Monday, July 17, 2006

Freecycle brings out the evil in me

I think that I might have extolled the virtues of Freecycle to you before. It's two good things at once: getting free shit and recycling your things, hence its name. Using the listserv/forum, you offer up items or request things and people get back to you. My newest Freecycle "purchase" will be an oscillating fan that I'm picking up tomorrow.

That being said, there's some shit things about it. People say they are going to pick things up and don't -- that happened on my very first exchange and nearly put me off the whole thing; I've also done it, which means I can't bitch too much. The good stuff goes fast. Also, I rarely get responses for my Wanted postings. The fan is the first thing in a long time. Plus, all this goodness and light has a dark side: beefs do come up between people. And now I have my very own.

It started out so simply...

OFFER: lacemaking kit, baby gym, baby bath mobile,electrolysis kit
    Bit of a strange group - doing some attic tidying and the results are...

    Electrolysis kit by beautico - epen. Epen has cleanable tips and if you want you can buy additional sticky pads for treating larger areas.
    Didn't work on me, but maybe you'll have more luck.
Hey, I'm interested in self-mutilation in the comfort my own home, so I respond.

Autumn to Catherine
    Would be interested in electrolysis device, if still available. Where are you located? I'm only on the bus and I'm in Leith.

Now she was supposed to write her location in the subject of her posting, but she forgot. That's why I'm asking. Some of these offers are right out of town and impossible to get to.

Catherine to me
    We're in morningside - 11, 15, 16 and 17 all come near us if that's any help (as do 38 and 41)

A bit out of my way, actually. She knows this, as she tells me which buses I can take to get to her. But, I've got a bus pass, so no problem to get there.

Autumn to Catherine
    When will you be in this week? I can arrange my errands around this, if you tell me where and when you'll be available.
Catherine to me
    Evenings best - after 7:30. Or, if it's easier, I could hide it in our porch, and you can help yourself. Freecycle a lot of things that way and it's worked so far. When would suit you?

Sounds like I'm in, right? This is mine, no doubt. So I end with this:

Autumn to Catherine
    I think the latter is the best option, as I will be trying to come during the day. Where about in Morningside do you reside?
I wake to get this:

Catherine to me
    Sorry - someone else offered to pick up tomorrow. If they don't turn up, will get back to you

How would you be feeling? You've arranged all this with me and then... that? Incredulous? Well, it's out of order. Plus, the line at the end is the real kicker: "If they don't turn up, will get back to you." I was offering to turn up! And so, if they can't come, I'll get the sloppy seconds? Hell to the N-O. Here am I, responding:

Autumn to Catherine
    Thanks, but don't bother. I was under the assumption that I was the only one wanting it and if I knew that this was the situation initially, we both could have saved some time.
For me, that was it. But her response -- it kills me!

Catherine to me
How could I even be the one in the wrong? How?

Autumn to Catherine
    Yes, I think that saying that I could come and get the electrolysis, telling me which bus to get on, what time is appropriate me for me to pick it up and where you might have hidden it if I couldn't come, then saying that you've offered it to someone else is rather charming itself. I think considering, my response was a bit restrained.

    And with that, I think we can leave this issue be.
But I should have known what individual I was dealing with. If someone could be that two-faced, they weren't going to respect the fact that I was pissed off for the wrong they did. Here's the slapper now:

Catherine to me
    Apologies - I am sorry you feel this way.

    Sorry also if you didn't want another email

This is obviously one wrong individual. Boy says I should leave it, that I won since she apologised, that I should take the moral high ground. Other than my mother, who will say the same, what do you all think? (Amah, you can leave your opinion too.)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Two outbursts, one night -- part one

Really shit films out in the cinemas this week. We're the kind of people that don't give a toss about Pirates of the Caribbean or Superman, though we will watch a crap film if it's on telly. In fact, just spent the last three hours watching I Will Always Love You, aka The Bodyguard with Kevin "I will wank on you" Costner and Whitney "Rehab" Houston. Here's a little sum'ink-sum'ink, a bit of trivia for you: Gary Kemp, who played Whit's smarmy agent was a member of Spandeu Ballet. Just for you.

