Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Over my shoulder

So I never did the whole 2009-in-review thing. I tried and this is the list I came up with:

  • Finished mega-fieldwork. it was more emotionally taxing this year than ever and I did go a bit nuts, but I also got a lot of decent thinking done.
  • Got closer to a few friends. I'm not good at talking about my emotions, but I'm working on it, and it has been very scary and very rewarding at the same time.
  • Let go of control and just had fun! A year ago I would never have borrowed hats, started group yelling at random restaurants, played pool and not minded losing, jumped off a bridge or any of the other incredible things I've done/had happen to me over the last year.
  • Balanced a little bit better. While I miss my workaholic-type productivity, I don't often take work home on weekends anymore and I've tried to keep work and my social life and me-time balanced. It's not right yet, but I'm doing better and definitely feeling more of a person than a lab-monkey.
  • Got a sword (Tai Chi today *happy dance*)
  • Improved my pipetting technique (it's awesome and you know it!). Not that I HAD a pipetting technique, but I do now :)
  • I was in a little bit of a sad-phase then so I didn’t want to delve any deeper, but today as I’m STILL waiting for photos (no fault of anyone’s except a dodgy internet connection and a badly timed holiday) I thought I’d steal this from Kath Lockett. She stole it from someone else which makes it ok. It’s long. Be warned. But it’s my blog and I can write what I want!

    Where were you on New Years?

    At a braai (barbecue, whatever) at the place a friend was housesitting. There was swimming and food and good company and many games of Jenga and I got to sit on the roof and look at the moon a lot.

    Did you drink?
    Not really, I was pretty sure I would have to drive back that night and I didn’t want to have to make That Phonecall if something bad happened. Nearly being squished between a taxi, a citigolf and a concrete barrier on my way there kind of emphasised my point slightly.

    Did you kiss anyone when the ball dropped?
    Nope. I was trying to see the fireworks in the area ut always turned a millisecond too late!

    Did it snow at all during January?
    No, we’re in the southern hemisphere. it rained a lot though.

    Were you single on Valentines Day?
    Yip. I actually can’t remember what I did for it last year either, probably not much!

    Were you in school?
    *ahem* university! Yes. As always.

    Any new addition into your family?
    Well the lab-family got Leia, as well as two little mice (R.I.P.), Norbert, Kermit the Selaginella (R.I.P.) temporary custody of a spider, some orchids and several fish. Otherwise I got a new cousin and I’m soon to be welcoming another one as soon as they set a wedding date.

    Did you wear green on St. Patrick's Day?
    I did, but it was entirely accidental.

    Did you graduate in May?
    Graduate? What’s that? Nope, but I hope to do that soon. Hence the unoriginal posts lately, I have my coffee-break rushing to an end and then its work time!

    Summer 2009 - Who did you hang out with the most?
    My lizards, some random farmers, the kudu in the garden, the giraffe when they stopped by. Back ‘home’ it was CG, La and the other one who I have yet to name, as a core-group within a pretty dynamic social circle. Also Luke and Leia and friends quite a bit too.

    Where did you go?
    Wherever the lizards were. Or wherever they were hanging out giggling at their plans to thwart me (remember the Jamaican accents…). In Joburg it was the lab, goth clubbing, sokkie clubbing, CG’s house, the ice-rink, playing pool and various places in-between.

    Did you still work?
    Not as much as before, I cut down my teaching pretty drastically as well as limiting part-time work to Saturday mornings. I have a degree to finish!

    Did you end any relationships?
    I don’t know if they could be classified as ‘relationships’ but I did date a few people and then tell them that they should probably leave me alone… The closest to ‘relationships’ tended to dump me instead. No hard feelings.

    Did you go swimming or tan more?
    Swimming a little bit although the farm has no pool, so it was tanning-by-default (the rocks get pretty toasty).

    Where did you spend the most time?
    In the field, in the lab, at CG’s house on weekends (at one point I was waiting for them to start charging rent)

    Did you take lots of pictures?
    Not as many as I’d like, I’m feeling very rusty with the SLR lately, and I’m planning on taking it out much more in future!

    What did you do for Halloween?
    Sat in the farmhouse, I think I may have watched a movie.

    What did you do on Christmas?
    Had an impromptu Christmas-eve party at CG’s house, Rushed around helping get everything ready for the Arrival of the Family, ate too much, slept.

