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BY old dog

05/01 Direct Link
I'm tired of the story changing every time we talk to that guy. We discuss our part of the project with him, come to an agreement, and we move on and do what we said we'd do. We set up another meeting. We describe what we're doing and the direction we're headed. We look at him. He is thinking. Something sloshes in my stomach as he opens his mouth to speak. I know what is coming – he's twisted the direction somehow. We can't even get the straight story about which sort of software to use to write the final report.
05/02 Direct Link
I didn't take one of my medications this morning. I didn't fall asleep as early as I'd hoped to last night. The afternoon was difficult. If I'd been by myself I could have put my head down and fallen asleep. It has been a long time since I've been asleep before about 23:30. It is often later than that. Perhaps it is beginning to catch up to me. I left work at the accepted time instead of staying to work on all that needs to be done. I laid down to rest, but Miles and Ethan jumped on my back.
05/03 Direct Link
I went to see Dr. Beck this afternoon. I'm not sure it will help, but it can't hurt – except take time I don't want to give. I haven't told anyone about it. My knee has been bothering me for a couple of years. I just want to make sure that if it can be fixed that it causes the least amount of disruption. The wind kicked up today and blew dust everywhere. The air was bad enough that all baseball games and practices were cancelled, as were swimming practices. Martha was going to take the boys swimming this afternoon. Dust.
05/04 Direct Link
I think about our repatriation trip from time to time. A strange ambivalence possesses me when I consider it. I feel as if I'm locked in a small cage here in SA after I've been here for several months, but memories of moving from place to place for five weeks and buying everything we can remember that we think we might need for a year cause me to think that perhaps staying here wouldn't be so bad. One problem with staying is that it is illegal; we are required, by law, to be out-of-kingdom for at least fourteen consecutive days.
05/05 Direct Link
Yesterday I wrote that we must leave the kingdom for at least fourteen consecutive days. This is true. However, prior to last May's attack in Khobar the requirement was twenty-one consecutive days. Further, wives are allowed to stay away longer than in the past. Some rules have been eased. One of my largest difficulties with repat is having to spend vast stores of time visiting other people, family members particularly. I love my family, but I fear we are all easier to take in small doses. I know not how much longer my parents will live. Nevertheless, I crave solitude.
05/06 Direct Link
I must admit that I know very little of the details of the lives of the labourers here. They come here from many other poor countries; they work like oxen in plowing season; they are given very little money; they send most of that money back to family members; they are not properly valued as people by the Saudis, yet many shine with a sincere, genuine smile when greeted kindly. Could I live as they do for an extended period? Could I be that unselfish? I fear that with my melancholy temperament I would find a way to die here.
05/07 Direct Link
I nearly always look forward with a slight sense of peace and, to a much lesser degree, accomplishment to the end of the month. I know I've reached another milestone – one fewer month until retirement. What a rotten way to live, although, honestly, I could die and feel good about it. We do get paid at the end of the month (once each month at the end – no juggling bills between the mid-month and the end of month checks). I took a sleeping pill a bit earlier, and I think it is affecting my powers of whatsit. There it is.
05/08 Direct Link
I feel as if I spent vast sums today, when in actuality it was a relatively small amount. I bought flowers to give to Martha for Mothers' day. The bouquet includes some of her favorites, some of which I often avoid including because of the disturbing allergies to the blighted things that Maxwell and I have. We won't be able to breathe properly here for at least a week. Martha reminded me to call my mother, who was not at home, and my step-mother, who was. In connection with the latter I was also able to speak with my father.
05/09 Direct Link
Yesterday I got the first proper haircut I've had in at least three years. I paid about eight times what it costs to get a Filipino hack job over on main camp. It's been at least two months since I've had it cut. I could have won the part of Lead Ghoul in a low-budget horror movie. I hated to pay that much, but there it is. The project at work is wearing. I'm quite tired of it. Quite tired. That foul cretin of a mutt Martha adopted for the boys is downstairs barking at some imagined threat once again.
05/10 Direct Link
When I first moved here I nearly always wore a hat when biffing about out-of-doors. It seemed to be the wise thing to do. Further, there was no need for self-consciousness because most other men (I think it was most of them) were also wearing some species of lid covering. I think it was some time during the second year that I cut back on the hat-wearing. I had nearly lost my hat a couple of times, and I decided that I really wasn't out very long at any one time, and the sun shine would be good for me.
05/11 Direct Link
If I plan be out for a long time I make it a point to wear a hat. It doesn't take long for my little bald head to get scorched. Some people carry an umbrella to shield themselves from the sun. Sometimes it strikes me as being a bit funny – carrying an umbrella in a place with no rain, but that is because this place is not my natural habitat. The problem with hats, as with many other things, is that one must keep track of it all the time and carry it from place to place – can be inconvenient.
