Things I Don’t See At Home: Dumbest Question I Ever Asked

One could say I’ve asked many dumb questions in my life. Former professors could attest to this. One of my famous (but serious) questions occurred in biology class during community college. I asked, “How do birds drink?” I remember beaks, puddles, and tilting of the head.  Well, at least now I know what they’re really doing in those birdbaths; drinking bathwater.

I digress.coffee and water

One day at dinner in Munich, I saw this: a small metal tray with a cup of what looked to be coffee and a very small glass of clear liquid.   I didn’t know if it was coffee with a shot of booze to be added at your own taste – coffee with a chaser – or hot chocolate with some sort of liqeuor. Or what. It just seemed odd.

A few days later, Pat and I went to a café after dinner in Salzburg. He ordered beer and I ordered a camomile tea. And it happened; I got the little metal tray with hot tea and the little glass of clear liquid. I was baffled. “What is this mysterious liquid?” I thought to myself. “How fascinating!”   I looked at Pat and said “Oh wow. This is what I saw the other day. I wonder what it is?” So I felt the outside of the glass. Cold-ish. I smelled it. Nothing. So I took a big leap and dipped my tongue into the glass. Water. Tap water. Huh? What am I supposed to do with this glass of water? Is the tea too hot to drink? Am I supposed to drink the tea, then get all refreshed by drinking the tap water as a chaser?

SO – here comes a waitress to see if things are okay. And, this is when I ask the big question. Waitress: “Is everything going fine?” (or some other sweet version of “Is everything okay?”) Me: (indicating my mini-water) “What’s this for?” Waitress: (looking at me with confused eyes) “It’s water.” Me: “Yes, I know. What should I do with it?” Waitress: (looking at me as if I’ve lost my marbles) “You drink it.” Me: “Oh. Okay. Thanks.”

This poor waitress probably found her fellow servers and told them about the idiot American woman who just asked what she was supposed to do with a glass of water. Then she probably went into the bathroom and banged her head against the wall. As for me, I sat dumbfounded. This, after I was done laughing at myself. And feeling sorry for the waitress. This dumbfoundedness turned into outrage. I thought “Seriously? Are these Austrians mad? They wasted a tray to bring out this pansy-ass glass of water? Why not bring complimentary toothpaste and a toothbrush to go with it? That would be the perfect after dinner spritz-up and spit it out in the bushes type deal.

afro coffee closeThe next morning we went to a restaurant for breakfast – and it happened again. This time it was my coffee that came with a glass of water. But alas, this glass of water was a bit bigger. And ha ha – this time I knew what to do with said water. And – this coffee mug was SO cool. I looked around and noticed four different patterns. It was called Afro coffee. afro coffeeMy mug said “You call it coffee, I call it a lifestyle.” I thought, “Wow, my girls would really like these. When the waiter comes by I will ask him how much they cost.” I thought that was better than “Wow, these are really cool…. Will they fit in my purse?”

So, the idiot that I am (apparently when it comes to items involving drinking liquids) asked said waiter the obvious question: “How much would it cost to buy the coffee mugs?” Long story short: it would take an act of God to acquire these mugs as the maker of the coffee supplies them and it would probably cause the restaurant to shut down if they sold me two of them and then all tourism in Salzburg would come to an end and then the world would stop spinning.

No cool coffee mugs for Dawn. Idiot.

Last night we ended up at the “dumb question” cafe. Pat had more beers and I had more tea. Again came the tray. Again came my Dixie-cup of water. This time I told the waiter about my waitress faux pas from the previous night. He explained that if I wanted a bigger cup of tap water, they’d charge money for it. Baffling. It’s cheaper to buy beer.

coffee pic

Things I Don’t See At Home: Unisex Bathroom that’s Really Just the Men’s Room.

herren

Oh! The Men’s Room!

Yeah.  Well shit.  I just used the men’s bathroom.  My clue was the “Herren” sign on the door I saw on the way out.  Perhaps my first clue should have been the long-haired guy combing his hair at the sink upon first arrival.

