Friday, February 29, 2008

Oh My Gosh It's Been Awhile

It's been ages since I've blogged, but I literally haven't had time. I am back in the States, and to those of you who were dying to see me at the blogger meetup (I know you were, don't tell me otherwise, I won't believe it!), I let you down. Friends planned a dinner for me that night, so while Cara was able to stop in and say hi, I was not. I'm sorry.

So, let's see, where did I leave off? I believe I told you I made it home. Before I left, we spent time in Munich, which was awesome. A lovely city I would be happy to live in or visit again. Amsterdam's airport was nice, but they have bulldogs for security...I suppose that's a good thing, but when you just want to get on the damn plane, getting hauled over to a little desk and being questioned about your trip, about why you're traveling alone, about why you have no supporting documentation for living in another country is the last thing you really want to deal with.

The Memphis airport is pretty big. The last time I used it, I was flying out of the country, and I didn't really notice how big it was; this time, it felt like a very long, straight maze to get to baggage claim. Customs took all of five minutes; then it was waiting for the bags that took forever...about 40 minutes or so. Then there was the line to put it back on the belt so it could go to baggage claim. Then there was the security line. As one guy put it, "You're not in Memphis until you're past security." Thanks, man. So after taking off my coat, shoes, taking the computer out of the bag, making sure I didn't crush the glass ornament from Vienna, I get to walk through security. Oh, but the iPod is still in the bag, so I had to go back and put it in its own big-ass container, and then all was peachy. Walking, walking, walking through the airport to baggage claim, I am ready to get out of there. Finally, I spot Wiley's dad, and then his stepmom, and then we get the bags. One ended up being 56 pounds, the other 42 or something like that. Do you think they checked in Munich? Nope! The agent even gave me the exit row seat from Munich to Amsterdam, but clearly he could tell I was as short as a tomato plant. See what a little smiling can do for you? Turn on the charm, peeps, I tell ya, it works wonders.

Blah blah onto Arkansas, where the wedding will be, and on Saturday we headed out around 8 am for some breakfast at the dining hall, then a meeting with people from said dining hall. Everything goes off without a hitch, and I breathe much easier because the hall is simply stunning. Hardly any decorations will be needed to spruce it up because nature is all around, and during fall, it's nature's time to shine...well, me too, but Nature is ok with that. After that meeting, we headed to Little Rock for some dress shopping. I am so good at the squat n' pray, I could do it all day. The owner of the shop helped me into these ginormous dresses. I put my hands up above my head in the prayer position, then hunkered down so she could get the dress over me. Some dresses looked awful, especially the ones where half your back can be seen because the dress is too small and can't be zipped up. That was slightly irritating, as you had to go out in front of strangers milling about, and all could see and comment. But I got the choices narrowed down, and that was that. Then it was off to talk to the florists, which was a bit of a let-down because they were no longer independent, so it seems I can get most flowers from them, but not all flowers. No big deal, just something to deal with. Then it was off to talk to the photographer, who I think is a doll. He has a really creative spirit, so I think we're going to get along just fine, and I'm excited to have him shoot the pictures. A little while after that, we went back to the hall to see how it was lit at night and to hear the music. The hall at night is spectacular. The fun thing is that there are floor to ceiling windows. During the ceremony, it'll be light, and during the dancing, it'll be dark. The lights illuminate the tables, and the whole effect reminds me of candlelight, so I was very happy. The next day was pretty quiet - I stayed home and talked to Wiley's stepsister about decorations and invitations. She is a whiz at scrapbooking and making cards, so we asked her if she'd be available and willing to make our invitations. She's a lot of fun to talk to because she can go a mile a minute and not get winded. And I can keep up!

Monday saw me leaving Arkansas, and of course, I got lost. I took a wrong turn on the bypass - but hey, when you want to go north, you follow the signs that say north! After an hour, I got a little worried that I hadn't hit the main highway yet, and sure enough, I goofed, but I was able to correct it pretty easily. I ended up going through Mountain View, which was one of the towns that got hit by the tornado. The fire station was gone, the hospital roof was gone, centuries-old trees were torn out by their roots and on their side....I've never seen such devastation, and it was creepy seeing just where the tornado's path was because everything else around it looked fine. So after winding my way around the hills in Arkansas, I finally made it to KC, where I got to see my Dixiebella kitty and see my friend Cara! The night was pretty uneventful. Tuesday was the day that I ran around all over the place...another dress shopping experience, where I finally decided on the dress I'm getting, and then over to talk to the jeweler about my ring. Guess what? The price of gold rose to $950 an ounce. Guess what that does to platinum? Makes the price of that go up too. In between his talking to Wiley and me, which was about a month, the price of platinum doubled. Doubled!!! But I was able to get the setting I wanted, and now he's looking at stones for me. Phew!

