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Sick!

I've been sick, sick, sick this year.  First a sinus infection.  Took a Zpac for that.  Then came down with some horrible GI thing right after I vacationed in West Virginia around my birthday.  That lasted 4 days.  And that's a long time when you're back and forth to the..um...facilities for 4 straight days.  Now, it's some lower respiratory thing.  Been coughing like crazy for about 10 days now.  Nothing is helping.  Cough suprressants, expectorants, hybrids of the 2...nothing.  Going to the doctor in 2 days.  Was SENT home from work today because my boss said "You can't even fuckin' breathe.  I can't have you coughing all night like this.  Go home and get some rest!".  Was at my sister's this past weekend.  She's an RN.  I was in her house for about 1 hour when she sent her other half for the stethoscope and listened to my lungs.  Says I probably have bronchitis.  Lungs are congested in the upper back area.  We'll see what the dr. says....

Me vs. the Canyon

When I was at the Grand Canyon, Jassem and I were going to do a little bit of hiking on the Bright Angel Trail.

The head of the BAT is in Grand Canyon Village, the most touristy part of GC National Park.  GCV sits along the rim of the Canyon at an elevation of around 7,100 feet.  The BAT quickly descends into the Canyon and the first section consists of a series of switchbacks. 

Jassem and I were going to hike to the 1.5 mile point and turn back.  If you take the trail all the way to the Colorado River and back, it is something like 18 miles, but they warn you over and over and over again that even the most fit people who try that often need to be helicoptered out and some have died.  Between the elevation at the top, the steep ascent coming back up, and the fierce sunshine and severe heat, people tend to underestimate the impact the hike will have on them.  We figured 3 miles would do it for us.  We packed enough water and trail mix and protein bars and beef jerky and other things.  It was my idea and I was excited.

But when we got to the trail, I couldn't do it. 

Let me explain.

I'm afraid of heights.  I have never hiked down into a canyon before.  The BAT is known for being a "well-maintained" trail and thus, not scary.  But that is for seasoned hikers, I suppose.  For me, I walked about 50 feet down the trail with my little staff before I began to flip out internally.  To my right was the wall of the Canyon.  The trail is about 5 feet wide.  And on the other side, a drop of I have no idea how far.  500 feet?  800 feet?  1000 feet?  Does it even matter at those distances?  It felt to me like there was just 5 feet between me and the Canyon wall I was by now feeling along like a thief in the dark and some terrible abyss that I was surely to trip over my own two feet somewhere along the way and fall into.  

The first place I panicked was when I got to the end of the beginning straight descent and had to face going around a corner where I couldn't see what was around that corner.  I started to pacing back and forth between the head of the trail and this jutting rock formation I couldn't see past.  Jassem knew I was nervous.  We went back up to the head of the trail so he could adjust his staff because standing on the incline was making me ill.  I decided I wanted to try to round this corner.  

Got around the corner. 

But then, I came to the switchback.  I would have to walk to face the edge of the cliff and turn left.  And I couldn't physically do it.  I felt nauseous and dizzy and couldn't get my legs to move.  Then a gust of wind came out of nowhere.  It wasn't windy at all that day, so I've no idea why it blew, but it did.  I had a mini meltdown.  There was a sign at the bend- warning us for the 50th time that people die trying to hike to the river and back in a day- and I was hugging it.  I felt a little self-conscious and embarassed about this, but I couldn't let go.  And I told Jassem I just couldn't do it.  I was disappointed in myself, but I had just hit some kind of psycho-physical wall.

We first went to the Rim the day before.  And, at first, I was really ginger around the edges.  I was afraid.  But the more we walked along the Rim trail and were taking photos out on the rocks, the more comfortable I got.  A couple of times, I went pretty far out to get good pictures taken of me.  But, there, I could turn back.  On a trail, I knew I couldn't do that.  It'd be the wall and the drop and 5 feet in between, if that, for 3 miles.  

