Tuesday, December 18, 2012

in which there is poorly shot iphone video

So...it's been an interesting week. And by interesting, I mean ROLLER COASTER OF FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS, and switching meds, and realizing once again that my brain is, as Jenny Lawson so eloquently puts it: "A g*dd*mn mess up there."
(I censor because I love you, delicately eyeballed sister, and for no other reason.)

Basically, I've been absent from the blogging world because I've been too busy stress-eating, and stress-dancing, and stress-painting.

If you think this is bad, you should see the dancing. 

However, as I spent most of this morning engaged in an involuntary feelings-purging nap, I think things are under control again. Also, if you've never taken an feelings-purging nap, you should get on that. Or don't get on that. Sleep is a bitter form of refuge. Your call. Moving on. 

Anyway, as I don't yet feel capable of saying anything new or interesting, I'll give you some video clips I took on my phone on the drive into work yesterday. It's really impossible to tell what's going on without being told beforehand, so I shall enlighten you: There is a stretch of beach I'd say is maybe the length of a football field called "University beach" where all the Senegalese dudes work out, apparently. Basically they all run back and forth on this same stretch of beach. Sometimes it gets to the point where there are literally hundreds of them, running back and forth over the span of about 100 yards. Which wouldn't be so weird, were it not for the fact that they literally have MILES AND MILES of beach available to them, and they pick this stretch. Oh, Senegalese. You so silly. 
They also have a weight lifting area where they pick up tires and stuff. It's like the Dakar version of Muscle Beach. They've recently acquired a nautilis-type weight machine, rumored to having been dumped there by the special forces in the middle of the night, which they haven't quite figured out how to use yet.  It's great. 

Also if you listen closely you can hear my dad explaining the finer points of Apocalypse Now, so...Bonus!

TIA, body builders, TIA. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

in which I give the gift of cookies

For many of us, this week is finals week.
What this means for me is that I'm splitting my time into 1 part studying and approx. 8 parts hating myself.
Next week I'll spend registering and unregistering for classes while weeping uncontrollably.

College, holla!

So today I'd like to talk to you all concerning the ultimate comfort food, too often neglected this time of year, frequently replaced by horrible grocery-store replacements.

Friends, I'm talking about the chocolate chip cookie.

I had five of these for breakfast.

There is an odd phenomena I have noticed among my food-eating fellow humans. Everyone believes that they have the best recipe and method for cooking 1) a steak and 2) chocolate chip cookies. 
Now, I'm not saying my pan seared in garlic butter steak is the best. It's pretty good, but I'll allow for the possibility that you can make one better. 
However, I've been making these cookies since I was six. They are the best. There is no doubt in my mind. And I have eaten a LOT of cookies over the years. 

They are always chewy. They have like, this slight carmel-y thing going on. Also, chocolate. 

If you're wondering why I haven't made these for you personally over the years, the answer is because I'm lazy. But now, as I grow old, I am once again awakening my cooking skills in the hopes to add another charm to my trophy wife bracelet. To be clear, I do not actually own a trophy wife charm bracelet, nor am I sure that such a thing exists, but now I totally want one. I'd use it to seduce men, probs. 

Anyways, because it's Christmas, because I love you, and because there's no way I'm the only one who needs to drown her sorrows in calories right now, here is the recipe. 

I've doubled it, and doubled it makes about three dozen cookies the size of your head. If you think you need less than three dozen head-sized cookies, it may be time for us to re-evaluate our friendship. 



2 cups butter
2 cups white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1 tbs vanilla
4 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 bags (24 oz) chocolate chips- usually I'm all like, MILK CHOCOLATE BIZNATCHES, but these are so sweet you probably want to go with semi sweet, or even dark chocolate.  Your call, though. I trust you guys. 


Okay, first you should put on your june cleaver  apron equivalent to protect your clothes and make you feel like a lady. If you're a dude, you should do the man version of this. I still haven't made my  mind up as to what that is, but it is not taking your shirt off. Friends, just say no to topless oven work. The scars of the second degree burns on my stomach agree with me. So I'm thinking the manly version may be a tool belt looking contraption, but again, it's really your call.

