Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Ellen is one of my best friends. She is shy about me talking about her, but she probably can't complain that I want you to know that she is a thoughtful, generous person who has committed her working life to helping women have safe and wonderful pregnancies and births. (She certainly did that for me.)
Ellen has gotten involved with an important volunteer project and I am sharing it with you in the hopes that you would also see its importance, and do what you can to help.
Ellen is part of a committed group of doctors, nurses and midwives that have partnered with a hospital in Gimbie, Ethiopia on a project called "Footsteps to Healing." It is an effort to improve women’s health and decrease maternal morbidity and mortality through health care provision and local capacity building in rural Ethiopia. (In lay terms, they are sending people to Ethiopia to do surgeries and to help the women and clinicians plan for the future.)
Lack of trained health providers in rural Ethiopia contributes to alarmingly high maternal mortality and morbidity from preventable causes such as postpartum hemorrhage, infection, hypertensive diseases of pregnancy and obstructed labor. Donations will support collaboration between Gimbie Adventist Hospital (GAH) and Oregon Health and Science University to provide training to Ethiopian providers in the areas of safe pregnancy and delivery, management of obstetric emergencies, gynecologic surgery and family planning.
The sustainable partnership includes work with GAH College of Health Sciences to assist in formal educational training of nurses and midwives, collaborative improvement of clinical practice and research, and provision of training in gynecologic surgery technique especially in the management of uterovaginal prolapse and obstetric fistula.
I feel especially interested in the success of this project because it is both an effort to improve women's health now and to build the local residents' capacity to improve their own lives. I have been thinking about this a lot, especially after Holly wrote about misguided efforts to help those in need in ways that objectify those they are supposed to be helping, alienate them or just plain show the ignorance of the "helpers". (If by some crazy chance you don't already read Cold Spaghetti, read this and then this.)
The Footsteps to Healing project is the opposite. The clinicians that will travel to Ethiopia will provide direct assistance to women in the community. They will also be doing a needs assessment by talking with the patients and the local midwives and nurses about things like how the American clinicians can partner with their Ethiopian counterparts to improve women's health and safety long-term. They will be talking to people, not bond with the women or to make art inspired by their trip, but to figure out how they can help make positive change in collaboration with the women and clinicians of Gimbie.
The project is hosted through a great non-governmental organization called Global Soul International.
What the team is doing
The OHSU clinicians are raising money to send 7-9 people to Gimbie, Ethiopia: two attending physicians, one fellow, two nurse anaesthetists, one or two scrub nurses, one or two midwives, and a resident. Over a two week period the docs and nurses will do 3 to 4 gynecologic surgeries a day (around 40 over two weeks). The surgeries will help women with uterovaginal prolapse (weakened or collapsed uterus) and obstetric fistula (break between the vagina and anus or bladder). The last group that went to Ethiopia to do these surgeries was met by women camping out overnight to reserve a place in line for a surgery and women literally dancing for joy after receiving surgery. This is a small 70 bed hospital with one obstetrician on staff. It means a lot to have a team of doctors, nurses and midwives come to conduct surgeries here.
2 attending physicians, one fellow two nurse anaesthetists, one or two scrub nurses, one or two midwives and a resident. We are shooting for 3-4 cases a day, probably 20/week x 2 weeks
The team plans to send surgeons, nurse anesthetists, an ob-gyn, nurses, a few residents and 1-2 midwives. In addition to conducting surgeries, the team will conduct a needs assessment by talking with women and the hospital staff about what they need (birth support, labor preparation, birth control, etc). The midwives will be working with the dean of the school of nursing (herself a midwife) to help figure out how they can work together to meet the hospital's and women's long term needs. This includes establishing a local midwife training center in order to improve women's health through pregnancy and childbirth.
So here is the part where I say: please help.
There are actually a lot of things you can do.
(1) Have a book club? Ask your book club to join with the many others that are reading the novel Cutting for Stone. You can donate the money you would have spent on snacks.
(2) Even better, buy your copies of Cutting for Stone (or any book) through Powell's Books online using this link and 10% of your purchase will go to the Footsteps to Healing Project. ANY book you buy through this link will give money to the project. You should be buying your books through Powell's anyway, because they have everything.
(3) Set up an account with GoodShop (with Global Soul as your charity of choice) and your online shopping can lead to 2-5% donations from major retailers at no cost to you. A few extra clicks can make a big difference!
(4) Host a dinner. I know many of you are wonderful cooks and love to spend time with your friends and family over a long meal. Invite people over for dinner and ask them to donate what they would have paid to go out to dinner.
