Sunday, December 4, 2011

The secret to good health

I signed up for pinterest the other day-coolest site ever! I have an entire board of treehouses!!

(I really had to limit myself to just one pic here, I have so many now!)
(I am a tad worried this could be a blackhole for my freetime)

I was deathly ill the other day. Literally. I have never left work because I was too sick to be there. And I did on Tuesday-at 11 am. (now that I think back, I wonder if illness was just an excuse and I subconsciously just wanted to go home). At the time, I thought I really might die (taking a page out of L's book).  So, I got in bed at 11 am, and got out the next day at 10 am after I was miraculously healed by a beanbag.

Years ago someone in dance company gave these beanbags out-they were to be heated and used to soothe sore muscles. I pull mine out from time to time when I have a severe neck problems (though I have found that O's electric massager is better). Anyways, whenever I pull it out (generally when we are all hanging out watching a show) L and O always whine about the smell. When I heat it up, the beans, or corn, or whatever is in there, smell very strange. Not bad, just odd. In fact, it smells just like petrified corn or a museum burning down.

So there I was, dying. O gallantly offered to do anything I needed-so I had him heat the beanbag up. (I bet he regretted his nice offer when he realized the beanbag was going to be around all night long) First off, he nearly killed me it was so hot. After wrapping it in several towels, I laid down on top of it and....was instantly much better! I had been consumed by chills and aches (I seriously thought it was flu) but the magical beanbag was amazingly helpful. The next morning I was quite recovered, by no means perfectly healthy, but so much improved as to leave me entirely elated.

So I have shared my secrets to rapid recovery-for Christmas you'll all be getting magic beanbags! (although O is very nervous about me making them here, he wondered if I would need to cook the beans or anything...)

In other news:
O and I drove through a place called Cornish the other day. It was filled with miniature horses, pygmy goats with beards, and those things that are like llamas. It was a strange land.

(this is not technically the farm we saw, but I'm sure it looks just like this in the summer)
These are the Cornish minis. See that human in the background for size comparison

The horses were so teeny, O and I found them just adorable!

(again, we did not actually see this goat, just his twin)

These are just llamas, not the things we saw (I think...)

 (how amusing would it be if I had a few of these?)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Call me Carnot (the t is silent), and an Ode to O

Moving on to a new subject (and away from Peer's strange comments I hope....)

The other day I miffed O by telling several family members that he is messy. He really is not messy, he's a total minimalist and has no stuff (except papers, which he keeps nicely stored away in luggage and tupperwares), I was merely saying that amongst all of his talents, I did not know that cleaning was high on the list.
Everyone has their skills. I am very good at opening doors with antique keys, organizing people into assembly lines to move things, doing the first bit of the worm, cleaning like a wizard (though I don't like that particular talent much), and I am efficient. Perhaps my greatest skill is efficiency. I am extremely efficient. E laughed when I told her-she said she has never thought of me that way before, which is very odd because all day long I think about being a little carnot cycle (a 100% efficient engine! Which is, btw, a fairy tale, a holy grail, as nothing is 100% efficient, it must lose some energy to heat) Anyways, I am crazy efficient. For example, I always walk at a diagonal-because the diagonal is shorter than two straights (see Pythagorean's theorem for the proof).
I hope to name a child Cece (short for Carnot Cycle). (which comes because O assures me I cannot name a child Sophie as we already have two Sophie nieces. I say the more the merrier, particularly when it comes to a favorite character in a fav book Howl's Moving Castle, but O won't see reason, so it will have to be Cece Sunshine I suppose.) At least I can yell "Carnot Cycle!" when she is in trouble :)
O has lots of talents, a few examples include: he is quite a phenomonal Italian soda mixer, excellent at seasoning things, looks great in mullet wigs (which not everyone can pull off), and has a very good dance move where he sort of Discos with both hands while shrinking to the floor.
So I had no idea that O considered cleaning up the house one of his skills. It turns out that he just has not had the time nor the inclination to flaunt that particular gift. I guess seeing other people's skills is not one of my skills. I'll have to work on that! A word to the wise: talk about people's talents, not their deficiencies, and they'll generally respond much better :) 

