"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"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How I Spent My Long Weekend

Tough gig.

A month or so after I started my job here in Chico, I was sent to a week-long residential training for new legal services attorneys, advocates, paralegals and support staff. The organization that runs these trainings and recruits the all-volunteer faculty of trainers is the Benchmark Institute, founded in 1989 by Rosemary French and Marie Contreras. Benchmark provides a number of other trainings including a week-long Trial & Hearing Skills program culminating in a mock jury trial, and trainings on substantive areas of legal services practice.

So Rosemary and Marie invited me to attend Benchmark's annual planning retreat again this year, which traditionally occurs over MLK weekend. It occurs in rather a lovely place on the coast between Santa Cruz and Monterey. We get to do good AND feel good at the same time. What a novel idea.

We had a few hours' break from meeting and planning on Saturday afternoon, so I went for a bike ride here (started and ended at a different point than is shown on this map, however). We'd been talking about ideas for mobile learning (podcasts, webinars, all that) and I got re-inspired to do some audioposts from the bike route. This 49-cent per pound squash was for sale at the Gizdich Ranch. Unfortunately I didn't have a way to transport it conveniently on my bike. I settled for a small apple-ollalieberry juice that I chugged before riding the second (much harder, it turned out) half of my ride.

Strawberry fields forever.

They must be something to see (and smell) when all the plants are big and the berries are ripe. Not just strawberries though. Maybe these are the Ollalieberries that got mixed up with my apple juice.

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