So anyway yesterday was one of those awful write-off days (I'm in a bit of a slump and need to get my act together!). I've become used to working while at work and getting a lot done in the mornings and now that I'm back to full-time studying I'm missing the structure (if not the early mornings).
Anyway to cut a long story short we were kicked out of the lab so that the cleaning staff could turn everything upside down, flood the place and then polish the floor, leaving everything sparkling clean! And so we did what any self-respecting postgrads would do when confronted witha barrier to work: we went and got coffee while grumbling about having to pay for it, when we usually spend all our money on coffee grounds and milk (which doesn't count!).
And so we got chatting and it left us in a not-working frame of mind and so when we were finally allowed back into the lab I mentioned to Luke that I remembered this song from back in the day:
And so it degenerated into a long nostalgia session, which I felt that I must share with the world in general. I'm working on a playlist at the moment but it's taking a lot of sifting through the giant pile of cassette tapes I found in my cupboard recently. These are some of the songs I've come across that have given me flashbacks (and byt that I mean some, not all as the ist is very very long!):
Don't judge me (and if you weren't a teenager in the late 90's then don't watch this one, it's AWFUL!) - sadly enough I saw them live and thought they were fantastic!
I struggled as a kid because I had so many very different musical influences. On the one side I had my brother who educated me about grunge and gentle alternative rock (I have memories of listening to Green Day with the volume turned as low as we could so that our parents wouldn't hear the lyrics to 'Brat' Or giggling whenever someone in The Offspring swore. I was also trained to play classical music from before I could even read and I still listen to that from time to time.
I also had the world's most awesome radio show to educate me: The Night Zoo of which I was an avid listener from when I was 12 and got my first radio ("If it's too loud... you're TOO OLD!"). It was always fun to try and hde my headphones from my parents when they came to say goodnight and I often taped the show in case I fell asleep (I think it started at 9 or 10 pm?).
From there, most importantly Thursday night's modern rock chart where I learned to love gems like this:
not to mention going through the obligatory Nirvana, Metallica and Smashing Pumpkins phases. I must admit, I never did the whole Pearl Jam thing, and I still can't bring myself to listen to them much, although their lead singer has a song out that is AMAZING and I had it on repeat for days.Check it out:
Eventually I moved on to The Prodigy and vaguely dancy music as well - to tell the truth as long as it was loud and had a beat I would listen to it.
At the same time I was a teenage girl, and so I had to go through the requisite stages of listening to these guys:
Scarily enough as much as I cring now, I quite liked them then and had many many posters on my walls which had to be burned as soon as I passed that stage. I was also about 13 when Britney Spears released her first album and I was a participant in many Britney vs Christina arguments (I think I switched sides often just to annoy people).
Which leaves me with one last memory (for now). How is it that whenever this song came on people would start line-dancing? I mena I get it that the music is right for line-dancing but how did everyone always know what to do? I always felt like I'd skipped out on a special class or something...
Of course there are so many other songs and so many other memories!
Anyone keen to share the soundtrack to their childhood? Particularly if it was the 90's!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
So anyway yesterday was one of those awful write-off days (I'm in a bit of a slump and need to get my act together!). I've become used to working while at work and getting a lot done in the mornings and now that I'm back to full-time studying I'm missing the structure (if not the early mornings).
Monday, June 29, 2009
***(for the record there are no spiders, just wanted to make sure you were paying attention)
Friday, June 26, 2009
I love failblog.org! After wasting far too much time on it today I thought I'd share the love a bit... Enjoy!
see more Fail Blog
Anyway, I'm off now to get changed and stuff to go for dinner with Chief Goth and (I hope) Lara tonight, and maybe head off with Jo and Z (the makeup artist) clubbing after that.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I was supposed to go and visit Jo at her new job today- she's working
at a photography studio quite close to the vet.
I spoke to her on the phone to confirm, and to mention that I'd
forgotten my camera- very annoying as I got a new lens a little while
ago and I've been having some trouble with it- it shows a lovely
picture on my camera screen, but when I put the photos on my computer
they come out very very dark.
The plan was to try it on her camera and see if it was any better.
When I explained that being at work at 8am was not conducive to me
remembering ANYTHING she said "Don't worry, you can use mine!"
She phoned me a few minutes later to ask if I had my laptop. When I
said yes she said I should get some of my better photos together.
I explained that that might be a problem as in all of the several
thousand pictures I've taken, there might be two that have people as
the subject, and maybe another ten where I've used people to help
provide a focus in a landscape shot.
