Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 October 2012 (Wednesday)

Technically Halloween, but we are celebrating tomorrow because it's our Friday. Today was a good day for the most part. I slept most of the way through the night and had regular bread for breakfast. I also spent the entire day at the bath house, clearing more sand, most of it compacted. We got most of it out of the lacomicum (steam room) and I spent an hour or so cleaning the caldarium really well. There was a lot of sand in the frigidarium, but once we got going on it we cleared out a lot of it and found the original floor. Which was pretty deep. I was going to skip breakfast, but I'd left my protein bar at the ranch so I just went in and ate quickly: I was really wanting to get it cleaned up before the others arrived. Jason the photographer, Willeke, an Egyptian restorer, and Alexandra showed up at 11:30, and two stayed the rest of the day. I helped Jason set up the area for photography which was interesting and I learned some about taking proper photos. Decent chap, Jason. Quiet and no doubt gayer than a tree full of parrots but decent. Not that there's anything wrong with that. . . . .

Anyway, looks like I'm in the bath house for the duration, although that may mean my going out on survey with the Kiwis when they arrive since there won't be much in the way of paperwork after excavations close. I'll probably go out a few times just to see how it goes. I assume I still have to write up a final report on the bath house. But this makes me happy since I like working in there, it's mine all mine, and, well, it's non-destructive.

No shower today, something with the water supply, new water heater, etc. But it was cloudy all day so I'm not all that sweaty and gross. Can't wait to shave though. . . .

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

30 October 2012

Slept pretty well last night although I woke up before the alarm, but not much before. Breakfast was rather good with two -- TWO -- kinds of cake. I didn't shave for the third day (or was it the second?) as I have decided to make myself an imam for Halloween. Mainly because it's easy and I don't feel like dressing up a whole lot. Galabeya, beanie, beard.

At any rate, I didn't do much first thing except stand around a lot as the others were busy setting up a new TBM and corners for the trench. Then I wandered down to supervise the cleaning out of a couple of rooms of the Roman bath house. It was a little slow-going at first until Alexandra was able to coordinate with Willeke about what to do who then told me what needed to be done and we got to it. The workers were a little. . .well, lazy with the garbage cleanup, and the one kid, Ibrahim (who told us he was 15 -- ha -- but who is really probably more like 10) was constantly chattering away and laughing and not doing much. We cleaned the loose sand out, including an area in the caldarium that revealed plastered mud bricks; the remainder was a hard but uneven surface which we left in place. We moved to the next room and were removing loose sand again and I started clearing a little niche of more loose sand and eventually got down to a floor surface in it. I followed that out a bit and encountered the same sort of compact surface as in the other room -- which we'd stopped at -- but I noticed that it was fairly easy to brush away and it looked exactly like compacted wind-blown sand, which we'd been taking away. I decided to start chunking that out at floor level (level of the floor in the niche) and was going merrily along, finding cigarette butts, plastics, etc. Then I started to get nervous that I might be ripping out. . . .well, I don't know what, maybe old floor or something, despite all of my logical brain saying I was doing properly. So called Willeke (it was about 1) and asked if she was coming over, etc.

She did and all was well. She agreed that the hard sand was recent and that it ought to come out, and we looked at a few other things as well. Tomorrow we will continue with that and take some photos and then put some more sand over some areas to protect it. So that will keep me away from Trench 4 for a while.

Yes, I'm still angsty about Trench 4. Admittedly, I've only got like two weeks to work in there meaning I can't really do a whole lot, but it's, well, kind of boring in there. And it's detailed work so I don't want to screw it up. As usual I'm no doubt making too much out of it -- like this afternoon -- but you know, that's what I do. I was thinking today that in my youth I would do good work, bad work, some exceptional work, but never thought too much about it; but lately (since 2001 or so) I've thought that I have to do everything perfectly or else I get all hyper and anxious. Wish I knew why and how to get that back.

This morning's mantra: Be patient. Do close work. Do it the way they want it done. This is the way I'm serving others now.

Monday, October 29, 2012

29 October 2012

Well, the day did not start auspiciously. First I woke up probably around 2 and only dozed off a couple of times after that. Then the water wasn't working. Then no bread at breakfast and my 2-day old eich was like cardboard. But we had cake! Then I went out to my new trench. . . .without my clipboard, notebook, matrix, etc. The water came back on before we left, so I was at least able to, ummm, flush, but no shave.

At the trench was confusion. There were mats in the trench, but not over the whole thing. Under the mats we expected to find the old excavated surface, but it was mostly sand. Hmmmm. Then I found some flagging tapes going well under the sand. Hmmmmm. We finally hypothesized that they had backfilled it in 2008 with the tape, and then in 2012 some mats had been put in and filled over those as well. Renus didn't remember doing that. Also couldn't find the benchmark.

Renus left to the police station at around 9 so I was left to my own devices. Happily, one area had been sheeted over so at least I had one area where I knew the old surface was. I worked away from that and finally found what looked to be the old excavation surface and started going from there. When Renus came back, all was going pretty well: we had a surface and it made some sense. Before that I joined the ladies (and Ashraf) at the Beit Sobek for 2nd breakfast; quite delightful. And pleasant: we had a mat to sit on in the shade and on a hard surface. And tea afterwards! Luxury! I'm gonna like this.

Got quite warm later on, and we did okay following the old surface (Renus had returned with my binder and some maps, which helped a LOT). It did get away from us a bit when one of the workmen started gouging into some undisturbed stuff, but not greatly. Tomorrow we plan on setting a new benchmark and can begin drawing as well as more clearing.

I chatted with Natalie some and I have decided I like her. Very quiet though, I hope she opens up some while she's here. She seems smart, but perhaps a bit soft and 'girly' for the field, but we'll see how she works out at the Trench of the Crimson Flower. Tomorrow I plan on hoisting the Jolly Roger over Trench 04.

I sat in on a Harris matrix demo that Willeke gave to the students. Probably didn't need to, but it was helpful to get a refresher before I get into the thick of Trench 4. At the moment I'm trying to avoid Beer O'clock on the roof, I just want to show up to the 6 pm meeting and that's that. I just kind of want to be by myself some while I'm starting this trench. Once I get into the swing of it, I will be okay, I hope. I admit that I am nervous about it since it's a very difficult area, but I keep reminding myself that I've excavated complicated stratigraphy before and that it will just take patience; "work hard, and study patiently" as I've been telling myself, and always remember that I'm doing it for someone's research and for posterity.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

28 October 2012 (Sunday)

Not a bad day. Breakfast wasn't until 8 and I was awake a little after 5, which wasn't too bad really. I showered first thing -- hot water! -- and then started up the ol' computer while no one else was up. I went to ESPN to check out the game scores from Saturday and noted that the Husky score was stuck at halftime and was getting irritated that they wouldn't update it to a final! Turned out it was still in progress. It must have started at 7:30 so I switched to the little ESPN app that summarizes each play and "watched" the rest of the game. Fabulous! They beat Oregon State 20-17, btw.

