Friday, 30 July 2010

Promises, promises

My cycle into work this morning was impeded by a film crew (I think it was for the show Lewis). I, along with the rest of the wheeled traffic, had to wait patiently until the shot was completed before we could go on our merry way. However, in my haste, I almost took out a production crew member. I apologized profusely for nearly running him down and he kindly accepted.

Last night the streak was continued as I completed a strength training session from the Self Challenge from a few years ago. I had to dust off my hand weights and noticed that I really need to vacuum the floor, but other than that things went smoothly. This evening I’m hoping to get in a short run on along the canal. However, if it ends up raining, I may do TaeBo instead.

Sunday I’ve signed up for a Body Balance class at the gym. It’s supposed to be a combination of yoga, pilates and tai chi. Since balance is severely lacking in my person (hello clumsiness), I thought I’d give it a go. Can’t hurt, right? Well, at least until I end up eating floor.

Tomorrow is shaping up to be an interesting day. Besides getting in a short run, I’m supposed to go back to the old flat and help clean up the common areas as part of our lease agreement which officially ends on Saturday. The Tweedles are supposedly now packing up the last of their stuff and will be helping in the cleaning. I have still not been paid back. The Tweedles came up with a whopper of an excuse last week why their repayment to me didn’t seem to end up in my account as promised. In reply, I said I expect to be paid back in cash tomorrow. Unsurprisingly, a few days ago they went communications silent. I have a feeling I’m gonna show up tomorrow and they’ll be completely gone, leaving me with all the cleaning and none of my promised money.

Tune in Monday to see whether I end up on the news for either (a) setting the house on fire in a fit of blind rage or (b) tracking the Tweedles down to parts unknown and beating the ever-loving hell out of them.

I’m pulling for option B.

Happy a great weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The plan, Stan.

As I mentioned on Monday, I have a chunk a chunk of baklava love to expel from my person. The extra weight I’m carrying isn’t entirely attributable to the Fiesta del Get in Mah Belleh that was last week. The dissertation is a stressful business and I eat like Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory when I’m stressed, hence the extra padding which I have accumulated over the past year. Since I don’t want to end up an official butterball by year’s end, I need to go on the offensive.

Hence my clever idea ... which I stole from Jess and MCM Mama.

I’m going streaking!

But unlike their streaks, I’m doing mine buck naked!

Ok, I lie.

My streak will differ in that it will not just be running but a general exercise streak. Why, you may ask? Well, two reasons. First, I have to see the doctor soon about a minor issue with my left leg (it’s not a big deal, no worries people!), the remedy for which may necessitate a short sabbatical from running. Second, I really need to do some strength training since my muscles are now only pathetic excuses for muscles.

Things have sort of fallen apart since Edinburgh (actually even before then) with traveling and general craziness and I desperately want to get back on the health and fitness track. Right now I need one good habit I can cling to in order to get me through the rest of my dissertation. I’ve decided to go the wise route and make that habit daily exercise as opposed to binge drinking/eating/boinking/other hedonistic activity.

As the name of Jess’ blog indicates, it is typically thought to take 21 days to form a habit so my streak will therefore last a minimum of 21 days. In order for the streak to be achieved I have to do one of the following each day:
  • run at least one mile
  • walk at least three miles
  • strength train for at least 15 minutes
  • other cardio for at least 20 minutes
This excludes my normal daily activity of cycling four miles to and from work.

The streak started today as I finally woke up early and got in a pathetic-yet-inspiring-to-me two mile run. I also ended up walking and cycling a total of eight miles since Aeolus had to go to the shop for repairs this morning. While there he also got fitted with another basket, this one with a metal support screwed to the frame so hopefully another asshat won’t steal it again. Douchenozzles.

And since we all know weight loss is something like 90% about food intake, I’ve taken measures there as well. I’m writing down everything I eat, working hard to get in my five-a-day and trying to resist sweet, sweet temptation whenever possible.

So far, so good. But it’s only day one. And I’m PMSing.

The next three weeks are going to be the most fun.

Later gators.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Return of the Nerd

I’m back!

I can feel your enthusiasm all the way from England. It’s heart-warming. Really.


Anyhoo, I don’t have a lot of time to play on the blogosphere today, but I wanted to check in. I did get in two runs while I was away as well as a lot of swimming. The first run was in my old stomping grounds and the second run was here:

I really earned that last one considering all the shit that went down in the last week – travel woes, red tape and a family that is expert at the backhanded compliment. It was all kinds of awesome.

I attempted death by baklava to end the mental anguish, but that only resulted in a big fat fail. Emphasis on the fat. But I have a plan to remedy the situation. I’ll write about that and some of the travel/family fun next time. Oh, I also have a couple of things to giveaway. Yes, you can thank me for that now.

Hope you’re all doing well. Catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.

Thursday, 15 July 2010


Thank you all for your kind comments and for not telling me off for spewing out my emotional real life trauma on this blog. Grazie!

