong, clear signal that will allow people throughout China and eastern Asia to hear God’s Word better.
 So, join me in rocking the celebration of God's word reaching our Christian brothers and sisters throughout Asia. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

So who is this Stephen guy?

In Acts 6, Luke talks about a conflict in the early church where the Hellenistic (Greek) Christians complained to the Hebrew Christians that their widows weren’t being properly cared for. Stephen was one of seven men appointed by the disciples for the ministry.  To be chosen, Stephen was a guy who was filled with the Holy Spirit, had a good reputation and practical wisdom.
Through the Holy Spirit, Stephen did miracles amongst the Hellenistic Christian community in Jerusalem, in particular, the "Synagogue of the Freedmen."  This synagogue was composed of former Jewish slaves from Cyrene and Alexandria in North Africa and from provinces in Asia Minor—Cilicia and Asia.
These former slaves started fighting with Stephen.  They couldn’t dispute with him directly, because the Holy Spirit gave him great wisdom.  So they stirred up trouble behind the scenes to the point that the synagogue elders and scribes (professional interpreters of Jewish law) dragged him in front of the high council. 
This was the same high council who had sentenced Jesus to death.  The high council was comprised mostly of Sadducees, who were upper-class Jewish men whose lives were focused around the Jewish temple.  Any threat to the Jewish temple or Roman government jeopardized their position in society.
In Acts 7, Stephen preaches the gospel.  He begins with God’s call to Abraham, continues with Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, and ends with Israel’s continued rebellion.
When the council heard his sermon, they were cut to the heart—but not with grief, but with rebellion.  So they grabbed Stephen, threw him out of the city and stoned him until he “fell asleep.”
And so, Stephen became the first martyr of the Christian church.

Standup Paddleboarding!!

WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO!  Took a paddleboard lesson with Eden in the Newport Back Bay today.

Rain was scheduled so I'd considered backing out.  I was afraid of my lesson being spoiled by being cold and soggy.  I thought, "What if I'm supposed to love this but end up hating it because I'm stubbornly clinging to a lesson happening today."  But I made a deal with myself and Eden:  I'd cancel only if it was actively raining at 10 a.m.

It rained overnight so I thought that I'd need to cancel for sure.  But I decided not be be a chicken or a wimp.  I hopped on Weather Underground to check out the satellite photos for Newport Beach.  To my surprise, although it was overcast at my place, it was clear in Newport Beach and would remain clear until 1 p.m.  So I threw on a sweatshirt, boardshorts and flip flops and headed to the beach.

When we started out, I was super nervous.  I was so afraid of falling that my legs shook. Eden took me back to shore and made me wobble the board and jump up and down on the board until I felt more in control.  Then, we set out again, moving southeast along the bay.

Although it's winter, I didn't see alot of migratory birds.  There were some pelicans making dramatic grabs for fish, a few terns squealing overhead in their quest for brunch, and the occasional grebe.  The tide was fairly high and strong so it took a good amount of effort to make progress.

I don't have great technique but I like it.  I admit that I love rowing more, but it's not something I can do on my own.  I can't rent a scull, the scull is too heavy to carry to the water on my own, and it's challenging to get good technique.  With paddleboarding, I can rent a board for $20 and be in the water in 5 minutes.  I can imagine cruising over to the Newport Aquatic Center at lunch for a quick cruise around the bay.

I decided to set a goal to particpate in Standup for the Cure next May.

Things from my office wall

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tommyside up

Tommie has been my kitten for all of his life.  Back in 1999, Mommie showed up on my patio with five kittens:  two black and white polydactyls, two black polydactyls, and one tabby.  Although Mommie was tame, her kittens were quick and wild.

I remember the exact moment Tommie won my heart.  Because the kittens were wild, it was hard to even catch a glimpse of them.  After work, I'd crawl on my belly to the sliding patio doors, edge them open, and then nudge the screen open just a little.  I'd lay there on my belly, chin in my hands, watching the Kitten Show.

One evening, Tommie was playing just around the corner of the screen door.  Suddenly, he came dancing past the door and there we were, nose to nose. He puffed himself into 16 ounces of feline surprise, too shocked to hiss.  Somehow, in that moment of nose-to-nose surprise, I loved his little face and bold personality.  That moment is a jewel of delight--one of those forks in the road that changed my life--accepting the little companion animal God made for me. 

My boy is eleven now.  He's a senior cat but, in my heart, he'll always be my kitten.

Things from my office wall: runner

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Double-edged Sword

One of the great things about having a computer with a webcam, built in mic, and MovieMaker software is that you can record your progress in mastering a new skill.

This, of course, is also the downside. Some musical performances were never meant to be recorded.

And yet, I'll cherish this raggedy recording (by myself).  It reminds me of my first day of kung fu and that it was thousands of punches and kicks between that day and the day I earned my black belt.  No skill is mastered without a big bucket of persistence with a stiff chaser of humility.

Things from my office wall: someone mooned me

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Challenge your Imagination

I think than challenging one's imagination is an awesome habit for humans.  It usually burns bright in us as children but ebbs away as we get older, tethered to the practicalities of jobs and mortgages, frightened by past failures and, slowed the limitations of an aging body and mind.  It can also be darkened by misuse.

