Friday, December 28, 2007

Open Letter: To All Mannequin Manufacturers

Dear Mannequin Manufacturer:


I can understand adding the nipples to those lifeless bodies that showcase the fashion of the day behind large plate-glass windows. Nipples are cute, perky, and add some sexiness to the inanimate form. It makes the passer-by perhaps stop in front of the window and say, "hey! look at those boobies! Oh, and what a cute sweater, maybe I shall buy it and my boobies will look so pert!" I am sure that happens all the time. Plus, no one wants to have a mono-boob and the addition of the nips does indeed prevent this embarrassment.
But, I have to say that adding a well defined RIB CAGE on recent mannequins is not a wise choice on your behalf. In fact, I daresay that now you have gone too far. Visible ribs are totally gross, unsexy and unnecessary. Sure, maybe I wish that my rib cage were a little less "hidden" beneath my internal layers "insulation". But this rant is not coming from a point of jealousy. Really, I mean it. It comes from a point of caring. Maybe, instead of parading a troupe of emaciated waifs on your pedestal, you could try experimenting with a variety of body shapes. *Sigh. I know that will never happen in today's "anorexia gloriosa" culture. But know this: instead of looking at said mannequin and thinking, "Oh, cute! I want that!" I think "Man, get that girl a sandwich STAT." And I keep on walking. Thankfully, I know that the mannequin will not follow me.
Happy New Year.
P.S.: Loved Kim Cattral in that movie you made. You should make more who look like her. For real.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I have never worked before for a company whose busy season falls around the holidays, so my 10 years in the workforce have been blessed with nice long Christmas breaks, sometimes lasting as long as 2 blissful weeks. Sadly, this is no longer the case. November through New Year's Day is peak season here in NYC and the city is packed with tourists needing the services my company provides. Oh, and I don't technically get any vacation days in my first 12-months in this job.

I am fortunate this year to be able to take off Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, giving me 5 consecutive days off. I know this is more than a lot of people out there, but still it feels short-- especially since I wasn't able to take any time over Thanksgiving to see my family. I have been working at full speed these last several weeks, so I am practically foaming at the mouth to have a few days to relax.

We'll be heading to Connecticut where the folks have rented a house for a week. I am ever so grateful not to have to fly anywhere this Christmas, so that should make the time that I do have away from my desk all the more enjoyable.

Speaking of things that are enjoyable, I made the most awesome Christmas cookies this past Sunday, and had some fun testing the macro focus function on my camera:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Brush with Celebrity

Since I started working in Manhattan a few months ago, I was on the lookout for my first celebrity encounter. See Robin Williams a few feet away while filming a movie, doesn't really count since he wasn't out in the wild with us normal folks. I wanted to see a celeb au naturel.

My colleague told me, look when you least expect it. OK. I guess I don't typically run in the kind of circles where I would actually expect to see a celebrity (such as the hottest clubs or prison), so that pretty much means I am constantly on the lookout. Not in a stalker-weirdo kind of way, I assure you. Really.

So imagine my delight when walking into the elevator of my office building, take out lunch in hand, I run into (almost literally) Alan Alda. You know! ALAN! Mr. Alda! Of M*A*S*H fame! Man, I loved that show, except for the awful laugh track. You know, this guy:

If you can believe it, and I am sure you can, upon entering the elevator, a fellow passenger says, "Hey! You're that guy from M*A*S*H! Alan, errr...Mr. Alda just smiled weakly and said "yes." I should have taken this cue (that's actor speak for "sign" you know) that he wasn't up for much conversation. But once everyone else had gotten off the elevator, and it was just me and the celeb, I felt compelled to say something...anything! So I said, in my most polite voice, "I don't suppose there's anything you can do about this Broadway strike?" For those of you unaware, 27 shows are dark on Broadway due to a strike of the Stagehand Union. This is making my life (well, work-life) rather miserable right now. And Alan...err, Mr. Alda, must be a theatre going man, ney? A man who loves the stage and a man who is pining for the end of this truly ridiculous and rather petty argument. Right? His response:

"I don't know anything about that."

Huh. OK then.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

DC March 05

I recently stumbled across some digital photos I took on a trip to DC in March 2005. "Hey!" I thought to myself, "These are better than I remember!" So now, LUCKY READERS, I share them with you. God knows why I didn't blog them back then.

Oh, and P.S., sorry I haven't written. This Broadway strike is killing me! I am drowning in refund requests....

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I am not doing anything special for Halloween this year, although I did just get to hit the matinee of Broadway's Young Frankenstein which was pretty good but not really worth what some folks are shelling out for a seat (upwards of $400 for seats that are Just OK... lucky for me I got to go for's a work thing).

I am feeling nostalgic for the Halloweens of my youth. I grew up in a little pocket of Stepfordesque tranquility outside Washington DC called Hillandale. Lawns were huge and well tended with large oaks, pines, maples and birch trees... perfect for hiding Halloween goodies and pranks. The neighborhood was flooded with kids, and since it was a pretty small area, you knew everyone and who lived in each and every house and they would greet you by name when you rang their door, "Ohh Terra, you look like a pretty princess this year!" The only thing we had to worry about was avoiding the neighborhood terrors, the Solomon brothers. Man, they were mean.

