Saturday, March 31, 2012

a Papa John's travesty

Last night we called Papa John's to order in pizza for dinner. They were out of Italian sausage, ham, garlic sauce, and some other stuff that I didn't catch.

How can that be?

Then when we tried to order their version of the meat lover's pizza, which should have included the missing Italian sausage and ham, and asked that they include mushrooms in lieu of some of the missing meat, they said they could, but we'd have to pay extra.

How can that be?

I don't think Papa John would be very pleased...

Friday, March 30, 2012

tomorrow is a very important anniversary...

... of the day I got my new eyes!

Even though I looked like this for 6 hours of recovery, it was worth every embarrassing second. I HEART my year-old "new" eyes!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy (early) Birthday to me...

Today I got an Amazon package in the mail and the Customs form said "printed book". I don't order printed books anymore -thank you last year's birthday present Kindle - so naturally I ripped right into the box to see this book.

And I met a wrapped present with a card on top that said "Happy Birthday! Love, Moma".

So I didn't open it because it's not my birthday yet and I'm Type A and I like to have order in my life. Opening a present early reflects a total disregard for the order of the universe.

I sent my mom an email to thank her for what I thought was a cookbook. I measured the girth, felt the heft, looked at the height and it screamed cookbook.

I also told my mom that I was going to try and wait until my birthday to open it.

I finished up work, came home, and could not stop thinking about what I knew was a cookbook.

It weighed on me.

It begged to be opened.

It really spoke to me from behind that generic Amazon wrapping paper.

I decided not answering a talking package reflected a greater disregard for universal order than opening a package ahead of its due date.

So I opened it.

And guess what my Moma sent me?????

Only the brand spanking new Pioneer Woman cookbook!! Are you jealous of me? Because I'd be jealous of me, unless you've already bought it for yourself.

Hurray for me and hurray for having a mom who knew what I'd love more than anything. (Between you and me, that's why I opened the package. I really felt an unnaturally strong belief that The Pioneer Woman was inside.)

Oh my. I'm one happy girl and cannot wait to start reading it.

Thanks, Mom, for a PERFECT gift!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Back to "Normal"

Mac came down with the dreaded strep this weekend. I put on my doctor hat, got out my flashlight which I used to examine the strep-infected throat, and declared my diagnosis.

That pesky, villainous, evil strep.

And this being Bogota, I then went next door and bought a course of Amoxicillin - sans doctor's prescription- so I could get my boy on the road to recovery.

I tried to look up the correct dosage for Mac's weight, but let's be honest. I didn't really know what his exact weight was in the first place. And the equation I found on the Internet used kilograms and even had I known Mac's weight in pounds, I would have had to calculate what that was in kilos to make that equation work and I always have to think hard whether you multiply by 2.2 or divide by 2.2. It seemed like a lot of work so I emailed a friend whose child had recently had strep and just used his dosage.

So Mac got a dose on Saturday afternoon, two on Sunday and one this morning. But he still wasn't where I thought he needed to be after so many doses, so I took him to the health unit this morning. Turns out my skills as a diagnostician are spot-on. But my skills as a prescription writer need some work. After four doses of antibiotic, he still tested positive for strep. I under-medicated him (but at least I didn't get yelled at for giving him antibiotics unnecessarily).

Mac came home after that to be babied by "Ms. Ruth", who made him soup, bought him a 12-pack of BBQ potato chips (because that apparently is a home remedy for curing strep), and let him eat ice cream. Oh, and she gave him that extra dosage of medicine that I neglected to give on Saturday and Sunday. By the time I got home at 4:45, my boy was brand new.

Do you want to know how I knew he was back to normal? He was playing and talking to himself. Or talking to the imaginary person he was playing with, I'm not sure which. But he talks to himself or that imaginary person a lot when he's well and he hadn't done that at all since Saturday, so I knew he back to normal. Or as normal as someone can be who talks a lot when there's nobody else around.

And that makes me very happy.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I have a confession to make

My name is Susan, and I am addicted to the Pioneer Woman.

When that will change to "recovering addict" is not on the foreseeable horizon.

I don't know how I missed her for all these years. Surely if you had known about her, you would have told me, right?

My discovery of her happened because my boys play tennis on Saturday morning. It's not a direct correlation, but I often use that time to watch a little uninterrupted Food Network. And it turns out she started her show on one of those Saturday mornings that I tuned in. And I was hooked.

Since then, I have periodically checked her blog - - and tried a few recipes but I would classify my obsession as mild.

Until now.

