Thursday, January 29, 2009

A final thought

So a final thought may be long overdue to close this particular chapter and move on to the next.

Last time around I told stories of music and mice. This time, a bit different.

The long story short is that I moved out of my lovely Brooklyn apartment, packed my car to its absolute limit and took a long drive back to Miami. My time in the city had run its course and after eight months of not working I was not eager to step back into the frenetic pace necessary for some semblance of survival. Another bittersweet goodbye in this great adventure.

So I moved back to Miami and back home. Four months later I am slowly getting over the culture shock, the lack of the use of the turn signal, the Spanish spoken everywhere, and all the other nuances that make Miami a particularly interesting place.

It is a good place to be, to sit outside in January, to hear the crickets chirp at night, to see the turquoise of the sea and the pink of the sky and the pale sand. I can't really complain one bit.

So I am here to regroup, working a day job, preparing for yoga teacher training and trying to be creative in whatever tiny way I can.

I can not say what the best lesson out of all this has been and there is really no need to analyze it. I can say that I have been liberated and for that, I am eternally grateful.

With that being said, I sign off and go out there to enjoy this amazing experience we know as life. I just won't be documenting it on here anymore.


Monday, June 16, 2008

An Unintentional Music Monday - Swervedriver

Coincidentally I went to a concert last Thursday and as it happens I am only writing about the show today, hence the unintentional Music Monday.

A couple of months ago I was perusing Time Out Magazine and saw that a band called Swervedriver was coming to NYC. They were going to be playing a show at the Bowery Ballroom and one at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. I got myself a ticket for the Brooklyn show. Small venue, cool band - good stuff.

Swervedriver is another one of those British bands that falls into the shoegazer genre. An amazing band from Oxford who were active in the 90's and that somehow I discovered randomly way back when. For those unfamiliar with the shoegazer genre, best I can say is that it is a sub genre of British alternative rock, with a psychedelic dreamy sound and some serious guitar distortion.

I made my way to Brooklyn at about 9:15 thinking by this time I had missed the opening bands, which would be my usual modus operandi. Apparently not - nope, nobody had played yet. So I checked out the venue, got myself a beer and made my way to floor and prime position in front of the stage. The opening bands, Longwave and The Still Out were actually good and I would recommend checking them out.

At about 11:30 we were finally ready to go, the hall was packed, I worked my way right up to the stage in front of the bass player proceeded to get blown away by Swervedriver, my personal favorite songs were 99th Dream, Never Lose That Feeling (was only sorry they didn't play Never Learn) and Duel.

Great show, good crowd and after the encore the bass player, Steve George shook my hand and gave me his pick. Rock on dude! Yeah!

Funny observation though - in all the shows I have been to over the years, never have I been to a venue where there was NO line for the women's restrooms and a line for the men's. I think I need to be going to more of these types of shows... ha ha ha.

As far as I'm concerned the best thing about NYC these days is that cool bands generally come here. So here's hoping more British bands start reuniting and/or head over to NYC. If Ride (were to reunite) and Sterophonics come to NYC I may just lose my mind completely.

PS Last time I'm taking pictures with my damn phone - I've had it, I'm bringing a camera from now on!

PPS A belated Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, especially my own!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Unwanted Houseguests

Last week I was sitting on my sofa and out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw something scurry past my curtains. The something seemed to have a tail. Being that it was pretty late and pretty dark in my apartment and my curtains were blowing being that my windows were open, I decided it was a figment of my imagination.

Well, it wasn't. Sunday night, day 2 of NYC's sweltering heat wave, I'm sitting in my apartment watching Drive Thru, for joy and laughs were very necessary. Clad in a tank top and shorts, armed with a "Hawaiian Breeze" fan from Target and a cold wet towel, I settled in to watch the surfing show (the AC I inherited from my old roommate died).

This time, out of the corner of my eye, I spot movement on the table next to a chair in my living room. Apparently my little house guest decided to be brave and leap from the table to the chair and after I shrieked, it proceeded to hide in the cushions on my chair. I lept up from the sofa and as I was shaking and my heart was about to pop out of my chest, I started to pull the cushions off the chair. Armed with the wet towel, the plan was to catch the mouse and take him outside. Well, the mouse crawled up into the clothes I had over the chair. So I carefully shook out each item and threw it on my bed. No mouse on the floor. Oh no, that's gotta mean he is still in my clothes and now on my bed. I unpiled my bed and there he was, at the bottom of the pile. In a feat worthy of an Olympic medal, the mouse lept behind my bed.

Oh no, this was not gonna be good at all. I was so shaken up with our exchange I needed a break, the mouse must have needed one too after all that. Plus now I was really sweating - it was something like 97 degrees in NYC. So after a bit I decide ok I'm gonna give it another shot and reminded myself it is totally idiotic to freak out, I mean I must be over 1000 times bigger than the mouse - if anyone should be scared sh*tless, it's the mouse.

