Days 20 to 22

Yesterday was Halloween. I am not that much into Halloween, nor is it a big deal or really any deal here in Kenya, but the kids and I ate candy while watching Hocus Pocus. Not a bad way to spend the evening. I did manage to cook chicken tikka for dinner with sausage. It was while eating dinner we realized that I did not cook any veggies at all. Weird. Today will be full of vegetables to make up for that oversight. 

Hocus pocus

Kate, Makena, and Starlette are still in California. I was only able to speak briefly with Kate on Halloween morning, so I am not sure what they did or are doing. 

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Day 9

On this the eighth ninth (OMG I am already losing track of the days) day of Kate's great U.K./American tour she went to visit a horse therapy program somewhere near Beaumont, Texas. I actually have not yet spoken to her so I do not have details, but I am sure it went well. Visiting therapy centers while in the U.S. is one of Kate's goals. She is looking for ideas, methods, tack, and connections to bring back here to The Shire and the children we work with.

Meanwhile, our heroes back home continue life on The Shire. Emma and `Eowyn spent the night in Soysambu with friends and Butterfly and I enjoyed the peace and quiet. In fact we took the time to watch Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan after dinner. Possibly my favorite Trek movie. Butterfly was completely surprised by the ending.

"I have been and always shall be your friend."

Death of spock



Well I did it. Went to Nakuru yesterday and bought a new battery for my laptop. Was actually easy to find one. Found it at the very first place I stopped at. (For the sake of transparency  I stopped at a couple of other places first. Had to park the motorcycle somewhere safe and checked the p.o. box while I was there.) Paid 4,500 KES, which is about $49 U.S. dollars. So this morning, after charging it last night while we used our stored solar energy, I'm running a $50 test. Will it last? So far so good.

This test almost didn't happen. Andrew, our 16 year old son, decided to crank the generator and introduce his sisters to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It is hard to leave this:


For my new laptop battery. At least I am pumping some tunes into my head at the moment.

Much has happened this past week;

  • Kate raised money to buy a piano!
  • Kate and I went to Nairobi and window shopped pianos. (Plus I got to eat at one of my favorite restaurants.)
  • The kids watched a Barbie movie, and Monty Python.

More happened, but it's hard to guage a reader's tolerance level for bullet points.

Almost Christmas. Not to worry my bah humbug post will arrive before then, and Kate's mushy gushy Christmas is awesome post sometime after mine.

Today we are off to Matthew and Michele's place for The Muppets Christmas Carol. 

I'm thinking I need to enjoy this sunny morning with a ride on the motorcycle to town.  See you later.

Happy Boxing Day!

I hope you had a peaceful and relaxing Christmas Day. We did. Kate planned out a party on Christmas Eve, which went well. She then invited a missionary couple over to spend Christmas Day with us. We played games, roasted marshmallows, and sang Christmas hymns. All in all it was a nice couple of days for us.

It is now the time of year that we stop and reflect on the past twelve months. All the ups and downs, the friends, the enemies, the successes and the failures get an opportunity to resurface in our minds. I have found that reflection is a powerful tool in my life. A means of shaping myself into something I find acceptable.

Expect posts in the next few days of us reflecting on 2012, and looking forward to 2013. This has been a big year for us. I did not expect we would accomplish our goals for this year, but we have and then some.

Since it is Boxing Day, whatever that is, let us start out with something light and frivolous, movies. I am a movie lover through and through. I enjoy most genres, and occasionally even watch foreign films. So what did I like this year?

  • Dawn of the Dead – The original from 1978. It had been years since I last saw it, and the rewatch was delightful.
  • The Three Stooges – I had expected this to be a terrible movie, but it was good. Admittedly some of that, if not most of that, goodness was me enjoying the fact that the girls loved this movie. They were nonstop rolling on the floor.
  • Prometheus – I’m a geek, and a love of the Alien franchise.
  • The Dark Knight Rises – Fantastic end to the trilogy.
  • Star Trek Insurrection – Rewatched this one with the kids. Remains my favorite Star Trek movie.
  • The Avengers – Enjoyed by the whole family. I think Kate even liked it.
  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi – The best documentary I saw this year. I do not even like sushi, but I would eat Jiro’s any day.
  • The Guard – One of the best movies I watched this year.
  • Sleuth – The one from 1972. Brilliant.
  • Modern Times – I had actually not watched this Charlie Chapman film till this year. Loved it. The kids all enjoyed it as well.
  • Red Dog – Great dog movie.

