Technical Writing Video

Let’s skip to the fun stuff. Here’s a video of me explaining technical writing to an eight-grade audience:

Now some backstory.

Back at the beginning of the summer, a former AmeriCorps member posted on Facebook asking for people to make videos to explain their careers to eighth graders. These videos replace an in-person career fair that, like everything else, has gone entirely online this year.

I volunteered to provide a video about technical writing, if she wanted one on a topic that boring; she accepted (desperate times, I guess) and sent me the information. I didn’t have time to really get started on it for a while, although pretty early on I roped in a very generous e-learning colleague to do the video editing. Continue Reading >>


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. Continue Reading >>

  • 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.” Continue Reading >>


    Day’s Verse:
    But the needy will not always be forgotten,
    nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.

    Psalm 9:18

    2 headed cow
    I sketched this two-headed cat-vampire-cow during the AmeriCorps training. See the right side bar for other sketches.