Monday, November 29, 2010

...Wee Wee Wee all the way to Costa Rica

My poor Pinky Toe.  As if jamming it into a door in South Korea and losing the nail wasn't enough, last night I hurt it real real bad. 

We had a baby shower at the house (huge success) and afterward we were going to return the rented chairs, tip back a few Gin and Tonics, eat some hamburgers and say goodbye in style since Veronica and I are leaving today.  As I was carrying a stack of ten plastic white chairs out to Bridget's truck, I was recounting how I had twisted my ankle earlier that day by stepping in a hole.  Just as I said it, I stepped off the curb, into a hole, and twisted my ankle again.  The chairs went flying and I dropped to my knees in pain.  Not realizing that the stack of chairs landed directly on my poor little pinky toe.  I didn't even see that until I went inside and saw all the blood.  ALL THE BLOOD.  I thought I had sprained my left ankle.

My friends were great.  They encouraged me NOT to look at it, and pitied me as I bawled and shook and hyperventilated.  Bridget was right on point and made me the strongest Gin and Tonic I have ever had, which complely took the edge off.  I stopped crying and focused on other things while Michelle bandaged my toe. 

She got a little nausious.  Notice the apron to prevent blood from getting on her white shirt.

Homemade dressing, after Bridget's Gin &Tonic.

Went to the doctor.  $10 for the visit and $20 for all the supplies/antibiotics.  There is a popsicle stick on the bottom.
Today I leave for Costa Rica on the bus, and have to spend a couple days getting there, so this should be interesting.  I'm pretty sure my backpack weighs 50 pounds too, and I've got quite a limp.  I'll let you know how that goes.

 p.s.When I was freaking out, I looked at Bridget and said, "how am I ever going to have a baby?  And she said, "Let's face it.  You're 33.  That's probably never going to happen."

Phone Conversation with my Dad

Mom: "Hal, you wanna talk to Kady?"

Dad: (picks up) "What's the ransom?"

Me: "20 bucks."

Dad:  "Well, I would have loved to have helped ya."

Me: "Very funny dad."

Dad:  "Well, I gotta go pee really bad, so I better get off the phone...I might be in trouble...why don't you call back sometime when I don't have to go pee?"

Me:  "OK.  Love ya."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A trip to the country

I went with the girlies out to the country the other day to do some volunteer work.  It was such a nice day, and an amazingly gorgeous walk through the little town of Miraflor.  First we had to wake up at 5am to take a repurposed American school bus for two hours to get there.  Then we had to walk about a mile straight up a hill, visiting with people on the way to get to an adorable breakfast joint.  My favorite.  Gallo Pinto with coffee.  $1.50.  (I posted the photo here.)  Then we spent the rest of the day trudging and visiting and me practicing my Spanish and checking out the cool farm animals who just wandered around, and nobody cared if they went in and out of people's homes.  They all seemed to know where they lived, and yes there were some fences keeping some of the horseys and cows cordoned off, but for the most part the little chickens and roosters and pigs and dogs and cats wandered free.

A hydrangea forest.

This cat just crawled right up on my shoe.  I didn't want to move, you know, so he would remain comfortable.

This rooster is gorgeous.  Don't let him trick you though, he is STUPID.  Just like all the Central American roosters.  They don't know what time it is, and just COCK A DOODLE DOO all day and all night long, mostly when you're trying to sleep.

I kept thinking these beasts would just like decide to KILL, but we ended up being OK.

This little chick made me contemplate my omnivorous lifestyle.  I could see his bare skin behind balding feathers and it looked just like a little hot wing.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

...And a Teaspoon of Fingernail Clippings.

I just got off the phone with my niece Hanna.  I was forcing her to think of anything, ANYTHING news-y to tell me, because I was just kinda desperate.  She told me about how my dad came to stay there last night, and how he's got my other niece Karley staying at the cabin and he's pulling her behind his van on her snowboard...she told me that it's my nephew Skete's first day at his new job at Giant's Ridge, a ski place in northern Minnesota (and the coolest job I can think of for a 17-year-old boy).  They're paying him really well and I think he'll get lift ticket benefits (?).  Anyways, I kept pressing her for information.  Finally she was like, "OH! I was scrubbing my feet with one of those foot file things, and there was like a quarter-cup of dead skin on the floor."  Which made me DIE laughing.  "A quarter-cup".  Not "a quarter of a cup".  So it made me picture scooping dead skin out of a big tupperware with a quarter-cup measuring cup and using a butter knife to scrape it level.  Then she wondered if you could really make a cake with dead skin.  She even suggested giving those foot scraping Eggs to a bunch of ladies, and I chimed in that we could make a Guiness World Record dead skin cake.  Oh, we laughed.  Then I remembered that I forgot to blog about my $5 in-home Nicaraguan pedicure.  Here are some pictures...

