Saturday, May 31, 2008
I slept terribly last night. But I had a pretty fun dream. Picture it:
Sarajevo, Bosnia (if you need help, check out pictures on the blog). Wiley and I are in the apartment. The mosque that's behind our building is now in front of our building. And who should appear to sing in front of it but Ric Ocasek from The Cars, as well as Jolly St. Nick....yep, Santa. What did they sing? I don't know. I don't remember that part. All I know is that they were popular. After their song, a lady named Olivia, who apparently lived next door to us, showed us that the desk we had in the living room converted to an organ. The wood had an orange tinge to it. Then, instead of my leaving, Wiley was the one who left. He got into his car that was sitting in the garage on the top floor of the apartment building, and he drove away, leaving me to try and communicate with a woman whose language I didn't speak.
Very vivid. I haven't had a dream like this in a long while!
Friday, May 30, 2008
And now, on to the show.
A long time ago, Meesha posted about an ad he found on Craigslist. Intrigued, I went on CL myself and decided to hit up the Erotica section. Now, maybe that's not exactly where Meesha was, but OMG I could not believe the stuff people post.
Pictures. Nekkid pictures. Tall-dark-women-in-white-stilettos-buck-nekkid pictures. Older women holding their blue ta-tas in their hands pictures. I'd link but I just can't do it. Just take my word, or go to the Bloomington CL. Even a pic of a man's abs and the rest of him in shorts.
Women offering themselves for dollars an hour.
Isn't this what we call a prostitute?? How in the world is this even legal? Why don't these get flagged? WTF?
I never bothered looking at the Erotica section while I was in KC, so I don't know how it compares to the Bloomington CL. And while there's not a whole lot of women offering themselves, it was still more than I thought. Perhaps I'm just a big prude who didn't think she was a prude.
And part of me really wonders how much these girls make. Or how hard it is to get paid for sex. I mean, after all, I do live in a town where 40,000 students reside. Any weekend night you can find many a scantily-clad girl walking the street to the bar, or stumbling home from the bar holding onto a new friend who will get that booty. They give it away. But here on CL, we got girls who'll give to a guy who'll pay...or even a girl. But I didn't look there. Nothankyouverymuch.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I made Indian food.
Edible Indian food.
You don't understand what this does for me. Wiley learned how to make Indian food while we were in Sarajevo. I tried it in Iowa at my grandma's house, but I forgot one very important ingredient - tomato paste. Yes, tomato paste. You read right. And it was ok, but not great, and I didn't attempt it again for two and a half months.
So while I was at the store, I picked up a can of tomato paste. Last night I took one chicken breast out of the freezer to let it thaw overnight, and tonight, I put on my little plastic gloves (touching raw meat is disgusting to me and I can't do it), cooked my chicken, then put in all my ingredients.
And it friggin' rocked.
Rocked, I tell you.
Can you tell how happy I am that I was able to make something edible and tasted good and wasn't a dessert?! Wiley thinks I keep him around 'cuz he can cook; there are other reasons now!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Instead, what I got was turtles. Lots and lots of turtles. On our way back to the boathouse, we spotted 18 on one single log sunning themselves! All different shapes and sizes. We also saw a heron, an egret, a duck, and several geese.
And to top it all off tonight, I saw a mouse. Outside my back door. Rewind went a little nutters at the door, so I stepped outside and became a statue. After a few minutes, my crouch was rewarded with a little grey nose poking out of the hole under the concrete slab that I was standing on. He took a little bite of leaf, then ducked back under. I wasn't actually sure it was a mouse - I couldn't find any eyes on it at all...in fact, it looked like where the eyes were were just little grey dots of nothing. So part of me wondered if it was a mole. Whatever it was, it was small, and as soon as it smelled me, was gone. Then, not a minute later, I heard rustling of leaves...turns out by my air conditioner, there's a rather large hole going into what I think is the bottom of the house. So I emailed my landlord and said more poison was needed. Then I realized my landlord is a schmuck and decided to put my electronic trap outside to trap The Thing That Lives. We'll see if I'm successful. If I'm not and I have another mouse to deal with inside, you'll be hearing me curse all the way from Indiana.
