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This is my last post from Ohio.  Regrettably, I have not blogged since Easter as the riptide of life has carried each of us Understandings out to sea.  Currently, we are swimming parallel to the shore, waiting for calmer waters to carry us in.

Thing 3 graduated high school last weekend and we had a party palooza.  The packers arrive in a few hours to finish what they started a month ago.  Thing 1’s head is no longer on fire – PRAISE BE TO GOD – but she is left with severe exhaustion.   Our heads are above water.

I leave you – temporarily – with one of my favorite scriptures:

Romans 5:3-5New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

3 … [W]e also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

This sums up the last twelve months of my family’s life.  It is going to take me at least another twelve to process it all, the gruesome and the glorious.

I will be back at some point, having relocated the nest to a new zip code.  As I told Mr. Understanding, we are in the homestretch.  Tornado alley awaits!


Filed under Life

Light ‘Em Up

I bet you readers thought this last period was called the 40 Days of Silence.  It’s been 29 but who’s counting?  The Expat Princess is walking through numerous fires, some white hot and scorching, others gently smoldering, waiting either to die or pick up speed.  Think of me as a flower girl in a wedding, throwing out baking soda and water instead of rose petals as I walk down the aisle.  I refuse to be singed.

MCV sent in this link to an article about a mattress developed in Spain which is able to detect a cheating spouse.   Read it here.  Duermete bien, Madrilenos!



Filed under Life, Spanish vocabulary

Tom Brady and a Can of Whoop Ass



Dear Friends,

Yesterday I had a cup of coffee with Polly Positive and we had a post Lent & Easter wrap up chat session. She is continuing on in her new role as Polly Positive as a result of her Lenten exercise. I took half a week’s break from blogging and am now faced with the dilemma of what to blog. Since we have covered religion for the last chunk of time, I am taking that off the table as a theme. Other taboo dinner table topics are sex and politics. Do you really want me to go there???   Be careful what you ask for.

When I pressed Polly for the exact adjective she used to describe me, she reminded me that the word was constrained. I was not sure the word applied to me but looked it up here. Does this mean I am doing a better job of holding my tongue than I think I am?  The only definition I will accept is #5 of the full definition. Of course.  Who would want any of the others???  As it is, the analogy to a sausage is inescapable.

Having said that, I am not sure I will be constrained when writing about the next topic my readers choose. As a premio (prize/treat) before I move on to the next topic, I will tell you a little story to tide you over.

One of Thing 1’s classmates at Migraine Boot Camp is from Arkansas. Last week, I met Hot Tonya and her delightful mother, Miss Angie.  Hot Tonya is a mother of two children, one of whom has cerebral palsy and the other who had a traumatic brain injury at a young age but is doing well. She home schools both of the adolescents. Part of the recovery process for her daughter with the TBI was a one eared mule named Buster – a therapy animule, as it were.  He is featured above.

During the story telling I interjected that today was Good Friday and that Jesus rode into town on one on Palm Sunday. I was promptly corrected.

“Oh no, dear, it’s a mule, not a donkey. But don’t worry, my brother has a miniature one of those named Tom Brady.” Hot Tonya beamed.

At this point of the conversation, I didn’t know which tack to take so I opted for the simplest and most obvious.

“Tom Brady? Is that because he’s an ass?” I asked. As you may or may not recall, I am not a fan.

“Well, he’s had him about 10 years so I don’t think so.” Miss Angie chimed in.

“That thing just roams the country side. One day we had someone ask us if we had a miniature donkey on the loose. And we said, ‘Yessir.’” Miss Angie paused here for effect.

“Well,” the donkey finder said, “the donkey’s up at the church.”

Miss Angie assured the gentleman, “Oh, he’ll come back home, he’s not lost!”

“Sure enough,” Miss Angie continued, “He came back home a few hours later, walked right up onto the porch and peered into the window to let us know he was back.”

Since then, I have learned the difference between mules and donkeys, miniature or otherwise. A donkey is a domesticated ass (equus asinus). A mule is a hybrid of a male donkey and a female mare. (Are you still with me?  This is the simplified version.)  America’s favorite online retailer has a commercial out, which first aired in the UK in November, featuring Asa (?) a miniature horse who is also a dwarf.  A charming video on Asa’s history can be found here. And finally, here is a video of Trevor and Tulip, real miniature donkeys.  Just so you don’t get confused.

Oh, the joy when worlds collide! Thing 1 has “family” in Arkansas before her parents ever move there!  At the end of the day, I requested (OK, demanded) that the women show me how to “call the hogs”.