Halloween was a big event for adults and kids alike. The adults went to parties; I remember a photo of my Mom and Dad, still married at the time, dressed up and playing some game where they had to eat marshmallows or doughnuts off a line of string while their hands were tied around their backs. I think my Mom was dressed like a brick wall and my dad was a carpenter.

Speaking of my mom, she made us elaborate costumes on her sewing machine. The most memorable for me was this awesome clown outfit she made for us.

I remember vividly that last Halloween I went trick-or-treating. I was in the 7th grade. I dressed up as a mime in a store-bought costume. I knew at the time this was it, I already felt too old to be participating, it was the last time to run around a neighborhood and score free candy. By then we had moved and running up to houses of strangers wasn't nearly as fun as it was in Hillandale.

I used to hoard my candy. Paranoid that my sister or brother would come into my room and steal my stash, I hid it all over the place like a squirrel preparing for winter. Behind books, in pockets, under pillows, inside the stuffing of a teddy bear, in a crevice of a floor board, anyplace that would fit those tiny Hershey squares. Then, after a few days, I wouldn't remember where I put the little pieces of chocolates and colorful rolls of smarties and come June I would find a piece of stale, old candy, long forgotten. Sure, I still ate it.

Lucky for me, as an adult, I made friends with (mostly) ladies who also have a good time throwing a festive costume party now and then, and not always waiting around for Halloween to do it. The downside is that none of these lovely women live close by anymore. Hey, anyone know any normal, fun, nice, exuberant and bright women who live in Long Island who want to throw a party? Tell them to call me.

Happy Halloween, friends.

Monday, October 29, 2007

So Good! So Good!

The Boston Globe said it right (to the tune of one of the Sox's theme songs Sweet Caroline):

I didn't let myself believe it was actually a possibility to take it all the way until the last pitch was thrown last night. Sure, I hoped. Sure, I had faith. But I didn't let my mind conceive of the eventual winning moment. I thought it would jinx us by doing so.

I know some people think it's all a stupid joke, this baseball madness. But I, for one, dig watching a group of people (in this case, men) pull together and perform amazing feats of athleticism, endurance, and skill. I love baseball and think I always did, although I admit during the times when I lived abroad I didn't give it much thought. Baseball is the best Reality Show happening on TV. Drugs, injuries, fights, breakups and reconcilliations, winners and losers... baseball is so much more than a bunch of guys standing around a grassy field waiting for an occasional burst of action. Plus, we must consider the baseball food of choice: hotdogs. Who can deny the pleasure of a loaded Fenway Frank? No other hotdog tastes as yummy.

Who do you love more? The self-proclaimed Idiots of the 2004 championship or this, as described by Jason Veritek last night, Band of Brothers? There are shining moments of each, for certain. This team does seem more polished, more skillful, and certainly wears more expectation on their shoulders. I adore Mike "Mr. Double" Lowell and hope that Theo and the management keep him on the team and, for the love of all that is good in this world, DO NOT take the ripe apple recently fallen from the Yankee Tree, Alex Rodriquez. A-Rod would mess up a very well developed chemical balance that this team has achieved. I am so pleased they named Lowell the series MVP. Unexpected, for sure, but well deserved and timely, as mid-game A-Rod's defection from the Empire was announced on National TV in the middle of the freaking World Series. Coincidence? I think A-ROD wanted all in Red Sox Nation to know he is "available".

I also loved that late last night, after the closing credits and the parting shots of champagne drenched Sox players, the first commercial of the break featured Derek Jeter hawking his perfume called "Driven". It just struck me as funny.

This year's celebration for me is much different than 2004's, that's for sure. In '04 I lived in the heart of the action, Boston's Back Bay. After the final out, I ran outside, camera in hand, and was immediately sucked into the lifeforce of Victory. Sure, most the revelers were BC and BU students who probably never watched a Sox game before their freshman year, but who cares? The energy in the streets was exciting.

This year, now living in New York, in my Long Island outpost, my sleeping sweetheart (who calls himself a Yankees fan) snored quietly as we clinched the title. I sat in my PJs and sent and received excited text messages from friends and family who also count themselves as members of Red Sox Nation. For the first time since moving to NY, I really really wished I was there, back in my Boston neighborhood. Even just for that moment, to experience the win with other fans, as excited as I was.

How many days until Spring Training?

Friday, October 26, 2007

What the...?

Can someone please explain to me how this works? It's FREAKING ME OUT:

(thanks Mom!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Moj Dragi

Srecan Rodjendan!

It's my sweetheart's birthday today. I thought long and hard about the perfect birthday gift for him. First I started planning a weekend away...Montauk, Newport, and a new mountain resort a few hours away were all on the list. But then I realized... Silly! That's what I want for MY birthday.

