27 December, 2005

Christmas in the Park

Still recovering from Christmas in New Zealand. Which is a weird kind of Christmas I must say. It's not that Kiwi's don't celebrate Christmas, they do. But they celebrate it with a gusto that involves fantastic parties and get togethers and Santa is not in the picture. They mostly don't do Christmas lights on the homes or crazy shopping in the stores. In fact, most of the stores that I did visit had techno music pumping instead of Christmas Carols. But then two weeks before Christmas hits everyone starts with the good, cheery mood, and it starts with Christmas in the Park.

Picture a Paul Simon concert in Central Park. Yeah, you have that picture in your head, well that is NOTHING like Christmas in the park in Auckland. Christmas in the park is sweet and not crowded and fun and a singalong and there are so few people in this city to begin with that everyone has space to move around the Auckland Domain. The stage is set and the entertainment is professional and the evening is a wonderful Christmassy blast. Just the way it should be. Christmas here is about telling your friends and family that you love them and spending time with them. It is not about the gift that you give. Which I find so increadible.

Friends and I gathered at 5:30 pm with wine and cheese and blankets in tow and walked to the Domain to pick out our spot. Two hours later the concert started and it was Christmas Carols galore with lots of people around singing their ever loving guts out. Four wonderful hours of entertainment and Christmas Carols

We ended the evening with my good mate Lyn and I singing carols with our arms draped around each other. And as we walked home we proclaimed ever lasting love to each other. She has also informed me that she is doing Christmas and New Year's with me in New York next year. By the way Mom, Lyn is coming home with me for Christmas, you have a year to plan. Don't say that I didn't give you enough notice.

Merry Christmas from Auckland!

15 November, 2005

Greetings From New Zealand

I finally got internet access today. It's not that Kiwi's are slow movers at doing these things. It is simply that my Kiwi flat mate Ian (that's flattie in Kiwi speech) has been rather busy as of late with his new Asian girlfriend (meet Nicole) and quite frankly pinning him down to get the internet thing done has been difficult. This weekend I put a knee in his chest and threatened his life New York style and low and behold, I now have internet access.

Just to let you all know that I am great and this NZ thing is working out better than expected. I am having way too much fun for my own good. It's like camp, with employment.

Kiwi's are really relaxed, friendly and so incredibly nice. They have an amazing way of life. The sun is usually shinning and when not the rain only spits for a half hour off and on. A Kiwi saying is "There are four seasons in one day, come prepared". Always bring a jersey (sweatshirt). The days are warm and sunny and the evenings are crisp and cool. There are hardly any bugs and so there are hardly any screens on the windows. Expect your weekends to include indulging at a café with wine and friends or being out and about in the country or at the beach. These people are relaxed beyond belief. They believe in never stressing out. I can honestly say that I am not missing the angry people in New York. And I am not glazing over this like a Krispy Kreame, I have seriously not met an angry person yet. And I am on the lookout. Kiwi's love their wine, their food, their sport and their mates. And damn these people can drink. Kiwi pastimes include Rugby, Cricket (which now that I know the rules is a pretty cool game) and drinking. I think they out drink the Ozzies in fact. I will let you all know when I should begin my stay at Betty Ford. This week I am taking a breather and have pulled my boat into dry dock. It's not that I don't want to have fun, but every person that I have met has invited me out with them and so I have become more of a social butterfly than I was in NY. Not complaining but I think my liver needs a break.

So without further adieu, here is the rough run down since I have been here………

Monday, 24th of October

Left New York via JFK and cried at the airport with Mom and Dad. In fact there was a point in the waving process as I was passing through the gates that I wanted to jump into Mom's arms and ball my eyes out. It was harder than I thought. I didn't have to wait too long for my plane and seven hours later landed in LA. I met two great girls on the plane and one was from Sydney, we chatted up a storm. Later that day or was it Tuesday, I could not tell you at that point, because it took me two damn days to get to Auckland. After LA, I took a hideous 14 hour flight from LA to Auckland. Read: HIDEOUS. By hour 6 I was feeling a bit like "is this hell ever going to end". Apparently, it's routine for the down under folks and they thought that I was an amateur. Ended up doing yoga in the back of the plane to keep my feet from swelling into grapefruits.

Wednesday, 26th of October

Finally landed in Auckland and was met at the airport by my flattie Ian. Great guy. Defiantly has a good case of ADD and is funny as hell. He did the quick drive by on all the typical tourist spots and then took me to my new flat. Nice flat; open, airy and smack in the middle of central Auckland. I have a great room, not on the street side and it is fully furnished. Met my other flattie Lyn and was rather surprised that I really like her a lot and we get along like mad. In the afternoon was very jet lagged and feeling kinda off my game so I went for a walk, called Mom and Dad, cried a bit and thought that I made the HUGEST mistake of my life and wanted to jump back on the plane and run with my tail between my legs. I have to give props to M&D, they told me that I had to stay and give it at least a month. Yeah, I was kinda freaking out.

That first night in the flat Ian and I hung out and he treated me to my first authentic (Not Lord of the Rings) Kiwi flick: Once Were Warriors. It's about he Maori culture and does not paint them in a good light at all. Let's just say that I was rather disturbed by the content in the movie which did not add to my increasing idea that I was going to be really unhappy living here. Of course Ian went up to bed in the middle of the movie and I was left sitting on my new couch freaking out. Thank God Day One ended and I have not looked back since.

Thursday, 27th of October

Threw myself out of my flat early in the morning, money and map of the city in hand and made a valiant attempt at figuring out the bus route and did a few laps around the city. I ended up in Newmarket, which is the Auckland version of Broadway in midtown and did a bit of shopping. Stopped and chatted with lots of folks and met some really friendly people and spent the day bopping in and out of shops and coffee houses. Made a vow to never drink Starbuck's coffee ever again as long as I live. Why? Because the coffee here is incredible. It's rich and luscious and anyone who has a caffeine addiction like I do would want to mainline this stuff like crack. It's that good. And it's inexpensive compared to Starbucks anyway. Oh and you get to sit down at these nifty little café deals and enjoy the coffee and the passersby. Make a note of the fact that in most restaurants and café's there is no table service and you don't tip at all. Good to know, kind of saves on money a bit. Also, the wait staff is well paid, so they don't give a poo weather or not your food is ready on time. But they are still friendly and amiable and will gladly give you free advice and chat you up a storm and end up sitting with you just shooting the breeze for an hour (also another Kiwi past time). Learned about 'taking the piss'. That's Kiwi lingo for 'getting ragged on'. 'Taking the piss' is a rather important Kiwi endeavor. It is something you do regularly with your Mates (friends) and nothing is ever out of bounds. I now know how to 'take the piss' and give and take quite regularly thank you very much. Also of note, if you are an American, you are especially a target for a good piss and you must be prepared to laugh at yourself. Especially good at 'giving the piss' are the English folk that are here from the U.K. Tony Blair is their God and they are still a bit peeved with us about that whole succeeding from the crown thing.

Friday, 28th of October

My first day at my new office and was formally introduced to my 28 other office mates. All men. Not a female among them. Yep I am the first. And also the first and only American. So, good on me I now have to contend with teaching 28 guys how to not say idiotic things in front of a woman and get the double whammy of being an American and taking their piss often. They are a good group of guys though and I think that I have won most of them over. Also, I am in charge of developing their Quality Assurance program for testing. Could I have any more expectations to live up to?

Found out two very important details on my first day at work: a) Kiwi's don't high five and look at you like a deer in headlights. It is really an American thing to do. And I am embarrassed myself whole heartedly when there was no high-five follow through and was rightly left hanging. I felt like and ASS! And b) most people here have traveled quite a bit outside of NZ and therefore are a bit more worldly then American's are I must say. You would think that a country so far away would be isolated, but that is not the case.

My First Weekend – the Highlight

Made my way to Devonport; a rather pretty and quaint little town with older Victorian homes right on the water. It's a little bit oh land jutting off of the main city of Auckland, right over the water and I had to take a rather cool ferry to get there. Took loads of pictures and met the entire New Zealand Royal Navy. Well, I think I met them all. There are only 2,000 of them. (Important note to add here, my high school alone had about 3,500 kids and my county had about 12 high schools. So 2,000 people in the entire Navy made me a chuckle a bit, still does). Met some fun people and learned the meaning of the word Mate. Hung out for a bit, played some pool, got pissed [(second version of the word piss… you can either take the piss (to get ragged on) or get pissed (get drunk). Both of which I think I can master shortly)].

