Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Shameless Begging

First one to send me some Necco Sweetheart Conversation Hearts wins my eternal love. Seriously. I wouldn't joke about something like this.

Sucks being me

I feel better, but I'm sleepy, my washing machine is leaking so I need to call a plumber sometime soon, and I am having difficulty concentrating on my stupid revising. Instead I'm watching The Producers. I need to stop immediately and find my intellectual curiosity. It's around here somewhere.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Not much new here

It's been a slow few days here. This cold I have, well, it's getting better but I still make a rattly/wheezy noise if I exhale deeply, which is, I think, not good. I spent the weekend in bed hoping to kick this thing out of my system. Which meant very little internet time and not nearly enough studying. Curse you, long naps!

It is a busy week at work. Made busier by the nagging of internal "customers" with urgent needs that have nothing to do with the deadlines I have to meet this week. One deadline is an internal deadline, so I guess I'll cut them some slack. But the rest of them are just plain pesky ratsos. (Why is fatso in the spell check but ratso isn't?)

They're painting our offices, as well, so each day I sit in the cold caused by the open windows. It smells like paint anyway, so perhaps we'd be better off just shutting them and staying warm. Today I had to answer all the phones for my team because everyone was out for the day except me and Mel, who is pregnant, and who worked in another area of the building to avoid the fumes. Which meant I struggled to meet my deadline for today since I kept getting sidetracked by interlopers wanting our mailing address or an update on the space they were holding.

I have an exam in ENT (entrepreneurship) on Friday morning. I have resigned myself to not doing well. I plan to pass it, but not with any kind of stellar mark. I'm too busy and I need to go to bed instead of staying up studying.

I don't have classes on Saturday this week, though, so I have a relatively easy school week...just the exam and two regular classes. I can handle that. And one of those classes is globalization, which they even spell with the "z". It's my favourite. I think I should have been an economist.

I made a Burmese curry tonight. The house smells of fish sauce, chili and lime. Fish sauce tastes better than it smells, in case you were wondering.

I like to listen to music when I fall asleep. I can't until Wednesday, though, because I need to buy a new player for the bedroom. I am quite broke until then. I have paper money in my wallet, so I'm not THAT broke, but I think I'll be down to coins before tomorrow's out.

I deleted the post about the dude I work with because I didn't want him to find out and be offended. He rocks, and I'd hate to upset him. Personally, I think it's a good thing to resemble Big Boy. Big Boy is foxy. But you never know how people will take things.

I have two piercing holes in my left ear. One is in the upper part of the lobe, the other matches the hole on the right. I don't wear anything in the upper hole and haven't for years. Until today. I put my giant hoop in the wrong hole and didn't notice until about noon when I looked in the bathroom mirror and puzzled as to why my head looked lopsided.

My teeth need a brush. And a floss, for that matter.

I don't like John McCain. And I don't think he's plain-spoken. Or reasonable. I think he's a dootyhead. Yes, you heard it here first. John McCain is a dootyhead.

I wish gay people could get married. It would be a better world if they could.

I watched Tim Russert yesterday afternoon, and that one Republican candidate from Missouri was on about how we shouldn't be destroying institutions that have worked for generations, and he said that gay people are nice folks but shouldn't be so selfish by demanding to redefine marriage and family structure with all their civil ceremonies and adopting.

I wonder if he also feels that way about slavery? The same argument applies, really. Slavery was an institution dating back to biblical times. Even further, for pete's sake. Perhaps we should be rethinking that after all. I'm not sure if Mr. Huckabee would be down with some of the photos he'd get if he image-googled "slave", though. Though you never know with Republicans.

HUCKABEE. That's his name. Has he actually considered that if he won we'd have a President Huckabee? No one will go for that. No sirree. (Huckabee is not in the spell check, FYI.)

But he's better than that Mormon. What kind of name is Mitt, anyway? NOT one, that's what. Imagine the mingling of church and state in THAT administration. Celestial underpants for everyone!

President Clinton. Now THAT has a ring to it. So does President Obama, though, and I like that he's a smoker. Makes him human. Human in a way that's a lot better for the country than being human in an aw-shucks-don't-use-big-words kind of way.

Wait a second. Even better. President Gore.

