Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Things I See...


Talking with Jewel

on Christmas Eve!

For photos of our Christmas Eve and Morning,

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Paraguayan Christmas

A Paraguayan Christmas

In Paraguay at Christmas time
There's not a sign of snow.
Folks spend their Christmas holidays
With sweating faces all aglow! 

The scorching weather fits right in
With the happy Christmas mood,
Around the pool and barbecue,
There's  terere, too.

So don't feel bad for your Paraguayan friends.
We may not have the cold
But we have fireworks to spare
 and that, just never gets old!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS" ~ (International Versions)

 Venezuelan Version ~ By Jayde Vernoy

T'was the night before Christmas
And all through Caracas
Every house was buzzing
Everyone making hallacas

No stockings were hung
But there were presents under the tree
Pan de jamon in the oven
Children singing happily

Papa turned on the television
And Chavez began a speech
For this was the fastest way
To put the children to sleep

And later, 'round midnight,
Papa flipped off the remote
For a very odd sound
Had caused him to take note

He looked out the window,
And ran for his gun
For the man climbing over his glass-shard covered wall,
Was a big one

He was all dressed in red,
Carrying a big sack
He looked like a Chavista
And Papa didn't need that

He ran for his gun,
Scared half to death
This man looked like a ladron
But with white hair on his head

Ho Ho, se rio
As he climbed back over the newly painted gate
Papa stood and stared at the window
As the hour was late

Then this man disappeared
But his voice boomed out loud,
Merry Christmas to all,
and Feliz Navidad!

Paraguayan Version 
Written by Bob Boston

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the barrio

Not a person was calm, not even old Mario.

The stockings were hung by the kitchen with care,

In hopes that Papa Noel soon would be there.

The children were running around through the house,

Fireworks exploding, scaring even the mouse.

And Doña in her tank top, and I in my cap ,

Gave up on the idea of a long summers nap

When out on the cobblestone, there arose with a clatter,

I sprang from the hammock to see whats the matter.

Away to my rejas I flew like a flash,

With my windows open, smelly gunpowder made me gasp

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen dust

Gave the luster of grey to the objects at dusk.

When, what to my watering eyes should appear,

Through the dust, the gun smoke, and the sparklers veneer,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight exhausted reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.

More rapid than car window washers they came,

He whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

As fireworks lit with a candle they fly

when they met an obstacle, go to the sky.

So up to the flat top houses they flew,

the sleigh with few toys, as everyone knew

Cracking the tiles, I heard on my roof

the landing of rockets, and thrown sparklers too.

As I ducked flying objects, and was turning around,

down the kitchen extractor came St. Nick with a bound.

His eyes-how they twinkled! His nose red like a beet!

Fireworks and explosions, he´d braved to my street.

His droll little mouth was smiling at me,

At midnight, with a heat of one hundred and three.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a shout,

Having used up the fireworks, it was safe to go out.

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

“Feliz Navidad, and to all a good night”

Spanglish Version

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the casa,

Not a creature was stirring -- Caramba! Que pasa?

Los niños were tucked away in their camas,

Some in long underwear, some in pijamas,

While hanging the stockings with mucho cuidado

In hopes that old Santa would feel obligado

To bring all children, both buenos and malos,

A nice batch of dulces and other regalos.

Outside in the yard there arose such a grito

That I jumped to my feet like a fightened cabrito.

I ran to the window and looked out afuera,

And who in the world do you think that it era?

Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero

Came dashing along like a crazy bombero.

And pulling his sleigh instead of venados

Were eight little burros approaching volados.

I watched as they came and this quaint little hombre

Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:

"Ay Pancho, ay Pepe, ay Cuco, ay Beto,

Ay Chato, ay Chopo, Macuco, y Nieto!"

Then standing erect with his hands on his pecho

He flew to the top of our very own techo.

With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,

He struggled to squeeze down our old chiminea,

Then huffing and puffing at last in our sala,

With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala,

He filled all the stockings with lovely regalos --

For none of the niños had been very malos.

Then chuckling aloud, seeming very contento,

He turned like a flash and was gone like the viento.

And I heard him exclaim, and this is verdad,

Merry Christmas to all, and Feliz Navidad!

Jim and Nita Lee (Dec. 1972)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The things I see...

My tree.
This year Jayde and two of her friends did all the decorating as I was unable to help.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

As I recall

I just had my first hospital stay in the country of Paraguay. I was operated on at the Adventist Sanatorium and was happy with the care and attention I received.  I am going to share a few of the things I remember of my surgery and hospital stay.

