Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Twiny-twin update at almost 10 months.

Treasure (Ochen), such a happy little guy.

Favor (Apio), very serious. 

And.... just hanging out, relaxing on rural homestays!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Grandma MacDowell

October 24, 1920- September 10, 2013

One of my favorite things about grandma- she never took herself or anything really, too seriously. (Except maybe praying.) Always good for a laugh, or a story recounted and recounted again and maybe even again. On any given day. And then again the next. Letter writing was her gift and her art, always updating, always thanking, always sharing the news in her deliberate, school girl cursive. She was forever reading, and doing crossword puzzles and scrabble, which only got more interesting as the years went by and she got more and more creative with the rules and exceptions to the rules. Half deaf for as long as I can remember, she would happily concoct her own version of whatever you might have said, especially if it afforded a good laugh. She was a lover of marmite and apple cider vinegar, molasses and buttermilk, and fresh bread. Oh, and dates. Her favorite. My crazy Canadian grandma who kept grandpa on his toes no doubt for 62+ years, and roses on the table. Mary Lois Wilamena Johnson MacDowell, and the one for who I am named. Miss you already, grandma. So much love.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

"Can't never did anything till he cut off his tail and had can"

When I was in second grade my siblings and I stared going to a new school. We made the switch from a british school to an american school, and there were a lot of mysterious and intriguing things about this new school. We had a music teacher, Mr. Miller who had this saying posted in huge letters above the blackboard at the front of the music room. I puzzled over it for years... it conjured funny images in my head-- of cans with Eeyore like tails, de-tailed cans, and big silver scissors with black handles, the kind that teachers get to use. I had some sort of an idea about what it meant, but was never quite sure how it all made sense. It is still a funny thing to me.

I often wonder if and how little messages like this are internalized. I was thinking about it today as I cut my hair. Which, I do. A lot. Because I have short hair and it grows fast, and if it needs cutting, the fastest way to get it done is to just do it. (Thankgoodness for pretty forgiving hair...) Its something I've always loved about art and the creative process; you dream up something and you have to figure out how to make it happen. And then you do it. And you birth these otherly things into existence. Its crazy fun! And empowering. And you keep DOING things, cause you can. And you know you can, because you did. Anyhow, as I was cutting my hair, I thought of this little saying. And of Mr. Miller and it made me smile. And I wonder if that is where it all started. Here's to you, Mr. Miller, and cutting off our tails so we have can!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


So apparently I took a blogging hiatus. I don't know, maybe blogs have a lifespan. Maybe this ones time is up? Or maybe last semester was just insanely busy, and while I thought I could handle two blogs at once, no make that three... I couldn't quite pull it off. I'm still not sure I can... but I'm not quite ready to give up on this one yet either. Lets see how this semester goes. It looks promising. 20 students. Thats right, just 20! No accreditation team coming. No 'new' classes to develop and teach. Margaret is back, which means homestays are again a shared responsibility-- hooray! And... well... life is good! Things are really good. Two more weeks of 'summertime,' before we hit the office officially, August 5.

Some of my goals for the rest of 2013:
- To work hard and play hard- meaning, enjoying the goodness and fullness of my job, but not letting it consume my life.
- To find time/space to dust off a few little projects. (And keep blogging.)
- To dig deeper and more intentionally into community here.

Ok, thats good for now. Don't want to get overly ambitious... So... heres to 2013, take two!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Treasure and Favor

Introducing Treasure and Favor. My brand spanking new godbabies! My beautiful friend and coworker Margaret gave birth to these two on January 7th, and I'm thrilled beyond imagination to be trusted and gifted as their godmother. I am growing rich with special godchildren.                           

Saturday, November 17, 2012


October was overwhelmingly full of good people and a lot of fun things: a visit from Katie, rural homestays, Sipi Falls, Meg's visit and all of a sudden we were in November. Just a few photos below of all the fun. (If you wondered at all why I've been so MIA here.)

Art exploration day in Kampala with Abby and Katie

Lunch at Touch of Class with Jones and Katie (Katie sampling all foods Ugandan)

Dinner with Lisa and Eddie and Katie

A fun trip to Jinja

Dinner at the Opols... Katie Margaret and I
Me and Karis

A week of rural homsetays with Tiffany

Meg and I enjoying some quality G&T's and golden delicious sunshine

Jordan, Tiffany, Ruth, Jones and Meg. Only missing Molly, Julie and Brendah! 

And here we are and November is almost half over. Last month of the semester and we're heading into Christmas and all that good stuff. CRAZY.

Monday, November 05, 2012


Yesterday I drove down to Entebbe and spent the better part of the afternoon enjoying the lakeside with Meg before dropping her off at the airport. It was a perfect, glowing Entebbe evening as I headed back. The golden scintillating sunlight behind, and in front of me, Kampala-- over which hung dark and heavy clouds. The contrast between where I was and where I was going made me a little giddy. A mass of storm clouds all piled on top of themselves on the horizon is always far more intense than when one is directly under them, but it was still dark overhead in town... dark with the Entebbe evening sun sneaking in from behind making it all absolutely gorgeous. 

When driving through Kampala from Entebbe you come into the city on the Entebbe Rd, go through downtown and then head out on the Kampala/Jinja Road. Once you pass Lugogo, you are on your way home. Granted, this last leg (15 miles-ish?) can easily last an hour and a half or more at the wrong time... but on a Sunday afternoon it (usually) only takes 45 minutes. I passed Lugogo and was enjoying relatively clear roads, great music and the weather and I noticed a piece of rainbow to the left. A rainbow! 

Now a cynic might say that its not all that surprising to happen upon multiple rainbows during the rainy season. True. However, I don't think they should be taken for granted. In the last month, I have seen some spectacular rainbows. And I have been in need of visible, tangible, beautiful hope. Hope outside of myself, beyond my capacity and regardless of my own ability TO hope, and these rainbows have been that for me. Last weekend in Sipi falls, I saw a beautiful rainbow. A couple of weeks earlier in Jinja, I saw perhaps the most complete and brilliant rainbow I've ever seen. I wanted another. 

So I was driving home... on the home stretch of going home, and there it was... this sliver of rainbow to my left... I could appreciate that, it didn't have to be full to be hopeful. So, at probably more risk than I ought to admit to (to myself and all others on the road) I got out my camera (yes, while driving) to take a picture or two. And as I drove-- it got brighter and brighter. And it started to extend higher, arcing up and over... I kept snapping with a growing sense of excitement. 

To my right was only clear blue skies, but my eye kept tracing the path of the would be full rainbow, and after a while, there on the horizon to my right (exactly where the pot 'o gold should have sat) was the other end of the rainbow. Its not like in itself it was all that shocking, except that it just seemed unreal to want it, to look for it, and to actually find it there. Not only that, but I kept watching it (and the road), and it too started to brighten and stretch upwards.... and somewhere around Seeta- the two halves met and over me stretched a beautiful full rainbow.  

I don't know the future. I don't know what lies ahead or on the other side-- but I was heading home, and there it was, a beautiful, hopeful gateway for me to pass through. Not only metaphorically, but quite literally. And right now, when hoping on my own feels shaky, it was remarkably solid. 

I strung together the contraband images I took (while driving), and like the rainbow itself, am surprised that they actually tell the full story. (And that I am still alive to post the story...!)