Monday, November 30, 2009

Poised to Fly Home...

We just got a call from Dr. M’s Aunt J. His mother has possibly had another stroke & is now unresponsive. She may not live more than a week or two. I am so glad that he got to spend quality time with her on Saturday. She recognized him and was happy to see him – it’s a good memory.

Dr. M thought
his family was more
dysfunctional than most.

He thought.

But she welcomed me
with open arms &
I knew that they were just fine.

Just shows you can’t judge
a family from the inside.

And that his mother had
excellent taste.

I’ll miss you Frances
almost as much as your
son will.


I’m too full of pecan pie to write something meaningful, with an actual narrative, so I’m jotting down random thoughts about the holiday just past:

  • I’m thankful for a lovely meal with my dad’s family. I don’t want to offend any of the womenfolk, but my Cousin Josh’s chocolate chip pecan pie was the absolute best thing about the meal. Well, that & my nephew (B2) climbing up into the tree to hang my dad’s star. The neighbors were probably wondering why 30 people were milling about daddy’s yard staring up into the sky.
  • I’m thankful that I thought I smelled marshmallows toasting & happened to mention it, which sent daddy into the basement where he found that a pillow had been tossed up against the stove & was minutes away from conflagration. Yikes!
  • I’m thankful that Dr. M spent some quality time with his folks & came up with some strategies to help in this difficult time. And I’m thankful that the nursing home where his mother lives seems to be the perfect place for her right now.
  • I’m thankful that I had some catch-up time with my cousin Kim – we could probably talk for 8 hours straight & not run out of things to say. And they’re all important things! Really!
  • We traveled back Saturday evening, getting home a little after 11:00. I had planned to enjoy looking at Christmas lights. But let me tell you, there are not very many homes along I-77, I-64 or I-35. Very dark country that is (except for the gleaming capital dome in Charleston, WV). So I spent a lot of time keeping deer watch. Thankfully, the ones that we saw decided not to have a close encounter with our windshield.
Lastly, an open letter to a rest area.

Dear Mile Marker 59 Rest Area:

You are beautiful to behold. Your landscaped grounds are soothing and lovely. Your automatic toilet paper, automatic flush, automatic water, automatic soap & automatic hand dryer are wonderfully hygienic. There’s just one problem. I might be am probably exaggerating, but I do believe that walking the length of a football field and up a number of steps to get to your facility is cruel & unusual punishment. I waited for two hours to get to you. Do you really think that I should have to earn Weight Watchers Activity Points just to make use of your services? Next time I believe I’ll hold out for your more humble cousin down the road.

Love, The Bug

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sundays in Zambia

This African Sky –

it mocks me.
I dream big
and glare.
It reaches inside
my head and I can
see forever how
very small I am.

I want…
and the sky


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gone South

You know how
some folks leave
at the crack of dawn?
Um, no.

We piddle around
and play on the computer
and remember 9 last
minute absolute necessities.

By 10:00 we’ll be
barreling down I-35
headed to home.
It’ll always be home.

There’ll be hugs and
laughter and sadness,
playing with a new baby
and pie

It’s the place
and the people
who sent us forth.
We’ll carry them

back to Ohio
after our days
of giving thanks
to the God who sustains us.

This is my father's family (he's the bored kid in front in the white shirt and tie). My grandmother is the tall woman in white, standing in the back. To her right is my grandfather.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
See you on Sunday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Random Dozen Meme - The A Day Early Thanksgiving Edition

If it's Wednesday Tuesday of a holiday week, it must be time for the Random Dozen Meme from "Lidna" at 2nd Cup of Coffee. If you want to participate just go to Linda's site to link up.

1. Are you sticking to traditional Thanksgiving foods this year, or are you being culinarily adventurous? We’re going to my Dad’s for thanksgiving & I’m pretty sure it will be traditional. I’m not making a thing. Well, I might make my chocolate chip pumpkin muffins – but we sure won’t need them. My dad’s wife Amy always has enough food for an army - & she’s not the only one cooking. We’re getting the forklift ready to load me into the car when it’s time to come home.

2. Tell me something concrete that you're thankful for. (Something you can literally touch, see, etc., not a concept like "hope.") I’m thankful for Dr. M’s job & our new life in our new town. We’ve waited a lot of years to get to this point – I’m so glad we’re not disappointed in the results!

3. You knew the flip side was coming: Share about something intangible that you're thankful for. I’m thankful for the resilience of the human spirit. We always yearn and that alone can pull us up from the depths.

