Archive for April, 2007

April 22, 2007

Swim, Bike, Run

I did a mini triathlon the other day – I hadn’t really planned on it – it just turned out. I was getting ready to leave town for a conference, and knew that it wasn’t likely that I’d get much exercise (I was wrong about that – the team at United made me carry my bags from one gate to the other until they finally decided upon a departure gate).

Anyway – I swam 1500 yards during lunch – that’s almost twice as far as I’ll have to go during my race in July. And then I was planning on a short run when I got home, but some friends called and asked if I wanted to run with them. I did want to – but on the way home spotted the horrific traffic on Hwy. 99 headed back towards their house. So – when I got home – I popped on my bike, rode to their house, we went for a run, and then I rode home.

The run was about 3 miles, but the bike ride was only about 5 – about a third of how far I’ll go on race day.

But it was a confidence booster – now all I need to to is ramp up my bike riding, practice some transitions, and get ready for race day!

April 22, 2007

Whistler While You Work

I was lucky to head up to Whistler last week to visit with my brother and his family. Work has been a bit busier than normal lately – I have more responsibilities than I did a few months ago – which is great, I might add – but I’m still getting up to speed. But the marvels of technology meant that I was able to stash a laptop in my bag, get in the car, pick up my girl, switch to the passenger seat, and then spend a couple of hours crafting some scopes of work for customers.

It sounds crazy – but having some good company, a comfortable car and no interruptions meant that I actually accomplished a lot. Of course, my battery crapped out near the border, but that was fine.

We reached Whistler just in time to have dinner with my brother – and spent all of the next day on the slopes (or getting ready for the slopes). Terrific. It snowed all day, and I finally figured out (just a bit) how to turn left without turning back up into the hill.

The next day was even better – the sun came out for a couple of hours, it was warm, the snow was terrific. And my niece and nephew and brother were good company the whole way, and my girl was polite every time I ran her down by accident!

We wrapped up the weekend with a night in Vancouver. Stanley Park is still gorgeous, despite the tree loss from the winter storms – and the city strikes me as a model.

Sure –  you might not like the real estate values there (but you don’t like them in Seattle, either). And you might not like the taxes. Or the medical system. Fine. Maybe I’m just feeling generous – but here’s my take:

The City makes builders and developers work for them, not the other way around – so there is green space, open space, living space, retail space, a good bus system, a train going in, everyone gets medical insurance, not just the fortunate among us . . .

Hard to argue with that. And the people are nice, too. The border guards don’t treat me like a criminal, the police officers answer questions with a smile, the hotel staff were prompt and kind.

Okay – sure. I was on vacation. But I’d sure like to see more of those things in my city!

April 22, 2007

Maybe I Need To Give An Inch

I’ve been pretty frustrated with the Catholic Church for about a year and a half now. And about a year ago, I quit lending my talents – it felt too much like I was putting my stamp of approval on the whole thing, like I was a public representative of all of the things about the Catholic tradition that I don’t like.

(There aren’t that many, by the way. I happen to believe that gay people shouldn’t be ostracized. That women should have the same rights and privileges as men. That the clergy should be able to marry. That recent "updates" to the catholic liturgy are a power play and are counter productive).

So – after 25 years of every Sunday (sometimes twice and sometimes three times) showing up for church with my guitar, my mic stand and cables, a huge bag of music, and a varied assortment of musicians – I quit. Pretty abruptly, too, although it had been in motion for quite a while.

I was sorta surprised, and so was my family. I’m not a quitter, though – so while I stopped participating, I have been letter writing. So far, that hasn’t made much of a difference. It’s a bit funny – here I am, this decidedly not wealthy, not influential guy who took his guitar and went home and started writing letters. So it shouldn’t have surprised me that almost no one wrote back – but it did.

You see – after all of those years – I felt like I was a respected colleague in those circles. But the president of Seattle University didn’t write back. The folks at L’Arche did – but patted themselves on the back for a policy that sounds like "don’t ask, don’t tell" while I know perfectly well that women and gay people aren’t integrated or accepted. My former high school wrote back to say that they agree with me – and while that was nice – I can’t tell that they are doing anything.

And that’s the worst part. Most of my experience in the Catholic community has been excellent – particularly the Jesuit community. So I expect more. I expect dialogue. I expect reason. I expect standing up to the hierarchy. Most of all, I expected to be heard – and that doesn’t seem to be happening.

So – I don’t know about what is next. I’m thinking that my next step is to write again – but instead of asking what those Institutions are doing – I think I’ll ask about what those leaders are doing personally. It strikes me that personal change is much more possible – and I’d feel at least a bit relieved to know that some of those leaders were engaged in that dialogue.