Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Off to Koh Samui!

We are off to Koh Samui, Thailand for a long weekend! We leave tomorrow. We booked the trip months ago, back when I figured that I would be a few pounds lighter. Well, that didn't happen, but that wasn't going to stop me from taking my pale, not-so-toned ass to the beach for a few days.

We tend to take these mini must be a holdover from living in the US, where I just had two weeks of vacation a year. So we end up taking several small three and four day trips so that we can see more places while we are in Malaysia. I chalk it up to, when faced with too many choices, my sheer inability to make a decision. So, we only commit to a few days, then the plan is to hopefully have time to go back to some of the places we enjoyed the most. The only trouble is, we want to go back to all of them that we have visited so far. Hmm, the plan isn't working too well. How am I supposed to visit all these great places when pesky work keeps getting in the way?

We get back on Sunday, then on Monday I'm off to Singapore for a week (I see a visit to Taco Bell while I'm there). Then, only a week and a half before we leave for South Dakota! We are going to spend a few days in California first; we'll visit some of M's relatives and then he'll take me to do all the touristy things in LA! I've only flown through California, but M spent a good portion of his childhood there, so I'll have a great guide.

But first, Koh Samui! There are so many things to do there that we are torn between "going and doing" versus "vegetating on the beach". Hopefully we can strike a nice balance. We are going to go on an elephant ride up to some waterfalls one day, and M really wants to rent a scooter as well. That should leave us plenty of time for lounging around and doing nothing which, in my mind, is what makes a great beach vacation.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Triad #1!

It's Triad #1 birthday today, so....ahem....

(As I clap in rhythm, as is the tradition in all fine Mexican food establishments...)

"Happy happy birthday, from all of us to you
Happy happy birthday, may all your dreams come true
We wish you happy birthday, from all of us to you
So happy happy birthday, from Jose's to you, ole!"

Alas, I am without a sombrero, which would complete the sentiment. However, given the state she was in when she called me Saturday night from her birthday dinner, she probably wore one that night.

Happy Birthday sweetie!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Daily Dose of Irony

Earlier this week, I posted about bad grammar and my intense dislike for it. However, I recently realized that I inadvertently used bad grammar on my profile on this blog. (Hangs head in shame.) Mistypes are a bitch.

Previously, the profile read "lack of unaccountability" when describing things that irritate me. Of course, the phrase is either "lack of accountability" or simply "unaccountability". However, I'm sure due to a moment of indecision on my part, the hybrid "lack of unaccountability" was what ended up in my profile.

And that's ironic.

Thank you, Triad #1, for pointing out the error of my ways. I can always count on my sisters to break the really tough news to me, such as when I (gasp!) use bad grammar or when my ass really does look fat in these pants.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Finale in the Sweater Trilogy

Okay, I just have to laugh. Thank God for Lexapro.

As you may recall, we called NeroVivo last night and located The Sweater. In their office. We told them we would be by tonight to pick it up.

So we went by tonight, and figured we would just have dinner while we were there. We were seated, and after we ordered our appetizer, we asked our server about the sweater. He said, "Oh, you're Sarah?". Great, now the waitstaff knows me. Shit, I was nice and everything about it. Now I have a reputation. Now I am The Patron Who Will Not Stop Calling About Her F*cking Sweater. I replied that yes, I called about my sweater, and he says that it is in the office and he will go get it.

So we munch on the tuna carpaccio while we wait to be reunited with my sweater. You guys know what's coming now, right? If you live in KL you do.

The waiter comes out...with a gorgeous pink floral pashmina shawl and holds it up hopefully. "Is this it?" Okay, I'm still cool about this. I keep thinking "I'm the one who left it. This is my fault." Although I have told multiple people that I left a black sweater, which means that it's a sweater, not a shawl, and it's black, not pink floral. I'm just saying. God, I am such a bitch sometimes.

