Sunday, January 30, 2011
I start off with a beanie, but it's gone within about 2 minutes. Still, it's nice for the walk down in the cold.
It's also good to take your biggest, fuzziest towels. Most of our towels are 30 years old* (seriously, that isn't a joke, when Bobby left his house he just took the old towels he grew up with and has had them ever since) but two of our towels are only 8 years old and they are considerably larger and thicker (there were a lot of advances in the scientific field of bathroom fabrics in that 22 year gap I guess), so those are the hot tub towels. Bobby's modeling one of them here. I'm kind of offended at the way he's implying he's naked behind it. I hope you all aren't scandalized.
*One year younger than Bobby. He did concede that it is possible the towels are "only" 28 years old.
Right now Bobby and I are just waiting to hear where we're going and when we're leaving, and then we'll be headed off to meet up with his family somewhere in the world :) I can't wait to see them and it's kind of fun that we might not know where we're going until a day or two before. As long as we're all together it will be a good time, wherever we may end up!
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Bobby is *super* excited about wearing a flashlight on a strap around his head, you would be able to tell if you could see his face...
I'm impressed, which you'd be able to tell if you could see *my* face. That ghostly red light behind me is the only light on in the whole house- the warm glow from Bobby's computer.
Now that we have headlamps I think it's time to start planning out a long distance biking/camping trip. Maybe that will tide us over until we are cleared to go on our original trip?
Friday, January 28, 2011
1) Brushed my teeth
2) Taken a (much needed) shower
3) Gotten dressed
4) Made my bed
5) Housework or errands
I just can't tear myself away from reading the news and the updates on Egypt. The latest is that Delta Airlines is suspending all flights into Cairo after Saturday. We are not flying Delta, but I'm thinking other airlines might follow suit. National Geographic called Bobby's parents and told them that we would be advised on Monday if the trip will be canceled or proceed as scheduled. If it's canceled they will re-schedule us for a later date. This entire time, since the unrest started a few days ago, I've been telling myself it was all good, that Nat Geo would keep us safe if only to protect its brand, etc. I had a talk with my Dad about 3 days ago and he told me not to worry, I'd be fine. But then today I had *another* talk with my Dad and he was all "Cortney, I'm NOT Liam Neeson. I don't know that I'd know how to/have the resources to come rescue you in Egypt". I've never seen the movie he's referencing, but I've seen the trailer and I got the joke and it a) was funny and b) made me nervous. My dad is not a worrier, not at all. He is logical and reasonable and doesn't let fears guide him. So hearing that he was nervous made *me* nervous...
Since we don't know what will happen Bobby and I plan to finish our Egypt DVD series, pack, and buy Dramamine for the flight(s) and flashlights for the tombs, just in case. Bobby said he's 90% certain that the trip will be canceled, but if it's not canceled, and Nat Geo gives us the go ahead, we're still going. Here's to final decisions on Monday!
And, ok, here's to me finally taking a shower and getting dressed. I'm going to vow, to the internet, that I will do that as soon as I hit "Publish Post". I've talked to everyone I need to talk to, I got the skinny on the communications from Nat Geo, read news for approximately 569 hours, and I've already g-mail chatted my anxieties to Bobby and updated all my far flung friends and family on FB(whoa, alliteration). My lap top feels like it might be about to burst into flames and my eyes are begging me to stop reading online news because they are getting all fuzzy...
Post-edit: Ok, I'm dressed, showered, my bed is made, dishes are done, and a load of laundry is going, so I checked my FB messages and a dear family friend gave me this great link on Mother Jones with live updates if you want to follow what's going on.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Some of you following international news may already know where this is going....
