Sunday, May 31, 2009

In My Defense .....

Nobody could have known -- it was unknowable! (word credit, Minoy) I submit to you guys, that it totally seemed like a brilliant and rational idea at the time....

So I decided to go to Baghdad (and when I say "decided" I mean was told, "You'll be going to Baghdad this summer. You may want to pack light...") in the summer of 2004. Back when the Iraq war was still semi-cool...back before they even elected a their first "government."

I also decided (after a year of being engaged) that I should get married at the end of that tour on my mother's birthday (see previous post for more info on my choice of date - I don't know how to link a post, do your own damn work).

I mean, it was brilliant!! - I'd be rich (and therefore able to pay for the whole thing so that my family would have no say in my plannin') and I'd have tons o'vacation time because I would have homeleave at the end of my tour (homeleave is the leave they give you after you finish a tour so that you can become an American again - God help us if the diplomats go native! How the hell would we be uppity!?)

What could possibly go wrong?

A few things I never saw coming and, therefore, didn't plan for:

(a) While in the warzone, you end up working 24/7, 7 days a week and there is no such thing as downtime. Turns out, that when forced to work AND live with my co-workers, I literally end up hating almost everyone and turn into the crabbiest of biatches ever to walk the face of the earth. SERIOUSLY people! By the end of my tour I was either irrationally angry about something or on the verge of tears -- those were my two "moods." (most people prayed for tears)

(b) It is difficult to plan your wedding from Iraq. Turns out the time difference and not being able to be there tend to impact your planning ability. AND, amazingly enough - your family and friends might not actually care that you got all up on your high horse and decided to pay for the whole thing yourself -- they will still spout their opinions!

(c) Minoy was in the warzone; as such, you may tend to feed off of each others' bat shit craziness and find yourself eating an entire bowl of mushroom gravy for dinner because you totally thought it was soup (in our defense, they made a large soup pot of gravy....there was no "meat" or "potatoes" to put the gravy on, and the pot was placed where the soup usually sits. ANYONE could have made the same mistake -- PLUS, it was kinda yummy...and clearly our gravy levels were dangerously low).

(d) Your life becomes focused on trying to figure out if it was "Mexican Day" at the chow hall because (other than gravy night) it was the only food you could physically swallow in that damn place (note to self: not being able to physically swallow the food and walking around with body armor in 130 degree heat is an EXCELLENT diet plan. To do: open fat camp in Iraq; Write weight loss book; Count your money!)

(e) At some point near the end of your tour after yet another person tells you that an 8 pm wedding is not convenient for them, and could you change it to 7 so that their kids could get to bed at a decent hour (after which - in a fit of rage - you declare NO KIDS allowed at your wedding - and you're still paying for that decision to this day) you scream at Josh over the phone not to even ASK you for a divorce because you're NEVER going through this shit again! EVER!!! (PS...Josh is a saint, I totally would have left me by now.)

(f) If you plan your wedding date itself for less than 7 days after you PCS back to the states, you will still be under the influence of your "moods." And, after one year of washing your hair in water that sits in tanks with chlorine in them and walking around in the harsh sun, your lovely brown hair will turn Orange (as if you used sun-in to try to give yourself those "Duran Duran" chunks of color that seemed like such a good idea back when you were in Junior High school). You might also find yourself screaming at the lady in the hair salon because "what part of NO RED and NO BLONDE did you not understand?!" until you see your mother's horrified face in the mirror and you realize that you have created this HUGE scene in a Spokane, Washington salon - so you storm out in a huff and stop at the store and buy a "DAMN BOX" and color it your own damn self -- medium brown -- however, HOW HARD IS THAT?!! It's BROWN you idiot! (SEE! I'm still angry about it to this day..BROWN! This is not rocket science!)

AND, the most egregious of all....

(g) You are not able to go to cake tastings - you will have to allow your MOTHER and SISTER to do this for you - and it is WELL KNOWN that they are not qualified to be cake tasters - they have not made it their life's work to become the greatest cake taster of all time! And that, my friends is an unspeakable outrage!!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

How It All Started....

One story that I have told over and over again (and it gets better every time as the years go by because I barely remember what REALLY happened at this point) happened during my very first posting at the Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan. Pakistan was my first tour and almost my first venture overseas (Mexico for spring break and Canada pretty much don't count). So needless to say, I was ill prepared for it.

Back then, I was young (still in my 20s amazingly enough) and I still cared about doing a good job. I was trying to figure out what it was I was supposed to be doing (I have since discovered that nobody really knows and we're all just kinda winging it). SO I chose to emulate others, and the "others" were hosting dinner parties and smoozing with folks.

I sent out my invites to some local Pakistanis and other embassy officials in town -- and, thinking I was all "in the know" I indicated that the dinner started at 7 pm so that the Pakistani invitees would arrive by 9 or 10 (I learned this valuable lesson when I showed up ON TIME to a wedding, and found the hosts horrified because they were still setting up and not even dressed...)

So I'm standing in my kitchen cutting up cheese by the sink and my neighbor (a prominent Pakistani doctor) arrives at 7:30. So rather than freaking out (I did a little) I told him that he was the first to arrive and I was just cutting up some cheese and it would just be a second. He sat down at the kitchen table by the baguette I had already sliced up and I returned to the sink to cut the cheese up quickly so that I could offer him a snack - chattering nonstop to fill my nervousness.

I hear crunching, and then, "MMM! This is really good Pate, what kind is it?"

Pate? I don't remember getting any pate?..... and then I turn.....and my mouth falls open in horror. This influential Pakistani doctor (trained in America - which is why I invited him because he seemed so very "normal" to my small-town in Montana raised self) was dipping pieces of baguette into the canned catfood I had put out for my kitty Howard on the table. (I had to put the food on the table because Poods thought that stuff was the the shit and would try to eat it all, and a huge fight would ensue between the two).

That shit was tuna AND chicken flavor...it was in the SHAPE of a can and had that damned liquid "gravy" surrounding it. It was ALSO sitting in a bowl that had a kitty batting at a ball of string and some random fish all decoratively placed around the edges.... WTF man!?!?

There was a stunned silence while I started in horror and tried to think of something -- ANYTHING -- to say. I came up with "Tuna steak with chicken?" (gag)

"This is FABULOUS." Crunch, crunch..dip...crunch.

I was in a panic. People were going to show up - not everyone was going to fall for the pate excuse - and what if Howie.....SHIT SHIT SHIT. Howie walked into the kitchen, saw that the guy was eating his food (my pets take after me when it comes to food - you don't mess with that shit) and he stopped short, his ears went flat......Now I knew Howie...and he was my precious baby boy (but literally weighed almost 27 pounds - he was a BIG precious baby boy) but he was also sort of a jackass kitty. As if in slow motion I saw him crouch and leap for the table, and in a move that will forever be known as my Ninja interception, I was able to reach the table simultaneously and scoop Howie up before he planted himself in front of his bowl. With a, "bad kitty! He NEVER does that?" I took a growling and hissing Howie down the hall to lock him in my bedroom until I could sort this out. Howie was PISSED.

And then I heard the barking.

Poods had come onto the scene and was affronted on Howie's behalf that this man was in his food (seriously, everyone knew you didn't mess with his food!). This was an eff'in disaster! So I threw Howie into the bedroom with a "I'll give you real fish" and ran to grab Poods. Now luckily, Poods was still basically a baby (about 3 mos old) and the guy was pretty much unmoved by his bluster. So I scooped up Poods and went to put him away -- and the doorbell rang.

GOD DAMNITT!

It was my friend Kim and her Hubby. She took one look at my face and said, "What's wrong?!" I related the story (which her hubby thought was HILARIOUS) and she told me to just put Poods in the bedroom with Howie and she would handle this. (Kim was an EXPERIENCED diplomat.) She went into the kitchen, greeted the doctor and ushered him and the cheese and bread into the living room while her Hubby made me (and everyone else) a stiff drink.

I was sure we had made it...And we almost did.

After dinner, the doctor said, "you really MUST tell me where you got that pate! It was amazing. So moist, but it seemed to have chunks of meat. DELICIOUS!"

Kim spit her wine out on the table.

She pretended she had swallowed wrong, but the atmosphere was quickly disintegrating because she and her husband (and the other couple they naturally told) were trying very hard not to laugh, but were failing miserably.

I was trying very hard not to cry.

"Umm....I got it at the commissary here. It's from the US." He looked down the table at the people laughing and (with a smile thankfully) asked what was so funny.

I told him that they were laughing because Kim choked on her wine and spit it out. A disgusted look crossed his face and he told me that he simply did not understand American humor and could not believe that Americans would laugh at someone's distress like that.

Dude, you have NO IDEA.

The dinner thankfully ended with no international incident. Everyone at that dinner STILL laughs about that. The doctor continued to hint that he would love some of that Pate, and by the time I left Peshawar (two years later), I considered sending the doctor a case of Little Friskies.

