Monday, May 22, 2006

Tammi and Mike

My friends Tammi and Mike got married yesterday. I am terribly sad that I could not be there for the festivities. I am just now at the age where friends’ weddings seem to be a celebration. Previously, weddings have always seemed very ceremonious to me. But now, more often, it seems like a big gathering of people who want to be present at an occasion of joy marking the fact that two people have found each other, appreciate each other, and actually want to try to continue the give and take forever. Well, that, (and I must admit that now that I know more established folks with the money to throw a good reception) people don’t want to miss a great party. And I’m afraid that I have. The beauty of a sunset mountain wedding… AND a wagon wheel dance floor?? I shudder to think of my own loss here. I can’t wait to hear the stories and see the pictures.

My wish for the two of them is simple. Peace and Happiness. Sometimes there will only be pockets of these amidst times of madness, but may you always recognize them and enjoy each other in them. Perhaps it’s a bit trite, but I still want to post the Marriage chapter from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

On Marriage
Then Almitra spoke again and said, "And what of Marriage, master?"
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

Tammi and Mike, may you always be pillars of the same temple.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Tech difficulties

My old format began to bump all of the bio and menu section to the bottom of the page. I had to find a new format that would stop that until I have time to further fiddle with the old format. Thus, the new look.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

choco crack

Like I even need to say it. It's Choco Crack. Breakfast of... shannon.

The results are in! My hypothesis is proven!

Absolutely anwhere in the world, when a camera is pointed at a boy in his mid-twenties, there is a 98.249% chance that he will spontaneously and involuntarily display a rude gesture.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

school logo saga

One of the myriad of things Denise and I tackled on our “road to the open house,” was creating a decent logo for the school. One with some sort of relevance. We have, to this point, had a bad taste whenever forced to use the original logo. One with only the initials of the school in a circle with random colors. No tie to the US or Morocco, or any indication that it was a school. I’m not certain, but it’s rumored that they let one of those grinder box monkeys from Marrakech design it.Well, we could stand behind it exactly... no longer. We brainstormed, figited with various clipart, and tried every color in the primary-school-appropriate spectrum. When we came upon puzzle pieces, I had a stroke of genious involving the US and Moroccan flags. Denise worked wonders to make it happen on a computer with NO graphics program. I fell in love with our puzzle pieces.Alas, when we proudly presented the new logo to our boss, he looked at us with discomfort. Nice, he said, but not allowed (I might be sentenced to the chopping off of my mouse finger for posting it here!). Apparently the Moroccan flag can ONLY be flag shaped. No manipulation. Ever. So, if you were ever planning on putting a green star on say a red.... say... circle?? FORGET IT. WALK AWAY NOW! We were a bit defeated at that point. When we revisisted the design task, here’s what we got.
Better than the original, I think. But it ain’t no puzzle pieces.

I got mail!

Mom sent me a package of a few personal items and a few things for the school. We knew regular mail would take about a month to arrive. So, Mom upped the ante and sent it priority. That cost a pretty penny! It was scheduled to arrive in 4 – 10 days.

And right on schedule, approximately one month later, it arrives. An expensive lesson learned. When I went to the post office to collect my prize, I saw this:

The box was in great shape (sometimes mail gets tampered with and sorted through on its way here), and there on the front were... count ‘em... 67 $1.00 stamps. Now that’s satisfying. It’s always frustrating when you have to mail a heavy box, because you take in to the counter at your local post office... and they put a printed meter tape on it. C’mon! All that money and all I get is a boring old strip of tape?? No color, no pictures? I’m not sure who was responsible for my box of many colors. I have a feeling Mom tasked Dad with taking the box to the post office. And I have a feeling that Dad promptly pawned that stamping job off onto someone else.

Thank you, stamp fairy, whoever you are.

For all you Pulp Fiction fans

it's not a quarter pounder here either...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Cast of Characters - part deux (the animals)

As we prepared for our open house at the American School, we decided to get a couple of class pets. We were thinking fish and a small turtle. Moulay Said got us a small aquarium and gave us some money. It was a Tuesday, and Denise and I headed to the souk to buy fish.

