AmeriCorps Training…Again

Day’s Verse:
“This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ “
Jeremiah 33:2-3

Today I’m heading off to even more AmeriCorps training in Trout Lake. We’re spending two nights there, driving down today and back Friday night. Expect silence through at least Saturday; Trout Lake is quite remote, and although they do have computers with internet (amazing!), the AmeriCorps people work hard to keep us busy to make the trip worth the drive. I still wonder why they picked Trout Lake. It’s central to Washington and Oregon, true — centrally inconvenient for anybody not living in Hood River. I hear it’s pretty, but our 10-day stint in January didn’t reveal much of that; perhaps this time, or the time in July, will have less ice, snow, and rain, and more views of Mt. Adams. Continue Reading...

Teaching Urban Cycling Techniques: Day 2

Day’s Verse:
But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike.
Acts 26:22

Done!

I can now breathe a huge sigh of relief: After yesterday, I finished all my major weekend commitments. Maybe now I will have some time to:

  • Sleep in.
  • Bake bread.
  • Hang out with Ian.
  • Hang out with friends.
  • Clean our bedroom and bathroom.
  • Go for walks and hikes.
  • Clean my bike thoroughly.
  • Watch a movie occasionally.
  • Go somewhere to take pretty pictures.

Those are just a few of the things I look forward to doing in the time I hope to keep free in the future. Ian and I will be gaining possession of a house almost exactly 1 month from today (!!), but between now and then I intend to use my weekends to RELAX as much as possible. Continue Reading...

Teaching Urban Cycling Techniques: Day 1

Day’s Verse:
I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

Job 19:25

Bike HandleYesterday I co-taught the first half of my first-ever Traffic Skills 101 class. Cascade Bicycle Club calls it Urban Cycling Techniques. To prepare, I diligently reviewed the materials I received during my instructor training and last weekend I practiced the bike handling skills we’d teach this weekend.

Not that I didn’t need to do all that; the review did help keep the material fresh in my mind. But my co-teacher, Ellen Aagaard, runs such a laid-back, easygoing class that if I needed to refer to my notes or the book, that wasn’t really a problem. I liked how Ellen ran the class as a discussion, soliciting most of the information and ideas from the students. I’ve learned quite a bit having watched her interaction with the students. She listens respectfully and makes it clear that the students’ ideas are very important. The class ran over by an hour (!), and a couple people had to leave before then, but everybody stayed engaged and interested, even though it was after lunch and the after-lunch sleepies set in. Continue Reading...

Another Choice Bites the Dust

Day’s Verse:
“So there is hope for your future,”
declares the LORD.
“Your children will return to their own land.”

Jeremiah 31:17

After much agonizing, number-crunching, and wrestling with nearly impenetrable forms, Ian and I have chosen a mortgage. It felt at least as arduous as picking the home itself. We talked to four different lenders, got estimates from them for all the same day — not an easy task — and compared everything. Unfortunately, we missed a slightly lower rate because we took a couple days to make the decision, but I think we made an OK decision. I expect that over the next month I’ll have huge buyer’s remorse, both over the home and the mortgage, but in the end it’ll work out one way or another. Right now I’m just relieved that we’ve made the choice. Continue Reading...

Mariners Salute to Volunteers Game

Day’s Verse:
Then maidens will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

Jeremiah 31:13

I’ve been working on and off for the last month planning a volunteer recognition event: Taking the volunteers to the Mariners Salute to Volunteers game on April 20. This involved:

  • Compiling a complete list of all the people who had volunteered for the Bike Alliance in the last year (the Bike Alliance didn’t have anything like that);
  • Emailing all those volunteers with an invitation to the Mariners game;
  • Compiling a list of RSVPs, including how many people wanted tickets for somebody other than themselves (we charged $8 per ticket per extra non-volunteer, a total steal, even for nosebleed seats);
  • Purchasing the tickets (my first large purchase on the Bike Alliance credit card — almost $450. Frustratingly, I had 11 no-shows. At $8 a head, that’s a good chunk of money for a cash-strapped nonprofit);
  • Organizing and confirming that staff people got food and drinks and extra cash;
  • Providing all the details the attendees needed to make it on time, plus of course accommodating last-minute requests and “can’t meet then” difficulties;
  • Wrangling the attendees on the day of, including receiving the money a few of them owed and passing out tickets to each individual;
  • Herding all those cats into one group for the big parade walk to Safeco Field. I encouraged people to wear bike helmets to look like a group, but most people were too self-conscious to actually do it.

Here’s the photo summary of what I achieved:

Mariners Game: Safeco Field

That’s 49 Bicycle Alliance volunteers and staff, already enjoying themselves before the game even started. I deem it a success. Continue Reading...

Interlude

Day’s Verse:
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

Psalm 61:4

Once again, I get 15 seconds — if that — of fame, this time in the Bicycle Paper. I mentioned that the Bike Alliance won the Bicycle Paper Peoples’ Choice Award. Little did I know that we would get our picture in the paper. Of course, this is the paper that ran an article on a bicycle hearse, so I’m not sure how auspicious this mention really is…

Dreams and Realities

Day’s Verse:
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
Acts 20:35

I keep dreaming about the house, mortgages, and other related topics. I wake up feeling vaguely uneasy, although that unease quickly balloons into full-on anxiety. I’m excited at the prospect of having a real home to settle down in, but I’m daunted by the mortgage stuff, by the responsibility of owning a home, and by the breadth and depth of my ignorance about anything pertaining to home ownership (and not a day goes by in which my ignorance isn’t revealed to be even deeper and wider than I previously thought). Continue Reading...