Just a thought....
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A few weeks

Strange - I wanted to write the date today as 2011. That's a first. Usually, I struggle to adapt to writing the new year when it arrives.

Two buses went straight past this morning - too full. Squish room only in the third. I decided to take my chances and wait among the crowds for the new metro to open - it doesn't run at useful times - though it would be cutting it fine. The new station is surrounded by its own patch of grass, which makes for a nice start to the day. Burying my uncomfortable feet (I really don't like these sandals) in thick early-morning-cool grass is pure bliss.

Today's "Nossa Bairro" (Our Neighbourhood) newspaper's front page is news about Facebook's plan for email and such. The neighbourhood must be out of regular news. Later, glancing at the Metro News over someone's shoulder showed me an article about Wikileaks... apparently the USA is trying to take over Brazil. Whodathunkit? That should help with Brazil's neurosis over the USA.

Most students are cancelling the rest of December. That should make January 'interesting'. I have inherited at least one new, confirmed student and two others in the pipeline, which will help enormously. Fingers crossed that they confirm.

Our week was marked by overcast, muggy days and afternoons complete with thunderstorms and associated power failures. Night before last, we had a frantic hauling out of towels and sweeping vast quantities of water out the door. Brazilian housing = major leak incidents. In fairness, the rain has been heavy...

This is the river about 200m from our gate. Photo from our local news site.

This is the usual level... though the rains had already started when this photo was taken...

To get an idea of depth, take a look at the trucks and cars along the road on the left.

Thursday... end of my working week - well, kind of. There's still Saturday, but tomorrow is off and its probably a good thing. I have a zillion things to do. Today has, so far, been one of those weird can't-get-going starts. Then I got onto the bus, which felt strange... standing room?! Then I nearly fell out of my chair - oh wait... I was standing. The first clusters of seats are for the aged and infirm. A pretty girl stood and offered her seat to me! *hauls out mirror* Ok, there's grey, a few lines, but over 60??

It always amuses me when we're standing with our faces mashed up against the metro doors during peak hour and the standard recording comes on, "If you're not getting off at the next stop, keep clear of the doorways." I really, really like the new air-conditioned metros, especially in our current super-muggy weather.

My plants are loving the rain. So am I. It's a whole lot cooler with the rain, even if keeping dry is somewhat challenging.

My most recent students are far from me, quite literally on the opposite end of the city. Going to them takes me through Bras. This area is well known to all Paulistanos as being the best place to buy clothes.... literally street after street of clothing shops, both wholesale and retail. Some shops are vast warehouses and others are small. The area also has streets that specialise in outfitting clothing shops. I find the mannequin shops fascinating. This one, I caught in passing. It tickled me that the sales girl was sitting so companionably with her mannequin 'friend'.

Christmas décor is out now, but very sporadic. I was on Av. Paulista, standing waiting to cross to Conjuncto Nacional. They pride themselves on their recycled Christmas décor. Aside from the snowflakes (don't know what those are made of), the rest of the decorations are all recycled cold drink bottles, in this case, more than likely Guaraná bottles.

I snuck a peek down a passage and saw a lady decorating her 'tree'. The tree was more a bush of naked branches, but the effect was pretty. It doesn't show well in this photo though. Ah for a decent zoom...

Then again, if you don't have a garden to decorate, what's the next best thing?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Day by day

I call this the Metro Shuffle

Sveiki! A Lithuanian greeting, which means 'Health!'

Seems I never get the chance to write here. When I log in, there are friends to catch up on  and, by the time I'm done, I've forgotten what I wanted to say. Oh heck, who am I trying to fool? Honestly? I arrive on my blog, stare at the screen, trying to convert the week into words; thus scattering what little cohesive thought I started out with.

With this in mind, I'm going to attempt this in daily (or thereabouts) nibbles.

Last week, our focus for the week was on Tat's visit with the family in Lithuania. Jurgis enjoying his time there was one thing. It had been a dream of his for most of his life. She first stayed with Dalius and Oksana. The message I got was - I'm happy. In short, they were wonderful. I'll get the details later, as her pc died on her when she arrived in Lithuania and she hasn't been able to get it fixed yet.

From there, she went to stay with Teta Irena, Vaidas, Sonata and the boys. She was online more there and having a ball. When she was due to leave, she said it felt like she was leaving home all over again. I can't begin to express my thanks to all who made her visit there such a wonderful experience!

On Monday, I had no students (cancellations - joy!). It was good though. We were able to video chat with Tat via Skype and I finally got to meet the family. They're every bit as wonderful as Jurgis and Tat said they are. I can't wait to meet them in person!

