October 27, 2011


was much needed after yesterday… a trying day getting back from Germany with one of the Core Members. (but hello, Bavaria is fantastic!)

So last night I immediately took a shower and then went to a friends, sat by the fire and drank 3 glasses of wine. and then we had dinner, and another glass of wine. and laughed.

today was not filled with laughter but rather confusion and mixed up plans and misplaced items. and loads of dirty laundry.

then i just saw this message from a friend: “I totally am confused by fixies [as in the bike], and skinny jeans…what the?” and it made me laugh out loud.

laughter is the best medicine. and I was thinking about that a lot yesterday. Because for anyone (in this case, with a disability or not) happiness and joy creates physical reactions of smiling, laughter, embracing. Whereas sadness and anger and frustration is usually reacted to with violence and aggression, mean words and fists. In our society we are always trying to have everyone react in societal norms… forcing people to react in ways that aren’t natural for them. By no means to I condone violence with this, but rather, I see on a daily basis how hard of a struggle it is for some of the Core Members to react in ways that are safe when they are upset rather in ways that are violent.

Speaking Words of Love: Often we remain silent when we need to speak. Without words, it is hard to love well. When we say to our parents, children, lovers, or friends: “I love you very much” or “I care for you” or “I think of you often” or “You are my greatest gift,” we choose to give life. It is not always easy to express our love directly in words. But whenever we do, we discover we have offered a blessing that will be long remembered. When a son can say to his father, “Dad, I love you,” and when a mother can say to her daughter, “Child, I love you,” a whole new blessed place can be opened up, a space where it is good to dwell. Indeed, words have the power to create life. -Henri Nouwen

So after a day of trying to speak words of love in the midst of violence and frustration [yesterday], today I chose laughter. I laughed when my dad had me utterly confused about how old I was (convincing me that I was actually a year younger than I claimed and even making me get a calculator out), to hanging out laundry with Patrick, one of the Core Members and following it up by dancing and singing to our man Bruce Springsteen. And yes, I will admit it, choosing to not engage with what was negative all this time as well.

Choosing Life: God says, “I am offering you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). “Choose life.” That’s God’s call for us, and there is not a moment in which we do not have to make that choice. Life and death are always before us. In our imaginations, our thoughts, our words, our gestures, our actions … even in our nonactions. This choice for life starts in a deep interior place. Underneath very life-affirming behaviour I can still harbour death-thoughts and death-feelings. The most important question is not “Do I kill?” but “Do I carry a blessing in my heart or a curse?” The bullet that kills is only the final instrument of the hatred that began being nurtured in the heart long before the gun was picked up. -Henri Nouwen

October 16, 2011

This weekend we needed laughter. This sufficed. A lot. I mean, the tears streaming down your face, “a lot”.

Not that my weekend wasn’t full of laughter. I went to a friends wedding and we danced and sang and laughed Friday night, and we did the same last night until the wee hours of this morning. Half of the reason that I laugh so hard (other than that Gladys is hilarious) is Ellen’s reaction– because that was basically my pose for this entire weekend.

Today I was so tired that I sat down to read a book next to Paddy on the couch and woke up 1 1/2 hours later laying with my head on a pillow next to him and he was playing with my hair and singing. Perfection.

Also, loving this song.

Zuly- by John Gorka
1998 (from the CD “After Yesterday”)

And the good earth shook the day that Jesus was reborn
In Anchorage, March 27th, 1964
When He came back this time though it was as a baby girl
Her parents said Her mission was the same, to save the world

God looked down and said, oh the times they were a’changing
I will send my only daughter as soon as I complete the staging
All the land shook and rolled and split, there was no warning
Except Gabriel told the mom She’d arrive Good Friday morning

And so it came to pass that Her parents called Her Zuly
A bright and happy child, also willful and unruly
The birds would come and visit Her, they wished they could take Her with them
Then they left their roosts for winter, She would always miss them

Zuly won a scholarship though classes mostly bored her
She loved the other students though and the teachers all adored her
“We learned more from Her” they said, “than we could ever teach Her
But there were times when we just could not reach Her”

She said we are here to love each other, that is all
And organized religion that’s comparatively small
Not that I don’t love all those so-called holy ones
But why are there so few daughters among the leaders of My sons?

Now She runs a charter boat in Resurrection Bay
She takes tourists to see the wild creatures every summers day
In fall She teaches bush kids at the boarding school in Sitka
On those long December nights She is the light of winter

October 14, 2011

the magical pasta

Well today is my little brother’s birthday. Happy birthday! In honour of you (sort of) I made Nutella chocolate Cake. I hope you enjoy us, thinking about you, while we enjoy it.
Luckily I remembered. It was one of those things… Yesterday somebody said something along the lines of, “well sometime in October” and my mind just jumped to: OH NO! what day is it!?

