Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Just to wish you all a very Merry Christmas (you know, if you celebrate that, if not have a very nice Thursday)!

And Happy Chanukkah! Piglet is celebrating too (at least he's telling all of our families that he celebrates both Christmas and Chanukkah, and he's picked out the menorah he wants).

And my favorite Christmas clips:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bowling Pins, Fish and Nudity

A few days ago Dylan was complaining about his leg hurting. He decided that he needed a massage. And, because he feels guilty running off to get a massage and leaving me with all the children, he invited me to go along.

A few items:

-I have had exactly 2 professional massages in my life (and that includes this one).

-I generally do not pay people to look at me naked. I try to reserve that for people who are taking a baby human out of me.

-I'm not big on the "pampering" thing. Massages hurt. Manicures hurt. Haircuts hurt. Really it's like saying, "Hi Kylie! Would you like to go to Spa Gitmo?"

So, because I had been thinking a day at the spa would be a good gift for my sister (yeah, she doesn't read my blog, so I can say whatever I want about her), I thought I should actually go and TRY to enjoy a massage.

So we went to a multipurpose joint. It's a swimming pool/spa/bowling alley/nightclub. I think they also sell fish.

And the massage rooms are directly below the bowling alley. Because back after the wall fell, apparently someone thought putting a bowling alley on the third floor was a good idea. Actually it seems that several someones thought this, as I have yet to see a bowling alley in this country that is on the ground floor.

So, because I am extremely uncomfortable being naked in front of people, I try to keep my mind occupied. It wanders pretty well because I have the attention span of a gnat. And being directly below the bowling alley helped.

I wondered whether my masseur ever gave his significant other massages. You know, if I had a committed partner who was a masseur (and I was a normal person who didn't think massage was actually a code word for torture), I'd be demanding massages all the time.

Several times I wanted to yell "STRIKE!" Did I mention I was DIRECTLY below the bowling alley? Nothing more relaxing than the sound of a heavy ball rolling across a wooden floor and knocking things down. On second thought, it sounds an awful lot like home.

My masseur worked on my legs, back, and arms and then asked me to roll over. Except, because he spoke only enough English for the commands, and Polish has the whole command thing down it was more like "Turn over!" As though he was commanding that a pancake flip itself.

When I did turn over, I was a caught a bit off guard.

Didn't he have clothes on when I walked in? Had he been naked the whole time? Do they always do this?

I thought, "I'm just gonna close my eyes and PRETEND you're wearing something other than a Speedo." Which is totally the opposite of what my husband was thinking about his masseuse.

When I met back up with my husband I asked him if his girl was naked.

*blink, blink*

Then he said, "NO! You have to pay extra for THAT! This is gonna cost us!"

And I'm out of my country for a couple of weeks. I'll probably not be posting all that regularly, I'll try, but I can't make any promises:).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas from Prison

I went to Piglet's school Christmas party the other day.

Piglet is in Kindergarten so the day consisted of a holiday concert followed by a lovely party in the classroom.

And because they forced family time on us, we all had to submit our family projects to be viewed at the party.

We made a gingerbread house.

Jun Sang made this:

Nothing makes you feel more like a loser than looking at a 5 year old's clay Japanese anime.

Anyway, the kids were also to present their parents with the gifts they had made. It's a lovely decorated framed photo of your child.

Everyone else's kid looked smiley and happy. Or at least fake smiley.

Ours is inmate 728965.

Welcome to Kindergarten.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fare Thee Well, Good Friend

There's a tradition in the military/foreign service lifestyle of giving/selling your worldly possessions when you leave. It's a little bit creepy, like picking through Aunt Edna's stuff after she's died, except that you're usually accompanied by the deceased.

My real life Warsaw bff, Globetrekking Mom, is leaving sooner than expected. So, being the good friends that we are, we've engaged in the tradition of picking through her things and taking all the good stuff. Because I had just cleared out my kids' toys in anticipation of birthday/Christmas/birthday season, my kids are thrilled with the new stuff. (And I'm totally getting over on these poor deprived children, by only allowing them one "new" toy a day and only after they have done some housekeeping - because goodness knows I don't have time to do the housekeeping - I blog!)