After many phone calls she asked if I could come any earlier- and as I
was having a haircut I could skip the blowdry and she'd do my hair.
Finally she explained the situation- their freelance photographer
basically drop-kicked the studio camera on a shoot on sunday, and
they're desperate for someone to do the odd shoot on weekends. And
she'd told her boss that I was coming and I was a great photographer
and he'd rescheduled his day in order to meet me!
After a mild freak-out on my part I met the guy, who was really nice
and basically offered me a job if (and he stressed this point a LOT)
IF I can actually shoot.
So I spent my afternoon observing Joey in action- she's really good at
her job, despite my reservations at her technical prowess- and doing a
trial shoot. They made me shoot her so that I wouldn't try and pass
her work off as my own (as if!) which was awesome as she is SUCH a
It was so much fun! I'll elaborate tomorrow, right now I'm exhausted
and going to get some very much needed sleep!
Posted by Helen at 11:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
So I drove past the lady from yesterday, and while she gave me a look that would have stripped pant, she seemed otherwise OK! Admittedly the glare could have been a response to me wide smile at seeing her alive and not bleeding from the head...
I'm tired at the moment. Working during the week at the vet, followed by dashing to the lab to get some more work done has been taking its toll on me. I have a friend (who is really awesome) who has greeting me with some variation on "You look tired" every time I've seen her in the last month. I hate to respond with an explanation because it just comes out sounding whiny!
I spent some time with a friend last night. It's a weird friendship in that it literally went from acquaintance to one of the most honest and insanely-deep friendships overnight. I think a lot of it is that we have very similar issues to deal with and he picked up on it pretty quickly. To risk sounding incredibly cheesy, it's like he 'gets' me. And he's not afraid to tell me I'm full of crap if I need to hear it, and not in the "shut up and grow up and tough it out" kind of way that a lot of my other friends do. Instead he tried to make me figure out what's underneath all the crap that I show the world in general.
To tell the truth the first time we had a really long conversation (like 6 hours of it) I left feeling exhausted, incredibly vulnerable and a little bit angry that he could suggest certain things. A lot of it was me being defensive and holding on really tightly to my security-blanket behaviour that I think is definitely valuable but maybe not very nice.
Fortunately I followed that conversation with three weeks in the middle of nowhere (remember all those fun stories?). Well between facing off leopards and snakes, falling down cliffs and generally acting like a zoologist there is a lot of quiet which makes your brain kick in to introspection-mode. I over think a lot, and when I have no conversations to rehash in my head I start to think about issues a bit closer to home. By the time I came home I had kind of thought through a lot of what we'd talked about and realised that the reason that a lot of it made me angry was because it was true. And the clinging on to the security blankets in the way that I do is a bad thing - it keeps me safe from a lot of very real things (which I'm terrified of dealing with) but it turns me into a person that I don't really like very much.
Anyway the point is that I've been battling with things lately. I haven't been happy in a long time, and I haven't felt like there's anywhere I can go with what's happening in my head. And last night I was prepared for what was going to happen and so I forced myself to keep my mind slightly more open than otherwise and I left afterwards feeling OK about life.
Now there are a few things I have to sort through: I had Lara's voice in my head last night saying something she told me once: "there are two categories of behaviour, acceptable and unacceptable. If someone around you behaves in a manner that is not acceptable according to your standards, then don't let them anywhere near you. You have to have the strength to tell them that they're behaving badly and if they don't rectify the situation then cut them out of your life. They'll only damage you."
Does ignoring the 'deal-breakers' happening around me make me a bad person? I guess I've been sacrificing my self-respect a lot lately and that's not OK. And as much as I can pinpoit where thngs started to go wrong, I finally figured out that it's not about making sure that the person/people to blame get ther come-uppance. It's the fact that if other people let themselves be so easily manipulated, is it worth my sticking around?
My friendships have been dwindling lately. I spent a Saturday night in the gym for crying out loud! I'm kind of reaching a state of not knowing whether it's me or them - I am changing, introspection does that, but at the same time, my security-blanket behaviour works. Its given me friends, achievements, accolades, confidence, basically the life I wanted. To cast it off and be a real person rather than a robot means that the people I associate with might not like me anymore. And that scares me. A lot.
And maybe I shouldn't work to revive friendships that are floundering. if the other person doesn't seem to care, why should I? Is spending a Saturday night alone and lonely, but self-actualised all that scary?
