my soft spot

just a mom who plays hockey and knits

Friday, June 01, 2007

Update on last two weekends.

Weekend of May 19
Weekend-before-last, we were in Asilomar for the annual meeting of our church conference. I am a delegate for our church, which means I'm a voting member (one of two adults; we have one youth delegate, which was a vote we brought in last year--that each church gets an additional delegate who is a youth--very exciting times!). Our minister, and any minister in the conference, also has a vote.

Being a delegate for our church means that I represent First Congregational Church of Alameda, UCC at meetings of our association, which sometimes involve voting on bylaw changes and more often involve outreach information. One meeting was all about the work an association church had done in New Orleans (and made me realize I need to donate money rather than go there--the mold blooms were astonishing, and would have done me in). I also represent FCCA at Ecclesiastical Councils, which are one of the final steps toward a candidate becoming a minister in our association. ECs are fascinating--not only a glimpse into what different ministries there are, but also a glimpse into folks' paths toward ministry.

Anyway, beyond local meetings (4x/yr) and ECs (scheduled 3x/yr but I've only been to one), the annual meeting at Asilomar is the pinnacle. The most exciting decisions get made, the most churches to get to know, and you get to stay at this breathtakingly beautiful retreat. It's not a fancy-schmancy hotel; it has almost a camplike atmosphere, with rooms from "historic" which are lovely and wood-filled and simple, to "modern" which are still charming but with wonderful upgrades like a bathtub, deck, and fireplace with built-for-you-fires each night. (Did we have a fire every night? You bet your ass! Just light the paper--could it be easier?) With sticking to G's bedtime religiously (har har) each night, I ended up with scads of Me time that were just delicious. I enjoyed the deck, drank wine, listened to podcasts, watched DVDs on my new-to-me laptop (thanks K!), and knit knit knit. Meals are provided in a dining room, the loveliest part of which is that I DON'T HAVE TO DO THE DISHES. Meetings are in larger buildings, most of which were designed by Julia Morgan, and as I took a moment to look up, they took my breath away. The details, the lines, the weathered wood... amazing.

I enjoyed most of the meetings (and gave feedback on the lame ones on the feedback form), and my main concern was that I knew K would be there. The first few times we saw each other, it was quickly, in passing, and I was able to say 'hi' and leave it there. Then, one time when I was in the Lodge using their wireless connection, she approached me, and we talked. And it was OK. She did say that it wasn't hard not being this year's Moderator (as she was last year), but that it was hard because I was there. I was grateful that hearing that didn't make me curl up into a guilt-filled ball (and I know that wasn't her intent, either), but I accepted it and moved on. It felt very normalizing to actually talk after 3 months of virtually no contact. We went on a walk through the beautiful dune boardwalks on the last night and that felt normalizing, too. I don't know what will happen between us, whether we'll be able to carve out a friendship, but it will be OK. That was really gratifying... and bewildering. I thought it would be more of an emotional rollercoaster than it was. Glad it wasn't.

G and I managed to make it to the Aquarium three times (the head of our company has 2 guest passes that she loans out happily), and only bought one tiny thing (a cute little sea turtle, which he christened Teeny). We saw stunningly large Sunfish in the Outer Bay tank--the larger one swam past as G was standing by the window, and it was taller than he is! There were also hammerheads that tended to swim around together, as in a school, and a Galapagos shark or two, as well as tuna that would kill you if they landed on you. (That's a lotta cans.)

Memorial Day Weekend
Then last weekend, we had our annual Memorial Day Ashland-plays weekend. We saw As You Like It, which I've historically liked, but it put me to sleep, literally at times; the other play we saw was a Tom Stoppard one, On The Razzle, which was enjoyable but not terribly deep. My sister still fondly remembers seeing his play Arcadia, which absolutely knocked her socks off. The next year, we all saw Rough Crossing together, and it was terrific, and the acting just tremendous.

I found myself steeled against the usual criticism, pushiness, and uninvited advice... and there was nearly none. As my sister has worked with this therapist, she really has become such a more enjoyable person to be around. Now I have to work on not setting myself up for the usual statements/reactions and just be who I am. I nearly said something, but how do you say, "You are so much more enjoyable now than your irritating, condescending former self" without hurting feelings?

I also had decided to make some time to see my ex-BIL. I still consider him family, as he is the father of my niece & nephew. Thought we could get together for coffee, but we ended up having lunch and then he took the kids to the reservoir twice that weekend. I joined them for a bit each time. Now, as he is going away for work soon, he had his kids for Sunday midday through Tuesday morning. G is so fond of his cousins that, when he heard they were sleeping at their dad's on Sunday night, he asked me if he could stay over, too. I knew Dan had enough room, so I had G ask him. Dan said, Sure! and my big seven-year-old slept over without me there! Apparently, he did great. I'm so proud of him!

The drive back was pretty hard--harder than usual, I think. Usually, I get up really early and get us on the road by 6. G sleeps 2-3 hours and then the trip just seems shorter. Well, this time, I wasn't pushing myself, and we were on the road by 7. We had Maddy with us, which was a lot harder than I'd anticipated. She is still just petrified of riding in the car--hesitates to get in, and while we start out, pops her head up nervously at each stoplight or pause, and pants. It was OK on the way up, as we drove in cool temps Thursday night as far as Redding (Vagabond Inn rocks) and then Friday morning, arriving noonish. On the way back, though, the weather was hotter, and when we stopped in Willows for lunch, I had set up sunshades and cracked the windows a couple of inches--and when we got back, the shades had fallen down and she was hot and panicky. I felt awful. Got water in her, and put some on her back and belly, and walked her around a bit. Then I got in the car, closed all the windows, cranked up the A/C, and aimed it at the ceiling. That seemed to do the trick, but she bounded out of the car at home, probably the one most happy to be home. G and I were happy, too... and tired. We got home about 2PM on Tuesday (I avoid holiday traffic at all costs, so we don't drive on Memorial Day), and just vegged all afternoon and evening. Which was good.

Oh, and I did some inline skating with my sister--man, that is hard work! I hope to do it more, as I'm thinking it'll help both my stamina and speed. Yippee!


At 2:48 PM, June 01, 2007, Blogger Dharma said...

Yeah, an update. Thanks!


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