Instead, we went to see some stand up Friday night. Just a hint, for any comedians reading: if you say you're known for telling outrageous nob jokes, then tell some nob jokes. Just a thought, Julia "Unfunny" Wilson. Unfortunately, after she reads this, she will kick the shit of me and then fuck my husband, because, according to her, that was her speciality.

(Boy wants me to relate the fact that said Ms Wilson is a 17-stone former bouncer that would really kick the shit out of me and that he wouldn't be willingly sleeping with, but only doing so in fear of his life. And not with her on top. You done now? Can I continue? Thank you.)

My first outburst of the night came with the last comedian on the programme. He was called Alex Something-or-other (the website says Horne), but, to me, was better known as Mr Potato Wedges. He stood behind me in the enormously long food queue (35 minutes for me), pleasant enough, and then only order potato wedges. He really liked potato wedges. And he was the headliner for the night. Talk about a come-down, eh?

So he tells a joke. As you do when you're a comedian.
    "People these days, always bringing their mobiles, their mobiles phones. Last night, a guy came in here with his mobile... home. His caravan was right across here... "
Okay, this kills in Britain. We subscribe to surrealist humour here, alright?
    "It was crazy. Suddenly, all these gypsies arrive with their caravans... "
Just to let you know, especially my sister, gypsies are not considered cool over here. They are not exotic or interesting and people certain don't want to have gypsy friends. They are discriminated against. Why? Because they are gypsies, that's why. They often live in caravans (trailers) and can move from place to place frequently -- this is a part of their culture, their race. And as a result of that, I yell out...
    "That's racist!"
Now, I had been yelling things out all night. One, because like lots of Black Americans -- is this racist? I actually think so, so I'll modify it -- people, I like to think that entertainment can be interactive. But mostly because the laughter drowned out any of my commentary. But Alex Potato Wedges stops.
    "Is that-- is that really racist?"
He looks in my direction, but I don't think he actually spies who says it. He doesn't have a look as if to say, "Could that be the 'Do you have the time'-chick-in-the-enormously-long-food-queue heckling me?"

Generally, I get very embarrassed about things like this. You might not believe me, but it's true. I don't like to be called out on things. And I was being called out. But with some conviction that I didn't even know I possessed, I said,
    "Yeh, that's racist."
The amazing thing was that 1) he gave an apology, as well as comedians can, and 2) the audience supported me. I took it to be support that no-one yelled out, "Shut the fuck up!" and that I didn't get lynched at the end.

Outburst relating to be continued...

Friday, July 14, 2006

My newest obsession, plus I'm not the only one

Despite what Boy said, I was way on this idea before we went to his co-worker's barbeque. His co-worker (who thinks he's fantastic -- naturally) practically had this barbeque for us, as we were the only ones there (save another woman who left quickly). They have a lovely semi-detached outside of Edinburgh in Penicuik. We lusted after the place, as it had a huge, well-maintained garden, tended by her husband, Peg. He showed me his wormery, which was really cool, save his second lot of worms had, like the first, pegged it.

I first heard about wormeries in The urban gardener feature of Guardian's Weekend magazine, a week or two before I saw it in the flesh at the barbeque. Since I've got bugger all to do during my holidays, I've spent hours on the web, reading sites and forums to learn more about wormeries. The worms break down kitchen waste and they can an alternative, or a compliment, to a compost bin -- instead of nature doing the decomposing, as in a compost bin, worms do it. I had plans for a DIY wormery and was able to find the supplies (ended up not doing the drain).

Well, you might wonder, why didn't I just do a compost bin? I have always wanted one, but I have, also, always been too lazy to do something about it. A wormery could be kept indoors (actually, good for them, as a consistent temperature is better for them), which I liked. The thing that ixed-nay compost bins for me is that in addition to the worms and other insects that inhabit a bin, so do rats and mice, which I know I am not down with. I have a fear of living things.

"All living things?" Boy asked, as I was trying to open my box of mail-order worms.

I stopped and gave it a thought. That was an extreme comment to make. Really, all living things? "Yes," I replied, as it finally sunk in what was happening. The stacks of boxes in the corner with their mesh bottoms, one filled with shredded newspaper, meant something. I was going to have to touch these suckers. I made Boy open the bag that they were in.