Pat and I had met a woman for lunch yesterday at a lovely placed called the Literature Haus in Berlin.  After a lovely sea bass entree, I went downstairs for a lovely afternoon pee. I saw a door with the international bathroom signs:  the stick man and stick lady with a skirt.  “Aha – a unisex bathroom!” said my feeble mind – I’d experienced this before.  “This is Europe,” I thought to myself – “anything goes – coed naked saunas, Coke without ice, beans for breakfast,” so I went through another open door and saw the guy combing his hair at the sink.  I didn’t make eye contact.  My general impression was that it was a guy with a mullet or a very homely woman.  My other impression was “Dang, this place really smells like pee!”  So, I peed – and as I washed my hands I noticed a bunch of urinals in this unisex bathroom.  I thought “Seriously? It’s a real free for all around here – women have to be subjected to men at the urinals and vice versa; men have to pee in front of women?”  I turned to leave, and as I did I saw the open door I’d gone through.  It said “Herren.”  “Men.”  As I kept walking into the hallway, I saw the poor guy who had been combing his mullet.  He was probably waiting for his woman.  His woman:  the one who can read.

I went upstairs and sat back down with Pat (hubby) and Nathalie (his business associate – she’s German).  I told them about my escapade into the world of men.  Poor mullet guy.  Nathalie explained that there aren’t any unisex bathrooms in Germany.  Good to know. I must have been in France.  And I am sure I was in one in NYC in 1984.  Damn clubbing days.  During my giggling fit, Pat told us about his visit to Amsterdam bathrooms (airport) where the women clean the urinals right next to where you are urinal-ing.  But that’s Amsterdam.  That’s a whole other story:  the women at airport security always get to second base with me but always skip first.

food

Our dirty plates and empty glasses

Another thing I’ve noticed, no matter where I’ve been eating in Germany, is the really different table service.  I don’t want to say it’s slow as if that’s a negative thing – but it’s certainly slower.  For example, in the U.S., one barely finishes the last morsel of food before the server removes the dirty plate from the table.  Not here.  You can finish your entree and the plate will sit.  Indefinitely.  A few nights ago my leftover trout grew an exotic fish fungus right before my eyes.  Meantime, empty beer glasses are another familiar scene.  Again, in the U.S., one has only sucked the head off a beer before the server is pushing another.

My guess is the prompt service provided to U.S. diners leads to better tips.  Fast beer and quick coffee = better tip.  And the constant clearing of dirty plates is an implicit way of saying “C’mon, you’re done eating – chop chop! Don’t want dessert?  Don’t let the door hit ya in the ass on the way out.”  And then the server deposits the bill at the table and says “Whenever you’re ready” which really means “I’ll be back before you’ve had time to check  your teeth for spinach.”

I had a long chat with a German man tonight (another business associate of Pat’s).  He said a 12% tip is automatically included in your bill here in Germany.  He said they will never bring your check until you ask for it.  When you sit down at the table to eat, the server assumes it is your table for the night.  They don’t expect the table to turn over. I am guessing they make less money overall – even though they make $8.50 Euros per hour.  Adding another 5% tip is fine if you’d like.

I admit I did enjoy the slower dining pace.  It’s not that it was a new experience, but for some reason I noticed it this time- probably because I was ready for dessert – and that fungus-growing trout was giving me the evil eye.

 

Things I Don’t See At Home: Pope Selling Shoes

pope shoe Today we left Hamburg and drove to a city called Luneburg.  It’s quaint and old looking.  And cool.  But before we left, we went to a mall.  I took some pics and made some observations.

The first observation at the mall was that if you just sat there and watched folks go by, you may think you were in the U.S.  Things looked pretty similar:  McDonald’s, a food court, lots of stores, many levels.  They even had a Build-A-Bear Workshop.  The differences:  first off – the female gestapo stationed outside the WC.  I got the feeling that I damned well better drop  a Euro onto her dish before or after my visit to the tankless toilet.tankless terlet

Another diff – no obese people.  I noticed many people jogging and riding bicycles yesterday as we walked through Hamburg.

Another really cool thing about the department stores that I remember from the old days (1984) was that department stores have really cool grocery stores in them.  So we picked up a plug adapter for our computers…. and groceries.  How great is that?  You can buy a dress, heels to match, a six-pack of Beck’s, and a hunk of cheddar.  We need to work that deal at Macy’s.

I noticed a bunch of teen-ish guys outside smoking.  Nearby, at their table sat bottles of beer, Coke bottles, and Hollister bags.  Another thing you won’t see at a U.S. mall:  teen-ish guys drinking beer.teen beer

dog in mallDogs.  Dogs at the mall.  No need to leave Gunther at home. No need to leave Gunther in the car.  Just bring him in.  He’ll tell you exactly how your rump looks in those jeans.

