Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another year is come

Dear 2008,

All in all, you weren't a bad year.

In many ways, you were actually better than others. Aren't you proud? The last few weeks have been a little rough on me, but looking back the good moments were really pretty great. Like when Damir proposed to me. That was awesome.

I didn't have to change jobs once this year, which makes you clearly better than both 2006 and 2007.

But watch out for 2009 and 2010-- I think there are some pretty exciting things down the line. 2009 is getting itself off to a great start by offering up an amazing Mexican Riviera vacation right from the start. Can you compete with that? Not that I didn't appreciate the week spent in NC with my Dad & Jan, Ashbloem's wedding in Texas and the various excursions up to Boston. Those were some good times. But a 5-night luxury vacation, my first vacation in years, and my first vacation with my sweetheart, is pretty tough to beat. And of course, the babies. 2009 will mark the arrival of Erin's two little ones-- little in 2008 can compare with the overwhelming joy of welcoming my new niece and nephew.

Sure, you pulled out a pretty amazing election which had me in it's clutches all year. It certainly wasn't boring! I weeped with joy on November 4th. But 2009 gets to claim the main event: Inauguration. However, if Obama tanks, or turns out to be just another corrupt Illinois politician, you might look like a winner in retrospect.

On the downside, there were the many many many tooth issues, which still plague me. But, you were redeemed by providing me the opportunity to buy my first new car, along with Damir's help.

Now that I think about it, looking back through the year, 2008 was pretty great. I laughed a lot, cried a little, worked hard, played harder, got in gear and fell in love again and again with my sweetheart. 2009 would be lucky to do so well.

Happy New Year my friends. I wish you love and luck and lots of laughter.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Reach out and touch someone

When I was a teenager, I talked on the phone for HOURS on end. For my 16th birthday my dad got me my own phone line (what a luxury!) and boy did I rack up the hours. It's a good thing we didn't have personal cell phones back then-- I would never have been off the phone. It was a regular thing in high school to be on the phone into the wee hours of the night with my friend Chris D, Jamie or Robin. Or all together at once on conference call.

Boy, things have changed.

Now, I rarely talk on the phone just for "fun", to shoot the shit. Calls are utilitarian-- meet me here, where are you, pick up the milk, what are your plans, can you, see you soon, e-mail me. 99.9% of my conversations are now electronic, via e-mail, chat, facebook, and text. Phone calls are rare, and mostly delegated to my family members who are not as electronically connected.

Last night, having a rare evening to myself, I indulged in, not one but TWO lengthy conversations with two far away girlfriends and you know what? If felt good. I was on the phone until close to 3am...when was the last time I did that?? Man, I hadn't realized how much I missed hearing their voices, exchanging stories, learning from one another. You can't do that as much in an email or online chat. I missed hearing emotion, and the words, "I miss you, I love you" rarely meant so much to me... especially now during a time when I am feeling a little low.

Early New Year's Resolution: pick up the phone more and turn off the computer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bah. Humbug.

I am having a hard time really getting into the Christmas spirit.

Maybe it's because we have nary a Christmas decoration in our apartment-- not a tree, not an angel, not even a display of the beautiful Christmas cards I have received (though I am so grateful of every one). Decorating the house when you aren't actually spending Christmas in your own home somehow feels a little strange (leaving for Boston in Christmas Eve). Though I suppose we could have strung some lights to make the place festive. Is it too late? Maybe not.

Maybe it's because I am super crazy busy at work-- our busiest of the year are the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year's when tourists descend like termites into New York City, running around eating up all the free space and walking all slowly on the sidewalk blocking fast walkers such as myself. But despite being so busy, I am cutting the hours of my part-time staff because it should be EVEN BUSIER this time of year. l suddenly feel nervous that I might not have a job if things continue as they are. Thinking of traveling to NYC? Boy do I have a deal for you. Hotel prices are a fraction of what they were last year.

Maybe it's because the shortest day of the year is quickly approaching, December 21st, and the lack of sunlight is really getting to me, despite my happy light on the desk. Maybe I should have considered the prozac this winter. Definitely too late for that.

Maybe it's because I am dreaming of living in a place where I can invite my friends and family to join us in our home holiday spirit. But that's not happening anytime soon. Well, not this Christmas anyway.

I don't know. This year just feels a bit off. Maybe once I get to Boston and join my sister (TWINS TWINS TWINS!) and my Mamma, I will get a flaming shot of holiday joy. Sadly D. isn't coming with me this year, so we'll have our own private Christmas on a date to be determined. That's something to definitely look forward to.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My name is Julius and I am your twin brother.

Julius Benedict: My name is Julius and I am your twin brother.
Vincent Benedict:
Oh, obviously! The moment I sat down I thought I was looking into a mirror.

Exciting breaking news from Interravision! We have been given permission to officially say that we have 2 new potential readers approaching... my gorgeous sister is carrying TWINS. She is due in May, and I cannot wait to be an East Coast Auntie in addition to my duties as West Coast Auntie.

Seeing my beautiful sister, you know the skinny/athletic one, already showing at just over 13 weeks was a killer when I saw her in NC a few weeks back. Man, she is gonna get huge... I love it!

I am already thinking about what fun presents I can shower upon them. Surely these baby toupees will have to be item #1!

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Happy Lite

I got my Happy Lite in the mail on Friday.

It's really bright. No, seriously, it's really really bright. Like a white shade of bright. On the low setting it still almost hurts my eyes.

Is this really going to work?

I'll keep you posted.

Alex Lodico Ensemble

I can't get enough of these guys who play in Penn Station on some Friday evenings. I even bought their CDs! Alex himself seems like an interesting guy-- check out his interview with NPR.

Like that's so hard

Bravo TV, arguably my favorite channel thanks to obsessions with Top Chef and Project Runway, is hosting a new show: "First Class All the Way".

