Ruby Ramblings

Ruby Rambles in Nepal
February 25, 2019, 1:26 am
Filed under: Nepal, Non Profit, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

In 2007, I lived in Bhaktapur, Nepal just south of Kathmandu. I was learning, teaching, almost getting married, and transforming myself yet again.  I wrote a few of the songs off Fieldnotes From a Caravan, including Appalachia to the Himalayas.


In 2011, I spent a month backpacking in Mongolia, and met a woman named Meredith who runs Fire Projects out of Flagstaff.

They do a lot of medical work with HepA prevention, cataract/glaucoma surgeries (lack of vitamin A in both countries leads to early, but treatable blindness) and rebuilding in Nepal since the 2015 earthquake. I’ve been trying to get the funds together for a few years to join them. This year for my 40th Bday seemed like the right time to make it happen.

Here’s a video outlying what we’ll continue to be working on.


Of course, the trip is quite expensive. There is a Dana (Buddhist practice of cultivating generosity) donation to FIRE to cover the medical, building and food supplies we’re bringing to the villages, as well as to cover our three weeks of lodging, jeep/bus transportation, food, and paying local porters. I have my plane fare ($1200) saved, but am asking for help with the donation to FIRE ($1800).

Rather than use a crowd-funding source, which takes 4-9% of your donation, I made a “family and friends” Paypal link where nothing will be taken out in fees. PayPal link for Shanna’s Nepal trip.

I’m back at my 2nd job and selling books and clothes that don’t fit anymore like crazy, but I’m still going to need a little boost to pull this off! A small donation from lots of folks goes a long way.

Here’s more information about the volunteer project, maybe you want to go too! FIRE Volunteer

Nepal Fund

$525 of $1800 raised so far.

Hurry Up and Wait
October 10, 2014, 3:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I am still a little confounded how easy it is to get on a plane and wake up in Beijing. And how familiar it is at this point. The smell. The noise. The air.

I was all excited about taking a picture outside of our hostel courtyard of what I thought was a very huge moon. The young lady at the hostel pointed out that it was the sun. The pollution here is so thick, you can stare directly at the sun for an extended period of time. I was asked if she was sure,and she said, “yes, yes, is sun. Moon is not so red.” There you go.

So far I can’t log into my e-mail,and of course, facebook is banned. I know there are work arounds, but that’s not what I plan on spending my day doing. Pablo and I took a long jaunt around the city today, and get on a 28 hour train north the day after tomorrow.

Attempting to upoad some pics, but I’m not counting on this being successful. Yep, no way. The internet at this hostel may as well be brought to us on the back of the monolithic tortoises at the confusion temple.

April 26, 2014, 4:26 pm
Filed under: Books, Dewey's Read-a-thon, Travel, Uncategorized

Colin Thubron is a classic choice for the first book in a travel inspired read-a-thon.  This one is short, and the only fiction I’ve ever seen by him. It makes sense though, all those characters he’s met and observed in his life that can’t be written about in the journalistic non-fiction format in the way they can be characterized in fiction.  To The Last City is the tale of a small group of people journeying to less-visited Incan ruins.  A Belgian and his French wife  who is half his age, an older British couple whose resentment of each other fills the air, a mis-guided and confused aspiring priest, and the doubtful guide whose job it is to keep all these folks safe and happy.


Last City

This is a really good book, but here is  quote that really stuck out so far:

” The Englishman lay in his sleeping bag listening to the quick, regular breathing of his wife. 

In the faint light, he could see she had placed her boots between them, with her anorak and a water bottle. “


And finally getting around, four hours late, to the introductory questions:


1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Portland, ME, USA
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Red Dust, I think. Maybe Grass Roof, Tin Roof.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?  I’m not nearly that prepared.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! A lapsed traveler, due mostly to my drive to be a musician which keeps me tied to where I’m playing, recording, and also perpetually broke.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?  I was so excited to realize I didn’t have a gig booked on a Saturday night so that I could participate! Although I do have to go to the studio, and also to work at some point during the 24 hours. 


Pages read: 66

Page in current book: 67


Hour six update: Book finished, 168 pages read.  Heading out to get some Indian food….


December 9, 2009, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Kathryn over at Lessons from the Monk I Married was kind enough to think of me for two blog awards she received and is passing on:

In turn I’d like to pass this one on to Susan Young Photo, a wonderful collection of photography and snipets of music, food, and culture.

This one I would like to give to my online turned real-life friend Susan at Naked Without Books. A witty chronicle of what she reads, and the endless pursuit for English books by an expat living in Korea.

This also made me realize that I need to branch out and start finding more well-written inspiring blogs that I can pass awards onto. I seem to have become stagnant lately.

The Life You Can Save
October 25, 2009, 8:37 am
Filed under: Books, Dewey's Read-a-thon, Uncategorized

The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty by Peter Singer

One charity I found particularly inspiring in this book is the Worldwide Fistula Fund, an organization that helps women who are injured through childbirth or violence in a way that is treatable, but often ignored.

Please, please, please watch this video. It is amazing.

