azriona: (cat in a box)
[livejournal.com profile] emmagrant01 tagged me for the Positivity meme on Friday, and I was sneaky and delayed it until today since we were out of town all weekend and my internet access, which is sketchy and weird and dependant on the whims of a 4-year-old at the best of times, was even worse.  But I did have a very positive weekend - the drive up to DC was mostly smooth, and we had dinner at the Crab Shack with friends, which is something Andrew has been begging to do (literally: begging) for the past few weeks.  "Isa and crab shack!  Isa and crab shack!  I go see Isa at the crab shack!"  I think he believes we went up to DC solely to see Isa at the crab shack, when in reality we went to attend a baptism for a brand-new baby.

The rest of the weekend under the cut )

So, positivity meme:

Rules: During the next five days, post three positive things about your day and ask three people to do the same so the positive attitude can gain some ground.


1. It is raining today, which normally wouldn't be a wonderful thing, but I have a bunch of things that need to go into the attic and therefore it's cool enough that I can actually put them away while Andrew's at school.  This is all an effort to actually clear out the room we intend to use for the baby when it arrives, because until now, the room has served as a larger version of a junk drawer, and looks it.

Behold, the room equivalent of a junk drawer: )

2. Bill figured out a key plot twist for the Medieval Omegaverse I'm writing.  It is a twist of awesome.  The only problem is that it sort of leads into a Part Two of the Medieval Omegaverse. I do not understand how a PWP that was meant to be about 5K and just a fluffy light thing to get me back into the swing of writing after a rather sparse August has turned into an epic novel.  THIS IS NOT HOW I PLANNED THIS STORY, and all that it is really doing is racking up the amount of pie that [livejournal.com profile] ladyprydian owes me.

3. Everyone is super excited about starting discussions at [livejournal.com profile] reading221b, and I am super excited that everyone is super excited, and if we're super successful with Round 1, that can only mean really awesome things for Round 2 - including focusing on smaller fics, and the not-blockbuster fics, which makes me just a happy camper all around.  (All six of the upcoming fics are wonderful, but they're also fics that most everyone has read already - or meant to read - and I have to admit I like to be a champion for smaller, often unnoticed fics.  So I really can't wait to get started on those.)


Oh, right, I have to tag.  Okay. [livejournal.com profile] kizzia. [livejournal.com profile] earlgreytea68. [livejournal.com profile] mildred_bobbin, for when she returns from her travels.
azriona: (cat in a box)
So Bill pointed out to me that a year ago today, Andrew and I were evacuated (sort of) out of Egypt.  It's not exactly an anniversary one wants to celebrate, but we went and had lunch together anyway.  I've just been rereading the posts from a year ago (some of them are flocked - I'll probably unlock them in a moment, they were only ever locked because Andrew and I were in transit and that's not the case any longer).

I think a lot of why I didn't really experience reverse culture shock last year as badly as I did on the return from Kyrgyzstan in 2006 was because I was too busy being shell-shocked by the evacuation.

Hey, it's a theory.  It's probably a terrible theory, but I don't think you're supposed to psychoanalyze yourself.

Anyway, I am up way past my bedtime because Andrew had a horrible time getting to sleep tonight, and ended up falling asleep in Momma & Daddy's bed.  Apparently someone forgot to tell him that jet lag doesn't apply unless you actually change time zones, and there's no time difference between Florida and Virginia.

Apropos to nothing, writing an argument between Sherlock and Mycroft is hard.


*

Dear Weather Patterns,

Do you know what would be a good way of celebrating the anniversary of being evacuated from Egypt a year ago?  Not being evacuated from Virginia this weekend.  Work on that.

Hopefully,

Me


(On the plus side, at least this time I could take the cat and husband with me.)
azriona: (cat in a box)
I'm happy to say it got better - eventually.  The second evening was better than the morning, mostly because we didn't go back to the MK.  Instead, we headed to Epcot, which was much quieter.  There's a Finding Nemo thing at Epcot, so that's where we spent our time.  Andrew liked it, too - it was empty, as things at Disney go, and we didn't have to wait to do anything we wanted to do.  Well, almost - we had to wait for Turtle Talk with Crush, but that's only because it's a theater show so it's a matter of audiences cycling in and out.