I find it... well, a bit scary, seeing as how we're going to be landing in Cairo, Egypt, the epicenter of the protests, on February 6th. I know that's almost two weeks away, but the protesters have pledged that this is "just the beginning". At this time, I don't see this fading quietly away anytime soon. I'm working on "mastering my fear", but between my terror of plane crashes and the country in the middle of what might be a revolution, I'm a bit antsy about this upcoming trip. I'm sure that National Geographic cares enough about its brand, if not my life, to cancel our trip if it was dangerous. But I really hope it doesn't get canceled, and a part of me- the one that has misplaced and irrational fears- is still more scared of a plane crash than I am of being in a country in the middle of trying to overthrow its government. It's how I roll. But I definitely find it ironic that my theme of 2011 is "Mastering my Fear", and I'm about to take lots of flights (scary) to get to a country in political turmoil whose people are revolting against the government (also kind of scary). I called my mom, and she said "oh, you need to worry more about all those tour buses crashing...it's been all over the news how Egyptian tour buses crash all.the.time. and kill people". Thanks, Mom. That's a third thing to be afraid of! :)
If you want to keep up with what's going on via live updates, you can check this link. BBC, NPR, and CNN are all following the story as well. I would be following this story even if I wasn't set to be in Egypt very soon, but I have to admit it does make the story more compelling to me and I will be keeping up with interest to see where this leads.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Bobby and I took care of the most pertinent preparations back in December when we ordered our visas. But we have been doing other things to prepare. First and foremost, I've been working on my fear of flying. I'm working on this in three ways. One, I'm reading "The Culture of Fear", an excellent book that conveniently is on Jenna's book club this month. I've owned the book for about a year now, and I've skimmed it, reading certain chapters, but I never read it cover to cover. I started with the fear of flying chapter, then started at the beginning and will read all the way through, re-reading the fear of flying chapter again. Another step I am taking is going through this free online course. I started it at the beginning of the week, and I hope to get through it three total times before we leave. I would highly suggest it if you have a fear of flying, or if you are a nervous flyer. And "enrolling" is literally just clicking on what you fear and then beginning. You don't have to give them any info, not even an e-mail address. I'm really enjoying it so far. The third and final way I'm dealing with my fear is by writing about it here, and being honest about it, even if it kind of embarrasses me and makes me feel ignorant and ridiculous. I'm also writing about it in a personal journal.
The second big preparation underway before we leave is educating ourselves on the countries we will be visiting. Bobby's parents sent us a lecture series on Egypt that is 48 lectures long, at 30 minutes a piece. It is just a professor standing at a lectern talking about Egypt, but it is riveting. I am learning so much about Egypt and its history that is blowing my mind. I wish we had something similar for Jordan, but since we don't I've been researching for good videos and websites of information. I'm also reading National Geographic's Egypt book for travelers. It covers some history, which reinforces the lectures, but in addition it is giving me a detailed understanding of the geography and the specific cities in Egypt. Speaking of National Geographic, we received our itinerary at the end of last week, along with baggage tags, name tags, and some rather dorky hats that I made Bobby promise not to wear...
This weekend and next week will be filled with finishing up the lecture series and my fear of flying course, as well as packing. I've never gone anywhere on vacation for as long as two weeks, and I hope to pack outfits for a week- that can be mixed and matched- and then just wash them somewhere halfway through the trip. I love to travel light so this is by no means a sacrifice, I prefer it. If anyone out there wants to send me some good thoughts for anxiety free flights they will be enthusiastically and gratefully received!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
That's right, when she came to visit me, we went camping and she actually had a Texas doormat on hand. Just, you know, hanging out in her truck (which also happens to have a bumper sticker that says "Don't Mess with Texas...Women" on it) in case she happened to need it.
Katie and I briefly dated a million years ago, aka 2004 (which seriously feels like it was a million years ago) but most of us in the group have dated one another at one time or another, and like everyone else we remained good friends after and she is still, to this day, one of my best friends in this world. She is loyal and protective and absolutely hilarious. There are running jokes about how terrible she is at telling stories, but she is also a fabulous dancer and we are often found improving some kind of partner dance to a variety of Michael Jackson songs at get togethers. Or, if we're at a bar, we will inevitably two-step- she leads, naturally. Katie shares my affinity for simple and frugal living, and we both have a deep and abiding love for to do lists. Regarding to-do lists, Katie introduced me to the term rat killin' as a euphemism for running errands. This is one of many reasons I think she's adorable.
