Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pulling an Italian Job

My Goldfish Poodleness has struck again. (see description of a Goldfish Poodle: here. See examples: every day of my life. And throughout most of this blog).

On the Goldfish side of Goldfish Poodledom, I've been known to experience things then completely forget it ever happened. Sometimes, I even start to go through things again, thinking I have not done it, then realize I actually already did but I forgot. I give you: The Italian Job.

Yes, the movie. Which, I realize is about stealing things, which I have not done (that I can remember anyway...).

This is about the time I went to see The Italian Job in the theater with some friends. And we got through the first, say, 15 minutes of it and I realize -

I had already seen The Italian Job. In the theater. Recently.

And this situation is made worse by the fact that, because of the Poodle side of Goldfish Poodledom, I'm typically too hyper to sit still through an entire movie, let alone pay to be confined to my seat through the duration of a movie in the theater. So I just don't go often. At all. Yet now somehow, because of the Goldfish side - aka my Forgetfulness - I'll be sitting through the same movie -- twice. Needless to say, I was amused but also a little annoyed.

And since that movie incident, I sadly still end up in situations where I foolishly do something only to realize I had already done it. Take: This semester.

I finally decide: I'm Going To Be Ahead Of The Curve This Time! And I order my textbooks right when I register for my next class. This was December.

Anyway, my school has a system where it tells you what books each class requires and you can order them right then. So I do, and I get an email weeks later saying the professor decided to add books (oh good! I was wondering what I would do with that extra cash and free time -- thank goodness I can buy more books to add to my reading list each week!) So now I'm in the throws of a crazy project at work and can barely make decisions. So I get on the phone with the book people and I'm like "um, just tell me what I need to do please." So the lady says - "oh yes, you have not bought all the books you need yet." So I'm like -- ok, let's do this then!

Then she proceeds to read each title to me. And apparently, I was not even remotely listening and just kept saying "yeah that one too" yep, throw that one in there" "sure! why not!" because I figure -- the professor has added more books. I need to pass this class. Ergo, I need to get all the assigned books. Right?

Fast forward to the arrival of these books. And I open the box and find --

two books I already own from previous classes.

*Face Palm*

I totally pulled an Italian Job on my schoolbooks.

Then, this weekend, I was in Productivity Mode where I was going to get all my To Do list done, or die trying. So one item that feels like it's always on the list is -- baby or wedding gifts. So I mentally go through my calendar of what celebrations are coming up next, and I remember my friend Chris' wedding.

And I can not for the life of me remember if I'd already sent them a gift.

(The wedding hasn't happened but sometimes I have gifts sent to the couples' house instead of taking them to the wedding because A. that's supposedly the new thing to do as it allows the couple to not have to schlep everything in one day and B.
Because I'm Lazy and it's easier that way. There. I said it. I'm southern, I have friends who started getting married before high school even ended. (and some who've been married multiple times since) I've now been in over a decade of a fairly steady stream of weddings, I don't have time to keep up with ALL the weddings. I'm sorry. Ahem.)
So I spent at least 20 minutes checking my emails, trying to find a receipt or something for Chris. I finally decide I don't think I already bought them something, and I go ahead and hit up Crate and Barrel.

I hope I didn't just pull an Italian Job on Chris' wedding.

Sigh. Who knows. But it really makes me question all the advice people throw around to "prepare" and "get things done early" because ...in my case, even if the early bird catches the worm, she'll later forget that and buy a cheeseburger anyway.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Ethiopia (AKA The Post About Baboons)

I don't know why it's taken me so long to write about one of my favorite trips. Probably because there were so many things that I loved about it, that it's hard to start telling it all. So I'll give you the short-ish version and some photos instead.

My church has sort of a sister church in Addis Ababa and a group of us travelled over there several years ago to help them get started. While Africa was probably the most exotic place I'd visited to date, I did have quite a bit of travel under my belt by that point.

As opposed to Sara, this sweet Kentucky girl who roomed with me, who had never left the country. Period.

