Thursday, November 17, 2005


"The only thing I can say is that it takes place-or the best of it takes place-in a sort of vacuum. On the worst of mornings. On the least likely of mornings. When you expect nothing to happen. When the page is blank. When the mind is blank. Even in a state of depression or melancholia. And, then, only with good luck...

Oh, don't misunderstand me. I think you have to be sitting there. You have to 'wait' in good faith. You have to go to work like anyone else, or I do anyway. I have to go to work at nine o'clock. And in that sense you force it. You've got to start in some way...You have to have a routine and live up to it and then hope for the best." - Walker Percy

He's talking about writing, a truly difficult process. But this applies to all of life.

It takes that faith of waiting, which seems to be much of life: waiting for love, for creativity, for realization of dreams, for change, for security, and so on. Sometimes these things come, sometimes they do not. Sometimes the waiting is days, sometimes years. I hate waiting and yet find the process has been transformative in so many situations. Like working towards love and marriage with Dan. It took years for my heart to be fully ready... much pain and soul searching to get there (and saintliness on Dan's part in staying with me for years while I was uncertain). But in the end, marriage has been a wild celebration of the best years of our relationship. It's been the freest, safest, most healing, holistic time of my life and I know it's because of all the groundwork laid... and because of who Dan is, which is oh, so right for me.

I am thankful daily for the rewards of waiting. Would that I remember this when I am stuck in that agonizing, hellish process again (as I have been for fifteen years now in terms of my creativity and calling).

In the meantime, I guess I'll show up, as Percy says. I'll start so that I am there when something happens.

Friday, October 28, 2005

A House of My Own

"Not a flat. Not an apartment in back. Not a man's house. Not a daddy's. A house all my own. With my porch and my pillow, my pretty purple petunias. My books and my stories. My two shoes waiting beside the bed... Only a house quiet as snow, a space for myself to go, clean as paper before the poem." - "A House of My Own" from "The House on Mango Street", Sandra Cisneros

I love the space I have now with my Daniel... it is truly 'a house of my own'. But this passage is an inspiration and I think a wonderful image for every woman. Why is it that we as women wait for a man to validate our deepest personage and refrain from pursuing our passions and solidifying who we are? We see not the profound satisfaction and value in what she talks of here; rather, we wait for a man and children to complete us. Certainly a man could be our completing factor in the right timing and were he our soul mate. BUT... the timing will never be right with anyone if we do not spend the intense years and effort to find who it is we are apart from any other person, and thus, actually have a self to bring to a relationship rather than trying to find a self in and from one.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Singing in the Car

Dinner on a cozy Fall night with wine and good conversation. Hearts open. Safety to reveal.

Afterwards, I left for home engulfed by fog so thick, I could barely see a few feet in front of me. This made driving difficult, maybe dangerous, but the roads were quiet at this time of night and I drove slowly through the mist.

I resumed listening to B sides from Alanis Morissette. Unlike most of my friends who listen/ed to her, she grew exponentially in favor with me post "Jagged Little Pill". While she became less and less a central figure in the music world, her subsequent albums selling significantly below "Pill", she pursued things like working with the Sisters of Mercy in India and I found a profound kindred in her lyrics. "All I Really Want", my favorite song on "Pill", was a foreshadowing of the type of lyric that would connect most deeply with me.

I recall my first hearing of "Thank You" before her second album was released. I was in San Francisco with YWAM before I moved here, and a music loving friend from LA had moved up here and given me the single he got as a promotional CD at work. I sat in my dorm room at the YWAM base listening and crying. It became my theme song for the months with YWAM in SF and overseas in Thailand and Vietnam. She would forever change for me after this.

As I drove, I listened to the B sides from "Under Rug Swept", some of them as much loved songs for me as those on her albums.

"Unprodigal Daughter" - a favorite musically and lyrically so freeing and accurate, though slightly hostile. "This plane cannot fly fast enough". My passion rises with it's cries.