I am still amazed that I did not -- because now, I totally would have.

I Can't Seem to Stop Myself....

I see something and I have to mock it. What the hell is wrong with me!?!? Honestly! I will try to be a better person, but tomorrow...okay?!

Found this in the gift shop I toted our visitors to yesterday:
Front:


Back.....Priceless
They all said that....Everyone one of them on the entire rack of postcards! Naturally, the congressional delegation bought them all out....
See? I'm not the only immature one from America!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tempted.....



Sometimes the temptation is simply too great - and you give in. You make some bad decisions - perhaps there was some bacon vodka involved and you simply do something that you know you shouldn't do, but you just do it anyway. You know in your head that people will feel betrayed, will question your integrity and maybe even your sanity... and finally, you know fully well that God is Gonna Smote you.


But you do. it. anyway.



NO SHIT....There I was......




I was smack dab in the middle of it. There was yelling, there were fists raised and gestures made at us (very inappropriate gestures I might add!)









When faced with this obviously excited mob, did I panic? Did I cower? Did I cry? No way!
I submit to you that I DID NOT! I stood firm. I took my pictures because I knew that you -the blog readers - needed to see the type of situations I face on a DAILY basis here in Sudan (well, okay, maybe only on a weekly basis - technically on Fridays...whatever. I was THERE!)

Suffice it to say that I am truly on the cutting edge of diplomacy. I am SINGLE HANDEDLY making the world safe for democracy..... So I say again...NO SHIT!! There I was.....





Wait. They sent a cheerleader to the angry mob??




Oh yeah, that's right. I was at Nuba Wrestling -- in the VIP section.... My bad.







Seriously though, that SHIT WAS FUN. The first pics were pics of the crowd when someone takes a guy down. They literally run onto the "field" (and I use the term loosely) - people dance and they create a huge scene -- the police literally start to beat them back with sticks.

The wrestlers pull people's hair, throw dirt in their eyes and there was even some ball grabbing and twisting. And none of those activities is a foul. Nay, that is playing to win, my friends...playing to win.




These guys were ginormous -- would you (any of the boys that read this blog) want someone that size twisting your junk?? My god. That takes some ba.... oh wait.





It was friggin awesome. I totally cannot wait to go again!!! You guys GOTTA see this!! It honestly is worth the trip!
Okay, maybe not THAT cool, but if you're coming here - say to visit me - then it would totally be on your list of things to do.... I'm sure, however, that you would show up with alcohol, pork, and cake... RIGHT!?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Great Bacon Debate...

So Minoy and I have been debating (over instant messaging at work - Yes, your tax dollars are going to a worthy cause here - because this issue MUST be solved) for literally a couple of days now and we obviously need a neutral third party to solve this issue.

Allegedly, there is a new vodka (and I know at least one of you out there (who is not you, Minoy! SHEESH!) who claims to be a vodka affictionado) out on the market: Bacon flavored Vodka:
http://shar.es/mTUn Bakon Vodka is a superior quality potato vodka with a savory bacon flavor.

Seriously, I might not have mentioned this before because I've been so cake focused lately, but I LOVE bacon...and I mean, I LOVE it - if it were legal, I would leave Josh and MARRY bacon. (although after the prop 8 fiasco in California, our love may be denied - I think this is technically prop 11, legalization of bacon marriage. It is deep, and it is real. Don't you judge me. )

Bacon just might rival my love of cake.

OMG...I just thought of something?? What would I do is presented with Sophie's Bacon Choice? Bacon or Cake...which one would I choose?? Okay, if we're realistic here, I think we all know I would eat them both and then hide the evidence from Josh -- but I digress.....

So Bacon is fab. And Vodka? WHO DOESN'T LOVE VODKA? There is seriously no drink I like better than a double dirty, ice cold vodka martini with extra olives (are you getting my salt fettish here too??) But Bacon?? Would bacon make it BETTER?

Minoy contends that it would. Her comment to me was, "I can't focus right now. I'm too busy imagining whether I would prefer a bacon flavored martini with a salt/paprika rim....OR....a bloody mary made with bacon vodka garnished w/ a slice of crispy fried bacon instead of a stupid celery stick."

She brings up a valuable point - that DOES sound yummy.

However, back in the day, when we were young and foolish (last summer), Minoy and I went out to this restaurant and we noticed that it had a key lime martini on the menu. Now I'm thinking to myself, its pie, it's martini - its WIN WIN. And it was....it was liquid pie!! It even had a graham cracker rim on the edge. It was, simply put, to die for!! So what would make liquid pie better?? ACTUAL PIE (dooy!). SO then we ordered a key lime pie for "dinner" with our drinks.

Let's just suffice it to say that you CAN have too much pie.

So I contend that Bacon Vodka has potential - but it also has the potential to go so very wrong. Can you imagine what a bacon hangover would be like?! The Trauma you would experience?? If you were in someone else's house (because Josh would never do this) and someone was making bacon for breakfast after you drank bacotinis all night??

OH THE HUMANITY!

Did anyone ever even stop and think what could potentially to happen to the millions of people (read me) who drank vanilla vodka and coke back in the day when it was cool?? And then when they realize that said vanilla vodka and coke is sooo yummy that that innocent person inevitably drinks too much vanilla vodka and coke -- so much so, that the victim in this scenario (whom I am sure is both charming and stunning) can no longer drink or smell the regular or even diet vanilla coke without getting that queasy feeling?

What is the RISK vs gain in this equation for bacon?! CAN WE RISK IT?!

OMG. I just had a BRILLIANT idea - if vodka would make a cake flavored vodka, just THINK of the possibilities!! Because YOU KNOW I'd totally drink the shit out of that, right?? So then, MAYBE, just maybe, I would get that same queasy feeling I now get with vanilla coke and key lime pie (please don't even bring up the appletini, it makes me gag)! THINK ABOUT IT!? We could expand that line to pizza, french fry and cheeseburger vodka.

I may have just cracked the drunken fat pill for pigs like me who cannot do anything in moderation!

I realize you guys are obviously clammoring to provide your comments and effusive praise for my newest get-the-fat-out-without-actually-working-out scheme.

Feel free to send me your thanks in the form of cash donations. I suspect that after work finds this blog, I'm likely going to need a plan B.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Cure for the Crapitude

So as it turns out, you guys weren't the only ones who has noticed that I have got a bit of a mood and a 'tude these days. However, although it actually hasn't been that hot here, in my defense, I've obviously got the onamotapia, an actute case of acidopholous, and probably a touch of tilipia. And, I'm tired and I need a damn nap! There is that too.....

However, that all ended today in what had to be the most hilarious event EVER since I arrived in Sudan waaaay back in March 2009. SERIOUSLY....ever. Now obviously because I have stated unequivocally (damn! look at all the big wordey-words I'm using tonight! How cool am I? Oh wait, I don't have access to spell check....oh well, you know what I mean...smart stuff.) that it was HILARIOUS - my retelling will likely fall flat. However, suffice it so say: funniest. EVER.

So my boss calls us up into his office for yet another stupid planning meeting -- seriously! Planning? So lame. Overrated. I say we wing it. What could possibly go wrong. They're Senators...who even knows who their State Senator IS anyway...AND (in addition) it was not MY state Senator (I think). So we go trudging up there and Anna is sitting on the couch, which leaves me the big girl chair. So I'm all excited because usually the big comfy chair is the first to go in these meetings. (So easy to nap in and not facing Paul's desk, so it is tough for him to verify the status of your awakeness -- he does enjoy pontificating.)

ANYWAY, so Paul starts blathering on about this and that and then Anna starts going over the schedule and who has to do what. Meanwhile, I'm sitting there fuming because I'm not going to one more damn dinner that doesn't even START until almost 10 pm and never ends until after midnight but that doesn't stop them from making me show up for work bright and early... and Paul stands up and walks into the bathroom and continues talking.....

So next thing I know I hear him START PEEING. I SHIT YOU NOT...the MAN WAS PEEING AND CONTINUED TALKING TO ANNA THE WHOLE TIME. So then I look at Anna and the others in Horror --everyone is staring at each other, mouths agape because WTF. Our boss, our fearless leader - the senior diplomat in the room is using the bathroom with the DOOR OPEN while he continues to pontificate.

BUT that is not it! NO! Anna continues talking to him, going over the schedule. So then we all start whispering, "holy shit! did he just f'in potty in the middle of a meeting?" and "Anna! STOP LOOKING IN THERE!"

So then he flushes.

And by this time I am literally crying I am laughing so hard. I cannot breathe, the others are flabbergasted except for Anna who continues on with her agenda.

So now I'm falling out of the big chair because I'm rolling around laughing so hard and am now starting to worry that I may indeed pee my skirt - but it is soo damn funny that no sound is coming out of my mouth - just tears running down my face.

So Paul finishes washing his hands (if he couldn't have the decency to close the door, he at least washed his hands. We must find something redeeming about him. I mean, my God! That shit is unsanitary!) and then he casually walks back into the room talking to Anna and sits back down at his desk.

