Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Random and the Funny

It's that time again, dear readers and loyal subjects.  It's time for me to share a set of totally random yet funny things I've run into in the past week or two.  I'm still in Korea, so I apologize for not having gotten you nearly enough of my usual randomness to spice up your lives, but I admit it's hard to keep up with MPH, an international convention, and having been appointed defacto tour guide to an entire group of people while we're here.  I'm Julie McCoying my heart out over here, people!  Fortunately I have help in the tour guide position from my dear friend Jocelyn too.... you'll get to see her a little farther down on today's post.  So as always, buckle up and hold on tight because it's going to get pretty random in here!

This picture above is of the items that were available for puchase in my hotel room in Beijing.  Frankly, I found them to be a fascinating group of things, but mostly I was uncertain of why they were selling something labeled "Vibrated & Condom" which you can see in the lower center.   I mean, was it a vibrator or a condom, and if it was both, why did I not previously know about such products?!  Where the heck did this thing come from, and frankly, just what kind of hotel was I staying in?!!!

Now I have to say one thing. My family and friends back home are still thinking of me.  I know because they send me funnies to make me smile.  And trust me, Koreans really think you're weird if you suddenly burst out laughing while staring at whatever has just popped up on your phone.  My, these people are quieter and more reserved than the Queen... of course a raging elephant is probably quieter and more reserved than the queen, but here's what I've got anyway.

MPH has been doing just this for YEEEEEAAAAARRRRRRS!  This one was from the Duchess Jill, by the way.

And here we have a gift from the ever appropriate Mel (You know the one... of wet pirates fame!).  Mel always takes care of my giggling needs.

This one I found on my own, because I'm just good like that.  Besides, we all know I'm a techno junkie and no one does it like Piccard!

Now, that said, I do have to say that it turns out Asia was ready and waiting for the Queen's arrival... other than that whole mushroom cloud over Beijing thing which I still contend is just one more example of the fallout that pops up wherever I've been.  I did get some photographic evidence of just how prepared they were, though, so here it is.

LOOK!  They went to all the trouble of letting me know just where home is!!!

I just thought that was so sweet.  And apparently, they also heard how much I like my coffee.

Now this next picture is something I really just can't explain.  This is the overhead light in my really nice hotel room in Xi'an, China.  No, it's not the room with the weird condoms available.  This place was NICE...except this light which I just can't figure out.  It was pink and fuzzy and shaped like.... well it looked for all the world like a red blood cell!  Check it out!

See?  Compare it to this!!!

I told you so.

Anywho, here's one last shot to tide you over until I get my act together and keep on writing more!  Jocelyn, my co-Julie McCoy for this leg of the trip, and I found some wonderful people at the Korean Tourist Information Desk at our convention.  They let us play dress up!  Now the outfits we're wearing weren't the first ones we were trying to put on.  In fact, I was trying to wear the one she is in and vice versa.  There was only one problem.  Just as we were putting them on, the nice woman told us that the outfit I was putting on was one for a princess.  Jocelyn's outfit was for a queen.  Well naturally we took one look at each other and both yelled "SWITCH!"   So here we have it.  The Queen is even a Queen in Korea.  I just love this place!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bathroom Culture.... Who Knew?!

I am starting today with a warning, dear readers and loyal subjects.  This post is about.... potties.  That's right, toilets, loos, commodes, etc.  There, I've said it.  Has anyone run yet?  No?  Good.  Because you have just GOT to hear about this!!!

I had been warned about a few things before traveling to China.  One of those things was what the bathrooms would be like.  I kept hearing discussions of holes in the floor and nothing else but figured this whole idea was just designed to scare me.  Well... turns out it wasn't!  Apart from inside our hotel, western toilets are rare in this country.  What you end up having instead, really is a bathroom stall with a porcelain area that includes a hole in the floor and places to put your feet.  You really do just squat down and do what you need to.  To say that this concept was foreign to The Queen is a VAST understatement.  I'd say that it took some serious getting used to, but truly, there was no getting used to it at all.  My saving grace was that I finally figured out that most public bathrooms did have one stall available as a handicapped stall.  That one has a western toilet.  I decided that being too regal to figure out how to cope with this entire hole in the floor concept definitely counted as handicapped!

Now we move ahead to Korea and the incredibly nice hotel in which I'm currently staying.  Being The Queen, I will say that I have stayed in some really nice hotels in the past.  This place seems comparable to quite a few of them with one exception.  You guessed it!  It's the bathroom.  Well, more specifically, it's the toilet.  I swear to you, it looks like this thing came out of some kind of science fiction story.  Surely, this soft of thing doesn't really exist!  I mean, I'm a nice Southern girl.  I'm spoiled.  I like very nice things and places.  But even I never expected to find a toilet in my room that looks like it has some kind of computer system hooked up to it just to handle all its functions!!!!

