Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's Like the Make A Wish Foundation -- But for Losers

Okay, so if you guys did as you were TOLD (which I frankly won't hold you to, because I NEVER do extra stuff when nobody can check my work) you'd know that Oprah's people contacted Comedy Goddess and let her know that their committee selected HER as one of only TWO Special Ambassadors to BlogHer '09! The other "special" Ambassador?? ME!

I'm sorry! Did you hear me??? I SAID ME! (and you know that ME is totally my favorite subject!)

Naturally, when I was first contacted by Ms. Alicia Swington at "O" Magazine, I figured it was a hoax. I deleted her email and marked it as spam....because (of course) nobody from Oprah would contact me! But then when chatting with the her Holiness, Ms. CG, (FYI, we were informed that fellow bloggers would need to refer to us as either Ms. Ambassador and/or Your Holiness for the rest of this year and/or until we are booted as Ambassadors for conduct unbecoming of an Ambassador.) we realized that it was NOT a hoax and we were CHOSEN as one of the cool kids.

WE were two of Oprah's favorite things!!!

ANYWAY, last night we arrived in Chicago and were given VIP passes to the pre-convention parties so that the VIPs could meet their hosts and potential sponsors.

-- We were met in the Lobby of the hotel by our personal fashion consultant from Ann Taylor. We were allowed to pick out an outfit for our guest appearance. Let's just say...I did not even GLANCE at the sale rack!

-- Before the pre-party, CG and I headed straight to the open bar and started drinking martinis (I'm dirty, she's with a twist, in case you decide to host us at your homes) -- a LOT of martinis (THEY WERE FREE! FOCUS PEOPLE) Besides, I kinda need to ingest a little bit of liquid courage as I was still assuming this was some kind of Punked episode and the Chicago PD was going to bust up into the hotel and arrest us for stealing services, clothing and booze....

-- After about 4 martinis I spotted Stephen Colbert who was there that evening doing interviews of bloggers. CG and I made a bee-line because he was totally on my laminated list! I chattered at him non-stop. I might have spit some martini in his face when he said something funny; however, as I get really charming and witty when I drink, I can only assume he would have left his wife and kids for me, had he not had to return to NYC.

-- CG was asked to advertise for Nike. There was a moment of confusion until I realized that she was blabbing on about doing a marathon. Turns out she was talking about a marathon of Lifetime made for TV movies (and I mean, COME ON! Who hasn't done one of those!) But now she's going to do some goggle ads for Nike on the net. Whatever. close enough

-- THEN, I totally spotted a picture of what looked like Little Debbie. There was a tall man standing near it - assuming there might be free samples, I made a beeline for the picture (I may have knocked over an old lady using a walker, but the bitch wouldn't get out of the way!! Everyone knows free samples go like hotcakes at these type of things!) When I got there, I realized it was just a stupid sign. So I started bitching about how Little Debbie is a cheap whore who never stays around after a night of drinking -- and/or after I open the box. The man looked at me I began to wax poetic about how I have loved Little Debbie my whole life long, but how I can never seem to keep her around.

I'm now the new spokesperson for Little Debbie. They're going to re-design my blog and put some little debbie nonsense on it. Sadly though, they did not offer me a year's supply. I can only assume that the man realized that my definition of "year's supply" would likely differ greatly from theirs.

The rest of the night was kind of a blur....we arrived home with lots of swag bags - although, I think we might have stolen them. Let's just all agree not to bring it up if you see us. I also think they think we were going to speak to one of the sessions for humor bloggers. Someone probably should have mentioned this sooner. We're both not really sure what the hell we're going to talk about.

Anyway, feel free to say hey if you see us on Friday at the Oprah booth! Naturally, we will pretend like we've never seen you before (especially if Oprah - or anyone who might know or live near Oprah is nearby), but it's not personal. It's simply because we're totally better than you guys now.

Little Debbie and Nike have spoken. We ROCK! As such, I think it would just be for the best if nobody questions their judgment.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We Interrupt This Training...

I've had a change of plans people!! Although it may delay my reunion with the Hubby on Friday night, it will DEFINITELY be worth it!!! Go see Comedy Goddess for more details!!! However, you may address me as Mrs. Ambassador!

Anyway, I just thought I would leave you with some key quotes (that I remembered and/or was awake for) during my briefings today because when taken out of context (of course) made me laugh:

"I've got four months until I'm eligible for retirement. Please direct any comments to the mistletoe stapled to my ass."

"The new generation of workers doesn't understand the need for PC regulations. They are the first color/gender/race-blind generation. So how the hell do you tell the 70 year old worker that two of the new people are homosexual? -- 'Two of them are gay! Go see if you can tell which ones?!' . . . the man was seriously confused, he just kept repeating, "but she's PRETTY! Why would she be gay?!"

"This job seriously sucks!"

"We often forget that technology is not normal for some of our workforce. An older gentleman dropped his cell phone into the toilet - after I contemplated (for a long while) exactly how or why that happened - I figured it wasn't so bad. -- Then I was told that he put it into the microwave to dry it out."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Know What REAL Pain Is....

OMFG!!! I think I am a victim of torture!!! I shit you was SOOO damn painful. Not only was it LONG -- I was forced to sit there and pretend to listen for literally eights of hours -- it was also EXTREMELY boring.

