The Baby Waiting Game

Thanks for noticing me...

Editor’s note: As the troupe finds itself waiting again for a new member, a re-featuring of this post seems appropriate.

It’s like popcorn popping: you hear the last kernels turning into something wonderful, but you can’t be sure it’s time yet to take that goodness and partake.  The baby’s not popping, but it does squirm, and as my wife’s stomach still holds our addition-to-be we sit waiting, wondering, and preparing for a little person with a lot of people ready to help.

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New Year, Some Old Problems

True that

It was clear with the commercials for payday loans, video games, and “the only way to tell her you love her”…jewelry of course.  It was also clear during midnight mass, with the less-than-cheery gentleman sitting and scowling next to us.  The holiday season is also clearly in effect as homeless men and women flood the vacant street corners with sometimes curious, sometimes suspicious signs.

Phoenix is an anomaly because of its climate.  A warm summer prevents homeless residents from panhandling during the day…it’s just too hot, and every year people literally die from the 115 degree highs.  But during the holiday season homelessness is more evident, though the legitimacy of those in need is not always clear.

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Renewing Our Energy: Berlin to Hamburg

Image

From an empty darkness came strands of golden, glowing lace, curving through the black night like an ancient language atop a lit canvas.  It was only the Irish coast, and Manchester, England at 4 a.m.  But the beauty was vivid, and the reality clear:  my long day was about to get longer.  I had left Phoenix 14 hours before, and was set to land in Berlin to tour the country’s renewable energy sites.  I was eager to learn, and open to experience a European perspective on energy as presented by the German government and NGO InWent.

So as the passport official had me lift my cap as he compared passport photo to real guy, I hopped on the TXL bus toward Prenzlauerberg.  That evening I’d meet my colleagues, and begin the Transatlantic Climate Bridge.

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In Search of Energy

I didn’t ask for this chance.

When I returned from two months in Germany after a still-productive stint as a Burns Fellow, I planned to continue life in the states, maybe apply for a few transatlantic awards, maybe try to sell a few of my European stories to the networks here, maybe drink a smoothie or two.

But then something happened.  Networking happened.

The local honorary German consul had helped me story storm before heading abroad, and I’ve worked with him on a few feature stories in the past.  The German Embassy in Washington was looking for a handful of nominations from consular offices, of journalists with an interest in Germany and renewable energy.

And with my journalistic dossier continuing to fill with internationally-focused radio stories, my name happened to make it into the mix…

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Adapting to “Normal”

Hold fast

You could call this a precursor to the much-anticipated “In Search of Blue Water: Part 2.”  I’m sure my reflections on sailing the coastal waters of Catalina/Santa Barbara Islands will be just as potent, if not more introspective.  This post is my warm-up.  The last weeks re-acclimating to the U.S., to another time zone, to “standard” food, entertainment, and everyday trials have been interestingly frustrating.  No thanks to, but not exclusively because of, the Sandman.

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The World Is Flat

A flattened world

Being as hip as I am, I’m now reading Thomas Friedman’s 2006 book on globalization “The World is Flat.”  The New York Times Columnist is sharp in international affairs, and tells the tale of outsourcing from many perspectives: the Chinese learning Japanese to serve Japanese companies; the Mormon housewives and retirees hired by Jet Blue airlines to work the company’s reservation system; the call centers in India serving any number of U.S. companies.

Friedman tells of how Indians earn about $300 a month to work in these places, with full medical coverage for ALL family and free dinners every night.  Most of these workers have MBA’s, and at minimum undergraduate degrees in something impressive like engineering or mathematics.

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In Search of Blue Water: Part 2

Conquerors

Though most of the island trails were blocked by makeshift barriers to protect nesting pelicans and seagulls, two prized trails were still open for conquest–the one to the peak of Santa Barbara Island, and another to a small lighthouse on the very edge of the island.

We had sailed for hours from Catalina, seeing nothing but rolling waves and the occasional scavenging bird.

Now was our time.  Santa Barbara has no residents, and only a small ranger house, and we would exploit that freedom in every way possible: to enjoy what nature had set neatly and alone off the coast of California.

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