Monday, December 29, 2008

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

Read that a couple times. Soak it in. Isn't that wonderful? Read it again. And again!

I've been struggling with a feeling of spiritual inadequacy lately. Feeling I don't have the right answers, I don't have the persuasiveness, the eloquence or enough knowledge to "proclaim the testimony about God." Talk about "weakness" and "fear" and "with much trembling!"
Last week I had a long conversation with a homeless woman while waiting for my train home from work. In her pain and anger she lashed out, "who is God and why does he let me live like this? Where's his love? Isn't he a god of love? Prove it! Prove it to me!" I was upset with myself that I didn't have some astounding theological answer to that....didn't even have a coherent answer to that...but instead, all I could do was sit there with her and hold her hand as she cried.
I've read 1 Corinthians 2 before. But yesterday, reading through it again under my covers, late at night, I was shocked and amazed to read that Paul struggled with the very same thing! The *very* same thing.
And it's okay - because God's power and awesomeness and holiness and majesty are made manifest in our weakness. He doesn't want us to be perfect, He wants us to be willing. He doesn't need perfect, He simply wants US, in all our weakness and fear and trembling and inadequacy.
Wow. Isn't that wonderful?

Monday, December 22, 2008

The special secrets of friendship

I think it's wonderful to have special camaraderie with various people. A special memory you share. A special funny remembrance. A pain you shared together. Something that is important to the two of you, but makes no sense, or simply doesn't matter, to anyone else.
I've started writing little "poems" of these special things. And what I find so neat about them, is that the specific person will know exactly what those seemingly random words refer to!

Five examples for five of my friends (although there are so many more "poems" I could write!):

Dreadlocks. Paella.
Guanche. Black Rocks.

Chaos and order.
Neat disarray.

Gypsies and Chickens.
A sunsety dance.


Strumming in blue.

Cosine, tangent.
Dangerous paper-planes.

Dentures, bifocals.
Kidnappers and syrup.


"Ancient" photos. Friendship revived.
Mrs. Clause invades Starbucks.

Dancing. Flips and twirls.
New Years. Sparkle!

New Zealand. Alaska.
Terschelling then Spain.


Java and Candice.
Mischief in Spanish.

"Purple's majestic"
But blonde is the best.

Community to University.
Just 5 days apart


Cowboys and Indians.
Donkey pen games.

Mud fights. Fist fights.
Africa/China/India/Medieval/Gold Rush!

Gawain. Gwendolena. Fiona and Robin.
Dragons and maypoles. 300 miles.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Broomball and Dalmatians

I've discovered that I really love writing bullet style. So while I may interject with some exciting news that must be written paragraphically - I shall entertain you with my recent history via bullets...'cuz bullets are the new thing.

Yesterday was Freemont's Highschool Youth Group's annual broomball game....on ice. Highlights included:

  • Getting to experience what a Patti-Mobile really is (i.e. 50mph turns on a 25mph sharp turn, shouting directions from the backseat, listening to jazz/rap/Christmas/talk-radio/cellphones/freshmen's chatter/etc...)
  • Arriving at the ghetto ice-rink and FREEZING TO DEATH listening to the rules of the game
  • Discovering how fun it is to be *super* competitive, while swinging hockey sticks and running after a 6" rubber ball, in sneakers, on ice.
  • Flying over Chad after he decides to wipeout inches in front of me. Athletes have been decorated for less-than-epic feats.
  • Getting beaned by hockey sticks in the head and shin (yes, I've got a beautiful sore bruise now) - but I beaned the ball a whole lot harder!!
  • Playing against Sara. Sisterly competition is a blast...and slamming into each other at high speeds with no possible way to slow down is actually kinda fun. (I probably sound like some football addict at this point...)
  • Free hot chocolate and doughnuts afterwards at the church

One of the not-so-fun parts was discovering that running full speed and breathing less-than-32-degree air is NOT good for my lungs....and hence had a full blown asthma attack right in the middle of the game. Competition won, however, and after a couple puffs on my InstaLife (i.e. inhaler) I decided to get right back into the intensity of the game. Well, while my team did win at first, and while the girls did tie, and while we ::nearly:: did win the last game - I suffered one of the worst asthma attacks I've had in years. And it wouldn't.go.away. Instead, my heart began to enjoy the competition and raced at a worrisome 26 beats per 10 seconds.