Now granted, some of the blame might belong to me -- I SAID MIGHT -- so anyway, YES...I might have ended up watching stupid Mama Mia on HBO for what might have been the 4th time since I arrived here in the States and re-found the TV (what can I say?? That shit is both entertaining and addicting! Although my neighbors in the hotel might not agree with my premise). And said TV watching MIGHT have kept me up until almost midnight on what might have been a school night. This whole perfect shit storm is compounded when you take into consideration that the briefings started at like 0700!! (And let me just interject here....0700!?!?! We're the USG! WTF!?)

Anyway, so my point is (and I think I might have one) I started my day out very sleepy. It just got worse from there!

I arrived early enough to get a cup of coffee. I elbowed my way to the front and grabbed the last of the paper cups and took what sounded like it might have also been the last cup of coffee -- ha HA SUCKAHS! You snooze, you lose!

Now since this is ME we're talking about here (and I mean really, have we EVER talked about anything or anyone else? Why are you guys surprised by this at this stage?) Anyway, I started to suspect foul play about 15 minutes into the first speaker when my eyes started to roll back into my head. Do you remember when you were in school and you were trying to pay attention, but you have to focus all your energy on keeping your eyes open?! Well, take that feeling and times it by five! That was me today!!!

So I'm sitting there, willing my eyes to remain open and they totally went out of focus! So then I started to worry that maybe my eyes had crossed - because it was all blurry and I was seeing like two of everything. But I couldn't seem to focus them again! I couldn't keep them open AND focused! However, I was too scared to close them for fear that I would fall into a deep sleep and fall off my chair and hit my head on the table, knocking out a front tooth, effectively rendering me hideous and witch-like for my re-introduction to my husband on Friday -- I simply couldn't risk it I tell you!!! I was forced to suffer in silence - although there might have been some sighing going on....

SO THEN I was all worried that the speaker was actually looking at me and my eyes were all glassy and crossed-- because it LOOKED like the stupid person was looking at me!! But I couldn't be sure because I was so damn tired and they were sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher.... So I then started to fidget in my chair -- which immediately made me have to go to the bathroom.

The speakers blathered on about something -- I'm honestly not really sure what they were talking about. Seriously, I am pretty sure that they were speaking English as I thought I understood what the individual words themselves meant - but when they're all together? no clue.

This literally went on for about 2 hours before they gave us a break. By this time, I was literally praying for death or some kind of terrorist attack so that I could get out of my chair. Luckily, it didn't come to that - they gave us a 10 minute break (WTF USG!? TEN MINUTES? Have some damn pity of those of us who are actively praying for death...) and I could use the restroom. As such, I didn't come to social ruin this morning...there is still till the end of the week though - give it time.

ANYWAY, when I arrived back in the room I went back to get another cup of coffee -- hoping that they had refilled the stupid pot - and I noticed that the coffee pot I hogged earlier was DECAF! (DAMNITT! When will I learn not to be all piggy!?)

WTF!?! WHO THE HELL MAKES DECAF!? If you're not drinking coffee for the caffeine, you should just have a damn glass of juice! DO NOT clog up the area with that damn decaf. MAKE TWO EFF'IN POTS OF REGULAR COFFEE IN THE AM...ESPECIALLY if you're going to make us sit through people reading off of power point presentations that they obviously have never seen prior to its projection on the big screen!

I shit you not, one guy seemed almost surprised by the information on the screen. (Now I kinda wonder what he was saying -- I really should ask someone). So fast forward 8 hours and 10 cups of caffeinated coffee later - I'm sitting in my hotel room...wide awake....watching Mama Mia!!

So when you're near me, Darling can't you hear me..SOS....

I might need some kind of Abba Intervention.

Monday, July 20, 2009

It Has Come To My Attention...

That I might not be as charming as I like to think I am! I realize that many of you may be shocked by this revelation, but I'm afraid, it's TRUE. Although my downward spiral into self-absorption began LONG before I met my husband, he pretty much has been the only one (I actually listened to) to tell me as much -- and live to tell about it. As a result, I'm continually shocked that we actually managed to get married.

Josh and I met in Algiers, Algeria at the Embassy there. Someone invited him to go to a dinner out at a restaurant not long after he arrived at Post. We all went to this restaurant and the waiter came to ask for our drinks. Josh goes, "I'll have a Coca-Cola Classic, please." Unable to control my inner smart-ass, I blurted out "As opposed to New Coke?!" (I KNOW! RIGHT!? I'm totally hilarious! Seriously, I totally get a kick outta myself. I don't need anybody else!!)

Josh says that this was the exact moment he realized how he felt about me and he just knew that he totally hated my guts.

However, I was undeterred. I cannot stand it if people openly hate me, so I pestered him until he conceded defeat, Eventually, I wore him down to the point where he agreed to marry me (probably to get me to shut up). I have no doubt that he has regretted that decision on a daily basis. But it's too late now! Ha HA! SUCKAH!

Boys are dumb.

So obviously, my favorite subject is me. Is that so wrong?!

That's what I thought.

So, since we're already on that subject (me), let me tell you about the moment that I knew that Josh was (or might be) the one for me. Josh was taking online college courses while he was at the Embassy and I was serving as his proctor for the exams. He had a test scheduled, and I agreed to meet him at the Embassy and log him onto the exam. When I walked into the Embassy, Josh was waiting. He was sitting at the computer wearing a pair of glasses, studying his books.

