Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This weekend will be known as Viennatime. Tomorrow, we are on a bus for 15 hours, starting at 8 am. I hope we don't run into a traffic jam on Bosnia's seemingly only road out of the country. I also hope that the Slovenian border patrol strike doesn't affect us too much. But I have two books and an ipod

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 I'm watching "Man Eaters" on Animal Planet, and they're highlighting great white sharks and how they're moving north thanks to global warming. I turn to Wiley and say, "I only want to swim in lakes and crystal clear ponds." He laughs at me. I turn back to the program, and then we heard that in the past nine years, out of 473 attacks, only 64 have been fatal. They then say that more people are killed by falling coconuts than by sharks.

"So what, are you going to avoid coconut trees now?" Wiley asks.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Are the Prominent Catching Up to Us?

It seems the rich are just now getting the info. that most of us have understood for years: shopping at Costco (or Sam's Club because they're really very similar, though Costco cakes are the absolute best and if you haven't had one, go put in an order and get the chocolate mousse as the filling) is a good thing. They save you money because you buy in bulk.

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

Jason Lee is a Golden God

No, Dear Reader, it's not a fluke; you're reading the same title as a previous post from my previous blog. I'm watching Almost Famous again, and I tell you, I just love this movie. Funny that I saw it about three years after it was released thanks to a coworker. I met up with this chick who I'd only talked to online, and we split the costs of hotel and gas and followed a band who is pretty much now defunct now around the Midwest for four days. Yes, I took off work for this, and everyone knew what I was doing. One of my coworkers said that I reminded her of Penny Lane, the groupie - nay, Bandaide - played by Kate Hudson. Mind you, I did not run around in a skimpy top or huge coat, nor did I get to sleep with any band members (I was married, after all), but I did get on the tourbus, got to get into shows early, got to "hang out" with the band a bit. I didn't have all the fun of being in hotel rooms or anything like that, but I have to tell you, what I experienced was a fabulous time. I'd rather be the one getting onstage inspiring others instead of being in front of it sometimes, but the air is charged with this energy right before a show, and it's awesome feeling it.

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?

Doing Better

I've gotten word that my boy has kept down his water and about an 1/8 of a cup of food. He's even started purring again. So he might be getting better; now let's just hope he stays that way.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Rallying the Troops

My boy, Rewind, apparently is feeling under the weather again. I got an email saying he was being taken to the emergency vet because he wasn't keeping his food down and was pooping outside his litterbox. I called and he was given two shots, one an antinausea drug and the other an antacid, to quiet down his tummy so he could drink again. He won't get food until Sunday night, and hopefully his tummy feels good enough not to reject it. If that works and he feels better, then he'll have to take Pepcid AC. If not, I'm worried this could be the end of my kitty. So say a prayer that my puma will pull through and keep biting vets for a long time.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I spent quite a few hours yesterday proofing a paper for someone. Because I know that computers can crap out at any time, and my IT help desk at work always drilled it into me to save, save, save, I hit the save button continuously, thinking I was doing the right thing.

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.

There is snow outside, and the apartment is HOT!

When we moved into our apartment, the agent told us that the apartment had "city heat", which means that we don't really have any control over how warm our apartment is. In the ads, they frequently call it "floor heat", because in addition to a radiator in every room, the parquet floor is heated. The only place in the apartment where the floor is cold is the kitchen, which has tile. We also don't have any real control over how much heat we get. Supposedly you can adjust something on the radiators, but I haven't figured out how. We don't pay by how much heat we use; instead, we pay by the square meter. The heat is turned on based on some formula (x number of days under a certain temperature), and we pay 50 bucks a month every month that it is turned on.

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

Gettin' It From All Sides

Ok people, here's the deal: I got two people telling me, begging me, to join Facebook. I've been through the tour. I've looked at Wiley's page. Now I'm asking those of you who belong what's so great about Facebook (and I know some of you readers are because I found you!). Keep in mind I'm almost 31, not in grad school and not currently working. I don't understand the pokes or the throwing of turkeys or dolls. So, in layman's terms, what's so cool about this when I already have this blog and two email accounts?

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.

Move over Turkey, Time For Christmas!!

Read it and weep, Dear Reader: I have two Christmas presents to go, and then I'm done. Today, Wiley and I picked up a few things we needed. We walked into town. We walked back from town. We got splashed by cars whizzing by too fast on a sidewalk too close to the street. But by golly, we got Christmas presents.

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

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 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

First Course Served

With no condensed cream soup and no Velveeta, we made a helluva tasty cheesy broccoli rice casserole. We tried to resist, but we had to sample. Tomorrow just wasn't soon enough.

