Waiting on the World to Change

Everything is just so weird right now.

  1. The kids went back to Latvia.
  2. My dear buddy Ardeth died.
  3. Suddenly I see that Michael Phelps has crater-sized dimples.

I can’t really decide how I feel about any of it.There’s good stuff and bad stuff involved in each. (Okay, maybe not with Phelps, though he probably at some point endured playground trauma regarding his dimples.)

Mind-numbing amounts of the Olympics makes for excellent self medication. It’s like they organized this ginormous event, just to amuse and distract me.

Alosa and Nastja were psyched to get their picture taken with this police officer. Didn’t I choose a dreamy little specimen? He may have been made of wax.

Big plans were made to load this pic onto Latvian Facebook for all their friends to see. Somehow I don’t think that’s what the Christian hosting agency had in mind.

“Stand in front of the Chrysler Building and make a funny face.” Works for the boy who hates to smile for photos.

The kids were awesome, and we had a terrific time with them. I wanted to zip myself into one of their suitcase and go live in their foster home–a working farm with dairy cows, chickens, milk-producing goats, and a huge organic garden–for a decade or six.

Have you ever heard the story of the Jewish dude whose rabbi advised him, as he lamented how chaotic his home was, to bring in the farm animals for a week? That’s always how I feel after hosting. My regular old life, right here at home, suddenly seems like a walk in the park.

But then I find a pic like this, taken under the Mom radar. They’re surprisingly glowing, for two who spent hours and hours in front of the TV.

Here’s me at the NY Hall of Science. Think anyone will notice if I start reaching up really high all the time? I think it makes me look thinner.

I first met Ardeth about nine years ago, at church. She was already struggling with memory loss. In her final years, Ardeth had big-time Alzheimer’s and lived in the lock-down unit of a nursing home/rehab center. Even with all that to manage, she brought heaps of joy to those around her. We visited her as often as we could. It was a little like church, except with funkier smells and much hooting and hollering (actually, some churches involve that, come to think of it) and sacred gelato runs and lots and lots of funny stories.


She died a couple of weeks ago, while we were all manner of distracted with the parenting of two additional children. She went to a party, said she didn’t feel well, went brought back upstairs to lie down for a nap, and never woke up. I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around that.

I’m not sad that she died. Dementia is hell. Nursing homes are hell. That’s a life nobody would ever choose for themselves. On the flip side, I’ve lost one of my anchors, and am a little more dazed and confused as a result.

We actually have plans to drive our butts back out to Long Beach, which is close to an hour away, to tell the nice Guyanese couple who own our favorite gelato place that she died. They used to give us free truffles. Ardeth was kind of like a Latvian host kid–she tended to bring out the best in people.

This is a very good friend of mine. I will miss her like fire.


It’s not so much that I’m waiting on the big bad world to change, though that would be nice. It’s more the world inside my head, which is sort of dark and loamy at the moment (though nicely punctuated with all manner of Olympics-honed muscles on the teevee).

It’ll change. It always does. And until that happens, I’m waiting.




4 thoughts on “Waiting on the World to Change

  1. Oh Julia…I am sooo sorry to hear about your friend. And then to have all the hullabaloo with the kids at the same time (sigh). Even though I’ve done a lot of “lurking” lately here on your blog, I want to send you a big ole virtual hug ((HUG)). You are super and change lives daily! Keep on keepin’ on 🙂

  2. Hello Julia, I was sooo sorry to hear about Ardeth. She was a very special person. I knew her for a while…or rather, the times that I knew her felt concentrated and close. I’ve been very glad for a long time to hear that she had you appreciating her. Thank you for brightening what must have been a darker part of her life. You are an amazing person who has the ability and strength to lift up those around you…perhaps thats why your hands are in the air….I think you are doing some heavy lifting… an insane gymnastic. Thank you, Julie

  3. Julia, I’m so sorry about Ardeth! I missed the FB update for this blog post and only found it working backward from today’s. My condolences–I know she meant the world to you, and imagine that with the kids gone, it’s really hitting hard now. Let me know if there is anything I can do. Hugs-B

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