"I didn't know you wore glasses!"

"I don't. I only wear them for tests because I think it makes me look smarter."

"You do know it doesn't actually MAKE you any smarter though?! You did study, RIGHT?" Josh just gave me a disgusted look like I was the crazy one in the room.

Seriously, you gotta love anyone that can openly embrace their inner crazy like that.

Obviously, we're a match made in heaven!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Shhh....Nobody Tell.....

So this weekend I have plans (again) to go shopping with some friends. This time, however, I'm headed to the outlet mall -- I figured I needed to get out of this hotel attached to the Galleria Mall because, every day when I walk by the Burberry Store out front of the hotel, I'm starting to think that $1,795 for a purse is not actually that much.... (I suspect Josh may feel differently, but I'm just guessing.) Therefore, I'm doing Josh a favor by going to the outlet mall. I'm saving him money!!

My GOD, I'm such a good person sometimes! It totally amazes me how good I am!!

That said, I would appreciate it if you guys (and when I say "you guys" I mean mom and other mom - both conveniently named Debbie) would not mention to Josh that I am headed to said outlet mall. I mean, even though I'm doing a selfless act and all, there is no way on Earth he will understand and support my selfless act -- What I'm trying to say is, he's going to freak out if I buy one more thing, so let's just try not to upset him needlessly before I finally see him again...OKAY?!?!

It's for the children. (And when I say "children," I mean me.)

ANYWAY, I've obviously figured out the secret to popularity: Leave the country. Seriously, when you return for some random reason - EVERYONE will want to go out to drinks or dinner with you, and (best of all) they will ALL want to hear your stories.

My GOD! Do you have any idea how great it is when people actually LISTEN to your blather?! That's some heady stuff man.

I should write a self-help book. Who knew being popular was so damn easy!? I'll make a fortune!!! (Which is a good thing since I will likely spend a fortune this afternoon)... So, who wants to reserve the first one!?

Friday, July 17, 2009

I Managed to Find a Way...

Yes I finally did it! I figured out how to turn what SOUNDS like it would be a healthy dinner into something that is akin to eating a bowl of bacon bits - but MY GOD this is yummy!!!


I realize that many of you thought it couldn't be done...and are currently in awe of my skills, but let this be a valuable lesson to you: NEVER doubt my ability to find some sort of fattening option to what would normally be good for you! Seriously, if you haven't done so, you have GOT to try this. Crispy Duck Salad ROCKS, and yet contains no lettuce or any other item that may be classified as "healthy" (except maybe the celery part - but I figured that was just garnish and picked that crap out). Apparently, in Thai culture (which is sooooo much better than our own) they place the salad UNDER the cabbage bowl, so as not to taint your crispity goodness with its greenery.

Next to the Belgiums and their Chocolates, I got to give Thai Culture snaps for their ability to redefine "salad" into something waaaay yummier than what we have.

Lettuce is for Losers.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Today, My Suspicions were Confirmed!

So today I was hanging around downtown DC pretty much on and off all day while I waited for random people to be ready to "see" me. Apparently, word has gotten out that one might need to prepare themselves to deal with me on a one-on-one basis. (For the record, I would like to note that you're probably not ever going to be adequately prepared for any meeting in which I am a participant. I suspect it is best to just get it over with as quickly as possible....kinda like ripping off a band aid...)

Anyway, so as I was hanging around by myself doing my favorite hobby -- people watching -- or, as I like to call it, playing Judgey McJudy -- it came to me; I'm a Bitch.

Now I know that many of you may have suspected as much (and I fear my parents will likely be disappointed to have their suspicions confirmed publicly) but I now know it's true. How do I know this you ask? Well, besides, the obvious bitch-like tendencies I exhibit on a daily basis, I observed the following scenario:

I'm sitting outside of Caribou Coffee, minding my own business - with nowhere to go and pretty much nothing to do until my 3:00 meeting -- and I spotted a very rare species in downtown DC (and not on a crazy homeless person, mind you) I spotted a woman (with a high end name-brand purse, which made it all the more rare and confusing) wearing what appeared to be a peach skirt and a mint green blouse, paired with a banana clip and tennis shoes with scrunchy socks a la Summer, 1984!!!

So I judged. And then I immediately began to search for my cell phone. MY GOD! I had to call someone!! The 80s were not only alive and well, they were coming back to haunt me!!!

Then I remembered two things: (1) Who the hell am I gonna call? (Minoy actually works and Liz moved to Naples - probably to get away from my constant phone calls and text messages.... ); and (2) I don't have a cell phone here in the states anymore.

So then as I sat all by myself, I contemplated my bitchiness. Why the hell can't I just let that pass?? What is WRONG with me?!

SO, I decided to do something about it. I was going to (once again) attempt to be a better person. I was going to be nicer to people. I was going to be kind to strangers and not be so judgey!

And then two tourists approached me and ruined it all.