In other news: Am I allowed to say how incredible sick I am of Spaghetti Bolognese? Because I am. Utterly. To the point where pasta is now a no-go in my life. Which makes me sad, because I love carbs.

So last night I made some pasta (with the help of Declan, one of the Core Members).

Creamy Bacon Carbonara. Yum. My friend Emily makes a great Carbonara and I love how light and creamy it is. Declan helped me, and what’s easier than Carbonara. You just put it all together!!! Which, strangely, reminds me (always) of my friend Hamoun… who once put rice on top of a hot dog and when given strange looks he shrugged his shoulders and said, “well it’s all going to end up in the same place anyway, right?”…

Well this Carbonara created magic in our house. Pure magic. It was delightful. It was a mild evening and the windows were open, the guitar came out in the sitting room, the futbol was out in the backyard, wine was a plenty at din din and smiles and laughter were in abundance. Not to mention the singing. The entire version of this blog can be found here: The Food Blog!

October 11, 2011

Falling For It- David Wilcox

Look at all the people in their living rooms
With their eyes all glued to the evening news
Catch ’em at a moment when they’re all afraid
And then sell them well on the plans you’ve made All the citizens who listen and believe
Falling just the same
Falling into line ’cause we did not know
Of the bait and switch and the shadow show

When you faked the truth
To make your claims
You played our fears
For your own gain

Then we needed a leader and you’re all we had
So we told ourselves you were not that bad
You took the opportunity to have your way
While our wounds still bled we were led astray
All the the fears that came descending on us then
Falling just the same
Falling like the towers in a cloud that hung
So it blocked our view and it hid the sun

When our eyes were down
In all that pain
With your slight of hand
You cast the blame

You said that it was over when it had just begun
Saying, job well done as if the war was won
But all of us are watching as the numbers climb
Of the killed and injured, dead and dying

All the soldiers that have fallen in this war
Falling just the same
Falling for the trick that you played on us
When you made those lies and betrayed our trust

As if this war
Was just your game
You’re breaking down
Our country’s name

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October 11, 2011


Starting yesterday, say around 3pm, I felt like I was walking around with a huge target on my back.

But, no, I have not let it get me down. We even went for a walk in the rain today. Most of everything is completely out of my control (and by completely, I mean utterly). So what is there to do other than buck up and go with the flow and enjoy the rest of life around me!?

So we made this for dinner: Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

Then made Margaritas.

And watched Eclipse (the third of the Twilight movies)… and giggled through the entire thing and kept repeating: “why is he shirtless?!”

Then this song came on and it just made me laugh out loud.

Reaper Sweepstakes -David Wilcox

All the horses out of the gate and right away
It’s Bio-Terror coming on with Smallpox
Running third is Mass-Murder and behind him
It’s Airline Crashing and Random Gunshot
I know the odds are with the fate I’m under
But now and then I can’t help but wonder
Place your bets on the Reaper Sweepstakes

It’s gonna be quick, it’s gonna be fast
A ball of flame, a quick flash
An atom bomb and I’m just a cinder
Or maybe everybody freezes all of a sudden
When the weather changes into global winter
‘Cause what if Yellowstone park exploded
So much that everything was covered over
Place your bets in the Reaper Sweepstakes

I could slip in the shower, or get Mad Cow disease
I could stop and smell the flowers
And stung by a swarm of killer bees

I read the paper and the headline said
Only thirteen shopping days ’till Armageddon
I got duct tape hanging at my neck because
The terrorist attack could happen any second
This could be worldwide destruction
Or Alien abduction
Place your bets on the Reaper Sweepstakes

I tried to move away to somewhere safe
So I flew to an island but the plane got hijacked
So I decided I would fortify my home but then
I open up a letter and it’s filled with Anthrax
How on earth can we all avoid
Colliding with that Asteroid
Place your bets on the Reaper Sweepstakes

I could live to a hundred and die peacefully
Of natural causes
Think how boring that would be

Out of the turn and down to the wire
It’s Exploding Tire,  Poison Apple and Falling Boulder
Out around ’em out of nowhere and looking strong
It’s the long shot Growing Older
I know the odds are with the fate I’m under
But now and then I can’t help but wonder
Place your bets on the Reaper Sweepstakes


October 9, 2011

Today I slept in and decided that I would take some time and catch up on sermons and talks that I’ve been meaning to listen to, but just haven’t.

First up: George Hinman (at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle).
Especially after a friend of mine sent me an email saying that I must listen to his sermon from last week on Deuteronomy.