"Offer" - "Is it my calling to keep on when I'm unable/ Is it my job to be selfless extraordinaire..." I harmonize and release, wishing for the freedom and release of the pressure to be all things to all people that I impose upon myself.

"Fear of Bliss" - "Sometimes I feel it's all just too big to be true/ I sabotage myself for fear of what my bigness could do..." The uncertainty, the self doubt, the hesitation, the impossibility... fear of what is bigger than myself. My vision is too big for my capability.

"Purgatorying" - a favorite. Stays in my head so that I am singing it in the shower and at work and while walking around the city. Haunting. "Entertain me for the tenth hour in a row again/ Anesthetize me with your gossip and any random anecdotes and/ Fill every hour with activity or ear candy..."

I sang through the fog at the top of my lungs. I harmonized. As always, the dark brought my true self out. No holding back. I was understood and expressed through song, once again. A lifelong thread.

Drove over the hill from the Sunset to my 'hood with the downtown skyline obliterated by oceans of fog. But I knew it was still there. Just as I knew there were wings on my back and limitless possibility in my spirit. Anything is possible.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Robot Girl

I am reading Colette's, "The Vagabond".

"This evening I shall not feel sleepy, and the spell of a book - even a brand-new book with that smell of printers' ink and paper fresh from the press that makes you think of coal and trains and departures! - even that spell will not be able to distract me from myself."

Words bringing images to my head... Colette is vibrant and stunning with images as simple as the smell of a book (and those who know my secert habits know I love to smell books).

That "surge of expectancy" I mentioned a month ago was for a reason and I am in the throes of new breakthroughs and discovery. A couple of weeks ago, I was tingling with growth and new levels of freedom. But this week I am merely present, busy, enjoying myself on some level but on another, numb and wishing the constant voice I was hearing in my head during those hours of breakthrough would keep speaking. I need the wisdom and life it was whispering to me. Maybe it has not gone, but I don't hear it and instead, feel again as the robot girl who thoroughly works her way through a tight schedule, meeting a myriad of friends, attending to many duties, but inside reaching for the full moon in her night sky and finding it just out reach.

"... then I forget once again the memory of what I was, in the fear of becoming once more alive; I want nothing, I regret nothing... until the next time my confidence lands me in disaster, until that inevitable moment of crisis when, with terror in my eyes, I see advancing towards me, with gentle, powerful hands, the sadness that guides and accompanies one in all the pleasures of the flesh."

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Tuesday night we talked... all of us. A group of ten, from age 19 to early 40's. Wildly different personalities and backgrounds. But a unifying desire to be real, to seek more, to be present, to use words to convey our deepest core while wanting so much more than words. Talk of action. "This faith has got to have wheels if it's going to be worth anything at all."

Dan and I have prayed, waited, and hoped. My vision has been clear for years. It has been directed and specific for this very thing. I can't even express how much I have known this is what I and all of us need and have held it so clearly in my sights as to almost taste it. Ever since I moved to San Fran the vision has been building. Here, four years later, it is unfolding.

Arts Night was a big step over a year ago now. It still packs them in. Now we begin to gather even more regularly and consistently - with more intentionality.

We did not know how it would go. We both had apathy cloaking our fear before everyone came on Tuesday. But we prayed for half an hour, releasing it all back to God and the night was... beyond our hopes even. Beautiful and free.

I know not what led me to the Nouwen book, but I spent two hours two weeks ago writing favorite notes from the first part of "Reaching Out". I feared I emailed it out into the void with others probably wondering why I was so damn wordy and pretentious. But then multiple people call or email telling me that the words were JUST what they needed to hear; one said she printed them up, carried them with her all week and danced with eagerness every time she read over them; others said they had to read over them to get them but found them very piercing. Then when we gathered, conversation flowed and acquaintances and strangers poured out a piece of their souls. I saw parts of friends I had never seen before and heard words of wisdom that are staying with me like a mantra in the back of my head. We held hands and prayed at the end, simple, straightforward, all reverent and hushed in the knowledge of the depths we had just plumbed with one another.

