Friday, December 29, 2006

Xmas Review

We are back in LI after our sojourn down South to shrimp country, Beaufort, South Carolina. There was good times, good food, and generally not-so-good weather. But despite the occasional torrential rain, our Christmas spirit could not be dampened (man, I love me a good cliche!). The story in pictures...

See more pics on my flickr account!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


How awesome is this? My brother and sister-in-law bought me a goat for Christmas!!

Now, before you go picturing me in the back yard of my long island apartment milking goats with my new Montenegrin family, check out the organization below who will ensure that said goat gets to the right family in need:
How awesome is that?!

D and I are off today to South Carolina for holidays with Mom and Erin. We're looking forward to some warm temperatures, lots of shirmp, and sitting on the back porch overlooking the marshy low country with mint juleps in hand.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Festivus for the Rest of Us to you all.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Photo Essay

Photo Essay in which our Hero attempts to re-educate himself on the art of tying a Windsor Knot.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I love the local library.

I love that there are these places you can go and "borrow" books, CDs, Movies (VHS or DVD) and much much more! Even magazines, though I am not certain you are really allowed to take those home. I love walking into the library and seeing dumb kids getting tutored by the elderly; that really warms my heart. I love seeing the bank of computers in the back always in use by every walk of life. I love that the library hosts discussion groups, book clubs, movie afternoons, and computer classes (not that I have ever been to them, but I like knowing I could go to go to a Mystery Monday Meeting, if I felt so inclined). I love that late fees are a mere $.05 per day. Suck on that, Blockbuster!

What I don't love are my local librarians.

Each time I have had the displeasure to interact with my librarians, who, sure look nice on the outside with their knit sweaters and plaid long skirts, I feel like a chastised child.

For example, last night I hit the local L to return some books and check out some new ones. Normally this takes me a long time, as I am particular about what I read. Or at least the condition of what I read. I don't like certain kinds of paper or covers. But I digress.

I had requested a copy of Martha Beck's The Joy Diet be sent to my local L. Because being on a food diet isn't enough, I must also check my joy. (side note: each time I try to type the word "joy" I mistakenly type "job"... Hmmm, I wonder why?? Maybe it's because I am in a Starbucks at 8:26 a.m. watching all the worker bees get their fuel before heading to the office. *sigh. I miss being a worker bee too, but I have an interview later today so cross your fingers for me).

Where was I?

Oh right, so I had requested Martha Beck's The Joy Diet. I love Martha Beck's writing. If you haven't read Expecting Adam, please do so immediately. I don't know why she gave this book this title, The Joy Diet, as I am fairly certain that she isn't attempting to restrict the joy (job) people bring into their lives, but rather improve it. She should have called it The Joy Lottery or The Joy Binge or something.

Did I mention I have had a lot of coffee?

I went to the service island at the library and waited for the librarian to get off the phone. Once off, she pointed to the main counter, I was supposed to ask them about my held book.

So, at the main counter, I had this conversation with the librarian, let's call her OLGA (Omnipotent Librarian Greatly Annoyed)

Me: Good evening, I was wondering if you have a book that I had requested- (interupted)
OLGA: Your card?
Me: Oh, yes, here it is.
OLGA: You wanted The Joy Diet?
Me: Yes, that's the one.
OLGA: (strumming her fingers on the desk looking deeply into the computer). Hm. Well, you requested this a long time ago.
Me: I suppose so, maybe about a week and a half ago.
OLGA: don't you know that we only hold books for three days?
Me: Oh, no I didn't know that. No problem.
OLGA: Only three days, that is the rule.
Me: OK, it's OK, I will go check the stacks-
OLGA: You should have come here before to get the book.
Me: Well, yes, but I was busy, I went to Chi-
OLGA: You can look for the book in the stacks.
ME: Right, thanks.

I have developed some kind of Library Envy. There are libraries ALL OVER Long Island. There must be four or five within five miles of my house. All the other ones look so pretty, big, with large windows and pretty landscaping. I drive by them and imagine a bevy of friendly librarians who look like Mrs. Cunningham helping their patrons with their reading needs and serving cookies and milk to those dumb kids. A girl can dream, right?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Looking Back

I found this picture at my grandmothers last week and have just fallen in love with it. The little boy all the way to the right (next to the Mamma) is my grandfather, August "Gus" Arado. His cheeky little smile kills me! We aren't sure about the occasion for which this picture was taken, but likely either a 4th of July or maybe even after my Great-grandfather, who had immigrated from Genoa to Chicago, was inducted as an American Citizen. It must have been taken sometime in the early 1920s.

Permit me to get a little sappy for a moment. I found it appropriate to stumble upon this picture during the Thanksgiving holiday, as it truly made me pause and give thanks to the proceeding generations who made great sacrifices that have enabled me live such a cushy life.

Other favorites from my photo safari include:

My Grandmother around 1920

My grandmother (bottom left) with her sister and parents. Check out the car behind them!

My grandmother and her sister are again in this picture, I don't know who the other kids are. I wouldn't want to mess with the two blondies in the upper left, but I dig the bows in their hair.

My grandfather is on the far left with his brother and sisters. I think he sort of looks like Harry Potter. Must be the glasses and floppy bangs.

