Monthly Archives: July 2010

A Slice of Squash (or, Iron Chef Mishap)

Friday night started off like any other. Not really. Actually, we were still on vacation and Mr. SillyPants and I started dinner prep earlier than usual. He planned steaks on the grill and was on the deck prepping the hot coals and tending to the hyper dog. I pulled out 4 beautiful yellow summer squash for a quick slice and saute on the grill. As usual, Blueberry pulled up his Junior Iron Chef chair and prepared to help cook too. I handed him his kitchen knife (not the sharpest blade in the house, but yes, a blade nonetheless) and handed him his very own yellow squash. You know where this is going, right?

I watch Blueberry work on his squash while I sliced long thin pieces and imagined the glory of them basted in olive oil and garlic for the grill. It was a matter of moments before I heard a loud cry. I saw Blueberry had made quick work on stabbing the hard rind of the squash, only to have cut through a finger. He was holding up his finger, crying, as blood poured readily from the wound. If you know me at all,  you KNOW I don’t like blood, guts, vomit, illness, bone, seeping wounds… (it’s a wonder I’ve been married not once, but twice, to doctors!).

I didn’t think it was too bad at first, so I carried him over to the sink, set him on the counter, and wrapped the finger in a paper towel. It bled through quickly. I called Mr. SillyPants in from the deck. He took a quick look, inhaled, and said something like, “this is going to need to be repaired.” He instructed me to put pressure on the wound and went to his phone, saying, “we’re going to the ER, he’ll need a good set of stitches and I want to make sure he hasn’t sliced through the tendon.” I pressed the wounded finger more vigorously, feeling it a little wonky under my fingers. Blueberry wailed a little louder, aware that the crisis was escalating.

Then the winner question. I looked at Mr. SillyPants and said (I kid you not), “oh my god, is his finger falling off?”  Mr. SillyPants looked at me like WTF*^% and said, “I hope not! Just put pressure on it, Ms. Plum!” Me, a total trooper in medical crisis. NOT.

We had a calmer boy by the time we reached the ER.I was a calmer mom, too. Mr. SillyPants – he was the picture of calm the whole time.  5 hours later (not exaggerating) Blue had 4 stitches, a little toy Tonka truck, and a heavily wrapped hand.

We stopped for french fries from “Old McDonald’s” on the way home – Blueberry was pleased. Today he has enjoyed the telling and retelling of the trauma. In fact, when we started cooking dinner tonight, he saw the lone yellow squash on the butcher block and said, “I NOT do that one!” and proceeded to pour water from one little tea cup into the other. No knives tonight. (Although I did ask him earlier in the day if he’d like to go outside and help Daddy cut out those garden creeper trees with a hatchet. Sick humor, I know). Trip #1 to the ER – we did ok.

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Ding-a-ling from La Paz!

I don’t like to be phoned when I’m on vacation. I don’t like when someone phones my husband when we’re on vacation. And when we were on vacation, my cell phone rang.  I wondered who in the world would be calling and I nearly walked away…good thing – the call was from WAFFLES! Yeah! He was calling during his mid-term break in La Paz, Honduras. I was so excited to hear his voice, I yelled his name and then fired a slew of questions at my boy. He interupted me to ask, “is my little brother there?” He had to talk to Blueberry first. Then, my biggie son, who has been gone over a month and is volunteering in a remote village in Honduras, gave me some details.  You want details?

  • No electricity anywhere in the village
  • 1 1/2 hike to the nearest bus station used to get anywhere
  • Beautiful waterfalls in the area
  • It’s hot
  • Daily diet includes corn tortillas, beans, rice, and an occassional egg
  • He’s a few hours from La Paz
  • He started a soccer team – uniforms (shirts) were about to arrive
  • His “team” has to hike 40 minutes “straight up” a mountain to the soccer field his team uses/made/improved
  • They are painting the only community building this week
  • He has a 13 yr old host brother with whom he enjoys making little boats and floating them at the waterfall
  • He loves his host family – “father’s” name is Omar
  • His Spanish is getting the job done
  • He told me it has been the best and the worst time of his life BEST=community WORST=never has worked so hard in his life
  • He has to write lesson plans – he likes to do this at the waterfall
  • He has almost no alone time and very little idle time
  • He asked me to PLEASE bring sugar to the airport when I pick him up. “What”, I asked? “Fruit Loops, bring Fruit Loops.” Stock picture of La Paz, Honduras

Can you say transformative? He told me he’s taking a lot of pictures. He’s got a good eye – all my kids do when it comes to photographs. I promise I’ll post pictures when he gets home. This was a GREAT post to inaugurate our new blog site! *smile*

(stock picture of La Paz from a website)

Wordless Wednesday

Dungeness Spit, WA 2010

PNW, family style

Teaching Blueberry about tide pools and crabs on ‘our island’ at Lagoon Beach
We spent a day in the town in which Mr. SillyPants grew up in WA state and visited one of his special places — Dungeness Spit DID NOT DISAPPOINT. I can’t wait to get back there. When we got to the Spit, we were greeted by a cold and misty morning, an eagle perching above our heads, and a seal’s head peeking out of the ocean. There was drumming, shooting faceless self portraits (hehehehe),
 log walking, and enduring some shivering when not hunkered down.
Mom’s island home was built over a number of years primarily through the labor of Mr. SillyPants and his Dad. Mom lives there now – a quiet and stress free life on the edge of the ocean.
Seattle was a ferry ride away – and we made it there for a day of Children’s Museum fun and the best peaches EVER at the Market. Yum.
Honestly, it was hard to drag ourselves from beach fun, but we’re glad we did.
~ Fort Flagler was our last beach stop – among many…
diggin’ in and lovin’ Island vacation ~
See you next year!

