October 31, 2008

Nothing to do with the holiday

We've had a bunch of looming "C" purchases. Jrex, in particular, has been stressed each month we can't add to savings since he's been trying to anticipate those needs.

CAR: Not in the near future, but may become necessary to have a second car at some point. Ya know when I'm too old to bike or whatever. Given the cost, good to save towards it, right?

CAMERA. Both our cameras died. Well, really we lost the base to the pocket digital and my wonderful Olympus 5050 died a noble death. I researched and haven't found an equivalent camera. Then I saw news about this one: the Panasonic G1. It's a 'mini' SLR with removable lenses. It's not out yet, and we definitely have to save toward that goal, but I'm VERY excited about it. I've heard rumors that Olympus may do a camera in a similar format and I might wait for that one. However, I've got a show coming up in Vegas next weekend, for which I need a camera. Solution: EBay. Ordered a new base that should arrive soon.

CELL PHONE: for the last six months, after one phone conversation, my phone lost all juice. I used that as an excuse to lust over the next generation of phone options. It never occurred to me until last night, just replace the battery, silly! Done.

COMPUTER: Smart Girl loaned me a laptop last spring (her hubby works at Apple). This year, with my big spring show already looming, I need a computer. Being a designer, I'm Mac-dependent, so that's not cheap AT ALL. I also need a laptop for travel to shows. In the last couple weeks, my job has revived a dead laptop with a new hard drive for me to use. I got it yesterday. After work, I ran around to Staples and the Mac store to outfit my home office. I'm actually on a shopping high as a result.

I found a really cool keyboard at Staples that felt GREAT to type on, but it was pricey. Checked an equivalent at Mac Store, it looked cool, but I didn't like the feel. While at the Mac store, I used their computers to price compare via Amazon. I bought a laptop lock and laptop stand there, but when home and ordered the protective case and keyboard/mouse combo online. They've already shipped! (LOVE Amazon...) In the end, I have a 'new' computer for @ $180.

I'm feeling proud of myself for figuring out creative work-arounds. Feeling a little strange in the midst of all the economic crisis about being a happy little consumer, but mostly excited.

October 22, 2008

Dreams vs. Hopes

A couple weeks ago I was challenged to declare my hopes. Basically, during my wives small group we spent some time in silence listening for nudges from the Lord. That was the thought that popped into mind: write down and then declare your hopes.

I haven't done it yet. The truth is, I'm scared. I did try. On Saturday, Jrex met friends from lab to go running and I stayed home to spend time with God. (I'm off my running program . . . a sore stomach being just the latest excuse.)

I couldn't do it. I realized that I could easily write out my dream. It's the oldest, deepest one that I have. I've always been gifted with kids and dreamt of rescuing kids from garbage dumps, the streets, or disaster and bringing them into a place of hope, stability and restoration. I even took my job as a residential counselor to get life skill training. Jrex and I married with that shared vision. We wrote lines in our wedding vows about welcoming the sojourners that God brings our way. The problem as it's turned out is that with Jrex's schedule and energy level, bringing kids into our home just isn't going to happen. And, it doesn't look like we're moving overseas anytime soon.

I prefer to take practical steps to make a dream a reality. Want to be a fine artist? At least major in it during college to figure out if that's what you want. Want to marry that cool Asian guy? Sit next to him at the wedding reception, invite him to lunch, and go on from there.

Write down and declare your hopes.

I don't know what they are if they aren't leading toward my dream. Everything else feels like I'm making do, and that doesn't feel like 'hope'. In Paul's letter to the church in Rome, he says, "...if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it."

What am I waiting eagerly for?

We do want to have biological kids. (We're working on it, Dad, calm down.) I would still like to take in foster kids, but, see above. So, children is a hope.

If we're in the US and not overseas (highly likely), then I would love to have a home that can be a place of retreat and restoration for broken people, especially those wrestling with disappointment with God. Hope #2.

I want Jrex to have a job that is fulfilling and is the right fit for him. Along with that, I want him centered and lifted in amazing ways in his spiritual life. Hopes #3, #4.

Those are things that Jrex and I have discussed, known quantities. So, what's scary? What's the thing that is a wall between me and truly articulating hope? I still don't know the answer.

My friend Ms. Sword answered the question, "What's the difference between a dream and a hope?" by quipping, "Dreams happen when you're sleeping, hope happens when you're awake." There's something profoundly true about that. Hope means it's possible. It's coming. You have to be awake and ready to receive or to act to make a hope a reality.

How would you answer the question? And are your hopes lining up toward your dreams?

