Monday, August 31, 2009

Go ahead, make my day.

What better way to start a day than with a little Clint Eastwood, eh?

Since I was on about making other people's day, week, or even a year yesterday by giving into trust and doing something nice for a change (I know, yada, yada, yada, moderately profound Extranjera, where did you emerge from?), I thought about what has been making my day, week and year lately.

Since, oddly enough, instead of the highly insightful comments that always seemed to contain something about fingernail clippings (by now so passé), wigs (and whether pigs should wear them) or aerobics, I have been leaving comments that have ended in either 'too cool' or 'thanks for making my day' (and cacti, but we won't go into details on that one).

Weird, huh?

No, not really. Could this mean that I am ....GASP... growing up?

*farts and then giggles loudly*

No, no fear of that. Thank goodness!

But apart from the fun found in farting loudly there are also other things that have been making my day, week, and year (Where did month go? I don't know.), and that do not involve any of my own orifices.

Now, how bad does that sound? Did she just connect making someone's day with an orifice? 
Yes, she did, and she thinks the connection is far more valid than people like to admit out loud. But, hey, it's not that kind of a blog. Really, it isn't. 

One thing that always makes my day is when someone in my sphere gives me advice. It means that they care enough to put themselves into my shoes and give my situation a second, or even a third thought. I will almost never take heed of the advice, since that is not how I was put together (how I ever learned anything boggles me, and many people in my life, greatly) and I need to make my own mistakes and learn without appearing to do so. But it still makes me feel loved when people care enough to want to help me not to screw up (or possibly kill myself) by trying to steer my behavior. Unless of course they are being annoying about giving advice (it's a fine line) in which case farts make my day much more.

It makes my year to own this Mielie bag:


And that I was able to give my Albugherkin™ friend Gringa this one:

Notice how my bag is bigger than hers. Complete coincidence. No?

And that she took it everywhere with her for as long as I was in New Mexico.

It made my day that a bloggy friend by the name of an Open Heart made up an award and gave it to me (Okay. She also gave it to some other people, but I like to think it was tailored just for me. Shhhhh! My blog, my delusions. Thanks.), and then Judearoo gave me cake (with a catch I really doubt I'll be fulfilling because my track record consists of gracefully accepting, followed by misplacing, and then completely forgetting an award, but anyhoo) on her new blog Babble Value (or is it valve, Jude?).

Can you believe it? Completely unsolicited cake. Cool!

Actually, I have received quite a few awards lately (read: since the beginning of this blog, and not so many, but who will pat my back if I don't myself, hey?), and really, I love the fact that so many folks are thinking of me, and think that I'm funny. I mean, I have always thought myself that I am funny, just sometimes misunderstood as gross, scary, or possibly mean/boring/consisting completely of swear words and toilet humor, but that so many of you should think so too. Totally awesome! Although, as I wrote to one of the kind bloggers who awarded me with [insert name of award here, since I seem to be in stage two of my cycle of forgetting], and as I state above, I really, really, utterly suck at this 'being all reciprocative' stuff. Am I exonerated yet? Cause I have more excuses lined up. Those I am extremely good at.

Point?

Yes. Point.

It also makes my day when you comment. But that's old news. Still, I am, like totally and shit, working up to answering the comments. I'm just waiting for the fever fog to completely clear and for the ear to stay firmly attached, and you know, for the buzz to be killed, my gills to fully develop, and the butterfly to croak.... See, this is what I mean by excuses.

It makes my year that the Hubby would send me all the way to America to hang out with my Mexican BFF (Yes, I'm exactly like Paris Hilton, I have BFFs all over the world too, and drive a jewel encrusted iPhone to prison, like, every day) just because I needed a break from South Africa. He's also offering to send me to Finland, but I'm not sure how I feel about seeing my mother in real life since the ear-incident. She is not into piercings, especially if they turn out to be potentially disfiguring on her kin. And it's not for appearances sakes I have in the past referred to her as Ironfist.

I'm joking mom, really I am. I love you!

It makes my day when a photo comes out way better than expected. And the complicated camera actually does what I want it to.


It makes my week to have an intelligent discussion about a really good book. In fact, just such a discussion will make my Friday this week. We will be discussing DBC Pierre's Vernon God Little on the Hermit Book Club blog. Come join us. Unless you don't want to read the book and thus have nothing insightful to say, in which case laughing at farts with me right here on my blog is also totally okay. The fun created by farting is largely to do with the audience.

Let's see, what have I got so far:
  • farts
  • advice
  • Mielie bag
  • awards
  • cake
  • more awards
  • you commenting on my blog
  • Hubby sending me away, far away (doesn't sound so good, must research this point further)
  • some photo stuff, so that I can post my current favorite picture
  • discussing a good book, and
  • farting
Yup. Pretty much there. Should put in some insightful stuff too though. To balance out the ubiquitous talk of farting.

Hmmm.

It makes my day to see someone clearly for who they are. Because no one wants a "friend" (no, those are not unnecessary quotation marks), but someone loyal, supportive, and real. And when someone of the latter description comes along, it makes my year.

It makes my life every single day to have the Hubs. Sap, sap, sap, but really, without his snoring ass, I couldn't exist. And not only because without him cooking for me I would be on my scurvious deathbed by now.

Hubs taking a photo of ....water. Yah.

Now, what makes your day? And don't say cakes and farting. I'm having the combination patented, or trademarked, or something.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Trust? How do you spell that?

There is this thing that I have been meaning to write about for quite a while now (this time I mean it!), and since apparently I have completely stopped answering any and all comments (again) that you still keep leaving (thank goodness, since they truly make my day, every day), I must have been heavily thinking (doesn't that just sound like it should say heavily drinking, since it is, after all, my blog?) about something very, very big and heavy.

Sound credible?

I hope so. Because thinking big is all I have right now.

Every single time anywhere outside of South Africa I tell anyone that I live in Johannesburg I either get the 'oh wow, where's the bullet hole/ contours of the bulletproof vest/ the holster' or the 'You are too cool for living in a war zone' look. And while I love being thought of as seriously hardcore (like a ninja, or Toni Morrison) and utterly cool, the reality is quite different.

Don't get me wrong, I am, like, totally cool, if not even a tad rad, but the truth is that South Africa is not a place where one absolutely needs a gun, a handbag-size rocket launcher, or even a bulletproof vest.

Not really. Not even in Downtown Jo'burg.

However, sometimes it is very hard not to be swept up by the general atmosphere of fear and danger that often permeates this country and especially our city of residence. I know, I know that there is a lot of crime in this country and a lot of it is concentrated in our hood of Jozi. Believe me, I've heard and read all about it. It is a favored ice breaker, after all.

But.

There's a lot more to the situation than rape, murder, and other kinds of horrendous terror.

There's also distrust, and fear for fear's sake. And panic and hysteria. Unfortunately.

When there really should be trust, compassion, and togetherness.

(What is this? Is she fokken trying to be all sweet and cuddly? No way! Creepy is all I'm getting.)

All nice colorful rainbow-like. Like that guy Mandela said. I'm now calling him 'that guy' to throw off the scent of stalk that I may have previously been too vocal about, although I now think it is the US government for a change who is after me, since I keep getting all those blog-visits from various USDA departments. (Yes, being sarcastic, very sarcastic. Don't shoot.)