Yes, dear readers and loyal subjects, this is what is attached to the side of the toilet in my room.  I took one look at it and yelled for MPH (My Poor Husband) to come in and check this thing out... mostly because he's more mechanically inclined than I am and frankly, I couldn't figure out what to do with it.  It looked for all the world like I'd gone from being expected to use a hole in the floor to something that needed an instruction manual just to work it.  There was just one problem.  It didn't COME with an instruction manual!  There was really nothing else for it!  This was going to be trial and error, people!  Can you even imagine?!!

Are you finished imagining yet?  Because I can sort of tell you about it.  Let's just say that most of those buttons will send water spraying onto your... piece parts... from various angles, in various temperatures, and in various rhythms (I kid you  not).  Oh and when you're finished splashing water all over yourself, there's a blow dryer too!!!  HOLY CANNOLI, people!  I have never felt more like a country bumpkin in my life than when I was trying to figure this thing out!  And let me just tell you what that experience was like from MPH's perspective.  All he knew was that I'd disappeared into the bathroom to experiment with this thing (all in the name of science, you understand) and thereafter he'd hear me hit a button (they make an electronic beeping noise each time you touch one) then he'd just wait a few seconds for my startled squeal as whatever it was kicked in.  You know, you can think you're prepared for whatever this thing was getting ready to do... but you really just never are.  This was a seriously eye widening experience, I can assure you.  I could hear MPH in the bedroom laughing hysterically as I managed to squeal, shriek, and blurt out expletives all the way through the series of buttons.

To my credit, I now know what each of the buttons does.  WHY it does it, though, is something I really just can't explain.  The way I see it, the guy who invented this thing is working on something new at this very minute.  I'm just waiting for the version that manages to do all of these things AND go FOR you that's just bound to be coming out any day now.  Until then, I'm going to go see if I can stand back, push a button, and shoot water into the air.  This, people, is why no one ever gives me the really cool toys.  Now someone order me one of these for the house!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

You're Going To Do WHAT With That?

Well, dear readers and loyal subjects, I am back!  Okay, I'm not really back but I AM out of China now.  Currently I'm enjoying Busan, South Korea for the next couple of weeks, and so far I'm liking it very much.  I have a lot to say about China, including that everything I wrote from there was examined by the police and I wasn't actually able to access my own blog from there, but now I am free to say all the funny things I just didn't want to run by their official readers!  YAY!!!  I also have to say a HUGE thank you to Tammie, Super Queen's Butlette.  Batman has Alfred, but I have Tammie.  She's the one who posted what I emailed to her.  So thank you, Tammie!!!!  So without further ado, (Yup, I said ado again. I'm starting to enjoy it.) let's get on with the random... Chinese edition.

You're going to eat what?...
Okay, to be fair, I had been warned.  I had be warned not to flinch when I saw people eating things on the street that I would normally run from.  And still.... I just wasn't prepared.  Walking through the Hutongs in Beijing (the small, narrow streets that form the traditional neighborhoods) you find people cooking all kinds of things there in big pots right on the street. They set up a stand and sell it to the local people as well as any tourists who happen to walk by.  I got used to seeing the different meats on a stick ready to be cooked, even if I didn't know just what the meats were, but the bugs... I just wasn't prepared for.  That's right, I said bugs.

Did I say bugs?  I'm sorry!  I meant bugs and scorpions!... oh yeah, 

And starfish.  Now, I was sort of okay with this.  I took these pictures!  I got close enough to do just that.  But then something went very... VERY wrong.  It was about the time I took this shot...

Alright a) yes, those are centipedes, but that wasn't the problem either.  The problem was whatever those things are on the far right.  You see, I was okay taking a picture of the bugs on a stick... 
Until they moved.  That's right.  They MOVED.  These things weren't even deceased bugs on a stick (which I'm not sure why that makes it better, but just go with me here because it does).  These were LIVE bugs on a stick.  HOLY CANNOLI, people!!!  

So just to make things clear.  Those things started wiggling their little legs and kind of squirming, and the Queen let out a very regal exclamation.... as long as you consider loud, shrill squeals much like a little girl might make to be regal.  Immediately, the screaming white woman with the camera who was jumping up and down in the middle of the street was quite the center of attention!  Well, I was the center of attention for all of about 10 seconds.  I got the idea that I wasn't the first one to have that reaction... especially when the grinning vendor tried to pull a stick out and offer it to me... which sent me fleeing off in the direction of the people who were vending less squeal worthy items... like painted chop sticks, t-shirts that said "I <3 BJ" (That's the abbreviations or Beijing, people!  Get your heads out of the gutters!  Okay, it took MPH 3 days to figure out that that's what BJ stood for in this particular situation.... men.), and t-shirts with Obama dressed up like Chairman Mao.  I guess I'm lucky that MPH (My poor husband) caught up with me as quickly as he did.  No telling WHERE I'd have ended up otherwise.  

