Yeah... so I stopped posting here again. I have been posting on two other family+friends blogs, and for those close to me, you are welcome to check them out here The Placi+plus Blog , and also The NewNeeNews Blog

Clover on my heart

Clover, resting her head on my chest
"I hear you heart, the heart man. He is dancing, just like Daddy's."
She gets up and starts marching on the couch.
"I hear him making music. He is going 'boom! boom! boom!' "

Asher on his classmates

I asked Asher what he thought of the kids in his class.

"Yeah, I like them. I just wish they all had different personalities."

More on That, Sorry, here it comes

OK. So I've posted (then removed) some emails. Kind of lame thing to do. They're even poorly written so it's also a bit embarrassing to say the least. I just wanted to lay it all out and now address what has got my goat.

I've been used. I've been misled. I've been scared into decisions. I've been presented only opinion and commentary on issues without hearing one real fact on the issue in question. I've accepted what others have told me without further investigation or hearing the other side out.

This has all happened to me before and it will unfortunately happen again. I am aware of it now and I try to take a proactive approach to fight off being the victim of my own ignorance.

"I think you are reading into what was being said"

My response...
"I am reading into what he is saying. That is exactly what I am asking you to do. Read into the opinions that are being presented to you. Learn more. Investigate claims. Follow arguments to their logical conclusions. Question presuppositions. Do not be passive as others present their opinions to you and their commentaries on issues, all the while not sharing with you the texts and history of the facts they are commenting on. Investigate the issues they present and are so passionate about. If they are serious issues, than we ought to take the time to investigate more to form our opinion as we strive to see the entire picture."

I have received many emails that have appalled me. Emails that leave their readers writhing with annoyance and anger against immigrants, in fear of Muslims, with utter disdain for the Left and their crazy Socialist tendencies. It disturbs me so because rather than inform they stir up. Rather than move people to action they build walls and make enemies of our neighbors. It works. We are urged to "Please Pray" because it works.

Yes, they disturb me so because I know that they work and readers are being stirred up. But what most disturbs me is when I start to question why. What are the motives of the crafters of these email forwards and article writers? When I lay it all out and look at the facts, the content of the emails, the repercussions that follow for many of the readers, the apparent motives of the authors disturb me so deeply that at times I just want to walk away and pretend I never realized the abuse in the first place.

May Day

It's May Day and marchers are united in solidarity for labor and immigrant rights at the bottom of our hill.

Is Asher flipping the bird to those marchers? Apparently he doesn't appreciate Sunset being closed down for the parade. 

Aunt Katina

Aunt Katina is in town and we visited Echo Park lake with loaves of TJ DD bread to share with the birds.  Before relocating to this area seen above, we were attacked my mobs of seagulls, pigeons, geese, and ducks in a heavily bird populated area of the park.We made a trip to a local bakery for some treats to enjoy at the park. Katina later took us all out to eat at a great local restaurant, Masa, where we ate an insane amount of pizza. Insane. I think the wait staff was talking about us in the back. 

Later that night, Aaron, Aunt Katina, and I all tried to pry some answers out of Asher about the day. He wasn't very forthcoming to say the least. He didn't have a story to tell his dad about the big day at the park. 

Katina, "What was your most favorite part of the day?" 
Asher, "Cuddling in bed with my mom this morning." 

However, much to our surprise, when we returned back home that evening, Rashad, Adam's roommate was heading out, and Asher stopped him on his way to his car to give him a complete play by play of the entire day.  

"And I met a kids who was a bully to his own brother!" (Asher played on the play ground with two boys, the older one kicked the younger in the head at one point when he got in he way.) Rashad, edging down the driveway, "That's great! Wow. Ok, I gotta go."  Asher, emphatically, "I'll tell you more later!"

That kid.


Asher dressed up his bear as a ballerina the other day. He pulled out his navy tights to
dress up as well. I gave him tips on what a guy dancer might wear. He told me that he was starting to think that it would be much funnier if he dressed up like a girl and then went over and surprised Adam and Aaron who were working next store. I tried to talk him into dressing like a boy so I could send a picture to Anika. He agreed that it was a good idea.

Moments later, I was next store with the boys when in walked Asher in a pink tutu and leotard. "Changed you mind?" I asked.

His response, much to the surprise of Aaron and Adam who were unaware of our previous conversation, "I don't want to be a boy!!!!"

He later changed into what he thought made the perfect boy dancer costume and posed for pictures for Anika.



