Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I mentioned yesterday that I could not think of another person that has inspired more hope, worldwide, this year than Barack Obama.  Well the readers of Uganda's daily newspaper, The New Vision, have demonstrated this hope by voting Obama "Man of the Year."  This is a similar accolade given to him by Time Magazine proclaiming him "Person of the Year."  However, it's different.  Each year for the past decade, The New Vision has awarded the "Man of the Year" title to Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda.  I find this to be an interesting shift.

Well, it's the last day of the year.  I went for a jog.  I've been to the gym.  I made an amazing tuna salad (a bit of Tabasco makes (almost) everything taste better) that I ate for lunch on toast.  The end of one year and beginning of another inspires many people to reflect on the past and plan for the future, and I'm not exempt from this.  I've never been affected by a new year as much as this one.  I guess that's because I can feel a big change is about to occur.  Many people have posted lists of what they consider to be the best songs of 2008.  Well, when I reflect on the past year, one song is always playing as the score in the background of my mind:  It's a Bitch to Grow Up by Alanis Morissette, from her Flavours of Entanglement album (a great album if you've not given it a listen-to), released 10th June 2008.  It pretty much summarises my overall feeling for this year.  Alanis has a talent for doing that for me.

I feel done, I feel raked over coals 
and all that remains is the case 
that it's a bitch to grow up.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Time Magazine's pick for person of the year is no surprise. I cannot think of another person that has inspired more hope, worldwide, this year.  I don't need to elaborate much on this topic.  The world has been buzzing about this man almost incessantly as of late.  I ran the hash yesterday.  It was hosted by Sir Apollo Kagwa Primary School, Mengo, and we all received t-shirts with Obama's name on it.  I'm not sure what the meaning was; nevertheless, his name was imprinted on these bright orange t-shrits below the name of the school.  My first Obama t-shirt!

I bought this issue of Time at the Uchumi supermarket this morning before I went to watch High School Musical 3 for the second time.  (I had to go a second time because they moved it to cinema hall 4.  The first time I saw it, it was being shown in cinema hall 1 which has horrible sound.  It's. A. Musical.  Proper sound in imperative.  Although, I sometimes think Cineplex could care less about the satisfaction of patrons.  Where else are we going to go?  Just take the 12,000 shillings.)  I thumbed through the pages of the magazine as I waited for the movie to begin.  There is a section of photographs of people's art depicting Obama and representing what he means to them.  I was over come by emotion looking at these photos.  While I don't think it's particularly fair to place so many expectations on one man, and I know that some of the decision he'll make will disappoint many (including myself), it has been a long time since I've been so inspired by a person and what he represents.  The emotion I felt today while thumbing through Time Magazine was almost as strong as the morning I learned that Obama won the election.  It's difficult for me to give a specific reason why/how this man has reinvigorated my pride in being an American.  I can't hardly wait for inauguration day, 20th January 2009!

On another topic, I'm trying to get more use out of the iPod Touch I was given as a gift (because I'm a teacher) when I bought my new MacBook in August.  I'm using the calendar and notes applications more regularly.  I had it with me this morning because I'd typed my to do list in it.  I figured I wouldn't misplace this list.  Anyway, while watching the film, I took a few notes with my iPod.  I later used these notes to come to my conclusion about the top three performances in High School Musical 3.  Here we go...
  1. Ashley Tisdale played the devil out of her role.  Her performance as Sharpay was fabulous.  Favourite line:  "That is so gross."  Entertainment Weekly agrees with me on this one: "...the breakout star is Ashley Tisdale, whose Sharpay makes narcissism a goofy, bedazzled pleasure."  
  2. Vanessa Hudgens' legs.  Someone has been doing pilates.  Beautiful.  Plus V has improved her dancing skills exponentially from the first HSM, and her legs look great moving in a coordinated manner to the rhythm of the music.
  3. The third standout goes to the-guy-who-plays-Troy's dad's (I'm not even going to bother looking up the actor's name because I'm sure after High School Musical, he'll fade into obscurity.) bags under his eyes.  The bags along with the serial-killer haircut actually overshadowed his horrible acting and the horrible advice his character always give Troy.  Advice to Troy (fictitious as you are):  listen to your dad's counsel and do the opposite.  
“I just want the rest of my life to feel as good as my high school musical.”