In Bravo's newest series, First Class All the Way, Sara Duffy, founder of SRD International, a Los Angeles based multi-million dollar travel concierge business, takes viewers inside the world of high-end luxury travel while revealing the drama of keeping demanding clients content and making extravagant dream vacations come to life.

From my own personal experience as a travel planner and sometimes concierge working with a very wide spectrum of people: this is absolutely ridiculous. Why? Pleasing people who have lots of money isn't really that hard. If a client is willing to pay whatever it takes to have the experience they want, the travel planner is on easy street, as long as they really understand what the client wants and they are creative enough to deliver.

Want a hard challenge? Try to make people happy who don't have an unlimited budget to spend. Especially in a city like NYC. Like a client who wants to come during the busiest weekend of the year who wants to spend less than $200 per night AND be withing walking distance to Rockefeller Center AND in a hotel that isn't disgusting. Now THAT is a challenge.

Bravo TV should make a reality show about that. Seriously.

PS: The people this lady has hired to represent her are absolutely terrible and stab each other in the back time and again. She should fire them all, or give them more work to do so they don't have time to be so petty.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Morning After

Good Morning America,indeed!

I woke up this morning feeling as though it was some holiday and I could turn off the alarm and go back to sleep... but No! It is not a holiday, but it is a new day. And I am grateful for it. I became teary after reading the editorial pages of the New York Times, especially this piece, "The Next President".

My facebook homepage is filled with excited comments and pictures of celebration, save one friend's page. She was a good friend back in high school and now is very conservative. Her status reads:

[Name Omitted] is heartbroken that so many of her beautiful, compassionate friends made such a grievous mistake... and thankful that God is bigger than all of this.

A grievous mistake... I am tempted to write back in opposition, but know it would do little good. She is as steadfast in her opinions as I am in mine. But I am thankful that this God she speaks of granted us one powerful force: the force of free will. The people had a choice and their choice, not their mistake, is Barack Obama. I am sad for her that she cannot see the greater accomplishment in equal rights, democracy and opportunity-- things I am sure her religion supports.

Shake it off... back to good news...

In other news, my mother served as campaign manager for Billy Keyserling in the Beaufort, SC mayoral race. It looks like he won by a slim margin! Whoopee!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day: 11:00pm

It's Over!


Glory Glory Hallelujah. And even better, there is virtually no way to contest this win. A clear, solid victory.

I am watching the coverage eager to hear Obama speak, it is sure to be a landmark speech. My God. I really can't believe it. What a long journey this election has been. He has many huge challenges ahead of him; I just hope he can live up to the great expectations we have placed on his shoulders.

We got you the job, President-Elect Obama, now go and do something great.

Election Day: 10:09 pm

Now watching the Daily Show's live coverage with Stephen Colbert and John Stewart. My favorite quote of the night, this regarding Obama's 72% grab of New York:

"The 'city that never sleeps' will never support a man who goes to bed at 7:30."
-- Stephen Colbert

Did I mention yet that I have tickets for January 19th Daily Show taping? Yes, that would be the night before Inauguration Day. I am sure we will be in for a good treat.

Election Day: 9:37 pm

Obama has won Ohio and Pennsylvania, and for the first time I am feeling good about this. Very good. God, I hope I didn't jinx myself by saying this.

Here are a few pictures of my voting experience:

Above, my polling place. Below going in to vote. Had to cover up my Obama T-shirt-- that's a no-no in NY polling stations.

Election Day: 5:02 pm

Leaving the office early to go VOTE! Woo Hoo!

Election Day: 12:12pm

Upon arrival to the office this morning, my GOP boss and I had about a 30 minute discussion about the election, electoral history, and the state of general awareness on issues among the voting population (and lack thereof). Though we differ in our views, our discussions are generally friendly and informative. I was surprised to learn that he spent the greater part of his life as a democrat. Huh. Don't know what turned him, probably Regan.

My colleague just sent me this article: Rove Predicts Obama Landslide


Almost all of my officemates have voted, 3 for Obama, 1 for Nader and 1 for McCain. 2 others have not voted, and word on the street is that they won't be voting at all. It takes all I have not to walk into that office and say, "Yo, what's up with that?"

Election Day: 8:02 am

I decided to wait until after work to vote as I am worried there will be lines that will make me late. Tough decision though-- I wanted to be first in line.

I am wearing my faithful Obama T-shirt and jeans on my commute into the city and will change into a suit at the office. In the 3 or 4 months I have been sporting my Obama T-shirt I have received only friendly and encouraging comments.... Until this morning. My choice of shirt was ridiculed by an old lady in the coffee shop, "You're wearing THAT to work??"

I just looked her square in the eye and said, "Yes mamn."

Monday, November 03, 2008


We didn't get too many political ads here in the state of NY; we can't be categorized as being even close to swing. However, tonight I have seen the same McCain ad play over and over showing Reverend Wright footage (during the SNL "Presidential Bash"). This is how McCain is choosing to showcase himself in these final hours. I guess I shouldn't be surprise at this last desperate attempt.

Till Tuesday

I am anxiously counting down the hours until tomorrow.

During a drive to Astoria on Saturday to pick up some things, Damir and I we were taking about the election. All of a sudden I got emotional thinking that someday we will talk to our grandchildren about the events about to happen this week; hopefully we will speak of these events with pride and gratitude rather than fear, sadness or anger. Hopefully.

I remember voting for the first time, in the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall by the University of Pittsburgh campus in 1992. I was a very green freshman and felt very grown up as I cast my first presidential ballot for Clinton.

In 1996 I voted Clinton again, as well in the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall. I was about to leave on Semester at Sea, and was excited about all the opportunity that was on my doorstep.