My Second Weekend – the Highlight

Left Auckland for the first time. And it was ROCKING AWESOME!!! Drove out of the city with my flattie Lyn, her mate Riz (a new friend of mine as well) and another new mate Paul. Piled into Paul's car and headed out for Lake Taupo. Lake Taupo is a 4 hour drive from Auckland and is the home to Mount Rapaou. Mt. Rapaou as I just found out is actually the site of Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings. 25 minutes outside of Auckland you are greeted by some of the most incredible, the most green and the most beautiful country side I have ever had the amazing experience of seeing in person in my entire life. I am not kidding folks, it's greener then a professional football field on acid. It's that green. And the SHEEP, can I tell you about the sheep. They are everywhere. By the end of the weekend and by the 40,000th "Oh my GOD, LOOK AT THE SHEEP!", my new mates were like "Okay Kala, enough with the sheep, we get it!". So I moved on to the cows! Four hours later and one hell of a drive we made it to Lake Taupo and then spent the entire weekend hiking the three mountains, walking through LIVE geysers, drinking in the café's in down and laughing up a storm.

My Third Weekend – The Highlight

Have any of you seen Bridget Jones? You know that party, with the Pimps and Prostitutes theme? You thought that was funny right. Well, shit. They actually do that here. And I went to one. As a prostitute! About 200 people showed up for a party, all dressed to the 9's in their costumes and everyone had a blast. An English pastime we American's should rightly adopt. Funny as hell. Also got an opportunity to do a run through the Domain (their version of Central Park) and take in a bit oh Kiwi culture (besides the drinking and the rugby).

My Fourth Weekend – Can You Believe I Have Been Here for Four Weekends!

Okay, so I am tired now and a bit partied out and I actually have a job that I love and am having a great time doing. Found a Girl's Lacrosse pick up league and my first practice is tomorrow (so excited). Have made some really good friends. Love my roommates. Have figured this city out quite a lot. It's small and really manageable and feels kinda like Boston. Have made it to the clubs (defiantly small in venue, big in party). Have done some great work at work. And am thoroughly enjoying myself. Next weekend I am being taken sailing by some new mates and will spend the weekend on the water soaking up the sun and feeling like my life doesn't suck. For Christmas I have already made plans to traverse the South Island with a professional hiking tour group and I am walking, walking, and walking everywhere.

Oh and P.S. My sister-in-law is having a girl…. hee, hee… And I will be in New York in April.

21 October, 2005


Sometimes, when you are a Bear of Very Little Brain,
and you Think of Things,
you find sometimes
that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you
is quite different when it gets out into the open
and has other people looking at it.

18 October, 2005

...Horse number 39 had a slow start at the gate

I apologize for the lack of posting in the past week. I have been virtually eating, sleeping and shitting Visa status anxiety and have not been able to put much thought into anything else. I have a one track mind. But well, the heavens opened up and birthed me a Work Visa!

I received my passport back from Washington, D.C. on Friday via the sorta Fed-Ex guy. Read: I am currently living in the back ass end of the woods up the Pocono Mountains with my parents until I leave for Auckland. The country lanes are so country that overnight express via Fed-Ex takes two days instead of one. And the package is not actually delivered via Fed-Ex. There is a distributor guy with a van that I think got a good deal on a route, kinda like third-party Fed-Ex.

The happy kind of anxiety took over through the weekend. I moved my entire life of material worth, or what is left of it, from the storage unit into Mom and Dad's basement. There it will stay until I come back or make another decision in life. I do worry though about my Mother and her habit of assimilating things that are stored in her house. I.e. my sheets that are neatly stored in bins may end up becoming her sheets because as she likes to say "It should be used". Or it should be stolen, which ever way you look at it. My Mother is an evil troll.

Last minute preparations consist of exchanging some money and picking up alterations from the dry-cleaner, closing one bank account and informing my MasterCard company that if they put one more FUCKING hold on my account because I have been suddenly using the card for New Zealand stuff, I will come through the phone and strangle them. Fraud protection is one thing, but this habit of my MasterCard company has become fucking annoying.

One really good shopping trip and I bought a new pair of really awesome jeans for the plane ride. Since I will be traveling for an entire day I figured I will want to be comfy and look cute at the same time. I also spent WAY to much money on two matching sets of rolly-luggage bags that are HUGE and I should be able to ship that dead body that I was hoping to bring with me with virtual ease.

And my tickets have been rearranged so that I leave next Monday, which is in a week. I am leaving in a week. One week. And the anxiety about the impression that I am going to make on my new roommates and my new co-workers and my new boss is killing me. I have a tendency to speak to much when I am nervous and so I will make sure that I keep that in mind and then keep that in check. Also, I have become acutely aware of the fact that I speak really quickly and have the amazing ability to get 3 or 4 sentences into a conversation without taking a breath.

The other beautiful part. This, ladies and gents, is my last week working for the Big Bank. My last week working in beautiful scenic Brooklyn, New York. And your last chance to put your crack orders in. Once I no longer work in this hell hole you won't be able to get your supply of crack at these seriously discounted prices.

09 October, 2005

The Things I Let My Friends Get Away With

Both of you, licking me, in a bar, from the shoulderblade to the top of my neck and then arguing about who has the better and much more talented tongue.

08 October, 2005

Some Things I Won't Miss

I have lived here most of my life. New York City and Washington, D.C. are the only two cities that I have ever lived in. And no, I do not count the very small southern town in North Carolina where I went to college as a city. There where cows and red-necks, but no city.

So this is my city, New York. D.C. I just borrowed for a while.

There is something about New York that gives it a special vibe. Something unique and all it's own. But the city has also drastically changed over the last 20 years that I have known it. I remember when I was 14 and the city was lit with a funkiness that was an undercurrent and swept you up in it's tow. The electric lights from Times Square always caught you off guard and made you forget about necessities and always allowed for a dreamer to do just that. Downtown had an other worldly ebb, a flow that had no real beginning and no real end. There was so much to stare at and wonder about, especially for an artist; a person who takes great pleasure in people watching. Sitting in a cafe on the street in Soho and watching the walkers go by. I would give them stories and lives and interesting adventures and wonder if that could someday be me.

I don't necessarily know when my idea about living here changed. Perhaps it was a gradual occurrence. Somewhere between one let down, a broken heart, a bad night and an un realized dream. Perhaps it was there all along and my youthful exuberance ignored it.

I have often heard from my father and also from my grandfather's generation about how much Brooklyn changed. I would laugh at these stories and think to myself "How much *could* a neighborhood change?" New neighbor's yes, but radically change. Bosh!

But I understand now. That change is inevitable and not always welcome. New York City has changed and drastically in a very short period of time I may add. It feels tired. And used. The city feels like a bad date. Something that you understand when you roll up from the bars at 4:00 am feeling like something bad crawled into your mouth and set up camp. That nasty over smoker feeling in your hair and on your clothes. The way cheap perfume just hangs on and makes you gag.

Walking down a New York City street at any time of the day makes you wonder if anyone notices you at all. Last night I felt a little undone. I found the constant and endless need to do the weave while I walked through and around and about people exhausting. I wondered if the man who stepped in front of me to light his cigarette even recognized that I had to make a sudden shift not to slam straight into him. I even wonder if he cared.

And perhaps that's the thing. The biggest issue. New York City has a population on any given night of 12 million people. All crammed onto one tiny island. All with their own agendas. All with their own insecurities. Who has time to apologize for elbowing you in the head as you get on a train. Who has time to make room for one more person at the table, when the restaurant only has allotment for four. Who has the ability to keep up with the every day when the work week has become hard and the rent is amazingly high. Everyone I know is tired and disappointed and wondering aloud if the choices that they made where the right ones. All those that I come into contact with seem to be on the same path that I am on; finding new meaning in old dreams and figuring out if they can make them possible.

