Thursday, September 7, 2023

The Best Way to Catch up is to Start


Hi Friend!


I watched a 2-minute clip of a TED talk about how to have better conversations.  Included in one of the ten things you need to do is not to pontificate.  They went on to say that if you wanted to go on and on about your own opinions without giving anyone a way to respond, you should start a blog.  And I thought, hey, I have a blog, I should get back to that.  I’m starting to think I’ll never be a good conversationalist. 


It’s been a year or three since I’ve tried to write one of these.  As many of you know, I got really into sending real letters in the mail as a way to keep connected to people, to spread a little joy.  I’ll start that back up as soon as I come up with a new, spooky, idea, but in the mean-time, digital connection is totally a thing!


I think trying to recap the last year might be weird, but I’ll give it my best shot.  I used to work at Microsoft on Halo & Xbox consumer products, and then suddenly I didn’t.  It’s cool though, I was told while I was on vacay in Puerto Rico, in an alley, surrounded by stray cats.  I took it pretty well, though.  And the 4 months following that day was probably the least stressed I have ever been in my life.  My biggest challenge was how to vacation and be available for interviews at the same time.  If you aren’t using TikTok for interview advice, you’re missing out.  Although, recently I saw one that said the main way that one interviewer evaluated a person was if they returned/washed their mug or glass after the interview.  I have racked my brain ever since on whether I did that – and I’m 88% sure that I did.  Right before I nearly blew the interview.  You see, I was interviewed by 9 of the 20 people at the company.  I was on my very best behavior, did not lie once (and as many of you know, this can be a problem when I’m nervous.)  I had a great big bag of games, and my hand on the exit door handle – so close! – when the CEO said good-bye and “Don’t play them all at one time!” and I immediately and instinctively said, “Don’t tell me what to do! Haha!” and left the building.   I got a job offer the next day.  I should do my own TED talk on what you shouldn’t do in a conversation.


My summer was off the hook and also did not look like any summer in Seattle that I’ve had previously.  I mean, it’s the end of August, and I haven’t jumped in the lake once.  I think this had a lot to do with Covid, having visitors 26 of the 30 days in July, and having a new job.  Oh! And Luke and Emily got married smack in the middle there. 


AND Lindsay and Nate got engaged in February, and then again in August. Zach and Fran got engaged in April and then married in May.  Excitement overload!


Let me go back a bit.  4 days before St. Patrick’s day, I asked if people wanted to go to Vegas, and it turns out I got Jackie, Nate, Lindsey, Lucas, Emily, Dawne and Jordan to go.  Which is so Vegas, right?   Apparently, Stacey prepped Jackie that the fam really loves Bailey b/c of all the time she’s spend out here.  Which I thought was odd, until we got into the car at the airport and Jordan immediately said, “I want to hear all about Bailey.” And I was like, “Um, we can do that, but this actually Jackie.”


Now, I do have some stories from when I went to Egypt, but in case I run out of energy, I’ll just jump to me getting back and having Covid and then I wasn’t able to play with Julie for the two days she was here to visit.  Which in itself isn’t a big story, but it might explain why I managed to not get Covid the following two “opportunities” that arose this summer.


The first was when I was deeply obsessed with the Crave series by Tracy Wolff, but also “helping” with wedding dioramas at Dawne’s.  Zach went to urgent care with “allergies” and then took benedryl and slept next to me on the couch, and the following day, when I came over to read next to Dawne who had a “migraine.”  It was slightly shocking that the following day, when Lucas had Dawne take a Covid test that both she and Zach had covid, and I had to run out the door b/c I couldn’t be sick b/c I had to, you know, start a new job.  And then, fast forward to after the wedding, a month later (and 7 days before my “immunity” wore off), when half the guests got sick, including like 10 of the 20 people staying with Dawne – all of whom I spent countless hours with – and I managed to skip the sick.  Which all means that for 4 weeks of the summer, I wasn’t exactly hopping in the lake.  It has now risen to the top of my to do list for this weekend. 


