The Adventure Continues...

Rants, raves and random observations from an itinerant epidemiologist.

100 in 1000
  1. Spend a week up a mountain learning to ski
  2. Visit Karoline's place in Moravia
  3. Hold a conversation in Czech (only)
  4. Drink 500ml of each of the following beers:
    1. Pilsner
    2. Staroprammen
    3. Budvar
    4. Velke Popovice
    5. U Fleku
    6. Gambrinus
    7. Krusovice
  5. Respond to at least one GOARN request (WHO and MSF are also acceptable)
  6. Travel across the Atlantic
  7. Return to South America
  8. Read a book to, or with, an impressionably aged child
  9. Participate in one NanoWriMo Challenge and come within at least 10,000 words of the goal length
  10. Have my nose pierced
  11. Have my next tattoo drawn
  12. Purchase the perfect jeans (x 2 pairs)
  13. Attend a spin class 3 times a week for 8 consecutive weeks
  14. Bake Viv's cheesecake
  15. Make David's casserole
  16. Make David's Chicken Cashew-nut Stirfry
  17. Invite 4 people who don't know one another too well to dinner
  18. Ride from Vienna to Venice on a motorbike (pillion acceptable, those less desirable)
  19. Attend a book group for at least two books
  20. Go on a choir weekend (learn and perform difficult piece in two/three days)
  21. Visit Madame Tussaud's (in London)
  22. Take an architecture appreciation course
  23. Join an all-girl group and sing a solo
  24. Publish in a scientific journal (top two authors)
  25. Cook a duck or other 'waterfowl'.
  26. Locate the Al-Timimi's from Doha Veterinary Practise
  27. Have a pedicure
  28. Maintain a Brazilian (ouch) for three months.
  29. Find a trustworthy Czech hairdresser
  30. Treat my inner-6-year-old twice a week (at least)
  31. Do the liver-cleansing diet properly (12 weeks)
  32. Don't eat out for one month
  33. Find a flat and flatmate
  34. Purchase one Joseph sweater
  35. Purchase one of the following pairs of designer shoes (they MUST also be COMFORTABLE, and be able to be worn with 4 different outfits and 2 types of occasion): Jimmy Choos, Manolo Blahniks, Christian Louboutin (Ebay or 2nd hand are acceptable)
  36. Send 5 books to the booksphere and track them.
  37. Go hanggliding
  38. Read 10 'classic' books (from 1001 Books to Read before you Die)
    1. Moll Flanders
    2. Everything is illuminated
    3. Madam Bovary
    4. Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance
    5. Catch-22
    6. Odysseus
    7. On the Road
  1. Run (non-stop!) for 5kms outside (preferably in a street race thingy)
  2. Send Christmas Cards on time
  3. Make a collage/mural out of street lights on my wall
  4. Buy a bed, build it, and sleep soundly in it
  5. Go to Africa
  6. Host an 'event' (classified as and when)
  7. Organise a 30th Birthday Party
  8. Wear a costume
  9. Sing on stage
  10. Buy a painting that evokes memories of Prague (cannot involve queues!)
  11. Learn a god-damned card game that stays in my memory (other than fish/snap)
  12. See sunrise. Be sober. Have woken for it. Excludes months Nov-Mar
  13. Take a walk and flip coins at each intersection
  14. Win something
  15. Draft a will
  16. Take a roadtrip
  17. Go to Italy already
  18. Sea Kayak around Abel Tasman Park (NZ)
  19. Get plants
  20. Take a train to another Eastern European Destination (accession countries are acceptable) alone preferably.
  21. Get UK to give me a provisional motorcyclists license and simultaneously get a 'card' license.
  22. Go SCUBA diving again - at least two dives lasting 30mins each.
  23. Go to a dentist. *sigh*
  24. Do a Czech Wine Trail. And live to tell the tale
  25. Make an 'outbreak emergency kit'.
  26. Go to bed prior to 11pm every night (inc weekends) for four consecutive weeks.
  27. Marvel over lack of tiredness
  28. Dine at a Gordon Ramsey restaurant (or Nobu)- preferably for free.
  29. Bet on the nags
  30. Do something for charity (applying and getting a 'red card' will count)
  31. Walk along the Champs Elysee
  32. Do 100 sit ups in a row
  33. Do 50 pressups (arms in tight)
  34. Make branston pickle (or nearest substitute)
  35. Cook something 'new' and 'adventurous' at least once a month
  36. Find a mentor
  37. Be a mentor
  38. Learn what mentoring is all about
  39. Meet an online person in real life
  40. Resist the flirt. Once. Just one night. It's okay if people don't immediately succumb to my natural charm. Really it is.
  41. Spend time at a spa (spa towns in the CR don't count)
  42. Send a care package to someone
  43. Get a Tata Bojs CD
  45. Order new contact lenses.
  46. Make a list of things I take with me when I pack for different occasions
  47. Eat lobster. Prepared by someone else.
  48. Back up the blog
  49. Put everything onto an external hard drive
  50. Find a DDR mat and console and 'dance, I say dance!'�
  51. Go to the beach and lie on the warm sand. For an hour. (with sunscreen on, natch)
  52. Take and complete a course in either: Tango, Salsa or Flamenco
  53. Join the Municipal Library of Prague
  54. Move to another country
  55. Go to a live concert of a band I actually like
  56. Pay off debts (student loan excl.)
  57. Send thank you cards for every gift I receive (other than the gift of happiness, blah blah blah).
  58. Get an agent (literary or theatre)
  59. Go to a sports bar without cringing, by personal choice
  60. Ride a rollercoaster
  61. Hold a snake
  62. Spend a day wandering around a museum (not art gallery!)
Snow's melted, now it's just plain cold!
Thursday, 24 November 2005
Some people are just never satisfied are they!!? I don’t update my blog for a week and I get berated for having a life.

