Thursday, April 30, 2009
Why you ask?? What is wrong!? I'll tell you what is wrong!!! I am going to go postal if I have to live another day like this under these conditions!!! And stupid work will not let me sit at home and wait for the culture to change....so.....
HOW THE HELL DO YOU DISABLE DAYTIME RUNNING LIGHTS?!?!?!
Apparently, (as in many 3rd world countries) the Sudanese are CONVINCED that you will waste gas if you turn your lights on while driving. In fact, they do not turn their lights on until it is pitch black outside (which makes night driving extra fun). I have put in a request for night vision goggles to be delivered so that I can drive safely, but for some reason work is saying that this is not a necessity. DO YOU SEE WHAT I HAVE TO PUT UP WITH!?
Now as I mentioned, the Sudanese are very friendly and helpful - right? Which means that THEY CONSTANTLY HELP ME BY POINTING OUT THAT MY LIGHTS ARE ON.
- They help me by honking and flashing their lights at me as I drive;
- They help me by swerving close to my car so they can point at the lights in the front of the vehicle as they drive;
- They help me by cutting me off in traffic so that they can illustrate to me with handsignals that my lights are on;
- They help me by stepping out into the road in front of my car, doing the "flashing 5 fingers" gesture so that I realize that I have left my lights on;
- The police help me by flashing their lights at me in case I was not aware that they were on; and
- The other diplomats (read, those damn dirty brits ) help me by mocking my inability to disable the damn daytime running lights.
SO WHO KNOWS A MECHANIC...or someone from Toyota of Japan!?!?
This is critical. I'm about to burst out into some serious road rage here!! And apparently, attempting to explain that the lights have nothing to do with gas consumption is not an option (mostly because that would require actually talking to people - and unless I am being forced by work to do so, it ain't going to happen) and I don't actually speak their language.
Although I suppose that one option would be for all the Sudanese to learn English, and then gather in the town square so that I can inform them of this critical information. But that might take too long.
God help me if they found out that I drove around with the AC on....
PS: GOD BLESS PENNY! I received a box with literally 7 boxes of cake mix in it - DUNCAN HEINZ cake mix!!! (Penny, you may have just saved my sanity. You are a SAINT!)
PPS: nobody tell josh about this.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I have a confession to make (and no, I'm not going to confess yet again that I have read the ENTIRE series, have done the internet research, watched the movie, and have seriously looked into how I can move to Forks Washington ...) I have now corrupted the entire diplomatic community in Sudan with the Twilight series. (I have not moved onto the Sudanese yet though...you see, we have to build to that!)
Their arguments against it were not only repetitive and puny (Teens?? Vampires? WHAT? WHY?) -- they were no match for me!! ESPECIALLY when I pointed out that it was all the buzz, people were talking about it and they wouldn't be able to join in the conversation.. PLUS, every diplomat out there is constantly searching for anything to talk about besides the "what do you do at your embassy?" and "Have you gotten used to how hot it is yet?" (God that is lame!) during these damn National Days.... Honestly, its like going to the same function night after night...
-- I managed to convince the Brits by guilting them into it: I pointed out that we totally did them a solid on the whole Harry Potter thing (which is totally not as good, FYI!)
-- I told the Canadian guy to use it for research on a new threat to his homeland (in hindsight, maybe that was wrong...);
-- I convinced the Italian lady by threatening to withhold information about where the spa is located; and
-- I shamed my boss Paul into it by pointing out that he pretty much called me fat in an official function in front of foreigners....(and then I told him I posted a blog about it and how he has been added to the No-Fly watchlist with Homeland security -- ENJOY YOUR VACAY PAUL....) Plus, I cannot wait to mock him openly in front of the foreigners....because, that's always fun:
"So Paul, can I get my copy of Twilight back? I already Loaned you the other three AND the movie. Plus, did you have to highlight passages and make notes in the margin?? I mean, that's kinda rude don't you think?? I didn't realize you were so into teen vampire romances. I think that is just great! Mohammad? Have you read it? Paul can tell you all about it!! Paul....go on...."
Payback is not the only bitch in town !
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
WHY? For the love of all that is holy and good in this world WHY!?!?! It's a lesson I have been taught time and time again, and yet, I fall for it every. single. time.
Foreign Cake is NOT cake!
I first encountered this phenomenon (how the hell do you spell that? I have no spell check here - it checks Arabic spelling and is not so helpful to me - in case you guys haven't noticed yet - and yes, I AM un-literate.) when I arrived in Peshawar, Pakistan for my very first overseas posting. Waaaay back in 1999. (And trust me when I say this, it is very difficult to party like it is 1999 in Peshawar! Pakistani Population: 2 million;
American population: 8,
cute single boy population: 0
(I'm not a ho! This was before Josh! I was single, approaching 30 and already had a kitty. Things were NOT looking good for me!!)
I remember it as if it were only yesterday. I arrived at the Khyber Club for a birthday celebration for someone whose name I now forget (because it wasn't me) and there it was, this large sheetcake with what appeared to be fluffy frosting all over it. I was immediately enchanted (I have no idea what kind it was - I did not discriminate against cake products at that time.) So then they cut the cake and passed it around.... The cake to person ratio was WAAAY in my favor. I was stoked!
It tasted like white bread with crisco on top.
Undaunted, I tried another bite because it was CAKE man...cake can't be bad! UNPOSSIBLE!
It tasted like feet.
From then on I realized that I should be wary of foreign cake products. That not all cakes were created equal. However, because I am such a kind and giving person - I tried to give all cakes a chance. To welcome them into my household. Only to be brutally abused with each different foreign posting. For the record, I have not tried Canada or the UK's cakes - I am, however, very suspicious.
