Thursday, May 20, 2010

Belated Closure

Belated. By almost two months. Please forgive me... I actually wrote most of what you see below, in late May. But a series of unrelated events (i.e. unemployment, MRSA, vacation, the oil companies) kept me away and "unawares." So here's some closure.
Well, Brett arrived home safe and sound... tired, filled with gratitude, and having gained much perspective. Here are some pictures that he, and the team he was with, took throughout their stay...

Here's Brett, realizing that he wouldn't see his beautiful and delightful wife, for two whole weeks.


There's a slim chance he was thinking about something that didn't revolve around me. And was wondering how people drive in Haiti, and live to tell about it! And this is Toulise; the team's driver.

And these are the famous "tap-taps" that serve as public transportation, equivalent to a taxi. But like a taxi from Beetlejuice, with Tim Burton as the driver.

Brett says that right away, you notice the smell. It's very dirty in Haiti. Not just by American- anti-bacterial-obsessed standards. But by health and wellbeing standards.

There's the obvious rubble-debris to contend with... that kind of dirty. Which is expected.

And then there's the trash kind of dirty. A result of a sanitation system that is broken... more so now, after the earthquake. But broken before it, as well.

And then there's the kind of dirty, that makes children sick with the trots for weeks at a time , and young mothers die from infection. It's the kind of dirty that lives in the waterways...with the feces and the household debris and the hogs... and it's where locals wash their clothes and their dishes and their hands...


Local residence. I prefer the blue one.

More local residence. The ones below, are built on the median, in the road. Yeah. You read that right... smack dab, in the middle of the road!!!


Brett and the team's translator, Frenaud (Frey-n0). This kid's special... like adoptable, kind of special. He's 19, speaks four languages, is finishing his last year of high school and plans/wants to become a doctor or a minister. He studies medical books written in French and English in his spare time! Seriously, someone sign me up to take credit for him!!!

The schools themselves, aren't bad. I trust the intentions of the teachers, the accredidation of the schools, and the religious organizations that run them... fully.

But...when you're child misses a few days of school from dehydration because they've spent the week on the toilet, they're gonna fall behind. But chances are, within a few days, they'll make up the work and carry on... healthy, healed, and mentally ready to learn. But if that happens three times a month, your child is gonna fall behind, get discouraged, and fail to learn the items necessary to move on.

Mix illness, with some children's need to provide income for the family, as well as a family system much different from our own... and you have an illiteracy rate of almost 50%.

BUT, one of the first institutions to be "up and running" following the quake, were the schools. I think this is indicitive of hope. And these children... they're the present AND the future of Haiti.

This is a group of school children at CONASPEH... the ministry and organization which partners with the Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ... and oversees 6700 churches in Haiti while providing education and medical care for the locals. It's nice to know, that even in Haiti, the children are much more interested in what's going on in the playground, than what might be going on in the classroom! We have an elementary school near our house... and I swear, all they do is play outside. It's like, my good tax dollars are apparently paying for recess. Sheeze.

That's Karen (from Brett's church) in the middle, with the leaders of CONASPEH (mostly clergy who serve as the board of sorts) and the pastors wives. There are VERY few female clergy in Haiti... but you know, I figure, lets get over one hurdle at a time right?!

That grey rock you see behind the two girls? And that rubble on which, the other children are playing? Yeah, that's their old school. Imagine being reminded every day...

Ahh... finally, children pretending to learn. Or deciding which Jonas brother is the cutest. Oh wait.... scratch that. They're deciding which member of the Fugees is the coolest: Wyclef Jean or Pras. (I vote for Wyclef.) Or maybe their not old like me... and are squealing over Kompa. Whatev's.
And then there are the orphanages.

Before you start singing tunes from Annie, let me make it clear, that the word orphanage does not mean what we imagine it to be.

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of these "orphanages" which are little more than, the local pastor, opening his doors. In many cases, these pastors can't even feed their own children, yet take on the care of other children whose parent(s) may or may not be alive. It's not unusual for a parent (usually a mother... some things sounds familiar) to drop their child off at these homes or churches, with nothing more than a cursory "I'll be back in a few weeks... I gotta take care of some things." Or I can't afford them right now. Or I have to care for another child right now. And it's not because they don't love their children. But becuase there is no other way.