In other news:
O has gotten a hold of my toothbrush (on accident, believe it or not) once again. I woke up to find it in the shower (where I do not brush my teeth but O certainly does). I started yelling that he had done it again and O was like, 'no way, you wrote your name all over your toothbrush, how could I use it?!?" Good question. I wrote my name all over it, as in on the front, back, handle, top and bottom, though just with a B there because that is all that would fit! and it was pink! and O's was blue! Upon closer examination the writing had started to rub off, it was now etsy's toothbrush. I suppose that was where the confusion came in. O must have thought it was fair game as there is no esty living here :)
So I now have  a purple toothbrush and O has a green one. Of course mine is hidden so hopefully the color code will never need to be used. Keeping track of his toothbrush is not O's greatest skill :) On the flip side, he is rather laid back about germs, which is something I don't even dream of being :)

I wrote this toothbrush post last week. The next morning, I awoke to find a terrible surprise-my toothbrush was sitting in the toothbrush holder! As you may recall, I have been hiding my toothbrush, not placing it in the holder. So, when I also found it to be wet, I was rather suspicious. I shot off several menacing texts to O (he was out playing football), threw away my 2 day old toothbrush, and found a new one. I'm back to pink and this time I have written threats on the toothbrush, not just my name. Unfortunately, as I have terrible penmanship and a very small writing space, very few words are legible. However, the 'STOP' and 'DON'T TOUCH ME' appear to be perfectly clear. The toothbrush problem is turning into an expensive dilemma. (spelled correctly Mom :)     )

Monday, November 28, 2011

Facial finished up

I just noticed an entire paragraph was deleted from my facial post!
(I think I went in to erase some comment about O abandoning me on Thanksgiving :) and must have gotten a little carried away...)

To wrap up the facial:
I loved it!
I totally cannot believe I have never had one before-the whole spa thing is really my scene :)  If you have not had a one, sign up right away! I'm totally converted and plan to head back asap-it was completely rejuvenating and left me feeling like my skin was just glowing. (Though when I looked in the mirror hours later I was horrified to discover that I had been running around Target in just my nude face). All in all, it was a lovely experience. (I'm sure I had a lot more to say but I'm moving on to write about my first massage in Budapest...)

PS: I do not know about the rather strange comment on the previous post-I certainly did not have facial surgery and don't condone anyone performing surgery after merely chatting with a doctor on the internet!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My First Facial

So a few weeks ago O received a facial gift certificate from a work thing. Lovely boy that he is, he offered it to me!
I signed up the day it was expiring and presented myself at the salon. The girl asked me if I had ever had a facial before and I confessed that I had not. Feeling a little defensive and conspicuous, I tried to blend into the whole spa seen, acting like I knew what was going on (which I did not and I was rather anxious to be sure). She told me to put on a robe and some weird rubber flip flops and meet her outside. I was thinking-she must be confused, I signed up for a facial, what part of that requires me to remove my clothing? But, I did it anyways, pretending this was perfectly normal, as if I always run around in rubber flip flops, you know, when in the spa, do as the Romans, or something like that. She seats me in a chair in the hall and I'm thinking, do you do the facial right here? No, of course not, she explains the facial while giving me some foot scrub (that was freaky but I did my best to keep my facial contortions to a minimum and tried to relax and enjoy myself...).
During my little soak, she asked about my facial routine at home. I thought "hmm, I try to rinse off my mascara every three days" but did not think I should say that out loud. Instead I decided to focus on what I do (as opposed to what I neglect) and said "I really work on moisturizing" She seemed totally satisfied and probably inferred that I also do other things from that comment :)
Next she takes me to my room and tells me to remove my robe and get into the bed and under the covers, pointing out that the bed is even complete with a heated pad. She leaves and I think-what am I getting done here again? I remove my robe (but I left my levis on) and leapt under the sheets, just deliriously relieved that she pointed out which end to put my head on (if she had not, I would have thought my head should be on the raised end, and she would have known she was giving a facial to a hillbilly). She came in and I strived to exude an air of complete comfortableness (she could have told me that I was now supposed to run around the mall topless for 10 minutes and I probably would have gone with the flow, as I was so anxious to fit into the scene) (oh and yes, there is a secret Aveda Salon in the mall, quite a surprise)
I had expected a surgical metal table or something similarly sterile, not the dimly lit cozy room with Native Americans playing the pipe in the background that I found myself in. The mood was quite calming. After taking me on a sensory journey, my facial began. First she pulled out this delish steamer thing, I really would love to have one of those to wear around my neck at home, I'd feel like I was living in Florida (or the swimming pool) every minute! Next came an exfoliant and cleanser. There was a tense moment where she was cleansing my skin and she started towards my eyes, she even put soap onto the lids! I thought, this lady is crazy, she is trying to blind me!! (After all, I never put soap on my eyes! Not even when I have used false lashes-then I just gently brush the lashes with a tissue and some Cetaphil!) I developed a bit of a headache trying to keep myself a-on the bed and b-from screaming out of nervousness and c-from squinching my eyes noticeably. Eventually she washed it off (I don't even do water on the eyes much) and to my eternal relief, the soap did not seem to leak in through the lids! After that tension filled moment, she placed hot towels all over my face and ran around to squish my arms a bit, swung my legs back and forth (O would have loved that, he always tells me he needs to get that thing where you hang upside down to stretch out your spine) then came back and painted a mask on (with a paint brush, I opened my eyes enough to peak at that point). I sat with my mask, mentally begging for some cucumbers on my eyes to complete the moment (they never came), and began to feel entirely relaxed. When it was all over, she sort of jostled my shoulders (I think she thought I had gone to sleep, I looked that serene) and told me to take my time getting up, she would wait outside. I wondered about that, because if I really could take my time, I thought I might actually take a nap, but, the moment the door shut, I jumped up like a deer and shot back into my robe, out the door, back into my clothes, and then back to my ending consultation with a water and some home made trail mix.