In a city such as New York suddenly nothing seems possible and everything seems difficult and harsh. Sometimes I find it difficult to breath and extremely overwhelming, perhaps only compounded with the fact that in a city of 12 million people it is so incredibly easy to become isolated and ignored.

07 October, 2005

Holding My Breath

Honestly, I thought that the toughest part would be finding a job overseas and not being able to perform on a face-to-face interview. I was wrong.

I truly believed that once the Managing-Vice-President-Partner dude at the Greatest Software Company That Ever Lived (yes, I am overly enthusiastic at this point, I haven't started the job yet) gave me the nod that all the months of hard work would be done and I could finally relax.

Yeah, I am a schmuck. Pass over the permanent marker will ya. I will write it on my forehead.

The-Visa-Process is a whole new ballgame. Whip out the rally caps boys, cause I have just submitted my paperwork for the second time and (drumroll) I purchased an airline ticket. For $900 dollars. Actually. Bought.

I feel like I made some kind of statement by purchasing the tickets. Sorta like the guy in the yellow robes at the airport. He's a Krishna and he OWNS the gig.

Now all I have to do is wait for the Visa office to deny my Visa because they don't agree with my color choice in nailpolish and then I won't gain entry. And then I will watch my dream flush down the toilet.

Go optimism.

28 September, 2005

Bitch Slapped

Alright, alright, lesson learned. I have been officially bitch slapped. I made the random, naive and insanely stupid mistake of posting an enthusiastic, Pollyanna type question on a New Zealand web board hoping upon hope that good old fashioned Kiwi's would give me great advice for fitting into my new home. Well, hell hath no fury when you are a web poster scorned. Or some such shit.

I was officially called a Troll because several of these folks actually did not believe that my post was genuine. Which I found odd. Why would I post a question on a New Zealand run webboard if it wasn't a genuine question? Who has that kind of fucking time? My questions was simply: I am moving to Auckland and the world hates Americans, anything I should know before I debark from the plane?

Another lesson: once you post one of these things, you no longer own it. It mushrooms and grows into something that you never intended.

I have been officially smacked down to reality. I have heard so many wonderful things about New Zealand and it's people that I actually *forgot* that assholes live in every country and are not just isolated to New York. I was actually Ernest enough for a moment to allow my Pollyanna to come shining through. Stupid me. Which I guess was a good lesson to learn before I actually got there. Someone once said "you can leave what you want behind but you still look at yourself in the morning". How very true. I can leave a few things behind here in the States that I am looking forward to shedding, but I will always have me. Which was never the reason why I wanted to do this NZ thing in the first place by the way. It was always about adventure. It was always about the opportunity for more. But the one thing I will have to take will me is a small bit of my New York pessimism so I don't get myself in trouble.

And I am now officially Google Group devirginized.

21 September, 2005

The Education System - She's Not So Good

Random conversation with fellow Big Bank Worker leads me to question the intelligence level of my country and the quality of the education presented in this country.

Me: So, moving to New Zealand, blah, blah, blah, blah

Him: New Zealand, is that like near Holland?

Hand to G-d, I swear this conversation took place. Which got me thinking. Enter Diatribe:

The higher education system in the United States is probably the most expensive education in the world. Our education costs continue to rise every year, our University system is ever at war with each other trying to lure the best and the brightest and the standard cost for an education went from $2,000 in 1980 for in-state tuition verses today's $20,000 for in-state tuition. Don't even get me started on private and out-of-state-colleges.

However, I do believe that those that are educated in the United States are not the most well educated in the world. Nor are we even slightly worldly. Personally, I think that the Germans our kicking our ass in education. Consider that my young cousins all under the age of 10 already speak three languages.

Or perhaps this lack of world view has nothing at all to do with our higher education system and everything to do with our elementary education. Get'em while they are young and some stuff might actually stick.

So are we in the United States under-educated? Perhaps the only reason that we continue to be the domineering country is because everyone else is coming here instead of staying there. Do the math. The influx of intelligence workers as immigrants into the United States is staggering. Other countries will continue to educate their community and those individuals will continue to emigrate here.

So, will Americans be able to continue competing in a world market?

20 September, 2005

Update on the Freaking Out, On the Car, On Murphy's Law and On Finding an Apartment... all in one weekend!

Low and behold when the Universe closes a door, it opens a window and then the window comes slamming down on my head and laughs hysterically in my direction. I seriously sometimes believe that my life is one big prank played on by elfin-wood-gnomes who spend their entire day planning on how to FUCK ME UP!

So here is the run down this lovely Monday morning. All is going well so far with the planning of the Visa getting... and get we shall soon need. According to my progressive calendar and the crossing of the fingers my ARSE should be on a plane on October 13th thereby landing it smack in the middle of Auckland by October 15th. This past Friday got the chest x-ray done, this week sorting all of my crap and next week putting in notice to the job.... all is going well, now what I really needs is to finds me an apartment with fun but not schizophrenic people.

The Universe already blessed me with one big fat whammy on Friday, whereby locking me out of my car and leaving me stranded at the hospital where the chest X ray was done. It is a real bitch to be having a great day only to have it screwed when you can't get into your car, when the tow-truck guy that you call can't get into your car, when your cell phone, PDA and laptop are all locked in your car and everyone you know is GONE and no one is around to pick you up help you out or hand you a tissue because your so damn frustrated that instead of taking your shit out on the man in the toll booth because he did nothing and we don't want to be mean, I broke down crying. Big loser that I am. Bawled my eyes out. And the makeup was in the car. So now I am stranded AND I look like shit.

Finally, got home Friday evening to the tune of $290 well spent dollars and one kick ass headache.

Note to self: Carry ALL of your shit with you even if the sign says "no cell phone use allowed".

16 September, 2005




The Big Bad Software company offered me the job and I am moving to New Zealand!

OH MY GOD... this is actually happening.

14 September, 2005

If Patience Is A Virtue, Can I Get Mine In Plaid?

Last night was the appointment for my second reference check to find out if I am a fit for the job at the Big Bad Software Company in Auckland. My friend Sang did the reference for me. Not only is Sang a good friend, but he has been my co-worker for the last two years here at the Big Bank. Sang and I have hung in the technical trenches together and so he knows what I know and further he knows that I get shit done. The other big plus is that Sang likes me as a human being and has been listening to me talk up New Zealand since February. I figured one of two things. Either a) he would do the reference for me because as a good friend he wants to see me succeed or b) he would do the reference for me because he wants me to shut up about New Zealand already. I figure either one is good.

Sang called me last night after the reference was done. He described it to be more like an interview. It was an hour long and the rep from the Big Bad Software Company asked him a million questions; some of which are a bit weird for an American to hear. And I understood that too. I was taken back when the Managing Director whom may end up becoming my boss actually asked me how old I was. As little red flags of American Political Incorrectness are EXPLODING in my brain, I am wondering if I am even ALLOWED to answer that question. If you are not from the States please note, this kind of personal questioning is not only illegal but completely FORBIDDEN in the US.

After I hung up on Sang last night I immediately ran to my computer and logged onto my email account.


And this morning, the first thing I did before a shower and coffee and even brushing my teeth was booting my computer and checking my email.


Not a single feedback type response. Not even a gold star for penmenship. Nothing. Nada. Ziltch. Zero.

Which leaves me counting the clock during my 14 hour work day, counting the minutes to when it would be 8:00 pm my time, which means it's 12:00 pm their time, which means they have had plenty of time to send me an email to tell me they love me and want to make an offer or at least tell me my hair smells nice. INDUCE PANIC, INDUCE PANIC.

I NEED FEEDBACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please, I will take any kind at this point. As long as it is not negative.

13 September, 2005

Notes From a Weekend

This past weekend I had the pleasure of watching my brother’s football team kick another football team’s ass. Good stuff all around. And of course there is the added benefit of watching sweaty football players in their uniforms run around like maniacs on grass and then smell them as they walk by. Hum, bonus! Breathe one for the single sister of the Offensive Coordinator. And for all you football fans, my brother’s runnin’ option this year and I know enough about football to know what that actually means! Go me.

The bigger bonus however is the opportunity to hang with the two coolest men on the planet. They also happen to be the founders and chair of my fan club. Meet Michael and Mason… ages 6 and 3…. My dudes.

