Monthly Archives: January 2017

Watching the crazy…

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Reykjavik, December 2016

Is it just me or was last week totally exhausting.  OMG so much going on at the same time, and then, well, there’s, you know, the news back home.  I am just totally drained (lol and haven’t been back to work long), and sitting here going WTF.  dsc09201

Zanzibar, December 2015

The good news is my spring break is just eight weeks away, and I’ve got most of that trip booked.  My friend Michelle is coming for a visit, and then we’re flying off to Kenya for a week.  Safaris, beaches and plenty else will keep us amazed and loving life.  But, damn, I gotta survive February first.   This is always the hardest time of year at work (for me).  I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m looking forward to March and being past where we are right now.  I’m pretty sure my girls are with me on that too.  If only the days would go by faster, and then slow down when we get to the easy part again.  Yeah, I know I’m greedy.

I’m also in the process of booking my family’s summer vacation while beginning my close out process.  I’m starting to sell my stuff, and getting my head into the resignation thing, which I don’t look forward to.  It’s hard because while I’m happy to move on to the next phase, I’m really sad to leave this life (maybe not ALL of it, but most of it).  It’s been good to me, but it’s time I moved along with my man full time again —- and with as much time as my kids will allow me to spend with them (since they’re busy doing their own versions of the adult thing).

I’m nervous about my job prospects at this point — more so than I was a few months ago — but it will all work out.  Joe says I need to relax and just enjoy living off of his paycheque for a bit before I get back into working full time again.  I keep telling myself to quit the damned worrying — hello?  housewife with no kids?  pinch me!

I type all of this knowing full and well my dilemma is not a dilemma at all. There are plenty worse lives to lead.  Go back 20 years, and I’d slap you for teasing me with such a lie.  There’s no way I could’ve imagined this to be my conflict, so I’ll take it — even with all the unknowns and uglies going on in our world right now.  I’m still loved, supported, healthy with a whole slew of possibilities in front of me.  Of course none of us knows what the future holds, and there are so many whose present isn’t even as close to as good as my past, which was hard but still a lucky life.

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Reykjavik, December 2016

And when I am working I no longer feel like this poor guy — although lol sometimes I do feel like that goose behind him.

But yeah I’m just kicking back right now watching the crazy and waiting for my next move (while also enjoying our lovely weather here and my friends who’ve become family).

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It won’t be long before I awkwardly (because you know I’m the chunky bird flapping and kicking me feet willing my fat ass up and over) fly to my next horizon.

Size doesn’t matter, but lies and bias do

images-1 taken from https://amplitude.com/blog/2016/06/07/cognitive-biases-ruining-growth/

So, I embarrassed myself yesterday.  On Facebook, I posted a link to a biased news story that wasn’t completely correct.  It showed millions of Muslims gathering to protest ISIS.  Granted the crowd part and the quest for peace part and location were all correct, but this gathering was not a protest but an annual event of a religious nature.   I posted it to show that Muslims in other countries do protest against terrorism (because I’m sometimes asked why ‘they’ don’t speak up more).  My intentions were good, and to be totally honest I only cross checked the story with one other news site BECAUSE it was something that connected with my views.   Surely, it was correct.

BUT, it wasn’t.  And just because my intentions were good and it supported something I believe it doesn’t mean it’s right.  And, this is, what I believe, one of our biggest problems  is right now.  It’s way too easy to back up our belief system with proof.  It’s also really easy to connect with our crowd and get all riled up about the other side because, you know, they’re assholes or idiots trying to take away our way of life.  And when we humans vent with people of the same mind we tend to get angrier and angrier.  With all this ‘proof’ we shut down the other side, and they are no longer one of us.  They are the bad guys.

I don’t give a torn ballot how big or small the inauguration crowd was.  Seriously it says nothing about who the new president will be —- although it does provide a glimpse into his or, one day, her popularity.  I —- take a picture here —- agree that the crowd size shouldn’t have been a story.  But, unfortunately, when the enormity of the event was bragged about beforehand, people are going to pay attention to it, and, well, report on it.

