Archive for April, 2009


On Saturday, we attended the ordination of our friend, Chris, who was ordained a transitional deacon — a big step on the way to priesthood. It was held at St. Mary’s Seminary here in Baltimore, an old and impressive place.

It was one of the loveliest ceremonies I’ve ever attended… intimate, sacred, joyful, with beautiful music from the seminarian schola choir. The bishop of Erie presided and his words to the three men being ordained were heartfelt and personal. My favorite moment was the litany of the saints, when the three prostrated themselves representing their total surrender to God, while everyone called on the help of the holy ones for them:


It reminded me of my brother’s ordination to the priesthood, of course — a very moving event. Like Zach, the new deacon Chris is a fantastic and impressive guy — kind, intelligent, balanced, and deeply committed to his calling. He will make an exceptional priest of God.



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  1. One in ten children die before their first birthday.
  2. One in six children die before their fifth birthday.
  3. 44% of the population of Ethiopia is under 15 years old.
  4. 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition.
  5. The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years.
  6. 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world).
  7. 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone, and there are 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia.
  8. Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa.
  9. In the 90’s, the population (3%) grew faster than food production (2.2%).
  10. Drought struck the country from 2000-2002 (first year: no crops, second year: no seeds, third year: no animals).
  11. Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. 88% will never attend secondary school.
  12. Coffee prices (Ethiopia’s only major export) fell 40-60% from 1998 to 2002.
  13. Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000.
  14. In 1993, after 30 long years of war, Eritrea broke from Ethiopia and became an independent nation leaving Ethiopia landlocked without any major seafaring ports.

(Info taken from another Ethiopian blog, but I forgot to document the source.)

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Missing in Action

I’ve been absent from the virtual world this week and here’s why:

Monday & Tuesday –– Did my civic duty. I actually got selected for a jury for a case about environmental waste, only to show up Tuesday morning and find out that the prosecution had suddenly dropped the charges. I was a bit disappointed… was kind of looking forward to the whole real life court case thing.

Wednesday & Thursday — Aunt Ann from New England came for a visit. I credit her with cultivating my appreciation for art so it was only right that we head to the Baltimore Museum of Art to see the fabulous Cone Collection. Brian and I took Ann to one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate her recent retirement and we poked around in some fun shops. Here’s a pic before we took her to the airport yesterday:


Tuesday through Friday — Phone line and internet were on the fritz. Which made it impossible to work or catch up on the hundreds of emails I get each day. ARGH! I had to run to our local coffee shop to get online for a few essential work matters in between everything else. This week there were a bunch of WACAP parents who passed court in Ethiopia and I wasn’t able to send any congrats.

Friday (this morning) — The gardener came, a camera crew for Baltimore Magazine showed up to film a segment in the courtyard, and the phone repair man finally arrived — all at about the same time.  This took a while.

But the phone and DSL are fixed! And it was an absolutely gorgeous day. And it was lovely to see my aunt. And I admit to being impressed at how well our legal system works. And soon I’ll catch up with all  my email. And tonight I got to walk down to the end of our street with my beloved and relax beside the boats over a delicious dinner:


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One more parade story

Brian reminded me today of our very first Baltimore parade experience, and I just had to mention it…

Driving in another part of the city many years ago, we rounded a corner and had to slam on the breaks. A group of people were strolling down the middle of the street in strange hats. Some were riding bikes. So we rolled a window down and asked someone about it. The conversation went something like this:

Brian: “So what’s going on here?”

Parade Man: “Oh, a bunch of us were just sitting around talking about the weird hats we have, so we all decided to hold a Hat Parade.”

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Baltimore is a quirky town, which is one reason we like it.

Over the years, we’ve noticed that people here will use just about any excuse for a parade. There will be no warning — suddenly, you’ll just hear marching bands or see people walking down the middle of the street and voila! — a parade.

Like today. We were upstairs talking about lunch when we heard drums. African-sounding drums. So we opened the door and spotted a parade up the street. Next thing you know we were standing there, along with other curious neighbors.

It took us a while to figure out what this parade was for — there were bands, a few clowns, baton twirlers, cheerleaders, and sports teams. Then one of the local ladies let us in on reason for the celebration: the opening day of Little League. But, of course!

That’s nothing, really. Every July 4th, at the museum around the corner, there’s an annual dog parade — and the canines come in costume. There’s also a summer kinetic sculpture parade — a competition of large floats that must be able to float in the harbor and move on the land. The winner always seems to be a giant pink poodle thingamajig.

Anyway, here are some random pics from today:

Regular folks parading up the street --a typical scene around here.

Regular folks parading up the street --a typical scene

I'm as puzzled as you about this group.

I'm as puzzled as you are about this group.

I think the small Pirates in the front were falling down on the job...

I think the small Pirates in front were falling down on the job.

Check out those helmuts!

Check out the helmets!

Another typical Baltimore parade scene.

Another typical Baltimore parade scene.

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Today it feels like my abdomen is in a vice grip . Sorry… probably too much information! But I’m seriously puzzled because I never deal with “female problems.” It’s got to be all the chocolate, sweets and spicy foods I’ve scarfed down over the past four days.

As I was grabbing the back of a chair, struggling through another wave of cramps, I said to Brian “This is probably the closest I’m going to get to labor pains so maybe I should enjoy it!” To which he replied, “Yah, but there’s no reward at the end.”


It’s a drag because my friend, Irene, is visiting from Rome for a couple days. Today we popped into a boutique here in our neighborhood and to get there I shuffled down the street like a very old lady because I could barely walk. This evening at one of our favorite restaurants, I had to stop eating my meal because every bite produced a wave of pain that sent me into contortions.

I think maybe I’m a wimp.

Anyway, now I’m sitting with a heating pad on my belly and that’s making things much better.

Some good tidings, though: Six families with our agency (WACAP) passed court in Ethiopia today and will soon be traveling to pick up their children. That’s always happy news!

And today is my beloved sister, Clara’s, birthday. Wish I could be celebrating with her in California tonight! (Minus the crampage, of course.)  Happy birthday sis — you are the best!!

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Our Easter Vigil was extra special this year. We sponsored two men for baptism, and witnessed three others — whom we’ve taught and prayed with since September  — be confirmed. Such a varied group — a real testament to the universality of our faith. An former Episcopal priest, his wife and their children, also entered the Catholic Church with our group. We then had a fabulous party in the chancery with food and wine and lots of laughs and toasts.

Sunday afternoon, after making a yummy breakfast, we joined our friends Kathy & Laurance for the Thai festival outside of DC.  Here we are just before descending on the food:


It was a gorgeous day… perfect for strolling. And the food! It was everywhere. Stuff we’ve never seen before. Here’s Brian (sunglasses) and Laurance (foreground) staring aghast at some amazing concoction:


Kathy, being half Thai, knew her way around. We took a peak in the Thai temple, and watched some traditional dances, and then carried a lot of food back to K & L’s townhouse for a late afternoon Easter buffet together. Here are a couple more photos from the day:



Later, I was able to finally unwrap the chocolate fish my friend Irene brought me from Lisieux, France. Wish I could show you a picture of the little guy, but well, he is almost no more. Nice to be eating chocolate again though!

He is Risen, Happy Easter!

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