After dinner in Luneburg we went window shopping.  Shoes.  The Pope and shoes.  I’ll have to go back there tomorrow when they’re open.

luneburg

Luneburg – across from our hotel.

 

 

Things I Don’t See at Home: The Weiner X-ing

red penis lightPat and I got to Hamburg earlier today.  We found a good place to eat dinner on TripAdvisor – the Liman Fisch Restaurant. Since we were both exhausted, we were glad it was only a 1.5 mile walk from the hotel.  On our walk I was taking stock of many things:  One thing I love about traveling is the little things that are just a bit off.  Just a bit different.

I lived in Hamburg in 1984 when I was a youngster model.  It was nice to be back; walking around Lake Alster – remembering the beautiful city scape. One thing I don’t remember are the penis crossings. green walk man

One thing I do remember from my travels is that the crosswalk signs are often different.  For example, here in Germany and other parts of Europe, the “walk” guy is green instead of white.  That seems to make good sense as green does mean “go.” Anyway, these red penis crossing signs are all over town, just as the green walk man is all over town.  And, the red penis crossing sign does turn green!

Am I to understand that men are not allowed to cross at certain times but are allowed to cross at other times?  Red = stop and Green = go?  Men stay where you are and women come on and cross the street?  Men, you can cross when the red penis turns green?  OR – men, if you have a particularly inflamed penis, come on across?

Anyway – you can see how this created sheer bedlam for us on the way to Liman’s Fisch Restaurant.  Pat  kept getting stuck at the crosswalks! We finally made it to dinner and it was fabulous and fresh.  Afterwards, we took a stroll downtown and went window shopping.  Both Pat and I found perfect outfits for this Fall’s Oktoberfest party.  The only problem; six windows-full of dirndls for me to chose from – but only one window for Pat to choose from.  Hamburg was pretty lean on the lederhosen.  It was a rough day for Pat.lederhosendirndl

An Ode To Gum

cigs      It was paradise.  It was a Sunday morning after church, and we were in a store in Plainfield, New Jersey.  I guess you could call it a stationery store cause they sold stuff in there like newspapers and magazines.  But I didn’t give a flying crap about any of that.  I was there for the candy.  The wall of candy – more specifically, the gum.   More specifically, the Bazooka.  Not the Bazooka of today – the Bazooka of the mid -1970s.

bazioka

Wacky Packs were another one of my favorites.

This Bazooka was huge. Humongous.  It was the size of my hand. Each piece had a baseball card-sized comic and it came in flavors, like grape.  Standing in front of that wall of candy and gum was sensory overload.  It was like standing in Willy Wonka’s candy garden trying to figure out where to fall face first, first.   For some reason I always had a thing for gum.  I knew there had to be a God because gum existed.  This place had Bazooka, and hot dog gum, and that long stick of bubble gum that was as long as a ruler, and gum cigars, and wax lips, and gum cigarettes!  Candy was for wussies.  I wanted something that would rot my teeth with gusto.  I kept thinking that if Willy Wonka could come up with an Everlasting Gobstopper made of gum, we’d really be making progress.

God Bless the inventor of gum.  It’s glorious.  I remember the white Good Humor truck coming down the street in Plainfield – the man in it sold a cellophane pack of Double Bubble gum.  Why waste my taste buds on ice cream?  Those squares of Double Bubble were frickin’ blissful. You can’t buy that flavor anymore.  They sell boxes that say “original flavor” but it’s a big, fat, Madison Avenue lie.

ice cream gumSpeaking of ice cream, another wonderment is a flavor no longer available.  I remember getting it at the Acme in Plainfield.  It was Adam’s gum flavored like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream.  Why bother with eating ice cream when you can just cram eight sticks of gum in your mouth and make it neopolitan all by yourself?

And then I moved to Maryland.  We went from an older New Jersey city that had department stores and corner stores to a new suburb.  They had this odd place called a convenience store.  It was called 7-Eleven.  And it happened – I was exposed to a new era of gum:  Bubble Yum.  I had never had a soft loaf of gum.  I still managed to fit two pieces into my big mouth at once.  It was great.  Soft wads of sugary mess frothing gooey splooge out of my mouth.  Wow, I thought, this move to Maryland was gonna work out just fine. 

