Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dancing In The Dark

This morning, at the hour of Way Early, I stumbled out of bed and dressed myself.

If one plans ahead, one can set aside clothing and whatnot for the dressings of this Way Early hour. This allows for two things: A) one can get ten more minutes of sleep and B) one can dress in the dark so as not to disturb Spouse's mandatory 10 hours of sleep. (Nightly.)

On this particular Tuesday at Way Early o'clock, I had plans to drive myself to the gymnasium (also referred to as "The Gym"), climb aboard a stationary bike and ride it in the dark while some washed-up cheerleader plays her techno and yells at me to go faster. (Which don't get me started on that one because no matter how fast I go, it's a stationary bike and I will stay in the same place. Hence the term stationary. "Faster" might not be the right thing to scream. Just sayin'.)

This practice is commonly referred to as Spinning. As in Sit and Spin.

(Okay, not really. That euphemism means something entirely different.)

Here's what Wikipedia says about Spinning: "Indoor cycling, as an organized activity, is a form of high-intensity exercise that involves using a stationary exercise bicycle in a classroom setting."

Now that you're schooled on Spinning, here's a photo of me Spinning:

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Just kidding. That clock is a dead giveaway. Way Early is never at 1:00. That girl's chest is also a dead giveaway. Hello boobs!

Anyway, this Spinning thing is something I do in the winter months to avoid some discomfort. Discomforts like cold. And wind. And the dark. I figure that if I'm going to exercise in the dark it might as well be in a sweaty room with others while a washed-up cheerleader plays her techno and yells at me to go faster.

On this particular Tuesday, I was a bit distracted. Spouse and given me a pair of SPD pedals and cleats to replace those blasted Rabid Beaters I had grown to detest. The cycles at the gymnasium have SPD hook-ups. This is so that those of us Avid Cycle Clods can put on fancy shoes and look the part.

So on this particular Tuesday, equipped with my Cycle Clod wannabe shoes and SPD cleats, I moseyed my way into the gymnasium. Once out of the darkness and into the light, I looked down to this:

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That's two different pairs of shoes. One's a Mizuno. The other's a Brooks.

Clod is right.

They're both running shoes though. Shouldn't that count for something? And shouldn't it count for even more because I made it four miles on those mismatched bad boys?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!


May All Your Wildest Dreams Come True!


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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday Tune (Vol 22)

Today's Tuesday Tune is brought to you by Bollywood and portmanteaus.

A portmanteau is a word created by the blending of two words. Examples include: mimsy (flimsy+miserable), smog (smoke+fog and very fitting for weeks like this one along the Wasatch Front), internet (international+net), brunch (breakfast+lunch), sqawk (squall+sqeak), napalm (napthene+palmitate) gerrymander (oooh this is a good one - Gerry+Salamander after Eldridge Gerry), stagflation (stagnate+inflation), modem (modulator+demodulator), pixel (pix+element), rockumentary (rock+documentary), emoticon (emotion+icon), slanguage (slang+language), spam (spiced+ham), chortle (chuck+snort) and finally we have Hinglish (Hindi+English).

I could do this all day - this discovering of words that are portmanteaus. But it's Christmas and I don't have all day for portmanteaus.

Portmanteaus are also used to portray the joining of two people in a relationship. Examples include Brangelina (Brad+Angelina), Ragen (Rabid+Megan), and Rabouse (Rabid+Spouse.)

Lewis Carroll has a poem of magnanimus (magnus great+animus soul) portmantocity (portmanteau+ferocity.) It's an excerpt from Through The Looking Glass. Here it is, if'n you're interested. If not, skip it and get to the meat of this post.

The Jabberwocky - by Lewis Carroll

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


You can say that a portmanteau is like a music mashup for words. What's a music mashup? Come on!? You don't know what a music mashup is? A music mashup is a portmanteau - but with tunes. Got it? Good.

Now on to the Tuesday Tune.

While in India, we were escorted to the premier showing of a Bollywood movie called De Dana Dan. This film was in Hindi without English subtitles. Spouse and I were mostly lost. However, we were sandwiched between translators who helped us play along. Somewhat. And every time the hero was pushed into the water, we laughed. Because it was funny. Even in Hindi


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This is a photo of the theater. It is brand spankin' new. And as is customary in the country of India, you walk through a metal detector and have your entire person and baggage searched. I had my Bossette camera with me because duh!? you don't leave that thing unattended. Ever. The Bollywood movie theater people would not let me in with the Bossette. So the Bossette stayed in the car and I had mild sweats over its absence.

For the record, if our Fine Country decides to take up similar security safeguards, I'm out of here. I will move to New Zealand with the sheep.

