Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Which Wig Will I Wear?

Friday Night: WIG (or facial hair) Themed Bar Hop

We like wigs. And fake facial hair.

Friday night Ashbloem and Co. are organizing a Boston bar hop where we will party it up incognito. I can't decide between my fabulous pink bob, my hip blonde afro or my tame brown tresses. But while I ponder my dilemma, I thought I would put together a little Ode to the Wigs, and Other Hair Accessories (hats, crowns, flowers) of parties past...



I am sure I'll have lots of fun pictures to post on Monday!

Travel Don'ts

I've talked a lot in this blog, and shared many a photo, of places I have enjoyed visiting over the years, like Venice, Cinque Terre, Rome, London, Prague, Brugge, Oslo, Kenya, and of course Amsterdam (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). But I haven't spoken so much about places I have not enjoyed.

Thankfully the list is short:

Mexico City
Milan
Athens
Tampa
Manila
Cancun
Mestre

Let's talk about Mexico City. MC, one of the world's 24 "megacities" (I just learned this term, and I like it), comes second in population only to Tokyo at an astounding 22,350,000 inhabitants in the MC metro area. Compare that to Boston's paltry 5.8 million! The city is HUGE. And DIRTY. MC is situated in a little valley between mountain ranges and volcanoes which trap polution over the city. You can actually feel yourself breathing in all the carbon monoxide and poluted crap.

But what bothers me most about MC is that I don't feel safe there. When I travel, I usualy am on my own. If I am traveling with a companion or group of friends, I still value time on my own pounding the pavement getting to know my destination. But Mexico City just isn't safe enough to do this, especially if you are a woman. Wikipedia confirms this:

Violent crime is also a major concern; in 2003 Mexico had the second-highest number of kidnappings in the world, with some 3,000 reported cases. In taxis, a particular problem has arisen; individuals are sometimes kidnapped by unauthorized taxi drivers, in order to empty their bank accounts at ATMs. Victims are sometimes kept overnight in order to bypass daily withdrawal limits. Inside other transportation, mostly microbuses, pickpocketing is still a common activity, and Mexico City inhabitants take various levels of precaution to avoid being victims of this.

Now I am no Nervous-Nellie when it comes to rough-and-tumble places, but my Mexican friends and colleagues have warned me enough times for me to take their cautionary advice seriously. If anyone knows the real deal, they would. The don'ts they have laid out for me:

  • Don't walk by yourself
  • Don't take the metro by yourself
  • Don't take the bus by yourself
  • Don't hail a cab by the street (make the hotel call one for you)
  • Don't leave your hotel room unlocked
The above list in combination with the rampant polution makes me feel completely stifled there. In my last job, I used to have to go two or three times a year for work. Thankfully I am off that project now.

But the worst experience I ever had there was this...

Since I am too afraid to go off on my own while in MC, often I feel tethered to the hotel in which I am staying. On one particular trip my company had put me up in a sub-standard business class hotel. On the outside it looks OK enough, and the service and food were pretty good. But what I didn't realize until I checked into my room was how thin the walls were. You could hear everything going on next door.

Two business men were sharing the room next to mine (I saw them in the hallway earlier that day). They stayed up very late watching TV and talking loudly, which in turn kept me awake since I am a pretty light sleeper. I passed the time quietly reading my book. Finally around 2am they turned off the TV. I decided to stay awake just a little bit longer to finish the chapter I was reading. And then I heard a very strange noise.

Now, get your mind out of the gutter. I recognized the noise immediately, but was incredulous. No, it can't be. I thought to myself. But then I heard it again! What was it? What could this noise be? Farting. Huge loud blubbering farts. I seriously gagged. Not that this is the fault of Mexico City, but whenever I think of Mexico City I think of those business men farting.

Eww.

Well, to be fair, Mexico City does have a few merits. The city contains 160 musumes and tons of galleries and concert halls. I particularly did enjoy their Museum of Modern Art and Sculpture Garden (you know I love a good sculpture garden) which is in the Chapultepec Park. I even took a few nice photos which I will share with you now...

