Friday, February 27, 2009

Hey kids, I'm a writer!

Some of you, my loyal fans (ha), may be wondering when I am actually going to talk about what I did in Spain, rather than random musings about screensavers and strange pictures of cathedrals and hard hats. Well, fear not, my minions (too far?) -- this will happen. But not on this blog.

You see, for the past few weeks I've been working on a project in which I ghostwrite a blog for the president of my organization. There have been a few roadblocks, but it is finally up and running. Starting next week, I will be discussing all of the beautiful places and wonderful people that we met in the Basque Country, as well as keeping readers up to date as to what is happening at the Tribute Center. But just so you know -- I'll be writing as a retired firefighter. For a non-profit organization. About 9/11. So my snarky commentary will be regulated to this site, and this site alone.

Anyway, I'm pretty excited that my job description now involves being a writer, which is kind of my goal in life. So if you love my life commentary and want to check out one of my multiple writing personalities, please do so here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I know I just learned to crochet...

...but I think hardhats are much more my style.

Courtesy of the beautiful Cathedral de Santa MarĂ­a in Vitoria

Monday, February 23, 2009

An ethical dilemma

The 11am-12pm hour is my most feared hour of the day. And no, it is not because my inner fat kid begins jonesing for some non-Weight Watchers sanctioned cookies at about this time (although she does). It is at this hour that my gmail box becomes inundated, every day, with sample sale websites. It is a daily struggle to notice some of my favorite designers marked with beautiful, flashy signs (Up to 70% off!!) and not take a peek. But it is what I should do AFTER peeking that presents my current ethical dilemma.

I know, logically, that I should merely window shop amongst these websites. Although I can afford the occasional shiny thing (oooh!) or pretty dress, it is rare that I actually need them. And just because I can afford it now doesn't mean that I won't regret it later in this volatile economy. I certainly shouldn't be buying earrings when many in the country can't afford their homes.

But then again, won't re-entering my hard earned money into the economy help pull us out of our current funk? Could my penchant for charm necklaces single-handedly pull this nation out of the recession? And if so, is it not my patriotic duty to check hautelook and gilt group every day?

Hopefully Obama will tell me what to do in his speech tonight. If not, does anyone have any thoughts on the matter (especially those as inexplicably drawn to shiny things as myself)?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

You're in the wrong place, my friend. You'd better leave.

This past weekend, I ventured into the city of Philadelphia for the first time in about 4 years. Without getting into too much detail, the summer I spent living in North Philly was one of the absolute worst times in my life, and I had never felt the strength or desire to go back. Philadelphia, despite being part of the greatest commonwealth on earth, was the one place that I swore I would never go again. And then I had to go and fall for a guy from just that particular area. Karma is an ironic bitch.

I will say, however, that I had a very lovely time and at no point found myself fearing for my life or being inappropriately touched by drunk strangers. This is a feat in and of itself. I enjoyed my time in Philadelphia and will probably return, but this kind of healing involves baby steps, and I am in no way ready to discuss how wonderful the city is with, oh, I don't know, say a camera crew. Which brings us to Monday morning.

I was minding my own business at Reading Terminal, standing in (not on, you crazy New Yorkers) line for your run of the mill bagel with cream cheese. I noticed a film crew filming a Food Network-esque segment, talking about the diversity and wonder of this particular food court. Having lived in New York since that fateful day that I left Philadelphia oh-those-many-years ago, I don't pay much attention to film crews or their purposes. Which also means that I don't notice when they sneak up behind me.

I grabbed my bagel from the counter and turned around quickly, blissfully unaware of the camera that was only inches from my face. Suddenly, I was hit with a barrage of questions: How often do you come here? Who told you about Reading Terminal? Have you heard it is the best place to eat in Philadelphia? Is that going to be the greatest bagel you have ever tasted?

My mind began to reel. TELL THEM! it screamed. Tell them that Primanti Bros., pierogies and gobs will always beat anything that Philadelphia can produce! Tell them that a New York bagel far outshines a bagel made from anywhere else on earth, even if it IS the best bagel place in Philadelphia (which assuredly, this was not)! But then I took stock of my situation, realized that Philly had been good to me the past few days, and that I couldn't let former prejudices flow back just because there was a random camera in my face. I calmly stated that I was from New York, that my boyfriend had suggested the place, and it was conveniently located because we were meeting a friend.

And then I ran like hell. Mostly because I was 5 seconds from yelling, "Six superbowl rings, bitches!!"

Friday, February 13, 2009


Don't you love when random Spanish journalists somehow creepily find out your middle name and mistake it for your last?

Or is that just me?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Will someone remind me when I turned 90?