So so so relaxing. 

Do you know how often I would get a pedicure if I could have it done in my home for $5?  Probably a lot more often than once a year, that's how often.

I don't know...

...I would say more like a heaping Tbsp.

So, here's what's funny.  I have NEVER had that much dead skin come off my feet during a pedicure.  In fact, one time I was having one next to my sister Kelly and I remember her poor lady had to scrub and scrub and file and file and scrub and file, and we laughed, and then when my lady got to the filing of my feet (she was a little behind Kelly's lady), Kelly looked at me like, "you're about to get embarrassed too!" and then my lady said, "Wow, your feet are soft, like baby's butt."  And I was like "ZING!" Oh, we laughed.

Anyway back to Nicaragua.  I saw all that skin and was very embarrassed.  I said,
"No es tipica! No es tipica! Es de Dengue.  Dengue!!!"

For more information on what to do with dead foot skin, please, please, please click here for a hilarious post from my friend Sarah.

Gallo Pinto

Remember when I introduced you all to one of my favorite foods in Nicaragua: Gallo Pinto?, literally translated to English as Spotted Rooster?  Oh my goodness this food is so good.

Well anyways, I met a for reals "gallo pinto"!  (Please ignore the fact that it's really a galleta pinto, or a lady bird).  See where it gets it's name?


Googled, Vol 2

"What shaker rolled into town on a zebra?"

"Lady poop story"

"Small boy with the lady movie name"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Guatemalan Toilet Microphone

In Antigua, one night I shared a room with a couple from Denmark, and I had a dream that I farted really loudly and then laughed out loud, so that they would know that I knew...

Then, in San Marcos, I rented a bed in a hostel dorm. The dorm turned out to be a huge gutted house with five twin beds. Three upstairs and two down. I set up camp upstairs, since there was a huge spider in the main floor bedroom. I had one roommate: Grit from Germany. One night the latin polka band was crazy intense and played until after 2am. At about 11:30ish we drifted off in our conversation...when I farted really loud! CRAP. All I could do was laugh out loud so that she would know that I knew that it happened. I heard nothing out of her, so I assumed she was sleeping. The next night at dinner, she said something about how late the music went, and then said, "when you laughed..." so I whispered in her ear that I laughed because I farted, and she said she heard that too. UGH. Turns out the night in Antigua was probably not a dream.

When she checked out I was worried about sleeping in this huge house all by myself, but when I returned to my room after dinner, I noticed that the door to the downstairs room was closed. Phew! I don't like being alone! Except then at about 11:30 I had to go to the bathroom. Of course I had to go number two. On this special toilet in this special concrete-walled bathroom it was, like, incredibly amplified.

And for some reason, this was the noisiest, slowest process I think I've ever experienced. I was hoping and praying that my new roommate was already sleeping and maybe with headphones in. I'll never know because she checked out before I woke up, so YAY! At least I know she'll never know it was me. But if I were her I would have done some investigating to find out who it was. For Reals.

The night after that happened I got REALLY sick and ended up spending the night on the toilet, from both ends. Thank goodness that night I was alone in the house. I spent the following day in bed. I pretty much slept and used the toilet microphone for 37 hours.

You can say I left Guatemala with a bang.
I blame all the beans.

Alone in Guatemala

So, Guatemala is crazy beautiful.  Seriously.  I'm really glad I didn't listen to the news of its' bad reputation.  Granted, I was super extra careful with my important things, but that's advisable wherever you go.

I got to see volcano up close.  Where people roasted marshmallows and sandwiches:

Over this thing:

I got to ride a horse up to the top, and walk down:

I met these two Iraq war veterans, who, after they were finished with their service, went BACK to Iraq to work as contractors, and came straight from Iraq to Central America.  I found that out after I made fun of their multiple HUGE duffel bags.  The dog is a local.  The blonde on the right is a Latin American History major, and I learned a ton of stuff about Central American government and rebellions and such.  The dude on the left is Puerto Rican.  So he taught me some stuff about popular Spanish music (and that most of it comes out of PR.)

I took Spanish lessons for five straight days from Eligio, who was kind enough to speak. slowly.

Since I was staying on a lake, (Lake Atitlan), I was able to take a boat across to do some more horseback riding.  This time I was able to go free even from the owner and really let 'er run.  It was fantastic.  In addition to some trail riding, which I haven't really done before. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chocolate Shaman?

