Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Hoping everyone has a fantastic holiday season! Really though, this is simply an excuse to use my new toy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fabulousness, All Around

Slight panic last week at prospect of turning another year older - have been having daily freakouts trying to figure out if my hair is going grey or if it's just a strange, blonde highlighted area (have repeatedly assured myself it's blonde, but this does not stop me from bugging out every time I dry my hair). Got very concerned at the state of my skin and how desperately it needs to be tighter and fuller and agggggggggggh. Slapped some moisturizer on, blamed it on our horrendously drying heat and called it a day. Crikey, how bad am I going to be when I'm turning 30? 40? 50?

Had a lovely birthday weekend regardless of age-induced stress spikes, albeit very, very chilly and topped off with quite a bit of snow, which has continued all week. Fingers crossed tomorrow's flights aren't delayed cuz I am on my waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Hardly surprising that the final days of my month long challenge would end up being a few days late, is it? No, I didn't think so.

Am getting verrrrrrrry excited for a number of reasons...

  • have a Pink Crocodile benefit tonight which requires putting on heels and getting all slapped up (as Peej would say). Given that dressing up the past year has translated into putting on a semi-nicer top with my jeans and boots, this is a big deal. New dress, new jewelry, hair will be done, skin will be tanned. It's getting ready, Jersey style... which will probably be a somewhat hot mess, as it's been an incredibly long time since I've put much effort into it and am desperately out of practice. But it's casino night and open bar and Donut gets to come, and it will be tons and tons of fun!
  • Christmas is right around the corner. The markets are open, the hot wine is flowing, and the tree in front of our building is lit up. This time of year is magical in Prague.
  • Erin's coming to visit next week! Yay!
  • My birthday. So begins the first of probably three consecutive 28th birthdays, in case you were wondering.
  • Home in ten days! As magical as a Prague Christmas is, I'm dying to get home. 
And here's what I need to catch up on...

What do you think people misunderstand about you most?

Uhhhh, that I'm a bitch. I blame that eyebrow, and my face in its natural resting state, which is "bitch face". I can't help it, that's just how it looks. I have tried experimenting with a more pleasant neutral face, but then I look brain damaged, sooooooo. I'm also pretty quiet and fairly awful at small talk, so the whole end result is that I come off as an aloof, uninterested, unamused, unfriendly bitch. Which is absolutely (I hope) not the truth at all - I'm too non-confrontational to be a real bitch. It's definitely something I need to work on, but if I can't fix it, at least I have a good role model...

List ten things you hope to be remembered for. 

I really don't have any clue what to write for this, and my brain has been overloaded with Christmas prep and too little sleep and I don't really feel like working it harder than necessary (for full disclosure, I should point out that I started this yesterday afternoon and now here we are, 30 hours later and just getting around to finishing it up). I think I would want to be remembered for being a good friend/daughter/sister, eventually for being an excellent wife/aunt/mom/grandma, always having a laugh, plying my loved ones full of scrumptious food and overloading their houses with beautiful things, experiencing the world, doing good to make an impact, and curing cancer (though I don't do science, so this is highly unlikely). I do not want to be remembered for the following: my shameful inability to make a cupcake, my debilitating fear of feathered avian creatures, or my graceful awkwardness. Please note that anyone who mentions these items in my memorial service shall be hunted down and haunted for the rest of your days.

So ends the November challenge... in December. I had an excellent time writing so much this month and have some ideas for the future. And since my posting schedule is seldom reliable and  you might feel like you need something else to read to keep you entertained, check out Peej's blog. Shocking that it's taken him so long to start one, as he's got a fantastic written voice and I'm sure you'll all be amused.

Happy December everyone!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Turkey, turkey everywhere. In the midst of turning Saturday's culinary masterpiece into new, exciting taste explosions, I completely forgot, so here is my catching up:

What's your favorite part of  your body and why?

Hmmmm... this is going to sound very strange, but I'm gonna go with my left eyebrow. It has a way of creeping halfway up my forehead without me even noticing whenever I find something amusing/embarrassing for someone/distasteful/annoying/whatever. I wish I could train my right eyebrow to do the same, as I'm worried that in 20 10 years one eye will have significantly less wrinkles due to its daily workout. My students laugh at me for it, Peej impersonates it, and here it is in all it's Thanksgiving day glory...

You can also see my wine-induced pink nose... 

What is your love language?
uhhhhh... French?

I have no idea what this question means, so I was going to just skip it, but then I Googled it and found this nifty quiz, so let's see, shall we? Please hold...

... Quality time. Which, according to this other site means...

Quality Time: You crave togetherness. Being in the same room is not "togetherness". You want a person's undivided attention-- a true connection with someone. Dialects of the language of Quality Time are Quality Conversation, Quality Listening, and Quality Activities. You can enjoy just one or multiple dialects.
  • Quality Conversation consists of focusing on drawing the other person out, listening sympathetically to what they have to say, and asking questions with the genuine desire to understand their thoughts, feelings, and desires (not as a means to an end, like solving their problems). It also consists of you, yourself, verbalizing your thoughts, feelings, and desires.
  • Quality Activities means you like to enjoy activites with people to spend time with those people. It's not the activity that's important but the quality time. Whether it's something new or something you love to do all the time, you'll always remember those times with the people that matter in your life.
To improve proficiency in Quality Conversation: Don't engage in other activities while you are listening to another person. This is about quality time. Listen for feelings and observe body language. Then confirm their feelings, e.g., "You must be really frustrated since..." It says you're listening and gives the person to clarify their feelings. Do not interrupt! Research has indicated that the average individual listens for only 17 sec before interrupting and interjecting their own ideas. Ask reflective questions (so there're no misunderstandings), express understanding (so they know they've been heard), and lastly, ask if there is anything you can do to be helpful.

So now you know. And so do I. Though I feel this quiz is not quite scientific, especially as every other question is about receiving gifts and you feel like a shallow asshole if you just keep answering "Yes, I like when people give me things"... even if it's slightly true (it's almost my birthday and Christmas, it's allowed.).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Phew, Out of the Kitchen

Thanksgiving dinner a rousing success, and so begins the week(s) of turkey leftovers. Whipping up a turkey pot pie tomorrow. Tried today but realized at checkout that I'd forgotten my wallet and had to lurk around Billa putting back puff pastry and tossing potatoes back in their bin and then sneaking out the entrance... and by sneaking I mean running into the crowd as the alarm went off. Ohhhh, Monday.

Describe your family dynamic as a child versus your family dynamic now.

I think in general, we're all much more relaxed than we were when I was younger. We're a lot closer than ever before and it's great having siblings and parents who are also really great friends. Love you!

If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be and what would you eat?

Hmmmmm... this will just highlight my inner nerd, but I'm gonna go with Anne Boleyn. She's gone down in history for her intelligence, wit and charm, so I'd imagine she would make for excellent conversation, and there is so much mystery and misinformation about her. Plus, this way I could see for myself if the rumors about six fingers and three boobs are true, plus gossip about all of those alleged affairs. Juicy stuff.

What popular notion do you think the world has the most wrong?
Where to begin, where to begin?

Jeeeeeez, there's a lot, isn't there? But I think the one that most succinctly sums up what I think is just totally off base is that there is this assumption, particularly in the US, that religion has a place in politics. It seemed like the 2012 elections were focused so closely on issues that divided people on the basis of faith. Whatever you choose to believe or not believe is fine, but when it starts to dictate who is eligible for basic rights, we need to step back. The place for those discussions is not in the government buildings.