So I told them nicely that it wasn't mine, so they, after an apology, took the floral shawl back to the office. Again, not their fault, my fault. They tried. Turns out that one of our servers was the one that I spoke with on the phone the other day. She very nicely apologized (like it's her fault or something) and tells us that she feels guilty because she's the one who found it. I'm thinking, she put it in the Sacred Reception Drawer, so it's so not her fault. And then I began to feel like an ass, even though I have been totally appropriate during this whole thing, which is somewhat of a crapshoot these days. It's like when you break up with a boy and they say that they want to see other people. You hold on to hope that one of those people may be you and that you may be reunited one day. If they just said screw you, I'm gone, I'm finding someone else who will take care of me, then you don't hold onto hope. But I have been Wishing and Hoping...I wish they would have cut the cord already, but the fact that they didn't means that I have something to post about and, thus, is keeping me out of the candy dish tonight. All about the silver lining. At least by seeing the pink pashmina I realize that I'm not the only one who leaves clothing in swanky Italian restaurants in KL. Before, I thought maybe I was just a lush. Now I feel like one of the crowd.

So M and I laugh about it and toast my lost sweater. Did I mention that I love Lexapro? Did I mention that when you remember to take it every day it makes all the more effective?

Later someone ELSE comes up and mentions the sweater while M and I were having dessert. Now I am beginning to have a complex, because they all know Sarah of the Lost Sweater. One might think that if that many people know about the Sweater Incident that one might know where the thing is. I'm just saying...

That thing is somewhere in that building. But I've made my peace. The Sweater is gone. And I'm sure, as nice as I was, that someone spit in my food.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Update: Vacation Trip and the Sweater Saga

First, the vacation update...

We finally got our schedules straightened out, and it's official. We are getting to go to South Dakota for summer vacation as planned! Woo hoo! We were a bit concerned that between M's work travel and mine, we wouldn't be able to go. So although M and I are totally jam packed with travel for work before and after the trip, we were able to keep the SD trip as scheduled. We ticketed the flight yesterday, so it's all systems go! We are so excited!

Now, an update on the Sweater Saga...

I called yesterday and actually spoke to The One Who HAD My Sweater. As in, she didn't have it anymore. She said that she put it in the reception drawer and then proceeded to look while we were on the phone and said, "Oh, not there anymore." Thanks for the news flash. I had just finished telling her that I was there yesterday, we looked in that exact drawer and it wasn't there, so I'm not exactly sure where she was for the first five minutes of our conversation or why the fact that when she looked in the drawer, it was a surprise that, gasp!, the sweater wasn't there anymore. So I asked her if she could check around with some other employees or maybe in the office. She kept saying, "The sweater not in the drawer." So after about five more minutes of that fun game, I finally said (nicely, because getting angry doesn't help in Malaysia - persistence does) for the last time, "Can you check around and maybe ask the manager about it?" Finally the light bulb went off. She took my number (just like the chick on Tuesday did), told me she would check and call me back (just like the chick on Tuesday did) and then proceeded to NOT call me back (just like the chick on Tuesday did).

So we called again tonight. Talked to someone else. After explaining the whole story again, the person looked, and...the sweater has magically reappeared! Tah dah! So, as of this exact moment, the restaurant knows where my sweater is (in the manager's office) and we told them we would be by to get it tomorrow. So I hope they staple the damn thing to the office desk if they have to, just don't move it again, because every time it's moved, we start back at square one.

Keep your fingers crossed that the Sweater Fairy does not abscond with my sweater between now and 8pm tomorrow. Hopefully not, because I really like my sweater and I really like this restaurant, but if they lose the damn thing again they might end up on my boycott list, which I would so hate. I'm a sucker for a good carb.

Words and Phrases that Can See Me in Hell

You know a phrase that I despise?

"HR Girls".

Yes, I work in human resources. Yes, I'm female. But at 31 years old, I hardly consider myself a "girl" anymore. I think that ship sailed long ago. But when you work in an industry full of men who are your father's age, it's bound to be said. A lot.

Now, Hooters Girls? Yes, I can buy that. Heineken Girls? Sure, makes sense. But HR girls just doesn't sit well with me. I think that putting "Girls" at the end of one's profession is really only reserved for one who serves beer and/or hot wings. As I do neither, I really don't think it's necessary.

Since we are on the topic, other words and phrases which should be banned:

"I seen..." As in "I seen that movie" or "I seen them the other day". If English is your native language, there's no excuse to leave words out of a sentence.

"Conversate" - Not a word. You converse or have a conversation. You do not conversate.