Oh yes it is.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
First things first: the people in our lab eat popcorn almost every day. We love it and there's a place on campus that sells it relatively cheaply aand they make it really well as long as you don't look very closely at the oil... So when I was getting quotes for a coffee machine I got one for a popcorn maker as well (an air-popper not needing oil and all that nasty stuff) but we decided against it. Then I saw it on special for next to nothing on the weekend, Leia is super-keen to chip in and get it, Luke not so much...
As the deciding vote I can't make up my mind (no pun intended) so I have put up a poll (top right hand side of this page). Please vote and help me on this! It's not as arduous as commenting (although you are more than welcome to eplain your choice) and is totally naonymous so all you lurker out there are welcome to click a button and make your voice heard, but not identified!
Ok, so to the point of today's post... I got new shoes, and NO I don't feel guilty because they were on sale and therefore better-than-reasonably priced! I actually picked a different pair and was already at the checkout when I saw the shoes that I REALLY wanted, and the long-suffering salesman let me try them on. And what are the chances that the only pair left fitted me?
This is them:
Aren't they awesome? They come with a choice of black and pink laces, so I went with the pink, which make people visibly recoil at their brightness, but I don't really care, I like them! The best part is that I don't have to lace them up, and the padding which makes them super-comfy also makes them really nice and warm! And they match my pink paper-clip earrings!
So the guilt? well today I worked at the vet and from there went to the centre where I used to work to return DVDs that I hadn't got around to watching yet. I figured as I was going to go straight to the lab I'd get spinach and feta pie while I was at it and of course I walked past the hairdresser that I used to go to.
I moved from them to my friend's husband's sister's husband's aunt instead as she's much cheaper and really good and she works from home which is conveniently near to where my friend lives and so she used to come and keep my company while I got my hair done. She was also awesome enough to dye my hair blue and organise blue extensions when that didn't work!
Unfortunately since my last haircut, my friend divorced her husband, which made his family really angry and makes me scared to have Renee anywhere near my head with a pair of scissors. but as it's been a good six months since my last haircut and I'm in desperate need of one I figured I'd make an appointment considering that I'm working less than a kilometre away this week. Renee thinned my hair a lot last time so I've been able to have it loose, but lately that's grown out and it's too thick to do anything, even if I straighten it. and all the layering and stuff has mostly grown out which means it's just...everywhere!
So anyway, back to the guilt, i was on my way to the highway when I saw a woman sitting at the side of the road. She wasn't begging, she was just kind of sitting there. She held a blanket that might ave contained a baby, but I think was actually just strategic padding (I hope so anyway) and just sat, in the sun which was pretty warm right then.
I never give money to beggars, but I often keep food in my car that i hand out, or clothes or something. I've heard the stories of begging being more lucrative than working and all that but at the same time I worry that they're usually told by people who have jobs. At the moment there is NOTHING available, even the government-run companies aren't hiring people (despite dear Jacob promising 500 000 new jobs) and lucrative or not, to cast off your dignity and sit at the side of the road has to be totally soul-destroying. I don't often give stuff away, but I try to make eye contact and say hi and apologise, and just treat people like humans rather than pretending that they don't exist while revving to try and make the light change faster.
but today i didn't have anything, so I figured who was I to have made an expensive hair appointment while this woman was sitting there with nothing. The robot (traffic light) was red so I sat there for a while, until I decided that she could probably get more from my pie than I would and so I opened my window and offered it to her. It was still warm and she seemed really grateful and the light was about to change so I said it was a pleasure and to have a really good day and she went back to her seat.
As I changed to first gear I saw her settle back with bit more gusto than I'd expected, to see that she'd FALLEN down a hole that had obviously been dug to change cables or something for the robot! There was the plastic orange mesh stuff around the perimeter and I think she was using it for shade and it ad given way or something and she literally fell in backwards, head first!
The robot was green and people were hooting and I must admit my first thoughts were of whether I could leave my car, bearing in mind that my laptop was in the boot and that was probably a bad idea as I hadn't backed up this morning's work... so I waited until she stood up and waved that she was okay (although she seemed somewhat wobbly) and I had to go.
I can't believe it happened! And maybe if I hadn't tried to give her a pie she wouldn't have hurt herself!
I mean really, what are the chances of that happening?
And yes, I just wrote a post about homeess people and shoes. I am officially shallow.
