I have an ID...a

Pulled out my student ID card the other day - what, this old thing? Helloooo bangs!
and had a bit of a moment when my eyes settled on three sections of the card:


That's like, tomorrow. I almost mourned the expiration of the student status I held for as long as I can remember. It offered discounts, admission, and a free pass to have the world expect very little from me.

Then I remembered the rest of the cards in my wallet and had a little celebration. Let's take a look at my current cards on hand...

Complete with sideswept hair and drop earrings. I'll say yes bulk food, free samples and the BEST DEAL ON GAS YOU'LL GET ANYWHERE.

Perhaps I'm scamming off my mother's membership, but even if she quit, I'd get my own card. Gas is seriously a good 15 cents cheaper here than anywhere else. If you drive much, the membership pays for itself through gas savings alone. Plus, cheap razors and the exclusive feeling of admission to something special every time they check your card on the way in and receipt on the way out. They treat their employees well, their produce is heralded as the best quality around, and I'm telling you people, the gas prices are amazing. Unfortunately the selfish pieces of crap at Corporate don't donate any of their product to the food banks, but still, Go Costco!

I have child-like awe for the giant moving statue man hammering away in front of the Seattle Art Museum. Whoever had that idea wins.
I got a membership late last year and now get discounts at random stores in the area who love art (like the framers I'm planning on using soon) as well as invites to next month's REMIX, described as an "evening of performances, talks, dancing and more at this late-night creative explosion!" Who wouldn't want first dibs on such events?

I don't frequent the library as much as I want to. Fact of the matter is I love the way bookstores are arranged, but I'm far too cheap to buy books at some 20 bucks or more a pop. For my reading goals and increasingly long to-read list, the library should be the way to go. I wish they were organized more like bookstores and less like 'Fiction' 'Non-fiction' 'Magazines.' I was in a good groove last summer but have lately fallen into purchasing books and accumulating them, a chapter or so into each, on the headboard shelf of my bed. Here's to a reminder that renting books is a GOOD IDEA.

This baby isn't new. This card is flimsier than the rest, but far more important. It means that I have made promises with God and that I'm keeping them, and it gets me into the House of the Lord, i.e., the LDS temple. If you're not familiar with what makes this such an important building, check out this explanation. God has offered temples as a sacred place to find peace and guidance and I often take for granted how easy it is to come to God and how close the temple is to me. I love the grounds, I love the ordinances done inside, I love wandering around like I'll stumble upon God himself making himself comfortable in the study. I love the temple.

A few more symbols of my current identity:

I lost my license some 8 months ago and have been surviving airport security and occasional Happy Hour seating ID checks with the temporary paper copy, my photo debit card and the plea that "I just lost the hard copy, will this do?" Works like a charm. The goal is to make it to the hard plastic version's expiration date, just a couple months from now.

The green and gold cherry on top is my business card, which is new enough to me still that I like to flaunt it around like a trophy.

I'm happy with my ex-student identity, even if means fewer discounts.

I bring all these cards with me everywhere (along with a small stack of gift cards I always end up wanting to use the one day I take them out of my wallet). Is it really necessary?


The Monks at St. Marks and healing

Last night I went to hear the monks sing. Every Sunday night at 9:30 the fifteen robed men with angelic voices who make up the Compline Choir at St. Mark's Cathedral chant, hum, and sing peace to a hodgepodge audience of quiet souls who come to hear them. The question I have is, why?

I know why I go- I believe in Christ; I've got a thing for perfect harmony; I like feeling small under high, vaulted ceilings. I know what I believe and can 'amen' most of the words echoing through the cathedral.

I also love people-watching, and during last night's visit I noticed more than ever how many eyes were closed and facing heaven, brows furrowed in contemplation. I can feel their sincerity from the floor seats we share because pews are too crowded, and I wonder, are they praying to God like I am? I have been raised in a church where we are taught what 'We Believe..." until we get to the point where we can testify that 'I Believe.' When am seeking the divine, I know just what I'm looking for, who I am addressing, and most of the time, how I might receive response. But I'm one of some six hundred in attendance, and surely most don't come from my same background. What about the people who are raised to doubt, to question, to disbelieve? And those who are not taught anything? I want to get inside their heads and hearts and see how their process of coming to God is different than mine. Is there something I can learn from them? Many people are not 'taught' religion but feel religious to some degree, whether Christian, spiritual, or otherwise. What are they getting out of the words from the Episcopal Common Book of Prayer?

