linaewen: (Star Trek Yay by stargater)
I'm back in Chicago after an extended time in Wisconsin, doing all kinds of things -- though my main reason for being there was my 35th high school class reunion.  It was a two-evening event, and we had a blast!  It was great seeing all my classmates, and we had a lovely time catching up.  Most of my closest growing-up-together friends were there, and we talked until we were blue in the face.  It was just a really good time.  :-)

Of course, I stayed up too late too many nights in a row and came down with a cold, but that's the way it goes!  So I have a rumbly cough now and a bit of a buzzy head.  But it's actually a relief in a way to have a real cough instead of that annoying one I have had for the past 6 months.  That one, btw, is dormant at the moment, due to taking another round of prednisone.  Nice to have some relief from that for now!  I'm going to the doctor for a physical soon, and we'll be sure to talk about the future of that situation.

Aside from the reunion, I got to spend time with other family and friends, and hang out in my old haunts a bit.  And I spent time with my DS for a day or two before coming back to Chicago.  DH was stuck down here the whole time by himself,  but he kept busy and was fine.

My Dear Husband is currently thinking hard about whether he should be going to Pakistan or not to help with getting relief efforts organized, particularly in the area where we used to live, which was pretty hard hit.  People with organizations that are collecting funds for aid are keen to have him help with that, as they need a rep like him who knows the people and the Pakistani staff who are doing the work now, and can assess the damage first hand and decide how funds should be distributed.  If he decides to do it, he'll probably need to go next month sometime.  It would only be a short term thing, but it's a significant decision!  Prayers and good thoughts on his behalf would be welcome!

It's time for breakfast, so I guess I better get a move on my day.  Have a good one, my dears!
linaewen: (Shikamaru Mendokusai)
Time for an update!  Think I'll use bullet form, as it's more concise.
  • I am royally sick of coughing.  As far as I can tell, the only time I've been cough free this year is when I'm taking prednisone.  I might resort to that one more time before I see my doc next month, since I have a refill and since the coughing is getting to be pretty much unbearable.  I thought it was improving there for awhile, but either I was mistaken or the cough changed its mind and came back with friends.
  •  
  • The latest update from Pakistan is that those friends of ours who have lost their homes are going to be moving in to the housing on the compound where we used to live.  So our empty house will be useful again, yay!  Seems like there is more rain coming up north, and that will swell the river again and the whole mess could start all over.  :-(  I'm praying otherwise!
  •  
  • I just got back from a trip to New Jersey for a conference that was a nice break and a good time of visiting people we don't see often -- it would have been more relaxing if I could have coughed less throughout!
  •  
  • I am getting organized to go to Wisconsin for a week, partly to touch base with my dad and my son, but also to attend my 35th class reunion.  I'm really looking forward to that, it will be fun!  I had a great time at the last one, and I don't expect it to be any different this time around.  I'm looking forward to see friends I haven't seen for years, as well as the ones that I see every time I visit my home town.
  •  
  • The deadline for the Finish-a-thon I am taking part in, trying to get some more chapters written on Lords of Gondor, is coming up on Friday.  I am afraid I'm not going to make it, though I will go down trying.  I committed to 8,000 words, and I have only produced 2,000 so far -- though there is at least one chapter brewing that should be ready this week and which will up the count a bit.  Hopefully I'll have some time to work on this goal AND have the concentration it takes to actually stick to it to try to make it happen.  Concentration is rather lacking these days.  ;-)
Well, I have to get organized to go supervise some English students.  Hopefully there will be enough teachers available today that I won't have to teach.  I"m allergic to teaching these days, since it makes me cough.  ;-)
linaewen: (Pakistan Flag)
Sorry I've been out of touch -- what with this and that going on and being at a conference this past week where the internet is unreliable, I've not been able to post much, or even read my friends list.  However, I'm trying to catch up as best I can today, while the wireless is working.

As you can imagine, we have been watching the news of flooding in Pakistan with much interest and concern, knowing that rain and flooding in the north invariably leads to even more flooding further downstream for those cities located near the Indus River -- as well as those connected to it via irrigation canals.

One city where we lived for 10 years was severely flooded recently, but we have heard that the property where some of our belongings are still stored is dry and safe, and some of the villages in the area were spared -- though certainly, others were flooded and I expect some people we know and call friends are struggling right now with loss of property and difficult conditions.