(5) Learn more: For more information on the state of women's health in Ethiopia you can download this publication (for free!)
(6) And of course, you can donate directly. Any amount will be appreciated. A gift of $175 covers the cost of prolapse surgery, hospitalization and post-surgical care for one woman. Follow this link to donate by paypal via the Global Soul website. (Click the "donate" link on the site.)
One more thing, for those of you who live in Portland:
Attend the August 4 showing of the award-winning documentary “A Walk to Beautiful”. This film follows five Ethiopian women as they seek treatment for vesico-vaginal fistula, an all too common complication of vaginal childbirth in developing countries.
Where: Hollywood Theater, 4122 Northeast Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR
When: August 4th, 2010. Doors open: 6:30pm, movie begins: 7:00pm.
Entrance Fee: $10.00
Donations: Any donation above the entrance fee will be much appreciated. Donations can be made at the door or online via the paypal link under the donation tab at globalsoulinternational.org. (Designate the OHSU-Gimbie project in the pay pal message or mail to GlobalSoul International, Gimbie/OHSU project. 6416 SW Corbett Avenue, Portland, OR 97239. Tax exempt receipts will be provided.)
Thank you, from me and the clinicians working to help the women of Gimbie.
Thank you for reading this, for supporting this important cause, and for taking action where you can. This work means a lot to many women. The fact that we will never meet these women does not mean their health and welfare are any less important.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
One night in June, the babies were in bed and Ada was already in her pajamas. I whispered, "Hey Ada, let's go try out Tera's new bike!"
She wasn't sure, but she followed me outside as we found our shoes and helmets. When I dawdled a bit looking for my sweater and wallet, Ada called to me to hurry, hurry hurry!
We got the bike, and as I started up our street Ada exhorted me to not go on the very bumpy street. I promised and we made our way down the more newly paved streets in our neighborhood. Three blocks into our trip, Ada declared, "I want a bike like this one!" By the time we made it to the bank, Ada was ecstatic, jumping around in her pajamas with the joyful enthusiasm I had hoped she'd feel about the experience.
On the way back I took a different route, but Ada did not mind the bumps. She loved the downhill and insisted I try a short but steep uphill nearby. Amazingly, getting up the hill was easy. (Part of it is our pal Tera's super-light bike, but Ada on the xtracycle didn't add much to the load.)
Last night I picked up my bike from the local bike shop that did the conversion for us. After the babies were in bed, Ada and I hopped on and took it for a spin. I think she cackled the entire ride. Just wait until we go for ice cream on that thing; her joy could send her so high that I will have to peel her off the ceiling.
Truth be told, I am pretty thrilled too.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Looking down at Ian, I told Chris, "he is close to defeating that." ("That" being a small table we've put in front of our mess of internet and stereo cords, rather than actually finding a way to hide them away for good.)
It was at that moment that it hit me: the world is Ian's video-game.
Ian spends a good part of each day climbing face first over the couch and chair arms, making a circuit around the living room. Now things are set to get worse. Ian's learned to walk. Lucky for us, he isn't in full out run mode yet. He can stand up on his own, and can stay up for a while (especially if he has something in his hands). He can take a few steps on his own, and happily crab-walks if Chris or I holds his hands. But he's not yet asking for help walking, or wandering around on his own.
We aren't pushing him down when he stands, but we aren't actively encouraging this walking thing either.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Now that Ada is so fun to be around most of the time (WOW is 5 better than 4) we have been doing a lot of projects. You can pretty much get Ada to try anything if you call it a "project." (As in, "Hey, I have this project I want to try. Do you want to help?" She is crazy for projects.)
We engage in these projects during Ian and Mira's nap times. As the babies are mobile but not terribly easily controlled, it is easiest to get out the paint or glue while they are asleep.
This week we enjoyed corn syrup painting
The painting was fun for both of us, but it predictably led to Ada making potions by mixing all the paint colors and returning the mix to the corn syrup bottle. Good thing corn syrup paint flows REALLY SLOWLY.
A couple of weeks ago we made a paper contraption. Well, I made one while Ada used her paper triangles to build imaginary miniature tents and other constructions. Which was just as entertaining.
But. There is so much more I want to do. Where the hell are my crafty friends Ann and Mike when I need them?
I want to use this idea to fix up my nightstand, making it a wallpaper-embellished nightstand.
I also love this simple (and in retrospect, obvious) idea for using fabric markers to personalize napkins or other cloth items. I think Maggie may have done something like this last year.