And so, that's why, when the missionary group from Kansas took those "orphans" and were going to bring them to the United States... it was SUCH a big deal! These kids had parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters! I trust those missionaries had good intentions... I really do. But it's sort of a case of "America knows best... we're big and powerful and surely, we have all the answers." I mean, no child in America ever goes parentless or hungry or fails to graduate. Nope. Not one.

The team had the opportunity to visit some of these orphanages... and give them dolls made by some of the ladies in the church where I served at the time.

This is one of the pastors and his family. It's kind of hard to notice, but the baby on the far right, has orange hair. This is a sign of malnutrition. Studies show that one in every three children in Haiti, is malnourished.

Local clinics provide medical grade peanut butter... but women and their babies can sit all day at a clinic, waiting to see a physician.

And most of the folks are there because of STD's. Unprotected sex is a real problem in Haiti... in part, due to the Catholic influence, but also just an overall lack of cause and effect understanding/education. And maybe some "bad intentions." Maybe.

I believe the exact words that Brett used when describing this doctor, were "slicker than snot on a salesman." Though I hate the imagery of "snot," I sort of get it. He's a fundraiser first. And a doctor second. With braces. He's the "maybe," the bad vibe. But where there were one or two "bad vibes," there were many more good and faithful people, trying to save the country that they love.

A look inside one of the clinics.


The local market. Where everything and anything is sold.

That's a wheelbarrow full of "spent" rebar that is headed to market. When I say "anything and everything," I mean it!
As you head up the mountain, and the air gets cooler and cleaner, you find the folks with "the money." Not like Hollywood/Brad Pitt money, but maybe more like Ozark, Missouri money. The mission team spent one day "up the mountain" visiting orphanages and finding reprieve from the suffocating heat.

From this vantage point... removed, safe, well cared for... Port au Prince looks gracefull, peaceful, hopeful. I pray they feel those things today. I pray their children know those things, deep in their souls. And I pray that we might be changed.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bump Day on the Four Month Anniversary

I've always hated that term, "hump day." It's always struck me as oddly vulgar. Just like my Mother can't stand (and refuses to shop at) Kum-N-Go. She's always like, "They couldn't add one more letter... it wouldn't have cost them that much more to make it 'Come'." I secretly agree with her, though the convenience factor of having a Kum-N-Go on every corner in their town, often outweighs how I might feel about the word... allowing me to justify breaking my solidarity-boycott, for the ease of a quick cup of coffee on the way out of town.

Brett is now, over the bump. He's on the home stretch... and tomorrow evening, he begins his journey home. First, to Port-a-Prince, then Miami, and eventually, KCMO. I thought I might share some photos. None of these are from Brett's camera... those will come later... but these come from a new blog, written by a young man from Canada (a friend of Brett's), called Marathon for Haiti.

I look forward to posting pictures showing progress... laughter, joy, dancing. I trust it is there... because the human spirit is shockingly resilient. But I think for now, it is important for us to remember the destruction, the devastation, the immense grief that blankets this area. Greater destruction than you and I will probably... prayerfully... ever know. Greater than Oklahoma, 9/11, or Katrina.... not because of the sheer numbers of lives lost or the magnitude of destruction, but because of the system... the system of abject poverty that was present before the quake, and will continue to be there, long after relief agencies have gathered their shoulder bags and headed back to London and Quebec and Lyon and Kansas City. Unless, you and I, and those who know no such systems of bondage, find a voice and an urging within our hearts, to empower change... seeded, root change. Not a band-aid....

I see glimmers of a soap box emerging. I'll stop writing for now... I promised pictures. *fingers crossed*

Today is May 12... Four months to the day, since Haiti experienced natures destructive powers. How will I respond?

Will convenience be my default?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Mighty Mitre Tuesday

Whew. This day is done.

It was the Bishop's annual visit today. (Thus, the "mitre" reference above... that's what you call the cool hat that he gets to wear, by the way. Why would you know that?) The whole sha-bang started at 6:30 this morning, with the source of all evil (apparently others call this an "alarm clock") going off... and ended at 11:30 tonight, with me falling somewhere near the bed.

I've been a little under the weather and my asthma's been acting up. You know how Asthma is... comin' in late without calling, drinkin' with his buddies Pneumonia and Influenza...

Well, by 9:30, all my meds started to wear off. I was coughin' and hackin' like any good 30-some-odd year old and went downstairs to find my inhalers.