While this is all very cool - you know, getting stuff for free - it's hard to do. I will miss Milena and her kids tremendously. As I look at all the "new" stuff, I am reminded that my dear friend is leaving. That she's leaving unexpectedly, which will be harder than usual on her family. That when I return from Christmas break, I will be working alone on Monday mornings, with no one to have my 2 hour long coffee breaks with and chat about everything in our lives, all while "guarding the złoty".

But, when I look at the stuff, I will be reminded of a wonderful friendship that will hopefully surpass time, distance, and space (through the awesomeness of Facebook, blogs, and email), and that we will someday be reunited back in the home of all displaced diplomats.

I hope you had the time of your life.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wait, I'm NOT Mexican?

Several people in my real life have heard me bragging that someone in my husband's office paid me to make a dish for him. He said he likes my cooking (and he has a wife that lives here, so it IS a little strange).

I blew this WAY out of proportion, of course, because this was an opportunity for me to stroke my own ego. I've been tormenting my husband with threats now. "You can never leave me because other people think I'm a great cook!" "Other men want me. You know, because I'm such a good cook." "I'm going to leave you because you keep leaving your clothes by the door to the garage. And I'm a great cook."

I've also threatened to start my own catering business (or coworking business if you follow me on Twitter, mainly because I'm a little bit stupid). I went on and on. "People PAY me." "I could do this for a living." "I'll have a little Mexican catering business. Can you imagine the business I will get?"

My husband, totally unimpressed, said "You can't cater Mexican food. You're not Mexican."

To which I said, "LIAR! I am SO Mexican. I grew up in Texas!"

He said, "Yeah, all Australians who grow up in Texas, automatically become MEXICAN. It's in the Constitution."

So see, I was right. I AM Mexican.

Who wants enchiladas?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What's in a Name?

Last night, as I was yelling "NO!" at a cat who was using my furniture as a scratching post, which then sent Stewie into hysterics because he thought I was yelling at him, I was reminded of another amusing incident.

When I was 3 months pregnant with Pooh Bear, I moved to Houston and visited my sister. She had just moved in with her fiance and they got a puppy, because apparently that's what people do when they make a commitment. I wouldn't know. My husband doesn't like animals.

Anyway, when I met the puppy for the first time I asked her its name. She replied "Pooh Bear".

I just stared at her.

"That's the name I've chosen for my baby if it's a boy."

(Yes, I chose Pooh Bear. I really wanted my whole family to be named after A.A. Milne characters and they all fit in quite well in school thankyouverymuch. No one ever teases any of them. Even Piglet.)

So, because I had a boy, I named him Pooh Bear. Honestly, I didn't think that the relationship between my sister and the fiance would last and figured he would wind up with custody of said dog and there would never be a problem.

Yeah. She married him. And then they had a kid. And they kept Pooh, the dog.

So we go to visit my sister, and they yell "POOH! NO!". And MY Pooh Bear cowers in the corner, trying to figure out why everyone in Houston hates him.

And we're going for a visit soon. Pooh is dreading it. Should be fun.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rockstar! - Updated

Because my husband is on Facebook and some of those Facebook friends also read my blog, sometimes he posts items that I don't necessarily intend to post about, but that apparently people still want to hear my take on.

It's a lot of pressure. "Write, Monkey! WRITE!"

This is one of those.

Because there is not enough to do in the holiday season, my older kids' school decided they needed to put on their version of "America's Got Talent". Friday night, Tigger got up and sang her heart out for the judges and her whole school.

And she was good. Amazingly good. So good that Dylan thought she was lip syncing to Christina Aguilera.

But, unfortunately for my blog, she did not fall off the stage or catch fire, and aside from a minor technical glitch with the microphone, everything went well.

Until it came to the judges.

And unfortunately, that one beyotch judge also did not catch fire.

It's surprisingly hard to start a fire with only stage lights and a camera lens.

And yes, I know the judges were just kids too. But she was a beyotch. Don't judge me. You weren't there.

It was at that point that I realized I could totally become that psychotic cheerleader mom who put out a hit on another teenager.

Not that the judge should take this as a threat. 'Cause it isn't.

But she might want to watch her back. Just sayin'.

Update: As obnoxiously pointed out by Melissa the cheerleader mom I mentioned actually put out a hit on the mother of the other teenager, not the teenager herself. Perhaps I should actually read the links I put up. Or put out a hit on Melissa.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It Gets Better...