Just today we heard news of the other area in which we lived for the last 8 years we were overseas -- and that area has not fared as well.  One town where we know a number of people was entirely flooded up to the roofs of the houses.  All our dear ones seem to have made it out safely, however, so we are very glad about that.  But they will have lost everything.  In the city where we lived, our neighborhood was evacuated for a time, but the water was diverted and it so our compound for the time being is safe and dry, and our friends there are opening the place up to those who have lost their homes.  They are concerned, however, that the pressure from the flooding (which is still great) will compromise the canals which run through all the cities, and if this happens, those areas which are currently dry and safe will be in danger from uncontrolled water.  And more rain is predicted.  Normally, rain is a desired thing in this part of Pakistan, but now people are praying for the rain to stop!

I trust you'll all join me in lifting these people up and praying for their well-being -- especially for those canals to hold strong, and for those good people who are sheltering others left homeless to be encouraged!
linaewen: (Pakistan Flag)
That was the cry from most of the floats at the parade we went to yesterday -- a parade celebrating Pakistan Independence Day (which actually was August 14th, but they held the parade on Sunday).  It means "Long Live Pakistan."  That parade was one of several events taking place in the South Asian part of Chicago this past weekend -- as India also celebrated Independence Day on the 15th with a parade, and our South Asian Friendship Center held a block party on Saturday to coincide with both events.

I was in charge of the food tent for the block party, which involved free water, lemonade, popcorn and watermelon.  I didn't really have my head on straight properly to be on top of things for the block party, due to arriving from our trip to New Jersey only the day before -- so I wasn't actually set up well enough before the inrush of thirsty folk after the parade.  It was almost overwhelming at first!  Also, I was stiff and sore from falling while setting up -- I tripped on a curb and fell on the grass, and bruised my knee severely (a bad bruise on top of a healing bruise from last time).  I'm such a klutz these days, I've fallen down hard twice this month!  Just rushing too much and not watching, I guess.  Anyway, that didn't help me at all to get around like I needed to, but I managed.  People who knew I had fallen helped me out a lot, so that was good!

We had a lot of volunteers from area churches to help out, which was wonderful, but my "assigned" ones always disappeared when I needed them!  Thankfully, I had a capable fellow manning the popcorn machine all day, so I didn't have to do that.  As it was, I was so busy frantically serving drinks and the other food (along with my helpers) that I hardly got a chance to even look at people, let alone chat with them.  And we were right next to one of the speakers which was blaring Hindi/Pakistani music -- fun stuff with a great beat, but so loud we couldn't hear ourselves think let alone hear what our customers were saying to us.  :-D

Local people kept taking my chairs and sitting in them along the street, so I never had one when I needed to sit down.  And I had to run back and forth a lot because we kept running out of lemonade and water.  It was a hot day, and people had been standing in the sun watching the parade, so we were a popular stop for a free drink -- plus the popcorn and watermelon.  My right arm is still stiff and sore today from slicing watermelon and pushing the spiggot on the lemonade jug repeatedly all afternoon!

In spite of all that, I was able to meet and chat with a number of my friends, as well as a bunch of kids who frequent the Center where they get help with English and schoolwork, so I was pleased about that.  And everything really went well and people had fun, and I got compliments on my Pakistani outfit -- which is nice because it's as old as the hills, but seemingly still in style and fitting properly.  ;-)

We were so busy with the block party that we didn't get to see any of the India Day parade, but we did get to see the Pakistan parade on the following day.  We actually skipped church to go see it!  It wasn't anything fancy, but it was fun to stand on the curb behind the police barricade, dressed like a Pakistani and wearing buttons that said Love Pakistan.  ;-)  It was overcast all morning, and sure enough, before the parade was over, a storm blew up.  Those poor people on the floats, lol!  We got soaked walking back home, but it was still fun.  We met lots of people we knew, and chatted a bit when the rain wasn't soaking us.  There was supposed to be a gathering in a nearby park afterwards, with booths for food and performances and such, but I didn't go.  It rained a fair bit, and then, even though it cleared up, it was really soggy out.