Have I mentioned how happy I am that I am leaving this place??
Friday, May 23, 2008
I believe it is the setting in of Cold Feet.
I find this hysterical as well as, well, unsettling. Hysterical because there's really no reason for it. Unsettled because there's really no reason for it.
See my state of confusion? I'm talking in circles!
Some people, though it seems the list is shrinking, don't know that this will be Marriage Number Two for me. While I'm not embarrassed now to say I screwed the pooch on the first one (though I felt like I was wearing a giant red "D" on my chest for a long time), it always surprises me when someone I didn't think knew comes to me and says, "So I hear you've already been married! What happened? How long were you together?" Groan. Eight years total. I had issues, he had issues, we couldn't work through said issues, relationship kaput. We're not bad people; we just didn't work well enough together. End of story. Pick self up, brush off dust, begin anew.
While I like to think that I have effectively dealt with my past, sometimes it bites me in the butt. Every so often I wonder if I'm going to screw this one up too. More than one person has asked me if I'm really ready to walk down the aisle again, knowing full well that it too could end badly. Every single time I say, "Yes," without hesitation. But the past couple of weeks, I think, Really?
The past couple of weeks have been very difficult. I've decided that two months is about all I can handle living without Wiley. After that, things seem to break down just a bit. I get testier with him. I suppose that it's during these times of separation that I really start questioning everything. We have a good, strong relationship. But it really does get tested when we don't get along and there's an ocean separating us. I know that communication is key, but sometimes I find it so difficult to really say what I need to say to make my feelings heard. When I'm mad, I tend to act out: fester, blow, retreat to cool off, come back to it with a calmer head. I had such a good handle on not festering and not blowing for the longest time, but lately I haven't been able to do as good a job.
I left Sarajevo early, too early, it seems. The whole city has come to life. Wiley tells me of all his outings and people who come to visit him. Last week it was some chick from IU who stayed with him all week - I trust him, no problems, though I got tired of hearing "we went to dinner, then went to lunch...". Not long before that, it was a friend from Austria, and next weekend, another friend from Austria. Part of me wants to say, What are you doing? Are you really working? Because all you tell me is when you go out. I'm working my ass off over here and he's working but not in the same way. Grr. The rational side of me knows that he's working, really, he is. The side of me that's really tired of being apart wants to scream, "Work the weekends so you can come home early!" Not an option, and I know this, but I still want!!! We work very well together most of the time. I just miss my man.
Add to this the fact that I'm not a goal-setter. I actually really don't like the word "goal" because I think it forces people to think so much about the future that they miss the present. However, part of me is nagging myself. Are you sure you're not just lazy? my inner self will say. You go home after work and stay in, hardly go out, don't open up a book though you read a lot of blogs. The goal I suppose I had before going to Sarajevo was to go back to school. I broke it down to be more manageable - researched schools, figured out how to pay for it, got letters of recommendation, wrote a personal statement, handed over my money and applied, even got accepted! Now it seems like something that's not going to be tangible for a few years, and now I'm also starting to question if it's what I really want to do. So now what??? Good at this, good at that....but you know, for all the things I'm good at (advice, violin, photography, the occasional blog-post or some other writing piece), I would trade them in to be great at just one thing. To have passion for just one thing that I could pour myself into, that's what I want. Maybe then I would be a little more settled. At 31, I'm supposed to be settled, damnit, not feel like I'm just graduating college and have my whole life ahead of me so I can make a few wrong turns. Where is my path?
An old Italian lived alone in New Jersey . He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard.
His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old ma n wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament: Dear Vincent,
I am feeling pretty sad, because it looks like I won't be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.
A few days later he received a letter from his son.
Don't dig up that garden. That's where the bodies are buried.
At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left.
That same day the old man received another letter from his son.
Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.
