Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The P word

(disclaimer: if you have a tendancy to worry about me, stop reading.)

Finally there is my street.
Turn left, crap I didn't see that car, speed up in order to not get hit, look left, that is cop car. I just failed to yield right of way in front of a cop car, crap.

Review directions, look around. I think I am here, these numbers don't look right, whatever I am just going to park and walk around. Pull over, recheck directions, this has to be right, where is 88 Eastridge Road, look up and to the left.

Crap, your kidding me, there is no way that cop car is going to stop me for failure to yield. Wait, what if there is something wrong with Julie's car? Oh my gosh, I just need to get to this girl's home. They cannot be pulling me over! There is no way I did anything illegal. They are going to take my licence and see that it is a Texas license and I have lived here over 2 and a half years, I can't get at ticket,
roll window down.

"Hi" in my sweetest, most innocent voice.

"Are you lost?"

"Yes." Well I mean kind of, it is about 80% true, I am on the right street, but yes seems like it will keep me out of trouble... "how did you know I was lost?"

Laughter, four police officers look at me and laugh, "We 'p' worded you." "We profiled you."

"Ha, oh okay" Seriously, you just said that? "I am looking for 88 Eastridge Road."

"In San Francisco?"

Really? Do they think I am so lost that I am in the wrong city? I am on the right street I just need to find the apartment.
"Yes, San Francisco. I am a case manager, I am on my way to see a client." said, again in my sweetest tone.

More laughter and smiling. All is right in the world, the police officers now understand why a white girl in a white Volvo is driving in Bayview/Hunters Point. "Follow us, we will point it out."

"Thanks." Um, do I really want everyone in this neighborhood to see me following a cop car? Whatever, I am never going to find this apartment.

Arrive at intended location. Visit with youth who lives in a part of town so sketchy that the police think I don't belong here just because I am white.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Done (for now)

There is a song that comes on my pandora station that I love, mostly I just love the last few seconds. After a full mature voice sings with grace and beauty, the song ends with a sigh, and a voice like that of a tired child says "I'm done." The voice is nothing like the one that has just sung, it is soft resignation. She has completed her task. She is done.

There is something refreshing in hearing her voice sound so different after the song. It is soft and almost frail, as if all her energy went into the song and it is now over. It is time to rest.

Tonight we had a tribe leader dinner to celebrate a year of leading tribe. I am taking the summer off to pursue personal healing and wholeness. It was a beautiful year with my tribe, and I am looking forward to joining back into community in the fall. Still, tonight I feel that I can say with a sigh, I'm done. For that I am grateful. (For now.)

Lust List*

(these lovely items can be found at West Elm)

I used to think I needed to own everything I was attracted to: clothes, decor, cookware (before I even knew how to cook), plants, and really just about anything at all that drew my attention. I had to have it, whatever it was. This has caused a great deal of stress for my bank account and my storage space. It has been especially challenging as I am a bit of a vagabond. Roam freely with massive amounts of things to carry isn't exactly easy. Hence I still have boxes in storage at my parents house and more stuff in my current apartment than I am entirely sure what to do with.

Joyfully, in the past few years I have found the satisfaction of enjoying beauty without the need to possess it. I have no intention of spending $49 on a pillow cover. I will, however, gaze at it and be inspired by its simple elegance and the creativity that someone else has invested in creating it. It might even inspire me to make my own (however, sewing is yet to be one of my real talents, so probably not.)

*title stolen from OhJoy regular segment on things she wishes she owned

Monday, June 28, 2010

right now he's probably buying her some fruity little drink cause she can't shoot whisky

(stole this image from All Posters, you can buy it there if you like it)

Despite growing up Baptist and a solid 8 years of higher education at private Baptist institutions I have recently developed a fascination with making my own liquor infusions (I really, really want to learn how to distill my own liquor, but that is illegal, pouty face).