4. Share one vivid Thanksgiving memory. It doesn't have to be deep or meaningful, just something that remains etched in your memory. Until recent years, Dr. M &I spent many Thanksgivings with just each other. I remember the year we decided to have a traditional meal that we gave each other. Well, we didn’t cook a whole turkey, but we fixed the things we wanted. I enjoyed how the day felt special with just the two of us.

5. What is one thing that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt is going to happen this Thanksgiving because it always does, year after year? I will try valiantly to not overeat & I will fail miserably. Daddy – you do have plenty of Tums on hand don’t you? Also, my sister-in-law B will try to get me to go shopping with her the day after. I say “a pox on thee!” Not gonna happen. No way. No how. Maybe.

6. Do your pets get any left-overs? Yep – Daddy’s two outside dogs will have quite a feast!

7. Does your family pray before the big meal? If so, do you join hands while seated, stand, repeat a formal prayer or offer a spontaneous prayer? Who does the praying? Yes, we always pray. We’ll all stand around trying to decide & then make Vivian pray. Or maybe Ken. We’ll see.

8. Will you be watching football in the afternoon? If not, what will you be doing? We’ll probably be eating while the football is on. And we might have the TV on in the background. Go Raiders! Let’s win two in a row! Wow, that would make the season 4 & 7!

9. There are two distinct camps of people on this issue: How do you feel about oysters in the dressing/stuffing? I don’t like stuffing (after years of trying to figure out how I couldn’t like a dish made of bread I finally realized that I don’t like sage) and I don’t like oysters, so I’m going with no!

10. Do you consider yourself informed about the first Thanksgiving? Yes I do – just got a refresher from some blog recently… hmmm… who was it? Oh yeah – Brenda at Days of my Life!

11. Which variety of pie will you be enjoying? All of them! But especially pecan (the ooey gooey Karo Syrup kind!). And if there isn’t pecan pie I will cry.

12. Do you feel for the turkey?? (This is a humorous throw back question related to the 12th question in another Random Dozen!) Nope! I’m not a huge turkey eater anyway – I might go with the ham this year. Or, you know, I might eat both. Who am I kidding? It’ll be both. Boy, I already feel REALLY full!

Looking back on these answers I think I need to do an intervention with myself regarding the holiday. Here are some rules guidelines:

• I’m going to be there until Sunday. There is no need to eat EVERYTHING in one sitting. Pace myself.

• Focus on spending time with family instead of on the food (this will be HARD).

• We focus a lot on giving thanks to God, & that’s GOOD, but I want to remember to personally thank the people too.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Quiet Room

A quiet room

tapping keys.
A million miles away
I hear that insistent call
to action

I could give coins
to ERD
or to the red kettle

But where shall
I give

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sundays in Zambia

My original journeyman housemate, Rebecca, was a musician. She was part of a singing group, Love Ministry, and asked me if I wanted to participate. I love music & sang a lot at church so I thought it would be a lot of fun. It was fun, but I have no rhythm. As in they were swaying left & I was swaying right. I stood out like a sore thumb. And I couldn’t really sing at the level of these folks. So I only did it for a short while.

On this particular day I was invited along for their annual picnic. I can’t remember where we went, but there was obviously a body of water there. It was a day trip so it was close to Lusaka. We had a lot of fun. We ate food, I assume, although I don’t remember what & I don’t have any pictures us eating (which is VERY strange because I tend to remember food before I remember faces). We played a string game where we worked in pairs trying to extricate ourselves from each other. That was hilarious. We went on a boat ride. I got a really bad sunburn (you can see in one picture where they made me put my chitengi on my head to protect my face & arms). And (this is where you can tell this outing happened in Africa & not NC) I got infested with putzi flies. I tell that story here. We don’t really want to go into all that again right now, do we?

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Bug is All About the Number (and talking about herself in the 3rd person)

My crazy behavior has begun again (um, this is different crazy behavior sweetie). This morning in the shower I was debating whether or not to shave my legs. Would that small amount of hair make a difference? I decided that grooming is good whatever the result (right).

On the way to work I did not eat my breakfast, and only took small sips of water. I decided that not only did my jeans not feel looser – they feel tighter than they did last week (yes I wore the same jeans – to be consistent!).

I walked into A’s office with trepidation & started disrobing. Off went the boots, the earrings, the lanyard, the jacket. And with one eye shut I stepped on the scale. I may have fleetingly thought about lying to you guys if I didn’t like the number. Fleetingly. Really.