That was Monday. Tuesday, Noel and I went to see Hogsmeade at Universal Studios.  I've got an entire write-up of that (short version being it was awesome), but it's 9 pages long and will involve photos, so you'll have to wait a bit to see it.

Wednesday, we went back to Disney, this time going to Animal Kingdom in the morning, and then Magic Kingdom in the evening.  Both ended up going well, mostly because by then, I'd figured out how to really work the FastPass+ system.  The only real problem was the weather - Wednesday was hot, with a 107F heat index.  Worse, there isn't really any air conditioning in the park at all, even in the shops, which are usually a good refuge from the heat.  We went on the safari ride, which Andrew liked, and then rode the train for a couple of circuits, and then went to see the Finding Nemo show, which had the blessing of being inside and a relatively short wait.  We sat near the back, but Andrew likes being in the back, so that wasn't a problem - and once it started, he was completely captivated, and has actually asked to go again.

Yesterday (Thursday), we went to Sea World, and saw a dolphin show that had too many humans and not enough dolphins, and the orca show.  I can't decide if Andrew liked the orca show or not - halfway through, he asked to leave (we overruled him), but last night, before he went to bed, he lined all his stuffed animals up on the bed and took his new stuffed orca toy and was making it "jump" out of the water for them, before "splashing" them all with its tail.  The part he liked the best about Sea World was the shark tank (he got to feed some sharks, and then we went in one of those tunnels where one shark in particular was tracking him - I haven't seen the photos yet but I bet they're funny even if not in focus).  And there was an outdoor play area with a great huge ropey climbing thing and a water play space and he had a great time in there.

But again it was a majorly hot day, so hot that the park shut down their train ride because the seats were too hot to sit on.  And of course, Andrew was always first in line when they shut it down.

Today is going to be interesting - we're going to use our last day of Disney passes, and Bill has a Plan.  For all that he was making fun of me for planning out the FastPasses in advance...he wants to hit all four Disney parks today.  Animal Kingdom and Hollywood in the morning, followed by Epcot and Magic Kingdom in the evening.  We haven't been to Hollywood yet, and there is a Muppet show that Andrew will reportedly like, and Bill wants to see the Indiana Jones show. I have no problem with either of those - at least they'll be indoors (well, Muppets will) so they'll have a/c.  But Bill also wants to take Andrew back to the safari at AK (hence we are going there) and Turtle Talk at Epcot, because he enjoyed both of those things before and only got to do them once.

(Andrew, incidentally, has not asked to do either since he did them the first time.  Well - he asked to do Turtle Talk again, but he was tired and grumpy and could see the Epcot ball and I don't think he really meant it, since that was two days ago and he hasn't asked again.  He also told me last night he wants to see the orca whales again, and he'd wanted to leave that show when we saw it the first time.)

So this is going to be extremely interesting and I am torn between wanting no part of it, and wanting to tag along to watch all the associated drama unfold. Associated drama is practically a guarantee, especially since I do not think Andrew is on board with this four-parks-in-one-day plan.  As it's 8am, and he's not even awake yet, and we'd have to be on the road in the next fifteen minutes if we wanted to be at AK when it opens.

Anyway - vacation goes, and as I got my ride on Peter Pan with Andrew in tow, I'm feeling pretty good about life in general.  Que sera, sera, folks.  Send a cool breeze our way if you think of it today.
azriona: (cat in a box)
Overall impression after the first day of Disney World:  When Fastpass+ works, it’s great.  When it doesn’t work (which it didn’t the entire second half of our first day), it’s really annoying, and is probably why the system has largely left me unimpressed and disappointed.

(This whole “reservation” thing for rides at Disney would probably be better if I wasn’t traveling with a mercurial 4-year-old and a husband whose idea of planning is eventually waking up.)

More under the cut )

Well, screw that.  I'm going to write Johnlock porn now.  How very Disney of me.

Edited to add:  Well, huh.  I just went to change our Fastpasses for today, and now there are lots of availability for morning slots in the MK.  So I've signed us up for the two most likely things (Peter Pan and the Speedway) and Big Thunder Mountain Railway, and they're actually decent times, and not so early that I'm going to need to wake everyone up in the next ten minutes.  (Next hour, maybe.)  I wonder if they hold slots until the day of?  That'd be nice.