"Whilst" - Many people use this word if they want to sound more worldly than they really are. If you are actually British or your country was recently under British rule (and therefore, your current culture's grammer grew from that), using the word is fine. Otherwise, it just makes you sound like a pompous ass.

"Orientate" - As in "HR Girls, will you orientate this new employee?". Orientate is not a word either. Donna has this same pet peeve. She and I share our distaste for bad grammer. For some of Donna's other grammer pet peeves, click here.

Rugs are Oriental; people are Asian. People are not Oriental. That phrase waved bye bye a long time ago.

What phrases bug you?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Finders Keepers

Saturday night we got all spiffied up and went out on a real date. I even wore shoes that were NOT flip flops (although they were in the bag we brought, just in case). We went to NeroVivo on Jalan Ceylon. Quite the tasty taste treat. We had a great tuna carpaccio and I had the tagliatelle with veal. Yes, yes, I felt a tad guilty about ordering the veal, but not for long because, damn, it was awesome. M had the salmon with capers which was alright, although he enjoyed my veal more and felt less guilty than I did. I could write the whole damn post about the food, but I won't because A) this is not a food blog and B) it's completely uninteresting unless you share the same unnatural love of carbohydrates as I do. We had a great bottle of wine, and then more wine at the bar afterwards. In fact, so much wine that I left my cute sweater that goes so well with my cute new sundress at the restaurant. Of course, that's something I would do totally sober anyway.

So we went out again tonight. I know, on a school night and everything! It's part of our "How To Avoid E! Entertainment Television Turning Your Brain to Mush" plan. We went for dinner, then hit the grocery store (crazy kids that we are) and then went to get said sweater from the restaurant.

I called them on Sunday as soon as they opened. (I literally woke up and said "Oh shit" because that's the first thing I thought of when I woke up.) We went back to the restaurant tonight and I told them who I was and that I was here to get my sweater. After much looking around (but they WERE busy, so no big deal. I mean, I'm the asshat who left my clothing at the restaurant) she came back to me without said sweater and said, "Oh, you said you were coming yesterday."

Okay, this matters why? I thought. In all fairness, I HAD told them on Sunday that I would be there on Monday, but after a busy work day, rain, the thought of getting a taxi in the rain, and the fact that I am inherently lazy by nature, I waited until today. Sue me. Why should this matter? She further explained that the girl who was "keeping" my sweater was off tonight, so they would need to call me tomorrow. After being assured that the Girl Who Was Holding My Sweater Hostage would be working tomorrow, I told her that I would come back tomorrow.

It's no big deal; after all, it was my fault that I left the thing there. But I have to wonder...why is my sweater not at the restaurant tonight? Why is it with the Girl Who is Keeping It? Is she wearing my sweater around KL?

So, hopefully I will get my sweater back tomorrow, otherwise I will be running around KL in a strappy little sundress, which just won't do. They keep the malls 50 degrees Fahrenheit in KL.

We obviously need to go out more on school nights if this is the most interesting thing that I can write about tonight.

Friday, May 18, 2007

"Make New Friends, But Keep the Old..."

Isn't it odd that there are certain people in your life that you stay friends with, and then there are others that you just drift apart from? I'd like to think that for those that you aren't really in touch with, unless the friendship ended on bad terms, you could shoot them an email and say hello. No bad blood (or drawn blood, for that matter), you just used to be friends and life tossed you in different directions. So what's the harm in touching base with them and seeing how life is treating them?

I think guys are generally better at this. M has friends from elementary school, high school, old college buddies and work buddies that he keeps in touch with. Years can pass and it's like nothing has changed. There's never any weirdness or hurt feelings. They just generally pick up where they left off.

I guess it's different for women, or maybe it's just different for me. There are some friends that I have had for a long time, and it's like nothing has changed. Then there are some others...

See, I'm a bit bothered, because over the past few months I have emailed two old friends that I genuinely would like to see how they are, and they haven't emailed me back. I know that sounds whiny. Maybe I'm more sensitive than I thought, huh?