On Monday we also go word that the front house is finally getting a tenant, but only for 15 days out of every month. That should be odd to deal with. Jurgis knows him, a nice enough guy, our landlord's business partner. We'll see how that goes. It does mean that Romany is once again restricted to just our half of the property, poor thing, though we do take him on walks more often now.

Tuesday started with a cancellation as I was walking out the door. I do wish they'd cancel before get all dressed up! That left me home for a couple of hours - good time to catch up with some correspondence. I later left for my next student after calling her to confirm the class. One bus, two metros and a 10 minute walk later, I was at the entrance to their office block and my delightful ringtone went off. I love getting calls because I love the tune! Anyway, it was the secretary. She needed to cancel.Ugh! Perhaps I just dreamed the earlier confirmation call.

Wednesday, I got to chat to a long lost friend (ok, not so long or lost) *and* my little girl! That was good. A surprise email made my heart skip happily : )

Thursday ~ dreaming of green pastures and soft, rolling hills ~

I dreamt last night that I was leaving an institution, a nameless, faceless multi-storey block with small, impersonal rooms. I was sitting on the bed talking to an elderly, long-dead friend and explaining why I was giving her a scarf, as I don't wear scarves and won't be needing it.

Two men came to blows in the metro car over the last half-inch of space and had to be separated by security. One guy, the shorter one, was told to get off. I felt for him, as he wasn't the instigator, but I guess the security guy felt he would be easier to control. The guy who was trying to pull punches was huge. Either way, they were both in the wrong. If the metro is full, you wait for the next one. The trains come through with only a minute or so between them during peak hour. It's not as though they'd have to wait a long time. The photo up above is where I decided to wait for the next one, but, believe it or not, there are those who'll still try to squeeze into that.

It was a surreal kind of morning. I swiped my security card through at the bank, only to be told "User blocked" - the kind of words that generally cause heart stoppage and panic. The nice lady at security consoled me with information that I'd be getting a sparkly new card. Whew! Apparently, they'd stopped that particular type of card. I got a temporary card and made my way to the student. At the back where the coffee machines are, there was a lady moving tables  and arranging mountains of diapers... in a bank? Turns out it's someone's baby shower. I waited. I got a message from an anonymous lady to call my student. Apparently he had a) lost my number and b) overslept, so there would be no class. Great! That gave me time to organise my new security pass. It's not a pretty yellow one like the old card, but it does announce me in bold letters as a "Professor". One very badly taken photo...

More good news this evening : ) The news isn't mine to tell and we're waiting for confirmation anyway, but it's starting to look as though 2011 is shaping up to be a good year. Ahh... nice!

I'm off to bed now. I woke up this morning feeling as though I was drugged and that feeling hasn't changed much. Does it show? =Þ

Oh... before I go... a few of you are TUT enthusiasts. Have you heard Mike Dooley's latest talk? It's awesome! If you can't find the talk, let me know and I'll upload it. It is available online at a few locations, but not for download. I saved it so that I can listen on my little ipod : )

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Good enough to copy

Sorry for the repeat if you saw it in Marianne's notes.

* I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
* Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
* I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
* There is great need for a sarcasm font.
* How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
* Was learning cursive really necessary?
* Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
* I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
* Bad decisions make good stories.
* You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
* I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
* "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this -ever.
* I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damnit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
* I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
* I keep many people's phone numbers in my phone just so I can look like I know many people.
* I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
* I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid " routing option.
* Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.
* I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
* I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
* How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
* I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a roadhog from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
* Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Trousers? Trousers never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
* Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?
* There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.
* Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
* Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my behind everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Monday, 15 November 2010


I found the poem!

caught and jailed
my crime was existing
i was to teach the world a lesson
no one was prepared to learn

children screech
and point their fingers
they say i am ugly
in my world, i was attractive

my wings
made for flying in
open blue skies are weak
from lack of use

this prison is small
my sentence unfinished
here i will end my days
watching children point

© tint~

Birds, freedom, secrets

I've well and truly been absent, haven't I? Thing is, a lot has been happening on this end, but nothing I could really blog about. I haven't been busy enough with work, yet I've been very busy. I'm trying to get a few things in order geared at some long-term plans we've had. Unfortunately, most of it I'm not in a position to talk about... yet :) Top secret! Shhh!! Trust me, when all is finalised, I'll be yelling from the rooftops.

