Friday, April 28, 2006

A Recurrent Theme

Now why am I not surprised by this? I guess it's because of this.

Happy Weekend all!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Stoned HNT

This is Lime

This is Lime on drugs (for a severely broken arm, post-surgery)

Any questions?

Diana took this just hours after I got home from my 3 day stint in the hospital. She thought it was quite funny how stoned I was.

If you want to see my cast and a cast of other injured characters check out the Hijackers.

If you have questions on how to play check the scrolling orange link in the sidebar.

Happy HNT

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Weird News Wednesday & Update

I don't want my arm to be the only focus of this blog but several people wanted to know what the doc said. I had my follow-up appt. yesterday. Splints and soft bandages were replaced by a hard cast which allows a slight elbow flexion to prevent that joint from completely locking. He said the way to treat my elbow is contraindicated by what my wrist needs so we have to come up with a happy medium. I feel very comfortable with this doc since he specializes in complex hand/wrist/elbow injuries AND he has a very good demeanor, not rushing me along, ample time for questions, full explanations. I got x-rays, sutures were removed, and of course the whole recasting procedure meant my nekkid arm was manipulated quite a lot. So now it hurts like hell and I've upped the meds again, which I'm not too keen on. Three weeks in this cast then re-evaluate and probably a different sort of cast. The nurses and cast guy both seemed impressed with my range of motion and pain tolerance. That was nice to hear but I'd really like a shot of Demerol right now. Ack.

Onto the weird news...

HAYWARD, Calif. - A man who spent five hours naked and stuck in the chimney of his stepmother's home was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs, police said.

Police say Michael Urbano, 23, locked himself out of the house early Saturday morning and decided to get in on a cable TV wire through the chimney. But the wire broke and Urbano fell, getting stuck about three-quarters of the way down. He was freed when a firefighter pushed him to safety.

"We get him up, and he's naked as a jaybird," said Hayward police Lt. Gary Branson. "He tells us he took his clothes off because there would be less friction going down the chute. We did find his clothes. So that part checked out."

Authorities were called about 6:15 a.m. Saturday. A neighbor heard "faint, distressing" calls since about 2:30 a.m. and decided to call police. Police say it probably wasn't a comfortable few hours for Urbano. "He's not fat," Branson said, "but he used to play football. He's not that little."

(All I will say is I may be stoned but it still doesn't sound smart to me. Now maybe if he'd greased himself up with some Crisco...)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Trini Tuesday-Derek Walcott

I am taking a break on answering questions but will resume next week. This week in honor of National Poetry Month I wanted to feature Derek Walcott. Although he was born in St. Lucia, he moved to Trinidad at the age of 23 and a few years later formed the Trinidad Theatre Workshop. He wrote and produced numerous plays and wrote as a drama and art critic as well. He has lived so long in Trinidad and nurtured so many artists and writers on the island that he has been adopted as one of their own (showing how open Trinis are, anyone can be a Trini if they show an openess and a concern for the well-being of the culture and people). In 1992 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature (which has also been won by born and bred Trini, V.S. Naipual)

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Happy Trini Tuesday

Monday, April 24, 2006

Blogging Under the Influence

I'm still on Vicodin for the pain. It makes stringing coherent thoughts together a challenge at times. So I'm just going to toss out some stuff and if it makes sense, great. If not, you'll know why.

  • My first night home from the hospital I sat at the dinner table desperately trying to follow the thread of conversation. Alas, it was a fruitless endeavor for my addled brain. Diana looked at me and announced, 'Mom, you are soooooo stoned!' I slurred back, 'Yep, ain't a pretty picture is it.' Then they all had fun mimicking my glazed look. Good clean family fun.
  • Mr. Lime called me stubborn for insisting I could button my own jeans ( I did it anyway). Later, when I was struggling to put on my own bra (try it one handed ladies, it's a challenge, but I did it anyway) he asked me if it was my silent request for help or if I really wanted to do it myself because he wasn't sure. He's been taking really good care of me.
  • My dad came up yesterday since Mr.Lime and the kids were gone most of the day. We both agreed it was good to have a semi-cool story to go with the mangled arm rather than something lame like tripping over something. He called me stubborn too but said it as a compliment. I'll take that.
  • My mom was here the first two days after I came home. That's a good thing, she's innovative and helped me figure some things out and enforced naptimes while lingering anasthesia wore off and the painkiller dose was double. See, I have this stubborn streak...but she can be even more stubborn.
  • At dinner I was trying to butter a piece of bread one handed. Isaac gently asked if I'd like help. I said, 'yes thank you.' and we giggled because not long ago I had to butter his bread.
  • When I announced my major accomplishment for the day was getting a back hooking bra on all by myself, Calypso thought that was pretty cool. She had to go try. She said it was hard. She also said I ought to keep a list of all my firsts so I can look back over them and see my progress if I have a day when I feel down. Smart kid. I think I'll take her advice.