Sooo, we headed home, sat in front of the blazing, glowing, delicious fire and Sara, Ryan, Mark, Marcel and Chad swapped stories while I concentrated on just breathing. Duo practice was canceled and we watched 101 Dalmatians instead.

I haven't watched that movie in eons!! Goodness, I forget how great those old Disney movies fun!
I found out later I actually slept through half of it though.

  • Got the nicest e-mail I've gotten in a long time
  • Became the official Mrs. Santa Clause for the tea shop and read to 20+ fascinated children

  • Let little girls touch my Mrs. C buttons, hold my gloved hand and touch my hair with quiet awe
  • Answered questions about what Santa does and doesn't like to eat
  • Promptly clarified that Rudolph's nose is NOT red because he got beaten up by Dasher
  • Went to Starbucks with an old, old friend...that I just met
And now I'm basking in the doing of nothing. I'm loving just sitting here by the creaking fireplace, listening to Josh Groban's "Little Drummer Boy" (listen to it! It's wonderful...), admiring our beautiful Christmas Tree, writing to my Spanish friends, and knowing that there's nothing I'm supposed to be doing right now. Relaxation is divine.

Friday, December 19, 2008


  • Making yummy brownies (Yes! Risa cooked!)
  • Looking at carefully strung, twinkling Christmas lights
  • Thrift store shopping!
  • Registering for new classes for Spring
  • Building a fire and thawing in it's blazing warmth
  • Wonderful friends
  • Happy Christmas music
  • Intense speech and debate
  • Driving around a holiday-ish city
  • Hot chocolate and cider galore!
  • I'm sure there's a whole lot can be wonderfully mysterious sometimes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


July 31, 2008-

"I'm sipping my very first glass of beer; a deliciously smooth beer mized with a carbonated German drink similar to sprite. I'm finding a sense of grown-up-ness from being legally allowed to sip my own glass.

If you look out the southern window right now, you can see the looming Austrian Alps in the distance. Rising from the foresty horizon, and broken only by a few white-washed houses, the blue-hued mountains seem very powerful and majestic. In the winter, they'll be covered in powdery snow...but right now they're a lush green in the morning and a mysterious blue at twilight. Breathtaking, really.

We at dinner outside tonight, and what is probably a very normal event becamse very special to me. We sat at one long table with a colorful provincial tablecloth and triangular white plates. The little boys chatted away in German and English, and though they couldn't understand a single word the others uttered, they talked like old friends. We sat beside a clean white wall with blooming pink and red geraniums over head. Grassy, green meadows spread out behind us like a giant velvet blanket that rippled in the evening breeze. The food was a painter's palette of color as well:
brown bread
green, yeallow and red squash baked with white garlic cheese
light green shreaded cucumbers
dark green salad with chopped red tomatoes
soft, local, yellow cheese
black charcoal on the BBQed chicken and pork
and then, of course, my golden glass of beer.
I felt like a queen surrounded by the array of colors."

Today Sacramento was shrouded in coldness and the grey shadows of rain. It was quiet outside, though the chilly wind roughly tussled the few remaining leaves clinging to the naked trees. The tea shop was a whirlwind of frustration and hectic-ness, and I felt a bit like one of those leaves...desperatly clinging to my sanity amidst complaints, unsatisfied customers, and new responsibilities. I came home to a blazing fire offering instant "comfort and joy", and a loving family offering a much more satisfying balm - add some Papa Murphey's cookie dough to the mix and you've got one very happy gal.

I'm now adding the final touches to my OO; finishing the last bits of research, scrutinizing each word and listening to myself read it aloud. It's 10:25 minutes long....must.cut.some.more! Cyrano and Roxane are amazing. Debate is exciting once again - and I'm looking forward to the long hours of research. It never ends, but that's part of the wonderful addictiveness.


