Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sundays in Zambia

Today we're taking a break from pictures of the gorgeous country and people. I know, I know – why? I promise – there will be some more next week. But this week I want to talk about some of the documents I required to live in Zambia – besides the obvious passport and work permit.

First of all, I had to have an Aliens Registration Card. At the time I not ever heard of a non-citizen of a country being referred to as an alien so I thought that was hilarious. I was an alien. Heh.

 Before I came to Zambia I was issued an International Driving Permit.

However, not too long after arriving I had to apply for a Zambian driver's license. Boy that was a process! Forms and going to multiple offices, and then at the end, an oral exam along with the other missionaries who were applying for a license. I was asked what emotions might cause a person to drive carelessly. I said rage or anger or sadness. Nope, none of those was the right answer. The right answer was joy! The examiner said that a very happy person doesn't pay attention to the road. At the time I thought that was a very funny answer, but later I learned better. My only speeding ticket was a few weeks before my wedding 19 years ago. I was barreling down the road singing to Amy Grant at the top of my lungs. I was going 82 mph. In a 55 zone (it had just changed from 65, but still!). Thankfully I didn't lose my license. Anyway, I managed to pass the driving exam & received my Zambian license!

A couple of other ladies and I decided to get memberships to the Intercontinental Hotel pool. We decided to say that we were a family so that it would be cheaper. Yes, I see the irony that two missionaries and a teacher at the American Embassy School (whose name was also Dana!) were cheating. I even feel somewhat ashamed about it now. In any case, we got our membership. I always laugh when I see the name – Mr. & Mrs. Damawallace. My name was Dana Wallace. Apparently I was taking the fall in this caper.

The last document is my membership card to the Bulldog Den at the local marine base (? I have no idea what it was called – these were the marines assigned to the embassy). We would go to watch movies, eat popcorn and flirt with marines. I saw The Princess Bride there for the first time – one of my favorite movies of all time (next to Joe vs. the Volcano). And I got a date to the Marine Ball with one of the marines from Michigan. We also played softball with the marines (I use the word "play" loosely – I am no athlete). One of the guys was from eastern NC and I loved hearing that voice from home. His accent was so thick that the other marines couldn't understand him over the radio. Made me homesick, a bit.

Come back next week when I talk about my attempt to teach cross-stitch at the Women's Missionary Union conference. Not a pretty picture!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Project 365 - Week Five

Sunday, January 24th

Dr. M & I took a road trip to a foreign Walmart (well, it's the one that's 22 miles away instead of the one that's 1 mile away). Along the way we took a picture of my favorite sheep. None of them were standing on hay bales, but they're still pretty cute I think. And a little muddy from all the rain last weekend.

Monday, January 25th

On Monday Dr. M took a few photos around his campus. There's a railroad track along the edge of campus which feeds Dr. M's train obsession.

Tuesday, January 26th

I have two pictures from Tuesday. The first one was taken while I was driving to work. I'm pretty sure I wasn't driving more than 60 mph at the time. Really, the only dangerous part was trying to figure out how to turn off the flash while I was driving (shut up K – I'm a good driver!).

The second picture is our dinner Tuesday night. Dr. M just throws a bunch of stuff in a pot, makes some rice, and voila! Dinner!

Wednesday, January 27th

We have two pictures from Wednesday too. I broke my work badge and told them I wanted a new picture for my new badge. My coworker A & I were trying to figure out how to get a good picture & she told me to not smile. I really tried, but I started laughing - & this picture was the result. We ultimately decided that the turtleneck was doing me no favors (I looked like a scoop of ice cream on top of a cone) & I tried again the next day wearing something different.

At about the same time I was trying to be photogenic, Dr. M was getting his hair cut. He decided to record his curls for posterity. Note: NOT a good idea to get your hair cut in January. Just sayin.

Thursday, January 28th

Dr. M took a picture of the beautiful moon in the sky on Thursday.

Friday, January 29th

On Friday, Dr. M took another trip through the park we visited last week. This time there was a bit more snow on the ground.

Saturday, January 30th

Last year we added a sheep to our collection. I christened him "Cornflake" because I decided that his "wool" looked like cornflakes in a bowl of milk. This year we got a penguin from the same artist (Sara Meadows!). I wanted to put the penguin near Cornflake & the best place seemed to be on top of our computer router. But I kept calling it a modem, so I named her "Modem."

Go here tomorrow to see the blogs of all the other Project 365 participants.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I had planned to do a blog post about my commute to work. I wanted to show how little traffic I contend with until near the end of my journey. There was going to be a metaphor and perhaps a simile. And pictures of sheep on top of hay bales (makes me laugh. every. time.).

