Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: The Year in Review


Can it really be December 31, 2012? Did I really quit my job to travel the world THREE YEARS AGO TODAY? 2012 went by so fast, but I suppose all of us old people are supposed to say that.

After all, 2011 went by fast. And so did 2010. Pretty soon it'll be 2042 and I'll be 65 and retired and traveling the world.


Anyway. So 2012 by the numbers:

  • 18 countries.
  • One job.
  • Two different types of cancer removed from my mom's innards (uterine and lung)!
  • Seven months in a basement.
  • Eleven surprise fire brigades.
  • Three good ol' domestic American vacations:
Mount Rushmore with 8 good pals.
New Orleans with Laurissa and Summer.
Girls' Week in Wisconsin.
  • Three major athletic events:

(Rode a bicycle for 150 freaking miles from Duluth to Minneapolis, Minnesota for the MS150, completed the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon AND the Urban Wildlands Half Marathon.)

  • One cow poop pond back hoe throwing day:

    And then, I left for a six-month-trip-that-turned-into-a-four-month-trip (Dang Cancer). But four months was plenty of time to...

    ...see the Eiffel Tower.
    ...bartend in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
    ...go fishing in Maldives.
    ...finally see India.



    So, you've all been waiting. With bated breath, no doubt. What was my favorite, my absolute favorite post of 2012??:

    Click here, and call me sentimental.

    What was your favorite post this year? Please tell me in the comments.


    Sunday, December 30, 2012

    Sunday Favorites: A Fart at the Thom

    New to A Lady Reveals Nothing? You've missed SO MUCH. Not to worry. Every Sunday, I dig through the archives to repost an old favorite. Mostly because I'm too lazy to come up with new content every single day. Enjoy! This story originally appeared on May 25, 2010:





    Angkor Thom near Siem Reap, Cambodia is very cool. Maybe my favorite place in the world? I don't know. I love everything. So do you want to know what happened when I was there?

    Summer and I were separated, mulling about on our own when I was overcome with heat and sat down in the shade. A Japanese tour group came and stood close to me (too close, but whatever) and a man sat down right next to me as people took photos. He leaned right and farted the loudest fart in the world, and then sat straight. Like it was the most normal thing in the world. Like he was Hal Hexum. Then I smelled it. It was foul. And then he walked away. Thanks! Japanese man. Or should I say, Domo Arigato.

    Saturday, December 29, 2012

    The Pusher

    Summer and I took an overnight sleeper bus to Istanbul from Cappadocia, Turkey. After an exhausting couple of days there, we were really looking forward to putting on our eye masks, taking sleeping pills and waking up in Istanbul the following morning. So we hunkered down in our assigned seats, in the third row from the back on the left-hand side.

    Summer was awakened by the attendant, who asked her to move her seatback into the upright position. She complied at first, thinking that the man behind her needed to get out or something, but after she realized he was just sitting there, she reclined again.

    I fell asleep shortly after but was woken up by the attendant, who was now telling me to sit up. I said "No! I'm sleeping!" because I've ridden enough buses to know his type. You know, the guy who thinks he can tell you you can't recline, but doesn't have enough guts to do it himself so he calls the attendant over to tell you. On a sleeper bus. Forget you, jerk. It is my right to recline! I am an American! Summer got involved and we tried our best to fight the situation. The attendant didn't take 'no' or our fit for an answer however, and forcefully moved my seat up and then left the scene. I screamed after him, "this is a sleeper bus!" in vain.

    I secretly plotted to just recline again when a little time had passed. But I could feel the man behind me pushing against my seat. I tried time and time again to recline, but could not. This is going to sound like an exaggeration, but it isn't: Two hours passed. He kept pushing. I was unable to sleep of course. One, I was sitting straight up...and Two, I was really angry. I continued trying to recline, but that man pushed my seat forward for a full two hours.

    Somehow, I felt strangely satisfied. Yes, even pleased that he was having to use so much force to prevent my reclining. The joke was on him, you know? Plus, I knew he'd have to get up and pee at some point. So I bided my time. Summer and I just could not believe it was happening. She reached up to snap a photo, for revenge:

    Crazy eyes.