This is communing. This is community. It is humble in beginning and the results and coming steps are out of our control. But I know God sees the secret desire of my heart and is already responding with more glory than I could even ask for. Goodness is pouring out.

Afterwards, Dan kissed me over and over, saying he was so proud of me and thanked God we were on the same team. I think we make a great one, by the grace of God. May the rest flow from beyond our meager capabilities and continue to surprise us all.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The eternal week

Where to start? The past week and a half have seemed as months, and gone deeper than years of experience. Healing. Words. Hope. Connection. Promise in the midst of loss.

Two days of fasting. Endless prayer. Conversation after conversation. Prayer retreat all weekend. Reading just what I needed to hear to prepare for this week of purging and renewal. Insights coming at me from everywhere, in almost everything. One of those rare seasons where each moment is resonant with meaning. Tears and sobbing both. First loss. Grieving. Acknowledging. Then accepting. Receiving. Restoration through other means.

Oh, Daniel. Ever the soul mate to see beyond my words right to me. The truest me. We pray and stand together. We look out at the same vision and cry out for it with all our hearts. When I see my ugliness, you tell me of the profound joy I bring you -that there is no one else. “I am your bestest”, you say. And I concur with all of me. You have been more than I could have asked for... even as great as my asking was.

In the aftermath of rejection and loss, Dan feeds into me adoration, acceptance, and what is most unconditional of love. This love comes also from Justine as we cry and reveal together all afternoon. In Anita’s anne/diana-like promise to be there “as long as the sun and moon shall endure.” From Chelsea as she strokes my hair and says, “You have a good heart, Ginny.” To be seen at the heart. Few can do it, but those who have, such as these this week, have been messengers of God offering life-giving words.

God is telling me something through these signs… and through so much more. This week alone would take hundreds of pages of writing to expose the wealth of truth coming at me, into me, through me, around me. The promise redolent in the aftermath of loss where nothing remains but sad aching. Promise breathes her wind over the barren field and whispers, “Rise up. You will not only walk again, but are still being prepared to fly.”

As Kathy prayed over me this weekend, she described the talons that have gripped me being finally completely pulled out. I see the blood dripping from them, while she viewed the release and scars that no longer wound. May these scars remind me not once again of all I am not, which I already plague myself with constantly, but of who I am at heart, since a small girl, where no one can come in and steal my essence. The essence my Creator made me with. My essence is not rebellious, tiresome, hideous or worthless, much as I have accepted those lies and curses on me. Rather, it is needed, powerful, refreshing, beautiful, right. May God confirm the truth when even those I love cause me to doubt it was ever true. May God infuse this essence I have always had with balance and wisdom, seasoning the prophetic voice with grace for all. The grace I have so radically known.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Surge of expectancy

Something is moving underneath. Yes, I am always stirred, searching, reaching for more... but something is definitely afoot and I know it well. That feeling when on the verge of re-awakening, of breaking through to the next level.

On one hand, nothing is changed, yet inside, I feel a surge of expectancy stronger than I have felt in some time. Fear still plagues me like a consuming disease. Reservation taunts my logic. Hesitation threatens to keep me from ever reaching my full potential.

And yet... something is moving. Has always been there. It has burst forth in my life at numerous times, though never stayed. But soon it is going to explode, surprising me with its force, refusing to let me hold it in anymore.

This is passion... passion with wisdom. Passion with direction. Passion that is holistic and free, not leaving any part of me behind.

Monday, September 26, 2005


"Junebug": a film haunting me since I saw it a couple weeks ago. Justine and I watched it one afternoon after wandering around the Embarcadero. I wanted to see it since reading glowing reviews about first time director, Phil Morrison. It moved us so that we took Dan to see it two nights later.

