Saturday, October 31, 2009

Baltimore and Poe

One last mention of spookiness before Halloween is gone and we can move on to nicer things. Edgar Allan Poe spent much of his life in Baltimore, and died here mysteriously in 1849. In honor of Poe's funeral (the city recently hosted a funeral because he didn't get a proper one at the time), the museum down the street held a creepy celebration. Poe was there, and was rather polite if you're wondering. Weird, I know, but I enjoyed the quirkiness. This city loves its Poe.

Happy Halloween!

(LOST, Halloween 2005. From left to right: Shannon, Kate, Danielle Rousseau, Claire, Locke,Random Pregnant Other, Charlie.)

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Last night we went to an event at the hospital for staff, students and patients. Apart from feeling really cool walking through the hospital like I had important things to do, a special thing happened.

For a few minutes we got to hear from the amazing Dr. Ben Carson. He is the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Hopkins, has written a number of bestselling books, and even has a movie about his life (where he's played by Cuba Gooding Jr!). He spoke about times he has taken on cases that others called impossible because he knows that God can, and does, use him to perform miracles. 

He told the story of a baby who was born with a large tumor at his brain stem. The doctors told the parents there was no hope for the baby, and to take him home to be comfortable for the remaining 6 months of his life. Dr. Carson heard of the case and chose to operate. He removed a large portion, and in the next few months the tumor continued to shrink and shrink until it finally disappeared. A month ago he was giving a lecture in Oklahoma and a family came up to talk with him. The boy, now a perfectly healthy 20-year-old college student, stood before him smiling. 

Dr. Carson looked up at all of us and reminded us that it is often hard to be a Christian in a place where many believe that science and religion are mutually exclusive. But, they don't have to be. God works through medicine and performs miracles through doctors. Thankfully.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Boston, MA

Boston is an amazing place. The cemeteries, the fall foliage, the history, the mystery- we loved it. Except David thought I was weird for liking the cemeteries so much. I even got mad at a guard who wouldn't let me see Paul Revere's grave. Not my high point, I'll admit. Cemeteries have so many stories, so much drama. Families, children, marriage, sadness. All that human stuff, all in one place.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


It's getting spooky around here. The church down the street even put on a nice orange-y glow in honor of Halloween. 

We're going to soak up the beautiful fall weather in Boston and Cape Cod. Be back in a few days!

I feel robbed

Dear California,

The past few days it's been in the mid-40s. It is October, and I'm already wearing my warmest clothes. I have come to the conclusion that you have been robbing me of seasons for the majority of my life. Especially you, SLO, with your January beach days and your 70 degrees all year round. You are especially to blame. You've made me soft, and I need this year to toughen up again. Then, then when I come back to you again I will better appreciate you because I've known different. I've known snow and storms and cold, cold wind. Then, I will love you even more.


The Helmand

(I'm guessing he just ate something hot. The food may not look delicious, but it was.)

After days of waiting and hoping, we finally caught the mouse that has been living in our apartment. To celebrate, we went out on the town.

My favorite thing about living in a city is the wealth of ethnic food options. In our little neighborhood we have Turkey, Nepal, India, Thailand, Ireland, France and Ethiopia represented. Last night we ate at the Helmand, an Afghan restaurant owned by the president of Afghanistan's brother. Legit. Sign of a classy restaurant: real flowers on the table. We had lamb, Afghan raviolis, spinach and rice, flat bread straight out of the oven, samosa-like pastries, and best of all, an appetizer of roasted and sugared pumpkin with yogurt sauce. I love pumpkin, and even I never knew pumpkin could be this delicious. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A vulgar story about tea

In college, I was at a girls Bible study at a friend's house. Anna boiled water for tea, on the stove top because there was no kettle. The water was at a rolling boil when she poured it into mugs. Rolling boil. I happened to be in the middle of a story, so I put my mug between my knees and continued. Whatever I was saying was pretty exciting, because I used large hand motions and a bit of the water splashed onto my knee. 

This is where things get vulgar. I hope you're not offended by use of the word "crotch." 

My knee reacted in pain, and the entire mug of boiling water poured directly onto my crotch. Directly. I was wearing fleece pants, which capture heat and hold it there for eternity. I stood up yelling, panicked, frozen. Janne ripped off my pants and I ran to the bathroom and began to cry. I didn't come out for a long while. I sat in the bathtub, crying by myself, trying to cool and soothe my burn. That night David and I slept on couches in the living room of my house. He brought me ice packs, and I slept with them between my legs. 

As I sipped tea in class today, I thought about how hot it was and how terrible it would be if someone bumped my arm and it spilled all over my crotch in the middle of class. Very, very terrible. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Need a pick-me-up?

I did, so I went to this pic. Can you beat that face? I miss my Sura girl.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Last visit before baby!

Tapas, Orioles game, all-dessert restaurant, exploring Federal Hill, and, of course, youtube videos (it's a sort of tradition with Matt and David). It feels so good to have friends again. Next time....Baby!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mourn with those who mourn

"Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.... And so we ignore our greatest gift, which is our ability to enter into solidarity with those who suffer. Those who can sit in silence with their fellowman, not knowing what to say but knowing that they should be there, can bring new life in a dying heart. Those who are not afraid to hold a hand in gratitude, to shed tears in grief and to let a sigh of distress arise straight from the heart can break through paralyzing boundaries and witness the birth of a new fellowship, the fellowship of the broken."
Henri Nouwen

A dear friend of mine is going through a heartbreaking time. Everything in me wants to make things better, but I feel powerless and I don't know what to do. It is terrible to feel powerless. 

We are to mourn with those who mourn. We are to pray. These things I can do. Please pray with me for my friend and her family. Pray for healing, strength, and hope.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Today's run

I run the same route every time: past the monument, around the harbor, over to "Venice" (fancy condos on the water) and back through downtown. But, this is a city and every run is different.

Today's count:
6 dogs
2 sirens
16 police officers
5 people speaking other languages
21 ducks
2 strange comments from strangers (#1: "I like the way your hair flips back and forth. Yeah, that's real pretty." #2: "Run girl!" with kissy noises.)