Fabulous Prize Alert

I’ve spoken on Facebook quite a lot about the wonderful work of the Vermont Haiti Project.    My aunt, Kimball Butler, became involved with them about five years ago, and has been back several times each year through VHP since then.

Vermont Haiti Project works with a small community in the Port au Prince area.  It’s a grass roots, community to community effort.  They’ve helped raise money to build a building for a school.  They’ve gathered goods together and arranged a shipping container delivery.  They’ve put together a water filtration project.  Long term goals include sustainable energy projects and community gardens, if I understand Kim correctly.

A lot of that is on hold now.  Although they are not as much in the news as they’ve been, Haiti remains in crisis.  Kim’s been twice since January 12th, and tonight sat down to share where she’s been, and what she’s seen.

Although I suspect that she’d hate me saying it, that she will hate me making this story of Haiti remotely about her, I’m going to do it anyway.  I am in awe of my Aunt Kim.  I look at the suffering in the world, and I get overwhelmed and feel helpless.  She knows, I think, that she can’t solve the whole thing.  So she looks at what she CAN do.  Her most recent trip to Haiti was about trying to get some tarps and tents to the community she works with.  The community of her friends, and family.

When I think of the work of VHP, and of Kim, the words of Mother Teresa ring so loud in my head that I can’t hide from them.  “We can do no great things.  Only small things with great love.”

This is, I think, the work of the Vermont Haiti Project.  To do small things with great love.

So.  You could win a prize!  GET TO THE PRIZE.

I’m asking my friends and family to make a donation to the Vermont Haiti Project.  You can’t afford something big, you say?  That’s GREAT.  Do a small thing with great love.  Go here and make a donation to VHP.  They take paypal, or Visa or Mastercard.  Isn’t that awesome and convenient?  I think it’s awesome and convenient!

Once you’ve made your donation, post a comment to this entry.  We’ll do this through next Friday, March 5.  On March 6, when I wake up, I’ll assign random numbers to all the comments, and I will call my sainted mother, and have her pick a number between one and the total number of comments.

Winner gets $100 bucks PLUS, I will ask you privately for your donation amount and contact info, and I will match your donation, up to $50.00.

And we will have done a small thing.  With, I hope, great love.

Update:  I’m changing the rules a little.  Instead of matching your gift up to 50 dollars, I’ll be making a donation that equals your gift + 50 dollars, on gifts up to $50.00.  So if you donate a dollar, I’ll donate $51.  You donate 50, I’ll donate 100.  $100.00 gift still goes to the winner, no matter what they ask for.  If you want to re-donate, then that’s GREAT.  But you’re still getting the impressive hand decorated envelope.

Update: Updating to see how this publicize to Facebook feature is working.

Amy and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

I’m trying to imagine how today could have been worse, absent lasting like 6 weeks.

Of course, due to the nature of my work, I can’t and won’t discuss it here, except to say that inadequacies in “the system” completely and irreparably destroyed my credibility and relationship with a client that I really liked and respected, and made me look like a total moron and, to his way of thinking, the worst stereotype of every attorney ever.

That said, I know that my own shortcomings contributed to the situation.  And I resolve to do better.

For right now, though, I am thankful for Dar Williams’ Green World album.  Which is making things a little better.

The Hound From Hell

When I was little, my Grandma had two dogs.  One, Noel, was a fussy French Poodle, who, if I remember correctly, didn’t like me all that much.  The other, Susie, belonged to my Aunt Laurel, but lived with my grandmother.  I wasn’t sure how that worked, except Laurel moved around a lot.

I get it a little more now.

Some time in the fall, Caroline called to say she’d gotten a dog.  A stray that someone found prancing down the street with his leash in his mouth.  She reported that her roommate wasn’t thrilled about the idea, but had agreed when Caroline had promised to let her name the dog.  With this foolproof plan in place, the dog was named Chad.  What could go wrong?

Around the end of October, the bloom was off the rose.  Maddie wanted the dog to go.  Caroline was heartbroken.  I told Caroline that I would take the dog, if she couldn’t find anyone to take him.  She could handle it, she said.  But I’d really like to, really really.

In November, Caroline was planning to come home for Thanksgiving.  We were going to go to Ohio for Thanksgiving, drive Caroline (who had a one way ticket) back to Indianapolis on Saturday, pick up Chad, and come home.

Then our plans changed, and suddenly we were going to be home.  Maddie planned to drive out here for Thanksgiving with Chad, and take Caroline home.  Days before Caroline was scheduled to leave, plans changed. Maddie’s car couldn’t make it, and Maddie was staying in Indianapolis.

We figured out how to get Caroline back to Indianapolis after Thanksgiving, and Caroline placed an ad on craigslist, looking for someone who was driving out this way who would be willing to share the drive.  One response, from a dog lover, who wasn’t planning on coming out this way, but would do it if we’d pay for gas.  We told him we’d let him know whether we heard from anyone else.

The day after Caroline got back to Delaware, she had a message from Maddie, telling her the dog was going to the pound, having eaten something Maddie held dear.

