Sunday, February 19, 2012

Relaxing Weekend

With the Green Wave starting baseball season off by sweeping Siena, I decided it was time to post another entry. This weekend, I've realized how lucky I am to have been blessed with the community I live in. Casa Iggy has had the parents/families of 3 of its members visit this weekend. It has been nice to meet everyone's families.

Friday, we had a large family dinner with 13 of us. Thanks to Laura's family for cooking. Yesterday, Laura's parents took us (Laura, Nicole, and I) to see The Artist at the Tower Theatre, and then eat dinner at the Tower Cafe. It was a nice evening. I really enjoyed The Artist and dinner was delicious. Then today, I got to spend the morning with Alex's mom. I gave her a tour of the house, then we went to breakfast at Crepeville.

Otherwise, I've just been relaxing and job searching. Earlier this week, I completed my application to become a JVC Recruiter, and I've sent my resume to a few places. I haven't heard back from anywhere, but I can't start until August anyway.

I've had a great weekend, starting with Tulane and the Hornets winning on Friday through relaxing on the couch, writing this blog. Now if only I could've been in New Orleans celebrating Mardi Gras...


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Weekend Adventures

Since the holidays ended, I've been staying fairly busy on the weekends. I've finally had the opportunity to explore more of California and have some wonderful adventures. They all begin with the 3-day weekend around the New Year. Kathleen (one of my roommates) had a college friend whose family was visiting San Francisco, so Kathleen, Anne, and I made a trip to San Francisco on Monday, January 2. We walked around Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, Ghiradelli Square, etc. It was nice and relaxing, and my first time actually walking around San Francisco and not just driving to Candlestick Park and back.
Kathleen, myself, and Anne in Ghirardelli Square

Then I'd asked for a 3-day weekend (January 6-8) so that I could go see the Redwoods with my friend, Alex. He had to drop his sister off at the airport on January 5, so he came to Loaves and Fishes and volunteered around Friendship Park for the afternoon. Then he brought me up to Grass Valley for dinner with his family before starting the real adventures on Friday.

On Friday, we drove from Grass Valley up through the Avenue of the Giants (Humboldt State Park). We went on a couple short hikes through the redwoods. They were everything I'd hoped they would be. They're so grand, it's indescribable. We drove through a redwood in his mom's Toyota Sequoia (which we though was cool since sequoias are a type of redwood). It was a wonderful day. We left the land of the large trees when it got too dark for us to hike anymore, and headed over to Highway 1 and drove it down to Fort Bragg. It was almost a full moon, so the sky was lit up, and you could see the waves crashing against the cliffs we were driving on. We pulled off at a turnout and stargazed and admired the ocean for a little while. When we got to Fort Bragg, we had dinner, watch K-State lose the Cotton Bowl, then went to sleep.
Driving through Chandelier Tree

Saturday morning, we went to MacKerricher State Park. We were hoping to see whales migrating, but we only saw lots of birds and seals. Then we headed to Mendocino, CA, and did a nice little walk along the cliffs by the ocean. It was a beautiful area of California. We sat down on a cliff for a while to enjoy nature's beauty, and when we were getting up, this nice man asked us if we wanted him to take a picture of us. I gave him my camera and he took 4 or 5 pictures, then handed it back and said "They're frame-able." Then we moseyed back to the car and headed for Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. When we got to the lighthouse (a half-mile walk from our car), someone told us there were tons of whales migrating! Then we realized we'd left the binoculars in the car, so we just looked for the tails splashing. We guarantee we saw some whales migrating, but it would have been nicer with binoculars. The lighthouse was quaint and beautiful. Then we looked at the time and decided we needed to head back to Sacramento so we could meet up with other Tulanians and watch the Saints beat Detroit. We went to MVPs Sports Bar, watched the game. Then went to Pine Cove with my house to celebrate/end the day.
Alex and I in Mendocino, CA

Sunday morning, we headed up to Fort Ross. We took a nice pit-stop at the Jelly Belly Factory, and then drove up through wine country. Fort Ross was a really cool Russian fort. It's currently being restored, so we weren't able to go in all of the buildings, but we got to go in most of them and down to the beach. Then we hiked to the other side of the fort and sat on the cliffs for a while. About an hour before sunset, we decided to move to a beach where the Russian River meets the Pacific and watch the sunset over the ocean. It was about 45 minutes closer to Sacramento, and we had to pick Alex's sister up from the airport that evening. When we got there, Alex decided he should go play in the water, I knew from how cold it was on my feet that I didn't need to actually go in. Then we watched the sunset and headed back to Sacramento. After picking his sister up then grabbing dinner, they dropped me off and the weekend was over. It reminded me how much I love nature and a lack of human influence on it. The redwoods and the ocean were just so beautiful, and the reason they were was because there weren't buildings and bridges everywhere.
Sunset near where the Russian River enters the Pacific.

