I’m Back!!

First and foremost, please join me in welcoming the newest member of the Walker clan, Morgan Elizabeth who was born on May 20th! Here are a few shots of the happy family:


My trip was AMAZING and I will start posting photos soon of my adventures. The highlight was definitely St. Petersburg, Russia mostly because it was so different than any place I had ever traveled to before.

More to come soon!!

London Revisited

I am again back in my favorite city, but just for one night. I just took a long walk from Tower Bridge (where I am staying) to Covent Garden and am now at an internet cafe in Trafalgar Square. These last two weeks have been AMAZING. I was particularly touched by Russia and Estonia and can’t wait to get back. There is so much to tell!!! And good lord, so many pictures (nearly 800). But it will all have to wait until I get home; I fly tomorrow back to Boston. Bah! I wish I could stay longer…. like forever.

Bon Voyage…

I leave in an hour and 7 minutes for the airport and am freaking out a bit.

1) I don’t like to fly. Yes, it’s true I manage a large flights division for a major tour operator. But I don’t like to actually be in airplanes.

2) I have TONS to do and just don’t feel ready.

GET OVER IT. OK, moving on. By the way, stories of my adventures during the next two weeks will be posted by my good friend Ashlee’s blog: http://www.ashbloemstraat.com

I was thinking just now, as I was running (literally) to CVS to get Dramamine, about the time I flew from Boston to Amsterdam when I moved there in early January 1999. I was a WRECK. I was blubbering and crying and called everyone I knew from the airport so they could hear me blubber and cry. I even called my sister’s boyfriend (I had none of my own) to thank him for being so generous to me in the weeks prior. I was so afraid of leaving, and knew nothing at all about the place I was moving to. At the same time, I have to admit it was exciting. Looking back, I don’t know why I was so upset, I hadn’t lived in Boston long enough to put down a single root, but then again, maybe that was just the point of my distress. I wasn’t ready.

Two-years after moving to Amsterdam I was ready to come back. It was just too hard. I couldn’t read my utility bills, the cashiers at the grocery store were rude, and the sun never came out from behind the low lying clouds. Then I met a boy whom I liked and things got a little better. THEN I met a man whom I loved and things got a WHOLE lot better. I made friends. I found a community. Everything got easier. It was like I had been holding my breath for two whole years and finally figured out a way to exhale. I hate to admit a Man was the reason for things getting better, but that’s just the way it was.

Two years later I was standing (well, doubled-over) outside Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam about to move back to Boston. Faithful Frankie was by my side holding my hand as again I was sobbing and hyperventilating with grief. I didn’t want to go back, I had only just started to feel settled. I wasn’t ready to move again and leave all that I had found.

I don’t know why this all comes to mind right now. Often I am asked, “So, when are you moving back to Europe”. People just assume I am going back, although I guess I talk about it pretty frequently (especially after the last election). I don’t know. Someday? A year? Never? I don’t know. I really want to give Boston the chance I didn’t give it 8 years ago. Now it has been three years and still it’s a struggle to find roots here. I am beginning to doubt that it will ever really happen. And then what?

Good God. I need this vacation. Getting away right now seems like an absolute blessing.

See you in 2 weeks. Don’t miss me too much. And sorry for all the type-os and grammar errors. I don’t have time to spell check.

xoxo.

But Seriously…

Maybe I should actually blog about real life instead of just providing you all with portals to fun websites. Is that more interesting? I would suppose so. But talking about myself here seems a bit strange to me. But then again, not talking about me on my own blog, is probably a bit strange as well.

In two days I am leaving on a cruise from London and visiting ports in Scandinavia, Russia and Estonia. I am very excited, as you can imagine, but also stressed at the amount that I have to accomplish before I leave. I am going to be gone for two full weeks! (any volunteers to pick up my mail?) The best part is that I am going in the name of “work” (i.e. for free) where my sole responsibilities are:

 

1) Make sure the tour goes well (observe)
2) Interact with the clients (schmooze)
3) Report back to our sales team what the highlights and selling
points are for this tour (eat, drink, and be merry).