Sigh. (rattle wheeze)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

And the iPod says...

1. Touch Me With Your Love - Beth Orton
2. Drug Soup - Space Monkeys
3. 69 El Camino - Southern Culture On the Skids
4. London's Brilliant Parade - Elvis Costello
5. We've Only Just Begun - Grant Lee Buffalo
6. Red Clay Halo - Gillian Welch
7. New Round - Beck
8. The Jessica Numbers - The New Pornographers
9. Calling it Quits - Aimee Mann
10. Working on a Building - Bad Livers

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sex and the City moment

I love it when Charlotte starts dating Harry. Harrys are EXACTLY what we Charlottes need.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Coincidence?



If you ask me, evil has a look about it.

The colors of my mind

Lucky me. Too many late nights and a weekend in the cold, damp air have felled me with an evil sinus infection. This is the color of things coming out of my nose and lungs. Call me a hypochondriac, but that just ain't right. My head is fuzzy, I feel barfy, and the sides of my nose are painful to the touch.

And the damn swans are back on the pond. Talk about a harbinger of doom.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Zzzzzzz

These week-long sessions are an endurance test, I tell you. It's positively painful to sit still by noon on Friday, and there are still a full six sessions to go. By Saturday morning, you lose the will to live. Regardless of the engaging banter of the lecturer or the scintillating nuances of the topic.

All in all it was a good week. Really pleased with my electives, reconnected with my friends, had dinner at a perfectly acceptable chinese restaurant last night (who knew we had one in MK) AND rode a giant ferris wheel in the middle in the freezing night air with a brisk wind rocking our gondola, as well.

Must sleep now.

Friday, January 19, 2007

24 hours and counting

until I am home watching television without a pressing case study nagging me for attention. I've gone from a leisurely break of novel-reading and Eastenders-watching straight into hyperdrive on the MBA.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled with my classes. I'm intellectually challenged. I'm excited about the entrepreneurship project, and have forged some solid working teams for the term. But what's wrong with easing a poor sap into this torture? Must we be unceremoniously dropped into the thick of things?

I'm exhausted. I've given up on makeup. I've made it to the gym a few times this week but have gone to bed with wet hair because I'm too tired to dry it. Which means I wake up with a strangely tangled helmet of curls that cannot be repaired, and end up with my hair pulled back all day. I'm pulling ill-fitting crap out of my closet and calling it an outfit because I don't have time to do laundry. To think that, only a week ago, I looked well rested and put together....well, that's just pathetic, frankly.

As I type, I'm sitting in the Forum, a public space in the School of Management, waiting for my dinner dates to show up. It's the first official day of the 07/08 MBA programme, and the newbies are congregating before walking across to the CMDC for their welcome dinner. There they all stand, in their blue suits and nametags, making awkward conversation with strangers who intimidate them because they're shit-hot players who are good enough to be Cranfield MBAs. You see aggressive stances. You see nervous laughter. You see people on the periphery of groups, not comfortable jumping in and yet not wanting to stand off by themselves. The women are sitting together, what since they're only 8% or so of the total group and they don't want to appear inappropriately flirtatious. You have a few "personalities" working the room and establishing themselves as alpha leaders. Wait until they find out that today's dynamics are only round one...all this groudwork will shift at least three times before they head home next Saturday, and by this time next year there will be a defined social strata they can't even imagine right now. They can only imagine the late night Skype calls and the learning team dramas and the exhaustion ahead of them on Saturday nights.

Oh, to be shiny and new again.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mindy's Survival Weekend

I have returned relative unscathed from my weekend in The Great Outdoors. Things I've learned this weekend:

Survival Skill #1: When your packing list demands waterproof trousers, thick wool socks, torches with spare batteries and other seldom-used items, it is best to pack the night before. Trying to throw your case together at 430pm when you're due to meet someone at the train station at 5 is unwise.

Survival Skill #2: If you're speaking to someone with a thick accent, don't respond to their sentences until you've verified you actually understood them.

Survival Skill #3: Sat nav is a necessity in the UK. But turn the volume down or the voice will freak you out when you've been on the motorway for awhile in silence, and you'll come perilously close to swerving into the guardrail when you flinch in surprise.