So that’s the last 8 months or so.  Here’s my fun anecdotes from Egypt:


Becky will want you to know that she got to witness me at my quirkiest before we even left Seattle because the TSA agent pulled everything out of my well organized suitcase, including all of my individual bags, so that he could put all of my liquids in one ziplock, which caused total havoc with my brain, but I was trying to still be polite.  Next to me, Becky had to bite her tongue not to say out loud, “I know she’s laughing but she actually wants to punch you the face.” 


I also was the only one to actual read the itinerary, which meant I was the only one constantly trying to adjust my expectations.  Becky: You’ll think you’re on vacation but you’re actually seeing all of Egypt!


Conversation on our Egypt trip through the Sahara:

Becky: Does anyone see a mirage yet?

Traveler 2: Will everyone see the same thing? Maybe we'll see something different?

Becky: (Traveler 2)’s mirage will be a crowd of tragic, emotionally stunted detectives who just need a woman's love to heal their hearts. My mirage will be an ocean of kittens.

Tiffany: My mirage would be the perfect itinerary that never changes.


Traveler 3: This to the budget (punch in the eye) hot air balloons! 


Becky: I am going to go ahead and say that “ safety and consent” are not pillars of Egyptian culture.


After our guide told us, and then again me, specifically, that we couldn’t take pictures:


Becky: You look mad.

Me: I’m not mad I’m seething.

And then later after Becky brought the incident back up…

Me: Is that after I cried and before he told me to smile? 


Guide: Oh by the way this Muhammad Ali is not the boxer.

Me: Definitely think you should have started with that. 


Traveler 1: You’re utilitarian - aren’t you impressed I used that word? 

Traveler 2: No, bc you heard someone else say it earlier and just repeated it.


Traveler 2: Oh wait did you want me to be honest or kind? 


Traveler 2: I like to fool people and you’re an easy mark. 


You’re unbearable (French stranger on the plane to the most chill person in our group.)


Who wore valley of the kings better - me or Tut? 


Traveler 1: So you’ll call and text? 

Traveler 2: No. 


And in no particular order b/c it was a couple of months ago, this is what we did! Quick boat ride across the Nile to the west side and then visited the Temple of Hatshepsut. She made herself look like a man and then ticked off her stepson, so he went ahead and destroyed her likeness (how sweet!). Then off to the Valley of the Kings, home to the tomb of Tutankhamon! (Yes, I took a disrespectful pic of his mummy.) All the most powerful and influential kings of Ancient Egypt were buried here, and we went to see the Seti and Ramsses III and IV tombs. Saw how Alabaster is made, and then a quick pic of the Colossi of Memnon. Visited the Temple of Horus at Edfu - one of the best-preserved shrines in Egypt built in the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 237 and 57 BC. The ceiling is black with smoke from when people occupied and built fires much much later. Coolest part of the day with a breezy 94 degrees.  And evening stroll at Temple Kom Ombo an unusual double temple for the Crocodile God and Falcon God. Partially damaged during an earthquake. Surgical tools, calendars were depicted in hieroglyphs, and we saw a system they called a Nilometer that wasn’t a well but sure did look like one. (Maybe I wasn’t paying as much attention …) Then off to the Crocodile Museum to see mummified crocs.  We also had traditional Arabic food tonight and the Koshari was the best food I’ve had yet, and the desserts were super yum.  We woke up at 1:45 am so we could travel across the Sahara to Abu Simbel Temple - which was completely moved to higher ground in 1968 to avoid being submerged from the building of the Aswan dam. Built in Ramesses II reign for the Gods Amun, Ra-Horakhty and Ptah. And then he built a smaller temple next to it for his chief consort    Nefertari and the Goddess Hathor.  And, we checked out the dam in Aswan then flew to Cairo. From there we went to the Church of St George, Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church (where it is said that Jesus, Mary and Joseph stayed during their journey to Egypt) and The Fortress of Babylon (where maybe Joseph worked for a bit?) and the Alabaster Mosque and medieval fortification of Saladin Citadel, on top of a hill in central Cairo dating back to the 12th-century. We then went to the Khan El-Khalili neighborhood and its historic bazaar where I got some chicken Shawarma (sooo good!) and traditional pastries. 


I have many more stories, but I think it’s good to just get an update done, and then maybe I can actually be more regular about this, even if I have to jump around for content. 


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