Friday, March 27, 2009


It's fun to see Brazil through the eyes of my four-year-old granddaughter, Gabriella, because she's loquacious and uninhibited. Her first days in Brazil were most remarkable because everything was a "first-time experience". Here's some samples:


me: there goes a mosquito.
she (looking scared): I think I'll get down from my bed. (bunkbed)

she (looking at the floor): There's a bug, Grandma!
me: That's just a mark on the tile.
she (looking up at the table where a fly has just landed): Grandma, what's that?
me: a fly. Just wave your hand at it and it will go away and I procede to teach her the song, "Shoo, fly! Don't bother me!"


Another "scary" incident was when Gabriella accidently threw the toilet paper in the toilet. You might be asking, isn't that where toilet paper is supposed to go? Well, not in this country. Here we throw toilet paper in the wastebasket, and Gabriella had been carefully instructed on this matter before even arriving in Brazil. Her first day here she told me several times that she didn't know how to use the bathroom here and asked me to go with her. So, I showed her how. A couple of days later when our house was full of family members who'd arrived to see them, and we adults were sitting around the kitchen table talking and probably eating, we heard a loud wail and soon Gabriella appeared, panties down, crying her heart out. We all wondered what terrible thing had happened to her and then she sobbed, "I forgot and put the paper in the toilet! Waaaaaa!" Aunties came scurrying around to comfort little Gabriella, one even rescuing some of the paper from its demise, as we all tried to reassure her everything would be all right!!
And it was!


Little by little Gabriella is getting courageous enough to try out a new Portuguese word. She babbles once in a while thinking she is speaking Portuguese (but it isn't!!). Her new neighbor friend, João Vitor, is giving her informal lessons as they play together. (And I think he is learning more English than the other way around!)
Even children go through culture shock.

Monday, March 23, 2009


The image is frozen in my memory like a cherished photo in a family album: Gabriella's big blue eyes--set off by her three-tiered, blue/yellow plaid ruffly top and matching skirt with a pert blue bow in her hair--focused on her grandpa. He is standing behind the guard rails and can't give her a decent hug, yet she waits quietly, the picture of cherubic innocence. Her baby talcum-powder white skin has suddenly made her cousin, Julia, look swarthy in comparison. A middle-aged Brazilian couple, also leaning on the guard rails, observe the scene with interest, their smiling faces lit up by the "Angel Gabriella". I see they have also fallen under her spell. "Is she four years old?" they eagerly ask me and I nod my smiling head in response. Together with her brother, Caleb, Gabriella clutches her newest present--an airlines magazine for kids--and thrusts it repeatedly in my face--the only subject she can comment on. And then quickly the moment is brushed away as more family members gather around to get their hugs, but like Mary, I continue to treasure this moment in my heart.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


We have dusted, scraped paint off windows, washed windows, washed walls with a hylex solution, planted flowers, swept floors, vacuuming (tomorrow), washed curtains, rugs, bedspreads, sheets, moved heavy furniture upstairs, moved heavy furniture downstairs, made signs, bought presents, cleaned the silver plate, baby cups, and spoon collection, washed floors, bathrooms, living rooms, stairways and in between made meals, washed clothes and dishes, watched baby Julia, fed baby Julia, changed baby Julia's diapers, bathed Julia and now we're very, very tired, but soooo excited for tomorrow's "D-Day for Dugans" !! Hooray!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


My flowering bush that we call "Christ's Tears"here in Brazil is now changing colors as we get close to the fall season. It's still beautiful, I think

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Humm...I miscalculated my age in the previous post. I was also a mature 20 year-old.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


My original wedding ring set minus the diamond. I lost it and replaced it with an emerald.

My beautiful green velvet box isn't so beautiful anymore, but the memories are.