Monday, June 22, 2009
If the geocache is bigger than the tiny micro-containers they're filled with random knick-knacks. The usual protocol is to take something out and out something in when you find it. Some people get VERY enthusiastic and have personalised items or stickers or whatever, I take a pocketful of stuff with me in case I want to keep something, otherwise I just swap stuff between caches. When I was in Jersey I actually took took things home (I had taken a TON of stuff to leave in caches) and gave them as gifts to my family, complete with photos of the area I found them and a description of the area and any adventures I had while finding them. I figured that was a much better gift than yet another postcard or keyring. Some of the cooler stuff I've found in geocaches: Yugoslavian money, a complete incense set, a 40 koki-pen and crayon kit (it was in the mega huge cache), key rings of all shapes and colours and sizes - most of which have been moved to other caches, several compasses, photo-frames, Brazilian money...
I guess this could be a new section: fun for the family! I took this photo while hunting on the cliff for a geocache with my Dad. Having geocaches to look for made my trip to visit him awesome, and it gave us something to do together other than the usual sight-seeing! He was amazingly patient with me hunting around, although he also liked to wait until I was in a particularly ungraceful position to take photos... (so is that where I get it from?)
I climbed this tree in the hunt for a cache. It turned out it was in a different tree, across the road... and at about shoulder height!
I took this after climbing the mud bank to find the very tricky ammo box!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Once again fate struck and a whole ton of awesome stuff happened over the weekend and before I got a chance to write about it, other stuff happened. And once again I found myself promising to go back and tell the stories and the chance kind of slipped away...
So I'm going to write about it now! Photos to follow as soon as I beg Leia to let me post pictures of her...
So anyway as you may know, Leia is a labmate. She's a masters student working on mice. We have a long history, all starting when we were kids and our parents used to sit inside and chat while a whole troop of kids played nicely outside. Well on one such occasion I was stuck with a bunch of boys (Leia would have been a baby being cooed over inside at this stage) so I had brought my 'My Little Pony' collection out and was constructing a quite scary scenario in the sandpit involving giant horses against little green plastic soldiers. My collection consisted of three ponies, a purple one a yellow one and a blue one. I think I still have them somewhere.
One of the boys took one of my ponies (the blue one) and pulled its tail out! I was devastated as I'm pretty sure it had been on an aquatic adventure at some point and didn't smell nice like the others anymore and so all it really had going for it was its tail. One of the other boys was angry on my behalf and beat up the nasty child (who went on to be head boy of his primary school...). This was Leia's brother. And that is my history with their family!
For the record, Leia's parents are not crazy Star Wars geeks or anything like that, it's not her real name, any more than my real name is "Brother T" even though Luke's been calling me that for years (and I'm still not quite sure why). We renamed her when she arrived in the lab with a giant pair of noise-cancelling headphones that resembled the famous 'Chelsea bun' style made so famous in the first star wars movie. I even labelled her headphones 'Leifyers' when I got an awesome label-maker from the lab cleanup upstairs.
So anyway on Friday evening, while having amazing hot chocolate with the IT guy we decided that I would go with her to her field site on Saturday afternoon so that we could both take out big scary SLRs along and spend some time taking photos.
I had Saturday morning off to help my brother on a photo-shoot which was amazing. The people were very cool, and one of them in particular really made me think about how I see the world. And so on Saturday we went to her site which is basically a field of super-tall grass. We went in search of trees to find that they were all fenced OUT of the property, so we ended up lying on the grass taking photos of power-lines, grass, trees from a distance, blackjacks... it was actually quite fun!
The next morning I went along again, this time with a bundle of geocache information and we caught a mouse which was very exciting and headed off in search of geocaches. This was more for my benefit - I picked up a travel bug on the last excursion with full intent to drop it at the next cache. Problem being we didn't find anything else that day and I haven't been geocaching since. Travel Bugs are pretty expensive and I felt guilty having it sitting on my desk rather than floating around the world having adventures, so I was determined to get rid of the thing!
we found a cache really nearby in a specific tree (it was huge and right in front of it,and when I pointed it out she went "Where? I don't see it? Where?) but it was tiny and so the silly thing didn't fit in it and I had to keep the bug until the next site. After much exploring and not getting
anywhere close we decided to head back, stopping along the way at a place that I used to go to often as a child that a) has a geocache nearby and b) I remembered their meringues as being incredible and wanted to see if they still were.