I have only made 3 infusions: absinthe, limoncello, and this oat milk thingy. They were all part of a mixology class I took at Workshop. So, really if I am going to say I am into it I need to do more than just look up recipes and talk about it. Nonetheless, I am posting a few links to some recipes I looked up and wanted to post about.


Sour Cherry Liqueur (really need to do this soon while cherries are in season)
Cranberry & Juniper Vodka (might have to wait for the season on this one)
Raspberry-Infused Vodka (on this page you will also see a recipe for blackberry limeade I made it 2 years ago for a dinner party and it was amazing, I can only imagine the vodka drink will knock it out of the park)

I also fully intend to put the recipes in Strong Waters to good use pretty soon.

I hope to make them soon, and I might post on them. Still, I realize more and more that I intend to post on a great many things and I don't. So enjoy the recipes. If you are lucky I will let you drink some of the results when they happen.

Happy Drinking.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

People who cannot suffer can never grow up, can never discover who they are.

- James Baldwin, from his book The Fire Next Time

This is all I have tonight. A quote to ponder, from a civil rights manifesto that is high on my to read list. He is not referring to suffering I have known, but the deeper wounds of racism in the U.S. in the 1960's. If these are the words of wisdom that come from that level of pain, I believe they are well worth considering.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I love old things; therefore, I love this image.

Today my friend Julie gave me a stack or old post cards ( her wedding was so cute it was featured in this blog in 2 segments!!) and I went to see the Birth of Impressionism at the De Young with Tom and Elaine. For a few weeks running I have had some of the best Saturdays around.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy

In a conversation with someone last week I was asked if I was happy and I said no. Soon after that I regretted the statement because I am something a lot like happy, and it might even be better than happy. So as I end this week, I want to post a short list of things that make me happy.

1) My friends. The facts are that if I tried to list them by name I know that I would be remiss in naming all of them so I will not dare, for I know that I have so many really amazing people in my life that love me and that I love
2) My job. I get to help youth with few allies in life achieve success in work and life. I get to help them along to their next steps and empower them. I love it. I also get to coordinate volunteers and I am learning about marketing. I love it.
3) My city. I get to live in the historic Haight. I always wanted to be a real deal hippy and now I live in the place where it all began. Plus, there is so much more to SF than hippies. I am so excited I live her.
4) My ocean. So, maybe it isn't exactly mine, but it is so close to me and it takes my breath away.
5) My poetry. I am actually currently loving that the words are fewer as I attempt to write these days. I am feeling less compelled to script my healing and instead I am getting to live it. Still, I love that I can write.
6) My choice to go to therapy and find wholeness. Really, what more can I say. I am so glad that I am facing the hard parts of me.
7) My family. My sisters are some of my closest friends. I have felt so loved and supported by my family. My grandmother is inspiring and I know my parents love me dearly.
8) My involvement in community. I get to be part of 2 weddings this summer and 3 baby showers. I am so blessed that people want to share the deepest parts of their lives with me. I have also been blessed to be part of a vowed faith community this past year that has loved and supported me through so much.
9) My access to technology. I have friends all over the word and I am ever so grateful for skype, facebook, my cell phone and my blog.
10) My adventures and passions. I am often amazed that my passion for justice allowed me so much adventure.
11) My Beloved. I am my beloved's and He is mine. I mean this both in the spiritual sense and in the reality that I am hopeful for the love that is waiting for me.

I could go one and kind of want to, but I think I will stop now, I did after all say this would be a short list. There is no picture for this one, but if you need images to reflect my thoughts the photos at the top and bottom of this blog were taken while I was in a creativity workshop, and they are images of things that made me happy at the time.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'm in therapy... duh

So, I am sure that all my psycho babble on here makes it obvious, but I am in therapy, and I love it. I love it because the statement above it so true. Darkness makes everything scarier than it really is.

John 1

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.

