Sunday, November 30, 2008

Giving Thanks

Like many of us, I thought a lot this weekend about all the things I have to be thankful for. Then I read this and decided that I am not nearly thankful enough.

I stole this whole thing from Well-Seasoned Woman, a blog I visit when I can.

"The following excerpt is by Elisa Jaffe at KOMO News, Seattle:

BOTHELL, Wash. — The day I met Brenden Foster, I met an old soul in an 11 year old’s body.
“I should be gone in a week or so,” he said calmly.
When I asked him what he thought were the best things in life, Brenden said, “Just having one.”
I didn’t understand how this child, who was a year younger than my own son, could be so courageous facing death.

“It happens. It’s natural,” Brenden told me.
Three years ago, doctors diagnosed Brenden with leukemia. The boy who once rushed through homework so he could play outside found himself confined to a bed. But there was no confining his spirit.
I had a great time. And until my time comes, I’m going to keep having a great time,” he said.
Brenden’s selfless dying wish was to help the homeless.
“They’re probably starving, so give’em a chance,” he said, “food and water.”
But Brenden was too ill to feed them on his own. So volunteers from Emerald City Lights Bike Ride passed out some 200 sandwiches to the homeless in Seattle.
Then Brenden’s last wish took on a life of its own.

A TV station in Los Angeles held a food drive. School kids in Ohio collected cans. People in Pensacola, Florida gathered goods. And here in Western Washington, KOMO viewers from all over took part in the Stuff the Truck food drive in Brenden’s honor. Hundreds with generous hearts donated six and a half huge truck loads of groceries and more than $60,000 in cash to benefit Northwest Harvest and Food Lifeline.

Brenden touched hearts all over the world. His wish came true, and he lived to see it. “He had the joy of seeing all of the beautiful response to his last wish,” said his grandmother, Patricia McMorrow. “It gives him great peace and he knows that his life has meaning.”

“He’s left a legacy and he’s only 11,” said his mother, Wendy Foster. “He’s done more than most people dream of doing just by making a wish.”
Days before dying, Brenden surprised us with a sudden burst of energy. He wanted to get off the oxygen, hop out of bed and go buy a video game. Wise beyond his years, but still a kid.
“I have been so blessed to have this child. A mother couldn’t ask for a better son,” Wendy said.

The B-Man, as his family called him, had one more wish before going: sprinkle wildflower seeds to save the bees. He had heard bees were in trouble.
Someone answered B-Man’s wish. A retired pilot asked his pilot and flight attendant friends to sprinkle wild flowers around the world, from Bali to Brazil, on Brenden’s behalf.
When asked what made him sad, Brenden said, “When someone gives up.”
Brenden Foster never gave up. Even as he clung to his last hours of life, Brenden kept giving.
“Follow your dreams. Don’t let anything stop you,” he said.


It is rather humbling to consider the metaphysical weight of simple existence when most of us are just jonesing for turkey leftovers, a late-night bootie call, or a better job… and yet, here on earth was this mere child that knew he was short on time and made the most altruistic requests of the people around him. Even more astonishing was his attitude about the years of his life, that he had a great time, no regrets.

Ponder this when you are doing your Thanksgiving gratitudes: There are so many gifts this young person imparted on us and we are fortunate enough to be able to play it forward for him."

Let's plant some wildflowers. Not just in memory of Brenden, but in hope for all of us.

Monday, November 24, 2008

This week's baking

I started baking again because I wanted to get away from additives and other ingredients that I don't recognize. And my plan was/is to learn how to make better whole grain food, you know -- not only healthy but also good enough to eat.

This might not be that bread. I made it (another secret recipe), but even I was surprised at how lovely it was when I sliced it. Chocolate babke, grilled in butter. My coworkers like me much better now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The 4th anniversary of my Grandma-hood

The past 4 years have flown by, my grandson is a big boy, and this is the best job I've ever had.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Snow - oh no!

And I really mean it. Stop!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Still keeping the house warm, and other reasons I like Sundays

Muffins are just my standard poppy seed/blueberry, they freeze well so I can grab one for breakfast when I'm running late. I also baked bagels this week, a first for me, and they were such a big hit with my coworkers that I decided on an encore!


I have heard a lot this past week about what we expect of President-Elect Obama. People were calling into my local public radio every afternoon to announce their demands, what they expect from the new administration. And the helpful pundits were carefully explaining that we (the people) don't really want the change we voted for -- I heard one guy say on television that we really elected Obama because he is black, and not because he was the best, the smartest, the most able candidate in years.

I, for one, hope that President Obama will use his inaugural address to tell us exactly what he expects of us. We've spent years turning the other way and wishing for someone else to solve our problems. That didn't work, and the problems have gotten bigger. If we don't get our heads, our minds, our hands out of the sand, nothing at all will change. Gather your strength - it's time to get to work. It won't be quick, it won't be easy, and it probably won't be pretty. We will all gain, and we will all have to give something up. Will we do it? (yes, please yes, we will)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oh yes we can

Warning: I am going to blabber on, and this might not make sense to anybody but me. That is the true luxury of blogging.
I am cynical by nature (or perhaps by nurture), but I have been filled with hope this year, this month, this week. It's as if recent events have ripped the lid off things that we have refused to address and have pretended, out of fear or laziness or disinterest, not to know.

I know that the problems of this country and this world are too complex for any one person to offer us quick solutions, but I feel reassured that, finally, we as a country are not going to simply look the other way. I hope for a future where it is no longer fashionable to be apathetic, where it is not admirable to be greedy, where we hold one another accountable and celebrate each other's achievements.

I believe that, if each of us individually will admit responsibility for our personal actions - my trash, my food, my response to the poor, my economic decisions, my behavior -- it will be change enough to rock the world. We cannot fix any of our problems until we admit that they are there. It is time to ask, what am I still pretending not to know?