So I went back to the drawing board and found something that we both can enjoy, and also will hopefully be fun for the whole cross-language family:

I am not really one for videogames, but this is indeed pretty cool. Instead of sitting stationary in front of the TV, Wii forces you to get up and move. The handheld remotes act as your racket, club, bat, or whatever other instrument you are playing in the game. Not only is this pretty fun, it's apparently kind of healthy too. I just saw this article:

A study by Liverpool John Moores University finds normal Wii use could burn 27lbs (12.25kg) worth of calories a year. They studied gamers in the United Kingdom and found that they spend an average of 12.2 hours weekly playing video games. They also found that kids playing a Nintendo Wii more than doubled their energy expenditure when compared with playing other video games. Wii energy levels rose to 156% above resting level, as opposed to 60% above resting level for normal gaming. That doesn’t mean a whole lot to me, but translated into calories it does. The Wii players would burn 1,830 calories per week playing for 12.2 hours at that energy level.

Since I have class tonight, I gave Damir his present last night. We set it right up in the living room so everyone could play. We had a lot of laughs watching Damir and his dad play each other in baseball... especially since I don't think either has ever picked up a bat in real life before. There they were in the middle of the living room, one pitching and one batting. Good stuff.

The graphics leave a little to be desired on the games that come with the set, but my guess is that other games purchased separately probably are a little more sophisticated. There are some other fun functions of the system, like a digital photo program that lets you edit and play slideshows. I dig that.

So even though we don't get a romantic weekend away, this, I hope, is something that will bring a lot of fun to our odd family for a long time to come. There is very little common ground I can share with the parents given the language barrier, so this is really a birthday present for all of us.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The In-Ter-Net

I am normally a loyal NPR listener in the mornings. I get all the news I need to start the day, and usually hear a story that is unexpectedly riveting. However, since my usual station is in the middle of their Fall Fundraiser Campaign and I already made an annual contribution to my local NPR station, WNYC, I thought I would try something else this morning and spare myself the guilt trip which would surely convince me to contribute again (not that they aren't worthy, my wallet can't take it). So I spun the dial and arrived at WOR, Talk Radio.

The subject of this morning was this mystical force of technology, I am not sure if you've heard of it yet, its called The IN-TER-NET. Yes, this crazy place where, get this, "You just enter a topic to search and you get all this data! It's amazing".

I checked my calendar to see if overnight some strange phenomenon pulled me back into 1990. Nope, still 2007. I was compelled to keep on listening.

The perky WOR hosts, Joe and Donna, invited listeners to call in to the show and tell the other listeners, how do YOU use the In-ter-net every day?

Priceless snippets:

Well, Donna, I like to use Google Earth to see what's going on in my neighbor's backyard. (ok...scary!)

I am a freelance writer and like to read through Wikipedia
- (Host) You have to be careful, that's not always a credible source of information.
What? Oh, well, uh, I always use a fact checker before I publish anything.

I was afraid of the In-ter-net at first; it took me to bad places [sadly she didn't mention where these bad places were] but I've gotten over my fear and like to look up recipes to cook!

I look up menus at restaurants so I know what to order before I get there!

This was by far my favorite:

You know Donna, people even DATE through the In-ter-net nowadays. Mrs. So and So found her husband online.

GASP! DATE? On the scary In-Ter-Net?

I took my first internet date, well it was a precursor to the internet, back in 1992. His name was Skippy. We had dinner at Schmick and McCormicks in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. He had terrible table manners, but was otherwise a nice guy. 1992 folks, that was 15 years ago!

Sadly, I had to go to work, so I couldn't learn of any more revelations taking place on this in-ter-net thingymajig, but I may have to tune back in tomorrow morning to see how people are using FIRE or THE WHEEL in their daily lives.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

How Sweet it Is!

It has been a long season for this Red Sox fan living in the middle of the EVIL EMPIRE. I have been teased, taunted and ribbed all season long by the Yankees fans that surround me at home and in the office.

Where is the broom? Said my boss after the Yankees swept us last month.

It's getting chilly in Boston, just 1 1/2 degrees said another co-worker when the Sox lead was perilously slim.

I bet you don't even know the Sox lineup said a co-worker at that other job I had earlier this year (to which I responded with grace and aplomb the entire batting order).

Damir has been quiet in his taunts (and occasionally even applauds the Sox), however he insists on displaying the Yankee Logo magnet on the back of my truck. This is my fault, naturally, as I was trying to be diplomatic when I bought a Boston magnet for myself and got him the Yankees magnet as a gesture of good will. DAMN MY GOOD WILL, I say. The unspoken rule we have worked out is that whomever is driving gets to display their team, though when I ride shotgun, I display the Boston magnet under my window so everyone knows, I AM NOT A YANKEES FAN.

And now, the Yankees have been knocked out of the post-season by the surprisingly strong Cleveland Indians. The Yanks played like a marginal minor-league team unable to swing the bat or make necessary defensive plays. So timing seems right for me to respond to all the taunting I endured for the last 5 or so months. But no. I will not. Sure, there are many things I could say such as:



What's the temperature now, huh? Huh? Huh?


Who needs a broom when I have a shovel??


See ya next season, SUCKERS!

But no, I will not say any of those things. Nope, I will not utter a single word in retort. I am a citizen of the Red Sox Nation and I will not demean myself to such lowly tactics.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Strange Things About

Today will be a muggy 84 Degrees F in New York City. Yes, the calendar does indeed say October 4th. I am desperate for the fall chill to arrive; I have no idea how to dress for work in this warm-fall season. Summer skirts seem out but I am roasting in a suit. The forecast indicates that there will be no reprieve.

