"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

number 9...number 9

We had a great practice tonight and most everyone was in a great mood, maybe because it rained and snowed in Redding all day and practice was moved indoors to the gym.

The rookies also got to pick their jersey numbers tonight. After bouncing around in the range of eligibles (numbers that allow me to catch a pass w/out notifying the ref ahead of time) -- first I picked 19, but that seemed too quarterback-ish which I'm not, then I picked 37, which would have been OK but it's more of a running back number, and 99 was already taken by one of our linemen -- I finally settled on 9 which is a proper kicking number (but I can still be a receiver and all that).

It looks like I might get to do some serious kicking. I am stoked about this because I think I could actually be really good at it with ongoing practice. We had another rookie player who had a mean left-footed boot but unfortunately she may not be able to play for medical reasons. It will be a while before we start officially practicing special teams, most of us still have to learn how to tackle and apparently that's kind of a priority in the coaches' minds, but after the last few field practices I've been punting a few and a couple teammates have been fielding. Then they throw long bombs back to me which is also good since my catching needs all the help it can get.

I also have my own kickoff tee. Last Saturday formal practice was cancelled since the coaches were at a coaching clinic (in Reno, probably getting coached on how to navigate all-you-can eat buffets as an added bonus) and I worked on kickoffs. Had a small breakthrough, figured out that I was reaching too far for the ball and if I put my left foot down somewhere just past the ball, the power and lift increase dramatically.

I may not be Adam Vinatieri just yet, but at least he and I are the same age. That's a good start. I am only an inch and a half shorter than Martin Gramatica, who is my favorite kicker to watch because he prays so fervently before every kick. Too bad he plays for Dallas because I can't help but want him to make his kicks even though we always want Dallas to lose.

Monday, February 26, 2007

vindicated doctor visit

Some co-workers helped persuade me to drop by the clinic and have my cough checked out--I decided at least maybe I could get a prescription for something better than NyQuil to help me sleep at night even if the verdict was just that it's the bug going around.

Turns out that the verdict is bronchitis and I got Rxs for antibiotics as well as Tussionex, touted as "very strong" and capable of producing a full night's sleep. Isn't that sick, to be somewhat pleased that I'm sick? Maybe not so much pleased, but definitely validated, which is pleasing. "Your lungs sound kinda rough" declared the young PA-C. Thank you, they feel kinda rough!

Saturday, February 24, 2007


One expects that there should be some benefit from taking nasty tasting medicine, other than the experience of choking it down. That's the last time I buy the Rite-Aid brand NyQuil Cough knockoff. I took it 45 minutes ago and can't tell that it has had any effect. C had to put in her earplugs, and we have some guests staying with us in the living room (they were warned, sort of) so I'm here trying to stifle my coughs. Lying down seems to make it worse. Nighttime in general seems to make it worse though it might only be perceived as worse because everything else is so quiet. Last night staying with a friend in Sac I took some NyQuil capsules she had on hand and slept really well once they kicked in. I should have bought more of those except that I don't have all the symptoms they claim to cover and they have a lingering zombie-like effect well into the day, maybe it's the antihistimine ingredient. I was trying to be a smart health consumer by selecting a product not too broad in scope. I think I would prefer being a well-rested (and quiet) zombie at this point to a hacking insomniac.

Overall it's trivial in the scheme of health complaints. This isn't a Wuthering Heights kind of cough or anything, but it's still a drag.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lance says running is hard

Just ran across this article about Lance Armstrong's intention to have another go at the NYC marathon next fall. Apparently last year he accomplished his goal to run it in under 3 hours, but just barely. You'd think that no physical effort would seem all that tough to Lance but I guess the accumulated impact of running takes its toll in a way that the Tour doesn't. I'm impressed that one of the greatest athletes in the world was willing to try something new that he might not (yet, or ever) be one of the "best" at, and that he's coming back for more.

Lance flatly refused to wear the itsy bitsy Speedo shorts Nike wanted him to wear for the marathon last year, opting for basketball shorts instead. He has a spine in addition to his other physical attributes.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

first practice w/ helmet

The helmet fits perfectly and is touted as the most "comfortable" football helmet on the market. Nevertheless it is something like wearing a ball and chain that attaches to your head with thumb screws (speaking more from speculation than actual experience) so I'm glad I got the comfy one. Whatever capacity I had for catching a ball on the run was at least temporarily shut down by it. I'm afraid that if I turn my head too fast, the inertia will make my head spin all the way around. My peripheral vision is shrunk to the area of my face mask. Good thing we have practice three times a week for the next 2 1/2 months, I'm sure these issues will work themselves right out.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Word to Bush -- Isaiah 3:15

A long time ago, riding down a street in Salt Lake City with my dad, I saw a bunch of guys in carwash uniforms kicking and stomping on another guy who was down on the ground, looked like he could have been homeless but who knows, and who knows what he may have done, if anything, to incur the wrath of his attackers. Whatever else it was, it was obviously not a fair fight. When we got to Dad's office he called the police to report the incident. I haven't witnessed live very many instances of real violence which seems a little surprising to me, considering how prevalent it is in the world. In my own protected sphere most of the violence I see is prepackaged and edited or staged, with one subtle exception.

