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Saturday, September 30, 2006

I've been replaced 

Wow! A whole week went by and I don't really remember all of it. It's a bit nutty, really, the amount of things I've been up to lately. And also, the amount of things I have yet to do. That's even more nutty than the first part.

I've turned into a baker. I've made more chocolate chip cookies in the past week than I care to admit. What's worse is that I've actually eaten half of the cookies. Oh dear god, is there any saving of my soul to be had? Or at least my waistline.

Today I even bought the makings for homemade brownies. Oh the complexity of the one bowl brownie! I've just finished the baking process, as if I was the one warming the brownies with some magic or something. And now I have to wait for them to cool. Like 15 minutes right? Maybe it's really been so long that I don't remember that you have to allow brownies to cool for hours - hours - or maybe I've never been patient enough to wait that long for the delightful chocolate treats to cool. Except, I'm totally determined to wait that long now since I have a chocolate topping to put on the brownies when they're cool. It's like chocolate chocolate heaven. Or at least it better be! The batter tasted like brownies so I have exceptionally high expectations for the baked goods. And even higher expectations for the frosted treats!

Besides all the baking, I'm contemplating a new career and trying to focus on adapting my resume, except I keep getting distracted by the oven and the cookie batter. I'm also researching floral arranging classes. It's like someone replaced me with Martha Stewart when I stepped on the plane in Vienna.

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Friday, September 22, 2006


You'd think what with me moving country today and all that I wouldn't be able to find the time to post something. However, you'd think wrong. Why? Because Austrian Airlines gives you the internet while you wait in the airport for them to call your name to get on the damn plane already. They feed you and throw beverages at you, as well. But only if you sit in the front of the plane.

UPDATE: Austrian Airlines is not that cool. They only give you free food and beverages while you wait to have your name called to get on the damn plane already. Apparently the whole Vienna airport wants you to have the internet all the time. Aww, how sweet!

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jimmy Carter sent me an email! 

Someone told Jimmy Carter that I currently live outside the US. I have my suspicions who it could have been, but I didn't think www.VoteFromAbroad.org actually cared enough to give my email information to anyone! So Jimmy sent me an email, and I feel honored to the absolute core of my being. You know what he said? You wanna know, really? He wants me to vote.

That is all.

Well not entirely. He seems to assume that since he wants me to vote that I will (which was totally going to happen in the first place, even without a letter from a Nobel laureate, but yeah, whatever) and he pre-emptively thanked me for securing a brighter future for the country. How sincere.

It's like he knew I would be so excited about getting an email from him and it felt like he just took me up in this plane to catch a few of the most spectacular sites in the world from like 30,000 feet and then just pushed me out of a perfectly good plane.

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I feel like I'm going to miss out here 

I'm checking my email for the last time on the European continent. Or very nearly the last time. Let's not split hairs here. And this little gem was in my inbox:

Dear United Customer,
Fall is a wonderful time to visit Europe...Book a flight for your best vacation ever...etc.
I can't help but feel like I'm definitely going to miss out on Europe in the fall. As well as the rest of the year.

It's a great place, and I will miss it. But I'll be near an ocean, sucka! An OCEAN. HA!

I have the urge to stammer on and on about how things are going and what I've left to pack (thank the baby jesus, not that much!!) and who I need to deal with tomorrow and what kinds of checklists I have running through my head, but I'm too distracted by the United email and thinking of missing out on fall in Vienna. Oh and the rest of the seasons too, except maybe summer. Summer was always like the black sheep of all the seasons in Vienna.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Flying Food 

Imagine a world where food in restaurants is served flying through the air rather than on plates. It's not chaos or mayhem, but let's just say the presentation might be a bit lacking. Or at least that's how it was in my excessively short dream from last night. When I woke up I pledged to remember everything because it was all just so wrong, but sadly, I can only remember the odd 70's plastic-y restaurant interior and food literally flying to my place at the table.

Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I keep watching odd cooking/food shows - The F Word (Gordon Ramsay cooks for 50-60 people in his TV Studio restaurant with amateurs and yells FUCK IT and 'uckin 'ell a lot) and Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (Gordon Ramsay goes and slags off a restaurant for a week while trying to get it to be not shit, and where in he yells FUCK IT and 'uckin 'ell a lot). I think I might be infected. Or at least letting it get to me.

