Sunday, December 31, 2006

Why I won't buy a Mac

Recently, as I have posted, our main computer died. We decided to upgrade to a new computer. Several of the people we know here are the dreaded "Mac Users" and keep trying to convince us to upgrade to a Mac. Mac users are a cult, and strangely like Marines. They are the few, the elite, the Mac users...but they still want people to join them. How can you be the elite few if people all join you?

While they are nice looking, here are the reasons I will not buy a Mac.

1) THEY ARE NOT COMPATIBLE WITH ANYTHING BUT THEMSELVES! This is my biggest complaint. For the last 14 months I have had an iPod, and in that time it crashed and would no longer update with my iTunes. I have loved my iPod, it changed my workouts and made them ever so much more interesting, but it crashed. I have been told Apple doesn't make things that crash. But my iPod did. So what do you hear from Mac users? It's because you weren't running it on a Mac. Apparently - and this is true - my crashed iPod will work on a Mac. But that's the very reason I don't want to buy one. I don't want to be forced into buying something because what they have sold me won't work on what I already have. How difficult would it be to make Apple products compatible?

2) Mac users are a in a cult. I just don't want to join a cult. I don't believe them when they tell me everything runs better on a Mac and after owning an iPod it's really tough to believe that a Mac will make my life better.

The ironic thing about this stupid iPod thing is that it crashed a few months ago and we were able to bring it back to life. I then received a portable docking speaker system for my iPod for Christmas and then 4 days after Christmas, my iPod died. So now I have a new speaker system that is specially designed for my old iPod and will work with a newer one, but they're thinner so I can tell that it won't last as long with the newer one. Plus, I have the old Griffin iTrip, which will not work with newer iPods - planned obsolescence. I would just not buy another iPod, but Apple has all my music in iTunes already...and after that you're pretty much stuck.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

More Christmas Stuff

So on Christmas Eve, I said we had no water all day. And I think I also said that our main computer died. Dylan cut his hand open pretty badly when doing dishes. Unfortunately he was alone with the baby because the older kids and I were at the pool. So he was just sitting here bleeding. And I don't take my cell phone (even when it has units-which it doesn't right now) to the pool because that's where I lost my last one. So he called our friend Joy, who lives right next to the pool and she walked over, but I was already on my way home. We didn't take him for stitches although we probably should have.

The A/C was out at church. Monsignor said that it went out on Friday and they just hadn't gotten it fixed yet, but I don't think we have ever used the A/C in church. It didn't feel particularly hotter than it ever did, but I think Monsignor was hot. It's got to be hot standing up in all his garments under the lights and with the candles burning.

Joy came over to open presents. She bought Pamela the Beatrice Letters (Pamela was so excited) and the boys two adorable towels (a puppy and a duck). She made me a sweet scrapbook page about friendship. Very sweet.

Then Christmas morning, our plan was the same as last year. Get up, go to Mass, then come home and open presents. But this year we had two awake boys at 6:30 who then woke up their smallest sibling and then the oldest one. I think they finally got it this year. So we had to get up and open presents and then go to Mass. Which worked out just fine. And when Monsignor is presiding, there's never a problem with loud kids. He loves loud kids. Says they're just praying and less inhibited than adults. We like him. But the Nuncio...well he doesn't like kids and that can be difficult.

We had dinner with Joy and Jeccel. I wasn't too into making dinner this year for some reason, but I did it. I was pretty ready when people went home.

I feel a cold coming on. Started last night. I hope I can exercise it away.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas with the Grinch

Christmas Eve our main computer gave decided that Christmas time was a perfect time to put everything into perspective and maybe it was time to retire. So now we are relegated to 1 computer, but I am kind of enjoying only having the one computer...It's slow and we can't really talk on Skype with it, but it's given me the idea that perhaps we can do with only one computer. But now of course I want to upgrade to one that can be our media center. We had threatened to disconnect the internet from the office one, but hadn't actually done anything about it and then the office computer maybe it's a sign.

We ran out of water on Christmas Eve. We have these 3 water tanks behind our house and the embassy has employees who drive the water truck and deliver water to our houses. This is for our running water, this is what comes out of our tap and lets us have water for showers, dishes, laundry, etc... Now, because they would rather have overtime than visit with their families on holidays, they don't have forethought to fill up all the tanks before the holidays. And because of this mythical water shortage they are only filling the tanks up about 1/4. When they finally came out on Christmas Eve (8 hours after they had been called) Dylan asked them to please fill up 2 of the tanks instead of only giving us a little water so that we don't have to call them out again over the holidays. To conserve our water, I started harvesting the rinse water from the washing machine for water to flush the toilets. Dylan and Pamela both looked amt me like I was nuts, but agreed to do so so that we don't run out of water so fast. While the embassy will bring us as much water as we need, I always feel tremendous guilt when we have to call out some Ghanaian who most likely doesn't have water in his own house, so that he can fill up our tanks. Now because this IS Ghana, I am sure the guy who drives the water truck does have some water because he will take it off the top for himself.