I think the reason this bugs me so much is it's so closely tied to social issues which are incredibly important to me, and I think a lot of young people - marriage equality, birth control, women's rights... all of these came under attack from politicians this year and the arguments made over and over again were based on pick-and-choose religious "evidence". I believe there is certainly value in having a free enough society in which people can debate and express their views and feel safe enough to do so, but if we are going to have a government that's truly "of the people, by the people, for the people" then we need to remember that not all of those people adhere to those religious tenets, and certainly shouldn't be governed by them.

I know the election is over and we have a good three years before we all need to be debating who can marry who and when does life begin and whose rights trump whose, but I hope that in these next few years the US can make some strides and start acting and governing itself and taking care of its citizens in the progressive manner it likes to think it has.

Plus, this video.

Friday, November 23, 2012

I Will Die in this Apron

Channeling my inner housewife/Barefoot Contessa today. One of three turkeys, strudel, spinach dip, layer cake, pumpkin bars, cornbread, homemade crescent rolls and three bags of turkey stock. Good God. And a craft. And this. Boom.

Enjoy, as yer not getting one tomorrow, that's for sure. Cooking for 30 people leaves no room for blogging.

So, without further ado, today's topic...

What are your top five hobbies and why do you love them?
Can't I just copy and paste my passions post??

Food – cooking it, eating it, talking about it. I love it for a number of reasons. For one, it’s a great way to learn about new cultures. When I moved to Prague, I spent many happy days sampling gulaš and medovník and svičkova and fruit dumplings and pork knew and sausages and whatever else crossed my path. Food is such an integral part of a society – people’s tastes, attitudes and social cues when it comes to eating say a lot about national traditions and history. But I also love it because food can introduce you to new things, teach you new things, give you valuable skills, force you to get creative, and best of all, it brings people together.

Painting and other crafty things – I forgot how much I love to make things, anything really. It’s incredibly relaxing and when you’re finished, you have something that you can (maybe) put on your wall. Hobbies with something to show for it – excellent!

Travelling - I don't really have the budget but planning, packing, the actual travel, exploring - I love it all. It's incredible to see new places, meet new people, try new things. I'm very lucky to have seen so many amazing cities and sights this year - Prague, Vienna, Berlin, Krakow, Budapest, Wales, England, Croatia, around the Czech Republic... excellent! Just realized I've ended two paragraphs this way... my brain has been juilliened, boiled, broiled and baked today, leave me alone. 

Blogging - I have such a great time sharing my life on here (plus it saves me writing a thousand emails), figuring out what to tell, how much to tell, how to tell it. It's often a source of guilt about not posting enough but it's a really great feeling when I press "Post" and it's out there. And I love the feedback!

Reading - My Kindle gets a workout, let me tell you. It's just so relaxing, and as about half my day is spent commuting, I get through a lot of books. You always have something to do, and you always look busy when waiting at a bus stop, train station, bar...

Bonus - only bc Peej reminded me - collecting containers. A place for everything, and everything in its place. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Hardly Surprising...

... that my lofty goals of actually sticking to a posting schedule got derailed. It's a busy week, leave me alone.

The wifi at Costa totally sucks, so lets hope this actually works.

Three significant memories from your childhood...
Not exactly significant, but nice!

When I was 9 or 10, my grandparents lived in a town called Bicester, in England, and by their house was a big chunk of farmland called Slade Farms. It was full of fields and paths, and also had a giant thicket of raspberry bushes.
There were lots of other kids who lived in the neighborhood, and it was over the creek and through this prickly thicket that we had The Village. It probably looked like a hobo shantytown, but this cluster of forts made of scrap wood, corrugated tin and twine was just plain awesome. It was completely tucked away, hidden in a circle of big trees. I'm not entirely sure what we did when we were there... probably played games and pretended to be soldiers or something, but I do remember there was a "bad guy", aka an angry older kid who bullied us, and it was our job to defend our village from him and his gang of hooligans from taking it over and destroying it. Typical kids stuff.
Local government decided to develop Slade Farm (typical). There were lots of petitions and us going door to door asking people to protect it, friendship bracelet sales and even probably the lowest-earning benefit concert in someone's garage (kids don't tend to have lots of money to chip in, I'm sure most of it went to packets of Hula Hoops and Fox Party Rings to munch on while we were rockin' out), but sadly, our little group of miniature conservationists were unsuccessful, so now there is probably a family living on what was formerly the coolest place in the world. Will have to dig out the photo of all of us when I get back to the states.

My second memory isn't really a specific ting, but it's Amersham. Amersham is the village my grandparents lived in when I was really little, and it was amazing. They lived on a farm and it was absolutely the best place to spend summers as a kid. There was a trio of goats behind the house who escaped and ate all the fruit off the apple trees. There were fields full of sheep, cows, horses. The garden was full of roses and ponds that Grandad threatened to dunk me headfirst into by holding me by my ankles. There was an honest-to-god outhouse that skeeved me out (spiders!), and a pool at the neighbors that to get to, you had to walk past three wild boars, who I was completely petrified of after my NY cousins let me watch a movie with them where a guy has his head nearly completely bitten off by a boar and yet is still able to walk, talk, and get into sword fights. There were chestnut trees and field after field of clover and poppies. There was a creek to paddle in, a dried out lake to explore, and a fallen tree to climb over. There was a dusty lane that Bo Nanny used to always say needed a good sweeping. When you looked out the upstairs windows, you could see hot air balloons landing. Sheep shearing, horse grooming, country life. It was just idyllic... Would kill to go back (for a day anyway, probably be a bit dull after that!).

My grandma in NY kept closets full of my aunts' old clothes from the '60's, which were excellent dress-up supplies (and probably would look really chic now). They were packed into cramped, giant closets that you could hide out in and dig around and find these treasures. One day, after too many games of How Many Monkeys Jumping on the Bed got boring, my cousins, my brother and sister and I decided to play a big game of dress up (come to think of it, my cousins must have been far too old for dress up at this point... what were you thinking??), which resulted in Ben in a giant suit and Jenna in an old dress, housecoat and funny hat while we officiated their wedding. There is also photographic evidence of this... will need to dig it out.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?
Do I get a cute superhero outfit? Or is this more like a Misfits thing?

Easy - teleport. First I'd swing home for a visit, and then I'd be off to Paris, Capetown, Rome, Barcelona, Phucket, Bali, Dublin, Dubai... But realistically, I'd use it to zap myself to class on time so I could sleep in a bit longer. :)

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10? 15?

Five years - Hopefully, I'll have a job that I can look forward to going to, preferably at my own company. I will have a rigorous Pilates regime, a discerning wine palate, be able to make a perfect Cointreau creme brulee. I'll have a darling little Frenchie who comes to work with me every day. I'll vacation in fabulous places. I will get over my fear of skiing and that a hassled mother will one day ask me for help getting her pram on the tram. Maybe I will be that hassled mother. (No, no, will avoid public transportation until my child can walk.) Five years seems like an awfully long time from now, so who knows?

Ten years - By now, my company will be wildly successfully - franchises all over the place! I will have a fantastic flat or house with a big kitchen and double oven and fancy espresso machine. I will have learned how to drive stick. I will probably be freaking out about turning 40 in a few years, so pilates will have turned into multiple weekly sessions with a personal trainer and a zealous anti-aging routine. My maybe-baby will now be able to walk (so can start using public transport again!), and will start to be interesting so I can use all those crazy parenting crafts you see on Pinterest (moon sand! expanding soap! make your own bouncy balls!).

