Saturday, March 22, 2008

Catching Up

So anyway it's Easter weekend here and todo esta cerrado. Nada esta abierto. Which means I can work, do laundry, go to the grocery store, watch TV or blog. I plan to do all of this between today and tomorrow but I thought I would start by blogging since I have done not too much of that lately. So this is a mish-mash.

On Flying

The flight between Atlanta and Santiago is between 9 1/2 and 10 1/2 hours depending on conditions and which way you are going. I fly coach because only recently has my company allowed for business class upgrade for flights over 4 hours but this flight both ways is always so packed in advance that I can't pursue that particular luxury. So I have learned to sleep (doze) on an airplane which I was never able to do even when I was flying business class between Chicago and Tokyo.
I love these flights tell the truth. When I fly into Atlanta from Santiago I land early morning and I am in my own home by 8 or 8:30 am. I like that. When I do the flight from Atlanta to Santiago it is magical. The flight lands in Santiago early morning and if I can snag a window seat I get to watch the sun rise over the west coast of South America.

Let me just repeat that for my own amusement. I get to watch the sun rise over the west coast of South America!

My Nana

A nana here is a maid. We have a nana in the office - Inez - and I've written about her before. She is full time and we can't drink a cup of coffee without her taking the cup away and bring a fresh cup of coffee in a clean cup. Just let someone go pee and wash their hands and she is in the bathroom scrubbing. My nana here in the apartment takes care of me the same way but she obviously doesn't approve of how I have my apartment arranged so every day I come home and she has put things where she believes they ought to be and every night I put them back where I want them. It has become a little ritual that makes me smile. I clean up after myself completely just like at home and really the only thing I do not do is make my bed. At home I make my bed every day but here with a nana that is the luxury I allow myself. I wash the dishes, I make sure the bathroom is clean, I make sure I have picked up after myself and all she has to do is come in and make the bed and leave a fresh towel but still she vacuums and mops and dusts and I think I am now so spoiled. On the few occasions when I have actually been here my nana rings the doorbell and I answer the door and she says "Permisso?" and I'm like permisso my ass - you just come on in because you are the greatest woman in the entire world!

My Neighborhood

My neighborhood is called Las Condes and is (I think) between Vitacura and Providencia if you care to find a better map that I have been able to find. I'm a stone's throw from the US Embassy so just in case there is a coup I can make a run for it. It is a great neighborhood and I love it. I've worked most every weekend and have not gotten out at all to see anything in Santiago which I just hate. I thought this weekend I would get out and about and maybe even rent a car and drive to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar but yesterday I realized that everything is closed which I guess is to be expected when you live in a country that is 99.9% Catholic and it's Easter weekend. But yesterday I went for a walk up the street to Plaza Peru, a small urban park. I first saw it by accident and this time I went back on purpose. Mainly because there is an aviary there with beautiful birds.

When I was in grad school and my parents refused to give Frank, my cat, back to me I was starved for pet companionship and I bought a hand fed baby cockatiel. I named him Beau. Beau was a character and had free run of the apartment. This will gross out some of you but Beau loved to eat from my mouth. In fact he insisted on it. He loved pre-chewed saltines. As a grad student I lived mostly on soup and his favorite was cream of mushroom and he would sit on the edge of the soup bowl and pick out the mushrooms and chew them and get mushroom gook all over his face and then I would have to wash his little bird face. For anyone who thinks that is dirty and filthy I would like to point out that almost 20 years later I am still alive and entirely disease free. Birds have such excellent personalities. Beau was a natural student and I taught him to do the "phweet phwoo" whistle. I bought a long bird ladder so he could climb up in front of a mirror and he delighted in spending hours standing in front of the mirror and looking at himself and whistling at himself. Alas he was a boy bird and you know how boys are. One spring morning he was out in the apartment and I left for work and when I got home he had chewed his way out of a window screen in search of a love I was not able to give him. Story of my fucking life. I will never forget that bird.

Needle Decisions

In response to a recent comment by Harvey (who I am sure is still living with remnants of Dylan's fur all over his weird little guitar thingy case which Dylan insisted on sleeping on for a week last June). No I did not get the tattoo. This is only because Sam forgot that the plan was to get me a tattoo and I was not going without him because I don't speak the language and he does and if something permanent is going on my body I want to make sure my wishes are very fucking clear. So what I decided on when I got back to Atlanta was botox. Y'all, I like most of my lines, especially the eye crinkle laugh lines. They are hereditary and I've earned them and I like them because when I look in the mirror I see my Dad and my Grandaddy. But I have always since my 20s had this vertical furrow between my brows that small animals could fall into and never be seen again. It was something that always made me look angry but was a result of me furrowing my brow when I was concentrating. Which I have had to do a lot because I am blonde and was required in high school to take subjects like math and goemetry and biology. Also about age 28 I started having to learn how to use a computer. It started to bother me in my 30s which means it has been maybe 10 or 15 years that I have wanted it gone and have been considering botox. Not a rash decision here. So I finally did it and I am amazed. As long as I was there getting needles stuck in my face I decided to have the whole forehead done and I can't even tell you the difference. I can still make expressions and it isn't like my face is dead of expression but those lines that I really hated are mostly all gone now.

Look between my eyebrows folks! Do you see a huge deep line? I THINK NOT!!! Those who don't know me won't be impressed but I am betting my mother will be amazed. Even Sam, who is a guy even though he drinks an occasional cosmopolitan and probably wears pink boxers, knew I was going to do it and about 10 days after we were sitting at dinner and he said "Wow! It really is a difference."

For those who don't believe in cosmetic procedures just chill out. I don't either. I am happy with who I am and only every now and then do I wish to be 20 again and married to a very old, very wealthy, very terminally ill man so I'm not seeking that. But I do want to appear on the outside the way I feel on the inside and these few very bad lines made me look like I am an angry person. Granted I was an angry person by definition for several years but I'm not anymore and it really bothered me that even when I was smiling I looked like I was angry. And since there is a totally painless brief injection that can make that go away for a few months I see no reason not to do it. I only hope I can find a way to keep doing it until my tits droop so far south it isn't worth it any more.

In which case I hope the tattoo I WILL eventually get draws focus.

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