It's subtle, simple, refreshingly slow. Family dynamics, misunderstanding, understanding beyond words, discovering surprising places in each other. How well it portrayed the difference in marriages between the parents and brothers... the tension of different values and lives coupled with the similarities.

Amy Adams - what a joy her performance was! Such purity of heart and intention... like a child. She broke my heart and reminded me of the depth behind a seemingly naive demeanor.

There are numerous scenes that haunt: many with Amy Adams. But also the scene at the church potluck singing "Softly and Tenderly". You could feel the collective silence in the theater as everyone was struck by this profoundly simple, deep moment.

The film captured the intense pain and longing we feel in family relationships to go beyond the invisible walls keeping us from freely loving each other, with tender abandon; without all the wounds we've inflicted on one another...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Silence that Speaks

I just read "Virgin Time: In Search of the Contemplative Life", by Patricia Hampl, and a few passages running through my mind. Reading them was not radically different than other passages I have read by kindred spirit authors, but it's still always a joy to stumble across something that invokes the response: "That is SO me!"

"Spiritual life wasn't a quest, it was a disappearing act. I wanted... to fade, to vanish. But I was afraid that sounded macabre, though I didn't feel morbid. It was something else: sink, swim, fly, die, that mystic urge from all those years ago..."

"I was inside. Inside what? Within what I am seeking: the silence that speaks."

"My university friends were writers, artists. I saw those from Lutheran and Episcopalian backgrounds go in for Eastern meditation in a big way, finding someting genuine in the stripped-down style of Zen, something indisputably better than the Scotch-before-dinner habits of their Episcopal priest... They loved the bare bones of Zen, and they clawed at their Christian cages, thrusting imitation Basho poems between the bars."

"Some people speak of prayer as a need to surrender. All that swooning of the mystics, giving over to the Divine Lover. Bernini's St. Teresa in her ecstasy, still scandalizing the rationalists with the orgasmic joy of her prayer. But surrender doesn't say it - and even in silence, how I need a thing said. What is that impulse that has always been there, refuting logic and requiring song?

It must be instinct for praise. A ferocious appetite for humility which we intuit is a proper recognition of our truth: We are not simply made, but embraced. Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has made you. Made you to sing. Surrender - surrender even your voice, enter this silence. And become song.

I have always had a powerful sense of something pulsing which I could not name but also could not deny: a dynamic existence beyond me, yet in me. Spirit it is called - and why not? The invisible essence that is everywhere, including within ourselves...

This rich experience of life is not personal, though it is interior. It is an aspect of what we know to be the Divine, to be God - who was called in Hebrew, the first language of our tradition, Yahweh. That is, Our Integrity. I wished to find this Integrity."

The book is far from amazing, yet contains some wonderful moments. How I love the passage about song... I well relate to St. Teresa and her mystical experience of God.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Wonder... and the Night

Wonder is not precisely Knowing
And not precisely Knowing not ~
A beautiful but bleak condition
He has not lived who has not felt...
- Emily Dickinson, poem # 1331

Wonder... how often I have known it. It permeates my life. Just the sight of the moon alone is enough to send me into ecstasies, soaring the night sky.

Dan once told me years ago, long before we dated, that I had the depth of a midnight sky behind the stars: endless, unfathomable. His poetry sang to me and I knew that though my depth may be inifinite, alas, so, too, are my faults.

Glimpsing the fog rolling in front of a full moon the other night made my heart leap with the possibility, romance, adventure, and beauty of life. As always, seeing the night sky restores the strong urge in me to get lost forever in the depth of night. Darkness does not depress me. I come alive in the night time hours and respond to melancholy. It brings joy, not despair to my soul. Here's to lush, profound melancholy.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sleepless Nights

Ah, this summer of insanity… and privileges. Visits from my best friend and family are life giving. Other close friends’ visits have added delightful memories to my storehouse. Weddings and trips were plentiful, with my brother’s wedding the highlight.