By 2000, Gore vs. Bush, I lived in Amsterdam. I remember filling out the absentee ballot, but don't remember if I mailed it or not. I had a distinct feeling that my ballot didn't count unless there was a tie. So I didn't think too much of it at the time. Silly me. That election night I found myself in Brugge with 2 Republicans: my friend Guy from college, and his friend Johnny. We stayed up nearly all night watching the results. The next morning, as I rode the train back to Amsterdam, sleepy and desperate for news, I couldn't believe my eyes when Ashbloem texted me that there was no decision didn't look like there would be one for a long time.

In 2004 I cast a heavy ballot for Kerry. Anything was better than Bush. I would have preferred his wife to have been the candidate, she was far more interesting. I sat at the EF Bar, Lingo, until late watching the miserable results, unbelieving that I could call myself a countryman(woman) of so many people who thought so differently than me.

And now, here we are in 2008. It seems Bush's reign has been a bleak eternity. I will be devastated if McCain wins, but still glad to see Bush go no matter what. I will be voting at the little firehouse about a half a block from my house. Sadly Damir can't vote, being a green card holder rather than a citizen, but he will be coming with me for the experience and photo op.

Breaking news: just saw on CNN that Obama's grandmother died today. Heartbreaking.

Monday, October 27, 2008

To My Evil Tooth (Part: Are you shitting me?)

Dear Evil Tooth,

You think you're funny, don't you.

You think you are hilarious. Well, I am not laughing. Sure, I thought it was the end when I said enough was enough and had you pulled back in September. I said I would if you didn't stop your shenanigans. And I keep my promises.

But now you must continue to haunt me and cause me further pain and discomfort? You sure have a lot of balls, for an evil tooth.

I don't know what you did on your way out that caused this damage that had to be repaired. Not that I mind seeing Dr. Hottie McHot again, but still. Making him cut into my tender gums and saw down the jagged edges you left behind was just too much. Now I keep accidentally chewing on my stitches, which hurt like a mother.

Oh, how I hate you.

You may have gotten the best of me this time, but I still have some fight in me yet, toothie-my-dear. You have not heard the last from me.



Thursday, October 16, 2008


When I first saw this image today I thought someone got creative with the Photoshop. NO WAY could this photo be real. What is McCain doing? It looks like he's going in for a little grab-ass. Or like he just took some expired Nyquil (which would have possibly explained the strangely excessive blinking too).

But, it's real. I pulled it from Reuters myself.

They explain the moment as such:

Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage after shaking hands with Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, October 15, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

OK....still, he's an odd little duck.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Dimishing Light

I am already in a panic in anticipation of November 2nd, when we turn our clocks back, and sun will be set by 4:49pm. Damn, that's early.

I can't believe it has taken me this long to figure it out, but I think I have seasonal affective disorder. As soon as the light starts to go, I get so lethargic, crave carbs, and just want to sleep. Oh, and I turn into a werewolf bitch. Well, not really a bitch, I just get very sullen, and tend to withdraw from friends and family. My focus turns inward, picking at all the imperfections in me and my life. And when I get bored of picking at myself, I tend to pick on poor Damir. He is a saint though, and manages it (me) with grace, patience and love.

Looking back, this has been going on for years, and I find it pretty incredible I never picked up on the pattern, or at least took the possibility seriously. The problem is that once I hit that slide, it is really hard for me to bounce back into my happy-go-lucky self once spring arrives. Some years I have been more successful than others. Other years have been...well. Readers who know me in "real life" know what happens.

I think living on Long Island compounds this somewhat. In the summer we have the beautiful beaches, which give us endless days of relaxation and happiness. In the winter we have... the mall? I don't like to spend too much of my weekend days cooped up at home, but wintertime provides few diversions.

My research says I should sit in front of some kind of light box for like an hour a day. Who has time for that? I see some faux sunlight lamps on sale at, but they seem like a scam. Does anyone have any experience with this? Send advice please.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Politics of Fear

On the train tonight I was happily surfing away on my blackberry, checking my favorite blackberry accessible sites:

- Google Reader to catch up on my favorite blogs,
- a quick visit to Go Fug Yourself or Perez Hilton to keep up on tabloid news,
- The New York Times online for the grown up news,
- Red Sox Online,
- and the Hufffington Post
(you know, it's kind of a long ride, I have lots of time to surf)

While reading another great piece by Bob Cesca, I suddenly had a horrible vision. That vision was John McCain giving a Presidential acceptance speech.

It was a surprising moment, since up until this point, I never considered he could actually win. And I really don't think he is going to. But he could.

My immediate reaction was "No." and "I can't handle that."
And, "I wonder how long it will take me to get an EU Passport when D. and I get married." Not that the EU is some kind of Utopia, especially where D. comes from-- the former Yugoslavia. You may have heard that they had some problems there in the 90s. But my experience has been that politics in general mattered to me less when I lived abroad. Maybe that's because I have known less about the political systems of the other countries I lived in (either due to complication or language barrier) or because I am just less invested emotionally in the outcome when unable to vote locally.

Speaking of voting, I am worried about voting machines. In my mind's eye I see GOP engineers fiddling with our much too imperfect voting technology. I see hanging chads and Homer Simpson being eaten by his polling station. This could be happening right now.

Strike that-- it IS happening right now. Maybe not by evil engineers, but by faulty technology.

I don't get that. A voting machine has 2 jobs: 1) count accurately 2) don't let anyone mess with the results. We can't make a machine to do this correctly? This is scary shit, y'all.

More than one friend of mine has had to sequester themselves from the news because it was penetrating them to a point that was unhealthy. I get that. I am addicted to reading polls and have even let politics into the work place (my boss is a republican, but so far our debates have been level-headed and congenial). But I can't shut it all out, especially now we are in the home stretch. That would be like being devoted to every episode of a 2 year TV drama and then skipping out on the 4-part finale. I can't stop now.