Unfortunately, what with moving across the world soon, my kitchen supplies have naturally dwindled and I'm less and less likely to have dinner that does not have something a bit odd in it. Last night - Mediterranean Cous Cous with Chicken, spring onion, cashew and random herbs stir fry. Tonight - Fajitas (ground beef most likely as this and the tortillas are the only bits that need buying) with peppers, onions, olives (what?), some amount of random herbs, salsa, sour cream, brie (it's all the cheese we got, baby) and some other stuff ... well I don't know how it's going to work yet. But let's hope it's not soul-destroyingly odd.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Time enough to blog 

Farewell parties are a fun, if not slightly drunken, affair. They also signal that there is not much time left in which one can attempt to get their shit together before all of that time runs out and leaving is upon them. It's like Tom Bombadil went and sped up time, just to spite me. Or it was a swift kick in the ass, but nonetheless, there appears to be no time left for a little bit of relaxing and for-god's-sake getting over this stupid cold I've had for 2 weeks now. Thankfully I'm nearly done with this whole packing thing and will only have to focus on giving my landlord the keys, returning my cable modem and repacking my suitcase. As if doing it once, wait, no twice, just wasn't enough, right?

My kitten is currently trying to get used to being around stuff that she's never before seen, so it's been a bit of a laughable few days. The slightest thing seems to make her hunker down and look terrified. A door being shut, the water heater firing up, someone putting a newspaper at the front door of the neighbor's flat. It's all really quite amusing.

The worst news of late is that I'm a bit in a bind. In all of this packing and rearranging I've gone and lost my lists of things to do. I know, right? That's super smooth.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Burning cash 

Yesterday as I sat around a friend's place while he painted, I commented, rather jokingly, that it would cost me hundreds of euros to actually get out of this country. And I wasn't even talking about the plane ticket.

For the entirety of the sunny part of today, while I snuffled and sniffled, I dialed phone number after phone number. "Yes, please, I'd just like to close my account before I fly out of the country." A slight pause and then, "No, I'm not coming back, which is why I just want to close my account please." Tap, tap, tap with the pen on a spare piece of paper which was intended to take notes of things I must do but remained blank for nearly 3 hours of phone calls. "Okay, but the thing is, see, is that I'm leaving the country in a week." Is it wrong to lie to this extent? I need all these things done before my landlord comes round next Wednesday to look at the place to make sure I'm not leaving a chest of drawers on accident. "Sure, I could mail you a letter, yes. But how long will it take to close the account after you get my letter?" Nod, nod. "Right, but that's a bit longer than a week, isn't it?" My eyes rolled a lot in between comments. "Can't I just come into your office or a shop and hand them a paper, or even fill something out there?" Raised eyebrows followed closely by a few sighs. "Right, I see. Well, I'll try to get you a letter tomorrow then." Lips pursed and eyes closed in frustration. "Oh? So you mean I can go into a particular shop and, right, okay. Oh, right, how much would that cost?" Blood drained from my face.

"Right, and that's just to close an account quickly?" Tap, tap, tap. "Oh that's normal then, I'd have to pay it anyways. Right." Numbers scrawled across the paper, and a few acronyms for the people that I am trying to close an account with. "And I can pay that right there in the shop with the paperwork then? Oh. Well how do I pay it then?" Pen poised to write down something of importance. "Right, but I won't actually live here after next week you see, so if you send me a bill to this address I won't get it. Wouldn't it just be simpler to pay it all in the shop then? Right, I can take cash, sure." Oh for the love of gawd, people! "Right, so I'll go into the shop then to close my account and take how big a chunk from my savings then?"

I'm contemplating just burning a bunch of cash in a fire pit and ditching the country without having to deal with the bureaucracy that is Austria. I figure it might even help get rid of this cold that will not go away. Good idea, bad idea?

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Squealing away 

I spent the majority of the past day of my life watching Gordon Ramsay swear at people in his kitchen on The F Word, some UK TV show that I, for some reason, found endlessly amusing. Some recipes and menus that he put together for the customers in the restaurant were insanely odd couplings. And he bred his very own turkeys for the Christmas dinner that was served. For Series 2 he got his very own pigs. Awww, they're so cute!