This last Sunday was her 25th birthday, and I made her a quilt- all hand stitched!- that I designed. It is meant to be a bit folksy, but if you knew Kate you would say to yourself "that is Kate in quilt form". Here are some pictures of the project, which also happens to be another goal on my 2011 goals list. Shamefully, I purchased these materials to make this quilt for Katie's 24th birthday, but never got around to it between wrapping up grad school and starting my new job. But now it's done, and there is photographic proof.
Monday, January 17, 2011
"...And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people we will get to the promised land. So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man." Martin Luther King Jr speech in Memphis, April 3, 1968, the day before he was assassinated
Saturday, January 15, 2011
One last thing though. I do plan on doing a follow up post when I get my results, but some of it may need to be a bit vague. This is for both personal privacy and practical reasons. They do advise you not to share, publicly, any risk factors for disease that you are made aware of. This is because they don't want anyone unfairly discriminated against by health insurance companies. Because a risk factor is just that- you have a risk for a certain disease. It's not a diagnosis, and you may never ever get that certain disease. But, if you trumpet all over the world "whoa, I totally have the gene for breast cancer, scary!", then you may be excluded from getting health insurance on those bounds. Which is weird, because that's basically a "hypothetical pre-pre-existing condition...maybe...someday...or...maybe never at all". Interestingly enough, I discovered that the U.S. passed a law in 2008 called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA for short, to specifically protect people from being discriminated against for genetic markers for disease. You are, in theory, protected from being discriminated against when it comes to plain Jane health insurance (although many women who tested positive for the BRCA gene, indicating a higher than normal breast cancer risk, have reported being denied health insurance). Unfortunately, the law does not cover life/disability/or long term care insurance. I find it a bit strange that they would specifically pass a law to protect people, but only protect them (kinda sorta) in the area of health insurance.
At any rate, I'm excited to get my results and share the experience I had with the company! I'm still in awe of the huge advances in science that have been made in my lifetime and I think it's rad that I can take part in it like this.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I am not a fan of New Year's Resolutions, for a few reasons I'll speak to in generalities. For one, I'm a goal setting, list making, project tackling kind of person. I tend to make frequent goals- on the order of monthly, or weekly, or, when I was in school, semester-ly (that's a word, right?). Plus, New Year's Resolutions seem to often be the only goal setting some people make, ever. As a result, they usually make ambiguous, fuzzy around the edges goals that are hard to quantify and make it nigh unto impossible to assess progress. Or, they make grand sweeping goals that are kind of impossible to achieve. Also, because this is the only time of the year that they might make goals, they are not used to working towards them and making a plan to achieve them. Because of these two problems, New Year's Resolutions have (rightly so) acquired the stereotype of being unachievable, hazy feel good-y type wishes that are uttered into the drunken atmosphere of a New Year's party at 2 a.m., or written haphazardly on a scrap of napkin at a diner where one is eating off the New Year's hangover. Ok, that's a little much, but I got carried away with the imagery...my point is, I think New Year's Resolutions are the surest way to jinx oneself into not accomplishing said resolutions, simply by cursing them with the name "resolutions". So, my two step solution (I'm no expert, just a girl with a free blogger account) is to a) make goals consistently throughout the year and b) make yearly goals that are quantifiable and measurable. For example, one of my 2011 goals is to read 52 books. That can work out to 1 book a week, or it can work out to book heavy months and book lean months. As long as I have 52 titles by the end of the year, I'm golden. Although, I honestly hope I'm not reading the final 38 books between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Here are my 2011 goals, categorized in ways that made sense to me. I've left out some of the specifics of implementation so that this already rambly and navel gazing post doesn't become 1,435 pages long, but you'll get the general idea.