Seriously, God is clearly Eff'in with me!! Right after I made my promise to try to be a better person, two ladies sat down at the table with me. THEY SERIOUSLY JUST SAT RIGHT DOWN...and there were OPEN TABLES. (I have issues with my personal space) One lady asked me if I lived in DC, and without waiting for my answer proceeded to tell me that they were here from Iowa and that DC sure had changed since the last time they were here back in 1987 (amazingly enough, they were NOT wearing the 80s ensemble above) and how they didn't think there would be a Caribou Coffee here in DC, although they knew that there was PROBABLY going to be a Starbucks (there is a Starbucks in Baghdad PEOPLE! DC is not a stretch), they were surprised to see a Caribou Coffee.

Then they asked me if it had the same things on the menu.

I was wrong. I cannot be a better person. I'm a bitch and I need to just own it. I have no patience, and I have become the rude stereotypical east coast city dweller. I should just get a cell phone and simply call Minoy's voice mail to inform her of my newest 80s sighting in public.

I'll just be kind to animals instead. I think that's the best we can hope for at this point. (But not spiders!! I'm just trying to be a little better - I'm not running for JESUS!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Know I Totally Didn't Sign Up for This!!!

Okay, so I'm back for some mandatory training that the USG thinks will make me a better person. (Obviously, they do not actually KNOW me, or they wouldn't be wasting everyone's time like this...) One of the things I'm "learning" is about leadership. Apparently (and I never have been and never will be in the military) leaders are supposed to "care" and "inspire" their subordinates and colleagues.

Did you guys know this?? Why wasn't I told in advance?? Why am I just finding this out now!?!?!

I am not positive, but I think my total aversion to people and listening to anything that any other person might have to say could potentially impact my ability to lead and/or inspire. But I'm just guessing here.... PLUS, these people (and clearly, they were crazy people) were yammering at me ALL DAY LONG about how I'm supposed to KNOW the people who work in my office (which I assume means I'm going to have to make an effort to learn their respective names). Apparently, calling everyone "other Steve" or "new lady I have never actually met" can be offensive to people.

Clearly, we have a generational problem at play here. Why back in my day, I was thankful to be called "purely decorative, no skills" by the senior partner at the law office. (Frankly, he kinda had a point.) Today's kids aren't simply thankful that someone is willing to pay them for showing up (like I am)! They expect their "leaders" to ask about their families, their hopes, dreams, and future career aspirations. And here is where it gets outrageous: We're not allowed to just nod and pretend to listen to what they have to say. We're supposed to actually DO something about it.

Today was obviously very upsetting for me. In addition to this leading and inspiring nonsense, I was also told that I was supposed to understand and be able to articulate what it is I say I do for the USG.

They said some other stuff too, but I pretty much stopped listening because it was simply becoming waaay too upsetting for me. There is NO WAY I can learn all these names and be expected to actually speak directly to these people!

What happened to the position where women were seen and not heard in the workplace?! When did that all go away? And, more importantly....which one of you F'd it up for the rest of us!?!??!

Monday, July 13, 2009

So Far Behind and So Much to Say....

So as I am sure many of you are already aware, time management and doing anything in moderation have never been my strong suits. I'm almost positive that I MUST have some strengths, but it seems that I can only seem to identify my weaknesses. What I would LIKE (for a damn change) is to figure these things out NOT via "valuable lessons" learned through huge mistakes. Also, I would like for me to be able to remember these "valuable lessons" past the day that I actually learned them.

Take for instance my strict adherence to the self-imposed rule, never go out on a school night. So my time management and lack of moderation flaws really managed to rear their ugly heads this weekend.

Seems I jam-packed my schedule. (Which really isn't like me, because I'm pretty lazy...) So now I have THREE days worth of crap to spout about and many of you are without my insightful and educational comments on your blogs. (I KNOW! It's a tragedy, frankly!)

Friday: Had dinner with some friends - former cops. Went over what to do in the invent I am charged with a crime. Let's face it. Its obviously only a matter of time before I turn to a life of crime. Chances are (because I'm not that bright and am hideously lazy) that I will likely get caught. Therefore, it's good information to have. Downside: I probably should have paid closer attention when they were talking. As it turns out, sometimes stuff can be helpful and interesting when it is NOT actually about me. (I was as shocked as many of you are myself!) (no photos, forgot camera. Hotel room was literally 10s of steps away from the restaurant. There was no way I was going back for it. I'm sure I'll remember what they look like....or their names....sure....)

Saturday: Met Otin and Hit40 (and her family) at Cheesecake. I TOTALLY HATED THEM.

Okay, so no I didn't. I really liked them, but it totally would have been a waaay better story if I had hated them and we ended up in a big ole cheesecake fistfight. Although, truth be told, there was a touchy moment there when Hit40 suggested that dessert be shared (!!) I was speechless that it was even suggested and was considering throwing my fork into her eyeball, but then I realized she was talking to Otin, not me, and then I calmed down.

Let me repeat (for safety reasons): I DO NOT SHARE! (see Josh and/or Liz for further details)

Sunday: I went to visit my babies!!! They are both REALLY happy (which was kinda insulting, frankly...Would it kill them to at least PRETEND like they were simply missing me the whole time!?!?) Naturally, Poods (aka Jack) was all excited and kissy at first, but then remembered that he was pissed at me for leaving him behind so he preceeded to ignore me for the rest of the visit. The boy hold grudges. (Where the hell does that come from??)

