I am mostly a positive person. I do like to share the good stuff.

Don’t want to be that person who is surrounded by a little black cloud. No one wants to be Pig-Pen.

There are people out there who no one wants to see coming. Ever.

But if I have a concern or thought I do pass it along. Always.  Because I can’t help myself. I’m fifty one years old. If I’m thinking it then it’s going to spew out at some point.

This is how I operate.

If I send the head of school a note about a security concern I might have I will then follow it up (not the next day) with a commendation on a recent talk or event. Or praise for somethings that’s fixed.

I think about things like this.

There are a few folks that only hear about problems.

My landlord being one.

I totally understand that is a landlord’s domain. Problems to be fixed.

I only send her a text when there is a leak, the lift (elevator) is not working or some other issue in the home.

So, I sent her a message the other day.

“Hi! Hope all is well. All good here!”

Fingers crossed that I wasn’t jinxing myself.

She happily responded, “Great to hear!”

All was good with her because she was in Marbella with no heat, humidity or haze. And I wasn’t.

But she was really so happy to get a text from me just saying all was well.

My thought is that we should really think about our communications. All of them.




Looking Ahead

When I first arrived in Malaysia I wasn’t able to drive right away. My husband’s company required that a safety course be completed before getting behind the wheel.

It was an all day class. About the dos and don’ts. The rules.


Some interactive sessions.

Driving with an instructor.

The finale was a long video with horrible, horrible accident scenes. Set to weird music.

Lady with baby in pram walking across road. Boom! Car hits them. 

Truck filled with logs that become untethered. Causing chaos all over the road.

One gory image after another. Seemed to go on forever.

A woman I know said she attended the course and decided that there was no way she was going to drive after seeing all of that.

Horrible video aside, I learned a couple of things that day.

One was about the position of hands on the wheel to avoid broken arms in a collision.

The other thing was that it is really important to look ahead while on the road. Not just what’s in front of you.

We tend to keep an eye on the car directly in front of us. Checking the brake lights so we don’t slam into it if the car suddenly stops.

But we sometimes forget to look ahead.

I am now very conscious of this.

Also thinking that this could apply to life.

We look at each day. Each situation. And that’s good. Live each day to the fullest and all that.

But we also need to look ahead. Plan ahead.

Not just at the lights directly in front of us.


God is Good

I’ve been known to shout out, “God is good!” on occasion. I suppose a throwback to my teaching religious education to middle and high schoolers.

It might be when I am in the midst of a perfect day, riding a bike with no hands on the wheel and just soaking up the beauty of it all.

People I am with, well trained, might reply back, “All the time!”

What I should be proclaiming is, “God is good to us!”

Not saying I’m not a believer. And I’m not saying God isn’t good.

I’m just wondering about all those who suffer.

Every single day. The abused kids. The ailing. The people in war torn regions. The hungry.

Not worried about offending God. If He’s all that then He can handle my wondering.


So funny that my last posting was about some items being unintentionally donated.

I received an email from a gal at the school office Tuesday afternoon.

“Mary, I think there might be two or three vacuum attachments in one of the bags I left for you today. I just sold the vacuum. Could you please check?”

Sure enough, there they were. Got them back to her the next morning so the attachments and vacuum could be reunited.

Made me remember another vacuum story.

Last year, on a Friday evening, I was having a glass of wine at my neighbor’s house on her front patio.

Along comes another neighbor to visit. Probably had a glass or two of something before he arrived but certainly did not seem impaired in any way.

His wife had already left the  country with their children. He was staying in the nearly empty house while finishing up his last days of work in Malaysia.

We chatted about this and that. What we would be doing on the weekend. I mentioned that we were having a huge garage sale with the proceeds benefitting the refugee center.

He asked if I’d like a vacuum cleaner. Said it was a good one and he’d like to donate it. I told him that would be fabulous and he was welcome to leave it on my patio before 6:30am the next day.

I bid them both a good night and went home to get a decent sleep.

When I woke up the next morning the vacuum was by the front door. So very nice and generous of him.

It was one of the first things to sell that day. Yay!

Couple of days later this guy sends out a message to a group of neighbors. Something like, “This might sound like a weird question. But does anyone know where my vacuum is?”



Many generous people in our community drop off donated items at my home. Don’t even always know who is doing the dropping. Could be clothes, household decor, toys or linens.

They do this because it helps them clear out their homes. And they also want to help others in the process.

My friends and I will send the donations to the refugee center. Or we will sell the items at our frequent garage sales with the proceeds supporting the refugee center and its programs.

It’s not always junk. Just things people no longer need or want.

Sometimes I receive things and I’m not even sure what they are.

There was the time my friend and I put aside a “camera lens” to see if her friend’s son would be interested in buying it. He was a photography buff.

We handled the lens more than once. I said to her, “It just seems so light.”

She agreed.

I think it was my daughter who finally set us straight. It wasn’t a lens but a coffee cup designed to look like a camera lens. LOL. You can google images.

I’ve had a few chuckles sifting through the boxes over the years. Like the time my friend, Lone, sent over some bags. She was donating a beach towel of mine!

My other friend received bags from two different families and found two shirts of her son’s and one of hers.

We’ve gotten valuable gold jewelry donated by mistake.

The sorting of it all can be overwhelming at times but it’s needed. Definitely needed.

One time I found a hand-written note. The donations were from a friend who was helping out a lady clear out her late husband’s belongings. I can’t remember if it was an expression of gratitude or what but I was glad I could return the note.

Or the photograph of my Australian friend and her daughter, who was a toddler at the time, taken when they lived in India.

Yesterday, a friend dropped off a bunch of bags in preparation for her move back to the U.S.

I sent her a text thanking her.

