Friday, March 31, 2006
I did 15 minutes of yoga before I went to bed, and I think I slept totally through the night for the first time in ages. I actually didn't even hit the snooze this morning when I woke up. Fabulous! I also hit up a 20 minute segment this morning - it helped shake the sleepies out of me. Although Milo and Thalia were constantly trying to sit on/next to me, which makes moving into a different position a bit of a chore. Purring is pretty theraputic and calming though, so I don't mind all that much.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Charlotte was fun - the city itself was rather boring, but the meetings and sessions they had were interesting, and it was really great to hang out with my old co-workers again. Most of them were totally cool with Pat O'Brien and me dating, although I did freak out a bit at the beginning because I thought no one wanted to hang out with us. I got over that pretty quick.
I am trying my hardest to get right back in the saddle with no depressive relapses, and it seems to be OK so far. I am hoping that my medication (which I just started taking last week) will help me deal. Its tough though. Every time I leave the US to head back to Mexico I dread it. I think to myself "WHY am I leaving? WHY can't I STAY!?!?". I managed to not cry too much when I left Pat O'Brien at the gate (his flight was two hours after mine) but after my connection in Dallas I lost it for about 1/2 hour on the plane. Luckily no one was seated next to me, so I don't think anyone noticed. I was comforted after getting home and being surrounded by my things. We'll see how it goes.
I think Keith and I are going to head to Guanajuato this weekend for his rugby game. I am sure that I will just feel like sitting at home and doing nothing, but I probably should get out. I have to get my car serviced before then, though. Its like 3000 miles over due for an oil change, it needs an A/C charge, and an overall tune up. I need to take care of that today or tomorrow......
Friday, March 24, 2006
Keith had his first rugby practice in Polanco (in Mexico City) last night. I don't know why, but I feel like he can't get along safely without me. Maybe its just my built in sister-ness. Anyway, the entire time he was gone I was trying hard to not freak out. He's a big boy and perfectly capable of caring for himself - yes, he doesn't speak spanish that well yet, but I don't know why I always have this built in fear for him. Luckily, he placates me and called before he was on his way home - I'm sure I drive him crazy though at times.
Whats on the horizon for me? The American Concrete Institude Spring Convention, in Charlotte, North Carolina. I leave tomorrow morning, or rather late tonight at about 3:30AM. I am taking the bus to the Airport (there is one that runs directly from the Toluca bus station to the international departure area) and its only $100. Seeing as how it would cost $160 plus Keith's time for him to drop me off, I figured this was a better route to go. I'm excited to see Pat O'Brien again - his flight gets into Charlotte about 10 minutes before mine. It seems like this month has passed more quickly than the last one. Probably because I wasn't feeling so sorry for myself this time. It should be a good time - concrete nerds abounding, beer, and old coworkers :) I will be there through Wednesday, so I will update when I get home.
Oh, and by the way, the little puppies we are dog sitting really don't bark that much. Just a little now and again. I am pretty sure Keith is exagerating.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Keith decided to join the rugby team "Wallabies". He tried to go to practice once this week, but there was a whole bunch of protests in DF due to a international water conference or something, so it was cancelled. Regardless, on Saturday he got to play a whole game, and actually did pretty well. Not that I expected him to do poorly, but they played full 40 minute halves, and he doesn't get a whole lot of exercise sitting on the couch doing SODOKU's (Fun To Say, Fun To Do!). Although he has gone to our gym more frequently than I :)
Anyway, they played the University of Guanajuato, and they won, by how much I don't know. No one seems to keep track of score in rugby. All I know is Keith had some great plays, and apparently scored a Try (which I missed). And I have also decided that in general (except for Manu Girnobli) Argentinean men are beautiful. Just oh so nice to look at!
We got to the pitch at 11AM, but apparently the game was delayed and didn't start until 1PM. Which was totally fine with me, I got a whole two hours to sit in the wonderfully warm sunshine and read a book! Bad news though, I have a nice farmer tan to show for it - I had a long-short sleeve shirt on and capri's, so it looks slightly ridiculous. Not as crazy as when I burned at Teotihuacan, but still silly just the same.
Saturday night we met up with Veronica and her brother and family, and had some yummy arachara, chorizo and salchicha, along with many beers. We didn't stay too late because everyone was tired, and we made it back.
Sunday, I tried to go to church twice (MOM I SWEAR) but the first time they told me that mass wasn't until 1pm and when I went at 1 there was a wedding! Then I went shopping at Sam's Club and came home, did all my laundry, finished my book, did some scrapbooking, and chilled with my bro. All and all, a very productive rest day!
