Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Brianna, Kings and Kyle

Brianna was here for two days. Beth and I took her for a walk both mornings. She is a lot of fun. The "Sacramento" Kings have several games on TV this week so I will watch unless they play badly. Kyle is applying for his first job this week. He wants to work at Boys and Girls Club. Help with computers, homework and video games. Pretty "normal".

A weak and transient signal

. . . Is allowing me to access the Interent from the OCS conference at the
Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles. If anything good happens I will be right
on top of it and blogging live.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Working in Los Angeles this week

I am working in Los Angeles this week. Today and tomorrow I am attending the
DHHS funding conference at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown. Part of my
work is to help younger organizations access larger funding sources. So,
MEDA is providing technical assistance to some of our groups through a
consultant. I had our consultant meet with 4 of our organizational clients
in Los Angeles. Three out of the 4 showed up. So that is progress for them.

Cindi went with me as we took the MetroLink train and the Metro Red Line
subway to the event. Cindi spent most of the day at the Los Angeles
library--a very nice building worth a visit. If we are all really nice to
Cindi, maybe she will blog about her day.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Spooky World For Women

My co-worker's mom vanished on Tuesday...not like a trick in some Vegas magic show, but a tragic event to rip your world in two. My co-worker is 30. She had lunch with her mom that day, and no one has seen her since. Her car and her purse are still at home. She is 57 and lives in a very nice part of Pasadena. I am troubled because my friend/co-worker has to survive this ordeal. I'm also troubled because her dad will be questioned thoroughly, since husbands are often involved in situations like this. I'm troubled by the way the news stories stacked up on Channel 4 --- missing Pasadena woman, followed by sentencing of a man who was found guilty of murdering his wife, followed by the story of the search for a man exposing himself to teenage girls in the So-Cal area. And I'm sad that I have second thoughts about going places alone in this crazy world. Time will make me bold and brave soon, but for now I'm quite distracted. I pray for a happy ending for my co-worker's family. It's all so curious to turn on the evening news in a major metropolitan area and find out you know the family in the lead story.

I saw the intellectually challenging and deeply moving epic movie "50 First Dates" (Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler) on Thursday. [tongue-in-cheek] To keep a marriage healthy, I let Glen opt out of these types of films. I did enjoy it, though I grew tired of the typical crass comments forced into the dialogue --- mostly from the other actor...I think his name is Rob Schneider. My expectations were low, but I was pleasantly surprised. No need to own it, but it was a pleasant distraction from a rough week.

We got our third set of photos of our new puppy and his brothers and sisters. This week they are walking and starting to eat solid food. They are beyond cute - chubby little balls of cute with stubby legs. Our puppy and Brianna in the same picture --- now that would be CUTE.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Starbucks in South Miami

Here I sit in a Starbucks in South Miami, Florida. It is so boring here.
There are students sitting around in large chairs and small tables studying,
working on laptops, and studying for the MCAT. After my last meeting this
afternoon I drove down to Key Largo. I think that would be a nice place to
visit when I have more time and someone with me to do it. Actually, I'd like
to drive all the way to Key West and see where Ernst Hemingway used to hang

Starbucks has T-Mobile wireless access--wi-fi. So I am sure that I will be
back here a few times before I head home.

[The MCAT studiers just left--one of them is the tutor of the other. The
tutor was telling here about getting a physics tutor--not his specialty.]

My colleague from MEDA arrives tonight from Canada. He will write about some
of the groups with whom we work here in Miami for the MEDA official
publications. I don't know what time he arrives.

I am trying to decide where or whether or not I will eat dinner tonight. I
am sure I will be hungry later on. It is after 7 east coast time as I write

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Backyard fun

I built a sandbox and Beth bought a swing. Here are pictures of Brianna enjoying both.

Brianna on the swing.

Brianna and mom in sandbox.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Brianna Gardener

Brianna discovered dirt and plants on the deck tonight. Here she is putting dirt in a candle holder and eating fresh chives that she picked from the planter.

Tasting the chives.

We have the dirt in the little container.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Brianna visits

Once again we are blessed with a visit from Brianna. Shawntea and her are spending the night. Kyle and grandpa are holding fort in the Curtin/Peterson/Weaver household. She is so busy I can't take a picture. For the record her hair has more curl and she is very busy. Beth is off seeing 21 grams. If you talk to her ask her about being stuck in the mud in a remote area and how she got rescued.

Monday, March 08, 2004


while the early morning loonies were out running/cycling, i was home sleeping. it was a blast. if i was at the event, i'd have been one of the kids eating pancakes in front of the eager masses. (who knows how long they were to be there handing out food to the thousands of participants). perhaps it's still my instinct to defend those poor souls in the food service biz.

i went to santa cruz a few days ago for a concert. i've been making that trip periodically throughout my stay here at the peterson residence, but this time, that drive seemed unbearably lengthy. i sensed that this last trip would be the last of it's kind for me, as i'm an adult now, and perhaps i should be applying myself to other more ambitious goals.

dude, it's like 80 something degrees here! nanny na na, nor-cal!

still haven't seen "the passion...," but i think i'll see it later, as the hype dies down a bit. i saw 21 grams last night, that was...unsettling i guess. good overall though.

this time of year is always my favorite as the weather changes, and baseball season nears. father's day weekend is sold out at dodger stadium already, since they will be playing the new york yankees. i'll have to watch the blue crew beat a-rod and co. on tv then.

okay, that's all., that's all.