Monday, December 29, 2008

Eartha Kitt has been on heavy rotation on my iTunes for the past few days.  The icon passed away on Christmas day from colon cancer at the age of 81.  The announcement of her death triggered my curiosity.  I confess that until I read the announce and went to wikipedia to read her biography, I knew her for little more than her role as Cat Woman in the Batman television series (in which she was perfectly cast, much more appropriately than Julie Newmar).  I had to find out more about this woman whose name I'd heard since my childhood.

I downloaded several of her songs over the weekend, and I've become a fan of her music.  I'd heard her original version of Santa Baby many time but never knew it was Eartha Kitt.  Some other of my favourites include Je Cherche Un Homme, C'est Si Bon, her version of Diamond's are a Girl's Best Friend, and Just an Old Fashioned Girl.  

Eartha Kitt was a sultry, singer, dancer, actress, sex symbol who was once referred to by Orson Welles as "the most exciting woman in the world."  Apparently, she was honest with her opinions and didn't hold back when she felt strongly about an issue.  She attended at a celebrity luncheon hosted at the White House in 1968 and criticised the Vietnam War and its impact on minorities in the US to the First Lady at the time, Lady Bird Johnson; thus, shooting her career in the foot as she could not find work in America after that. “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot.”  (It kind of reminds me of what the Dixie Chicks experience after their criticism of Bush 43 and the invasion of Iraq.)  Despite all the controversy, she made a comeback in America beginning in the late 70s and continued to perform until her recent death.

I've enjoyed the opportunity to explore the history of this incredible woman.  I'm a fan.  Unfortunately it took her death to led me to learn more about Eartha Kitt.  I wish I'd discovered her music years ago.  There was much more to Earth Kitt than the 3rd season of Batman.  Find some of her recordings and enjoy!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

With a Roar!

Well, well, well...

I just got back from an amazing holiday retreat to Queen Elizabeth National Park in Western Uganda.  It was Am-maz-ing.  A big thank you to Rowena, her family, Olavi and the folks at Savannah Resort Hotel in Kayunga District.  It was such a wonderful Christmas holiday experience.  I finally made it to the national park after almost six years in Uganda.  I finally saw lions, elephants and hippos in the wild.  

The ride home from Mweya was almost as eventful as the formal game drive.  A buffalo jumped into the road in front of us on our journey home.  I braced myself for collision, convinced we were going to ram it.  Thanks to our skillful driver, Johnny, we literally only skimmed its tail.  We also saw ever-elusive hyenas and three male lions crossing the road.  An elephant in the middle of the road, surprised by our vehicle, unhappily rushed off the road.  The Isuzu Trooper we were travelling in chose that inopportune time to stall and the agitated elephant took the opportunity to trumpet and charge.  Our vehicle, fortunately, started again and we left the elephant chas

The following day, we found the three male lions from the night before lounging on a nearby bridge.

They were not bothered at all by all the vehicles that came with excited tourists taking photos.  We got some amazing close-up shots!

It was fabulous to spend the Christmas holiday with a wonderful family.  Being so far away from home during the holiday season is never easy, and it seems to get more difficult as the years pass by.  I've not been home for Christmas for eight years now.  I try to make it home once a year, usuall
y in the summer, but it's never the same as being home and with family during the festive season.  I am always very thankful to be invited to spend Christmas with beautiful people I meet along the way.  When you are so far away from home, your friends become your family.  In many circumstances, friendship is thicker than blood.

I made it home yesterday only to find that I'd left the key to my flat in the cottage I was staying in Kihihi, Kayunga.  Once again, I'm so thankful for friends.  In mean time, as I waited for a spare 
key to arrive, I was able to watch Miss Venezuela win the Miss Universe Pageant in Vietnam.