A word about the book - its called The Kite Runner, and its by some guy who I can't for the life of me remember his name. Its about two kids growing up in Afghanistan in the 70's, and comes full circle to present times. Absolutely riveting. I really didn't expect to enjoy it, and as a matter of fact I only read it because of a book club that I will hopefully be joining here soon. But, despite my prejudices, I let myself escape within its pages and really enjoyed the story, as well as learning a bit about the culture. I don't think its an Oprah's book club book, but I would recommended it anyway!
Friday, March 17, 2006
Luck o’ the Irish be with ye all today (especially Pat O'Brien trying his luck in Vegas).
So far I am not doing too badly on my NCAA bracket – I picked 13 of 16 correctly. BUT I should have had 14 correct, if Winthrop could have beaten Tennessee!!!! They were SO close – that was my big upset pick this year. The other thing that stinks is we are getting NO coverage of March Madness here. Not like I love to sit all day and watch basketball, but I’d like the option! All our coverage is from the one English Sports Center that we get, and online. I guess it will have to do.
Anyhow – things have been OK. I still am fighting this silly allergy-ness. I was reading in “Selecciones” (Its Readers Digest in Spanish) that the two worst places to live for asthma and air quality are Mexico City and Montevideo. I think I live close enough to Mexico City to get all the crap. I think it’s been really bad for me this year because:
- I don’t get allergy shots here, which helped tremendously in Michigan
- Its really high in altitude
- Its super dry
- The air quality sucks my ass
- My stressed out-ness is making me more susceptible to being sick
So, I finally went to a regular doctor this week to discuss treatment, and he gave me a whole slew of drugs (like 10 different kinds) and sent me to get a CT scan. No, not because he thinks I’m crazy and that there’s something wrong with my brain. Contrary to what most people think I do NOT make up my allergies – that is not involved in my hypocondriacism.
Anyway, it was to take some pics of my Para nasal Sinuses…..he thought maybe there was an obstruction that was making things worse for me. BTW, CAT scan – I paid $180 for. Super cheap! Anyway, I went and picked up the results, and I have yet to take them to the doctor. I have an appointment with him in another week or so and we’ll discuss it then. Here are some of the pics. Everything looks clear, although it did confirm that I have some seriously narrow nasal passages, which I don’t think is normal, and oh yeah, my nose is crooked (suprise :) ). No tumors though - which is a good thing.
It would be great if there is something wrong with my nose/sinuses that cause me to be sick all the time. I would love for me to be healthy and actually be able to breathe. We’ll see what he comes up with though. I’ll keep you posted.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
"Tus sueños te guían a través de periodos de incertidumbre"
Your dreams guide you across periods of uncertainty. Hmm. Interesting. Sounds like good advice to me. Also, my Numeros de Suerte are 7, 9, 31, 33, 34, 49. Maybe I will pass those off as my roulette picks for Pat O'Brien to play for me.
He left this morning at the ass crack of dawn (I think like 4AM?), and should be landing in Vegas somewheres around 10:30. The only thing that makes me sad about this trip is that I won't be able to talk to him whenever I want - so I guess I will have to suck it up and be happy with one 15 minute conversation each day, if I'm lucky. *sigh* I hate it when I don't get what I want.
Patrick - here's a cyber kiss on the dice for you **mmmmwwwaaahhh**- Mama needs a new pair of shoes!!!
I did manage to make it to work on time, but I felt like crap and thought I was going to ralph all morning. That is, until one of the cleaning ladies went to the store and bought me a couple of bottles of gatorade. I was already trying to suck down water and saltines, but really they weren't helping. And, they definitely DO NOT have Vernors here, so that idea was out too. But the gatorade really worked. After the first half of bottle, I was awake, alert and ready to go! By the time the second one was gone, I was ready to eat real food again. I'm pretty sure I am officially convinced that gatorade cures hangovers. Hopefully I won't need it again any time soon, but its good to know that if I need it, its there!
Monday, March 13, 2006
Saturday I got up early (or rather Matilde woke me up with her cleaning activities) and decided to try to find the only scrapbook store within a million miles of me - somewhere in Mexico City. I grabbed my map and two hours later, I arrived. I couldn't find it because it was actually inside a house without a sign or anything, and you had to ask someone to let you inside the gates. All in all, a nice store, although its no Ever Remembered......it was pretty tiny with limited selection, but I was happy to have anything since I can't even get any supplies at the local wal-mart.
