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

Sunday, 27 February 2011

I'm a good cook, really!

Actually, in all honesty, when I got married, I couldn't boil an egg! For the first 3 months, we ate risotto just about every night. It was all Jurgis knew how to cook. Heck, we even entertained... with risotto! Our guests swore it was delicious. Uh... yes.

After 3 months of risotto, I bought a recipe book - one day I'll get it again. I miss that book. It was my intro into some truly delicious culinary delights (thanks Katey for sneaking my favourite recipes to me!) It was definitely the start of my baking (Viennese butter biscuits... deeevine! And cheese scones!).

I took to baking in a big way. Jurgis knew that, when he came home, there would always be full cake and biscuit tins. He'd walk in and shake each tin looking for something to nibble on until supper was ready.

I had begged my gran for Sophie's samp and beans recipe. That became our staple for shopping day because I could set it on a low simmer, go shopping, and come home to a delicious meal.

Shopping was usually done on a Friday evening. Jurgis would arrive home to fetch me and we'd go to the massive Hyperama. Before we left, I'd have supper in our super-duper AMC classic cookware pot, turned down really low. I had inherited my mother-in-law's virtually unused set when we got married. She'd gone back to Brazil and left her pots behind. I was not complaining. They were wonderful!

This one shopping day, we were in a rush for some reason. Shopping went well, nonetheless. When we returned home, we were just rounding the corner when Jurgis said, "Oooh! Someone's burnt their supper!" We laughed, thinking of the poor people and their burnt food. It was only as we rounded the last corner (yes, we'd smelt it miles off) that we saw the pall of smoke pouring out of our house.... the kitchen window, to be precise.

Dismayed, we rushed inside and opened all the windows and doors. The pot with its thick base had melted onto the stove plate. The food was a 1 inch layer of charcoal in the pot. The pot's handles melted. The house stank! We cleaned up as best we could. I think we had sandwiches that night. That wasn't the end of the story though.

We had no idea what to do with the expensive, ruined pot, so we hid it in the maid's toilet. All houses had maid's quarters. We used ours for storage at the time. I hid it behind the toilet and behind a mess of brooms, mops and sundry other items.

The pot was forgotten in my subsequent pregnancy and Ceinwen's birth.

Then Jurgis' dad came.

Having his daughter-in-law to wait on him and having his son working during the day left him bored. What happens to bored kids? They get up to mischief. Wouldn't you know it? He went scratching through our storage and he found The Pot. All hell broke loose. His worse suspicions were confirmed. I was the worst possible wife and housewife and he had the evidence! Ha!

Poor Jurgis was trapped between us. The old man stuck around for over two months. I eventually declared that either he moved out or I would move out. My gran arrived when Ceinwen was just under a month old and bullied him into something bordering submission or at least a grudging sulk. She busied herself making baby clothes, cleaning house and cooking.... the good housewife I most definitely wasn't.

Those first months of Ceinwen's life weren't memories of babyhood, but of The Pot. Months later, we eventually got it cleaned up. AMC is great with that. They renewed the base, replaced the handles and polished the entire pot. It went on to serve many more years. I went on to bake commercially with that set and to serve 3 course dinners to guests. I'm a good cook, really.... sometimes... when I'm not serving up burnt offerings ; )


Someone had a 21st birthday yesterday. Birthdays have a knack of making one wander down memory lane. This year, it's particularly poignant, as it's such a milestone year and Tat is so very far away.

Tonight, Jurgis was going through some photos. He called my attention to one. "This was my 21st!"

Henrique, his brother (far left), had baked the cake. The three men lived a bachelor existence. The cake was a sweet idea, but I suspect it was a bit of a challenge on the teeth.

21 red roses

Yes, I know there aren't 21. The photo is illustrative

There are no photos of my 21st, though the evening was an interesting one, to be sure. We left Ceinwen, then 3 months old, with our neighbour, Margaret. Jurgis told me to dress up. I made myself a Russian-style red dress. I loved that dress, but only ever wore it that once that I can remember. He took me to the Ritz Hotel's revolving restaurant in Cape Town. I found some photos online. It is just as I remembered it... the piano... the view of Cape Town at night.

