Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

SO I found my flahsdrive! turns out I left it at work... so Christmas morning after going to say Hi to my grandmother (who can't join us today because she's not able to climb in and out of cars any more) and dropping off a DVD so that she would have something to watch and won't be all unhappy, then rushing off to church to see that some of the kids that I sued to babysit are now looknig older than me... then I rushed in to nuiversity to take the mp3s that I sorted through the other day home to amke an MP3 CD for LAra who just got an MP3/CD system for her car for Christmas.

So I figured, while I am probably the only person on campus, besides some rather disgruntled-looking security guards I might as well take a minute to say MERRY CHRISTMAS to all you people out there!

so MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Carols and I wish I was still a narcoleptic

So on Saturday night I ended up taking some fudge across to Chief Goth's house and playing guitar hero again. Lara was there as well as Laurin-of-the-spastic-colon who once AGAIN invited herself along. She has to leave early at least, to collect her friend Keegan, who she swears is actually female, but judging by the fact that a)we've only ever known male Keegans and b)she only got home at about 3am we're all pretty sure that there's something she's not telling us. In a rare moment of shared bitchiness, Lara and I waved goodbye while screaming out a fantastic rendition of "I kissed a girl" which, while not particularly melodious, was very well received - at least by our audience of Chief Goth and the next door neighbours.

We also watched some of a weird horror movie which was hysterical (to me), weird (to Chief Goth) and terrifying (to La). It was very weird trying to watch a movie with so many different reactions, and so we decided to skip Buzz and go straight to guitar hero. I was a lot more relaxed and managed to kick some serious butt, beating Cameron again as well as his friend Sean. I felt quite bad because apparently Cam was quite upset when he got home, but he liked the fudge and I promised to make him a batch so I hope that makes him feel better.

Other than that I worked yesterday morning, but was more just sitting around like a zombie, and at least it was quiet and there wasn't much to do. We're in the middle of a serious heatwave at the moment though and our air conditioning is broken so I ended up going to nearby restaurant and begging a bucket of ice from them, which Josh and I finished off in less than an hour.

Last night was the big carol service at church. I rebelled a bit in my own way - for once I arrived on time, I usually go late to skip the singing which annoys me, but considering it was a carol service unless I 'got the time wrong' and missed it I wasn't given much of a choice, but I wore a skull-and-crossbones necklace and some rather hectic makeup and didn't talk to anyone. As someone once said, I have no problem with God, I just have issues with the fan club.

The service was actually pretty cool. I usually hate carols, a result of being forced to play/sing them every year since I was about 6, but I think I might be moving past that now and I had fun singing them and listening to the choir battling through some rather tricky stuff. It was also nice to watch all the people around me and see how they reacted to various bits of music or changes in accompaniment. Adding in the fact that I am now FINISHED Christmas shopping, I feel like the spirit of Christmas is moving in now that I don't have much to complain about. All I have to do now is help clean the house in preparation for relatives, put up Christmas decorations and wrap presents. In no particular order.

So after all that I went home, made dinner for my family (they're all very involved at church and wouldn't be getting home for a while) and collapsed on my bed. And didn't sleep. Yes, that's right. I've gone full circle from narcolepsy (which, despite all the shortcomings left me refreshed and alert most of the time) straight to insomnia. I finally got to sleep about about 5am and only managed to wake up at 10am. So now I'm thinking seriously about taking a nap over my keyboard until my meeting in about 10 minutes.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

So I blinked and...

It's less than a week before Christmas! When on earth did that happen? As always, I had a bunch of goals for before Christmas, which are going to become 'before New Years' which will quickly descend into new years resolutions...

In the spirit of recovering from fieldwork, narcolepsy, diving and life in general, December has vanished into a haze of memories, mostly involving a few special friends and inane games (except for guitar hero, which I still love, but don't rock at nearly as much, but which will never be inane in my book).

So anyway last week I got to go for a real University Lunch, which basically involved going for lunch and then going back to university in time to pack up for the evening. It was fun and I do hope we'll be doing it again soon! I have seen what used to be a special friendship fall into dust (not including me this time, but I am saddened and definitely affected by it). Went Christmas shopping with friends, which was a lot more fun than shopping on my own, but took several hours longer. On the plus side, besides having Luke there to giggle at the random men stripping/walking around in girls' tanktops, kids with mullets... it also meant that we got to have a coffee break in the middle! Usually on my own I shop frantically, then go home and collapse. The injection of caffeine into the middle of the expedition made it infinitely more bearable.