October 20, 2008


I tweaked my stomach muscles during my trapeze lesson (what a cool thing to be able to say, huh?). It wasn't too bad, but in the three climbing sessions since then, I think I've actually pulled my stomach muscles.

One of my climbing partners is a rehab doctor (best climbing partner career choice EVER. If we find an EMT to climb with us, we'll be ready for anything). She was concerned for me after I had to come down off a couple climbs on Sunday. "The only people I've ever encountered with pulled stomach muscles are surfers."

This morning, I tossed that story at Jrex as I was rushing to get out the door. I called a farewell as I left, and without missing a beat, he called back, "Hang Ten, babe."

October 17, 2008


My coworker, Dancer is off to London. She started a blog. In order to leave comments without leading people to this blog, I started an 'official' non-anyonymous blog. The intent for that one is to write about art and design. Have something I can link to from my website. Ya know, be professional like. Or something. (The address is my name+71.blogspot.com)

This is what I posted there today:

This past weekend we put our membership to good use and wandered the museum with a couple friends. I think they enjoyed the café and the view from the tower more than the exhibits, but it was still fun to go.

Maya Lin is in the midst of an installation for an upcoming exhibit. Each time I've visited the Vietnam Memorial, I've been in awe of her genius. Her trust for simple, powerful forms and materials is amazing, especially considering she was in grad school when she designed it. For her installation, she's using 2x4's of different heights to create a hill with surrounding undulations. The repetition remains organic since the differences in height vary as board jumps to next board. I can't wait to go back and see a bunch of her stuff.

One of my favorite pieces at the museum is this one, Cornelia Parker's Anti-Mass.
You walk into a new gallery and turn left, looming at the end of the room is this shadow. Pieces of burnt wood dangle from the ceiling creating a new shape, their ragged edges somehow shaped into the clean lines of a cube. The tension of air, charcoal, wire, contrast of shapes all create a powerful silence. You walk closer, examine the remnants, then wander to the wall to read the label.

Cornelia Parker, Anti-Mass. The wood is from a Black Southern Baptist church that was torched by arsonists. From that devastation, Parker has given shape to the redemption of suffering. I think of that old black phrase, "and still we rise". Knocked down, battered, held under, "And Still We Rise."

Makes me want a house so I can find objects to reclaim and hang from the ceiling. I miss having a house...but that's a whole 'nother post.

October 12, 2008


Yesterday we continued our adventure birthday tradition with Lovey and Dovey. Thus far we’ve done horseback riding/Monterray Bay cruise; bike ride/picnic in the Presidio; and rock climbing. Yesterday was Lovey’s call. Her latest dream adventure? Flying Trapeze Lessons.

They picked us up in the morning and we headed north to the city to Circus School. Once we all were changed, warmed up and supplied with safety belts, the instructor asked for a volunteer. Everyone shuffled their feet; I didn’t feel like wasting time, so I raised my hand. I had NO idea that meant I’d be first The Rest of The Lesson. First up the 25 foot ladder. First to step around the support truss and stand on the narrow board with my heart pounding in fear. First to get strapped into my harness. First to lean out hips first and grab the bar. First to crouch on “Ready” and drop on “Hup”. First to follow the directions:
“Legs up!”
“Hands off!”
“Look at the far wall!”
“Hands up!”
“Legs down!” and finally
“Hup” to drop into the net.

I loved it. I had a sugar crash after two rounds and wasn’t able to complete the catch with the pro at the end of the lesson. Lovey did it though! Happy Birthday to her.

For lunch we took them to the ‘best Chinese food in San Francisco’: San Tung at 11th and Irvine. After two servings of the incredibly addictive ‘dry fried Chicken Wings’, we exploited our membership at the de Young museum and all went in for free. After touring the galleries, we grabbed drinks at the café and sat out in the sculpture garden. While sipping our hot drinks and flavored waters, we heard a roar of jet engines and saw the Blue Angels swoop through as part of Fleet Week.

Overall if we’d stopped there, it would have been a beautiful, wonderful day. But, we didn’t.

They dropped us off at home and an hour later, Jrex and I went to the movies.

I’d heard about a movie and then actually got free tickets from someone at work. We knew it would be disturbing, but we had NO idea. The movie? Call + Response: “The first feature rockumentary to expose the world’s 27 million most terrifying secrets”. A local Oakland-based musician started to find out about the modern slave industry. The more he investigated, the more he wanted to do something about it. As he spoke with other musicians, they wanted to join him. In the end, the movie segues from black and white segments with songs responding to slavery back into color interviews with survivors and advocates. Julia Ormand, Ashley Judd, Madeline Albright, Moby, Switchfoot, Emmanual Jal. Other musicians I’ve never heard of and stories I can never forget.