Still can't get onto Seven Dwarves without waiting in line for an hour, though.  Ah well.  I'm feeling slightly better about the system now, maybe when we get there I'll ask and smile brightly and emphasize Andrew's adorableness.
azriona: (cat in a box)

...My favorite part of today.  So Andrew's 4 now, and I thought he might want to have some say in what toys we brought with us for the hotel.  And of course, he did, and he was being very...oh, what's the word, exceedingly picky about what to bring, in that he wanted just a few things.  Not ALL THE THINGS, but just a few, easily fit in his backpack.

Okay! thought I.  This is easy.

"Okay, Andrew," I said, "all that's left is Bunny.  Go get him, he's on  your bed."

(Bunny is his stuffed Easter bunny.  He has had bunny since he was five months old.  In those days, Bunny was bigger than Andrew and had structural integrity.  Neither of those are true anymore.)

So Andrew goes running up stairs, and a few minutes later, comes down.

Carrying ALL THE STUFFED THINGS.  You couldn't even see Andrew for all the stuffed things in his arms.

"Momma!  Can Baby Bunny come with me?"

"Um...."

"Can Buffalo come with me?"

"Ummmmm....."

"Can Wolf come with me?"

"Ummmmmmmmmm...."

(This was, of course, in addition to Bunny and Rocky the preschool class raccoon.)

(Unimaginative names, I know.  I blame sleep deprivation.  Which would work, if I didn't regularly fall back on Thomas the Tank Engine when I need names for fanfic characters.)

To cut a long story short, Andrew tried to stuff every stuffed animal he sleeps with into his tiny little backpack, desperate that none of them be left behind.

We ended up switching one of the smaller suitcases for a larger one to accommodate them.  Pick your battles, that's the theme of the week.

And now, I am tired and going to bed, because oh dear God, are we waking up ridiculously early and going to visit a Giant Mouse.

azriona: (cat in a box)
I feel like I should make an apology post - here are all these new people cautiously easing their way back into LJ, and I've been cheerleading them along....and now I'm getting on a plane tomorrow and heading out for ten days of fun and frolic and giant talking mice and will be more or less unavailable for cheerleading.

(Not entirely unavailable, but sort of preoccupied as one is when on vacation.)

So, if you are new to LJ, DON'T LEAVE YET.  I shall return.  With photos of Andrew and the aforementioned Giant Mice, or possibly Buzz Lightyear.  There will be pictures of Hogsmeade, and IF I AM REALLY REALLY LUCKY, Diagon Alley.

(If Diagon Alley is not open, Noel and I have agreed to get our entry pass for Hogsmeade and then go camp out at Diagon Alley's entrance hoping for a soft opening.  Mind, it could be open RIGHT NOW, but I have not looked for information in a few days because I am chicken.  I do know there was some press opening thing a day or so ago, I've seen the pictures.  They are so awesome it hurts.)

*

In other news, I made the cream cheese brownies again today, this time replacing the sour cream with lowfat plain yogurt.  MUCH better - the sour cream had too much tang to it, and the yogurt had just enough so that it didn't overpower the cream cheese or the brownie.  I also baked for an additional five minutes, but I think they could have used another five - or maybe a higher temperature.  I'll continue playing when we get back.

[livejournal.com profile] auntiesuze, I utterly fail at typing up your buttermilk scone recipe.  Use the lemon scone recipe, and add a cup of the still-frozen blueberries and bake for an additional 5 minutes, they should turn out just fine.  If you want to drop the lemon, you can, but make sure you add extra milk to make up for the loss of lemon juice, and maybe add a bit of cinnamon or cake spice to give it another layer of flavor.

Doesn't that paragraph make it sound like I know what I'm doing in the kitchen?  I'm impressed with me.
azriona: (cat in a box)
I have this rule.  It's actually not my rule, it's an old State Department saying, but it really is a very good rule.  "Don't believe anything until you have tickets in hand."
(This rule stems from all the times we've had various assignments which were pulled before we ever got close to going.  This has happened to me a few times already.  I know of at least one family who has altered the rule to "Don't believe anything until YOU ARE IN THE AIR ON YOUR WAY", because apparently their assignment was pulled before the plane even took off.)
This is why I don't really get excited about things that are in the works.  I never actually believe I'm going until the wheels are actually in motion: i.e., I have tickets in hand.  No tickets, no excitement.  It's easier that way, even if it does seem to disappoint everyone around me.  I don't think I started getting excited about Egypt until we were actually packing out.