The much anticipated 'Goth Clubbing Night' fell away when chief Goth broke her leg. It was sad and I hope she feels better soon as we played guitar hero last night and she was looking sore and unhappy and generally miserable about life. In true goth fashion, she could have gone clubbing anyway, as she doesn't dance, and her awesomely-cool leg brace thingie means that she has an excuse to wear a scary high shoe on the other foot so that she doen't hurt herself hobbling around, but I'm tired and I can't stay out late and to tell the truth, I'd prefer a nice evening with her and a couple of other friends arbing around (and playing guitar hero).

Guitar hero for the second time was a bit disappointing. I wasn't the incredible player anymore. I still beat everyone, but it was expected this time and not nearly so cool. I also felt that I wasn't playing very well, but I've also reached the point where playing anything (other than Raining Blood which is MY song) at the easy level is boring, so now I play on medium which I don't do nearly as well but at least I don't feel bored and cranky.

I got a really awesome Christmas bonus from the vet this morning! It was very unexpected and totally awesome and will go straight into my camera fund (I am upgrading to an SLR early next year and I'm so ecited I could explode!) and I managed to avoid any guilt becasue I had made them fudge as well as bought stickers for the vets' kids. Hannah Montana all the way!

That's all for me at the moment, must go off and get ready for another fantastic evening of guitar hero!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Once again... why do I do this to myself?

So on Thursday night I headed off to movies with Luke, Duncan, Dave and Athena. Bearing in mind that this is the first movie I've been to since Batman (I fell asleep in the car-chase scene - maybe narcolepsy was beginning a long time before I noticed it?) I was pretty excited, but ended up screeching into the centre exhausted having rushed home, rushed off to collect Elvis, rushed to return diving gear and then rushed to go and meet Luke to grab dinner before the movie. In my defence I managed to only be about 45 minutes alter than I'd planned and I managed to sneak food into the movie-house so all was not lost (so for all guys out there, THAT is why we have bags. That and the fact that we feel an instinctive need to be prepared enough to survive on a desert island should it ever happen. More about this later).

We saw Madagascar 2 and I laughed the whole way through, but not enough to draw too many strange looks. Moderation and so on you know? When I got home at around 11pm or so I found myself nearly having a fainting fit in my bedroom. I sat down and had some water (it couldn't have been blood sugar as I'd had a massive blue slushie in the movie house) and decided that I had to take it easy for the next few days. All those good intentions...

To avoid being sucked into long long conversations with the other student in my lab, when I eventually dragged myself out of bed, dropped off Christmas presents and then stumbled into university I hid out in Luke's lab for the afternoon, and managed to get a lot of work done in not much time as well as helping him to write his first macro in visual basic. From there I went home and watched an episode of the x-files before heading off to my ex-work for the Christmas party. No, I wasn't going to egg them or anything, I just resigned over a year ago but still work there so I was invited to the party, and as they have a secret Santa I was kind of obliged to at least make an appearance.

I didn't anticipate staggering home well after midnight having laughed so hard I'm sure I tore a few stomach muscles. Lara was there and as usual the two of us went off on our own wavelength and ended up ripping everyone around us to shreds without them even noticing. The 'in my pants' game also made a glorious comeback, which was hilarious particularly (at the time) because we ended up running (literally) into a random restaurant at 11pm and settled down at a table next to a couple who were very obviously on their first date. It was fun to be completely immature for an evening!

The next morning I was totally exhausted and sat semi-comatose at the vet. Fortunately it seemed pretty quiet and I was able to help the few people who came in without needing to wake up too much. Then at about 10:30 6 separate clients walked in at exactly the same time. so I had to wake up to handle the chaos of dogs chasing cats, puppies escaping, crying people, people yelling and the phone ringing incessantly.