Next, put your butter in a larger-sized saucepan and melt it. As soon as it shows signs of browning, throw in all of your sugar. Feel like Paula Deen. Stir. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside. 

In a small bowl, combine your eggs and vanilla, then whisk them together.  Set aside. 

In a big bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients, stir. 

By this time your butter sugar concoction should have cooled some. You're probably already eating it with a spoon. Stop doing that. It gets better, I promise.  Go ahead and throw your eggs/vanilla business in there, mix that in as well as you can. 

Now you can add your sugary goodness concoction to your flour. Stir it up. Stop eating it with your fingers, you won't have enough for your cookies. Add in your chocolate chips. Eat a little more of it with your fingers. 

At this point, you're supposed to put it in the fridge for an hour so it can harden up a little. I don't have that kind of patience, so I say chuck it in the freezer for the duration of a How I Met Your Mother episode  and pre-heat your oven to 375. 

Then you go ahead and plop your cookies onto an UN-GREASED sheet. I use a melon baller because, again, I like mine-head sized, but it's up to you. In theory you cook them for ten minutes, but if you have a janky third world oven/ obscenely large cookies, it may end up being more like fifteen. Basically, the moment you can scrape them off the pan with a spatula in one piece, they are done. 

Finally, eat the cookies until you feel better about your life or throw up. Whichever comes first, really. 

aaaaand you're done!


Friday, December 7, 2012

in which accidents happen

10. Describe your most embarrassing moment.

Let me preface this with some fun facts about myself:

I don't really get embarrassed.  I have a sneaking suspicion the part of my brain that is supposed to get embarrassed is currently being squished by a cyst/ too busy memorizing song lyrics. Lots of embarrassing things have happened to me, sure, I just don't typically classify them that way.  I mean, I flashed like a zillion people a week ago and followed it by saying "meh, boobs."(Follow up story! My crutches have managed to snap the underwire in ALL OF MY BRAS, so if that incident repeats itself, it's going to be a lot more National Geographic than Mean Girls, if you know what I'm saying. So prepare yourself for that blog post, my friends.)
Basically, I'm the girl you send to buy your tampons because the cashier's too cute, or whatever- I get that things are supposed to be embarrassing, I just...don't really feel it.

This is a face that knows no shame

So this is really more of an anecdote I think people will relate to as being embarrassing- but it wasn't my  most embarrassing moment, persay. If you find it does not fill your embarrassing anecdote needs, I will be more than happy to tell you about the time I puked at walmart (twice!), walk of shamed in front of my then-home teacher (college!), or ugly cried in like, six different countries (snot!).

But first, a continuation of the fun facts!

As I've mentioned on numerous occasions, I drink a lot of water. The estimation of an average 5 liters was by no means exaggerated- I totally drank a liter of water while writing this.
I also have a delicate lady-bladder, so I end up sprinting to the bathroom many, many times a day.

I also really love road trips. Actually, that's not totally true- I love grown-up road trips. I love children, I do not love being in cars with them for extended periods of time, and furthermore I don't believe that anyone does. So, I love grown up lady road trips, where you can listen to the explicit version of Some Nights on repeat for six hours to perfect the four part harmony instead of Barney's greatest hits, or whatever.

I am also a notedly terrible driver. I will be the first one to admit this. At the earlier point of my driving career, it was the responsibility of the passenger to yell "It's okay, we're from Europe!" out the window after my traffic infractions. My most frequently cited reasons for wanting a man are: to drive me around, kill spiders, make out on demand and occasionally assure me that I'm not crazy. Luckily three out of the four can be accomplished by gay guys, but that's a story for another day.

In order to survive driving during the aforementioned road trips, I've perfected a formula over several bouts of trial and error: Driving mix CDs played at full volume, a constant rotation of energy drinks and water, and a route of planned bathroom stops along the way.