As I came down the stairs, I could have sworn to you, that it was hazy and smokey down there. I walked from room to room, turning on all the lights, confirming that it was eerily foggy. I began touching the walls and sniffing the air. I even called a friend down, to check it out with me.

So... it's funny what lack of oxygen will do to the brain.

Suddenly, Johnny Weir looks straight and date-able. There are benefits to getting a Brazillion. And going back to re-live your Junior High days, sounds like a good idea.

And just so we're clear... this is what I looked like in Junior High.

Oh that hair. (And really, this pictures's not as bad as it got! I recall copious amounts of AquaNet being used. Yes, my generation is solely responsible for the depletion of the ozone.) Why didn't someone tell us?

As it turned out, no scrimey youth had been playing with matches and no ill-contented adult tried to burn my collection of coloring books.

It was just my head. Wanting to breath. And wanting to see Johnny Weir in a mitre.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fear and Loving on a Monday

My girl-dog's got some fear in her tonight. Last night a car backfired somewhere in Australia, and Abby stammered around for three hours, just sure that the world was ending. And then this morning, heaven help us all, it's stormy -- like thunder, lightening, potential for hail, kind of stormy -- and this really throws Abby for a loop. Looking for a place to hide, she climbed into the shower as I was opening the door to get in there myself...and she refused to get out! Awww man, was she ever mad when I turned that cold water on! I only wish I had had my camera in order to document the look of pure disdain on her little, puppy face!

So as I left for work, I drugged her up... Abby on drugs is brutal. She can't find her feet for the first two or three hours so all you can hear, is her falling up the steps or tripping over the dog bed as she paces around the house. My guess is, right now, she's riding out the storm in Brett's closet.

Fear is funny... it's controlling and manipulative and plays weird tricks on your brain. Fear keeps you stranded in a sea of "what-ifs" and "buts" and it weighs you down, so you trip over your own feet in an attempt to "just keep moving."

I can't help but wonder what "fear" is doing to the people of Haiti. Brett tells of children, who won't sleep inside, under their new roof, for fear of it collapsing... crying, despising, shivering, fear. He tells of hopeful parents, waiting for adoptions to come through... breathing, weeping, pacing, fear. He tells of patients waiting in clinic rooms... wondering, thinking, considering, fear.

I imagine the fear a mother feels, each time she sends her child to school and turns to comfort another, whose child did not come home that day... grateful, ashamed, survival, fear. I imagine fathers and brothers and husbands who fear letting their families starve, as they continue to struggle with abject poverty... shameful, tiresome, anxious, fear. I imagine church leaders trying to bring comfort to a torn flock, tearing at their own clothes from grief... grace-filled, sorrowful, sacrificial, fear.

I realize my fears are different. Privileged, white, middle-class, fear.

I guess we all have fears... safety of those we love, money, security, weather. Even the basics, like dark alleys and strangers with guns (apparently, I'm part of a 1940's film noir). Some even fear God. I'm not one of those.

At least not most days.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sunday Confessional

I owe my dog, Wyatt, a public apology. The other night, when I was accusing him of political volleying at 1:45 in the morning, he was actually looking out for me. While someone was taking a baseball bat to the mailboxes in our neighborhood -- including ours (though just barely, as you can see in the photo), he and the neighbor dog were trying to tell the vandal to, "stay the who-who away from my house buddy, cause I'll lick the pores off your face." And he would too. He'd lick those pores, clean off. Unless the vandal happened to bring a miniature poodle with him... or was wearing a funny hat... or roller skates. All these things really work Wyatt into a lather. Anyway, I'm sorry Wyatt.

I should probably apologize to my Mother as well. No card. No dinner or present or box of chocolates. No visit. Just a phone call, in the parking lot of Sam's. See, I'm simply proving my theory, that children aren't all they're cracked up to be. Seriously sorry, Mom. (And in no way, am I insinuating that you are a hippo. Really. I just think they're cute.)

And while I'm on a roll... I might as well apologize to my husband too. He's embarrassed by the snippets of emails that I posted on Saturday. When he's writing these emails, he's under a bit of pressure... one computer for 30 residents...which usually makes for quite a bit of toe-tapping going on behind him. And apparently this pressure makes it impossible to use spell check. That's a joke, by the way. Seriously, I understand. And I'm sorry. (If you were wondering, this is my sincere "I'm sorry" face. I'm lookin' a little rough around the edges... eyebrows all askew, hair on frizz patrol... What can I say? Been a long day of confessin' sins and savin' souls.)

