Friday, December 10, 2010

Link update

I've moved over to my own domain.  All the fun is now happening at  See you there!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Opulence, I haz it

And I would trade all of it, the gold bars, the gold busts, the gold couches, even the miniature giraffe
(but NEVER the DirecTv) for a good night's sleep. I am really and truly hoping that last night was just a fluke. I've had sleepless nights before, but last night was what we call ridicuous. I literally tossed and turned all night. This is not a good thing for having to deal with what is basically and 11 hour day on the phones. I actually have to be mentally present. I can't just (wait for it...) phone it in. *rimshot*

See? Without sleep my corny jokes get even worse!

Last night I tried a glass of wine with dinner as wine usually makes me quite sleepy, but I knew what was ahead when at 10:30 and lights out I was still wired like I just knocked over a Starbucks.  Here I sit, seven hours later, more or less awake, but knowing that I can't have a lot of those nights. I guess tonight I'll try some melatonin. Like half a bottle.

By the way, did I tell you that I love the house we're in? The only downside is that I'm not supposed to make holes in the ceiling. I'm not supposed to. We'll see how long that lasts. Why would I want to make holes in the ceiling, you might ask? It's because they're vaulted. They're nice and high. And I want my pole up in my office. Who's gonna notice 3 little holes all the way up there? Meh, we'll see.

In other hypochondriac related news, I saw a news clip the other day about a little old local lady and Jayson Werth. They both had wrist surgery because they had a UT tear. I think I have the same thing. I, however, don't currently have insurance *sigh* nor am I really willing to go under the knife (says the girl who went under for cosmetic reasons). I wonder if those things will heal themselves.

Well, the sun isn't up so it's time for me to go shower. In another couple of weeks, I'll be leaving home before the sun comes up and getting home after it goes down. That's winter for ya. Now bring on the snow so I can get my board out!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Where's My Money?!?!

That's right. I wanted to know.

One of the best things about working a temp job is getting paid every week.  Not just that, but also the 3 day weekends I have due to working four ten-hour days and getting paid on Thursday.  Well, this past Thursday, I didn't see any paycheck money in my bank account.  I figured maybe it would hit on Friday but something in the back of my mind said to check on my timesheet for the previous week.

Good thing I did because, unbeknownst to me, my timesheet was rejected.  No one told me.  Not the place I'm working, not the temp agency, and had I not looked, I probably would've still been waiting for a check.  I immediately sent an email over to the agency asking why I didn't get paid, why I didn't get informed that I wasn't going to get paid, and when the heck was I gonna get paid.

The agency got back to me saying that yes, my timecard was rejected, but they didn't know why.  WTF man?  They said I needed to talk to my supervisor.  Of course, she was away from her desk.  The minutes passed and I got antsy.  I sent her an email.  I had no idea where she was.  Arrgh.  I want my money.  Now I'm getting angry.

At long last, my supervisor returned to her desk, and I don't think her ass was in her seat before I was at her desk.  I asked, in the nicest way that I could muster, why my timesheet was rejected.  Her answer surprised me.  She said that I marked my lunch for one hour on Tuesday, but we only did half-hour lunches that day.  Yes, you read that right.  She rejected my timesheet because I accidentally gave them a free half-hour of work!  *stunned*

She sent the proper information over to the agency and the agency sent me an email saying that direct deposit on Monday was the best that she could do.  I was okay with this as I was still stunned about the 30 minutes.  I also thought that I would have to deal with a paper check.

Friday morning, I woke up to an email saying that I had a new paystub and I thought to myself, great, a paystub but no money.  Au contraire, mon frere.  I also had a paycheck.  Can you say stoked?  I can, and I was.  That is a great way to start the weekend.  I hope you enjoy yours.

I Guess I'm Old Now

Just moments ago, I returned from Walgreen's.  I went to pick up a little sleep aid and some chocolate since it was on sale. (See that excuse for chocolate?)  Upon arrival, they were piping in "Love of a Lifetime" by Firehouse which I find to be an interesting song to be playing in Walgreen's.  It's also "our song". 

The next song that came on was "Stray Cat Strut" by the Stray Cats.  I really love me some Stray Cats - Brian Setzer Orchestra too.  I was singing along as I stepped up to the cashier.  The cashier, a young man of about 17 at most, said to me, "I end up singing these songs all of the time. They just repeat them over and over."  Without even thinking, I replied that I sing along with these songs because I had ALREADY BEEN BORN when they came out.  I guess I should've just taken my shoe off and started eating it right then.

His response?  "Oh yeah, my mom listens to this stuff all of the time."

I must've made some sort of face because he tried to clean it up with, "Well, at least it's good."

Damage done, kid.  Damage done.

At least I have chocolate and I'm getting a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Honeymoon is Over

Yes, after just about three years, I have just about had it with my iPhone.  Ha!  You thought this was gonna be about a people relationship?!?  Nope.

I'm still with the iPhone 3G and I refuse to go to the 4.  Why should I when they're just gonna come up with a 5 and 6 that will render my 4 nearly inoperable just as my 3G now is.  Everything has slowed down to a crawl and I am just feeling overall unhappy with the damn thing.  Soooooooo..

I need a new phone.  I'm open to suggestions.  I'd prefer not to switch away from AT&T since I have three phones on the account, but I'm not totally against it.  I don't know that I want to join the Blackberry vs iPhone debate.  I don't think that I'd really like the BB anyway. 

What phone do you have?  Do you love it?  Do you hate it? 

I rarely use my phone for actual telephone calls. (how sad is that?)  It's more for texting, social networking, and games.  So that's what's important for me.  I've been looking at the Samsung Captivate.  It makes me smile.  But, of course, I'm open to suggestions.  What say you?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Been A Long Time Since I Rock And Rolled

It's been a busy little while in my world.

We left Miami on August 9, everything packed, itinerary in hand. We had wanted to take a leisurely four days, but my car was going to be dropped off on Thursday morning so we really had to get up at the ass crack to make it at a reasonable time.

We didn't even make it out of Miami-Dade county before we saw one crash and one almost crash on I-95. It wasn't even raining! Madness. We made it safely to Jacksonville more or less just in time to eat and go to bed. Hooray for staying at my mom's house to see her before we took off and not having to pay for a hotel for one night.

Tuesday we got a somewhat leisurely start (leisurely for us, I suppose...still on the road before 9) to our first hotel in Nashville, TN. Not much of interest between FL and TN but our hotel was really nice.

Wednesday took us from TN to Kansas City, KS. Another sleeper drive and a decent hotel. While we were in KS, I ate for the first time at Steak 'n Shake. Almost a crime to eat there for the first time considering the amount of time I spent in Sandpiper. Granted, it's just fast food, but it wasn't awful. No leisurely rise and shine for us on Thursday morning, though.

We had my car shipped to Colorado because I didn't think it could make the drive and it was actually cheaper than getting the U-Haul thing to haul the car behind the truck. Our shipper had a schedule, as truckers do, and as it was, he was delaying our delivery. (Thank goodness for my Cuban driver and my Cuban husband making friends.) In order to not throw the driver's schedule off, we promised to be in Denver by noon. That's right, KS to CO, arriving by noon. Even with the time zone changes, we had to leave KS at 3am. Ouch.

