Friday, January 22, 2016

A Few Musings on a (Not Quite Snowy Yet) Friday, 1.22.2016

Oh, hi. Did you know that there's going to be a blizzard in the Eastern Seaboard in a couple of hours?

IT'S ALL ANYONE CAN TALK ABOUT RIGHT NOW. My homepage is BBC World News. Guess what the most important news story is? THE BLIZZARD!

I know that it's going to be a big deal. My unused muscles are already tensing up in anticipation of all the shoveling I have to do in a few hours. I went to the store and bought the essentials yesterday.

Coffee. I bought coffee.

(Actually, true confessions about needing essentials...I've been doing a lot of crocheting lately, and before I thought about grocery essentials, I suddenly thought to myself: "Do I need to go to AC Moore to make sure I have enough yarn for my project??" I quickly realized just how ridiculous that thought was - I always have enough yarn, of course.)

But I'm having a lovely morning with that coffee, with a french toast casserole that was supposed to be for a faculty breakfast today baking in the oven and filling my house with good smells, and just enjoying...being. I am really, really good at relaxing.

The snow hasn't started yet, and won't start till later today, but they cancelled school yesterday afternoon by 3:18, even though projections showed snow wouldn't start until the evening today.

I am not complaining at all. This has been a weird week, work wise. It was a 3-day weekend because of the holiday, and then a professional development day, and then Lucy (my dog) had an infection and so I had to take her to the vet on Wednesday and called out. Yesterday was a 2-hour delay because of a clipper snowstorm, and today, no school.

I have only taught 1 day this week.
I could totally get on board with this lifestyle.

Poor Lucy - she came from the shelter with a bad habit of licking her back paw compulsively - the vet says it's a bad habit out of boredom, and not anxiety. When she's alone all day, she licks her paw. I don't know if there was originally a sore there, and so she just got into a habit of licking, but she's had that hot spot on her foot since before I got her. She doesn't really like toys or things, unless there's a human being to play with them, and so even though I leave her chewy things, she's not terribly interested - her paw is more interesting. The last time I took her to the vet, he suggested an e-collar (not sure what the e stands for...emergency?), and said I should get a pillow type (kind of like an airplane pillow). I think the pillow-collar I got only made her want to lick  more because she still managed to lick, so much so that her leg got infected. When I came home on Tuesday, she was favoring the whole side of her body, and lethargic and sad.

Therefore, I am never having children, because I was so weepy with my dog being sick, there's no way I can handle a child - a baby! - being sick. Good thing that's not really a possibility at the moment, but I'm just letting everyone know.

Cone of Shame, producing an Eeyore effect for a few days...
She is doing much better - sadly, she has to wear a big lampshade-cone-of-shame for a while till the sore clears up. I'm not sure what to do in the long run about the compulsion. I don't want her to have to wear a cone collar when alone for the rest of her life, but at the same time, I have tried other stuff to keep her from licking. I tried a bitter spray, which she hates - hates so much she licks it off.
Making it work

Silly Lucy!

So, it's January, and basically the presidential election is all anyone can talk about (well, hit pause for a blizzard - resume in three or five days). I've been fortunate enough to have missed the last 2 presidential elections, and it's been marvelous. I feel like I'm paying for it now because Donald Trump.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I really don't enjoy politics at all (well, maybe they don't know that - I keep my mouth shut around political conversations). I vote, because I believe it's my civic duty, but never with very much enthusiasm for whatever candidate I vote for. I know I'm not a republican, but I know I'm not a democrat, either. And I know that in this election I don't feel comfortable voting for either parties' current front-runners.

And I'm just so tired of the dog-and-pony (elephant-and-donkey) show already. I know I am not saying anything new or adding anything particularly thoughtful into the void that is the conversation about American politics. I wish that everyone could, at the end of the day, just be kind to one another. I'm not trying to sound naive - perhaps I do sound naive - perhaps there is no other way for educated adults to conduct themselves other than shaming and maligning one another publicly to convince other adults to vote for them. I feel deeply uncomfortable with the way that people in politics try to destroy one another just to get ahead. So, though I obviously don't know who will be the candidates for either party, I really don't know who I'll vote for (even though it's only January - but we are not allowed to think about anything else...).

A week ago there was a terrorist attack in the capital of Burkina Faso, a little-known country in West Africa. I've lived in West Africa most of my life - indeed, I was even born there, and I've never been to Burkina, nor had any particular need or desire to go there. This attack came about two months after a similiar attack on an expatriate-frequented hotel in Bamako, Mali, the city and country where my parents work. Burkina was different - among the more than two dozen dead, a missionary was killed. In addition to this American missionary, six Canadians were killed who were in Burkina on short-term mission trips. Their deaths were no more tragic than anyone else who was killed in either attack, but it felt a lot more close to home than even the one in Bamako. How easily could it have been someone I know personally (they weren't)? How easily could it have been one of my parents, out for a coffee with a friend as a treat in a more western-style cafe on a slow Friday afternoon?

That same day, two Australian missionaries were kidnapped from their home in northern Burkina. And in Mali, a Swiss missionary woman was kidnapped in Timbuktu (for the 2nd time).

I'm not afraid for my parents - I never have been, really. I am a worrier, and I though know my parents are okay, somehow the loss of this American missionary keeps clanging around inside of my head. My parents, like the missionary who was killed, work overseas with the understanding that they will face dangers and may possibly give up their lives for the gospel. It's relatively easy to say that, harder when the reality of those dangers becomes more and more feasible.

I'm not laying awake nights worrying for them - I'm simply slowly shifting my perception of Mali - and indeed, West Africa - from safe to not-quite-safe, that is all. God has protected my parents for 31 years overseas - and they've had some dangerous situations - and will continue to protect them. I think in particular of all the near-misses my dad has had because of his peanut allergy - perhaps God called him to a country where a main staple is peanuts to show that God is sovereign, even over something as seemingly mundane (and deadly, in my dad's case) food allergies. But it's hard, still, to be here, safe-and-relatively-sound in America (despite the impending snowpocalypse in the offing...), and know that my parents are risking their lives. We're all risking our lives every time we walk out of our house - every time we take a shower, for goodness sake's - so perhaps it's no more risk than any of us have around us. But it feels a lot more tangible and real, much  more real than the possibility of slipping in the shower, or choking on a grape with on one around to perform the Heimlich.

Say a prayer for the families who lost loved ones in the attack in Ouagadougou (pronounced Wah-Gah-Doo-Goo).

Sorry to close on such a somber note. My french toast casserole is done, and so it's time for my 2nd cup off coffee, a generous serving of deliciousness, and snuggling up under the blankets with my book and my dog. For those of you in the path of the storm - stay safe, and warm, friends! See you when we dig ourselves out....