After breakfast, I had to move my stuff to the other office, away from the rest of the excavation people. =( Renus and I will be sharing that office, presumably with Angela when she returns. I got acquainted with the new trench and was initially terrified: it was complicated as all get out, with something like 25 phases. Oye. I reminded myself not to panic, that I could figure it out, just give it some time. And I did, I feel much better about it now. I will admit, however, that for most of the morning I was dead set on going back to public health and to heck with archaeology. (more on that later)

That took most of the day: looking at the photos and plans and the matrix and reading the old notes and such so now I think I can handle it. Very detailed work though and it seems to be the hardest trench to excavate, so I feel pretty good that she's given it to me. I'll miss the others in the big office, but I suppose this is better all around.

Beer o'clock found me doing an Archaeoblog post; felt like working rather than socializing. I went up at 5:45. After the meeting I Skyped home and talked to the Spousal Unit for 20 minutes until the dinner whistle. I really like this Skype/Internet stuff out here. Sadly, I found I'd been counting wrong and I still have 6 weeks left; I thought it was only 5. Dangitall. Oh well, this new trench should make the days more interesting at least.

Back to public health. I know I remarked on this yesterday, but I've contemplated it more today as well, mainly from the archaeological perspective. I still wonder how much this work will really mean over the long run. How many people will actually read this and be, in a way, bettered by it? I know I've soured on academia generally so in a lot of ways all of this archaeology is just serving a lot of academics that I probably don't care about. That hit me pretty significantly. At least with Global Health I'd be helping actual people. So I dunno. Not that I'm souring on archaeology generally or even the work here, but. . . .perhaps I'm finally gaining some perspective and maybe, just maybe, really letting the whole idea of serving others sink in.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

27 October 2012 (Saturday)

Off to Middle Egypt for the last three days and did not bring my Macbook so no entries while there. It was a long and tiring trip and I'm actually rather glad to be back at camp. We left Thursday morning around 8 with about 15 people. Trip down took about 4.5 hours and we saw a few tombs at Beni Hassan, all First Intermediate/Middle Kingdom. Cool, I suppose, but mostly not my bag. The hotel/resort was nice, mostly caters to Egyptians, however (this is in Minya). Dinner was fabulous that first night: plates of baba-ganousch, humous, veggies, rolls, a second course of soup, and a main course of stuff I didn't eat because it was too much food. And sweetened fruit for dessert. . .and APPLES. Yum. Breakfast the next morning was similarly grand with a wide variety of rolls and junk. I stuffed myself.

That day (Friday) was much too long and involved. We went to Amarna and literally almost hiked from one end to the other in the middle of the day. It was nice in the sense that I got to chat with several of the people, including Willeke. And we saw the location where the Nefertiti head was discovered and the place where the Amarna Letters were discovered, so it was worthwhile in that respect. Was dead tired though. Oh, I'd hit the pool both nights, including a short dip the second night. Sadly, I did something to my contacts the first day or night, such that Friday morning they hurt like the dickens and the right one kept getting worse. I'd thankfully had the foresight to take my glasses with me, so I ripped them out and tossed them, and wandered around all day in glasses or in no lenses and my shades. . . .which was kind of odd, but workable. Today I mostly wore my glasses and while bright it worked okay.

At any rate, dinner last night wasn't all that grand. They'd apparently not changed the table cloth from the night before so it was filthy; no cloth napkins; and it took forever. But the pasta I had at Maria's suggestion was fabulous: just penne with spicy red sauce and a few little onions and peppers. Deeeelish. We had to check out last night due to an early start this morning: LE 600 or about $100 for both days which is really spectacular considering it included the room (nice), one dinner, two breakfasts, and two boxed lunches. Not a place really worth going back to but well worth the money.

We met with Barry Kemp in the morning, after taking the (east) desert road to Amarna. Apparently, the driver was low on diesel all day so I was a little nervous way out there like that. Not as much walking today, but much of it was quite boring. A couple of the tombs were interesting due to their unfinished state, but nothing really exciting as far as I was concerned. Still, I was glad I went on this trip. I spent most of the driving time Friday sitting next to Rachel and we had a good visit; I do like her. Very fun and a good field BFF.

The drive home took like 6.5 hours and was hot the whole way because being low on diesel we couldn't use the AC. Ugh. But I got most of my Zane Gray novel read (Man of the Forest); I am quite liking his novels. Probably akin to bodice-rippers in his day, but I like them. Easy reading. Few new people here now, all seem like reasonable chaps (except the female, she's not a chap). Tomorrow breakfast is at 8 so I can sleep in if I so choose, meaning I'll probably wake up at 4 anyway and have to sit around for four hours. If I can get in the house I can make tea and eat a little something though.

Tomorrow begins the main work: I start looking into the house with Renus and Monday will start excavating there, my own units and such. Can't wait. Will miss the girls, though they've been gone for over a week now, but they were all fun to work with.

Still pondering what to do when I get back. . . . .do I still continue with archaeology, both Egypt and contract, or leap over fully into global health? Much of this trip I've been thinking this is all just. . . .self-indulgent on everyone's part. I mean, we're just digging stuff up largely for the sake of our own excitement. Yes, yes, I know, research and all that, but the prime motivation is, I believe, largely selfish. If I really wish to do good for others, shouldn't I devote myself to a career that actually, you know, helps others? I could still do some archaeology. . . .there was a line in the Gray novel that struck me, something like doing something that doesn't help other people isn't a real man's job. Perhaps I truly need to change my focus from what work will fulfill me to what will do the most good for others. I know that's been in the back of my mind through all this, but most of the time I still have worried more about what I would like to do rather than what I really ought to do.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

24 October 2012

I seem to have missed a day. . . .

Well, yesterday was a long day: we went to the site as usual, had a site tour by some Italians working at a site nearby at 8:30, and then we went to their site in the afternoon. Most were very worn out afterwards, and at least a few were ill today. I managed to avoid it, although I took a cipro last night (and this morning) because I felt my guts going through my usual slow decline into ickiness.