Survival Skill #4: If the hotel is located at the top of a steep hill with a large flight of stairs at the end, don't pack a duffel bag. And when you're walking up the hill, don't cross the strap across your neck.

Survival Skill #5: If you're staying at a youth hostel with questionable food choices to begin with, you'd best get in line early or you'll be eating slop.

Survival Skill #6: I am too damn old to sleep in a room with five other people. Especially in bunk beds.

Survival Skill #7: Most women don't like to think they snore. Even if they say they're sorry if they snored, they don't want to you to respond, "No worries. It wasn't that loud."

Survival Skill #8: If you want the breakfast you ordered from the not-particularly-well-equipped youth hostel kitchen, you'd best get there early. People lie if they think what you ordered looks better than what they did. You'll end up without porridge.

Survival Skill #9: Ask if you need to bring anything with you BEFORE you walk down the flight of stairs and steep hill to the bus.

Survival Skill #10: When they say the weather in the Peak District can be "less than hospitable" in January, believe them.

Survival Skill #11: When you're working on a group problem solving task, watch the nice young man who's observing because he will make facial expressions that indicate when you're hot or cold to the solution. Plus, if he's kind of foxy it makes standing around in the squally downpours more fun.

Survival Skill #12: Mud is sticky. And slippery.

Survival Skill #13: Check BOTH directions before peeing in the woods.

Survival Skill #14: If making a plaster of paris mask of a colleague's face, you have to rub vaseline all over their face and cover their eyes in cling film to keep it from sticking.

There are many more lessons learned, but time is short and there are case studies calling. The important thing is I won't have to do this again.

I'll be kind of absent until Sunday, but will check in as time allows. Good weeks to you all.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Today's Forecast

The nice lady on BBC Breakfast in the ill-fitting, much-too-trendy outfit tells me that we're going to be plagued with "a rash of Squally Downpours."

I've found my new "Alberta Clipper," baby. I'll be repeating that phrase with every 80mph wind gust.

It kicks "Windstorm 95's" ass. But then again, what doesn't.

And Soni, didn't you go to high school with his cousin, Gusty Crosswinds?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Idea

Are you always looking for ways to unsettle your friends and neighbours? Do others find you annoying, but not quite annoying enough? Or do you just have some extra money burning a hole in your pocket after the holiday season? Then maybe this is for you.

It's a new year. Make some resolutions.

Important Cargo

When I come home, I bring all sorts of things for folks hankerin' for a bit of the UK...PG Tips, Marmite, meat flavour potato chips, Cadbury Roses and Crunchie bars....and then I use the spare space in my luggage to bring back things I miss and can't get here. Things such as:

  • Ziploc Bags. Real ones that actually seal. Quart size, gallon size. Regular and freezer. Zipper seal bags suck here. (I've also started bringing Glad Press and Seal, as well. If the Brits saw that stuff, their heads would implode.)
  • Peanut Butter. The only one I've found that has no sugar or oil is the consistancy of grout (and tastes about like it, too.) There are lots of flavourless ones that have salt and palm oil available here, or you can buy a jar of Skippy that's about the size for a camping trip or a week at the cabin and spend about $6. All in all, best to bring some back.
  • Pickles. We've been over the fact that even kosher dills seem to be in a sweetish brine here. Pleh.
  • Penzey's Spices. I don't need garlic powder, cayenne or other basics. I need things like Breakfast Sausage Seasoning and Italian Sausage Seasoning. You can find passable sausages here if you spend some money and buy ones from a butcher. But sometimes you want a good ole sausage patty, or a decent hot italian. Penzey's can sort you out. Plus, while you're there you can grab some Fox Point, some epazote and other oddball spices for Mexican food and some Sate for the airpopcorn.
  • Speaking of Mexican food, mole and chili peppers in adobo sauce are necessities, as well.
  • Ban Roll On. I hate the new green bottle, but I'm fresh as a dang daisy.
  • Black Trousers. Clothes cost a bomb here. And they're rather cheaply made and not particularly well cut if you scrimp. Buy a $100 pair in the states and you get 3 times the quality for the same price.
  • Crystal Light. They don't know anything about the wonder of powdered drink mix with artificial sweetner. Or Jello, for that matter. The "jelly" sets in chunks while you're stirring it if you're not careful. Sugarfree Jello is the low-carb dieter's secret weapon, so you buy it at home, put it in some of your ziploc bags so it doesn't blow all over the luggage if it's punctured, and you bring it with you.
  • Virgin Top Up cards. For just $30 every three months you can have a US mobile number for your trips home. (But you can't pay online with a foreign debit card.)
  • Colored uniball pens. Because red, black and blue are simply not enough.
  • Bourbon. Maker's Mark. Baker's. Booker's. Basil Hayden. Bulleit. Evan Williams Single Barrel, Buffalo Trace, or even Wild Turkey. These people think bourbon means Jack Daniels, or worse, Jim Beam. No wonder they lecture us about why we should be drinking scotch instead. Sure, the tenacious could scour the web and boutique liquor stores of London and come up with a £45 bottle of the big red M. But why not pay $25 at Surdyk's instead?
Every trip I've made home, these things have been in my luggage when I return. Which is why I've just finished a lovely soup made with broth, tomatoes, kale and italian sausage, and am taking a break from working on a spreadsheet with my green uniball pen to blog and watch Sex And the City whilst sipping on my delicious Bulleit Manhattan. Life is SWEET, my friends.