Enough for now. I promise more serious fare over the next few days.

Platform 9 3/4

A true tale from my house.

The girls huddled around the glossy world map, it’s edges curled. Milly pressed her face in close.

I could see them studying and hear them chattering in Swahili. I thought it was wonderful that they were educating themselves. They were actually looking at the map! I felt proud and left them alone to DISCOVER and learn.

As I sat at my desk, Andrew strolled in with a cheeky grin. “Hey, Mom, the girls are all looking for a SCHOOL in North America!” he chuckled.

I looked up from my laptop in disbelief. “ Seriously? A SCHOOL?” I couldn’t help but laugh.

Then Mildred, our 15 year old ‘orphan-no-more,’ walked into my room. She noticed I was using my computer so she asked me, “Can you look up Harry Potter’s school on your computer?”

Hogwarts (1)My eyebrows rose and wrinkled my brow in questioning surprise. “You mean the school of Wizardry? The one in England? Hogwarts?”

“Yes. That’s the one.” Milly replied with confidence.

<Insert record scratch sound effect here>

Yes, this actually happened this weekend at my house. My Kenyan children were trying to find a fictional school of magic and wizardry on a WALL MAP. Not only that, they were looking in North America for a fictional school set in England, AND they didn’t notice that there were no other schools listed anywhere on the map.

Does this tell you anything about my Kenyan children?

<deep sigh>

I love them.



*Spoiler Alert:  You may not want to read this posting if you've not yet seen the latest Star Trek movie.

I'd like to share some theological symbolism I've observed in Star Trek, both in general, and specifically with the latest Star Trek movie.

At one time, I thought of Vulcans as symbolic of oriental peoples and customs.  But as I've looked at the Jewish aspect and origins of my faith, I've looked at Star Trek from another light as well...

Sound crazy?  Well, did you realize that both Leonard Nimoy (the original Spock) and William Shatner (the original Captain James Tiberias [Tiberias being a lake in Israel] Kirk) are both Jewish?  Did you know that the hand sign that accompanies "live long and prosper" came from something that Jewish priests of old would do with their hands to form a Hebrew letter that symbolizes God?  Put two "live long and prosper" signs together (folding in the thumbs so you can't see them from your perspective) and you get something that looks like a "W."  This looks like three points that are part of one whole but that's another analysis for another time...

Specifically for this new movie:

-Vulcans:  Jews of today

-Romulans:  Arabs of today.  Close related in common ancestry (Abraham.)  Not all Romulans are bad just as not all of any type of person are bad.  However, the bad guys in the movie are radical and violent and I think symbolize radical Islam.

-Spock/Kirk partnership and bond:  Jew and Gentile bond that exists in many places but particularly in America. 

-Spock:  How any Jewish child of today might feel if his or her parents were a Jew/Gentile marriage.  Spock is partnered with Kirk and the Federation.  Although he yearns to help establish the Vulcan remnant/refugees, he also feels his place is here for now and that his place here and now is for the greater good of Vulcans and all life.  Additionally, Spock could depict how a Jewish person who accepts Yeshua (Jesus) as messiah might feel.

-The red matter which was made by Vulcans and transported in a ship from the future piloted by Spock:  The Jewish faith.  Meant for the eventual good of all people but hi-jacked and used for the destruction of Spock, the Vulcans, and the Federation/Earth.

Although everything that is Star Trek can't be fit into such an analysis, I do believe that at least a part of what I have observed was intentional.  What's so cool is that just as Vulcans and the Federation now partner together, the link between Jew and Gentile was not meant to assimilate the two types of people or to take away their uniqueness but to bring them into unity within "The One."  This unity doesn't exclude Romulans or Ferringhi or anyone else.  It's everyone linked together as one.

Won't that be a great day?  Live long and prosper...


James head




James Matthews