The ambience was lovely. Not too long into the evening, I was presented with my massive bouquet of red roses. The pianist played 'our song', which was, at the time, "Time in a bottle" by Jim Croce. Yes, it was long ago! The food was French and tasty, except that what we thought was the starter turned out to be the main course. It was one of those places where you get one baby carrot, artistically sliced into a fan shape, two asparagus spears, a broccoli floret and your sliver of meat of choice drowned in gravy. I had sole. It was tasty. We had our dessert, which I don't remember at all. I think I was too hungry. It had been a long day. I suspect that lunch had been a very long time ago, as I'd spent the afternoon flapping over babysitting arrangements - first time mom leaving baby for the first time.

Jurgis is very much a steak and potatoes guy, so we left the fancy food in search of something more substantial and ended up at an after-theatre cafe, scarfing cake and coffee before heading home, tired and slightly less starved than when we set out. 

This is the last photo that was taken of me before my 21st. Ceinwen was all of 5 days old. I had been home from the hospital for a day when Jurgis' dad arrived on an unannounced visit. I was 'thrilled' (not). He was one of those men who believed that the man works outside of the home and shouldn't work at home at all. He let us know in no uncertain terms that finding his son mowing the lawn was unacceptable and that it was my job to do so. I was, at the time, in bed having had a caesarian a few days before. Oh that visit! It reminds me of another blog I've been meaning to write... on the excellence of my housekeeping skills at the time! ; ) 

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Tat's Legal!!

Clicking on the image should take you to a large, legible version

The Big Event dawns! More or less... kinda. Well, my excuse is that people in the East end of the world are already celebrating (and the minor detail that I accidentally clicked 'post' earlier and folk may be confused).

I should do a "Tatiana through the years", but that's old hat by now. Done pretty often. What can I do then. I always aim for the unique, but this year, somehow... it's just the "Omg, my baby's an adult!" that hits me over and over.

Was it really 21 years ago that I held the scrawny little monkey for the first time? Was she really that stroppy, curly-haired little girl who hated having everyone pinch her cheeks? The little tomboy whose idea of fun was a mud garden? Or roughing it down the hill with the dog? The teen who was so driven over her aikido? My passionate, kind, smiley, bubbly, simply awesome baby girl turned adult daughter. I loved you through every phase. Every chapter of your book was a new adventure to enjoy.

Oh heck... here it is again... : )


Yes, my sweet girl... you've every mother's dream. I'm so, so, so very proud of who you are, for the wonderful woman you've become. I'm grateful for the friend I have in you. I always wanted a BFF and you're it, when you're not my 'evil twin' *grins* Thank you for giving me 21 amazing years. Today starts a new chapter in your life, one where people will expect you to be responsible *koff* but I know you can do it and you'll do it with flair... because that is YOU!

I love you... WE love you... You are So loved! Happy 21st Birthday, sweet Tatiana!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Dream... Live!

A young man on the verge of his dreams just passed this onto me. Thank you, Ohara!

The time is now!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Glug glug

Blog written 'on the run' - Monday, 21 February 2011

The bus this morning is impossibly full. Traffic is manic. Wonder if everyone's out in preparation for carnival.

Road rage ~ an overload of testosterone to little point ~ insanity prevails

What on earth gets into people? One guy cuts another off. Sure, not a clever move. The 'offended' party then feels the need, in relatively smooth-flowing traffic, to swing in front of the 'offender', screeching brakes, to give him a verbal lambasting. I thought they'd come to blows. After almost causing an accident himself and holding up the rest of the traffic, el 'offended' stomped off to his car and took off with tyres spinning. Eejit.

On death ~

Crazy Cousin B sent me photos of A's 'velorio' (the open coffin viewing). *shudder* The guy was no oil painting when alive either. What is it that people get out of seeing the bodies of loved ones who've 'moved on'? I have a somewhat irreverent attitude to dead bodies. The spirit of the person is no longer in that 'container', so the 'container' has no meaning to me at all. I prefer to remember the person as they were alive. I expressed my horror to Tat, who, like a good little daughter, promised me faithfully not to have a viewing of my corpse and no red roses. The guy was smothered in red roses. He was definitely not a red rose kind of guy.

The raucous parrots in the trees were having a ball with the guavas...
biting off bits and spitting them out.

While I was waiting to go into the students, I stood in front of a high wall, enjoying the noise of the parrots overhead. The locals hate them because they're noisy. I love it. They sound like squabbling families. I can almost hear wifey scolding hubby and the kids.

