and then rides all around it on her bike.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"I never thought being young and poor could look so fabulous!"

... just one of the comments made about our Emmaus House Community Covenant video...

which you can all see (finally) here:

(if it doesn't work, try this link)

The assignment was for each of the LVC houses to make a "Community Covenant" - basically, something that represents us and our house and the fun and good times we have together, etc. At our last retreat (where I may or may not have also spent a significant amount of time canoeing...) each house presented their covenant. And every house did something different, of course, because every house is very different... one house told stories to illustrate things that were important to them, another read a list of some funny, some serious things that made their house a home, etc.... really, our only instructions were to be creative.

Our house, the Emmaus House, spent a lot of time sitting around thinking about what we wanted to do for our covenant. Obviously, it had to be something pretty spectacular, but it also had to fit in a pretty specific budget... so, like, souvenirs from a week of family bonding in the Caribbean was unfortunately not in the cards... Some of the other (very real) possibilities were: a collage, a poem, a family crest, an interpretive dance, and a special Emmaus House rendition of the hit song "Glamorous."

In the end, none of these made the cut. What did make the cut was this, a video of us sitting around talking about... ourselves. And each other. And maybe a little bit about LVC.

So there you go, here you go, the Emmaus House Community Covenant.

... just another thing on the list of things I am thankful for this November... :)
Oh my God I am SO corny.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

When you're good, you're good.

... let's just say I'm practicing for next week...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Assorted Pictures with Limited Commentary

To be completely fair, fall is happening to a decent extent in other parts of the city. Just not on the tree in front of my house.

Another thing that's happening is this:
Thank you, Union Station... I think it's... Christmas decorations?

This is a statue:

And this is a funny looking building:

This is what DC does for Veteran's Day:

(they also had a parade)

And this is my new office:

In ten days, I'm going home for Thanksgiving!
Ok, that's all.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh my goodness, here they are:

Pictures from the retreat!

Ok. Now I'm going to go hang out outside, since it's sunny and nice and not a work day. Fall is finally starting to come to DC, holy cow, don't quite know what took it so long...

Yep, November 11 and that's all we've got. Fall better hurry along too, because I have been listening to Christmas music pretty much all day and I'll be ready for snow soon...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Shana Loves Canoeing

or: Shana Is Totally Crazy

This weekend we had an LVC retreat, and LVC retreats always mean good food in large quantities, good people everywhere you turn, and lots and lots of the great outdoors.

This particular retreat was at a retreat center near Perryville, Maryland, right up at the top of the Chesapeake Bay, right, actually, on the Chesapeake Bay.

See the view from the kitchen windows? I'm not exaggerating.

Because I intend to use an obscene number of maps in this particular post (or actually just the one, but an obscenely unnecessary number of times...), I thought it would be nice to start by orienting you with a more general, more familiar map:

This is the US. Hopefully you could identify that on your own.
In the green box is Maryland. And a little bit of Virginia, maybe Delaware, but that's actually not important.
(Don't tell them I said that.)

So zooming in on Maryland now... (have I mentioned that I love google maps?)

Again, green box, that's where we were.
Right at the top of the Chesapeake Bay.

Here is our exact location, indicated by the (small) red "X".

Alright then, now that you're all oriented.

We had some free time during our retreat, and I took advantage of this free time to undertake one of my all-time-favorite-ever activities: canoeing

It falls under the more general all-time-favorite- ever activities category of "anything that has to do with water."

Now let me just back up and say (because, Midwestern as I am, if there's one thing I genuinely like more than looking at maps, it's talking about the weather) that we had a brisk and lovely fall weekend, finally chilly enough out that you really did need a jacket, or at least a scarf, warm enough in the sunshine but cool in the shade, with a light breeze... though it was sometimes very still... and sometimes... sometimes maybe even windy...

The morning of free time I spent canoeing just happened to be one of those "maybe even windy" times...

Anyway, weather disclaimer disclaimed, back to my story.

Setting out from our spot at the top of the Chesapeake Bay on the aforementioned red X, this is an example of what would have been a nice little canoeing route for me to take on a windy fall day:

Another example - and slightly more adventurous! - would be this:

So it's not like I didn't have options.

Of course, I went with neither of those options. Instead, giddy with the sheer joy of holding a canoe paddle in my hand, I set off happily and, singing little songs to myself as I rowed along smoothly, with the wind... at my back...
and this is (pretty much) the route I took:

And it was when I arrived at this point that I started to think, uhoooooooh.... :

To help illustrate why, in the following picture I've included a few blue arrows to illustrate the direction and strength of the wind and waves. I've also included an inset to illustrate me thinking "uhoooooooh...."

I spent a good couple of minutes trying to turn the boat around before I gave up and just rotated in my seat instead, which I probably just should've done in the first place. I also spent a couple minutes thinking maybe I might not make it back to the little LVC retreat house after all...

It took me about a half hour to row out to that point, and maybe about two hours to row back. I mean, it took me a half hour of tapping at the water while I sang songs to the geese to row out to that point, and maybe about two hours of hard-core, full body, am-I-actually-moving-forward-at-all tearing at the water with every fiber in every muscle of my body to row back.

My eventual and hard-fought success was due largely to the careful route I followed, which probably looked a little something like this:

I suppose one day they will write inspiring canoeing books about me.

At any rate, I think I learned an important lesson that day:
canoeing is awesome.

Yep, it's a lesson I already knew.
But it's always good to get to know it again.

Stay tuned for many many more pictures....