dress, circa 1985

Me and the Pastor.

Do you like my Christmas dress? I wore it to the Christmas dance in 1985. Therefore, we can either call it

1. "Vintage"
2. Really, really, cool that I could fit into it.
3. Just plain sad.

The Pastor is wearing the matching bow tie and cummerbund.

latest family photo



It's that special time of year. The time of year when I once again have to figure out what to wear to a Nazarene holiday party.

I went shopping yesterday. I ended up with pants from The Limited. Drew fit, black, with just a sheen of gold. And a gold lace halter top. Beautiful lace. Not metallic gold, a muted gold. Very nice looking.

So I thought. I get home, pull the top out of the bag (mistake!) and say sweetie what do you think of this? (mistake!)

Well, it would show your shoulders.

What? What's wrong with my shoulders? Are the provocative?

I've never heard a guy say "she has really sexy shoulders." Or is there some underground shoulder fetish thing I'm not aware of? I must admit I personally find my shoulders attractive because it's not an area of my body that's prone to fatness. No shoulder fat!

But the Pastor (guess I should say The Pastor since I said The Limited) said with the people we will be around, it's probably not wise for me to be showing my shoulders. I told him that I figured everyone would probably be relieved to finally see me in something that wasn't strapless.

Who wants to go to a party where you can't show your shoulders? Who wants to socially hang around with people who are offended by shoulders?

I had not tried on the outfit. I hardly ever try anything on, which I'd like to think is because I'm such an expert I can just eyeball it. (Well, you can always return it.) I resigned myself that I would take it back today and get somehing else I'd seen - a lavendar sweater wrap dress. OK, just a shade darker than lavender but not so dark that it's purple. But I tried the halter top outfit on today, and it looks quite lovely, even though my shoulders show. It's just a halter top! I have on PANTS with it. It's not like I'm naked.

I went back to the mall and got the wrap dress. I didn't return the halter top outfit. I don't know which I'm going to keep or wear.

Isn't this exciting? I'm sure you'll be in all kinds of suspense.

Then we went to Sephora and the Pastor bought me trashy eye makeup. I'm not sure why it's ok for me to trick up my eyes, but my naked shoulders are a potentially bad thing, but whatever.

I won't be going to the mall again anytime soon with the Pastor. I found out he is completely susceptible to the marketing techniques of the middle eastern entrepreneurs who own the hand lotion kiosk. But I must say, my hands do look fabulous.


newest member of our family

new fridge = 27 trips to appliance store and 41 hours of my life I'll never get back

if it ain't broke

In 28 months of kissing, the Pastor has never said anything about my breath. Never.

Not when I have had coffee, and he hates coffee. Not in the morning. Not after all the mexican food I have eaten, and I eat a lot lot lot of mexican food.

Until now. Last night, I brushed my teeth before bed with my brand new toothpaste. I got into bed and the kissing started. The Pastor stopped and said

your breath is weird

You have got to be kidding me. The name of my brand new toothpaste? Kiss Me Mint! I succummed to the clever advertising! If I buy this toothpaste, he will want to kiss me! Well the only time he HASN'T wanted to kiss me was when I used this toothpaste.

I'm back with my baking soda and peroxide toothpaste.


as a sign of my love and fidelity, I will have the beef brisket dinner

One of the local newspapers runs a weekly coupon for a bar-b-q restaurant for buy one dinner, get one free. I don't like bar-b-q, uhhhh, because I'm a vegetarian, but it's Pastor Carnivore's favorite place to eat.

So tonight, coupon in hand, we go to enjoy our kid-free evening at the slaugtered cow restaurant. The Pastor is in front of me in line, sliding his tray down the counter (it's a classy place) paying. I tell the Pastor I am going to get an extra side item - cobbler.

Now let's take a minute to review.

My plate:
brisket which the Pastor is going to eat in addition to his own brisket
a piece of toast
two side items - vegetables

The Pastor's plate:
brisket, which he is going to eat before he eats my brisket
TWO pieces of toast because in addition to killing cows he wants to be responsible for killing whatever it is they make toast out of
and his two side items

So right now my entire meal consists of my two sad little vegetables and a piece of toast and WATER and the cobbler I wish to get.

Back to our story. The Pastor yells at me from the cash register, to inform me NOT to get an EXTRA side of cobbler, but to use one of my side items to obtain cobbler.

I am getting brisket. This is not the time to go all cheap on me.

In the end, it didn't really matter because the Pastor ate the cobbler too.


accidental overdose

When the Pastor comes home and finds me in a heap on the floor of the new Parsonage, will someone please let him know it was probably from a combination of:
1. an overdose of caramel corn with nuts (AKA Boy Scout popcorn which is really $12 Cracker Jacks)
2. having the thermostat set to high
3. breathing fingernail polish fumes
4. crying my eyes out because I miss him
5. exhaustion brought on by shopping for dining room furniture

On a happier note, I beat you again. My tree is up, and it has been for a week, and there are presents under it!


One of the best things about moving is since I am the one putting everything away, I am the one who knows where everything is. Information is power.

One of the worst things about moving is every single one of my fingernails is gone. Also, I can’t find my coat. The very worst thing about moving is since we changed our address my Us Magazine hasn’t arrived, and this is a crucial week with the whole Britney/Kevin break-up.

I’m thinking of cutting my hair. I’m thinking it’s time for a change. No sooner did I type that then I started thinking Robyn, do you really mean you desire yet another change in addition to the new marriage new step kids new non-job new parsonage new everything that now you want to cut your hair too? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m thinking.

Welcome to about the 5th year of my existential crisis.


bed, bath & beyond

me, getting ready for bed:
-take second shower of the day
-shave legs AGAIN
-spend a few moments pondering what cute "pj's" to wear to bed
-dress in cute "pj's"
-brush teeth
-put on perfume
-go through nightly skin care ritual of cleansing face (not with Dawn soap), applying eye cream and applying anti-old lady neck and chest cream
-apply lotion to feet and hands

the Pastor, getting ready for bed:
-removes shirt
-sniffs armpits
-removes pants
-gets into bed


home is not sweet, but cheesy

greetings from the new parsonage

I have an internet signal! Woo hoo!

We are about 75% moved. I am exhausted. My hips hurt. Isn't that an odd thing to hurt from excessive moving and unpacking?

Moving has made me delirious. I ate Easy Mac at 11 p.m. last night. I was starving. Right now, one of my friends is reading this and will subsequently delete my e-mail address and all my contact info because 1. I actually purchased Easy Mac 2. I ate it. Please forgive me for resorting to carbs, processed food and fake orange cheese during this stressful time.

I gotta unpack some more.


talk liturgical to me

We are moving three blocks. Anyone who has ever moved a short distance knows it would be easier to move to India than to move three blocks.

The Pastor came home at 1 a.m. last night. He had been teaching a class out of town. I waited up for him. I had french-tipped my nails, showered, and I had on my very pretty long crimson satin nightgown. We go to bed and the Pastor started talking about something liturgical. He actually used the word “liturgical” and a bunch of other big words I didn’t pick up on, because it was 1 a.m.

I had to then explain to him that when your wife waits up til 1 a.m. you don’t talk about liturgical things. I don’t even know what liturgical means, but I’m pretty sure it’s not sexy.

The Pastor bet me a month’s worth of coffee at Starbucks – he says Britney and Kevin got married in October 2004. I say September 2004. I don’t know why he would make a bet involving pop culture with me. He would have been better off betting me something involving the definition of the word liturgical.


stop here on red

Moving. In 7 days. To the new and improved parsonage.

The Pastor thinks all ails can be cured with Dawn foaming hand soap. He doesn't understand why I use $13 Clinique face wash when I could just use the fabulous $3 Dawn soap. Help me to help him to understand.


maternal instincts and maple machiatos

A short, rather inconclusive list of reasons why I’m completely too selfish and spoiled to have a baby:

1. I’m composing this list at Starbucks. Do people with babies get to hang out at Starbucks and type on their laptops??????? Noooooooooooo! Well, they shouldn’t anyway.

