Saturday, December 08, 2007

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Three Words

Berre sent this to me today and I think that it is too good not to share: a short video of people from all over sharing three words that speak to their moment. All set to a pretty great song. Click here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Grindstone

So I'm down to the wire. Really. In three weeks I will be done with school (and I will be 29!!) but before then I have a master's project to complete and another big paper to write. I am definitely, without question, a master procrastinator -- and this year, with these papers, it is no different. Ugh.

I mean, I definitely have been working hard all semester, but I don't know if I have been serious. Seriously serious. Like I was in the beginning of my program. Now is the time.

This past week, as I've been working, I have been daydreaming of that night in the not-so-distant future when M and I can go out to dinner and then walk around some fancy schmancy part of town with the white lights glittering (it is that time of year, so pretty). We will have crepes for dessert and then browse the bookstore and craft shop and I will think about things like wedding invitations and pleasure reading, and maybe my next trip to Africa, without feeling guilty. And without having right.there.

But until then, while I am being seriously serious (and I am!), I think I will leave you with some links. They are my procrastination, really. But maybe you need procrastination, too?

I made this delicious pumpkin cranberry bread twice over Thanksgiving weekend. You should definitely try it.

Matidi's photos are always stunning.

Go see whose prints are up at Tiny Showcase.

If you like ceramics or pottery, window shop and look at all the beeeeauuuutiful things here and here. You can also go on a mini-vacation out to a farm, right here. Ahhhhh.

And if you want to keep me company in the land of seriously serious
seriously nerdy! m would say) ....well then....welcome! Here's where you will find me while I am working:

It feels like I am always on this website. If you have any interest at all in human displacement or forced migration, everything you ever possibly wanted to know is located at this site. This is where I often get lost and sidetracked and soon it is 2 hours later and I have forgotten what it is I was originally looking for. Hmmm...maybe m is right about that nerdy thing.

This briefly addresses the main topic of my work this year: child-mothers. Very generally, I am focusing on educational opportunities for them and their children.

I use the reports, articles and research off of this site, too. Pretty amazing resources on health, human rights, trauma, and psychosocial work. Another place I can spend hours.

And to keep me motivated and moving forward? These dear images from last year:
People at Awer IDP camp waiting for their food rations.

Little Joyce, in a moment of wonder.
My incredible friend Achiro (who is now back in school!), and her beautiful daughter, Miriam

Alright. That is all for now, friends! Back to work. Love to you all...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Weekend of Thanks...Thanks for the Weekend

A very restful, cozy Thanksgiving at home in DC. Ashley came up from Florida to spend a low-key, homey weekend with us. We baked, ate, played Scrabble, watched movies, got our arts-n-crafts on, went to the farmer's market, walked through the fall leaves, and just hung out. It was perfect. Thankful? Oh, yes.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Old School :: She

Ohmygosh! I have been looking for this song for maybe 3 years, and tonight I found it! I can hardly believe it. Willamette girls, do you remember this gem?

Dancing around the tiny, crowded Bistro (or the halls of our house) to Deb Talan and Hummingfish is one of my favorite college memories. I suppose we might have all wanted to be "She". As soon as I found it I had to play it for M. He doesn't suit the pronoun, but the rest fits perfectly. Thank you to Replikate who led me to both lyrics and music through google magic.

Art and Soul

If you have been to any of the places I have lived since 1998, you probably recognize these two ladies! They are postcards, actually. They belong to a larger set, and when I lived in Jerusalem I collected them all from street vendors. In truth, I was drawn into each one: the colors, shapes and tone, the simplicity. They resonated with that space and time of my life so deeply, and are still among my most favorite and cherished possessions. They are pretty beat up with sticky-tape remnants on the back and folded corners, but everywhere I have lived they have traveled with me, always hanging somewhere near my nightstand.

I have been contemplating putting them in something other than the cheap clip frames that have held them for 10 years, and so last night I pulled them out and found the name of the artists on the back: Irene and Azriel Awret.

Here is what a little google time can do: Irene and Azriel are both Holocaust survivors. They moved to Israel in 1949 and helped to found the Tzfat Artist's Colony, which is still thriving today and which I have visited many times. In the 70s they moved to the US, and settled in Falls Church, Virginia...15 minutes from where I live today! Can you believe that? How could I have not known this earlier? The Awrets have a truly amazing story, so if you would like to read more, the Washington Post article is right here.

I thought about possibly buying a larger print of their work (which was originally ceramic relief -- I'd love to see that), but the more I consider it the more I think I will just keep my dear postcards as-is.

