Tuesday, January 17, 2012

MLK Day (belated)

MLK Day (belated)

How could I forget?

Perhaps it's because I'm out of the classroom.  Otherwise, I'd have had students dreaming and writing their  dreams for a better tomorrow and making their dream books out of cut-out card-backed photo-copied colouring sheets of Martin's head.

Instead, I forgot.  So, I went to YouTube this morning, downloaded the "I have a dream" speech and made everyone in the admin office listen to it with me.  When Dr. King began with, "I am happy to join with you today..." our business manager asked, "Is that Mitt Romney?"

In an effort to promote a greater understanding/appreciation of the ideals Dr. MLK promoted, I sent the following email to the teaching staff:

This week's PSHE theme is 'Accepting differences/Inclusion'.  I invite you to take a little time and watch the YouTube video below; it is of Martin Luther King, Jr's "I have a dream" speech.   

You may choose to have your students watch it (years 5 and 6) and discuss the ideas of integration and equality.  With younger children, the "I have a dream" statements (towards the end of the speech) can be a jumping off point where the children can talk about their dreams for a better--more inclusive--world.

I also came across my current favourite MLK quote:  ‎"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically... Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education." 

Training for the Paris Marathon is coming along wonderfully.  Yesterday I had my first enjoyable run!  At the end I wanted to keep on going.  Wisely, I didn't.  You know, too much of a good thing.  The biggest challenge I'm facing now in booking a flight.  I've literally got to finish the run then hop on a plane back to Uganda.  School starts back the following day (16th April).  The school has generously granted me that day off, but many of the airlines that go between Entebbe and Paris either do not fly back on the 15th or they leave too early for me to make the flight after the run.  And the ones that do... well, I'm trying to work out my best option.  This weekend it will be done.  Hopefully.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Finally done with It

Finally done with It

The year is 1990 and we are all terrified in the back TV room at Robbi D.'s when Pennywise proclaims:  I'll kill you all.  After regaining our wits and courage, "I'll kill you all!" became a sort-of catch phrase for us tweens and teens.  Similar to Bill and company, twenty-plus years later, I was summoned back for another round with It; this time in book form.  And today I finally conquered--all 1104 pages of It.

To answer those gnawing questions (Timothy, why now?  Why this book?) I'll quote myself as quoted by Beatrice Lamwaka in the Books They Read article of the 17th December edition of the Saturday Monitor:

I watched the movie while I was a child and the movie was horrifying. The movie meant a lot to me and my friends when we were young so in a way, I am reminiscing my childhood. I haven't read Stephen King in 15 years.

I agree with the brief review on amazon.com that 'King's depiction of youngsters is extraordinarily accurate and sympathetic. But there is enough material in this epic for several novels and stories, and the excessive length and numerous interrelated flashbacks eventually become wearying and annoying', except, I'm not sure if I ever found anything annoying.  Truth be told, I had no idea how long the book was when I began it--one of the benefits of a Kindle--and after much reading and little progress in the percentage area, I had to use the internet the look up the quantity of pages.  Truth also be told, that I occasionally took breaks from reading It, most humoursly to read The Santa Land Diaries in the Semien Mountains.  Maybe, like Richie, I needed the dose of humour to conquer It--all 1104 pages of It.  (I also just downloaded the 1990 miniseries, so a movie night is on the horizon.  Join me?)

Perhaps now I'll give Understanding Girls with AD/HA another go.  I even put Rushdie on the back burner during my affair with Mr. King.  Hmmm... I wonder who I'll be taking to bed tonight.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I did not hate myself 98% of the distance

I did not hate myself 98% of the distance

Today's was the first run that I did not hate myself 98% of the distance.  That's a good thing, I guess.  Hopefully, I'm getting over the hump, and my runs will become fun and inspiring once again.  I realise I've not mentioned the distance of any of my runs so far.  That is in part due to the fact that the wristband broke on my GPS watch, and I'm procrastinating instead of getting it repaired.  It's also due in part to the fact that I'm quite embarrassed by the short distances of my runs.  I think by next week, I'm be more on track and, therefore, a bit more open about my mileage.

Kampala is hot these days.  Really hot.  So hot that friends are sending my messages admitting fears of melting.  So hot that teachers are requesting amendments to the school's dress code to allow shorts.  True to form, I did a little research, and this is what I found out about keeping cool in hot climates (click on the links to read the full source article).