The only flaw in this glorious formula is that between the excessive water drinking and the caffeine from energy drinks,  I sometimes need to, ah, make some additional bathroom stops. Which wouldn't be a big deal, if it weren't for the complete lack of civilization in most of utah -where the majority of my driving took place- and the fact that I have never mastered peeing in the wild. So more frequently what happens is I'd pull into the nearest building I thought will have bathrooms, park in a manner that would make Jason Bourne weep at my recklessness, and throw myself into the the building like a cannonball on fire, disregarding all who might work/live there until my needs are met, or rather, relieved. It's for this reason that Vegas houses multiple casinos they would really prefer I not visit again- sorry, security guard at Circus Circus! Maybe you should mark your fire exits from the outside, too!

Anyways, there came a night when I was driving from Vegas to Cedar City by myself at around 3 AM.  I actually prefer to make long drives at this hour of the night- less traffic. However, this also led to my drinking more energy drinks than usual, and taking more breaks than usual. I thought I was doing okay, and making good time at that, about twenty miles outside of Cedar. I figured I'd stop at the walmart on the edge of town, and I'd be good until I got home. Ten miles later, I realized this was not the case. Luckily there's a nice rest stop about six miles outside of the city- why I'm not sure, there aren't exactly any big tourist attractions there. Empty venom cans rolling at my feet while lady gaga sang about not wanting to be friends, I swung into the lot and started running for the building.

I did not make it.

My friends, I totally wet my pants. In a big way. Had I been in kindergarten, this would have merited a call home and request for dry clothes. Honestly, this is not the firs time I've done this, I'm sure it won't be the last (lots of water! delicate lady bladder! poor timing!) and it wouldn't even be noteworthy, except at that point I heard a car door close behind me.

I turned around to see an entire family of Asian tourists who had evidentially witnessed the entire event. To this day, I'm still not sure what they were doing there- again, it was three in the morning- but I did what I had to do.

"Welcome to Southern Utah!" I said, "Enjoy our picturesque mountain views!" And I waddled back to my car to change.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

in which ambien is turning sleep-me into a horrible person.

To be clear, ambien is still mana from heaven and keeps me sleeping through the night like a well-trained baby.
It's just....my dreams are really weird. And violent. And kinda racist.

First of all, the fact that I'm having dreams at all is kind of an anomaly- usually people on ambien don't dream. They occasionally sleep-walk, sleep-eat, and sleep-set-things-on-fire, but they don't usually dream. I mean, given those options I'd pick horrible dreams anyways, I'm just saying...it's weird.

Second of all, I'm a nice person, I swear. These are not the kind of story lines I scheme up when I'm awake. Just....sleeping. And only recently.

This is basically how I wake up now.

Okay, so three days ago I woke up freaking out because "the gays ate my baby" which is probably the most horrible sentence I have ever typed. I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST HOMOSEXUALS.  Several of my absolute favourite people are gay. Even though I occasionally say wildly awkward things to them, we're all pretty tight as a general rule. Furthermore, no one I actually know was in this dream.
Anyways, I dreamed I was living in a house with my baby, Rachel, who had glorious flowing red hair and looked adorable in a little wool coat and beret, and a gay body builder named Mike. Also, while I have nothing against gay individuals, it should probably be said that body builders freak me the hell out. Like, why on earth would you want to make yourself look that creepy. I don't even comprehend. Anyways, then Mike the gay body builder kidnapped Rachel and took her to his gay body builder cannibalistic cult, who had a giant cauldron of water which they danced around ceremoniously, as cannibalistic body builder cults are no doubt wont to do. And then they ate my baby. It was horrible.

The next night I dreamed I was in some sort of hunger games/gladiator fight, where the prize for winning was a new iphone. It should be noted that I have a perfectly functioning iphone, which I knew in the dream, I just had to have a new one. Dream me is a materialistic bastard. More so than conscious me, that is. Oh, and the arena was filled with the family and friends of the apple workers who committed suicide. So. Hordes of angry asians, basically. And then I rode into the arena on the back of a lion (which was awesome!) and bludgeoned everyone to death with my old iphone (which was NOT awesome.) At least I won? I guess? HOPE THAT NEW PHONE IS WORTH IT, YOU MURDEROUS HAG.

Last night, however, was particularly violent. First of all, my best friend in the world called me at three in the morning, in real life. I didn't pick up because it was three in the morning and I was too sleepy and stuff. I'm still not actually sure why he called then? (It was not an emergency though, because he left a voicemail saying as much.) So then I went back to sleep. And dreamed that I was trying to teach him a lesson for calling so late. By murdering him WITH AN AXE. Like IN THE SHINING. It was HORRIBLE.