Monday, October 06, 2008

This made me laugh and cry. A letter and response from the archives.

May 1997
Fax To: Dad
From: Terra (somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean)
SS Universe Explorer
Re: Another change in plans....

* * *

Dad- Help! I need some advice. I have just received an offer to stay on the ship for 2-4 more months working in the same job but doing Alaska cruises. Pay is $225 per week+ room + board + return flight ticket home after (more than I make now). I can't decide...Part of me says yes because: 1) would love to see Alaska. 2) since passengers are all adults, it would be a good way to get feedback on my hotel idea (and get support?) 3) good experience. But: 1) I am so tired. 2) Since it would be a "real cruise" I would have to dress up and be much more formal than I have to be now. 3) Since the routes up Alaska are repetitive it could get boring. If I decide yes, I will send you the $$ to cover my bills and insurance. I can't do another 4 months, but 2 is very tempting. What do you think? I need to respond ASAP, so any feedback would be great. I am so torn! I miss and love you-- Terra

May 1997 (same day)
Fax To: Terra
From: Dad
Re: Another change in plans....

* * *

Finally got your fax. My advice - Go for it! I'll miss not having you home as expected. However, it sounds like a good opportunity. Love, Dad

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Settling Back in

I am settling back into life since our easy breezy trip to NC. The fall and winter, especially the weeks leading up to the holidays, are my busiest at work, so I am preparing for a long few months ahead. My job is taking me further away from the actual travel side of our business and more towards web management, design and marketing. I am pretty psyched about this change since it is a totally new area for me to learn.

But, I still love the travel aspect and definitely don't want to leave it behind completely. I helped a family who came to the city recently-- I did their hotel, theatre tickets, sightseeing and dinner arrangements. Upon my return from vacation, I got this letter from the dad:

I hope you had a nice vacation! 
Just wanted to drop you a line and let you
know that we thoroughly enjoyed our trip.
We did everything we wanted to
get done and then some. I am convinced that
our experience would not have been as
successful without your help.
We thank you so much. We'll be back!

That just warms my heart. I have been helping people with their travel plans, in one way or another, for many many years now and I still love knowing I made someone's vacation (or business meeting or event) easy and memorable. That family will talk for many years to come about their great trip to New York, and knowing I had a part in that really does make all the hard work and bad pay checks worth it.

PS- Biden/Palin starts in 19 minutes. I am ready and waiting!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Boxes

Our trip to NC was nearly perfect, the only complaint was the mediocre weather. We had been hoping for one last week of summer, but we got an early week of fall. We had the perfect balance of activity, day trips and just lounging around time. It was also really fun hanging out with Dad and Jan.

Highlight for me was getting a chance to visit with my old friend from high school, Colleen, who has settled into a beautiful home near Raleigh with her hubz and 3 beautiful daughters under the age of 5. I hadn't seen her in 12 years! Oh, and the food. Man, we ate good. Weight watchers was no where in sight, but that's OK, I have returned committed to getting back on track.

The boxes. Those boxes I put away over 10 years ago with so many miscellaneous treasures. I expected much of the items I rediscovered...The herd of stuffed animals:

...A million maps and memorabilia from when I sailed around the world with Semester at Sea:

...15 photo albums, thousands of negatives and letters galore. I miss the art of the written letter, now replaced by email. Those letters are so precious to me. Thanks to all of you who took time to write me (Steph and my Dad are tied for first place for letter writing--honorable mention to Penny):

...Tons of school stuff like my high school yearbooks and my college graduation cap (I was an Italian major):

But the creme della creme were the Barbies. I had totally forgotten about the Barbies, complete with their awesome 70s outfits, bad home haircuts and even a Barbie wardrobe and kitchen set:

3 of the boxes made it back with us to NY, mostly the photo albums. The Barbies were left to be rediscovered another day.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Breathe Deep

Tomorrow we leave for vacation.

I had so wanted to take a "real" vacation involving a flight to somewhere new, pretty scenery and fruity cocktails. Just the two of us: our first real vacation with no secondary agenda. But then, an unexpected new car purchase, an unexpected oral surgeon expense (thanks to no dental), and hopefully a wedding on the horizon, all made it just too much of a stretch right now. Alas. We are still getting the hell out of Dodge. And by Dodge, I mean this nutty little corner of the world: Long Island.

We need it.

We are getting in the new car tomorrow and driving South to North Carolina. All I know is destination #1 is to see my Dad and Jan. They've lived down there a good 3 or 4 years now, and this is my first trip to their home. Amazing, I know.

Beyond the obvious happiness to see them, I am really excited about a few boxes of nearly forgotten belongings that I haven't seen in about 10 years (due to their various moves, and mine). I have no idea what I stored in these boxes when I packed them up upon graduating from college. I suspect many many photo albums, some boring old yearbooks, a stuffed animal or two, and God knows what else. It will be like my own private Christmas where 22 year old Terra left presents for 34 year old Terra. Sweet.

Maybe I will get to Raleigh to see old H.S. friend Colleen, or maybe we will go further East to the Outter Banks. Maybe we'll just hang with my folks. We have No Plan.

It is strange not to have a plan. I do so much travel and event planning for others now that I dread doing my own. And it's both a blessing and a curse that Damir doesn't take on the planning himself. In theory I wish he would, but I think I might be too much of a control freak to leave him to it in peace. So, we both win, I guess.

I left the office tonight in knots of stress. Feeling like I left too much undone, too many questions not fully answered. I walked the 12 blocks to Penn Station with tightness in my chest, barely noticing the beautiful crisp fall evening. But then, upon descending into the bowels of the station, I chanced upon this awesomeness:

Man, these guys went at it for a good 10 minutes, I filmed the last few on my blackberry, so sorry for the shitty quality. But can you see how fun they are? They made me wish I could play an instrument. That I hadn't quit the flute in the 4th grade after I slammed it in the car door in the grocery store parking lot. That I didn't quit the guitar in the 7th grade after getting discouraged that I would never be the next great Singer-Songwriter. If I had experienced music being played like this, with such abandon and in birkenstocks, maybe I would have stayed with it. Ack. Probably not.