I spot him and manage to corner him in the bathroom between the bathtub and the sink. He was so tiny, couldn't have been more than 2 inches long and poor thing looked so scared. However, despite my best efforts, he managed to escape me and dart into my closet - with my shoes - not cool.

I headed for the internet, maybe I would find a way to catch him or scare him away. Well I found this easy way to make a no kill trap and went to work. Baited it with granola, finally went to bed and hoped for the best.

The next morning I awoke in anticipation of finding a mouse in my empty laundry hamper (part of the trap), but to no avail - no mouse and the granola did not appear to have been tampered with either.

Alright so I get dressed and head out into the sweltering sauna outside, walking from store to store (as my car is currently in vehicular surgery with the mechanic for the second time in a week) to find a no kill mouse trap. I go to my local organic supermarket and my local organic food coop, I mean if anyone should have the no kill traps it should be them - well, not so. I go on to Duane Reade, CVS, the dollar store and more. The damn hardware store is closed due to the Jewish Holiday and my blistered feet can't walk the 15 blocks to the other hardware store.

So I finally buy the $1.29 glue trap, after these guys tell me I can use vegetable oil to get the mouse loose. The heat must have fried my brain - how in God's name am I supposed to get a mouse loose from a glue trap with veg oil??? Besides, the mouse would totally freak out - I know I would. I mean imagine, you're walking along one day and all of a sudden you get stuck on something, you can't move and now you have to hope the giant who trapped you isn't gonna bash your brains in or rip your limbs off as they try to free you. No THANK you. Ugh!

I refuse to buy poison, I don't want a dead mouse in the walls, pipes or, God forbid, my Guggenheim shoes. Ewww. As for the traditional killer trap - I just can't bring myself to actually kill the mouse.

The inability to kill an animal all stems from my childhood. When I was about 4(?) I used to sit on the sidewalk and look at the big black ants. I was totally fascinated by them and would pick them up and split them in half to see what they looked like on the inside. One day, it dawns on me that what I'm doing is quite awful - how horrible would it be if I was sitting minding my own business and a giant came along and ripped me in half just to see what I looked like on the inside! I stopped ripping insects apart that very moment. 28 years later I still cover my eyes during kill scenes on nature programs, cry during The Dog Whisperer and refuse to watch Animal Cops.

Suffice it to say, I WON'T be killing any mice.

So during my dog watching stay in Manhattan I will scour the city for a no kill trap, attempt to catch the mouse again on Friday and when I do, I will deposit it safely in Prospect Park.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Giggles in San Francisco

Due to some sillyness related to my former job I went out to San Francisco last week and no that's not where the giggles come into play.

My friend Sheila lives in San Francisco however at the time of setting up the trip I thought she was going to be out of town, she's the friend of mine that decided to bike from California to wherever. I was kind of bummed that she wouldn't be there. So I'm reading her blog one day after my ticket has been booked and lo and behold, what do I see? Sheila's getting back to San Francisco the same day I arrive. OH MY GOD!!!!! I was sooooo excited and dropped her an email to that effect, which in turn resulted in me receiving an invite to stay with her and her boyfriend, Melton for the weekend. Yippee!!!

So after some mind numbing hours in an office building (the people were nice, the topic not so) I was thrilled to head over to Sheila and Melton's place. Sheila is my friend who I met in Bali and we stayed on after the surf retreat, doing lots of hanging out. We recently had a discussion how I should market myself as a hang out coach - teach people to chill out in NYC, the idea has merit. However, I digress.

Friday night I was treated to a delicious dinner and we hung out and conversed for hours. Of course.

Saturday after the requisite morning hang out and conversation we headed to the neighbors for a visit and a chat, then to the food coop and then for a hike up Kite Hill. Sheila is much fitter than me, so she took it easy on me and the hills weren't too bad. We walked through the Mission and took in the fabulocity of the Castro and up to Kite Hill where we took in the amazing view of the city. On our way down the hill we came across an apparent famous playground with these awesome slides. Of course, we had to go down them, twice - as you can see in the video below.

After our fill of giggles we headed back home and had a delicious barbecue at the neighbors.

Sunday morning we moseyed over to Ti Couz for a deeeelicious brunch of crepes and then it was back to the apartment to catch a taxi to the airport for my flight back to NY. A wonderful hang out, chill out weekend with great friends!

Ok the break is over for now....

So I received a couple of comments about my apparent "slacking off" or abandonment of the blog, and apparently people were asking other people if everything was ok with me. Weird. Anyway, the person that actually made me want to write was my mother. She sent me an email saying she would be sad if I stopped writing, and that she for one, really enjoys reading the blog. And being one who does not like to disappoint my mama, I told her rest assured, I was just taking a break. However it got my mind thinking about my mom and her awesome-ness, so I figured why not write an ode to my mom. (I know, Mother's Day was last month).