He did it, but made me dump the bag over into the bin. Just a lot of soil. Using a wooden spoon, I gave the heap a little jiggle. Nothing for a second, then I could see the sides of about three worms, moving slowly about. I was supposed to get at least 500! Quickly, I put another box on top of them and a dog towel (the towels we used to wipe the dogs down when they come in) so they would have even more darkness and let them be. I was supposed to give them a week or so to settle in.

But I'm freaking nosey, so I went back today. The soil had all been spread out and they were out and I could see I had gotten my money's worth. There was some sort of worm orgy going on, as well. As I lifted the lid, one fell on the floor and, surprise, surprise, I actually tried to pick it up. It was too wee, though, so I shoved a piece of paper under it and returned it to the bin. I pushed the other crawlers on the bin walls down and reluctantly, I put the cover back on, gifting Margaret and Hess (those are the worms' names) with their preferred darkness. In a few days, I'll give them a wee bit of food. And that's probably why all of Peg's worms have died: he's feed them too much, too soon.


We weren't the only ones who noticed Zizou's odd choice of attire for his first interview since the World Cup -- jacket over shoulders. Click here to read.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

My love for Zizou, and the shock word

For the past few days, the latest sports controversy has been was fuelled Zizou to do it. Unless you've been under a rock since the start of the summer, the World Cup has been on. France and Italy, countries with no discernible conflicts, made it to the final, with Italy winning. Our Italian friends were chuffed to bits. I, supporting France, was not.

The game will forever be remembered as the game where Zinedine Zidane (Zizou, as he is called in France) was red-carded in his very last game of international play, sent to watch him team lose in penalties, as they had not him, Thierry Henry or Patrick Vierra to take shots. He was sent off for head-butting defender Marco Materazzi. But why?

The media has been taking it pretty seriously, employing lip reading experts figure out what the Italian said to set Zizou off. Even days after the final, he wouldn't reveal what Materazzi had said. Some of the lip readers said that he called Zidane a "terrorist" or had wished death on all of his family, apparently an enormous insult in Italy.

Zizou finally relented and was interviewed by a French television channel last night. While he didn't go into specifics, he said that Materazzi hadn't called him a terrorist (good one, lip readers), but he had insulted his mother and sister repeatedly.

This is a phenomena that is clearly misunderstood in English-speaking cultures (i.e., Britain and the US). David Beckham was amazed when he was instantly red-carded for calling a football official hijo de puta (son of a whore). His response: "I didn't realise what I had said was that bad."

When I first encountered the puta I had not realised it was that bad either. Cari, a Mexican girl, came up to me one day, saying in broken, but determined English, "Uri call me puta." I should have known something was up because she avoided speaking in English as much as possible. But at that point, I hadn't put two and two together. "Okay..." I said, rolling my eyes. I turned to Uri, "Uh... stop calling her names." It was no more than a mild rebuke. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to talk to their ESL teacher. It's the absolute worse thing that a woman can be called, she said, downright terrible. So I had to take it very seriously. The next day, Cari came back to me with the same refrain: Uri had called her puta again. Theatricality to the max, I threw my arms in the air, loudly gasped in astonishment and covered my ears, then my mouth, then my eyes. Wagging my finger at him, I told him he was wretched and awful and I would have to talk to his mother. Uri, a very proud boy, was instantly ashamed and knew the gig was up. The Americano had figured him out.

Anyway, back to Zinedine. He admitted that it was a premeditated act, but that he was apologetic, but that he would do it again. I'm not sure how that works: I'm sorry, but I'm don't regret it. They must go hand-in-hand. However, this won't diminish the love that a major of the French, and I, feel for Zidane. First of all, he's tre, tre hot. He looks so vulnerable and humble, and a hell of a lot younger in the interview than he does on the pitch. Those eyes, ah, those eyes. It makes you want to clutch him to your bosom and say, "It's okay my lovely." Boy showed me a picture of him in the paper this morning. "Typically French," he said, "He wears a coat in the studio, but just over his shoulders. What is that about?"

That, my friend, is about being Zidane.

More about Zidane:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Say what?

The last confirmation of accommodation for our trip to France arrived in the post today from Hôtel de Savoie in Chamonix. Some French Canadians run the hotel and an adjacent guesthouse and it was recommended by BIL2. Here's the confirmation letter:

    le 8 juillet 2006

    1016 xxxxxx xx
    edinburgh xxxxxx

    Dear Autumn,

    We thank you for having reserved your stay in our hotel

    We have received the amount of XX.00 that you have sent to us under the title of 'arrhes'.