Also today, I passed an unchaperoned chicken hanging out in Times Sqauare. Not a guy in a chicken suit, but an actual live chicken. White feathers and all. Curious tourists flocked (pun intended) to get photos of the odd bird. To quote a fellow pedestrian, "Funny. But I guess that's not the strangest thing I've seen walking around these parts."

Monday, October 01, 2007

Under (Insu)red

Today is October 1st, which thankfully means that I once again walk amongst the insured people of America. It has been a scary thing to be without health insurance these last three months. Even this weekend I had terrible dreams where in the last moments of my un-insured state of being something terrible happened to me and I kept screaming No No No! I get insurance TOMORROW! Thankfully, however, it was just a dream.

Although, I won't be getting dental insurance which is a bit of a concern, especially given all the dental trauma I had last year with one stupid tooth. That tooth is still a little wonky and I think any day will erupt again like a sleeping volcano.

Along the same subject, I was entertained recently by this article in New York Magazine:

Censo(red) by Tim Murphy

Wendy Dembo was annoyed with the (Product) RED campaign, the
Bono-backed effort to fight AIDS in Africa by selling RED-logoed products, from
Gap T-shirts to Pods. “I’m glad the Gap is helping Africa, but I want to help
people in the U.S., too,” says Dembo, 40. So the West Village marketing consultant made her own T-shirt: UNINSU(RED). The shirt went on sale two weeks ago at Reed Space, a trendy Orchard Street shop. “I thought this was a way to get the hipster kids to think about the importance of health insurance,” she says. Fourteen $28 shirts were sold before the RED people sent a cease-and-desist letter, according to shop staffers. (A RED spokesperson declined to comment.) The proceeds aren’t going to health-care advocacy, but Dembo, who pays a $960 monthly premium for her own insurance,says she’s giving away one in three shirts to uninsured friends. Tarra Cunningham, 40, recently wore one while running errands downtown. “I thought it would protect me from crazy cabdrivers,” she says. A tomato-seller at the Union Square Greenmarket gave her a discount, and medical workers at Beth Israel averted their eyes. When she approached her own East Village block, she recalls, “I met with knowing glances and people going ‘Yeah!’ It was fantastic—the most eventful walk home
I’ve ever had.”

Where can I get one of those T-shirts?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tattoo Dreams

I got my first and only tattoo over 11 years ago. I was a recent graduate and about to embark on a trip around the world on board the SS Universe Explorer with the program Semester at Sea. Life seemed full of possibilities and the tattoo I chose was meant to remind me of a time of strength, hope and adventure. Not once did I regret it.

Over the years I have wished for another. Back in Amsterdam I even had one designed by a local artist, but in the end I couldn't decide on where to place it. Shoulder? Arm? Back? Since I couldn't decide, I figured it wasn't the time. The design was a beautiful black and red compass rose.

Lately I have been thinking about tattoos again and wish for something more dramatic than my discreet first tattoo. I had the first placed on my lower back on the left side of my spine so that it would not be of consequence to business, formal wear, or bathing suits. And especially not to be visible if/when wearing a wedding gown. I have to say, however, I don't really care so much about those things anymore. I am not the traditionalist I once thought I was. And I feel more confident in making a decision like that at 33 than I did at 21.

I saw these two tattoos today on the internet of cherry blossom branches and think both are so beautiful...they make me want to run to the nearest tattoo parlor:

I like how both sweep across the back and the femininity of the pink blossoms against the stark black branches. I was not aware of this before, but I just read about the differences between Japanese and Chinese symbolism of the Cherry Blossom:

Chinese Cherry Blossom

For the Chinese the cherry blossom is a very significant symbol of power. Typically it represent a feminine beauty and sexuality and often holds an idea of power or feminine dominance. Within the language of herbs and herbal lore of the Chinese the cherry blossom is often the symbol of love.

Japanese Cherry Blossom

For the Japanese the cherry blossom holds very different meaning. The cherry blossom is a very delicate flower that blooms for a very short time. For the Japanese this represents the transience of life. This concept ties in very deeply with the fundamental teachings of Buddhism that state all life is suffering and transitory. The Japanese have long held strong to the Buddhist belief of the transitory nature of life and it is very noble to not get too attached to a particular outcome or not become emotional because it will all pass in time.

I am not ready to start shopping the local tattoo parlors just yet, but the urge is sitting patiently on a stool in the corner of my brain waiting for the right time and the right design to come along.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I. Am. An. Asshole.

I shouldn't have posted that blog last week in which I joked about the office curse.

I am an asshole.

Unbeknownst to me, on that same day, my elderly grandmother was admitted to the hospital in very serious condition. She has since been released, but the prognosis isn't great. Blood clots formed in her lungs and did some damage to her heart. She is now resting at her home in Chicago, which is exactly where she wants to be right now. She isn't in any pain.

I am not really superstitious enough to believe that my posting had any affect on Gram's health, but still it also has made me realize that it was pretty insensitive.