I can see the others attempt to compose themselves because now he's asking people what the status is of this or that -- and they are trying to close their mouths and not make eye contact with him - but still answer.

So I am still dying in my chair - but I can't take it anymore. I burst out laughing and go, "What the hell?!?!? DID YOU JUST PEE!?" Because I mean, I realize at an Embassy we're supposed to be a "family" and all - but are we supposed to be quite so dysfunctional a family?? MY GOD! I say again...MY GOD!

So then Paul and Anna finally lose it and start laughing. Paul took a glass of water in there with him because he knew that we couldn't actually see him, just his legs because of the angle. Those two practiced it so that they could go on.

I seriously have never seen such looks of sheer horror on anyone's faces as everyone in that room had. To their credit, I was the only one who could not control myself. The others tried to go on, however, this is not some random fart that breaks the silence during a meeting (although, I have to admit that I can't control myself then either because that shit is just funny!) HE WAS PEEING.

So you can all thank Paul for bringing me out of my funk; however, I am probably going to need some serious therapy to get over this one.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Six Reasons Why....

Jane at Gaston Studio is once again making me do homework! You know, I feel all kinds of pressure these days! Pressure to "listen" to my husband, to keep up on my blog, to succeed on my quest to be the greatest commenter of all time and, frankly, from my other passion - ruining other peoples' lives whom I believe may have wronged me in some way shape, or form -- soooo, my point is... I gotta lot goin' on here! Therefore, I ask you, when does this leave time for me true "work" here???!

So the lesson I take away from this is that clearly Jane is trying to sabotage US/Sudanese relations. Coincidence?? I think not!

Exhibit A: Jane spent time in Bahrain and Egypt - yet she CLAIMS she is American. I submit to you, HOW could an American lady - all cute and Julie from the love boat looking - run around the middle east without being accosted by Iran (for calling people Ayatollah when she wanted to turn left) or Asbestos? HOW COULD THIS BE?! It is UNPOSSIBLE.

Exhibit B: Jane mailed me a box full of brownie mixes (which I LOVE, FYI) and now I'm all distracted yet again, and am actively considering calling in sick with mesopotamia (which I believe is the precurser to mesotheliomia) so that I can sit on the computer, spout my nonsense here and on your blogs, and proceed to eat an entire pan of brownies. Why is this her fault you ask?? BECAUSE it is well-known that I am pretty much a cake/brownie-ho. Everybody knwos this - SHE is simply trying to exploit this weakness.

Well played my friend...well played.

Anyway, Jane wants me to list 6 things that make me "happy" and then make some others do the same. Well JANE, you are NOT the boss of me!! I will list your six things - but I'm not going to tell anyone to do the same unless they feel like it. I will not be a part of the conspiracy!!!

SO, here goes:

(1) I am happy that YOUR congressmen all choose major holiday weekends to travel to foreign countries so that they don't miss any important bills or debates in Congress. I am also equally happy that this ensures that I also will not miss any of those important bills or debates in Congress....(I'll just miss any semblance of a weekend and/or holiday.)

(2) I am happy that a kajillion pictures were taken of me during this visit, and not one damn one of them was from the waist up! Don't the Sudanese photographers KNOW that the camera adds 10 pounds and that when presented with an entire pan of brownies as a dinner option, any American will choose to finish said brownies rather than making a dinner and THEREFORE the photographer should KNOW that they should NOT be taking full body pictures?!

(3) I am happy that I can finally sue the USG. In addition, after I buy the State of Colorado with my settlement money maybe, just maybe, if you're very nice to me and leave all suckey-uppey comments I might let you visit some of my ski resorts and my country home I like to call Denver.

(4) I am happy that Loudoun county pretty much forced me to write them three emails -- the last one ranting (I KNOW! ME??? Shocking!) -- so that I could have the PLEASURE of paying my property taxes on a house in which we do not currently live (Do you like how I restructed that sentence so that it did not end in a preposition?? I'm telling you, that was not easy!) I am also equally happy that they were all snotty to the person who was TRYING to pay her taxes on time. (I'm totally going to litter the next time I get back in the states in Loudoun County. Just try to stop me!)

(5) I am happy that I have now bought the same pair of shoes three times because I forgot I already ordered them and then I would go online and see them again and think they were adorable and that I had to have them so I would order them again....but they're SERIOUSLY cute shoes. Luckily for me, Sudan has shoe melting technology coating their streets and parking lots, so I will probably wear through those extra two pairs of shoes before Josh arrives (and therefore he will never be the wiser).

(6) I am happy -- oh, who I am kidding?!?! Today!? I'm frankly NOT HAPPY!

And now you aren't either! HA! And there is NOTHING you can do about it....

Welcome to my world bitches!

Monday, May 25, 2009

AT LAST!!!!

Okay, so you know how I'm always looking for some reason to sue - anyone, I'm not discriminatory when it comes to class action lawsuits, I accept all kinds of wrong doings -- well, let me tell you my friends. I have just hit the mother lode!!!

I'm pretty much going to OWN the USG! (Although I might have to split it with the others who live on this housing compound, and that is unfortunate - for them.)

Now I can stop documenting the instances of sexual harrassment in the workplace -- and believe me, there were plenty. Why just the other morning I walked into the Embassy and that SAME GUY who harrasses me at Post One did it again! He said, (and I quote here so you can get the real story of the trauma I suffer on a daily basis..) "Hello. Good Morning ma'am."

I KNOW!!! RIGHT!?!?

HOW DARE HE! This is an unspeakable outrage!! Naturally, I have kept a running tally on such indicents as the aforementioned...and I was waiting for one more fat comment from Paul before I filed my hostile workplace complaint.

But now...now that stupid "shit people said to me" file is old news!! WHY? because I've got ASBESTOS in my ceiling!!

I just received an email from the housing people that they are required by law to notify me that they have found asbestos in my ceiling (they technically found it 3 mos ago, but apparently are very slow typers). However, the rocket scientists in Washington think it is fine because they do not think it is the airborne kind.

WTF!?

Then of course, in big bold letters it lists how much asbestos is LEGAL to have in the workplace, but then notes that although it may be LEGAL, it is not necessarily Safe...there is no safe level of asbestos.

So, what does this mean to me? It means I likely have mesothelioma - I'm totally googling the symptoms right now so that I can catalog the exact dates/times I start to experience these symptoms and can, therefore, put a price on my angst.

I'm thinking 12.5 million...because it's in my HOUSE...and because they intimated that it would be too expensive to fly someone to get it out of my ceiling and therefore, I should just live with it. Okay, well, technically they DIDN'T say that, but they did respond that they could not do it themselves, they would have to fly someone out - so I had to write back and say, THEN FLY SOMEONE OUT .

I say again, WTF!?

One of you guys who has TV, please write down that number of the lawfirm that wants you to call if you think you might have mesothelioma.

I am almost positive I do. I could totally list my symptoms right after I google what they are...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I Know You Guys Were Wondering....

TAH-DAH! The BABIES! Damn they are seriously cute! I've been feeding them poor Poods' food because he is trapped in the States until the Sudanese lift the ban on incoming pets to prevent the spread of swine flu.



Isn't swine flu like soooo April 2009?? That's like protecting yourself against Michael Jackson.... we've moved on!

Anyway, Anna Maria and I bitched and threw hissy fits until the RSO let us bring the babies INTO the compound because the Sudanese were shooting strays in their quest to kill off swine - I mean, you gotta do something if your country is pigless....you can't just not kill shit...I mean COME ON!



So here they are....This is Mommy she is totally snuggly...and a little bit flea-ey....(but I have some stuff on order for that!)




And this is Riley - he waits at the back door for me to give him food and water. Even though the guards (allegedly) feed them - he acts all staving and needy. I'm like my own little USAID office for babies!


But look at his little face?! How could you NOT give him the left over lamb? You have to! Little Marley is behind him and ReRun is to the left. (ReRun is not quite right in the head, but still adorable!)








That's Pippy and Marley. Pippy's a little bit of a bitch - she lays in the middle of the food and growls at everyone so she can eat it all. I kinda have to back that kinda piggery...Plus when you see the next picture, you're all AWWEEE! you can have whatever you want!





Do you see?! They are totally doot doot!


Now I do realize that come August we will likely have a pack of wild dingos running around our housing compound and that it is probably not good that the dogs are already sleeping on the pool chairs all stretched out -- but for now - they are ADORABLE!


What could possibly go wrong?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dear USAID Guy,

WELCOME to Khartoum!!! (Or wherever in Sudan you will eventually end up -- I didn't actually READ your bio, I haven't really had time and I didn't actually want to....) I would like to introduce myself, my name is Michel and I will be your Sponsor here at the Embassy! (I'm not sure what you did to piss someone off but they must REALLY hate you!!) Please let me know whatever it is that I can do for you to prepare you for your arrival here. (Please note that I won't actually DO anything, but I might tell someone about it and maybe they might help you...but chances are slim I'll even read your response. You should probably prepare yourself.)