After my 45 minute drive home, I pretty much tried to scrap all day. But I was occasionally distracted by a big orange fuzzy cat that kept on laying on all my stuff. I also was trying to finish catching up with the Sopranos, since the 6th season started yesterday and I am only half way through the fourth.....turns out I won't be getting the Sopranos on HBO here anyway, so I have lots of time, at least until the 6th season comes out on DVD.
Sunday I really intended to go to church, but I woke up super late and decided it wasn't worth stressing out to hurry and try to make it on time. So, I took a shower and decided to go shopping for some new clothing - for the first time. I have been avoiding it because A) I don't know my size in Mexican and B) I was afraid they wouldn't have sizes big enough for me. Turned out not to be a big deal. I scored a couple of nice things (clothing outside of the market is NOT cheap here) and am all set for my convention in Charlotte in a couple of weeks. The other cool thing is that they have onsite alterations on pants for free! All I had to do was wait 15 minutes, and they were done. I think we need to adopt that system in the US. It was AWESOME!
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Yesterday as I was wondering what my cat was squeaking about (she squeaks all the time, but it seemed today as if she was squeaking more than normal) I noticed a sore on her leg, about the size of a nickel. Now, I thought it was all good and fun the cats were protected by concrete walls on all four sides, and had a nice little garden to frolick in, but apparently I forgot to think about the threat of flesh eating bacteria in the soil or ticks and mites. I'm not sure whats going on, but it doesn't appear to be spreading rapidly. I went home at lunch to take her to the vet around the corner, but, of course, they were gone to teach classes. The groomer insisted that they would return after 4:30 until 7 - so I am going to try to take her again after work. I'm hoping its just a reaction to a tick bite, and not lyme's disease or ringworm or something like that. Ew. Especially not ring worm, because thats communicable to humans. Ick.
So, also a bit about weird music. I hear the strangest things on the radio here. Even more random than those JACK or BOB no DJ stations in the US. There are really only one or two stations that play English music, so sometimes, if I'm in the mood, I will throw it on. I have heard more Rick Astley (Never Gonna Give You Up) in the past four months than I ever have in my life! Also, the other day we heard "The Never Ending Stooooorrrryyyyyy-----aaaahhh aaahhhh aaahhhh". Who plays that - EVER? Didn't stop Keith from rockin' out though. For the rest of the night he kept on saying "Bastian - I need a naaammmme!!!". I couldn't stop thinking of that creepy dog thing for days.
Those are usually followed by some "Wake Me Up, Before You Go Go" or maybe some of Madonna's new stuff "Hung Up" or Kelly Clarkson for good measure. Its just so random. Oh yeah, they are also obsessed with the song (I don't know the offical name of it) "In your head, in your heeaaead. Sal-ve Sal-ve (insert Sinead O'Conner voice yodels here)......And your cars and your bombs......" You get the picture. I have heard that one at least 10 times, including twice at different bars with bands who don't really speak English singing it. Very interesting. Anyway, it just reinforces the wonderfullness of iPods. So I don't have to listen to the Never Ending Story if I don't want too.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Let me start by saying that I am kind of being a pissy pants about this whole thing, because I really should have started a million years ago, and I wanted it to be in Metepec, much closer to my home at the Berlitz place. Blah blah blah Berlitz was too expensive - so here I am at the Universidad Autonuma de Estado de México, taking a course that is 1/15 the price (and 1/15 the quality? hmm.....). It felt like I had attended Harvard and then was transfered to Delta Community College. Berltiz was so nice, and this place is kind of, well, ghetto. I am sure that I will get a good lesson seeing as how its one on one tutoring, but I was just all pissy about it the whole time I was there. I'm not sure if it was because I was sick, because I wanted to take lessons at Berlitz, or because I just don't want to learn Spanish. But, I apologized to my tutor (José Luis) for being a grumpy butt.
I was also supposed to start having three lessons a week, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. But, when I got there, the registration chick had me down for Monday, Thursday and Friday. No way I am taking classes on a Friday. They've got to be nuts. The teacher also had a conflict for Thursday, at least until one of his study groups ends (in a couple weeks). So, we settled on Monday and Wednesday, with Wednesday's lessons starting a bit earlier because I have Boliche on those nights.
Well, yesterday, I completely forgot that I changed the time from 5 to 4:30, and I showed up at 5:05. Apparently the teachers will wait for a half hour, then they jet. I don't blame them, I wouldn't want to sit around either. But, I was pretty bummed because I was looking forward to having a good attitude at this lesson, and I just ended up being miffed.
