Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sundays in Zambia

So this is the last Sunday in Zambia, until I come up with some other topic later. The pictures here are mostly people from the Baptist Building where I worked. They worked in the music ministry, and the communications ministry, and the Sunday School ministry. The lady in the red, black & white striped dress is Mary, who made the afternoon meal. If I wanted to eat with the rest of the workers I paid her some amount of kwacha and I got nshima, & stewed tomatoes, rape (a type of green) & chicken. Good stuff. The picture of the two gentlemen standing outside is at the Baptist Complex where I lived some of the time. The guy on the left is Amos, our guard. He would salute as you drove through – just like Benny Hill. Tickled me every time I drove through those gates.

If I can survive
the mosquitoes
and the water
and the children's eyes,

 If I can weather
the banks
and the shortages
and the fear of AIDs,

 If I can handle
the window-bars
and the pedestrians
and the traffic jams,

 Then I can say that
I've experienced Africa.


If I can remember
the sky
and the rains
and Mr. Pete's steaks,

 If my heart hears
the music,
and the birds,
and the moaning wind,

If my being yearns
for the smile
and the handshake
and the elegant tread,

 Then I can say thatI've loved Africa.

The Bug

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Project 365 - Week Nine

Sunday, February 21st

I had eight years of piano lessons. I have no natural aptitude for music, so I'm not all that fabulous on the piano. I was one of those students that my teacher used to pay the bills – she had no dreams about me! Well, & I had no musical dreams either. But I am very grateful for the lessons because I can read music and sing a song I've never heard before. And I can pick out my alto line on Dr. M's ancient keyboard. I can plug in headphones for the keyboard, but there's no way to shut me up. Poor Dr. M!

Monday, February 22nd

I don't know why. I just thought it was interesting that when I got home from work on Monday it was 63.2 degrees in the house. It wasn't that cold outside (& we had 52% humidity – score!).

Tuesday, February 23rd

Well, this is another attempt to get a picture of the sheep on the hay. They didn't cooperate, but I thought this one looked all wise or something. I should have asked her what the secret of life was.

Wednesday, February 24th

On Wednesday, I forgot to take a picture during the day. So you get to see our trash & recyclables that I put on the curb. I'm pretty pleased that we have more recyclables than trash (this is for one week) – the next step is to reduce how much stuff we use so that there's less of both. (Please note all the white stuff in the top of the trash bag. Those are Kleenexes people – I think we'll both stop sneezing just in time for spring allergies. Oh joy!

Thursday, February 25th

It's the sun! It was there for about 30 minutes on Thursday. It snowed the rest of the day. It was nice to have a glimpse of an old friend.

Friday, February 26th

Dr. M says that I'm a nerd. And this may be true. But there was a reason that I was sitting around taking pictures of myself at work. I wanted to see if lipstick is really necessary (I think it is). And I wanted to see what I thought of my hair pulled back (it's ok, but I should let the bangs go free so I don't look so severe). And I wanted to see if I look better smiling or not (I'm pretty sure I look deathly either way – all my makeup had worn off by this point. Except for the lipstick I had just applied). In short, I should just leave. the. camera. at. home.

This was Dr. M's commute home on Friday. It was unexpected to us – apparently we missed the part where it was going to snow in the afternoon!

Saturday, February 27th

This is our first Project 365 picture with the new camera! Dr. M took it this morning before I got my lazy self out of bed. It makes me laugh every time I look at it. The luminaries had just gotten themselves unburied from the snow (see last week's 365 post to see how deep they were). Anyway, I think this little guy just looks personally offended by the snow that blew into his face. Hilarious!

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

Friday, February 26, 2010

Short Stories

I realize that the last post was random, but those were Linda's questions. I have my own randomness I'd like to share. Aren't you lucky?

*I love the smell of geraniums when you rub their leaves. I can smell ours even now. Mmm.

*Yesterday we had about 30 minutes of bright sunshine. I had to wear my sunglasses. The rest of the day was snow in the form of flurries.

*Dr. M is being courted by a certain university press that wants to publish the book that will come out of his dissertation (Rehearsal for Redemption: The Politics of Post-Emancipation Violence in Kentucky). It's kind of nice to be sought-after.

*I just might cry every time I see Joannie Rochett's name from now until the end of time. I might be exaggerating, but I don't think so.

*Dr. M got us a new camera for my birthday (it's next week – listen up people, this is your FIRST warning. Heh. I like to talk about my birthday.). I look forward to trying to figure out how to use it (the camera, not my birthday. I'm pretty good at the birthday thing by now).