(I am also suspicous of foreigners who try to claim that their cake is delicious - such as the french. I fell for that once before. I believe that french pastry is exposed to sugar during the baking process at some point - but it is never actually put into the desserts. DO NOT TRUST THEM!)
So anyway, last night was the South African National Day Event. Naturally, I attended. This time, however, I was not insulted by everyone in the room! (Thank Allah!) The South Africans may not love Americans, but they also do not openly insult us -- and for this, I give them snaps.
HOWEVER, following a speech from the Ambassador that lasted approximately 48 mintes and I believe included such comments as "and then when I was in the THIRD grade...." I started to pay attention again when I noticed them wheeling out a cake for the ceremonial cutting of the cake! For a minute there I thought that Angels had begun to sing, but then I realized that it was just the background music starting (great timing though).
My hopes were up....these guys didn't hate America (openly)...these guys spoke English and were polite to me. So it was natural for me to believe that they would have good cake. Right?
I'm not sure what the hell that was, but once again I was betrayed by a foreign cake.
I have officially learned my lesson! Unless it has Betty Crocker stamped all over it, I'm not going to go there!
(until someone else wheels out a cake...)
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Michel was found lying on her bathroom floor, surrounded by her good friends, toilet brush and rug, late in the evening after her colleagues and some European foreign nationals departed her residence. Michel's loyal and trusted friends tried to revive her with limited success. Michel regained consciousness only briefly, and uttered the words "chicken wings....medium spicy..." Michel then threw up on herself, turned turtle, and expired.
Michel was a paragon of the dedicated, selfless and stupid officers of her fine organization. Her sacrifice is a credit to herself, her organization, the United States of America, and her liver.
I know how empty and meaningless any words of sympathy would be for you at this time; however, we can only hope that your bereavement will be assuaged by the solemn pride that must be yours in knowing that you have laid such a costly sacrifice upon the alter of freedom.
There will be a candlelight prayer service in the American club bar in Michel's honor this evening at seven. All are invited. Two drink minimum.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I swear EVERYONE asks it, and every time they do, I feel like a total loser! I mean, DEFINE hobby. I have reviewed a number of resumes where people list exotic things like, mountaineering, philantrophy, rebuilding car engines, language studies, jewelry deisgn, and underwater basket weaving.
Damnitt! I gots nothing!!
Therefore, I start making up shit to fill in my hobby-less void. Ummm...well, I like reading (Nobody ever assumes I'm reading trash - but I am!! People, Cosmopolitan, the Twilight Series, you name it, if it is something you would want to hide under an issue of the economimst you bought for cover on an airplane - I'm reading it!!) writing (I totally have to write all day at work and then I spout my nonsense here - that has to count, right??) the outdoors (I go outside everyday to get to my car and go to work. AND, as I have mentioned before, I do love nature, I just don't want it to touch me...) and volleyball (come on! what are the odds someone is going to make me prove that?)
So, let's just be honest for a bit here: I'm LAZY. Hobbies require dedication, work and comittment. I don't really take to any of those!! Plus, I am neither artistically nor athletically inclined. Previously, in my desparate quest to acquire a hobby I could throw out when asked, I have tried a million things -- you name it, i have tried to make it my hobby!
I once bought all the stuff required for "stamping" where you make your own greeting cards. I totally loved the card I recieved from my friend Julie and asked her to teach me how to do it. It was super fun when I did it with her, she was showing me what to do, how to do it, and everything I made was fab....
And then I brought my stuff home....
I'm not sure what the hell we did differently, but my stuff was crap. I even bought a kit that had directions. It still turned out like a big ole mess. I simply do not have the gift. I still have the kit and every 7 mos or so I will make a card and send it to a relative, whom I am sure thinks that I have stared working with a local orphanage and some random 3 year old made the cards for me...(I do not correct them...and would appreciate it if you wouldn't tell either...)
Plus, I often wonder where people get the TIME for these hobbies!? Maybe I require waay too much sleep (probably), but if I stay up past 10 on a school night I am a crabby-ass bitch the next day. It's just not worth it. I used to be confused...don't these people work? !
And then I married my husband.
This man does triathalon, climbs mountains, runs ultra marathons, dives, bow-hunts, goes backpacking, trekking, and can build awesome furniture (and not from a kit, from wood). He refuses to read a book unless you learn from it (although, I did con him into reading Marley and Me). (I KNOW! I have no idea why the hell he married me either!!)
Since then, he has taught me to go backpacking instead of camping next to the car in a tent with all my stuff around (which is still my favorite, fyi. And, for the record I instituted a firm 3 day limit unless there is a shower nearby), to run (max is 10k, I'm still lazy) and to scuba dive.
For making me go outside my comfort zone and try new things; Josh, I thank you.
For driving me nuts listening to your list of gear you and Dan have purchased for your upcoming trip to Denali; I curse you.
For accepting me for who I am and (more importantly) who I am not; I love you!
(Good Luck on your Broke-Backpacking Mountain trip with Dan Babe!! )
Friday, April 24, 2009
Which I totally realize is probably quite surprising for you all - considering that USUALLY the stuff comes on a big communal tray and you have to share the lumps of food they put all over it - you are absolutely right, NORMALLY, that is not my dealio.
But it's just THAT good. (And, Josh isn't here, so I pretty much get to eat it all by myself, so it is not really an issue today.)
However, I might not WANT you to tell me what it is, how it is made or why it is the way it is. I can only assume there is some horrific Africa tragedy attached to the sour spongey bread and the chicken with the boob-leg. I don't want to know that.
Therefore, I officially decree, it is made from Ethoipian "Wheat," that (when ground finely) creates a spongey effect due to the climate and minerals in the soil. The dish itself is called Yummyspongeyhotbird. The Bread is called spongebobsourpants. The lentil looking mash on the side is called lentil curry. (dooy).
