Wednesday, February 28, 2007


'Tis done. The Spouse and I are now fully, utterly and profoundly married. I have walked down the aisle in a white dress, danced a first dance and all of that stuff*.

How was it? Well, it was wonderful. What can I say? It was. All the planning payed off, and almost everything went smoothly. There were small hitches, bridal party members held up in traffic and sequences messed up, but nothing worth thinking twice about. The most important stuff was in place - the food was great, people danced, and I married the person I was supposed to marry.

I think that makes it a success, particularly since we were married under the sign of the moose (see picture).

All that stuff they tell you about things going by in a blur is true. I remember very, very little about the ceremony, and did not hear my carefully chosen processional at all. The point is, though, that it was fun, and meaningful.

My family and friends have by now mostly left, and the kind of tearful goodbye I finally got over with the Spouse made another appearance. I guess that with some things you can't win. It was good to have them there, good to feel so loved. This marriage business isn't bad at all.

If you don't mind, I am now going to snorgle my newly new husband.

*I've put some of the pictures up on our website for those who care

Friday, February 16, 2007

Eyes wide open

Three and a half more hours until I leave this godforsaken arctic frostland to head south for the wedding. I am mostly:
- pleased to be out of the cold
- terrified of the amount of work do
- glad to be seeing my family and friends
I am also tired at the prospect alone.
This is, however a time of joy and happiness (and bill paying. let us not forget the bill paying). Did I mention that I am terrified? Not of wedlock of course, no, only the work and yes, of the dress not fitting (stress does not help my eating habits or my obsession therewith). Lent starts soon and my resolution this year is simple. From Ash Wednesday until Easter I will not try to lose weight, and I will not care about anything weight-related.

Not that you should care about any of that.

Yesterday I had blindness training. I am not kidding. I walked around with sleep shades and a cane and yes, it was educational. I learned that it is harder than one would think to put cream cheese on a bagel. I learned about the complexities of being blind. It was very instructional. The thing that really scared me was not walking around and not being able to see; no; I got really scared, however, imagining that I might, one day, be blind. You would think that after this empowering experience I would not be so frightened. Blind people can do anything, I know, they can cut bagels and be lawyers and waterski. I know. It's wonderful. But, when it comes to it, it is still better not to be blind.

So much for being an eye-opener.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A lovely day

Pilgrim's Progress - so I made it through the snow and into work this morning, all the while wishing ardently for a complete bus/taxi shutdown so I could spend the morning having leisurely breakfast with the Spouse. Financially speaking going in to work was the better decision, since these fools always stay open, heedless of snow and wind. Small victory #1: I made it into work.

The car, ah yes, the car. So the car is now working, which is good, but without having been fixed, which is not. The fact that the shop cannot reproduce the problem means that we cannot be sure that the car will not, well, reproduce the problem en route to the south. The Spouse is taking it in to the dealer to see if they can help. Small victory #2: the car, previously kaput, works now.

Can I come back to the weather for a moment? So I just checked the 10-day weather forecast for our wedding location. It looks like rain. This is obviously sub-optimal. On the bright side, it will be warmish; and the Spouse does like the rain. In addition, being the smartest stupid person in the west, I did of course opt for a location with an indoor option. A nice indoor option. With fireplaces. In case it gets cold. I am Belgian, and one must foresee these things. Small victory #3: rain or shine, the wedding will be fine, and we will get to dance (badly).

No post on the state of things would be complete without the state of my hypochondria. I still have the mild toothache. The earache, on the other hand, while not exactly gone, is much better. Yay for hats and scarves. Moreover, my persistent and most pestilential morning fatigue is much better today, possibly due to massive intake of all sorts of vitamins. Again it pays to think ahead, take the pills and also to sleep. Small victory #4: on the whole, I feel good today.

Grand conclusion? I am glad that I am healthy, sane, that our central heating works and we have food (for now). I am also glad that I am not stuck in some northeastern or midwestern airport trying to get out and get home.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


UPDATE: Can I just point out that nobody has noticed that no one has noticed that I went from stress management technique 3 straight to stress management technique 5? I am proud. Linearity is overrated.

Ah yes, good afternoon to you. So the car now no longer works. The car which we are supposed to drive to the wedding location in, an 18-hour drive. That car. Also, there is apparently a winter storm happening here, though if Baltimore weather definitions are anything to go by that probably just means a breeze and a quarter of an inch of snow.
Typically, I have developed an ear- and toothache (I do have the strangest stress symptoms) to make things more interesting. Oh, and my laptop died on me rather definitively. Is it worth getting one's knickers into a twist over? Why no, of course it is not.
Let me remember my own tips..
Stress management technique nr.1:
- Get plenty of sleep (check)
Stress management technique nr.2:
- Remember to take breaks, take time to relax, take a bath, do yoga, meditate; do something (majestically unchecked)
Stress management technique nr.3:
- Eat healthily, and exercise regularly (check. sort of. not counting yesterday's pizza)
Stress management technique nr.5, informed by experience and common sense:
- Pull out your credit card, check airfares, pack some oral anasthetic, and let gooooo


I was going to write out my favourite rant today, but you are, as it happens, spared for the moment, since I am both tired and otherwise occupied with work and how I am supposed to have planned this wedding since I was four, when in reality when I was four marriage was not a thought that occurred to me. In fact it didn't occur to me much when I was fifteen either, or even at twenty-five. In the mad world of bridal magazines, this is a disadvantage. Good thing that I am wearing all of my protective armour.

