Friday, January 31, 2014

Shop first, then eat if you have any money left over

Someone today asked me about shopping for jewelry in China. Seriously. If you know me, then you know that this is a topic at which I excel. The challenge isn't knowing what to tell him, it's knowing when to stop bombarding him with information because he is a man and does not posses the jewelry/gift gene. Some men do. I think my brother has it because he always brought back the most awesome presents from his travels. I have the rug he brought back from Turkey right here by my bed and the Greek vase is in the kitchen in a place of honor. But if I unleash all my shopping knowledge among the unprepared, their heads might explode.

It helps to understand if you know that the pearl market is an entire floor of a mall with individual vendors that looks like this.

I'm getting homesick just thinking about it. Imagine living for three years down the street from this place! OK. Now breathe. And yes, it is just as incredible as you imagined. It was the single best thing about living in China and I miss it. Somebody send me TDY again, quick!

And speaking of China, Happy Lunar New Year everyone! It's the year of the Wooden Horse, which I hear is very bad luck. Too bad because I like horses, especially ones named Child 3.

I may just go out and eat some Kung Pao Chicken, which if done right is almost as good as a brownie. But also has wheat in it, so I'll be sick but at least I won't have hives.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pioneering doubles

Husband has been complaining that we are watching The Food Channel too much. I won't admit that he's right, but we did watch cooking shows pretty much every day last week. But since one of the results was an incredibly delicious avocado and tangerine salad with my own home-made apple vinaigrette, then I don't think he should be complaining. It was, in a word, amazing and I would have licked the sides of the salad bowl if it hadn't been too small, so I just used my finger instead.

I'm in love with cooking shows the way I used to be with dancing shows. The difference is, I have a hope of recreating some of the amazing food at home, and aside from cotillion classes and the occasional Marine Ball overseas, I don't really get to dance all that much. The only problem is that I can hardly eat the food that I make. But at least I can taste it. Tonight we had pollo contadina, which I make with a lot of vegetables, and coconut pudding for dessert. Again, both delicious and inspired by all the food shows. And this week, two different people told me that I remind them of The Pioneer Woman to which I say both thanks, but I have better hair and also I would pit my mac and cheese against hers any day, and mine is even gluten-free.

Signing off now because it is Downton and Sherlock night which is pretty much the only non-food show night, so Husband will be happy. But before I do, I need to mention that a ghost ship infested with cannibal rats is not better than a brownie at all.


Apparently, this abandoned cruise ship broke loose while being towed and was floating around the Atlantic filled with cannibal vermin. Officials think it has probably sunk. In fact, they all really hope it has sunk because no one wants a ship full of rats that have turned into cannibals beaching on their shores. I hope so, too, because just the thought--shivers and not the good kind. Now, off to escape into good British drama shown on PBS. Love that PBS.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Now curtsey

I've discovered the cure for the doldrums is cotillion classes. No, not for me, for Child 3. There is nothing that will lift your spirits more than watching sixth graders  dance the waltz and swing. They are adorable. And awkward. And a little sweaty. But they are so much fun to watch mostly because you know with all your heart that you will never be that awkward again, and no matter how many left feet you have, you are still a better dancer than an 11 year old boy.

I do not have two left feet, and in fact, the instructor used me as his partner to demonstrate a few steps, and surprisingly, even though I haven't really danced in 20 years, I could! And people clapped but that is because the dance teacher kept saying lets give her a hand. At any rate, I didn't embarrass Child 3 except for the fact that I am alive and was dancing in public in front of her friends. Still. It was fun.

This photo of "Justin Bieber" being stopped by the police is better than a brownie.

You should never drive in bare feet. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

No more mojo

I've lost my mojo. I'm not exactly sure what mojo is, but if it's what inspires me to blog, then it's gone. All gone. This is what I think of whenever someone says mojo, but I don't think that's what they mean either.

Also, it hurts to put the laptop in my lap because I'm still having that little eating problem that the doctor doesn't know what it is and it's extremely annoying.

But you know what is better than a brownie? A snow day after a three-day weekend. Yes, government was closed again today because there was a big storm coming and it was going to arrive right during the middle of the day, so the commute home would have been awful. A few years ago, they didn't close and the storm fouled up everyone's commute and my friend told me it took him 4 hours to get home to Vienna. That's in Virginia, not Austria. And yes, I know everyone in states that actually have a lot of snow thinks we're all wimps, but if your town only had one snow plow, you would be wimpy, too. Also, no one has snow tires.