In between the dress and ring shopping, we stopped by Oak Park Mall to do a little browsing, and I realized, with a bit of horror, that I hate shopping with people when I'm shopping for something for myself. It was an awful realization. I used to enjoy shopping greatly, and yesterday I walked around Zona Rosa for just a bit to get a few things, but I don't want people with me now when I shop. Nor do I want to go for hours and hours. I think it's bizarre...perhaps it's culture shock.

Since then, things have slowed just a tiny bit. I seem to have caught the KC Cold, and if you've been reading me for awhile, then you know that I have a deviated septum that acted up in Sarajevo and am now terrified I'm going to get another sinus infection, so I try to keep it clear all the time. With a cold, that proves difficult. Sleep has been a little hard, but today I'm feeling better than I did yesterday.

Tomorrow I leave for the cold bitter north of Iowa to visit more friends and family. My eldest niece informed me she bought a house, so I'm very excited to see it. And I get to help her with the curtains! I will eat Maid-Rites, and we will go cheese curd hunting as well as shopping, which could be interesting, considering I don't like shopping with people...but that's really only for myself. So we'll see how that goes. So that's why I've been absent. But I see all of you have been writing away...I only had about 170 posts to read! Now I'm going to watch the Golden Girls and sip more tea and have something to eat. It's hard to eat when you have a cold. Nothing really sounds good.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Catching Up

I'm not even going to my Google Reader...I haven't read any blogs since Wednesday, and I'm sure you've all been pouring your hearts out on your blogs.

Me, I've been a travelin' gal.

Wiley and I spent last Monday through Friday in Munich. What a glorious city. The weather was great, the food spectacular, and the souvenirs plenty. Quick recap: went to a couple of castles Tuesday, shopped a bit on Wednesday (found more garam masala for Indian food, yay!), went to a soccer game on Thursday, and said our goodbyes on Friday. Wiley put up links to the castles, soccer and Munich to the right.

While I'm not a sports person (I'm way too competitive and not a good sport at times), I have to admit I had a good time at the soccer game. The ubahn ride to the stadium was fun - there were guys in kilts already drunk along with guys in red jerseys also drunk singing at the top of their lungs all crammed in like sardines in a car. But while waiting to get felt up by a woman, I noticed just. how. short. I. am. I really wish I was a bit taller. I felt like a midget.

Friday was a long day. I flew from Munich to Amsterdam and got grilled by security for not having documentation proving I lived in Sarajevo. "You have to have documentation to get back into the country," the blonde-haired woman yelled at me. "Where is your husband? Why isn't he with you? Where's your eticket to get back to Munich?" I was a bit flustered, and I worried that they were going to haul me off and interrogate me and make me miss my flight, but she finally let me go. Oi vey. The 10 hour flight from Amsterdam was a bit long, especially after 6 hours, but I arrived without any problems. Customs and baggage took almost an hour to get through after I landed. My iPod held up the line because I didn't take it out of my backpack. Normally, I feel bad for holding up the line, but by this time, I had been up for over 24 hours straight and I just wanted my bags and a bed. I finally got my wish and slept 6 hours before waking up.

Today was a fun-filled day of wedding planning, but I'm too tired to tell you about it. Suffice it to say, it involved strangers looking at me in wedding gowns that were not zipped all the way up, talking to the dining hall people about the reception, and meeting the photographer who had a black cat that was friendly. Now I must sleep again.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Brain, It Goes

Well, we had our last meal tonight at the Sarajevo Brewery, and it was very tasty...curry and I really get along.

I've packed my suitcases. 44 pounds is all I get, so Wiley has to check a bag for me to get to Munich.

