Jamesport, MO Part 1.

I took a quick day trip to Jamesport, MO about 90 miles Northeast of Kansas City. I knew that Jamesport was an Amish community who lived a simpler way of life and handmade many artifacts, crafts and materials.

So on a whim, I booked a room and yesterday after lunch, I hit the road and 90 minutes later I was there!

As I checked in, the Bed and Breakfast owner, a friendly outgoing older man showed me a CD about the Amish that I could come down and watch in my own time.

So after I rested a while, I went and sat down to watch. And it was fascinating! The Amish have a whole separate way of living which I knew but some things did surprise me. I did not know that they recite the Bible in what is known as High German. Who knew there was a High Germanic language? I didn’t.

Other suprising things were that children go to school till the 8th grade. Their schools are one room schools taught by unmarried young women. After 8th grade, the boys go into apprenticeships to learn a trade. It may be farming, carpentry, silversmithing and so on and so forth that will allow them to support a family when they get older.

That tape was so fascinating that I watched it twice. But that was before I discovered that the tape was played pretty much everywhere. Most of the stores I visited today had the tape playing in the background.


The Introvert’s Dilemma

Many introverts, myself included, greatly enjoy solitary activities. I mean what’s not to enjoy: time to unwind and re-charge, solitude, a good book or walk, a cup of tea, a favorite program, a cozy nook, a comfortable bed..the list is long. All this is much appreciated especially at the end of a work week.

What I’ve found though is that it can be a thin line between solitude and aloneness. You have to constantly balance the very real need for that solitary time with time spent with family and friends. I find that when I dont, when the scales tip too much into solitude, aloneness and loneliness does set in..for me. This may not be the case for other introverts off course.

And the reverse is true. Too many social activities and I am totally and completely drained. So balance is what is needed and it is indeed a delicate balance.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve gotten better at this. So, for example, I am about to leave for a solitary road trip that I’m very much looking forward to but will be back tomorrow to continue celebrating my birthday with a few friends and family.



So usually I have very elaborate travel plans for my birthday which falls on August 19. I have often been able to take a week or more off from work and spend 3 or 4 nights away. I’ve traveled to the Ozarks, Colorado, Arizona, Nairobi, Oklahoma, Utah and New Mexico for my birthday in past years.

This year, I had planned to travel to Estes Park, CO for a few days which would have included Monday’s total eclipse. But I failed to make plans early enough (with good reason I think). This year has felt quite rough for me..with my early morning work schedule, severe insomnia, grieving my long time neighbor, and other life stuff.

By the time, I roused myself enough to make plans, a lot of places were already booked up due to Monday’s total solar eclipse.

So other than a day trip planned for overnight Friday that I just planned on a whim 3 days ago, I am letting my birthday just unfurl in whichever way or form it will. I have a 5 day weekend which will include Monday with none of my usual conrete plans!

This impromptu manner is not like me at all but I’m trying to embrace it. I think it will be good for me to just go with the flow for a change.


Oops!, how did that happen??

My birthday is this Saturday, August 19. I’m pretty excited about it as usual. I like to, and usually, celebrate the entire week. When I was younger even the entire month.

For some reason though, I thought I was turning 47 only to find out today, it was 48! I’m pretty good at Math so I don’t understand how I made that error, but somehow it must have just escaped my mind I guess.

I’m not really sad though. I still enjoy birthday celebrations. I just booked a day trip to an old Amish town called Jamestown, Missouri. I’ve been wanting to visit there for years! It’s a really big deal finally getting ready to do something you’ve been saying you’ll do for years. I’m super excited.

So even though I’m turning a year older than I though, I cannot wait!

A bee hive!?!

I am not quite sure what prompted me to look outside. There was a lot of noise from the cicadas and I looked out. There is a large Oak tree out front and I thought I noticed something up in the tree which upon closer examination turned out to be a bee hive.

And I’ve been trying to figure out what to do. I don’t want them harmed or destroyed. I am however concerned about the location of the hive. That branch overhangs the street and is not one of the sturdiest on the tree.

We’ve had pretty severe weather with high winds and my concern is if the branch ever breaks from bad weather.

I’ve found a list of local bee keepers and I’m calling around to see if one of them can come remove the hive or swarm. I really don’t know much about bee hives beyond their role as pollinators. I make sure I include flowers in my garden that attract bees and also we don’t use pesticides for the most part. But other than that, I find myself clueless about what to do with a bee hive. I’m getting conflicting information. With some sources saying the bees will move on and other sources saying to find a bee remover and have the bees moved.

I’m also not sure how long the bees have been there. I noticed the hive yesterday morning but cannot be sure how long they have been there.

Back to making calls. Wish me luck.

Karibu! karibu chai.

Welcome! Welcome to tea.

That’s the welcome given to most everyone who knocked on our door when we were growing up in Nairobi, Kenya. When we were younger, one of us would be sent off to the kiosk to buy milk and bread, and perhaps sugar if there was none in the house.

Infact guests often brought milk and bread with them. Not because they expected tea but as a tradition, a gesture of respect. You don’t visit a home empty handed.

Invitating guests to tea was like the chorus of our young lives. Sometimes welcome, sometimes not. You could have just sat down after your chores and here comes an announced guest. (English translations in parenthesis or brackets depending on where you are)

Hodi (Knock Knock)


Karibu chai (Welcome to tea)

And for us girls, that meant heading into the kitchen to make tea and serve the guests.

All these are some of the interwoven rituals that exist in many post colonial African countries.

But back to the tea, I never truly appreciated this simple gesture of hospitality. But I truly do now.

This tradition does continue to a large extent and when I do visit home and I’m visiting relatives and friends, that is the first thing I hear often accompanied by a hug or hearty handshake.

Karibu, karibu! Karibu chai! (Welcome! Welcome. Welcome to tea)


Thank you Sun

I confess I don’t much like summer. It’s too hot and humid here in the midwest. If I could order my weather as we do dinner, I’d order a nice crisp fall, with a gentle breeze in the air. Oh yes, that would do quite nicely. But without the contrast of a hot humid summer day, would I truly appreciate fall?

There’s much to like and enjoy about summer but in this stretch of 100 degree days, all those things seem to evaporate from my mind and all I feel is hot and humid and tired. What I do like though is that in the summer, I can forego the dryer and hang my clothes outside pretty much anytime. There are weekends I’ve been so lazy that it’s been after 4pm when I hang my clothes on the clothesline and the clothes still dry, even the towels! It’s pretty amazing. Granted they have been wrung quite thoroughly by the washer but still.

And of course it goes without saying that life would not exist without the sun. So thank you sun.