Actually, I don’t really have a life at all – there’s just been (seriously) nothing worth commenting about. Unless you count having really horribly dry cracked lips worth commenting about. I have really horribly dry cracked lips. They hurt. So far, I’ve been through ‘chapstick’, ‘blixtex’, ‘labello’ AND ‘vaseline intensive care’ - I’m covering all bases, and as of yet, nothing is working to the degree my lips need. It hurts to smile.

I think I’ve just discovered the reason everyone scowls in this part of the world.

I considered taking part in the National November Writers Month (or some such) where you ‘write a book’ in 30 days. Course, the book is only 50,000 words, and is more of a novella than a novel. Also, being written in 30 days, it tends to be a little, how you say, ‘rough around the edges’. But since I only caught on (read: found the website) on the 20th….I don’t think even I could manage to fill in 5,000 words per day. I’m just not that imaginative. And we all know that any book I write would have to spend a year with a lawyer to make sure I can ‘say that stuff about those people’. I changed the names to protect the innocent – honest. Just that no one was entirely innocent…

The American’s here are on an all-out cranberry hunt. They didn’t really like my suggestion of buying cranberry juice, adding gelatine and boiling it all up to see whether they could ‘make’ cranberry jelly. I even suggested that no one would actually notice if they put raspberries instead of cranberries in it (for texture, you understand). There was a collective gasp at the suggestion, and I do believe I heard the theme tune for Tombstone. Somewhere in the distance, a dog barked. So they’re all celebrating this Saturday: turkeys, pumpkin pie – the lot.

I’ve never celebrated an American thanksgiving and am a little confused by it all. I mean: for what are they giving thanks? That the Mayflower didn’t sink? That the horses that brought the wagons west (seriously folks, you think my central/eastern Europe history is bad? It’s NOTHING in comparison to my USA history...which is based entirely upon Hollywood’s portrayals – just like my career!) didn’t fall foul of West Nile virus? It’s all a bit ‘lucky’ then isn’t it really. I’m surprised they haven’t cottoned on to this (well, actually, not all THAT surprised…*apologies to Brett!*) and bought into the whole ‘be lucky general’ thing. Oh yes, you’re right. Vegas.