Well, I promise not to bore everyone with constant posts about my arm/hand but that's where I'm at today. Tomorrow I have my follow up with the surgeon and I hope I can get an idea of how long I'll be casted at least.

Happy Monday all.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Gory Details

Saturday night, Isaac and I went out to the backyard to play on the newly souped up zipline. I had been complaining the old one was too slow. Not thrilling enough. The new one flew like greased lightning. I couldn't wait. I watched Isaac zoom on it then it was my turn. We have a footloop for safety but I was afraid I'd not be able to get my foot out in time and bash into a tree a la George of the Jungle. So I opted to merely hold on to the big knots. After all, my 10 year old son could do it. The old lady can too, right? Wrong, very wrong.

I held on, left the launch pad, lost my grip and plummetted about 9 feet, landing on my back. My first thought and Isaac's first question were whether or not I'd hurt my neck and back since I have permanent damage in both from car accidents. Those felt fine. I just could not move my arm.

Isaac handled himself so well I could not be prouder. He kept composure even after seeing my arm, which Mr. Lime descrbed as 's-shaped.' Isaac called for Daddy and waited with me until he came. Mr. Lime gasped when he saw my arm and told me immediately it was broken. I knew that meant it was bad.

Ambulance was called. All the EMTs gasped at my arm. They decided the local hospital was inadequate for my injuries so a Med-Evac helicopter was called. Oh, yeah, they carried me out on a backboard since the gurney couldn't handle the terrain. It was fairly excruciating. I squeezed the tar out of Diana's hand the whole way. She kept calmly talking me thru it, 'Squeeze harder Mom. It's ok. We're almost there.' While they secured me and my dangling arm I saw Isaac crying and called him over. Diana said he should hold my hand. He did. I told him I was proud of how he helped and that I'd be ok. Then he nodded and gave me the 3 quick hand squeezes that are our secret code for 'I love you.' Mr. Lime told me he'd get Calypso home from the event she was at and meet me at the hospital I was being airlifted to.

I remember being loaded into the helicopter. Those things are TINY inside. The crew drugged me up good. At the hospital I had all my clothes pulled off and ya know...I was glad I had on clean underwear! I was bummed out when they cut off my favorite tie dye shirt. Ok, crazy I know. But I was bummed. I told them not to throw it away. I sort of wondered why they felt the need to ask permission to cut off my bra since the rest of me was already nekkid. Is it just me? Yes, we must maintain perky, pushed up, lace covered breasts even in emergencies. Sheesh cut it off already.

I waited a few hours for surgery in a blur of pain and drugs like I have never felt before. In the wee hours of the morning I had my arm reassembled. Dislocation (by about 6 inches) of the elbow. Dislocation of the radial head, compound radial fracture all put back together. Oh, and every tendon and ligament torn or shredded. The surgeon told me he was sort of amazed by the scope of the injuries.

Three days and many drugs later I came home from the hospital. I'm told I will have a very long and painful rehab and it is uncertain whether or not I will regain full function. Well, dang there goes my hope of being a famous guitarist. Is that a heavy sigh of relief I hear...why yes, it is! Hehehehe

Ok, so long and painful road or not I have an awful lot to be thankful for.
1. It was only my hand and arm, not my neck and back.
2. I'm right-handed and my left was injured.
3. I still HAVE the hand and arm.
4. It was me and not Mr. Lime or one of my kids or one of their friends who got hurt.
5. I have amazing kids who can handle a crisis.
6. Mr. Lime is certified in advanced first aid and knew how to deal with me going into shock before EMTs came and kept himself and the kids calm.
7. Even if I don't get full function back life will go on. I had an uncle who was an amputee and he did more with one hand than many people do with 2. He was the toughest man I ever knew. I have a good example in him.

