Monday, December 31, 2007
Know the fireworks that make the big booms? The ones you see at 4th of July celebrations or some New Year's celebrations? The ones that the "pros" get to light? Everyday, normal folks got their hands on them here. We're booming all over the place. It started to snow so there was a bit of fog, but then it lifted and we could see all sorts of fireworks going off. There are also quite a few going off in our backyard. My grandmother said that she liked the fireworks that looked like a spider plant - long tendrils. We have those here. People in the apartments are shooting them off from their apartments! Our apartment smells like smoke and every so often, is illuminated in red, green, or white. If I was a bird, tonight I'd be walking.
Name 2 things you would like to accomplish in 2008.
Only two? Sheesh. I want to take better photos. So I need to learn patience so I can learn to take better photos!
I would like to be able to find another job where I feel successful - that doesn't mean make a lot of money, that means being good at what I'm doing and enjoying it.
With which cartoon character do you share personality traits?
Garfield - I like naps and hate Mondays (well, not at present) and maybe Space Ghost - sometimes I say off-the-wall things.
What time of day (or night) were you born?
Uh, Auntie Em, Sister, when was I born? I was thinking it was 11:34 am, but I'm not sure.
Tell us something special about your hometown.
They have a wonderful trail system so if you're a bike-rider or Roller-blader, you can see a lot of nature and get some exercise.
If you could receive a letter from anyone in the world, who would you want to get one from?
First thought was my mother. Almost 14 years she's been gone, though some days it doesn't feel like it was so long ago.
What is your favorite household appliance?
I currently don't have a dishwasher. I would love to have one right now.
Happy 2008 Dear Reader! Assuming the fireworks and the earthquakes don't get us, look for more scribblings from Sarajevo in the New Year!
So, we're convinced we just experienced our first earthquake. Bosnia, in the last 100 years, has had 1000 significant earthquakes - that is, those that could be felt. Sarajevo doesn't seem to be an area of high activity, though we are in the mountains. Back in 1969, an earthquake destroyed Banja (Ban-yah) Luka (I think you get that one), which is a couple hours away.
What an interesting way to end the year.
Being the paranoid person that I am, I will be checking my card online every single day to make sure it's not being used by someone else. While I know who the checker is - she checks us out every time we go to the little store - I don't know the 20 year-old who told her to write down my number, nor do I know the little old lady or the man behind her checking out my stuff.
|Obese Delinquents (0)|
|22 Comp, 9 Inc, 3 Sckd, 244 Pyds, 2 Rshs, -2 Rshyds, 1 TDs...|
|1 Rshs, 9 Rshyds, 4 Recs, 131 Recyds, 2 TDs|
|8 Recs, 115 Recyds, 1 TDs, 12 Retyds|
|16 Rshs, 56 Rshyds, 1 Recs, 7 Recyds, 1 TDs|
|25 Rshs, 104 Rshyds, 4 Recs, 27 Recyds, 2 TDs, 1 Fmb, 1 Lst|
|3 Recs, 67 Recyds, 2 TDs|
|7 Recs, 93 Recyds|
|10 Rshs, 83 Rshyds, 3 Recs, 9 Recyds, 2 Fmb, 2 Lst|
|1 FGG29, 2 FGG39, 3 XPG|
|98 Retyds, 1 Scks, 1 Int, 35 PtsAllw|
Repeat after me: I'm #1!! *does a victory dance*
The funny thing is, I don't really care for football. I'm not a sports person by nature. But my competitive streak is alive and well. And I won!!!
What a GLORIOUS Monday for once!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Get informed and educated, America. You have the tools. Be ready you must when the time comes to vote.
1. When you try to be funny, you usually aren't. Hence, blog-writing sometimes is a tough thing to do because the main point of my blog is to inform as well as entertain.
2. I can leave the comforts of the US and survive in a foreign country.
3. With a few modifications, I can even cook and bake in said foreign country.
4. Change is a constant process, especially within, and it's easy to get stuck or go back to your old ways that were destructive.
5. I've learned to accept people for what they are willing to give of themselves. I found stronger friendships with some people, and less strong friendships than I would've liked with others, but I've let it go and continue to nurture the friendships that are mutual.
6. I learned how to crochet some damned-neat stuff.
7. Wiley and I can live together and we both really enjoy it. Sure as hell beats being in a long-distance relationship for 2.5 years.
8. I can kill houseplants in a matter of days. Flowers, I can keep alive, so long as they're not attached to plants. Outside, flowers and plants are fine. But give me a plant and hope it sticks around awhile, and you're just wishing against destiny.
9. I forgot a lot more than I thought I did. Back at work, there was some training we took that said you forget a lot of shyt in a matter of weeks...of course, now I don't remember, but I think it was something like you forget 75% of what you've learned 3 weeks later. So imagine my surprise when I crack open my GRE book and look at the math section. Factorials? Oh, yeah, I knew about those a long time ago, but I seriously haven't thought about them since 10th grade.
10. I can survive without my cats, but I miss them everyday.
11. When one doesn't own a car, one finds other means of transportation, which usually means walking, and when it's not freezing-your-cajones-off-cold, it's actually pleasant.
12. I really, really, really like the sun and water. Sharks be damned.
To those of you meeting up tonight, have a good one!
Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Some trams have been nearly empty going into town today. Almost makes me want to go outside in the cold and foggy day. But not quite.