I like the way a band called Slightly Stupid puts it in one of their songs "To my mother, I love you, ain't no one above you" and that's pretty accurate. Don't get me wrong, I adore my dad and my sister too but this is about my mom.

As several of my friends are now embarking on the new journey of motherhood, I think of my mom and what an amazing person she is.

Some may know my mom was born and raised in Switzerland, she grew up with three brothers and one sister and was without a doubt a tomboy. My mom had a passion for animals, especially horses. When she finished school, her greatest desire was to go work with horses, but my grandfather, being a practical Swiss told her she had to do a proper internship and learn something of value before she could take off and chase her dreams. At the age of 20, after finishing her internship, my mother took off and went to Western Switzerland to work with horses. Eventually she made her way to France and worked with racehorses for a few years, which after a time, brought her to live and work in the USA.

Some years later, my mom decided she wanted to try something new and decided to become a flight attendant. She traveled all over the world, exploring new cultures in Japan and Thailand amongst others.

Eventually she met my dad, got married and had two kids and started a new journey as a wife and a mother. As we got a bit older, she decided to start working in the schools we attended (maybe to keep an eye on us, but really we were good girls).

My mom has shared her love and appreciation of animals, nature and travel with my sister and I - amongst many other things, and for this I am eternally grateful.

She has allowed me to have such a magical childhood, where I could play in gardens, get dirty, explore my imagination and have amazing memories. Some examples of these memories are from France. Once we were in Chantilly, France at the training track for the racehorses. It was early morning and the light was misty and dewy, the track was in the middle of a forest and you could feel the horses pounding the dirt seconds before they actually appeared from around the bend. Another time, my mom, my sister and I were driving through France and came across one of these enormous fields of sunflowers. My sister was obsessed with sunflowers, so my mom pulled over and let Carmen and I jump the fence and run through the field. Memories like from a storybook, except these are real.

As an adult my mom has supported me in ways I don't know that so many other mothers would. Never any pressure about what are you doing with your life, when are you getting married, when are you having kids and those quintessential "mother" concerns that seem common in our society. If anything she bugged me for years about working too much and when I decided to quit and travel she did not bat an eye. Safety concerns, she had but she definitely didn't make a huge fuss.

So to my super duper mama, tough as nails, adventuring, incredibly supportive of living against the grain, best lasagna and chocolate mousse maker on the planet - thank you.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Time for a break?

Today was a lovely and most productive day; the sun came out, I had some great music on, I had a good meeting and all was well.

I had been feeling quite uninspired with my blogging and other creative pursuits for a few days and had no plans to write a post today, however an article I read today got me thinking.

This evening I went on my facebook account and saw that one of my friends had posted a link to a story in the NY Times about blogging and the effects thereof. I read the extremely lengthy article, here's a link to it if you want to read it,
and I read about 50 of the over 700 comments about said article.

It got me thinking. Am I sharing too much information about myself on the internet? Couldn't I be more productive with my time? As I sit here typing, while watching a show about skateboarders and surfers who travel to remote places and have real experiences with the people there - I can't help but think maybe it's time to put the blogging on the backburner and do something a bit more worthwhile with my time.

I definitely don't share to the extent that the writer of the article did nor do I spend such an extreme amount of time blogging as she did, however maybe it's time for a little break. After all, I started the blog to share some of my experiences traveling not to write about me or my opinions. In light of the article it seems a bit vacuous and self absorbed to me.

So for now, I'm taking a break - maybe 1 day, maybe 1 week, maybe 1 month. We'll see but for now I'm just going with the flow.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Good Stuff - Drive Thru

So being in a blah, lacking inspiration, yucky weather sort of mood , I decided to turn on the tv and watch something.

Much to my delight, FUEL TV (an extreme sports channel) is playing Drive Thru. Drive Thru is this awesome series where a group of pro surfers go on a surf trip and their adventure is documented. It is informative, interesting but best of all it is hilarious. And I need a chuckle today.

The new series takes these surfers across New Zealand and films their surfing and their hijinks. These are some seriously funny (and cute) boys. In fact, I think I may love Benji Weatherley.

However don't think the show is just for girls who want to drool over surfer boys, it's a super cool show, with awesome surfing and super fun adventures in amazing places, not to mention a cast of extraordinary goofballs.

If you can, check out some of the other series', Drive Thru Caribbean, Drive Thru Europe and particularly Drive Thru South Africa (where South African Airways happened to go on strike at that time and threw the guys for a few loops). I can relate, SAA threw me for a few loops in the past as well! Ha ha ha.