All was good until a woman flung her soggy carpet over the wall to dry.

Ok, so today you get a *blog* When I finished the third student at 1:30pm, it was unbearably hot. I got the bus to the metro station. At that point, the humidity was sitting at an oppressive 99.99999%

In the space of 10 minutes, the sky went from glaring sun to dark purple. As I got onto the metro, the rain came down in solid sheets. I changed lines at Sé. The trains were already sporadic at that point, though I didn't know why. While in the tunnel, there was a tremendous thunder clap outside and even the train shook. I'd gone one stop on the second line when the power went - take a crowded metro, turn off the lights and the fans (no aircon on this one) and you definitely have everyone's attention!

The doors would open ever few minutes to let air in and briefly turn the lights on. I assume that as run on backup generators. The driver announced that the doors were being kept closed because of the rain, which would pour almost horizontally, crossing the wide platform and drenching everyone in the doorway of the carriage. I eventually made my way to the door, deciding to take my chances with the rain instead of the stifling heat of the interior of the carriage.

To give you an idea, to the left of the platform was a double set of escalators and a flight of stairs. The rain was driving across those, across the platform and into the train.

I eventually found a semi-dry corner to hole up in for a while. Audio books are good company.

The view outside from my sheltered corner.
This was half an hour after the blue sky photos shown earlier!

Power was eventually restored and I gleefully snagged the next train. At my metro destination, I was in for another surprise... the area was waist deep under water! I got off the metro, headed to the exits and wondered why everyone was just standing around. This is the view that greeted me when I looked out...

The waterfall is run-off from the roof. You can just see the flood waters on the road.

To give you a better idea.
The car circled in red is up to its windows in muddy water.

Thankfully, the metro station is on higher ground. That water would need overnight to drain. I eventually made the decision to get back onto the metro and go another two stops to Tatuapé, where there is a shopping centre I could hang around in.

But the day wasn't finished with me yet...

The shopping centre was in darkness. I took the opportunity to use the bathrooms, as I had no idea when I'd get home. Public toilets during power failures are definitely an experience. One central bulb was on. The actual toilets were in the dark. With no place to hang my bag, I hung it over the doorknob and prayed it would hold. Fumbling in the dark, I did what I had to do and headed out. Um... technology fail... the taps and soap dispensers are sensor operated.  You wave your hands in front of the sensors to get water or soap. Guess what needs electricity to function and wasn't considered important enough to be generator-driven =/  Here's where my Girl Guide training came in handy (also the reason my bag is double the weight of any sane person). I had some wet wipes in there. Whew!

With the shopping centre being in the dark and already overloaded with stranded passengers, no seating was available. The rain had eased off. I decided to stand in line for if and when the bus would come to take me home. We stood... and stood... and waited... and waited... The rain started again. At about 4:30pm, the bus rolled up. Was it really only 3 hours ago that I walked out of my student's apartment?? By the time the bus came, many of the people in front of me in the queue had given up and gone who-knows-where, so I got a decent seat. There were 3 queues for this bus. It was full, but many decided to wait for the second bus. On hindsight, that might have been a good idea.

Because of the flooding, the bus had to take a detour.... and got lost! We ended up on the Tieté, then Salim Fara Maluf... then back again, almost to the starting point! I packed up laughing when I saw the metro going overhead and the familiar blue-cabled span bridge. By now the day had taken on a distinctly surreal quality. The girl next to me swore (I learned a lot of new vocabulary). She was due at work. I think it was a new job and she'd left home early to make a good impression, to little avail. In the end I told her to just relax. There was nothing she could do and surely they'd know by now that the city was flooded.

The bus in question took a few detours, avoiding the worst flooding and made its meandering way home. I didn't take more photos, as my battery was fading and I didn't know if I'd end up stuck somewhere else before getting home. While on the bus, I cancelled my evening student... I was too late to make my way to him and I'd missed my afternoon student completely. I did get a call from a prospective new student while on my way. That was nice.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

I got home at 6:40pm, over 5 hours since leaving my student. It was an entertaining, but tiring day. I think I'm still recovering. The weird thing was that, with all that water, I never got to use the umbrella I was lugging around. As natural disasters go, the flooding here wasn't bad. We're fairly used to it. Now to just fix my schedule. One thing I did discover was that there is no way I can realistically get from Santana to Mooca in an hour and I can't move MF to a later time slot or I won't get to the evening student in time.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

C'est la weekend

Have I mentioned lately that it's hot? Well, if I haven't... it's hot. If bits of the north are having an early spring, can I please, please ask for an early autumn? Preferably winter. Winter would be nice. Thank you.

