Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Home Honey I'm High


I love listening to music in my car. For me, it’s one of my favorite things in my day – getting in my car, selecting a CD/playlist, and pumping up the volume … and singing along (at the top of my lungs of course)! Passing drivers must think I’m crazy as I drive by with a huge smile, singing as if my life depended on it and bobbing my head along with the music. What do I care? In my opinion, they’re the ones missing out on some great tunes.

I’m quite picky about what I listen to in the car, and I’ve even got a few specific playlists/CDs to listen to for certain drives. For example, I’ve got my Morning Mix. It’s got pick me up music to get my energy levels up for the day. On the way to the gym I’ve got special motivational music that gets me focused for my workout … and so on.

My music gets me in the mood for whatever I’m heading out to do … and I guess the singing along is some form of cathartic release. It’s only recently that I’ve realized that I actually sing through songs that I don’t even know the words of – sounds crazy, doesn’t it?! It seems that I was passing over lines that I didn’t understand by either making up words … or in some cases (quite a few cases truth be told) actually making up sounds – not words, actual sounds! They’re not words. They don’t exist. What??

Here are a few examples – There’s a line in Shakira & Beyonce’s song Beautiful Liar which I would sing as “I walked in, on your machine, slow dancing” … and every time I’d sing that line I’d think – What in the world are they talking about? Machine? Slow dancing? It just doesn’t make sense … of course I had to look up the lyrics (eventually – basically a few months after singing the line my way) and found out that she was saying “I walked in, on your love scene, slow dancing.” Listening to the song again I guess I can make out those words … but I still say it sounds more like machine!

I was listening to one of Kelli Ali’s albums given to me by a friend … he gave me the tracks without having the songs listed so I had no idea what the titles of the songs were. There was one song in particular that I loved and had no problem singing along to – Run baby run, I’m your steady sun, Meow my si, homany am I – yes, you read that correctly. Doesn’t make any sense. Meow my si, homany am I. I sang that line shamelessly for many, many days (weeks?) until I had to ask him – What the hell is she saying?

It turns out the line was “Run baby run, I’m your setting sun. Hear my sigh. Home Honey I’m High!” Now how was I supposed to figure that out? Seriously. Who could have guess that she’s playing off of “Hi honey, I’m home”?! At least even he admitted that he wouldn’t have known unless he had read the title of the song (obviously called Home Honey I’m High).

Just before you think I’m crazy, I’ve got to give you one more example:
Another friend of mine gave me a CD for my birthday and it had a song by Kylie Minogue called Speakerphone. Now, I’m not a huge fan, but the beat of the song is catchy and eventually I started singing along. When the words “Drop your socks and grab your mini boom box, Do the pop lock body rock let the beat drop” came out of my mouth, I swear I almost had an accident. What in the world did I just say? Go ahead, read that line again – crazy, isn’t it? Well, what’s even crazier is that those are the actual words of the song! Go check the lyrics online. She actually says those words.

Now, can you blame me for making up lyrics as I sing along? Lucky for me (and I guess everyone else) I only ever sing when I’m alone in my car – so I guess I can make up any lyrics I want!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Touched


It’s been REALLY hot here in Kuwait. At 10:30 a.m. it was already 45°C (about 113°F) and I was boiling! As I was waiting in line this morning at the grocery store, I went to get some water from the fridge next to the check-out counter. Much to my dismay all the bottles were lukewarm at best. Another man came up and was also looking for a bottle of cold water but I told him that all the bottles were warm in this fridge. Definitely the wrong day for beverages to be warm!

The queue was building up so instead of searching in another fridge, I just proceeded and to put my items on the conveyor belt. As I placed my last item and was getting ready to pay – all the while dreading the idea of going back in that sweltering heat – the man who was searching for water came up to me and gave me an ice cold bottle of water.

I was so touched.