I also need a laptop sleeve (if I am going to bring a computer to Blogher, I really should get on this). Then again, with my new phone (I gave and replaced my decrepit mobile with an iphone) I could avoid bringing the laptop entirely.
Oh, and I think I want to make this on the next cool day. Maybe in the fall? Maybe I could just make regular s'mores on the grill.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Our pal Monkey Boy is very interested in scary things right now, especially dangerous animals. He's created his own book of the world's most dangerous animals, complete with names and drawings. He is a fantastic encyclopedia of dangerous animal facts. At dinner the other night, Ada and Monkey Boy were talking about another of MB's favorite topics, Scooby Doo. Ada was interested in watching some episodes but MB thought they might be too scary for her.
Ada: I'm not afraid of anything!
MB: What about bad guys?
A: Only if they hurt me.
MB: Are you scared of bombs?
A: Only if they hit me.
MB: Are you scared of the gruncher? (launches into a description of its smoky, fiery fearsomeness)
A: The gruncher is NOT real!
MB, undeterred: Are you scared of 200 bombs and they are circling you?
A: And it exploded next to me?
A: I said I'm not scared of anything!
MB, without missing a beat: There's a snail called the marbled cone snail and it is one of the most dangerous animals! Are you afraid of a marbled cone snail?
Sunday, July 11, 2010
On being a 13 month old twin:
Pro: It isn't always you getting the diaper change.
Con: Parents who think "as long as I am changing one..."
Con: Divided parental attention.
Pro: Divided parental attention.
Pro: Nothing isn't yours!
Con: The food on his tray looks better than mine.
Pro: Wait, I can reach his tray!
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
New favorite impromptu summer dinner (brought to you by the people who scooped up Ada and took her away for a play-date turned sleep-over): Fava bean and sausage pasta with cilantro pesto.
So worth the annoyance of shelling, par boiling, shelling again and sauteing fava beans. Everything else was easy easy easy.
Pro tip: check your teeth for little green bits before smiling lovingly at your husband as he hands you a lemonade and rye cocktail.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Top to bottom:
- awesome enthusiastic and goofy grin
- shirt, which I painted on several years ago, not meant to be 3/4 sleeves
- tiered skirt I sewed at Ada's request (she chose the fabrics from my scrap pile - can't say I would have put the top one with the others, but it is her skirt). Looking at this photo is is clear I should have made the top tier a little less wide, but the pattern I loosely based this on had the top tier much wider than the others. Maybe on purpose? Is that the style?
- pajama pants worn as regular pants (and never as pajamas)
- sparkly princess shoes, worn out at the toes and maybe a little small but still beloved
Per Kelly's request, here is a shot of the dress I made with the two bottom fabrics I used for Ada's dress.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
As I (and everyone in the western half of Oregon) has complained endlessly for a month, the rain lasted on and on here. We were spared rain on the 4th of July, but it was touch and go for a while there. Black (the color for June) sort of suited the crabby "why the hell won't it stop raining" mood many of us have been in lately.
The challenge of black was learning to feel okay about the fact that the black in many of my pictures is not the most interesting thing in the picture. Much of the time black forms the background for what I am really interested in. This is a good example; black doors that form the canvas for a large white graffitti painting. Sometimes I found black things that I really liked (like the chickens that live around the corner) but this month involved a little stretching in terms of how the month's color is featured in the pictures.
July is red. So far, so good.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
In case anyone had any doubts, the beach was great. When I arrived I joined Ellen and the kids on the sand for a while and then we went on to dinner. After their bath, the kids got sparklers and chocolate chip cookies and several chapters of a book. Ellen and I got scotch and porch-sitting and the rare time to sit and talk. We all slept in. (Ada slept until the mind-blowing hour of 10am!) While the kids played, I worked and sat in a tub and worked then chatted with Ellen before we all ate dinner and Ada and I headed out for home.
I took a bunch of pictures (some with my diana lens, hence the atmospheric/fuzzy shots):
Although the time was very peaceful and the kids all played well together, there were some great moments of kid "negotiation" like this one:
N: Let's play Ivy and Bean and you are my sister, Ada.
Monkey Boy: No, I am not playing that, I am playing Narnia.
N: I want to play Ada's my sister and we find this little alligator.
Ada: (Spinning on her toes watching her skirt twirl around her)
Ave: There is no alligator in Narnia! (to Ellen:) I want to play something that I want because they want to play what they want.
N: how about we are in Narnia and we went to the pet store and bought a baby alligator?
MB: No! You are not being very nice! Because Narnia does not involve alligators! It involves people!
Ellen: well, there ARE talking animals in Narnia. Maybe we just have not met a talking alligator yet.