Saturday, July 25, 2009

Where are my neighbors?

Busy, busy, busy! Big project at work -- so I'm going to have to work all weekend. Send any positive thoughts you have, so it goes well! It's all right, I believe all of the i's have been dotted and t's have been crossed; we've done all of the appropriate homework and everything should run smoothly. Having said that, one never knows. :-)

Taking on the management of another division has provided me the opportunity to see this project through, though I didn't get to pick the third-party consultant who is responsible for the real work. They do seem to be good, I've been pleased so far with their progress. It would have been nice to be the one to choose who would do the project. Que sara, sara. Or is it Que cera, cera? If I had the time this morning, I'd go check!

I love the internet, it has so much information. I'm the person who sits next to you at work who, when a question comes up that no one really is certain about the answer, my favorite thing is to be able to enter the appropriate Google search string and give you the answer as quickly as possible. Not that I do it very often, I don't, but I love that it's all available to us. And, though for most people this is a negative, I also love that it's up to each person to find the right answer, that not all of the answers are right, that you have to use your head to make certain you go the right direction and follow the right trail of breadcrumbs.

My husband will pose random thoughts just to see if he can bait me to hit the internet and give him the info he's seeking. He doesn't really need to know, he just likes to see me get excited when I can find it in less than 10 seconds. It's something that I really love about him.

It's only a matter of time before someone coins a phrase for this disease, if they haven't already! See, now I really am feeling the need to go out and see if there is a "moniker" for those of us who are continual researchers of the digital variety. But not this morning! Got to get to work!

Well, if anyone knows, maybe you can look for me? I know you guys are out there on the internet, too, and you're obviously kind of addicted -- isn't that why we're here? Or is it that we're here because we're trying to connect to other people in the new online era that has replaced people talking to each other over the back fence? Where we used to feel comfortable knocking on our neighbor's door and stopping in for a cup of coffee, now we rely on our laptop to connect us to friends, online neighbors, and others with interests like ours. Is there harm in it?

Seriously, while I do believe that it's good to be able to connect to people like me, there was a special talent or learned ability to get along and be friends with your physical neighbors that I believe we've lost as a people. When our neighbors all the way down the street and back up the other side were the people we related to, we made it a goal to get along with them. Now I don't even know their names. I have never borrowed a cup of sugar from any of them. I don't know whether they have children.

When we parked our motorhome in front of our house for a day to get ready for a trip, though it is legal to do that for three days, a neighbor of ours -- and we don't know who -- took the time to type up a letter to each of our neighbors complaining that we were blocking the view at his intersection. The only reason we knew that this was true was because he also posted it on the window of the RV.

What has happened to being nice? Why do we have to antagonize? People are going out of their way to pick fights, to make a point, to create an issue.

After we received the lovely letter, we packed as quickly as we could and moved the vehicle, but seriously, it was very inconvenient for us. Not that anyone cared. The blocking of the view, really, wasn't that bad. I checked. It's like this person just needed something to complain about. Or were they really just reaching out to make contact?

We may never know. I will go to work today, spend all day there, and go back tomorrow. When I come home tonight, and tomorrow night and the day after, I will come into my home and spend the evening with my family -- and my computer. I won't go next door, I won't borrow sugar, I won't learn their names, and they won't do the same for me. Where, after all, has the "neighborhood" really gone?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Some photos from my trip...

Zebras abound... This is a photo of a Grevy's zebra.
Native to Kenya, they are more delicate with skinnier stripes than their cousin.

A view from our tent in Samburu, looking towards the "Brown River" or, in Swahili, Uaso Nyiro.My favorite, the giraffes. A learning opportunity for me, I never realized before just how beautiful they are. This photo is also from Kenya, showing the reticulated giraffe, which is one of Kenya's "Big 5."

Around the world...

I know I haven't mentioned it, but the photos of the sunsets you see on my page are from my trip last year to Africa. Having never ventured outside of the U.S., except a few times to nearby Canada (Victoria, Abbottsford, Vancouver) and once to Tijuana (:), my trip last year was a milestone -- and in more than just a leap of continents! I had a pretty big birthday and was able to visit Africa during my 50th year and actually during my birthday month.

I'm going to have to put up some of my photos from the trip, as photography is kind of a hobby for me. It helps define me, though I'm not really good at it. I'm good enough to recognize great photography -- and good enough to know that mine isn't. :-) But it still satisfies something in me that struggles toward creativity, even in the safe vein of digital camera technology.

Traveling to Africa was a trip of a lifetime -- I'm not extraordinarily wealthy and won't be able to make a trip like this again for quite some time, if ever. I'm so glad I did it, and I'm grateful to my husband for supporting my want to go. A lucky person, I was able to go with a couple of friends who have extensively traveled, so safety was on my side. I would never have gone alone! Though as part of the bulk of our trip, we did have a woman join us who was traveling alone. It's something she does often. Not only does it really not appeal to me because of the safety factor, I just enjoy so much experiencing everything with people I care about. And afterwards we can still remember together the times we had -- and the interesting and beautiful joys along the way. Reliving the trip once in a while via conversation just adds to the wonderful experience.

I'm a big animal lover who grew up in the country. I've camped extensively. Being in Africa was very much like being snapped up from a tent in a campground in the Cascades and plopped down into a tent on the other side of the earth -- definite changes in climate, view, animals, people, language, culture, but still people just making their way in the world, still dirt, trees, insects, animals, vegetation; and friendliness.

We had wonderful guides -- except for one gentleman who guided us through much of Tanzania, through the Ngorongoro Crater, Oldupai Gorge and into the Serengeti. He was pleasant, helpful, extremely knowledgeable, but his driving nearly drove me to the edge. Literally. He was the one who, two days in a row, took us into the crater where the drop in is about 2000 feet. It's like standing on the edge of an ocean trying to see the marine life, then 30 minutes later, being down at the bottom of it. The cliffs are crazy, the road is a single dirt lane, rocky beyond belief, and traction isn't always the best. Suffice it to say, he drove too fast for me! It probably didn't help matters that I have a real fear of heights... ;-)

Perhaps a discussion of Africa for the next few posts would be in order...