My Grandfather playing cards with the boys. Must be around the 1950s.
My Gram doing a hula-hula dance
Oh yeaaaahhh, the 1970s (must be around '78 or so). I dig my parents matching plaid and my aunt and uncle's matching glasses. My Gram is the most fashionable of the bunch!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Guess what....

I am blogging from BEVERLY HILLS (chicago)!

Oh yes, it's a balmy 50 degrees outside, where is my bikini?? Any moment a waiter will be by with my martini and fresh mango. I am sure Lindsay Loh will be around any minute baring her crotch. Oh, poor Lindsay.

Seriously, I am hanging with my mom and grandma in Chicago for the holiday. I was able to get a decent flight deal at the last moment and flew out yesterday. We're about half an hour or so out of downtown in the outskirts of the city limits. It seems like most of the buildings around were contructed in the 50s or so, although it looks like tons of old places have been recently knocked down to make more room for the superstores. Funny that a lot of the old buildings still
standing have these marquis on them, or is it marquees, I don't know, I was never a good speller, but that is a whole different story. Anyway.

The marquees, for the most part haven't changed since 1978 by the looks of them. A dry cleaner we passed earlier promoted in big black block letters:

I know, a picture would have been better, but I didn't have my camera with me at the time. Moving on...

My gram is the cutest thing ever. Check her out here in the 50s:

She's nearly 89 now, and doesn't get around so well anymore, but she tells the best stories about our family in Chicago, especially during the 30s and 40s. I spent a large part of the day trying to replicate copies of her old pictures with my digital camera. Hopefully some will turn out well, like the one of my Gram wearing a hula grass skirt. Or my grandfather playing cards with the boys. Or the entire family standing in front of a huge black locomotive engine in 1935 or so. I will definitely be sharing later on, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My first thought when they put me in the wheelchair was...

"Oh shit! I don't have health insurance!"

Ok, yes being a little of a drama queen here. Let's rewind.

I got a call last night from the local blood bank, where I have given before, asking me to come in as the local blood supply is very low. Sure, how about tomorrow? So I go to the local blood bank, just a few blocks away, and get started. Registration take forever because each time they have to go through my travel resume to make sure I am eligible. It doesn't matter that each time they get the same story, it's part of the process each time.

The "giving" process was easy. It really doesn't bother me at all as long as I don't watch what is happening. I give pretty regularly so there aren't really any surprises. The fun began after I went to the recovery table to enjoy some free juice and snacks. I was feeling a little light headed, but nothing too serious and then all of a sudden I hear someone yell, "Nurse!" I thought, uh-oh, sounds like someone needs help. Oh, and oopps, that person is me-- and next thing I know I am waking up to a strange environment feeling like someone was rousing me out of the longest nap ever. I was out cold. I fainted.

This was kind of cool since I had never fainted before in my life. After they revived me, they put me in a wheelchair and sent me back to the beds where I had given blood. Thats when I got scared about the health insurance. Yeah, still working on that.

Well, don't let this little tale stop you from giving blood. It's really ok... I have don't it at least 20 times and this is the first time I ever fainted. I blame the Weight Watchers, actully. I mean, surely it's the diet's fault right?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Singapore Sling

I got my first interview in a while, thank god because watching my bank account slowly dwindling is definitely stressing me out. I have an interview next week with the Singapore Tourist Board in Manhattan. It isn't a job offer yet, but getting a call back from one of the 200+ resumes I have sent out is certainly encouraging.

I've never been to Singapore, though I have sailed past it. Do you think that will count against me? I hear good things about it from a former co-worker who now lives there and Matthijs who just stopped there on his way home from visiting his sister in Australia. I once went to a presentation by Singapore Airlines while in my former job. It seems like an interesting place.

Also, I have acquired two head hunters this week. One thanks to dear Ashbloem, another I found is specialized in tourism employment. The more I think about it, the more I really feel like I want to stay connected to the travel/tourism industry. I have been checking out every tourist board in NYC looking for jobs this week.

Earlier this week I was watching a little of the Travel Channel and I started to get the itch. Man, I really want to be somewhere, anywhere, new with a guidebook in one hand and a camera in the other exploring quiet foreign corners with Damir. Well, who knows, maybe we'll find ourselves on a flight to Singapore in the near future. Cross fingers (and toes) that the right thing comes along soon.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Hunting the Head Hunter

OK. I need to find a head hunter.

Yes, yes, some of you have been telling me I need to do this for a while and I am finally giving in. I don't know exactly why I am so reticent. It just sort of feel like I should be able to do this myself. Why do I need someone to do this for me??

But here is the problem: where do I find one? I don't want to just look in the yellow pages. Do I sign up for a bunch or just one? HOW DOES IT WORK??

I also need to find health insurance, but I just can't think about that right now. Its just too tedious.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Howlerween

This is the first year I am not getting dressed up for Halloween. Sure, I have the costumes in the basement from previous festivities, but I am not into it. Surprisingly, I am not missing it too much this year. I guess there's just other stuff on my mind. But, I am excited about the prospect of tricker-treaters coming to our door this evening. Never have I lived in a place conducive to little kiddies in costume coming to ring my bell. I have to say, I am really looking forward to it!

