Thursday, July 18, 2013

Epilogue--It Seemed Like it Would Never End. And then it Did!

The disclaimer to the right notwithstanding, this final entry entirely represents the views of Husband.  Wife is taking a well-deserved rest after 370 consecutive days of carving time out of her manic routine of balancing a career, caring for three young daughters, and managing a long-distance relationship with her heretofore absentee husband.  In the process she found a voice and an outlet that helped her stay sane and remarkably sanguine for a glass-half-empty-kind-of-a girl.  And while I am quite confident she will never forgive me for running off to Afghanistan, at the same time,  it was Afghanistan that helped her find that voice and I'm just foolish enough to suggest that I should get some credit for creating the scenario that helped her emerge as an established blogger.  365 Bad Days had over 40,000 hits and avid readers on six continents.  Husband will be eternally grateful to friends and readers who supported and sustained Wife.   Husband was humbled over the course of the past 365 days with a new understanding of his own role at home, but also the incredible fortitude and resilience of Wife.  He also now realizes that for every soldier or civilian on the front lines in conflict zones around the world, there are loved ones and families at home making heroic sacrifices.  Certainly in the case of Husband, there is no comparison between the hardships he faced this year and the incredible challenge that wife faced head on and survived.  She represents thousands of spouses in the State Department, the military and other federal agencies whose sacrifices go largely unnoticed, but make it possible for those deployed on the front lines to do what they do.    Wife, you are my hero!
Now husband has to finish packing for his next mission, "Operation Inhaling Freedom: The Great American Road Trip."  Home leave 2013 will be husband and three daughters in a minivan, traveling 7,500 miles across 24 states over the course of 32 days.  Wife will fly out and join us in the middle for the family reunions.  After 100 + hours of "quality family time" in the car, Daughters may be begging Wife to send Husband back to Afghanistan.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Good Day 1--Home

Husband is back home where he belongs and our long, hard, sad year is over. I learned a lot of things; some things I wish I didn't have to know like what a toilet flapper is or that you can drip water through the floor into the living room below when your shower is clogged and overflows and what happens when you don't change your furnace filter. And that I'm allergic to wheat. (I already knew about the chocolate.)

And I learned that I have amazing children and that occasionally it is handy to have a dog around when you are sad and having a purple day and can't get out of bed because you have to get up to walk The Dog. I learned that I have some very good friends, and I made some new ones. I learned that a lot of people thought that advice on learning what to wear to work from fashion magazines was as stupid as I thought it was. And I was reminded how much of a family the Foreign Service is to me. People from every continent (except Antarctica of course, unless the penguins have internet) are cheering for us that Husband is back. And I learned mostly that I am not alone and that families from all over the world have experienced or are experiencing the same thing.

So thank you, everyone who went on this journey with me. Thank you for the support and encouragement and suggestions about people who are having a worse day than me. And thank you to all the soldiers and sailors who protected Husband while he was in Afghanistan, and thank you to all the diplomats who are still working hard to end wars and make the world a better and safer place for everyone. I am more grateful to you than I can say.

This blog has been wonderful for me in so many ways. It gave me something to do in the evenings and I looked forward to writing it every day. People asked me if I thought I would run out of things to say--apparently not! But now we are starting a new chapter, so I hope you will join me there.

And finally, you know who is having a worse day than me today?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bad Day 369--One day more!

That title is for Child 2 because she's been singing that song all day. She loves Les Mis and keeps asking if we can make a video of us flash mobbing to "One Day More." I keep saying no. I'm pretty sure I won't change my mind about that one. But technically it's only one more night because Husband will be here in 8 hours. Eight hours and our unaccompanied tour will be over. Finished. History. It will linger in our memories for a long, long time and I'm not sure my leave balance will ever recover. But we have almost made it to the end. Now, sing that Elton John song, "I'm still standing!" with me.

I said good-bye to my awesome office today. It was hard, but since I'm not even leaving the building, I know I'll see them again. I will miss working with such incredibly smart and witty people, though. Thankfully, my new co-workers are really, really funny and they still laugh at my jokes, so I feel right at home. I was afraid I would have a hard time carrying everything all the way across the building (because my new office couldn't be farther away unless it was outside the building) but Child 1 and Child 2 came to have lunch with me and I made them be my Sherpas. That way they could see my new office and I would get help carrying my stuff.

Child 1 says every time she comes to the Department, she remembers why she wants to work there. I hope she will someday. I felt that way when I was just a couple of years older than her. And I remember my very first trip to the Department and it was magical and we accidentally got caught in a photo op with the Secretary and it made me never want to work anywhere else. It took me a while, including a 10 year detour to have children, but I did it and it is every bit as amazing and wonderful as I dreamed it would be all those years ago.

This pretty little girl in Georgia is having a worse day than me. Really, could she be any lovelier? I doubt it.

She unfortunately had severe neurological damage at birth and is in a wheelchair which was specially made for her. Her family took her to the Ships of the Sea museum in Savannah and they wouldn't let her enter because--get this--her wheelchair wheels might get the floors dirty. They said she could either use one of the museum's chairs, which I'm sure were made for adults and wouldn't fit her, or she could wait outside and watch a video while everyone else went inside. While she sat there. Alone. Denied admission because of her disability. Well, if you know me, then you know how infuriated I get about this kind of thing. That a museum would deny admission to a disabled child just turns on every mother bear instinct I have. I am about ready to drive down to Savannah and yell at that museum in person. So thank you, sweet child, for being the special girl you are and for reminding me that I need to pinch Child 3's cheeks because I just need to hug my scrumptious child. And to the Ships of the Sea museum, shame. on. you! You should never, ever turn a child away because of a disability, and if you do, you deserve every bad bit of publicity you get. And to the parents of this sweet girl, come on up to DC because I know from personal experience that the Smithsonian is very wheelchair accommodating and I can just tell by looking at her that your daughter would love seeing Dorothy's shoes.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bad Day 368--To dye for

I ruined Child 1's hair tonight. I didn't actually ruin it, but I helped her with the temporary dye she wanted and it turned out terrible--streaky and uneven and way brighter than we intended. So she is no washing it over and over with the harshest shampoo she can find. I hope it fades quickly. But that's the reason I wanted to use temporary dye, so that she wouldn't be stuck with it forever.

The problem with red hair is that hair dye is not made to cover keratin, so whatever color you think you're getting, you don't get and sometimes, because of the keratin, you end up with a sort of greenish under tint. That was not the problem this time, it was that the dye was so strong, it went purplish. It's not like this, though. That at least looks like it's on purpose.

And then there is the whole streaky problem. I feel horrible and Child 1 is mad and now at least she will never, ever ask me to color her hair again. Thank goodness because that is way more stress than I need at the moment. But I may have to pay for a salon job quick.