I think the paranoia stayed when the fever left. Let's hope it's not permanent, eh?

But obviously the Hubby doesn't suffer from any sort of paranoia, since today, because we hate feeling unsafe where ever we are and often feel the urge to demonstrate to ourselves how safe and sound (not really mentally, but in all other ways that I or you can think of) we indeed are, and that we just might be completely certifiable (but at least we have no offspring), we picked up a couple of guys in need of a ride (asking for a ride at traffic lights, sometimes with intricate hand signals, is a common practice in SA) to their respective places of work. One to a gas station and one to a shop, in our hood.

"Do you know them," I ask the hubby. "Nope, but that guy is wearing the gas station jacket," he says.

They guys get in. We have our shopping, my handbag, and assorted items (I did say I would drown in filth, if other people didn't clean for me and the maid refuses to clean the car) in the back seat. The guys make like there's only one of them until we remember it and tell them they can shift some of the stuff.

They are really grateful for the ride. They were going to be late for work, because the taxi (the lethal van packed with peeps that in theory functions as 'public transportation') hadn't shown up. Although, I think the one without the jacket would have been eventually able to buy a Merc to get to work just by trading in his gold teeth. But alas, we, the people not looking to trade in a vehicle of any sort, were his only chance of making his shift.

And we're not into gold teeth. Or at least I'm not. You can never tell with the Hubby. The guy has kept his cast from when he was injured in his teen years. And there are those old Norse/ swearing Copenhagener genes... Also, I think he would sell the car for some 'gold' teeth just to help someone out, if I wasn't there to, you know, keep him from being all saintly and neighborly and such.

Sheesh, I'm married to a friendly person.

A taxi-stand kiosk in Orlando, the township of Soweto. You know, Mandela's neck of the woods. 
As far as what she will use the drum for... I have no idea. I don't.

But sometimes, even I have to trust. To make our world livable. To put something out there that is purely good. That will make someone's day, that will make someone's week, or sometimes even someone's year. I don't want to think people want me harm just because they look at me. That is not the kind of world I want to do my wine drinking in. I mean it.

Now go out there and trust. It's pretty easy once you just go ahead and stop being afraid.

Although, I must add: Don't trust anyone who will want to rob, rape, maim, or murder you or anyone else.

Just saying.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Really. It's nothing.

WARNING: The following is even more about nothing than anything I've ever written before. I repeat, it has absolutely no point. None. So now you know.

Regardless of the range of thoughts varying from panic to nonchalance about my badly infected ear that have been pretty nigh completely occupying my mind (and my time), there have occasionally been other things coursing through the wide open highways of my brain as well. There really have been. Although, apparently none of them have been about mixing my metaphors or contradicting myself in one single sentence. Huh.

Yeah, right. Like you haven't been fiddling with the ear every second you get trying to see whether it's "getting any better," and are probably making it a lot worse with the variety of germs from you mouse and keyboard alone? Puleeze. Give me a fokken break. 

I have actually been thinking about other stuff too! I have. It's just that I'm a little worried. I think that's only understandable? And I haven't been fiddling with my ear. I'm moving the stud back and forth. Like the guy said.

The stud.... Hahahahahahaaaa.... Have you been fiddling with your stud? Moving your stud back and forth?.... hahahahahahahaaaa

GHRMHahahahahahaaaa...

Well, Yeah. Okay. But you did stumble into this one all on your own accord. No accident or universe at work here. You went ahead and got those piercings because your little heart so desired, and then talked about the 'stud'. Double whammy.

I know. I know. Don't you think I know? And don't you think...

Naah. I'm done. I am. What I actually wanted to say is how I've been thinking about some interesting things lately.

Again? And when you say interesting, do you by any chance mean like that time you took a photo of some stuff from your trash can and wrote about that? because that was definitely something, but I'm not sure interesting would be the right way to describe it.

No, not again. And when I say interesting, I mean interesting. What exactly was wrong with the trash post?

Hello? Am I the only one with some brain power here? 

Wait.

Nooh? 

You wont write again about.... CORN.... will you? Because I'm not sure I could handle that again.

What? Corn will always be there. In the background. So quit it. But no, that won't be my main focus this time. I have actually been thinking about some interesting stuff. You know, the world, the earth, and such.

Oh, so nothing much?

Just give it a rest, and let me say my piece. Right after I've been to the bathroom to check in the mirror whether the swelling has gone down. I'll be right back.

Yup, the change is remarkable. FROM 30 SECONDS AGO. You are insane! Just relax already woman. You are being just a tad paranoid. Don't you think? 

What exactly is it that you wanted to say?

Err... You really think the swelling's gone done? Really? 

Hrmph.

Please just tell me. It does look like it's gone down, doesn't it. I knew the antibiotics would work. I just knew it. Oh wow, and I've been so fokken freaked out. And completely felt like I wanted to bang my head against the wall if it wasn't for the pounding pain, already on the right side of my head doing all sorts of punching the inside of my scull all by its lonesome.

I am so relieved. Thanks.

Ah, ...err... I was being sarcastic. 

But you know, I don't think you should be so worried. Really.

What? I'm trying to be serious here and you just make fun of me. I'm trying to talk to you about some serious stuff. Some world and earth stuff, and you just make jokes. Good splinter of a personality you are. I have actually been pondering about some serious questions, while you have just been thinking up means things to say.

You're just mean! You are.

KABLAM

And that, my dear readers, is the sick and paranoid Extranjera slamming the door to the subconscious on us (or possibly Batman decking the bad guy, but that could just be the fever talking), and when she locks that door and decides to sit with her back against it and sulk, there's just really no getting through to her.

Too bad the subconscious is also where the wine cellar's located. She may never resurface.

But wait! Our saving grace: The subconscious has no coffee! She'll be out by Monday.

Have a good weekend y'all. See you on Monday again!

Friday, August 28, 2009

So about last night...

I think I just might go all Bridget Jones on you now. You know, to lighten the mood (mine) and to prattle on about absolutely nothing. But hey, it's one of those days.
  • Hours slept last night: One whole one this morning.
  • Jet lag going strong: One immense one.
  • Ears in danger of being horribly disfigured by either a doctor or an extraterrestrial being: One (and a half - it's that big)
  • Realizations relating to why Van Gogh might have cut off his own ear: A whopper, which I firmly believe must in some way be related to a piercing gone bad.
  • Ears still attached to head, however: The standard two (and a half).
  • Pages read from John Van de Ruit's Spud - Learning to Fly between midnight and morning: 188, and would have indulged further but had to finally think about sleep at 5am. If you haven't already, rush out NOW and get all of Van de Ruit's Spud books: Spud, Spud - The Madness Continues... and Spud - Learning to Fly. In This Twilight infested world they are good, well-written, and fokken (I shouldn't use that in connection with these books, should I?) funny specimens of teen-literature. 
  • Time spent laughing in bed last night: Roughly two hours. Not consecutively though and only at Spud, not in any way at the curled up Hubs, who kept grunting all viking-like in his sleep.
  • Time spent being horrified at possible ear surgery in the near future: If it wasn't for Spud, six hours, but because of him, roughly 15 minutes.
  • Times the Hubby was poked by someone because of rattling like something made out of tin in something made out of tin: Three
  • Times the Hubby was poked by his concerned spouse because he seemed to have stopped breathing: Four. Glad I'm still more afraid of him dying than being annoyed at his man-sounds. 
  • Time spent hyperventilating in fear over alien-ear in bed last night: About two minutes, but then hubby would say something really vikingly archaic in his sleep and I would have to giggle.
  • Time spent mulling over complete lack of reason in relation to piercing decision: Will never admit to anything. Never. 
  • Number of different possible scenarios thought up last night involving mother's reaction to daughter's actions, especially if losing part of daughter's ear becomes a reality: Many, and all of them rather daunting.
  • Times pondered whether it would be fair to cut someone's beard while they are fast asleep: Just in passing...
  • Time spent cutting a beard with eyes closed this morning: Only some of the time, and there was no blood.
  • Time spent ogling at the Spud book and thinking reading it right away seems like a fun thing to do: Current thought. A persuasive thought....
See you again tomorrow. Hopefully with all of my ears still complete and attached. 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The alien shall shrivel up and die - an incantation

My poor, poor ear.

