March 31, 2009

(Semi) Public Service Announcement

Dear Coworker,

Yes, the office smells like sausage and cumin. Yes, it's gross. But your incessant nagging about the fact that you're going to throw up is really getting on my nerves. Just puke already or shut the hell up.


March 30, 2009

You want me to do what now?

Bless my job for giving me material to write about, but this is just getting ridiculous. Yesterday, after my triumphant return to the office after my week in Jordan, I was assigned five separate tasks for three different projects. Over the course of yesterday and today, some of the comments I've heard include:
  • I'd like to rephrase this. I don't know to what though. Fix it.
  • Do you think he'll notice if we copy and paste a section from this document dating back to 1929?
  • So...I brought back this large stack of material. You brought back...nothing? Hmm.
  • Do you think we should put this in alphabetical order? I think so. No, no. Wait, yes. No. Okay, yes.
  • Can I have a hug?
In my mind, the only response to these comments are, "EVERYTHING IS FINE HOW IT IS, and no, I don't want to touch you! Now leave me alone so I can get back to this*."

*Beware: Clicking on this link will result in zero productivity for the rest of your day. So, clearly, click on it.

March 28, 2009

Bird Brain

I got hit on the back of the head by a bird today.

Seriously, a bird FLEW INTO THE BACK OF MY HEAD. People that know me well (and others I've scared off by sharing this information) know that I have a very rational fear of birds. I can't really explain it - I've never seen the Hitchcock movie, I eat chicken, and I watched March of the Penguins without having heart palpitations. I do, however, cross the street when I see a bird in my path, shush people when they make bird noises, and refuse to buy clothes that have birds on them.

Friends continue to tell me that I'm mad - that birds are more afraid of me than I am of them. I try to tell them that they're wrong, but they don't listen. They're always telling me that there's no way a bird would fly so close to actually touch me, but guess what, friends? YOU WERE WRONG.

My heart rate has since calmed and I've regained normal breathing patterns since the 'incident,' but I don't think I'll ever stop talking about this. I'll continue to complain that birds are evil and should be exterminated, and will roll my eyes when friends try to explain what happened as "bird revenge."

So note, Internet, the feathered are not your friends. Be safe.

March 26, 2009

Jordan You Glad To See Me?

It's my last day in Amman, and my work ethic is non-existent. The only thing I can think about is getting in one last (okay, maybe seven) falafel sandwiches before I go. The restaurant completely gave us the shaft yesterday and refused to pick up, so here's hoping no one's dead (or if someone is, that the delivery service is still working).

Overall, Jordan's been pretty great. Here are some things I won't miss though:
  • Sub-zero (not really) temperatures and freezing rain
  • Not being able to breathe
  • A coin system that makes no sense
  • Over-inquisitive taxi drivers and gift shop workers (no, little 18-year-old married mother of a 2-year-old, I don't have a boyfriend)
Some things I will miss:
  • Being told "Meet you!" after saying "It was nice to meet you" to the boss' wife
  • Watching the secretary clean her boots with Windex
  • Overhearing the secretary tell the guy that cleans the office that mid-falafel eating, she dropped hummos on her seat and when she went to wipe it up, it only got worse
  • Drinking Tang at breakfast and pretending it was one of my daily fruit servings
Okay, off to nag about the falafel. Write you from Cairo!

March 25, 2009

Kings of Awesome

After a fantastic sushi dinner last night, my (super helpful and attentive!) college friend who I've been hanging out with in Jordan and I listened to this song in the car.

We immediately started singing along and then talked about how GREAT this guy's voice is. I told my friend, "Imagine if we spoke to this guy on the phone - we wouldn't be able to concentrate on what he was saying because his voice is so heavenly." It's a good thing I sound like a chipmunk on helium because I have a lot of important things to say that everyone should hear.