Bollywood, a portmanteau, is a film production company based in Mumbai. The term Bollywood refers to only one production company, not all films made in India. When Bollywood was established way back in 1913, its name came from a portmanteau of Hollywood and Bombay. (Bombay changed its name to Mumbai after the Brits were forced out. Or left. Whatever.)

Bollywood movies are known for their music video outbreaks. And flashy colors. And comedy. And beautiful Indian people.

And so it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to a tune called Paisa - the hit from De Dana Dan.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The White Elephant Exchange

On Saturday, the 19th of December, I was hungover from the exhaustion of the previous day's activities. The night before was a rowdy one in which Spouse and I hosted a Christmas party.

We hosted THE Christmas Party.

THE Christmas Party is the one we have every year to celebrate and reunite with our Work Cronies from the Glory Days.

I'm hearing you now, dear Rabid Reader, asking about the true meaning of this Glory Days business. Let me tell you! The Glory Days were when a bunch of us collectively, (extra emphasis on collectively) built software.

Back in the brightness of these Glory Days, everyone assigned to the project worked in the same wing of the same building. Can you imagine that? Working with people and having them within your proximity? If you had a question, you could walk on over to the expert and speak to their mug. And when your endearing future Spouse says, "It works on my machine," you could yank him by the ear, walk him on over to your very own cubicle and show him the proof. Not that that has ever happened. Spouse never writes bugs. Or breaks the build. Or leaves his underwear on the floor.

Can you imagine the efficiency? Of presiding in the same building and the same wing as the people you work with? Can you imagine a responsibility realm that doesn't grapple with time zone issues or language discrepancies? I can. I lived the efficiency. It was way fun too.

This particular Christmas Party is the only party that matters anymore for the potluck expiation beats any restaurant and it includes the most blissful of holiday traditions: The White Elephant Gift Exchange.

The White Elephant Exchange with this group has some history. There's always some surprise and laughter and vulgarity and fighting. Someone always goes home with the indecently ill-favored and someone else always goes home with the prized possession - you know the one that got everyone yelling and grabbing. One thing remains constant, however. It's always funny.

Ten years ago, when Spouse was Boyfriend, he ambushed us all with a whammy.

Here's the story. Boyfriend wanted me to have a certain gift, one that he had picked out himself. He rigged the White Elephant Exchange and instructed everyone not to take his delicately-wrapped-in-newspaper gift. He also arranged The Winder to be last. When it was her turn to pick the prize, she would steal my gift. This would force me to pick the only prize left - Boyfriend's delicately-wrapped-in-newspaper wonder. Simple, right?

Here's where the story gets interesting. Half way through the exchange, someone steals my prize. I believe it was a bottle of that Martinellis crap (a true White Elephant indeed) and I chose the delicately-wrapped-in-newspaper wonder. On my own.

In the which I opened the wrapping and the box to find three separate film canisters. I believe I barked something like, "this better be funny," ('cause we're all about the funny) and began the opening of canisters - only to see that the first two canisters contained a roll of film. I was ticked. "This is not funny," I said and opened the third.

I looked into the last canister. And Lo and Holy Behold, right before my giant eyes, there lay a Diamond Ring. THE Diamond Ring. The Ring you ask someone to marry you with. The Ring you wear 'til death do you part. The Ring you use to gauge whether or not you've put on weight. That ring.

Boyfriend had chosen the White Elephant Exchange as the stage for The Proposal.

At first I was confused because it didn't make sense. Obviously this is for me, but how did they get me to pick the right present? Then I got scared and had to sit down with that holy crap this is it kind of sit down.

Boyfriend and I were hitched for all Time and Infinity five weeks later.

I've grown to believe that The White Elephant Exchange is the perfect metaphor for marriage. You don't always know what you've picked. Sometimes it's indecently ill-favored and other times it's the prized possession.

The trick is to keep it funny. And to make sure no one steals it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jocular Jeering

A while back, Yahoo #1 arrived home from school. He was in a playful mood. I asked how school was and he responded with, "Wonderful. Just wonderful."

"What was so wonderful about it?" I inquired with speculation, intrigue and wanton ears.

"We learned about alliterations today. Wanna hear one? Billions of bucks bought bitter butter."

In the which I dropped my jaw and nearly messed myself. My first born is echoing euphemisms with commencing consonants. Yahoo #1 is marshaling his message with parallel pronouncements!

I like alliterations. A lot. Actually scratch that. I love alliterations. One might say that my alliterations are obnoxiously overdone and that I've flooded my following with foolishness.

I dare you to find a post that doesn't have an alliteration. Most of 'em do. And when I'm perfectly proud of one of these alliterative achievements, I add the "alliteration" label to it. Wanna read some alliterations? Go to the rabidrunner.com and click "allterations" under "labels" on the left.
(Or you can click here.)

