Future Planning

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care — then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. -Philippians 2:1-4

Even wiping away the overtly Christian wording, I feel this verse speaks to so much of what’s tearing our society apart: the being obsessed with getting ahead, the not loving others who are different, the constantly thinking about self so there’s no room for others. What if caring for people came first?

… Insert clever transition here…

The last couple days my jaw has been so sore I can barely open my mouth, and I have been having really disturbed sleep and anxious dreams. If you asked how I’m doing, I’d say fine — but clearly my subconscious seems to be telling me otherwise.

What’s going on? Well, my work is in a fairly quiet place, with deadlines under control. My marriage seems stable, my kid is normal… At least, as normal as you can expect from us. Ian’s work is going through a wild transition, but we can weather whatever happens there.

I think it’s the summer. School gets out on 5/23, and doesn’t resume until 9/7 (or so; a couple days after Labor Day). That’s 16 weeks my kid needs care from 8 am too 4 pm, and there’s no daycare this year.

I’ve started planning, and it ain’t pretty. I’m having to patchwork together a nasty mess of care, one day or week at a time, for 16 weeks. It’s supremely anxiety-inducing and showcases pretty much the worst of being the family scheduler.

Result? Not only will we be using up all the good will of our childcare volunteers, but the kid will be spending most of his summer at the all-day Y summer camp (assuming I can get signed up).

And, on top of all that, it brings to the surface all my guilt about being a working mom. That’s basically a whole nother blog post, so I’m going to leave it there for now. But definitely more on this later.

Meantime, I’m hoping my jaw muscle will relax enough that eating is possible. We can hope.

Rain, the Movie

I’ve set myself a goal of what I do on the bus every morning, and one of those things is write a blog post, no matter how short. In general, I just want to resume a little more consistent posting.

The last week, however, my bus rides have been busier than usual. I see many of the same people many days, and if I end up sitting next to one of those people, we’ll often chat. That happened a number of times in the last week, plus of course having Monday off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The bus ride home, which I avoid as much as possible, I usually just read a book. After a day of writing, I usually want a break.

Like I said, though, I avoid the bus home as much as possible. Instead, I’ve been enjoying the amenities of the new 520 trail across the bridge. Over the weekend, we got some spectacular sunny, warm weather, but now we’re back to our regularly scheduled January.

Yesterday I rode home with a friend. I estimated that at least a couple billion rain drops hit each of us over the course of the 20-mile ride. It was serious rain, the kind they have in movies with huge drops that soak the protagonist in no time flat.

In movies they don’t usually show the time when the protagonist is forced to ride a bike though a deep puddle filling the entire bike lane when an unfortunately timed car goes by. They also don’t usually show the wave of cold, filthy water inundating the protagonist when a car drives through a deep pothole filled with water at just the wrong moment.

And they definitely don’t show the half hour of hanging up dripping, soggy gear, followed by a night of hoping said gear will dry by morning.

Good thing. That’s a boring movie idea.

Family Hiking in Bridle Trails

Saturday afternoon, Benji and I went out to have some Mommy-Benji time. I had an errand in downtown Kirkland, but after that I suggested we go to Marina Park, or one of the other nearby Kirkland parks. Benji adamantly insisted he wanted to go for a hike. I tried to negotiate out of it by offering to do a hike on Sunday afternoon if we just went to one of the smaller regular parks within walking distance. No dice. He wanted to hike.

After giving it some good thought, I decided that if my kid wanted to go for a hike, I should encourage that, even if I’d already parked downtown. I also remembered that Bridle Trails wasn’t that far from downtown. Okay; if he wants a hike, we’ll do a hike. And the weather was lovely: sunny and above 50.

We weren’t in the right shoes — I had on old running shoes, and Benji doesn’t even have anything appropriate for hiking in that level of mud and muck — but oh well. Then, when we got there, there was a big Seattle Running Club event where people were running a 50k in teams or solo (!), so there were also runners and their cars all over the place.

Even so, we walked for about 1.25 miles and had a nice time before the sun set.

The next afternoon, all three of us went back to Bridle Trails and ended up walking a full 3 miles, pretty decent for a 5-year-old. We all agreed to have a goal of doing a family hike every weekend, rain or shine. Benji said he wants to walk 6 miles (a 10k), so we said okay, we’ll work up to that. We shall see if we end up actually pursuing that goal, but in the meantime we have a plan of hiking the 3.5-mile loop in Bridle Trails next weekend.