So, over Thanksgiving, Chad came for a visit, until Caroline has a place for him.

Smokey and Ruth greeted him in solidarity, sitting down and turning their backs on him as he leaped around, trying to get them to play.

He runs.  Up the stairs, down the stairs, leaps on to the sofa and runs its length, into the dining room, where he crashes into the wall, back to the sofa, up the stairs, down the stairs, leaping over Smokey in a single bound.  Does he care if you’re lying on the sofa?  He does not.

He wants her to play, and barks at her, trying to get her to play, and Smokey responds with a low pitched growl.  Bark/Growl/Bark/Growl/Bark.

He eats things.  The Christmas tree, which, you’ll be happy to hear, we had the foresight not to decorate the bottom branches of, no longer has bottom branches, because he ate them.  Things that we throw away, thinking we don’t need them any more?  Well, we’re wrong there, Chad needs them.  Last night I suggested to Scott that maybe we should start throwing the used paper towels on the floor to save Chad the trip.

He ate my blackberry when I left him alone for 10 minutes to pick Charlie up at wrestling practice.

And I adore him.  He’s lucky he’s cute.  He drives me NUTS.  But he’s sweet and totally innocent.  He likes to snuggle.

And I think that’s lucky, because I think he’s here for a bit…

I’m thinking obedience training.

Julie & Julia and What’s for dinner….

Because we’re up to the minute around here, Scott & I watched “Julie & Julia” yesterday morning.

I really liked it, as did Scott, who wondered aloud if it meant that he was actually turning into a woman, given his propensity for chick flicks.

It was, natch, Meryl Streep’s movie.  Amy Adams’ Julie, in all frankness, was just someone I wouldn’t really want to know.  Perky and narcissistic and bleh.  I also kind of hated the cloying way she referred to Child as “Julia” throughout, like she was talking to, or about a friend.  Yeah yeah – Julia Child saved her life and gave her direction.  Whatever.  It bugged me.

What I loved, though, was the love story between Paul & Julia Child, a level of passion and intimacy not often seen in films about characters of a certain age.

Also fun, playing pause the flick until Scott can identify the actress when Jane Lynch showed up.  He couldn’t do it.  I had to switch over to a recorded episode of Glee to get him to finally go “Wait!  Is that Sue Sylvester?  Wow!  I can’t see it!  I can’t see it!”

The character that really caught my imagination, though, was Child’s recipe for beef bourginon which features prominently in the movie.  It looked so good that I was excited when Scott’s service call took him out to West Chester, in the vicinity of my favorite fancy market for ingredients.  (Thus tossing all my vegetarian resolutions straight out the window).  It was good, and simple, albeit time consuming, to make.

My Christmas was fairly kitchen related, and the new enameled cast iron pot is getting quite a workout.  Scottie got me a good set of knives (my first good set ever) and I am just chopping and peeling and dicing up a storm.

Tonight it’s back to the resolutions, and for dinner it’s pan seared polenta with spicy tomato sauce for dinner.

Welcome, 2010!

It’s been over a year since I posted here, which is totally ridiculous.  One of my resolutions for 2010 is to show up here regularly, and empty my brain into the universe.

2009 was good for us, in many ways.  Work became pretty steady toward the end of the year for both Scott and I.  I watched Caroline and Andy both make some strides in adulthood, being deliberate with good decisions, and fixing bad decisions responsibly.  Charlie, after years of lobbying, returned to traditional school, over my objections.  He’s taken that in much the same way he takes everything, intentionally, and looking at it through a microscope as it goes.  He’s done incredibly well with it, so far, is very involved, says he sees what it’s like now, and is weighing whether he wants to continue with traditional school next year, or go back to TNS.  What I know now is, whatever he decides, I’ll defer to his judgment, because it is solid and good.

On the flip side, 2009 has been a really bad one for a lot of people that I love.  People have lost children, parents, spouses.

All in all, the year was a really mixed bag.

I’m trying to step into 2010 with intention.  One might say, resolution.  My main declaration is that I’m going to start taking care of my health this year.  I’m a little too young to feel so old.  This means doctors appointments, dietary changes, and kicking my butt to go to the gym.  It also means giving up smoking.

So, you know, where 2009 was by and large positive for me and mine, 2010 is likely to start with me grumpy.

On the mental health front, I’ll be posting more.

Looks like He’d Vote Republican. (For Margie)

Driving Charlie to the bus this morning, we were talking about the election, and I asked who he’d vote for.

“Whichever one is going to speed up global warming.”  He said.

“So, your main issue is?”

“I’m cold.”

7 Random Things

I got tagged by Embee.  She’s a pain.

1. I just sneezed all over my cell phone.

2. Testosterone baffles me.  My husband and son are shooting at an old squash with a potato gun.  I don’t get it.

3. I like even numbers better than odd numbers.

4. I would die for my family, but I would not kill for them.

5. I think 3-4 year old boys are the most exotic creatures on the planet, but not in a creepy way.

6. I have an extra toenail on the little toe on my left foot.

7. I care more about things than I appear to.