Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blue, Green and Silver Style

Here are some of my latest creations...

The bracelets are done with carved jade beads and old African glass beads with sterling silver accents.

The necklace is one of my favorite designs that happened totally by accident when I looped a long chain with beads twice around my neck and loved the result. It is done in silver with foil-lined glass beads. The necklace and the matching earrings (not pictured) were purchased by Lacithecat, one of my lovely girlfriends here in Maputo, and will make a great christmas gift for someone.

This is so much fun!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Oh. This Again.

Today I feel like crap. C-R-A-P. I'm trying to maintain a positive attitude about my health because I believe there is a strong mind-body connection that directly affects my allergies. Apparently in my case the allergies are caused by emotions and stress, so it's even more important for me to keep a healthy mindset and believe that I have the power to help myself heal. I meditate, I do breathing exercises, I'm trying to sort out the emotional stuff that may be the root cause of the allergies, I take my herbal remedies and vitamins, I've tried conventional treatments...and yet, here I am, still suffering from these mysterious attacks. Today I don't feel very positive. I just feel sniffy, sneezy, exhausted and like my temples are in a vice.

I tried to cheer myself up by taking a trip to the fancy-schmancy expat grocery store this afternoon. I spent more on 5 or 6 items than I do in an entire week's worth of normal shopping at the Indian grocery on the corner. A little splurge was worth it, though. So what did I indulge in? Well, all the things that I crave and can't usually find anywhere except specialty shops. I bought celery, broccoli, a big crate of nectarines that are perfectly ripe and I intend to eat until I'm sick of them, then freeze the rest, a mint-toffee chocolate bar and some canned gourmet cat food.

The boys and I all enjoyed the treat, and most of the evening was spent munching on something or other and cuddling. I also watched some really trashy tv. "The Simple Life" is being shown here in Mozambique and I am thoroughly embarrassed by everything that program peddles as entertainment and cultural values.

Friday, November 24, 2006


It's pitch black outside and yet the birds are already chirping. In less than half an hour the sun will be rising over the Indian Ocean, streaming in my bedroom window through my makeshift curtains that leave much to be desired in the light-blocking department.

I've just arrived home after a night out with Jenny. We started at Ti'Palino for a picanha dinner sponsored by the brasilian owner of the restaurant, followed by a night of live music and dancing at a place called Bar Africa. The music was truly amazing, and for the first time since I've been in Mozambique I really danced my bones.

The band featured this evening was Mabulu, a multi-generational group project that brings together musicians of traditional marrabenta style and hip-hop, among other styles. The first time I heard Mabulu was actually on a cd I purchased on a whim while visiting the Oakland Museum of Art several years ago with my mom and her husband. The cd is a compilation by Putamayo called "An Afro-Portuguese Odyssey" and is one of my all-time favorites. I listened to it nonstop, especially one track by this group Mabulu. At the time I never dreamed that I'd one day be living here.

We ran into a few odd characters throughout the evening - highlights being the brasilian girl who proudly announced to our table over dinner that her boyfriend was also her cousin (!), and some old Mozambican man that approached us at Africa Bar and really seemed intent on picking a fight with me and Jenny. He was so rude, so offensive, so unquestionably overstepping boundaries that Jenny eventually told him off in great style, polite yet quite firm. It was one of those sweet moments where I just wanted to yell, "Yeah! That's right!" as the man sulked off after 2 little white girls put up some limits.

It was definitely a great night, despite the negative energy from this man. Nothing like some good music and good dancing to ward it off.

I called my dad on skype once I got home. He and his side of the fam were celebrating Thanksgiving this afternoon. My celebration here yesterday consisted of homemade carne adovada and flour tortillas. Seriously yum. I think I ate at least a pound of pork and chile by myself!

I've just heard a rooster crow over the songs of the birds. This is my clue that it is well, well past my bedtime. From what is possibly my latest non-proposal-writing night awake in Mozambique, I wish you sweet dreams.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Jewelry Fever Continues

I am so lucky - not only do I know what I am passionate about in life, I've also been able to make a fair living at it thus far. It seems that jewelry is all I think about these days. Before I go to bed, while I watch tv, when walking down the street...I'm constantly seeing new designs in my head and thinking of new ways to incorporate inspirations from my daily life.