Anyway, long story short, after accidentally invading a staff village, nearly climbing a fence and ending up falling in a river and making friends with a local dog but not so much with the rather dodgy owner who zoomed off on a creaking KTM (it wasn't in bad shape either, but there are certain people who shouldn't get sport bikes) we ended up quite far from the meringue place at a paintball course!
Leia REALLY needed the bathroom by then. I think she'd been needing to go all day, and we'd had coffee while she disinfected her car by accident which didn't help, so after taking laminated flyers for wooden decking and panelling from a car guard she went in search of a bathroom to find that they were BOTH labelled 'Men Only' and the only alternative was a portaloo. She refused the portaloo option and I didn't really want to go in because there was a bike there that very possibly might have belonged ton someone I didn't want to see while being covered in trapping grime, having a bad hair day and just... I didn't want to handle it on a weekend that had
been pretty good thus far.
So she decided to tough it out and so we went off in search of the elusive geocache. I taught her the best trick of geocaching - the 'walk-with-a-purpose-so-that-nobody-asks-any-questions' trick - and we went on until we realised that we'd have to hop a fence INTO the paintball course. For the record, the course is basically a forest with the odd hay bale tossed in, it looks AWESOME and we have to play there one day! The cache was about 80 metres away, I couldn't see any paintballers and the shots sounded relatively far, so I figured we would run for it. Leia kindly obliged and so we went sprinting through the trees until we got to the spot and couldn't find the thing.
By this stage Leia was jumping up and down and spinning in circles and trying to ignore the sound of rushing water from the river nearby. I didn't want to give up (do I ever?) partly because I'd picked up a SECOND travel bug at the previous site and really wanted to get rid of both of them (I had a reason for taking it)! so I said that we'd do one more sweep and then head back. She gave a tense nod and carried on dancing from foot to foot.
I was almost at giving-up point when I leaned down, poked with my toe and realised that they'd BURIED the thing, so I looked up to say we'd found it to see her walking away very briskly. I figured that as she had mentioned her preference to a bush over a portaloo it might be best to avoid following her and so I put the travelbugs in, grabbed a yoyo and a magic bean thingie and signed off on our visit. In the meantime Leia had very kindly sent me a message to say she was taking the portaloo of horror option and so I headed back to find her trying to shower in waterless hand sanitiser in the parking lot.
For the record, the meringues are still amazing.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
- Forget about being healthy. Close your eyes and force all thoughts of Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Tai Chi or Yoga.Take a deep breath through your nose... hold it... and out through your mouth... Open your eyes. You are ready to begin.
- Take a mug and put the requisite amount of hot chocolate powder in it. Add a tiny splash of milk (type of milk isn't important, I have tried it with soy milk as well as good old cow mammary fluids and they both work equally well).
- Stir the milk/powder mix really vigourously with your teaspoon. The mixture should almost make a paste and you want to get as many air-bubbles in as possible, so stir like a maniac until the water has boiled.
- Add boiling water and stir. The whole milk-paste-stirring thing should have made it all nice and foamy.
- Now, for the best part: find some plain milk chocolate. You need about two squares (like you get in those cute little party-pack chocolates). If you have a big block then break off a strip which should be two or three squares. Whatever makes you happy (short of getting a blender and adding a kilogram of the stuff. That wouldn't fit in a mug, and I expect you'd feel pretty darn sick afterwards).
- Drop the chocolate into the hot chocolate.
- Now you have two options. Some people like to give it a minute or two to melt and then they stir it in. I prefer to drink the hot chocolate and then eat the melted chocolate off the bottom with my teapsoon when I'm done, while giggling like a sugar-high kid who found the stash of christmas presents. The chocolate does melt and dissolve into the hot chocolate which makes it get stronger as you drink it.
Posted by Helen at 11:27 p.m.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Posted by Helen at 9:20 p.m.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
*Picture from here
Monday, June 15, 2009
I had a partly horrible and partly awesome weekend. I was in a good mood this morning. I even did laundry.
I was going to recount the adventures of the weekend, but right now I'm in the middle of a crisis.
You think that organising something two weeks before you actually need it would mean that it would be ok? Turns out not, the company that I've been negotiating with for the last 10 days, decided to forget my order until today when they phones to say that they haven't even processed my order yet because none of the reps talk to each other. And the stuff that I need by today, is going to take another 3 working days to organise IF I can get them to cooperate and put the order through. Bearing in mind that tomorrow is a public holiday and I have to courier my stuff across the entire country by Thursday.
