Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Interesting Article

I know I talked about fistulas for V-Day and all and some people were probably like "GAAAAHHHH make it STOP"
Here's an interesting article from the NY Times about fistula repair in Tanzania. Interesting because it must be performed in the barely sufficient, rural hospitals of the interior as opposed to a hospital ship, certainly adding an element of difficult.

The article is great, as is the narrated slide show. If you're wondering what a rural East African hospital looks like, or wondering why one of the first things I would do after winning the lottery is travel over there to build and staff a hospital, this will pretty much explain it all.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Premios Dardo!

Recovering Actor gave me the Premios Dardo award! I feel specialllll!

It comes with rules though...hopefully I can come up with eight people to tag (eek!) but for now, they are:

Step 1: respond and rework -- answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one more question of your own. (mine are in blue)

Step 2: tag - eight other un-tagged people

1) What are you wearing right now?
"comfy pants" from NY&Co, white button-down under red short-sleeved sweater, fugly shoes, my glasses

2) What is your biggest fear?
I have many that are pretty much equal. At this moment it's probably the fear of unimaginable and complete devastation of the status quo. Like big sh*t that I can't even prepare for. Though that's a pretty irrational fear I guess, when you can't even put a finger on it. Oh well.

3) What is the one thing you're really nerdy about? And don't say you aren't nerdy, because let's face it... everyone is a little nerdy about at least one thing.
Birds. Sigh. It is uber-nerdy but I frickin' love birds. If I could make my living being an ornithologist I would. Sometimes I have super-dweeby fantasies about finding some bird everyone thought was extinct, like the ivory-billed woodpecker or the carolina parakeet (yeah cause they're totally in my backyard lol). I have a life list that I am working on entering into excel as a sort of database format that matches up with the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology's "Birds of the World" list. Every time we plan a vacation, I buy a bird book that corresponds with our destination. Whenever I see a new bird, I put the date and location next to the description in the bird book. This is actually helpful as a rarely keep a journal when I travel. Recently I was looking through my birds of Kenya book and realized that the bird sightings correspond with our movements throughout the country and it really jogged my memory, which was awesome. So see? Nerdy but not entirely without purpose!!

4) Who is the last person you hugged?
My mom and sister in a group hug.

5) What websites to you visit when you go online?
Ha ha ha have you seen my blogroll? When I get online in the morning I read abc news and, I check in on ravelry and flickr, log onto facebook. At lunch I check on my "people" blogs, then throughout the day I'll visit some of my craft blogs.

6.) If you had a secret power, what would it be?
Having the power to fly - see ya later MBTA!

7) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Some place new: Australia Some place I've been before: Kenya (obviously)

8) If you woke up tomorrow and were a boy, what is the first thing you would do and why?
PEE STANDING UP because it is really the only reason I'd want to be a boy, lol.

9) Has a celebrity's hair cut ever influenced your own hairstyle?
Nah. I think certain celebrities have sexy hair, but I know I couldn't replicate it.

10) What is your most embarassing moment?
I tend not to get embarrassed because my life is fairly ridiculous and I have to go with it. I do always get embarrassed when I overshare inappropriately. Most of the time I doubt other people pick up on it, but sometimes I'll think "why did I even say that?" As far as pants ripping in public or falling down - oh I'd take that any day in comparison to my word vomit!

11) What was the last movie you watched?
Secret Life of Bees

12) If you had a whole day to yourself with no work, commitments, or interruptions what would you do?
SCRAPBOOK because I'm in 2005 still.

13) If you were to win the Powerball, what would you do with the money (besides invest it)?
We-e-ell. If the jackpot was massive I'd do the following in this order: pay off my loans, my sister's loans, Jamaal's loans, pay off friend's loans, pay off parent's mortgage, buy a new Subaru Forester, buy this house in JP, buy the empty lot next to my grandparent's lakeside cottage, pay for a pimped-out wedding (but would keep in classy), fly out to Kenya to begin work on my hospital and the Women's Knitting Co-op I have all planned out in my head. As Jamaal says "If Allison ever won the lottery, she'd be broke."

14) If you could convince everyone you knew to read one book... what book would it be, and why?
"Mountains Beyond Mountains" by Tracy Kidder. It tells the story of Paul Farmer, who began a one-man crusade to save the world. It is idealistic and inspirational. It emphasizes helping fellow human beings, empathy, social equity and basically doing good, as well as the importance for access to healthcare for everyone on the planet and the need for a cleaner and safer environment. It's fantastic.