So...yeah. I'm a terrible person when I'm asleep.
Love me anyways?



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

in which I write the Obligatory Birthday Post

Friends, there are two kinds of people in this world: Those who think birthdays are a time for quiet introspection, possibly accompanied by an intimate celebration, and those who go all out in a happy explosion of self-obsession.
I'm somewhere in between the two, so I guess that means there's three kinds.


I awoke at the sunny hour of Five AM, and by that I do mean I accidentally woke up and couldn't get back to sleep, so I spent the next fifty minutes looking at discount wedding dresses online and smacking my face against the keyboard (an attempt to lull myself back to sleep, not an expression of my relationship status). Alas, by six I gave up and put some clothes to go to the Embassy.

I had a nine o clock appointment at the embassy health unit (for the usual complaints: "I think I have cancer/aids/sleep apnea, may I please be med evac'ed to Germany?" and "CAN I STOP USING THE CRUTCHES NOW?") but since the embassy is so far from our house- half an hour- I went with my mother and father at the same time he goes in for work (seven fifteen sharp, or God help you).

In our family, on your birthday it is tradition that you may pick any breakfast your heart desires, usually of the pastry variety. I wanted pain au chocolat from the fancy downtown bakery, which my mother went and bought. They were delicious. She also got some kind of savory croissant that was markedly less delicious. Oh, Senegalese bakeries, you're so weird.

The doctor's appointment basically went like this:

Dr: Let me see your foot.
Me: [shows foot. foot looks kind of corpsey and gross, it is still covered in bruises. I have tried to mask this by painting the nails a charming shade of mango, ended up looking like the decomposing hooker foot they find on CSI, or something]
Dr: [dying on the inside]
Me: So....no more crutches, then?
Dr: I don't know. Let me poke your foot in a manner that would be painful on even non-broken toes.
Me: [biting back screams in the hope my hardcoreness will result in the loss of crutches] So...good?
Dr: Actually, I think your foot is EVEN MORE BROKEN  THAN IT WAS BEFORE!
Me: So..crutches. Yes? No?
Dr: Have you been putting weight on your foot?
Me: Not really...except for when I fall on it.
Dr: [audible gasp] WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?
Me: What part of "I have the upper body strength of a squirrel and I keep falling over because of these crutches" did you you miss before?
Dr: Well, you need more X-rays. And more crutches. Probably for the rest of eternity.
Dr: But here's a nice Ace bandage for you! Also you don't have cancer, stop asking.

So. No trip to germany or regular mobility for me. Alas, Alas, Alas.

After we got home we had lunch- I wanted to go out for sushi, but I'm po, so we had grilled cheese instead. Grilled cheese is amazing.

The main activity of the afternoon was shopping for my birthday presents. But first, a few words about birthday presents.

Of their own accord, no one in my family would remember to buy anyone presents ever. Those family members who are reading this and protesting, hush your collective mouths, you've only gotten that way after YEARS AND YEARS OF CAREFUL TRAINING. Basically, any time anyone in my family has a birthday, I compile a list of things I think they would like and send them out to the rest of the family several weeks in advance. I then spend the remaining weeks hounding them to make sure they actually get something.
And that is how the members of my family have presents on their birthday.

Of course, to repeat this process for presents for my own self would be tacky, so instead I compile a thoughtful pinterest board of items I would not mind possessing, and distribute it about six weeks before my birthday.
And yet, at least half the family came up to me yesterday morning and asked what I would like for my birthday.

And that is why we went shopping.

(also because shopping brings me insane amounts of joy)

Obviously, shopping in Senegal is not quite the same process as shopping in the states. There is no walmart here, friends. Instead, most of the shopping takes place in markets or "boutiques". The contents of the tiny, un air-conditioned boutiques are the same as those of the market, just better organized and more expensive. So we went to the HLM market, instead.
There are three main markets in Dakar, each specializing in different things, so far I have been to two of them. This market- the HLM- is mostly fabric, but also has a lot of jewelry, shoes, and bags. The siblings were looking for pillowcase fabric (homeschooling a sweatshop, remember) Lark was looking for more dress fabric, and I wanted a bag- so HLM made the most sense.