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


Today while getting some more groceries for our Thanksgiving dinner, we found peanut butter in the cheese section. I don't know why some people refrigerate peanut butter - it tears the bread - but they do. So we bought some to try it out, knowing that there could be a shock to our system.

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.

New York Makes Us Proud

Get a group of men together to watch obese delinquents play football, and they reward the world by gathering together at a gate to chant to women they spot to show some boobs.


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.

Very classy.

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.


The Catsitters

I check in with my catsitters regularly. To the cats, they are known as slaves because cats do not have owners. I've found out a few interesting things:

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

Giving Thanks

Since we're seven hours ahead of the Midwest, we will be celebrating our Thanksgiving just a bit earlier than you (and we're starting the cooking on Wednesday due to only having one casserole dish and needing to cook 2 casseroles, a turkey breast, and possibly stuffing in said casserole dish), so I started thinking of all the things I'm thankful for, and I thought I'd share. In no particular order, I am thankful for the following things:

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.

This House is Clean

My nose, that is. Today I had my second follow-up appointment with my ENT doctor, and he said my sinus infection is gone. However, he said it was important to keep everything clear, so I'm to keep spraying solution up my nose, and then he gave me what I think is a decongestant to take at night because I told him that that's when I am most congested. (I will look it up before I take it, don't worry.)

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

I Wonder When

Missouri will actually get some good press. Lately we had the story about the woman who killed the pregnant lady and stole the baby, and now this.

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.

Still Going

It started snowing Friday night. It hasn't stopped for more than 15 minutes.

It's really quite beautiful, especially when you stay inside.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Let me Lead You

I took this from Heather. I went to the site just to see what it was, and this was what I got:

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.

Meetin' the Gang

Wiley and I had dinner last night with colleagues of his from Graz, Austria. They were here for a conference, so after the conference, we got ready to go into town to a place called Spite House. The owner of the house made the government move his restaurant one board at a time since they wanted his land to build City Hall (which turned into the library, which then turned into #1 target during the war).

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

Switching it Up

Hi! We've gotten a couple of interesting comments on the blog, and I think they're spam, so we're changing the comments. From here on out, your comment will not automatically post. It will be sent to us to review, and we'll post it if we know you or we figure out you're legit. We've also included word verification, so you'll have to put in whatever word pops up on your screen. Sorry to make the comments a little more difficult, but I'm tired of having people post crap on the blog.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Discovery

So tonight, as I'm cleaning, I'm watching the Discovery channel. (I already sang my Journey song, thankyouverymuch.) There was a show on called "Most Evil", I think, so I half-heartedly listened to it while shuffling from kitchen to living room to bedroom. Then I sit down, and the show is over, but then they have these people on talking about diving.

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.

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.

2nd Coming

The snow started later in the evening. Big, fat flakes. I wondered if they would stick.

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

Amazing Things

Always in the bathroom, I see bugs. Ants have migrated from the kitchen to the bathroom. I have no idea why, but it seems there's a trail in the wall between the two rooms.

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.

No Texas for Me

I've just been a newshound this evening.

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.

Getting Home?

This CNN article kinda makes me cringe.

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 flight

This 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....


If this actually works and he's cured, expect more stories like it.

Still, I think this is better than any news on Paris Hilton.

Will This Be Us Someday?

This is why I'll never live in Nicaragua or any of the other 35 countries that have a no-exception ban on abortion. Thanks to Sassywho for posting the article.

Stop the Insanity

I don't know why I keep having odd dreams, but I do. Wiley tells me that's why I sleep so long - because I don't actually sleep. Last night's dreams involved lions and tigers (no bears, oh my). They were on football teams, and I was a coach. There were actual people on teams, but the only thing I remember about them is that we all sat down and ate lunch, and some old guy kept paying for my stuff. The next dream involved a friend of mine from college, who had a baby with her hubby, and I insisted on a paternity test because I suspected some hanky-panky between her and my then hubby. When she brought her hubby and her kid, I could tell right away that it was his kid because she looked so much like him. So I told her I didn't need the test. She asked why I suspected her in the first place, and I told her it was because she didn't balk when I asked for the paternity test. Then she told me that she in fact had an affair with him. I woke up, really irritated, because I really did think my ex had an affair with someone (but not her) and he swore up and down that he didn't. When I woke up, I thought, Well, now what? What's past is past, but I'm really mad and maybe I should tell him that. But oh, wait, he's got my cat. And then my senses fully came to me and I realized it was just a dream.

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

Remember the Vets

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.

Black Bottom

Wiley burned the oatmeal. The black in the bottom of the pan looks like it's about a half-inch thick. This will require an all-day soak. I put some salt in the pan, and if that doesn't work, I'll try the baking soda. A few other sites suggested boiling vinegar (but that would smell just as bad as the oatmeal), boiling dishwashing soap, or using Coke to clean it out. Coke is now a delicacy, so I shan't be trying that.

