Showing posts from December, 2006

Christmas Memories Vol. 11

Back to Tom and my fabulous West Coast years for this memory. Tommy and I often spend holidays together. In 1996, we decided to meet in San Francisco at Tom's cousin's place for Christmas, followed by a holiday extravaganza trip to LA to celebrate Tom's birthday before I flew home. I flew down on the 23rd and Tom picked me up at the airport. We had a lovely few days in Beautiful San Francisco...we toured the city, we had dim sum in Chinatown, coffee at a dinky little cafe in North Beach, wandered around making fun for ourselves, went to the Contemporary Museum of Art...all sorts of exciting San Francisco things. Tom's cousin Michael is a charming host, and we had lively meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with many delightful (if eccentric) fellow guests. Tom and our friend Greggie and I rented Crumb and watched it on Christmas night, full of shock, horror, and fascination at this odd little man and his even odder siblings. On the 26 th , we headed back to

I used to love her, but it's all over now.

I watched 30-minute Meals with Rachel Ray today. Tom and I used to think Rachel would be our friend. I used to like watching her. But now I find her a bit annoying. I think she's over extended and needs to slow down a bit. Her heart's not in it anymore. I won't be watching her again. I'm sad, but many friends eventually grow apart.

Lazy Midwestern Days

I have rolled nicely into a lazy pattern of midwestern holiday. My jetlag has been hard to kick, so I am seeing a bit too much of the Today Show each morning. Today I laughed heartily at Rosie O'Donnell's lambasting of that idiot Donald Trump, and decided that Meredith Viera has proven herself a classless hack in her reaction to it. David Gregory asked her if she had a comment and she got this holier than though face and said no, not really, but she just hated to see people being mean to each other. She's obviously not pleased that Rosie is on The View. You've moved on to the Today Show, Meredith. Let it go and wish them well. My dad's not really been eating since his radiation, so my mother and I have been coaxing him with anything that sounds good...we figure that if his appetite comes back and he eats something, his strength will come back, too, and he will be better prepared for the chemo. This has resulted in meals we wouldn't normally have, like fr

My Crazy Jetset Life

I am back on US soil, sitting in my old favorite Christian coffeehouse in my little hometown in Iowa. Left the UK on Saturday, flying BA into Chicago and landing about 2PM. It was a great flight, actually. I expected that, one week before Christmas, the airport would be a zoo and my plane would be packed. I arrived about three hours before my flight, and was summarily herded into a tent in the departures drop off area. NO one was allowed to even enter the airport until about an hour and a half before their flight. I took a seat and drank my free coffee and tried to pick out the Americans in the crowd. (Hint...look for ruddy cheeked fat men wearing trainers, and women in turtlenecks and you're guaranteed to be right.) Chatted for a bit with a fellow expat on the way home to see her family in Philadelphia and another on his way to Washington DC to see his girlfriend. We were all dreading the flight, and annoyed to be sitting in a tent when we'd tried so hard to be diligent

Christmas Memories Vol. 10

Although I've never been a girly girl, I've always liked dressing up in pretty clothes. I know I've mentioned here before that I've had some serious opinions about what I wanted to wear since I was about two. And my mother, bless her, may have disagreed with my preferences, but she has always done what she can to help me realise my fashion dreams. I think it comes from being a chubby child, something my mom and I have in common but my grandmother did not understand. Grandma didn't encourage my mom to express herself...just encouraged her to lose weight. So my mom made sure that, regardless of how misguided my fashion sense was, I was able to feel pretty and stylish on my own terms. My mom scoped out all the best stores to find places that carried cute things in my size. This was before the rest of America caught up with me, and so there wasn't a vast array of choice for a chubby/stocky kid. (Please don't tell the AMA that the obesity epidemic is my fau

Soy makes you gay

Good lord. As if their campaign against cartoon characters weren't enough, now it's tofu that's making men gay . Surely, they must be joking.

Red Hot and Rio

The Christmas party lived up to the legend. We arrived around 730, and within about 2 minutes had been handed Caipirhinas . My black lace cocktail dress makes me look hour-glassy and shows a good bit of cleavage, and since I tend to be a bit of a tomboy by English standards it was really funny watching my male colleagues respond to the girly , made-up me. Got a lot of compliments, always good for the ego. Dinner sucked, as usual, but you figure they're cooking for 1000 people in a tent so there's a limit on what they can do for the price. The wine was flowing freely and I was sitting next to our MD, who has a tendency to fill your glass when you're not looking. Every time I'm by him at a function I end up much drunker than I should be, and I definitely believe it is his fault. My Christmas cracker contained a little fortune fish that, when placed on my palm, revealed that I am in love. Would be nice if it had a name for me, too, but I'm willing to go on faith.

