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Old 02-26-2005, 12:43 PM   #1
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Greetings to Everyone -- I Missed You!

To those of you who noticed I haven’t been around for quite a while, I wanted you to know you have all been missed by me and thought of so often. I have dreamt of Rainee’s barbeque, crewsk’s cheese straws, Goodweed’s pancakes, subfusc’s breads, middie’s smile, buckytom’s lightening repartee, mudbug’s dry humor and kitchenelf’s compassion a lot! And I have worried my socks off about Luvs! GB, you must surely be a proud father by now! And Marge? How are you?? MJ, seen any good jpgs lately…??? Wasabi, what's up? Michael, how's the neighborhood? Choclatechef...DS...PA Baker...I can go on and one forever here -- I have missed you all!

I left January 26 for Banda Aceh, Indonesia as part of an ICRC medical dispatch team and spent two grueling weeks there doing everything from treating illnesses and residual injuries, to building housing structures, to offloading tons of food and supplies from a myriad of helicopters. As innumerous teams poured into Banda Aceh especially, I was transferred to the Maldives, which was then suffering so much more than Indonesia in terms of response units, sanitation, and housing. It seems that all of us, from throughout the world, landed in Indonesia first, then spread out as needs were met and new ones identified. Work through this large region will continue for months and even years.

Quality healthcare is as common as fallen oak leaves in the Autumn throughout most of the area for some time now. And locals are taking strong use of this very new opportunity born from such a tragedy. Housing is such a rare commodity, though. Hundreds of construction teams work endlessly to build simple one-to-three-room shelters, which is where most able men whose families were left without income have turned to work. Yet so common, in the Maldives, is to find 10 to 15 people living in one tiny structure, deeply grateful to have a place to get away from the rains. Ironically the tourism industry, or at least the resorts themselves, have been remarkably restored. Lovely resorts boast beautiful landscapes and luxurious accommodations, but very, very few tourists. It is surreal to see those lovely places – that won’t allow anyone there unless they are a confirmed tourist – and then climb the hills where people live in squalor, grateful to be alive.

As I sit in my comfortable home with a broadband connection to you, the smell of fresh banana bread wafting up from the kitchen, and my sons (and 7 guests, I think…) thrilled to be enjoying, at last, their copy of Grand Tourismo 4 that they pre-ordered a year and a half ago…I see a sea of hollow-eyed, emotionally devastated children, and my heart is broken for them. Oh, the children. The youngest and the teenagers are coping admirably with the incredible losses they have suffered. But the full force of the tsunami’s devastation is clearly and ever-chronicled in the eyes of those little boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 12 years of age – those old enough to feel the complete loss, but too young to rationalize. Many teams of psychologists and mental health personnel are in place, especially in Indonesia, but I know in my heart that some scars can never heal. My prayers for them are constant.

You have probably heard about the political strife and some of the difficulties caused by territorial clans. That, albeit minor, is increasing. But among adults, the biggest and dramatically increasing danger is in domestic violence. Tensions are now so taught among men, probably due to their complete loss of control over their lives and the incredible daily difficulties in just living and providing for their families. Now, the vast majority of injuries in certain areas are in women and children who have been assaulted. Many have been the times that I have experienced true fear for my life there.

I am sorry for painting such a grim picture, but this has been my daily experience for weeks now. And my heart is very full and my life forever changed. But I also want to tell you of the wonders that I have seen.

First and foremost, never before in the history of mankind has there existed such an overwhelming outpouring of love and compassion and money as has occurred in this region of our world. Food is so plentiful, and coming in several times daily by the tons, that it is being distributed to absolutely anyone who wants it, not just identified tsunami victims, so that the food will not spoil. (They did stop the arrival of rice in Indonesia, since their own crop is coming in.) Children are receiving vaccines and care at unprecedented levels and, indeed, healthcare in general for the entire area is improved incomprehensively and is so easy to reach. Medical care there has long turned from being reactive to being proactive and educating the masses on prenatal care, hygiene and nutrition. And the people who have come from every point on the planet to offer aide is staggering. One of the most amazing feats, in my mind, has been the almost effortless coordination of so many different organizations – I truly expected chaos with the huge numbers of “foreigners” there to give aid, but that was never the case. All these different organizations have come together to work together and it is like being part of a beautiful symphony.

I arrived home just a few days ago and look forward with all that I am to spending some quality time in my kitchen! But first, I have an overwhelming need to spend every moment I can with my family, catching up on the last month away and savoring the simplicity, comfort and happiness of my own very precious family.

Hug yourselves, your children, your grandchildren, your neighbors and those wonderful folks behind the meat counters at the grocer, and know that we are all blessed beyond comprehension to live the lives we lead and have the luxury of this very website to expand our network of friends and share in our common joy of food.

I look forward more than you could possibly know to chatting again with all of you, so special to me, in the times to come.

And if any of you have a bona-fide, never-fail cure for jet-lag, PLEASE let me know!

Your pal,


Pain is inevitable. Suffering is Optional.
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:16 PM   #2
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Oh Audeo. My heart aches for all those people have gone through, and what you have seen. God bless you for being the kind, compassionate woman you are. The world is blessed to have you in it.

I am sitting here all choked up and my heart in knots after reading your eloquent summary of things. My daughter who is currently cleaning her pigpen of a room will thank you for my softened heart!

As to a sure fire cure for jet lag, yes I have one, a big snifter of brandy and SLEEP! Like 15 - 20 hours of it.

Hugs to you dear Audeo, I am very glad to see you home safe.

