Monday, July 30, 2007

A phone conversation with Mom

Mom: Les, I need your help.

Me: What's up?

Mom: I think I discovered the source of my sleeping problems. I think I have so much trouble falling asleep because I'm afraid I'll have sad dreams.

Me: So how do you want me to help?

Mom: Well, I thought that if I could find a way to trick myself into thinking that I was already sad I would be able to fall asleep because I wouldn't be afraid of having sad dreams.

Me: So you want me to....?

Mom: Tell me the names of the most gut-wrenchingly sad movies you can think of and I'll watch one every night before I go to bed.


Folks, I am not making this up. I love my family.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A brief lesson in irony

My last week of freedom before starting a new job was dampered by the fact that my two months of unemployment have left me with no money. I've been spending my time reading which is very relaxing and something that I haven't done in a while but I have to say I am looking forward to tomorrow....and a pay check.

Once I get that pay check, though, I'm fairly certain that my feelings will change.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Road trip!

As of noon tomorrow, I will be well on my way to the city of cheese, dreams, and the Kohler museum of plumbing fixtures. You guessed correct my friends, I'M GOING TO SHEBOYGAN!

I'm meeting up with my family for a mini family reunion and driving my super cool aunt and uncle back to the cities with me to spend a few days before they fly home to Seattle.

While it's not the ideal location for a road trip (I would have much rather driven to the Grand Canyon, Seattle, or Boulder) it will still be a great way to spend a few days before I start my job on the 30th.

Try not to be too jealous of me while I bask in the glory of the famous bathrooms of the Kohler Museum.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I am now officially EMPLOYED! I start in two weeks which is great because my car is being dumb again and I've pretty much entered the Danger Zone of my bank account. Along with the offer, however, came news of a bunch of projects that have recently come up and, since I will be the only one with my job title in that department, I will immediately have a crapload of work on my plate.

So now, how do I spend my last two weeks of freedom?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Why do I suspect that's NOT powdered sugar on your nose?

Last night I was in a public restroom minding my own business in the stall when I hear a few soft snorting noises coming from the stall next to me. Immediately I was taken back to the summer I lived in London and smiled as I remembered my shock upon hearing those same noises for the first time in the bathrooms of the drug-infested dance clubs I went to occasionally. I suddenly heard some very loud, forceful snorts and then a nasty cough-sneeze and looked down in horror to see blood spattered all over the floor of my neighboring stall. Before I could make up my mind to yell out in disgust or peek under the stall wall to look for signs of an overdose I heard her toilet flush and saw her walk out of the stall as if nothing had happened. I looked at her in grotesque awe as she casually walked away from the blood-splattered floor and left the bathroom.

So remember kids: Be cool, stay in school. And don't do drugs. If you do, you'll wind up like some nasty woman sneezing blood all over the floor of a public restroom.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


So I now have two situations that will not get resolved until next week. One of which is utterly CONSUMING my mind. It has been ages since I have been consumed like this and it's starting to freak me out because it seems that it is completely out of my control. Every waking second is spent on plotting Scenario A or imagining Scenario B. I am also back to being a raging insomniac because I can't stop thinking about this stuff. I haven't fallen asleep before 3:30am since last Thursday. Even my dreams are being invaded by all of this. I'm starting to slowly unravel as the week crawls on and I won't find out about the job until Monday.

Needless to say, this week is interminable.

Monday, July 9, 2007

I think that I'd like to give out hugs for a that a career goal?

I had a job interview today. I've fallen in love with the position and if I don't get it I'm seriously going to be SOL because I haven't really been looking elsewhere for positions.

I think the interview went really well. We talked for an hour and a half, she told me how much she liked my skills and how everyone else really liked me as well. She took me out and introduced me to the people that I would be managing as "Heide's potential replacement".

And then she told me she has a bunch more interviews scheduled this week and that she'll let me know....

Cross your fingers....?

Saturday, July 7, 2007

This Pluto thing is seriously kicking my ass

True to Bev's words my biggest fears and insecurities are being presented to me at this very moment stinking and steaming on a plate. These mundane "tests" and "trials" blow which further proves how necessary they are for me to face.

Excuse me while I go throw up and cry.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

No, my jitters are not crack-induced thank you very much

It's been two months since I've had any caffeine and tonight I went to see the Doug Little Quartet at a coffee shop. One latte later I'm so jittery I'm finding it nearly impossible to control my hands and I can't focus my attention on anything for more than about five seconds. I'm trying to think of what I can do to burn through this caffeine buzz because I'm sure as hell not going to fall asleep any time soon. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Dead weight

After getting caught in a pretty severe thunderstorm en route, we ended up doing 2 days worth of canoing on the first day because we weren't sure if there were more storms predicted. Needless to say, I'm back a day early! I can't really move my arms, I don't have the strength to clench my fingers around objects, my butt is seriously bruised from sitting on an aluminum seat for 26 hours worth of canoing/camping, but it was a hella fun trip.

