Tuesday, August 28, 2007

if you're buying, make it a double

recently, i have had a few conversations about gender with some lady friends. specifically, the issue of paying for drinks, paying for dinner, and money in general keep coming up with various different opinions and thoughts on the matter. everything from 'let's go find cute boys to buy us drinks' to 'i don't accept offers as then i feel i owe him something' has come up.

i have never known exactly how i feel about this but due to my burgeoning bank account (ha!) as of late, i have really appreciated the kindness of dudes who have bought me dinner, drinks, travel expenses, etc. whether it is within the context of a relationship, dating, or just random strangers at a bar, it has challenged me to be gracious as a response to their kindness and generosity. (or take my vodka and soda water and run to the other side of the bar as quickly as is possible in heels to avoid having to make idle conversation with boring men!)

i used to have some guilt and discomfort with this but i am beginning to come around, but does that mean that i am losing my feminist spirit and will come to expect men to spend money on me? does it just mean that i am using my red lips and blonde hair for evil rather than good? or does it mean that since i will statistically make less than men in the same position as me and that i will be the one who looses out if i ever have to take maternity leave (i know it is not supposed to happen that way, but as far as i can see, it does), am i just righting the wrongs of the professional world?

just wondering what the internet thinks about this one.

i am also wondering what my mama and grandma think about this one too, because these are the things that the other generations of women might have some wisdom on. so would gloria, too bad i don't have her email address.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

clearing the funk

i am not sure what my problem is today but i have a touch of the funk. it started this morning and has settled in to make me rather unmotivated with a bit of worry on the side. and i had a wonderful worry-free weekend and was feeling a lot more positive than i have recently. runs and sunshine and new paint and evening walks and indian food and repaired hot water heaters and sitting at coffee shops with a new book and good wine and movies will do that to you. let's hope it is just this miserable weather that is responsible for this mood and that an afterwork run and some sunshine will remedy me.

and going home to my kitchen might help... i have been a cooking machine lately. risotto (by candlelight and headlamp because our electricity was on the fritz), vegetable and lentil soup (complements of my new flatmate's repertoir), and vegetarian chile (which was cooked in a huge witch's cauldron and included everything we needed to get rid of in our fridge). our freezer is now stocked and we haven't had to throw out any vegetables.

i am coasting and relaxing and waiting and enjoying these days. apart from this cloud above my head today, i'm confident that some things are sorting themselves out. with an upcoming phone call with my sis and a double capuccino with skim milk and lunch with a new friend and a pilates class and a night of movies and furniture delivery on their way, i trust things will make a turn in the right direction.

i just had a bit of a brainwave... i think this mood is the result of my restless sleep last night which was the fault of the 2 cups of coffee i drank after work. which is a bit ironic considering the night before i had the most amazing sleep and barely even stirred when there was an earthquake (just a 5.2 in tanzania that we felt up here). the moral of the story - no coffee after 5pm for me.

Friday, August 17, 2007

the nets work, so spread'em! - www.spreadthenet.org

NAIROBI, 16 August (IRIN) - The number of children dying from malaria has dropped sharply in areas of Kenya where the disease is endemic as a result of a campaign to provide free insecticide-treated mosquito nets to families, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said.

According to the health agency, there was near ten-fold increase in the number of young children sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets between 2004 and 2006 in targeted districts, resulting in a reduction of malaria-related deaths by 44 percent.

"This is the first demonstration of the impact of large-scale distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets under programme conditions, rather than in research settings," a WHO statement said on 16 August.

"This data from Kenya ends the debate about how to deliver long-lasting insecticidal nets," Arata Kochi, head of WHO's Global Malaria Programme, said.

The findings have encouraged WHO to recommend the free mass distribution of long-lasting nets as the most effective way of combating malaria.

"No longer should the safety and well-being of your family be based on whether you are rich or poor," Kochi added. "When these nets are easily available for every person, young or old, malaria is reduced."

Some 13.4 million nets have been distributed in Kenya over the past five years to combat a disease that threatens more than 25 million people in a population of 34 million.

"For every 1,000 treated nets used, seven children who might have died of malaria are saved," the statement said.

In the past, WHO promoted the provision of insecticide-treated mosquito nets mostly for use by children under five and pregnant women.

Recent studies had, however, shown that by expanding the use of nets to all people in targeted areas, increased coverage and the better protection of vulnerable groups can be achieved.
"In areas of high transmission of malaria, where young children and pregnant women are the most vulnerable, WHO now recommends making their protection the immediate priority while progressively achieving full coverage," the agency said.

The Kenya initiative has been funded with grants from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Britain's Department for International Development and has technical support from WHO.

"The government of Kenya is strongly committed to achieving improved and equitable health outcomes for all Kenyans, particularly women and children," said Minister of Health Charity Ngilu.

Insecticide-treated nets repel, disable or kill the vector mosquitoes that transmit malaria. Conventional treated nets need to be re-treated regularly, while long-lasting ones are designed to be effective for the life of the net.

go to www.spreadthenet.org, spend $10, save someone from malaria.

that simple? you bet.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

quiet no more

i have been missing in action, i know. but more just hanging out in calgary, returning to nairobi, and resettling into the life i left for 6 weeks than missing. as kenyans say, i was being quiet.

i think i am still processing my trip home, which was evident last night when someone asked me how it went and my answer was, 'good... great... good..., no really, it was good' the good parts were really good and the other parts were tolerable (like the traffic parts and the price of eating out parts and 'i wonder if i could ever live in calgary' again parts).

because the only way i can think of to catch up is to make some lists...

things i will miss after my visit home:
  • driving (and therefore NOT relying on taxi drivers like the one i had last night who was clueless)
  • shopping at winner's with my mom
  • lazy days at cabins with books
  • internet connection at home
  • a dining room table
  • blueberries
  • San Pellegrino sparkling water (if i was ever addicted to a drink, this is it - although it goes against my bottled water policy)
  • summer evening sun
  • clean streets with cars that would pass emissions tests
  • lunching
  • dinners at the Cattlebaron with the fam
  • grasshoppers in the garage
  • breakfast dates, breakfast dates, and more breakfast dates
  • midweek hikes

things i was able to appreciate all over again once returning to nairobi:

  • the birds in the mornings
  • all of the flowers blooming
  • my running route
  • cooking in my kitchen
  • dinner parties
  • monkeys joining us for lunch (and scaring the crap out of me)
  • my housekeeper
  • anchor white cheddar
  • kiswahili (even though i think i have forgotten everything i learned)

and a list of random things:

  • i've been tattooed again and love it
  • what is with strangers 'poking' me or adding me as a friend on facebook?
  • speaking of the fb, i've become a facebook pusher myself
  • i am on a bit of a fitness kick, or at least am planning to get on a bit of a fitness kick
  • i have commited to running 10km in a race in october
  • i finished the book Lullabies for Little Criminals and am recommending it (i love canadian writers)
  • career trajectories, sheesh. sometimes they head where you want, sometimes they do not. today i am feeling more positive than i have been lately, let's hope it sticks
  • wearing mittens to work in august is not cool, but thankfully the weather has changed and with it so has my outlook
  • i have been craving beef lately
  • i just found out that San Pellegrino is owned by Nestle, so i feel even more guilty about my brief, but passionate, relationship with it
  • to make this the most random list of all time - i just cut my lip open eating dried mangoes, ouch

Monday, August 13, 2007

steve's outdone himself

it is almost becoming endearing how geeky he is