Mission: Trick or Treating - the first stop: Great-grandpa's, where M entertained herself running laps around my car and playing with Scooter, the cat. After a handful of carefully selected houses, we were ready to make one last stop at Grandma & Grandpa's. M knows how this thing works - I don't think we hit a single house where she didn't get more than one treat! Watch out for her next year when she'll actually be able to say "trick or treat"
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Being home again is wonderful! I returned to my house on the mountain in time to see some of the beautiful fall colors. The leaves are falling now, but the first 3 or 4 days I was here was amazing, all yellows, oranges and reds. There is nothing more beautiful to me than the fall colors during the day and the clear, star-filled night sky we've been enjoying.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I made it safely back from Pune early this afternoon and have been busy packing - deciding what to bring home and what to leave, hoping I can avoid paying fees on my luggage (four months = too much shopping!)
In just a few hours I'll be off to the airport and even though I'm dreading the marathon flight, I'm nearly giddy with the thought that I'll be home soon.
To keep me going while I'm waiting for my flight I've been listening to this Amy MacDonald track on replay, it's a perfect fit with the season and my attitude today:
Friday, October 17, 2008
Tonight I made my way to spectator plaza to grab an ice cream for dinner. (Mom, I know that's not very healthy but it was the only thing that sounded good to me.) I met an Indian friend on my way there so we visited while we made our way there.
We hadn't been there long when a kid stopped to asked me for a pin from my country. This happens to me frequently as at this event the spectators and athletes mingle together each evening at spectator plaza and the cultural center. The local kids have quickly discovered that the athletes and officials usually carry national pins that they are willing to give away. I apologized and explained my country wasn't competing in this event and that I didn't have pins. This happened to me a couple more times while we were there - we were getting quite a laugh over it.
Just as we finished our cones a group of teenage boys asked me if they could have their picture taken with me. It crossed my mind to try and explain that I wasn't an athlete or part of the team, but like I did yesterday, I just decided to grin and bask in the false fame that comes from having very pale skin in the middle of India.
When I arrive at the airport on Monday someone may need to inform the paparazzi that the "Queen of Hollywood" has landed.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Today I left the athlete's village on my way to the competition venues. A volunteer stopped me and asked for my autograph, I tried telling that I wasn't anyone famous or important, but he still wanted me to sign his book. I grinned to myself and signed my very first autograph. For a brief moment I felt like "one of the brightest stars." Luckily for my rapidly growing ego, the volunteer quickly brought me back to earth when he asked me for some money from my country to add to his collection. Sadly, I only had rupees on me.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The "will they get it finished on time" mystery is over; competition is going on at every venue and the competitors seem to be having a great time. The stands, which were empty for the first day or two, are now full of school kids (which since this is a youth event is quite fitting.)
Which leaves me time to move on to other things - like a great debate over whether I can afford to splurge on the shiny new Macbook. I've been craving a Mac for a while now, but I don't know if I want it because it is sleek, shiny and cool or if it is the type of laptop I need. Input is welcome - am I a Mac or a PC, can a person be both?
Sunday, October 12, 2008
The Opening Ceremony ended just minutes ago - it was a crazy day, but when it is all said and done the ceremony happened and everyone seemed to have a great time.
I don't have many pictures from today - I got kicked out of the venue for having a camera at one point and needed some fast talking by some friends to get me back in, so I put the camera away. But I did manage to get a couple of shots of the welcome provided to the dignitaries coming to the show.
I'm not really sure how everything came together to make it all happen today, but in it's own "extraordinary way" the team pulled it off.
Friday, October 10, 2008
What a difference 24 hours has made. Yesterday the focus seemed to be construction and clean-up. Today, it seems to be beautification. The venue was crawling with people planting flowers and putting up signs and banners.
Everyone seemed to be moving a little faster and talking a little louder, I'm feeling a lot more positive - although a thunderstorm tonight could slow things a bit. Still, today everything seems to be "Closer to Fine."
The closer I am to fine.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The pace seems to have picked up over night, today I found athletes on the fields/courts practicing - always a good sign.
Everywhere you walk there are people cleaning up - this group of women in their sarees (along with an adorable little boy who was tagging along with his mom) were cleaning up the field next to the office I'm working out of.
In the shooting range the sod was going down. It's brought in by a truck to the front door of the venue and the workers carry several pieces on their heads in through the venue.
Still there is work left to be done. The picture above is of the media entrance at one of the venues. The picture below is the staff entry at the same venue - you have to jump over a ditch and wade through the mud to get to the door.