Instead, I've started making the wedding favors. I figure now is when I have the time, so I might as well get as much done as possible.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Get back on more crowded tram to go home, get original, and go down the street to have some lady stamp our papers and have help from a man behind us who thinks we don't understand what's being said to us. Has anyone over here ever heard of WAITING IN LINE BEHIND THE LINE ON THE FLOOR instead of crowding around the window? 'Cuz it's been three months and still I'm looking for the pieces of own private bubble that has been shattered numerous times.
So, get back on a REALLY crowded tram and get off at the police station. Bureaucrat #2 says we need documentation this time proving our landlord really is our landlord. "But if it is easier on you, he can bring all your paperwork with him." Right, like I'm going to hand over my passport to a practical stranger. I think not.
Get on yet another tram and while I fume, we head out to a bridal salon. There are approximately six dresses on mannequins that are all way smaller than me. The store owner doesn't speak one ounce of English, so poor Wiley is stuck in the middle translating. Uneasiness abounds. The lady told me since I'm practically a midget, I should stick to A-line/princess cuts. Well, that narrows down the choices.
After that experience, we tried a turkey kebap, which was fine, then found a DVD/computer games/CD shop. We now own an unofficial copy of Superbad. This is a nice end to a rotten day. My big glass of Bailey's should help.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Wiley and I took a spur of the moment trip to Dubrovnik last weekend. The weather forecast looked good, so off we went. We got to the bus station at 6:30 (because bus is the usual way to travel here) for a 7:15 departure, and after an hour and 15 minutes of waiting in the freezing-my-toes-off cold, the bus finally arrived. The driver said the battery had died and he’d spent all this time charging it up. After another hour on the bus, I could finally wiggle my toes without pain. We called the Begovic Boarding House where we were staying and told them we’d be late and settled in for the ride. About an hour out of Sarajevo, we turned a corner and all of a sudden, sunlight hit us and stayed with us for the entire ride.
And what a ride it was! The scenery was beautiful. Our Lonely Planet book said the view was nicer from the train and that the bus ride was less than great, but I really enjoyed the scenery. I always wondered why people had lots of clementines whenever we walked around. Then I saw the groves of clementine trees. Thousands of them! And lemon and orange too! Not long after spotting those, we saw the Adriatic. All I can say is wow. What a glorious sight.
We arrived on time in Dubrovnik, and our driver was waiting for us. When we told him where we were from, he said, “Kansas City is where they had that big chemical explosion last year.” It seems KC makes international news at times. We were shown our apartment, which had one bedroom and a twin bed in the kitchen. Unfortunately, there was no ventilation, so we had to heat each room with the single space heater provided us, and the first night, I was mighty cold. But the apartment was very nice and inexpensive to stay. It’s in a little area called Lapad, which is about 2 miles or so from the old part of Dubrovnik. We walked down to the beach, watched the sun set on the Adriatic, and then headed to a place called Atlantic for dinner.
Dubrovnik is a happening place in the summer. Party, party, party, but in the winter, it’s much quieter. We had the entire restaurant to ourselves for about an hour, and then another couple came in and sat in a different part of the restaurant, so then we had half a restaurant to ourselves. They served great Italian. We actually went there for dinner Saturday night as well.
On Saturday, we went to the old part of Dubrovnik and walked around the walled city. There were lots of shops, places to drink coffee, and a lot of washed stone. I don’t know why, but it seems that every place that has stone streets feels a need to wash them. We had coffee and tea and then walked along the top of the city walls. Talk about neat! The entire old city was laid out before us. Afterward, we stopped at a restaurant right next to the harbor and I had some cheese and olive oil with bread while Wiley had all sorts of crustaceans in rice. He said it was delicious, but to me it looked like rice with ketchup and bad-smelling crustaceans. But then again, I don’t like seafood. At night, we returned to take some pictures since the stone walls were outlined like the Plaza for Christmas. The shots didn’t turn out very well, but it was nice to see.
On Sunday, we took a two hour ferry to an island called Mljet (that’s Mil-yet to you, but really there’s no “I” in between the M and the L), where we walked around the national forest and questioned our sanity while listening to absolute silence. There are two lakes in the national park, known as Greater and Lesser Lake (and no, I’m not kidding). In the middle of Greater Lake is an island with a 12th century monastery on it that you can visit. Of course, being “winter”, no one’s there, so we could only gaze at it. We had lunch at a little restaurant where again we were served cheese with olive oil and bread. I didn’t like this cheese as much, but what was fun was the myriad cats running around. I saw one, and then it would run off, and I’d see another, and it would run off. When we were served our food, not less than 6 cats surrounded our table. Two of them were so small – very petite and under 6 pounds, like my little Dixie, but even smaller. And they weren’t kittens. I was tempted to take them back with me, but Mljet is a nice place for them to live. The temperatures are very mild; not like in Sarajevo. When we got back to Dubrovnik, it was dinnertime, so we had dinner inside the city walls at Mea Culpa, the best pizza place in town. It was very good, and our waiter looked like one of Wiley’s friends.
We left Monday morning to come back to Sarajevo, and the city must’ve been sad to see us go because the sun hid behind clouds all day. I know I was incredibly sad to leave, so I’m scheming to get a vacation home along the coast somewhere before prices get even more outrageous. Anyone interested in going in with me?
So that was our trip, and now we’re back, and you can view some of the pictures here. I took over 700. There’s no way I’m uploading all of them!