Daniel Wilson and Uncle appear in the LA Marathon Bike Tour

Daniel Wilson and I rode our bicycles in the LA Bike Tour that is connected to the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, March 7. 15,000 plus riders assemble on Exposition Boulevard between USC and the Coliseum before 6 AM to ride along most of the Marathon route. At the end of the ride, my odometer read that we had gone 22.8 miles. That is not a long ride at all.

As the ride starts at 6 AM, as the sky starts a pre-dawn glow that announces that the sun will rise soon, riders are packed in tightly and it take 20 minutes or so before you really start to move. It takes longer than that until you can safely assume you can stay clipped into your pedals as cyclists with varying degrees of skill are weaving all over the road. The announcer on the loudspeaker system is cheering us on as county and city elected officials take turns making comments on the wonderfulness of their work in the community that made the event possible. Randy Newman’s “I Love LA” is blaring through the speakers too. It is a cute song that mentions a bunch of the Boulevards that we will be riding on-- Olympic , Pico, Venice, etc.

Some fun things:  Cindi and my mom, Daniel’s Grandma, AKA Doris, found a spot along the route near a Starbucks to watch us ride by and cheer their little hearts out. It is fun that all the streets are closed down and without any car and truck traffic we can ride down some usually very busy streets as the sun rises above Los Angeles. There were a lot of funny looking people—including Santa Claus—riding their bikes. I didn’t see anyone crash this year. We finished our ride before it got hot! (the runners had a different experience with unseasonably warm weather exceeding 80 degrees F.)

Some less than fun things: Did see some ambulances coming and going from the route. It is hard to find people at the end of the ride with 15,000 plus people wondering around in the quad area at USC. Kids serving a pancake breakfast at USC to support a charitable cause, hung out eating pancakes in the cooking area while people who had paid for breakfast stood in a line watching them eat pancakes and sausages while the line just barely moved.

The whole Marathon phenomenon in LA for the weekend is energizing and is an experience to behold. I remember feeling this last year too—and haven’t acted on it yet—but I imagine the glory of training as a runner and completing the running Marathon. There are 20,000 plus runners, in addition to the elite athlete runners. A couple of people I know have run in this event—Lalo Diaz and Brad Peters for example. One woman from our church ran yesterday. I don’t know who she is but someone else told me about her. David Diaz and Lalo told me they would like to run. Maybe this year is the year to get those slow twitch endurance muscles ready to go.

Cindi and Doris got interviewed by an LA Times reporter whose article appeared in today’s paper. No mention of us though. The news coverage really only went as deep as the running event. Another reason to think about running I guess.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

When you know you live in the country

A fox on our deck.

Beth rescues Steve

Brianna was dropped off this afternoon with a runny nose. Steve did pretty well for a couple hours. Then Brianna got very cranky. Beth arrived in a nick of time. We will not post the a picture of the drainage. Just use your imagination.

Monday, March 01, 2004

MEDA Staff Retreat in rural Pennsylvania

Friday and Saturday of last week I was in an international training event hosted by USAID and my employer, MEDA. The training covered something called “Business Design Services” that is the preferred method of international community economic development used by the US and Canada. The trainees were mostly MEDA staff working in Peru: Lima, Maputo, and Tarapoto; Managua, Nicaragua; Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; Mozambique;Khajand, Tazjikstan [former Soviet Union republic]; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Waterloo, Canada; Haiti; and Los Angeles, California. Some staff from Haiti were unable to come to the training because of the threat of civil unrest in Haiti that escalated to Haiti’s President Arristide fleeing the country on Sunday, February 29. This two-day training event was held in a hotel in Manheim, Pennsylvania (near Lancaster).

Sunday, the group moved to a retreat center outside Lebanon, PA for an all MEDA staff retreat that occurs about every three years. The group is double the size of the training that I just came from and consists of approximately one third of the 150 or so people working on staff for MEDA world-wide. This event ends mid-day Wednesday. So far the agenda has focused on team building kinds of group exercises. The experience is somewhat less goofy that the AmeriCorps*VISTA supervisor training that I was coerced to attend in 2000. The group overall is an eclectic, multi-national, multilingual mix of youthful, energetic, intelligent, overachieving folks that make this an energizing experience that will be memorable.  

MEDA’s international headquarters is in Canada. I will guess that over half of the staff here is Canadian. Hockey anyone? The big deal for everyone is that it is so unseasonably warm here at 15 degrees C. [That’s almost 60 F for us Americans.]