Happy 4th of July, everyone! I'm taking a nap.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Happy Fourth, yo

So after a string of notoriously bad 4th of July's (my cat dying, living out of a car, etc.) I'm actually facing a potentially good Independence Day this year. I'll be gone until Thursday; I'm taking a canoe trip for a few days. Aside from the severe storms they're predicting for tomorrow, I think this trip really has potential. Wish me luck and happy 4th of July to all y'alls!

Sunday, July 1, 2007


I had problems trying to create a nice, orderly photo show with explanatory text accompanying each photo so here's just a melange of photos from my trip. If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Clever titles don't do this post justice

Let me just start off by apologizing for taking so long to create this post. I’ve been going through a lot of things since I’ve been back--- one of which was being quite unmotivated to sit in front of a computer and put my thoughts into writing. I’ll try to focus a bit more on the ecological and cultural discoveries and insights that I made on the trip rather than the spiritual “stuff” that I experienced on the trip because I’m still struggling to put all that into words without making me sound crazy. Needless to say, I’m still mulling over a lot of the experiences that made the trip so life-changing for me.

Our first real destination was Iquitos, Peru which is the “jungle gateway/capital city” of Peru. We flew in early Tuesday morning with the intent to get us acclimated to the climate, get a few odds and ends for the jungle (rubber boots, etc), and to just absorb the culture a bit. Because it is surrounded by the jungle in three directions, the only way one can get to Iquitos is by plane or by boat. They just recently finished building a highway that leads out of Iquitos, but I believe it only goes to one other city. Because of that, few people in Iquitos have cars. The main mode of transportation is by using what they call Moto-taxis—little rickshaw/motor scooter taxi things. The streets were always congested with Moto-taxis zooming and weaving between each other, stray dogs, and other pedestrians. Looking down at the river, you could see the hundreds of people that lived in small, stilted shanty houses on the river bank as well as the boats bringing in all of the city’s produce and other goods to sell at the market. We had a lovely dinner and then prepared ourselves for our departure the next day into the jungle.

We were met the next morning by the shaman that we would be working with in the jungle as well as our naturalist/interpreter. We boarded a bus and got on the highway that led us out of Iquitos so that we could visit a nearby village to see the medicinal plant garden that the shaman had helped the villagers grow. In that village we got our first lesson about medicinal plants and their uses. We also were invited to visit the elementary school in the village where we were greeted by thirty or forty beaming eight-year-olds. It was priceless.

We continued on the bus and boarded a boat in Nauta and traveled for about an hour and a half into the depths of the jungle to the lodge.

Our time in the jungle was structured around the stifling heat and humidity (minimum 80% humidity in the jungle). We generally rose with the sun every morning and got ready to have breakfast at about 7:30 (being so close to the equator meant that 365 days a year the sun rises at 6am and sets at 6pm). We would then usually go for a hike or a boat ride right after breakfast so that we could be back to the lodge before it got too hot. We had lunch at the lodge and were generally free to swim/meditate/nap/play with monkeys until our late afternoon/evening hike or boat ride when it had cooled down a bit. On the hikes we would see how the medicinal plants we were learning about grew naturally, look for different animal species, and also just absorb the sights and sounds and smells of the jungle. The jungle shamans believe that the healing powers of the jungle come directly from the sights and the sounds and the smells and we took that seriously.

While in the jungle we also took part in 3 different healing ceremonies and had the option of having a private healing with the shaman. I participated in all four ceremonies and had a powerful, physical experience during each one. Going into this trip I was excited to learn about the healing practices of the shamans, but I guess I was a little na├»ve and didn’t anticipate actually feeling the effects of the jungle energy.

So now, after spending time in the Amazon jungle, I can say the following:

I saw a boa constrictor, 12 sloths, an anteater, Blue Morpho butterflies, and the smallest species of monkey in the world, a tarantula, the largest earthwork I have ever seen in my entire life, among hundreds of other things

I held a baby caiman

I swam with pink dolphins, piranhas, electric eels, and sting rays

I drank water from a vine in the middle of the jungle

I ate the best fish I have ever had in my life

I went piranha fishing and ate what we caught (though not related to above)

I hugged a shaman

I was totally blown away and have a lot to figure out now.