Some of you might remember the days that I made all of my jewelry. Others of you may even remember the purse-making "business" Ann and I had in high school (the NYC skyline purse will always have a special place in my heart). Well, my friends, a new era has dawned. A new era in which I crochet.
This could be dangerous. But as long as I'm crafting -- does anyone want a new hat?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Jamon y Vino diet

It's no secret that I've been doing Weightwatchers (pretty successfully) since last August. If you are interested in the program, definitely ask me about it. It's pretty phenomenal. But I digress...

I have been traveling for the past 3 weeks, and have been faced the extremely existential question of "to track or not to track." I could worry about the (massive amounts) of food that I was putting into my body, or I could look past it and deal with it when I returned. I chose the latter. And thank goodness. I'm not sure how many of you are aware, but I'm pretty sure that the four food groups in Spain are Ham (Jamon), Wine (Vino), Cheese (Queso), and Fried Deliciousness (closest translation: Croquetas). I threw caution to the wind and prepared for depression at weigh in.

Imagine my surprise when I stepped on a scale last night to find that not only did I NOT gain 100 lbs, but I actually lost .6. Out of pure shock I mentioned this to my leader, and thought that I would never have to speak of it again. However, during "affirmation" time (it's basically AA), my leader turned to me and asked, "Why don't you share your inspirational story?"

You can not imagine how difficult it is to tell a room full of people with weight issues how you had pigged out for 3 weeks and lost weight. I literally broke into a cold sweat, and threw in some crap about walking everywhere to appease the restless mob. I'm lucky that I got out of that meeting alive.

However, I have been intrigued as to what contributes to the success of this "Jamon y Vino" diet. I didn't see many overweight Spaniards, so there must be something to it! I'm thinking of marketing it to Weightwatchers to see what they think. But judging by the angry rumbling of the crowd last night, it might need some time to catch on.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Scientific Hypothesis

It is no secret that my taste in music is, well, eclectic. I've never been able to fully explain why it is that I love Britney, rock out to country, and listen to Christmas music 10 months a year, especially because these music preferences don't really fit my personality. Most of my friends have very distinct tastes in music and can't understand why my auditory cortex has failed me so. And up until last week, I questioned the same thing.

Rewind to last Monday morning. The day before I embarked on a 7 hour plane ride, I realized that my trusty earphones had completely fallen apart. Now, most people would just go out and by new earphones, but I've always had a very interesting ear predicament. Namely that anything that I place in my ears with a consistency harder than a cotton ball causes a fairly intolerable amount of pain (and I have a high pain tolerance). I knew that I couldn't make this trip without my ipod, but the thought of new earphones worried me. I bit the bullet, listened to two separate people at Best Buy, and bought a pair of purple earphones that they claimed to be the most comfortable in the world.

Minutes later, I placed the new earphones in my ears and started running on the elliptical at my nearby gym. Sure enough, within about 30 seconds my ears were pulsing and I was forced to watch Friends in silence. "I have made a horrible mistake," I thought, but it was too late to correct it. I would have to grin and bear it on the plane or hope that my ears became less sensitive in the next 24 hours.

Flash forward to the plane ride. I desperately wanted to try again, but when I placed the buds in my ears, it immediately felt as though someone was attempting to stuff a lemon through my ear canal and into my brain. I took them out, and in an act of desperation, placed the left bud into my right ear and vice versa. Shockingly, placing the ear phones in the wrong ear produced absolutely no pain! I realized in that instant that I had been living for almost 26 years with misshapen (and perhaps backwards) ear canals without ever knowing it! I listened to music and watched the in flight movie with no problems, and have since been to the gym completely free of ear pain. It may sound like a slight victory, but to me this new found freedom is the equivalent of speaking in tongues.

But it did get me to thinking -- could my medical anomaly be complicating the flow of music into my brain? Is Britney's new album so appealing because my temporal lobe is getting mixed signals from my confused ear drums? I am more than willing to donate my body to science to get this all figured out. So if any of you know any neuroscience majors looking for a really kick ass (or asinine (?)) thesis, please send them my way. If anyone can save me from 20 more years of boy band reunions, I'm willing to give it a try.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Here we go!

Steeler Nation

Has the Best Fans!

We are from Pittsburgh,

the 6 Time Superbowl Champs!

Queremos Obama!

There will be much to update, and soon, about my incredible trip to Spain and the Basque Country this past week. However, as I am swamped with work that has piled up in my absence, I will leave you with a teaser:

After a 6 hour red eye from New York to Madrid (simulated night time < 2 hours), we were all a bit woozy as we awaited our gate assignment to Bilbao. As I glanced toward the information desk (wondering if they might have a pillow and an ambien for a weary traveler), I noticed a flashy screen saver with a word twisting around sporadically, striped in red and white. Curious as to what word might be waving around like an American Flag on a Spanish Information Desk computer, I leaned a bit closer. It was one word, that said so much: Obama.

That's one small step for Windows 3D text, one giant leap for international relations.