Sunday, September 30, 2012

30 September 2012 (Sunday)

One week until departure. Been a roller coaster the last couple of days, sometimes ready and looking forward to it, other times feeling miserable and dreading it. Mostly Up today, however, so that must be progress because I'm dead tired: We got back late last night (more later) and then I woke up at 3:15 and didn't go back to sleep until after 4:30. I went to Mass anyway as this will be the last opportunity for a while. Sometimes it seems to depend on the music that goes through my head: <I>Red Barchetta</I>: Up, for example.

Saturday was another tired day, lack of sleep, and I mostly watched football in the morning. I think we went to Northgate for lunch and I located some more suitable excavation shoes, some light, treadless slip-on sneakers at Penney's. I will try to go back for them this week. We just went back home for the rest of the afternoon and then ventured out to <s>Jenny</s> Jen and Gerry's over in Sammamish around 3:30. Took longer than I thought to get there and then we took a bad route over a rough gravel road that Google maps made out to be a normal road. It was pleasant. Hank & Nancy were there and we visited some and then played faux badminton for probably an hour and a half. They have three adorable (and well-behaved) daughters and all was quite nice. We didn't eat until 7:30, late for us, and had peach cobbler at 9, although I didn't eat much. That's why we were back so late.

Today, I enjoyed Mass although had a hard time paying attention. . .plus, the theme wasn't all that relevant. I just came home and watched football and took a short nap. We just did the usual UVil stuff and did busy work around home the rest of the afternoon.

Fighting a Down as I type this. I'm trying to pin down exactly what gets me all anxious. Is it a general feeling? Is it specifically about something? I tend to get the pangs when I think of something here that I won't be able to do while in Egypt, such as give Daisy attention or, you know, lay on the couch on a Sunday napping. Or when I think of something miserable happening in Egypt, mostly having to do with just being uncomfortable. I kind of think it's more of a general thing because I feel like I'm just in a rut doing all this normal, habitual, pleasant stuff but fear not being able to do it as well. It's akin to being down in a ditch and wanting to get up and out but afraid to actually do so. I admit that the times where I'm feeling like the old self of my 20s and 30s is becoming more common -- which gives me hope that I can force myself out of this rut -- but there are still a lot of Down times.

Getting old sucks.

Friday, September 28, 2012

28 September 2012 (Friday)

Busy couple of days. Did not post yesterday because we went to the football game (#8 Stanford) and UW won 17-13. Stanford played horribly on offense, so I'm not sure what it says about UW. Fun time though, even if it started at 6 and. . . .we stayed for the whole thing. Yes, we stayed out past 8 pm! The rest of the day. . . .hmmmm. I think I finished up the few tasks for Coptic and sent that off, and I believe I may have a bit more to do next week before leaving. Also got word that my PH in Egypt paper is being published/posted on Monday, so I had to write and abstract and bio, both of which were finished yesterday or today. I also washed the Mustang yesterday, which was pleasant in the sunshine.

At the football game I took two videos with my iPod, one of which came out pretty good, but a little far away. The sound was quite good. I posted both to Facebook. 

The upshot of last night is: I'm tired today. Probably got to sleep around 11, but woke up before 5 even though I set the alarm for 6. Partly stayed awake because, well, I do that, but the cats were also tearing around. Had a nice dream that Badger came back for a visit, which was nice; I miss that little goober. So I got up without disturbing the Spousal Unit too much, and got ready, leaving about 1/2 hour later than usual, which I'd more or less planned on. Of course, then I got on the wrong bus, and ended up having to go allll the way to 15th, get off, get on a 71 and then walk all the way through campus to the IMA. Harumph. Ended up being about 45 minutes later than usual, but thanks to a Diet Coke and a good amount of tea right off the bat I had a spectacular workout. Emma even waved at me first so at least she thinks I'm okay and not a total skeev. Made it back by 8:45, so all was not a total loss.

I spent the remainder of the morning doing odds and ends, scheduled an appt for blood test, but will have to cancel as I can do it at Hall Health as a walkup. Think I'll do that Tuesday and then go downtown for a bit and see Xtine about Coptic stuff and Jenny just for fun. We dropped off some stuff at the Church, and then went for lunch at Rainin' Ribs, deeeeelicious as usual. I had brisket for a change. YUM. Met Fiona and had an excellent time. Man, we had a complete laughter breakdown at one point. Background: She had a (male) friend who'd call her 'Shaniqua' as a joke, and I started calling her that sometimes, too. Then today we saw a local TV news female and as we were deciding where she worked, what time, etc., Fiona realized her name was. . .Shaniqua! We both lost it, me for longer. I haven't had a laughing fit like that for a long time; too long.

And thus, the week ends. A decent week, I guess. Still trying to find a decent dig shoe, I suspect my Converses have an indentation that won't work, so I'm trying to snag a pair of Keds or something cheap. Might go to North Bend outlets tomorrow before seeing Jenny and Jerry et al. Otherwise, I go into next week with nothing except some preparations and workouts to perform.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

26 September 2012

Whoa, stayed in bed almost the entire night! Until 4:30 at any rate, which for me is as good as the entire night. I didn't mind much as it gave me a chance to guzzle a Diet Coke before getting moving at 5 and that, of course, made for a fabulous workout. I went downtown right afterwards, apart from the usual stop for bagels and Coke at the Rotunda, where I also went and bit my upper lip very hard. Ouch. All I did down there was stop by HRA and drop off my materials (notes and junk) from the last project. Forgot to go back and say Hi to Jenny, which she reminded me of in an email later.