Know what's in KS? Yup, nothing. Well, except huge farms of wind turbines. Know what else? I don't care what anyone says, an entire field of those things is CREEPY! I can see one or two together and it doesn't bother me, but entire fields of them just made me want to jump out of the car and run around screaming with my hands over my ears. Either I'm insane or I'm very sensitive to whatever madness is secretly behind the wind machines. CONSPIRACY THEORY! This photo, taken with my phone, doesn't even really capture the creepy or how many turbines were out there, but here ya go.

And that's just a few of those evil monsters.

We arrived in Denver in record time only to find out that the truck driver had some trouble and wouldn't arrive until Friday. With time on our hands, we went to pick up the h use keys for our first viewing of the house. Good pick on our part.

It took just under forever for our furniture to arrive, but my ire towards the moving company is for another post.

The house is now almost all ready for visitors. Next post...the with furniture!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Afterhours at the 1230 - 8/29/07

A Sucker-Free Sunday - 8/28/07

Does not include me.

I am a sucker. I have a very bad tendency to want to try new products and infomercials are my worst enemy. After Lovey and I got done laughing at the infomercial for Hip Hop Abs, I surely went ahead and ordered it. At least it's not just sitting on the shelf though. I am doing it and it does work as long as you do it. Have I lost any weight? About a pound, but the inches that have come off are way better than the pounds anyways.

So, I have the most luggage ever in the depository under my eyes. It doesn't matter how much sleep I get or how much water I drink, I always look like I'm either high, almost asleep, or in dire need of sleep. Of course, makeup does wonders, but I'm too lazy for that and I haven't made it to the store to check out the right shade in the mineral makeup yet. Dermatologist is the next step, but in reality, I don't think I care enough to go. I'm not picking up any boys or starting up a modeling career since I'm too short.

Well, if there's a new product out, I'm gonna give it a try. Vanity sneaks out every now and again and I want to be the most beautiful girl in Miami that has her real lips/boobs/hips/ass/hair/fingernails. Wait, according to Lovey, I already am. Whatever. I figured if Oil of Olay came out with something that would put away the suitcases, I'd give it a shot.

And there it is. The eye derma-pod. They stuck some creme in a little pouch that you open by squeezing it and it magically comes out on the sponge at the end. Spread evenly on upper lids and underneath eyes and massage in for one minute per eye. Contains 24 derma-pods, best results if used thrice weekly for 8 weeks. Yup. 8 weeks.

But I'm game. I figure it might help. I have less than two weeks left and I'm slowly finding out that Olay just doesn't work for everyone. I'm not posting any before and/or after pictures, mainly because I didn't take any but I'm seriously not seeing any difference here people. No, I take that back, I'm not seeing any positive difference. Is the skin underneath my eyes different from the rest of my face now? Yes, it is, but it looks like, to me, that all this has accomplished is making the wonderful lines under my eyes even freaking deeper! Now there's just a place for makeup to hide!! Aaargh!

Olay has less than two weeks to change my mind on this, but I just don't see it happening. Maybe this only works for people who only THINK they have bags under their eyes, not people who actually have them.

5 word challenge - Ten Hut! - 8/14/07

The year is 1990. The location: Happy Valley, PA, otherwise known as the home of Penn State University. Our main character is sixteen years young, away from home for the first time, somewhat naive in the workings of the military, and generally a nervous wreck.

It's official. I am a member of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corp (AFROTC). Today is the first day of many days of sheer torture. There is a war going on, and in my naivety, I worry that somehow, I might get sent overseas to fight for our country. Yes, that's right, I think that the 16 year-old college freshman who has no military training is going to be sent to war. I told you I was naive.

I've received my uniform and been given brief instructions on how to care for it. On some people, it looks good. Me, I just look like a stewardess. I think it's because I'm short and dressed in navy blue from head to toe. By the way, why isn't there a color called Air Force blue for the AF to wear? I don't think the navy even wears blue.

History has never been interesting to me, so when I found out that I had to take a class weekly about the history of the Air Force, I was less than thrilled. Nevertheless, I suffer through because it is only one day a week. That day of the week is long indeed for I have to wear my uniform all day. Yes, all day. To every class, to lunch, to dinner. And it's uncomfortable. And I haven't quite gotten used to whom I need to salute and whom I can just say hi to. Every exchange with a fellow ROTC-er is awkward to say the least, whether it be Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines.

I must admit that I love a challenge and I will certainly cut off my nose to spite my face. That is how I ended up pledging the drill team. Someone mentioned it and I believe, immediately thereafter said something to the effect of 'it wouldn't be for me'. Well, right there, the gauntlet was laid down. Little did I know what I was in for.

The first week didn't seem so bad. Sure there were extra things to attend and tidbits to learn, but it would be worth it, right? Sure. Unfortunately, things didn't stay so bright and cheery. You don't just join the drill team, you pledge it, as in a fraternity or sorority. And just like a frat or sorority, there's hazing and plenty of it. We were given bright yellow "manuals" that could be seen from a mile away full of sometimes useless information. And these little factoids were the enemy. Any current member of the drill team could stop a pledge at any time to quiz us on said material. If that weren't enough, we were not allowed to use contractions in speaking and we had to make sure that we would always see the DTM (drill team members) before they saw us so that we could "greet" them. If a DTM saw you first, they could and would dole out demerits to be marked down in your manual. You could work them off, but it was easier just not to get them. Oh, did I mention that when we were in any of the many cafeterias (where you could always find at least one DTM), we had to ask for permission to eat before sitting down to actually eat. This led to several of us losing a few pounds as we would just avoid the dining rooms.

Nothing curdles the blood like hearing "PLEDGE! TAKE ONE!" from across the quad. The DTM were sneaky bastards. I swear they popped out of dark corners like ninjas. Some of them were just jerks. There was one DTM, we'll call him GR who was just ridiculously cocky about lording his DT membership over us, the lowly pledges. Once, he was walking across the quad with a female friend and he happened to see a pledge before the pledge say him. Apparently, he thought it would be funny to have his lady friend just repeat his name over and over to alert the pledge of his presence. Okay, the pledge was me. I'm stubborn. I ignored them both. I paid for it in push ups.

Were you aware that there's no greater pleasure than a freshly polished ugly black shoe? You weren't? That's because shining shoes sucks. You'd best better believe that DTMs could see their vindictive faces in those shoes though. Those same vindictive faces that would get shoved into pledges unsuspecting faces. Better not flinch. Your entire body had better stay as rigid as an overly-starched shirt. Kind of like the ones we wore.

Outside of learning such gems as "The Ballad of Snoopy", we also picked up "High Flight" and every verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner". And eventually, since we were pledging the Drill Team, we got to throw some rifles around. The hand-batterer rifle of choice was the Remington M1903 Springfield rifle. They weren't so heavy and they were actually pretty fun to spin, even to throw. Catching, well, that's a different story.

There were 12 of us, we called ourselves the dirty dozen. Original, no? I'd be hard-pressed to name all twelve now. 9 guys and 3 girls. Typically, when it came drill time, the guys worked together as did the girls. This is where the problems came in. For being as small as I was - I don't think I'd hit 100 pounds yet - I was a tough cookie. The other two girls were bigger than me, but not always so tough. It really was only a problem when it was time to throw something called a single back. Let me backtrack. A 'single to yourself' is rather self-explanatory. You take your rifle and chuck it up into the air, making sure that it makes one rotation, and then you catch it. Done and done. A single back, on the other hand, is where one person stands approximately 8 feet in front of the victim catcher and then tosses the rifle backwards, blindly at that, making one rotation for the person behind to catch. The bottom line is that my fellow female pledges couldn't make that throw. And guess what? Don't even think about moving. You'd better catch it, no matter what, or you could count on some extra push-ups after practice. That's how I ended up with bruised and bloodied knuckles, not to mention a hand that refused to function properly since all of its fingers had been bent into ridiculous positions.

