Friday, December 31, 2004

Tsunami Post

I deleted the last post. It just seemed so small next to the numbers that just won't stop climbing higher. Everything you could possibly say seems so small.

I haven't watched a lot of TV coverage. We have a a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old so we try to keep our news coverage to either or TV news after they're asleep. **NOTE: some of you may disagree with "sheltering" them from "reality". Liam was 2 1/2 on September 11, 1999. Of course, I had the TV on non-stop. But Liam noticed, and worried. Even at 2 1/2. He wanted to know why that airplane kept crashing into the building and was it broken and would they be able to fix it and were the people ok and why are you crying, Mom? I was due to have Sean two days later, I had a hormone rush going that made Niagra Falls look like a trickle and had been having contractions off and on for days. But that look of innocent concern on Liam's face will be etched into my brain forever. That's when I decided that he didn't need to see things like that until he was able to really think about the answers I was going to have to give him. I'm not sure, even at 5 years of age now, if I can give him good answers for this. I don't feel like I have anything to give him, good or bad.

Anyway, I haven't watched CNN on TV because of the kids. But last night, after they were in bed I turned it on. About halfway into a photo montage, I was crying. Rusty turned from the computer obviously worried about me, and hadn't seen the images that started it (the bodies of dead children, alone, waiting for someone to come claim them). I wanted to tell Rusty I was ok. But I wasn't. And I think he may have been wondering if he should turn the TV off and make me go to bed. But to his credit, he didn't. He let me be an adult and make my own decision. So I kept watching. I forced myself to watch image after image. I said this after the Belsan school tragedy, and it's still how I feel -- I feel that I owe it to someone, somewhere, to acknowledge that that child, that mother, that husband... those people were loved. They were something to someone. They are a loss to their families, their friends, their countries and the world. To look at those images is to acknowledge that something precious passed from this world. In all honesty, we know that many of those bodies are not going to be claimed. Whether it's because of the need to bury them quickly or because the rest of their families are gone as well. Some of those people will never be mourned individually. I guess it's the only way I feel like I can pay tribute to them, to the sorrow someone somewhere is feeling, as I sit here comfortably in my home with my two children sleeping peacefully and my husband sitting nearby.

Some people have complained to CNN that their photos are too graphic and stories are too sad. I say that life is too graphic and too sad sometimes. But that's what makes it life. Ignoring it isn't really living. Taking it in... feeling the anguish... and continuing on. That's life, isn't it?

I do want to post the links to the Red Cross site, if only because that's where we were able to donate. I also want to encourage you to check and see if your employer does charitable gift matching. Rusty's former employer would match charitable giving up to $500 per year.

Red Cross online donation form **Please designate the money to go to the International Response Fund:

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Off White

Do you have any idea how oppressive off-white can be? I know what you're thinking... "but off-white is so neutral... so basic...". No. Off-white sucks. Or more specifically, the off-white in this house sucks. It's more of a "non-white". It's not ambitious enough to be a true white. And it has too little character to be an interesting off-white like a nice "Antique" or even "Ecru". And just to make things feel that much more suffocating, this semi-gloss, non-white paint is on every wall, ceiling and piece of trim in this house. That is... it was. Until this past Tuesday. That's when the living room got shocked into the present day with a lovely organic shade of olive green on the walls (Olympic Brand "Willow Tree"). It's wonderful and actually quite dark and contrasts beautifully with our stark, crisp, clean real white fireplace and windows/window trim. And white sheer curtains that will soon with snazzed up with some kind of contrasting bands of color across the tops and bottoms.

I cannot believe how happy these last two days of painting has made me. When I sat back and looked at my couch with the olive paint behind it... I started to cry. I know, what a geek. But I did. It was the first time in a year and so many months that things started to feel like "ours" again. My mother-in-law may have a coronary, but it's going to be a far cry from the house she moved out of in September. Thank God.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Makeover TV

So do any of you watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? If not, you should. We're not reality TV watchers but this isn't really "reality TV" in the Survivor or The Apprentice sense. Seriously, you must see this show. It will make you cry like an idiot and you won't be embarrassed by your tears. I'm totally not kidding. You will bawl. Like a baby.

Anyway, the reason I bring this show up is because it is not a "Christian" show, but the it's just about the best example of the real love of Christ that I've ever seen. Showing God's love in a practical way, in other words (Go, Vineyard!). On each episode, the designers roll into town at the request of a family in need -- for example, Patricia Broadbent, who raised her own family then as a social worker and single mother adopted three young girls with HIV. Then she was diagnosed with cancer this past year. Or Stefan Varden, the teenager who wrote about his deaf parents raising him and his younger brother who is autistic and blind. His parents can't speak to his brother and his brother can't see his parents' sign language and this 14 year old boy takes care of them all and embraces his role as care giver... these are the things that make you cry initially. The stories that are brought to light. The looks on the faces of the families when they realize that someone is going to help them.

I don't care if the designers are "saved", or gay, whatever. They are part of something that is so uplifting in it's selflessness in regard to caring about people in need, and giving the very best and not just making something passable or livable (there is no budget on this show and it's amazing what these designers do for these families). What ends up making me get all teary even more than the tragic stories is watching the designers go all out designing a special bedroom for one of the children just because they know that kid will go crazy for it. Or building the special art room, or work out room just for the sake of making the family happy. It's not necessary stuff. It's wonderful, fun, impractical, spiritually and emotionally and mentally important stuff.

