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)