I wish I wasn’t so moved by that gesture. I wish that it was common enough for it to seem ordinary. The truth is, I think it’s far from ordinary and commonplace. So rarely do I see acts of random kindness – holding the door open for someone else, picking something up that someone has dropped, saying ‘please’, ‘thank you’, and ‘excuse me.’

Why have these simple gestures become so rare? A little bit of kindness goes a long way – it doesn’t cost anything, and it makes the other person feel good – which in turn makes them more likely to do something good for someone else. Everybody wins!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Workin' It Out


I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I last posted.

Things have been quite busy since the new semester started. I think people (non-teachers) definitely underestimate how much work teachers have to do. I guess if you look at our summer & winter holidays (and working hours here at KU), then it’s understandable … but those ‘perks’ give people the wrong impression … there’s so much more that others don’t see or consider. Lesson planning can take hours; figuring out the perfect lesson – something to keep a class of 25 adolescents attentive and interested in what you’re saying – is not easy! Grading takes even longer. Then of course there’s the fact that we go in every morning and stand in front of a class and try to TEACH them. You’re not working on your own; you don’t get any down time … all eyes are on YOU. So, as I was saying, it’s a lot of work!

Anyway. I didn’t intend for this post to be about my teaching. Actually, I’m quite amazed at how much I’ve accomplished in the past 6 weeks in terms of my PhD, despite the added hours that I spend on teaching now that the semester has started.

It hasn’t been easy balancing everything, but I’ve accomplished quite a lot. My reading is going well. My interviews are going great, and my writing has picked up. I’m on a roll and I feel terrific about it!

This week was particularly good as I was finally able to gain remote access to my university’s library in London. It’s so great to have all the journal articles that I need at my fingertips! Plus, one of my interviewees gave me a ton of information to follow-up on – opened some avenues that I didn’t even think about going down, so I’m quite excited about that! All of this has of course given me the push I needed to sit down and get some more writing done.

Feeling marvelous and motivated!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Nostalgia Part III: Music to My Ears

Nothing like a good tune to start your day ... and nothing like the following tunes to take me back to days of elementary, middle & high school -- Isn't it unbelievable how you still remember the words (and even some dance moves???)

Who can ever forget the New Kids on the Block?! Jordan, Donnie, Jonathan, Danny, and Joey - their ripped jeans, choreographed moves, and oh my, what charisma! Aren't they the ones who really kicked off the 'boy band' phenomenon?




I am still a huge fan of Madonna's ... and though there were many songs to choose from, this one one music video that I knew (and still know) all the dance moves to!

"Everybody's doin' a brand new dance now ..." :)

To what other song do you hum (sing?) the opening beat to than this one?




Don't tell me that you don't start to tap your feet and perhaps even snap when this song comes on! My friends at NES were crazy about Wham! and that soon spread to me - this is one song that always reminds me of you guys (see you this summer!!)


I really wanted to upload MC Hammer's 'U Can't This' video but I wasn't able to download it.

Michael Jackson. Whitney Houston. Debbie Gibson. Tiffany ... among many others are part of my nostalgic music moment. Remember the huge scandal Milli Vanilli caused when it was revealed that it wasn't really them singing?! Didn't they actually have their Grammy revoked?! :)

Well, all these songs/artists have a place in my musical scrapbook!

Happy Listening :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Nostalgia Part II: Shows I Loved

Once I started going through those old TV show clips, I couldn't stop! Here are a few more for old time's sake :)


Mr. Roger's Neighborhood -







Sesame St. - What a terrific educational show!







The Muppet Show - Why don't they make shows like this anymore?







I absolutely LOVED the Donnie and Marie show. Donnie Osmond was my first 'movie star' crush - I was devastated (at the age of 6) when I found out he was married *sniff sniff* This was my favorite opening performance:







Gummi Bears -- I don't remember too many cartoons from my childhood, but this is one that I absolutely loved! Didn't you wonder what is in Gummi Bear juice?





*Sigh* To be a kid again ...