We also have no diesel fuel for the generator and apparently there is a shortage of diesel as well so it was a blessing that we did not lose power over the 4 day weekend because we would have been hot and dirty - since the water pump doesn't work when the power is out.

More on the Christmas stuff later.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sick and Tired...

Last night when I was in the shower I was staring at the peeling paint on the ceiling and thinking that I am so tired of peeling paint and dirt and taking showers and bathing in water that's obviously dirty. We can't wash clothes the day they deliver water because the water is too dirty to wash clothes. You have to wait until the dirt settles. Well, now there's a water shortage so they're only filling up our tanks 1/4 so we, as a family of 6 and Rose, Albert, and Adrana, have to have the tank filled every other day. So basically no clothes washing can take place. It's frustrating. Someone was telling me that they don't really have a water shortage, they just don't know how to utilize the water that they do have. I have a strong tendency to believe that but I don't know what his sources are.

This picture is of the water in the sink as it runs out of the tap. How does anything get clean? It doesn't. Everything is covered with a layer of dirt.

Still feeling pretty Grinchy. Still not understanding the holiday. Still tired of living in Ghana... getting tired of living anywhere.

Friday, December 22, 2006

New Blogger is not that good...

I just tried to post a picture (actually I have done so a few times over the past week and usually it just doesn't even bring up the screen). Today it brought me to the right screen and apparently didn't actually post my long winded post. Not liking the new blogger all that much right now.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Monday, December 18, 2006

How I really became the Grinch

Now I get it. I didn't understand before, but last night while Dylan was putting together this extravagant toy that we "won" but also brought to the crazy gift exchange, I was thinking a lot. I don't know what makes Christmas special. I don't know what makes it any more special than any other day of the year. Why do we celebrate the birth of Christ by giving each other presents and is that what makes the day special? I have really been thinking about the Grinch because I read it to the boys at least once a week during the "Christmas Season" and you know, the Grinch breaks into the houses and steals EVERYTHING but they still sing. I don't think I could do that. If I woke up on Christmas morning and everything in my house was gone (something that's not incredibly far fetched here) I don't think I would get up and be like, "Wow, it's Jesus' birthday, and who cares that someone stole all of our stuff. Let's sing Joy to the World!" Yeah, if it happened here I'd be coming back to the States in a heartbeat. But I think that makes me shallow, because I suppose it's all about the presents. Dylan said without presents it would be a special day like Easter, but how many of us treat Easter the same as Christmas? Plus, a lot of Christian families I know still give gifts at Easter, but not to the extent of Christmas.

That said, my boys don't have one toy under the tree this year. It's only Geo Trax extensions for their train set, but I think that's the only toy under there. Now there are things that other people sent that are wrapped and I don't know what those are, so they could have more toys, but I think it's mostly books and puzzles and games.

I also don't get everyone who opens their presents as soon as they receive them, particularly from us. I get it if you are with the person who gave you the gift and this is it, but if you get a package of wrapped gifts, why do you open them as soon as you get them? If we did that we wouldn't have anything under the tree at all on Christmas morning.

I wanted to get Seth this Fisher Price Digital camera for Christmas, since he loves mine and the Fisher Price one actually has a view screen that he can look at. I went to order it BEFORE Thanksgiving and EVERYONE was sold out online. Before Thanksgiving! No one has had it in stock since then. So maybe I can order it after Christmas for his birthday, but that just sucks. It is all about the presents isn't it?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bunko sucks!

Not really, I do enjoy playing it, I am just sick of putting it together for the people here. I need 12, today I had 10 confirmed and inevitably - every month someone cancels last minute. Usually they have the good excuse of being sick, but some have a tendency to just cancel for no real reason...whatever. I am tired of it. I think tonight is the last Bunko. And I don't want to announce it because they will beg me to continue organizing, or maybe they wouldn't...and I don't know which would be worse.

Still feeling pretty Grinchy. Most everyone we know is going away for Christmas. It's so hard to travel with the kids and so expensive. With the cost, it only makes sense to stay somewhere a long time (long being more than a week), but that doesn't work well anywhere.

We went for our PPD test readings today. Everyone's still good. They tell us we need to keep getting tested at least once a year, because a lot of people in the Foreign Service do transfer over to TB positive. Still good though! Yeah!

I woke up this morning at 5 and couldn't fall back asleep. My neck is still hurting a lot. I don't think Karl is right about it being some weird temporary thing that kids get. But anyway, I was finally making my way back upstairs to lay down, but Toby had woken up because his bed was wet. My fault, I didn't realize we were running low on disposable diapers (which we use at night) and I ordered them when we were down to about 5. Well, that should last for 5 days and then we'll have 2 days with no disposables. But the mail has been tremendously slow through the DPO and this was 2 weeks ago and still no diapers. Colleen told me today that she was told by the guy who picks up the mail that there was no DPO mail today. She said she doesn't believe him. I have to agree. The DPO is only open on Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri - so yesterday they were closed- so there was no shipment during Christmas time on either Wednesday or Thursday? Yeah, someone is lying. It's not for theft, it's just for inconvenience, Ghanaians truly like to inconvenience you. So to all those people who waited until Dec. 11th - the Christmas mailing deadline for overseas mail - you were probably too late.