The banter and mayhem and unbelievable chaos fraught with much love can only come from a house that holds two hyper testosterone ridden pre-pubescent athletes, a father that is in a constant state of college-dom and a mother who is pregnant, again!

Conversation at the football game:

Michael: “Auntie, watch me. I can spit this skittles really far.”

Me: “Mike, I really don’t want to watch you spit.”

Colleen (brother’s friend): “Aw, come on, you gotta teach the kid skills.”

Me: “Skills, heh, I’ll teach the kid how to do shots when he is 16. With lime AND salt! Now those are skills!”

Colleen: “Don’t forget the hookers.”

Me: “Oh, that’s at 18. See, there is a progression. Tattoos at 13, shots at 16, hookers at 18.”

At this moment of course my sister-in-law walks into the conversation and gives me that look that says “If I die, I am not leaving them to you.”

To which I can only retort: “What! This is what Aunts are for. You’re supposed to raise them and I’m supposed to be morally objectionable!”

Conversation in the car on the LONG ASS ride home from the football game:

Michael: “Auntie, when are you getting married?”

Me: “Um, Auntie’s not getting married for a while bud, okay.”

Michael: “Why?”

Me: “Because Auntie wants to have some fun and not worry about that kind of pressure right now, okay.”

Michael: “But, why?”

2 hours later….the kid still hadn’t found a new theme.

Putting them to bed:

Mason: “No, NO! I want AUNTIE to tuck me in!”

Mason: “No, NO! I want AUNTIE to read me a story!”

When I left:

Mason: “Bye Auntie, I love you, come again soon, PLEEEEEEEASE!”

And that folks, makes it all worth the 4 hour ride to the back ass end of Connecticut!

07 September, 2005

Ignoring My Blog

Actually not ignoring, more like avoiding like the plague. I think about a post every day. I think about what I can add to the world in the way of a funny anecdote or blurb or interesting fact or something that will make my readers smile.

All I got is bitching people. I am so consumed with my pending move to New Zealand. And as of late I would rather be mute because the only thing comin' outta my mouth is frustration.

I know that this is a pattern. I know that this has to happen. You figure out your goal, you specify what you need to do, you diligently work towards that goal, you make progress, you win a few gold stars, you get closer and you keep at this for a while. Somewhere along the way things start to fall apart. Your working as hard as you can but you feel like your beating your head against a wall and getting nowhere. And this is when the frustration kicks in. This is when it starts to become like a tumor and invade the rest of your life. This is when all your waking moments are taken up by "what can I do BETTER, what MORE can I do to achieve what I want?". Thoughts of giving up start to creep in. And you think to yourself "I am a fucking LOSER if I give up now, just because it got hard!". So you keep plugging. You tell your friends that your weekends are kinda screwed for a while because Sunday in the States is Monday in New Zealand and you need to make those contacts.

Then a golden rainbow emerges through the clouds. I had an amazing interview with a recruiter on Thursday and then with the client on Monday. The job is perfect for me. A team lead position doing Quality Assurance for a software company. LOVE the job. And my direct manager sounds like someone I could work for very well. And it's in Auckland. And, and, and....


I could jump through hoops. The only problem is; if they end up not liking me, or not hiring me, or not anything this will be one big huge let down and I will spire once more into despair.

So I will remain calm and normal. Pretend that I am going through the motions of a normal work day. I will remain focused. And I will secretly pray to the Universe to let this happen for me.

And I will look for a flat in Auckland - just in case. :-)

25 August, 2005

Bug Juice in My Coffee

I recently moved in with my parents in the vain attempt that if the Universe or the Gods KNOW that I am serious about wanting to move to New Zealand and I actually do all the work to get there that the skies will open up and a miracle will burst forth and some fucking company will offer me a GODDAMN JOB ALREADY!

Sorry, my bad. I am getting grumpy with this process of applying for jobs and waiting and applying for jobs and waiting and applying for Visa stuff and waiting and I am freaking waiting and waiting and I am just tired now. I would really like to take a nap.

I am also in Brooklyn today, the Mecca of Crack. Seriously, you need some? I think I can get it cheap on the corner.

Mom suggested that I take the bus instead of doing the drive, so I can relax. Apparently my Mom has never taken mass transit into the Port Authority. The word relax doesn't really ring on their slogan. So yes, this morning this was a big mistake, not only is it more expensive then it would be to continue parking at my office in Jersey City, but it sucks the cat's ass because as I relayed to Mom "If I don't freeze my ass off because the bus's AC is set to Antartic Sub Freezing and I don't get elbowed by some women wearing way to much pommade... to the point that I can SMELL IT! "

I am not a happy camper today. Camp was way better than this. At least at camp I got a snack.

13 August, 2005

The Dork Brigade!

Conversation that I JUST had with Mike, my ever dorky friend who I LOVE, but G-d bless him!

Mike informed me that I thwarted his opportunity for two alternate plans for this evening. If he was not joining me to see "The Wedding Crashers", he would be either catching a rather gory 1970's Vietnam flick by himself in some Midtown theater OR buying a new book in his favorite bookstore about Abe Lincoln.

To which I responded "Gee Mike, no freaking wonder why your single. You are actually upset that you are joining a hot chick for a movie and drinks and would rather spend a quality Friday evening by yourself holed up in a tiny bookstore happily jacking off to Abe Lincoln!".

Our Russian co-worker; that we never hear from, laughed. OUT LOUD. And hard.

Mike's response: "This is why I love you. Everything I say can be made fun of and you never miss an opportunity".

My response: "Get a clue dude. If not, you will never get laid".

NO. SLEEP. TILL. Broooklllyyynnnnnnn!

Spending a rather large portion of my work time at the Brooklyn office as of late. By the way; time that I am thoroughly NOT enjoying. It's not that I don't love Brooklyn. I do. Certain parts.

Parts that I appreciate: My Dad's neighborhood in Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island and the rickety wooden roller coasters that give you whiplash, L&B spumoni Gardens, Rollin Roaster, Marine Park, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and actually READING all the plaques and signs, the little old Italian dive coffees shops where little old Italians drink coffee and argue, All the songs from Really Rosie that pop into my head when I am in Brooklyn, and last but not least being a little kid at my Grandmother's kitchen table and being reminded of what Brooklyn really is served with homemade ziti with LOTS and LOTS of sauce.

But the part they have me working in, is the part that I loathe. In less than one week's time I have witnessed a crack deal less then a foot from me, got heckled by a Spanish women who said something nasty about my pants, and watched a cop in the subway end an argument with a man and his obviously high-as-a-kite wife by cuffing and hog-tying him in less than 2 seconds flat.

My company, my BAG-A-ZILLION dollar company, bought property and space or rented or what ever in the WORST freaking neighborhood in this area of Brooklyn. Don't even try to tell me that I am safe or that I should feel safe because you've posted a company security guard every 1/2 a block around the perimeter of the office. Please, I saw that girl security guard yesterday, are you kidding! I COULD TAKE HER! Like this chick is going to stop a crime against me. Ah, no.

How I long for an office in Midtown.

11 August, 2005

Little Old Men Impart Wisdom

During my mad dash to make my appearance at two offices this morning I ended up on a PATH train heading into the World Trade Center at about 10:30 am. What strikes me as sort of sad is the fact that I make the run on this particular train with this particular view 3 to 4 times per week. And it never ceases to amaze me that my reaction is always the same. I look up, take a deep breath in, breathe, ponder the world for a moment, take notice of everyone else around me, curse my luck for both being here and not being here and then I get off the train and walk to the subway. A memorial unto it’s self. This pit of dirt and steel and rubble is. Perhaps instead of building a new monolith to revere the dead, the politicians would be better off leaving the big sucking hole in the ground, a constant reminder to everyone of what we lost here.

This morning the train was empty and I sat across from a rather lithe 85 year old well dressed man. He sported a blue blazer, a starched shirt and tie combo that would rival any Harvard grad, pressed pants and nice shoes. He was reading the paper and making notes to himself. I imagine he was on his way to met his partner on Wall Street somewhere. Probably has a seat on the Exchange that he will pass on to his son and together they will build an empire in futures. I am probably giving this little old man way to much detail, considering that we didn’t utter a single word to each other.