In fact, she'd never even been camping. She'd never had to use the bathroom outdoors. So I love that this girl picks ETHIOPIA to cut her travel/adventure teeth.

But it did not come without mishap.

While we were on safari, Sara had such a hard time dealing with the idea of peeing outdoors, that she had to use a portable toilet seat that she brought with her from the U.S.

I didn't even know they made such things. But here's Sara, in the middle of Awash National Park, among lions and tigers and monkeys -- sitting on a toilet seat propped up by two metal legs attached.

I cheered for her when she finally had success.

We'll get back to her shortly.

So I've alluded to baboons several times. Not that they were a huge part of entire trip, we actually did quite a few different things throughout our time there including swimming in natural hot springs (where someone passed out), building an elderly woman's mud hut (where I vomitted up my malaria pill), and visiting one of the most exquisite hotels I had ever seen, right there in the midst of poverty in Addis (where I ran into, no joke, members of President Bush's staff that I recognized and later found out that he was on his way there for an AIDS initiative summit. Internal Homing Device! SO ridiculous...)

but one of my favorite parts of the trip was that safari. We rode around on top of SUVs, seeing animals I'd never even heard of, then camped out in the national park and literally could hear lions breathing at night. And also sharing our camp, were many baboons. So many, that we had to have armed guards protect our belongings because apparently baboons are natural theives. They did manage to get away with some of our things but they were so entertaining to watch, we really didn't mind. What we did mind though?

They pooped on one of us.

Guess which unsuspecting American was the lucky one?

Sara. The Virgin Traveller. Of course she was their target.

So that added to the safari fun. We also took a day and saw some of the tribes that live far outside the city. Many of the people in these tribes had never seen a white person before so you can imagine what a scene it was for all of us to meet. And who was their favorite white person?

Yep. Sara!

I didn't mentioned that Sara is nearly translucent. She has pale blonde hair, blue eyes, and skin color akin to a snowman.

These people were facinated by Sara. I look around and she is being swarmed, with people staring at her and touching her in awe.

Ha! This girl is never going on a trip again.

The last adventure I'll mention did not, however, so much directly affect Sara as it did - our pastor.

To give you a hint, his blog post title from that day was this:

Ethiopia: Held at Gunpoint

Ahem. So he admits that was a little over dramatic, but basically what happened was we stopped for lunch along the road and our pastor and assistant pastor start videoing a herd of cattle ("Zebus" - they were everywhere!) and discover that the locals expect payment for photography. Long story short, my pastor ended up with an AK-47 pointed at him before handing money to the shepherd and getting the heck out of there. (You can read his account here). I managed to get a pic right around the time of altercation here:

I've posted several more pics below. Enjoy!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Things You Didn't Care to Know About Me This Past Week (but gosh darnit, you're going to hear them anyway)

-I did finally make it back to Fitness Boot Camp and the next day, my body felt like it was painfully turning to stone. We had done sit ups combined with shoulder presses with weights at one point, and since the extent of my normal workout of core plus arms usually consists of holding myself upright in my office chair while putting a coffee cup to my mouth, this was a shock to my system. So the next day, I felt like I was walking in a weird hunched over yet forward-propelling stance all day. Very attractive.

-I also wore makeup that is too dark for my now winter-pasty face but I didn't realize this until it was too late, causing me to look like a very determined hunchbacked Oompa Loompa.

-Then, as I was trudging through my office, I caught a glimpse of some conference room chairs that had a 1960's pattern and I instantly got "Sunshine Day!" from the Brady Brunch stuck in my head.

-So now I'm slouched over, purple-faced and possibly swaying unconsciencely to "everybody's smiling! sunshine DAAA-AAY!..."

-To make me feel even more insane, I kept running into people at my office who look like famous people to me. It always throws me off when I pass them in the halls. One guy looks like the flamboyant reporter from Ugly Betty:

One looks (and acts) like a snotty Lindsay Lohan, and one looks like:

Joel Osteen.

