Friday, January 28, 2011

An American Girlfriend In London, Pt 10: I Know How To French Kiss, Does That Count?

It was recently pointed out to me by my cousin that I was wrong when I said I only knew two words in French. I claimed I only knew "Oui" (yes) & "fromage" (cheese)...  are there really two better words to know? Then she reminded me of our Scottish family crest's motto I have tattooed across the back of my neck "je suis prest"... and I realized I am now in possession of THE 5 most important words of the French lexicon "Yes, I am ready (for) cheese!"

Tomorrow morning I will wake up around 4am, take a quick shower, have a nice heapin' dose of travel anxiety, take a cab to St. Pancras and arrive via train in Paris around 9:45am. (!!!!)

I've never been to Paris, and while this was supposed to be my birthday present from the BF, he is not coming with me. In fact every thing we've talked about doing while I've been here in London with him has yet to be done... I do understand that it's due to the demands of his current job remodeling two bathrooms for a client that has proved to be a complete asshat, as well as all sorts of unforeseen setbacks on the site, but I believe I'm still allowed to be sad about the fact that Christmas was rather sucktastic, New Years fairly lackluster, the trip to Scotland, while AMAZING, was minus him... and now my birthday present of a holiday for the two of us is now a trip for just me. He said he'd pay for the train tickets... I put them on my credit card.

I did consider just flying back to the states this weekend, but knew (thank you foresight!) that I would be kicking myself for ages if I didn't take the opportunity to go see Paris while in Europe. Plus, I have a friend there that I have not seen since about 1987, Mary. She & I went to high school together, and while we were not friends at school, we weren't like mortal enemies either. We just didn't know each other very well, even though we did/do share common friends.

A few years ago we "found" each other on facebook. As time went by and comments, "likes", brief messages, and probably a "poke" or two, etc. were exchanged I wrote a letter to her asking her about the name of the "rescue kitty" I had once had. I told her I knew the name was French (I did not name the cat, the evil previous owners I stole it from did), but no matter how hard I looked I could not figure out what the name meant....

From me: 
"the word/name "minoux"... I am 99.9% sure it's french... and I once had a cat with this name. I never knew what it meant. I did not name her. I saved her from a home where they abused the hell out of her. (I broke in through their kitchen window and took the cat in the early 90's and brought it to the vet, and after I convinced the vet that I was not the evil bastard that shattered it's entire leg... which ended up having to have pins put in it.. I kept her... She lived another 10 years, & would have lived longer if she didn't catch F.I.V. from an infected cat... that sucked.) ... but I have always wondered what her name meant. For the longest time I was convinced it was just the french version of "meow"... but I just don't know. Figured I'd ask the only person I currently know living in France if she knows! Any idea?"

From Mary: "That's a fun question as we have lots of felines in our neighborhood (Montmartre, unlike the rest of Paris--which is rather small dog-oriented--is a kitty haven, though we have dogs too).

"Minou" or "Minet" means "kitty" (male). "Minette" means kitty (female). "Minoux" looks like a plural, as the "x" suffix in French is often used for plurals--I can't find the plural form in the big French online dictionaries, so it might be "s" at the end rather than "x". In any case, "minoux" would seem to mean "male kitties".
P.S. I am right now being purred at by our young male cat Morpheus, who Bruno rescued from near death when he was a tiny kitten under a hedge in a corporate park in the middle of nowhere. He had just barely been weaned and was covered with ticks and stuffed with worms/parasites/you name it. No momcat would have left him there like that. Must have been humans. People (of that sort, anyway) disgust me." 

... though there were a few messages between us prior to that exchange, that is the one I recall as being the start of us saying more than just "wow, you look great in that picture" type things. 

As time went by (as it seems to always do) I began to forget that Mary and I weren't "friends" in high school. It always felt strange to say it when asked, not that it came  up every day or anything, but when it did I never knew how to phrase it. I didn't want to say we weren't friends in school, it was just that we weren't NOT friends, but knew each other, but ... but... do you see why it's slightly confusing? 