Suffice it to say that I skipped the experience of eating anything I bought off the street.... that was impaled on a stick.  MPH has a saying that everything tastes better on a stick.  I'm okay with not testing that theory out.  I'm still shuddering over here!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Where Did These Stairs Come From?

Well, dear readers and loyal subjects, Tuesday was my birthday.  And this year, I spent it in a truly spectacular fashion by hiking the Great Wall of China!  I mean, it’s hard to think of a more fabulous way to spend your birthday!  It’s definitely memorable!  And, as I do every day, I learned some things.  I would like to take this opportunity, however, to say that spending your birthday visiting the Great Wall of China does NOT suck!  Finding out that it’s really not that much of a wall but more of a Great Freaking Steep Staircase… sort of does.

This whole trip started out just beautifully!  We went about an hour and a half out of Beijing to the section of the wall we were visiting, and it turns out there were two options of how to get up to the wall.  One was to ride a large enclosed cable car up.  The other was to ride an open ski lift up.  Guess which one the Queen picked.  (Hint:  If you ride the ski lift, you can actually ride a toboggan/luge back down!)  You got it!  There was no WAY I was missing the opportunity to ride that ski lift then luge back down the mountain!  I was ecstatic!!!  The way I saw it, this day just couldn’t get better!  That was before I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest.

So we headed up on the ski lift and the views were breath taking.  I loved every second of it.  I was actually giddy here!  We made it to the top and took off up some stairs to get to the wall itself.  Only the stairs never really seemed to stop.  In my mind, the wall was something you walked along.  You know… kind of like a gently sloping street.  But it turns out that there is nothing gently sloping about this thing!  The wall runs along the tops of the mountains like a dragon, and it would appear that you’re expected to climb up and down the dragon’s back.  The entire section of the wall that I saw was nothing but stairs!  But really, how bad could it be.

Here I am soon after arriving and evaluating the wall/staircase.  There were shallow stairs in areas and there were very high, steep stairs in others.  I felt like the nice little shallow stairs were GREATLY out numbered by the steep stairs!  And by high, I mean these things were nearly to my knees.  I was seriously hauling myself up some stairs!  It didn’t take long before I was huffing and puffing in that dainty, regal way that I sometimes do.  Oh and I kept wondering if someone would come and air lift me off the wall if I did actually have a heart attack up there… which I thought was a definite possibility. 

So when did I figure out how out of shape I was?  That would be when the 70-something woman passed me… while holding onto the arm of her guide.  Yeah, that’s just not a warm, fuzzy sort of experience on your birthday.  I’d have been embarrassed if I weren’t still concentrating on NOT dying.  On the plus side, I am now seriously committed to a new exercise program.  I am obviously WAY out of shape here.  Well… curvy is a shape, isn’t it?  Yeah, I thought so.  Anyway, here I am about the time I was trying to convince MPH to have the Coast Guard come get me and carry me back down again.  Yeah, I know there was no coast to guard there, but I’ve always been fond of the uniforms.

On the bright side, I didn’t actually die up there.  I did survive climbing the Wall, and as a perk, I got to luge back down the mountain again!  That totally rocked!  I took off on that toboggan and was just flying down the mountain yelling “Wheeeeeeee!” all the way.  Well, all the way until I caught up with the woman in front of me who didn’t seem to be as intent on breaking mock 3 as I was.  Too bad.  I was doing well until then.  It was still an awesome birthday!

Spreading the Random, One Post at a Time

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pictures With A White Guy

Okay, dear readers and loyal subjects, let me say this first.  Beijing is AMAZING!  These people don’t do anything half way.  They don’t do a temple.  They do the Temple of Heaven! (No pressure there…)  They don’t have a somewhat restricted city.  They have the FORBIDDEN City, which by the way, I noticed an awful lot of people there for something forbidden.  I sort of expected that the Queen would have it for herself.  Go figure.  But let me just say that the other tourists around Beijing were absolutely fascinated by something that I never saw coming…. A white guy.

This was the darndest thing I’ve ever seen. I freely admit this.  One of the things that the Asian tourists wanted their picture made with the most was MPH (My Poor Husband).  That’s right. They wanted their picture made with the white guy.  I was totally unprepared for this.  It started out at the Forbidden City.  I’m trying to take his picture with this lion… okay there are also a LOT of lions around this place…. stone ones… not like freely roaming lions…. though now that I think about it, that would be SERIOUSLY cool… until one tried to eat someone…. then… not so much.  But I digress (as usual).  Anyway, so there I am, trying to take picture of MPH in front of this lion, which now that I think about it I did mange to accomplish, but just as he’s trying to walk away, this man grabs him and drags him back, saying something in a rather animated way in what I’m guessing is Chinese and gesturing to his wife who’s waving a camera around.  Now, I was FULLY prepared to give my “No pictures please” wave and smile (there’s one that comes with the tiara) but then I realized that it wasn’t the QUEEN they wanted.  It was, indeed, MPH.  And it didn’t stop with one guy!  It turned into a string of people wanting their picture made!  They were all incredibly nice and very happy to have their pictures made, but I was left wondering… WHAT THE HELL?!