So at first, he would sit in the room near me, but with his back to me and would refuse to look at me. Then, he gave up and went to his bedroom (Alan gave him his own room so he could have the whole bed. Jack also doesn't like to share either). Jack pretty much said, "thanks for stopping are dead to me." Had to force him to give me a kiss goodbye!

Jack is an ass.

Kernel on the other hand, was snuggly and lovey the whole time. One thing I forgot about him though: He is disgusting. The boy sheds, drools and puts slobbery toys in your lap, licks anything near him and likes to sit on top of me. I miss that guy. I don't miss his drooley mess.

Both of them are clearly spoiled rotten and live on 10 acres. They currently have better housing than I do.

And then Sunday night, I met up with a friend for drinks at 7 and didn't get in until almost 0100! Anyone that knows me, knows that I have two speeds when it comes to drinking: Stop, and Yahoo. I woke up this morning by the Grace of God frankly. And the July Miracle? I wasn't late for work!!!

Worst part about this trip so far: They are continuing to make me actually attend work and talk about work related things.

I think I've been pretty clear that I'm not really Work-ey. Must we go over this time and time again!?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Some Important Things to Consider....

when returning to the US from Sudan:

(1) You do not have diplomatic immunity. This is (apparently) key. When you're in the US you have to actually park where you are allowed and drive the posted speed limits. Further, you can't just walk up to the front of lines and stuff. But my question to you is: WHY!? WHY CAN'T I? To be perfectly honest, I've become accustomed to a certain lifestyle and it is frankly cruel to cut me off cold turkey. I can't just go from being all important-ey and stuff to a big ole nobody!? I'm pretty sure the Geneva Convention covers this. (Someone should really look into this. I suspect I might have been wronged.)

(2) DC has about 472% humidity in the summer. Doing your hair is a waste of time. Sure, it may look all pretty(ish) when you leave your hotel room, but by the time you reach your car - you might have well just slept in. You will have the same hair-do that you had when you woke up. Remember why the pony-tail used to be your best friend.

(3) Work sucks. However, even though work sucks...if you love to shop (and I seriously heart shopping), it is very VERY important to keep in mind that you have to actually PAY for the stuff that you buy. Therefore, you should remember that you need to suck up to the people at work in case they figure out that you've been faking it for the last decade. (Before that, I was learning, that doesn't count.)

(4) It takes more than 8 minutes to get to work. It takes more than 8 minutes to get out of the hotel parking lot.

(5) It is not a good decision to re-find TV on a school night. You cannot be trusted to go to bed without Josh to tell you it is time to turn off the TV and go to bed.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

And Now, the Rest of the Story....

So apparently, my life has pretty much turned into one of those stories that they used to tell in the olden days to teach little kids lessons. As many of you may have gathered, I tend to lean toward the drama because everybody knows a story is MUCH MUCH better if you don't cloud it with "facts" and "actual dialogue" or "what actually happened." In my experience, if I tell a story that I think could or should have happened that way, they are totally more interesting.

As such, most of you probably thought that I was "exaggerating" or "lying" when I wrote that I couldn't find my effin passport(s). I must admit that as I read through yesterday's comments that I was a bit surprised by how cruel and flip many of you were, how there was NO SYMPATHY at all for my plight (and it WAS a plight, I tell you)!!! Therefore, I have to conclude that, much like that boy who cried wolf, many of you didn't actually believe my story. (I assume that today 4 and 20 blackbirds are going to come flying out of a pie and I'll find mice in my tub, in keeping with the story. Or was I going to end up living in a shoe with a large egg named humpty sitting on the wall? Whatever. You get it.)

If only yesterday had been one of those "Facts Are Strictly Optional" moments...
I actually DID lose both of my passports.

I had to go beg the Consular officer to issue me an emergency tourist passport. (Which, amazingly enough, he totally did - after I paid him what he called the "you're a stupid ass" fee. ) The Embassy issued me a new passport in less than 3 hours. I am quite impressed with either our government or my own ability to harass, cry and threaten until people make stuff happen just to make me go away.

So the story ends and all is good, right?? No.

We're only at the middle of the story - where everyone THINKS they're going to live happily ever after, but then there's always a twist!!!

Sudan didn't want to let me OUT of the country because, inside my lost passport was the 2 year visa they issued me for the privilege of working in Sudan. Turns out, if you are in Sudan illegally (without a diplomatic passport - which cannot be issued in Khartoum) the Sudanese assume you're up to no good. And will want you to be a guest of the government for being in the country illegally.

So, with the help of the newly sainted Anna-Maria (I didn't even have to add the catholic saint-making name - she already came with it!) a dip note was sent to the Sudanese government and we begged for them to send me a letter letting the guys at the airport know that I'm not Evil, Just STUPID and, therefore, to set me free.

The letter was in Arabic - I totally wish I knew what it said, but can only assume it went like this:

To Whom it May Concern:

May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon you. Standing before you is an idiot who works at the Embassy of the Great Satan. She has lost her passports because obviously, she is a stupid western Ho. (NO! DON'T LOOK AT HER!)

Although it may appear that she is in our blessed country illegally, in reality, she has diplomatic status. -- Please ask to see her diplomatic ID card issued by Sudan now..I'll wait (insert muzak here) -- Good, you're back. I assume she forgot that as well? If so, please make 15 phone calls pretending to verify her story. Once completed continue to para three.

