Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quiet, beautiful day before a long weekend....

Last weekend was far, far too social and I've been making up for it with early nights all week. Might take a walk on the Corniche tonight.

Ball bouncing, brain buzzing. Since my slipped disc episode last month, my desk chair is now a Therapy Ball. It looks vaguely like an oversized testicle with an acne problem, but my other option was a giant hot pink bit with handles. Talk about picking your poison...I get strange looks from visitors. Occasionally I come back from the bathroom to find my Assistant bouncing on it.

I'm playing with old Christmas decorations on my desk when I pause, thinking about what to write. Ball, bell and drum. For almost everyone I talk to, the first two months of 2009 have been *miserable* and I am no exception. Death, friendships and relationships crashing, other friendships renewing in light of tragedies, back injuries. One friend of mine jokingly referred to "Some sort of celestial crapstorm" for January and February and I had to tell him he's right- there was some sort of eclipse at the end of January. No wonder people in the Dark Ages buried themselves in holes during eclipses. If the next eclipse on schedule is anything like this one I'm starting my own bunker.

So, clear cutting is also always an opportunity or series of opportunities waiting to be taken advantage of. Yes. But let me add my voice to The Universe right now..."I'm listening already. Y'all don't gotta that. I know there is a "whiteboard and markers" version somewhere."

However, spiritual clearcutting appears to be finished (at least for today, touch wood). The end result being, by doing the one thing I told myself I would never do, I found something I didn't think existed. Now you can argue that the back injury, the death, the relationships and friendships crashing and renewing within 8 weeks all put me in a spot to do this thing, but I'm starting to wonder where The Universe took their teaching credential.

For the time being, I'm going to enjoy the impossible and take a walk on the Corniche.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

20 sec at black diamond

20 sec at black diamond, originally uploaded by Ilikethenight.

Home, good people of the world. This is home.

And he asked me if I believe in God.

Okay, I'm bored

and I'm going to make the world suffer in spite of it.

(Though I will tell you now, I'd rather be comfortably bored at home than under any social or necessary constraint to go out in the filth storm raging outside right now.)

So, the 25 Random Things About Me. Enjoy.

1. I did run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain in 1996. Those things are the size of a Fiat and twice as fast.

2. I like people a lot, but everyone gets an honest slice of me with every interaction. So it drains me very quickly, and I spend a lot of time alone recharging. If it goes too far, it affects my physical health.

3. I want want want to see the final resting place of Bucephalus, the horse of Alexander the Great. 'Parently it is somewhere in India, complete with a temple. I will find it, oh yes.

4. Alexander the Great is one of my heroes. How one man can move that much Whup-A** on foot across a continent, 300 years BCE, is a source of ceaseless amazement and inspiration to me.( It couldn’t have been done without Bucephalus.)

5. I look almost exactly like my mother, who assured me until I was 27 that I looked exactly like my father.

6. I'm far more personally conservative than most people realize. However, do as you like- I might or might not, but I'm sincerely glad to see you living your life to your own lights.

7. On the flip side, if I decide to lark off looking for the grave of Bucephalus...

8. I have five brothers. One is dead, c. 1992.

9. I am a Special Needs (Special Education) teacher, Moderate/Severe Special Education, Autism Specific. This means, I talk to the people who can’t “Talk”.

10. I grew up on an island, 10 KM away from San Francisco.

11. I was in the army, briefly, to pay for college. I know how to shoot (which I love to do) as well as place a Claymore Mine strategically in an ambush. I know how to stage an ambush. In a pinch, I could probably recall how to call in air support when the ambush doesn’t work, but don’t push it.

12. If I'm walking outside, quickly, hands in pockets with sunglasses on and I don't turn or answer, full of attitude, chances are that I'm running a poem or number patterns through my head and you haven't registered yet. You can be in front of me for several seconds and not register. It's really not personal.

13. That weird eye-rolling back thing I have is my only legacy from Attila the Hun.

14. It is profoundly against every value I hold precious to tell you, by word or by withheld word or by look or by giggle or implication or breath of thought, how to live your life. If you are puking in bucket, I will help wipe your face because that is most useful, not two people puking in bucket. However, if you ask my advice, I will give it to you.

15. I love wearing pretty clothes.

16. I find something to like in everyone and almost everything except green peas.

17. I was raised Mormon. Orthodox Mormon. Look it up. I said RAISED.

18. The worst sick in the world for me is stomach upset.

19. I started reading when I was 2.

20. I do not own a microwave or television. I have not owned either one for over 5 years.

21. Children, my own or teaching/watching other peoples, is critical to my everyday happiness.

22. My ancestors were indeed “Fined, whipped and burned out of Salem” by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s grandfather, for being Quakers.

23. I am not fearless. I'm terribly shy.

24. I bake really good bread from scratch.

25. I would rather be outside with a backpack. Period.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I had these fabulous dreams of sleeping in, this morning. Till a whopping 8 AM, when I would turn over and contemplate going back to sleep or a hot cup of coffee. Alas.

