I need a personal (fashionable) assistant, stat

Spring and Summer of 2011 are going to be crazy for me and my Mr. H.  We have been invited to four weddings back home and though I don’t think we can make one, we are in for at least three of them.  I haven’t been to three weddings in the past five years, including my own. Ugh. 

It’s not that I don’t like weddings…I do (kind of. tolerate might be a better word).  And considering the people getting married are people I LOVE TO DEATH, that’s not the issue either.  The issue is that I’m challenged by fashion and if it can’t go with flip-flops and a tank, I’m just lost.  And so.

Today I emailed two friends–one in DC and one in Florida.  I have asked for their expert opinions and I will seek the advice of others, as oddly enough, last year’s best fashion advice came from a bunch of Brits I work with, most notably my friend Billy, who made it VERY clear that if I am to look posh in London, feathers and gloves are a must. 

Focus on the feathers and gloves, not the dapper Brits

Obviously he was right.  And so, what in the hell am I going to wear this spring?  I have one wedding in DC at the end of April and one wedding in Denver at the end of May.  My sister’s wedding in July will be easy because I am in the wedding and so for now, I’ll just work on two dresses and worry about the rest later.

I am slightly annoyed with myself for even discussing this on The Chronicles because normally I don’t care about this type of shit.  The only reason I’m having some sort of fashion meltdown is:

1. I spent 13 nights watching TLC’s “What Not to Wear” with Stacy and Clinton and let’s be honest, I was every girl I saw on that show.  Now, I’m not all crying in a corner, look at me with no self-esteem because that is NOT ME, but  I’ve known for years that I’m lazy as all get out.  And I’ve been threatened many times by my girl Ambs that if I keep up my frumpfest, she’s going to submit me for an applicant.  I assume that since I’m in Germany now, she’s forgotten this and they can’t get to me but who knows.

Honestly, I can't tell you what's wrong with this outfit.

2.  I did end up wearing a cheap dress I had bought for this conference and ended up feeling like Christina Hendricks, my most favorite lesbian crush of 2011 and so if any dress can make you feel like her, buy a ton more them and run with it, right?  

Ok, so the dress I own looks *nothing* like this

 Well.  The dress was slightly different but either way, I’ll just throw it out there that I heart Ms. Hendricks, sometimes think I want to kiss her on the mouth and at the VERY least, if anyone, I would choose to look like her in the office, even if I’m rocking a Mad Men style, which is pretty hot in itself.  Jesus, I have no idea what this has to do with shopping for dresses to wear to a wedding. 

Back to this I-need-to-order-spring-dresses-online-disaster I was discussing earlier.  I need to, I hate it and if I have to sit here for another minute trying to figure out if coral rose, beeswax, and regetta are really the colors of the spring, I’m going to toss myself in traffic.  I don’t even know why anyone would name a color beeswax in the first place.  Eh.



Who in the hell wears shit like this??

So.  As we finish buying plane tickets for these weddings, I will continue this dress search and *try to be more girly and fashionable so as not to ruin anyone’s wedding photos. 

*Actually, I take back the girly part because that is just a bunch of bullshit.

A success story: I didn’t get sold for sex AND I got my hat.

Ignore the fact that I'm cross-eyed and take horrible pics of myself.

Yes, the title is going to be what this blog is really about but first, let’s talk about how BEAT I am from being away for 13 days.  Whew, I’m spent. 

Whenever I go away on a work trip, I feel like I get sucked into the twilight zone and then spit back into reality upon my return.  It’s not even so much the conference that I work.  It’s the lack of sleep, the endless running around, the balance between 12 hours of work and wanting to then socialize for 5 more, my tendency to get sick in all cities “Eastern” due to the endless smoke and *fresh air, the effort it takes to keep my liver from trying to escape my body, and oh yes, the exhausting flights and treks through the airport.   

Today is no different.  I have three flights in four different airports and fifteen hours of travel to get me home.  That is *fun.  Just how I like to spend a Sunday.  That and the travel agent that works for my company is an absolute sped. (I will NOT take that back.  She is short bus like you wouldn’t believe and I’m sorry if that’s offensive but she is and I despise her.)  I mean, really.  Kiev?  You couldn’t have just sent me through Paris or straight to Vienna?  It’s like she’s never heard of Orbitz. 