Likewise, communion with our local friends has been rich. Nights mixing “creative” cocktails or eating fondue, talking about books, relationships and life with Dave & Becca. Weeknight walks followed by a warm cup of tea, connecting soul to soul with Chelsea as she stops by on her way home from work. Movie nights and bonfires on the beach with our “urban tribe”. Four of the always fabulous Stern Grove Festival concerts, replete with picnics. Wine tasting at our favorite new bar, the cozy, classy Hidden Vine, in the basement of a boutique hotel. Sunday lunches with “the tribe” at Carrie’s charming place either inside or out in her little garden. A rousingly inspiring Arts Night. Dinners with friends at Town Hall, Moki Sushi, Fog City Diner, Blowfish Sushi, Blue Plate and others spots in the endlessly amazing SF dining scene. Kabuki Hot Springs with Kristy (my first massage! Heavenly!) Writing group in Berkeley carries on. Regularly playing music at church under the capable direction of the musical wunderkind, Dave.

As always, Dan and I continue to share adventures around our beloved Bay Area, savoring things we love. We’ve shared a few picnics on our roof this summer – on Labor Day, we made the best meal yet of any we’ve cooked: a seared sushi grade Ahi– from the best butcher ever, Drewes’ Brothers- with grilled nectarine and red onion skewers (so much juicy flavor from the fruit), drizzled with a balsamic sauce we made, a side of roasted zucchini with pine nuts, parmesan and a sweet glaze, accompanied by a perfect Chardonnay I bought last week in Sonoma at Alexander Valley Vineyards. Jazz at Yoshi’s. Hikes in Marin. “The Overcoat” at A.C.T. – yeah, half price tickets!! Always the concerts: Sufjan Stevens (with Dave, Becca & Natashia). Medeski, Martin & Wood at the spectacular Villa Montalvo. A couple excellent films in a (thus far) lackluster film year: “The Constant Gardner” and “Junebug” (saw that one twice – haven’t done that in a long while). Nights reading together with soothing or rousing music playing, or listening to Dan play piano.

My life is made up of so many good things. I am surrounded by things that inspire and challenge me. I adore my Dan. I know incredible friends. My family is the dearest. Creative goals are always dissatisfied in me yet most other goals are met in beautiful ways and that is no small feat. Even still, I feel a deep sadness within. Longing rages on. Always.

Last night, I was awake over two hours in the middle of the night, even as my Dad and sister are staying with us and I have a full week of visiting and work. I awoke and couldn’t sleep. The sadness and brevity of life were, once again, haunting my sleepless moments. I HATE feeling the impending closeness of death but am aware of it more and more as the years fly by. It’s morbid, it’s painful, yet it’s very real. I don’t want to face it. I cannot bear the loss of anyone in my family. I was thinking what I would do if I lost my father and the loss is too great to comprehend. With any family member. Or Dan.

I contemplated my selfishness and weaknesses and the burdened me painfully. I seem to get worse as I get older… or is it that I am aware of my faults more and more? Either way, it’s agonizing feeling as if you are ‘slipping’ instead of ripening with “old age”. How I want to not only ripen but blossom, pour out, explode into radiance.

I ache for my thirties to be a time of coming into my own in a most explosive way. Will this occur or is comfortable deterioration in order? You know I have always raged against complacency. Someone who no longer grows, learns or challenges themselves is someone I feel very sorry for – and someone I never wish to be. Yet I wonder if I am fated to live out my worst fears with such a strong personality as mine and very specific loves and hates. How can I not get irritable and unbearable as an old woman?

May wisdom and grace temper my passion. I value fire and vision. But I also crave balance and discernment. I have all these things but oft times, passion wins out and overrides my deliberation. I prefer this. I do not wish to live cautiously. Yet what better a person than a fiery powerhouse who uses her vision at the right times and in the right place, feeding the fiery vision while becoming more whole with quiet and nurture?