The amazing thing was that the movie managed to convey the enormity of the issue without leaving one paralyzed in despair. By the end of the movie all I could do was pray, “Lord, show me what to do and I’ll do it.” Jrex was furious at the injustice, I was crying and heartbroken.

They took hidden cameras into brothels. To hear a white man saying, “You give ‘yum yum’?” (oral sex) “What about ‘bom bom’?” (intercourse) and to see a seven-year old girl smile and nod eagerly is one of the most horrifying echoes I carry from the movie. One of the musicians rapped a piece called “War Child” about his experience being abducted into an African child soldier war. Apparently right now there are more slaves worldwide than were exported from Africa in 400 years of the slave trade. Back then, a group of 12 abolitionists met in England and determined to end the British slave trade in their lifetime. They succeeded. “Lord, show me what to do and I’ll do it.”

I’m sure my prayer for action will have far reaching consequences, but in the short term we have the following action list:
  1. Give up chocolate (unless it’s guaranteed free-trade). 80 percent of world chocolate is a result of slave labor. No more chocolate chip ice cream or brownies or hot chocolate. Trade As One does carry free trade versions of much of that, so it won’t be total withdrawal, just nothing in a café or restaurant.
  2. For Jrex, he’ll be emailing Sweet Marias (his coffee bean supplier) to find out which of their beans they know are slave free.
  3. We’re going to sponsor additional Compassion girls. With education and options, the need to sell one’s daughter is diminished. I want to find out if they have any kids who have been rescued and specifically sponsor them.
  4. Look for volunteer options here in the Bay area. There are numerous sex and labour slaves in this area.
  5. Renewed commitment to buy clothes from resale stores. Cheap new clothes are often supplied by labor slaves.
If you want more ideas, click here.

My overall sense from the Lord was to love his broken children. That’s been my hearts cry for much of my life. I just don’t know how or when. It’s not something I can inflict on my husband in terms of what we do with our house. But it’s something I may be able to do as a volunteer. At the moment, I’m ready for him to get a job so I can be Lady Bountiful and volunteer time to make a difference in the world. Who knows what life has in store, but at the moment, we have to do what we can do here and now.

The movie was made with no financial backing and right now is only on a limited release. Check out the locations. If it’s near you, I highly recommend it. Disturbing? Undoubtedly. Worth seeing? Definitely.

October 7, 2008

One of the bad side-effects of being an oldest sibling is that I have an overdeveloped instigator. This means that I have a tendency to tease and poke at someone I care about until they react. It's often playful, rarely meant with any malice, but can be very abrasive over time.

Of course, poor Jrex is often the worst sufferer. My Dad is a close second. I grew up torturing my younger brother--though with him, he gave back plenty. I hate that I do that. It's like I get into what I call 'go' mode, I'm moving fast, feeling bright and energetic, happy and quippy and then I say too much, tread too heavily over a sensitive area, and oops...

Perhaps it's that I like the taste of my feet?

October 4, 2008

Crazy things I do for work...

It's Saturday and the mutt and I are in the office...

My tar baby project stuck with me all week and ended up sapping all my creative juices. I was trying to push through it yesterday and then gave myself permission to have an off day and leave early. Which meant I'd need to come in today. I don't really mind. Jrex had to be in lab most of the day anyway. If I get to wear a baseball hat and bring the dog with me, I can pretend I'm not really in the office. (Muttola loves coming in with me. We play chase around all the cool, artsy cubicles here in the design studio.)

I'm listening to my jazz playlist and registering for Second Life.

One of my major clients has a Second Life Island. We keep looking for events and options for the developer community. While we often discuss Second Life, I'd never gone into that world...

OK. Just checked it out. And...nothing. I mean, I saw my client's pavilion complete with store, but no people, just wandered around. Whatever, I'd rather do that somewhere real. I teleported to "Hobo Island". Again, just wandered around. Flew a little. Didn't care enough to start touching things or knocking on doors.

So, back to work.

Edited to add: Second Life (link here) is an on-line world. You go into it, pick a persona--including first and last name-- adjust the look of your persona or Avatar (mine is "OTRgirl Turbo") and start wandering around. If you run into another person, you can do on-line chats. Your avatar can do facial expressions and physical movements. You can fly, walk, run, fight. There are real life millionaires from Second Life. You buy SL money with your real dollars, then you can buy, trade, sell, invest in land, etc. Essentially, as if none of us are already busy in real life, you can live a second life. I guess it's cool if you want to try out what it would be like to be a different race, gender or physicality? Overall, I think I have enough technology in my life as it is...