Nostalgia Part I: TV Moments

While my packrat tendencies have filled up trunks and boxes with loads of memories, going through them over the past few days reminded me of exactly why I kept them in the first place ... This is part of my trip down memory lane ...

Growing Pains ... I had such a crush on Kirk Cameron!

I'll never forget rushing home to watch 90210 and then calling up my friends to discuss what happened on that episode. What drama!

Making lists and planning my routine started from an early age for me. TV time was scheduled into my after-school routine ... come home from school, lunch, 1/2 hr of TV, homework, 1/2 hr of TV, dinner, sleep (something like that). Half hour sitcoms were perfect for my TV time slots - Different Strokes. Silver Spoon. Webster. And, how can anyone forget ... Small Wonder.

Punky Brewster was another favorite of mine ...

And of course, what childhood was complete without the family fun of the Cosby Show?

I'm so glad most of these TV shows are available on DVD now ... I get to relive any chidhood TV moment I want :)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Rattle in my Bronchi

My chronic bronchitis is torturing me. This is the third year in a row that I’ve suffered from this horrible, suffocating sharp cough for more than 2 months. In fact, the last 2 years I had it for 3 months each … so I’m hoping there’s just one more to go. I feel absolutely miserable. From the sound of the cough to the soreness in my throat to the bruised ribs I have from all the coughing … and that’s not even the worst part. The struggle to breathe is the most painful and depressing part. I feel like there’s a huge weight pressing down on my chest and just constricting my lungs – I get no air. For a few seconds every hour I feel like I’m being choked and there is absolutely nothing I can do.

I’ve been taking my medication. I still have a few more days for my antibiotics, but I can honestly tell you that I feel no different than I did when it first started. The medicine isn’t doing anything for me. The only good one is the one I have to take at night. I think it sedates me and just puts me to sleep … at least that’s the good thing. I’m hoping I can just relax this weekend – maybe try some deep breathing exercises or yoga to help relax my muscles and just relax in general. At this point I’ll do anything. I just want the coughing to stop.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Time Out!


Seriously. Where is Evie and her ability to stop time? If I had one wish at this very moment, that’s exactly what it would be – stop time so that I can catch up!

I’ve been back from vacation for 4 days now – back at work for 3 and I am already exhausted and behind with everything that I have to do. I knew I should have come back earlier, but the thought of facing the dust – and all the errands that I knew were waiting for me – was just unbearable.

Everything is stacking up and I’m feeling very, very frantic. And it’s not just one task. There are several things that I have to do and at the moment I just don’t seem to be able to prioritize – hence things are being left half (quarter) finished, which is driving me even more insane.

From mundane tasks like dropping my clothes off at the dry cleaners and going to the post office to mail some parcels to more serious work like getting some of my PhD reading done!

I know it always takes a few days to get back into the swing of things after a vacation, but for some reason, I’m feeling the pressure and I need to make it all come together somehow – right now!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Train of thought

The train ride to and from Canterbury is absolutely beautiful. It’s a very smooth and quiet journey down and this time, the scenery of the snow covered hills was breathtaking.

For some reason train journeys really soothe me. My mind wanders as I gaze out at the flashes of life that pass me by. Today’s journey was spotted with frost-crusted tree branches, snowmen on the side of the tracks, kids sledding down a hill, a lone farmer checking that the coats were on tight on his horses … I had never taken a train ride through the snow. It was all so peaceful looking – there’s something tantalizing, yet calming, at the sight of a large untouched blanket of snow – not a footprint in sight.

As my mind wanders I often reflect on the past. Good memories always come to mind – times of laughter revisited, bonds of friendship remembered, feelings for loved ones strengthened. Gazing out at the countryside feels reassuring. Everything seems possible. I think it’s that I’m (literally) moving forward – it reminds me that even though life is fast-paced at times, so fast that everything around me becomes blurred, there’s still much ahead of me – snowmen to build, horses to ride, and that untouched territory to discover.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Those were the days ...

