Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bad Day 233--Time keeps on slippin'

How come time speeds up the moment I get home and I never end up having enough time to accomplish anything? I ordered Chinese the minute I got home at 6 and now it's 8:30 and I have accomplished nothing. Nothing! OK, I ate dinner but that's not really accomplishing anything. And I ordered something new from the Chinese place because I'm tired of moo goo gai pan, and of course, as soon as I took a bite I could tell it was made with wheat. Egg foo young is delicious, btw, but apparently full of soy sauce, so now we're going to try to make it at home.

I would cook more at home, but there's that whole time problem. And then there is the whole homework thing. It's killing me. Really. I'm so tired of homework because this is how it goes in my house:

Are you doing your homework?
Child 1/2/3, did you start your homework?
I can hear the Wiii!
Is anybody listening and who has homework?
Alright, I'm coming up there!
Okay, okay, OKAY! I'll do it! Stop yelling! Why do you hate me? Can't I please stay home from school? My teacher hates me! I hate school! Can't you just home school me?

Apparently, the children think that if they were home schooled, they wouldn't have any homework. But home schooling is all homework by definition. Also, if they won't even do their chores when I ask, how on earth would I get them to learn anything. I totally believe in out-sourcing their education. Plus, I hate Algebra. I rock at history, though.

OK, we have to talk about Dennis Rodman because he is so having a worse day than me.


He is  in North Korea filming a documentary for HBO about "basketball diplomacy." I think they think basketball will open up the Hermit Kingdom like ping pong did for China. But here is the problem--basketball isn't a North Korean sport and it would look pretty foolish for a bunch of American basketball players to go to North Korea and pretend to play badly enough to lose to the DPRK national team which is what they would need to do to make the North Koreans happy. I mean, I'm a not so youngish woman and I could probably still stuff most North Koreans. I would look like an idiot trying to play badminton against them, though, because that is their thing. And archery. And weight lifting. And boxing. They are awesome at boxing. And lots of other sports that they actually play there of which basketball probably isn't one. So enjoy your trip, Mr. Rodman. And you know all those people laughing in this photo? They are laughing at you, not with you. And they are thinking (correctly) what kind of idiot wears sunglasses indoors? But thank you, Mr. Rodman, for reminding me to be grateful that I actually know what real diplomacy is, and it is not being chummy with dictators. That is just being misguided.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bad Day 232--Grrrrr. That Dog!

The Dog broke into my room again today and went on the bathroom floor. And I took her for a long walk this morning! It would be on a day when my back is really hurting, so poor Child 2 had to clean it up. She did a great job, though.

I managed to avoid working on my EER today by reading hundreds of pages about budgets. Yes, thrilling, I know, but still better than writing about how amazing I am at reading budgets. Also, for fun, I took a quiz online to see if I'm smarter than a Foreign Service Officer, and as it turns out, I'm not! I had a good laugh at that because now that I'm in, they can't unhire me. Nor can they make me retake the exam. Stupid online quiz.

So it's only 9pm, but I feel like it's 3am. I am so exhausted from all the avoiding and did I mention that my back really hurts? Some lovely friends made us dinner and it was delicious and so necessary because I can't lift up my arms which meant either we were having dog food because it's on the bottom shelf, or it would be Chinese again. Instead, it was yummy soup and chocolate cupcakes for the children to enjoy. Someday, when Husband comes home from Afghanistan, I'm going to make him cook dinner for all the people who helped us out while he was gone. He should be done cooking after a few months.

These children in Colorado are having a worse day than me. 

In this photo provided by Sharon Webb, principal of Miami-Yoder School, students sleep on the floor at the school on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2013, in Yoder, Colo. About 60 students were forced to spend the night at the school after snow drifts closed roads in the area. The students went home later Wednesday after the roads were cleared. (AP Photo/Sharon Webb)

If you can't tell, that is the school they are sleeping in. A blizzard came through and the highway their school bus was supposed to travel down was closed, so they had to stay overnight at the school where they watched movies and ate pizza and talked on the phone with their parents. So actually, I take that back. They aren't having a worse day than me because it's 9pm and I'm not finished with Child 3's homework. I hate school. Grrrr.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bad Day 231--Bragging season

It is the beginning of EER season and I am already stressed out about it. For those of you not in the Foreign Service, an EER is an Employee Evaluation Report and it is what makes or breaks your career for the next few years. A good EER gets you promoted. A bad one is like an albatross around your neck for years, only the albatross is alive and really angry he is tied around your neck and pecks at you until you bleed. I hate EERs, mostly because I really, really stink at writing them. Oh, I am excellent at evaluating others. I can brag about my staff with great abandon and I am a whiz at making something small sound really, really important which is what you have to do with an EER. But when I write about myself, I sound stupid and pompous, or like a peppy cheerleader which is even worse. Yay me! Ugh.

Someone commented on an earlier post that bidding is like a middle school dance where you stand around hoping somebody will like you enough to ask you to dance. If that is true, and it totally is, then EERs are like yearbooks, only yearbooks on steroids where the competition to win "most likely to succeed" is cutthroat and bloody. There are a lot of type A's in the Foreign Service and they tend to inflate the importance of their paper pushing job to the point where you would think they saved the world for democracy when what they really did was yell at people through the visa window. I really am saving the world, (OK, not really but my job is both cool and important to America) but I can't think of how to make it sound like I do more than answer e-mails. Unfortunately, humility and self deprecation do not get you promoted in the Department. Apparently, yelling at visa applicants does because all those people always get promoted before me. Someone I quite admire once told me the system is biased toward egregious self-promoters. I agree. Donald Trump would probably rise very quickly. I would so love to see him at the passport window, though. Boy, can angry Americans yell. (I'm talking about the customers, not me. I do not yell at customers. I do put on my "mom face" though and look very stern. A couple of times, I even wagged my finger.)

This man in China is having a worse day than me and it is entirely his fault. He is a government official and his family missed their flight twice, so he threw a fit. Literally. A big fit. The kind of fit that is bad as a two-year-old but actually dangerous when you are a grown man. Here is a picture of him destroying the computer station and trying to break the glass window.

If that happened in the US, you can bet TSA would arrest him lickety split and he might even lose his security clearance and his job. But since it was China, he apologized publicly and that is probably all that will happen. It's a shame, because most Chinese people are exceedingly polite and accept things like missed flights with grace and poise. But with 1.3 billion people, there are bound to be some entitled jerks and this guy is definitely one of them. So thank you, Mr. Official, for reminding me to be grateful that I don't work at Kunming airport and wasn't terrorized by your temper-fit. And also, I never had a visa applicant act as poorly as you did. Take the example of your countrymen and grow up and stop terrorizing people just because you can get away with it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bad Day 230--I win!

Today was a doozy. It was one of those days that is so very bad is so very many ways that it's hard to explain, and impossible to do so without whining. So it started with about 2 hours of sleep last night which did not make for a fun morning. Then it got worse from there involving a sick kid, calls from the school counselor and things going badly at work and it was the kind of day that needed chocolate but I can't eat chocolate so I'm eating gluten-free lemon wafers which are not the same. Nothing is the same as chocolate. I think I may have said that before, but it's still true.

So I am going to bed in about 5 minutes because I am falling asleep while writing and I think my grammar is getting worse by the second. Also I want to ignore the laughing children upstairs not doing their homework or their chores and that will be so much easier when I'm asleep.

This man in Portland, Maine is having a worse day than me, but not by much.

