Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Table for Two.

So I've been looking into working as a representative for an elderly care facility and they have a lot of tender, touching articles related to senior care. Don't worry- I'm not gonna make you cry, but I AM going to draw some correlations between senior health and the healthcare of a single person. Turns out, socializing at meals is GOOD for seniors- and I suggest that it's good for US, too. (Yaaay, for positive socializing to create healthy habits. Science probably eats a protein bar by himself in the basement.) Anyway, this article provides suggestions for how to better care for the nutritional needs of your senior. I think it sounds like a great idea for EVERYONE- senior or not. We make better choices when we have others around to hold us accountable and to inspire us to take our time and enjoy our food, as opposed to simply grabbing whatever's faster, easier and closest to the tv.
So go ahead and make a lunch date. Invite a friend or two for dinner. Share your food. Take some time to reconnect and talk over a real meal instead of hovering over the sink and eating that leftover cake from Saturday night's wedding. (Maybe I take some of my own advice sometimes, OKAY?!?) And what better excuse is there for a simple date than meeting up during the work week to have sandwiches outside together?
And, if you're asking, I'm totally down for eating whatever you're cooking. Seriously. Call me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

OMG- The Movie

Did anyone see this last fall? In recognizing so many of these cultures and places, I'm immediately interested- add in a discussion on how people come to know God and understand Him in their lives, I'm absolutely fascinated in hearing more. If you want to get together some Sunday soon and watch this, I would love...

When we were in Africa travelling on our little minibus to church one Sunday, we noticed that all the familiar locals were out in their best dress. For an area where most only had one shirt to their name, to see the difference on Sunday- that no matter how humble the circumstances, there was a marked difference in appearance that morning. Some were going to the large cathedral behind a gate, many were simply circled beneath a tree, holding hands and singing a prayer. But almost everyone we saw on the street was heading to worship. One of our teachers remarked, "It's interesting that, in a place where people have nothing, everyone believes in God. And in America, where we have more than what we need, so many doubt that God even exists." How much do we need faith and how much of faith comes from need? It appears that this film may make a point of that as well; did God create man or did man create God? It's an interesting discussion, at the least.

And apparently, Hugh Jackman is in it, if that helps...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Singleness: Hazardeous to Your Health

Now I've heard this argument attested to by my sworn enemy, Science, before. He is relentless in proving that being single is hazardous to one's health- particularly a woman's health. I had to re-read this article just to be certain it wasn't published 30 years ago in a weak attempt to oppress and demean women. But, no! It's from January of this year- 2010. Herein, Science "proves" that single people take more sick days and particularly single women suffer more injuries in a year than those who are married. What my loathed nemesis, Science, is trying to "prove," is that we'd all be healthier if we were married (particularly women). Clearly this study doesn't get out much. My much more logical assessment of the statistics suggest that single people as a whole are likely just using their "sick" days as "play" days.

A (single) friend commented, "I can't think of the last time I took a sick day and was actually sick." As a general, most single people are accrueing those sick days for amazing adventure vacations and random days for irresponsiblity. Those who are divorced in the article are likely dealing with children, family emergencies and tending to business/errands that require personal time. As for the widowed, there are far more women likely to outlive their husbands, so the "scientific" deduction that widowed men fare better, I would respond, "there are probably 4 women taking care of that man and each one of those women outlived their own spouse to begin with!" (Eat THAT, Science.)

As for these single, female journalists who maybe "protest too much" to this Stephan Mason, PhD, maybe they're percieved that way because, as ANY of us (male or female) can attest, somehow, our marital status (or lack thereof) seems to be a HUGE issue to non-involved parties as a topic of discussion or debate. (see: family reunions, holidays, dinner parties, church, basically anywhere people who are married and over 30 mill around.) I almost never encounter this question in the workplace, as it has no effect on my efficiency, productivity, competency or sense of humor and adeptness within social situations. Perhaps this is why so many single people are able to focus on their careers without distraction or obligation external of their own chosen social events. Perhaps that busyness is why we are not dating as much and have chosen to stay single until we meet someone as fulfilling as our work results. Surprisingly enough, Science has turned a blind eye into inquiring WHY there would be such a result.

O, Science. You lazy bastard. No wonder why you're still single.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


You do not have to be your mother
Unless she is who you want to be.
You do not have to be your mother's mother, or your mother's mother's mother, or even your grandmother's mother on your father's side. You may inherit their chins or their hips or their eyes, but you are not destined to become the women who came before you, you are not destined to live their lives.
So if you inherit something, inherit their strength.
If you inherit something, inherit their resilience.
Because the only person you are destined to become is the person YOU DECIDE to be.

So I've been cleaning out those areas where you just shove papers that don't belong anywhere and I've come across some real gems. This is a Nike ad I found in high school that I liked so much, I framed it and carted it around me everywhere I went. It's only the last couple of years I put it in a "quotes I love so much I can't let them go" box. May it inspire you as it inspires me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Why I smell like poo-

This morning I watched the sun rise over the Ghats in Varanasi. A holy man filled my hands marigolds, walked me down to the river and had me chant with him as he broke up the petals and spread them through my palms. He blessed me with a good boyfriend who would be a good husband and that I would have a good son. (I didn't even ask! Mostly I was hoping he would bless me with a job, but I guess I'll take either.) Then he sprinkled my hair with water from the river. Which is where everyone in the city bathes. And does their laundry. And dumps their sewage. And burns their dead bodies. I gave him 100 rupees anyway.