I had a strange dream last night...well, two. The first one involved my cat, Dixie, and she got lost, or killed. It was a very surreal dream, and I remember my heart racing, and that's what actually woke me up. It felt like there was an electric shock collar around my neck, and my heart just beat faster and faster and then I opened my eyes. Good thing - a minute longer and I would've started crying in my sleep, which would've brought Wiley running.

The other dream was a bit more pleasant, but no less odd. We were getting married, though not at the reception hall, but at something that looked like a church...all I really saw were the steps, and they were brown and carpeted. There were five of them, and then there was a landing, and then more steps on the left. Our officiant had been swapped out last minute, but they knew we were only going for a 10 minute ceremony. Well, someone forgot to tell all the people on those steps to the left who were breaking out into song like they were the creators of Jazz Hands, and they sang and sang and sang and sang. They even knew I didn't want them there, hadn't asked them to be there, and still they sang. One person in particular stood out - she was a short-haired, bright-blonde chick, and she had the biggest smile on her face. Then, because they were there singing at the wedding, they wanted $600 for dragging out the service an extra half-hour. I was furious. I stormed into the bathroom, only to look at myself in the mirror and notice that not only was my makeup missing, but my eyebrows were growing really long hair in the middle (think Borat but not quite as thick) and near my I had little patches of hair. Then, I noticed my dress. Gold velvet long-sleeved shirt on top. Skin-tight. Somewhat long, as it covered my azz and made it look huge. The skirt was red and lacey and fluffy, like something you'd see the chicks in the bordellos wearing. I think I may have even had on the black lace-up boots. I ran out of the bathroom crying, asking Wiley how he could let me be seen like this on my wedding day! Of course, being a guy, he was all, "Whaaaa?" and then I woke up. Don't think we ever got to say our I Do's, but I do remember handing him our rings to hold before I tried to get the show choir to stop.

I'd like to know what it was that I ate or took to have a dream that seems inspired by LSD.

No more eating after 7.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Oh, Sarajevo....

Today, I got my tax return info. I'm getting a refund! (Note: already spent on photographer, dangit.) I was told to print off a page, sign it, scan it and send it back. No problem. So I printed a page and noticed that it was black on top, then it was grey, and then practically nothing. I knew the time had come to replace the ink cartridge. We'd already used one color cartridge, but finding a replacement wasn't difficult.

But expecting things to go the way they've previously gone has gotten me into more interesting situations.

Wiley and I put on our coats to go across the street to the computer store that had sold us our color cartridge, but they didn't have the black ink cartridge. We went to the shop that sold us the printer, and they didn't have it. We walked about 10 minutes west of us to a computer store that had printer paper, but they didn't have the cartridge. We walked upstairs in the complex, and they only had the color cartridge. We walked outside to a winter wonderland - big, fat flakes were starting to fall, and with the flakes, came the wind, which made my ears sing. We hurried along the road, stopping at two more computer shops, to no avail. Then, Wiley found a bookstore and figured it couldn't hurt to look. I had this thought, but then I reasoned with myself that a bookstore would only carry books. I mean, a butcher carries raw meat; the computer shops are supposed to carry computer equipment and supplies; the curtain store only has curtains; paper shops carry paper; so a bookstore should only carry books. And of course, this is where we found it: the black cartridge, the only one left, the one in the display. And we snatched it up and went home to drink the last of the sugar-free hot cocoa Auntie Em sent me last month.

I kinda chuckle at this reminded me (and Wiley) of our first weeks here, searching in vain for curtains, food, printers, paper. It irritated me a little then, and since it was cold, it irritated me tonight. Me thinks this is God's way of lessening the pain that I'll feel when I leave this city and Wiley. "Remember convenience - one-stop shopping - WalMart, Target, Trader Joe's..."

Oh yeah...I'm looking forward to that.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Celebratin' from Sarajevo

Sarajevo's not too big on Valentine's Day. At the grocery store, there was a small display of heart-shaped pillows, but as Wiley and I aren't really into it (and like Logtar we won't go to the extreme of protesting it), it's no big deal. I made some sugar cookies today so Wiley would have some food made by me after I'm gone, and then we headed into town to buy some souvenirs. We bought a Bosnian coffee set, so anytime anyone comes over and wants coffee, guess what you're getting? Yep - sludge in a cup. I'm not a coffee drinker, so I can say that.