See that tiny little snow plow? That's it for the whole area around the Capitol. It probably takes care of the entire National Mall. So If you want the government to stay open during snow storms, then you should tell Congress to appropriate more money for snow removal. And you know how likely that is to happen--I'm more likely to be Champion on Dancing with the Stars, and since it's not Dancing with the Mid-level Foreign Service Officers, we've got about a 0% chance. But if it were Dancing with the FSOs, I would totally rock.

So since Congress won't be coughing up money any time soon, I used my snow day wisely by taking a long nap. It was awesome and didn't involve going out in the snow at all, unless you count getting things out of the fridge in the garage, which I don't. So now I'm going to watch that miniseries about Aldrich Ames and go to bed. Love snow days. Love them. It's the only good thing about not living in the tropics.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Friendly skies indeed

My friend Brynn reminds me that her husband is a physician who has never forgot his responsibility to his patients. And that is true. So I apologize to Dr. Brynn's Husband. And if he has any ideas about why it hurts to eat and laugh and type on my laptop, then I'd be happy to hear them.

OK, on to funnier things. Rapunzel got a haircut. And by Rapunzel I mean Child 3 and by a haircut, I mean that I cut her hair and took off about 8 inches and it's still really long and she is very happy, so it's all good. I really actually hate cutting hair. I'm not afraid to admit I'm a complete amateur, so sometimes I get it right and sometimes I fail miserably. Once, I took Child 1 to a hairdresser and the lady said why is her hair like this? And I said because I cut it myself and she wiggles. Child 1 was p thinkretty little--around 8 I. But she wasn't as bad as Child 2 whom I had to basically chase around the house with scissors and snip when she stopped to put something in her mouth. That thing about running with scissors does not apply to mothers who are trying to trim a toddler's bangs. I need this shirt.

This "father" on a flight sitting next to an autistic little girl did something that is better than a brownie--he entertained the little girl by letting her play on his iPad and by talking about Disney princesses. It was a very kind thing to do and made a mother's day. Isn't that girl just as cute as a button?

Flying with a preschooler is hard, but flying with a preschooler who is on the autism spectrum is excruciating for everyone and more difficult than sitting through a root canal without painkillers and not screaming, theoretically, or so I imagine, kinda. OK, I'm speaking from experience and I apologize to that kid whose seat she kept kicking for 11 hours straight while yelling that she was bored bored bored!, really. 11 hours. But that guy went the extra mile and may many more people read this story and be inspired to be kind to the kid in the seat next to them, or behind them.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Here is what you missed

Hiatus is over. Here is what you missed:

  • Three batches of Norwegian waffles
  • 10 minutes of opening presents
  • 2 degree Fahrenheit weather
  • 15 hours of binge watching on Netflix
  • three sick days
  • one telework day
  • snow
  • a minor fender bender
  • a CT scan
All caught up? Good. Now let me rant a little bit about the U.S. health care system and what is wrong with it. I've thought about it a lot and here is the problem with American healthcare in a nutshell--reserved parking spaces.

No. I'm serious! Let me explain. You see, I went back to the hospital for like the millionth time to have yet another test run which will take an unfathomable amount of time to process and for which I still don't have the results and I had to find a parking spot in the garage which I had to pay for, and as I was hobbling into the hospital (because every step is painful and no I didn't break my ankle again) I walked by about 50 reserved parking spaces marked "for physicians only" most of which were empty and all of which were right by the elevator and I realized that this is exactly what the problem is. Physicians are employees and employee parking is supposed to be in the back by the storage entrance. Not right smack up against the elevators.

Doctors are not celebrities and they are not handicapped (usually) and if they are disabled, then they should use the parking spaces for handicapped people. I am the sick person and I am paying the physician with my own hard-earned money to find out what is wrong with me and s/he has completely forgotten that I am the employer. Nurses don't forget that. Technician's don't forget especially when they want you to fill out a customer satisfaction form. But when was the last time you ever got a customer satisfaction form from your doctor? That's because they don't care. They really don't care about you or your illness, or the fact that you can't eat and you have no energy to blog let alone walk a mile from the parking lot which you have to pay to get into to see them. No they don't care about that at all. But I bet they care when they can't get a primo parking spot! Sorry. A little jaded at the moment. If you are a physician and I have offended you, I really don't care. Unless you can find out what is wrong with me. Then I'll apologize to you in person, as soon as I'm feeling better. 

(And I completely make an exception for my family doctor who once wrote me a prescription for a maid. I love her. She parks in the back.)