But my pictures bored me (except for the fact that they're in practically full daylight – not long ago my commute was in the dark). So I'm going off on a tangent.

Dr. M is teaching Old Testament this semester. Have I mentioned how hilarious I think this is? He does have a Master of Divinity (with Languages!), but that was a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. However, he is a very good teacher, and has some great material to guide him along the way.

Today he talked about covenant. That the Ten Commandments are about covenant with God and with each other. That you shouldn't have to steal because your community will take care of you. That you wouldn't cheat on your wife because you have a covenant with her that shouldn't be broken. That there is no need to covet your neighbor's wealth, because God's bounty is sufficient for all.

I'm not a person who believes that there is a place on a courthouse lawn for a replica of the Ten Commandments tablets. But I do wonder why we can't be in covenant with one another.

Main Entry: 1cov·e·nant
Pronunciation: \ˈkəv-nənt, ˈkə-və-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from present participle of covenir to be fitting, from Latin convenire
Date: 14th century
: a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement : compact

From Merriam-Webster

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Random Dozen – Where The Bug Reveals Her Dark Impatient Side

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. How good are you at delaying gratification?

    You know the phrase, "zero to sixty in 3.5 seconds?" That's me. I have the thought (how tall is Jessica Alba? I want chocolate!), and then I have the result in a flash (5'6"!
    Brownie!). It's kind of sad. I've tried to work on it, but so far I'm not doing very well.

  2. Maybe a marshmallow wouldn't be too difficult a temptation for you. What food (or anything else) would be most tempting?

    Sadly, I find many foods to be irresistible. No bake cookies. Pizza. Bakery cake. Sigh.

  3. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being saintly) how patient are you?

    I'm a three. I can wait a full 3 minutes before I start tapping my toes & looking at my watch.

  4. Have you ever waited for something in life only to be disappointed upon realization of the goal/object/etc.?

    If we're talking material things, yes. I get the whatever-it-is (keeps washed lettuce fresh!) & realize that it just doesn't cut it. Big ticket things like marriage or a new Webkins? Not really.

  5. Are you a person who takes shortcuts?

    Yes I do – if I don't understand why all the steps are there. If I think it's busy work, I'm skipping!

  6. Which line is hardest to wait in?

    The line to the bathroom!

  7. Did you wait to discover the gender of your unborn child until its birth?

    N/A. Although I would NOT wait if the situation ever came up. I hear pregnant women talking about their daughter or son & it just seems more special.

  8. Are you more patient with children or the elderly?

    I can be pretty impatient with any age group, but I think that children can send me over the edge faster than anyone else!

  9. Did you ever sneak a peek at a present? 

    Not as an adult – I like surprises! But I remember the Christmas I learned there wasn't a Santa Claus – I discovered my Barbie camper in my parents' closet. I was NOT traumatized (Mom as Santa Claus? Cool!), but I'm afraid that my cousin K has still not recovered from me telling her all about it.

  10. What is the longest you've ever waited for anything?

    From the glimmer of thinking about the concept (around 1995 or so), until the offer of a position (this past summer), Dr. M's current job was quite a while coming. Please realize that he wasn't looking for a job that whole time! We had to get the Master's & Ph.D and then look for a job.

  11. Who has more patience, you or your significant other?

    Oh he does in most cases. He can get pretty uptight sometimes, but I'm more impatient.

  12. Which of the following songs about waiting is your pick for the best? (OK, you may substitute another, if you like.)

    A) Anticipation by Carly Simon
    B) The Waiting by Tom Petty
    C) Right Here Waiting for You by Richard Marx
    D) Wait for Me by Rebecca St. James
I don't like any of these choices! I read the lyrics & they creeped me out a bit. But if we ignore the rest of the song, then I'm definitely The Waiting. Because it is the hardest part!

Well basically, I need to just take a chill pill! Go back to the days in Zambia where going to the bank was a leisurely task, not a speed event. I was much calmer then, once I figured out the system. Ohm!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Branches Against the Sky

Branches Against the Sky

I feel melancholy
at what feels like the triumph
of personal and corporate economies
over care of my neighbor.

Bev with her scars
sees herself as Annie Oakley,
fighting for all the uninsured,
fighting to keep us all well.

I am not Anne Oakley.
I’m only The Bug
wailing at the stars
with my head in the sand.

I think I’m in the dark -
but I can see the bare branches of trees
outlined against the sky.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sundays in Zambia

On our way back from the park, we stopped at another Chipata village to participate in a church dedication. They had just completed construction on the structure. It wasn't quite what I expected. I thought it would be another cinder block building, like the other churches I'd seen.