HLM- pronounced "aschelem"- is a catacomb of narrow dirty streets and poorly lit warehouses. I'm all over that as a general rule, but it's CRAZY hard to navigate with crutches. We also had our guest missionary in tow- in the country to get his visa straightened out, didn't speak a word of english- who, in addition to a crutch, also had a false leg, which made me feel like a total pansy.
We walked all over HLM for about two hours, found a lot of fabric, but no bags that I liked, so we started heading back to the car when TADA I FOUND ALL THE BAGS I COULD EVER WANT.
I got this one- the tag on the inside claims it's a Fabrizio Poker, which, I'm sorry, sounds like an Italian sex toy to me.
Whatever, it's fabulous leatherrrrr.
I like it because it looks like a tiiiiiny doctor bag.

After the great HLM adventures, I went upstairs and took a tiny baby nap- which is what grown up ladies do when they've had four hours of sleep and can't feel their arms anymore after walking on crutches for so long.

For birthday dinner we had steak, potatoes and broccoli. Food of the Gods! Also the first time I've had red meat since I've been here. Or broccoli.

The broccoli cost more than the steak. TIA.

However, the best part of the meal was cake and ice cream.

If you've never lived in Dakar, you do not understand the value of good cake and ice cream.
Seriously, you don't.
I've mentioned this on facebook several times- ice cream here is expensive. Obscenely expensive. We've found a brand of chocolate ice cream we can occasionally afford- I think we've had it three times in the three months I've been here- the name is "super budget chocolate!" and the first ingredient is water, which I think paints a pretty accurate picture right there. But for my birthday we splurged at the French grocery for a tiny container of amazing mint chocolate chip.
I've also never had a decent cake here- though admittedly I've only tried maybe three before giving up. Besides, I don't have regular cake on my birthday- I have cheesecake. Have for the past five years, at least.
But there is no cheesecake to be had in Dakar. There is not even cream cheese with which one can make her own cheesecake.
I'm going to go ahead and say this is the new qualifier for third world countries- if you have no cheesecakes, you are a third world country. The end.

HOWEVER- after a recent trip to Italy by a member of our family, a glorious cheesecake may or may not have made it's way into our freezer. Suffice it to say there are better uses for diplomatic passports than smuggling drugs, my friends.
Hello, they say, Hello I love you.

I almost cried.

The original plan for after dinner was to put the little kids to bed and watch Drop Dead Gorgeous (one of the funniest movies OF ALL TIMESSSSS) but I'm not embarrassed to admit I was way too tired for that. I'm a grown up lady with possible cancer/sleep apnea, remember? So instead I painted Celia and Riah's toes to match mine (I'm calling the color "dead hooker mango" now) and the three of us watched  an episode of My Fair Wedding, then retired for the evening.

Cilia, Myself, Riah
Happy Birthday to me.

(more thought provoking birthday post in the works)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

in which my boobs don't discriminate

Just got back from the international bazaar with my family- it was lovely. The Austrian Embassy hosted, around a dozen different countries represented by selling goods and foods from their nation- further solidifying my desire to have beautiful things from all over the world.
I may or may not have conned Brianna into buying me some bejeweled Indian flats for my birthday [which is on tuesday, but I will accept presents throughout the remainder of the year] because, you know, jewels.
My own dear siblings represented by hawking their handmade pillowcases- because what is homeschooling if not an excuse to open a sweatshop? They're actually pretty cool, they make them with local fabric. So far they've sold pretty well.
I'm sure my mom's got pictures, I should commandeer her camera and post some of them..

I also learned that when not tucked into something, using my crutches causes my shirt to ride up.
Like, all the way up.
Which wouldn't be that big of a deal if I was still rocking the sports-bra-and-running-shorts-under-everything look, but today I decided I should actually make an effort with my clothes, so it was really something more along the lines of this:

And you thought I'd post the whole thing. 

So now, in addition to the Americans and Senegalese, I've pretty much flashed every culture represented in Dakar.
You're welcome, Africa.