This morning I had "Chanukah, Oh Chanukah" stuck in my head. This makes sense since Piglet sings it ALL THE TIME!

While I was making breakfast for the kids, I was singing, and Piglet was chiming in. When we finished the song, I asked him "What do you play with at Chanukah?"

He said, "You play a game and get candies."

I said, "What kind of game? How do you play?"

He said, "I don't know. I'm not Mexican."


And I promised a winner announced today. As much as I wanted to fix the election so that Dawn would win and I wouldn't have to ship anything everyone to win, we have only one winner.

The winner is

Heather, email me your snail mail address and I will get this ornament out to you on Monday!

(If Heather is otherwise unable to fulfill her duties as the winner of the ornament, the ornament will then go to Dawn Masi someone else in the Houston area another drawn name.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Drinking in the Afternoon

This time of year in Poland, when the sun sets before the kids come home from school (I am not kidding), the Christmas/holiday season makes everyone act a bit more like heathens than usual, and there's not even any snow to make it a little brighter, people start to really dislike Poland.

I have chatted quite a bit with expats who don't like it here. I can relate, because the first time I was here I hated it.

Then I moved to Africa. And Poland looked like heaven.

But anyway, the other day I was talking to a new friend. She was telling me that she likes it fairly well here, the kids are getting on, she walks a lot and "I haven't started drinking at 2 in the afternoon. Yet."

And then I knew that she would be my BEST friend for the next 2 years.

Don't forget to post here today to enter the contest!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Views of Warsaw

I have a confession to make, I don't actually live IN Warsaw. Yes, my name means Kylie IN Warsaw, but I don't actually live there.

You knew that was coming, right? You were always like, she can't possibly live in Warsaw, it's so exotic. There's no way.

Well, it's true, I don't.

I live in a rural suburb of Warsaw. Which is way less exotic, and much more...rural.

Rural meaning I pass fields and fields of cabbages on my bike path to my kids school. Rural meaning that I've actually been bitten by a horsefly, which the city doctor then told me was not possible because you only find them where there is livestock.

So anyway, I make a lot of trips INTO Warsaw, but rarely do I go to the Old Town.

Yesterday, I went shopping with friends in the Old Town. And I took my camera specifically to take photos for you, my readers.

You're welcome. And just so you know, my friends all think I'm crazy, but I'm pretty sure they thought that already. It probably had nothing to do with you. Probably.

Decorated empty street. At 9 AM on a Tuesday. And I live in a rural area.

The Mermaid. Um, there's a whole legend about her. She's kind of important here. And she looks like a badass. Even with the Christmas lights.

The tree at the Royal Castle.

And a creepy ass Santa Clause. I'm pretty sure his face is on upside down. Or it's melting off. Either way.

And don't forget to go and post here before midnight on 12 December to win a lovely Polish Christmas ornament.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

300th Post


This is my 300th post. I had to post today, just to say it.

And I will not do 300 things about me, because I have a very short attention span and would forget what it was I was writing before I got to 2.

So, I will just thank you all for being my readers, but I want to give a very special shout out to my very first commenter, Amy. Thanks for getting me started writing for a wider audience!

For all my commenters and loyal readers (even those of you who don't comment), I appreciate you. You are what makes me blog. Thank you.

When I was in high school I wanted to be a writer. I wrote fictional stories in serial form and passed them around my group of friends.

I do the same thing now, except that my stories are less fiction (yes, I said less) and I pass them to my group of friends around the globe.

Thank you for that.

And, to celebrate this milestone, a giveaway! Leave me a comment on this post and I will enter you to win this Polish hand painted Christmas ornament:

Contest is open to everyone. Except Amy. (You'll be getting something for being my very first commenter ever, so it's unfair to allow you to win twice;)

Contest closes midnight 12 December. Winner will be announced 13 December.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Hookers! Where?

If you're ever in Warsaw, the hookers are behind the Marriott. Not that you would ever be looking for hookers. But if you were, that's where they are.

That's where they were when we lived here in 2002 and that's where they still lurk, even though the area has been built up since then.

But recently, a friend of ours encountered a hooker at the bar at another hotel in town.

She was apparently quite brazen. Of course, I suppose if you were a good hooker you would need to be brazen. I don't have much experience with hookers.

