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Tar te ta tarrrrr

Still no camera. But I haven’t been doing too much that’s interesting the past couple of weeks anyway, so it’s not the greatest loss in the world.

I’m off to Dublin tomorrow, where I will miss having my camera, so I’ll most likely work something out before I go. I’m planning on finding a leprechan and letting it loose somewhere in the American South, just like I did last time I was in Dublin….with hilarious results….

berlin…er…

I’ve been wanting to go to Berlin for a while. People who have been there say it’s my kind of place, and I was looking forward to hanging out the weekend after my meetings, and getting to know it. Alas, it was not meant to be. I arrived on Monday night, and had a pretty good time, then woke up Tuesday morning, went to breakfast, took a bite of salmon on some bread and broke a tooth. like, shattered it.  The area behind an old filling  just went bye-bye:

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So I had to go get it fixed with a lovely temporary crown and head back to meetings. Had a little walk on Tuesday night, and actually got to see a few things. Since my camera is gone (thanks again, thieves, very easy to replace that over here. Good luck finding a new charger, ass!) I used my friend’s to take a few photos, just to prove I was there. Hey look! Brandenburg Gate!

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check it out - German underground!

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The German constitution!

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So that was nice. I was planning on spending Friday night, all day Saturday and most of the day Sunday walking around and seeing more stuff, but it was not to be. On Wednesday night as I was going back to the hotel, I started feeling a little feverish. I’d been in a really bad mood most of the day, which had gotten worse at night, so I thought that might be it, but suddenly, as I was having a nightcap with a few folks I just felt completely exhausted. I went back up to my room and started shaking under the covers, and couldn’t get warm. When I woke up, I had a pretty bad fever and spots on my tonsils. Good ol’ strep. So I went down to breakfast, borrowed some more money, and called a doctor. He came, gave me some pills, and I spent the next 24 hours sleeping. The next morning I realized that staying in Berlin like this was pretty stupid, so I caught a flight back to Kiev.

There was also a lot of trying to get my replacement credit cards shipped to my hotel there since it is pretty much impossible to get anything shipped to me in Kiev. That ended in hilarity and more tears. Chase, I will be closing my account with you and moving it to ANY other bank the very next time I’m in the states.

All in all, it wasn’t at all what I expected, but to be fair, I was mostly in one area that I’m sure isn’t representative of the city. I’m going to go see Death Cab and Styrofoam in either Paris or Berlin in July, depending on what dates work better. Hopefully it’ll be Berlin, so I can see a bit more of the city - although I’d like to make a triumphant two armed return to Paris as well.

aaarrrrgh

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So I was at this event Friday night, and I’d set my bag down - in a large group of co-workers and friends - and I guess took my eye off of it for a minute because next thing you know, it’s gone. And because I’d just gotten back from Romania and had a bunch of extra stuff I didn’t really need in that bag but had forgot to take out, the thieves got a bunch of things that are worthless to them, but will be sorely missed by me. Like my freakin’ glasses that I don’t really need for everyday but need when I’m on the computer for an extended time (which is kind of my job, besides going to endless meetings) and an Alex and Cloe “diamond” necklace like the pink one but silver.

Oh yeah, and my mobile phone and my camera. Sigh.

So there I am at 3 o’clock in the morning skyping all my credit cards to close the accounts, and in the process I find that they made one charge. For $5.95 at a gas station. Six bucks, and I’m going through the hassle of having to try to get all of my cards shipped to me at this hotel in Berlin I’m going to be at next week which is really my only shot at getting anything replaced since having anything shipped to me here is pretty much impossible. And, I realized today that I think my ssn was on my driver’s licence, so I’m going to have to pay extra attention to what’s getting opened credit wise in my name for the next….forever. Grrrrr.

Turns out when a friend of mine went back today to see if anyone there had found anything that there were 6 or 7 other people who had gotten their bags lifted as well. There was one woman there who was in from out of town and had 10 grivna on her with no way of getting more, plus passport and tickets home were in her bag. That sucks a whole lot worse. My biggest problem was that Chauncey had to have a minor surgery today to remove a third eyelid from his eye (actually, turns out to be both eyes) but luckily my boss gave me a little cash last night, and a friend gave me more today so C-dawg’s eyes are fixed and I can go start replacing my shizz tomorrow.

Credit cards, glasses, mobile phone and camera aside (oh, and kick ass necklace I will miss) it’s not the wost thing in the world. I’d rate it above breaking my arm and needing surgery, but under the mystery shits in my hall (see above photo) that thankfully seem to have tapered off. I was getting a new one every morning for a while there, and I’m not quite sure if they’re human or animal. Shudder.