The chicken? I don't know, that shit's just messed up.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
"Jack" is currently being cared for here at Ashburn Veterinary Hospital, following a blood profile that showed elevated liver enzymes. Dr. xxxx is over seeing Jack's treatment. When Jack first came in today, he was presented with lack of appetite and vomiting. We took x-rays of his abdomen that showed normal kidney and liver size but did reveal thickening of the intestines. Jack is currently receiving IV fluids to address the level of dehydration he had reached, and will stay on fluids until tomorrow morning when Dr. xxxx will reassess his hydration levels and decide on further treatment options.
WTF! I received this at what would be midnight DC time...so it's not like I can call and say What does that MEAN!? Thickening of the intestines!? Now, if they were talking about ME, I'd accuse them of calling me fat - but I don't think they tiptoe around that crap with pets. Plus, who ends a note with tomorrow we will decide treatment options - without going into detail what that MEANS.
So, knowing me (as most of you do by now) you probably realize that this email was not well received... Nay, in fact, it put me into a small (read, huge) hissy fit. I went from Poods ate too much grass again, to the guy taking care of him left a big block of stinky cheese laying around and Poods got into that (because my boy LOVES his stinky stuff), to Poods has cancer and is going to die and I'm stuck in Khartoum.
Then I began to plot how to get back to the States. Clearly, I needed to go home - it was a medical emergency!
Normally, I would just tell them that my son "Jack" was admitted to the hospital in Ashburn with a life threatening illness and I needed to get home -- but (unfortunately) I am actually FRIENDS with my boss and he knows who (what) Jack is....So the old family emergency excuse is out!
ALTHOUGH, I would just like to state for the record that I think it is DISCRIMINATORY that the USG will allow you to go home if an immediate family member is critically ill or dying - but then limits the definition of family member - as not as my pet. You know, I was all in support of allowing "significant others" to be allowed to travel as dependents and to be recognized as "family" even though they couldn't legally marry!!! But where is the support for me?? The childless - bat shit crazy pet freak?? I SUPPORTED YOUR CAUSE!! Would it KILL YOU GUYS to support mine?!
Anyway, so today was pretty much a bust. (I did not solve the Sudan-Us Relations problem. I had other issues to attend to today....) I called the vet immediately upon their opening, only to be told that the "vet" doesn't come into work until like 2 (which is my 10 pm!) WTF! LAZY! Who was caring for my precious baby boy....PLUS, it simply prolonged my torture.
Now realizing that Jack was rescued by me at the tender age of 4 weeks off of the mean streets of Pakistan, and that he was raised EXCLUSIVELY by me until about age 5 when Josh came into his life (and they started their mutual hate relationship), and then he spent yet another 5 + years plotting how to separate me from Josh and Kernel - you would think that I would know that he just might be a tad bit on the dramatic side...have a flair for the overreaction, if you will...
But no! Didn't even cross my mind.
I called the vet tonight and was told that they do not think that there is anything systemically wrong with him. That he probably just ate something out on the farm where he is living.
So basically, Jack (much like his mommy) is just a pig and he ate so much, he made himself sick. Clearly, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!! And also illustrates irrefutable PROOF that pets are FAMILY.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
If you do not accept or like awards, I really do not care. That's your dealio. I've done my part for earth day by Sharing. Please do not make me do this again. It goes against my nature. I give, and I give, and I give...
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
So, by now I am sure you want a status update: I am not sick.
I know! I am as shocked as you are.!! Poop ear? Gone. Stink eye? False alarm. Lassa Fever? Not yet. I don't even have any of the gastronomical/intestinal disorders that are so very common here. NOTHING. I'm frankly scared. The waiting is killing me. Just get it over with already!
What I do have, however, is sweat rings in all of my shirts. This morning at 0700 it was 108 degrees. Even the Sudanese are bitching about the heat. Although, to be fair, it is a dry heat - so your sweat ring disappears very quickly, and then you are left with a lovely salt ring (to commemorate your sweat ring).
God I'm disgusting. So sorry America, I'm humiliating you guys every day. My bad..
AND, I think my shoes might be melting, literally! Of course, I didn't use scientifically proven methods such as "measuring" or "looking," but I swear that the sole-part is melting from walking on the hot sand! They feel thinner...less cushy. Therefore, (Josh) I need to buy new shoes.
Anyway, walking around town with my salty sweat rings, lack of makeup and uncombed hair (to be fair, not Sudan's fault...that one is all me! I got sweat rings people! What's the point!?) is not my worst problem. My critical need at this juncture is a PEDICURE. I thought about taking a picture and posting it here for you, but upon further consideration, I realized that a number of you would probably flag my blog for offensive content. (I would have done it too, frankly.) Remember how I was so excited because I actually FOUND a spa...well, they are only open at random hours and apparently you have to be Ethopian to do someone's feet. And, it appears that the Ethiopians are never at work. (WTF Ethiopia?!)
ERGO, I've reached critical mass here. My shoes are all melty and it is going get very ugly very soon if I do not get a pedicure. In fact, I suspect if I were to walk around with open toed shoes, there would be an international incident.
So for the record, diplomacy is officially on hold until I can coerce a damn Ethiopian to come into work to do my toes.
Monday, April 20, 2009
The guy from the Ministry of Tourism was telling us something about the writing, but now I can't really see what it IS, so I have no idea. Basically, every tomb area had one wall where there was a pic of the King or Queen and then whatever God they liked best. The chicks tend to like the abababat, which kinda looked like a lion and the dudes like Anubis (whom we all know from the Mummy Movie because he is the guy with the head of a dog - so THAT part of the tour was waaay cool for me. Because I totally saw that movie.)