05/12 Direct Link
Only about two weeks of baseball left. The last four days will include a tournament. A team from Jeddah, a city on the west coast, will participate. Maxwell has had a rough season. His team has lost most of its games. He wants to play catcher, and is pretty good, but his coach always seems to play smaller, quicker kids. The reason for that is the two main pitchers on the team often throw wild pitches. One of those pitchers is the coach's son, and the coach insists on allowing him to pitch – the cause of several of the losses.
05/13 Direct Link
I roll my eyes at myself for just sitting and watching the virus scan software churn through all of the files on the PC. Perhaps it is somehow hypnotic. I know very well that watching it won't make it run any faster and that there will be a report of any infected files when the process is complete. The file count increases at varying speeds: the counter moves fast, the counter moves slowly, a little faster, a little less fast. I have other things to do. I leave the room, beat the kids, return to the room and watch again.
05/14 Direct Link
I don't know why I feel such disdain for the American women who have married Saudi men and adopt Islam. They seem to be nice enough people; I guess I simply don't understand why an intelligent woman would choose to live with all of the seemingly illogical, unenlightened restrictions imposed upon them (one is to wear the black abayah [spelling?] in 100+ degree weather while walking outside for exercise). I know many good and capable Saudis, but I can't understand the primitive, sometimes savage customs. It would take many more than 100 words to adequately discuss this, many more words.
05/15 Direct Link
On this date in 1832 (I think it was 1832) the priesthood of God was restored to the earth – to the prophet Joseph Smith. What a remarkable man he was. He was persecuted to an extreme; he suffered to an extreme, but he remained faithful. I marvel at his vast and quick intellect and at his physical strength. Was he perfect? No. No prophet is perfect. He didn't claim to be. Only Jesus Christ Himself was perfect. Indeed, in some revelations Joseph received he himself was called to repentance. We are Christians! We believe in and worship the living Christ!
05/16 Direct Link
Please stop calling me. Please don't talk to me. Please go away. Please let me go away. Please leave me alone – just leave me alone. Please don't ask me to go there – please not there, not with them. Please don't touch me – and I won't touch you. Please don't look at me. Please don't talk to me. Please go away. Please let me go away. Please, please leave me alone – please just leave me alone. Please don't ask me to go there ever again. Please give me solitude, just a little solitude. Please let me sleep, please let me sleep.
05/17 Direct Link
I hate baseball. Maxwell's penultimate game was tonight. I had Ethan and Miles with me. That team is making the same mistakes it was making at the beginning of the season. The games last for months. Unfortunate coach. Maxwell thinks he is better than I think he is – and than his coach thinks he is. He gets upset and cries when he doesn't get to play the position he wants to play; he is frustrated because this has been going on all season. The practices here are strange. Pitchers and catchers don't work together during practices. How can they improve?
05/18 Direct Link
The temperature reached at least 109 degrees Fahrenheit today; it is still May. I was completely tired today. I may have slept for an hour or two last night. I couldn't get comfortable physically; I may still be feeling the withdrawal of the xanax. Also, my mind was bothered by a couple of things. The temperature was 98 degrees at about 17:00 – an hour before game time. Both Maxwell and Alexander had their final regular season baseball game tonight. Miles went with me to Maxwell's game. Tonight I played my guitar for the first time in at least two years.
05/19 Direct Link
The boys are driving me wild! They must go here, they must go there – they must, indeed, go everywhere. They fight all day, they fight all night. They seem to find in it delight. They whine they cry, regardless if they're wet or dry. They howl, how they howl. This is taking too long. I love my boys, but I get no peace at home. As soon as I walk in the door the two younger brutes attack me. They both want to sit on my lap no matter where I sit. They do laugh and cause me to laugh.
05/20 Direct Link
The boys weren't so hard to take before I started this gruesome project at work. Four teams of six to eight members sit in the same room. Each team has its desks all shoved together so we can admire each other's fine features. My team is pretty good. Only one guy besides me frustrates me. Thus, two members of the team frustrate me. Sitting in this configuration is useful when we have plans and issues to discuss; it is less useful when we must ruminate or try to get something done individually. Four teams in a room – noise, distraction, ridiculous.
05/21 Direct Link
I wonder how many observations, thoughts, feelings, and other stuff I've repeated during this month, and how many I'm repeating from previous months. I just write this stuff, I don't tend to go back and read previous entries – I'm sure they'd frighten me because of how poorly they were written, how shallow, how superficial, and how generally dopey they are. I fear I simply complain repeatedly about the same rubbish. I'm reasonably sure few, if any people read what I write out here. When I learned that one person had read my stuff I was mortified! I need to reply.