When I first read this story, it didn't say it was Maine and I was really confused because Portland, Oregon doesn't seem like the kind of place that would ticket someone for whistling, but apparently Portland, Maine is just such a place. This guy loves to whistle, but he can whistle quite loudly so the business owners downtown don't want him to. He says it's free speech, and a judge agreed--sort of. He can whistle as long as he keeps moving, which is weird, and sort of unfair to everyone involved because nobody gets what they want so in the end is sort of fair. So Mr. Whistler will keep whistling while moving and I will thank him for reminding me to be grateful that I have never been declared a public nuisance. That may be because I didn't learn how to whistle until I was 19 and I am spectacularly bad at it, but still,  I've never had a ticket of any kind, unless you count the parking one Child 1 got a couple of weeks ago which was my fault. Another ticket would have been all I needed to make this day one of the worst ever since Husband left for Afghanistan. Excuse me while I go to bed and try to forget this day ever happened.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bad Day 229--Why are the envelopes red?

We're watching the Oscars. We missed the red carpet because we were having dinner with some new/old friends--someone whom I was a missionary with in Norway back in the day and I work with now in the Department. It was a lot of fun and they were even polite when I made them look at pictures of me in Norway.

Missing the red carpet is actually the way to do things because I don't think they could possibly make those arrival scenes any more boring. I mean, I love fashion, but hearing over and over again how great people look when they are all wearing the same exact dress gets old. I miss Bjork's swan dress. At least that was interesting.

Child 1 wasn't interested at all in watching the Oscars until Captain Kirk showed up and then the promise of the Avengers had her hooked. I am happy because we have actually seen three of the Best Picture nominees this year. We loved Lincoln, and of course Les Mis is now sung daily in our house, but everyone knows I am routing for Argo. My boss is also routing for Argo, which may be the only Oscar nominated movie to ever mention the Department and not have the words "those weenies" in front of it, as in "those weenies from the Embassy." It's nice to be the hero for once and  not the cowards who won't help the protagonist, which is what we usually are. The Secretary is so happy, that he even tweeted about it.

John Kerry and Ben Affleck

I think they might even give Ben Affleck a real badge and let him roam around whenever he wants.

Life of Pi, which we haven't seen is now a swear word in our house because the children are "so tired of this movie" and are angry that their favorites aren't winning. Child 1 says having Chris Evans in a movie alone should guarantee best visual effects. I think I agree. Here is a picture of Chris Evans, who I have to admit I didn't recognize in his tux, but in my defense, he is most recognizable with his shield.

People in Guam are having a worse day than me and this is the culprit.

Apparently, the island is infested with brown tree snakes which came aboard ships during WWII and decided the island was a great place to be and are now taking over. So authorities have decided to airdrop dead mice filled with a painkiller that is toxic to reptile all over the island. So now, not only do you have to worry about snakes in your backyard, it also might rain dead toxic mice on your picnic. So thank you, residents of Guam, for reminding me to be grateful that The Dog would never let a snake in my yard and I don't have to be worried about dead mice bombs. Really, the snakes would be better. I've got the willies just thinking about flying dead rodents.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bad Day 228--The Sky is Falling

I've been reading over some of my past posts and I realize that you might think I am atrocious at spelling and know nothing about grammar and never proofread. Only one of those things are true. I stink at spelling and always have which I attribute to having learned too many foreign languages so that I can never remember whether address has one D or two and can't remember which language puts an extra E on the end. I do know a lot of grammar having been an ESL teacher for years; I just choose to ignore bits of it like the part about run-on sentences and I can't be bothered with fancy punctuation. And I do proofread. It's just you try being funny and clever every single night when you are dog tired and your husband is in Afghanistan and you see how many errors you catch. But come on! If you want to read something beautifully written and free of errors, you should be reading Shakespeare. I can recommend Richard III. It is quite good, especially the part where the dead rise up to curse him.

I threw out my back doing something I don't remember. Did I mention that I have a bad back? I ruined it years ago sleeping on the floor in Norway. Long story about why I didn't have a bed. It's been OK for years, but today it decided it had enough of the whole supporting me while Husband is in Afghanistan and it just quit. I can hardly move and even typing hurts, so there won't be much proof reading tonight. As a consolation, I introduced the children to another of my favorite movie series which is James Bond. Skyfall, to be exact because I hadn't seen it yet.

I think they might be converted. We'll have to go back and watch the Daniel Craig ones in order, and then go back in time to Pierce Brosnan and then skip back to Sean Connery. I used to love him the best until my friend "Geoff" told me he met him in the Bahamas and Mr. Connery is a real jerk. I know that Pierce Brosnan isn't everyone's favorite Bond, but he is mine (apart from Daniel Craig.) I've liked him since he was Remington Steele.

This man trying to propose to his girlfriend in Mexico is having a worse day than me. He tried to orchestrate an elaborate proposal on the beach on a pier at sunset, and the whole thing went badly when the owner's yacht blocked the view and the restaurant was late setting up. It all deteriorated and eventually involved police with guns and his dropping the ring in the ocean. He sent scuba diving to get the ring later and it all turned out OK, but it's a perfect example of why proposals should not need advance teams. So thank you, Mr. Romantic, for reminding me that simple is best. Now I'm taking some ibuprofen and going to bed and hoping my arms still work tomorrow.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bad Day 227--Going to my happy place

Tonight was Girl Scout Thinking Day, which if you don't have a Girl Scout in your house you might not know that thinking day involves large numbers of girls learning about different countries and yelling. You know what you can't do on thinking day is actually think because it is so darn loud that you can't hear a thing and I spent the whole time saying "what" and "India!" And I sincerely hope that no one was asking for directions to the bathroom because I just sent them across a couple of oceans and a continent which is a looong way to go to get to the bathroom.

Child 3's troop was India which was brilliant because their swaps were extremely popular. Swaps are what you sell to other girl scoutsBecause what girl could resist bangle bracelets and bindi jewels? They also had bags of colored chalk which you are supposed to throw in the air during the Holi Festival which thankfully no one did because I didn't know color could make noise. Holi looks like this.

My friends "Sparrow" and "Rabbit" went one year and I am totally jealous and although Sparrow said it was loud and crazy and they needed male protection and afterword they looked like they were part of a technicolor dream, it probably wasn't as loud as thinking day.

This father from New York is having a worse day than me and he deserves every minute of it.

In this undated photo released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows Robert Sand. Once dubbed by prosecutors as the government's most wanted deadbeat parent, Sand pleaded guilty Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 in Central Islip, N.Y. to owing more than $1.2 million to three children from two failed marriages. (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

He is what is know as a deadbeat dad. Instead of paying child support for his children from two failed marriages, he fled to Thailand. Yep. He ran. I don't even know how to start that conversation with children who will know that their father actually ran away across the world rather than take care of them. So thank you, Mr. Deadbeat, for reminding me to be grateful that although Husband is across the world, he did not run away. He may be in Afghanistan, but he is still a really great dad.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bad Day 226--Hives, but not mine

Child 3 has hives. I thought that's what the rash was, but I wasn't sure. We're hoping it's the new shampoo she's trying and not food. Please let it not be a food allergy. I left work early, again, and took her to the doctor and then went to visit with my friends at the pharmacy. I don't have to spell my last name anymore. They just know. We're buds.

My old friend nausea was back today. For lunch, I had a gluten-free cookie and a root-beer barrel. However, the good news is that yesterday I discovered the baked potato bar in the Department, so now I don't have to eat sushi for lunch every day which I was doing because I was really sick of mashed potatoes. So this will be my lunch every day for a while, except mine will have tomatoes on it, too.