A week or two ago, I stumbled on a story on the sidebar of her blog that honestly could have caused me to wet my pants had I had a semi-full bladder. I read it and re-read it and every time, I laughed out loud. You can check it out - go back a few posts on my blog and you'll see a very short post. But this post spoke to me because a) I LOVE anybody with a self-deprecating sense of humor and b) I could see this whole scene play out in my head and could imagine the horror of it all.

Who was this woman?

Since then, I've become addicted. Seriously addicted. As in, could we plan a summer vacation to Oklahoma and find her ranch and just show up on her doorstep? I think she'd invite me for an iced coffee and I could help her cook dinner for the Marlboro Man, aka her husband, and all her kids.

Since then, I downloaded her book and read it in what seemed like minutes. And I laughed out loud at parts of it. I've also subscribed to get all her blog posts as they come out. I have only subscribed to two other blogs and those are of dear friends with new babies and I need/must see the developments of those sweet babies as soon as they are made. The Pioneer Woman competes with babies. She might be winning in the popularity contest.

Just kidding. I love those babies and will always be more interested in them than her.

I think.

Anyhoo, I cannot get enough of this woman. I'm off to make some of her fried rice for dinner tonight. I do, after all, have to feed my own Marlboro Man....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Teaching Mac to Cook

As many of you know, the Giginator, aka my mother, was a home economics teacher for 20-something years. As part of her teaching responsibilities, she taught what must have been 1000s of Berkeley County middle schoolers how to cook. Let me just tell you right now: after two consecutive nights of Mac insisting he help me cook, I am pretty convinced I would have to be heavily medicated on happy pills to teach children how to cook day in and day out.

The mess.

The extra time it takes.

The incessant questioning of "how much longer till it's ready?"

And did I mention the mess?

Last night we made really quite a delicious baked orzo dish (Mac cooked the bacon, sautéed the onions, chopped the basil and measured out the liquids) and tonight we baked homemade biscuits of which Mac has already eaten 2 and declared delicious (Mac measured the flour, whisked the dry ingredients together, mixed the liquid in, kneaded and cut out the biscuits).

Sweet Lord, grant me patience to continue these lessons.

And sweet Lord, put a bug in Mac's Bubby's ear to teach him some cooking when she comes to see us next week. He will have off two full weeks for Spring Break and that would provide lots of quality cooking time.

And also sweet Lord, put a bug in the Giginator's ear to follow up on these lessons when Mac goes home this summer ahead of Jimmy and me. There could be 3 weeks of good bonding time over a hot stove.

I may not need the extra patience after all if I can get these grandmothers on board....

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Another thought on the facial

One thing I keep remembering from my facial was how nice and clean and fresh my facial techician's hands smelled. She must never cut up onions or garlic because her hands would never smell that nice. I wonder who does her cooking????

Saturday, March 17, 2012

my facial

I had my facial this afternoon and I thought I'd share the experience with you so you can live vicariously through me.

First of all, I should tell you that I really hate getting any sort of treatment overseas for the following reasons:
1. The people attending to you never speak English.
2. The people attending to you never speak English.
3. The treatments are never the same as what you get in the US, so you don't really know what to expect, which leads me again to:
4. The people attending to you never speak English.

But I put all that aside and went to my 1pm appointment since a) I had a vision in the shower this morning that today was the day to get a facial, and b) because I succeeded in making the appointment in Spanish (even when I couldn't remember the word for "face", I was able to explain that I wanted a "cleaning of the part of the body that has eyes, a nose and mouth") and c) I'd been able to explain further that I wanted a hydrating facial. I felt like getting the appointment would be the hardest part of the whole process.

I found the salon and was promptly escorted back to the treatment room. I was directed to the bathroom where I was told to change out of my shirt and to put on the gown that was sitting on the counter. Now I don't get these sorts of treatments often - in fact, when she finally started working on me, I realized it has probably been 7+ years since I got a facial - but you would think that I could figure out how to put on the little cover-up thing, right? That would be wrong. It was a hot pink number that looked like a child's dress-up skirt made out of cheap tulle. This skirt was really just a rectangular piece of tulle attached together by one piece of velcro. I came out of the bathroom apologizing for my ignorance and looking like SuperWoman with a cape on. First mistake. The skirt was supposed to go under my armpits not over my shoulders. It all made perfect sense then.

So then I got on the table and the young woman started her work. It all started like any facial that I've ever had. She rubbed some cream around and then wiped it all off. It was all good and familiar.

Then I heard some whirring noise and the next thing I knew - my eyes were closed throughout - there was what felt like a belt sander being applied to my face. It wasn't uncomfortable, just a little disconcerting. And she got a little close to my year-old new eyes which you know I'm very particular about so that made me a wee bit nervous.

