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Archive for Ushering

FRIENDS, LIFE, FREEDOM

Whoa…so, I can’t remember the last time I posted, but MUCH has come and gone since the last one, I’m sure.
As is my style, here are bullet point highlights
1) 3/29:Ushered a fantastic show called ‘SHIDARA’ a Taiko drum group. OUTSTANDING!
2) 3/30: Attended a show called ‘A Mass For Peace’ put on by the master chorale and local highschools.  Incredible music put to piongant media, all depicting the vast sorrow and need for war and peace.  It was amazing!
3) 3/31: Subbed at La Mesa Jr High in the Special Ed class…I’ve done it before and, as always, was humbled and amazed by the human spirit and the need for Christ to make sense of life that looks ‘wrong’
4) 4/1: Subbed at Valencia High School for Jennene’s classes.  Mostly GREAT. Some funny and cool discussions, some students earning dismals from my class, etc.  The usual.
5) 3/31-4/7: Jai Anderson in town!!!!!!!  Our time began on Monday, but our road trip began on Wednesday.  Check Points were Santa Clarita, Corona (Spansels, Burns, Flowers), San Diego (Scott and Mike)!.  We had a GREAT time: laughed a lot, talked alot, learned alot, ate a lot of diverse foods (Jamaican, Peruvian, Roscoes, the best Carnitas ever, etc), laughed alot, pondered alot, talked alot, enjoyed the ocean alot, were humbled alot, wrote down a lot of quotes, enjoyed … alot!  Enjoyed God’s grace …alot!
6) Got home and read the following email about my uncle George: “THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ACTING FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES”….has approved the recommendation to promote George to the rank of Captain!  So, another HUGE congratulations (and ‘I’m glad he’s on my side’) to George!

There’s always more, but I am on to the next thing for the day!

Hope everyone is doing well. 

VIENNA HOLLYWOOD

SO, though it’s only Sunday afternoon, my weekend has already been full and fantastic!

Friday night I ushered at the PAC, for the Vienna Boys Choir.  VERY interesting.  I was assigned the ‘handicapped person’ duty which requires escorting anyone who has trouble negotiating the stairs through the bowels of the PAC and down into the auditorium.  LOTS of funny moments, but all in all a pretty rewarding ushering experience (minus some of the seriously uptight ushering squad).  Oh, the boys choir…the boys ranged from 10-14 years old and hit unbelievable notes.  While it kind of made me feel weird, it was still pretty amazing.  AND, I ran into some friends and got to catch up during intermission (a classic show, helping in the community, reuniting with old friends…all for free!  THAT’S a great Friday night).

Then on Saturday, a long planned field trip finally came to fruition.  I had an ‘Ikegamis and Me’ day in Hollywood.  We started at 1pm and we hung out and talked and laughed, walked to Bed, Bath and Beyond, got rained on, went through the ‘restaurant decision making’ process, landed at Bassanova (AWESOME Brazilian food), watched Rob’s movie, talked more, bought tickets on-line to a show we want to see in July, talked more, and then I left around 11:45pm.  It was so relaxing and engaging and meaningful and fun.  I love them and even though I rarely see them anymore, they are still dear to me (and I figure a 9 hour day kind of makes up for at least a few get togethers that I should’ve set up over the last year 🙂 ).

Sunday at church was great!  Awesome message from Bob about Jesus and heaven.  Cool time in prayer/fellowship with the worship team, I still couldn’t really sing but gave it my ol’ college try, lunch with the Margraves and now home to rest (and finish a movie) and then embark on a huge to-do list. 

AWWW-KWARD

As I’ve said in the past, ushering at the PAC is a thrill a minute.  Holly and I do it and find joy (almost) every time we’re there.  Tonight, we had to make a special visit because a new policy was instituted, a very serious policy:  all the volunteers must be fingerprinted. 
Yep.  Fingerprinted.  In case one of us rapels from the balcony, dressed in black and then nabs a patron’s purse?  They’ve got our prints and we will NEVER get away with it.

Ok, apart from the insanity of having to get ‘Live Scan’ (which is my 3rd time in 3 years), my post is to share with you an experience that is RIGHT OFF the pages of a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. 

