Monday, November 30, 2009

I am So Sorry To Do This to You.

And now....

To start the week off really right!

I promised that I would post a short video of our experience at the Kinigi Cultural Village in Ruhengeri, Rwanda and so I am. HHBL has been busily editing video and has come up with this "short" for your viewing pleasure. Isn't he sweet to do this to for you.

I apologize in advance....

I am so very sorry to put you all through this because I really like you. But I have to be honest in life. I have to be an open book (post on that coming) and so in the interest of being and open book I will post this video.

If you are drinking coffee or have a weak stomach you might want to put down the mug or skip the whole experience all together. The "best" part is at the end when I make my dancing debut.

I will not be auditioning on Broadway any time soon for a principle dancer spot.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Yes, I know that it is Friday. And usually there is a 7 Quick Takes that pops up on this day. But Jen over at Conversion Diary is taking a Quick Takes break this week and thus so am I. But I thought you might like to see what we were greeted with this morning. Most of it will be gone by this afternoon I would guess since there is blue sky and the possibility of least for a while.

Yes, when I descended the stairs at 5:45a ( I slept in, I am a slug) I could see out the front windows that there was precipitation of the white and frozen kind furiously falling from the sky.

I did remember to go out a bit later and fill the bird feeders, which I will admit had been empty for several days. The birds would come to the feeders, peck half heartedly and then fly away. Come back little birdies, the buffet is open again.

OK, I could hang out for hours in the back garden taking "artsy fartsy" pictures of the different plants. Keeping the camera on manual, playing with all the settings. My hands may turn black and fall off from frostbite.

Well, I am off to do something constructive. Maybe.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Thankful List

I was going to write a funny post today, at least I thought I was. One chronicling my many Thanksgiving adventures, and there have been some memorable ones. But I think I will skip that for today and just give you a short list of what I am thankful for. I think it will be a short list, and there may be some humor in it but who knows. I mean life without looking at the humorous side of things would be......would be......just awful. Sort of like being Al Gore's office manager or something.

Sorry, I interjected politics into the post. I hang my head in shame.

Some of the things on the list will be obvious and some not. But it is my list after all and I can put on it what I want. HA!

So without further ado.........
My Thankful List

I am thankful for HHBL who is just about the best man that I know.

I am thankful for my lovely progeny who keep me in stitches most of the time

I am thankful that we are a family that can laugh together as well as have serious conversations around the dinner table.

I am thankful for my parents who are sweet, lovely and hilarious....but only in a good way!

I am thankful for Pilot Man and his wife The Chef who are the best brother and sister-in-law that a girl could ask for. Even though I am still bitter about Pilot Man allowing his frog to pee in my sailor hat when we were little. Bitter.

I am thankful for not one but TWO sets of in-laws. They are unique and I love them. I mean who wouldn't love having two mothers-in-law. They are awesome.

I am thankful for Max the Wonder Dog. Even though this week he has been particularly busy ripping up things that he shouldn' my favorite pot holder.

I am thankful beyond describing for these women whom I love so dearly. My sisters of the heart.

I am thankful to live in the United States of America where we take for granted even the little things, like the fact that you can turn on the tap and get clean water. Or flip on the light switch and have electricity any time you want. And that, even if you are disgusted with your elected officials you have the opportunity to disagree with them and vote them out of office. That they aren't there for life....unless they are Robert Byrd of West Virginia of course. There I go with the politics again!

I am thankful for in no particular order: anything with coconut and chocolate, good coffee, my knitting group Tri-County Knitters, cow butts (sorry just had to put that in there), the hawk soaring above the house this morning, dinner with good friends, KNITTING!, BOOKS!, my bloggy internet friends - you know who you are I love you guys!

I could go on and on and on and on and......

but I won't (you were worried weren't you). Be honest!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To Use or Not To Use, That is the Question

I face a dilemma. What to do, what to do. Hmmmmm.

Let me give you some back ground on my thought process on this, and yes there is a coherent thought process although sometimes I wonder.......