Last week was a mess of frantic running around and lying on my back. It was nice in some ways though. I got myself a couple of new students and rested up somewhat.

Early morning (4am) full moon, broken by clouds. Not a good photo at all.
It was far more impressive to the eye.

Thursday was one of my early starts with a student I like. Heck, I know I have it good when I can tell a joke in class and have the student 'get' it right away and find it funny. I'm not the world's greatest joke teller. In fact, my jokes usually fizzle to a "... and the punchline is...?" Then, at the end of class, he introduced me to a colleague who wanted classes. Nice! I love that guy... really! Ok, the new student is pretty basic and I don't usually take basic students, but I think she has more English than she gives herself credit for. We'll do just fine. Thursday evenings brought storms again.

Friday was 'one of those days'. Thursday's rain continued. Friday morning, about 11am, our internet died... completely. The nice new modem was stone dead. We tried everything, then Jurgis went over to a friend to call in support. They would only get someone over here on Tuesday afternoon. Gah! I immediately freaked, as I have Skype students before then. When I stopped cursing, I entertained myself by reducing my mailbox from 1084 emails to 550 emails. Yes, I'm an email packrat =Þ And yes, I'm quite sure I'm going to be looking for some of those emails that someone is bound to refer to... just because I deleted them.

Shortly afterwards, the heavens really opened. Many parts of the city had hail. Flooding, of course, is pretty much the norm now. Right after 2pm, the power died. We amused ourselves by standing at the door, watching the rain fall.

That water was about an inch deep. We're very lucky where we are. Our house is higher than the surrounding houses, so we get off lightly when it rains. We just can't go anywhere.

The power returned after about two hours. About another hour or so after that, our modem burped and lit up. I think it just needed shock treatment... defibrillation... Stat! Usually, the modem dies after a storm. Ours resuscitated. Ok, we're special ;)

So tomorrow will be a long day. I set out for my first students at 7am. Two hours with them, then on to a new student who'll have a 2 hour class. I'll barely have enough time to get to MF for her class, after which I get home, change and go out to my last 2 hour class. It's only 7 hours of teaching, but the travel time in-between makes it a rushed day. I get home at 8:30pm. Definitely a long day. It's nice though. The day is filled with actual work.

This past week, a cousin passed away. Not someone we're in any way close to for a number of reasons. Jurgis went to the 'velorio' (viewing). The day after his death was the cremation. They do it quickly here due to the heat. The mourners and onlookers gather from about 10am, but the actual funeral and cremation is at 5pm. No one thought to tell Jurgis that. In fact, we only knew about the death because a cousin from the US called to tell us. Anyway, the 10am gathering was primarily a family gossip session. We had to chuckle. One cousin had recently 'moved' to the UK. Turns out the UK kicked him out. He was there on a less than legal basis. He spoke not a word of English either. Now that he's back, he's the local go-to for information on life in England. We were highly amused by his tales. The thing that seemed to impress him the most was kettles. "You won't believe it! They have tall kettles that you just plug into the wall and it boils the water!" Uh yes... no one uses electric kettles here. You can get them, but the electricity is just too expensive to use one.... when you can find them to buy. The cousin in question has had all his English appliances shipped to Brazil. Good luck to him. No one told him that the power here is different and each one will need a transformer.

Ack! Sunday is nearly over. I've procrastinated more than enough. I still have lessons to finish for tomorrow..... off I go again...

PS. It just occurred to me that the primary topic of my posts is the weather. I'm so exciting! *grins*

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Heavy, heavy skies

                                hot-soup air
                                        under a purple-cloud blanket
                                   the maelstrom of rain
                                               moments away

Actually, no longer moments away. We had temperatures of 34ºC this afternoon. The air was hot and breathlessly heavy. Since arriving home, the storms have broken. Jurgis suggested we use the ironing board to surf down our little passageway here, the water was moving so fast. The poor people in other parts of the city had hail and in other parts of the greater São Paulo, there have been major destructive floods - again.