Sretan (Sray-tahn) Bozic (Bo, like Bo Duke, z as in “pleasure”, and itch), which means Merry Christmas!
So, last week, Brian Westbrook of the Philadelphia Eagles smartly held onto the ball and let the clock run out, effectively keeping the ball from Dallas. Good news for the Eagles. Bad news for gamblers.
Wiley reads The Sportsguy on ESPN.com, who said that he's got a friend who's a high-roller, and is in a FF league that costs $100,000 to join.
My head whipped around so quickly that I now have pain.
Exsqueeze me? ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS TO JOIN A FANTASY FOOTBALL LEAGUE? You've got to be kidding me. Seriously??? This ain't right.
Highrollers, let me make this request of you. If you have nothing better to do than to join a FF league for $100,000, how about you give me your money and I will spend it very wisely? I would like to get a graduate edumacation, and as you well know, edumacation these days is much pricier than it used to be. If there's anything left over from said edumacation, then I would use that money to buy a home. Or, I could give some of that money to Sarajevo, who could use it to build more than 2 km of road each year. Please, I implore you, it's time to let somebody else be in charge of your money, because you spend it stupidly.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
And she's 16.
Look, kids are going to do what they're going to do, and hopefully they're counseled on at least knowing how to wrap the salami, but for crying out loud, if you are a child star and kids look up to you, perhaps getting knocked up at 16 isn't the best thing.
Then again, this is a Spears, and with her big sister as a role model, should we expect any better from this one?
Monday, December 17, 2007
The weather is clear today - no snow - but of course, it's wet. And cold. And I'm still in shorts.
Normally I don't give much thought to wrinkles and fine lines. But in light of upcoming nuptials and meeting people for the first time, I thought perhaps I should try to impede their deepening crevices. So I went online and looked at eye creams. Prevention.com is the first site I usually go to because I like their workout ideas, and while I was looking around, I found a site for this creme called Deception. It was endorsed by Oprah, and as the world knows, once you've been touched by Oprah, you're set for life. No use doing any of your own research; just believe some talk-show host who's a little full of herself. So I look at it and the ingredients, and see that emu oil is listed. Emu oil??? While I am not a vegetarian, or a vegan, I'm not sure I want to try emu oil, though I have to admit that the testimonials were pretty convincing. I move on and try to find some other creams, and now my head is spinning. So Dear Reader, if you have any eye creams that you think have worked wonders for those little crows' feet and lines, I'm all eyes. Do tell.
Then I decided to look at makeup tricks, specifically for the eyes. I like my eyes. I think they're pretty. But I think I could dress them up more, especially for a shindig. And anytime I look for makeup tricks for the eyes, I'm always looking at someone's eye and brow that look nothing like mine. My eyebrows are really far away from my eye - we're talking about an inch away from my eye. Most others' that are teaching you tricks are maybe 1/4 of an inch from their eye. It's easy to make eyes look dramatic when you don't have that much skin to cover. Where are the faces that look like mine? Bah.
Now I'm going back to Facebook to play TV trivia and get myself more points.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Last night we went out for Indian with some friends, and it was so, so tasty. I have enough left over for lunch. It's been a little jewel for us - it's a popular place for take-out, but not a lot actually stay in and eat. It was us and another table last night, which is just fine with me! Afterward, we went out for cake. My cake was ok, but it had that darned marmalade in it. Marmalade's ok, but I'm not sure I like it with my chocolate cake. But my friends got the Havana cake. I don't know what's in it other than whipped cream and cinnamon, but that's the next cake I'll get. We even got a dollop of hazlenut ice cream.
It's colder here now. Currently, it's snowing. Again. This time, it snowed and I didn't have to go to the doctor like all the other times it's snowed. I only had to go out last night to the Indian joint, but we walked very very quickly. You see, the wind howls here. Our friends told us it was -5 Celsius last night. In other words, damn cold. Had I known it was going to be that cold, I would've worn my hat. Live and learn. And in the apartment, I can wear shorts.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
One thing I love about living over here is the fact that I get really crisp granny smith apples. They are sooooo tasty, and bigger than they are at home. It also seems that apples are now in season. Today, we saw two men carrying two large bags apiece of apples...not granny smiths, though.
Another thing I love love love about living here is the fact that they don't really have commercials that I can understand. So I don't see any "You must get this to be cool" or "You have to do that to feel good about yourself". I just flipped through the channels, and stopped on MTV, where I saw a video of Mariah Carey blingin' it with Snoop Dogg. The woman is a whore, plain and simple. She's hardly dressed, she got new twins from the looks of it (trust me when I tell you I could see the entire left one without the nipple), and she's wiggling around in front of the camera. I am sooooooooooooo glad I don't have to deal with Hollywood and "the glam". Sure, there are idols here, but I don't know who they are, so it doesn't matter. Their endorsements mean nothing to me!
This is one thing I hope to remember every single day when I'm back in the States. Like Grandpa, I will mute the commercials. They're bad for you.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
In addition to these, I made carrot cupcakes, which turned out pretty well, though just a bit flat. I winged the cream cheese icing, but Wiley didn't complain, and he's still alive, so I must've done all right.
I've also been decorating the apartment. While not exactly construction paper, it does the job and the apartment is festive. Now, time to watch The Grinch!
Saturday, December 8, 2007
I blame The Knot. I just get engaged, sign up on the site so I can start looking at wedding dresses, and already, I have a list of 180 things to do, and 17 of them are overdue. And some of them, I might add, are completely ridiculous.