She doesn't look too happy being serenaded

The house of Dolers Olmeda
(one of Diego Rivera's lovers and an artist in her own right)

Center Square

Sculpture Park

Sculpture Garden...Life imitates art

Inside the Museum of Modern Art

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Momalicious

The visit with the Mom was fine. It was a little tricky to find things to do that all three (me, Mom and my sister) of us enjoy, but we had a nice time. We had some very interesting conversations about:

family, marriage, divorce, getting old, breast implants, breast reductions, politics, Iraq, Australian contortionists, what you should tell your children about sex, how to fight fair, adultery, retirement, boyfriends, potential boyfriends, bras, shoes, Oprah, over qualified immigrants settling for menial labor work, hurricanes, the word Saskatchewan and whether it really is funny or not, how to haggle for antiques, drug addiction, whether parents should bail their kids out of jail, the sea, real estate, investing in the stock market....


...and all that was just at dinner on the first night. Haha, just kidding.

We had dinner on Friday night at Clio in the Back Bay, the resident restaurant of the Hotel Eliot. I have to say, it was just OK. Not great. The waiter was snooty (he was clearly perturbed that we didn't order a first AND second course) and the food grossly over-priced as if the chef was just trying too hard to impress us with his artistic flair. But the sashimi bar, Uni, looked nice, if small. I may have to try that sometime.

Saturday we went up to lovely Newburyport to stroll around the shops and have a nice lunch. We eventually made our way out to Plum Island for a quick dip of our toes in the sand and sea. Erin hosted us for dinner at her new place in Charlestown and her boyfriend, Tom, came over to meet Mom. That went well.

Sunday we had brunch at Laurel, one of my favorite restaurants in Boston since it is so cozy and yet also very affordable. Their omelette filled with goat cheese, chives and lobster is fantastic (of course I order mine sans fromage). Afterwards we walked a few blocks to see the the beautiful Tiffany windows at the Arlington Street Church. We then drove down to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. I don't think Mom liked it much, but I thought it was great (this was my 4th or 5th time visiting). After this point we were running out of ideas of things to keep us happily occupied. We made a run to Target and then just went to Erin's to hang out until it was time to drive Mom to her airport hotel (she had an early flight the next day). Oh, and we watched the movie Kinsey too.

Here are a few pictures to commemorate the weekend...

Street Performers in Newburyport

Shopping in Newburyport

The Unitarian Church of Newburyport

Antiques for sales

Mom and Erin on Plum Island

Going for a dip

Me and my shadow

Footprints in the sand

Sand Craters


Sisters

Friday, August 26, 2005

Spamalot

What the heck? Isn't it enough that we are innundated with spam crap everywhere in our lives, and now we have to read spam comments on blogger???? Ugh! Frustrating. Spambastards.

Hey Jude

So, Judy is coming to town this weekend.
Judy and I go WAY back. I mean WAAAAAYYY back. I've probably known her longer than anyone. In fact, I became very attached to her at a very young age. Well, at around the time of my conception in any event. Judy, A.K.A "Mom" (not Mummy, Ma, or Mommy) is making her way to Boston as I type this from the deep South. Beaufort, South Carolina. Ever been there?


That picture above actually isn't Beaufort, it is Florida. Beaufort is a funny place. Very Southern. Very quaint. Lots of shrimp. It is where great films like The Prince of Tides and Forrest Gump were filmed. Possibly even Girls Gone Wild vol. 54.

Beaufort is very close to Parris "Where the Difference Begins" Island, you know... where the Marines go to boot camp. So the surrounding areas are very very very SERIOUSLY PATRIOTIC. No kidding around here, folks. I remember going to visit for Thanksgiving, the November after 9/11. It was my first time in the U.S. since those horrific events, and my first time to Beaufort, South Carolina.