Anyway, last year when I went to London in September I got a message from her telling me I should visit Paris & come see her. I told her that it entirely depended on finances and the BF's schedule at the time, but that if we could, we would... and then I asked her if she knew of dirt cheap hotels in Paris. Her reply was that I was being silly and should stay with her and her boyfriend and their beautiful daughter. Normally my gut instinct is to say something along the lines of "no! that's okay! you don't have to do that!"... but I truthfully really loved the idea of being able to spend some time with her, as well as... ok... let's be 100% honest... free place to stay in Paris? Really?... uh... YES! I think I'm hyper sensitive to the "house guest" thing since I live in a place (Martha's Vineyard) where once someone hears I have a house there the phone doesn't stop ringing from mid spring through early fall with a lot of "yeah, we were thinking of coming to the Vineyard" type statements. Over the years I have learned to reply to that with "Oh that's wonderful! I'd love to see you! Call me when you get here and we will have to find a way to get together for dinner or drinks, or both!" ... you can petty much hear it in their reply of "yeah, sure!" that they are bummed I didn't ask them to stay with me. (I've also unplugged the house phone) Obviously if it is a good friend there is no question, I will flat out insist they stay with me, but to have some random person I haven't seen in like 15 or 20 years (probably for good reason I might add) get hold of me and try to snag a free place to stay on the island? Uh... fuckyouverymuch. That said, if I invite you to visit, and offer you a place to stay, I honestly mean it. (And I'll also honestly tell you to not get your hopes up that I have some palatial beach house on the water... it was called a "fixer upper" when I bought it... and I refer to it as a "tearer downer" more often than not, BUT... it's mine, so....

Right, like I was saying, tomorrow I will be in Paris (!!!!), at this exact moment, 24 hours from now, I will be wandering the streets of Paris (probably hopelessly lost, but that'll be fun too). It really is too bad the BF can't make it, but I'll be trying my best to see as much as I can of Paris while I'm there even though it's going to take every inch of my being to not be a little sad that after months upon months of discussing all that we wanted to do/see in Paris that I will be going alone. ... and unless Mary is with me when it happens, there will be no one to witness my fit of giggles when I speak my only French (poorly) and let someone know that Yes!  I am ready for cheese! ... it's either that or just repeat the French lyrics from Lady Marmalade (which I don't count as part of my French vocabulary, 'cause who doesn't know these lyrics?).

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
(do you want to sleep with me this evening?)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

50 Nifty United Sates....

(click to enlarge)

Rationale and statistics:
Most stats taken from and (unless otherwise noted)
1. Alabama: highest rate of stroke (3.8 percent) (tied with Oklahoma)
2. Alaska: highest suicide rate (23.6 suicides per 100,000 people in 2004)
3. Arizona: highest rate of alcoholism
4. Arkansas: worst average credit score (636)
5. California: most air pollution (15.2 micrograms per cubic meter)
6. Colorado: highest rate of cocaine use per capita (3.9 percent total population)
7. Connecticut: highest rate of breast cancer
8. Delaware: highest abortion rate (27 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44)
9. Florida: highest rate of identity theft (122.3 reports per 100,000 people)
10. Georgia: sickly based on highest rate of influenza
11. Hawaii –highest cost of living (tied with California)
12. Idaho – lowest level of Congressional clout
13. Illinois: highest rate of robbery (284.7 incidences per 100,000 people)
14. Indiana: rated the most environmentally unfriendly by NMI solutions
15. Iowa: highest percentage of people age 85 and older (1.8 percent) (tied with three other states)
16. Kansas: poorest health based on highest average number of limited activity days per month (3.5 days)
17. Kentucky: most cancer deaths (227 per 100,000 people) (BONUS fact: Kentucky also has the highest rate of tobacco smokers – 25.6 percent)
18. Louisiana: highest rate of gonorrhea (264.4 reported cases per 100,000 people)
19. Maine: dumbest state claim based on lowest average SAT score (1389)
20. Maryland: highest rate of AIDS diagnosis (27.6 people per 100,000 people)
21. Massachusetts: worst drivers claim based on highest rate of auto accidents
22. Michigan: highest unemployment rate (13.6 percent)
23. Minnesota: highest number of reported tornadoes (123 in 2010)
24. Mississippi: highest rate of obesity (35.3 percent of total population)
BONUS facts: Mississippi ranks last in the most number of categories. These include highest rate of child poverty (31.9 percent), highest rate of infant mortality (10.3 percent) lowest median household income ($35,078), highest teen birth rate (71.9 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19) and highest overall rate of STDs.
25. Missouri: highest rate of bankruptcy (700 out of every 100,000 people)
26. Montana: highest rate of drunk driving deaths (1.12 deaths per 100 million miles driven)
27. Nebraska: highest rate of women murdered annually
28. Nevada: highest rate violent crime (702.2 offenses per 100,000 people). BONUS fact: Nevada also has the highest rate of foreclosure (one in 99 houses)
29. New Hampshire: highest rate of corporate taxes
30. New Jersey: highest rate of citizen taxation (11.8 percent)
31. New Mexico: antisocial claim based on lowest ranking in social heath policies
32. New York: longest average daily commute (30.6 minutes)
33. North Carolina: lowest average teacher salary
34. North Dakota: ranked last in ugliest residents report as chosen by The Daily Beast
35. Ohio: nerdiest state claim based on highest number of library visits per capita (6.9)
36. Oklahoma: highest rate of female incarceration
37. Oregon: highest rate of long-term homeless people
38. Pennsylvania: highest rate of arson deaths (55.56 annually)
39. Rhode Island: highest rate of illicit drug use (12.5 percent of population)
40. South Carolina: highest percentage of mobile homes (18.8 percent)
41. South Dakota: highest rate of forcible rape 76.5 per 100,000
42. Tennessee: chosen most corrupt state by The Daily Beast
43. Texas: lowest high school graduation rate (78.3 percent)
44. Utah: highest rate of of online porn subscriptions
45. Vermont: infertility claim based on lowest birth rate of any state (10.6 births per 1,000) (tied with Maine)
46. Virginia: highest number of alcohol-related motorcyle deaths
47. Washington: most cases of bestiality (4 reported in 2010)
48. West Virginia: highest rate of heart attack (6.5 percent of population)
49. Wisconsin: highest rate of binge drinking (23.2 percent of population)
50. Wyoming: highest rate of deadly car crashes (24.6 deaths per 100,000)