Then, we decided we hadn't spent enough money, so we walked around a little more. We had been eyeing some rugs in the past, and we decided to go into a shop tonight and see what they had to offer as far as colors and designs. Upon hearing my "Dobar dan", one of the guys inside switched to English. I figured his English was good enough for me to kid with him, so I asked him how he knew right off the bat that I didn't speak Bosnian and that English was my first language. I mean, it could've been my short, blonde hair, the fact that I'm not wearing boots with my jeans tucked in or the huge sunglasses that I don't have, but I thought I'd check to be sure. Sure enough, it was the way I said "Dobar dan". I think I must've said, "Doh-ber" instead of "Dough-bar". Ah well, we all laughed and had a good time. They pulled out these beautiful rugs - all made in Bosnia - and showed us which part of the sheep the wool came from - the fringe came from the underside, tug tug, and the woven stuff came from the hind, tugging harder. So whenever the cats go near the rug, I can specify where they should puke. We ended up buying a smallish rug that's about six feet long and about four feet wide. I mean, I do have to take this in my luggage, and I'm worried about going over the weight - so getting a 20 pound rug just wasn't in the cards this time, beautiful as they are. Maybe in a few years when we're back. The rug in question is white, black and red, and we think it will be a great addition to the living room. I look forward to putting it up somewhere. While we were in the shop debating which rug to buy, they told us that one of the rugs hanging on the wall was 130 years old. I looked at Wiley and said, "Great, now we have an estate."

After plunking down the cash for our rug, we went to dinner at Park Princeva (Park Prin-CHAY-vah), which overlooks the city. The hills started to twinkle as the sun went down, and we had a bottle of wine and great food. So I guess we did celebrate somewhat, though it was also a place we'd wanted to go again before I left. We found it last May when we visited for a weekend, and this time was even better.

I've decided that one goal I have upon returning to the States is drinking a bit more. I had half a bottle of white wine in the span of 2 hours with food and water, and when I stood up, I swayed - just a bit, mind you. I'm just now feeling the effects wear off completely. What's a life without goals?

My Valentine's Day Gift

turned out to be from the post office.

A package I sent to the US back in December containing gifts for friends never made it there. Or so I thought.

Today, a man brought me my package back, saying that it had never been claimed in the States. So now I'm able to take back with me the gifts that traveled the world without me. Well, maybe not the chocolates...I'm not sure anyone really wants 2 month-old chocolates...those may just have to be sacrificed here.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Glory Day

Wiley made the best Indian to date. For those of you who haven't gone to Touch of Asia in Overland Park, you are missing some good Indian food. Cara can attest to this. Cara, he made something similar to chicken mumtali. I'm rolling over and showing my belly to be rubbed.

In other news, I finally found some new blogs near the city I hope to be moving to, and I'm wayyyyy excited. For a bit today, I'll be perusing their sites and figuring out which ones I like. And then Wiley and I are heading into town to enjoy the last of the sun and to take some evening pictures of the bascarsija.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Coming to America

It's turned cold again in Sarajevo. That's what happens: you get a week of 50 degree temps, and then it gets cold and makes the 30s feel like the teens because you're now used to 50.

This is my last week in Sarajevo. Of course, being at the end of one journey calls for reflection before starting anew.

Regarding the blogosphere, I have accomplished what I set out to do: bring family, friends and even some strangers with me in this experience living abroad. I met some people over here who stumbled upon my blog, and I believe we'll be friends for quite awhile after we all come home and continue in our separate journeys. I hope that people know more about this city, as well as this country, by visiting my blog, and that I planted a seed that they may search for even more information, or even plan a trip over here.

I met some people on the blogosphere that I haven't liked - after all, it's easy to be a naysayer about something and someone when you don't personally know a blogger - but they remind me that not everyone deserves my time. Sometimes it's hard to let it go, but I try, and eventually succeed.

There are things that I find a little irritating or sad, like full trams, fussy ovens, bad air, the fact that everyone smokes and no one cares that they smell like smoke or that their lungs are curdling up in their bodies, beggars knocking on my door that is supposed to be somewhat secured by a guard and a key to gain access to the building, and that some people don't really understand how to stand in line and wait your turn, especially at the post office.