I cannot do this for myself. It seems hopeless. May God see fit to grant this gift to me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Fleeting Possibility

Life is plunging forward into the murky depths of busyness... this summer is insanely full of more weddings and visitors. Weddings of dear friends (Scott and Brooke) and in three weeks, my brother and close friend, Amy. Visitors have likewise been the dearest of friends, Adam & Kate, Shannon & Ephraim, and my truest Anita and Justine coming late August and September.

It has been hard to be as consistent as we'd like with San Fran friends in the midst of all this constant visiting and traveling, yet somehow threads of depth have signified our connections here of late. We have some excellent friends here. Two of my closest in San Fran, Elena and Laura, are moving home this next month (Denver and Washington DC, respectively), and I am so sad to see them go.

Change is certain - stability is not. Yet I can't help but pray in my bones for some things to be truly stable and peaceful in our lives: work especially. Community and relationship, certainly. Dreams and possibility... may they have soil to grow in, without having to be constantly uprooted as they often are in my transient world.

In my incredible miracle of a part time job now with Genentech, I have only just begun my new schedule, allowing previously unimagined freedom and openness. I fear trashing this open canvas of opportunity with wasted time and shallowness. Or with overcommittments. Or both. I fear it won't last and something will make the job fall through this year or next or soon. I fear this gift of time and space that has been handed to me will suddenly dissipate before I've had a chance to even taste of its ripeness, much less actually sink into it, allowing it to become as much a part of my existence as breathing.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Always Reading

You can't stop me. No matter how busy I am, how fast life flies by, I don't stop reading. Some months I read way more than others, but read, I must. It fills my life with a richness that cannot be described. My mind expands, worlds open up to me, new understanding fills me, I am more connected to other people and viewpoints. The value of reading is immense and life-changing. Would that everyone had a chance to be transformed by such a simple but profound habit.

Here are just some of the books I have read this spring:

  • "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley - It's sad I took this long to read this classic, a favorite of Dan's and more than a few of my friends. It was heavily thought-provoking, unsettling and insightful in its view of a sterilized, futuristic world.
  • "Serve it Forth" by M.F.K. Fisher - Long heralded the master of culinary writing, being introduced to Fisher was like meeting an old friend and kindred. Yes, she is the truest of all "Foodies", writing about her passion for food and travel in the early to mid part of the twentieth century. But she is also a gifted, humorous writer whose spark for life shines through in each delightful essay. I can't wait to read more of her.
  • "The Early Diary of Anais Nin, Volume 2: 1920-1923" by Anais Nin - Speaking of kindred... For a bi-sexual, wild bohemian who pushed the boundaries from the 1930's and beyond with her erotica and experimentation, I did not suspect to find a kindred soul whose extensive journaling, dreamer's spirit and sensitive heart so resemble my own. In countless passages I feel as if I am reading myself... it is eerie.
  • "The Jane Austen Book Club" by Karen Joy Fowler - Popular bestseller with a fun premise and layout but in the end, lacking, as most bestsellers, literary as they may be, are for me. Had its moments but wasn't ultimately worth reading.
  • "Interior Castle" by St. Teresa of Avila - Ben got me this book for Christmas, which was nice since I've long meant to read it. Though written in the 1300's, her honest, frank approach is every bit as applicable today to the spiritual journey of the mystic. Soul searching and remaining steadfast are themes of this journey through the many varying levels of faith. When I first began reading, I thought I'd have reached 'castle three' at best, but as I read the entire book, I surprisingly found that 'castle six' most described where I am at in my spiritual journey.
  • "Blue Like Jazz" by Don Miller - A quote on the back of the book hails him as "Anne Lammot with testosterone", which is ambitious but not accurate. Her skills, craft and humor are much more focused, honed. But his honesty and straightforwardness are vauguely reminiscent of her. On his own, he wrote a simple book which immediately connects, presenting a refreshing, real Christian in today's postmodern age.
  • "Diet for a Dead Planet: How the Food Industry is Killing Us" by Christopher D. Cook - Frightening expose on the production, farming and manufacturing of food in the past fifty years. Directly linked to much of the disease and sickness we know today, the way food is farmed, sprayed and grown is chilling, leaving little room for most of us to escape disease or worse without serious changes... soon.
  • "Status Anxiety" by Alain de Botton - His "Art of Travel" is by far his best book, but I still enjoy his philosophical, artistic, historical approach to a subject. In this book, he deals with the meaning of status, respect and power in societies throughout the ages.
  • "God's Politics" by Jim Wallis - The message of this book is desperately needed in today's Church and world, especially among evangelicals. I so wish I could have most people I know read it. Finally (!!!!), a balanced voice in politics concerned with actually following the teachings of Christ and with real issues from a GLOBAL, social justice standpoint, not a nationalistic, naive American one (though still clearly an American, he has invested much of his time in forming worldwide relationships). The book can bog down a bit, but this is easily overlooked in light of the message's vast importance.