That’s right.  Even the girls got in on the act.  And that’s when I figured it out.  We are here on a holiday and didn’t realize it.  That’s right, it’s Take Your Picture With a White Guy Day!  Really, people, that’s all I’ve got.  It’s either that or the fact that I was walking through the crowd whispering to random people “Look!  There’s Brad Pitt!”  If they expressed skepticism, I simply told them that I was wrong, and it was Ken from Barbie and Ken instead.  Why would I do this?  Because the Queen is a helpful sort at heart.  By the way, it was also MPH’s birthday.  Maybe they knew!

Now I do have to say that the Queen did attract a bit of attention herself.  It just wasn’t exactly the sort of thing I had expected either.  Apparently, I stand out a bit too.  The problem is that pictures with the Queen and her admirers tend to end up looking like this:

So that’s where things stand as of now.  We’re having an incredible time and seeing some breathtakingly beautiful sights.  Today we are heading to the Great Wall.  I certainly hope someone called ahead  to prepare my red carpet.  It’s only right.  It happens to be MY birthday today!  Bring on the red carpet and party hats.  Whooohoooo!
Spreading the Random, One Post at a Time

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jetlag, but the Blog Must Go On!

Ooooooh, jetlag!  You know there’s nothing quite like flying around the world to a time zone exactly 12 hours ahead of your own to induce a bout of jetlag.  We left at 3:20 pm on Friday afternoon on the first leg of our trip and arrived at 11:40 pm on Saturday evening, local time in Beijing.  Sounds just awful, doesn’t it?  Actually, it really wasn’t.  The longest flight was about 12 hours long, but this time differential makes it look a lot longer.  That said, I definitely feel like someone swabbed out my mouth with a cotton ball and then left a dehumidifier running inside it while I caught a few more hours of sleep in my hotel after arrival.  It’s about 5:20 am, I’m wide awake, and I can’t open my mouth because it’s so dry, it’s glued shut!  Aaaaah, the joys of airplane travel.

So I had prepared myself for a really horrible flight in general.  Everyone just kept telling me how long the flight was and how awful it was going to be and so finally…. I believed them!  Looking back on it, it just really wasn’t that bad.  I slept for a good portion of the actual flight to Beijing from Detroit… and yes, that’s what I said,  Detroit to Beijing, non-stop.  That just seemed like a weird connection to me, but WHATEVER!  I did, however, find a few things odd.  I know.  No one is shocked by oddness surrounding anything I do, but I’ll tell you about them anyway.

First of all, apparently Marvel comics created the sign for how to use the emergency exit on Delta flights.  I noticed it as I was sitting in the exit row on the first leg of our trip.

I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s an illustration of David Banner, mad as hell, ripping the door off the airplane then hurling it out.  Obviously they disguised this fact by replacing the image of The Hulk with one of this mild mannered guy doing the same activity.  I have no clue why that might be, but there we have it.  And I have the picture to prove it!

On the flight to Beijing itself, however, my little video screen in the seat in front of me decided to malfunction and repeatedly cut itself off… as I was happily playing Bejeweled 2, I might add.  It was really frustrating to me… and likely the guy in the seat in front of me since I kept beating on the screen to try to make it work again.  It’s percussion therapy, people!  It works!... sometimes… but not this time… so I ended up playing on MPH’s screen… while he was trying to watch a movie.  Yeah, sometimes it really does suck to be MPH.  On the bright side, I got a personal high score on Bejeweled 2!!  So really, it all evens out.

We did arrive in Beijing on time and just fine, though.  It wasn’t a bad trip.  We were picked up by our tour guide, delivered safely to our hotel, where we promptly tossed all of our things and settled down for a few more hours of sleep before starting again bright and early.  And that is when MPH got to experience one more of the joys of travelling with me.  I start to babble when I’m really tired.  It’s really his fault for bringing up the fact that you can get from one side of the world to the other all in about a 12 hour flight… and then making pithy remarks.

MPH:  It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.
Queen:  Or carpet it.
Queen: Or tile it either.
Queen:  Really, I think tiling it would be worse.
MPH:  Because you’d have to carry the tile?
Queen: No, I’m thinking of all the tile you’d have to piece together.
Queen:  It’d be even worse if you tried to do a mosaic… with like a picture and everything… just think of it.  It could be a world sized picture of me… in a garden… with my tiara… and some sheep… and stuff.
MPH:  You should probably not think of it and just go to sleep instead.  I’m just saying.