We only closed about an hour after closing time as people kept arriving and I haven't got the heart to turn away people who need dogfood or medication for their pets. Finally I managed to grab the phone between calls and switch it to answering machine mode and then cash up (for the third time) and sprint out the door with only an hour to spare before I had to meet Lara to go to her friend Storm's house. Storm is a huge One Republic and Maroon 5 fan, and as they were having a concert that night her friends had bought her a ticket and were surprising her with it that afternoon. Needless to say I arrived an hour and a half late and missed the surprise, as well as running off to the bathroom during dinner to put on makeup as according to Laurin (of the spastic colon) I looked 'totally worn out' (i.e. terrible).

The concert was awesome! I am not a maroon 5 or a one republic fan, but they had two of my favourite bands playing first as well as three little bands doing a battle of the bands type thing. The group that one definitely had the best bad, but their lead singer should be shot. One of the bands that I really wanted to see was really incredible. They aren't as much a band as two guys who DJ while playing about 5 different instruments each at various stages. It was amazing! Admittedly I was the only one in my immediate vicinity who even knew their music (and went ballistic, to many strange looks from the people around me) but by the end of their set everyone was going ballistic. at one point one of the guys was playing a little saxophone riff and we all started singing along, to the point where he was able to stop playing while we sang it back to him, over and over and over. His smile just got bigger and bigger and we got louder and louder. It must be amazing to have a huge arena with a good 20 thousand people in it singing your music back at you!

Once we got to the main acts I got through mostly on the strength that La and I have been to so many concerts together that we know when the other wants to dance like a moron/sing along/make snide comments or just be left alone to listen (that's usually more me than her). We also totally filled in Timbaland's part in Apologise (Eh! Eh!) which was awesome although we were nearly lynched a few times. Some of my students came to say hi, but I think I scared them a bit... We finished up at around 1am (having been standing/jumping around for a good 7 hours) and I headed over to Lara's house where she made me a huge mug of coffee and we ended up staying late talking crap. Like how that Bear guy said if you want to be rescued on a desert island and you have red lipstick you can write HELP with it. Of course that has its problems as (according to Lara) only sluts wear red lipstick therefore only sluts would be rescued, unless we were to start carrying it around as a precaution in case we were ever to end up stuck on a desert island. And that is how out bags get fuller and fuller!

Eventually she managed to shut me up long enough for her to go off to bed and I passed out in her room for about 5n hours until we got up and had breakfast with her mom. It was really awesome, sitting around eating snack-witches in out pyjamas while her mom recounted every episode she'd ever seen on national geographic (this is a relatively common reflex for most people when they find out that they've just met a zoologist). I felt like I was 15 again and it was awesome!

So after all that I went home and lay down for a nap before I had to get up and get some work done. I woke up about 7 hours later and had to rush off to church before rushing off to the ex-work to protect Lara from Laurin and get a movie. And then I settled in bed with my laptop (around 11ish) when Duncan decided that he's had enough to drink and that it would be a good time to call me. It was very entertaining but after about 40 minutes my mother started screaming at the computer so I had to help her. Turns out she was trying to talk to my aunt in the UK over Skype, but my aunt couldn't hear her. After I plugged the microphone in it was all fine though and I went off to bed.

So, to the title of this post, once again ti is morning, I am at university and I'm exhausted. Why do I keep doing this to myself? And why do my friends have to be so much fun that I can never go for 'an hour or so' as I promise myself every time so that I can go home and sleep? I am a lucky lucky person! Darn it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The crappiest miracle ever: a guest post

So the other day Luke and I were discussing random stuff, as we do, and somehow ended up talking about childbirth. So I begged and whined until he agreed to write a guest post on childbirth: the male perspective. While I am female, and should probably have very different perspectives, I must admit to agreeing to a lot of his points.

Anyway here it is:

The Crappiest Miracle Ever

I am forever grateful for the fact that I have testes. Apart from the obvious bonuses of being able to stand and pee, and never having to consider the pluses of buying sanitary pads with or without wings, there is the glaringly obvious forte of never having to give birth to a child.

I have given the idea a great deal of thought over the years and have come to the conclusion that I doubt that I will ever have children of my own. I love kids, they’re great! However, I can’t get over that little voice of social conscience in my head that reminds me just how many children there are in this world already and how many, particularly in South Africa given our current AIDS pandemic and the related orphan crisis, desperately need homes and families. So, in light of my internal Jiminy Cricket, I think it is safe to say that, should I someday decide to have kids, I will adopt.