So I think I'm to be a little bit forgiven if I'm only getting excited about the trip to Disney World now, because today, Bill and his dad bought the park tickets.  Okay, granted, we've had the flight tickets and the resort reservations for ages, but it's only with actually having the tickets that I felt good enough to register for the associated apps and FastPass+ thingies and all the rest, and Noel has been researching Harry Potter tickets and we're trying to determine if $170 for a hotel reservation is worth an extra hour in the park.  (At the moment, we are leaning toward no, though I'm sure we'd use it and be happy for it - it's just a bit too much and we're probably already going to spend that on stuff, and it's only the two of us, we don't mind standing in line.  Ooo, maybe we should bring the Harry Potter Uno cards, and get a few games going while we wait.  Worked for the last movie, anyway.)

(I also have not made any FastPass reservations, because it seems like such a chancy thing to do with Andrew, who is absolutely going to have his own agenda, and I have no idea what it's going to be.  For all I know, we're going to spend the entirety of the first day riding the train in circles around the park.)

(FastPass+ seems like it would be an easier thing to manage if you aren't also dealing with the variable moods of an over-excited 4-year-old.)

(I suppose I could make reservations just for me, to ride on the roller coasters, but that doesn't seem to be in the spirit of things.  "Toodles, everyone, I'm leaving you all to stand in line for the thousandth time at Dumbo so I can get on Space Mountain lickety split.  BYYEEEEEE.")

(I do love me some Space Mountain.)

Andrew has now gotten wind of the Disney adventure.  He did know, sort of, that we were going, because we've mentioned it once or twice, but I don't think he really thought about it until today when he was informed (and I honestly can't remember which adult said it, so I don't know who to blame) that Daddy and Grandpa were going to buy tickets for Disney World, and when he heard that..., well, he sat right down on the lawn and watched them drive away, and was still sitting there five minutes later when I realized that he was waiting for them to come back so we could all go to Disney World together.

(We are not going for two weeks.)

And then - and this one is all my fault - I pointed out that we can't go to Disney World today because Disney World is in Florida and we are in Virginia, and we'd have to take a plane.  So now Andrew is all excited because we get to take a plane to Disney World (this just gets better and better for him, doesn't it?) and at bedtime, he had to double-check the list of people going.

Andrew: I get on the plane?
Me: Yes.
Andrew: Momma get on the plane?
Me: Yes.
Andrew: Daddy get on the plane?
Me: Yes.
Andrew: Grandpa get on the plane?
Me: He's going on a different plane, but he'll meet us there.
Andrew: Cleo get on the plane?
Me: No.
Andrew: Poor Cleo.
Me: Yes, poor Cleo.  But Auntie Noel will be on a different plane, and she'll meet us there.  And you can bring your Bunny.
Andrew: Trunki get on the plane?
Me: Well, would you rather have Trunki, or your rolling suitcase?
Andrew: *eyes go all wide with anticipation and excitement* Rolling suitcase on the plane?
Me: Yes.
Andrew: Yay!

I'd say the likelihood of me spending the next two weeks with an Andrew desperate to get on the plane and get to Disney World is 99.99%.  I wouldn't lay odds against it, I'll say that much.  Somehow all activities pale in comparison to Disney World and the prospect of a rolling suitcase on a plane.

That said...I'm kind of looking forward to this trip.  I mean, I still think it's going to be something of a hot mess, in terms of Andrew's ability to not go completely haywire at any given moment, but he's been remarkably good at Busch Gardens, even when we had a half hour wait for one of the rides he really likes, so I'm hoping that'll translate from Grover to Mickey.

And besides, one day, I'm going to be living it up in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, which is just going to be cool.  Well, hot, seeing as it's Florida in June, but you know what I mean.  (If it were literally cool, I could wear my Ravenclaw sweater.  At the moment, I'm kind of thinking "no" for that bit of costuming.)
azriona: (cat in a box)
Pics under the cut )

In other news, Andrew and I went to Busch Gardens yesterday, because the weather was lovely and it was Monday afternoon and we had nothing else to do. And it turned out to be a very good day to go, because the park was nearly empty, and Andrew was so happy to be there that he was pretty much agreeable to everything. We went on the Log Flume ride for the first time, and Andrew loved it. I think he liked getting wet and he liked being outside the whole time (unlike the Ride to Pompeii one where you're inside and things are falling around you until you get to the massive drop at the end). So he was feeling really good about water in general until we got to the water play park in Sesame Street and he was standing under one of the buckets when it overturned and got him completely drenched. Which was extremely funny to everyone who wasn't Andrew, who came out blinking and dripping and a bit distraught, and I had to comfort him a bit. (Luckily I'd had him take off his shirt, so that was dry, and he'd kicked off his shoes himself.) And then we went on Grover's roller coaster and because there was no one there, we were able to ride about six times in a row before I decided that was enough.

