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ga_nobodyknows
I make the occasional public post, as you'll see below, but most of my entries are friends only. If you're already on my friends list, then you should be able to start reading the most recent entry below this one.

If you're not on my friends list and wish to be considered, please drop me an email, but know that it's rare for me to add people I don't know personally to my friends list.

Jan. 31st, 2009

ga_doing something worse than doing noth
This userpic seems especially true today, given that I have been considering unlocking previous journal entries, not sure whether it's a good idea or not.  Regardless, would like to know if anyone knows how to download/backup Livejournal entries en masse, because I'd like to save and make sure I don't lose my journaling from the past few years.  Anyone?  Bueller?

Day... whatever: doing well!

ga_busy
Okay, so yesterday was Tuesday, I didn't bike in to work, but I didn't feel so guilty, because it turned out that my estimated distance on Monday was actually not 8, but 20 miles round trip (I talked to a colleague who drives it and knows the distance along the route I took)!

Then yesterday after work, Andrés and I walked down to the beach and played with the new "Life is Good" beach paddle ball set I bought on sale at REI.com.  Tonight we'll probably go try out the new Frisbee (also on sale from REI.com).  Each of these was less than USD 5, so we now have plenty of good, body-moving, cardio-inducing fun at our fingertips for less than $10!

Today I biked in, did a half hour in the gym, and am happy to say my new bike gloves (in Uruguayan celeste blue), the medium-sized super-absorbent lightweight camp towel (also from REI.com) and carabiner (to hang my bike helmet and water bottle from my backpack) all worked great for their intended purposes.  I brought a blueberry peach yogurt smoothie from home and chased that with another litre of water.  So far, so good! 

I'm sure it sounds obvious, but I feel so much better!  I feel more like myself again - my creative juices are starting to flow again, and last night after we got home, while watching the end of the inaugural parade, I even started doing some beading!  I'm working on a badge holder for a friend at work in even peyote stitch, using one of the books that mlion gifted me the last time I was home.

May I just say, I feel pretty bad for the Obamas, or at least for Barack?  They had to get up at the a$$-crack of dawn on the 20th, spend all day and all night into the wee sma's attending ball after ball after gala inauguration ball, and then the poor guy gets what I imagine will be just a few hours of sleep, after which he has to go right into his first day of work as the Commander-in-Chief of a major world nation?

If you didn't get a chance to read/hear the official inauguration poem, written by Elizabeth Alexander, please enjoy it here, courtesy of America.gov.

20 January 2009

Elizabeth Alexander’s Inaugural Poem

Poet writes and reads “Praise Song for the Day”

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."

Others by “first do no harm,” or “take no more than you need.”

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp — praise song for walking forward in that light.

</lj>

MLK Day

QiuYe Big Face

So I'm sitting outside the McCafé in Carrasco after having enjoyed a morning mocha and a teeeeeeny little almond cookie. I rode out here hoping to enjoy some quiet and a coffee, check email and perhaps get some journaling in; instead I get leafblowers-R-US. *sigh*

Ahhh, inside now, with my breakfast bagel on the way and less noise. The ride I did this morning should probably have taken me less time based on Jack's reports to me at work - but the important thing is that I accomplished it, since I'm not trying to break any world records. I am curious about the distance covered, however. I may order some sort of cycle odometer from REI the next time I have time to do some browsing on their site. Meanwhile, I'm going to estimate that today's round trip will be about 8 miles.

Based on something I read on Twitter the other day, I'm curious as to whether someone is reading these days - you know who you are. Although I know things were (and perhaps are) complicated for you, I just want you to know that I forgive you, I hope you're well, and if you have any way to let me know that you're doing okay and happy, I'd be very glad to hear from you, even just a one-liner. I think you made the right choice at the time, although it hurt like *^%# back then and still seems unfair now. I got on, I always do, and I still believe that time and fate and destiny are all relative concepts.

Okay, enough of me being cryptic, it's nearly 0900 and I should head back home, I have a lot of housecleaning to take care of today.

An Open Letter to Jason

QiuYe Big Face
Dear One:

     You've been on my mind a great deal lately, and knowing that strange, almost mystical connection we've had for what seems as long as I can remember being, that must mean I've been on your mind, too.  I'm taking a chance that you still review this LJ every now and then to see what's going on with me, as I wonder what's going on in your life, and so I'm baring my soul to anyone and everyone I know so that you can see it, too.

     Since you deleted your (our?) journal, you won't have been able to see my friends posts (though I wish you could) so there's a lot to catch you up on -- however, since this is getting posted for the world to see I'd rather not say much more other than that I'm in Uruguay, now, and doing fine.