Fifteen years - My company will have been so successful that I can sell it off and retire early to a life of making beautiful things and raising boston terrier puppies full-time. My maybe-baby will by this point be a hormonal pubescent nightmare, so I'll probably be researching foreign boarding schools to ship it off to and give myself a bit of peace. But fifteen years from now is hella far, and I can't really think about what I'm doing next week, let alone for a significant chunk of my life. Yikes!

Off for a full day of teaching, followed by Thanksgiving prep for Saturday.

I hope all of my fellow Americans have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Eat a lot for me, I miss you guys!

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Day Late, A Koruna Short

Okay, three days late. It was the weekend. Was recovering from Thursday's escapades and eating horrendously spicy things at the chili pepper festival, and then home improvement shopping (i.e., buying more containers. As Donut says, IKEA probably has a alarm rigged to go off whenever I'm in the vicinity.). So here I am, slightly late (nothing new) and with a lot to catch up on. So here goes...

What's one thing you most wish you were great at?
Why one? I want to be great at all things!

  • Singing. Because here I disprove the rule that practice makes perfect.
  • Speaking Czech. Because here I don't  know if practice makes perfect, because I don't.
  • Making bank. Because, obviously.
What has been the most difficult thing you've had to forgive?

Easy - being put far down on the priority list of someone who was at the top of mine. And I did forgive, over and over and over and over until I realized that it wasn't worth it to keep fighting for that top spot and that there are something things you just can't or don't want to compete with. So I stopped fighting it and let it go. And I do forgive, completely and wholeheartedly. I think it's really difficult in the moment to take a good look at your relationships and be honest with yourself. You fight for things to work out of a sense of obligation, of "this is how things are meant to be", out of indigence ("WTF is wrong with him? He should be counting his lucky stars!"), and because the status quo is a lot safer and more comfortable than having such a giant space ripped into your world, but eventually you realize no amount of work is going to fix the problem. And sooner or (much, much) later you get to a point where you're okay with what happened, and happy that that person came into your life and happier that you know how to move past it. You gotta follow the advice of Ma$e - just "Breathe, Stretch, Shake, Let it Go". Ohmmmmmm.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

Prague! I know it baffles my students, but I absolutely am 100% in love with my new home. It's the perfect sized little city - small enough to navigate easily but big enough to always have something to do. The people are friendly (mostly), it's full of culture, history, modernity and beer, and it's just.so.freaking.beautiful. There is not a day when I'm travelling around that I don't think to myself "Ohhhhh... look at that gorgeous little street!" or "How scrumptious do those pastries look?" or "I'm commuting past a flippin' castle!" Every single day brings some holy crap moment where I'm either shocked/stunned/surprised/educated/impressed by something. I love the life I have here and the people that are in it. 

This isn't to say that I wouldn't be open to moving somewhere else fabulous for a bit (Paris, peut-être?), but Prague has my heart. 

Okay, all caught up - will try to be better in the future, but only have ten days to go (though have been late fairly regularly in the first 19 so...). 


Slightly overdid it last night and had a rough morning. How come the older you get, the more likely it is that you so much as look at alcohol, it's an automatic hangover? I find this completely unacceptable.

Today's post is...

What are your five greatest accomplishments?

  • Moving to Prague. Not exactly the bravest, greatest, most inspiring thing anyone's ever done, but it was a really hard thing for me to do, and I'm glad I did.
I can't find original artist info, but this was posted here: Polo and Vines

  • How I did at my last job. You guys, that job was the worrrrrrrst. But I was good at it. I kicked ass in it. My spreadsheets reigned supreme. So that's nice to know.
  • I'm an excellent student. I actually really, really liked school. And if it wasn't for one awful little troll in "Voice and Speech Improvement" who told me I sounded like a six year old sucking helium, I would have had a perfect college GPA (while finishing early, natch). So, summa whaaaat?!
  • This blog. It makes me happy that I get to entertain you (or try), and it's really awesome to get to look back and see what my life has been like the past year or so. It's not churning out advertising revenues or garnering a massive following, but I'm pretty proud of it. 
  • I'm proud of the fact that I neither weigh a thousand pounds or have a serious drinking problem after living in the Czech Republic.. but don't worry, I'm working on it. ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2012


The sunshine's brief appearance has passed, and we are in the midst of another grey, cold, foggy day (with snow, if you're lucky enough to be in the 'burbs, as I was first thing this morning). Had a midday cancellation, which means I forget how to tell time, show up 50 minutes early for my next class, and am now killing time eating a grey Caeser salad at KFC (now I understand why you get such a giant dressing packet, it's to mask the flavor of dead lettuce), sharing a verrrrrrrry tiny table with an ancient man who is carting around a bag full of keyboards and sneaking suspicious glances at me every time he gets up, as if I might do a runner with his pile of junk.

Thanks for all of your feedback about Agog in Prague - it means a lot! I'm glad I can entertain, or at the very least give you something to do when you really should be doing something else much more important.

Luckily today's topic is a quick one, easy to type out while shoveling this graveyard bowl of greens into my mouth.

If you were an animal, which would you be and why?
Is this a job interview? If so, I can start immediately.

My usual answer is a monkey - social and clever (I can use tools!), and I really like bananas.

However, I have consulted this website: Animal in You for a professional opinion.

It keeps telling me I am a wild cat. This is the explanation given:

"Of all God's creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat." ~Mark Twain

Wildcat personalities do not differ substantially from their domestic cousins and exhibit the aloof behavior that is common to all felines. I am quite aloof. With their well-deserved reputations as creatures of comfort, wildcats jealously guard their independence while indulging in the finer things in life. So... I'm bougie. But we already knew that. Attractive, solitary, creative and curious, these individuals are quite happy to observe the world from a distance.

The wildcat would never take a conventional route and prefers to explore life from off the beaten track, relying heavily on its instincts and powers of observation to guide it safely through the jungle. Its air of indifference and need for privacy keeps it on the outskirts of society, but its love for comfort always brings it back. Who am I, Henry Thoreau? Outskirts? I don't think so. 

Exceptional personal hygiene is a hallmark of the wildcat personality, and from their hair to their fingernails they are immaculately groomed. Well, on a good day. Shopping for clothing or personal-care items spices up long, dreary days. I think that's just called being a female.

When someone wrongs a wildcat, they make it their business to even the score. Displaying superb patience, wildcats will even wait years for the right moment. When the occasion comes to strike, they gather all their force and attack. In the face of a ferocious display of hissing and blustering, their surprised victim has little chance of escape. I love it, makes me sound like Emily from Revenge. Don't really think this is the case though - who has that kind of energy? 

The wildcat differs from its lion relatives in its approach to its social structure. With an aversion to the complex family organization of the lion, the wildcat finds freedom and self-indulgence to be far more compelling. As a natural explorer it disdains staying in one place for long, preferring the freedom of solitary roaming in exotic locales. This wanderlust makes it ideal for a career as a travel agent, explorer, mountain climber, researcher or writer. Can someone even be an explorer these days? What's left? And if I was a mountain climber, it would be a short lived career. I'd be a splat on the ground ten feet up my first attempt. 