Saturday Bits from Brett

I thought as a week-ender, I'd share with you all (hi Dad!) some snippets of emails that I've received from Brett throughout the week. I'm going to apologize on his behalf for the overwhelming amount of typo's, misspelled words, and deplorable grammar (but leave it "as is" for the sake of integrity). And pray that Brett's 6th Grade English teacher doesn't happen upon this blog! Any pictures you see, are from she is a physician who is serving in Haiti, and a blessed soul.

Tuesday evening:
"We made it and with all of our luggage. Nicaragua hectic times 10. The place we are staying is really nice. We do have a public computer for our use so I should be able to send email daily. We spent most of the day driving around and wow... overwhelming... Unorganized chaos..."

"All in all I am so glad to be here. It really is hard to put into photos or words even the conditions here (also picturing them pre earthquake)..."

Wednesday morning:

"I don't remember the last time I was asleep by 8:30. All four of us guys are in a room with a bed, a fan and we actually have airconditioning at night. This guest house is great. There are about 30 people staying here from different teams. Kinda cool.Today we are meeting with the CONASPEH council of ministers. Patrick who runs CONASPEH and his wife Frances (fran suaah) he runs conaspeh and she runs the school. School has started and there were over 1000 kids there yesterday in tents set up as classrooms. All the kids in uniform. We drove in and it was neat to see these open side tents with kids learning. CONASPEH is hoping to work with Global Ministries to work it out so that the parents of these kids won't need to be responsible for paying for school until October. So anyway, today we will sit down with the council (which doesn't happen much I guess- pulling them in from the surrounding areas) to share with us their vision, dream, hope, need and where things are. Karen seems to have much credibility as far as being a catalyst for change and getting stuff done."

Wednesday evening:

"Today we had a really good meeting with the Conaspeh ministry council. Essentially much like a regional board or a not for profit board. A group of decision makers to back up the president and the decision making. And everything I said in my last email about how they feel towards Karen is more than true. They ALL consider her to be Haitian. She has earned their trust, love and respect- they really welcome her as one of their own and being with her, that hospitality extends to us.They talked at length about their frustrations with the President of Haiti and the law not listening to the people or having any care at all. That type of feeling extends to Global Ministries as well... "Before the earthquake, Global Ministries didn't seem to question what we do with the money we get and whatever we need is there. Now after the earthquake it is as though everybody wants to know why and seems to be coming with more expectations." (A brett paraphrase.)I did meet Pastor Jean. He is 27 and taught himself English. He translated for our meeting and seemed to relate to me as the youngest pastor on the american group. We exchanged emails and he will teach me Creole and maintain contact. Otherwise- it is hot and very muggy here. An afternoon nap might be in order... it is exhausting- still a bit overwhelming. Today was good and there is something scheduled for us every day. Off to a couple of Conaspeh clinics tomorrow that are connected with a couple of the churches."

Thursday evening:

"Today was a very interesting day. We drove the Karfu today, even closer to the epicenter. One of the churches has a clinic there. We took a suitcase full of meds for the clinic and were going to meet the dr. and actually bring him a year's worth of salary ($1,000) and see it work... The nurse was there, no english... Pastor Ramon was there he speaks some english- enough to get us by... The doctor wasn't there. 15 patients sitting and waiting.... we all sat and waited.... and waited..... WICKEY........ Finally Karen said, "Well Therrsa can we take blood pressure at least... She used to be a firefighter and Ken, Karen's son was a paramedic.... They said sure" Well the nurse had the sign in sheets with symptoms.... "

"...of the 31 cases at least a third were sexually transmitted disease. The other majority was high blood pressure... The second to last woman who came in ended our day with a cold reality, she had a mass under her breast... (I didn't see it, didn't have to. Ken and Therrsa... who handled it so professionally told me everything I needed by their response... All I heard Therrsa say was, you have to go to the hospital..." She won't, no transportation, must pay up front, no way she could afford it. We gave her Ibuprofen for the pain, said goodbye and the moment she left the three of us just looked at each other in a blank shared glance that summed up the sinking feeling we all felt."