There is a lot of work left to do in a little more than 2 days, but if they keep working at this pace it just may "Come Together"
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Remember the flooded field from yesterday? Today it was back in use for Ceremonies Rehearsal - no standing water, but look close and you'll see a mud pit at the bottom of the picture. Still I have to admit, it looks better than I thought it would.
Today I visited the Athlete Village, I had to walk on a dirt road, which was uneven, unpaved, covered in garbage and patrolled by a very skinny (and slightly scary) dog. It is hard to see but there are about 70 flag poles with the flags of all of the countries competing. Right now the flag poles are in the middle of a muddy field surrounded by garbage and twisted metal. I'm hoping they get some sod laid before all the teams arrive.
As we get closer to running out of time, I can't help but think from a line from an old Smith's song:
When exactly do you mean?
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
As if I'm not already excited to be headed home in a couple of weeks, it seems that late Oct / early Nov is a great time to be in the Salt Lake area if you are a music fan.
Several weeks ago I bought tickets to The Hotel Cafe Tour a concert full of some of my very favorite female singer-songwriters which is coming to SLC in Nov.
Today I discovered Ray LaMontagne, the guy I love to listen to as I fall asleep, when I'm waking up and pretty much any other part of the day, is coming to Murray (?) on Oct 28. Count me in!
This just makes me even more excited about coming home! UPDATE: I just discovered the Ray LaMontagne concert is SOLD OUT already! So sad!
Picking a song to go on this post is nearly impossible but since I just found out about the Ray LaMontagne show tonight and Nic said she didn't know he was when I asked her to help me buy tickets, here is a song for her so she can hear his AMAZING voice!
I spent a little more time at the venues today, some progress had been made but there was a lot of work left to do - and now it will be even more challenging.
Around noon it started to rain - well, perhaps downpour is a more accurate description
Within 30 minutes the road in front of the building I was in had turned into a river and the water was about to reach the level of the sidewalks. The dirt field that is to be the VVIP parking area in 5 days was a lake.
The main stadium, where just minutes before the performers were rehearsing for Opening Ceremonies, was completely flooded. It is going to take a lot of work and luck to get everything ready on time now.
Monday, October 6, 2008
I arrived in Pune yesterday and headed out to the venues to see how they looked. They are beautiful - but not quite finished. Everyone says they will be done in time (as will the new road they are building to the venue.) My American eyes think there is a lot of work to be done in the next 5 days, but I'm hoping it is just one of those cultural differences I keep running into.
In case you can't tell from the picture, that is a ladder made out of bamboo and rope - glad I don't have to climb it!
I loved spending Monday away from the routine of the office. It feels great to have some variety in the day along with the adrenaline that comes from an event.
I'll try and take a few more photos of the venue tomorrow, hopefully by then we'll be singing "It's All Been Done!"
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I wish I was there to help you celebrate, Nic! Enjoy the Grove and take a picture or two for me.
For you, my best friend, a little Ryan Shupe, "Dream Big" because I can't hear it without thinking of you and all that you've done to make your dreams come true.
At the first of each month I sit down and review the posts from the previous month and make a playlist to go the left of the page. Today, as I sat down a looked at September I saw I only posted 7 times! I plan to do much better in October
I tried to figure out why, I wasn't any busier than usual, so that can't be an excuse. It's not as if I had a boring month - I turned 35 and traveled to Nepal - pretty good for one month. All I can figure is that I wasn't feeling particularly inspired. This four month trip to India has been the hardest trip I've taken since I started doing this nearly 3 years ago. For one thing it is longer than I am usually away (3 months is the norm.) Work has been more challenging and stressful. And a bit of the newness has work off on Delhi, even my commute which I used to find fascinating has now become boring.
The good news is things are changing. As I left the office last night I realized it was the last time I would be in the building for several months. I'm not on my way home yet, but tomorrow morning I'm off for Pune, India for a week long event that starts on the 12th. I've spent today packing, not just to go to Pune, but also to go home as I'll only have about 12 hours from the time I return to Pune until the time I get on the plane to come home. It feels good to have some change in the air, I know the next couple of weeks will be busy, but it will be different and fun so I'm hoping the time will fly by. In the meantime, I'll keep spending my night dreaming about the home improvement projects I'm hoping to attempt while I'm home - anyone interested in a painting party?
Thanks to a certain someone, I haven't been able to get things song out of my head, so I'm going to pay it forward and hope you'll be singing along with me.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Today was a national holiday in India, a day to celebrate the birth and life of Gandhi. In his honor, here are a few of my favorite of his words:
- Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
- In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.
- Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
- When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always.
- You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
- You must be the change you want to see in the world.
and gentle hand
as I try to change
the way I am
and God forgives me
when I can't
I need peace of mind
and a gentle hand