Here is a map of the itinerary:

The ship, The Jewel of the Seas, is so enormous I can’t even believe she floats. The passenger capacity is just over 2500 people, which is slightly larger (ummm 1900 more people larger) than the ship I sailed on with Semester at Sea. The ship includes:

  • Fitness Center
  • Day Spa
  • Rock Climbing Wall
  • Solarium with indoor pool
  • Pool deck with outdoor pool
  • Library
  • Disco
  • Lounge
  • Miniature Golf Course (are you shitting me??!)
  • “Adventure Beach” with real waterslides
  • Billiard Room
  • Champagne Bar (hello!)
  • Casino
  • Shops/Boutiques
  • Some Huge Theatre

The only sad thing is that I can’t take any friends/family with me (since it is in the name of work and all), so surely I will be hanging out a lot with the tour director leading this group, David W.– a fine british chap who I met while in London in March. But hell, with 2500 people aboard, I am sure I can find a friend or two who will sit next to me at the slot machines. I know I have been lucky to have traveled to so many amazing places… but I feel like I am always wishing there was someone next to me to nudge and say, “Hey! Look at THAT!”. Maybe I should just start nudging random strangers.

I am most looking forward to our 2 days inSt. Petersburg, Russia (not Florida). ST.P. has always been high on my list of places to go. I could spend both full days walking around the Hermitage, but time will be short so I will have to make the most of it.

The VERY GOOD news is that plans are now underway for my trip to see U2 in Amsterdam in July. I was lucky enough to win roundtrip tickets to Europe on Air France at a company function a little while ago, so I have cashed them in and am bringing Ashleewith me. We leave on July 13th, I just got the etickets 10 minutes ago. Only 64 days to go!

Speaking of Amsterdam, I have really been missing it lately, so knowing a visit in the near future is really lifting my mood. Maybe it is because I am reading a book called My ‘Dam Life: Three Years in Holland by Sean Condon right now. It’s not the best book I’ve read, but his expat stint in Amsterdam took place around the same time that I lived there, so reading the book has made me a bit nostalgic.

I am looking forward to two weeks away from my desk, and I will hopefully have some time to recharge my batteries and shake off my winter blues. By the time I get back June is here, and that means summer! While away, I plan to read a lot, relax a lot, get a few massages, see some amazing new places, eat some food, work it off, get gussied up during the three formal dinners, and flirt with random strangers. Life is good.

KITTENWAR!

This is too much. Since so many of my faithful readers are friends of the feline persuasion (well, at least one of you is) I thought I would share this site with you: KITTENWAR!

Go to the site and vote WHICH kitty is the cutest. Then they then rank the cats from cutest….

This is how Jinx has performed in 54 battles:
Won: 42 (78%)
Lost: 7 (13%)
Drawn: 5 (9%)

to the… not so cute…

This is how Scary Cat has performed in 1669 battles:
Won: 196 (12%)
Lost: 1311 (79%)
Drawn: 162 (10%)

To quote George W., “It’s hard work” choosing which kitty is really the cutest… since even the ugly ones are really actually cute too. Awww. Kitty.

Posted in WTF

Four Words Is All It Takes

A friend enlightened me recently to The Four Word Film Review (thanks, Ben!) . They describe their site:

The fwfr is a film review site like no other- an ever expanding collection of extremely brief film reviews and summaries. Submissions are welcomed from anyone- the only condition being no more than four words may be used.

See if you can guess the films from these reviews:

Groom with a Few

‘Tard and feather.

Something’s tucked Down Under

Valedictorian’s father swindles geezers.

Ample arse, flawless accent.

Facelift

I have been thinking of changing the title of my blog. I picked “Terrarism” on a whim and I am not sure it sticking well with me. So, a change. At the same time I am thinking of actually registering a domain name…. so I want to make it good. But, my friends, I need HELP! So, why not a poll! SO I searched high and low for free blog polls, and while I found a few good sites, for some reason blogger won’t support them. So, we gotta do this old school.

Here is the list of names (in no particular order) I am considering– please leave a comment indicating your favorite, or email me personally:

http://www.missterra.com
http://www.terraincognita.us
http://www.cherrylipgloss.com
http://www.travelcookie.com
http://www.bluebathrobe.com (I love me a blue bathrobe!)
http://www.yellowtulip.org
http://www.terralicious.com
http://www.interravision.com

So… as Charlotte would say:

Vote Vote Vote!
Unless you’re a goat!
‘Cause goats don’t vote!

"It’s Not Too Late. God Still Loves You…"

That’s what the cashier at Macy’s said to me yesterday afternoon. And she wasn’t referring to my hesitation on whether or not to buy a new cocktail dress for my upcoming trip (of course you know I bought it, right? It’s black, sparkly, and… oh, sorry back to topic)…

This is how the conversation went:

Gina the Cashier: Hi, how are you today?
Me: Fine, thank you. How are you?
Gina: [no answer]
Me: Wow, look at that price! I can’t believe how cheap those jeans are!
Gina: Well, it’s nice to get yourself a Mother’s Day present.
Me: Yes, I like getting myself presents, but I am not a mother.
Gina: You’re not? Huh. Well, don’t worry. It’s not too late. God still loves you.
Me: [laughs nervously] Yes, well that is good news.