15) If you could make one scientific discovery/invention/novel idea what would it be?
I think I might actually try and invent a fart-powered car. It's totally gross but I think it could work. Heh heh heh. Then I would cure cancer, starting with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, obviously.

Okay. tag time! I'm tagging (though I think about 80% of them won't do it!):


Five for now, maybe I can come up with more soon!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Superficial Crap Time!

So I got that mani/pedi Thursday and it was GLORIOUS. I hadn't had one since October due to budgetary demands (aka my loans coming out of deferment) so it really felt luxurious.

I go to a cheap place in Brigham Circle. If you go to Yelp and read the reviews it mostly receives crap reviews because the place is called "Nail Spa by Time." People are like 'ugh, I can't believe they call this a "spa" blah blah blah." Ok, 1. it's Brigham Circle, next to a Seven-11 did you REALLY expect a luxurious spa? 2. They have a 9.99 manicure special on Wednesday - spa? HELL NO 3. you can walk by the large picture window and look in and see it's not a spa. 4. the owners are Vietnamese and totally lovely, but clearly english is not their first language. The name of the spa in Vietnamese probably makes total sense, but translated out into English it turns into "Nail Spa by Time" Their pamphlet expresses that it's a place to get your nails done in a timely fashion. Stop being so literal! Maybe Vietnam is a land of quirky names - this is definitely the case in Kenya, for example, where you might find a meat shop named the "Jesus Loves Me Butchery." Will Jesus love you more if you get your meat there? NO. Is Nail Spa by Time a SPA? NOOOOO.

Anywho. I love the place. It's pretty clean, it's got massage-y chairs, and the people don't outwardly mock you if you haven't shaved for a few days or your feet look busted up - they may later...but not in front of you....(this happened to me at two chi chi nail spas on the South Shore, one where the woman said "OH MY GOD YOU HAVE A PLANTAR WART!" like I was going to bring a scourge of plague or herpes to the priviledged women of Cohasset. vomit. and another was like 'so I'm trying to figure out if that's dirt in the crevice of your nail or......' I was like "yeah, it's f*cking dirt, I've been in AFRICA for 4 months basically living in a hut, sorry I didn't pumice before coming here")

So at Nails Spa by Time there's this fantastic woman named Lyn who does eyebrows. She's got the touch. Tina, the owner does a great job too, but there is totally a Lyn bias. I went in last week to get eyebrows done and noticed Lyn was nowhere to be found. A stream of teen girls kept coming in, asking for her, and then promptly leaving when they found out Tina was the eyebrow waxer of the day. I do not have such bias. My brows were busted UP and needed to be tamed. The end. So I had those done, they looked fabulous, and I jetted out to catch my train. On Thursday, while at the nail dryer, I noticed a sign on the wall, in very Nail Spa by Time-esque dialogue:

"Lyn on vacation for week. Maybe if you are Lyn's regular client, one of her friends can help you out. Don't worry. Lyn will be back to fulfill your love and trust for her real soon."

This sign totally beat out the "Our new hand lotion good for skin, softens and smoothens" and "Our credit machine broke. You pay cash only."

I kind of want to know how much "other" waxing Lyn does if she's going to be fulfilling our love and trust for her....I heard they do Brazilians on the cheap...I'm not sure if I want to go there though LOL.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy V-Day Y'all

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

I am sitting here with Jamaal playing Fishwrangler on Facebook - how is that for a romantic day? hahahah. Later I'm making him dinner...and dessert, so that should be fun....and fattening, as I plan on making some chicken fettucine with salad, bread, and red velvet cupcakes :) All new recipes for me (well except salad, that's straighfoward).

Lately I've been posting a lot of junk about helping others blah blah blah blah.
However, I just want to post one more thing and then I'll shut up with the do-gooder crap....for a couple more posts at least.

