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Time Enough

Hand lawnmower 

Unless I am working or traveling, I spend my weekends and holidays home alone. The big events are walking to the grocery store and running along the lake. This is not as sad as it sounds. I am alone but not unconnected. I talk to Chrissy every day and get lots of internet connections.  And I have things to do.  I actually like the work I do, for example, and I like to do background research and writing at home w/o interruptions.

I have found that I have to make lists of things to do to keep the day on track and make sure that one day doesn’t just melt into another. I have to put my house cleaning & laundry duties on the list; otherwise I put them off. The weather in Brasília helps create a feeling of timelessness. We have a wet and a dry season but the days are similar. You don’t get that changing seasons feeling.

BTW – the list system works well in other timeless activates, such as long airplane trips.  I make a list of things I want to accomplish on the plane.  I never get them done. I procrastinate.  But the act procrastinating and avoiding work makes the time pass much faster. 

On weekends I can catch up on my sleep.  I really don’t like to go to be before midnight, often 1am, but I still have to wake up at 630. By the end of the workweek, I am tired physically.  I also have lots of books to read. I put them on the list and tend to get at them on weekends. I have written before about audiobooks. Audiobooks go with walking.  I find that if I sit while listening I fall asleep. 

My biggest weekend activity is gardening.  I dispensed with the services of the gardener and bought a push mower.  You have to mow the lawn more often but it doesn’t make all that noise.  I planted corn, tomatoes, beans, lettuce and cauliflower.  I planted the corn with the beans.  The beans will fix nitrogen to help the corn grow and the beans will be able to grow up the corn stalks.  The corn just spouted, so I put in the bean seeds.  My plan is that the corn will be ready in March-April when the dry season starts and it gets hot enough to finish the corn.

watermelon 

My watermelon experiment is failing. I got really big vines but I had only one melon. That one was attacked by some kind of animal and subsequently invested by pests. It takes me a week and a half to eat one watermelon.  It probably just is not worth it to grow them, even if I could. Tomatoes and corn, on the other hand will be cost effective and worth the effort. I should have planted them earlier, but I went with the flowers first.  I have a banana tree, but I don’t know when/if it will get any bananas. I had lots of mangoes, but I don’t much like mangoes.  The birds tended to get at them anyway. Mangoes are very productive and I can see that they would be good to have if you liked the fruit.  

What I need is a Coke Zero tree.

I know this is a boring entry and it might seem to indicate a boring existence, but I don't see it that way. The books are giving me a lot to think about and the gardening, growing the plants from seed in what is for me a strange soil and climate, is pretty interesting for me. Maybe I am just a boring guy, but these are things I find interesting.

Of course, my work can be interesting in the more active sense.  Next weekend, for example, I get to take a boat up the Amazon.  It will be part of a "semester at sea" program. I have to give a few lectures and in return I get to do what not many people can. That weekend will be more eventful than usual.  I will take pictures and post some entries. 

Window washers in Brasilia 

Above are some guys washing windows on one of the new buildings. I thought it was an interesting picture. 


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