FYI: If you happen to every be in the position of giving someone a facial, explain everything to them-so they don't have to feel like a lunatic hick :) And don't assume they will know anything, not even which end of the bed to lie down on. Finally, please don't forget the cucumbers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

O's man jewelry

Our bathroom (which was flooded in August) has been repaired. We moved in last week and I generously gave O three drawers to put his stuff in. However, as it has come to my attention that he devoted an entire drawer to his jewelry (don't ask), I'm thinking of revoking that privilege.

Most of you have never seen O fully accessorized but this is what he looks like on the weekend...

 I can reveal all of O's secrets bc he told me I don't let him read my blog. In reality, I don't control the internet, O is just trying to slither away from his obligatory spouse support blog reading by distracting me with flattery. As if I would believe I were that supreme. Actually, now that I think about it, he does continually convince me I'm a size zero (imagine the shock I get every time I try to buy pants) so maybe it is not so far fetched.

Monday, November 7, 2011


So I've got to finish this Europe trip so I can move on to all the other lovely things going on around here, such as how I walked in on O combing his eyebrows (with a full size comb) the other day, and an amazingly fun dinner theater with the world's worst group of singers...

so, we left Brno and headed to Budapest via Bratislava

We first stopped off at the grocery store where we bought loads of European candy (no surprise), mixes for dumplings, halushki, and of course, svikova! Now we can have everyone over for a Czech dinner! (that is assuming anyone will agree to come-after their last experience...)

First we stopped off in Bratislava, the capitol of Slovakia, the number one most underated city in Europe (according to many sites on the internet), and L's fav place ever!

Slovakia and Czech Republic were once one country (Czeckoslovakia) but they split in 1993 to form their own countries. The languages are similar and most adults can understand both (they all grew up speaking or listening to both-TV shows, news, signs, papers, etc). Kids now have a harder time understanding the other language. O was fine translating, he spoke a little Slovakian on his mission and most people we ran into spoke Czech very well. A departure from Prague-most people here did not speak much English.

Bratislava was hit very hard during Communism. Many beautiful buildings were torn down and replaced by absolute monstrosities (or, in some cases, nothing at all). What was left untouched was left untouched (in other words, everything fell into complete disrepair). There are some parts of Bratislava where the Communists even sold the cobblestones off to German towns that were trying to rebuild after WW2. The Communists were certainly not a sentimental bunch :(
People are just now starting to fix up the buildings- we saw a few buildings that had been purchased by big banks and other well known companies that were redone beautifully.

Bratislava "white house"

Front of the building

We only had a few hours so we took Rick Steve's self guided tour of the town.
Bratislava is absolutely charming (in a decrepit sort of way). (I cannot imagine what L did not like about it!). O and I predict Bratislava is going to be the next big thing. It is perfectly situated about 2 hours from Prague and less than an hour from Vienna. Both are huge centers of business and have large populations. (Bratislava and Vienna are the two closest capitols in Europe). So close to Vienna, people could live here and commute, and businesses can come in and still work with all the Viennese (real estate in Vienna is not just out of this world, its pretty much non existent these days). If you want to invest in property, buy something here! (of course you will have to deal with the strict renovation rules).

Anyways, Bratislava is starting to emerge from from its communist days back to its former (Hapsburg) glory. This was the capitol of the Hapsurg empire during the reign of Maria Theresa.