I'm firing the maid service tomorrow. They've gotten lazy and hardly clean anything anymore. My neighbor recommended someone else who we tried today and she was amazing, although she only speaks Spanish which I understand a little bit, you know, having watched Sesame Street and all. So I can count and say "open and close" which is not very helpful but I actually understand some of what she says so she talks at me and I nod and point and answer in French. It will all work out somehow, I'm convinced. Either that, or Child 3 will get really good a Spanish really quick. Child 1's Mandarin and Child 2's French won't be that helpful. Neither will my fluent Norwegian. You would think that after years in the Foreign Service, some of us would speak the same language, but you would be wrong. Five people, seven languages, and the only one that all of us understand is English.

Lindsay Lohan is having a worse day than me, again. OK, her days are probably always worse than mine because mine never involve being arrested for anything or wearing an ankle monitor. But she borrowed a designer dress worth $1750 to wear to a charity thing which meant she was supposed to return it because she didn't pay for it. After the party/gala/fundraiser/whatever, she went to a nightclub and tore the dress, so instead of doing the sane thing which would be to go home and change, she cut it off. Into a mullet. Because she isn't in enough trouble already?

gty lohan dress split kb 130221 wblog Lindsay Lohan Ruins Borrowed Dress: Report

So thank you, Ms. Lohan, for reminding me to be grateful that I have never ruined (or worn) a $1700 gown. I may have stained a few things of Sister 1's when we shared a room and clothes, but I never, ever cut off one of her dresses. And seriously, lay off the plastic surgery. You look older than me. And good luck borrowing dresses in the future. Who is going to loan you anything now?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bad Day 225--Just one normal week, please!

Child 3 now has rash all over her face and I was in bed at 7:00. I've just about had it with all the illness and sick days. Couldn't we have just one week where no one is sick and I don't have to visit the doctor? This is how bad it's gotten--I am on a first name basis with all the pharmacists at our pharmacy. They even call me at home to remind me to renew my prescriptions. Yep. At home. Personally. We're friends. They are nice and all, but I would rather they have no idea who I am. Seriously, I am about to lose it. I'm so upset that I had mango frozen yogurt and tortilla chips for dinner and I'm now in bed. Not in my jammies, though, because I think I have to go pick up Child 2 in a few minutes.

I told the children that I needed some time off when Husband gets home and they panicked. No, you can't leave us alone for a year! I don't want to eat fast food every night and listen to NPR! I quickly explained, before the panic escalated, that I just meant I didn't want to drive anywhere or take anyone to the doctor. It's going to take me years to build up my sick days again since I've depleted most of them. Sigh. Thank you so much, Department, for supporting tandems separated by unaccompanied tours. (That was sarcastic, btw.) But I suppose I should just be happy that I have a job. Of course, when the furloughs start happening, I will just make sure people only get sick on Thursdays, or whenever it is that I am not getting paid and don't have to go in. This is how happy the Secretary of Defense looked when he announced that they would have furloughs if sequestration happens, which it probably will.

Everyone is fairly certain that there will be furloughs which will wreak havoc on the Department but we don't have any say. It's all up to congress and since fewer than 9% of Americans actually believe congress is doing a good job and I am not one of them, you can see how much I believe in their ability to make things work. But what I want to know is, will their staff be furloughed, too? Or do they still get to draw a paycheck for doing brilliant things like writing embassies and asking them to send maps. Apparently, no one in congress has ever heard of Google Maps.

This 104 year old woman is having a worse day than me.

Her granddaughter helped her set up a facebook page, but apparently facebook is ageist and discriminates against people who are older than 99. It won't let her put in her correct age, so she has to lie and say she is 99. Now, she seems quite spry to me and could totally pass for 99, maybe even 95, but after you get to 100, you shouldn't have to lie about your age. I mean, I won't, when I get there in, um, 64 years. Or so. Ish. So here's to you, Ms. Joseph. I hope I am as cool as you are when I get to be your age. And thank you, facebook, for reminding me to change my birth year. I might just start shaving off a little now so I don't have to later. Oh wait. I just checked and it's not on there at all. Perfect!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bad Day 224--Spoiler Alert! Nobody Dies!

It is 6:45 and I am already in bed. I am sick to my stomach and I'm coming down with a cold and I have lost my voice. The voice thing has nothing to do with the cold and everything to do with the fact that I think I talked more in the past few days than I have since Husband left. Sister 1 and I had a lot of catching up to do. She is now on the plane home and we are all sad about it.

I have to complain a little bit about all the people who post spoilers on their facebook page that ruin my favorite show. Here I was in complete ignorance about what happened in the finale and then everyone started blabbing, including Yahoo and Slate. Ugh! So tonight's finale wasn't a surprised and I am mad, mad, mad.  But it's still a good show and I will still keep watching. And I will even watch the whole season again when Husband comes home and I will not tell him a single thing about it. Because I love him and because I don't want to ruin it for him. Someone should be surprised.

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary and Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley

Now, about Lady Mary's hat. Where can I get one just like it to match my navy coat? I look particularly nice in hats and that is a good one and not the kind that everyone would go, oh you were watching Titanic which also had great hats but they are rather dated. See?

If I wore that, people on the metro would be very annoyed with me because I would keep hitting them with my hat. Backpacks are bad enough. I really get peeved when someone gets on the metro wearing a backpack that makes them three times as wide as normal and then doesn't take it off and swings around and knocks me in the nose with it. I am just short enough that I live in fear of the tall hipster with the overloaded backpack. It is only the fact that the metro is usually so crowded that no one can move that has kept me from being knocked on my backside. I'm trying to think of a snappy comeback the next time it happens, which is pretty much every day I don't get a seat. Anyone have suggestions?

This man in Florida is having a worse day than me because he posted this picture on facebook of him breaking the law.

Yep, just like that woman a few months ago, he thought it would be fun to play with a manatee, but what he should have remembered is that they are an endangered species so it is a really bad idea to play with one when you find it. Someone found the photos and turned him in and now he's been arrested. So thank you, Mr. Manatee Harasser, for reminding me to be grateful that my children are smart enough to know to leave Manatees alone. The Dog isn't, however, so she won't be going on any trips to Florida anytime soon.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bad Day 223--Come on and zoom, zoom, zoomah, zoom!

The title has nothing to do with my post but Sister 1 and I were talking about our favorite clothes from our childhood and that song popped into my head. I'm not sure how many people watched Zoom because it was PBS show filmed in Boston, after all, but now that I think about it, those rugby shirts were just awful.

Sister 1 is leaving tomorrow and everyone is very sad. We've had a great time driving her around to all our favorite spots. We went to an antique mall and I bought a painting of Venice which I am going to hang in my bathroom. It was pretty cheap for a pen and ink and watercolor, and I couldn't have afforded it if I were buying it in Venice, but it cost less than a shirt from the Gap, so I snatched it up. It's quite pretty and now it will remind me not only of my trip to Venice, but also of Sister 1.

We dragged her out to where we used to live so she could see our old tiny house near the bad part of town and she was very polite about it. To be fair, we also went to the outlet mall and she bought a key chain in the Vera Bradley store and I bought a bunch of passport covers which will really come in handy because we travel a lot and now we can know whose passport is whose.

Speaking of traveling, Sister 1 was talking about getting caught with lotion in the airport security line, just like everyone does from time to time. I completely forgot once to put the lotion in the little baggie and even though the baggie only had like three things in it, they acted like they were doing me a big favor by allowing me to add the tiny tube of lotion to the bag. Anyway, Child 3 broke out into a song and dance about airport security to the tune of Les Mis, and we laughed for about 5 minutes. "Alas, you have a bottle of lotion! Now, we have to confiscate!" (It goes to that song about black and red.) She and Child 2 are working on a "do you hear the airlines sing?" version. I have some creative children. I couldn't be prouder.