My first born has learned the art of alliterating and I dare say he's even on his way to liking it. Oh the joy! Yahoo #1 might as well be captain of the football team, a concert pianist, state cross country champ, a renowned heart surgeon and president of the United States all at once.

Oh the joy!

To top off the tantalizing triumph of his new phonetically fun phrasing, Yahoo #1 wasn't done making a splash with me. "Mom?" He says. "What is witty banter?"

Oh be still my heart.

-

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Not Wally and Beaver

Today, Yahoo #2 arrived home from school (via carpool, three cheers for carpool), and announced: "My Teacher cried today."

"Oh yeah?
How come?" Said I.

"Because she wanted to read a book and the kids were talkin', talkin', talkin'! But not me. I was the only one being quiet."

------------------------------

If by chance you are ever feeling as if your job is unbearable punishment or torture disguised by income, if by chance you are feeling as if you cannot take another minute of your job's duties let alone another day, I want you to come talk to me. I will take you to Yahoo #2's Kindergarten class. And then you and I can see, rather clearly, why that poor Teacher cried today. We might also see that few jobs are as tough as that of a Kindergarten Teacher.

I don't know what it is, but that Kindergarten class is freakishly out of control. I swear it's some bizarre space-alien experiment straight out of Sector 13. I've done some classroom observations in my days and no amount of mischief, mutiny or misbehavior comes close to Yahoo #2's Kindergarten class. She's a great Teacher and she's working hard.

I want to believe that Yahoo #2 and his Girlfriends are not adding to the perplexity of that poor teacher's situation. Our crew of four seem rather well behaved when we are there. But you never know.

I think a certain Teacher will get some very certain flowers from a certain blogger that runs. That Teacher might also get a certain flowery note that gushes appreciation.

Certain of it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Tune (Vol 21)

Today's Tunes of Tuesday are all about electricity.

While way over there on the other side of the world, in India, I collected some photos of electrical stuff. Today you get two bangs for your blogging buck - photos about electricity AND songs about electricity.

Lucky, lucky, you.
(Well... actually... lucky me that I have people like you to look at my pictures.)


The Electric Ocean - The Cult
Electricity, Electricity - School House Rock
Don't Bring Me Down - Electric Light Orchestra
Danger! High Voltage - Electric Six
Ten Thousand Lines - Electric President
Electric Avenue - Eddy Grant
Electric Twist - A Fine Frenzy
Electric Barbarella - Duran Duran
Electric Ladyland - Jimi Hendrix
Electric Hearts - Cash Cash
Over The Electric Grapevine - Primus
I'm Alive - Electric Light Orchestra


india electricity

india electricity

india electricity

india electricity

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india electricity

india electricity


india electricity

india electricity

india electricity

Monday, December 14, 2009

House Of Cards

I take the business of Christmas Cards rather seriously.

The Christmas Card is my favorite part of Christmas. I erupt glee when I open the mailbox, peer inside and see a Card from a friend or a family. And when I open the Card, I look at the picture carefully and examine the differences from the previous year. If there's a letter, I read it carefully and note the progresses and successes. (Notice how no one sends a card with the failures? No one sends this: Johnny (18) started wetting the bed again, Jane (16) ended up with one of those, you know... diseases and Hank (29+12) just cannot give up the pot. It's been a bad year.)

Once I open and admire the Christmas Card and photo (if there is one), I attach it with magnets to the garage door. (The door that goes out to the garage, silly, not the actual garage door. Hello wind? Those precious mementos wouldn't last on the garage door. Speaking of garage door, Spouse fixed ours. Yippee! Several points for Spouse.)

Here's the current Garage Door:

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Notice the sparseness. Come on now, send 'em already, would you? Or are you one of those send-cards-only-to-those-who-send-first kind of people? The prize for the best card goes to Megan of Holdsworth Photography. Finely fabricated, my friend. Finely fabricated. Also notice that the Governor sent us a card. That's right, the Governor. I'm sure he hand-picked us as recipients.

Anyway, since I receive this spectacle of joy and jubilation from The Christmas Card, I figure it's my duty to give back. We send The Christmas Card. It's a year-long process wherein I puzzle over the concept for The Photo. It takes many months to nail down the Family Frontispiece for the Christmas Card. Many months. For The Photo must represent the family and the year.

Thanks to Spouse and his dispensed happenings, last year was prolly our best Christmas Photo ever. We appreciate Spouse for surrendering six months of walking so that we could have the best Christmas Photo ever. (The story is recapped in this Series of Fortunate Events post, just in case you're new and didn't get to go through that drama with us.)