But adoption is not the point of this post. This post is about carrying a baby for 9 months. It’s the male’s perspective on how grateful we are that we won’t ever have to do it. It’s about how much I admire women for baring the brunt of the continuation of our species.

While I am most definitely not against the procedures leading up to pregnancy, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the whole idea scares me! The thought of having a small creature growing inside of you is a little too close to something out of ‘Alien’. Interestingly enough, the developing embryo does behave like a parasite in many ways; sapping the mothers bodily resources for example. So while the ‘little miracle’ drains the mother’s life blood (almost literally…) she has the joy of lower back pain, a bladder that functionally mirrors that of a small rodent and the hormonal imbalances and associated mood swings of a psychotic.

Naturally, never having experienced this all, I’m giving a very one-sided view. But, on the plus side, women’s boobs get huge, which, I think we can all agree, is appreciated by all parties…

Then comes the exciting and delightful right of passage: the birth itself.

I never cease to be perplexed by the range of types of birth that one can select from. I remember seeing a documentary about several births that occurred simultaneously in several countries around the world. It was fascinating to watch but, aside from the stark social contrasts between the individuals shown in the different countries the range of ways it could be pulled off was fascinating! From the classic scenario of the gynaecologist taking a look and shrieking something like, ‘Oh sh*t! We’re gonna need help…like, NOW!’ to the water birth, the possibilities seem endless. The latter is a great cause for concern in my mind. The idea of spending a few hours in a large vat of warmed water, swirling with your own blood and faeces, doesn’t exactly leave me feeling like I need to bring a life into this world…

There are several aspects to the birthing process which I cannot fathom. Firstly, the need to dilate a hole, normally the size of a golf-ball to approximate a watermelon. That in itself must be agony, but, as if God hadn’t put females through enough, this often doesn’t happen and there are one of two possibilities; tearing of the tissues to make the hole big enough (voluntarily or otherwise) or a caesarean section.

You are not likely to find many individuals as squeamish as myself, and so naturally, the idea of tearing tissues freaks me out completely! Not only that but tearing tissues in your nether regions of all places! I take my hat off to any mother who has endured a natural birth!

I have heard from many people that the C-section is by far the best and easiest means of extracting the child from your innards. I was recently told by a friend that the stress of the birth process, an aspect that is lacking from the procedure of the C-section, is vital for the normal psychological development of the child as it grows later in life. This aside, I’ve always wondered about how good it is for a child to spend the first moments in it’s new world with all manner of pain medication coursing through the veins that it shares with it’s mother.

Bearing all this in mind, there are still people on this planet. That means that either we are so genetically hard-wired to procreate that we cannot stop ourselves, or that perhaps there is something to the bond formed between mother and child in jointly enduring the horrors of birth. I know, from discussions with my own family, that apparently, once you see your child, belting forth and covered in afterbirth, you cannot help but instantly fall in love with it. I’d also be lying if I didn’t admit that there is always a part of me that goes all ‘Awww…’ whenever I see a baby too so I can’t point any fingers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I don't feel like writing anything profound

So I figured I'd try out the video posting thing. Here is a segment form one of my favourite video-clips. It's from the desert mole-rat expedition 2 years ago (two years already?) and it features Luke and the German who took us to help her on fieldwork. Luke has an annoying and uncanny ability to sense when he's being filmed, but in this case the german had no idea... unfortunately she caught on pretty quickly and so a lot of the other clips came out slightly staged-ish.

This is real, unedited fieldwork in all its glory! I had to cut the beginning because it was too big, so excuse the random start. And my inane questions were usually to try and promote some kind of conversation (it's amazing, you have the weirdest, most random conversations about everything, but the minute a camera comes out - even if people have no idea that they're being filmed, it all stops...).


video

Monday, December 08, 2008

I'm going to be a cheesy blogger

I'm going to be a cheesy blogger and write about my weekend. After all the misery of being 'unfriended' on Friday, I was fortunate to have an awesome weekend with some very special friends and it made me feel 10000000% better!