Although wildcats are uncomfortable performing in front of large groups, their grace and lithe bodies make them natural dancers or gymnasts. Haaaa. If tipsy SYTYCD sessions in my living room have taught me anything, it's that I am neither a gymnast nor a dancer. 

Well guys, there you go. It's science, so you can't really dispute it. 

I'm pretty sure most of my dancing looks like this guy's:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I AM the Power

Describe 5 strengths you have...
Abs of steel

  1. I'm level-headed. It's going to take a lot to make me fly off the handle. Most of the time I'm generally rational and undramatic. (Please note: This does not take into account the effects of a couple glasses of wine. Then all bets are off.)
  2. I'm driven. When I know what I want, I work hard to get it. It's figuring out what it is that I want that's the problem...
  3. I'm confident. I don't mind being up in front of people, doing my thing. Useful for a teacher, meant I kicked butt in Public Speaking class, and handy for moving to a new place and having to meet new friends. Useful for decision-making, as I trust my instincts. I like myself, which sounds incredibly corny but is pretty damn important. However, this confidence doesn't make me an automatic extrovert. It has nothing to do with not joining you on that bar for a drunken karaoke rendition of Waterloo (Ask me to sing it sober, in the privacy of my own apartment however, and you've got yourself a deal). I may not do wild and crazy things, but that's not because I'm embarrassed or full of self-doubt. I just don't want to look like an ass. 
  4. I'm creative. I see potential for awesomeness in lots of things. However, this also means that I have a billion half-finished projects lying around, and that I refuse to throw anything away, just in case one day, I might really need that former salsa jar or (Czech) business magazine. You never know!
  5. I'm positive. Probably pretty closely related to my level-headedness, I don't let things rattle me for too long. I try to keep an optimistic outlook, find the humor in all things, and recognize what's important and what shouldn't take up an iota of my concern. 
Of course, there are many, many more things that are wonderful about me, but I don't want to bore you. Feel free to let me know how fabulous you find me, a girl always likes a boost.

Also having a lot of fun spamming your inboxes with all these posts - anyone have any ideas for a challenge for next month?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Work Out

Today's Laura 101 topic is...

Describe five weaknesses you have.
My upper body strength leaves something to be desired, I suppose.

  1. I have a hard time standing up for myself. I'd much rather keep the peace then be involved in an argument. I totally adhere to the belief that you don't need to attend every argument you're invited to, but there are times when I don't speak up but definitely should. I end up doing things I don't want to do, spending time or money on things I shouldn't have to, and put up with stuff that I don't need to. Until it gets to the point where I blow up. And by blow up, I mean do something completely passive aggressive, or bitch to a third party about it. 
  2. I have almost no willpower. I will only have two cookies. I'll go for a jog. I will say no to that last glass of wine. I will do that boring work project. Lots of good intentions, not a lot of follow-through. 
  3. I lack direction. I'd like to think that all people in their twenties go through this, but I'm pretty sure the window of time where this is acceptable is running out fast, and I still am sitting here wondering what I'm supposed to actually be doing with my life.
  4. Once I decide I don't like someone, I have a reeeeeeally hard time being nice to them. Luckily, I like most people so this is rarely an issue, but still. I feel slightly bitchy about it, but sorry, I'm not sorry.
  5. I can't say no. I feel guilty and end up with too much on my plate that I don't want to do. Surprisingly, am not nor ever have been a drug addict, so there's one situation where "Just Say No" sunk in. 
Other than that, I'm completely perfect. ;)

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Day in the Life

Today's topic is...

Describe a typical day in your current life.
Thought it'd be easier to just live blog. Except not, because my computer weighs a solid ton, and I'm not lugging it around all day. So instead looked like sketchy, strange pseudo-writer constantly jotting things down in my trusty notebook... well, more than I normally do.

7:30 - Wake up. Ugh. Whyyyyyyyyy, Monday? Proč?
7:40 - Get out of bed. Attempt to comb hair into some type of look that says I didn't spend night sleeping in a bush. Get my life together, as it's currently strewn around Donut's apartment from my afternoon of "working" (i.e., checking Pinterest and looking for DC deals on Groupon).
8:00 - Donut drops me at the tram station. Hmmm... am getting hungry.
8:17 - I think it's time for a pastry.
8:30 - Settle into my bed with the heat on, pastry in hand ready to catch up on last night's Downton Abbey. What foolery is this? It wasn't on?? Opt for Covert Affairs, commence watching.
8:35 - Stop and make tea.
8:45 - Stop and give myself a French manicure.
8:55 - Stop and check email.
9:06 - Two cancellations this week. Yay no work, nay no money.
9:10 - Laundry.
9:40 - Finally finish Covert Affairs. Not entirely sure what the episode was about.
9:45 - Shower.
10:00 - Consult Pinterest for outfit inspiration. Nothing to bloody wear.
10:15 - Realize I'm out of hangers. Begin reorganizing closet, put away summer clothes.
10:25 - Try to winterize summer clothes. Will this work if I add a sweater? No. You look ridiculous.
11:00 - Put away mound of clothes now that I have all these free hangers.
11:15 - Hair is approaching the slept-in-a-bush phase again. Zap it with Saharan level heat. Roll back the clock with some carefully applied makeup. Fresh and glowy.
11:30 - Check DPP website to determine what the absolute latest time I can leave is.
11:33 - Check www.postsecret.blogspot.com
11:35 - Realize I have to blog again. Check today's topic. Start this.
11:42 - Dammit, will be late. Scramble to get my life together and in the right bag.
11:48 - Get outside to wait for tram. Realize it's stupid to wait ten minutes when the tram literally stops outside my door, but know if I don't, I will miss it.
11:49 - WTF is the sun??
12:01 - Right on time. New, fancy tram, get a seat, yay. Bust out Kindle, continue reading Freshwater Road by Denise Nicholas. Am thankful I don't live in rural Mississippi during Freedom Summer, but would not be opposed to a bit of that Mississippi heat right now.
12:04 - Pass a circus at Letna. See two zebras. Didn't expect that one.
12:20 - Lemme off this thinnnnnng!
12:30 - First class of the day. Love these guys.
1:30 - British food and British versus American English. Black pudding and pants amuse them greatly.
2:03 - Christmas tree up at Andel. Too soon, Nove Smichov, too soon.
2:04 - Hmmm... pretty hungry. Should have had two pastries this morning.
2:20 - BioMarket. Fruit here looks questionable. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Big Corny instead.
2:57 - Student tells me to go to Siam Orchid, by Billa Labut, for yummy Thai food. Am writing it here so I don't forget.
3:30 - Hour and a half to kill. What to do, what to do.
3:50 - Hmm. Took a lot less time than I anticipated to get my work done for the rest of the week.
3:55 - Who is paying my insurance? I'd better send school an email about this important thing so that they can ignore it until I reforward it in two weeks asking again.
4:00 - British Council website. Will use this, and this, and this, and this...
4:40 - Will walk to next class.
4:42 - Why are there so many cops out?
4:47 - Why are there so many cops out?
4:49 - Huh, that was fast. Should I get a pastry?
4:50 - No.
4:51 - Yes.
4:52 - No.
4:53 - Maybe my student feels like giving me some tea if I get there early.
4:54 - Yesssssss, tea. One hour to go. What am I teaching? Oh right, auxiliary verbs. What are those? Not important. This is boring. Grammar is boring. How are my nails so effed up? I only painted them this morning, it's not like I work in a quarry slinging rocks all day long.
4:56 - Gosh, the men who work here are boisterous.
4:57 - I should really write some of these posts in advance. Maybe I'll write some more tonight, after I make spicy noodles.
4:58 - Should I make spicy noodles? Does Peej want to go out for a birthday dinner, in which case the spicy noodles are extraneous? I hope he likes his gift. He better. It's cute. I suck at getting people gifts. Steph is really good at that. I should email Steph, see if she has any suggestions for Christmas.
5:00 - Lesson Time
6:03 - I want a beer. Hope Peej's home and wants birthday beers.
6:27 - Damn. Peej is either sleeping or not home. Hope he didn't go for birthday beers without me. Guess I will make spicy noodles.
6:44 - Birthday hugs for Peej! Making spicy noodles, nomnomnom.
7:13 - Big bowl of spicy noodles, new episode of Scandal. Awesome.
7:56 - Alerted to a leak on our balcony (perhaps?) from Katka. Discuss other issues to tell landlord, like the bathroom wall is falling apart, and it's not our fault.
8:12 - Finish 10 influential people post. blahblahblah, too emotional.
8:27 - Start typing up this nonsense.
8:57 - Massive shock to see how late it is already!
8:59 - Shocked and slightly appalled by how little I actually get done during the day. Whatever, it's Monday, leave me alone. Will make myself a big cup of tea, try to do some Pink Crocodile work, and get to bed. And it all starts over again tomorrow...