    Eventually he did have to pee, and when he did I reclined my seat ALL the way and slept like a baby for the rest of the trip.

    Friday, December 28, 2012

    The Bad, Bad Massage

    I decided to finally splurge and get a massage in Palolem, the beach town Summer and I stayed in for ten days in Goa, India. And by splurge I mean pay $24. A virtual fortune here, but a price I would be over-the-moon-excited to pay in the US.

    Taking very seriously a warning for women to hire only a female therapist in India, I reminded the man who scheduled my appointment. Twice. And then he followed me into the room and told me to take off my clothes. Three times. While he stood there, staring at me. 'Are you my therapist?' I asked him. He said 'Yes!' and I said again, 'No. I want a woman.'

    Dejected, he left and a woman came in. She stood there watching while I stripped down to just my underwear. Oh well. Then she had me sit in a chair. This was uncomfortable for me, but I went with it: boobs hanging out, thighs looking squashed and fat sitting in a chair while she karate chopped my shoulders, neck and head for three minutes. Then she poured three handfuls of oil into my hair and rubbed it around. Not into my scalp, mind you. Just into my hair.

    Poke! Poke! She jabbed my eyebrows. She made two small circles at my temples for an inordinate amount of time. Abruptly, I was instructed to lay on the table, face down.

    What happened next I can only describe as the worst massage I have ever received. And I've had hundreds of massages. This woman karate chopped, pinched and applied oil to my entire body and especially my underwear for an hour in rapid, erratic sweeping motions. Foot-leg-underwear-back-shoulder-back-down-to-foot-never-missing-getting-hung-up-by-pesky-underwear-in-lightning-speed. Only once did she slow down to focus on any particular part of my body, and thankfully it was my calves, which were screaming from running barefoot on the beach all week.

    I didn't miss the fact that she did not even rub my back when it was time for me to flip over to have oil applied speedily to my front side. And by front side I mean boobs. She rubbed my boobs for twenty minutes. And not in a good way. Swoosh-swoosh-quick-quick-make-an-awkward-circle-on-stomach-pour-oil-into-belly-button-more-more-more-oil-rubbed-into-underwear-boobs-boobs-boobs-and-don't-forget-snap!-every-finger-and-toe-twice-or-three-times-back-to-boobs-more-boobs.

    The massage ended with her hands on my face and a whole new kind of oil applied, more of a cream actually. She did it this way: one hand on forehead and one hand on chin. Switch hands. Switch switch switch switch for ten minutes. With six pounds of cream in my mouth I couldn't breathe, much less ask her to please stop.

    When it was all over, she handed me a towel that was not washed between customers and watched as I tried to swab the oil from my skin unsuccessfully. I put my clothes back on and paid without looking her in the eye or tipping. I went back to my hotel and showered for twenty minutes, soaping up multiple times and never seeing even the slightest bit of lather. The water sat on top of my skin and beaded up as I shampooed, rinsed and repeated over and over. Even after a second day shampoo, I'm still Grease McGoo carrying a backpack seven pounds too heavy from my poor underwear, sodden with oil.

    Don't believe me? Here's the evidence: my laundry bag, with the underwear inside.


    Though she wasn't "happy" to hear about it, Summer appreciated knowing that this bad foreign massage curse wasn't exclusive to her anymore.

    Thursday, December 27, 2012

    When [Broken Down] in Rome...

    If you're on a bus that costs less than $3.00 for a 9-hour trip across country, there's a very good chance the bus will break down. Sometimes the breakdown isn't even really a breakdown, for example we recently had a gear shifter fall off. No joke. The driver pulled over, everybody got off and pushed the bus to a mechanic. We walked around and waited until the bus was fixed.
    During this particular breakdown, I peed behind an abandoned bus in full view of two truck drivers who didn't even pretend not to look. And then I threw my tissue on the ground.
    When [broken down] in Rome...
    Broken gear shifter
    I mean come on! The whole town was a garbage can.