But what has me up in arms at this present time is that when I clicked on the photo gallery of bridal hairstyles, all of these brides have something in common with each other that they don't share with me: they all have long hair.
Is it a sin to be a bride with short hair? Could you be just a little less homogenized and give me some pictures with short-haired brides, please, Knot? Sheesh.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
After 9/11 I remember hoping that the energy and unity that resulted from the attacks would be used to break the deadlock and go about solving the big problems facing our country and not spent engaging in knee jerk reactions to the attacks. At the time, I was just worried that we would get bogged down in Afghanistan. I couldn't have fathomed that we'd be sinking a trillion dollars, all of our international goodwill (not to mention the tremendous human cost) into Iraq. Instead of uniting the country behind energy and international policies that could have dramatically improved the future of the US in world politics and the world economy, we've used up the Army and Marine Corps, spent the surplus and then some, and turned our backs on the values that make the US a place that the whole world (still) admires.
Instead, we have a political climate defined entirely by that horrible sickness in our stomachs that we all felt when we saw those towers fall. I don't only blame the Neanderthal Republicans, because there has been no real alternative from the Democrats. No one of any standing has stood up like Huckabee did to Romney at the debate and said "We are better than this." There are real enemies out there (like Saddam and certain members of the Iranian government); but our best weapons are not bullets and bombs. The best we can do is to actually behave better than they do.... to lead the world by our own example instead of wasting our waning power to use force to get what we want.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
This feels like a Monday.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Do you think I said yes?
Well, I did. And just as I said I would, my nose started running, so I gave him an abbreviated kiss so I could take care of it and really kiss him. Damn noses. No plans as of yet...maybe get married in Sarajevo, maybe wait until we're back on US soil...no idea what will happen. But what a romantic evening!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The weather looks to be awesome: rain and snow showers all weekend with a high of 40. I will love this in my wool coat. Must pack umbrella and consider a poncho.
I'm excited to go (so much food to try - chestnuts, gluwein, gingerbread - and sights to see), but the excitement is tempered because my boy, Rewind, had to go back to the vet yesterday because he was still throwing up. His food has now been switched to something wet and stinky, but I'm told he kept it down yesterday. Thankfully we'll be traveling half of the day while his catsitters are sleeping, so if there are any updates, I should get cell reception by the time they're up. So have a good weekend, and I'll be back Monday.
"So what, are you going to avoid coconut trees now?" Wiley asks.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
But there are still some people in the world who are afraid of what others would think of them, going to such a place. From the NYT:
One Washington hostess who loves Costco didn’t want people to know that her husband likes to hang out in the food court munching the quarter-pound hot dogs ($1.50 with a soda).
Read the article for yourself and have a laugh because you've been in the know much longer than the so-called elite.
Monday, November 26, 2007
And of course, I love watching Jason Lee. I didn't watch Earl too often when I had a chance, but I really like the movies he's done, even if some of them were a little more than questionable. He's good. He's one of the ones who makes me wonder how some people get it right time after time after time. Before he was an actor, he was a professional skateboarder. Hang with me here - yes, I said get it right. Being a pro skateboarder has its advantages, and my guess is it pays a bit more than the average salary. But here he is, a pro in his work, and he decides to be an actor. And that seems to be paying off too. So what is it he's got? Talent? Luck? Is he a hard worker? What determines that one person has the Midas touch with whatever he does, while others try and try and fail or make little progress each time?
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Today, with only five pages to go, I can't find my saved document. I've looked everywhere. Clipit told me that the filepath was invalid. Try somewhere else, he suggested. To no avail. So I had to go through the paper again. Now I am done, but I will go through one more time to make sure I remembered every change I made yesterday. I hope to get a backrub for this, as sitting in this damned chair all day is cramping me up.
The result, is that there is still snow outside, it is very cold, and we have two windows open. I just put on a pair of shorts. We've had two big snowstorms, and the only blanket we have in the living room is the thin blanket Melinda stole from the airplane. By they time I get done climbing the 6 floors to our apartment, I am very warm when I come in from the cold outside, and then our apartment is toasty as well. I can't get my winter clothes off fast enough.
Friday, November 23, 2007
UPDATE: I think most of my readers either don't use Facebook or are just too busy shopping to give me any advice. So I took it upon myself to go ahead and join Facebook (merry Christmas Cara!), and I've been messing with it ever since I signed up. And still I only have two friends.
And now I'm listening to Bob Rivers. In case you don't know, his group makes parodies, and they have some good songs, which made me wonder what others top Christmas tunes were. Here are my top 10:
1. The 12 Pains of Christmas by Bob Rivers
2. O Holy Night
3. Charlie Brown's Christmas songs by Vince Guaraldi - all of them are just realllly good but I love the jazzy version of What Child is This
4. Sleigh Ride by the Boston Pops
5. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by Burl Ives
6. The Chimney Song by Bob Rivers
7. Mele Kalikimaka by Bing Crosby (you know this one from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation where Clark is fantasizing about the saleslady taking off her red swimsuit)
8. Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives
9. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer by Elmo and Patsy
10. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee
So Dear Reader, tell me what your songs are. And I'm tagging Cara, Heather and Spyder, so you guys have to do it! And boogie on down while you make cookies! I will be.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Melinda and I had our Thanksgiving lunch. It was just the two of us. We had a full spread. Check out all of the dishes here. We had to make some of it last night because we just have the one casserole dish, and several dishes were a challenge since there is no Campbell's condensed soup here in Bosnia. We had to use powdered cream of mushroom and cream of broccoli soup, but they all turned out pretty well. Our "bird" was a smoked turkey breast that we just warmed up. It turned out pretty darned well.