I will never forget that at every hour, on the hour, the radio station played both the Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America followed by a short taped address from Prez. Bush. I was so surprised by the depth and the extent of patriotism... I just didn't expect it. Looking back, I suppose I should have anticipated seeing the outpouring of emotion being translated into the displaying flags on every available space. I did a photo essay of some of the stranger things I saw exhibiting our new found patriotism, which I will post on another day. Really, a stars and stripes thong?? Come on now.

For now, here are some pictures of Beaufort for your enjoyment.

Shrimp Boats in the Harbor

Sunset over the Low Country

This sign cracked me up. What is it telling
the driver?
You can go this way, OR that way.
Huh?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Ahhh... drugs.

All is much better now that the Endodontist has prescribed me some Vicodin for my tooth pain. And being at work today is an interesting experience... just trying to keep walking in a straight line any time I get up from my desk and use small words when talking.

However, once again last night the pain woke me up at about 3am (just 3 hours after I took the last dose of Vicodin). I managed to hang on for another hour before I couldn't stand it, and finally at 4am I got up, went to the kitchen, and popped another pill. I wanted to give the meds a chance to start working before lying back down, so I thought I would check on a few songs that I was downloading overnight (thanks to dial up 1 song takes about 30+ minutes to download).

So I sat on the living room floor, groggy and in pain, and powered up the laptop. I am just about to check the song file when out of the corner I see a blur of fur run across the living room and under the couch. FUCK FUCK FUCK. That goddamn mouse is still here. I guess he didn't read my letter from a few weeks ago and somehow thinks that he has free rein over my apartment during the late night hours. Well, Mr. Mus Musculus, YOU ARE WRONG. I guess the meds had kicked in a little bit since at the moment, instead of screaming and jumping out of the way, I just turned off the computer and went back to sleep (very un-interravision of me).

Now I am wondering... did I really see the mouse? Or was it my half-asleep, partially drugged, pain ridden brain that conjured him up out of thin air? Bah. I don't know. I was too scared to look for evidence of him under the couch this morning. I am sure he will make his presence known to me if he is intending to stay for a while.

By the way, the endodontist yesterday told me of a third option I have if the re-root canal or pulling the evil tooth in question are not viable solutions: surgury. See, how it works is that they attack the roots ("snip them off", he said) from the top, rather than going from the bottom via the tooth. How do they do that? Through your cheek. Ummm. No, I don't think I will be having a root extraction via my face anytime soon. No. And PPS: if I hear one more doctor say the word "snip" to me in the next few weeks I am going to lose my mind. You've been fairly warned.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Can I get a break, please??

My body is slowly falling apart...

Exhibit A: See posting from the other day which required me to leave the office at 3pm last Tuesday.

Exhibit B: Strange UFOs in my vision prompted me to get an eye exam at my local Lense Crafters. The nice Doc noticed a funny thing going on in the back of my retina, and said I had an "Atrophy of the Chorioretinal area". Hmmm. She sent me to a specialist two weeks ago. The good news is that it isn't an Atrophy so much as scaring. And probably not a big deal. The UFOs in my vision, he said, are most likely to be Ocular Migranes. So, my eyes are having headaches? I don't get it either. I should mention I had to come in to the office several hours late, and even when I got here I couldn't get much done since my pupils had been dialated and I couldn't see anything clearly.

Exhibit C: This damn cold I have had now for over a week that just does not want to go away. Bah! (which didn't stop me from having a really great date Saturday night!) I should mention, that meant I came into work late and left relatively early on this past Friday.

Exhibit D: In my life I have been relatively lucky in terms of my dental health, except for the strange fact of having 6 wisdom teeth. SIX! I've only ever had one single cavity, in my last top molar on the left side. Of course, this came up while I was living in Holland, which is where I then of course had the cavity filled. I guess I was eating too much hagelslag (that's a great website by the way).