First, let me tell you a little about myself (my favorite subject...EVER). I "work" here at the Embassy in Khartoum and I am in charge of.....something here....it'll come to me....well, it's probably something cool - but I can't remember right off hand -- But I'm sure it is some sort of fab! You will work in the USAID office and you will be in charge of USAID stuff....whatever it is that you guys actually DO here. I assume you give out USAID to USAID needers. Whatever.

So enough about work. Here are some critical things you need to know about Khartoum to help you prepare for your posting to Sudan:

(1) It is Hot. I'm talking Africa Hot. Even though it is on average 119 to 198 degrees outside on any given day, you will be expected to wear clothes to work at the Embassy. May I suggest you purchase some disposable ones. What the Embassy does NOT tell you is that the running water in your house -- although it will SAY "hot" and "cold" - in actuality have two tempartures that are indicators for "Volcanic" and "Shit! that is hot!" As such, your clothes will shrink with every wash (or at least that is what I keep telling myself since I can barely button my pants that are all now capris and my shirts barely cover my arms and I now refer to them as "shrugs").

(2) The AC in the houses and offices have two settings: Icy and Not On (or Holy Shit! It is hot in here). Your AC will work fine during the day while you are at work and when GSO would conceivably send someone over to fix it. It will, however, turn itself off at exactly 7 pm (what I now refer to as "the bitching hour") when GSO goes home and pretends that they cannot hear your calls.

(3) The Sudanese like to pretend like they have all kinds of cakes and cookies to offer. DO NOT BE FOOLED by these assertions. That shit is NOT cake! You may want to pack extra boxes of cake mix. I don't CARE if you don't like cake...some of us do Jackass! It would only be polite of you to bring your sponsor a cake and perhaps some brownies. I'm just saying....What!? Were you born in a BARN!?

(4) The Sudanese do not use toilet paper like we use toilet paper. (You will find a roll of toilet paper in the middle of the table - that is your napkin) Therefore, it is best for you to bring your own and to ALWAYS have some with you. You should also check to ensure that you can flush any toilet before you use it. I'm just saying, SOMETIMES people can be caught off guard in certain situations. Why just last week when I was in Port Sudan I had to use the restroom (Please also note that the Sudanese function similar to camels. They neither drink or eat and never ever have to go to the bathroom. If you do not speak up, you will die in the middle of a town inhabited by demon cats.....) Anyway, do not assume that said restroom that they lead you to for your use is actually suitable for your use. Under no circumstances should you lift the lid and check - there is inevitably scary shit in there! I still have flashbacks and will likely need to see out professional help to get past this one. As such, I suggest you bring diapers. I know I am.

(5) You may want to update your living will. After approximately three months in country and numerous near death driving experiences, I have updated mine - because there is no way that I want to LINGER here in Sudan. I have also included the instructions "do not resuscitate if ugly." I worry that if Josh were not here, someone might not know that.

(6) Mail comes randomly. You may want to mail yourself some boxes circa one week before you leave so that you are not despondent when mail arrives and you don't have anything. People need mail!!

Well, I hope this introductory letter has been helpful. Again, Please let me know how I may be of further assistance. I may or may not be here when you arrive. Chances are pretty good I will have been declared Persona Non-Grata by then, and will be back in the states. As such, I'm sure you understand that I will, therefore, be under no obligation to actually speak to you.

Take care and best regards.

Your sponsor,
Michel

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's About Time....

I just realized that I haven't humiliated my husband lately...I've been remiss in my duties.

As many of you may know, Josh and I have a love-hate relationship with this blog; I love it, and he hates it. (Although I cannot imagine WHY..what's not to love? I mean, COME ON!)

He hates that people he doesn't know now know about his shit. What I keep trying to explain to him is that nobody but he and Liz' hubby, Dan care about his shit....because his shit is all about the gear.

(So help me God, if I hear about that damn sleeping bag one more time...)

Anyway, so Josh is back from his brokeback-packing adventure in Alaska. He and Dan had a great time and then he spent a week with his family (Hi guys!) before returning to Iraq. Naturally, I had no idea he returned to Iraq. In fact, there was an awkward phone call via skype where I asked his dad if Josh was there, and after an extended silence where I was forced to check to see if I had mistakenly called Ann Taylor again, was told, "Ummm...no. He left. Don't you speak to him?!"

I totally saved that conversation though. I told him, "HA! Yes, I was just checking to make sure I was still married...." (It is probably quite likely that Josh's parents want to have me committed. If you don't hear from me for a while, someone please check the Minnesota Mental Institutions....)

Truth is, I DO speak to him... I speak to him all the time...but as it turns out, I do not actually LISTEN to him. And this (apparently) is where I need to focus my efforts in general.

However, in my defense, it is HARD to do so when you are talking to someone via Skype, so you're already online - and then I am all bogged down because I am behind on my commenting on other peoples' blogs (because how will you know what I think if I don't tell you?!) and so I'm attempting to multi-task while I'm talking to him - PLUS, he was likely talking about the gear and how cool it was to have a sleeping bag custom made for you and then some blah blah blah blah....but then Beth was talking about how she ate too many Fiber One Pop Tarts - and I'm all "Pop tarts are fiberey??" So then I had to explain how fiber and pop tarts were applicable to Alaska and his ice axe (which was quite the feat, let me tell you) but once that was over - I totally had to look up pop tarts to see if they had frosting on them but were still fiber because how F'in yummy would that shit be -- and how the hell could I get it out here in Sudan..... I mean, you see my point, right?!? I got a lotta shit goin on!

Okay, so maybe I'm not such a good listener.

HOWEVER, I'm an equal opportunity non-listener. Why just tonight I was talking to some Ambassador at the Yemeni National Day and I not only do not know his name, or what Embassy he was from....I'm pretty sure he thinks I have Tourette's Syndrome because I can't seem to control myself anymore with my Arabic. Tonight, someone said, "Wa'llahi" and I totally perked up and then repeated it - all proud of myself! (because I KNOW that one!!) Everyone stopped and stared at me. A few laughed, but it was the nervous "I'm kinda scared she might kill me and then use my skin to make a lamp shade" kinda laugh... One guy even turned and walked away.

So once again I have humiliated the US of A. On the bright side, however, nobody accused us of being an oppressive colonizer!

I'm totally making progress you guys!!! You are welcome!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Downside to "Vacation"

Okay, so remember how I was all excited because I had so much fun on my "vacation" to Port Sudan? Remember that? Remember how I had all these cool fun-tab-ulous pics of exotic things I saw and did?? Remember that?

Well, as it turns out, I was supposed to be WORKING while I was down there...you know, for the Embassy -- representing our country. (I know! I totally forget that's why I'm here sometimes too!!!) I, however, contend that if they wanted me to WORK, they should have:

(a) been more specific in their guidance other than just saying, "We need you to go to Port Sudan next week";

(b) they should have told me that I was supposed to LISTEN to the people when they were blathering on about relations between our countries and that I would be required to write up what they said upon my return; and

(c) they really should not have let me travel with Christina - and perhaps they should have told her the above too...

I submit to you that this whole fiasco could have been avoided!!!! I'm the VICTIM HERE!

Okay, so after today I have learned yet another valuable lesson about travel within Sudan: Don't do it! IT IS NOT WORTH IT.

Why, you ask?? Why am I now going to take active measures to avoid leaving Khartoum in any way, shape or form for any extended period of time??

Because when you are not here to defend yourself with blatant lies about how busy you are and how you couldn't possibly help out on this or that - PEOPLE VOLUNTEER YOU FOR SHIT!

God I hate those people!!

I bet you were not aware that international diplomacy was such a cut-throat business! That colleagues will turn on you at the drop of a hat. That looking out for your fellow man has gone the way of leaded gasoline and littering without fear!!

So while I was out "working," I was signed up to be a "sponsor" for an incoming officer. An officer who will arrive here at some point (I didn't read all the way to the end! I was busy trying to remember what the hell I did in Port Sudan other than learning that "Sharmuta" is Arabic for Whore! I KNOW! How cool is that word!?) - and will work at USAID!

GASP! I know!! A do-gooder!!! Someone who apparently LIKES people and wants to HELP them....WTF!?

We clearly have NOTHING in common!

I have no idea what I am supposed to say to this person - and, I didn't actually pay attention when they briefed me on the rules and regulations and stuff....what you're supposed to bring, do upon arrival, etc. I just figured someone would tell me. Plus, I'm a big (read HUGE) fan of pleading ignorance and apologizing. You'd be amazed how much you can get away with in life utilizing those two key ingredients. Shit! Guaranteed this guy is going to totally hate me within a week. And, you know who is going to suffer because of this travesty of justice, don't you??

The poor Sudanese! (likely because I will give him incorrect information! It's like I always say, If you don't know it...make it up!)

