Saturday, May 22, 2010


This is the seizure inducing dress. Am thinking it has been made so much fun of by so many that I am now owed a NEW one to be purchased by Lois and Heidi who started the fun and games. Really, a perfectly lovely dress that cannot be ruined by anyone in any country in any type of washing machine or any type of water.

And, I haven't been wandering except between our cottage and Davison, where Heidi, her husband and kids live. Been washing, cleaning, cooking and tomorrow, I am baking a cake for McKenzie's 15th birthday and then baking 30 cupcakes for Chase who will be 5. He announced today that he was going "poop" and he had to shut the door, because he will be five. He needs his "privacy." Thought that pretty funny.

Cancelled my return flight to Jackson and found out that I will be going to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on June 9 for about two and a half weeks. Can't that is "wandering." Much work to finalize yet for Rwanda and need that to be in DC by late tomorrow. Hoping my friend, Eddie can fly over from Kigali and join me in Addis Ababa for adventuring. Won't be going back to Rwanda for awhile and that makes me sad.
More when something is going on in my life interesting. Do wonder when Richard is coming out of the wilds of Canada...he is up there with his buddies fishing as he has done for years and years. Hoping they didn't have much snow or rain.

Talked with Rich today and we discussed the purchase Alex and I made for our marine neighbor who is stationed in Afghanistan. A story is coming soon about that...maybe an article as well and then, there will be seriously embarrassing stories which can and will be told at appropriate moments in Alex's life...hope I live to be old.

Not much to say...went to Tammy's wake, and so sad to see a friend and colleague, younger than I, buried. I am not ready to see friends and family dying. Talked today with Zee, Heidi's mother in law about our end of life plans...both don't want to live as vegetables, in pain or as a burden. Hated how my dad left us, but am so happy he did as he wished. Making plans...going to be ready. What was most important was having everyone know and understand the plans.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Leaving Jackson...going home!

I am sitting in the Jackson, MS airport and feeling rather pensive. Met some wonderful people here at the paper: people I will continue to support and stay in touch with, here, there and everywhere.

Learned a few things and hope I taught a few lessons. Been in "hay-el" here in many ways and this morning, I woke up remembering how much fun I thought going to hell might be, when I was much younger. Think of the super conversations one could/would have with people like Hitler; Khomeini; Idi Amin; Pol know they are all there. And the stories they could tell and the questions I would want to ask...very interesting but also would be quite depressing. And then, I realized that it just isn't fair to make fun of the one syllable words like HELL that are spoken as two syllables here. This hasn't been has been unique, different, frustrating, satisfying at times and just down right good eating!

Mississippians know how to cook and how to eat. Now, there is a very high percentage of obese people here and that has to be due to more than genetics. Am thinking it has to do with sausage gravy, grits, bacon and more. I resisted all of these things but I sure did enjoy crawdads and creole meals with just a hint of a bite.

Jackson has been a growth experience for me and I even found myself quoting Bob Carlson, the VP of Advertising at The News-Press. Having flash backs but realized that hell is just a situation made by my not looking carefully at the "why" behind the "what." Found I was telling folks to "inspect what you expect;" or minimize the "wasted rework." And you have only a few seconds to suck someone in to your message so you better have a clear one. Funny what one internalizes and when it just pops to mind.

Felt like saying, "Tempus Fugit" a million times. My old Latin teacher, Mrs. Lee, long dead would have been pleased to hear me saying and thinking this. The amount of wasted time here in the deep South is amazing. It isn't wasted time; rather it is a "relaxed" method of working. I maybe could get my arms around that after about 30 years living here. Relaxed equals not on time.

Looking forward to being home in Michigan with Heidi, Chris and the kids. Hoping I can be helpful in some way or the other.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Back to Hay-el!!