Monday, February 12, 2007


This morning I was listening to Shakira. I have a well-documented weakness for Shakira, which dates back to, I believe, my stay in Canada. Laundry service, is however, in my mind mostly associated with the winter of 2002-2003. I got the album for Christmas that year, a belated home & family Christmas following a stay in the US, where I had spent the actual day. I got the album from my sister who reluctantly responded to my request. It was a good gift.
Suerte, well, it seemed so terribly tacky and wonderfully true at the time. I came back from the US, after all, with a crush and some encouragement for it. The other thing I got that Chrismas was a CD alarm clock, and as a consequence of that, my laziness and my somewhat obsessive musical habits, I woke up with Laundry service for the next, oh, four months. It was a little strange, I admit, but not half as strange as the fact that during those four months I woke up every day with a thought, however brief, of the person it reminded me of, somebody I hardly knew, had talked to a couple of times.
Time passed, things failed to happen, and much like the album I got progressively less hopeful and more fed up. Eventually I changed the music, and life went back to its usual self. I didn't forget - one never quite does; but like winter clothes I packed up the pictures and the thoughts.
Sometimes things just take a lot of waiting, whether you want them to or not.
Four years and a bit later I am less than two weeks away from getting married (again). I wonder what I would have thought then if someone had told me that this annoyingly long-lived and seemingly hopeless infatuation would take me here, to this point in my life where I wake up almost every morning with a snuggle and a hug from this person that I met then.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Love, love, love (continued)

Food. People who know me, know that I am a great lover of the good things when it comes to food. Spanish food, Belgian food, French, Indian, Kurdish, on any given day I love fresh, properly made food, I love buying it, I love preparing it, I love eating out and eating in. Most of all I love it when people cook for me.

Much as I enjoy not being in Hungary, on this icy evening even the trendiest side of Baltimore can't make me forget the summer terraces on Raday utca*.

Btw, that picture is of my favourite posh place in the world, the only hotel I truly and somewhat ironically covet a stay in - Budapest's gorgeous Gresham Palace Hotel. Ah, cocktails at the Gresham. Not dinner alas, I never could afford dinner there.

*Not that it is not cold in Budapest now. It is, in fact likely to be very subzero there just now. Actually, it is still warmer there than here. Bastards.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Very glorified

Ok, so I have to withdraw some of my disgruntled mumbling about abstracts. I just submitted that abstract, and feeling pretty pleased with myself. If we get accepted - and we should, it's a great topic - then I'll be co-presenting. Woohoo, second go at presenting on things I don't really know about. Not bad for a Glorified Secretary. So cross your fingers that I get to go to San Francisco this autumn. Besides, what with the Spouse's upcoming work trip to HAWAII I feel I should get to go.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Can somebody pay me for this?

I told you about that abstract writing stuff. Well, first draft done it occurs to me that I am good at this kind of nonsense. Perhaps it is time I came to terms with the truth - I am a terrible creative writer, but I am almost offensively good at producing professional waffle. Terribly diplomatic and cutely manipulative missives. Gah. That, and I'm really good at spreadsheets.

Maybe I should go into politics and become a spin doctor like Alastair Campbell.

I know, you could argue that I am already being paid for being good at writing; but of course they are really just paying me to find stuff. At least officially. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A word

For all of us who are still sitting around contemplating our destinies, here's some good advice from the Link I Like:

13. Never compare your inside with somebody else's outside.

It occurs to me that this is hard to accomplish.


Ok, so when I gave up on ever doing anything academic, I foolishly thought that I would be through with writing abstracts.
It turns out however, as They Might Be Giants have it that I was young and foolish then, I feel old and foolish now. So I am writing an abstract for a conference this fall, and find that I have either forgotten how to do so, resent doing the work with little (public) credit, or haven't the self-confidence. Perhaps all of these. On the upside - if this thing gets accepted then I get to go to San Francisco, where I have long wanted to go, and I get to, erm, network lots. Organised "fun activities"(yes, that is a quote). Oh goody.

I think I'll ask the Spouse for advice, he's good with this writing stuff.

Love, love, love

Scrubs. I really do love Scrubs. I love the theme, I love Cox, and I love, love, love Kelso*. I used to watch it occasionally in the UK, but now that I am here I can watch for hours on end and let my brain relax. Ahhhhhh. I love to watch Scrubs with the Spouse, who is also really into this slightly deranged yet reassuringly wholesome.

