Today has been a bit on the busy side, but it's been good. I woke up at 6:30, all on my own with no help from an alarm clock. It's a good thing I woke up a good while before Jeff had to leave for work, because he wanted to eat breakfast at home today. Usually, I'm still in bed when he leaves, and he gets breakfast from the cafeteria once he gets to work. But it isn't entirely that I'm lazy in the mornings--I stopped getting up because Jeff never had time for breakfast; I'd fix it, and he'd have to run out the door without eating it. In fact, he was the one who woke me up (at my request). I stopped getting up when he stopped waking me up. But anyway, I got up and fixed breakfast for both of us, then got myself ready for the day when he left.
And I had to get myself ready for the day, rather than spend my usual lazy hour or so checking email, news, and my favorite blogs, because I had something important to do this morning: go to the October meeting of the Maadi Women's Guild! I've been looking forward to this ever since the September meeting. Not only was I looking forward to the meeting itself, but I was looking forward to the shopping beforehand! I wasn't disappointed, either. I knew three things I was hoping to find: a Christmas gift for my niece, a rug either for our entryway or for the kittens' room (they track litter all over it, so a rug with a good texture should help contain the mess), and the Arabic alphabet/number baby books (for a friend).
So I came in the gate and headed straight for the Recycling Center table--after a slight detour when someone at the welcome table waylaid me to sign in. Drat the delay; the competition is fierce for those bedspreads and rugs! I got to their table, though, and immediately saw the books, but it turns out that the price was higher than my friend had authorized me to pay. So on to the next goal--and there it was, a pretty blue and white rug with the texture I wanted for the kittens. It would look good in the entryway, but if it wasn't big enough (I forgot to measure and am horrible at judging by just looking at it), it still would work perfectly in the kittens' room. I picked it up for a closer look and had just decided to buy it when another woman asked me if she could check its price. I checked the tag and told her that it was only LE20, but that I was buying that one. She offered to arm wrestle me for it. No luck, it was mine! (Insert evil movie laugh here.)
As I chatted with the nice-but-too-late rug shopper, I happened to look up and there, draped across the wall, was the perfect gift for my niece: a white-background blanket/bedspread with traditional "dolls" in a variety of pastel colors, so that no matter how many times she changes her mind about her favorite color, it's likely to be in that blanket. (At five, she's a little old for a baby blanket, but she loved the one I sent her little brother a couple months ago, so her mother and I decided that a "big girl" blanket would be an appropriate Christmas gift.) So, again: there, draped across the wall, was the perfect gift for my niece. But then, right before my horrified eyes, one of the sales attendants pulled it down and handed it to a couple of women. Drats, foiled again! But, wait, they were handing it back . . . there is yet hope. As the other would-be buyers walked away, I approached the sales attendant and asked how much the blanket cost. A bit more than I had planned to spend . . . nuts. However, there is still hope--I spy three more blankets hanging on a rack. First check: the price. Yes, definitely much more reasonable. I am told these are cheaper because they're baby blankets. That's okay, a baby blanket makes a great big-girl throw. But there's a problem . . . three problems, actually. One is almost all baby boy blue. It's very pretty, but it's not a color I've seen my niece get excited over, and . . . well, it just doesn't look like my niece. The other two, I just don't like. It was the shapes on them. Just not pretty. My eye kept going back to the pastel pinks, purples, yellows, greens, and blues now hanging back over the wall. Yes, it's more than I planned to spend. Yes, it's a bit bigger than I intended--I actually had intended on more of a baby blanket size. But it's just so . . . right. So I bought it. Hopefully she'll like it.
With my three major goals accomplished--even with the negative results on the one mission--I just browsed through the rest of the stalls. I found a few more things to buy: some baby puzzles, handmade by handicapped people, for my youngest nephew; a carved wooden train with an engine car, a caboose, and two regular cars for another nephew; and an insulated canvas water bottle carrier with a shoulder strap for me. Then it was time to go in for the meeting.
I had a good time. I met some new women while waiting for things to get started, and we kidded around about how much of an old-timer I am; I've been here a whole month longer than one of them, who's been here a whole month longer than the other. I chatted with some ladies from my life group and some more from my Captivating (by John and Stasi Eldredge) study, which just started last week. I also chatted with the editor of the Maadi Messenger, who will be using some of my blog entries as magazine articles in coming months. I was amazed at the difference one short month can make! Just last month, I knew only two or three people there, and I was a bit shy about introducing myself. This month, I knew several people and felt no hesitation in introducing myself to more. I even remember two of their names! (Major accomplishment for someone with as bad a memory for names as mine.)
The highlight of the meeting definitely was the African Fashion Show. I had wanted to bring my camera specifically for that, but the battery was too low . . . I'll try to get pictures from a friend and post or link to them later. There was a carpeted runway down the center of the tables, and we were treated to a series of women from different African nations, all wearing traditional clothing of their country. There were women from Sudan, Congo, Liberia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. All of the women were beautiful. Some had the stunning good looks of models; others may not have turned your head on the street under ordinary circumstances. But all of them were beautiful today, as they smiled so joyfully at sharing and having others appreciate a little bit of what makes them who they are. That ties in so well with what we've been talking about in the Captivating study . . .
Anyway, I rushed out of the meeting just before it actually ended. I was supposed to be at language class at 11:30 this morning, and the meeting didn't end until maybe 11:45. I had made the conscious decision to be late to class, because MWG is important to me, and because my language teacher hasn't been less than 15 minutes late--usually 20 or 30--since classes started, due to an earlier class in another part of town and bad traffic. So theoretically, I was okay with being late. But you know me . . . I abhor tardiness, especially when I'm the one who's late. I could feel my anxiety about it rising throughout the meeting. Finally I couldn't take it and I had to leave.
I flagged down a taxi pretty quickly and I was on my way . . . only to be chagrined as the driver pulled into a gas station, first promising "only ten minutes," then quickly reducing it to five minutes, then to one, as he saw the impatience on my face. He got the gas he needed, then started the car again . . . or tried to. He pushed the car backward up a slight hill (with me and my huge shopping bag still in it), then hopped in and tried to get it started while it rolled down. Didn't work. He tried again. After the fourth time, I just got out and handed him some money. I had gotten about five feet down the road when another taxi pulled out of the same gas station and picked me up, taking me the rest of the way to class. By this point, my anti-late mode was in full swing. I couldn't stand it! I hopped out of the taxi and headed inside the building--when I heard a familiar voice. I paused and turned . . . to see my teacher hopping out of another taxi behind me. Suddenly all the tension was gone, for me, at least. Even as we walked in together, my teacher apologized profusely for his tardiness. He didn't seem to understand that my own tardiness negated any ill will about his--for this time, at least; he probably was apologizing for the pattern rather than for today specifically. We went in, and I called a classmate, who has taken to staying at work until I call to let her know our teacher has arrived. Then she appears just a few minutes later. We had a good class, and I came home.
After lunch, I did some laundry and some dishes. Then I baked cookies for tonight's life group meeting. We have a couple who have offered to host it each week, and we just bring pot-luck snacks. Last week I took apple pie. Tonight . . . chocolate chip cookies. I started this blog while the first batch baked. Now I'm finishing up and waiting for Jeff to get home . . .
So that's my Tuesday. How has yours been?
21 hours ago