Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Tomorrow, this man will be my husband. Perfectly imperfect - we are.
(Image from Ethiopia)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Heard This Morning

6 a.m. conversation: "I'll carry the bottles downstairs, can you carry the baby? I don't want spit-up on cashmere."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mrs. Silly Pants?

No.....I'm not changing my name! Mrs. Silly Pants just doesn't sound right. I'll remain Ms. Plum. It works for me - and I've spent a long time just learning how to be me!

I've gotten some raised eyebrows - what, marrying next week? For those who want to know, Mr. Silly Pants and I will be marrying next week in our home in the company of our children. Songbird will take the bus home from college for the evening, Mr. Waffles, Twinkletoes, and Schwartz will have just enough time to shower after sports and get upstairs for our vows! I hope Blueberry is in good spirits! It's a chance for Mr. Silly Pants and I to make "legal" the sacred relationshiop that we already share. Our pastor will be present to bless all of us in this committment. Then we'll feast on some Whole Foods goodies (I am NOT cooking!) and be thankful for our good fortune, our life of plenty, and our beloved family. But no, I'm not going to be Mrs. Silly Pants. I remain, Ms. Plum! (yes, Ms.!)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I'm sometimes a follower, so I'm following the trend to use pseudonyms on this blog. From now on I am Ms. Plum, my beloved is Mr. Silly Pants, and the children are Songbird (college girl), Twinkletoes (senior girl), Mr. Waffles (sophomore boy), Blueberry (Ethiopian adorable son), and our Finnish exchange student, Schwartz. Heheheeheh...Mr. Waffles assigned the names. I had to rule out anything with the word "poop" - that's how it rolls for 15 year old boys. Gads...he's nearly 16! I think I've changed all of the entries - what a time consuming thing to do!

Tomorrow night we'll all be out at a local cool restaurant with other cool people eating free food and celebrating our Plumpy'Nut campaign. That's right - a local restaurant is hosting a party for us! Yeah! Mr. Silly Pants is sending out reminders to all of his really generous co-workers. He's a good partner, and it's nice that he is personalizing his invitation for his kind co-workers.

Argh..I'm very tired. Did I mention I'm going to marry Mr. Silly Pants next week? Yes I am. We got our marriage license today and we'll marry next week. We designed beautiful wedding rings using the eternity knot from Celtic mythology. I think they'll be lovely - and unique - and ....perfect.

Finally, we wired the funds to Richard today. That was a big leap of faith for us. I'm relieved. I am relieved that in the last moment we deferred to trust instead of suspicion. I hope that makes sense to you readers. Big sigh of relief. As Mr. Waffles sits next to me working on his math homework, I am reminded of the privileges we all take for granted and the multitude of ways we can be responsible for crafting change.

G'nite all!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Letter to One in Need

*This is the letter I wrote to Richard today - this is so hard for me, but it must be much harder for him - to be so close to help, and to wish with all his energy to change his life. Is this note ok? Does it serve him? Is it compassionate enough? Will I deliver enough help? Are we doing the right thing? Is this letter for him, or really for me?

Dear Richard,
We are working hard to make it possible for your studies to progress.
We often think about you and the other boys we met. We talk about our time in Ethiopia with great fondness, delight, amazement, and respect. Your country is so beautiful, and the people of Ethiopia make the country even more lovely. We also know there is great need in Ethiopia and great struggle for many to work and study. We do recognize how hard you must work for simple things in your own life. It is our intention to help you with the hope of making a difference in your life.
We are trying to help Getu and Getnet also. We know that agreeing to help is important, but also we cannot do all that we want to do. We don't want to say "no" to anything, but there may be some things that you ask that we cannot do. Please don't mistake anything that we cannot do as not caring or as unkindness. We do care so much to know you are well and that you are succeeding.
We are happy to know you, and hope we can find ways to assist you to follow your goals to be a fine young Ethiopian man. That is our hope for you. You are being very patient. I know this must be difficult.
In friendship and kindness, Ms. Plum, Mr. Silly Pants
Songbird, Twinkletoes, Mr. Waffles, and Blueberry (the photo is of all 3 boys mentioned)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A PIG - no lipstick