The old town consists of tiny little lanes branching off one main cobblestone drag. The main lane was completely lined with little cafes (this was actually what I pictured Rome to be like, until I landed and found out I was completely mistaken). O and I stopped for frozen hot chocolate-it was like 500 degrees, and were surprised to see that the waitors here serve tap water (first place in all of Europe that you can get a free drink of water!)

old town, lined with street cafes

(not so frozen) frozen hot chocolate. (they obviously have no idea what frozen hot chocolate is as there was nothing milk'shakish about this luke-warm 'pudding').

as they have been coming out of communism, they have been placing statues of random people all over, just for fun...


O being photographed by the "paparazzi"statue


fake statue (in other words, real person)

one man band-O got a real kick out of him as he was playing a song that my dad apparently just started belting out on the train in Prague with O and L.

While eating our chocolate pudding, we were mesmerized by a family of Germans/Austrians. There was a father and three sons and the best way to describe them-goons, that is really the only word. They just seemed so gooney, they would be the perfect bumbling bad guys in an animated film. The two older boys laughed in the most insanely goofey manner, throughout their meal, the younger one (who looked to be about 13) sat and smoked a hundred cigarettes nervously, while the father looked on in a scheming sort of manner, with his 7 inch long grotesque toenails. Truly, words cannot describe this very strange bunch.

After our rather rich chocolate, we headed to St Martin's Cathedral to see its display of fabulous robes, crowns, jewels, and other artifacts. We also got to head down to the crypt (which I loved!). That was worth the train to Bratislava all by itself! They have buried church leaders and important townspeople there for centuries and still have a few spots available!

As we walked back to the train station we stopped at another cafe for Halushki, the countries national dish. It was delish (much better than when I tried to make it, my potatoes oxidized and turned gray, making the dish extremely unappetizing)

Following dinner we raced back to the train station and caught the train to Budapest, Hungary.

We arrived in Budapest quite late, could not find a single person who spoke english well enough to give us directions, took a bus to the city center, got excited that our hotel was right in the heart of the nightlife!, discovered that our hotel was not there at all, took the metro back to the train station, walked across the street to our hotel. (keep in mind we were hauling our backpacks around the entire time!)

More to come...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

There's a good chance I will be voted the spokesperson for The National Association of Sofa Spuds

I'm taking a quick break from Europe (while I get the rest of my pics in order) to tell you about the past month:

It all started when I was joking about not having fit into something since 7th grade. My mom says, "maybe you will by Christmas" all cryptically, and I'm thinking "what the heck is happening between now and Christmas that will result in me morphing into a teenage girl?!?!?" It sounds extreme. Then she says "you remember, we all agreed to a lifestyle change"

as a side note: we cannot say diet anymore because we have too many body conscious family members (I believe P now eats raw broccoli for breakfast). so, we have to go on these life-style changes instead. It may sound better but it amounts to the same thing-LESS SUGAR and LESS FUN!!!

well, I'm thinking "no, actually, I don't remember, though you think I would considering my current definition of fruit is a Skittle".

So next up L tells me no more desserts at lunch! She says, "we are not doing that anymore". By now, I'm a little weirded out. Where was I when everyone decided to be so healthy?

The straw that broke my back was when O told me Diet Coke (which I just decided to get into) is not actually that good for you. This is O we are talking about! When has he ever encouraged me to do anything other than eat candy and drink Dr P nonstop?!?

So, a month goes by and I try not to think about how I really need to do a little working out. I do switch from Diet Coke to Perrier (it helped that I first burned off my taste buds by downing a bottle Listerine (bit my lip) in three days. The first time I tried the Perrier I thought, wow this tastes exactly like Coke! This is no longer the case)

Then one day, winded after 15 min of practicing my party tricks (which is another story entirely) I panic and decide something must be done. Who knew I had become so torpid?! So when a friend invited me to her light aerobics class, I was all too ready to commit. (I thought this would be the perfect way to get back into the workout world, after all, my friend is 8 months pregnant.)

So last night was the workout class. I trotted my lovely workout shoes (this was probably their third time getting out in as many years) out the door and to the church.

Confident and more than a bit pleased with myself, I start high-stepping it to Justin Bieber.
About 3 min in, I'm thinking "Oh no, my sports bra is too tight and I can no longer breathe!"
at 5 min I'm feeling it but determined to push through.

After 20 min, the warrior master (who was a perky little blonde) gave us a water break. By now I'm thinking "the pot pie was a really bad idea but I'm sure this is almost over, I can last 10 more minutes!"

