Thursday, August 30, 2007

Everyone else gets it...

One of the headlines on BBC NEWS today talks about how a "little known Indian hill tribe" is honoring Al Gore for "promoting awareness on climate change."

Apparently, things are not going so well for this part of the world due to the climate changes. Go figure.

How is it that people in remote parts of the world get it and well-educated, "civilized" Americans have no clue or choose to pretend that all is well?

Oh wait - maybe because of money...?

Yeah - because dollar bills and credit cards really help quench your thirst and make things grow.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Travel fopah of the week

After walking through the rain and getting completely soaked to get from my car to the airport long term parking shuttle, sitting on a cold flight with wet shoes, and waiting 45+ minutes for my one small piece of luggage...

I get on the Hertz shuttle, give them my name, get no confirmation, think about it, realize I might be with National, get off the shuttle, walk over to National, get confirmation that I am with National, walk to the National shuttle, get on the shuttle, and find a cute red car waiting just for me. Aaaaahhhhh...

Yes - it is a glamorous life I lead indeed.

Btw, if you ever need a stopwatch while you're traveling and have Internet connection:

It works great!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Making progress...

1 mile!

Also, I baked bread tonight. I wore an apron and I had my hair pulled up. Rebecka said I looked like a mom. I took that as a compliment.

My Aveeno Stress Relief Body Wash...

... makes me happy.

I get five minutes of calm bliss everyday until I have to step out into the stressful reality that is my life. I may have to look into Stress Relief air fresheners or something to keep the calm with me throughout the day.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Say a Prayer...

...for those who lost loved ones in the Hyderabad bombings this weekend.

How well do we know each other?

Recently, Rebecka invented a new game called "The person_name Quiz". The way the game works is that the person whose person_name was inserted in the quiz name asks the rest of the group questions about him/herself. It is a good way of revealing who really knows the history and current state of the person in question.

I learned that I am very bad at "The Rebecka Quiz" when she starts getting into stuff about her school (like what was the name of her Kindergarten teacher). I also learned that her favorite color is periwinkle. Interesting.

I actually did pretty good on "The Todd Quiz". I knew his mother's maiden name and eventually even remembered that his grandfather's name was Thirstin (he had to give me the first letter). Some of this information I memorized before our infamous interview at the Swedish Embassy
over 13 years ago where we had to prove that we weren't just pretending to be engaged so that Todd could sneak into Sweden... Good times.

I also rocked at "The Fluffy Quiz":

"Who do I hate most in the world?" Answer: Tabita
"Who do I wish would go to 'H-E-Double Hockey Sticks'?"
Answer: Tabita

etc, etc...

Sophie (our dog - yes, she talks) really stumped us with this one:

"What is my favorite toy this week?"

Apparently, it is the snake, not the ferret, which is what I guessed. I did however know that Sophie's favorite place to lick "Miss Tabita" is "On her feet and ankles!" and that Sophie's favorite thing to do when we are trying to brush her is "Bite!".

Anyway, in all seriousness, it is a very good exercise in discovering the areas where you might need to invest some more time to get to know your friends and family better (if that is what you want).

Ask questions - it makes people feel good and you get to know them better at the same time.

I'm really preaching to myself here. This is a skill that I am constantly trying to improve. Sometimes my attempts go nowhere (like last Sunday at church when I tried to ask the people at our table about their summer - "We sat in the basement all summer." - OK...). However, sometimes it opens up a new world of interesting experiences, connections, and

It's worth a shot.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

No News is Good News?

For me, news has been really good for a really long time. This is because I have received no news since they stopped showing the news in the YMCA Cardio Cinema in the mornings.

I don't read papers, I don't surf the web, I don't watch TV (other than VH1 while I'm working out), I don't listen to news on the radio. The only news I get is what I am able to scan as I step over the USA Today lying outside my hotel door every morning.

Lately, I have sensed that my lack of news (good or bad) is hampering my ability to participate in various conversations. Not good. So...