"I feel for you, but I just can't ever know how it is for you, because I never, ever have a hard time sleeping."

By Extranjera, let out in connection with poor Gringa's sleeping issues

And ladies and gentlemen, as if you hadn't already guessed what happened, this is how I jinxed myself. I should have known better. Universe won't ever let you spout out things like that, and not let you get a taste of what it is that you have never, ever experienced.

It is now 1pm and I just woke up.

I attempted going to sleep at 2am last night, got in a nice 20 minutes, during which I had a weird dream about having to choose between two beautiful young men (one of whom was a doctor), which leads me to believe that since, in my absence, the Hubby has let his beard morph his countenance from a fearless viking warrior to what can only be described as a lecherous amish elder he should maybe rectify that, so that I can start dreaming about him again.

So, although it was an epiphanic 20 minutes of sleep, it didn't do much for me in the way of actual rest.

I kept trying. But something, be it jet lag or the other worldly life form impersonating my right ear, just wouldn't let me drift off.

What? A homegrown alien?

Yes, indeed. As far as the other worldly being attached to my scull goes, I am now on antibiotics because of a case of perichondritis and the alien should, according to the science of medicine, shrivel up and go away in a week (But what does medicine really know about aliens, I ask you?). I know there is a moral to this story and it might have something to do with 'doing your homework before showing up for class', but I think I'll still just go with 'stop and smell the roses', because I like that one better and that's just the way that I roll.

That, and antibiotics.

Thank Zeus for antibiotics.

At 5am, after having turned on the light three times in order to take note of my insightful thoughts (delirium, in the light of day), I started panicking about the alien and its motives. Would it want to kill me, or just mangle my ear? I decided that since I wasn't sleeping anyway I might as well get up and clean the infected piercing with alcohol and hopefully aid in the extermination of all things not of this world.

Turns out, I don't come in peace.

And that rubbing alcohol on a piercing gone very bad does not for a peaceful sleep make. Or peaceful anything.

After having quietly screamed into my fist for a good 10 minutes I ventured into bed again, right after making note into the notebook on my bedside table, of my serious intent to write an entire post about Hubby's propensity, while sleeping, to breathe through his nose, which obviously wasn't put on his face for that purpose since the air has a really hard time passing through it and consequently makes the man rattle purr in his sleep like a broken tram a sweet kitten. Which makes it very hard for other people to fall asleep.

Delirium, I tell you.

Finally, it was time for the kitten to leave for work and leave me to attempt to rest the top of my head on the pillow and consequently sleep in a part handstand, part half nelson like manner. Which, oddly enough I eventually succeeded in doing, only to wake up at 1pm with my arms completely numb and with creases on my forehead I'm not sure will ever go away, to frantic phone calls from the Hubby who had gotten himself into a frenzy over the alien and wanted to ferry me off to a hospital to get the being surgically removed.

I thought it best to get up and write instead.  

I'm pretty sure I feel better now.

Maybe.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wine, gun control and Obama

My eyes are barely open. If it wasn't for my computer telling me it is 'Wed' I would be at a complete loss as to what day it is.

But I am home. In South Africa. Safe and more or less sound.

Less sound?

Why yes, less sound happens when the entertainment system of a massive plane that just took off from Atlanta and will fly for 16 hours to Johannesburg, malfunctions and leaves the entire plane completely entertainmentless. No movies or games for anyone. On a plane that is practically full.

What do most people do in such a situation?

They eat and sleep.

What does Extranjera do?

She figures out she can't really read that book she has at the ready since she has already spent three hours flying from Albuquerque to Atlanta, and then overdosed on Starbucks at the Atlanta airport during the six hours she spent there, and her concentration is consequently just a tad off the mark. It also seems the sudoku she attempts for a while is not an activity to be done high on the equivalent of eight shots of espresso, and after having been awakened at 5am. So, naturally, she decides to chat up the old fella from Mississippi who is sitting next to her and they take turns getting more wine from the galley.

It quickly transpires that Extranjera and the old fella don't quite see eye to eye.

On anything.

And that the old fella is a bit hard of hearing. To put it mildly. But Extranjera is feeling the horrifying void of nothing to do and proceeds to dig out that American lurking in her brain and talks loudly and E-NUN-CIA-TES with the best of them.

Gun control somehow comes up.

So does Obama.

The discussion spins out of control.

Red wine is spilled. And dried up with the pillow the airline is kind enough to provide. What else? A napkin? Bah humbug.

The pair decide to consult the threesome of South African engineers sitting behind them on the question of gun control as well as the lack of entertainment. The engineers have been having some wine as well, and Extranjera should have known better: The engineers all love hunting. She is outnumbered and attempts to enlist the help of the stewardess who is not amused and very clearly wishes the galley would run out of wine already, but is also unnerved by the thought of this happening.

Writing comes up. Extranjera cannot, for some inexplicable reason, keep her mouth shut about the blog and promises the old fella that he can defend his views on Obama and gun control when she writes about the issues. She gives him her actual email, before realizing she should have given him the 'blog' one. The one that is not made up of her full name. Her very special, one of a kind, full name.

Finally Extranjera feels Mr. Sandman beckoning. Too bad her ears are so swollen and sore from the cartilage piercings she so intelligently decided to get just before leaving the US, that she cannot rest her head comfortably on pretty much anything. And that pillow is soaked in wine.

Extranjera pretends to fall asleep. The discussion has gotten far too out of hand.

Eventually she does sleep. Only to repeatedly wake up to a throbbing swollen ear that is starting to resemble an alien life form, and might, in fact, be growing its very own brain.

The next morning in the line to immigration Extranjera is not at all embarrassed and no one is looking at her funny. No one. Absolutely no one.

She is sure she hears snickers when the old fella reminds her of her promise and asks her to 'drop him a line' when she comes up with that 'article'.

And it is very likely that no one at all notices that her suitcase passes her by twice on the conveyor belt before she realizes that it is hers.

This might actually be my ear. Not kidding.

Silver lining: For once she is not stopped at customs.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bye bye al-boo-ker-keh, I'll miss you!

My last day in Albuquerque.

What is a gal to do?

Eat some more hamburgers and fries? No. Been there, done that, currently suffering the heartburn that just won't go away, but oddly tastes like pickles, feet, and ketchup at times. However, can heartily (and not just heartburn-ily) recommend Ezra's place (And not just because of the Margarita either). Best burger in town. Honest.