Well, even though I am not dressing up this year, I pay homage to halloweens and costume parties of years passed...

My mom used to make us THE BEST costumes. I don't know how she did it, but we never had store-bought platic costumes.

Check this out, she sewed that! I don't even have a sewing machine much less know how to use one.
While I lived in Amsterdam there were lots of costume parties being thown. At this one below there was a "Heaven and Las Vegas" theme, so naturally I dressed up as a shotgun bride.
Monica Lewinsky was an easy costume, and fun to boot. I went as ML for two halloweens in a row and never got bored of it.
Madonna at the office:

70's party, I was instructed to dress up like a white Diana Ross.

Wig party 2005 was a lot of fun back in Beantown. I like wigs (as if you couldn't tell).

The year the Red Sox won the world series I dressed up as Pedro Martinez.

Last year I bought an authentic flapper dress on Ebay (I loooove Ebay!) that was a little too boobalicious. But, I felt like a hot mamma in my 20's dress and black bob wig.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Cultural Leftovers

I like to cook, but being of Italian blood, it is impossible for me to cook just for one or two people. There is ALWAYS extra. But thankfully we live in a world where there is a plethora of tupperware-like items to choose from. Ohhh...pretty:

Ahh. I love tupperware.

So anyway. I cook alot and often. Back in Boston, my refridgerator (did I spell that right?) was often filled to the gills with random plastic boxes of pastas, veggies, sauces, etc. It seems like a sin to me to throw food away, so I don't. I just wait for it to get moldy and gross in my fridge and THEN I throw it away. Doesn't that make sense? I wouldn't want to, you know, waste good food. Wasting bad food though is another think all together.

Recent Conversation during lunch:
Damir: Sweet, you really are a wonderful person, did you know that?

Me: Oh that's so nice of you. Why do you say that?

Damir: You always think ahead. You're always like three steps in front of us.

Me: Um, what do you mean?

Damir: Like
you cook food and keep it in the fridge so it is there to eat all week.
Me: Huh?

You see, in the Damir Family culture they really don't do leftovers. They cook enough for whomever is eating and the remaining scaps, what little there would be, gets trashed. No tupperware necessary.

So, given my unemployed state of mind, I really started to think about this. Are leftovers so very American? Afterall, Tupperware was invented in 1945 by a dude named Earl Tupper here in the good ole` US of A, Flordia I think.

Recalling the size of my fridge in Amsterdam, which was no larger than most bar refridgerators you'd find in a small college dorm room, I can see why you wouldn't want to was the precious cool space on old food. Is it a question of space?

Maybe the reticence to over produce comes from experiencing the war they lived through back in Yugoslavia. I would imagine that food, especially fresh vegetables, was in limited supply during the long war in the Balkans. One would have to become accustomed to cooking just what was necessary.

Well, I will have to do some more investigating before I can get to the bottom of this. In the meantime I leave you with hysterical Dutch cartoon which clearly is a satirical commentary on the mass production of food amongst the upper-class:

Hm. Man, I need a job.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Seen and Heard

On a bumper sticker:

"Don't let the car fool you. My treasure is in Heaven."

Prez's Press Conference yesterday:

"Yes, we've got some people dancing in the end zone here in Washington, D.C.; they've got them measuring their drapes; they're going over to the Capitol, and saying, my new office looks beautiful, I think I'm going to have this size drape there, or this color."

On a Soap Opera:

"As Evil as he is, I don't think he would kill my baby."

What a strange strange world we live in.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Guest Blogger

Arrghhghghghhhh! It's MY Birthday!!!

I confess... Damir didn't blog this... I did. Mwahahahahaha.. FOOLED YOU.

Happy Birthday Baby! Dragi Moi!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Just Weight

My friends.

Last night I went to my first weightwatchers meeting since August 9th. More than 2 months! The results? Well, lets just say that I definitely needed to be back there. No, OK. Let me be more honest here. I gained back everything that I had a couple extra.

I knew it was bad...I didn't know it was that bad.

I came home and burst into tears. All that hard work erased like it never happened!! I only have myself to blame. BUT, today is a new day and choices are still mine to make. As my dad signs off every email "Nothing is settled. Everything matters" (an unknown quote).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Float On

I have now come to the realization again that I don't have a job again. It is hard to get passed that and jump head first into the job pool again. Nothing looks remotely interesting. However, I am still excited about finding the website This site rocks! Just plug in some keywords and your zipcode and this site does a full search for you: newspapers, job boards (like Monster, Hotjobs and Career Builder, and even Craigslist. They also search smaller, lesser known sites. It makes the job search so much easier. Great idea!

My brain is bored. And when bored, I eat. I had abandoned Weightwatchers while navigating this adjustment, and definitely can tell that I have gained back most of what I lost. It is with a lot of shame I admit that here, but it is the truth. It's too easy to snack all day long when you aren't working. And now having a car, I am doing much less random physical activity. I have another 100 or so excuses as to why I have gained back the weight, but I won't bore you (or me for fear of repurcussions mentioned above) with additional details.

BUT I have found a place nearby where I can get back on the wagon. I am going this afternoon. I am terrified of meeting the scale and finding out how much my downslide really has cost me. But yes! I will face the enemy!