Being in Mozambique has been a blessing for my nascent career as a jewelry designer. First, I am the only person in Maputo if not in the entire country that makes and sells jewelry made with silver, semi-precious stones, pearls and handmade glass beads (made by me!). I have a guaranteed market, which is great luck.

The other way in which being here has been a blessing is much more subtle. I don't have access to any high-quality supplies, and am only able to work with what I already have in stock or the few things I'm able to bring back from trips to the US or Brasil. This really has pushed me on the creative front. I have used beads and wire in ways I never would have imagined, finding ways to use every last treasure in the tackle boxes I use to store my supplies.

Now that my creativity has been challenged (and I feel I've risen to the occasion), I can't wait to get back to the US or somewhere where I have proper access to materials so that I can actually execute the design ideas that are in my mind. Here I do my best to approximate, but I'm still not able to pull off everything that I envision. This is frustrating, but it keeps me on my toes.

Here are a few of my latest creations:

Handmade wire-wrapped circles with dangles of silver beads and freshwater pearls.

Necklace detail.

Earring detail.

Lapis lazuli, turquoise, freshwater pearl and silver beads form a v-shaped pattern on this necklace.

Detail of the matching dangle earrings.

Lapis, turquoise, pearl and silver set.

Foil-lined glass pendant with sandalwood beads and blue glass crystals.

Mix of lapis lazuli, jade, obsidian, amethyst and howlite beads with quartz crystal pendant.

Mix of amythest, rose quartz, jasper and jade beads with carved carnelian accent.

No Snip for the Boys

I made a tough decision this morning. I decided not to take the boys to get neutered. Not because they don't need to be fixed - it's overdue and certainly must be done at some point - but because I gave *my* health first priority.

I've had one of the worst weeks ever in terms of my allergies. Part of me thinks this is a good thing, as does my doctor at the clinic, because it possibly signals a "healing crisis". This means that my body is finally reacting to stress and allergens when they occur instead of bottling up the reaction much like people do with emotions they don't express. At some point, there is a crisis. And the more you push things inside, the worse (although less-frequent) the crises tend to be. The doctor at the clinic said that my allergies are so bad that my body is not capable of reactions at this point, so there is the possibility that the string of attacks I've experienced this week is actually a good sign. I'll admit, they have been progressively less intense...

Anyhow, back to the boys. I decided not to get them fixed because the prospect of going to the vet by myself, leaving them there all day, then having to deal with the post-op really has me stressed. Super stressed. I know getting cats neutered is relatively speaking no big deal, but it's taking a toll on me and I'd prefer to wait until Ricardo is back to give me some emotional support at the vet's and afterward.

I realize this means I may have to deal with more, um, incidents in the bed, but the relief I felt this morning when I decided to cancel the appointment at the vet's was worth it. I may have avoided another allergy attack in the process, because I already could feel it building up when I woke up, and now my pre-crisis symptoms seem to have subsided.

Hopefully foregoing the snip today won't mean that I have to deal with even more stress in the next month because of the boy's raging hormones. I'd like to think I made the right decision...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Wavy Hair and Fatty Lip

Responding to the curious requests of the readers of this blog, here is what my self-inflicted haircut looks like:

I did it with a shag cut in mind that would bring out the waves in my hair. I knew I'd never be able to do a clean-lined bob, so I just went for a modern look inspired by a razor cut I once had.

Yes, I realize that it does look a bit as if I took kitchen scissors to my hair, but I'm strangely (and thankfully) pleased with the results.

So since I'm showing off my hair, I'd like to share a little something else...


For the second time in a month, I've woken up with a grossly swollen lip.

Okay, so the lip in and of itself is pretty bad, but the fact that this photo was taken at 5:30am after a night of little sleep and much annoyance (see PS at end of post) doesn't really help. Not such a great look, I know, but I felt compelled to share this freaky lip thing and there's nothing like a photo to do its bizzareness justice.