You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:58 PM   #3
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audeo i'm so glad to see you made it home okay.
i can not find the right words to say what an incredible
person you are for doing and seeing what you did.
go catch up on quality time with the family and we'll
see ya soon !!!
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Old 02-26-2005, 02:18 PM   #4
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Hi Audeo! Hugs!

I was wondering about you. You are incredible Audeo! I hope to see you around soon. I have some great jpegs to share. Great to see you back. :D
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Old 02-26-2005, 04:09 PM   #5
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welcome back audeo, we missed you. I am certain what you did is appreciated and will not be forgotten.
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Old 02-26-2005, 05:39 PM   #6
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Audeo, Thank you for being the person you are! You really are amazing! I am in awe of what you have done. You have a heart of pure gold. I got very choked up reading your message. I can not even begin to imagine what it must be like over there. Your words are elegant and descriptive as usual, but those of us who don't see what you saw in person will never truly know what you now know. This world is a much better place because you are here Audeo. I can not stress that enough!!!

I am so happy you are home safe and sound. Enjoy your family as I am sure you are already doing. I can't wait to chat more with you :)
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Old 02-26-2005, 07:47 PM   #7
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Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your trip. My heart goes out to each and everyone of the survivors and to all the wonderful people who have gone over and helped so many.

We are all so very glad you made it home safe and now you can sit back and enjoy your family.

I have missed you but I know what a hectic job you have and knew you would post when you had the time.

Please take care of yourself and get plenty of rest.
May I always be the person my dog thinks I am.

Walk towards the Sunshine and the Shadows will fall behind you!
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Old 02-26-2005, 07:59 PM   #8
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I'm so proud of you and the work you do. God will bless you ten fold for your caring and loving heart.

Hug all that are dear to you and get some rest. I am honored that you took precious time to say hello.

With Much Aloha, Wasabi
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Old 02-26-2005, 11:38 PM   #9
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I had a premonition that that is where you were.

No doubt you have gained much, and lost something as well.

Wellcome back.
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Old 02-27-2005, 12:34 AM   #10
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Be well - you cannot help others unless you are!


Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all. Oregon native transplanted to Chicago....
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Old 02-27-2005, 12:40 AM   #11
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Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I am touched.

"A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness"----Ella Schiaparelli
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Old 02-27-2005, 07:14 AM   #12
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I am sitting here with tears in my eyes, having just read your eloquent account of your mission. Thank God, there are people like you in this world who are willing to make such sacrifices for others in need.
God Bless You and I'm so happy that you are home.
I can resist anything, but temptation. Oscar Wilde
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Old 02-27-2005, 07:21 AM   #13
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Welcome back, sister.

I can only imagine how your perspective has changed over what constitutes a "problem."

If I was more awake I could properly thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

Know that you are most warmly enfolded back in the clan!
Kool Aid - Think before you drink.
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Old 02-27-2005, 06:06 PM   #14
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audeo, you are one of the most admirable people i've come across in my life.
it's so great to hear from you. i got your message, BTW.
i believe that life would not be complete sans comfy 'ol tee-shirts, the Golden Girls, and the color pink
& rock on, PITTSBURGH-
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Old 02-27-2005, 06:52 PM   #15
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Thank you for taking the time to share your recollections, insights and feelings. Since the tsunami I have spent so much time thinking about the children who died, and not nearly enough about those who survived.

Thanks for giving up your time and being an American over there for those of us who didn't go, and thanks for opening my eyes.

Wasabi Woman
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Old 03-01-2005, 09:30 AM   #16
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It is so good to know that you're home, safe and sound. I'd been anxiously waiting to see a post from you as it had been awhile. Thank you for taking a moment out of your whirlwind to remember us.

I truly cannot imagine how you must feel upon returning home. Rest, recover, enjoy caring for you and your family and remember that amidst the pain, loss, heartache and turmoil that you saw and experienced, your two hands and very large heart made an incredible difference.

I look forward to seeing you back here soon!
-A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand
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Old 03-01-2005, 09:34 AM   #17
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Welcome back!
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Old 03-01-2005, 10:55 AM   #18
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Audeo; While in the military, I participated in 2 West-Pac tours on 2 different aircraft carriers. While visiting places like the Phillipines, Hong Kong, Japan, and other places, even San Diego, Ca., I was amazed that there could be so many people living lives that were wasteful, taking more than their share, while on the next street, or in the next village, people were living in grass huts, picking at the land with wodden hand tools, trying to survive.

The one constant in every place was that there were truly honorable people in every culture, and there were those that would leave you half dead for a dollar.

I've seen a man living under newspaper, who was so malnourished that he was litteraly a stick figure. I don't know if he had enough muscle mass to move himself. High rise offices surounded him as wealthy tourists and natives passed him by without so much as a glance.

Whenever I start feeling sorry for myself, I think back to those haunting faces, and thank my Heavenly Father that I have been able to give my children a good life. We aren't rich by any means, but have never gone hungry, and have always had a roof over our heads.

As for you, young lady, you are one of the special people, one of those who do more than talk. Your actions carry the weight of a divine nature. You are truly a Child of God, as are we all. You are an example to me. Thank you.

Oh, by the way, my eldest daughter, Jessica, is getting married today :D . So I'm going to have to cut this short and prepare myself.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
“No amount of success outside the home can compensate for failure within the home…"

Check out my blog for the friendliest cooking instruction on the net. Go ahead. You know you want to.- https://gwnorthsfamilycookin.wordpress.com/
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Old 03-01-2005, 10:57 AM   #19
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WOW! Congratulations on gaining a son in law Goodweed! Have a wonderful time at the wedding.
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
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Old 03-01-2005, 11:49 AM   #20
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Congratulations, Goodweed. Your SIL-to-be is fortunate to be gaining you as a FIL!

-A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand
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