But you know what? I am still giddy with happiness, despite my waistline and unemployment. I feel better than I have in ages. I am even starting to like daytime TV!

Friday, October 13, 2006


Tonight Damir and I are going to see the Empire State Building. Shockingly, neither of us has ever been before. I feel like a litte kid, I am so excited!

One thing I have not been doing lately is taking enough pictures. I used to always have my camera stashed in my purse, but now couldn't even tell you exactly where it is. Shame! I will definitely take a bunch of pictures tonight.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Easy Come, Easy to Let Go

I quit my job today.

Thanks to everyone who sent encouraging text messages, emails and comments here on the blog. It was the right thing to do. A little rash maybe, but I know I would never have been truly happy there. Why waste time running in place?

I feel nervous about what is to come next, but feel pretty good that it was the right decision.


Is it so much to ask to find a job that I will actually want to get up for every day? Or at least some days?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Prison Break.

I can't take it.

This work place is simply ridiculous on so many fronts. First, essentially no permitted contact with the outside world. No external email, no internet access, and no personal phone calls. That combined with no windows... it really is a prison!

How about this for ridiculous:

I report to the CEO, Mr. Herman. The person responsible for training me, Myra, just happens to be his wife. But, she also refers to him as "Mr. Herman". For example:

Me: Myra, those are beautiful pictures of a baby on your cubicle.
Myra: That's Daisy, Mr. Herman's grandaughter.


I can't imagine being 65 working in a cubicle refering to my husband (in his own windowless horribly decorated office) as Mr. So and So. She surfs the internet all day. She has internet. Being the boss' wife has priveledges. Except you can't call him by his first name in front of the plebs.

A woman scowled at me yesterday for failing to correctly transfer a call to her properly. Yes, an acutual SCOWL. Nevermind the fact that no one showed me how the phone (or fax or copier or wacky internal network or anything else) works.

No one talks to each other.
No one smiles.
No one looks like they are glad to be there.
The bathroom is grey too.

They introduced me en masse to the team yesterday. This is how it went:

Team Leader: Does anyone else have any searches today? No?
HR Manager: Oh, I forgot, I'd like to introduce our new Corporate Trainer. Everyone, this is Terra. She is our new Corporate Trainer.
(people politely smile without showing their teeth and a few limply wave)
Team Leader: Ok, welcome. Is that all?
HR Manager: Yes.

So I ask you this: what is the fastest you ever quit a job? How much notice do you think I need to give after 2 days of work?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mr. Mr.

OK, so news:


A real job. Not walking dogs. Not doing makeovers for Mary Kay (a brief consideration). I am the new Corporate Trainer for a company in Manhattan, Times Square to be exact. I am replacing a woman who is having a baby. I did some training with her last week and start full time next week. With any job, there is good, bad, and ugly...

The Good:
My working hours are 9-5, an hour for lunch and from what they tell me, no required overtime or weekends. Ole`! Its amazing to me how much unpaid overtime I put in to my last job. I knew it was part of the deal, and didn't complain, but an a huge plus is knowing that with this job I will be heading home at 5pm every day.

I won't be managing staff in this job. I like managing staff, and in the past have had employees both love and hate me. It's such a rollercoaster, I am glad not to worry about it for a while.

Times Square Baby! I love the buzz.

I think that corporate training is a good career move for me, and something I might truly love. Getting my feet wet in this arena could lead to some great things down the line.

The Bad:
Well, the office itself is a dim, dark, grey place. I already mentioned this. No windows. No pretty offices. Cubicles. It is so dreary.

The commute. It could be worse, for sure, but still. To get to Times Square, I walk 3 blocks to the train station, take a 35 minute express train to Penn Station, and walk about 8 blocks (or take one subway stop) to Times Sq. I guess it's about an hour door to door. It isn't horrible, the train is peaceful and fast and you can always get a seat. Oh, but a 1 month pass costs like $200. Ouch.

The Ugly:
Man... the benefits are SOO bad. So. So. So. bad. No 401(k). No vacation the first year (although they said they would turn a blind eye for a few days). Restricted sick days. No tuition reimbursement, no donation matching. Oh, and they only pay about 1/3 of my insurance. Thats another couple of hundred out of my pocket each month. Oy.

The Weird:
OK, I can't get over this, really! I call my boss by his last name. Mister Herman (not his real name). Everyone calls him this. Yes, he is the founder and CEO of the firm, but still it kills me. I can't remember the last time I called someone I had a close working relationship with "Mister" or "Mrs". I want to laugh each time I say it, or hear someone else say it. "Good Morning Mr. Herman" "Oh, Mr. Herman will work with you on that project" (inside I say tee-heee-heee!)

It's a paycheck. I can always quit if I don't like it!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

...And how would you do??

I had to take a 150 question psychological exam yesterday as my final stage of interviews for this position I am up for. A bunch of the questions were like this:

Choose which represents you most and least:

- I think rules and regulations should be followed regardless of consequences
- People are trustworthy
- Money should only be spent if it increases your power or position
- Good leaders should consider the feelings of all the staff before proceeding

Yeah. There were about 100 of these kinds of questions.

