Monday, April 28, 2008

Scared Straight?

Tonight I was scared. I stayed really late at the office so I could get some work done and hopefully take the time off at the end of the week with my folks. I was the last one in the building and I was trying to map out a path to ride my bike on foot, which is sort of a dumb idea when you don't really know where you are going and when you didn't actually ride the bike that day.

I walked along the Rhine intending to find the way to catch the bridge and walk across it. I started on a wide well lit industrial street, perfect for bikes, not much traffic, but it soon got creepy. The road dead ended into a fence after some railroad tracks no way to tell if that was open normally or not... so I kept going closer to the river. I was funneled narrower and narrower into a walkway. I got darker and was misting. Then the concrete ledge narrowed even further, only the cold slippery river on my right and a brick retaining wall for some train tracks on my left. I then came upon A large piece of metal something was blocking the path so I skinnied up to pass it and the walk got even narrower and my footing more unsure, then my concrete dock turned to a metal see-thru grating. I was a little freaked out and it was starting to rain. The boats tied up along the Rhine, were dark and I hoped vacant. Sailor Magoo, the toothless wonder, could have been counting his loot down below and come up for a wad of tobacco in his corn cob pipe at any moment, but Magoo stayed below deck. I pressed on thinking I would clearly not use this as a bike path as I had originally intended but I perhaps at least could get back to civilization where things became normal again and things that go bump under the bridge near the graffiti didn't stike terror into my heart and perhaps the bats and moths would turn back into birds and bee once more. I am having a dialog with my idiot self right now.. WHAT are you DOING? You don't know your way at all. At least take someone with you next time so you don't drown, get kidnapped, smacked in the face with a bat, or worse, drop your computer in the Rhine. I pressed on, however, sure that I could find away out on the other side of the bridge that was more well lit. I get to it however and find the green metal door locked. Through the grate I can see freedom, lush and green with a few normal looking people strolling by and there is a tram stop nearby, but I cannot get there. The grating is high and not wide enough for footholds. The edges are wrapped with barbed wire... foiling my original plan of swinging myself around over the open water to the concrete slab on the other side of the gate. You bet I would have climbed it straight over had I figured out a way to get out easy, but no, in order to free myself I had to walk back thru the mess I had created and double not only back to the main road, but back to the starting point.

All the way back to the beginning.

After that, I also still had to go the normal way home, which is another 10 minute rain-walk and I missed the tram that would normally have been waiting for me. That late in the evening they are much farther apart and I would have had to wait for awhile after passing this man who, I swear, was wearing a Grim Reaper hood (i'm not even joking.. had there been no one else around seeing it too I would have ran screaming toward him or maybe attempted to whack him with my bag or beat him with my shoe.. or maybe I would have just started crying realizing that after all this, I am still going to Hell.) "Excuse me...Death? Yes, hello, I have this itch.. right there.. if only you had a... yeah a sickle...thanks you're a peach." "But of course... and now right this way.."

After seeing that weirdness I kept walking down the street as far away as I could get from that and I caught a glimspe of myself. What am I doing? I look like wet dog, I am hungry and tired and have walked and waited for about an hour and a half at this point. Gotten nowhere almost slipped into a river where no one would miss me for days, given it's a holiday week. Magoo may have used me as bait or worse.

I can't help but think God was talking to me. I don't get to crank myself in to an alley and climb out... I have to turn and face it and step back thru it and start over. I might miss what I had waiting on me in the meantime had I taken the right turns. But I'll never know.

Anyone been there?

Crazy or not?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

This week in Basel

Spring is here. It does make me happy. It does make me prance a little bit hopping down stairs. I hope this lovely weather holds on this week as my PARENTS are coming over on Monday! Hooray!! Had one of the best meals yet in Basel last week. Rick and Ashley hosted potluck enchilada night and it was delicious. We had chicken and cheese enchiladas, salad, tacos, spanish rice, Jeff made puff pastries (yes it's true)... and Jack made "Swiss Margharitas" consisting of Crystal Light mix, Limes and Tequila, mixed in a coffee pot, not bad. Tami (above) had three before dinner, (she's the best) I had diet coke :) Great times had by all. Note the sombrero on the bottle. Shannon was the lucky recipient.

Marc took me to buy a bike at a sale in a little villiage in Gemany outside Basel. That is right folks, I got on a bike after about 18 or so years of not being on one. Let me tell you my rump is SORE. I guess we rode about 15 miles today total. We went to the sale early in the morning and the weather was GLORIOUS. Perfect day.This is it folks! The new bike. Got it for 30 Euros and it's got a light on the front and back (almost) and comes with it's own air pump. Not bad. Made in West Germany, that tells you about how old it is. It's got "character" I'll ride it to work hopefully.
Had some very good 'italian' ice cream. This dish was called "Spaghetti Ice". I had the "Pizza Ice".

We then rode up to this castle that was just charming and had a great view of the valley and then we sat in a bier garten and had some pretzels and tea and just chatted about the deep stuff in life. Great day. I dont have any pictures of the ride home, it was almost too beautiful for words. I didn't have time or desire to stop riding and yank out the camera. It rode through some vineyards, the sky was brilliant sapphire blue, the sun was warm, breeze cool, the roads vacant except for a few other riders. Little orchards, apples, plums, pears, and of course grapes. Windy villiage roads. I was Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan sun or something. (I mean...I'm usually in an episode of The Office, so don't worry).
Drove by a flower patch were you can just go and pick flowers and then pay for them by the stem on your way out. Very Laura Ingalls Wilder. I got these red-beauties for 2.5 Fr.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Last Week

Some pics from my week home... Yay LIZ good pic of us! And this is Jim and Courtney and the Koziateks and Willie!'s. (Hmm guess I need to fix the red-eye...)