2. I had the choice the other day to either go to my stepdaughter’s school, or, once again, go to Starbucks. Which did I choose? Well, let’s just say mommy gets a little cranky if she doesn’t have her coffee.

3. Yesterday, I spent the day shopping. Did I buy anything for my child or stepchildren? Noooooooooooo! Did I buy clothing for myself at Express? Yes! Did I buy a red dress so I could make the Pastor take me out for a $7 piece of chocolate cake last night? Yes!

4. Do people with babies eat $7 cake? No! They eat ding-dongs or, even worse, Little Debbies! They go to places like – oh the horror – McDonald’s!!! Ick ick ick ick ick!

5. I woke up this morning and I thought what a perfect Sunday morning! It is pouring down rain! It’s all dreary outside. I love it. It takes me about an hour into the morning before I remember that my son, my firstborn, is on a Boy Scout campout. What kind of mother doesn’t immediately remember that her son is sleeping outdoors in the rain? (P.S. Goody, I get to wear my pink raincoat today.)

6. I have been more concerned about my own Halloween costume than anyone else’s. I finally decided I would rather spend my money at Express. One could argue that Halloween costumes and clothes from Express are equally inappropriate for me.

7. Yesterday, when I was at Macy’s, I tried to awaken some sort of maternal instinct in me by looking at the fancy little girl party dresses. I got nothing. Not even when I saw the little girl Hello Kitty tracksuit. I think my stepdaughters must have smashed my biological clock to smithereens. One of my stepdaughters got mistaken for a BOY the other day. I’ve tried to be a good influence; I’ve tried to teach her how to be a girly girl. Now I feel like a failure and have androgynous child.

8. I can’t have another baby, because of older stepdaughters propensity to hit kick pinch punch bite pull hair push insert violent descriptive word here. She would not make a good babysitter. Also, it would probably be confusing to the baby to not know whether they had an older brother or older sister (if that doesn't make sense to you, see androgynous comment above).

9. I couldn’t let a baby watch Teletubbies or Barney, no, because Mommy is too selfish with the DVD player and her wildly inappropriate DVDs.

10. Still even more shopping. Last night, when the Pastor took me out in my red dress, he surprised me by taking me to the Coach store and buying me a new Coach bag. Do I have any desire to carry around a Coach diaper bag? No. Even the big pink one? No.

11. I just lost all that weight. Like I want to go through that again!

12. People who get pregnant can’t drink excessive amounts of caffeine.

13. People with maternal instincts aren’t 35, still taking college classes and carrying around their homework in Hello Kitty folders.

14. Let’s be practical about this. With my stunning good looks, killer bod and the Pastor’s brain, that kind of combination in a kid would be lethal. That could only mean one thing: Anti-Christ. I just can’t be responsible for the end of civilization.

15. And finally, been there, done that, and I don’t wear t-shirts.

I suppose now I’ll have to start making a list of reasons I should have another child. Sorry, too selfish to do that today, but I’ll just say it will probably start out with something like “having another baby would be an excellent excuse to get me out of hiking the Appalachian Trail with the Pastor.”

OK, enough about that. I’m really glad Nate is all excited about the Boy Scouts. We’ll see if it lasts after the rainy campout. Loretta, younger stepdaughter, always gets mixed up about things and says them backwards. Like the other day, she didn’t call him a Boy Scout; she called him a Scout Boy. Cute, but not so cute that it makes me want to have another baby cute.

That’s it for now. Must give full attention to my Maple Macchiato. The sign in Starbucks says it “pairs with patience”. Trust me, nothing with espresso shots in it pairs with patience.


hula-hooping in fabulous DVF dress

Well, what else would you expect me to do in a designer dress?


There are multiple parties responsible for me & this fabulous dress:
1. A certain chocolate-loving friend/personal shopper/stylist.
2. A certain Pastor who bought me a treadmill and bought me the Sex and the City DVD collection to watch while on the treadmill. (Oh, and he pays my personal shopper-friend.)
3. Weight Watchers. Nearly 20 pounds gone gone gone! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
4. Diane Von Furstenberg.
5. Oh, and me, for actually walking on the treadmill for like a freakin' hour every day, and knowing the Weight Watchers points value for every food item known to man (Starbucks donut: 6, Caramel Macchiato: 4, and on and on and on...)

If you are not one of the responsible parties, don't feel bad. It's not too late. Always feel free to send me a fabulous dress.

Got Mac? Yep. Ability to use Mac... uhhhh, not yet.

So excited about my MacBook, I let the Pastor take my picture in my shorty shorts!

me, in my fabulous pink raincoat


Chocolate Jesus


1. There are 6,547,487,051 people in the world, and older step-daughter is THE ONE PERSON who thinks she has special rights to hit, kick, punch, bite, pull hair, etc. when SHE doesn't get HER way. Oh, if the world only worked like this.

2. I got my hair colored. Did the Pastor say gee your hair looks pretty? Nope. He said why are your eyebrows so red? Well, because I got them waxed! But that's not what you are supposed to notice!

3. I bought NEW bedding. Still in that continual stage of purging in our combining of homes. Eighteen months together, and we still have CRAP, yes I mean CRAP (even though I hate that word - there is no better choice), from prior marriages. I've just been in this whole "if she touched it, then it must go" kind of mode, except with the Pastor of course. I haven't ruled out the step-children yet. Anyway, I went to Wal-Mart at 10:00 at night and bought the first non-ugly bedding I liked. Who makes decisions like that? Not me. I also bought M&Ms, so you can tell what kind of mood I was in when I was at the Wal-Mart so late at night, but I did manage to only eat 5 of the M&Ms. That's the thing about Wal-Mart. They get you with that whole "open 24/7" thing. They help you make unnecessary, insane purchasing decisions around the clock.

4. The Pastor preached in Dallas, Texas last weekend, which was nice. Nice, of course, because we got to eat at The Melting Pot (fondue) restaurant on Saturday night. Big picture here people. Not spreading the gospel. Robyn got to eat fondue. Interestingly enough, at church they showed a commercial for the upcoming women's retreat which was being advertised as "Chocolate", "taste and see that the Lord is good." But I wasn't interested because I'd already had enough chocolate fondue the night before. I didn't want to "taste and see" anymore.

5. The best hair season of Sex and the City is when Carrie has no Big and no Aidan and chops it all off - the one where Miranda has Brady. I like the hair so much it makes me want to chop mine off, but then I think the Pastor would still only notice my red eyebrows.


blame The Pastor

It's all his fault.

He bought me the complete collection of Sex and the City. Just what every pastor's wife needs.

It's probably part of his evil plan, to distract me and keep me from blogging about him.

The good news: I've been spending all sorts of time on the treadmill, now that I have something to watch.


send concealer please

Have you missed me? Do you still care? Did you ever really care?

I have been busy. And tired. So tired. Staying up way too late, getting up way too early.

I think I have aged over the past few weeks, just by keeping a hectic schedule! Isn't it crazy to think I could age so fast??? But I feel like it, and apparently look like it too. I have these big, huge, dark circles under my eyes. I thought I was being all clever and sneaky by covering them up, but the other day I was sitting next to the Pastor and he said "boy you sure do have on a lot of make-up under your eyes."

Yes, he is still alive.



my clever new way to get out of church

Yesterday morning, the Sabbath, I got out of bed at 8 a.m. I snuck out of the room because I am always very sweet and keep things dark and quiet for the sleepy Pastor.

I am on my way to Starbucks and the serpentine belt (no I don't really know what that is) on the van comes loose again (It's happened before. I think the van is rejecting me as a driver.). I have no power steering. I'm almost to my Starbucks, and I figure I will just hang at my coffee shop until my knight in shining armor comes to my rescue.

Uh oh. I forgot my cell phone. In my effort to be so stealth, I left it plugged in right next to the bed and the sleepy Pastor.

I know my cell phone is on silent. I know the Pastor's cell phone is on silent. I know the Pastor's alarm clock isn't going to go off for two more hours.

I also know that since we have a vacancy in one of our rental properties, and since I am calling from the Starbucks phone, the Pastor isn't going to answer his phone even if he sees it ring, because it's from a strange number. Voice mail!