Go to the mall? No. Been there, done that, have no more room in the suitcase, although all of the meat is gone from there, and will not be making the long trek back to South Africa. Some Hannah Montana crap will though. Because I'm cheesy. And consider myself old and fat enough to pull it off as kitch, and not creepy. Right? (Don't answer, unless it's in the affirmative. Thanks.)

Go to a museum? No. Been there, done that, absolutely loved the Georgia O'Keeffe museum in Santa Fe and am now seriously considering becoming a tortured artist, only wearing black sleek clothing with my hair slicked back, never sweating, and painting horse skulls with flowers. What originality?

If I could only paint something else than stick men. If only. Stick sculls?

Visit the multitude of galleries in Santa Fe? No. Been there, done that, and felt everything from seriously weirded out by 'art' to superbly inspired by art.

A tad weirded out, neh?

Inspired, but not in the GAP way. Just plain inspired.

Take more photos? No. Been there, done that, am ready to bore anyone and everyone with days and days of illustrated tales of my travels. I probably have hours of footage of coffee alone.

COFFEE, SWEET COFFEE!

What to do, what to do? Before becoming a tortured artist in high-waisted pants, that is.

Well, I guess there is nothing else to do than to go to University of New Mexico, play the crazy aunt Helga from Finland to an unsuspecting Mexican American 18 year-old 'nephew' (how could I have come all this way and miss family day? Not possible!), and introduce some new holes into my earlobes.

There really is nothing else to do.

Besides Starbucks. But you so already knew that. Didn't you?

I almost missed this one. Almost. Can you believe that?

Have a good start of the week y'all! I'll be back to regale you with my tales once I land safely in South Africa and the wine and coffee fumes jet-lag fog finally clears.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Are you distracted already?

So I think my social skills have somewhat deteriorated in recent years. Or I've just completely stopped paying attention to what is being said to me, because I'm too distracted by anything and everything shiny.

America is very shiny after all. And glittery.

Mis amigos in shiny and glittery Albuquerque

Yesterday, I was being distracted by a pair of shiny pants at the mall (yes, have spent inordinate amounts of time at Starbucks and at the mall. Much more time than is decent...), and was giving them a proper feel, almost bringing them to my cheek.

Okay. I did bring them to my cheek, but just for a few seconds, and they really were some nice, soft pants.

A woman walked past me and said "Oh, nice top!" I was wearing a kaftan-like thing that is really meant for the beach, but that I have appropriated for everyday use, and like the socially awkward woman that I am, I looked at her, looked at my top, while holding the pants to my cheek, and answered: "Yes, it is." Because that is what my brain somehow elected as the appropriate response to a compliment.

I'm sure she feels good for having made the day of a mental patient on a day trip to the mall.

I have been having quite a few odd discussions with very random people. Like, with the woman who sold me my Birkenstocks about her work at the Library of Congress, like with the very pierced and tattooed fella who apparently was flirting with me (I was later told by the Mexican niece and nephew), like with a guy who was wanting to pluck my (I think rather non-existent) eyebrows with a strange looking string-apparatus, and like with the woman who though it was cute that I was taking pictures of my lattes.

I seem to have forgotten how much Americans like to talk and engage each other, and complete strangers.

Or maybe I'm just being my usual freak-magnet self? I'm pretty sure if I wasn't already married I would totally be going out with the tattoo-wonder. He was pretty cute in that inked, holey, punk way that I like, but I'm still glad I already have a cute, bearded, un-holey Hubby waiting for me in SA.

Other people's piercings can be dangerous, and I don't need any more hazards around. I already have me. Behind the wheel of my friend's car. Trying to drink water or extricate gum out of my bag while driving with my knees. Hazards aplenty.

Ag, just look at the pretty pictures. Apparently there never was a point to this, and there isn't one in sight either.

Unconventionally sad sunflower

Wires are pretty, neh?

They really are.

But not as pretty as flowers. Not nearly.

Have a good weekend y'all! I'm off to eat some Mexican food and drink some wine, and to chase it all with Starbucks. 

But you already knew that.
  

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Revisiting Paradise

Yesterday, pretty much in its entirety, was spent in the most American of places. I and my Mexican niece and nephew. Or at least, in the place that I first got to know and love when I and my family made the big move to the United States when I was a teenager.

See, Finland was even smaller back then. And more Finnish. Back then we really were all about lakes and Saunas. Today we're far more European and only break out the Sauna and the frozen lake for special occasions.

Like, a Saturday.

So imagine my bewilderment and wonder when I first set foot in a Mall. A glorious shoppers' paradise. A jungle of things just waiting to be bought and consumed.

No natural water anywhere, but a complicated water feature, inside of all places. People walking indoors from shop to boutique to department store, while stopping at the food court to grab a quick burger and a soda or a milkshake. Everything under one high, high roof.

There was indeed bewilderment and wonder, with the added air of country bumpkin, but with some budding consumer thrown in. I knew I had arrived. At the Mall.

Yesterday, I revisited that paradise, and while it no longer holds the same kind of magic for me as it did when I was a teenager (or actually any magic, but more of a get-out-of-my-way-people-I-am-trying-to-find-me-some-shoes feeling seems to win out in the end) I still managed to spend some money.

And there was absolutely no way I was ever going to pass up on these:

Mi nuevos bebes
.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The showdown

I have to admit I had several different scenarios playing out in my head when the lovely (although she wasn't lovely in all of the scenarios) Kim of Heliotrollop suggested we meet at a restaurant on the Rio Grande at high noon.

Okay. I'll admit it, I added the high part. And I might have been the one to suggest the time too...

I don't know why, but possibly because I just might be the queen of stereotypes and the permeation of them (see, once 'your' people only total about 5 mil you tend to think everyone else can also be lumped in with their 'kind'), when someone mentions Rio Grande, a gun-slinging outlaw on horseback immediately pops to my mind. One of them ones all dirty-like, wearing a bandanna  along with some other not-at-all-Hollywoody cowboy clothes, being chased by the cavalry and the indians (really white people in seriously bad make up), and with a cowboy-hat squarely planted on some seriously greasy hair.

So, I had imagined this woman facing me in an epic showdown, with the noon sun beating down on us.


Yup. Once she turned up, I couldn't see it either.

Also, she was super sweet (not at all gun-slinging), very clean, and wanted to buy me lunch.

And her adorable son seems to know everything there ever was to know about trains and growing every night, summarily confirming all of the suspicions I have been entertaining between my shrinking pants and the amount of broccoli I consume (It's not the fat, it's the vegetables that make you grow big and strong. I'm already of East-German shot-putter proportions, so what more is there, I wonder? Being lifted out of your bedroom window by the fire department?), and then he half-heartedly validated the Hubby's purchase of the monster vehicle on the coolness-meter, while my mention of owning a Daihatsu was met with an unappreciative stare.


A five-year-old can totally erode your fragile self-esteem with one stare. Especially if he has never heard of a Daihatsu, and pities you for not owning your own train.

Perhaps I can get one from the mall today?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wannabe epiphanies, but really just learning what not to do.

I have successfully started the week in Albuquerque with my Mexican 'family'.

Yup. Turns out that it is not just my friend and her husband I am visiting, but also a sister and a niece, as well as some other family to arrive shortly. We all still get our own bedrooms though, so I'm cool. And the incessant farting is not keeping anyone from sleeping.