Then Seth woke up shortly after Toby, which is just insane. Toby is our early riser, so when he wakes up at 5:30 or 6 it's normal, but Seth...well, left to his own, Seth will sleep until at least 8 (sometimes 9) so he is particularly grumpy today. He won't take naps so he's just unpleasant to live with. Yesterday he went to play at Thomas' and I didn't want to pick him back up. I thought maybe they wouldn't notice if they took him with them on vacation.

Blaise slept the longest...oh and we learned today that Blaise doesn't like carrots.

I should go back to cooking and readying for Bunko. I am sad that I won't get to play. I really like the prizes this month.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

How I Became a Grinch...

Not really, but I am just feeling pretty Grinchy lately.

Last week I injured my neck and was heavily drugged for a few days. Unable to do anything made me feel helpless (and VERY grateful for Rose, because I don't think I would have survived without her). Now I am just trying to figure out how not to re injure it, since I don't know what I did in the first place.

Mail is taking longer than it did before...that's expected since it's Christmas time, mail is always slower during the holidays. Yesterday was the last day to get stuff mailed to get here on time and I mailed my last 2 packages back to the States.

There was a Cookie Exchange last weekend and this weekend is Bunko and then a goofy Gift Exchange. We've got quite a bit to contribute to the gift exchange...and when I was in Germany I picked up Bunko prizes.

I guess I am not in a blogging mood today...I know I need to update, but I just don't have anything interesting to say right now. Some funny stuff happened, but I didn't write it down and now I don't remember what it was...

Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy blogger?

The last time I attempted to post to my blog, blogger was down and then I got busy with Thanksgiving and class so I got away from it. Somehow I am now in new blogger, but I don't see much difference yet, so we'll see.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. We celebrated here with a turkey and our friends. Pamela actually had the day off school this year. She, of course, complained because she didn't have Friday off as well and yeah, it kinda bites to have to go back to work or school the day after, but Dylan doesn't get Friday off either. If he wants to take it off he has to take a day of leave and since Fridays are short days it doesn't make sense anyway... But I was very thankful that the school gave the kids Thanksgiving off this year. This is the first time since we were in Syria that it's been an official day off for Pamela and not just a day that we kept her home from school in protest. My ideas might change when I have 3 school aged kids running around:)

We have yet to take our Christmas family portrait to be made into a card. I suppose that's something we will do this weekend as we are getting pretty close to time to send the cards.

Rose's brother (who lives in Maryland) came to visit yesterday. He's a nice guy, works for USDA and he's funny too. Rose said that he sounds and behaves like an American. He bleaches his vegetables before he eats them and he made her wash the mangoes from the trees with distiller water (I don't blame him, not only does he work for USDA, they also delivered water the day before Thanksgiving and the water was diiirty, bleh!).

Monday, November 13, 2006

Blogging from Germany and a guest!

Dylan has offered to guest blog for this week. He's got an interesting take on things and he's funny too! So I'll let him have it for a few days. But as of right now, he's at the consulate and I'm sitting in the hotel with a sleeping baby so y'all have to listen to me:).

I'll let him tell you the funny stuff that happened on the flight-cause it's always funny. I'll blog my take on Germany. First, it's cold here but not as cold as I remember it being and I'm okay with the cold. It's quite a shock when you go from 95 degree weather to weather in the 30's but we're doing okay. It's a pretty gray day today, but again, I'm not bothered. I see bright sunny days every day. I am amazed by how bright the lighting is in every place here. But now I look old because I can see every little line on my face..."mood" lighting is what we have in Accra and I kind of like it;). Dylan and I were overwhelmed in the stores yesterday. We couldn't find anything to buy because there's just so much stuff. I did buy a new pair of running shoes, but I couldn't go running today because I didn't wake up with enough time to leave Blaise with Dylan.

I got an overall 97 in my abnormal psych class. I am kind of sad it's over. Now I'm in college comp II. I am not sure that this class was required in my other schools, because I should have already taken this one, but perhaps I overlooked it.

Dylan said yesterday when he went to buy food at Taco Bell, that he feels like he's special ed. I know what he means. We're so up on the whole world and know so much about so many other countries and then we come back (even though we're not in the States, we're on military bases and they're pretty close) and we're so out of touch. Things like using elevators and little things like that. I forgot that water is safe to drink out of the tap in other countries. I keep trying to buy bottles. And the power hasn't gone out once since we've been here.