Hmmm.. guess I need to fix the green-tongue!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Not Swinglish...Singlish

So we took the Singaporean drafting team out to dinner tonight because they go home tomorrow to Singapore never to return! We should have done this earlier because they were JUST PRECIOUS!!! Oh man. So the five of them sitting at our table are starting from me.. Indian, Phillipino, Chinese, Indonesian and Javanese? When asked what language they speak to each other.. they reply "Singlish". Which can have words from a handful of different languages and then they just end english words in "La" So i try one.. "Coca Cola" This gets a laugh but really more like "Hello-la" or "Yah-la". "No-la." If you are more Chinese decent you say "meh" Or something. "No-meh".
I tried to explain "Y'all" but that didn't seem to translate well.

I couldn't stop laughing they were so cute. Two saw snow for the first time here, one learned to cook here ("cuz the food is horrible") and one guy makes these faces like you wouldn't believe. Ugh. Just adorable. Bye Jitendra! Safe travels, nice working with you, even though I literally could fit you in my carry on luggage, you are a man among men my friend!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I've been tagged.

Ok, Deb, so you tagged me... seven things you don't know.
it's probably a bigger challenge to find something out about me that i haven't broadcast to everyone already.
1. I hate pickles with the fire of a thousand suns.
2. I am an introvert. (No really... hey guys cmon..I swear).
3. I've been thrown out of the same Irish bar, twice.  (not my fault)
4. I think I am part smarmy lounge singer.  I sing in the shower.
5. I once had a debilitating fear of the riding lawn mower (or rather the thrashing chopping noise it made).  
6. My uncle can ski barefooted. (he doesn't have the Merrill large foot curse either, he's painfully normal sized...)
7. My brother is my favorite person, next to Joaquin Phoenix who I haven't met.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Five Minute Blog

Hey all.  I came home, I left again.  Hopefully there is some light at the end of this work tunnel.  Weather in St. Louis was delicious.  My front yard showed off and welcomed me home by being in full bloom.  My parents finished the basement and my bro caused an earthquake.  Jim Roach turned 30 and it was great to see him and to find out that my blog is apparantly famous among his peeps.  Went to small group.  Life giving!  Dusty and I worked out, I got a kettle bell.  I have a laundry room that functions now, it's schweeeeet.  I got to go to church twice and a Cardinals game (at least til the 8th inning after the budweiser song... ya da ta dadda ya da ta da.. bum bum bum..)  I'm in London and I have five minutes left on my timer.  On the plane I didn't even watch a single movie.  Just slept. I have an ingrown toenail and little kids I was sitting next to in the bulkhead kept stepping on it.  I put some stuff on the altar at church and we will see what God does with it.  What is easier to say?  "Your sins are forgiven" or "Pick up your mat and walk"?   I want to walk, but God wants more for me.  Watched some Arrested Development. Made some chocolate chip cookies and I daresay I've lost my touch.  Big time.  Cant get them to behave anymore.  Volleyball.  WOO HOO.  Some new clothes, new haircut, new hope.  Great line from the Prince of Eqypt movie I caught a few minutes of with the Demurlizer.  "Hope is frail but its hard to kill".
Liz killed me at fooseball.  I wasn't hard to kill.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Some Encouragement

To my hurting friends.  All of you.
To the women.
The girls who have been waiting, wanting, serving, and mourning.

To you who wonder "will it ever be my turn?"
To you who have been called and who have moved from your stationary position into the scary and tantalizing heart of God, alone.

To you to went and stayed after the novelty wore off, to you to are faithful and funny and smart and freaking beautiful and creative and stronger than you think.

To you who have been stolen from, lied to and made to think YOU are the crazy one.
Did you ever think he didn't call because it's better if he doesn't?

They take your stuff, they take your peace, they take your bodies... they just take.

Take heart, God has chosen you, he chose to make you because he wanted a YOU in this world.

Take heart because we are not here for very long and some of it IS ridiculously beautiful.

Take heart because prayers move the heavens and suffering is sometimes the most merciful and beautiful gift God gives.

Which sucks. I wish the tags on the gift of suffering were left on so it could be returned. It's not something I would pick out for myself.
I hate how it looks on me.

Take heart because you are amazing and I'm not sure why you don't see and I'm not sure why they don't see. I'm not sure why I don't see.

To the men.

To you who work and engage and love.
To you who raise families. To you who sacrifice.

To you who serve and give and teach. To you who are here and haven't checked out.

To you who have been exposed as weak.

To you who are still idiots, even though you are God's idiots.

You are warriors.

You need to act like them, but I need to forgive you for not being them.

I need to pray that you will rise up and lead because we need you to. We want you to.

I pray that other men will lead you, and teach you to lead, because you have been left sooo many times.

I pray the distance stops with you.

I pray this because she needs you, the little ones need you, we need you. It's a selfish prayer in some ways.

We failed you, controlled you, nagged you, seduced you, and taken the wind out of your sails, taken jobs, taken your roles, and accepted your duties, and responded to your callings.

We have stopped inviting you in, and definitely stopped trusting you.

We questioned when we should have trusted, we have kept silent when we should challenge, and we spurn your movements toward us because we are sin sick too.

Take heart, God has chosen you, he chose to make you because he purposed a YOU in this world.
Take heart, because you are not here for very long and some of the victories are better than Guitar Hero scores.
Take heart, because prayers move the heavens and the exposure of your weaknesses prove God strong. 
Take heart because he's wild and crazy even in his simplicity of his commands.
To God, the lifter of our heads.