(I have 12 crowns and I’ve had 6 root canals.  Dentists dig me.)

bubble yum

My fat American toilet and my Fairy Soap. (by me)

toilet

My downstairs toilet. Massive in size in comparison. A true throne. Sorry, needs to be cleaned. Damn kids.

toilet2

So cute. A toilet at St. Pancras train station in London I think. No tank. Not a lot of water in the bowl. Cute. I thought of oompa loompas.

Before going on vacation – or “holiday” as the Europeans call it – we can’t wait to go.  It seems we are stressed out at work or bored at home.  Or both.  We need to get the hell out of Dodge, or State College, or whatever town we are hostage.  It’s glorious to think of the wonders that await us at the beach, in the city, at the lodge, at Disney, in the tropics, at the casino, or at Aunt Betty’s house.  It has to be better than the drudgery we’re dealing with at home – otherwise, why would we go on vacation?

The vacation I went on included Barcelona, Paris and parts of England including London.  It was fab.  Most of it.  I’ve traveled plenty, but we all know you just learn to take the good with the bad.  To get to the fun destination, you may have to wait in lines at airport security behind the wanker who failed to put all their liquids into a ziploc.  You may get taken off a plane experiencing mechanical difficulties after finding the last spot in the overhead and the right angle for your kneecaps in relation to the seat in front of you.  If driving, that’s a whole new set of cuss words.

van

My sweet Bessy.

But I think the hardest part of traveling is figuring out where the hell you’re going.  It takes brain power.  It sucks the glucose straight out your head.  At home I just take where the hell I’m going for granted; I have good ol’ Bessy parked right inside my house.  There she is, in my garage.  My sweet angel of a van just sits there awaiting my flabby flat, suburban ass.  I don’t appreciate her enough.  And my husband thumbs his nose at her – “minivan… ha….never!”  I just get inside and drive aimlessly to my destination.  I go from temperature-controlled air to temperature-controlled air in the van.  My auto-pilot brain takes me wherever. Yes, I do sometimes have to think about how to get where I’m going – but alas, I use Google Maps on my iPhone.  My son is Mr. BestFriendsWithTheWorld, so there is always a new address popping up for me to play fetch.

Luckily, on this last trip, I was with hubby so I didn’t have to figure out the “where the hell are we going” by myself.  We got subway maps and we got city maps. He knew he’d be driving part of the time so he brought his Euro GPS.  Once at the hotel we had to figure out how to get to our next meal.  And the sightseeing spots.  And we needed a laundromat.  And a bank.  And a pub.   So, you talk to the concierge.  You look at maps in your hotel room.  You stare at maps in metro stations.  You go into shops and ask people for directions.  You look incredulously at the GPS.   You take wrong exits at traffic circles.  You walk more blocks than you were supposed to.  You find yourself staring at the ‘stops map’ on the metro car you are riding in to make sure you got on the right one.  You stand on street corners wondering what psychic ninny thought it was a good idea not to put names of streets on street corners.

I’m not picking on European cities.  I know cities here in the U.S. are just as frustrating.  I travel here too.

drive

My ride to work.

In a European city, besides spending a lot of time thinking about how to get where you need to get, you spend a lot of time getting there – and you physically exert yourself in the process.  Of course, this is also true for U.S. cities, especially those like NYC where many folks rely on public transportation.  It may be a number of blocks to walk to the metro station.  There may be a bit of a walk inside the metro station involving stairs.  Time is spent on the metro itself and it may involve a transfer.  If you have to transfer to another metro line, there may be another walk within the metro station.  Then more time is spent riding this other metro line.  On arrival, chances are your destination (restaurant, sightseeing spot) is not going to be at the top of the stairs once you emerge from the metro station.  So it’s another walk until you figure out where it is.  Of course, this is not a bad thing.  Exercise is a good thing.  It’s just different to be coming home from dinner at midnight; riding a subway for 20 minutes and walking for a mile.

traffic

Such traffic. 🙂

Remember Bessy?  I flop onto her leather seat and she takes me from Point A to Point B.  Wham Bam Thank-You-M’am.  When I got home from vacation, it was weird.  That first day I drove to Penn State to get some books for work.  It was so wide open.  Most of the students are not back in town yet for the semester, so we don’t really have what anyone would call traffic – yet we all complain about the traffic.  I guess it’s all relative.  That day I noticed the cars here are bigger.  I didn’t see many pickup trucks in Paris.  Or many SUVs in Worcestershire.  Our gas is cheap.  Relatively.

kitchen1

This kitchen in Church Lench (Worcestershire) is hundreds of years old. In the “shire” – low ceilings as it was built for hobbits.

house

My kitchen is almost a decade old! Built for tall people who watch movies about hobbits.