Today is V-Day, and "V-Day" took on a whole new meaning when I went to Smith - it was a day where most of us trekked to the Vagina Monologues that was performed to raise awareness of violence against women throughout the world. Oh and also embracing words like "cunt" lol. Now Eve Ensler has focused her campaign specifically on the Congo, where civil war and upheaval has created situations that are incredibly dangerous for women, where rape and abuse is running rampant, and the violence with which these crimes are committed have sometimes fatal results, and if not fatal, are always emotionally damaging and sometimes permanently debilitating. This particular campaign caught my interest not only because it is focusing on the women of Africa - which I believe to be Africa's greatest resource - but also because a close friend from high school and college's mother in law in an OB-GYN who has traveled on a hospital ship to repair fistulas caused by rape and abuse as well as traumatic childbirth. Her emails are so touching - it's hard to ignore what is happening all the way across the ocean. Anyways, her email is posted below (and if you have a sensitive stomach, details about recto-vaginal fistulas might be a lil' too much, just to warn you).

But before that, here's the link to V-Day in case you want to read more about what's happening in the Congo. Some of the videos are just priceless as Eve Ensler dives right in with some of the Vagina Monologues material - the African ladies do a lot of giggling.

Ok, I'm off the soap box for now, and I'm off to relax with Jammy Jam, a great vagina appreciater. LOL. Ok TMI. (He just saw that and said "OH MY GOODNESS you are SO dirty.." ha ha ha)

Here's the email from "Rainy"

M/V Africa Mercy
March 21, 2008

Hi, again,

I am just finishing up my 3 weeks of obstetrical fistula surgery training on the Africa Mercy and heading home. It has been an exhausting, humbling, but totally worthwhile experience. The surgery has been harder than I anticipated, but Steve Arrowsmith has been a great teacher, and I have learned so much.

More about the Africa Mercy: Fistula surgery is only a small part of what goes on every day on the ship. One full-time and other short-term maxillo-facial surgeons do cleft lip and palate surgery and removal of head and neck tumors, some of them incredibly huge. I am amazed at what they can do – take a rib to construct a new jaw, create a new nose when disease has destroyed part of a face, remove enormous goiters. Reconstructive plastic surgery, including burn treatment, is done several times a year. As we are finishing up the fistula surgery, an orthopedic team is already getting ready to start next week. And all throughout the year, about 30 patients a day have their cataracts and other eye problems fixed.

Teams of other volunteers go out into the villages to help provide clean water and sanitation. Others do construction. Health education teams are involved in HIV prevention and work in communities to end female genital mutilation. Abuse against women, including rape, is a topic that is getting a lot of attention as Liberia struggles to recover from civil war. Other outreach teams help people start small businesses, like raising rabbits. Dental teams go to local clinics, often treating life-threatening tooth infections. Crewmembers sign up for weekend trips to play with kids at a local orphanage, visit disabled people, or teach bible classes at local churches.

Many of the volunteers on the ship serve in important support roles that keep the ship running but they do not have direct patient contact. There is a nice program onboard called "Adopt a Patient." When patients are admitted for surgery, their names are placed on IV poles in the café area. Crewmembers are encouraged to take a name and to visit that patient regularly. They come down to the wards and play with the children, polish the women's fingernails, or just sit and visit. Sometimes they take groups of patients outside on the upper decks. Patients and crew love the interaction, and it helps the non-clinical volunteers to remember that they are vital members of the mission too.

Monrovia: Interesting fact – Liberia was founded in the 1820s by freed slaves who were sent back to Africa from the United States. The US president at the time was James Monroe, so that explains the name Monrovia and why the official language is English.

Although my free time has been very limited, I have been able to go ashore a couple of times. One Saturday, nine of us walked together to a local market. Believe me, it was a very sad picture; everything is falling apart. There are open garbage pits between buildings and trash strewn all over the roads. Once in a while a patch of straggly grass grows in the dirt. We stopped at a tiny tee shirt store, and we found ourselves surrounded by little boys, who thought it was great fun to pose for our photos. They got a kick out of seeing the digital pictures right away. Then we walked on to the market. The booths were piled high with stuff – bins of shoes, stacks of brightly colored fabric, household items, tools, you name it. There were wheelbarrows filled with loose grains and sugar, with a scooper on top so you could buy just what you need. Vendors sat under umbrellas for relief from the sun. Old cars and trucks whizzed by, and men were pulling loaded carts by hand. We certainly stood out with our white skin, and many people waved at us or yelled out greetings or thank yous.