     I've respected your request that I not contact you - for your sake, and for all of theirs - but you were right when you said I deserved more explanation, and it still pains me not to have you as a part of my life.  It doesn't mean that you're not with me, or that I don't think of you, or miss you -- or wonder if there's ever going to be anyone else in my life who could truly fill the void that's shaped like you in my heart, no matter how many square pegs I try to fit into that perfect, uniquely-shaped hole.  The odds are against me on that one.

     I hear the music that I played for you, that we played for each other, and it makes me think of you, and I wonder if you're still listening.  I can't help but hang on to the faith I have left in both of us, and to something you said once in one of those moments when you spoke in your prophetic tone - that you felt sure that we would be together someday.

     Someday.  For now, I guess I'll keep looking for square pegs and trying in vain to make them fit, if only to stave off boredom -- that is, until we find one another again, which we always seem to do -- or until I follow you into the dark.

With love, as always,
Cheryl



    

I Need a Hug.

QiuYe Big Face
Dear LJ,

Today was going so well... until I checked my email, that is. I got a message from my oldest friend that both hurt me to the core and was completely understandable and acceptable. Please don't ask me to explain how that can happen.

If you ever read this, my friend: I do think I understand at least part of why you made the break. It's the same reason that I made the clean break. You have to get your house in order, and at the same time you're trying to give me space to be the person you think I should be.

I hope that someday you'll get in touch again. Considering the way things have always shaken out in the past, my dear one, I have a feeling I'll still be here waiting for you - wherever "here" is.

Wishing You All a Very Merry Christmas!

ga_Happy Holidays Izzy
As Christmases halfway across the world from family go, this one has been pretty darned enjoyable. There was not-working and Christmas-decoration-shopping with Holly on Friday, the party at Todd & Midori's on Saturday night, and a day of holiday kolace-baking on Christmas Eve with Elina and Fabio. (Yes, that's right, the Finn and the Italian with the American making Czech sweetbreads in China. Merry International Christmas!) Finally, there was a quiet Christmas eve on my own, watching "A Christmas Story" (which has become my traditional Christmas Eve fare in recent years) and drinking some warm eggnog (yes, from a can, but it's China, what can you do!?). I curled up on the sofa with kitties and spent the night in the glow of the slowly-blinking multicolored lights on the tree.

Woke up at about 7am, feeling a little stuffy, and had to have a cup of lemon-echinacea-licorice root tea in order to get my head clear. I still have quite a headache, hours later, but at least I can breathe. I opened presents from mlion and Momcat (Christmas cookies, a book, a magazine, a pendant filled with sand from the beach in Oregon, and a crocheted copper wire-and-pearl bracelet made by Momcat)! :) I then called my parents on a Skype video chat, wherein we were able to open our Christmas presents "virtually" with one another - due to the time difference, they got to do the European-style "presents get to be opened on Christmas Eve" thing, whilst I was opening mine on Christmas morning. I got a USB vacuum for my laptop, USB lights for my laptop, a sweatshirt and a long-sleeved shirt (both in perfect colors for me, thanks Mom, they fit great!), and a Christmas ornament that was personalized - "Beijing 2006" on the brims of the hats of the two gingerbread men in the ornament, and "Merry Christmas, Love, Mom & Dad XO" painted across their bellies. That video chat made all the difference in my day; thank God for making the technology to do that possible. Then I called Angela and was able to open her presents to me on the phone with her. I got a book, yummy scented votives (candy cane and pine berry) with glass holders, nail polish, and soy nuts (one of my favorite healthy snacks!). She also made me a personalized ornament, glass filled with snow and tied with a pretty silver ribbon, and with "Cheryl" and "Merry Christmas 2006" written on it!

I spent most of the next two hours cleaning up the rest of the kitchen from the kolac-baking adventures of the day before, and whilst cleaning the kitchen I decided to take advantage of this being Christmas in China. You see, unlike the States when you have Christmas Day off work and everything's closed, here everything is open for business! So, I called maintenance to come replace the 3 burned-out lightbulbs in my kitchen ceiling, and then they ended up replacing a fuse and two more bulbs in my display cabinets, and finally, I made an appointment for 10am next Saturday morning for the installation of a new stove. All my burners are "really slow" according to the electrician, something I've been noting for a long time and which has gotten worse in the last few months. When it takes 25-35 minutes for a gallon of water to come to a boil, you need to have something adjusted. While they were doing all the minor repairs, I dusted all the glass shelves in the living and dining room, and when they'd departed, I sat down in the beautiful candlelit living room in the glow of the tree to write some in my longhand journal, and relax.