Here's that photo:

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In years past, I have hand-crafted The Christmas Card. Spouse and the Yahoos help. It's a great family affair. This process usually begins in November and takes many hours. Also in years past, I have hand-printed a little special something for all 100+ of our recipients (we think we're more popular than we are.)

Hand made and hand printed! You might say that each Christmas Card I send is a little bit of love stuffed into an envelope and topped with a stamped star. Star-Stamped Love.

Incidentally, did you notice how I said, "in years past" twice?

Two times, I said, "in years past." That's a bit of foreshadowing. You know like Faulkner (yawn) and Twain (giggle) and Shakespeare (no way!) use the foreshadowing to let you know something bad is about to happen.

Something bad is about to happen. We are not going to hand-make the Christmas Card or hand-print a special little something in all of the Cards. Being as Spouse and I spent the last two weeks of November way over there, on the other side of the world - it just cannot happen. There is no time for hand-making or hand-printing or hand-anything.

The good news, however, is there will be a Christmas Card. And this card will have The Photo. And a signature, printed by a printing machine. I mailed a chunk of them today.

Would you like a sneak peak of The Photo? Hah! Sorry.

You'll just have to see it in your mailbox. (Or you could send a meTunes gift certificate.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Running To Stand The Chill

NatTheFatRat asked about running in the cold. She asked how I don't get frostbite. Well Nat, the truth is I have been bitten by the frost, but it wasn't from running. I received localized damage to the big toe extremity of my left foot while snowshoeing. The two-year anniversary of the Great Frostbite is just around the corner. Even now, that toe is the first thing to scream at me when it gets cold.

Here's a photo of that extremity at its grossest:

running,frostbit toe

Another, even lovelier view of the toe can be found here.

Yesterday morning, the gang and I went running again! This time, the degrees Fahrenheit was -1. MINUS ONE. That is cold. But I was prepared. As can be explained in detail here:

running


Look at what happens to my fabulous eyelashes when the temperature has dropped so low that even a witches you-know-what seems warm.

running

Cool, huh? 'Cept someone needs to wax their chin.

The Phone Vacation

The phone is broke.

Yip, you heard me right. Not broken, but broke. If you have phoned our home within the last few days you received a busy. The phone is broke.

'Tis a shame, right? Not really.

We are not one of those houses that has several receivers and phones. We are a house that has one receiver and a few phones assigned to it. (On the same frequency, whatever.) Since the receiver has gone kaput, we have no phone.

Today, Yahoo and I were out shopping. While rummaging at the Costco for stuff we don't need, Spouse phoned with news that I had purchased him a Christmas present. New goggles, to be exact - ones that will fit over his spectacles. (I guess you need to see when you ski.) I returned the gesture by telling him that he bought me a new coat. A red pee coat with delicately gathered sleeves. We're each others own personal shopper, you know. Handy.

While on the phone with Spouse, he reminded me of the phone that's broke. Mentioned that it might be a good idea to pick up one.

Drat. The phone vacation is nearing its end. During this vacation, no one called because they need something, no one disturbed my important tax form implementation to sell me something, grant me a free night's stay anywhere or beg a hundred or two for charity. No one called to take "just a few minutes" of my time to answer "a few" questions.

I see now why Daddy still has no phone.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

L'hotel Merdien

I have been a bit absent from my real life. First there was the Paris/India adventure and then there was The Bug - The Bug that Spouse and I both brought home from India. The Bug that lodged itself in our intestines, refused to leave, and wiped us clean of any residual energy. We are wiped. (In more ways that one...)

That Bug also made it difficult to review any of my photos. I felt like barfing every time I looked at 'em. Thanks to the direction of Lars and her Magic Pear Juice Cleanse, I'm free and mostly clear of The Bug. Even went running this morning. Made it nine point five in the balm of two degrees Fahrenheit!

Spouse is still a bit out of sorts but getting better. I had mentioned earlier that I had some regret over the trip. Not now! The Rabid is Recuperated, Rested, and Ready to go back.

Now it's time for more photos. Today you get the hotel. This hotel, named Le Meridien, is the nicest place I've ever stayed. True story. It's full of the nicest people and the poshest of accommodations. Incidentally, Spouse and I, adorned in our ultra cazsh clothing, stood out amongst the dignitaries and business bigwigs who frequent this L'hotel Meridien.


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The Time Zone People.
They tell you what the time is in four places.
Sometimes they cheat and look at the clocks.


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The Security People.
This lovely lady gave me a pat-down and searched my bags daily.


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The Greeter Girls
Job Description: Say hello. Tell the ladies they look pretty.
"Hello Ma'am. You look pretty today Ma'am"


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Metal Detector Derek. Named it Derek. Just now.