On Sunday, I went to church with Captain Jon, his wife, and some other crew members – a deckhand from Scotland, an Xray tech from the Philippines, and a nurse who will soon be working at Boston Children's Hospital. It was a nice, simple church, with a brightly painted altar. The choir sang traditional songs like Amazing Grace but with their own flair – drums, clapping, and moving to the beat. The parishioners were wearing fancy colorful native dress. After mass, Captain Jon drove us around downtown Monrovia. There are bullet holes in the light poles and bridges, and the roads are worse than in New England after a bad winter – you could lose a car in the potholes. The outer walls of a lot of buildings are missing, ripped apart by mortars during the civil war. Slums line the waterfront. It is a busy, dirty city. There is one nicer section of town, with the embassies and a few hotels and restaurants, but even that area isn't pretty. Where does one begin when the whole country has been destroyed?

Meet some patients: When I was corresponding with a ship administrator before I arrived, she wrote, "You and Dr. Steve have many special patients waiting for you! These women are going to break your heart – their stories are overwhelming!" She was right. Here are a couple of their stories.

Mamie (pronounced "Mommie") is a 36 yo women who lives in a small village about 4 hours away by bus. Seven years ago, she was in labor for her 2nd child. She had pain for 2 weeks, with 4 days of hard labor. She was taken to a hospital and the doctors pushed her dead baby out. Then Mamie started to leak urine and feces. The day it happened, her husband left her and went to live with another woman in her village. She wouldn't go out of her house and she didn't want anyone to visit. She lives with her brother and sisters in a small house made of palm fronds. She says that they are very poor, and there are a few months each year when there is no food to eat. That explains why she is so painfully thin.
Three years ago, she went to a hospital, where they were able to fix the hole between the rectum and the vagina, but she continued to leak urine. Last year, she came to the Africa Mercy, and this time the hole between the vagina and the bladder was successfully closed. But she was still wet. On screening day we found that, although her fistula had been fixed, her urethra had been damaged during the long labor, so she can't control her urine flow. We did a sling operation, where a piece of strong tissue is taken out of the leg and threaded under the urethra to give it support. Sadly, she isn't dry yet, and Steve is already planning a new strategy for the next time that he comes to the ship.

Garmai is a 44 year old woman with more energy and faith in God than most of us will ever have. She was 18 when she was pregnant for the first time, and her labor lasted five days. She finally went to a government hospital where she delivered a dead baby. Then she started to leak. She didn't know what was happening to her. She didn't want anybody to know what happened to her, so she shut herself in the house. She considered killing herself to end her misery. Her husband stayed with her and supported her. She says that God blessed her with 5 more children, a miracle after what had happened to her, so she finally decided to get out of her house and start living again. She went to bible school, and now she is the pastor of a church called "Love Sanctuary of Praise."
Garmai's 5 children and 4 grandchildren live with her. Her two brothers were killed during the civil war, so she took in their children, plus a few other kids that needed homes. She doesn't get paid, but she preaches the bible and people give her what they can - sometimes food, sometimes clothes or money. Her husband has a job, and somehow they manage to feed the 20+ people who live in her house - another miracle, she says.
Garmai has been wet for 26 years. She had 3 previous fistula surgeries, all on the Mercy Ships, but the repairs keep breaking down – the tissue is so damaged that it doesn't heal well. This time, after the fistulas were closed, a graft of nearby tissue was placed on top of the stitches to bring in a new supply of blood for healing. So far, she is dry.
And get this – Garmai has a 7 month old grandson whose name is "Dr. Steve" ! (they pronounce it "Dotta Stiv.") He came to visit her one day, and I have pictures of Dr. Steve holding Dr. Steve.

Esther is 26 years old, but she looks 17. In 1999, she went into labor "in the bush" but the war was going on and there was shooting outside. She was told that her bones were too small and she had to go to the hospital, but there was no way to get there. Two weeks went by before she was carried a long distance by hammock to a government hospital, where a C/Section was done. But it was too late. The baby was dead and urine started to run down her legs. She came to us 9 years later. Her fistula was relatively simple, and she went home dry.