Anyway, I'm moving real slow today, as I'm quite stiff, and my bruised knee is a sight to behold.  I'll recover soon enough, hopefully!  It always takes a few days to recover from such a weekend, even when one doesn't fall all over the place and hurt oneself!  Too bad our lovely relaxing week in New Jersey got all used up in just two days, though!  We'll need to take another vacation now.  ;-)
linaewen: (Boromir Life is Good by fifmeister)
In Pakistan (and in other countries where people observe the Islamic month of fasting), the signal for the end of the month of Ramadan is the sighting of the first sliver of the new moon in the night sky.  The Eid festival celebrates the completion of the days of fasting, and that sliver of moon is anticipated and eagerly watched for by those who have endured the month-long fast.  Sometimes it seems to take forever for that Eid moon to appear!

There is an Urdu proverb that comes from that sense of waiting forever -- which translated means, "you have become the Eid Moon."  It is spoken to one who has been long awaited but is late in coming, particularly a close friend who has not visited for some time.  The only response to having this proverb spoken to you is to bow humbly, ask forgiveness, and reassure your friend with promises of many future visits on a regular basis!

I feel a bit like I've become the Eid Moon around here.  ;-)  Sorry about that!  I shall try to do better at posting the doings of my life on a more regular basis, as well as continuing to comment consistently on what is going on in the lives of my friends!

I spent the weekend visiting my parents, and also saw my brother a couple of times.  He's doing okay, most of the time.  When he's down, he's really down about losing his job, but when he's not, he's managing okay.  He has a few hobby-type things to keep him busy in his free time, if he could concentrate on enjoying his time instead of worrying about not having a job.  I don't blame him for worrying, though!  On Sunday, he was pleased over a couple of ads he saw in the paper for job openings which sounded appealing to him.  That's what he needs most -- ideas on what kind of job to apply for.


I have lots to keep me busy around home here, but somehow don't do very well at concentrating on any of it.  You know how it is, when you have lots of things you could do, you just can't decide where to start!  I am going through one of those times where I can think very clearly and with much resolve what I should be doing -- in the middle of the night!  However, when daytime comes it all gets foggy and I lose my focus, and thus choose the wrong thing to concentrate on.  ;-)  So basically I'm just trying to work it so that when I get to the end of the day, I can say "Shaabaash!" to myself -- well done!  Rather than saying, "Grrrrr!!  Why did I spend so much time on THAT job and forget to do THIS job?"

;-)

Even so, I am doing well, and I remain cheerful in spite of my irritatingly omnipresent List of Doom.  I trust the same is true for my dear ones in LJ Land!

Have a good day, my dears, and don't become the Eid Moon!

linaewen: (Water Carrier)
The last day or two has been spent surrounded by stacks of slides taken during our 18 years of living overseas.  We want to get them all scanned into a digital format and put on CD so they can be used and viewed more easily with better technology than a slide projector.  We have a scanner, but it does a very poor job with slides.  However, there is a local grocery store chain here that does a beautiful job with scanning and if you take in batches of 100, it only costs 10 cents per slide plus the cost of the CD.    With the number of slides we have, it will still be a hefty sum to get them all done, but it will be worth it.

So I'm having to look at each one, sorting them by type of slide mount, cleaning the ones that are dusty, then getting taking out ones that are duplicates, or blurry, or so nondescript they aren't really interesting.  It's a bit hard on my back to be sitting and sorting for so long, but it's also really a lot of fun, too.  I'm feeling all nostalgic!!  It's great to see all those places and sights and people again that we knew during that time, and remember things in a happy nostalgic way.  I have chuckled more than a few times at pics of DH fixing his Land Rover or climbing on the roof to fix our electric wire -- or shots of the incredibly bad houses we lived in over the years.  Yikes!!  I'll have to share some of those with you when they are ready, you'll be amazed at my strength and endurance and flexibility, hehe!  There also pictures of our DS when he was a wee lad, and pictures of me when I was thin!  ;-)  And of course, all the lovely ones of places we visited, sunsets we saw, mountains we climbed, and friends we still miss.

There are some slides that are a bit too dark to see well when projected, but if they are scanned we might be able to fix them up with Photoshop, so I'm also excited to be able to have access to some of the pictures I haven't had copies of before this.

Once we get all these done, we will go back and sort through ones from the REALLY old days when we were kids and newlyweds and even before that, and choose the ones worth digitalizing.  That is, if we can find them all after they have been stored for umpteen years in other people's houses!

So, that's what I'm up to today, visiting Pakistan without having to actually go there!  :-D
linaewen: (Chota Mota by juno_icons)
In other words, CHOTA MOTA!

