Friday, November 30, 2007

#31 Ashley

I learned a whole new vocabulary from you. My mom kicked you out of carpool for your foul mouth. You called me hairy mama and much worse. Now you attend church weekly.

#30 Ashley

I had an inappropriate crush on you when I was a kid. I loved your long red hair and your gentle manner. You went to Telluride one summer and never came back.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Better driven than lost

Today is about a billion times better than yesterday.

I hired a driver for the whole afternoon. I would say it's nice being driven around instead of being frantic and lost, but everywhere we go requires him to ask at least 6 people where it is. These are the major sites listed in my guidebook. Maybe he doesn't recognize their names in English.

He asks me to go over the list with him every 15 mins or so. Each site is next to a bullet and below that is its address, just in case he needed it. He points to the address and asks what it is over and over and over. Maybe he doesn't know the word address.

And then there are the constant suggestions that he take me to an Indian mall to look at rugs. I say no and he says, "but this is India, madam! You must buy rugs!" NO I say. "Okay thank you madam... Just look at rugs maybe..."

I fully expected to spend much of the day in the car. And really it's not so bad because I see a lot from the car and it's not quite as hot in the cool cab as it is outside. Somehow my driver has managed to find the places on my list, including one of the places I had on the list as a lunch option. It was recommended in Lonely Planet and it's part of a hotel, I think, so I feel safe trying Indian again.

I invited my driver to dine with me, but he stayed outside to watch the car. Good karma in asking, though, I think.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Do over

As I mentioned before, we did not plan this trip very well. People kept mentioning Juhu Beach, so after breakfast today I got a nice cool cab to take me there. He offered to drive me all afternoon for not even 3x the price of the ride to the beach. I started to agree, but then said no because I had no idea how long I'd want to stay.

As we drove up to the beach I had a suspicion that there was nothing really there. The driver paused a moment after I got out and then he left me.

Some kids surrounded me as I tried to stroll on the beach and although I have handled this okay in the past I absolutely could not deal today. One brushed my arm and I jerked away. They laughed at me. They giggled more when I spun around and sped back toward the road.

I was stuck.

I had no choice but to take a non-air-conditioned cab. This may seem like no big deal until you've sat in traffic with the honking, oh my god the honking. I asked the driver to take me to a museum. A half hour later I asked how much farther. He said about an hour. Oh no, I said. Grand Hyatt Mumbai, please.

I came back to the room, hot and sweaty, and it was being cleaned. I hit my head on a shelf and burst into tears when I got into the elevator. I think I may have failed Mumbai 101.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Not worth the chicken

Kerala was a bit too touristy for our taste. The Western women were wearing tight tanktops and mini skirts and some of the men wore wife beaters and shorts. The local men wear long wrap-around skirts that they fold up to make half as long and they tuck the ends in at their waists. This to my Western eyes looked a lot like a diaper, but still, men in shorts and tanktops -- not appropriate. We took a boat ride to Ft. Cochin, but there was no fort. Just a lot of tourists milling about and locals trying to get us to buy stuff.

We were tempted to buy a fresh fish to have cooked at a local restaurant, but we suspected that might be dangerous to our health. I'm sick of drinking luke warm drinks with no ice and having to be a snob about the bottled water. Even my Indian coworker had said to only drink the Aquafina. Certainly not the McWilliams with the shrink wrapped seal around the cap and the water filled right to the brim. "You forgot your water!" the waiter called after me. "That's okay, I don't want it" I had to say. What a prissy American.

It is a seaside town, though, and we began to feel some guilt for not having any fish. At dinnertime, back at our hotel, we asked the concierge where he would recommend we eat. "Have you tried our restaurant?" he asked. Yes, we had. We did not add that it was our most disappointing meal yet. The food in the Mumbai domestic airline terminal was better. He offered to get us a taxi to a different hotel. "Where would YOU eat?" I asked. He hesitated. He did not want us to blame him if we didn't like it. "It may not be up to your standards..." he warned. Pah, we said, we were sure it would be fine. See? We are not snooty tourists. We eat where the locals eat.

We shared a veg biryani and a fish curry for all of about $2. At 3am Jeff began the dry heaves. Nearly 24 hours have gone by and he still feels like utter crap. At least we didn't drink the questionable water!

As the sun was coming up and neither of us was able to sleep, we admitted that we were playing chicken. If one of us had said the word, the other would have immediately agreed to leave. We assured ourselves that we are not bad travelers for eating in hotels when there is no middle ground.