The first surprise was that I was not fully under for the surgery as I had expected to be. I have a few memories of clarity during the procedure but most are a blur, except I DO remember the doctor showing me my uterus in a jar, something I had never expected to see!  My first thought was,"How did my son ever fit in there?"  and then I was wishing I had my camera in the OR so that I could take a picture of it and post it here on the blog! Luckily for you all, I did not have one with me!

When I was returned to my room, I kept badgering my husband about the fact that my legs were paralyzed. I  could not understand why this did not concern him as it did me!

I had a friendly nurse from an island off the coast of Argentina in Tierra del Fuego! Imagine how hot she was finding our high 90's weather!  I also met an Ecuadorean/ Canadian who is here serving a short term mission and working in the hospital.

A long time blog reader dropped in to visit with goodies in hand. Kathy comments here frequently and lives in Curacao. She brought me very good medicine in the form of Hersheys!

The food in the hospital was vegetarian. I didn't eat solids until the last day and so the food was mostly tasty. I still don't know what they served me for dinner though. It was orange mush, wrapped in a green rubbery substance, but you know me, I will eat anything! Upon arriving home, Friday at mid day, my husband served me chicken and rice and it was DELISH!

I recall being accompanied by a talking llama in the elevator as I was transported from the OR back to my room. I swear! He was on the elevator with me. I am still unsure as to how a llama came to have a British accent though...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Vernoy children, Christmas Eve, 2007 ~ Beaufort, SC

 A re-post, just for fun!
Don't mess with me and my chocolate!

My daughter, Jewel, takes on her brother and cousins in defense of her chocolate.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Update ~ I'm home!

I just got home and am doing very well. I appreciate the prayers  and support of you all so much. The procedures all went as expected and I am glad to say that I have had much less pain than I had anticipated, so far I have not required any narcotics. Still  tire easily and am weak.

Thanks for all the lovely comments they BRIGHTENED MY DAY!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


This picture was taken from the porch of the hotel we stayed in one night during our recent trip. It was a great spot to enjoy the morning and spend time in prayer and meditation. You can even see my coffee! It was very peaceful and refreshing.

I will be in the hospital for at least three days and do not know if my husband will be able to update here  but know that 'no news is good news'.

I covet your prayers in these upcoming days for myself and also for my husband.

I'll see you later!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sleepless in Asuncion

A question for the ladies...

I will be having  a hysterectomy and pelvic floor repair surgery tomorrow morning. (wondering if I should go with hardwood or ceramic???)I have received many emails from some of my regular readers telling me they have already had this surgery. I am wondering if you could share any information or tips with me as to how best to recover quickly and painlessly. Also, what pain medication were you given? How long did you need it? Did you have any unexpected symptoms or pain?

  Any information at all would be appreciated!

 A lot on my mind...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Surgery on Tuesday

This REBEL will be taking a PAUSE from the blog next week.... ENJOYING not USING...I think...

I will be having surgery on Tuesday. Not the best time for it, but that is how it happens some times. I will be in the hospital for 3 or 4 days and will be absent from the blog during that time. I am sure I will come back with interesting tales from my first Paraguayan  hospital experience!

My surgeon is Russian, and as I mentioned, we sort of understand each others Spanish. He says I am getting  every 'ectomy' possible!  Or , I think that is what he said...maybe it was a lobotomy? It would seem equally appropriate right now...

Please keep me in your prayers ~ and my husband too! This will be another Christmas for the family lore, like The Gallbladder Christmas of 2004.

And I'm off...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Just a quick observation:

This is such an interesting country to live in!

I am an American living here and yesterday I went to three doctor's offices. One is Canadian so we speak to each other in English. 

The next one was Russian, so we communicated with each other in highly accented Spanish... well, at least we knew what each other was trying to say!!! 

The third doctor was Korean, we spoke to one another in Spanish... anyway, I think it was Spanish...

 I was reminded of this post I wrote a few months ago.

Every country and culture has its own style and personality. I find that I mentally classify the different countries I have lived in by attaching a human face to that personality.

The United States of America

It's all about success and prosperity. Some folks love us while others detest us. We can be a bit ruthless as we strive for achievement, and yet, people keep coming, hoping to partake of our wealth. Even those who do not like us, often admire our tenacity. Some people find us to be arrogant because we know were are #1 and don't really care what people think of us, bad hair and all!

