Friday, August 27, 2004


I have offically managed to get DSL installed and functioning at my mom's house! It was not without problem, but there was nothing I could do about that. The phone lines were evidently not configured properly, thus turning a 10 minute installation into a 3 hour mess. Thanks to my new superhero Gerald the SBC roving technician, who answers a page faster than a speeding bullet, everything is now ok. I spent 2 hours on the phone with tech support trying to fix a problem that never should have existed. One lightning-quick page to Super G, and he had everything sorted out in one phone call. And now, we have high-speed. *sigh* it really is a thing of beauty.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Wild suburbia

Fourteen days and counting until I head overseas. I feel like I have a million things to do and nothing all at once. Trying to waylay some of this melancholy, I got up and ran/walked 3 miles along the trail by my mom's house this morning. The first part of the trail is in piny woods, the second part is along a marshy bayou area, and the final stretch is back into the woods until the trail spills suddenly out on Galveston Bay and a small pier at a 'locals only' park. Generally I manage to run the 1.5 miles to the pier, it's the 1.5 miles on the way home that I tend to walk. By the time I turn around, the Texas sun is in full swing and I have already killed my bottle of water. I give up and take it easy on the way home and get a good look around.

Private pier where the marsh meets the bay

Today I came across 6 bunnies at different spots nibbling happily on the shorter grass shoots trailside. Some would eye me cautiously as I ran by huffing and puffing, others turned and ran as if I would eat them on the spot, and the rest hopped just inside the tall grass about a foot away, as if I couldn't see them there. Occasionally I had to duck a spiderweb in order to avoid becoming some thing's SuperSized lunch special. And I think I saw a frog hopping throught he shallow marsh... it was either a frog or a really gleeful fish jumping high out of the water as it cruised upriver. It was really too far away to tell. I'd like ot think it was a frog. The thought of fish flying upriver kind of freaks me out. So if you take into account all the deer I've seen since I've been here, and the black and yellow toad I rescued from the toe-biting monster last night, I feel almost as if I've been living in the woods for a couple of weeks. It's truly a beautiful little pocket of wilderness/suburbia on the outskirts of Houston. Unfortunately, I've heard that they are opening a new shipping channel, and that within 10 years, these ports will be so busy that someting along the lines of 5,000 semis will pass through here a day. So much for peace and quiet and vibrant wildlife. I guess I'm thankful I got to spend some time here before it disappears.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


So this afternoon I am going to an Astros game with my brother. I very carefully selected the least amount of clothing possible to still be covered in order to avoid a complete meltdown in Houston heat - a tank top and shorts - only to find out a short while later that the Astros play indoors. Yeah, it's going to be an air conditioned game. There's something so un-American and anti-baseball about closed in, air-conditioned baseball games. Granted, the overall comfort level will be much higher, and all the high-haired fancy Texas women (in case you haven't noticed I don't fit the stereotype, but there are plenty around here who do) will no longer have to battle the elements to keep their flourishing 'do's high on the head. But where's the grit, the glory, the sweat... who hasn't been to a baseball game on a hot summer afternoon and completely relished the delicate half-flat watery beer at $8 a cup? Isn't part of the magic of baseball games trying to eat your soft serve ice cream in the mini-batting helmet before it melts and turns into vanilla soup? Who wants to sit in the cheap seats and be comfortable?? Isn't it more fun to try and sneak your way out of misery in the $5 bleachers to the shady overhang of the $40 1st deck behind home plate just for the sake of cooling off a bit? I dunno... I feel somehow a little cheated of the experience. On the other hand, thank GOD, because it is 95 degrees today and at least 90% humidity. I guess I'll make do. I have my memories of the good ol' days. Hey battah battah sa-wing battah! Go Astros!!

Friday, August 20, 2004

Houston, we have a problem...

The problem is, I'm bored. I have no car. I know no one. Everyone is at work or at school. I am a prisoner in my mother's home. My only entertainment is a very small ankle/toe biting rat of a puppy (that I do totally adore, in spite of my injuries) or my brother's Playstation II. I'll admit it, I have a propensity for getting sucked into stupid video games. I think it's in the blood somehow. My mom can play for hours and hours on end, regardless of how long my sibilngs whine at her to let them have a turn. I am bound and determined to not fall into that trap this time.