Songbird: Excerpts from Ecuador

Songbird sends updates about once a week. They are a blast to read. I really look forward to them. I try to repay ‘in kind’ with videos for her – typically on my FB page featuring her little brother.

Her updates are fascinating and wonderful to read – this biggest daughter of mine is lovely. This last update had me giggling and understanding more clearly the arduousness of her work. While her updates are ALL worthy of sharing, I keep the bulk of her experience for her to share. Somehow, though, this one just yells for a wider audience.  I have deleted the names of the villages, per her request and also out of respect for the Amigos projects themselves.

Here is an excerpt from her latest update:

Hello back home!

Week 3 on route brought some COLD wet weather my way (shout out to mom and dad for getting my NICE boots and sending me off with a good sleeping bag and set of jackets!)…..There is snow on all the peaks here!

Tuesday was fiesta day in ________, the volunteers were struggling to get the whole community involved in the community project and campamentos, so we decided to hold a fiesta. I baked 70 cookies and carried them, along with a child sized pinata to ________ which is a half hour walk after a 2 1/2 hour bus ride…. The volunteers are struggling a bit taking initiative and getting things done, they appointed me to run the pinata (yes!). It was a lot of fun for everyone to watch the little kids swing a broom stick at the pinata and miss wildly because I kept pulling the string so the pinata would fly out of reach (this way more people got turns). Then we danced from 7-11 to caraguay/karaway music (look it up on youtube). Its pretty much a shuffle/step dance but three hours of it can really wear a person out. It was extremely awkward because the little kids danced with me and the volunteers while most of the parents and older kids sat around and watched us. But one of the best AMIGOS lessons (and maybe  lessons) is: EMBRACE THE AWKWARD MOMENTS.

One of my vols and I and a friend of ours were also almost eaten my dogs on the way back from dinner one night. That was also quite an experience. Pitch black, foggy, cold, one flashlight and a lot of growling, barking, mean mean dogs surrounding us. We made it back home all in one piece, though I felt the adrenaline of the walk in my knees and nervous laugh. I had my bag off my shoulder ready to swing at any dog that got too close.

I also made a fire only using hot coals and damp wood and paper!



On Thursday morning I walked to _______  where my vols were eagerly awaiting my arrival hoping for letters from home. The girls there have done a great job adapting to the weather. Mornings are beautiful and sunny (in general) and by 12 or 1 it is cloudy, rainy and COLD. The girls have gone from crying to go home everyday to building a great relationship with their host family and are now being invited my more families to eat lunch at their houses. They even made pizza on sunday in a house that has an oven – unfortunately they spent that night vomiting it back up. But they said it was worth it. Nothing too exciting happened in ______  this week other than platano colada and french fries with a fired egg for breakfast…and recieving some religious magazines from a missionary because I haven’t read the bible yet… 🙂 Oh wait…the COLD was the most exciting thing that happened. It was crazy cold. Props to my vols that are living there for 7 weeks!

Friday! I got my butt out of cold _____  and during the hike up to _______ could feel my feet and comfortably wiggle my toes for the first time in 2 days! The families and the volunteers are doing great and love each other a lot. I was able to go to the last few minutes of the campamento and see the art the kids were doing. It was pretty amazing for such little kids. We played some silly games outside after the kids were done drawing and I almost died laughing. We also provided excellent entertainment for the adults who were gathering for a community meeting. I havent heard people laugh that hard since I got here (excluding those of us that live in staff house).

And Saturday! I finally showered and do not stink like cooking fire, sheep, wet feet and whatever else I smelled and felt like.

I love you all! I’m sending hugs and kisses and will eat plenty of guacamole for you in the next three days before the next route week begins.

Here are some other fun comments:
About the bus:…..Taking the bus is always a fun adventure, especially because no one ever believes I really want to get off where I ask to get off.
About cooking:……Cooking has been an excellent way to connect with the women. I also learned to crochet (very poorly). It provides incredible amusement to all the girls and women who have been helping me along.

Aren’t you all jealous of her experience? I am!!!! Love love love this girl, and MISS HER SO MUCH!

Black Power’s Gonna Get You Sucka: Right-Wing Paranoia and the Rhetoric of Modern Racism

Black Power's Gonna Get You Sucka: Right-Wing Paranoia and the Rhetoric of Modern Racism

This is for me and mine – because I’m going to need to go back to this time and time again. I can find it easily here – my
blog is like a bookmark 🙂

(I don’t care much about the political rhetoric, but I do care about the data that Wise provides in example after example)

Reading Racism Right to Left: Reflections on a Powerful Word and Its Applications

Reading Racism Right to Left: Reflections on a Powerful Word and Its Applications

Read this.
Worth it.
Long.
Critical thinking is necessary.
Open mind is a must.
Own it.
Change yourself.
Commit.

Ice cream sundaes just arrived in our home (Thank you Mr. Silly Pants!)- nothing like a little sweet creaminess to add to the reading experience.