Friday evening:

"Today was much more "seeing" than doing. Lots of driving. Very much about awareness, and probably seeing some of underlying motive of seeing so that financial support may follow.... But with that I am really seeing different areas and the devastation that just doesn't seem to stop. We haven't even been into City Solei (sp?) yet. We will worship at one of the churches there. Tomorrow we are off to Leonet (sp?) the longest drive yet, into an orphanage and another clinic. Should be a good trip, we are taking dolls and meds. Not sure if we will "do" anything at the clinics."

"Funny story of the day, in an attempt to stay hydrated I have been drinking lots of water in the morning especially before we go. Well by the time we got out to the Conaspeh location I had to pee. 10 minutes later when the plan was shared with all that were leaving for the clinic, (in two cars) I told Ron that I was going to the toilet... on my w back over the hill I see car number 1 pull out, then car number 2.... I started to laugh and walked over to Patrick the president of Conaspeh and simply waved, smiled at him and said Oh, oh.... His face got so long petrified "OH NO." He jumped up grabbed his phone and motioned for the security person run down the lane after them... everyone else was laughing around me, and I was laughing as I walked toward the van. Needless to say it has become our big joke fodder for the day both from me and at me. Everyone thought I was in the other vehicle..."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Night in the Big City

I know plastic shopping bags are scary. I do. They represent everything that is wrong with our society today... capitalism, materialism... and teabaggers would probably have us believe, socialism (but only if our President uses them). They are enemy's of the environment and bastions of evil, especially when they are floating around in your backyard. I get it. And I believe we should talk about these things and how we can be instruments of change... I really do.

But Wyatt, if you feel you must have this conversation with the neighbor dog, at 1:45 in the morning again, we are gonna have to throw down. And I promise... I will win.

Awwwww. I see you're tired this morning. WAKE UP!

The splinter I went to bed with... is still in my finger. I know it doesn't sound like much... and perspective would tell me, that people have endured and lived through, much more. But it's on my ring finger, and it's surprising how often you rub that finger around. Like I said last night, only Brett will understand the severity of the situation.

There are lots of things that Brett endures (and does so, with grace)... scrapes and scratches, hard labor, heavy lifting, the "dogs" flatulence... a whole number of things. But Brett does not handle splinters. A splinter will bring the world to a halt.

This has never been more apparent to me, than the day we moved into our house (the one we live in now). We didn't have a speck of furniture... not even toilet paper. But I recall, we did have paint samples. And two spatulas left behind from the previous tenants.

Anyway, we'd ordered Chinese food from HyVee (ya know... cause the suburbs of Kansas City are known for their ethnic food) and we're sitting on the steps of our deck, Chinese food spread out, paper napkins in our laps...when I got the mother of all splinters. I mean, that sucker was a good inch long (not an exaggeration) and was actually causing me to bleed. With deliberate calmness, I turned to Brett and said something like, "Aw man, I just got the mother of all splinters."

What Brett actually heard was, "For the love of all that is Holy, get it out! Get it out! I'm near death!"

Before I know it, without a word, he sprints into the house and begins ransacking (the EMPTY house): Paint chips are scattered and spatulas are flying. I think at one point, he threw the air mattress out the window... Later, I would be informed that he was looking for tweezers.

Meanwhile, I'm outside... putting lids on the food, gathering up the paper napkins and plastic utensils that had been tossed aside, bagging up the leftovers... all the while, thinking "What a jerk. Leaving me out here to clean up the mess when I've got a log sticking out of my hand." And when I entered the house, I said something to that effect.

His response, "I thought you were right behind me! There's a time to clean up the dinner dishes and then there's a time to take care of a splinter." *still wrought with exasperation*

Well. Next time I'll know.

I realize this story has nothing to do with what I've done today (which was the purpose of these journal-days) but it's just to say... that I wish Brett was here, to take care of my splinter. Cause this is one of those times.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Good Works on a Thursday

My husband may be in Haiti, distributing medicine to the sick, shoes to small children... providing grief care to the hurting and helping rebuild destroyed schools... all while establishing meaningful relationships with people who need to know that the world still cares...

But I just finished watching DVR'd episodes of Project Runway, America's Next Top Model, and New Adventures of Old Christine. All before 11:00 in the morning.

I don't know... ya know. I just feel really good about what I've done today...

I considered making rice crispy treats this afternoon. Got as far as pulling the marshmallows and rice crispies down from the cupboards, when I decided it was too much trouble. So instead, I took a marshmallow and handful of rice crispies and stuffed them into my mouth at the same time.