    We confirm your date of arrival will be July XX, 2006 and your date of departure will be July XX, 2006. You will be 2 persons.

    You have reserved: 2 Persons (ensuite), Reservation #:XXXXXX

    With kindest regards,

    Hôtel de Savoie

    Arrhes: The reservation is only confirmed at time of payment of arrhes. These arrhes are deductible from the total payment due. The arrhes remain the acquisition of the hotel owners for any reservation that is cancelled. Art. 1590 du Code Civil.

What the hell is, or are, arrhes? Boy took it to mean deposit -- well, he should know, he's the French speaker, not moi. Doesn't sound like they wrote it in French, then used to translate it? I decided to use the service to translate arrhes.

"It does mean deposit!" I told Boy. "Did you know that?"

"No. I just guessed it. It's fairly obvious."

Then why didn't they just translate it, along with the letter? That's what's not fairly obvious to me.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My father, plus Another milestone

Boy and I were walking along the Water of Leith this evening with the dogs. I had only walked them once today -- into the centre to pick up the travel alarm clock that some nice lady on Freecycle gave me and then back home -- and "that wasn't enough." But I also got some scrummy fish and chips, so I wasn't too fussed.

As we veered off the path to get some cash at the ATM, I suddenly remembered. "Ooo, I had a hard time at the gym today. On the cross-trainer. I was doing 18 -- " and I stopped as suddenly as I began, as I realised how much I sounded like my gym-rat father. I even had the accent. All I need was to add a "Gah" to it and I would be him.


Tomorrow I have an appointment at the Job Centre Plus at 9 am -- thankfully not to get employment. It's where you go for your National Insurance number. A NI number is the equivalent of the American Social Security Number and, good for me, has nothing to do with receiving the fantastic universal health care famed in this country. It's a bit of an anomoly that I've been here for nearly three years without having one.

When you're first employed, you receive a temporary number. It's just the letters TN (for temporary number) followed by my birth date and an F, as I'm a female. You're supposed to be in steady employment before they issue one to you -- well, I wasn't for nearly a year and a half. Then when I finally went to apply to get it, the Job Centre workers were on strike. So I didn't think about it for while.

But then I started to get nasty letters from the Payroll department, but I'm very good at avoiding unsavoury things: my uni loan people are good at knowing that. Finally someone said that if I didn't get my act together and get my NI number, I would lose my job. Needless to say, I rang the Job Centre the next day -- two months ago. Tomorrow was the earliest appointment they would give me. Obviously I was dismayed and explained the situation. The man on the phone was sputtering with indignation: "They can't sack you! They-they can't do that!" He was actually more upset than I was. But I wasn't harrassed by the Payroll department after making the appointment, so I guess it did the job.

It probably means nothing to most people, but it's another step to really living here. Probably the last step, really. I have my Indefinite Leave to Remain, which is kinda like a Green Card. I'm in full-time, permanent employment. I own a home, which we've remortgaged. I pay taxes and receive healthcare. I have a current account at the bank, not just a crappy cash account that only new immigrants can get; I actually make 0.01% interest on my money -- then get taxed double that. And now this. Dang, it's like I'm a real adult.

Monday, July 10, 2006

My summer holiday

Well it's been more than a week since school broke and I've done bugger all. I don't do the holidays well. I tend to stay indoors, cocooning until I emerge as an enormous slug. That might not be the way that slugs actually are produced, but...

I get scared because I think that I could be a person that, if left to it, would do nothing. That is a frightening thing. That I could be that person. That I am quite happy to be unproductive for weeks on end. I guess it wouldn't be such a big deal if I were productive at work. My salvation will be a few things: the Festival, starting at the beginning of August; Diana, coming to stay -- she can't know I'm a worthless dog (though if she reads this again, she'll get clued up quickly); and our holiday to France.

Yes, this is my first summer holiday with no familial obligations. It's a proper European holiday. My best friend from school's sister is now married to a German; she once said that he took his holidays very seriously. She didn't realise that wasn't an exclusively German trait -- all of Europe's like that. The whole of France will be on holiday from late July to the end of August. It doesn't get that way here, but from May to October, all the British talk about are their holidays.

