Woo!

Day’s Verse:
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11

My AmeriCorps internship is officially over! Yesterday I carpooled down to Trout Lake with a couple other interns; everybody filled out piles of evaluation and exit paperwork — including, as is typical for the AmeriCorps program, an exit form identical to the one we all had to fill out online — and had a graduation ceremony complete with certificate and photo slide show.

Other things I say “woo!” about:

Our library, complete with books on the shelves:
Bookshelves: Filled 2

Bookshelves: Filled 1

Getting home safely late last night. Thanks to AmeriCorps coworker (is that the term?) Nathanael, who drove us safely home from Hood River last night.

Hanging out with Karissa today. We bought a box of books for $8 (the box was nowhere near full), poked into a number of touristy shops in downtown Snohomish, and ate lunch at Fred’s Rivertown Ale House, and carried the box of books back to Karissa’s house.

Gorgeous sunny winter days. It felt like winter, for sure — never got above 40°F, and the mountains had heaps of gorgeous snow. Clouds moving in now, and potentially some snow in the forecast.

My Internship: Visual Representation

Day’s Verse:
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:5

This picture represents what my internship is slowly evolving into. The highlight of my week last week — I kid you not — was making 5 raffle boxes for the volunteers who helped with the Auction. Although it was certainly a job well done, having that be the big thing that went well last week at work casts some aspersions on my job in general. Fortunately, I only have two weeks left as an AmeriCorps intern at the Bicycle Alliance. My last day in this position is November 18.

On November 19 we have a closing AmeriCorps ceremony in Trout Lake in what’s looking like one of the longest days I’ll have had since college. That day I’ll leave the house at 8:00 am, arrive in Trout Lake around 1:00 pm, stay until 8:00 pm, and arrive back at home about 1:00 am. I’m apprehensive about this plan because I haven’t stayed up past about 11:00 pm in years, and about 9:30 pm I start shutting down. I do have another intern who wants to leave ASAP, so I’m counting on him to share the driving and keep the conversation going. If anybody wants to do a road trip to and from Trout Lake with me next Friday, let me know.

Unlike my workweek, the weekend flew by. Colleen came up from California and we got to spend lots of time doing fun stuff: Brunch with Mom and a friend; a drizzly walk plotting Colleen’s NaNoWriMo; a private showing of Strictly Ballroom at Northwest Film Forum for a family friend’s birthday; games of Ra and Power Grid in the evening. Sunday brought church, then a sunny Sunday afternoon hike with Carmel at St. Edward’s St. Park and a game of Scrabble in which Ian valiantly maintained the Ferguson family honor (Dad and I, meanwhile, had a fierce battle for last place).

Bike Class Day 2

Day’s Verse:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
Galatians 1:3-5

IT’S OVER!!!!1 Woo!!

…that is all I have to say about that right now, except to add that I’m extremely tired.

OK, I will add that all 5 of the remaining students came, and I got the sense that we did a good job engaging them and getting them to think about bicycling and bicycle safety in a new light.

PS – This is unrelated to bicycling, but I’m super excited about it: Ian and I have ordered a bed frame and two side tables, all of which were on sale at Bothell Furniture. Oh boy!

Teaching a Bike Class

Day’s Verse:
Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.
2 Cor. 13:7

My entire week — and a good portion of earlier weeks — has been consumed with organizing the Bicycle Alliance’s first Traffic Skills 101 class. Originally I conceived it as a way to say thank you to volunteers — essentially another incentive for volunteering. We can say “Another advantage of volunteering for the Bike Alliance is that we offer Traffic Skills 101 exclusively to volunteers for only $20 (to cover the cost of materials). If you took this class elsewhere in the Puget Sound area, you’d pay $60 to $85.”

Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out that way. We invited some specific people, mostly volunteers, and filled the class — that’s 9 or 10 students with two LCIs. But then students started dropping the class. Things came up. They hadn’t paid anything, so they didn’t lose anything by backing out. This happened to me in April with the Salute to Volunteers Night at the Mariners, too. People RSVP’d; we bought tickets; and then they didn’t show. Anyway, some other people got invited to the class who haven’t volunteered. Eventually we got down to 5 students, and I was willing to take almost anybody — but that was yesterday afternoon, and the class starts at 4:00 today (Friday the 13th, as many people have pointed out). It was too late of notice.

Every and I have decided to cancel the class if we only get 3 students. But I’m still feeling discouraged and disappointed by the bad turnout: I’ve put in tons of work finding a venue, planning the curriculum, organizing food and miscellaneous details, planning a route, ordering materials from the League of American Bicyclists, …well, the list goes on. On top of which, Every and I will both be working Friday evening and Saturday, with no particular recompense. I’ve worked more weekends and evenings than I want, with no surcease in sight.

So I’m feeling discouraged. But I’ve also learned something:

  • People don’t value what they don’t pay for. Offering something free or very cheap — like a baseball game or a bike class — seems to make it less meaningful, less of a commitment.
  • Commitments don’t mean as much as they used to. At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, “back in the day, giving your word meant something.” If you said you were going to an event, whether free or not, you went, even if something better came up. Now, though, people seem to always be on the lookout for what’s most beneficial for them. Saying you’ll go to one event doesn’t mean you’ll go, per se; it more means you’ll go if something better doesn’t come up.