The scene:  a huuuuge line for fingerprinting. 
Holly and I dutifully sign in, collect our paperwork, listen to the schpeel, and get in line.  We see a friend of ours, Kyndra, about 6 million people in front of us and she yells that she’s been in line for almost an hour (?).  Our spirits slump and we use the back of our paperwork and begin to play connect the dots..that old grammar school favorite.  Now, picture Holly and I standing facing each other (laughing), holding a planner as a writing surface and playing our game.  Just a few moments into our settling in, we notice an older woman (60?), small framed, short, with some odd characteristics,  standing rather close to us.  We had tried to greet her early on, but it appeared that she did not hear us.  We then notice that she continues to silently inch closer to us.  The line continued to build behind her, but the line in front of us wasn’t moving…but she was.  Now picture this short woman silently standing between us, hovering over our game. If you know me, I’m not the biggest fan of unauthorized personal space violations (UPSV), but today was apparently the day to push the limits.   After about 4 minutes of her looking on and inching in, roaming around Holly and I, brushing against us, we started to feel very…unnerved.    At one point, she said, ‘Is that a good game for kids?’.  I said, ‘Sure, but it depends on how old.  Why, do you work with kids?’  She said she had grandchildren 5yrs old and 18 months.  She wouldn’t let the conversation go any further, walked away but within a few seconds was back to inching in on us (maybe she thought she was invisible and that we didn’t notice).  Now, Holly and I are there to meet people in the community, get to know people, build relationships, etc. so, we’re trying hard not to be unkind or rude…or act like jr highers and form an ‘A’ group and exclude her.

As I shifted from foot to foot and moved from side to side, I noticed she had circled around to my left and she was peering into my purse which was on my left shoulder.  She brushed up against it.  I laughed at something Holly said, shifted feet AND pulled my purse to my chest…all in one fluid movement.  However, it did not deter this woman who was becoming like a little shark circling the boat.  Next thing I knew she was on the other side of Holly doing similiar inching moves.  If you know Holly and I, we we yuck it up anywhere anytime, but this display of encrouchment was an added cache of fodder.  It was like we were on candid camera, but were too polite to turn around and confront the seemingly intentional offender. 

Now, so far, I’ve written 2 paragraphs, but it’s only covered the first 20 minutes of us standing in line of what turned out to be 1.5 hours.  If you want the punchline, here it is….. it NEVER stopped.  In fact, this woman pulled out more moves when Kyndra came over and started talking/laughing with us.  It was unreal.  She continued to inch her way in between Kyndra and I (she never spoke or acknowledged that she was in the midst of our conversation).  Eventually, she was touching Kyndra.  We were all trying desperately not to burst into laughter so we continued to carry on our conversation, which at points was very personal and private (but we resorted to code).  None of the social signals stopped our little friend that Kyndra aptly named ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’.  To add to the Curb Your Enthusiasm’esque evening, additionally it seemed that she lacked the awareness of how pungent her breath was…but Holly didn’t.  Sadly, Holly’s sense of smell is keen and for the 70ish minutes that this ridiculousness went on, she was taking shallow breaths.  I squeal with glee to think of what Larry David would’ve done with this incident!  About 2/3 of the way through, I came pretty close to cracking and turning around and saying something.  However, I withheld….with marvel, wonder, hysterics and shaking my head (and clutching my purse), I withheld. 

It was NOT to be believed. not to be believed.

The final cherry on top:  after we were done with our scans, we were talking with Boss Lady and actually making more progress than we had in the last full year of ushering.  The place was virtually empty except for the 10 or so people who had been behind us in line (Crouching Tiger being one of them) that were getting their prints taken.  Right as the private conversation was going somewhere good, out of nowhere, Crouching Tiger shows up, standing between Holly and I and spacially inserts herself in the conversation.  Of course, Boss Lady toned it down and the conversation quickly fizzled.  So, we said good night, got outside and starred at each other in true bewilderment and then of course BURST out laughing.  We had just lived through a moment for moment, Curb episode.  Life is good.  🙂

PONCHO (not VILLA)

Tonight made the whole year of ushering worth it. 
Tonight I ushered my favorite show so far…Poncho Sanchez!
He was like a Latin version of, a hybrid of Tevyeh from Fiddler, James Brown when he was on top of the world and Bert Suluvale when he could sing and make you believe it!  
Poncho was magnificently down to earth, with his raspy speaking voice that morphed into a HUGE singing voice, his smiling eyes and infectious giggle, his incredible work on the congas that went from slow and easy to so fast that it looked like his hands were stationary, and finally his sweet moves when he danced!
It was pure Latin and I loved it!

I also met a cool new usher, Kathryn.  We talked alot, I learned much about her and I think I made a new ushering friend!  Oh, and also Church reps, Keyndra, Lynne, and Lawrence were there too! 
The only real drag about tonight was that Boss Lady ‘reprimanded’ the entire usher team (30+) for not seeing a patron fall and break her arm (even though the whole auditorium was up on their feet dancing and then shoving their way out the door so that you couldn’t see anything at all).  Fortunately, I was manning my post in the balcony when this alleged incident (though the paramedics showed up, so maybe it really happened) happened on the ground floor.
Whatever, Poncho was awesome, making a new friend was awesome, and discovering that I want Poncho to be the first music that I buy with my new Itunes gift card (thanx Becca) for the Ipod that I don’t have yet. 
Adios!