The awfully sweet side of the toe-biting monster

So today, I was proactive. I got up and ran three miles, and then got sucked into riding a bicycle 5 miles with my brother. So now I feel entitled to spend the rest of the afternoon with the Playstation controller attached to my hand. That's reasonable, right?? I've earned it. Yeah... right... oh well. I am, after all, a lazy cow. Moo.

Monday, August 16, 2004

"Pointy ears and funny green outfits"

or "What it means to be an ELF". I have just returned from Washington D.C. and the orientation into the English Language Fellows program (ah! the ELF jokes are starting to make sense now!). Have you ever walked into a room full of strangers and suddenly felt at home? Known in an instant that the decisions you made were the right ones? That everything was going to be what you wanted and then some? It's truly an awe-inspiring thing to find your niche and listen to 100 other people that have been living your dream. What an insanely amazing group of people. I've made friends in the last three days that I hope to know for the rest of my life. My fellow ELFs range in age from 50+ to a couple of years younger than me. And the experiences they have had! Seriously, I only hope that someday I can fill my resumee with one-tenth of what they have done. We spent the last 3 days picking each others' brains, acquiring a million new ideas, learning all the boring logistical stuff that we had to, and just when we were getting pretty comfortable as a group and finally starting to learn each others' name without wearing the stupid nametags... it was time to go home. Some people were going to post straight from D.C. while others, like me, get to go home for a while and prepare. I have more questions now than I did before I went to this orientation, but at least they are more focused and I know who to get the information from. The next twenty days will be spent doing just that. I have so much to do!!!! There is a huge opportunity here to really make a difference. If nothing else, we can all make an impact on the places we're going just by lending a hand. Others may change the world. Who knows... I couldn't be more excited than I am right now though.

I met all the Fellows that will be in my region of the world (for those of you who don't know - that would be Kosovo). I have another Fellow in Pristina with me, Travis, and an hour or so away in beautiful Prizren, we have Phil. I could be in serious trouble with these two around, cuz they's crazy!! We all three feel pretty fortunate to have each other so close by, as some of the other fellows are out in some pretty remote places without even another foreigner within miles.

Charlie's Angels, Kosovo Division (me, Travis & Phil)

So the crazy travel schedule continues. Tomorrow I leave for Houston to go visit my mom for almost two weeks. Then its back to Ft. Worth for 10 days. September 9th - departure date for Kosovo. I have my plane tickets in hand now, and a reason for being. I can't wait. Truthfully, I'm just ready to be in one place for a while. All this bouncing around is killing me. (It's that damn nesting instinct! I bought a comforter for my bed at my dad's house because it needed to match my Pottery Barn throw pillows. Oh, yeah. There's even a matching table lamp now too. Did I mention I'm really only here for two weeks??? Pathetic.)

Monday, August 09, 2004

New Blog Stuff

Ok, I'm getting more and more brave. Today I edited the HTML on my blog to add a links section so that I can post photo albums for everyone to see... all by myself! The scary part? IT WORKED!! Woohoo! SO, if you take a little peeky peek to the right hand sidebar, you will now see a link to photo albums and a place to email me. Oh boy oh boy oh boy! Right now, the only photo album up there is the South Africa trip, but I hope to add more very soon.

I leave for Washington DC on Wednesday for a 5 day briefing by the State Department and the School of International Training. I can't wait to go. I've been to the capitals of 9 other countries, but never to our own. There's a certain sense of reverence in me for a place filled with so much of our own history. I hope that isn't ruined by traffic and bad metro systems when I arrive. *sigh*

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

I'm melting..........

Whose bright idea was it for me to spend a good chunk of the summer in sweltering Texas heat? I would really like to kick that person in the shins right now. Oh right... it was MINE. I am officially the most unintelligent person i know for making that silly decision. Family and the lovely city (because Ft. Worth really is lovely) aside, why do people live here??? Granted, it is really only this miserable (100 degrees and 90% humidity) for a couple of months, and the rest of the year is quite pleasant, or at the very least a little unpredictable. For example, it once snowed one morning, and was 75 degrees outside by 3 pm. It hails grapefruits from the sky, we're prone to tornadoes (does that plural actually have an 'e' in it? I can never remember), and it can rain up to 4 feet in a matter of seconds, but hey... it makes things interesting.

I owe a post on the last week of my trip to Africa, and I'll get the pics posted soon. Promise.