I am thinking of heading to Chicago next weekend. She won't necessarily know that I am there, but I want to be there for my Mom and other family members. Once again I curse the fact that I am far away from my family, and to be with them when they need a hand to hold proves harder than it should be.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Curse of the Office?

In the short 8 weeks or so since I have been at my new job, I have counted:

- 7 Hospitalizations of either a staff member or their immediate family
- 5 Funerals attended by staff members (and not of any of the people who were hospitalized)

Isn't this strange? I find that every few days or so when I come to the office in the morning and check the overnight voicemail there is one left from a staff member either at the hospital or on their way to a funeral. We sort of joke about it, even though it really isn't that funny.

So, friends and family, be warned. Apparently by accepting this job I have put your lives in peril. But the job goes so well that I can't be bothered to quit, just to help you out. Sorry.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Everyday I walk by the Parson's New School for Design and have this fantasy:

Scene: Terra walks quickly down 7th Avenue on her way home from a busy day at the office. As usual, she is wearing a boring suit with comfortable commute-worthy footwear, her naturally wavy hair has gone frizzy, and her make-up that was so carefully applied this morning has melted away leaving her complexion colorless.

Man on Street: (yelling at crowd)... After all you're all just one paycheck away from being homeless!

Terra: (muttering to self) Ain't that the truth buddy.

Terra: (says to tourists in the way) Excuse me, sorry, um, pardon me. Can you move out of the way please? No, I don't have time to take your picture right now. I am late for the train.

While Terra waits at the crosswalk she is approached guerrilla-style by a dapper gentleman with grey hair and rimless glasses and a small friendly camera crew.

Dapper Gentleman: Miss Walker?

Terra: (Surprised) What? I mean, Yes, that's me? (eyes widen with recognition). Oh My God. You're... You're.... You're...

(Dapper gentleman smiles and laughs)

Terra: ... TIM GUNN!

Tim: Terra, as you are surely aware, we are filming our new season of Project Runway and we need your help in our next challenge called "Everyday Woman". We are picking women of the street to participate as our models instead of the gang of gloomy waifs we usually use. Can you help one of our designers to make this work?

Terra: Why, Yes! Yes, I can do that!

(Video montage set to the song Can't Get You Outta My Head by Kylie Minogue shows Terra meeting her hot designer, Raul... Terra nodding enthusiastically at the sky blue fabric he has chosen to use for the dress... Tim Gunn looking Raul's shoulder as he sews pieces together clapping approvingly... Terra getting hair and makeup done by the Loreal professionals... cut to Runway Judges critiquing the various designer's outfits)

Heidi Klum: (Heidi glowing and gorgeous as always) Raul, I must say you were truly inspired today. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! I would wear that dress out to a Gala Event with my wonderful husband Seal and our strangely adorable children. It looks so expensive even though you created it with the budget of $5.00 we gave you!

Elle Fashion Director Nina Garcia: (gushing) Raul, you have outdone yourself once again, though I have to give credit to Miss Walker for carrying off this masterpiece so well. She really worked it! Doesn't my hair look great? I got it blown out twice today.

Michael Kors: I copy my designs from other people's works.

Heidi: Moving on. The winner of this challenge is (beaming) Raul and Terra! Congratulations to the both of you. (Air kisses all around)

OK, so, it's kind of a long walk that gives me plenty of time for elaborate Project Runway fantasies. I love that Tim Gunn.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Homeless Prophecy

As we talked about before, every day I walk from Penn Station to my office in Times Square. About a block into this walk I pass a nice gentleman who is raising money for homeless causes. He shouts loud and clear over the din of the morning rush, asking people to give what they can because, after all, “YOU ARE ALL JUST ONE PAYCHECK AWAY FROM BEING HOMELESS”.

This scares me. I guess because it’s sort of true. But not really. Or is it?

This past year has been a financial obstacle course for me. First I was moving to New York with a great job and a great paycheck. Then I was unexpectedly unemployed and freelancing. Then I made some money and paid down some debt. Then I lost my job and was unemployed for two whole days before taking another job that is a bit less lucrative (but SOOO worth it). How do you keep financial consistency with this madness?

The only way all this was possible without going homeless was because of my sweetheart. He puts the roof over our head, his job makes rent and utilities (even cable!) non-existing entities. And I realize how much I have to be thankful for. As much as I bitch and moan about not being closer to the city, and that we don’t have more space for ourselves (you know, with the parents and all), this crazy year would have been much more crazy and stressful if I was throwing $1400 a month on rent down the toilet.

But there are strings to this comfort. If we wanted to move, for example closer to the city, we don’t just break our lease, pack our bags and move on in to a shiny new place. It is a complicated process of him finding a new job, and then finding temporary housing for three months before being allowed to move into the new place that offers the same benefits of rent and utility. Plus we have to consider the parents. And there is the scary notion that, if bad luck should befall us (knock wood), we will lose the arrangement completely and possibly then, yes, be just one paycheck from being homeless. Ok, not one, but a couple for sure.

Let’s not think about that.

On that bright note, happy long weekend to everyone!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sleepy Revolution

I like a good mattress as much as the next person. And maybe it's because our matress is rather sucky that I noticed this strange phenomenon lately. It's really, dare I say, epidemic.

