Sunday, February 27, 2011

My dream car

I am soooo excited today. I was out at brunch when I saw a type of car that I hadn't seen in years, one that my neighbor used to keep in his barn, under a pile of junk. It is my dream car. Actually, I'm not sure if it's a Jeep DJ5 (above) or a LandRover Defender (below), but either works.

Clearly, this is a car that is made for adventure. For safaris and jungle treks and fleeing dinosaurs. I have wanted one since I was about 10 years old, but wasn't able to find just the right kind until now. So my bucket list just got 1 item longer. Someday I'd like to buy, restore, and drive a crazy safari jeep.

So, long story short. Best. Car. Ever. The one I saw today had a reasonable looking dash, but the one I remember from my neighbor's house had an amazing panel instead of a dashboard. It had switches and toggles. Yes, toggles to control the car. Amazing.

Here's some pictures of something roughly similar.

(These are from a jeep dj5 if you're interested.)

I wonder if they let diplomats ride around in old-fashioned rust-buckets like this? I wonder if it's harder or easier to get them fixed in the third world where (presumably) everyone else is driving 'vintage' cars too?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

10 things I'm loving this fall/winter #10

Whew! Last one! Remind me not to make a list of 10 things before I have a list of ten things next time.

The final, random awesome thing I've enjoyed this winter has been the 'read out loud' function of Adobe Reader.
#10 Laziness?
As a grad student who is constantly (seriously, constantly) reading on my computer I had developed a little bit of an issue with eye strain. Now whenever my poor eyes need a break I can have the ridiculous computer voice read to me instead. It's a strangely Balkan voice too. Lots of 'wery' instead of very, 'wos' for was, and my favorite, mee-lee-tary. Lol. You have to read along a bit, because it get's confused with acronyms and words that are split at the end of a line, but otherwise, I think it will save my poor eyes from at least a little of the strain.

Oh, and I'm baking pumpkin pie today. Feel free to be jealous, cause it's going to be awesome.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Not quite a domestic goddess yet

So today I attempted to fulfill a dream of mine. I was on a high, after checking 'ice skate at the sculpture garden' off my life list (which was awesome by the way) and making my first edible scones. So I thought, if there was ever a moment to try to make homemade marshmallows, this is it.


They're setting/chilling right now, so I can't definitively say I ruined them yet, but they are a weird yellowish color that just seems wrong. And my arm is about to fall off. Apparently, marshmallows are one of those things you need the right equipment to make. As in, an electric mixer. Or a really burly assistant. I had neither, so after 40 minutes I gave up on the mixing by hand and just decided they were ready.


Still, if I ever do learn how to make marshmallows from scratch then I can have them in any country I travel to. (This is a big reason why I've been working on my cooking skills all year. That and the fact that I am loving being back in the states where I can get every ingredient I want at the corner store.) Next I need to learn how to make pumpkin pie mix. And peanut butter. And dr. pepper.....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

10 Things I'm Loving this Fall/Winter #9

#9 Multitasking

I have recently discovered that it is 100% possible to watch movies on Youtube while working. In fact, I think it speeds up my progress because I don't have to go 'stretch' as often out of boredom.

Some fiction (can you call movies fiction?) - in parts - are available.
I especially liked King Kong (original version)and Charlie Chaplin's The Kid.

And if you like documentaries there's a ton of stuff out there. I can recommend:
The Woman who Thinks like a Cow - a woman with autism
Why are thin people not fat? - genetics and weight loss
The Death of Yugoslavia - the Balkan wars
The Chinese are Coming - China's investments in Africa

Added Feb. 20th:
Daughter from Danang - about Operation Babylift
Children Underground - Street kids in Romania
Added Feb. 24th:
Smile Pinki - about cleft lip/palate surgeries in India

Monday, February 14, 2011

One of those days...

*I did not take this picture.

Today is not a bad day. Just a scary day. One where nothing bad has happened, but certain ...intimidating things are threatening, like big storm clouds in the distance.

Storm Cloud #1: I have to schedule a doctor's appointment to deal with a possibly scary health situation. The words 'it's probably nothing' weren't really as comforting as they should have been. Little old me is now quaking in her boots.

Storm Cloud #2: I have my test date for the OA. Now I realize that 1) I am very lucky to be going to the OA at all, and 2) I have the same chance as anyone else of passing, but I just want to take a quick moment and freak out a little at the fact that I have so little time left to prepare. This cloud also comes with a silver lining though. Once I have taken the OA it will never be my first try again. So even if I don't pass this time it can only be better the next time.

Okay, actually there are only two storm clouds on the horizon. Both of which have the potential to blow right over.

I am not freaking out.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

In which the foreign service takes over my life, and I'm not even in yet

So a long time ago I wanted to be a filmmaker. And I remember some quote about movie people, and how all they thought about was movies, and their social lives, relationships, free time would all revolve around the film industry. I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. I've become that person. Except with the FS instead of Hollywood.

Case in point: I went to the movies this weekend and wouldn't you know it, the friend who went along is applying to state. Then I went to watch the superbowl yesterday with a friend. And met other people who are preparing for the OA. Then I was talking with a girl from work and she mentioned the other Pickering fellows that she met on Friday. And that's just this week.

It's true that I live in DC now and just like in LA, this city attracts a certain kind of person, but wow, who knew it attracted that many of this kind of person?

And on a very related note, I went back to Main State a few days ago to visit the office where I'll be working this summer. Now that I have my super awesome security clearance and have been accepted they actually let me see the office and I got to meet all the staff who are working there now. I realized that I'm going to have to study like crazy to keep up with the team, because these people are not only very intelligent, but they seem to know everything about their region/specialty.

So now I have to study for my internship in addition to prepping for the OA and getting my Masters. Oh my goodness...