Monday, June 28, 2010

Random Updates

At the doctor's office, I was asked if Lizzie had ever had tubes in her ears.
I informed the nurse that as Lizzie's village did not have roads, Lizzie's home did not have toys and Lizzie's family did not have a mother, I was fairly certain that no, she did not ever have tubes in her ears.

I was asked, "Are these your real children?"

Joel managed to collect 3 SETS of stool samples. And now I take them to the lab in a labeled paper bag and I drop them off. No discussion.

Perforated eardrums do not hurt when they become infected. Good news. Perforated eardrums smell really bad when they are infected. Bad news. Very bad news. Especially for the sibling who has to sit by it in the car.

Minnesota Orchestra:
Plays an awesome free concert the Monday night before July 4th.

Easy recipe that I liked:
Pasta-feta cheese-tomato-garlic-olive oil-thawed chopped spinach-summer sausage

Great quote from John Piper:
"Hold fast to the Word of life or you will be mushy, hazy and irrelevant."

Fiddle Camp Year Two

I am just now able to raise my head out of the World That Was Fiddle Camp. Someone asked me if it was the sort of camp where I dropped off my kids for the day. The answer to that would be no, because we couldn't afford that kind of camp. This is the kind of camp where I played a large enough role to cut the camp rate to the level of being affordable. I was the Director. And the Cook. I was Everything That Didn't Have to Do With Music.

I had incredible people helping me cook. Without them, 80 people would not have eaten after the first day's lunch. With them, 80 people had 4 lunches and 8 snacks. Apiece. With them, the kitchen was clean after the 80 lunches and 160 snacks. With them, the leftovers were attractively arranged on the last day so that something close to an entirely new meal arose out of the week's previous meals.

The night before the last day, I had a dream about sleeping. My feet were hot, swollen and explosive feeling. I learned to run the industrial dishwasher. I learned about proportions: 80 people do not need 6 watermelons, only 3. I shopped at Sam's Club for the first time. During a tornado warning. I learned what it feels like to be covered in a thin film of Crystal Lite Cherry Pomegranate powder when my great friend and loyal kitchen helper decided to "agitate the juice" with a power sprayer before I'd finished emptying the container.

The best part though, was being around extraordinary musical talent. The instructors were April Verch, David Keenan and Brian Wicklund with his band Ten Penny Nail (see video below). If you have time, I hope you enjoy:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An EKG in My Kitchen

We switched health insurance companies in order to save some money. We each had to get a physical so that the health insurance company won't ever have to spend money on us after we give them a lot of our money.

But I did get a "free" EKG. I sat on a kitchen chair in a running tank top with super sticky things all over me. I watched my heart beat being recorded on a long strip of paper. Every now and then I would try to get my heart to do a different little thing. It just kept going which is actually pretty amazing.

I was also asked a lot of questions about my physical and mental health. And this is where things get sort of interesting after having gone through an adoption and brought two children home. Questions like:

"Is there anything that keeps you from completing your daily tasks?"
All the time.
"Have you ever experienced heart murmurs or chest pain?"
My entire trip to Ethiopia.
"Do you ever think about suicide?"
Hm. Not really. I just think how nice "lying in repose" sounds.

We're still waiting to see if we "passed." In the meantime, I'm trying to conquer parasites, an ear infection and my daily tasks.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Joel and I were getting ready for bed. "Hey," I said suddenly. "We have more kids than the Brady Bunch did."

"Wow," said Joel, and we both developed one more dark circle under each eye.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What I Learn When..

What I learned from People Magazine when I got my hair cut: Sandra Bullock adopted a black baby boy. Go Sandra.

What I learned from National Public Radio: Sumo wrestlers are having a PR Nightmare. Apparently, they have been betting on baseball with the Japanese mafia. And drinking. And womanizing. The end of the interview went like this:

Announcer: "Now, to give you one perspective, many Americans see Sumo wrestlers as very large men wearing....ah... diapers."