Now we're back in Mumbai at a fancy pants hotel. We arrived at 10 pm, and since Jeff was not hungry, I ordered room service. No $2 meals here. My chicken sandwich cost $14.

I need to figure out what I'm doing in Mumbai the rest of the week, especially while Jeff is working.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sidetrip to Kerala

We're in Kerala now, which is on the southwestern coast. Our hotel here is twice as nice as the one we stayed in in Mumbai, but the same price. It smells a bit like pee on our floor, however. I kind of liked the simplicity of the one in Mumbai, even the fact that there was no barrier between the shower and the rest of the bathroom. The food was also better there.

Today we're going to take a ferry to another island to see an old fort. I admit we didn't do much research (okay, none) about this area, so we are kind of winging it. There is also apparently a bird sanctuary, which we will try to do tomorrow.

So far, there has been toilet paper in all the bathrooms I've gone in. The domestic terminal in Mumbai had a bunch of stalls with Turkish toilets and two in the back with western toilets. The locals were all using the squat ones. I can't imagine preferring those. I also can't imagine preferring to hose off instead of using TP, but all the stalls had a hose as well. Or maybe they do both. I didn't notice if the Turkish toilet stalls had both.

I have yet to try a real Indian mango lassi. But I did have a pomegranate milk shake at breakfast today. It was really just room-temperature pink milk, but I loved the idea of it. It drives me nuts not being able to use ice.

I bought an Indian outfit, but I don't know what it's called. It's not a sari. It's this one where there is a long shirt with slits on the sides and then baggy pants and a scarf. I really only wanted the shirt. Jeff suggested saving the clown pants to wear as maternity pants. I don't know if even then I'd be able to bring myself to wear them. The outfit cost less than $20. I would probably use the scarf, too. It's light blue and brown, one of my favorite color combos.

Although I had cell reception in Mumbai, I don't have it here. Jeff does, though, and he's also on AT&T. I paid $24 to have unlimited texting and internet access, so it better work when we get back to Mumbai tomorrow night. I was even able to text with Jen (who is in Hong Kong), which I wasn't able to do when I was at home. It makes no sense to me why it would work here but not from home.

ps -- Kerala is pronounced CARE uh luh.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

No culture shock yet

We arrived in Mumbai last night. We were not at all tired, so we went to the hotel bar/restaurant where we ate the best Indian food I'd ever had: malai kofta: bigger and softer than at home & paneer tikka masala, which for now anyway is my new fave Indian dish.

Our room is by no means luxury,but there is TP. The shower is a faucet next to the toilet. We had a hotel room like that in Brussels, but much bigger.

The cars and the geese honk incessantly.

#29 Ashley

You took baths in the mornings with a Diet Coke and a cigarette by the tub. Your boyfriend was proud of the fact that he could fit into your size 4 jeans.

Friday, November 23, 2007

#28 Arthur

The whole time I knew you, you were always at your kitchen table, ready to argue politics with anyone, especially your son Greg. The emphysema eventually killed you, but it took years.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

#27 Anthony

I didn't realize you might be annoying until another Brit mentioned it. Sure you talk about your son non-stop, but I find it endearing. Plus, we talk about other things.

#26 Anna

We called your class science for jocks, but we were mostly nerds. Your passion for studying nature was catching. Of course, I can barely identify any Northern VA birds or trees now.

#25 Adrienne

I forgot another Adrienne.

You wore short leather skirts and high-heeled boots in a tweedy/flannely college town. You graded harshly but you had my respect. I may have had a little crush on you, too.

Monday, November 19, 2007

#24 Ann

You were the mother of my first best friend. I don't suppose you and my mom had a ton in common, but you wound up spending a lot of time together anyway.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

#23 Angela

You loved the Yankees, as evidenced by the bumper stickers on your apartment door. I gave your cat a fuzzy ball on a string, but you said that toy was too dangerous.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Convo overheard on Amtrak:

ticket collector: This one lady said to me, 'No way am I showing you my ID!' I said, 'Lady, this is the rule now.' But she wouldn't do it. So I told her I was calling the police. When security arrived they said to drop it. What's the point of having the rule then?

black female passenger: Was she white?

ticket collector: Of course. And I was the big, mean black dude. What you gonna do?

#22 Andy

I suspect you might talk behind everyone's backs. I used to bejealous of you, but I got over it. Now I'm just jealous that you live in such a nice town.

