1. If I’ve climbed 20 flights of stairs over the course of today (a max of 11 at one go) does that adequately compensate for skipping my workout this morning?

2. Does anyone else hear the news from Iraq and have an urge to start singing “Muktada al-Sadr banana fanana fo fadr….”?

3. It’s a tiny bit chilly in my office. I have the shawl I keep on the back of my chair draped over my shoulders (when it’s really cold I wrap it around myself) and am wearing the fingerless gloves I finished last weekend. Do I look as much like, say, old Mrs. Bates from Pride and Prejudice as I suspect I do? (The gloves are very cozy, though.)

4. Also, given that the shawl is red, I’m wearing an off-white turtleneck, and the gloves are a faded blue, do I look like a Dutch flag? (The placement of colors is why I specified Dutch instead of US flag, but for the latter I’d need to be wearng stars, and also to clasp my hands at my left shoulder.) I mentioned this to my coworker and he burst into laughter. Not a good sign.

5. What can I do to help my husband deal with his grandmother’s death? (Rhetorical question, mostly. I don’t think there’s a standard general answer. I suspect the specific one in this case, is “Hug him a little extra, be there when he wants to talk, and don’t bother him about it otherwise.”

6. Have I mentioned that I’m taking tomorrow off? However, it would be a little more exciting if I weren’t spending some of the time dealing with City Hall to get my Residence Permit (FINALLY!) and the rest of it going to the doctor. I bet ob-gyn check-ups are every bit as much fun with Dutch doctors as with American ones.

7. There is a bit of suspense involved: in the time I’ve been getting Pap smears, they’ve moved from cotton swabs to those horrible wire brushes to plastic paddles that are less ouchy than the wire ones but worse (though presumably more effective) than the swabs. What will they use here? And will I get to lie in fetal position instead of on my back with my feet in stirrups? (A female doctor friend who’s spent time in Israel tells me the fetal position is used for exams there because it makes the woman feel less exposed. I’d have to agree that it would.)