Monthly Archives: February 2012

Cooking with Konjit

Thursdays have become my favorite dinner day. We eat Ethiopian on Thursdays. The food is amazing, in small part because I’m not cooking, and in large part because Konjit is cooking. Meet our new house guest , Konjit. She’s from Ethiopia and she’s here for the semester. She’s lovely. absolutely lovely. Konjit brings so many gifts to our home. She’s a very busy student, but any time we have with her is full of the essence of Ethiopia. Her smile, her kindness, her faithfulness, her compassion, and a few Amharic lessons are her daily gifts to us. 

Ewodashalu Konjit! 



Twinkletoes in Cape Town

In January, middle biggie left. Again. Another biggie gone. Another biggie stretching out her wings and naming another place ‘home.’ Another place that Blueberry can name on the world map because someone he loves is there.

Twinkletoes is spending the spring semester studying at University of Cape Town, South Africa.

 I’m not gonna lie, Twinkletoes in Cape Town is pretty much the coolest thing on this year’s busy calendar. My cool cat kid is doing cool cat stuff. Here’s the update!

She’s taking 3 classes: Global Change Ecology, Astronomy and Xhosa.

She’s got a few clubs she’s joined: Ballroom, mountain and ski, diving (that would be SCUBA – she’ll get her diver certification), and a volunteer program for the township debating league.

I have a few comments about the last 2 clubs. First, I can’t believe she is going to get SCUBA certified. One cherished memory I have of sweet Twinkletoes is on a boat on the gorgeous green waters of the Indian Ocean in Kenya. Twink was 5 years old. She feigned sleep on the boat to avoid an amazing snorkeling experience. I think this is her way of making up for that missed opportunity. And she wins.

Second, I am so proud of her sense of service. Twinkletoes writes, “Today I was at 8 hours of training for coaching a Township Debating League. The student organization “Ubunye” does the Township Debating League and it is really cool. Volunteers coach students in grade 8-12. Each pair of volunteers is assigned a school and coaches about 10 students. I’m excited!” If you have ever argued with Twinkletoes, or ‘debated’ a topic with her – – um, you know she is going to rock this club. She’s going to be a great student coach.

I’m so proud of my daughter. She’s curious, she’s generous, she’s compassionate, she’s responsible, she’s intelligent (underscore), she’s kind. Twinkletoes both knows who she is and is open to her own ‘becoming.’ As a parent, I raise my children to live in the world just as she does – fully, responsibly, and with passion and conviction. I ask my kids to be engaged as they experience.  To embrace as they endeavor. Twinkletoes does it with her own special flare – and it makes me smile from deep within my soul.

Plus, who doesn’t love penguins?

She ended a recent e-mail with ” I was accepted to the Uganda program that will take place next winter break.” (I left out the $ request…bwahahahaha).  I guess that means she’ll be leaving again. She’s getting a Global Health Certificate from UW – Uganda is part of the program.

I’ll miss her one more time. I can’t wait!

The Hat

When the hat comes out, I know something good is on the horizon. I remember when Mom bought this hat for herself –  50th birthday –  Pea Island, NC. 

Pea Island was the day we saw our first roseate spoonbills. Well, maybe we had seen these birds before, before we knew how cool they were. But, probably not. My childhood didn’t have much opportunity for travel from Ohio (I remember 2 long car trips – once to Florida to visit my grandparents and once to Cape Hatteras  – – when I was 6. Mom loved Cape Hatteras so much – it became her dream destination).

Mom worked hard, single parented, didn’t have money, opted for freebie local vacations – we call them staycations now. But a few things changed when we kids were all grown up. She got to a few places. And, on our own, we often got there with her. Cape Hatteras & Pea Island was her dream 50th. We had that dream (feeling that crush of loss and mourning in my chest and thinking, THANK YOU GOD for Pea Island time).

I lost my mom way too soon  – but so much of my life as her daughter comes rushing into my sight when I pull out her hat. And, so much of the path of my own life too.

And so, when I’m traveling I wear “the hat”. My head gets burned in the sun. The wind blows. My hair gets dirty, sandy, limp, a hot mess. I wear Mom’s hat. It protects. As she did. If you’ve seen pictures of me traveling, chances are you’ve seen me wearing this hat. (I’ll spare you the photo journal – and yes, in some of the photos I’m wearing both the hat and the binocular harness – SCORE!).

When I get out this hat, I know good things are about to happen. I love traveling more than anything else; more than driving a new car, more than having a closet full of clothes or shoes, more than gems or jewels (seriously, does anyone like gems and jewels?), more than a daily coffee purchase, more than shopping, more than buying a fancy juicer (but omigod I want a juicer!),  more than eating out, more than paying the biggies college tuitions…get the idea? Life with Mr. Sillypants and Blueberry (I married so young the first time; when y’all who are my age-mates were having your fun, I was breastfeeding non stop for way too many years to count!) is a good life. I am so grateful. And, I am grateful  for the hat, and all it taught me about “today.” (I miss you Mom). Today, the hat is in the luggage. Today, I am humbled by the good and hard work of Mr. Sillypants so that I can take out the hat.

We’ll be off the grid for a week – leaving the home to our ragtag entourage of 20 somethings with a full ‘fridge and reminders to let the dog out.  (OK, not really off the grid. I exaggerate. There will be FB updates, because what would the biggies do if they couldn’t see their baby bro on FB?) .


(crap, as I just finished this I remembered how close I am to 50….wowzers)

Wordless Wednesday