Man from "All Things Sumo:" This is the Japanese pastime. They take their wrestlers very seriously.

This little interview just totally made my day. I had given no thought to sumo wrestlers for quite some time. Actually, the last time I thought of them was on Halloween when a boy dressed as a sumo got stuck in the door to Kwik Trip. And now, on a peaceful drive home from Target, I got to be a part of a Sumo Scandal. My world was broadened. And I did think that it's probably easier to raise 7 children than it is to be a sumo.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An Honest Friend

Sometimes people will say to us, "You're such good people. You must have a really special family." Invariably, these comments make me think of the most recent time I lost my temper, found moldy food in the refrigerator or served my children hotdogs and jello.

Sometimes, when I share news that I find hard (my daughter has parasites) people will say: "Oh, it's no big deal." "You can handle it." "I'm sure you'll get it all taken care of soon." And immediately I think, "Oh, it IS a big deal. I don't want to handle it. In order to even know if I have it taken care of I have to take 3 more stool samples. And just ask the crabby lab lady at the doctor...I do not have what it takes to execute that successfully."

But yesterday, I left a message with a friend. She's adopted two children from Ethiopia as well. It was a two word message: giardea and whip worm.

She called back 10 seconds later. Her response: "What the hell is whip worm?"

Somehow, this made me feel better. It was the acknowledgment that this isn't a Gap commercial. This isn't Fresh Flowers and Meadows. This is Orphans. And orphans are... messy. They are also good for the soul, good for the family and great for keeping pride in check.

Small Talk

I find it easy, for the most part, to make small talk, especially if I am in a situation where it is important for me to appear polite.

I have found 3 situations in which it is hard for me to make small talk: annual exams at the doctor; check ups at the dentist, and today, a new place: the pharmacist. Specifically, the pharmacist to pick up Albenza, "an anthelmintic used to treat infections caused by tapeworms."

Usually Sue, the checker-outer at the pharmacy, is the only person I see. Today, there was a "gathering" at the pharmacy counter: two pharmacists and Sue. All curious eyes seemed to want to ask the same question: are you Lizzie and are you contagious? They made a point of telling me, not the side effects but the fact that "we didn't have this medicine in stock." Suddenly, I didn't feel the need to be polite so much as the need to appear... clean. competent. not Lizzie. But instead of small talk, out came what is commonly known as Too Much Information. "We've had her home for three months, but the first stool samples leaked." "Oh, she's probably had these parasites all her life but she's just used to them."

The good news is the prescription was only $8.53. In an effort to make everyone feel more comfortable about this very personal transaction, I said, "Wow. I thought it would be closer to a million dollars. Maybe they feel sorry for people who need parasite medication."

A weak "heh-heh" was all that I got from the curious audience which now included at least 2 other customers who were probably picking up medication for tennis elbow and golf knee.

The other good news: I got a $10 giftcard with my new prescription. So actually I got paid to have parasites.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Snacks of the Tired

I dragged us to the library. Again. This time, the only thing threatening to accost me was the No Handicapped Door Button Press Thing. I had Sadie, who weighs 16 pounds in my arms and 45 pounds in her car seat, dangling from my left forearm. I had 17 books in a Huggies diaper box that I was carrying in both hands. I got the door open, wedged myself and the car seat in it and made the mistake of saying, "Lizzie? Honey, can you hold the door open?"

"Yes, can you hold it open?"
And with this final moment of complete incomprehension, she tried to duck under the suspended car seat and between my leg and the door. It was one of those moments that creates an out of body experience where one says, "And now I wonder what I will look like when I lose my mind."

We made it in and made it out and made it home and made it into bed. I sat at my table. I drank a Peach Citrus Fresca. I ate half of a glazed donut. I made and drank a caramel latte. It was the weirdest snack ever and it was perfect.

Now, I am looking forward to having wine and cheese with my husband. As I reflect on this day, I am grateful for the friend who sent me this verse:

"Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them." -Psalm 119:140