What small pieces of art do you cherish? When and how did they come into your life?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Southern Charm and Celebration

We spent last weekend at a wedding in Arkansas, and I could not have had a better time. It was so special to see my two very dear friends marry one another. You know when you just know that the match is the very best thing possible? A very smart M had tissues on hand the whole time. I was pretty teary! As if it could get any better, I also got to spend time with my old high school boys, and get to know the bride's extended family who I had been hearing about for years! There is also something very special about being around to help out in the details. All the weddings and celebrations I remember most and loved the most are the ones in which we were put to work! Tying, assembling, schlepping, whatever. Afterwards, I always feel a certain kind of tangible investment and connection to the marriage that is hard to explain. Does anyone else feel similarly?

They had a real autumn celebration in Searcy, complete with a bluegrass band at the rehearsal dinner, football on the lawn the morning of, a beautiful bridal brunch, a kickin' dance party, and stunning details like the honey-pot gifts with their first initals, B&E, printed across the the top. Southern hospitality and charm rang true. I miss everyone already.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

He Only Looks Sweet and Innocent

A little while ago we brought out the down comforter and got cozy for the fall. Matisse decided it was an excellent time to channel his inner hunter. Thanks to my new camera we managed to capture the tiger in action. Don't let him fool you. He only looks sweet and innocent...

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Layers and layers and layers... An old door on Capitol Hill. I've always wondered what I would see if I creaked it open....Have a wonderful weekend, friends. We're headed down south to Arkansas for a dear friend's wedding.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Hitting the Books

It is crunch time for me at school. Time to buckle down and get serious. But I'm not the only one studying. Look at our little student! And that belly... Thank you so much to Tiffany and Grace for the updated photos. Planning my next trip out there for a few different reasons - none more exciting than seeing Joyce. But more on that soon...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Of course, YES

Last weekend I was home to celebrate my grandfather's 80th birthday, with my family from far and wide. On Saturday afternoon, my dad, sister and I went to Balboa Park to wander around. It is my favorite place in San Diego, and both Ashley and I wanted to soak it in before we headed back east. We were taking pictures in front of the pond and the arboretum when my sister's phone rang. She walked off to talk to her boyfriend. I turned around and my dad was also MIA. Curious, but typical, so (also typically) I settled in with my camera, taking pictures of the kids and the coy fish and the beautiful day.

After a moment, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was M! He was not supposed to be in San Diego. He was supposed to be at home, in DC. In fact, I had spoken to him 30 minutes prior and he had lamented the icky weather, the cancellation of his frisbee game, and the fact that he would be home on the couch playing guitar for most of the afternoon. I felt bad for him, and didn't mention how gorgeous it was at the park. Five minutes later I received a text message from M of Matisse, my cat, stretched out on the couch, apparently also settled in for the rainy weather. This is why, when I saw M's face there, at Balboa Park, I was in such a state of disbelief that I could hardly speak. Luckily, I didn't have to. He simply asked me to marry him, and I, of course, said YES.

We walked across the park to the Japanese Tea Garden, where M said my sister and dad would be waiting. As we approached I saw them both -- plus my mom, uncle, grandfather, and M's parents and sister...from Connecticut and Oakland! They had surprised him at the airport earlier in the day! We spent the rest of the weekend celebrating both our new engagement and my grandfather's birthday with our families. It was perfect.

After 4 1/2 years together, I didn't think that M could surprise me like that. Boy, I was wrong. I'm with one romantic guy!


PS If you would like to see his version of the story, click here.

(photo taken from afar by my sly and sneaky dad)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

New England Color

We're in Connecticut for a wedding this weekend and oooooh, the fall color is beautiful. More soon....

Monday, October 15, 2007

Update :: Joyce

My sweet and spunky girl is growing and I am so, so, so very happy! Many of you have been asking about Joyce: her health, her family, her future. It has been difficult to answer many of those questions because the answers were sometimes elusive, and a good (responsible) plan challenging to put into place from over here. Oh, Uganda. Oh, Joyce.

But we have a plan. Of sorts, at least. And Joyce is not in limbo. And I have hope.

Joyce's TB is gone, and her HIV is under control. She is in school! All these things began before I left, but they remain stable. Honestly, this is somewhat miraculous and due to the hard work and dedication of many amazing people. Joyce's burns wounds are being actively treated and she goes to Gulu Independent Hospital regularly for specialized care.

Joyce's Aunt Mary and her stepmother, Carla share the role of "mother" and care for Joyce with all they have, trading time (a few weeks at a time) to each return to their small gardens and homes in a different district. She is surrounded by a slew of cousins at all times, including Emma, Mary's 15 year old daughter, who shared hours and hours and hours with me at the hospital drawing, playing games with Joyce, and teaching me about her culture, language and family. Joyce is very loved.