...this week I decided to make strides towards getting more news:

  1. I started picking up the newspaper outside my door and glanced at the headlines a little more closely than is possible when just stepping over it.
  2. I made my browser home-page However, after a couple of days I realized that it didn't really have the kind of news that I was interested in. I really don't care if Amy Winehouse was injured by herself or by her husband. Just leave the poor girl alone - obviously she has issues (but a great sound!).
  3. So I switched to, a Swedish media site. But it was all plastered with sports - again, not really my thing.
  4. Now I'm trying BBC. I will let you know how that goes.

I have this fear that eventually, I will end up settling on a geek news site. Maybe it's my destiny.

Who is this Vick guy anyway?

Back up and running...

So for those of you who don't know (maybe there is one of my three readers that I have not told), I've had knee problems ever since the half marathon back in April. This is completely my fault since I ran the whole race knowing very well that I probably shouldn't.

Anyway, I finally broke down and went to see my doctor. "Runner's Knee," she said... Makes sense. She also prescribed physical therapy. So I paid $100 to go twice and find out that I'm in rather "good shape" and as long as I do some stupid leg exercises every day and gradually ease back into running, I'll be OK. Cool!

So that is what I did. This week I've run 1/2 mile three times. Seems like it's going OK. Being in high heels all day yesterday didn't help, but whatever.

I have realized once again that I have to run. I'm a total emotional wreck without running. I get cranky, frustrated, anxious, overly stressed - you name it. Yay for running!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


That is the number of my WI hotel room this week. I actually requested it. It's a nice room. It has a king bed. It has a bench at the end of the bed for my suitcase. It is not pool side. It has a flat screen TV.

I forgot to bring my deodorant this week. (Better than last week when I forgot some very vital pieces of undergarments and ended up having to go to Victoria's Secret for an emergency shopping spree - actually, not really a bad thing...) Anyway, I probably stink after being in "Hotlanta" all day. I also just noticed that I left my brand new facial cleanser at the Buckhead Courtyard where I stayed last night. Great... At least now I have a compelling reason to go to the grocery store and get these things. It would be difficult to muster up the energy for only one item. Regardless, I need to get some Swedish salt licorice fish for my German friend (just found out she's a fanatic as well), so I guess I am destined for the grocery store tomorrow.

Swedish salt licorice fish are very nice in that I can walk around the whole office offering them to everybody and still have them all to myself. (I know, that's not very nice, but I never claimed to be very nice.)

Speaking of the grocery store, last week I actually let the nice grocery store lady talk me into getting a PickNSave card. She has been asking me for the past year if I have one and if I want to get one and finally last week I broke down. Why not? Not that they ever do promotions on Swedish salt licorice fish... But they do on oatmeal every now and then.

OK - I think it's time to devour the pillow mint. All this writing about food is making me "sugen".

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Todd Party

Saturday, August 18, 2007:

7:00 AM - Get up and go to the gym in order to be back home in time to get everything ready for the party.

9:00 AM - Arrive at the grocery store to pick up last-minute purchases such as ham, liver pate, pickled herring, more eggs, etc.

9:30 AM - Arrive at home and bake a buttery cake.

10:15 AM - Start getting ready for bread baking by melting butter. Move on to the dry ingredients to get ready for the warm liquid ingredients...

10:17 AM - Realize that there is not enough yeast. Quickly stop the butter melting and let out a yelp for help that sends the Birthday Boy to the grocery store (again...).

10:19 AM - Shift gears and start boiling 2 dozen eggs.

10:40 AM - Todd returns with yeast. Continue with the butter melting process and proceed with the dough for the bread.

11:05 AM - Start peeling boiled eggs. A very difficult task this time for some reason. I probably should have read this article on boiled eggs. Apparently fresh eggs are harder to peel. I knew that. I have a cousin who keeps hens in her backyard. Her husband explained all this to me once.

11:30 AM - Still peeling boiled eggs even though it is time to take care of the rising dough. Driving me crazy!!!! I guess the dough can wait...

11:50 AM - Finally get to the dough to knead, roll, and use a tumbler to make dough circles. Try to drag Rebecka from playing Todd's new Nintendo DS to help poke little holes in the bread. No success...

12:10 - Eat something.