Isn't it beautiful? We milled around a bit outside before the service.

The pink arrow is pointing to the nshima we'd be eating after the service.

Washing my hands before the meal

I felt very honored to participate in the service, but even more honored to be allowed to eat a meal with these beautiful people. It was a good day.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Project 365 - Week Four


I've been meaning to share a picture of our dish drain with family members (yes, I know this is strange). We don't have a lot of room for a drain, but we don't have a dishwasher so one is definitely necessary. Mike found this ingenious little bamboo one that fits the small space on the counter between the sink and the washer. Nifty! I had wanted to show one of my massive Towers o' Dishes, but had to settle for a medium tower because I was stumped for a Sunday picture & just needed to take this one. Ha!


Monday was the trip up to Springfield where we drove through Saylor Park.


When I arrived home on Tuesday this was the sight that greeted me. The small penguin from our Christmas display made it into the garage, where he got a prime seat on the rocking horse that Dr. M's dad made for us. Dr. M plugged him in to amuse me. It worked!


My sister-in-law B made scarves for Christmas presents this year. I was very lucky to get this lovely green & blue number. I've been wearing it with my winter coat, but on Wednesday I decided to wear it as part of my work outfit – I thought it matched my turtleneck quite well.


Here's another item I've been wanting to show off. Dr. M wanted to start taking sandwiches to school last semester which reawakened my uber-guilt about using sandwich baggies. I did some research on the internet & ordered two of these sandwich wraps. As you can see, the inside of the wrap is some sort of plastic material that can be wiped off & the outside is cloth. It functions as a placemat when it's unwrapped. I love them! I even got the snack wraps too – they're more of a bag that we can put chips or other types of snacks in. I took tuna sandwiches to work this week & didn't use one baggie.


Friday night Dr. M & I went out for Mexican. It was quite yummy. I was going to take a picture of my plate, but I find that most of my food pictures look extra unappetizing. Blech! Instead Dr. M took a picture of the cat from next door. He's a very fat black & white beauty. We tolerate him stalking the finch feeders because he's kind of slow & dumb. He doesn't ever seem to catch anything LOL. In this picture he looks sort of demonic, but he's really a sweetie.


Today is laundry day, but I'm not taking a picture of our dirty clothes! Although, hmmm – we have a pretty cool "laundry center." There's an idea for a day next week when I can't think of anything else. Today I took a picture of the Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky for which Dr. M contributed an entry on Lynching (we got our copy of the book this week). Can you believe that they needed a book this size for just northern Kentucky? Wow. It's pretty thorough. I'm quite proud of Dr. M's contribution. His dissertation was about the treatment of freed people in Kentucky after the civil war, so this is right down his alley.

Go here tomorrow to see the blogs of all the other Project 365 participants.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy Friday!

I've been given a Sweet Friends award from Rita - one of my Project 365 cohorts. Thanks Rita!

The responsibilities, or rules, that come with the recognition are:

    1. Copy the award image into a post.
    2. List 10 things that make you happy.
    3. Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day.
    4. Put in a link to their blogs.
    5. Notify the award receivers.
    6. Recipients should link back to the sender’s blog.

I'm going to list the 10 things, but I won't bestow any awards. If you read my blog & post occasionally then I consider you a Sweet Friend! Feel free to take the award as yours & do with it what you will.

Here's my list:
  1. Dr. M (duh!).

  2. My current ability to stick to my health plan. I lost 1.5 pounds this week, and I exercised 6 out of 7 days.
  3. New blog posts from friends.
  4. Coming home to our little house.
  5. The pajamas Dr. M gave me for Christmas.
  6. Chocolate.
  7. A space heater pointed at me.
  8. Tales from the home front.
  9. My recent spate of good hair days. I'm enjoying it while I can - it most assuredly will not last LOL.
  10. The opportunity to frame a picture each day and consider the ordinary, extraordinary.
Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

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. So I was thinking about how Jon Bon Jovi never seems to age much. His hair is smaller nowadays, but he still manages to look like a boy somehow. And then that made me think of the story of Dorian Gray. Question: If you physically lock in one age for yourself, which would you choose and why?

The year I turned 40. I had hit my weight goal & was feeling pretty good about how I looked.

2. What is the best dish that you cook or bake (your piece de resistance?)

I am NOT much of a cook, so there's nothing that's a sure thing. However, I have made pumpkin spice muffins (with chocolate chips) several times in the last few years & I haven't messed them up yet.