Well, I am taking advantage of my break and since the baby is sleeping, I am going to take a nap. Something I haven't been able to do since Seth was the baby.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Serena Willams

Well, today was a met and greet with Serena Williams. When Dylan told me she was coming, I thought That's why all the people want to come to Africa, all the cool visitors! Not really, but hey it's still pretty cool to meet them. This is actually a terrible picture so hopefully I can replace it soon with one that the embassy photographer took. Posted by Picasa

Marine Ball Picture

This may be the only picture of us in our Marine Ball dress. They weren't doing the traditional pictures with the Marines at the ball so this could be it. There may be some more floating around out there that we'll find out about later, but I just found the ball pictures from last year so it may take a while. Enjoy! Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 06, 2006

Wow a whole week!

So now I have a whole week's worth (and a really busy week it was) to blog about and so little time:) So I will start with yesterday and work backwards, 'cause that's easier for me.

Yesterday we went to Mia's birthday party. There was a bouncy castle, as usual, and lots of friends for Seth and Toby to play with. All the kids took turns riding on Mia's motorcycle. But probably the highlight of the party was the caramel dip for the apple slices. I was hanging out by the food table eating the apples and everyone there was just thrilled by it. Now today I started thinking, most Americans don't think that caramel dip is such a big deal, but I don't think that we've had it in any post since Germany. Just odd.

Saturday night was the Marine Ball. The Marines tried a different venue this year, it's security concerns, but in Ghana it takes you so long to train people to do what you want that to change venues, usually ends in catastrophe. Our table was right by the "bar" and the line to the bar was almost the length of the room. The ball itself was a lot of fun, but it was poorly put together. The U.S. Navy band played at the ball and they rock! The choice of music wasn't all that great (all 80's) but hey, it worked!

Most of the rest of the week was just us without our car. The fuel pump went out, we ordered a new one, then we waited. Once we got a new one, Dylan hired the commissary manager's son to fix it because the Ford dealership here is doing bare minimum and so our other friends have been without their car for approximately 3 months because the pump just keeps going out, we just can't do that. There's too many of us to take 1 taxi and we're not even supposed to be taking taxis here because of security. So we paid someone to repair something that the Ford dealer would have done for free. But so far (we got the car back yesterday) it's working better than it ever did when we left the dealership. Pricy, but the other option is to just sit around and wait without our car for months at a time.

Today proves to be a cool day, but I'll save that for later.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Been really busy

This is just a short blurb to let everyone know that tomorrow I should be back on track blogging! I have so much to say, because so much has been going on, but I have had this 10 page in depth psychological analysis due today and I haven't had much time to blog. I'll be back tomorrow, I promise.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Aluminum Man Part 2

After looking over my last post, I am surprised I was coherent at all. I was pretty tired, even though I didn't participate in the event. Dylan has also pointed out to me that I don't have the permission of all the people pictured to post their picture on the internet and perhaps I should take it down, so I might, but not right now.

Another thing-just as a cute aside-today Toby was coloring with markers (we're trying to do art in relation to Halloween) and he colored all over his hands. So the palms of his hands are blue and yellow and some green where they overlapped. I said, "You need to wash your hands." and he said, "No, it's art." Of course with the way Toby talks it sounds more like "no, sarrrr."

Where did I leave off in the last post? Oh, with the praying mantis. After I woke up and noticed that my univited guest was not where I last saw him, I got up to go to the bathroom. The bathrooms were quite funny too as there was no door, they were just open to the room, and as Dylan later told me, the shower just drained out into the bedroom area. I don't shower away from my home here in Ghana. I don't appreciate standing under a ice cold shower and I still feel dirty anyway, so no need. When I came back to lay down, I noticed that the foam mattress had conformed to my body (sounds like something that people in the States pay a lot for) and I could only lay back down in the exact same position I had been in before. Thankfully, I had awakened at about 5 AM and it was time to get up and get moving for the day anyway. I had no clock or watch in my room, so I just waited until Dylan knocked on the door (he had fallen asleep in the room with the boys). Then we were up and off for the run portion.

They ran 2.5 miles and then jumped in the Volta river. The Volta is rife with schistosomiasis (here's the wiki article). Schisto, as it is commonly called, parasites get under the skin and cause itching. They make their way to the liver and can make you pretty sick. It's rarely fatal though, but still...not interested in having ANYTHING living under my skin. They swam across with Dylan in 3rd on arrival at the other shore. Then it was time to jump on the bikes and head out for the 16 mile bike race. It was a very hilly course. All in all, Dylan did fantastic. He finished last, but not by a heck of a lot, and his bike wasn't nearly as good as everyone else's. At the halfway point the pace biker, traded bikes with him and couldn't believe he'd made it so far on his bike. It's kind of out of repair too.

We had breakfast at the other hotel (the one with A/C and pool), which was really good food and they didn't run out! A plus always! Then we headed back to Accra, made great time and when we got ready to leave the house the next morning...the Explorer would not start! How's that for a blessing? We didn't get stranded in Akosombo, we are now stranded in our own home in Accra! I don't think it gets any better. So we now have a fuel pump on order from the States, hopefully it will be here by next week and then we can have it installed. After that, I don't know what, but most people haven't had trouble if they flush their fuel lines, so perhaps it was only one bad batch of gas.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Aluminum Man Part 1

So this weekend was a full one with the promotion party, the promotion and the Aluminum Man. Dylan's officially a Chief now!

