30 December 2008

Ode to My Chicago Christmas Family Vacation in Chicago for Christmas with My Family

Chicago was good, Chicago was busy
Started out with flying down into the snowy city

At the Midway airport, met up with my mother
Had some time to kill before we'd get to see my brother

El into the Loop, to the art museum
I tell you what I saw, I tell you how I see 'em


Grant Wood: "American Gothic!"
(that's his daughter, folks, not his wife)

Ed Hopper: "Nighthawker!"
lonely times, it's true, in a big city life

Dan Burnham: "Chicago Planner!"
everything's so organized, every mile 8 streets

Georges Seurat: "Lazy Sunday!"
but tell me what is up, with that monkey on a leash?

Georgia O'Keeffe: "Clouds!"


Finally together, family tradition
Awesome sushi dinner, that's some mighty fine fishin'

Lunch the next day, all you can eat
Brazilian steakhouse = meat meat meat
(and a ridiculous salad bar with some really good sun-dried tomatoes and smoked salmon and hearts of palm and prosciutto and...)

Christmas Eve service, in three different tongues:
English, Spanish, Karen (that's a Burmese one)

Chillin' on Christmas, I'm glad that we came
But it's not the house I'm used to, so it's just not the same

Brunch with friends the next day, then later that night
Tapas and sangria, some delicious little bites

Early the next morning, we end our tale
Was supposed to go back home but for an airport fail

27 December 2008

SNAFU: Midway Airport Edition

While I was originally planning on being in Massachusetts right now, I am actually back in Nashville a few days early.

Evidently a whole lot of Southwest flights weren't able to make it to Midway airport in Chicago last night (weather, presumably), which meant that planes weren't physically on the ground this morning for more than half of their flights.

My mother and I got to the airport at 6:45am for an 8:15am flight, and there were probably 300-400 people already there by the time we arrived, with the line wrapping around all the way down nearby service corridors. Ours was among the flights canceled, and everybody had to try and fly standby to wherever they were going, so we waited in line for 4 hours before working out a Plan B with a representative.

Weighing the options, I decided to try to fly back to Nashville directly, instead of back to Massachusetts with my mother. I'm disappointed to cut short my travel plans, especially since I was really looking forward to catching up with some college friends while I was home. But we've both made it back safely to our respective destinations, and our time in Chicago with my brother was really good, so I'll take it.

I'll say more about the Chicago part of the trip sometime soon, but for now I'll just comment that there was some interesting people-watching while waiting in that line at the airport this morning. Various types of people there--the loud guy calling attention to himself complaining on his cell phone (loudly), the self-important guy who thinks he can cut the line for whatever reason, the guy who steps out of the line to stand up to that guy since nobody else is doing it.

Circumstances like that can bring out some of the worst of human nature, but it only got semi-ugly once. Still striking though, cause it was a little picture of how a mob can work and just how quickly things can turn into a little uproar. Human nature looking out for its own interests, not necessarily the interests of one's neighbor and how to love and serve them. Mea culpa.

Otherwise, typically, I'm a fan of Southwest. I fly with them because they usually have pretty cheap fares and it's straightforward. Their customer service is also generally agreeable. But customer service is relatively easy when everything is going smoothly. It's situations like today and how they handle the craziness that show their quality or lack. There was one employee who distinguished herself today, but for the most part, there was a real lack of preparedness and leadership, of management taking responsibility even just to corral the hordes and organize the lines uniformly. Today's unexpectedness was certainly a bit extreme, but not a complete anomaly for an airline. Not a good day for them.

Would I rather be back home in Massachusetts for a few days right now? Probably. But it was a tricky decision I made for various reasons, and so I'm here now.

More about Chicago fun later.

22 December 2008

If It Wasn't For The Night

Feeling rigor mortis setting in on my heart.

Bitterness taking root deeply deeply.

Feeling judged, misjudged, misunderstood, presumed upon, holier-than-thou'ed, and held up against hypocritical double standards.

And yes, I certainly did contribute to my predicaments.

And yet, Jesus bore far greater injustices than these.

He bore even these.

How much do I believe that truth vs. the more palpable reality of the immediate painful circumstances?

Still, I'd rather not have to deal with any of it.

Paying it down over and over.

But, this too shall be made right.

Not in a self-righteous way, but in a resting in Jesus way.

If I can let go and find myself there.

Hoping that it will be the death of me in all the good ways.

And not the rigor mortis way.

Thinking about a David Wilcox / Pierce Pettis song:

If it wasn't for the night
So cold this time of year
The stars would never shine so bright
So beautiful and clear

I have walked this road alone
My thin coat against the chill
When the light in me was gone
And my winter house was stilled

When I grieved for all I'd made
Out of all I had to give
On the eve of Christmas day
With no reason left to live

Even then somehow in the bitter wind and cold
Impossibly strong I know
Even then a bloom as tender as a rose
Was breaking through the snow
In the dark night of the soul
In the dark night of the soul

If it wasn't for the babe
Lying helpless on the straw
There would be no Christmas day
And the night would just go on

When it seems that death has won
Buried deep beneath the snow
Where the summer leaves have gone
The seed of hope will grow

16 December 2008

'Tis the Season

Slogging through December and all of its added social outings, Christmas parties and shows. It's been fun, but fatiguing. Feeling a bit partied out, and there's still plenty more to come this week. Trying a bit too hard--not that I'm entirely trying to be something or someone I'm not, but bringing out parts of my personality that don't come as naturally or have as much exercise. Conversational ebbs and flows, witty and no-so-witty remarks, inevitable feet in mouth on various occasions, or varying degrees of party fouls and indiscretions (as discreet as you can be spilling wine on yourself, for hypothetical example).

I don't think it's strictly just a matter of being secure in my identity in Christ or not--though that can be a large part of the picture of how I'm relating to my friends and acquaintances and strangers in a big groupy mess. But I think some of it is just a matter of personality and the typical demands of medium to large social gatherings. I can enjoy meeting new people and having all these fun conversations, it just exhausts my social energy.

Sidenote: a friend of mine remarked a few weeks ago that humor is the male cleavage. Often true, I think.

Otherwise, after a good month and a half or so, life might be settling back down to the baseline "blah" for 2008. And that's fine, it's workable, for now. It will be easier to reflect in January. My sleep schedule and my devotional reading (or reading of any kind) have definitely drifted off lately. Hard to believe that in a week I will be in Chicago, and a week after that Massachusetts. Then return to Nashville for the New Year.

I do love the Advent season, but perpetual Christmas festivities have definitely supplanted the waiting and the quiet so far this month.

04 December 2008


I suppose I'm a week late, but I am thankful for...opportunities to still be making music here in Nashville--doing it in community, living out that part of who I am, enjoying it. Worked on a friend's album last month, presumably to come out sometime next year. Played a Christmas show tonight with some friends. Looking forward to playing for another friend's CD release show sometime in February or March. Mostly cello, but even got to share a couple of my own songs at a show put on by my church a few weeks ago. I'm not awesome at the things I do, but I'm decent, and I do my homework to prepare myself for the most part. And sometimes I do some really solid work. So I'm thankful for all that--for still being in Nashville. For still wanting to be in Nashville (for now).

This month will fly by, undoubtedly. We'll be doing Christmas in Chicago this year, which will be new. My mother and I will fly up and converge there at my brother's place. Should be a fun time, though different.

I'm grateful that 2009 is almost here.