There´s a guy here in San Marcos who looks like a ghost.  Long, white beard and invisible skin, and claims to have been taught the ways of the local chocolate shaman, and now he´s the new shaman.  Today, two girls from my hostel went to have a ¨chocolate ceremony´with him.  I told them I wanted a full report.  My German roommate vocalized my sentiments when she said, "I don´t believe in chocolate shamen."

Because he looks like he´s from Cleveland, you know?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lake Atitlan

Quick little update post:

I'm in San Marcos, which lies on a crater lake called Atitlan.  I decided to stay here for five days and take a Spanish course...

The town is a little dangerous for robberies.  Two girls from my hostel got robbed by some machete-wielding dudes at "the rocks" at noon.  I was eating lunch 25 meters away from "the rocks" at noon.  Fortunately they only got about $6 US and a bag and a jacket.  And the US State Department just came out three days ago to say that US travelers should stay away from Lake Atitlan.  I'm really not worried about it, but then again I am laying low and focusing on my Spanish lessons.  Tomorrow I'm going horseback riding.  On Tuesday I go back to Nicaragua.  My hostel's internet is down, so I'm just quick updating from the Internet Cafe across the street.

See yas.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

El Vaquero Enojado

Now, granted, I hissed at this man (think tsss tsss tsss) to get his attention and then when he looked, I snapped his photo.  That would irritate most people, especially a dude who makes his living renting out his horse to lazy tourists so they don't have to hike up to the volcano. 

But, in order to butter him up in the "forgiveness not permission" style I frequently employ, I said, "un vaquero verdadero".  = a real cowboy.

Then he said, "vaquero enojado".  = mad cowboy.

Then I was like super embarrassed but couldn't remember the word for delete, as in, oh, do you want me to delete the photo?  So instead I was like, "why mad?"  and he said "problems...problems."  Then I said, "OHHHH, in your life.  I'm sorry.  I thought mad because photo...haaahaaaahAHAHAHAAAA!  My dad is real cowboy.  I like your hat and boots and horse."  And then we became best friends.  And, I "got the shot". 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Made a Fart Joke! In Spanish!

At the Baseball Stadium, the little girl in the red dress accidentally farted, really LOUDLY.  Of course I burst out laughing and looked around to see who else thought it was wildly hysterical.  As if given permission, they then began laughing too, but more reservedly.  I suppose in a situation like that you should probably not laugh, so the little girl wouldn't feel bad, but COME ON, it was SO loud. 

I laughed so hard I cried.  The situation was just ridiculous.  Then I looked at the lady next to me, and said, "el idioma universal".

Farts: "The Universal Language."

wakka wakka

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Antigua, Guatemala

Today was a nice lazy day.  I woke up just in time for the free breakfast at my hostel (rated very highly online and in the is called El Hostal for those that are interested), which by the way, ends at a very healthy 10:30am.  So I was able to sleep in and still enjoy the yummy food.  And, it wasn't just a roll and some jam.  It was an eight-option full brekky to include coffee.  I ordered the huevos rancheros and it was muy yummy.  After that I read my book for a while and consulted a guidebook from the community bookshelf and set out on a walk that would take me 10 blocks out of my way, in search of the central park. 

Ah, the Parque Central, or the Town Square.  Something that every foreign town seems to have and that most American cities lack.  It's my favorite thing to do, when traveling.  Hang out in the park.  With coffee, of course.  It's pretty simple, but very serene, and great for people watching.  Today I saw lots of indiginously dressed little girls who should be in school selling wares for what appeared to be a bossman.  Though I wasn't sure if it was just an unfortunate dude who expressed an interest and then got mobbed?

Lunch, after a failed attempt to find local specialty Chuchitos.  I had to settle for this meal instead, (YUM) somewhere around $3 US.  I couldn't resist a margarita which brought the total up to $6.

Church of San Francisco, with Volcano in background...beautiful day.

Spanish-style architecture, for which Antigua is famous.  Was the capital of Central America for some time...

Today I spoke with a little girl who was trying to sell me her wares...I engaged her in conversation, though expressing that I simply couldn't buy anything from her not only because I didn't have money but more importantly, didn't have the space in my backpack.  She didn't leave my side for a very long time.  "Do you have a quetzal for me?"  I told her no, sorry I didn't.  And I really didn't, my smallest bill being a 20.  She told me we could walk to the Chicken place, Guatemala's KFC and that she hadn't had anything to eat all day.  I said, "I don't believe that, it's not true."  Can you believe what a hag I can be sometimes?  And even bilingually?  I just hate the lying. 

