May 27, 2005
To learn, to play
What with all the drama my tutee Ruth has been going through with her job and financial situation, I thought on a gorgeous pre-summer night like last night a game of Monopoly was in order. Of course my parents have a game at their house that I grew up playing, but I had an old battered game myself in my closet that I had purchased at Value Village way back when Alex and I first moved to the HBC (Hall Blvd. Connection). When I pulled it out on Ruth's bedroom floor, I realized there were no dice, so I used some pennies and a couple of nickels that I would as randomly as possible toss on the board for each of the players. Ruth's 8-yr-old niece was there when I arrived, so I asked her if she wanted to join us. So for the next two hours we played. I had brought my favorite thin paperback atlas which I opened up to the United States. Whenever anyone landed on a property that was named after a state, I pointed it out.
She started to get 3rd person pronouns a little better ("Me money?" "No, you pay her $25") and started to see that there was an important phonological difference between "eight" and "eighty" and even more important difference between "5", "50", and "500". By her second turn she counted spaces from where her "top hat" landed on her previous turn intead of from "GO" and by the end of the game, she could make change like nobody's business.
Her 8-yr-old niece understood and started using words like "your turn" and "my turn" and she and her friend counted her money zealously (yeah she whipped us both). She'll turn out to be a good little free market capitalist, I think. ;-)
What did I learn? To relax and let the process of learning happen in a fun and relaxed way. Yeah, she's under a lot of pressure and she knows it. (And I know it, too.) On June 1st, she'll have no monthly Tri-Met pass because her benefits from whoever was providing her with one have expired. She needs her welfare and social security benefits renewed (damn red tape) and her income verified (how do you verify $0?) for a Head Start application (don't even get me started on those people and their so-called "outreach"). I have ideas on how to help her, but with my own work schedule, getting over to social services is a bit of a challenge. This is one of those "it takes a village" moments, I think. But which village (or "Village") should I engage?
May 24, 2005
L.A. weekend pictures posted
There's a sub-album in there with several shots of Alex's friend Grace's installation. The story is that Alex used some elements from Grace's pieces, digitized them, 3D'd and animated them for her fine arts installation (which turned out very cool, btw.)
As in life, people move on to different opportunties, environments, and geographical locations. I thoroughly enjoyed hangin' with Alex and her friends who have supported her and loved her through four grueling years. Thanks for taking care of my friend!
May 22, 2005
Faster than a speeding bullet
Where do we (Americans) learn the cultural value of speedy efficiency and high productivity? This is the question that's on my mind as I have learned that my tutee, who is relatively new to this neck of the global woods, is in danger of losing her housekeeping job because she's not focused enough, quick enough, or productive enough to satisfy the demands of the job. So as her tutor, how can I teach her this value of being super-fast, multitasking, superwoman? Do I make her watch superhero movies where problems are solved in the blink of an eye? (Maybe a few episodes of "Bewitched" are in order?) Sign her up for a community sports team? Teach her how to play "Speed" with a deck of cards? I'm racking my brain how it is that I learned to value speed and efficiency. It's so ingrained in who I am and so pervasive in my culture. But I'm finding it difficult to understand and discern exactly where and how I learned this value and how I could (in a beneficial way) teach it to someone who can impress her boss and keep her first job in the U.S.
May 19, 2005
Post-It® Note To Self
May 18, 2005
A Marathon of Togetherness
When we were in high school, Alex and I used to do something on Friday night, then she'd decide to sleep over, so then we do stuff Saturday as well, and then she might decide to stay over Saturday night as well. My mom used to call these types of weekends "marathons of togetherness." This past weekend was a sort of recapitulation of the marathons of togetherness of long ago. We decided on the term "recapitulation" because it truly felt like our friendship somehow came full circle and we got to witness the exact moment in time that it was renewed, that a former chapter ended and a new one began. It's like we could sense the page turning.
This weekend Alex graduated from Otis School of Art and Design. Studying art formally has been a long time goal of hers and the amount of sweat, tears, and puke that went into accomplishing this goal has been heart-wrenching. Seeing her installations in both the fine and the digital arts was exciting. Seeing the accomplishments of the seniors as a whole was astonishing and delightful. Knowing that this was just another beginning to yet another journey was humbling and exhausting to think about, but exhilarating just the same.
These impressions of hope, promise, and potential were almost too much to bear, but so good to experience. I feel tired but courageous. I have the courage to resign from a prideful existence of lackeyhood and encouragement to listen closer, draw closer, and be closer to my God, my Creator, my Savior, my Friend.
Thanks for a great marathon of togetherness, Mav. May the months and years to come bring accumulations of hope, storehouses of promise, and truckloads of potential scanned, signed-for and successfully delivered to our doorsteps. And may our hearts be enlarged to receive these things and make the most of them. (Oh, and let there be love. Lots and lots of love.)