Husband is on his way home. He should be at the airport as we speak. I will be holding my breath until he arrives on Tuesday morning. Children, if you find me passed out and blue on the floor, just lie to me and say he's here. Everyone at church today kept asking when he was coming home and I couldn't stop smiling. It's like when I went to Hawaii for a month and came back and still smile when I think about it even though it was 13 years ago. I loved Hawaii. That was the best month of my life, ever. But this feels like that a little bit. Husband arrives home and I'm still standing. A little lopsided because my foot still hurts, but I'm standing. I went toe to toe against this unaccompanied tour, and we're at the end of the 9th round and I'm not knocked out yet. I'm beginning to think I might just survive. Look at me all optimistic!

This race car driver in Toronto is having a worse day than me. He won second place, and received a lovely crystal trophy, which he promptly dropped on the floor and broke.

So he can drive a car at 200 mph 5 inches from someone's bumper and not crash, but he can't be trusted with a crystal bowl. So thank you, Mr. Butterfingers, for reminding to be grateful that I still have my mother's crystal bowl after umpteen moves across the ocean. Remind me never to give it to a race car driver to hold.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bad Day 367--Godot arrives before Husband

I think I spend most of my life waiting. Waiting for the children, waiting for The Dog to find the perfect spot, waiting for the metro, waiting for people to clear on my papers, waiting for Husband to get home from Afghanistan. I think that if there is a God in Heaven, in the next life, people will have to wait for me. The children said they wanted to watch the A-team, but they are off somewhere doing something besides watching the A-team, so I am passing the time watching The Vicar of Dibley Parish, which is one of my favorite shows ever. I love Dawn French and this show makes me laugh out loud.

Child 2 just came in and confused the Vicar with Rosie O'Donnel. No. I love Rosie, but Rosie was not in any of the Harry Potter movies. Their education is sadly lacking. I have to fix that starting right now.

The children are here eating cheesecake on my bed, so it's time for the A-team and for the children to start quoting Mr. T. Never in my entire life did I ever think my daughters would run around saying "You can't drive, sucker!" and "I pity the fool!" It's surreal, really.

 This park ranger in Death Valley, California is having a worse day than me. She wanted to demonstrate how hot the record heat was in Death Valley, so she posted a video of an egg frying in the sun. Here is a still from the video.

The only problem is that people took that to mean that they should try frying eggs all over the national park which is now littered with spoiled eggs and cartons and broken egg-shells. And also, they forgot the pans. This is what happens to an egg on the sidewalk. It's not very edible.

You need a cast iron pan because they get really hot and a little oil to keep it from sticking, and it can take a while, so I wouldn't recommend actually eating the egg. Also, you can bake cookies on your dashboard. But that is beside the point because people should not be littering in national parks! That is just rude, and extremely unsanitary. So thank you, Ms. Ranger, for the awesome job you do taking care of our national treasures. And to the visitors frying eggs. Stop. It!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bad Day 366--Onward and sideways

Sometimes I wonder why I signed up for this. Just what exactly is good about leaving a job you love after only two years? I admit, that when you are in a place you don't like with an evil boss who gives you heart palpitations every time the phone rings or the door opens it can be a good thing to have an expiration date on your job. But as I contemplate leaving my dream job on Monday, I'm having second thoughts. My only consolation is that I am moving on to my other dream job, so although it is painful to leave, I am really looking forward to the next chapter.

We are having a girls' night in tonight. We ate Chinese food (gluten free this time) and we watched an episode of Say Yes to the Dress--Bridesmaids. I love looking at all the dress options, but why does any store even carry lavender satin? It's a travesty of fashion.

And now we are watching Seven Brides for Seven Brothers again. Although I am pointing out often that it is a very, very bad idea to marry someone 15 minutes after you meet him, and also that a wife is more than a maid and a cook. And that corsets must have been really uncomfortable even though they made your waist super tiny. I honestly don't see how Jane Powell could sing and dance let alone breathe in that dress.

This princess is having a worse day than me and not just because she has the weirdest tan line ever.

FILE - This file photo provided by the Irvine Police Department shows Meshael Alayban, who was arrested July 9, 2013 in Irvine, Calif., for allegedly holding a domestic servant against her will. Alayban, who prosecutors said is one of the wives of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud, was expected to appear in an Orange County court for arraignment Thursday, July 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Irvine Police Department, File)

No, it's because she was arrested for human trafficking because she hired a maid to bring with her to the US and then only paid the maid $220/month and made her work 120 hours a week and kept her passport so she couldn't leave. Thankfully, the maid had kept the pamphlet on her rights that the US Embassy had given her during her visa interview, so she knew she could go to the police for help. So she did and the police promptly arrested the princess. So thank you, Princess, for reminding me to be grateful that my country has labor laws that are enforced and no human has the right to own another, no matter how entitled they feel. And also, don't forget to put sunscreen on your nose.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bad Day 365--Well, where is he?

I've done my 365 days of penance  I'd like my husband back now, please. Unfortunately, he's still in Afghanistan and won't be home until next Tuesday. He is very excited to come home, I think almost as much as we are to have him home. In fact, he is already packed. And if you know Husband, then you know that is highly unusual. He never packs early. Never. I start packing for vacations/moves at least a week in advance. If it's a PCS (permanent change of station which is federal speak for moving to a new post), then I start separating things out a month ahead so I know what needs to be washed, what needs to be replaced, what needs dry cleaning, etc. Husband, on the other hand, throws a bunch of stuff in a suitcase a few minutes before the movers arrive, sometimes even while they are trying to pack the bedroom. So the fact that his UAB is gone and he is already packed means he is really ready to come home. But he can't because today is the beginning of Ramadan and then it's Friday and the planes don't fly to Kabul on Fridays and then he has to go check out at the Embassy and for heaven's sake can't he just do it all by e-mail and send him on the plane already! I'm a little anxious, if you hadn't noticed.

In fact, I'm so ready for him to come home that today I totally lived on the edge. First, I didn't have a baked potato for lunch--I had a taco salad instead which I made by buying crunchy tacos and a salad and mixing them together. It was OK, but I didn't feel all that great after. Then, I ate Chinese food for dinner with my friend who was medevaced (federal speak for you can't get medical treatment at your post so you have to go somewhere else) from China. And yes, I had dishes with soy sauce in them, and yes, I'm paying for it now. I know that I'm a complete hypocrite because yesterday I ranted about people who think it is all in my head but this is why I hate those people because I started thinking maybe it is all in my head! It's not and now I'm sick, but I think I can sleep some of it off and I will only eat rice and mashed potatoes tomorrow. The problem is that I miss Chinese food like you wouldn't believe. If 10 years ago you had asked me which food would be the hardest to give up, I wouldn't have guessed it would be spicy Szechuan eggplant and fried green beans, but they. are. so. yummy! My friend "Jonas" and I used to each get our own dish of green beans at lunch and we would eat every single one. They don't look like much, but believe me it is the best way to eat vegetables ever.