I know finding an apartment that will allow me to keep my cat in Vancouver will be tough, but I wonder if many of them would object to a pig?

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Quick, like bunny 

It's astounding how much like anise a flower can smell. Those plants are just plain gorgeous, as well.

It's impressive the amount of frustration someone working at Starbuck's can muster over customers not paying 5 bucks for a cup of coffee. I'm not entirely sure how I got there exactly, but I suspect from my browser history that it had something to do with one of Smitten Kitchen's sidebar links.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Wherein I catch up the last three (plus) months - Part III 

Very nearly four years ago, I moved my 2 suitcases and 2 rather small boxes from a fully furnished in old-lady-antique-style place across town into my (then) rather empty and echo-y new apartment. Tall ceilings and wooden floors throughout, a bathtub and meager lightbulbs dangling from the ceiling were just about the only extras I had. Two days later, a mattress arrived, courtesy of some burly delivery guys who spoke less German than I did. The kitchen was a bit lacking, what with only a sink and a stove/oven. Sans curtains, the windows let in the November sunshine. Slowly and seemingly neverendingly, I bought things to fill the place up. A bed frame here, a closet there, a kitchen replete with cabinets and a fridge. What more could a girl want? Shelving and a mirror above the bathroom sink made it into the place along with some bookshelves and books to fill them up. Hanging lamps exchanged places with the dull single bulbs and a sofa set filled in the living room. A whole gaggle of horizontal surfaces marched their way in and promptly were covered with bric-a-brac and pictures. Photographs and pictures were hung on the bare white walls, albeit never quite at the perfect angle. Shoe shelves and a chest of drawers to stash my ever-increasing collection of wearables made themselves at home. I fully embraced my role as a consumer and all of these home things are more than testament to my ceaseless dedication to consumerism.

Since May, I've had every intention of whittling it all down to the barest of essentials. The minimum requirement for settling into a place after a hop across the pond, if you will. And since May, I've found every excuse to not actually get stuck in. Until this week, that is. A kick in the ass and a watch tapping spectator - a flight reservation! I can just hear the reservation tsk'ing at me. "Not much time, lady! Get a move on!" it says. Obediently, I've sorted everything into piles - Ship over, Pack in bags for plane, Get rid of in a seedy dark corner of the city without witnesses, Properly and nicely dispose of like a good person, Haven't yet decided which pile and needs more consideration, Is this even mine?, This belongs to soandso, Soandso might like this so I'll ask if they want it - and from the looks of things, it seems possible that over the course of the week I've lost track of which pile was intended as which when I started. Some things have made their way into boxes, some things have made their way into garbage bags, of which I can currently count three in sight in just one room, and some things are sat inside open suitcases - of which I have FIVE?! (Since when and for what purpose I have five suitcases is completely beyond me.)

How I've accumulated so much stuff is such a mystery to me, and how I'm going to get rid of all of the unwanteds before that reservation date is upon me is an even greater mystery. If only I had started this three months ago...

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Lead me on 

Round about two years back, I bought a harness lead for my kitten. At the time she was about the size of my palm or so, so she didn't really take to wearing an humongous harness around her shoulders. Gnashing of her teeth, biting of my knuckles, and clawing of my hands ensued. It only took about thirty minutes to get the thing on for the first time, and it took about thirty seconds for her to revert to her natural feline escape artist tendencies. Admitting defeat, I hung the lead on a tack on a wall, vowing that I would wear protective gloves and a face mask the next time I had the audacity to attempt to harness that kitten. And it has hung, ashamedly, on that tack since that memorable day.

Today. Yes, today was the day the lead was ready to come off the wall. I donned my soothing, ever-so-sweet voice and a big bulky sweatshirt that is my bestest kitten-claw-protection. Purring and sweetness was oozing out of her while I held her cautiously, belly side up, in my arm and that blasted harness in my other hand. She caught one look of that which should not be used ever again (EVER) and then promptly swatted me in the face! Yet, I wrangled the thing on her. Twice, actually after she ever so slyly managed to fall not gracefully to the floor. I scooped her back up, and I fitted it to her shoulders so it can't possibly be easily escape artisted out of, and that, well that was about two hours ago. The lead is now just trailing around behind her, freaking her out with every step forward. It also tastes nice, or so I presume so, as she's been licking it every now and then while throwing a dirty look my way.