The site we went to was interesting, but my back was hurting halfway through so I went back and sat in the car with Steph and Maria (both of whom are laid out today). Didn't do much when we got back except a meeting, dinner, and a few items online. Today was pretty easy out at the site since we were down two people and its the day before the holiday. And we weren't starting a whole lot new because of the four days away. We excavated some in room #2 -- and finally found the floor! -- and then in another room across the street, but not much. We also mapped a lot and I learned how to do a "cut". Hence, I feel okay about going off unto my own little area next week, although I'll be sharing it with the guy who was there last year. We got back early, and I spent some time filling out registry labels as we didn't have any in the field and just wrote stuff on slips of paper.

Tonight was supposed to be a pirate party but with all the sickos it will probably be a laid-back movie night, albeit avec rum. . . .not for me, of course.

I wore my wife-beater shirts yesterday and today, got some ragging yesterday, but today the novelty had worn off. No sunburn yet (I don't think) so I am hopeful that I can get rid of my farmer tan to some extent. Plus, hey, swimming pool tomorrow! I wasn't going to go to this trip, but I haven't enough productive things to do here so I'd be bored silly, plus we haven't had hot water for the last four days and I'm really keen on having a hot shower for a change.

Poor Rachel is getting more bite clusters, although I haven't gotten any in several days. I think hers are fleas, not sure about mine. I got three in close proximity on my chest/stomach at the site today. I also need to clean up my tent and find my other dental floss which I HOPE I brought with me.

Seems cooler these days. Less windy, and definitely cooler at night.

Monday, October 22, 2012

22 October 2012

22 October 2012

Kind of a bad start to the day, which I shall get to in a moment. In fact, the real start wasn’t bad. We had to leave at 5 this morning so I was up at 4, which was really no problem. Everything went well until I was out at the site for a few minutes when. . . .*it* hit: I had to use the facilities. Which facilities, I didn’t know, but I walked over to the museum hoping the bathroom there wouldn’t be too disgusting. Sadly, the guard dude said the place was closed. Eek! Walk back to Beyt Sobek and see what Sonali and Elaine think, when Hammam drives up! I can get a ride back to the house with him. . . .but only after tea. So, harrumph, wasn’t that much of an emergency so I waited, chatted with the ladies, drank some tea, moved them along as best I could. I got back, did my business, and then decided to wait in case there was an afterbirth (which there was). Quite pleasant, chatted with Sebastien for a bit, tuned up the guitar, etc. Finally left around 8 and I got dumped off across the road from the museum and walked back to ye olde trench.

From there it wasn’t too bad, although kind of boring. We were just trying to find the proper deposits to dig up and it was difficult. Finally ended up locating fairly extensive surfaces of the underlying “brown stuff” and later in the day we were able to follow that around for most of the room’s surface. It wasn’t easy and it tended to dip fairly sharply toward the middle, but we took to removing all of the overlying junk. . .which, incidentally, was what I wanted to do yesterday. I somehow manage to convince them by slow degrees to do things my way. . . .most of the time.

Had a crowd in the Land Cruiser on the way back: 9 in the back, 4 in the front, three on the roof, and two hanging off the back. I got a bad picture of the back end, but need to get a full shot at some point for Car Lust. Back at the ranch, lunch was so-so (macaroni, deep fried broccoli, vegetable matter) and I changed into the galabeya again since it was pretty warm out. I have to wear it now because Sonali said it “suited me”. Far be for me to go against the opinion of attractive young females. . . .

No hot water again and little pressure so below average shower. But it could be worse. I did the basic email junk and then fiddled with my unit sheets and such, getting the elevations in, recording bags, etc. That took until a little after 5 and I am writing this at around 5:30.

Meeting at 6. I think this is some sort of female-bonding type of thing, going around telling everyone what we did that day. I don’t think a male director would ever devise this sort of thing, but women seem to want to hear each other talk a lot.

Kathryn and I are the only ones in our room, both of us hunched over our computers. We’re alike in being kind of nerdy and drinking lots of Diet Coke, but I think it mostly stops there. I’d rather not go sit upstairs for Beer O’clock, so I’m hanging out down here typing this up.

Not sure if it really was hotter today or the lack of wind was making it seem warmer, but it did seem quite a bit warmer than yesterday.

Another pair of my underwear showed up on the table today, thank God.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

21 October 2012

Cool night last night, at least relatively speaking. It probably took me half the night to bring the sleeping bag up and around, so perhaps judging it to be “cool” was a bit premature. But I slept through the night for the most part. Probably helped that I took care of some things beforehand, like paying Hammam, plus I got to assist Angela with her Access database. Side note, apropos only of being out here in the boonies, but Angela is very attractive, judging by some photos she’s got on her computer. At any rate, it was good to do some Access junk again.

Cake for breakfast again! Yum. I could get used to this, maybe I’ll give up my toast and have cake before I work out. Hmmmmmm. It tided me over quite well, I wasn’t getting very much in the way of hunger pangs by 10. Had quite the feast for second breakfast, too: tuna (can apiece), bread, yogurt, cukes, tomatoes, bell peppers. Yum. Quite satisfying.

Reasonably productive day, although we ended up – IMO – digging too many different units again. M. is a splitter and makes lots of smaller units, while D. and I are, if not lumpers, at least not as concerned about taking a lot of material out. At this point, I think we’re confident that what we have is a jumbled up deposit of collapsed wall and roof material along with a lot of blown in sand. There are separate deposits, yes, but digging each separately doesn’t seem to me to provide any more useful information than simply noting it as such and taking it all out. One could argue that we’re losing data that way, but we’re losing data anyway: we don’t, for example, map out and draw every fallen brick even though someone might be able to use that data later. Kind of a tradeoff.

I spent quite a while showing Mohammed the inspector how to map a unit. He had some difficulty but was eventually catching on; frankly, I made most of the mistakes because I was paying more attention to assisting him than to what we were actually doing. I liked it though because I did come here to teach. Near the end of the day we stumbled upon yet another granite basin, this one out in the middle of the room and not, apparently, in situ. And below the level of the other one. And no floor yet. So, odd room.

It seemed cooler today as well, I noticed that my clothes weren’t soaking wet from sweat. Not as windy as it has been either. I daresay rather. . . . .pleasant? Yes, I daresay.

Power’s out this afternoon so cold, or rather, cool, shower and no Internet. Eek! I’m without the Internet in the field! The tribulations we face. 