But this morning my back was to the inside of the World Trade Center Big Whopping Hole In the Ground. And I didn’t see it. But I saw him. I saw his face change and become sad and then he crossed himself. And for a moment, I could have sworn I saw his lips move, in some kind of reverent prayer.

For all the hatred and killing that is taking place in this world, this little old man took a moment from his trading paper and said a prayer.

It was nice.

02 August, 2005

Career Opportunity

During a kind of lame and non-eventful weekend, after a beach burn and way to much sun, I rented a bunch of DVD's and junkfood and headed over to a friend's house where many non-eventful things were going on with non-eventful people. Plus beer.

During the 3 course evening meal of Hitch, The Pacifier (which blew chunks by the way, but was worth the 1 min Vin D. shot in a towel), and one really bad Katie Holmes flick I was informed by a male friend that "You have an ass like Eva Mendes, you could probably be an actress too!". As exuberant as that may sound, and although I was so not offended, I can honestly say that a) why is it always about my ass? and b) really if that was all it took to become a high paying actress sign me up.

And then of course I look at the raw talent (ahec-hack) that Hollywood is spitting out these days and wonder, hell is that all it takes?

Ponder that, while I sit here and channel some Puerto Rican ancestor that I am SURE is lurking in my family history, but no one has fessed up too yet.

30 July, 2005

Screwing With Them

I walked downtown last night to meet some friends for drinks. If you have ever spent any amount of time down by Wall Street you know that the streets are all sorts-a twisty with no rhyme or reason. Who was the brain surgeon who thought up that development plan? Walking along my merry way, two random businessy drunk 40 year olds decided to pick up a thread of some unknown conversation with me. Mike and John (actual names I swear!) asked me where I was going. I told them. They giggled in their drunkenness and tagged along. Sure, it's a party. I say everyone's invited.

HERE is where the fun began for me though. Both of these morons where sporting wedding rings and for all the crap I went through yesterday morning finding out that my telephone guy is still married, I was in the mood to screw with them. To punish them a bit for being dicks and looking for some booty while their wives are home with the kids. Not to mention that I was wearing a great dress and a pair of heels and I KNEW that they would do whatever I wanted.

I turned up the flirt and made them buy me drinks. In fact I made them buy my friends drinks too. Why did they get suckered you ask? Because Mike and John actually thought that I would even be REMOTELY interested in sleeping with two drunk 40 year old's who are married. Some what ever fantasy that these guys had was finally coming true. The John guy even asked me what I wanted and informed me that if I was good he would buy it for me. My response was "So do you mean you would actually buy me, like... a CAR?". Can you say EW.

Funny side note; during course of said evening BOTH of them, not one but BOTH, as some point slipped their wedding rings off their fingers. LIKE I WOULD NOT HAVE NOTICED YOU IDIOTS!

So the evening comes to an end under fiery protests, Mike and John were so disappointed that I was leaving WITH TWO OTHER MEN (co-workers and friends, really I am not a whore).

And then I looked into their eyes and smiled a big sweet smile, batted my eyes and in a very girlie way informed them that they were married and how cute it is that the wife and little babies are home while they are out carousing. And with that I said "Have a good night boys!".

Well let's just say, the looks on their faces were priceless!

BUSTED! Hope the bar bill was high!

I am not a bitch by nature, but I am really tired of married men cheating on their wives. Not only are you hurting your wife and children but how do you think the other women feels when she finds out you're married to someone else. It is really crappy all around.

And some of you reading this may think, but yeah you were flirting with them. And my answer is "They are married, they should have NEVER come looking for it in the first place!".

29 July, 2005

Who I idealize

I want to be Lara Croft when I grow up!

Confessions of a 6th Grader

Remember when you were in Jr. High or High School and at a party that involved beer. The conversations always ended up revolving around blow jobs, boobs, butts and sex. During these years I remember thinking "When I grow up I am going to go to sophisticated cocktail parties and have engaging conversation with dashing men and dazzle everyone with my wit!".


This past weekend I laughed my ass off with my friends and drank to much beer. And of course the conversation kicked off with a snarky comment about MY ass which landed us all the way into more conversations about blow jobs, boobs, butts and sex.

Nothing changes. Ever.

And of course, I had a camera to take pictures of all the antics and goings-on.

Final Score: Sophistication Nothing\Laughing like a hyena and creating the ability to later blackmail your friend 50 points.

New Jersey Scores!

Death By Lying!

Last night I received an email from a guy that I have created this amazing email and telephone friendship with. Or so I thought. Apparently, over the last 9 months he has been lying to me. This morning he clarified that he was no longer married but separated. To me, he is still married.

2 People + Separated - Not Yet Divorced = Married.

And once again I am left with the floored sinking sickness in my gut that the world is made of liars and I can not seem to find people who like themselves enough to tell the truth.

Am I wearing a sign "Please lie to me!"?

Last year I ended a three year significant relationship over lying. There were quite a few other 'things' involved, but mainly I was so hurt by the lying. Apparently, he had no problem lying to me for as long as he could get away with it. And yes, he was still married but separated too. A fact that I would have liked to have known before I dated you, not 2 years later!

He and I had a rather lengthy month of conversations last November that went around and around and I won't bore you with the crappy details, but there is one that is just too juicy not to share. And it's about the lying.

Here is the LOAD OF CRAP he laid on me. During one of these conversations he informed me that he 'HAD to lie' to me. I kid you the fuck not. HE HAD TO LIE. Why, you asked? Probably as shocked as I was wondering if he honestly believed I would buy this load of bullshit. He lied to me because and I quote "I thought that your expectations were so high, I thought that you would never want a guy like me with my baggage. I never wanted to hurt you. But YOU MADE me lie to you!".


I made all those lies fall out of your mouth?

He went on to explain that 'Your so amazing, blah, blah, blah, your high energy, blah, blah, blah, I just wanted to be the man that you deserved!".


Be the man that I deserve by lying. Contemplate that for a moment with me. Let's say it together, in a mantra type tone. Be the man that I deserve by lie-ing.


Well shit, I would hate to see who the fuck I would end up dating if you didn't try to be the man I deserved.

I think I should lower my standards and date axe murders instead.

And about the boy with the phone and the recent revelation about the lying. Well the good news is, is that he lives really far away and that I did not do anything that I regret. I let him off easy and told him that I would still be his friend. But honestly, the romance and whatever else is just gone.

Lying kills everything.

22 July, 2005

Look At What Is Being Done To This Beautiful Girl

Do you know about her? I didn't until recently. Living in the United States of Ignorant Land, were we receive no other news of the outside world unless we go out of our way to watch BBC. I had not heard of a girl named Schepelle Leigh Corby from Australia who is sitting in an Indonesian jail for a crime of drug trafficking that she did not commit. I came to find out that this innocent girl may die.

Take a good look at her face... this beautiful girl. She could be you.

Schapelle Corby is 27 years old, from Queensland, Australia. In October of 2004, She and her 17 year old brother were traveling with two of Schapelle's girlfriends to have a fun and cheap vacation for a week in Bali, Indonesia.

Indonesia is a place were Australians routinely go on holiday. This destination is very similar to flying to Florida from the North East. Upon arrival in the Bali airport, a security guard searched her boogie board bag, which she did not have with her the whole time and only just moments before picked up off the baggage belt, and found 4.1 KC of marijuana.

Drug traffickers smuggle drugs out of Indonesia, not into Indonesia. The 4.1kg of marijuana found in Schapelle's bag could have been bought for less than $100 in Bali, but is worth much more in Australia.

Schapelle was immediately arrested.

No evidence or witnesses have been presented who can connect Schapelle with the drug trade. She is a hairdresser in Australia and it has been proven that she does not know anyone who has any illegal ties to drug trafficking.

In Bali, there have been numerous incidents where baggage handlers have tampered with bags. They have been accused of using baggage to transport drugs between Australian capital cities. When the alleged criminals at the receiving airport fail to find the bag where the drugs are hidden, it continues onto another connecting flight, putting the bag's owner at great risk. Bags containing drugs are often marked with chalk so that they will be easily spotted by the intended recipient.