I just discovered Jessica's blog where she has posts about our time in Ethiopia. I miss Jessica and I wish she lived closer!!


Great weekend camping with friends in Oxnard/Ventura near the beach. Not your hiking all day kind of camping. More like your hanging out, eating tons of great food and drinking beer kind of camping. 4 of us girls the first night. 11 more joined us on Saturday. It was great. Best night of sleep Saturday in a hammock under the stars.

Aaron's sick. Slept all day. Doubt it's the Flu. Probably stress induced.

I got a great idea last night while my attention drifted during a lecture. Even more clarity followed soon after while listening to my friends sing. It brought me peace. It made me cry. It made me smile. It made me grateful.

TB patient

Here is a video featuring John, Jana, and Temesgan ("Tom" translating) with a young patient in the clinic in Assosa. It's a little snapshot of working in the clinic.


Had some breakthroughs with the editing today. That's a good thing.

Took the kids to sports class, the two fussy, stomping their feet(Asher), laying on the ground(Clover), kids. After walking all the way to the baseball diamond, had to walk all the way back to the car to drive home for some time-out-time.

Stopped my ever advancing work to make a dinner that nobody wanted to eat. Hmp.

I cannot stomach watching footage from one day in particular. Handing out crayons, coloring paper, and plastic rings to boys and girls. It all seems so cheap. Two crayons, one piece of paper, and a compass ring that doesn't work. Seeing them lined up and wanting, wanting something but given not much at all. I can't write more. Right now I hate it and that's all I can say.

I hate being behind the camera. I hate being at a distance. I hate not talking to the people I'm watching. Sometimes it feels cheap and horrible.

Sometimes. Not all the time. Sometimes.

Sometimes it's wonderful and it's all I want to do.


me: How often would you like to go camping, Asher?
Asher: Every six minutes.
Aaron: That may not be too far off if the Economy continues at this rate.
I briefly try to explain what the economy is to Asher.
Asher: This happened before, where there were only a few people who had houses and lots of people who didn't, but then it changed and more people had houses, but now it may go back to only some people having houses.
me: What?
Asher: Back when only a little bit of people had houses, during the Great Compression... and now there may be another Compression.

oh, my Asher.

Asher, the world famous camper.

For Asher's 5th birthday he received, with much excitement, a sleeping bag, animal tracking book, emergency kit, including a pocket knife, whistle and compass, and some other hiking/camping gear that has now fallen from my memory. Then the poor boy had to wait ten months to finally use the cool gear on his first father son camping trip, which took place this week.

Sometimes Asher introduces himself to people as a toy maker, as in, "Hi. My name is Asher and I'm a toy maker." Other times, he's been known to boast of unique characteristics that set him apart from others, such as his ability to go without sleep for what may amount to years in his young life. But on most occasions, if you ask Asher what he wants to be when he grows up, he will answer, "A famous camper."

I should admit that my early reactions were to tell him that most people who make it in the news for their camping exploits are normally those unlucky fellows who die unfortunate deaths while out in the wild. To my defense, this first discussion coincidentally occurred around the time the the wreckage of James Fossett's private plane was discovered. (For my prosecution,of course, Fossett was flying a private plane, not camping, and although being a famous adventurer, I think a good deal of his fame is linked to the fact that he is a billionaire, so really, it is likely obvious to everyone that I was making a stupid argument, and more importantly and more stupidly making an argument against a little boys dream.)

Ok, now that I've established that I can be a moron, let me say that I do encourage Asher's dream and take him hiking often, and we have introduced him to the TV show Survivorman to spur on his passion and let him know it is possible.

Oh yes, and one more thing. One of the reasons that it took the boys so long to take their trip, besides cold weather and the usual work and procrastination, took place shortly after his birthday when Aaron introduced Asher to the mystery that is the North American Big Foot. Aaron was streaming some doc on the subject while working on the computer, and Asher was quickly drawn into the movie. He was full of questions after the experience. "What do YOU think? Do you think it's just a man dressed up, or do YOU think he's REAL?", types of questions. It wasn't until Harry and the Hendersons stepped in that Asher was confident enough to venture that far into the wild.

And speaking of Harry, yes, for those of you who witnessed Clover at Christmas, opening her very own copy of her beloved movie, she still is quoting him and George to this day.


My friend, Daniela, is currently living in the West Bank. I just read a letter she wrote that I wanted to share.


Having some fun with Clover.