I got home around 11 after stopping in the UDist, got some more ($$$) hair junk for Egypt, poked around the Bookstore a bit and enjoyed the scenery. I got home around 11 and didn't do much until I walked up to Subway for a sandwich. I needed something reasonably substantial as I could eat the rest of the afternoon due to the inoculation junk I had to take today.

The rest of the day I worked on the Coptic stuff and made decent, if fitful, progress. Spent a bunch of time trying to calculate 'age at first access' when I emailed Xtine and she told me it was already in there as 'agecalc'. Duh. Well, dumb name for it. Finally figured out the date problem as well. . . .mostly.

We went to Target to get a toy for the game tomorrow, that's about it. Right now I'm listening to the Goo Goo Dolls. . . .for whatever reason, they are kind of my quintessential 1990s band. Not Nirvana or Pearl Jam or Stone Temple Pilots, but Goo Goo Dolls. I don't know why, but they just remind me very strongly of the later 1990s, I guess. I didn't care for them much at the time, but I rather like them now. May be because of nostalgia for that time -- 'round about 1995-2001 when I was working on my dissertation regularly. As I typed a few days ago, I tend to be most nostalgic about those times when I was concentrating on a large project or something, such as graduating. I feel that way about the last couple years of the 1970s (graduating high school), the middle 1980s (graduating college), and then the later 1990s when I was working intently on the dissertation. As I've mentioned, I'm trying to recapture that mindset in the absence of school-related goals. I may be making progress, as I think I suggested yesterday, in seeing work itself as a goal. The journey is the destination, as they say.

I got a bit of anxiety today about Egypt, not really going itself, but leaving here. Leaving the cats, leaving the Spouse, leaving the comforts of home. OTOH, I got a car arranged to meet me there so that, at least, is yet another stress point taken care of. See, this work stuff really helps. . . .

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

25 September 2012 (Tuesday)

So. About all the country has been buzzing about the last 24 hours is. . . .a controversial call in a football game! $16 trillion debt, yawn. Ambassadors killed in Libya, snooze. Possibly bad call on Monday Night Football? OH MY GOD SOMETHING MUST BE DONE. Sheesh.

Busy day today as well, after yet another smashing workout: legs today and the back even held up. I don't know why I'm charging my iPod I don't have time to use it in the morning as I have to catch a bus back from the gym. At any rate, spent half the morning working on the HRA report and then went to Sam's Club ("The place with all the stuff") for some items, and stopped by St. Vinnie's and Goodwill on the way back looking for old speakers. They had some old ones, but not good ones, so nothing there. The first part of the afternoon I finished up my portions of the report and then dashed into Coptic stuff and did much worse. Too much data! Too much bad data as well. Didn't make much progress on that one, but I can spend most of tomorrow on it, so I am hopeful that I'll have something for Christine by the end of the week.

My cousin Jen/Jenny called late this morning to see if we wanted to come over for dinner when Hank & Nancy come out for a visit this weekend. I'm looking forward to it. I rarely get to see anyone from the Old County out here so that will be a treat.

Kind of an uneventful day all around, but I got a decent amount of work done, much of it paying. At the gym this morning I was pondering the old German phrase "Arbeit macht frei" or 'work will make you free'. It was, sadly, put over entrances to concentration camps (it didn't originate with the Nazis), but I have come to realize it really reveals a truth: work does set you free. It's set me free in some sense in that I've always been most comfortable and . . .fulfilled, I guess, when doing a lot of work. Getting things done makes one feel better. Useful. Even if it's just basic household chores, getting them done despite the temporary drudgery and wish to be doing something more fun or relaxing, gives one a sense of accomplishment.

Hence, I shall now stop typing this and clean off my desk!

Monday, September 24, 2012

24 September 2012

Slept well again last night, huzzah! And had an excellent workout. Crowded again as this was the first day of classes. Mostly guys down in the Man Cave, but there were a few females that wandered in, though only one was one that's been there before (maybe two). It will pick up later in the week as more people get their schedules down, females mostly; I think the sororities have a lot of people down there this early.

I spent most of the morning entering the probe data from the last project, and also the photo log. Almost panicked because I was missing several probes but then found 3 more forms in a pile on the desk. *whew* We went to Mickey D's for lunch and I had a full burger since I couldn't eat anything the rest of the day due to the Hep A drug I had to take mid-afternoon. But I got a good chunk of the report done as well. What remains is getting some photographs in and going over the text once again.

Got a new Visa card ordered for me so I will be set with emergency funds over there. Hopefully I won't need it, but I'm glad to know it's there if need be. Called in for an extended prescription. Not sure there's much left to prepare for. I'd like to work some more before I leave, but that might not happen. As it is, I have a decent amount to do with Coptic data which will lay the groundwork for actual paying work when I'm back, so I don't feel too bad about doing that work pro bono. Otherwise, pleasant day weather-wise, sunny, around 70.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

23 September 2012 (Sunday)

No, I did not write an entry yesterday, sole reason being we didn't get back until after 7:30. What exciting things were we doing on a Saturday night? Err, shopping for dig shoes. Heh. Really! And I found some! Converse non-All Stars, actually Jack Purcell's. They were the only ones I could find with a nice flat bottom. I was thinking they'd be horribly uncomfortable, but my Pumas have already largely broken my feet to basic flat shoes. I wore them all day today with only a little bit of rubbing in the back of one heel. We'd gone to Alderwood to check out the REI store for some toe shoes (aka, rubber feet thingies) but they were all over $100 and had tread on the bottom (I bought a soft water bottle instead). So, I have a nice pair of Converse's for <$30 (clearance rack). Look halfway decent, too, I think I'll probably stick with these kinds of things in the future.

