Monday, April 27, 2009

An Affirming Weekend

This past Saturday, April 25, 2009, the Southwest Conference of the United Church of Christ voted overwhelmingly to become the newest ONA conference within our denomination. What an emotional time for everyone regardless of which side of the vote they were on. The air was definitely emotionally charged. With the guidance of the Spirit, our conference minister and conference moderator, we were able to travel this road with grace and compassion.

One of the opponents made the point that UCC welcomes ALL people, thus this resolution was not necessary. While that may be true in an ideal world, we do not live in an ideal world. We must step out and proclaim our support for all who are treated unfairly for any reason, whether it be immigration status, sexual orientation, religious, or race related. It is our duty, right and privilege to speak out for those who cannot or will not.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What were they thinking?

Come on, we've all done it, looked at what someone else was wearing and thought "how on earth did they ever think that could look good on anyone?" Even some haute courture designs can make you go "WTF?" Anyway, recently I've come across a show called What Not To Wear. The basic plot is that the hosts ambush some poor woman who has been nominated by her friends and family to have her wardrobe trashed and to spend a week in NYC shopping by the guidelines set down by the hosts.

Now, most of these "guests" aren't really that bad and they have a good time stretching their fashion boundaries and comfort zone. Yesterday there was a young woman on the show, early 20's, mother of two children, single and she certainly did not take kindly to having her "style" criticized. Some of her favorite outfits included a skirt that, she admitted, was too small when she bought it (for $250) and a pair of sandals where all her toes hung off the ends (but they were on sale). Over the years each of us has probably made one or two foolish purchases, but this child's whole closet was full of them. She thought she looked stylish, young and sexy.

Note to self - next time family and friends pay a surprise visit, pray there isn't a camera crew with them.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One Simple Joy of Living in Phoenix

There are many simple things about living in the Valley of the Sun that can bring a quick smile to your face. This morning driving to work I witnessed one of those simple things - watching a couple hot air balloons rise and fall around the mountains to the north.

Once of the things I've noticed since we moved her 6 years ago is that when you start seeing the balloons in the morning Spring has sprung and Summer is close on her heels. How could one possibly be in a less than good mood watching the balloons float along? It doesn't matter how grumpy you are, it is going to bring a smile to your face and improve your mood.

My first experience with the hot air balloons was just after we first moved here and were living in the far west valley. We were on our way home from somewhere when we notice a balloon bearing the name of a well known fast food chain coming very close to the ground. Only a few blocks from home and finding this quite interesting, we followed it. We watched as the ground crew tried to guide the balloon down into a vacant field without success. The pilot only has so much control over the balloon, sometimes wind and other factors also exert their force. So, the ground crew chases the balloon until it is able to touch down, in this particular case, in a wash behind the subdivision where we lived.

Over the years, I've see a few balloons in real life, one that sticks out in my mind is the Energizer Bunny. Never have I seen so many so consistently as I have here. It's like a little drop of "feel good" medicine. Too bad we can't bottle it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Riding Quads or Creative Ways to Bonk Your Head

So, for months, no, at least a year, our friend has been telling us how much fun she has out on her new ATV. She entertains us with breathtaking photos of her off road adventures. This past weekend we finally decided to join her and another friend for our first experience on a quad.

We were very eager to try this new to us motor sport. As experienced motorcyclists, we figured it would be no big deal, we'll be on four wheels, in the dirt, not even going very fast. Gloves, boots, extra layers of clothes, helmets? we don't need helmets with 4 wheels we should have no problems staying right side up.

We started out rather slowly, a bit of a problem with one of the rentals that was quickly rectified. Boy, this is not at all like riding a motorcycle, the clutch is a brake, the throttle is a little thumb lever. Shifting is done by buttons with up and down arrows.

Ok, so I'm getting the hang of this, slowly but getting there. building up some confidence going a bit faster. Someone might actually mistake me for someone who knows what she's doing. There I am, zipping along coming up to a corner and I'm thinking I'm coming in a little too hot. Reacting like a biker, I lean, lean, lean to the left while hauling the the bars in the same direction. The rear tires slide to the right, no big deal, I've been seeing my friends do that all morning. I'm sliding, sliding, sliding hitting the right shoulder, then sideways to the left. I'm thinking, I'm going to pull out of it, I've turned not quite 180 degrees when I hit the small gully and then the mountain causing the quad to flip while depositing me luckily into the gully.

As I am falling to the ground, I hear my co-worker's voice from the day before "you're not wearing helmets?" thunk...goes my head. My friends are there before I even realize that I'm under the quad, which is being kept from actually being on me because I'm in the gully and it is resting on the road and the mountain.

Thankfully, though shaken, I suffered only some bruises and very sore muscles. Moral of the story? Wear a freaking helmet.