If the USA were a person, it would be Donald Trump.
Rich, driven, controlling and somehow entertaining at the same time.


I only lived in Mexico for a year but the thing that stood out the most to me was their love of family and food. Very comforting.

If Mexico were a person, it would be Paula Dean.

Warm, friendly and good cooks!


In Venezuela personal beauty is very important, especially among the women. It is said that Venezuelan women are born wearing high heels.  There is a great love for children but sometimes, the Venezuelans can be a tad bit arrogant, .like we Americans. They can be violent at times, but it is mostly just for show. We forgive them this because they really are beautiful people for the most part.

If Venezuela were a person, it would be Angelina Jolie!
Beautiful, but can be over the top sometimes!


What can I say? Paraguayans are so friendly and yet, you just never quite know what to expect in this country. Something new and strange seems to be lurking around each corner. Whatever it turns out to be will be interesting and never boring! Its all good!

If Paraguay were a person, it would be the character

Willy Wonka!


I never lived in Canad but   its seems to be nearly invisible to us although it is our next door neighbor. We often forget about Canada but do enjoy knowing it is so nearby when needed. You know it is there and in a pinch will help you out, but for some reason Canada never is in the spotlight.

If Canada were a person, it would be the character
Wilson of 
the TV show "Home Improvement'.
Our hidden neighbor next door!

Where do you live?
What person would describe your region?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Things I see...

This was the bathroom in our hotel room on our trip.

Something is missing!

Where could it be???

OH! There it is!
 In the shower, of course!

If you have never traveled to Europe or South America,
I'll just let you wonder about the strange looking apparatus visible in the toilet bowl.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Jesuit Mission Ruins in Paraguay

Here are a few photos I took of our visit at LaTrinidad, a ruin of the once magnificent Jesuit mission. This mission is one of over 30 which were peopled by the Guarani indians under the supervision and education of the Jesuit priests. The level of civilization they acquired in a matter of decades makes one contemplate what they might have accomplished had the Spanish Crown allowed them to continue in their path of progress rather than expel the priests which led to the decline and abandonment of the cities due to the raids of the Brazilians and Spaniards looking for treasure and slaves. These abuses led the Guarani to return to their nomadic lifestyle and return to a primitive life in the jungle.

The church at La Trinidad

Some of the beautiful stone work

When I look at the tool marks left on the stone by the Guarani  man who shaped it,
I feel a great  sense of pride at what these indians managed to accomplish here
 and sadness that they were not allowed to contiue to do so.

The Bell Tower

Looking down  from the Bell Tower towards the remains
 of one of the indian housing complexes and the church yard.

Over 5000 Guarani lived and worked here at The Trinidad with several thousand more spread out caring for the cattle and crops. At Trinidad they also manufactured  iron weapons on their own.

Internet Woes

I am experiencing internet problems and have not been able to upload the pictures for you as of yet. I can only connect for short spurts and can not get a long post to publish.  

But I am still here! Don't leave me!

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Home at last! 

We spent yesterday walking all over the Jesuit ruins of Trinidad and Jesus de Tavarangue. Absolutely  amazing. 

Photos to come.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

On the road again

 We will be driving all day. We are packing up the car to leave Uruguay, drive across Argentina, and on into Paraguay. We hope to be able to stop and visit some of the Jesuit Mission ruins along the way.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Our dinner

This is chivito, a Uruguayan dish. 
 French fries, covered with steak, ham and eggs.
Can't go wrong with that!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The things I see...

 A tour of Salto, Uruguay on a motorcycle.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Quick Note

We are on the road headed to Uruguay. We spent the night along the banks of the Parana River in a town called Encarnacion . Being fans of the  Nacho Libre movie, this name, ENCARNACION, makes us all break out in song. My husband wants to go to the WEELDERNESS. I am looking for the  LORDS CHEEEPS and Jayde is hoping her dad does not appear in STETCHY PANTS. 

We are getting ready to make an early morning crossing over into Argentina, pray all goes well and we arrive in Uruguay safe and sound.

Did you know that to drive through Argentina one must have a white sheet in their trunk?  Just in case you come across a corpse and need to cover it. If you do not have one, you will get ticketed.

We almost needed to use our sheet yesterday. It involved a stolen vehicle, a high speed chase. a near collision,  and an armed confrontation at an intersection.  All this and we were still in Asuncion!  Always exciting to travel through Latin America. We were very close observers but we are fine!