Never let your mind be squashed by the limits of ignorant, simple pop culture or spirituality. Read on, my friends, read on.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A Restful Weekend

Finally! The past weeks have delivered a series of overly busy weekends filled with visiting guests, weddings and a long list of commitments.

Upon the arrival of this glorious San Francisco weekend of pristine blue sky, warm sun, upper 70 degree weather, and idyllic beauty, Daniel and I "took it easy" and kept our weekend free for rest and each other. What a difference in outlook when one allows themselves to 'putter around' without responsibility for a couple of days. It's too rare, but should not be.

We did sing and play music at church on Sunday morning, arriving early to rehearse, staying half the day as usual. I soloed on "I'll Fly Away" (a countrified gospel version) and "You Alone". But that was the (unusual) extent of our "have tos" for the weekend.

Friday night, Dan and I met at "Izzy's Steak and Chop House" in the Marina. It's old school and musty, the dishes replete with boiled carrots and unimaginative sides. But much character. Reminds me of chop houses in New York, full of personality and charm, history lining its walls in the stories and photos of Izzy, and a bar going strong since Prohibition. Our table was on an elevated platform lined with bottles of BBQ and hot sauces along with ketchups and mustards. The room was playful and cozy, while the food was merely average. Not bad, mind you. Rarely is a meal in San Francisco so, but not up-to-par with what we can get around the city. We had fun with it, however. Me with my MASSIVE burger, Dan with his sirloin steak.

We walked up Union Street afterwards for a little fig and rum raisin gelato from Emporio Rulli, the cafe with a fully Italian feel ethos, right down to the Italian staff and foods. The fig gelato had freezer burn, which did not bode well, but the rum raisin was luscious. We sat on the bench outside while an Italian jazz band played just behind us, and read the newest issue of "The Onion", which had us both uprorious. Ah, the sweet, simple moments.

Saturday started with an always soul-fulfilling four hour conversation with my Anita. Amazing how those hours seemed so brief and that we barely scratched the surface of what we wanted to say. It's amazing to reflect on her kindredship for fifteen years now. I can't say I know anyone my age who has not merely such a long lasting friendship, but one deep and profound as it ever was, with no signs of dying after many years.

After my refreshing discourse with Anita, Dan cooked us a brilliant lunch of juicy pork in our delicious Fig & Balsamic Onion sauce from Napa; moist hominy with cayenne and spices; feta and cherry tomato salad in basalmic and our olive oil from Lucca, Italy; and sweet onions Dan grilled in brown sugar. A watermelon Smirnoff Ice washed it down nicely.

The warm, lazy afternoon led to a couple hours laying out on our rooftop, reading, drinking rasberry/strawberry/mint/triplesec smoothies I made, dozing and getting browned by the sun. Eventually we came inside for a bit of lovemaking and napping. Always a lovely Saturday afternoon.