I stayed up very late last night, and now the cold that I have staved off all winter is upon me.  It's not too as bad yet, and may still fall to Vitamin C and copious amounts of caffiene, so I won't complain too much.  For now.  ;-)

We've been busy this past week getting our new computer set up.  It works nicely, but we have encountered a few problems with Vista.  Nothing earth-shattering, just irritating.

We also had a lot of church activities last week -- something just about every night.  It's the same this weekend, with Good Friday and Easter coming up.  We're enjoying it, though, it's very uplifting and wonderful to spend time with our church family.

We are expecting snow on Thursday night and Friday. Typical Wisconsin, lol!  First day of spring by the calendar and then it snows. I remember growing up with snow falling on Easter, though. So I guess this winter is like the old days. DS and DH will both be happy, I'll be okay with it -- if it doesn't stay for months. ;-)

There was a bombing recently in Islamabad at a restaurant we were quite familiar with when we lived in the country.  Not that we ever went there, it was too expensive, but we drove by it a lot!  Two friends wrote that they had planned to eat there on the day of the bombing, but decided to save their pennies and eat elsewhere -- thank goodness!  Otherwise they would have been there and could have been hurt.  As it was, one person was killed, and a dozen or so injured, all expatriates from various embassies and NGO's.  There was picture posted in one of the online news articles -- it's so odd to see a picture of a place you recognize in a country on the other side of the world, and have it be in the news because of a bombing.  :-(

Pakistani security officials are seen at the site of Saturday's ...

Pakistani security officials are seen at the site of Saturday's bomb explosion in Islamabad, Pakistan Sunday, March 16, 2008. Pakistan's capital was on high alert and foreign embassies scrutinized security measures Sunday after a bomb exploded in an Italian restaurant crowded with foreigners, killing a Turkish aid worker and wounding 12 other people. U.S. and British embassy personnel were among the wounded


On a happier note, the sun is shining!  I am really learning to appreciate the sun this winter, after so much snow.  Hopefully it will shine tomorrow, as well, on the first day of Spring.   Before the snow comes again.  :-D
linaewen: (Water Carrier)
[info]radbooks gave me the year

1992

I turned 35 in June of 1992, and celebrated 12 years of marriage in August of that year. Other than that, if I recall correctly,1992 was a fairly quiet year for me. Which was a good thing, because we were living overseas in Pakistan at the time, and the fact that nothing really significant happened over there (that I can recall) was definitely a good thing, lol!

During the course of 1992:
  • We lived in HERE -- where we were among the staff teaching at a technical training and Bible school.
  • We drove around the country in THIS -- only ours was older and not as nice as this. ;-) Some of the places we visited were villages where the students who boarded at the technical training school were from, many of which looked just like THIS. A lovely time was had by all when we went out on such visits, because even when the drive out was a bit of an adventure, we were always rewarded by wonderful hospitality that included chai and tasty curry and good conversation. ;-)
  • Our son attended boarding school for part of that year, finishing 3rd grade and starting 4th grade.
  • We spent the summer months of 1994 HERE in order to get out of the heat. Our summer place was pretty ramshackle -- an old building built during the British Raj -- but we got to look out upon scenes like THIS every day, so that made up for it!
  • The Pakistan Cricket team led by Imran Khan won the World Cup Championship.  We still don't quite understand how the game of cricket works, but we do know this -- it was a very big deal that year to win the World Cup, even bigger than the Super Bowl is to Americans, lol!
  • In December of that year, after the usual rigamarole and red tape runaround getting our passports renewed in a foreign country and getting reentry visas granted and stamped in, we returned to the States in time for Christmas, for a six month stay before going back overseas.
A few interesting things happened in the US during that year, which we heard about on the radio:
  • I think there were elections happening.  ;-)  Bill Clinton eventually was elected president that year, defeating George Bush the elder and Ross Perot.  We voted by absentee ballot, as I recall.
  • In Wisconsin news, a thing happened in the fall of 1992 that came to be quite significant to all of us Cheeseheads -- Brett Favre was traded to the Green Bay Packers, and began his long exciting career as a starting quarterback with my favorite team.  Here's some trivia for you -- did you know that Brett Favre's first pass as a Green Bay Packer was a completion to himself?  :-D
That's all I can think of for the year of 1992!

If you would like to do this meme, let me know and I'll give you a year.  Feel free to comment on my year, even if you don't want to do the meme yourself!

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linaewen

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