Archive for December, 2006

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Preach on, sister (and brother)

December 28, 2006

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“We can do no great things. Only small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

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Save the Date

December 28, 2006

Okay, the truth of the matter is, when it comes to fundraising, I’m crap and everyone knows it. Itgarlic_naan.jpg makes me terribly uncomfortable. Even when I try to ask, I’m falling all over myself trying not to sound like I’m asking, which, as my dear friend Sue has advised me, means I’m crap. Thus far, despite my meager effots, five people I adore have made extraordinarily generous donations that are beyond what I could have hoped for and more than I deserve. They have inspired me to get serious, and broaden the reach, in the hopes of receiving some small contributions from a larger number of people. So…

On January 14th, I’ll be hosting a fundraiser at Passage to India in Lawrenceville, NJ. It’s our favorite casual Indian restaurant, and we thought it might be a fun way to involve friends and family where you’ll get something in return. So, here’s the deal. Knowing that there are football playoffs late that afternoon and evening, we’re planning a lunchtime buffet shindig — arrive between 12 and 1pm, and for a donation of $30 or more per person, you’ll enjoy steamy naan and savoury dal, the company of family and friends, and you’ll be helping to defray the cost of my service in India. Cool? If you think you can join us, please reply here or send me an eMail, so I can work on the head count for the restaurant and include you in the official eVite next week. Hope you can make it. There’s a rumor that JennyB is preparing a spangled performance…

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Ouch.

December 27, 2006

This morning was my first of several pre-trip travel clinic appointments and I’m a bit grumpy. Dishearteningly uninformed staff, painful shots, and an even more painful bill. Eek.

The doc came in insisting that I didn’t need any of the immunizations that I had requested, and instead needed (a really expensive and somewhat risky) one that wasn’t on my list. I balked, repeating that what I read on the CDC site — which went against her recos. She countered, repeating her initial assertions. Finally, I asked her to print out the info, which I then used to point out her error. Her response? “Oh. Then there’s nothing you need, since you are up-to-date on your Hep A & Hep B shots.” “What about typhoid? Japanese encephalitis?” I asked. “No, you don’t need those. Well, wait. No. Maybe. Maybe those.” Oh, God.

After some more back and forth, I finally got what I came for: the recommended typhoid vaccine, the first of three JE shots, and a prescription for anti-malaria treatment. Can’t believe that even after asking the right questions, I still almost received a yellow fever vaccine I didn’t need, and none of the ones I did. Yuck. Lessons of the day: 1) Do the research, and say what you know. 2) Ow. Flu shot has nothing on these babies. 3) This stuff is a fortune: $170/per shot and not covered by insurance. Worth it, of course — but a nasty reminder of what it would be like to pay for healthcare out-of-pocket every day. Healthcare reform, please, new Congress.

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Who doesn’t love a sleeping bulldog?

December 22, 2006

sleepingbeauty.jpgHaven’t had a chance to post this week — getting over a nasty cold, which always seems to be the free-gift-with-purchase that comes along with volunteering in nursing homes this time of year. (Check out the Wrapping Presence link in the Blogroll at right for a view in on that fun & chaos.) That and racing to catch up with the Christmas rush has me away from the keys. Trying to make some gifts this year, with an eye on thrift as India approaches, and squeeze in visits with people I’ve been so anxious to see, but have been too contagious to risk it. (Ew.) Still, I’m sure I’ll end up in the shops with everyone else this weekend. So, in the absence of any particular news of note about my upcoming trip, here’s a picture of Riley Jane because, hey. Why not?

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Why now?

December 18, 2006

So, I lure Damon out east and then decide to just take off the minute he’s settled in? That’s not exactly what happened, but as it has been jokingly suggested by more than one bystander, I thought the “Why now?” might be worth sharing. I had hoped to take this trip last spring, but un-fun life events intervened, and I became convinced I might never get back on this particular horse. To call that realization ‘discouraging’ would be an understatement — I hated what it said about me and my future, in the big-picture sense. So back in October, I thought I’d start tip-toeing back in this direction and re-initiated CCS conversations with early 2008 in mind. I was certain it would take me that long to know if I was still up for it, to do the proper planning, to save enough money to cover the bills while I was gone and to regain the lost confidence and independence to undertake this sort of solo travel to an unfamiliar place.

And then CCS offered a way-too-soon start-date of February 2007. February 11th, in point of fact. Turns out that’s one year to the day I was assaulted by the intruder that broke into my home while I slept. The day that asshole changed everything about how I see the world and myself in it. I couldn’t believe the timing: the coincidence seemed almost too perfect — cliched, even. But, funny thing, coincidences. Often times they’re not. So, the hell with planning, and organizing, and a gentle, tentative easing back into something resembling normal for me. Here’s what I think about lost confidence and M.I.A. independence: screw the baby steps. I’m going to India and I’m going in seven weeks. Whoa.

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Why there?

December 17, 2006

statue3.jpgIt’s hard not to be interested in and inspired by Indian culture. The rich history, the extraordinary architecture, the healing arts, the (somewhat) peaceful coexistance of so many of the world’s religions, the varied mythical landscapes, the exotic wildlife, the gorgeous craftsmanship of traditional silverwork and sari fabrics, and of course, the food. Good Lord, the food. These things were the gravy, though — the free gift with purchase — when I made the decision to travel to India. Of the ten countries where CCS supports volunteers, it turned out that my interests and skills seemed rather suited to the type of work that might need doing in and around Delhi. Plus, after working with Missionaries of Charity in Kingston, Jamaica, I’ll confess to something of a ten-year yearning to follow the trail back to the source. Back to the beginning to have a look at Mother Teresa’s home field. Dig.

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Hope

December 14, 2006

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“Unlike beauty, hope is not found in things. Unlike faith, hope does not reside in the individual. As it turns out, hope is found only in other people. If it cannot be found there, it cannot be found. When hope is lost, we are all implicated.”

-Michael Antrobus