If you missed it, I’m currently in Rome for work/research purposes. I’ve spent the past four days stewing in my own sweat as I’ve worked away in the non-air conditioned Nerditorium and ventured out into the city to visit a few sites. The temps here are peaking in the high 90s/low 100s. I’m pretty sure Dante wrote his famous tome during the horrendous summer months in Italy because it sure does feel like Purgatory at the moment.

My hair has not taken well to the heat and humidity either. Typically my hair is pretty straight with a bit of a wave. Put it in these conditions though and it curls and frizzes to form a massive white girl afro. It’s one of the few occasions on which my father’s contribution to my genetic make-up manifests itself. Lucky me.

In order to run in the hot mess that is currently Rome, I need to wake up by 6 am to head out while it’s still in the lows 80s. With work commitments and required communication with my family seven time zones away, this has not happened. My last chance is tomorrow morning before I head off on another plane to another roasting destination. At least this place will be close to a body of water in which to throw my dehydrating carcass. Aces.

Lack of running aside, there has been exercise. I’ve had to walk miles and miles across this city in the past few days. Add in the unrelenting sun exposure and I’m sure I’ve lost a couple of pounds in weight each day. Ok, fine, it’s water weight, but damned if I don’t feel lighter.

Unfortunately most of the walking has taken place in not the best kind of footwear. My achilles tendons are unhappy right now. Hopefully they’ll mellow out tomorrow if/when I get out on that much needed run.

Since I’m not sure I’ll be posting next week, here are some pictures to tide you over until I return.

A photo about a decade in the making. I was finally awake and had a camera ready while flying over the Alps. Sweet!

The Colosseum in bread form.

Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

My friend and I decided to play Name the Pope—every time you see a depiction of a pope, guess which one he is. For this one, she said Innocent III and I said any of the Benedicts other than the current one. We were both wrong. It’s Pius IX.

Roman city gate. Seen better days, but it’s hanging in there.

Shaft Column of Marcus Aurelius


The Pantheon in the process of refurbishment.

Piazza Navona

Ci vediamo dopo alligatori. [Later gators.]

P.S.—No, I did not see Jessica Simpson. From the photos, it would appear we were at opposite ends of the city on Tuesday. I am not heartbroken by this discovery.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A great lady

This is one of my favorite photographs.

It’s my grandmother with her three youngest children: my mother and twin uncles. My mom was two years old at the time. She remembers my grandmother leaving for the hospital to have ‘the baby’. My grandmother returned home the next day but without a child. However, six weeks later, grandma left the house and came back with two babies. My mother was quite put out.

My grandmother passed away on Sunday. Although her health has been in severe decline for the past few months, it was still rather sudden. I was at Heathrow early Sunday morning when I heard the voicemail from my sister telling me that grandma was not waking up. I was on a tram in Rome later that day when I was informed of her passing.

My grandmother was a cool lady. She lived through the Depression, raised seven children and endured a husband, two sons and a handful of grandkids and great grandkids going off to war. She loved to dance and travel. She visited Greece with my parents shortly after they married and took a small stone from the Acropolis as a souvenir. (By the way, you’ll get shot if you try that today.) She cooked like nobody’s business and made the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the world. She taught me how to make her famed chocolate peanut butter balls too. She was a prolific knitter and seamstress until arthritis slowed her down. She made my baby quilt which I still have today, tucked away in a trunk for safekeeping.

Luckily I got to see and talk to my grandmother a couple of time recently via Skype. She had no idea what was going on and at first thought I was on television until my mom and sister explained to her how Skype worked. Then she was amazed that it didn’t cost us anything. To be fair, that still amazes me too.

Her funeral is tomorrow. I wanted to fly out for it, but my mother and sister convinced me otherwise. Being so far away is shitastic, but the wonder that is Skype provides some consolation.

Late Sunday night I checked my Google Reader and read about XC2’s wonderful news. It was rather comforting to learn that the same day my grandmother passed away, two little boys were born to another cool lady in the adjacent city. I won’t be so gauche as to call it the circle of life, but I will admit that The Lion King is my favorite Disney movie. :)

To my grandmother,

Thank you for being you—loving, comforting, funny, industrious and sometimes amazingly outspoken. I love the fact you used to talk back to the characters in ‘your stories’ or always knew what pages ‘the best parts’ were on in your romance novels. I am still in awe of the love you and grandpa had for each other, though admittedly I could have done without knowing some of the more intimate details of your relationship.

Thank you for always being proud of me even though I’m still in school, unemployed and didn’t spit out a great grandkid for you like the rest of my cousins. But really, once the number of rugrats went into double digits, I didn’t think you’d mind if I didn’t contribute to the stockpile.

I’m really sorry I have been away for so long and haven’t been around much to see you. I hope the sporadic postcards over the years were some consolation.

You gave me some of my best memories, Grandma, and I will always cherish them.

I love you so very much. I miss you terribly, but I am glad you are finally at peace.

With much love, hugs and chocolate peanut butter balls,
Your youngest grandchild, X.

Friday, 9 July 2010


The children are safe and sound and I remain a teetotaller...mostly because I didn’t end up babysitting last night. Did their parents think better of leaving the little ones in my deranged care for a night? Possibly. Or did it have to do with the event which they were supposed to attend being cancelled? Sure. I still think it’s the former excuse, because two days ago I made a point of asking where the drugs were kept so that I could sedate the children.