by Pete Joisen of inklinegraphicdesign

Playing Catch Up

Now these are completely out of order, but I don't care, and neither should you.

List ten people who have influenced you and how.
This is in groups, because I cannot limit myself to 10. Also, this is in no specific order, before you start getting all uppity about your place in the list.

  1. My parents, and not just for the good looks that have worked their way into my genes (wink), but I also got Dad's even temper and Mom's love of creating beautiful (sometimes, in my case) things. They're super supportive, lots of fun, and wonderful for all the reasons I've listed here before.
  2. Ben, Jenna & Lili. While we haven't always been really close, they mean the world to me. I hope Jenna and Lili enjoy their last days of taking my stuff, cuz when I come back in December, it's all coming home with me!
  3. My girls. They're just the most awesome, amazing, fun, crazy, wild, lovely, ridiculous, loud, dramatic, supportive people I know. I love all of them for different reasons. Together they have taught me how to be a stronger person, how to be a more caring person, how to speak my mind, how to lean on others, how to put on eye shadow, how to properly chug Irish car bombs, how to cook scallops, how to mix margaritas, and how to dougie. They're the best. I feel sorry for everyone else who doesn't have the coolest friends in the world. Nahnahnahnahnahhhh.
  4. Peeeej. I've said it before - I am so lucky to have a little slice of home here with me. I'm grateful for him pushing me to come to Prague, I'm thankful for all his help once I did get here, and I'm so happy for his porch party accompaniment where we can rant Jersey-style about the tomfoolery that happens around here sometimes. 
  5. Donut. He's so adult, it boggles our minds sometimes (we being silly children with fake jobs and whatnot). I've said it a gazillion times, but I am incredibly lucky to have him in my life - he is so smart, so kind, so much fun to be around. He's always up for an adventure, does excellent translation work, and constantly has me smiling. I can't wait for everyone from home to meet him this Christmas and fall in love with him too! Okay, this is corny and way too mushy for me. Moving on...
  6. Grandma and Grandpa. I think it's fairly obvious that Grandma is literally the ONLY person I'm related to who could possibly have passed down a love of cooking. 
  7. Nanny and Grandad, who tackle everything with a fantastic sense of humour and can laugh in the worst of times. 
  8. Moji přátelé v Praze - most of them have left and moved on to new adventures all over the place, but each one of them has made this city a wonderful place to live, I've made memories with them to last a lifetime, and they're just plain awesome. As all of my friends are. I'm seeing a trend here.
  9. The Highs and Lows of my dating history. If I'm being as legitimately honest as I should be, I could leave this off the list. For better or for worse, this ragtag group of boys has shaped how I view relationships. They've taught me what I want, what I want to avoid, what things I can deal with and what is non-negotiable. They've taught me how to love, detest, forgive, forget, and shown me that true besties will always be there (with vodka!) when you're pissed off/sad/lonely/happy with/embarrassed by/stunned by or just need a good laugh and a strong cocktail about the one you just can't stop drinking about.  
  10. Tuck. Okay, I realize Tuckie is not a person, but I love him and it's my list and that's that. I told Ry once that I didn't think I ever wanted kids because I couldn't imagine loving a screaming infant as much as I love Tuck. I know this is insane. I get that. But Tuck taught me how to care for something else. No dog will be as strange looking, well behaved, adorable and just plain awesome as Tuck is, sooooo, sorry, your puppy's cute and all, but nah. 
I meannnnn, come on. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Out of Order

I'm about three days behind, and don't really feel like going in order... that was enough emo questions and it is exhaussssting trying to be honest and emotional and not piss people off or forget to include them or whatnot, so that's why my 10 people post is taking me about a year and a half to write, begrudgingly. So, instead, I will tackle the easier ones first.

Describe your most embarrassing moment...

How easy it would be if there was one standalone horrifying moment, but the truth is, when you have the type of relationship with gravity and general bad luck that I do, cringe-worthy moments are about a dime a dozen. So is it the time I wiped out in the middle of the quad at uni in front of everyone? The time I skidded across the dance floor on New Years Eve, on my ass? When I tried to be a badass and slammed the gas pedal, only to find that the car was in reverse as I hit the car behind me? The horror movie quality screams from when a pigeon flew into me at Namesti Republiky and I had a total spastic freakout? Or the time I turned into a human avalanche, skis, arms, and poles flailing as I careened towards what I thought was my death?

Whatever. I have the world's fastest blush response time it seems, but most of this doesn't bother me. I just think it's funny, and will carry on laughing to myself for the next half hour or so (just to complete the look of a total nutjob, in case anyone was left wondering). In this, I like to follow the wise words of Chelsea Handler...

Next question is...

Describe 10 Pet Peeves You Have...
Just ten?!?!?

  1. People who don't know how to play the guitar but insist on picking it up and strumming along anyway. STFU. Do you think that you'll pick it up and magically the chords from Stairway to Heaven will emanate from your fingertips? This is quite possibly the thing that drives me the most insane. Just put it down and be quiet.
  2. Male roommates who don't put the seat down. Rude. 
  3. Old people who cut in line. I am all for being nice to the elderly, but just because you're 80 years old doesn't mean you can look me in the eye and then sidle in front of me at checkout. Actually, yes you can because I'm not actually ballsy enough to say anything about, but be warned - there will be a LOT of "Hmphs" directed at you.
  4. That Czech people don't ever move out of the way on the sidewalk. This sidewalk ain't big enough for the both of us, y'hear? But seriously, international traffic patterns apply. Move over!
  5. Lady Gaga, every time she gives an interview. It's too much.
  6. When there are typos and grammatical/spelling errors in books. If enough people read this for it to be published, surely SOMEONE with an English degree must have seen this and noticed. (Update: Please note I have neither an English degree nor a publisher, and no one is proofreading these, not even me to be honest, so errors here are completely acceptable.)
  7. Pretentious expats. I'm sure there are plenty of times when I come off as a pretentious expat as well, but I am talking about the type of expat who move to Prague and think they are soooooo global and cultural and interesting and all they want to do is talk about philosophy and why they're so much better than everything around here and that the Czech Republic is backwards and look at this fabulous vintage sweater I got and intelligentsia and blah blah blah. These people are also usually about 23, so they also are naive and immature as well as pretentious. Quite similar to hipsters in other parts of the world. Go away. 
  8. People who click the "Like" button on Facebook for inappropriate status updates. Like when you see your dear friend post something like, "God bless you Grandma, I miss you already. RIP" or "Day 528 and still no electricity" and then along comes some asshole and clicks thumbs up.
  9. When people call me Lauren. 
  10. When I try to speak Czech and people look at me like I have two heads, and then answer in English. The same people that will only speak Czech if I use English. Stop screwing with me, I know what you're doing. 
Blahhhh, now back to working on the emotional one. Pet peeve #11.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Little Thursday

I have no idea what parallel universe I was in today, but every single time I turned around, a different tiny little man was standing behind me. Like under 5 feet. Was really bizarre.

