Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Forgot to mention this. After a hard day's work.

when you don't know where to start, sometimes it's easier not to start at all.

And that's what I've been thinking the last three days...I have NO idea where to begin, so I will just procrastinate.

El Salvador. It was great. I made dear friends, learned more about community development (and economic development, in snippets), ate lots of food, took lots of Imodium in response to the food, planted cilantro (holla), watched mothers write their own names for the very first time, and met a nun from Jersey.

I also realized that my hunch about having Seasonal Affect Disorder--that hunch is probably legit.

But for now, let's talk about these beauties...

Here I am with a founding member of the village, plus my two favorite retirees and our kick ass translator, Nely:

Don't worry, I stole him for an afternoon in the hammock...but his grandma's pretty cute too, so I gave him back.

NOTE: The people on my team were really convinced that my love of cute babies would translate into a pregnancy about three weeks into being married. As much as I tried, I could not convince them otherwise.

Heart. Breakers. Jairon. Dany. Juan Carlos.

Her name is Paz, and after playing catch for about ten minutes, she proudly announced that I'm her best friend. She's ten and loves to read books, but doesn't have any books at home...and she probably won't go to school past sixth grade since the road to the city is so bad. And the government keeps promising a new road, one that might give Paz a shot at middle school, maybe even high school. But it's not looking good. So for now we bring books, and we read with her. And we hope that Agros can help with that road...
The boys are pretty cute too--Diego's on the left. They call him Siego Diego, and ordinarily I would discourage that kind of teasing, but since he's such a sass...I decided to feign ignorance (No EntiENDo).

So, there's a taste...

Friday, January 18, 2008

ellie volk=precious

My third cousin Ellie Volk has childhood cancer in the form of a Wilms Tumor--just wanted to share some pictures of her beautiful self. What a darling!

You can visit her family's website for more about her story here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

antes de salir, yo quiero decir...

Some days are so full of, humanity, I guess you could say, that I imagine I'm actually in a movie, Garden State, perhaps, and that there are Natalie Merchant songs playing as the camera of Life flies high above my head and pans to a view of the wide open road.

Why do I have such fantasies, you ask?

Let me tell you.

Last night my friends Jared and Rachael stopped by with a little happy for me--they had offered to help send me to El Salvador, and LO AND BEHOLD--let's just say their generosity knows no bounds. Two fresh college graduates, pulling their hair out over med school interviews and zany restaurant jobs, and they managed to pay HALF of my remaining costs. A miracle! And a most humbling one for me, when I realize that the steps that have led me to Agros, as much as I detest this kind of Christian-ese, seem providential. I don't mind.

Then this morning I headed to church for my usual dose of preschooler playtime, and in our teacher meeting, the whole crew suddenly wanted to head all about my said trip. And of course people have been interested, willing to listen and all that, but in our short get-together these women were suddenly chomping at the bit to hear about the work, the purpose, the community, the dangers (oh my!) and the team of travelers. I can't tell you how lovely it felt to receive their blessings on our journey. My job as glorified day care provider certainly has its perks.

Sweet baby with huge brown eyes, dramatic curls and exceptional eating habits laid sweet dramatic curls on my shoulder all afternoon. Sighhhhhhhhhhhh.

In midst of sweet baby's nap, I started reading archives on (thank you, Carly), and I must say, I DEFINITELY wish she were my next door neighbor. Not in Utah, of course, but somewhere warm and sunny, but not annoyingly beachy (let me know if you think of the place I'm imagining). Anyway, her blog is thoroughly tagged (you'll notice I'm now inspired to do the same), self-aware (she acknowledges her love of the CAPS LOCK key, and I'm now acknowledging my obsession with parentheses), and contains the story of her very layered life. I was most interested in reading the posts about her journey through postpartum depression and her subsequent treatment in a psychiatric ward. And how she's thriving today. Do read her stories--they are priceless.

