Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas

Hey Family,

I know you guys would have liked to have been here. So, this is the best I can do (you can even see my piano teacher walk out and applaud after the first song). I love you and miss you. Merry Christmas.

Clare and Allison perform at the Neighborhood Music School Christmas Recital (Dec. 20).

Skylark (Mercer/Carmichael)

The Christmas Song (Arr. Brian Page)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Life at the LACW in the past few months has been exciting to say the least. Below are just a few photos to illustrate some of what I've been up to...

At the end of August (yes, I know, ages ago), a few of us LACW ladies participated in a scavenger hunt held by an annual punk festival. The challenges included kissing a dog tongue to tongue, holding a boa constrictor, receiving a pamphlet of information from a Scientology center (extra points if photo documentation of a team member getting kicked out by security) and collecting items such as a human tooth, trophy, report card with an F, and a bowling pin. Another challenge: a team member can get a mohawk (20 points!). I offered up my own scalp. Sybilla, a summer intern and pictured in the background, enthusiastically set scissors and clippers to my hair. Nine inches gone, a great haircut still remains on my head. I've maintained the 'do. How many times in my life will my radical hairstyle couple so well with my radical lifestyle?

The music continues. Margaret and I have been scoping out open mic venues around Los Angeles (so if anyone has a suggestion, let us know!). The accordion is getting a little more playing time, and our music book is in the process of a major update. We are always looking for excuses to bring our music, and philosophy behind it, to others. For Margaret and I, music is not meant for performance, but for sharing. Music, in other words, is community. We cart around a milk crate full of percussion instruments and invite people to pick up a tambourine, shaker or their guitar and join in the experience. To sit back and listen is simply not enough.

The last two weeks of October were spent in Oregon with my godson, Maxwell Alexander Keippela. I got a refresher course on changing diapers, how to handle copious amounts of spit up (there's a photo that I chose to leave out of the blog... you're welcome), and grew evermore amazed each day at the fast development of this precious life. Being with Max and his dear parents was a renewal for me. It was an overwhelming reminder of the importance of the family unit, and while I am living in a community now, there is no replacement for the bond I have with my own kin. An early Thanksgiving passed through my heart.
Oh, we also went to the zoo, and Max wanted to spend some face-time with the animals...
This Thanksgiving, we hosted 80-some people in our warm home. The night before, a small crew of willing and young blooded sous chefs prepared the bread, garlic, and apples for the stuffing, along with four batches of cookies, a vegetarian stuffing, and two loaves of bread. Thanksgiving Day was met with great excitement and the house bustled early in the morning as we prepared the decorations, turkeys and all the fixings. A few trips to the Hippie Kitchen were required to pick up all of the guys we invited from Skid Row. Some even came clad in button-up shirts and ties. Our feast was a great success, and the afternoon ended with a grand, boisterous round of participatory music. Everyone left with beaming smiles.
Now, we ready ourselves for the coming of Christmas. This Advent season brings warmer weather than I ever imagined December could undertake, but the anticipation of Christ's birth still lingers in the LA heat. We at the LACW are grateful each day for the support of our volunteers and the persistence of the peace movement. During the upcoming weeks, our prayers will be centered around the well being of our friends who are suffering from critical illnesses, those who continue to struggle for comfort in Skid Row, and all of our brothers and sisters who pay witness to the underserved and forgotten. Our joy continues with our hope that Christ's message of compassion, mercy and nonviolence will soon permeate through our hearts and actions. Let Advent bring us the strength to carry out His message in our lives, to journey with Him down the path of true justice.