I'm screwed. At least I knew that and wasn't going to sit there continually calling him and getting all frustrated. I figured he would check his messages when he woke up for church (WRONG!), and in the meantime I'd just hang out and read. Not a bad way to spend a morning at all.

So I sit and I read and drink coffee and drink water and eat my breakfast. I stay there so long they give me a second drink for free. OK, I whined until they gave me a free drink.

The Pastor finally walks in the door. I have no concept of time, because in addition to not having my cell phone I never wear a watch, but that's a whole other story about how irresponsbile Robyn is. I get in the car and realize it is 11:45!!!!! I had no idea it was this late. I have been unproductive at Starbucks for nearly 4 hours!

But the most shocking thing to me, is that the Pastor went to church and preached his sermon without me!

Wasn't he concerned when I wasn't home when he got up?


Wasn't he concerned that he had a voice mail from a strange number and his wife was missing?


Wasn't he concerned that he couldn't reach me and he didn't have a text message from me?


Didn't anyone care that I wasn't at church?


He said he figured I was just being Tardy Barbie (OK, my words, not his) and I was just running late. He did start to get worried when he started preaching and I hadn't showed, but hey - when you are the preacher it's not like you can just leave.

He had called my phone, but of course it was plugged in and silent. But as I explained to him, if I had been dead in a ditch I couldn't very well have answered my phone, now could I???

He also said he thought maybe the Rapture had occurred and that's why I wasn't at church. That made it even more important for him to go ahead and preach.

Later in the day the Pastor was at Sam's Club and called to ask me if I wanted anything. Yes! Pria bars! French vanilla crisp! A whole case!

He comes home with:
1. corned beef*
2. a case of toilet paper*
3. a case of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal*
4. a case of Honey Nut Cherrios cereal*
5. a case of yogos*
6. an enormous container of chocolate covered raisins*

*all items that Robyn won't eat

and no Pria bars

But but but but but he DID also buy me a fabulous new wrap dress at The Limited and some other stuff, so even if he didn't get the Pria bars (he must think I'm fat and won't buy me food I want) and even if he did leave me dead on the side of the road, I couldn't be upset with him.

And let's face it. Every day the van is in the shop makes it one less day that I'm a van driver.

Good Sabbath.


her head was on the verge of spinning around

You know those horror movies - like "The Exorcist", "Poltergiest", "The Omen", "Rosemary's Baby" - the ones that feature those scary little kids?

Here's my movie idea:

"The Pastor's Kid"

Trust me. It could freak people out.

Here's a sample scene. A little girl is at Wednesday night church, making a craft about Jesus! It all seems innocent enough. We are learning about reading the bible! Obeying your parents! Praying! Doing nice good girl and boy things!

During this time, the pastor's kid somehow manages to:
1. pinch with her fingernails (She clarified the fingernail part, not me. When she was describing her pinching episode, she made sure to include this information.)
2. kick
3. pull hair

All while learning about Jesus!

This has all the potential of making one scary flick. When somebody writes the screenplay, be sure to give me a small cut of the profits. Maybe it will help with the therapy bills.


Peter Pan

Whipped peanut butter is the greatest invention ever.

And I didn't even know I liked peanut butter.


Our Church - Video link.


The girls are having problems matching their clothes.

Is it nature or nurture? Let’s take a look, shall we?

Nurture, part I
The girls have spent considerable time with their adopted dad, the Pastor. I love the Pastor dearly. Yes, he was a great single dad and he tried really hard. A+++++ for that. But let’s face it. Men should not dress little girls. (Nor should they undress them, but that’s a whole other topic.)

If it weren’t for me being around, the girls entire wardrobe would consist of the Pastor’s glorious Goodwill finds – yes, while they may be great deals, nothing involves the concept of an “outfit” and in the end it’s a bunch of pieces that don’t match. I think he tried to remedy this somewhat by purchasing a lot of black athletic shorts. Black goes with anything, right? No. Little girls who run around in sloppy track shorts grow up to be big girls who go to their college classes wearing unattractive sweat pants with the crotch hanging down to their knees, no make-up, house-shoes and a ponytail pulled into a sloppy knot.

Nurture, part II
Their adopted mom hasn’t exactly instilled a sense of style into the girls by wearing the same pair of denim Capri pants every day with – get this – a T-SHIRT - and thinking that a baseball cap counts as an accessory.

I tried to wear a t-shirt once. I couldn’t even stand to walk around my house with it on for 5 minutes. Then I came to my senses and put on something fabulous.

Well, when your bio-dad is a drug dealer and your bio-mom is the kind of gal that has illegitimate children fathered by drug dealers, that leaves you with the fashion sense of wanting to wear either a prison jumpsuit or if you are out and about, say going to Wal-Mart, your stretchy stirrup pants with your hair in a scrunchy.

That leaves me, evil step-mother/fashion guru. Clothes matcher extraordinaire.

Case in point.

I bought Loretta a pair of Mudd camo pants. Cute camo pants, not Patty Hearst camo pants.

Robyn, what can I wear with these?

Well Loretta, you can wear ANYTHING with camo pants, except let’s not wear orange because you will look like a little huntress. Also, let’s especially not wear red. We don’t want to look like Christmas. OK? Got that? No red. That’s n-o r-e-d. Let me sound it out for you. Noooooooooooooooo redddddddddddddddddddd.

Pink is good. That pink t-shirt would look cute. Your Cinderella shirt? Yes, you can wear that. Your clown shirt? Yes. JUST NO RED.

Repeat this conversation about four times.

Then we come to the part of the story where Loretta asks what about this RED t-shirt with a heart on it?


I swear, I felt just like Helen Keller’s teacher.

Then on the flip side, I have my own bio-child. The one who will run down the hall if he hears any sort of inkling that someone is wondering what goes with what. The one who is concerned that because he is SO GOOD at helping match things that he might be gay. I told him that doesn’t make you gay, but even if you are gay, Mommy will always love you.

Unless you wear stirrup pants.


labor day, without actually having gone through the labor/childbirth process

The little boy from across the street just told me he likes my toenail polish.

Little freak.

Why it sucked to be a wicked stepmother yesterday, part I:
The Pastor had a preaching assignment at another church. It was determined that it would be better for him to go at it alone while me and the girls went to our church, for a variety of reasons.

Let's make a fun day of this! Yes! Let's make it a fun day for the girls! First, we went to Starbucks. You can order whatever you want! See, I am not evil. I am nice step-mommy. Then, after church, let's go to Taco Bueno, because all of us gals love Taco Bueno, and the Pastor doesn't. This is perfect! Oh, but at Taco Bueno, younger daughter starts complaining of her food, the things she doesn't like on her plate just as soon as it is set before her. Nevermind, it's still going to be a great day!

After lunch, we'll go shopping! I was going to go to the mall, but the girls wanted to go to Target. OK, Target it is! You can pick out clothes! Show nice Robyn the clothes you like, look I am buying them for you!

Then it happened. I am standing in Target with an armful of clothes and younger daughter, Loretta, says "When are we gonna do something fun today? My daddy said we were gonna do fun stuff today."

Slowly. feel. blood. pressure. begin. to. rise.

Remain. calm.

deep breath in, deep breath out

My inclination at that point was to put away all the clothes and leave. But nooooooooooooo I didn't do that. After a quick call to the Pastor, he encouraged me to continuing having "fun" and purchase the clothing. So we get back in the van and head towards home. Has anyone said thank you? Nope. Still waiting. And I wait and I wait and I wait. The girls do not say thank you until they get home, and they say it IN FRONT OF THEIR DAD. Coincidence? I was about ready to drive back to Target and make them return the clothes, because they failed to say thank you.

Then they try on all of their clothes and go outside to play. I walk by their bedroom and notice that older daughter has left all of her new clothes wadded up and in various forms of disarray on her bed and on her floor.

This sure has been a fun girls-day-out.

