Wednesday, December 31, 2008

ode to anger

you disguise sadness
you build a fortress
around the heart tendered
by grief <---> you blame
when self is too weak to stand
in sorry <---> you find fault
where there is none
but natural imperfection

you power the passionate rant
and righteous indignation
against disappointment and hopelessness
you black-start the boiler of human rage
you hide many sins from the sinner

is there anything you cannot do
to cover over the pain of loss?
will nothing stop you
save the chisel of relentless love
the steady hand of compassion
the discriminating eye of wisdom
looking into the mirror
peeling away every futile mask
courage tames you

the humble receive you
as a message from the deep

-barbara l. walker
morgantown copyright 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Getting sad out of the way so I can have a happy new year.

I am avoiding my bills. In a little while I will leave this little house with three dogs in it and pick up the Benster to continue avoiding my bills by going to see Yes, Man. Otherwise, I would curl up with Amelie. The others are at the ski chalet... having some winter fun. I have work work work, and I'm supposed to be paying my bills and getting some papers together to go see a banker or two. But, it is my least favorite thing in the world to do. Well, maybe I could think of some things I like less than Quicken and looking at my bank account totals, but nothing comes to mind right now.

If things go well, we will be flying to Addis in about six weeks. I can barely think of anything else - there are numerous and long to-do lists in my head. Though, I am proud of myself for being productive at work. We have a deadline coming up, and there is nothing like a deadline for getting things going.

We had a slacker Christmas... the house is in full-blown construction zone with at least three seperate large projects in midstream, so there was no thought of having anyone over for anything anytime soon. We thought about decorating and retrieved the box of decorations thinking we would get a tree, but never got around to it. We spent Christmas day with Steve, and then a weekend with my family in PA, so we just let the house skip Christmas this year. We didn't even wrap presents until Christmas morning, thinking the girls would sleep until noon so why rush. But, T called and said 10:30 was present time, so we threw everything in reused gift bags, grabbed our dinner contribution out of the fridge, picked up Ben and off we went. Hey, at least we had the presents before the big day, right? We continued Slacker Christmas by consuming chocolate truffles made by T, though we did get on the Wii fit to see where we all were in the health zone. I'll simply say that my BMI ain't what it used to be. For the record, T did NOT have a slacker Christmas. She made 300 truffles in 12 hours. She doesn't really need college with her chocolate talent.

Guess I should upload my pics and see if there is anything fun to add here. Or not. I'm feeling kinda sad for no reason. Or maybe because it is becoming obvious that all the plans I've had for many months have no chance of coming to full realization, and my next big adventure will be as by-the-seat-of-my-pants as every other adventure I have ever had. So many books not read, so many Amharic words unknown, so much stuff still cluttering the house, so little cash flowing in the right direction, so few conversations had, so many items not crossed off so many lists.

Maybe Yes Man will help me out of funkytown. But it just may be that the secret way out of my funk has more to do with saying No, Man. I did say NO to the kitchen remodel (just move this wall out four feet, and totally replace everything in here plus build a mud room, yeah). And that is why there are not FOUR major projects in midstream. Yeah. Mon.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Every Birth is Holy

This is a Christmas video for all, especially for anyone who has ever been pregnant and alone. [The song was changed, so open two windows and play this while you watch that.]

It reminds me of my first husband, Steve, who is a wonderful person. He fell in love with my son and me when the Benster was a toddler. He adored us and chose us as his family. He's a great dad to his three kids. He is a really good co-parent, who always puts his kids first. I'm so grateful for his willingness to be a family together post-divorce. I am grateful for his friendship. Thanks, Steve!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

note to self

things to do more of: sing, sleep, salad, walk, water, encourage, adore, compliment, breathe, see, thank, let go

things to do less of: cheese, TV, complain, lecture, "actually", whelm, want, busybusy, drive

things to let go of: papers, stuff, knick-knacks, broken things, perfection, resentment, haf-tos, pillsbury

things to hold on to: kids, songs, poems, sunshine, snow, hope, honeypie, deliciousness, goofball, kisses, laughter, mind, heart, soul

Monday, December 15, 2008

The BIG Three

No, not Ford, GM, and Chrysler. Puhleeez. $39 billion? Even $15 million? For spending the last few decades in bed with the oil companies? Let's invest instead in their employees, by using our taxes to create a center of Green Economy wherever out-of-work autoworkers are (and coal miners, too, while we're at it).

But really, let's think about the BIG big three. I'm talking HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria.

And while we're at it, could we combat that other Really really really BIG three? Classism, Racism, and Sexism.

Priorities, people, priorities!

I gotta find more time to write about these things.... right now my priority is to spend some snuggle time watching Grey's Anatomy with my Teegermeister. Yippee!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Pootiful Weekend

I helped Laird snake the drain yesterday.