Pages read in current book: 102
Total pages read: 603
Please consider donating the charity I’m sponsoring: Child Upliftment Center

August Reads
August 30, 2009, 4:42 pm
Filed under: Books, Uncategorized

19th Wife The 19th Wife by David Ebershoffl

NPR Interview with David Ebershoff

Sugar Queen The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

This was a great surprise. Addison is an author from North Carolina, and the book shows it with the imagery and dialogue. I’ve read a couple of North Carolina authors and really enjoy the vibe. This book chronicles the breakthrough of a late-twenty something late-bloomer who is trying to get out from under her mother’s control. She hides food in her closet as her form of rebellion, and one day she finds a local woman hiding from her new boyfriend in her closet . This woman ends up changing her life and helping her find her own strength.

Last WishThe Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski A really pleasant surprise. A coworker leant it to me with high recommendations. Judging by the cover, I wasn’t so sure, but I was sucked into a two day read-a-thon getting through the adventures of The Witcher and his ethical delimmas as a monster hitman.

AquariumsThe Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulagby Chun-Won Kang

Sea of MonstersThe Sea of Monsters
Book 2 in the Percy Jackson series.

Teaser Tuesday Meme
August 26, 2009, 3:06 am
Filed under: Books, Uncategorized

teasertuesdays31 Give us a two sentence teaser from your current read.


The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag by Kang Chol-Hwan

“The feeling of being isolated in the very place where I lived, to the point of not knowing who else was there or even where the camp was located, seemed particularly inhumane. It wasn’t just a way of keeping me in the dark about where I was, it was a means of attaching my identity.” Pg. 78

Hosted Should Be Reading.

Computer Hacks
July 8, 2009, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Story on NPR regarding a computer hack that happened simultaneously to the US and South Korea.  Effected major government agencies and began on the 4th of July. Believed to be done by either the North Korean government, or supporters of them.

Ohio River Fungus
May 23, 2009, 3:49 am
Filed under: South Korea Quarantine, Uncategorized

Just to alieve everyone’s stress, as well as ours, here is another medical update from our saga.

A friend of mine e-mailed me from Nashville saying that she has some spots show up on an x-ray. The first thing the doc asked her was if she had ever lived in the Ohio River Valley, which is where J. was born, raised, went to college, and hiked around many caves and mountains in. Apparently there is a fungus that is really common there that is harmless, but does show up as spots on the lungs in x-rays and such.

Here is a brief quote I pulled off the web:

The bases of the lungs are the bottom parts of the lungs. Incidental nodules are very common when CTs are done. Usually, these represent old scars from an asymptomatic infection with Histoplasmosis, a fungus that lives in the soil in the Ohio River Valley. Rarely, they can represent other things, including early lung cancer. Further evaluation of these nodules is based on recommendations that consider each person’s risk of cancer, including the size of the nodule, smoking history, etc. You should discuss this with your doctor.

So it is probably no big deal.

The good thing is that since I’m not allowed to leave, I sent Jim out for coffee and food. he he.

I’m going to do some reading, and avoid going to the sick room until they come and find me.

Update: They (the Korean government, not our school) has now quarantined all of the teachers that were in the training. They have posted guards and we are not allowed to leave the fourth floor of the hotel. They aren’t letting anyone in to see us either. Hence our problem – no one has any food! Luckily J. was able to sneak out and do a Burger King run since it was fast and comes “to go.” No one is going crazy yet, but we’re planning to combine our stocks of snacks and alcohol and have a swine flu party.

Update: There are news crews here and we have been told not to tell them anything, or to mention {our school}. I guess they don’t want parents pulling all their kids out of those schools if it gets around. No one here is even really sick. It’s all just an overreaction to one girl who has flu-like symptoms which could just be a normal flu, or a really bad cold!

Thursday Thirteen
March 26, 2009, 12:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I can’t believe it’s Thursday again already.

Things Jim has said to me, that if I didn’t know he was joking, would be grounds for a break-up. He’s a funny one.

1. When I commented that my ass was starting to resemble a shelf, “That’s great! You need someplace to put all these damn books.”

2. Don’t tell me what to do Devil Woman.

3. When the bad cat rips the toilet paper roll to shreds, “He’s yours devil woman.”

4. I like my new status as devil woman. I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “Be the kind of woman that when you get up in the morning, the devil thinks, ‘Oh shit, she’s up.'” 5. Which is usually what Jim thinks when I get up because I get up a lot earlier than him and can only wait so long before I start poking him and demanding that we do something productive with the day.

6. Maybe there aren’t 13 things on this list, especially since Jim is a physical humor kind of guy. 7. The devil cats woke me up at 6 this morning, so I’m obsessing.

8. We just did a survey job together in Northern Kentucky. At alternating times we both wanted to quit, especially while working in the rain, but luckily not at the same time, or we might have just driven off in the truck, thinking that it would be our last CRM job anyway. 9. This may not be true now that the dollar has tanked so bad, or initial offer in S. Korea is worth half of what we thought it would be. 10. Even though I’ve taught English in two different Asian countries, and Jim’s never taught or been out of the US, he was offered a higher rate of pay then me. I told him he just always has to pay for dinner. 11. Since we heard from a couple people that they often base your pay on how attractive they find you, Jim said he must be $200 a month more attractive than me. 12. Which is really funny because Jim is really insecure about his appearance, even though I think he’s adorable. Which brings me to ….

13. “Jim, do you know where the broom is?” to which he replied without even blinking, “Why do you need to go somewhere?”

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!