    Wednesday, December 26, 2012

    Bucket Shower

    Step one:
    Insert electric appliance into bucket of water. Do NOT touch the water, or, in the words of one guesthouse employee, you'll do the "dance of a funky lady". Wait 15 minutes.
    Step two:
    Nakedly haul heavy bucket of scalding hot water into "shower area". Don't spill. Crouch down over drain. Low. Use littler scooper bucket to pour scalding hot water on your body.
    Step three:
    Soap up. Save time here by only soaping up important bits. (Armpit, armpit, front butt, butt, feet.)
    Step four:
    Rinse with scalding hot water. Put head between knees. Get hair wet.
    Step five:
    Shampoo. Condition. Rinse. Rinse whole body again. Finish with half a bucket of water remaining. Marvel at how little water it actually takes to clean yourself. And how little time. Luxuriously and slowly pour remaining water all over body like a fancy clean American lady.

    Tuesday, December 25, 2012

    Summer-isms, Vol. 45

    "This makes ME want to buy a zoo."

    "Is this how I find out that one of my legs is longer than the other?"

    "What's wrong with the ice in this county? It melts."

    "We are nothing until we do a Face Juggle."

    "YOU could pass for being from Wisconsin."


    (After reading the 25 Funniest Auto-Corrects of 2012.)



    Monday, December 24, 2012

    India, in a Bus-Shell (so far).

    A little journal-y entry, if you'll forgive me (I just want to catch everybody up, and come on I haven't typed a real long-y in forever):

    Summer and I arrived in India on November 30th, to a little town called Coachin, or Kochi. We met up with our Minneapolis friend Kasey (who is currently living in Calcutta) for a few days and then got on a bus headed for a "hill station" called Ooty. The bus took way longer than we thought, and we ended up spending the night in an awful city called Coimbatore. We finally made it to Ooty after a bad bus breakdown and stayed there for a few days. Then we took another bus to Bangalore, where we stayed with friends for a few days and got on yet another bus bound for Hampi, where we stayed for two nights. Now we are in Goa, after yet yet yet another bus ride.

    Sleeper bus.


    The point is after two weeks of 12-hour bus rides connecting us to two-night stays in different cities, I was definitely ready to stay.put. And, lets be honest. I've been moving just about every three days for THREE MONTHS. Anyway, we planned to stay in Goa for seven days (a dang luxury!), but when we went to buy a bus ticket out of here I threw a semi-tantrum and begged Summer for more time.

    The beach town we are staying at in Goa is called Palolem. We have been here for ten days. Yes. TEN DAYS. Doing nothing but nothing.


    I meant to hire a kayak, but that didn't qualify as nothing, know.


    Here is the list of the Nothing that I accomplished here:

    • Read one-and-a-half books.
    • Bought all my nieces a pair of 'silly pants'.
    • Swam in the ocean all by myself like ten times (huge milestone for me).
    • Ran barefoot on the beach for miles and miles.
    • Had 32 Kingfisher beers and 29 gin and tonics and two gin fizzes (temporary tonic-shortage).
    • Watched nine beautiful sunsets.
    • Got one bad, bad massage (more to follow on that).
    • Took an afternoon nap on the porch of our hut in a real, live hammock every day.
    • Did not wear shoes. Did not even put my shoes on for ten days.
    • Got super tan. (Ha!) That one is a lie.
    After this ten days of real-live R-and-R, I might, just might be ready to go back to the "real India". After another overnight bus Sunday at 5:30pm, we will spend just one day in Mumbai (hopefully going to the mall and watching a movie) and then take an overnight bus trying to get as close as possible to Jaisalmer in the state of Rajastan (aka Men-will-grope-your-boobs-astan), where we will go on a camel-trek and spend the night in the desert! After that, it's days on a train to Agra and the Taj Mahal, and an overnight bus to Veransi and then: another dang overnight bus to the border of Nepal and then walk across the border and then hire a jeep and then take another bus to Kathmandu until Summer leaves January 15th and then: anywhere I want in the whole world for two weeks (as long as its cheap cheap cheap -Tokyo is winning for flight prices) and then: home to see my lung-less, uter-less, cancer-less Mom and kiss her and hug her and tell her I love her a thousand times even though she already knows it because I typed it here.