Starting today I shall relate what we had for dinner: boxed kofta -- like kofta fish sticks -- a hot sauce, bread, and some sort of dessert which I don't care for. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

20 October 2012 (Saturday)

A bit of catching up. Thursday was a decent day at the site, although quite warm. I spent most of the morning finishing up the one unit (3591) in the one room, mostly just clearing off the profusion of objects sitting on the surface. Nerve-wracking to be honest. I even stepped on and broke a sherd. But I got it fairly well cleaned off, took photos, and then the others came by and oohed and ahhed at it. Later on they asked me to clear away another area of rubble and sand (yippee) and toward the end of the day I uncovered an intact (so far) granite basin. So, lots of fun stuff to find.

We went back, had lunch, and then set out for Cairo and the Tiba Hotel near the pyramids. Turned out to be a decent place, much better than the May Fair: clean, functional, fairly modern, and everything worked. We met the Vikings over at Le Meridien for dinner; they all had the LE185 buffet and I just had a pizza ala carte. I preferred mine mainly because I wasn't all that hungry but I did sit there through two buffet trips feeling a little stupid. We didn't do anything after that, although we'd planned on swimming, but just went back to our hotel and went to bed. Wonderful night's sleep, until 5:30.

We were meeting in the lobby at 7 Friday morning to go to the 'Mids, and thus we did. We went to the Mena House and had a spot of breakfast first, and then hit the Pyramids. The hawkers are all back so it was kind of irritating and the girls got hornswaggled into a camel ride and then had a bit of a row on the payment. Otherwise, it was quite humid. I wasn't all that interested in them; I think once was enough for me, but Rachel and I looked at the small pyramid and mastaba field while the rest went back to FelFellas. We were very and hungry and thirsty by the time we got there. Nice just walking around with her though.

After that, a few of us set off to the "Dandy Mall" and CarFoures, but our taxi driver took us on a long journey through the middle of Cairo including a demonstration (I snagged a flyer they were handing out). We finally made it after driving for like a half hour and beginning to think we were going all the way to Alexandria. But there it was. CarFoures had all that I needed (sans shorts) and I also got some ice cream. Hence, I am set for supplies.

Went back to Meridien for the pool (!!!!) but was only able to swim for like 10 minutes because they closed it at dusk; well worth it though, that couple of laps was joyous. Met Elaine who just arrived and then went in two batches to FelFella's again (YUM), and then headed back to camp. Cramped ride, but okay. Oh, I bought Sayid a new soccer ball at CarFoures, he liked it, made me feel good, too.

Today was paperwork day and breakfast was at 7, I was up at 5:30, but the door was locked. Breakfast was okay, I used my new Nutella knockoff, 'Nussa' for a change of pace. The rest of the morning was figuring out what all I needed on the unit forms and writing some more notes and junk like that. Also spent TOO MUCH TIME getting my iPod camera to connect to the Macbook. Grrrr. Finally rebooted and, voila!, it worked. Hence, I will at least have something to take photos with, for a while at least. Still need to work on the other camera.

Rest of the day is lunch, goofing off, and. . . goofing off. Maybe annotating photos.

Kitten running around, I hope he A) Does okay, but B) Stays outside and doesn't come in. =(

Later: Was feeling very down a while ago, for some reason. Perhaps it's all of the estrogen floating around this place, I have little in common with anyone (but the scenery sure is nice). The money I owed Hammam didn't help and I'd been all worried -- there's that word again -- that the galabeya would be like 600 pounds or something. Turned out it was only 135 for the whole batch of stuff! Deal o' the century.  But, I dunno, maybe a wee bit homesick as well. Too much sitting around today probably, I prefer to be working.

Friday, October 19, 2012

19 October 2012 (Friday)

Quick entry, more tomorrow. Just got back to camp after a 'weekend' in Cairo. Obtained supplies, took three showers (one after SWIMMING!), and obtained supplies. Seems much cooler than yesterday, too. Thankfully tomorrow is a lab day. But a good time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

17 October 2012 (Wednesday)

Almost the end of the week! Seemed like a long day today. We started by clearing yet more sand out of the rooms and had a pretty good time doing so. I thought. A few things started popping up as we got further down including a big-ass stone vessel. Then Rachel got pulled away to start another trench elsewhere ( =( ) and then the really cool stuff started showing up: a couple more pots, a threshold, and more roofing material. It appears that we are very close to the room floor and should be able to clear it out tomorrow. Don't know what I'll  do then, although Willeke said after the Eid I'll be going to the house area with some other guy. Would rather continue with Rachel as we work well together, but, eh.

Food is starting to be an issue. Breakfast yesterday was awful and it's starting to be same-old same-old. And I haven't even been here two weeks! I'll survive. It was windy again today, so my eyes are bothering me, but not too bad. Very thirsty this afternoon, although whether it's from the heat or the salty lunch, I don't know. But I need to drink a lot this afternoon. I decided to go to Giza with the other peeps tomorrow, although I was going to stay here instead; but I need to get $$$ from an ATM for the Amarna trip and snag a few other items as well.

Last night was quite warm and/or humid as I didn't cover up the entire night. Had to take an Ambien, too as I was kind of wound up. But I slept quite well and didn't wake up until almost 4:30. Oddly, I've only had one very weird and vivid dream so far, one involving my Mustang. Usually on these trips I have a lot of those, but this one has been very normal thus far.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

16 October 2012

Not a bad day today. I slept most of the way through the night. It was fairly warm last night, but I still had to cover up at some point. Had to go to the bathroom all night though, I must be acclimating to the heat. Disappointing breakfast, they only put out some breadsticks. I'd saved my dinner bread so I had something more substantial, but still, we can't survive on that. Plenty for 2nd breakfast though. It started out fairly windy and cool, but the wind died down by 8 and we put away our jihadi scarves in favor of hats. We were doing okay, although the way we were defining deposits was confusing me, and later in the day we batted around the idea of just calling all the sand and bricks and junk one big deposit and pulling it all out. It was a nice discussion and one of the reasons I really love coming on these things, because we can talk at length about something I'm really interested in. Enjoyed working with Rachel immensely; if I needed a BFF on this project, it'd be her.

Otherwise, we found a few neat items: a metal knife, some fabric, another wood thingie, and a couple of pig/boar mandibles which I thought were really cool because they were largely intact.

Monday, October 15, 2012

15 October 2012 (Monday)

Windy night last night. I slept okay, although my bladder was rather full the whole night which was uncomfortable. And I woke up at 3:30 thinking surely it must be nearly 4:30. *sigh* Also dogs were barking.