Christmas Memories Vol. 9

My friends Susan and KB are two of my closest girlfriends. I met them when I transferred to Luther my junior year in college. I got to know KB over the summer before classes began. My childhood friend Blane knew her from many college theatre productions and so our social circles overlapped quite a bit. This is bound to happen in a small college town, and since we both spent many a night at Zahasky's drinking Blatz and singing along to Hank Williams on the jukebox, it was only a matter of time until we bonded. My friendship with KB led me to Susan, who came on campus a few days early to help with orientation for incoming freshmen. As fate would have it, her first night back in town was the night we were out with the Biseks celebrating the new microwave in the was a wild, crazy evening full of pickled eggs and Wisconsin beer, sure to cement any friendship for life. Though we were very tight in college, when we graduated we went our separate ways and were only in c

Blogger Beta is driving me mad

So first there is the commenting issue. I've found that in MS Explorer I can't even comment on my own blog, let alone any other beta blog. Annoying. And now, I'm at and I tried to go to my own site to use some links and I am getting an error message. I am really annoyed.

Home for the Holidays

I'm frantically finishing my cleaning for the cleaner, rehearsing a presentation that I'm doing tomorrow with a client and keeping an eye on the telly as one of my favourite movies, Amelie, is on. I have three more nights here, Friday I stay with my friend Patricia near London, and then I'm off for the holidays. It seems crazy that this is my third Christmas flight home for the holidays. It's becoming a part of my routine. Weird how an international flight used to be exciting. I'd make a packing list, I'd plan ahead, I'd not be able to sleep the night before. Now I don't even think about my trip until a night or two before I leave. I can pack for two weeks abroad in about 45 minutes. I only have to plan ahead and do laundry. And at Christmas time I have to run a few errands. It's not a holiday without some meat flavoured potato chips any more. Friends in Minnesota...many have been asking me about my holiday schedule, so I thought I'd update

Baby, I'm a STAR

Bubs found a cool little internet toy, and so I immediately went to find out what tarot card I am. You are The Star Hope, expectation, Bright promises. The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight. And, most importantly, that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one. What Tarot Card are You? Take the Test to Find Out.

Cleaning for the cleaner

I've given in. I am not a person who enjoys cleaning. I never have. So I don't really do any more of it than I have to. I am content to live in clutter and dust, as long as bugs and rodents don't pitch a tent. And while I'm not a hoarder, I do tend to collect things. I tell myself that someday I'll want these things for something, but I never do. They will find their place of prominence and then sit there unnoticed and untouched until I accidentally bump them a year later and see the dust that has collected, which horrifies me. I then quickly move them someplace else so they can sit for another year until the cycle repeats. The problem was compounded here in my house in England. Very little in this house is mine. My things are all in storage, or rather transitioning from one storage to another right now, but still...they're in Minnesota where I cannot access them. All the furniture and furnishings to speak of in this house are either my landlords, or they h

Christmas Memories, Vol. 8

My mother had great holiday decorations. She's a decorator anyway. There are two bright orange porcelain sinks in my childhood home, chosen because they were really cool in 1976 and went with the hand-painted poppy plates in the kitchen and the earth-toned "first bathroom". But at holiday time things went crazy. Things heated up in October with the onset of Halloween. We had pumpkins and witches and black cats printed on cardboard that could be put up around the house. There was a felt bat that could hang from the ceiling (and never screeched or got caught in my hair), and Hallmark made these cool wax candles in shapes for sitting on tables. (We never ever lit them, so there are still wax jack-o-lanterns in a box in our basement, I'm sure.) Thanksgiving saw more of the same, including wax candle pilgrims and turkeys, as well as these FABULOUS paper honeycomb 3d turkeys. (We had pumpkins for Halloween, too, but the turkeys were the best.) But these were just w