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Spouse. Just after hearing a dirty joke.


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The Bed.
Just freshly turned down. With a rug on the floor,
bottled water stocked, a robe and a flower on the pillow.

Oh and chocolates. Turn down service includes chocolates.


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Why is it that the 745 is so much fun to photograph?
Yes, the license plate has been altered.
Someone important prolly owns it and will come after me.


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I like this guy. He has a great face and is always happy.


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Greeter Girl. She wants me to e-mail her this one.
Gotta do that tomorrow.


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Does it seem like the pictures are gold? Too gold perhaps?
It's because the dang place is made of gold. Solid gold.


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Greeter Girls


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Can you spy the Rabid?


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Chandeliers in the lobby. I want a few of these.


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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tuesday Tune, Vol 20

Today's Tuesday Tune is brought to you by my very favorite Christmas album - Vivaldi's Gloria and Bach Magnificat with Richard Hickox as conductor. You can get yours here. Or you can be my friend for a while and you'll end up with one for Christmas. That is, of course, if you're worthy and you'll listen to it and not only listen to it but appreciate it.

I'm High Brow about Vivaldi's Gloria and the Bach Magnificat.


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Today's Tuesday Tune is also brought to you by karaoke. Why? Because lucky-for-you, I've included the lyrics. All of them. In Latin, however, so now might be a great time to brush up on your Latin. I care about you deeply and have therefore included the English translation. Typed with my own digits. (I want y'all to know what you're singing.)

Today's Tuesday Tune is not just one song or a mish-mash of many, its a complete album. A complete one! Incidentally, this one took some time. Not only did I need to find the tune on the YouTube, I had to listen to it for proper representation.

I'm High Brow about Vivaldi's Gloria and the Bach Magnificat.


Antonio Vivaldi's Gloria RV 589


1. Coro - Gloria In Excelsis Deo
Gloria in excelsis Deo,
Glory to God in the highest

2. Coro - Et In Terra Pax Hominibus
Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.
and on earth peace, goodwill to men.

3. Duetto - (Soprano 1 - 2) Laudamus Te
Laudamus te, benedicimus te,
Adoramus te, glorificamus te;

We praise you, we bless you,
we worship you, we glorify you;

4. Coro - Gratias Agimus Tibi & 5. Coro - Propter Magnam Gloriam
Gratias agimus tibi
we give you thanks

Propert magnam gloriam tuam.
for your great glory.

6. Aria - (Soprano) Domine Deus
Domine Deus, Rex caelestis,
Deus Pater ominoptens.

Lord God, heavenly king,
almighty God and Father.

7.Coro - Domine Fili Unigenite
Domine Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe.
Lord Jesus Christ, only-begotten Son.

8. Aria - (Alto E Coro) Domine Deus, Agnus Dei
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris.
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father.

9. Coro - Qui Tollis Peccata Mundi
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
Miserere nobix.
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
Suscipe depreciationem nostram.

You take away the sins of the world;
have mercy on us.
You take away the sins of the world;
receive our prayer.

10. Aria - (Alto) Qui Sedes Ad Dexteram
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
Miserere nobis.

You sit at the right hand of the Father;
have mercy on us.

11. Coro - Quoniam Tu Solus Sanctus & 12. Coro - Cum Sancto Spiritu
Quoniam tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dominus,
Tu solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe;

For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are
the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ;

Cum Sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris,
Amen.

with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

Monday, December 07, 2009

It's Here!

This morning I woke to brightness. Brightness that can only come from a full moon or a blanket of new. I ran to the window and threw up the sash - when what do my wondering eyes see? That the poor Dyke Mobile spent the night in the elements.

Just look at her.

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Poor thing. It's bad enough that she's an old lady.

But look at that snow! Do you know what this means?! It means that it's time to bring the Twins out of time-out. And being as little girls love to play dress-up, we played dress-up.

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Jill & Jezebel 12/7/09

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

Killing Time, Part II

I didn't expect anyone to actually finish Part I of Killing Time. At the time of it's creation, I thought it a boorish list of events. Like one of those, we did this, then we did that, then we did another this, then we did another that kind of blog posts.

If you found that one interesting, there's more! More murdering of minutes.

Mumbai to Amsterdam
The flight from Mumbai to Amsterdam is over 9 hours. I don't recall exactly how many minutes over 9 hours. Being as the junket home was so NOT scrapbook worthy, I burned the itinerary and cannot use it as a reference. I do know, however, that it was over 9 hours. We were on the very very back row. Seats 42a and 42b.

As was reveled in Killing Time, Part I, I cried for an hour. Cried myself to sleep in fact. A few hours later, I woke up because Spouse had a severe case of the shivers. His violent shaking woke me up. He had a coat and two blankets but couldn't keep warm. I took one look at him and said, "You're getting sick. You're growing a bug." He didn't believe me. Wanted to stay in denial.