So that's the story. I'm still on all sorts of pain meds so if my posts seem odd at times or if I leave a strange comment at your place or don't get around as often to all of you, please understand, I'm still reading. Just not typing as much. All sorts of one-handed typist jokes could be made. Heheehe. Thanks so much for all the well wishes already. You all keep me smiling!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I'll Never Grow Up



What do Venus de Milo, NO NUKES and Lime have in common?

We've all been disarmed.

I didn't fall off the face of the earth. I fell off the zipline (not the swing) in our yard. Mangled my lower arms in ways that make grown men wince. Had a bunch of metal put in to hold it all together. I'm on all sorts of groovy drugs. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! Let the jokes commence. Laughter is the best medicine.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday 55

In 55 words or less we write a story with at least one character, a plot, and an ending. So here goes...

The Thief
Merciless sun blisters my skin as the crowd's unrelenting curses assault my ears. The weight of my own guilt, the pain of dislocated joints and bound limbs bear down so heavily I can barely breathe. I dangle between present agony and hopeless eternity until He tells me,
"Today you will be in Paradise with Me."

Add one of your own in the comments or tell me more about my thief, what he's guilty of, how he got to this point, or give me a completely different story. Or if you observe either Easter or Passover share a special family tradition with me in the comments.

We'll be headed to my aunt's where 40 or so raucous family members will cause general mayhem and laugh the day away. Oldsters will play cards and reminisce while youngsters run around finding Easter eggs and chasing the dog. The rest of us will float between the groups, set out the food, snap towels at each other during the dishwashing.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to the observant! Happy Spring to the rest!

Thursday, April 13, 2006



I've been fighting a migraine for a week.
The drugs aren't working.
I am loosing the fight.
I'm going to bed and staying in my cocoon.
Please turn out the light when you leave the room.

Orange scrolling button in the sidebar will help you avoid the headache of trying to figure it all out on your own.

Happy HNT

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Weird News Wednesday-But What If Someone Attacks Me with a Banana

World War II Secret Weapon: the Prune Tue Apr 11, 9:09 PM ET

LONDON - The humble prune is set to be recognized as one of the secret weapons of World War II. A London auction house, Spink, is selling two grizzled prunes that it says were destined to be stuffed with maps or other documents and smuggled to prisoners of war. The prunes are part of a collection of World War II memorabilia collected by a British woman, the late Doreen Mulot, a former member of Britain's Special Operations Executive, which was set up to carry out operations behind enemy lines. "They are very dry and hard and it's amazing that they have survived," Spink spokeswoman Emily Johnston said Tuesday.
(Sixty some year old prunes and they are dry and hard. Now who'da thunk it?)

Sometimes referred to as "the Baker Street Irregulars" after Sherlock Holmes' fictional group of spies, the executive was set up by Winston Churchill and Hugh Dalton to conduct warfare by means other than direct military engagement.
(Aren't prunes and prune juice supposed to help prevent the irregulars?)

Interviewed by telephone by The Associated Press, Marshall said his great-aunt had lived in a large house in the north London neighborhood of Hampstead "with a large bathroom where they prepared the prunes." The dried fruit were softened in water, then de-pitted to allow carefully rolled documents covered in waxed paper to be inserted. The fruit was then re-dried and packed into food parcels for the prisoners, who used the information to escape and find their way home. "It was quite ingenious, but not the sort of thing you usually associate with fighting a war." Mulot was one of as many as a million operatives. Marshall said the maps contained details of railway lines in Europe.
(A million old ladies soaking prunes in their bathtubs after the brainstorming over which fruit to use...'Hhhmm, well currants and raisins are too small. Bananas get a bit squishy. Now a nice melon would be good, we could hide the enigma machine in a big watermelon but well, they are a bit cumbersome. Gladys, what do you think of prunes?' 'Oh Ethel, you know prunes give me the skitters.' 'Gladys you silly ninny, I don't mean to eat. I mean to smuggle maps!')