Saturday morning I slept until 5:40, quite the sybarite I was. Went out for breakfast and I had hash browns and gravy for a change, and ate the remainder this morning as well -- sometimes it's nice to have a tiny stomach. Didn't do much yesterday save for the Alderwood trip, though we did purchase a rat poison thing. I hate to poison the little buggers but they have to go. I put it out last night, but nothing so far.

I was actually quite happy to find the shoes, yet another item to cross off the Worry List for Egypt. Prescriptions and I'm ready. Well, I need a few more odds & ends, but those are the biggies.

This morning I woke up at 4 but managed to go back to sleep until 5, which meant this was a Mass day. Sat next to a very attractive young lady who had excellent posture; very impressive for someone that young. Looks like she's been modeling even, the way she sat. Might've been 15 for all I know (hard to tell anymore). I came home and wrote up a little post for Car Lust, did some other piddly work. . .oh, made a reservation at the May Fair Hotel in Cairo, another thing not to worry about. Today was FidoFest at the UVil, a big thing for the Humane Society. Lots and lots of very nice dogs, including an adorable little pit bull. . . .in a dress! She looked like a big ol' brute, but had just the sweetest disposition. Went to an estate sale and snagged a little inflatable airplane neck pillow (works!) and four plastic pocket protectors with horn-rimmed glasses, apparently souvenirs from the Apollo 13 movie. Never had a pocket protector before. . . . .

Otherwise, I did some cleaning when we got home and watch some junk TV before dinner. All in all a pleasant weekend, weather wise and mental health wise. I'd like to think I'm over some sort of hump here, but not sure three days makes for a significant trend.

Friday, September 21, 2012

21 September 2012

Good day today, all things considered. I woke up at 3 just knowing it must be near 5. Managed to go back to sleep though, dream a bunch of really weird dreams, and woke up at 4:30. Good enough for me, I got a Diet Coke for rehydration and it made for a faaaaabulous workout. Felt kinda muftig though, as the 3 am wakeup gave me a serious anxiety attack. I had the Spousal Unit drive me to the IMA and then I took the Shuttle down to Harborview to meet with Xtine about the Coptic data. Good meeting, we figured a few things out and I think she's happy to have this moving along and someone to find data problems again. Much to do before I leave though.

I dropped the credit card off at HRA but no one was there to chat with so I left, poked around The Bon for a little while before heading down to catch the 11:25 71 bus. . . . .which came at 11:40. So it was packed. Didn't get back home until 12:15, and we went to UVil for lunch (Spousal Unit was home with a sick day of the mental health variety). I stayed there to meet Finoa at SBux and enjoyed the scenery of all the coeds coming back for classes next Monday. Had to walk home because Finoa was staying there to shop so couldn't give me a ride. Eh, nice walk.

It's kind of been drizzling most of the day, which was not predicted. Not enough to really wet the ground very much, but welcome. I went out this morning with sunglasses but without a hat and paid a minor price for that.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

20 September 2012 (Thursday)

Slept okay last night, although I woke up anxietying again, and had to take half an Ambien -- man that worked like a charm. But I didn't lose too much sleep and had a great workout, although my back went out partway through. Came home and worked some on Coptic stuff, and then went to the Dr. for prescriptions and vaccinations and junk. All I need for the latter is HepA/B stuff (oral) and got a Cipro Rx for guts stuff. And some more Ambien. Should be set now. I asked about anxiety meds, generally, but she (nor I) would start me on anything while traveling, so we'll work on that when I get back.

Most of the day I spent on Coptic stuff, and had some difficulty with the data, not the programming part, but the data is not set up the way I had anticipated. So, going to Harborview tomorrow to talk with Xtine about it. I'll need the F2F.

Also met with JoAnne somebody about her doing some of the rubbings for the Calvary monuments. She seems quite eager to do this, and will be bringing in some others with genealogical backgrounds. So that work I did looks like it will actually result in some conservation work! That's all to the good, of course, but I was kind of muftig/anxious all day. The usual. I still feel that despite the expense, this trip is worth taking, for the reasons I set forth at ArchaeoBlog today:

In fact, I’ve almost been dreading going this time, somewhat due to various issues I’ve been having, but also. . . .well, I have a more comfortable existence nowadays. Back in 1988 I lived in dumpy apartments — starving grad student, donchaknow — so going to Egypt was a nice diversion and not much of a come-down in terms of creature comforts. Truth be told, I think all that comfort has been bad for me, and probably part of the source of my troubles. That’s one reason I’m even going: get my ass back into reality and make me appreciate the value of simply working on something bigger than myself and not thinking mostly about my own comfort. Looking back, the best times of my life, the times I get all nostalgic over with rose-colored glasses and such, are the times I was really working the hardest: the last couple of years of undergrad school, my first couple years of grad school, and the five years I was working on my dissertation. All of those times I didn’t have much in the way of material goods or creature comforts, but I worked hard and had fun in between — albeit mostly involving alcohol — with other people. I’ve lost that along the way. 
I really hope I can get that back.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

19 September 2012

Not a bad day today. Slept very well. Great workout (first one in a week). Talked with Taylor the former cheerleader and found out my IMA pass is good until Oct. 5 -- right before I leave! I returned the HRA truck this morning, and will start writing the report soon. Had a little chat with Jenny while down there, too. I think we did a decent job on this project.