I jammed in the earplugs and went to sleep. A few hours later, I woke to the cackling of flight attendants in the back. There were two chatty Cathies and two chatty Charlies. They were noisy. I began to have flashbacks of child birth.

Huh, you say!? Stay with me.

When you have a child in a hospital, you stay for a few nights. This is almost the worst part of birthing. You have just calfed a small creature. You are tired. You want to sleep. But you cannot because the nurses out at the nurse station are rehashing the latest People magazine. Or sampling Betty's Blueberry Buckle. Or looking through the latest Sensty catalog. Noisy.

Those flight attendants were just as noisy, I tell you. Sounded like a bunch of nurses huddled around at the Mother-Baby. Even with the earplugs I couldn't sleep because of the noise. Decided to turn on a movie. I watched Land of the Lost with Will Ferrell and laughed loudly on several occasions.

Nine some-odd hours after take-off, we land in Amsterdam. At this point, Spouse is sick. Not just kind of sick, but sick. We go for hot chocolate. And that doesn't help. I take pictures of a sign and post the progress of our journey on the blog. I purchase little clog key chains for the Yahoos (they collect key chains) and some stroopwaffles. I note the geniusness of the Netherlands' recycling program and take a picture of that. I also use the restroom several times because they have toilet paper. And real toilets. And toilet seat cleaner right there in the stall.

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Basically, we sit and wait for a total of five hours. Then we get in line and go through a complete security screening with x-ray and mental (not metal, mental) detectors.

The Dutch are so nice at security! So nice! I wanted to bring them home with me. Wooden shoes and all. Which leads me to the confusion of that country. Is it Holland or the Netherlands? And how do you get Dutch from a country called Holland or a country called the Netherlands? And why do they always wear orange at the Olympics when there isn't any orange on their flag? Many questions.

Amsterdam to Detroit
For me, this flight was an uneventful 8 hours 5 minutes. This was a short one. I popped an Ambien and slept for four hours, woke up to eat then watched Inglorious Basterds. This movie is not a light one. I thought it was supposed to be funny but it's not. It's a flick staged during the Nazi occupation of France. Nothing funny about that. It was just an okay movie and not necessarily recommended. I found it mild for a Quentin Tarintino.

Spouse on the other hand? He had an eventful 8 hours 5 minutes. He was sick as a dog and grappling for aisle space with the attendants and their drink carts. Boeing should engineer a plane who's aisles allow room for both a drink cart and a medium sized man. Just a thought. Might save an accident or eight.

Once we had arrived in Detroit, it was time to go through immigration and customs. We were so happy to be in the Home Land. Spouse ran up to "U.S. Citizens, That Way" sign and hugged it. I thought it was funny and decided to restage it for a Happy Snap. So we restage the sign hugging and take a snap. Out of nowhere a giant linebacker shows up and yells, "Who took a picture? WHO took that picture?" I fessed up. He said, "Delete it, NOW. This is a sterile area."

He was scary. I deleted the picture and decided that maybe Detroit and Mumbai were related.

That same scary guy proceeded to lash out at everyone talking on their phones. Evidently "sterile area" also means you cannot talk on the phone.

All travelers coming into the United States are required to go through customs and immigration at their first stop. This means that you are required to claim your baggage, have it scanned through security and recheck it.

See?! Detroit and Mumbai are related. Except Detroit is the older brother because they have a dog to sniff out stuff. Drugs and whatnot. If you remember your drug doing days, you'll know that drugs in Amsterdam are legal. I suppose many with low IQ scores think they can pack a gram of coke in their suitcase, sneak it into the U.S. and get away with it. Not with the drug sniffing dog! I was hoping the dog would find something. I was ready for excitement. Excitement that didn't involve me anyway. The dog never found anything. Disappointing.

After two hours, the Sick Spouse and I pass customs and find our gate. Spouse passes out on the floor while I find him some Gatorade. He sleeps for three hours. I sit for three hours. I find chicken soup in a coffee cup and sip delicately while catching up on the e-mail. The mePhone works now!

Detroit to Salt Lake
Spouse and I didn't have seats next to each other. This was unfortunate but good all in the same. We needed a break for we aren't used to spending this much time together.

I chat with the gentleman next to me. He lives in Detroit and does some fancy financial analysis stuff for Ford Motor Company. Interestingly enough he never referred to it as "Ford." He always said "Ford Motor Company." He has four daughters in Provo, but seeing the daughters was not the primary purpose of his expedition. He was traveling to The BYU to recruit interns for the summer. Ford Motor Company guy had been to India three times to set up factories. We had lots to talk about.