Mulot, who was British, married a Frenchman before the war and moved with him to France. She returned home in 1940 when she discovered he was having an affair.
(A Frenchman with a mistress?? I'm shocked!)

Her collection also includes accurate forgeries of official German rubber document stamps and elaborate plates used to counterfeit "camp money," which was used by prisoners of war to buy a limited range of goods inside the camps.
(German rubber document stamps? You mean the Nazis were smuggling things in condoms?? My word, prunes and condoms as military weapons, what next?)

Is anyone else thinking of a very Monty Pythonesque comedy sketch here?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Trini Tuesday-Snavy's Question

First of all, I want to thank each of you who commented yesterday and especially those who left poems. I was in and out all day and didn't have much chance to respond inthe comments. I just loved reading all the favorites as well as the ones people wrote themselves. I saw some old favorites, found some new poets to explore, and witnessed the talent of creative fellow bloggers. Thanks so much!

Now, onto a Trini Question...

snavylyn said...
I would love to learn about dance Trini style.


Yes, believe it or not the Limbo originated in Trinidad! The backwards bending movement is said to be reminiscent of the motions slaves had to make as they entered a ship's hold. No matter how they twisted or turned though, there was no escape from having to go under. As I was checking for information on the dance I also learned that it was originally performed at wakes and was named for the afterlife destination between heaven and hell. Doing the dance during a wake was considered a way to help the departed friend or family member escape limbo and enter heaven.

The version with flaming sticks emerged during the 50's and 60's as a means to entertain tourists and is not generally danced socially.


This is based on the Castillian Waltz style and is especially popular at Christmas time when Parang bands perform seasonal tunes. Non waltzing forms can also be seen when the livelier tunes are played but it is still firmly rooted in a Latin ballroom style.


Schools for this form are quite common in Trinidad since there is a large Indian population. There are apparently enough styles in this form to keep me blogging for weeks but the most often seen seems to be the style in which stories of the Hindu mythology are related via graceful, prescribed movements.


No, this isn't something you drink in, except with your eyes perhaps. No words can adequately express what a good Trini wine is all about. Even the picture here leaves something to be desired. A wine is an emphatic pelvic gyration used when dancing to Calypso or Soca music. Imagine perhaps a belly dancer making very fast circles. Feet stay planted in one spot while hips bump and grind. It pulsates and throbs and gets various anatomical parts and physiological processes doing the same when well executed. You can solo wine, partner wine or group wine. When wining with another it can be face to face or front to back but it is always done grinding right up against your partner. The inability to wine well is what marks most foreigners, but if a visitor to the island gives an impressive wine they are immediately dubbed a Trini. And yes, in case you wondered, ah can get on bad when ah winin'!

Happy Trini Tuesday!

Monday, April 10, 2006

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. In celebration I'd like to share a terrific site for finding poetry. Poem Hunter is a dandy little database you can search by poet, title, or subject. It is by no means exhaustive on each of the poets it archives but it is a terrific start. It has several other nice features but I'll let you go explore by yourself. I'd also like to share one of my favorite's with you. I have so many but this seemed sort of appropriate to the celebration.

Poet's Obligation by Pablo Neruda

To whoever is not listening to the sea
this Friday morning, to whoever is cooped up
in house or office, factory or woman
or street or mine or harsh prison cell;
to him I come, and, without speaking or looking,
I arrive and open the door of his prison,
and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,
a great fragment of thunder sets in motion
the rumble of the planet and the foam,
the raucous rivers of the ocean flood,
the star vibrates swiftly in its corona,
and the sea is beating, dying and continuing.

So, drawn on by my destiny,
I ceaselessly must listen to and keep
the sea's lamenting in my awareness,
I must feel the crash of the hard water
and gather it up in a perpetual cup
so that, wherever those in prison may be,
wherever they suffer the autumn's castigation,
I may be there with an errant wave,
I may move, passing through windows,
and hearing me, eyes will glance upward
saying "How can I reach the sea?"
And I shall broadcast, saying nothing,
the starry echoes of the wave,
a breaking up of foam and quicksand,
a rustling of salt withdrawing,
the grey cry of the sea-birds on the coast.