Maybe it's that the whole of Europe is at our door, but British people want to go some place exotic. For Boy's Grandma, going to Berwick-upon-Tweed, a seaside resort in the very north of England, was about as exotic as it was gonna get. For his parents, it was only when Boy was in his adolescence that they even went on holidays abroad. Now it's commonplace. All the kids at my former school were going abroad -- you were considered weird if you didn't. France, Spain and Portugal are common holiday locations, but people are increasingly travelling to Greece, Egypt, and Thailand. And it's cheap as chips. In a travel agent's window, we saw a week's holiday to Cyprus, flights and room, for £250 per person!

That being said, the locations are exotic, but the resorts are anything but. People go to these resorts in these different countries expecting to eat steak pies and fish and chips or just to drink themselves into a stupor. There's no culture on these holidays, they have no redeeming value -- just a place to get a sunburn (passing it off as a suntan), a drink and a shag. Needless to say, I am not allowed to consider those types of holidays.

Anyway, about ours. We're going to France for 8 days. First three days in Corsica -- the beaches are supposed to be gorgeous and I'm trying to get myself ready for the swimsuit. Sadly, not doing well. Then two days in Chamonix -- it's in the Alps. Boy wants to take me to see a glacier (pronounced glah-see-er, not glay-shur). Then three days in Paris. I'm feeling good, especially as nearly all of it is booked.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

My phobia

Living by the sea is supposed to be glorious. It is lovely to look at. It's very nice to be able to take the dogs a walk to the beach and they love swimming there. They are usually the only ones in the water. No human over the age of 12 actually gets in our freezing water -- what is about children and their inability to feel the cold?

But if you know anything about me, you know that I have a fear of the sea. It's a combination of things: the deep water, no "sides" to be able to hang on to, the animals that live there and don't really want you there, the sand in completely inappropriate places. Going snorkelling while on holiday to Hawaii in 2000 and the Cayman Islands in 2002 helped a bit to calm me down. I felt like I had a bit of control.

But my newest sea-related phobia, I have no control over. I fear seagulls. Hate the buggers and they hate me. They want me to die. I have been dive bombed by them on no less than three different occasions -- and I was nowhere near the sea, only near my flat. The last time, me and Boy were coming out of a shop near the house. They were circling over the dogs, who were tied up outside. Boy went ahead and untied the dogs, all the while the birds coming at him. I completely freaked. Wouldn't leave the covered entrance of the shop and began to cry.

See, the seagulls nest on the roofs of the buildings near mine and this is the time of year that their babies emerge. Seagulls are on hyperdrive to protect them. Having the dogs doesn't make it easier, as they attract a lot of gull attention as the birds think they are some sort of predator. It's their cries that put me on edge. Whenever I hear their squawks, I get goose pimples and freeze up, having to force myself to keep walking. Like a mantra I say, "Everyone else is completely normal, nobody else is concerned, so you'll be fine." Sometimes it gets me through. Other times, I have to put up my umbrella. Or, as I now refer to it, my Magic Umbrella That Keeps Me Safe. That was how I was able to escape from that shop. I just happened to have my umbrella with me. Now I go nowhere without it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Bollocks, twice over

So, I lost my mobile. My lovely picture-taking, music-playing, email-sending 6-month-old phone. And I feel like shit. See, that's what they do, that's what they do: they suck you in. Six months ago, I was convinced I didn't need the damn thing. Today, I'm legless without it. Spend the whole day in the house, save the venture out to look for it again. Damn, damn, damn. And it's not like it's cheap. But that's not all. I uploaded 300+ songs on to the damn thing -- one by one. And had my ringtones the way I wanted them. And my profile pictures. And voice dialling. And a £50 2-gig memory card in the thing. No, they suck you in until you can't exist without them.


Yesterday I went to a 4th of July barbecue hosted by my one American pal, Pet. She's really funny cos she really keeps her Americanness. It's not like I don't want to... well, actually, I don't want to. There are some unsavoury things about the US that makes me want to say that I'm Canadian, eh? And anyway, 4th of July is my least like strictly American holiday. I have no use for fireworks.