Many people have asked  me,”How are you going to live in Arkansas?”, as if I am moving to the moon.  I respond, “Just like I have in every other place I have ever lived.”  The Natural State is just like another foreign country except they speak my language – with a twist.

WOOOOOOOO  Pig …..Sooooie!!!  WOOOOOOOO  Don-key Sooooooie!!!


Filed under Domesticity, Family, Friends, Life, Misunderstandings, Moving, People, Religion, Spanish vocabulary

Music from Big Pink



Happy Easter, Readers!

I heard this song last week at yoga and, at the time, thought it was the perfect Easter song.  I played it in my head all week long.  Listen here.  Then I researched the significance of the lyrics.  Read here.  Maybe not? Do we ever know what we are singing?

Whatever.  Those who know me will LAUGH at the confluence of cultures between The Band and the Expat Princess.  Who knew???  I will laugh even harder if, at some point, I am redirected to a pink house in Canada.  I am not ruling it out.

In the meantime, maybe I am the only one who finds this funny?

Regardless, The Weight has been lifted from us all today.  The Wait has ended.  Enjoy the day!

Love, laughter,  and blessings,

The Expat Princess



Filed under Folkart, Holidays, Life, People, Religion, Travel

The Mother’s Prayer


Yesterday Mr. Understanding and I joined Thing 1 for the family session at Migraine Boot Camp.  Three other families were in attendance – two other mothers and one sister.

At one point, the physician leading the session looked at me and said, “I can guarantee that at some point, you have said The Mother’s Prayer.”

“The Mother’s Prayer?  What’s that?” I asked.

“That’s when you say, ‘Lord, take this burden from my child and put it on me.'”

The other mothers and I all just looked at each other.  It was all I could do not to bawl.  The others blinked back tears as well.  Nailed.

“You would rather suffer than watch your child suffer.”


All I could think, yesterday on that Good Friday, was of Mary and the mother on the phone with those twentysomethings who were killed in Brussels.   My daughter’s been through hell but she was sitting in the same room as me, joyful at being together after a week’s separation.

In some – probably deeply buried – part of her brain, Mary knew there was a resurrection coming soon and with it the birth of real hope.   It was what her made her wait outside the tomb with the other women, spices in hand, ready to prepare the body just in case it was still there.

Herewith concludes Holy Saturday.




Filed under Life

Were You There?


Here is a video of the hymn Were You There? sung by  the BYU Combined Choir.  It is simply angelic; it is so beautiful it is truly almost otherworldly.   This African-American Spiritual was first published in 1899 in the songbook Old Plantation Hymns,  compiled by William Eleazer Barton.  It made its way first into the Episcopal Hymnal in 1940.   Have your hanky handy.

A more contemporary (1962) version is sung by Johnny Cash.

On this Good Friday, I imagine Mary weeping and kissing the bloody, dirty, swollen feet of her dead child as He still hangs on the cross.  I don’t think the Romans let her or the other women near while he was alive during the crucifixion .






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Filed under Life


Lent is  officially over, as of sundown.  I think I have miscounted but 40 days I have done.  It has been the most fruitful Lent ever.  And it was not just the blogging.

If you assume that Christ died when he was 33, tonight marks the 1, 983 anniversary of the Last Supper.  For awhile now, Jesus has been telling his disciples that the end is near; they are  clueless and not getting the message.   This is a despedida, a going way party, with only the host in the know.

Someone is serving the food at this meal but we don’t know who.  A Mary?  Martha?    Jesus himself serves Judas Iscariot, his betrayer, a morsel of bread dipped in oil knowing full well that Judas is about to rat him out.  This in an act with overtones of today’s communion.  Only a good friend feeds bread directly into your mouth.  It is also another farewell – as soon as Judas eats the bread, Satan enters him and that is that.  Judas’ heart is hardened forever and he gets up from the dinner table to hand over Jesus.

Later in the evening, they all go to the Garden of Gethsemane [Oil Press], where Jesus is beset by the depravity of the world and the knowledge of what is to come.  I am sure that the sins of the world today are not that much different than those of two thousand years ago.  More nuanced, perhaps, but essentially the same.  Can you imagine feeling the rage of j*h*d*sts? The perversion of sexual predators? The sorrow of grieving families, the lonely, the rejected?  All at once?

I leave you tonight with Jesus’ “new” commandment, “that you love one another.  Just a as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” [ John 13:34]

Let the whole world have ears to hear this message.

Herewith concludes Day 40.


Filed under Life