So, through me, freedom and the sea
will make their answer to the shuttered heart.

(Translated from the Spanish by Alastair Reid)

Now, share a favorite poem with me. It can be one you wrote, one you memorized, one you searched out on the database, silly, serious, or sublime. Just leave one in the comments. I discovered Neruda by recommendation of a friend so I love to hear what others enjoy.

Happy Poetry Month!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Breazy and Nanofiction

Breazy's interview will be up later today so be sure to come back but in the interim here's a nanofiction. Feel free to add a chapter, tell me more about the characters, or give me a new one entirely in the comments.

Her smiling grandfather walked into the kitchen, fishing hat on his head, gear in hand. As he approached her the girl reached for a long missed hug. Shadowed hands restrained her. A voice reminded her, 'You can't touch him.' The alarm clocked jangled her awake and she shed a tear as she remembered his death.

*UPDATE: Breazy's interview is below this post.

Breazy's Interview

Breazy is someone I had an acquaintance with in Yahoo! Trivia rooms. She always came across as a fun player with a great sense of humor. Since Snavy got me addicted.....erm....sorry, interested in blogging I've gotten to know Breazy better. She was on the original sidebar links since she came 'pre-installed' at Insane Asylime. She has been a consistent visitor and commentor here and a was great encouragement when I came here. I think anyone who knows Breazy either from her blog or her comments at their place would also typify her as an encouragement. Also, when she attacks a new project or goal she seems to do so with genuine enthusiasm and excitement, even something that can be as frustrating and difficult as weight loss. I've enjoyed her zest and humor and getting to know her a bit more over these past several months. She claims not to be sweet all the time, I'm not sure I buy it but maybe her kids would confirm it after her 'Got My Game Face On' post this week. (sorry the linky magic doesn't seem to be working for you have post pages enabled, Miss Breazy, ma'am?) Her blog is often a sharing of her daily life with a husband and three kids, the joys, frustrations, successes, and hopes. She throws in a smattering of great jokes and a tag now and then to mix it up. True to form, she had a really encouraging comment for my interview with Jericho and then volunteered for her own interview. So Breazy, here goes...

1. On November 30 you shared, 'Some of you know that my husband bought me a banjo a few weeks ago . The banjo is very new and odd to me since I have only played the piano , clarinet and flute but I have always been fascinated with the banjo and I am very determined to learn it . I have been told that I better think about my decision to play one since they are one of the hardest instruments to learn . I will be starting lessons after Christmas and New Years is over but in the meantime my daughters friend plays the banjo and he is really good at it for a 13 year old . He has came over a couple of times to show me some small things to get started with such as, familiarizing myself with the rolls with my right hand , those are actually hard to get used to but I practiced and practiced and viola , I got them down'.

On January 27 you said, 'Have you ever had a dream that you knew would one day happen but you just didn't know when ? Mr. Breazy and I have had a dream to build a home of our own for several years now but we couldn't because the land we wanted to build on wasn't available to us , until recently . I can't tell you how excited we are ! We should be breaking ground in June or July .'

I so admire that you are so musical and determined to pick up something new, make a dream reality. I am thrilled for you and Mr. Breazy being able to achieve this other goal too. So I want to ask you...Do you have any other big dreams and what will you do to make them happen? What advice do you have to other people who see dreams slipping from their grasp?

2. Describe to me your dream house. I am not asking for a floor plan but for the mood created, the people who will fill it, the uses you desire for it, the feeling you want people to have when they enter and when they exit.

3. In your 101 Things About Breazy on September 30 you list
49. I am a worry wort
50. I have an obsession with cleanliness
51. I take 2 to 3 showers a day ---read #50
52. I have to have organization or I am not happy
53. nor is anyone else around me

How big an obsession is this? Are you able to control it at all or does it completely control you? How unhappy do you become and how unhappy are those around you if your standards are unmet? Is this something you want to change or is the status quo ok?