Melinda here. Wiley wrote the top part but then said I could add or edit (he left out a word up there). This is what cooking's all about, Dear Reader: making do with what you got to see how it'll turn out. And I'm pretty impressed with how we were able to pull it all together. The turkey was interesting...parts of it tasted like deli meat, while parts of it tasted like real turkey. Of course, I'll be very happy when I can make a real bird, where you pull the meat off the bones (though I'm happy not to be dealing with bones), but this was better than I thought it would be.
So have a happy Thanksgiving, Dear Reader, and remember: doorbusters start at 4 am!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tasty vittles! My guess is this is going to be the crown jewel, as the turkey breast we bought is already smoked (I didn't realize this at the store). I just hope we didn't get 2.5 pounds of deli meat.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
But lo and behold, it tastes like Skippy!! And it doesn't have to be refrigerated. So now we have some nice creamy peanut butter to take the place of the creamy $5 Skippy we bought in Graz that's half the size of what we get at home.
How much lower will the dollar sink against the Euro? Come on, greenbacks, you're killing us here.
Here are some snippets from the New York Times article:
At halftime of the Jets’ home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, several hundred men lined one of Giants Stadium’s two pedestrian ramps at Gate D. Three deep in some areas, they whistled and jumped up and down. Then they began an obscenity-laced chant, demanding that the few women in the gathering expose their breasts.
The mood of previous Gate D crowds — captured on video clips posted on YouTube — sometimes bordered on hostile, not unlike the spirit of infamously aggressive European soccer hooligans. One clip online shows a woman being groped by a man standing next to her.
But the Gate D tradition at Giants Stadium apparently is unique to Jets games; the Gate D ramps are comparatively empty at Giants games. Perhaps forlorn Jets fans, who have rarely had a winning team to support, are seeking alternative entertainment on game days.
“This is the game,” said Patrick Scofield, a 20-year-old from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who has attended several Jets games the last two seasons.Denisse Rivera, a 23-year-old from the Bronx, was on a first date Sunday. When she arrived at the crowd at Gate D, several men pointed at her, signaling men at all levels to chant in her direction. After a brief moment of hesitation, she flashed them. Then she took a bow.
My question is, if she didn't let the twins out, would the men just start to undress her - help her along, maybe? Because you know, all women are exhibitionists. They just don't know it. And before you know it, any woman in the area at that time will either be groped, or worse, raped.
Rewind, my puma, still likes climbing into open drawers.
Deeder, my little black panther, apparently likes to watch her slave floss.
Dixie, an "evil purr machine", gets her slave up at 5:45 everyday without fail. She has a cold nose that she knows how to work.
I love my little furballs, and I miss them a lot. I look forward to getting them back when we return. Until then, I'm amused at their antics and facets of their personalities that surprise the catsitters.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Family and friends. My family's been good to me, Wiley and his family have been good to me, and I have some kick-ass friends I would donate kidneys and eggs to if the need ever arose.
Good health seems to be something of a rarity between my friends and me. While I'm still taking an antihistamine resembling something like Zyrtec, that's pretty minor compared to what others have had to deal with, so I'm thankful that my health is still pretty strong.
Fellow bloggers are appreciated by me. They keep me in the loop about what's going on in KC and with themselves by providing posts on their blogs.
Technology is very much appreciated. Without technology, I wouldn't be able to read those blogs or have one of my own to keep others in the loop about what's happening with me.
I'm thankful that I'm experiencing another culture with someone I love. Not only do I get the benefit of finally living with someone (not just in the same city, but in the same apartment!) I've dated for quite awhile, but I get to do it while living in a completely different country, something I would never have the balls to do all by myself. I don't consider this a character flaw; it simply is what I know of myself to be true.
And there are more, of course, but the last one I'll post tonight is the fact that I am thankful that my little Letizen pills are not child-proof. I just push and out they come on the other side of the foil. Genius.
And then, we went grocery shopping at a different Mercator and picked up a few items for our Thanksgiving meal we're attempting to prepare. And what should greet me as I walk in but gold and red Christmas decorations! There were balls, and little trees, and even hats - one had white braids on it. Just for fun, I tried it on to make Wiley laugh, which he did. Apparently I looked ridiculous, but there were no cameras around for proof! Anyway, we picked up some food for our feast, even these little slices of cherry cobbler. Wiley told me to look at the label - it says, "Kolac (coal-atch) fit", so they must think these little things are healthy! Now I don't feel guilty for getting them! What a good day it's been.
And to top it all off, my fantasy football horses won for the week! I am in second place. I have Chester Taylor, and he gave me 30 points - about 14 more than the supposed #1 horse, LaDanian Tomlinson.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
For those of you who don't want to click, in essence, a fictitious boy named Josh contacted a girl named Megan, a 13 year-old who had been diagnosed with ADD and depression, on MySpace. Six weeks after initiating contact, the boy abruptly ended contact, telling Megan she wasn't a very nice person and was mean to her friends. Then there were messages posted about Megan saying she was a slut and fat, which upset her, and she hung herself and died.