One was my best friend in high school and the other was a friend I met at a job in Texas. The first one I emailed in January, after I found out that she had gotten married the same day I did. I know the email address was good (my mom got it from a family member of hers who told her about her marriage - what can I say, we are from a small town) and the second one I emailed about a month ago. Now the second one I have kept in touch with over the years, but I can sort of see him going all "I can't be friends with a woman!" now that he is married with a kid, which I think is total bullshit, by the way. Reach down there and locate your balls, my friend.

I guess when it comes down to it, I feel a bit rejected. I don't know. When I have gotten emails from old friend, I have been pleased that they thought of me. I have emailed them back and we have caught up on life. We may not be close or email regularly, but I guess I'm of the mind that as long as a friendship didn't end badly, why not email and catch up? Good times were shared, what's the harm in saying hello?

Hell, maybe I just have PMS. Who knows?

The Triad

I mention the The Triad on this blog sometimes, so I figured that I needed to define The Triad. No, it's not a cult (although my husband might disagree with you). It's not a self help group (although it does kind of serve as one).

The Triad consists of me and my two older sisters. Triad #1 is one of the most thoughtful people I have ever met, and the older I get, the more I realize how alike we are. She is married to a great guy, S, who I've known since I was nine and remembers me back when I had a retainer and a bad perm. He also makes a mean home brew. Triad #2 is truly a hilarious person and the coolest soccer mom I know (and I mean that in the most complementary way possible). She is married to K, a Cabela's poster child who plays my favorite rendition of "Everything that Glitters is Not Gold" on the guitar. They have three munchkins I love dearly.

The older we get, the closer we get. They are the kind of sisters who would drop everything and fly halfway around the world if I needed them. I would do the same for them. It's family. They are my best friends, and when the three of us get together, the menfolk just end up occupying themselves, because they don't get most of our jokes anyway. We share an awesome bond that gets us through all kinds of fun shit that life throws our way.

My dear husband coined the phrase, "The Triad". See, at Christmas time, we always play some sort of board game, like Scattergories or Taboo. Taboo is a game where you pick a card and your team members have to guess the topic on the card. But there is a list of words on the card that you can't use to describe the topic. For example, you can't describe the word "ice" with the words, "cold", "wet", "igloo", "frozen" etc. So the first round might go something like this:

I look at my card. "Okay, this is so funny. (I laugh for a moment at the upcoming inside joke. Then laugh some more.) Then finally, "They grow on trees, and-"

The Triad, in unison: "Picantes!"

(As in, the stuff that makes Picante Sauce. Yes, there's a story there. Picantes grow on trees - you didn't know?)

Hubby: "That's not fair! Like we can compete with The Triad."

And thus, the term The Triad was born. That's also why the boys won't play Taboo with us anymore.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Can I Get Cinnamon Twists With That?

I just found out that there are Taco Bells in Singapore. Holy shit! The elusive Taco Bell, home of the Frito Burrito, the Gordita and the granddaddy of them all, the CrunchWrap Supreme. Ah, ground grade D beef, cheese, refried beans and sour cream nestled between two crunchy corn tortillas and enveloped in a flour tortilla, a la coin purse style.

My Crunch Wrap Supreme! I will come and visit you next month when I am in Singapore! Maybe you can introduce me to your buddy, the Seven Layer Crunch Wrap Supreme that I have heard so much about. Is it true? Can you be made even better with the addition of guacamole and Spanish rice? I have no doubt.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Portable Identity

I recently began reading a book titled "A Portable Identity: A Woman's Guide to Maintaining a Sense of Self While Moving Overseas". I decided to buy the book because ever since we moved, I have felt a bit adrift (okay, a lot adrift). Essentially everything about my life changed in a matter of weeks. I got married. I became a stepmother. Right after the wedding, we moved to KL. (And I mean right after. The morning after the wedding we took off for our honeymoon, and rather than flying back to Texas, we flew to KL instead.) My job changed tremendously. And so now I find I'm juggling all these new "roles" and it's overwhelming sometimes. I'm still me, except...I'm not. I'm me, but me within a whole new context, if that makes any sense. This whole feeling sort of crept up on me. Between planning the move and the wedding, I was so immersed with that, that any doubts I had I just shoved into the back of my mind because I just didn't have time to think about them with everything else doing on. I was the optimist who thought, "Oh, everything will be fine. It will be an adjustment, but it will be fine."