There are things that I find very enjoyable, such as roses being planted all over the city; the sweet shops galore that let me fill my sweet tooth and then some; how nice people can be; the scenery; Mercator, the grocery store where I can find lots of good food; cab drivers (most are very accommodating and I really love sitting in the back of the car while they zoom around cars and make it feel like I'm on a speedway); the relaxing days (the past-time is drinking coffee and talking with friends); the urban feel of the city, especially walking along Ferhadija; the way mosques and churches are lit at night (we really need to learn how to do this back home); Vrelo Bosne; living along the river; meeting new people; going to new cities rather cheaply; the fruit that is always available and cheap; and being a stranger in a foreign land.

What have I learned? A few things:

- Not everything will go my way, but that's ok. It'll get done, whatever it is.
- I can't live without the internet. No, I'm really serious about this one.
- When the dollar is weak, it really puts a damper on your spending OUS.
- I can live without lots of clothes.
- I can even live without any type of fast-food (likely because of all those sweet shops). *sniffs* Goodbye, Wendy's.
- Bosnians are interested in American politics, and they genuinely seem to like Americans (thank goodness).
- The language is hard. It'll take real studying on my part to get any sort of grasp on it. I'm jealous of those like Wiley who can speak it and understand it. I can pronounce it, but that's as far as I've gotten. With seven cases, it's a bit daunting.
- I have a deviated septum. It only acts up in Bosnia.
- There is such a thing as a bed that's too hard.
- I can handle living with Wiley (this is our first time living together).
- Paint comes off the walls easily.
- Heat that rises from the floor seems to be a more efficient way to heat an apartment - it stays warm in here - I can wear shorts, and it's 25 degrees outside!
- Full-sized sheets and comforters on a queen-sized bed are a recipe for nightly wrestling with a loved one (even though it's warm, I still have to be covered).
- Apartments are well-made here.
- I take good pictures of the scenery.
- I can bake here, even though measurements are metric and I have no typical cookie sheet (well, I thought this until I cut into my carrot cake and realized the middle was still on the raw side, though the top and sides were done).
- I can adapt!

All in all, I'm very happy with my time here. I'm less than thrilled at having sinus issues the first month I was here. I didn't really like the fog that settled in and became our neighbor for two months. But besides those two things, and in general, things have gone very well for my first time living abroad. I look forward to doing it again. Anybody up for visiting Austria someday?

So Dear Reader, I thank you for stopping in on my blog and sharing my experiences with me. The blog will still be up and running, as Wiley will still be here (and he promised to update and take pictures, though he won't blog as much as me because he's, well, um, busy), and I will continue to blog sporadically upon my return home. Even though I know you'll be thrilled about my moving adventures and job quest, I can't imagine blogging too much until I get settled wherever my feathers land. But you never know. I like writing.

R.I.P., Roy

I woke up this morning to find out that Roy Scheider, who had many roles but who I knew as the tanned police chief in Jaws, passed away.

I don't remember the first time I saw Jaws, but now, whenever it's on the tube, I'm hooked. I love that movie. Boats, water, a hot man and his equally attractive wife (I admit, I had a crush on dear ol' Roy), and a wayward shark...what's not to love? Whenever there was a TV show on that discussed the making of Jaws, I watched. I don't really remember Jaws 2 or 3 - I think they were as sequels were back then most of the time - bad - but the first one was a classic. I followed Roy from time to time, through his other movies and TV shows, like Seaquest. I was happy he was finding work (so many don't, you know). And my crush waned, especially when I thought he really was a bit too tan and resembled George Hamilton.

Rest in peace, dear Roy. Watching Jaws just won't be the same, knowing you're gone.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Red flames are shooting out of apartment buildings. People are climbing down balconies to get out. Gun shots are heard a block away, but so close, the richochet is unmistakeable, and people run for cover. A car zooms by at 40 mph to avoid being hit. The night sky is indistinguishable from the hills until a tail of light flashes through the sky. Where the rocket lands will be known in a few seconds. Smoke fills the air. It is in every direction, billowing up to the sky to form a film, a barrier, to the rest of the world, where peace is being taken for granted.