And then. I came home to a very full mailbox--February's Martha Stewart, my gift subscription (thanks Son!) to Cooking Light, and this is what made me cry and feel very, very human: a postcard from the City of Seattle about the Aurora Bridge Suicide Prevention Fence.

I know that in many ways, I will always well up and cringe and weep and remember at the thought of suicide, and I appreciate having had the experience to make me understand how shitty it is...but there's something about a community coming together to prevent suicide in this way...I just appreciate it. A lot. I know there's more to be done, hotlines, better mental health resources, less stigma, but this seems like an important part of the solution. No more plastic crosses flicking in the bursts of trafficky breezes. It's a small start, but I'm glad we're taking it. Seattle just gets it, I think. And it makes me proud.

Monday, January 14, 2008

facebook group: fly your jesus flag

Roaring with laughter, I finally caught on to something that's been swirling for quite a while: I Kissed Legalism Goodbye, Bitch (on facebook).

*Would you ever flip off a friend in church?
*Have you dropped an eff-bomb at a church sponsored sporting event?
*Have you given up shopping at
*Do you sometimes not wear shorts over your one-piece?
*Can crude jokes and explicit lyrics be life giving, when in community?
*Do you listen to “secular” music?
*Have you tuned your dial away from SPIRT105.3?
*Do you admit that sometimes the hottest girls are not modest girls?
*Have you realized that a shot of vodka probably won’t send you to a fiery hell?
*Do you smoke cigars with your religious mentors?
*Have you ever watched Queer Eye for the Straight Guy for a purpose other than intercessory prayer?
*Does graduation from college not necessarily require an engagement party?
*Do you sometimes just say “happy holidays”?
*Do Christian book stores sort of freak you out?
*Have you ceased to ask Jesus to delay the rapture until you get married (a.k.a. lose your virginity)?
*Have you said any of the following words during prayer (including but not limited to): damn, (holy) shit, douche-bag, bitch, ass, whore, shoot, organism, holy buckets?
*Have you stopped avoiding the word organism in conversation (because its too close to, you know, that other word)?
*Have you considered that the earth may be older than 10,000 years old (dinosaurs?)?
*Have you removed the word “heathens” from you vocabulary?
*Do you have non-Christian friends (and not just to brush up on your evangelism skills)?
*Do you dance closer than a bible apart? Wait, do you dance?
*Do you dance with people of the opposite gender? Same gender?
*Do you hug (not side-hug)?

Friday, January 11, 2008


I have a new recipe! :) And it's all miiiiiine. I don't think I stole any of this from a Food Network star, or mom, or anybody else's mom. It's mine. And, I think, quite good.

Let's call it, La Ensalata Feminista


2 parts water to 1 part quinoa (make sure to give it a quick rinse first)

Boil water, add quinoa, cook til the water's gone and you've adequately salted the goods.


orange bell pepper
Italian parsley
olive oil
white wine

So, a little sautee of the onion and pepper in the olive oil leads to the addition of those other glorious ingredients...with the white wine as the grand finale that semi-de-glazes (yes, that's a word, or enough of one for me). It's a lovely, almost tapenade-ish, production that is a treat when finally tossed with the fluffy quinoa.

It's filling, it's tasty, it's something I invented when there were NO groceries in my house. :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

one more thing: toddler trash talk

Maya: I have a really good rhyme!
Adult: Oh really? What's that?
Maya: 'Scuse me! Use me! Booze me!
Adult: Oh my. That is quite a rhyme.
Maya: Yeah, a good one.

the OTHER side of the story

Gloria Steinem, here is the rebuttal to your Times piece on Hill. Enjoy.

Scaredy Cat is for tomorrow, sorry.

wish you were here, beach

I'm tired. Long day, satisfying. But I'm tired of the rain, Rain. Can you just let me see Sun for a minute tomorrow? I could really use a hit.

Up next: Scaredy Cat? Why I Feel Okay About My Issues with Anxiety

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

oh hill...

