Thursday, February 28, 2013

Extreme Owl

I started yesterday without sleeping.

I couldn't fall asleep Tuesday night, so around 6 AM, I gave up, got up, and fixed myself some breakfast.  A couple of hours later I ventured outside into the winter wonderland of snow.  On my run I paused A LOT to take pictures.

It is said the early bird catches the worm; however, in my experience, the extreme owl catches the dinosaur and I think that is far better.
Back at the house I showered and ate another round of breakfast as I uploaded photos on my computer.  Just before noon the guy from down the shore sends me a message; he recommends I go for an early run to catch the beauty of the woods the snow melts away.  (For the most part we both do life at the lake like we're on California time.)  I told him it is too late of a suggestion and recommend he check out the photos I had just posted.

He said he was impressed and asked if I was still on for movie night later on.  I said yes, but that I would need to take an extended afternoon nap.  

Around 11:30 pm, I locked up the house and then something awful happened...

See next post - The Key - for the remainder of the story.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fire On Ice

The guy from down the shore picked me up from the airport Thursday evening.  I'm glad he picked me up rather than the cops.  In Denver, some guy named Evan tried to take over my seat on the plane for my final flight back to Detroit.  Typically I would be open to such an exchange, but this seat came with extra leg room, so I didn't feel like gifting my seat away.  After some resistance, and some flight attendance assistance, Evan got up, and took his assigned seat in the row ahead of me.

To be honest, I didn't think much of it.  But when we landed in Detroit, rather than letting us off the plane, the flight attendants made everyone stay put.  They explained we needed to sit back down to make room for some people to get through.  The two people who came on board were policemen. They went directly to Evan's seat - the one he tried to get me to sit in - and escorted him off the plane for who knows what reason.  An 8 year old girl sitting near me suggested, "I think he did something inappropriate."  I suspect she is right; Evan did something inappropriate.

Lesson learned: Don't exchange airplane seats with strangers.

The guy from down the shore got me home safely, and the next day I received a facebook message from him about a late night steak dinner.  So last night I headed down the shore around 9, joining 5 others for an 11 pm Sand Lake dinner.  And following our meal, I did this for the first time ever:

I went ice fishing! 

I didn't start hanging out with these 3 guys until this past year.  But evidently they use to hike down the shore, to my cottage, to watch Inspector Gadget with my big brother when we were all kids.  Our families have all had summer homes on the South Shore for years - one since the late 1800s, one since 1911, and one around the same as me, the mid 1940s.

One of the guys told me he remembers my sister, but not me, from when we were all younger.  He asked me if I use to be shy.  And the answer is yes.  I was back then.  Funny how someone who hardly knows me can know me that well.  I explained to him, with the dominant personality of my sister, and the comedic humor of my brother, there was little room for me to get a word in edgewise growing up.  So, for the most part, I defaulted to quiet and reserved - and especially so around boys. 

He then went on to speak of childhood memories on the lake and exploring the closed down summer camp.  It was as if he was speaking my own past to me - somewhat eerie, but also amazing.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Shake It Up

As we parted ways a week ago Friday, my second hottest guy friend asked me if I wanted to be in a film.  I said maybe.  He continued on to say something about the Harlem Shake.

I asked, "What is it?"  I assumed it had something to do with New York City.  I've been up to Harlem, just north of Central Park, at least a dozen times.  Maybe it was another burger place - like Shake Shack, but not.   

"Google it." My second hottest guy friend instructed me.  But I didn't.  And I opted out of filming to go hiking with friends. 

But my second hottest guy friend's short film soon showed up in my facebook newsfeed and so I took a peak.  And so I was exposed to this 30 second dance craze - the Harlem Shake 

To be honest, I didn't get it, but a couple more videos popped up in my newsfeed and I begin to pick up on the trend, so at least I understood what was happening on Tuesday when another friend of mine "tricked" me into participating in the Harlem Shake on a whim.

My friend Colin told me he'd like to see this electronic music show in Hollywood, so after I meet up with another friend at The Spice Table in Little Tokyo, I take the Red Line up to meet him at Dillons for a drink before we head to "the show."  He mentions something about wanting to get there early for some film.  I'm thinking we're going early for a film screening, but when we get to the venue, Colin pulls out a Sundae custome for me, and says, "Here, put this on."  Suddenly, I am made aware of what is going on.

And THIS is the pandemonium we created at the club:  Harlem Shake in Hollywood

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Theological Distress

I admitted to my parents on the way to the airport I’m a bit depressed.  Depressed was the word I used, but it wasn’t quite correct.  Theologically distressed is a better description for my condition.  As I recently explained to my second hottest guy friend in an e-mail, subject title:
the life I almost had…
pics attached... of the epic nyc apartment i almost had... there's actually another bedroom too, on the other side... but yeah... super bummed on many levels that it didn't work out with this job... (75K, plus housing, and plenty of down time to write)

granted, i believe in divine interceptions, but it's tricky when you think God is guiding you one way, only for him to throw out the groundwork you thought HE was laying... i didn't have to be the top finalist for this position.  God could have shut the doors well before i was flown out for a trial run through.  (although, i feel the same way about things with _____.  he and i didn't have to meet up; him remembering me was plenty.)  in my life, it often seems God is a bit of a tease.

When my second hottest guy friend and I met up for drinks on Friday, he acknowledged, “You HAVE been through a lot.  Yet you’ve managed to stay pretty positive through it all.”  And I have been, for the most part, but the last blow hit me REALLY hard, moving me from positivity to theological distress.  If only my second hottest guy friend knew my inner thoughts, but I try to avoid being a downer when time is short.