"Why," you say, "Was it clogged?"

Well, not really. It's just that he is making what was a cinder block room with a toilet into an actual bathroom. With a shower. And towel racks! And tile! It is downstairs, formally known as the basement, now "the ground floor," with two bedrooms and what will be a family room. The end with the bedrooms has normal-sized windows, so it really is a half-basement with a walk-out door, like many, many houses here in West-by-golly-Virginia.

First thing he did was clear out the tool room, put in shelves and peg board and lighting and power strips... oh yeah. NOW it is a tool room. (This was many weeks ago.) He says he will do the same in the laundry room, but that is last on the list. Then he re-did the floors in the two bedrooms. You see, he finished those rooms top to bottom by working every weekend for about a year (he says it wasn't that long) and then a malfunctioning storm drain and lots and lots and lots of rain last July 4th inspired our insurance company to send an awesome demolition team to take away everything that couldn't be cleaned up, which included the amazing dri-core founded floors of the two bedrooms. Ouch. We got through all that, and the bedrooms are beautiful again. PLUS, there is a half-finished french drain going around the house now just to give us an extra measure of protection from wetness. Half-finished because it has been too wet or too cold or both for the last month to finish it. But it WILL be finished. Yes, it will.

Anyway, he was getting ready to make the new bathroom on Friday, and he can't do anything halfway, so he decided to fix ALL that is wrong with the upstairs bathroom, too. So, we've been without water and toities for much of the weekend. It's okay, Sheetz is just down the hill. And every time I wanted to complain about having to get in the car in order to go use a bathroom (planning, people, this takes planning!), I remembered the article I read last week that said about 64 percent of people in a certain country I love have no access to a toilet. None. Not one. Sets things in a certain perspective, dontcha think?

My brave and tenacious husband had a hard time carrying out his plan to rebuild and re-seat the old toilet in the upstairs bathroom (last night we heard many groans and other sounds of frustration coming from there) so now we have a beautiful new white low-flow comfy porcelain throne. I could not convince him to order the $500 flushing squat-style toilet, no matter how much I talked about the health benefits!

Don't you think our new kids would feel more at home if they could choose between this and the Western-style toilet? Yeah, me too. But, I have been out-voted by my hubby and my 14-yr-old. Who knew she would side with her step-dad?!

But really, this story is about ME! As I said, I helped him snake the drain yesterday. He rented the heavy duty, 65-ft-long snake, and I held the hose so that the snake would get cleaned off while he was pulling it back out. It was a tight space, so I was squatting and leaning against a wall while I did this. Not leaning my back against a wall, no, that would have been way too easy. No, I was leaning my head and knees against the wall, while squatting, and trying to be as flat as possible since immediately at my back was this loud, cachunking machine creating a good bit of torque and producing some wild action in the long metal snake. We did the 65-feet twice, once with the star and once with the scrapper, and the yuck got sprayed on me a bit (don't worry, I was wearing safety goggles!). Then moved to the other drain and did a bit of that one. (Yuck, kitchen goop.) At one point, the snake almost strangled Laird with his own shirt, but we got through it all without injury. He said I am the bravest wife in the world.

That squatting action really does a body good, I'll tell you!

What was really cool was that during this toil, Laird went on and on about what an awesome invention this snake is, how well it transfers torque over a heckuva long distance. I mean, just that high-tensile flex metal thing that the machine pushes down in the pipe, that in itself is a huge technological feat. Do you understand now why I would follow this man anywhere?

By the way, any of you who are planning to travel to Ethiopia or elsewhere in Africa, here are some good directions on how to use a squat toilet.

And here is an extra bonus special something-really-Beautiful.... My brother's newest painting. My sister-in-law went to Ghana for three weeks to work as a nurse. She worked really hard and had a blast. This painting is from one of the pictures she brought home. My brother has amazing eyes and heart. We would love to take him to Ethiopia with us.

I am so grateful for my creative and compassionate family.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy Day!

We have a court date!!!! January 16th. This is the day an attorney (hired by our agency) represents us before the Ethiopian judge to make the adoption final in Ethiopia. So, if the judge approves, that is the day we will legally be parents to our three brave and bright children, who are waiting for us. Then, about a month later we will travel to pick them up.

Tonight I was reading Jenny and Matt's blog and they have a great thing they do for each birthday in their family. They pick a charity to donate to, and ask anyone who is willing to honor the birthday person with a gift to that charity. I think we'll start doing this with everyone in our family. This Christmas we are seriously downsizing the amount of stuff we buy, and amount of money we spend. We will give a gift to a charity. I think maybe we have a vote on Christmas morning for what charity to give to, and have each person in the family pledge the amount they would like to give.

Watch this video.... it is so inspiring:

Think about it! What kind of change do you want to make with your celebrations?