The next weekend, I played in a beach ultimate frisbee tournament (Lei Out, in Santa Monica) with Kathleen and her friend from SLU, Colleen. Our team won the J-bracket (2nd from worst bracket). It was a nice, exhausting weekend, filled with more sunsets over the Pacific.
Santa Monica Pier around sunset.

The weekend of the 21st was my one weekend in Sacramento in January. We celebrated Nicole's 24th birthday, and we relaxed.

Re-Orientation started on Friday, January 27, and lasted until Tuesday, January 31. It was a nice retreat back at Camp St. Francis in Aptos, CA. There was good food, good people, good talks, and more nature. We had quite a bit of reflection time, most of which I tried to spend outside either laying in the grass looking at the sky, or walking down on the beach/laying in the sand looking at the stars. It was very relaxing and much needed.

February weekends are looking to be in Sacramento. Last Saturday, I played some softball, but otherwise relaxed. Then Sunday, we watched the Super Bowl at home (thank goodness the Patriots lost). Last night, I went to the Newman Center's St. Valentine's Formal. Today, will just be grocery shopping and softball. I'm hoping that next weekend I'll make it to some Mardi Gras celebrations. I know Nevada City isn't too far away and has a parade, so here's to hoping I can make it out of town one weekend.

Well, those have been my adventures... Now I need to get ready to go grocery shopping... If you'd like to see more pictures, I have them posted on facebook.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Blue Hat Mark

Today, I realized how important I am in one man's life. A former guest, now part-time employee (blue hat) at Loaves and Fishes, has been presented with the opportunity to chase his dreams. On December 8, Friendship Park received a new coffee pot through the Sacramento Bee's Book of Dreams ( The reporter that came to take pictures was so touched by Loaves and Fishes that she decided to come back, see how guests liked the new coffee pot, and write the story herself. When she came back, Blue Hat Mark had written a poem. He shared it with her as a "thank you" for the coffee pot (Mark volunteers in the coffee shack in the mornings). She then decided to change her story and put more focus on him and his poem.

Since then, the Sacramento Bee has done a story just on Blue Hat Mark ( This story then brought attention to Mark and many wanted to help him by providing paper/pens, or inviting him to provide poetry for a poetry benefit. Many great gifts were given from many different people. One couple donated their old laptop for him to be able to type up his poetry and hopefully make a book. Others have told him that they're willing to publish a book for him when he's ready.

With all of these gifts, Mark has become very busy with his poetry. He never had classes on computers growing up, so he's still learning how to use Microsoft Word in order to prepare his poetry. He calls me his IT person. I've never considered myself to be that excellent at computers, but I've learned that compared to some, I do know a lot. I've been able to help Mark with a lot over the past month or two, but I realized how important to him I was today.

This morning, Mark told me he needed help on the computer when I got time. I told him to remind me when I wasn't behind the service counter. Then it became lunch time. While I was at lunch in the Mustard Seed School courtyard, Green Hat Tim came by and told me that Mark needed my help when I got back from lunch. I had completely forgotten! Upon returning from lunch, I made it my top priority to make sure I helped Mark after he got off work (he stamps the lunch tickets). Around 12:55pm, I headed over to the pastry shack (where he stamps tickets) to make sure I wouldn't get caught up and could help him.

I found out that a toolbar on Word had disappeared and that some of his poems were being erased when he was copying them into the book. Both of which were easy things that I could fix. I showed him how to view toolbars, then I had him get his jump drive out. I copied the poems from his jump drive to the computer/in the files they should have been in. Then I showed him how to copy and paste. That's when I found out he was cutting and pasting (why the poems were disappearing). After I'd helped him with everything, he grabbed some napkins, wiped his face, then blew his nose. I thought he was on the verge of tears. He was so happy that I'd been able to fix everything and things were how they were suppose to look.

Mark is a sweet man. I am excited for things to be looking up in his life. Before he started working part-time, stamping tickets, at Loaves and Fishes, he hadn't had a job in 8 years. I'm very happy that I can be here to watch him get back on his feet. Hopefully, this writing dream will keep him safe and get him back inside. Mark has been very blessed in the recent months, and I hope that blessings like his appear in many other of the guests' lives as well.