After the sanding ended (which seemed to go on a very long time), the next thing I felt was hot, humid air being blown straight on my face. I love the tropics as much as the next guy but it was a little hot and humid and close for comfort. I had to keep reminding myself that I could still breathe so I didn't get panicked. After that blew for a few minutes, she put some more cream on (with the hot, humid air still blowing) and wiped it off.

At that point, I could electronic equipment starting up. There was some beeping that came across louder than the jazz music they had piped in. The lady gave me this metal prod to hold which was attached to a curly cord which was attached to who knows what. At this point I opened my eyes so I could try to figure out what in the world was going on. No such luck.

The lady started rolling what felt like a mini-paint roller all over my face. She asked if there was any discomfort and I said no because there wasn't. I honestly couldn't figure out why this had to be electronically operated. And then she cranked it up a little and holy toledo, the "discomfort" got worse and worse. It felt like little pricks of heat anywhere the paint roller rolled. At this point, I asked her what was the purpose of this machine. And of course, the answer was in Spanish (see answers 1, 2 and 4 above as to why I don't like getting treatments overseas). I understood something about "penetrating" and that was all I got. I told her it felt like the machine was doing its job because the heat pricks were definitely penetrating something, and she excitedly agreed. I still have no idea what the purpose was of the metal prod I was clutching with a death grip, unless it was to hit her with if the pain got to be too much.

The next part of this fun facial afternoon was getting cotton balls covered in some liquid on my eyes - mind the eyes, lady - after which she placed what felt like a sheet of cheesecloth over my face. The cheesecloth had been covered in some liquid but it was all very cooling and didn't bother me. Until she started applying cream all over the cheesecloth which extended from my forehead all the way over my face all the way down my neck to my upper chest. Once she plastered the cream on, the only parts of the cheesecloth that weren't stuck to my face were my nostrils and my eyes. Everything else was glued down. Like plaster of paris. Like she was making some sort of mold of my face. And I lay like that for ages. And more ages. And then another era or two. Until she pulled the whole thing off in one piece like it was a gigantic mold. And then she picked pieces of lint off my face and from my hairline. It takes a special kind of person to be a facial technician.

At this point, I could only focus on three things:

1. What time is it?
2. How much is this going to cost me? Surely more than I thought. I hope I have enough money to pay for this.
2. How red is my face because I have to walk a number of blocks home and I really don't want to look like I've had a dermatological eruption.

She continued on with the rest of her hydrating facial duties and then it was all over (after 1.5 hours of treatment). My facial and neck skin is as smooth as a baby's (except for that red area where a pimple was on its deathbed, but now has been aggravated by assault) and it feels very hydrated. St. Patrick (and St. Joseph) would be happy.

the week in review

1. On Monday, we had family mani-pedi night. Mac got to go first and he really is living the life of Riley, which, according to Wikipedia, "suggests an ideal contented life, possibly living on someone else's money, time or work. Rather than a negative freeloading or golddigging aspect, it implies that someone is kept or advantaged."

"Life of Riley" in photo: tae kwon do uniform from extracurricular activities at school, hands being worked on and feet in the bucket soaking....

2. We had our friends over for a taco dinner on Tuesday night. Jimmy had an after-work commitment and her husband was traveling, so my friend and her girls came over. I love these people and am going to be devastated when they leave this summer.

3. On Wednesday night, we had a family dinner at La Biferia. We've passed this restaurant a hundred times but have never eaten there. It was de-lish. Mac had empanadas for his meal (and some of my steak) and Jimmy and I shared chorizo, baked provolone cheese, a salad, french fries (that were totally divine) and a NY strip. Very good, very reasonable for everything we ate and we will be going back.

4. On Thursday night we went to a Night of Art that was sponsored by the American Society. There was one painting out of I don't know how many that Jimmy would have bought had I encouraged him early on. By the time I encouraged him, it had already been sold. Needless to say, it did not have the price tag of $75,000 USD that was attached to one wall hanging that appeared to be gold lame to me. I'm pretty sure that one didn't sell. Afterwards, we went to a new-to-us sushi restaurant with another couple and had a great dinner with great company.

5. I got my final delivery of clothes from my tailor today. She came on Tuesday afternoon and delivered a couple jackets that she was taking in for me as well as the pants to my new suit. Today she brought a blouse that she'd worked magic on and the jacket to the suit. I cannot wait to wear the new duds to work next week. I loved everything so much that I ordered a black pantsuit (with a skirt to go with it). That should be ready in a week and a half.