May 16, 2005
Mom's Day in Olympia: Pictures Posted
May 12, 2005
Out of Context
"You may sense that you are on a spiritual journey; you know that you cannot remain where you are, you know something is happening inside you. You may not be able to put your finger on it, but you know that some very profound changes are occuring in your spiritual outlook." Robert Webber
(If you want the context, see pg. 34, 3rd paragraph of Webber's Ancient-Future Faith.)
May 11, 2005
Monday, I took off and spent an extra day in Olympia with my brother, sister-in-law, and two niece-babies. Spending time with Seth and his family is sort of a "life-barometer" check. Since Brant, Jackie and my parents were also there on Sunday to celebrate Mom's day, the "check" was especially acute...in a good way. I really don't know how to explain it, but basically spending time with them in their home gives me a shot of perspective on how I'm living my life, for better or for worse. And if I'm sporting any bad habits (which inevitably I am) the extra day gives me a chance to try and break the cycle.
The cycle I managed to break was my commuting habits. I had been driving a lot to work and not only is it expensive and dumb, considering the price of gas and parking, but the habit robs me of my cherished reading and wind-down time that I get riding the train. Plus I get a little bit of exercise because of the extra walking to and from the station.
So this week's commuter reading is Ancient-Future Faith by Robert Webber. My brother, Brant, has been telling me that I've gotta read this book for a while now and from the first couple of chapters, I can see why.
This is gonna be a re-reader. I may have to buy my own copy. Anyone else read this? This'd be a great one to discuss as a group...
May 10, 2005
Hope for the hopeless
No, this isn't some inspirational story fit for a coffee table devotional or the bumper sticker rack at a christian supply® store. Just some hope-giving advice for me and my chaotic existence on Eastridge Street.
Are YOU living in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome)...
Yes! Yes I am! Please Funny-Clip-Art-Lady, tell me what to do!
Via a comment on 43 folders post about this Keep-It-Clean Plan article from Real Simple, I found this quirky site on housecleaning and organizing tips. It couldn't come at a more opportune time. I'm completely overwhelmed by the state of my house which only reinforces my loneliness because I wouldn't dare have anyone over right now unless they agreed to sign a liability waiver! Ack!
May 05, 2005
Awake's Friendly News Feed
Now that I've got a Tiger-ed Safari which has integrated inconspicuously into the browser's Bookmarks a place to store and view news feeds (aka RSS feeds) from other sites. This means that you could painlessly skim the latest news from the BBC or quickly see if your friend has finally updated his or her blog. To make sure Awake's feed was Safari-friendly, I went over to Feedburner and got my presently formatted RDF+XML feed converted to a browser-friendly format. Pretty cool!
So here's Awake's Feed.
Now go get your news feed fixed up all perty! All you need is the Web address of the "Syndicate this site" link. So click on that link in your blog, copy it, then paste it into Feeburner's form. So easy!
Update: For Movable Type users like Shawn and myself in which the default template already has news feeds (RSS and RDF) integrated into the templates, there's one more change to make once you get a RSS feed from Feedburner.
Near the top of your Index Template, replace...
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS" href="http://www.sleepyheadcity.com/awake/blog/index.rdf" />
<link rel="EditURI" type="application/rsd+xml" title="RSD" href="http://www.sleepyheadcity.com/awake/blog/rsd.xml" />
...with your Feeburner URL. Awake's looks like this:
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS" href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/Awake" />
When you look at your blog in Safari, there will be a RSS icon in the address bar (where the URL is) that will point to your new Feedburner feed (and therefore work properly).
Hope that helps.
May 04, 2005
Tiger install report
Archive and install worked beautifully on my Powerbook. Installed in record time: 45 minutes.
Spotlight is currently indexing so login was a bit sluggish.
May 02, 2005
Tips for upgrading to Tiger and a full-proof never-date-again strategy
A colleague of mine passed this article on to my inbox this morning, as Tiger is coming our way in tomorrow's FedEx delivery:
Probably won't get a chance to install the upgrade until Friday night. Unless I get a hot date. Or even a warm date. Or a cold one. However the statistical probablility of that happening is extraordinarily low, almost nill, considering the last time I went on a date on a Friday night (or maybe it was a Saturday), I puked on the 10 freeway. Who was my date? That will remain anonymous to protect the innocent. Plus it was a loooooooong time ago. Plus he's happily married now. Moral? Never mix antibiotics + codeine-laced cough syrup + a cheesburger at In 'n' Out Burger if you ever want to date again...in your twenties. (Hopefully the hiatus will end by my thirties. God help me.)
But I digress. Update on the upgrade hopefully Friday night for anyone who's interested.
Next Bus (or Streetcar, as the case may be)
Discovered this Portland Streetcar tracking web site late last week: NextBus Stop Selector: Portland Streetcar (From Central Library to NW 23rd and Marshall). You choose the direction and stop and the page tells you how many minutes until its arrival. There's also a phone number with a 4-digit code associated with the stop that you could call to get the info. Pretty cool!