So now, I'm walking through the halls, viewing myself as a swaying, hunched-over yet determined Ooompa-loompa

and I get bombarded with either this:
 or this:

And no one is in my head to appreciate it. Sigh.

The week also held other unfortunate incidents. One day, I wore a shirt that was apparently transparent but I didn't realize that until after I was at work (to which my friend offered: "well, it's not terrible, but next time maybe wear a prettier bra-?"


Another day, I get to the office and realize I have cat hair covering my pants, so I end up having to slap scotch tape repeatedly over the length of both my legs while trying to hold conversations about which Congressman are attending the Summit I'm planning. Very professional.

At some point during the week, I misplaced my driver's license.

And the BEST part was when I got back from a chilly 4.5 mile jog, tossed my house key into my front door so I could run down to my mailbox, and when I return:

No House Key In Sight.

I. Freak. Out.

I convince myself that in the 58 seconds it took for me to get my mail, someone ran into my apartment, grabbed my key, and was either waiting for me in my place or waiting to enter it later using the key.

I won't even tell you how long I stood there trying to figure this out, all the while continuing to peak out the door or open a closet really fast to "surprise" whoever might be in there. I was about to call a friend to come be with me in my meltdown when I realized my neurotic cat was still on her normal perch in the living room so surely no one had come in or she would've ran for cover, like usual.

Which meant the key HAD to be there.

I finally got a flash light and looked under my dishwasher - and sure enough, the key had hit my kitchen tile at precisely the right angle to slide directly under the worst possible thing in my apartment.

I also found old receipts, a tube of chap stick, and several cat toys under there though, so we're gunna call that a win and start fresh this week.

The End.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Things We Do For Exercise

I'm struggling to get my crap together this week. I'm sorry I don't have any new posts on baboons or boys (although I did just let a guy down using the phrase "I was a little uncomfortable with what felt like aggressive affection on a first date...." which I'll tell you more about later.) But besides being behind on posting here, I'm also behind on work, errands, and keeping up with my Groupon/Living Social Deals.

One of those deals being Unlimited Access to a Fitness Boot Camp for the Month of January. (for which I'd like to go back in time and slap my former self when I started to make that purchase. 6am class every day?? Ha!)

The other is: 5 sessions of Pole Dancing Classes.


Long story short, a couple years ago, my friend was getting married so a bunch of us thought it'd be hilarious to take a Chair Dancing class together as a bachelorette activity. We are not the type of girls you would ever look at and think: "definitely dances for money," so that made it even funnier.

We all showed up to the class in un-sexy workout attire, strapped on the plastic 6-inch stilletos they provide for the class, and proceeded to giggle our way through the hour-long session.

At various points through the session, you'd hear an uneven pitter-patter of stilletos and another girl would bite the dust. One girl tripped and nearly fell into the front window of the establishment (which actually would've been HILARIOUS to watch from the street, if she could've avoided serious injury. Come on, you are walking by what looks like a normal row house in D.C. and suddenly a tiny blonde girl wearing gym clothes and bright red heels flies out the window? That would be entertaining!). And we routinely would glance around during a particularly humbling pose, catch the eye of another embarrassed friend and just start laughing uncontrollably again. And it was hard! We all felt like we'd done intense workouts the next day, leading my friend Krimmel and I to think -- this could actually be really beneficial, not just extremely embarrassing and hilarious.

So when we found a Living Social deal, we were sold. Except instead of chair dancing, this time we'd try -- Pole Dancing.

So once again, Krimmel and I find ourselves giggling in bulky gym clothes, being taught moves that were designed to be "sexy" but what we are simply using as a fun/funny way to trick our bodies into strength training.

We have another class tonight. I'll let you know if either of us flies out a window.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I Heart New York - even after drama-filled bus rides.

I know I should write the obligatory New Year's Resolution post but honestly I typically don't do resolutions at New Years. I make them throughout the year, I feel like they have a better chance of succeeding without all that pressure. But, I am excited to start a year fresh and there are some things I'm hopeful for so I'll keep you posted on developments. For now though, I'm in a New York state of mind...