*My arthritis has been extra cranky this week. It, along with almost everyone else I know, is ready for spring. And I mean meteorological spring, not March 20th.

*I'm ready for the Olympics to be over. It's been fun, but I need my beauty rest. I am, after all, turning a year older next week.

*Isn't it time for baseball yet? Surely it's time for pitchers & catchers to report to training camp, isn't it? My little baseball gadget on my Google page is all lonely & sad with all those 0s for the wins & losses.

OK, that's enough. Tune in tomorrow to see pictures of my week. There will be another picture of the sun, and our recycle bin!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Random Dozen Meme

If it's Wednesday, it must be time for the Random Dozen hosted by Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee. If you want to link up or just read the other participant blogs, just click here.

  1. Have you ever fired a gun or shot a bow and arrow? Yes, & let's just say that it's a good thing that I was never really interested in hunting or skeet shooting. I have the aim of a drunk pig (I just made that analogy up – aren't I clever?)
  2. Do you know where your childhood best friends are? Thanks to Facebook I know where some of them are (hi Karen!), but others are lost to the mists of time.
  3. Do you usually arrive early, late, or on time? I prefer to arrive early (hurry up & wait – that's me!), so that's mostly what I do. However, when leaving from work to go anywhere it's anybody's guess as to what time I'll arrive at my destination (sorry Dr. Bartnik!).
  4. Are you more of a New York or California type? I'm more of a Blue Ridge Mountain type – so I'm going with California. I think that I could find something in that big state that would feel like home.
  5. Do you have a special ring tone? One I can hear! I used to have a Norah Jones ring tone, but I could never hear it ring. So I went with a generic one that's a lot louder.
  6. What is your favorite type of chip? I'm not a humongous chip eater (although I'll eat chips if they're put in front of me). If I'm choosing at Subway, then I'm going with Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips.
  7. Best comedy you've ever seen is .... Oh this is too hard! I think I'm going to have to go with Blazing Saddles. Although Stripes was pretty funny. And Foul Play has that one scene with the tourists in the taxi that practically makes me pee my pants every time I see it.
  8. Have you ever cut your own hair? To quote Dr. Phil, "How'd that work for ya?" Why I cut my bangs just last week. And I'm thinking of having another go at them this weekend. But I'm not sure that bang trimming really counts (even that time when I was 4 & cut an intriguing V pattern into bangs). I haven't ever tried to cut the rest of my hair. I should – it's a mess!
  9. If you were going to have an extreme makeover, would you rather it be about your house or your personal self? If we owned our house then I would want it to be about that – we already have some great ideas about what we'd do to this house if it was ours & we had the money. Given that we rent, then I'm going with me!
  10. Are you allergic to anything? Only the known universe. I exaggerate. But since I'm sneezing every five minutes while I'm typing this… I'm allergic to mold (including old books – and I think that includes the hymnal from church), long haired cats, and some trees. I also think that I'm "sensitive" to whatever they use to treat the roads for snow & ice – I believe that's the cause of my sneezing fit this morning.
  11. Why is it so hard to change? OK, I'm going to read all the answers to this question in the hopes that someone has a good solution to this problem! I'm currently working through the Geneen Roth workbook, Why Weight? A Guide to Ending Compulsive Eating, and although one part of me wants to succeed, another part of me just doesn't care enough to work at it. Sigh.
  12. One last question dedicated to February love: CS Lewis said, "To love is to be vulnerable." Please share one example of that assertion or share any thought you'd like to about this topic. If you do it right, this is so true! You have to trust that the person with whom you share your secrets will hold them close and not betray you. And that they won't hold that secret knowledge over your head. Here's a poem I wrote to Dr. M for our 8th anniversary in 1998. Heh – in this poem I sound like I think I'm grown up – that was 11 years ago!
When we really met that January,
how could we know that by Christmas
we would be bound together by love
and secrets shared?

And by the Christmas after that
we were married.


I look at those two people
and think how far they have to go
to be who we are now.

They were sweet,
connected at the hip,
lovers and confidantes.


I think of you now in your study.
My love, my life
working toward your dream...
It's my dream too.

And yet, I don't even care if we get there--
my journey with you is my life.
I view what happens along the way
through the filter of us.

It's a pretty good filter
don't you think?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Make a Joyful Noise

I always sang melody. Because it's all about me and not about the music, not about the choir. Now in my middle years the melody has drifted away somewhere – out of reach of my grasping fingers. I'm trying to sing alto, fumbling for that counter note - the one that's not there in my head.