Whose farting, you ask.

Well, what do you think?

I have been having a lot of beans in various forms since I got here. I am visiting Mexicans after all, and when it comes to home-cooked Mexican food, I have no self control.

But noxious gasses aside, various epiphanies are emerging left and right, and while most of them have to do with cool new gum flavors and ads in People Magazine, and are induced by what has got to be serious over-indulgence in Starbucks products containing caffeine, some of them are more of the self-affirming just plain weird nature.

:: If you cannot find your way around a mall parking lot you can indeed blame it on (and I quote what I kept saying to myself in the car over and over) "the stupid one-colored blocks of clay that pretend to be buildings". Of course you can. I readily agree with myself. Getting lost in a parking lot is in no way related to any diminished mental capacity, this town just needs to paint with some different colors than sand and clay. Yes. Or put up large signs that say 'This way to Starbucks'.

:: There is no such thing as too much Starbucks regardless of what the author claims in the paragraph above. She doesn't know what she is talking about. She is just coming down from the caffeine high of the century.

:: Finnish genes make blowing bubblegum bubbles impossible. Do not dare tell me otherwise. We invented cellphones and host the world championships in air guitar, we don't need no stinkin' bubblegum bubbles.

:: It is possible to sew a chili shut, but it is best to remove the thread before eating. And after removing the thread it is best to wash your hands instead of sticking them in your eye. Unless you are desperately going after that pink-eye look so much in vogue these days.

:: The Rio Grande is less grande than anyone has ever let on. However, it does in fact exist, unlike other Hollywood-creations, such as Tarzan and comfortable air travel.

:: Even if someone's t-shirt says Salsero there are no guarantees that he will waste his precious salsa magic until someone in a matching outfit comes along.


:: Posing your Starbucks cup with your water and your book may not be considered normal. But at least you get to participate in interesting discussions. And marvel at how instead of skulking away, because they think you are a madwoman with a large purse that could possibly hide all sorts of evil, Americans will engage you and humor your need to photograph your latte(s).

:: In order for a cool new bloggy friend to recognize you in a restaurant perhaps guiding them to the picture where you are "the one being licked" is not the best thing. Hope I didn't scare her off.

But, I'm off to meet her. Let's hope she didn't take the photo as an invitation to anything...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wonders of Albuquerque

What can you do when you've got awesome friends and your stomach is filled with a burger and some fries that surely epitomize the American culinary experience?

(No picture here, scarfed the burger down at a speed and ease that made me suspect that I am in fact American? Mom, anything you wish to reveal? Now would be the time...)

Although, your stomach could have been a different scenario after the tram/ cable car ride up to the Sandia mountains. It's good that you're not the queasy type - like that woman standing behind you who kept quietly praying, while going suspiciously red in the face.


Naturally, since you are all wearing your bestest hiking boots and have plenty of water, are wearing appropriate clothing, and no one is carrying their handbag on their shoulder, you go on an accidental hike.


to here. Which just pretty much makes up for the dehydration in its superior awesomeness.


Being above the clouds is what it's all about.

And hiking in your Converse, which impress you more and more every day, and don't at all give you blisters, which makes you think that the pair you owned when you were fifteen might have been Konnverse instead.


You never know what wonders of nature you might encounter in the wild.

Squirrel droppings?

Have a good week everyone! I sure will. 

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gone.

I am.

Totally gone. Away. Analog and then some. In Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Actually, I assume I am somewhere enjoying live salsa dancing/ real Mexican food/ speaking spanish/ goodnatured gossip/ slanderous rumors/ schadenfreude/ wine/ breakfast/ Starbucks/ PB and J sandwiches/ sunshine/ a cool drink/sitting around yapping of nothing/ a marvelous dinner/ talking about literature/ sights/ driving on the right side/ shopping/ cool people/ a shower/ some much needed sleep/ a friendship

You get the picture.

If this post comes up this weekend (since you're reading this it has come up... Very confusing, this), I'm too analog to even think straight (i.e. to be on the internets), and I'll just have to sit and wait until the fog clears, or sudden inspiration combined with free wifi strikes.

But I wouldn't hold your breath (which is also otherwise not advisable).


See you on the other side!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Am I really a charter tourist at heart?

Oh horror of horrors. In the shower, I had the following epiphany:

What if I am not the adventurous traveler I have imagined myself to be, but someone who is happiest to be presented with a ready-made package in the form of a detailed itinerary, complete with vaccination instructions, and a guide in a uncomfortable-looking uniform, reminiscent of the golden era of polyester, waiting in the arrivals hall of the airport?

Horror, I tell you.

Hyperventilation, I tell you.

Red hot terror. Red hot!

Before hooking up with my El Grande Vikingo I was in the habit of buying a ticket, getting my stuff together, and buying the Lonely Planet guide book to wherever I was going, and that was it. At the airport, I would laugh and sneer at the hordes of people queuing up for the chartered planes taking off to such exotic locations as the Canary Islands (I've been twice, but don't ever fokken tell anyone) where upon landing everyone would... applaud.

Do you hear me? They would clap their overly-excited hands and sometimes even cheer. Most times they would also take pictures inside the plane and keep their seatbelt fastened at all times.

Red hot, I'm saying.

I, on the other hand, acting all worldly and nonchalant would board my standard-route plane, without an itinerary in hand, without my luggage having the same tag as everyone else on the plane, and well knowing that I was being independent, adventurous, and different.

I was setting myself apart from the masses of tourists. Unique like.

I would land at JFK or Schipol, find out where I could hop on a bus that would take me to some cool (or sometimes less cool and more mundane [Hello Omaha] as I would come to learn) new place, filled with unexperienced wonders and hospitable people.

I was so much more than your average tourist - I was a modern day adventurer.

Then I met the Hubby. My viking. And apparently all of that raping and pillaging and seafaring vikings did was only accomplished because they all had detailed itineraries, they always showed up everywhere in good time, had confirmed reservations, and always, always had the correct currency in their pocket. Or that is at least how my viking likes to travel.

He still likes to venture to places not overrun by tourists, but boy, can my baby plan!

And here's the kicker: I like it that way.

I like it that I no longer have to sleep on a bus next to some guy with a bedazzled grill, who keeps calling me sugar, and wakes up with the most frightening morning wood pointed at my direction, I have ever seen in my life. I like it that instead of accidentally walking into the bad neighborhood at 5AM in a city at the time known as the murder capital of the US, I can lay my head down on a soft pillow in a comfortable hotel room. I like it that there are little points on the map meticulously drawn on by El Grande Vikingo himself that easily direct us to the nearest Starbucks. I like it that I no longer have to pack a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but that I am informed of the actual weather conditions at the destination prior to the pilot telling me of the monsoon rain five minutes to landing. I like it that I get to try the local wines and the local cuisine without getting worms.

I do.

With my viking I get to see more places like this:

This is where a scene from The Return of the Jedi was filmed. This or some other ruin. Honestly, can't remember. Am trying, but can't. So there.

And for some reason suffer less of this:

The Hubby's travel karma is the rich stepmother of mine.

But does all this really make me a charter tourist at heart, or just a really organized viking/ potential world ruler by proxy? Bear in mind, there is a wrong and a right answer...