This was from Queen Fatty McBitchy - I did not make that up - well, he didn't say those words exactly, but he did say "the fat mean queen blah blah" (that everyone hated), but that clearly is not a name....so I was helping him.
And this was the outside of Fatty's house.
And then we stopped on the way back at this place along the Nile.
And then our guide started telling us about the crocodile who was eating the animals and some kids....so, I put my shoes back on and went back to the car.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
This is what happens to my roof after a sandstorm (or two) if you don't sweep it off. However, in my defense, nobody told me!! Although, I have now made it my quest to see how big a sand dune I can make on my roof - perhaps we could go sand skiing by Mother's Day...
This was also on my roof - I'm not exactly sure WHY, but apparently, somebody blew someone else's house down and they just left it there. (In the gheeettoooooooo...poor little baby child was born in the ghettooooo....IN THE GHETTOOOOOOOO.)
The babies are growing up! (Riley and Snotty.) That plastic bag on the ground there, that's their TOY...apparently, it is the best toy ever! They love that thing....
And finally, because I am a small child, I had to take a picture of the cheese at the Grocery store because it made me giggle! NOT because I'm a racist (because God knows if I try speak in a foreign language, you know all they hear is: "Me thank you cake like now yes, we go")
Saturday, April 18, 2009
And believe me, they ALL ASK where my husband is! I gotta tell you, it's more than a little embarrassing to continually have to explain that he will be joining me after he finishes his stint in Iraq. There is always an extended moment of silence (where you swear you hear crickets) while they just look at me, obviously debating whether or not to tell me I'm a loser, but then good manners make them end up giving me a pitying look like I just haven't figured it out yet, and if I keep telling myself this - maybe it will come true.
Why is this so difficult to swallow?? I COULD BE MARRIED!!! Frankly, Josh is the one who should be embarrassed right now! People think his wife is a HO.
Anyway, I am actually kind of relieved that nobody would go with me. I was worried that they might have some kind of record about my lapsed Catholicness. Or, God forbid, find out that I married a NON-catholic, and that we do not intend to have children. (Yeah, I didn't even know that last one was a no-no! Technically, I probably would have wanted to have children, but found out that in order to do so, I would have to take fertility drugs and, although one kid would have been nice, I'm totally not ready for a litter!) I found out about this additional "rule" when I looked into whether or not Josh and I could have a Catholic wedding ceremony. I was all set to agree to sign that any "kids" we had would be raised Catholic, but then jokingly commented that we weren't going to have kids so it was pretty much a moot point. (Note to self: Nobody in the church (or Sudan) thinks you're funny! SHUT IT for God's sake!) Anyway, after that, a lecture of indeterminate length ensued - I didn't really listen to them either (Josh, clearly it's not personal).
So after that, I declared Catholicism DEAD TO ME. -- But inside, not outside, because I was too scared to openly defy the church in case they had a direct line to God or something! I have a feeling I'm already on his "list of people to watch," mostly because I suspect my mom is telling on me in her prayers -- but I can't prove it).
So you can SEE why I was nervous to go to this thing. PLUS, why the hell does the Vatican need an Embassy?? And why the goofy name?? What does their Embassy DO!? Do people walk into their embassy and report people who didn't attend church? My GOD! If so, they've probably got a big ole file on me -- HUGE!
Do you have to be Catholic to work there?? Or, have they also adopted PC laws? Probably not, they still pretty much stand by the "you're not going to heaven unless you're Christian" philosophy. I wonder if they also post OSHA notices in the hallways to try to shame people into behaving like adults?
AND, Do they issue visas?? I wonder if you could apply for a visa to Heaven (and if so, do their diplomats get harrassed about this too)? How cool would it be if you had a multiple entry visa?!?! I would totally come back and Lord it over everyone! WHAT NOW BITCHES!?!?!? Look at me..gots myself a visa to heaven! However, with my luck, I'd go back to pick up my passport and there'd be a visa to Hell (long-term stay).
Man! I probably should have went. I have a lotta questions that clearly need answers!! However, I simply can't risk it. I'm just going to lay low tonight!!!
Friday, April 17, 2009
Needless to say, we stuck out. The night started out okay, but a little intense. There were paparazzi - everywhere! I learned after we arrived at the hotel, that these functions are pretty much the social scene in Khartoum. The who's who of Sudan - don't worry, I didn't know them either- were supposed to be there. So you walk in the door, and it is like a sea of flashes going off and TV cameras in your face. You go through the receiving line and the camera man follows you.
So naturally, all I can think about is that the camera adds at LEAST 10 pounds and I couldn't remember if I had put lipstick on before we went! (IT'S KHARTOUM; the shit literally slides off your face when you walk outside in the heat!!) So then I'm like, GREAT!! If this comes out in print, my boss is going to have a FIELD DAY with these pictures. They are going to be plastered ALL OVER the office - a diagram of my chin(s) and neck roll attached via post-it notes.
Because we were the only girls at this event and my friend was a pretty blonde - the cameras followed us everywhere!! So we had to stand for HOURS sucking in, making sure our heads were tilted just right so that we didn't have multiple chins or a googley eye, and stiff (obviously fake) smiles plastered on our faces.
And then the speeches started.
They went on and on about conspiracies and oppressors who want to colonize the Arab world. Let me tell you - it was really awkward to be the colonizing oppressor in the room. (In hindsight, perhaps seersucker was not the best choice of fabric to be wearing to this event.)
Every time the speaker would yell oppressor (a word I quickly picked up in Arabic after my friend pointed it out) - the cameras would all swing towards us. SINCE WHEN did any chicks oppress people!?!? WTF! There are colonizing oppressors over in the other corner Jackass! (I totally wanted to just point accusingly at any random French or British person in attendance, but those (smarter) people had already left. CURSES!)