I went to the Bigfoot car wash on Lake City Way which I'd not been to in a while, as it had kind of started to go downhill and I'd switched to Brown Bear. The latter is much cleaner and more professional (plus we have a bunch of free ones to use), but Bigfoot is closer.

Actually, while typing the above paragraph I went and read a couple of my old Car Lust posts. Ha.

Err, anyway. OH DEAR. I called Anne the hair person to see if she could fit me in on my way home from downtown and she could. She gave me a good ol' buzz cut, she did. Very short. Bullet head. I posted on Facebook that I "had climbed Mt. Baldy". Well, it's got to last almost three months, so so be it. Good to see Anne, I brought her some flowers for her mother dying.

Spousal Unit met me on campus and we went to Mickey D's for lunch. Most of the afternoon I worked on Coptic stuff, actually falling quite easily back into it. Had a few problems along the way, but made some decent progress.

Nothing much else, went for a walk, etc.

Well, I did get an email from Willeke, the Egypt project person. Turns out our tents will have electricity (!!!) and I'll probably be in one by myself most of the time. I'm feeling better about this.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

18 September, 2012 (Tuesday)

Forgot to make an entry yesterday again. Was in the field all day and didn't remember when I got back to the motel.

At any rate, a good two days in the field. Angus got here at 6:30, but we didn't end up leaving until after 8 due to the other two being late (not an awful thing, Colin was coming from Everett for the first time and totally misjudged the morning drive time). But we made it down okay, and got to work in short order. It was a pretty good day although the last area was a little hinky, and I didn't have a real good handle on where to put probes and such because it was a bit on the sloping side. But we got both areas done and that was really all that was on the plan, but by that time it was 3:30 and I didn't think we should drive back then, and besides, there was another area worth looking into. So we just hit the motel and stayed the night.

Oh, I got into a nest of bees. Urgh. I was walking somewhere and stopped to check out a weird looking hole when I saw the little buggers come flying out and when I realized they were starting to attack I Ran Like Hell. One still got me on the elbow -- painful! -- but that was it and they didn't chase me very far. Sucker hurt

Nothing much of interest that evening. I slept well though.

Today we got going at 6:30 and went to the last area. Went reasonably well, although I was ready to stop at one point, but then Colin mentioned perhaps we had room for some more, so I rethought things and we put in a few more and that covered it pretty well. Then we went to the park for lunch and headed home, arriving here about 2. The GPS worked okay, although it was moving around quite a bit at times and I had trouble fixing points.

My new American Express card came in the mail today, making me feel much better about Egypt coming up. Wish I hadn't gotten rid of the old one, I'd been a member since 1991 with that one and they cancelled the account altogether so I wasn't really just continuing that one. I still need an actual credit card so's I can get cash advances if need be. But I am credit-worthy once again and hopefully will not get stranded anywhere. . . .

Sunday, September 16, 2012

16 September 2012

Buggers, just bid on an eBay diary but it won't accept it because my PayPal account isn't linked. Screw you, Seller. I'd no idea historical diaries were such a hot commodity.

Anyway, I slept well enough last night to go to Mass, which was okay. I worked most of the morning on Coptic data, although I didn't get very far along with it. Probably should have done more on it, but I was getting things ready for tomorrow all afternoon. I actually put up my one political post over on ArchaeoBlog. So far only one positive comment which is good, I guess.

We didn't do anything of consequence otherwise, just the usual lunch and shopping, then back home for house maintenance activities. Weather is great, mid-70s.

Female fashion note: Spandex leggings came back a couple of years ago, and at the time I didn't care for them, but I've decided it's a Good Thing. Mostly reasonably athletic women wear them and they make them look great. Probably will only last a couple more years, but good viewing for me in the meantime.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

15 September 2012

Three weeks until D-Day. . . . . .

Was riding the bus home from the Husky game downtown and saw a couple of Asian undergrads sitting in at a bus stop, looking nice and unconcerned about anything and thought "I wish I could be like that. . . .wait a minute, why can't I?"

Really, why can't I?

At any rate, I slept well last night, albeit with a transfer to the TV room, but otherwise I didn't awaken until 5. Go me. We went out for breakfast, and then I watched a little bit of football stuff and read outside in the sun for a while. We had to head downtown around 11:30 and that took care of most of the day. Bad game, against Portland State so it was a boring blowout. Wish they wouldn't waste our time with these games. During most of the third quarter I explored the upper deck of the stadium and checked out the views which were quite nice. Took a few photos with my iPod. We left midway into the fourth quarter and we weren't the only ones: the bus station was packed (fortunately with lots of young, nubile Husky women) but got home okay.

I did get very irate this morning reading about the person who made some stupid film that many people (i.e., idiots or liars) are saying "caused" the latest Middle East uprising: he was "taken in for questioning" by the police. Have we just decided that the First Amendment is optional? Does anyone really think this will not embolden everyone with the assumption that violence does, in fact, work?

Friday, September 14, 2012

14 September 2012 (Friday)

Missed a day (yesterday). We went back to the field, down by Enumclaw. Made a few wrong turns, but we made it, driving over the Howard Hanson dam to get to our area. Turned out probably quicker and easier than the other way, so all's well that ends well. We did pretty well yesterday, finished probing in two areas and started the third. I like all the people on the project, especially Sarah. She's 23 and was at UW. . .in a sorority! AGD. We talked a lot about Greek stuff while digging. We had to be out of the watershed by 4:30 and were actually back at the motel by then. Not a bad place, older, but clean. The three guys went out for dinner at a bar & grill, which was okay. They split a pitcher of beer and I had two non-alkys which I was dying for. Then I just went back to the room and watched football, vegged out, and forgot to write in this.