Anyway, it made me breath again and realize it doesn't matter where we go as long as I have my baby by my side.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

If you enjoy talking to strangers...

...Wear an Obama '08 T-shirt like this one:
I recently received my shirt in the mail (for a cool $20.08) and on the few occasions I have worn it around Long Island, I get a slew of comments from random strangers. Thankfully comments so far have been positive, most people just say, "Nice shirt", and 4 or 5 ladies have stopped me to ask where I got the shirt. (Answer: Here)

With massive media attention on all these supposed white women who are flocking to Palin (what are they thinking?!), wearing the t-shirt to the grocery store, the mall, running errands, the nail salon, etc., is my own small way to show this white woman's support for Obama.

I got an Obama magnet for the new Jetta too, but Damir is nervous to put it on. He's worried that some rebel Republican will key, or otherwise damage, the new car. Once he said that, it made me nervous too, so I am looking for another use for the magnet.

I am starting to panic and feeling very eager for the debates. I am hoping that Palin's lack of experience, in comparison to the loquacious Biden, will be too much for these independent swing voters to ignore. Plus, you know they're going to ask her about creation vs. evolution, which I can't wait to see her answer.

In case you were wondering, here is the debate schedule:

1. First Presidential Debate:

- Date: September 26 (next week y'all!)
- Site: University of Mississippi
- Topic: Foreign Policy & National Security
- Moderator: Jim Lehrer

2. Vice Presidential Debate

- Date: October 2nd
- Site: Washington University, St. Louis
- Moderator: Gwen Ifill

3. Second Presidential Debate

- Date: October 7
- Site: Belmont University
- Moderator: Tom Brokaw

4. Third Presidential Debate

- Date: October 15
- Site: Hofstra University
- Topic: Domestic and Economic policy
- Moderator: Bob Schieffer

All four debates will begin at 9pm ET, and last for 90 minutes.

Hmmm. Hofstra. That's just down the road. I wonder how I can get tickets? That would be awesome!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

May Peace and Tranquility Return Once More

Every year on this anniversary, I come back to these words written by Anne Frank and quoted by a rabbi at the non-denominational service I attended on September 12th, 2001 at an Anglican chapel not far from my apartment in Amsterdam:
"It's Difficult at times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impratical. Yet I cling to the them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.

It's utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for better, that this cruelty will too come to an end, that peace and tranquility will return once more."
Coming back to these thoughts yet again seem even more relevant this year as I reflect on all that has transpired in these 7 years and feeling as though we are all standing on a great precipice. I pray to God we make the right choice this time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September is off to quite a start

This month has already proved to be an interesting one.

On the first of the month we bought a new car. It's so cute! But don't let it's cuteness fool you-- she has a big engine and lots of zippitydodah. We weren't planning on getting a car, but the truck more or less died, so we didn't have much of a choice in the matter. We do lots of driving on day trips and such. Given our living situation, we need to have a car-- our ticket to freedom. No bones about it. I am psyched to go from about 12 miles per gallon to about 30. Awesome!

Around the same time we bought the car, we decided to take a week away! The expense of the car ruled out any major vacation plans, so we are going to see my dad and step mom down in North Carolina and then maybe a few days on the Outer Banks. I don't really care where we go... as long as its away. We leave on the 20th. Yay! And we're driving the new car down there. I haven't been on a road trip for a while, so this will be great fun. As long as I am the one driving.

Then of course the saga of the tooth. The evil tooth was demanding a potential 3rd root canal (and being uninsured for Dental, this would run about $1300 between procedures and new crown) so I opted instead just to pull the damn thing for about a third of the cost. Ugh. Still in pain from the procedure with Dr. Hottie McHottie, but glad that it is done with.

I hit my first goal with weight watchers: I lost 10% of my body. TEN PERCENT.

We haven't done a lick of wedding planning. I am in that stage where more or less everything looks good. Cabo? Awesome! St. John? Beautiful and easy! Florida? Cheap and convenient! The Carolinas? Close to my folks and pretty! New York? No.

But today I read a bit about a wedding in Venice...oooohhhh Venice. Imagining a rented palazzo...rehearsal dinner en masquerade....ceremony on the terrace overlooking the canals...bellinis for everyone...a cheesy gondola ride in a white dress....I love Venice. I think I have been at least 4 times between work and pleasure. But my guess is not many other friends/family would be keen for that choice. Alas. The search continues across the US, Caribbean, Mexico and just about every other corner of the world.

But...Maybe I can convince you?

Love the Gunn

You may or may not be aware that I love Tim Gunn. The only thing that could make me not like this guy is if John McCain picked him for VP. I love it on the show when, like tonight, Tim tells the class to go caucus with their challenge partner. I never heard anyone talk about caucusing like that, outside of the political arena. I love it so much that just maybe I will ban all meetings in my office (what few we have) and demand for more caucuses. Dig it.

Friday, September 05, 2008

To My Evil tooth... (Part Enough)

Dear Evil Tooth,

You had to have it your way, as if my mouth is some kind of anatomical Burger King. You didn't listen to antibiotics or even the vicodin the last time we duked it out. So I did what I had to do.

I pulled you, motherfucker.

I wanted us to work it out. I wanted to keep you in there, happily chewing my meals. But you just had to be a rebel. You thought you were so James Dean, but I think you were more Sarah Palin. A faux-badass.