I am not in love with one particular person right not; I'm in love with many.  One of the people I am most in love with right now is Rowena.

Thanks so much for the fabulous time!!!  
It was like a honeymoon.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Street(side)s of Gold

Driving to Wewahitcka, Florida to have Sunday lunch with my brother, Larry, I passed by a scene that made me smile and feel happy for the day.  It reminded me of one afternoon in Boston when someone set up a bubble machine in a second-story window and filled the sidewalk on which I was walking with thousands of bubbles.  It's amazing how sometimes it doesn't take much to make one's day.  Sometimes, it's just planting your roadside field with peanuts that will bloom at the end of summer and will put a smile on the face of someone traveling to Wewahitchka, Florida to have lunch with his brother.

Doesn't it kind of remind you of the poppy field scene (although the flowers are not poppies nor are they red) from the Wizard of Oz?  Poppies will put them to sleep...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I was googling some random topic yesterday, actually I think I was trying to figure out how to convert dvds to a format I could put on my new iPod, and this is the picture I found on the Google search page—you know how they are quirky and like to decorate on special occasions.

Ok, maybe I’m reading too much into this and making a big deal of an insignificant situation (like the whole McDonald’s fiasco, which, by the way, is still on; they called me again today), but I cannot help but think they are implying that the young women who do rhythmic gymnastics are cows. Gymnastics is a brutal sport full of criticism and insecurities (Have you noticed all the girls crying after executing beautiful routines?). How are those already delicate artistic athletes going to take the awkward beast in a leotard?

On a sweeter note, it’s my mom’s husband’s birthday is today. The last time I went to visit my mother and attempted to enter their home, I was blocked in the laundry room by her man. Well, when my sister invited me to go over to visit my mother and her husband, I declined, not wanting any awkwardness. However, I am a giver, so I made him cupcakes. I love cupcakes, and I’ve not made them in a while. Plus, I thought it would be good practice for the Black Pussy.

I mixed different icing colors to create the final products, a blue and a neon orange. I think the color choice was perfect for chocolate cupcakes. However, I need to improve the icing flavor. For the average taster, the icing would be ok, but I’m very picky with flavors, and it didn’t satisfy me today.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

On the Green

The things that go through one’s head while he is riding public transportation + the things that go through his friend’s head while she is riding beside him during the evening transit from library to supermarket to house = Black Pussy, a children’s bookstore with a cupcake bakery attached. 

Just wait.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I’ve had a fantastic trip to Boston.  Since mid-July I’ve been out of Uganda and in the States visiting family and friends.  The first three weeks were spent in Florida:  enjoying the heat, visiting my family, catching up with old friends, eating too much mouth-watering Southern cookin’ and loving the beach.  Too much of a good thing!  I needed a holiday from my holiday, so on an impulsive Sunday evening, I booked a ticket to Boston. 

I’d not seen my friend Beth (BMac) since our Peace Corps days… 4 years ago!  She’s a librarian and she’s killed a goat with her bare hands, so yeah, she’s hardcore.  I <3 her, and we had an amazing 3 days together.  I’d never been to Boston before, and being the patriotic American that I am (and often accused of not being), I was excited to walk the Freedom Trail.  It’s amazing how many Starbuck’s Coffee shops there are along that red path. 

Other highlights of my holiday within a holiday included:

  • meeting Timothy Chlamydia Hatcher, my almost namesake;

  • seeing Mamma Mia with the person I’d most want to see it with in the whole-wide world;

  • and replacing my dead iBook (RIP) with a new MacBook, plus getting a free iPod Touch…  Yay teachers!

I was also introduced to the website:  go fug yourself (  It’s fabulously written by Alexis Carrington (aka Heather) and Brenda Walsh (aka Jessica). 


On the down side, Beth and I had burritos yesterday before going to see Mamma Mia at a place called Fajitas & ’Ritas.

The Margaritas were quite nice, but, come on, what kind of glass is this? 