Bummer of a night though, I woke up at probably 1:30-2 and never went back to sleep. Worrying about today mostly I suppose, but maybe just wired up. I finally got up at 3:45 and shot an email off to Jen about. . . .something or other. Watched TV. Checked email. Back out again today and, to be honest, all that worrying actually paid off: I'd decided how to arrange the new probes using the map and compass in addition to the GPS and, even with a hiccup, we got it all worked out. The GPS didn't work all morning anyway, so we lined them up okay. I think I have figured out how to use a frickin' compass. We got the whole large area done, leaving two for next week, which we may or may not finish in one day. Sarah and I walked up to the quarry and had a nice chat on the way up and back, and the quarry was neat, albeit non-archaeological except in a recent sense (I think it's still being used).

We finished by 2, leaving 2.5 hours to get back (traffic) but actually made it in 1.5 so we stopped at the office and snagged a couple new screens for next week and then dropped everyone off. Got back home a little after 5. Walked, chatted with Carol from Assumption (and who lived in our house as a kid), and then finished a short walk. I don't think I've calmed down yet though so I'm hoping watching football will do it. Still no word on canceling Egypt, although it hasn't calmed down all that much. I guess we'll see. Part of me wants to go, part doesn't. I know it will be good for me. . .I will be transformed being in the simplicity and concentration on just archaeology for a good while. But, you know, I still worry, not about my safety, but about. . . .well, just everything.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

12 September 2012 (Wednesday)

Egypt trip may be faltering: A mob attacked the embassy in Cairo and did some damage, and a similar mob attacked the consulate in Libya, killing the ambassador and three others. They claim it had to do with some stupid movie, but that's rubbish: it was planned for Sep 11 and they used the film as a handy excuse. We'll see how things shake out in the coming days, if it continues (there are crowds out as I type this) then I suspect we'll be cancelled.

At any rate, I slept through the night in the bed: a rarity. Thus, felt great today. Got to work out because we didn't go back to the field. Going back tomorrow though. I did nothing much this morning, as I'd planned to be away. We went for lunch at McD's and then the Spousal Unit dropped me off at the IMA and I walked over to get the Shuttle to Harborview. Met with Christine about working on the Kenya data and I have some things to do, although probably not until mid next week as fieldwork will probably go through next Tuesday. Pretty good, I think they're liking having me back. Hopefully we can wrangle some sort of ongoing paying position.

Once I got back I mostly dealt with emails for the fieldwork and got stuff ready. Won't need as much food or clothing as it's only one night, so at least it's easier to pack. We then went to the UVil where I won. . . .a bagel! Trivia questions at Einstein's: Highest mountain not part of a range (Kilimanjaro) and where can't you play rock music in Venice (in goldolas). Go me. Oops, have to get those bagged.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

11 September 2012

Well, I was supposed to be typing this on my iPad sitting in a motel room in Enumclaw. Alas, I am back home again. Started out okay, although Angus was almost an hour late, and we picked up Sarah over in Queen Anne and made our way down there. We found our way to the place where we were to get our permit, and then headed to the road to the work area, kind of a Park Service sort of road, mostly gravel, but not bad. Well, about 2 miles in we came upon a construction site where they had a huge ditch across the road making it impassable. Harumph. We tried finding another way around but to no avail. So we called the office and were told to "sit tight" while Jen checked with the park ranger to see what was what and if there was an alternate route. We waited for over an hour -- having a nice chat in the sun -- and around 11:30 I suggested we find a park to use the bathroom. We did and then I phoned back and she said to just come on back and we'll see what to do. So, kind of a waste of a day, although it was nice chatting with Sarah the new chick. She also went to UW and has football season tickets. She thought it was so cool that I'd be going to Egypt, so that made me feel better about going. And the Starbucks chick this morning also wen ga-ga when I told her I was an archaeologist going out to do archaeology, as she's a history major at UW. So yeah, goo day in the ego regard.

When I got back (ca. 2:30) I unpacked some stuff, but mostly left the clothing and such packed as we might head back out (though I kind of think it won't be for a few days given the size of the construction and lack of alternate routes that we could see). I did, however, go onto the American Express site and apply for a new card, which I got approved in about five seconds. I'd actually been worried that I couldn't get one, but it came right through. That's been keeping me awake at night, which is stupid I know, but it's what makes me think perhaps there is something to this anxiety thing.

Nothing else interesting, walked to Riot-Aid, QFC, and Safeway. I loaded SPSS onto the Macbook for tomorrow when I go to GH to see about some data analysis. Apparently, the US Embassy in Cairo was attacked, though they only got into the courtyard and some are saying it will get worse in the next few days, so I wonder if this will affect our plans. Yeah, now that I'm looking FORWARD to going. . . .

Monday, September 10, 2012

10 September 2012

Ugh. Bad night. Woke up sometime, went all whacko, and at one point thought it might help if I went back to the bed and get some comforting from the Spousal Unit. Ha! Mostly I got the brushoff and irritation. So came back out. Blehh. Finally did get back to sleep. . . .that period of sleep after being awake is really quite exquisite. Incredibly relaxing.

It was raining a bit during that time but it didn't help any. But it rained and for that I'm thankful. Also that it rained last night and not tomorrow when we're in the field. Supposed to get warm (almost hot) and sunny the rest of the week though.

This morning after working out, I went downtown to HRA and got the documents and such for the project. Also got a crash course on using the GPS, a nice Trimble. I think I vaguely know what I'm doing with it, and after going through all that I feel better about it all.