Please feel free to ask her a number of questions at this point - questions she will not know the answer to, such as "what is your address in Khartoum?" When she tries to tell you the US Embassy, look at her like she is an idiot, but ask her where she physically lives - it'll totally be funny. Now seriously, she won't know. We don't have street addresses that are posted. She'll just know how to describe where she is...pretend you just moved here. Seriously, it'll be hilarious.

ha HA! I told you!!

Now ask for her local phone number and roll your eyes when she tries to hand you her card and/or look at the back of her cell phone to find out. Seriously, that really annoys her. Watch her face, she'll totally start to roll her eyes and then remember she has to be nice to you. The eye-roll will seamlessly merge into a sunny smile. SEE!? hahaha

Okay, that's great. This was fun. Thank you for your assistance in this regard. We can only push this Embassy so far, we kinda still want some stuff from them.

Have a Happy Nice Day!!!

Mohammad al- Sudani
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

PS Right before she thinks she has made it out, do me one last favor, would you??? Inform her that because she is traveling on a tourist passport, she has to go pay the "exit tax" before she can leave. Point to the really long line off to the right of you. It'll be waaay funny.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Warning: Those Old Adages Might Do You Wrong!

Remember all those old adages that everyone lives by? They were passed down from generation to generation....things like, "Never pet at burning dog" or "the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west - unless of course you're standing in the south and facing north and/or you have no idea which way east or west IS unless you are physically in your car (not the older one, but the newer one) that has that compass and temperature thing in it??

Two problems with these adages: (1) I might have gotten some of them wrong; and/or (2) I might have either made them up, or my father told them to me (which is, frankly, equally bad)!!! For example:

"Why Do Today What You Could Potentially Put Off Until Tomorrow." Why? WHY?? I'll tell you WHY!!!! Because SOMETIMES (if you're me) and you put off doing stuff - like say, packing or cooking, or remembering what day your housekeeper actually comes during the week when you plan a dinner party, you might actually have some issues that come up on the day that you are supposed to leave and host said dinner party.

For instance, I have to be in DC at work on Thursday. I have also made plans to go to dinner with friends on Thursday. Therefore, I am going to need CLOTHES to go to work and to dinner on THURSDAY. It is 0530 and my suitcase STILL sits empty on the floor in my room waiting to be filled with the the clothes (most of them waay random and in no way thought out) that I have taken out of the closets and/or drawers last night because I thought "I just might need these" in my frenzy to actually do something starting about midnight, when I realized it was now tomorrow!!

I have meetings ALL DAY today and do not actually have any time in my "schedule" (still not really sure what that IS or why I insist on having one) to stay home and pack the aforementioned clothing. In addition, I seem to have also planned a dinner party this evening. (that now starts at 6:30 pm with strict instructions for everyone to get the hell out of my house by 10 pm because the driver picks me up at 10:30 to go to the airport) and I have realized that I do not actually have anything to serve as a beverage at said dinner party. Mind you, I called my cook last night in a frenzy begging her to cook for me for 15 people (FYI, that woman can really negotiate what she would call a fair price and what I would call highway robbery!! )

It's funny how cultures are soo different in some ways.

And finally, for the coup de gras, it has also come to my attention (about midnight last night) that I have NO IDEA where my mother f'n passport is located. I suspect it might have went to Dar es Salaam for one of those Gucci Safaris that everyone (read me, in its presence) has been talking about!

Luckily for me, I keep both the diplomatic and tourist passport together - in one safe place!!! UNLUCKILY, as it turns out, I have no idea where that safe place is!


Which brings us to our last adage that just may screw me today:

"Do Unto Others as You Suspect they Might Have Done Unto You and then Give Them What You Believe Should Be Done Unto Them.

I realize many of you may be thinking to yourself, "You work at the Embassy! Just get yourself a new one!" However, "SCREW YOU!" I also work for the US Government and we all know that NOTHING can be done simply or quickly (and when I say "quickly," I mean, by 10 pm tonight). ESPECIALLY when you might have been just a LITTLE bit snotty to the guy in the Consular Section because he never gets your jokes and always just stares at you like you're a crazy person....but I mean SERIOUSLY, Whatever dude! So I made a SMALL mistake and thought you were sexually harassing me when you said "good morning" to me in the hallway and then followed me in the Embassy...I mean, how the hell was I to know that your office was in the same general direction as mine? ANYONE COULD HAVE MADE THE SAME MISTAKE!! Anyone.

I'm sure that one day (when the mandatory 10 years has passed for harassment complaints to remain in your personnel file) you will realize that it was an honest mistake and that maybe it WAS actually that other lady who is no longer at the Embassy and that nobody really remembers anymore - but I'm sure we all couldn't stand, fyi, and not really ME (as I will be claiming today), who did that!

So bottom line: NEVER listen to old people who try to pass on those damn adages!! Which, frankly, is what I do most of the time! I should have never started trying to Learn new things. JUST LOOK Where it got me!

So, bottom line: today's plans in my busy schedule, probably not gonna happen until I locate that safe place that I have decided to keep my passport again. Seriously! WTF! It's not like there are any closets or drawers in this place! That stupid thing should be sitting out in the middle of the floor somewhere!