Well, it's truly not THAT bad. I mean, I'm not talking to the voices in my head (any more than usual), or prone to long afternoons drowning my sorrows in cheap wine (any more than usual - I mean, who can find cheap wine in KL anyway? But I digress...), but it's been more of an adjustment than I bargained for. So I figured, rather than sit, talk, hypothesize and over analyze (which I'm prone to do), I'd take some action. My job is a source of my frustration, so I'm taking some action on that. Matt and I are planning to start playing tennis. We discussed learning golf, but one sport at a time for me. I'm not exactly the sporty type. We are also talking about some other activities that we can get involved in as well, to get out and start meeting people other than work colleagues.

I've also sent several inquiries about doing some volunteer work, but I haven't heard anything back. I find that odd. I never thought I'd struggle to find somewhere to volunteer my time. Hopefully, I will hear something soon. In the meantime, if anyone knows of any volunteer opportunities in KL, let me know. I'm ready.

And lastly, I bought this book. Now, as I mentioned earlier, rather than over analyze the situation, I'm trying to take action. And while this book is really good, it is all about self-reflection. I guess that makes sense, since how can you figure out your identity without some self-reflection and analyzing of yourself? But the book is exhausting! It's a workbook, so every couple of pages there is an exercise for the reader to do. I have spent all evening thinking back in great detail about my identity (internal factors, external factors, roles and relationships) before we decided to move, during the move and after the move, writing summaries and drawing diagrams from said summaries. In other words, "YOUR LIFE IS MUCH DIFFERENT NOW, ISN'T IT? SEE YOUR DIAGRAM?" Well, duh. At least it's kept me out of the candy dish tonight. It's actually been quite a bit of work, so I hope it pays off. I just have to get through this part so that I can move on to the next part where they tell me how to fix everything and become a rational, normal person again :) Okay, kidding there. Sort of. would be wrong to skip ahead, huh?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Gotta love Tom Petty, eh?

Over the past few weeks, we have been planning our home leave back to the US. We've been planning to go back to South Dakota, where hubby is from, during the summer and then back to Texas to see my family at Christmas. We researched all the flights since we not only have to get to LA, which there are plenty of flights for, but also to Rapid City, which will involve connecting in at least one more city in order to reach our final destination. Add into the mix the fact that my stepdaughter will more than likely meet us in SD and then fly back to KL with us and spend a couple of weeks over here before she goes back to school, and you can see that lots and lots of planning needed to take place.

That's no big deal, I was all over that. I'm a Planner with a capital P. You need a list made? I'm your gal. You need to see all your options before deciding on a final vacation choice? I can do that. In fact, I really enjoy planning, so that usually falls to me to handle, which I'm fine with. So all of our plans are basically finalized, with flights booked and everything. Visions of hanging out with family, cool evenings, the Heritage Festival, camping in Custer State Park and eating my weight in tacos at Taco John's are dancing in my head. Except....

As it turns out, we just found out that hubby might have to do a significant amount of travel in Asia Pacific during the months of June and/or July. Since he may have to be here, that means one of four things: 1) It all works out and we get to go as planned, and my stepdaughter can come over as planned, or 2) we have to delay and go later, which will involve changing all our reservations, not to mention that my stepdaughter may not get to come since if we go later, it will be almost time for her to start school again, or 3) we don't get to go at all but my stepdaughter can still come and we just take some time off and stay here, or 4) we don't get to go and my stepdaughter won't be able to come because what's the point if hubby and I will have to travel the whole time she's here (yes, I now have possible travel for my job during June/July as well).

As One Who Likes a Plan, it makes me antsy when things are up in the air, so you can see why this is making me a bit nutso. (I'll admit, I walk a fine line between sane and batshit crazy these days, but still.) We won't find out for sure what our options are until hubby's employer and all the other people on his team decide on the specifics of his travel. Who knows when that will be. So now we are in limbo, waiting on all these other people to make decisions before we know if we can go to SD or if we can even see hubby's daughter this summer. I know that the whole work/life imbalance is sometimes the price you pay for being gainfully employed, but we will be really disappointed if we can't go as planned.