Dress Ceremonies: Mercy Ships, and other fistula centers, have a tradition that when a group of fistula patients is ready to go home, they are given new outfits and everyone celebrates with them. We have had 2 dress ceremonies while I have been here. Each woman receives a lovely native dress and matching head scarf. Nurses, other crewmembers, and the rest of the patients crowd together in the ward while each patient tells her story, punctuated by shouts of "Praise the Lord" and happy cries. After each story, there is joyous dancing, singing, and clapping, accompanied by the beat of a drum. Later, the women go out onto the gangway for photos. It is a very moving ceremony. It is great to make a fuss over them and tell them how beautiful they are, because they have usually been treated as the lowest-of-the-low since they developed the fistula.

Some happy follow-up from last year: Those of you who got my emails last year might remember that, when I was working in a clinic in Yepocapa, Guatemala, I did some teaching with 3 medical students. One of them, Raúl, is now an intern in Bolivia. He just wrote to tell me that he was on call one night when a woman came in ready to deliver with a breech (buttocks first) presentation. The gynecologist was tied up doing a C/Section, so Raúl had to deliver the baby. He remembered all the steps I had taught him in the class, when we practiced deliveries with the baby doll I bought in the market. He wanted me to know that I had saved a baby's life in Bolivia, even when I wasn't there!

Mark your calendars! An excellent 90 minute documentary film about the fistula problem in Africa, called "Walk to Beautiful," will be shown on the PBS show Nova on May 13th. The film was done by the BBC at the Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia, and it has already won several awards. My mentor, Steve Arrowsmith, is featured at the end of the show. I have seen it twice, and I guarantee that it will make you cry. (Please note that Rainy was incorrect in saying that "Walk to Beautiful" was done by the BBC. Several commenters have pointed out her ERROR and someone from Engel Entertainment commented so I guess I'd better correct this before it gets ugly or anyone thinks I'm trying to give BBC all the cred. The film is NOT a BBC film, Engel Entertainment is wholly responsible for every aspect of it. There it is. I'm not sure if this really matters to anyone specifically beyond the people who've pointed it out as a mistake, but I'm happy to make the correction as I cut and pasted this email directly from the one forwarded to me by my friend's mom in law and have not had the opportunity to see the movie as of yet and correct it myself. BBC = NO Engel Entertainment=YES.)

Final thoughts: When I decided to get involved with fistula surgery, I thought that my 27 years as an obstetrician-gynecologist would give me the skills that I needed to learn these new procedures. But in fact, this surgery requires skills and techniques from urology and general surgery as well as OBGYN. I was overwhelmed at first. After 3 weeks of total immersion - 36 surgeries, preop and postop care, dealing with complications (including thyphoid and malaria!) – I am feeling much more comfortable. However, I also know how much I don't know. I would need a lot more training before I could work independently. So I may be see a lot more of Africa!

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Africa Mercy. It has been so interesting to work with other volunteers from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, England, Holland, Germany, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Ghana, and the Congo. They really live their faith and love what they are doing. And it has been such a privilege to know these incredible African women who trusted us with their lives and told us their stories.

Love to all,

Friday, February 13, 2009


I'm heading to NYC for the weekend. HURRAH! Of course I chose to drive down to Jam's abode, and of course I was about 45 minutes from home this morning when I realized I forgot my iPod. Eeeech.
Never fear - had a plan for that. I went and bought a five-pack of CD's at CVS and ripped 100 of my favorite tunes. I have about 6 hours worth of music now, I think it'll hold me over. I haven't played a CD in my car in probably 18 months or so, so hopefully the player still works!

Otherwise I have nothing to impart except OPI's "Rose to the Ovation" is the best color everrrr. And it's discontinued. But I procured some. heheheh.

I want a Schrodinger cube.

AAAAND "The Ridiculous Race" is just about the most hilarious book I've read in a while

And with that I LEAVE!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Some More Bushfire Stuffff

Hey peeps!
Here's some more bushfire stuff. These are just a few links that make it a bit more fun to donate to various Bushfire appeals (though what is really more fun than helping people and animals?! c'mon now!!) I am kind of loving Serendipity right now because if you email her your receipt from the Australian Red Cross you get put in a raffle of some sort AND she has a counter - she also mentioned that with the time difference a lot of the donations happen while she's sleeping and she gets to wake up to a nice surprise. Now I know there's nothing better than plopping down in front of your office computer at 7 or 8 in the morning and seeing your inbox full of gfi.

There's also fun stuff to buy. These necklaces look amazing, though sadly I will be on the road when they're put on etsy....maybe I will hint to my sister that these would be a fantastic bday gift for me???