Bridle Trails Walk: Family

Bridle Trails Walk: Benji

Bridle Trails: Report Off-Leash Bicycles
I saw this sign and the persnickety writer in me just couldn’t resist thinking, “What’s an off-leash bicycle??”

Goodbye, Prius

An era has ended. After 11 years of Toyota ownership, on January 4 we sold our Prius to my friend Ellen’s family. It’s a strangely bittersweet moment: I haven’t driven the Prius more than a couple times in the last five months, and when I did, it felt sluggish and slow.

…But we’ve done so many things in the Prius. It was our first car, and served us reliably for the entire time we owned it. We drove it all over New England, and Ian filled it to the gills and drove it back to Washington when we moved home in December 2009. I drove it all over Washington, bike on the rack and again filled full, for the Bike Alliance teacher trainings I did in 2011 and 2012. We took it to Seaside many times, a four-hour trip that sometimes too much longer with traffic.

Through it all, the car served us well and reliably. It consistently got 42 mpg average, not the ambitious 60 mpg advertised, but it kept on getting that 42 mph for 11 years. Pretty phenomenal.

Now we have the Bolt, and while I love having this all-electric vehicle, I wish Toyota had made it. We’ve had such good reliability with Toyota, I’m sorry to see it go.

Keep at it

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the very God who started this great work in you will keep at it, and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

Philippians 1:6

This is The Message version if the classic verse about “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it,” something I feel like my parents said a lot during my teenage years, perhaps in the hopes it would encourage me. That was a lost cause back then — I enjoyed wallowing in emo back then — but I always thought this was about God finishing what He starts.

This time, though, it really struck me that in this verse, He doesn’t give up. He “keeps at it,” as The Message puts it, persistently working on the project that is my heart.

I like the modeling here. We’re so focused on finishing that I think sticking with a task is not appreciated. We value the destination, not the journey (as evidenced by the travel misery that is airline flight today!), the end result over the process.

In this verse I see God starting and finishing, yes, but also being persistent over however long it takes. It’s not an easy project, done quickly. It takes time and effort and hanging in over the long haul. I’m glad He does, and I’m glad for the reminder that is what we’re called to do.

So many worthwhile things in life take a long time. In this age of instant everything, we don’t appreciate that some things just take time.

This is good for me to remember, as I’ve been doing a side project at work since about June that doesn’t look too wrap up any time soon. I’m in the “keep at it” phase of the project. If it’s good enough for God, it’s good enough for me.

Bus Driver Woes

We greet you in the grace and peace that comes from God the Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:2

I’m in need of a little extra grace and peace, as today’s bus driver treated me with unnecessary contempt.

I’ve taken my bike on the bus every work day for the last year. I think this qualifies me to know how the bike racks work on the bus.

Normally, the clamp aligns with the wheel holder, and the bike is held upright. Today, the clamp was somehow misaligned, so the bike was forced to lean to the side a bit when in on the bus. I took my bike out of that holder and put it in a different spot.

When I mentioned this to him, the bus driver dismissively told me, “It’s supposed to be like that.” Didn’t even ask what the issue was. Just knew I couldn’t be right.

It bugs me to just be dismissed quickly and out of hand, without even an attempt at understanding. Is this because I held the bus up, switching my bike to a spot that operated normally? Because I’m a cyclist and bus drivers don’t like us? Because I’m a woman and can’t possibly know how this thing works?

Grace would say, eh, he’s probably in a hurry to stay on schedule; it’s nothing personal; let it go.

So I’m going to let it go.

God’s way of putting people right shows up in actually of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: “The person in right standing before God by trusting Him really lives.”

Romans 1:17

This goes back to my post yesterday about inequality. What’s in your heart comes out in your actions and words. When that’s selfishness and greed, of course selfish and greedy policies seem reasonable. When it’s generosity and thankfulness, acquisition of wealth and material things loses its luster.

Enough of that.

I’m back to work today after a week off with Ian and Benji. I love them dearly, but I’m also keen to get back to work. There’s a project I’m finishing up that I’m pretty proud of, and I have another project I get to work on periodically that’s exciting.

Yesterday I joined a big group for a New Year’s Day ride, kicking the year off right.

The ride started only six miles from my house, so I left 15 minutes before the start. Turns out that cuts it a little too close; I was still riding up the last hill when the official start time can’t and went.

Fortunately, that hill was only a minute from the gathering point, and since it was a big group, they were still getting their act together a couple minutes after the start time. I was able to zip in at the last second.

Of course, I’d burned a bunch of matches getting there, and then the ride proved quite vigorous. I got several PRs. It was a good time.

Now I’m all confused about what day of the week it is. Back to work!