This is the part that just floors me: Josh was made up by a neighboring family - a mother, her daughter and "another person". The daughter was a former friend of Megan's. Mom told police she wanted to gain Megan's trust to see what she was saying about her daughter.
Although Megan's parents said they monitored her online communication, she was underage when she opened up her account. A bit of a problem there. And a mother went fishing online to see what this kid was saying about her daughter. An even bigger problem.
Whatever happened to telling kids that it doesn't matter what others say about them? That the only opinion that matters is their own? Or how about teaching some coping mechanisms for the bullies of the world, since they're always around? And by the way, girls are much better bullies than boys. Boys hit; girls are aggressive in other ways, which are really quite painful. Read Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons to give you an idea if you're really clueless...but me thinks some of you gals can think of grade school examples in your own lives where you were either the bully or the target.
To the mom who created the profile just to see what this other girl was saying about your daughter, you should be prosecuted. You and your daughter and that "other person" all need to go in for some extensive counseling on how to deal with your problems. Grow up.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Wiley just about sprayed his tea all over the room.
Then I did another test on the same site, this time to figure out which classic movie I was:
Other choices included Schindler's List, Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Sunset Blvd., Wuthering Heights, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Godfather.
Wiley's surprised I wasn't the Godfather. Maybe next time.
It had just started snowing when we left our apartment. I wore my black boots.
In snow, when it's slippery, these boots are a bad idea. But I thought I'd be ok because we were going to take a taxi. Only when we got outside, there were no taxis at the taxi stand, where there are normally about 10. So we walked a bit farther to the tram stop. We waited for a bit, got more snow on us, and then boarded a tram that was kinda full but not terribly full. Then Wiley said, "Ok, it's time we get off," so we stepped off the tram.
And the restaurant was about another 15 minute walk from where we got off.
By the time we got to the restaurant, my hair, which had hairspray in it, was shellacked, my feet were freezing, and my coat was wet. Since I had my boots on, and they have no traction, I had to walk about twice as slow. This put me in a rather sour mood.
Dinner was nice. I had a lot of salad with tomatoes and cucumbers, tried a couple of their appetizers, and then they brought out the main course, which was a type of stew. It was pretty good, but I don't really want to think about the meat that I might've eaten. We had musical entertainment in the form of a violinist, guitarist and accordion player (is that an accordionist?). We also had some teens do some traditional dancing for us. One of the girls looked exactly like Toula from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. At one point, they grabbed some of the professors and they tried to dance with the girls. At least they didn't fall over. We even got invited to one of their houses in Graz for Easter! Yay - another 12 hour busride.
After about three and a half hours, we decided to go home. We walked, and tried to hail a cab, but got ignored, and so we walked on to the tram stop, and finally a cab stopped for us. He gave us the cheery news that cabs were raising their rates the next day. Whoopie!
While we were walking and I was trying desperately not to fall, I realized that I will never wear these boots again when it's wet, and I always need an umbrella or a hat or I'm going to die.
And of course, it's snowing again today.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I watched "What About Bob?" today. Don't ask me why, but I love that movie. The son, Siggy, won't dive. As I watched this, I thought, What's so scary about diving?
This thought occurred to me again as I was watching these people - 1 adult and 2 kids, no less, talk about how long they've been cliff diving.
One of the kids, a girl who is 12, is supposedly the best female cliff-diver of whatever country she's from (I didn't catch that part). She talked about how when you jump off a cliff, it's a wonderful feeling she equated to flying. For a minute, I pondered whether this is something I should someday try. I would like to feel like I'm flying through the air. But then I thought, I have dreams where I'm falling and I'm certainly not happy to feel like I'm flying, so maybe this is something I will avoid.
So, let's review:
Diving into a pool or lake or anything where you're no more than 15-20 feet above: not scary.
Cliff diving: scary enough to leave my ass on the beach.
This morning, the Emerald Curtain was a bit brighter. I knew what this meant.
I got up, looked outside the window, and even bigger, fatter flakes were falling. I looked down, and the sidewalk had been plowed. With an actual plow. I noticed the five inches on top of the hedge. In other words, a perfect day to stay inside.
But do you think that's what happened? Oh, no.
We walked over to the burek shop so Wiley could eat some burek. But they were closed. So we decided to go on to Mercator, the grocery store farthest from our house but our favorite. We trekked through snow and slush. We jumped over lakes in the roads. A car splashed us with dirty water and I ended up with four big glops of slush on my leg and jacket. Once there, we hit the jackpot - vanilla cookie smelling votives and some Christmas votives that are copper and red glitter, which will be perfect around the apartment, a spiral notebook (I swear this is the only place I've seen spirals), tea that smells like cinnamon, BACON that we have to cut ourselves, and even a fresh turkey breast, so we can cook it for Thanksgiving! Last, but not least, was the small cart of Christmas candy right next to the canned fruit. They were candy sticks, and probably not very appetizing, but there was jolly old St. Nick staring back at me! I squealed and told Wiley that he walked right past them.
The one thing we forgot at the store was matches (but I wouldn't even know where to look for them). But Wiley will get them tonight while he's out at dinner with people from Austria who invited him to a conference taking place tomorrow.
That's right - I'll be alone in the evening! This is a first. I plan on blasting all my neighbors with my computer speakers and singing Journey's greatest hits while wearing white socks and a white t-shirt ala Tom Cruise in Risky Business. Don't stop believin'!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
How do I know this? As I'm using the facilities this evening, I notice an ant on the floor. It has a seed that fell from the top of a piece of bread that I failed to pick up.