My first choir practice I try to hear that note under the insistence that is melody. I'm listening, catching it some of the time. And then, I was a teenager sitting on that second row in the choir at Brookford Baptist Church. In my ear I could hear Mrs. Holsclaw (who always wanted us to make a big deal of the "s" sound at the ends of words). And there was my grandmother – as natural an alto as you ever heard. She gave that gift to my aunt Emily, who shares it with my Dad at the nursing home on Sundays. I heard them all right there and for a while the noise I made was actually music. I found that note and the sound was so sweet that it almost made me cry.

Mamaw & Emily

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sundays in Zambia

I'm winding down my Sundays in Zambia series. There will be one more post after this one – although I might randomly post some other things as I think about them.

When I first arrived in Lusaka I stayed at the Baptist Complex, which had 8 flats for missionaries as well as the guest house for visitors. I lived there for a while, and then moved out to the Baptist Seminary. I lived in the last little house on the road by myself for a while, and then with a roommate who worked with the communications ministry. Once again I'm dismayed at the pictures I don't have, but here are a few of the ones I do have.

 My little house and my truck


I inherited Amber the Wonderdog from the previous journeymen. Under my care she got mange! I had to wrestle her to the vet a few times, but she ultimately recovered just fine. I ended up giving her away before I left to a family who really wanted a dog.


My room. Note the contact lens boiler on the bed (my second one since I fried my first one).The stuffed dog was a gift from my brother my freshman year in college. I took him to have a bit of home with me – and I still have him now! Samuel the Spaniel is a well-traveled stuffed animal!


My roommate Stacy is cooking something (thank heavens she arrived – she could COOK!) and the other Dana (a teacher at the American Embassy School) is laughing with her. Quite possibly at me. That would not have been unusual.


Look – I made a lemon meringue pie!!! With actual lemons from my actual lemon tree! I was so pleased with myself…


This is the road to the seminary. Unfortunately the camera flattened out the ruts so you can't really appreciate just how bad this road was! The state of the road didn't stop me from flying down it & raising a cloud of dust. I have no sense. But, you know, you figure out the best route around the worst of the ruts & it's kind of like a game to see how fast…. Um, I'm just making it worse aren't I?

Next week I'll have a handful of pictures of the people who worked where I did. And I'll say goodbye to Zambia for another while.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Project 365 - Week Eight

Sunday, February 14th

We decided that it was too cold for Martha Goose to have to just wear her cupid outfit – so we layered. I think she looks pretty longsuffering to me.

Monday, February 15th
We got more snow on Monday. The penguin luminaries got buried!

Tuesday, February 16th
The Bug household put up the flag of surrender on Tuesday. I stayed home from work – mostly because I had caught a cold (I thought it was allergies, but Dr. M is sick now & supposedly I'm the culprit.)

Wednesday, February 17th
On Wednesday, the dreaded longed for Girl Scout cookies arrived! No, I don't see any irony that I took their picture beside the book I'm reading on weight control. Heh.

Thursday, February 18th
Thursday Dr. M took a picture of the campus squirrel. Do you reckon he's playing hide 'n seek?

Friday, February 19th
It was the last day of work for one of my coworkers (for pretty obvious reasons J). I think it's pretty brave insane crazy cool that she's decided to be a stay at home mom now – she has a 20 month old son who'll be a great big brother to her daughter. I forgot my camera so another coworker took this with her phone (thanks A!). T, you will be missed!

It was really foggy Friday morning. Dr. M took some good shots of the fog, but this is my favorite.

Saturday, February 20th
Well, today it's finally above freezing! The Orange County Chopper snowman (see last week's post) is getting ready for the big sleep. Or maybe he's in his cups.

D. M has named the cat from next door LOL – because that's what we do when we see him. I'm sure we could ask the neighbors what his real name is, but I like this one pretty well. I'd be kind of disappointed to find out his name is Fluffy or some such.

Supposedly we will be having rain this next week. I hope "rain" isn't code for "more snow." In any case, you'll hear all about it next Saturday!

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

Friday, February 19, 2010

Just Do It!

I must say that the second day of Lent (or is this the first day & Ash Wednesday is its own day?) has just let me have it with both barrels. I have often practically bragged about how sluglike I am – slothful, lazy, slacker, "Piece of Sh** Housewife" (sorry for the language - this was the result of a Facebook quiz – and is terrifyingly accurate!)… These are all adjectives I've used for my usual demeanor. Well, now I'm forced to admit that this behavior is probably not the best me that I can be – or the me that God would like me to be.