But let me tell you: this road has come to an end. As you started up again today, just 2 short weeks since our last battle of wills, I knew I had to just pull the plug. So, I trekked in the middle of my busy workday the Oral Surgeon, Doctor Hottie McHottie. And Dr. McHottie did the deed. He pulled your faux-badass out of my jaw. It took him all of 45 seconds once he numbed me up and grabbed hold of you. How badass is that?

And I say good riddance. Pretty soon I won't even remember you were ever there.

Love and more antibiotics & vicodin,


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sure, I am biased...but...

Sarah P's immature digs and shallow put downs littered throughout her speech are quite annoying. Just saying.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Civic duty is painful

I feel it only just to watch the Republican convention to balance my democratic tendencies. Though I know which way to vote, it is my duty as an informed voter to at least try to listen to both sides of the microphone. The problem: I can't stand to hear Republican speeches.

As I type, Fred Thompson is telling us the story, yet again, of McCain's POW experience. I think he is 5 minutes into the story, which puts him at the point where John refused the pardon to leave the POW camp (GWB told us the same story nary 15 minutes ago). Now we're hearing about the intense beatings he suffered there. How very painful and awful they were and exactly which limbs were broken. Don't get me wrong: I am sure they were unbearable. An experience I cannot even imagine. Thompson says, "Being a POW doesn't qualify you for President, but it does reveal character." I am sure there are lots of folks out there with perfectly fine character who would still make a terrible President.

But I want to shout to the Republicans, "I GET IT. HE WAS A POW. THAT IS AWFUL. NOW, WHAT ELSE DO YOU HAVE?"

I could go on. In fact, I could write volumes on this frustration. I am getting all in a tizzy about this. This and GWB's speech where he reminded us again of Sept 11 and how we are still on the brink of another disaster, which through his leadership we narrowly avoided. Yes, give us more politics of fear! In fact, just for kicks why don't you go back to raising that terrorist threat color bar? CODE ORANGE EVERYONE! Just for fun to get everyone all heated up and remind us of the good old days.

I am turning the channel. I can't take it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why didn't I think of this?

Baby toupees. Awesome. Check out the gallery of babies in wigs. I think "The Donald" is my favorite:

Monday, August 25, 2008

All I can say is....

Thank God for all of the following this week:

US Open Tennis (I am going on Tuesday!)

Democratic National Convention (Speeches! More Speeches!)

Red Sox vs. Yankees (Awwww. Yeah.)

If not for these things, I would be in SERIOUS Olympics withdrawal.

Now what am I going to watch at 3am when I can't sleep?

Monday, August 18, 2008

To My Evil tooth...

Dear Evil Tooth,

Let's talk. Where do you think you get off? Do you think it's cool being a rebel? To be a bad-ass? Well, let me tell you. You are not cool. Sure, I forgave you when you became my first and only cavity. If fact, I cared for you as best as I could and had you filled by good doctors in Holland who I couldn't understand. I did this for you. I rode all the way to Zuid-Oost Amsterdam on my bike to have you filled, and this is how you repay me.

And I cared for you again when you demanded your first root canal. I know. It was a cry for attention, like a starlet getting out of a limo with no panties. It was painful both physically and financially, but again I forgave you insolence. And we moved on.

When you flared up again with your rebel ways and demanded a second root canal, I came close to the line. Do you know I almost had you removed? I said, "Get the hell out of my mouth!" But lucky for you the good doctors convinced me that your friends, the happy good teeth that surround you, depend on you to stay straight. Even when you provide such a bad example. So I LET YOU STAY.

But now, you go too far. TOO FAR, Evil Tooth. Threatening me with a THIRD root canal is just too much. Listen carefully: I will pull you. As God and the blogosphere as my witnesses, I WILL PULL YOU. So shape up and start obeying the 4-days worth of antibiotics knocking on your door. Listen to the Vicodin coursing through your canals and quiet yourself down and relieve me of the constant pain. Do it, and do it now.

Don't make me pull you. Let's be friends again. .

Love and Peace & Antibiotics and Vicodin,


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Interravision Wordle

A little of this, a little of that

It has been a funny time lately. Things have been busier than usual as I have had actual social commitments! *Gasp! Shocking, right?

My sister and her hubs were kind enough to trek down to NYC for a Saturday night to take Damir and I out for a celebratory dinner. It was fantastic! We started with drinks in Bryant park and then up to the Upper East Side for dinner at a cute spot called Vespa. Full and tipsy, we took a long walk back towards Midtown to grab a nightcap at St. Andrews Pub and then called it a night. Damir and I actually ended up staying in the city as well at a sweet little historic hotel (an engagement gift from my company as it turned out), which was a rare and lovely pleasure. The following morning we grabbed some coffee and breakfast sandwiches and had a mini-picnic in Central Park. All too soon they had to get back in the car and head back to Boston... but it meant so much to me that they came. Really.

And then I was invited to a bridal shower! Damir's cousin is getting married this September and I was kindly invited to his bride's shower, though I didn't know anyone other than the bride and the groom's sister-in-law who I see quite often, out of the 30 or so present ladies. Can you believe this: it was the first bridal shower I ever went to. No joke!

I am not certain about the whole bridal show plus bachlorette concept. Which for me is probably a good thing since all my gal pals are now so dispersed, I doubt I could get more than 5 close friends into a room at the same time. That's sad. But maybe not THAT sad since I don't think I am the shower-type. I'd rather do what my sister did: have a big gal-only party with lots of good wine and fruity cocktails.

I suppose if you have attended dozens of showers, when it comes time to yours you might feel entitled. I don't mean any disrespect to the ladies who love showers. And it isn't that I had a bad time last Saturday; it was nice to meet new people and everyone was very friendly. It just isn't for me to be the center of attention opening up present after present while others sit in a circle around me and watched for my reactions; it would make me uncomfortable.