In the evening, Daniel and I took the J line over the hill to Pauline's Pizza Pie in the Mission. We ordered a half carafe of the house white, delivering a bit of gaiety to our table on this summerlike night. Not since our month in Italy over a year ago have I been able to polish off a few glasses of wine with ease. Well, mostly ease. I did get a bit ridiculous for awhile! We shared a fresh ceasar salad with 'freckled' greens, followed by pizza: half garlic, half artichoke, sage, herbs and meyer lemon oil. Hit the spot. We headed down a couple blocks to Bombay Chaat and Ice Creamerly, an Indian ice cream shop, to get a vibrant ginger and green tea ice cream combo. Yum! It was a lovely walk home up steep Church Street (the J train wasn't in sight so we knew we could walk home in ten minutes instead of waiting for it) at the twilight hour, replete with a stop atop Mission Dolores Park to gaze out at city skyline.

At 9pm, the fireworks from the KFOG Kaboom! festival went off and we ran up to our rooftop where we could (mostly) see them. It was a pure night, shining with full moon and floods of stars. The fireworks were booming and plentiful. We stood like children barefoot on the roof, thrilling to the cacophany of cannon bursts thundering throughout the city.

The evening ended with us renting the 1996 documentary, "Hype!", on the Seattle grunge scene. A Doug Pray film who did "Scratch", which we loved. That doc was much more interesting and solid than "Hype!" but the film still had its moments. I have to say it doesn't paint a particularly good view of Seattle natives. They seem arrogant, simple and dramatic in their representation of the impact of grunge, saying how much they "didn't need the hype" and were so "annoyed" by it, when you could tell they were actually quite proud of the attention it brought Seattle for a time. Still, it made me miss the hard rocking days of Nirvana, PJ, and Soundgarden. Glad I got to see Soundgarden in concert before they disbanded.

Sunday was spent at church half the day, as I mentioned earlier, with a rowdy lunch at Ali Baba's Cave (we sat on pillows on the floor in the 'cave') for a middle eastern spread. Dan and Natashia were keeping things moving with their bizzare, infectious humor and Mark and Dave plowed through absolutely giant plates of (cheap) food. We stepped next door afterwards for root beer floats at Burger Joint as Dave shared with us details of his work in carpentry and Mark reminisced about his home state of Hawaii.

We spent the evening on Sunday talking to family on the phones, Dan worked on his music, I read. It was a much needed weekend and the kind of pace I yearn to set more frequently in our "go, go, go" society which demands constant action to be of value. If we're ever going to give in to the creative in us, we need time, "endless hours of noodling and doodling", says Georgia O'Keefe, who reiterates that takes time to "see" a flower, really see it, before we can paint or photograph it.

Here's to seeing.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Leap

I have leaped. In the midst of uncertainty, lack of provision, even any fulfilling options, I have stepped out and see no safety net to catch me. In the midst of this leap, comes another attack -stolen writings, photos, memories - peices of my past and my future. A true heartbreak. This week is dark. Painful. Empty. Bleak.

I read words from a friend of Anne Trumbo's back in February before James had died... when they were still waiting for a miracle. I suppose it is depressing and fatalistic that one never came. But the words I need just the same.

"Faith is always a leap off the edge of that which can be seen and touched. It stands between total victory and total disaster. It has no contingency plan. God's arms alone are the safety net. No healthy balanced person looks for wild chances to risk his or her life... However, God brings us to points in our lives where to not leap is to deny our foundational declarations. He carefully chooses the times and seasons of these critical crossings.
Do we really believe that God has spoken? Do we believe that He loves us and is not trying to catch us? Do we believe that He is able to speak to us and change our direction? Do we believe that He cares enough to do that? Will we let Him be our only safety net? For sure, the 'what if's' will come. The voices of doubt, fear of failure, and shame will come. They always do. Then what? In the end, when we have done all to stand, isn't there some alternative to reckless abandon? The violent take the Kingdom by force. Faith is always a leap. The ultimate question, the primary concern has got to be not whether we live or die, but did we do what we believe God asked of us?"