As if to illustrate my point, later on a man came and sat next to me on the bench where I was reading.  He interrupted me to ask what time it was.  I told him and then we started a conversation about very basic and benign topics and I kept waiting for him to drop the shoe.  And, sure enough, pretty soon I got the 411 on how he had to walk two hours just to get to Antigua, and back home due to some disaster he and his wife and four kids (whom he went so far as to name...classic LIAR) hadn't eaten in three days.  I asked him why didn't he take the bus?  He said, it's 15 Quetzales.  B.S. the bus is way cheaper.  Then I told him that I was so sorry for his problems, but had no money for him.  Then I said the best advice I could offer him is to rely fully on his faith in God and that is really our only hope, no matter what our problems are, thereby trying to engage his "Catholic guilt" and make him feel BAD FOR LYING.  Next, he apologized to me.  Go figure.

I am learning a lot about tactics used to extort money.  Because, kind reader, before you judge me too harshly, this is not the first time I have heard this EXACT STORY.  I have fallen for this approach many many many times.  And have parted with a lot of money, figuring, if this person is lying, then it's on him.  I can't be held responsible, and the way I felt personally -- I would prefer to help just IN CASE they are telling the truth.  I'm changing my opinion on this.  Maybe it's because of the white guy in Cambodia who told Summer and I the sad sad story of how his backpack was stolen, and I was very skeptical and so was Summer, but we both silently decided well IF it's true, jeez we feel for the guy.  We both gave him some money.  Neither of us gave much of course...(and realized later as we discussed it) that there was no WAY that guy had his backpack stolen.  He did look like a backpacker from the waist up, but was filthy dirty disgusting from the waist down especially the bad shoes, telling us about his valuable camera that he loved so much and his wallet and passport.  Our skepticism was confirmed when a couple dudes later told us that guy lived around there, and used the same story ALL THE TIME. 

I feel judged right now, even though I haven't even published yet.  Probably because the last few paragraphs sound like they were written by a huge HAG.  I feel the need to defend myself by sharing that I am not opposed to charitable giving, and I do it, but I ain't gonna talk about it here.

Which leads me to a new half-book-review, more to follow.  I'm reading a book recommended to me by Bridget called "blink".  It's about first impression, or intuitions.  That gut instinct is usually right.  The more information you have, the more muddled your decision will be.  Go with your gut.  It's so good I can't put it down.  Not finished yet, but will review for my cousin Jacqui because she loves my book review so much. 

AFTER my reading in the park, I started to walk back, shopped a little without buying anything, and stopped into a barber shop.  I chatted with the barber about my fear of going into a salon at this stage of my growing-out my hair (because I don't want any hairs cut on top, JUST the back), and he understood me perfectly.  He cut only the tiny section of hairs I asked him to cut, and for only $6 US.  NICE.  Then I thought I got lost trying to get home, but turns out I was heading the right direction the whole time, and that's when I realized I live only three blocks from the central park in the first place.  I walked 10 blocks out of my way to get there in a big huge circle.  My mistake was taking a right out of the hostel instead of a left.  Oh well.  I need the exercise, and Antigua sure is a beautiful city in which to go walking aimlessly.

POSTLUDE:  a note on Hostel dorm room etiquette:  Don't steal other people's beds, you stupid jerk.  If my stuff is on a bed, you are not allowed to move it to another bed and then TAKE A GROSS NAP on my bed and claim it for yourself.  I'm still trying to decide if I will confront?  Nobody does this, people.  Nobody.  It's part of the code.  The hostel dorm room code.

POST to the POSTLUDE:  If you're following my map at the bottom of the page, you may notice that I have added three more countries, upping the grand total to 42!  I get a kick out of that.  Hope you do too.

AND: FINALLY: POST POST POSTLUDE:  the dude didn't move my stuff, the maid did.  I decided not to confront because I thought in the end maybe it was the maid who moved my stuff.  She was totally here when I left, and I used both beds to get ready, since she was changing out sheets...well, anyways.  When he got back from out, he asked, "did this happen to be your bed?" and I said, "did the pile of clothes tip you off?"  He said there was no pile of clothes, we laughed and I explained how glad I was he clarified, since I couldn't believe somebody would be that much of a d-bag.  Then we talked into the wee hours about Latin American History, since he is a graduate student and that is his major.  Interesting stuff, and I had something to contribute, with my vast knowledge of Sandinista history in Nicaragua after I read that one memoir.  ha.  But I learned a lot.  Por ejemplo...his military unit ran sensors over a random ravine on the US/Mexico border and as a result apprehended just the drug runners, not migrants.  How many did they catch?  700 in three weeks.