Within a 2-mile radius from my apartment I have counted EIGHT Sleepy's mattress stores. I can't think of any other chain that has 8 outlets in this same area. Not, Not McDonalds, and not even Starbucks, if you can believe that. It begs the question: what is going on here?

Are people just not sleeping? Probably, yes. I know I am not. But I would also venture to guess that mattresses have a high profit margin as well. I mean, two of the eight Sleepys by my house have "Grand Opening" on them, and they are less than half a mile from each other. How can they both be profitable? I know all about the economic theory that a rising tide lifts all boats and all, but this seems to be somewhat out of control. Are expensive mattresses just a big scam?

What is all this hoo-ha about temperpedic (sp?), sleep number and isotonic-foam? Do you really sleep better if you drop a grand on a bed?

Man, I have SO MANY questions about this.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


No, no need to say "gesundheit" in response! I am starting Croatian (Hrvatski) lessons after work tonight. I have signed on for 10 weekly lessons at LanguaWorld here in the city. I have tried and tried to get into learning the language via tapes and CDs (even uploading to my ipod to facilitate), but I realized I need the discipline of a teacher to kick my butt into gear. Plus, reciting Dobar dan, govorim malo hrvatski (good day, I speak a little Croatian) over and over again on the train probably would not be very pleasant for my fellow train companions.

I am a little worried about the school.

I had to pay in cash up front, after a lot of confusion regarding whether or not I am entitled to a 20% discount (apparently I am not.) Then today I get an email that said my teacher was in a car accident this afternoon... did I read about it? (no) And that class is cancelled. But then I got an email and a call saying, We have a subsitute, can you still come? (yes).

Well, I am going to be positive and envision an engaging teacher, bright fellow peers, and me speaking passable Croatian after 10 weeks are up. Sretno! (good luck!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I am not making this up.

My fascination regarding the strange things people buy as travel accessories has been well documented. But THIS came across my desk today, courtesy of our friends at Daily Candy, and now I say you have GONE TOO FAR.

I first thought snug and cozy thoughts when I read about the in-flight sleeping bag, but then was horrified when I saw the promotion pictures. See for yourself:

Is it just me, or do these look like body bags (especially the second one)? I just know the next time I am on a long haul, there is going to be some jackass seated next to me zipped head to toe in this inflight sleeping bag looking like extra luggage that wouldn't fit in the hold. I mean, come on, let's think about this logically.

WHERE and HOW would you zip yourself into this thing?

You get on the plane, everyone is jockeying for prime overhead space and trying to get themselves situated (and if you are like me, that means organizing the 5 magazines, ipod, book, water bottle, hand lotion, crossword puzzle and journal in the envelope sized seat pocket so you don't have to reach into the overhead after takeoff. I am all about the activity bag). Do you go to the bathroom, zip in and then hop to your seat in your overgrown potato sack? I suppose that would be ideal. But my guess is that it's more likely that you will attempt to zip in at your seat, twisting and turning and reaching and inadvertently punching your seat neighbor in the chest with your elbow while trying to get your arms in the tiny suited arm holes. Yeah, that sounds about right.

And of course, what do you do when you have to go to the bathroom? Man, I am not even going to go there. You get the idea.

So, as if this were bad enough, there was ANOTHER ridiculous item in my daily candy today. This just can't be true. Is it? Or is it an elaborate hoax?

Flatulence Odor Control Seat Cushion

Yes, the opposite of a whoopi-cushion. You get it? You sit on this cushion and when you fart, it absorbs the smell. It's called, I swear I am not making this up, GasBGon. I guess there were so many others who had the same thought I did upon reading about this, namely, "Whaaaat?", that the GasBGon website appears to have crashed. But never fear, our trusty friends at Amazon have it in stock; check it out here. I am trying to ignore the fact that Amazon appears to be selling used versions of the cushion-- since the only thing worse than a fart cushion in my book is a used fart cushion. You dig?

Fart Cushion. Seriously? Listen, I am as opposed to fart odor as the next person, but this just seems to go beyond the level of normalcy.

I know, I am telling you that I just know, that it won't be long before I am on some flight going somewhere where the person next to me is attempting to zip himself and his fart cushion into a cotton body bag. Mark my words.

Monday, August 20, 2007


There is nothing I can appreciate more than a leap of faith. That is just what my good friend Steph has done-- and in quite extreme measure.

After meeting a very nice boy on a Greek cruise ship last year, she quit her job, left her apartment of nearly 10 years, said so long to close friends and family and moved to Sydney, Australia to be with her love. Yes, the same Sydney that is half-way around the world. Man, I thought my own move from Boston to New York was a big move.

Steph holds a very dear place in my heart. She's a ray of sunshine...on crack. She carries more energy, more "can do" and more purses than any one else I know. We first became friends back in college and have managed to keep the embers of our friendship burning even though it is only in the last year that we have lived close to one another.

It was Steph that I was visiting when I met Damir here in Long Island. In fact, it is because of Steph that I even met him in the first place. I never would have had the courage to talk to him and his cousin, but my girl Steph is not one to be labled "shy". She struck up the first conversation, and I have carried it on ever since.