3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

I must confess I don't fully understand the light, but I would rather live in it than stay in the darkness.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Extra Pillow Cases

As a lover of things, all things, new, old, dusty and clean, I have so much stuff in my life. Oddly, I do not have pillow cases. This would not be an issue normally, but twice in the past year I have been asked to donate my old but only gently used pillow cases to the making of dresses. Luckily, the same people who invited me to donate, were well prepared to provide their own pillow cases so that I could participate. Participate in what you may ask? Oh, in dress making, of course.

Last November the lovely Lisa invited women from Reimagine to make dresses for Africa, and this past spring Meg has invited her friends to do the same. I must say that I love that I have women in my life that are so excited and willing to use their skills to show love to girls all over the world.

Below are the two dresses I made on each occasion and below that are the links to the organizations you can send dresses through. Even if you don't think you can sew this is SUPER easy and the patterns are available on the websites. (We might have had some sewing machine issues, but if your machine works the pattern is so so easy). If you have pillow cases you can totally do this! Show some love, make some dresses.

Little Dresses for Africa

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

No post yesterday... maybe not going to do a real one today

So sometimes I have more energy than I know what to do with, other times I go to bed at 8 P.M. and sleep until the next morning. Last Monday I ran 9 miles, yesterday I slept for over 9 hours. I do extremes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A moment to celebrate Saturday and seeking Wholeness

Waking up this morning my muscled were a tiny bit sore, but yesterday was well worth it.

(Leah and me at a Giants game a few weeks back)

I want to say something poetic and profound about yesterday... but seriously it was too good. My morning meet up with Leah had enough substance for an entire post. So the tid-bit from that I will share is the amazing reminder that seeking Wholeness is a huge part of seeking Holiness. I really needed that in light of the fact that we are now half way through the year, and in January I declared 2010 the year of seeking Holiness, and, well, the year has thrown me for one crazy loop on that one.

(Rach and I at Bday brunch before my phone died)

Running late I joined a fabulous crew of friends for what turned into a round table dance party brunch at Arlequin to kick off a day of Rachel bday celebration. Thank you pandora for providing the music - thank you Nick for running my battery down so low I couldn't take pictures at the ranch.

And yes you read that last sentence correctly, I said ranch as in Pie Ranch. It is amazing place down the 1 that hosts a work day and barn dance on the 3rd Saturday of each month. I am determined to go back.
(the entrance to Pie Ranch, photo taken on previous trip with Julie)

I spent much of yesterday hilling potatoes, shucking wheat, and stealing strawberries. Wait, did I say stealing? I meant small nibbles of bright red sun ripened strawberries directly off the vine. So good. I loved the hard work. I also loved being so close to the source of the food that we eat.

(more of the ranch from previous trip, somewhere behind those trees is a garden with potatoes)

The manual labor was followed by a pot-luck where we shared a meal with total strangers, complete with an offering of amazing gluten and lactose free cookies. It was beautiful to watch, the crown ranged from locals to travelers and all were welcome as they came flowing in with homemade goodies to share.

The work day culminated with some contra dancing, complete with a caller. Everyone was so friendly, welcoming and excited to be there. Huge smiles all around. I danced with people from all over the world in a fun little barn just of the 1, seriously how wonderful is that?
(The barn where we danced, during the day it is a store and coffee shop, this photo is also from previous trip)

After dancing to our hearts content we set off down the one just after seeing a gloriously pink sunset over the trees. We went in search of a beach to hang out on for just a minute, sadly they were all closed so we obviously decided to go to the Ritz-Carlton to get as close to the water as we could. (They spot light the ocean and the waves were gorgeous, until the sprinklers on the golf course came on and soaked us.)

There a few more attempts at adventure along the way, but mostly just some In-N-Out and heading home. To make the day all the more perfect and real, I sat alone in the back seat for much of the ride home. It was calm and peaceful and my heart remembered that it is heavy. Small tears, just two or three, snuck out my sleepy eyes. I reached up and grabbed Rachel's arm, and was ever so thankful that I can feel a full range of emotion in one blissful day.