12:30 - Start the process of decorating my famous Swedish birthday cake while intermittently pulling bread out of the oven and sticking new bread into the oven. Magically, the cake turned out alright:

2:00 PM - Greet in-laws who drove all the way from Mobile to attend The Todd Party.

2:30 PM - Start meatball factory. Mix breadcrumbs, potato flour, and milk. Wait 10 minutes. Mix in ground beef and salt. Mix in shredded onion, black pepper, and eggs. Get Todd and Becka to start rolling meatballs and heat up the griddle. Fry lots of meatballs. Give Becka taste tests after each batch (she is the "poison checker")...

4:00 PM - What? We're actually done with everything!?!? Wow - extra time to make the house perfect-looking (Todd did 99% of the work towards that goal).

4:30 PM - Jump in the shower.

5:30 PM - Descend down the stairs fully dressed and groomed and ready to frantically get all the food out for the Smörgåsbord before guests arrive.

6:00 PM - Start the process of graciously greeting the stream of guests coming to celebrate Todd's Ph.D. (and birthday) with us. Explain why there is caviar in a tube. Hand out napkins (since there was no room for them on the buffet). Chat with friends. Check on the kids. Make sure there is still plenty of food for all. Lead the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday to You." Cut the cake. Encourage guests to sign the guest book before they leave. Say "Bye!" and "Thanks for coming." Collect trash and throw it in the container outside. Wash glasses. Sit down and rest. Watch Todd open his presents. Fall asleep next to the Birthday Boy.

Thanks to everybody who came, everybody who intended to come, everybody who wished they could come but lived too far away, and everybody who did not come (we might have run out of cake...). It was a good time.

The Todd Gallery:

Todd posing...

Todd (and friends) being silly...

Todd socializing...

Todd opening presents...

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

Almost missed my flight today because the status never changed on the monitors from "Delayed" to "Boarding". I was working happily in the Best Care Club when I realized that it was just minutes until the departure time so I decided to go check on it. Sure enough - final boarding call.

Tomorrow is Todd's 35th birthday.

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday Dear Todd.
Happy Birthday to you!

We're going to the Cheesecake Factory for the birthday dinner. It's his new favorite restaurant. I like it too, so that works.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

travel stuff

1. Travel Safety and "Save the Cookie"

On the way back from Milwaukee this past Sunday with the family, I had the pleasure of riding in an airplane that was literally held together by duct tape and napkins:

Before we took off, they announced from the loud speakers that we were delayed because they were replacing a light bulb. I was thinking, maybe they should replace the aircraft! Gotta love Northwest!

I say: "Save the cookie"!

2. Fancy Norwegian Water

As I was picking up my to-go Grilled Salmon Salad from Monsoon in Brookfield, WI, I asked if I could have a couple of bottles of water. "Still or sparkling?" they ask. "Still."

They pull out two VOSS canisters. $4.00 each. Ouch! But oh so good.

3. "It's All About Me" Fortune

Today's fortune from the Grilled Salmon Salad dinner: "You will be happiest if you please yourself first." AMEN!

4. Hotel Improvements

This week, my standard hotel, the "Squirrelly Moose" aka Comfort Inn and Suites, started putting mints on the pillows like fancy hotels. It made my day!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Project Planet

I admit. I throw my used towels on the hotel room bathroom floor every morning after I take a shower. I do it because it is fun, convenient, and it provides employment for somebody else. For years now, I have been ignoring the environmental signs that hang on the towel bar saying: "PLEASE REUSE THE TOWELS"

Some other week...

The way that I always think about it is: "This is really the hotel wanting to save money on laundry... What the heck?? Am I not paying for the luxury of being able to throw my towel on the floor?"

Anyway, last night I had a conversion experience. As I looked at the Project Planet sign in the bathroom, I thought: "Not hanging my towel up really goes against my otherwise green/liberal outlook on life. I need consistency here, so I don't feel like a hypocrite."

Thus, henceforth, I will hang up my towels for reuse the next day and be a good steward of Planet Earth.

(I'm sure it will last a whole whopping week... We all have our faults, don't we?)