Though she has only been gone a short while, her absence is palpable. Even living around the corner we didn't see each other as much as we probably should, but I liked just knowing she was there. It was comforting to know a good friend, and one that knows me to the core, was just a few blocks away. Long Island still feels like foreign territory to me, and I am ashamed to admit that I have made not one new friend outside of work that lives in the area. It's easy to get lazy like that.

I hope she is there now in Sydney basking in the glow of the Australian winter sun and the excitement of a new home, country, and boyfriend. At least I now have a good excuse to start planning a journey to the South Pacific! Here are a few photos from our nearly 15 year long friendship (click on it to see larger):

Monday, August 13, 2007

Love Me, Ortiz Me

This weekend Damir and I went South to check out the Red Sox play the Orioles and hang out with my parents for a bit. Traffic was insane both coming and going so it feels more like we spent the weekend on the New Jersey Turnpike rather than in Maryland with the folks.

Lucky for us though, Sunday was a beautiful day to catch a baseball game. Warm and sunny, and after the first hour or so of the game the sun went behind the awning of the stadium so we watched the game in the comfort of shade. Camden Yards is a beautiful baseball stadium which doesn't appear to have a bad seat in the house. The only bummer there is that they don't have enough vendors coming through the seats with drinks and food-- just expensive light beer. Where are my Fenway Franks??

The game itself was a true heartbreaker. The Sox lost the lead they carried most of the game in the 8th inning, and then lost the game in the 10th on a walk-off home run by Kevin Millar (who I still love since his Red Sox days). It's a bad loss, combined with the Yankee's sweep in Cleveland, puts the Sox too close to comfort-- only a 4 game lead in the AL East.

The 6+ hour drive home last night was a long long drive after that loss, especially sitting next to my pinstripe wearing boyfriend.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

For the Occasion of Dad's Birthday

My funny brother put this together for my dad on his birthday last week. I couldn't help but share's too funny not to. Ondele`!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Just Another Morning in Times Square

Yesterday Times Square celebrated National Underwear Day:

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

And another goodbye

All week I have been trying to write this post, and keep hitting the delete button about halfway through my thoughts. I can't get it right, and so now I will stop trying to get it right and just write.

I learned on Monday from my friend Penny that a friend we had in college was tragically killed last weekend in a boating accident on the Chesapeake Bay. Mike and some friends were out on a boat late Saturday night and hit a marker; three ended up in the water and Mike didn't make it out. I don't know more details than those.

Mike and I weren't extremely close in college, but we hung out in the same social circle. Because our social connection, my memories of Mike all take place at a party or bar, and thus are full of laughter. It has been years since we were in touch, but regardless the news has been weighing me down. Mike was engaged to be married, and my heart goes out to his fiancee.

I have to admit fearing what she, Mike's fiancee, is going through-- when Damir is late to meet me, or we are distanced for a period of time, my brain often defaults to the worst case scenario. Why do I do that to myself? Usually I am fearing a car accident, not that he is careless at the wheel, but having spent some time now driving the NY highways, I see those other crazy drivers careening down the road... not to mention the countless roadside memorials that now line the shoulders of every road I drive on. But he always comes bounding through the door full of kisses and hugs and each time I realize how silly I am to worry in such a senseless manner. What's the point?

I don't have a suitable closing for this post, how do you "wrap up" news such as this? I leave you with the link to Mike's obituary in the Baltimore Sun:,0,4743019.story

Thursday, August 02, 2007

May You Frolic in Cat Grass Forever

Dear Marley,

Sweet Kitty, you will be missed.

I am glad I came across that ad on that expat message board when we lived in Amsterdam and that Ashbloem had space in her home and heart for you. I know you brought her much joy and laughter over the last several years, and guided her through the changes in love and life that have since transpired. Her Virgil in orange fur.

No doubt you were thankful to be free of those kids in your previous home, and owners who took less than loving care of you. The first of Ashbloem's brood of kitties, you were the cantankerous yet sweet older brother of Gus and Tugboat. You became the world traveling kitty, passport and all, having lived in Holland, Switzerland, Boston and finally Dallas. You got to see more of the world than most cats, or even people for that matter.

I am sorry that I was not there to say goodbye, but I know that you are up above noshing on some sweet cat grass with a side of tuna.

Farewell, sweet kitty.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Times Square, 8:00 a.m.

I hope I never lose my sense of wonderment while walking through Times Square in the early morning of my daily commute. If you pay attention (and sometimes when you don't) you see the most amazing things. In this past week alone I have encountered some things you just don't see every day...

A woman in a ball gown trimmed with red tulle. And lots of it. Said ball gown with the red tulle trim also had a lavender corset and large bustle in the back. It was awesome. Is she a Broadway extra? An overdressed victim of the walk of shame? On her way to 8th Street where, someone told me recently, Giuliani didn't kick out the sex? Did I mention this was at 8am?