Just wanted to put an update out there. Clearly the bushfires are still very much on my mind - they remind me a bit of the tsunami in 2004 - simply unfathomable in their destruction and loss of life and homes. Just devastating.

-aside - Chase just called me to make sure that all my charges were legit, lol. I hope the Red Cross got the money.....hmmm. I will have to follow up on this one....

So anyways, do whatever you can to help. I'm sure there will be more opportunities to make a difference in the coming weeks.
That's it from me for today :)

Oooooh except this stuff. I wandered into Anthropologie for the first time in about 15 years yesterday (seriously - I know that there are certain places where my self-control or lack thereof cannot be trusted. This is one of them. You'll see why). I was supposed to be buying a hostess gift for a couple that's having Jam and I over for dinner this weekend. I knew that they probably would not want us bringing food, though I will probably bring over some Valentine cookies Amy and I will be making tonight, and probably will skip on the wine, though maybe Jam will bring some - anyway, I just wanted a little something. I had time to kill before my meeting to I wandered into Anthropologie and saw the dishtowels. Oh ho ho ho. Throwing care and economy to the wind I snatched three for my dowry (that's what I'm calling it, the larger rubbermaid in storage filled with our future kitchen). I only allowed myself three because I could've stood there and picked out 5....or like 13. I chose bird ones (of course) though I can only find pictures of two. The seriously cute owl one wasn't online:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Calm Because I have a PLAN!

Sam, the Koala Featured in the YouTube Video Below
(Rach - I vote for an Animal Cops: Australia!!)

woohooo I am much calmer today than I was on Monday, thank goodness.
Maybe it's because things are in order? Maybe my promotion and (slightly embarrassingly) large raise (that is smacking the crap economy in the face) has given me a boost? I dunno. I think it's the fact that I have a plan.

First of all. Bushfires.
Here's a link to the Australian Red Cross. Just put your Visa in there and let 'er rip.
The exchange rate is about 1.5AUS Dollars to 1 USD just FYI. And naturally money is money when it comes to credit cards, of course. I forgot totally charging stuff in Costa Rica AND at the airport in Nairobi when I needed 14, 700 Kenya Shillings to get my bags to London, good ol' Mastercard neatly made the conversion and I got charged $186 USD. Of course it took about 6 months for the charges to get on my statement, but still it worked out.

Anyways I am giving to the ARC in good faith. I have not donated anything (money, blood, ANYTHING) to the American Red Cross since Katrina, since I found out that the "here's a debit card preloaded with cash for your survival" cards were spent on tattoos and tv's and the other money was completely mishandled. While I did have guilt about this, I realized after that that I should've just given the money to several bloggers who had lost their homes to Katrina who didn't want money necessarily but had lost basic supplies like pots and pans and towels and sheets. My $100 would've been so much more effective there! ANYWAYS I digress. Since I don't know what is needed/anyone directly affected by the fires, I'm going to donate to the Australian Red Cross.....the end.

Secondly, for all the pets, livestock and wildlife caught up in the mess, there's the RSPCA Australia faction. I'm sure many people have seen this YouTube video:
I hadn't even thought of the animals in the wake of the death and destruction but suddenly it hit me - these poor things were just hanging out in their tree or den or whatever, and then all of a sudden out of nowhere a big f*cking fire just swoops in and burns everything. Then after it's over, if they survived, they don't understand how to get help. So on pay day tomorrow, I'll be sending some cash to the RSPCA as well. I know there is more than one organization helping wildlife there, but the RSPCA seemed best equipped to handle international donation on their site, as another very appealing rescue group had a donation page that was limited to Australia.

For crafty folks, there is another option for helping out the creatures by making a joey pouch. I'm not sure how practical this will be for people overseas, but I'm going to keep up with this blog as I imagine in the months of recovery that are to follow more supplies will be needed for the influx of creatures that are coming in now.

So there's that. Of course I like to be hands -on with the helpage but sometimes money is the best you can do at the moment, so I'm going to go with it.