Daisy is rolling around begging for attention so I shall stop this and give her a bunch of scratches since I'll be away for four days.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

9 September 2012 (Sunday)

Better news today: I don't feel as bad about going to Egypt as I had been. I got the update/instructions and it seems better to me now. I can't exactly say why or if it just had to do with getting this information, but I feel better; almost looking forward to it actually. Though yesterday I was attempting to get my head back to where it was when I was going there semi-regularly, perhaps that worked. At any rate, I feel better about it all today. And that's good. But we'll see what tomorrow may bring.

Otherwise, I woke up at 4 but didn't mind all that much (napped -- 1/2 hour or more! -- this morning). Did not go to Mass, partly because I was tired, mostly because I just decided I'd take a Sunday off. Didn't do much all morning, just mostly watched TV including a "Dirty Jobs" (Mike Rowe) where he went to Australia and it was all messed up -- perhaps that's where I calmed down about Egypt! Watched a bit of football. We just did the usual UVil lunch/shopping as the Spousal Unit still had an assignment due.

This afternoon was kind of a waste, although I did watch some of the SeaChicken game, only because former Wisconsin QB Russel Wilson was starting (they lost, barely). Got sucked into watching Tron:Legacy once again. I really like that movie for some reason -- in addition to Olivia Wilde in skin-tight vinyl, of course -- even though I only watched the original recently as well. Just a decent movie.

The work this week is looking better as well, the motel has refrigerators so I can bring supplies and such. We walked to Riot-Aid, but they were out of my hard candy. =(

I guess the upshot is that I feel better today despite the lack of sleep. Good on me.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

8 September 2012

Woke up in the middle of the night with another anxiety attack (not as bad as the night before though) so was up for a while, but went back to sleep until. . . .6! Unheard of. Still, the abundant sleep did not improve my mood much. Spouse didn't awaken until after 7. I spent most of the morning. . .doing not much. Watched a bit of football, then sat on the front steps and read (James Hogan's Bug Park), then watched a bit more football. We had to go to the UDist for the Spouse's hair and I dropped a book off at the library.

While doing that I had a strong dose of nostalgia: reminded me of the late '80s and early '90s when I was often going to and from the library for school stuff, getting dusty old books from the shelves and reading them. I started wondering then if perhaps my mood is due to something like "having trouble dealing with success": worked and worked and worked and got the PhD and then. . . .what then? That's probably true to a certain extent, but I eventually came back around to believing it's still lack of a Big Goal. I've tried to substitute "serving others" as a goal, but I'm not sure that's cutting it: too nebulous and no real end point.

JAYsus, maybe I'll just keep piling up degrees for the rest of my life.

I even tried meditating this morning, assisted by the fact that I didn't fall asleep. I tried repeating little mantras I've been trying for the last couple of years ("I am competent and have nothing to fear", etc.), but that really didn't work. I.Need.A.Goal. Or at least I need the attitude like I have a goal. I may try that. . . imagining that I'm still in that late '80s and early '90s with the whole grad school kinda thang still going. I suppose I have enough projects to make it feel like I'm still chasing a degree. . . .

At any rate, had lunch at Pagliacci (yum). Oh, Anne's mom died, which I did not know about. I was supposed to have seen it on Facebook but I didn't. We just went to the estate sale after that -- the attractive blonde remembered me, although I am certain it was my interest in her little puppy rather than my natural charm and studliness -- but didn't buy anything, and then to UVil for dinner stuff. We bought a couple of . . . . some form of cheap meat whose name I don't recall. Kinda like a cross between a steak and hamburger. Well, whatever. I cooked it up and was delicious, with gravy made by the Spouse, along with corn on the cob and collards. Watched more football (Wisconsin lost to Oregon State, so they kinda suck so far this year) and after our walk, more football.

So, next strategy is 'meditating' back to grad school days to try to maybe get my head back into that groove. We'll see.

Fairly warm today, but growing cooler, supposed to rain tomorrow and Monday.

Friday, September 7, 2012

7 September 2012 (Friday)

One month until I leave for Egypt. Still have much trepidation about it, especially today. And last night. At 2 a.m. Well, I was also worrying about this project next week, where I am field director out in the boonies. More on all that later.

Daily activities: AWESOME workout. Stewart was there, an older guy, hasn't been around in a few weeks. One of the few people I talk to down there. He's South African. Once I got home I re-edited the Calvary manuscript and sent it off. Ha, after two tries. Have I mentioned how much Microsoft products SUCK? First the version on my Mac wouldn't let me change the page number format, so after much colorful language I finally just dumped it onto my old PC and did it in about 30 seconds in Word 2003. Well, okay. I saved it as a PDF and then sent it to the Calvary guys. Bounced back. Hmmmmm. . . . .sent it to Charlie at KC. Bounced back. WTF? Looked at the file and it's over 35 MB! From a 5 MB Word file! So I dumped it into OpenOffice and save it as a PDF: about the same size. Sheesh. Finally went out.

Daisy was awake all morning and wanting attention. I had the Spousal Unit's pork sandwich from, oh, last weekend, for lunch and then went off to an estate sale in Laurelhurst. Kind of a high end one, wasn't expecting to find much, but I did get a desk tape dispenser for $1. I brought it up and said "I am about to put you into the black for today." She liked that. Also had a cuuuuute little puppy there, sacked out.

Met Fiona at SBux and a youngish mom gave us a show: she squatted down facing us to do something with her kid, and neglected to keep her knees together giving us a fine view of her underwear. Frankly, I think she did it on purpose for my benefit, but I could be wrong. Otherwise, we had much fashion to comment upon.