Obviously, I am never leaving Khartoum again!!! (Well, until next month when I go to South Sudan...)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Port Sudan - Ghetto Fabutastic!

Okay, so as you guys may have already guessed because you seem to be very bright people (and not only because you choose to read THIS (obviously superior) blog), there was no internet in Port Sudan. There was also, apparently, not a lot of sanitary stuff going on in Port Sudan. I pretty much went camping for the last five days. Camping in a what claimed to be a four "star" hotel. I assume by Star, they mean minutes of running water you get per day... However, all told.... I had the BEST TIME EVER!



I KNOW!!! I am sure nobody saw that one coming!!


First of all, I got to travel with Christina! She allegedly speaks Arabic, but I'm guessing her arabic is also in quotes on her resume, because the Sudanese pretty much had no idea what we were talking about - and there was a lot of "OOH! Ho-TEL" going on....Eventually, the Sudanese gave up and either spoke English or walked away (either one worked fine for me).




Best part: The Sudanese told Christine that she had Gray hair! hahahaha! She tried to teach them "Blonde" but they would just say...yes, GRAY. (I gotta admit, I loved this part of the trip most of all...TAKE THAT CUTE BLONDE! SUCKAH!) I had to move approximately 10,000 miles away to find the one country that loves fatties and doesn't treasure blondes. If only they also treasured sanitation and cutlery.....


Okay, so that was Christina and I on the bus on our way from the airport. Right before we started our whirlwind tour of Port Sudan - although one might assume Port Sudan would be totally cosmopolitan because Jaques Cousteau was there way back in the day and made it totally famous on his show that came on before the Lawerence Welk Show that we all suffered through while we waited for the Muppet Show to come on...it should be noted, however, that one would be wrong. One should also probably consider that sanctions might impact one's vacation amenities as well....





These were two kids who happened to be standing on the street . I assumed the Sudanese hired them for photo ops for us because they pretty much assumed Josh's favorite photo op pose where he goes all gansta on the camera.... Apparently, boys are born knowing the "What up Bitches!" pose in every culture.....








This was down by the beachfront area - I'm not sure what they're totin, but it looked all NatGeo and I had to take a pic of it.






This is what our pool looked like at the hotel. Christina and I tried to go out there when we had some free time, but it was too Alfred Hitchcockey - those pigeons are kinds like the Africa flies - they are NOT afraid of people. You walk up to them they fly all up in your face. I gotta admit. I ran. I ran like a little girl.


F'in birds. I knew I hated them.







So then we headed down to Suakin (an old port city) and I made the driver stop because there were these doot doot camels by the side of the road - so we go running out of the bus to "pet" the animals while the Sudanese stayed in the bus .... and then we figured out why. Turns out, (and this may come as a shock to many of you) camels that are not being ridden by someone are not friendly. Write that down in case you come upon some doot doot baby camels and decide to run up and pet them. I'm doing you all a service here. Camels, although they look all doot doot and fluffy, in reality = scary shit!!


Once again, I have relearned the most valuable lesson: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TOUCH NATURE OR LET NATURE TOUCH YOU.





This was someone's fishing boat. Although it looks all picturesque and all - it kinda smells like ass. I fully believe that if the Nat Geo Magazines had a scratch-n-sniff option, then world travel would not be so popular. Although, to be fair, as this was pretty much day three - I'm sure I was not smelling like a rose by this time either.





So then I found where most of the smell was coming from - THIS was washed up on the shore - there were actually quite a few of them - not very big, and I don't know why - I assume (of course) it was one of the killing ones like the one that killed Steve Irwin - but I can't prove it. Naturally, I totally searched high and low for a stick so I could poke it ( because that is what you do when you find dead stuff on the beach, you poke it with a stick...DOOY) - but alas, there wasn't one - Stupid Dessert!!! Our Sudanese guide picked up that tail part and wanted me to poke it with that, but SHEEESH! My God man! that's unsanitary!!! However, I was really pissed that I couldn't find a damn stick. How are you supposed to poke at dead stuff if you don't have a stick??


Next time, I will not be unprepared.



This was the old Port City that was constructed completely out of coral from the sea (my dive instructor would be PISSED if he saw that!) and it has been crumbling down for ages. The guide was giving us all the historical info on the place, however, when we got there he told us all about the local legends that the cats that live there are all allegedly possessed by demons and you are not supposed to kick them or mistreat them because you'll get all cursed. So I was totally watching the kitties - and believe me, there were like 700,000 of them....all black and huge (seriously, like a mix of lion and kitty - even the dingos were scared!!! And no, I'm sure they're not really DINGOS per se, but they looked like dingos and they skirted the edges of this place, which only reinforced my assuredness that those were BAD KITTIES) so -- long story short - I didn't pay attention.


I needed to make sure that kitty didn't get me! PLUS, there were all kinds of signs about how you couldn't be there after 7 pm and I was all contemplating about how the kitties eat the tourists if they are there after 7 pm, and then was eyeing the Sudanese guides to see if they were luring us to this place so they could leave us there after 7 pm....You know....normal shit.


So then we flew back last night. While in the airport VIP lounge (God I love being a diplomat in times like this) Christina taught me the word for Hooker in Arabic - So then, like a child who just learned his first swear word and the inlaws show up - I was repeating it multiple times (in what turned out to be a very loud voice) in the lounge and as we got on the plane. However, there were a BUNCH of people who were returning from the Ummrah Hajj who didn't think my grasp of Arabic was appropriate - although, my short sleeved smelly blouse and capri pants probably didn't help either... So we pretty much got the stink eye all the way home.


However, I had a great time, and I've already had the poop ear bitches! I am impervious to your stink eye!


(I did however, shower for approximately 72 minutes when I got home...just to be sure...)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Questions Pop Up....Others Get Answered

I am headed out to Port Sudan today and do not know if I will have internet (which would totally result in a crabby ass post upon my return, fyi. Darsden, you should prepare yourself)...

Now, as some of you (at least 12 of you that I know of) read my last post - I am going to post the answer very quickly -- I also figured out that I forgot to tell someone else to do it. CURSES. I can't be responsible for this many steps. WTF!?

SOO, Let me start by my telling other people to do it -- I will choose new people I haven't tortured yet to do so because I like to share the love and maybe one or two that I tend to torture all the time - I can't decide...(PS if you haven't read their blogs, you should!)

Lakeviewer
Kelly
Reddirt Woman
Jaimie
Deb
Jason
Kristen

If you don't know what the heck I'm talking about then SCREW YOU! - Just kidding - just hit older post - it was yesterday's....

Okay, so for the big reveal.....

They were all partially LIES! hahahahahahahah God I love that story...let me tell it again --

All of them were partially true, but not quite.....

Now, for those of you who didn't see this coming - you need to refer to the title of this blog - I do not believe in telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth - because then the stories are BORING. Do you see??

So here is the scoop:

(1) Oreos - I totally wanted to write Nabisco a very strongly worded letter - and even went so far as to google it - but then I got distracted because when you google double stuf oreos you get like 10K hits - AND there is a HILARIOUS article on it at the Onion and it has a facebook page. You can see how I could have totally lost interest in this....

(2) I DID get kicked out of girl scouts - (as did two others who are clearly going to be very close friends once we bond in our quest to take over the scouts...) however, I didn't worry that I would not get a job because of the incident - I had forgotten the incident until my first USG training course when they make you do an icebreaker and they make you submit one thing about yourself that nobody else knows. (although technically I was totally tempted to write, I have killed 14 people and they are all buried in my backyard and under the stairs...I figured that they might not think it was as funny as I did...WTF!? (a) that shit's funny; and (b) icebreakers are sooo lame....I've always hated those other people in the training class and don't want to have to talk to them. Just teach us shit and shut it!) -- No, I'm not sure why I still have my job, either.

(3) Josh is not 10 years younger than me. He is 11 years younger than me! I told you guys - I'm hip, I'm hot, I'm now, I'm wow.....OR, Josh was drunk and had beer goggles. Depends on which one of us you ask...

So there you have it - Now you know the rest of the story.....

PS I don't have time to answer the comments because the plane leaves in like an hour and I haven't packed....but very quickly, most of you know me all too well. I wonder how you figured out that Iwas too lazy to actually follow through on stuff. And yes, based on the comments - it is not just the Whitehall, Montana girl scouts that kick you out! hahaha

And for the record, Darsden: Look Lady! It's my blog, I'll be bitchy and complainey if I want to. Don't waste your time trying to change me...see my mother for further reference - she has been trying for almost 40 years now - it's not going to change anytime soon!

So You See, The Truth is a Funny Thing...

Jane at Gaston Studios tagged me to complete a particularly difficult task for me; I'm supposed to post two truths and a lie, then you guys are supposed to guess which one is the lie -- and WHY -- and then I am supposed to come clean a few days later....