We went to Akosombo to do the Aluminum Man mini triathalon. Dylan ran, swam and biked. It was a good time. However, in true Ghanaian fashion there were anomalies. The hotel we stayed in had no A/C...which makes for an uncomfortable night's sleep. I'm not too into camping so it was like camping with a tin roof that mangos fall on all night. Sounds like you're being bombed. We ordered dinner at about 4 PM and then went to drive the route they'd be taking the next day. When we arrived back at the hotel, well of course the food was not ready. So we all waited patiently and probably 45 min to an hour later, still no food. The concept behind ordering early is that they will have your food when you are actually ready, but that never happens. They don't begin cooking the food until you return. I have yet to see this theory work. It doesn't matter if you order then or at breakfast time. So we wait and wait and finally Joy and Dylan, Pamela, Seth and Toby's food all arrives. Dylan asks about mine and then takes the boys to have a bath. She comes back and says that he didn't order the food for me. See, it's not on the list! They had written everything down and had failed to write down my food. But what had actually happened was that they had written everything down on a notepad and then copied it onto a new sheet of paper and failed to copy that down. So I told her to forget it and went back to the room with Blaise and ate granola bars because you always bring food with you for this very reason. I was joined by a praying mantis who was an uninvited guest in my room and he refused to leave. I made a deal with him that he was to stay on his side of the room and I would stay on my side of the room and we'd be okay. But when I awoke in the morning, he had not kept his side of the bargain. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Avalanche of Penne

Went to the commissary today and when I got to the gate there was already someone waiting to get in. So I put on my left turn signal and waited. Someone pulled up behind me and sat there and then several other people went around him. He apparently got irritated so he pulled up next to me to block me from turning and then was blocking the whole road. He wound up driving off, but it was all a bit weird.

When I got to the DPO (it's inside the commissary) the key wouldn't work in the lock on our box. So we went inside and asked the clerk if there was mail. He said yes, what's your box number. I told him and then watched as he took the mail out of our box and put it back in, took the mail out of the box above ours and put it back in, asked me my last name, then picked up the mail in our box and then the one above ours again. Then finally brought me my mail and asked me if it was mine. You'd think that with as slow and deliberate as they are, they'd get things right. Then I said, are there packages? Oh, yes...he gets me packages and they make us fill out this annoying form for each package. So I took the ones he offered me (they have this interesting system of piles for their packages) and left. I then told Dylan that he should stop by on the way home and try to see if there was at least one missing. There wound up being one more that they didn't give me.

After we took the packages out to the car (one of the things that annoys me here is that everyone wants to help, I don't know why I get annoyed by that, but I can carry my own packages thank you!), we came back in to pick up some food for dinner. I had meant to get penne, but when I realized how late it already was I knew that penne was not going to be for dinner tonight. So I grabbed a bag of penne anyway and some other stuff to throw on. In the meantime, Toby had turned off the freezers (all the outlets here have on/off switches and Toby roamed the commissary turning off the switches). When I got up to the checkout, I heard something fall off the shelf, I looked back and a bag of penne had fallen...and then as I watched, another and another. The penne just avalanched onto the floor. And, unfortunately, when the bags of penne hit the tile floor...they bust open. Now, I hadn't touched the penne in about 5 minutes, but here I am penne falling off the shelf behind me and I'm holding a bag of penne. Um, yes, I suppose I DID cause the penne avalanche, why do you ask?

Tuesday-lack of motivation

I seem to be motivated enough to blog, but not really motivated enough to do anything else. Perhaps I should have more coffee.

Dylan's stressing about our party on Friday. We don't have anything for it yet. The paper goods haven't arrived via DPO (although the wonderful lady from the DPO called me today and said she'll be on the lookout for our stuff:). The beer hasn't made it through customs yet. I'm not that stressed, but then I feel like you don't really need much to make for a good party. Lots of friends and music and we're good.

I'm just going to babble on about personal things today instead of going over fun things about living in Ghana. I figure some of them will spill over into each other anyway. I mean, I live here right? I 've been going back and forth about getting a job. The CLO job is still open, and I liked it the last time I did it. Now I am kind of short, we leave in the summer, but I'm sure they would be happy to have someone for a short time. Then I could not feel so bad about the cost of college and other stuff that I am saving for. I got my tuition bill this morning...guess that's part of my lack of motivation. On the plus side, I still have a 95 in abnormal psych. I didn't get 100 on my last essay, but I am okay with that. I didn't put nearly as much effort into as I had in the last one. I thought school was going to keep me busier than it has been. I still have periods of boredom, and particularly when I look at the clock, like now, and realize that while it seems like it's been a long's only 10:46. Not even time for lunch yet. Maybe I should up my course load.

Seth has a playdate today with Mia. We finally got the day down.