Burned oatmeal smells awful. Yuck.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Adventures in Food

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.

Arrested Development?

I saw this on Heather's and Spyder's blogs, so I thought I'd see where I was at.

cash advance

Wiley's not so sure this is a good thing.

New City

Yesterday, Wiley and I got on a tram and went out to Ilidza (il-id-ja), a town near Sarajevo - about 20 minutes away on the tram. Wiley told me this was another place we could've lived. We could've rented an unfurnished house for cheaper than our apartment. While we didn't stay in the actual town very long, we went to the park, which was really nice. Wiley said we didn't actually make it to the park, but just along the long long long road which leads to it. I forgot my hat and the wind was really blowing yesterday, so I turned around. But the part we saw was pretty - there were large houses, like US houses, along the road, and there were some hotels overlooking a fountain that had been drained. Today it's supposed to snow this morning but then be sunny. Maybe we'll attempt another trip out there. If I ever built a house in Bosnia, I would like it to be out there. Apparently, I'm not alone because there were quite a few new houses. And it seems that that part of Ilidza draws money - we saw a Hummer and a BMW at a little cafe. A gallon of gas here costs around $5.60 - that's $185 just to fill up the tank!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Making Waves

Today, I read an article in the NYT about how cruising is becoming more elite. They're reintroducing the class-system.

Excuse me?

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

A Beautiful, Chilling Day

This morning, I woke up just a little after 8. In my old life, that would've been sleeping in, but since retirement, I've been able to sleep until 10, though sleep isn't always restful and I have strange dreams. Like the other night - I dreamed that I was playing my violin at a friend's wedding, only the notes weren't on paper - I was reading crochet stitches and having a hard time reading them! Finally, I gave up and just played from memory, which went much better. So maybe crocheting tons of scarves and granny squares is getting to me...

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.

Mmm mmm Good

Wiley and I decided to go out today for lunch since our kitchen sink drain was still leaking. While walking around one day, we found an Indian restaurant just down the street from our apartment, so today we decided to try them out. I had chicken kurma, or chicken korma, and Wiley had a split dish consisting of palak paneer and vegetable korma. The kormas tasted completely different from each other, but both were tasty. We also got some stuffed naan - they didn't have my veggie samosas, but they had naan stuffed with potatoes and peas, and when I tasted it, except for the deep-fat-fried goodness that makes up the outside of the samosa, it tasted the same. They even had mango lassis, which I didn't try this time - must save something for next time. As we were finishing, our landlord called and said he was on his way to check out the drain, and when we came home, it was fixed! So now I have a functioning kitchen again, and I can begin a most important thing: making cookies. *grins broadly*

Gluwein, Here We Come

To the tune of I've Been Working on the Railroad:

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


Today, I found my wings. Wiley had an appointment, so about half an hour after he left, I put on my shoes, looked up a few words in Bosnian, and then hoofed it down to the bascarcija for some Christmas shopping. First, I stopped by my yarn lady and tried to ask her how to find what I needed. She didn't understand a word until I showed her what I needed and then asked if I should go to the bascarcija. She said yes, so off I went. I found exactly what I was looking for, was able to speak English and German have people understand me and I understood them, and then, since my feet were hurting, I mustered up the courage to get onto a trolley bus, stamp my ticket and sit down. I even got off at the right stop.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A-walking We Will Go

Last night, we walked into town to meet our new friend for coffee. The coffee bar was a wonderful little gem - big tables and a nice big upstairs so you don't have to ask someone to move their chair so you can get out. We were there for quite some time, trading stories about our lives. Wiley and I had a wonderful time.

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!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Adventures in Mail

Today, our mailman alerted us to the fact that we had a package. He rang our bell and presented Wiley with a yellow piece of paper. Ecstatic to get mail, we finished getting ready and went to the post office. While there, we paid the heating bill and were told that our package was at the other post office, near the train and bus stations. So we hoof it down there, about a mile or so, and step inside. The building couldn't be more confusing. Do we go left or right? We tried left. Stood in line to have a guy look through some papers and then tell us to go down to the other side of the building. So we go outside and go to the back of the building. Again, left or right? This time, a receptionist was there - a male, mind you - and he told us to go right. So we go right, give the paper to a guy, show Wiley's passport, sign a piece of paper, then we're told to go pay for our package through the doors and to the left. Then we can have our package. So then we go left, wait in line, have two people cut in front of us, pay our 9.50 KM for our package, get our paper stamped, then go right again to pick up the package. It's like everyone just wants to wait in line. All told, we stood in four lines today! But we finally got our package with wonderful goodies inside! Thank you thank you thank you for our early Christmas!!! Just as soon as I find cream of tartar, cupcakes shall be made!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Well, Anyway