I am a good cook, but I cannot seem to replicate these green beans. I'm going to have to give it another go because I don't think I can live without them in my life and it's really not worth the pain I am in at this moment. But oh, I miss those green beans! They are almost better than brownies, but those I know I can never have again because there is no such thing as a delicious carob brownies and it's not a brownie if it doesn't have chocolate in it.

This rabbit is having a worse day than me. You can figure out why just from the picture.

I make no judgment about the college boys who made a video of a wild rabbit. But thank you, Frankenrabbit for reminding me to be grateful that all I have are hives from the soy sauce (I guess it's not just chocolate any more.) I am itchy, but I don't have horns.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bad Day 364--Oooh don't get me started!

I am exhausted. Dog tired. The kind of tired that you can only feel after 2+hours of cleaning your child's room only to realize there is no possible way you are going to finish in one evening. The girl who's help I bid on to organize Child 2&3's room came over and we worked and worked and worked some more and we got a lot of it put away and organized and their drawers all labeled and two loads of laundry done. But now my foot is throbbing and my head aches and I just want to go to bed.

But first, I have to rant about this article in Slate Magazine which is making me really, really mad. First, it was written by a professor of Chinese philosophy who is not a scientist nor a nutritionist, nor does he have Celiac or an allergy to wheat or non-celiac gluten intolerance. So let's just get that out of the way that he has no academic or professional experience on which he could base his judgment. That makes me wonder why the magazine accepted the article at all, but that is their business I suppose, literally.

OK, second, not only does the author presume that people who say they are allergic to things really aren't he takes it upon himself to experiment with their health without telling them. That is right, he fed them the thing they said they were allergic to on purpose without letting them know and then because they didn't appear sick to him, he assumed that they were not allergic after all. There are so many things wrong with that set of actions that I think I need charts. But here is the thing, Mr. Unethical Experimenter, just because someone doesn't tell you they are sick does not mean they aren't. My reaction to wheat isn't the same as with chocolate. When I eat chocolate, my face turns red immediately and then I start breaking out in hives. It's not pretty and it's really uncomfortable for everyone. Someone once said what is wrong with you? are you having a heart attack? No, I just ate a brownie. I look a lot like this cute little baby, only I have more hair and makeup.

But my reaction to wheat is far less visible and far more uncomfortable. I get severe stomach pain which makes me almost double over and nausea and my tongue burns and my throat gets itchy and I just want to curl up in bed and lie there and never get out. But because it often happens at inconvenient times like a dinner party or at lunch in the cafeteria or when I'm out on a date with Husband in Italy, I don't tell anyone. I try to just power through it and keep going because I'm tired of letting this allergy rule my life. So my question is, Mr. UE, if you feed me wheat and it makes me very sick but I don't tell you, how do you know that I didn't have a reaction? That's right! You don't! Oh, you catch on quick. Also, just because you don't believe in those particular food allergies doesn't mean they don't exist. And why is it that there is a type of person who feels the need to prove that someone doesn't have a food allergy? What is it to you, Mr. UE, if someone thinks they are gluten intolerant but aren't really? How does it harm you? Because your actions certainly could harm someone else which is really, really unethical.

Anyone who has read this blog or who knows me knows that I did not come to this gluten-free lifestyle willingly and that for me it is not a choice. If I eat wheat I get sick--so sick that I am not functional and cannot work or take care of myself and my children. That's it. I therefore have to stay as far away from wheat and all of its many byproducts as I can. My not eating wheat doesn't harm anyone that I know of. I gladly applaud people who can still eat brownies. I always tell everyone that just because I can't enjoy it doesn't mean they shouldn't. So thank you, Mr. UE, for reminding me that most of my friends and family are lovely and patient and concerned enough about my health to eat at restaurants that have a gluten-free menu with me and look up recipes on the internet for me or research gluten in sour cream. And if I ever run into someone like you who feeds me wheat on purpose as an "experiment" I will be sure to let them know what I think of them, which is not very much.

This groom in England is having a worse day than me. His "friends" thought it would be funny to stage a kidnapping so they nabbed him and threw him in the back of a van. Like this.

After two hours, they finally told him who they were, but not before he was so scared that he broke out in shingles which is brought on by stress and can be super painful. So thank you, Unlucky Groom, for reminding me yet again what good friends I have. They would never kidnap me, well, maybe Artemis would, but I would recognizer her voice so it would all be OK.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bad Day 363--My lipstick is out to get me

I discovered a few things recently that you would think would be gluten-free, but in fact are not.

  1. Chicken. Pre-cooked Tyson's grilled chicken has maltodextrin in it. As my friend "Caroline" says, meat is supposed to be the definition of gluten-free. But apparently in America, we like to hide wheat in our chicken. 
  2. Makeup. This makes me just furious. Why on earth would you need to put wheat in something made largely of petroleum products? But Chapstick does and so do lots of other brands because wheat is cheap. So now, not only should I stop wearing Chapstick--Husband should also stop unless he never wants to kiss me ever again. I am willing to give up brownies in order to stay alive, but not kissing so the Chapstick all goes.
  3. OTC medicines like Advil or Tylenol. I don't know that those brands specifically have wheat in them, but apparently some medicines use wheat starch to make the powder easier to press into a pill. So now I have to avoid all medicines that don't say "Gluten Free" on the bottle.
Oh, just for fun, here is the list of additives in makeup that could contain wheat and/or gluten.
  • Amp-isostearoyl hydrolized wheat protein
  • Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran
  • Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour
  • Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract
  • Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil
  • Avena Sativa (Oat) Protein
  • Barley
  • Barley Extract
  • Barley Lipids
  • Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Cyclodextrin
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrin Palmitate
  • Disodium Wheatgermamphodiacetate
  • Fermented Grain Extract
  • Hordeum Vulgare Extract
  • Hydrolyzed Malt Extract
  • Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
  • Hydrolyzed Oat Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Oats
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Flour
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein/PVP Crosspolymer
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch
  • Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Malt Extract
  • Maltodextrin
  • Phytosphingosine Extract
  • Rye
  • Samino Peptide Complex
  • Secale Cereale (Rye) Seed Flour
  • Sodium C8-16 Isoalkylsuccinyl Wheat Protein Sulfonate
  • Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acid
  • Steardimonium
  • Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract
  • Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil
  • Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Gluten
  • Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Starch
  • Wheat Amino Acids
  • Wheat Germ Glycerides
  • Wheat Germamidopropalkonium Chloride
  • Wheat Protein
  • Wheatgermamidopropyl Ethyldimonium Ethosulfate
  • Xantham Gum, (may be derived from wheat)
  • Yeast Extract

Got that? Yeah, me neither. This is way, way harder than I ever imagined. It's making my head hurt, but now I'm afraid to take Excedrin.