I just HAD to post this. Why? Because it's totally worth sharing! I mean c'mon, how many of you didn't look at your state first and think "nuh uh! not me!" or decide to check out any other states you've lived in then think now that you've moved "Whew! glad I dodged that bullet!"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Is It Really An Honor Just To Be Nominated?

 (go me... go me... go go go me.... ;p)

I was given a blog award recently, and have been absolutely horrible about doing anthing about it. (You sure I'm worthy of this one Starlight?) Anyway... apparently there are rules I must follow, and who am I to break the rules? (Don't answer that....)
The rules were/are as follows:

1.      Thank and link back to the person who gave this award to you. (√)

2.      Share 7 things about yourself (√ ok... here we go...)

  1. I am a complete salad snob. I seek out restaurants based on the salads they serve, will make MASSIVE salads at home and live off them for 1/2 a week... and rarely are they the epitome of healthy.... oh, and I judge you when you use iceberg lettuce. ;p
  2.  I will NEVER not think burps & farts are funny. My inner 8 yr old is strong.
  3.  I am a stickler for proper grammar and spelling, but I absolutely love it when people just make up their own words to suit the situation, (my theory being that if you make up a word and people know what you meant, you've just made it a real word) and I rarely bother to re-check things I write for errors... even though I mess up all the time. Guess I'm basically a grammatical hypocrite?
  4. I have been writing since childhood, and I find it to be the most cathartic thing in the world... but have a very hard time sharing the stories I write because they become so very personal to me.
  5. I would kick puppies to have smaller feet. Even just a size 9 would make me happy... 'cause size 11 just plain sucks.
  6. On an almost daily basis I want to get in a time machine and go scream "What are you crazy?!" at my adolescent self for not wanting to take a nap. Man I miss nap time.
  7. I don't put much stock in horoscopes/star signs... but I have noticed that every female I've ever met that is a Cancer I have liked instantly, and every male I know that is a Cancer has the most intense mood swings I've ever seen. 
... and now back to the rules.....

3.     Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers (√ ...BUT since "recently" isn't fully defined, i.e what is recent? Past year? past week? yesterday? ... and 15? really? 15? Um... I'll be cheating a bit here.......I'm going with the 15 bloggers whose recent writing/posts I just dig, and who don't have 80 gazillion readers/followers. You know.. you should check them out.......go follow them too. I can't be the only person that appreciates & likes feedback from others.)

Starlight @ Crazy Thoughts (I know you gave ME the award... but... you didn't say I couldn't give it to you as well!)