Although I am currently cruising the blue skies of the world, I would still love to hear your point of view on this, my latest shower-epiphany.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lazy things.

There are some unforeseen completely expected packing issues.

My stuff's fokken pulling a lazy.

It seems that none of the various items that I am attempting to take with me all the way to America, and will desperately need while I'm there, have made it into the suitcase or the backpack. They just sit around and do nothing, as if the open suitcase isn't even on the bedroom floor.

I have, however, been quite unexpectedly productive. I managed to find some time in my busy schedule of sitting to hit the mall and buy some jeans. I even tried on seven different pairs. I also bought three different kinds of hand wipes (they're light yellow and smell nice, and thus reminded me of Hubby), some all-important chutney, meat, and several bottles of Limited Release Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir 2007 that had been 'reduced to clear'.

You never pass up quality wine on sale.

Never.

Still, when the plane takes off tomorrow the jeans will be in the closet, the hand wipes on the kitchen counter (for the Hubby to wonder over when he returns home), and the wine in the cupboard. But the meat, and the chutney - they will surely make it into the luggage. The chutney is Mrs. Ball's chutney after all. And there's no having whatever one normally has with chutney (I don't think I've ever tasted chutney) with any other chutney. No way.

Mrs. Ball's. The name alone will keep me entertained for countless hours tomorrow, while I slip into a coma on the plane because my circulation is being cut off by the 17 inch seat.

Will he be sorry to see me go?

My talent for procrastination knows no limits.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Brainspasm - Can it kill you?

Can't deal.

with.

writing.

I just spent the last 12 hours, without any break longer than the time it takes me to get to the coffee machine, set it to brewing coffee, and get back to the kitchen counter to the computer, proofreading a dissertation. Well, nearly 100 pages of it.

It was pretty awesome and seriously smart-like, but it also seems to have depleted my brain of everything worth writing. Also, my right eye droops. So of course I think I'm having a stroke. Because, naturally, it couldn't be that I'm just tired. Nope. No sirree. I'm having a stroke, induced by modernity and globalization.

Because that would be the normal sequence of things. Yes.

(Wednesday morning)

I know it's the morning and everything, but my right eye still droops, the Hubby is suddenly on his way to Kenya, I dreamt about globalization and a guy wearing a silk robe (related to the dissertation), and the internet was down for two hours. This must mean that I am in fact having a stroke.

Right?

Or maybe I'm just being Extranjera?

Bear with me.  Tomorrow I'll dazzle you with my pathetic attempt to find a biltong-shop that will vacuum pack meat for me, a boutique with cool African crap in order to come up with the rest of the much needed presents for my peeps in Albuquerque (because I need a deadline to get stuff done), and a frantic packing attempt that is already pretty much doomed, since packing really is more the Hubby's forte, and I'll probably just leave the country again with a bikini top, a banana, and some toothpaste.

And it won't be pretty.

They said they'd be right back to take me to my own planet, but that was 30 years ago. 
.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

There she goes, being all effin' positive again.

What do you do when the universe is being good to you and giving you the Hubby, some sunshine, friends, Little Bo Peep's unlucky companion in several juicy pieces, and a magnum bottle of The Chocolate Block 2006?

On a Monday.

You grab all that you can (lamb and Hubby have priority, in that order), you run zig zagging so that the universe gets confused and decides to nail that couple instead who are big news in Finland right now because they decided to engage in some sweaty lovin' (as only drunken Finns can) at the side of a popular jogging track. Oh yeah, Finland's got the summer bad, and you thank your lucky stars for this specific distraction for the universe. The big U really has to deal with those people first, and let the innocent less guilty enjoy their day.

Right Ho, Jeeves!

The couple is front page news, and any minute now, someone will bust them. The whole nation is waiting in suspense. Or at least the tabloids are. Nothing says news like an exposed, pale rump.

On a day like today, you don't dare rant and break your breather (which has nothing to do with you Kristine. I heart all of you bleeps ;o), or be mean. Other than about that Finnish couple. And really, they brought it on themselves once they dropped trou in public.

Today you will fire up the braai and empty the fridge onto it. You'll giggle away any need for the pretense salad lurking behind all of the meat, the glasses for water there just for show, and the utensils - the useless things. You'll eat lamb chops with your fingers out on the back porch in the afternoon sun and get some use out of the gazillion pairs of sunglasses that seem to normally only surface whenever there is no actual sun.

Mrs O'Leary's cow could not kick this one over. Also, Toto, I've feeling we're not in Chicago any more.

Today you will laugh with friends, and get grease in places it should not get unless you actually decide to comb your hair with the lamb chop (Not advisable. Flattens a mohawk like nothing else.), and decide that the 16 hour flight that will wreak havoc on your sizable behind is nothing compared to the delight that comes from just one more glass of that delicious Chocolate Block.

Possibly the best red blend. EVER. 
And yes, the tablecloth is the one practically glued onto our dining room table. It deters dirt and scares other pirates. The two flies with one stone thing. Ya know.

Perhaps tomorrow you'll be back to your original sarcastic self, since there is that brilliant, but difficult dissertation to proofread and that suitcase to be packed, but today you just want to say thank you to the women of South Africa for all of their efforts, and the fact that those efforts granted you this glorious free day!

Monday, August 10, 2009

My staggering smarts sometimes boggle even my brain

Wow.

I go ahead and make a note to myself and then I go ahead and publish that note (which I've now of course deleted, but nothing ever escapes the reader...). That is just astonishingly smart and so unlike me.

Sorry folks.

And for those of you who are looking at your Google readers and wondering what the hell is going on with that weird Finnish lady, I actually do like tests. Especially if I'm good at them. or they say I'm special.

Even the tests at the optometrists.

Unless they involve someone poking my eye with a stick. then they're not fun.

A breather

Sometimes when you feel like writing something that you know would upset people, you should take a breather and think about it. Just save what you've written and reassess whether you think the post is really all that necessary in the end, and what, if anything positive, you would accomplish with it.

I present to you my breather.

This post is not the one that I've been writing for the past couple of hours.

Instead, I, for fokken first time ever in the history of me on this here globe, will take a grown-up approach to things and think about it before I do anything rash.

Wow. Bet you didn't see that one coming. I'm just as gobsmacked as you are. Believe me.

So instead I'll leave you with a cool little picture and a discussion I and the Hubby had today (and these things are completely unrelated and both extremely random):

Mandela's boots.

Me: When you go downstairs please turn on the dishwasher. It's already loaded. Thanks.

Hubby: So, what, I just set the program and press play?

Me: Play? What the hell do you mean by play?

Hubby: I just thought that it sounded less like a chore if instead of pressing 'power' or 'on', I would get to press play.

The man does have his moments and completely sweeps me off my feet with sweet. And that's an excellent quality on a day like today.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

I did start out normal

As many of you out there, the teens of the 80s, today I am reminded of my teen years. That awkward time when I thought that by rocking a shorts-overall combo and a men's stripy shirt tied loosely in the front, topped off with that awesome light blue scrunchie, I would epitomize all that was holy with fashion and complete divaliciousness. Although the word diva wasn't quite in vogue yet, that's totally what I was going for. I was trying to be fierce, when it was still known as having attitude.

In hindsight, I think I failed miserably, and the only thing that shorts-overall piece of clothing did for me was give me a camel toe that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

But I wanted so bad to be someone else.