I'm fondly remembering the colors of Germany, and yes, wishing I could bask in those colors once again. But if I look around me, squint a little at the dazzling Christmas lights gracing rooftops and evergreen trees, I am reminded that color and light abounds in a variety of places. Carpe Diem. Seize the day and find the light....even when the day is dark and cold.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"We the People..."

The U.S. Constitution -
* Reason for much debate
* Basis for controversial decisions
* A daunting read
* Written by brilliant men in funny white wigs

The U.S. Constitution Workbook -
* Necessary tool for the PoliSci Final on Monday
* Reason for many late night discussions/arguments/debates
* Incentive for the purhcase of eggnog, hot chocolate and butterscotch
* Inspired the discovery, "I don't have the right NOT to talk!"
* Cause of awesome laughing-fits at Starbucks

Monday, December 8, 2008


My google webpage tries to be helpful when I research. It wants to be helpful, it really does.

As I begin typing into the little search box, it displays 10-12 common search-words it thinks are relevant to my research - and this morning I found its "help" a bit more ammusing than usual. The follow list is a result of Google's help with my search "Why does the WTO want U.S. Cash Aid?":

Why does the sun go on shining?
Why does the U.S. have the electoral college system?
Why does the earth spin?
Why vote for Obama?
Why do we yawn?
Why does God allow suffering?
Why do leaves change color?
Why does the moon have phases?
Why did I get married?
Why does my eye twitch?
Why does the earth rotate?
Why does the wind blow?
Why does the caged bird sing?
Why does the old guard keep day and night vigils over the tomb of the unknown soldier?
Why does it always rain on me?
Why is the sky blue?
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Why do dogs eat grass?
Why do we dream?
Why so serious?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tu Risa (Your Laughter)

Quitame el pan, si quieres, -- Take the bread from me, if you want
quitame el aire, pero -- take the air from me, but
no me quites tu risa. -- do not take from me your laughter.

No me quites la rosa, -- Do not take away the rose,
la lanza que desgranas, -- the lanceflower that you pluck
el agua que de pronto -- the water that suddenly
estalla en tu alegria, -- bursts forth in your joy
la repentina ola -- the sudden wave
de plata que te nace. -- of silver born in you.

Mi lucha es dura y vuelvo -- My struggle is harsh and I come back
con los ojos cansados -- with eyes tired
a veces de haver visto -- at times from having seen
la tierra que no cambia, -- the unchanging earth,
pero al entrar tu risa -- but when your laughter enters
sube al cielo buscandome -- it rises to the sky seeking me
y abre para mi todas -- and it opens for me all
las puertas de la vida -- the doors of life.

Amor mio, en la hora -- My love, in the darkest
mas oscura desgrana -- hour your laughter
tu risa, y si de pronto -- opens, and if suddenly
ves que mi sangre mancha -- you see my blood staining
las piedras de la calle, -- the stones of the street,
rie, porque tu risa laugh, -- because your laughter
sera para mis manos -- will be for my hands
como una espada fresca. -- like a fresh sword.

Junto al mar en otono -- Next to the sea in the autumn,
tu risa debe alzar -- your laughter must raise
su cascada de espuma, -- its foamy cascade
y en primavera, amor, -- and in the spring, love,
quiero tu risa como -- I want your laughter like
la flor que yo esperaba, -- the flower I was waiting for,
la flor azul, la rosa -- the blue flower, the rose
de mi patria sonora. -- of my echoing country.

Riete de la noche, -- Laugh at the night,
del dia, de la luna -- at the day, at the moon,
riete de las calles -- laugh at the twisted
torcidas de la isla, -- streets of the island,
riete de este torpe -- laugh at this clumsy
muchacho que te quiere, -- boy who loves you,
pero cuando yo abro -- but when I open
los ojos y los cierro, -- my eyes and close them,
cuando mis pasos van, -- when my steps go,
cuando vuelven mis pasos, -- and when my steps return,
niegame el pan, el aire, -- deny me bread, air
la luz, la primavera, -- light, spring
pero tu risa nunca -- but never your laughter
porque me moriria. -- for I would die.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Interesting how more people vote for American Idol contestants than Congressional Representatives.

