blogging

Here, There, and Everywhere


I know, I know– I’m terrible about updating regularly. Whoops. I’ll not buck that trend, however, by updating two days in a row. At least– not with anything real. I just wanted to pop up the links to three other blog projects I’m involved with.

(Here, There, and Everywhere)

For God

The first is a blog I got connected to while spending the month of August in Honduras with my grandma.

Original courtesy of Gary Larson. Edit courtesy of the Jesuits. ;)

It’s the blog of a couple who work with Arrow Child and Family Ministries (read more about Arrow here) in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. They had a blog they’d been trying to keep updated, but for anyone else out there who has ever tried to balance blog updates with the rigors of, you know, A FAST-PACED LIFE, keeping everything up to date can get a bit difficult sometimes.

Especially when you never know if you’ll have power that day, if the internet will still be accessible, if a military coup or union riot will flood your street and house with tear gas fumes…

After meeting this couple, Terry and Carol Mallasch, in person and learning more about their work in Honduras, I wanted to see if there was some way I could help them out. Since blogging is something I know, blogging is what I put on the table. And wouldn’t ya’ know they were actually interested in my offer? What is this world coming to…

You can check out their new blog (which includes all their older posts from their previous blog) at Mallasch Meditations. They’re up to some pretty neat stuff!

From “Real Simple” (click to view source page)

For Gluten

The other blog I’m doing stuff with right now is the brain child of one Laura Jane Roland, who is going gluten and sugar free for the month of September, all while blogging about said adventure. Figuring other folks might be interested in getting in on the fun, she sent out an invitation to a bunch of us asking if we wanted to participate.

Erm… no. No I do not want to go gluten or sugar free. (Though Lord knows I could probably stand to…) But I’ll sure write about it!

Enter: Coarse and Unrefined.

From “Real Simple” (click to view source page)

So far I’ve only written one post for it (Brass Tacks And How To Get On Down To ‘Em), but I’ve got a visit to a gluten-free store in my notes and camera memory, so there’s another one a’comin’.

Eventually.

When this gol’ durned laziness leaves me be.

So possibly never.

There are some pretty great writers involved in this project, so if you’re looking for info on what it’s like living without one, or both, of these major components of the standard North American diet, this blog’s worth looking into. Some of the writers are gluten intolerant, some have other dietary concerns, and some are just gluttons for punishment who think the idea of a gluten and sugar free September sounds like a great way to jump into Fall. Crazy, I know, but it seems to work- both in real life and in the blog.

Enjoy!

For Gabrielle

A couple friends of mine from… back east.

I wanted to collect all my dream related blogs and cross post them into a totally separate blog.

So I did: ‘Til Sunbeams Find You.

Aside from the most recent post (it’s somewhat of a spoiler for the series finale of a Xena, so proceed with caution if you think you might ever watch it) they are all entries that were originally posted here, so for regular readers of this blog it’ll all be nothing new.
And please ignore the “categories” when you get there. I think something funky may’ve happened to them during the export/import process. I hid ’em on the main page to cut down on the very weird resulting clutter, but I didn’t do anything yet to actually *fix* the problem…

Honduras Blog #10: Of Sandals and Bloggers


How am I so behind on blogging?? We leave Honduras in TWO DAYS!! Time to get crack a’lackin.

Squee-worthy sandals from Naranja Virtual.

Tuesday 8/17/10
Last Tuesday Mimi and I went to Arte Giancarlo with Ana and Melissa. It’s this lovely, high-ceilinged store across from the Universidad Católica about 10 minutes away from the mission. Toward the latter part of our trip I’ve gotten pretty bad about not taking as many pictures of the places we visit, which is particularly a shame in the case of this place because it was truly a beautiful shop. 30’+ high ceilings painted a rich blue, sunflower yellow walls, golden orange accent beams in the corners, dark wood shelves to display their wares, and pewter.

Pewter everywhere.

Pewter for purchase, pewter for decor on every flat surface in the shop…

There were also separate sections for painted pottery, wood art, homemade decorative candles, jewelry, and shoes from Naranja Virtual‘s Colección Madera. (I would like to apologize to Becca Rea for not purchasing any of the aforementioned shoes, in spite of their awesomeness. They started around $95…) Bought a few presents there for the fam. Had to cut myself off from shopping any further, though, as Continental Airlines doesn’t consider “it was pretty!” to be an adequate argument for not having to pay extra for overweight luggage.

Next stop: Espresso Americano with the girls for a mocaccino and a chocolate chip cookie. You know how we do.