Hopefully, next week will be better. I really just need to get my palm pilot up and running again so I can keep track of my every busying schedule!!!
So, I went for the first time to a Mexican hospital for treatment yesterday. It was an emergency / urgent care clinic. Things were getting better, not worse, and I even though I wasn’t keen on the idea of getting help I knew it was the only thing. So, let me back up. A new friend, Rocio, is living here in Toluca with her husband Tom. She’s from Peru, he from Wisconsin – but they most recently spent the past three years in Denver. They came over for dinner on Sunday night (I made lasagna) and she mentioned how she had to go to the doctor here a few months ago. So, I called her up and asked for advice, and she told me exactly what I needed to do and where I needed to go, which made it much less scary. And, she also said they were very good, and helped her, so I felt pretty good about that too.
Keith and I went to the Centro Medico of Metepec, and say I need a consultation with a doctor. It took 5 minutes to fill out paperwork, and after I went right into a room. Two seconds later a nurse came in (by the way, they still wear the little nurse hats) took my vitals, and 5 minutes after that the doctor came in. I told him I didn’t speak very good Spanish, but tried to give him an idea of what was going on (head congested for two weeks, couldn’t breathe very well, etc.). Turns out I have a sinus infection AND a bronchial infection. They gave me a nice huge giant shot in my ass for immediate relief in my lungs, and gave me 3 other medications (one for lungs, one for head, and one for antibiotics). The whole thing, including waiting for meds and driving time, door to door, took an hour and a half. Crazy efficient. AND total cost? $80. $40 for meds, $20 for my ass shot, and $20 for the office visit. Crazy, eh? I don’t have any insurance, either. Well, all people who live/work here have major medical insurance, so I will be covered when I get treatment for my allergies, or if I cut my arm off, but for the little stuff its not too bad. I kind of like not having to deal with insurance companies, especially since I owe $1500 from my knee surgery still. Stupid heads.
The reason why I got so sick so quickly, I think, is because I was hanging out all day on Saturday at the Rugby pitch, kind of helping Keith scout for teams. OK, really, I was just drinking beer. So, drinking beer all day while you’re already sick isn’t the best idea. But, we did meet some cool peeps, and Keith is going to have a hard time choosing, but I will probably be good for our social lives :)
Friday, March 03, 2006
We are going to go to another rugby game on Saturday to see two other teams, and see whats up with them. Keith has to pretty much be objective – he needs to find a team that plays close on the weekends, and also people who are from Toluca that he can hitch rides from for practice during the week. Fox has two people that live in Toluca, and one that works there – so that is pretty promising. We’ll see what happens after Saturday though. I think this rugby connection could open up a lot of doors for us – I am just wondering why it took him so long to get off his arse and contact them……
I also paid some bills online – money management has been difficult as of late. Dealing with twelve different banks, credit cards that get turned off for suspicious activity in Mexico, and getting used to the fact that Apasco only pays once a month…its been difficult. Put that on top of the fact that Holcim US overpaid me for a couple months last year, and are going to start recouping that overpayment starting this month – should make for some interesting times. I’m sure that I will make it work though, somehow I always do :)
Thursday, March 02, 2006
So, I looked up their website and found out that they started a blog for the store! It made me feel so much closer to them again – and I have decided to take Cyber Classes from them. I won’t be able to get supplies, but they can keep me inspired with ideas and sharing – even from 2000 miles away! It really brightened my day when we talked about it all……..proof that hobbies take away stress and keep your life bright!
If anyone is in Belleville, go see Monica and Terry at Ever Remembered. Not only are they talented and friendly and amazing women, they are great friends.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Tuesday I figured that they could go see the awesome botanic gardens as well as the market. Well, parking was nuts so they had all of two minutes to go through the gardens, and the stained glass wasn’t all that spectacular because it was kind of cloudy. Then we met up for a pretty yummy lunch, and they went to the market. This apparently was only ¼ of the normal size. So really, it was a disappointing day. We ended it well though, by going to the movies to see Casanova. I know, cheesy, but we went to the VIP cinema, which as a fancy lobby and real food. They also have leather recliners as seats, with little tables in between and waiters and such. Of course, we’re not the brightest so we got our own food (popcorn and nachos). So very comfortable! So, the movie was good, the seats were better, and it still cost about the same as a regular US flick. SWEET!
After the movie we watched Mexicans play hockey. There is an ice rink in the mall where the theatre is, so they had games / practices. It was a bit strange. I mostly wanted to hang out because I figured if there were any Canucks or Americans with kids, they might be playing. I don’t think there are a whole lot of rinks in the area……we thought maybe the coach wasn’t Mexican, but we never got the guts up to ask him. I guess we’ll never know.