Bus Ride...NOT from H-E-double-hockey-sticks

Actually, quite pleasant, if you can believe that.  Though, we got off to a rocky start.  Bridget drove me to the pick up point (Texaco in Esteli, 4:30 bus leaves), we left the house around 4:20 and as we took a left onto the Pan-American Highway, a bus drove right by.  I laughed, imagining it was my bus.  And it ended up being my bus.  So I kind of almost missed it but not really because it sat at Texaco for quite a while before leaving.  So I got on the bus after paying an additional $6 US for "la fronterra", a word I recognized to mean "the border", so I was like irritated thinking I had to pay the bus $6 and then thinking I would have to pay personally like, $25 to enter Honduras and another $25 to enter El Salvador and probably money to leave as well, as is typical.  In the end, it really was only $6 to leave three countries and enter three countries.  Gotta love Central America.  That said, we didn't ever stop for food or toilets, so in the end I went 14 hours with no eats or pee.  Good thing Bridget mentioned that I should bring some snacks!
Yah, so bus ride was comfy, I got two seats to myself, fully reclining...foot rest.  It was great, except the SNORING BUTT CRACK MAN.  But, there always has to be one, right?  In every hostel room, on every bus, every airplane?  The snorer?  The guy who makes you think murderous thoughts?  The guy who, keeps you awake for hours, but then you find yourself thanking him when he rolls over or wakes up momentarily, as you think, "here's my chance, my quick ten second window to fall asleep"?
Here are some views from the trip.  Sadly, my photos of Honduras and El Salvador were from moving bus window, but man, what a gorgeous ride.

Border crossing from Nicaragua to Honduras


El Salvador

El Salvador-able!  The man attached to this butt is the SNORER who slept all 14 hours.  This was one brief break when we had to get off the bus to go through customs.  Not kidding.

We actually watched 6 movies on the ride, 5 of which I had not seen.  Normally I would consider that a HUGE goldmine, but unfortunately they all played in barely audible Spanish.  So I was sort of able to make them out.  Kind of.  But not really.  Like I'm pretty sure I got the plot of "Old Dogs", "Rebound", "Grown Ups" and "Night at the Museum 2", but I kind of want to re-watch that movie with Sandra Bullock where her husband dies but you're not sure if he's dead because she seems to be dreaming?  And I had already seen "Maid in Manhattan" so I slept through that one.  I had to put in my iTouch earphones to drown out the snoring, and thanks to Ray Lamontagne I did fall asleep...

I crossed three borders today.  At one, the passports were checked as a group and nobody talked to me, another they checked my passport three times, including having armed personnel come onto the bus and search my bag, and the third I physically had to go into the office, get stamped and then walk across the border.

Somewhere in Guatemala we also saw an overturned milk truck, but not like you would think. It wasn't a large vat truck, but here they sell milk in small plastic bags. So there were 8 billion small plastic bags of milk laying everywhere, with an overturned truck. Weird.

Here's a photo of the entry to Guatemala, which I had to walk across.  So far, I have walked from Thailand to Malaysia, Vietnam to Laos, and now El Salvador to Guatemala.  That's kind of neato, right?

Here's the bus waiting for me.  See how it says $110?  Well, I paid $120.  Nuts.
I did eat a Snickers bar, a small bag of Doritos-like chips, and a mini-four-pack of vanilla cookies.  But when we finally got to Guatemala City I was ready to die of starvation. After peeing the orangest pee in the world, I walked outside into the dark of a very dangerous city to try and get a cab, either to a Hostel in GC, or to Antigua, about an hour away.  A man asked if I needed a taxi.  I asked, "do you want to go to Antigua?"  "Sure!" he said, and I was surprised.  Also, I was prepared to talk him down to $40 from $50.  He said it would be $35, and I accepted, too quickly, wondering if I could have gotten it cheaper.  A bus is only $11, but there is a risk of hi-jacking and I didn't want to deal with that, after a 14 hour bus ride no less. 
He brought me to his unmarked "taxi" and I stopped.  "No esta taxi?"  and he said, no it's a typical car but that's because he works for the bus company blah blah blah.  I looked at the other taxi drivers, and asked if he was legit and of course they said yes.  I regret not making him go back with me (and me pulling him by the ear) inside the building and verify his identity but in the end he was for reals.  He showed me some I.D. inside the car.  And for 2 hours we Chatty-McChattersoned in SPANISH and I felt so excited about that.  We talked about all kinds of smart people stuff above and beyond the basic crap about where are you from and stuff.  That was amazing for me.  Sadly, he had two brothers die in the war in El Salvador, one was 17 and the other was 20.  I commented how I find it very sad that all wars seem to be fought by a bunch of little boys on either side, none really wanting to be there, all having at least that in common with the "enemy".  He continued that even today, 10-12 year-olds are fighting for Guatemala.  Blurg.  I knew about child soldiers in Africa, but wasn't aware of it here.  So sad.