  • Loose, light (in both colour and weight), long-sleeved shirts will keep you cooler than T-shirts. And, in most climatic conditions, cooler than other short- (and non-) sleeved tops as well.
  • In very hot weather, though, most of the heat that your body is trying to eliminate has been absorbed from its surroundings. Light-coloured garments that cover your skin will dramatically curtail that absorption, greatly reducing the heat that must be dissipated.
  • Sure, lots of people in New Orleans wear short-sleeved shirts; people often wear what they believe will keep them cooler, rather than what actually will. But I was in New Delhi, where the temperature was 115°F (46°C) when I first wrote these paragraphs, and the great majority of local residents were wearing long-sleeved clothing.
  • In order to promote the circulation of air necessary to the evaporation of perspiration, hot-weather clothing should additionally be both loose-fitting and porous (air-permeable). How porous? Enough so that air can pass through it without serious restriction. Here's a simple test. Make an "O" with your mouth about the size of a typical beverage bottle (1" / 2.5cm), and stretch a piece of the fabric in question over it. If you can breathe comfortably through your mouth (not your nose), the cloth is sufficiently porous for decent evaporation; otherwise, it isn't.
  • All of this holds true for the lower part of your body as well. Long pants/skirts/dresses of an appropriate fabric will keep you cooler than shorts of any length.

20 hot tips to stay cool

  • Heat is trapped by synthetic fibres, but cotton absorbs perspiration and its evaporation causes you to feel cooler.  [So do linen!] 
  • Eat spicy food. Although this may be the last thing you fancy in hot weather, curries and chillies can stimulate heat receptors in the mouth, enhance circulation and cause sweating, which cools the body down.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often. The larger the meal, the more metabolic heat your body creates breaking down the food. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
  • Wet your wrists and other pulse points with cold water. Use a piece of ice wrapped in a face cloth, to continue after the coolness wears off. Constantly cooling off the wrists will also cool off the body. Never use just ice; make sure it is wrapped in a towel or something similar. Studies show that this will reduce your core body temperature by as much as 3 °F (1.5 ºC). The relief is almost immediate, and will last for up to one hour!
  • Drink water, even if you are not thirsty! You must replace fluids lost in perspiration to prevent dehydration. Oral re-hydration may be accomplished by drinking an electrolyte-balanced beverage. The electrolytes help to make sure you don't lose vital minerals through sweating. Adding ice will also help cool you off. Avoid lemonade, iced tea, and other sugary drinks (see the Tips below). Ice does not actually help you cool off if it is in water you will drink. Cool water does, but the colder the water the more energy your body spends making it body temperature so that it can use it.
  • Try a few minty products to cool your skin: slather on lotion with peppermint (avoid your face and eyes); shower with peppermint soap; use a minty foot soak. Mint refreshes the skin and leaves a nice cooling sensation.

Personally, I love the heat, and I love to sweat.  I like imagine that the sweat pouring from my body during a good, long run is actually melted fat escaping my bulging belly, arms, thighs, back, etc.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Today's Plod

Today's Plod

I plodded along with marathon training today and got a run in this afternoon.  The stress release from such a run was much needed after today's failed attempt at a simple bank transaction.  Oh, Stanbic Bank, you are a mighty special institution!  

My running style lately truly feels more like plodding; I feel so tired, exhausted even after rest.  I'm having such a difficult time getting into this running thing again.  I hope I snap out of it soon.  While on my afternoon plod, I noticed this:

madman creative.  Wow!  Now that is creative (assuming it is an ad agency as I strongly suspect it is).  I've never seen Mad Men on Bravo, but I don't live on Mars, so I know that it is immensely popular.  So if the creator of this agency proves to be a creative as its name suggests, then I cannot wait so see ads like these hit the billboards:

Oh, and I think today I committed myself to buying a new sofa.  Blame it on the runner's high.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In the BARTH room?

In the BARTH room?

Yes, that's where Barth lives on.

Marathon training update:  there was no running for me today; I took a rest day.  I hung out at Fas Fas, still trying to finish It.

How could I forget this one?

How could I forget this one?

MFK:  Are you serious?  Do we really have to hike through this herd of baboons?

Guide:  No, they are not baboons.  Baboon is a negative name.  They are mountain monkeys.

MFK:  Ok.  Is there no other way?  Why are we hiking through this herd of mountain monkeys?  Do we really have to?

Guide:  Yes.

MFK:  Why?

Guide:  Because it's nature.

Timothy:  Here, puppy, puppy, puppy!