Aside from that, I've been feeling fairly isolated, which is entirely my own fault. The only place I communicate in any way with a friend or friends is here, in blogosphere - and a little in Facebook. I haven't been a good friend. I haven't been commenting on blogs or posting any of my own. Heck, I haven't even been reading really... mostly just glancing through. My mail comes in and I flip through the emails, dealing with work emails and pretty much deleting the rest. I have no idea why I've been that way and I'm worried that it's becoming habitual. It's as though the world has been tipped on its side. Things look odd if you look at them tilted.

And no, I'm not miserable, far from it. Ok, I am miserable that I haven't spoken to my friends, but yeah... aside from that.

Why are there still those dumb video spam virus messages coming through? Eejits.

Ok, ok... I'll give you a clue... the secret involves a little patch of green far, far away from here... very far.

Tat is flying to Lithuania tonight to meet the fandamily. I hope she likes it there. She has a week to see all and do all and meet all. Should be fun. If she forgets her camera again, I will personally commit harikari on her. I missed seeing poppy day in London because her camera wasn't attached to her arm where it belonged.

Oh and that mournful chap up top? The video below reminded me of him. I even wrote a poem about him at the time. I'll be darned if I can find it. The video is stunning though. My birdie friends will like it. The lady is South African... for those curious about our accents. I don't sound like that though =Þ Or do I?

Do visit the YouTube page for more links related to the video.

It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.

Sunday, 07 November 2010

First things

This photo was taken of the pond at the bank where I teach. I thought the bottle was noteworthy. It was a beautiful day!

Kat did this. I'm copying. I have actually had a lot happening these past two weeks. As I think of writing one thing, a new event takes over, so the first only gets remembered later and seems stale. I may still try to blog it, but then, it may remain a blank period. I'll see.

Ok, so Firsts...

1. Who was your FIRST prom date?
We didn't have proms, but we did have a boarding school dance once every term. My first dance, there was no date. It was a free-for-all. The second, I had a blind date. He was... um... not exactly my cup of tea (to put it mildly). I *think* his name was John. I looked totally and utterly bored in all the photos. I mean... really bored.

2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love?

3. What was your first alcoholic drink?
Wine - My grandparents believed in letting us try things like alcohol under supervision. We had a glass of wine on Wednesdays with supper and with Sunday lunch at the restaurant... in proper wine glasses, not kiddies glasses.

4. What was your FIRST job?
Part time during school holidays - I worked as assistant to the chief of Social work for our district. Sounds glorified, but all I did was sort files and cases. It was a dusty, heartbreaking job, but I was in heaven.

5. What was your FIRST car?
I never owned a car. Our first car was a Toyota corolla hatchback we called 'old faithful' for good reason.

6. Who was the FIRST person to text you today?
No one texts me unless it's to cancel a class. So far, nothing, thankfully.

7. Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning?
Someone I don't know yet who lives in Wales.

8. Who was your FIRST grade teacher?
Miss Shapiro who became Mrs Mitten in during my first grade. She wore teensy minis... and was terrified of mice.  A mouse ran through the classroom one day. She was sweet though.

9. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?
To Johannesburg.

10. Who was your FIRST best friend & do you still talk?
Winnie, though she has since changed her name. I think being called Winnie the Pooh finally got to her. We are in contact, though we very seldom communicate.

11. Where was your FIRST sleep over?
At my mom's. I was terrified. There was a huge spider in my room and the room was an unaccustomed dark. At home, I had a veranda light outside my window.

12. Who was the FIRST person you talked to today?
Specs. Oh wait... person. That would be Jurgis. The only other human here.

13. Whose wedding were you in the FIRST time?
I've never been *in* a wedding besides my own. In fact, I've been to three weddings.

14. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?
I spent ages trying to get my internet to work, then put laundry on to wash while I waited for a reboot and put the kettle on.

15. What was the FIRST concert you ever went to?
4 Jacks and a Jill at the Port Elizabeth Feathermarket Hall. Now I'm really dating myself. Most people have never heard of them.

16. What was the FIRST record/tape/CD you bought?
It would be the 4 Jacks and a Jill record

17. FIRST hospitalization?
Tonsils - age 3

18. FIRST foreign country you've been to?
Mozambique by cruise liner... looong looong ago

19. FIRST movie you remember seeing?
The Sound of Music

20. When was your FIRST detention?
Standard 6 (Grade 8) for refusing to do afternoon sports because I would get home too late to do homework.

21. What did you do with your FIRST paycheck?
Paid the rent, bills, groceries, etc. My gran was a pensioner... my earnings were needed.

22. Your FIRST social networking site?
Yahoo groups, then Delphi and MSN groups, after which I graduated to blogging on 360.

23. Who FIRST invited you to Multiply?
No one. I discovered Multiply by randomly surfing. My account here was already a good few months old when 360 migrated.