Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quote Wall

When we first moved in to Casa Dorothy Kazel, we were cleaning a lot and also trying to find ways to make DK our own. During orientation, I had filled up the ends of my journal with quotes I had been thinking about. When we moved in to Casa DK, I had the idea of writing down a lot of those quotes, plus others I really liked and putting them in different areas of the house. I started taping a couple on the door and my housemates likes the idea of just sticking them all on the door, so I did that. Yesterday, since we didn't have a lot to do at work, I wrote down a lot more to add to the wall, and added them this morning.

You may have guessed there is one I didn't write since the handwriting is different... but the sentiment was something we'd all been thinking about before we started our jobs a few weeks ago. It may not be the most eloquent way of saying it, but yes, our shit is gonna get rocked this year.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Defying Gravity

This post is dedicated to my housemates. Especially Mike P. who keeps making me listen to this song.

Kevin, Mike P. and I carpool to work at Verbum Dei High School, where both of them work, and the Urban Compass offices are located. (It's actually a renovated closet) The former JV's left some CDs in the car that we have (owned by Verbum Dei that we can use), one of which has "Defying Gravity" on it. I love this song. I went through my phase of having it on repeat but I am now past it. Mike, however, plays it every time we ride in the car. Especially now that I have expressed my annoyance...

It's a good song though, and one that has a great message, especially for us in our year of JVC. JVC is inherently counter-cultural, and we're defying gravity with our choices. Together we're unlimited.

Some of my favorite lines are below.

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by
The rules of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes
And leap... 

It's time to try defying gravity
I think I'll try defying gravity
And you can't pull me down

I'm through accepting limits
Cuz someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try I'll never know
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love, I guess I've lost
Well if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost

Together we're unlimited
Together we'll be the greatest team 
There's ever been - Glinda!
Dreams the way we planned 'em

If we work in tandem

There's no fight we cannot win
Just you and I, defying gravity
With you and I defying gravity

Saturday, August 20, 2011

what i will.

Last month, I attended the BPFNA summer conference in Virginia. I have been dancing in open mic and the night services since I was 13, and every year, people ask me when I will be dancing. This year, I chose to dance to a spoken word poem.

Text of the poem:

What I Will by Suheir Hammad

I will not
dance to your war
drum. I will
not lend my soul nor
my bones to your war
drum. I will
not dance to your
beating. I know that beat.
It is lifeless. I know
intimately that skin
you are hitting. It
was alive once
hunted stolen
stretched. I will
not dance to your drummed
up war. I will not pop
spin beak for you. I
will not hate for you or
even hate you. I will
not kill for you. Especially
I will not die
for you. I will not mourn
the dead with murder nor
suicide. I will not side
with you nor dance to bombs
because everyone else is
dancing. Everyone can be
wrong. Life is a right not
collateral or casual. I
will not forget where
I come from. I
will craft my own drum. Gather my beloved
near and our chanting
will be dancing. Our
humming will be drumming. I
will not be played. I
will not lend my name
nor my rhythm to your
beat. I will dance
and resist and dance and
persist and dance. This heartbeat is louder than
death. Your war drum ain’t
louder than this breath.

Friday, August 19, 2011

News From LA!

I know you all have been waiting with bated breath for me to write a blog entry again... especially with all that has happened in the last few weeks: packing and saying goodbye to my family and friends and my city, JVC orientation in Aptos and then the move to LA! It's been a bit of a whirlwind.

Shoutout to all that spent time with me and helped me celebrate this new chapter in my life, especially Faith, Victoria, Samar, Sabrina, Raul, Julie, Debra and Cinda who all did their part of making my last week in Austin fabulous. Another shoutout to my family that helped me pack and plan for the move, and packed up all the stuff I left in the corner of the living room to ship for this year!

So. I'm in LA. (I live here now!!)

I have finished my first week at Urban Compass. I am learning the ropes of the organization and planning out programming for when the kids start school (after Labor Day). Big news in that area is that I'm going to have to get a driver's license... Through lack of communication, somehow I got hired though I was going to need to drive, so we're trying to rectify that situation. I'm studying the CA Driver's Manual and hope to go get my permit ASAP so then I can actually practice driving.

Orientation was a bit long and Aptos is sooooooo cold. Especially after working all summer in 107 degree heat, I was having issues feeling warm enough, even with all the layers. Aptos, however, is also beautiful. We had our welcoming mass on the beach as well as prayer another night. We heard a lot of FJV's speak about the four values of JVC and how we can live them out. We spent a lot of time with our communities discussing how we would handle the four values for ourselves. These conversations were really good for a jumpoff point to get to know each other.

We headed to LA last Thursday. Drove down the PCH (not the whole way, but for the first few hours), stopped at In-N-Out for lunch and made it to our house around 7.

As we opened the gate, we heard voices... some FJV's were there to greet us! Our "official" support people came soon after. We hung out for a while and then... we were alone in our house for the first time! We chose rooms, which fortunately was not a big deal and started moving in.

The next day we got a tour of all our agencies, which was really cool. We opened a bank account together on Saturday. That night, we met some FJV's at the HMS Bounty. Sunday, we went to mass at Delores Mission and met Casa Ita Ford. We walked over to see their house after mass. (Much cleaner, though we still like our house better. We're just having to clean it ourselves.) And Monday--we started work!