But the guy who taught me how to surf over a decade ago pulled my theological hurt out of me as he drove me back “home” late, last night.  He brought up New York’s recent hurricane and said, “Sometime I’d like to hear more what it was like to go through Sandy.”  I decided then was as good as time as any, so I shared with him my story.

And then Bryan mentioned something about the book of Job.  That’s when I admitted to him, I wish the book of Job didn’t end the way it did.  Because the book makes it sound like a redemptive ending is available in the here and now, rather than just in heaven.  I told Bryan I’d like to think God has my back, but this past year, especially, I feel like he has left me hanging.  I explained, I thought God was redeeming the numerous losses I’ve encountered with the job I nearly landed last month.  I told him I'm trying to be thankful - and that I'm grateful my health is better, my parents are letting me stay with them, and, in finally being well enough to look for work, I'm able to collect unemployment.

When my parents and I arrived at Detroit’s airport nearly 2 weeks ago, my Dad came with me inside.  After weighing my suitcase, I told my Dad with tears in my eyes.  “Dad, it really bothers me that the guy from down the shore is happier than me.”  (The guy from down the shore isn’t a Christian.)  My dad replied, “Paul also went through his times of suffering.”  We hugged good bye, and as we exchanged I love you’s my tears quickened.  As my Dad turned to walk away, I noticed tears had also welled up in his own eyes. 

As I waited in line to go through security, I considered how miserable it must be as a parent to see your son or daughter hurting and have no way to fix it.  I was a mess; I shouldn’t be traveling.  Yet I knew I needed to get out of Michigan – I needed sunshine, ocean, mountains, good times, good friends, and good teaching.  If I was a cell phone, my battery was near dead; my spirit needed to be recharged before I really did fall into some sort of depression.

When I got to my gate, I noticed a flat screen on the wall turned to a news interview.  The caption at the bottom stated, “Sandy Victim: Nothing More to Lose”

Nothing more to lose.

Nothing more to lose.

Nothing more to lose.

I ran away from my gate, trying to get away from the haunting words on the screen – yet they stayed with me, reminding me, of everything I’ve already lost. 

Nothing more to lose.

I've already lost my job.

I've already lost my home.

I lost my health.

I lost the 2 months of writing “promised” to me in New York

I lost nearly all my possession in the hurricane

I found a place tucked away, where I could cry without being disturbed. 

That was 12 days ago.  But Sunday night, here in LA, I went to bed feeling recharged and alive.  Sunday night was one of the best nights I've had in a long while.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

To Be Heard

Over the weekend I met up with a friend of mine who I cheered with in college.  She now works for University of Michigan’s athletic department, specifically, the football team.  Spending time with her reminded me of the time I received a prank phone call from the lead singer of Anberlin offering me a coaching position for the University of Michigan’s cheer team.  This was before I had a cell phone, and just after I had woken up from a nap.  Stephen had me going for a good several minutes thinking it was some sort of legit job offer before coming clean that it was just him.   

I know I probably shouldn’t mention cheerleading.  (Please note - that was long ago – today I play guitar and snowboard.)  But cheerleading is a significant part of my past – nearly 14 years of being on teams, instructing at summer camps, and coaching.  And through it, especially in coaching, I know I’ve touched the lives of many.  Yes, even cheerleading can be a redemptive activity.  And for the record, in Michigan, we call it a sport, recognized as such by the Michigan High School Athletic Association.
But in college, I wasn’t supposed to be able to cheer.  I was much too tall for the coed team.  At 5’8” there was hecka no way I stood a chance of being selected for the team.  They look for girls around 5 feet tall who can easily be tossed up in the air – I was too big. 

So spring, my freshmen year of college, I decided to give it a go at the dance team instead.  I was doing extremely well and made it to the final round of tryouts, but pulled from the process when I realized I REALLY wanted to be cheering instead.  So I called up U of M’s athletic department and told them I was interested in starting an all-girls team.  And they said – no thank you and you can’t.  I was devastated and cried, I think.  My friend Emily and I then prayed about it another means to cheering came to me – why not start an NFL team?!  So I called up the Detroit Lions, and expressed my interest in starting a team for them.  Their response was more of the same.  “No thank you.  We’re all set.”
So I pondered some more and did some research.  In doing so, I discovered that you can start ANY organization on campus as long as you have 5 signatures.  So I recruited a few friends who know nothing of cheerleading to sign off for me, and then proceeded to hang up sign all over campus and hold tryouts in the CCRB.  I was determined, I would cheer through my college years – and I did.  And the team is still going strong today, and even started competing.

I suppose history of the team I started is why I wasn’t all that opposed when I learned a few weeks ago that women are now permitted to “tryout” for combat.   My dad, on the other hand, was outraged.  But I get how frustrating it is to be told “no” just because your genetics made you a certain way.  And the Christian tradition I experienced in college was awful when it came to not allowing women to embrace the gifts God has given them. 
I chatted further with the guy from down the shore on the combat matter and he pointed out the dangers for women if/when they are captured.  That’s all he needed to say to sway me in the other direction.  Good point – I hadn’t considered all the rape that is likely to take place.  I also caught an interview with a gal who had attempted the training program for combat and had failed.  She shared, “The fact of the matter is, we aren’t all created equal.”  What she meant is that our bodies are designed differently.  She went on to explain how her body was negatively impacted far more than the men’s.  Okay, so there are some limitations to what a gal can physically do – just like men can’t give birth.

But when it comes to having a voice and speaking, contrary to Christian tradition throughout the ages, I feel strongly that the voice of women ought to be heard.