And then he went and met Elmo, and actually gave Elmo a hug, before deciding a hug was enough and he went off before a picture could be taken. Ah well.

All in all, though, a good visit, which is making me feel a bit more optimistic about the end of the month, because we have plans to take Andrew (and his grandfather and my friend Noel) to Disney World, and the idea of an overwhelmed Andrew in the Happiest Place on Earth is sort of giving me the willies. I stupidly bought the Unofficial Guide to Disney a few months ago, and read it all in one week, and that thing basically has you prepare for your trip like you're going on a campaign to Russia in the wintertime. (On the plus side, I do get a discount on the Lines app, which tells you how long the line is for various Disney rides, and I admit that's going to be kind of awesome. I've already downloaded it, it's fun to look up how long the wait is at Space Mountain when you're a thousand miles away from it. "Bill! The wait is only twenty minutes right now! Let's go!")

(I am being facetious. The wait is never only twenty minutes at Space Mountain. I think people sneak in under dark of night so that when the park opens, it's already an hour long.)

ANYWAY, while we're there, Noel and I are going to ditch the boys and head to Universal Studios to see the Harry Potter area. (Or two, if Diagon Alley opens up before we arrive, which is probably doubtful, since our trip is three weeks away and no one's announced a date or anything.) But this week is the only week we can all go for a while, so this week it is.

Point being: if anyone has any suggestions/advice for a week in Orlando, they are much appreciated. (We aren't staying at a Disney hotel; we are using one of my parents' Marriott time shares, which has the benefit of being right next to Sea World, and also free. Sort of. My dad's charging us in the form of those little car antenna things that has mouse ears on it, because his was stolen off his car a few months ago. Basically we're going on a shopping trip for him.)
azriona: (cat in a box)
It's been a busy couple of days, so this is my first chance to catch up on the computer since Friday. And thus, I am resorting once again to a LIST, because it's my journal and I can.

The first two are all about Andrew. )

3. Where the hell did all these cars come from?

Bill rented a car when he landed at Dulles last week, because we are now a two-car family. (This in itself is a bit scary to me - I remember not having a car at all.) Anyway, we bought a car in the last week, so it was time to return the rental yesterday. Here was the trick: it was actually cheaper to return the car to the airport location than it was to return it anywhere down here, so that meant we had to drive up to Dulles, both of us, and come back down.

Eh, we figured. It's only 2-1/2 hours, it's fine. Actually, we had a whole plan: I'd take the rental and set off a bit early, and hightail it up to Potomac Mills where I'd go to IKEA and do a little shopping and then Bill would follow with Andrew at a more leisurely pace and we'd meet at Dulles and turn in the car and transfer my purchases to our car and drive into town to meet with the DC gang and have lunch at ZBurger in Tenley and pick up our boxes from Noel and then drive home. Easy cheesy.

Well, in theory. In reality, I zoomed up 95 easy as you please, but Bill's leisurely pace ended up taking five hours, because traffic was a nightmare. At one point he moved fifteen miles in forty-five minutes, and eventually he got off the highway altogether and let Andrew run rampant at a Chik-Fil-A.

So instead of meeting at Dulles, I ended up turning in the car, and then had an adventure getting into the city. I took a bus to the Metro...which wasn't running due to track maintenance, so I had to take a shuttle to a station that was open. And then the red line was single-tracking (as the red line is wont to do), so I sat in a train for about ten minutes without moving. It took me ninety minutes to get to Tenleytown...which isn't too bad, considering.