I was in a cleaning out a drawer mood the other day and came across these old dish towels. I haven't seen them in years and I am not sure that I have ever actually used them. They are not new, they are old. I am guessing that they belonged to one of my grandmothers and I am thinking that it was Grandma Amsler because she used dish towels like this. However, I don't remember her ever using ones that had embroidery on them.

At any rate, I found them in a drawer and I think I just have to use them.

I fight daily with what I call my "pack rat" tendencies. Or perhaps I should call them my inner "oh I don't want to use that I want to save it because if I use it then it will be gone" tendencies. I admire people who do not have this tendency in their genetic makeup. They just use the special thing until it is gone. Then they enjoy the memories of that special thing. But they use it up first.

Me, I tend to squirrel things away and not use them because, well, if I used it and used it up then I wouldn't have it anymore would I. I am trying to be better.

Which brings me back to the dish cloths. I am sure that you thought I would never get back to the original thought.

All of the dish towels are worn and soft and have ladies either embroidered or sewn onto them. They are so 1950's (and Dandy I am sure would love them!). They will be great for drying dishes or for covering rising bread dough or who knows what.

OK, OK, OK I am going to be brave, bite the bullet, go for the gusto and use these babies. Use them til they can't be used any more. And then I will enjoy the memory of the using.

Oh yes, there is also a bit of family mystery to go along with these towels. When I pulled them out of the drawer, tucked in between some of the towels was an envelope with a picture in it. I don't ever remember seeing the envelope and I certainly don't remember the picture.

This is Margaret Mary Driscoll Martin
7/4/1834 - 5/24/1912

So far no one in the family knows who she was! Nor do we know why I have a picture of her or what the picture was doing tucked in amongst the dish towels. The handwriting on the back of the picture is familiar but I just can't place it. My brain is in a whirl trying to find out who this woman was.

I may not sleep tonight for all the wondering.

Oh who am I kidding, of course I will sleep tonight. Because I have to get up in the morning and put the turkey in the oven. Hmmm, someday I may have to tell you all about the time I thought I had lost my wedding rings in a Thanksgiving turkey. It was not one of my brighter moments.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Birthday HHBL!!!!

Today is HHBL's birthday. He is 25 years old x 2.......yes, for those of you who are numerically challenged that means that today he turns 50 years old.

It is impossible to believe that this guy is 50 because he sure doesn't act like it or look like it.

I thank the Lord every day for bringing him into my life on September 23, 1983. We were actually set up on sort of a blind date, one that involved meeting my entire family at the same time that he met me. Poor guy!! My family is unique. But he wasn't scared off, or at least not eventually.

HHBL is one of the best men that I know (along with my dad and my brother). He is a man of integrity and honesty. A man who loves the Lord and honors his parents and his family.

He has a wicked sense of humor and can make me laugh at the drop of a hat. A good quality I think to have in a marriage.

He also looks really good in a suit. I mean REALLY good.
I am sorry, I am shallow I know but he does!

He pushes me to be the best that I can be. Remember this little athletic fun times.

He also looks very good in a baseball uniform.
Yes, I know, I am shallow. SO sue me.

All this to say.....


Monday, November 23, 2009

Shhhhhh, I Am A Clandestine Dealer in Butter

Everyone should be blessed with a friend that they can call to ask for a cup of sugar, or a bar of soap or a jar of molasses. It is one of the joys of life to be able to know that there is someone who can fill that "oh no I'm out of it" need. Lauren and I fill that need for each other. We live about 300 feet apart on our road so it is easy to shuttle food stuffs back and forth.

Do you have some sugar?

Can I borrow a cup of honey?

Do you happen to have some "Liquid Smoke"? HA, she thought she would stump me with that one but not only did I have some Liquid Smoke, I had a whole extra bottle of it. Liquid Smoke is the secret ingredient in my homemade BBQ sauce so I always have it on hand.

So this morning, at the rather early hour of 6a I hear my cell phone ringing. I leap from my computer chair and run into the kitchen to get it before it wakes up HHBL and it stops ringing just as I get there. Rats I hate that. But I can see that it was Lauren that called.

Hmmmmm, I hope that nothing is wrong!!! It is early for them. If it is something wrong she will call back.



Ding Dong (that is what my phone says when I get a text message). Ah, yes Lauren I am up and you can give me a call.