It's a strange thing when you have dentists and nurses peering over your wide open mouth and muttering in a language you can't really understand. They were probably saying:

Nurse: She really does have a set of horse teeth
Doctor: Yes, indeed. Stupid Americans and their need for straight teeth, who does she think she is?
Nurse: You just better hope she doesn't actually ask for your license to practice.
Doctor: Good point. By the way, have you visited Mr. van de Kamp in the hospital since that procedure?
Nurse: No, he's too frightening to look at ever since.
Doctor: Ja, True. Your breasts look beautiful in that uniform. Fancy coming to my house for lunch?
Nurse: That would be lovely...
Doctor: Oops, I just drilled the wrong spot. Oh well, we'll just patch it up and she will never notice. I am sure she's not staying in Holland for long.

etc. etc. etc.

So then I returned to the US and learned, they had drilled the wrong spot, patched it incorrectly and as a result I needed A Root Canal. When my dentist told me (in English at least) that I needed a root canal I started to cry. When they told me how little of it my insurance would cover, I started to sob (remember Ashbloem when I called you sobbing afterwards when you were still in Lucerne?). I sat there while the technician finished cleaning my teeth with tears running uncontrollably down my face.

Not long after the root canal, I started to feel uncomfortable. The gold cap wasn't sitting right or something. So I went back to the Dentist and he sautered down the cap to line better with my bite. But the pain continued, so I went back again. He sautered again and I changed dentists.

My new dentist sent me to an Endodontist to look at the roots that were supposedly excavated when I had the root canal. X-rays proved that 2 of the roots were not completely excavated and the remaining nerve tissue was infected and the cause of my worsening pain. However, my insurance would not cover the procedure a second time, until a full year had passed from the first procedure. Whhaaaa? Crazy bastards.

So when the pain flared up for a day or two at a time, I would just take a shit load of Motrin and deal with it. Until this weekend. The pain has been so bad that I just cannot live with it anymore. And it has been a year, so the procedure to repair it should mostly be covered (I hope!). So, I am going back to another Endodontist later this afternoon (leaving the office early) for a consultation to see what's up. I know I am going to have 2 options:

1) Pull the tooth (which strangely I am OK with, it's the last tooth, do I really need it?)
2) Cut through the gold cap (that I spent like ONE MILLION dollars on) and re-excavate, and shore up the base of the tooth with some other substance, keeping the gold around the sides of the tooth. Ugh.

I have no idea what or how much of this I will have to pay for, but it all just makes me so mad. I think my boss, who is being kind about this, is starting to wonder what the hell is going on with me. I have one drs appt after another and another and another. I bet he thinks I am a hypocondriac or something. I wish that were my excuse, but in reality I really am just falling apart.

Send get well cards. I need the karma.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Moving Day

Today is moving day at the office. I am being moved temporarily to another part of the floor while contruction is being done in the area that I will be moving to in a month. Moving offices (something we do quite often for some strange reason in this office) is always interesting to me because I get to see some of the weird shit I have collected over time in, around, and under my desk. For example, I have found:
  • 5 CDs of Christmas Music
  • a stuffed duck
  • Ipod Earbuds that I can't seem to get to stay in my ears. A.K.A a waste of $30.
  • my copy of the Boston Globe when the Sox won the World Series
  • more packets of salt than you could shake a stick at
  • decorative tissue paper in neon green, neon orange, and neon pink
  • decorative ribbon to match aformentioned tissue paper
  • 7 pairs of shoes
  • a large wool shawl
  • A poster of the Charles River Conservation project
  • multiple pieces of airplane paraphenilia (pens, post-its, pads of paper, stationary, and 5 models of various airplanes)
  • a tiny painted wooden turtle whose head bobs back and forth
  • 2 decks of playing cards


The worst part of today is that I have a nasty cold and feel like utter crap. So, I'd much rather sit and blog this meaningless drivel than pack another orange crate. Blah. Sorry, next week I promise to be more entertaining.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Back to the Fun

After the serious and slightly depressing nature of the last post, I feel a little comedy is in order. And what is more comical than Superette and Ashbloem drinking together in a crowded bar filled with men in strange pants?

Here are the visual aides:





















I just love playing with the rapid fire picture snapping tool on my digital camera. Priceless. I wish I could paste these images into one of those little books and flip the pages really fast so it looks like a little movie. You know what I mean? That would be neat.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Praha & Eggs

YAY! I am going to Prague!