But the funny thing was that I realized that this was perhaps the most time I've had to myself since...well, since I got Andrew, honestly. Even when he was in school, I had maybe five hours, tops, and yesterday I had six, and while most of it was me moving from one place to the other, it was all essentially down time. Especially the parts on public transportation. Here's the thing about taking buses or trains, is that I have long since realized that it's just easier if you realize that you have no control over them, and having relinquished that sense of control, life becomes much easier. If you miss the train, there will always be another, so you chill and sit and read your book until it shows up. (Or in my case yesterday, fanfic on my phone. Man, I love the 21st century.)

The ninety minutes I spent going from Point A to Point B was awesome, because it was mine. I came out of the station at Tenley, late for lunch and starving, but feeling more or less happy with the world. Also, seasoned fries at the end of the journey.

We were all prepared for horrific traffic on the way back down...but much to our surprise, it was clear sailing. One of the boxes waiting for us at Noel's had my Food Network magazine (yay, food porn!) so I read bits of it aloud to Bill as he drove, and by the time I was done, we were already in Fredericksburg - we hadn't slowed down once.

And now it is Sunday, and omg, do I not want to get into a car today.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about Friday's playdate, because as it turned it, all the moms involved have adopted and it was awesome to have a conversation that did not devolve into comparison of birth stories and "oh that's so wonderful of you to adopt", but I hear Andrew waking up, and this post is long enough. And I'm hungry. It'll keep.
azriona: (cat in a box)
So apparently our Air shipment is ready to be delivered to our new place of residence. Bill, of course, is still in the UL.

I am HIGHLY amused.
azriona: (cat in a box)
Yesterday started out about as normally as you'd expect a day to begin when all of your stuff has been packed up and moved out and you're alone in an empty apartment with an over-excited toddler who refuses to eat anything but Jello and a over-stressed cat who just refuses to eat anything. We spent the morning watching the news and playing with trains and reassuring the cat and doing laundry and running after the toddler, and all was quiet and well and everything was fine.

And then, while at a playdate with the single other kid left in the complex (because everyone else has either gone home for the summer, or just gone home), I got a call from Bill.

"You're leaving the country tonight. I just got your confirmation codes."

And there went my day.

Andrew and I are in transit; Bill and Cleo are still in the UL. There was no way that we could have gotten Cleo on the flight - for one thing, the second leg over the Atlantic is on United, and those of you who have been around for a while will remember that United is crap when it comes to animals on planes. For another, we only had about five hours to get the paperwork to the expediter to take to the Ministry to get the stamp of approval, and after talking to him, and looking at the traffic in the city, we determined that it couldn't be done - and moreover, that we'd never have gotten Cleo onto the plane in the first place, because he was already expediting animals on it and there was no space left.

However, I was able to reconfirm Cleo for Bill's upcoming flight (assuming the UL doesn't explode between now and then), and while she's booked in the belly of the plane, she's at least on the plane. And at this point: I just want my cat to come home. And my husband. Both, preferably, on the same flight. All Bill has to do is locate a hard-side carrier, and someone's already offered to let him buy hers if he can't find one. Not the best thing, Cleo getting a carrier that smells of Unfamiliar Cat, but better than being left behind, which is my greatest fear at the moment: that something will happen between now and Bill's flight, and he won't be able to get out, or it'll go to full evacuation, at which point he can't take Cleo, and she'll be stuck, and I have no idea how we'd get her out or when.

I'm not worried about me or Andrew; I haven't been. I'm not even terribly worried about Bill. We're all good and able to take care of ourselves. I'm scared like crazy for Cleo. Bill assures me that he won't leave the country without her - but there might come a point where he doesn't have a choice.

Anyway. If you're all picturing scenes from Argo, or maybe something like the last plane out of Hanoi, don't. We were sort of expecting that at the airport as well, and really, it was absolutely quiet, barely any lines at security or check-in or passport control. Everything was ridiculously smooth. It was almost disappointing - I mean, not that I wanted that sort of chaos, but it would have made for an excellent story after the fact. The reality was a bit boring by comparison. Our driver said that it was worse Sunday night - the airport was insane with people wanting to get out, but even then it wasn't Doomsday scenarios with people wailing and throwing money at check-in clerks. Just very long lines full of slightly anxious people. Boring, by comparison, really.

That said: I find it difficult to believe that I'm not just going on a vacation. That leaving this morning was the last time I'm going to be in the UL. The sun was rising as our plane took off; read that as you will.

