Sunday, April 08, 2007

Loooong overdue

I'm eager to update everyone on recent events, but I feel I should at least summarize the several months before that. So let's see if I can remember back that far...

Tried to join a church (ok, stop laughing, it was a Unitarian church) for several reasons: spiritual enlightenment, meeting people, and networking into volunteer activities that would hopefully entail more meeting people. Made it two weeks before the idea of sleeping in overwhelmed the idea of going to church, so you can imagine how it went. The spiritual enlightenment was so-so: I got the impression that the Universalists are so diverse in their beliefs that there's not much they can discuss during sermons except politics, because that's about all they have in common. Not that I particularly disagreed with the politics, but I was more in the mood to be happy than angry on a Sunday morning, and angry is pretty much all we liberals are these days. As for the meeting people, the median age of the congregation was about 65. Not really my target pool.

Went to Thanksgiving at the Oppenheimers' home in Stockton. Danny, my friend from Rice, is now a psychology professor at Princeton, and his folks have been looking after me since I moved to Sacramento. It was good seeing them all again.

Just after Thanksgiving I got some bad news. Dave Hermance, senior engineer at Toyota and stalwart promoter of alternative technologies, was flying in his personal acrobatics plane when it crashed into LA Bay. The initial headlines were "Long Beach Man Dies in Plane Crash"; several days later they were "American Father of the Prius Lost in Terrible Tragedy". I only had the chance to meet Dave a few times, but he was a great man. His death was a tragic loss to the company and the industry.

My choir (the Valley Choral Society) had our winter concert. Were doing some good pieces (selections from Messiah, a few of the better Christmas carols) and some not-so-good pieces (a few of the cornier Christmas carols). I was a little horrified by the audience prayers and dedication of the concert to Jesus. When I joined the choir, no one told me that was going to be part of the deal. Seems less appropriate for community choirs (which this one allegedly is) and more appropriate for church choirs. Jared asked me what did I expect? Um, I expected for people to come and hear us sing, and for us to sing for them. However, that wasn't nearly as horrifying as my uniform - Yikes!


Winter vacation was nice, but a little complicated since I was scrounging for rewards tickets.

Here's how I got there:
Drive car to work, park in secured lot (to avoid the street-sweepers and associated parking tickets in my neighborhood) --> taxi to train station --> train to Oakland --> picked up by Carmalyn et al for the night --> 4am taxi to Oakland airport --> Dulles airport --> Miami airport --> drive to Islamorada for family vacation

On the plane to Dulles, I sat next to a couple that looked oddly familiar. They just seemed to have that Rice aura about them, but I couldn't place them. After 3 hours I finally said to them "excuse me, did you by any chance go to Rice University?" They had, and we exchanged names (which I've unfortunately since forgotten) - we had no idea who each other were, and we couldn't find any common friends or activities. It's amazing how we can just tell one of our own. (Another good story about that in my Texas Tour update later).

Anyway, back to Islamorada. I spent a few days with the parents, sisters, et al, but somehow didn't end up with any photos. Sorry about that. My next stop was Lexington.

Here's how I got there:
Bummed a ride with et al to Fort Lauderdale airport --> flew to Charlotte airport --> my flight to Cincinnati was cancelled, so I called the friends who were going to pick me up to tell them I would be late --> as I was walking to my new gate, I heard a boarding call for Lexington --> as they were closing the doors I ran up and asked if I could fly standby and they got me on! --> flew directly to Lexington --> bummed ride with friends to my house

In Lexington I spent a few days with my best high school friends Loni and Saima, and also Loni's husband Arsenio. (Saima's husband was still in Pakistan at the time, so unfortunately we didn't get to meet him.) None of us live in Lexington anymore, but we figured it was a good central location between College Station TX, Sacramento CA, and Chicago. We had a wonderful wonderful time bringing in the new year!