He brought me right to the front door of my Hostel, and I checked in, met a girl from Korea who joined me for dinner directly across the street, where we had Argentinian food and live music and it was kind of a wonderful night in a country I'm a little scared of.  Take that, fear!

Signed, snug as a bug in my safe hostel bed, next to a girl from Korea and two dudes from Denmark,

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Guess Where I'm going at 4am?

A place where it appears that I'm going to be robbed.

I'll keep you posted on the whereabouts of my passport.  Sheesh!  It's important to note that I will also be seeing things like the following:

Pretty sure she's going to be there to greet me.
 No worries mom and dad!  If you looked up Minneapolis on a website like that there would probably be way more crime, except like with and shootings and what-not.
I'll keep you posted.  In the meantime, you can be excited about my 14 hour bus ride.  Hope it's not like this one:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What Would you do in a Situation Like That?

Yesterday, I was home alone for a few hours.  There was a knock at the door, but I wasn't expecting anybody.  I opened the door to find two men in camoflauge outfits talking rapidly in Spanish.  I stopped them and said my typical,

"no hablo mucho espanol."  (I don't speak much Spanish.)

Which led them to continue talking about something I didn't understand about my "pila" and they held up small packets of powder and kept saying they wanted to come in.  Well heck no, I wasn't going to let them in!  I said, "esta vende"? (is that soap...for sale?) and they laughed and said blah blah blah and so I said, "no quiero, ya lo tengo". (I don't want, I already have it.)  They laughed at me and kept insisting that I let them in.  So I said, "mi amiga habla espanol y regresa a las cinco" (my friend speaks Spanish and she'll be home at 5.) 

I told Bridget about it and how the way they laughed at me and their insistence that I let them in, and their confusion when I wouldn't let them in made me think that they were legitimate and probably not soap salesmen.  It turns out they wanted to put powder in our "pila" (standing water and plants and storage tanks) to help contain the recent Dengue outbreak, and I probably could have safely let them in.  Then she said it is good I don't let strange people in the house, even if all they really wanted was to save us from Dengue.

"Ya lo tengo" is right.  I already have it.

Long Lost Hal-ism

I just found this! An unpublished Hal-ism!  It was a drafted post which I hadn't gotten around to publishing, and as I recall, the reason I didn't publish is because I was trying to preserve his dignity, as he was describing finally being able to go number two.  Don't judge.  We had a very medical summer, what with the prostate cancer.  Well, it was a long time ago now, and I declare that the moratorium for protecting his dignity has passed!

READY?  (I dedicate this to you, cousin Jacqui, Hal's description of his poop.  Love ya!)

"Thin as a pencil, about four inches long, softer'na fresh egg."

Speaking of my dad, I talked to my mom today and apparently this morning when ol' Hal was out hunting deer (naturally), his CELL PHONE rang.  Now, listen: my dad got a cell phone like last year.  For gosh sakes he still doesn't know how to take a call, hang up, get voicemail, etc.  And now, he's receiving phone calls in the deer stand.  Hilarious.  But, as my mom told me:

"Of course there was a 9-point buck standing right there.  Now, your dad, 'Dead-Eyed-Dick-Fast-Draw-McGraw', whatever you want to call him, shot that deer before it could even wonder who was calling."  And I laughed as I pictured the cell phone, slow-mo flying, end-over-end, and landing in the soft snow as my dad simultaneously cocked and fired his gun lightning fast and the deer fell to the ground.  Then my mom told me they have no snow, which ruined my imagined fantasy just a little bit.

Here's ol' Dead-Eyed-Dick's graduation photo:

Dear Dad from 1967: Someday you will get prostate cancer and your favorite daughter will embarrass you publicly on the world wide interweb.  Now is your chance to read up on something that scientists call 'birth control'.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Review

The Country Under My Skin.