And school! Preschool has never been so great, and her teachers report that she is doing very well and likes it, too. But best of all, Joyce has a new friend, Grace.

Ocwee Grace is a mentor/guide/friend to Joyce and her family. She is an accomplished and loving Acholi woman who works with Invisible Children, who is partnering to help support Joyce. Since Invisible Children already has a mentoring system for the students in their secondary school program, this worked well. Most importantly, though, Joyce adores Grace.

Grace oversees Joyce's educational, nutritional and medical needs, works with the family to ensure that they understand all aspects of her specialized care, and assists where/when necessary. Right now she also oversees helping with the family's basic food needs. Without immediate proper nutrition Joyce wouldn't get better.

However (and this gets me excited!), we're working on the possibility of supporting Joyce's family in setting up an income generating activity/small business venture so their only sustained assistance will be Joyce's hospital bills and schooling. Jimmie and I are going to be doing everything we can to help make this a reality.

In the meantime, we hear from Grace (through the ever patient and fabulous Tiffany) that Joyce is "growing very fat", going to school, and always making her laugh.

Music to my ears.

I want to thank you all so much for asking about Joyce, remembering, caring... I miss her somethin' awful (hope to get back to see her very, very soon), but nothing is better than knowing that she now goes to sleep at night with a full belly, next to a loving family, with medical needs met, and a day of school awaiting. Who knows what the future may hold....but it looks bright to me!

(Thanks to Tiffany and Grace for the updated photos)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tiles, Texture, Fall

Mav, over at Port2Port (one of my favorite morning visits) has been taking beautiful photos this week of "everyday texture." The changing weather, and Mav's photography have had me thinking of these pictures I took of Dubrovnik roof tops. I loved the color, the wear, and yes, the texture. My colleagues watched me obsess over them then and take these pictures as we walked the old city walls. And now, somehow they remind me of fall. Today DC was blustery and cool -- mid-month, October is really here. Yay!!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


A while ago, Ali wrote about the little silly things out in cyberworld that make her smile on a dreary day. It's a good thing to know: what can get you out of that funk.

Here is something that is always, one-hundred percent guaranteed to make me grin.

Click here and then press play. YES! The Relay Project was begun by an old, childhood, summer-camp friend of mine, Lucy Raven, and her friend, Rebecca. It is an "audio magazine," an innovative, artistic exploration of sound in our lives. I think it is brilliant and very special special. The Relay Project Theme is my all time favorite.

From their website: The Relay Project is a magazine you listen to. A publication of sounds released on CD, it occupies the gap in your library between the records and the journals, swapping the sounds from one for the pages of the other. Each track is created by a different contributor, though each CD is curated as a whole. Content is limited to things that make noise, but is otherwise boundless: interviews, stories, found and archival sound, virtual vacations, documentary, music, field recordings, affirmations, dissentions, voice, breath. As an audiomagazine, we’re interested in...." Read more here.

If that makes you smile, even just a little, then check out this and this and this. (Not the Relay Project, but related.)

And if you want to keep going on your own, well, here you go. Happy listening!

P.S. In high school I covered my ceiling with collage. Greeting cards, magazine tear-outs, fun things, beautiful things that inspired me. Making those collages used to entertain my friends and me for hours! But the centerpiece was a big, huge multi-colored "YES" sign that was pinned up just above my pillow. So silly, but I loved it. Maybe that is why I get such a kick out of the "Relay Project Theme". I looked for a photo of that ceiling, that sign, for this post, but it wasn't to be found. Oh well.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Bienvenido A Miami

Two weeks ago M and I headed down to Miami to visit Little, who isn't so little any more. She got her nickname when she was just a baby, and it was fitting, considering that she is 10 years younger than me and 8 years younger than our brother. Now she's a freshman in college and a good 2-3 inches taller than her big sis..but to me she'll forever be "Little." M and I went to visit for "Parents and Family Weekend" -- we got to see the dorm, eat in the dining hall, and explore a bit of Miami. I have to say, her environs are pretty different than my old haunts in the Pacific Northwest, but the sun and the palm trees suit her and she seems really happy and grounded (not that easy to be in Miami).

We found this perfectly unusual flower while walking through campus. Isn't it spectacular? The flowers, ocean breeze, palm trees and tropical birds and plants fooled M and I into thinking we were on a Hawaiian vacation. But the best part was spending good, quality time with Little. We toured, ate, caught up, ate some more, and had a terrible time saying goodbye. Somewhere along the line my little sister became one of my favorite people in the universe. Thanksgiving can't come soon enough.