I really wish I'd had the balls to hike that trail.  After I stopped feeling buzzy from anxiety, Jassem and I hiked more of the Rim trail and got some more beautiful views and it was a good day.  But the disappointment didn't go away and it still hasn't.  It bothers me now as much as then because it seems metaphorical for alot of other things in my life.  I need to be able to grit my teeth and face my fears.  

One day, I swear, I will go back and hike that trail.  But I've got work to do;  gaining courage....



Phoenix

Sitting in the Phoenix airport near the baggage claim.  In about 40 minutes we'll go catch the Flagstaff Express shuttle to go up to Flagstaff. 

Got into Phoenix Friday night.  We flew from Baltimore to New Jersey.  There were delays both getting into Newark and then getting out of Newark on our way here to Phoenix.  Apparently, Newark is notorious for delays.  So, I'm going to try to avoid that airport from now on. 

We got into Phoenix at about 9 that night.  Yesterday, we spent the day working our way around the city.  Phoenix is a very spread out city and seems to lack a true center where there are alot of bars, restaraunts and shops all in one place.  We went to this little town square place called the Arizona Center, which basically looked like Downtown Silver Spring, for much of the day.  We went to an Irish bar called Seamus something's in another part of town and that's where these 3 local girls told us to go.  We had already gone there for lunch and were kind of surprised that this was their advice.  Basically, we found Phoenix kind of empty and boring on first impression and from what the local girls were saying, I think we had a pretty accurate impression.  They said all people do there is just drink and that most of the good stuff is out in the suburbs.  Anyway, I found the city pretty and I love the sunshine and warmth, but not too exciting.  It's hard to believe it is a city of over 1,000,000 people when we never saw more than 10 people at once!  Seriously, we'd walk past a mall and nobody would be there.  It was weird.  But we still had a good time.

Last night, we took a dip in the pool and fired up the hot tub.  It was the life:-)

 

 

Off!

Well, tomorrow, Jassem and I leave for my parents house.  The next day, my Dad will drive us to BWI and we will be off to Arizona. 

Jassem's bringing a mini laptop, so I might be able to update on the road.  But chances are, I won't be back here for a couple of weeks.  When I get back, I need to make an effort to post here more.  I realize I really have been bad:-(....

General Update

Went to the Crab on Friday night with Jassem and a bunch of people from work.  The Crab was hopping.  It was a good time. 

I never ended up going to Jazz's house.  We went back to my place after the Crab and he stayed there through this morning.  We watched "The Happening" and "The Eye" and ate chocolate cream pie. 

Only 12 days left now until we go to Phoenix and 11 days until we go to my parents house.  One of my aunts might be staying there while we're there.  She's my godmother, Peggy.  She used to live in Orlando, but just moved to West Virginia to be closer to the family (my mother's oldest sister, Patty, lives in WV).  It'd be cool to see her.

Thursday was a crazy day.  I went to the Social Security Administration at 21st and M Streets in the morning.  I waited there for about 1 1/2 hours to apply for a new SS card since I lost mine.  They don't give you the card right away- it comes in the mail in 7-10 days.  She gave me stamped and signed forms that I could show the DMV as proof of SS#. 

So, after the SSA, I cabbed it to Georgetown Park Mall to the DMV.  I didn't have to wait there too long- maybe an hour- to get my new license.  It was even a flattering photo.  However, I was taking the bus from Georgetown to Tenleytown and I got about 1/3 the way up when I realized that they'd left a letter out of my last name.  So, I had to go back and get that corrected.  It didn't take too long, though. Maybe 15 minutes.  I don't think the woman who processed my info was the sharpest knife in the drawer.  She got the previous 2 people's cards wrong as well.  She had a woman listed as a man and a dude's address wrong.  I should've read my card REALLY carefully before leaving the DMV!  But, oh well. It was my day off and I had nowhere urgent to be. 