So thankfully, the speeches ended and there was a painful moment of silence while everyone stared at us...(crickets)... and then the dancers came on stage and everything went back to normal. The Syrian Ambassador came over and asked if we were enjoying ourselves, trying to usher us to the buffet. We all smiled and said we were great.
And you guys thought The Real Housewives of (insert city) were two-faced! However, in my quest to fight for my country, I littered, spilled my drink, and stole a plate of their desserts on my way out.
I do what I can.
Basically, by the end of the month - everyone in the Consulate hated me and was plotting to slash my tires before I would drive home. However, they were just big babies! In the game of Life (or Diplomacy, as it turns out), you should always go with the old addage my mother ALWAYS told me: "If you're not cheating; you're not trying!"
Okay, so maybe she didn't use those words exactly -- it might have been something more like "cheating is wrong!" or "Cheaters never prosper!" But I'm sure she had just never heard the one I liked the best, "You know what they say about cheaters? They win!" If you think about it....it just makes good sense.
So I was thinking of all this today, and while I was in the office pretending to work, I realized what I have been missing in my job: Cake!!!
Yes, yes! I know that really doesn't make sense, but if you would just listen, it will all become clear.
SO, I have noticed that there seems to be a critical shortage of cake and cake products in Sudan. Normally, this would only upset me hugely. HOWEVER, next month is my birthday (The big 29. NO, that's not a typo. It's more like a LIE-O.) Therefore, the lack of cake at this critical time of the year is simply UNSPEAKABLE!
So I have been wracking my brains to figure out how I can con someone into making me a real cake (not this dry, scratchy white bread with greasy like substance on top that they call cake here) with real frosting! (I can NOT have a birthday without cake! That would be an ABOMINATION!!)
So remembering the Diplomacy game, I realized I would have to make an unholy alliance with someone - pretend to be their friend - butter them up, and then con them into making me a cake. It's BRILLIANT.
Of course, I hadn't planned on it backfiring so quickly. As you may or may not recall, I am not what you would call "friendly," and sometimes can make a bad impression on some people when I file harassment suits against them and/or turn them into the RSO for stalking.
In my defense, however, NOBODY could have known that when you are put into temporary housing while your new house is being remodeled that the housing officer is SUPPOSED to talk to you. OR, that he was AUTHORIZED to ask if my housing is okay because he is the one who will fix it.
Someone really needs to explain these things more fully. Some people might get confused.
So then, after I realized that me making new friends was probably not going to work, I decided to look within the office to people I sorta know already. Who the hell could I con in there? This was going to be much, MUCH more difficult, because they KNOW me. They will be immediately suspicious if I show up all smiles and asking how their weekend was...
After wasting almost 6 hours trying to come up with a plan to acquire ill-gotten cake, I decided to go home and do some internet research on how to con people into giving you stuff. However, on the way home, I stopped at the Gucci Grocery Store (as I call it, based on the prices, not quality) to get some yogurt - because if you freeze it, you can almost pretend that it is ice cream - and I found CAKE MIXES!! And thanks to Mrs. K, I have the yummiest (sounding) recipie for buttercream frosting (butter and sugar - my two best friends!!)
SO, for a mere $38, I can have my OWN cake, I don't have to be nice to anyone for any extended period of time, AND I don't have to share.
And that, my friends, is how the Sudanese used Diplomacy to con me out of $38.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Then I found out that didn’t mean what I thought it meant. (Again, blogging guide would be helpful people!)
Now because I did not assign this assignment, I refuse to accept any smartassey comments about how you don’t want to do it, how it’s too much work, or how all the good answers are taken. (Mostly because I already tried that with Jane and if it is not gonna work for ME, then it is CERTAINLY not going to work for you!)
8 things I'm looking forward to:
1. MAIL DAY.
2. ALCOHOL DAY
3. TUESDAY (not really, I kinda thought I had a trend going there, but I am now bored with it).
4. Josh getting here so that I can bitch and complain in person because skype doesn’t adequately convey my opinions. However, Josh, you should probably note that I CAN SEE YOU on the video chat, and perhaps you shouldn’t roll your eyes when I “start” as you like to call it.
5. Losing 62 lbs (by Saturday. What? It’s good to have goals).
6. Not getting lost when I decide to take a “shortcut.”
7. My 8th answer so I don’t have to think of stuff anymore.
8. Acquiring enough power to take over the world and then firing those people who’ve got it coming! (you know who you are…)
8 things I did yesterday:
2. Argued with Jane over whether I could comment in person or if I had to post it on my blog
3. Apologized to Liz for giving her husband new medical terminology (which subsequently backfired on me! He claims that my leg is all hurtey because my ass is all fatty.)
4. Got lost taking my new shortcut to work.
5. Continued my quest to be the greatest commenter of all time.
6. Ordered dog food for the strays on petfooddirect.com (nobody tell Josh!)
7. Tried to take over the world.
8. Failed at that, felt guilty, worried that my mother would find out, and promptly decided to stop using my powers for evil (again).
8 things I wish I could do:
1. End this damn list!
2. Steal Jane’s lottery winnings or inheritance and use my newfound wealth to take over the world.
3. Quit my job and storm out in a huff.
4.Eat whatever the hell I want and have it not matter.
5. Retire NOW.
6. Become an Arabic Whisperer (so I can know when people are talking about me).
7. Make Jane quit Smoking
8. That one thing they did on Star Trek, remember when they would stand there and then they would end up somewhere else….because Right now, I’d be at COLDSTONE!
8 shows I watch: Jane! I don’t have TV and this is just cruel!!!