Later, on the steps of the Ghats, Krista was approached by a man offering a head massage for 50 rupees (about $1). You should know something about Krista. She is a connoisseur of massage. She's also a complete sucker for any sort of massage offered. ANYTHING. Just ask her. She'll prove it. There were other tourists being given massages on the steps and it looked ...interesting. At the least, it would be worth 50 rupees. She agreed to his price and went for moral support (to take pictures). The old man walked us over to a small dugout type of apartment room with a curtain hanging in front. He kept proffering the massage and we got increasingly disturbed by his insistance. At this point, he has a buddy, who keeps prodding me along as well, even though I've insisted I've just been sprinkled in holy water and don't want my hair touched. (True story. See above.) We see several men leave the curtained room, adjusting their loincloths as they go...shadier and stranger yet. But the wall outside is painted "woman massage for woman," so we figure, "what harm can there be?" We walk up the little steps and inside are two small floormats and a chair. That took up the entire cubbyhole room. From there it turned into my little friend saying he just wanted to hold my hand and try for just a minute (and you know how I love a good handrub...) into being face down on a sheet that had probably not been washed in years and had a slight smell of poo. It was probably the best massage I'd had in months.

You know how they say, "Always change your underwear, because you never know when you'll get hit by a bus"? At this point, a bus is the least of my worries. A tuk-tuk, a motorcycle, a bike, a cow...we've either already been hit by or had near misses of all these. I just hope when they find me, I don't smell like poo.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I Love You, Nepal.

There is so much I was prepared to tell you, but it's been so hard to find a computer the last few days in India and now that I've found one, the keyboard barely works at all! I will save it for later. The short story is:
I was blessed by a monk in Kathmandu and then invited to worship in a temple in the hills of Nagrakot and I have been made a family member and official cook of the Eco-Home Lodge (apparently, in Nepal, I can cook fairly well!) and am probably allergic to Delhi. And yes, the Taj Mahal is TOTALLY everything you ever thought it could ever be. There is no possible way to oversell.
If anyone wants to go to Nepal for a trek, I'm all in.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Children of Nepal

One of my favourite things so far has been all the Nepalanese children. There we are, marveling at these huge golden and stone stupas and giant painted Buddhas and grand palace steps with golden busts, and little children in school uniforms are running up and down them, waving notebooks and laughing. At one of the temples, I gave a few of the children some candy. We took pictures together and they would giggle at seeing themselves in the camera. They each wanted their own turn, a moment to stand in front of the camera beside an ancient stone Buddha, their school uniforms crinkling at the collar. Then the boys run off wearing their superhero backpacks, holding hands, neckties swinging. The girls have ponytails with giant red or white bows on either side of their smiling faces. One of them offers me a flower. Her name is Salina.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dear Bachelorette Girls:

Here's $5.
Go buy yourself some dignity.

Monday, January 4, 2010

On a magic carpet ride...

I have a tradition of writing down exactly what's happening around me as it occurs. While it's only a slice in time, it always rushes back the sounds and smells (usually unpleasant ones) of that moment. I would travelblog about it, so not to overload anyone with a mass message, but I forgot my password (big surprise). I hope you enjoy the next few minutes of last night with me. If you were here, you'd be laughing, too. Especially after 36 hours without sleep.

November 15.2009

If I told you what was going on right now, it would sound like a bad cliche. Forget the 16 hour plane ride sandwiched between two individuals with pungent body odor and forget the child in front of us, screaming and vomiting (poor thing); it is 2:40am and we're in the airport terminals guest hall. It feels like the bus depot in Falmouth where I used to wait for my grandmother to pick me up when I would visit, except this place has an ice cream vendor and a "food village." (That's the name of our little food court.) The theme song from Aladdin plays in flutes over the speakers. The timing is unbelievable. I've heard it play 3 times since we landed 5 hours ago. Kristina is slumped over, bent at the waist stretched out impossibly over her own legs. It's 2:40, which means I got almost 3 hours of sleep. Not bad for a plastic seat with metal armrests. Can't sleep in my own bed, but give me a random depot on a smelly street and I pass out like a kid after midnight. My head keeps bumping into someone's turban because our seats are back-to-back. He doesn't seem to mind, as I keep inadvertently swatting at the thing brushing up against my hair, his clatter of conversation continuing at full pace. Even with earplugs in, I can hear him perfectly, if not for the foreign tongue.
The flute continues, "A whole new world...a dazzling place a never knew..."

We leave for Nepal in 2 hours and I wish lightning would strike twice and I could get another 2 hour nap. I'll probably just paint my toenails instead. Kristina wakes up and we give each other a bleary eyed smile.
"I'm so glad you're here," I say.
"Me, too." She smiles.
"...because I can go to the bathroom and just leave my stuff!" I finish. We start giggling.
"It's 3 o'clock." She laughs. "That means in an hour and a half we can go downstairs and be the first ones in line!" She means for our 3 hour pre-boarding requirement to Nepal.
"You know what else you should write?" She suggests, "When you asked that guy to give you a printout of your flight reservation- and then you hear the dot-matrix printer going off in the back." We're hysterical with tired laughter, at this point. I raise my hand and my eyes get wide, "uh...don't worry about the return flight. It's cool...it's cool..." Bringing out my iPod at this point would seem an affront, but, in my head, above the honking of 3 am traffic, I hear Regina Specktor play on, "And the history books forgot about us, and the Bible didn't mention us..."

My friend, Celeste (one of the Australian girls Alyson and I tromped around with in Guatemala) saw my plans on facebook. She is still in Nepal and wants me to swing by Kathmandu so she can say, "hi." Of course. Of course I will have to drop in! The Australians have the most unbelievable lives. I remember writing her months ago, voting yes on her decision to visit India on what now must be a two+ year stint of travel. I can't believe she's still here. I can't believe I have dinner plans with a friend in Kathmandu!