I don't know if I will live in San Francisco forever, or even in California. However, I do know that despite the fact that I may not always feel like I am becoming Holy, but I am being whole, and that has to matter for something.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; naught be all else to me, save that thou art. Thou my best thought by day or by night; waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Riches I heed not, nor earth's empty praise; thou mine inheritance, now and always. Thou and thou only, first in my heart; high King of heaven, my treasure thou art.

Not sure I will have time for a real post today, so I am posting some lyrics that speak to my soul. It is how I want to feel and what I want to ask of God.

My excuse for not posting yesterday

Yes, that is right I finally saw wicked and I loved it. So good. Tracy and Christine were my glamorous dates for the evening in our sexy little dresses. So fun. The music is amazing, the set fabulous, and I must say I absolutely loved the story line.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, [the Lord's] mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in [the Lord].”

- Lamentations 3:21-24

I love Lamentations because it is a book of sorrow. Sorrow for the sins committed and the consequences those sins have brought upon the people of God. Even still the book calls to the memory of Love. For the people of God the memory of Love is not the memory of one sweet moment once upon a time, but it is the real memory of rescue. It is the memory of slavery and freedom, of having a home and loosing it, and still knowing what forgiveness is even while living in the aftermath.

"The Lord is my portion." The Lord is enough.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Reconciliation begins not first with others but with ourselves: by allowing Jesus to clean us – to forgive us, to love us. ~Mother Teresa

I have said it before: if I didn't like men so much I think I would be a nun. (The part where I am not Catholic, nor am I Orthodox also doesn't help.) Specifically, I would like to be a nun in Kolkata working with the Missionaries of Charity. I would also really love to live in the Monasteries on the Cliffs of Meteora (one of the most beautiful places on Earth!) However, I am confident this is not my calling in life.

So, today I am pondering forgiveness and love, and how I need to accept it. I feel like some of the tears I talked about yesterday are connected to pushing away from love, feeling like God's love is too much for me to accept. I don't know if this makes any sense, but I want to know love, and it scares the crap out of me.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hard Days and Rebirth

Waking up at 7 a.m. today was the type of day I like to pretend I don't have. Eyes itching from sadness that cannot be identified, I stayed in bed awake, but unwilling to get up. It took about an hour to crawl out of bed. The warm weekend and my errands beckoned me. In a simple summer dress I hoped my americano would be enough to boost my mood: fail. Waiting for the bus I hoped a call to my sister would sooth the ache: brief reprieve. Roaming the market, met by the array of fresh foods newly in season, I forgot that I was trying to forget something. Riding the train home with my amazing loot was excitement enough to distract me.

(Farmers Market Funness, a.k.a. distraction #1)

Nonetheless, once I was home, it hit again, this pain that I just can't seem to win against. So, I shoved my head phones into my ears, put on praise music, and walked to church. After greeting friends that were there for the second service, I slipped into my seat for the third service. I wanted to leave the entire time. I cannot tell you the torture it was to be in service today, but I will tell you, it was right.

Something crazy is happening with me and God, and it hurts like nothing I can describe. I cry all the time when I pray with people, I can pray at home alone without tears, but I cannot pray with other people without tears, and it is killing me, but isn't that some of the point? I mean isn't death the thing required for resurrection? I know this sounds crazy, and this is not some sadistic desire to be in pain, but I feel like God is doing something completely new in my life. It is hard and I don't understand it.

Leaving church I caught a ride with a Lara. I was grateful to just be with someone that understands so much of my heart in just the brief moments we have been able to connect over the two years I have known her.

Around 2 p.m. Dani came over to help me prepare for our monthly fund raising dinner. We spent hours chopping veggies, sipping wine, and chatting. That girl has an amazing heart, and I really appreciate her.

(Goodies shared with Dani, a.k.a. distraction #2)

By 7 p.m. my home was full of wonderful people that share my desire to serve the San Francisco community and we were sharing in the bounty the farmers market offered me this morning. It wasn't until they left that I remembered that my heart is heavy and aching. I don't think I forgot because I was distracted, I think I forgot because they were helping me hold the weight of this pain.