Now I a really worried. I hope the girls are OK! I hope that Mike is OK! I hope that Lauren's dad is OK! I hope that the cats are OK!

Finally my cell phone rang. Oh, just so that you know what my cell phone ring is like you can play the clip below. No one ever said that you had to have a boring ringtone. "Dooley" by The Dillards just happens to be mine. Remember I mentioned that I have rather eclectic taste in music.

Hmmmm, I think I digressed there. So, my cell phone rings and it is Lauren and she says, "Do you have a stick of butter? I am all out."

A stick of butter.....

at 6a in the dark of the morning....

"Yes, I think I can provide you with that, once I get over the fact that there isn't a catastrophe brewing at your house. No, no, I will meet you at the end of the driveway with it. That way you don't have to come all the way up to the house."

So I grab a stick of butter from the fridge, put on some shoes and schlep down to the end of the driveway very thankful that it is dark because I have on a pink shirt, a pair of aqua work out pants that are what we term "flood waters" meaning that if there is a flood these pants are high enough up my legs that they won't get wet, white socks and black clogs. A vision of loveliness am I.

I stand there, hoping that no one sees me in this outfit with a stick of butter held in my hand close to my side. I see the headlights come slowly cruising down the street and a car pulls up in front of me.

Hey, hey lady are you looking for some butter? I got some right here.

The car window silently slides down, I hand the butter to her, we exchange quiet words, the window slides back up and the car glides back up the street and into the darkness.

I felt like I had just transacted a drug deal.

I am a black market butter dealer. Can I go to jail for that?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

African Faces

Well, I think I have come to the end of my Africa posts.....maybe. I know that you are heaving a big sigh of relief with this after wondering, "Egads, how long can the woman go on about a trip to Africa? Thank goodness she isn't making us look at a slide show!" A long time evidently. Believe me, you think these posts have gone on forever then you might not want to read my notes from the trip. The Word doc stretches on for 20+ pages, single spaced with small margins. I am a wordy woman as if you hadn't figured that out already.

So without further "ado" here are some of my favorite pictures of faces from our trip.

The Engaged One's foster siblings Andrew and Patience. I probably should tell you that all school age children in Uganda have their heads shaved. Hard to tell boys from girls sometimes.

If you have a camera and you are a Muzungu (white person, literal translation) then you draw a crowd of children. It starts out with one and grows, sometimes exponentially.

The Engaged One and her foster mom, Vennah

School kids in Nyahuka, close to the Congo border.

This little fellow followed us into the dining room where we were having "brunch", and I use that term very loosely to describe what we were served. There were eggs involved but that is a close to brunch food as we got.

These women are all dealing with HIV or AIDS. They are so beautiful

The maze seller in Nyahuka. You think, "Ohhhh, corn on the grill! Excellent". Ummmm, not too excellent to my westernized taste where this is really what I would term field corn. It is an acquired taste and I haven't acquired it.

This is the mother of one of our World Vision children. I loved her fast, so solemn when I took her picture but just moments before she was all smiles as she gave me a gigantic hug and kiss and told me something in Kinyarwandan.

Well, I think that is all for the moment at least from our African adventure. We have some other travel that is coming up in the months to come so you never know what pictures will show up.

Friday, November 20, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 48)

And here is your video for the day. It is so cute. Thanks to Dr. Wes for posting it.

Men who wear cologne, this PSA (Public Service Announcement) is brought to you by all of us who have marginally functioning senses of smell. We greatly appreciate that you want to smell good. We women like to smell good as well and we appreciate it in others. But, if in the morning you put on enough cologne to bring down a bull elephant in full charge mode. You have put on too much. Please, please stop. Our noses thank you.

I go to Michaels yesterday for two things. TWO. THINGS. And I end up spending $35 and I came home with alot more that two things. I cannot be trusted in a craft store. I just can't be trusted. I don't even visit all the different departments when I go there for the love of Pete! Oh well. And I have to say that the yarn that I went there to purchase doesn't really work for the project so I found something from the stash that did. Sigh.