This would have been a perfect time for our new president to show that he is here to lead not rule by ignoring such trivial stories and focusing on telling us what he was signing and why.  But, instead, he accused the media of lying and had his press secretary recite “alternate facts.”   Unfortunately for him, the numbers are real.  They weren’t important before, but now they’re proof that either the “leftist” media is lying or proof that the president is, depending on who you ask.   Real fact is fake and fake fact is real.  Am I really living in an alternate world?

Accusations, name calling, fact skewering has gone amuck.   We’re all clinging to our version of reality while the real world is crumbling before our very eyes.  We cannot afford to continue giving in to bias just because it supports our side because it’s quickly becoming the norm to use that shit as ‘truth.’

I’m sharing this here because in a few months I will be crossing the border back into my own country, and I am so very concerned about where things are going.  Too much anger is brewing and too many lies are being clung to, and they have been for too long of a time.  We have got to get it together.  I am not the enemy, nor are my fellow Republicans, but our inability to collaborate with the other side will be the end of us.  Tschhhh, do not go into the blame game; my point is people we need to talk and listen and find ways to work together versus apart, and we need to go back to ‘just the facts mam.’  I don’t want to hear about how my side did this and how your side did that (vice versa), and blah, blah, blah.  We’re all the asshole idiots if we continue to go that route.

Regardless of whether you think the media coverage was right or wrong —- our president flat out had his people lie to the American people because his ego was bruised.  His people are waisting precious time playing the word game and manipulating us into a bigger divide while calling for unity.   This is dangerous, and no one’s side is going to be served unless we unite against our own ignorances.  Better, affordable health care, more money in our bank accounts, education, the pursuit of happiness for ‘we the people,’ all of that is at stake for every one of us — despite how each of us thinks we need to get the job done.

Please, America, do not allow our leaders to be as careless with their media posts or speeches as I was with mine, despite how well intentioned they think they may be.  Do not allow yourselves to do that.  We have to be vigilant in ensuring the facts we use to base our solutions on are indeed facts and not some spin to serve our own interests.  The irony of it all is if we ever get to this point we might actually learn that the majority of us want the same damned things.

But if we continue to allow this crazy making that’s going on in our society (including our contribution to it), I’m sorry to say, we are all the bad guys.  We chose to not be a united folk after all.

And if anyone needs a tutorial on how to begin talking to the other side, this little guy has some great pointers:

Back to reality (and a few final words on Iceland)

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lol just using this pic because I like it!

Well I’ve been back to my current real world and wearing only one layer of clothing for almost two weeks now.  I’ve pretty much been catching up on sleep, catching up with friends here, working and watching Netflix (OA you sucked me in) —- and, of course, planning my next two big adventures (spring break and summer).

Work is full of changes, which is a constant, and I’m as ready as I can be to guide my girls through it (and it’s good to hear their voices and see their smiles again). InshAllah we end it all in May (when they finish classes; I finish work in July?) with all of us having learned some good things.

The hardest thing for me right now is NOT applying for jobs.  I’m so used to having something lined up, and some good posts are popping up all over the place.  But, Joe keeps reminding me to relax and allow some chill time (heheheh maybe even Netflix and chill time). This will be the only time I can take some time off while he’s working because once I begin my next full-time position he’s retiring and it’s all on me (well except for the fact that we’re totally using his monthly pension for trips here and there).  I’ve never been a kept woman before, so that’s a new border to cross, and I really do like lazy.  I’m also really excited about going home to my family and beginning our next phase, wherever that will lead.  But first I will have to begin the process of closing my life here, but let’s save that for February or March or, knowing me, later.

Before any of that, I need to tell you the rest about Iceland.  I loved that we visited in winter, but I also wish we could go there during the summer.  Summer offers MUCH longer days, better weather and more sites.  I’d love to see their green!  Oh and the sheep taking over the landscape, and the puffins, and, and…those of you who go during summer can tell me all about it.

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Pic by Joe

That said Joe did get to go inside a barn and meet the sheep.  Um, apparently, the rams are living high on the hog making lambs while they all are warm and protected in their barns.  Come spring, all of them are allowed to wander outdoors and feast themselves into a juicy, plump frenzy.

 These are the best pics I have of Gullfoss falls, a famous stop on the Golden Circle drive, because it was windy AF and frigid.  I was terrified I was going to get blown away.  One gust literally blew my feet from under me, and I was pleased with myself for using the poor petite woman in front of me to stop my fall — she, however, had some choice words in her language for me (although didn’t hear them — too busy yelling oh shit).  Besides, I’m pretty sure I saved her from becoming a kite, so all is well.