Love you, Vinnie
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Latest developments: we get to move into our friend's house. On August 28th. And from July 31 until then, we're essentially homeless. We are able to stay at a friend's apartment while she's gone, but we'll have to share the place with her roommate for a couple of weeks, which could be interesting considering I realized she had the hots for Wiley a couple of years ago...nothing too major...a small crush, but still. The cats unfortunately will need to board elsewhere, as our friend has allergies and is worried that the cat hair will forever be in the carpet.
In the meantime: I have little black bugs in the house. Bugs isn't quite the right word. They're the size of maggots, but they're black, not yellow. Do maggots come in another color? I don't smell anything out of the ordinary. Originally, when they were landing in my toilet, I wasn't too concerned because hey, it's the toilet. They fall from the bathroom vent into the toilet, which just leaves me to flush. But then I started noticing them coming out of the wall between my bedroom and the bathroom, and I got slightly freaked out. First, the cats could eat them. Second, just what are they? Third, why are they here? Roly polies I can deal with. Spiders I can even deal with - although since about the time I moved in here, at least once or twice a week as I'm falling asleep, I have a dream that I'm watching a spider descend from the ceiling. And we're talking giganto-spiders, like tarantula size. So I flip on my light and look around, only to realize I'm dreaming. In my linen closet, I ran into some kind of insect I'd never seen before...looked like a green cricket. I looked at him. He looked at me. I gave him the speech I give most of the bugs: "Outside, you're fine, inside, you're mine," squish. Earlier this week a friend told me that it's a carmel spider or something like that - it jumps, and I mean, jumps. My friend had one in his basement while I was doing a little paperwork for him and I decided for the day to name him Juan. Yesterday, when I went over, Juan was missing. I'm guessing Juan went the way of the dodo. Apparently, I'm not the only one with house rules for insects. Anyway, back to the black maggots...I can deal with them, but I really don't want to. Is this a lesson in control? That I've gone back to my ways of worrying about every little thing and by dealing with all of these critters I have to learn that I can't control everything? Bah.
The new job is going well. Today I got an ergonomic keyboard. I've named her Darth. She's all black and shiny and just a beastly thing. I hope it works better than my old keyboard. At least this one has no crumbs in it! And apparently I am liked - today my boss told me that no one could hire me away - "I will find them!" she said. It could have been helped by the fact that I brought in cupcakes, but this really was said before she tried them and exclaimed them to be the best cupcakes she'd ever tasted. Yep, I know my bakeries. My taste buds sing.
Bloomington is a little quieter now thanks to the students going home for summer vacation. But seriously people, we need to work on the 4-way stops. They go, then you go. Then they go, and you go. If you get there the same time as others, the person to the right has the right of way. (Right?) If someone doesn't want to go and the person who's facing you decides to go and you got there at the same time, it's ok to proceed as well. You don't get extra points for one car going at a time through an intersection.
On the other hand, I have got to hand it to the road crews. This morning, I drove on a road that was barren - all old asphalt taken off. Today, at lunchtime, all 4 lanes had been repaved. So there are some perks to living in a small town after all...
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I am so happy I'll be moving out of here soon.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Wiley got accepted into a conference taking place in November in...drum roll, please...I SAID DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!!!....Amsterdam! Yeah, home of all things legal. Amsterdam was a place I'd visited 10 years ago for just one night. It was where I saw my first marijuana joint up close and personal - IN A STORE. I bought a painting from that store. I still have it. It's currently over the entryway into the kitchen.
Walking through the Red Light district was entertaining. There were lots of women, even more men, and quite a few of them in the leather getup typically seen in your Police Academy movies at the Blue Oyster bar. I was taken by the canal running through the middle of the city, the bustling nightlife, the heated towel bars, and I hoped that someday, I'd be back.
