Saturday, May 30, 2009


I don't fancy myself a photographer, but these are some of my favorite portrait photos from my Madagascar trips. I was last in Mada a year ago, and I have been feeling quite nostalgic lately.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

To the One Who Started it All . . .

We've known each other for nearly a quarter century. In a way it feels as if we've grown up together. I have come from infancy to young adulthood. You have come from brand new mom to experienced and wise mother of nine.

It's hard to detect changes over the years, so maybe you haven't changed all that much. Maybe you have always been just as beautiful, wise, kind, and caring as you are now. Maybe I've only noticed your wonderful qualities as I've grown older. Either way, I feel like you deserve a bit of a tribute today. Afterall, it's your day.

Have you always been as patient as you are now? I call you incessantly to talk about boys, school, faith, my day, my future plans, and everything in between. I call you when I've aced a test. I call you when I've bombed a test. I call when I'm happy, sad, excited, disappointed, heartsick, elated, or miserable. Somehow you are almost always available to talk, and you never complain about the length or time of the call. Nevermind the fact that eight other children need your attention, too. I'm lucky to have such a patient mother.

I always feel better about life after I've been around you. In your quiet way you make me feel beautiful, smart, and funny. After we talk I often feel completely full of confidence. I can do anything, or be anybody because I know you believe in me and you believe in what I can do.

You have also brilliantly accommodated my fiercely independent streak. It may have felt like a bit of a curse to have your most headstrong child come first. I know I've been a rough case from the start. However, to use the old cliche, you have definitely given me wings to fly, and strong roots to help me along the way. All I can say is thank you.

So here's to the one who started it all. You are practically perfect in every way.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My New Digs

After a week of nearly full-time cleaning, I finally have an apartment (of sorts) set up at Grandma's. Here are some of the pictures.

I think this is actually the first time I've had a double bed all to myself. So what if the mattress is 20+ years old?

Another view of the room. Note the lovely green, orange, and yellow flowers on one wall, and the most excellent yellow and orange plaid on the other.

Vanity and window shot.

This is my home "gym." This lovely machine maxes out at a whopping 8.0 miles per hour. It actually showed its first signs of life this Friday.

This was Dad's personal touch in the room. I'm most delighted with the decorating.

This bathroom is great. I especially enjoy the seedy looking shower. If you don't breathe too deeply it really isn't half bad.

I had to flip the light off for the full effect of the red shower light. The first time I saw the shower it immediately reminded me of the lovely bed that Tess and I shared in Tana (pictured below).

I know you're all supremely jealous that you haven't slept in a bed with a red light fastened to the top. Oh the delights of third-world accommodations!

It's great to finally be a bit more settled in. It's also great to be rid of the black layer of dirt that covered nearly everything in the upstairs (where I'm staying). Gotta love 409!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


7:00 Alarm goes off
7:01 Ponder life and say half-awake morning prayer
7:02 Jump into shower
7:09 Get out of shower and dress
7:11 Run downstairs and unlock the door for Sarah
7:12 Give Grandma Ensure, and visit for a few minutes
7:15 Make bed, throw hair into bun, and put on makeup (minimal)
7:20 Eat breakfast
7:30 Weed flower bed by wall and patio
9:00 Watch "What Not to Wear," and wait for Grandma to come get breakfast
10:30 Start cleaning with Dad and Sarah
12:30 Count out pills for Grandma's week
1:?? Run to DI, then pick up lunch with Dad and Sarah
2:00 Visit with Eileen, Dad, and Sarah
3:00 Work upstairs in the musty, filthy back room; make about twenty trips down the stairs out to the cars
6:00 Go to DI again with Dad
6:30 Eat large serving of vegetables
7:00 Make dinner for Grandma and visit
8:00 Finish second (or third?) load of laundry for day
8:15 Help Grandma with mail
9:00 Ish? Help Grandma get ready for bed
10:00 Ish? Collapse on bed, too tired to actually put on PJs or brush teeth
10:30 Ish? Read scriptures and try to stay awake the full hour . . .
11:30 Finish getting ready for bed and fall asleep

This doesn't include the many times I have come running to answer to the doorbell that rings in my room or the small hand bell used to summon me on the main floor. One of these included a ghost bell ring when Grandma was sound asleep. Maybe the house is haunted?

This is what my life has turned into. In a matter of 24 hours last Saturday my summer plans changed completely unexpectedly. Maybe this day doesn't look so tiring, but yesterday was worse. (I cleaned pretty solidly from 9:00 to 8:00.) After the last three days, a weekend at my apartment sounds like pure bliss!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I like reading blogs. A lot. I've got a handful of blogs that I read regularly and another few blogs that I check up on every now and again. So after years of blog-stalking and blog-envy, I've decided I should probably just start writing my own.

The tagline for this blog actually came from a clipping from one of the Jehovah's Witnesses' pamphlets a few years ago. One of my friends mailed the clipping to me from his mission, just after I had returned from my first trip to Madagascar. The article was actually about a coffee bean, but oddly enough the featured bean and I have traveled to many of the same places. Maybe it's a tad pretentious of me to call myself the "Bean Who Traveled the World," but I figure it's still a work in progress. More on that to come.


School just ended, and this week I ended up going into a reading frenzy. I read over a thousand pages in the last six days alone. (Yes, I had a lot of time on my hands.)

I've enjoyed every one of these books, but I've been particularly fascinated with The White Man's Burden by William Easterly. If anyone ever fancies a discussion on foreign aid and emerging market development, I'm your girl.

The end of school also means more time visiting with the familia. This week we went to the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point. It was splendid.

Other random tidbit: my hermana has inherited two ducks. They are the most spoiled pets I have ever seen.