Interesting how you can have a homeless persons' makeshift hut on one side of the American river, and a manicured golf course on the other.

Interesting how Christmas music begins the second week of November, yet the actual meaning of Christmas is considered "politically incorrect."

Interesting how we vote to protect chicken's rights, while unborn children are legally murdered.

Interesting how So. Cali is home to palm trees and millionaires, and desperate illegal aliens dying in the desert.

Interesting how we live in the Land of the Free, yet "One Nation Under God" and the Bible are prohibited.

Interesting how we value the Freedom of Speech, yet thou shalt not speak against homosexuality on campus.

Interesting how we consider ourselves a "Christian" nation, yet our top Box Office hits are ones promoting violence, infidelity and immorality.

Interesting that we are "fired up" on Sunday morning, yet forget all about it once we pick up the comics.

Interesting that we worship a God of love, yet we find imperfections in those around us.

Interesting that we find peace in His forgiveness and grace, yet are too judgmental to extend that ourselves.

Interesting that we pray we can be a light, yet when we have the opportunity, are too ashamed or "busy" to shine.


Interesting that we find these examples troubling, yet we do nothing about them.

What are you going to do about it? What am I going to do about it? Simply finding it interesting will definitely not suffice.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gotta be Somebody

This time, I wonder what it feels like
To find the one in this life
The one we all dream of
But dreams just arn't enough
So I'll be waiting for the real thing.
I'll know it by the feeling.
The moment when we're meeting
Will play out like a scene straight off the silvers creen
So I'll be holdin' my breath
Right up to the end
Until that moment when
I find the one that I'll spend forever with.

'Cause nobody wants to be the last one there.
'Cause everyone wants to feel like someone cares.
Someone to love with my life in their hands.
There's gotta be sombeody for me like that.

'Cause nobody wants to go it on their own
And everyone wants to know they're not alone.
Somebody else that feels the same somewhere
There's gotta be somebody for me out there.

You can't give up!
When you're looking for a diamond in the rough
Because you never know when it shows up
Make sure you're holdin' on
'Cause it could be the one, the one you're waiting for.

'Cause nobody wants to be the last one there.
'Cause everyone wants to feel like someone cares.
Someone to love with my life in their hands.
There's gotta be somebody for me like that.

'Cause nobody wants to go it on their own
And everyone wants to know they're not alone.
Somebody else that feels the same somewhere.
There's gotta be somebody for me out there.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Joys of Dishwashing

I love washing dishes in the fall. Winter too. Over half of the year, this is my absolute favorite chore of all.

For 10 or 15 minutes, three times a day, I get to srub dishes while heavenly warm water swirls around my fingers and splashes my wrists. It's like "spa day" for the hands...three times a day! And when I'm finished, my hands are officially and delightfully warm.

I love doing the dishes when it's raining too.

There's something special about watching the rain pelt the soggy earth. Watching it fly sideways and patter against the window. There's something magical about listening to the howl of the wind and the creaking of our old house, seeing the whirling and swirling of the cold rain - all while my hands are submerged in whirling, swirling warmth and bubbles.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good Things

Good things that happened this week:

  • Discovered a new branch of debate theory
  • My duo made Mrs. Wheeler cry
  • Got an $80 tip
  • Rocked out to Mendelssohn and Beethoven at choir rehearsal
  • Experienced the excitement of new apologetics students
  • Watched "Dancing with the Stars" - and loved it
  • Discovered the miracle of communication
  • Watched "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and had an attitude adjustment
  • Found out about a trip-of-a-lifetime!
  • Becamse the State Librarian for the Interpretation and Education Division
  • Official guitar calluses
  • Found three new all-time favorite songs

Good things that are going to happen this week:

  • Finish blocking that awesome duo
  • Work like crazy
  • Research debate like crazy
  • Go to a tournament and realize how much evidence I don't have
  • Get to watch "Dancing with the Stars"
  • PoliSci MIDTERM
  • Get paid! Boo-yah!
  • My archaeologist friend, John F. will be on National Geographic tomorrow featuring Captain Kidd's sunken shipwreck in the Dominican Republic. Can we say "super-cool"??