But anyway, I get to sit in the lounge and play online and blog so it’s not all bad, minus the part about just wanting to be in my own house in clean clothes, showered and eating thai with my husband, which is exactly what I’ll be doing 8 hours from now.  Until then, we can recap my last 36 hours in Yerevan.  It was a pretty eventful last day and I was thankful to have had a little downtime between the conference and home.  I should note that it was only eventful because I don’t listen or do what I’m told because (as a reminder) 1. No one is the boss of me.  2.  It’s not China.  You can’t make me. 3. I have a theory about life that I will share at the end of this story.

So.  How and why I did not get sold for sex this weekend. 

I always arrive a few days before the conference to set up and prep for the arrival of a few hundred people from about 40 countries.  It’s not that stressful and doesn’t require weeks of coordination, but getting there early gives me enough time and resources to do it right and well and not be all crazy about it.  It also gives me a half day or so to get out of the hotel before I never see the light of day so that I can see something local, historical, cultural or anything that does not resemble the inside of a meeting room or hotel hallway.  Considering I had already been to Yerevan the year before, I didn’t really want to go see what I had already seen and so I had my heart set on seeing the monastery I keep blabbing on and on about.  The first weekend, however, I did not get to see it.  Therefore, there was little hope it would be seen.  Typically everyone has to do everything in a group because of security and fairness and blabbity blah and it just didn’t work out and so I was pretty disappointed but then my friends started arriving and I forgot about it.

Until the conference ended.  That is when I had time to go and was offered a ride and tour from someone who knows the site well and I was thrilled to have the opportunity.  Well, I was thrilled until everyone started to bring me down with their crazy paranoia talk.  Everyone I asked to go with me was either leaving to go home on departure day or had a case of the paranoia.  They were all, good luck getting kidnapped and sold for sex, this, and have fun with your life as a drug mule, that.  Apparently if you want to go anywhere that involves being near another border, forget it.  People losetheirshit. 

Now I get it.  I sat in the  brief I was given in my office.  And while I think being briefed when going to another country is a good idea if you can’t read, I think people take things a little too far.  And to be honest, I think it’s mostly a bunch of fear breeding bullshit.  I think Americans (which I can stereotype because I am one) are more paranoid, more isolated, more spoon fed and more instilled with fear than probably anyone else in the world.  And sure.  I know what terrorism is and I know bad people exist and maybe it’s kind of new that we have to deal with it all in the past decade at home but abroad?  This stuff has been going on for LIFE, as in that is often a way of life for a million people and if you’re afraid of every single thing that’s unknown to you, have fun.  You’ll be sitting in your hotel room, watching Fox News or CNN or whatever else that plays around the clock horror stories and you will just never, ever live.  Which may not make sense BUT.Ugh. 

So.  No, I didn’t listen to all the crazy talk.  I went to the monastery and I am grateful I had the opportunity. 

That's what 301 AD looks like.

I got to see a religious and historical monument from the year 301 AD that still stands and is still used today.  I was told the story of how the Armenians adopted Christianity, how they were the first to do so and how Gregory saved the King, which is how it all began in the first place.  I lit three prayer candles in the darkness of the prayer room and left them to melt in the cement troughs filled with water and the reflections of the Armenians that silently prayed.  I saw a baby being baptized and outside the stone walls, I saw a procession and the people of Yerevan bury one of their own in a local cemetery that was muted and muddy and cold in the rain. 

I didn’t see  the view of Mt. Ararat, having gone for my field trip on the cloudiest and rainiest day of the week but I saw more than I bargained for.  I saw a glimpse into a world of people I never knew existed until I took this job.  I saw more of their pride and some of their pain and witnessed it in a place that is special and sacred and home to them.  And for that alone, the 13 day trip was well worth it.

So, the moral of the story is:  No one in Armenia wanted to kidnap me and sell me for sex.  They are my friends, they are good people and let’s be honest.  No one is going to make a dime off me for foreign sexy time favors.  We all know that the minute they heard me open my mouth and start screaming and acting all belligerent with them, my ass would be tossed right back over whatever border was closest and I’d be left to walk back myself.   

Now, I’m about to head home.  Happy, happy Sunday.