We looked at the fish, and we walked out with three hamsters and one cage. We found out the shocking way that one was definitely a boy and one was definitely a girl. We got other cages to separate out the hamsters one from another. Now we are anxiously awaiting hamster babies. I say anxious because I had a hamster once. I didn't know she was expecting until I heard the crunching of her CANIBALIZING HER YOUNG. So, uh, needless to say, I voted Denise to keep a watch on the rodent baby situation.

Desi, Lucy (expectant mother... plotting escape), and Rosey the Nosey Neighbor (named in honor of R.Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet," and also because she would appear out of nowhere to check things out if Lucy and Desi quarrelled)

A few days later, on Friday, Moulay Said took us out errand running and shopping for school. One stop was a diferent pet store with a better selection of fish. We picked three, and the proprietor agreed to deliver them and help set up our aquarium on Saturday.

Side Note: he had one guinea pig in the shop that Denise went nuts over. She spent the next 2 weeks mumbling incoherently about guinea pigs.

Sammy, Fats, and Bing

That next week, one of our class mothers got into the spirit and agreed to look for a small turtle, since that was the original dream. She came back with two chameleons.

Fluffy and Princess

That weekend, we got a call from Moulay to go look in the classroom, he had found a turtle. Less like the size of a silver dollar... more like 2 adult handfulls. The kids loved him as he's the only one they were b rave enough to pick up alone. One day, Denise put him out into the school courtyard to get some sun and warmth. She didn't think about him until the Moroccan kids had come back through. Either he pusted outta this place on his own, or one o the teenagers decided to take him home. Didn't ever get a picture of him, but he looked sorta like... a turtle.

Then, for some reason I can't quite recall, Denise and I were back by the pet store in the souk. Bad idea. They had a little of young guniea pigs. So (like you didn't see this coming?), we have two. This time we insisted on a same-sex pair.

Jermaine and Tito

We now have quite a menagerie. And finally, we knew the kids would be diappointed about the tutle's mysterious disappearance. We got a friend to bring us another, smaller tutle. He's tentatively called Reginald.

Welcome to our zoo!

I am:

Make sure to scroll down through the posts and look through the archives now and again. As I have time to finish up several drafts I've had on the back burner... the system shuffles them in as of the date I began the draft.

a VERY important lesson

Don't drink the milk that comes in the little plastic bag. Oh, sure... "that seems like common sense," you say? Bollox. Everything is topsy-turvy here. You never know where the hit is going to come from.

I used to think I had a stomach of steel.

"What? The eggs have been left out of the fridge for a few days? No problem."

"Oops. I dropped my sandwich. Hurry! Pick it up! Ten second rule!"

Weeeehehehell, no more, my friends. No more.

Sunday night we were at the school, where we have been for a solid month as we try to get ready for an open house for recruitment of new students. Around 7ish, I start to feel a little funny. First it has the symptoms of a kidney infection, then stomach upset, then PAIN. MY GOD, the PAIN. It faded a bit, and we went home. As I started dinner, it came back with a vengeance. I left Denise to the cooking, and I went to my room to die. I tossed and turned and seriously considered going to the third world hospital (Want to know when your hidden bias against developing countries pops up? When you consider going to the hospital for an internal medicine issue). Finally, around 1am, I was about to try to find comfort again by spining in circles on my bed, and suddenly I got that surefire feeling that I was about to be violently ill. And I was. And then the world was a better place.

Everything I had eaten that day had also been eaten by someone else in the household. Finally, it dawned on us. The milk in a bag. Households here purchase milk in small quantities daily from the local shop. I've had milk from the small cartons with the two day expiration date before. No problem. So, I didn't really overthink putting the milk from the bag into my cereal. Well, that's the unpasteurized kind, apparently (something that could have been brought to my attention EARLIER). Not exactly fresh milk either. I guess Lahcen's system is used to it. Mine... had something to say about it.

Happy ending though. I was feeling so much better by mid-Monday that I was able to participate in the very American rite of a child's birthday party at McDonald's. One of our students, Adam, turned 5. Here he is with Denise.

And there's Yassine with Ronald. Adam and Yassine are our 2 Moroccan students. I bet they can handle unpasteurized milk.