Hotel rooms are hit and miss.  Some of our rooms were decent sized and some were small.  But, most interesting were the homes we stayed in.  They were all in England; one in London, one in Cheltenham, and one in Church Lench (Worcestershire).   The one in the pictures was from the 1700s or 1800s.  The owner, Richard, told me, but I don’t remember.  He said he paid about 600,000 pounds.  That translates to about $900,000.  Holy cod.  It was about 13 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon.  Thank God for the GPS.

house1

The house in Church Lench. $900,000 a few years ago.

dawn house

My house. Almost free by comparison.

I do realize real estate price is dependent on location. The owner said his area was very expensive.  I got the impression that the England location is very expensive.

Now that we are home I appreciate my bed, washcloths, top sheets, my van Bessy, AC when I want it, restaurants with AC, exercising only when I feel like it, free water, and my DVR.  Things I miss about the city:  plays (we saw Once), new food, new sights, sparkling cider, new words, new friends like Gavin, Pablo, Monica, and Paul, cool churches – you know – all the stuff people go to cities for.    But I think mainly I liked noticing all the things that were different….like toilets. (see previous blog posts)

As far as souvenirs for the kids;  my son now has socks with Arsenal and Manchester logos (soccer teams).  My middle daughter got funky earrings from Paris and the oldest got a necklace.  And I brought home the Fairy.

fairy

I may be the only one in central PA with Fairy dish soap.

London: In search of a washcloth and top sheet. (by me)

faces

How do they wash their faces?

They say it’s the little things.  Yes – every night I just want something little.  Not a little piece of chocolate on my pillow and not a little shot of liquor to put me to sleep.  I just want a little square of cloth to wash the mascara off my eyeballs.  In Barcelona I got some from the hotel desk as they were not in the room as in U.S. hotels.  In Paris they flat out told me “no.’  In Cambridge, the hotel had washcloths and I cherished them like a meth addict cherishes their last tooth. But after we left Cambridge I realized I should have stolen the washcloths because the luxury would vanish once again.  Once again I found myself stuck using the end of a hand towel.  My middle child would say this is a first-world problem. Others would ask why I haven’t joined the modern world of moistened face towelettes.  Simple.  I have to use what I call eyeball wash for my “dry eyes” – so I guess I better start packing my own washcloths.  Or do they call them flannels here?

And the horror continues.  Of course I’m jesting.  I love England.  But as one ages we get used to having things a certain way.  Like coffee….

coffee

Sanka – Euro style

Coffee:  It is very easy to find a Starbucks or any number of coffee houses here.  But when you wake in the morning it is nice to have a coffee maker in the hotel room.  Often, U.S. hotels have a mini-maker that makes a cup or two.  Here, the hotels give you INSTANT coffee!!  Shudder.  Wince.  Wonder.  Ponder.  This has happened in Barcelona, Paris and all cities in England so far.  Instant coffee.  Granules of dehydrated coffee.  1970s Sanka style.  People drink this on purpose?  I thought this was what you packed for the apocalypse.  This is what my granny bought because she was being thrifty.  This is emergency coffee.  This is Army coffee.  I bet the Army has better coffee than this.  I’m not really much of a coffee conoisseur.  But I’m a step or two above instant.  And Folger’s.  I drink about two cups a day at home.  I try to avoid Starbucks at all costs because I’m saving for retirement.  Anyway – the takeaway thought.  Brits serving Americans instant coffee is like Americans serving Brits instant tea.  But I do admit that when Brits come to the U.S. they are most certainly horrified by our tea bags.  From what I understand, Lipton tea bags are more like bags of tea dust.  We don’t serve loose tea in a pot to be poured through a strainer.  So I suppose we are even.  At least I can get a good coffee on the street and Brits can get good loose tea at most groceries in the U.S. nowadays.

Some other interesting observations:  the shelves at the Airbnb place we are staying at now are very cute.  I love the Bob’s Big Boy stuff.  The character with the black hat is from a flour company  – according to our hostess.  We have stayed at three different Airbnb places.  One in Worcestershire (not far from Stratford-upon-Avon) one in Cheltenham and one here in London.  It is much cheaper than staying in a hotel.  All of them are a bit off the beaten path but it’s nice to save the money as we are going through it quickly. (Airbnb is an online site where folks list their own homes like a bed and breakfast.)

shelfshelf2

Gas:  Yesterday, Pat filled up the tank of the Ford we rented.  It cost $120 to fill with diesel.  And gas here is $8 a gallon.  He said that was for about 3/4 of a tank. There’s also no pay-at-the-pump.  At least not where we were.