I love hot meat

So that was what I said at dinner the other night, giving us all a good laugh.  The conversation went something like this.

(All viewing the menu at Gauchos, a famous steakhouse in Yerevan) 

Hot meat everywhere

“So, which appetizer shall we have?  We can have meat, cold meat or hot meat.” Someone pointed out the menu.  We all laughed.  I looked at the options.  Sure enough.  Clear as day. 

Meat.  1500 AMD

Cold Meat. 1500 AMD

Hot meat. 1500 AMD

I love the simplicity of it all.  Back in the States, people would losetheirshit over this.  How much meat? What kind? What does it really look like?  How much sauce comes with it and what kind?  What do you mean there’s no BBQ or A1?  What do you mean it doesn’t come with anything?

I ordered first.  “I’ll have the hot meat to start and then the three of us,” gesturing to the three girls at the table, “we’ll have the meat and steak platter for three to share.” 

After she left the table I offered,  “I haven’t turned down hot meat in 31 years.  I’m not about to start tonight.”  And then I remembered that I was going to try to think before I speak more. 

Either way, it was a true statement.   Of all varieties, I love hot meat, which you should know means spicy, not burn your mouth, hot.  And it’s a good thing, too, because in Europe, especially Eastern, you have to love hot meat or you will die.  Ok, not die but you will not like the street food, will not get to try all of the world’s delectable, meat-filled treats, and you will pay out of your ass eating at establishments that cater to picky people.  Picky Americans.  Bleh.

What I don’t think people who move here from the States remember sometimes is that the rest of the world does not have to adjust to us and our eating habits, which are just plain awful…WE have to adjust to the rest of the world.  And in fact, it’s not so much adjusting, consider all the food is theirs in the first place.  I tried to one time defend our produce or take-out or special cuisine and you know how far I got?  McDonald’s.  Case in point why I don’t try to defend my country that often.  Sometimes (usually) I end up looking like an idiot.  So.  Forget about real sandwiches.  Forget about to-go this and to-go that.  There is no half sandwich/soup combo at Cosi.  Au Bon Pain is not around every corner and there is no such thing as Panera. 

Hot meat, however?  It’s just around every corner.

Meat, meat, I love meat

And so I have learned to appreciate all that is foreign meat–and I don’t specify, because honestly, when eating abroad, you never can tell what the meat is, where it’s from, how long ago it was killed or who touched and how.  Learning how to close your eyes and not evaluate the taste and texture too deeply has become a skill and a talent and I’m getting pretty good at it.

Do yourself a favor and DO NOT google "hot meat"

So, for all the meat pies, meat in pastry, burek, cevapcici, meat with cream sauce (insert obvious joke here), kebap (love.of.my.life), hot meat, cold meat, meat on a stick, vješalica, and meat in a pocket…Thank you, Europe.  I heart you–you and your meat.

Depressing news of the day

I want to know why you can buy a rabbit at a store for $10 but if you want to buy a rabbit furry hat, it’s $90.  I can’t imagine that it takes more than 3 rabbits to make my damned hat and so it should be maybe $30 or $40, if you consider the labor.   So.  Why did my pal Alexey have to tell me today that I cannot get this year’s hat for less than $90, unless I want a used one, which no thanks, I do not want lice, I’m just fine, thanks.  Ugh.  I even walked over to the market today to scope out which hats I would purchase this year.  Hats as in five of them because all my lady friends want a hat of their own. 

So.  Does this mean I do not buy my hats, OR, I justify spending $90 to have a dead animal sit on my head a few times a year?

Don't bother calling PETA

 I have no idea why I’m having this conversation with myself.  I am getting a new hat.  End of discussion.

White Blank Page

 

I have to admit, I’m slightly obsessed with Mumford and Sons lately.  Like really obsessed.  First it was Little Lion Man.  Now it’s White Blank Page. 

I heard it for the first time when I was walking around Yerevan the other day and now I have listened to it and then the album about 9 times.  It’s getting to be a sickness, really.  For someone who knows nothing about music, I really go all head over heels crazy for some artists, which leads me to go through the, Why are you such a music moron, kick I go through like twice  a year.  It’s the phase where I promise myself to find all these new indie artists that make me feel and then I do for about a day and then I realize I have no idea what the hell I’m doing and so I give up and make my friends make me cds. So very lazy of me. 