A woman taken to this hospital emergency room in Syracuse, New York is having a worse day than me. It looks like a lovely place, doesn't it?

Well, for this woman it's not so lovely. She was suffering from a drug overdose, which is a horrible thing in and of itself. She almost died. In fact, she came so close to dying that the doctors pronounced her dead and proceeded to prep her to remove her organs. She woke up just in time as they were about to make the first incision and scared the daylights out of the doctors. Thankfully, she is OK and nothing vital was removed. But I bet she never, ever takes another drug ever again because all she has to do is remember how she almost was harvested alive. So thank you, NY lady, for making me very grateful that I don't do drugs and for giving me and excellent horror story with which to scare the children. Children, don't do drugs or the hospital will cut out your heart while it's still beating! Yep. That ought to do it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bad Day 362--Call me irresponsible

I don't have anything to do tonight. Not a blessed thing. Except walk The Dog. The Children are all off at activities so I'm left with The Dog. Thankfully, she isn't interested in my shoes at all tonight. She didn't get into the trash, either. I wonder what's wrong with her. She's just lying on the floor next to the bed doing nothing. Something must be wrong.

But I feel like I can just lie here in bed and do nothing because I was doing something all day long. I finished my last paper on budgets, and cleaned out some of my files, and whittled down my inbox. And then after I came home, I ran errands. Lots and lots of errands--All the things I wasn't able to do while I had on my cast, including buying swim trunks for Husband because when he sent me some links to what he liked, I was frightened that if I didn't step in, he would end up buying some that looked exactly like my grandfather's.

Not my favorite look. The ones Husband liked were longer, but still--too reminiscent of Grandpa. Just like that really hot guy can ride a horse without a shirt all he wants, but Old Spice still smells like Grandpa which isn't romantic at all. Comforting, yes. Happy, yes. But not romantic. Ick. It's too bad because that guy was really good looking. And he's on a horse.

This mother in Florida is having a worse day than me. And believe me that I am using the word "mother" only in the loosest sense. Here is her mug shot.

When she was arrested, she was wearing a lot more make-up and a really high ponytail and jeans and a white T that looked like they had been painted on. See here is the thing--she is 39. Now, trying to look younger than you are is not a bad thing as we all know I am completely guilty. When Child 3 the other day asked if I was 32, I said yes! You're right. How smart you are to guess my real age! And then feeling badly that I lied I told her how old I was and what year I was born in and she almost fainted. I'm not sure she was prepared to count that high. But this woman was trying to look 16 because that is the age of the boys she was hanging out with. She had a booze party at her house for a bunch of teenagers who of course got rowdy and someone called the police. When the police arrived, a neighbor told them a 7 year old child lived in the apartment. They found him locked in a room and his "mother" hiding under a pile of clothes. So thank you, Florida "Mom", for reminding me that I love my children and I would do anything for them, and when they are not here, I miss them. So does The Dog. She's sitting on Child 2's bed licking the blanket. Ick. Child 2, when you get home, please wash that blanket.

Bad Day 361--The storm is my friend

So twice in the last month I have gone to see the monuments during a storm warning and both times, it mostly passed us over. This evening, we went to see the WWII memorial, Lincoln, Vietnam, Korea, and I finally got to see MLK. I was a little scared that the MLK one would be awful because I had read all the reviews about it when it opened, but actually it was lovely and appropriate, although I thought he looks a little stern. It's in a beautiful location along the tidal pool among the cherry trees. We saw more than a few couples on dates having picnics and holding hands. It must be terribly romantic during cherry blossom time. Maybe this year since I'll have someone to hold hands with, I'll actually go see the cherry blossoms. This is the statue at the memorial for Dr. King.

But anyway, back to the storm--the wind blew and the clouds were black and boiling and all the tourists left, and nothing happened. Nothing. We got a few drops of rain, but it cooled off and the monuments were all relatively empty and it was so very nice compared to how hot and crowded it was on July 4th. So, I think I'll ignore storm warnings from now on. (No, Child 2. I won't actually ignore them.) But it was nice not to get drenched or struck by lightning and still have the place all to ourselves.

Husband still has more than a week left, so I think we might hit 370 days before he is home. Ugh. Stupid travel time. Also, I re-took that personality test and I am not Newt Gingrich, I am Captain America! Also Superman and The Flash. I feel much better now.

This sportscaster in England is having a worse day than me.  He made rude comments about the appearance of a French player implying that she worked harder because she wasn't a "looker." To my extreme delight, she won the entire tournament. Here she is looking pretty cute holding her trophy.

Then, my favorite part of the story is that during a press conference, some idiot asked her how she felt about that. (Seriously? Do reporters ever ask football players if they feel fat or baseball players if they are self conscious about their paunch?) And she replied that true, she wasn't a blonde, but that she had never dreamed of getting a modeling contract. She had, however, dreamed of winning Wimbledon. Mission accomplished, Ms. Bartoli! And to the idiot sportscaster, thank you for making me very grateful for role models like Marion Bartoli. I have always told my daughters that substance is more important than style. True, style is fun, but it won't win tennis tournaments. That is done with hard work, determination, and talent--qualities which real sports fans appreciate.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bad Day 360--World domination! For a minute or so.

I took my cast off today. The podiatrist said to leave it on as long as possible until I just couldn't stand it any more and tonight I couldn't take it one more second. So I cut it off. (It was a soft cast, remember?) And I discovered that I had a huge rash around my ankle so no wonder it was so uncomfortable. It's still red and raised and looks a little like poison ivy, so I imagine I am allergic to something in cast. Great. But the good news is that although my foot is tender and hurts when I move it certain ways it is a little painful, but it doesn't make me gasp and fall over. So it must be getting better. I am seeing my friend the podiatrist tomorrow, so he'll take a look at it and then I'll know whether or not I have to keep wearing the ugly shoe. I hope not.

We had a fun day today. I went to Ford's Theater for the first time ever. It was exactly like I had imagined it, which makes me think that I probably saw some picture of it in a history book or movie or something. Still, it was fascinating and sad all at the same time. It made me wonder what the world would have been like if Lincoln had lived. I still didn't get to see his hat, but his clothes were there and his shoes. He was very tall.

We also went to the National Archives and saw the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The Archives are the coldest building in all of America, I have decided, but today, I was grateful for that because it was extremely hot outside so it was wonderful to be inside in the frigid air.