PS re: tonight's dinner party: BYO Drinks people....if you want water (and unless you want a refreshing glass of the Nile) I suggest you show up with a bottle.

PPS: could you pls bring me something to drink too?

PPPS: Is anyone friends with the consular officer?

PPPS Could anyone make friends with the consular officer??

Remember When I Said Math was Hard??

So remember how excited I was to get to TDY back to the States and how I would see Josh at the end of July after my training? Remember how exciting that was??

Well, turns out Josh may not be able to make his onward flight to go see his parents and may have to stay at the hotel with me for the day and/or over night depending on flight availability.

Normally, I would say WHOO HOO...I get to see him earlier. However, it has recently come to my attention (when I thought about it) that I had PLANNED to lose 20 lbs before I saw josh - you know - remember when I had 7 mos to do so? WEEEEELLLLLLLLL, seems I now have about 5 days.

Anyone?!? ANYONE?!?! PHARMACIST?! I can't wait for Friday - I need help NOW!

I mean, who could have possibly seen this coming!? Seriously, just last week I had OODLES of time - I did the math - by my calculations I had about 5 mos left. AND, that one teen from the UK who was 464 lbs - she lost 205 pounds in about 11 months. THEREFORE, if you (carry the one, divide by 7 and times by the cosine) use that same mathmatical model I should be able to lose 29 pounds a week. I don't need to lose twenty NINE Pounds -- although, frankly maybe I should save up because we ARE going to Cheesecake on Sat...hmmm... oh wait, sorry.... RIGHT??

Who does math??? Someone check my work!!

Also, I fly out tomorrow night, but seem to have volunteered to host a dinner for about 15 people ...wait for it....tomorrow night. What the hell is wrong with me?? I haven't even packed! I guess I could just whip up some what?

Ah HAH! I've got a whole case of lunch sized beefaronis. I'll just put them all in one pan, sprinkle on some grated cheese and buy some of that arabic bread - and viola! Beefaroni rollups!

I should probably go tell the cook I'm gonna need dinner for 15 at seven, and bring some paper plates.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

An Educational Post

I decided I would give something back to the community. I realized that I might have been a tad bit self-centered lately. How did I realize this, you ask?? Well, let me tell you. As I unpacked my stuff, I came upon a pic of Josh and myself back in the day when we actually lived in the same country. Back when I spoke to him on a daily basis that wasn't over an instant messenger or skype that always had a bunch of background noise and randomly the stupid kitty would come up instead of my picture because I can't figure out how to fix that damn video function.

(Interruption: listen science, please -- AFTER you finish inventing the fat pill -- I would really appreciate it if you could invent some type of technology that could fix the damn computer based upon what I am screaming at it, i.e., when I scream FIX THE F'N CAMERA AND MAKE THAT DAMN TALKING KITTY (that is kinda creepy frankly) GO AWAY! The 'puter knows what I want and the kitty goes quietly into the night. End interruption.)

Anyway, I realized that I have not seen my hubby in almost 7 months. SEVEN months people. Wait... I can't do math. I saw him in January. WHATEVER - It's been a long time. So, before I see him, I wanted to kinda make myself a better person (not deep down inside, I don't have that kinda time here - I see him at the end of July people. I just want to APPEAR to be better! I'm not running for JESUS!)

AS SUCH, I decided that a simple (albeit not exactly effortless, because I have to TYPE this stuff) thing to do would be to educate you all about the potential dangers of international travel.

Begin Education:

Duty Free is not a good deal. I realize that many of us THINK that it is duty free, therefore, it is a bargain - and you know why we think this? Because nobody really knows what "duty" is; therefore, we assume, if there is no "duty" you're getting it for a steal. Frankly, the only reason we go to duty free is because you quickly realize you are bored as hell waiting for the connection - even when you are in the business class lounge. Depending on which country you are currently transiting - sometimes there are no english language papers except for stupid USA Today and what the hell is that? It's like the People Magazine of Newspapers.

DO NOT under any circumstances attempt to do your own conversion to US Dollars (or British Boops, Canadian Canuks, Dubai Dingos, etc)!! it is important to remember that just because you are in a foreign country, does not mean that you suddenly know how to do math and it is probably not a good idea to assume that everything is "around $7," because sometimes it is not. SOMETIMES it is "around "$70," and even though that little travel bag that comes with the lotion LOOKS so cute, it is not actually worth it to buy the lotion that you're not really sure what it does because you can't read the language, but you're sure you can eventually figure it out. I'm just saying, sometimes you can't.

Do NOT assume that just because your Hubby is not in the same country, that he will not be able to check the credit card statement. Damn online banking and its stupid JOINT access accounts. Frankly, while the Feds are regulating the banking system, they really need to add in a requirement that the bank notify you if your hubby checks the accounts (credit, OR checking) so that you have time to determine WHY you spent so much money at duty free for that lotion and perfume that kinda stunk so you gave it to your housekeeper and you bought that purse in that name brand store you would normally NEVER go into because you know you can't afford it, but it SEEMED like such a deal when presented to you in Dingos, but then you did your own conversion and you thought it was like $17, and it was DUTY FREE ....ummm....well, let's just say I'm going to need some time to prepare. Okay!?