My friend Tiff is an actress who used to live in NYC. This week, she's coming back for a visit and invited me and many others to hang out on Friday night.

I'm considering going. Even though it's a 4 hour bus trip and people aren't hanging out until 11pm. And I need to be back Saturday.

It's this kind of irresponsibility that has lead to some of my favorite adventures. It has also led to some pretty disastrous moments. Several of which have occurred on that bus from D.C. to NYC.

I briefly mentioned one bus incident here.

There are others.

The busses from D.C. to New York come in a variety of styles now but they used to only come in one style -- The Chinatown Bus.

It was a little risky and unpredictable. Much like most of my 20's.

The bus usually had a mix of young D.C. professionals with no money and Chinese immigrants who did not speak English. They showed movies in Chinese with subtitles in Mandarin. I've even heard sometimes there was livestock onboard. It was pretty amazing.

I've been on one that broke down on the side of the road (RIGHT AFTER there was a bus murder in Canada where a guy went crazy and cut off the head of his fellow passenger -- as soon as our bus pulled over, someone had the audacity to mention that. It was a tiny bit unsettling to say the least).

I had one end up in ATLANTIC CITY after the driver took a wrong turn and didn't realize it until it was too late.

I've been on one at 2 am that pulled into a parking lot for no apparent reason, sat there about 20 minutes, then just took off again with no explanation.

My friend was on one when the air conditioner spontaneously dumped a large amount of water on him. When he went up to tell the driver, the driver just handed him a towel like it happened all the time.

And, I've been on one where the driver kicked every single passenger off in the MIDDLE of JERSEY after informing us he felt like his safety was threatened and he didn't have to keep driving.


And I'm usually alone on these trips because most of my friends have more sense than me and they do not take off on a 4 hour excursion at the drop of a hat like I do. So I do it alone. Cuz I'm stubborn like that. Which is actually helpful for my growth as a person I think because now when I am with others on a trip and something happens, I can pretty much shrug and say "honey, this is nothing. One time, when I was by myself...."

So probably the best incident was the one that included tossing my cookies. It happened when my friend Tiff was still living in NYC and after a long day of work at the White House, I and my Big Girl suit jumped directly on the bus and headed up for the longest night out on the town of my life.

On the way there, I decide to change into my party clothes so I can hit the Manhattan streets running and go directly to wherever Tiff and her New York friends were. And I did do that....dragging my rolling suitcase behind me. The Entire. Night. A night that ended about the time the sun was setting, about 4 venues later. I dragged that suitcase like a champ. Nothing Stops This Social Butterfly!

Not even...motion sickness. So here's where we go back to the bus ride up there.

I end up sitting next to a nice guy who I learn works for the Defense Intelligence Agency. I know a little bit about the intel community so I typically get people to tell me more than they intend to and he and I have a lovely talk until I decide it's time to start getting ready for my night out -- in the bus' bathroom.

And I've mentioned before how easily motion-sick I get. I mean, I got sick surfing, so you can imagine what happens in the back of a careening bus.

And this bathroom wasn't just the typical gross bus bathroom - it was worse. The light didn't work....and the door didn't close all the way. Awesome.

So there I am, CHANGING CLOTHES, in the dark, while holding the door closed lest it fall open and give the whole bus a peep show. And the bus is moving. And there's barely room for me to stand, let alone wiggle into a different outfit.

I finally pull myself together and stumble back to my seat now that my legs are about to give out from trying to stay upright in a swaying bus....and I promptly feel nauseous.

So, now I'm running BACK to the dark cave of a bathroom, and toss my cookies while holding the dang door closed again.

So. Classy.

I get back to my seat, apologize to my new friend, and start to feel better just in time for us to land in New York and me and my suitcase to begin our night out.

And my seat mate? Totally still asks me out. Ha! The stuff you can pull off in your 20's....

I'm still on the fence about this week's trip to NY but if I go, I plan to take a bus again. And I promise to relay any ridiculousness that ensues.

Happy New Year everyone!