Yesterday, we went to the Tunnel Museum. Back in 1993, a year after the Bosnian war started, a tunnel was created to help those in Sarajevo survive. At 800 meters long, it was just 5 feet tall and 1.5 meters wide. The tunnel took 4 months to build with people working in shifts around the clock. People smuggled out, goods smuggled in.

When I was younger, I was ignorant. I knew the war was happening, but since I was so far removed, I didn't think much of it. I didn't think that people not much older than myself were fighting in the war, that children younger than myself were dying in it. But that was stupid of me. We are a global community. To think that at the end of the 20th century, people who were used to civilization were forced back in time, to live without electricity, water, and to fear that their every step would be their last. You may say that it's in the past, but is it? Is it really? Could it happen again with Kosovo? Perhaps it's already happening in, oh, I don't know, Darfur, Kenya, Iraq?

I have to wonder if people who saw the effects of war first-hand would really be gung-ho for it - when you see your neighborhood reduced to a pile of rubble, or see a family searching for a member among it. I wonder, if our choices were taken away and we had to live in a war-torn country, if we would rethink our strategy, our position, and our global neighbors.

You can see the other photos here. After the museum, we walked to Vrelo Bosna, which is where the Bosna river starts. It was peaceful, and is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. I look forward to seeing pictures of it in the spring and summer.

You can view the album here.
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Friday, February 8, 2008

Waifers - Not the Kind You Eat

Please, dear God, make it stop. According to the NYT, while everyone was complaining that women models were too skinny and it's time to do something about it, the men started shrinking too, as evidenced here:

So now the emo-artists of the world are now "in" and making it harder for guys to find clothing that not only fits, but looks good. I don't want to get naked with this. "Oh yeah, give me a big bear hug, baby and let's get it on...wait, are those your ribs that I'm feeling from the backside? Excuse me while I barf in my mouth a little." *libido vanishes*

If I wanted to date someone that skinny, I would've dated Winona Rider, or the kid that always got beat up on in German class.


As I'm leaving Sarajevo behind, the time has come to make an important choice:

Do I continue posting to this blog, or create a completely new one based on the city/state I'm moving to? Wiley promised to start contributing more while I'm gone, but I don't know that I trust him to do that. I mean, it's not like he can write like me. I'm awesome. He's awesome in his own way, not like me.

Say a Prayer!

I have an interview!!! So very exciting for me. And I even get to go home and see my family before driving across the US to meet my potential new employer! If I get this job, it could make life very good - I can live in Bloomington, and it'll help with grad school in the future!!!! Do you know how great it would be if I landed this job that hopefully pays enough just a couple of weeks after landing on US soil again? I could be settled in by April! I will keep preparing and working on my interviewing skills, but you're free to do some voodoo and send the positive vibes my way so I get it.

Symphonie Fantastique

Yesterday was a fun-filled day. Wiley and I went to La Hacienda, THE Mexican joint in town, to have a little hrana (that's food for you non-speakers) with our friend EC. She is running a marathon, her first, in May! Big goals, that one has. It's nice to talk to her, and she is a YOUNG whippersnapper - just turned 23! Being almost 31 myself, 23 is ages ago. After talking with her, Wiley and I ate some dessert at a little coffee shop with peach walls. I had creamy cake, of course; Wiley tried something new, as is his nature. This had tons of cream on top, and looked kinda like pudding; but when he tried it, he found it was a pear that had been filled with hazelnuts. It was actually pretty tasty. Then we killed some time in a bookstore and ended up getting Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, and Wiley got two sci-fi books. Books are the weakness of Wiley and me. I look forward to planting some roots so I can get a library card. I have LOTS of reading to do, thanks to all the blogs I'm reading that are recommending!