March 24, 2009

So Long, Cough - Cough - Sniffle, Farewell

Dear Internet,

This trip to Jordan has been great. The air outside's clean, the people are friendly, the food's good. Couldn't ask for anything more really. I'm scheduled to return home on Thursday, but at the rate things are going, it's likely that I'm going to leave this earth as a result of hypothermia or dangerously high levels of second hand smoke inhalation. It hasn't stopped raining (LIKE A MOTHER) since 7 pm last night, and the lack of ventilation in this office is slowly crippling my bronchioles. I'm going out for sushi tonight, so if today is in fact my last day here, at least I'll be going out with a bang (or mercury poisoning).


March 23, 2009


It was bound to happen. I fell victim to the inevitable tourist trap yesterday. Apparently there are 1,000 piasters in a Jordanian dinar, not 100. So when the meter in the taxi read 950, that meant LESS than 1 JD ($1.40). I gave the cabbie 10 ($14). Grrr.


(I tried to post this from my hotel room yesterday, but of course by the time I finished checking my mail and writing this, my ridiculously overpriced ($10) one-hour internet service had run out. Needless to say, I will NOT be using the internet outside of office hours for the rest of my time here.)

Guess what, Internet? Looks like I lied! Here I am in Amman, blogging to you from the giantest hotel bed ever created. Flight here was quick and painless, even though I messed up royally by telling the kind man at the airport check-in that I was going to Jordan for work. He then asked why it said "unemployed" in my passport and if I had a letter from my employer stating the nature of my business. Whoops. I made my way to the customs line, where I proceeded to lie to the guy behind the bulletproof glass (smart, I know) and told him that the purpose of my trip was strictly touristic. He didn't buy it, but he stamped my passport anyway. It was then smooth sailing up to Starbucks where I had free, wireless interent and a cute boy sighting!

So, I'm here now and I've already put in a full day in the office. Even had a meeting at a government office at 4 pm (hear that, Egypt? Government workers in their offices past 2 pm? Hmm...). (Mom, look away...) Lost my passport for a hot minute (more like three hours) after I got here, but thankfully I had left it at the hotel reception. The knot in my stomach is slowly starting to fade, and it's nothing a huge dinner can't cure.

Anyway, it's pretty freezing here, which means I'm going to have to wear my coat (HATE wearing coats), but I'm looking forward to getting a good night's sleep. Here's to dreams of sugar plum fairies and dancing scrambled eggs. Ahh, the breakfast buffet...

March 19, 2009

Later Skaters

Internet, this will (probably) be my last post until late next week. I'm leaving to Jordan on Sunday for work and will be based out of our Amman office for a week. I've been told that there's a notoriously hilarious woman the size of a door there, but otherwise, I can't imagine I'll have anything amusing to report.

In addition to stressing about a major deadline I have today, my weekend looks like it's going to be unusually busy - including Thursday activitIES (I have a 'no Thursday activity' rule) - and am feeling pretty anxious about the coming few days. Tonight is More Positive Than the Average Bear's birthday (happy birthday, MPTAB!), and in addition to the dinner in his honor, I'll also be meeting a recently laid off family friend who I haven't seen in ages. I made the faux pas of telling him he could buy me coffee to make up for flaking on plans last night, but he took it well, telling me he would pay but that I wasn't allowed to order anything with flavors. Seems like a good compromise. If only we could achieve peace in the Middle East as easily.

Until we meet again, Mind Grapes Out!

March 18, 2009

Sorry, Betty Friedan

Internet, I single-handedly set feminism back fifty years yesterday. It all started when Forsooth, Office Traitor and I ventured into the depths of downtown to make it to MEAN!'s book signing. After circling downtown for what seemed to be the equivalent of a two-hour American Idol special (okay, I can't lie - I not-so-secretly love that show), we finally found the gallery. Parking downtown is notoriously difficult, and when I found what appeared to be a spot, I cut across four lanes of traffic (nerves of steel, I tell you!), and shimmied into place. In seconds flat, an officer appeared at my window, and without warning, eyelashes were being bat at hummingbird pace! I don't know what came over me, but I was all smiles and charm, and "please sir, don't let my car get towed." I don't even know who I am anymore.