So on Friday after Luke was really nice to me and gave me advice, helped me to reply to the friend who was being so immature and accompanied me on several admin trips - the last of which we did barefoot! It was raining and we were both in slip-slops which are really dangerous to walk in when they are wet... I ended up finishing my day by helping my supervisor catch a likkewaan (monitor lizard) and then going to gym.

I'm really enjoying gym at the moment and not ending up in excruciating pain like last time I started exercising regularly. It's really nice and something about running 3km before I go home every day (I know, I know, but it's been a while!) that makes me super-energetic and happy with life. Gotta love those endorphins! From there I headed home, took a nap (still battling the narcolepsy a little bit) and headed off to Nicola's house for a games evening of buzz and monopoly.

I got there to find that there was no power, but it came back on after a little bit (to great cheers from the Cantina Tequila across the road) and that Nicola had forgotten monopoly and that the buzz kit had disappeared into the black hole of scariness known as her brother's room. so we played Guitar Hero instead.

I had never played it before and I was quite nervous. Lara and Nicola played first so I was terribly intimidated by Nicola's performance and then terrified by the fact that Lara's turn only lasted about a minute because she's so bad that it cut her off after not very much... So I took my turn. And I was awesome! It turns out that it's really not very different to reading music and considering that I could read music before I could read words, I think all those years of music lessons (from before I started school until a year or so after I started university) paid off. Nicola wouldn't believe I'd never played before and I beat her and her brother's high scores on the hardest song! I felt quite sorry for Lara but she was really nice about the fact that we were having an awesome time and she failed on 'Slow Rider' about a million times (it was stuck in my head for days) and I left there really really late still laughing from the fun of spending time with special friends and not doing anything too special but just enjoying their company.

Saturday morning was really difficult. Besides the fact that I had to work at the vet and I was exhausted, the vet had been up later than me the night before, and by some awful coincidence (kind of like when everyone brings puppies on the same day) we had a whole bunch of dogs who were put to sleep, one after the other. So in the waiting room I had crying owners, crying other owners who saw the situation and joined in, I was battling the tears, the vet was battling the tears... It was the hardest shift I've ever had to work. So I went to see Lara right after and she made me feel better and I went home and narcolepsed on the nearest flat surface (in this case, very fortunately, it was my bed, but I wound up sleeping upside down with my feet on the pillows and my head hanging off the side) until Luke called to find out about our plans for the evening.

We ended up at a pizza place near the zoo with about 10 zoo-keepers who kept us entertained with a whole bunch of funny zoo stories. By now I've heard most of them before, but I love them anyway.

After all that I got home and in bed by around midnight and had to be up super-early to get to one of the zoo vet's homes by 6:45 am to go diving for the day. I just made it in time but Elaine and Caleb who were also diving, were late so it was ok. My sinuses are still bothering me and I was exhausted and not very enthusiastic, but Caleb got me coffee on the way which probably saved my life!

It was hard diving with other people. For one thing, everyone in the group I was with had been trained by the same people so they had quite an in-depth bunch of procedures and hand signals that I just didn't understand. I'm also still battling a bit with my buoyancy and weighting just because I haven't dived much over the last few years and that can only come right by practise. the other thing was that I'm a little bit afraid of the two instructors (I love them both to bits, but they scare me!) and if you're nervous you tend to hold more air in your lungs than you realise and that makes you float...). But ti was fun and once I got used to it I think I did ok. I got to see three friends of mine qualify which was really special and I managed to get 2 dives on a single 10 litre tank (everyone else was diving with at least 12 litres) which means that my breathing is starting to get under control a little bit.

By the end though my tank was so light that I ended up spending my safety stop (3metres underwater) holding on to a piece of rubble and trying to think calm thoughts so I wouldn't shoot to the surface. I'm glad I went though it was a lot of fun, I only passed out once (on a boardwalk in the sun, so my nose is a lovely shade of beetroot now), I ate between dives, which was totally bizarre for me as I'm normally too seasick to eat or drink anything. I found blue food and had a bright blue mouth for the last dive which caused much hilarity!

After all that we headed home, I picked up my car and then went to Nicola's house to drop off money for tickets for New Year's (we're going to a rock circus this year) and then went and had coffee with Lara and Laurin which was awesome because I haven't had any decent girly conversation in a while and they didn't disappoint!