Why it sucked to be a wicked stepmother yesterday, part II:
The step-daughter's mother is on a trip, which is why we have the girls this weekend. So yesterday mom calls the girls from her tropical va-ca and older daughter is on the phone with her. Older daughter is outside with the phone, and I am away from her, at a distance, sitting on the front porch. I notice older daughter's shoulders start to shake and convulse. Oh no. I walk towards where she is across the street to find that she is having an absolute crying-throwing-a-fit meltdown on the phone with her mother. Now, as far as I can tell (by some things we've been able to piece together in the past) her mother let's her get away with this kind of behavior. I, absolutely, positively do. not. allow. children. to. throw. fits. Fourth graders, especially, should not be throwing fits.

I take the phone from her, ask her mom to hold on and explain to older daughter that her mom has called her from her va-ca to talk to her, and she is NOT going to throw a fit on the phone and she is going to stop crying and stop whining and stop the drama, pull herself together, and apologize to her mother. Magically, she is able to turn the tears off instantaneously, and obliges.

Her mother SHOULD be thanking me. She should, at some point in the future, say you know Robyn I really appreciate the fact that you did not allow my daughter to throw a fit when I called her from far, far away. Thank you. But in reality, I know what is going to happen. When mommy picks the girls up on Tuesday, they are going to have a grand ol' time talking about what a meanie-head Robyn is and mommy can't belieeeeeeeve how mean Robyn was when they were talking on the phone!

Whatever. I'm not here to win a popularity contest, I'm here to raise children who are well-behaved, pleasant to be around and good citizens.

Anyway, that's what I keep telling myself.


What's white and black and red all over?

I'm so excited! I'm so happy!

What, you ask, could I possibly be so deliriously happy about?

Do you remember last fall? Do you remember how everything was brown and - ugh - TEAL??????

This year we have red and black and cream and animal prints and pointy shoes and patent leather and lace!!! Did you see Vogue? Did you see that RED is the new black?

Thank you Jesus. Thank you for fall fashion involving such pretty things and colors - and no teal. I hated teal.

I'm so excited I could wet myself, except I wouldn't want to ruin any of my stylish new fall clothes.

One thing I will not be getting excited about - the one look I can promise you I WON'T be sporting is leggings.

I live in the Midwest. Obesity is a huge problem here, no pun intended. There's a whole population of people who already can't or won't get away from stretchy pants. Leggings are simply not a good idea.

Besides, I already rocked that look, WHEN IT WAS POPULAR THE FIRST TIME. Yes, and I even worked at the Limited then. Back in the day. "Big over Slim" was the technical phrase for it. Oh, also, I am not fifteen years old. Yes, I know, when has that ever stopped me from wearing inappropriate clothing? But I will not be a slave to this fashion trend.

Nope, no leggings for me, I don't care how much time I've been spending on the treadmill.


the other white meat

I made Pork Chops in the crock pot yesterday. Completely amazing that you throw all that stuff in the crock pot, and out comes a meal. Probably one of the greatest inventions ever. I'm totally going to get some of those crock-pot liners, so I can be even lazier. And since I don't eat meat, probably won't eat anything I actually cook in the crock-pot, I really don't care all that much how it turns out.

I have known for several days that I look good. I'm back from my trip, I'm all skinny. My nails are all pretty, my hair is freshly colored (finally!), blah blah blah.

I especially knew that I looked cute yesterday. With my 80's-inspired dress, black with this really cool pink/fushcia/white geometrical print. And my black strappy sandals and my flat-ironed hair and my dark Lancome eyes and pink sparkly lipstick. (So much for dressing like a grown-up.)

Now I shall tell two different stories, and this will be the only time I ever say that Wal Mart was better than Target.

I went to Target yesterday, all cute. I noticed this guy walking past me, but I didn't think anything about it. I was too busy trying to pick out a case for my I-Pod. I'm looking at the cases, and this guy walks right up next to me and says: "Excuse me ma'am, I was wondering if I could have your phone number"?

I replied with "I'm married" and he went on his way.

Even in all my cuteness, it's always surprising to me when something like this happens. When I relayed this story to the Pastor, he said DIDN'T HE SEE YOUR RING? I guess not! Or maybe he didn't care. Or maybe, just maybe, the Pastor needs to think about getting me an even BIGGER ring. (He is not going to like that. Not at all. I should probably delete that. That one is going to get me into trouble.)

Sadly, I didn't want to give the guy my number, I wanted to give him some advice. Like when you approach a girl, you don't call her "ma'am" when you have the intention of picking her up. He should have just left that one out. Yes, I make the children say yes ma'am and yes sir, but when you are trying to pick someone up, it's probably something you should steer clear of. Then, he just jumped right in. No hey I was noticing you, you look really pretty, what are you out shopping for today. Just jumps right out there with the could I have your phone number. Granted, the guy didn't give me any corny lines, but why would you want to give someone your number just because they come up and ask for it? What's the incentive here? I would personally need a reason.

I thought the Pastor was never going to ask for my phone number. We were both in a group together, I saw him every Thursday night. I jangled my bracelets at him, trying to Jezebel him into noticing me. I tried to engage him in conversation, and it just didn't work. The last Thursday night of our group, I left. Too old-fashioned to ask for his number (or too chicken). Thinking I was never going to see him again. Sad.

But, thankfully, Wal Mart is open 24 hours. I hate Wal Mart, but they really do get you with that whole 24-hour thing. Because sometimes you are awake and you have no where else to go. Later that night, I went to Wal Mart, and I bumped into the Pastor there, and he finally asked for my contact information. You never know, when you give a guy something like that, if you'll ever actually hear from them again, but by the time I got home from Wal Mart that night, I already had an e-mail from the Pastor.

I'm so glad he did. He makes me happy, even more so than the crock-pot.


one slice of toast

1. I have started worrying about old people stuff. My roots got so long before I got my color done, everytime I went to the bathroom I was checking my natural hair color (did you know I had one? me neither!) to see if it had gray in it. Fortunately, I am not a silver fox yet. Still just a regular fox. My last hair appointment was delayed due to my unexpected layover in Newark, thanks to terrorists. I say anytime I have to walk around with 2 inch roots, the terrorists have won. But I'll gladly display my roots with pride, because I know they don't like the fact that I'm not wearing a burka. Ha!

I have also started worrying about having old lady neck and chest - you know that wrinkly skin on your neck and chest - so I've started moisturizing that part of my body like crazy. Nothing good can come of this. Wait and see, I'll only make my skin break out.

2. To go right along with this, I started feeling like maybe I shouldn't be dressing like such a hoochie. More Gucci, less hoochie. More class, less trash. This should make Mom happy. I went to a Nazarene function with the Pastor last week, and I actually felt like I finally got it right with the dress. I was a proper lady! But still very stylish and not too Nazareney. However, coincidentally, the Pastor didn't take our picture. Perhaps he didn't think I looked so hot and didn't want to preserve the moment. After all, I hadn't had my roots done yet. If you care about the dress, go to whitehouseblackmarket.com and look for the Jennifer dress, in the sale dresses. To jazz it up, I did go with red lipstick and my little tiny red handbag.

When I went to Starbucks this morning, in my cute little cotton sundress, there was a lady there with her respectable bob haircut and her pumps and her nice pants and a jacket. I thought maybe I should dress like that. All respectable and proper. Then I remembered when I had to work (that sucked) and had to wear suits and had to wear pantyhose every single day, even in July when it was 105, and I thought it is much more fun to wear whatever I want.

3. I also got an apron. Don't worry. I haven't completely lost my mind. I got it at Victoria's Secret. The Pastor also did not take a picture of this, for other reasons. If you care about the apron, you can go victoriassecret.com and search for apron.

4. Why does it matter what side of the toaster you put the bread in if you are only making one slice? That makes no sense to me. But as long as you are wearing an apron (see #3), it really doesn't matter how the toast turns out.

5. I'm still trying to figure out the whole photo thing on my computer. When I do, I'll upload more pics, you know for anyone who wants to see more of our 666 trip pictures. Yes, that's right, the Pastor took exactly 666 pictures on our vacation. It's a sign from God. I'm happy with how I look in about 5 of the pictures, so I won't upload many.

