"When I get sad, I just stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story." - How I Met Your Mother


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Victory & The Quirks of Being an American Expat


Being born and raised in NJ, just a mere 20 minutes or 2 hours in traffic from NYC & the empire that is Yankee Stadium; it is my birth-rite to be a fan.   That being said, of course I want to celebrate and talk about how awesome it is that they won the World Series. 

But PROBLEM...I am not currently residing in the good ole US of A.

So none of my coworkers understand when I tell them the extraordinary news.  Instead they persist on asking me:

"How can it be the WORLD Series, if no other countries in the WORLD play?" (said in a smarmy British accent)

Sheesh!  Where is an American when I need one?!  Even my fiance' is of no help because his birth-rite happens to be an allegiance for that other team who didn't even make it to the World Series  the Boston Red Sox.

I tried to explain to them that the sun actually orbits around Yankee Stadium and not the earth round the sun as previously believed.  They didn't get the joke.

Then I tried to explain to my wonderful British coworkers that this it is sort of like when Manchestor United wins the Champions League.  The response:

"Yes, but how can it be the WORLD Series?"  AGAIN.

Followed by some rumblings about Cricket being a "proper game".  Oh yes and it started a rousing conversation about American football and how it is lesser than Rugby and something about how it is not played with the feet so it should not be called football. 

Technicalities, I say to it all.  GO YANKEES.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DID YOU KNOW - *aka Random Thoughts/Facts from the Middle East

Did you know:
  • that alarm clocks are unnecessary here?  The 4 am call to prayer blasting from the speakers of every mosque in the city each morning is 100% more effective in waking you up than any screeching buzzer will ever be.

  • that there is a turn on switch for absolutely everything? Not just for turning on lights, but a switch to turn on the water, another to turn on the hot water, one to turn the ignition to the stove, and there is even one on every single outlet.  Also, that there is no such thing as having an electrical outlet in the bathroom!?  Want to shave, curl your hair, or use an electric toothbrush?  Forget it!  But each bathroom does come equipped with a bidet and a foot wash just in case you were feeling in need of a quick clean.

  • that in order to get your driver's license in Qatar you have to pass an eye exam where they make you read a row of letters in the tiniest size possible?  But the truth of the matter is that they should really test how well you can see the giant Land Cruisers that are constantly about to run you over.

  • that running outside in temperatures of 30-35 degrees centigrade at 80-90% humidity is really, really hard? Oh yes, and this is at night!  Also, that the writer of this blog has foolishly signed up to run in the Dubai marathon on January 22nd and consequently has to run almost every day in that heat by choice?  And furthermore, that the driving in this city is too dangerous for running on or along the streets and that there are hardly any parks so there is really only one safe place to run?  It is a 6 kilometer long crowded path along the ocean where all you can do is run back and forth until you hit the distance you want to run.

  • that maps are rendered useless because the roads are constantly changing due to the fact that the ENTIRE city is one MASSIVE construction site?

  • that they pretty much don’t sell tampons here? I had to go to three stores before I found a place that sold them. They are OB without an applicator and I am not happy about it. I should have known better and bought like a years supply of Tampax Pearls before I left. God you know it is bad when you miss your tampons.

  • that the have more shopping and more malls than the whole world could possibly need?  Also that one of the malls is modeled after the city of Venice and has a canal throughout it with boats you can ride in? (promise to post pictures soon)  Side note: all the Qatari women carry the most ludicriously expensive handbags I have ever seen.  Talk about purse envy; this girl has got a bad case.  These bags make my Coach and Marc Jacobs look cheap!

  • that truly it is NOT terrible living here? It is just a bit ridiculous/comical at times.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Super Suit

Big Alaskan glacier:


Beers cooled by glacial ice:


Successful field testing in wild Alaskan wilderness of sick super suit:

Check. Check.

Super sick super suit is too hot for near-arctic Alaskan wilderness conditions:

Check. Awesome.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Flippin Awesome Flyers

I would like to meet the geniuses behind these posters and shake their hands.  Well done.

Special thanks to JM for finding these gems and passing them on.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Perfect Ten

As of today there are:

 *  Only 10 more days until my fiance' and I are FINALLY reunited at last

 *  Only 10 more days of work on my current project assignment

Just wanted to put that out there.