I’ve behaved similarly with Ben Harper, way back when I lived in DC and thought I was just going to die every time I heard the song “Another Lonely Day.”  Then it was Modest Mouse with “The World at Large.”  Then David Gray, primarily due to “This Year’s Love”, which still makes me losemyshit when I’m acting like an emotional trainwreck.  Then it was Kings of Leon’s “Closer”, I think when I was going through this music-that-haunts-me phase.  Then it was James Morrison and I was all hot over “You Make it Real” and almost every other song that came out of his yummy mouth. 

And now it’s Mumford and Sons.  I love them, regardless of the fact that their whole album makes me want to toss myself on my bed, staring at the ceiling and rolling around all distressed, much like a 13-year-old girl.   So, if any of you want to send me suggestions of similar albums to get into, toss a few suggestions my way.  It’s going to be a long week here in dark and mysterious Yerevan and I could use some more mood music.

Yerevan, Armenia. Take two.

I’ve been total shit at writing the past five days.  I would try to make up for it tonight but it’ll just have to wait til I hit the ground in Yerevan.  I’m off tomorrow night for two weeks.  I hit the ground in Armenia Wednesday morning until the end of the month. 

For now, I’ll just leave you with a few pictures of Mt. Ararat, which I’m hoping to make it to this trip.  It is in Turkey, though, and borders Iran so I won’t be shocked if I have to view from a distance.  We’ll see what my pals in Armenia say.  Either way, last time I could see a beautiful view of it from my hotel room and I should just be excited for that. 🙂  BUT, it’d be pretty bad ass if I could go hiking there in the next two weeks.  We’ll see!

Here’s to all the cognac, pomegranate and fur hats I can get my hands on.

Today’s Lesson in Football

Keep in mind, I never write about football unless I’m talking about Brady’s hair, so don’t get all mouthy with me after about, You don’t know anything.  Because I do.  And I know the game.  And I know the players.  But I’m no expert, which is why I don’t blog about it.  And this isn’t really about what’s going to happen this weekend.  But it kind of is, because it’s clear we’re dealing with the fact that someone is going to teach someone a motherfucking lesson.

Anyway.  The real reason for this post.

There are ways NFL players and coaches should approach the press and then there are ways to promote getting your motherfuckingassKICKED and embarrassed.  And, pending a win this weekend, I hope the Pats enjoy doing both to the Jets. 

So.  A few thoughts…

Here is what having this little thing called class looks like.

Damn right I have no sleeves. Jealous?

And a reminder of what looking like a loudmouthed, fat jackass looks like.


I'm starving

Now a vision of talent.

Ummm, what does my teeshirt say? Ohhhh. Right.

And a reminder about what it’s like to have to chase, not be chased.

Just a reminder of what it looks like to get schooled. Biotch.

So what was that you said, again, Comartie?
And, one last thing.  Here’s to bad decisions, NY.  Thank you—from me, to you.  A fruit basket is on the way. 

Huh. Want a take-back, NY? Assclowns.

Keep talking trash, bitches.

Vaginas: Official makers of coffee. Bleh.

Don't make me smash this off your face.

It seems *funny to me that I’ve had to have this same conversation more than twice since starting my job here. So *funny that I’m going to clearly describe how I feel about this, just so everyone is aware of where I stand and then I will leave it alone, feeling better that we’re clear.

*Meaning annoying. And rude and vile.

Let’s review a conversation I’ve had with at least 3 coworkers/work colleagues in past 6 months.

Me: Sitting at my desk, quietly, typing away and not bothering anyone. (I swear)

One of three jackasses in the past 6 months: Waltzing in my back office space, 95% of the time uninvited. “Oh. There’s no coffee. When were you going to make coffee?” Not only is that a bullshit question, but they are also violating my, Do not speak before 10am rule.

Me: Looking up, silently calculating the situation and the level of destruction I’m willing to cause that particular day, depending on how well or poorly everything else is going.

Sexist, lazy jackasses: “You were going to make coffee, though, right?” And then I get what I’ve been waiting for. The, I’m going to look you up and down like you’re my wife or maid or motherfuckingmother and raise my eyebrow like Bitch, that coffee should have been made before I walked in.