The first time it happened was the night of the dinner party I had here with the girls. The morning after I woke up and the left side of my bottom lip looked as if someone had inflated it with an air pump. I could barely close my mouth properly because that part of my lip was so heavy it tended to droop. I looked as if I'd been punched in the face, and mercifully had no appointments that day and could hide out until the swelling subsided 12 hours later.

This time I woke up with my top lip swollen symmetrically around the cupid's bow. I looked like one of those women who goes a little over the top with the collagen injections and ends up with a super trout pout. My upper lip was so swollen I could barely drink my tea without drooling. It even got a bit tender as the skin was stretched that much. It's finally gone down a bit after about 12 hours, but not before driving home the affirmation that I will never get lip injections!

I have no idea what is causing this reaction. My lip doesn't hurt (other than the skin being tender where it is overly puffed up), there is no itching, no rash and no sign of a bite, be it from an insect or self-inflicted. I haven't eaten anything particularly suspect in the days before these occurrences. The first time I had a dinner of salads, rice, some cake and a bit of wine. Yesterday for a late lunch/dinner I ate clams (which I do all the time here with no problem), some ice cream, fruit salad and juice.

I'm taking herbal remedies for my respiratory allergies, which I considered as the culprit, but then remembered that when I had the first swelling episode I wasn't taking any medications or supplements whatsoever.

Any ideas on what this is??

In other news, it's mango and litchi season here in Mozambique. The mangoes will be here for several months, plentiful to the point that I will surely be sick of them come February. Litchis, however, are a different story. I'll be lucky if I can find them for another 3 weeks before the season is over and I must wait another year for this treat.

PS - Not only did I wake up with a fat lip, Pria pissed on the bed with me still in it. It was definitely a revenge piss, a clear message that she wasn't happy with me. Starting around 4am, Pria started to tear up my room - first a box of kleenex, then she knocked over my glass of water, then the cats managed to open my closet door and start climbing on and knocking down my clothes. After each offense, I'd remove whatever the "toy" was or shut the closet door, then try and go back to sleep. The boys weren't happy they were being restricted, and Pria let fly.

I'm taking the boys to get the big snip on Thursday...I'm already starting to stress! I hate taking animals to the vet!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Hero

I want to be the kind of woman, wife and mother that inspires her children to one day say, "My hero is my momma."

I can certainly say that about mine.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I cut my hair today. As in by myself. With the kitchen scissors. It actually looks pretty good!

Chalk another one up to the list of ways I know that Africa has forever changed me...

The Other Side

In the past 3 weeks I've enjoyed more of a social life than in the entire year and a half that I've lived in Mozambique. Seriously, there is nothing like a good group of girlfriends, even if some of them are only here temporarily and I invariably face having to say goodbye in a short few weeks.

This evening Jenny, Lacithecat and I went out for dinner and cocktails at Las Brasas, a really nice place that is, in my opinion, by far the best restaurant in Maputo. The restaurant has a bar attached, which is where we opted to spend the evening sitting in the loft above the main space, lounging in comfy sofas, sipping caipirinhas and wine and enjoying each other's company in one of the few places in town that plays music at an appropriate volume for conversation.

The highlight of the evening, apart from just being able to hang out with cool girls, was the food itself. We all ordered the same dish - Espetada de Mariscos - which is quite literal to its name and consists of king prawns, squid and fish skewered on an enormous sword, doused in lemon and salt, then grilled to perfection. The presentation of the meal is the best part. Not only do they use this fantastic skewer for cooking the seafood, they bring it all the way to your table. The girls got quiet a kick out of being served such a fine meal suspended on a vertical sword that looks as if it should be the weapon of choice for the heroine in Quentin Tarantino's next film.

It was all delicious, and it is nights like this that I am reminded of the things in Mozambique that are really wonderful. Cheap first-rate seafood, interesting people from all reaches of the world, and a development environment that challenges even the most jaded person to do some serious soul searching and question his or her role in it all.