3. When you feel blue, what is one strategy you use to help yourself back to normal?

Sadly, eating is my number one strategy – but as you guys know I'm working on that. Reading or working puzzles are other things I do. I want to add some form of exercise to my "feeling blue" toolbox.

4. When was the last time you danced in public?

Wow – so long ago that I don't remember. I'm not sure that the swaying I do really counts as dancing anyway.

5. Do you consider yourself a realist or dreamer?

I guess a bit of both – although I can be more of a dreamer in that I have ideas of how life can be, but don't really do anything to make them happen.

6. As a parent, what is one thing that you have done well?

Not having children! Honestly, I think it was one of the smartest decisions I ever made. I knew as a teenager that I didn't want to be a mom – and although people assured me I would change my mind, I never waivered.

7. Which is your favorite character on the Andy Griffith show?

Ooh – a tough one. I loved how even & wise Andy was. And I really liked that Ernest character. But I'm going to have to go with Barney – he was just the most hilarious dude!

8. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you know about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

I'm married to a historian (have I mentioned that before?). I think I know a lot. He wasn't a perfect man, but I think God used him as a prophet. I really wish that we could banish racism. But it feels like it's embedded in the mortar of our country.

9. Have you never been mellow? Have you never tried … to find a comfort from in side you? (Sorry, Jorge was singing that song just now, and it just seemed to be perfect timing as I was creating this week's questions.) REAL question: What is your #1 driving pet peeve?

Ooh – there are so many! Currently it's when a car flies by to get in front of me right before the four-lane road goes to two lanes. And then slows down. To below the speed limit. Really? Did you have to blast past me at 80 mph just so you could then drive 45 mph in front of me? I would so give you the finger, but the last time I tried that I ended up making the peace sign. The person at whom it was aimed just looked baffled. Clearly, my "good girl" subconscious was in charge.

10. Which color best represents your mood today? Care to elaborate?

Sort of a misty white. That's the color outside, and that's the color I am. Not really alert to the world around me, but not really feeling very bad about it. If I were taking anything other than Osteo BiFlex & Ibuprofen I would think this feeling was drug-induced. But I think it's just a sort of Monday on a Tuesday kind of feeling.

11. If your spouse were an animal, which would he/she be?

Well, that's easy! A bear! He's pretty cuddly, but if you mess with any of his "children" (he's a bleeding heart liberal, so we're ALL his children) he can get pretty irate.

12. What activity takes up the bulk of your time on an average day

Um, well, um. I don't want to say. It's embarrassing. IthinkthatmostlyIreadblogs. Perhaps I should add a new hobby to my repertoire.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Damp Chill

We drove through the damp chill
gazing at farms and fields
and country houses

And found the town
a little larger than ours

And drove through the park
with frozen water
and cold geese

And daydreamed about
buying a house
just there

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sundays in Zambia

Last week I mentioned that in May we took a trip to the South Luangwa National Park in the Eastern Province of Zambia. When I wrote home about the experience, this is what I said:

Sometimes the majesty of Africa overwhelms me. I was awed today by God's creation: The grace and beauty of giraffe, the cumbersome dignity of elephants, the absolute elegance of zebra.
Tonight while we rode into what seemed like darkest Africa I could feel the vibration of a million living things. Every tree we passed was pregnant with life; the rustling grass hid lions & tigers & bears – oh my! Once we passed a baobob tree and the sound of the landrover echoed against it – it sounded like a waterfall was trapped inside the tree.
I tried to be very blasé, as if game viewing was something I did every day, but the sight of my first giraffe and a baby elephant and a zebra shining in the African sun and the baby hippo climbing out of the water with its mother – ah, how could I not be moved!

I very much enjoyed being a tourist – even though we had to get up VERY early to explore. Here I am in all of my 6 am glory.

I was quite fascinated with the "sausage" tree.

Here are a couple of pictures where you may or may not be able to see animals. Apparently my camera's zoom feature left a bit to be desired LOL.

The elephants were funny - & slightly terrifying. One of them was very interested in the landrover. Thank goodness it ultimately decided that we weren't really all that interesting!

Looking back at my documentation of this trip is when I really wish I'd had a good digital camera (something that probably didn't exist in 1987 – or if it did was prohibitively expensive). Or, you know, a good regular camera* that I knew how to operate. Who knew? I was going to do mission work, not take pictures. Sigh.

*Please note that the camera I took to Africa was a really good point & shoot camera of its type given to me by my church. I was thrilled with it - & it took great basic pictures. It just needed a better zoom feature. And an owner who actually read the manual.

2024 Project 365 – Week Twenty-three

As I had hoped, this week was a bit less chaotic – I worked a lot of hours, but they were orderly and I made headway on some of the tasks on...