Tuesday, September 25, 2007

sad news

At about 12:35 this morning, our little friend Hannah passed away. We knew it was coming soon but I wasn't really prepared for the news, I guess. It was hard to tell our boys about it. It's hard to watch my friend go through this. Our hearts ache for the loss, the empty space at the table, but at the same time I feel some peace and gratitude that Hannah's struggle is over. She is free from the body that limited her so severely for the last few weeks. We know we will see her again.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

mysterious ways

I have been feeling so boxed in by sadness, anxiety, stress, etc. lately. But here's the thing about boxes: sometimes there's a prize at the bottom! It may not be from Tiffany, but if it's sparkly and shines a bit, I'll accept it. Last night the prize was my first pack meeting -- something I was not particularly excited about, as cub scouts has struggled in our ward of late. But we had great attendance by both leaders and boys. The boys were so sweet and embarrassed and proud.

We had gathered around for cookies when the power went out. Out came the makeshift flashlights (cell phones) and we herded everyone to the parking lot; some kids cried, some were delighted. I don't know why that decidedly minor experience improved my mood, but it did. So I'm grateful.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

cold scary world

Do you remember where you were 6 years ago today? Of course you do. On that morning I was driving in our old Corolla to Target, having just moved into a new house and in need of furnishings. Flash was with me; he was almost 2. We heard the 1st tower fall on NPR. I chatted with the cashier about it, returned to the car, and then realized that it was now two towers down, with thousands of people trapped inside. I went home and sat in front of the television all day, weeping. All of those people jumping. All of those "missing" posters in the days to come. All of those parents and siblings and spouses, gone.

I've been reading "For the Time Being" by Annie Dillard. She quotes the Mahabharata:
"Of all of the world's wonders, which is the most wonderful?"
"That no man, though he sees others dying all around him, believes that he himself will die."

It's true, isn't it? In the past week I've watched the rapid decline of Miss Hannah, was informed of a sexual abuse situation in our ward, and --tonight-- heard that people have been robbed at gunpoint in our neighborhood recently. (This last came from a well-meaning neighbor who shared all pertinent details with use in front of our kids. They're sleeping in our room tonight.) And though waves of sadness and fear and anxiety wash over me from time to time, the breakfast is made, the dishes are washed, the laundry is put away. To stop would be to acquiesce, to deny the warmth that hope brings to weary limbs and minds, that "healing balm" that we all require and receive more than we probably know.

Friday, September 07, 2007

in the underground city...

As part of my much-procrastinated report on our China trip, here are a couple of photos of the "underground city" in Beijing. Tourists can only see a small fraction of what was once an enormous winding network of subterranean air-raid shelters built by hundreds of thousands of Beijingers in the late 70s. What's left of it is damp, spooky and (best of all!) full of Mao propaganda and portraits of military leaders. Next to seeing Mao's creepy old body (which was under "maintenance" and not available for tourists), I was really hoping for a look at funny/disturbing propaganda. What I did not plan on (and was not pleased to see at the end of this dank tunnel) was a "Silk Education Center" wherein our friendly guide turned into a high-pressure mall kiosk salesman. We were trapped for at least 40 minutes until we finally told the guy we had to get to the airport to catch our flight home.
There's more info about the tunnels here.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

look down!

Hooray for finetune.com, where you can make your own playlist and email it or embed it in your blog. I just spent 45 minutes working on it. The little player icon is waaaaaay down at the bottom of this page (I'm not sure how to move it up higher... any suggestions?)
If you've ever wondered what my kids are subjected to on long trips (or what I listened to in college and rediscovered when I put the playlist together), you can satisfy your curiosity courtesy of finetune.