THE UNSUNG HEROES OF THE PAC

Well, as some of you know, last night Holly and I attended the PAC Usher Appreciation Potluck Banquet (PACUAPB).  Priceless.

Imagine approximately 200 men, but mostly women over the age of 60, enjoying tables and tables of potluck foods, listening to speakers wax eloquent regarding the invaluable service of the volunteer ushers and how they have helped shape the community, listening and waiting for their raffle # to be called….and so much more!

I took notes.  Here are some of the many highlights, and I quote…
From Dr. Moose, some high up guy in the COC world
-“You are the Unsung Heroes and Saints of the community”
-“Never have I seen people serve the patrons of the arts as well as you do”
-“Volunteers are not paid because they’re worthless, they’re not paid because they’re priceless”
-“I mean this from the bottom of my heart.  I have been to so many events this year and you are the tireless, cheerful, remarkable, ambassadors of College of the Canyons.  I am in your debt and thank you all”

From Boss Lady whilst giving awards
-“These awards are like the Academy Awards.  There were some very hard decisions to make”
-“This volunteer should be an inspiration to all future volunteers”
-“This award is for outstanding merit.  This volunteer has demonstrated oustanding leadership skills, is a role model, always shows willingness to go the extra mile, is reliable, considerate, is promt, works without complaining, is well liked and respected by peers.”

They take this stuff pretty seriously. 
All joking aside though, it was convicting.  The character qualities that were noticed and then rewarded are the qualities that Holly and I should always be, as Christians volunteering at the PAC.  It amazed me that, even though it’s ‘just volunteering’ that all our fellow ushers still treat it like a real job because they care.  As a Christian, in all things, whether I eat or drink, I should be doing all to the Glory of God.  Volunteer ushering, selling houses, singing on Worship Team, watching TV, sitting in traffic, reading my Bible, looking out the window, posting on my blogs…all done to the Glory of God. 

See?  Ushering has many many benefits. 
Oh, and one last highlight…we sat at a table with 2 women named Barbara.  They were pretty funny in many ways.  Barbara #1 is a Catholic travel agent and started doing a lot of traveling after her husband died.  I asked if she had any travel companions and she said that it was hard due to everyone’s schedules etc.  She mentioned a gentlemen friend from her church that she had asked to travel with, “You know, we would have seperate beds and everything.  He said ‘I don’t think the church would look too highly on that.’ Come on.  It’s not like I’m gonna jump his bones or anything.”  Yep.  She said it.  I did not make it up.  This is also the same woman who stood up at the end and said to Holly and I, “Guess how I’m celebrating my birthday in July. (Me-‘How?’) By jumping out of a plane.  I’ll be 80 years old and I thought if George Bush Sr. could do it at 75, I could do it at 80.  Why not?’ 
Ushering…it’s sooooo worth it!

MAY I HELP YOU FIND YOUR SEAT?

I have said it before and I will say it again, “Ushering is awesome!”
Holly and I have graduated to ‘Personalized Name Badge’ status at the PAC.  THAT means that we’ve put in over 50 hours of volunteer service (pictures to follow) and we’re part of the elite usher world…limos, champagne, jewels, houses on the Riviera, little dogs in little totes…the works!!!!  Woo Hoo!  We RULE! aaaand you can too!
There is another Orientation Meeting Wedneday June 6th, 6:30pm at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) at College of the Canyons…that you can attend…and begin earning your way towards ‘Personalized Name Badge’ status too!

Truly, you won’t be disappointed. 
BENEFITS: Being involved in the community, meeting new people and buliding relationships, seeing free shows, dressing like a caterer, laughing alot amidst the PAC sub-culture, trying to get the Boss-Lady to laugh (no small feat) and so much more! 
Once you complete orientation, you can usher as little or as much as you want.  But Holly and I would love more friends and Christians to join the effort…let’s infiltrate the PAC with happy hearts,  the good news, and stellar seating assistance! 🙂

ORIENTATION:
-Wednesday June 6th 2007, 6:30pm
-At the PAC at College of the Canyons

JAZZ+USHER=YES

Last Saturday Holly and I ushered the ‘Elegant Evening of Jazz’ festival at the PAC…Lots of good jazz-lots of ‘cultured’ people-lots of good jazz.

Tonight I ushered the Langston Hughes 12 Moods for Jazz show…totally cool.  It was like a serious version of Mike Myers in the cafe in So I Married An Axe Murderer…beetnik, historical, jazzical, magical and Langston Hughesical. 

AND, if you want to join us in our ushering shenanigans, there’s an orientation meeting on Monday March 12th at 6:30pm at the Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons ..come on…it’s sooo worth it!  Free shows, great stories, getting in relationships with people in our community, great resume data.  Do it.