05/22 Direct Link
My sleep patterns are distorted. I must resort to sleeping pills to get any sleep at all. I'm cranky, ornery, quick-tempered, ill-tempered, and ill-winded (?). I'm about as blonde as I can be while still continuing to what brown hair, what is left of it. She said it will take at least a month (have I babbled about this before?) until my body is truly rid of the side effects and the withdrawals of associated with Xanax. Still a few days, but please keep the sleeping pills near at hand or every night will last for at least a week.
05/23 Direct Link
What will my mind be like after Xanax? Will I finally be able to make sense when I speak publicly? I currently have a difficulty releasing complete sentences without having to stop in the middle to remind myself what I'm talking about. One tends to lose audiences that way, except for those at work who are captive audiences – poor slobs. I think I once had a mind. Many years have laughed at me while I stumble over words, and when I simply can't think of the word I want during my lifetime. These are words I learned and loved -- gone.
05/24 Direct Link
Tonight was the first night of the annual baseball tournament. Maxwell's team and Alexander's team both won. Maxwell is on one of four teams that was made from five. One regular season team couldn't field a full team so they mixed them all up and made four from the five. Maxwell is on a good team with a good coach. They should do well. Alexander's team had the best record in the regular season to it is expected to do well. Martha worked at the snack bar for about 1.5 hours. I'll do that tomorrow night – for about three hours.
05/25 Direct Link
The second day of the tournament. They make these things a big deal. I suppose it is ok. I'd rather just watch the games and forget the hype. Lines with flapping flags cling to the fences; parents of the players cook hamburgers and hotdogs over charcoal and sell them for vast sums. Other parents offer commemorative t-shirts, caps, and pins for sale – along with stuff from prior years. Outside vendors sell ice cream, slices of pizza, and other stuff. Martha worked at the grill for a couple of hours tonight. Both Maxwell and Alexander had a game tonight. Both won.
05/26 Direct Link
This third day of the tournament actually goes on for much of the day. Previous days have been warm, but humidity was added to the menu this morning. Maxwell's team played at 7:00 before it was too bad. Maxwell hit a double in the bottom of the final inning to keep the game alive. With two on, the next batter swatted the ball over the fence for a three-run homer to win the game. Alexander's team also won. The game began around 9:00 – already oppressive air. Miles was having a hard time. I dripped cold water on his sweltered head.
05/27 Direct Link
This third day of the tournament actually goes on for much of the day. Previous days have been warm, but humidity was added to the menu this morning. Maxwell's team played at 7:00 before it was too bad. Maxwell hit a double in the bottom of the final inning to keep the game alive. With two on, the next batter swatted the ball over the fence for a three-run homer to win the game. Alexander's team also won. The game began around 9:00 – already oppressive air. Miles was having a hard time. I dripped cold water on his sweltered head.
05/28 Direct Link
More of the third day…By the time Alexander's game was finished the temperature was 106 and humid. They could have ended the game before they did – fanatics. Martha took Miles to the doctor – a double ear infection. No wonder he was drooping and ornery. The games resumed at 16:00, which meant warm-ups beginning at 15:00. Silly, perhaps stupid. Teams from Ras Tanura, Abqaiq, and Jeddah were in town to participate. Interestingly, the temperature seemed to drop by around 17:30. I worked at the grill for three hours beginning at 17:00. I was expecting it to be painfully hot. It wasn't.
05/29 Direct Link
The championship games were played tonight. We wouldn't typically allow the boys to play on the Sabbath, but since they had made a commitment to a team they needed to be there. Both were on a team playing for the championship of a different league. Both teams were expected to win – at least to make it a close game. Both teams were shut out – perhaps a let down from the come-from-behind victories the previous day – who knows? All I really cared about was that Maxwell's team would beat the team his old coach coached. It was a long, frustrating season
05/30 Direct Link
Our presentation to the steering committee was this afternoon. Baher did a good job with it, but it was clear from the questions and comments at the end that they simply didn't get it. Everything was explained; the graphs were clear; they just didn't get it. In their defense, they'd been listening to such presentations since 9:00 – ours was the ninth of ten. I feel like it was a waste of time. I am tired of this project. The goofs running the project made us write our report (not the presentation) in powerpoint! What a bad joke. It really stinks.
05/31 Direct Link
We gave the presentation to the steering committee yesterday. We were hopeful that they wouldn't absolutely hate everything we proposed and that they would understand it. What it all came down to was…they simply didn't get it. I'm not sure they even heard the last half of what we discussed. They asked no questions about that part. The questions they asked made it clear, even for the meanest intelligence (mine for one), that they simply did not understand what we said. The only thing I think we could have done to help them understand: presented it again, word-by-word, asking …