It RAINED! Just about a half hour ago! Not much, mind you, but I felt drops. First time in Egypt for me, I think. Maybe in Alexandria in 1988, can't recall exactly. Interesting. It was windy at the site all morning as well, so windy I had to use a scarf from Maria to use as a jihadi head covering. But I learned how to wrap my head with it and it worked reasonably well at keeping out the sand. We actually quit around 9:30 because it was too windy, but after an extended second breakfast -- and urging from Willeke -- we went back out. Which was fine although my eyes werent working too well even with the diminished wind. We found a few interesting items including a textile and another little wooden locking mechanism or whatever. And some basketry. Otherwise it was just more plowing through sand which is rather distressing.

Now, mosquitoes: Or whatever is biting me. I keep getting these 'swarms' of bites: a bunch around my right knee, a bunch on my lower back, and my right elbow (all on the left side, hmmmmm). Most of them don't itch, and I'm wondering if they're really mosquitoes or something else, like fleas.

They're having a BBQ party upstairs but I came down here early since I'm kind of tired and my eyes are still kind of wonky. Plus, eh, I'm not good at parties. Plus I have to keep reminding myself I'm here to work, etc. The kofta was very good though, as was the vegetable dish. Fatima is really a very good cook.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

14 October 2012

Miserable day in the field: very windy and we were digging in sand all day. Blowing all over the place and getting in my eyes. I put my shades on at one point, which helped some, but it was still fairly miserable. And I need Q-Tips desperately: I wiped out my ears with my towel after my shower and it came out full of sand and junk. Also need another towel.

Second breakfast was good, we had hard boiled eggs! Nice change. I was actually a bit stuffed afterwards.

Last night (post writing) I had a bit of a scare: I couldn't find my iPad. I've been religiously putting in my briefcase but it wasn't there. Looked everywhere, including all of my luggage and stuff. Seriously panicking. I finally found it stuck between my mattress and a folded up sheet under my pillow. I did NOT put it there. I think little Sayid may have snuck in there to play games on it and was unable to get past the locking, and stuff it in there for some reason. Little brat. Definitely keeping closer track of it from now on though.

Otherwise, Rachel was ill today, probably food poisoning from some dates she ate yesterday (I demurred). I did, however, finally get into doing the paperwork and drawing for one unit, so I'm a bit less intimidated by it now. We'll have to see how things go later, not sure where I want to work.

I slept well last night, thanks to the improved mosquito netting (thanks, Dan!). Still treating this as something of a . . . monastic retreat. Whenever I start getting ornery at the lack of creature comforts I remind myself that I'm here to work and get my head straightened out, not have a nice time. That's helped a lot, and I hope it continues throughout.

I've started to adopt a 'don't look' policy when roaming around, either on foot or in the car. I don't want to see animals in distress. Too much for my psyche. I'm okay kind of going through the next 7 weeks with some blinders on.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

13 October 2012

We actually started work today. Well, digging. Last night was nice, I was safe from mosquitoes for the first time. I checked my right leg and by the knee there was something like 20 bites. None of them itch, thank God. But it was a restful night for once. Until 3 am when the trucks with cattle started showing up. I went back to sleep for a bit so it wasn't too bad. Had a devil of a time getting down the road though.

We started excavating in the old granary, mostly removing sand looters had thrown up, though there was some neat stuff in it, like a woven mat. Hard to differentiate layers though. Still almost all sand. I did a lot of shoveling as there was a deep area of disturbed sand so I was pretty well tuckered out by lunch. Fortunately, I'd eaten a lot for breakfast so I made it until 10 reasonably well. Need to put sunscreen on my arms though. Tomorrow I get to start my own unit which means mostly mapping it and then excavating. Fun!

One more person showed up, seems okay. Kathryn bought me a new pair of headphones AND a big ol' bottle of Diet Coke, bless her heart! I may have to start lifting goofas some to keep in shape. And drink more water.

There was apparently some trouble in Cairo yesterday, but we knew nothing about it. May as well have been on the moon. Some of them were in Cairo, but it didn't affect them either. So far a pleasant, boring trip.

12 October (Friday)

First day off!
Everyone went to Cairo except Dan and I and it was only the two of us, Hans, and Willeke last night. Had a nice chat with them for most of three hours last night while they drank beer and I drank. . . .Crystal Light. They left at around 6 this morning. Happily, I slept quite okay last night, although I forgot to reset my alarm and woke up at 4:30, which was really okay since I’d mostly slept through the night anyway. Plus I’ll be ready for tomorrow. Sadly there was no water to start off the morning so I couldn’t shave. Breakfast was small, two fried eggs and a piece of bread each. Ugh. Must do something about this. Perhaps I can buy some PB&J at some point and at least have some bulk in the morning.

I decided to walk over to the highway to buy some soda and started off around 8, and it was already pretty warm. I think I had walked 40 minutes or so and hadn’t yet reached the highway when I ran across a little store and negotiated with the proprietor for 3 cans of Coke and 2 big bottles. 13 pounds altogether. On the way back a couple of kids came by on a motorcycle and gave me a ride home. Ha! Easy morning. And I was decidedly Coke-enabled at least for the time being.

Of course, an hour after I returned Hamman came back with several cases of soda. Grrr. Oh well. . . . .

I mostly read the remainder of the morning, although I had to buy a Snickers to keep from starving until lunch which came an hour early so it was almost a waste. I’m juggling several books so far: Dune: The Machine Crusade, some other dumb Sci-Fi book from the ‘50s I downloaded, and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. The latter is mostly reserved for bedtime and I keep switching back and forth between the other two. I kind of want to keep the Dune book going the whole trip, and I can certainly download other books at will now.

I had planned on installing screen mesh on the flophouse windows for mosquito protection – Willeke suggested that as a project – but Hammam said that was the wrong screen and he’d do it tomorrow. So much for that project. Instead I decided to go check out the deposits on the other side of the road, but not before helping to unload about 50 boxes of bottled water. Then I went across the street and decided I should try to walk down to the lake. . . .at 1:30, the hottest part of the day. So I did, but never quite made it to the lake. After a half hour I was still at least a mile away and the road was going the wrong way. So I turned back. On the way out I helped a few people push-start a car and picked up a bag some guy on a motorcycle dropped. Mr. Helpful. Two dead dogs by the side of the road, too, and an escaping homar.

I took a shower upon returning and then bemoaned by mosquito fate to Dan who said there was an old net in one room and I might try using that. Yay! Took a while to get it set up properly, as it wouldn’t fit over the whole bed so I had to arrange it along with the tent one to give full coverage. As it was, much of my legs were uncovered and I have about a dozen bites along my left side where they infiltrated my defense. Hopefully, this will work out okay.