Thursday, November 13, 2008

European Doors

I love doors. I really love doors.
And guess what. Europe is filled with beautiful, interesting, old doors. I thought I died and went to heaven....

Isn't it beautiful? Quietly tucked away in a back street of Galdar, Gran Canaria, I couldn't pass it by

A Spanish door to silent timelessness (okay, this one's a window...)

Ghent, Belgium - a northern Venice

My favorite doors in Brussels, Belgium

A splash of color in Metz, France

Cathedral doors in Metz, France

The gate to Hitler's Headquarters

Hitler's Chapel Door (inviting, huh?)

Rottenburg, Germany

Ansbach, Germany

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Random Necessities

Clouds are magnetic.

All centipedes are alien spies.

Drinking fountains are the source of all evil and cause global warming.

If you fight the Force, it only get's stronger. It's not use, we're all gonna die.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Relative Relativity

According to boxing weight standards, I am a featherweight.
According to modeling standards, I am a heavyweight.

According to 1908, I am an old maid.
According to 2008, I am in the prime of life.

According to ARC standards, I am fluent.
According to actual Spaniards, I am definitely not.

According to some, I am a dreamer.
According to others, I am ambitious.

According to Google, I am the Religion In South Asia.
According to the Spanish Dictionary, I am Laughter.

According to the Census, I am Irish-German.
According to my lineage, I am Cuban.

According to some, I am scandalous.
According to some, I am conservative.

According to optometrists and the DMV, I am legally blind.
According to the blind, I can see.

According to certain debate ballots, I am victorious.
According to certain debate ballots, I am not.

According to many, I am morbidly strange.
According to Vicki, I am awesome.

There's a beauty in relativity. There's a freedom, a glorious independence from the judgements and labels of man. It all depends on the point of view.

According to God, I am His. And I am perfect.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

By a Show of Hands

"Politicians often have clammy hands. They're always in thier officies!"
Hmmm, an interesting bit of insight from a dear friend last night at our debate "Topic Study".

Lord, may my hands never by clammy with unuse. May they be callused and worn with Your work. Blisters hurt, a lot, but they serve to toughen so that we may be an "approved workman", able to do the job (whatever it may be) effectively.

I want some spiritual blisters. Strech me. Mold me. Break me.

May my hands be very worn and very callused.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A German Ballade

My life is brilliant.

My life is brilliant, my love is pure
I saw an angel of that I'm sure
She smiled at me on the subway
She was with another man
But I won't lose no sleep on that
'Cause I've got a plan
You're beautiful, you're beautiful
You're beautiful, it's true
I saw your face in a crowded place
And I don't know what to do
'Cause I'll never be with you

Yes, she caught my eye
As we walked on by
She could see from my face that
I was flying high
And I don't think that I'll see her again
But we shared a moment that will last 'till the end

You're beautiful, you're beautiful
You're beautiful, it's true
I saw your face in a crowded place
And I don't know what to do
'Cause I'll never be with you

You're beautiful, you're beautiful
You're beautiful, it's true
There must be an angel with a smile on her face
When she thought up that I should be with you
But it's time to face the truth
I will never be with you

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wonderful Mental Overload

The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and doesn’t stop until you get to the office. – Robert Frost

So true. Comically true. Ironically true - especially when you really need it to work!

Cyrano thinking last night.
Style-Guide thinking at work.
Political Science thinking tonight.
Speech night thinking tomorrow. Must.write.OO.first. Ahhh!
Debate thinking every day.
Debate intensive-study thinking on Saturday.
SAT-prep thinking every day.
Emotional thinking. Futuristic thinking. Happy thinking. Confused thinking. Thinking with friends. Thinking alone. Thinking outloud. Frustrated thinking. Excited thinking. Thinking thinking.