We walked into the gallery, and I quickly realized I had three, count them, three, pounds in my wallet. I felt like a Grade A chump, and sheepishly asked the publisher (?) if they took credit cards. Before I knew it, he was all smiles as well and handed me a copy of the book. I tried to refuse, and offered to send the money to the publisher's office, but I think he too was mesmerized by my lashes. Anyway, the book is a collection of the Al Khan comic strip that runs in the Egyptian Daily News. Buy the book, become a fan on Facebook, or read the strip here! Preferably all three!

March 17, 2009

Attention Science Geeks

The secretary in my office told me I looked beautiful today. No joke, she forgot what she was going to say once she took a look at me. Now, two things need to happen:

1. I must continue to wear make-up every day.

2. I need someone to develop the technology where I can shrink my secretary and carry her around in my pocket at all times. Get on it, nerds!

March 16, 2009

Young Grasshopper

I was going to Tweet this, but it was too good to not get read.

Yesterday, I called my mother to tell her I was going to stay late at work to finish up a few things. I'm traveling next week, and I have a ton of background reading to get through before then. Her response? "Effers."

Oh Mother. I've taught you so well.

March 15, 2009

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Friday night, I left the windows of my car ever so slightly cracked. This, as I quickly learned, was equatable to running up and down neighboring streets naked. In the span of 16 hours, I received the following comments:

1. Phone call from my uncle: "Z, I forgot to tell you that when I was driving by your house this morning, I saw your car windows open."
2. Mom: "The driver says your car windows are open."
3. Building Super 1: "Please, Miss, you left your car windows open."
4. Building Super 2: "Umm, so, umm, the windows on your car are open. This MAY cause a problem when we wash it in the morning. Do you think you could roll them up?"

I look forward to the day I bring someone home to meet my family (and building supers) for the first time. People will be Twittering about it for years! I think I might also start leaving salacious material on the backseat just to see what happens. I imagine the number of comments will decrease, but if I post about my car being broken in to, you'll know why.

March 12, 2009

Cookie Monster

After what could have been the shortest conference attendance in the history of conference attending, my coworker and I stopped in at a little cafe to grab some coffee and snacks. I picked up some ginger cookies - the kind Little One surprises me with when she's in one of her "I love my sister and will prove it by showering her with material things" moods (we love these moods). The cookies are hit-or-miss (usually miss), but when they're good, they're good. I just opened one of the two packs I picked up (you're welcome, Little One), and let's just say - it's a good thing I know how to get to my dentist's office with relative ease. I'm now dunking the cookies in my blueberry tea and they're going down like butter. Internet, if you see me wearing a burka on the beach next month, you'll know why.

March 10, 2009


Internet, this is my 100th post. During my quarter-life-crisis-induced insomnia last night, I stared wide-eyed at the ceiling thinking of something profound to say or do for this momentous occasion. It didn't take long, however, to remember that profound I am not.

I thought of taking photos of 100 things found around my house, but 100 grains of rice and 100 gray hairs are not things good blog posts are made of. I thought of taking 100 photos of my cat, but she's still mad at me for taking her to the vet for her immunizations yesterday (and decided to voice this anger by throwing up in front of me this morning. Thanks, Coco.). I would have forced Little One to come up with 100 witty things to say or asked my mom to dictate 100 ways of telling me how I could be funnier, but they already get too much publicity here, and if I give them any more credit, I might have to grease the sides of our front door so their heads fit through.

So, Internet, here you go. 100 posts, minus the pomp and circumstance. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to eat 100 of the unsuspecting chips sitting on my coworker's desk.

March 7, 2009

I Don't

I've never heard as many references to marriage as I have this weekend. Over lunch with Brownies and two friends living in Kuwait yesterday, Big Lips decided on an arrangement for the two of us: if neither one of us was married by 30 (we're the same age), we'd marry each other. I quickly stated my hesitation, noting that 30 wasn't that far off, and that I wasn't ready for that big of a commitment so soon. He told me not to worry - I was his "option D." He tried to make it better by saying that the options weren't "sequential," but rather to give him a wide range of women to choose from when the time came. Why he isn't married yet is a mystery.