Prague, January 1999

I was getting a bit sad recently since I had no good travel plans in sight. This year has been a banner year for me in terms of travel (well, except for the year with Semester at Sea) and I am thrilled to add another trip to such a great city. The trip is not until November, so I have plenty of time to plan and get excited. Even though I am going for work, I am thinking about extending my trip and possibly hitting either Vienna or Budapest (both remain unvisited) while I am in the neighborhood.

I've ben to Prague once, in January 1999 to celebrate my 25th Birthday. We had all just moved to Amsterdam and it wasn't so shocking that I couldn't convince any of my colleague/friends to travel with me to the Czech Republic in the fridgid month of January. Of course, this was before Ashbloem moved to Amsterdam-- I am sure she would have accompanied me without question. And we would have had a damn good time.

So I went on my own to celebrate surviving my first quarter-century.

I've travelled a lot on my own, albeit mostly for work. Traveling alone on purpose for vacation is totally different (at least to me it is). In some ways it is liberating. You see exactly what you want to see, when you want to see it. Sleep in until noon one day? Sure! Stay up late chatting with people in the corner bar? Why not! Spend hours hunting for the perfect garnet ring? Great! Of course on the downside I had no one to point and giggle with when that crazy parade chanced upon me with people wearing the most outlandish costumes possible (one guy with his face painted bright green had a costume made out of barbie dolls and was playing a trombone. Seriously). And there's no one I can reminisce with about that time we froze our asses off in Prague in January.

One of the most memorable parts of my trip was going to see the opera, La Boheme, all by myself. This may not be a big deal to some people out there, but for me it was. I felt suddenly, and appropriately, very grown up in my smart dress in that very lavish opera house having turned 25 years old on that very day.

Even though my colleagues didn't come with me, they sent me a huge bouquet of flowers, champagne and a fruit plate so I felt loved despite their absence.

In other news....

I had lunch with the new president of my division last Thursday. He asked me one strange question that I am a bit nervous about... whether I would consider moving to India (either Delhi or Chennai) to further our presence there locally. As much as I would jump at the chance to move abroad again, I am not sure that I could do India. It is, after all, the place responsbile for my loss of the ability to eat delicious treats like cheese, ice-cream, cheesecake and all other things dairy. Funny, when people learn about my aversion to dairy I am often asked if I can eat eggs. I've got news for you: EGGS ARE NOT MADE FROM DAIRY PRODUCTS. They come straight out of a chicken. Not from milk, a cow, a goat, or a buffalo. OK, I'm glad that's straightened out now.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Damn you and your movie Rob Schneider

Under normal circumstances you would never catch me at a Rob Schneider film. I don't mean to be snobby, and I like a good laugh as much as the next person, but his genre of crass doesn't interest me much. But dammit. He has made a film showcasing the many beautiful sites of Amsterdam, and I just may be foolish enough to go see this film for this sole purpose.


Although why the movie poster shows him in Italy, I have no idea. A review I read today lambastes the the film from title to credits, but then says...

Shot on location in the Netherlands, this film is a visual delight.

A visual delight! How can I say no to that?! So the REAL question is: Amsterdam, how much do I love you? Do I love you enough to sit through a scene where a poor deformed "Russian girl with a phallic nose penetrates a woman with a hole in her throat"?

Yes. Yes, I believe I do. Dammit.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bespectacled

OK, so I got glasses.

The bad part was that I had to go pick them out on my own since no one else was around at 10am on a Saturday morning (who could blame them). And I know that I should not be trusted to pick my own frames (ooohhhh those pink ones look nice!). But hopefully I did OK. I have 30 days to return them if they are voted off the island.

Thoughts? Click on the image to see a larger version of the picture. (a couple of poses/hair styles so you can judge the full effect)



Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My new part-time job

No kidding, I was head-hunted to be an escort. No, really. I am not joking. Stop laughing.