So now I'm sitting in my lab, trying desperately to stay awake but pretty happy with life in general! So all in all, it was a good weekend, even though I think I'm going to revert to full-time narcolepsy to recover from it!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Go back to high school

SO, once again I have promised to write about something and I'm not going to. Yet. I will have to make a list and work through it all one day. I DO want to write about diving, I DO want to write about visiting the zoo yesterday and seeing the monkeys again and playing with a lemur. And back in time I still need to write about the desert trip and the bush pig bathtub guy and the farmers wife with her leaf blower.

But for now, something is bothering me.

I have a friend from high school. Most of the people I spent time with back then I have lost touch with and, thanks to Facebook I chat to one or two of them from time to time, but that's about it. Partly because high school was not a happy time in my life by any definition of the term, and partly because I find that if I do see them we have nothing to talk about. I'm away a lot and so when I'm around I really try to make an effort to be a good friend, but that means (as nasty as it sounds) prioritising people. I can't get my work done and still see all the people I care about. I can barely cope with getting my work done and seeing the friends I would classify as 'close' plus the people I am in the "getting to know" phase with who I really do want to get to know better.

I used to be a good friend, I never forgot birthdays, I kept up to date with how everyone was, I drank so much coffee with various people that my mild liking for coffee developed into a full-blown addiction. But not anymore.

So back to the point. This girl is... difficult. We were friends through school because we did a lot of extracurriculars together. We were at a fancy private school where I didn't fit into the traditional mould of "long blonde hair and eight layers of makeup" and neither did she. She went off on a weird pagan phase and I was into punk rock and metal and would have dyed my hair blue if a)my parents and b) school regulations would allow it. We were both from normal families which had morals and values rather than piles and piles of money and as such we found that we could relate to each other.

But after school things changed. I went to university and on my first day, in my first lecture I found an empty seat and shyly asked if I could sit there, and the girl who moved her bag out of the way became one of my closest friends. And so it continued. I'm not saying that university was a social cakewalk... but I was never alone or unhappy and I have been blessed with some of the most incredible people who I can call my friends.

This girl (who I will call Susie for anonymity and because I can't think of a better name) had a similar atmosphere. I know some people from her classes and I like them all. They're all lovely, sweet, friendly people. And yet by the end of a four-year degree, she had no friends in the world except for me and her next-door neighbour. We went of field trips for our studies, I went to a lot more than she did, and I survived everything from sharing a 1-person hut with 6 other people to showering in shoes because of a spider invasion, to sharing 2 showers with 60 other people and getting up to shower at 3am to avoid the queue, only to find a queue because everyone else had had the same thoughts. And those trips are among the happiest memories I have. You learn to appreciate the awfulness of a situation for it's humour and for the weirdness of choosing a career where getting into the shower to open the door to get out of the bathroom while trying to keep your socks dry in subzero temperatures can be considered normal. And through it all you bond as a group in a way that I've never known in any other situation.

She went on her first trip and phoned me every day to complain because the bath was dirty (first rule of fieldtrips: DO NOT use the bath! Shower if you can, otherwise find some extra-strength disinfectant first!). She made no friends on that trip. One of my brother's closest friends and a girlfriend who went to the same place, and she told me that she'd never had more fun...

I tried to prompt her into a more positive outlook. I like to whine myself, but usually purely for the drama of it, but I tried to explain that she would have more fun if she tried just a little bit... But it didn't work. As the years passed it got harder and harder for me to spend time with her. We really have nothing to talk about. I got tired of the phone calls which, as if scripted always go as follows:

me: "Hello?"
Susie: "Hi, is that Helen?"
me: "yes."
Susie:" It's Susie, how are you?"
me: "I've got a leg in traction and I haven't slept for 3 days, but otherwise everything's awesome! how are you?" (obviously the injuries change between calls)
Susie: "*sigh*" and then a half-hour rant about how awful her life is and how cute her dog is and how he sat when she told him to, but the he wanted his rawhide bone. Not the rawhide bone that you get from the petshop down the road from her, he only likes the rawhide bones from the market... and so on.