Food and Fitness
Do at least two cardio workouts a week + three additional workouts (any type including yoga)
Get down to one soda and one coffee per week or less
Give C25K another try (applies to cardio workout goal above)
Misc Goals and Projects
West Coast Swing lessons- aim for once a week, go at least twice a month; belly dancing lessons on Sundays
Finish rainbow quilt, blue crocheted baby blanket, and Kate’s quilt- work on similar projects at least twice a month
Scan in journals/letters/cards; finish editing pictures & deleting unwanted pics; organizing files
Update blog at least twice a week/creative writing once a week
Career and Finances
Continue to volunteer with SSI and VE & complete Community Based Development Certificate
Begin Teacher Certification program and internship in August
Try to find a part time job that works around current internships
Read one book a week/52 books in a year
Regular Spanish study- Rosetta Stone, books, Spanish Word of the Day- at least 3 times a week
No more than one hour of internet during weekdays
Montana and Yellowstone Nat’l Park
Go to at least one hot springs location
Travel to Denver and Boulder at least twice each for events or day trips
See a concert at Red Rocks
Travel to Texas at end of HP contract for an extended amount of time
Call all grandparents and parents at least once a month/ Send more mail (specifically to Great Granny monthly)____________________________________
A few notes: The one hour of internet daily ties into the read more books thing. I found that I have become a newshound. I can easily spend two hours a day reading BBC and NPR. While I don't want to be any less informed, I don't appreciate that way that my reading of books has been edged out a bit by my reading of news. The West Coast Swing lessons are something Bobby and I started back in Dallas- he invited to them for one of our first dates- and we both love them. Since we kind of need each other to accomplish that goal, it's on both of our lists. Speaking of Bobby, we actually sat down together and I typed up both of our lists, since a few things depended on one another- especially our travel goals. We want to make sure we fully explore this part of the world while we're living here, hence the travel to-do list. We also served as good sounding boards for one another, asking probing questions about goal ideas, getting honest feedback about realistic expectations, etc. Lastly, in regards to the food and fitness area. I am a fit person, but my cardio health is sorely lacking and as a former long distance runner this is annoying to me and I want to fix it. I tried to start C25K back in
In addition to my goal list, I have one more thing. A theme for 2011, if you will. An overarching philosophy that I will seek to apply to my daily doings. It is two part and they go hand in hand:
1) Master my fear, or at least not let it control me (please see my
2) Make decisions with confidence (please see my trepidation and back pedaling when it comes to making decisions here).
The second is born of the problem of the first. I'm afraid of making the wrong decision, so then I don't make any decision, and then I'm frustrated for not making a decision, and all that comes from my fear. This is cheesy, but yes, "master my fear" is totally a quote stolen from "The Golden Compass". And, while we're at it, here's a good quote about making decisions:
"Will considered what to do. When you choose one way out of many, all the ways you don't take are snuffed out like candles, as if they'd never existed. At the moment all Will's choices existed at once. But to keep them all in existence meant doing nothing. He had to choose, after all". - The Amber Spyglass
Too often, I operate under the false assumption that by putting off decisions I am somehow gaining by not making a wrong decision. I mean, I have so many options, but once I choose, I only have the option I chose. But, um, that's kind of the point. I'm not gaining anything by not choosing, because I'm not doing anything.
So, there you have it. I think I'll be writing a monthly post checking in with my 2011 goals, just to see how I'm doing and to be accountable.
Here's to 2011 my friends. It will be as good as we choose to make it.
Monday, January 10, 2011
After breakfast we hit up Wild Boar, a local coffee shop in an old house, and then we dropped off P! at the apartment. He rarely drinks and the previous day's brewery tour plus night out had done him in a bit. A nap was in order. J-Ben had wanted to check out the Clydesdales at the Budweiser brewery, and since it was only about 20 minutes away we decided to head out and leave P! to nap in peace. We had no interest in a brewery tour, so we just walked in and asked if we could say hi to the horses. We were pointed to the "Clydesdale Hamlet" out back. They have a huge amount of pasture space to run around, but when we arrived they were being fed in the stable. Hence the following pictures where they look like they're in jail.
We headed home to a restored P!, and I got to work on dinner. Bobby came home and we shared our last meal before heading down to the hot tub. It's nice to relax and actually enjoy the heat because everything around you is literally freezing and covered in snow. The next morning J-Ben and P! left early for Texas. We were sad to see them go but we were *so* happy they came. Since we've moved up here 3 sets of couple friends have come to visit for a week each, and I'm always beyond thrilled to play host and soak up their company. I'm looking forward to lots more visits!
We walked through Linden Street square, which is filled with sculptures and has a revolving door of art installations.
Dear Elliot's Martini Bar- Thanks for being awesome. Love, Cortney