    Did you get good presents?
    I did! I got a lovely charm bracelet (something I’ve always wanted) and actual useful stuff, like jumper-cables for my car and a cooler box (I have a small room so more clutter is generally a bad idea). I gave myself blue hair as well.

    Did you have a good birthday this year?
    I think so… I don’t really remember doing anything on the actual day last year. The co-superVii tried to hug me which was awwwwwwkward (more that I jumped back and put my arms up to protect myself). The celebration was fun though, we went ice-skating and had a great time!

    Drink alcohol?
    While ice-skating? No…

    Went to a crazy party?
    Several! The best ones involve hats ;)

    Spend too much time online?
    I’m addicted to email. Seriously half an hour without checking it is like… torture…

    Did you watch lots of football?
    No, I watched quite a bit of cricket though. I guess as we’re living in the host-country for the 2010 world cup i should probably get more involved.

    Did you learn anything new?
    So much I can’t even begin to write it all down. how about: learned to respect myself more, learned to let go a bit, learned to have fun, learned about the joy of tai chi and sword-wielding, learned to deal with issues, learned to be more real and hide less, learned to appreciate the quiet people and the friends who don’t make as much noise as me.

    What do you wish to accomplish this year?
    Graduate, take more (and better) photos, run 10km (in one go), keep living and trying new things and meeting new people and just having fun!

    Do you snore?
    According to my family: yes, according to people I’ve stayed with: no. Both of my parents do as well as a grandparent on either side, so I guess I’m pretty much destined to rattle the ceilings at night.

    Lover or a fighter?
    I don’t lose my temper often, but when I do it’s not pretty. Don’t mess with my friends or my family or anything with more legs than me and I will hurt you. No pressure!

    What's your worst fear?
    Failure, rejection, being alone (type 2, not 1), ending up selling mangoes at the side of the road (thanks mom for using that as a cautionary tale every time I got my report from school).

    As a kid, were you a lego builder?
    Not too much, I liked it but I wasn’t obsessive like I was with tree-climbing, epic battles with plastic soldiers in the sandpit, bandaging up dolls (I would throw them outside, wait for it to rain and then cut my clothes into strips and bandage them (sorry Mom) and reading reading reading… plus the mission to do a cartwheel in the deep end of the pool. It’s harder than you’d think!

    Were you a cute baby?
    I will have to hunt down a picture and see what you think.

    Do you sing in the shower?
    Nah, I think too many showers at the gym cured that one for me!

    Have you ever bungee jumped?
    No, and I don’t plan to! I have a few issues with heights, with being out of control and with the risk of retinal detachment.

    Any secret talents?
    I can tell the difference between decaf and normal coffee by smell. Sometimes I can even figure out the coffee brands. I can recite conversations word for word months (sometimes years) after having them. I am very good at getting people to lend me their hats (yes Sarah the hatting post is on its way!). I can talk non-stop for ages and ages (at superspeed), but I don’t mind being totally alone for months. And I can still do a cartwheel!

    What's your ideal vacation spot?
    I would think a road-trip rather than a spot, maybe from here across to the west coast and then up into Namibia? I’d also love to go to Lake Malawi (or any of the Great Lakes).

    How do you like your eggs?
    I don’t really. Scrambled if I must have them so that I don’t think about the fact that I’m effectively eating placenta.

    Do you cry at weddings?
    Not usually, although my brother’s was a close one.

    When was the last time you said, "i love you"
    In what context? I’m not big on talking about feelings, so it’s probably been a while.

    What are you allergic to?
    Honey, although after about 10 bee-stings I’m still not allergic to those…

    Do you like your handwriting?
    Well it’s almost completely illegible… I had a friend in undergrad who had the most beautiful handwriting and sometimes if we were having coffee and she got bored she’d rewrite my notes for me and then I’d WANT to study from them! And that’s how I passed Chemistry 1.

    What's your stand on hunting?
    Real hunting (i.e. you walk and track and stuff) I’m OK with as it makes conservation financially rewarding. Plus hunters like that actually have a quota and after that they have to hunt with blank rounds so they don’t end up with more meat than they can use. Farming game is also significantly better for the environment than farming cows. I don’t think I’d ever do it though, I don’t like the idea of killing something. And sitting on the back of a bakkie with a rifle is Not OK! and what is up with trophies? I do not like the idea of something I killed hanging on my wall thankyouverymuch.