Well, I thought it was funny.

Anyway I still have to pay my friends back for helping me move, so now I live in fear that I will be called upon to babysit sometime in the near future. Thankfully I’m ditching England for the next two weeks. A short reprieve, but a much needed one.

Since I didn’t babysit, I lost out on a prime opportunity to bitch-slap my hormonally driven urge to spawn. To remedy the situation, I got a bikini wax yesterday. Because there’s nothing like inflicting pain on your hoo-ha to get yourself to reconsider your brief but insane desire to fire a human cannonball out of your nether region.

That should do for the next month. In multiple ways.

On the exercise front, I’ve still done jack all. However the weather today is freaking beautiful, so I’m hoping to get a short run in tonight which will be the inaugural run of the Bondi Band. After I’ve used the band on a few runs, I’ll post a review of my spoils of war luck, but probably not until after I get back from my working holiday.

Ok, folks, that’s it for me. Have a good weekend. I’ll try to post again next week, but if not, I’ll be back again in a fortnight. (Yes, they actually use that word here. It’s awesome.)

Later gators.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Lamb to the slaughter

So I’m officially moved in and am the happiest camper this side of the Atlantic. My world is now full of white puffy clouds, love for (almost all of) mankind and angel farts which of course smell like roses because angels don’t poo. Duh.

The only exercise I’ve done recently is moving my stuff to the new place, unpacking and cleaning the hell out of the old place. The cleaning actually required the most effort as I had to move all the furniture around (it was a furnished apartment) to get to those untouched-in-a-century locations. In the process I found two pens, a hair clip, a bottle cap, a 10p coin, a dust bunny re-enactment of Watership Down and an empty contact lens fluid container.

Um, I don’t wear contacts.


But there is motivation to get out and run again. For one, I get to explore my new neighborhood which appears to be runner friendly considering the number of runners I see passing by my building every morning and evening. Also, the Royal Mail finally got around to delivering my hard-won prize from MCM Mama’s blog – a Bondi Band. It’s even more useful to me now since I got my haircut yesterday. I let the hairdresser do what she wanted (potentially dangerous considering she was French and didn’t speak much English) so I ended up with layered hair framing my face which can no longer be held back by my ponytail. The Bondi Band is a godsend. Thanks MM!

This week is chock-full of busy-ness with work, travel prep and a babysitting gig on Thursday night. That last one is payback for move-in day help. It’ll be me and four kids. I’m gonna be outnumbered, outsmarted and likely outstubborned. Now I know why some people drink so much. I may take up the habit myself. That is, if I survive the night.

Pray for me.

Sunday I take off for a two week mostly work/partly family trip. I’ll have the opportunity to post the first week but probably not the second. Hell, I may not post at all anyway. But you can trust in the fact that I’ll return with some photos which will cause some of you to riot and send me death threats for being such a lucky bitch.

I do so love it when that happens.

Anyhoo, gotta go. Catch up with you guys when I can.

Later gators.

Friday, 2 July 2010


So I was able to get in one short run this week as well as a swim. The rest of my time has been spent at work, making travel plans for an unexpected trip, catching up with friends who are sadly/happily departing these shores forever, and then staying up late every night to pack. I’m nowhere near done editing this chapter that’s due Monday. I’m sleep deprived and still in need of two more boxes to pack the last of my stuff. But you know what? I don’t give a shit. You know why?


And a day early to boot. After I post this, I’m heading out to pick up my keys. I’ll spend the rest of this afternoon cleaning my new digs and then celebrate my escape from Crazytown with one of the best people ever on the planet. There will be pizza. There will be laughs. There will be stolen household products.

I am giddy with excitement.

Tomorrow will still be the major move-in day with awesome people helping me move my pathetically few but still heavy boxes and suitcases. I had big plans to torture the Tweedles this week with waking up early each day and creating a ruckus with morning exercise and packing, but that only lasted until Tuesday. Then they departed, not to return until next week.

My thunder, it hath been stolen.

Before they left, I pointed out to them seven times (via verbal discussion, email and note) how much I needed to be paid back and when. They have until Saturday to direct deposit my money. If it’s not there by then, I’m taking some of their stuff hostage and will send ransom notes made from cut up newspapers and magazines threatening destruction/resale of their beloved items.

I believe they had an inkling of my plan, because they packed up their entire wine cellar (over 100 bottles – no joke) and took it with them to put in storage elsewhere.

Foiled again.

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to post again next week before I’m away for the following two. There’s a whole story in itself of how this trip-which-was-not-to-be became a three day business-only trip and has now exploded into a 14 day trip to include two countries. My bank account is currently weeping.

Anyhoo, as I celebrate my liberation from two years of imprisonment with the twitastic Tweedles, I would like to wish all of my fellow Americans a safe and happy 4th of July weekend. To my Canadian readers, I hope you get to prolong your Canada day celebrations into the weekend as well. Make sure the majority of North America goes up in firework flames. It’ll make me proud.

Later gators.