CakeBetch @ Hot Mess Chronicles

The Suburban Bushwacker @ The Suburban Bushwacker

Harper @ Bleak to Chic

The hysterical woman behind "Crazy Ramblings Of A Tired Mom"

BeMistified @ Neon Green Blathering

Brooke @ If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say, Read My Blog

Angel @ Illegitimate Angel

Fickle Cattle @ I Am Fickle Cattle

Roaring Housewife @ I Am Housewife...Hear Me Roar

Ms Tsa @ The Odd Things

The funny guy behind "Content Unrelated"

LeeRoses @ If There's One Thing I've Learned

Simon @ This, That, 'N' T'other

The genius behind "Just Plain Tired"

4.         Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award (√ ok. This is gonna take a while....)

Thank you Starlight

Sunday, January 23, 2011

An American Girlfriend In London, Pt 9: My Heart's In The Highlands

I'm sorry I've been so bad about posting anything new... but I've been away from the 'puter and off doin' some things to help make my 2011 the best year yet.........

My time in Scotland was AMAZING. It always is. This time however I got to do some things that many people don't normally do when they go to the Highlands....

(This is where I was staying in Kincraig. The Suie is a BEAUTIFUL b&b that you just MUST stay at if you're up there, it's just so cozy and comfy... plus my friends Mike & Wendy own the place and they are very sweet people... and the price is so good you just can't NOT stay there! - plus the pub attached is pretty great.)

Example: Most people expect to hear about sightings of beautiful deer & stags while wandering the hills...

yup... I did see those.... & took their picture....

But then what about snow monkeys? (dear god they were cute!) Not typically Scottish you say?

(this is by far my favorite picture I took that day)

BUT...when was the last time you heard someone went to the Highlands of Scotland and stood less than 2 feet away from Amur Tigers? (formerly known as Siberian tigers)... 'cause I did that too....

(you better believe I was willing to have my picture taken that day!)

How the hell did I do that? I'll tell you... Last Friday night a bunch of my friends that live in Kincraig got together to celebrate my birthday with me and at one point I noticed this one guy that I didn't recognize, so I walked right up to him and said "hi, I don't know you" and he smiled, put out his hand, and introduced himself: Mark.

Over the course of the evening I started to feel like I had known him for more than half my life, didn't really matter that he is like 14 years younger than me. At the end of the night he asked me "what are you doing on Monday?" and I told him I had no plans, and that's when he told me it was his day off and he wanted to take me to the Highland Wildlife Park... which is where he works (as do a few of my friends.) I had been there before back when I used to live in Scotland, but never with an employee that knew the ginormous place like the back of his hand... nor have I been there with someone that was able to let me come with at feeding time in the tiger enclosure.

Trust me, I was never closer to the tigers than 1 1/2 feet (plus the fence you see in the above picture), as cute and kitty like as they may be... they'd rip my head off in a heartbeat just for giggles... and I don't mind my head where it is, you know, attached and all.

There were polar bears too! So beautiful... but über stinky!

......and Red Pandas... which I will eternally refer to as "ginger raccoons":

Yes, my time in Scotland was phenomenal, and everything I wanted & needed it to be... and so much more. I got to see old friends, loved friends, make new friends... and laugh harder and longer than I have in ages. I had delicious meals cooked by cherished friends, icy cold beers in seemingly endless glasses, long overdue chats with those I had been missing with all my being... and ... y'all I stood less than 2 feet from wild tigers! Incredible.

 This would be my "Holy $#¡T!! You got that picture, right?!" face.... no idea what my hair is doing, but at least I know what the face says :)

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer-
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe;
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.
Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North
The birth place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.
Farewell to the mountains high cover'd with snow;
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forrests and wild-hanging woods;
Farwell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe;
My heart's in the Highlands, whereever I go.
-Robert Burns

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An American Girlfriend In London, Pt 8: It Ain't Brigadoon, It's Better

I am writing this a few days in advance, and will set it so it posts later this week... so if I did that right, you are reading this on my birthday (January 12th)... and I intend to be nowhere near the computer. I will have traveled from London up to the highlands of Scotland to go spend my birthday in one of the places I love most in this world (Kincraig) and with friends there that I have not seen in ages. The BF has stayed in London. I don't need a party, I don't need gifts, I don't need cake, or a special meal....

I just want to wake up on the morning of January 12th 2011 and look out over the rugged landscape of the highlands and know that some of my heart is back... because I left a very large chunk of it the last time I was here.


I will never tire of the beauty of the snow capped Cairngorms, the stags roaming the hills, the giant fields of sheep, and the almost random ruins of eras gone by as I wander through the hills. There is nothing I don't find beautiful here, and I often wonder how it was that I was born, and grew up, so far away. I've never been to another place on earth that felt more like home than the highlands ... so for my birthday this year... 