Wiley has emailed the Powers That Be to see if it's possible to take a spouse along (since by that time, I'll be a spouse!). While he's at a conference, I could be walking around the city, taking pictures galore. Keep your fingers crossed.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
In my day, Baskin-Robbins was the expensive ice cream. Consequently, I never ate it. And I never wanted it melting into my cake. Now, in my older age, I'm a big fan of ice cream, even with my cake, though it's still best when it's cheap (and I really love me some custard from Sheridan's). Bloomington's got some great ice cream stands; I can't wait to eat some.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Yeah, so it seems I've hit a bit of a dry spell on the ol' blog. I've tried, but lately, like Cara, I've just not been feeling it. Not much purpose to it now...well, I guess for Wiley there is, if he'd ever write (um, yeah, Wiley, I'm calling you out again, but you won't check this before you go to Zvornik again). But not for me. I like reading others' blogs back in KC, but can I go to the Blogger Happy Hour? Not so much. New job doesn't allow for much vacation time. Not one for spouting off on the new job - I don't really like to do that. I get to learn new words and remember the ones I'd forgotten, like thrombocytopenia. I really am quite clueless when it comes to typing motions and filing stuff with the court because I never dealt with them in my old job, so I'm constantly asking questions, and so far, they haven't rolled their eyes or given me the "haven't you figured any of this out on your own yet?" look. I haven't yet found Bloomington blogs....Indy has quite a few of them, and I even emailed them to ask them if they knew people an hour away, and they didn't. Sigh. Spyder posted an article about how some people blog as a form of therapy, and I agree that it can be, though it can be Debbie Downer if you're hoping for feedback and get none. Wedding plans are coming along nicely. I finally have a baker for the most important piece of food at a wedding, the cake. (You knew it was cake, if you've been reading my blog at all.) So, there's a bit of listlessness going on here. The jellyfish feeling is back, where I just lilt along the water and see where the tide takes me. And I hate it. What's the point of it all?
Monday, May 5, 2008
grumble grumble grumble.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Melinda has called me out! Before last week I hadn’t posted because my life is boring. I write, I read, I research! The last week has been much more eventful. I spent Sunday through Tuesday in Zvornik attempting to figure out what is going on there and from Thursday through today I had the pleasure of a visitor from Austria. The pictures from Ulli’s visit can be found here. I’ve included a few of Ulli’s pictures as well as more of mine. Most of the pictures are from our trip to Pocitelj, a well-reconstructed ottoman fortress town built to defend Hercegovina from invaders from the sea. The trip with Ulli went off without a hitch, with the minor exception of the Bosnian museums, which were closed for the holiday weekend (May Day). This is the second time I’ve tried to go to that museum, but I’ve been thwarted both times. They seem to be open for about 4 hours a day on days when most people can’t visit them.
My trip to Zvornik was much more interesting and challenging(pictures here). Zvornik is a fortress city on the Drina River, which now forms much of the border between Bosnia and Serbia. During the war in the early ‘90s, Zvornik was the location of a well-known ethnic cleansing operation carried out by some of the more infamous practitioners of the crime. My adventures in Zvornik had little to do with the cities recent history and much more to the difficult economic situation in which the city (and most of the region) now finds itself. Here are the highlights in chronological order:
1) Sharing the highway to Zvornik with livestock. Apparently Orthodox Easter is “let your cows, sheep and horses wander on the highway” day.
2) Staying in a “class B” hotel. I’m fairly certain that I was the only person staying in the hotel. It was in a great location on top of a hill overlooking the river. The non-functioning television and warm water weren’t so great. When I asked if there was a way to use the internet, the guy pulled the cord out of the back of the phone and informed me that I would pay 12 cents a “pulse”. I just had to “do what I usually do” to get on the internet. I’m guessing I was supposed to use a dialup connection no one has anymore.
3) The mobile phone “beep of death”. I’d loaded my pre-pay cell phone with plenty of cash so that I could keep in touch with Melinda and meet my contacts. Since I’m still in Bosnia, it shouldn’t cost me anything to receive calls. Imagine my surprise when after talking to Melinda for only 10 minutes I hear the beep that means my phone is out of cash. It turns out that my phone was connected to a tower in Serbia despite the fact that I was still in Bosnia. So, I was roaming. Lesson learned.
4) Trying to get work done on holidays. I found out too late that Orthodox is a four day holiday in Republika Srpska.