Shrill screaming as you run through the hall, slamming doors all through the night, loud music playing accompanied by out-of-tune voices … ya, I’m definitely not built for dorm living anymore!

Were we really that loud back then? I’m sure we were. I guess it was different living in a suite with your friends. I can’t really be too irked by the noise. I mean, 7 p.m. is not really late at night is it? Hehehe, just kidding.

I guess it’s just different being in my 30’s and living in a dorm vs. being 18 (as the girls in my suite this time around were). Still, aside from the noise, there was the room I had to deal with. The first thing I did was buy a pair of latex gloves and disinfectant detol wipes so that I could sanitize the whole room – only then could I start to relax a bit.

The room itself (this time) was not too bad. Good size, en suite facilities, a ‘comfy’ chair as they called it (not comfortable at all!) and a desk chair (also not comfortable) … and then there was the single bed with a … ummmm … I think it was intended to be a mattress but it felt more like a bunch of thin wire springs with a bit of cloth sewn over them – ouch! Yes, very uncomfortable. I literally had to sleep on the edge of the bed in order to avoid serious injury to my back! Luckily, I was only staying there for 10 nights since there was no way I could fit more clothes into the closet, which was about the size of an airplane bathroom! So clearly this room was purely functional and not built for comfort! Oh well – such is college life (at least for a few days out of the year) :)






Monday, January 19, 2009

My Treasure Chest


Childhood toys.
Notes passed in high school.
Matchboxes from hotels.
Paper coasters from restaurants.
Sugar packets from cafes.
Letters and cards received from friends.
Balloons from special occasions.
Journal entries from anguish/hope/passion-filled moments of my life.
Pictures that capture the best of times.
Trinkets that bring back great memories.
Mixed tapes replaying symbolic songs.
Newspaper clippings of significant events/dates.
So many memories. So many good times. So much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Palestine

I can’t take the news about Gaza anymore. It fills me with so much anguish – I literally can’t bear it anymore. So many things about this situation amaze me – I’m amazed at how long this entire conflict has been allowed to go on. I’m amazed at how cruel people can be. I’m amazed that in this day and age there is still so much fighting going on.

I just cannot comprehend why so much fighting is still going on – or even why it began in the first place. I am embarrassed to be living in a country that claims to support the Palestinian cause but does nothing about it. Nobody is speaking loud enough and nobody is moving fast enough (if at all) to put an end to this. With such a travesty occurring, it should not take Ban Ki-moon to have to come in to put an end to all the fighting – isn’t that the obvious conclusion?!

It saddens me to no end to see our political leaders not leaping to action to stop this unbelievable inhumanity that is going on practically in our back yard. Sad stories, horrifying pictures in the newspaper, dreadful statistics are not what we need to realize that there is a problem … it’s no use if only the people feel such compassion and urgency to put an end to all the fighting – we governments to step in and put a stop to it. What is taking them so long? Why is it such a difficult solution to find? Can there really be a better/worthier/nobler goal than to save human lives and strive for peace?

It’s all just so sad. So very sad.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A belated happy new year ...

Happy new year everyone!

I know this greeting is a bit late, but I have been in an unbelievable amount of pain.

I’m glad to say that the surgery went well. The doctor is very pleased with my progress, and while that’s comforting to hear, I feel absolutely miserable.

Three days after the procedure, I was discharged from the hospital. The surgeon told me that it had taken 2 hours longer than they had anticipated. He reassured me that it would be ok but the recovery process was going to be painful.

I have honestly never known pain like this before. Aside from the pain, it’s been the helplessness that has depressed me the most. Every single movement hurts. I still can’t do simple tasks like get out of bed without wincing and clutching on to something for support. I hate having to rely on someone to help me and I hate not being able to move freely.
When my doctor first told me that he was giving me 3 weeks of sick leave, I actually laughed. I thought that I would be back at work within 4-5 days. I can’t believe how na├»ve I was. I’m going stir-crazy at home already … but I need to hang in there for just another 2 weeks.