These past few days have been intense. I've had a total of 2 crises in as many days, the kind of breakdowns where I sat on the floor sobbing unintelligebly holding Pria and Parceiro in my lap while Rico patiently listened on the other end of our Skype connection. The crises revolved around the following:

1. My health. I've been suffering from mysterious and debilitating allergy attacks for the last year and a half. Losing one day of each week to ill health is taking its toll on my quality of life, and I finally decided I must listen to what my body is telling me and take care of this imbalance. I went to a really cool alternative medicine clinic here in Maputo, and the doctor confirmed what I've suspected all along. My allergies are a physical manifestation of an emotional block from my past. Basically, to get well I must treat the physical symptoms, but more importantly the root cause of my distress. This will require some painful work on my part. I think I'm finally ready, but I've also had a gimpse of what awaits me. It's not pretty, but I am going to take it all on in the name of my physical and emotional health.

2. Procrastination. I've hit a major wall with NaNoWriMo. Not just writer's block, I haven't even been able to open the document for the past week. Writing just a few words of the story seems beyond any capabilities I have at this point. People keep asking how the book's coming along and, well, it's not. I had a breakthrough the other night while thinking about why it's so hard for me to write something that is supposedly enjoyable and of my own volition.

I had somewhat of an epiphany when I realized that by procrastinating, not being able to follow through on things that are important to me despite my best efforts, I am blocking myself from doing something truly brilliant with my life. It's kind of hard to explain.

I've always been blessed with the natural intelligence to put in relatively little effort and always come out with the best grade in the class, the proposal that gets funded, the most praised project, the highest honors. When I was in college, I'd fuck around for most of the semester and put off studying until the night before an exam, sometimes until the very morning I was supposed to take a test. I'd then buckle down, read the entire textbook, retain the information and write about it in a coherent enough way that not only would I pass the class, I'd get the highest grade of all my peers. I never put in the effort I witnessed in some of my classmates, the dilligent studying for an hour a day, day after day. I never was able to do that, nor did I need to. I would always pull through at the last minute and somehow manage to shine. Not only did this get me a 4.0 in college, it instilled in me the belief that behind the good grades and academic honors I was a fraud. I held my breath waiting to be found out.

This patter continued in my professional life. I'd put off working on a grant until the week before the deadline, despite the fact that I'd many times have months to prepare my proposal. When the pressure finally became too much, I'd hunker down and write furiously, designing program outcomes and writing convincing arguments for funding. The first grant application I ever wrote I managed to get 1.5 million dollars for the organzation I was working for at the time. I couldn't belive it. If only the funding organization or my bosses saw the bullshit that I knew was behind my smooth words. I felt as if I was constantly walking on eggshells and putting on a front, desperately wanting everyone to believe that I was a smooth professional when behind it all lay the truth - I was an illusionist, using lingustical smoke and mirrors to conceal the fact that I didn't *really* know the first thing about what I was doing. I've always known how to talk a strikingly convincing talk.

My whole life I've been able to get away with minimum effort, relatively speaking, with maximum results. In terms of efficiency it's great, but it comes with a terrible sense of guilt and impending doom. It also makes me feel like nobody understands me. Anytime I want to complain about how lazy I am, how I only dedicate a little part of myself to my work, how what I do doesn't even come close to what I know my personal capabilities are, the response I get from most people is that I am insane and that I should stop fishing for compliments. I mean, what on earth is the girl that gets all A's and had an admirable fundraising track record doing complaining about not being good enough?? After a while I learned to keep my mouth shut, lest I alienate all of my hard-working friends...

Last night it hit me - I procrastinate and don't put my best effort into so many things that are important to me: Nia, keeping in touch with friends and family, inumerous projects that have been abandoned midway, and most recently NaNoWriMo. The difference from my procrastination and half-assed yet stellar resulting efforts in school and work is that I don't have to answer to anyone for these personal pursuits. They are entirely mine. Mine to pursue, mine to accomplish, mine to judge. Or not. I don't have anything to prove, there are no merit marks or million dollar grants to be won. The only prize in the end is the journey itself, which may or may not result in a feeling of self-fulfillment at the end. The more I put things off and refrain from giving it my all, the more I keep myself from accomplishing something truly brilliant - by my own standards. I've said it before - I am ultimately the cause and the solution to all of the shortcomings I perceive in my life. Having this truly sink in is a stinging slap in the face.