I’m three pounds down (if I were lying it would be more like 1 pound – no one who knows me would believe THREE).

I’ve been thinking about why the number means so much to me. Why I compulsively need to step on the scale at least once a day. Why I have my weigh in rituals & why I feel cheated when I’m unable to do any of the rituals.

I’m a Weight Watchers warrior, a veteran. And I know my body. In order to live a normal life while also trying to be healthy I typically lose less than a pound a week. Sure those ounces add up. And after 160 of them are gone I can actually tell in my clothes. But for me those 10 pounds might take three or more months. That’s a long time to keep doing what you’re doing without some tangible result. If I didn’t record those ounces on a weekly basis I would just give up on week two, convinced that nothing was happening.

I want to be healthy & eat good things for my body. But right now, with 60 pounds to lose & arthritis in my hip, my priority is to lose weight. It’s gonna be a long slow haul people – I hope you’re prepared to hear my weigh in ritual story every week. And I promise to not lie. If I gain, I’ll tell you. If I lose .2 (a regular happening in the past), I’ll tell you. If I lose three pounds again, I’ll faint first, then I’ll tell you!

Note: I won’t be in the office next week so I won’t be weighing in. Sure my Dad has a scale. But am I making myself crazy by weighing in the day after Thanksgiving? Not a chance!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Bug is Free! Well, in a little while anyway...

It has been a little over 3 months since my shoulder surgery. The last time I saw my surgeon, a month ago, he took my arm & moved it around & seemed displeased with my progress - & told me that swimming would be the best thing for me! The next day I asked my physical therapist about swimming – he said that I was not ready to try to do that yet. Which is good, because I’m not sure how I was going to manage to swim without putting my arm over my head – maybe the butterfly, or that Australian crawl? I don’t swim well at the best of times – I can just see the fiasco that would be the Bug in the pool with no overhead arm motion. Cleanup in Lane 5!

That made me feel a bit better about my progress – as usual, the surgeon is pie in the sky & why aren’t you swimming the English Channel, whereas reality is are you able to pull your hair back in a ponytail yet (the answer is yes!).

Yesterday I saw my surgeon again for another follow-up. They took an x-ray which apparently looked fabulous. He said, how bout we say I’ll see you when I see you! I thought that sounded extra fine. But there was the little matter of my physical therapist’s recommendation that I have another 6 weeks of therapy. And the fact that Dr. M & I had already discussed that I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be. So I told Dr. Surgeon that I thought I wanted to follow my PT’s advice. He agreed – admitting that the PT knows best at this point (duh!).

But then I’m DONE. Whatever my arm can do after six more weeks is what it can do. I’ll keep doing my home exercises, but as of Christmas, I’m finished with going somewhere I pay people to torture me. Merry Christmas to me!

This photo is from Christmas 2006 - note the doll on the dresser - my cousin the potter made the head & hands, & her mother made the dress from pieces of my Mom's wedding dress. Yes, that's supposed to be me - I think it's a pretty good likeness, but I'm afraid someone will use it as a voodoo doll someday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random Dozen Meme, and I Won, You Win Winner!

1. If you could master one sport, what would it be? Does ping pong count? I use to love to play when I was younger (& had access to a table), but I wasn’t super fabulous at it, just better than people expected so I would sometimes win. But I would LOVE to be a world-class ping pong player. Wow, I really am super geek.

2. When you make a major purchase, do you go with your gut instinct, or do you do research to make an informed decision? I make Dr. M do the research & then he’s the one who gets to decide since he did all the work. I know, a major cop out! I think if I had to do it myself I would narrow down my choices with research & then go with my gut instinct to make the final selection.

3. There is an old kids' game that says you can find out what your movie star name would be by using your middle name as your first name and the name of the street you grew up on as your last. What is your movie star name? Well, this isn’t much fun – my maiden name is Wallace & the street I grew up on was Wallace Dairy Road! So I’d be Marie Wallace Dairy. Heh. Sounds like a character actor to me.

4. Would you rather give up your favorite music or your favorite food? This is hard! I rarely listen to music since I listen to books on tape – but I don’t know that I’d want to give any of it up. But food! For my health I should say I’d give up the food. This is my not happy to give up food face.

5. There are two types of banana preferences. One is pristine yellow, almost to the point of being green; the other is spotty and more ripe. Which is your preference? Banana bread! No? Ok, then it needs to be ripe enough that you can actually peel the thing, but I don’t like brown spots.