OK, this is how cool the interent is, and Facebook for that matter. So, I am on the internet (no surprise there) and I have several windows open in Firefox one of which is Facebook. I am perusing the morning headlines, into reading about the healthcare debacle that is going to happen (sorry, strayed into politics there) and I hear that little "pop" that means that someone has sent you a message via "Chat". I almost missed it. And low and behold it was the Almost Son-in-Law all the way in India wanting to chat. We are rarely on Facebook at the same time, considering that it is 11 1/2 hours time difference between Chez Knitting and where he is serving in India. We had a very nice "chat". He will be back in the states, along with The Engaged One, in about a months time. We are very excited to see them both!

I just sit here and think, "How cool is technology that I could chat with him 'real time' with me here and him there!" Amazing.

I really love my ipod, I listen to it all the time. I love the instant gratification of it, that if I hear a song that I like but don't have that I can go onto itunes and download it.....for a nominal fee of course. But I think, and I am going to show my age here, that there is something that has been lost by being able to download just one song from an "album". I do that all the time. I download one song by an artist that I don't really know, just because I love the song, I did it this morning with Jay Sean's "Down". But I remember when I was still buying records and then CDs that often there would be a song that wouldn't be one that would be a hit on the radio but that I would love it. Sort of the "B" side song (for those who still remember 45s). There are so many songs that I absolutely love that never got air play but that I know about because they were on an album that I bought. That is what is lost by buying songs one at a time. Of course, as I sit here and write this I am rocking out to "Down" and then next up is "I Gotta A Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas, another "orphan" song on my ipod. I needed upbeat music this morning and that certainly qualifies.

I have to give credit to My Cup 2 Yours for introducing me to the Jay Sean song in a roundabout way. It was on a video she posted this week.

Look for a post next week (I think) about my weird musical tastes. I prefer to think of them as eclectic thank you very much.

Speaking of itunes and ipods, if you have one do you use the "Playlist" feature? I didn't used to but I have become a total playlist fanatic thanks to The Shoe Queen and Cartoon Girl. They are both playlisters extrodinaire and got me hooked. I have lists for walking and working and musicals and upbeat (using that one a lot lately). Love, love, love play lists. But then I love lists of any kind. In fact, if Umberto Eco can do an exhibition at the Louvre on lists then we know they are essential, even if they are only playlists.

Note to self. Do not read a book on the 1934 Cleveland Torso murders while you are in bed. It is assuredly going to give you weird and disturbing dreams during the night.

You might be asking yourself why I was reading that anyways. It is because, like with my musical tastes, I have an eclectic taste in reading. It is just the way that I am.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Smoke Detectors Are to Blame

Ims wejaosajl wtrj ajsefljo osjfml! whouuasn nsh mje ejehhhe shhoid!!

Oh sorry, I am a tad sleep deprived. The fingers weren't on the correct keys there for a moment. I need my sleep. I am not a good and loving person if I don't get my 7 hours of sleep, just ask HHBL. 7 hours of sleep=Happy Camper Debbie.

I did not get my 7 hours of beauty (cough, cough) sleep last night. I didn't get anywhere near that. It is going to be a long day today I am just warning you.

"So Deb why are you lacking sleep?" you are asking yourself. You were asking that right?

It is because my smoke detectors hate me that is why. They hate me, they hate HHBL, they hate the Fire Department.....oh maybe they love the Fire Department. Hmmmmmm

Let us go back in time to say 1 am, or as I like to think of it...THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING NIGHT!!! Back......back.....back.......

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. That's me, not snoring just getting the old beauty sleep. I am not "old" it is just the way you use that word so don't take it......never mind


Huh? Whaaaa? Is that the phone ringing? Why is it ringing at 1a? Our phone doesn't ring at 1a. Is something wrong with one of the girls?

Fumble, fumble to get the phone and to remember how to answer the phone at 1a and in the dark.

This is the alarm company. We have a report of your smoke alarm going off. What is your code please.

Smoke alarm? I don't hear anything. Code? Oh Crap, what is that code!!! (sorry I said crap. It might happen again just so that you know). OK, OK...don't use the distress code like you inadvertently did last time. That insures that you will get the Fire Department with lights flashing AND the Police Department with lights flashing and then you will have the neighbors and a big hullabaloo.

