30 May 2008

The Storm of the Century?

There was a lot of talk radio yesterday about how bad the storm was going to be last night. From where I sat in Bellevue, there wasn't a whole lot of close lightening strikes or anything fun, but there was lots of rain. Nobody panic, I couldn't have been going five mph when I took these, and there was no traffic on the road. These pictures were taken at the south bridge at twin creek in Bellevue. There were two workers on the bridge shoving debris under the water so it wouldn't jam up.


I'm not a civil engineer, but I'm kind of wondering why you wouldn't leave some clearance between the top of the dike and the bottom of the bridge ... just asking.

20 May 2008

Ultimate Frisbee

I played ultimate frisbee at lunch with some of the guys from work. Some notes:
  • I am in better shape than I was last year when I played at Rob's birthday, you know, the game SmileChild dominated.
  • If you don't wear socks, you can get some very cool bloody toes from being rubbed all the wrong way.
  • I don't quite have the energy to keep up with the young guys, but I did okay.
  • I am defensive minded in ultimate frisbee.
  • When I grew up, my "little" brothers were taller than me, my best friend in high school was 6'8". I got used to being small (and I was) at 5'7". Even when I hit six foot tall, I was still a spindly 130 pounds. Now I am six foot tall and 185 pounds. That's kind of big ... I should start being big in sports games.


This is why you plant this kind of tree, just for three days every year when it looks like this.

Olympic boycott over Tibet? FYI, Olympic boycotts have been tried before. Hasn't worked too well yet. Yes, you can argue that the situation is different but I'll tell you the results will be similar. I also observe that the folks I personally know talking about this being a good idea are not sports fans. Weird.

I was headed out to do lawn work last Wednesday when Spanky called. He used the only three words he could have used to get me to come over. "Grand Theft Auto". It seemed to be just about everything the reviews said it would be.

I still miss Cherokee something fierce. I went to get an ice cream cone at DQ the other day and it just wasn't the same not having him there to steal my ice cream.

Lindy in the Park, season nine. Sunday's weather was perfect for, well any day, but especially for dancing out doors. There will probably be 40,000 pictures on line by tonight, check yourself out ... or join us next week, and see how good looking you are dancing in the sun.

1 of 70  Dance  Lindy in the Park  May 18th '08 - Cliff
There must be twenty pictures of me dancing with Sarah over the weekend.

Thought of the day: With moderate power comes moderate responsibility. Thank you to Order of the Stick for this.

12 May 2008

Dance Weekend

I am tired. Not quite as worn as I thought I might be, but tired. Ten classes, two dances, and a rockabilly show.

All my pictures are up.

I danced really well all weekend, with one exception ... the dance contest on Friday. I just froze up completely. I didn't dance well, I played it safe, and I didn't dance well. I remain bound and determined to at least make it into the finals sometime of some dance contest somewhere.

Learning from Peter & Mia is a little like learning violin from Yo-Yo Ma, or how to hit a baseball from Babe Ruth. They have obviously put considerable thought into how to simplify instruction, in a "The Karate Kid" kind of way, thirty minutes in you have no idea that you can do what they are showing you, ten minutes later, the light bulb pops on and you get it ... like magic.

Some highlights (from my perspective):
  • I got the foxtrot basic down.
  • Troy danced a lot.
  • Micah got into the finals of the Jack & Jill.
  • Robert Bell and the Twin Cities Hot Club.
  • Wayne Hancock.
  • Heel Shag.
  • Big Apple Fun.
  • A nice talk with Christy.

Schmendrick can't believe Ben's cool moves.

70 of 88/May 9, 08 - cliffo
Check me out, I'm #77.

Beth is very impressed with how little effort it takes.

Dancing makes everyone smile.

4 of 88/May 9, 08 - cliffo (redeye removed by me)
I can't believe I got lucky and actually looked cool.

I bought new shoes.

This is probably the best dancing picture I have taken.