I wanted to post a quick blog. I've been absent, I know. Monday was a very long work day, starting with a breakfast run class and ending at 8:30pm. Tuesday, I spent the day flat on my back. It seems I'd go one step forward and two back. Nasty. Today, I went out to one student. It wasn't so bad, but the wriggly toddler insisted on lap time, and it was rather painful accommodating her. I'm so proud of the kid though. Her father made a point of telling me she can't tell the time in Portuguese and she's aced it in English. She did well today. I came home with a pre-storm headache. It broke as I walked up our road. I got home just in time! Our power has died a few times since I got home, so there's no guarantee we'll be 'live' this evening. We'll see how that goes. Supper is smelling good : )

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Quick Sunday 'inloer'

'Inloer' is basically an Afrikaans way of saying 'to peek in'... kinda : ) 

Speaking of languages, I spotted this one this morning:
Ninguém é tão feio como no RG, tão bonito como no Orkut,tão feliz como no Facebook, tão simpático como no Twitter, tão ocupado como no Msn.

It translates to:
No one is as ugly as their ID (or passport), as beautiful as their Orkut (a local FB-type site that attracts teens mostly), as happy as their Facebook, as friendly as their Twitter or as busy as their MSN.

So, so true!

In the news today... my kind of news:

Every school needs a cat.... or a dog... or something.

My back hurts. It's hot. Yes, I'm whining. You know that feeling when you cuddle up to a hot water bottle in the winter? Well, we have that same feeling here now, except that it's an all-over feeling and it's not as pleasant as the winter feeling... not by a looong shot!

So much for the 'quick' inloer... this blog has taken about 4 hours of on and off attention to get written.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

My nemesis

For the past few days, I've spent most of my time at home in bed, flat on my back. I don't usually give in to pain, but boy, this was pain. Ugh! I don't do painkillers. One regular otc paracetamol makes me woozy and knocks me out. I was popping them like candies. Heartburn much? Yuck! And pain. Ooh my poor back!

The rain left the pavements on my road home very slimy and thick with moss. This photo was taken after a couple of days of no rain. The slime strip was way wider. It's on the edge of a major road that takes a lot of trucks, so walking in the road wasn't a great option.

One foot hit the slick and I was doing the splits. For once, I managed to stay upright though, but paid for it with a week's worth of feeling sorry for myself. It didn't help that we have a dogsticle course in the house and the cat has taken to lying across my path in the dark. She's lucky to still be alive. Every time I felt my back was doing better, I'd trip over one of them.

Today, I can finally sit at the computer without self-pitying whimpers. I even did the laundry. Go me!

Oh... and it's hot. Have I mentioned that yet?

Thursday, 10 February 2011

A silent benediction

A custom that has fascinated me since arriving in Brazil is the Catholic crossing. Brazil is a predominantly Catholic country. When the bus passes a church, any church, a number of passengers will stop whatever they're doing and cross themselves, then kiss the fingers that made the cross, as though kissing a rosary. Apparently, it is to call down God's blessing and protection on their journey. Many do this when starting or ending a trip.

Just in case you're wondering what gesture I'm talking about.

It's something I have been seeing less and less of though. I don't know if it's because the people are becoming less devout or if it has something to do with the rising popularity of the evangelical churches - probably a combination of the two. It might also be because seeing it is no longer a novelty for me and it's become part of the blur of daily living.

As I left the metro line this morning, a pair of love-birds were saying their goodbyes before parting ways. I watched as each one reached across did the ritual on the other - She gently touched his forehead, chest, left shoulder, right shoulder, then offered her finger tips for kissing. He duplicated the actions on her. The whole ritual was solemn and reverent, each one gazing intently into the eyes of the other, oblivious to the bustle and noise of the early morning metro station.

Watching this couple made me appreciate the value of little (and big) rituals. Rituals of greeting - the air kisses, the simple handshake, the elaborate handshakes I remember from home among the 'bros', a hug, a ruffle of the hair... do we part with fervent wishes for the journey of those we love? Do we show it?

Tuesday, 08 February 2011

Under the Minhocão

Disclaimer: The area I'm talking about is not the kind of area I feel good about taking a camera, however much I want to capture it. Photos here are by brave and talented others. I'll link the photos to their profiles or sites. The photos are in no particular order.