Nice guy. Once he figured out that Spouse and I had been separated, he offered to switch. That much needed break for Spouse and me was split in half.

Two hours later we land in Salt Lake. I buy lego airplanes for the Yahoos while Spouse takes care of his business. We walk to baggage claim, see the bright smiling face of the brother-in-law, pick up the bags and find the car.

41 hours down, only the drive home to go!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Killing Time, Part I

This travel sickness stuff is awful. I've had a fever and a flogging case of the dizzies. I'm nauseous. I want to sleep but can't because the body temperature vacillates between scorching and sleeting. More times than twice I've wished that I never would have gone to India in the first place.

Yes. It's that bad. My Indian adventure sentiment has been demoted to regret by globe-trotting induced trots and the 42-hour trip home.

Speaking of that 42-hour trip home, let's delve into that deeper, shall we?

Pune to Mumbai
On Monday, November 30 at 3:30pm India time, Spouse and I packed it up and traveled all of 20 minutes to the airport. That was nice. Nothing exciting happened. Excitement is not good when airplanes are involved. But as luck would have it, there was a snag. India is full of scary security guys dressed in ostentatious outfits. The airport is no exception. It's 10 times scarier.

In this new day of the E-Ticket, no one really issues printed plane ride tickets anymore. Naturally, we didn't have a ticket. To fly on a plane these days, you show up, present your passport and they issue a boarding pass. Not in India. The guards will not let you in the door to the airport until they are able to see a written piece of paper with a name, the flight number and the correct date.

The guard at the door of the Pune airport asked to see our papers. No problem! I said, then presented the guard with a printed copy of the itinerary. After a carefully long inspection of the 12-page itinerary (10 different airplane rides were required for this adventure), the guard still wouldn't let us in. The reason? My name wasn't on it. Spouse's name was printed, but mine was not.

Does this make sense? Anyone with a word processor could look up some flight numbers and corresponding times on the internet, type it into a document with the matching name and voila! Be in.

Secure, right? Absolutely! This is hour one of our 42 hour trip.

Luckily, Spouse had printed another itinerary with my name on it. I'm calling this part of the trip Divine Intervention. Fer reals. Strangely, Spouse reached into his backpack and pulled out a sheet of paper with my name on it. He had printed it by accident.

We checked the luggage and proceeded through security. At this point I'm already tired of being treated like a criminal. But there's a new catch. Indian airport security requires that everything you carry on the plane has a tag that has been stamped "secure" by security.

Here are the procedures: Guard one looks at bag. Guard two attaches tag. Guard three feeds bag through x-ray. Guard four looks at bag on x-ray monitor. Guard five pulls bag out of x-ray and hands to guard six. Guard six stamps the tag as "secure".

While this is going on, passengers (us) go through the mental (not metal, mental) detector and proceed to the pat-down area. That's right, you get the pat-down. The ladies, however are taken into a curtained area for the pat-down by a female officer. It's a serious pat-down too. EVERYTHING is groped. Or touched. Whatever.

Again, tired of being treated like a criminal.

Then the waiting began. While waiting, we read the itinerary and noticed that the flight from Pune to Mumbai is only 78 miles. 78 miles! Who goes through the hassle of flying for only 78 miles? We do. Because that same trip by car would take close to 3 hours. Not kidding. On the way in, I didn't believe it. However, we managed a road trip through the neighboring mountains during our stay in Pune. Driving 90k took around four hours.

We boarded the plane and flew to Mumbai without incident. Since we are flying international, the airline will not transfer the luggage to the next airline. We were instructed to claim our bags from the carousel and recheck them at the international terminal.

No problem right? Seems better this way, right? Our luggage will not get lost because we will be transferring the luggage to the right plane. Except our luggage never made it onto the carousel. One 17 minute flight and it appeared as though our luggage was already lost.

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After an hour, we were able to track down the luggage and recheck it. Our layover in Mumbai was seven hours. Killing an hour looking for the luggage wasn't so bad for it killed an hour. We got really good at killing hours on this trip. Perhaps with all that killing, we are criminals after all? Perhaps.

Once the baggage was checked, we were instructed to check in with the international shuttle services. And so we did. We walked up to the international shuttle desk and a lovely young girl with purple eye-shadow asked us for our itineraries again. There's that printed paper thing again. I wanted to scream at her shiny violet eye-lid frosting. YOU HAVE A COMPUTER. HERE'S MY PASSPORT. LOOK IT UP ON YOUR COMPUTER. THAT'S THE WAY THE REST OF THE WORLD DOES IT. HERE IN THE 21st CENTURY.

Yes. Scream. In capital letters even.