I have the greatest kids...really, I do. I celebrated my 44th this week and my awesome children gave me a PIG! The pig, of course, won't live with us. She was donated through Heifer Int'l for a family in need. Yeah, to know me is to love me. They loved me well on my birthday. The kids get props for doing this on their own - they get it - I'm proud of them. My teens rock! Thank you, my amazing children! Thank you!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Meet Richard

This is our friend, Richard. He is a 17 year old hard working and bright young man who is presently studying in Lalibela. Richard left his family, who live 40 km. away, to study in Lalibela. It's a struggle for Richard to pursue his dream of education - he has no assistance from his family who, like many Ethiopian farmers, meagerly subsist on farming and herding. Richard hopes to become a doctor. He dreams of being a professional man with the means to help the people of his country. This young man deserves his chance - and everything he does is focused on figuring out just HOW to make his dream come true. Richard shines shoes every day. He charges a mere 10cents on the roadside to shine shoes. He is lucky if he gets 2-3 customers a day. With an unemployment rate of about 45% in Ethiopia, this sort of enterprise is often the only option for many young men. Richard lives in a little tukul (hut) with no running water or electricity for the price of $6.50 month. He sleeps on the ground of the tukul with a worn tarp as his "mattress." At the time we met him he did not have a blanket to cover him as he slept. Teague recalled we had travel blankets in our backpacks and we made haste to deliver him a blanket for warmth and comfort. Richard cooks his daily food rations on a tiny kerosene camp stove. His meals consist of grain only- 2 servings a day.
Richard sent us his exam scores - he scanned and e-mailed them along with a plea to help him continue his higher education in Addis Ababa. There is no way for him to go forward without help - he needs tuition ($550 a year) and also room and board in Addis (estimated at $1000 for the year). There are thousands of young men and women like Richard. I know a few of them. How can we help them? How do we choose who to help? How do we empower and still ask for accountability?
Oh yeah, this is my birthday post. I have too much. Too many others have too little. I don't want gifts. I want Richard to have a chance to go to school.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Iron Woman

THIS says it all....I'm givin' Amber some IronWoman lovin'!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Plumpy'Nut - Winners for Children!

Folks, the results are in! After a couple of months of hard work, a handfull of radio gigs, many e-mails, hitting the refresh button for the daily fundraising update, pleas for your help, and a final surge that included digging deeper for children, the Plumpy'Nut Ironman Team has emerged with a 5th place finish!!!!! That's an additional $2,000 for Plumpy'Nut from Janus Funds - and who doesn't like taking a few bucks from the big guys? We raised over $15,000 total. We've provided a 6 week course of Plumpy'Nut to over 350 children. 350 children!

I am so proud of our accomplishment. Amber and I worked hard, and then Amber worked harder again as she trained for the Ironman event. To honor our friend's passion, our family will be at the race tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. for the swim start - and you can bet we'll be cheering LOUDLY for her triumph. But really, Amber is already a winner. Amber is compassionate, determined, generous, smart, gentle, and dedicated to friendship, work, social justice, and now...sport! This woman rocks. It is a privilege to call her "friend."

My deepest gratitude to those of you who contributed to our campaign. It means more than I can ever express to you. I know who you are - and I will carry your kindness in my heart. All we could do was offer the opportunity - and your collective answer is humbling and awesome. Thank you.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Radio Head

2 more radio gigs - tonight (national program carried in 12 east coast cities) and tomorrow morning (local Air America broadcast). "Raw," to quote Mr. Waffles. Click here to read an African news report and update on the famine in Ethiopia. You might try a search on the MSF website using "Plumy'Nut" and read their 5 part series on malnutrition in Ethiopia. It's a stunning story - and one that is familiar as I can now see these hungry people in more than my mind's eye. This is one of my images, taken during our Ethiopian journey only 2 weeks ago. Go here to donate and help us win the $10K donation for MSF from the Janus Charity Challenge.