Pray for us today as we travel and that we will  have an early arrival in Uruguay.

Friday, November 27, 2009

More Beauty Shop Talk

So I went to the beauty shop to get a trim this morning. I was met with squeals of glee by all the girls  as they ran up to me with a newspaper in hand.

"You're in the paper!"  

"And we do your hair here!"
" Aren't you glad we changed your hair? And gave you high lights?"

"I'm in the paper?"

"Oh yes, Señora! And with the American Ambassador!"

And so I was. 
Then they began to tell me how I would be wearing my hair for the holiday season, just in case I come out in any more papers.

So now I know... my hair belongs to the ladies at my beauty shop.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Poor Baby

Jewel made this Thanksgiving dinner in her dorm last night. A few kids did not get to go home for the holidays, mostly the MK's. (missionary kids) They got together and ate  Raman noodles, deli sandwiches, and Honey Buns last night.

  I am SOOOOOO thankful that today  he Spanish Sunday School teacher's family has invited her over for a family meal... still, my poor baby!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Things I see...

 What would you say if you sent your husband to the store,

And he came home with two Bimbos in his arms??

No worries! Bimbo is a brand of breads here. These are  Panetones/Pan Dulce with Chocolate Chips.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Talking Turkey

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! I like the fact that it is about being with friends and family and being thankful without the pressures of Christmas to purchase gifts and fill an entire season with activities in order to celebrate it. It is a simple holiday. I am a simple person. Thanksgiving and I go well together!

Having lived the ex pat life for a long time now, I recall years where getting a turkey for our Thanksgiving meal was not always an easy thing to accomplish. These days, turkeys are much easier to come by in South America than they used to be.

I remember, many, many, years ago, in Mexico, my soon to be brother in law and his sister managed to get us a turkey from the village where she taught school. We filled our home with his family for our dinner. I was a little upset to see them add chili peppers to my dressing!

In Venezuela we managed to find turkeys in the city, but in the jungle, it was not always so. IF a plane came through on the right day, the missionary pilots might be able to bring us one. Or perhaps an indian would run across a wild turkey while hunting, but if not, we would just be happy to have any meat on our Thanksgiving table. I remember  some years  we ate tapir, which is much like beef. We had deer, which seemed appropriate as I recall that Squanto and his friends brought deer to the Pilgrim's thanksgiving feast. We have eaten fish, chickens, even capybera. The important thing was to be together.

This year we are celebrating a little differently. Tomorrow we are invited to a traditional thanksgiving dinner to be held for the Embassy staff, the board of directors for the Centro Cultural Paraguayo-Americano, the Chamber of Commerce, and a group of Paraguayan professionals who have graduated from American colleges. I am sure it will be fun and entertaining. I love meeting new people and hearing their life stories.

But the real fun for us is that we will be traveling to Uruguay to visit friends for the holiday. They were also missionaries in Venezuela and we have not seen each other for a few years now. We will be driving our own car and since there are no turkeys available in their town, we are taking the turkey with us. Hopefully, we will get it through customs as we are traveling through Merco~Sur countries.

I went out to buy the turkeys last week end and found two small ones which will fit in the cooler for the two day road trip. We will take them frozen and packed in ice which we will replenish along the way. These two turkeys are well traveled having already come to Paraguay from Peru and their journey is not over as now we take them to Uruguay, via Argentina.

 Americans will do a almost anything to ensure a turkey for the thanksgiving table!

How about you? Have you had troubles finding turkeys for your Thanksgiving, now, or in the past?  Have you an interesting tale about  celebrating Thanksgiving over seas or even at home in the USA?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Talent Shows ~ Jungle Style

We've got talent!

Written by my oldest daughter, Jackie of Keepin' Sane with Littles

Missionary familes have a lot of talent. If you've ever been at a missions conference before you know what I'm talking about. Mr. Missionary stands up and introduces his large family. They are imaculatly dressed and perfectly behaved. Mr. Missionary calls Mrs. Missionary and all the Little Missionaries up to the platform where they sing a song. Oh, but they dont just sing a song because every single one of their children (all eleven of them) can play a different instrument, and play it well. They sing with harmony, and then, after the song, because it wasn't cute enough, the Youngest Missionary (about six months old or so) recites Psalm 23. Most missionary families are like that, great voices, and amazing music abilities.

