Sunday, March 25, 2007

Wealth, poverty, and guilt

I think often about the disparity between rich and poor in this world. Specifically, I am more and more aware that I fall into the "rich" category, especially compared to the vast majority of people in the world. I read a lot about social justice (and injustice) and how the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow, and I end up feeling guilty. I live very comfortably, and yet there are countless people who - through no fault of their own - cannot even feed, clothe, house, or educate their families. We do make regular donations to reputable charitable organizations, but this in itself doesn't seem like "enough."

I guess I am having "survivor" guilt. I am no more "worthy" than those who are suffering, and dying, merely because they are caught up in circumstances beyond their control. I happened to be born into relative privilege, and on top of that I've been "lucky" (or "blessed") in a lot of other ways. When I read books like The End of Poverty (by Sachs) or The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne, I feel both hopeful and impatient. I'm glad there are people out there who are really making a difference; yet I wish the difference were more tangible.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I like words. My work offers a free library of audio books. Too bad they are all "educational," but hey, I can always learn something new. I have a 20 minute commute, so I decided to check out Word Power, a CD designed to "build your vocabulary."

Despite what you might think, for an "educational" CD, it's not as boring as I thought it would be. For example, when using the word "relentless" in a sentence, the narrator says:

"The rabbit's appetite was relentless. He ate and ate until he was all swelled up like a furry balloon. Then, he exploded."

Overall, the readers do a good job of entertaining you while presenting groups of related words. Problem is, after the first 15 minutes I realized I already knew most, if not all, of the words. Is my vocabulary really that exemplary? I doubt it. I also subscribe to "A Word a Day," which delivers a new word to my inbox each morning. Many of these words are new to me, like today's. "Calvous" is another word for bald. I will always remember it because my friend Tammy's son Calvin was essentially bald for his first 2 years. Unlike my kids, who both needed haircuts before their first birthday, Calvin was quite a calvous little guy. :-)

Oh well. If anyone has any good recommendations for books on CD or tape - preferably older ones, so I can get them free at the library - please feel free to suggest them!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Musicomedy - "Rachmaninov had big hands"

I rarely frequent youtube, but recently received a link to this video by Igudesman and Joo - well worth watching! As a violinist and pianist with "small hands" myself, I found it especially appealing.

And for a rendition of "I will survive" like you've never seen before, check this out:

I've known a lot of musicians, but not many with the combined musical and comedic talents of these two.

Joo is of Korean heritage and was raised in England, according to his bio. I enjoyed hearing him count in Korean ("hana, dul, set, net").

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Birthday Thoughts

Today is my birthday. Hard to believe I've been part of this ol' world for 38 years now.

For some reason, I think my 25th birthday was most traumatic for me. At that time I was working as a secretary and taking some pre-med or pre-nursing classes. I think it was bugging me that I was 25 and still didn't know what I was going to "do with my life." I could no longer pretend I was just starting out - I'd already graduated from college. Yet here I was back in undergrad courses, taking out loans for more tuition, and still not sure what the heck I was doing.

Today, I'm feeling pretty darned happy about where I've ended up. Seeing my brother hard at work studying to get through medical school reminds me of how nice it is to be finished with school once and for all! (Sorry, Buzz.) After years of working overtime, nights, weekends, and holidays, I now have a part time job with paid holidays and very rare night work. After years of researching, planning, saving, filling out forms, jumping through hoops, and praying, we are thrilled to have adopted two wonderful kids. For the first time in a long time, I don't have any big hurdles in my immediate future. Life is pretty well balanced. I'm enjoying it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

first choice?

I saw this link on an adoptive parents' website I visit frequently. It's about an adoptee's thoughts on being her parents' "second choice," in the sense that if they could have had biological children they most likely would not have adopted her.

It's painful to imagine my own children might ever feel this way, but realistically it would be very natural for them. And it's a double whammy - to an adoptee, it can too easily seem that they were not "first choice" for EITHER their biological parents or their adoptive parents. Ouch.

Like many adoptive parents, we did try to conceive before starting the adoption process. Unlike some, we also always hoped to adopt someday. When we ran up against infertility, we decided to forego any treatments and proceed directly to adoption. We knew we were already interested in adopting, even if we eventually conceived, and it just seemed like adopting was the right way for us to become parents. Will knowing this help Alex or Sam? I don't know. What I DO know is that I have absolutely no regrets. I can't imagine life with any other children besides the two I have. I may not be able to keep them from internalizing the messages society sends to adoptees, but I hope we'll be able to have honest dialogue about it all someday.