(Dinner: so much more than distraction.)

I will confess I might cry as I pray tonight, but I am counting today as a good day. It is really great to have so many amazing people that are present in this rebirth.

Friday, June 11, 2010

2 Kingdoms

There is a Kingdom in Africa, that is still truly a Kingdom, at least it was when I was there in 2004. The king has 9 wives, each with their own palace. His people are starving to death, the majority of the population is HIV positive, and most of the children raised there are orphans. It is a beautiful kingdom, the countryside is amazing and the people are good. I don't know anyone that would not agree that the King is wrong to allow himself and his wife such luxuries as his people die.

There is another kingdom where a majority of the population live on less than a dollar a day, the children are ill-educated and exploited in all manor, people die daily of preventable diseases, and wealth is inequitably distributed. One third of the people in this Kingdom use a majority of its resources, they live in large houses and feast on grand meals. This royal class is not royal but simply those with the unearned privilege of being born into the developed world. Even among this class there are starving, homeless, and desperate people born into the right country but not the right home, race, city, or system. The waters of this kingdom team with life that is dieing from pollution, the beautiful mountains are being stripped for coal, the diamond ice caps are melting, nonetheless it is a breathtakingly beautiful kingdom. It is full of tastes and smells too numerous for any one person to experience. No one holds the wealthy class of this kingdom accountable for their neglect.

If in comparing these two kingdoms the only difference I can see is scale, am I any better than history's worst kings and queens?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quoting a book I have not read yet...

To be a Christian is to live dangerously, honestly, freely -- to step in the name of love as if you may land on nothing, yet to keep stepping because the something that sustains you no empire can give you and no empire can take away.

- Cornel West, from his book Democracy Matters

because sometimes I am inspired and I want to share it with you.

BTW: this is the same man that said "Justice is what love looks like in public." So, to step into love is to step into justice, right? So, to be a Christian is to step into justice.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I get to live here

(beautiful images found at Pictory as part of a wonderful photo journal, via Lydia Pierce's facebook wall)

Driving across the Bay Bridge yesterday I couldn't help but smile as I turned to Dan and asked if he thinks he will live here a long time.

We were on our way back from recruiting at a job fair. The view of the city and the water and all that is San Francisco had me wondering if I could ever leave. (Yes, for those of you who have read my blog for a long time, this is a declaration: the infatuation is back in full force. I have a huge crush on my city). The question prompted a series of questions about culture, justice, seeking to live a moral life in a city that takes liberty to the extreme, and the mix of it all. As we talked I remembered again that I think this city is amazing, and I feel so blessed to be here. I am growing here, I am learning here, I live here.

The ocean meets me at the half way point of a long run and it is just yards away from beautiful steep hills that scare me. The same shore is just miles from the high rise where I worked for a hot second as a development assistant for an amazing organization that gets money to low income housing projects and just a few miles from there is my current fabulous office where I work with amazing people serving low income youth. Spread across the city in about a dozen diverse neighborhoods are the people that are challenging me to live into community and faith. I want to know where else in the world are so many amazing opportunities stacked on top of each other and crammed together in such claustrophobic beauty? (confession, I have a list in my mind mostly all developing world...)

Tonight I am going to the opera with tickets purchased from a silent auction to raise money for an emergency shelter for women escaping trafficking; tomorrow I will be meeting with my tribe to debrief the vow year we just finished; a few weeks ago the summer season of free street fairs and performances began.

Today, I am just really grateful that I live here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sunday = no writing because of stomach bug

Monday = no writing because of wine with the fabulous Robyn Klein, so excited to have a new friend

Tuesday = oddly nothing I want to say, and too sleepy to find a prompt to post about...