And these are the best pics I could get of a geyser going off.  Love the first one because whoops it went off spewing silica my way before I was ready to capture the geyser.  But, again thanks to winter weather not the best shots.  You will see no selfies of me that day because I was the antithesis of sexy.

My pros and cons of visiting during winter

Pros:  Ice caves and experiencing the weather!  There’s a tourist ice cave all year long somewhere on the island, but that’s not the real deal.  There’s nothing like knowing you are inside — INSIDE! — a flipping glacier.  And, my man now has bragging rights — he can drive through anything.  Trust me he’ll remind me of this the next time I bitch about his driving.

  • Doing the Blue Lagoon while it’s snowing.  I’m sure it’s amazing in summer, but I love that we were swimming outside during a snow storm.  Sadly, I have no good pics to show.  We were there at night in hopes of seeing the Northern Lights, which we did that night, but at our hotel.  And, I didn’t have my son’s GoPro on the right setting, so lots of stupid videos of Joe and Me thinking we’re taking selfies. p.s. know that this IS a tourist trap and it will be busy, not something Joe and I tend to like to do, but for we nonlocals it’s still worth it — as are the other geothermal pools we didn’t get to experience.
  • The Northern Lights!  Who doesn’t want to see that?  There’s no guarantee that you will see them, but we lucked out and saw them twice — both times totally unexpected.
  • It’s off tourist season, so prices are lower.  BUT, let me caution you there are more tourists here during winter than you expect.  Somewhere in Asia there’s a super cheap deal going on because there were busloads of groups, every where we went.  Joe and I wanted the isolation and solitude of winter — we needed it — and while we had plenty of alone time, we were never totally alone on the roads.  Every time we saw horses near the road, there were carloads of folk pulled over petting them — damn it all I wanted one to myself!

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These are the only good people-free shots I have, and I’m telling you this horse and I connected.  She WANTED me to pet her, but alas the people I politely shoved out of the way were craftier when it came to actual touch time.

I can’t imagine what Iceland is like in summer when it is tourist season.  I love people and everyone was really nice (except perhaps me), BUT it’s not as much fun visiting nature’s wonders when there are busloads of us around.  That said in summer you could hike remote areas!

  • New Year’s in Reykjavik.  It’s something you should try to do at least once in your life.  It’s a fun city, and this is — so I’m told — the biggest party of the year.

Cons:  The weather and shorter days.  While we liked experiencing the arctic’s touch of crazy, it prevented us from doing and seeing so much.  If we ever go again I’d like to hike all over, explore the north and maybe even make it to the western fjords.

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Take for example the area around Vic.  While these pics look harmless enough, the weather was relentless that day.  We pulled over at one area to walk the black sand beaches, and we couldn’t get out of the car because we were pummelled with black-sand wind gusts.  It was like a killer bee movie, only with sand and hurricane force winds.  The waves are also no joke!  I’m told that’s an all-year thing, so watch out for them.

While we were there some days only had 4 hours of sunlight, some had less or none thanks to storms, but oh my goodness when the sun did come out — she and Iceland showed off their stuff!

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Even the fog coming in did lovely dances with the sun.

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A plus to other tourists is they’ll take a pic of you in the sun!  LOL Joe braving it all with his jacket off, my polar bear.

Regardless of whether you visit Iceland in the summer or winter, it’s worth the money, but please do pay attention to the people who live there.  This might be a wonderland of ewws and aahs to you, but it’s been their home for thousands of years.  When they tell you it’s going to be a bad weather day; it’s CNN Breaking News weather to you.

They love their land, and they’re such a fun, welcoming people and happy to share it, but some of us disrespect that welcome when we do things like drive places we’re not supposed to drive or stop in the middle of the damned road to take a pic — or even worse disrespect the land and its people by polluting, etc. (although we didn’t see any of that).

Darn it all I’m going off on tangents now, and wishing we could plan a summer trip back to Iceland.  There’s people we’d like to see again and camping and there I go drooling again.

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Oh too-small SUV how we miss the adventures we took with you! and we’re off the road, I swear!