I bought some sole at QFC (and rice junk) and came home to watch the end of Battlestar Gallactica. It was the final episode of the new version, which I quite watching early on. Eh, it was okay I guess. Kinda hokey ending. And weird, I'll have to look up a synopsis to find out what was going on. I recall during the first season or two there was much talk about how it was making whatever political statements. That wasn't what interested me, I just got bored with it.

Now, back to me (this whole thing is about me, remember?). I had some thoughts today regarding this whole anxiety thing I've been going through, especially since I was awake last night anxietying for over an hour. Reasoning: Right now things are actually looking up: HRA is sending me out on a multi-day overnight project as field director, meaning they trust me to do this. I finished the Calvary thing to accolades. I'm going to be working with Global Health for pay in the future and doing research in the meantime. I'm going to Egypt in a month, which will -- despite my fears -- probably be a great adventure and rather transformative....not to mention impressing all the right people. SO WHY THE $(@&*^ AM I STILL FREAKING OUT?

Maybe the Spouse is right and I have some sort of clinical anxiety. I was like this when I was working. When I was not working. When I work some. When I do archaeology. When I do public health. Desk job, outside job, whatever. I freak out about Egypt, but I can virtually guarantee that if I'd decided not to go I'd be kicking myself for not following through on that. Perhaps. . . .my mood is irrespective of what I'm actually doing? On the one hand, that might be a good thing: No worries about what I do, I should just do what I think is the best route and just deal with the anxiety. OTOH, what if I can't deal with it? And do I want to spend the rest of my life worrying like this? But I am wary of drugging up. I'd also considered maybe it was some sort of low testosterone thing. That would suck.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

6 September 2012

Funny day today. Slept well, but had one of those days where the ol' anxiety level came up for whatever reason. I'm beginning to think that no matter what I do with myself I'll have to just deal with this. Blehh.

But I did go downtown and met with Jen at the other archaeology place about a project. I was a bit reluctant to do it because it's out in the boonies and the last one of these I did out there was ab-sol-utely miserable. It was survey in deep woods and by 11 the first day my knee was hurting and it just got worse. The whole time it hurt like the dickens, it was hard to stay on my transect, and maneuver while trying not to bend my leg, etc. And it was rather primitive living conditions. So, bad time. It looks like mostly shovel probing, so no long hikes in the rough, so I should be able to manage. Plus we stay overnight in Enumclaw so it will be a pleasant evening stay. An adventure!

'Course, I'll probably get all hyperactive about it. . . . .*sigh*

Saw some old KC PH peeps for lunch. Good visit. Once again we went to the pizza place and I got one slice while everyone else got two. Fiona wore a very fetching little dress, I think the other guys were impressed. Then I went up to Global Health and talked to Christine about doing work for them and affiliating with them. It's a go! They have some little projects they're working on that I can work with the data on, and I can also do the lead work on the TB stuff. Grace was in and said she'd try to get me affiliated with them, so that is looking up.

Yet I'm still in a bad mood. . . .so many things seem to be finally starting to go my way, but I keep getting that gnawing fear in the pit of my stomach. At the gym while working out, and elsewhere sometimes, I actually find myself getting angry at myself and telling myself, basically, "F*** you and your whining, f*** you and your worrying about being comfortable" etc. Actually makes me feel better most of the time. But that's really what started me thinking that all this crap going on in my head has more to do with. . . .crap that's going on in my head rather than what I'm actually doing with my life. How I will end up dealing with this is anyone's guess.

Warm today, around 80, supposedly 85 tomorrow. Over 45 days without rain here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

5 September 2012

Busy day today. I actually stayed in the bed the whole night until the alarm! As a result, I had an epic workout, which is good because the sororities are back. . . . .

This morning I assembled the database for the data I collected at Calvary to give to the Calvary people for their records and that actually took most of the morning as I had some cleaning to do (couple of duplicate records and some test records I'd not deleted). And I got the photos all resampled to make them smaller and sent them, too. I put them all on my thumb drive and took them over this afternoon. Richard liked it. He sent me an email with a couple of comments on the report and we looked up some stuff while I was there -- he's good with Access so we checked a few things, like the guy who supposedly died in 1800 (I think it is really 1900) and a non-matching record. That latter one he was surprised to find that the headstone had Mary Burns dying in 1908 but their records say 1894. So, good work there and he is impressed and appreciative (he also wanted a list of the leaners to check on).

We changed our habit and went to Wendy's for lunch -- I had chili-cheese fries (meh). I got some screws at Ace for the kitchen cabinets, as the originals we put the handles on with are the shiny metals ones and don't look good, so I got black ones. They look better.

Right now I'm listening to an old Led Zeppelin LP. Just got back from UVil.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

4 September 2012 (Tuesday)

As I type this I have Hank Williams playing on iTunes. I have kind of a thing for ol' Hank, partially as a result of my dad and his hillbilliness oozing into my genetic makeup, but I also just watched some thing with Norah Jones (aka, "Snore-a" Jones) who sang a HW song that she'd based on unrecorded lyrics of his. It was quite a nice little tune and she was commenting on the nicety of his lyrics, which I'd always thought were, well, hillbilly. I shall listen to them with renewed interest from now on.

Anyway, I went and woke up at 3:15 again and almost fell into an anxiety attack, but managed to turn it back and went back to sleep. Kind of a decent workout after that, and then I spent the rest of the day working on the Calvary report. . . .and finished it! In draft form at any rate. I have a few things I'd like to add that I thought of later, although right now I'm forgetting what they were. Sent off a copy to Rich and Marty for their comments; otherwise, tomorrow I'll get the data together and maybe a couple of report/spreadsheets summarizing each monument, and do. . . .something with the photographs. There's gobs of them but I don't know if they'll want them or not. It felt good to get something really done with that work.