Then this evening, we sat around and analyzed our Meyers-Briggs scores. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Meyers-Briggs, it is a personality test that types you into four categories. The Department sets great store by these tests and makes all new officers take them. Apparently, once you know your type, you can tell better how you work with others. I'm not sure how much I believe in the tests, but I took it like any good soldier. Now, you might think that talking about whether or not you are introverted or extroverted would not be fun, but then you probably don't know that someone has taken each of the personality types and decided how they would survive a Zombie Apocalypse. Child 3 has jedi mind powers and survives by convincing the zombies she is not the human they are looking for. I, on the other had, raise and train an army and the take over the world and then defeat the zombies in that order. Sounds great, right? But also everyone hates me because apparently I am a pompous windbag with really bad hair. I have the same personality type as Bill Gates (OK, I can live with that), Katherine Hepburn (yes! definitely), Golda Meir (good,) and then Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, and Rush Limbaugh. I think I'm going to cry, and also re-take the test. It has been many years now and maybe I'm remembering it wrong. I hope so because Child 3 is like Oprah Winfrey and Nelson Mandela and I am Darth Vader, Stalin, and Hitler. But at least I survive the Zombie Apocalypse! But honestly, my hair is way better than this and would still be even if the zombies were out to get me.

A Hitler Fried Chicken shop in Thailand. I kid you not. Complete with pic of Hitler in bow tie.

Yes, the name of that restaurant is Hitler Chicken. But apparently the logo is a little too close to KFC's, so they are suing. But honestly, I'm not sure it's worth a law suit because when it comes down to it, Hitler is not known for his cooking and I can't imagine that he would have ever made anything you could eat without being afraid it would kill you. So thank you, Dumb Restaurant Owners, for reminding me not to name our restaurant in Guam after one of the most evil dictators in the world who was responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people and ruined his country for more than half a century. So, not Stalin's Lobsterpot, or General Mao's Noodles. I think we'll name it Mom's Fake Retirement because why do I have to start a new job when I retire? Child 3 needs to rethink this plan a little bit.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Bad Day 359--The Case of the Kidnapped Keys

A ghost stole my keys. I know you don't believe me, but let me lay out the facts and then tell me if I'm wrong. Last night I came home, let myself in the back door with my keys and walked through the house to the front door to let in Sister-in-law 3 and her family. I then put my keys on the coffee table next to our extra set so there were two sets of keys there. I told SIL 3 that she could use the mini-van tomorrow to go to Mount Vernon. She asked where the keys were, and I said on the coffee table. So we chatted and I went to bed and blogged, and fell asleep.

In the morning, I woke up, got ready for work in record time and went to gather up my stuff and couldn't find my keys. I looked all over the house for 30 minutes. I stripped and re-made the bed. I pulled the cushions off the couch. I even went out and looked around the car, but I knew they weren't there because I had used them to let myself in. I saw the other set of keys on the coffee table and thought, oh, SIL 3 must have grabbed mine instead, so I took the others and left for work. I call home at 9:30 to make sure Child 2 walked the dog and SIL 3 said she couldn't find the keys anywhere. I said, didn't you take the set with the big lanyard? She said no. So I got Child 2 on the phone and directed her to look in all the usual places. She tore my room apart almost literally--no keys. Not in the bathroom or kitchen or living room or couch. Not in the bed or the nightstand or on the dresser. Nowhere to be found. So SIL 3 and her husband decide to go to DC instead because they could take the metro and they had a lovely time at the Natural History Museum where I met them after work and we chased butterflies. We also saw the Hope Diamond which is lovely, but my favorite piece is really this necklace.

I know. I have expensive taste, but I've always been fond of sapphires. Anyway, I came home determined to solve the mystery of the keys and thought, I'll try the bed one more time. So I pulled back the covers, and there they were in the middle of the bed. Except remember that I had stripped the bed in the morning down to the bottom sheet and there were no keys. So either they were invisible in the morning, or they weren't there and someone (or something) put them there later. So my theory is a ghost who has a particular grudge against Mt. Vernon. Either that or Chinese spies. One or the other. Seriously, do you have a better theory?

This would-be exercise king is having a worse day than me. After two days of doing some program called BMX50 or something similar, he ended up like this.

Yes, that is him in the hospital experiencing something called rhabdomyolysis. It sounds horrible, and it is. It's what happens when your muscle fiber breaks down and enters the blood stream and shuts down your kidneys. Thankfully, he survived it, but honestly, it does not sound like a lot of fun. So thank you, Mr. Overexerciser, for reminding me to be grateful that my broken foot will keep me calm for quite a while. I don't think using crutches or a wheelchair puts me in the same kind of danger. But then again, even when I was going to the gym a lot, I'm pretty sure I wasn't over exercising. Um, nope. Really sure that wasn't my problem at all.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bad Day 358--I know you see me!

I discovered that we have Nephews 4, 5 & 10 here. I told you I lost track! So today I spent the day figuring out how to steer a wheelchair. Sister-in-law 3's very smart husband suggested renting one so that they could push me around the National Mall and then I wouldn't have to stay home or use crutches. So I called a place and they were open and I got the wheelchair and the clerk also had a fractured foot so we compared casts and she decided my pink one was better than her  pale yellow and then we both talked about how ugly the surgical shoe was, but unfortunately necessary. She is going to London next week and I wish her luck. Those cobblestones are killer.

Anyway, we took the metro in to the Mall and had lunch at the American History Museum and went and saw all the fun stuff which for me means Kermit the Frog and the First Ladies' dresses. We also spent a lot of time looking for Abraham Lincoln's hat which was supposed to be there, but we never found it. We did see Benjamin Franklin's cane, though. I love that museum. It's like America's attic.

Then we walked down to try to see the memorials, but they were closed because of the concert/fireworks. So we'll do that another day. We came home for dinner intending to go out again to see the fireworks, but everyone was hot and tired and my arms hurt from propelling the wheelchair so we stayed home and roasted marshmallows instead. I discovered in small spaces it was easier if I moved the chair myself because the children kept banging me into things. I also discovered that people pretend not to see wheelchairs because then they can scoot in front of you and see up close and push you out of the way. Also, they expect you to be able to go around them like you are walking, but you're not walking and propelling a wheelchair around someone is much harder than just stepping sideways. And Child 3 should never be in charge of pushing down the hill. I'm just saying. I was holding my breath a couple of times and once just had to scream STOP! It was scarier than a roller coaster.

The owner of this car in Iowa is having a worse day than me because this happened.

Yes, that is a car that split in two. Whoever was driving it hit a utility pole and it cut the car in half. The driver then ran away. The owner says it wasn't her and she thinks someone borrowed the car but she wouldn't tell police who. So either she is lying and she was the driver, or she is afraid of them because I'm telling you now, children, if you ever split my car in two, I am going to tell the police exactly who did it. Right after I post pictures on your facebook page, which I will continue doing until you fess up. But thankfully, Child 1 is a really good driver and we are moving out of the country before Child 2 gets her license. Husband promised me we would. To a country where she won't be allowed to drive or there are no cars, just cows and maybe an antelope or two, although those can be dangerous to bicycles.