6. In case you didn't figure it out earlier, like when you started reading this post, I've been taking Nyquil for a couple of days. Now it's all starting to make sense.


chubby corneas

I went to the eye doctor today, where I was told I have "chubby corneas". I suppose the dr. thought it might make me feel better after telling me this tidbit of information that it's obviously the only chubby thing I have on my body.

I'll file this informtion away with other bits of useless stuff I've learned about my body through medical science. Along with the fact that I have a very small uterus. I guess that's not entirely bad. Who wants a giant uterus? It's not like I use it to store stuff. I suppose uteruses (is that how you make it plural?) are like handbags - the smaller the better. The good news is that now anytime I am feeling like I weigh to much, I can blame it on my "chubby corneas". I must be retaining water in my corneas. Yes, that's it.

Right now, the Pastor is reading this and thinking I cannot believe I bought her a computer.


I thought Eve gave Adam the Apple? Or, did Eve bring it to Adam in the shower?

All the reasons the Pastor bought me an Apple computer:
1. Because whining works. I wore him down. Which is exactly why I don’t let children do it.
2. Carrie Bradshaw = Apple Computer. Elle Woods = Apple Computer. Obviously, this is blonde-friendly technology.
3. Because I am spoiled. Refer to #1.
4. Because I get up and make him jam sandwiches every morning. Not really, but I sure did this morning.
5. Because after the last four weeks of practically no makeup, he was so glad to see me in eyeliner again he would have done just about anything for me.
6. Because taking me to Europe for a month just wasn’t enough for him. That’s what kind of guy he is, he’s got to go above and beyond. See #3. And, see below, about the shower.
7. Coincidentally, he gave me the computer on the eve of a day when I am taking care of his children ALL DAY. He’s trying to butter me up. If he has to do this for me, imagine what we have to go through to get a repeat external babysitter.
8. Because I can’t buy it myself, or the Satan’s minions who work at Discover Card who conspire with the Pastor letting him know my every shopping move would be calling him about the charge card total before I even made it out of the computer store door.
9. Because secretly he WAS concerned about how fat I was getting, and he promised himself if Robyn will just lose that five pounds I will buy her a computer as a special reward.
10. He had to buy it for me, because he knows the Apple store is right next door to the Coach store at the mall. If I went to buy my own computer, I’d come home with a very nice computer bag, costing more than the computer itself.
11. Because of all the special time we've spent together in the shower. See below.

I’m glad we are done with that. I’ve been bothering the Pastor about a computer for a very long time. It’s probably been our most consistent, non-kid “discussion”. Well, it's probably been MY most consistent non-kid discussion anyway. Now I can start bugging him about something else (just kidding, sweetheart!). Actually, I won't have time to bug him (another possible reason he got it) because I can blog and write all the time! My very own personal private computer! Mine mine mine!!! All the live-long day! I'm so excited. It's not that I have anything important or worthwhile to say, but it makes me feel better.

And speaking of “discussion” and Satan’s minions, here is the latest installment in the saga of step-parenting from hell. While we were out of the country, daughter #2 told her mother and her counselor that “Daddy says he is going to get my mommy put in jail”. Daughter #1, on the other hand, told the mommy and the counselor “Robyn and Daddy have sex in their shower every single night!!!”. Every single night!!! On the bright side, this is good, because at least we know she is still a virgin. Because no one who has ever gotten to have sex would be thinking that having sex in a shower is so much fun that people would want to do it in there every single night. Both daughters have since recanted. I can’t express to you how much fun it was to come home and get to address these issues right away, with the counselor and the parenting coordinator. Wait, yes I can. It was nearly as much fun as it would be to have sex in a stand-up stall of a shower.


back to "normal", part deux

How does he do it?

How does the Pastor obtain credit card usage information in real time?

I went shopping. I went to two stores (White House Black Market and Express). OK, technically three stores, but I had a coupon for free panties at Victoria's Secret so that doesn't count. Before I EVEN GOT HOME FROM THE MALL, the Pastor had sent me a detailed text message about how much I had spent (TO THE PENNY) and where I had spent it.

This takes the fun right out of shopping. Almost. I'll have to find some sort of clever way to beat the system. Hmmmm.


back to "normal"

So much to say. So little time. 50 minutes and 3 seconds to be exact. I had to come up the the public library to use a computer. Haven't been on one since I got home. The internet at home isn't working, which is apparently what happens when you don't pay for service and just use the magical wireless internet network.

This post will be a random bunch of mish-mash. Speaking of mish-mash,

Total Bridget Jones moment. I am a cooking genius! That's what I thought. The Pastor invited 4 people over for dinner Sunday night. I know, I'll made tortilla soup! I'll make it in the crock-pot! I can leave it in the crock-pot all day, and we will have delicious tortilla soup for dinner! Everyone will be amazed! Only only only only, when I came home late in the afternoon, about an hour before the guests were to arrive, my delicious tortilla soup was much much much too thick to be a soup. I managed to salvage the meal though, I think. You see, I had not chopped the chicken breasts up in the soup up yet, they were still whole. So I made some rice, pulled the chicken breast out, served the breasts on the bed of rice and used the "soup" as "sauce".

What's really sad is that someone who was at my little dinner party will read this post and realize the meal they ate was a giant screw-up, if they didn't already know that.

The flight we were on, the one that lasted for 16 or 17 hours, there was a gentleman on that flight who was loud. Not only was he LOUD, he spoke incessantly. I don't know why it is that the people who should be saying the least amount of stuff are the ones who talk the most and at the LOUDEST possible volume. I still haven't gotten over this yet. I say that anytime I have to sit on a plane for that long with none of my stuff and sit within hearing range of a guy like that, the terrorists have won.

It took about five minutes for everything to return to normal at home. We got all the kids back straight away.

More random trip stuff -
-The very best airport outfit I saw was a girl wearing a pair of cuffed, cropped jeans and a clean, long-sleeve white t-shirt.
-I managed to lose three pounds on the trip. Which is pretty amazing, because I did eat. Sometimes I thought I was eating quite a lot. Good food. Chocolate croissants in Paris. Sugar in my coffee. REAL sugar. German potato salad in Germany. But apparently walking for 8 hours a day and the Pastor constantly convincing me I needed to jog (most of the time he was lying, I think he just wanted to see me run) with my 15 pound backpack on in order for us to meet our next plane/train/bus/whatever helped me to keep the pounds off.
-The world is a safer place because airport security confiscated my Lancome tinted moisturizer and my Lancome gold lip gloss. They let me keep my concealer (liquid) though. Someone explain that logic to me. I guess they couldn't stand looking at the dark circles under my eyes either.
-I have all kinds of tips and ideas, in case anyone else out there might ever want to go to Europe. I think, I am planning to, start a separate blog about our Eurail adventure.

I have to go now. This man sitting across from me at the library smells really bad. And there is another man directly behind me who keeps looking at what I am doing.


ignorance is bliss

Greetings from Newark.

I should be home by now. I should have already eaten my first meal at a mexican restaurant by now. But I am in Newark.

I can tell you, with complete certainty, yesterday was NOT a good day to fly from the United Kingdom to the States. In fact, it was probably the worst day ever. If you took all the times I have ever flown in my life, and added up the length of time all of those flights took, that number would probably still be less than the length of time I sat in an airplane yesterday.

That's how it seemed anyway.

The Pastor and I went to the Manchester airport yesterday morning, not having seen a television. When we got there, we were faced with rather long lines. A security agent inquired if we had seen the news. Uhhhh, no. Then he informed us there had been some threats. OK, what else is new? Pretty much everyone at the airport was as ignorant as us.

We were told we could not take any carry-ons, which was all we had with our backpacks, and we were given a list of about 8 items we could carry on in a clear plastic bag. We could not take our books. Fortunately, the list of items we could take included women's sanitary products. We could take our eyeglasses, but the Pastor and I had to give up our eyeglass containers. Still not sure what someone could do with an eyeglass container, but hey, I'm happy to follow the rules if it means I get to go home.