These hunters in Belgium are having a worse day than me. Apparently, there has been an explosion in the wild boar population in their town, so they organized a hunt. They got 200 hunters and tried to sweep the more than 170 boars into a place where snipers could kill them. Those seem like fairly good odds and this animal doesn't seem like it has much of a chance against that many people.

However, the boars must have been fairly clever because at the end of the hunt, only one boar was killed. So to the boars, I say, good on you! And thank you, Belgian hunters, for reminding me that tactics that worked against the Mongol horde in China in the 13th century won't work in the 21st. The boars must read history.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bad Day 222--My foot must be delicious

I spilled gravy on my foot and The Dog has been licking it all evening. Sister 1 says that's not surprising since the other night, The Dog kept licking my pants. She likes to lick me which drives me a little crazy.

So I have to talk about the guessing game. This is a game that Child 3 made up to entertain herself during church and she is very creative and brilliant and I hate. this. game. It is the kind of game that is impossible to be good at and I, especially, stink at the guessing game. What she does is draw on my iPod on a white background in black and then changes the background to black so you can't tell what the drawing is and you are looking at a black screen with nothing on it. After much protesting, we got her to add some details in color so we had a chance of guessing something that might be close. But it's still really hard. Really. Here is how the game goes for me every time. Guess what it is Mom. A whale. No. A Klingon Bird of Prey. No. A ship. No, it's Javert from Les Miserables.  Great. In my defense, all I could see was the hat which sort of looks like a spaceship.

Now Child 3 is making Sister 1 play but she is drawing movies that Sister 1 has not seen, so it is not going well for her, either.

People parking at the Denver International Airport are having a worse day than me. Apparently, after parking in the lot, they return to find that their car won't start and this is the culprit.

Yes, bunnies are getting into the engines and chewing the spark-plug wires. Airport officials are removing about 100 of these culprits and are spraying coyote urine everywhere but it hasn't worked yet.  So thank you, Denver residents, for reminding me to be grateful that the bunnies in our neighborhood stay away from my car. Also, The Dog wouldn't let them anywhere near the car anyway. Maybe we should send The Dog to Denver for vacation. She'd clear up those bunnies right quick.

Bad Day 221--Objects in the calender may appear smaller

I've been doing this for 220 days? It so feels longer than that and at the same time way longer until Husband will be home. He has been gone for. ev. er. And he's not coming home for an eternity. Be home before I know it my foot.

Today I woke up at 5am with a migraine which is always so much fun, and this one was bad. Knock you off your feet for hours bad. Dark room with no noise bad, which is hard to achieve in my house because apparently we need to watch Phineas and Ferb all Saturday long for hours on every single TV we own. It was also take every pain killer known to men bad. I took Excedrin, Advil, and two of my heavy-duty migraine pills and I finally got it under control but I was loopy all day. So loopy that I got out of the car, got my purse and started walking into the house and then I realized that the car was still running. Maybe I shouldn't have been driving.

But thankfully we all made it to the Cracker Barrel just fine which apparently Child 2 has now decided is our 3 day weekend tradition. And then we went shopping at Kohl's on the way home which is such a great store but there isn't one near us. Fortunately, there is one on the way home from the Cracker Barrel, so we stopped in and I got a new pair of jeans, so now I have two pair that fit without a belt cinching them up. And I got two T-shirts, but I tried them on first because I have learned my lesson. (Stupid London Olympic T-shirt that I'm too afraid to try on so I don't know if it fits yet.)

It is very late because I have been up talking to Sister 1 again. We talk so much that I have begun to lose my voice. It is clear to me that we need to see each other more often. But I will get right to the bad day which Artemis suggested to me. See if you can tell why this girl might be having a bad day.

sports illustrated racist props

Aside from the fact that she looks totally ridiculous riding on this raft in a bikini while the man behind her looks really uncomfortable with that, what you don't know is that the reason the river looks green isn't because it is reflecting the vegetation. It is because it is actually green. Here is another picture of the river.

I have actually been down that river on a tiny little raft which probably wasn't a great idea but it was fun, and while the view is lovely, that water is super nasty and I would never, ever get that close to it in a bikini. I hope that girl has some really good health insurance. So thank you, Sports Illustrated, for reminding me how ridiculous it is for a sports magazine to think that sitting on a raft while wearing a tiny swimsuit is a sport, and to be grateful that we didn't fall into the river when we sailed down it with Sister-in-law 3 and her family. Seriously fun, but afterward I realized I had just sent my kids and some of our closest relatives down a river in China on some pvc pipe and a lawn chair. Maybe not the safest mode of transportation.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bad Day 220--In space, all warriors are cold warriors

We're watching Star Trek VI which I have to admit is my favorite, even though it has Captain Von Trapp playing a villain. A villain who quotes Shakespeare really, really well. You haven't experienced Shakespeare until you've read it in the original Klingon. I love that line. I did not read Richard III in Klingon.

I took the day off today and we went to Monticello with Sister 1 which turned out to be a big mistake. Beautiful, isn't it? But the cause of much drama today.

Child 3 got locked out of the house because the latch on the back gate broke again. This was after the school had called me to tell me that someone had accidentally hit her in they eye with a hockey stick. Then I got a call from Child 2 saying she had missed the bus and there was no late bus and could I come get her. I said of course, in three hours. So I called Genevieve who kindly went to the school to pick her up and apparently gave rides home to two other kids who had also missed the bus. I so owe Genevieve dinner because she is amazingly kind and I ask way more of her than I am able to give.

But the weather was at least beautiful while we were at Monticello and Sister 1 had a great time and said she had always wanted to go there her whole life. It was a lot of fun and super interesting. And we got 2 dollar bills as change, which is also really cool.

People injured by the meteor explosion in Russia are having a worse day than me. The pictures look like stills from a movie about the end of the world, which many people thought it was.

Apparently, the shock wave broke windows and blasted open doors. Many people were injured by flying glass. I hope they will all be OK. But thank you, meteor victims, for reminding me to be scared to death about getting hit by space debris that explodes all my windows. Something else for me to stay up awake worrying about.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bad Day 219--The Red Party

So we had our annual Red Party today. No, we are not communist. It is called The Red Party because Child 2 could not for the life of her pronounce Valentine's Day. But it has evolved into being a party where we wear red clothes and eat red food and give red presents. I used to give the children Valentine T-shirts, but they are now all too cool to wear them so this year I just gave them all chocolates which I think Child 2 has already eaten. Because someone should enjoy chocolate on Valentine's Day and it's not going to be me.

Husband sent flowers which are beautiful and sweet and sooo much better than the print out mustache disguise kit that he gave me last year. OK, I admit that the mustache thing was funny, but is the most unromantic gift ever. The ironic thing is that I actually want a cross-cut shredder for my birthday and Husband refuses to purchase it for me even though I can't think of anything else I want because he says that is not something you buy your wife when you are in Afghanistan. He is probably right, but I still want a shredder.

If I had this cute shredder, I would decorate it with stickers to look like a robot.

The people who went on this cruise to Mexico are all having a worse day than me. I had a very happy time on our cruise in the Mediterranean which Husband calls the Best Week of His Life. But these people did not have a good time after a fire ruined their engine room so they have no power which means no hot water, no air conditioning, no hot food, and apparently no working toilets. They had to tow them to Alabama and it took days.

So thank you, Carnival Cruise line, for reminding me to be grateful that I sailed on Royal Caribbean. Although, I have to say, even if we had run out of power and had no food, I would have still enjoyed being with Husband for 24 hours a day. But I hope the passengers get their money back because who on earth would want to pay for camping on a ship where there were not even any trees or animals? And also, I hate camping so I definitely would not pay for that.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bad day 218--sisterly love

Sister 1 arrived tonight for a long awaited visit. We have been talking nonstop since she got here like we always do when we get together. It is late and I am tired, so of course my computer stopped working and I have to blog on my phone.