Today a few things happened that makes us think we can hopefully make our trip happen, but ack! I am not a fan of Unsettled Things. We have really been looking forward to this trip, so hopefully everything will all work out. It's the not knowing that's going to make me have to increase my meds....

Friday, May 11, 2007

Daily Dose of Irony

I got back from Dubai last Friday. Nothing like leaving Dubai at 8pm and finally reaching your apartment in KL at 11:30 the next morning. I had to share a couple of interesting things I noticed in Dubai.

I picked up a Cosmo in the Dubai airport for the flight home, as I knew sleeping the entire flight was out of the question for me. It was the UK version which was good, because at least some of the products featured in it are actually things that I can find in KL. However, as I was reading through it, I noticed that page 107 to 115 were missing. At first I thought it was a misprint, but as I looked closer, I noticed that they had been neatly torn out. I thought "Someone wanted to read this article and didn't want to pay 38 Dirhams (roughly 11 USD) to buy the whole magazine." I didn't think much of it until I flipped through more pages, and noticed that certain body parts in photos had been attacked by a black marker. So I thought I'd look at the table of contents just to see what had been torn out. It was an article titled "I Love Men but I Kiss Girls". Ah - the media police strike again!

I guess there's someone that gets paid to be on nipple and asscrack alert. I'll bet it's not a tough job to recruit for.

No biggie. However, I did find it ironic considering what happened the other day during breakfast in Dubai.

I was sitting in one of the hotel restaurants eating breakfast. This was a nice, upscale hotel. And for our listening pleasure was Akon's uncensored CD. A lovely little ditty is linked below. Beware of little ears before clicking on it.

First of all, don't get me started on this Akon character. He is a featured "artist" on Channel V here, which is a music video channel in Malaysia. I use the term "artist" loosely. Seriously, I can't believe what passes for musical talent these days. I know I sound like my mother, but I can't help it. He skeeves me out. His song above has been marketed as "I Wanna Love You", and on a Channel V clip he explains his inspiration for the song. "I thought of this song when I was sitting at the strip clubs, and I'm surrounded by all the beautiful women." Listen to the song. This is utter crap.

I didn't know that "I Wanna Love You" was actually the edited version of the song, and that the actual song is "I Wanna F*ck You". Ah, the romance of it. He's a lyrical poet. So I almost spit out my eggs when I heard the chorus the other morning. I figured that someone would be bolting to change the song or turn it down, but not so much. We were able to listen to the entire masterpiece.

So, I'm confused. A butt crack needs to be marked out but we can listen to "I Wanna F*ck You" over our croissant and orange juice?

And that's my dose of irony for the day. Carry on.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Are You Smuggling Pickles or Are You Just Glad To See Me?

My sister will occasionally send us care packages with goodies from the US that we can't easily find in KL. She will usually ask us if there's anything in particular that we would like when she's getting ready to send one. Normally, I would be hesitant to request certain things, but I've recently learned to swallow my pride. There are some things that we just can't find in KL. I'm sure most of them are around somewhere, but since we haven't found them, I asked for a few things that Matt and I needed/wanted.

Our package arrived today, and so Matt called me and told about all the goodies that we had gotten. However, there was one item that I had requested that sadly didn't make it. Pickles.

I have been craving bread and butter pickles for months now. Once again, no, I'm not pregnant. But we've been searching for them and haven't been able to find them...I think that's probably why I am craving them even more now, because I know I can't get them. Sweet and tangy goodness. I eat the small crunchy slices and Matt eats the bigger slices that have the seeds. I don't eat the bigger slices because they have the slimy middle with the seeds. It's one of my food texture issues.

So Triad #1 and her hubby bought us a big ass jar of bread and butter pickles. And is his way, my BIL wrapped and wrapped them up and even bubble wrapped them so they wouldn't break or leak.