I have a client, a woman in her 50's, who (along with her cat) is about to end a long stint of homelessness. She was a winner of a recent Section 8 "lottery." During the cold snaps in January I wondered almost every night if I would read the next morning that she had frozen to death. The homeless shelter wasn't a viable option for her because they have many stringent rules for eligibility imposed by their HUD funding. No way in hell was she giving up her cat, her best friend and companion for the past ten years, and she doesn't do so well with crowds and little privacy. I have heard people use the term "feral humans" as a way of trying to wash their hands of those "hard to serve" homeless who won't sign away nearly all of their personal liberties for the sake of a roof and a hot dinner, but she has been very much interested and focused on finding herself a warm, safe place to live.

A few months ago, our local Housing Authority held a lottery for people to try to win a position on the waiting list for a Section 8 voucher. Briefly, the Section 8 program allows people to receive rental assistance that allows them to rent a very modest apartment of their choice (from any landlord who will accept the vouchers). The tenant is obligated to pay about 30% of whatever income he / she has as their share of the rent. There is a ceiling on the amount of assistance the Housing Authority can provide, so the total rent has to be at the lower end of the area's average rents to start with, or the rental won't get approved. If or when the tenant's income increases, the Section 8 subsidy decreases proportionally. So it's a pretty smart program, encourages responsibility, theoretically helps avoid concentrating all the poor people into one spot, includes annual inspections to make sure the housing is up to health and safety codes, and so on.

Unfortunately the waiting list to obtain one of these prized vouchers in our county had been closed for YEARS before the recent lotteries. Even once on the waiting list, in many areas it can take five years or more before your name comes up.

My client and her cat got lucky -- not only did she win a spot on the list, she got a low number and was able to get a voucher almost immediately. She's working with a landlord to make some repairs on an apartment so that it will pass the Section 8 inspection, and hopefully soon she can leave behind the years of sleeping in old camping trailers and tents and somebody or other's van. I am so proud of her, she's really stayed on top of this plus she has no car and travels everywhere by bicycle and bus. A hero for our time.

So when I read about Bush's budget proposal that would further slash housing assistance programs, it is clear that Bush and his gang are just like those guys at the carwash. This is our "homeland security," a bunch of guys in jumpsuits who will come and stomp on you when you're down. In the article linked above there is an interesting quote from Nixon's 1972 re-election campaign touting the fact that
"for the first time in 20 years we are spending more on human resources than defense."

This was something people once said to try to get re-elected. Huh.

I will vote for anyone who has the internal organs, of whatever gender, to embrace truly and re-proclaim investment in human resources (including varying companion species) as a legitimate American value and a most desirable goal. Down with the thugs.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

championship wall sitting

Here is a photo from the web (not me or our team) demonstrating Wall Sit.
Last night was our last team practice in the gym; after this we're on the field 3x per week. A regular exercise in our gym practices has been the wall sit. Usually we do three reps of 2 minutes or so. I was eager to up the ante but I didn't think this would help me win friends and be popular with my teammates. However Coach Mike made us an offer last night that whoever stayed longest on the wall could get out of doing the "quick feet" drill, a delightful exercise that turns your calves and shins to jelly in a short time. Apparently this was a very motivational offer for some folks. At the 6.5 minute mark three of us were still sitting, prompting Coach to declare that whoever made it to 8 minutes could get out of the quickfeet drill (guess he was worried we'd sit there all night). At the stroke of 8 minutes my two teammates dropped, having achieved their objective. I really wanted to see how long I could keep doing it but coach told me to get up shortly afterwards. I think it made a good impression. A flyer on the wall in the women's locker room says somebody in one of the women's strength training classes at the gym wall sat for 15 minutes. I think I could have made it to 10. 15 would take more practice. It felt good, since I'm still lacking somewhat in actual football skills, to be queen for a minute.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Girls are Safe!

Up until this moment there has been no women-specific football equipment that I am aware of. This is a groundbreaking development. All my teammates and our colleagues around the country have been playing in gear that doesn't really fit or adequately protect our bodies. I think my rugged pioneer foremothers would smile upon this. Just put my bid on eBay for my set. I will sell the shoulderpads I already bought back on eBay or perhaps to a teammate who isn't quite ready for the revolution.

Grandmas on ice

Local grandmother Cathy Webster will spend two months in federal prison for her protest at the School of the Americas (WHINSEC). At her sentencing, Ms. Webster told the judge, "You will notice that increasingly it is the elders who are speaking out and acting boldly and authoritatively to bring understanding of what justice, kindness, generosity and compassion mean in a world weary of the endless conquest and dominance mind-set of nations."