With so much drama in the ROTC, it's kinda hard being, well, a pledge. It was demanding, even grueling at times, but overall, I suppose it was worth it. I made some great friends (that I no longer keep in touch with), learned some nifty stuff (it's amazing what you can make your body do), and best of all, I got an idea for the Vox 5 word challenge!

Heaven. Oh, what is, heaven? I'll take Stupid Answers for $200. - 8/9/07

Every weeknight at 7:30, we sit down for dinner and we watch Jeopardy. Typically, my daughter gets mad because my boyfriend and I are fountains of useless knowledge and when she knows the answer, she can't get it out faster than we do. If you know Jeopardy, you know that sometimes they have kids, or college kids, and sometimes, celebs. We hate celebrity Jeopardy. Sure it's great that they're playing for charity, but more often than not, the questions are outrageously simple. I watch Jeopardy for the brain workout and that's the same reason I don't watch Wheel of Fortune.

Well, I don't remember what the category was, but the clue went a little something like this:

Andrew Jackson, when on his deathbed, said he would see his slaves in this place.

Right? Simple? Heaven. Nice guy that AJ. Not so nice two gals and one guy sitting in our living room because I shout out, "That great cotton field in the sky!" I think at that point, my daughter swallowed a mouthful of pasta without chewing. Being who we are, we can't let it go with just that. Lovey chips in with, "See all those puffy clouds up there? You'll still be picking!" At this point, Kiddie is nearly in tears and we all have a great giggle.

It was funny! Really! We'll be there all week.

CM Chronicles - II - 8/2/07

After packing up everything I could fit into two duffel bags and a bit of panicked frustration when two days before my flight, I had yet to receive my plane tickets, I was off to the airport. I am not, have never been, nor ever will be a fan of flying. I do believe it's because I have control issues. But, this new adventure was waiting on the other side of the flying tin can ride.

I had researched this Club Med place and the place I was going in particular. It looked so pretty on the website and there was so much to do. I could learn to sail, waterski, rollerblade, play tennis, or fly on the trapeze. The trapeze?!?! The thrill-seeker in me couldn't wait to try that one out.

Club Med, Sandpiper is located in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, otherwise known as 'God's waiting room'. The closest airport is West Palm Beach at a 45 minute drive, next is Fort Liquordale at about an hour and 15 minutes, and then Cuba Miami International at a smidge over 2 hours depending on traffic which means 3 hours. In their infinite wisdom, where do they fly me into? Of course, Miami. So now after I've sat on a plane for what seems like forever, I now have to sit in a car for 3 hours while the driver feels that he must talk to me. (What a sign of things to come.) At least, though, upon my arrival at the airport, my driver was right there to help with my bags and I had to do no looking around in a state of confusion.

My flight landed around 6pm, so that put me in CMS (henceforth known as "the village") at a bit after 9. By the time I got my bags to my room and changed clothes, because there's nothing I hate more than having other people's dirt all over me, unless it involves sex, but that's another story, dinner was long over. I ventured out of my room and over to the bar because that seemed to be where all of the action was.

In the new crew of bartenders, I was the last to arrive. The others were already in the bar partying on down. The chef du bar (bar manager), Stephan, came and introduced himself. We chatted briefly, he asked if I had had dinner and on my no response, offered me the only thing there was: bar pizza. Yep, it was gross, but when you're hungry, you're hungry. Some of my fellow noobs came over and introduced themselves. They appeared to be hammered. Now, by no means am I an angel, and at home, I would've proceeded to join them in getting hammered, but I'm a little older, maybe a little wiser than my cohorts and so I decide to head back to my room. Besides, our training starts bright and early tomorrow.

Next time: This is training?

A quote - 8/2/07

"You can do me from behind, but not in the behind." - A wise woman.

CM Chronicles - I - 8/1/07

If you read my blog, you know that I'm long-winded. These chronicles are just a rehashing of parts of my four years at Club Med. They may contain swearing, sex, or otherwise possibly offensive things so consider yourself warned. They also may be chronically boring to you, dear reader, and for that, I apologize but the reality is that it's my blog and I'll write about my boring life if I want to.

Back in the early spring of 2000, I had recently moved back to PA after living in NY for a couple of years. I was fortunate enough to still have a place to live in PA - the house I grew up in. At that time, my brother was still living in the house where he had, apparently, been living the high life, throwing parties and such. I was a wet blanket on the festivities. Not that I didn't enjoy my fair share of partying, but he was accustomed to having the house to himself without me there to bug him or his friends.

I picked up a bartending job and life was good, or life was good for me. I don't think to this day he'd admit it, but in the way little brothers do, he wanted me out of the house. As it was, I didn't spend tons of time in the house. I did what I could to catch up with friends and make some new ones. I only worked a couple days a week since my bills were few. (man, that was the life.) The rest of my time I spent just doing random stuff like ripping wallpaper off the wall and repainting the walls a ridiculous color. I was constantly looking for a new job because, well, that's just my nature. To this day I can't help but to browse the want ads just to see what's out there.

One particular afternoon, I'd have to say that this was in April or so, my brother saw an ad and he showed it to me. He said, "Hey, you'd probably be good at this". I don't recall the exact wording of the ad, but the gist of it was 'be a bartender, travel, see exotic locations'. I figured that I had nothing to lose, so I gathered up my resume and a photo and sent everything on its merry way. In the waiting for a response period, I did some research into this Club Med place and found that it seemed pretty cool. I got excited about it. But then days passed, weeks passed, and my Club Med dreams slipped way into the back of my mind. I had other more pressing matters such as going to see my favorite band play and heading out to the bingo hall. Yes, you read that properly. Bingo. BINGO! I swear to you that the old ladies hated seeing me in there and hated when I won. Never did I have fear though, since not a one of them could catch me in a foot race.

Around September, I believe, I received a phone call. It was a Friday and the answering machine said the message was left at about 5 pm. I didn't hear the message until probably Saturday as I was working (and partying) on Friday night. A thick French accent directed me to give him a call if I was still interested in working for Club Med. (Looking back on this, I feel special. A lot of people told stories of jumping through major hoops before hearing from CM.) The old excitement monster stirred in the pits of my tummy, but it was Saturday and there was tons to be done.

Monday afternoon rolled around before I remembered that I needed to make that phone call. I found a quiet corner of the house and gave them a call. What I got was basically a phone interview. Typically, you'd be warned about something of this nature so you could at least be prepared, but no, not this time. I worked my way through the interview and at the end, I was told that the next step would be a face-to-face interview. For that, I could either go to North Carolina or to New York. Oh, by the way, they aren't paying. I told him that either of those was a minimum of an 8 hour drive for me. He responded with "Oh, you don't want the job?" I took that to mean I went to the interview or it was all over before it began. I told him I'd go to New York. He gave my the contact's info and that was that.

Luckily, my very good friend was living in the Philly area at the time so I drove over to Philly and stayed with her for the weekend. My interview was on a Saturday and took place in a Starbucks. I kid you not. It was all very laid back with very few questions about my actual bartending knowledge. A better way to describe what took place was this recruiter explaining the CM lifestyle to me like I already had the job. I guess it lasted about an hour and I was once again on my merry way.