1. Law & Order
2. Colbert Report
3. Lifetime Movies (Fav is Fa La La La Lifetime at Christmas!)
5. Dancing with the Stars
6. VH-1 Totally 80s
7. Merecat manor
8. Celebrity Apprentice
8 people I tag: SUCKAHS!
2. Comedy Goddess
4. Sane without Drugs
5. Movin Down the Road
6. Mrs. K
7. Suburban Correspondent
8. MINOY and/or Liz (you may share your work)
Due date is one week from Today. Show your work (hit 40, I’m watching you!) Do you own work (except where noted above), and No animals may be harmed in the preparation of this posting.
Extra credit will be given to people who actually do it. Any bitches should be forwarded to Jane.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
So last night...(no shit) there I was…minding my own business (well, technically, I was minding everyone else’s business. Since I have no current access to TV here – which, frankly is an outrage – I was reading everyone’s blogs and then spouting my opinion on what you had to say. I am worried that this will become addicting to me because I have finally found a forum from which to judge, pontificate, throw out baseless accusations, and call into question whatever the hell I feel like…and unless you’ve put comment moderation on your blog, there is NOTHING you can do to stop me!!! Soon, technology will come up with a method to block me, but until then it is GAME ON!)
Anyway, so after leaving a particularly insightful comment on someone’s blog (whose name I do not recall because it wasn’t a post about me), I happened to look down and notice a large brown spot just below my collar bone. Now because you can't see me (and Thank God too because I haven't combed my hair) you wouldn't know that I have a lot of freckles and moles - I know, I'm a freakish monster!) However, this was not my normal freakfest, upon closer inspection, it had irregular borders and was not uniform in color!
I KNOW! I totally crapped my pants. I gots the CANCER!!!
Worse yet, the SKIN CANCER – which would effectively limit my ability to tan – and everyone knows that tan fat looks soooo much better than pasty white fat (darker colors are slimming)!!!! And, this came as quite a shock to me because I have Indian in my heritage (feather, not dot) and my chances of getting skin cancer are waaay lower than my Scottish (and now technically UK) pasty-white hubby. Plus, he ALWAYS lectures me about wearing sunblock (don't start commenters, I'm fragile), I cannot possibly give him a REASON to lecture me. WHEN WOULD IT END?!
So then I started to panic.
As you may or may not recall, I am in Sudan, Sudan is in Africa, and Africa is NOT in America where my dermatologist lives. I believe I may have also mentioned my lack of confidence in USG doctors (because I believe they cannot make it in private practice) which was subsequently compounded after my check-in briefing here at the Embassy when the “doctor” said he had never heard that Doxycycline (for malaria meds) may impact the effectiveness of the birth control pill. WTF?! Not only does every damn happy YAZ commercial tell you that antibiotics mess it up, so does the pharmacist, my mother, every doctor or physician’s assistant in America, the UK and Pakistan, AND, I even think my dog Kernel knows it! THEREFORE, I was not bringing my cancer to him. He would tell me to walk it off.
So then I did some internet research (because that always helps). According to my independent research analysis of the spot, I have a truly hideous form of malignant skin cancer and there was pretty much no hope for me.
Well, F it then! I ate some more Easter candy from my fabulous in-laws (hear that MOTHER? Where the hell is my care package?!) (Nobody panic, she doesn’t read this!) Why should I worry about being the only human being in the history of the world who manages to gain weight while in Sudan?? Sure, they’d mock me at my funeral, but I would just haunt their asses!!!
So after I progressed to acceptance of my imminent demise, I noticed that the chocolate eggs (that I had to work so hard to get the foil off because they got all melty in the mail – but God knows that didn’t stop me) were very messy….I got it all over my shirt…So then I was like…..Hey! Wait a minute!
My cancer was chocolate.
How humiliating would THAT have been if I had called for an immediate med-evac back to the States to inspect my suspicious spot? Because you KNOW that shit would have been written up and sent back to the Embassy before my plane even landed!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I really think those expectations should have been made more clear up front.
I mean, I clearly know MY name, and that guy that works upstairs...well...I call him "other guy," because otherwise, I would get him confused with "that one guy," whom I always see in the hall and at the door . Frankly, I suspect he is stalking me, but I can't technically prove it. I mean, I have been gathering evidence:
- when I arrive at work, he says, "Hello." (I KNOW! Borderline sexual harrassment!!)
- every once in a while he will be walking in the same direction as me and will say, "How are you doing?" AND
- he shows up at a bunch of the meetings I go to on a regular basis and says things like, "How is your house?" (Flagrant disregard for personal space.)
Sure, he pretends like it is his job since he claims to work in the Embassy housing office, but frankly, it's creating a hostile work environment and should not be tolerated.
I SAID GOOD DAY!!!
However, I not sure why people aren't more friendly at our Embassy here. Clearly, they should be required to wear name tags (large, so I can see them without squinting or having to wear unsightly glasses) so that I may address them properly, i.e. "Oh! Why hello there Mr. Franklin!" and/or so that I can turn them into the proper authorities because apparently, "that one guy" is not a valid identifier for my harassment complaints.
And the other distressing news I learned today is that apparently, other people do stuff when I am not there!!! I spoke to both Minoy and Liz today on the instant messenger (totally about work stuff USG time-waster monitors) and during the course of that discussion it became glaringly obvious to me that they are not sitting at home waiting for me to return.
WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN!? and WHY, for the love of all that's holy WHY did this happen??
Minoy claimed to have gotten coffee with someone else this morning and Liz was telling me about a conversation she had with ANOTHER person that was (a) not about me; (b) not about her; and (c) ABOUT WORK.
Frankly, I'm not sure I understand. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?