And putting some of these things in your luggage on your way to the UK buys you free lodging and an engaging, extremely grateful hostess. There's a fare sale on. Have YOU checked them lately?

Spellcheck is on the fritz. Sorry for any mistakes.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mindy deserves equal time

CP and Katie Schwartz are obsessing about the Born Again Kristian who played Blair on Facts of Life.

She always got the attention. Her or her tomboy nemesis/friend, Jo.

I say give Natalie (aka Mindy Cohn) some airtime.

click here. or buy this. Or join this. Or go here, but don't click on the fan site link because it doesn't work.

By the way, why don't I have Mindyheads? I'm chubby. I'm loveable and a bit offbeat. Sure, I wasn't a child star, but I could have been if I'd just found my big break. I had a lisp, for pete's sake.

And the iPod says...I'm back!

1. With Arms Outstretched - Rilo Kiley
2. Mongoloid - Devo
3. Deathly - Aimee Mann
4. Devil's Haircut - Odelay
5. Bandstand Boogie - Barry Manilow (yeah!)
6. Pacific Street - Hem
7. The Word - Prince
8. One September Day - Nina Simone
9. Is That Love - Squeeze
10. Morning After - The Meat Purveyors

Eastenders update

That nice ginger, Bradley, has been corrupted by the posh girls of the City and dumped his trashy-rough-around-the-edges-but-heart-of-gold girlfriend, Stacey Slater. Stacey, in her upset, was easily seduced by his slick ginger daddy, Max. Who has a lovely wife who will kick his sorry ass out of the house if he doesn't watch himself. Stacey is, of course back to her old carelessly spiteful ways.

Sonja gave the evil Pauline a slap on Christmas, and now Pauline has dropped dead. (Literally. On a walk through the square to make up with Martin and Sonja.) Little Rebecca saw Sonja do it, and she told Dot. Dot called the police during the funeral, and now Martin thinks Sonja killed his mother and has taken Rebecca away from her. Sonja was arrested, but Phil offered her a flash lawyer to help her and she is now out uncharged. Martin is very angry and won't speak to her. A policeman just showed up with bad news, but not sure what.

Somehow, Honey is now hugging Petal/Janet and she and Billy are happy again, in spite of the Downs Syndrome. I think the Downs might just be the Mitchell genes. Look at Phil.

Dawn is carrying Rob's child, but May is fine with it because they plan to adopt it. Dawn is thinking about reneging on the deal. I think May's a mug. Her husband is a philandering jerk.

Trashy, drunken slapper Shirley came back and wanted Kevin to let her see the kids and he said no and humiliated her in a public restroom. Dino and the blonde auto mechanic chick (what's her name.....Carly!) found out and were furious with Kev. Carly seems to have forgiven him, but Dino is in a slump and can't stop watching telly. Or maybe he's just looked at his entrepreneurship case pack.