Today marked one week since I began running again (theoretically training for the Paris Marathon).  I'm not sure how far I ran, and since it was on the hash, I will not even try to map my run online--too many check backs and running through sewage ditches.  It was a fun/good run.  However, it is quite humbling to know how fit I was at the end of October and how unfit I am at the beginning January.  Stamina:  where did it all go?  Tomorrow might be a swimming day.  I'll be back on the streets on Wednesday.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

not laziness

not laziness

Ok.  Many distractions.  Much to do.  Priorities out of sync.  Whatever.

A friend scolded me for not chronicling my marathon training experience for the Nairobi Marathon--which I completed on 30th October 2011.   A missed opportunity?  Perhaps.  Well, I'm registered for  the Paris Marathon, which will take place on the 15 April 2012, and I think I officially began my training program this week.  After taking a complete running break for the entire month of December to give my knees a much needed break (not laziness, I!), I've tried to get myself back in the streets this week.  I successfully managed to do this three times; I successfully managed to talk myself out of a run only once.  Overall, not too bad.  The biggest triumph was getting my rear out of bed and out on a run this morning.  True, it was a very short run, but, hey, where were you?

I have a tendency to start blog projects and stop before completion.  Let's just see how this one goes.


15th April.


On the topic of missed opportunities:  Oops!  I almost did it again.  For two weeks in December, I took a trip with three FABULOUS friends to Ethiopia.  Somewhere along the way, I found the need to channel my inner cheerleader?  For a humourous account and lovely photos of our Abyssinian hijinks, read Robyn's blog.  She's definitely on it better than I am these days.  I'll simply say that I have never visited a more beautiful place on this planet than Ethiopia; this was the most special holiday I've taken to date.  And I'll leave you with my three favourite quotes that I overheard during our northern trek.

  • "You should pay the people and get them out of the park," said the Norwegian man to who I interpreted to be his Ethiopian tour guide.
  • "I liked that we did not see many people during our tour.  I guess that means you should keep the population low.  Yeah, that would be good," said the Norwegian man's wife to who I interpreted to be his Ethiopian tour guide.
  • "Sit down!  Girl, this is not a matatu!" said Kelly to the young woman who stood up to get her bag from the overhead compartment as the plane was touching down in Entebbe.  The plane had not even slowed down to taxi into the terminal.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Easy. Breezy. Beautiful.

Easy.  Breezy.  Beautiful.

I've always had a thing for cover girls, and Cover Girl cover girls have really done it for me in the past.  My two favourites being

Drew Barrymore

and Niki Taylor,

in that order.

Ok, so Drew's stint as Cover Girl is still in the present, but isn't she lip perfection personified?

This month, October 2011, I add one more cover girl to my list of favourites:  Becca Schwartz.

Oh, WorkZine, you just became exponentially more welcomed in my inbox each month.  Thanks to this exposure, I'm sure Becca will attract quite a bit of attention, and she might have difficulty selecting only one guy among the many who will want to be her suitor.  Well, lucky for us, Becca has put thought into polyandry.

Imagine the law made it mandatory for you to marry four husbands and each had to be from a different country, which countries would you choose from and why? 
US - being American, I’ve found that it’s usually Americans who share the values and beliefs of mine that matter. Plus my mother has informed me that if I have her grandchildren and keep them somewhere in Africa, I will be dead to her - this way, my American husband could keep the grandchildren in the US, close to Jaja. 
Senegal - It’ll give me a chance to work on my French and Wolof skills and (assuming I also get citizenship in Senegal with the marriage) free travel within ECOWAS - important for business. When I lived in Senegal, I was proposed to at least 3 times per week so it may be good to actually take one of these guys up on it someday. To be clear, it wasn’t really that I’m all that, it was that I may hold the key to a magic visa/green card for them. Also, Senegalese men tend to be quite tall and handsome. 
Sweden - I’ve got the dark and handsome with the Senegalese fellow so I’ll even it out with light and handsome from Sweden, you know the model type. Plus the EU passport will come in handy. 
Uganda - I’ve lived here too long not to include one of you guys. I guess maybe you’ve grown on me :)

Isn't it so cute, the way she is able to speak using emoticons?  Not only is she cute, guys, but she can probably out sing all of us in a Rent sing-a-long, and she's an expert in solar power marketing.  She can light up your life.




Cover girl!

That's enough about Becca ( I gush, I gush).  I want to give a bit more credit to WorkZine.  I began receiving it around edition 28 (Becca's issue is 37).  I really like the concept and the platform they give to writers (seasoned and those learning the ropes, yet have something to say).  Check out their website:  www.theworkzine.com.  You can also listen to a podcast of an interview with the managing editor of WorkZine, Abid Were.