Then there was a logic section. I am going to put it out there.... I only ever failed ONE class in my life and it was LOGIC. Sure, I retook the class and got a B+ leading me to believe:

All students fail the class if the teacher is supremely bad.
The teacher of my logic class in college was supremely bad.
I failed the class.

OK, all students didn't fail... but a bunch did. I hated that class. Which is so funny because I consider myself a pretty analytical person. But I hate these kinds of questions and love them all at the same time. Weird, no?

Anyway, I am getting off track. Yesterday I had to answer 50 analytical questions like these.

Select the choice that best completes the relationship:

1) 23: 3,983 as 32: ?

a. 3,839
b. 3,994
c. 4,874
d. 9,599

2) C A R R ?

a. S
b. X
c. I
d. Y

3) 60 30 20 15 12 ?

a. 13
b. 6
c. 10
d. 4


a. P
b. O
c. D
d. I

5) Which sequence doesn't belong?


6) EHLQ?

a. W
b. V
c. Y
d. Z

So now I am just waiting for a call to find out if I am smart enough and emotionally stable enough to be offered the grey office job. Wish me luck. I think.

Monday, September 25, 2006

If a car travels 18.75 miles in 30 minutes...

I had an interview on Friday for a "Corporate Trainer" position for a staffing firm. The job sounds pretty good, actually. I would be training the sales staff on how to better negotiate positions between candidates and clients. The office is in the middle of Times Square, but is hideously ugly. Grey walls, grey carpet, no windows. Who thought this was a good thing? I can see it now...

Office designer: Ohh, look at this color! I love it! It's so bleak and boring! GREY !
Manager: YES! Awesome! People will be so bored by their office environment that they will be forced to work Work WORK!
Office designer: Why, YES! I never thought of that, perfect!

The funny thing was that after a great interview with a lovely Irish woman, I had to take a test. In 12 minutes I had to answer as many questions as I could. The questions tested my math, vocabulary and logic skills. Ugh! I wasn't ready for it at all. When is the last time YOU added fractions?? If I get to the second interview, I have to take another test, this one takes about 2 hours and tests my psychological ability to handle this job. Wha??

OK, in other news, I have a confession to make.

I got the fake nails. What's worse, I got them in the "french manicure" style. You know what they say... when in Rome...

They look awesome.

Monday, September 18, 2006


My efforts to find a new gym have not yet been fruitful. I did go to Bally Total Fitness where a man with a huge beer gut and hickey on his neck showed me the facilities. Eww.


People like to put flags on their cars here. So far, I have encountered the following flags:

- US
- Israel
- Mexico
- Italy
- Boston College (?)
- Yankees
- Mets


There is a nail salon on every other corner and 9 out of 10 women here sport fake nails. I feel the peer pressure to have mine done.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Emotional Debris

I didn't plan to go to Ground Zero. It just sort of happened.

I woke up before dawn yesterday after a night of tossing and turning. At 5am I woke up D. and asked him if it was crazy to just go down there. Now. At 5am. He said "of course it isn't crazy, you should go". That's one of the reasons why I love him. He gets it.

I was already on the Long Island Express to Penn Station before the sun rose.

I exited Penn Station at 34th Street and just started walking. I walked all the way down to the Financial District taking in Chelsea, the West Village, Soho and Tribeca along the way. The sky was very very blue (just like it was 5 years before, they say) and the air was crisp and fresh.

I never imagined 5 years ago (not that my mind was on anything other than the terrible events of the day) that I would actually be living in the city I was watching on TV. I never wanted to live in (or near) NYC. But, strangely enough, I find that I love it. Fate is funny that way.

I took a handful of pictures yesterday morning. Feel free to have a look if you wish. I am so glad I was there.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Name is Walker...

...DOG Walker...

I have lined up the first of several freelance gigs. I am the newest dog walker/pet sitter for a local company. Its pretty sweet, actually. I go to people's homes, play with their pets, and get paid to do it! And tipped! My first client is a golden retriver puppy that I will go play with 4 days a week. This makes me unspeakably happy since my first dog was a golden retriver puppy and I understand how much love and attention they need, since ours ate through the breakfast room wall while left home alone during the day. They are in the final stages of checking my background and references, so I should be on my way with leash in hand shortly.

D and I went to DC last weekend for a little sightseeing, checking out the neighborhood where I grew up, and picking up my dad's truck that I am borrowing until early spring.

Thankfully it was pretty cool and not as muggy as I had feared. We did some driving around Hillandale, Potomac, Bethesda and Chevy Chase. We even did a tour of the momuments by night in the truck and I didn't even get too lost! In the day we walked around the Mall and went to several of the museums, just managing to catch the American History Museum before they closed yesterday until 2008 for rennovations.

Yesterday I started studying in earnest for the NYC guide exam. This won't be easy since I am very much starting from scratch. First, I am mapping out all the places, people and events I want to study (see the index cards). Then I will visit each place and take a picture of each important building or site to attach to the cards. I haven't studied in so long, it's hard to remember how to start. I think I will need a good 6 months before I feel ready to take the exam.

I have been getting more and more comfortable here in the apartment. I had a funny conversation with Joe (D's dad likes to be called Joe for some reason) the other day. He was either saying that carrots don't go well in a salad, he doesn't like carrots or carrots are good for eyesight. I am not sure which of the three. Or maybe it was something totally different. Hm.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Space. Or lack thereof.