I returned to the western side of the state late on Sunday. I thought to myself that a follow-up call on Wednesday was good enough timing. I didn't have to wait that long. Monday afternoon the phone call came. They offered me the position and asked when I could leave. I was still employed, albeit in a bar and under the table, but I still wanted to give my boss some sort of notice. I told him two weeks. He answered with, "Ok, we'll send you a ticket for Sunday". Umm, Sunday?!?! I guess in France 6 days equals 2 weeks.

I immediately gave my boss all the notice I could. He wasn't upset. He was actually happy and quite excited for me. Some of my friends were a little bummed that I was leaving, but some of the people that I had met over the time that I was home and their actions (you Grimey bastard) pushed me in the direction of getting the hell out of dodge. In retrospect, I can thank them. While they sit festering in the small town they never left, I traveled North America, the Carribbean and Africa. I tied up my loose ends and started researching where I would be going. Sandpiper, Florida.

Next time in the Chronicles, the trip to Florida and my first week in my new environment.

5 word challenge - Backstage - 7/31/07

Nervous? Me? Nope. Maybe the first time, but not now. Besides, I'm 3 drinks into a long drinking evening. Those of us who aren't in the first scene chat idly about whose costume is getting too small and who's sleeping with whom this week. Back here, in the dressing room, it's no-holds-barred. Nothing is taboo and besides, no one back here has even one ounce of couth.

We're all whipped. Putting in a full day in the sun and having practically no rest will do that to you. It doesn't matter though, we're fueled on goldfish crackers and liquor. A duel between cast members has broken out with the props but no one bothers to even attempt to stop it. Everyone has been in this show long enough to know when it's time to get out on stage. Speaking of which, it's my time.

We try to be quiet as we step up into our "jail" cell. Almost every time someone trips and almost busts her ass since there's no light back here. Tonight we all make it safely into the cell and we strike a sexy pose as we wait for our music to cue up. In case you're interested, we're performing "Cell Block Tango". It isn't exact but the costumes are similar as are many of the dance steps.

Occasionally, someone in the booth gets a little crazy with the Cheese Whiz. No wait, gets crazy with the smoke machine. Tonight is one of those nights. Not just clouds of smoke, but literal pillows of smoke burp out of that antiquated monster. We're trying not to cough up a storm; we are on stage after all, but good gravy! What the hell can the audience see through this cloud?!?! Only bonus points are that I'm not first out of the cell so it will have cleared by the time it's my turn.

Pop, six, squish, uh uh, Cisero, Lipschitz! I'm squish. He ran into my knife. He ran into my knife ten times. So what if I'm screwing the milkman! My partner in this dance is also my good friend. 9 times out of 10 that we do this show, we end up laughing so hard that we're shaking. I've got to keep my composure! Maybe I shouldn't have had that last drink. The fabric unrolls (this makes more sense if you watch the video), I wrap a leg around, and call me drunk, or call the floor slippery, but I just damn near busted my ass in front of 300 guests. Luckily, I recovered quickly, but what starts immediately after my recovery? Fits of giggles. Not just me and my partner, but everyone else who was on stage. Now, do I think the audience noticed it? Nope. They don't know what they're looking for. They love it. They tell me after shows that I should consider a career on stage because I always look so happy and like I'm having so much fun. That's ALCOHOL people! Unfortunately, my stage career never took off and now I'm a paper-pusher with a considerably healthier liver.

QotD: Best Road Trip Ever - 7/27/07

What was your favorite road-trip of all time?
Submitted by bodhibound.

This was not my favorite road-trip of all time, but it's a decent story and since I've been having a heck of a time with thoughts of my own, I'll take hotrod's advice and answer some of these inane questions of the day.

Back in the day,circa 1985, when I was but a youngin', we had an aunt who lived in Ohio I do believe. Aunt Anne (not to be confused with Auntie Anne's) was her name and as far as I could tell as a 12 year-old, she was loaded! If, by chance, you are unfamiliar with relatives in a black person's perspective, every friend of your parents becomes an aunt or uncle no matter if they share blood or not.

Aunt Anne's favorite relative was my mom. (I think they were actually related in some way, but I digress.) Since mom was the favorite, AA decided that our whole family would be invited on vacation. We were going on a cruise! Until the very last minute, my father debated on whether or not he would go. He ended up missing it because he had to work. Kinda sucked for him but I think he was glad to have the house to himself for all that time.

As one of the children, I wasn't privvy to all of the travel arrangements. All I knew is that we were going on a cruise. Mom packed us all up and we were ready to go. We sat around the house anxiously awaiting our departure. Little did we know that we would not be flying from our closest airport of Pittsburgh International, but we would proceed, all the way to Florida, Miami if I'm not mistaken, in AA's winnebago. So, there we were, all packed and ready to go and somewhat disappointed that we wouldn't be flying. Unbeknowst to us, inside the winnebago were two kids about our age that were supposedly related to us. One girl and one boy. Shame on me for not being able to remember their names. Also inside were Butch, of some relation to AA and our driver, and Deeanne, also a relation and not a nice person.

Off we drove into the sunset on our merry way. At this point, I don't remember the exact route that we took. I do know that it took forever, or it at least seemed like it. I'm sure that we had been in that hotbox for at least two days when we stopped for an overnight at a KOA. It was too hot to sit inside the winnebago and besides that there was nothing to do in there, so that hot and humid evening, we sat outside. There was a picnic table just outside of our RV and that is where I sat with my mom. She sat on the tabletop and I sat on the bench as she re-braided my hair. After much fidgeting on my part and much hair pulling on hers, I was finally done all neat and pretty. We continued to sit in the same positions chatting.

On a muggy summer night, there are bound to be mosquitos, and this night was no different. One ghettofabulous remedy coming right up. No Off!? No problem. Substitute it with rubbing alcohol. Hey, it works! Mosquitos don't like it. It's also probably not that good for your skin. What it's the worst for is your eyes. Mom was a little clumsy with her splashing and managed to splash a good handful of rubbing alcohol directly into my eyes.

Have you ever had rubbing alcohol in your eye? Trust me, it's not fun. It burns, most likely on a mace level. You've never seen a 12 year old with 'ups' like I had that night. I'm certain that I jumped up at least to current day slam dunk levels after which I immediately began rolling around screaming like a scalded dog. My mom tried to quiet me down as it was late and I was really causing a ruckus but I was having none of that. After a while, the burning subsided and my vision returned. I'm pretty sure that I was a little on the bitter side regarding that incident, but that was before the time of me holding grudges.

We pressed on towards Florida the next day. I distinctly remember going through Georgia, not only because I know now that we HAD to go through Georgia, but because somewhere along the lines, that state was the breaking point.

Mom and Deeann really just didn't like each other. To this day I don't know why. What I do know is that everything came to a boil in the middle of our drive. Everything happened so quickly that I wouldn't be able to retell it properly if I tried. Best I can tell you is that fists were flying and Deeann was taking the brunt of them. I know Mom didn't start it, but she sure as hell finished it. By the time Butch got that monstrosity pulled over, Mom had thoroughly whipped that nasty bitch's ass. AA was having none of this and at the first available relative's place, Deeanne got left. HAHAHAHAHAHA! That'll teach you to mess with my mom.