By Gioconda Belli, a famous poet born and raised in the highest social class of Managua, Nicaragua. Married young, a new mother, she joined the Sandinistas, a revolutionist movement that eventually overthrew the harsh dictatorship government of the time, led by a bad man named Somoza. She has exciting stories of revolution, like taking crazy plane rides where she had to jump out at the last minute, breaking a heel in the process so the pilot could quick take off again without being detained, others of smuggling weapons and large amounts of cash to help the movement, and tragic stories like the time she, a true Revolutionist, checked into a community hospital instead of a private one, only to be treated like an idiot, and then had the doctor tell her that her baby is dead, no wait, he's alive! oh, sorry, dead, oops, alive again! (The baby lived.) Great way to learn the history of the FSLN in Nicaragua. For example, did you know that (according to the author) Somoza kept and sold much of the aid relief supplies that arrived in the wake of the 1972 earthquake that destroyed Managua, rather than distributing it to the people? Yep, suddenly there was an abundance of FLASHLIGHTS and PORTABLE STOVES that had been donated by other countries but were suddenly for sale at places like tobacco shops owned by Somoza's friends. Oh yah, and he also controlled all cement factories and roofing companies, and so the rebuild efforts proved to be quite a financial boon for him, his family and high-ranking officials. What I didn't like and this might just be me: as I tend to do, I get a little annoyed by the seeming arrogance of the memoirist. She sort of insinuates that all the dudes around her want her. Try to seduce her. Including Fidel Castro.  I think I just recoil from the "all men want me" mentality that some women have.  I kind of forgive her because she uses the claim to make the point that men in positions of power can use it to dominate women. She says, "Power gives [men] a sense of entitlement...That is how they avenge sad childhood or adolescent memories of rejection by demure schoolgirls on playgrounds. That is how they fight back the fear their mothers inspired in them."  Another thing: are you really a feminist if you're constantly talking about falling head-over-heels in love with this or that man? Paralyzed by his absence? Kind of like, we can all say we don't need a man when there isn't one around, but when there is one around, suddenly we're like getting his drinks and making sure he has eaten. I digress.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

Adorable, French, tragic. At times a little heavy on the philosophical crap, (it's written by a Philosphy professor) which led me to HATE such books as "Sophie's World", but not enough to ruin this story for me. The narration flip-flops between the viewpoint of Renee, the 'brilliant-but-can't-reveal-it-because-she's-the-concierge' concierge of a bourgeois apartment building in France, and Paloma, a suicidal 12-year-old who lives upstairs. Paloma is also way too smart for her age, which contributes to her desire to end it all. The entire book hovers around the 'will she or won't she' plot, but a glimmer of hope arrives when an intriguing Japanese businessman moves into the building.  I like the critical look inside the way people treat eachother.  Loved this book.

The 19th Wife.

Another flip-flop-narration-style book, this time flipping and flopping between a modern-day murder mystery, set on a fundamentalist Polygamist compound and the fictional [yet supposedly true but I didn't research it] story of Ann Eliza Young, one of Brigham Young's wives (prior to and possibly a big reason for the Mormon church erradicating plural marriage one hundred years ago...again I did not do further research). Good book...though I didn't love the flops over to Ann Eliza's story which I found to be laboriously long if not boring but at the same time slightly interesting from a historical fiction standpoint -- much preferring the modern-day murder mystery. I was very excited to see that Lifetime made it into a movie, but the night it was on I was at my parents' house this summer, and the TIVO was out because we were in the middle of moving, and I didn't make it five minutes because they changed the story so drastically, plus Lifetime movies suck in general. It felt "thrown-together". B for 2, I was more excited about finally having my dad's attention for the evening and so instead I forced my parents to watch the movie "Up" with me as a Family Team Bonding Experience, and so it won out. Incidentally, my mom and I sobbed and sobbed, and I think my dad liked it and at one point I am quite sure I saw a tear in his eye. But then he made sure to let us know that he didn't think it would be possible to lift an entire house with helium balloons and I was like, "DAD, shut UP and watch the movie!" Which is what I ALWAYS have to say to him when we watch movies together, because he never shuts up and watches the movie. He always asks a million questions, as if you will know the answer, even if you both saw the same four seconds of the movie. "What's he doing?", "Why'd they go in there?", "What'd she say?", etc.  There was that one time he was completely silent...the time when I was like seventeen and we turned on the TV and accidentally started watching the Piano sort of in the middle of the movie and watched for a while to figure out what it was about and then SUDDENLY there was a crazy piano sex scene and he and I both didn't have the remote but both didn't want to admit the awkwardness of the fact that we stumbled upon a sex scene on TV and we both froze uncomfortably, on opposite ends of the couch, unable to move or talk or say, "CHANGE IT!", or actually change it and then it was over and we immediately and forever pretended it didn't happen.  I'm pretty sure before that day he didn't know there was such a thing as a "sex scene", since they don't have that on Bonanza.