I'd rather open the loot in private.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just a little funny

So, I really am not even thinking about what kind of wedding I want to have. No, really. I mean it. Serious! OK, maybe just a little. But like you did when you were little and you put a towel on your head and pretended it was a veil. Not with any thought that this is really happening to me. Anyone else do that? Anyone?

As you know, I would love a destination wedding but have no idea where to start (thanks to those who have sent ideas-- really, thank you). So, I thought I would innocently check out a forum on the subject of destination weddings. Just to get some good ideas on places that might be a good option from ladies who have walked down the beachy aisle before. I found this site called Best Destination Wedding Forum and thought, Hey! That's for me! Here is the site for those who care:


I peruse the categories to see where I can get the inside scoop on different venues and the first category that catches my eye is called:

Invitations, STDs, photos & websites

It took me a minute and I thought... Huh. STDs are openly discussed alongside invitations, photos and websites? That seems a little odd. I mean I suppose there are some brides out there that might be concerned about whatever STD they contracted in their pre-wedding days. But maybe now isn't the time to "come clean" as it was? Especially when going over creative invitations? And is a forum on this topic really necessary?

I had to open the category to get that STD stands for Save The Date.


Oh, grasshopper. There is so much to learn.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Much to Share

So, you've heard by now... Damir and I got engaged! A week into our engagement I still am not sure it really happened. But it did and we are giddy. This picture was taken just a few moments after... don't we look giddy?

Let me just say that I love this man. He is so generous and kind hearted. He puts the needs of others above his own. He is smart, funny, and affectionate. We share a vision for our life together, and truly he is my best friend. He listens, he does laundry on occasion, he brings me breakfast in bed. I would say we have faced a number of obstacles that most young couples don't have to deal with.... so I know very well that we are a strong team that can weather the challenges of life. I am so glad I waited to find him. Old friends tell me all the time that since meeting Damir, I have never seemed happier. They are right.

We aren't jumping too quickly into wedding planning... I want to enjoy this period for a little bit before stressing myself out with details. I actually am dreading the wedding planning process, mostly because I do so much planning for work that it doesn't feel like fun anymore.

My ideal wedding goes like this:

1) Wake up in tropical paradise next to my sweetheart
2) Get a private massage on the beach and have a lazy day
3) Put on some lipstick and brush my hair while enjoying a fruity adult beverage
4) Put on pretty frock, grab a flower or two
5) Pledge my love and partnership in front of close friends and family in our tropical paradise setting
6) Enjoy Good food and local music under the stars...maybe a campfire on a beach.
7) Lots of hand holding, smoochies and the pleasure of good company. But most of all: lots of laughter.

That's it. No frills, no hoo-ha. So, really, the location will be key. Caribbean? Mexico? Florida? I have no idea... but am open to suggestion! Seriously... please send me some suggestions.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

To Write

I used to keep a diary or a journal almost religiously. Every day I would take a few moments before going to sleep and write down the day's joy or sorrow, expunging it from my mind. I think this helped me sleep better, and it definitely helped me work out problems and stress.

I love going back into those journals and seeing what was going on. After whom was I pining? What was going on in the world, or with friends? Where was I traveling? What demons were plaguing me (oh there were some big demons to write about). I laugh reading the stories from Italy when I was living abroad as a teenager; I am still in awe from the experience of sailing around the world; I am often perplexed that I got so worked up about something stupid, but I keep learning from mistakes made and resolved.

But since moving in with Damir I have all but stopped writing. Sure, snippets here on the blog, but that's hardly an insight into what's really going on behind the scenes or in my brain.

I think I am self conscious about the actual act of writing in front of him, which is silly when I think about it. He is my best friend and my partner, why would I feel so vulnerable just by writing? If anything, I feel more comfortable with him than with any other person that has graced my life. I am certain part of it is that sometimes I would be writing about him, especially when working out a little worry or some issue between us (still getting worked up about stupid stuff I guess). I wouldn't want him to later come across any of my bitching and take it the wrong way... not that I think he would ever read my stuff uninvited. The obvious solution would be to find a cozy private corner and have my way with the pen, but that's not really possible in our current set up. You know. The Parents.

And now... I am so out of practice I feel awkward and uncertain in front of a page. Where would I even begin telling the story of the past 2 years?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fifteen Point Six

I've lost 15.6 pounds since joining back up on WW in May.
But still, am in serious bagel withdrawal.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Just a little worried

There has been some amount of culture shock going from a huge multi-national corporation to a tiny 10-person family run start-up company. Here, there's no employee manual, no complete job description, and no discernible politics. These are good things.

But, its scary being in a company that is rather fragile, on uneven footing. Especially in times like these. My chosen industry, hospitality and travel, is also somewhat volatile. The current economic climate is definitely playing a part in our day-to-day operation. It might make us a stronger organization in the end.... or we may be taken under with the tide. It's too early to tell.

I know this: I do not want to be unemployed in New York City again. If I were to lose my job, I would have to wage a major campaign with Damir to move elsewhere. But where would we go?

Here are my top choices-- in no particular order:
  • Chicago: My mom's hometown and a fantastic city. But winters.... ugh.
  • Seattle or Portland: Would be nice to be close to my nieces as they get older... but its so far from Damir's family, my parents and my sister.
  • The Carolinas: I think I am a southern girl at heart. And my parents are down in that direction.
  • Boston, or any major city in New England: give me a clam bake on any day and I am a happy girl.
Damir says he would leave NYC, but I think that would be pretty hard for him. For a long long long time before he came here, he dreamed about coming to New York. And he finally got what he wanted and loves it here. He has a huge family and cultural network all around New York, which just is irreplaceable elsewhere.

But each time we have traveled together to a new city... the Carolinas, Boston, even Texas, he looks around and says, "Yeah, I could live here too". Maybe. I guess the thought of staying in only one city, any city or place, for the rest of my life makes me uncomfortable. I have gotten used to moving to a new place every 5 years or so. I like the exploration.