Okay, I got more coffee...When I opened the fridge to get the milk, I saw the olives that Joy had brought me back from the States in there. That was so sweet of her. I told her once that I try olives all the time and they're terrible, but there's something wrong with me because I just keep trying them even though I know they're going to be terrible. I only like Spanish olives, and she brought me back a jar. Isn't it funny how such a small gesture can mean so much.

I was just reading how blogger now has an audio function, so you can make an audio blog, which would be great for my dad-I mean for me to blog and my dad to listen to-but he has no mp3 player. I'll have to read more about it.

Well, I suppose I should wrap this for now. I know I hate reading really long blogs. Maybe I'm ADD.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday again?

Wow, last week went by fast. We had bad news that Dylan's godmother's son was killed in an ambulance accident. Please keep the family in your prayers.

On that sad note, not a lot happened this past week. Dylan is training for the "Aluminum Man" competition. They're planning on swimming the Volta river, running, and biking. It's a "mini-triathalon". It'll be this coming weekend, after Dylan's promotion party. Hopefully all the contestants don't drink too much at the party. After this promotion Dylan will officially be "Chief".

Blaise is 4 months old and weighs 15 1/2 lbs. He's getting big!

Pamela's off school this week for fall break, but really the weather is no different.

Toby and Seth are being themselves. They're enjoying having Pamela home this week.

We just had our kitchen door removed to keep the boys from slamming it. I just knew that someone's hand was going to get stuck in it one day.

Our Explorer is still giving us a warning that the fuel pump is going to go out. The guy at the dealership says that the gas is bad in Ghana and there's nothing they can do about it except keep replacing them when they go out. He said that there's something in the gas that is making is very sticky and causing problems in newer cars specifically. They've tested it, but the agency that does the testing is owned by the government and says there's nothing wrong with the gas. Our friends' Explorer is still sitting at the dealership awaiting the part. I just don't want it to go out when we're not anywhere close to home. That would bite. We should probably stop going out together just in case it does go out, just so that someone could actually get us if we do break down.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sunday-lost at Max Mart

Actually we weren't lost AT MaxMart, we were lost after leaving MaxMart. Accra is so interesting to see (during the day-NEVER at night). Trying to get back we followed some other cars figuring they knew the shortcut (which they did, but not to where we were going). And wound up in Light Industrial. All the areas or neighborhoods of town are named. We live in North Labone (la Bo nay) and Light Industrial is actually a portion of town we'd never seen before, so it was an interesting tour. We found the Coca Cola bottling plant. We also passed some sort of factory that had a lovely sign at their front entrance "We may not be the best, but we can certainly do better". I have to go back to Light Industrial just to get a picture of that sign.

Then Monday, we had to take the Explorer to the Ford dealership. Our friends here who have a 2005 Explorer have had their car in more than they have had it out over the last 3 months. They've replaced the fuel pump 4 times in their Explorer. Ours is threatening to go out, but hasn't yet. We had to take ours in for the rear a/c because when turned on it makes a horrible thumping noise as though we have someone trapped in the wheel well. The trip there is uneventful, at least as uneventful as it gets living here. But going back was interesting. Dylan went alone and traffic was down to one lane on Ring Road because of a stalled car and tro-tros. The tro-tros stop along the side of the road to pick up travelers and they just block the road while people get on. My favorite is when they actually pull around you and cut you off so that they can stop right in front of you.

Well, the Explorer made it back but we're waiting on a part. They have temporarily fixed it so that there's no noise, but it'll be about 6 weeks before we can have it truly fixed. The guy at the dealership suggests that we sell the Explorer here. Which is what we'll probably do.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Well, Saturday was eventful. We had to try to find Ana's house in the dark. All was well until we got to Kwame Nkrumah circle where they have the road to Achimota blocked off on one side. So we drive into incoming traffic, which is totally normal, and make our way north. They are doing an incredible construction job on this particular road and have been since we got here. It's going to be very nice (for about 2 months) after they get it done, but for's awful!

We made it to where the road is "closed" (which means there are concrete barriers up, but the spaces between them are easily wide enough to fit a car so the road isn't really closed). We continue through, past all the traffic piled up on the left side of the road, until we come to where the road really is closed (by this I mean, it just sort of drops off into oblivion) and there's a way to get in to the left side of the road. Luckily (HAHAHAHA!) there is a traffic cop there directing all the people (it amused me that he's dressed in the black cop's uniform of Ghana, at night with no streetlights and isn't even wearing white gloves or a flourescent vest). Apparently the person in front of us, with Cote D'Ivoire license plates, had royally ticked off the cop because the cops are passive-aggressive here. They don't give you a ticket or anything, they just don't let you ever have a turn to go. He kept yelling at the guy in front of us. Finally though, he did let us go-otherwise I wouldn't be posting this, I'd still be sitting there waiting.

Dylan then impressively found his way back to Ana's street, where we promptly fell off the road into the concrete ditch when turning too close (there was a taxi blocking the entrance to the street). I have never seen Ghanaians move so fast as they did when we just came right up out of that ditch in the direction of the chop bar on the corner. Dylan's a great defensive driver so we didn't hit anyone, but it was scary for those he was headed for at first.