Posted by Helen at 1:34 p.m.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
It's freezing, nobody is happy (except Luke) and I figured I would tell you all about the little things that are keeping me going at the moment!
- Spider Solitaire or hearts. This started as a lab lunchtime exercise where we would play hearts together and take great pleasure in screaming at the virtual players ('Ben'or 'East' is particularly vindictive). Spider Solitaire is particularly addictive, maybe I just like the fake fireworks at the end if I win? I also play before bed when I'm on fieldwork so that when I go to bed I don't close my eyes and see rocks and lizards, which means that I wake up exhausted from dreaming of chasing lizards all night...
- Scandinavian metal. How can you not love someone who experiments with different beard-braids? Plus the music is a lot of fun to exercise to! Just be careful or you'll overdo it and end up in pain... Or is that the point? And yes, being Scandinavian is a total bonus, it's so much more fun if they don't really understand what they're singing, just watch Nightwish singing the Pahntom of the Opera live - where they sing beautifully about the "Phantom of the Oprah!" What would that phantom look like? Would it host a talk-show about reconnecting with your family when the medium might not be all that good?
- This blog. It has made me laugh so hard I've cried on occasion, particularly the fireman cake...
- PHD comics! I know, I'm terribly nerdy, but the guy who writes it is really good at capturing what life as a postgrad is like, and almost always makes me chuckle, while thinking "I though it was just me!"
- Britain's got talent: admittedly I can only watch snippets on youtube, but when I was in the field I spent an entire evening doing just that, to the point where I got very emotionally involved and had a few nailbiting session while watching the final results (not just this year either!). I guess there's something in watching the ordinary man on the street show amazing hidden talents, and that makes us all dream a bit. I found the stories that hit me hardest were of the people who had to work really hard through difficult personal problems just to be there, I find it hard to sympathise with the kids with stage parents who kind of get forced into it and have a million lessons and choreographers and singng teachers and everything, it's so sad that they are really talented and they'll probably rebel and quit at some stage.
- Tea. Now that it's freezing I can't really indulge my coffee habit as much as I'd like as I just keep drinking it until I feel sick. There's something really awesome about a hot cup of tea when it's cold outside! The front-runners at the moment are regular five-roses (I do like Fortnum & Mason but we only get that when my dad has been in the uk recently), spiced-chai tea (like drinking hot-cross buns!), ginger rooibos, peppermint tea and of course cranberry and cinnamon!
- Watching terrible 'science' based crime shows on TV. I'm not sure what appeals to me more, the bad bad science, the worse portrayal of scientists or the stylish CGI effects. I'm really not into crime shows, but I kind of got sucked into CSI when we started playing "spot the dead-guy breathing" when I was working at the video store. Don't judge me!
- Green Wing! That show makes me laugh even though I've rewatched the funnier scenes WAY too many times!
It's FREZING in joburg right now! So cold in fact that people are letting their animals heal by themselves or something because I was at the vet for four hours this morning and I think we saw one animal and I sold two bags of dog food, and did some data analysis. Getting up and getting to work is awful because besides the cold and wind, today it's also raining, which makes life totally miserable...
At one stage I was freezing, despite the heater and several layers of clothing, and so I took the opportunity to make a cup of coffee. At that stage I had been sitting round for about two hours. Of course in the two minutes it took me to make coffee people arrived and one of the other employees helped them, leaving me feeling rather guilty that I'd only helped three out of four potential clients in the morning!
Anyway I was reminiscing about some trips today and I figured what better time to talk about where I would really really like to be right now (rather than trying to resurrect my calculus skills on a data-set that is way bigger than I had thought...)
The obvious choice: the beach! Lying on the hot sand, sleeping off the last dive. Walking along the edge of the surf. Digging around in rock pools and looking at the weird and wonderful animals there. Building random sculptures out of sand, digging giant holes and making wind shelters and then falling asleep against the temporary wall of sand...
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Posted by Helen at 3:24 p.m.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Sorry I've been so quiet, this weekend was the sudden return-to-reality that I tend to get whacked with when I get back from fieldwork... I haven't been sleeping well because I'm not used to the noise of the city (even in my peaceful and leafy suburb) and because I've been flying through Green Wing, which I finished watching now and I'm at a loss for what to start next. Suggestions?
So anyway besides dozing off periodically, taking epic naps and falling asleep on my feet, I spent time with friends, went back to work and basically had a nice laid-back weekend. The weird coincidence was that I got a message last week from someone I hadn't spoken to in years.