NaNoWriMo is still unopened, but at least I feel better about it. I managed to write on the blog today, which is a big accomplishment, especially considering the subject matter. Now I'm trying to find the balance that feels right to me between respecting my natural work rhythm (erratic is an understatement) and making myself be dilligent and not procrastinate to the point that I feel it keeps me from fully realizing my dreams.

3) The final motive for my recent crises is uncertainty regarding my professional life, but this is old news. I am an artist at heart who unfortunately (or fortunately) discovered at an early age that she had a real knack for business. Now the challenge is how to find balance, that damn elusive state of being. It's not exactly straightforward, and the uncertainty regarding the details is quite overwhelming at times.

In the end I'm grateful that I finally broke down and let it all out. I feel immensely better today, with a renewed positive outlook on life and a slightly clearer vision for where my next steps must be to reach my goals.

Sometimes a good cry does wonders for the soul...then again, so do girlfriends, kittens, a loving family and an infinitely patient boyfriend!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: "Don't Want to Be a Passenger..."

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is the following quote:

"I don't want to be a passenger in my own life." (Diane Ackerman)

My initial response to this is to write some profound thing about not wanting to sit passively as my life passes me by. The word 'passenger' in this context immediately makes me think of a lack of control, motivation, willpower, or even desire to be involved in determining the path one's life will take.

But then I think a bit more and realize that actually, I think being a passenger in my own life is pretty cool. I often feel like my life is a movie and I am somehow floating over the whole scene watching it unfold. It's almost like an out-of-body experience. This happens in situations where I feel pain, where I am intimidated by something or someone, where I am taking a risk, or where I am just plain overjoyed and can't believe this is all happening to me.

I remember during a particuarly terrible breakup, being able to step back from my ex-boyfriend's yelling and accusations as we walked down the street and become a "passenger" in my life. I started to see the whole thing in third person. I watched myself crying, shoulders hunched, and visualized a stream of light coming down from the heavens to shine on me. It was like a spotlight from God, comforting me and letting me know that it would all pass soon. If I hadn't been a passenger at that moment, I would have let my ego engage in a situation full of rage and pain. By taking a step back, I became strangely objective in the midst of the storm.

Every time I go do a presentation for work, I also feel like a passenger. Instead of being in the moment and giving into my fears that I am a fraud, a bullshitter, a little girl trying to pass herself off as a consultant that has something useful to say, I imagine that I am the star of a movie about some competent professional woman. I watch myself go through the motions, fielding questions, presenting facts. I am able to give these stellar presentations and it doesn't even feel like I am the one making it all happen.

Even in very happy times I find myself playing the observer. Incredible things are happening in my life right now, and it feels quite literally like I am playing out a script of some movie where the happy ending is just about to be unfolded. I can't belive this is really my life. I sit and watch it all come together and can't help but smile.

In this sense I like being a passenger, being able to disengage and watch my life go by with me as the protagonist, as if I were watching rolling hills and miles of citrus fields outside the window of a long-distance bus. I like giving myself the permission to not get caught up in certain situations, to just observe without judgment and let it all pass...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Meme to the Rescue

It's all I can manage tonight, between 2 projects I must work on and my NaNoWriMo manuscript-in-the-making that desperately needs attending to (word count much lower that it should be, statistically speaking)...

