Sunday, October 12, 2008
This is the result of an ill-fated Labor Day weekend spent walking hundreds of blocks in heels and flip flops. ("Ill-fated" only partly because of the damage done to my feet and mostly because of the damage done to my ego and self-esteem. But that's another story for another day.) It was horrible, I tell you! But bless the genius behind the the Starbucks-esque hypersaturation of Duane Reade in the Manhattan market. All I had to do was walk a block in any direction, and a plethora of first aid supplies awaited me.
So there you go. And off I go to a baby shower. Nothing I love more on a gorgeous autumn day than to spend it inside, sitting in an awkward circle in someone's living room, oohing and aahing over baby gifts.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
So, over the last two months, I've... quit my job, traveled to South Dakota and Wyoming, and, um... gone to the beach, New York (several times), taken in a baseball game, eaten at IHOP, bought flip-flops on sale, and become disturbingly addicted to the game Rock Band.
Tomorrow I'm off to Vermont, so maybe I'll regale you with some tales and such upon my return. Brace yourselves.
Monday, July 14, 2008
You think I'm exaggerating when I say that I was freaked out and couldn't sleep? Just ask Addled Writer. She witnessed my meltdown (although probably buried it deep, deep in the recesses of her brain) after I saw a mouse scurry along the length of my bed (albeit on the floor) while typing away at a final paper late at night in December of our senior year of college. I remember that night running downstairs crying to the guy working at the front desk--begging for his help--and, when he sympathetically told me there was nothing he could do until business hours, I ended up sleeping in the fetal position on the living room sofa. I have no idea what grade I ended up getting on that paper, but it couldn't have been good.
I seriously remained jumpy for the rest of the academic year. Every time AW or our other roommate would, say, jingle keys or, say, open a squeaky cabinet, I'd do a vertical leap into the air. Anyway, you get the idea. Fast forward, then, to a few weeks ago, and you have a similar situation. I'm old enough to not be so panicked (that senior-year run-in was my first ever with a rodent in my residence, so the drama was high), but that still doesn't mean that I was happy about having a freeloading mouse rummaging through my stuff.
However, I refused to take my landlord's approach, which involved spending 30 seconds in my apartment laying down glue traps. I'm not killing the poor little mouse just because he's not paying rent. As I'd mentioned in my last post, I'm quite convinced that the mouse was getting into my apartment through my crappy heating unit, part of which is falling apart. My landlord seemed to think otherwise--hence his half-assed efforts to appease me. I decided to take matters into my own hands and went to the hardware store, where I purchased several yards' worth of flexible wire mesh and two boxes of tacks. With that, I thought, I can cover up the offending heating unit and keep the little mouse (and any of his friends) from returning. (Yes, I know that, in theory, I could also end up trapping the little guy in my apartment, but I was willing to take that chance.)
It took some time to finally get off my ass and do this, mostly because I wanted to do it in the light of day, and I've scarcely been in my apartment during daylight hours. But earlier yesterday I arranged my tools:
Note, if you will, my sophisticated means of measurement: I used my Snapfish folder to determine the width of each cut. Very scientific. Note, too, the bad-ass wire cutters I bought from Target yesterday morning:
I want to use them on everything! I fear, though, I'll get carried away with their awesome cutting power and will accidentally lop off an appendage. Here I am effortlessly cutting the wire with them:
Cool!! And here, finally, is the result:
It worked like a charm! Better than I'd hoped, actually, apart from the obvious scratching of the paint above the unit. I don't care, though--I'd rather have scratched paint than a rodent for a roommate.
It's amazing how much my mood has improved since I did this. I walk around my apartment with reckless abandon now, sashaying past the once-offending heating unit without fear of a violent mouse attack. It's so cool.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Still, the little critter did cost me several nights' worth of sleep, so I did also purchase some flexible metal netting with which to cover the heater. It's far easier to do it myself than to pick a fight with my landlord.