And today, while in the midst of wedding planning for my cousin's upcoming nuptials, my mother and aunt kept dropping hints that soon enough we'd be going through the motions for my wedding. Our DJ looked at me and said, "What's the rush?! You're so young! How old are you, anyway?" It's a good thing he wasn't drinking when I announced my age (25), because if how far his eyeballs protruded from their sockets was any indication of the projectile that could have spewed from his mouth, we would have been showering for days. His vocalized response: "Oh..."

March 4, 2009

Why I should stick to watching television

Had a great night out yesterday. Good food and company (in that order). T-Money, or T-Rand as everyone else thinks he should be called, brought his dad, here from out of town, out for show and tell. Shortly after meeting Father J, I asked him if anyone had ever told him he looked like Harrison Ford.

He said no one had. I asked Forsooth for backup, and she concurred. I then went into details, telling Father J that he looked like Harrison Ford circa The Fugitive. We beat this dead horse even further, pinpointing the exact moment in the movie where I saw the resemblance (about 1/3 through Ford's jump into the Hoover Dam).

Later on in the night, Father J made reference to the fact that he's been told he looks like Tommy Lee Jones. I sat back, thought about this for a moment, and realized that Tommy Lee Jones was ALSO in The Fugitive!

(Father J) (T.L. J)

Oh. Turns out, that's who I meant.

Road Rage? Who? Me?

Things that go through my mind (and are often shouted out loud) EVERY SINGLE DAY while in my car:
  • Here's a novel idea: your cars should be between the dotted white lines, not directly over them
  • Move cat. Cat. CAT!
  • Cadbury Dairy Milk ba da ba da! GAH! I HATE THIS JINGLE!
  • I wish I had a crap car so I could hit you right now
  • Dude, you're reversing on the highway...
  • Gramps, left lane? Seriously?
One day, just one day, I'd like to utter, "Wow, Cairo, that's a great job you're doing at driving. Here's a gold star. Keep it up." Until then, I'm doomed to fits of blind rage every time I leave the 'burbs. Lock up your children.

March 3, 2009

Creativity at root of newt levels

Feeling incredibly uninspired, Internet. I don't know what it is. Maybe the sleepless nights I've been having for the past few days? Maybe the MIND NUMBING work I've been doing (there are only so many edits you can make to a final report!)? Maybe the fact that every time I start a chat conversation or pick up the phone, someone tells me my humor's been lacking. (I only have two words for you people, and not only do you know who you are, you know what those two words are).

Having dinner with some friends tonight, and hoping to get some good material while I'm out. The place isn't conducive to large groups, so conversations will inevitably get muffled. I'm hoping this leads to at least one "YOUR MOM DID WHAT WITH HIM?!" awkward conversation. I've also never left this place without getting into a fight with the man who runs the car park, so I intend on exiting either two pounds richer, or Britney Spears style, leaving crushed toes (and hearts) in my rear view mirror. Stay tuned!

March 1, 2009

Career Change

I spent last night with the usual group of friends at a semi-housewarming party. Over the course of the evening, T-Money and I got to speaking about our current occupations and how we might possibly be in quarter-life crises. Our conversation twisted and turned and took us to far away lands doing obscure jobs. What we realized is that all we want is for our dream jobs to fly in on silver platters and fall into our laps. Is that really too much to ask?

Knee deep into the conversation, Office Traitor (previously Office Savior - yes, you've been demoted...) joined in, and we got to talking about hot dogs, hot dog stands, New York and London. We talked about how crap the hot dogs in London are, and how eating them, or standing anywhere in a three-mile radius, may result in death. Being the bleeding heart that I am, I have decided that I'm going to move to London, set up a proper hot dog stand, and do my social service from there. It's really a win win situation if you think about it. Just don't think too hard.