Thursday, December 31, 2009

Before and After, Part III

We've been in our house just over a year now and I think at long last that we have managed to deface walls in every room of the house! What fun! Here are photos of my (and Finn's!) handiwork, for better or worse-- my favorite before and afters from the many painting projects at 23b. (This post is a result of a few too many visits to the Apartment Therapy and Ohdeeddoh websites...)

and my new favorite room in the house...

These are the guest rooms, by the way....but where are the guests??! Come on over!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Munda Wanga

Just outside of Lusaka (past the LaFarge cement factory) is Chilanga the Munda Wanga Wildlife Park and Conservation Trust. We go from time to time to visit with Zag, their cheetah, and to get attacked by ants - safari ants, sugar ants, fire ants...bring them on. Today we learned that Zig (Zag's companion) was killed by a snake bite. Munda Wanga has many other animals besides cheetahs. They come as gifts from international heads of state (camels from Saudi Arabia!), re-hab and rescue animals, unwanted pets (monkeys, anyone?!), unwanted passengers (Baboons that came in march with a wheat shipment!) and many more including permanent residents including ostrich, porcupines, warthogs, bush pigs, baboons, jackel, serval, zebra and more. They have a beautiful botanical garden and demonstration food garden...also a swimming pool and water slides. We never make it much past the cheetah. And the ants. Did I mention the ants? More than once? hmmm.

Compliments of the Season - Family Christmas Album

Santa filled everyones' stockings; the kitties were so happy to get their Whiska's Ostrich treats in gravy! Yum. Missing from all our photos but in our hearts this day are all our Seattle family and friends....
Rockin' out with Elvis Christmas, this has been played daily in our house since August; today it was finally appropriate, finally felt right.
The boys, playing "Safari Hunt" (see detail below), the game that O spent a month designing and getting ready for TJ. Todd is sporting his new Zambia jersey. He actually took off his Arsenal kit for the day and Owen took off his Manchester kit in favor of the new Seattle Sounders. Finny took off his shirt, too and got distracted before he got around to putting on his new Sounders jersey, bringing the world one step closer to world peace.

Christmas Eve Fete, everyone rapt at the reading of Clement Moore's "Night Before Christmas"

Finny was very excited about opening presents. Not to worry, we fixed his strange haircut, just not in time for Christmas photos. Owen is boycotting haircuts and has the new nickname 'Shawn Cassidy." The funniest part about Christmas was Finny and Owen deciding on their own to wear their 'fancy clothes.' Finn I don't think has worn pants since camping in the middle of winter and even then only wore them reluctantly. Owen pulled on a pair of his jeans that landed just below his knees, so it's been a while since for him, too. Many of you might recognize Finn's's been handed down thru the Braun family and probably maany families before. It landed in our dress up box only to be miraculously and mysteriously rescued by Finn and, well..... what a handsome guy he is. Below: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Croc Study

Something about these prehistoric creatures begs for black and white photography.

Lower Zambezi

On a moms and kids overnight escape to the Lower Zambezi, I snapped these new favorites.


There has been a few wild animals on the loose this week at 23b and we finally found one this morning, snuggled down for a little snooze IN MY BOX OF Q-TIPS! If you have lived abroad you know that Q-tips from the US are a thing to treasure. I don’t know why no other country makes suitable q-tips but if you are traveling this way, please pack an extra box for us. This box of fancy Q-Tips is, as they say....finished.

Ants in our Pants

Our 2 meter long ant puzzle from LICS Science Week "Ants are Amazing" class. Who knew?

Lest you think I'm being funny, I have to say something I have unfortunately already said several times since moving here on my and Todd's behalf. Ants in your pants do NOT make you want to do the boogie dance! We have had two more unpleasant ant encounters. One red ant, biting ant, fire ant...I don't know what it was but excuse my french when I say those suckers can bite and it hurts like hell. One teeeeeeny tiiiinnnnyyyy little ant bite left me with a hard quarter-sized lump, a big red ring and a swollen forearm.

Today we went to visit our cheetah friend Zag at the wildlife sanctuary and we paused on the way to his enclosure to look at some impala...but by horrible luck paused in the path of some large, fierce, biting ants. They crawled in our shoes and up our legs. They grabbed on with huge mandible pinchers and did not let go -- even when you pulled their writhing bodies right off their heads, the heads remained and kept on biting.

Thankfully these little monsters just bite, they don't sting but I'm frankly getting tired of getting ants in my pants. Yes, Ants are Amazing, but they also really suck. I still do love a good ant story, however. O's friend who we brought along (and who I feel so horrible for b/c she really got the worst of the ants today), told the funniest story about the time her mom got ants in HER pants and had to strip in public madly to get them off. Her telling of the story, which differs from her mother's was that this was all caught on video by the evening denies the news bit but admits that the incident was filmed by some other tourists. Fun.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Grandma, looking lovely in Jean and Harry's garden, Summer '09
Last month Grandma celebrated another birthday - number....94?! or was this 95! Amazing! "...just a youngster!" I'm sure Parkey would say!

Some of the Ballou family, Summer '09