We dropped Ana off and went a different way home, which was easier and mostly uneventful until we almost hit a dog that ran across the street not too far from our house, but that happens everywhere, not just Africa.

I think that's probably enough excitement for one post. I'll have to save Sunday's adventure for tomorrow:)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Finding Our Way

Today's adventure consists of finding Ana from Ghana's house, or at least where Ana is staying while her house is being built. For those who don't know Ana from Ghana is a girl that Pamela went to Kindergarten and 1st grade with back in Syria. Now, as amazed as we were, Ana is back in Ghana. Seeing as she's Ana from Ghana it's not really all that surprising...but she's in Pamela's class at school.

We start off first with Pamela talking to Ana on the phone while I was trying to get Toby down for his nap. Toby's nap time consists of 4 books (mostly Sandra Boynton) and then an adult lying down with him until he goes to sleep. Seth usually sits for the books, but will not have anything to do with the nap and is out the door after the 4th book. So Pamela goes to give me the phone so that Ana's mom can tell me how to get to where she's staying at the precise moment that Seth pulls down a plastic container filled with art supplies from the closet that I not moments before had asked him if he had been getting into (he said no) and told him that he was not allowed in that closet. Chaos ensued...and Pamela had to go find Dylan to get the directions.

Dylan's story is that Ana's mom (we don't remember her name, unfortunately we'll just continue to call her "Ana's mom") gave him 2 landmarks he'd never heard of in a part of town that on the map is about half of Accra. They go 'round and 'round until finally they agree to meet at the school and Dylan will follow from there. It's 7 minutes from the school, she tells him. Apparently that's 7 GHANAIAN minutes-which actually translates to about half an hour. His recount then gets amusing..."we go down a windy road and then on a main freeway, we immediately get off the freeway then go under it, through a small river, and around a corner. We turn right at the Total station. Afterwards, Ana's mom says, you'll know where to turn by the Total station. Dylan was like...yeah, THAT'S where I'd have trouble. Oh, did I mention that very few streets have signs and the ones that do have names that not one single Ghanaian actually knows? For instance, our street is Aborlebu and Rose laughed at me when I gave someone directions. She told me after, "I don't think they call it Aborlebu." I said, then what do they call it? She told me she didn't know. I am under the impression that they call it "Ugly White Person street".

Anyway, after all that we have to find our way back to where Ana is staying in the dark...that should be fun and an interesting post for tomorrow.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thursday...hey I don't know any songs with Thursday in the title:(

So it's Thursday...not much happening in Sunny Accra.

I'm having an "I'm really sick of having a nanny!" day. It pretty much started yesterday when Toby came inside from having been outside and he had a big red mark on his head. I asked Seth what happened because Toby is not that good with the words yet and Seth told me that he was pushing Toby on the skateboard (which, by the way, I have told Pamela about 100 times to keep in the garage so that the boys don't get hurt on it) and Toby fell and hit his head on the concrete. He even showed me where it happened. So I came inside and said, "Toby fell off the skateboard" and I handed Pamela the skateboard and said, "Put this away!" Rose looked at me and said, "Please Madame, Seth hit Toby." I said, "No, Toby fell." Anyway, long story short, Rose was insistant that Seth had hit Toby with the skateboard. So Seth went to time out and I asked Pamela (because she was in the room with Rose) did Rose see this happen? Pamela says, "No, she went out after it happened." So now I am really frustrated with Rose. Yes, Seth COULD have hit Toby, but I really don't believe that he did. Especially because Toby's forehead has that "skinned knee" look to it, as though he scraped it against something.

It's like that a lot. Rose met Toby when he was 8 months old, still a baby, and she can't see him any other way. Even when he obviously instigates Seth. Not that either of them are angels, but I am tired of hearing "Seth what did you do?" everytime Toby starts to cry. Not to mention that Toby has figured that's a fantastic way to get his brother in trouble.

So today, I've just been really agitated with her. And Toby's throwing fits because he wants his way and Rose tries to give him whatever he wants to stop him from crying. It doesn't matter how many times we tell her not to do this, she still does. So frustrating. Pamela asked me yesterday if we were taking Rose with us and I said firmly "No! We're going to hire a nanny in Poland (maybe) who will not defer to us and will keep our rules."

I had a Halloween meeting and that was about useless. Although we did convince the Marine in charge not to invite everyone on the planet. And I'm working on my paper for abnormal psych and the essays that are due this week. Keeping busy...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Monday, Monday

I just finished reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, which if you haven't read it you should. It's a very good book. If you've been to Africa and you haven't read it-you most definitely should. I learned so much from this book about this place that I have lived for over a year. It's just amazing. So much of it was just like a lightbulb going on "Oh, So THAT'S why...". Really a good book. It's an incredible story if you've never been to Africa too, it's just that it makes you really think about Africa if you have been there.

