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Friday Funny

Yesterday, we saw a portion of an infomercial while we were with my in-laws for Thanksgiving. It was for something called “Booty Firm”. Personally, I go for squats, lunges, and jogging instead of some exercise machine, but whatever works for you.

It put me in mind of this sign we saw around Mbarara for a while. I think they’ve all be taken down, but I still laugh when I see my picture of it.

So here is your slightly off-color Friday Funny. (Because what woman doesn’t want bigger hips and bums this holiday season!)

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Happy Thanksgiving!

A few days ago James and I picked up turkeys at the grocery store. I put one of them in the fridge to thaw so I could cook it for our family. It sat there for a couple days. I knew it had to be thawed, but I put off getting it out and “cleaning it up” so I could cook it. Another day or two went by. Finally, I knew I’d better just buck up and do it.

I got the turkey out of the fridge, unwrapped it, rinsed it and voila! It was ready to go. Five minutes tops. All trussed up for me, with a little pin in the top to let me know it was done. Easy Peasy. Why had I put off doing it for an extra day or two? It turned out not to be that hard at all! Nearly sterile, in fact.

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“What’s the big deal?” you might ask. “Why would you be so put off by doing a turkey?”

Let me tell you a little about Thanksgivings in Africa.

First of all, this is how we get our turkey. It’s up walking around and we can actually pick which bird we want. 

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They smell funny and are kind of gross and that smell lingers. And lingers. You can still smell it, even after they are processed and you are ready to cook them.

Once you have your turkey, you have to find a way to process it. I consider myself pretty pioneer woman, but even I draw the line at prepping my own poultry. Maybe I’m squeamish. It’s just worth it to me to have someone else do it for me – I’m not sure I’d be able to eat it if I did it myself.

The next step in the process is, well, this. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let this one speak for itself.

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(We took this picture a few years ago – the one and only time we photographed the process. After that we just remembered what it was like and didn’t record it for posterity. I wasn’t present at the taking of these photos. I was in the house trying not to think about what that smell was.)

I usually let the turkey sit in the fridge for a day. There are always feathers still stuck in the skin so I have to skin the thing. I also have to tie up the legs and get it to fit in my roaster. Have I mentioned that it smells funny? Refrigerating it helps it not smell quite so badly and I don’t gag nearly as much.

The other food is a lot more fun to cook! We usually have everything potluck style and everyone who comes shares in the preparation. Carla Bassett makes the best dressing and gravy and Cheryl Tracht’s dinner rolls and baked beans are to die for.

Everything has to be made from scratch. Want whipped topping? You have to get cream and whip it until it’s just right.

You have to plan ahead for pumpkin pie because pumpkins aren’t in season in Uganda in November. We’ve had a couple Thanksgivings without any!

You also have to plan ahead for pecan pie. We can’t get pecans in Uganda, so have to bring them with us from the states. Gotta love delicious Georgia pecans! We usual stock up when we drive through on furlough.

Green bean casserole is a challenge because you can’t get canned cream soup so you have to either make another kind of green beans or make your own cream soup (I’ve done both).

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Thanksgiving in Uganda is fun and challenging and delicious. We always have friends over, both American and Ugandan. We sit around and eat way too much food and play games and talk and laugh and have a great time. Sometimes we have to plan our gathering around other events that are taking place (because it’s not a public holiday in Uganda). When we are finished, we call our family back home or message with them just as they are beginning their celebration. 

So, Happy Thanksgiving from our house (in which we’re serving store bought pie this year) to yours! May you remember the blessings of God and have a day filled with all your favorite things!

Votes for Women

I joke with my husband that I was a suffragette in another life. In all seriousness, though, I do not take my voting rights for granted.

I first voted in a presidential election in 1996. Because of a class I was to take, I had to vote absentee. That event set the tone for my whole voting career. Out of the 6 presidential elections I’ve voted, 4 of them have been absentee.

In 2008, our family was traveling on deputation in Alaska. We got off a ferry from Kodiak, Alaska in Homer, Alaska at 5AM. We picked up the absentee ballots that had been sent to us there and found our way to the post office. The ballots had to be signed and notarized. Who better to do so than the local postmaster who was also a notary public? We pounded on the post office door at 6 AM. The postmistress answered with her hair in rollers, wrapped in a big fuzzy robe, feet swathed in huge fluffy slippers. (She lived above the post office.)

“We don’t open for two hours!” she growled. (It was before her morning coffee. Everyone growls before they have their morning coffee.)

We explained our predicament to her. We had a twelve + hour drive ahead of us and the ballots had to be mailed that day in order to arrive in time for the election. She grudgingly let us in to the post office and notarized our ballots after we voted. Bless her for not impeding a free election and doing her duty even when it wasn’t pleasant!

Today, the temperature was a good 80 degrees warmer than it was that day in 2008. The hour was more reasonable, and we only had to go to the Election Office to vote. Apparently, so did several hundred other people at the same time. We arrived to a line that led outside the building, then wove back and forth inside the building.

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(The Election Office is under the part of the building that does not have a sign on it.)

We made our way slowly inside, to the front, and then voted.

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This election cycle has been a nightmare, as far as I’m concerned. It started too early, and had lasted too long. I’m not even going to go into the choices for candidate. This election, more than any before, has tested my resolve to exercise my right to vote.

Someone once said to me, “A choice to abstain from voting is still exercising my right.”

While I can’t disagree with this statement, I can’t help but thinking that it isn’t what our sisters from history fought so hard for. They already had to abstain from voting. They fought for this right to vote. Some were imprisoned for fighting for this right. It was a long, hard battle, in which women finally gained a voice and an opinion in our electoral process. Susan B. Anthony, recognized by most as the founder of this cause, died before she gained the right to vote in a presidential election.

So today I voted. I’ve voted every presidential election. Often, it hasn’t been because I’ve been particularly enthusiastic about the people I’m voting for. Instead, I join the ranks of those women from the past who believed that women deserved the same natural, civil, political, and judicial rights as men.

Votes for Women!

(For more information about the Women’s Suffrage Movement, check out the Wiki page about it. You’ll get the full history, including the fact that these women fought for the rights of everyone to vote, not just women.)

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NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of year again!

NaNoWriMo started today and goes through the end of the month. I love NaNoWriMo. I look forward to it and plan for it all year.

My first NaNoWriMo was technically in 2008. I barely wrote 20,000 words. In fact, I don’t know if I even created a novel on the website. There is no record of it. I can’t find the novel I worked on that year and don’t even remember what it was about.

2011 we had been in Uganda for almost two years and I had a 10 month old baby. I wanted to teach my kids creative writing that year and a friend told me about NaNoWriMo’s Young Writer’s Program. I went through it with my children that year and we all set out to write our novels. That year, my first “real” year of NaNoWriMo, I finished over 50,000 words by the end of the month. 

I’ve participated every year since and even a couple times during Camp NaNoWriMo in July. (Sometimes during Camp, I’ll edit a novel I worked on during NaNoWriMo.)

I splurged this year and got the 2016 NaNoWriMo shirt (and a mug, not pictured!). The Blast Off theme is so cool this year and I love the shirt! (I also love that it is warm enough to be outside in a t-shirt and shorts on November 1!)

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This month, I set off on that journey yet again. 50,000 words (or more!). 30 days. Every year I wonder “Can I do this thing? Do I have 50,000+ more words in me?” Every year so far I’ve finished. This year, as I stand at the cusp of the month looking ahead to 30 days of work and creativity I say to myself…

Let’s do this thing!