Code....code....code....the hamsters aren't turning very well in the cage here and time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking into the future (10 points for whoever knows what song that came from). I finally roll over and nudge HHBL, who does not move. Oh my gosh is he dead??? Do I have a dead HHBL as well as a smoke detector going off? Shake, shake, shake....HHBL!!!

Huh? Whaaaa?

The alarm company is on the phone! The smoke detector is going off! What is the code! Crap! (there I go again)

And because HHBL is all about numbers and can remember ANY number he has ever learned (one of the reasons that I married him...that and his cute butt. Sorry honey) he spits out the code number, I say it into the phone, give my name and we are done....or at least I think we might be done....but I might be wrong on that.

So, with portable phone still clutched in my hand we get up and out of bed and open the bedroom door and sure enough, the alarm is going off, we just couldn't hear it. That begs the question, if we can't hear the smoke detector if the bedroom door is closed are they doing us any good? That is a thought for another day.

So we go downstairs and I turn off the alarm. Heave a sigh of relief, although the panel tells me that there is a "smoke detector not ready" somewhere in the house. Crap (sorry).

I should at this point tell you that we have a house that is sort of "high tech" wired and that the smoke detectors are hard wired into the system and that the system checks them every few seconds to make sure that everything is OK. If it finds something that isn't OK (like smoke) then it triggers the alarm, calls the alarm company and shuts off the heating/cooling in the house. The whole idea sounded great when we were having the house built but sometimes it is just a big pain in the patookee.

Now back to our I silenced the alarm and we are walking around seeing if there is any smell of smoke, which there wasn't by the way, and the phone rings again. Only this time it our local police department.

Is this Mrs. ______. We have been contacted by the alarm company saying that you have a smoke detector going off. We just wanted to check on you and tell you that the fire department has been dispatched to your residence. You are OK? Call us if you need anything else.


So we zip upstairs to put on some clothing cuz I don't want to scare the Fire Department. I did forget to take care of my hair so it may have been a tad fright producing but no one mentioned it. Sure enough about 2 minutes later I see a lone car drive down to our cul de sac, park and someone get out. Hey! One car only? What is he going to do turn on the hose in the back and take care of things that way (that is if we had been on fire). OK, so I go out to greet Bill, who is one of the Fire Captains. He lives just a little ways away and was up anyways, having just been on another call, so he came right over to assess the situation and see if the rest of the big rigs are needed. We assured him that we didn't smell smoke, that we didn't see flames, that we thought it was a malfunction. So Bill canceled all the big stuff and went in to check everything out.

We looked at all the smoke detectors in the house. I had to first remember where they all were. Basement checked out. All the detectors on the first floor checked out. The detector in the upstairs hall and the master checked out. The detector in Shoe Queen's room was blinking but in a different pattern. Hmmmmmm. But it couldn't have been that one because if it had been tripped then the light would be a solid red. HHBL checks Cartoon Girl's old room and sure enough, that was the smoke detector that had been tripped. Well now we know which one was tripped but not why. We will have to have the system maintainance guys come over to look at it (and those guys are blog post worthy themselves, and not always in a good way). But we have to reset the system so that it doesn't go off again.

So Bill, HHBL and I traipse back to the main alarm panel and stare at it.Uhhhhhhhhhhh. We poke at the buttons, I input the code a bunch of times, punch more buttons. We just can't remember how to reset the system to make it stop reading, "Smoke detector not ready." Yes I KNOW it isn't ready you stupid thing. Just turn it off for the love of Pete. No dice. I hate, hate, hate looking like an idiot who doesn't know her house system. Technology is great, until it isn't. And it always seems that when it isn't it is pointing a big sign right above my head and the sign is blinging, "She is an idiot that doesn't know how the system works. Pity her." What to do, what to do......

REBOOT! Yes, the answer was to go to the basement, unhook the battery pack, wait a bit and reattach. Sucess!

Thanks Bill, appreciate you coming over on such sort notice. It has been nice to see you but if you don't mind we would like NOT to see you again anytime soon. Shake hands, exchange emails, check addresses for Christmas we didn't do that! We did shake hands though. He is out the door and gone, but not before uttering the words, "The alarm may trip again. If it does we may be able to not come back out if you can tell the alarm company when they call that you have are having trouble with a faulty detector. Maybe". Well crap.