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Extravagant Living

In case any of you were wondering, I have exactly 22 pairs of underwear. I didn’t know that until today when I had to wash every single pair. Yes, folks, the bottom drawer was completely empty… Well, it was empty last week, but instead of washing my delicates, I went out and bought some new ones. I almost did it again yesterday, but as I approached the store and thought about how extravagant (not to mention lazy) I was being, I forwent the boxer-briefs for airtime.

“You have enough underwear to last you two months?”


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Outta Focus

That’s what I am lately. So much is going on around, so random and disconnected, that I don’t have the chance to give anything the attention that it deserves. For this, I am so off-balance these days. Not just these days. It’s been going on for quite a while now.

Speaking of being outta focus, I bought a new pair of glasses last week. I really like them. They are sleeker than the last pair. Let’s see if they can draw the positive attention I’m needing from a special somebody… I’m afraid it might take more than a new pair of spectacles to make me the spectacle I’d like to be.

Maybe I should sit down and make a list.

I most relate to Sex & the City’s Miranda, and making a list at a time like this sounds like something that she’d do to try and sort herself out. By the way, I went to see the Sex & the City movie on Sunday evening with four utterly fabulous friends. So worth the 11k. I’ll probably end up in the cinema a second time for this one. However, I didn’t like the way it ended. I’m not that forgiving. Plus, I really wish we didn’t need someone else to make us complete.

…Back to the list. I need priorities. Walking aimlessly is tiresome and I never end up anywhere, not knowing if I’m making progress, regressing or just stuck in the same ol’ same ol’.

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cat:
That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
I don't much care where.
The Cat:
Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.
…so long as I get somewhere.
The Cat:
Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.

My friend Erin always made lists. I guess it helped her out. Me, I always lose my lists when I make them. However, last Friday, I made a very detailed list, and I ticked off each item as I made my trek all over town. Yes, I felt productive. It was kind of fun. I even made it to the gym! I need to get there more often. I was out a couple of weeks ago, and someone commented on the gut I’m forming. Not what I wanted to hear.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No Honeymoon

One of the luxuries of staying in a some-what nice hotel is MTV all night long to keep me company while I fail to sleep. Not owning a television=no music videos for me. Being a self-diagnosed tv addict I thought that cold-turkey was the best way to break the habit, so when as asshole lifted my set in February 2007, I decided to not replace it. I'm good... Thanks.

Ok, so I knew that Fall Out Boy were in Uganda several months ago because word got around that Ashlee Simpson was in Kampala with her boyfriend, Peter Wentz. Coincidentally, Natalie Portman was also in Uganda the same time doing something with some micro-finance something... Anyway, FOB were going to Gulu to film a music video. I finally saw that video today. It's a pretty little love story with a tragic ending. The children who play the two lead characters are beautiful.

The plot of the video was very innocent and sweet, if not quite unrealistic. Issue? Let me tell you a personal experience from my time working at a primary school in Hoima. I was in the headteacher's office at the school when several young girls rushed into his office. One of the girls was in tears and the others were outraged. The problem: a boy had written her a love letter. The result was the boy was chased away from the school and his parents were called in for a meeting. Serious stuff...

Ok, let me stop. The video did make me smile and miss being in Uganda.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Break the Ice
It's been a while.
I know I shouldn't have kept you waiting.
But I'm here now.

Quite a while has gone by.

Change of venue... I'm in Bangkok. I spent an amazing four days in Nairobi (aka: my new favorite city in the world) with some truly FABULOUS people and had the most fantastic Easter weekend of my life. THANKS GUYS!!!

Now I'm off to see Barbarah: Goddess of Gorgeous in Hanoi. I'm stopping over in Bangkok to wait on my visa.

Randomly, on this trip I've run into friends I'd not seen in a while: Nancy at the Nairobi airport and Sheila at a shopping mall in Nairobi.

Some random thoughts:

  • The beautiful people of Ethiopia do not hand out at the airport... Woof!
  • I never want to be burned alive.
  • Kidneys really don't taste that bad.