Now I have to track down a copy of one of my required reading books for Abnormal Psyc...this should be interesting. They are most likely unavailable in the local bookstores, although I bet if I wanted to brave Makola I could find it. I'll keep you posted on whether or not I get that desperate.

Yes, there was no need to brave Makola! I found 2 books in the CLO library! Now I have my I want to reread a 900 page book or a 150 page book and do a 10 page analysis of which one? I'm thinking the 900 pager because I actually understood that one better the first time I read it.

Got the most wonderful note from a person who visited about a month ago saying how impressed he was with our kids. In particular with Pamela. That was so nice to hear. He made my day. It's rare that people have nice things to say, most people just criticize.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Before Pic

Here's the before pic from Toby's tumbu flies. This was actually taken while he was at the doctor and yes, he does have plastic on him. To remove the flies you have to put Vaseline (or some other thick substance) over them and/or cover them with plastic. This forces their heads out because they can't breathe and then you can grab them. Posted by Picasa

After Pic

This is the after photo for Toby. There are 6 pictured here and he actually had 4 more. One on his side and 3 on his inner thighs. Still disturbing... Posted by Picasa

Another pleasant valley Sunday

Well, I think I have discovered the nature of Toby's Tumbu fly infestation (I previously posted it as tumba, but the correct spelling is tumbu). We visted Cape Coast about 3 weeks ago, and it had rained and the cushions in the restaurant were damp - which is the environment these insects like. It seems as though his infestation was just dumb bad luck.

Last night we went to Oktoberfest. They had beer on tap and lots of VERY LOUD music. But it was a fun time. Dylan had a blast, I talked to one person the whole time, but in fairness I hadn't seen her in some time and we were catching up. But Toby's tumbu fly infestation is such a hot topic here. Even the people who have had a tumbu fly have had only one at a time. It's amusing that with all of the deadly diseases we have the opportunity to get, tumbu flies are the most talked about thing.

Went to church this morning...uneventful. But this afternoon I went to Koala (the local grocery store) and couldn't find a parking place. That's not at all unusual. I had a guard trying to guide me into a spot too small. Never take driving instructions from someone who doesn't know how to drive. So I left. That's one of the biggest problems for me here. The frustration level is so high I rarely get anything accomplished.

I'm still working on the sheets and bedding from when I stripped Toby's bed, fearing that he had bed bugs or something like that. It takes so long for stuff to dry here, even in the dryer. And I think our washer leaks, but I can't prove it and I don't want to call GSO out to fix it since they mostly think we are just whiny foreigners who are just too picky. I think they're right, but I'd really like to not have a huge wet dirty area right below my dryer so that whenever you open the dryer door something falls into the mud and then has to be rewashed. Whiny...I know...when Rose washes her clothes in a big sink with bar soap and hangs them on the line out back to dry.

Friday, September 29, 2006

EWWW! Horror of horrors!

I never really thought that I had much to say, but today...after we took our middle son to the doctor for what we thought were nasty insect bites-only to find out that no...they were not bites...they were INSECTS! He'd gotten Tumba flies! I had all but forgotten about the warnings we received about them prior to our arrival. When Dylan called and said "It's tumba flies!" I was shocked. I had looked all the kids up and down for the first 6 months we lived here. Every little bite was cause for me to wonder about these horrific insects. They don't really do a lot, they can be painful and I think for Toby they were. But really, we're just hosts. They supposedly lay eggs in wet or damp clothing or towels and then when they come in contact with skin they burrow in and grow under the skin. They live there for about a week, so I've heard, and then they will pop out on their own. But, oh my gosh! Hearing about it the first time I thought, "Bugs? Living under my skin? It's a horror movie!" And now that I have seen them (Toby had 9) removed...ugh! It IS a horror movie. You see these little larvae moving around when they've been pulled out of your child. It was especially harsh because poor Toby's not even 2 years old and he's always got everything. He's always the sick one, I'm sure he's gotten Malaria once, but we're all on prophylaxis and so it cleared up.

I couldn't fathom how he could have had wet clothing as everything we have is machine dried to the point of almost damage to the fabric. Rose makes sure we're okay. But Rose didn't even recognize these. She was sure he had been attacked by a mosquito too. Our medical officer thinks that it's probably from wet grass, so now I won't let the kids go outside at all.

EWWWW, what a day!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Got Comments? Click here!

Because of something that came up recently, I thought I probably needed to explain some things.

If you post a comment anonymously, and you're leaving me a link, I will delete it. The reason behind this is that some people comment anonymously leaving links to pimp out their own sites, or other people's sites, or porn sites and I just don't have the time to clear all the links that pop up.

If you want to post a link, please leave your name. If you do not wish to leave your name in the comments, please send me the link via email and I may even mention you in another post (unless, of course, you do not want me to).

I appreciate pretty pictures and things, but I have a real problem with anonymous commenters leaving links, only because I simply do not have the time to make sure you are not sending all my readers porn, or something otherwise inappropriate.

If you are not posting anonymously, you may leave links. I know where to find you if it's not appropriate;).