I don't eat bread in the bathroom. Neither does Wiley.
What an enterprising, hungry little fella. Had he made it home, I'm sure he would've been a hero.
I left him attached to his prize as I picked him up with some toilet paper and flushed him.
Basically, the article says that a cat scratched a vet tech in El Paso, TX, which requires a call to animal control:
"Veterinarian offices must report any bites or scratches to authorities, but even though the ordinance doesn't call for the owner to get a ticket if the animal has received its proper vaccinations, the officer issued one anyway."
My little Rewind was notorious at his last vet as being a bit "touchy". The current vet I take him to is pretty good with him, but whenever he gets his shots, I'm still the one who has to cradle him like a baby and put the E-collar on him to make sure he doesn't bite anyone. He freaks if anyone else touches him. (His first vet experience was rather bad - he had to have stitches put in his third eyelid to heal his eye when he ran into the attic and got a piece of fiberglass in his eye after running through the insulation, and taking the stitches out was rather traumatic for him - and me.)
Other than that, he's my little puma. If he was a lion, we'd be in trouble and I'd likely be dead, but he's got more personality than any other cat I've met, and he's very lovey to me and Wiley.
My favorite part of the article where we could be screwed coming home is where the ticket agents scan the line:
You're off the flightThis is an extreme form of punishment, but not as uncommon as you would expect. "My airline actually tells its agents and supervisors to scan the gate areas for passengers with too many carry-on bags, oversized luggage, oversized passengers and anyone who looks inebriated -- which, if you've flown lately, could be half of the flight," says one ticket agent for a major airline, who asked that I not use his name.
Coming home, we're each going to have two suitcases and two carry-on bags. Maybe I should just stay here....
The dream Sunday night was kinda fun - a lot of my former coworkers were in it, and we were at a Halloween party. One attorney friend wore a Michael Jackson sparkly jacket, and another had on the same knit tights that I had on...I don't know what I was, but I do remember a black short skirt. But my friend was a feather duster, and she said, "Chicken" whenever she came up to dust you. She'd whirl around like she was mechanical and say, "Chicken," and then you'd get dusted. Very strange.
Maybe I should try sleeping less.
Monday, November 12, 2007
In KC, we have the WWI memorial. XO has some great pictures on his blog about the time he spent there yesterday, not to mention some very sobering pictures. The picture of the poppy fields is incredible. Each poppy represents 1,000 soldiers who died during the war. The total is over 37 million over four years.
My grandfather was a veteran of WWII, my father a former Marine who never told me about his experiences with the military before his death last year.
War is a terrible thing. It is paid for dearly with the lives of soldiers, both young and old. Remember the veterans today for all their sacrifices for us, past and present. Remember the families of those who never make it home.
Burned oatmeal smells awful. Yuck.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Since the only real post I put on the last blog was about food in Croatia, I thought I’d better write a sequel for Sarajevo. My food experience in Sarajevo has been dramatically different than in Zagreb, both because I have a kitchen and I have Melinda along. If you remember, my diet in Zagreb was very limited to meat, taters, and cabbage. There are no such limits here in Sarajevo. We are limited only by our imaginations and what is available at the grocery store (and our ability to identify what is at the grocery store).
We haven’t done a lot of eating out, because we’re really trying to keep the reins on the budget so that we can travel. Sarajevo has a lot of nice restaurants, ranging from the best Mexican place I’ve found in Europe to a very serviceable Indian Restaurant right down the road from us. We’ve only tried Italian/pizza once, but that went pretty well. There is also the normal Bosnian fare of grilled meats, etc. Sometimes that is a challenge for Melinda, since she won’t eat lamb or veal, both of which are staples here.
Fast food here is dominated by Čevapi and Burek. Čevapi is grilled pieces of beef and lamb in a kind of soft pita bread with raw onions. Čevapi is the meal that everyone says you have to have in Sarajevo, and it is available EVERYWHERE. Problem is, Melinda and I don’t really like it. I like the flavor of the meat, but neither of us are big fans of raw onions or bread slathered in grease. So, don’t tell anyone, but we’re not huge fans of Bosnia’s national food. However, I love Burek. Burek is the meat version of Bosnian pies called Pita. You can have them filled with spinach, potato, cheese or meat. If you fill it with meat, then it is called Burek. It is basically philo dough filled with meat formed in rolls that can form a snake like a cinnamon roll or be set out in rows or even like a pie. Melinda isn’t as enthusiastic about them, but I can convince her to eat them from time to time, especially when they are fresh.
Cooking at home has been a string of adventures and near-disasters. We bought barley instead of oatmeal, which actually turned out pretty well. We made lasagna that turned into soup… we also made lasagna using tomato soup (which, ironically, did not turn into soup). We’ve had success making pizza, although the “pizza cheese” is expensive and molds quickly when you buy the value bag. We’ve made a variety of pastas (gorgonzola, tomato with olive, alfredo) and even experimented with pumpkin seed-breaded pork loin. Lately, we’ve been eating a lot of chicken noodle soup with popcorn popped in a pot.
Even with all this eating, I’ve lost some weight. I don’t know if it is living on the 6th floor, not having a car, or what we are eating, but my clothes are quite a bit looser.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
The article says that passengers don't really want to have a vacation with other people. They don't want to go onshore with the masses or stand in a buffet line.
I think this is complete bullshit, and I'm calling it.