Because Australian Federal Police drug specialists were denied the right to test the drugs to determine their real origin, such tests that could have allowed Australian authorities to find the real dealers, there is no 'concrete' proof that the drugs are not Schapelles. In Indonesia a trial has no jury and fates are decided by three panel judges that are often brutal and corrupt. On

May 27, 2005, Schapelle was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. She has been sharing a 3 meter x 3 meter prison cell with 8 other women.

Yesterday, July 20, 2005 Schapelle began her appeal to the Indonesia authorities. If her appeal fails (the Indonesian authorities have also launched an appeal, pushing for a tougher sentence), she could be sentenced to a more severe penalty, including `execution by firing squad'.

The odds are stacked against her. The Indonesian authorities do not want to look as if they were wrong.

Bali's airlines and the airport has continually failed to identify any staff members who may have been involved in handling Schapelle's baggage. In Australia, Schapelle's legal team is not funded by the Australian Government, who should have stepped in based on human rights, rather a millionaire Ron Bakir realized in February that the Government was doing nothing and put his own money on the line to make sure Schapelle was properly represented. Between October and February Schapelle had no legal assistance from Australia. Many countries in the far east impose the death penalty on anyone found in possession of commercial quantities of drugs.

Please take a few minutes out of your blogging or surfing to Google as much as you can about Schapelle. Her case is awful and disgusting. What the Bali and Australian Governments have done to her can be called a crime. I am so angry and so incredibly overwhelmed.

When you see her beautiful face and read her story you will be too.

You can send letters to:

Schapelle Corby C/O- LPM Kerobokan Jl.

Tangkuban Perahu Kerobokan

Denpasar 80117 Bali, INDONESIA

And packages to:

Schapelle Corby

PO Box 1250

Cleveland QLD 4163


Peter, Paul and Mary Beth!

Apparently Mr. Jesus H. Christ has been a rather busy guy in the last week. He has been invoked in practically every conversation that I have had. Did someone throw up a new Billboard Advertising his greatness on the West Side Highway? Did the Almighty’s invitation get lost in the mail to the grand opening of We-Save-Souls-A-Lot, because it sure has been one heck of a Christian enthused week? And for some reason everyone that I have spoken to decided that I was their target audience. Do I look like I need to find organized religion?

The last time someone preached this much religion to me was when my friend Mary Beth tried to save my soul in college. Not that my soul couldn’t have used a few extra pep talks at that time in my life (shots anyone?), but Mary Beth came from the Appalachian Mountains. A really teeny, tiny town in the Appalachian Mountains. A town where Jesus is the Mayor AND the President of the American Legion Post and HE SEES ALL.

My first mistake was attending a college in the South. For a girl from a freaked out weird family from New York, this is never a good idea. Secondly, this girl has a tendency to be a weensy bit open minded and is willing to have a conversation with anyone on just about any topic. Really, nothing is sacred. This often offends people. As in: “I don’t see what could possibly be wrong with X, it’s only someone else’s idea”. And the X usually represents what that person is vehemently opposed to with a passion. Not that I dig at these things on purpose, I have just always found it interesting to understand another view. As my friend Robyn likes to point out, I belong with them there liberal set.

On a particular evening at Undisclosed Southern University, Mary Beth and I and a few other friends got plowed in one of the College Bars and Mary Beth made the BIG mistake of asking me about my religion. To which my answer probably started off with “I was raised confused”. This always get’s people. If you are from a predominantly something family and that something has been believed in and taught from gospel your whole damn life and was passed down the ages from your great-great-whatever’s, than my family is NOTHING like yours. We are the non-religious folks. Oh we go to church for a wedding and cover the house in greenstuffs on holidays, but that's about it. I was baptized once, that may count for something down the road.

Mary Beth pushed on with the conversation and low an behold found out that ‘GASP’ I not only grew up in a town where Whites, Blacks, Asians and Indians intermingled and went to the same school, but OH NO my boyfriend at the time was a JEW who didn’t believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah! The conversation didn’t end well and Mary Beth stormed off and snot over her shoulder that I was going to “burn in hell!”. Of course this set off a glee of outbursts from the much less Southern and much more sinful friends. And I was left with the sinking feeling that Mary Beth may never speak to me again; because of religion. Which made me sad and pissed me off at the same time.

After about a week of being completely ignored, there was a light rap on my dorm room door. Mary Beth had tears in her eyes. She apologized whole heartedly for being so rude at the bar. And as her face brightened, she and I both smiled and we relaxed because we both knew that we would be friends again. And then Mary Beth was HIT with a mission. To help me FIND JESUS!

Oh and a mission it was. It involved prayer meetings and bibles and people that Mary Beth had recruited stopping me in the middle of a conversation to ask me if I had spoken with the Lord today. I have to say that I was proud of myself that I kept my sense of humor through the whole rest of that year. I never once lost my temper with these people and let Mary Beth and her friends pray over me as much as they wanted to.

The next year came and Mary Beth had transferred schools. I never saw or heard from her again and all that next year I really missed her. I missed her Southern drawl and the way she relentlessly lobbied the Lord for my soul.

This week, with all this loving Jesus going around, I was reminded of Mary Beth. I think if organized religion taught the true power of friendship, Mary Beth’s unselfish kind of friendship, then I would hop on board tomorrow. If organized religion could find a way to bottle and give this to the world then I would be the biggest believer you’ all ever met.

20 July, 2005


Don't blog when you are on the phone with a Customer Service Representative from the IRS. Especially when they owe you money and they will not listen to you and they of course have your address wrong.

It just makes you mad and then leads to crappy blogging.

Oh and the music. Yeah, they really do need to get some new music for the 'on hold' button that they kept me on for about 20 straight mins while they hunted down a manager that I never got to speak with.

I think I will go find chocolate now.

Oh and P.S.

Enough with the 'Nutcracker Suite' on the hold button already. G-d Damn, get some new music!

Why We Are Friends

I have friends for many reasons, and it seems recently, my friends are now spread out all over the world. Generally, I end up becoming friends with these people because for what ever reason the Universe smacked us together in a situation and at one point we probably laughed pretty damn hard. Come to think of it, if I go down the list of how I became friends with everyone it was usually at the expense of me making an ass of myself and them laughing at me out loud, to which I probably laughed along with them.

And no, I don’t get a chance to see all of these people all that often, but we do email and take trips and I have this really cool open invitation to visit this certain family in Greece the next time I happen to “pop” in….(Hi Elaine!).

There is, however, one friend that I speak with almost everyday. In fact we actually agreed to go on the same cell phone ‘you’re in’ plan just because we know that we speak almost everyday and it was getting rather pricey.

And today I want to thank her for being my friend. For making me laugh that hard, all the time. She lives in Florida with her super cute and awesome hubby that I like just as much, which is great because when you don’t like your friend’s partner that always sucks, but this guy, I like much. And besides, on some weird Germanic level he seriously reminds me of my Mother and so therefore I really do understand his anal-retentive ways. Yes, J.A., the bathroom really was clean enough on my last visit, thank you.

But this is why I love my friend so much. L.C. went to Paris for 9 days on a business trip (oh did I mention that she is a lucky bitch!) and came home with stories and anecdotes to share and bemoaned as to why I did not call her back over the weekend.

Her story first, she made me laugh so damn hard. L.C. screaming about “Why the hell don’t they have air-conditioning in Europe and don’t people realize that the reason why they all have a spicy B.O. smell is because it’s so damn hot and buy a fucking air conditioner already!” to which I swear, hand to G-d, I actually had to pull over to the side of the road because I was peeing in my pants so hard.

You gotta love it when friends travel and bring back their stories.

And then here was mine that I shared with her. L.C. bashed me for not calling her back over the weekend after my cell phone cut out and I stopped crying on the side of the road. To which I informed her that soon after I blew a tire, had to wait for a flatbed and the rest of my Saturday sucked. But then, ray of sunshine, Mom bought me the new Harry Potter book and I read the WHOLE thing in 10 hours on Sunday. Just me and Harry and the gang. Cause I am a big freaking dork!

And she was allowed to laugh her ass off at me. Because she knows what a geek I have the ability to be and I say this shit with such a straight face. Like “What’s your problem, every fucking adult I know reads Harry Potter, I am just cool enough to admit it!”.