This is not the way I wanted to leave the UL. (And yes, it's going to remain the UL until Bill and Cleo are safe in the States.) I find myself thinking back on the last few days in Kyrgyzstan; they were sad, because I knew I would never return, but I don't remember them being quite this traumatic. Twenty-four hours ago, I was sitting in my living room, thinking I had time, planning to go out to Road 9 to do a last little bit of shopping (I found the perfect thing for the contest winners, and I didn't get them so you'll have to suffer something else instead).

And then I was repacking the suitcases to try to spread everything around a little (so that if we lose one, we each still have clothes and toys and such), and found that despite my worries, we had extra room.

And it's funny, because there's really just nothing left to pack. Everything else that I own is already boxed and ready to send back to Virginia. And the really important things to me - the most important things - I had to leave 2/3rds of them behind. And the idea that I'm not sure when I'll see them again is almost breaking my heart.

I can tell you this, though. Part of me does not want to post the epilogue to Dangerous Disadvantages tomorrow. I think it's the context of it - when we left John and Sherlock, they were going in different directions. And by complete chance (and for vastly different reasons), my life is sort of mirroring that now. Okay, fine, this isn't Omegaverse and we're not British and there isn't an evil woman out to kill my family by fire or water or whatever's handy, but Bill's in one place with Cleo, and Andrew and I are in another, and just like John, I have no idea what's going to happen next, and I hate it.

So yeah...I kind of don't want to post the epilogue. I will, because I promised, but I don't think I'll take such glee in the response it's sure to garner. Not until they're home, anyway.
azriona: (Azri's pantry)
To cook/bake:
* Lemon Curd Blueberry Muffins
* Brownie Pudding Cake
* Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding
* Baked Chicken with Plums
* Chocolate Chip cookies (same mix as in the icon, actually)

To Sort:
* Stuff to go on Plane (six suitcases, three carry-ons, and a cat)
* Stuff to go in Air shipment (there is some discussion whether this is 250 or 700 pounds)
* Stuff to go in Surface (everything else)

To Write/Edit:
*
*
*
*
* BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
* Seriously, though.
azriona: (I'm Where?)
Andrew and I stopped by at the veggie man yesterday, which reminded me that I hadn't posted this question response yet. We bought zucchinis (which just turned into muffins) and a whole tray of tiny delicious plums. The veggie man gave me one to taste while we were there, and you can't refuse food so I ate it unwashed, and it was worth whatever stomach problems I have later on for eating an unwashed plum. (Nothing so far, but I seem to have an iron stomach.)

Andrew is being his usual unadventurous self, so either I get to eat an entire tray of plums myself (woo-hoo!) or I find a recipe that involves them. I've got a good jam recipe for plums, but with only three weeks left here, it seems silly to make it.

ANYWAY.

[livejournal.com profile] auntiesuze wanted to know: Are you living on a base? Are there any shops in there or do you have to leave to make all your purchases, food shopping, etc.?

Continuing on from this post where I talked about the complex – now to talk about the shopping.

Shopping! )
azriona: (cat in a box)
Andrew and I got back from our trip last night - there is far too much to catch up on on both LJ and Tumblr (I accessed neither while we were gone, for various reasons).

Anyway, Ankara is lovely this time of year...

(Waits for everyone to stop screaming.)

Hey, when you live in the UL, Ankara is a reasonable tourist destination. Actually, I'm surprised it was as easy as it was getting there; I half expected Turkish passport control to take one look at our departure point and passports and say, "GOOD GOD, NO, WE'RE NOT LETTING YOU IN, ARE YOU CRAZY?"

But they did, and Andrew and I got to visit friends who are living in Ankara and had a fantastic four days of just laid-back chilling and playing and chatting and after the anxiety-filled week last week, what with Cleo and impending pack-out, it was exactly what I needed. This was made more evident by waking up at 4 this morning, and feeling the grip on my chest start up again (more in a minute; the fun with packout, it never actually ends, it just changes shape).

(But this would be one of the reasons why I didn't check Tumblr while I was there; those of you on it know that there's been a lot of reblogs of the photos coming out of Turkey, and I didn't want them popping through on my friends' internet, and possibly gaining unwanted attention from the government.)

The guards downstairs, when I chatted with them last night, all knew I'd been to Turkey, of course. And they were happy to see us back, and wanted to know how the "other revolution" was doing. They all think it's hysterical that we went, as if Andrew's a little commando who is going to train Turkish revolutionaries. (I'm not sure in what. Temper tantrums? How to refuse all food that isn't peanut-butter-sandwiches? The lyrics to Shaun the Sheep?)

