Sunday, August 24, 2008

Presents for Africa

We leave on Tuesday morning for South Africa. I'd ordered lots of presents on that were going to be shipped last Tuesday, but that then got delayed and they were only scheduled to be sent tomorrow! No good. So I cancelled the order and, being unable to find the gifts in town (I looked quite hard), I went out on a massive shopping spree yesterday. Thankfully, I was quite successful! I have one more present to buy, but I packed up the presents I had for everyone else yesterday and it was a lot of fun! Knowing that I would be devastated if the presents were in a piece of lost luggage, I'm seriously thinking about putting a lot of them in my hand luggage. Packing will start later today.

Anyway, I wanted to show off the fruits of my labors yesterday (see photo below). A note on "presents for Africa" to the non-South Africans who read this: saying "X for Africa" is a phrase meaning a lot of X (kind of like saying "enough food to feed an army"). Not included in the photo are photo albums I made (one for my grandmother, with Genevieve's wedding photos, and the other as a "brag book" (mostly of G's wedding) with copies of photos for those who want them) and some T-shirts (new) that G gave me to distribute to less wealthy people I come across in my travels. And before you think I'm strange for giving kitchen sponges to people, it seems that S. Africans quite like those sponges with a scrubber on one side. And note, too, that a lot of the "bigger" presents are at the back of the bags, hidden from view. They include Microplane graters for my aunts/uncles!

Well, that's all until I return, and I will post an itinerary and a link to my photos then. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Opening ceremony of the Olympics

I only got to see part of the Parade of Nations of the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics on TV the other night and I didn't find that very interesting. But, I saw still photos of other parts of the ceremony and realized that I must have missed something amazing. Thankfully, I found a video of the "pageantry" part on the NBC Olympics website. Under "NBC Encore" on the left menu, you can find the Opening Ceremony in three parts. I *highly* recommend watching part I--truly spectacular. I had no idea that humans could work that well together.

For Genevieve: on the same page, they also have a video of dressage for the 3-day event.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Splint update

That monstrous splint I'm wearing on my leg when I sleep seems to be working--my foot is hurting less. Yay! The first two nights I wore it, I woke up probably 6 times though, needing to readjust my leg position. It still wakes me up sometimes, but it's much better. I took the splint to Seattle for Genevieve's wedding (see photos I took of the wedding weekend here, but don't look too soon 'cos I still have to edit (winnow and caption) the gallery), but I think it is too monstrous to take to South Africa (leaving 26 August!!) so will likely just take my old (smaller) splint.

Jesse has stopped wearing his medical shoe, but his foot still hurts. He also had big problems when he started wearing a different shoe (a hiking boot, so it is still stiff underneath) after 2 weeks in the medical shoe, because all his foot muscles and nerves had to wake up again... and they felt a bit weird for a while.

Anyway, thanks for your concern and pity for our patheticness.

Another tag--A to Z facts about me

Kirsty tagged me.

A. Attached or Single? Attached

B. Best Friend? Jesse (awwww!)

C. Cake or Pie? Cake, if I have to choose between those, but my favorite desserts starting with C are cobbler and creme brulee

D. Day of the week? Friday--now that I don't work on the weekend anymore (as I did in graduate school), I find my brain takes a few days (starting cold on Mondays) to get into it's most productive mode at work. By Friday, I often think I'm a genius. Mondays, I feel like my brain is pumping molasses. Also, I do somewhat look forward to the weekend, so that makes Fridays fun.

E. Essential Items? Crocs

F. Favorite Color? Blue for looking at, brown for wearing

G. Gummy Bears or Worms? Worms. But really neither, since I try to avoid eating gelatine. Favorite gummy candies are Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids and Jelly Tots (South African--thanks for reminding me of those Kirsty!)

H. Hometown? Johannesburg, South Africa

I. Indulgences? Sitting on the couch, surfing the Internet, good desserts

J. January or July? January--my birthday month. And July can be too hot (January can also be too cold, as I can attest from my years of living in Wisconsin)

K. Kids? Someday

L. Life isn't complete without? A good workout. And family.

M. Marriage Date? Never! Okay, maybe someday, in a judge's chambers or something. But probably just to take care of a health care issue.

N. Number of Brothers and Sisters? 1 sister

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples, though not as much as when I was a teenager (forget 1 a day... I was doing 3 a day or so), and oranges are gaining

P. Phobias or Fears? Human-made objects under water (including Kreepy-Kraulys--just looking for a photo of one freaked me out--and pipes) and natural objects under water that shouldn't be there--like whole trees, as I saw in the clear, clear water of Quetico when I went canoeing there a couple of years ago. FREAKY! I hyperventilate for the first 5 minutes of snorkeling. Then I start loving it (if there are pretty fish and none of the above objects).

Q. Quote: "Efficiency is intelligent laziness"--David Dunham; but just last night I saw this on a new facebook friend's page: "the best way to get something done is to begin" and I quite like that one too

R. Reasons to Smile: I have a good family

S. Superman or Wonder Woman: don't know enough to decide. I think I liked Wonder Woman when I was a kid though, so I'll go with her. Actually, when I was 6 and living in Athens, Georgia, I successfully blew all the seeds off a dandelion and wished I were Wonder Woman, but it didn't come true, so the next dandelion I tried, I wished it again but couldn't blow all the seeds off. When I told me mom about my wish not coming true, she told me that it was because I had tried again and failed. Or at least that's how I remember the story

T. Tag 5 people: you, you, you, you and you. I still don't think I even have 5 readers, and one of my readers is the person who tagged me :-)

U. Unknown Fact about Me? I have a mole shaped like a fried egg (with a "yolk" higher than the "whites") on my stomach

V. Vegetables? Oh yeah! Love them. I'm a subscriber of the Be Wise Ranch Community-Supporter Agriculture (CSA) program. Favorites are tomatoes (okay, that's a fruit, but whatever), chard, green (or purple or yellow) beans and potatoes (fried in oil, of course).

W. Worst Habit? Checking email frequently

X. X-ray or ultrasound? Never had an ultrasound. One time I had an X-ray, I got to lie on a mighty comfy camp mattress--and so I learned about Thermarest camping mattresses and went out and bought myself one for backpacking

Y. Your favorite food? No one favorite, but plenty of favorites: Twix, Creme brulee, Sunkist fruit gems, caprese salads (tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil), good baby potatoes (with oil-crisped skin), good cheese, South African-style fudge, cobbler crumb topping, good lentil soup, tempura vegetables, avocado sushi, pecans, dried fruit, Terra chips... I could go on and on

Z.Zodiac sign: Aquarius