You can't live in São Paulo without knowing about the Minhocão, the 'Elevado Costa e Silva', to give it its proper name. 'Minhocão' basically means giant earthworm. The flyover is built above another thoroughfare at about a second-storey height. It snakes between apartment blocks through a couple of neighbourhoods.

The Minhocão was pretty much a white elephant with each political figure wanting to make his name through it - one would want to construct it and the other would want to demolish it. For better or for worse, the Minhocão still stands, a whole culture now built up around it.

That culture is the interesting part of the Minhocão. The road below is peppered with vendors selling everything from pirated dvd's to fresh cut fruit. It's the kind of place where a mix of humanity moves through or just hangs around... the kind of place you want to stand and just watch. For those with people watching as a hobby, it's perfect.

I had my introduction to the Minhocão way back when I first ventured out from my home in Perdizes. The bus I took into town went under the minhocão. What an education! I would take the bus really early, around 6am. Every few metres was a prostitute, more often than not with more skin than fabric showing. These weren't your high class escorts either. The sight of bright lipstick and fishnet stockings became familiar to me. Some of the prostitutes looked stranger than others...

Some time later, after I'd stopped taking that particular route to my students, I learned that many now stood there almost completely naked. Why? To prove they were female. The area became well known for cross-dressers and those who'd gone the whole surgical route. Frankly, I'm glad I don't take that bus any more. I think the sight would be a bit much to stomach after my early breakfast.

The minhocão is also known for its graffiti. It's a haven for graffiti artists from all over, its vast pillars offering the perfect canvas and no one particularly caring what is put on them. This particular pillar sports a charming portrait of Saci Pererê, the one legged mythical creature all Brazilian children get tormented with, Brazil's version of the South African Tokoloshe.

A bone of contention with people over the Minhocão is its height above ground and location. It's constructed just high enough to give passing motorists a birds-eye view straight into the apartments lining the route. For this reason, the flyover is actually closed off at night or over the weekend. It then opens to only pedestrian traffic, as though people are more likely to gaze into other people's lives while driving. If that isn't bad enough, the apartments below the road level are in permanent darkness. The street below becomes a den of drug use, prostitution, crime and the kind of activities that usually flourish in the dark.

I found this photo on a news site, Globo. If you look to the left, you'll see a bus in the street below. No buses go overhead. As you know by now, it rains a lot here. Oddly enough, the top of the Minhocão floods. Before it becomes impassable, cars fly through the dammed up water, creating a filthy fountain onto the road, cars and people below. A nasty place to be when it's raining. Trust me on that one! You're sitting in the bus, window open, as you're supposedly sheltered from the rain by the overhead road and a sluice of grunge-water showers down and in through your window. That is a lesson you only need to learn once.

The Minhocão is a mixed blessing for some. It's home for many, a place to sleep where, as long as you don't mind traffic on both ends of your bed, you're dry and can spread out. The space between the pillars is home. The graffiti over their heads reads, "Be happy". I wonder if they can read it and if they take it to heart - can they?

The final oddity about the Minhocão, the part that fascinates me the most. Tatiana and I used to pass it by and wonder every time what its story was. I believe there are plans to renovate it. I certainly hope so! In among the squalid and often derelict shop fronts stands the 'castle'. It's been empty for as long as I've known it and in various states of disrepair. A real live 'folly' planted in the heart of São Paulo?

It's a standing joke in our family whenever anyone wants to do something or buy something particularly extravagant, the other would say, "What do you want me to do... pawn my body under the Minhocão?" Jurgis has just pointed out that the title of his Firefox tab for this blog post reads: "I am... Tint - Under the Minhocão". The wretch thought that was highly amusing.

Sunday, 06 February 2011

My inspiration

My kind of inspiration...


It's looking like it will be a busy week. Not a bad thing. I'm ready - more or less *laugh*

Friday, 04 February 2011

Friday's this and that

My student was a no-show this morning. Turns out their server was down, so we'll have class tomorrow instead.

Annette posted this: Tigers have a tug o' war - adorable!

Monday, our modem died in the storm. We got internet back and discovered that the router was also hit, so now we have a modem and no router. At least we're online.... though it's made household dynamics somewhat awkward.

It's raining today - just for a change... kinda.

The one thing about having options is when one of the options is whipped out from under your feet, at least life is simpler. That's for people who hate having to make decisions.

I hate taking headache tablets. The resulting dopiness makes me useless for anything useful afterwards.