6. We have a long weekend this weekend as Monday is a Colombian holiday to celebrate St. Joseph. I don't know what we really do to celebrate him but I am thankful that he has a holiday in his honor. We all needed this long weekend.

7. To celebrate St. Patrick since today is his day, I am going to a salon this afternoon and having a hydrating facial. I think St. Patrick (and St. Joseph for that matter) would approve.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you. May the luck o' the Irish be with you!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday's chuckle

I just read this today and nearly wet my pants laughing.

the poetry festival

Every year Mac's school participates in a poetry festival with two other British schools in town. The students participate by reciting original and already published poetry as well as group poetry presentations and performances supported by multi-media presentations.

A couple weeks ago Mac came home and announced he'd volunteered to participate in the poetry festival. Jimmy was convinced he heard "festival" and not "poetry" and thought there would be carnival rides and elephant ears involved. We asked him repeatedly if he was sure he'd signed up for the right thing.

Sure enough, the permission slip was sent home so I knew he was at least on the list of participants. When I told him I'd completed the form and that I was looking forward to seeing his performance, he asked if I was taking time off from work. I told him that the festival didn't start until 5pm so I'd be able to attend sin problema. He looked puzzled, so I explained that he'd stay after school, eat a snack and then the school would transport the students to the hosting school and I'd meet him there. So then I thought that maybe he'd volunteered in order to skip some school and that's why he was surprised that it was an after-school event.

Regardless the blessed festival occurred on Tuesday evening. It was two hours of listening to elementary school-aged children recite and perform poetry. That makes for a bit of a long evening. But Mac and his group did a fun, energetic presentation, and I was very proud of his participation.

But is it wrong to hope he doesn't volunteer for next year's poetry festival????

Friday, March 9, 2012

Tonight's conversation

A conversation between Mac and me a few minutes ago:

Mac: I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 10. Guess.

Me: 8.

Mac: no, it's what I think of you.

Me (daring to hope, especially since I went to the commissary and bought him Twizzlers today): 10?

Mac: yes!

Me: oh Mac, that is so sweet. I think you're a 10, too.

Mac: well you're a 10 except when you burst out.

Me (thinking to myself... "burst out????? Moi???? WHATEVER IS HE TALKING ABOUT????????")

Then Mac, as a consolation prize, told me that his teacher said when she gets mad, "a dragon comes out.". I wonder what number he gives her when the dragon comes out?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

to catch you up on our life... as if you were interested

1. We went to Cartagena last weekend. Jimmy had to work a congressional delegation and Mac and I had to work the hotel pool. We had a lovely time in the hot sun and even got to hang out with a school friend of Mac's and her family on Sunday. Do you suppose Mac has any idea how great his life is???

2. The school friend and her family are Brazilian. I love, no, make that LOVE Brazilians.

3. Jimmy got to eat at the Colombian President's house in Cartagena for lunch with the congressional delegation. While we were eating french fries by the pool for our lunch, he was feasting on lobster, steak, ribs and fish and meeting Juan Valdez.

4. Mac and I flew back on Sunday afternoon and found out that there were Colombian soap opera stars on board with us. They were returning from Cartagena where they'd attended the Colombian version of the Oscars on Saturday night. We even saw one of the "Oscars" in the airport being carried around.

5. I returned with a raging sinus problem, thanks to the air conditioning in the hotel. It's been a very long week of sniffling and coughing and hacking.

6. On Tuesday, I left work around midday because I felt so bad. I came home and Ruth sprang into full clucking mother hen mode. She got me in the bed, made me a hot water bottle for my feet, and then made me drink this cure-all orange drink that really did me make feel better. I do love that woman.

7. Jimmy and I hosted a dinner party for friends last night and we hired a chef to do all the work (because we needed to test him out before using him for work entertaining). I have decided this is how I must live from now on. I literally had to do nothing but set the table. He cooked, he served, and he cleaned up afterwards. The meal? Appetizers were phyllo bags stuffed with spinach and cheese served over a fresh tomato salsa. The main course was beef tenderloin with a dill mustard sauce, potato crepes, and sauteed vegetables. Dessert was passionfruit mousse. And it was all as delicious as it sounds. I love this chef and would like to figure out a way for him to live in our apartment with us.

8. Today I had a fashion designer type lady come over to re-do some stuff in my wardrobe. I'm super-excited about what she's doing plus she's making me a suit. My first fitting is a week from Tuesday. Stay tuned.

9. Jimmy's got the sinus funk now and so I had to take Mac to football practice this afternoon. 3 hours of football practice. Watch out girls: I'm back in the running for Mother of the Year.