An aside: the mouse wasn't the only thing to cost me sleep last week: I had the misfortune of going to see the latest M. Night Shyamalan movie last weekend, and it haunted me for days after. Even the image of my Marky Mark couldn't keep me from being scarred from the sights of all of the death scenes, especially when enough of them occur in my old stomping grounds in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square. Then again, it might have been the lack of plot and the wooden dialogue more than the suicides that kept me tossing and turning in the middle of the night. It's tough to say.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
That, dear reader, was the road I took on my inline skating excursion. It was smooth as glass and lined with palm trees, and I was in skater heaven. I know it's not that exciting, but this little thing brought me such joy! It has, however, meant the final nail in the coffin for any pleasure I derived from skating through that rude-cyclist-infested and leaf-clogged Beach Drive in DC's Rock Creek Park. Alas.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Even sitting here at Cafe du Monde, as I am--eating beignets and drinking cafe au lait--feels somehow artificial and forced. Or maybe life just goes on. I don't know, and I'm not about to ponder it now, because it's a real pain to blog on a BlackBerry. That, and I'm getting powdered sugar everywhere.
Monday, May 26, 2008
After enough khachapuri to satiate me for the rest of my life, I’m back from
I left work at 2pm on Thursday the 15th and arrived in
The museum was worth the wait. We stumbled into random homes from
So, back to the hotel, where we attended the usual briefings on what awaited us on our mission and where we searched anxiously for the people with whom we would be paired for the next five long, intense days. It got to be a bit of a joke: every time someone would ask an insipid question in the briefing,
In fact, my dear partner (a.k.a. DP) and I soon became good friends. (By the end of the observation, we were even planning a return together, this time arriving in
Has anyone else noticed how bloody long this post is already? Holy crap. I’ll try to get to the point faster and keep out of the weeds.
Right. So anyway, the food and the wine were plentiful and delicious. The scenery was lovely, and our team partners—our interpreter and our driver—were wonderful people. Each of them, in fact, invited us into their homes for the huge feasts over lunch on separate days. Our interpreter’s family—her beautiful and utterly charming daughter-in-law and grandchildren—cooked for us, filled our glasses with homemade wine, danced for us, and treated us to an unreal level of hospitality. DP and I were truly humbled and truly thankful for the good fortune that had greeted us at every turn of this mission (with the possible exception of my car sickness on the drive through the mountains). We were situated in these lovely mountains with winding rivers and streams, ancient churches, and the
Oh, and there were cows everywhere—on the side of the roads, walking in the roads… it was so cool. (A side note to Tiberius: I tried to get a photo of this phenomenon for you, but with no luck, as l felt awkward asking our driver to stop so I could capture the moment).
The hours are long on election day. Typically a team is up and out the door by 6 or 7am at the latest, and rarely gets back to the hotel prior to midnight. Working 24 hours in a row is not at all unusual. So when the clock struck 11pm at the final polling station, DP and I started to get loopy. Everything we saw, we decided, was a violation. Smiling workers? Violation. Outhouse in the back? Violation. And so on. We began to wonder if we had somehow died along the way and were in hell or limbo. As the polling station chair flipped through the rule book in order to follow it verbatim, DP started muttering about how Genghis Khan had burned libraries full of books along his path of conquest. “Now I see why,” he mused. Pausing, he surmised that Khan was himself an observer, stroking his moustache while he scanned for violations in the stations and eventually giving up and just burning the rule book. I, of course, found this all perfectly logical at the time. Then again, I also had my doubts about actually being alive at the time, so anything made sense to me then. An aside: DP is lucky that he actually is alive right now, because I almost killed him when he decided on the polling station where we would watch the final count, for it had as its only bathroom an outhouse. Again. Our final polling station in
Eek—I have a flight to catch to
P.S. Two more things that I found entertaining/amusing:
1) One of the political parties--I forget which one--lifted their party logo straight from the helmet of the Houston Texans. I, of course, found this hilarious, but it was tough to explain the entertainment value to the other members of my team, but at least I was amused. I still regret not getting photographic evidence of this.
2) At one of the polling stations, I was queried on whom I preferred in the election. I explained that I had no favorite and was there as a neutral observer. Someone then asked me what I thought of the American election. Again I explained that I couldn't say. I don't know Georgian, but I definitely heard the word "diplomatic" being exchanged in between chuckles. One man, however, exclaimed, "You need a new president more than we do.". I did everything in my power to refrain from joining them in their laughter. DP and I agreed that was the best line of the election.