This is really frustrating, but I’m learning tricks to deal with it.

  1. Make people pay up front.
  2. Ask for a refundable charge. Require people to write you a $50 check to register and give the check back when the student finishes the class.
  3. Take the student’s firstborn child hostage. Return the child when the student finishes the class.

In any case, I’m teaching a bike class this weekend. It’ll go from Friday at 4:00 pm through Saturday at 2:30 pm (with a break for sleeping and such, of course). I’m really looking forward to Saturday afternoon.

Tour de Fat Report

Day’s Verse:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30

OK, so yesterday was Tour de Fat, and I “worked” all day — which makes today feel like Saturday, except that we’re going to church today. And I took Friday off, which made yesterday feel like Monday, which would make tomorrow Tuesday. Except I have tomorrow off, too. Very confusing.

Tour de Fat! I didn’t bring my camera, and I’m pretty glad I didn’t. Hauling that thing 17 miles each way along with all my other treasures. Here are some Flickr pictures that capture the tone of the event.

Tour De Fat Seattle 2010-32
By bikejuju.com

Tour De Fat Seattle 2010-7
By bikejuju.com

Tour De Fat Seattle 2010-3
By bikejuju.com

Tour De Fat Seattle 2010-20
By bikejuju.com

tour de fat
By lamppost

TourdeFat3
By ebis50

TourdeFat2
By ebis50

Tour De Fat Seattle 2010-2
By bikejuju.com

I put a picture of a cruiser bike last because I’ve never seen so many cruisers all in one place before. It was astonishing. Anyway, from my perspective, Tour de Fat involved a bunch of people walking by the Bike Alliance tent. Some of them stopped, and I or one of the other volunteers at the table talked with them. We encouraged people to win a free messenger bag, and lots of them entered the drawing. We encouraged people to become members, and two people did, which isn’t much but it’s something. We also received a few cash donations. People in strange costumes rode by, usually on strange bikes. Hours passed. The wind stopped blowing our papers and tabling supplies around, which was a relief. The sun came out in the afternoon and I finally stopped feeling chilly. My head got hot and tired of wearing my winged helmet, no matter how cool it looked. I got to see most of my coworkers in absurd costumes, which was quite worth the bike ride. But overall, for me, it just felt like another tabling event. I’m grateful I don’t have to do another tabling event today (the Bike Alliance is making an appearance at the WA State Individual Time Trial in Tenino today, but thankfully other people are covering it). Actually, the best part of Tour de Fat for me was getting a free copy of the Chinook Book, which normally costs $20.

After I dragged myself home and showered, a couple friends and I met up at the Redhook Brewery for dinner. It was a lot of fun. We left when the live music started up and we couldn’t hear each other anymore.

Today I plan on being a homebody and doing chores around the house, with maybe some napping thrown in for spice.

Why I’m Not Riding to Port Townsend Today

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

Psalm 61:4

I was planning on riding my bike to the AmeriCorps meeting I have in Port Townsend today. It should have been a lovely 35-mile ride along the Olympic Peninsula coastline, through Port Ludlow and Port Gamble along quieter country roads. I have been looking forward to this ride for quite a while, imagining myself riding along with a couple other AmeriCorps guys, enjoying the sunshine and sea air.

I’m sure it would’ve been nice… if the torrential rain had held off another day. As it was, the pouring, drenching, unremitting rain came right on schedule and made me think more than twice about the ride. At first I resolved to do it, but I checked the weather and the radar showed heavy rain over my entire route. The weather man predicts a 90% chance of rain all day. I don’t mind riding in the rain, but arriving soaking wet, cold, and miserable in Port Townsend to then spend the day doing AmeriCorps activities and finish up by camping overnight… brrr. I would have spent the entire day damp and miserable.

Besides all that, Ian and I got possession of our house yesterday evening and today, despite the rain, is moving day. We have to get our stuff out of the storage unit before Monday or pay for another month. The free storage unit truck was available today, so today it is. I’d like to be here, if not today (it’ll be hard to get back from Port Townsend at a reasonable hour), at least tomorrow morning.

Last night Ian and I did a quick walk-through of our new home (!!) and found that, in addition to everything we expected to get with the house, we also inherited:

  • 7 front door keys
  • 2 back door keys
  • 2 garage door openers (that have 3 buttons each — why would you need 3 buttons?! It’s either open or closed, right?)
  • A bunch of hot tub chemicals
  • A large stack of instructions on how to use and maintain the hot tub and various other appliances
  • 3 large round light bulbs for the bathroom lighting fixtures (which I intend to replace ASAP)
  • A bunch of solar-powered LED garden lights
  • A dirty but usable hand truck
  • 2 hoses
  • 2 moldy tennis balls (I brought them back to my parents’ house for the dog and she loved them. Stinky, rotten, easy to shred, all-round vile? Perfect!)
  • A thermometer
  • A net for the hot tub
  • Lots of touch-up paint in well-labeled cans

In all, I’d really like to just be available to help with the house this weekend, and riding to Port Townsend, camping there overnight, etc. just doesn’t fit into the plan that well. I don’t like my AmeriCorps buddies enough to give up helping to move into my new home for them.