Anyway, she got to see Mexico City, the butterflies, hang out with cute Mexican kids, and a see bit of Toluca - as well as relax and not have to worry about anything. Come to think about it, that doesn't sound like a half bad vacation after all!!!
I’m not going to try to explain the complexity of the monarch butterfly migration, or animal migration in general. Its way to deep for me. If you’d like more info, follow this link:
All I can tell you is that I saw an IMAX movie when I was younger, and it chronicled for a bit the migration of these insects into México. Ever since seeing that movie, I have wanted to see this migration site. I think Keith pretty much summed our trip to the Butterfly Sanctuary – it wasn’t all that excited. I’m not sure if it was because Keith and Pat didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves, or if it was because my original grand plans of taking a horseback ride up the mountains to the sanctuary Sierra Chinca were foiled, or if it was because I was in an inconsolable mood, or what. I guess though, I got to cross something off my life’s to do list, so I should have enjoyed it more.
I really couldn’t get a great picture of the Monarchs in the trees because the light was pretty low, and when they are grouped together like that they really don’t move a whole lot either, and the underside of their wings is pretty drab. But you could look up and see clumps and globs of butterflies just chillin in the trees. It would calm down a bit when the sun would go behind a cloud, but as soon as the sun came back out it was a flurry of wings. At one point we could even hear the noise of their wings in the air as millions of mariposas zipped from here to there.
So, despite being a tad bit disappointed, I took a step back from the zillions of people, the trees, the dust, and thought about what it was. And really, it’s incredible. MILLIONS (yes, I said Millions) of butterflies are in these places! There are 12 wintering sites for Monarchs in Mexico – the one we went to visit, El Rosario, is the largest. The recent butterfly count (done by the world wildlife federation) concluded that there were about 6 hectares of monarchs in the sanctuaries. SIX HECTARES! Now, if you’re like me, and have no idea what a hectare is, let me tell you. Six hectares is equal to about 14 acres, which is equivalent to 643,700 square feet. YIKES! Considering how much space a monarch takes up, that really is a lot of area to cover. I am pretty thankful that I got to experience a real natural wonder!
Poor Pat O'Brien! The guy that took our picture was pressing the button so hard that he kept pushing the camera down when he took the pic........Oh well. At least its proof we were here :)
I have come to discover that whenever something doesn’t go according to plan, I tend to get crabby. I don’t always flip out (but sometimes I do), but especially if plan B doesn’t work out, I get really crabby. It happened on Saturday when we ended up at the wrong butterfly sanctuary and we didn’t get to ride horses, and it just happened right now, too. I wasn’t in a bad mood, although I wasn’t chipper either. Keith called to tell me that he couldn’t pick me up for lunch because he is out buying stuff for his trip this weekend. More about that later…..anyway, I was looking forward to coming home and having tostadas for lunch, and now I have to go get fast food. Yuck. I don’t need anymore of that on my hips, but I don’t have a lot of choice. Luckily Veronica offered to take me to lunch earlier when she saw I took a cab to work, but now I am super crabby and just want to not be here at all.
Its like I am on a super ginormous roller coaster, and it sucks. This morning I was full of live and promise – enjoying that I was here and thinking of all the opportunity, now I am just thinking of ways that I can go back to the states ASAP. It would be nice at this point if I just wouldn’t even care.
By the way, Keith has the car because he had to take Eunice to the airport this morning. We are officially back to normal and sans houseguests. Its kind of depressing, actually. The other funny thing is that I think my Spanish regressed because of all the English I was speaking. Its hard to switch between talking in one and thinking and listening….its easier just to turn it all off and do what comes naturally, which is English. Oh well. I start my Spanish classes next week, so maybe it will get easier.
About Keith’s trip – he is going this weekend with Fernando to some caves somewhere a couple hours south of Mexico City. Fernando and his friends go every year to go camping for one night and cave walking and whatever. Apparently there are portions where you have to swim in the cave, and you have to wear hardhats and lights on your head and stuff. I guess that would be cool, if you weren’t scared of the dark, enclosed spaces and Chupacabra!!! Pretty much sounds like the worst trip ever to me! Anyway, he’s going to be getting his backpack frame, pants and boots today.
It will be my first weekend alone in Toluca – I’m not sure what my plans are yet………I think maybe I will start some scrapbooking projects and just do that all weekend – its been a while since I indulged my creative side…..