New thoughts. Strange thoughts. Interesting thoughts. Thinking thoughtful thoughts.

Isn't that what life is? One big journey of thoughts?

Monday, October 20, 2008

At work this morning, I'm assisting our Research Writer and Publications Editor create a style-guide providing boundaries for future Park Publications. It's an interesting project - and there's much to learn in the the following 20 Rules of Writing:

1. Shun and avoid the employment of unnecessary, excess extra words.
2. Make certain all sentences are full and complete. If possible.
3. Avoid cliches like the plague.
4. Take pain's to spell and, punctuate correctly.
5. BE consistent.
6. Don't approximate. Always be more or less precise.
7. Avoid pointless repetition, and don't repeat yourself unnecessarily.
8. Don't use no double negatives.
9. Don't never use no triple negatives.
10. All generalizations are bad.
11. Take care that your verb and subject is in agreement.
12. A preposition is a bad thing to end a sentence with.
13. Don't use commas, which aren't necessary.
14. "Avoid overuse of 'quotation' marks."
15. And't don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
16. Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its not necessary.
17. Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read.
18. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
19. Never use that totally cool, radically croovy out-of-date slang.
20. Avoid those long sentences that just go on, and on, they never stop, they just keep rambling, and you really wish the person would just shut up, but no, they just keep on going, they're worse than the Energizer Bunny, they babble incessantly, and these sentences, they just never stop.

Los Angeles: then and now

“This river flows on down nearly at ground level through a very green, lush, wide-reaching valley of level soil some leagues in extent from north to south;…which runs continually onward with a great amount of trees, lie very large, very green bottomlands, looking from afar like nothing so much as large cornfields…to my mind this spot can be given the preference in everything, in soil, water, and trees, for the purpose of becoming in time a very large plenteous mission…and so we have proclaimed it The River and Valley of Nuestra Senora de los Angeles de la Porciuncula.”
-Captain Gaspar de Portolo, August 2, 1769

As a debater traveling through Los Angeles multiple times each season, I found this 18th century description of the area comically sad. I wonder what Captain de Portolo would say about modern day LA:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"The struggle to perform well is universal: each of us faces fatique, limited resources, and imperfect abilities in whatever we do. But nowhere is this drive to do better more important than in medicine, where lives may be on the line with any decision. In his new book, Atul Gawande explores how doctors strive to close the gap between best intentions and actual performance in the face of obstacles that sometimes seem insurmountable.

Gawande's gripping stories of diligence, ingenuity, and what it means to do right by people take us to battlefield surgical tents in Iraq, labor and delivery rooms in Boston, a polio outbreak in India, and malpractice courtrooms around the country. He discusses the ethical dilemmas of doctors' participation in lethal injections, examines the influence of money on modern medicine, and recounts the astoundingly contentious history of handwashing. And as in all his writing, Gawande gives us an inside look at his own life as a practicing surgeon, offering a searingly honest firsthand account of work in a field where mistakes are both unavoidable and unthinkable."

It's my new flashlight-under-the-covers-past-midnight read. It's wonderful.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Laundry-Room Facelift

It's epic, folks. It's exciting. New! Bold!

After nearly 16 years of daily use and abuse, the very neglected laundry room finally recieved some well-deserved attention.

Scrubbing, sweeping, dusting, priming, taping....all in preparation for the glorious roller!
Be afraid, thou boring white! Shutter, you stained ceiling and dreary walls!

It's epic, folks. It's exciting!

New! Bold! B-e-a-utiful!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Much more than they've got planned...

"I guarantee it
I want much more than this provincial life
I want adventure in the great wide somewhere
I want it more than I can tell
And for once it might be grand
To have someone understand
I want so much more than they've got planned."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Today's Tomorrow

The day's doings: Researching certain govermental policies from the above country and whether we should (or should not) support them.

The day's findings: A beautiful piece of evidence....from tomorrow!