My accommodation is still lovely. I love my little space – even if I DO have to open the windows to remove my nail varnish (some would probably argue one should do that anyway). Or after a shower. Or for at least three hours after cooking anything remotely aromatic (boiled eggs being the only exception thus far). I’m very grateful for the giant, soviet style heater underneath the window. Less grateful for the soviet phone lines, which ensure that while someone else talks to me, I hear their voice down through a disconcertingly large proportion of white noise. No KGB agent would BOTHER tapping this phone….it hurts too much.

Yesterday I had my first negative thought relating to winter. The thought was ‘three months to go’, which, in retrospect, is not ENTIRELY negative. Then I went for a walk, and once I could no longer FEEL my nose, then it didn’t bother me that it was chilly out. In fact, the cold weather means that most people are inside with their windows shut (unless they’re removing their nail varnish – obviously), which meant that I could sing out loud while I walked.

Thus far, my exercise has been solely relegated to walking. And the walls are quite thin in my apartment – so I’m not sure about singing there (not loudly, at any rate) which means that I get to practise in the frigid ‘circa 0oC’ evenings, and singing while jogging on the spot to keep warm gives me a vibrato I never thought possible! And though it pains me to say, any pauses are not ‘instrumental breaks’ as far as I’m concerned, but more ‘nosewipe and sniff’ breaks. Charming, I don’t think.

In spite of this ladylike demeanour, I need help choosing my ‘winter look’. Given ANY ‘look’ begins with footwear, my options are:
a) Ugg boots: the sleeping bag/cozy warm/fur lined hood look. (amazingly tempting as the temperatures plummet – though am wary of appearing to be an Sunday afternoon anorak-wearing trainspotter)
b) Leather riding boots: the long woollen coat with the scarf and perhaps a flat cap look.
c) Boxing-type boots: the velour funky tracksuit with diamante bling and hoodie look.
d) Buttonhooks brogued boots: swooshy long skirt (with petticoats), high necked ruffled blouse and long velvet coat (perhaps a Russian style fur hat) look.
I need a poll. Please vote in the comments section. Photos will follow…

What I want to know is why those darned bank robbers had to go and make balaclava’s ominous…I’d (almost) kill to own/wear one about now. I’m not sure whether it would do my reputation any good though, picture it: balaclava’d, gloved and scarved woman, wandering around stomping on the piles of snow, pausing every now and then to peer intently at snowflakes that have fallen on her sleeves, singing to herself and grinning. Yes…the policie WOULD be visiting, but only for the entertainment value. In a vain attempt to keep my head warm, yet leave SOME room for extra warmth over the coming months, I’ve purchased earmuffs. Yes…truly. They’re furry too. And because I love you, dear readers, almost as much as I love them, I’ve taken a photo. But then, I also took a photo of the snow, and have yet to figure out my new photo hosting thingymabob (come back myblogsite…you made it so easy) and do some coding to get it in here somehow *sob* which is all very well but it leaves little time for the amount of Czech language homework I have to do. (so, in otherwords, have patience my dears, have patience).

Not sure if or when the WHO will offer assistance to China – or whether we’ll put our names forward for it. It’s a bit too ‘environmental’ for my preferences…but if there’s all of a sudden high mortality rates due to lack of fresh water, one of the EPIETS (previous, present or even future – we’re just like ghosts, we are) may even be there in the ‘sludge’ of things, counting the dead.
posted by Nomes @ Thursday, November 24, 2005  
  • At 5:37 pm, November 24, 2005, Anonymous Marisa said…

    I pick option
    D) for being "in style this winter" - plus it involves layers, which is the key to staying warm in the cold weather - so also practical