However, after all that work by Triad 1 and hubby, we got an email today that the shipper could not ship them because they would never make it through Malaysian customs. They seized my pickles. I guess that probably means that my Taco Bell Crunch Wrap Supreme didn't make it either. :)

Hey, I just thought of something....I could MAKE bread and butter pickles. People do that, right? They have all the ingredients here. I just have to stock up on Mason jars. I'm sure my gal Paula has a fantabulous recipe.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

No Wonder My Back Hurts

Purse BKLM (before Kuala Lumpur move)

Purse: a lovely, compact black Coach with matching wallet
- wallet
- 4 lipsticks
- lip liner
- face powder
- pen
- sunglasses
- key chain with approximately 7 keys

Purse AKLM (after Kuala Lumpur move)

Purse: all weather nylon shoulder sling bag. Think parachute pant material. Quite the fashion statement.
- chapstick with SPF
- 4 lipsticks (some things never change)
- toilet paper/tissue packet (the lack of toilet paper in some bathrooms is a very real concern)
- umbrella (for the impromptu rain shower or hot midday sun)
- mini deodorant (it's freakin' hot)
- cash (no credit cards)
- house key card
- hair claw, clips and bands (again, freakin' hot)
- sunglasses
- pens
- camera (for feeding my Flickr obsession)
- face blotting papers (powder just mixes with the sweat and makes a...paste)
- spare flip flops (if I'm wearing my "going out" shoes, which I can only do if we are cabbing it. Then, if we can't get a cab home, I'm all set with my walking shoes)
- cards (so Matt and I can play gin at the pub - we like to live on the edge)

The cuty, tiny clutches that are so popular right now are just a pipe dream for me.

Can you imagine when we have kids? We won't be able to leave the house without one of those luggage carts you find at the airport...

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Saturday, May 5, 2007

Travel Happenings

Greetings from Dubai! I usually have to travel to Dubai about once a quarter for work, so here I am again.

Traveling here yesterday started normally, and then a series of strange things happened.

Bizarro moment #1: I got to the airport early, so I figured I'd indulge in a little reflexology. (It had only been two days since my last one, but as I've said, I'm a spa whore.) I went to a reflexology place that recently opened up in KLIA. I had been to another branch that was outstanding, so I figured, why not? The prices were airport inflated (almost double from their other branch), but I figured it was a small price to pay for the heaven that is reflexology. When my session was done, I went into the other room to put on my shoes, and that's when it happened. My therapist followed me into the other room and said...


Not "Tip?" as in a question. Just a statement. A nice statement, said with a smile, not particularly demanding, but a statement nonetheless. I had to ask him again, because I thought surely I had misunderstood. I mean, tipping doesn't happen much in Malaysia...right?? :) So he said it again. I asked him "Do you want a tip?" to make sure I understood, to which he said yes, again with a smile. It was odd. Even in the US, where tipping is more widely practiced, I've never been asked so directly for one. I've been asked in general in a bar: "Ladies and gentlemen, be sure to tip your bartenders and waitresses!" I've been asked passively at a salon: On a sign - "If you feel the service of your stylist/masseuse/etc. was exemplary, please feel free to leave a tip in one of the envelopes provided." I've been obligated to give one: On a restaurant bill in US - "Gratuity charge". In Malaysia - "Service charge". And so on. So I tipped him. No biggie.

So, anyway, I wasn't necessarily offended or anything, I just found it strange. Considering a comment I received the other day on this blog about tipping, I thought it was certainly ironic. Who would have thought tipping was ever expected in Malaysia? I'm just saying. :)

Bizarro moment #2: Sighting of a man sitting at our gate at KLIA, very openly reading a book entitled Singapore Erotica. I love it. I guess if reading erotica in a public airport in a conservative country butters your muffin, so be it. I usually prefer it in the privacy of my own home, but that's just me.

Bizarro moment #3: Fell asleep while watching The Last King of Scotland on the plane. Really good movie, by the way. The sleeping had more to do with the red-eye flight than the movie. Anyway, I woke up during a very graphic part, and I don't know if it was that or what, but all of a sudden I had this huge wave of nausea. I tried to fight it in my seat for as long as possible, but then the cold sweat came, and I knew I had to get to the bathroom, just in case. A flight attendant waiting near the restroom took pity on me, got me a bag and let me go in front of her into the next bathroom. just completely went away. It was awful though. Given that my digestive issues are usually IBS related rather than pukeage related, that was indeed bizarre.

