28 March 2008

And I Quote...

I think I have mentioned before my husband's state of delirium at night. He often stirs in bed until I settle down and fall sleep myself. Well, one night (mid-stir) he turned towards me with eyes closed and said very seriously...

"I love you, my wife. You can have all of my micro-machines. I have a lot of them."

Wow. Now that is love.

(Course he doesn't actually have any micro-machines... but it's the thought that counts, huh?)

24 March 2008


We have been battling ants. The last battleground was the length of floor between our bedroom (where the desk sits) and the bathroom. I have filled countless holes with caulk, glue, ant powder, etc. And they persisted for a couple days, but it seems I won the fight on that front.

There are medium black ants that have pinchers that sting. There are small super fast ants that run in crazy patterns. There are small fire ants that has a long-lasting sting. There are teeny food-loving ants that would scale Mount Everest for one solitary crumb of anything.

They number as many stars in the sky and grains of sand in the desert. In fact I believe our house may be held up on nothing but their tiny (but oh-so-strong) backs.

They come out from the grout between the tiles. They come out from teeny holes in the wall no bigger than a pinpoint. They come out from under metal stripping. They come out from behind the washing machine. They come in from windows that don't seal. They come out of anywhere and everywhere. And today, they were coming out of my laptop. Many of them. In fact I am risking some painful stings at this very moment.

The desk is strewn with ant carcasses. I smash them with my finger when they unknowingly exit from the depths of the computer to the open expanse of the desktop where they have no defense.

Ooh... Maybe I am shrinking their colony with each key I press!!


T-A-K-E T-H-A-T !!!!

(uh oh, that means that the inside of my computer will be strewn with ant carcasses?)
What's a girl to do?

23 March 2008

Another Way You Can Tell It's Summer

The water of out of the 'cold' tap is not only not cold, but it is so HOT at certain times of day you could actually receive a second degree burn from it.

21 March 2008


There are many ramifications of globalization in the world today. I see them everyday. Many of them are very serious and worth a lot of thought and consideration. But this post is not about those. It is about the fact that my neighbor parked his van in the road today and blared Celine Dion from the audio system. After Celine came a little Kenny G. And I'm not afraid to admit that I enjoyed both selections!

This is globalization baby!
he he

18 March 2008

Birthday Celebration

They told us that we had to come out to the training center on the 29th. I mean, his birthday does only come once every 4 years. We figured they were planning for us to share lunch with them or something so we packed up the baby and drove the distance to meet with our co-workers. We arrived, and I wondered if my husband had misunderstood the phone call and we weren't really supposed to be out here. Or that instead of stressing out about being an hour late, we should have taken it easy and just been two hours late instead. The tables were empty and the students were still in class. We sat in the shade and occupied ourselves by trying to get our son to laugh. Soon after, the activity slowly started.

Five long plastic tables were placed end to end under the shade covering. One lady broke off a piece of the tree in the courtyard and stuck it in the center of the middle plastic table. (Instant centerpiece.) Two clean glasses were set by a shiny metal tray and wide knife. Gifts were placed by the tree branch. And a box from the bakery was placed on the table as well. We were invited to sit in these 'seats of honor.' Class let out and everyone came to greet us and pinch the baby's cheeks. Everyone was wishing M a "Happy New Year."

In typical African fashion... it wasn't just going to be a meal, but they had planned a full 'program' to commemorate the occasion. So, to start off, we all sang a few songs together. Then a prayer and a student shared a message from the Bible. Then the MC nodded at a young man who had prepared a 'special song.' He began singing and I slowly realized that the tune was Feliz Navidad. Our friends confirmed later that it was a Christmas song, but with a few words changed to fit the day. Nonetheless, I sang along in Spanish with a grin on my face that refused to go away. Then a few friends had gifts, and those were presented in a very formal fashion and a personal speech came along with each presentation. Everyone even insisted that M pose for a picture with the giver as the gift was passed from one set of hands to another. Others shared words of appreciation and love for M and for our family. They spoke from their hearts.