HA that reminds me my niece Karley posted on facebook that the other day, she was at the mall with her dad and they accidentally ended up in the bra section.  He turned to her and said, "Karley!! I found a ton of two headed hats for you!  I'll buy one if you want!", really loud and they got the heck out of there. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Getting Googled

After much deliberation, and two years into blogging, I decided to open up the content of my blog to the Google search engine.  Initially, my thought was to be able to blog freely about certain people and happenings, I would need to have sort of a private blog to which only like my normal friends would have access.  Eventually I noticed that you can Google "Kady Hexum" and find my blog, so it's not like it's private and ungoogleable.  Also, my readership has expanded beyond my immediate family, and so I thought I would experiment to try and gain a few more followers.

I'm five days into the experiment.  I did a little searching to find out what exactly the Google keywords that strange people (from all over the world mind you) are entering to find content within my blog.  And here are my favorites:

And the winner is:

Gosh I hope the strange fettishest people from places like the Phillipines and northern Sweden aren't too disappointed when they arrive here?

Uhhh...No thanks, Dairy Queen, I'll just stick with the Buster Bar.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just a Couple of Post-Dengue Factoids:

1)  I haven't had any alcohol for 14 days.  Tonight I celebrated my sobriety with a glass of wine.  I didn't even want it, but I've never been a "quitter".  Sadly, it may have been months, nay, years since I remember going 14 days without alcohol.

2)  Bridget and I had a little wager regarding how much weight I lost with the Dengue.  In my opinion, surely I had lost 27 pounds, but I put my money on 15, trying to be modest.  She was thinking maybe more like five, since I was eating even when at my sickest.  I figured without the alcohol, and only being able to eat a bowl of soup most days that I was at probably around 36 pounds lost.  I weighed myself at 138.5 pounds sometime on the 6th day of Dengue at the Pharmacy.  Today I went to the same Pharmacy and re-weighed.  134.5.  Four pounds lost.  I still maintain that I probably weighed something like 144 at the start (remember I weighed in at 144 in North Carolina, but with shoes and purse?) and that since I've been eating well now for four days, I probably did lose about 47 pounds, but then gained some back to make it look like I only lost four pounds.  The problem is I don't even want to weigh 134.5 pounds, so I need to learn some new great strategy for weight loss.  One that doesn't involve getting a strange tropical disease, because THAT'S not workin' for me.  Maybe I'll keep NOT drinking.  Oops.

3)  Despite being warned to "take it easy", I walked/biked 42 blocks yesterday.  The biking was necessitated by the fact that I walked to a friend's house, where Meagan, one of my roommates already was.  She had brought her bike, so when it was time to go home, it was = two girls, one bike.  So we had a brilliant idea that she would give me a "buck" by having me sit on the handlebars, but that doesn't really work when you're not 12 years old and the bike doesn't have foot pegs on the front tire.  Then the solution presented itself in that I would pedal and steer the bike, but she would sit on the seat, and rest her hands on the handlebars with a sort of hug around me.  I haven't laughed so hard in a really long time.  Here we were, two girls riding one bike, laughing the whole way down dark and dangerous cobble-stoned streets in the middle of the city of Esteli, and then the seat broke so I wasn't allowed to hit any more bumps, but there aren't any spots on the road that didn't have any bumps.  Eventually I lost all energy and so we traded and it was my turn to sit on the seat but by then it was so broken that it was completely vertical, threatening to dump me back onto the tire, whereby shoving my crotch into the metal part by way of moving tire.  So we ended up walking it the rest of the way.  Hilarious.  But I decided I had regained much of my lost energy and today I walked another 42 blocks and then some.  So I'm feeling very back to normal other than needing to sleep in every morning.
Dengue be damned!

4)  The night of the party I pinched every zit on the back of my 19-year-old friend Jordan.  It started because I was pinching my zits in the mirror, and then he asked me if that was what I was doing, and then I manipulated him slowly into letting me pinch some blackheads on his face:

EVERY man is hiding blackheads behind his ears.  EVERY. ONE.

and then, "you probably want me to get the zits on your back too?"

and then BAM!

Someday I'll tell you about my grandpa's blackhead.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Despedida (Goodbye Party)

The three girls who left us today:
Lynette, Brianna, and Jeanelle

Me, dancing the Dengue away

Bachata?  Who needs the bachata?  I do my OWN thing.

Dengue girls, recovered
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