The remainder of the road trip to Florida was uneventful. We got there, made our departure, made friends with our favorite waiter who brought us hot chocolate every night (and once spilled it in my brother's lap), visited Nassau and Freeport, and I entered the talent show with my monkey hand puppet named Georgette. We took second place. Even at that age, I was convinced that we didn't win first only because I wasn't old enough for the prize of a bottle of champagne.

I've had plenty of road trips, some more pleasant than others, but by far, this one was the most memorable.

Saturday night on South Beach - 7/23/07

Over the weekend, we celebrated two years of dating bliss by going to one of our most favorite restaurants ever, El Rancho Grande. You must realize the excellence of this place if it will bring us to South Beach on a Saturday night. We had a pina colada and a mango margarita, followed by the delicious yumminess of queso fundido. As neither of our hearts had stopped yet, we followed that up with El Plato Mixto for him and Tacos al Pastor for me. To complete our piggishness, we downed Bananas Foster for dessert. Damn, that was good.

And now, for the evening's entertainment, brought to you by the local homeless and the Miami Beach PD.

On our walk back to the car from the restaurant, we took in the sights and sounds of South Beach:

* A car (very new, very shiny Bentley) containing 4 young-ish African-American males from which the music could be heard from 2 blocks away. Please boys, be realistic and don't complain that the cops are racist when you get pulled over.
* The ever-present stench of stale urine. Mmmmm, mmmmm!
* The rantings of a homeless man attempting to get money from people stopped at the red light at Washington and Lincoln.

Within that last item, that's where the entertainment lies. Apparently, said homeless man wasn't looking past the car from which he was trying to panhandle. If he had been, maybe he would have acted differently. As it were, he was leaning into the window of a truck when from out of nowhere we all hear:

"Get away from that truck, Robert Parker. I told you I don't want to see you again tonight!"

For only three cars back, in her car, is a Miami Beach police officer. I suppose she had had a run in with Bobby a little earlier in the evening and had warned him once. By the way, she didn't yell that, she threw on her loudspeaker just in case Bobby had lost his hearing since the first time she saw him.

Bobby, grudginly, went on his way, as did we. Entertainment for the evening, over. If you are in Miami, make sure you check this place out. The food is spectacular, the service is way above par for Miami, and our check stayed under $60 for all that food.

PS. If you do come to Miami and you happen to park in the 16th and Washington garage, please don't urinate in there. There are bathrooms available all over. Thanks.

PSA: Don't do crack - 7/18/07

Just so you know, this is a sad story and if I manage to tell it right, it may be a tear-jerker.

I would imagine that most people, when growing up, have a favorite relative. Mine was Uncle Ernie. Ernie was my mother's brother. When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, Ernie lived with his family in Ohio, about a 2 and a half hour drive from us. Back when gas was cheap, that little bit of distance meant nothing and Uncle Ernie and the family would visit regularly. I guess we were just kindred spirits: both being born under Sagittarius (his birthday was the day after mine) and both with some Madison blood running through us, him more than me, of course.

Maybe part of it was that UE treated me like an adult. Always. Outside of his nickname for me (Sha Na Na), everything else was on an adult level. It wasn't a 'hey, your uncle from far away is here, come sit down and be nice' type of relationship. I was always first to the door when UE showed up. When I was far away from home at Penn State, scared and a little depressed, I didn't call home, I called UE. He was always my rock.

To be truthful, I never really knew what UE did for a living. I know that he and his family had a nice house in a nice neighborhood, but at the age I was then, you didn't ask because you really didn't care. What I do know is that at one point, UE was reaching out to the youth and doing some ministry work. We had a black and white picture of him hanging on the wall. He was standing in front of a brick wall full of graffitti with the most serene look on his face.

As close as we were, I never got the full story on how things fell apart. I did know that he was now living in PA and when I saw hime, something was missing. Unfortunately, UE had found crack. Times were tough for him but they only got tougher. My rock, my hero had been replaced by a crackhead. That doesn't mean that we didn't still love him and allowing him and his "girlfriend" to move into our home was a testament to the fact. Did I mention that UE was also a diabetic? Diabetes and crack do not mix. Between the drug and the disease, UE withered into a shell of the man that I adored. He became weak to the point of most days, he would just hang out in his comfy chair and watch TV. His bones became brittle. My mother accidentally broke a bone in his hand just by putting her hand down on his. It was scary. More than that, it was sad.

UE stayed with us for a while and yes, I think a few things went missing. We overlooked this as our love for him clouded our vision. He stayed with us most times and we protected him as best we could. He came in and out a lot. We thought our house was crack-free. We were wrong. One day my mother came to me with a light brown piece of glass. She told me it was a crack pipe. It was the first time I had ever seen one. It was the last.

At that time, I was working about an hour from home. On one particular morning, I had forgotten to tell my mother something, so when I got to work, I called home. UE picked up and I asked to speak to my mom. We chatted briefly and then hung up. I cannot put into words the feelings that arose when my mother called me back a few hours later, noticably upset, telling me that UE had died the night before. I said it couldn't be. I had just spoken with him this morning. She had to be wrong. But she wasn't. It turned out that it had been my brother that picked up the phone and I mistook for my uncle. The shock was unimaginable. Tears started pouring from my eyes before I could even try to stop them. I didn't know what to do with myself. I was so sad that my best friend had died. I was so angry because I knew it was the crack that killed him. I was still too confused to wrap my head around the fact that I didn't just talk to UE this morning. I had to leave work.

All people deal with their grief in different ways. Some of my family (read my brother and myself) drinks. And that's what I did. I called my lifelong friend and drinking buddy, who knew UE and was like family to him also and let her know what happened. We both left work and went to grieve, to try to make sense of things, to comfort each other.

I didn't get to say goodbye to UE, none of us did really, but I know that he wanted to say something to us. He wanted us to know he was thinking of us. He wanted us to know that he was okay. He did. It doesn't matter who believes what, but he did. The photo that we kept on the wall of him, that I looked at every day, changed. The area around UE's head in the photo now had an angelic glow. It was like someone was holding a bright light right behind his head. It was amazing and it was comforting. I knew UE was in a better place without pain and more importantly, without drugs.

Funerals happened (not only UE, but in the span of less than 2 years, him, both of my paternal grandparents and my father), time passed, wounds healed. I look back with warm smiles on times gone by and I rage on. I rage on because that's what they would have wanted. I rage on because I know that they're all looking down on me at this very moment and they're proud of what they see. I rage on because it's important for people to know what drugs can do to you. I rage on for my family who has passed and my family who still lives. I rage on.

Just help out - 7/3/07

This morning I had the pleasure of visiting some of the finer government offices here in Miami. The entire story is another post for another day. Like many downtown areas, parking is a bitch. Even though it meant I would have to backtrack almost all the way home after my appointment before heading out to work, I figured it would be worth it to take public transportation, ie the Metrorail, not to have to promise my next child, an arm and the title to my car to the parking attendant.

Despite this wonderfully wonderful climate, people here are still pissy 24/7. But of course they are, they still have to go to work unlike the tons of people I see scamper past our building on a daily basis (I work on South Beach). The ride into downtwn was uneventful, meaning, thankfully, no one tried to strike up a conversation. I handled my business in a manner befitting a single mom who is completely fed up with the system and wonders why said system makes it so difficult to track down a deadbeat dad. (Thank goodness for loving and supportive boyfriend.)