Here is the reading for the 18th from this website (emphasis added):

We call it procrastination. Sometimes it is fleeting and temporary. At other times it becomes so habitual that we lack the energy or motivation to do what needs to be done. Sly as a snake, sloth has slipped into our soul and shut down our desire to be active in bringing God's goodness to the world by what we create. Sloth feels like pampering at first, but gradually our soul grows heavy, and it feels like our meaning has been stripped away.

I'm on the mailing list for Barbara Cawthorne Crafton's almost daily motivational emails (eMo's). She's a bit of a hero of mine. Here is an excerpt from the eMo I received on Thursday:

Jesus resisted his temptations to satiety and power better than I resist mine to indolence -- no surprise there. As always, I am impressed by how gentle and reasonable my temptations seem: Oh, never mind, sweetie, they say, you're tired. Just take it easy. God loves you just the way you are.

Indeed, God does love me just the way I am. Always has, even at those sorry times when what I was has been significantly south of what I could have been. But the fact that God loves me as I am doesn't mean God wants me to stay that way forever. Part of love is challenge: Be what you can be. Grow into the full stature of Christ. Use what I have given you, and take joy in using it. I will give you the energy for it if you will step up to the plate and begin. See? Feel the stream of living water that flows straight from my heart to yours? Let that stream rush with power into the world, and you will know why I put you here, in this place, at this time.

I think I'll be spending some serious time this weekend considering how to get up out of this chair and do something!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bells for Barry

My blog friend Barry is having his last chemo treatment today for esophageal cancer. Barry is an amazing man - when you have a minute you should check out his blog, An Explorer's View of Life. He's a gifted story-teller - whether he's talking about his dog Lindsay, or the woman in the chair next to him who is getting chemo too. He has taken us on this cancer journey with him. I've laughed & cried, shaken my fist at the air & jumped up & down with joy.

At Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto it's a tradition that patients ring a bell in their lobby after their last chemo treatment. Everyone who hears the bell stops and applauds. Today, when his treatment is finished at 2:00 pm eastern standard time, Barry is ringing that bell. And hundreds of his friends all over the world are ringing bells too in celebration with him. Mine will be the bell on the front desk of the office next door (They won't be surprised. They know me well, that Bug is always doing something strange!).

If you'd like to check out Barry's blog and all the other folks ringing bells, just click on the bell on my sidebar. And if you have even more time you should definitely check out Ruth's tribute to Barry on her blog synch-ro-ni-zing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Going Inside My Head

Fat Tuesday is over and done, and I have the pancake thighs to show for it. Last year I wrote my very first post about Lent, and what the discipline of observing Lent might look like in my perfect world. I'm not feeling any more perfect this year, but I've decided to once again try to give up something and take up something.

I thought long and hard about what to give up, that would be meaningful to me, and this is what I've decided. I'm going to give up the games and puzzles that I do online. No more Farmville or Farkle, no more Cryptograms or Cipher Lists. No more Webkins. I spend a lot of time with these games. I would like to see what it will be like to use that time for something a little more constructive.

And so I am going to take up the practice of reading something other than someone's blog post! I'm going to read books that I have on my shelf. I'm going to read books about the emotions behind eating. I'm going to read Lenten devotions (courtesy of Jan at Yearning for God).

Will I be wiser at the end of forty days? I hope so. Will I start playing my games again? I hope not with the same frenzy. Playing games is a way for me to avoid introspection. And heaven knows I don't enjoy time spent inside my head. But maybe for the sake of personal growth I can spend some time with the boring chick who lives in there. And then we can go play a rousing game of Farkle afterward.

See ya later alligator!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Dream of Green

Conversation between Dr. M and me:

Dr. M, looking at the snowy fields: Isn’t it beautiful?

Me : It’s a mattress.

Dr. M (confused): or a blanket…

Me: No, really – there’s a mattress on the side of the road.

Raucous laughter follows.

Still, I’m dreaming of spring…

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekend Update

I'd like to apologize for the snow in these pictures - but there's not a thing I can do about it. And we're getting more even as I type this. Sigh.

I had visited this little church a couple of weeks ago (I skipped last week because I didn't want to seem to eager. Heh.). They're a small, diverse, Episcopal congregation who can't afford a rector. So the people just run the services themselves & have a priest in a couple of times a month to do communion. There is a small choir (around 12 women), and at my first visit I was asked to consider joining it. Not because of my most excellent voice (cough cough) - I don't think the director could have heard me singing from where I was sitting. Yesterday I decided to just go ahead & join. I'm an alto who doesn't really know how to sing harmony very well (I don't have the range of my youth when I used to sing the melody line). I should fit in quite well!