Bizarro moment #4: After arriving at my hotel, I crawled into bed and set my phone alarm. It went off and so I groggily got up. I looked out the window and thought, wow, the sun sure isn't very bright this morning. Strange. Then I called Matt in KL, who was in a breakfast meeting. Strange. Something wasn't adding up. Breakfast? I asked Matt what time it was and he said it was 10am. Which was 6am in Dubai. In my sleepy daze, I had forgotten to change my clock on my phone. So after talking to him for a while, I couldn't go back to sleep.

(Okay, none of those were all that bizarre, but cut me some slack. I'm a sleepy girl.)

It's just as well though. I have so much day now! I need to do some work, and then I am off to the mall. I like to shop for clothes in Dubai, since it's easier here to find clothes that fit my linebacker shoulders.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Kitty Jail or Kitty Spa? You make the call.

When Matt and I moved overseas, we had to find a home for our cat, Katy. She also goes by many, many other names, such as Mimi, Meemus, Shmeemus, Rotten Kitty, Baby Kitty, or Meemus VonStinkyButt Meisterstein. We were very sad and still pine for The Meemus every day. Luckily, my sister and brother in law took her in, so it's good we got to share the Meemus joy with family. Heh.

This is one of her favorite activites. As soon as a suitcase appears, she sprawls across it in an attempt to stop you from packing. That, and generally looking at us with disdain, are her two most favorite activities. She is such a sweet baby kitty, and also a total bitch, as is the way with most cats. She is mixed breed, but there's got to be some Siamese in there somewhere. She has many Siamese traits, my favorite one being that she is the most vocal cat I have ever met. She'll tell you a story, all right. I miss how she used to allow us to sleep in the bed with her, and she would make biscuits on us until she settled on one of our chests in a successful effort to block the TV.

If you have to travel, she is usually okay for a day or so, but much more than that, and she will demonstrate her displeasure with you by peeing in your gym bag, or perhaps your pajama bottoms. Discovering that loving calling card after aforementioned gym bag has been sitting in your car all morning during a Texas summer is quite the treat. Ask Matt. We still love her to pieces though.

So, my sister and her husband had to go to San Diego this weekend, so they had to take her to Kitty Jail, as my sister calls it. Actually, it's Lakeline Animal Care in Austin, and they take wonderful care of her. Of course, Mimi will never let you know that.

Now, I've gotta ask you, does this look like Kitty Jail to you?

From their website: "Without question, our cat house provides the most charming and luxurious accomodations available for your cat. Your precious pet will enjoy his or her own unique hotel room. Each room is warmly decorated with it's own kitty-sized furniture to help your cat feel completely relaxed and at home. Each room also has a large window, so choose a view for your cat -- either overlooking the lovely reception lobby on the cat side, or overlooking the beautiful old oak trees and lush green lawn behind the main building."

She's so mistreated.

Kitty jail? More like kitty spa. Does she get aromatherapy with that?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


I was browsing, and came across a great book. I might as well confess. As a true Southerner....

I adore Paula Deen. Simply love her.

For those of you not familiar with Paula, she has a great show on the Food Network (ah, how I miss the Food Network) where she cooks up the tastiest Southern dishes. She started her business as a packed lunch business out of her home in Savannah and now has one of the most successful shows on the Food Network, along with having published a number of cookbooks. You've got to love a woman with a separate recipe section solely devoted to barbecue. Plus, everything she makes has at least one stick of butter. Mmmm...

A few of her recipes include:

Bill Nicholson's Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding (Krispy Kremes are, hands down, the best donuts around)
Country Fried Steak Biscuits and Gravy (Fried? Steak? Biscuits? AND gravy? Sold.)
Paula’s Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich (I keep trying to talk Matt into making these for dinner one night, but to no avail.)

I remember watching her every Saturday morning, during which I would inevitably call Matt from the other room saying, "Oooh, come look at what she's making now!" You could gain weight and clog your arteries just by watching her. I guess that's one of the reasons I like her (other than the fact that she just seems so darn nice) - you can watch her whip up sinful dishes without subjecting yourself to the 1,000,000 calories that each one contains.

Matt calls her "Deep Fat Fried Mayonnaise Sandwich with Ranch Dressing" lady. (Of course, it's funnier when he does it in his faux Southern twang.)

She's my kind of gal.

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