I also appreciate the fact that every time I watch this show it puts my every day stresses into perspective when compared to people living with much much greater problems. What a fabulous thing. A television program that doesn't leave me annoyed, wishing I had a nicer car, more money, or less body weight. These people, whether they know it or not, are doing God's work. I really hope this show hangs around for a while. It's on Sunday nights on ABC at 8:00. It's worth taking the time to sit and watch and get inspired.

**NOTE -- Now don't get me wrong. I'm not a moron, I know that all the companies involved are getting advertising, etc. But please. The premise of this show, overall, is so much better than a lot of what's out there.

Monday, December 13, 2004

In other news

That freak of a squirrel came back. Twice. It climbed to the top of the window ledge and tried to get in again. Maybe a dearly departed friend has been reincarnated. I have my suspicions.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Back from holiday

So it's been a long week. We left the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, drove to Cincinnati and stayed until Sunday. It was a pretty good trip but I hate it because it feels like it takes a week or so to recouperate afterwards. There was just no "down time". Our trip consisted of the following:

Leave Bowie around 3:00 p.m. after Rusty gets home from work. Coast along until we hit some rush hour traffic near Frederick. Stop for dinner at Breezewood - the neon jungle of the PA turnpike. Just barely order before bus-full of high school kids arrives. Ever seen the Spongebob where the five buses full of anchovies show up at the Krusty Krab and get all rowdy and such yelling "eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat... EAT!!!"? That was pretty much the scene.

Sean waved at every girl he saw. And what's up with 15-year-olds having tattoos spanning the entire width of their back just above the undie line? Arrive in Cincinnati sometime around 1:30 a.m. Boys decide to party it up with Grandma until around 3 am. Good times.

Wednesday: cousin's wife calls at ungodly hour and we're all awake again by 8 am. Rusty leaves for lunch with a friend from work. I help my mom rearrange three of the tables set up for the 31 Thanksgiving dinner guests. Mom worries that Caitlin will beat her about the head and ears with the previously completed and now totally useless seating chart. I assure Mom that Caitlin only beats people for good reason. We do get a break and Mom and I eat lunch together at BW3 (must speak to someone about Mom's possible addiction to boneless wings). We then stop at mall on way to Lianne's house. Ahhhh. Lianne's house. The only relaxing hour of that day. So nice. We leave, and I lose track of time at this point. Oh yeah, Mom goes home and puts turkey number two out of three into the oven. We do more pre-Thanksgiving stuff and head out to Chipotle for dinner. Pick up Caitlin along the way (Yay, Cait!). So after all that, Cait, my mom and I head to Jungle Jim's because, really, where else do you want to go when you're exhausted and feel like passing out? Of course - the world's largest goofy grocery store. Seriously, I love the Jungle. But even more seriously, I love that they put in a Starbucks. I barely remember the rest of the night but I'm pretty sure I took off my boots in the parking lot.

Thursday. Just a blur of turkey (so yummy), family, loudness, more family, noodles and croutons and even more family. Good god, where DO these people keep coming from? My grandma, my parents and brother and two sisters with their families, one of my mom's sisters and her husband and nine of my twelve cousins (just on my mom's side, remember) plus my cousins' spouses, kids, etc. Good food, but man... very tired at this point. Rusty goes to play poker with my cousins and various other people, I get the boys to bed and pass out.

Friday... what the crap did we do Friday? Holy cow. Oh yeah, how could I forget? Mom took us to see the Spongebob movie. Rusty, Liam, Sean, my mom and I. It was Sean's first movie in a theater (he's a serious Spongebob fan) and the Springdale theaters are seriously very very nice. Huge screen. Good times again. Lunch then Rusty took the boys home while Mom and I and my cousin, Aimee, hit Archivers - a giganto and quite nice scrapbook store in Mason. Which is next door to a Borders. Which serves coffee. Bought Brian McLaren's new book since it was right next door at Borders and all. And they have coffee.

At this point, I'm pretty sure you're sick of reading this (and damned tired too, it's a lot to take in). But suck it up, you asked so this was my weekend.

Ummm... oh yeah, Saturday. Rusty and I get up and drag our tired butts to the storage unit that I have grown to hate. At our house right now, there are three states of being. Things are either in boxes somewhere in the house, in boxes somewhere in the attic or in boxes in the storage unit in Cincinnati. It's the not knowing which state something is in... that's the excitement that keeps me going. Anyway, we go through the rest of the stuff in storage in record time and get home. Mom takes us to the mall to get a new red fleece for Liam (seperate entry sometime later when my fingers are no longer numb from all the typing). No red fleece and it's raining making it a pain in the arse to try to pack the van at the storage place. We decide to stay until Sunday morning. Sunday morning at the storage unit, we pack the van (no, seriously... we pack that thing. The boys can barely move in the their seats) and head out. Have to stop in Mason because we left the diaper bag at Aunt Lynn and Uncle Carmine's house. Crap... when did we leave that? What day did we stop by there originally? I was there and I'm still confused. We did visit Aunt Lynn. Uncle Carmine made me drink Reisling. I think it's the first time I've had an alcoholic bev in front of my mom. I didn't really care and I'm not really a big wine drinker. Regardless, we left the bag and had to pick it up on our way out of town. Rolled into Bowie around midnight Sunday night.

SOOOOOOO. Aren't you glad you asked? Oh, yeah. Yesterday Sean was very sick - really high fever, throwing up, etc. No rest and he was up last night. So even though we're home from our Thanksgiving trip the magic of the holidays just keeps on giving [me a kick in the ass]. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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