still working hard

I sure am glad I did that last post. After having full-time employment for all of five months I am once again the subject of another layoff and back  in a full-time position of finding employment and staying current. I’ll be using those things mentioned in my previous post as well as some new connections made along the way….and I forgot to mention one other way to stay very busy:

Volunteer Work

There are lots of great organizations in the greater Boston area to fill ones time with “good work”. Here are a couple worth checking out that tie into technology and/or engineering:

YouthCITIES

Engineers Without Borders

…and my favorite has been working as an advisor and mentor for a local youth group at First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington. We are travelling to Williamson West Virginia to help build some community gardens. You can follow that action here.

 

where we went in New Orleans

tumbling in new orleans

As some of you know I spend a considerable amount of my volunteer time with a high school youth group at the Unitarian Universalist church in Arlington. Next week thirty-seven of us will be in New Orleans to work on a service project in the ongoing efforts to rebuild after hurricane Katrina. I have set up a Tumblr and, network coverage willing, I will be posting some stuff there during the week. Feel free to take a peek.

chaliceyouthinno2009 dot tumblr dot com

I am trying to keep this particular site off the search engines, hence the lack of real URL

bradley

Reality can be refreshing sometimes. Today I met Bradley Whitford of (West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip fame…neither of which have I watched) at the Unitarian Church I attend. I am a friendly with his brother, David, who is a  writer, Arlington resident, and a member of First Parish UU of Arlington where I go with my family. David’s wife and I taught the Coming of Age class together two years ago and I am a youth advisor for both of their teenage daughters. Bradley was in town for a big family gathering they have every year…. So there I was chatting with him when he introduced me to his three children. He then noticed that his 8 year-old had cake all over his face. “Go get a napkin and wipe of your face” he said sternly, echoing the same thing I said moments earlier to my almost 8-year-old. I guess it doesn’t matter what we do for a living, we always have to keep our kid’s faces clean.

lockin again

It was time for another lockin at FPUU in Arlington this past Friday night. While the numbers of youth and adult advisors were greater than last year’s, the tone seemed much quieter. We played some rousing games of Sardines earlier than usual and I think that, plus the surprise dance party, sapped a lot of energy from everyone. The highlights for me were (1) jamming on the guitar with Eli, (2) sunrise sitting in the Tobey Lounge with the few youth who stayed conscious throughout the whole night (I slept from 1-5AM as I didn’t need to see V for Vendetta again) and (3) the games of Mafia in the Sanctuary. I sure hope the new leadership at FPUU will continue to support the Youth Group with as much care and respect. It is an incredibly enthusiastic group of youth who have truly exercised their empowerment to the fullest.

theosophical bloggery

I started blogging and following friends blogs a few years ago as a way to inform my friends and family, who are spread all over the world, about my goings-on and about my many varied inteterests. Around the same time I started regularly attending the Unitarian Universalist church in my town. This was mainly as a way to help educate my children about the varieties of religious experiences and philosophies that are and have been practiced around the world.  My own philosophical/theosophical/spiritual education/journey started with my Catholic upbringing, continued with my exposure to eastern thought in in my teens through the growing melding of physics and philosophy at that time (The Tao of Physics for instance), took a side trip as I tried to come to terms with a number of my friends’ conversion to fundamentalist Christianity, and continued through college as I voraciously absorbed Godel, Escher, Bach. Then when I entered the "real world", likely triggered by the near simultaneous occurrence of my entry into the work force and the unfortunate death of my father, I stopped.

Now it seems that  twenty years later, due to a critical mass of stimulus in my life, I have added the word spiritual into my vocabulary again and have begun to continue that education/journey. Some of this has to do with an increased involvement in the UU church and some just seems to be a groundswell in the blogosphere I follow. dougo has been discussing Atheism and dave has been discussing a number of metaphysical concepts…and both of these seem to have been inspired by other blog postings. I’ll continue to blog about live music, goofy card games and fun television shows but the addition of theosophical discussions seems to be a welcome direction. 

ferry beach

ferrybeach.jpg

I went with the family to a retreat at Ferry Beach in Maine last weekend. Some photos are here. It is a stretch of beachfront property that is owned and operated by the UU’s . The facilities are over 100 years old and the whole experience is quite like going to camp. We slept on bunk beds (Billy and I got top bunks) and ate (amazing) food together in a cafeteria with a few hundred of our fellow parishioners from First Parish in Arlington. One of the best things about the UU’s is the lack of organization at events like this. Everything was very laid back and not over-planned. The boys spent most of the time doing scavenger hunts, playing with Hot Wheels cars, playing with Lego, and having general outdoor fun and mayhem. Stephanie and I spent a lot of time chatting with other adults (something we parents don’t get to do enough) and doing our respective hobbies – knitting for Stephanie, games and puzzles for me. I now have a number of people hooked on lighter German-style games including No Merci, Loco (Flinke Pinke), Zero, Coloretto and the hit this year was a favorite of mine, High Society. One highlight for me was, as it was last year, the sunrise walk on the beach with the boys. Another was briefly jamming to Led Zeppelin’s “Bring it on Home” with a couple of the teenagers. We are of course looking forward to going again next year. Maybe a summer trip there (or to Star Island) is a possibility for next year.

lockin

i attended a lockin this past weekend with the youth group at the unitarian universalist church i attend…it was very fun and very tiring…it started at 7pm on saturday and went until 2pm on sunday (i transitioned back to my normal role of being a husband/dad at 10am on sunday 😉 )…there were eight youth and four adult advisors…we played some great games including assasins and sardines…we ate cookie pizza and ice cream at 1 am (my stomach can’t handle that kind of thing the way it used to)…we watched movies like life of brian, hitch hikers guide to the galaxy and  eternal sunshine of the spotless mind…and for me the highlight was the worship service at 11pm with a drum circle and meditaion to eli’s selection of music (dylan, tool, radiohead and others)….maybe eli will finally be able to convince me to like radiohead….we’ll see….

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