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!)
*singing* I'm dreaming of a quiet Christmas...
Monday, 26 December 2005
Family are, quite frankly, a nightmare. ARGH! I'm so unaccustomed to spending so much time surrounded by so many people. And to survive in my family, you need to have a good set of lungs and vocal chords, and be prepared to use them. Grandma (the finger of blame is firmly pointed in her direction) has gone the opposite way of late - she now whispers to be heard, so we all have to be quiet and pay attention. I, meanwhile, just go silent and then have to put up with everyone saying "are you okay?!" etc for the next two days.
Yes I'm fine, thank you very much, I just like my surrounding set to 80dbs instead of 180!
I'm hereforthwith officially promising my unborn children that they will always have their own rooms, that visitors will be made to stay in the study and that extra (especially single) visitors will be plonked unceremoniously on the couch.
I remember Leigh telling me that people in Canada kept offering her and Jo the master bedroom. I can't imagine how unbearably uncomfortable that would make me, I feel a right heel for having 'stolen' (no matter how temporarily) Lucy's bedroom, thereby displacing her to Joel's room and Joel to the floor at the foot of his parents bed. For heaven's sake, I spend most of the nigth on the couch (watching telly - ah...bliss) ANYway, i may as well just sleep there!
So turns out Rowland hasn't been reading any of the blog lately: he's one of the readers who dropped off after 'the shift'. *sigh* I should've just paid and stayed shouldn't I? Ah DOES mean I can gossip about him to my hearts content. It was lovely to see both him and Julia yesterday - I really like my brother, and his girlfriend's delightful too. And, typically, he and I were the last up, watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The film was brilliant, and prompted the question "would you live the most PERFECT year if you knew at the end of it your memory would be wiped and you'd go back to a normal existance?".
For the record, I would ("you're still LIVING it for the year!!") and Rowland wouldn't ("you'd have no MEMORY of it!"). Funnily enough, it didn't occur to him that when you have a DAMNED good night out - you live it and don't always remember all of it the next day!
Yesterday I was woken by a text message PRIOR to the 'up-and-down-stairs-running-child-yelling-"THIS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!"' (cute in writing...) and this morning I was woken by pigeons (or some such) that think they are owls. They're still twit-twooing out's most peculiar. There's also a bird that goes "skeeeet, skeeet!" in a piercing yet raspy warble. Don't know what birds do in Prague- other than die! (the only one I've seen close to home was dead on the pathway).
One of the most amusing and slightly disturbing things about our family are the similarities. So, when I walked into Dee's house the other day (she's my Mum's sister for those playing the trivia game: Nomes' LifeTM) the first thing I noticed was the "Go placidly..." framed poem on the wall in the hallway (Desiderata for the less literate!). Why the women of this family even entertain the idea of doing ANYTHING placidly, I'm not at all sure, it's certainly not a characteristic we're reknowned for! I think this is one of those "Do as I say, not as I do!" things.
Then, turn the corner into Dees living room and there's the photo of Grandma and Jack (I never met him, calling him Grandpa seems odd - so he's Jack to me) getting married - it's a black and white photo that was touched up with colour (her lipstick, the stems of her bouquet and his handkerchief I think). These are things that I associate with my mother's house not someone else's. Very twilight zone. She's also got a set of the chiming table angels on her shelf!!!
Christmas was a gluttonous event, with a great big box of Cadbury's Roses (ta Grandma, that'll get me my 9000 calories in NO time at all), so many toys it's not funny, an exchange of DVD's (ta Rowls & Julia for my The Long Way Round set), more chocolate, far too much wine before 3pm (which meant some of us were less than enthusiastic about the constant stream of visitors), some nibbles (including chocolate), more wine and generally, well, gluttony!
Apart from the fact I
a) didn't get Joel anything (he's got so much I wouldn't know where to begin - so Cheryl allowed me to give him one of the stocking gifts),
b) I gave Cheryl (without pierced ears) earrings (thank goodness I also gave her a pashmina!) and
c) Lilian and Reg can't read their Czech calendar (oh for heaven's sake, the NUMBERS are the same!!!)
I think I did reasonably well. Lucie put on her red necklace immediately - which is always reassuring - and Alison said thanks and then opened the next present. I, too, wore most of my presents: jewelry from Cheryl, a silk scarf from Grandma and the wrapping ribbon from the Calendar from Mum: which went around my ankle - only to be totally forgotten and have to stay around my ankle, damp, after my shower on Boxing Day. Note to self for next year: don't wear wrapping decorations. Oh - and I got a toblerone too. I'm going to have to start liking them aren't I?
After a rather welcome and huge spread (roast beef with all trimmings) in the evening, and more wine consumption, I just HAD to get SOME form of exercise. So Lucie joined me on a stroll around the suburb. Unfortunately neither of us had a light, so I knocked on someone else's door, apologised for disturbing them, wished them a merry Christmas and then cheekily requested a light! :) Lucie was suitably horrified/impressed. She was less perturbed when I pointed out the likelihood that it was the most 'bizarre' thing that would have happened to them all day, and they'll be telling their mates about it for two weeks. Enter the spirit of the Christmas Bitch!
I'm really worried about my Lucie. She's 16 and completely directionless. She's incredibly astute, which means - in typical Hilder women fashion - she knows exactly which buttons to push to wind her mother up. Cheryl always takes the bait, gets angry, forces Lucy into a fight (which admittedly, Lucie led her mother into), and then there's some screaming, some frowning, some stomping and a door slams somewhere. It's awful to see them snipe at each other constantly, and I'm sure that their relationship woudl improve if Lucie moved out. Thing is, for an incredibly smart girl, she's set on making her life difficult for herself, by not getting her GCSE's, working in reception at a local hotel and illegally hanging out at nightclubs drinking to excess. Remind you of anyone (apart from the failing GCSE's bit!)? Alison's figured it out: she just puts her head down, gets in her car and goes elsewhere. Am a bit pissed off with her to tell you the truth, because her boyfriend was here for about 12 hours yesterday and she never introduced us. I thought I'd leave it to her, since I'm performing an observational study, but she really couldn't care less. She's obviously got the more 'independent' air.
So this must've been what it was like to watch Mum and I too, two headstrong females absolutely intent on having their way, and not wanting to acquiese. Of course, I think Mum and I have it sussed now: when we visit the other, the hostess is in charge. And the other grins and bears it, right Mum! :) Sure, we may not do things the same way, and we may drive one another to total distraction when sharing the same roof, but finally some mutual respect has crept it's way into our relationship. I'm absolutely astounded by the way she kept the family together (despite thousands of miles, completely different cultures and fussy eaters), and I hope she's chuffed with the way I turned out too.
Gads, how sappy.
Tonight we have a party planned. When I say we, I mean Cheryl. She's planning on showing off her 'cousin the doctor'. It takes some trick of memory to finally think, 'oh, that's me!!'. I'm really not all that (and the bag of chips) but other people seem to think I am. EEK! So, I'll do my pony performance after a few vodkas, tell as many 'gentle'men as necessary that the likelihood of them getting to 'know' me better is less than that of Tamiflu being a useful precaution in a pandemic (then watch them flounder conversationally before smiling, complimenting them on their shoes and wandering off to make vacuous conversation elsewhere). I'm not sure why I've suddenly turned so pre-menstrual, but I have the feeling it's something to do with familial proximity. They're all in the same country (barring parents and a few aunts etc) and that FREAKS ME OUT.
Tomorrow we've got lunch at Reg and Lilians, at which I'm going to try not to do anything that will prompt a theological debate (as Cheryl doesn't like them) unless I think it means we'll be able to leave the house early. I'm wondering whether I can 'learn' how to speak in tongues between now and then...that should put a quick end to the luncheon. Reg told Lucie off yesterday, (literally, he quoted "Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain" - you could hear how he capitalised the L, so it's here for your viewing pleasure too) when she said "Oh my God", and I thought..." really ARE wound tight!". I'm wondering which would disturb him more, to hear a made up story that I've joined a satanic cult or the one where I'm in love with someone from a different religion. Whaddya think folks? Or is that just cruel?  I'll keep you informed, of course! :)
Hope your Christmas was as gluttonous (I read somewhere that the average Briton consumes 9000cals on Christmas Day!) as mine, and that your presents (both given and received) rocked and your family passed out on the couches in the afternoon leaving you with some blessed downtime. One can only imagine with horror how Mary must've felt with all those visitors, presents and hostess duties at (supposedly) the first Christmas, right folks?!
posted by Nomes @ Monday, December 26, 2005  
  • At 1:39 am, December 27, 2005, Blogger Rachel said…