I knew coming down here that the primary obstacle would be the question of space.

I have always enjoyed having my own space. I like my alone time, and I like living alone. I never wanted roommates, and haven't had any since I left Semple Street in South Oakland after I graduated from college.

So I am taking a fully furnished one-bedroom apartment and moving into an already furnished apartment with 3 other people. We first loaded all my things into the basement, and bringing up boxes I need one by one to unpack. I am constantly asking myself, "where can this fit?" and, in all honesty, "where do I fit?" I am trying to figure out where I fit within this family and culture that is much more insular than my own. With each item I cannot find space for, this rug and that picture frame, it feels like a piece of me that isn't fitting in.

This is my doing, not anyone else's. D and his family have opened their arms and their home to me, and I am grateful to them for it. But that is the thing, it is their home. When, if ever, will it feel like my home too? The problem is that I don't know how long I am staying. A few months? I don't really know. Things are so up in the air right now, it is hard to make concrete plans. Even if just a month or two, shouldn't I still unpack and hang pictures?

Well, for now it is just one step, one box, at a time.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

How much does this cost?

I saw THE BEST store yesterday:

"Everything More Than $1.00"

Yes, can you believe it? A store where everything they sell costs more than ONE dollar! Incredible! How funny is that? I wished I had my camera with me. Dammit.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Interravision: Now Live from Long Island!

I am here!

The move was stressful. U-Haul was a joke...they should call it U-Don't-Mean-Shit-To-Us-Even-Though-You-Are-Paying-A-Fortune-

Yes, they should call it that. I will spare the details though. They are neither interesting nor funny.

I am here!

We rolled into Long Island well after 1am last night and had to take a complex maze of streets to get home since you can't drive trucks on the parkways. We left all the boxes in the truck and just went right to sleep, both of us exhaused. Damir from loading the entire truck himself, me from the nightmarish drive through flooded CT.

I am unemployed and living in Long Island with my boyfriend of 5 months and his immigrant parents who don't speak english.

This is going to be Very Interesting.

The parents were asleep when we got home, but both greeted me warmly in the morning. D's dad, Suco, told me (via D's interpreting) that I can use his car whenever I like. This is a big deal since he doesn't let ANYONE drive his car. It is his way of accepting me into the household.

When D isn't around, conversations with the parents are an interesting combination of broken english, broken croatian and erratic gestures. Somehow it works, sure, it's awkward, but it works well enough. As long as you aren't asking anything more complicated than "are you hungry?" and "where is the sugar?" We won't be breaking out in political debate any time soon.

I have contacted the local Berlitz office to get information on a crash course in croatian. That would be very helpful, I think. I just am not getting far with my books and CDs that I bought from Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago. The problem there is that I hate the voice of one of the instructors. She is so hard to understand and doesn't ennunciate at all. I get so annoyed I can't focus on learning the vocab. Ash suggested getting a tutor on craigslist, I might do that as well.

I am proud just to get all the names down in the family... Suco (pronounced SU-cho), Sabrija (saBRIEya), Hitta, Sedika, Zorz (Gorge), Miro, Ennis, Sayo, Mecha, Villa, Selma, and Aunt Peggy (PEG-gie) to name a few. Oh, and Elvis. Can't forget Elvis!

Well, there is a truck waiting to be unloaded with my name on it. Since I have no job at the moment and a brand new subscription to T-Mobile's hotspot wireless, you will see lots more posts here at Interravision: Live from Long Island!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Every New Begining...

As I was getting ready for work on Wednesday morning, my last day of work, that song came on, Closing Time by Semisonic. It was popular a while back, and I remembered hearing it over and over before moving to Amsterdam. I hadn't heard it in forever, and it made me stop and smile. Every new begining comes from some other begining's end...

Since the birth of Interravision I have refrained from discussing, except in general detail, the nitty gritty of my job. There were a couple of reasons for that. First, it's not all that fun to blog about. Second, knowing that some of my coworkers, and the staff that worked for me were reading along, made it seem inappropriate. It also just didn't seem professional and I didn't want to get Dooced.

Now that this particular chapter of my life has come to a close, it is natural to feel inclined to summarize, euologize, and wax poetic about the place that ruled most of the days of my life for the past 9 years. Lord knows there are stories to tell. Some of them are dammed good, if I do say so myself.

But for some reason, I am not ready to do that yet. Maybe I am denial that I find my self rather unemployed (though I prefer to use the term: freelance). Maybe I have too many boxes left to pack and my brain is too crowded with a long to-do list to sit.

Maybe it's all just not that important. It was just... a job. There will be many others. But man, sometimes that was one crazy place to be.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

T Minus 5

I have started again and again this blog posting today. None of my ideas are sticking.

I want to tell you about the emails I am going through. The thousands of emails stored in my inbox that recount the story of a thousand failures and successes. The correspondence of friends. The stories of others. I miss letters. Letters are easier to take with you, at least in some ways.

I just came across the emails written to and from me in the moments after September 11. They are unbearable to read, still today.