    Do you give a darn about the ozone?
    Not as much as I should I guess. I try and keep polystyrene CFC-free, and cut down on aerosols and stuff but beyond that I just wear lots of sunblock.

    Have you seen the movie "Donnie Darko"?
    Cool movie! I have the soundtrack!

    Have you ever hitch hiked?
    I live in Johannesburg. Are you flipping crazy?

    Are you wearing socks?
    Yip. they’ve got cartoon chickens rocking out on guitars on them.

    Is drug free the way to be?
    Yes. I’m not a fan of seeing things that aren’t there, I get that enough with my lab chemicals. Caffeine is not a drug, OK? (and I can quit whenever I want?)

    Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?
    no. I always wanted to so that I could play with the siren! I’m tough as well as accident-prone.

    What are you addicted to?
    Coffee, I’m in the process of rediscovering chocolate (badbadbad), good music, hats, good company, eyeliner, tai chi, maybe running in a kind of masochistic way…

    Do you prefer baths or showers?
    I like both, I usually shower because I have a lot of hair and washing it in a bath is just not possible. Sometimes it’s nice to have a good soak and scrub though, I always have horrible visions of slipping and cracking my head open when I scrub my feet in the shower…

    Do you like your life?
    Most of the time! I’m a bit of a mood-yoyo-er sometimes, but I have a slightly annoyingly resilient optimistic streak and I have found fun in the strangest places and in the strangest situations and with the strangest people… and I think as long as I can do that, life is good!

    When's the last time you cried?
    New Years day, I got some bad news.

    What color are your eyes?
    Amberish-Brown. My contact lenses are blue-tinted so I can find them in the dish thingies, which makes them hazel sometimes. I think it depends on the batch.

    Have you read "Catcher in the Rye"?
    Yes, I was forced to in high-school when we had a particualrly uninspired English teacher (he wasn’t that bad, but I didn’t exactly jump for joy about the book). I had much the same response to catch-22, not bad, but why all the fuss?

    Do you play any instruments?
    I used to play the recorder and the piano, and I started the viola when I was 10 and played until I was 19. I’ve recently been promised guitar lessons by she-who-has-no-codename-yet. I don’t have time to really practise anything, but I really miss playing in orchestras and I hate playing on my viola because it sounds so bad, but I have fun messing around on the piano sometimes. And I rock at guitar hero. Does that count?

    Do you like camping?
    I don’t mind it, as long as there are decent bathrooms. I sleep as well in a tent as I do in a  building and my sleeping bag is awesome (although not as waterproof as it used to be, as I found out when the tent leaked last year). And it’s a nice cheap option considering that you pay about 6x more for a chalet than a camp-site, why would I be spending half my monthly petrol budget on the place where all I do is sleep?

    Do you snort when you laugh?
    Not that I know of.

    Can you do the moonwalk?
    No, although a friend of mine is trying to learn from a bunch of youtube tutorials – with mixed success.

    What was the last thing you ate?
    Pre-pilates yoghurt, I’m’ going to hunt down some unch soon, before the undergrads (*shudder*) reappear.

    Do you wear nailpolish?
    Not often on my fingernails as I tend to scratch it off and it freaks my birds out (they will not climb onto a hand with brightly-coloured fingernails), but I keep my toenails painted most of the time.

    What's the most annoying tv commercial?
    the awful Animax ones for their reality shows. I’m just there for the joy that is Takeshi’s castle and no amount of watching Kenny (or is it Spenny) peeing in his pants will make me change my mind.

    Do you like someone right now?
    No comment…

    Back to doing analysis while chair-dancing to Duran Duran (try it, it’s fun!)


    sarah said...

    YES give me the damn hatting post already helennnnnnn... ;p

    and tell me about OTHER things TOO dammit.

    sho he is so hot

    i mean... wow

    That Kind of Girl said...

    Dude, I love the results of your "letting go of control" goal! Sounds like you made some friggin' awesome memories in '09!

    Anonymous said...


    Kath Lockett said...

    Nice one, Helen! Chair dancing to Duran Duran is your first step to 'letting go of control' !

    Helen said...

    Sarah: I agree :) I still only have half the pictures though,and the ones that i do have... well... I've emailed some to you, so be patient!

    TKOG: it was definitely a year to remember! In a good way I think.

    Kath: It's awesome!