Wednesday = TBD

Thanks for reading and if you have ideas of things you want me to rant about feel free to make suggestions.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Things I love about Saturday

Fancy tiered cake stands reminding me that someday I will have a super cute home filled with fun little things, and day dreaming about the parties these gorgeous wonders have already been part of.
Eating fun little truffles, cayenne and dark chocolate, with beautiful ladies I adore. (Elaine and Crista)
Stacks and stack of beautiful dishware in a super cute kitchen resale shop. Funky calendars from yesteryear, and today.
Walking through new shops with lovely ladies.
Being surrounded by old, beautiful, bright things.
This chair, because it reminds me of my old orange chair that Lela bought from me. That chair saw some fabulous memories and I loved her.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Grumpy Love

I saw this on Oh Joy! and it is by M.H. Jeeves

This post is a toast to my inner cynic. I saw this image and my heart soared! it feels so good to see a goofy little image I can relate to so clearly, that is so happy and so sad at the same time.

I know it is crazy but this funny little image feels like me right now. In this picture I see exactly how I feel about the idea of love these days. Like it is falling all around me and my inner cynic is standing with my angry face on hoping to keep it off of me, and I don't just mean the romantic kind of love. As these past few years have been full of challenges it has been a point of growth for me to allow people to love me despite my flaws.

So, I hope your think this little man is as cute as I do, 'cause he is me and I want you to love me (except if he really were me he would be a she and she would be wearing pearls).

BTW: I am grateful because I know you already do.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Chocolate and Wine and Redemption

So, my faith community isn't exactly normal. We do things like share our budget, give 5% of our income, eat weekly meals together, host art shows, go on silent hikes, pay rent for people when it gets too hard, and all kinds of other crazy things. However, one rather normal thing we do together is share the Eucharist. I mean if you are not part of a Jewish or Christian faith community dipping bread (or for me some other non-gluten thing) into wine might seem odd, but for most people with a Judeo-Christian background the bread and wine (juice if you are Baptist) is standard enough. Nonetheless, leave it to me to make it a bit different.

Tonight standing at Whole Foods gathering supplies for my salad contribution to the pot luck and grabbing the bread and wine for the Eucharist I had a random memory of a time I had chocolate instead of bread for the Lord's Super, and I loved it. There was something poetic about bitter sweet dark chocolate representing the gift of Jesus surrendering his life. It is decadent and celebratory - we were passed over, we were spared, the gift was given and we are to celebrate and remember the gift. Still, it isn't just sweet, it is challenging, and bitter, it is life and death. It is the gift of God and we have been reminded to taste and see that the Lord is good.

The memory sparked action and I grabbed a bar of fair trade dark chocolate to go with the red wine, and we shared it together tonight to celebrate redemption.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Now for something a bit more Diva

So I was talking to a new friend the other day about all the tricks to living nice, but cheap, in SF. I mean where else in the world could I spent so much time last year sipping wine and listening to live music, while also being unemployed and homeless?? So anyway here are my helpful hints.



Add to that: there is always free music somewhere, you just have to look for it, there is always cheap/free food, and oh so many resale shops for recycled fashion. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

photo taken on a hike last September

Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.

- Psalm 46:10

Over the past few months I have been on a few long meditative hikes. On a few of these hikes I have been asked to meditate on this verse. On one of these hikes I remember attempting to pray through the verse one word at a time, but some how instead of saying to myself "know that I am God" I would hear myself say "know that I can handle this". It was like God was gently whispering me, "trust me" "I am bigger than this" "I am bigger than this mess" "I am bigger than your pain". Since moving to SF I have felt like I haven't caught a break. If it wasn't one mess it was another, still I have consistently felt that God has been active. I have just often needed to listen.

So tonight as I get ready for bed I am thinking of this verse and reminding myself:

Be Still, and know that I am bigger than anything you are facing,
be still and know that I created the life you are living,
I am redeeming it, I am present in every part of it!
I will be known among all people,
I will be celebrated everywhere.
Be Still and know that I am God.

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