My Sunday School lesson yesterday was all about healing. In the first five chapters of Mark (and throughout the New Testament for that matter), Christ performs a lot of miracles. The miracles seem to fall under three categories: casting out unclean spirits, healing the diseased, and raising the dead. We don't see these kinds of miracles so much these days, but the categories, I think, remain the same: Christ casts out unclean spirits from us- the disposition to sin. He heals us from our imperfections- spiritual and temporal, any parts of us that are not perfectly Godlike. And to God, there is no lost cause, even the spiritually dead can be healed. No one is too broken to be touched by the power of Christ.

I love that. I appreciate the way my church has helped me articulate how I commune with heaven, but has allowed me room to make it my own. And I'm glad there are places like St. Mark's, accessible to anyone seeking peace or seeking healing.

The Office of Compline from Lucas Anderson on Vimeo.


Oh so cultured

In the last month, I've been to the Seattle Center's McCaw Hall twice (thrice if you go back to New Year's Ever where I watched the fireworks). Once for the opera, the Barber of Seville, and again for the ballet, Cinderella.

I am AMAZED at how people can manipulate their bodies and voices to make something beautiful and somehow make it look SO EASY. Some (and by some I mostly mean my brothers) will argue the value of dance and stage performance as a powerful medium of art or expression, but after this month's reminder, I'm sold. How it is that you can feel Cinderella's pain as she twirls and sways is beyond me. How you can root so hard for the Count to get his girl when you can't understand Italian makes no sense. Somewhere on those inexplainable airwaves of understanding, the audience just gets it. It's a higher price tag than the av-er-age night out but well worth the event.

(Bugs Bunny's got nothin on this)

(Pay no attention to slipper squeaking, Cinderella's overbite or Prince Charming's oh-so-spandexed behind)

In an entirely different vein, but in the same neighborhood (the King Cat Theater [thank you thank you thank you for passing up the surely tempting alliteration possibility there], I also attended Ignite Seattle. The tagline reads: Enlighten us, but make it quick! and is just that: a night of speakers who present 5 minute speeches about... anything. It's a super nerd fest, but only the best kind of nerds (i.e. my kind) because attendees are people who love to learn about... anything. The Art of Karaoke, The Benefits of House Sharing, The Guy Who Impersonated Neil Patrick Harris on Twitter, Geo-tagged Photos and Their Presence Online, Open-Sourced Participation in Local Politics. The list goes on.
Here's an old one:

You get the idea. Geeked Out. But so great!


The San Francisco Treat

Makin my way down the West coast (LA, here I come!), I got to go to San Francisco last week for work. I swear, we don't travel much, us food bankers, but January has been a month for the road. The guys who do what I do for the Bay Area put us up at the Mandarin Oriental, a fancy schmancy worldwide hotel I've seen only in Thailand, where all the hi-so (high society, duh) Thais and visitors gather. I celebrated my travel arrangements by preparing for my sunrise-view, California King bed by dancing around in the buff both before and after my luxurious scented bubble bath. I do miss nice big apartments in the city.

The conference was fab. Just 10 or so of us food sourcers representing hunger relief agencies throughout the western US, ripping it up, so to speak. I can't praise the group enough. Dedicated, talented, and a comfortable barrel of laughs, especially after an outrageous Chinatown banquet or a down n dirty talk about produce and how it is we're going to get it out to hungry people with it all overpriced or rotting as it usually is.

As luck would have it (coupled with my pleading persuasion), my friend Mike also had business in San Fran and met me there. We spent the weekend trouncing around a bigger, wider-streeted, cleaner, wetter, warmer, foggier, blue and grayer, hillier, more public-transportation-friendly, Chinese, and finance and tech company-filled version of Seattle. The vibes of the cities are really pretty similar, but anything that could be exaggerated about Seattle is. Except for maybe the green and the mountains. But I hear these aren't far. Seattle also doesn't have Alcatraz, which is well worth the steep $26 buck a pop ticket price. The tour is well done and the view of the city spectacular.

It's not as good, however, as the experience biking across the Golden Gate Bridge. From the Ferry Building, past Fisherman's Wharf, rounding the bay and right up over big red herself, then a glorious downhill into sleepy Sausalito. On a perfect bright blue day. There was a moment about halfway from downtown to the bridge that we coasted through a park that, I'm not kidding you, was so picturesque I think actually sparkled.

Some random pics of site-seeing San Fran and Palo Alto (thank you, Mike for proof that we were there)(and for being a perfect travel buddy!)