Now I have a few problems with this tasking:

(a) define "truth";
(b) why should I have to come clean? It's really not my way; and
(c) I really don't like multiple questions or requirements in one question because you KNOW that someone is going to just go - #1 is a big fat freakin lie....but no why...so what if #1 IS a lie, do they get credit for this?? Do they get partial credit? WHO GRADES THIS!? Is it graded on a curve?? And, more importantly...How do I ensure that I end up the winner??

Obviously, Jane's instructions were faulty (see Beth's blog, she totally had to switch it up too....This time, it's not just me!) However, just this once, I have decided to follow the rules (except please note that I did not actually READ the rules, except for that first part where she said to tell 2 true things and 1 big fat lie. )

Therefore, YOU also have to follow the rules, if you don't say WHY - you don't win (and therefore, I do). Please also note that a failure to answer the question completely will result in my submission of your email address to every NGO here in Sudan with a note that you expressed interest in helping others, and wanted someone to contact you - please add this person to your daily mailing list.... (Don't think I won't do it. They don't call me Biatch for nothing!)

(1) I once wrote a letter to Nabisco to complain that the "Double Stuf" Oreos were spelled wrong and that it was driving me crazy! In addition, I noted that when compared in a side-by-side test with traditional oreos, they were also not technically DOUBLE stuffed....in fact, they were barely stuffed more at all -- and who did they think they were fooling?!?! And then I asked what the hell was in the "stuf" anyway...I even looked up how to send it to them (and then realized I could send it via email on their customer service link - so I did it that way.)

I am still awaiting their response. I suspect they are too humiliated to face me just yet and are thinking of a way to spin it in their favor.

(2) I was kicked out of girl scouts at the age of 9 for dishonorable conduct while I was at girl scout camp. The troop leader (who was a big fat meanie, FYI) told me that she was going to send my name and address to the Girl Scout HQS in Washington DC so that they could put me on a list that would ensure that I could NEVER re-join the Scouts again...my mom had to come and get me. My God, she was PISSED. (However, in my defense, they had us making wallets!!!)

When I applied for my job, I was worried that they would check with the scouts and I wouldn't get the job.... Turns out, however, the girls scouts do not keep a list of naughty girls. ha HA! Fatty McBitches-a-LOT! Who's laughing now?!?!?....

(3) My husband is 10 years younger than me. (We're waay trendy! Very Demi and Ashton....And yet he acts like a damned grandpa, lecturing me about how I need to plan for my retirement, pay off our mortgage quickly, and give to the church and the poor...I KNOW! That's totally crazy talk....)

So, although it totally hurt me to do so, TWO of those are true....I know...I'm a freak.

But I suspect you already knew that!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

This May Explain a Few Things....

I received this from "My Mommy" on my birthday (I have always called her MY mommy, because I refused to share her with my stupid sister!) Anyway, I thought I would share it with you because I pretty much have not changed since birth....

==================================

I remember the day well. You were crying before you were totally born! Muffled wails – weird sensation…Even then, you were chomping at the bit to get out of wherever you are so you can be someplace else.

I was warned…but the message was too cryptic to understand…

But this is a TRUE STORY!

You were so late arriving that I, in my hormone-damaged state, decided that you were never coming, and unpacked my hospital bag. Subsequently, when the hot flashes began 2 weeks after your due date at 0300, it took an extra hour to pack something so as not to be without a hairbrush after the birthing ordeal….which turned out to be brief….your daddy did not even have time to park the car and find my room.


He dropped me off at the front door of the hospital, (how romantic) and I remember pushing the doorbell for the hospital over and over (it was shift change and no one came! They lock the door at night in Davenport WA) Standing there with contractions in progress at 0700 (it was cold outside) was not fun. I did finally get in, just in time to go directly to the delivery room where you were born by 0728 (approx). You practically walked out.

Actually, you were hanging so low in there for the last few weeks that I was afraid to sit down because it felt like I was sitting on your head. Maybe that explains some of your later behaviors and decisions -- but why you could not have simply come forward as other good children do, I do not know, but I should have been warned with those events that you would be a child who did things her way and that her way was not going to be orthodox.

Really. I mean, what do you call your career choices etc??? As a mother, I had nothing to talk about! How could I have conversations with my friends/family about my wonderful my little girls and all their cute hopes and dreams when one of those girls had announced to all (in all seriousness) that she wanted to be an 18 wheel truck driver or a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader? Her way WAS the highway—aka travel far, travel wild… What does one say over coffee when your youngest bear says these things?

Did I mention the time when you were only a week old when I had to rescue you from aspiration and airway obstruction? You were such a strong and enthusiastic eater, that you inhaled you bottle and took so much formula that you projectile vomited it back out minutes later. The tiny (then) tummy was just too full and your food gage was not appropriately set. We had it readjusted – i.e. mom took away the bottle—you got ½ bottle until you let me burp you in a timely manner instead of screaming for more.

================================================

So clearly, this explains so much...I was testing a new diet plan at one month and started my bitching in the birth canal.

My parents must be sooo proud.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Some Positive Things to Say about Sudan

I have decided that I should probably tell you some positive things about Sudan - since the majority (read, all) of my posts are bitching and complaining about something or other - not even usually related to Sudan, but more about me.

But I think we've established that "ME" is my most favorite subject...EVER.

So here goes, I will try to think up 25; however, I will accept 10. (I'm lazy AND that's a lotta nice things to say...)

1. Sudanese think chubby is hot; (Seriously. I'm like a damn super model here. They love me long time. You'd think I would treasure this aspect of Sudanese society, however, they also love to give you compliments about your fattyness. Compliments like, "Whooooa! You are gaining WEIGHT? NO?!" Listen buddy, in my country you'd be killed by a rabid pack of women for that kinda talk....)

2. Sudanese are super nice and friendly. (Even when the answer is no or they are telling you to F off - they do so and then go, "So, good. How is your husband? He is good, no? He IS going to join you no? You are soo pretty and spacial. He should not leave you alone." DID YOU HEAR THAT JOSH!? I have no business being left alone. Besides, if left to my own devices - in the company of little Debbie - I totally will be even more spacial!!!I cannot be trusted around Little Debbie. This is well known!)

3. The Sudanese are very polite. (When trotting out your newfound Arabic Skills to the Sudanese officials and you loudly proclaim, "Hello! How bear news with chicken. Awesome!!!" They usually just respond with "Al-Humdulilah!" -- never questioning you on what news the bear with the chicken has...but rather, Thanking God that you will leave their office very very soon.)

4. The Sudanese use the word Haboob in everyday conversation and with a straight face (it needs no explanation. That shit is funny!)

5. The Sudanese invite you to their house for dinner (all the time....without telling you that dinner starts at 10:30 pm on a schoolnight!)

6. The Sudanese do not mock you openly. (Not even when you inform them you have a curfew - like you did when you were still in highschool and you were going to get grounded if mom and dad caught you coming in even one minute after 11:15 because the :15 was your grace period damnitt - EVEN THOUGH you pointed out that Brandy AND Laurie's mom let's them stay out until midnight because all the cool kids are doing it, they're okay!)

7. The Sudanese let you adopt strays (And don't say a word to you when they are forced to walk around the housing compound with four rambunctious stray puppies and their mom running the perimeter and then pouncing on their shoes. They thank you when you point out how you have "helped" them by bringing in a bark alarm in case the terrorists try to jump the fence...those puppies would seriously harrass them mercilessly to be pet until they were forced to rejump the fence to get the hell out of there and find some British compound to harrass because everyone knows the brits prefer cats - or so, someone has started that rumor around town....)

8. The Sudanese are patient drivers (they are so patient that they will allow you or anyone else to drive on either side of the road in either direction - and if you start going, insh'allah, someone will stop).

9. The Sudanese are.... (This section intentionally left blank.)

10. The Sudanese have not kicked me out of country yet. (I am officially at Day 52 and only 47 international incidents to date. I call that a SUCCESS PEOPLE!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Very Sudanese Birthday!

Okay, so since Jane publically outted me on the last post - I will come clean: I am an alcoholic. Well, that and today IS my birthday. Luckily, it did not fall upon Mother's Day this year (Lucky for my mother, mind you because NOTHING cancels MY DAY...NOTHING!)

In fact, not sure if I've spouted this before, but I literally planned my wedding day around my Mother's birthday - this is how petty and childish I am. Every 4 years (or so, you guys know I can't do math, stop holding me to facts!!! SEE TITLE OF BLOG FOR GOD'S SAKE!) my birthday is RUINED by stupid Mother's Day. Ruined I tell you...RUINED! Why? (Oh, I'll tell you why, I'm just getting started!) Because I had to SHARE my special day with my stupid mother. (Okay, maybe stupid is going too far, the woman is really smart and actually very kind and generous -- AND she put up with me until she couldn't take it anymore and booted me to the curb. I believe her exact words were, "Michel, I love you as if I were your mother...you are 32 years old. Would you GET MARRIED ALREADY??" -- the GET OUT part was totally implied..but you guys see it, RIGHT?)