We were at the same school, but in different years, so our mothers knew each other from school functions, and we had the same music-teacher and so we were put into our first orchestras at the same time (I think she started a year or so after me, I started at 10, and for my first concert I didn't know anyone, which made it rather scary!)
For our first few years in various orchestras (we were in our school orchestra together as well as the local junior orchestra) we were an absolute nightmare for conductors. We giggled constantly, played practical jokes, and often had contests where we would see who could play correctly with more bubble-gum n their mouths (wild-cherry flavour was the best, and I still can't eat it without feeling mildly ill as I remember the record-breaking 12 packs at one time from 1997).
The orchestra community is horribly cliquey, and this extends to children's groups, so there were two 'cool groups' one of them run by the two of us, and the other run by two horrible girls called Alexis and Whitney. We would audition every year for our orchestra and seating placement (you sit closer to the front if you're better than the others) and one year I did pretty well and moved up into the Youth Orchestra, while she stayed back in the junior orchestra for another year.
I doubt we were any different ability-wise, but I played the viola, while she played the violin, so I think I was more in demand, plus I was older and getting closer to the end of high-school and so they wanted to get me into Youth a bit faster. Either way as it happened, I went through, along with one friend who was desperately shy and didn't actually talk, and Alex and Whitney and their entire little group.
It was horrible! It took me almost a year to settle down, the music was difficult, the people were mean because you can't be a cool clique unless you exclude somebody and I was all alone there. it got better after a few months when a new violist arrived and we made friends very quickly and so we began to form a whole new gang, and by the time I was too old to be in the youth orchestra I was very sad to leave.
Anyway the girl I hadn't seen in ages was promoted up to the youth orchestra after a year or two, but by then we'd kind of grown apart. She'd moved schools in the interim and I hardly ever saw her, and as the baby orchestras performed first at every concert and we performed at the end, I don't think we'd spoken for ages. We stayed friendly, but not really close at all, and when I finished and went to university we kind of lost touch.
So anyway on Thursday or so I got a message from her asking if I remembered her and to see what I was up to. As it happens she's off doing community service (a year of community service is required for all health-science professions, two years if you're a doctor) in the middle of nowhere and was coming back this weekend. As she studied in Cape Town she doesn't know many people in Joburg and so she figured she'd get in touch.
We went for brunch on Sunday and it was awesome! As it happens, she's living in the middle of nowhere about two towns away from the middle of nowhere where I do my fieldwork! It was really nice to chat, particularly as she's as shell-shocked to be back in Joburg as I am and we were able to commiserate over the headaches, nosebleeds and insomnia that come with coming home. She also goes into Nelspruit quite often to use equipment at the hospital and to get meat (apparently she has a grocery store near her, but their meat selection is limited to feet, beaks and bones, heaven only knows what they do with the rest of their animals) so we know the same part of the world pretty well which lead to lots of
"And then you go and there's the two women in the car-"
"With the choc-chips! And then the people by the-"
"orange farm with the tractor! and the guy who takes his shirt off and-"
"He drives the tractor down the highway! Who is he?"
"He makes the broken-pot water-features things they sell them-"
"Oh I know that pace, I think they're quite pretty although the-"
"Guy with the shotgun is insane!"
And so on. It was very cool.
And now I'm so excited to go back on fieldwork because there's someone I can coordinate with so we can have shopping/town trips at the same time and coffee...
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Posted by Helen at 4:04 p.m.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
I haven't forgotten about you guys, but I wrote a whole long post and then I went off to have chocolate cake and commiserate with the IT guy and Leia and then I got back and IE had frozen and blogger hadn't saved much of a draft... so I give up for today! On the plus side the cake was awesome (they labelled it 'chocolate mouse') and we made Irn-bru by mixing fanta orange and creme soda!
In other news, I helped clean out the lab today (the old lab) and put aside my equipment. I've been ok about my supervisor leaving, but after today I'm kind of sad. As much as we don't really get along sometimes and he drives me nuts, I've still worked with him for four years, and I chose to work with him twice along the way (honours and PhD) so I guess I'm' just sad that it's the end of an era in a way.
And how close I am to having to take the last three eyars of work and turn it into a PhD is scaring me, a LOT!
So I'm going to running and ignore the issue!
Posted by Helen at 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Posted by Helen at 8:12 p.m.