I'd fallen asleep when the phone rang, and it was Todd, calling to see if I wanted to go to the premiere of "The Painted Veil" with him and his family tonight; they'd gotten tickets from WeiWei, a woman they're friends with who works in marketing for Warner Brothers China here in BJ. So, right now I've got about an hour to go before we leave, and I'm going to hop in the shower and get cleaned up and properly dressed for a movie premiere after a day hanging out in jeans and my lovely comfy cranberry-colored fleece sweatshirt from Mom & Dad all day. :)

I hope that your Christmas, wherever you are and whomever you're with, is filled with love and hope for the coming New Year. Blessed be!
QiuYe Big Face
The "I Can Eat Glass" Project.

Check it out for yourself! You never know when you'll want to avoid being labeled as a silly tourist. I wish I'd found this sooner, I think it could have helped during my time in China thus far!!

Meaningful Lyrics for the Day:

I&#39;m Where?
The Indigo Girls - "Get Out The Map"

I'm gonna clear my head
I'm gonna drink that sun
The saddest sight my eyes can see is that big ball of orange sinking slyly down the trees
Sitting in a broken circle while you rest upon my knee this perfect moment will soon be leaving me
Suzanne calls from Boston the coffee's hot the corn is high
And that same sun that warms your heart will suck that good earth dry
With everything it's opposite enough to keep you crying
or keep this old world spinning with a twinkle in its eye
Get out the map, get out the map and lay your finger anywhere down
We'll leave the figuring to those we pass on our way out of town
Don't drink the water, there seems to be something ailing everyone
I'm gonna clear my head
I'm gonna drink that sun
I'm gonna love you good and strong while our love is good and young

Joni left for South Africa a few years ago
and then Beth took a job all the way over on the West Coast
And me, I'm still trying to live half a life on the road
Seems I'm heavier by the year and heavier by the load.
Why do we hurtle ourselves through every inch of time and space?
I must say around some corner I can sense a resting place
With every lesson learned a line upon your beautiful face
We'll amuse ourselves one day with these memories we'll trace
Get out the map, get out the map and lay your finger anywhere down
We'll leave the figuring to those we pass on our way out of town
Don't drink the water, there seems to be something ailing everyone
I'm gonna clear my head
I'm gonna drink that sun
I'm gonna love you good and strong while our love is good and young

Tags:

Today, in a nutshell:

bring it on - lemons

  • Breakfast: a banana and a double cappucino, and all my vitamins and meds.

  • Work: caught up in both Consular and Public Affairs.

  • Lunch: la tiaozi (spicy noodles with green pepper, tomato, onion, garlic shoots and a little bit of lamb) and iced green tea

  • Exercise: Rode bike to and from work; worked out 45 minutes (cardio and weight training) after I got home.

  • Liquid consumption: 32oz. Crystal Light (5 calories, woo!), 2 diet sodas during work (sorry, I needed the caffeine), and aforementioned iced green tea.

  • Personal: got a compliment from L's former boss about how good my Chinese is for someone who's only been studying for just over a year. Thanked him and told him that was very encouraging, that I definitely plan to keep up my studies.

  • Dinner: 2 small grilled porkchops (thanks to the George Foreman grill my daddy gave me!), grilled yellow squash and onion, and fresh tomatoes marinated in balsamic vinegar.

  • Life: making traditional 4th of July potato salad (a la Grandma C) tonight. Plans with Marco & Anne for breakfast at The Olive tomorrow morning, Karrie for vespa shopping tomorrow midday, and Jen, Susan and whomever else for impromptu 4th of July fun tomorrow afternoon!


I'm getting back in the groove!

In other news: I am going on TDY to Shenyang "just in time." I leave the afternoon of Sunday, July 9 and return midday on Friday, July 21. Nice little additional chunk of per diem, as well as the opportunity to get some more good experience!

Sadly, this means the possibility of leaving my poor Miel-kitty alone for another two weeks with only ayi to take care of her once, briefly, each day. I can tell that Miel doesn't like the new ayi, Xiao Ping, as much as she likes Xu tai tai (Xiao Ping's little sister), but at least I'll have someone to take care of Miel. The other option I'm looking at is leaving Miel with Jen and Magnus (big basset hound who's terribly afraid of cats) over in Qi Jia Yuan at their apartment in the diplomatic compound, but we'll see how that works tomorrow when we introduce the beasties one to the other at Jen's in the afternoon. (This could be interesting, stay tuned!)

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