 

Creepy

God, the McCain campaign seems desperate.  Have any of you seen these films from some of the recent rallies?  All these crazy, angry people.  And McCain and Palin say nothing and Palin seems to egg it on.  Creepy.  Thank God it doesn't seem to be working.  There was even a poll in West Virginia yesterday showing Obama up by 8 points there. 

Blah Blah Blah

I now have 16 days until Jassem and I go West.  I'm getting pretty excited, but I can't get too excited because I need to focus on other things for the next 2 weeks.  I find it hard to focus when I'm anticipating something, be it good or bad. 

Tomorrow, I'm going to go down to the Social Security office and get a replacement card.  I lost mine ages ago.  Then, I'm going to Georgetown to try to convert my Maryland license to a DC one.  I've been meaning to do this for a long time, but I want to do it now because I may be asked for ID when I go to vote.  I was issued a registration card, but I might be asked to provide an ID or utility bill.  I just switched cable into my name, but may not get a bill before Nov. 4th, so this is the best thing to do.  I've been gathering up documents to take down to the DMV this last week.  I've put it all in a folder.  My mother mailed my birth certificate.  I popped in my last 2 paychecks.  I had my landlady sign off on a proof of residency form with a copy of her ID and a utility bill.  I put my lease in there.  The social security card is all I need, according to the DMV website.  So, the only thing I'm worried about is the vision test.  When I last renewed my Maryland license, I had trouble with the last line.  I feel like my vision hasn't gotten any worse since then and may have improved since I don't strain my eyes as much as I did back then ( little telemarketing lists, driving, etc).  But I still worry.  If I can't get a DL, though, I'll get a non-driver's ID.  Then go get an eye RX and reapply for a license before my Maryland one expries in late January. 

Anyway, if I can wrap this all up early in the afternoon (and with the DMV, you never know), I'm going to try to get up to Tenleytown before 3 to donate blood for Children's hospital.  The van is coming across from work. 

Jassem moved out this past weekend.  I'm going to go to stay at his new house on Capitol Hill on Friday.  I haven't been to it yet. 


 

Wrestlemania!!!!!!

October Sky

October is my favorite month.

I was reminded why today.

It was a most beautiful day.  Cool.  Breezy.  Azure sky.  Chilly enough for long sleeves, but not for a jacket. 

Write for You has their witch flag hanging up.  Halloween decorations and goodies filled the supermarket and convenience store. 

Awesome weather+Halloween.

Can't beat it.


MY 100 FAVORITE SONGS OF ALL TIME:

1.THE DRUGS DON'T WORK-The Verve
2.LAST GOODBYE-Jeff Buckley
3.FAKE PLASTIC TREES-Radiohead
4.BADFISH-Sublime
5.BIRD DREAM OF THE OLYMPUS MONS-The Pixies
6.A CHANGE IS GONNA COME-Sam Cooke
7.MOTORWAY TO ROSWELL-The Pixies
8.ADAM'S SONG-Blink 182
9.BRIAN WILSON-Barenaked Ladies
10.ANGEL OF HARLEM-U2
11.COKE-Flickerstick
12.SONNET-The Verve
13.THESE ARE DAYS-10,000 Maniacs
14.EINSTEIN OF THE BEACH (FOR AN EGGMAN)-The Counting Crows
15.UNSINGABLE NAME-Mike Doughty
16.CAROLINA IN MY MIND-James Taylor
17.UNDER PRESSURE-David Bowie and Queen
18.CHAMPAGNE SUPERNOVA-Oasis
19.ONE-Mettallica
20.BRICK-Ben Folds Five
21.19TH NERVOUS BREAKDOWN-THe Rolling Stones
22.STAY GOLD-Stevie Wonder
23.ALISON-Elvis Costello
24.ODE TO MY FAMILY-The Cranberries
25.ANA'S SONG (OPEN FIRE)-Silverchair
26.ODE TO BILLIE JOE-Bobbie Gentry
27.ON MY BLOCK-Scarface
28.JUPITER (OM TO THE STARS)-The Dermatologist from Dave Kendall's A Voyage into Trance
29.
LIVE FOREVER- Oasis
30.WISHLIST- Pearl Jam
31.THESE ARMS OF MINE-Otis Redding
32.MR. BRIGHTSIDE-The Killers
33.TODAY-The Smashing Pumpkins
34.FLOAT ON-Modest Mouse
35.ACROSS THE UNIVERSE-The Beatles
36.HERE'S WHERE THE STORY ENDS-The Sundays
37.WINDOW DISPLAY-Enon
38.THE LAST SONG-Elton John
39.HUMAN NATURE-Michael Jackson
40.PHILADELPHIA-Neil Young
41.WAKE ME UP WHEN SEPTEMBER ENDS-Green Day
42.DON'T SLEEP IN THE SUBWAY-Petula Clark
43.99 RED BALLOONS-Goldfinger
44.THE LIGHT-Common
45.WHY GEORGIA-John Mayer
46.GOOD MORNING HEARTACHE-Billie Holiday
47.(NIGHT TIME IS)THE RIGHT TIME-Ray Charles
48.SHE-Green Day
49.500 (SHAKE BABY SHAKE)-Lush
50.BEAST OF BURDEN-The Rolling Stones
51.EMPTY GARDEN-Elton John
52.SEEIN' RED-Unwritten Law
53.GOONIES R GOOD ENOUGH-Cyndi Lauper
54.YOU ARE MY FRIEND-Patti LaBelle
55.NIGHSHIFT-The Commodores
56.SHIMMER-Fuel
57.DROWNING-The Cleveland Lounge (DJ Micro mix)
58.LAID-James
59.DEAR MAMA-2Pac
60.SOBER-Tool
61.FLAKE-Jack Johnson
62.PLOWED-Sponge
63.KISS OFF-The Violent Femmes
64.CULT OF PERSONALITY-Living Colour
65.SEX AND CANDY-Marcy Playground
66.I AIN'T MAD AT YA-2Pac
67.HOLY SPIRIT-Edward Lewis from Mix Taboo: The Underground Sound of DC mixed by DJ Aou
68.
NATIVE NEW YORKER-Odyssey
69.TUCKER'S TOWN-Hootie and the Blowfish
70.THE SWEETNESS-Jimmy Eat World
71.I GUESS THAT'S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES-Elton John
72.WISH YOU WERE HERE-Incubus
73.FAMILY BUSINESS-Kanye West
74.PEPPER-The Butthole Surfers
75.I JUST WASN'T MADE FOR THESE TIMES-The Beach Boys
76.BETTE DAVIS EYES-Kim Carnes
77.(YOU MAKE ME FEEL)MIGHTY REAL-Sylvester
78.NOT IF YOU WERE THE LAST JUNKIE ON EARTH-The Dandy Warhols
79.OOH CHILD-The Five Stairsteps
80.CLOSER TO FINE-The Indigo Girls
81.WEAK-SWV
82.AQUARIUS/LET THE SUN SHINE-The 5th Dimension
83.RED RED WINE-UB40
84.BABYLON-David Gray
85.SADIE-R. Kelly
86.VALERIE-Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse
87.MR. TAMBOURINE MAN-Bob Dylan
88.EVE OF DESTRUCTION-Barry McGuire
89.INNER CITY BLUES (MAKES ME WANNA HOLLER)-Marvin Gaye
90.SOLD-Enon
91.THE FUTURE OF THE FUTURE (STAY GOLD)-Deep Dish featuring Everything but the Girl
92.BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY-Fergie
93.CRAZY-Gnarls Barkley
94.NO ONE-Alicia Keys
95.HURDY GURDY MAN-Donovan
96.WHITE LINES (DON'T DO IT)-Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
97.THEY REMINISCE OVER YOU-Pete Rock and CL Smooth
98.WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG-The Killers
99.DARE YOU TO MOVE-Switchfoot
100. IT HURTS LIKE HELL-Aretha Franklin