Important News Items

I couldn't sleep this morning...woke up at like 630AM completely wide awake. So I spent some time online reading some news stories, catching up on blogs and watching BBC Breakfast. There is some really useless news out there. The story about the plane that had to land because the passenger lit a match to cover the smell of their flatulence just hit the news here. Then there's this little gem . Poor Indian men. In Health , they're stating the obvious...people can be thin and unhealthy! They're FAT ON THE INSIDE! In other news, too much marijuana smoking can hurt kids brains . I've talked about the propensity for drunken stupidity and violence from YOBs and the male population of the UK. Now they're finding the girls are boozing it up and itching for a smackdown , too . (This is on the tale of the news that the lasses are also getting freakishly pissed a bit more than they should.) Ah, the realities of England. They'll make even the biggest anglophile

Scared of Santa Gallery

Bubs has been highlighting this recently, and let me tell you it is hysterical. I don't know why, but seeing children in complete, total terror on Santa's knee is the funniest thing I've seen in some time.

And the iPod says....

1. Green Eyes - Erykah Badu 2. Choice in the Matter - Aimee Mann 3. Almost Blue - Chet Baker 4. Skinwalker - Robbie Robertson 5. Coat of Many Colors - Shania Twain and Alison Krauss 6. Doin' What Comes Easy to a Fool - Junior Brown 7. Star 69 - Fatboy Slim 8. Last Living Souls - Gorillaz 9. I'll Look Around - Madeleine Peyroux 10. 52 Girls - The B-52's

Christmas Memories Vol. 7

When I moved to MSP after college, I lived with my friend KC. We started off in a two-bedroom apartment in Minneapolis, but in the spring we got a chance at a great three bedroom in an old Victorian house in St. Paul. I convinced my friend Chris to join us and the three of us set up house. Our place was fabulous. It was the entire downstairs of this giant house. The rooms were huge, the ceiling was high, and there were three formal fireplaces...Chris and I even had them in our bedrooms. It was in a "transitional" neighborhood so the rent was cheap. There was a crack house across the street, a woman from the building across the alley used to knock on the door regularly and ask for money, and the day after we moved in they found a guy "expired" in a vehicle in front of our house. (Or so the nice policeman told me when he knocked on the door at 6AM. I still imagine him with a date stamped on his forehead.) But these seemed like minor irritations to 22 year olds who

Hot and Sour Roulette

I got home late from work tonight, and had nothing thawed to make for dinner except a package of pork mince. It went out of date on the 5th, and so I looked at my watch and it said it was the 6th so I made some delicious hot and sour soup and ate it. Then I looked at Bubs' entry on Pearl Harbor and thought, "Silly Bubs. It's only the 6th. And then I remembered that tomorrow is the 8th because it is our Christmas party, so it really was the 7th. So the pork was TWO days out of date. Now I am waiting for every little gurgle to turn into gut-wrenching cramps of pukedom.

Bat in tree

This is a horrible story. I'm never buying a real tree again.

Culture Clash

My favourite cultural oddity is just two days away...the company Christmas party. We're going to a Christmas Party venue here in MK that is themed as "Red Hot and Rio." Salsa dancing, mojitos and caipirhinas, dinner, dancing, drinking, and bumper cars. What more could a gal want? And people really do get as drunk in real life as they do in the movies here. Seriously. It boggles the mind. I am so looking forward to it I can hardly stand it. I even have a new black lace cocktail dress for the occassion. Need to find shoes, and I'll be set. I can't wait.

Christmas Memories Vol. 6

1992 was my last year in retail. Over the course of four years, I'd worked my way up from plebian sales associate through various levels of management, and finally was a store manager with a fabulous new store. They had high expectations of us, and we were having a killer sales season. We worked crazy hours and I was exhausted by the time Christmas Eve rolled around. But I knew there was much kolache baking and merriment happening in my absence, and I was itching to get to my brother's so my holiday could start. By the time I arrived, things were buzzing. My nephew Sam had just turned one, and this was the first Christmas in years with an excited little kid in the mix. Everyone was poised with cameras and anticipation of the fun they would have as he opened package after package of unnecessary toys. Appetizers and wine were set and ready, dinner was on the stove, and everyone was excited. I blustered in all chatty from my busy day and entertained them with my stories of stupid

Words I don't much care for

Ointment, meme, jerkoff, salve, cooties, grunt, kipper, peter, skank, gurgle, dink, mildew, wiener, panties (and undies, for that matter), uffda, meat, deese (short for decent), ooze, moist, pimple, titties (or teats), fanny, hairy, bird, snickerdoodle, gaucho, giggle, funnier, mature (if pronounced is fine), goober, keeper, grody, spank, vino (unless said by an Italian or Spaniard), Spaniard, party (if used as a verb), spittle, hyper (okay as a prefix), creamy, pad and any word that comes from combining a person's name with a real word (such as dale-icious, not to say you're not delicious,'s just a word that came to mind). Oh. And words misspelled for "cleverness." Spelling is not something to play with.