The bakery box was opened and a fancy cake was placed on the metal tray. We were instructed to cut it together using the wide knife and then feed each other a bite. Once again posing for the cameras! Uh, flashback to wedding day!! And then we each had to 'say a few words' to commemorate the day. M shared about his joy in celebrating this day with so many friends, and I too expressed thanks. We both used the sort of formal language that we have learned is appropriate in this situation.

Finally the cake was shared, the tops were popped off of the coke bottles and the meal was served. It was a fabulous time. It was so totally 'African' from beginning to end and such a wonderful celebration of their love and appreciation for my husband.

We are truly blessed and honored to be working here amongst these friends.

17 March 2008

Over the Phone

Hearing my husband's voice over a phone line late at night takes me back...

...The phone would ring at 11pm. It was 9pm where he was, and 9pm is when free nights and weekends began. Yes, we planned our relationship around Verizon's calling plan. HA!

Virtually our entire pre-marriage relationship was long distance. Some might say this is foolish. "How did you know what it was gonna be like to see him every day?" Well, frankly I didn't... but it definately has worked out! I think it did, however, help us learn to talk A LOT. Even now, we share meaningless details about all sorts of things with each other. I think it all began when we talked about so many things over the phone in those days. All we had to share with each other were words.

I would lay in bed in my cozy apartment on the steep Cincinnati street a mile from campus with the lights from the road shining through the window. The hours would fly by. It's such a sweet season in any growing relationship when two people can talk for hours on end, about nothing and about everything. Laughing, contemplating, planning, and then quieting down to such gentle tones as the hours crept on and both became sleepy, yet not wanting to hang up and be separate from each other again. I would hear the softest "goodnight love"... and I'd hang up and snuggle down into the quilts. I'd drift off, finding true warmth from a heart full of peace and love and anticipation of the future with this man that had found his way into my life.

And I still have that feeling each night when I snuggle in next to him...

16 March 2008

Got My Groove Back

I used to make and decorate lots of cakes. I loved it, and often thought that if we had stayed in the U.S., I may have made a go at a weekend cake-decorating business. Once we moved here, for some reason I thought that because of the heat and because of different ingredient availability, that I couldn't decorate. And although it is incredibly hard to find a recipe that produces a cake that will remain moist in this climate... it's possible. And icing ingredients (mainly butter) are quite expensive, but it is available. Anyway, I have recently re-discovered my love for cake decorating!!

Today I hosted a "Farewell-for-now" ladies luncheon in honor of a friend who is leaving us for awhile. I am amazed that it is literally days of work to prepare a nice setting and a simple soup and sandwich menu. But it was great fun and we had a fabulous time.

I was especially pleased with how the tables and cake turned out. This one was a carrot cake with cream cheese icing (made by draining plain yogurt). But now the cake is only a memory lingering in our tummies.

10 March 2008

One Way You Can Tell It's Summer...

You go to light a fragranced candle only to realize that the wax is already melted.

I'm Gonna be an Auntie

Well, I've been waiting for this my whole life (no exaggeration)... I'm gonna be an Auntie!!

My dear sister and her husband are expecting a little bundle in early September, and I COULD NOT be more excited!! My boy is also so excited to have a cousin... they will only be 10 months different in age! He told me he can't wait to drool on him/her and babble together and steal each others toys and pull each others hair and splash together in the tub! He thinks they'll have such fun together!

I think he's right.

06 March 2008


We were out at our training center and had just finished staff meeting. A few of the kids from the neighboring compound were hanging around and saw that we had a baby in a carrier that we were putting in the car. They were asking me questions and all I could understand was the word "ba-last-iic" (plastic). I asked my local friend "what are they asking?" I thought they were asking about his plastic carrier, thinking it was some kind of funny plastic basket or something.

But no. She said "They think the baby is plastic." Seriously? They thought my son was made of plastic.