I sometimes forget how amazing Sister 1 is, but tonight I remember. She has been here only a few hours and already she has helped Child 3 with homework, gone grocery shopping with me and helped make valentines for the 5th grade. I went to bed and she is still going even after flying all day to get here. I love her.

I have been torturing myself by reading Richard III on the train and there are lots of people in that play who had a worse day than me. But mostly Richard himself. He killed practically everyone he knew to get the crown and he only managed to hold onto it for two years and ended up with his skull bashed in buried under a parking lot. So thank you, King Richard, for reminding me to be much nicer to my siblings than you were to yours. I hope you learned your lesson in the end. I guess you never found that horse.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bad Day 217--This is not normal.

I can see up Child 1's nose. I know you are wondering why I would ever want to look up her nose and I assure you it was a complete accident. It's not like she is 3 and put a bead up there which she totally did and made this funny wheezing sound when she breathed. It's that now she is so much taller than me that when we are both standing close together, I can see up her nose. I couldn't be prouder because I always wanted my children to be taller than me and now my wish is fulfilled. Someday, I will have to stand in the front of the family photos which I am completely not ready for. Even though I am two sizes smaller than I used to be, I am still not photo ready. I'll have to do the Cosby Show thing where you hold something big and ridiculous in front of the camera to hide your stomach. To be fair, Phylicia Rashad was pregnant and they wouldn't write it into the script. But still, it would be handy to have a basket of laundry, or a box, or a big stuffed animal to hide behind if the children are all taller than me and make me stand in front. I hate standing in front.

I was thinking just the other day that being apart is now normal and we are all getting used to the separation and I don't like that. I don't like that it is normal because I don't like this normal. It still stinks. Sometimes I don't care that Husband is serving our country. I don't care that he is making the world a better place. I just want him to come home and make my world a better place. OK. Done ranting.

Here is something that would make my world a better place--new boots. I know, you are thinking that I just bought a pair of new boots and they gave me blisters and you would be right. But I am not talking about those boots. I am talking about replacing a pair of boots I bought 9 years ago. 9! And I wore them a lot, but they have heels and they are stretchy and look like patent leather, and I discovered today that not only is the "patent leather" peeling off, they are now too small and kept sliding down my legs all day which totally ruined the look because I had to keep tugging them up. It could be that they are just old, but I think this is another side effect of losing weight and why on earth is all the weight coming off my feet and calves! Honestly. Who knew you could lose weight in your feet? I spend all my time now clomping around in shoes that are too big and it is infuriating because I love my shoes. I swear, if I ever get too skinny to wear my purses, I will be really angry.

Speaking of angry, the fact that this honors student in Utah is having a worse day than me just makes me furious. And that it's because her middle school principal is clueless about both fashion and red hair makes me seethe even more. Look at the picture of this lovely girl and see if you can tell what is wrong enough about her hair that she was suspended.

See? Nothing, right? Well, apparently she was suspended because her hair was too red. Yes, she dyes it, but it looks beautiful on her and I happen to know people who have that color in real life. But the principal decided it was too unnatural and she needed to dye it back brown and couldn't return to class until she did. So thank you, Principal Clueless, for reminding me to be grateful that we don't really have a dress code in the Department and if we did, this lovely girl's hair would totally be OK, despite that other federal agency that said red hair is unprofessional which I can assure you it totally is not. And thank you also for reminding me to hug my children and tell them they are beautiful, especially their red hair. And to the student--you are truly beautiful and (to borrow a phrase) it gets better, and if I lived in your town, I would dye my hair Katy Perry blue. Just because it would freak out your principal. Seriously, Principal Clueless, don't you have bigger things to worry about besides hair?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bad Day 216--What did you just say?

Phrases that strike fear into every mother's heart:

  1. I didn't mean to!
  2. You know that vase you loved that was your Grandma's?
  3. Where is the carpet cleaner?
  4. Does carpet cleaner work on crayon?
  5. What if the crayon is melted?
  6. Where are the sharpies?
  7. So there's this boy. . .
These are phrases that make steam come out of my ears.
  1. You said I could!
  2. I don't want to.
  3. Nobody told me.

OK, we have to talk about that last one because that one is the absolute worst. I cannot stand it when the children won't take responsibility when they've done something wrong and trying to blame me by implying that it is my fault they didn't know they couldn't watch TV until 3 am on a school night/eat the pie I made for a dinner party/borrow my sewing scissors to cut glue sticks. Some things should not have to be said out loud.

Now, I have to say that my children have learned over time not to use that excuse and I hardly ever hear it anymore. Except at work. Not in my current job where most people are grown-ups, but you would not believe how many "adults" use that as an excuse and actually think it is going to work! I am telling you right now that if you call up customer service to complain that your computer is broken because nobody told you not to wash your keyboard in the dishwasher, they are going to mute the phone because they are laughing at you and then they aren't going to help you. Not even a little bit, unless you consider e-mailing your conversation to everyone in the entire company so they can also laugh is helpful.

Everyone in Sao Paulo Brazil is having a worse day than me because they are living with this.

See those black dots? Those are not specks of dirt or water on the lens. They are spider. Seriously. Millions of spiders hanging from telephone wires. Apparently, they are "social spiders" and they like to get together in the evening and hang out and spin webs collectively. Locals say it's a common sight. So thank you, Brazilians, for making me grateful that there weren't any positions in Brazil to bid on this last time. And I will definitely think twice before bidding there ever because spiders, more than anything else on earth, give me the willies. I'm shivering just thinking about them.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bad Day 215--Double the effort for nothing

I made two dinners tonight. Two! And I only got to eat one. It's not that the other was inedible or ruined, it's that I didn't realize when I was making it that I wouldn't be able to eat it. See, as I have mentioned before, I love my crock pot. Love. It. It is the one appliance I could not survive without because nothing is better than dumping ingredients into a pot and turning it on and forgetting about it and then when it's dinner time, all you have to do is set the table and eat it. It's amazing and in the winter, I use it to make the most delicious stew which everyone loves and is the perfect thing for a cold winter Sunday evening. And today, I was making it and Child 3 told me to stop immediately so I wouldn't get sick because the stew was poisoned. OK, not really poisoned, but full of wheat which I didn't know and this is the culprit.

Yep. Condensed tomato soup has wheat flour in it which would have negated all the trouble I went to avoid getting sick by bringing my own sacrament bread. I was upset and told the children they could just eat it and I would find something else and they all said why didn't I make improvised soup instead which they all love. Improvised soup is named thusly because Child 1 invented it from ingredients she found in the cupboard and it is very yummy and includes sliced black olives. Odd, I know, but we all love it, so I made it, and some cornbread with gluten-free flour which turned out a little dry so I will need to find a better recipe but it was good with honey on it. And also ants-on-a-log which is one of Child 3's specialties and will most certainly be on our restaurant menu when she and I open our country/home cooking restaurant/candy store in Guam at which I will have to do most of the cooking. It will be an interesting retirement for sure. I asked her what Husband was supposed to do in the restaurant since she will run it and she has appointed me head chef and she had completely no idea but then thought maybe he could work the register in the candy store. So there you go, Husband! You can sell the candy which will all be gluten-free.

Quote of the month goes to Child 3 who when we saw a woman wearing at least 8 sombreros along with purple velvet pants with green flowered chiffon bell bottoms said the following: "Well, let's just pretend we didn't see that!" I am still laughing.