Later that evening Brenda returned to the mission with her friend Jennifer, and Jennifer’s daughter Megan, in tow. Jennifer and her husband have a farm-based mission out in the country. They’re building a house out there right now, and working with their new neighbors to see what can be done to improve their current farming methods.

A quarter-eaten papaya bigger than my head.

So much of the land here isn’t ideal for agriculture, but when you’ve got to eat you’ve got to eat! Ergo: Corn stalks growing straight out the sides of mountains.

And with all of the additional labor that comes from that type of farming, and given that this is how it’s been done for generations, there’s often not much impetus (or financial freedom) to explore alternative methods. Enter: Folks who can try to help you get ahead.

Or at least catch up.

For now there’s no electricity in their village, nor do they have running water, so bathing is done with a bucket “in front of God and everybody” as Mimi would say, food is eaten or thrown out as there’s no way to preserve it, and if you want to charge anything up (batteries, etc.)– plan on an hour long drive down the mountain into the nearest town.

Dear Lord,
Feel free not to give me that particular kind of strength.
Thanks,
Ruth

Wednesday 8/18/10

Mimi, Megan, El Capitan, Brenda, Megan

Jennifer and Megan needed to run a few errands in the city before heading back into the mountains, so Mimi and I joined in on the fun with them and Brenda.

By afternoon’s end we’d hit the hardware store, PriceSmart (like Sam’s Club), Mall Multiplaza, and El Patio, where we didn’t even need the 2-4-1 pinchos we’d ordered by the time we finished our appetizer-style first course. Each of our meals came with an order of platanos maduros, beans and cheese with tortilla chips, various salsas, and some kind of pickled cucumber with beets or something, among other things.

Shortly after arriving back at the mission house I got a call from one of my favorite bloggers, Madame Gumbeaux (aka Laurie) over at Honduras Gumbo. Deniss from the mission dropped Mimi and I off at an Espresso Americano (there it is again) just past the airport so we could meet her in person at long last.

That woman is a walking powerhouse. I don’t know how else to describe her. You get the impression there’s nothing she can’t tackle, and that it’d be fun to watch her do so, no matter what the project.

Laurie and me at Mision Caribe

And don’t believe what she says about her Spanish! After reading her blog I was expecting heavily “h”ed “holas” and a few “very gracias”es, but ended up hearing nothing of the sort.

Too bad, too. “Very gracias” is a fun one. ;)

After coffee we hopped into Pepe Burro (her truck) to hit up El Hogar, a bakery a few blocks away, for bread, bottled water, and a bit more chit-chat before the AC there froze us out. We drove back to the mission where I handed off the children’s books I’d purchased for her in the States.

And just like that the day was over. So soon? So soon. But they have to end some time or I’ll never be able to write about them all. Not even the dull ones.

Honduras Blog #8: Super Gringa


Mimi and Carol at Mall Cascadas

Sunday 8/15/10
Mimi and I waited and waited and waaaaaited until it was late enough in the day to take a taxi down to Burger King for lunch.  Yep. That’s what we refer to down here as a “slow day.”

Things picked up when we got back to the mission house and I got a call from our friend Carol (she and her husband work in child services here) asking if we were free to meet to “talk blog stuff.” (I’m helping them with a blog project.)

YES! YES! WE’RE FREE!! PLEEEEASE COME GET US TO TALK BLOG STUFF!

She said she was excited to get started on their new space here at WordPress, and so was I, so off we went in her truck (with seatbelts!) to Hiper Paiz (the Honduran Walmart) at Mall Cascadas for some quick grocery shopping before settling into a booth at the McDonald’s across the parking lot.

Gotta love free wifi, air conditioning, and the smell of french fries.

Flooding in Tegucigalpa

You don’t gotta love rainstorms on the drive home, however. It was so bad that a huge section of the road collapsed and a guy on a motorcycle ended up lost in a water-filled, 65′ deep sinkhole. This was five days ago and as far as I know the body still hasn’t turned up. And the stories keep rolling in about houses (read: shanties) being caught up in mudslides and rolling down the mountains surrounding the city.

Yeah– bad.

Monday 8/16/10
Monday brought the departure of Krystelle, the mission’s most recent intern. It’s hard to lose somebody so awesome and so willing to help with literally everything that comes up. I am sure she’ll be missed more than I could possibly realize!

The seriousness of the occasion did not, however, keep me from enjoying the ever-loving daylights out of a mocachino from the airport Espresso Americano. I mean– it’s sad and all, but let’s not get crazy and miss an opportunity for some awesome, cheap coffee, right?