I'm sorry, do I look like a fucking Starbucks barista?

I appreciate that look because it gives me all the ammunition I need to losemyshit and lay down the law. I mean, REALLY?

“I’m sorry. What did you say to me? Did I make your FUCKINGCOFFEE? (I am hissing at this point) What would make you believe that I would make your coffee? Oh, wait. I’m sorry. I already know. Is it because I have a fuckingVAGINA? Is that what would make you think I am qualified to make your coffee? Shall I wipe your ass too while I’m at it? What else can I do for you, immediately following me making your coffee and then choking you? Get out of my office before I hurt you. This vagina doesn’t do coffee.”

All three morons that thought best to ask me were clearly and immediately and permanently banned. From my office, from using the coffee pot and from speaking to me. For life.

Because honestly. Charming me is a better tactic and unless I’m getting something out of it, I’m not making your stupid coffee anyway. And what part of having a love tunnel means I make coffee? I didn’t randomly come in today and announce the fucking sink is clogged down the hall and give you the, Ummm, when were you thinking about fixing that shit, look DID I? No, I didn’t. So take your stupid ass stereotypes and sexist bullshit out of my face before I assault you. On base. Because I will.

Make.your.coffee.

Now. Rock out to this. It’s “Ditty” and it’s an all-time favorite. Holla.

Shizer Mondays

The red one is pure evil and the black one is just special.

Jesus, today is such a shit day. Honest to God. Not only are my dogs out to get me deported with their habit of shitting everywhere in sight, or at least everywhere not socially acceptable by Germans, but Moxie is being a douche and Dante can expire for all I care. Seriously. Dante ate a whole bag of chocolate this weekend and then proceeded to throw the damned thing up while pissing himself everywhere which is his OWN fault, considering he FINDS the chocolate on his own and I let him out ALL.THE.TIME. and Moxie seems to think she doesn’t need a leash and is constantly almost getting herself hit by a car by pulling and refusing to get out of the road. They are lucky I haven’t let them both outside to run free.

Kidding. Kind of. Anyway, its lots of *fun at my house this week already.

Speaking of fun. Work is. I absolutely *LOVE the week before I travel to a conference and get 250 insane requests regarding hotels, transportation, food, etc. I am going to cut and paste some of the things these military professionals write to me.  I mean, REALLY.

So anyway. Here is one thing that doesn’t make me want to smash something on a Monday. I love this song. (Alors On Danse) It’s French and I’m sure you’ve all heard it but if not, enjoy. I can’t help but just want to dance when I hear it.

Now. On to today’s topic of choice. Things I’m obsessed with.

When I think of things most women are obsessed with, I think shoes, purses, clothes, jackets, makeup. I don’t like any of those things. I might even say I despise some of them.

I do not own many real shoes. I don’t see the sense. Considering I wear jeans (or let’s be honest, sweats) every day I am allowed, I have no use for fancy shoes that no one really sees.

Hi, I'm Colette and I love pastels. Fuck me, this is gross.

Purses? Good god, no. Purses are just dirt and change collectors. And I lose them. And I hate carrying them. I would never spend over $50 on a bag. Listening to other people rave about the newest Coach bag that’s coming out makes me gag. Especially when I have to go to the website to find a good pic and I find out they name their collections “Poppy” and “Mia” and “Alexandra.” How.fucking.pretentious? Blek.

Wicked nice feeling on the ass. I swear.

Clothes. I don’t like clothes. I do like buying fall sweaters, tank tops and sweatpants, but that’s about it. (highlighting my current favorite pair of sweats in the pic) I would rather be pantless and I hate bras and socks make my feet sweat.

I do not wear a jacket if it’s above 50 degrees and I don’t find them interesting enough to make focal centerpieces and considering most have zippers and buttons, two things I despise almost as much as I hate belts. And I don’t find jackets that useful, unless you consider that I can usually put my hands in the pockets, which I like.

What a vision

Makeup. Eh. The only makeup I like is mascara because otherwise I look tired. The only makeup I buy because I have to is that concealer for that black eye thing I have under my right eye but that’s only because I don’t like people looking at me like someone smashed me in the face. Because they didn’t.