And sometimes MPH is actually right.  Regardless, it’s now 5:20 in the morning on our first morning in China.  I couldn’t sleep any longer to I got up to check email and write a bit.  I left the lights off so MPH could rest longer.  So as I sit here in the light of the computer screen, just typing happily away, we then proceed to have this conversation.

MPH (from the darkness behind me and sounding a little incredulous):  Are you wearing a hat?!
Queen (turning with her big floppy black sun hat on her head to stare at him):  No.  Why would you ask something so strange?
MPH:  Because we’re in China.  We’re jetlagged.  You’ve just gotten up out of bed.  It’s still dark. And you’re sitting at a desk, typing in our room while…. Wearing a HAT!
Queen (shrugging):  It’s so I won’t get a sunburn.  You don’t like my hat.  You WANT me to get a sunburn so my nose peels and I look like a molting albatross or something, don’t you?  It’s all a plot!
MPH (sighing):  Yes, that’s it.  Molting albatross.  That was my thought exactly.  Welcome to China.

And on that note, dear readers and loyal subjects, it’s going to be a looooooooong week in China.  Whoopee!!!!

Spreading the Random, One Post at a Time

Friday, June 8, 2012

Oh Little Airplane Bottles...

I am sitting in the airport preparing to board my direct flight from Detroit to China.  Yes, I said Detroit to China.  I sort of appreciate the randomness of that concept.  Regardless, I would now like to write a little love letter to the one thing that is going to get me through this endless flight.  And no, it's not MPH.  I plan to drug him so he sleeps through it.  MPH can get a bit nutso on long flights unless he sleeps.  So I'm here to see that he does!  My love letter... a collage of loving sentiments, if you will, is to those marvelous little airplane bottles that make my trip so much better!  Okay, it's really what's IN the little airplane bottles that makes my trip so much better.  And so without further ado... yes, I said ado and I MEANT it!... here we go!

And this, dear readers and loyal subjects, is why I love my friends!!!

But MOM!  He's doing it!!!

This is courtesy of my baby sister, by the way.  I'm pretty sure I should be upset by that.

And this one was sent to me by my older sister... is anyone seeing a pattern here?
We put the FUN in Dysfunctional.  Honest.

Preach it, Kitty.

SEE?!  Even the pilots know it!!!

And for the grand finale...Truer words have never been spoken!

And on that note, I will leave you to board.  Have a fabulous weekend while I'm stuck in a flying tube with my airplane bottles!!!  I'll be thinking of you and having one for you.  Because I'm a giver like that.  You're welcome!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Yes, That's My Dog

I have a 5 month old puppy named Nala.  Well, right now I don't but I'll get to that part.  And you know how sometimes people look like their dogs?  This isn't one of those times.  It IS, however, one of those times when people and their dogs do seem to share a personality.  Nala is distinctly MY dog.

This is Nala... and the Queen.

Let me tell you a little bit about Nala.  Nala is a rescue dog.  I got her when I was out of town with the girls and MPH (My Poor Husband).  We were about 3 and a half hours away from home when the girls and I stumbled upon an adoption fair.  Now, I'm sort hearted. I admit it, but I'd managed never to actually pick up any of the animals available for adoption at this sort of fair.  On that day, however, probably because MPH was sitting somewhere in a meeting while I ran higgledy piggledy through a strange city, I couldn't resist.  I asked for and was given this sleepy puppy who looked like a German shepherd even though she was a mutt, and she woke up and promptly claimed me as her own.  She wiggled and licked and was just generally overjoyed to make my acquaintance!  I've never met such a happy puppy!  As she was going just happy assed insane in my arms, the nice woman there was explaining that her mother was a shar pei/Bernese mountain dog mix and that Dad was unknown, or as we like to refer to him... full blooded sneaky dog!  She didn't speak for long though. I don't think anyone present doubted that Nala had found her new home.  Okay, MPH might not have known but I'll get to that.

The girls and I adopted Nala and brought her back to the convention area where we were staying for another night... and where dogs weren't allowed, I might add.  I really have never been all that good with rules.  It turns out that a friend was with me when we found Nala. Her husband was also in the meeting and apparently she texted him a picture of me with the puppy.  After I got back to our suite with Nala and had her out on the porch where the girls were playing with her and feeding her, I suddenly got a text on my phone.  "Do not come back with a dog."  You know, I did think for a while about how I could POSSIBLY answer that.  I waited a bit.  Finally I just shrugged and replied "Too late!"  MPH knows me well enough to know that I'm a bit like a force of nature sometimes... unstoppable and potentially destructive.  He got lucky. All I did this time was bring home a puppy.  He might not have been too pleased, but at least he survived!

Nala and my youngest, the day we got her.