In other news, there was a dust storm unlike any other in Sydney, Australia yesterday.  While it had major impacts on commuting and respiratory health; it did result in some pretty awesome pictures.   Here are a few of my favorites:

What you are seeing is the light of dawn reflecting off of the dust particles.   These photos are real and not altered.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Middle East Must-Haves

In preparation for the big move, I went on a MAJOR - they put a hold on my credit card thinking that somebody stole it kind of major - shopping spree to buy essentials that will hopefully "work" in my new work locale.  Pictured below are just a few of my purchases care of Banana Republic, JCrew, and The Limited.

Due to the culture of my new home, I will no longer be allowed to expose my shoulders or my knees (and the leg above them) in public.  In addition to the clothes pictured above, I also purchased a slew of stylish wraps, pashminas, and cardigans (I could not find picutres) to help a bit with the covering up.  Most of the purchases I made are in light colors and super-lightweight fabric due to the extremely hot temperatures in Qatar.  Hopefully, my wadrobe will be acceptible and they won't stone or flog me as my dear co-worker Lambo lovingly pointed out to me at 6:20am in the morning last week (not the best way to approach me in the morning). No worries  - Qatar is MUCH, MUCH more liberal than it's Islamic neighbors...or so I am told.  Guess we will have to wait and see!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

White Girl Dance Moves

The best thing about being a twenty-something chic is that when you are out on the dance floor you think you are the hottest stuff on the planet:


and you know all the sickest.dance.moves.ever.

All of which include pointing;

Lots of pointing.

and singing,

and hugging,

and most importantly, gang signs.

Oh, the white girl dance skills. Awesome.

Seattle Sunset

Sunset over Pike's Place Market

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sick Macbook

If you are a Mac owner, you know that your computer is more than just a computer.  Heck you don't even call it your "computer" or "laptop" you call it your "Mac" or "Macbook," (and even in some cases your baby, ahem).  You feel your Mac is like an extension of yourself.  You never thought you could love an inanimate object until you owned a Mac.

Well, I am feeling a little less than whole at the moment because after 2.5 years of ownership I have had my *first* ever problem with my Macbook Pro.  And when I say first ever, I mean it, I haven't even had minor problems like freezing or programs quitting unexpectedly with my Mac.  For those of you who have owned an IBM or Dell or any other Window's based computer; you know that not having even a minor glitch in 2.5 years is like a miracle.  I mean being victim of viruses and minor software glitches is almost a stardard daily thing in the Window's world.  But I digress...

Anyway, my optical drive died mid upgrade to Snow Leopard; so the upgrade disk is stuck in the drive.  Thankfully, I have Apple-Care and parts and labor for replacing the drive are FREE (for those of you that don't know apple-care is a 3 year complete warranty on your Mac for the cost of $300).  Well let me tell you, the cost of replacing the drive and the service would be WELL over that $300.  Plus they are upgrading my RAM and doing a "once-over" check on my Mac to make sure everything is up to par.  That's what I call service.

So my Macbook has been in the Mac hospital since last Friday and due to my work schedule I am not able to pick it up until this Friday.  Ughh!  I am seriously having withdrawls!  Plus, I had a killer weekend in Seattle and want to post a picture-filled blog post about it...but I can't upload the pictures from my camera without my Mac.  Bummer.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Goodbye Dear Friend

This post goes out to my beloved Toyota Cam -
Dude, you've been a totally awesome & reliable ride.
Thanks for the many sick adventures you enabled me to go on.
Thanks for never getting sick or having issues,
even though you were born in 1994.
Thanks for letting me keep that ridiculous (but awesome) roof box on you 24/7...
From the many long drives from hometown, NJ to our first home-away-from-home at Virginia Tech
To our epic journey cross country from NJ to San Fran to the wilderness of Washington;
We have shared many memories together.
You didn't even protest when I made you sit out a year while I enjoyed city living at Berkeley
(Public transportation has got nothing on you!)
You have done me proud.
You will be missed.
Enjoy your new home!

PS - You really do look awesome and not at all ridiculous with that roof box, no matter what the fiance' says.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Living Volcano

So moving can be quite stressful.  But trying to coordinate two moves (one from Alaska & one from Washington) to a new home (which we don't have an address for yet) in a foreign country is BEYOND stressful!  All of my life plans have been totally distrupted.  Vacations I have planned have to be changed if not eliminated, my wedding plans have to be completely altered.  Yes, I am very excited about the big move and even more thrilled that I will finally get to live in the same place as my fiance', but getting there is quite the battle.