You know, I love my computer, and I love blogging, but lately, it just hasn't been the same. I feel I've lost my touch. Things don't seem funny anymore. I don't know how Heather does it, but every time I go to her blog, she's written a new post that makes me laugh...well, almost every time. I know you know what I'm talking about if you go there. All I do is sit down and tell my Dear Readers what's going on, kinda like a play-by-play. I think most of you like that because you like to know what's going on over here in the city of roses, but for me, it's a bit drab and boring. Part of it is because I'm stuck in this damned chair, and it's really not all that comfortable. But I'm not wasting the money to buy a chair I can't take home. I'd rather complain, thankyouverymuch.

November is supposed to be the month I try writing 50,000 words, thanks to a headsup from Dan. But I am less than motivated. I wonder if I've gotten into a routine that I don't much like. I was soooooooo excited to retire and make my time my own, but lately, I feel like I've wasted it. I've been here over a month now. I'm not exactly homesick, though I'm catsick. I feel like I'm in the way at home, though Wiley assures me I'm not.

I just went to John Mayer's blog, and it appears he's hitting the 30-mark soon, which he thinks is a good time to lose touch and he doesn't want that to happen, so he's listening to top-40 stuff. I have to snicker because I felt the same way right around that time, but being on the other side of 30, I have to say that I don't care. I used to try and tune into what the kids were listening to so I would feel young like them, perhaps relate to my nieces, but I have to be honest and tell you that some stuff out there is just crap...I would listen to it when I was younger because one of the things that makes you old is resisting change. Now, I realize that there are just some things I don't like, and that's just the way I am. So be it. I will forever love my Weird Al, which will keep me as young-feeling as I need to feel. But that little post from Mr. Mayer makes me question if I have lost touch with, well, not reality necessarily, but my old life, and if that's made me a bit rudderless and restless. Maybe I just need a haircut or dye job. But I suspect that introspection is what's needed, which means you could be reading a few things that are just a bit different, perhaps a bit darker, or maybe I just won't write quite as much. *shrugs* I don't know, Dear Reader. I feel a need to change something; I just don't know what. So there you go. Stay tuned. Come with me down an unfamiliar road. You can explore with me.


Ever have one of those days where you feel worthless? Welcome to my day. I hope I can blame my mood on the rain.

Adventures in Cooking: Lasagna

We made something that tastes fairly close to the original! Wiley made his spinach lasagna. We found cottage cheese that really looks more like ricotta and is a bit more sour, mixed it with something resembling pureed spinach, then put it in the dish with these noodles that are really quite different than what we're used to. They're thin and completely flat, and I think they were egg noodles. After 20 minutes, we took it out of the oven, and it looked a little soupy, but it tasted just fine. How about that?

Jumbled Conversations

Last night, Wiley and I hopped the tram to Dobrinje (Dough-BRIN-yay) to visit the cell phone shop of Student, the guy who wants me to help him with his conversational English. We got there a little after four. The shop is nice. It's very small, but there's an upstairs where we went to sit and chat. He can read English very well, but he doesn't comprehend all of it. So after I talked about the alphabet and we went over pronunciation, we started chatting, and now I can tell you what he looks like when he doesn't understand my questions - I got the blank stare a lot. He speaks German and Italian, so the evening was a mix of the very few Bosnian words I know, English, and German...Italian not so much because I again am lacking. I got three hugs and a "You be my friend" gesture of goodwill when he pulled out a little purse to hold cell phones. I politely refused, then Wiley came and we left. The ride home was much better. We actually got seats.

Friday, November 2, 2007

This Was a Surprise

Wiley just informed me that he eats his POPCORN in his LENTIL SOUP. "It's the only way to eat popcorn," he said.

My mind is reeling. Surely he didn't eat his popcorn in his soup the last time we ate it. I didn't notice. This time, I'll be watching, and then I'll be bleching. What a way to RUIN popcorn!!!

I've Got Mail!!!

Auntie Em sent an envelope to us and we got it today! Woo hoo!

We've also begun Christmas shopping. We trekked down to the Bascarsija today - that's somewhere between 4 and 6 miles - to take a look around. People walk too damn fast here.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Toot Toot

I might have landed a small gig. Today Wiley and I met a guy for coffee who wants to work on his conversational English, and he could use a little help in his cell phone store. His store is near my ENT specialist. So, on Saturday, for about five hours, I'll be wondering how in the world a guy who doesn't speak much English will understand a girl who doesn't speak hardly any Bosnian. Should make for an interesting time!