Saturday, September 13, 2008

Whew! What a Summer!

Yes, so everyone falls off the included. I never said I was perfect. And even if my New Year's resolution was to "keep in better touch" with everyone, I kept it up for a good 5 months, right?! According to statistics that is 3.5 months longer than most people keep their resolutions. Right? So, here I am trying to get back into it. This is going to be a long, long post--almost 4 months worth of "stuff" coming right at you. Get ready! Might want to get comfy for this one...

June: Boy, I can't remember back that far! Ok, here goes. I was pretty busy at work in June. One of the teams I work with ran a 2-week training in the office. So, I planned the "feeding" schedule for the group...practicing to be a mom (!?). I got to make Trader Joe's runs and get out of the office--yes, anything to get out of the office--it is as exciting as it gets! My second cousin (or second cousin once removed--I can never keep it straight!) Michelle was in SF visiting a friend and called me up for a quick visit; I met her and her friends for dinner. The same thing happened a week or so later when a good friend from Hibbing, Jenny, called me up when she and her husband were in town. Her and I walked around and checked out the graffiti / building murals around my neighborhood. It was so great to see familiar faces! We did not spend a lot of time together, but it was so nice. It really confirmed to me that when I am traveling near friends or relatives I have to make the extra effort to see / contact them--it is just so nice to see familiar faces when you are so far from "home." So, if you are ever in SF...

I am finally a legal CA driver--I passed my written test. I got 1.5 questions wrong--of course, I studied, I would be so embarrassed if I failed! Oh, and to explain the 1.5 I got wrong--one of the multiple choice questions, I marked all three answers as being correct (apparently, only one was right...); it was one of those "pick the best answer" questions. So technically, I was right...anyway, I passed.

I went to DC for a Evaluator Training--a group of us met with a women who works with non-profits to develop / improve their evaluation skills. The evaluations can be done after single events or longterm campaigns. It was really interesting to learn more about how to ask questions, where to really dig in to get answers, and where additional info is really not necessary.

July: Forth of July weekend, I had planned to visit my good friends Jen and Damian in Santa Barbara, but the wild fires were so fierce they were on evacuation-watch. So, I stayed in SF for the weekend and went to see a comedy troupe in the park and relaxed a bit. A few days later my cousin Cassie and her husband Chris were in SF. Chris co-wrote a book, Jesus for President, with a friend and they spoke at the beautiful Grace Cathedral. Their presentation was put together very well--they were serious and humorous and were accompanied by 2 gruff, Tom Waits-sounding musicians. While my views might not mirror theirs, I thought they presented themselves very passionately and professionally. What I took away from it was a simple message of presenting yourself in the world as you want others to act and to follow...which is a universal message anyone / everyone can follow.

One of the teams--Global Warming--I work with has field organizers in 20-or so congressional districts around the US. They are putting pressure--through grassroots organizing--on the congressperson to be a leader on global warming issues and sign onto the best legislation--which is not great, mind you--that is on the table at the moment. So, at the end of June, I was able to join the team in DC for lobby meetings on the Hill with the congress men and women from our target districts. We spent a few days prepping and dusted off our suits for the big day. I attended the meeting of Rep. Gerlach from PA with coworker Gabe and Jillian, who lives in the district. It was pretty cool. Unfortunately, Rep. Gerlach was unable to attend, so we met with one of his aides, but nonetheless, it was a great experience--one I may never have the chance to repeat.

From DC, I traveled to Seattle for a student training called Change It. I went along to help direct the masses, keep things on track, and be an extra hand to help when needed. I had never been to Seattle, and though I did not have much time to explore, I did manage to get a run in past Pikes Public Market and The Olympic Sculpture Gardens. I guess I will have to go back!

August: My brother, Greg, came to out to visit. I love that he comes, but I am feeling a little guilty that he spends his vacations visiting his sister! The weather was much more favorable this trip--no 4-inch rain days! We rented a car and went for a hike near Point Reyes Seashore and drove along the coast. We watched the Giant beat the Dodgers. Greg always wants to go for hill runs when he comes; we found a trail run--"moderate" was the description in my hiking book--but it was anything but! Over the course of 6 miles we covered 1200 feet of elevation change! It totally kicked my butt!

September: I met my mom in Denver over Labor Day weekend. We visited my aunt, cousin and her husband. It was really what I needed! It was so great to sit in the sun and relax, go for hikes, and shop. I got to go for a run with my mom, which I never get to do anymore. I feel I am hurrying around all the time, so it was the regroup I needed.

From Denver, I went straight to DC for planning meetings for next year's campaigns. I really like DC as a city and am finding working from there a little more enjoyable (?) every time I go. A group of us took one of the boats out, which was a blast! We boated near Annapolis and had lunch at a "crab shack." It was nice to be in the sun and on the water; I think I could get used to doing that more often.

This fall, I have several visitors coming to SF. Fun! Hopefully, my next post will be sooner and not as lengthy...