So we braved a 3.5 hour drive home with our newest family member, and she remained a complete joy.  Okay, she was a spaz but she made our 11 year old German shepherd run around and play with her like she was 6 years younger.  She played with the girls.  She played with me, and she even played with a few imaginary friends from what I could tell.  In general she was wonderful!  Alright, to be fair to MPH, she was a chewer.  She did eat part of the patio furniture... and she ate her way through my internet cable (that's what it turned out to be when the internet died last week... oops), and she had a little accident with the car when she decided to sleep under it, but she was okay in a few days!  And I love this dog!  She makes me smile.  That dog's tail doesn't wag.  It's her whole back end that wags!

Fast forward to Saturday, and Nala disappeared.  I was devastated, and I searched high and low for her without any luck.  She's still missing and we're still searching, but at least I did find out where she was for part of the time.  And I do have to say that even while missing, that dog is definitely mine.  It turns out there was a 5k run that went past my house  on Saturday that I didn't know about.  She was in the fenced in backyard, but could see it from there, and it was apparently more than her happy little puppy heart could handle.  She just HAD to go join!  I can just imagine it now.

Nala:  Look at the people!
Nala:  Look at them running!
Nala:  Look at them all!
Nala:  Look! There's a dog running with them!
(Yes, I'm pretty sure Nala talks to herself.  I do.)

And then her little mind exploded.  She found a way out of the fence and took off after them, leaving my older dog trapped and watching helplessly.  But Nala was out and running with everyone else.  Part of the reason I know this is because there are pictures of her on my town paper's website!  They took pictures of the runners about a mile and a half from my home and in every shot, there's Nala!  She's weaving in and out of the runners.  First she's on the left and then she's on the right, but she's always right there, and she looks so happy!!! She was having a ball!!

At the end of the race, however, people figured out she didn't belong to any runner but she very obviously belonged to someone.  They saw that she was well cared for, wearing a collar, and they knew she was a beloved pet.  When they couldn't figure out where she belonged (my whole family was away at a wedding when this happened), the police officer on the scene took her and placed her into the kennel at the police department until he could get her to the animal shelter and try to figure out where she came from.  (Her collar didn't have her ID on it.  That was on a separate collar that had given her a rash so I removed it.)  Well.... here's how it went down next.  The officer had to take a call for work and left her at the station.  When he returned, Nala had escaped the kennel.  There was a small opening, and she was able to squeeze through.  So she was off again and that's where we lost her trail.

We've been searching all over for her.  The police are looking.  There are signs at the animal shelter and vet offices.  Everyone has been so supportive and wonderful, and that has helped at least mentally.  I've had a really hard time with this because I love her, but I'm still hopeful that we'll get her back.  The lost dog ad came out in the paper today.  But despite all of this, Nala still makes me laugh and smile.  Mostly, it's because of how much people have pointed out that she's exactly like me.  I got a note from my sister after she saw the pictures of the run.  And she had a point.

Duchess of All Things Good:  You know, the way she's nonchalantly sashaying through that crowd of runners, it looks just like something YOU would do!

And I have to admit she's right.  Then there's the fact that my puppy was in actual police custody on Saturday!.... but she escaped!  I'm distraught and proud at the same time!  Go Nala, Go!.... okay, come HOME, Nala, come HOME!!!

Anyway, I'm heading out of the country tomorrow, but I have family here who are staying at the house and still searching.  If you see my puppy, let me know.  Since she's mine, she may have hopped a flight to a tropical or exotic location by now.  Frankly, I put nothing past her!

By the way, I leave to fly to China for a week and then Korea, tomorrow.  And we all know what that means... International Incident!!!... no wait, that's not right.  Queenly road trip!!!!  I plan to be updating all of you, dear readers and loyal subjects, to all the excitement that is the Queen in a land where she doesn't speak the language and has only a vague understanding of the culture.  Let's face it, the likelihood of random chaos is HIGH!  I'm not sure about the internet availability there, but here's hoping!  If I disappear, I'm sure I'll pop back up once I get to Korea.  And if I just get lost, someone send help and probably bail money to the white woman wearing the tiara in communist China who the locals have decided unanimously is insane.  Yeah, that would be me.  Here's hoping!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

And This Is Work, People!

I work with the best people in the world. I really do.  They accept me as the regal presence that I am and just kind of roll with it.  It helps if you have a sense of humor about most things if you work with me.  I admit that.  Anyway, today I sent out an email notifying everyone who works on my team as well as all my colleagues that I would be gone for three weeks starting on Friday while MPH (My Poor Husband) and I travel to China and then Korea.  Honestly, I was just warning everyone that the fun, happy time that is having me around at work would be over for a while.  It seemed only polite.  Well leave it to my colleagues to take this information and just run with it around the middle of the afternoon.  Bless their hearts, I'm busy packing and getting ready, and so they wrote tonight's post for me!  I'll get them all cupcakes or something.  So here it is, the email chain that came from my nice, professional notification of impending vacation time.