Husband gets the credit for alerting me to this neighborhood of people in Virginia who are all having a worse day than me. The homeowner's association has been in a fight with some residents that started out over a campaign sign they decided was too big and descended into general nastiness on both sides. And I have to say that after reading the article, all the people involved were petty in the extreme and should be ashamed of themselves. The HOA fought so long and hard that they are now bankrupt and the bankruptcy court is selling the square of parkland that their homes surround. It's a shame when anyone at the beginning could have been the bigger person and dropped the whole thing. But since they all had to be right, the lawyers are the only winners. So thank you, Olde Belhaven HOA for reminding me to be grateful that my HOA doesn't care about campaign signs in the yard. Or green energy ones which is what we have there now. And also, to be thankful for my neighbors who despite the occasional loud party and stealing of trash cans have never sued me or complained to the HOA. And I hope they never will because I certainly wouldn't. Good fences make good neighbors and so does forgiveness.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Bad Day 214--恭贺新禧!

Happy Chinese New Year! It's the year of the Snake, but apparently snakes are bad luck, so in China they are still celebrating, but people are trying to forget it is about snakes so they are just pretending it has nothing to do with snakes. To celebrate the new year, we had some friends over to eat western red things with fried eggs. In English, that would be scrambled eggs with tomatoes, but it's much more fun to call the dish by its literal English translation. We also had fried rice, which must have tasted pretty good because I made a lot and there was not very much left.

I had a lot of fun, but someone please remind me not to schedule a dinner party on the same day as a Girl Scout sleepover ever again because I am so exhausted I can hardly see straight. I got about 2 hours of sleep at the sleepover, not because the ghosts kept me awake, because they were all nice and quiet, but because I don't sleep well anywhere besides my bed and also there were 30 laughing, giggling girls getting up to go to the bathroom every five minutes and the floors creaked. Other than that, it was fun, but I hated the not sleeping part. So to ensure that the children keep me up all night because they are having nightmares, we are watching The Witches. In my defense, it was completely their idea because they loved the Roald Dahl book, but I had forgotten just how scary this movie is.

I also forgot that the first part was filmed in Norway. In Bergen, to be exact. Someday I have to get back to Norway. In the summer, though. I don't think I could take another winter there--cold and dark is not my thing. The northern lights are amazing and perhaps the most beautiful thing I have ever seen which you cannot capture on film, but all things considered, I prefer palm trees and the beach. For my next post, I'd like somewhere tropical.

Speaking of freezing weather, these people in Sweden are all having a worse day than me.

In this photo made available by the competition organizers, six contestants sit on ice blocks for the annual ice pole-sitting contest in Vilhelmina, Northern Sweden, Friday Feb. 8, 2013. Braving temperatures down to -18 F (-28 C), the contestants are only allowed to come down for ten-minute toilet break once every two hours, during their 48-hour ordeal. (AP Photo/Annika Andersson)

Those are pillars of ice they are sitting on. On purpose. For fun. For 48 hours. OK, it's really to win a contest, but apparently they are not allowed to read and they can only get down to use the facilities every two hours. I'm not sure what they win if they make it the whole 48 hours, but whatever it is, it is completely not worth it. Unless it involves Husband coming back from Afghanistan early. That is the only thing I would endure 48 hours of sitting on ice for.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bad Day 213--We ride at dawn!

I'm preparing for battle. OK, not exactly battle--just a Girl Scout overnight with about 50 girls plus their leaders. And it's not at dawn, but I imagine when dawn arrives there will be many girls who will still be awake. The overnight is in an old tavern which may or may not be haunted. I'm not afraid of ghosts. If there are any, I fully expect my grandfather (who haunts my dreams on a regular basis) to give them a good dressing down and tell them they are wasting their existence and they should have studied finance and could they please tell his granddaughter to buy some stocks because she never listens to him. (If you know anything about my maternal grandfather, then that last part was really, really funny and I bet you are laughing out loud.)

But I am not expecting any sleep despite whatever ghosts may or may not appear, or any internet access, thus I am blogging at lunch. I have to go on this GS overnight so that Child 2 can qualify for her Silver Award which I'm told is the GS equivalent of an Eagle Scout and is totally cool and Child 2 has to get. So I had to give away send Child 1 and Child 3 to sleepovers tonight. I bribed Genevieve with pizza to take Child 3. The GS are providing "healthy snacks" whatever that means which will probably mean they are not gluten free. If you have food allergies, you are allowed to bring your own food, so I will be bringing Cheetos and gluten-free cookies. Don't judge. You might eat more cheetos, too, if you could never, ever have a brownie again for the rest of your life. Also, Child 2 likes them and I am all about bribing the children to like me because even though Husband left us for Afghanistan, somehow he is still the favorite parent. I have to use whatever I can to win!

These students in Ohio are having a worse day than me. They decided to stage a huge waterballoon fight over lunch which sounds like a lot of fun. For those of you who live in a cave and have never seen such a fight, it looks like this.

It is probably better to have such fights outside in warm weather, but since it's winter in Ohio, they did it in the cafeteria and the school officials who had warned them not to do it because slippery, wet floors are a safety issue, canceled their prom. Yep. They decided to punish the entire school instead of just the kids who participated. So no prom. I didn't get to go to my prom because I was sick and I have always regretted missing it. So to the seniors of Cincinnati who will get no prom, I'm sorry your administrators are no fun. And to the prinicpal of the high school whose brilliant idea it was to threaten them with canceling prom, thank you for making me look like a really relaxed parent. And remember, never threaten children with something you don't want to do, because now you can't back out or they will never trust you again. But I bet some parents will get together to throw an unofficial prom. Or show the kids Footloose during class. That could give them ideas.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bad Day 212--Still Slumpin'

Today was definitely a purple day which even included crying at my desk and then hiding it badly from my office. I told them all I was really tired. The sad thing is, otherwise it was a pretty good day. I finished most of my paper, and then life came full circle. See, I was an intern in DC years ago for a non-profit for whom I organized a big conference in return for which they paid me a pittance and let me hang around when they invited important people to come talk to them. And now, today, I became one of those important people that they invited to come talk. It was really, really cool and I wanted to jump up and down and I was still purple. What is wrong with me?

OK, small translation for people who don't remember or haven't followed this blog that closely. Purple comes from a Dr. Seuss book and is a euphemism for depression which I think is highly appropriate and very descriptive of how I feel, regardless of the fact that purple obviously is one of my favorite colors because I have three purple purses, one of which I bought last week. And the most infuriating thing is that I haven't had a purple day in a long time and now today it just hit me like a blast of cold air.

OK, maybe that was actually a blast of cold air because maintenance came to fix my vent and told me it was blowing out air that was 64 degrees which would be nice in the summer when it is 100 degrees outside, but when it is freezing, then blowing cold air into a cold office only makes it unbearably cold. Oh, and they said there was nothing they could do because when they divided up the office space, they smartly put the control box to my vent three. offices. away. So it will be a while before they figure out how to fix it, and by a while they mean never. Thankfully, I learned from my friend "Sparrow" that snuggies come in an Elvis pattern.

This congressional staffer is having a worse day than me. See, he was watching the Superbowl and this commercial came on.

And then he tweeted "me likey broke girls" which is a reference to the show in the commercial, and is a pretty dumb tweet. But what made it even dumber, is that he did it using his congressman's account. So of course the media picked it up and mocked the congressman, but it wasn't the congressman who tweeted. So thank you, Mr. Former Congressional Staffer, for reminding me to keep only tweeting poetry although I really don't tweet much at all, and that when I do, I shouldn't use a work account. Seriously, use some judgment! And those girls are way, way out of your league.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bad Day 211--All by myseeelllf!