John Hughes is gone, and I'm not ashamed to admit that what he created shaped a large chunk of my psyche (not to mention fashion sense) and was a crucial part of making me the 'off-the-hook' (your words, thank you very much whoever it was), eccentric, part-time hermit I am today.

Kudos? Or, it wasn't all your fault mother, after all?

I am joking mom, no need for an email. 

I'm especially reminded of what it was like for a teenager to move to Savannah, Georgia with only such movies as Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's day off and The Breakfast Club to inform her on how to act, how to be, and how to walk and talk American.

Not to mention the classic television series Roseanne. But those stories are perhaps better left unpoked at.

That teenager was quite lost in the big United States of America. Especially since she was there in the early 90s, while the films reflected the society of the early 80s, and although she was in one of the states of all of the united states in North America, she might as well have been in Algeria, for all of the correspondences between the 80s delightfully neighborly and suburban Illinois, and the 90s afraid of 'racial violence' gated community of Georgia she was able to draw on.

She was quite lost in the big United States of America.

She longed for a friend like the adoring, and quirky Duckie Dale, and for a boyfriend who would be one part Ferris Bueller, one part John Bender and the rest Jake Ryan (mostly his looks, other than that he seemed a tad empty), and to be either Sam Baker or Andie Walsh, both of whom she so identified with.

Little did she know that for the teens out there, amongst whom she looked for those types, she represented a wholly different stereotype from a teen comedy: The Foreigner.

The one who is always the butt of jokes, the one who doesn't understand a word that is being said, the one who sports impressive amounts of facial hair for a woman or a completely weird milk-maid or nerdy hair-do, or the one who will have sex with anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Like Long Duk Dong of Sixteen Candles.  

Although not Japanese like the Donger, she was quite lost in the big United States of America.

And she didn't look pretty in pink. She looked like a little piggy. But perhaps she was the better for it, and more quirky.

In hindsight.

I wanted to be her and hang out with them. (I actually photographed my DVD cover for this)

I'm off to watch Sixteen Candles now and cry just a little for Hughes and for that teenager who luckily remained herself in the end. Yes, wine will be involved.

Have a good weekend! See you back here on Monday.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Does this appointment come with a toilet break?

I'm sorry if I'm crossing a line with this one.

Wait. No I'm not.

Read on. It's about pee. Sorta like this one, but more.

Unless you are completely new to this here blog you already know that a) I have very little shame, especially when it comes to what I scribble onto here, and b) I pretty much constantly have to pee, especially if there are no toilets around. It's very la-di-da psychological.

Paradoxically, there is nothing that I hate more than having to pee and not being able to do so other than in my pants, which I prefer not to do for various (I would hope very obvious - no one likes a pee stain) reasons, so I try very hard to avoid relieving myself anywhere else than in an actual toilet. To curb the pressing need I often do a little (I really want to say discreet here, but I'm afraid that would be lying) dance that consists of intricate little wiggles and squirms combined with slight rocking punctuated by subtle jerking movements, and for some very odd reason clenching of the fists. I guess there is no calling it the 'potty dance' once you are over 30 and referring to yourself, but that's what it pretty much is.

"Why ON EARTH would she feel like it would be okay to tell me anyone who ever lived this?" you might be thinking, "Does she not understand that urine is NOT good blogging material?"

Believe me, these thoughts have in fact (have too!) crossed my mind as well, but I always return to this thought, and I do believe I already mentioned it once: a) I have very little shame, especially when it comes to this here blog.

Anyhoodles, onwards from urine and onto my point as to how it exactly is relevant.

Today I went to get my hair cut and highlighted at my local salon. I don't like hair appointments, and for me on the trepidation-meter they rank right up there with going to see a doctor or a dentist. Well, a dentist appointment ranks a little below going to the doctor, but that's only once the 'will I have to undress' variable is factored in.

I said for me. 

I simply hate having strangers touch me. This I often explain with my nationality, and while being a Finn  does clarify quite a bit of how much the term 'my space' meant for me prior to it lending a name to a networking tool (is it a networking tool? I have a feeling it is something much worse), in the end I'm just not one of them tactile people, Finnish or otherwise. However, this salon that I go to is starting to grow on me, and I might even venture to say that I don't completely hate going (Really?). They do have washbasin-chairs that give you a massage. No human touch needed.

The salon's really very fancy and important-like. All of the hairdressers wear black and white (as does the salon), have geometrical haircuts, and wear bright red lipstick. The guy who cuts my hair and is the owner of the place often says things like: "So you're pretty eccentric, hey?" to me.

But he doesn't seem to want to hug me. And that's what counts.

So I would hate for something to happen that would force me to boycott this establishment due to their unethical and/or environmentally questionable practices, which is code for I did something extremely embarrassing and can never go back.

Like doing the potty dance, while I'm getting my hair washed.

Like doing the potty dance, while I'm lying down on the washbasin-chair, getting that mechanical back massage and having my scalp massaged by actual hands.

Have you ever tried dancing lying on your back, while someone is yanking at your hair at the same time as your kidneys (where some of the pee is anxiously awaiting for access into the practically bursting-full bladder) are being poked by metal fingers through your back? And attempting to do so, without giving the poor girl washing your hair, or anyone else looking into your general direction the impression that you are suffering a seizure of some sort, or at least facing some sort of freak problem that requires medical attention?

I didn't think so.

If you would like to refrain from ever having to, commit these points to memory. Now:
  • Do not have 4 cups of coffee before leaving the house and then chase them with 3 more at the hairdressers.
  • Learn to say no to free coffee.
  • Do ask for the bathroom, before the doors to your bladder close, because of it having exceeded maximum capacity.
  • Don't ever think: How long can a scalp massage really be?' Chances are it will be much longer than you think.
  • Learn to block out the sound of running water.
And if all else fails, learn to actually fake a seizure. I hear that if you're having one, it's actually allowed, if not common, to wet yourself.

Right?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A crap kind of consumer

As much as I'd like to preach to all of you my lovely readers about how important it is to be a conscious consumer and how good I am in this respect, I can't do it. Because the ugly truth is that it is not one of my stronger points. Not by far.

In fact, I suck at it. Not the preaching, but the being a conscious anything. I don't ever weigh the pros and cons, instead I jump, I don't think things through, I jump, I don't consider all of the angles, I just jump (Are you getting this: I'm a jumper, and not the woolly kind either). Sometimes, I land somewhat beautifully, or at least with minor scrapes and bruises, and other times I need an ambulance and a heavy sedative. Wine often comes in handy.

However as far as doing any kind of consuming consciously, I reach an even further low, a veritable low to blast all of the other lows to unknown heights.

I realize that many of you might have already deduced this from my desperate need to own an iPhone, getting it, and then spending the following days complaining about it. Especially on Twitter. But what none of you know is what else I managed to procure on that fateful outing.

As it happens, I was seduced by a pair of these:

Why yes, I just propped a pair of wonky shoes on my kitchen counter and posed them for a photo. Doesn't everyone do that?

What are they exactly, other than a pair of rather girlishly (I toned down the colors on the pic, the pink actually is quite garishly pink) colored cross trainers, you might be wondering.

Oh silly, they are Shape-Ups of course. 