6. Your favorite tree is? Christmas tree!

7. On a scale of 1-10, how tech savvy are you? I’m an 8 I think – except that I’m not moving with the times. I don’t know how to text, twitter or DVR.

8. Has H1N1 touched your family? Not that I know of – yet!

9. Are you an analytical person, or do you just accept things the way they are without questioning or scrutinizing? Analytical – this was especially evident when I was a child & had all these questions about the Bible…

10. Is your personality more like that of a dog, cat, or Koala? Hmmm, another toughie. I’m going to go with cat – leave me alone & let me do my thing. I’m gonna do it behind your back anyway…

11. Do you keep in touch with friends you made years ago? Yes - three friends from college (well, one of them is my cousin Kim so I’ve known her from birth). We try to get together around Christmas every year to have a meal & exchange gifts. I missed the year I was in Zambia, but I don’t remember missing any others. So that’s, what 25 years now? Hi Sherri & Jenny & Kim (and assorted hangers on otherwise known as your families)! Have you bought your ornaments yet? I have perused, but not purchased...

12. You are checking out at a grocery store. In the express lane, there are more people than the regular lanes, but of course, their load is less than those in the regular lanes. Which lane do you choose (assuming you qualify for the express lane) and why? I go with the self checkout lane. Oh, that wasn’t an option? Boy you’re strict. The express lane for me – I just think it will go faster than the grocery carts filled to the brim.

Be Still and Know

OK, now it's time to announce the winner of the I Won, You Win carnival. I put all six of the names in a lovely pottery basket & made Dr. M do the honors. The winner is Amy!! Congratulations!

P.S. I'm very conflicted about the floss - I have some teeth that are very close together, but I think the wax flakes off & gets lodged in there. I've started using Reach Gentle Gum Care Mint Woven Floss. I think it works best.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Won, You Win Carnival

Be Still and Know

Last month I put my name in the hat to participate in this carnival, begun by Robin at Be Still and Know, and then passed along by Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee. And I won! I know, I was amazed too. The prize was the opportunity to read a book (Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes by Robin Jones Gunn), make notes about the parts I liked best, & then pass it along to another "Sisterchick." Here is Robin's original concept:

As I finished the book up the other day I began to think about the two women the story centers around.

The story begins with two pen pals in elementary school and they continue with there friendship for many, many years through letters and emails, but they have never actually met, not until things change for the main character. Her life takes an unexpected turn and she finds herself face to face with her long time pen pal.

I began to think of the similarities between the two women in the book and all of you, my fellow bloggers.

As members of this unique internet community we enter into each other lives as we read each others posts, as we comment, share encouraging words or just a well needed giggle now and then.

But what I enjoyed as I read this book was the depiction of the friendship these two women shared. They had been intimately involved in each other lives but had never been in the same room with each other, never shared a cup of coffee over the kitchen table, never wept in each other arms. Yet they still shared in the deep bonds of friendship.

The relationship the two women in this book have is a real friendship, as real as friendships get.

I found the similarities between the book and the blogosphere to almost mirror each other.

The idea for “I Won…You Win” is two fold.

Once a winner is chosen I will send the book out into the blogosphere.

My hope is that whoever wins it will keep the “I Won…You Win” giveaway going.

The second requirement is once you have finished the book place your blog address on the inside cover, as well as the date you finished the book and then continue the “I Won…You Win” Giveaway on your blog.

Link back to me in your giveaway. Let’s see where this takes us.

I also want to encourage everyone who reads the book to mark your favorite chapter in the book with a note in the margin telling future readers why you enjoyed the chapter. Use your imagination, tuck a special note in the pages or a pretty bookmark, but put “yourself” somewhere in the pages of the book.

I am so excited to send this out into the blogosphere.

Let the giveaway begin!

I’ve finished the book (a quick and enjoyable read) & I’m ready to pass it along. If you’d like to participate, just leave a comment, with the answer to the following question.

Dental Floss: Waxed, or not?

I’ll announce the winner on the Wednesday meme. Good luck!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sundays in Zambia

I decided to save the story of my airplane trip to Zambia for another day (maybe someone will have a meme about terribly traumatic travel experiences & I’ll tell it then). Suffice it to say that there were canceled flights, icy airports, lost luggage, coin operated showers, and sleeping on top of carry-on bags involved. I thought that perhaps you might be wondering when is she ever going to post some pictures of Zambia? Is this, or is this not, supposed to be a Sunday in Zambia? Okay, okay, here you go!

