With Summer comes…wedding season! This year Jeff and I are fortunate to be invited to two weddings, both of which I’m excited for and honored to be invited to (and be a part of!).
It’s been less than four years since I drove down Twinberry to meet the new members of Giselle and Lucho’s family: Santino & Isabella! Grandma was beyond excited, and Giselle looked like any new mom of twin’s would look: tired! :)
Since then, I’ve seen them grow up through their Tia Erika’s stories and pictures, and tried to win over their affection whenever I see them. It’s hard to win over their affection when they really only have time for each other: Santino lives for Isabella, and Isabella lives to defend Santino!
On a Sunday, less than a month ago, Isabella was complaining about her tummy, and although initially thought to be just a tummy ache, Isabella’s complaints were enough to worry Giselle. They ended up at the hospital and finding out that same day that Isabella had a sizeable tumor in her kidney. The diagnosis after the initial biopsy: Stage 3 Wilms tumor. Isabella started chemo that Friday. Since then she’s acquired a new haircut, as have her barbies:
What amazes me about this girl is that she’s dealing with all of this better than I think most of us would, and definitely better than I would. Part of it is probably not even being aware of what’s going on, but another part is just how resilient and full of life she is. I imagine myself in her situation and I think I’d be sitting in that hospital bed with a frown and throwing a pity party for myself. Not this girl. For example, a little snippet of the updates we get from her mom:
A family friend started a fundraising website, and the response has been absolutely amazing and heart warming. In the span of about three weeks, they reached their goal of $10,000, and have increased their goal to $15,000. To the average person such as myself, this seems like a lot of money (which it is, and it truly is awesome that the love of family, friends, and strangers alike were able to raise this kind of money–thank you to all of you who have already donated!), but when you think about the overall cost of what they’re looking at, it feels like a drop of water in the ocean. If you feel so inclined, please check out Isabella’s website to help them out with whatever amount you can.
Most of all, please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.
A few years ago I distinctly remember making fun of our friend Pat for having a half dozen half-read books around his room. This came up specifically because he was still only half way through the second or third book of Stephen King’s Dark Tower, and I couldn’t believe he hadn’t finished reading it yet. What I couldn’t believe even more was that someone could start reading a book, while still having another book unfinished. WHAT?! This made no sense to me…I just didn’t see the logic in starting another book when you still hadn’t finished another one.
- Currently reading In Defense of Food, page 160 of 201
- The White Man’s Burden, I’m about half way through…partially lost interest, partially found more exciting things to read (it’s a little dense for me, but I plan on finishing it up soon-ish)
- Half the Sky, about two-thirds of the way through–great read, and probably would’ve finished it by now if I hadn’t gotten distracted by the first book on this list.
- Letters from Burma was a Christmas present from my brother in law and his wife, and I’m really looking forward to that
- The Idea of Justice by Amartya Sen
- Uses of Haiti by Paul Farmer (not sure I can actually make my way through this one, but I want to try)
- Hope in Hell: Inside the World of Doctors Without Borders
- Poor Economics
- Armed Humanitarians: the Rise of the Nation Builders
- Stranger Things Happen (short stories)
- Getting Better: Why Global Development is Succeeding–and How we Can Improve the World Even More
So what are blogs for, but ranting and venting about pointless things that these days are now immediately pointed out as first world problems or white whines? Exactly.
My family kind of skipped Easter this year. No one really wanted to drive the hour-and-a-half one way or another, so we ended up just calling it a day and everyone stayed in their respective cities. So the cousins took it upon themselves to make something happen for Mother’s Day. I’m sure my mom and aunt’s would’ve figured something out on their own, but where’s the Mother’s Day grace in that? So we organized brunch at a restaurant located along the lake, and I requested outdoor seating with our reservations. Unfortunately, it was gloomy and sprinkling on Sunday, so we got sat inside anyway. Good thing we had thought of decorations to make our table extra pretty :)
So I still think Jeff and I are doing pretty good. We have a lot of cooking to explore, especially with vegetables we’re unfamiliar with. We finally made it to the Farmer’s Market in Irvine last weekend which was great, but it definitely made me realize how much is out and that I have no idea what half of it is. We walked around with Mason and Jasna, bought some fruits and veggies, and the most delicious (and sweet) cake I think I’ve had in a while. I also bought a dozen eggs without realizing that I already had a dozen at home. Oops.
- Our friend Abby gave up coffee, and she was telling me how she feels like she has so much more energy NOW then before. It got Jeff and I thinking on whether we should try the same. We don’t drink the quantity per day that Abby does, but we still heavily rely on our cup of coffee in the morning to get us going. To the point that we WILL get headaches later on if we don’t have it. I’m not sure we’re ready to give it up yet, but at least we’ve started the process of thinking about it :) I’m also trying to at least cut back my creamer and sugar intake in my coffee. That’s a good enough challenge for me, for now.
- This is completely random, but kind of in tandem with the whole coffee thing: I now have toothpaste and a toothbrush in my desk at work, and I’m using it! Hopefully I won’t end up going from one extreme to the other and scrubbing my gums until they bleed like Cate Blanchett’s character in Hanna (that scene gave me the heebie jeebies (thank you to Jeff for correcting my previous ESL spelling of ‘heevie jevies’)).
- I’m currently reading In Defense of Food and it’s been getting me to really think about what we eat and why we eat it. It’s exciting.
A few movies that I never or barely heard of before I watched them, and think they’re worth watching.
So my last blog on the subject of ex-president of Guatemala, Alfonso Portillo, I wrote:
“This is a defining moment for Guatemala and its judicial system. I am hoping and praying that all parties play by the rules, and that Mr. Portillo doesn’t get off the hook on some crazy technicality, or the judge rules important evidence is inadmissible for whatever reason she gets paid to bring up. Guatemala needs to prove it can punish criminal behavior, that corruption will not go unpunished. Here’s their chance.”
For those not familiar, Portillo was president of Guatemala from 2000-2004, during which time he embezzled about $15 million. Might not seem much compared to the millions we’ve heard thrown around after the financial crisis here in the U.S., but $15 million in Guatemala is some serious cash-ola. Guatemala is also infamous for letting criminals off the hook (corruption, in general), given criminals have the necessary money and connections.
With the introduction of the CICIG in Guatemala, I really thought this trial was going to go differently. I’m not sure what part of my rationality caved in with this thought process.
Today it was announced that Portillo, AND his fellow ministers of finance and defense, were all innocent of the embezzlement charges. From what I can tell from the two short articles available at this time (nothing in English yet), it seems the accounting evidence fell short of proving what needed to be proven, and something or other about deficient audits. Well no shit–I wonder who’s fault that was. I’m looking forward to reading the opinion (if there is any), and seeing just how ridiculous it is.