Afterward, I met up with the Prof, and we went to hear the Sarajevo symphony orchestra. The theater is beautiful - nice burgundy velvet drapes and gold marble - simply ornate, though the seats need just a bit more padding. It's a small orchestra for a city the size of Sarajevo, but they pack a punch. Having been a principal second violinist, I always watch the violins more than any other section, and the very first thing I noticed was that they didn't lead with their wrists, and it was a little unsettling to watch. I remember my professor telling me it was like painting, and ever since then, I've led with the wrist. After a time, some of them started leading - maybe it was stage fright that kept them locked up. They all had on black dresses with satin bows tied right under the bust - very sharp, but the fabric looked like jersey knit, so if you have a belly bulge, perhaps not the most flattering (but pretty much all of the women were svelte - they must know how to lay off the bread). The composer was from Greece and spoke very good English, and after he said something funny in English, many people laughed and didn't wait for the translation. The composer (I can't spell his name, but I will get the info and change it later) looked like Andre Agassi, so it was very easy to watch him. His main trait was that when he wanted the orchestra to increase their volume, he would plant his feet - kinda like Tom Hanks did in Apollo 13 right before they did their "manual burn" with the Earth as the focal point (oh, didn't see that huh? Well, tough noogies, you don't get to understand what I mean). It looked like he was ready to launch, and when he did, his coattails would separate, and you'd get a peek at a metal-studded belt. Oh, Europeans are so dapper.

We also had Rob Lowe as the principal bass player. I kid you not, Dear Reader, he's a dead wringer.

The works consisted of the conductor's father's piece, and then we heard Ravel's Mother Goose, Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, and a Brahms piece in E minor. The wind section was really good too - my seat was lined up with the principal bassoonist, and it was fun to watch his cheeks puff out to three times their size. Aside from the weather, which was rainy and then snowy, it was a lovely evening. I wish I had my camera with me - I could've gotten this great shot of a tree that was lit, next to a mosque, with the snow illuminated as it came down. But alas, I didn't bring my camera, so it'll live in my memory only.

So for you kids who are in Sarajevo who've never gone to hear the symphony, go! They're fantastic.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mostar Pictures

Look to the right and you'll see the link, and you'll also see the minaret we climbed up to take some really neat pictures of the town. I thought I just might die coming down those steps, but it turned out all right; just a little dusty.


You never really know how toxic something is until you step away from it and view it objectively.

And when you realize how toxic it really was, you rejoice in the fact you no longer are part of it.

Take flight, and don't look back.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sick of It.

Got a rejection email today. Already beginning to tire of the job search. Time to buck up tomorrow, but right now, I just want my cocoa and my footie pajamas.

In the meantime, Spyder's got another Meme, and I follow Spyder (I think it has to do with the guilt I feel whenever I crush a spider in my apartment), so here I am. She was tagged by So Many Books.


1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pgs.)
2. Open the book to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence
4. Post the next three sentences
5. Tag five people.

The book closest to me today is called The Relationship Cure by John Gottman. He's talking about accepting others and ourselves and pointing to his difficulty in accepting his wife's love of travel:

"And I'm happy that our differences are a source of pride for us, rather than resentment.
Whether we like it or not, life is filled with opportunities either to celebrate or bemoan our differences with other people. Conflicts can arise from our contrasting comfort levels within any of the seven emotional command systems."

Now, since Meesha told me long ago that he didn't do Memes, and since I don't know an awful lot of people, I find it hard to tag people. That, and either you'll do it or you won't. So decide if you want to, and do it.


Ok, so the Giants won the Super Bowl. They get gifts bestowed on them like crazy. I wonder how many new gold teeth we'll see in the next few months.

But I think it's a little peculiar that we shower sports figures with cars for winning a game.

Can you imagine how different the US would be if we did the same thing for teachers and treated them like stars too?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A meme

Cara tagged me to do this, so here.

The rules for this meme are simple…

1. Choose a pangram of your liking, the most common being (“The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.” )
2. Write it on a piece of paper and sign it with your blog name or online handle.
3. Take a picture and post it to the flickr group, your blog, myspace, facebook or all of them.
4. Link back or trackback to this post.
5. Tag five people.

I'm not tagging anyone, just letting you all enjoy my lovely penmanship.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Happy Groundhog Day

Grab your ankles and kiss your azz goodbye - Phil the groundhog saw his shadow. Who saw that coming? Apparently the last time he didn't see his shadow was in 1999. Good year.

I now have more posts on this blog than on my previous blog, Oggi! Today! If you weren't around then to read it, then you're a sad sack. It was good. But this is better.