4. In the same list you share that you became a mother at age 16. In today's post you say 'My birthday is the 29th , I will be 31, and our anniversary is on May 1st . I can't believe we have been married for 13yrs . It sure doesn't seem like it nor does it seem like we have together for 15 and a half years . I have always looked at my marriage as having a best friend with benefits kinda relationship because Mr. Breazy is my best friend and he knows me better than any other human on the face of this earth .' Other places you have remarked that he is your soulmate. Most people would be inclined to think of marriage and motherhood at such a young age as a less than optimal way to begin a life and would greet it with skepticism regarding hopes for happiness and longevity.

I am truly inspired by the relationship the two of you have and so I want to know how did you beat the odds? What is it that makes things work so well for you and Mr. Breazy? How do you keep the love alive? What examples of obstacles can you share with regards to how you overcame them?

5. You write in another place 'I never feel like I let the real me show online.' (and darn me, I wrote the quote and can't find the right post to reference it) So let's say I am coming to Tennesee and I want to meet you.

What surprises will I find? What side of you will I only get to see in person? Will the real Breazy please stand up.

Thanks for playing along, Breazy. You are a dear and I enjoyed the archive diving to put this together.

The rules of the Interview Game are: If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying, “interview me.” I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others. When others ask to be interviewed, you will ask them 5 questions.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Swinging HNT


We have a rather perilous rope swing in yard. It swings out over a good 20 foot drop. This week at So We Hijacked a Blog we are doing a Disney theme. I never much was into the princess scene as a kid. I always wanted to be Mowgli or Tarzan. They got to run around in underwear instead of scratchy dresses and they got to swing in trees instead of waiting for some prince to come rescue or romance them.

I love the rope swing. It makes me feel like a kid again. AAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Swing on over to Osbasso's to see how to play along. The orange and white button in the sidebar is the vine to catch.

Happy HNT!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Random Thoughts

I spent yesterday chaperoning my son's field trip to the state capital. Ok, all you trivia and history buffs, what is the current capital of Pennsylvania? Did we have any others before and if so, what were they? Four hours on a school bus allows for a number of thoughts to be jostled around in your head. Here are a few of mine.

  • School buses are sardine cans on wheels. I am 5'4" and a size 12, but I was wedged into a seat in such a way that my knees were smashed against the seat in front of me. How does a tall person cope with this? Also, I had to turn sideways going down the aisle unless I wanted both my hips banged on each seat. I am a size 12 people! That's hardly obese!
  • The suspension system of a school bus rivals only that of a Conestoga Wagon, which by the way, was developed in Lancaster County, PA. Betcha didn't know that didja?
  • Route 22 in PA has got to be the worst highway in the nation. (I've driven from PA to CA and back, remember). It has potholes that can swallow school buses, and they are periodically spaced just far enough to rattle the teeth out of your head.
  • When 4th graders go to the State Museum they will be more impressed by coprolites than any other exhibit. (coprolites are fossilized poop, another little nugget of trivia for you all)
  • The trilobite is the PA state fossil. I never knew we had one to be quite honest. If someone had asked I might have suggested it was Jack Palance who was born in Hazelton, PA.
  • When you watch the Representatives voting on various bills, 4th graders will wonder why the Reps are so rude by walking around the floor and talking to their neighbors instead of listening even though the 4th graders were busy poking each other and laughing about coprolite when the tour guide was explaining that the chandeliers in the Senate weigh two tons each.
  • Field trips are fun when you have a small and fun group of kids like I had. They will love it if you giggle about coprolite with them.
  • Your local State Representative will give your son a savings bond because he is impressed that the kid knows Philadelphia was the first state capital, Lancaster was for a day (when they were moving it to Harrisburg and couldn't make the trip in a single day), and Harrisburg has been the capital ever since.
  • Sometimes being a vast repository of useless knowledge pays off, especially when your kid demonstrates he has been listening. Way to go Isaac!

Happy Wednesday all. Give me some trivia on your state or province!

*Breazy, Logo, and Damasta have agreed to be interviewed. I am hoping to have Breazy's interview up by Friday or perhaps do a rare weekend post to put it up. Logo's and Damasta's will follow as I am able to complete them.