So thank you, bad driver, for reminding me to check what the driving age in Senegal is--just in case. And to the country of Senegal, if you want to say that no American children are allowed to drive in your country, that will be OK by me. I am fine with her just riding a bicycle. Just watch out for the antelope, Child 2!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bad Day 357--How much Advil can you take before your liver falls out?

OK. We've talked about how sore using crutches makes you, but I had no idea how painful a trip to the grocery store could be. After having my foot both kicked and hit with a cart, I have decided that until my foot is healed, I will not be doing any more grocery shopping. Online orders only, or someone else can go. Since the only other driver in the family is hanging out with bananas in Texas (seriously. Sent me a picture of her and some guy in a banana suit on Instagram.) then we will be ordering online this weekend. We are fully stocked with chips and hot dogs for tomorrow, but if the house guests want something healthy and not gluten-free, they will have to buy it themselves.

Sister-in-law 3 and her husband and Husband's Nephews 3, 4 & 8? (I don't know. I lose track. There are a lot of nephews on that side. I, myself, only have one.) are arriving late tonight. So I will leave to go get them in about 15 minutes. We are very excited for them to come because it is their first visit to us in Virginia. They came to China and we had a blast, although in hind sight, maybe we shouldn't have sent them down the river on a raft made of pvc pipe with a lawn chair on it. But it was a lot of fun.

This trip will be far less adventurous, but will involve fireworks on the Mall and a few Smithsonians and any monuments we can drive to because I am not walking 10 miles again. Child 2 & 3 have cleaned up as much as they can, and the rest will just have to stay messy because I can hardly move. Used up all my energy running away from evil grocery carts.

This fashion model is having a worse day than me. It is Paris fashion week and this is what one designer thought was good enough to send down the runway.

The Captain and Tenille hat is bad enough, and we won't even talk about what's going on in the pants area. (Body suits for men?) but what I really object to is the red lipstick because everyone knows that if you are wearing red, your lipstick should be nude. It's elementary people! You would think Parisians would know this. So thank you, Mr. Bad Make-up, for reminding me to wear sunscreen tomorrow, or I won't need red lipstick at all. My lips are always the first thing to burn.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bad Day 356--The kindness of not so strangers

Every bone in my body hurts and also some things that are not bones. When you are little and see a pair of crutches, you think oh they seem like so much fun to swing on like you're in a circus! I know because I thought that when I didn't need to use them myself. The first time I ever needed crutches was when I was a student in Austria and broke my foot by walking on it. (See a trend here? Sigh.) I have pictures of me with a cast all over Vienna and Prague and I am not on crutches in a single one because my friends were always stealing them and playing with them. They discovered it was much faster to give me a piggy-back ride and then they could mess around with the crutches. So much fun when you don't actually need them. The children love my crutches and I always have to readjust them because they are playing with them, like this little girl.

The problem is that when you need them, you are actually in pain. Your hands and your shoulders and your neck hurt and your foot throbs and every step is agony and you pray that the escalator on the metro isn't broken because there is no possible way you could make it up the steps. Or down. Also, no one tells you that in the summer, the foam on the arm rest rubs the skin under your arms raw. I worked it out today by wearing a sweater, but no one wants to wear a sweater in 90 degrees in the rain. So I was absolutely dreading my commute home.

And then--the miracle. Someone who reads my blog and figured out that she lives near me e-mailed me at work and asked if she could give me a ride. She offered. Out of the blue. No strings attached. She knew I was in need, so she decided to offer help. You see, that is why I love working at the Department! Despite all the people who change "happy" to "glad" and the ones who yell at you about two spaces after a period and the ones who tell you that you are not allowed to eat the food at the 4th of July reception because you are the help and even though you have worked from 7 in the morning until 10 at night on a holiday and had to skip both lunch and dinner, that. food. is. not. for. you! Despite all those people, most of the people I work with are amazing. They are kind and generous and thoughtful and great cooks. They are resourceful and creative and fun and resilient. They are smart and witty and great story tellers. Someone once asked me how I could live so far from family and how I coped when I was overseas, and the secret is that the Foreign Service is a family and they are there when you need them. And today, when I was at a really low point wondering how I was going to survive the day, someone reminded me how great my colleagues can be. So thank you, "Caroline." You are a life saver. I hope some day I can return the favor.

Dennis Rodman is having a worse day than me--again.

dennis rodman nobel prize

He has decided that he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for all the hard work he's been doing to make the world a safer place. These are his own words. "But I’ll tell you this: If I don’t finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something’s seriously wrong." I'm sorry, Mr. Rodman. That's like saying I deserve an Oscar for watching Les Miserables, because, you know, I love that musical and I know all the words. Or maybe I should get a gold medal for watching the Olympics and wearing the best T-shirt. Honestly! Tweeting to a dictator to "do you a solid" and release an American captive (who is still being held captive) does not make you Ghandi. So good luck with your campaign! I'll be sure to vote for you just as soon as I finish polishing my Grammy which I won for singing in the shower.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bad Day 355--The gift that China keeps on giving

So I have re-injured my old fracture--you know, the one that the doctors in China said was all in my head and it was just a sprain so I walked on a broken foot for months. That one. Apparently, my feet now hate me and will break at the smallest provocation. So not my favorite body part at the moment. Although my toenails are a lovely shade of sky-blue. I do have nice toenails and the sky blue looks pretty with my pink cast. It is a soft cast and I have to have it on for a week and then we will see how I'm doing. Now I just have to figure out how to get to work tomorrow because I am very slow with the crutches. I hear there is a bus, so maybe I'll try that. I never did figure it out before and I had a walking cast, but this one is different and comes with an ugly black Velcro shoe. So whatever I wear has to not clash with black and pink. Sigh. I hate ugly surgical shoes.
As my friend "Brynn" wrote me today, it is so very much harder to find someone who is having a worse day than you when you have a fractured foot and your husband is in Afghanistan. But I think this Belgian diplomat and his family in New York are having a worse day than me. Lovely family, aren't they? And their baby is cute as a button in that pink hat.

They were eating lunch at a country club and his wife started to discreetly nurse the baby at the table. The manager came and snapped at them and told them to leave because they were disturbing the other guests. I wonder how many had actually complained, because what happened next is really disturbing. The restaurant called the police. Because feeding a baby is criminal? Then they made all the other guests leave the terrace where they were seated and a policeman approached them with his hand on his gun! For feeding a baby! I realize that breastfeeding makes people uncomfortable, but it is neither illegal, nor does it involve any lethal weapons. Now, when the baby bites, that hurts, but it doesn't harm anyone except the mother, so what was the deal with the gun? Honestly. The policeman told the diplomats that he was being cautious because of terrorism threats. OK. Worst. Excuse. EVER. So to the Neijens family, I apologize for the boorish behavior of my countrymen. I assure you that we are not all idiots. If you ever choose to visit the State Department, we have several lovely nursing areas for you to use with comfortable couches which are not near toilets. And to the staff of the country club in White Plains--grow up. You all need some serious lessons in etiquette and customer service. Seriously, the DMV in my state treats people better than that, and I hate them! And to that police detective with the gun--learn the difference between a terrorist and a baby. I'll give you a hint, usually terrorists are more than 3 months old. Also, they can walk on their own. And don't wear pink hats. Honestly!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bad Day 354--Forget 500 miles; I can barely walk 5 steps!