So, instead, what are the five things I’M obsessed with?

best.in.WORLD.

Paper. To be more specific, 100% handmade cotten notebooks. I used to waste my time sitting in the office dreaming about gifts from Papersource or Papyrus but then one day, while in Paris, I saw a stationery shop and had to run in to take a peek. Aaaaah, Paris. You never fail me. Paris is where I found the paper of Le Thé des Ecrivains. It is beautiful paper, made for the gliding of ink and the scattering of thoughts both worthless and brilliant. I bought 4 notebooks while I was there and now I’m almost out and so thank god they have a site. I can’t just up and go to Paris for paper. Mmm, I could, but that’d be a bit much, no? So. If you love paper as much as I do, check it out. http://www.thedesecrivains.com/en/products/large-conceptual-notebooks/

Flip-flops. I consider myself to be a connoisseur about some things and flip-flops happens to be one of them. I do enjoy a good pair of JCrew or Banana flops. Reef is pretty solid and Rainbow always catches my eye. However, as of last year, I have a hands down favorite in Havaianas. I will never buy another (unless emergency) pair of non-Havaianas flops again. They are magical, sturdy and cooooomfy. http://us.havaianas.com/womens-sandals/slim.html

Chapsticks. At any given time, you can check my (hated) purse and find at least 6 different brands and flavors of chapstick. Orange is my favorite. Orange, orange crush, orange sherbert. I also own kiwi, raspberry, any type of Blistex b/c it’s winter, pots of melon goo, regular, watermelon, and any other brand and flavor you could expect to find in a 12 year old’s backpack. I come prepared. I do not like lips that look crazy.

Writing utensils.
The pencil of choice has already been discussed but I do have a favorite pen. In fact, I saw it for the first time in 6 months in the shopette and so I bought the whole damned shipment. I figure for my sanity, it was worth the $30 in pens.

Because I'm that insane that pens matter.

Things that are green. Notebooks, teeshirts, trees, peppers, sweatshirts, paint, stationary, picture frames, boxes and other office storage items. And grass. I really love grass…but the lawn variety, not the drug. Anyway, all things green win my approval.

So. There’s my random “favorites” post of the week. And I’ll leave you with my second favorite song of today (Dog Days are Over), as I jammed my way through Monday and you should too. Enjoy!

Evil gnomes of Germany

So we finally made an appearance at our local pub to check it out the week of NYE. It is a FANTASTIC place, which we have already renamed The Woody Hollow. I have no idea what the real name is. I do know they have a huge, blow-up snowman hanging from the building and the place inside looks like a real-life tree house.

Fipsy is the bad-ass German biker/bartender that owns the place. He’s German but his English is divine, and considering we tipped him 15 euro the first night we visited, I think we’re his new, favorite locals. Just a guess, considering we live in a country that doesn’t tip, ever.

Anyway, the place is a dream. It’s warm and cozy and the interior is all wood–real wood. Real tree trunks and branches and leaves, which those are fake but who cares. The door to the bathroom is one of those swinging numbers like in an old style saloon and in the corner is a jukebox that plays American songs all night long. It’s so great and so perfect that even we feel badly, like we’re cheating on our friends at the Frisky Pony in evil town.

Evil. Speaking of evil.

So there we are, sitting there mesmerized the first night and we’re looking all around at all the pictures and antiques and German trinkets they have everywhere and I glance in the corner at the old Jagermeister machine and holy good fuck what in the hell have we got here?

Oh, just another day in Germany

Yeah. Right? And yes, he’s doing what you think he’s doing. Who knew gnomes of the evil variety existed. I suppose he is a German gnome, so this actually makes complete sense. No, seriously, I’m not fucking around. He IS a German gnome.

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/artdesign/story/2009/07/23/german-gnomes.html

So I have no idea how Fipsy got this. My Mr. H says I cannot ask him yet. We have to wait until we’re better friends. I honestly have no clue why I have to be good friends with a German to ask him why he loves the bad man with the mustache, but FINE. He seems to think it’ll keep us out of trouble but I highly doubt that. Once you drop the H bomb and things seem to go south fast. Which is really kind of fucked up considering I.didn’t.kill.anyone.

I will ask next month, though. You can be sure of that.