5) The old woman on the bus who told me her life story for 45 minutes before she realized that I’m a foreigner and only understood half of what she was telling me (partly because of the language and partly because of the engine noise from the bus). 45 minutes of answering her own questions. I tried to answer… but my answers didn’t seem to interest her.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Today's graduates are confident and have the electronic wonders of the world at their fingertips. Better yet, most of them know how to use them, which helps in the "real world". Sure, on some things, they will be clueless until they get that job. College, unfortunately, does not teach you everything. You learn about history, about current events, about marketing, finance, how to sight-read, psychology, criminal justice, philosophy, how to swing a tennis racket or how to figure out your VO2 max. Some of this will help you, and some of it will be forgotten. Actually, according to my last job, we forget 75% of the things we are taught a mere three weeks later. Don't fret that you don't know everything, Graduate; you're not supposed to. Sure, people tell you you're supposed to have everything all figured out now that you're 22 and done with school, but life is a learning process that doesn't end when you leave the doors of your favorite (or least favorite) building. Keep an open mind to the situations you will encounter. Learn what you can and forget the piddly bullshyt. Do not get caught up in the rat race, and please don't compare yourself to your peers. You are setting yourself up for disappointment. Find your own inner compass, find what makes you happy, and go do it. Don't listen to the family members that tell you your chosen profession won't make any money. Let it go when your friend brags about their salary, which is double yours. There are more important things than money. Yes, you have to pay your bills, but do you need a Lexus SUV? Could you get by with something a little less flashy and more reliable? That's affirm. Get the job you want, get the shelter where you're safe and pets are accepted, make sure you can pay your bills and can save for retirement while at the same time spending some of that cash on a little fun. (I've found that living the 50-30-20 rule worked well for me in my previous life, where 50% of your monthly income is spent on bills, 30% is yours to spend, and 20% is to be put into savings for retirement.) Live simply so that you may simply live. Don't be afraid to try new things. Sometimes you surprise yourself when you try something - you may find that not only do you like it, but you're good at it. This new thing could be the start of a hobby or maybe someday a new profession. A friend of mine liked the Native American flute, so he bought one, and then decided he wanted to make them himself. He now has a very nice little business making flutes, and professional artists are using his product. But he just kinda stumbled into it. When you and your friends drift apart, you have a decision to make: try a little harder to remain in their lives, or let them go, and be glad you knew them for the period you did. Friendships come and go, and it's up to you to decide how much effort you're going to put forth to keep them going. Remain honest with everyone. Nobody is a mind-reader, and sometimes you really have to spell things out in order to get someone to see what it is you're trying to say. That's ok. I guess in this long list of what to do, it comes down to this: be true to yourself. Always. And enjoy the journey. Congratulations, graduates of 2008!!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Obama can be a very charismatic speaker. However, I learned that he's not big into details. For example, he tried to tell us to get out and vote on Tuesday, but he flubbed up the time. It seemed that he didn't read the sheet before and said "uh" a lot. That's not the image you regularly see on TV, so it surprised me he wasn't quite so polished. But then he was when he started describing Everyfamily that has their share of problems, such as being sent to Iraq with a baby on the way and not having health insurance and not having a job. He had a lot of ideas, but he didn't back anything up with proof of a plan. One minute, we're spending $10 billion a day, the next we're spending $100 billion a month on the war. He wants students to get a $4000 credit so they can afford college by doing community service, but he didn't really outline any sort of plan. So at this stage of the game, there's a lot of marketing, but the product is still a little fuzzy. I will say that he didn't attack Hillary much. He said that they have differences, which pale in comparison to the differences between Dems and McCain, and that the Dems will be united come November. After 45 minutes of hearing his speech, we decided to leave and go to Tutto Bene for some drink and conversation. A friend is driving to Nebraska tomorrow - I told them how to find the cheese curds. Another's parents from Germany were in town - I asked them how their flight was in German, but that was about all I could squeak out. My brain just wasn't working. I might have a part-time gig setting up an office for a rental business that's taking off. All in all, a good night, but oh goodness, morning is going to come too early, so I'm hauling my azz off to bed.