I spent the day in bed, almost literally. I did get up early to take Child 1 to the airport. I happen to own an air cast which I also happen to know is the best way to stabilize an ankle sprain from experience. So I put it on and I used the crutches to get to the car and I made her drive there. Then I hobbled in with her, got her all checked in, saw her go through security and then hobbled back. There really ought to be a way that people with ankle sprains can get a temporary handicapped sticker because every muscle in my body now hurts from that effort. I forgot what a strain crutches put on your shoulders and arms and hands and neck and the leg that isn't hurt. So I managed to drive home with the cast (thankfully very little traffic so I didn't have to step on the brakes a lot) and I came home and went to bed and stayed there for the rest of the day.

I'm not kidding. Child 3 heated up leftovers for me for lunch and brought them up while wearing Groucho Marx glasses to cheer me up and we ate lunch in my bed. Then Child 2 came home from church and I tried to make them watch Pride and Prejudice with me, but they fell asleep instead so we all took a nap together--even The Dog. It was lovely. Now back to Pride and Prejudice, it was the 2005 Keira Knightly version.

I have to say that when I first found out that they were making a movie and Keira Knightly was going to be Elizabeth Bennet, I was really mad. I didn't happen to think that she would be able to pull it off. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books and I read it every few years. I love it so, so very much and the BBC version with Colin Firth was perfection itself, so why would you want to tackle that? (A side note, if you have seen the BBC version and you want to laugh out loud, you must read Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason. There is a scene in the book that isn't in the movie where Bridget interviews Colin Firth about the pond scene. Best interview ever!) But I saw it anyway prepared to hate it and I didn't. It was lovely. The BBC version is still better, but you can't watch that all in one afternoon. And for 2 lovely hours, I was transported to Jane Austen's world and I completely forgot about my foot. Just what I needed today. That is until the children made themselves ice cream and forgot to get some for me even though I had asked for some. Sigh.

This coed in Virginia is having a worse day than me. She bought a box of this at a convenience store, and undercover cops pulled guns on her and arrested her.

It is sparkling water, in case you can't see. The coed didn't realize they were police because they were in plain clothes and they yelled at her to roll down the windows, which she couldn't because the car wasn't on, so they pounded on the windows. It seems to me, that the whole thing could have been avoided if they had actually read the box where it says "sparkling water" which is not in any way alcohol and if they had not scared the poor girl to death. Also, who pulls a gun on a car full of college girls? Isn't that like throwing water on a grease fire because you are just asking for them to scream and panic and act irrationally. Have none of those officers ever seen a horror movie? Or met a teenage girl? So thank you, Charlottesville Police, for making me grateful that the police officers in my town wave to me when they drive by and are always friendly and never pull guns on cars full of teenage girls. Small town America has its advantages. No bears or mountain lions or zombie wheat and friendly police officers--not the makings of a horror movie at all.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bad Day 353--Inconceivable!

I have sprained my ankle again. Seriously! I was just telling someone the other day that I was really loving wearing heels because my ankles were doing fine after having broken each of them in China and re-spraining them a year later but they've been good for almost two years, and then Boom! I stepped off a curb at the mall and down I went--right in front of about 10 people. They were all very kind. One woman ran into a restaurant and came out with ice bags and a towel. Another woman offered to drive me home in my car while her husband followed behind. And a kind chiropractor looked at it and said it probably wasn't broken and I should go home and elevate and ice it and not bother with the emergency room. So Child 3 helped me limp to the car and I drove home with the ice tied to my foot in a lot of pain, the whole time thinking I have to be able to drive, I have to be able to drive. Because Child 1 is leaving for San Antonio in the morning and I have to take her to the airport and I will be the only driver.

But we made it home and Artemis stopped by and brought home-made sour cream and bouillon none of which has any maltodextrin in it. then she helped find my crutches and drove me to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription which I couldn't get yesterday because the power was out at the pharmacy. And then we ordered gluten-free pizza from Domino's and now we are watching The Princess Bride. I love that movie. "Murdered by pirates is good!"

It is helping distract me from my big purplish blue ankle and the fact that I have to figure out how to walk five blocks every day on crutches. Stupid glass ankles.

People in northern New Mexico are having a worse day than me. They lost internet and cell phone service for 20 hours and nobody knew why until they caught the malicious culprit.

Yep. It was a beaver that ate through the fiber optic line and cut everyone off. So thank you, Mr. Beaver, for not chewing my line because Today would have been a long horrible day without internet and tomorrow would be even worse.

Bad Day 352--I am not dead in a ditch.

I am still alive, just up late. (Sorry, Sister 1) Sister 3 is leaving in the morning and we stayed up late talking because I finally could, even though she herself has to get up at oh dark thirty to start the long drive home. But that is our family tradition and some traditions must be followed. If I didn't stay up really late at least once, then Child 2 would be really disappointed in me.

Today there was a really big storm, so of course the power went out. But the car was filled with gas, because after last summer's disaster of not being able to leave for NYC during a power outage because there were no gas stations in our state with power, I always keep the car at least 1/4 full and up to the top if I can help it. You never know when you will need to leave for New York. And we had lanterns ready and our radio that you can power with a crank. So after I came back from my doctor's appointment, which was just in time for the power to go out, the nieces and Child 3 danced to the radio until they were bored and then we went to the mall and the movies.

I discovered a couple of things. 1. Child 3 is thankfully old enough that she realizes not all animated movies are going to be good and there were quite a few from the trailers which we both think we will skip (but not Despicable Me 2--that looks really funny.)

And 2. Movie popcorn makes me really sick and my tongue has been burning for hours. Popcorn should be gluten free, but apparently butter flavoring is not. Seriously, is there nothing fun left for me to eat? I almost broke down in tears the other day at the grocery store because it takes me so darn long to buy anything, and invariably everything I love and want to eat will have wheat of some kind in it. It. is. such. an. ordeal.

OK, enough whining. I need to get to sleep because I have to drive to kingdom come tomorrow to test drive a car for my friends "Annike and Aaron." We knew them in China and we love them so very much and they are moving here in the summer, so to make life easier for them, I am helping buy a car for them so when they finally arrive, they have something to drive. So I'll get right to the fact that everyone who says they are stressed is having a worse day than me. Oh wait. . . I can't have a worse day than me. These people in Washington are definitely having a worse day than me. They were at home in their house minding their own business when suddenly a huge 3 pound piece of metal crashed through their roof.