Tonight I walked into town all by myself to go to a symphony concert that never happened (and a couple hours later, I actually got on a tram to go home. AND I got a seat.). My friend's ticket said the 7th, but she thought it was the 2nd. Instead, we found a Guiness hall and she had Guiness and I had white wine. Sour white wine with just a hint of tin. I'm glad I only had one because it was a bit strong. I'm a light-weight. Which means when I don't have to drive, I can drink a lot and people laugh at me because I say some silly things. But tonight, I was not silly. I was hot - literally and figuratively. I rarely take my coat off so the smoke absorbs my jacket and not my clothing. And I put on the gold and the copper eye shadow, so I was smokin'. We knew we were in a bar that frequently plays host to English speakers because when I tried out my limited Bosnian and said we wanted to pay, which is "Zelimo platiti," the waiter looked at me and said, "You want to pay?" Um, yes. And I even said it right, and didn't slur my words - no I didn't! Don't tell me I did! I was there - not you!

While drinking tonight, I got lots of helpful advice: don't worry about Wiley's students; worry about his colleagues. The women will be barracudas and will try to make me feel small because I don't have a phD. I informed her that Wiley already had some people he knew that were like that, and so far, I've been just fine and been able to hold more than my own. So bring it, you so-called smarties! I'm up for the challenge.

She also gave me a really good idea: I'm a psychology person by nature. I love watching things unfold, figuring people out...mechanical I'm not, but I am pretty good at reading people and I'm always interested in taking apart relationships to see how they work...kinda mechanical, but with people instead of gadgets. So she said that perhaps I would be best suited getting a master's in Human Resources while Wiley is still in school himself and then that should open more doors for me down the road. The ultimate goal, I think, is to be something like a career or life coach, or even a therapist....I'm still researching the difference between the two and figuring out which might be better for me, but I'm interested in how psychology works in the workplace - industrial/organizational psychology...and HR would be quite good for that. So I will look into that while I'm moving my azz from Missouri to Indiana.

So I beg the question, Dear Reader, if you have any contacts in the Bloomington or Indianapolis area, I would be interested in talking to them; not merely for job information, but because I'm going to be damn lonely living in a place where I know perhaps three people, and none of them women. I need to start the networking gig...and I will likely have a new blog to go with my new city. Seems to be a theme that works well. But this blog will be here to stay, no shutting down. For one, Wiley will still be here, and for another, the links to the pictures are valuable.

Oh, so about Gradacac...Wiley had a great time and got more info for his dissertation, I had a nice time, we got to eat dinner with the mayor at a restaurant I would have loved to have liked, but unfortunately had a small issue with the raw chicken I was served in the company of a cockroach clinging to the wall. I actually ended up going to this restaurant twice...not my idea, but supposedly the best restaurant in town. Ok, fine, but I found a pizzeria that puts that place to shame. I probably wouldn't choose to live there, but it was a lovely little town to visit. The people were really nice.

And that's the nice thing about Bosnia - the people, when you actually talk to them, are very nice. They can be quiet, and they can stare at you because you don't look like them, but if you speak to them in their language, then they're very open. I like that. We should learn from that.

We should also learn to be more trusting, as in, if I'm at a mall and I'm shoe-shopping, it should be ok for the owner of the shoe store to call the local Starbucks and have them bring a couple cups of coffee. Coffee is merely a phone call away here. They don't worry about getting their cups back. They know where they are. But you go to a burek shop, and they don't have coffee - just burek. But if you want coffee, they'll call someone and have it delivered to the shop. How nice is that? Imagine if we did that...perhaps we'd be friendlier and more neighborly in the States. Who's with me?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Busy Bees

Lots done in a small amount of time, so if I'm to update you at all, I must do it now and be brief. I promise pictures will follow.

Last weekend: bus trip to Mostar for the day. Incredibly beautiful city, hyped as the most beautiful city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They have a bridge there that was completely destroyed in the war. They rebuilt it, and it's just as nice as it was before. While in town, we walked around the old part of the city, part of the rest of the city, found a WWII Partisans cemetery (but I got no pictures of this since my batteries died), and even saw two cats going at it in the middle of the street. If possible, I'd like to go back and explore more of the city and have this kick-ass cake that had something resembling Magic Shell on top of its creamy goodness.

Fast forward to Tuesday, where we hop a bus for 4.5 hours and find ourselves in the town of Gradacac (that's Grahd-ah-chatz), but now my internet has slowed, so I'll finish this tomorrow.