Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Tribute to Jeanette Hausser

My great-aunt Jeanette went to heaven last Sunday, September 14. She died of cancer at the age of 94. When I was just an itty-bitty thing we lived in Cedarville, near Aunt Jeanette. I don't remember her from then, but I'm sure I loved her! Then when I was in 1st and 2nd grade, we again lived in Cedarville. Every Friday night her family came to our house for supper and every Sunday we went to their house for dinner. I'll have to admit I don't have a lot of specific memories of her from that time, just that I remember that Fridays and Sundays were the best days of the week!

Then I went to Cedarville University (College back then) and I lived with Aunt Jeanette for my freshman and sophomore years. Again, Sundays were my favorite day! All of her children and grandkids who lived in the area came for dinner. Even when I moved into the dorm, I still showed up for Sunday dinner.

Aunt Jeanette was such a kind, gentle person who could see the humor in every situation. She was tender-hearted, but also very strong. She faced many difficulties in life: her husband died in his 50's, her oldest son was killed in a motorcycle accident, and her 2nd oldest son has struggled with some serious illnesses including a kidney transplant with the kidney donated by his sister. Through it all her faith has been strong.

She always knew how to have fun. This picture is an example. We were at Aunt Jeanette's for Easter in 2005. Daniel and Suzanne were in high school, John and I in our 40's, and she and her brother, Uncle Carl, in their 90's. She got eggs and egg dying stuff and we dyed eggs even though all of us were well beyond the typical age for egg dying!

Perhaps the best thing about going to Aunt Jeanette's house (aside from the lasagna!) was sitting at the table or out on the porch talking. Long summer evenings on the porch swing are synonymous with being at Aunt Jeanette's house.

My brother, in a letter he posted on a website about her illnes, said that for us gypsies who roamed the world her house was always the center of our world, our anchor no matter how far we roamed.

I will miss you, Aunt Jeanette! But I look forward to the day when I can sit on the porch of your mansion and we can sit on the swing and talk and talk. That will be the day!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

One of Those Days

I know you've all had "one of those days". I recently had one, too. As I remember, the day wasn't so bad. Just long and tiring. It was when I started to make supper that it became "one of those days".

First, I was filling water jugs and ice cube trays with water from the filter. It takes a while to fill a jug, so I have the tendency to start doing other things while waiting. I mean who wants to stand there for five minutes and watch a water jug fill up? It's not high on the excitement scale. So, while I was doing something else, I forgot about the water jug. Sure enough, it overflowed and went everywhere. It was under the onion and potato baskets, all over the counter, and running onto the floor. So, I had to stop whatever else I was doing to mop up the water.(Here I am with water all over my stomach and the spaghetti a.k.a. pick-up sticks)

By then I was making supper. I opened the cupboard door to get something out and the entire package of spaghetti fell out. Upside down, of course. Remember playing Pick-up-sticks? Well, that's what it looked like.

At first I was really frustrated, but then I decided I might as well laugh. My philosophy is if you're going to laugh about it later, you might as well start now.

But, John could tell I needed help, so he said he'd make the vegetable for supper. Simple enough....get out a can of corn, put it in a microwavable bowl, and nuke it. How hard can that be? Well, our silly bowl has handles that come off. Before he got it to the mid-air, really... corn went every where, but mostly all over the floor. Yes, he picked it up, rinsed it off, and we ate it. At $1.29 for a little can of corn, we weren't about to throw it out!

Believe me, we were glad to eat that meal, get it cleaned up, and go to bed!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


It's a good thing doing laundry is my favorite chore, because I do plenty of it!

As you've probably already figured out, Niger is a very dusty country. Curtains need to be washed frequently. So, whenever somebody moves out of a house or an apartment and before the next residents move in, we need to wash curtains. Same with bed spreads. We often need to do slip covers on furniture, too. And flights out of Niger always leave late at night, so the people usually end up leaving dirty sheets on their bed and a towel and washcloth that need to be washed.As you can see by this pile of laundry, I wash a lot of curtains, sheets, and towels! Good thing it's my favorite chore!

The trouble is, for the past 16 years I've had my laundry done by hand. There was usually no problem keeping up with it. Until I took over this job! It didn't take me long to figure out I wasn't going to survive without a washing machine. So I bought one for the short-term furnishings coordinator to use. I figured that even if the next person has her own machine, she could use two: one for herself and one for the short-termers' laundry.This is a small Italian model. It's amazing how much laundry you can pack into this little machine. It is also very water efficient. When you look in the door at the laundry swishing around inside, you can hardly see any water. Yet it does a great job at getting the clothes clean. The only problem with it is that it takes a LONG time for a cycle to finish.

Meanwhile, while I'm doing curtains, sheets, and towels, our own laundry piles up! I think I've only seen the bottom of our own laundry basket once in the past month!All of this laundry has to be hung out on a line. I hang some of it out and my house helper hangs out a lot of it. I can't do laundry every day since I share the line with our neighbor. Normally laundry dries very quickly here, but since this is the rainy season, things just haven't been drying. We've had a LOT of rain (good thing) and the humidity is regularly between 60 and 80%. So, it often ends up draped over chairs and hanging from bookshelves in our living room. With the ceiling fans turned on, it actually dries faster than it does outside.It's a good thing doing laundry is my favorite chore!