Which I did, and it was fabulous and wonderful. Such a breath of fresh air to hear him encourage the congregation to basically just live life. To stop trying to discover God’s hidden will but to focus on his will that He has expressed, time and time again, age after age. Micah 6:8 is a good reminder:

Then I started to listen to a Krista Tippett interview with Jean Vanier. I’ve heard this before, although it’s been awhile… Even at the very beginning I was so glad to be listening to it again, and just the introduction itself gives time to pause and reflect:

The Canadian philosopher and Catholic social innovator, Jean Vanier, founded a community centered around people with mental disabilities, L’Arche, that has now become a global movement. To many, he is simply one of the wise men in our world today — an icon of lived compassion. We speak about his understanding of humanity and God that has been shaped across a fascinating lifetime by the likes of Aristotle, Mother Teresa, and people who would once have been locked away from society. He has spent his life practically exploring the most basic, paradoxical teachings of Christianity — notions about power in humility, strength in weakness, and light in the darkness of human existence.


October 9, 2011

Of Mice and Ladies

I’ve been back for almost 2 weeks from Holiday and still feel like I’m just trying to get back to “normal”… or at least whatever skewed version of normality I live on a day to day basis. A lot happened while I was gone, so there was a lot to catch up on when I returned. Friends to visit, stories to hear and stories to tell. All around fantastic.

Which brings us to this week and a few highlights.

Thursday we went to Dublin for dinner and to see Mamma Mia with some of the Core Members for a ladies night out. Fabulous. We sang and danced our hearts out and laughed and had a joyous time. Rachel and I even scored Gillian Welch tickets for a show in November. And then we went home. We got home at 12:30 in the morning to find a rat the size of a cat meandering by Helen’s doorway to her Chalet. I’m not even kidding it basically looked like this:

But it might as well have been an ROUS (from Princess Bride)

Rachel stands in the driveway and does a little Irish jig to scare him away while the ladies (clueless to the fact that an ROUS  was threatening them) head to bed. The squeals finally come out later, particularly when I go into my bedroom to find a giant spider.

I’m not a squeamish person. But that night I definitely always felt like things were crawling up and down my legs. Ew.

So come Friday afternoon we were in one of the other houses and we discover we have on extra housemate: a little black mouse. Who seems to not be afraid of people, at all. Which brings to mind the question: how long has he been wandering around the house?!

So we set traps (and forget about how much we strive to live lifes of peace and mercy and love). After a few more sightings we decide we have a major problem. Saturday morning I was making coffee and turn to see him wander into the kitchen from the hallway with sort of a “what’s up” attitude”. I scream and run out of the house and start immediately dialing friends with cats.

Later that night Sarah comes over and sees the mouse and decided he’s cute and friendly and she wants to catch him and let him loose outside. He agrees to this, but at the last second panics and runs. Right into the mouse trap. Oh snap.

September 1, 2011

exhausted.worth it.

Things here have been, to say it nicely, really rough. Really really rough. Draining, draining, draining.

Tonight at 2 in the morning I’m getting on a bus to go to the airport to get on a plane to go to North Carolina, to get on a plane that goes to Atlanta, to get on a plane that goes to Seattle. I’m so excited I can barely stand it.

Bittersweet: Simon (Assistant in Moorefield House) booked his ticket and will be heading back to Germany (for good) on the 16th. Which means we have to say goodbye today.

Last night he decided that he would come into town and that we could all hang out (really he just wanted pictures and music off of my computer). But then, in the midst of it (after a yummy yummy dinner) Rachel made cookies so we went to her house to enjoy some, and met up with our friend Karl (who Simon calls Karl Karlton– Simpsons) and then went to the Pub for a pint (or two).

Eddie (the pub owner) decided he was going to make a countdown for the days until I return, as well as let me in after closing tonight so I can sit at the pub before the bus comes. We basically came up with a secret knock.

So then after awhile we wandered back home with Rachel taking our “super friend” group pictures along the way… This was the name of the “gang” that Simon gave us a few months ago. There are hand motions as well.

When we got back to our house Noah rang me on Skype: and Graham and baby Brinley and Em and Carmen and Magda joined him and it was fabulous. We have plans for pancakes and a party at Nanny and Boppa’s on Saturday. This can’t be real life!!!! SO happy!

Then Simon and I layed in our backyard under our huge tree and watched the stars– and counted at least 8 shooting stars.


I went to bed at around 4 this morning. It’s almost 8 and I’m up, showered, breakfasted, because the day is going and no one is waiting for little me the sleepyhead.

Tonight we’re heading out to Ryan’s for good times, good music and good friends… and then I’m on my way to Seattle.


August 25, 2011


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August 24, 2011

My brother and I are reading The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace. I’ve always thought DFW was an absolute genius. And I must admit that he and only he can get me to read a book about the IRS.

In Infinite Jest,  “a character lectures a naïve American that “all our free choices follow from this: what is our temple?” Wallace, in his speech, insists that the choice of worship is the ultimate choice of citizenship and humanity, and that if the choice doesn’t involve God, something spiritual, whatever you worship “will eat you alive”. ”

This morning I was thinking a lot about his commencement speech that he gave at Kenyon College in 2005 because I absolutely love it (emphasis ahead is totally mine):

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