Meme swiped from the lovely Paris Parfait.

a) Four jobs I have had in my life:
Director of an HIV/AIDS Prevention Program
Waitress (after I'd finished my MBA, interestingly enough)
Marketing Associate
ESL Teacher (surprise, surprise for an expat to have been an English teacher at some point)

b) Four movies I would watch over and over again:
The Motorcycle Diaries
The English Patient
Say Anything
The Constant Gardener

c) Four places I have lived:
Austin, Texas
Rio de Janeiro
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Chimoio, Mozambique

d) Four TV shows I like to watch:
Venus and Apollo
Antiques Roadshow

e) Four places I have visited:

f) Four websites I visit daily: (sorry, not plugging blogs tonight...)
Perez Hilton (I've become addicted to gossip since moving to Africa.)
Go Fug Yourself
All Africa Mozambique
O Globo (news from Brasil)

g) Four places I would like to be right now:
The house of either of my parents (New Mexico or California)
The Casa Rosa, where Rico currently is staying (Rio de Janeiro)
Seba Camp on safari in Botswana
On the beach collecting seashells

h) Four of my favorite foods:
Green chile chicken enchiladas

i) Four bloggers I'd like to respond:
Self select, my friends. I'd love to hear from all of you.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Girl's Night!

On Friday evening I organized a dinner party, my first time hosting any type of social function in our flat here in Maputo. Prior to Friday, I'd been unwilling to have people over because for quite some time I was embarrassed about the condition of our flat (i.e. no furniture and a generally unkempt, non-homey aspect). I also didn't have any friends to invite over for a cocktail or a meal.

In several short months, much has changed. While still simple, the flat is much more welcoming and feels increasingly like a home. The terracotta accent wall Rico and I painted really does so much for the whole feel of the flat. Also, I've managed to find a lovely group of girlfriends to hang out with. Two of them I already knew were coming - L. from Belgium who moved here together with her boyfriend, and J. who was born and raised in Brasil but from an Armenian family - as they'd found me on the blog and we'd been exchanging e-mails for several months. The other two girls are short-term consultants with TechnoServe, a local nonprofit business development firm, and are American. Interestingly enough they also found me through the blog! Unfortuantely the TechnoServe girls leave in December, while L. and J. are here for the long haul just like me.

I invited everyone over for a dinner party, a small gathering for the people that have a connection to my blog. It was such a lovely evening. I made all sorts of salads as the weather has been unmercifully hot and humid lately. We had wine, and J. brought 2 cakes that the cats managed to get into and knock off the counter while we were having the main course. We managed to save the dessert, though, and enjoyed it even though the frosting was totally smushed.

A funny part of the evening came after dinner when the subject of this post came up. Of course, since all the girls found me through the blog, they'd read this appetizing description of what I permit in my kitchen. I assured them all that my standards for what I eat and for what I serve others are radically different. I'd never dream of putting out fruit or any other food item that had been even potentially contaminated.

It was a great evening, and I look forward to hanging out with these girls many times in the coming months. I realized once everyone had gone home around 1am that I'd neglected to take any pictures. That's okay. I hope this becomes a regular event in our lives, where I can take photos any time I please.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Morning

Every morning I wake up and tell myself that it's a new day, that I can start fresh and not be condemned to making the same mistakes as the day before. Every morning I wake up and believe, even if it's just for 5 minutes as I stretch in bed and hit snooze on my alarm, that things can be different.

Sometimes I'm right and the day gets off to a good start. I have tea, meditate, eat a healthy breakfast and accomplish a nice list of things at work. I make some jewelry, play with the cats and write for the blog or for my budding novel.

Other days it's not so good. Within minutes of getting out of bed I'm off and running down a comfortable but terribly unhealthy path. I'll eat an entire pack of sugar wafers for breakfast, have a glass of wine before noon, procrastinate on my work obligations and surf the internet in my pajamas.

The hardest part of these days is that they almost always revolve around overeating. It's like once I make the first wrong move - sugar, fat and alcohol in whatever combination and in excessive quantities - my day is blown to shit. I can't seem to stop at one cookie or one piece of cheese, I end up eating the entire package in an attempt to make myself numb. I'll lament all day about how fat I am, about all the willpower I lack, about how shameful my behavior is. I feel alone and desperate, like I did so many nights in college back when bulimia had me caught up in her tight little grip.