Our heroes are those who radically challenged their imaginations--Nobel prize winners who break boundaries in science and literature; adventurers who conquered continents, scale mountains, plumb the depths of the ocean, or rocket into space; artists who bring music, paintings and sculptures into being.

Our imaginations are one of the ways in which God made us in his image.  The ultimate artist, He created light, color, sound, texture, movement--brought into existence with His spoken word.

Imagination is a cool way to explore the Bible.  In Andy Deane's Learn to Study the Bible, one of the methods* he recommends is to "put yourself in the shoes of one of the characters" of a Bible study.  This can bring familiar Bible stories and characters to life as you stand in Moses' shoes as God parts the Red Sea, as you stand in Peter's shoes for the first time he sees Jesus after the crucifixion, as you stand in Joshua's shoes when he first sees the Promised Land.

It may mean you have to do some research to understand the situation, background, and customs of the time, but it's worth the time to "experience" the event.

*Method 28, "Vantage Point," page 153. 

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Torrance Fiber Festival 2011

The Torrance Fiber Festival wasn’t a giant turn-on for me this year.  There was nothing wrong with it:  three large rooms of fiber vendors, a fashion show, a silent auction and some food items.  The usual.  I think the deal is that this is my third year attending and I’m not seeing anything new or intriguing.  I know the event is a lot of work and I'm grateful that the South Coast Handweavers Guild sponsors it every year.
Merino X from Morro Fleeceworks is spinning nicely

I left with a pound of Merino X roving from MorroFleece Works and instructions for sending my fleeces from rare breeds to them for processing into roving.  It's always a pleasure to do business with Shari.  She sells beautifully drafted fiber and is an amazingly honest vendor, always careful to point out even the tiniest flaws in her fiber to potential buyers.  

Camel fiber from Yarn Place
I also picked up a pound of camel fiber from Yarn Place to experiment with in spinning.  After spending 2011 in spinning rare breeds, I plan to spend 2012  spinning non-wool fibers (llama, bison, bamboo, cotton, etc). 

It was very, very hard to leave behind aTakhli spindle and an ounce of buffalo fiber but I couldn’t justify unrestrained gorging on everything I wanted--especially with three unprocessed fleeces waiting for me at home.

The best part of the journey was hanging with Mary, one of the coolest humans I know.  She, too, was nonplussed by the event but, when you’ve got the right companion, the journey beats the destination every time.

By the time we finished our trip we were famished and cruised over to Bagels and Brew for burgers.  At some point during the meal, I told Mary how I became a Christian.  It was a big deal for me because it’s not something I’ve ever done before.  I felt afraid of offending her or freaking her out.  But, she just listened. 

Dad always told me that, to be a leader, you can’t ask anyone else to do something you wouldn’t.  In working with the Junior High kids at church, we’re always encouraging them to share their faith.  So, if I ask them to be willing to risk their friendships by broaching spiritual topics, I have to be willing to take the same risks.  Otherwise, I’m just a hypocrite with less courage than a Junior High school kid and I should just shut up and go home.

Chinese Proverb

Saturday, November 05, 2011


Are there any chicks who play harmonica?

As I'm diving deeper into harmonica, I find that there are a bunch of guys who play but are there any women I can look to for inspiration?  Today, I'm so stoked to discover an amazing jazz harmonica player, Hermine Deurloo.

Here, she plays an amazing set with Candy Dulfer.  Girl power!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Two dudes who know what a guitar was made for


California Concert Date announced: Feburary 14, 2012

Loudon Wainwright III

Leo Kottke

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Road Trip - > Portland!


It's been nearly a decade since I've seen my friend's face and she's coming to Portland next spring. 

The hubby has recently been certified as a coffee q grader by the Coffee Quality Institute so they're coming to a giant specialty coffee conference in April.

I'm kicking around the idea of meeting up with the J's and spiriting Melinda away to Artichoke to look at harmonicas and guitars, take a class at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival, maybe rent a kayak or do some paddleboarding, and go to Le Bistro Montage or Pine State Biscuits.

Fish, Peach, and Mem
Mostly I just want to see my friend's face.  Even though we we just co-workers for six months 15 years ago, we've been virtual friends for the thousands of days since then.  She's a person who accepts me the way I am and is endlessly fascinating.  She has a keen intellect, a good sense of curiosity, and an excellent wordsmith.  We're friends because, when something piques our interest, we have to follow it all the way through to its extreme conclusion. 

She's vaguely Luddite--growing veggies and raising chickens.  Through the years she's made soap and cheese, brewed beer, studied history, played clarinet, sewed, and knitted and made books.  I never get bored.  We're never at a loss for words.

I suspect that God allowed us to be virtual friends because he knew that she's someone I can't do without but, if we were in close proximity, my Christianity and her atheism would drive us apart.

And so, I can hardly wait for the spring.

Burn, baby, burn (a guilty pleasure)

After a one month break, Burn Notice hits the airwaves again tonight. Watching Burn Notice is one of my guilty pleasures. It’s not a guilty pleasure because it’s overtly sexy. It’s a guilty pleasure because, well, it’s not PBS. It’s a shoot-out, blow-‘em-up extravaganza. I ask myself, "would a person of serious intellect and refinement truly be caught dead watching it?"