One of the first things I had to do once I arrived (other than learn my actual job & borrow clothes from my house-mate Rebecca until my luggage arrived) was to find a church. I know! I was amazed that I wouldn’t be able to sleep in on Sundays too! I visited a lot of different churches, or maybe two. There was the bigger congregation where the pastor was one of the missionaries. It had a lot of diversity – missionary families and Zambians. But it reminded me too much of the churches back home. I wanted something different. And there was the church where Rebecca taught Sunday School – a tiny concrete block with a dirt floor. There was a lot of joy in that church, but they didn’t really need me.

I ended up going to the small informal Bible study that the campus ministry missionary had for the University of Zambia students. They wanted me to play piano. I was adequate not too bad TERRIBLE. And I wasn’t very good at teaching or leading Bible studies either. Really, what I was good at, was my job. Witnessing & what one would consider to be traditional mission work? Not so much. I’ve always wondered what strange magic made the Foreign Mission Board pick me for this work. Perhaps that magic was God.

I didn’t take any pictures at the student center (what the heck!), so here are some pictures from the church where Rebecca taught.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wherein Bug Notices Her Body (it's about time!).

I weigh more now than I ever have in my entire life. I’m 5’4” & my current weight is ____. Did you really think I’d tell you? My family & friends are going, well yeah, you usually do LOL. I might tell you. When I’m on my way down. I’m not sure the number means anything though. What that number tells me is that I am ignoring my body. Since I plan to keep using it for another good long while I had BETTER get with the program – any program!

My program of choice is Weight Watchers (online) – Bug Style. I’m going to be weighing in on Fridays with a coworker in her office (yes, she keeps a scale in her office - heh). We’re both pretty determined to try to be healthier. That’s my goal this time around – I want to lose weight, sure, but I want to eat right & exercise too. If those two things can become a habit then I’ll be able to keep this up because it really is a lifestyle change, not a diet.

I’ll be posting my results each Friday. The whole post might be about how evil food is (food isn't really evil, I know - but it does have a siren call for me), or it might be about something else with a footnote. But I’m going to make my commitment to better health public & that means you’re my witnesses. You lucky dogs!

Here are a couple of images to help with my motivation. My "before" picture - is from a cruise I took in 2004 - I had hit goal a couple of days previously (you can see my gold WW goal star that I wore the whole cruise to remind me to not go crazy at the buffets!). Boy, am I a pear or what? The "after" picture is from this summer. I don't really think it needs any explanation.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Random Thoughts about the Man I Love on His Birthday

The other day Dr. M & I had an argument. After an eternity of discussing the whys & wherefores he said, “You still seem angry.” I said, “I’m not angry – I’ve been done with this argument for a while & I’m annoyed that we’re still talking about it.” I told him that as usual in this case I’m the man and he’s the woman. He likes to get to the heart of a matter. I just want to say I’m mad & move on. I think it’s because he’s a professor – talking about stuff is his job & he’s really good at it!

I would really like to take him out to dinner tonight to celebrate his birthday. He got birthday money from my aunt M – we can afford it! He’s the cook in the family. There’s a reason for that. I could possibly boil pasta. And heat some sauce. Or put the frozen pizza in the oven. Hmm. I’m thinking Mexican – what do you think sweetie?

Twenty years ago I gave him a birthday gift for the first time. It was something special to us - & remains an important symbol of how we “get” each other. This year’s gift is more whimsical, but another example of how we get each other – strange obsessions and all (remember, he got to drive the car that said OPUSLUST on the license plate). I should have gotten him a personalized plate – SHEEP1ST. Heh.

Although we’ve had lots of hard things happen during our marriage, none of those things has touched our marriage. We are one for all and all for one. Even before those vows joined us together. They were just words – affirming what we already knew.

Happy birthday dear heart.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Random Dozen Meme

If it's Wednesday, it must be time for the Random Dozen Meme from "Lidna" at 2nd Cup of Coffee. If you want to participate just go to Linda's site to link up.
1. What was the last song you listened to?

By the Time, by Annie Parsons. Go to her web site. Do not pass go. Order the EP.

2. Have you ever had “buyer’s remorse” over anything?

All. The. Time. Very rarely do I NOT have buyer’s remorse. There’s the bag that was supposed to keep my lettuce fresh (not!). The cute little MP3 player that I used for a minute because the toggle switch was too hard to operate. The Weight Watchers membership that I just ignored for three months (I’m starting fresh on Friday – really!). And most recently, the Snickers bar I ate yesterday.