So, I believe it was the age of 7 that I first decreed that I was going to ruin her birthday. She laughed. In my head -- well, technically the people in my head -- I was going, "Oh, you laugh now lady....we'll see who laughs last!" And my evil plot was hatched.

Josh had no say in the matter. Mom or Dad had no say in the matter. The inlaws had no say in the matter. I WAS DETERMINED to carry out my evil plans....

Her day was going down.

There was no stopping me. I was undeterred - even when I realized that my wedding day would be on a Thursday -- a school night, if you will -- even when the minster who was providing the pre-marital counseling told me that he "couldn't work with me" although he had two whole years in which to train me (I blame Catholic School for that one!) and even when one of my BFF's Brandy pointed out that she was due to give birth on that day -- I told her, "Look Lady, I'm sorry. You're just going to have to work with me here." (SELFISH! I know!! How rude is that?!? She's totally ruining my day with her baby due date. Beckett is forever on my list. )

Anyway, so I literally did it. I got married on her birthday so that she could see how it feels to have your day taken away from you -- What I didn't count on is this:

She didn't care! (Dooh!)

The woman ruined everything by being sweet and generous and not even mentioning her stupid birthday -- I even gave her a piece of cake (tee hee) -- although, to be fair, my bridesmaids were warned that there better be a damn piece of cake for me (because I have been to too many weddings where the bridal party doesn't get any -- and this is an OUTRAGE) so they had amassed literally 10 pieces (and my dear sweet Josh even saved me one) so I did have some to spare -- in case you were thinking I was all kind and giving there for a moment. (Not so much).

So anyway, today I spent my special day at work (although Blondie in the office brought me in a whole tray of mini-cupcakes! Which, everybody knows that 30 mini-cupcakes = one regular cupcake. Therefore, I had two cupcakes. WHAT!? It's MY DAMN DAY!)

I also received a letter noting that I was a "spacial girl" - which I can only assume is an Arab way of calling me fat. There's a lotta space in that there pantsuit. I officially hate foreigners (again).

Do you think it was the 60 mini-cupcakes??

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Prayers Have Been Answered!!!

Not only did God stop the smoting -- I was able to move into my new house yesterday!! I have AC, I have a stove that was not made in 1962 (rather, I've got AT LEAST a mid-90s model...we're cooking with fire here people), the Haboob seems to have passed and left behind it cool (circa 90 degree) weather, AND -- as if it could get any better -- I now have my OWN internet connection, so I am no longer stealing services!!!

Although in hindsight, now I actually have to PAY for the internet connection - when before, I had access it just wasn't in my name! Is that so wrong??

Oh wait...yes, yes it was.

Another little known fact of being slowly poisoned from within by a "salad" you ate...if you spend the whole weekend vomiting and dry heaving - your tummy hurts just as much as it would if you actually exercised. Therefore, I have determined that Bulemia is not an option for me. Yes, if you must know, I have oftentimes wished I could catch it -- Hell! I've caught half of it already - I can binge with the best of them...I'm just not so into the pukey part. That's really not for me.

Therefore, I've moved on. CHECK! off my list. (Again, I'm doing the research for you guys so you don't have to...I know! I give, and I give, and I give.)

You should also know that apparently, it is not allowed to call in sick at the Embassy here because they will just harrass you mercilessly with stupid questions you don't know the answer to, until you finally give in and show up and then tell them in person, "I don't know." (Write that down as public servant complaint number 358)...and while we're at it, I'd like my title to be changed from "Public Servant" to "Public Slave Driver"...I'm not so servey, I'm more of an ordery type of person. Write that down! (SEE?!) )

Anyway, so at work today we were lamenting that we have spent so long with the USG that we are no longer hireable in the commercial world. Seriously, I have thought about this -- more than you guys know -- about what I could possibly be when I grow up. Have you tried to get a job anywhere?? What the hell would I put on my resume? "Told foreigners that ballot rigging was not fair - in very strongly worded language, mind you."

F'in Borders wouldn't even hire me. Hell! I wouldn't hire me!!! Damnitt.

So now I'm forced to just wait out this place and hope the next Haboob (tee hee..that NEVER gets old) is at least a week away. When the sandstorm hits it sounds like you're in the middle of a nuclear attack when the middle (or Nipple of the Haboob, if you will) hits your house. They also seem to be getting stronger and dirtier - even the Sudanese are complaining -- although, they seem to complain as much as me. I am not sure I trust them for their accuracy. They might be a tad on the dramatic side.

Who've they been hanging out with?!?!


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Are You There God? It's Me, Michel!

Clearly, you are upset so I just wanted to say I'm very sorry for whatever I did that pissed you off -- pissed you off so badly that you felt the need to smote me yet again.

I would like to humbly request that you remove the pox you have put upon me; the vomittey tummy, the throbbing headache (thank you for not sending me a fever so that I would panic and think my internal organs were going to melt within 6 days because I got the Lassa fever). I realize that last night as I was curled into the fetal position begging for death, that you may have taken that as a signal that I wanted to die. Although I stand by my decision at the time (because that shit hurt!), I realize now the stabbing pain and nausea has passed, that I may have been a little bit premature…and perhaps a tad bit dramatic -- because I feel a LOT better now. (So please disregard that last request…)

Once again you have taught me a valuable lesson - I do believe this would be Valuable Lesson Number 8,437; however, in order to ensure that that this one actually takes this time, I would just like some clarification on what it is I actually did to piss you off - because frankly, there is so much to choose from these days.
However, I NEVER EVER, EVER want to go through that shit again! Therefore, I would like to know exactly what it was I did to warrant this punishment:

I recall being flippant. How I told everyone that I was working on my new wonder diet supplement - Glass O'White Nile and its sister product, Glass O'Blue Nile. I see now, where that could be construed as inappropriate, unnecessary and even stupid. From here on out, I will endeavor to do better. To eat less, move more. (I would like to caveat that promise, however, by pointing out that it might be difficult for me now that Little Debbie got her visa to Sudan.) I mean, would it be possible…just maybe… that you could perhaps smote science and make them get on that damn fat pill so that I will not feel obligated to help others by inventing my own miracle diet solution.

What? Oh, okay…Yes, I can see now that was wrong.

And there was that small incident with the French Ambassador. However, in my defense, his mustache looked like a cheap theater prop and I don’t think anyone could have really known that it was real. He looked like Peter Sellers in, “The Pink Panther.” I mean, it was only natural that I would have tried to rip it off and yell Ah-HAH! I really think that most people would have done the same thing when faced with that situation. I mean, I thought he was joking! Plus, I would think that an Ambassador would have handled that better – I speak some French you know, even I knew some of those words and I’m just saying – you MIGHT want to visit a little poop ear on him for that…

Oh yeah, I can see now how that might also be something that might annoy you as well.

And there was that TINY little incident when I was at that party the other night and there was that really annoying woman with the really annoying laugh and how she went outside to smoke -- Smoking is very bad for you, you know that God…If you think about it, I was sort of doing the rest of the people in that party a FAVOR when I shut the door behind her. I was protecting them from the dangers of second hand smoke!

In my defense, I did not realize that it would lock her out there. I mean, if I had known, I never would have walked away to talk to the French Ambassador – we won’t go into that again – but I DID open the door very quickly when I realized she was standing outside in the haboob. She only got a little dirty – well, technically, muddy because she was sweating so much from having been outside in the stifling heat for all that time – but I am really sure that her white dress will be able to be cleaned; and/or it did also look pretty in Khaki. On the bright side, she did think I was from Canada, so at least America won’t get blamed for that (or the Ambassador’s) incident.

And while we’re on the subject, it is not really my fault that everyone assumed I was Canadian because I called that one guy, “You hoser!” And I was not about to correct the assumption after I told that annoying New Age Vegan Lady that my name was Anastasia Beaverhausen. I thought she would have seen the show for heaven’s sake! How was I to know that she doesn’t watch TV because she thinks it is tacky?

What I think is tacky is someone who lectures some poor Canadian girl about how because her blood type is A+, that she should not eat, meat, fish, chicken, dairy, sugar, or fruit. When I pointed out that we were in SUDAN….and that my options were pretty limited – PLUS, I couldn’t even think what was LEFT that I could eat – she didn’t need to get all snotty and tell me that I should eat the lettuce and cucumbers. For the love of all that’s holy – that is what we call the SUICIDE OPTION here at the Embassy. I think my colleagues would call in the medic if they saw me sit down with a big ole bowl of stomach ache and runs.

So anyway, I just wanted to tell you that you do not have to smote me so damn bad next time if you want me to stop. A simple, "Bitch, you're gonna get it!" would suffice at this point. After yesterday’s incident, I honestly believe you.

Peace Out!

