August 9, 2009

Confessions of a Texter

Posted in personal at 8:50 pm by jimazing


I have a confession to make.  I have been talking on the phone and texting while driving.  I know I’m probably the only one who does this <tongue planted firmly in cheek>. I keep hearing reports of studies demonstrating that talking on the phone while driving is akin to driving drunk.  I understand, but it just doesn’t feel dangerous.  In fact, my friends and I do it all the time and we’ve never had an accident… have we?

The truth is that I have caught myself driving dangerously due to inattention.  It stops now… before I hurt myself or someone else!  I can imagine how I would feel if I hurt or killed a child just because I couldn’t wait to talk on the phone?  Imagining that feeling is enough for me.  I don’t ever want to experience it in real life.

I pledge to never text or Twitter while driving and I will only talk on the phone while driving if I am out on the open highway and there is no traffic around.  It’s just too risky.

How I got here

On our recent trip to Berkeley, I picked up a book called, The Science of Fear (How the Culture of Fear Manipulates Your Brain). In it, I am reading about how irrational fears cause people to behave irrationally. We fret over potentially dangerous things that aren’t very likely to happen. The flip side is that we ignore real dangers because they feel safe.  For instance, we lay out in the sun to get that “healthy looking” tan, knowing that the solar radiation is harmful.  Even though we know the dangers of cancer, we soothe our fears with statements like, “My friends and I have done this lots of times and we’ve never had any problems.”

Driving while texting and talking is one of those things that we hear the dangers of, but it just doesn’t feel dangerous.  So we trust our feelings instead of the facts.  In fact, we don’t consciously choose anything, we just do what feels right… and it isn’t a very good choice.  How would you feel if you caused an accident because you were driving while talking or texting?  Will you join me in stopping before that happens?

August 3, 2009

Family Vacation

Posted in family, travel at 1:51 am by jimazing

We’ve been back for almost three weeks and it’s just a little bit late to be posting stuff about our vacation, but we had such a wonderful time, it would be a shame to go without chronicling it. For those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you already saw what we were up to in real time.  You already know we traveled there on July 4th and about our trip to Pacifica where we ate Gorilla Barbecue (made with real gorillas-NOT).  You already know about the fireworks in Berkeley and brunch with the Summers at Berkeley’s first “green” café.  You know that as much as I love my new grand-dog, she stinks when she rolls in another dog’s poo!  And the blackberry picking trip and the Eucalyptus trees… and that was all before Molly arrived (with her parents of course)!

It was a terrific visit.  It was so good to get away from the busy-ness of life and just relax.  Berkeley itself is such a great place to visit.  In some ways it’s like stepping back to another time for me.  It’s a walking friendly city and not so friendly for driving.  Erin & Justin live just a couple of blocks from UC, downtown and the BART.  I absolutely loved walking around town.  Jeanie and I enjoyed brunch at a little cafe one morning where Handel’s Water Music reminded us to relax, we were on vacation.  We strolled through shops and bookstores. Such a relaxing, fun time.

I read a whole book! It felt so good to read a fairly sizable book in a week. Galileo’s Daughter was a stirring account of Galileo’s life including much about his run-in with the Church, but also about his relationship with his family–especially his oldest daughter, (many of her letters to her father still exist).  The story of his life, the scientific and historical setting was fascinating.  The stirring came from my own experience and how his story reminded me of my own.  I’m finding that the importance of reading for me is not so much from the “lessons” I learn from others, but from the stirrings I feel and explore based on the reading.  Galileo’s experience was tremendously important in history, but it is history.  I am alive today and I’m no Galileo.  I don’t want to be Galileo, but his story stirs me in many ways.  Those stirrings are about the way I am “wired up”.  The more I explore and reflect on those stirrings, the better I’ll understand who God has made me to be.  (The phrase I just wrote rubbed me the wrong way, so much so that I almost re-worded it.  I made it sounds like it’s all past tense.  As if the work of creation is done and my role is merely to figure out the puzzle that is me.  I believe that I am uniquely equipped to be the best Jim Anderson I can be.  The more I understand who I am, the more effective I will be.  But at the same time, I’m still a work in progress.  I’m still being influenced every day by the world I live in.  I still have a lot of growing up to do.

When the Ogrens arrived we did some touristy things like visiting the sea lions at Pier 39 and driving up to Muir Woods and the Marin Headlands.  Mark’s brother Jake and his new bride, Ashley joined them and they headed to Napa Valley for a day trip. While they were gone, Erin and Jeanie went off to get their toes done and Justin and I walked around town.  I talked about my stirrings from the book and Justin shared some of his thoughts.  I felt like the two of us connected on a whole new level, which I enjoyed tremendously.

Molly was a real princess.  We had so much fun watching her grow.  She has just learned to clap.  Danae said she was imitating us because we would clap and call out, “Yeah… Molly!” which made her clap.  Actually, what I think she was learning was manipulation.  She learned that by merely touching her hands together, she could turn these big people into silly clowns.  She enjoyed her first carousel ride and her first swing on the playground.  If they gave out awards for best traveling baby, she would have won hands down.  Be sure to check out the photo of her sleeping on the plane in the slide show!

I think all of us would agree that this was just about a perfect trip.  The weather was cool and sunny and the dispositions were mostly cheery.  We spent a little more money than we intended, but that’s to be expected on a vacation.  I hope you enjoy the photo slide show below.  It was so hard to narrow down the hundreds of great photos to a somewhat manageable size, but it was worth it.