3. What is something in your life that you are thankful for now that you didn’t think you would be at the time of the event? (Something that seemed ill-timed, inconvenient or hurtful which turned out to be a good thing)

Dr. M had an interview at a college in Lancaster, SC. They wanted someone to teach a different subject than the one that is his specialty, so we weren’t sure why they were interviewing him. It’s close to family, so despite the fact that he would have been teaching something unfamiliar & that it’s hot as you know what there, we were really putting a lot of hope into the job. Thank goodness they didn’t hire him! I think that where he is now is perfect. Someday it would nice to live closer to our families, but this is where we’re supposed to be right now.

4. Do you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade every year? If so, do you have a favorite float or balloon?

I only watch if someone else has it on. I have a love/hate relationship with parades. I enjoy the floats, but for some reason the idea of a parade makes me sad. I haven’t really analyzed this phenomenon so I don’t know why.

5. Share a quote, scripture, poem or lyric which has been an inspiration to you lately.

I’m reading Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes (which I won from Linda). I’m almost done and I’ll be passing it along next week sometime. Today I read a passage where the main character was talking about the “sacredness of the everyday.” For some reason that reminds me of my meditation workshop where we were taught mindfulness. Can I be present in each moment? Can I see the sacred in that moment? Hmm. This needs more thought.

6. This is meant to be a fun question, and this is a G-rated blog, but please share a “guilty pleasure,” something that you enjoy that’s probably not the most edifying, time-worthy or healthy thing you could be indulging in. Did I mention--G rating?

Chocolate chip cookie dough! I don’t care if it might make me sick (and in fact it HAS made me sick before). It’s my drug of choice…

7. What Thanksgiving food are you looking forward to?

Corn pudding (are we having it Bren? Seems like I heard a nefarious rumor from Daddy that we weren’t?). If there’s no corn pudding (sigh) then pecan pie is my second favorite.

8. What is your favorite book to read to children, or what was your favorite childhood book?

Old Black Witch! It might have been all the pancakes, but my brother & I loved this book!

9. Do you collect anything? (Feel free to post a photo.)

Penguins! This started because I was tired of rainbows (my last great obsession – in high school) & fell in love with Opus from Bloom County. I even had a personalized license plate that read “OPUSLUST.” Heh. Now don’t go sending me every penguin you ever saw – I already have them all! At this point in my penguin career I’m looking for penguin Art.

10. Gift bags or wrapping paper?

Wrapping paper.

11. Share an after-school memory from when you were younger. What was your routine like on an average day?

I have no idea what my routine was last year, much less 30 years ago! But here’s a memory: I rode the bus all four years of high school, so I usually did my homework on the way home. If there was something left undone I would finish my homework on the couch in the living room & either listen to my dad’s Rachmaninoff 8-track tape, or our Captain & Tennille 8-track tape (Muskrat Suzy & Muskrat Sam, doing the jitterbug in Muskrat Land…).

12. True story: Once, in a job interview, I was asked this question and told there would be no clarifying; I simply had to answer the question: “When you’re fishing, do you feel for the fish?” So what about you? When you're fishing, do you feel for the fish??

At first, being me, I answered this literally. I even said that I’m pretty sure I couldn’t eat a fish I caught myself – so, yes, I guess I do feel for the fish! But looking at it from a broader perspective, as perhaps a person who is trying to get something in life - I'd like to think that I feel for the person giving it to me. Not sure how successful I am at that. When I worked in HR I definitely felt for those job candidates who were so desperate for a job - I didn't like rejecting any - & sometimes I didn't like hiring them (because I wasn't sure we were the best fit for them). Tough question!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One Liners

I’m taking a page from Ellen’s book & giving you some one-liners today (I know you were really getting bored waiting on the Wednesday Random Dozen – which I’ve already written, but won’t break Linda’s rules & post today).