Homework Blues

I hadn't gotten my casepacks before I went home for the holidays, so I stopped by on Friday afternoon so I could look at them over the weekend. Unfortunately, they weren't in my pigeonhole and I had to wait until yesterday. Took a look at them last night, and OH MY I have a lot to do. Case studies and about 500 pages of reading for Entrepreneurship. Spreadsheets and reading for Finance. Reading and more reading for Globalisation. I've gone from holiday to intensely swamped in about three seconds. I have a test in a month. I have a paper due on March 16th. I have more projects on my plate than I can shake a stick at.

And I thought the Outward Bound retreat was bad.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Back with a bang

We start Term 2 on Friday. It begins with an Outward Bound - style retreat in Derbyshire, which means I'll be stomping around in the Peak District in the rain. Or maybe snow, as it's supposed to be about -10C next weekend. It is the kickoff of part two of OBPPD, so I wonder what it will tell me about myself? I'm suspecting it will tell me that I'm a whinger who hates cold weather.

CP has a friend who once sent her boyfriend on a Outward Bound retreat because she wanted him to propose and thought he needed to get serious about his life and get in touch with what he really wanted. When she picked him up at the airport after his time in the wilderness, he told her they needed to talk. He wanted something else out of life and broke up with her. She asked OB for a refund.

That sounds about right.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Listen Up Clowns, Part II

Clowns, you still suck.

You're unnecessary, you bastards. You don't even eat mosquitoes, which is what people tell me to justify bats. Eating mosquitoes means bats might be scary, but at least they have a reason to exist.

If you're a bat with a clown face, I'll cut you some slack...you're terrifying, but you net to positive. Otherwise, knock it off.

Not quite skulls

When I got my hair cut, my stylist Amy encouraged me to stop at Heavenly Soles and buy some cute little skull barrettes to place in my stylish new hair. This would be cool, but I didn't have time to go get them. I might head to the Chelsea market this weekend because there will surely be some good skull barrettes there. But tonight when I was at the Tesco buying juice and bacon (in anticipation of more jetlag eating,) I happened into the hair accessories aisle and decided that, until I get to Chelsea, pink little Barbie barrettes will suffice.

The Jetlag Continues, and it still sucks

Why do I take night flights? I hate them. They seem to bring out the rudeness in passengers. I can never, ever sleep. And I seem to be physically incapable of adjusting to my new timezone when I get back. I have very little problem when I go west or take day flights. It's the damn Europe overnight return that causes me the trouble. Plus it is all compounded by the emotional exhaustion of worrying about my dad as he's going through chemo. And then there are the raging hormones/emotions/bloating/cramps caused by horrifically timed PMS.

It sucks being me.

While I've been up in the middle of the night, I've watched Memento, undecorated my Christmas tree, done many dishes, strewn the contents of my suitcase all over my guest bedroom (but haven't actually put them away,) learned basic Spanish on an educational cable show, picked up and reshelved my CD collection after running into the rack and knocking them all on the floor, read three back issues of the Economist, painted my toenails, shaved my legs, braided my hair into tiny little braids and then unbraided it because it looked ridiculous. I made myself an bacon sandwich, drank a carton of orange juice in total, made a pasta salad, and have been sipping shots of Bullitt bourbon.

None of this has helped me sleep, it's just been something to do with my time. And on Wednesday, after I'd finally drifted off around 530, I ended up sleeping through my alarm and waking up at 11. When I called the office to let them know what was up they just laughed at me. They'd figured it out and decided to let me sleep.

Last night I tried to call Tom to have him talk me to sleep, but he had a life and was out doing something fun, I'm sure.

I repeat. Jetlag SUCKS.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Stinking Jetlag, 2007

Funny how, approximately one year ago I was posting about the same damn thing. It's those stupid night flights. If it weren't for those missionaries I could have slept, I tell you. Instead I'm on the couch listening to the birds chirp (they usually start about 3 and go hog wild for a few hours,) and watching an old episode of Monarch of the Glen.

Message to clowns

Listen up, clowns. You're creepy and you smell funny. No one likes you.

Seriously. NO ONE, not even jugglers and mimes.

Go away.

Jerks.

Coming soon!

As we gear up towards another season of American Idol, We Judge the Idols is back! It's only two weeks away, kids!

Day Two of the year of our Lord, 2007

Happy New Year!