In case you're wondering... it's not even close to the same thing.

But I could be the new poster child for American ingenuity. Or laziness. One or the other.

This evening, I went to dinner with Teresa and Jane. They're members of Brett's church... and members of Brett's church, tend to assume that I'm pining away, listening to sappy love songs, crying over terrible romantic comedies, and forgetting to eat... all from loneliness, while Brett is away.

This is soooo not the case. Never once, in my entire life, have I forgotten to eat.

My best friend in high school would forget to eat when she was depressed, heartbroken, or sad. Which, of course, pretty much sums up the teenage years, right. So ya know, she was teeny tiny... always saying things like, "Ugh. I just don't know what to do about Josh. I haven't eaten in days." I used to PRAY for heartache so sever, that it would leave me forgetful and satiated. But alas, though I knew heartache (the dramatic, world-is-gonna-end, teenage kind of heartache)...not once, did I find solace in an empty cupboard.

None the less, I no longer correct people when they assume that I'm sad that Brett's gone. I figure it's usually good for a meal or two. (Totally a joke! I swear!)

So this is Teresa and Jane. Two beautiful women:

And then I got into the picture, and ruined everything:


I'm going to bed tonight with a splinter in my finger. Only Brett will appreciate the significance and severity of that sentence.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday Preaches

This is my view, from where I sit, in my office. That framed poster has been in every office I've ever had, and it's always in plain sight.

I tend to do a lot of staring. Is that bad? I mean, what else am I supposed to do during the week? Everybody knows, ministers only work on Sunday's.

Maybe I should call it praying. Tomato/tomata?

Either way, I'm struck by the fact that Brett's in a country where he doesn't speak the language... can't understand the language... and yet is preaching the language of the Gospel. A language of hope, fullness, love, and justice. Without the need for words.

Well done, dear. Well done.

Now if only he'd figure out how to do the "no words needed" thing, at home.
It's funny that I should have started my morning, pondering the lack of words necessary, in order to do ministry, properly.

It's funny, because I've just ended my night, sharing with someone else... someone who doesn't know me, but has a list of questions, a pen, and an agenda... why I might be the best minister for their "job." In one hour, I had to tell them all the best bits of my life... articulate the successes, the joys, the pats-on-the-back, the don't-you-wanna-hire-me-cause-surely-I'm-perfect, bits. It shouldn't have been so hard. I am nearly perfect. But whew-nelly, am I exhausted.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Koman ou ye?" and Other Tuesday Things

"Koman ou ye?"

That's Haitian Creole for "How are you today?"

Well, to start with... I'm a little wired. I just made coffee. I knew I needed half of what I normally prepare... so, as I stumbled from coffee pot to sink and back, in a sleepy stupor, I told myself over and over again... "only five cups of water." What I really should have been saying was, "only five scoops of coffee," because I ended up making coffee with 10 scoops of grinds and five cups of water. WHHOOOOOOOO-WEE! When the hand tremors and overall body shaking stops, I'm gonna get a lot done!

Which is good... because this pretty much sums up my night:


For weeks, I've been counting down the days until I got to sleep alone. No elbow in my side, no "taking up space that is rightfully mine," no soft nudges throughout the night to silence the snoring... just peace. Smack dab in the middle of the bed, peace.

But things did not go as planned last night. Everything was wrong. The sheets were bunched (he's a "sheets must be tucked in before we go to bed" kind of guy and I, being the free spirit, require that my feet are able to come and go as they please), the temperature was all off, sleeping in the middle wasn't all it was cracked up to be, and as it turns out, I'm the one that's been doing all the snoring. (That's a joke, by the way.)

So the coffee will come in handy this morning. Three cups down...

It's not a bad thing, when your eye twitches, is it?

Oh the caffeine crash. It'll get cha'.

Mine hit at 11:34, just as I was contemplating doing a load of laundry (funny, how those two things coincided). I was literally half-way down the stairs with an overstuffed basket, when I felt like I simply couldn't move another muscle. My eyes got droopy and I started considering weather or not I could actually fit into the laundry basket I was holding. Suddenly, resting my head on Brett's three day old dress shirt seemed like a pretty decent idea.

And then trouble hit. A "brother" had come, to avenge the sour-cream-and-onion death.