Monday, August 21, 2006

T Minus 6

My house is in chaos. Boxes are everywhere. I took some pictures so you could see evidence of this chaos, but my camera cord appears to be in one of those boxes. Or somewhere. Maybe.

I sold a bunch of things, but still have a lot left. I sold my bed, Ektorp chair, my lamps, my amsterdam dishes, a set of silverware, and a few DVDs. I'd still like to sell my couch and rug, but I won't sell them for less than I think they're really worth. They can fit on the U-Haul on Sunday if necessary. A few things I thought I would sell, my bookcase and some artwork, I decided to keep afterall.

When a cute couple bought my comfy chair this weekend, the first of my big items to sell, I wanted to cry. That's my chair! I earned that chair! I've loved that chair. It's stupid, I know. This is all a very big deal to me, and for the moment there feels like more loss than gain. Though I know that tide will turn when the move is over and the reasons I am moving are more present than future.

This is a week of goodbyes, with plans with various friends and family each night. That reminds me, I should store some tissues in my purse. I have a feeling I will need them.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


As a man named Jorg was sifting through my things and making me various offers on my belongings, it hit me. I really am leaving. He ended up buying my trashcan of all things, I sold it to him for $10. Now I don't have a trashcan.

* * *

I am in a state of panic. Not about leaving my apartment or job, but about saying goodbye to people. I usually go out of my way to NOT say goodbye to people, even (to my immense shame) to my friend who passed away last year. I know I will be back, I know I will be here for visits. But its not the same now, is it?

* * *

I am excited about the future. I have applied to such a variety of things to work on. I have decided to study for the NYC Guide Licensing Exam (not easy!). Last night I applied to work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a visitor coordinator and as a VP of Ops for a travel company. It's stunning to me how radically different my choices are. What road lies ahead?

* * *

I have never moved myself, with anything more than a car full of crap. My moves to and from Amsterdam were completely orchestrated by the company. I didn't pack a thing. Lift a thing. Move a thing. Bliss. I look around my apartment at my stuff and it already feels like I am sitting on someone else's couch. Last night I was careful not to spill. Where do I get boxes??

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Virtual Yard Sale

Everything Must Go!

Everything for Sale. All this plus MORE! See my flickr account for more pics. Also for sale, glasses plates, kitchen appliances, CDs, Books (by the box!), DVDs, etc. etc. etc!!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Interview with my Critical Voice

So, my Critical Voice is probably loud enough for you to hear, right? It's certainly blaring in my ears and sounds like the voice of Fran Drescher with an undertone of chalkboard scratching... just in case you can't hear it, let me transcribe our latest conversation.

CV: So, my dear (snark snark), you've gone and quit your job, is that right?

Me: Why, yes, Critical Voice, I have. I quit my job. After 9 years I am ready to do something new. Isn't that exciting??

CV: Interesting. Something new. What will you be doing? When do you start your new job?

Me: Well..umm...uhhh... you see I don't actually have a new job yet. I did have one...but I rejected it when I realized my new would-be boss was a total jerk who would make my life a living hell.

CV: WHHAAT? You quit your job and you have no job to fall back on? What the hell?! Did you at least give like 2 months notice to give you time to find something else?

Me: No, not really. My last day at the office is August 23.

CV: THAT IS NEXT WEEK (scccrraaaaatch)!

Me: I am aware of that.

CV: At least you have been in Boston a good four years. You know the lay of the land, thank god.

Me: HAHA, well, Voicey my friend, that brings up a whole different issue. I am moving. To Long Island.

CV: Oh.My.God. You are going to give me a heart attack. Long Island? Don't you know that is where Amy Fisher was from? You know what happened to her, right?

ME: I promise not to have an affair with a married man and shoot his wife in the head and become a Lifetime Movie Event.

CV: well, that's at least some good news. Did you already find an apartment? I know you had your eye on that cute little neighborhood, Point Lookout.

ME: True, I love that little area. So nice, near the beach, friendly people. You are right, I would love to live there...but...

CV: oh no, don't tell me.

ME: Without a paycheck, I can't really sign a new lease now can I? So, I know it isn't necessarily ideal but sometimes that's just the way things go. I am going to stay with Damir for a little bit until the job situation stabilizes.

CV: You're moving in with him?

Me: Well, not really MOVING in. Just staying. For a while. Until...

CV: Right. So, you are telling me that you are essentially HOMELESS and JOBLESS.

Me: Well, if you look at it that way...

CV: it's my job to look at it that way.

Me: Right. I guess it is being Critical Voice and all.

CV: You've lost your mind. I go away for a little vacation and you go and quit your job, leave your home and move in with a guy you've been seeing long? Six months?

Me: Let's see... more like 4 months or so. Give or take a couple of days.

CV: &^*&%(*%#!

Me: Now, CV, there's no need for that kind of crude language.
What happened?
Are you still there?

CV: Errrghhghhhhh.......................... ... .. . . . . .

* * *


* * *

Yes my friends. I am selling everything I can, letting go of my fabulous cozy apartment, and starting a new life. I have no job, but a lot of chutzpah. I have no house of my own, but a family that welcomes me with open arms. Best of all, waiting for me is an amazing man who makes all the worry and stress (and bad dates) worth it all. Strangely's really not that scary. Not scary at all!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

And Just When You Think It Can't Get Worse...