Afterwards, Sayid bugged me to play games on my iPad, and I finally relented. Hmm, I might actually try a couple when he’s not around. We ended up playing each other in one game and Fatima came in at one point and put her hands on both of our heads, whether out of disgust, affection, or simple womanly resignation at the male psyche. But hey it was kind of fun. Until din-din I’ll probably just read and check out Google Earth maybe to find the best way back to the Lake.

11 October 2012

Day started much too early, 2 am. Just could not get back to sleep. I wasn’t too upset though because the last two days I’d slept quite well. Still, wasn’t a great way to start off the first day working on site. Oddly, the only thing I really worried about was that I opened a window in the Beyt Sobek house to let a sparrow out and didn’t close it. I might walk over tomorrow and close it. For certain tomorrow I will go to the main road refreshment shack and hopefully clean them out of Pepsi Light. If they have any, that is. . . . .heck, I might even go for the sugared stuff since our food rations aren’t that great.

At any rate, we got to the site, took a little more of a tour around to find likely places to excavate. We then cleaned off some walls in one area that will have some more excavation this year and then started drawing. I think Rune had done it last 8 years ago and me, maybe 25. We finally got Maria involved and it went better; I eventually moved on to doing something else since they seemed to work better together in Danish. I mostly assisted in cleaning out another room for the rest of the day and got ridiculously full of dust because it was windblown sand and dust that we were clearing. We quit a little bit early; I told Willeke that I’d not brought enough water with me and she decided to just stop a bit early for this first day (plus a car was heading for Cairo). But I need to consume more water.

I’m a little nervous about tomorrow. Only two of us will be here and it will prove to be boring I think, although it will be nice to have no one else around and just relax after a hectic first week. That and the fact that we’re really pretty stranded and dependent on the project for food and drink. But I’m . . . trying to not be disappointed or anything. Really, I’m not heading that way, although I will say it’s a bit less than I expected. Last night for example, I wasn’t all that anxious about things, and kept telling myself that, again, I’m not here for comfort and relaxation, I’m here to work, to be purposefully uncomfortable, and really prepare myself for the rest of my life. I know that sounds a bit melodramatic, but it’s true in a way: I did come here to knock some sense into my head. Thus, no guilt, no regret, no nothing except doing the best work I can at all times. Kind of like boot camp. . . . .a reminder of what I should be like anyway.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

10 October 2012 (Wednesday)

Slept reasonably well last night, first in the tent. It cooled down nicely in there overnight, although when I went to bed I didn’t cover up at all. Sometime in the middle of the night I pulled the sleeping bag over me. I initially woke up at 3, but happily went back to sleep and mostly stayed that way until 6. I actually took a shower this morning and shaved, which made me feel tremendous.

We all drove to Medinet Fayum this morning – Hammam’s driving scares me to death – and we got all of our permissions signed, etc. I saw my old inspector from my disastrous 1994 project, although he didn’t recognize me. Then we went to the police station and had some tea there, etc. Sadly, we went straight out to the site after that without any food in between: we’d eaten a fairly light breakfast at 8 so by that time (noonish) we were hungry, but got some baked yams at the roadside and that (barely) held us over.

Spent a bit of time at Karanis, first looking over the old U Michigan house that’s been restored (I opened a window to let a bird out) and then went and toured the rest of it. Not as many walls still intact as I remember, although I may have been interpreting based on my other places where there were virtually no standing walls. Few temples still intact as well so it was interesting, but we were all very tired, hot, and hungry.

We got home around 2:15 and scarfed down lunch, which was rice, kofta, and vegetable junk – delicious, but we’d have eaten anything at that point. After that I had a karkadea and then took a shower. Tomorrow I will start just shaving in the morning as is my usual schtick on these things (I like to feel somewhat clean first thing). This evening we’re going to go over the field forms and be ready for tomorrow.

Not sure about this. . . .I have a feeling that the sediments and our determination of what constitutes a deposit will be pretty ‘lumpy’ compared to what I’m used to. Still, I may end up worrying overnight – as I am wont to do, you know – but I’ll try to keep that in check.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

9 October 2012

At the site. I have my tent, which I shall not be sharing, probably. Not bad, a little warm but it’s cooling off nicely. We set out around 12:30. The field house is very large and there are three bathrooms/showers for us guys and three sinks, so that should present no problem in the morning. The field school itself was actually cancelled due to the Sep 11 junk, so we’re a smaller group and will be just working on the excavating. Probably better since there will be fewer people.

I got my internet access set up (6.5gb/month) and a cell phone, all for around LE300, about $50. Well, maybe $75. I met the other three in the Vodaphone store, two younger ladies and a guy. Nice people so far. Oddly, one of the girls smokes. But all seem very okay.

Tomorrow is an easy day, probably going to Fayum City. Don’t know when dinner is around here [later: 7], but the food so far was delicious.Dinner was simpler, some fried eggs and bread and tomatoes. Most everyone else is getting their sleeping situations settled and I am the only one in the house (besides the help). At 5 we all met on the roof and chatted away and drank gin and tonics -- even I had one, although I nursed it for like an hour. Didn't really feel anything from it, which is good. Breakfast tomorrow isn't until 8, so I hope I make it until then. I'll need to grab some food for such situations. 

Tent: They look old fashioned, like teepees, and are less spacious than I'd thought; I don't know how they expected to fit two people into each one, two cots barely fit. But I think I will not be sharing since fewer people are here. And it does have a light bulb and an outlet, so I don't need my various flashlights. It was very warm in there this afternoon but it's cooled down nicely. I made sure to pick one on the west side near the wall so it gets in shade sooner. All in all, it should be quite comfortable. The showers and sinks are also separate so we shouldn't be stepping on each other's toes in there and I can undoubtedly shave in the morning with no problem. 

Hence, most of my fears and worries -- as I probably predicted -- came to mostly naught, although I spent a bit more money than I expected to....they were startup costs though, and I should be spending much less from now on.

8 October 2012


Made a big boo-boo upon arriving: Had arranged for two drivers, ended up paying for both of them. So in my attempt to save a few bucks I ended up spending even more. LEARN. At any rate, this hotel sucks. Dumpy little room in heavily congested downtown, not even an AC – well, there is one, but it doesn’t work – and not even a fan. Christ, I hope this gets reimbursed because I don’t want to pay good money for this.