6AM I woke up from a vivid dream where I was stationed outside my childhood church, watching a "High School Musical" sort of production set. Instead of "High School Musical", it was something like "The Trouble With Geeks Hooking Up For Love Or Marriage". One of my college friends drifted inside the church with Impatiens in her hair just as a guy in white coat with clipboard whirled around and informed me that "the numbers aren't looking good this year".

That's when I woke up. 6:21 AM. Five hours of sleep, two nights in a row, and I've been on holiday for the last 4 days. Essh.

"Oh the weather outsiiiiiiide is frightful..." yes Bing, it sure is. Sitting in bed with the curtains open, I can't tell if it's dust or impending rain. I keep getting up to look for a film of dust on the cars outside, because I'm not sanguine enough to think it could be free floating moisture obscuring my window. Anteus might be naive to the umpteenth degree, but dumb she is not.

So, I solved all of this by making a fresh pot of coffee.

My stomach actually hurts a lot, which is probably why I woke up so early with such vivid dreams. It could be the burgers I ate last night. OR it could be the raw beef with pureed garlic chaser I dug into at the Lebanese restaurant yesterday afternoon. Naw, it was the burgers for sure.

In bed with the 'puter and a cup of coffee, and Joseph Heller's "Catch 22".

This book has been on my "Must Read" list for years as a sort of duty to lists of "Must Read" books (the most recent being batted around Facebook with a BBC warning that an average person has read 6). I was put off it years ago by my 10th grade english teacher, who sort of dismissed it out of hand with a passing reference to a Catch 22. What I did not anticipate was that this book would be side splittingly funny. If you have ever watched the MOVIE, not the series I mean the movie M.A.S.H, this is the WWII version in codex format. Highly recommended.

Decadent, is what this is. After the last two days of lunch and shopping and people and late evenings and getting together, to sit in my pyjamas and glasses and no bra and no makeup by myself in the morning without a single plan for my day is a, how you say, indulgence that my married and Impendingly Married friends do not enjoy- a couple of them are in the first few days of figuring this out. Ooops, I just belched! Is someone going to control this woman? ;-) I think I will get more coffee.

It's raining marriages/engagments right now, which explains part of the vivid dream. Man-Thing being the next to latest to punch the numbers: hajj, 30, "suitable" wife. Mas'allah, I have not met her and will not. Mas'allah, I will never have to deal with what she does for a Mother In Law! For a western feminist raised in California to read that, it might sound archaic and quaint: be clear in understanding, THIS IS NOT YOUR COUNTRY! THIS IS NOT YOUR CULTURE! For the record, it's not mine either, but it doesn't make the statement any less true, Mother In Law included. Kuwait, this place, doesn't exist anywhere else, sometimes we living here doubt our own existence.

My Hair Smells Like Charcoal Smoke

And I'm up far, far past my bedtime for the second night in a row.

I'm hoping that somehow the smoke-a-licious flavor to my hair will be absorbed by the pillow in about an hour, as I don't feel like shoving off to Salon tomorrow. In fact, the entire agenda for my Tomorrow can be encapsulated by a pair of pyjamas.

It's Liberation Day weekend in Kuwait. For the children, young adults and like minded grownups, a four day weekend, three of which are spent dancing on top of cars on Arabian Gulf Road and spraying copious amounts of foam over everyone and everything. For those holding down day jobs, four days of scheduling everything possible in Farwaniya.

It was a very productive weekend for me, I have to admit. I have socks, jeans, bras and shoes. Not just any shoes- I managed to score a pair of "I've been looking for these in Kuwait for 18 months" plain old black and white LOW TOP Converse. Now, I've had a great deal of trouble finding these without "extras": red graffiti, zippers, unfinished edges, etc. One friend of mine went so far as to simply chop down the black and white hightops with a paring knife, he so despaired of finding this shoe- and he grew UP in Kuwait. Never fear I would fail a friend- I got him a pair at the same time cos they were selling out so fast.

And I finally scored the shoe of my dreams- I mean, the shoe of my dreams besides those Kate Spade "Eden"'s at the top of my wardrobe. I'm a pencil skirt, sweater set and pearls type. I've been trying to scare up a pair of Mary Janes on the...wrong... side of "Lolita" (err on adulthood for that metaphor) since I came to Kuwait. Victory! A perfect pair of Steve Madden "Luvvy" this afternoon, when a disappointed friend tossed the box to me in a shop because they were too big for her...and now I find out they have a secret identity feature in the strap. Oooh.

Oh I have to sleep...I have a wee rant about men in Kuwait, but I'm wanting to make it coherent...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dear T,

Today I taught myself to dance.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

S-S-S Slacking

Let me point out right now, this is not a gratuitous "Rub In The Collective Face of the Global Economy" post.

I understand quite clearly that around the world and around me, people with families are scrambling for jobs and food and housing and even some meaning to the global upheaval.

However, I am a teacher. I have been a teacher through the last two economic downturns. I am a Special Needs teacher because I like Special Needs kids more, and I am beginning to believe there really is karma in spades for the line of work I do.