Friday, November 16, 2007

#21 Andy

My roomie's friend from college, you weren't that attractive but I pined after you. Once, you crashed in my bed after hanging out with my roommate. We never spoke of that again.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

He knows everything, that's who

Conversation in the Charlotte airport between a man and his son, approx. age 6:

son: How many people are in the world? Mom says a million something. I think it's a hundred million.

Dad: I don't think it's quite that many.... Want to find out?

son: Sure! How?

Dad (getting out his phone): Google!

Son: Who's Google?

Dad: Google knows all the stuff that mom and I don't know.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

#20 Andrew

You resembled Captain Morgan. You wore short brown boots every day for years. You fancied yourself a womanizer, but it's a mystery why women adored you since I doubt you bathed daily.

Two quick things

1. I raised the height of my desk chair so that there is no room underneath my desk to cross my legs. This means that unless I'm wearing heels of at least 2" I have to put my feet on an empty cookie tin. For the most part, I don't mind the new set-up, but sometimes I really, really want to cross my legs. I know it's for the best, though, because I was getting pains in the back of knees.

2. I'm being taken on a secret field trip at lunch. At first I thought it would be something girlie like getting nails done but then I found out it is with 2 men as well as my female friend who invited me.

The fact that this space is not my "official" online journal makes it much easier to write.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And then it hits

I absolutely don't care that Jeff is away on our third anniversary, but I do kind of wish he were here right now so that I would not have to feel sorry for myself all alone.

I worked until 10 on something that I didn't do correctly the first time and probably have to re-do again tomorrow. It's that mind-reading thing. I still don't have it down yet. Would make my job so much easier if I did, though.

I had 6 edamame flavored shumai for dinner and now I'm onto my cheese course. There may be a chips course after this one. I'm also drinking a River Horse Belgian Freeze. I really like this beer. Thankfully there is a 6-pack of it in my fridge, so I can drink it all week.

My dad's dad died today. He was 97 and he had had several strokes, so it was only a matter of time. When my mom called I didn't even get choked up, not like when she called me over the summer to tell me that Grandma didn't want us to visit her after all because she wasn't feeling up to it. I don't know why I took it so well.

There are so many stories I could tell about him, I wouldn't know where to begin. He was the last of the great story-tellers. I could never do his stories justice anyway. But remembering him telling stories the way he used to is what I will focus on, not the frail old man barking orders and forgetting who we were.

I cried a little when I got home, but I'm not sure if I was crying for me or for him or just out of exhaustion.

I think I need a second beer.

#19 Amy

As a toddler you insisted on standing on the front seat. You flew through the windshield when your mom slammed on the brakes. I guess you were okay; there weren't any scars.

Monday, November 12, 2007

#18 Amy

You made clothes from ESPRIT and a father in California seem enviable. I slipped on your freshly mopped kitchen floor and consequently I will forever associate the smell of bleach with you.

All full

I'm still figuring out how to get everything switched over to my new host. It doesn't help that Cyberpixels is totally unresponsive. I made the massively stupid mistake of not backing up before making the switch. My new host is saying, "It's easy! Just get your old host to switch your domain over." Um yeah, you don't know my old host. So, in the meantime, I still have this space, which all of like 3 people read. But oh well.

We made some headway on the apartment this weekend. I emptied 2 boxes of books because we realized that not finishing unpacking before the holidays due to some theoretical plans to paint was unreasonble. But there are still a good many more books. And that was after listing a bunch of them on Bookmooch and putting a good many into bags for Goodwill also.

It is so outrageous at this point that we aren't completely unpacked. It's embarressing, actually. But we have reached a point where there are no more obvious places for things to go. In the old place, my desk was in the middle room and next to it was a table, so piled on the table was all the extra stuff that didn't fit in my desk. Not the ideal situation, for sure, but with no table next to my desk, where does all that stuff now go?? And no, getting rid of it is not an option. And putting it downstairs in storage is pointless. Why store desk supplies in the basement? That stuff needs to be accessable. I think I do need to be more ruthless about what can be stored downstairs, however.

My old bedside table is next to my desk and it is still filled with the same junk that is has been filled with since I got it in 1999. It's the general repository for small things. But it has three drawers and perhaps some of that stuff can be consolidated and some desk stuff can go in it. I must be ruthless!

