What I Was Doing In August 2001
What I’ve been reading: my Pieter Brueghel the Elder book on his life history with reproductions and commentary on each of his paintings, including the name of the museum where they are stashed. I’m thinking now that I didn’t spend enough time looking at the one in the Smithsonian. Drats! I’m also reading Rick Steve’s Guide to the UK and Ireland. I started Jonathan Raban’s Passage to Juneau in Saint Martin and still haven’t finished it. It’s interesting, but a little academic so it’s slow going. One interesting thing I learnt was that the Inuit did not carve totem poles till around the time that European ships made contact with them, so there is the theory that the Inuit got the idea of totem poles from ship’s figureheads. I got a few more magazines in the US which I still need to read, including more Outside Magazines, Esquire (a man’s magazine but they have great articles and who minds looking at nice looking guys wearing nice clothes?), and Islands magazine.
What I’ve been eating: awright, everyone bagged me about my excessive breakfast, and I see on my latest break that it is catching up with me (I can only see myself in my 1 square foot mirror illuminated by an 11 watt lightbulb located behind my head, so I only get a really good look at myself once every three months). So I bought me a whole bunch of goodies in the US and currently my breakfast is a packet of oatmeal and a cup of coffee (tragedy: we have run out of UHT milk, and there won’t be any more delivered for another week!! Agh!! So no coffee now for two days. I have been drinking black English Breakfast tea in the mornings in an attempt to get some caffeine but it isn’t the same, is it?). For lunch I’ve been having a handful of roasted soybeans and some dried figs or dates. I need a tiny bit of sugar after lunch so I’ve been nibbling on my goodies I got at Grandma Sugarplums. I got some English toffee, some fudge, some chocolate dipped dried apricots, some peanut butter cups, a box of sour gummy bears, and a dozen pixie sticks. Whoo ya. So every day I get a little bit of that. If I’m hungry in the afternoon I will make myself a little pot of my Japanese green tea and if that doesn’t work then I have a few more soy beans. So this means I am not a victim of the mess at breakfast and lunch and means I can avoid the pack of circling sharks at the lunch making area. For dinner it’s the usual stuff they give me, but I’ve cut out the ice cream, dunno how long I will be able to keep that up because the ice cream is the best thing about dinner.
What I’ve been thinking about: Still thinking about what I want to be when I grow up, but have pretty much decided on being a community college teacher and live back in the US eventually. I figure when I go back to the US, I could travel around and scope out good communities all over the States, check out their community colleges and apply to the ones I like. But I still want to work here as long as I can, since I always look forward to my next trips, and I can save a heap of money to get a nice house for when I do move back. I've also been thinking about and regretting not eating that second piece of chocolate cake, and sharing that piece of key lime pie with dad (he should have ordered his own!), and not getting the cheese cart at Alain Ducasse, and not eating that second tray of edamami beans, and what was I thinking, I only had one margarita, and I didn’t eat any Cheerios, and I didn’t get any gingerbread men...
What I’ve been thinking about in the meetings we had at 5 PM all last week: I had a constant scream running through my head and it went like aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh until the meeting is finally finished an hour after it was supposed to have ended. We’ve had two consultants working with me and every evening we have a wrap up meeting where we are supposed to be talking about what we achieved that day and what we hope to achieve the next day. The meetint is supposedly scheduled for half an hour but unfortunately there is a guy attending these meetings who can and does talk a constant torrent of words until he is physically suppressed. Also unfortunately the guy who is chairing these meetings is either glazing big time or dozes off and lets them run for 45 minutes longer than they’re supposed to. So I sit there and nudge the table to try to wake him up and pointedly tap at my watch in an attempt for him to pay attention and start getting the meeting under control. He’s my bosses boss, not exactly the best career move on my part but geez!! I told Peet what was running through my mind at the meetings, and he asked if I wanted to know what he was thinking about, and then he made all these motorcycle noises, revving, shifting, squealing around sharp corners and popping wheelies and stuff. I wonder if anyone is paying attention.
What I’ve been listening to: First favourite is Compay Segundo’s Lo Mejor de la Vida, he is one of the guys from Buena Vista Social Club. What a beautiful CD with some unusual style songs on it. One thing I admire is that he is happy to let other people do the lead vocals from time to time. I traded my Dick Dale and the Deltones CD for dad’s Surfer Magazine best of surfing music for the past 40 years, and that one is second favourite. Third favourite is a Cake CD which features a song titled Shut the @#$$ Up, which I sing over and over again in my head when I’m not screaming aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh at the meetings.
What I’ve been fighting: the constant and overwhelming urge to goof off, which has been a hallmark of my working career. Luckily I have one of those mainly brainless jobs where I can sit here like the trained monkey that I am and daydream about anything I want.
My next break: England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. I’m renting a car with Evert, one of the Canadian engineers here. He went with me to the Serengeti and for a weekend in Dar es Salaam, so he should be good fun to travel with. This trip I am interested in meeting the locals, whereas before it was too much of an effort to try to break through the language barrier, either that or I’m on my own and people always think a single chick on their own who is talking to them, wants to sleep with them.
My next break after that: Hawaii for little brother’s wedding. I’ll spend two weeks in Hawaii, then a week in Denmark and a week in London to break up the trip. It will be interesting being in Northern Europe in the winter!!
My next break after that: Either Eastern Europe or Spain and Southern France, depending on who can go with me.
My next break after that: well I could go on and on with this!
What I’ve been doing on my Sunday afternoon off: Well, huh. Didn’t have a Sunday afternoon off yesterday because these consultants had me here till 9 PM. I swear I am sleeping in next Sunday!! I missed a picnic trip to Lake Victoria too.
Things I’ve bought lately: Swiss Miss hot chocolate with extra marshmallows, pistachios, dried apricots, instant oatmeal, packets of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (which turned out to be a huge hit with the rest of the department, so I had to call for reinforcements till we used up the entire African continent's supply of mayonnaise, and that was the end of that) for the dreaded day when I am forced to eat mess food for lunch, a bunch of nice t-shirts, a pretty dress for Tim’s wedding, two cool fancy shirts (where the heck am I going to wear them?!), three pairs of shorts, a buncha pairs of previously nicely coloured underwears which are now that uniform grey colour which happens when you put your clothes in the laundry with a a thousand other people’s filthy clothes, a small globe for my desk, candles, a few books (dad got me a bunch for my birthday and then regretted it as he lugged my suitcase to the car when we packed up to leave for the airport. I said he may as well get his money’s worth out of his upcoming hernia operation). Lots of nice little goodies.
What I’m wearing: My new t-shirts, my new shorts, my old socks ( I wonder if it is a good thing to wear the same socks every second day when you purchased them in 1990….), my new now grey underwear, and my Henty boots.
What my hair looks like: I got it cut pretty nice in California and I could wear it without the pony tail, but apparently I have restless nights because it sure is all over the place in the mornings. Every day it gets appraised to see if it is suitable for wearing without the pony tail, and I think three times now it has behaved itself. It sure is a nuisance in the wind though. It has a life of it’s own and hovers in a mass around my face in even the slightest wind, gets up my nose and makes me sneeze, gets in my eyes, behind my contacts, in my mouth. I dunno how other chicks do it.