I am on my own tonight, which actually means that I am spending the evening telling The Dog to get off me. It could be worse. She is obsessed with Child 1's pants and keeps licking them. I do not let the dog lick anything of mine, especially not my pants, so she knows to at least not do that. But being on my own means that I can do things like have a peppermint shake and tortilla chips for dinner, which I totally did.

Now I'm watching bad TV while under the covers because I am freezing. I have been cold all day because my office is freezing. It was so cold today I wore a wool skirt and I still had to wear my coat and two scarves. I have called maintenance twice, but there is apparently nothing they can do about the cold air blowing into my office. See, it's not lack of ventilation or poor ventilation that is the problem. My office has no window and is on an inside wall, so by all rights it should be a sauna. But there is a big vent right over my chair and it is blowing cold air right on me. I wore thick itchy wool today and it wasn't enough, so I'm convinced this is my next step.

There is nothing in that stupid dress code about wearing a snuggie and if anyone says it's unprofessional, then I will make them sit at my desk wearing the warmest wool suit they own and when their fingers turn blue and they are shivering like a bowl of jello, I will ask them if now it is OK for me to wear a snuggie and I will deduct it from my taxes as a business expense. Along with all the cold medicine I am going to need from getting sick from sitting under a freezing cold vent, which I can only assume will blow hot air during the summer. I love working at the Department, but it is a really old, really cranky building and there is no money in the budget to fix it.

Children in Australia are all having a worse day than me, at least on their birthdays.

See, this lovely tradition of blowing out candles on a birthday cake at school is now banned because the Australian National Health Council says it spreads germs. This is not just for classrooms that have children with immune deficiencies but for every single child in every single class. So my question for the National Health Council is, have they actually ever met any children? Because if they have, then they would know that eating paste and dirt and picking noses and using the bathroom without washing your hands are all happening at every moment of every day in elementary school and those are just a fraction of the things kids do to spread germs when they're not really trying. So thank you, entire country of Australia, for reminding me to be glad that I am not a helicopter parent hovering around my children swatting away imagined danger. A little germs on birthday cake is a small price to pay for happiness and oreos saved from the floor taste even better.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bad Day 210--Down in the slumps

This will be quick because it is late and I have to go to bed because I have to be up in 6 hours to start all over again trying to ride a tornado. I feel like Pecos Bill. (Google him if you don't know who he is.) The mid-tour slump has arrived and today I realized we only have 5 months left and then I remembered how long five months is and I almost started sobbing at my desk again. Luckily, I only cried a little bit and not enough to remove all traces of mascara, so I don't think anyone noticed.

Things got better later in the day, though because I went to dinner with some friends from China, one of whom is actually from China and it was so fun to see her again and catch up and I ate Pad Thai in the Vietnamese restaurant because they told me that was the only thing they made without soy sauce. It was yummy and it was fun to be social again. I'd forgotten how much I miss it. In China, we went out to lunch together a lot and laughed and joked with the local staff and generally were very social. Then I got to Korea and nobody ate lunch together. Well, I fixed that because I started taking people to lunch with me. But then here in DC, everyone eats at their desk with their door shut, as I mentioned. Last week, I ran into people from my new office where I will start in June at lunch, and they not only remembered my name, they invited me to sit with them! It was amazing, and I thought, oh yes! This is what it is like to have office camaraderie! So it was fun to have a taste of that again tonight.

Then I got home and the trash can ninja had struck again and I didn't have to take the cans to the curb. My sweet Child 2 has apparently made that her goal to get to them every week before I do. And the homework ninja had also struck because Husband woke up really early and helped Child 3 with her homework via Skype so it was done when I got home! Miraculous! And not to be left out, Child 1 was really sweet to me today and I am so very lucky to have such great children and that made my slump day bearable.

These Iditarod sled dogs are having a worse day than me. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Iditarod, it is 1,000+ mile race in the snow across Alaska.

The problem is, this year, there isn't enough snow. In Alaska. Seriously! They are having to cancel or postpone the qualifying races because it is raining and melting all the snow and racing on rocky ground is too hard on the dogs' paws, not to mention the fact that it's hard to pull a sled through mud. The Dog will never be a sled dog because she is too small, and also too fat and lazy. But the children have in the past hooked her up to their scooter and made her pull it by running in front of it with a treat. So maybe Alaska can do that instead of the Iditarod--have a scooter race. It's a thought. But thank you, sled dogs, for reminding me to care for the environment because it would be a sad thing if Alaska runs out of snow and you have nowhere to race.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bad Day 209--Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts

I am watching Man vs. Food  and Bizarre Foods on the Travel channel because I like to torture myself and plus they eat a lot of things on those shows which I never want to eat so it's not as hard as watching, say, "The best chocolate desserts ever made with wheat flour." I don't think that's a show yet, and if it is, I will never watch it. I ate the tiniest piece of bread at church during what we call sacrament meeting and other churches call communion and I have been sick ever since. I was literally up all night and got about an hour of sleep and that entire hour was filled with nightmares. And when I woke up at 5:30 to walk the dog, I was so dizzy I literally fell down and it felt like the room was spinning. So I stayed home from work and slept all morning and I still feel awful.

But one good thing was I made chicken noodle soup for dinner with potato noodles and it. was. amazing! Better than the original IMHO (which isn't very humble because I fully admit I am a really good cook) but it was delicious. Potato noodles, I have discovered, take longer to cook than regular noodles but end up tasting a lot like dumplings which I am very fond of and also miss.

I couldn't find a picture of the potato noodles, which I admit are a little weird looking because when cooked, they are clear around the edges, but they are delicious and I am so happy to have found a substitute for egg noodles which have been a staple in our house for years. They go amazing with Norwegian meatballs which we will now eat with potatoes and will probably be more authentic. So the noodle find is an exciting thing in our house. Plus the soup got two thumbs up from Child 2 and Child 3 and I think Child 1 will like it when she finally gets home from her many activities.

Speaking of children, the mother of this six year old girl in Pennsylvania is having a worse day than me. While she was sleeping, her daughter, who is tall for 6 but still, decided she wanted to go see her father who lives across town so she got into the car and drove. Seriously. And of course crashed the car into several other cars and a telephone pole.

Girl, 6, Crashes Car While Trying To Drive To See Her Father

The girl was taken to the police station where they called her father, so she got to see him after all. But I can just imagine the phone call the mother got saying her daughter had been arrested for reckless driving and her car was wrecked. If she is like me at all, she will be afraid to go to sleep for years. So thank you, Pittsburgh Mom, for reminding me to be grateful that my children are not stealing airplanes to go visit Husband in Afghanistan. And also that Child 1 has a license and can drive herself places. And that I have never had to pick up any of them at the police station. May that record continue forever.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bad Day 208--A closet full of realities

We are watching the Superbowl. Yes, it's a house full of women, but this is our yearly ritual so we're watching. Apparently, we are routing for the 49ers because apparently the Ravens are evil and their fans are not allowed in our house. At least according to Child 3. The rest of us do not care because the Cowboys (whom we love and will always love even if/when they stink) are not playing and neither are the Redskins who are the very embodiment of evil and people who like the Ravens at least do not like the Redskins, so they are OK in my book. But frankly, the real reason to watch the Superbowl is the nachos and potato skins.

Child 1 is now texting people because she is bored because the trailer for the new Star Trek movie has already aired. Child 2 is napping in between commercials which are the only reason she consents to watch, and Child 3 is yelling because the Ravens are winning and she doesn't want to go back to school to face the Ravens fans if they win because "they are really obnoxious." She just told the 49ers to kick it up a notch.