The first year of teaching is ALWAYS the hardest. Always and anywhere. And then you get your groove and move steadily towards either Administration (bleah) or Mentoring where you walk around classrooms and wipe First Year teacher tears. Or as I do, "What you cryin for now 'Crybaby'?"

So. Ten years this year.

If I haven't spelled it out clearly enough: I AM A 'NICHE' TEACHER. I fill a gap very slight on first inspection, but to my administration it is the equivalent of trying to fill in the Mariana Trench with cement, a spoon and two paperclips. So I am very happy to take 200 KD less than I could be getting elsewhere, for a sunny Thursday morning at 11 AM where I can look at the driver and say,

"Where are we going?"
"Hawalli, to pick up_______ from a conference."
"Where's _______?"
"Having Sheesha at Marina Crescent."
"Where's _______?"
"Having Sheesha seaside. We're probably going to Marina Mall after this."

And then, I call my Assistant and ask them to handle the last parent, IF they come in (they didn't). Life can be boooooo-ti-fuuuuuuuuuuullllll...

Monday, February 16, 2009


I hate that song. Even worse than "Turn Turn Turn".

I won't dwell too much on it here, but a very good friend passed away last week and I was unable to attend the funeral due to a back injury the week before THAT. I started another blog about it, mabrook if you find it and read it, but I disabled the comments.

Yeeerugh. Yes, Man Thing is gone. He went his way but not quite, and we still see each other at gatherings with mutual friends.

Sunglasses. You can't be in Kuwait without sunglasses. I had been putting away for a pair of prescription sunglasses because I wear glasses. Duh. Meanwhile I had been...squinting and bearing it. When I mentioned this to Man Thing casually, he looked at me and said, "Why don't you just get contact lenses and buy a pair of sunglasses?"


(I was still nursing a joke from another friend, who I made the mistake of showing pictures of my extended family. He pointed at my Uncle sporting wide windowpane plaid and a bow tie in his engagement picture c. 1972 "Look! The glasses are hereditary!")

Now I wear contacts. These have their own problems, as I have an Astigmatism and the damn things just don't mesh with air conditioning.

One thing leads to another, feeling particularly down and out after Man Thing and I parted ways, I went to a friend's salon and got my hair cut. Beautifully. In a way that suits me completely. "And the crowd went wild..."

To backtrack a little, there are two unresolved fitting crises within every woman's life, no matter what her shape or size. One is a bra. The other is jeans. I have very long legs and clothes that don't "Feel Right" just don't get worn, so this problem is compounded for me (I cried on the day I discovered Abercrombie- I hate sweatshops but their clothes are supersoft).

Yeah, a good pair of jeans is hard to come by, and since I came to Kuwait I was wearing one pair to death while searching for a substitute without frigging rhinestones and bows and God knows whatelse. I was in and out of Massimo Dutti for their clearance sales (more supersoft clothes in the line of silk/cashmere sweaters for supercheap). And then I saw...a leg...peeping out from a rack...


It is bluuuuuuuuuue.

And approaching carefully it feels rubbing between two fingers like potential.

Going to the dressing room. Could it be? Could it BE?! Jeans that fit?


And no you perves, I don't sleep in them. Though I sometimes get seperation anxiety during the night.

By the numbers, over 4 months: 1. Contacts. 2. New hairstyle. 3. New jeans. H'ohkay...

I slipped my L-5 disc during the last week in January. My friend T died on the 11th of Feb.

In a spree of Distract Me combined with Posture Improvement, I had to make good on getting a new bra.

This. Is. Hard.

If you think trying to get them OFF a woman is a challenge, it is nothing to the time investment and footpower that piece of equipment requires to be on that woman to begin with. My Bra Oddessy was now some 24 months in the making with no results. Part of it is cultural (what is available in Kuwait) and part of it is intimidation, and part of it is that boobies never formed a critical part in my self identity until I was finding my lunch on them instead of my lap. I was 28.

Good news is that Debenhams in the Avenues was actually carrying a line that I'd considered buying (a line without airplane propellers on the nipples). I took a random sampling of sizes and reenacted Goldilocks and The Three Bras. This one too hard, this one too Madonna, this one too Waah! (are they supposed to be ...there?)

I knew I struck gold when I removed one, and wanted to put it back on immediately. The weird part was, it was a size smaller and cup larger than what I had been wearing previously. Whaaa?

(Expensive, but the rule is to buy it immediately. Especially in Kuwait. It won't be there when you come back.)

It went home with me, and I tried it on again. Looked in the mirror. Freeeeeeeeaky. My own casual assessment equated me with a pool float. Where did...these...come from? Had they been there all along, lurking? What about everything going on below?

I took it off and put it on the dresser. Bra looked at me. I looked at bra.

No. Way.

I put it back on. Comfy. Shirt over it. Not bad. And aside from getting used to having them in the way when I reach for something, we have 1. contacts 2. new hairstyle 3. new jeans that fit 4. posture.

Last of all, we have sunglasses.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

And it ended.

Don't be surprised.

So, back to our regularly scheduled programming....