  • Dr. M & I are really close to just ditching the land line & going with cell phones (by close, I mean we’ll probably ditch it the next time we move).
  • Friday night at the piano bar at the Brown Hotel was pretty fabulous.
  • I want to play hooky at work one day this week but I keep getting up & going anyway.
  • I’m really bored with physical therapy.
  • This year I want to blink & it be January already.
  • Arthritis sucks.
  • I’m on part 12 of 15 of my V. I. Warshawski audio book – who killed Mark Whitby?
  • I want pizza for dinner tonight (can you get right on that honey?).
  • I’m pretty hooked on the show Weapons Masters on the Military Channel – it’s like Tim the Tool Man meets the Mythbusters – great fun.
  • I’m pretty sure it was a bad idea to wear the stretchy pants today – sorry, folks who have to watch me walking away – ouch!
  • I’m sad that Maine voted to repeal the gay marriage law.
  • Tomorrow is Veteran's Day (US)/Remembrance Day (Canada).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sundays in Zambia

This is my new (hopefully) weekly feature talking about my time in Zambia. All the pictures are being scanned from my scrapbook pages - just in case you wonder about the odd shapes, or captions.

Although I don’t plan to necessarily go in chronological order, I decided that I would start near the beginning for this week’s post. My fellow journey-folk & I had 6 weeks of boot camp, er training, in Virginia in the summer of 1986, then were sent home to get ready to head to our respective countries. I was in awe of the folks headed to China & West Africa – those destinations seemed a lot scarier than mine. I was assigned to work in Harare, Zimbabwe – I wasn’t even going to be in the bush!

Zimbabwe denied my work permit – rightly saying that they didn’t see why a Zimbabwean couldn’t do the work of secretary-bookkeeper. I waited for four months before the Foreign Mission Board was able to find me a new assignment – Lusaka, Zambia. I found out in November – and after sending all of my paperwork to the Lusaka Baptist Mission twice (they obviously needed my services LOL), I set out on my grand adventure on a plane flying out of the Charlotte, North Carolina airport. Here is what I wrote in my journal that day:

Tuesday, January 13, 1987

I feel very alone now. God, are you there? Give me strength. Strength to face my impracticalities and do something about them. My carry-on bag will not fit – so I must check it in Atlanta. Why does that bother me so much? Because it makes me feel foolish and I don’t like feeling foolish.

Saying goodbye is so hard. I can see Mom & Dad standing at the window and that’s when I start to cry. I’m not supposed to cry – this is my adventure. A year and a half isn’t so very long. It’s time for me to grow up.

Sometimes I wonder if I set things in motion just because I know I won’t stop it – and I know it’s good for me. Is this really God’s will for my life? Can I really know the answer?

I ended up being able to carry my bag onto the plane in Atlanta – the stewardess was VERY helpful. And this was a good thing, because the airline lost my luggage. But that’s a story for another day…

Friday, November 6, 2009

I married a historian...

I’ve been trying to plan Dr. M’s birthday celebration. It’s a “significant birthday” & I wanted to do it right. I tried to plan a surprise, but Dr. M had another idea. What was this fabulous idea, you ask? Did he want to stay in a romantic cabin in Hocking Hills? Nope. How about a swanky hotel in downtown Cincinnati? Meh. A trip to the casinos? A B&B in Yellow Springs? Or a drive to Young’s Jersey Dairy for excellent ice cream? No no no.

I married a historian. I feel slightly lied to because at the time that we met & fell in love he was in seminary. I was bracing myself for life as a church worker’s spouse. I would have been GREAT. No? Really? Whyever not? The Dana Look? Hmmm. Anyway, he saved me from that fate by finding a different kind of calling. This calling is something for which he’s quite well suited - & it saves me from trying to be nice all the time. After all, it’s kind of expected that a University professor and his wife might be a little odd.

So we’re celebrating his birthday a week early at a history conference in Louisville. We’ll listen to some of his friends present papers. We’ll stay at the Brown Hotel. We’ll damage our arteries with a Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich. We’ll have some quality time in the car together. I’m looking forward to it!

P.S. I’ll try to get my Sundays in Zambia post out on time – but it might be a Monday in Zambia this week.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pushing Through the Surface

I thought I’d be
in water.

But my limbs are heavy
and filled with the small purpose
of staying put.

I can see the surface
just there -
but oh the effort!

I spend all my
just catching my breath.

If you want to toss
a lifesaver
I like cherry best.

Dana, 2009

Note: This poem is about inertia, not depression, so don't worry Daddy! I am struggling a bit with my current physical limitations - but I think that I limit myself more than my body limits me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Random Dozen Meme

If it's Wednesday, it must be time for the Random Dozen Meme from "Lidna" at 2nd Cup of Coffee. If you want to participate just go to Linda's site to link up.

1. It's early morning, about 2:00AM, and you're driving home. You come to a red light and sit there. There is no one in sight for miles around. Do you wait it out or run the light?