As I was standing on the platform waiting for train number 2 to get back to my car, I noticed an older gentleman in an electric wheelchair. It's possible that he was paralyzed from the neck down, but I didn't ask. I stepped onto the train while keeping an eye on him. He seemed to be waiting for the crowd to clear before attempting to board. When the time finally approached for him to get on the train, he started moving forward but he got stuck. You'd think that train stations would be a little better designed, but they aren't and so stuck he was. (His front tire had turned sideways and was stuck in the gap between the platform and the train.) At that moment, I held my phone in one hand, briefcase in the other. It only took a split second to realize that of this train full of people, more than 60 percent male, no one was going to help. God bless Miami.

After cupping my phone ear to shoulder and slinging my briefcase over the other shoulder, I got behind his chair and tried to get him on the train. Those chairs are heavy. Way heavier than I imagined. Or I'm weak. Way weaker than I used to be. Either way, I had damn near thrown out my back and blew out a knee (note to self, don't try it in heels next time) before any of the lazy bastards on the train got up to help me. It's amazing how people have no respect for others. I wonder how much longer he would have been stuck if I hadn't helped. It's scary here.

This post has no end.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Just FYI

I know you're still reading this.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Temazcal - 6/1/2007

If you are unfamiliar with Temazcal, or the traditional Mexican sweat bath, you can check it out here. If you know, or are too lazy to click, just continue on and you'll get the gist of the process.

First, a little background:

This all occurred during my trip to Mexico City. I had been working in Mexico and during a vacation, a group of co-workers and I decided to see the sights. We had friends, also co-workers, who lived in DF (Distrito Federal) who were willing to put us up during the week vacation. This was the same vacation where I saw some crazy zoo critters. The night previous to this adventure, we had gone out partying. Hard. I may post about that some day.

It's an early rise when you're going to Indian Igloo, as it's called where I was. An early rise that smelled like I jumped in a bottle of vodka and felt like a jackhammer in my head. Nonetheless, I donned my sunglasses and went along for the ride as a good guest would.

Upon arrival, I am left in the sitting area while the friend that I stayed with and his mother went somewhere. I had no idea where at the time as I was concentrating on not sharing all of last night's alcohol with them. A lady came to me with a glass of some sort of fluid and told me that I had to drink it all. It looked like OJ so I was quite content to chug it down. Unfortunately, it wasn't just OJ. It had kind of a funny taste to it that I couldn't place. Considerably after the fact, I found out that my OJ had been spiked with garlic. The funny thing is that it didn't taste that bad, or at least not bad enough that I wouldn't drink it. After a while, my friend showed up and showed me a room to go into to change into my bathing suit. Traditionally, you would go into the Igloo naked, but I'm not tight with them like that.

So now I'm all changed and ready to go. A small ceremony is performed outside the Igloo before we go in. We enter one at a time and get situated on the floor. It is hotter than the seventh level of hell in this little place and it doesn't help that it's pitch black inside and there are about 3 or 4 other people in there with us. My friend makes sure I'm all situated and then we lay. Quietly.

Some folks believe that if you clear your mind and allow it to come, in the Igloo, you will see your spirit guide. Having some Native American blood running through me, I was open to this idea. Other folks might say that they make it so hot in there that you hallucinate, which might not be that far off either.

I believe that my body pushed out all of the previous evening's vodka and I got everyone in the Igloo drunk but I like to belive crazy things. After a while, a tin of water was passed around for us to have a little sip. Shortly after that, a piece of cloth was passed around. I'm not sure what was on it, but I was told to rub it all over myself. I obliged since I figured it couldn't be anything that would hurt me since I'm not allergic to much of anything.

More time passed by and just as I was able to ignore the heat and sweat enough to think that I might reach spiritual enlightenment, my friend tells me that I have to leave the Igloo. I don't know why I have to leave, but rather than disturb everyone else, I just head towards the door best I can. Outside, the lady who gave me juice is waiting for me. The change of light and temperature momentarily stunned me and I allowed myself to be led to a chair. Subconsciously I may have wondered why there was an outside chair inside but my main concern was sitting down before I passed out. I sat quietly, inspecting myself, wondering what the heck was all over me, when I realized that it was a kind of muddy clay that must have been on the cloth from earlier.

What happened next was inexplicable. The juice lady returned rather stealthily and without warning, proceeded to throw a rather large bucket of ice cold water on me. I'm pretty sure I screamed right before my heart stopped. I don't know if you've ever had your body temperature raised to about 1000 degrees and then dropped to just under 30 degrees, but it isn't pleasant. She didn't speak English and my Spanish is poor at best so she just stood there and smiled at me like this was a normal procedure. I think it was after the stupified glazed look left my face, she felt it safe to usher me back into the Igloo.

I would imagine that we sat in the Igloo for about another half an hour before a mutual decision to leave. At that point, I was escorted into a place where I could shower. I received soap and a towel and instructions to clean up and then go into the room across the hall to relax but don't dress. I was getting a massage. Awesome!

When your body is that hot, your muscles loosen up which makes the massage 800 times better. I passed out. It was wonderful. After I was all clean and relaxed, there was another bonus: lunch! You'll have to understand that I loves me some Mexican cuisine. To this day, I don't know what we had, but I do know that it was delicious.

We all (my friend, his mom, and the other folks that were in the Igloo) sat down at the table to eat. There was a lot of chatter at the table, but I wasn't really listening as I was still in my massaged state. Slowly but surely, that jackhammer fired up again. As I tried to focus on making it go away and enjoying the scrumptiousness in front of me, my friend told me that the woman in charge wanted to know if I still had a headache. Now, I know that I probably looked a little rough when we came in, but I never mentioned, not even to him, that I had a headache. Naturally, I asked if he told her that and he said that he didn't. So I asked how she knew. He said that she sees auras. Well, that's pretty damn cool if you ask me. I told him that yes, my head was still exploding.

Our hostess was kind enough to come over and provide me with additional massage at this point. I'm a sucker for it, so I wasn't going to complain. While this is happening, she's chatting with my friend. Again, I'm not really listening because it's in Spanish and it requires too much thinking for me to understand it. The next thing I know, she decided to crack my neck. Now, I DO NOT LIKE THIS. I don't like when the chiropractor does it and I certainly didn't appreciate it when she did it. The look on my face must have been classic because my friend immediately told me that he said to her that I would not like that. The best part is that there was so much tension or whatever built up in there, that when it did crack, it was so loud that all conversation at the table stopped. In retrospect, quite funny but then not so much. She tried to get the other side, but I was already on guard. She still managed to get me.

After all was said and done, we thanked our hostess and went back to the house. It was a tremendous experience and if you ever have the chance, I highly suggest it. :-)

From my "Weird Files" - 5/7/2007

Occasionally, strange things happen. More often than not, strange things happen to me. Yesterday was another episode of my own personal X Files.

I take an herbal supplement twice daily. I have a very difficult time taking pills, so it's an ordeal. I thought that this particular capsule had gone down rather easily. I chucked it back and drowned it in water and thought that everything was okay. I thought.

But then I burped, which, in and of itself isn't odd, but the cloud that came out of my mouth was very odd. I'm not talking about cartoon cloud of smelly burp, I'm talking literal cloud of dust came out. I thought that I was seeing things or going crazy. That may have been better. Somehow, the little guy that lives in my throat managed to get his grubby little hands on the capsule and he broke it open in my freaking throat.

There's a reason that stuff is in a capsule. It tastes TERRIBLE! Five glasses of water later, all was back to normal, but that incident surely did nothing but make my pill-taking issue even worse.

Busting my stage cherry - 4/16/2007

So the title is graphic and a little naughty, big deal.