Christine and Mimi in an HCA classroom

Post-lunch Mimi and I joined Christine and Rex Morey at Harvest Christian Academy, the bilingual school in Periodista where Christine teaches. Now there are some people who know how to make incredible use of unusually shaped rooms! It’s a gift, and the people at HCA have it in spades.

The building they’re renting for the school wasn’t originally designed to be used as such. Originally it was used as a sort of landing pad for Honduran periodistas (journalists, writers, etc.) Casa Club Periodista, it’s called. Neat place. I’d include links, but they all come with malware warnings. Yeesh.

A view of HCA from the back of the school. I love the architecture-- and their playground!

That said: It makes an awesome school.

It’s got loads of space, an auditorium, yard space for a playground, and a spectacular hill-top view of fields, mountains, hillside colonias, and the airport. If they waved at planes taking off and landing, they’d get a response from every passenger with a window seat. So. Close. Amazing views all around.

School starts this coming week so the place was full of teachers getting their rooms ready for the new year’s students. We got to meet just about everybody there, which I loved, of course. New people? And they teach?! YAY! I just hope there’s no quiz coming up on the names. :S

Welcome to the neighborhood.

After visiting the school we drove over to the ministry center they’re building in Predios de Recreo.

It’s a rough area. When we pulled up to the property’s outside wall Christine shared the very sad story of two young men who were shot at different times right there in that area. Anyone in any neighborhood could provide countless similar stories. We think we know gun violence back in Milwaukee. By comparison: We’ve got nothing on Tegucigalpa.

Rex and Christine Morey at the new ministry center

I’d describe the center, but it’d just be a repetition of the text of the Morey’s website, so here it is in their words. It’s “a three story building that when finished will have an auditorium for 220 or more people, 6 large classrooms, a dividable multipurpose room, administrative area, kitchen, library, computer lab, 2 stories of storage space, 7,000 gallon cistern, restrooms with showers, apartment, soccer field & multi-sport field (3rd story), playground, and a youth room.”

Awesomely multi-purpose. And after having toured more missions, schools, churches, etc. than I can count on this trip, every single room-type listed in that description has me nodding in agreement. Yep, that’s needed, that’s good too, mondo-cistern is a go, playground totally rocks… And as big as it looks and sounds, I can already see it being packed beyond capacity from Day One. Click here if you want to get involved in this truly awesome outreach.

Dinner at Las Tejitas with the Moreys. L to R: Grace, Olivia, Abigail, Christine, Mimi, me, Rex.

From the center we headed over to the Morey’s home for a little mid-afternoon rest out of the sun before going to Las Tejitas for dinner. My dinner was called the Super Gringa. No kidding. It was two tortillas with chicken, guacamole, and beans, and then there was a salsa bar on the lower level of the restaurant. Fun, open air place. Great meat. Yummy salsas. Grainy horchata. I guess it’s Mexican horchata or nothing for this gringa from now on. Those folks know where it’s at and God bless ’em for it.

The internet was down most of the day yesterday due to a thunderstorm that brought internet-blocking rain… lots and lots and lots of rain… so I’m still catching up on internetty stuff. Hope to catch up on the rest of our trip so far by tomorrow afternoon? Sunday maybe? Got to get back on track as we’re only here for six more days. Yipes!

Off to “eat dinner at Marina’s” (read: “gain four pounds”).

Honduras Blog #1: MKE to ORD


Alfred 'n' me-- packed for our trip to Honduras!

At mom and dad’s house, packed and ready to hit the road. Mom and I are leaving in a few to pick up my aunt and uncle’s minivan to accommodate all the bags Mimi and I will be taking with us. Sounds like we’ll have 4 checked bags at the max 50 lb. weight limit, plus our carry-ons. For a flight out of O’Hare. At 5 am. Saturday’s gonna be a loooong day…

Mimi insisted Alfred come along for the ride, so he’s getting packed in along side two tubs of sidewalk chalk, three bags stuffed with donated medicine, and two sacks of children’s books. Hope he doesn’t make a mess. :S

I brought the ferrets over to my folks’ place this morning and let them explore the room they’re going to live in for the next month. Cringing a little at the thought of my poor parents and all the poop scooping that awaits them. It’s not so bad when they’re your own *kids,* but when they’re someone else’s weasely little weasels stinking up your guest room– whole new ball game.

2 of 4 bags of meds, books, etc. at Mimi's. The stuff on the table is waiting to be sorted and packed.

Today we’ll spend time organizing medicine and rearranging luggage for weight distribution. Mim’s got something in the crock pot, and Mimi, mom and I WILL (I promise!) stop at Starbucks at some point for a treat as well, so it won’t be all work. Not that it ever feels like work with Mimi and mom. Two of the greatest blessings in my life. Their hearts for each other, for God, for their families, are so evident in everything they do. I’m very excited to spend the next two days with them both.