I hope that you all had glorious holidays. After my last entry, I decided to dedicate myself to having a good time with my family. I travelled to Minneapolis a few days ahead of my parents with the intent to move my things from storage at my friend Timmy's to a POD, but that was thwarted by my European bank account...seems they prefer to rent to people with a US account, or at least I couldn't find anyone willing to help me figure out a way around this. So, plan aborted, I had a nice dinner with my friend Tim at Punch (Meryl Streep's favourite pizza place!), I got to have a lazy day with KB&D, do a little shopping, and got my hair cut (I now look EXACTLY like my avatar, except real). Extra bonus...I got to chat with Soni at Maude because she had scheduled an appointment for the same time. It has become our tradition that she (and my friend Anne if she's around) come to Maude and we have our own little version of Barbershop. Soni even brought wine, so we had a tipple while we were beautified. I was having dinner at the Lex with KB&D that night, so Amy blew out my curls and made me look like Ava Gardner. I snazzed up in my lace cocktail dress and my new vavavoom patent leather pumps and turned quite a few heads. (I've chosen to ignore the frumpy woman at Haskell's who gave me the skunk eye, and instead have focused on the people at the Lex said nice things. Frumpy Haskell's Lady was wearing dockers and a turtleneck. What does she know of hubba hubba?) The Girls and I had a lovely night out, and I had a delicious Maker's Mark Manhattan to celebrate my evening.

Christmas with my brother and sister-in-law and their family was good, made better by the fact that we stayed down the street at a hotel. There is much commotion and hullaballoo during the holidays at their house, so it was nice to have a retreat for some peace and quiet. Gave us space, gave them space, and I had my own bathroom with no kid goop in the sink. And cable to watch late night tv in bed. We made kolaches (a good batch this year), played games, drank some wine, and watched a fabulous show of family slides my brother compiled of all the slides my parents had been taking since their wedding trip. (Bob has thoughtfully given me jpg versions of all the pictures so I can selectively humiliate myself here going forward. You can thank him in the comments when I show you the one in the plaid patchwork smock top.) Bob made delicious soups for Christmas Eve, and we made manicotti for Christmas dinner...I made the meat filling and added an eighth of a teaspoon of cayenne, which my mother psychologically converted to a tablespoon to make it over-spiced. Bless her sensitive tongue.

Returned to Iowa for a few days with Mom and Dad, and then was joined by Bob and two nephews (oldest nephew had to stay behind for swim team practice and sister-in-law had to work), and had two more days of Scrabble and Clue and Hearts and talking smart. Very fun. On Saturday, Bob and the boys drove me to Rochester in the thick fog, where I eventually caught an extremely delayed flight to Chicago. Spent Saturday with Bethany, eating delicious Thai food and watching Dreamgirls. Flew home Sunday with a group of missionaries on their way to Kenya, who filled the flight with rampant nervous talking and a group prayer. Seriously, these girls were marvelling over the luxurious flight masks and "dress socks" in their seat packs, worried about why the plane took off to the west when London was to the east, wanted to watch the movies while we were sitting on the tarmac, played with their reading lights the ENTIRE flight, speculated about whether the hair on the nice Orthodox woman sitting across the aisle was a wig (uh, yes, that's what Orthodox women wear in public, girls,) told each other the same lame-o stories about three times because they didn't know each other well, and punctuated the start, end and turbulence of the flight with hand-holding-eyes-closed-hallelujah-praise-Jesus group prayer. (We just want to thank you for giving us this opportunity to do your good work, and just ask that you grant us a safe journey, oh Lord, in your holy name we pray, just as you taught us when you gave you precious blood to save us from sin and death. We are just so grateful to have this chance to share your glory with the people of Kenya...Give me the crying baby any day.)

Needless to say, I got very little sleep, so I drove the hour from Heathrow with the windows down and the music blaring in the 40 degree temps at dawn. Allowed myself a two hour nap, and then got up and spent the rest of the day willing myself to stay awake until 10pm. (I made it, except for a bit of head bobbing around dinner time.) Got to work on time today, had dinner with my friend Kat tonight to catch up, and am now going to stop in to catch up on all the blogging I've missed the last few weeks.

Back to normal schedules tomorrow.