Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I just noticed that "birds" appears in the title of my last rambling blog post.

I have no frickin' clue what it means. Isn't that weird?

I'm in a book club where I am the youngest member by 25 years. It has been a great lesson, not only in history (ha ha ha) but also in patience and fairness and listening. Anyways, the older members are always talking about how their memory is failing. "I can't remember where I put my glasses!" they say, or "I can't remember the last book we read!" Nevermind the fact that they are all busy people - many are still working, and those who aren't are heavily involved in volunteer work at their churches or other organizations, like the woman involved with the suicide support group because her husband and son killed themselves, or the lady who visits prisoners every week because her husband died in prison. There's a lady who spends a couple hours every week fighting her metastatic breast cancer (she is doing well, for now at least). One woman takes care of her husband 'round the clock - he is confined to a wheelchair. The rest of us work - lawyer, accountant, librarian, teacher, teacher, college administrator, and me, a researcher. We're busy - and that's why we can't remember stuff, not because we're (ok they're) old! Goodness.

When your read the above paragraph, I probably make book club sound terribly boring or depressing, but it's not, it's actually a night I look forward to every month. It's where we shed work (unless you have a funny work-related story), ignore illness and sadness, eat fattening snacks, drink tea from a teacup WITH a saucer, talk about the book for an hour or so and then chat about LIFE. It's great. Last meeting we covered the movie "It's Complicated" (great film, very entertaining), the virtues of spice cookies and lemon cookies, pet cats/kittens/old cats, how it's hard for international students to get a ssid, airport security, and the current job market for new MBA-grads. Leave no stone unturned. I always return home, happily tired, but grateful that I got to use my brain for something not work-related for a few hours.

Was this post supposed to be about memory? or bird? I forget. Ha ha.

In truth, the fact that I forgot what "birds" means in that title is really irritating. Ugh. So I leave you with a picture I took - a bird picture:

Mama Cardinal

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti, Birds, Money Woes, Wedding - Week 16/54

I started to write this post last week, but nothing really came was supposed to be a wedding planning post...which only sounded trite in light of the fact that hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti were dead/dying/trapped/hungry/thirsty/hurt. Then I was going to blog about Haiti, but what was there to even say? That I was horrified by the death and destruction? That I hated sitting in my warm and sheltered living room while watching the news and feeling absolutely, positively helpless? That everyone should donate to the relief? Ugh, no, like that's even news. It's not. It's not news, it's nothing new, therefore, I had nothing to say.

I still have nothing to say really. Haiti is still sad, the saddest thing I've seen in a long long time. I am still stressed about planning our wedding...still hating everything, except the occasional glimpse of the future I'm able to envision when something, some project or other, is actually going really really well. I still feel broke as hell (financially, not spiritually!). So really nothing has changed since last week. Ha ha. Oh, except I figured out my wedding flowers. That was one of those intensely positive moments, during which I pranced around Michael's with arm fulls of fake flowers feeling like I was kicking the wedding industry's ASS. My mom and sister helped me figure out how to do my own flowers, and our mockups at Michael's totally rocked. I think once I start finishing projects I will be a little more positive. Oh, and just to clarify, I'm totally excited to marry Jamaal. Absolutely. And I am actually looking forward to our "wedding weekend" very VERY VERY VERY much. It's just that getting there? It's kind of a drag ;) Maybe it's because I am lazy. I dunnoooo. Though Jam gets major major points for nearly finishing his guest/address list. He needs to fill in less addresses than I do, which rocks my world. And my sister talked me into "The Young Victoria" which was totally the highlight of my long weekend. Rockin' film. :) Just in case you thought I'd be all doom and gloom today.

I'm going to sign off now though, before I start another boring-ass ramble.
Donate to Haiti. Vote for Martha. See The Young Victoria. Etc.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Facebook, I L You

I just found out some news.
Good news, from Facebook too.
I've mentioned my friend, Mboya before. I sent his sister through secondary school from age 13 to 16. Once she finished, he dropped off the face of the earth. I didn't hear from him. He disappeared.

I had a sneaky, awful, growling-in-the-pit of my stomach suspicion he was dead. Because that's what happens in Kenya when someone just gets cut off like that, you know? They get in an accident or murdered or something awful but you never know because they're Kenyan, you're white and American and technically have no connection to that person and there's no way to sort it out unless you go over there in person....unless you have friends you can ask. My questions went unanswered by the one friend with whom I'm still in touch, and I told myself that this wasn't because he didn't want to tell me what was going on, but because he barely had an internet connection at the outpost at which he worked. Plus the American standard of email etiquette is kind of lost on those guys :) Today I am tooling around FB and there on my friend's page is a thank you for the birthday wishes we sent, saying "I had a great day with Fred and Mboya and..."

