Friday, September 29, 2006

Another teaser

[Re-attempt on Friday morning, after Blogger refused to let me post this last night...]

Follow this link for exactly one picture from our trip to New Mexico that I'm not too tired to post tonight. R came home a day early and brought his camera with him, so here's yet one more teaser of things to follow: R and me, fellow Austinite Alexa, and the fabulous Eric and Jossi at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum, possibly the best venue at which I've ever attended a Sacred Harp convention. (Eric said it was only his second-best; apparently he once sang at a creationist dinosaur museum. I'm still a little agog at the concept of THAT.) We sang in a second-floor gallery/meeting room with a wall of windows overlooking the mountains and the field where all the hot air balloons are launched at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (which R and I randomly know all about because one of my Juneau co-workers made a short documentary about it which we saw a screening of last winter) every October. Too bad we missed the Fiesta by a week or two... but we got to see balloons aplenty inside the museum, which was a wacky jumble of balloons and balloon lore. The best part, though? It was 35 degrees in Santa Fe both mornings when we woke up there. 35 degrees. Richard had to SCRAPE THE WINDSHIELD before we left on Sunday. Haven't done THAT in a while...

Okay, this is already longer than I intended. More soon.

Stomach fun and LOTS of buses

Sorry if I disappeared for a few days there, though from the lack of concerned emails no one seems to have noticed. I was hanging out on a lovely ecolodge in vilcabamba with no cell reception and no chance to use the internet in town until today. I actually spent an extra day here since I woke up yesterday with stomach problems and couldnt really leave my bed, let alone get on a multi hour bus to machala. But, if you have to be sick at least do it somewhere where you can enjoy a lovely mountain view from your hammock while nursing yourself back to health with freshly squeezed orange juice from the tree next to you and tea from freshly picked mint. Now I'm pushing all the way on to guayaquil where hopefully I will meet up with rebecca and co and see elizabeth run a marathon tomorrow! Then an overnight bus back to quito where its peru prep time, and hopefully time to upload more pictures and make a last round of phone calls to some lucky people.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

1:02 a.m., back from New Mexico

I have to drag myself out of bed in five and a half hours, so this is just a teaser before my real post tomorrow. R & Alexa & I had a fabulous weekend at the Rocky Mountain Sacred Harp Convention in Albuquerque this weekend... now I'm newly home and R is driving around southwestern New Mexico somewhere in preparation for a few days of backpacking in the Guadalupe Mountains. Photos forthcoming when R and his camera get back to Austin, and I promise a real update tomorrow. In the meantime, happy Rosh Hashana, happy Equinox, and I'll be back in 24 hours...

Love,

K

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Traveling solita / another picture bonanza!

So after an excellent week in Quito during which I got all my supplies for peru, had a lovely birthday, met our new roommate Andrew, and saw a fabulous (ecuadorian??!!) movie, I'm back on the road! I finally made it to Baños, where of course it poured the whole time. The damn rainy season is back in Quito... it POURED on sunday just as I was getting ready to go to the bus station, and the encore took over my whole day in Baños. I wasn't even planning on doing anything dramatic like bungee jumping or renting cuadrones, i just wanted a little hike around the city! Oh well, it was pretty enough, though I could have done without the high concentration of backpacking gringos and the locals trying to convince me to take a tour to the volcano. Tonight I'm making an unscheduled stop in Riobamba, cuz I was having bus hassles and didn't want to push on all the way to cuenca tonight. I actually like the city a lot, the downtown area is actually the historic area too, and they have some lovely parks. Not to mention that I had to tear myself away from the Warner channel to go next door to use the internet.

But, thanks to their high speed, I finally updated some more pictures!! There's a whole bunch of new CUTIE pictures of Blanca... Becky says I'm going to be one of THOSE parents, who follow their kids around with cameras and insist everyone else see the slideshow. (Aren't all parents like that??) But seriously, Blanca, who we were afraid would be even more traumatized after a second move, LOVED moving. Not as much the part where we had to shut her in the carrying case. But the part where she gets to explore a whole new world, and the part where people keep moving in and out and we keep unpacking and redecorating, so the scenery keeps changing. She's had a ball climbing in cabinets, boxes, closets, and most especially up the curtains. And she's gotten a lot more affectionate, climbing up in our laps, and she even let me brush her for half an hour on my birthday! (she's gotten, well, a lot less blanca, but was refusing to let us brush her...)
Also there are pictures of the big party we had, and Natalia's time chillin in Quito (including climbing rucu pichinca)!! Up next, if I ever have the time... traveling with Natalia, John's chiva, climbing Imbabura, and all my recent solo traveling!! Phew, this camera sure is getting a workout...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Cumpleañera!