Turkey )
azriona: (cat in a box)
Andrew's last day at school today - he was fine. I cried.

And then he decided that he had to test the theory of "hot", and put his hand down on a burner while I was making dinner. First-degree burn on his left hand, a thin line along his thumb into the fleshy part. Poor baby. He screamed, but I kept a cool head and stuck his hand under the faucet and ran cool water on it for a bit, which he liked, and taught him to blow on it instead of rubbing it against stuff. I also went ahead and dosed him with ibuprofen for the pain. I think it might blister, but only a little, and then he asked to go to bed early, which is just as well, because if he's sleeping, he's not picking at it, and we're waking up early tomorrow because he and I are visiting friends this weekend.

(I do not relish the idea of a bruised baby on a plane. Or a baby who's just been potty-trained, for that matter. He's been really good lately, and I'm bringing extra stuff for the plane...and oh my God. I just realized I forgot to pack his underwear.

Dammit.

And he's asleep in his bedroom.

Double dammit.

Five minutes later:

Operation Retrieve Underwear was a success. Whew.)

In other news, I spent most of the day still anxious about Cleo getting on the plane - after the headaches last year getting her here, I kind of feel like this one was resolved way too easily. I think I'm going to be nervous until our flight takes off from Frankfurt and we're all on it, in all honesty.
azriona: (Cleo - Invasion)
Quick, because Andrew's movie is over and we're going outside to play - but Cleo is confirmed as a cabin cat for BOTH flights home next month. I don't know what the travel agents at the embassy did, but they got her confirmed - I have confirmation codes and printouts from Lufthansa and everything.

THE GRIN ON MY FACE RIGHT NOW, I'M BETTING YOU CAN ALL SEE IT FROM YOUR RESPECTIVE HOMES/PLACES OF WORK/ ETC.

I love everybody and everything at the moment. I might have to start distributing random hugs.
azriona: (Cleo - Invasion)
I never realized that it was actually possible to be sick to your stomach with worry. But I was up for half the night feeling nauseous, because once again, United Airlines is screwing with my life. Or more specifically, their computer systems.

And here we revisit the Cat on the M-Fing Plane. Still scarier than Snakes on a Plane, amazingly enough. )

So there you have it. It's not that I expected traveling with pets to be easy. I knew perfectly well when I started that it's a hassle and it's expensive and State really doesn't give a rat's ass if we have our pets with us or not. But I didn't expect it to be this difficult.
azriona: (I'm Where?)
[livejournal.com profile] auntiesuze wanted to know: Are you living on a base? Are there any shops in there or do you have to leave to make all your purchases, food shopping, etc.?

The short answers are “no” and “yes”.  The longer answers are…well, longer, and more interesting.

A more interesting answer below the cut )
azriona: (I'm Where?)
[livejournal.com profile] thesmallhobbit wanted to hear about Things you really like about where you're currently living, and things that you had expected to like but don't.

I’m going to twist my answer a little bit, because there’s something I didn’t expect to like, but I love. And hate.  That would be driving.

So, background.  Apart from driving in Canada, I’ve never actually driven in a foreign country before moving here.  (And much love to Canada, but their roads and rules are pretty much the same as driving in the States.  Actually, in some ways, I think it’s better.  I remember driving in Canada, and Bill and I saw a speed trap.  Now, in the States, a speed trap consists of a cop sitting by the side of the road with a radar gun, and when he sees someone speeding, another cop jumps on his motorcycle or car and off he goes to chase down the speed-demon.

Canada?  There’s a cop with a radar gun, all right, but instead of chasing you down, another cop just waves you over to the side of the road.  And the speed demons do it.)

When I lived in Kyrgyzstan, driving wasn’t an option.  Less because the drivers there were insane (they were), but more because the car we had was a stick, and I don’t know how to drive stick.  My dad always said he’d teach me one summer, and we never got around to it, and then I was in Kyrgyzstan and Lucifer was a stick, and I couldn’t drive him.  Bill tried to teach me.

(Note: never, ever let your husband try to teach you to drive a stick.  We had two lessons before we came to the mutual agreement that I could hire a driver, as this expense would probably save our marriage.)

Now, in regards to driving in the UL... )




 

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