This morning, when I was looking for something to wear to church, I went into the "closet of things that might fit me someday." Yes, I know I said before that it was just a drawer, but I actually have an entire rack in one of the closets that is full of things I can't get rid of because I like them too much and the secret optimist in me always believed someday I would lose the weight. And I actually have. Everything in the closet fits. Seriously. I was almost late for church because I was so excited to be able to zip things up. Well, everything except my wedding dress which I don't need to wear again anyway. The only thing left that I haven't tried on is my London Olympics T-shirt that you will remember I bought in London and was way too small because the British apparently have their own sizing rules and they are not the same as America's and are rather mean because when I found out what size I really was in England, I almost had a heart attack it was so large. See, Americans are much nicer. But I'm almost ready to try on the T-shirt. Almost. Maybe in a few weeks after I'm down a few more pounds. It's an odd feeling, because I'm not used to success in weight-loss and also I haven't given up potato chips or sour cream. In fact, I have eaten way more chips than I have in years since I gave up wheat and I still lost weight. Imagine what I could do if I gave up the chips which I might do when Husband comes home. But right now since chips are one of the only indulgences I have left, I'm not sure I have enough willpower.

Any child who receives this toy for a present is having a worse day than me. OK, there are a lot of bad presents in this slideshow, but the absolute worst is this.

The Swedish company says they are meant to help with potty training. I have to say, that teaching a child to love and hug a piece of poop is a very, very bad idea. The same goes for pee. Seriously, who thought this was a good idea and how on earth is it supposed to get your child to use a toilet because now they are traumatized by flushing because their best friend is literally going down the drain. So thank you, Swedish toy makers, for reminding me to be grateful that my children are way beyond the potty training stage. It was my least favorite parenting chore and I am glad no one ever inflicted these dolls on me because that would have made it way, way harder.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bad Day 207--Do all bags go to heaven?

You may remember (or probably not unless you are Child 2 who remembers everything I have ever written in this blog) that I bought a fabulous pewter-colored purse to commute with not long after Husband left for Afghanistan because shopping can help dull the pain. Not to mention that I also sort of have this thing about handbags and own far too many for my own good. But I love them all and I'm not giving up a single one. Well anyway, the pewter bag is slowly dying. The stitches popped out on a couple of pockets, but I could live with that. What I can't live with is that the leather on the inside of  the straps is cracking and peeling. It is obviously too thin and I am not happy about it because I really like that bag. So in order to make it last longer, I bought a second commuter bag which I found on sale at Marshalls. I confess. I didn't know Marshalls, but now I totally get the commercial where the woman would rather shop there than leave for the airport. I haven't been in very often since I couldn't really fit into the sizes although I definitely can now, and I knew they claimed they had designer clothing and accessories, but I didn't know they carried Kate Spade! I totally would have bought a Kate Spade bag if I had found one big enough. Sadly, the only ones they had were pretty tiny and wouldn't work for my commute. But I found a purple Badgeley Mischka. This one, to be exact. And it's even prettier in person! And I could afford it even on my tiny federal government salary because Marshalls is cheap!

I don't know if it's "professional" enough to pass the ridiculous dress code because the "unprofessional" purse they showed on the slide was gorgeous and looked like Michael Kors to me. But I think this one will do. It won't go very well with my olive green coat, so I'll just have to wear the navy one. Nothing goes with the ugly dirt/mushroom coat, so it will be OK with that anyway.

Two of the children caught the whirlwind and cleaned up their rooms, did laundry, and redecorated their bathroom which is now the prettiest bathroom in the house. I'm a little jealous and now am making plans for my own. I just have to decide on a color which will not be purple but will probably be green because I do love green, so much that every room in our house used to be decorated in a different shade of green, but now the children's bathroom is lavender and the kitchen is cobalt blue even though you can't tell. Also, the former murder bathroom is now blush. (We had to paint it sort of pink because I was afraid the blood-red color would bleed through like in some horror movie.) That leaves my bedroom, the living room, the family room, Child 1's room (although that is just apple green accents,) and my bathroom which are all shades of green. And I really have no real desire to change the decorating scheme, so I'll probably keep the bathroom green. If it makes me happy, why change it?

This fake police officer in Maryland is having a worse day than me.


He apparently was making a nice living pulling people over and shaking them down for money in return for not writing them a "ticket" which he is legally not allowed to do since he wasn't really a police officer. And then he pulled over a real off-duty policeman who called his bluff and then called his friends who were on duty. And then the fake policeman got to see the inside of a real jail cell. So thank you, Mr. Fauxlice (rhymes with police, not lice), for reminding me to always ask to see the badge of the officer should I ever get pulled over which isn't likely since I'm an excellent driver. And to be grateful that Child 1 is, too. Makes it much easier to sit up at night and wait for her which is something I will gladly hand over to Husband when he comes home because I am extremely tired and it is only 9 pm.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Bad Day 206--Liar, liar, hair on fire

My new clothes that I ordered online have arrived and I now own the cutest navy blazer ever. Ever! And it fits like a dream. OK, it is from that one British designer that I like and as I have admitted before, those Brits do know their blazers. I now own four from this particular designer and every time I wear one someone compliments me on my outfit and the new navy one is the best of them all. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the skirt I bought doesn't fit. I ordered it a size smaller than I used to be and it is too big. I should have realized because my skinny pants are all now my fat pants because they are all too big, so I am going to exchange the skirt because it is way too cute to not own and it will look amazing with my blazer, if it fits. Being too large, it just makes me look frumpy and I am not a frump.

Speaking of not being a frump, I have mentioned before that it is one of my goals to be the most fashionable person in the Department without being a fashionista because I can't afford big name designers on my federal government salary. Thank goodness the foreign service doesn't have uniforms anymore because I would so not look good in this, although it might be fun to carry a sword at work.

But just because the federal government doesn't require uniforms for everyone doesn't mean there aren't those who want to impose them on you--the black pantsuit brigade, for example. I think some of these women are trying to emulate Secretary Clinton, but I will have you know that I saw her giving speeches twice and once she was wearing a jacket that was robin's egg blue and once it was white boucle. Hmmph. But one federal entity which shall remain nameless but was not the State Department published guidelines for a dress code that was ridiculous in the extreme. Apparently, women should all wear heels, make-up is a must, jackets are required, and you shouldn't have red hair. (Wish I were joking about that.) And if you are blonde, no bright colors. Also hose with open-toed shoes is a no-no. So as I was reading this dress code wearing my turquoise sweater and peep-toe heels with black nylons and of course red hair, I cracked up. Because obviously this dress code was written in 1946 by an idiotic old man who thought "Vogue" was a Russian/communist word and who doesn't know how to spell "faux pas." (He spelled it "fopas".) Break the rules at the peril of your career. I wish I had a copy of the dress code to post here, but I don't and also, I can't say which federal entity published it. But take my word for it. It was hilarious. I sent it to Artemis who told me at that very moment she was wearing cowboy boots, so both of us were breaking multiple rules and have no hope of every advancing in our careers. Since Artemis was recently promoted, you can see how ridiculous that assertion is. I need some cowboy boots.

This man in California is having a worse day than me. He thought he was letting this woman test drive his car.

She asked him to take her to a bank where she could get some cash, and get some cash she did because she came out with a bag full. What she neglected to tell him was that she was robbing the bank and using him as the getaway driver. They didn't get very far before the police caught up and she was arrested. Luckily, they believed the driver's story and didn't shoot him. So thank you, Mr. Inadvertent Getaway Driver, for reminding me to take my car to Carmax when it's time to sell it and to be grateful that I have never accidentally robbed a bank. Now excuse me while I shop online for some career-killing cowboy boots.