After we went through two pat-downs, we boarded our plane. There's nothing like multiple security officials knowing 1. you seriously need a pedicure. They look at your heels! Ick! and 2. you have your period. We sat in our plane before it took off for nearly 7 hours. We watched 2 entire movies. They kept telling us they had to wait for clearance from Homeland Security in the U.S. before they could take off. I'm sure they were checking to see if anyone was on the "do not fly" list. They couldn't even feed us until we got up in the air. I was never so glad to see a plate of airplane food in my life. Sitting on an airplane without your hairbrush and your stuff is not very much fun.

It wasn't until we finally made it to Newark (by the way, we got to sit on the ground there for more than an hour before we finally got off the plane) that we realized how serious it was. Somehow, the Pastor and I had managed to take in our meager carry-on items, a bottle of saline solution. That made it through multiple security checks. Hmmmm.

We are suppossed to fly out of here later today. We did have a direct flight from here to home, but now we are going to stop off in Houston, Texas. I sure will be glad to get there, whatever the route! And as far as hanging out in the airport today, I'll be ok. I'm back in the States baby! There's a Starbucks in the Newark airport, and quality entertainment like US Magazine!



This little piggy went oui oui oui all the way home!

In Paris. We will see how the french diet of chocolate croissants, cheese and bread works for me. Thankfully, the Pastor has me on this fabulous exercise regimine where we do stuff like see how quickly we can jog through the Louvre, or how fast we can make it up the Eiffel Tower steps. Also, I've yet to see the Pastor wait at a street intersection. We run through every single one.

To London tomorrow, then Manchester, then home on Thursday!

p.s. I can vouch for the fact that there are Starbucks in Munich, Zurich and Paris.


Swiss Miss

We are in Switzerland. Tomorrow morning we will wake up in PARIS! Then from Paris we will go to London, then we will fly out through Manchester and be home next Thursday!

Even though I slept about 9 hours last night, I'm too tired to blog right now, but I have the sweetest husband in the world. He took me to Cinderella's castle, the Neuschwanstein Castle.

More later, hopefully after I find some coffee. Hopefully they have coffee in Switzerland.


Roman Holiday

Rome was not built in a day, but you sure can see it in a day.

Let me sum things up for you. Old buildings, blah blah blah. Lots of pope stuff. Which pope? Does not matter. They all look alike.

Sistine Chapel. Ever been there? Here is the tour for you. You stand in a really big, long line. Then you stand in another line to pay. Then you walk through a bunch of rooms. In every room you say something like "this room has a painted ceiling, is THIS the Sistine Chapel"? Turns out it is not. Then when you finally get to the Sistine Chapel, some mean Italian security guard tells you to cover your shoulders. What - all of these paintings feature nudes and I can't have on spaghetti straps? Whatever.

And Greece? Yes, there is a lot of stuff that was built out of big, heavy stones. How did they carry the stones that high? I do not know. Lots of broken statues too. Someone did not save all the pieces.

On a night train to Innsbrook tonight, from Rome. Then off to see some castle near Innsbrook, (Cinderella's castle was modeled from it!!!) then will be back in Munich tomorrow night. Thankfully, that train station has a shower. Do not know where we are going after tomorrow.

And the Pastor is really sweet. He goes to all the same places I do, only he does it carrying our bag AND doesn't complain.


menage a tois

Hello from Austria!

We are in Austria right this minute. We took an overnight train last night from Bologna, Italy and woke up in Munich. I loved Munich! It was so much fun! My favorite place. Then after we toured Munich we trained to Salsburg.

I was as excited with Bologna, Italy about as much as I get excited about Oscar Mayer bologna. Ehhh.

The overnight train last night was a bit freaky. It had four beds in our compartment. At least now I can say that I slept with three men at once, and two of them were complete strangers.

And one was wearing a speedo. Of course it was the 70 year old cranky German man. I wish I did not have to learn what kind of underwear he had on. I will file that away in my memory with the pictures of the cow getting butchered.

Must go, internet cafe says I have 8 minutes left! We are taking overnight train tonight to Rome. I would be happy with staying in Germany and Austria, but the Pastor is all eager to get to Rome. Something about it being the center of Christianity, blah blah blah.



My Big Fat Greek Slap

15 minutes left on internet card... must blog quickly. On boat from Greece to Italy.

Slapped around by border crossing guard while crossing border between Macedonia and Greece. OK, I am being dramatic, but apparently my leg was not where he wanted it to be and smacking it is the international signal for move your big fat leg lady.

Eastern European trains = bad. Anything that gets you away from Kosovo = good. No offense to our missionary friends there though.

Maybe we'll train to Germany today. Who knows. More later. Cappucino on boat!!!



It's time to leave Kosovo. I'm not sad about it, probably because not having water or power for the past two days hasn't exactly endeared me to this place.

Will be backpacking/training across Europe the next two weeks. YES - ME!!!! WITH JUST ONE PAIR OF SHOES!

I'll blog from internet cafes along the way!

the Pastor likes my new look

Me, after visiting Kosovian beauty salon and letting them make me up like a whore, I mean bride.

Hey, it supported the local economy and let us hang out with a potential convert for a couple of hours. Plus it killed time. Anything that kills time here is a good thing.

Sadly, this is what my contribution to world missions looks like.

check out the do

pics don't do it justice - red sparkles in the hair!

Hair 10 euros
Makeup 5 euros
Shirt 6 Euros

getting to look like a common prostitute, all in the name of Christ,


at the Kosovo version of Wal-Mart

the town where we are staying


A "before" picture of the cow.

If you want to know what the people of Kosovo need, what YOU can do to help, please send non-scary mannequins.

But of course, I am shopping.

one of our views in Kosovo

the house where we are staying

This is the exact moment, captured on film, when culture shock began to set in.


1. The aeropuerto in Prague.
2. When I was still pretty, even after a whole bunch of plane traveling. When my hair was still flat ironed.
3. My Victoria's Secret Pink hoodie. The Pink line is a popular airport outfit. I saw several other travelers sporting the look.

OK, last pic of New York. I promise. We ate authentic New York pizza. Oh, if we had only known that in Kosovo pizza is one of the four main food groups, we probably would have chosen another food for our last meal.

mirror, mirror on the wall

The Pastor took this pic in a reflection, from the top of the Empire State Building.

don't I look pretty with my rucksack?

I'm just like "Wilderness Barbie", complete with backpack!

Empire State building.

The ultimate American experience, right before the ultimate un-American experience . . .

Oh, I forgot to tell you, on the way here the Pastor and I had an 8 hour layover in Newark. We decided not to stay at the Newark airport, if you can imagine, and instead hopped on a train and headed to New York City!

And I found the Starbucks in Times Square.

"She got dizzy. It's very hot up here. Her dress is tight -- as you could see it was beaded and heavy. She passed out."

I'm just a girl who cain't say no . . .

I ate dinner in a chicken coop last night. Well, it wasn't technically a chicken coop anymore. But it used to be.

We went to eat dinner with a family last night. Their house was bombed during the war in Kosovo, and they are still repairing their main home (six years later). Presently, they are living where their chickens used to live, before the war. I'm sure the chickens were ticked they had to relocate.

I did not feel good. Let's just say I have a common traveler's stomach ailment. And don't forget, I'm a vegetarian. I told the Pastor before we left, ok, I'll go, but seriously I cannot eat anything. Seriously. Apparently telling these people 1. that you are a vegetarian and 2. that you have explosive diarrhea doesn't make much of an impact.

Hospitality is HUGE here. Everywhere you go, people are trying to push food and drink on you, and they will seriously not take no for an answer. (This would not be a good place to start a Weight Watchers.) Especially when they know you are a foreigner. It's a big deal for them to think you would go back to your homeland and say you weren't treated well. And you know it's not like I want to offend anyone or hurt their feelings! That's not my style. I just do what I need to do, then I can always just blog about it later ; ) It's cathartic.