There it was. In type. Mboya. He's alive and well and partying. Sighs upon sighs of relief.
Excuse me for now, I have to go electronically kick his ass for not replying to my emails.

Mboya and Me

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Funny Typo

Because sometimes I revert to 13-year old status:

patient with mantle cell non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma who is admitted for febrile neutropenis

teeheeehee someone replaced an "a" with a "s"

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Wedding Wednesday 15/54's a new's a new'd that happen? and when? WAIT WHAT?

That's kind of been my 2010 so far. Kind of disorganized disaster. I haven't done my year in review in photos. I haven't done my "if I only read 10 books in 2009, it'd would've been these" list. I haven't even taken down my 100-ish books in 2009, though hell, it's not like the list is complete anyway. So yeah 2010 is a bit of a disaster.

Who was telling me about moving the beginning of the new year to August? I think it was my sister. Or maybe Andy Rooney bitching at the end of 60 Minutes. If so, brilliant plan. I think the enemy is not actually the "new year" but rather January itself. It's cold, dark and snowy and fosters immense expectations partnered with inevitable failure or disappointment and lack of productivity. Not that I am a den of productivity in August, but at least the days are longer and it's warm. Plus January almost always makes me sad because it was in the month of January that I left for Kenya and every time the anniversary of my "leaving" comes around, all I do is worry about whether or not I'll ever get back there and see my friends. Then because I am who I am, I worry about the ones I haven't heard from in a while, like Mboya. I am sure he is alive and well, but knowing he worked day to day in a cement mine has fed my vivid imagination and I have played all the possibilities of what could have happened to him over and over and over. Then there's the habit of family members dying in January, though we have been spared that the last couple of years, thank goodness. The noro-virus funeral was the last time it happened. *leaves desk to go knock on wood* Basically I AM NOT A JANUARY FAN.

Though honestly, I do think the snow is quite lovely. People fight me on this, but my parent's yard looks like some sort of fantasy woodland with the pine boughs covered in snow and birds flitting around and little grey and red squirrels frolicking to and fro....but I digress...

Needless to say, this 2010 general fail and disorganization has led to a factor of "0" when it comes to "things we checked off the wedding to do list." Yep. Z-E-R-O. And I thought I'd be sooo ahead of the game. HA! The only thing I've done since my last "wedding Wednesday" post is 1. ask Jam if he wants to go to the Barns bridal show 2. round the corners of my sample save the date and obsess about whether or not the rounded corners make it more refined and elegant 3. make lists.

*resuming from yesterday*
So I had to abandon my post yesterday to do work. ha ha yeah. I find myself a bit calmer this morning. I registered us for the bridal show and made no bones about needing to visit our venue and take lots of pictures - I believe I told the catering manager that I needed to take measurements as well. It's hard to catch tone with email, and I tried to sound nice but firm, and she seemed cool with everything. Jam and I keep telling ourselves that they probably deal with INSANE people on a regular basis, and the fact that we've only visited once, booked immediately and aside from one or two emails have largely left the staff alone til now probably bodes well for us. We're hoping that this will be our last trip down there for a bit; I thought possibly it could be the last trip to Middletown til the wedding in general, but I still need to see the church and find a florist, so more trips down are inevitable. Hopefully next time we visit it will be more a 'gathering info, paying vendors' type trip rather than "still planning things" trip.

I think another reason I'm calm is that I worked out some money things this morning. I wanted X amount of dollars in the bank by my birthday and found if I put around $30 a day I can make it. Now this probably sounds crazy (aka $900 a month!) BUT I spend money on so much useless shizz it's really not even funny - that has been the benefit of living rent free. I think that it's reasonable to guess that Jam and I won't be living together before my birthday. SO. Instead of wasting time blowing cash on stuff I don't need, it's time to tighten the belt and reinvest that money into ye olde savings account. Because once I have X in the bank, you are going to see my calm waaaaaay down, because it ensures that I've covered the cost of my half of the reception and have a decent chunk left for flowers, cake, tips...and maybe even a rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch, fingers crossed. So yay!

Finally, another thing that perked me up...I went through old Africa-related emails and found this one from right before I left for the airport in 2006:
from Jam to me
show details 1/3/06

I love you to pieces.
Oh look at you with the high-tech phone. I'm not going to worry about you because I know you have mad spear skills.
I love you.

Funny because, yes, I do have mad spear skills. And sweet because, awrrr, Jam loves me to pieces. And then funny again, because I loved that high-tech much so that I put it in the washing machine less than 2 years later. ha ha ha.

Finally, pictures of what we were doing 4 years ago today (how time flies)