Nothing much else other than that, it took until almost 3:30. We walked up to the post office to mail a box and that was it.

Oh, the Spousal Unit's sister was in the hospital for something that looked like a minor stroke (but probably wasn't). I refuse to gossip, so I'll just leave it at that.

Monday, September 3, 2012

3 September 2012

Typing this while watching the Georgia Tech/Virginia Tech game while using the refurbished Macbook Air. I don't usually do this, but the Spousal Unit is looking at cute animal videos on my main one and besides I want to watch football.

Finally, a non-sleepy day today: stayed in the bed until 4:15 and then actually went back to sleep. Felt much better, both physically and attitudinally. Didn't do much this morning, except a little analyzing with the Calvary data. I think I watched a little TV toward noon, too, but it was such a relaxed and lazy morning I don't really remember. We just did a basic lunch at McD's and then hit the QFC for. . . .something. . . . .soda! It was on sale. Then we got another packet of rat bombs at Ace and then damn near burned the neighbor's back yard: I lit one and tried to shove it in the hole but it wouldn't go in! And the hose wasn't hooked up! I ended up dumping some water from the bucket on it. Finally got two of them in, both in different locations so I'm hoping the double whammy got them.

Also I tried my hand at spare ribs. Never made 'am before. I just rubbed on some of the usual stuff and then dumped it with BBQ sauce and cooked the snot out of them. Turned out. . . .okay. I don't think I like them though, as they're too fatty. Much prefer the 'country style' sort and will stick with them from now on. That and pork butt.

I write this next bit with some trepidation, but I read something last night about, of all people, Adolph Hitler, that struck me. Shirer writes of his time during the Great War:
No letters or presents from home came to him, as they did to the others. He never asked for leave; he had not even a combat soldier's interest in women. He never grumbled, as did the bravest of me, about the filth, the lice, the mud, the stench, of the front line. He was the impassioned warrior, deadly serious at all times about the war's aims and Germany's manifest destiny.
I guess it really 'appealed to me' if I can use that phrase, because I've been complaining and worrying about this upcoming Egypt trip and here was someone who was so focused on what he was doing that the conditions didn't matter at all. Admittedly, he was pretty much nuts in that respect, but it made me realize that you can ignore conditions if you are sufficiently passionate about what you're doing.
Which is another way of saying that I've become soft and lazy and more concerned with being comfortable all the time than in actually doing something worthwhile regardless of the cost or loss in comfort. That's not a new concept for me, but it was good to read something that enlightens it a bit.

The Joe's ice cream truck was going by when we went out for our walk and the neighbors -- all adults -- bought some. I have never gotten anything from an ice cream truck in my 50 years. Don't think we had them in Fond du Lac when I was a kid, certainly not The Good Humor Man. Tonight I kept that string intact.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

2 September 2012 (Sunday)

Missed two days here due to. . .socializing! Yes, we actually went out in the evening on two successive nights! Friday (31st) was a busy day, if I recall, working on the Calvary report most of the morning. I had started on the demographics section and got a bit bogged down on what my final data set was going to be, mostly hinging on whether to use the same data for age-related analysis and for plain old summarizing what's there. I think at this point I'm going to use two different sets. At any rate, saw Fiona in the afternoon and had a pleasant time. We met my cousin Jonathon (Phyllis and Wes's kid) downtown at the Daily Grill in the Sheraton. Wow, busy down there what with the gaming convention (which he's at) and other assorted nite lifing. I kind of liked it for a change. Slept badly though, woke up at 3:15 and didn't go back to sleep, although I thankfully slept for 45 minutes or so later in the morning. Around 6:15 or so I decided the Spouse would be getting up in a while and wanted to start the steel-cut oatmeal cooking so she could have oatmeal when she got up. Oops: opened the cabinet and the big stupid metal lid crashed out and hit the floor. I do believe I may have uttered a profanity. . . . .

Saturday was thus kind of a blur; we had lunch at Panera in Northgate and then hit a couple of estate sales, then came home and vegged out until we had to go to the UW game down at the SeaChickens' stadium. Took forever to get in -- got off at the wrong (i.e., Stadium) station and had to backtrack (next time off at the Chinatown), and actually missed the kickoff. Not a bad place to watch football, I suppose, but we are very high up. We left near the end of halftime. And again I woke up at 3:00 and had a full-blown anxiety attack regarding Egypt, etc. Oddly, I calmed down considerably when I just said a rosary to myself. Much the same thing was what kept me awake early Saturday morning as well; consequently, the last two days have been "down" days. I'm finding I almost go through ups and downs over several days. Today I was mostly down (way down) but then later this afternoon I seemed to snap out of it. I don't know how or why, but it did occur after my sister sent me some historical records suggesting our Amerindian ancestry. So, better now.

Today I went to Mass and then did a couple of blog entries before retiring to the front steps to read and nap a bit. I started reading William Shires' The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I'm doing so as part of my "regression therapy" as I read it during my last full summer in college in Madison. It was the summer of 1984 and I stayed in Madison taking a class and working. It was just plain excruciatingly pleasant and I spent many sunny hours outside reading it. I think it was my first real history book. I haven't read it all again since, but I'm still trying to get back my old sense of, well, not worrying about everything.

You know, I could probably save an awful lot of psychological hassle for myself if I could just take up drinking again. . . .