Anyway, she approached our friend and said "I'm very good."

He said, "Okay, that's nice."

She said, "I don't like Big Mac, so I not fat like American women. I have small breasts."

He said, "You're not really selling me."

Hookers, take note. Telling a man that you have small breasts is not the best way to pick one up. Who would have thought?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Pooh is Four

Today, my darling Pooh Bear is four. And also, I am very sick with an awful cold, which just sucks for me (and is why I have not been doing my blog hopping and why my writing is so poor).

He was due on December 6th. Daddy arrived at 10 PM on the 6th and Pooh Bear arrived at 8:01 AM on the 7th. That speaks volumes to his personality.

Pooh Bear with Kanga. Look at those thighs (his not hers)!

He was the fat, rolly-polly baby who didn't walk until he was 18 months old.

Through all his troubles, he's always been the easy going one. Well, mostly. He really hated school when he started, but we learned that was because he attended Polish preschool and he could only lip read in English. Although, after several months he became awesome at lip reading Polish too. (He's had surgery, because it was really only a minor problem that was causing his hearing loss - but unfortunately it went undetected for a long time. Long story short, he can hear now.)

A miserable existance for a 2 year old.

He was the one who fell through the stairs in Ghana and broke his collarbone when he was only 2. He was the one who got Tumbu flies. And all the while stayed fairly easy going.

May you be always the easy going one, Pooh Bear. It suits you.

Friday, December 05, 2008

When's Chanukah?

A fly on the wall would have been hearing this conversation EVERY DAY in my house lately:

Piglet: When's Chanukah?

Me: I don't know. I'll check for you.

Piglet: When do we put up the Menorah?

Me: We don't. We only put up the advent wreath.

Piglet: We should get a Menorah.

Me: Piglet, we're not Jewish. Chanukah is a Jewish celebration.

Piglet: Oh. So when do we put up the Menorah?

And he requests this song

every time we get in the car.

This is the same kid that loves that blue and white flag.

I firmly believe that my son, who thinks he's Polish, is planning to immigrate to Israel and convert to Judaism. And he's five.

Kelley's son, Boo and my Piglet would make great friends.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

How to Make Mommy Take a Time Out

by Stewie

Step 1: Make counter sandwich.

Step 2: Throw BRAND NEW jar of Nutella against the white tile floor causing it to explode all over the white cabinets.

Step 3: Stand back and watch.

(Kylie here. Just to clarify I DID NOT CHOOSE to have a white kitchen. My husband's job, which owns the house, decided that white kitchens and bathrooms were THE thing - 'cause the person who made the choice did not have children.)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Parenting in a Facebook World

This notice has been coming home via email for a few weeks from my older kids' school:

Parenting in a Facebook World
Topic: Social Networking has become very popular with students at (name of school removed because I believe in censorship). During this Parent Partnership workshop parents will get a hands-on look at Facebook when they log in and create an account. Parents will learn how to keep profiles private, learn the lingo of Facebook, and discuss how to talk to their children about Facebook.

This whole thing stems from the first meeting where the kids were issued their laptops (I KNOW!). A few parents strongly suggested that the school should block Facebook.

Hello 1999! Awesome. Let's block Facebook. And while we're at it, the kids shouldn't be able to access wikipedia (because, you know, it's not accurate, except for those references at the bottom), or email. Next thing you know, they'll be blocking porn and blogs too (we all know those two go hand in hand). And there goes MY readership.

Our daughter has a Facebook page. But, hubby ALSO has a Facebook page and has her as his friend. He (we) can keep tabs on her and her friends. Heck, I check up on my own students. It's this simple, people. Which I guess is why they are having the workshop. Because it IS this simple.

And this reminded me of the conversation that Globetrekking Mom and I had about how the Polish people don't check their email. The first time I asked a person (who was not Polish, btw) if she got my email and she said, "Oh, I don't check my email", I was just flabbergasted. I just babbled, "You don't cheyhhh...what?!?!?" I mean, I don't expect that everyone checks their email every hour like I do, but at least once a day, right? And particularly when you have ASKED SOMEONE TO EMAIL YOU SOMETHING.

*Ring, Ring* "Hello Ula? Yes, I just sent you an email. You should probably check it."

But I'm still amazed that parents of children the same age as my daughter are so technologically impaired. When will it happen to me?