So we traipse back upstairs and get back in bed........and we lay there and anticipate that the system is going to trip again. Any little blip or noise or anything and I am sure that we are going through the whole thing again.

So it was at least 2:45a before I fell asleep...and my alarm goes off at it was a short night. And therefore, if you read all the way to the end of this post you know why I am sleep deprived and am sucking down coffee like it is mother's milk to her (another 10 points if you know the movie that came from).

Oh, and Cartoon Girl's room. We have a house guest that was staying in that room last night....and he slept through the entire thing. Amazing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Failure of the Baked Bean Kind

My homemade baked beans failed me.....

I don't know what to say.....

The recipe has never failed me before. It has been rock steady, solid, a good if windy friend. But not this time. Oh no, not this time.

I did everything that I always do. I even did it double this time because, well, these were going to be dinner one night this week when we were having company.

I will not be serving these for the company. I will not be serving these for anyone.

Oh don't let their looks fool you, their yummy, delicious, baked beany looks. They are false these baked beans of mine. They may look good but they are not.

They are not soft and yummy, they are firm and not good. They aren't hard as if they are uncooked. They are just not cooked like they should be. And lest you think they haven't been cooking long enough let me disabuse you of that notion.

They have been cooking slowly in the oven all day. I put them in this morning and left for the office. I thought about them all day. I anticipated the time when we would be together again. I longed for them......Yes, well I did! I came home and the first thing I did, even before letting the dog out, was to open the oven and take them out.

I took off the lid...I peeled back the foil. AHHHHHHHHH the smell is ambrosia. Mapley, molassesy goodness. I am salivating like one of Pavlov's dogs. I get a spoon and scoop up a generous helping.

Blow on it to cool it off a bit.

Start to chew....HEY??????? These are good.

Oh wailing and gnashing of teeth. Oh Baked beans all full of onion and bacon and venison how could you let me down.
I have not left the blogosphere. I haven't taken a trip to far away places. I am just busy and I have to say that I have had several days when there are apparently no words that want to work their way down from my miniscule brain to my fingers and out to the keyboard. There will be a post up later today for the 5 people who regularly read. SO don't leave me please. Cuz I love all of you and my world would be lonely without you......

Saturday, November 14, 2009

And Now For Some Humiliation

When we were in Rwanda we had the opportunity to visit the Kinigi Cultural Village outside of Ruhengeri. The place is staffed with people who used to be poachers in the area but are now employed here instead. It is a small place, you park in the parking lot and walk a short distance down a rutted road to get there. They show you the "hut of the king" and, if you are a guy, make you dress like the king and all that stuff that I cringe at. All the stuff that we used to love to make the progeny do on summer vacations.

The local "witchdoctor" shows you all the lovely concoctions that he can brew that will cure what ails you, help you get the girl or guy with the potion brewed from the local love berries and after you get the girl make sure that all goes well with a drink made from the "local viagra". I am not making this up folks.

Then they show you a display of Rwandan dancing. They had been giving a display when we arrived so I knew what I was going to see......and I knew what was going to happen.

Yes, after they do the very cool dancing and drumming they make you participate. There was no way around it. So why not just jump right up and get the humiliation over with. Cuz I am such a Muzungu and I have absolutely no sense of rhythm. All I can say is I won't be quitting my day job. So sit back and enjoy my humiliation.

Oh yeah, I can do this. I am in the grove. But can I tell you that the woman I am dancing with had never been introduced to deodorant. And it was a warm and humid day.

Look! I have grandma arms and they are flapping in the breeze!

Can you see the look on my face? I am trying not to notice that in most countries women do not shave their armpits. It was really difficult not to look there and be transported back to my Jr. Hi. French class where we were fascinated by the teachers very long underarm hair. She could probably braid it, we were sure that she could.....Oh yes. African dancing, humiliation. I got side tracked there.

"Am I done yet? Can I go and sit down now? I can!!! Thanks for the humiliation. Let's do it again sometime.....NOT"