And yes, I love the Spouse, and snuggling. When we watch Scrubs. If there are no mean doctors**, though how the Spouse discounts Kelso and Cox as mean doctors, I don't know.

*What has two thumbs and doesn't give a damn? BOB KELSO!
**Robert Sean Leonard. Even middle-aged Robert Sean Leonard. Ah.

Love, love, love

Scrubs. I really do love Scrubs. I love the theme, I love Cox, and I love, love, love Kelso*. I used to watch it occasionally in the UK, but now that I am here I can watch for hours on end and let my brain relax. Ahhhhhh. I love to watch Scrubs with the Spouse, who is also really into this slightly deranged yet reassuringly wholesome.

And yes, I love the Spouse, and snuggling. When we watch Scrubs. If there are no mean doctors**, though how the Spouse discounts Kelso and Cox as mean doctors, I don't know.

*What has two thumbs and doesn't give a damn? BOB KELSO!
**Robert Sean Leonard. Even middle-aged Robert Sean Leonard. Ah.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Not hungry

Today is an old lady day, since I spent the night between (non-wedding) nightmares and bad digestion, and the body is still quite out of sorts. I tell you, if this is stress, then I am doing an awfully good job of hiding it. I need a bath plug, I tell you folks, and a very long very hot bath, and I need for my insides to calm down for more than five seconds at a time. I need a good night's rest, and for the Spouse to be home (which he will be soon enough). More than anything, I need for this series of minor ailments to stop and leave me alone.

What will it take?

Don't get me wrong, all is well, the important stuff is all there and working, but there are a few too many treacherous details sometimes.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Narrative structure

It reads like an inspirational story, or a mystery - like a Hallmark movie. Man goes missing at sea, leaving no trace - his family, friends and colleagues make an enormous array of technological resources available to find him. Masses of volunteers go through masses of images looking for a sign - of anything really. People hang posters, rent planes. Their efforts are touching in their deliberate thoroughness, and a statement about the power for good in all of this technology.

You remember those movies, don't you? You've maybe read The Life of Pi. That had a happy ending didn't it? Sort of, anyway. And that guy who was adrift for four months, he survived against all odds, didn't he?

I hope this story has a happy ending. It certainly deserves one. Most of all, I hope that this is not one of those post-modern open-ended monsters, not a Calvino or Fowles story where mysteries are not resolved. No - let's have an nice, tidy ending, a story of heroic efforts, terrible odds and ultimate success.


Meanwhile there is so much more sea than boat in this search; but it keeps helplessness at bay.


Thanks for responding. You are much more entertaining than I am

1) Yes, of course, multiple times. Bunnies!! Cute, waving bunnies!
2) Not at all. Am trying to be better about it.
3) Not
4) I'm a sucker for flowers. Also anything that involves back rubs or road trips.
5) Sadly not. I'm too organised for my own good
6) Small, cute and lively. I empathise.
7) Hardly ever, though I like it
8) Yes, if I can
9) Quite important, if it is good coffee
10) Too few, always too few

Any questions?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Being there

Today, I think, I will ask some questions. Let me know if you have answers to any of these.
1) Have you seen Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit?
2) Do you manage to be mentally/emotionally present as well as physicall there most of the time?
3) If so, how do you manage it?
4) What constitutes a romantic gesture?
5) Do you ever wear mismatched socks either by accident or on purpose?
6) How do you feel about Jack Russells?
7) How often do you eat ice cream?
8) Do you sleep on public transport?
9) How important is coffee to you?
10) How many hours of sleep do you get on average?

Thursday, February 01, 2007


You know, after today I have half a mind to request to change my title to Grand Finder and Sender of things. Or Maker of Random Things.

Fuzzy in the head

The egret has landed - we have finally picked our first dance. It is truly amazing - how long have we been trying to decide? Four months? Another momentous moment is the fact that it is the 1st of February, and as such the Month of the Wedding. Gah. Scary. Actually not really. Perhaps I am subconsciously stressed, but consciously I am as relaxed as anything about the whole thing, if a little sneezy.

It is ever harder to get out of bed in the morning, and it is snowing, but otherwise life is good. I am still wondering about Life and my ambitions, and right now anything that will give me another hour of sleep sounds great. Being a housewife, changing jobs, becoming a professional masseuse, anything at all. There you go, how is that for letting one's fancy education go to waste.

Everything is on hold until after the wedding, including any of my aspirations, which is strange, but well, there are centrepieces to be taken care of. Sometimes it feels like it should be enough just to be around, be a decent friend and a good spouse. It is not, however, particularly with a wedding in the budget. Alas. And I do like my job, which is so much more interesting than my previous Non-Descript Corporate Job - so much more responsibility, but so much less prestige. Can't win 'em all, I guess, and it does pay better, which is great.

Maybe I should put in one of those poll things to ask people what I should do with my life. Eh. But first I need to sort out those centrepieces.