I was actually in a good mood up until this point. The flight over was okay, and the old woman and I became fast friends, at least I helped her with a lot of stuff. I slept some, but not much, perhaps an hour or so. The airport is quite new and I went through easily and the (one) driver was already there so off we went. Much traffic, but we got here in one piece. So basically all was going great until we hit the hotel. I was thinking on the plane that maybe I’d turned the corner for good and would be plunging in with no worries at all, but of course now I’m second guessing my entire decision to come here. Must go out and get something to eat and drink and such, maybe find the other people.

Feeling a bit better now, I spent a couple of hours just wandering the neighborhood to find a few items, mainly Diet Pepsi, shaving junk, and a couple of other things. For a while I was seriously doubting my choice, but after getting most of the stuff, eating an ice cream, and now sitting on the terrace drinking water and WiFi-ing, it seems pretty okay. Very pleasant in the shade her, the horns have mostly stopped blaring. Kind of hoping some of the other peeps show up so I have someone to talk to, or else I’ll be forced to wander the streets again to keep from falling asleep. And need to find a dinner spot. Saw a couple local places that looked interesting.

7 October 2012 (Sunday)

In flight from NYC to Cairo.
So far, so good. I managed to sleep most of the way through the night last night, waking up on my own at 3:30, 10 minutes before the alarm went off. Left the house a little after 5 for the 7:10 flight and everything went according to plan. The flight here was pretty good, nice and smooth and I slept for perhaps ½ hour. Before I got on I was sitting with a woman and her daughter (probably) who had two French bulldog puppies traveling with them. Not too energetic – the dogs – but neither wanted to say Hi to me. I had a window seat which pleased and surprised me since I had selected an aisle one; I guess my preference for a window got me switched.

JFK was a zoo. Really, I felt like I was already in a developing country. Construction going on all over, lousy signs, a train that no one could figure out, etc. (even the puppy ladies who I chatted a bit with twice after we landed). I had no idea which train I was getting on so I hopped on one at random and it was luckily the right one, else I might have gone out to.. . . somewhere. Well, it was an educated guess after observing which one the puppy ladies got on.

I ate my sandwich – bought yesterday afternoon – and it was meh, okay. I had to get a donut (my first Dunkin’!) afterwards. Right now I’m feeling a bit peckish. . . .

Once I found the terminal (#4) I went through screening again (yippee) and then walked back and forth in the (small) terminal. Spousal Unit called and was all weepy. It’s actually kind of irritating, she really oughtn’t be this upset. Probably good for both of us to be doing this. The TVs in the gate area had football on but I was almost completely uninterested; I’ve mostly moved out of Western civ mode now. The plane is probably 2/3 to ¾ full and I have an empty seat between me and the old lady by the window so it should be reasonably comfortable. Also the flight time to Cairo has been cut down from 10.5 to 9.25 hours so even less time on this infernal contraption. Getting in an hour earlier so I might have to either wait for hotel car or get the one Mary arranged. Well, it’s a nice plane, a 777-300. NICE. I’m listening to Peter Gabriel’s “So” album on the entertainment system as I type this. They also have a few movies worth watching. I’m glad I can listen to this album, it was released when I was just starting grad school and is putting me in a proper frame of mind.

The old lady next to me just asked if I could open something for her, and she seems pleasant enough, speaks a little English.

I read most of the way from Seattle, one of the Dune books. Probably will watch a movie on this one and hopefully sleep a bit.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

6 October 2012 (Saturday)

Writing this late afternoon the day before I leave for Egypt. Just came upstairs from watching some 1980s Rewind concert and recalling those heady days when. . .I didn't really worry about anything. What happened? Why am I so stressed out about going to Egypt? Or about nearly everything? Is it just the normal aging process? Is it possible to recapture that 'innocence' -- or maybe I should call it 'normality' -- that I had then? Just go and do it and don't think twice? I dunno. . . .was I more sensible then or now? I seem to have come through youth okay without worrying about every little thing, why can't I do the same now? I know, I know, I've asked myself this question many times before, and I never come up with a good answer for why not, but it still doesn't sink in and stick. I plan on coming back from there not fearing anything.

Didn't sleep all that great last night, and tonight will be an Ambien night so I at least get to sleep. Early morning, too, must get up around 3:30 (almost normal for me). Spousal Unit is crying quite a bit; you'd think she'd be used to this by now (or at least glad to see me go away for a while!). I don't know what she's crying about, she gets to stay home here. Oh well, the life of an adventurer. . . .

Oh, making Civil War mac & cheese for dinner. Not very hungry, but it's the Spousal Unit's birthday. I kind of wish we'd gone out.

Friday, October 5, 2012

5 October 2012

Friday. Jack woke me up around 4:15 -- when I was still in the bed! -- so I got up, drank a soda, and went to the gym. For the second time I just had one toast and it worked well. I think perhaps it was better since I wasn't as full. So, that will be my new habit once I return. I got hooked up with Nash, the Coptic Egyptian, on Facebook so we'll be in touch. Went to the HUB to east bagels so I didn't have to rush to get the bus -- I wanted a good, long, hard workout and I got it. Ran on the track for ten minutes and then cycled for a bit. Had to scarf down the second bagel because I checked the bus schedule and it was NOT on a 1/2-hour schedule.

At home, cleaned the bathroom first, then collected up all the money in the coin jar: including the $20s I'd been putting in, it came to $280. After lunch I went to the bank and cashed in the coins and took some more out for travel and I end up with $500 which should be plenty: I survived on $300 a month over there paying for everything. But, can never be too safe. I met Fiona at SBux one last time and also put $50 on my SBux card to use in Egypt if I can. We had a nice visit. Plenty of eye candy for me that we could discuss and even a few for her!

AND when I came home I made biscuits! AND they were actually edible! More than that, very, very good ones. I made them with buttermilk and 6T of butter and it worked very well. Little salty, but otherwise the right texture and not too dry or anything. Excellent. We walked to Rite-Aid and got some more mints for me, that's about it. Football and cleaning this bag here -- with a combination lock we don't know the combination to -- and that's it for today.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

4 October 2012 (Thursday)

A good day today: Well, except that I woke up at 3:45, but I still haven't felt too bad. That also meant that I drank a soder before working out, ergo, good workout. I decided to go downtown and return the gate keys to HRA myself rather than making Jen come over or meet somewhere this weekend. It was my fault anyway, and, well, my new philosophy of going the extra mile for others reared its head, so I did that. Turned out well because I hit most of the buses just right, although I forgot my reading glasses so I was kind of limited, but was able to read email and junk on the iPad.