*As I am typing this at 7ish in the morning it is snowing. The ground is covered as are the trees. It is APRIL 5th for crying out loud! yeah, another little joy about life in PA, snow in April. ACK!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Trini Tuesday-Breazy's and Seamus's Question

Last week I put out an invitation to ask questions about Trinidad. Several people had questions so I will answer a different one each week. If you think of other questions, feel free to put them in the comments and I will get to them as well.

ttfootball said...
This was really funny! I've been reading your Trini Tuesday for a couple months now IT'S AWESOME! (i went to all the archives too) I am from San Juan but in CT now. You are really on point with everything, i'm impressed! Great job, keep it up!!

This is obviously not a question but I was really encouraged by it because I really try to be accurate and respectful in my posts about Trinidad because I love the place so much and have such precious friends there. Ttfootball, if you are reading this week, I want to thank you. I tried to follow your profile link to your blog because I'd love to check it out. It was broken however. If you'd leave me a functioning link I'll come lime by you. Now, onto the first questions.

Breazy said...
Happy Trini Tuesday ? I have three questions . Why did you move to Trinidad? How long were you there ? and Last but not least, What was your greatest experience while in Trinidad?

Seamus said...
I had a business partner who's family was originally from Trinidad. He had some amazing stories to tell when he was sober - we are no longer partners - LOL

Love these snipits of Trinidad - what took you there and for how long?

Mr. Lime and I are both Special Ed. teachers and we wanted to use our skills overseas. We had gone to Trinidad for two week work trips in '89 and '91. While there the second time a local man who had a desire to meet the needs of learning disabled students asked us if we'd consider coming back to do just that.

There was a real need. The Trini school system is based on the British system. At that time, students at the end of our equivalent of 6th grade too what is called the 'Common Entrance Exam.' A student's performance determined whether or not they got any further public education and if they passed the exam it determined which school they were allowed to attend. It was extremely competetive and consequently students with even mild handicaps struggled and often failed when some basic remediation and adjustments in instruction could have made a world of difference. A child's whole future basically came to rest on their performance on one test on a single day. Every year when results were announced the newspapers would be full of accounts of 12 year old children committing suicide or being beaten severely because of a poor showing or a failure on the exam.

We went in September 1992 and returned to the USA in December 1993. We had planned to spend at least 4 years there but some rather severe administrative problems necessitated our return to the States. During out time in Trinidad we did a lot of home visits with students who were not attending school. We found economics to be a bigger handicap for many famililes than any learning disability, although that was a real problem too. Although education was 'free,' students still had to provide their own textbooks, school supplies, uniforms and transportation. We worked mostly among squatter families who, on a daily basis, had to make the gut wrenching choice of taxi fare to get children to school or food to put in their bellies that night. Helluva choice, huh?

You ask about the greatest experience. I have such a hard time with superlatives! There were so many greats, but let me tell you about one that humbled me deeply.

Irene grew up in the interior of Venezuela. She describes her childhood as a nearly tribal existence. As a teen her family moved to Guyana. When she was 15 she was given as a wife to Mathura. I met her when she was about 30. She and Mathura, who was about 45, had 6 children at the time. They lived in the squatter village we worked in. Their house had been constructed of scrap lumber. They may have been desperately poor but they had pride and the house was built as sturdily and decently as possible and it was kept neat as a pin.

Mathura was a Guyanese man who worked for a poultry processing plant and as such was annually given a certain number of fowl as an employee bonus. Many families in Trinidad raise their own fowl. He choose a good mix of layers and birds for meat. He had also very wisely invested some of his meager earnings in fruit trees. He told me, 'I don't always have enough money to buy food but at least if we have fruit trees the children will have mangoes or oranges.' He had asked himself what would provide food consistently over the long range and had sacrificed a few good meals in the present to be able to eat in the future. He and Irene also agreed that taxi-fare came over meals because they knew their kids needed to do well in school if they had any hope of getting decent jobs. Again, awful choices to have to make.

Mr. Lime started going to work with their children. Even though they got to school regularly, they needed help to be able to pass the CE Exam. Tutors are very common but hideously expensive so there was no way this family could afford a traditional tutor. Every week, this family would kill the fatted calf to feed Mr. Lime when he came. He asked them to please not do this but it was an insult to them that he should decline hospitality. We noticed that the children were allowed to eat after Mr. Lime had his fill so I told him to eat the minimally polite amount and then encourage the kids to 'fix up.' That seemed to work.