Crawling back on the floor, my punishment started up again.
I began to modify my moves ever so slightly (I was absolutely going to keep up with my pregnant friend). Though my movements were smaller, I (kept telling myself I) had way better technique than the energizer bunny in front of me (a bouncy girl in a pink sweatsuit showing me up by doing all the moves would have to stand right in front of me). I started worrying if I would be able to stand long enough to give the CHEM 105 lecture the next morning and thinking that maybe I should have stayed home and tried out that new PedEgg thing.

After 40 min I realize there is no way I can take a drink of water or it will end up all over the floor (nauseous as I was) so I just crouch down and dream I'm in a desert for the entire 30 second break. I actually considered going home but as I had driven everyone else, I was pretty much stuck.

I wobble back to the floor for the cool-down, trying to control my rolling stomach.
Imagine my surprise (and horror) when Bieber comes back on! I'm like "is this woman crazy?! Is she trying to kill us?!" I'm pretty sure the American Heart Association recommends 30 min, not an hour, of cardio a day!
I did not want Justin Bieber's voice to be the last one I heard, so, I slogged along-just waving my arms a bit and bending my knees ever so slightly for the jumping jacks. When she pulled out some new combinations I let myself look completely bewildered to explain my jumbled movements-this was not difficult as I really was starting to feel dazed and confused.

Finally- and not a minute too soon as I was in series danger of swooning- the music stopped and she sat on the floor.

And now for the cool down.... which of course turned out to be a killer ab workout. Though I really wanted to join in, my wrist injury held me back and I was forced to do some light stretching :)

I felt just like I did after running the mile and a half in 10th grade gym-a blotchy wretched mess. It turns out, working out is shockingly abhorrent. I lugged myself home and could do nothing but lounge on my bed the rest of the evening. At least, I had absolutely no desire to indulge myself in any late night snacks!
Amazingly enough after such a harrowing night, I am just fine today, not sore or still at all. I suppose that means I'll have to return on Thursday.

Of course, no exercise post is complete without some uneducated cats

The moral of the story: Good Health is as elusive as the Holy Grail. We'll just have to see how long my search continues.

Next up-a semi-nude massage in Budapest...

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Photos to go along with past posts!


Frankfurt again

Mozart, L and me in Vienna

O, Maria Theresa, and me in Vienna

A fantastically Rococo church in Vienna

Schronnbrunn Palace

 Dad's large strudel (compare with O's small strudel)

 Schronnbrunn grounds-here O was giving us ideas on how to pose for the pic....

 O told us to try a serious face

Prince Eugene's house

Vienna Parliment

Conference room inside Parliment

The "lovely" sausages :) and you can also see the famous sacher torte!

 Hallstadt, as picturesque as I promised!

 Getting ready for the salt mine

 boarding the train to leave the salt mine

 Hallstadt town square

The Singing Steps in Salzburg (and they say these ponchos are one size fits all!)

O imitating a statue in Salzburg

Salzburg-see the signs hanging above each shop-that is a tradition there

Even McDonald's gets into the spirit of things-btw, this is probably the only McDonalds we saw that we did not go into :)

Dad and The Indian (I think he went into the store 5 times before finally caving and getting a picture :)

O, Dad, and the horses, Dad was pretty excited about these

A band in Salzburg (I'd also be looking a little nervous about having my picture taken if I were wearing those short shorts) Everyone wears leiderhosen and dirndls in Salzburg so we thought we would get some too-you would not believe the price of those things! Seriously, I'm talking like thousands. In the end, we passed and went to lunch instead-this was L's fav place she ate in all of Austria and the place where O tried to order a Red Bowl  (which turned out to be a Red Bull)

Is there anything better than a pretzel as big as your head?!?!?! I particularly like Mom peaking out in the background :)

L looking ponderous in Cesky Krumlov

 Cesky Krumlov

The Scary Hotel (really house I guess) in Cesky Krumlov. The room was  little like a cave

Turned out not to be too scary to have breakfast on the terrace

The house owners

Cesky Budjovice Town Square

Jan and Honza in Cescky Bud. BTW the kids just got out of the pool-they are wearing swimsuits underneath the shirts :) (And me looking incredibly largish-seriously bad camera angle!)

 Prague by the castle

 Prague by our hotel

 The church in the Prague castle complex, I'm not sure what is with the tilting heads

 Prague golden lane-the tiny street lines with rooms and our lovely ponchos
 On the hill above Prague, by the castle

 We saw this an awful lot :)
 This is probably why the walking guide told L to get ready for the next day :)

 L and I posing by the grotto (not sure what pose we were trying to make however)

The American Embassy in Prague

And a little something to get you excited about the rest of the trip...

 On her own with Mom and Dad, L had a major photo shoot all over Amsterdam :)