15 July, 2005

New Zealand Via Brooklyn

You Can't Get There From Here.

I am jumping out of my skin.

I decided in February of this year that I am going to move to Auckland, New Zealand. Not a move taken lightly. Much, much research and investigating went into this decision.

It all started with one idea. The idea that my life changed dramatically and I decided that I would embrace the concept. Shortly thereafter, I thought about this shift in my life and the unbelievable opportunity that it was presenting to me. A very loud voice in my head screamed "DO IT NOW!" "IF YOU DON'T DO IT NOW, YOU WILL REGRET IT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!"

The concept started with the unraveling of my life and the direction that it had been going in. A direction not set forth by me, but set forth by another. A spiral that gained momentum which I do admit that I jumped into whole heartedly. But then it spun out of control. I ended up in a place that I never envisioned and this place choked me.

Aat the beginning of the year I started to think about what I wanted. The list of concepts that are not tangible in a materialistic sense. It is the remake of my life and what I am looking to achieve at the end of the day.

I want to pray in a Buddhist Temple in Cambodia. A culture so rich and old in ancient ways that it would take me a lifetime to understand it.

I want to hike in the mountains of New Zealand's Southern Island.

I want to watch the surf break in Bali.

I want to walk the streets in Indonesia.

These are dreams that I dreamed as a kid on lazy Sunday afternoons staring at the map of the world and wondering how big it really was.

Mom should have never bought me a globe.

13 July, 2005

How To Make Your Mom Pee In Her Pants and Shoot Snot Out Her Nose

Several Saturday's ago I convinced my Mom that life should be spent being on 'Perma-Vacation', only to be interrupted with employment during the week. She loved the mind set and she herself has taken to heart 'Perma-Vacation' (as in "My kids are grown and I do not have to be responsible for anyone except your Father!") with Employment. We have re-named the dwelling the 'House By the Lake' and my Father has gotten into the habit of expounding "It's like Martha's vineyard, isn't Geri! Just like Martha's vineyard!". I have done well brainwashing the old folks!

So on Sunday, I being the good child, ran to the store and got Mom a cold, crisp bottle of chardonnay from Chili and then told her she was on 'vacation' for the weekend. Ooooooooohhhh. By lunch she was nice and tipsy and then asked me if I wanted to "join her at the pool".

This process provides two things:

a) If you spend large amounts of time with your family(which is a requirement in my family and which I very often enjoy but they do drive me nuts) this gives you lots of room to move about without being noticed.


b) Drunk parents are a lot of fun to watch, interact with and laugh at. It is so much fun when they are relaxed and not asking all sorts of incriminating questions which can lead to a lot of other incriminating questions.

08 July, 2005

3rd Level of Hell

I work in technology - for a big bank - in New York. I kinda still like what I do, but sometimes the big bank type people make me crazy.

It's technology. It's all about logic. It really should be really simple. Until you get involved in a large deployment with 10 project managers, 30 techs and a bunch o business types expecting 2,000 new users to understand what the heck the software is supposed to do and how to click the pretty button to make the magical install thingy work right.

And then 20 mins into the conference call an argument erupts and you end up with people debating - arguing *WHY* they can't test in production.... "but why???"

I put my phone on mute and proved my mutli-tasking skills by blogging while listening to the argument.

02 July, 2005

Next Time Perhaps He Will Think Before He Tells Other's What Is Morally Just

Surfing the net and found this girls blog: http://phoenixnz.blogspot.com/

I am borrowing a post from her that she borrowed from someone else. I have no idea who the original author was, but the guy is obviously brilliant and funny as hell. I seriously thought that I should not be the only one to stumble across this wonderful bit of satire.

By the way, if your the guy who wrote it and you want credit, please send me an e-mail and I would love to stick your name on it.

Dear President Bush,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. As you said, "in the eyes of God marriage is based between a man and a woman." I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. Clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev.21:20 states that I may ! not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though Lev. 19 expressly forbids this: 27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

01 July, 2005

A Moment Of Silence Please

Dear Great Aunt Pat,

I don't think I ever said thank you for being so nice to me. You always greeted me with a warm smile, a tight hug and a nice compliment. You were kind when other's in our family called me a hippie and did not mean it as a compliment. When other's made underhanded remarks you were always ready with a steady hand resting on my shoulder.

You laughed easily and out loud. You were warm and always thought of everyone else. You always asked me about my Grandparents who lived so far away in Florida, and always loved to remind me how much my Grandpa, your brother, loved me when I was a little girl and glowed when he was around me.

You remembered things that I was too young to remember and never let me forget that family is important.

And you gave me Dorothy, your daughter and my big cousin, who I adore.

I will see you for the last time on Saturday. I will always love you and I will miss you terribly. Please say hello to Grandma, Uncle Mike, Opa, Uncle Paul, Uncle Steve, Christopher and of course Lady for me.



I Love My Country, I Think Otherwise of My President

His speech started plainly enough:

“My greatest responsibility as President is to protect the American people. And that's your calling, as well. I thank you for your service, your courage and your sacrifice. I thank your families, who support you in your vital work.” Simply thanking people for their hard work and effort.”

But I took it the wrong way. I was appalled that he thanked our soldiers for sacrificing their lives. I was appalled that he had the audacity to *thank* them. It felt cocky and false.

1,700 men and women have died in Iraq so far, and there is no end in sight. They deserved a heck of a lot more than a thank you. They deserved a ticket home.

I was hoping that this speech that President Bush gave would be one of tolerance, one that spoke of peace. The message was clear, but it was not one of peace. The message was one of hatred and violence. Of self absorption, arrogance and ignorance of other cultures. I listened to a man make a speech about the brutality of war, the endless death on both sides and act as if, well this here is what we’re going to do because I say so.

I sat in my living room appalled and I can only imagine what his speech looked like from the other side of the world. How did it look to someone, just like me, in say Germany or France and listening to the same speech? Our American leaders look like bullies and cowards.

A few notes:

How about re-making Iraq in the image of a Muslim country where Muslim’s could live and be Muslim.

Iraq did not attack America. We attacked them. You twisted the words to be inclusive of Iraq so that you can justify the war.

If you continue to see images of violence and bloodshed perhaps it is because the Iraqis do not want American Troops there. Perhaps we should just leave.

You speak of all of these horrible things that Iraqi insurgents are doing; car bombs, sneak attacks, etc. But I thought this was a war. Is it supposed to be fair? And I am pretty sure the Iraqis feel like they are defending their right to their own country. And is it not the winners who write the history books. So we shall see.

You want to ‘advance freedom’ by shoving it down someone else’s throat. How does that make them free? How does that give them the freedom to choose when it is forced upon them by another country? Perhaps they do not want Democracy. But it should not be the American Government’s choice. Ever.

Yes the American’s have made progress in terms of new roads and new schools and medicine. And I love that these social programs are being implemented. But can we not do that and still pull out of the war? Can we not provide aid and allow the country to govern it’s self?

Really - a clear path? I am not seeing a clear path? A clear path to what? More money in your pocket when you and Donald Rumsfeld have figured out a way to make friends in High Oil Type Places.

I am saddened and frustrated by this war.

30 June, 2005

BTW, Forgot To Tell You Kyle, I LOVED the Orange Dress!

My cousin Graduates!

This past weekend I attended my cousins graduation in Reston, Virginia and I realized that she is an amazing person and that I have known her for a really long time. And I was just floored at the idea that not too long ago she sat on my lap and told me stories that she made up in that pea little head of hers. And now I am watching her all grown up and flirting with her boyfriend. That totally freaked me out.

And so after I got a little lit (shhhhhh, I didn't do it!), she and I started to talk. Which was awesome because I have been waiting for her to be not-the-little-kid anymore so she and I could have fun together in a non-kid sort of way. And I watched her watch me and laugh as I dispensed the oh-so-grownup piece of advice that I gave her.

And now I will share this bit o wisdom with you.

Here in no particular order. Please remember I was kinda trashed.

1. Wear sunblock, always! You know those women that say that they are 30 and look 40 and you're horrified. It's because they don't wear sun block.