We had our first Spirituality Night on Tuesday, organized by Sonia. We put our hopes and dreams and thoughts for this year on a sheet of paper, tore it up, and buried the pieces in our yard, so the earth would hear us. I then got the crane boxes I had for them and passed them out. Last night, we got free tickets to the Sparks game, so went to the Staples Center, and yes, after trying the entire game, made it one the jumbotron! So much fun. Tonight we are headed to the Santa Monica Pier for our House Community Night, and tomorrow hiking up to the Hollywood Sign with the other LA houses :)

This first week in LA has been pretty awesome. I could gush about my housemates, that's how excited I am to be living with them. This is going to be a good year.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Birthday Week! (Recap)

I turned 22 about three weeks ago and I decided to do a weeklong celebration and do some of my favorite things with some of my favorite people!

I started off the week with my birthday on Sunday July 10. I was in Durham... for a day. I made my mom sing "Las MaƱanitas" to me since my dad didn't know the words. I got to go to church and see my church family that I had not seen in 6 months. I went to visit Messiah's House (our children's church) and the kids sang happy birthday to me. My dad had some of the mothers of the church pray for me as I begin my year of service, and then they sang to me. After church, we went to Torero's, our favorite Mexican restaurant in Durham. One of my dearest friends, Victoria Joy, joined us for my birthday lunch. As is traditional at Torero's, when it is your birthdayyou get to wear a sombrero while they sing and give you some sopapillas with whipped cream... which of course they put on your face...

After lunch, Mom and I had to get to the airport, since we were both working the next day. So yes, I had to fly on my birthday... But I got to hang out with my mom and on our layover in Baltimore, I got a tasty strawberry margarita...

Monday was my next birthday week event... froyo at this realllllllyyyyy good place right next door to the children's museum: BerryAustin2Go. I had brought along a book that I had received as a gift the day before (Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares. it's a little depressing, just to warn you) and had some froyo!

Tuesday was my second family birthday dinner. My mom, my aunt, my brother and I went to Cantina Laredo, a place I discovered a few months ago. Their specialty is their table side guacamole. So. Good. I had a pomegranate margarita this time and chicken mole enchiladas and a chile relleno.

Wednesday was my friend birthday dinner at Magnolia's. As of that morning, no one had really told me the were coming besides my friend Faith, so I was preparing myself for it to be the two of us. (Which would have still been lovely!) I decided to go the mass text route, which meant I got more responses thankfully! We ended up with six of us: me, Faith, Samantha, Chelsea & Victoria (all friends from St. Ed's) and my former youth minister/family friend Jackie! We had a fabulous time; I was the only one who knew everybody, but by the time we left, there were hugs all around. :) We had Mag Mud of course, because it is possibly my favorite dish on the planet.

Thursday was Harry Potter day! I love that Harry Potter week coincided with my birthday again! I went to Raul's house around 7 and we watched HP7.1 because he hadn't seen it yet... It was over just after ten and we headed to Alamo Drafthouse to get in line. I stopped by to see Samar since she was in a different line (we got separated into different theaters) and then lined up. We went in the theater about an hour before the movie started and the played a lot of viral HarrPotter videos. I ordered a butterbeer. And queso and cookies... The movie was pretty good. Definitely enjoyed myself.

Friday was 6th! Since I wasn't around last summer when I turned 21, I had not gotten to go to 6th on my birthday yet. It's probably just as well that I didn't get to go this year either since they give you shots of all sorts of stuff... I met Chelsea, Valentin, Caroline and Brooke at the Iron Cactus, to start off with margaritas (you may have guessed that margs are my drink...). I had never been there before but it was really nice! They have a rooftop bar and I felt so sophisticated up there. Of course, then we went three other places and just danced the rest of the night. We met Emma at the first club. I had such a fun time: good friends, margaritas, dancing... that's my idea of a good time.

Saturday, Faith and I went to see HP7.2 again (for me). She wasn't able to go at midnight so we'd planned to go on Saturday, which is what we did for part 1 back in November as well. We ate a lot of food and enjoyed the movie. And picking it apart afterwards of course.

Later that night was the Harr Potter Extravaganza at the Highball. When I first saw this, I wanted to go so bad, but couldn't think of who would go with me... either that loved HP as much as me or had the money. But then my dear friend Raul (my "husband") mentioned it sounded like fun, so we went! I revived my Golden Snitch costume from last Halloween for the occasion. Raul was a muggle. The room was decorated with candles hanging from the ceiling... We had a wizardly meal as well as wizardly drinks. I tried firewhisky since I had had butterbeer the other night... even though I had never had whiskey before... yeah, it was interesting. We had trivia, and were on teams. The girls that sat with us couldn't believe their luck that they'd ended up with me on their team. We won. By one point. For once, all my Harry Potter knowledge served some purpose. One round was all the first lines of each book and we (I) were the only team to get them all correct. Then we watched an improv group reenact the entire HP series... in an hour. It was hilarious. he Dance Battle of Hogwarts began next, but I was wearing 3 inch heels and was kind of exhausted from the week so we didn't stay. I felt like seeing Voldemort dance to Thriller was as good a way as any to end the night.

One final semi birthday week event was a Spider House date with my friend/former college minister Ann on Sunday. She had been sick for other events during the week so we used some giftcards and had some queso and tea. We caught up on a lot of things, which was great since we hadn't had a chance to do that in a while. Lovely wato end the week.

I was exhausted bthe end of the week, but in a good way. I have wonderful friends and family and I am incredibly blessed to have them in my life, especiallthat would join me to celebrate another year of life!