In truth, I wanted to ask Gina how she was so sure about this. But I thought it was best to keep quiet; there was a line forming quickly behind me and a debate on the existence of God and whether or not he truely does love me and will in turn manifest that love for me through the gift of children didn’t seem appropriate. Maybe I’ll go back later this week to see Gina and find out more. Or maybe I’ll go back just to get that cute little skirt that I left on the sale rack instead.

Posted in WTF

Slap me on the wrist, I say….

Ugh, I am such a bad girl. I have been ignoring all five of you who chance upon my blog each day. I will try to make it up with this “super-size me blog” speeding you through the events of the last week….So, starting with last Friday night, I went out to play pool and hear bad music with the boys. We were upstairs at some bar listening to some band who played mostly bad covers of bad songs. There was a large group of college-aged girlfriends dancing it up, which made me nostalgic for the days when I would go out with a big group of girls and dance with abandonment in a circle around the bonfire pyramid of our purses. I asked myself… When did I start to take things so seriously? I felt really old.

Saturday night I met up with Ashlee and Geary for what was supposed to be an Appetizer Tour of the South End. Little did Ashlee and Geary know, I had visions of dancing around our purses in the middle B&G Oysters but it never came to be. Towards the end of the evening we were happy and content hanging with restaurant owner, Jimmy, at Joe V’s. We stayed snuggly on our barstools while it poured rain outside and had another bottle of wine which led to some creative work with the digicam….


Above is a replica of the photo at Joe V’s of the owner Jimmy. Yes, for those of you who were wondering, Geary is named after the former mayor of San Francisco who was her great-uncle. I think. It was definitely a relative. I don’t really remember which one it was. But we’ll go with great-uncle.

Sunday morning was a hoot. I got up early and promptly set off the smoke alarm. Smoking? No. Burnt toast? Nope. Over-heated hair dryer? Nu-uh (those are all the ways I may have at some point or another set off smoke alarms).

So, how did I do it?

Self-tanning.

Yes. I set off the smoke alarm by trying to achieve my goal of being a bronze goddess (which isn’t working at all to my great dismay). You see, those crafty scientists at Neutrogena made a self-tanning spray that is supposedly fool proof. And when it comes to tanning lotions, I am one BIG fool. I always end up looking like some rejected zebra with the knees and elbows of an elephant. Here’s what Neutrogena says about their MicroMist Sunless Tanning Spray™ :

Neutrogena® MicroMist™ Tanning Sunless Spray applies like a professional airbrush spray for an all over worry-free, “just back from the beach tan.” this revolutionary, ultra-fine mist covers evenly, for easy, no-rub application. The one-touch continuous spray works at any angle to tan hard-to-reach places—even your back. It dries fast and won’t clog pores. Now, random streaks, missed spots and orange palms are a thing of the past. Dries in 5 minutes. Oil-free. Non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores).

I’ll be honest, it was the “no rub application” description that sold me. SO, there I am in my little bathroom, naked (duh, funny how it doesn’t work if you actually have clothes on), and trying to spray the MicroMist™ evenly over my pasty white body. Just when I am getting the the hard
part– the back– my smoke alarm starts blaring.

For a moment I didn’t know what to do… move and I might wreck my paint job (uh-oh, better get Maaco!). Stay still and I might have to face an angry neighbor beating down my door to see if I am OK and who instead finds me stark naked standing there like a deer caught in the headlights. But hopefully with a damn good tan. Tricky stuff, trying to be a bronze goddess. In the end I ran into the living room (convinced that once again scary man in the office across the street staring into my windows), grabbed my jean jacket and started swinging it wildly over my head in the direction of the alarm trying to get some fresh air into it.

Several hours later, I still looked like a rejected zebra with the knees and elbows of an elephant. Damn you MicroMist™ !

Monday and Tuesday I had to go to a work-sponsered management seminar where I supposedly learned new managerial skills through the following activities:

1) Art Contests
2) Skits involving: singing, dancing, and show tunes
3) Shots
4) Drinking songs sung in foreign languages at the top of our lungs
5) Presentations on, “I am different because…” (oooh, so many ways to answer that one!)
6) Heated discussions on who should be on the bus

That brings us more or less up to date…. so there you go!

*For goodness sake, if you set a plate of huge chocolate cake, un-ordered and un-requested I might add, in front of 3 tipsy girls…. it goes against human nature to then actually make them pay for it. Am I crazy?