2. Same goes for moisturizer!

3. Carry condoms. Okay I know that you've heard this tons before, but seriously, guys don't carry them and then make up the 'Just this once' BS. Quite frankly, being drunk and being guilted don't mix, so just don't be so lazy and carry the condoms.

4. As part of number 3 above. You do not, I repeat: YOU DO NOT, have to sleep with every guy you date! Sometimes a date is just a date. And sometimes he is not worth it. It's your call. But remember that it is ALWAYS your call.

5. As part of line 3 and 4; sometimes if you do sleep with the guy and he never calls you again, that can hurt like a bitch. Be warned and be weary. It was never about you to begin with. The guy just wanted to get laid and he was too much of an asshole to actually admit that to you. Which by the way may have been cool, but who knows he never bothered to ask. Sometimes guys mask sex with an I-really-like-you when they really don't.

6. If you make a promise, follow through and keep it. This goes for personal and business. Don't become the girl that people can't rely on, the girl that people can't trust. That is a crappy place to be.

7. Learn to share. Learn this lesson fast. Nothing seals friendship like sharing. Nothing makes you a better person like sharing. Do you really need that, or perhaps your friend needs it more. Learn to think about other people first and share.

8. Volunteer. At least once in your life for a little while. WHY? Because when you think your life sucks, you will be helping people whose life sucks more. And then you realize that you have it pretty damn good and you should stop whining already.

9. Also, volunteering makes the world a better place, makes your community a better place and you never know the positive impact you can have on someone's life.

10. Remember that the world does not revolve around you. Learn to be silent. Learn to listen. Learn to understand what others think and believe.

11. If a friend calls you at 3:00 in the morning, be there, always.

12. Get to know your college counselor. In fact bring him cookies and volunteer to baby-sit for his first born. This is the one person on campus that can make your world a happy place when it comes to money, classes, navigating the system and understanding the points you need to actually get the diploma.

13. Remember that a University is a BUSINESS. And when something is a business it means that they are there to make money! That's right. News flash. They do not give a POO about you and your grades and your roommate and your grandma. They CARE about making their bottom line.

14. So now that we have gotten number 14 out of the way. Learn to have a MOUTH. I am not saying become a screaming lunatic. But learn to open your mouth and have words come out. No one is going to stand up for you in the University System besides you and perhaps your parents. But your parents don't live here. And it's not their education, it's yours.

15. Number 14 means: If you have issues with you're student loans, classes, teachers, housing, roommate, workload etc. you have a RIGHT to have someone help you and assist you and guide you and hear you through the process. That is what they get paid for. And last time I looked college was not cheap.

16. If your college has an exchange student program DO IT. If you get the opportunity to go to another country that is safe, jump on it. You will so kick yourself if you don't. Travel later on in life happens less often.

17. Stop relying on your parents to fix your problems. That is all I am saying about that.

18. Never, EVER, except a drink from someone at a party or any other time that drinking takes place. This can be seriously dangerous and girls end up raped, molested or dead. Get your own damn beer.

19. Pick a sober-sister. You know the drill.

20. Learn how to shake someone's hand, look them in the eye and smile with a real smile. This is not only important on interviews, but important every day of your life.

21. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Listen, I love my jean skirt and flip flops and tee shirts, but I would not wear them to work. And it's not about conforming, it's about common sense.

22. Find out what your morals and beliefs are. Not your parents and not your friends, but yours.

23. Learn to compromise.

24. Become really good at time management. You will sleep better if your shit is done on time. AND BONUS **** If your shit is done on time, you actually have MORE time to hang out with your friends.

25. Being late to your interview, appointment, classes, etc. makes you look untrustworthy and then someone else gets the cool job.

26. If your friends are saying 'Yes' and your gut is saying 'No', go with your gut always. You have common sense, us it. The girls that end up dead ignored theirs.

27. Part of number 25; learn when to take a risk and when to be safe. Now you are talking to a girl that loves extreme sports. BUT, I do ALL the research first. I check out the instructors, the cables, their licenses, their operators, all the people that can contribute to me dying, yeah I do all my homework first. If you don't make informed decisions your just an idiot. My mother would argue that some of the stuff I do makes me an idiot anyway, so perhaps we can avoid this conversation in public.

28. Scenario: 1 girl hanging out with 5 guys she barely knows, alone. Humm, now does that sound smart? Yea, didn't think so. She might feel pretty and popular for the moment. It may fullfill that grand dream of being Homecoming Queen. But what the heck do you think those 5 guys are thinking. They are not thinking about her that's for damn sure.

29. Keep your sense of humor. The embarrassing suck ass moment that happened today will so be old news in about a week.

30. Don't cut your own hair drunk.

31. Don't pierce or tattoo drunk, it may seem like a good idea at the time, but um no.

32. Don't mix drugs and living and breathing. In fact don't do the drugs at all. And you know why. But here is the real reason why: No one will actually LIKE you more because you smoke pot.

33. On the alcohol thing. That girl that got really drunk and puked. Yea, she didn't look cool. She looked like an ass. Find your limit (mine's 3) and stick with it.

34. By the way, when he clings to you like that, and wants all your time, all your attention and gets mad when you make plans with your friends. Yeah sweetie, that's not love. That's emotional neediness. Dump his butt now.

35. It's not true love. It just turned out to be a fling with sex. It dosen't need to break your heart or change your life, but if you pay attention it can teach you a few lessons about the kind of girl you want to be. And cheap ain't it.

36. Don't give up on your goals and dreams when they get really hard. Buckle down and plow through it. If you put in the effort it will get easier. And you will have regrets in the end if you give up.

37. Changing your mind doesn't make you a quitter.

You get one go round, one shot. You have one opportunity to make it worth it, make it great. Decide how you wanna play it and then bring it.

Best of luck to the Class of 2005!

25 June, 2005

And they're Off!

I am writing this Blog as a start to my adventure.

I was born in the burbs outside of New York City. I feel at home with the ocean around me. The sound of a surf break is the most beautiful sound in the world, next to the sound of my baby nephew's laughter. Something inside me feels light when I am not surrounded by glass and cement and steel. Something inside me becomes alive when I leave the city behind.

I have always felt that this life is so confining, as if the world were telling me to be silent. The unnatural ebb and the flow, the constant of the city, always moving, always moving, it gets exhausting after a while.

Initially, I joined this work life to have the money to live the life that I wanted to live. I was fooled into thinking that I could do this corporate thing, play the game on my terms and not let it beat me. I could continue to live my life dictated by my easy standards and non-rules. But that all changed over time. Somewhere along the way the traffic took over. It was easy to get sucked in to their type of living.

And then one day I woke up and realized that all the dreams that I had were fading away and being taken over by someone else's ideals.

I could live in a bathing suit with my hair in a pony tail chucking in a pair of flip-flops. I find expensive clothes and jewelry overwhelming and sometimes wonder what that person is trying to hide. What do I hide when I submit to the standard and dress like them? Cars never impressed me, character does. The need to own three of everything, when one will do. The need to spend so much money on something so small never seemed right to me, never seemed necessary. It always felt forced.

I am usually taken back when others around me are mean or rude, when they say things without feeling what that other person must feel. And then I wonder if in a city this large anyone can actually feel empathy towards others.

I have a propensity to be a bit in awe of the world. I love to travel. I love the smell of the airport, the feeling of take off and the wonder that lies beyond the boarders of another place. Sometimes it's nice to watch and observe people in their natural settings. I like to see how differently people treat each other all over the world. I am always stunned when something as simple as trust is so easily given away. I am also stunned at how easily open hostility can burst forth at a moment's notice.

I love to explore my limits. To see how far I can push myself. I sometimes wonder what I am capable of if given a chance, put in a certain situation, pushed to my capacity. I had an experience sky diving once. I was overwhelmed on the way up and so calm on the way down. I felt tied down, buckled into the harness of a man whom I met about an hour before and then I felt so free strapped to that same man. It was the most mind blowing experience of my life.

I am about to embark on an adventure. I am going to change my life.

I have a dream of pursing the life that I have always wanted. I am going to take a big risk. I know what I need to do this before it's too late. I need to close my eyes, take a deep breathe and just do it.

Kala Lily