DAMNITT! I mean,

AMEN.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Dirt Gets in Your Eyes

And your nose, and your mouth, and your ....well, you know. In fact, I wish the camera could capture it - but there is literally an orange haze INSIDE the house because apparently this dirt penetrates windows, walls, and clothing! As a matter of fact, if it were up to me (which it is not, fyi and that, my friends, is a tragedy) I would categorize this damn dirt as a new form of biological weapon sent to make me crazy, filthy and disgusting. Now granted, I realize that some of you (Darsden) think I am whine-ey (how the hell do you spell that!?) However, I submit to you, EXHIBIT A:






This is the view from my bedroom - it is the middle of the day - no, the camera is shitty, but it is not out of focus and fuzzy, that is literally DIRT in the air. This is also AFTER the haboob passed the night before.



So then I walk into my bathroom to find THIS which I am attaching here as EXHIBITS B and C:








And before you go all accusey on me of being a slovenly pig; my housekeeper came yesterday! She JUST cleaned it! That shit is disgusting. (AND, it forced ME to clean stuff, which is why I hired a damn housekeeper in the first place - so I didn't have to do that shit!!)






So then, I go out to my car and find EXHIBITS D and E:








And finally, Exibit F (what letter are we on?)








WTF SUDAN!?!?!

So to further educate you on my justification for this rant, let me further explain: I was woken up this morning because the Embassy was doing a radio check, but I was seriously confused by what time it was....it looked darkish outside, as if it were still like 0500....so then I get all on my high horse. WTF the RSO's office!?! HOW DARE THEY disturb my sleep -- wait, why I am not that tired??...


So I start to get ready for work, all the while rehearsing my speech I intend to deliver to the RSO about how I understand about your security concerns and all, but 0500?!?!...COME ON! Everybody knows that terrorists sleep in at least until the noon prayers. I mean, to do anything else would be uncivilized....But then I look at the clock and realize that SHIT! I'm late for work.


The sunshine failed me. So now I have to be NICE to the RSO because God only knows what time I would have awoken if not for the stupid radio check! And you KNOW how I hate to get off myh high horse. I dearly love it up there.....
Again!? WTF SUDAN!?!?

In addition to the Stink Eye and Poop Ear, I am now clearly going to get the Lung-Loo and dreadlocks. I can't get CLEAN!! On the sorta plus side, however, I now appear as if I have a nice tan - it is dirt coating my skin, mind you - but if you stand far enough away - and you disregard the stringy, dingy hair that I have scraped back into a pony tail, you'd think I'd been on a nice little beach vacation.


I mean sure so I literally have dirt in my teeth and it kinda makes a crunchy sound...and sure, my eyes are becoming mud-rimmed with little sand dunes in the corners of them...But it's ALL GOOD.


Why? Because I've been told that this is just the beginning...that this was actually a very small haboob for Sudan. Why it only canceled flights and internet service for one day; this was nothing!


So I've got bigger and better haboobs to look forward to -- and, therefore, YOU guys have so many more bitching and whining posts to look forward to reading..... You see, I see it like this - if I'm not happy - NOBODY'S HAPPY!

Besides, how would you know how good you guys all have it if I didn't illustrate to you how thankful you should be for your current situation. I'm doing a community service here people!!!


I know, I'm such a good person sometimes. No need to thank me.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dear GSO,

I am in receipt of your email again today informing me that my air conditioning (AC) has been repaired per my requests of 03 May, 04 May, 05 May and morning of 06 May. I am also in receipt of your emails on those aforementioned days transmitting the same. I am replying because I believe there may be some confusion concerning my request for your assistance.

I would like you to actually fix the AC.

To clarify, the AC in the temporary house in which I am currently staying is not working. Meaning, (in layman's terms) this shit is hot up in this place. I would also like to clarify for the record, that in America (and as technically, you guys claim this housing complex is sovereign US soil and that is why I have to continue to pay my taxes in the State of VA) most houses do not keep the thermostat at 96 degrees.

Now I am not unreasonable. I understand that when it is 118 degrees outside that I probably will have to make some concessions. Therefore, I would like to note that I am not requesting that my house be set at 65 or even 70. I could probably survive at a balmy 76...(as I believe my blood may have now thinned to the point where it may start to seep out of my pores at any moment now), but I would like to also note that I find it difficult to sleep in a pool of my own sweat. In addition, I believe that it may also prove to be a health hazard soon, as it will undoubtedly begin to attract mosquitos to the stagnant water that coats my sheets, my chair, and my entire body.

Yes, I do understand that the house you are in the process of remodeling - that will be available for me to move into by "this weekend" - has an AC unit that functions correctly. I have also walked into that house and I do agree, it is indeed nice and cool. I also further agree that it will be pleasant if/when "this weekend" ever arrives. Please advise what exactly the Sudanese conversion of "this weekend" translate into English, so that I may understand the actual date, as I believe I may be confused on this issue. I have been told that it should be ready "this weekend" since late March. Does "this" mean June in arabic?

I would also like to advise you that I am no longer open to "inshallah" as an acceptable response. I have contacted Allah (via my mother on a conference call on skype) and he has advised me that he DOES indeed will it to be so. Therefore, please inform your staff of this so that they may complete this work order.

Thank you for your further consideration of this ongoing request. Please be advised that if I have to spend one more night in this living hell that is Khartoum without AC, you will not like the results.

Best regards,

Michel

PS: references of former individuals who have offended me are avaiable upon request.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I Just Don't Have It In Me Today...

Okay, before I begin - what the hell is the rule with title capitalization again? Every single stupid day I go through this (and have chosen to handle it by using random capitalization and/or all caps) - Do I capitalize EVERYTHING? I clearly remember Mrs. Dean harping that you didn't capitalize something...I recall short words... DAMNITT! WHY DON'T I EVER LISTEN!?

I know there are teachers out there who read this (and a principal too, you know who you are!!) so you need to educate me! Isn't that your sacred duty??

I blame society.

ANYWAY, I just kinda don't feel funny today. Today frankly pissed me off -- and I debated whether or not to even post anything - but in reading everyone else's blogs (because I'm a stalker deep down inside, where it really really counts) - you all said it was like THERAPY.

Well, sit back and prepare to be my unpaid therapist! (remember, therapists are non-judgey -- therapees are the only judgey ones...because as you likely know due to your newly acquired online therapy degrees - your feelings are valid. You cannot control how you FEEL, simply how you react. )

Can you tell my mom used to sit my sister and I down in the living room and make us tell each other how the others' actions made us Feel?!?! "Well, Mel...when you did that, you made me feel as if you were a skanky pirate ho who lies to mom and dad about where you were last night...and that hurts me, deep down inside..." Funny, mom did not continue with her counseling career - she went into medicine. I wonder why? Lesson here: therapy is wasted on teenaged girls. (Or me. Could go either way).

I digress!!! Today I feel kinda pissy and snarky. So be warned! In fact, I am sure that at least one thing I intend to say in this post is going to piss at least one of you off. So here goes - prepare yourselves!!!

Actually I'm kinda scared....So far the comments have been pretty nice and supportive; I really do like it much much better when everyone agrees with me...Can't we all just get along?? (And when I say "get along" I mean agree with everything I say and do, and if you don't, simply ignore it - it will go away! Is that too much to ask?!)

I CANNOT STAND FEMINISTS!

Yes, you heard me. I said it. STOP QUOTING GLORIA STEINEM FOR GOD'S SAKE!! IT DRIVES ME NUTS!

To clarify, I sincerely appreciate that people (women AND men) participated in a movement that I absolutely benefit from on a daily basis in every aspect of my life - something that I undoubtedly take for granted (again, on a daily basis), not having experienced much of what women went through in the workplace, in daily life, and in general before now......

I respect your right to burn your bra or a copy of GQ magazine - you do whatever you wish. I will probably even join in if there is some kinda group think going on....(I'm trendy like that).

But DAMNITT! WHY must some people lecture me (and other women in the office) about why it is our DUTY to "make it to the top - to the most senior levels" insinuating that if I don't, everything they did - the sacrifices they made - will be for nothing???"

WTF! Why are you putting that kinda pressure on me!?

What if I do not want to make it to the top? What if I am perfectly happy doing a job to the best of my ability and am proud of what I have accomplished already?? I do not need (or want) anyone else to TELL ME what I want. Believe me, (as I think many of you can attest) I will tell you if I am unhappy with something or some situation! Vocalizing my dissatisfaction is not one of my problems.

I've always thought of it like this: I have been given the gift of the choice. The choice to choose to live my life as I see fit. If I choose to quit and stay at home, I should be able to do so without being judged. If I choose to work, but still think of it as a job rather than my life's career, I should be able to do that too. Frankly, I find it extremely insulting to insinuate that I should not want to maybe stay at home, raise a family, just do a 9-5 job and enjoy the life I have chosen! As if my identity or self-worth hinges on my seniority or pay at work.

That is flat ass wrong.

And you know what else?? (See, you really shouldn't let me get on a roll here....therapy should have quit while we were ahead)....

Sometimes the reason that you didn't get or achieve something is simply because of something YOU did or did not do, not because the man brought you down.

Where the hell are my Little Debbies!?