Because you can't really get ready for the vacation without a little pre-vacation time.

Syed (aka The Henchman):  All right. I can't fight the puns off any longer... my question to the group is - China has survived the cultural revolution, but will it survive the Queen?

Queen (in response):  I'm groaning over here!  Besides, how out of place can I possibly look walking around Beijing in a tiara?

David:  Well, parts of China were under the Queen's rule for centuries.  I think they'll survive a few weeks more.

Queen: It'll be like a homecoming!!! They'll be so happy!!!! I wonder if I'll get my own royal barge.  That thing looked kind of cool.

Ben:  Has the embassy in Beijing been alerted?  Just sayin'.

Ben:  Which Korea is she going to? It could make all the difference in the/for the world.

Cherie (our boss):  How is it that I turn my back for 5 minutes and we are on the verge of an international crisis (Queen style)?!?!?

Syed:  With all due respect boss -- with this group, 5 minutes is all it takes.

Queen: They'd throw my tiara wearing self out of North Korea so fast it'd make even MY head spin!  Let's face it. There's really only room for one supreme leader and I am totally it!


David: Hey, if you're lucky, they might give you Hong Kong for a week. That would be cool!

Syed:  Dave please don't encourage her...

(Side note, yes.  He really did put that in bold and underline, which about made me spit my diet coke at the screen!)

David:  Since when did she ever need my encouragement to create an international incident.  She does fine all on her own. That tiara has special evil powers in it!

And that, dear readers and loyal subjects, is why regardless of anything else that's going on, I do love working with these people.  They SO get me!  And that's good.  It means they send me pictures of cupcakes and tiaras to brighten my day.  Aaaaaaaah, life is good. Now someone bring me a cupcake.

Ummm, and someone make sure I don't get THAT email! Kthxbai.

ADDENDUM:  I sent out another email to the same group this morning and the response just sums everything up perfectly!!!

Queen:  I owe you all a thank you for writing the blog for me last night!  It's at if you want to see it.  :)  You're all the best!

Cherie (aka Boss):  That cannot be good.

Don't you just love my peeps?!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Look! It's More Random! You're Welcome!

It's been one of those days, dear readers and loyal subjects.  The Queen's little blonde mind is finally fried!  It's been chaos! It's been an emotional roller coaster! (Okay that last part is actually true.)  It's been mind boggling!  It's been... oh the hell with it.  I'm too fried to come up with WHAT it's been.  And do you know what that means?  Yes, you guessed it!  It's time for another Random Wrap-Up!  *Someone cue the applause track for me, please.  Thank you.  You're the best.*  And so without further ado, but with a nice hair flip on my part like Cher used to do because suddenly I'm all into the idea of a variety show type post, here's your not-so-weekly dose of random!

I was trying to find a picture of a hair flip but I found this one of Cher and Captain Kangaroo.  I have no idea why but it completely fascinated me so I'm sharing... or Chering.... sorry, couldn't resist.

The Queen is going to China and Korea for 3 weeks, and she leaves this Friday.  I'm a little nervous about it. I'm not sure what the internet is like in China, but I think I'll still be able to keep you all updated with all the random things that are highly likely to go down while I'm in Asia.  Even I realize that the Queen in Asia is just TOTALLY full of the potential for random and yet humorous interactions.  Take this one, for instance.  I just realized that I was arriving in Busan, Korea a day before my hotel reservation for the convention that MPH and I are attending starts.  Thus... I needed to try to get another night scheduled.  Naturally, I called the one of the tour directors that I'm working with, who happens to be Korean.  I think I taught her an English phrase that she didn't know.

Queen:  So I'm coming into Busan on Saturday instead of Sunday.  Can I check into the hotel one day early?
Tour director:  You can but you'll be responsible for that night's fees.  I can add you that night for $310 a night.
Queen:  $310?!  Does that night come with my own personal pool boy?!
Tour Director:  I'm not sure but I can ask the hotel about.... pool boy.
Queen:  Oh dear.  Don't do that. I just found a hotel on for $68.  I'll book that one, thanks.

Then I found this:

And man, ain't that the truth?!

I also went through the images that I've saved over the past couple of weeks and not yet managed to share.  When I did, I discovered something.  I apparently have some anger issues that I haven't dealt with yet.  But we're lucky and they're FUNNY anger issues!  Enjoy!!

Don't be a hater!

I want this kitty.  He's just AWESOME!

And I am SO the girl to give it to them.  Come here... let me pat you.  :)

And on that note, I am going to go try to shove three weeks worth of clothes into a couple of suitcases. I suspect that this will NOT go well.  I'll be sure to let you know, though!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dude! I Am TOTALLY On Time!

