Tuesday, December 23, 2003

There's an old Christmas card in an old rusty trunk...

Frankly, I’d rather see Rudolph seriously injured than sit through Jim Carrey’s Grinch.
Cam dug that one out of a box at the DVD store, and showed it to me, cocking his head to the side in jest, as though either of us would entertain the idea of passing Christmas with a perverted version of a Christmas classic.

We didn’t find the real Grinch, nor did we find Scrooged, or It’s a Wonderful Life. Who knew there was a place on earth that didn’t force that one on you several times during the holiday season? They did have Die Hard, though. Now, while my parents watch that every Christmas, I have a severe hate-on for Bruce Willis. Especially in a grimy wife-beater.

Instead we settled for TV series on DVD, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Our Majesty’s Secret Service, Comedian, Citizen Ruth and All the Real Girls. No Christmas music, either. Not even my perennial favourite, Jim Reeves. I think this is my first without him. No matter, I can regale Cameron with all of the words anyway. They have been committed to memory long ago. No doubt he’ll commit me after bearing the umpteenth rendition of Senor Santa Claus.

So what are we doing for Christmas then? What does anyone do? Eat.

Cameron really had no preference after he’d put a big bottle of Coke in the shopping basket so I went to work for the both of us. There were no Nuts n’ Bolts, no cherry cake from Mom and no Cheezies or Bugles, so I had to make do. We bought decent chocolate, Pringles—not the Vietnamese “Mister Potato Chips” facsimile either, in the suspiciously similar cylinder packaging with an eerily similar and mustachioed pitchman on the front. I got coconut white chocolate balls, vanilla wafers, very Vietnamese sweet sour apricots (already consumed) and soft toffees. I will pick up mandarins on the way to work today off a lady on the street. And we’ve got a friend working his connection to get us a good deal on some smuggled whiskey. What is Christmas without bootleg hooch, I’ve always said.

We’ll go out for a nice, fancy dinner on Saturday, to avoid the not-quite-like-we-remember Christmas dinners put on at the hotels on Thursday.

So essentially, we’ll stay in at home this year, watch the Sopranos and gorge ourselves on treats while downing whiskey.

Family and booze. See, you can celebrate Christmas just about anywhere.

Have a great holiday!

Love, Tracy

10:29:00 PM

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Things that are getting me down:

Crying all weekend for no apparent reason.

The Canadian dollar. The irony is that it is strong for the first time in recent memory and I am being paid in American dollars. When I send money home to pay my bills, guess what currency doesn't go as far as it would have any other time in my life?

Work is a total bitch. "Reporters" i.e. translators making the same mistakes; the same stories over and over and over -- that would never be stories anywhere else in the world; management being completely incapable of doing anything; hours that are creeping up on us because we're short-staffed; hours that are lasting much longer because the city is hosting a huge sporting event and management didn't see that coming... it goes on and on.

Our monthly outing to the bank always involves shouting. This time they took some of our money because it was counterfeit. (Cash we got from our wages) Cam had them photocopy it so we could take it into work and demand that money back. The woman at work said we must have gotten it somewhere else and wouldn't pay us. Cam had to strong-arm her into it. Why are we the bad guys here? Should we get one of those little counterfeit detector machines to check our wages before we take them home?

Frivolous concerns:
1. I don't think my laundry should come back smelling of mildew.
2. Jackhammering from three construction sites next door to our apartment SHOULD NOT start at 8am.
3. I was sooooo looking forward to getting tons of clothes tailored. Why, Co Tailors, did you shatter my dreams and quote me such a huge amount for a blazer. (about $35) And I bought the material myself!

Things to be grateful for:

1. My wonderful husband-to-be. I'm not just saying that.
2. When he makes me scrambled eggs.
3. The other tailor I went to, who is charging me a quarter of the price I was first quoted. Now I just need to see what kind of job she does.

10:51:00 PM

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Tumbleweed in Ha Noi



Rolling By
The American Undershirt
Colby Cosh
Complete Square
Geese Aplenty
The Grand Ennui
Jen & Tonic
Kamikaze Lunchbreak
Madame Fabulous
Nerdy Girl
Que Sera Sera
Sarah Hepola
Nothing But Love
So Far From Home
Leaving Normal

ARR Matey! Pirated Discs Vietnam
Sex in the City Season 4
The Pianist
The Matrix II
The Long Run

Les Filmes 2003
McCabe & Mrs. Miller
In the Bedroom
13 Conversations about One Thing
Roman Holiday
The Big Sleep
Faster Pussycat...Kill! Kill
About a Boy
The Good Girl
The Third Man
Minority Report
Sunset Boulevard
Six Feet Under Season 1
One Hour Photo
The Rules of Attraction
Hope and Glory
Hilary and Jackie
Far from Heaven
The Killers
Cool Hand Luke
Catch Me if You Can
Bowling for Columbine
Roger Dodger
Personal Velocity
8 Mile
Moonlight Mile