    Big sis! I worked out how to reply to this, as I have started work on my own blog, and therefore can sign in. Yay. How are you hun? I miss you, Merry Christmas - it sounds like you had a full on day! Here's a big hug for you, I can't wait to see you soon ... nine days till I'm off. Lotsa love, Rach xxx

  • At 8:07 am, December 27, 2005, Blogger Mums said…

    HI GNomes,
    Yup that sounds like the family. Now you understand why we moved to the Antipodes....
    Great fun in small doses but bewildering if you get even more. And don't forget this is only my side of the family - there's a whole nother load to go!!
    I thought you'd lost Rowls in the move - given that he's my LOCAl IT specialist I'm surprised he couldn't keep up - I did for Heaven's sake.
    Speaking of which, good luck with your day at L & R's. Shall I do the Satanic ringing of mobiles just when you're speaking about me - that should freak them out sufficiently. May even get you an early pass.
    Hope the "party" went quickly. They can be trying, but best foot foward etc.
    As to two females knocking their heads against each other - I agree - we've managed to weather the storm, and come through on the other side. But Ron had to put up with a lot of ear bashing from both sides. Thankfully he has no memory, so it's left no permanent damage to him (actually he has no hearing either, so he probably ignored both of us at the time)
    It was nice to chat to you all, though when you return to Prague you must get me authorised on Skype, then we can have long chats.
    I must say I was bemused by the same-ness of Dee's house. Weird eh? I'm not sure if Chris has Desiderata? If you're reading this Chris, speak up, can't hear you from Vancouver.
    We had a fine time last evening at our neighbours. Drank copious amounts of Aussie red wine - spilt only one glass, onto the floor, so no damage as we were out on the patio. But hot, man, is it hot.
    Got to go now and make the roast beef we would have had, with all the trimmings bar brussel sprouts, on Christmas Eve, if we hadn't gone out. Rescheduled for Boxing Day, thus we're having it today. Such a busy life.
    Love to you, and all. Have a good trip to Bonnie Scotland. Speak soon, Love, Mums

  • At 10:13 pm, December 31, 2005, Anonymous Cheryl Waring said…

    Well, I hope you enjoyed your Christmas with us Nomes, noise notwithstanding. We certainly enjoyed your company. Next time our guest room should be complete and we won't have to turf anyone from their bed for you! I wish you a very Happy New Year and I look forward to reading all about it. Cheryl or SC xx

    PS - shall get ears pierced as soon as I get back from hols - promise!

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