The neighbours have started their weekend voom... voom... voom. I assume it's music. We only hear the voom... voom... voom. No... we don't hear it as much as feel it. It's the kind of sound you feel in your gut. Voom... voom.... voom... The so-called rhythm doesn't even change. Earplugs don't work, neither does putting our own music on. It's still there, all pervasive. Perhaps I should wish for another power failure. Where are the power failures when you need them anyway?

I have a blog with no photo. I keep staring at it, wanting to just post and get it over with, but the 'no photo' is bugging me. Ugh!

Ah... photo gods appeased...

I've always wondered...
if nature was left to its own devices, how long would it take before it reclaims the earth?

Thursday, 03 February 2011

Empty halls

                             Empty polished halls
                                    Serious people pass

                          ~ Perhaps someone should
                                      give them flowers

Why are people who work with money always so serious? I'm sure numbers are also fun in their own peculiar way. People who work with money will tell you they enjoy it. I think they miss the point of the word 'en-Joy'.

Wednesday, 02 February 2011

I'm way behind on posts. I'll catch up tomorrow afternoon. I have a dreaded 4:30am morning tomorrow. Beauty sleep is a joke, so this is more a case of preservation of prevailing humanity sleep. Night folks!

Monday, Monday...

Whew! It's been a week and a half so far!

I figured Monday would be like any other day. I was sooo wrong! I'll take any Friday 13th over this past Monday.

The day didn't start badly, if I ignored the stalled metros. I got to my first set of students. They're meant to do their classes in 1 hour turns. It's a mother and son. She decided to opt out of class, leaving me with her more advanced son and one hour's worth of materials to stretch over two hours. Ok. I can do this. It didn't go badly.

I took the bus to my next student. It was one of those times when I have too much time between students, but not enough time to go home. I hung around in a coffee shop for an hour, but left when it got awkward. I moved down the road and sat on a step under the broiling sun - literally broiling. Wait... make that 'pressure cooking'. The tattered awning helped a little though... until the rain started. The heavens opened and in the time it took me to dash 200 yards, the water was over my shoes. I got to the student looking like a drowned rat (a rather overgrown drowned rat).

They were renovating and my usual class area was out of bounds and would I mind giving class in the child's bedroom? My heart sank. I'd forgotten my flash drive at home and her bedroom had a very poor wifi connection, so I had to wing it. She wanted her class under a tent created by her duvet. I swear the child is insane... didn't she know how hot it was? That was after she shut the door and the windows and turned the lights off.

I left her in the rain and headed off home. I was grateful for my long(ish) legs compared to the locals. I could jump the flooded sidewalks to relatively shallow water while they had to wade through. I felt like Mary Poppins sailing over the water with my umbrella that was threatening to disintegrate in the wind. We stood under the leaky bus shelter, each trying to crane past the others' umbrellas to see if the bus was coming. Needless to say, the buses were slow in coming. I had less than an hour to get home and get out to the next student. I waded home. The water at my last bus stop was almost at my knees. Yuck!

The storm grew worse. There was a major clap of thunder and lightning. It was right over us. Then the power went out. Our internet died at the same time, as I discovered when I got home.

At home, I dashed some food down my throat. The next student was a 2 hour long session and I'd be home really late. I had no time to change, but dried out while I ate. Heat has its advantages. I didn't want to dress up anyway, as the next student wasn't in a great end of town and I'd probably have to swim to him anyway.

I headed out. I took the wrong bus. I ended up having to walk a mile and some change. I was late - only by 10 minutes, but that just about killed me. I'm never late, especially for the first class with a new student. Then I arrived at the address. It was a major international corporation!! I was dressed in khakis and a t-shirt!! UGH! The student, who just happened to be the sales director of this company *cringe*, learned how to say sorry, profusely, many times over, within the first 5 minutes of the class. Once I'd regained my composure, the class went well. I even scored a ride home for which I was really grateful - in a luxury 4x4 with aircon. 'Home' was on his way.

Tuesday consisted of cancelled classes. My classes were online : (  Skype doesn't work without internet. Did you know that?

What's the height of boredom? Taking photos of the truly fascinating interior of your water bottle!

Today was back to normal. We got our internet back tonight - a brand, spanking new modem - after a day of yet more knee-deep rain. Ah fun! : )