    *FYI: the nine-night hotel stay plus two loads of laundry cost me $61.


    Sunday, December 23, 2012

    Sunday Favorites: The Greatest Hits

    New to A Lady Reveals Nothing? You've missed SO MUCH. Not to worry. Every Sunday, I dig through the archives to repost an old favorite. Mostly because I'm too lazy to come up with new content every single day. *I'm cheating this week. Rather than doing a copy/paste of an old post, I'm linking you to my Greatest Hits tab, which houses my very favoritest posts ever. Those of you who read me on Google Reader may be missing this little collection. Enjoy!

    Never checked out my "Greatest Hits" tab? DO IT NOW.

    *You can always get there on the "web version" of my site, under the 'Greatest Hits' tab. I'm always adding new favorites, so check back often!

    Saturday, December 22, 2012

    Face Swapper

    I've got a new iPhone App obsession (introduced to me by McShash and crew of course). It's called Face Juggler, or Face Swapper on the iPad. I will never get sick of this one. Hours and hours of good clean fun, folks:
    "American. Goth. Ick." -Skoogs.
    "Swapping uncertainty for confidence." -Bob
    I always wondered what my baby would look like...
    Is it Ross and me? Or me and Ross? I can never remember.

    Friday, December 21, 2012


    AKA hemorrhoids.

    There must be loads of Piles in India, because we're hearing lots about them. Piles Piles Piles. When we work out the instructor teaches the class how to ward off piles. Pharmacies have shelves full of creams for Piles. How do I know the creams are for Piles? Well the jars are completely written in squiggle-letters of the local language, with one English word. Yep. Piles. A mere Google search for 'india piles' will result in tons of hits (yes, i Google searched it).

    Here, Piles even have their own Hospital, no joke.

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    Insulted? ACK!!

    Here are some of the more "innocuous" fat-slash-old insults I've received on this trip:


    Swedish man, while lifting me:

    "You actually are quite heavy."
    Bosnian man, while I frolicked in fresh new snow (arms above head, t-shirt raised to accidentally expose midriff):

    "Cover your kidneys! You are not a young woman."
    Ross, at me, presumably while I was rushing somewhere:

    "I've never seen those fat little legs move so fast."

    Bosnian man, while pointing to my inner thigh and stomach areas:

    "You should lose 7 kilos" (15 pounds)



    Monday, December 17, 2012

    Silly Pants!

    Summer and I were having a snack at a cafe in Hampi when she said to me, "I gotta take a picture. You look like such a stupid hippie right now."

    And I did.

    The buns in my hair weren't helping, but let's face it, it was the pants.

    One of the things that irritates me about 'what to wear in India' is that these ridiculous pants (Summer and I call them 'silly pants') are for sale everywhere you look, but the only people who are wearing them seem to be the Western tourists. I didn't want to buy any out of sheer stubbornness. But they're just so dang practical. First of all, they cost less than $5. They work for the heat, for 12-hour bus rides, and for hiding butt dirt from sitting on curbs while waiting for 12-hour buses. You can grab the center part that hangs in the crotch and use it to wipe the sweat off your face, or in desperate times, the boogers out of your nose. The leg holes cinch up your legs when you have to squat on the side of the road to pee. You can stick a leg up on a chair and nobody will see your butt. They're not really a skirt, but they're not really pants either.

    They're silly pants!



    Saturday, December 15, 2012

    Photo Special: The Evolution of Ross' Beard

    Usually employed and clean-shaven, this trip was Ross' first attempt at a real beard. Ross wasn't sure he could even grow one, thinking it would be spotty and/or very thin. I encouraged him to stick with it and "never give up". (I'm a great cousin.) We called it his "vacation beard", and here is its evolution for your review:

    England. September 15. Our very first day of the trip. Smooth as a baby's butt.
    Paris. September 26.
    Ljubljana. October 10.
    Croatia. October 14.
    Montenegro. October 22.
    Bosnia. October 24. The sun was in our eyes.
    Turkey. November 5.
    And this is the last I saw of him. Istanbul, November 11. No spots; super thick. I brought him to England a boy, and sent him home from Turkey a man:
    (I'm a great cousin.)

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