Christmas Memories Vol. 5

I think tonight we'll move to the Seattle Years for the Christmas memory. My friend Pam got me thinking about this when she commented on my tree decorations and my reference to the forest of trees. In fact, it's this memory that started this whole series, because it got me thinking about the many good Christmas memories I have. Certainly I, like most people, have some unhappy ones, too, but I'm electing to focus on the ones that make me smile. I lead a pretty blessed life, actually, and I think I lose sight of that sometimes. For those of you who don't actually know me, a brief history...I moved to Seattle basically on a whim. I needed a change, my friend Ben was going and it just seemed like the right thing to do. It was. It was difficult to get settled and, as with all new places, it took me some time to get my bearings. I'd moved there with my friend Sonja, but she moved back to Minneapolis for love. I found a true soulmate in my friend Bethany, and El Ben ha

What I had for dinner

Falafel with hot sauce, baba ganouj and a seltzer.

Christmas Memories Vol. 4

My last name is Czech. As with many Americans, the ethnicity gets diluted pretty quickly as immigrants marry other nationalities and kids try to blend in at school, and pretty soon all that's left are a few rituals and traditions that incorporate the family background. For my family, most of these are food related. My dad's Czech grandmother lived with his family when they were growing up. She did a lot of the cooking, and my dad learned to love the breads and meats and soups she made. Therefore, Christmas is a time for baking the treats of my dad's childhood and trying to evoke a bit of the heritage of our hard-to-pronounce name. Our primary baked goods are kolaches , rye bread and houska. ( Houska is a braided sweet raisin bread glazed with powdered sugar icing, candied cherries and almonds, which, like fruitcake, looks better than it tastes for most people.) Houska and rye bread are the more complicated ones so they have fallen by the wayside in recent years. I thi

Music Profiling

There's no way I'm doing that long questionaire of boring things . (I do snore sometimes and often snort when I laugh, though.) But I love the randomness of music profiling so I am doing this . (But I will never use the term "meme," FYI. I like the internet, I'm obviously a self-obsessed, compulsive blogger, but I don't care for "terms" and prefer to treat everything I do as traditional self-publishing. Sort of an eco-friendly Thomas Paine, but without all the relevance and with more song lyrics and recipes.) How many songs : 2835 (haven't loaded half of my collection in yet) Sort by song title : First song : '69 El Camino by SCOTS Last song : Zombie Love by the Jazz Butcher Sort by time : Shortest : Outro by Rilo Kiley 0:04 Longest : Group Dance by Charles Mingus 18:39 Sort by album : First song : Hello by Oasis - (What's The Story) Morning Glory (Punctuation must come before numbers in the sort) Last Song : The Rockafeller Ska

Christmas Memories Vol. 3

I love holiday lights. I love to see neighbors vying for the tackiest house in the 'hood. I love blow up Santas (for the yard) and reindeer on the roof and lights that stream along every beam and eave. I love twinkle lights. I love the way lights look in the snow. I love Christmas Vacation because of the lights. One of my favourite things in 2000 was the house on Hamlin and something north of Summit that created a palm tree with lights on their maple. Beth and I drove by it about 30 times. I think they thought we were stalking them. I love holiday lights. Our first Christmas in MSP after college, Tom and I had the sorts of jobs English majors and History/Russian majors got in 1989...we worked in bars, restaurants, and retail. We had weird schedules and lived our lives off the clock. Breakfast happened at 3 AM. You got up at noon. You worked eight hours at some point in the day, sometimes 12 or 14 hours even, but you just didn't know when you'd be doing it. Tom's h

And the iPod says...

1. Reason to Cry - Lucinda Williams 2. Scholarship is the Enemy of Romance - Billy Bragg 3. Shut Up - Black Eyed Peas 4. All My Tears - Emmylou Harris 5. Girlfriend is Better - Talking Heads 6. Frontlines - Teddy Thompson 7. Dagger Through The Heart - Sinead O'Connor 8. Weird Divide - The Shins 9. If You Only Knew - The Mavericks 10. Can't Seem To Make You Mine - Alex Chilton