They hadn't ever seen a foreign baby, but they had seen light-skinned baby dolls. So, they just assumed that since he was a baby with light skin, that he must have been made of plastic like the doll babies for sale in the market.

I assured them that he was not plastic but they did not believe me. I coaxed them one by one to climb into the car with the snoozing baby and touch his skin. Once they got over their fear of climbing into the foreigner's car and they touched the pale skin of his chubby little leg... they finally agreed that indeed, the baby was not made of plastic. He was real.

And then we laughed all the way home...

05 March 2008

In Memory of My Grandma

We all know the familiar creak of the hallway floor and the scent of the laundry room. We know what it’s like to sit on the davenport and see Grandpa in his chair and Grandma in hers. We know that there would be a can of peanuts at his side and a novel at hers. There would be gin and tonic before dinner and coffee after. Sports would undoubtedly be on the television and Grandpa would practice putting on rough orange and yellow ‘greens’ during commercials.

If you ever slept on the living room floor on the second-career red foam mattresses, then you know the way headlights wash through the curtains late at night and move from one wall round to the other. You would expect Grandma to leave the stove light on as a nightlight, and you know that the sound of breakfast preparations would awaken you at an earlier hour than you would have liked. You’d sleepily watch her movements through the cut glass collected along the half wall as she prepared toast and brewed coffee.

If it was your job to store the mattresses in their daytime home behind the wardrobe, you might linger in the back room gazing at the dresser top holding Grandpa’s ceramic tray with watch and golf tee, coins and signature pocket knife. A comforting feeling of reverence for this dear man comes over you as you stand in his dressing room.

Of course, he’s in the shop puttering away as the waves of talk radio float through the wooden door and thin glass window. He’ll probably show you the umbrella hat or pull down the rope from the loft so you can swing a bit while he works. All the while, he repeatedly lifts an old stained can to his lips. Then he’ll take the Dixon for a spin.

You’d wander back inside, pausing to admire the miniature shoes on the windowsill. If Grandma isn’t out back hanging laundry on the line, you’ll most likely find her in the kitchen and you’d hop up on the stool, grab a cookie out of the big glass jar and doodle with the pencil on the scratch paper for awhile. If in Florida, you’d walk with Grandma down the quiet road to collect the mail from the post office or visit a neighbor who has oranges from the orchard to share.

Whether in Mt. Gilead or Zolfo, the afternoon will bring a trip to the golf course. As a child, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to drive the cart, hold the flag, and rake the sand-traps. You might forget their age and think of them as young again as they take a club in their hands and gaze down the fairway. We can still see Grandpa in the green pants and Grandma in her visor and hear the sound of their golf shoes as they cross the parking lot.

Before these carefree days of retirement, life was a long string of adventures. Grandma covered a lot of ground between 1916 and 2008. Some of those experiences we all shared together… like a week in Zolfo Springs when the ‘aliens’ came to celebrate their Golden wedding anniversary. Some other times were shared only by the family of five who cheered on the Trotwood-Madison Rams. Many memories were shared only by the two of them, like the moments before Joy was born that Grandpa had his laboring wife play a few rounds of ping-pong before heading to the hospital. And even more moments, those that were made before she met her lifelong companion were memories for Grandma alone.

We have heard many stories, laughed many laughs and marveled at all the experiences one determined girl from West Sonora can experience in one long, healthy lifetime. Although we are thankful we have these treasured memories; there will be no more. Whatever other experiences, bits of knowledge, wisdom, lessons learned, heartaches and joys that she could have offered to each of us are now seemingly locked up. We’ve learned all we can. What we know now is what we can hold onto. What we share with each other prolongs Grandmas presence in our hearts and in our own lives.

We will remember her… our dear Mother and our dear Grandma, whose warm smile we will still see and whose firm squeeze on our knee we will still feel.

(This was read this afternoon at my Grandma's memorial service halfway around the world.)

02 March 2008

In Loving Memory

This morning our precious Grandma breathed her last breath...