A Yoga class. Not just a yoga class, but a yoga class in the middle of the Square, right in front of the Army recruitment booth. They all had laid their yoga mats on the dirty sidewalk and were doing the downward dog, right there in the middle of Times Square. After doing a little research, I found that this yoga extravaganza is actually sponsored by the Times Square Alliance. Here are their visuals so you can see what the hell I am talking about:

Movies being filmed. Yes, I caught my first glimpse of superstars. Robin Williams and John Travolta are filming Old Dogs right around the corner. The movie, according to IMDB, is about Two friends and business partners find their lives turned upside down when strange circumstances lead to them being placed in the care of 7-year-old twins. Sounds like a winner, doesn't it? I got some pictures of Mr. Williams which I will post as soon as I can download the shots.

I am sure after a fair bit of time passes, I will likely become jaded to all this "stuff" but I will hang on to my delight as long as I can. And maybe I now have a good excuse to take up yoga.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Today's NY Times: Montenegro

Today's travel feature in the New York Times focuses on lovely Montenegro. Check it out!

More news and pictures from my trip to Breckenridge, Colorado, last week coming soon!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Post Party Blues and a New Resolution

Man, I had such a good time with my family in Vermont, it is almost painful to recap because I am already nostalgic for them.

The early part of the week was relaxed and fun, hanging out with my super adorable nieces and celebrating my brother's birthday. Erin and Tom's wedding which filled the latter part of the week was perfect in every way and multiple people came to me to say that it was the best wedding they had ever been to. How can you not love a wedding reception where the new husband and wife enter the barn, yes, a barn, shimmying and sashaying to the theme of Sandford and Son?

Perhaps the shining best moment was when the sweet priest, who gave an awesome homily by the way, announced the newly married couple for the first time to the standing room only congregation and a cheer so loud rattled the walls welcoming the new union, tentative at first then growing to catcalls and howls of happiness, that two lovely people finally found eachother and sealed their relationship at the tender age of 38. The first marriage for both. It was one of those moments where time stops and everything is right.

I became supremely emotional when it was time to drive away and make our way back to Long Island. The kind of emotional that dissolves into incoherent and inconsolable sobbing. So much circled in my head, it was hard to wrap my arms around the escaping rebellious emotions. Sadness to waive goodbye to my sweet nieces who will each likely be a foot taller, or more, before fates manage to bring us together again (will they remember Auntie Terra?), sadness that my family continues to dissect and bisect in ways I had not predicted, joy over the perfection of the week and my happiness for Erin and Tom, and stress about returning to New York, my home, which still holds so much uncertainty for me (a brand spanking new job. Again.)
I have to resolve now, here and now, that I must be more proactive at finding more ways to reunite with my family. They are such a loving, fun and dynamic bunch! I cannot sit by and just let another 3 years pass before seeing my loving brother, sister-in-law and their sweet girls again. In my father's toast to the bride and groom, he paid homage to the family and I am honored beyond words that he referred to me at the "glue" of our clan. Repeating this now, days later, still makes my eyes swell with fresh tears. Our family is tough, we all live in different states now, that span all angles of the country. Somehow I have to find away to sew the seams of those distances. If not for them, as a collective group, then for me and my personal relationships with each individual.

But How?

I don't exactly have a situation that allows for house guests, so it is up to me to cover the distances. In a new job where both time off and compensation not exactly what one would hope for, I have to get creative. *Sigh. Solutions are elusive, so feel free to offer up suggestions. But I am determined.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the week. The other 200 are loaded to my flickr account:

Sunday, July 08, 2007


I am leaving today for Vermont; my sister's wedding is next Saturday! Man, I am so excited about all of this, you would think it is MY wedding. It's likely the only vacation I will get this year, so I better make the most of it. In fact, I am lucky to be taking any time at all given I have been at my new job all of one whole week.

So, I am off until next week when I will have a full report and tons of pictures!

Monday, July 02, 2007


This morning as I was walking the 12 blocks between the train and my office, I almost stopped dead in my tracks with a strange unfamilar feeling. I can identify this emotion as some of relative of "elation". The sun was glinting off the buildings and a breeze cooled the air. A gorgeous New York Morning.

I am very excited about my new job and shedding the old one feels as though I have wiggled out of an old flakey skin that just didn't fit. Part of my training is to be spent exploring the city... Circle line, helicopter tours, museums and historic sites. I am almost glad that much of the city still feels so foreign to me, as I now get to experience it in this exciting new light. Thank God I am starting this new venture in early summer rather than in the dead cold of January.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

News! Good News!

I got a job! I got a job!

Not just A job, but a job I am really excited about. The company does a variety of incoming travel services for NYC... broadway tickets, hotels, transport, name it, they do it. It's a young company full of potential, so it is exciting to become part of a organization that is growing by leaps and bounds. And the people I met with the company are so positive and seem to love working there-- a welcome change from my most recent employment adventure.

I start on Thursday!

I can't help but think that fate is playing a role here. The timing and circumstance seems a little too perfect. They have been looking for someone for this role for nearly 4 months.

One of the great benefits of the job is the opportunity to attend almost any show, event or function hosted in NYC. For someone who still knows relatively little about this great city, that is a huge plus. I am embarassed to say I haven't even been to a broadway show since a Teen Club trip in the 7th grade when we went to see 42nd Street.

Cross your fingers for me that this job works out a heck of a lot better than the last one!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Channeling Lindsay

Alisa does her best impression of Lindsay Lohan circa 1992.