Lately, I have felt like I am going to explode.  Heck, I have had quite a few mini-eruptions (read: warning the volcano is about to blow!) already.  I don't want to have a Mount St. Helens style eruption from all the stress anytime soon.  So I have resolved to just deal with one move related task a day and try to roll with the punches.  Also, I think I might take up heavy drinking.  There is only about a month left until we leave for Qatar, so I think I am going to try to make an itemized list of all the things that we have to do (at least that I can think of) and I am just going to try to knock one off at a time.  Hopefully this will help reduce my stress level and keep me organized.  Right?

PS - Just came back to Washington from a trip home to NJ.  Will post about that visit soon! Have any of you been to the new Yankee Stadium?  Awesome!  But more on that later...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's Official

Now that I have the paperwork in hand I can finally announce the big, life-altering news!!

My fiance' and I will be relocating at the start of October to here!

We are super excited and a bit nervous. But all in all it is going to be a great experience.

So keep posted because it is sure to be quite the adventure!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Under Construction

The website you are viewing is currently "under construction" care of Girls Night Out! Can't wait for the final product!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Straight out of a Horror Flick

This past weekend we went camping at the base of Mt. Rainier, Wa. At approximately 14,400 ft it is the tallest mountain (volcano) in the continental US.

It is quite an unbelievable place. Last summer we stayed on the south side of the mountain and hiked around the vastly popular Paradise area (read: over-crowded). This is the point where most climbers planning to summit Rainier begin their expedition. This trip we decided to explore a different area of Rainier and camp somewhere a little more remote. So we packed up our camping gear and the dogs and headed out to a little known rustic camping area (Summit Creek) in the Grifford Pinchot National Forest. The area is well off the highway and not clearly marked; which was great because our group of 11 & 3 dogs were pretty much the only ones there.

Maddie & Mika.

We took a pretty sweet 6 mile hike up to Crystal Lakes right near the Sunrise viewing area (which we also visited) on the Northern side of the mountain. Check out the gorgeous view from this Alpine lake:

Bunce & R took a frigid swim out to explore this tiny island:

After spending an awesome afternoon hiking & swimming we returned back to camp and experience a scene that was practically straight out of a horror flick. At the dirt road entrance that leads to our camp a sketchy fake looking ambulence was parked. A large shirtless man was sitting in the front seat. From the dirt road turnoff it is about 3 miles back through the woods to where we were camping and we had left J. Moose at the campsite with the three dogs since she had broken her foot rock climbing last week. We were a bit worried when we saw the ambulence, but it got even sketchier as we drove back to our site. Walking along the side of the road was this middle aged guy in a white shirt and hunting vest with blood all over his arms and face. He seriously looked like he had just killed something or ... someone. A bit of panic overtook us as we sped up to get back to camp, only to find that she and the dogs were gone. Oh Shit.

We get out of our cars and just kind of look around at each other absolutely speechless. Just then we hear some barking and the three dogs come running out of the woods; followed by J. Thank God! She had not seen the creepy, bloody guy and was alright. Then two police cars come flying up the dirt road and zip right past our campsite. At that moment we were all pretty sure that we had just seen a murderer.

About 30 minutes later the police vehicles come back down the road and we flag them down to tell them about the suspicious, bloody, creepster we saw. Turns out he was not a murderer; but some guy who was camping with his buddies that all got drunk, beat him up, pushed him off of a cliff, stole his car and drove off. Oh that is MUCH better than an ax murderer! (note the sarcasm) Sounds like that guy has some winner friends. The police officers ensured us that the situation was taken care of and that we would be safe where we were. Thankfully our group consisted of about 8 guys and three really big dogs, otherwise I don't think I would have been able to sleep that night.

Anyway, we rounded out the night with the usual campfire cooking, drinking, & awesomeness.

Super delicious Washington sweet corn.

All in all a great weekend. Oh yeah and I am super thankful that my friends aren't the kind that get drunk, beat each other up and drive away.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Age Appropriate

This just in:

Zac Efron is hot...

....and I sort of feel dirty for thinking it. Sort of.

This revelation only came to me after seeing the movie "17 Again" recently. I am not sure if he grew up a bit or if I am just a creeper, but he looked real good.
At 25 am I too old to think he is hot??