Thank God my husband is sitting in Iraq, all alone, talking to nobody else, and patiently waiting until he can see me again. .... RIGHT??
Monday, April 13, 2009
So this afternoon, Liz and I were chatting at work (thank you US taxpayer for paying to install instant messenger on my work computer) about matters of national security. Liz informed me that there was a critical shortage of Peeps in Northern VA. I KNOW! Why wasn't I called?!!?
Naturally, I would not be aware of this information as I am no longer there, and since Liz won't start her own blog - something about claiming that I steal all her material (and am a much faster type-er) so what's the point? -- CONSEQUENTLY, you all are likely not aware of this information!! And this is my public service to you! (Now do you see?? We are making sure the world is safe for democracy!)
So then started the Great Peep Debate of 2009. Wherein we spent HOURS (Okay, it was probably minutes - we're both too lazy to type that much) debating whether Peeps were actually yummy.
I say NAY!
Now don't get me wrong. I loves me some marshmallows!! In fact, I've never met a Rice Krispy Treat that I didn't like!! Because seriously, what's not to love!? AND, they're fat free! (Although, I might have made that up and have since forgotten if that was a lie I told myself in one of my many fatty food justification benders, but as far as I recollect, it's a FACT!) (See blog title for further info.)
Anyway, my point was, Peeps have potential. They COULD be yummy...but then it got all ruined because of that stale colored sugar hard-shelled coating. That crap is NASTY!
Plus, I heard once that no NEW peeps have been made since their first production back in the 1950s (note annoying fact-checkers: I totally just made that up, don't try to point out how that is wrong and then spout the real date. You should probably be advised that MOST of what I say is wrong! I say a lotta things! Who listens!?!?), they just keep re-gifting them to people -- much like the dreaded fruitcake.
Although, to be fair, that might have been my dad who told me that, and as I have found out in my later years -- much to my dismay and subsequent public humiliation - his reporting is RARELY accurate. For example, there was the time he told me that the price of gas corresponds directly to the distance your gas station is from Kansas City, Kansas in response to my simple question of "Why the Exxon on Post Street more expensive than the Exxon in Belgrade?" OR, the time he told me that I needed to stop at the gas station and ask the Mechanic (who was dreamy, FYI) to check my tires because they needed to have winter air put in to replace the summer air. In my defense, however, it TOTALLY made sense at the time!! Besides, WHY the hell would you lie about that?! And to your TEENAGE DAUGHTER!? For Shame!!
Someone should probably call child services. Is there a statute of limitations on that??
Sorry! I got off track....Liz, on the other hand, alleges that Peeps are awesome, but only in smores because the chocolate gets all melty and the sugar coating serves as an adhesive, adhering the marshmallow to the graham cracker so you don't end up with a big mess all over you.
First of all, I cannot comment on this authenticity as I have yet to successfully create a smore (I always eat the chocolate first while the marshmallow is cooking, and then eat the marshmallow immediately after I catch it on fire because I can't possibly wait the 48 seconds it takes for the flames to lightly toast it, so I stick it right down in there - AND, because who really wants a damn graham cracker? They fall squarely into the "not worth it" category. Wasted carbs I tell you!
Obviously, I was the winner of the Great Debate. (It's my blog; therefore, I get to choose the winner - take a wild guess whom I like better?)
And then, I arrived home to find my housekeeper left me this:
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I know some of you might be going, "So what's the big whup? It's diet Pepsi...that's no biggidy!" First of all: F YOU! You're not in Sudan! You don't know...
Okay, maybe that was too harsh...let me explain.
IF you go to a restaurant here and try to order a diet Pepsi, they give you a blank stare...So you cave and say, "Okay, diet Coke." They roll their eyes and go, "COKE LIGHT?" (All sarcastic like....God they can be annoying!) So then, I say back ..."Well, I would like PEPSI LIGHT" (all sarcastic like in return, giving them just a little bit back. -- Don't mess with me mother f'ers! I'm HOT, it’s dirty, it's HOT, I gots stink ear, it's HOT...BACK OFF!)
So imagine my delight when I found this as I was attempting to escape a very potentially awkward situation: Okay, so I stop at this place called, HFC (Hamam Fried Chicken). I totally should have taken a picture because it is CLEARLY a knock off of the KFC, same colors, picture of the Colonel on the front....everything. However, this one is not a military run establishment -- and I am immediately suspicious!!! It has been my experience that military men always make the best chicken! (Colonel Sanders, General Tso) I am not sure what they are teaching these guys in our boot camps, but they sure do make some tasty chicken.
ANYWAY, so I walk in and EVERYTHING is in Arabic - so I have to order using pictures (thank God for pictures of food - it has saved many an illiterate from starvation!) And this man comes out from behind the counter all smiles and says he will translate for me. Then he proceeds to tell me his life story, he's from Egypt, he came to work in Sudan because he thought it would be fun... (?? I KNOW!!! I made him repeat that too. Clearly, he has not heard about the stink eye yet. )
I gave him the diet Pepsi, blank stare while I tried to think of a way to run away but still get my damn chicken. So, using my best diplomatic skills I said..."Well then....umm.....best of luck to you with that!" And then I ran for the door telling him I just had to run to the market next door but would be right back....
AND THAT'S WHEN I FOUND THE DIET PEPSI! And, when I returned, my chicken was ready, and I was able to breeze in, pay, and leave - like I was a rock star or something!
It was a damn Easter Miracle!!!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Africa. It came from Africa.
More specifically, I think it might even have originated in Sudan. And, even more importantly, it is not limited to the Stink Eye, there is, apparently, also a Stink Ear.
Because that is what I have.
