Photo credit: Cody Black
I saw an article about the taboos of tattoos on bbc.com yesterday. We all know that tattoos are much more prevalent – almost a fashion statement these days – among the younger generations, but there is still a lingering social taboo against them. Apparently it is legal in the US (and the UK) for companies to have a “no tattoo” policy. Never occurred to me that a company would even have such a policy, much less that it would be legal!
YA has a few piercings and two tattoos. I’m not crazy about her tattoos (some style choices, some money issues) and just a few days ago we had a discussion about still being careful about tattoos and piercings until you know the acceptance level of a possible employer.
For quite a few years, I’ve fantasized about getting tattooed myself. Small, on my wrist (toward the inside), multi-colored hibiscus flower with YA’s name, in her handwriting. She knows about this plan and every now and then tries to encourage me. My guess is it will probably never happen, but you never know. I know it won’t be a problem here at my company but I might have to wait until Nonny is gone!
Knowing you could get rid of it tomorrow if you don’t like it, tell me about the tattoo you would get.
As I was walking out of the co-op the other day, I looked down to see a large splotch of rice in the parking lot. The kind of splotch that can only be achieved by having your bag of rice break open while you’re carrying it to the car (you can guess why I know this). My first thought was that the local birds would be happy but then I remembered that supposedly uncooked rice is bad for birds, which is why they throw birdseed now at weddings.
Then when I got home, I discovered that YA had received TWO “save-the-date” cards.
Wedding reminder #3 was when I was watching Cake Boss that night and one of the bakers (sorry I don’t watch this enough to know any of their names) was celebrating a milestone anniversary with a big party and a wedding cake. When the couple began to cut the cake and feed each other, I cringed, hoping they wouldn’t smash the cake into each other’s faces. I detest that.
So all these wedding reminders in one day made me think about weddings how the traditions have changed over the years. My first wedding, which was completely orchestrated by my mother, was fairly traditional. Church, gown, reception, cake (unsmashed), lots of people I didn’t know. My second wedding was the exact opposite, we met the judge at Good Earth restaurant and were married at the table with our server, Philip and the server from the next section, Sarah, as our witnesses. Honeymoon at Day tons that afternoon. I am much more fond of my Good Earth wedding memories than my traditional ones so it makes me wonder why so many brides and bridegrooms adhere so stickily to all the “musts” when getting married. Why not do something different, stretch their boundaries, find things that are meaningful instead of just traditional. Those of you with psychology degrees, any ideas?
If you were planning your wedding today, how would you like it to go? (Like all good fantasies, money is no object.)
Fun news this week. Astronaut Helen Sharman, one of the first seven Britons to travel to space, has come out as pro-alien lifeform.
“There are so many billions of stars out there in the universe that there must be all sorts of different forms of life. Will they be like you and me, made up of carbon and nitrogen? Maybe not.”
Shades of Carl Sagan’s Contact. And as if that isn’t spectacular enough, she went on to say”
“It’s possible they’re here right now and we simply can’t see them.”
This of course brings to mind the scene from Men in Black in which Will Smith says he was sure his third grade teacher was an alien:
Anybody you are sure is an alien?
Before my trip to Peru, I was well aware that this would be a trip of a lifetime. Even if I hadn’t already thought this, everyone I knew was sure to tell me. As you all know, one of my life goals is to not have expectations set too high. So this felt dangerous to me, to hear so many folks talk about bucket lists and dreams come true.
As a way to try to tamp down my expectations, I did not do ANY research on Peru or Machu Picchu prior to the trip. From our hotel in Cusco, we took a minibus to Ollanta Station (1.5 hours) and then took the Vistadome train to Machu Picchu City (another 1.5 hours). Then there was the tourist coach up the side of the mountain (hint: if you are afraid of heights, always try to avoid the window seats on a trip like this). On this last leg of the trip to the site, I reflected that I really didn’t know anything at all about Machu Picchu, with the exception of the altitude – 8,000 feet.
Turns out that there isn’t a massive amount to know. The pre-Andeans had abandoned the site centuries before it was re-discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and they left no written record. In fact “Machu Picchu” is just the name given to the site in the local dialect and means “old mountain”. Archaeologists and scientist are pretty sure what many of the buildings were for: homes, palace for the Inca when he visited, security look-out and even a temple (although they only believe this because on the winter solstice the sun shines directly through the main window of the building) but other than that, they don’t know much about how life was lived here.
As I stood gazing out over the stone buildings I was struck with a strong desire to go back in time for just a couple of days to see what life was like when Machu Picchu was populated. How did they live, what did they eat, what were their favorite past times? Of course it would be nice to know why they abandoned the settlement, but if I only have two days, I don’t think I want it to be the last two days!
Two days to visit a time in the past. Just two. When and where do you choose? (And an absolute guarantee you can get back home after the two days!)
Photo credit: Javsama
As part of my site inspection in Peru, we spent two nights in Cusco, which is also known as the “Gateway to Machu Picchu”. Cusco is in the mountainous part of Peru and is 11,152 feet in elevation (this is actually HIGHER than Machu Picchu). While there are certainly spots on the globe higher than this (Kilimanjaro, Mount Everest), Cusco routinely makes the list as one of the highest altitude cities on the planet. Many of the hotels in Cusco pump extra oxygen into the rooms and almost every establishment of any kind (shops, restaurants, hotels) have access to oxygen tanks, just in case. If you search the internet, you’ll find a massive amount of information about altitude sickness, what causes it, what you can do about it.
But nowhere are you warned about the thunderstorms. In the mountains and tropical areas of Peru, it’s rainy season right now. That means a lot of gray days and in Cusco, thunderstorms – three to four a week for a few months. We experienced a thunderstorm the first afternoon we were there and let me tell you, when you are 11,000 feet up, the thunder and the lightning is MUCH closer to you than down in the lower climes. It’s hard to describe the visceral feeling that goes through you when the lightning seems just on the other side of the street from you and the thunder crackles and booms loud enough that you cover your ears. We were touring a couple of convents during the storm, both with large courtyards and covered walkways; we weren’t actually standing out in the rain (which was intense as well) but close enough that the storm felt startlingly close by.
The next day, I got to spend a couple of hours with the tour guide all to myself (a serious perk in my estimation) and he told me that in the Andes, the god of thunder is the most popular weather god as he is associated with the health of agriculture and crops. He is not known as Thor there, but as Illapa (pronounced E-yapa) and he even has his own holiday – July 25. Apparently he is the keeper of the Milky Way which he keeps in a jug and pours out to make the rain. Did I mention that on a clear night in Cusco, the Milky Way is very bright and visible?
So I came home from my trip with a robust appreciation of the god of thunder and lightning. When thunderstorms season rolls around next year, I’ll have to try to enjoy it more.
Any gods or goddesses that “speak” to you?
Today is the anniversary of Phileas Fogg completing his trip in Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 days. He left on October 2 and got back to London on December 21. I haven’t read much of Verne, but I thought this plot was fascinating and fun when I read it years ago
What route would you take to go around the world if you mainly took trains and boats and cars? What would you want to see?
Nick Clifford, the last remaining member of the team of 400 who carved Mount Rushmore, has passed away. He was 98. Clifford got the job as a teenager because he already knew how to use a jack hammer.
Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor behind the monument chose four presidents to symbolize key events in US history. Washington represents its birth, Jefferson epitomizes its growth, Lincoln illustrates its preservation and Roosevelt embodies its development.
Leaving aside the issue of defacing a lovely mountain, what four heads do YOU think should be jack hammered on Mount Rushmore?