As for Kenya, I haven't heard anything from my friends, but that is not out of the ordinary whatsoever. I *feel* that they're ok, and that's just going to have to be enough. I admitted to Jamaal how much I miss it though. It was good to tell him, you know, so he knows that I'll be back there at some point. Perhaps more than once. Of course it irritates me significantly that I'm so in love with the place. Why didn't I study abroad in Costa Rica or British Columbia? Or even Europe? Helloooo so much more accesible. Annoying. And why did I have to love it so much? I mean, I've met people I studied abroad with who told me that looking back on the experience they pretty much hated it with the fire of a thousand suns. Me? Cripes, it's only my family and my man keeping me from picking up my roots and replanting them in the middle of east bumblef*ck Kenya. UGGGGGGGGGGGGH. And of course I've been around since then to places I've like, but have never felt the same pull. Costa Rica? Gorgeous, fantastic, affordable, kind people, tasty food, sans political uprisings, sans rampant disease of varying severity, sans animals that could kill you in one fell swoop (ok they have jaguars...but still), sans the need for guards with AK-47's when you drive on the highway or camp...and how did I feel about it? I liked it. I'd go back. But......
It's not Kenya.
I should get a job that sends me there once a year. That'd do it. After a couple years in a row I could probably even stand a year off. Hmmm.

In wedding-related and other ridiculously superficial news, I am sending the shoes back. The fact that they looked so busted on my feet is kind of sad and tragic because I love them in the box, love how the soft, supple Italian leather feels....but when I put them on? Oh it's a whole lotta ugly. MEH.
The shoe quest will continue. I have 20 months (watch 19 months from now I'll be like "so I still have a month to find XYZ." LOL. For now I am going to Sephora to buy perfume and something to exfoliate my lips cause they are nast. Oh and soap for my grandma. She is very bitter that Philosophy discontinued their Amazing Grace bar soap and was all "*sigh* I'll just use Dove" but I am going to look for remnants at Sephora and/or a replacement soap. I mean, not that Dove isn't good, but it has been fun taking part in this small indulgence because I'm the only one who works near a Sephora and feel special when I get sent on a special soap-gathering mission (what am I 7 year old, basking in the grandma love for getting soap? LOL). Oh and then I am going to buy some clothes. I had been putting it off cause the cash flow was low and combined with the unconsolidated student loans? KILLER. But now with consolidated loans, more cash, and the linings of at least 3 pairs of pants ripped out so that they're now see-through, I'm caving and taking myself to Ann Taylor Loft for some moderately-priced women's wear. Maybe a blouse. Maybe some dark jeans (I've started to kill my special "these are nice enough to wear to work" jeans). Hmmm. Some flats would be nice too. Oh. Better not get carried away. Gotta remember I'll be putting those donations through tomorrow!! And getting a manicure.
Oh I am such a bad person, LOL.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Worry Worry the WORRIER

I had ANOTHER dream about Kenya last night. Honestly, it's the weirdest thing. I don't know where this is coming from. I was walking down the street alone in Kimana and had to pee, and a lady offered me the use of her law office's private bathroom for 10ksh (which is like, I dunno, like a dime or some sh8t. I could do the math. Ok I will. Hang on. Ok it's 12 cents). I paid the dime and peed and that was pretty much it. So odd.

Of course when I woke up I was filled with this weird anxiety. I worry about my Kenyan friends all the times because they don't have a lot - and I guess what I mean by this is that they don't have the resources to protect themselves/flee/escape in any sort of trouble, and I often worry about them getting caught up in some sort of turmoil. This worry was totally spurned by the tanker explosion in Molo and then the Nakumatt fire in Nairobi. I read too much news. Oh, and I worry too much.

