Monday, May 4, 2009

Weekend Friendships

It’s late Monday evening, and I’m tired.

But it is a satisfied kind of tired. The last few days have been really great – running, camping, eating with people, engaging in rich conversations with new and old friends.

It deserves at least a lazy recap.

Friday night I met with our website team to discuss revamping HomeSchool LA. The website has been stagnant for months now, and I am excited about the prospect of renewal. Our goal has always been to create an internet resource for local homeschoolers and people interested in exploring homeschooling; and also to help homeschoolers connect with each other.

The connection part of that mission is near and dear to me. Having been both a homeschooling parent and student, I deeply value the friendships afforded in the homeschooling community. It makes such a difference in the overall experience.

Look for more to come on that.

Saturday morning I went for a 14 mile run, or was it 16? It was a little tougher for me than the 20 mile run of last week, mostly because it was hotter, and partly because I was just a smidge bored with the concept of running for hours at a time. So once again I was thankful to be running with a friend.

I think that our time was pretty decent, and I’m more optimistic about actually running the marathon, although I am disturbed that the increase in temperature seems to zap my strength as much as it does. I really hope it is not brutally hot May 25th.

Then Saturday afternoon I headed out to McGrath state park for a little camping and hanging on the beach with my girlfriends from church. I only knew a few of them well before the camping trip, so it was really fun to get to know the others better.

The whole experience was delightfully disorganized. It felt more like a kids’ slumber party than a serious women’s retreat. As far as I could tell, there wasn’t an agenda of any kind, other than to share dinner together Saturday night and hang around the campfire. I brought the new quintessential camping food – sushi. I was starving from my morning run, so I was especially excited about the food.

Fresh, guacamole made from ingredients scored from a roadside veggie stand. I love California.

And then we hung around the campfire talking all night.

This was the strangest and best campfire food -- roasted bananas stuffed with chocolate and peanut butter.

If there was any contest, I think the story somebody had about pulling a partially digested He-Man leg out of a kids’ butt in a babysitting-gone-bad story, took first place in the worst job category. But the dropping-acid-while- riding-Space-Mountain-at-Disney was a great story too, mostly because it came from the quietest, sweetest woman in the group.

These uber-cool girls slept in hammocks under the stars. Had I known that was an option I may have skipped the stinky tent experience.

I didn’t sleep much, but enjoyed more great conversations, including a walk to the beach right after dawn with another new friend, and a much less funny conversation about life and death and finding our place in between.

Then around mid morning I was struck with a strange pang of homesickness, packed up and drove home in time to enjoy “second breakfast” with Kip and the kids. They were sitting on the balcony, enjoying the luxury of Sunday morning pancakes under sunny skies and swaying palm trees. Is this our life?

Sunday evening we went to Kairos, our church in Hollywood. I overcame my post-camping exhaustion and taught the kids’ class. I told them the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, and I got a little theatrical with the part about Jesus shouting, “LAZARUS, come out!” Then we rather spontaneously had to play dead guy hopping around in the “grave clothes,” crepe paper streamer.

If you try this at home, be advised that when you put blue crepe paper across a 6-year-old’s mouth, he will probably suck on it, producing an inky blue substance that will spread about the hands and face. Also other children might get excited and run around with scissors and accidentally cut somebody else’s T-shirt. But other then that, it could be a very fun learning experience.

After all this fun, we met with more friends at our favorite Thai Town restaurant in East Hollywood. If you are in Hollywood looking for cheap eats, I highly recommend RCA. If you can handle a little heat, the chicken panang is amazing.

So that was basically the weekend. I went home, and before crashing called an old friend and planned a summer road trip up the coast.

So what else is there to say? Life is good.

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