So here's the dealio. Khartoum has what you might describe as an air quality problem. The combination of sand storms, dust from the cars driving on the non-paved roads, and poor sanitation and waste management all combine to create the perfect storm of environmental conditions. Specifically (and this is gross, so if you're eating, you might want to navigate away from this page quickly...I'm just saying...) the air is FULL of fecal particulates. In fact, in the last survey done by the State Department (when they determine the amount of "post differential" they give employees - meaning how much extra they gotta pay you to live under these conditions) said that the amount of fecal particulates in the air is "too numerous to count." Which I can only assume means that there are large floating clouds of poop hovering over my house trying to get insdie RIGHT NOW!!!
Obviously, my house is not hermetically sealed because some of them got into my ear!!!
SOOO, (medically speaking) what happens is the poop - or "stink" as it is more commonly known - gets in your eyes, ears, sinuses and I can only assume lungs and creates the Hurt-ey symptoms found on WebMD.
Believe it or not, I am one of the lucky ones. There are currently three people at the Embassy with what looks like pink eye -but is, in reality, STINK EYE! Me...I was blessed with simply stink ear (which I think is a little less disgusting than Stink eye because ewweee). And God only knows how many there are in actuality -- these are the ones that I know! I'm frankly not that friendly, so there may be more!!
There may be a poopdemic and we just don't know it yet.
So maybe the Sudanese don't actually hate America! Maybe they weren't really GIVING us the stink eye, maybe they just HAD the stink eye! If we want to smooth our relations, we should probably just offer them some anti-bacterial drops for ears and eyes.
Once again, you're welcome! I realize you guys are just thankful I am here to help.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Naturally, I described my symptoms to Liz to pass onto her hubby so that he can tell me what I need to do to self medicate. I do believe she got a sarcastic, "It's owie!" is not enough to go on." And then he told me to go get some ear drops.
That's not medicine!!! That's not self-medicating!? That's what the janitor at the HMO who was masquerading as a doctor told me to do back when I was working in the law office. That can't be medical advice!!!
So I went online to Google my symptoms: according to WebMD, I either have:
- swimmer's ear (which can be caused by excess dirt and sweating (I wonder if this applies here??) and to treat it with ear drops -- STUPID DAN!!),
- traumatic head injury, or
- brain cancer.
Obviously, I have brain cancer.
However, as it is Friday, Khartoum is a-close-ed. Therefore, tomorrow bright and early I intend to wake my friend who speaks Arabic and force her to traipse around town with me to find us a pharmacy that will give us prescription drugs without a prescription. Allegedly, there are some out there because it is not a LAW per se in Sudan that you need a script, there are just some pharmacies who think that is more advisable and require it. (F those people!)
While I'm there I'm going to check out an assortment of things I've always wanted to try:
(a) Oxycontin - I hear this makes you happy and/or rich - both of which sound good to me frankly.
(b) Adderall - 'tis the weight loss drug of choice for the stars!!! And, as an added bonus, it might increase my attention span to that of an eight year old from that of a three year old. It might also increase my rage, but seriously, what are the odds of me breaking out into an irrational rage response?
(c) Sipro - always nice to have on hand in a pinch. I hear it also cures swimmer's ear; and
(d) Lyrica - because I've always wonders what the hell that does. It sounds like it would make your life all sing-songey happy and the commercial always has some older woman who is gardening and smiling. Clearly, it’s a gardening inducing drug for old ladies.
It might even come with a free hat!!!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Turns out, I was wrong.
The MWR Frozen Locker Sale is the BEST DAY EVER! I did not realize what I was talking about with the stupid mail. Sure, it was fun to open the box, and yeah, that SINGLE SERVING of cupcake I ordered was inadequate, but still tres magnifique...
But the reality is, that cupcake is gone. AND, Mail day was sooooo three days ago. Mail day is pretty much akin to Windows 97. Sure, it was great while it lasted..But we've all moved on (and if you haven't you need to get the hell off of this blog because I don't even know you! What were you thinking!? Oh wait. Technically, I think my parents might still have windows 97...they also have dial-up, therefore, I never have to worry that my mom will read this and I will be grounded -- because I totally would be if she got wind of this! Nobody tell her!!!)
Anyway, The MWR Frozen Locker sale is sorta like mail day in that you never actually know when it will happen. Apparently, the Frozen Food Fairy arrives to reward Embassy workers who do not have access to a Commissary overseas (and who live in a country where the average temperature in springtime appears to be 117 degrees). And the best part: everything is $5 -- so I can totally do that math!!!
Normally, I would have been scandalized (and even considered writing a very strongly worded letter to my Congressman before I remembered that I am not actually sure who my Congressman is right now...But whoever they are, they are benefiting from a very lucky coincidence!) because a regular sized block of cream cheese is $5, but then I remembered that the cream cheese at Marwan Market would be $25 -- and then it seems just a little bits better. It's all relative.
Now if only I had a bagel....
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
And, to update you all on the daily hardships that are my life - I gotta admit...today was good. My housekeeper and cook started yesterday (and before you start thinking how glamorous and cool my life is here - let me caveat that with a disclaimer that I live in a dirt pile (and I'm lazy), combined with the price of food here -- I found out there is a Sudanese price, and a Western devil price (shockingly, even the Sudanese call me the devil. I wonder where that comes from??) -- THEREFORE, I'm not glamorous or cool per se; rather, just lazy and cheap. (And, all the cools kids have them here. I pretty much am that shallow.)
Anyway, we stopped at the National War Cemetary the other day and I took a picture. And by "war," they mean the one they fought with the British back in the day when General Gordon tried to stop the slave trade in Sudan. In case you didn't know, that ended badly and wasn't such a good plan (in hindsight). I thought this was even more cool though because if you'll notice....there is GRASS!