A mysterious metal object crashed through a Seattle roof (Seattle Police Department)

No, it is not from a space ship or an airplane. It is a piece of a wood chipper and it must have flown pretty far because this is the hole it made. Seriously, all the way through the roof!

The metal object crashed through a home's roof and ceiling (Seattle PD)

So thank you, Seattle home owners, for reminding me to be grateful that there are no lumber yards near my house. There are a lot of trees, though, but if I see anyone using a wood chipper to clean up the ones that fell during today's storm, I'll be sure to ask them to move it far away from my house.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bad Day 351--I wouldn't walk 500 miles

My feet hurt. Not just ache--actually hurt like sharp, shooting pain every time I step on my left heel. Probably because I walked at least 10 miles today. I'm not really exaggerating. For those of you who know DC, I started out at Metro Center, then walked to L'Enfant Plaza, then over to the Lincoln Memorial, then up to Foggy Bottom. Sister 3 and the three nieces and Child 3 met me downtown because they wanted to see the memorials at night and also it's not as hot. We really thought we were going to get rained on because some really dark clouds passed over us, but they blew on through and we were remarkably dry, although very sweaty and tired. And hungry. Dinner was hours ago and we definitely walked it off. But the good news is that I found a Mediterranean place that has gluten-free pitas, so I will be looking for that chain again. Also, they serve olives as a side dish. The nieces were not impressed, but Child 3 was and ate every last one.

This is what the Lincoln Memorial looks like at night so you can see why they wanted to go.

What I hadn't noticed the many times I've been there before is that on the steps, carved in granite, is a marker where Dr. King gave his "I have a dream" speech. Not everyone pays attention to it, and obviously I had never realized it was there before. But this time, the steps were a little wet and the light reflected off the words "I have a dream." Most people walked right over it, but I saw a group of students from Texas A&M standing on it and one of the girls looked down and realized what it was. Her group left soon after, but just as she was leaving, she bent down and gently touched the spot where Dr. King had stood, quickly but reverently. It was a very sweet moment watching her pay homage to history.

It is way, way past my bedtime, so I'm too tired to write much more. This girl is having a worse day than me. No need to explain why.

OMG I want these so bad!! ♥ #fashion #shorts #spikes

So thank you, Ms. Spikey, for reminding me to be grateful for my lovely and comfortable pleated chiffon skirt that I wore today. It even held up during all the walking and I wasn't too hot. I love good fashion. Those shorts are in no way good fashion.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bad Day 350--Is there such a thing as zombie mosquitoes?

There is a mosquito in our house that will not die. I swear I have killed it over and over, and yet it is still biting my feet. I don't know why my feet are so attractive to mosquitoes, but they are and I hate mosquito bites. I always put Benadryl on them and they always feel better until the second day when they swell up and itch like crazy and then no amount of Benadryl in the world will help. I think you can actually overdose on the gel so I haven't tried to find out how much gel you can put on before you pass out, but I'm tempted. I just got three bites while typing. Three! It's hiding somewhere in the room now so I cant kill it. This reminds me so much of life in Asia when I was afraid to go to sleep at night without mosquito netting. The worst is when one gets trapped inside the net and bites you all night. I hate mosquitoes. They are evil. They serve no purpose other than to be pests and spread disease. Something should be done.

Child 1 and Child 2 are leaving on a trip tomorrow for three days. They have to be dropped off at 6am, so this will be a short post tonight. Plus I have to find and kill that mosquito.

These 20 tourists on vacation in Canada are having a worse day than me because they got trapped on the ice by the super moon. I bet that's a sentence you've never seen before! For some reason, they thought this would be a fun place to go camping.

OK, actually they wanted to see migrating whales and polar bears. But the super moon caused a big tide and tides and wind pushed them out to sea. The Royal Canadian Air Force dropped them supplies, which weren't necessary because they were camping, and after several days, the wind shifted and pushed them back to shore. Unfortunately for them, thick fog has prevented them from being rescued and brought back to civilization and they are still stuck in the wilderness even though they are not on the ice any more. So thank you, crazy tourists, for reminding me to go to Antarctica by boat and to just visit polar bears at the zoo. Much less trouble and way warmer.

Bad Day 349--The problem with a common sense approach

There is a big thunderstom raging outside and I am counting the seconds until the power goes out. Of course it will go out because it always goes out when we have company. You can count on the power to fail when we need it the most. Also, it was really hot today, so the house will be a furnace without the air conditioning. And Child 3 will run screaming into my room and I am so not excited about being woken up to be told the power isn't on. Sigh.

Sister 3 made us chicken piccata tonight which was delicious and gluten free! Because I had gluten free spaghetti on hand. Also capers and mushrooms. Apparently other people do not keep capers and mushrooms on hand, but I love them so we do. Not much bread around, though. Chicken Picata looks like this.

Chicken Piccata

The children loved it. So apparently it is OK to have lemon and chicken with pasta, but not lemon with chicken and rice in a soup. I cannot figure out the rules. But if you don't bread the chicken, and you use corn starch to thicken the sauce, you have a lovely gluten-free meal with things I always keep on hand. So this one is a winner!

A fellow tandem whose husband is in Afghanistan forwarded to me our bureau's annual "please don't dress like an idiot" e-mail. They asked everyone to use common sense which is completely the problem. You see, common sense is based on experience and your awareness of your surroundings. So if you are young, or oblivious, or conceited, or all three, you are going to come up with some very different rules than your colleagues for dress. For example, if you have spent the last four years wearing sweatshirts and cut-offs, then you might think that flip-flops are dressing up.

And if you believe that your best quality is your sex appeal, then you might dress like this.

That is actually a picture of a Halloween costume, but I've seen things close to it at the office. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a leather mini slit so high up the back I could see underwear. I suppose I should be thankful she was wearing some at all. And then there are the people who really believe that they look fine when they show up like this.

I think he is an attorney. But at least his shirt matches his shoes. Honestly. Reading GQ would so not help him. Some people are beyond help. But I am still bucking the trend at the Department. I wore my award shoes again today and again they did not fail and complete strangers told me how much they like them. They are my favorite shoes. Maybe of all time.

Giada de Laurentis is having a worse day than me.

Giada De Laurentiis stops by Access Hollywood Live on June 25, 2013 -- Access Hollywood

The Food Network replaced Paula Deen's time slots with her show, and Paula's fans are not happy about it. They want her to stand up for Paula on social media, so they are bullying Giada who does not make the decisions at the network. And I have to say, that kind of bullying of the innocent is exactly the problem that Paula Deen is supposed to have caused. So fans, cut it out. And to Giada, thank you--I love your pasta sauce at Target. Now if you could only make your gnocchi gluten free.