Vacuums and dryers:  It’s adorable – they call them Hoovers here.  I guess kinda like we call them Kleenex or Band-Aids.  “I’m going to Hoover now.”  It’s also a verb from what I understand.  And everyone here seems to hang laundry to dry.  Not too many ‘tumble dryers’ around.  Clotheslines and lines inside houses.  I had to explain to one lady that our neighborhood doesn’t even allow clotheslines.  I also had to explain that in the middle of the U.S. (where I lived for a long time) 4-year-olds don’t carry guns. 🙂  Also, the washing machines are often in the kitchen and they are the front-loaders.

Cheese:  The cheese here is “matured” while the cheese in the U.S. is just “aged.”  I think I’d rather be mature.

Take-out food:  Here they ask if you will “take-away.”  The other day I ordered a “toasty” for breakfast (cheese and tomato toasted on bread) and I noticed it cost more to “eat in” than take away.  I asked about it and the gal explained they charge more if they have to clean up after you – as in do your dishes.  So we ordered it take-away but they brought it to us on plates anyway.  It was very sweet.  I seem to be asking people a lot of questions.  I take pictures of toilets and ask questions.

food

Love the names of the food.

Water:  I have spent a considerable amount of money on still water in the last two weeks.  I blew the budget so when we get home, my third child is going to have to survive on Cheerios and instant coffee.  I know London tap water is fine – so my guess is the scam to only sell water must be tied into the taxation system somehow.  The Duke of Dukeington must be getting rich somewhere.

Food names:  I take it the salad cream is like Miracle Whip.  The Ma-a-Mite is Marmite which is like Vegamite.  They say you love it or hate it.  I think I could learn to like it.  It’s a yeast spread that smells like vitamins in a jar to me.  The OJ says it is “with bits” or “smooth” which is very cute I think.

Pub food:  It’s all been very good.  The odd thing is the lack of waitresses at pubs.  A pub looks like a typical American bar and grill.  Tables, chairs, a bar, stuff hanging off the wall – you get the idea.  But it’s different because you seat yourself which I am not used to – and there are menus at the tables.  But you order at the bar and pay – then they deliver the food to your table.  You get your drinks when you order.  Luckily my husband knew this; otherwise we would have been sitting there for a long time.

SHEETS:  Oh my!  I noticed in the U.S. that some of my European friends don’t use a top sheet on their beds.  They just use a comforter covered by a duvet.  That seems so odd to me.  What?  That is just insane.  How could this be?  Then you have to wash the duvet rather than just a sheet and go through the rigamarole of putting the damn duvet back on the comforter.  I do love duvets for the purpose of giving a comforter a new look but the lack of a top sheet I just can’t abide!!  And the lack of a top sheet kept me from a good night’s sleep a few nights ago.  In Cheltenham, the place we were staying did not have AC (which makes sense since England is not hot for many days per year).  So, the bed had the fitted sheet on the mattress and the comforter/duvet.  It was too hot for the comforter but too breezy (ceiling fan) for nothing.  Perfect example for the need of a top sheet.  So all night long I was pulling up the comforter and then kicking it off and freezing.  Ug.  Same thing at this place – but I asked our hostess for a top sheet and she had one.  She even bemoans the lack of ease in finding one here.

fairy

How can dish soap get any cuter?

Phrases:  Some of the words are very cute – like “Brilliant” and “Cheers.”  I’ve heard those two the most.  Last night a waiter brought me a drink he thought I would like and then asked how I liked it.  I said it was good and he sounded disappointed  – so I said – “Oh sorry, it’s brilliant!”  That seemed to make him happy.  I also heard “up the duff” for being pregnant and “throwing a sickie” for calling in sick to work.   There are a bunch of others, but I can’t spell them correctly and even if I could, it wouldn’t work in print due to the fact that I’m not there to mispronounce them for you.

But how does anything get more adorable than Fairy dish soap.  When I go shopping abroad, this is the stuff I want to bring home.  I bought a purse in Paris ($113) and a watch in Cambridge ($105) and I will spend a bit of money on hand soap here.  I know.  I’m nuts.