I saw two really dancable bands this weekend with a total of zero percussionists. Robert Bell (right) and the Twin Cities Hot Club shown here.

I also managed to play with iMovie, and put this together of Micah on Friday.

thanks to Cliff for some pictures.

09 May 2008

To only be broken by...

It's Friday, payday, the first day of a four day weekend, and all very busy. I have tons on my mind lately. Losing my house and probably having to give up the cats. All the changes with my medicines, for the better, but painful none the less. Breaking that tooth, and the ugliness that was getting it pulled. And the new one for the week, I got a wheel bearing going bad on my car. I guess I'd rather have it all happen at once, but I'm probably only saying that because it is happening all at once.

Through all this, I have managed to keep my good attitude, or at least be stoic. I feel like these little battles have been lost, and I've failed at a few things, but in the big picture, it's just things that must be endured. Peace has been with me.

With all this last thought in mind, I headed off to church this (Friday) morning because, well, it's a busy weekend, and I had time right now to do it. And 0830 Mass on a school day means kids choir, kids reading the lessons, good stuff. However, in essence, I was checking off the box for the weekend. That was the plan... *insert ominous music here*

God had a different idea in mind.

My first indication of trouble was the Gospel acclimation:
"Speak, oh Lord, your servant is listening, you have the words of everlasting life."
One of my favorites, especially when sung, and it hit a deep nerve, and brought a tear to my eye.

Then the Gospel reading came. I have a lot of friends who understand Paul and His writings, I am not one of those people. It is Peter who amazes me, he is vulnerable, he has failings, but love and trust in his Lord are exemplary. The reading was John 21:15-18, just a little more than 150 words.
15 When Jesus and the disciples had finished eating, Jesus spoke to Simon Peter. He asked, "Simon, son of John, do you really love me more than these others do?"
"Yes, Lord," he answered. "You know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

16 Again Jesus asked, "Simon, son of John, do you really love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord. You know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."

17 Jesus spoke to him a third time. He asked, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Peter felt bad because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He answered, "Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.

18 What I'm about to tell you is true. When you were younger, you dressed yourself. You went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands. Someone else will dress you. Someone else will lead you where you do not want to go."
This redemption of Peter for His denial of Jesus after The Last Supper is powerful, yet so subtly and gracefully done, that you could meditate on it for years, and still find more. The tears just started flowing, they have not stopped since.

Jesus ask Peter three times to break his earthly will and tear open what was in Peter's heart (the translation doesn't quite come to English), and reveal the hurts he had buried there from the time he had denied his Lord. Peter thus broken apart by Jesus, is immediately restored by the repetition of His command to feed His flock. The redemption of Peter is consummated in way that Peter cannot forget with the foreshadowing of his death, nor can he escape, the broken Peter becomes more than the previously whole Peter could be.

I have been broken repeatedly by the pains inflicted on me by this life. Like a mirror that has been dropped and shattered. Before I knew I God, I had painstakingly put the pieces back together, until once again, the mirror was usable ... but it remained a cracked reflection of what I was intended to be. When I have found the courage to give these pains over to God and trust Him, the cracks began to be sealed, unfindable. I began to be able to fully be able to see who I was intended to be.

God has broken me also, but when He breaks you it isn't like a shatter mirror, it is more like the breaking open of a cocoon. You emerge from your shell to find that you are more than you were before. SmileChild has written a song called "Broken" that captures this emergence that is at the very core of the Christian experience. The bitter tears that Peter cried when the rooster crowed the third time were the tears of the world that he inflicted on himself. The tears Peter cried from his redemption were no less painful, but they were the tears cried from the growth of becoming more that he could be before.
....though the hurt may remain,
help me see through the pain,
to only be broken by You.
I like to encourage SmileChild to sing the song these lyrics are from because of the unfettered emotions it evokes, but she declines because she thinks she cannot make it through without crying. I enthusiastically volunteer to sing it for her, so that it can be shared.

Don't ask me to sing it soon, my friend, for there will be two of us crying.