I got back around 10 I think and started cleaning the house. I did my room first, clearing off my desk, dusting, getting my field gear in order, sweeping, vacuuming, etc. Much nicer in here and I feel okay about leaving it nice and clean. Mostly I just got rid of some clutter elsewhere in the house, dusted and did the floors so the place looks reasonably clean and presentable so the Spousal Unit doesn't have a lot of cleaning to do. In the afternoon, I went to Silver Platters for a movie for Spousal Unit's birthday, which I found, and then. . . .OMG, they have hundreds of LPs for sale! I probably could have snagged a dozen or more, but I refrained. Well, I got two: Styx's Equinox and ZZ Top's Deguello. My first ZZ Top album! I'm liking it. Neither was in mint condition and the ZZ one was kind of crackly, so much so that I washed it in the sink. Sounds better now but still some crackles. Actually for the most part they both sound great. And I grabbed some plastic sleeves to protect some of my other ones.

Other than that, not much going on. Some apprehension today about leaving, but still mild, certainly much less than I had been feeling. I've been listening to a lot of early 1980s music and that's continued to help immensely.

Must go watch football now. . . .

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

3 October 2012

Another odd sort of day. Slept okay, and once again worked out on an empty stomach. This was an upper body day so I was kind of expecting it to not go well, but it really did. Okay, part of it may have been the not only hot but also incredibly in-shape female that was in close proximity (she's been down there before, very buff), but I still didn't really feel any weakness. Probably makes sense, as any food I eat right before going wouldn't have made it into my system anyway. It was still uncomfortable having a growling and unhappy stomach, but didn't really affect things. I'll not continue it, but tomorrow I'm going to try cutting down to one piece of toast. It actually made me feel better after eating my bagels, not as full. So, hmmmmm.

I went over to have the blood drawn right after and then to the HUB again for bagels and some quickie stats work before heading down to Harborview. Had a decent meeting with Xtine and we worked out some things. Pretty much the end of my contribution until I get back. I think I may be getting affiliate status through them, although they had some question about being affiliated in two departments. But I made it back to the UVil in time for lunch, which we had at the Italian joint. Went right back home and I found my new paper posted. I read it through and found some typos, so I felt bad about not proof-reading it well enough (the goofs were in the translation to the web, not my original text). Still reads pretty well, I think. I hope it gets some attention.

Otherwise, I just messed around getting some minor things done for Egypt, like copying my passport and such. We got some final supplies tonight so I'm pretty much set. I'll spend tomorrow getting everything together in one pile and probably preparing the iPad and Macbook with all the necessary files and junk, and then just take it easy for two days. Started getting a little added anxiety later today, probably because I'd finished the Coptic stuff and thus didn't have anything else pending to do. I'll read Ulysses again tonight and hopefully that will get me back in proper mental form.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2 October 2012 (Tuesday)

Weird morning. SLept okay, and then did not eat anything before going to the gym. . . .which was tough. Today was leg day and my back hurts so I had to take it easy anyway, but working out on an empty stomach was difficult. Can't tell if it made any difference, but it felt uncomfortable. Trouble is I have to do it again tomorrow: I went over the Hall Health at 8 am. . .only to find out that they don't open the lab until 9 but only on Tuesdays! ($#^(^@$!!!!! Instead of sitting around for an hour being hungry I went to the HUB and ate my bagels there and then headed downtown to return some stuff to HRA and have coffee with Jenny, which was quite pleasant. I got home by 11:30 and then just ate lunch and worked the rest of the afternoon on my traditional Halloween "Great Cars of Death" post, this year on Franz Ferdinand's death car. I learned quite a bit from this one, although the car made up only a small portion of the post. Concentrated work though, I was weary after finishing it.

That's about it. Brats for dinner, walk to the post office, a little blogging, and I'm done. Still had a pretty good day, anxiety-wise. Perhaps I've turned a corner. . . .

Monday, October 1, 2012

1 October 2012

The day started fairly inauspiciously with me actually not waking up until the alarm, although I spent a good bit of time awake last night. Meh, not really that bad. Had a great workout. Then, however, I went to the bus stop for the 7:47 and . . . nothing. And nothing. Until 8:10. Checked the little schedule at the stop: 7:47 all right. Quite irritated, I thought about asking the driver if I was really supposed to pay for this crap. Got home and checked the online schedule only to find that it had changed to 7:42, so I'd missed it. Grrrrrr. At least I made some use of the time and canceled my dr. appt for tomorrow.

Actually, the rest of the day went well. I spent the morning doing some piddly stuff but also did some work on the Coptic stuff and found I'd miscalculated a date range, but fixed that right up. That lasted until 12:30 when the Spousal Unit finally got out of a meeting and we went to McD's for lunch, where I only ate fries. For some reason, I just wanted french fries. After coming home I left to do some errands, specifically to buy said Spousal Unit a b-day gift (2 CDs so far) and have one last try for dig shoes, with no luck. Well, I found some great ones at Penney's but they only had like one pair and not my size. Think I'll just stick with my Converse and hope for the best. . . .but bring some heavy socks, just in case. One young lady at the DSW suggested I just tape over the notch on the bottoms of the Converse. . .why didn't I think of that?!

At any rate, once I got home it was already 3:30 so I didn't do much except post a couple ArchaeoBlog articles and then piddled around again. We went to UVil for bagels and thence to City Peoples for some plant spray. We also saw a big ol' rat in the back yard grubbing around. It was so big we thought it was a squirrel at first. He lives in the rock wall so I'm not too worried about him. We will stop crow-posting for a while. I fear Taya will have to get traps or call an exterminator while I'm away. And we'll probably have to replace the slab or perhaps they can inject something under it to shore it up.

I am feeling better about the trip today. I think my reading Tennyson's Ulysses of last night may have triggered something from these lines:
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees:
. . .
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life.
. . .
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

Started me thinking that perhaps this is just me: I have to do stuff like this. Unlike the Spousal Unit who can do her "great things" by being an exemplary employee and really living for the home life and family, maybe I just have to derive my sense of fulfillment from doing things like this. As I've written about having a goal to keep me going, perhaps it's just needing to push against something outside of my self that gives me reason to get up every morning, not just working for a paycheck and being comfortable at home. I got the excavation manual today and briefly went off the rails a bit, but I actually found myself looking forward to it more, now that I have the business at hand to take care of. Well, something to think about.

Can't eat until after I work out and have my blood drawn tomorrow. Working out on an empty stomach, this ought to be interesting. . . .