We all agree: a wax replica of porn stars is pretty bad. I thought it was the bottom of the barrel. Really, the worst of the worst. But Holy Moses on a Cracker, we have reached new lows as a society.

I present to you this:


You won't be surprised to know that this work of "art" was created by the same artist who gave us a replica of Brittney Spears giving birth on a bear skin rug. For all that is good and holy in this world, I will not post the actual photo of that "art". Caution to those with weak stomachs to not follow that link.

Yes, that is Hillary Clinton. It's called something like "Presidential Bust".

Didn't know she is so busty? Apparently artist Daniel Edwards didn't know either. He had to find pics of poor Hills in a bathing suit to get the gist of her bustage.

"It's hard to find many images of her [breasts]. She usually covers herself up in a professional way. But there are beach photos of her," the New York Daily News quoted him, as saying.

Beach photos.

If you'd like to see this for yourself, head to the Museum of Sex (*seriously?) on NYC's 5th Ave.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wax poetic..Err I mean Pornographic?

I already told you that wax replicas of real people (or not so real) freak me out. This is definitely taking it to far:

The statue of Jameson, 32, shows her wearing next to nothing, while kneeling on a bearskin rug. Visitors who touch her tattoos will hear the statue whisper sexy messages. Jameson says after her wax likeness is unveiled, "This is an awesome honor... especially since I'm making history as the first personality from the adult world to have an attraction at Madame Tussauds, and it is happening in Las Vegas, my hometown."

Jameson introduced the life-sized statue at a special ceremony. It is shown wearing a "Jenna" black leather belt with her name written in rhinestones. She says to the New York Post, "It looks so real." Visitors can take photographs with the wax Jameson. She is displayed next to Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

Are you for real? OK. Don't answer that. The part that kills me is if you rub her tattoos you hear "her" whisper sexy messages. Umm. Such as?


Many a location consider themselves to be the HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH. Googling it up, I find that the following all make this vain assumpution:

- Disneyland
- Denmark
- Vanuatu
- The Tall Ship Soren Larsen
- China (whhhhaaat?)
- Medical School
- Santiago, Chile
- Salzburg
- Stowe, VT

Sorry, folks. I think you are all wrong.

No doubt about it, the happiest place on earth is the arrivals area of any major airport. I LOVE going to pick people up at the airport just to stand among those giddy with anticipation over the arrival of their loved ones.

The best was in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. The arrivals area is separated from the baggage claim/customs area by a wall of glass. All sorts of people, young, old and everything in between, would press their noses up against the glass desperately searching for their friend to come into view. And LORDY HALLELUJAH when they did! Frantic waving, squeals of delight, and often tears of joy would ensue. I could sit back with a nice beer and watch that human drama all day long.

The best is when a whole CARAVAN of people go to meet someone at the airport. It's like a party! Who brought the cooler full of sandwhiches and soda? Uncle Mikey? Perfect! Just the other day I was waiting in the sparkling new Terminal A at Logan Airport for Damir to come through the doors. A HUGE Greek family was all in attendance waiting for friends to arrive on the same plane he was arriving on. I mean, there must have been 20 or so people from newborn babies to a feeble, and seemingly confused, grandfather. They ran back and forth between the doors where their loved one would exit and the monitors that chronicled her progress. She's landed! She's landed! They were grabbing at each other's hands and shoulders with excitement. I sat in the background, quitely eager and checking the plane's status on my cellphone, feeling the same level of anticupation that they were exuding.

And then she walked through the doors to her waiting family, and an explosion of cheers and WHOOPS echoed through the entire terminal. Everyone waiting in the area turned to watch the celebration. You would have thought that Elvis himself had walked through the doors. Hugs were passed all around, cheeks were kissed, an abundance of flowers were pressed into her arms. I noticed the grandfather standing apart from the melee`, and just a moment later the arriving daughter noticed him as well. She parted herself from the multiple embraces and quietly moved to him with a wide smile and outstretched arms. I could see he was crying. And then EVERYONE was crying, me included.

A few moments later I found myself wrapped in the embrace of my own sweetheart, feeling as though weeks, not just a few days, had passed since my cheek last rested on his collarbone. The happiest place indeed.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Family Fun Weekend


It has been a while since I took out the ole digi cam, and this weekend provided tons of photo ops.

First, and most important, was my sister's graduation from NESA. I am so proud of her! It was such a great graduation ceremony, with several great speakers. My parents and her boyfriend were there as well to help her celebrate!

Since Dad and Jan were in town for graduation, we planned some fun excursions. On Saturday we went out to Boston's Harbor Islands. I can't believe in 4 years I have never been out there! It was so nice... easy, quiet, not crowded. We had a great time taking the ferry to Spectacle Island and Georges Island.

On Sunday we just strolled around town after a leisurely brunch (the stroll followed by a not-s0-leisurely harrowing trip to the airport where Dad and Jan made the flight by the skin of their teeth). The weather was finally perfect, so me and my sweetheart took advantage and get a few photos in by the flowers in the public garden. We've been lucky to spend every weekend for the past 2 months together. Lucky... but not easy! I am flying back down Friday night again. I better get cracking on some more Croatian lessons!