Periwinkle eyes gave us a ticket with a number, similar to that found at the Baskin and Robins. She told us to kindly take a seat and wait for our numbers to be called. Okay good. I'll go visit the loo. In the loo, which SURPRISE had no toilet paper (none of the public toilets in that country have toilet paper), there was a queue of people waiting. Fine I say. I'll wait my turn. However, waiting your turn in a bathroom isn't the norm. Basically, once a door to a toilet opens everyone bullies their way in. It was a full-on bathroom brawl. In general, I try to be courteous. But after eight people had butted their way in front of me to relieve their butts, I had had it. Started to bully too.

After the bathroom fiasco, the international purple eyeshadow girl called our numbers and we climbed aboard the bus. The bus takes us over to the international terminal and we find our gate only to find SUPRISE! another guard asking to see our papers. This guard, however, was nice. See, they don't let you hang around in the Mumbai airport. Normally they won't let you in until around two hours before your flight is scheduled to leave. At this point we had around five hours before our plane was set to leave. This would mean we'd be sitting on the streets for three hours. With the Mumbai Masses. Let me write that again. THREE HOURS ON THE STREETS WITH THE MUMBAI MASSES.

For some reason, the guard looked us up and down and let us in. He said, "you go in and never come back." Not to worry dude. I'm not coming back. I'm tired of being treated like a criminal.

In the which we proceeded to kill four hours at the Mumbai airport by going through security again (see above), having dinner and watching a movie on the mePod. During this four hour time period the gate to our plane changed three times. We were able to kill even more time walking from gate to gate.

Finally the people announced boarding for our flight. They said something like, "Attention passengers of flight get-us-out-of-here, we'd like to begin boarding for those carrying small children." And look what happened:

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Look at all those small children.

Spouse and I waited in our seats until the line was smaller. Once in line, here's how the process goes: Guard one reads boarding pass, guard two reads passport, guard three checks carry-ons for "secure" stamp. And wouldn't you know, one of my bags wasn't stamped "secure." I know it was x-rayed. I watched it come out. But the stamp wasn't there. Guard six from security check number two didn't do his job. "Go back to security and get the stamp," he says. You're kidding, right? Tell me you're kidding. YOU'RE A SECURITY GUARD. OPEN THE DANG BAG AND SEARCH IT YOURSELF. No. Would not do. Sent me back to security. So I haul buns to security, tell them to give me the damn stamp and run back. I show the guard the stamp and they let me in.

Here's the kicker. After I was let into the gate, I discovered that we get to go through security all over again! Yes, that's right. They x-ray the bags, again. They perform the pat-down, again. They do it all, again. He sent me back for a stamp only to have the same process repeated, again.

I said some really bad words several times. Something about getting me out of this something-or-other country.

I found my seat and cried for an hour. Which was good. It killed an hour of that nine hour flight.

Ten hours down, 32 to go.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Many Welcomes to the Home

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At the Salt Lake Airport after 41 hours of travel.

We made it! And we are trashed for many reasons. Actually, it's only one reason. But that one reason has a way of infiltrating normalness on three entities. That reason?

VIRUS.

Spouse developed a gut-bug around hour 7 of our trip home. By the time we reached our beloved doorstep, the total trip was 42 hours. If you do the math, that is 35 blissful hours of gut-bug growing, complete with chilly sweats and the full on Gungie Coyote. The specific origin of this gut-bug is unknown. I am blaming the salad Spouse ate the night before.

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The second reason? VIRUS. Yours truly has developed a similar gut-bug. It didn't hit me until today just after I returned home from my, uh hem... run. The specific origin of my gut-bug is unknown. I was pretty meticulous about consuming only bottled water and HOT food. GAK told us not to eat any uncooked fruits or veggies and I followed his orders.

The third reason? VIRUS. The Nameless Laptop brought home a nice little Indian Style virus complete with dialogs in Hindi. I know where it came from. It was the blasted thumb drive that belonged to one of our new friends in India. I shared photos with the thumb drive. The thumb drive shared back. Pissed isn't a sufficient word to describe my feelings right now.

Spouse is working on the laptop as we speak... between trips to the loo.

On the bright side, we were greeted last night by many a welcome. Specifically, we were embraced with a welcome home sign, Christmas lights on the house, and hugs all around. My neighborhood gets the Best Neighborhood In The World award. They truly are the best. (And no we don't currently have any openings, but if you're interested, kindly send me a detailed resume and we'll see what we can do.)

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As mentioned earlier, I have plenty of material from the trip, so don't go away! It must wait however, because there are a few things that are more important. Such as:

1) Laundry
2) Milk
3) Staying near the bathroom
4) Sorting the mail
5) More laundry