Anyway, it was an embrace of all things American, which was kitsch and comforting at the same time. Doritoes and PB and J sandwiches served, unfortunately with strawberry jam, not grape jelly. Did I tell you it doesn't exist here? Nope, they've never heard of the stuff. S'mores -- the marshmallows are all coloured here, no pure white ones. But they left some things out. No potato salad or baked beans! Madness!

After our dinner and pudding, Pet did what we Americans, even without intention, always do: the speech. She called for us to all sing the National Anthem. Now, if I were back in the States, I would eschew anything so naff, but as I am here, it seemed a bit appropriate. We then went into the Pledge of Allegiance. As a teacher, I know all these songs, so I tried to bring everyone in on my favourite patriotic song, Over There. Unfortunately, no-one knew it (it's a great song).

The other unfortunate thing was this very annoying twat at the party. So this guy, while we were in our songs and pledge, started singing "God Save the Queen," the English national anthem. What a nob. Barbecue was split down the middle, half Yanks, half Brits. Most of the time, I feel for Brits who assemble with Americans, for the latter always spend their time moaning about how expensive it is to live here and how "they say things funny." It's right annoying and I try to limit myself from doing it. But this was an Independence Day celebration and all Brits there knew it, so I had no sympathy for them inundated with this American patriotism overkill. The dude actually reminded me of my nephew Zebedee -- not a compliment as Z's nine.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The end of CouchSurfing?

As you know, your kooky Autumn has started to engage in a new endeavour -- CouchSurfing. I detail all of it in a recent entry In the Shit. In that entry, I tell of the lovely Diana coming to stay with us and how I inadvertently invited some dude and his pals to come and stay with us, arriving at 3 in the morning. Thankfully, he won't be coming to stay with us.

Anyway, a couple of days ago, I go to the CouchSurfing website cos I was trying to find some accommodation in Paris for our holiday (more about that another time). When I click my link, I get this:
    Dear CouchSurfers,

    Two days ago CouchSurfing experienced what could be described as the perfect storm. The database administrators we hired made two critical mistakes. First, we had a major, avoidable hard drive crash. Secondly, the incremental back-ups weren't executed in the correct manner, and twelve of our most important data files didn't survive.

    I have been working non-stop trying to repair the data, but as difficult as it is for me to say, it has become clear that certain essential pieces are not recoverable. This crash happened at a particularly vulnerable time, in a transition between two back-up methods. If the crash had happened a week ago, or next week, we would have had a different outcome.

    It is with a heavy heart that I face the truth of this situation. CouchSurfing as we knew it doesn't exist anymore. We've had an amazing two and a half years.

    Members write "CouchSurfing has changed my life" and I know what they mean, it has certainly changed mine and I am eternally grateful.

    My vision transformed. CouchSurfing was born out of a dream I had to meet the most interesting people in world and experience their cultures, and it grew into a living, thriving family of almost a hundred thousand. This community has blossomed in beautiful ways I hadn't even anticipated. It was no longer about what I got to experience, but rather, what genuine, heartfelt good this community can offer the world. We have all opened not only our homes, but also our hearts, our lives. In sharing important moments, deep and meaningful connections have crossed oceans, continents and cultures. I saw in CS, in you, the power to change not only they way we travel, but change the world itself. Thank you, CouchSurfers. You have shown me more than I could have even known. Your generosity and spirit is a gift to humanity.

    I have devoted the last three years of my life to CouchSurfing. I have literally poured every cent I have into the site. I've sacrificed my health, my time, and my own ability to travel and meet people. In many ways I've put my life and wanderlust on hold to build this network. I'm not complaining; it's been a fantastic ride. As devastating as it is to consider, it looks like the ride is over.

    Life is continuously changing, evolving, dying and being reborn. After a fire, the earth is replenished; after a storm, the air is cleared. It feels to me like this loss of CouchSurfing is how it's meant to be. This crash is like a sign from the universe. Too many random factors aligned to make it as damaging as it is, and though I've tried everything I can and engaged the best and brightest database managers, there's just no way to get it back. In many respects it's heartbreaking, but at the same time, what we've built together is not dead, it lives on in each of us. It lives in the connections we've fostered and the culture we've created. I want us all to take this CouchSurfing spirit and continue the mission out in the world. We've all experienced this common vision and the potential it has to transform the way people relate to each other. Now it is time for all of us to not bury the dream, but rather nurture it's growth in our own ways, in new explorations and ventures. We all own a piece of the CouchSurfing flame, it's up to us to keep the fire going and light the world. So let's do it, let's light the world! What will you do with your flame?