Then there was the Vernoy family. We all have decent voices....sometimes. Depends on what mood we're in I guess. As for playing instruments? Dream on. We were too busy reading books to learn an instrument, plus we lived in the Amazon and there's a shortage of piano teachers out there. Not to mention pianos.

So, in many missions conferences we sat and watched yet another amazingly talented Super Missionary family sing lovely songs in multiple languages. Then it was our turn to do something. But what?

It's not that we didn't have talent! Oh, we have talent. We even held talent shows in the jungle...the Indians loved them! They were usually held on weekends, when our house was especially full. They would start crowding in, thumbing through our old National Geographic magazines, and then some brave soul would ask my sister, Jewel, if she could do a one handed cartwheel. Always eager to please, Jewel begin to tumble about the living room which would bring on a chorus of "ooh's" and "aahs." Not to be outdone, Jayde would impersonate Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, or do the split on the cement floor. The split was always a great big hit. Indians are strong, and muscular, but not flexible AT ALL. Flexibilty is something everyone in my family is blessed with, and the Indians were always impressed. I would sit with my legs crossed "indian style" and then walk on my knees, or put lay flat on the floor, face down, with my legs behind my head. This made quite an impression. The talent show was only getting started! When my mom's turn came she would raise one eyebrow, or while standing with one foot pointed forward, twist the other foot completly back. I share that talent as well, but would let her preform it since I already had so many others. :-) Joshua always added a colorful piece to the show with his accurate impersanation of the village witch doctor, which always brought lots of laughs. My Dad was the biggest hit when he would stand in a doorway, his back towards the barefoot audience, and hug himself with his arms. They thought that was hilarous!

We would continue with our antics, my hog calls, Jewel shimming up the center pole of the house, Jayde throwing her legs over her arms and walking on her hands (it's really hard to explain,you have to see it) Yes, our talent shows were very cool. The coolest thing going on in that village anway.

As "cool" as we thought we were, we just didn't think churches would appreciate our kind of talent during their conferences. I can picture it now. The pastor gets behind the pulpit, "Why, thank you Super Missionary Family for that lovely rendition of Amazing Grace in five langues,with twelve different instruments. Truly a blessing. And now, our next family, the Vernoys, will be doing their hog calls, and their youngest will finish off by swinging from the rafters while singing 'Crazy' in her Patsy Cline voice."

Hmm...doens't seem very likely. What usually happened was my dad would stand up, introduce and say, "We just dont' sing...but we have some stories we could tell you!" Or, as one missionary friend put it, "I would sing a special for you, but it would probably be more special if I didn't!"

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pictorial Essay ~ My Autobiography ~ In the Jungle

I am re posting this for new readers as I have had several emails asking about my life.

 Part Three;
Home life in the jungle.

Cutting a jungle trail.
Josh, Yekwanaman with Jayde on back, Indian Daughter Woodi, Jackie, and Jewel

Making camp
Notice blue portacrib!

Jackie leads the Way!
Followed by Josh, Jungle Mom, Jewel and Woodi.

A family meal on the trail.

A road trip through Pemon territory.

Beginning to build The Jungle Hut

Putting on the palm roof.

Jungle Mom and Baby Jayde are happy to be behind screens!

While doing all laundry by hand in the river,
we learned why indian babies don't wear much clothing!

Washing hammocks is hard work!!!
Jungle Mom with Woodi.

A very happy day for Jungle Mom!!!!

My clothes lines worked great...except for during rainy season,
which lasts 6 months out of the year!

Our jungle closet. Less is best!

The famous water bed!
Frame is for mosquito netting.

Josh moves into the loft to get away from sisters!!

Life is good!

Part Four:
Serving the Tribe

Providing Aviation Support.
Hangar in Ciudad Bolivar.

Transporting indian patients.

Yekwanaman learning the language
and culture from the chief.

Jungle Mom visiting with the ladies
to learn the language.

Entertaining guests in The Jungle Hut.
( The animal is a baby wild pig.)

Teaching the Word.

Yekwanaman and Victor,
Translating the Bible into the Ye'kwana language.

Providing Emergency Medical Care.

Delivering babies and providing vaccinations.

Building Dispensaries.

Fighting malaria through fumigation,
blood testing and medicines.

Jungle Mom teaching hygiene class.

Teaching literacy.
Children learn to read both Ye'kwana and Spanish.

Build schools and train teachers.
Education provides protection from abuse!

Help provide food for hungry children.

Provide and repair Short Wave radios
for communication.

And the church goes forth!

to be continued..