So we go to this dinner. And even though the hosts had been informed in advance of my adversion to meat and my delicate condition, I was served soup that was both beef and chicken as a starter, and then a plate overflowing with meat and chicken. In fact, I think they gave me even MORE food than the others, because I was sick. You know, to make me better. The healing power of food. Between the missionary on my left and the Pastor on my right sneaking bites from my plate, we managed to make it look like my food had a dent put in it. I picked at the rice and a roll. Ironically, the only thing I was not served was the SALAD. I told the Pastor maybe forewarning them I was a vegetarian was confusing. They may have interpreted that to mean that I DON'T eat vegetables.

I also got to drink some hooch. Being married to the Pastor and all, you just don't get a lot of opportunities to drink. In the same way that they push the meat/chicken on you, the hosts were trying to get us to drink last night too. And again, SAYING NO DOES NO GOOD. I sipped the Pastor's wine for him, so he didn't have to touch the stuff. It was the least I could do since he was eating my meat. I'm no conniseur, but this wine was by far the worst stuff I have ever had in my whole life. Kosovonian wine. But again, sometimes you just have to be gracious, and complain about it later on your blog.

I felt kind of bad that these people cooked all day long and went to such great effort to prepare a meal for us. In part, because we are Americans. The chicken was very fresh, they killed it earlier in the day. I don't even want to know where the beef came from.

I would like to think that when I walk away from this whole experience I will be a better person, whatever that is. But I'll probably be the same selfish me who wants to get laser hair removal. Sigh.

Today we hiked up some big mountain. We could see the entire town of Prizren from the top, including about 30 mosques. I'd blog more, but the Pastor is anxious for his turn on the computer. And the power will probably go out again soon!


fish out of water

I'm googling stuff about culture shock. It is somewhat ironic that I may not be able to finish my research and blog post on this topic before the electricity goes off.

Here is what I've found out. Culture shock is like a disease! There's a cause (duh!), symptoms (duh!) and finally, a cure. I'm not sure what the cure is though. Acceptance? Memory loss of your life back home? Going home?

The first phase is the "honeymoon phase"!!! Doesn't that sound exciting? Of course I'm always in the honeymoon phase with the sexy and handsome Pastor (today is our 14 month anniversary). So the honeymoon phase is fun, right? Actually, our honeymoon phase on this trip involved about 40 hours of travel. I guess once you survive that, much like surviving a wedding, it's easy to breathe a sigh of relief.

The 2nd phase is the REJECTION PHASE. The "everything is completely awful here" phase. Check! This is where you complain and whine about things and only notice the bad stuff. Check! That's easy enough, I do that at home! Hey, it's hard to notice the good stuff when you're in a freakin' third world country! One of the missionaries we are with described this place as "not even a third world country - it's more like a 2/3rds world country!" I'm still not sure if that means this is better or worse than your typical third world country. Hmmmm.

Then there is the regression phase. Everything about your home country is fondly remembered as fabulous. Duh! Duh! Duh! I'm an American in a 2/3rds world country! Of course everything back home seems fabulous! See how much fabulous stuff I can rattle off: 1. Mexican food! 2. Starbucks (like this wasn't going to make the list) 3. electricity, 24/7! 4. Water that comes out of the tap without dirt. 5. a closet full of stuff (they don't even have closets here!) 6. Mexican food! 7. Animals slaughtered in PRIVATE 8. Mexican food, mexican food, mexican food! Mexican food times infinity!

Blah, blah blah. I know! I am a big spoiled baby.

The next phase is the recovery phase. You are finally at peace with things like the constant blaring of Sitar music from across the street, strangers feeling free to lick you and people who exist without toilet paper.

The final phase is reverse culture shock when you get home. I will apparently go home and find it odd that none of my trashy neighbors butcher animals in their yards and will not understand why hymen repair is not the most popular surgical procedure around town.

We'll just see about that.


all cows go to heaven and swimming at Auschwitz

I'm sure you've been wondering about Bessie the Cow. I've been too traumatized to blog.

For a whole day, everytime I stepped outside, I took a quick look around to make sure the cow was still there. Then I would exhale with relief. As the day went on and it got later and later, I thought good, they are not going to kill the cow today.

Then, I was in our room, reading and minding my own business, when the Pastor called out to me (why oh why does he do stuff like this). I went to where the Pastor was and glanced out the window just in time to see Bessie get clunked in the head and slashed in the throat.

And that lovely memory will be filed away under the category of "things you just cannot un-see."

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to observe animal slaughter from a few yards away, the whole kill-a-cow process takes mere seconds. I wonder just how many living things you have to kill before you are able to kill without any hesitation whatsoever. And then, as your victim lies bleeding in the grass, go smoke a cigarette as you wait for the final breath. Needless to say, I wasn't comfortable until the butcher had left the premises.

And the poor stray puppy. I watched stray puppy out the window, imagining his stray puppy thoughts. Like:
Oh, I think I'll go see my friend Cow!
Is Cow sleeping?
But I guess stray puppy really wasn't all that bothered by the whole thing as he had no trouble eating Bessie.

I have been a vegetarian for years. I stopped eating red meat 16 years ago, and chicken and pork came later. I'm pretty sure this isn't going to change anytime soon.

The Pastor has opined that when we backpack/train across Europa we don't need to stop and eat! I've not been very receptive towards the thought of just grabbing a baguette to nosh on, but right now I'm pretty sure I don't want anything in my mouth. In fact, my stomach is growling as I type this.

But a Snickers sure would be nice.

now for a much needed change of subject:

Today we went to the local swimming pool, a.k.a. the only form of entertainment. Apparently, it is acceptable to swim here in your skivvies. Seeing a great deal of pre-teen boys swimming in their tidy-white-ies is a bit shocking. I'm sure it would be a pedophile's dream. No wonder Michael Jackson is feeling so comfortable in a foreign country.

The whole experience was what I would imagine it would have looked like had Auschwitz had a swim day.

Just imagine a whole bunch of people who look like Nicole Richie, if she would just lose that last five pounds. I did not swim. How could I? Being morbidly obese and all. Really, I wasn't concerned about my fat-ness in comparison to the other sun gods and godesses, I was more concerned that people who throw trash in the river probably have no qualms about peeing in the pool.

There is one slide at the pool, and the boys think if they pull their undies up into their cracks, exposing their backsides, they will go down the slide faster. At this point I'll mention when I was packing for this trip, I tried to bring some thong panties to donate, but the Pastor wouldn't let me. He said they'd have no use for that kind of underwear here. If we'd only known. I may not have been able to save the world, or Bessie, but I could've made some boys slide faster.


The Missionary Position

The nights are the worst. I'm afraid I won't be able to sleep. So I lay there and worry about not sleeping which is probably the worst thing I could do. I go to my "happy place" in my mind, which stangely enough, looks like a Starbucks and usually involves some sort of food I like which makes me happy. Last night it was key lime pie.

Maybe I will somehow be able to use experiences like this to write a book or to do something to help teach people about culture shock. Perhaps I could write a book and call it something like "The Prettiest Missionary You Ever Saw", except 1. I'm not really pretty right now. I thought I was yesterday until I caught a glimpse of self in mirror and realized I look downright scary. 2. I'm not really a missionary, except I DID let strange people kiss and touch me yesterday which did seem missionary-like.

When we were walking around a nearby (1 hour away) village when we went shopping today, I thought I can just pretend to be all Rachel Weisz-like - in her "Constant Gardener" role. Yes, I can aspire to be like THAT. Then I remembered she died, so that was not very helpful.

I have adjusted to the 7 hour time difference - for the most part - but I have had a headache or two and the bags and dark circles under my eyes suggest I haven't adjusted so well.

The Pastor sleeps better than me which really makes me mad. Sometimes when I am awake and he isn't, it makes me mad and I want to poke him with things. I guess it makes up for the fact that when we are home I sleep really good, and he NEVER does.

If you like to have things like constant electricity, Kosovo is not the place for you. The electricity goes off usually twice a day for two hours at a time. If it goes off when I'm typing this blog post, I will be ticked.