Thanks for all the lovely birthday wishes everyone! The fact that my inbox was literally full is probably largely due to katie's bday shoutouts, so thanks doubly to her :) I had a nice tranquilo day, just went out to dinner with friends. It was nice to see everyone since I've been traveling though. And Rebecca N really went above and beyond, in providing the birthday hat, lovely flowers, and party favors! I'm definitely holding those of you made empty promises of bday celebration when I get back in a few months to it! Here's a picture of yours truly on my special day... that will have to tide you over until then. Or at least until I post more pictures and juicy travel stories (um, not a guarantee) tomorrow.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The long-awaited Picture Bonanza!!

Item of business A#1... must keep up the consecutive posts talking about Katie's hair! Seriously though, is it too cute or what??

As for me, I'm finally home in Quito with my very own bedroom and everything, at least for this week! I got back on Friday night just in time for all my business and traveling to catch up with me in the form of a nice big cold. And also for Adela's despedida! Since then I have consumed vast amounts of tea and chocolate and watched massive amounts of Friends. Filling you in on my travels will just have to wait until my next post, since I just exhausted all my time and energy updating lots o photos! I FINALLY finished the section from my parents' visit in, ahem, April. There's also another album chock full o summer fun... everything from the mundial to belated jewish holidays! Please enjoy, and I'll try to get caught up with pics of Natalia's visit this week.

I am otherwise hoping to spend this week teaching a few classes, getting ready for Peru, and turning 24!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Oh nooooooo...

So about an hour ago, I wrote a lengthy post all about the most recent variation of my haircut, the hippie fashion show we went to last night, the gospel brunch we're going to tomorrow, and my hilarious exploits doing phone canvassing for World Can't Wait. Then I stopped in the middle to check my email, forgot about my half-a-post, closed the blogging window, and put the computer to sleep. D'oh. So you'll have to make do with following this link to my newest haircut. I promise you'll never have to look at shots of my head again. Not a guarantee.

In the meantime, I hope you've all put Rebecca's birthday cards into the mail!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Addendum

One more self-indulgent post to admit that I finally washed my hair, and here's a full frontal view.

In other news, Richard drank a glass of beef stock yesterday.

Love,
K

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Don't give the girl your scissors

After hours of updating the website of the Austin chapter of World Can't Wait (inspired tonight by the fact that methane and carbon levels in the atmosphere are higher than they've ever been in the past 800,000 years), I'm tired and cranky and determined to cheer myself up with a little self-indulgent posting. I've got that irritated feeling that can only come from knowing you just spent 90 minutes doing what a computer nerd could have accomplished in less than five, so in order to distract myself, I invite you all to CLICK HERE to see my new haircut! I picked up the scissors yesterday afternoon and began hacking (Richard was taking a nap so he couldn't stay my hand by anxiously reminding me how much he hates change), and once I'd gotten too short to make a proper ponytail, I figured I'd better keep going high enough to get all the hair off my neck, because ain't no way you can wear your hair down in that Texas summer sun. I sweat enough as it is; I don't need the extra help... So now I have short hair, and I haven't washed it yet so I have no idea what it will look like after I do; I'm hoping it's more Amelie than Ronald McDonald, but due to its charming multiple-personality disorder (straight today, curly tomorrow...), there's really no telling.

In other news, and as if I didn't already have enough links in this post, I can't recommend highly enough that you all go here to watch the first 7 minutes of "Awake My Soul," which, having seen only the first 7 minutes of, I can safely pronounce will be a KICKASS documentary.

Hoo boy, I get to wake up in 5 hours. Time to hit the proverbial hay. xoxo

Monday, September 04, 2006

hey bobby marley, sing something good to me...