Some time later Mathura asked Mr.Lime if he was only allowed to work with children because his wife could not read. Truth be told, Mathura was not much of a reader either, but we suspected he wanted Irene to be the guinea pig. Mr. Lime began working with Irene each week after he was done with the children and after some months Irene was making some really good progress. She was utterly devoted to her work and each week would surprise us with some new piece she had been struggling through on her own. Irene gained a new sense of self-confidence and just beamed with each success she had. You could see the pride her kids had in her acheivement too. Even Mathura had a new found respect for his wife. Previously, he regarded her as somewhat mindless. Now he could see she was capable of thought and reason.

I have to say, illiterate or not, I could have sat at Irene's feet for months and learned many things from her had time allowed. She was full of practical wisdom, gentleness, kindness, and love. Whenever we did share time I always came away with some new piece of knowledge or with the encouragement to be a better person. I spent most of the time in Trinidad pregnant with Calypso. When it was nearly time for her to be born Irene sat me down with some advice. She knew I'd had a c-sec with Diana, she wanted to make sure I was ready for Calypso, that I wasn't afraid (well, I was a little). I was really touched by her motherly tenderness toward me.

After Calypso arrived and we were back at our house. We heard the gate rattle and a familiar gruff voice, 'Good morning! Good morning! It's Mathura!' Mr. Lime tied the dog and let Mathura in. Mathura came in and apologized profusely for not being able to stay even long enough for a sweet drink since he was on his way to work. He greeted me, fussed over Calypso and said he had to bring something to us right away because he wanted very much to be the first to give us something.

He explained that according to his culture every baby had to have a piece of gold. With tears in his eyes he thanked Mr. Lime for giving his wife the ability to read. For all the time we had spent with them helping the children and his wife he hoped we would allow him to give our new baby her first piece of gold. With that he pulled out a very small box and extracted a delicate adjustable gold band sized for an infant and gently slid it onto Calypso's chubby baby finger. Mr. Lime and I looked at each other knowing what a sacrifice it was for this family to give such a gift and feeling utterly unworthy to accept it. We dabbed our eyes and quietly said a very humble, 'Thank you.'


Monday, April 03, 2006

Monday Madness-Waiter, there are glasses on my fly.

I first saw this at Dusty's place. I just didn't want to wait until Wednesday for this. It is beyond bizarre.


"The Power of Light" in National Geographic Magazine
Photo Gallery: Best Science Photographs of 2005 Named
Tiny Flying Robots Modeled on Insects
March 28, 2006—Pampering pets with designer goods isn't so unusual—and now even your houseflies can get outfitted in style.

An entry in a German science-photo competition, this image shows a fly sporting a set of "designer" lenses crafted and set in place with a cutting-edge laser technique. The glasses fit snuggly on the fly's 0.08-inch-wide (2-millimeter-wide) head.

Manufacturing firm Micreon GmbH submitted the insect's picture for the Bilder der Forschung (Photos of Science) 2005 competition. Selected images were on display last week in a Munich shopping center.

Micreon, based in Hannover, Germany (see map), created the fly's eyewear using ultrafast laser micro-machining. The firm notes on its Web site that the process can create objects with high precision at scales of less than a thousandth of a millimeter.

This sort of thing brings many questions to mind.
1. What were the creators of flyglasses smoking?
2. How do they know the fly lacked 20/20 vision?
3. Exactly how many of the fly's eyes now have corrected vision?
4. How the hell did they get the fly to sit still long enough to put the glasses on it?
5. Couldn't they come up with anything more stylish? Personally, I like the frameless style better.
6. Do fly nerds wear taped glasses?
7. Or heck, why not go for fly contact lenses? Well, ok, contacts could be a problem, what with the filth factor and the sheer number of fly eyes.
8. Can you imagine the contact lens case the fly would need?
9. Ok,they said it is a photography contest. Have these poor geeky guys become such social misfits that they need to take pictures of flies in glasses? Ya know, certain things could really make you see the merits of porn, which leads me to ask...
10. Would they put tape over the eyes of the flies in porn?
11. How would they get the fly to sit still?

Ok, my head hurts now. Happy Monday!