It happened in the "GOLD CARPET ROOM" on the second floor of the Long House Residence on this date in l968! It was a private restaurant, actually, with only one table and chairs--quite exclusive, you know. I was a blushing 19-year-old and Pat a mature 20 and this is where we got engaged. I will "let you in" on some tidbits from my dairy:

Dearest Diary!!
What a memorable day...After church Pat wanted to go outside to get some fresh air. Terry was out there with a white Plymouth. He opened the back door and we got in. I thought it was a joke...He drove around to the girls' dorm, got out, ran around to my side, opened the door, and then ran to his house. We followed. Upstairs, a sign was on their living room door--"GOLD CARPET ROOM." Terry opened the door and...astonishment!!!there was a table with a linen cloth, two swivel chairs from the lobby of the school building, three candles on the table, and a setting for two. They had brought a potted plant from the auditorium, and had nailed Susie's curtains into the wall. It was all so romantic and dreamy. Something I'll never forget.

Terry brought us menus...we had assorted crackers, cookies, banana splits, and ginger ale in Terry's new bar glasses...the bill came to $19. 10...there was soft, tender music playing on the stereo..Terry came in with his guitar and played a song...Pat told me to close my eyes..there was the most gorgeous diamond in a beautiful green velvet box...I let out a little scream. Pat kissed me before he even put it on. He was on his knees and put the ring on my finger!...
At weddings, I don't know why they call the groom's friend the "best man" because my groom was and is the best man, and if I could choose all over again, I'd choose Mr. Pat again and again and again. He's the only one for me. He has exemplified Christ's love for his church in our marriage and I feel privileged to call him mine.

Happy 41st Engagement Party, Honey!!! I love you!!


It had been 9 months since I'd seen my cardiologist and I sat facing him as he perused my records behind his desk. He glanced up, smiled and asked, "So how have you been? What's new?" and then helped answer his own question by saying, "Older (strike one!) and wider (strike two!)" referring to me obviously. I looked down at my blouse and thought, "Well, I guess the boat neck and puffed sleeves might make me look a bit wider although I've gotten complements on this." I laughed and agreed (!) with him. Not about to let that get the best of me, I talked on and all of a sudden I heard him repeat to himself a word I had just spoken and realized he was smiling and imitating my accent (strike three!). That started me off on an explanation of how, if one wants to speak a foreign language without an accent, one must learn that language by the age of 16 or at the most 18. All of a sudden he was serioius, "No, you speak Portuguese very well." Well, Okay, Doctor, I thought I'd struck out.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Here's a great song you must listen to. Sorry I don't know how to put someone else's video on my blog, but this song is so appropriate to what I just wrote about ministering to the needy. Here is the link:

It's worth the watch. Believe me.


For no particular reason, I've been delving into all things IRISH. It started by rereading "Only The River Runs Free"by the Thoenes followed by the other two books in that series that I bought on Half EBay while in the States just now, "Of Men and Angels" and "All Rivers to the Sea". Then I took up "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt which left me absolutely devastated at Ireland's poverty and plight some years back. It's a heart-wrenching book. Last night I watched "In God's Name", a film based on facts of cruelty and injustice in a convent in Ireland. Again, I was filled with a sense of injustice at what some have suffered. Then I started looking around me here in my own town and I realized that the poor aren't far away in Ireland, but right here in my own town while I do...absolutely nothing about it. Yes, I have given food and clothes to the poor who have knocked on my door and even money to beggars on the street, but it seems I should be involved in something ongoing and permanent. So, I have begun to pray and ask God what I am supposed to do and will He direct me to whom I should help. I cannot continue to live in my own little comfortable bubble while others around me suffer. Jesus said some very, very scary things in Matthew 25: 34-46:
" Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance...for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?"
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?
He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Did I read that right? Can we miss heaven for neglecting the poor?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Painted Red

Here is a link to the title song of Painted Red, a new album by JJHeller, an artist I hadn't heard of (which isn't unusual for me), but who's been around for awhile. (And I don't know how to do the "click here" thing.