I know that her life is, to all extents and purposes, pretty empty, but at the same time every call got a little bit more draining until I just couldn't. So sometimes when she called I wouldn't answer and I would wait until I had a bit cup of coffee and I would listen to her voicemail. And then I would call back, or send a message or something and we'd invariably end up having coffee or something where I'd end up having to hear all about her dog again.

The kicker for me was when she got her name changed (officially) because she didn't like correcting people's pronunciation. It was the equivalent of doing all the paperwork to change her name from "Susan" to "Susie." She's adopted, and her parents waited for over 2 years to get her, and they picked out her name really carefully and they love her to bits. I I felt like she was kicking them in the face for it.

And so, over the past 6 years our friendship has kind of deteriorated and I feel guilty, but I'm just not around enough to spend lots of time with her, and I know that every time she calls and I'm out of town she feels like I'm avoiding her, but there's nothing I can do!

So anyway. She called about a week ago while I was having a narcoleptic episode and didn't leave a message. I would have answered it too, but - as anyone who knows me during nap time will tell you, it would take a small earthquake to wake me and my ring tone isn't that loud. I didn't call back because I figured if she hadn't left a message it was because she would call back. Then the conference and diving happened and I hadn't had time to sit still since then when I woke to this message this morning:

I just want to say that I won't bother u with phone calls or smses anymore since u never answer them. Good luck with everything. Our friendship was great while it lasted. Susie"

And now I don't know what to do. I know she's lonely, but I don't know if I should respond, or leave her to her sulking. And if I respond what do I say? I feel like I'm 15 all over again!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Don't kick the narcoleptic!

So the conference was actually quite interesting, and I found myself enjoying it far more than I wanted to admit! I met some nice people (of course I ended up sitting with a bunch of zoo-keepers, I seem to attract them!) and heard some interesting talks. It was at a dam that was more like a small ocean, it had waves and everything!

My talk was ok, I think. There were a lot of questions and I had fun as always (I love the question session in a masochistic kind of way, it's when you figure out if you REALLY know your stuff or not!) and I was asked a question about my lizards by the guy the lizard was actually named after! HOW cool is that? Yes. I'm a nerd.

So After about 24 hours of being there I got my uber-cool conference bag (it has a tomato frog on it) and drove the four hours home in some pretty intense rain. The traffic was appallin once I was nearly home, so I detoured to visit Lara for an hour or so to wait it out, and ended up staying for nearly 3 hours. She passed all her exams really well and now has a second degree! We also fell about giggling to a bunch of random songs that I had on my Ipod. I hadn't seen Lara for pretty much 4 or 5 months, except the occasional really quick hello, so it was really amazing to spend some time with her and remmeber how much her friendship means to me.

Soppiness over, I finally got home at about 10pm and had to pack for our departure at 6 the next morning. I managed relatively quickly and then couldn't sleep because I was so excited.

So basically, I elft home at about 6:30am on about 10 hours sleep total for the previous week, and very little sleep in total since about August. That kind of exhaustion is weird, because instead of the classic yawning and stuff, you get toally wired and bouncy and then occasionally your body decided that it's had enough now and you must sleep. So the first horizontal surface encountered becomes a temporary bed.

So halfway tot he beach I fell asleep in the car. It's really not that unusual to sleep in the car, but my friends seemed to find it amusing. It was only a short nap, and ended when I had a dream that we were driving up to a traffic circle and turning right, but I could feel (in reality) the car turning left so I woke up and said "We should turn right at the traffic circle!" Turns out we were at a stop-street, but we came across a bunch of traffic circles right after that which was quite creepy!

Over the weekend I gave several repeat performances. It didn't surprise me, I usually sleep a lot between dives, and on this trip there wasn't much organisation so the dives started being quite close together and I ended up not having my usual collapse-on-the-beach time so I slept whenever else I could.

What I don't understand is how people found it so incredibly funny that I kept falling asleep. For crying out loud I hadn't slept properly in about four months, it wasn't an amusing quirk, it was a necessity for survival!

I will write more about the trip at some stage, I'm just trying to get my thoughts about it all sorted out in my head. I also think I should catch up on some sleep, I'm still waking up at 6am automatically...

But I just want to say: if you have a friend who believes in power-naps, don't kick the narcoleptic!