Yesterday after church Dr. M & I went on one of our rambles. I needed to pick up a book from Barnes & Noble, so we made it a little excursion - Indian food! Bed Bath & Beyond! The library! The pharmacy! - will the fun never end?. You know, this is exactly the type of fun I like best. It really was a beautiful day. We drove around taking pictures of more snow and generally enjoyed our time together.

As I mentioned up top there, we're getting quite a bit of snow again - it's really coming down right now. I'm sure I'll be leaving work early, and I have my doubts about getting back into work tomorrow. So, you know, I'll be taking more pictures of snow. And dreaming of spring - when I'll be complaining about my allergies instead of the snow. Well, perhaps as part of my Lenten observance I'll consider doing some work on my attitude! We shall see. And I'll most certainly be telling all of you about it.

Our town is in the middle of some fairly well known bike paths. This picture is of one of the paths - I hope those aren't bicycle tracks on there!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sundays in Zambia

One of the duties as a Journeyman was to help run herd on oversee the missionary children at our annual Mission Meeting held at Lake Kariba. This particular year we decided to take a field trip to the local crocodile farm. We saw lots of different sizes of crocodiles (including huge Satan) and the kids made me hold one. This is another example of being picked on because I was loved. It was love, right? Right? And that's the end of the story.

Here we come – watch out!

Wait, I'm too short – what are you guys looking at?


Don't I just look thrilled? At least they didn't ask me to hold Satan.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Project 365 - Week Seven

Sunday, February 7th
We went for a Sunday ramble up to Dr. M's campus – to check out the roads. He had to shift into four wheel drive when he got into town, but the campus was pretty well scraped. As we were riding around we found this fellow sitting outside one of the office buildings. Looks pretty comfy, doesn't he?

Monday, February 8th
On Monday I met with some friends for dinner at my old church in Cincinnati. We used to work together in the GED program at church (I mostly just took minutes at their meetings – we've already established that I am not a teacher LOL). I took my camera, but forgot to take pictures of the people. Head desk. Sigh. Oh well, here is a picture of the sign outside the church.

On my way home I thought it would be cool to show how dark it is on some of the stretches of road. I kind of like it, actually – especially because I know that if something were to happen there are houses all along the way. It's just dark on the road.

Tuesday, February 9th
We have one of those geese that you dress up each month. You know, on my wedding registry there was a note at the bottom: "bride requests no country décor." I'm not sure what happened, but here is Martha Goose in her January attire.

Wednesday, February 10th
On Wednesday, Dr. M saw a cardinal in our back yard. I don't know about you, but I think he looks ready for spring!

Thursday, February 11th
I have two pictures from Thursday. The neighbors built an Orange County Choppers snowman – I think he looks pretty dapper (or is that the wrong adjective to use for an Orange County Chopper?).

This is a picture that Dr. M took on his way home from school on Thursday. I still wonder why a girl from the piedmont of North Carolina should feel so at home looking at this flatter landscape.

Friday, February 12th
As you know from my blog post yesterday, it was To Write Love On Her Arms day (at least for the Facebook group – the national organization has a different day). Dr. M wrote love on one arm, but deciding that wasn't enough, he wrote love on his other arm – in Koine Greek no less. With his left hand. This is a man who I accuse of secretly taking that class in school where they teach doctors to be illegible. I thought he pretty well!

Saturday, February 13th
Now I know this picture is probably going to gross some people out. It's my understanding that this is an acquired taste & that I'm just weird. Only found in western North Carolina, Jenkins Livermush is just the best stuff! We always bring back four or five bricks of it from our visits to NC. It's mostly liver & cornmeal & has seasonings similar to sausage. Just slice, fry, & eat! It's actually not that bad for you – low in fat & has a lot of iron as you might imagine. Three Weight Watcher points for what's on my plate here. Sometimes we eat it for dinner with rice and my daddy's canned green beans, but most usually you'll see me eating it on Saturday or Sunday mornings (or both!) with grits and a fried egg. Comfort food for the North Carolina soul…
Please note – all frying is done either sans oil or with Pam Cooking Spray – I'm not that southern!

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

2024 Project 365 – Week Twenty-seven

Well, this past week was pretty stressful. The payroll functioned as it should for the most part. There were some issues, and we all spent a...