I also had to add, “And thanks for your son’s wallet loaded with Malaysian money as well as U.S. bills!”

You never know what you will discover.

This is where I veer off topic a bit.

I would later find out that while I came across this wallet my daughter had lost hers at school.

Called me from school to let me know. Was upset. The wallet had been our Christmas gift to her. So that bothered her but it was more about the contents. Which included her grandfather’s funeral card, a note from her Dad and photos of her loved ones.

We are pretty sure it’s been located so that’s good news. Waiting for confirmation.

But isn’t it strange that I found a wallet and my daughter lost hers at the very same time?


Back to topic.

If you are donating items don’t forget to check those pockets. The pages. The bags. The everything.

Off topic.

If you do lose something-even if you aren’t Catholic-a prayer to St. Anthony won’t kill you.

When my daughter called to tell me about the wallet I said, “Say the prayer.”

She replied, “I will.”

I asked, “Do you know it? Say it out loud to me now.”

She said, “St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come down. Something has been lost and must be found.”

I then let her off the hook. The telephone that is.

Hope you all find everything you are looking for this week!





Away From Home

This weekend I was at the mall shopping for a prom dress.

Not for me. I am fifty one years old. Been a long time since I had a need for shopping OR a prom dress. The last prom I attended was in a dress borrowed from my friend Linda McCoart. 1980s.

Received a call from a friend. Asking if I had heard of a couple-parents from our school-having an accident in a popular tourist area outside of Kuala Lumpur.

My heart dropped but I said that I hadn’t heard a thing.

She said, “It was a couple from Pakistan and I saw you (and your husband) talking to them at the International Fest at school.”

Everyone knows my memory stinks. And everyone knows I talk to everybody.

I said, “I don’t remember.”

She said, “They both work at your husband’s company.”

Oh gosh.

She told me the name of the woman. It didn’t ring any bells. I asked if she knew the name of the husband. She didn’t.

Because she really didn’t know this couple. But she is also Pakistani.

I went home and checked the directory at the school by putting in the woman’s first name. Then when I found her surname I typed that in and got all people with that last name.

And it was someone I knew. The guy had taken over my husband’s team when my husband left for a new position in India.

I remembered the last time I was with him-partying at a rooftop bar overlooking the city.

I texted a friend who works at my husband’s company asking if anyone in the office had an accident.

He confirmed what/who I thought. It’s a small community.

I told him how I came upon the information.

He said that the Pakistani network is very strong. When he went to help the wife Friday night the global Pakistani network was in full force on her phone.

He also said,”I guess like many of the national groups.”

I called my friend. She didn’t answer.

She called back in a bit. Said she was on the phone with the wife. And was going to the hospital that evening to be with her.

This is what happened.

Family goes away for the weekend. Dad, Mom and two little ones. They stop at a waterfall on the way to the tea plantations. Dad slips and falls, quite a drop, and takes blow to the head. Thought he was dead. Locals rescue him from drowning. Although the fall into the water probably saved him from death. Wife takes husband to hospital a half hour away.

He has a head injury, broken ribs and arm. From what I am told he should be okay and is now recovering in a hospital here in Kuala Lumpur.

Thank God he will recover.

I was amazed (not really) at the response of a community looking out for their own.

Honestly. It is really hard when these things occur.

When you are in your hometown family and friends will flock to your (or your family’s) side.

When you are hundreds of miles away who do you have?

You have your community.

I know if something happened to me I would have the support of my friends who hail from Canada, Scotland, England, Ireland, Denmark, Trinidad, Lebanon, New Zealand, Australia etc.

But I also know that my American friends would be pushing, rallying and rapping at the door. And Americans who I might not even know.

That is what makes living away from home just a little bit easier.


I finished reading a book yesterday. Titled “Life Sentences” and written by Laura Lippman back in 2009. Was surprised that I hadn’t already read it because I usually like her books.

And I liked this one. An easy read with a bit of suspense.

It was prompted by an actual case.

A case that sort of blows my mind.

Little Maurice was born in 1986. Thirty years ago. His single mother was abusive and he was hospitalized twice with broken bones before he was four months old. Yes, by the time he was four months old.

Not that any abuse is ever going to be okay. But a little, teeny, tiny baby?

Even when he was in a full body cast there was still abuse.

Good God!

Anyway, after the second hospitalization Maurice was taken from his mother.

Then returned to her seven months later. 

So many things wrong with this story I really don’t know where to begin.

Department of Social Services in Baltimore was supposed to keep track of him but doesn’t.

When they finally check on him (after seven months) they don’t find him.

Little Maurice is gone. Just gone.

Mother cannot produce the child who is now eighteen months old.

Half a year passes before Social Services report his disappearance to the police.

The mother insists that he is with relatives. Said she is afraid that he would be put back into “the system.”

No body is found. No evidence that there was an actual crime committed.

But a child is missing and the mother never produces the child. Or anything else to prove that he is alive and well.

What to do? What to do?

The courts try to force her to tell his whereabouts. She refuses the court’s order to speak. Pleads the Fifth. Judge charges her with contempt of court and she’s thrown into prison. With everyone hoping she will change her mind.

Never did.

Basically the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (a part of the Bill of Rights) protects a person from answering questions that would incriminate themselves.

This ends up going to the Supreme Court. Does protecting a mother’s (person’s) right not to incriminate herself supersede a child’s right to be protected?

A big win for a child’s right to be be protected.

The mother spends seven years in prison. Never revealing her child’s whereabouts. She has been released and still maintains that her son is alive and well.

Little Maurice would be thirty years old this year.

Fear of him thrown into “the system” should no longer be a concern. Would not be any repercussions if he appeared now.

She served seven years in prison.

Little Maurice has never reappeared.

So many things wrong with this story I really don’t know where to end.







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