I realize that I've said it before, but it's true and bears repeating... so much so that I'm gonna do it, people!  The Queen is scatterbrained.  Everyone who knows me just accepts that fact, figures I'm regal enough to pull it off and moves on with their lives.  It's something you sort of get used to.  Well, it turns out I had another one of those moments this weekend.  Honestly, I had the best of intentions.  I always do.  It's just that there's so much going on and so much to do and so many shiny things to look at, that sometimes my mind just sort of wanders.  Mmmmm.... shiiiiiiiiiny!  What was I talking about again?  Oh I remember!  Scattered.

We had a wedding to go to this weekend! I just love a wedding!  They're so much fun!  And this was one of my great friends who got married so we took the whole family.  It was the first wedding, other than our vow renewal, that my daughters had ever been to, so it was kind of a big deal.  Because of some other plans, though, MPH and I had to drive separate cars.  The wedding was at a beach chapel about an hour from home so I carefully timed our departure to be an hour and a half before the wedding time of 2:00.  That made sense!  We left at 12:30 and got stuck in traffic but still made it by 1:30.  Well I'd never been to this chapel before and we couldn't find it.  But that's okay! We were early!  I stopped and asked for directions!  I found the church!  I had this whole situation COMPLETELY under control!  I OWNED this situation... sort of.  We got to the chapel and there was no one there.  I started to panic.  Fortunately, I had brought the invitation with me, so I pulled it out... and blanched.  I parked and MPH parked beside me and made his way over to my car.  I rolled down the window... a crack.

MPH:  Do you have the invitation? Where is this chapel?
Queen: I have it.  This is the chapel.
MPH:  Is this the right one?!  It's empty!
Queen:  It's the right one. See the white bows on the door and hand rails on the stairs?
MPH:  I see them but... why isn't your window rolled down?
Queen:  I think it's broken.
MPH:  Really?  I'll check on it.  But this place is empty!
Queen: Yeah... I see that.
MPH (thinking now and jumping to totally unreasonable conclusions):  DID YOU GET THE DAY WRONG?!  (Okay, fine.  He had a precedent. Click here to read about the time I was 3 WEEKS early for an appointment.)
Queen (looking totally offended):  I did NOT get the day wrong!
MPH:  Well where is everyone?!
Queen:  They'll be here... (mumbling now) in about 2 hours.
MPH: What was that?  Roll down the window!
Queen:  Ummm, no.  I said they'll be here in about 2 hours.
MPH:  2 hours...
Queen:  Yeah.
MPH:  The wedding isn't at 2, is it?
Queen:  Nope.
MPH:  It's at 4.
Queen:  You're so good at math.  That's very sexy.
MPH:  Someone needs to shoot me.
Queen: That'd be messy, don't you think?
MPH now mutters something unintelligible that I'm pretty sure I shouldn't repeat even if I did know exactly what he was saying.
Queen:  Look, we're at the beach early and we don't usually come to this one. I got us here in time to have a nice family lunch!!!
MPH:  Maybe that will make my new migraine go away.
Queen: And maybe your eye will stop twitching.
MPH: We can hope.

So I left the window only open a crack until he got back in his car and off we went to find food.  Juli, our au pair, was in the car with me so when she finished laughing hysterically, she helped me find a restaurant since I was in the lead.  Really, you'd think he'd know better than to let me lead.  Fortunately I found a restaurant off the road called the Giggling Mackerel.  How could you NOT want to stop and eat at a place called the Giggling Mackerel?!  It just sounds so... HAPPY!  So upon seeing it, I whipped my car suddenly to the right and onto the road leading to it... just as Juli read me the sign by that entrance "Do Not Enter."  So I replied with another something I probably shouldn't repeat because by that time it was too late and I went barreling down a one way street with MPH behind me.  Gotta love being the lead lemming.

It turned out okay, though and the Giggling Mackerel was a great place to eat.  We even got to look at the water as we had a delightful meal.  Then there was some shopping next to it and an area for the kids to play in the sand.  I was having a ball there!  That's when MPH interrupted me.

MPH:  We should head to the wedding.
Queen: What?  We're having fun!  We have plenty of time.
MPH:  *big sigh*  It's 3:40.
Queen: WHAT?!  How did it get to be 3:40?!
MPH:  Time does that, dear.
Queen:  Ummm... oh.  *checking my watch* Wow.  It really is 3:40.
MPH:  You know, you're the only one I know who can show up 2 hours early for a wedding, lose track of time and STILL end up late!
Queen:  It's a gift.

So you see, this really is another situation that's all MPH's fault.  He could have read the wedding invitation!  He knows me.  He knows I shouldn't be left in charge!  Actually, we did have a good time before hand, so maybe I should ALWAYS been left in charge!  Hmmm, it's quite the conundrum, isn't it.  Oh, and extra credit for me for using conundrum in a sentence.  Frankly, I just think it's fun to say, but that's probably a whole other post.