This is the job offer:

$$$$Party Escort & Entertainment$$$$
With us you are guaranteed all the assurance, security, and financial stability of an upscale agency without ever having to sacrifice the self-sufficiency of working independently.
We are a referral based service, directing our “A-list” of existing clients to independent and non-pro escorts. (Essentially we work for you). Our newsprint, online and web-site advertising (With photos) will provide you with the necessary exposure needed to become successful in this business. We provide competitive wages along with security, booking, supplied transportation, and a Nextel direct connect cellphone. (See below for rate breakdown)


These rates are starting rates. Increases will depend on a girl’s performance and service.
$150.00 per Hour (For the first hour)
($75.00 for an additional ½ Hour)
$300.00 per 2-1/2 Hours
$550.00 per 5 Hours


Now, come on. REALLY. My first thought was... $150 an hour to be a scintillating conversationalist and dinner partner for a lonely businessman??!! I am worth WAY more than that. My second thought was....hmmm, what does "performance and service" entail? Yeah, maybe not.

But hey- did you see a Nextel direct connect cellphone is included? Right on! Sign me up!

(kidding, Mom. I would never do that. At least not for $150.00).

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Jetrosexuality

I've been informed by dear Stephanie that I am sooo Jetrosexual.

What is Jetrosexual you might ask? According to a CNN article about a Virgin Atlantic Ultimate Jetrosexual Contest:

Ignoring borders and time zones, they make the world smaller with each journey, the company said, and it is these travelers that have made the airline a successful venture for Virgin.
But that's not enough. There are 11 commandments to determine whether or not you qualify as the Ultimate Jetrosexual. See below for a complete list.



I don't think I actually qualify... I am a notoriously heavy packer and it's a bit of a stretch to claim I leave terra firma behind in order to move business and culture forward. But I am no chatty cathy nor do I own an inflatable pillow (it's a föm pillow, dammit).

A quick Google search indicates that this term is actually not so new. To quote Philip Sherburne's Blog entry from September 2004:

I may be a jetrosexual, but damn if it ain't giving me rugburn.

Indeed. Well, the prize for the Ultimate Jetrosexual Contest are two upper class plane tickets to London. And you know I am having quite the love affair with London this year. Deadline to enter is Sept 15...hmmm, that gives me just enough time to figure out how to order a beer in 2 more languages.

Poker, Wigs and Vodka



My lonely stack o' chips

Shuffle up and Deeeaaallllll!

You know what, I just suck at poker. I played OK. I really did. But lady luck just would not smile on me, even after I put on a hat. You know, that's my motto... when things aren't going your way, put on a hat. If I would ever play strip-poker, I would wear more layers than Mary-Kate Olsen would need if stuck in a meat locker. But when ladies play poker we get distracted. Here are some of the things that we had a "delay of game" to discuss:

  1. hats
  2. wigs
  3. proper hair removal of the pubic region
  4. vodka
  5. where to get a good hair cut (not related to #3)
  6. Boys
  7. cameras/digital pictures and how to get the multi-shutter function to fucntion

Here is a story in pictures:

The Game Begins, we are masters of the Poker Face



Ann does her best impression of Gob from Arrested Development
(if you haven't seen this show, shame on you)


the trash talkin' begins

Then we get down to serious poker business

I am convinced that Carrrrmen is hiding aces up her sleeves. Well, she doesn't have sleeves, but I am convinced that somehow she is cheating...look at this face, is it not the face of a cheater???

I need something to improve my karma, so I ask Ashbloem to borrow her cowboy hat. I love this hat. Then we all decide to don some kind of headgear. Except for Carmen who doesn't want to break her winning streak.




And before I know it...my dwindling stack o' chips...

...are all gone and I am out of the game. Not even the hat helped. Bah!
And of course I should admit that the real winner was of course Carrrrmen, that cheating bitch.

"Me? Gloat? No way!"
(hahaha suckers!)*

*Just kidding Carrrrmen, you are a winner full of humilty and grace. No. Really, I mean it.