This is the story of my first time on stage in front of about 300 people.

When the concept of working at Club Med was first explained to me, I thought it to be interesting and fun, if not a little odd. I mean really, who pays you to do what you enjoy doing, learn to do new stuff, show off your new stuff on stage and to talk to random strangers who end up being your friend 6 days later? Well, Club Med does basically, or that was my understanding of it.

I like to dance. Mind you, I am a terrible dancer. An embarassment to anyone with rhythm actually. I can headbang with the best of them, although I'm getting off track. I have a tendency to be very active behind the bar (I think I left out the fact that I was a bartender), and therefore, I tend to be remembered if not noticed. Our choreographer, who came in for coffee every morning, was dying to get me in a show.

The problem was scheduling. You see, as a bartender, I was working during many of the rehearsal times and no rehearsal equals no show. Fortunately, in my first season working at CM, my co-workers in the bar really enjoyed drinking more than I did and were not the least bit interested in getting up early. Me, on the other hand, I would prefer to be up early and get my work done so that I can relax in the evenings. In the end, my boss gave in and let me take over all of the morning shifts so that I would have evenings free for rehearsals and shows.

These are not Broadway productions people. These were a bunch of folks whose talents lie elsewhere that were coerced into a show. A lot of rehearsals consisted of more yelling than dancing. I was behind in the learning curve since most people had already been doing rehearsals for a while before I got there, but I do learn quickly.

Here's the thing about CM: if you're asked to do something and you say yes, you'd better be ready to do it in a very short amount of time. I'm pretty sure I had about one week of practice before the choreographer decided that I was ready for the stage. How excited was I?!?! I told my co-workers and my boss about my pending big debut and all was happy across the land.

As the big night approached, I had no worries. How difficult could this be? That was not the correct attitude. I headed backstage before showtime and found my newly named cubby. It had my three costumes and my shoes. Whee!!! I made sure of the order of the show and pulled out my first costume and that's when it struck.

Stage fright.

Possibly the worst case ever known to man. Okay, probably not, but my God, I couldn't even get my shoes on. Mimi, who had the cubby next to mine, noticed that I was a bit on the nervous side.

"Sunshine, how are you doing?"

"Well, I have all my costumes, I think I remember the steps."

"That's good. Oh wait, you have that on backwards."

"Ugh! This is terrible. I'm shaking like a leaf!"

"Oh, yes, this is your first show, right?"

"Sure is. I hope I don't screw up."

"Look, have you had a drink?"

Seriously, she asked me if I was drinking. I will not stand on a soap box and say I didn't consider it, but I decided against it being the noob.

"Um, no."

"Well, girl, go get one! Geez, you work in the bar, you drink for free, and you're not having anything? Go get yourself a drink, and bring me one too."

I'm pretty sure that I looked at her as if she had 3 heads before she told me to get a move on. There was a corridor that connected backstage with the back area of the bar and I made good use of it. I went back, got us drinks, had a shot of Jaegermeister for good luck and then headed backstage again where Mimi and I toasted my first show.

Did you know that alcohol kills butterflies? No scientific study needed. Proof positive. I went out on stage and busted a choreographed move. Not only in the first number where you couldn't see any of our faces anyways, but in the second number and in the finale where I was in the front row!

As we changed back into our regular clothes after the show, I received congratulatory praises on my first performance. Even my boss pulled me to the side and said that I was right to fight for what I wanted to do. It was a great experience that lead to soooo many more nights on stage. After a couple years of performing, people started asking me if I'd had any experience on stage before because it always looked like I was having so much fun up there. A few people suggested that I should try a career in stage. HA! I laugh at them. I'm smiling and laughing because a)we do talk to each other up there even though you can't hear it in the audience and b) give me a shot of Jaeger and I'll smile at anything.

I've retired my stage shoes, they've been collecting dust for about 3 years now. That doesn't mean I don't get the urge to dance every now and again because I do. I just have to suppress these desires and be the mom/girlfriend/admin/web designer/soon-to-be business owner that we all know and love.

Back in the day - 4/13/2007

Disclaimer: Portions of this post are un-PC. None of this post is meant to offend.

Oh, and the end is gross.

Way, way, way back in the day when I was about 8 (before basic cable)

Sidebar: We were having watermelon. I think this story is the cause of my distaste for watermelon to this day.

We were, err, I was being silly, as an 8 year old child typically is. What made this day special was that my dad was being silly too. You just have to understand that he wasn't a silly guy. My mom had already gotten up from the table, and in a rare moment of solidarity, my brother, father and I refused to allow her to turn the channel. Why? Because midget wrestling was on, of course.

I'm not sure that you understand how funny midget wrestling is to an 8 year old, so I'll tell you.

We laughed. We laughed hard. My mother warned me to stop. I couldn't. It was midgets wrestling for pete's sake. My dad was egging us on. My mom said I was going to get sick. I didn't care. It was hilarious and my dad was on our side. Side-splitting laughter kept occurring. I'm pretty sure one wrestler went up to the top rope. Do you know how high that is? That was it. By far the funniest thing an 8 year old has seen. Another warning came from my mother. I should have listened.

The next minute is burned in my mind forever. I was laughing hysterically as I shoved watermelon down my throat and the inevitable happened. My stomach decided that I should either laugh or eat, but not both. My brain was laughing too loud to hear my stomach, just as I was laughing too loud to hear my mom. I would say that there was no warning, but I'm sure there was for my gut erupted and the watermelon returned to the table. I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday but I remember that I had a paper plate sitting in a wicker plate holder.

After the initial shock that I had thrown up, to the disgust of my mother, we kept laughing. That was a great day in Burkes history.

5 word challenge - Listo - 4/12/2007

Yesterday, I sat on the board, gazing out over the meadow where our trapeze stands. A gentle breeze rustles the palm fronds as the waves caress the sand where the ocean and beach meet. It's beautiful. A complete feeling of peace and calm has overtaken me. The world looks different from 24 feet in the air, you know?

A little girl runs by. I recognize her from earlier in the day. She was all nice and clean then. Now, she has paint all over her dress and her face as she proudly carries the vase she painted. It has one flower in it. Probably for her mom.

"Hi Allie," I yell down.

"Hi, Sunny," she replies, squinting into the sun to see me. "See my vase? It's for my mom!"

"It's beautiful," I tell her because it is. There's paint outside the lines and it looks like abstract art, but she's 8.

"Are you going to do a trick?" inquiring minds want to know.

"Not right now, kiddo, but if you come back tomorrow, I'll teach you a new one!"

"Cool!! I'll see you tomorrow."

I've been here a while. The people change but the routine stays the same. It's amazing how people are impressed with the way we are so "intuitive". When you see the same things day in and day out for months on end, you just know.

I really can't sit still for much longer. The sun is baking me an even more golden brown as it turns the ends of my locs the most wonderful copper color. I wish I could get it all that color, but the sun just doesn't work that fast. My mind starts racing with thoughts only found in the chalk and tape-encrusted back corners of the head of a circus GO.

It's just a quickie.

No one is here yet.

So what if someone sees you, you work here.

It isn't showing off.

You need the practice.

Stop being a wussy!

You see, I've been working my way up to this moment. I've got the static trapeze down pat. It doesn't move, hence the name, and the ease in which I picked it up. I'm a madwoman under the tent. Upside-down, right-side up, forwards, backwards, flip, spin, twist. No problem. It's only 6 feet off of the ground with a 18 inch crash mat underneath. It might hurt if I fall, but I won't get hurt.