So, the hoot for the day is this...I called to let folks know I would be getting into Jackson a bit late...maybe 15-20 minutes. It was suggested that my car be parked in a lot with the keys left in the gas tank near the cap. This car is white and I have no clue, even now, what make it is. And I couldn't imagine walking row after row of cars looking for this with my computer, my briefcase and a suitcase. Now, if the clicker worked and I could set off the alarm, maybe. So, I suggested the car be left at my apartment with the keys under the mat. The decision was that I would be met. Got in, no one in sight. So, I called and heard that "Jamie" would be picking me up. I don't know a Jamie and never met him. Not to worry...he is in my car., I see the white car coming and fortunately they left The Clarion-Ledger parking permit or I wouldn't have been able to identify Jamie. We shook hands and laughed...he had been told my flight number. Nothing else. No name. No description. No time of arrival. He circled the airport four or five times until I identified the car. Welcome back!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

To all of the mothers who read this...Happy Mother's Day! Talked with both Kristin and Heidi this morning. Heidi is still in need of love, prayers and help. But her voice sounds stronger every day even if I hear by way of Chris and Kristin that the tremoring still continues. The girls and their husbands and kids gave me an edible arrangement of fruits which we gobbled down over the last few days. Happily, they remembered I am leaving so Mother's Day came early this year.

Today was a bit solitary and a bit quiet but actually relaxing after I got done cleaning, picking up, doing the wash and what not. Alex gave me the funniest tiny gifts....Yankee Candle smellsums for the car and two outrageous magnets for the fridge. We are at the point where we just don't need gifts but I love a good laugh.

Earlier, I went to the mall for an air conditioned power walk and while there realized that I was in the minority...meaning there were so many Spanish speaking people around. I started eavesdropping on conversations and at various points, interjected commentary and answers they had been seeking. The looks on these folks' faces as they looked at me and thought...the gringa speaks our language!

While checking out the various Hispanics, I decided to see how well I would do pegging the country s/he or they came from. In several cases, I just wasn't sure, so asked. I was 5 for 5! Now, we do have a lot of Guatemalans and Hondurans here but the indigenous facial features of the different Indian groups is quite distinctive and memorable. Loved my power walk and actually looked at a few items on sale at Macy's but just couldn't get into the shopping mode. People watching? YUP

Ate left overs for lunch and am having leftover cheese and sausage with crackers for dinner with the required and essential glass of red wine. What could be, quiet, wine, hearing a language one misses?

Richard is joining Tim for a nice dinner with mom in Atlanta tonight. He made record time getting there...apparently I need to stop to go to the bathroom too often.

Quiet day and I have to get some work done for Rwanda. Leave for MS tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Best of Times....

I am home in Ft. Myers and having a ball. Went out with our neighbors, have been walking with another neighbor and soon will be having a send off party for another neighbor who is starting a fishing/boating business in St. Thomas. And then, had dinner with a colleague last night and lunch with my old staff today. Lots of time for family, friends and volunteering.

I went to visit some of my Hospice patients and died laughing. The lady I took a photo of Chica a few months ago was alert and happy to see Chica. Judy still doesn't know MY name. I asked her where Chica's photo was and she said the staff keep putting it behind the drapes. I asked, "why?" She said, "I can't see her." To me, rather obvious. So, I moved the photo down where Judy could see it and asked if that was better. She laughed and said she can't see her. Judy told me she is blind and I had no clue. She always looks at me where ever I am in the room and she can tell, obviously, when Chica is next to her in her bed. I asked why she had wanted the photo and she said so she "could see her." I said...see Chica how? She said, "I know she is there and I can see her here." Judy touched her heart. I cried.

Met new people and then, the best story of all is how I worked the system efficiently and seemingly effectively. We have had NO movement on Alex's going to Alaska. Nothing happening and many promises made. So, wrote to Governor Crist's office, the head of probation for the State of Florida and at least ten more folks. Seems there will be some movement but in the meantime, he will have some leeway on doing some other things. More coming on this soon.

Oh, and I am thoroughly enjoying my showers...did I mention my Jackson apartment has soft water and one feels slimy after bathing? Hate it. Love our hard old Florida water.

More another day...many funny stories to tell especially about the box of treats we are sending to Afghanistan for Brian, our marine neighbor. These are almost X rated and entail shopping with Alex. Quite a hoot. and you will die laughing at what I did today with my son. Stories will be told for years to come.