On Saturday we went to New Hope, PA, and Lambertville, NJ, for an early anniversary trip. They are both cute little towns, separated only by the Delaware River. We parked on the Lambertville side, walked around there for a little while, and then walked across the bridge to New Hope, walked around there a little while and then ate dinner. A coworker had said that Lambertville is better, but I didn't believe him. I had to eat crow this morning and admit that he was right. New Hope is mostly kitschy shops, while Lambertville is still an artsy town. Short trips like that are great because they are so inexpensive and there is very little travel time involved and certainly no cancelled flights. And we can bring liquids back with us! I decree that there will be more local trips in the future.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

#17 Amy

Your Midwestern roots were always hiding behind your attempts to look like a New Yorker, with your tight jackets and stiletto boots. I think it was your nose that gave you away.


I should have made a note about this on my main site before making the switch, but I am in the process of switching hosts, so now I cannot access Movable Type to update my site. For what it's worth, don't ever, ever use Cyberpixels to host your site. They are run out of someone's garage, I think.

The other day I got an email from their 3rd party biller telling me that billing for my site hosting had been terminated. I called the 3rd party and they said they didn't know why this was. So, I attempted to contact Cyberpixels. Haha. They really don't want to talk to anyone.

It was 4:30 pm on Friday. I call their hotline and get what sounded like an actual answering machine that lead me through a series of prompts that ended in a voice saying, "Thank you for calling!" and then I was disconected. I called again and got a voice mail box. The message said, "I am away for the weekend." And then there was a beep and then another message that said the mailbox was full. Nice.

I then tried accessing the online help. Their skimpy billing "knowledgebase" as they call it has 3 links. These link to videos, the site says. But who knows what they are because the links don't work. So, I wrote an email to a billing email, once I finally found it. No word yet. Typically, I have found, Cyberpixels tends to write back, if they do at all, about a week later, no matter the severity of the problem.

So, I am taking my business elsewhere. They could at least have someone in India on call all the time to field calls and emails. Even an auto-response would be something to grasp at.

The kicker is that the host that my friend Kevin suggested I switch to, AN Hosting, is a dollar per month cheaper.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

#16 Alexis

I remembered who Alexa is. She's actually Alexis and I forgot who she was because I only met her once.

You are the hot wife of a formerly dorky high school friend. You didn't seem the typical stay-at-home mom, with your plunging neckline and sandals that lace up the calf.

Friday, November 9, 2007

#15 Amber

You seemed so much more worldly than I was, with your full year of post-college experience. You told stories about waking up with no panties, realizing you'd had sex the night before.

#14 Amanda

What is it about you that attracts men who seem great but really aren't? It was probably a bad sign for your second marriage that your husband slept in your son's room.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

#13 Allie

You grew up Bay Ridge, sharing with your mom a one-bedroom apartment smaller than the one I lived in alone. You were unknowingly beautiful and the best catsitter I ever had.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

#12 Alex

You wrote us a letter, your mom told me. I wonder what you wanted us to know. Are you still kicking your little sister? Someday, I predict, you will protect her instead.

Monday, November 5, 2007

#11 Allegra

You boldly wore no bra. An artist, you altered your own clothes to be uniquely yours. When your boyfriend proposed with an heirloom necklace instead of a diamond, you turned him down.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

#10 Alena

I can never remember if you're a geek or not. You introduced me to intelligent pet birds and the word "ginger" for redheads. You completely understand spending one's discretionary income on travel.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


So, at 2:40 pm I looked at the invite for this wedding and discovered that it starts at 4 not 6. I have never gotten ready for a formal event so fast before. I don't even look half bad either.

#9 Alan

You were online at the ends of my work days, late at night for you in Scotland. You gave me a fake mailing address for a book I wanted you to have.

Friday, November 2, 2007


The person on my 365 list for Tuesday is Alexa. I can't remember who this is. If you know who I was thinking of, please remind me before Tuesday.

#8 Alan

Do you remember when I stole your car keys as a prank? You were not amused. Now you have a beautiful wife and you still look like you did in high school.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

#7 Adrienne

I think maybe in grade school we were enemies, but I have no recollection why. I ran into you at a bus stop years later and all the old animosity was forgotten.


An old dude, who looked pretty deteriorated himself, shared a cab with us. As we neared our apt. he said, "it's amazing how deteriorated it is in this area." Jackass.

Two women waiting in line for a taxi together --
Girl wearing blanket costume with most of her breasts showing: Ugh!
Other girl: Was that Jose on the phone?
Blanket: It's Julio!! Geez!
Other girl: Sorry! I'm not doing it on purpose!
Blanket: I know, but it hurts my feelings.