You haven't heard of them? Well, neither had I until I spotted them in the shoe store window. They are cross trainers with a curved sole and something else fancy and highly technical going for them. Apparently they promote weight loss, strengthen the back, firm calf and back muscles, reduce cellulite and tone your thighs, increase cardiovascular health, improve posture, reduce stress on knee and ankle joints, vote for you, make world peace happen, and make your farts smell like roses.

Yeah, right, you sigh, and I have to say you might just have a pretty good point there. 

And I can only account for my purchase with the exact same argument I made about the iPhone: "Ooh, shiny."

That is the unconscious part, see.

In the past I have bought things because I loved the color, it sounded cool to own one, it felt good against my cheek, the commercial was really funny, everyone told me I should get one, everyone else had one, and because it came with a free gift. That's it. I really, really suck at being a conscious consumer. 

But I'm trying to be better. I have decided that I'll actually wear these Shape-Ups. I've already worn them to go to golf last Sunday, which involved the walking into the garage while wearing them, sitting in the car while wearing them, and then as the coup de grace: walking around the car in them to get my golf shoes. I was too lazy to change back into them after golf though. I hope that doesn't cancel out my good start. Hmm. 

Now, I have no illusions about these shoes having any effect on weight loss, and I realize that if losing weight ever was a goal of mine I should probably drop the wine and the burgers instead of buying a pair of weirdly colored shoes (and just so that you know: I'm fat. I don't mind it unless I'm on an airplane. I don't think I should lose weight. I'm in 'excellent' health [post pink eye]. And I like myself.), but I figure that I now own these shoes and it can't hurt my posture, or my calf muscles to wear them. And there is that world peace to take into consideration as well...

So what do you think? Should I be in consumer prison for even entertaining 'shiny' as a valid reason for a purchase, or be celebrated for my child-like ability to bypass any common sense and just get things I like?

Let me know. Meanwhile, I'll be in the back yard walking in circles being constantly distracted by the shiny, dangling-carrot-like pink on my shoes. 

I might be gone for days.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Fun Quiz - Find out whether it's time for you to leave the house

Here are 5 easy questions to help you determine whether it is time, for the sake of your own mental health, as well as for sake of the overcrowded prisons, to turn the handle on that front door and step out into the real world.

Unless this is going on, in which case you'll need to locate the keys first.

1. How much time out of your day do you spend talking to your house?

a) What house? I'm outside all the time, or at work, or at the kids' hobbies, or in traffic, or getting coffee, or...  At the moment I'm only on this coffee shop's free wi fi to check the government's most wanted list, because I'm worried about my friend who is internet-dating, i.e. on her way to meet some axe-murderer or at the least a guy who will be wearing a bra and a thong underneath his suit. Yeah. There must be something wrong with anyone trying to find love on the internet. What ever happened to meeting real people? Can I get a triple espresso, please? And make it snappy! I do NOT have all day.

b) That's a silly question! I don't talk to the house. My busy social life on the internet is far too compelling for me to be talking to such inferior beings as houses. Puleeze. Oh, while you're here, please pass me that bottle: I need to pee. LOL. Kidding, but really I can't be AFK right now, so just get a bottle of white from the fridge? Thanks.

c) But the house is much nicer than the fridge who is only interested in getting its last will and testament notarized (I'm getting the gypsy ham), or the washing machine who tried to assassinate me while I was blogging on ARWP. The house is actually quite smart, you know. Only it doesn't like the birds on it, so I've ordered some homemade rat poison for it as a birthday surprise from this cool site I found at 4AM this morning.

2. When did you last cry?

a) I cry every morning. When I get up to go to work. Right in between my morning run and getting the kids off to school. Now, help me look for my keys, please, I'm already late, and I still need to feed the dog and the cat, and I want to stop to get a coffee, pick up the dry cleaning, and get a few things for tonight's adult dinner party/ kiddy sleepover. We don't need babysitters when we've got two working feet, right?

b) I only cry at airports, when the stupid airline insists I don't have tickets for my flight, although if they would just let me go on the internet I could show them my flight details. I mean of course I don't have it on paper, it's all on my fokken 'puter. And what's with not accepting the 'flight mode' as equal to 'switched off', I would like to know?

c) Well, I cried at the funeral of my first avatar, at my first laptop's wake, and while I was tweeting my last respects to MJ. #RIPMJ

3. When was the last time you yelled at someone?

a) Does doing it quietly in your mind at work at everyone, at home at everyone, at Starbucks at everyone, at my children's school at everyone, at the grocery store at everyone, and at the gym at everyone count? I force a smile?

b) Let see... I yelled at my computer today because it kept giving me some stupid error message and then I yelled at the Hubby to come and do something about it. And then I just yelled some to get out the frustrations to do with a missing backswing, and you know, yelled. After that I laughed though, and doesn't that completely cancel out the yelling? Now it does.

c) I never yell, I write in all CAPS.

4. Do you know where your handbag and/or your wallet and keys are?

a) Can you see this thing here on my shoulder? This thing is why I run every morning, and visit the chiropractor on a regular basis. This thing here not only contains my wallet and my keys, but it also contains my phone, my make-up, a first aid kit, a change of clothing, my knitting, a few choice games and toys, tissues, some juice boxes and healthy snacks, my three calendars, some files from work, and some gum. Oh, and these caffeine tablets. They are a godsend, I tell you. A godsend!

b) Let me see... Err.... I know I had my bag last weekend. It was right there on the chair. Let me think.... I know it was right here because I was looking at it while I was browsing Etsy for a cool new one to order. Let me see... Where could I have put it this time? And I'm pretty sure my keys and wallet are in it. I mean, why would I have taken them out? Paypal has all my info.

c) Are they new apps? Ooooh, I must go check right now. They sound like fun! And I must download them before anyone else. To be the first. Yes.

5. Do you remember your address and telephone number?

a) Oh, Come on! What are these questions? Of course I do. I also remember my work address and telephone and fax numbers, the whole family's social security numbers, their telephone numbers, our insurance information, the school's telephone numbers, everyone's birthdays and anniversaries, the numbers of everyone on the PTA, and the homeowner's association. Would you like a caffeine tablet?

b) Paypal does, and whoever wants to call me does (the husband). I have both printed on some cute MOO cards, so I can always look there, and technically I am able to hand out the cards should I meet someone I would like to have my contact information. In theory.

c) My email addresses? Of course. I also remember my blog URLs. Let's see you remember all of yours. Ha, you must be kidding! Who ever heard of having just one blog and just one email? Ha!

Answers:

Mostly As: Put the axe down. You don't really want to hurt anyone. You're just stressed....
You're a good worker, a good mother, a good wife, a good runner, a good pet-owner, a good driver, a good cook, and a good person. You are just stressed! Please put the axe down, open the door and go IN your house and just sit. Just relax. You don't have to do everything.

Mostly Bs: Maybe, just maybe, you are being a tad too good to yourself. It wouldn't hurt to occasionally press the handle and get some rays, get a coffee that someone else has made, make eye contact with an actual person with real eyes, and feed real fish and not just ones on someone's blog. But, you know, as long as you don't get osteoporosis, or make the neighbors think you've been murdered, you're good. Sorta.

Mostly Cs: Did you know there is a door to this place? It's that rectangular thing right over there covered with cobwebs? Just checking. I think the pasty white of your cheeks matches the black circles around your eyes just fine.