To cleanse that image and just because he’s damn cute (and because I can’t show the photo of the Romanian street dog I’d taken but that now belongs to the damn thieves) here’s a photo of Chauncey going for a “drag”. He hasn’t really mastered the art of walking on a leash yet, which leads to all sorts of hilarious “conversation” with people on the street who, from what I gather, are saying things like “oh, he’s so tiny, you should carry him, he’s too small to walk, awwwwww” to which I sigh and roll my eyes and say ‘da da da’ and keep on dragging him down the street.

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oh my god

I feel like I haven’t left this meeting room for 48 hours straight.

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And everyone is just talking about the same thing over and over. Oh my god. Must. Get out. Of room.

Hold me

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good ol’ romania

I’m in meetings in Romania for the next couple of days.

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One would think the goth scene is out of control here, or at least the goth tourist scene, which would be even more hilarious. If I ever get out of this conference room, I’ll be on the lookout. Possibility of that at the moment, however, not so good.

the lovely kiev traffic…

I’ve been gone a lot lately, and when I have been in town, it’s been holidays here, so half the population is gone. Well, they’re back, and I forgot how completely fucked the traffic here is. It took me half an hour to go around the block after dropping a coworker off on the way back from the airport on Thursday.

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Here is a typical intersection. People, it’s easy. When the light is turning red you stop, instead of trying  to jam through the intersection.

wild dog of the day!

It’s been a while since I posted one of these - this cute little guy was chilling statue side in the park today.

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And as a bonus - here’s my very own wild dog,

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who a few minutes ago went from playing with the Chauncey sized stuffed animal he has to humping it. Seems a bit early for that type of display, his testes are the size of mothballs and not even fully…ok, too much information, but I guess I’m going to have to get him fixed pretty soon, something people here think I’m crazy for doing - hence all the wild dog of the day photos….

oh may….

Where have you gone? Can’t believe it’s already late May - time is flying. The past week was my birthday, and I went and met some friends in what I decided this past trip is my favorite place in the whole world - Istanbul.

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Where we ate too much, drank too much, laughed and cried and talked a lot about how lucky we are to be able to do things like this, and just to be alive and healthy in general. It was a fantastic birthday.  The hotel even organized a cake for me, and my friends got me up on the roof with the pretense of having a beer.

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We had dinner that night at a place that had both strippers, fire acrobats and a pretty amazing view in this pretty amazing city.

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After all the fun in Istanbul, I had to go to Warsaw for a few days of meetings. I mostly saw the inside of the Hotel, a few dinner spots and one store where I took photos of products and labels and cool looking Polish lettering.

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And got home last night, exhausted. I remembered I’d bought Chauncey a super cute handmade toy in Istanbul this morning, so I gave it to him and learned an important lesson…

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….buying  your puppy anything cute or expensive is kind of stupid. He hadn’t torn anything apart before, but this guy lasted about 15 minutes. Anyway, home for the weekend, then off again on Monday. I’m going to be better about updating, though, even if it is just photos of Chauncey or something about my (really so much better) broken arm.

victory day

Sorry no updates in a while - they all would have been about my crazy puppy or broken arm or about the mystery poo in the hall - well, actually, I am going to post that later - but I wanted to get some of these much more beautiful photos up first. I walked down to the parade route for the victory day parade today, and was really moved by the beauty of the people there. So I’m just going to post some photos, without my usual commentary, because I think they speak for themselves.

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yes, it is a cup of urine…

Good Morning!

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My stairwell. Cup of Urine. I couldn’t decide if I should be happy that someone actually peed in a cup rather then all over the stairs like they normally do, or kind of horribly disgusted by the cup or urine.  Then the it sat in my hall for three days. Hey, I can’t really blame anyone for not cleaning it up - I mean, I didn’t want to touch it either - look at how filled to the brim it is! Total spillage - ugh.

In case you were wondering, a cup o’ urine is not a pretty sight on day three.

introducing…

I’m still not sure what his name is…Baxter and Chauncey have been the top contenders so far, but at some point today I called him “Flapjack” so who knows.

Things I know about him so far:  He finds his leash humiliating.

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He doesn’t really mind baths too much:

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And isn’t really sure what to think of showers…

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And only after serious amounts of snuggling will he go lay down somewhere other then right on top of me. It was seriously love at first sight. As soon as I picked him up, he snuggled into my neck and fell asleep. I was told to put some stuffed animals in bed with him because he’ll miss his brother and sister. He doesn’t seem too fooled, and is more like…um, giant warm friend, where you goin’?