Annnnnywho, today's topic is...

What five passions do you have?
If I say wine, does this make me look bad?

  1. Making Attempting to make pretty things. Have recently got back into drawing and painting, and our apartment is slowing starting to fill up with the results of Sunday afternoons spent listening to Christmas music and painting with Peej in the kitchen. Enormously relaxing, and with something to show for it at the end. 
  2. Food. I think it's fairly safe to say that my lack of funds is the only thing standing in the way of me being a gazillion pounds, and my lack of time from me being a first rate chef (well, maybe that's a bit of a stretch). Cooking it, eating it, talking to Steph about it for hours on end, reading about it, it's all good.
  3. Books. Usually at a rate of 2 or 3 a week. Thank goodness for Kindle and it's top 100 free. (Also, this website: Hundred Zeros. In fact, just found 3 new ones there now.) 
  4. Containers. This sounds incredibly bizarre, but I think Peej would tell you there is not really a better way to describe it. Everything needs to be in its own box or basket or jar or folder. It's insanely OCD, but it makes me happy seeing how organized my underwear drawer is. 
  5. Running.*

*ha. no. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lucky No. 7

Another cold and blustery day. Sleepy from watching election results with my fellow Americans, but full of good cheer at the results (Gobama!) and slightly amused by the Czech reaction to it - lots of excitement on the trams and trains this morning.

Today's topic is...

What is your dream job, and why?
Does retirement count?

  • Owning a pottery painting studio. Prague's version of Color Me Mine, but way cooler, here in Letna. My copy of Business Plans for Dummies and my Golden Hands notebook are getting quite the workout. Possibly the only good thing to come out of me and Shan's doomed trip to Kutna Hora, I want to do this because I can think of nothing better than spending my day making fabulous things and helping other people to do it too. This feeds both my creative needs and my love of being in control. It's uber relaxing and highly marketable, and it means I'd never need to teach the past perfect continuous ever again.
  • Restaurant critic. Because if financially able, I would be a gazillion pounds due to gorging myself on every delectable menu item at each restaurant in the land. Eat and give an opinion? Piece of cake.
  • Professional organizer. Because then I could buy as many containers as my little heart desired, and write them off as a business expense. 
  • IKEA furniture putter-togetherer. It's legit.
  • BBC News Anchor. So I can use my ridiculous newscaster accent and make everything sound extremely dramatic. Paul John got to hear it during last night's election coverage, and this just in... he digs it. His newscaster voice sounds like Hyacinth Bucket.
  • Leader of the free world, because, obviously. 
Reporting live from the BBC Central European desk, Paul John. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bummer of a Sixth

Today's topic is a doozy...

What is the hardest thing you've ever experienced?


I think I have been pretty lucky. Aside from a few bumps along the way, things are generally footloose and fancy-free. Plus, those of you who know me know I am generally not a big talker about emotional things (until we're having a little porch party and I'm a couple glasses of wine in, but that's only in front of a select few of you!), so this is gonna be strange.

I can't really pinpoint the moment when I started to feel like everything was just not right. On paper, things looked fine - a decent job, a nice apartment, a fantastic group of friends, and a guy that I was planning my life with. But there was a little something that was trying to tell me this isn't right.

I felt completely hopeless. Completely stuck. Completely frustrated. What the hell was I doing? Was this it? I was so unhappy, and I hated the person I was turning into, but I didn't know what to do about it. Looking for a different job was miserable as I had no idea what I wanted to do and nothing looked remotely appealing, and I couldn't stand the thought of staying in the suburbs or moving to the city and where does that leave you? Planning for a future was equally miserable, as it was so dependent on work and I just didn't want to think about it. Going back to school seemed daunting for the same reason. It all came down to WTF am I meant to be doing? I don't think I can articulate how totally depressed I was. I cannot ever remember feeling so miserable and so hopeless and so stuck for so long.

So in typical fashion, it was time for rash decisions and big changes. Move out, break up, quit. Excellent. Except now I'm single, unemployed, and living with my parents at 25. Not the worst thing in the world, but hardly sustainable.

My students always ask me, "Why Prague?" I usually tell them something like "Ohhhhhh, my friend from high school told me it was a great idea/the job market in the US is terrible/I've always wanted to live in Europe/I really like beer/I love teaching (ha! no one buys that, I've stopped trying to sell it)/drugs." I find these are much easier answers to explain that "I was running away."

Because that's what it was. I needed a total escape, from everything. I love home. I love the people, the places, everything that New Jersey is. But I needed to get away from it, desperately.

Getting on that plane was the hardest thing I have ever done. Saying goodbye to everyone broke my heart. I still cry when I think about home, or hear a song that reminds me of driving around blasting it and singing at the top of our lungs, or if I see a boston terrier in the park, or have something super important to tell someone but everyone's six hours behind, but I also feel free. I posted yesterday about how happy I am, and it's true. Coming to Prague has let me leave behind so much baggage, so much drama, so much frustration.

It means the world to me that my family continues to support me, and my friends are still the loves of my life, even if it's weeks since we last spoke. I love that halfway around the world, I still have Peej here as a little piece of home, so when we're sad we can commiserate together about how much we miss taylor ham and bagels. The day I left, Lili gave me a letter which said "I don't know how long you plan on spending in Prague, but I hope you find what you're looking for. Clearly, life doesn't go according to plan but I think you will have lots of fun there and realize what you want to do with your life." (so wise, that young one) There are definitely days when I still think to myself whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat is happening, what am I supposed to be doing?! But I feel much better about those days now.

Okay, that's enough emotions for one day. Hope tomorrow is something a bit more cheerful!

And so, I will leave you with this:

And because I want to be super cheerful, I also find these amusing...

Now, stop reading and go vote.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Gunpowder, treason and plot

Hope you're all huddled around a bonfire tonight. If you're British, do it for Guy. If you're Jersey, do it because you probably still have no heat.

Today's topic is...

What are the five things that make you the most happy right now?
But there are so many things!!!