And since I’m back in my real world for now, there are things I should get done today.  Farewell Iceland, our new beloved friend!  InshAllah we’ll meet again.

p.s. We also have so many video clips of our crazy experiences driving.  I’m hoping one day I’ll actually put them together for a quick clip, but, well, you know how much I love lazy.

 

Happy New Year!

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As is always the case, all good things must come to an end (although most would argue 2016 needed to hurry up and end).  I’m sipping mint tea made from fresh mint leaves and wiping off sausage roll crumbs from my bosom while on my very long layover in Amsterdam.  My original plan when I booked this flight was to stroll around the city, eat a meal at a cafe and find my way back to the airport.  But, I’m beat.  The idea of bundling up and finding my way around another city was just too much for me, so instead I’ve tooled around the airport, which is actually a lovely place to lose oneself in, bought some cheese, chatted with friends, and now I’m taking the time to write all about my last day of 2016, which topped 2016’s birthday — another fun filled, firework-laden night!

Reykjavik is an awesome place to say goodbye and hello!  Icelanders stock up on fireworks and go all out.  Just like in Copenhagen the fireworks show is put on by the inhabitants not the government, and believe you me these viking decedents love their fire.  Holy hell it was amazing.  Joe noticed that the police helped folks with the larger boomers, keeping people at a relatively safe place away from take off — although I got plenty of ash in my eye.  We have no idea where we’ll be this time next year, but it’s going to be hard to top this new year’s.

First off at around 8:30 p.m. bonfires are lit all over the country.  We went to the big one on Ægisíða, near where we were staying (about a 30 minute walk).  The bonfire goes back to pagan days, and it’s either a way to burn off last year’s stuff or light the way for elves and the new, or just a chance to burn up shit while the kids play with sparklers.  Either way it worked for us!  Families and tourists all gather around and bond with the coming and passing of another year.  Reminded me (a little, our fires weren’t this massive) of the cul de sac bonfires we used to have near my place every New Year’s Eve.

Best part is the fire wasn’t the only thing putting on a show.  Right behind us the Northern Lights danced away, letting us know the skies too were whooping up the death and birth of time.  I cannot believe we spent a week in remote areas looking for the northern lights and boom they show up in a city while fireworks and bonfires pollute the sky with light and smoke.  That’s Iceland for you — sure read the guide books (and by all means do pay attention to the warnings!  they’re legit!), but Iceland is gonna do what she wants to do when and where she wants to do it.  She is not a land who plays by tourist rules.

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The lights arched over our fire, way out to sea.  They flared and twirled, but since I’m the laziest photographer in the world I did not have my tripod and DSLR on me (hey that shit is heavy).  So, while I’m pleased to have captured the green, you don’t see the bits of purple and the seductive dance they weaved.  The video on my camera just couldn’t capture it.  But, I worked up a sweat keeping my arm high and still while clicking stills away.

Obviously Joe and I had a blast.  It was magical, and we didn’t want to pull ourselves away, but eventually the lights dissipated and we found our way back to our part of town to prep up for the great big fireworks display (although they had been going off all day).

So we may have hit a pub or two… and an ice skating rink.

Another big tradition amongst natives is to gather around a t.v. and watch an annual comedy show that is loaded with comedic skits.  The entire city calms down to almost a standstill while close friends and family members feast, laugh and watch the big show.

Looks like the only people on the streets during show are tourists, folks coming back out after the show is over.  As for those fireworks they were still blasting away midnight last night, and are probably still booming away today.

Joe and I ate dinner at our apartment and watched some of the show.  We were happy to be able to figure some of it out (thanks to some English thrown in and good ole fashioned fart jokes — apparently everyone understands those!).  And then we were out in the thick of it kissing 2016 good bye.

New Years Day we headed over to Keflavik where we walked around the harbor and into a giant’s cave.

But mostly New Years Day was bittersweet for us because within a few hours we’d both be off to our corners of the world, but OUR countdown begins today.  Seven more months, and we’re back to being together full time — lol for better or worse.

Some daytime Reykjavik pics for you

And, my flight is getting ready to board.  Yay me I land early tomorrow and go straight to work from the airport.  I’m so not looking forward to how exhausted and crappy looking I’ll be.  But, come on 2017.  Let’s see what you’ve got in store for us!

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