(Everyone should listen to manu chao, not just because its in my head.) Hey everybody! So much has been happening, and I've been trying to catch up on emails and phone calls rather than blogging. On Thursday we moved into our new apartment! It was by far the least stressful moving experience i've ever had... we hired movers, who ended up showing up an hour early and we had everything loaded into the truck before they were even scheduled to arrive! Then while the other girls helped drag everything up to our new 4th floor apt, I cleaned the entire old one. This was not exactly fun, but definitely less stressful... i just put on shakira and ot myself covered in bleach. The new place is nice, the same floor plan as our old one because its part of the same giant complex, but a bit less rundown, and with a balcny with a beautiful view of pichincha! Downsides are the hot water is finnicky and we have EIGHT keys because the entry is more secluded and without a guard. You have to use a key or buzz the door just to get out now. And the biggest downside for me is that i lost my master bedroom and I've been camping out in the living room, which hopefully has not been too disruptive to my roommates... really i'm just another part of the pile of furniture and boxes.
In other news, Rebecca and I scaled Imbabura yesterday! She has a friend who is a tour guide and he is currently doing a whole series of andiñismo - climbing the volcanos in ecuador from north to south. There were about 18 people, all ecuadorian except for us, and mostly women! At 4, 630 m it's not much higher than pichincha, but there's no teleferico to get you to to the top, so its quite a climb. I have some beautiful pictures which i will get up eventually. The best part was scaling the rocks at the end, but coming down really SUCKED... it was 4 hours up, going up the whole time, and it still took 4 hours down! My knees basically gave out halfway down and so I was hobbling and falling over the rest of the way, since I couldn't really support myself. And I was definitely the dirtiest i've been in a really long time, or possibly ever. The dust we kicked up got EVERYWHERE, including in our mouths. I showered as soon as possible last night, and I couldn't even scrub all the dirt off. I really wanted to throw away my really old gym shoes that are falling apart, givin me blisters, and now COVERED in dirt, especially since I need real hiking shoes for peru. But i just went to quicentro where there are 2 big outdoor stores, and machismo strikes again! Both of them carry a wide selection of hiking boots, but NONE in women's sizes!!!!!!!!!!! I was super pissed. So now I have to dig out the old shoes for my trip this week. FOrtunately there is no climbing scheduled, just some hiking in the cloud forest. I'm going to a finca near puerto quito where I get to tour tropical fruit groves, BLACK PEPPER plantaions (!!!), and make my own chocolate among other things. I'll let you know how that goes. I'll be back in Quito in Thursday or Friday, in time for Adela's despedida and my bday!
Oh, if you want to get in touch with me, I lost my cell phone a while back and have been switching around between friend's phones. I finally have a more or less permanent number: 095610041

Saturday, September 02, 2006

One more highlight

How could I forget my lovely dinner with Jenna??? She breezed into Austin for 16 hours, ate dinner with me and Alexa, and then vanished without a trace. It was magical!

Oh, more exciting news that I forgot to mention: We're going to get a screening of "Awake My Soul" at one of the Alamo theaters in the week before convention! (More explanations for the thoroughly confused forthcoming... in the meantime, I highly suggest you follow this link for a clip of said documentary, a rockin' version of 277, and info on the big Sacred Harp article that just came out in Southern Living magazine.)

This week's highlights

So I went to buy some groceries at the organic co-op on Wednesday... I'd just upgraded my membership from my poor man's annual membership to a Gold Card Investment (with absolutely no selflessness involved; Gold Card members are eligible to receive cash reimbursements proportional to their purchases if the co-op has a good fiscal year), and they'd warned me that my number might change. I'd finally gotten around to knowing my random 5-digit member number by heart, and was mildly cranky at the thought of having to learn a new one. So on Wednesday I brought my groceries up to the counter, told them "60443" like I always do... and learn that my new member number is (wait for it...) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 12345! For real! I was so nerdily thrilled. (The guy in line behind me gave me his best Napoleon Dynamite-esque "Lucky!" when the cashier told me, which also made it a particularly amusing moment. The only thing that could have completed the moment would be if he'd told me that that was the sort of number that an idiot would have on his luggage.) My friend who used to work at the co-op told me that the 12345 customer when she was working there would always get upset because he'd want to tell them his number when he got up to the registers, but all the cashiers always recognized him (because he was, after all, the 12345 guy) and punched in his number before he got a chance to say it. Apparently, it really doesn't matter that I now have the most easily memorizable number in the co-op, since I won't need to actually say it out loud anymore...

In other, unluckier news, my faithful CD-player remote, after behaving perfectly since the summer of 2004, finally died. I depend on that remote mainly for one thing: turning the "Repeat All" and "Repeat 1" functions on and off, since confusingly you can't do that using any buttons on the player itself. I almost never use the "Repeat 1" function, but my mother had asked me to come up with a harmony for a particular song that she wants to accompany on the cello, so I was listening to it over and over (Mom: I realized I was listening to one Garnet song on repeat while I cooked dinner, and had this hilarious "I AM my mother!!!" moment...) when the batteries in my remote up and died. This led to 48 hours of a perfectly good CD player being rendered COMPLETELY unusable, because who on earth wants to manually hit the "Next" button after every song for an entire album? Stupid remote.

Hope you all have lovely 3-day (or 1-day, if you're Richard...) weekends planned. I got suckered into a babysitting gig (how old am I, sixteen?!) with my friend Noelle tomorrow night... two babysitters for four boys, forty dollars each. I can live with that. Happy Saturday! Love, K