Even more, the primary male lead, Jeffrey Donovan, has had a couple of roles playing an extremely unpleasant jerk. In Hitch, he plays the ever-smarmy, Vance Munson, whose primary goal is to score one night stands. In Crossing Jordan, he plays an oily but charming attorney whose interference wreaks havoc in two murder investigations. He plays the charming creep so well, it’s hard to believe that at least a little bit of true sliminess doesn’t inhabit the man himself. And yet, I’m still a fan.

To me, what appeals is that the leads are attractive 40-somethings. It means that, just because you clock over to 40 doesn’t mean you have to let yourself go. You can still be fit and attractive.  Woot! Just watching an episode makes me want to do a gnarly workout and dive into a cup of yogurt. It’s really hard to just lay on the sofa and watch Michael Westen scheming and fighting his way out of danger. It’s the kind of TV that’s meant to be watched on a treadmill or elliptical trainer.

The storyline has worn a little thin in the past season but it still beats reality TV. I guess I prefer to lose myself in a well-constructed story than watch acquired fame turn a normal person’s life inside out. There’s something horrible about reality TV—feasting on the emotion of a person’s lost dream or painful rejection. I just can’t do it.

So, tonight, I’ll be at the gym, eagerly awaiting the latest installment of Burn Notice.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Couldn't let it drop

So, one of the things I'd planned to give up to assuage my stress groove situation was Wednesday night with the Junior High people.  In fact, I was seriously thinking about giving up on the Junior High ministry completely.  I didn't feel like it was a good fit or that I was making a difference.  I thought I was wasting my time and just getting in the way.

But something shifted during Pumpkin Palooza.

At the end of the party, I was sitting near Anson. Two junior high girls came strolling up--not from our church. Anson struck up this conversation with them about what they thought about God and what happens when you die. I marvelled at the ease with which he spoke with them (not at them), gently getting them to consider eternity.  I was floored by his kind compassion for the girls. I know it's exactly what Jesus would have done and said.

It laid bare my shabby reasons for joining the Junior High ministry.  I'd wanted to be part of a ministry because something was missing in my spiritual life.  I've seen an exodus of leaders from my church and feel spooked.  And I think I wanted some "Bible points" with God.  It wasn't about how I could serve the kids at all.

I thought it would be easy, that I could hang out on the sidelines and do tasks.  I wanted to be a "Martha."

I hadn't planned to actually care about the kids and their lives and their futures.   My heart's been through the blender a couple of times too many so I prefer keeping people at arm's length.  It's safer that way.  But, I look at these kids and think, "They're making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives...and they're kind of crazy."

But when Anson talked with those girls, I thought, "Dang, I wish I could do that," and I realized, "Oh crap.  I've gotta either throw in the towel or let my guard down and care."

Tonight, when I was gonna bail on the Junior High ministry, I decided to show up and let my guard down.  And I had an awesome time.  I listened and learned and laughed.

Maybe God will use me to do something interesting in the Junior High ministry.  And maybe he'll knock the "arm's length" habit off of me.  All I know is that hearing that conversation sparked a revolution towards the ministry in my heart.


0225111130a.jpg by andersox
0225111130a.jpg, a photo by andersox on Flickr.
So, I've got a serious spinning issue.  This photo shows just a bit of the obsession with spindles containing Gotland, BVM and Tunis wool.

The Gotland is a lovely, slick silver color.  It spins fast.The Tunis is shorter with more bounce.  The black Welsh Mountain isn't as slick as the Gotland, but it spins very quickly, too.  And I could easily get lost in the depths of it's chocolately browness.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Schedule Slam Stress Groove

Today was a stress groove day. 

It happens when certain aspects (flaws?) of my character shift into overdrive:  the desire to please the people I love,, optimism, mild impulsivity, and the avid belief that there's so many interesting things to do.

At work, my inbox was overflowing with meeting invitations and requests for information.  At home, my calendar was exploding with all the the things I have to do (pay bills, housework, car maintenance, haircuts) and all of the things I want to do (exercise, spin, knit with friends, hike, go to a fiber festival, go to Bible study, work with the Junior High kids at church, paddle board).

I am blessed with over abundance.

But, this over scheduling also crowds out God...the opportunity to be still, reflective, and to worship without distraction.  It makes me snappish and tired, a poor reflection of Jesus.

This over scheduling makes me feel greedy and grasping, as though if I don't do all, all, all of these things, I'm maybe less? will be left out?  will miss something interesting?

So, what's a girl to do?  Go back to "7 Habits."  What's important?  What's urgent?  Then, go back to "Franklin."  Prioritize stuff.  First things first.

  • Things that make my heart bounce for joy:  seeing Dirk and meeting with UCI about teaching an extension class
  • The things that are urgent/important to me:  exercise, paying bills, scheduling car maintenance, working with the junior high kids
  • Places where I need to keep a promise:  going to the fiber festival and knitting with a friend
 Everything else has to drop.  So that there's room to breathe and hang with God.