Some additional thoughts on culture shock, aside from the sudden power outages -
1. People instinctively know you are American. Just by looking at you. You don't even have to open your mouth.
2. If you are the type of person who is used to bathing frequently (me) at least twice per day (me) - not getting to wash your hair for four consective days may seem shocking to you.
3. If you are also a person used to showering with actual water pressure, you may find it difficult to wash your long blonde hair under a trickle of water.
4. There are many, many differences. One example, road signs are different in different countries. In America, before you drive across a bridge, there will be a sign telling you the maximum weight for trucks on the bridge. In Kosovo, before you drive across a bridge, there will be a sign telling you the maximum weight for tanks on the bridge.
5. There are many things the same. According to the Pastor, people here are just like me. They eat, they drink and they poo. Only, the Pastor says, unlike me, they just don't get their water at Starbucks.

Pray for me. The Pastor drank his last Mountain Dew this morning.


the international language

I spoke the international language today - hair and makeup. Me & the missionary went to the beauty shop.

There are lots of beauty shops here, to make-up the hoochie brides. Bridal makeup involves red lipstick, and lots of black eyeliner. They don't do manicures here though, because fixed-up hands are a sign of laziness.


They were impressed by my high-lights. Wanted to know how I manage to keep them in for so long. When we came back to the house, I told the Pastor you don't need Bibles to reach these people, just lasting hair-color products.

I look young here. At the beauty shop, they said I look 23. I don't care if this is a third-world country, I like anyplace where I pass for 23.


There is a stray dog in the yard here. I feel sorry for the dog, sorrier for the dog than all the people I've seen, because the people KICK DOGS around here. That makes me mad. If I could take the dog home, I would.

Anywho, the doggie was just barking, and it hasn't really barked, so I went to go see what it was barking at...

and apparently the dog was barking because THERE IS A COW IN THE YARD. Yep, a cow, tied up. The neighbors are going to slaughter Bessie tomorrow, and then bar-b-q her. Unless I get up in the middle of the night and set Bessie free...


bread and cheese everywhere!


1. If you like bread, this is a good place for you. If you are staying away from carbs, probably not a good choice. I ate more bread yesterday than I had in the past three months combined.

2. Oh, and cheese.

3. Lots of Italian food. I mentioned to the Pastor today, as we were eating Pizza, that when I thought about Kosovo I never envisioned Pizza. He laughed at me, something about Italy being a stone's throw away. Yes, I understand that, but Pizza? In Kosovo?

4. Lots of hoochie shoes for not very many Euros. Which would be great if I wanted to schlep them across Europe in my backpack when I leave here. I don't want anything that bad.

5. Lots of wedding shops. It's apparently a big deal to be a bride here. I thought maybe the Pastor and I should get married again, especially when I found out brides don't get one dress, they get like TEN. Granted, they are ugly, tacky prom dresses -what else would you expect to wear with the hoochie shoes??? - but then I found out the bride has to wear these ugly M. C. Hammer pants the day after the wedding. Forget that! People also bring the brides big baskets of crap. I like the whole "it's all about the bride thing", but if someone gave me a big basket of crap, I'd be mad. And the groom has to give the bride all sorts of presents, which is apparently the least he can do before he starts cheating on her, gets a mistress or wife #2 and starts leaving wife #1 home alone with the babies.

6. No hiking here, even though I have the appropriate ugly shoes. Something about land mines.



Greetings from Kosovo.

Kosovo? See, when the Pastor started talking about this trip I thought he said Kokomo. Big dif.

Took us about 40 hours to get here. About 36 hours into our trip, the Pastor (on our last flight) suddenly said I NEED YOU TO STOP TOUCHING ME.

Apparently, my arm was touching him, and it was bothering him.

I had no idea.


coulda, woulda, Paris

I could have stayed at home this summer and gotten impregnated.

Instead, I have selfishly decided to go to Europe and see Paris instead. Even if it means I will have to sleep on trains, carry a backpack and wear ugly shoes.


Snack Ribs and Bologna - they're magically delicious!

I think it's good to be home. Again.

I'm sick of packing and unpacking and repacking. I'd like to tell you that I'm becoming some sort of expert packer, but I'm not. Since we have the van, I'm becoming even worse, because there is room for everything. Twenty pairs of shoes for a week? Sure! Swim clothes! Workout clothes! The Pastor's 82 library books! The sandwich maker! Anything you want!

A good thing about me being sick of packing. We haven't even been on our "big" trip yet. We are going to Kosovo and England and the country where the book of Thessalonians was written and no doubt a bunch of other places I can neither pronounce nor spell. Since I am sick of packing and schlepping things around, and since the Pastor and I will be travelling without children (pack mules), I will probably take a teeny, tiny bag. This was probably some master plan or evil plot devised by the Pastor.

We went out of town this weekend so the Pastor could preach at a church. I have heard the sermon at least four times. Three of the times, I got mentioned in the sermon. It's about time, after two and a half years of knowing the Pastor I finally get worked into the material. The last time he preached it though, he left out the amusing anecdote involving me. I guess he felt like it hadn't gone over well enough with his test congregations.

Anyway, I could preach the thing by now. It's in the book of Jeremiah and it's all about how these people are in the temple and they think they are so safe because they are in the temple, and this guy tells them not so fast! Just because you are in the temple is not enough! God wants you to also do a bunch of stuff. And NOT do other stuff. So this guy tells the people you've gotta follow these rules, which sound a whole lot like the ten commandments. And you know who was really good at living the way we are suppossed to live? This other guy named Jesus!

This sermon also involves Snack Ribs and Bologna. Actually, it's Sennacherib and the Babylonians, but after I heard the sermon the first two times, Nate and I started making up our own little amusing anecdotes.

I have a need to live in a world where I can use a computer without having to wait for a child to log off of the "Lucky Charms" website (who needs to visit the Lucky Charms website anyway?????) or wrestle it away from the Pastor. He has a computer at his office, thank you very much! Yes, I know I am being spoiled and selfish, but I am sick of sharing. I want to be able to write and to blog and to use the internet and when I go back to school, put my school work all in one place. And it's not like I ask for much! OK, I did get a big diamond ring and sometimes I do ask for clothes, shoes, purses and makeup, but besides those things, I haven't asked for much!

These views were probably best not expressed to the Pastor during our 3.5 hour drive home today. But I have officially reached my limit.

One example, last week I was cooking for the Pastor. I was using a recipe from the internet, and had the computer on the island in the kitchen. Mind you, this was the only time all day long I had been able to use the computer, and I was using it for the purpose of cooking a meal consisting mainly of meat that I WOULDN'T EVEN GET TO EAT. While I am in the midst of food prep, the Pastor comes into the kitchen and starts looking at other sites and I have to ask him several times to let me see my recipe. Mind you, he had been at his office earlier that day, and had free reign of the computer, internet, printers, etc. Why now? Did the man not realize I was in close physical proximity to knives and sharp cooking utensils and I could easily make something look like a strange cooking accident?

Yes I may be acting completely selfish and spoiled about the whole thing, but sometimes I don't like other people to touch my stuff. It just freaks me out. I need my personal, private space. And if I can get used to the packing and the unpacking and the repacking and hearing the same sermon four times, then surely other people can get used to my little quirks.


it's good to be home


post-trip pedicure Posted by Picasa

brazilian pedicure = good
brazilian wax = bad

doing what I do best! Posted by Picasa

at a mexican restaurant

Yet I still go out to eat with these guys.

At least it's better than when the Pastor starts making "art" out of tortillas. Posted by Picasa

my little kingdom Posted by Picasa

Queen of the Castle?

  Posted by Picasa

One of our last minute hotel switches was done so we could stay here. Surrounded by nature. Posted by Picasa

blonde & blonder


me and Loretta on a ride Posted by Picasa

Santa's Church


North Pole City, Colorado

What does Santa pray about? Posted by Picasa


  Posted by Picasa


Had to post this one in black and white, since the Pastor and I were wearing red, and the kids wearing green. Ewwwwww! Posted by Picasa

in front of the Helen Hunt waterfall Posted by Picasa

Note to self: on vacation, on a day when you are going to be in lots lots lots of pictures, make sure you look really pretty. I swear I put on makeup that day! Ugh!

the van Posted by Picasa

the Pastor saying something amazingly sweet to me on the top of Pike's Peak Posted by Picasa