Hillary won the New Hampshire primary with a bang--and frankly, I'm really wanting to root for her. So now I'm stumped. Because I like Obama (note: not on a first name basis, is this a sign of my loyalty?). I like that he's got an interesting background, he's a parent of young children (somehow I believe that could keep him a little more compassionate than the average politician), and that he's a writer.

I REALIZE these are not qualifications for a presidency. But these, in addition to those other issues that I know to be the REAL issues, make me want to get on board. Wear an Obama pin. Put a sign in my window.

But the girl's got a lot of momentum, and she's got experience and grit and a family she's been committed to, which I think is pretty impressive.

This article in the New York Times is really fascinating--Gloria Steinem has a very interesting, a well-articulated perspective on the reasons we're still so sexist. So anyway, more food for thought.

Hard to believe that this time next year, somebody else will be wearing the president's shoes.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

testing, one. two. kelsey.

If anyone comments on this picture, I will know people are reading my blog. Which gives me hope that someday I can make money from/through/off writing. Is anybody oooooooooooout there? :)

fear commitment?

Today at book club, we were tossing around ideas for our next selection. And I realized I haven't finished either of the first two books we picked out--Bird by Bird and A Farewell to Arms. I read at least half of each of them, and I enjoyed it all. So what's my problem? Why can't I ever finish a book? Even when I know it's a good one?

I think I have a problem. I have a problem with committing to books I fear may disappoint me. Don't get me wrong, I love the exhilaration of coming to the last whispery pages of a story that's completely swept me off my feet (for better of worse), and I especially love it when it's really long (seems way better than a triathlon) or really, um, literary (makes me feel like my professors are looking down on me like proud grandparents up in the clouds). But more often than not, I just don't get through them.

What follows is the list, not exhaustive, mind you, of books I've recently started...but not yet finished.

A Farewell to Arms
Bird by Bird
Darkness is My Only Companion (this hardly counts--it's about mental illness, and I needed to take a break from the dismal reality it acknowledges)
N.T. Wright's Matthew for Everyone, Paul for Everyone
Sex for Christians

And frankly, I can't even look at my bookshelf anymore without feeling a little embarrassed about the books I neglected to properly digest (ahem, read).

Ergo, my *favorite* and therefore most realistic New Year's resolution is to complete this short list of books by the time I'm married in June. That way, Dustin and I can really start our reading competition (which will last for the whole of our marriage, I assure you) on the same even playing field.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

it's like i ran a marathon

...only that's not even close to reality. :) (Actually, I am interested in running a marathon--I think it would be an incredible exercise in discipline, but I have a few good excuses left until I go for the gusto.)

As I was saying. It's like I ran a marathon. My body hurts, I have no emotional energy, and I have been "running" alongside several gazillion fools for the past month. That's right folks, I have survived THE HOLIDAYS. And not just any set of holidays, my first set without my family. No trip to Colorado, no red-eye through Reno to make it home for Christmas brunch, no white Christmas with a view of Pike's Peak. Christmas this year meant Christmas with future hubby's family in Puyallup.

And as hard as it was, it felt like a turning point. I felt more like a part of this new family than ever before, which I guess you could say made it all worthwhile. :) (It does make it worthwhile, but I'll never get used to another family's food.)

SPEAKING OF FOOD! My favorite blogger, a fellow Seattle gal with an impressive level of foodie flair, has recently joined the writing crew over at Bon Appetit! Can you believe it? She's made it! She's a hero! She's earning a living by writing and loving to cook. Clearly, she's also my idol.

In honor of this momentous day in blog/food history, I will share my newest concoction:

Secret Weapon Dip

2 cups of roasted vegetables (I used onions, zucchini, carrots, red and yellow peppers and lots and lots of garlic)
3 cracks of the pepper mill
3 tablespoons light sour cream
a little salt
hot sauce

Puree all ingredients in food processor or blender (except sour cream) until they reach desired smoothness (I like mine a little chunky). Add a large dollop of sour cream and gently stir until it turns a glorious, creamy color...deceptively delicious.

Tastes lovely on crostini or even Triscuits. :)