    C) because I would just like to see you wearing it

    A) for sheer warmth - which may be the overiding factor - remember: this is only the beginning - it gets colder than this!!! By Dec/Jan you will be wearing the balaclava so your skin doesn't freeze after 10 seconds of exposure

    Marisa's Tips for the Lips: (being a cold weather dwelling/thin skinned/fair haired woman/with easily chapped lips - I feel your pain)

    To heal - try some form of polysporin/neosporin all the time until the cracking is over

    Avoid - any product that *tingles* when you put it on - like Carmex or Blistex - that's just drying you out even more so you have to use MORE of their product

    Use: Vaseline (I'm not sure if you were talking about Vaseline Lotion or just plain Vaseline (like what they use for babies) I am referring to the plain Vaseline - it actually acts as a barrier and doesn't let mositure escape. If I didn't have Vaseline in the winter I don't know what I'd do. In the event that it's sunny, then you also have to use something with an SPF over the Vaseline - I use Chapstick with SPF - it's amazing what the sun can do to lips

    Let me know it you need any more help - or, if need be, I can send you this stuff in the mail. Anything to help with the chapped lips :)

  • At 5:13 am, November 25, 2005, Blogger Mums said…

    Hi GNomes,
    Of course you got berated, what else are Mothers for?
    Glad to see you have kept your sense of humour?? in spite of the cold. A word of warning about the Ugg boots - you do realise that you'd be walking around in two soggy dogs after they got wet in the snow. They would no doubt also smell like two soggy dogs, which would mean you had to keep your window open permanently!
    I prefer the option with the lace up boots, mainly cos I bought a pair to do the gardening - saves being bitten by snakes and lizards - which has got to be the best reason for buying a pair of boots. But it's chucking it down atm, so the frogs will be out later. Probably the cane toads too - and they are noisy. They've found a hole behind the concrete wall and realised that it echoes from there, so their mating calls go further. All stuff you never knew, and, I'm sure, never wanted to. Tee hee.
    Have given Amanda your email. She's flying all over Europe these days, loving her job, and will look you up for a glass or three (bottles that is). She's looking forward to UK next August, getting in training to spending time with us again after 3+ years.
    Love the ear muffs. Did you remember you had a pair of Garfield earmuffs, way back in the year dot? Before we left NZ in '88, that's how long ago it was. I think your Grandma gave them to you for Christmas. You never know I might yet find them and include them in the box of "stuff" I shall be sending next week.
    Better go and do more unpacking. The Sallies come next Monday to take it all away - they have no idea how much they're going to get, but I hope they bring a big van.
    Love to you, and have a wonderful week. Always thinking of you, Mums

  • At 9:58 am, November 28, 2005, Blogger mx said…

    The muffs are adorable, and let me know if you'd like me to send over some Bodyshop lip balm! By the way, I've been checking the Expats-in-Czech websites. Tell me you're escaping carp for Christmas... mx

  • At 3:07 pm, November 29, 2005, Blogger Cheryl xx said…

    I like option A - but I think that the soggy dogs on your feet would run riot with the rats on your ears *LOL*. Seriously chick, you have to do whatever it takes to keep warm and I advocate tucking a hotwater bottle inside the jacket to keep your body warm and toasty and keep the rest of you warmer [apparently] as your core won't need so much of your blood and will allow some to reside in your fingers, toes and [thankfully] nose.

    Btw - do we have to wait until you arrive on Christmas Eve to decorate the tree? Last year said tree was purchased on Christmas Eve and resembled a collection of twigs [I kid you not] which shed needles if you so much as looked in its direction, closed a door, blinked, broke wind etc. That's the last time I send the man out to buy the tree [he felt sorry for it - what a girl!]. Let me know, I'll save some of the choccy decs for your adornation... maybe :) [S]Cxx

  • At 12:27 am, November 25, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Or just maybe the woolen hot water bottle cover if you could ever get it off...damn that's that idea the African Queens sunk all's lost

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