Things are better now - I no longer purge - but the binges are still there when I get stressed or when I manage to fall off track due to a holiday or a big night out. Despite the fact that I am in recovery from my eating disorder, the pain is still the same. All the underlying feelings are still there, and I am humbled when I realize that they may not ever go away. It's the way that I deal with them that changes, to what degree I give into my negative impulses and let my inner critic get the best of me. Every night after a bad day it still hurts to the bone. I still want to cry, still desperately hope for someone to swoop down and hold me until all the pain passes.

I know now that every minute I wait for some magical figure to fix my problems is a minute waisted. I am the answer. I must be the one to speak the kind words I long to hear and pick myself up the floor for a hug and some loving when things get tough. For the most part, I've gotten much better at this. But some days, when I am feeling particularly depressed and isolated, all I can manage to do is get into bed and hope that sleep comes quickly. The morning always brings me hope, even if it is just for a second.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


As I was writing the post below this morning, guess what the cat did?

That's right. Another brown one right in the middle of the sheets, this time almost fully solid and therefore slightly less revolting to clean up.

I wish I could say "just kidding" and ignore the fact that this is the 3rd time in about a month that the cat has shit on my bed.

What do I do?? Why is the cat acting out like this?

A few thoughts...

- Cat is feeling neglected (I left for a trip to the US, I don't play with them enough, etc.) and this is a way to get my attention. The boys sleep most of the day, and we play together in the morning and the evening for about 15 minutes each (usually I throw balls of crumpled up paper for them to chase), but maybe this isn't enough?

- Litterbox is unsatisfactory. We recently moved it onto the varanda and the boys access it through a cat door, which seems to be no problem. Also, the first poo on the bed incident happened when the box was still inside. They frequently hang out on the balcony and use the litter box on a regular basis. However, sometimes when it rains the cat litter can get wet. When this has happened I haven't changed the litter immediately, thinking it wouldn't be an issue because it's water, right? Maybe not...

- Cats becoming territorial, this is their way of acting out on all those hormones. They are brothers, 7 months old. I haven't really noticed them spraying or anything, but they are still intact and definitely play fight and do mock mating (yes, I know, it's pretty bizarre).

- Mattress is somehow impregnated with miniscule shit particles and therefore the smell attracts the cat to use my bed as a litter box. Do I throw out the mattress? Deep clean it? Keep the door to our room permanently shut?

I know that when you housebreak animals, every time the poo or pee in a place they're not supposed to, you're supposed to tell them "no", then take them to the appropriate place where they should use the toilet. Eventually the associate and learn where they are and aren't supposed to let fly. The problem is that I have yet to catch Pria shitting on the bed, with the exception of the other morning when I was *in* it and she took a poo anyway. I told her "no" and put her outside in the litterbox, but obviously it didn't work.

Help!! What do I do? This is getting out of control...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sensa Acqua

This is now the 3rd consecutive day with no water in our flat. It will come on intermittently, for about 10 minutes, thought I don't know if you can really classify the pathetic trickle that drips from the faucet as the water being "on."

I have a really, really important meeting this morning and all I want to do is have a good shower. It's an integral part of my routine to pump myself up for important meetings. I have to feel good (meditate, stretch, have tea), look good (hot shower, blow dry hair, put on a cute suit and heels, do makeup), and convince myself that I am actually a competent professional (lots of mind games). In a few minutes I'm off to have another sponge bath using the 20-liter canister and a juice pitcher. I guess I'll have to wear my extra sexy heels to compensate feeling grungy.

If this meeting goes well, we may be on our way to raising funds for a US $19.5 million project that we put together for a client last year. It would be a miracle...

I'd like to comment on how my day has been cat shit-free thus far, but I'm afraid of what that kind of comment may bring around later in the evening. I'll remain quiet.

I started NaNoWriMo last night and it was an interesting experience. I'd prepared an outline of what I wanted to write and had a goal of 1,667 words. I managed to write 1,420 words, but about a topic that veered significantly from my outline and plans for the storyline at that point. I'm not upset, though. I really do prefer to write by intuition, without restrictions or trying to force myself in any particular direction. This is especially true when writing about my own life - if I just let go, things seem to fall in place quite nicely. We'll see what tomorrow brings.