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Hour Humor


Just bought a brand new pair of skis a few weeks ago:

I was super amped about this purchase because I got such a sweet deal on them. Moreover, I am an avid skier and I pretty much live for the powder. Needless to say I dropped a pretty penny (final sale) on these bad boys. Promptly after purchasing them I called my ski crew to brag about how I awesome I was going to rip on these this winter. Lord, did I talk a big game! Of course, about a week later I received word that I would be relocating.
Relocating somewhere that doesn't really get below 80 degrees all year round. Somewhere that is not anywhere close to mountains, snow, or even trees for that matter. Well, the move is not 100 percent final yet. But if the transfer does go through, my chances of shredding the nar on these beauties is looking rather slim.
Talk about irony.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Waiting in Vain

My fiance and I are on the verge of being relocated. We have received an offer to move somewhere that would be life-altering; but we have not yet received the paperwork. Therefore, nothing is yet final. Our company is doing a wonderful job at testing our ability to be patient....

I suck big time at being patient.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Mt. Adams an Arabesque at 9,000 ft.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wedding Disaster Dreams

I had my first wedding disaster dream last night; it was about my actual wedding that is going to happen next September.

My fiance' had one a couple of weeks ago where he showed up late, unshaven, & wearing a Spanish bullfighter style outfit (cape & everything). As he was walking up the aisle to take his place by the alter he kept asking around if anyone had a razor. He was so worried that I was going to be pissed (....like his unkempt face was really the problem!) about his scruff that he actually took off to try to find a razor and a place to shave! He ended up missing the wedding completely. I am not sure exactly how that could happen because without the groom there really is no wedding, but he dreamt that the wedding still went on, he just missed it.

Anyway, I had a disastrous wedding dream last night. It was like everything that could go wrong in a wedding did. My maid of honor and other bridesmaids did not make it to the wedding. So I had to ask random girlfriends at the last minute and had them wear their senior prom dresses. I never got my wedding dress that I purchased from the boutique and had to improvise last minute with some hideous reversible tube dress. And I decided to match it with these really awful knee high hooker boots. I had also forgot to order bouquets, so on our way walking to where the wedding ceremony was to be held we were picking random flowers from people's yards! When we finally arrived at the ceremony location only about 25 people out of the 200+ guest we had invited in my dream were there. It was horrible! There were all these open seats & tables and the majority of my family & loved ones were MIA. All I kept thinking was, "What are we going to do with all this food?! I can't possibly eat this many left overs." Finally I woke up; completely tangled in my sheets and my jaw was sore from clenching my teeth. I am not sure if I would completely classify that as a nightmare, but it sure was stressful!!

I know minor things here and there will ultimately go wrong on my wedding day. I am not set on having a "perfect" day, hell, my engagement was far from flawless (that is another story for another time: a bleeding handful of prickers, tears, giant mosquitoes, Alaska, champagne) but I would not have wanted it any other way. Hopefully this dream isn't any indicator of what is to come!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Who has tickets to the midnight opening of Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince (or as I like to refer to it HP6)?

Oh heck yeah I do.

Who will be showing up to work late due to 2 hours & 45 minutes of wizarding gloriousness?

That would be me.

Who is not ashamed about any of this at all?

Me!! And not in the slightest.

Oh yeah, and I totally will be getting a set of these glasses.

JK Rowling, you are a genius. Also, congrats on HP6 being Pope approved.


Friday, July 10, 2009

What Happens When Your Partner in Crime Abondons You to Go to Paris & Your Fiance is On Assignment...

You accept to go on a camping trip with a bunch of married, pregnant, with kids couples. Talk about being the odd one out.

So E, hope you are enjoying this...

While I am "relaxing" in the wood to the sound of this....

[Disclaimer: Not that I don't love kids or the people I am going with aren't cool...it is just one of those different phase of life things. Plus seriously, Paris...jealous!]

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Unintentionally Awesome

This was me tonight....

I completely missed a BBQ and Thursday night happy hour as I accidentally passed out in a position extremely similar to Brody in this picture...except more embarrassingly I was not watching TV but getting ready to do "The Shred" workout DVD and was in a sports bra and running shorts. Awesome.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fav Photos - Summer Series p. 2

The summer celebration continues! Here are a few of my favorite shots from Summer 2008 - the Naturally Northwest Tour. I spent the summer on a series of adventures all over Washington from the Cascades, the San Juan Islands, Whidbey Island, to up at Mt. Rainier.