Anyway. I don't really think I am going to lose my job. Not yet, at least. But just to be as safe as possible, I am trying to make myself as indispensable as I can be.

Monday, July 07, 2008


If it was ever your dream to walk inside a giant fiberglass replica of Eddie Murphy's head, you should have been in Times Square last Thursday.

Sorry if you missed it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Sorry to be so quiet as of late. I am pushing towards a big deadline at work and haven't had time for much else. Somehow I was given the project to create a completely brand new website for my company, including an online booking engine, which is hopefully set to launch in the first week of July. What do I know about creating websites? Well, not that much. But I have learned a heck of a lot in a very short amount of time! I am pretty excited about it, it looks waaayyyyy better than what we've had in the past. But still full of bugs.

I have been staring at a computer trying to write code, format pictures, update our product database, and write the site text for over 12 hours a day, so that leaves me very much NOT IN THE MOOD to then blog in the few hours a day I am not working on the site.

But soon.... very soon.... it will be done and I will have a life again.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Happy Loving Day!

Let's all give a moment of thanks to advancements in relational acceptance.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You know...Something

I heard about this on NPR and had to check it out for myself.

The Something Store.

You know... when you just want something.

You shell out $10 and they send you a surprise. It could be an Ipod, or a nose clipper. It could be a pocket knife or a digital camera. The point is: you don't know until you open the box. Its like a suprise party for one.

I am thinking about getting something for Damir...just to enjoy the suspense of what it could be! I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A word to Google Reader and RSS readers of Interravision

So, I am not sure how this works since I am behind the times and don't do "Google Reader" or something I think is called a "Feed". I like visiting the website of my friend and seeing what is going on right there on their site rather than have it delivered to me in some mailbox. This way I feel like I am actually visiting with them, albeit virtually. Somewhere in the day I'll say, "hey! lets go visit Ashbloem! (or Superette or America Hates Us or Not Yo Momma, etc)" and then I will visit her site and catch up on all her goings on.

But that's just me.

Anyway, I just wanted to let those who are tech savvy know that I almost always write my it... read it online...decide I don't like something about it...go back change it... repeat as necessary. I think in Reader it only shows you my original draft and not the final way more cool post.

But then again, I could be wrong. I really have no idea.

Monday, June 09, 2008

And we are back.

Dallas was so much fun I couldn't bring myself to blog about it last week:

A) Because I spent last week in a coma of exhaustion, finally getting about 12 hours of much needed sleep this past Friday night.

B) It kind of makes me sad to blog after a much awaited event, because it means that it is really over and in the past.

It was great to stand up with Ms. Ashbloem and Mr. Davey and witness their union. I particularly loved their vows and will have to see if they'd let me plagiarize all or some in the event I ever take that big leap. It was also great fun to see old friends from the Amsterdam days. But what I loved best about their wedding was that it really did represent who they are as two fun people. They only included the traditions that represented them, and the originality of the wedding, from start to finish, made it special.

Damir and I got to enjoy Dallas and had a beautiful room at the Fairmont Hotel. We didn't do too much tourist stuff, other than visit the Aquarium which we both liked a lot. They had an odd inmate: a leopard. Why is there a leopard in an aquarium? They had him (her?) caged right in front of the flock of flamingos, with just a clear plexiglass of separation. Isn't that on the same plane of water-boarding?

In the end it was a fun and exhausting trip. Just when we were so happy to escape the heat of Texas, we come home to near 100 degree temps. Thanks for that, Mother Nature. But at least it means it is beach season here on Long Island and that is a happy thing indeed.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Big D

Damir and I are off tomorrow for this girl's wedding:

Awwwww yeah. If I know this girl, and I think I do, this will be a wedding like none other. Pictures to follow.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Peeps

I found them: My People.

Fellow fans of the Boston Red Sox living here in New York City. Ahhhhh... sanity at last.
I met up last night with about 45 fellow fans at a bar in Midtown to watch the Sox spank the Royals.

The nice thing about walking into this kind of environment, one where you know not one soul before arriving, is that you immediately have something to talk about: baseball. That's a nice icebreaker to have at your finger tips.

The funny thing was that there were a bunch of guys there looking to meet available girls-- but all the girls were more interested in watching baseball than getting their groove on. In fact, the ladies who were present were super down to earth, normal, nice ladies. Maybe I'll actually make a new friend!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

So, how'd it go?

Some of you may be aware that when I get super stressed, or have a mission to accomplish, I get a little... um, what's the word... bitchy. Demanding and unreasonable would also be accurate adjectives. I have a vision how how things should be done, and lord get out of the way if you don't share that vision.

I know, I am working on it. Really.

Saturday morning was one of those mornings. Damir and I had a lot to accomplish in a relatively short amount of time, coupled with my stress of bringing my parents over to see our abode and meet Damir's parents for the first time. There were a few not-so-pretty moments on my behalf. But thankfully Damir rocked it out of the park and did the bulk of the dirty work (all the food shopping, prep, and some last minute minor household repairs) so I could have time to shower, get to Oyster Bay to meet my parents, and have some quality time with them before bringing them over.

Have I mentioned lately that I love this guy?

Sadly Damir's mom had to work unexpectedly, so it was just my parents, Damir's Dad and a few cousins that live in the neighborhood who were instrumental in keeping the translated conversation going. Damir made an amazing seafood stew and a bevy of tasty appetizers. And there was wine, of which I could not partake, since I was driving the crew back to the boat in Oyster Bay after dinner.

Everyone agreed it was a success. My one and only regret is that I didn't have the presence of mind to take a picture of everyone. Sad.

The rest of the weekend was relaxed, spent lounging on the boat. I got to have an extra evening with my parents last night since high winds kept them from sailing on to their next stop. I really enjoyed having some one-on-one time with them.