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But he’s sleeping right now, which he does a lot of as a 10 week old boy should…must figure out his name.

so, i finally did it

My friend has been saying she’ll take me to the puppy market for months. I always thought it would be a bad idea because I would come home with 80 puppies. What I expected was a bunch of old ladies with blankets on the side of the street with a cabbage, shoe inserts, a box of puppies, and some pickles. Boy, was I wrong. First off, it’s not just puppies.

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Goldfish. Actually, tons of different kinds of fish. And Birds….all kinds of birds…

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parakeets

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parrots

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peacocks. No shit - PEACOCKS.

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I have no idea what these are. So I start looking around for the tigers and elephants and stuff, but either they weren’t there or I was looking down the wrong row. So then I got down to business. Puppies.

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So many cute dogs. So many cute HUGE dogs. Most with photos of their parents, and a booklet telling you about the breed. The breeders looked proud and loving, and the dogs looked healthy and happy. And so redonkulously adorable.  So we went and looked at the smaller dogs. My friend fell in love with this guy:

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and I lost my heart to this little fellow…

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Who will most likely be coming home with me next weekend. I figure since my arm is going to be recovering for a few more months I’ll need some distraction. The best thing is the entire time I was in the pet market, my arm didn’t hurt at all. Puppies really are the best medicine. So my original thought was to give him a name with a title. Something along the lines of “Lord Killsworthy” or something, but now I’m not so sure. Suggestions are welcome…

just outside kiev

I took a ride to my friend’s dacha today to take a look at some puppies her dog had. They were two day old squirmy mewing fuzzy black pocket sized cuteness. I’ve been thinking of getting a dog, and this would actually be perfect except for one thing - they’re german shepherd mix pups and I don’t want to get a huge dog in the city. Plus, if I ever want to take him along with me, having a smaller dog gives me the chance to have him go along with me in the cabin instead of cargo. ANYWAY, next post is about puppies. This post is about the pretty forest just outside Kiev.

Exhibit a:

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Exhibit b:

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It’s also springtime here. Finally. Small green buds on the trees, grass back to green. Good times.

Chick out of commission

I went back to Chicago for a visit, and was being really really careful not to get sick like last time I went home in winter. As I got to Germany, I felt pretty cocky that I’d broken the curse and had made it back to Europe in one piece and as planned.

My next stop, Paris with a few friends, didn’t end as well. On the last night there, I pulled a superman, and fell, right arm straight out, down two small stairs and slammed into a very solid bar. No, I wasn’t drunk at the time. Oh yes, I sure wish I had been, because as I hit, I heard a crunch, and several excruciating hours later I learned that this was the resut:

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That’s my humorous. I’m not going to do the “funny” joke here. Just not.

So I went back to Germany as planned the next day, but instead of returning to Kiev as planned the day after, I spend the next two days talking to doctors, and on the third day, had surgery to get pieced back together again. The end result was this:

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I’m having physical therapy to learn how to move my right arm again. It’s going pretty well, I guess, and is really pretty amazing that it hasn’t even been a week since the surgery and I’m typing this with both hands, I don’t have a cast or even a sling, and am not really even on any painkillers heavier then pretty much advil. Just don’t ask me to hold anything or raise my hand - yet. I’m pretty sure that this whole thing will end with me being bionic or having some other kick ass superpower, like maybe the ability to watch where I’m going and not fall down all the fucking time.

Anyway, hope to get the all clear from the doctor on Wednesday and back to Kiev on Thursday. Anyone know a good physical therapist in Kiev?

Wiener

Thursday I flew from Kiev to Bucharest via Budapest. On the way back to Kiev, I stayed in Vienna for the weekend (no direct flight from Bucharest to Kiev). I arrived on lovely Tarom airlines:

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which was actually OK. I was a total flybaby this whole trip for some reason. We had a bad takeoff coming out of Kiev, and a bad landing in Bucharest, and I guess it just made me skittish…anyhow, my experience on Tarom was just fine.

Vienna is really pretty, has a lot of really great buildings, art, shops, and lots of interesting things to look at on the streets.

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Then I realized that I’m 12 years old, and decided I had to take photos of signs that said:

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There was a huge storm, I got kind of freaked out by all the wind and sudden downpour, and was reminded by my friend that they don’t get tornadoes in Europe. Hey, you can take the girl out of the midwest…

Then, I came across this protest, and was all excited about the excellent use of flags.

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especially these:

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Throw in a bunch of red wine, and a schnitzel the size of my head, and that’s pretty much my trip to Vienna. Loved it.