  1. That there are only 36 days until I get to go back to Jersey. I cannot wait to see everyone, indulge in some deliciousness at the diner, watch some Food Network, have free water with my restaurant meals, slurp down a giant Dunkin coffee, snuggle with Tuck, go see all of the cheesey wonderful Christmas things like the Ice Caverns at Fairfield Garden Center, take limitless hot showers, have a Prague reunion in DC, ring in the New Year and have a holly jolly Christmas. And I'm even more excited that I get to show off why NJ is so freakin' awesome to Donut. I know he will fall madly in love with it too!
  2. That Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Love that our little trio of Americans are holding the tradition together and hosting a (somewhat) typical Thanksgiving meal for 30, count 'em, thirty of our nearest and dearest here in Prague. This means lists and baking and cooking and slight panicking about where all these people are going to fit in our apartment, but I'm excited!
  3. Mint tea. It's now replaced blood in my system.
  4. My excellent nurse. I'm constantly reminded what a lucky lady I am, and while I question Donut's taste in snacks, at least this means we will never fight over the last Margot bar (allllllllllll yours babe!). 
  5. All of you people who take up so much room in my heart. I am so so so so so blessed to have such an amazing family, an fantastic group of friends scattered throughout the world, and a wonderful man who gets to hear constantly how fabulous the rest of them are. 
I could easily go on and on and on about the things that make me happy (maybe that will be for December). I can honestly say that while it can be rough being so far from so much that I love, no a day goes by where I don't stop and think "Holy crap, this life is amazing." And that is pretty damn fabulous. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day Four

Ten Things You'd Tell Your 16 Year Old Self...

  1. All the jobs will be in IT. Study that, even though it's boring and you more often than not want to throw your computer out the window. It will be worth it when you have a good job with a decent salary and benefits and all those nice things that regular adults are meant to have.
  2. You're never too young for eye cream. The best defense is a good offense. 
  3. Don't stop using your French and Spanish. It's a valuable skill that not a lot of people have, so don't waste it.
  4. Get off your butt. It will be a lot easier to cultivate a love of exercise when you're young and energetic enough to enjoy it, rather than when it seems like a punishment for one five too many beers or chocolate bars this week.
  5. Travel early. Get out of the suburbs. See the world, and then decide where you're meant to be. But do it while you're young.
  6. Your years of dancing til dawn and bouncing back within a few hours are numbered. Enjoy them while they last.
  7. Learn to stand up for yourself and what you want and don't want. It's okay to say no, it doesn't make you a bitch or a bad friend or a bad colleague or a bad employee or any of the other things you think it will. It will, however, make you much less stressed. (This won't, however, be easy!)
  8. Force yourself to try new things. You're going to end up loving olives after all.
  9. Make time for hobbies. 
  10. Learn how to make small talk and put yourself out there. Network, make new friends, and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. You never know who is going to impact you how, you just have to put yourself out there.
Annnnnnd there you have it. Now, if you'll excuse me, a bag of Skittles and an episode of Rome are awaiting me!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

remember, remember, it's finally November

There are many posts that I meant to write... Shannon and me's misadventures in Kutna Hora (lesson of the day - always follow the crowd), Donut and me exploring DesignBlock and the World Press Photo Exhibit, mushroom hunting and Karlstejn and the Alfons Mucha Epic at the National Gallery, but I have been lazy. Bottom line, it's just laziness.

But I had been waiting for November so that I could do this. Because November has 30 days, so this works out quite nicely. I thought it would be a good way to force me into writing every day, which would in turn make it more natural to write more often.

Those were my intentions.

But the reality is that November 1st kicked off with a nonstop lonnnnng work day followed by a Pink Crocodile event, and November 2nd was jam packed full of a nasty migraine and a trip to the always lovely Prague emergency room, and now its 5pm on November 3rd, I am still camped out on Donut's couch trying to banish what's left of what shall now be known as the world's longest headache, and I have three days of the challenge to get caught up on. Sooooo, here goes.

Day One: List 20 Random Facts About Yourself
This is way hard.

  1. More often than not, the voice in my head speaks with a British accent. It's like Bridget Jones is narrating my life. This is probably because I read the book about once a year, and have for since 1996. 
  2. I hate pumpkin flavored things. In fact, all members of the squash family trigger an automatic gag reflex, so when September rolls around and everyone goes berserk for pumpkin lattes and pumpkin nutella muffins and pumpkin soup and pumpkin stuff browned butter ravoli, I want to throw up a little.
  3. When I was little, I used to wish that I could sing instead of be smart. I often still think this, though the lack of a voice does not seem to diminish my lyrical performances (unfortunately for my roommates). 
  4. I'm allergic to nail polish.
  5. My favorite number is seven. 
  6. It drives me insane that people assume my name is Lauren. I don't understand why people can't process more than one syllable and just shut their ears off after hearing "Laur".
  7. When our internet was out a few weeks ago and I'd finished all the books on my Kindle, I started ready Grimm's Fairy Tales. I had to stop. Because they gave me nightmares. I'm 27.
  8. I love to cook and bake, but there is one thing I absolutely cannot seem to make correctly. Steph knows this. It's cupcakes. They're my culinary nemesis. 
  9. I am a terrible photographer. I'd like to blame the camera, but I'm pretty sure having a fancy one wouldn't make a lick of difference.
  10. Questions such as "What's your favorite book?" or "What's your favorite movie?" always make me panic. I would love to say something impressive, like War Peace, and some impressive, artsy, directorially genius film, but the truth is that my favorite book is Bridget Jones' Diary and my favorite movie is Love Actually, because they make me happy. So hmph.
  11. When I was a kid, I used to break out in a rash when I ate too much ham. This was unfortunate, as I loved ham and would sneak pieces of it all day from the fridge whenever we went to visit grandma. I would always get caught. Guess how? Luckily, now that I live in the land of all things pork, this seems to be something I've grown out of.
  12. I think most of my friends would agree that I am generally quite laid back and patient and seem to like everyone and that's true. But once I decide I don't like you, I can't stand you. It's very rare, and it annoys me that I do it, but it happens. Sorry, I'm not sorry
  13. I'm pretty sure my iPod playlist resembles that of a 13 year old girl's. There's an embarrassingly large number of One Direction songs on it...
  14. My favorite drink is an old-fashioned. Makes me feel like Joan Harris from Mad Men. Fierce.
  15. Finding out my name day is June 1st was probably the greatest news a December baby could hear. 
  16. I am a stickler for the rules. I'm terrified of getting in trouble, going where I'm not supposed to, or doing something I shouldn't. I've never stolen so much as a pack of gum. This is why I am often so reluctant to go along with Steph's schemes... but we always have fun so I'm eternally grateful to her for making me not be such a stick in the mud.
  17. I'm gracefully awkward. I believe this poor relationship with gravity is due to a severe case of swimmer's ear on my 21st birthday. That, or my alcohol intake increased dramatically and that has something to do with it...
  18. This list has taken an embarrassingly long amount of time.
  19. I still have my belly button ring in. It's the only thing that gives me an innie. It's been almost half my life and I feel naked without it, even if it is incredibly tacky. One day, I'll make the leap, but not today.
  20. Running away to Prague was the scariest, craziest, hardest thing I've ever done. And while I miss everyone from home so much every single day, it was also the best thing I have ever done for myself. I am a much happier, healthier, and saner person that I was when I got here. Must be the beer ;)
Day Two: List Three Legitimate Fears You Have and Explain How They Became Fears
I'm pretty sure they are referring to something serious, like "I'm afraid I'll be alone because I was once lost at the mall for two hours" or something, not what's listed here...
  1. Birds. Awful creatures. I'm pretty sure it started after getting pecked by a Canadian Goose at Waterloo Village. This was followed by pigeons in Trafalgar Square, an owl at some country festival in England, and being chased down and nearly pecked in the head by an ostrich at 6 Flags. It's like they know. However, despite the fact that they scare the bejesus out of me and send my blood pressure sky high as my heart pounds away, I do love stylized bird decorations for the home and on jewelry. Go figure.
  2. Skiing. One fateful day, when I was 12, we were on some boy scout ski trip with my brother. It was late in the season and everything was icy. I did decently in my lesson, but froze on the ski slope and didn't want to get off. What followed was a graceless thump as my body hit a snow drift. Once I got going, I made it about a quarter of the way down the ski slope before someone hit me in perhaps one of the most horrific hit-and-run accidents known to Great Gorge, NJ. One ski pops off and hits me in the stomach, and the other whacks me in the head, knocking me out as I start rolling down the hill in what seemed to me at the time to be like in a cartoon. My teeth chomp through my lips, and my ski pole whips from my right hand, across my nose, and slices 1/8th of an inch underneath my eye. When I come around, spitting out a mouthful of my own blood, there's my mom, telling me to go hike back up the hill, collect my runaway skis, and walk down the mountain. Toddlers were laughing at me. This was, after all, the bunny slope. I go to first aid, looking like a patient in an Outbreak-esque film, with mascara and blood running from my eyes, a mangled mouth and a swollen nose. Therefore, I simply do not see the appeal of hurtling down the side of a mountain strapped to two skinny pieces of wood (fiberglass?) with sticks that will blind you whilst it's freezing cold out. You can find me in the lodge, or the hot tub, with a spike mug of hot chocolate. That's infinitely more enjoyable than a death ride down massacre mountain. 
  3. Mice. Anyone who was ever in our Morristown apartment slum knows why.