Tonight- or is it tomorrow night?- I’ll be sharing with the Vacation Bible School at Mimi’s church about what it’s like being a missionary kid. I wish the memories I had to share were a bit more recent! Still, I think I remember enough weird/gross stuff to fill my allotted 3-5 minutes. ;)

After I publish this post my internet access is going to be fairly sporadic for the next few weeks. Mim has internet at her place, but it’s dial up and I can only hit it off her laptop, so that’ll change things a bit for me. And once we’re in Honduras I don’t know how, when, or where I’ll be able to get online. All that to say: If you email me and don’t hear back for a bit, don’t be surprised, but don’t take it personally either! And as for when I do finally get online, my time may be pretty limited so I still may not be able to respond. Sorry. :S

This limited web access will also affect my blog. First- I may not be able to update often, and when I do I may not be able to post pictures as it probably won’t be my own computer I’m using to get online. Second- if you’ve never left a comment here before then the WordPress comment filter won’t recognize your email address so your comment will not be posted until I’ve had a chance to log in and approve it. I really do love reading your comments, though, and seeing the conversations that ensue, so please keep ’em coming!

Oop– dad’s calling. Time to go!!

Woooo 100,000 Views!!!


I’m about to hit 100,000 views on my blog, and it seemed a shame to me that my last post was written back in January. It ain’t right, folks. It just ain’t right. In my defense I haven’t had the internet at home since about a week after that last post was written, but still: It just ain’t right. Yet here I sit with only the briefest window of internet access this afternoon, so I’ve got to keep this short.

*ahem*

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY 100,000 TIMES! YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!! :D

*ahem hem hem*

That is all.

Dunlap Syndrome


I just checked my WordPress blog stats and it looks like someone found my blog by searching for “high cost of asphalt shingles.”

Boy now there’s something I never thought would bring me a reader…

Something I don’t like about all this blogging business is that when I update an existing post, the updated data does not transfer to my Facebook notes page where I’m importing all these entries. Some drag, eh?

Bag Ladies

Hanging with my mom today. Between me getting rid of a bunch of old things I never wear or use anymore that I had left here at her house, and she and Bekah doing the same, we took SEVENTEEN BAGS of STUFF to Goodwill today. SEVENTEEN. To be fair they were grocery bags and some of them were taken up mostly with shoes and old purses and other bulky items, but still- that’s a lot of STUFF!

Top*gasp!*lessness

I’ve been stumbling upon a lot of articles, blogs, pictures, protest rags, etc. lately of people fighting the system for not allowing women to go topless in public. I’m increasingly of the opinion that *nobody* ought to be going topless in public, thankyouverymuch. Especially around here in Wisconsin. Again and again and again it’s just some hairy bellied, middle aged man with tobacco stained teeth and a wicked case Dunlap Syndrom. Put a shirt on, dude. Cover that up. You nasty. (Though in the case of those linked guys, I have to hand it to them for, well, “embracing the gut.” Hard to argue with “beer pong belly”…)

Even worse, though, are the guys in good physical shape who run around shirtless. I guess if you’re out jogging for legitimate exercise I’m not going to fault you for trying to keep cool and maybe working on your tan. But there is little in the realm of posturing that is as obnoxious as being around a shirtless guy who can’t stop strutting and preening while trying to catch a good long look at himself in every reflective surface he passes. Fine! Yes we see you! Yes you’re a god among men! Now put some bloody clothes on and stop dancing around in everybody’s way!

The last thing we need is to have another gender with the option of exercising an utter lack of discretion (read: grossing Ruth out). Ugh. Forget about rights and fairness and equality, man. The sky high gross-out/obnoxious factor should be reason enough to just cancel all possibilities in this direction entirely! :P

HOWEVER!!: Should my dreams not come true of finally getting shirts onto Hair Belly and Ken Doll, at the very least we ought to make sure this sort of thing isn’t happening. Rights schmights, eh coppers? Poor woman. I’d’ve been frustrated out of my ever loving mind if something like that happened to me.

Energetic, highly capable self-starter blah with an eye for detail and a blah blah blah to join your blah blah team!

I’m getting a lot of feedback via Monster.com on my resume I recently posted there. This is all well and good, I suppose, except that it’s almost exclusively from places that need to beef up their staff of 23-28 year old cheery eyed phone sales staff, or places that are clearly choosing the WRONG keywords from my resume in their automated searches. I mean– you guys know me. Do *you* think I’d be suitable as a top level financial advisor? An engineering tech?