In Lusaka, definitely run the light (the police told us to not sit at red lights at night). Here? I probably would wait. I’m kind of a fraidy cat & would suspect that there was a patrol car just waiting to nab me.

2. If you had the chance to re-do the last 24 hours, would you change anything?

The powdered donuts. Not the eating them part. The part where the powder got ALL OVER my black pants. Not pretty.

3. When you reply to someone's comment on your blog, do you reply in your comments or go to her blog and comment? (Or email her)

I reply mostly on my blog (when I remember – sorry commenters!). But sometimes I’ll reply on their blog if I happen to be there & remember.

4. Your favorite Disney movie is:

Jungle Book. I love Baloo the Bear.

5. Do you recycle?

Yes! In fact, I think we’ve got more recycling than actual trash. But I shouldn't be all that proud about it because it means we eat more things out of boxes and plastic containers.

6. Games of strategy or games of chance?

Depends on how sharp I’m feeling at the time – I like both.

7. Do you have any recurring dreams?
Yes – I’m in a house with dozens of rooms, all on different levels (two steps up to the kitchen, three steps down to the living room). Depending on the dream I might be trying to cook (ha!), looking for someone, taking care of a baby (yikes!), trying to hide, just hanging out with my mom – but it’s the same house. If I ever found an actual house like it I might run screaming in the other direction!

Another recurring dream is where I’m trying to find the bathroom & the only toilet is in the middle of a busy intersection, or out in a store, or you can’t shut the door. This is because I’ve got to GO, & can’t quite get awake enough – thank goodness my subconscious makes it so hard to have any privacy or Dr. M & I might be changing the sheets!

8. What did you learn from your first real job?

That when I get too comfortable with people I can be really bitchy. I got into trouble with my snarky attitude, but I thought I was friends with the person who was offended. I was really hurt that she didn’t say something to me instead of my boss. It taught me that the workplace is not a place to let down your guard. Then I spent the next 19 years ignoring that bit of wisdom & people learned that I’m just a snarky person. BEWARE THE “DANA LOOK!”

9. Do you buy or borrow most books?

I buy Nora Roberts books. Other books I get from the library – mostly downloading them in either .pdf or WMA format (so I can read them on my mini-notebook, or listen to them on my MP3 player). Sometimes I check an actual BOOK out of the library!

10. What fashion trend of the past did you say you'd never wear again but did?

Well, we had 80s day at work & you can see how well THAT worked for me! Sometimes I think about getting a perm again – I spent most of the 80s with permed hair…

11. When do you start Christmas shopping?

I guess about now. Dr. M likes to wait until the last minute & after almost 19 years of marriage he’s infected me. I do most of our shopping online because I HATE SHOPPING!

12. Have you ever been so happy that you literally jumped up and down for a few seconds? If so, what was the occasion?

When Dr. M got his job at the university last spring. I walked into my coworkers’ office & they thought I was having an epileptic fit. I may have looked like Elaine from Seinfeld. I was pretty excited.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sundays in Zambia

I mentioned before that I was thinking about doing some posts on my time in Zambia. I decided that I’ll try to make it a regular weekly feature. We’ll see how that works!

I went to Zambia as part of the Journeyman program of the Southern Baptist Church. It was a program designed to use recent college graduates to fill temporary support positions in the foreign mission field. I was the secretary-bookkeeper for the Baptist Mission of Zambia from January 1987 until July 1988. Later I’ll provide more detailed info about what I did & experienced while I was there, but first I want to talk about who I was.

Based on what I remember (or don’t) from that time I have to conclude that I was a shallow, unobservant silly girl. I was pretty good at my actual job, but I didn’t have a lot of life experience and I didn’t know how to be really present in the experiences I was having. I was a flibbertigibbet & wasn’t as mindful as I could have been. I had discovered boys while I was in college (late bloomer here!) & I wasn’t done with them yet. I was 22 going on 16. Get the picture?

Over 10 years after I returned from Zambia I created a scrapbook (actually two rather large volumes) trying to recreate my experience there. The following is a poem I wrote when I completed the albums. I decided to use it in my first “Zambia Post” as my disclaimer.

Who was that girl?
Boy crazy…
with an occasional
flash of insight.
I hardly remember
or what she did
that long ago
time in Africa.

These are the
images she brought
home with her.
These are her stories –
remembered as in a dream
edited by time
reconstructed to suit myself.

This is her book
and mine too

Whoever we are!

Dana Wallace Rhyne
May 17, 1999

2024 Project 365 – Week Twenty

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