So basically once I got to work, this is how my morning went:
-Read about tanker fire in Molo.
-Wonder if friend Charlie was near Molo.
-Recall that Charlie works in Kimana and lives on an island in Lake Victoria. WTF would he be near MOLO?!
-Read about Nakumatt fire.
-Try to remember which Nakumatt we shopped at. Figure it's probably not the same one.
-Worry about Mboya - would he be out foodshopping on a random afternoon?
-Recall that Mboya works 12-14 hours days, so no, he would not be out foodshopping.
-Worry about all the other Kenyans I know who *may have* been foodshopping (insane -see?)
-Give in and email Mboya even though I know he won't get the email for weeks, then check it and send an email back to the effect of "why are you so crazy, I'm fine"
-Google Australian bushfires to see what they radio meant by "South East Australia"
-Study CNET map intently
-Make sure RSE 5 Scarf Pal does not live near fires (I lost your email address! Ballina looks far, Christine, but I am thinking of you anyways!!)
-Go to Facebook to make sure my transplanted PartyLite representative (affectionately known as KFlood) does not live near the fires
-Go to all Aussie blogs in my favorites. Wonder if lack of posts = evacuation
-Wonder what I can do (because I am not only insane, but also a pathological fixer)
-Get frustrated by Australian Red Cross site's ability to only collect dollars in AUS, then wonders if it really matters because credit cards don't give a sh*t because MONEY IS MONEY
-Decide to take a few moments to calm the eff down
-Do some work
-Lament my packed week which involves a range of activities from donating platelets to checking Sephora to see if they have any left over dusty boxes of my grandma's favorite soap which has been recalled.
-Check blogs obsessively (oh oh, not the Australian ones, the other ones I have bookmarked)
-Do some more work. Wonder if I am really worth of promotion to Project Manager.
-Wonder if I can even do Project Manager job.
-Sit paralyzed by fear of being incompetent.
-Worry about worrying so much. Isn't it bad to worry?
-Try and find a red velvet cake recipe....possibilities for the perfect one seem unlikely
-Download Pride and Prejudice soundtrack from iTunes
-Contemplate weekend activities (have Jamaal get me a prescription for Valium? Maybe just sex will do? I DUNNO)
-Wonder if I am gaining weight even though I feel like I am always hungry and a hungry person can't be gaining weight cause they're not eating enough food, right?
-Feel guilt about eating the entire box of Thin Mints in a day.
-STOP feeling guilt about food. F*CK IT! I AM ONLY GOING TO LIVE ONCE (that I will remember in this particular lifetime at least).
-Get worrisome email from friend "my weekend was hellish, will email after meeting" ah! *edited to add that she is ok, just her car and bank account got majorly f*cked over the weekend*
-Check a favorite wedding blog. See wedding dress featured (won't tell you which in case Jam is reading!! which he isn't. but still)
-Channel energy and write embarrassingly long comment on why it was great to buy my dress where I bought it, which is actually true because I was a brand whore and wanted an Oscar de la Renta dress and was willing to cut something else out for it, but actually found something totally affordable and amazingly gorgeous and just HAD TO SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD.
-Sit and wonder if my synapses are misfiring.
-Laugh at self. Because it's the best medicine....for insanity. LOL.

Seriously. I am tired just posting that list.
Hmmm, though I do feel wondrously calm right now....hmmmmmm.

In other news, I went to fetch my wedding dress this weekend and it is just glorious. It's even prettier than I remember, probably because it's not the floor sample with some of the beads ripped off, lol.

Here is a sneak peek (ok Jam, if you are reading this, off with you!)


The VENUE!!(we will have to decorate it oursleves, but I love this simple yet gorgeous scheme here)

Ideas for the 'maids
So there. We've made some forward progress. And on the 22nd I'm going to a class for DIY Invites at the Paper-Source. I've accepted the fact that I'm such a picky control-freak that a lot of the wedding will be DIY. Hopefully this won't result in a breakdown. One thing that won't be DIY and that I get to pick is the photographer - obviously I am going with a family friend...who just updated his website and his photos look stunning, which makes me happy!!
Hmmm this whole post was very calming indeed.
I'm feeling much better now. Phew.
Until tomorrow, when I will most likely be high-strung and worried all over again.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Phone Call

I just got a phone call from Tufts - someone found my T-pass!!
Yeah, don't get too excited.
Interesting they wait til the first February weekday to report it when I lost it 19 - yeah NINETEEN days ago.
I told that to the Tufts lady - she was like "uh-huh....and why am I just getting an email about this now I wonder" We both knew someone had taken it and used the pass - now they don't want it.
"Give me their email address!!" I demanded "I want my stuff back, even if it's expired!"
The Tufts lady must've heard the rage - she said "Why don't you let me take care of this? You don't want to just meet up with some person in some random place, it's not worth it."
She's so right.
But I still kind of want to.
So I can punch them in the face.
Ok not I can look them in the eye and say "Oh thanks for finding this and turning it in....did you enjoy your 19 days of unlimited bus, subway, and up to zone 4 commuter rail service at my expense?"
UGH. Somedays I just have no faith in humanity. Ugh.