Having gone on three cruises myself, I can say that a) part of the fun of going on a cruise is mingling with people you might not ordinarily meet, and b) there are plenty of ways to get away from people. I'm not a huge fan of large crowds, so breakfast was always a bit difficult, but here's a thought: if you want to eat by yourself, most of the cruiselines offer 24-hour room service. I had it once when I was sick. We got ready for dinner, and all of a sudden, I had a horrible case of sea-sickness. I wanted to stop the boat and get off. Instead, I took a dramamine, laid down for a bit and then we ordered our dinner in the cabin.
When it comes to eating, there are plenty of ways to not be around people: instead of going to the regular restaurant for dinner, try a trattoria. I did this, and it was great. Choose to eat at a table for two instead of a table for 6 or 8. Skip high tea.
As for getting away other times, go lay on the side of the ship in a lounger. My then-husband and I were the only two on that side of the ship when we sat and read and watched the waves go by. Head to the library - there was nobody in there when we went.
I can understand that the pools can be a little busy, but you are on a cruise. It's not like that's the only water you'll come across.
The article also mentions that they are tailoring excursions to be more private too. This is something that I won't make a fuss about. If you want to spend the day with a Russian family at their dacha in St. Petersburg (which the article says is an option), then go ahead. But I do wonder why spending some time with a single family is really different - aren't you still strangers?? Isn't that the point of making parts of a cruiseship exclusive - so you can be by yourself?
Give me a break. This is just another ploy by big companies to tell you you're special, and they'll prove it if you pay for it. Apparently, it's working because even though the cabins cost 20% more, they're selling out. People, get some self-esteem.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Anyway, today has a been a typical fall day like I know them in the States. It's very very windy. The river was littered with little yellow polka dots - all the leaves have finally been swayed to begin their journey downstream. The clouds are all different colors - dark grey, almost purple, next to white streams, with little ribbons of blue sky peeking through. We went to the yarn lady again today so I could get some more creme-colored yarn, and it was just chilly enough to need my wool coat and a scarf. After lunch, it sprinkled on us a bit - oh, Sarajevo, I think it rains here as much as it does in Seattle or Kauai - but it wasn't enough to really put a damper on things. Even though there are clouds in the sky, I can look out my living room window as I blog and see the hills through and behind the apartment buildings. It's a beautiful sight, and it makes me happy to be here.
I think there might've been something in that Indian food.
We are going to Vienna,
On a bus all day.
We are going to Vienna,
Just to pass some time away.
Can't you hear the gluwein calling,
We'll rise up early in the morn,
Yay, we're going on a bus trip,
To see Vienna adorned.
At the end of the month, Wiley and I are going to Vienna to see the city lit up in Christmas lights. They have gluwein, which is sweet hot wine, on the street, along with a Christmas market. The last time we were in Vienna, we were there just a day and didn't get to see too much of the town (though we did see the Vienna city marathon), so this time, we're going for a few days. The only downside is the busride there and the busride back - long ride. Good thing I have more books!!!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Today, we struck out around 9:30 for Dobrinje, which is where my doctor is. We walked around all the little shops there and went to the doctor a half-hour early. And, we got in. Try doing that in the US. This time, my doctor was the head honcho, who spoke English with a Russian accent. He had two cronies with him. He surprised me by telling me that I look like the women in Bosnia. For once, I was speechless because I don't think I look like any of them! He told me that my infection isn't gone yet, so I have another antibiotic, decongestant and nose spray to take for a week or so, and then I go back again for a checkup. This visit was a bit more invasive. He stuck these long silver tubes with lights on the end up my nose and lit up each nostril; not exactly pleasant, though it was kinda fun to see one side light up like Rudolph. Then they stuck something that looked like a drill in my ears, testing the inner ear, and that received an all-clear. They are convinced I've done something to my nose. Yes, it's crooked. No, I don't know why. No, I don't remember having any trauma, though I suppose it's possible a wayward volleyball hit me in the face and I don't remember it. Otherwise, I can't think of anything. Then he asked if my mom had problems delivering me. From what I've been told (because while I was there, my memory isn't that good), I was a baby in distress born with the cord around my neck, but can that cause nose problems?? Since this may not be the last time we live abroad, I'm seriously considering talking to Che, as he's known around the office, about the operation he had to repair his deviated septum to avoid further problems with unclean air. I want no one sticking those tubes up my nose again, even if the ones wielding them are nice.
We also went to the Embassy today so Wiley could get a new passport. Very imposing structure. We went early, so we walked around that part of town, and it's beautiful!!! Very Austrian-looking. We found a place to eat, where I had "Vienna steak", which was originally lamb, but they made it out of chicken for me, and gave me a side of fries (and no, I didn't ask). Wiley had some soup. Then we went to the Embassy, where we handed over our passports and were told to go inside. Just as I turn, the guy who has my passport, who received my passport with Wiley's, stopped me and asked if we were together. After I said yes, they opened the door and we stepped through a metal detector, handed over our bags, watched as they ran them through the conveyor belt, watched as they searched Wiley's bag, found our cell phones, turned them off and handed them over, then walked back through the metal detector and got hand-wanded before being told to go through another door to talk to someone about the passport. They were waiting for us, and that took no time at all, and then we were out.
Yesterday, we walked somewhere between seven and eight miles, and today, we walked three. That's a heck of a lot more walking than I did in the States, but the scale has hardly budged for me! Darn their hot chocolates!