Next step... A walk in the park. (Pffff, yeah right!)

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wherein I catch up the last three (plus) months - Part II 

Imagine a square room with brick walls. Imagine running head first into every wall over and over again. This is, in effect, how easy it has been to secure myself a job.

It started out looking promising. May and June were the months where everyone I talked to seemed to be dangling a carrot in front of my face and moving it ever so quickly towards one of those brick walls.

In June a company asked that I come for an on site interview, and afterwards, explained to me how keen they were to employ me right now. I am still awaiting their offer letter in the mail. They wanted me to move within a week of the interview to start work immediately. They said they would have a visa sorted out for me in a matter of days.

I am so glad I didn't hold my breath for that one. I'd be well past dead and buried by now.

I want a job in project management. Again. I would like to go back into working on games. The big catch is that I want a job in Vancouver. I figure this is a smart move, as, you know, I'll be living there in two weeks. And not one game company in Vancouver is hiring a project manager type. Brick wall, meet head.

I'm hoping that the immigration folks at the airport in Vancouver are nice to me and give me a work visa even though I have not yet secured any employment there. And if they don't I think I might just kick them in the face with a golf shoe. Or cry. A lot.

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Definition of my morning 

Main Entry: 1 clos·et
Pronunciation: 'klä-z&t, 'klo-
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French closett, diminutive of clos enclosure
1 a : an apartment or small room for privacy b : a monarch's or official's private chamber
2 : a cabinet or recess for especially china, household utensils, or clothing
3 : a place of retreat or privacy
5 : a state or condition of secrecy, privacy, or obscurity < came out of the closet>

For all intents and purposes, not one of these definitions fits my closet at the moment.

Main Entry: 1dis·ar·ray
Pronunciation: "dis-&-'rA
Function: noun
1 : a lack of order or sequence : CONFUSION, DISORDER < the room was in disarray>
2 : disorderly dress : DISHABILLE

Yes, that's more like it.

Packing, sorting, and organizing all day. And I end up with disarray. I have boxes propped open, their tops like an open maw ready to swallow my belongings for a trip across the pond. I have piles of clothes at the ready for their time in the washing machine. They're lined up like giant blobs marching across the floor from the bedroom to the bathroom.

I'm moving in two weeks.

Oh dear god. I'm moving in two weeks!

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Wherein I catch up the last three (plus) months - Part I 

I abhor looking for jobs. But I'll come back to that.

May and most of June were a snore. I spent days putting together my resume and then a few more days rewriting it completely. I sent it out to various different companies, receiving a few bites here and there. I had phone interviews and an on site interview in the UK. I went out with friends and commiserated with them about the unemployment situation. I congratulated and celebrated with those that have since moved on and away to bigger and better things for their lives. I cooked and I shopped for things I do not need (to move). I read 3 books in less than a week. All in all, I was bored.

I went back to the States to visit friends and family for a few weeks. I went to a wedding in July. I even wore a bridesmaid dress. And strappy sandals. I drove a convertible. I got sunburned and still have the tan lines. I visited Lake Tahoe. I stayed in my childhood home and swam in the pool. I bbq-ed with family and friends. I took pictures and relaxed. It was a good trip.

I came back knowing I would need to pack up my things, notify my landlord that I was leaving, organizing everything to get out of Vienna and move. I knew all this, but I am, still as ever, a procrastinator. I work better under pressure.

The rest of July I continued to wave goodbye to a number of people, some of them rather close friends. There was a lot of beer and a lot of goodbyes.

I went to Budapest again in August, I took pictures and wandered around the city looking for a place to have a beer that wasn't completely empty. I went to London and wandered around. I met up with old colleagues and caught up on their news since moving from Vienna. I visited with people and had some really nice food. I took no pictures. I didn't even take my camera.

And now I'm actually getting my ass in gear and packing things up so I can move to Vancouver.

I've been making lists for two days and oh my god, I'll never see the end of them.

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