    Goodnight, CouchSurfing. May our flames burn bright.

    I love you,
I was shocked. No more CouchSurfing? Plus, I was deeply troubled. I was contacting our dear Diana through the site. I had no information from her: no email address, phone number, nothing. Thankfully, with my wits about me, I googled her name, found her myspace page and made contact with her. So at least we're still on. Jokingly, I wondered if it wasn't my husband fault, so I wouldn't have to accommodate anymore strangers in our home.

But, and I blame my husband for this, some thing was niggling at me. The whole database crashed? Nothing was left? Nothing at all? I wasn't, until I met Boy, a conspiracy theorist. I'm not saying that I am now, nor am I saying that he is. But he's taught me, with him being Dr Hardcore Scientist, to question everything. And it does seem a bit weird that everything went. It seems kinda planned. It was a very big endeavour that just a few people were trying to hold up. It apparently took a lot of time and money to keep it going and mean twats like me weren't exactly helping with the costs. I think Casey just decided to give up. He was tired. You can read it in the letter. Man, am I a cynical so-and-so, or what?

But now it appears that CouchSurfing is coming back, "bigger and better than ever," I would think much to my husband's chagrin. A chance to bring people we don't know into our home? He's dancing on tables. I was partly doing a jig when I heard of CouchSurfing's apparent demise. I could see myself hosting 1 or 2 groups of people a year, at the most. In the three week I was on, I was contacted three times! Now that it's back, I'm going to have to work out my excuses for not hosting people...
    Sorry, I've got tonsillitis...
    My grandmother's died again...
    I currently in mourning the state of English football...
    I'm getting my tonsils installed...
    My dog's got a dyslexia... and a cold...
    Sorry, I'm not accommodating foreigners at this time...
There's one from my list of things to tell you about done. What would you like me to write about now? Tell me in the comments.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Where have I been?

Hello friends. Perhaps you have been worried about me. It has been nearly a week since I've blogged. Mind you, that's the longest I've gone without an entry. I almost didn't do it today, but I didn't think that a full week was a good idea. I thought that you might start to fret.

Last week was the last week of school before the summer holiday. With me moving on to a new school, I had to make sure all my ducks were in a row, i's dotted and t's crossed, and fulfill all other clichés about getting my shit together. And I had to do that in two schools so it wasn't easy. I didn't get a lot of sleep last week, going to bed nearly every night at midnight or one cos I was writing up reports (not report cards, that was done weeks ago, but summaries so that the next year's teachers could take them on). It was all worth it, though. I was able to leave both schools, knowing that I didn't owe them anything, that I didn't need to stay late. In fact, on my last day, I walked out of the school the same time the kids did. No easy feat for me, my peeps from Durham know all about that when me and Boy were moving -- we were packing and cleaning right up to the minute before we were supposed to leave. We ended up just throwing a lot of crap out of the door onto the pile of rubbish in the front yard, then speeding away, hoping not to be caught by the landlord, or threw it in to the back of the mini-van we rented to get us to Atlanta and then my poor amah had to handle it all (sorry ma). My friends in Okinawa could tell the same tale from when I moved back to the US -- I was totally unprepared and stressed. The long and short of it is that I don't move very well and I tend to stress out my nearest and dearest with it. Like getting Colleen to file my kids' work into their folders. Well, this time I stressed no other person out but myself... and my husband. Well, isn't that what he's there for?

Anyway, I've been working up a list of things I have to tell you about. But if I do so in this entry, you'd be reading for years. I'll try to do it over the next week. Here are some things I'll be telling you about -- oooo, a preview!
  • Our summer trip to France
  • Me being alone for this week as Boy cycles around Scotland with his dad
  • Observations as I was preparing to leave my schools
  • Our trip to Hawaii in November
  • Making friends
  • My summer plans
  • The weather
  • Dave Chappelle's Block Party - just came out here and saw it this afternoon
  • The end of CouchSurfing
Glad to be back my people. Blog you soon.