THEREFORE, IN CONCLUSION, when traveling internationally it is important to remember to always have an excuse pre-prepared for when you go to Duty Free because let's face it, you are NEVER going to be able to NOT go in there!!

Oh, and FYI, also do not try to finish the entire big thing of Toblerone that you bought for the office, but just wanted to try (to make sure it was still good and not stale) but then realized that you ate too much of it and you pretty much needed to hide the evidence. Yeah, don't do that either.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Why Do I Always Have to be the One To Bring This Shit Up???

Fine! I'll say it: Chef Boyardee...You are NOT a chef!! Your lasagna does NOT have any God-damned mozzarella in it, and WTF were you thinking with your "lunch sized" microwavable "meals."

FYI, that is (a) NOT a meal; rather, I believe it probably counts as one damn weight watchers point because there is approximately 2 bites in the damn can; and (b) that shit is DISGUSTING.

Now I'm all pissed because I was at Costco before I left the states, buying my "consumables" for 2 years in Sudan and thought to myself, "hmmm...I haven't had that in years! And Hey! it's only $12.99 -- why is EVERYTHING at Costco $12.99?? And, why do I always think that is a deal?" so I bought a CASE of it - assorted mind you - so I have no-cheese having disgusting lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs (that I haven't even opened and am frankly frighted at what I am going to find) and some beefaroni. What the hell is beefaroni? I have never seen that on a menu at an Italian restraunt!!

I suspect Chef Boyardee is not from Italy. Now all I have to do is prove it.

I said GOOD DAY! Boyardee!

However, I will tell you who DID like the lasagna! Little Pippy. She is adorable.

I opened my door -- and there's a little entryway in between the doors (not sure why, it just seems to be a pain in the ass, but the Sudanese might culturally demand an area where they can compose themselves before going through the second door - so I guess I just have to respect that!) ANYWAY, I must not have secured the outer door very well because I opened up the first door to go see if I could find some babies who had no idea that Lasagna should not be disgusting and/or contain mozzarella and, VIOLA! I had a pack of stray dingos in my foyer. I'm not sure that is precisely what the Sudanese were going for - but Hey! Now I've found a use for my extra space. Dingo Rest Area.

As I was trying to get the babies out of the foyer, a local guard was walking by and made a comment that the dogs sure liked my house. So naturally, (because I'm hilarious like that) I said, "A dingo ate my bay-bee" Clearly, the guy's never seen the movie beacuse he gave me a look like he was just a little bit frightened of me and hurried on his way to the back gate.

Whatever dude! that shit was funny!

Anyway, in between microwaving what I falsely assumed would be a culinary masterpiece, I have managed to (sorta) clean up the house. I didn't take a pic of Josh's man room that I filled up with everything I couldn't find a space for (read all the extra crap) because I think it would just make him too sad. However (avert your eyes from all the dust and stuff - we had a haboob and I haven't had THAT much time - baby steps people)...I actually have some stuff now. Not a lot, mind you - but some. Clearly, there will never be pics on the walls because they are all solid concrete. It's simply UNpossible for me to put them up. AND, I don't care enough - there is that too.

Friday, July 3, 2009

SHIT! What Did I Miss!?!?!?

So I had some "issues" with my internet here at home - and by issues, I mean it reverted back to the days of dial up - when it would take 34 minutes to load an email. Naturally, because I'm waaay too lazy and impatient to wait around for that, I told everyone it was "broken" and demanded that GSO get over here IMMEDIATELY to fix it because I was without vital life support services in my home.

Apparently, GSO does not think my lack of internet service warrants a call in at 0300.

Also apparently, GSO can hold a grudge for over 4 days.

Well played GSO, well played.

So It's been a whirlwind week - I received a poster from Tera at Olive Hue Designs (Thanks TERA!) that she made of (what I assume is me because I clearly am all skinny like that..ahem...WHAT?) holding a bottle of Bakon Vodka and a cupcake - some of my obvious favorites)! I received postcards from Dar and I thought I would document this evidence for you all. Snaps to Hit 40 for selflessly giving her winnings up to me!!! haha

Then some other stuff happened. I was all fired up about it too - but now I kinda forget. But last night was our national day celebration at the Embassy. And, apparently, I should not be allowed to drink in public. I'm clearly out of practice.

I am just saying - going to the National day straight from work (where the only food you've eaten all day is a grilled cheese sandwich at noon) for a 7 pm function and standing directly next to the bar where your friend Jason is serving drinks might have been a bad call. It might also have been a bad call to eventually wander over to the (reportedly) life-sized cut out of Hillary Clinton with Christina (who was ALSO standing next to the bar with me) and proceeding to have a conversation with the cardboard cut out. And it probably didn't help that we accused the Brit of attempting to steal that cut out to put up in their Embassy. Turns out he was not "eyeing Hillary" as I accused, but simply eyeing us, wonder what the hell we were doing talking to the cut out.

It was an honest mistake. I officially apologize to Britain. I hope this little incident can blow over quietly. I will leave some of the tonic water I have been hoarding at your Embassy. Can't we all just get along??

So, let's just end this post by noting that Paul had to drive me home while I hiccuped in the car the whole way. And, I may or may not be banned from any more official Embassy functions here in Sudan.

Thank GOD it wasn't a school night!!!