Ever since the last mid-air collision, I've been hesitant to try again. Hesitation is not for circus GOs. We are the few, the proud, but not the Marines. People vacation here just to train with us. There's no time to be a baby. We are invincible.

It's getting late and the others will be here soon. It's now or never. They know that I've stepped it down a notch. They're disappointed and they try not to let it show, but I can see it. I've had that same look in my eye.

I know that it's time to (up)rise to the occasion. I stand and try to collect my thoughts. I walk(fly) through the trick in my mind. My hands are shaking and sweaty. As I reach into the chalk bag, I tell myself that I can do it. I didn't go through all of this waiting and torture to not be able to do this.

I can do it.

I can do it.

I can do it.

Swing the bar.

I can do it.

I can do it.

Grab the bar.

I can do it.

Cowboy the riser.

I can do it.

I'm listo.

Ready. Hep.

Nowhere else on earth does seven seconds take this long.

I drive my legs back in an effort to create velocity. Don't bend your knees. As I bring them forward and drive them up, I think about getting my feet into the clouds. Feet in front! Another drive backwards in the back end of my swing. I'm back near the board and closing in on the moment of truth.

I try my best to 'float' myself up onto the bar and while I make it, I don't float. I've always been a power flyer, but never a very graceful one. I have less than two seconds to make my move. It's go time.

I bend myself in half over the bar and I launch myself up and over in a little ball. I've surprised myself. I open from the ball, spot the net, and half-turn safely into it, landing on my back.

I truly am invincible! It's such a rush that I climb right up and do it again. I've become so engrossed in my flying that I don't even notice that people are watching. (And why should I care if they are? They get a show on Wednesday night anyways.) More importantly, I don't notice that my teammates have arrived. They sit quietly and watch me work out my issues. You might think they should offer up commentary, but they know what's best. I throw my forward over twice more before I get tired. The adrenaline rush is massive. I'm estatic. I'm throwing this in the show. I love my job.

PS. I know that most of you won't know what the heck this was about so there's a video. It isn't me but I can't post mine from work. I'll replace it later.

Update: Now it's me.

5 word challenge - Splatter - 3/29/2007

The five-assed monkey lives! - 3/21/2007

If I Did It - 2/18/2007

A car is not a toy. - 2/15/2007

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It's Like Riding A Bike - 1/31/2007

Many moons ago when I was about 8 or 9 I guess (I was a late bike learner), my cousin Gene used to come visit us for several weeks each summer. Gene was my hero. He lived in another state, he was older, he knew everything. I like to think that he deserves some credit for who I've become, but I digress.

Gene had a bicycle that I desparately wanted to ride, but I didn't know how. Let me mention that at this time, I can't be much more than 4 feet tall if that whereas Gene had to be over 5 feet by then. I didn't have my own bicycle to learn, and my parents weren't really interested in buying me one right away. And despite their disinterest, they forbade me from riding Gene's bike. In retrospect, a grand idea as the bike was way too big for me. Then, I just thought they were evil.

As young ones do when everyone is at work all day, I went behind their backs and asked Gene to teach me to ride a bicycle. Unaware of my not having permission, Gene proceeded to try to instruct me in the nuances of balancing and pedaling. We would start at the top of the yard and go to the bottom of the yard (it was a gentle slope). Oddly enough, the lessons didn't include how to stop and that, my friends, is a recipe for disaster.

Disaster had a new name, and it's name sounded a heck of a lot like mine. As I cruised through the yard, gaining momentum, I got away from Gene and I headed toward the street. I didn't know how to stop. I started to panic. I vaguely remember hearing him yell, but what was more important to me was the fact that I was heading straight for a car that was coming up the road.

Time really has a way of slowing down right before you crash your bicycle into a car. Fortunately, though, the car contained one of our neighbors, who had likely seen me riding against my parents' wishes earlier in the day and was able to stop before he crushed me and Gene's bike under his car. I got off lucky. A scrape on my elbow and no damage (major anyways) to Gene's bike. The neighbor went about his business like it didn't happen and never told my parents that I know of. I was quite the tomboy so any new scrapes that weren't bleeding profusely were no cause for alarm from my parents.

Gene and I came to a mutual agreement that I shouldn't ride his bike anymore. I did eventually get my own bike though, and I rode it everywhere. Except into the path of cars.

It could only come from a grandparent - 1/26/2007

I heard it on a ski lift.... - 1/8/2007

I have recently returned from a WONDERFUL, albeit minimally snowy vacation to Tennessee. Our group contained myself, an African American, my daughter, half AA, half German, my boyfriend, Cuban, our former roommate, half Cuban, half Mexican, and his girlfriend, Honduran. Why do I go through the ethnicities? Read on.

Please, put aside your preconcieved notions that all of our southern states are places only for WASPs, for that is not true. Even a small town like Gatlinburg, a resort town, found its fair share of culturally diverse crowds. We ran into many people who spoke Spanish, French, German, and even Russian (we think). There were even quite a few black folks out trying out this snowboarding sensation. (Keep at it! Don't leave me out there alone!)

All this and more I tell you only to relive the funniest thing I heard all week. It's funny in a sad sort of way, but I laughed as did all in my group when I relayed the story, which in turn, allows you to laugh too.

Skiing/snowboarding is quite the social sport. Either that, or I must have a sign on that only other people can see that says "I want you, a compete stranger, to tell me everything about yourself and ask you everything there is to know about me." Long sign, I know, but I must be wearing it. At any rate, I've been off riding by myself for a while as my daughter is in a lesson and my poor baby is home sick on the first day of our trip. I've made fast friends with 2 girls from TN that just love me for some reason (am I Token?), as well as several other kids. I guess it could be that I look younger than I am and act nowhere near my age, but I digress.

On one particular lift ride, I had the opportunity to ride up with a southern gentleman and his son. I can say southern with absolute certainty because not only did the accent give it away, but he flat out told me that he was from TN. The conversation started as most do on a lift ride. Hellos, weather, first time, etc. Something like this:

Him: How y'all doing today?

Me: (Wondering if I've multiplied) Fine thanks, you?

Him: We're doing great! Great day of skiing.

Mind you, his son says nothing this entire ride.

Me: Good to hear.

Him: So where ya from?

Me: (Because I've told this story many times today, and many times at Club Med) Pittsburgh originally, but now I live in Miami.

Him: Oh yeah? What do you do down there?

Me: I'm an Administrative Assistant.

Him: Oh? Where at?

I think that's one too many personal questions at this point, but....

Me: A property management company.

Him: You been down there long?

Me: (Is this ride over yet?!?!) About 3 years now.

And now, the moment you've been waiting for.....

Him: You gotta learn to speak mexican to live down there, huh?

Me: (Blank stare.) Guffaw!

First off, I didn't capitalize Mexican to accentuate the way in which it was said. If nothing else, I do know punctuation and capitalization (as I hit spell check). Secondly, the brunt of the Hispanic population in Miami proper is Cuban although we do boast a large Mexican population. Third, my newly made redneck friend, if you're going to be stereotypical, at least get it right, because learning to speak SPANISH goes a long way here.

He didn't say much after I giggled in his face and thankfully, the ride was over shortly thereafter. By the way, southern gentleman, where did you get that gaiter? It's such a lovely shade. Oh, wait, that's your neck.

Death to Iggy(s)! - 1/8/2007