Day Three: Describe Your Relationship with Your Parents

I am incredibly lucky to have such amazing parents who have always supported me, trusted me to do what's best for myself, and been there to help as much as I needed. I certainly have tested that plenty of times over the years, but I couldn't ask for better parents, and I love and miss them both terribly. I could ask that they fly over and visit more often though! :)

Phew, that's a lot of writing. To everyone in NJ, I'm thinking of you. Hope your power is back soon, your homes are okay, and that your families are safe.

If you would like to help those whose lives were impacted by Hurricane Sandy, there are numerous relief efforts available. Red Cross has donation options available via text message and iTunes, and a quick Google search for Hurricane Sandy Relief can provide you with more specific local needs.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Obligatory It's Been So Long, I'm So Sorry statement. 

Now that that's out of the way, on to better things.

I cannot believe it's taken nearly a month to write this, but in September I got to go on, thanks to Donut, one of the coolest vacations of my life - a week of sailing around the islands of Croatia.

Off I went, armed with way too many clothes, no real idea of what we were doing, and enough sea sickness medication to supply a navy. First stop on this trip, however, was a company party at which Donut's band was playing. We turn off what I would already consider to be a side road, and start making our way down a dirt road into the woods. Due partly, I believe, to a long conversation with Steph and Steve about the various ways our partners could bump us off and make it look accidental, I started to worry a little that this was it. Donut was taking me into the deep woods, where some terrible fate would befall me and I would be left as an appetizer for wild boars. No one would look for me, because everyone would think that I was on some fabulous yacht in the Adriatic with no cell phone reception. And by the time they did look, nothing would be left (due to the boars). The perfect crime. (I think it's fairly obvious why Law & Order isn't knocking down my door asking me to ghostwrite any episodes.)

This, of course, is ridiculous. Donut has never been anything less than wonderful, and it's much more likely that I would have been offed being trampled to death by one of his drunk colleagues moshing around the cabin we finally ended up at than being eaten by wild pigs. So after an hour or so of being bumped and groped by some very intoxicated IT guys, we were on our merry way. Still alive.

After an incredibly long car ride, in which I'm sorry to say I was the worst co-captain ever as all I did was sleep and hog the back seat, we arrived in Split. It was hot, it was sunny, it was fabulous!

Donut playing with his new toy.

Boats, boats, boats!

From Split, we headed off for a trip around the islands. Here's a general idea of the route:

Highlights include...
  • Seafood!!! Living in a landlocked country sucks sometimes, mostly because I had gotten too used to a pescetarian type of diet (okay, with plenty of taylor ham and chicken fingers thrown in) in NJ, so it's been a bit of an adjustment. However, a week where I could gorge on calamari and clams and mussels and fish and langoustine was fantastic! nomnomnom
  • The sunshine! Perfect weather every single day, except for a midnight storm where the rain dripped through our cabin window imitating something akin to Chinese water torture.
  • Ocean! Perfect temp for swimming. Very salty. Full of fishies.
  • The company! Everyone was really lovely and I had a blast with them, even though we could not understand each other, and I'm afraid any Czech I did pick up is largely inappropriate. ;)
  • The sites! It seemed like everywhere we stopped was more beautiful than the next. Here's some...
The adorable little town of Vrborska

 The Blue Cave! Like a smurf!

 Komiza, Vis

 Komiza, Vis

 Ahoj Hvar! How crazy is that view!

 So nice, you have to see it twice!

Donut and I, having hiked up to the castle. And then me in prison. Womp womp.

Split - this city is crazy. Marble streets! What?!?

  • Doing super fun things, like hoisting myself up to the top of that sail. 

That little blob at the top of the mast is moi. 

  • Being on the type of vacation where every couple minutes you think, "Woah. I'm doing this. I will never forget this." So Donut, thank you again for giving me such an amazing experience. xx
  • No seasickness! 
  • A tan. Thank goodness, was looking a bit ill before we left. 
  • The showers at Split Marina. Okay, I know this sounds ridiculous. But after living in an apartment with approximately 7 minutes of hot water, and then a week on a boat showering with a handheld spout while simultaneously straddling the toilet and slamming elbows into the walls, I cannot tell you how amazingly luxurious it was to have unlimited hot water. It's been years since I've gotten to enjoy a 20 minute shower, and I was going to take advantage of every possible second. So I did. :)
Low Points:
  • Not catching this giant tuna. In our defense, we thought it was a shark who seemed very uninterested in our hot dogs anyway, and I'm not sure how we would have captured it short of jumping overboard and wrestling it. Still, when I think of all that sashimi, I cry a little.

  • The wine. Bleh. Not impressed.
  • Despite not actually getting seasick, it was a pretty close call one day. After the storm, the waves were intense, and I was in my life jacket clinging to whatever I could grab for dear life, trying to stay on the ship, keep my eyes on the horizon, and not throw up and die for the whole morning. It may have been one of the worst feelings of all time. 
Here you can observe me keeping my mouth shut and my eyes on the distance, focusing very hard on not dying.

  • Feeling a bit useless. Not a new feeling - quite common here actually. Want to scream and say I can do things! I'm not this hopeless! I just can't understand what you want me to do! But mostly, I got over that and went back to reading and working on my tan. :)
  • That it ended. Booooooooo, permanent vacations totally need to be a thing. 

Thanks again xx

Next up is the misadventures of Shannon and myself as we try to see historic, important things, and a weekend of culture in Prague. But for now, I've got other things to do, like 240356728392 hours of videos to watch for this Intro to Ops Management course that Donut and I signed up for through www.coursera.org. And trying to remind myself why I signed up for it in the first place! (Just kidding. It's very good for personal growth and looks lovely on a resume, and all mature, responsible adult things like that. But homework blows.)