I'm going home.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Self Preservation

I subscribe to A LOT of blogs, and I enjoy reading each and every one of them, some more than others (you know I am totally talking about loving YOUR blog the most, right? *wink wink*)….. but I have been made acutely aware that if I am not either a) reminiscing about 2010 and the good/bad parts, b) making a list of resolutions for 2011, or c) talking about my period … then I'm doing something wrong. Sooo not kidding about the period thing. For real. 29 out of 38 blogs written by just women that I subscribe to have a blog post from this past week that has been about periods, getting your period, having your period, missing your period, waitin' on your period, the fact men don't understand much (if anything) about your period, guest posts about periods, hatin' on periods, and a bunch of other period related topics. I have no interest in talking about my period, your period, or anyone else's zombie vagina festival… not today at least. (Though I am starting to wonder if it's possible to be in sync with other bloggers, & since parts of the world of science always seems to be doing REALLY retarded research on the oddest topics, maybe they could explore that one?)

I do, however, feel the need to say that 2010 was not a bad year. Sure some stupid shit happened, and yeah, a bunch of good stuff happened too…. but all in all it was not the catastrophic nightmare that 2008 & 2009 were. Those years were HORRIBLE. I made the decision on December 31st 2009 that 2010 would be greeted with zero expectations. My thinking being that if I had no expectations, then I would have no disappointments. I gave it my all.

I told myself that if I found myself disappointed by things there was a good chance it was my own doing. I refused to rely on others for my happiness. I lowered my expectations of everyone & everything, and I took it upon myself to make myself happy. Basically, if you were planning to fuck me over, or totally be a douchebag to me… 2010 was your year! I just shrugged it off 99% of the time. The unlucky few that fell into the .01% slot got the flavor of hate permeating the air around them via me… BUT, for the most part my plan worked …. right up until it didn't. I can't really get into specifics on that right now, but I will say I learned a great deal about myself, as well as others. Admittedly I also learned a bunch of things I wish I hadn't… this'd be the time that the phrase "ignorance is bliss" comes to mind. I will probably always wonder if it would be better if I DIDN'T become aware of certain things, and in a few instances I'll just know it would.

So here I am in 2011 … will I take what I learned in 2010 to attempt to make 2011 even better? Damn skippy!  Will I keep my expectations low for all the people around me? Nope. That is something I also learned, see when someone has no (or just low) expectations of you… well, you have no desire to do jack shit. I had some friends that fell under that category (key word: HAD). It sucks to learn things the hard way, but in doing so the lesson sticks.

I'm taking it up a notch in 2011. I am going to be holding people to their word, and not letting them get away with crap like "I'm sorry, but…" or "I know I said , but…" , in fact the majority of the time the word "but" is heard by me I would really appreciate it if it was bookended by the words "your" & "is cute." (well, plus the extra "t"…'cept one doesn't check for typos/misspellings when speaking do they? That'd be weird.)

Yeah, in 2011 I am going to expect the people I care about to stick to their word, yet I will also try to not get my hopes up beyond what is reasonable. It kinda sounds sad though doesn't it? Funny how a person (i.e. me) can be vastly aware of their own issues with the inability to trust/believe … and yet still do everything in their power to persevere with it. Why it's downright wacky I tell ya!  Amazing what one does in the name of self preservation, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I'm not here to try to sell stuff (unless I actually write a book, or make something cool... in which case please! buy the fuck out of it!)... but this book... dear god I have been laughing so hard that the tears are still not dry as I type this...... please, do yourselves a favor and go get it, or be a cheap ass like me and read it standing in the book store laughing waaay too loudly.

F My Life is based on the website of the same name ( and here are some lovely moments that might very well bring laughter filled tears to your eyes as well......

"Today, my boyfriend broke up with me. I cried and told him that I loved him. He gave me a quarter and told me to call someone who cared. I threw the quarter in his face and ran. I waited for the bus, but when I got on, I realized I was 25 cents short of the fare. I walked home in the rain."
"Today, my boss fired me via text message. I don't have a text messaging plan. I paid 25 cents to get fired."
"Today, I got in line at the grocery store. The woman in front of me looked right at me, turned to her friend, and said "That reminds me, I forgot to get acne cream."
"Today, my 5 year old nephew showed me green martians he'd made with his new Play Doh set. I smiled and said, "Wow! Now, how about some blue martians!" He looked at me and replied, "How about some blue shut the fuck up!".

... you're welcome ;p