Yesterday's Lara Croft moment suddenly seemed foolish. I began considering my options. And realized, I'm fresh out of Pringles tubes. This is bad. Real bad. I love Pringles.... and I've got a lot of comfort eating to do over the next two weeks. Hummm.


I spent the rest of the early evening, making up for my sloth-like nature, by planting some pepper plants. After the alleged murder of Banana... well, I just hadn't had the strength to face the others. Today seemed a perfect day... windy but sunny, with a rain barrel full to it's brim.

If you were to revisit the Banana murder/saga... you would notice that I've been quite sympathetic to Jalapeno... I've always given him the benefit of the doubt, assumed he needed to grieve, used the language barrier as my out.

That was a rookie (gardener) mistake. It won't happen again.

I have reason now, to suspect that Jalapeno is responsible not only for Banana's death, but possibly, Bell's too! The appropriate authorities are looking into it....

Here's how it all went down.

So like I said, it's a delightful day. Sunny and windy, but the ground is still moist and the worms are working overtime. I threw on my flip flops, lathered on the sunscreen lip balm, and headed out to the porch to choose the lucky recipients of today's gardening fervor.

The peppers all raised their pretty little leaves and one by one, I gathered all six plants... carried them out to the garden, and lined them up in the order that they would be planted. It didn't take long for me to notice something curious... there were FIVE jalapeno plants! And honest to goodness, (if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I wouldn't believe it either) Jalapeno PUSHED Red Bell. Red Bell took quite a tumble but was unscathed.

Bullying aside (though it should be noted, I run a "no tolerance" garden), I was perplexed by the sheer number of jalapenos. Where did they all come from? Is this some sort of conspiracy? Knock off Bell and Banana, so that Jalapeno and his co-horts can rule the rows? Or is it bigger than that? I just don't know... but until I figure it out... Jalapeno and his friends got planted. WITHOUT compost. (Teach them a lesson.)

He doesn't look so bad, does he? (Always a jalapeno sympathizer. *sigh*)


Well... I started this day, asking "Koman ou ye?" In a nutshell, I tried to OD on caffeine, I have a family of spiders mad at me, and there are killer jalapenos in my garden. How do you think I'm doing?

On a good note, I received my first email from Brett today:

"we got here, all is well and already it has been a meaningful trip for the whole team..."

He's so good with the words.

Haiti Days and Mondays...

My husband left for Haiti this morning. He'll be gone 13 days... THIRTEEN WHOLE DAYS. That's like a lifetime when the only creatures that keep you company, are two smelly dogs and an anti-social bunny. One dog is actually smellier than the other... because one dog rolled around on a dead baby bird. Before coming to give me a hug. *shudder*

But anyway, Brett's journaling. (Once he lands in Haiti, communication will be limited to one email per day.) And I gallantly offered to do the same...before I remembered how much I HATE "old fashioned" journaling. I can't be slowed down by pesky things like pens and paper. So, I'm gonna do some of this here... and since there are like, three people out there that actually read my blog, I figured it's about as private as anything else.


So he's been gone less than 12 hours, and I've already had my first, "I don't need no man to be my hero" moment: This afternoon, there was a spider and he (by the way, spiders are always male.) was super big.... think, pingpong ball... no, tennis ball... no, BASEBALL... size. And he was furry with mean, spindly lookin' legs. We locked eyes from across the room and instinctively, I grabbed the box of tissues sitting on the counter. I removed the remaining kleenex (it's allergy season and I'm all, "waste not, want not," ya know) and I charged. He saw me comin' (all one hundred of me!) and made a run for it. He dipped behind a curtain and I felt satisfied, figuring I'd probably scared him good enough that he was telling all is little spindly-legged friends about me... and went about my business.

Then, a few hours later... he reappeared! I mean, the nerve, right!? Again, our eyes locked. This time, I reached for the camera. (Doesn't everyone?) And the empty Pringles tube. (What can I say, I'm lonely and a comfort-eater.)

Again, I charged. Was he ever feisty! Dodging this way and that, trying to find refuge in the sunlight... he put up a significant fight. But alas, I captured his sorry arachnid a#$ and sealed him away in his sour-cream-and-onion tomb.

I feel a little bit like Lara Croft. Like Lara Croft, with sour-cream-and onion breath. And I like it!

I'll miss my husband... but it won't be because I need him. It'll be because his company makes me happy, he laughs at my jokes, he makes sure my hands get lotion each night, and most of all... because he smells better than my dog.