Friday, December 15, 2006

Work for illegal immigrants

So it appears we've found employment for some illegal immigrants:
As the headline states, "Border Fence Firm Snared for Hiring Illegal Workers"
I can't stop laughing at this. It doesn't matter one's opinion on the fence or immigration - it is so wrong and ironic.

Have a good day. I am.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cube Results

I got it done last night. But I'm still missing the polar bear and the singing tree. And to bribe the judges, I've got candy canes with little gingerbread men and stuffed stockings attached.
My coworkers are responding positively. However, some are suggesting that I make a great present. The way they say it, I get the feeling that they think I'm going to pop out the top as a topless women springs froth from a cake. Not going to happen.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Holiday in Cube Land

My company has decided to have a contest to see who can best decorate their cube for the holidays. I've decided to participate in this competition. Tonight I plan to wrap my cube. I've got gold bow(the type for the top of a tree) and ribbon to cover the seam. I'm going to get a animated, lit polar bear who will have his little nose peeking out into the aisle. Then we've got a couples strands of lights and ornaments from here to Tuesday.

The reasoning behind this: My apartment isn't ready for a tree and I want to do something with my holiday decorations. I just found a couple ornaments that are on the side of hideous. Wow, it is amazing the icky things that get created in this world.

Tonight's plan - leave work and then return to do the decoration. Not quite sure how I'm going to make this happen. I'll see if I can post pictures.

The prize: A night in a fancy hotel the night of our holiday/January kick-off company party.

Wish me luck.

Monday, December 04, 2006


My kitchen is a mess. I got an itching to bake. Yesterday I woke up and ran off to have lunch with my mother and stepfather. We ate at Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay. We had a glorious view with smooth, sparkling water and yummy seafood. We enjoyed Clam Chowder (both Manhattan and New England) as well as Ahi Poke and a full dungress crab. But despite the good food, I was realizing that I hadn't cooked a meal in about two weeks. Take out and restaurants and I was craving some home cooked goods.

So, after lunch I stopped at home and found some recipes for food as well as the cranberry bread from my mother and her mother (always made in December) and made up a list. Met up with my girlfriend Sonya, of Hong Kong fame, as she was in town. We only had time for a quick drink, as she was running off to see a friend's new baby and I, as I put it, "I am in the mood to bake." She about lost her beer, "That is a phrase that has never slipped past my lips, 'I am in the mood to bake.'" She was incredulous.

But 3 hours later I was in full swing. 4 mini-tins of banana bread, 5 of cranberry bread (I forgot the 1/2 t of baking soda dissolved in hot water, so they look a tad limp, however they taste great), marinated New York steak, Suffato (vegetable stew) and roasted fingerling potatoes. When it came time to eat, I about collapsed. Greg suggested that I was pushing myself too hard... But I just wanted to eat and bake. My kitchen in full of dishes and I have nothing for dinner tonight - how ironic is that?

Anyway - I gave Liz the Team Lead a banana bread. A bit nervous about that, as I think I over cooked it slightly and I haven't yet tasted it. Greg got a steak sandwich for lunch with a tin of each type of bread and the remaining roasted potatoes. I've got three tins on my desk and we'll have to see who gets them.

And yes, for those in the know - that is Gail's famous Banana Bread that I made.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hawaiian Times

Just spent Thanksgiving in Kauai and boy am I not tan. We flew out of SFO on Thursday morning, got into Lihue that afternoon. It was an easy flight - we got the exit row so we could spread out. How great is it to leave a cold San Francisco and get in to a city where jeans are too much?

We got the car, checked into the resort and then headed South to Koloa and Poipu. I hadn't seen the island since before the last hurricane, and some things, like the tree tunnel were a bit different.

Each day was something wonderful. And I had the perfect travel companion, Greg, who was totally mellow, no-stress and fun. He totally made the trip for me. We went for an evening swim that first night in the protected surf area at our resort.

Friday we explored the Northern side of the island and visited an orchid farm. Greg was hoping to find some exotic orchids, but no luck. Also we stopped where our guidebook said was a great fruit stand, but found only 3 fruit offerings. The papayas were super tasty, even if that was essentially our only choice. We spent time at Secret Beach. On the East side of the beach are lava pools that were somewhat protected. The surf was getting big, so we decided to explore farther on instead of get hammered in the pools. It didn't' take too long for Greg to find a spot for a rest - on a raised point where waves would crash in front and to each side of us. Warning me, "If you think you're going to get splashed, just sit and brace yourself. Don't get up." We didn't get splashed, but the first wave came straight at us and then fell about 10 feet in front of our feet. I nearly had a heart-attack, as it was 30 feet down on all sides, but we were totally safe.

Saturday was a kayak trip and mud hike to a waterfall - with both of us sporting bruises and scapes from falls. Something about physical damage and slogging through mud detracted a bit from the glory of the waterfall.

Sunday we had planned to go on a zip-line adventure, but realized that we were much too damaged from the kayak and so went to the Hyatt for breakfast instead. There were some problems finding food. Our guidebook would rate a place as excellent, but we'd find it lacking. Sometimes having a palette is a good thing, as Greg's birthday dinner at Jardinere was heavenly for the two of us. And then it is a double edged sword when we can't find anything that isn't bland and fried on the Island. However, we did find the most tender steaks at Wahoo Seafood & Grill in Kapaa. If you are in the 'hood, check it out... it is well worth it.

Monday we took a snuba trip - where we go under with respirators connected to a tank that is floating in a little boat-let on the surface. I was very proud of myself for getting the courage to breathe underwater. Very difficult for me, but by the end I was doing great. In the afternoon we find a quiet beach where Greg taught me how to body surf. I didn't quite get it until the next day, but got over my fear of the water. That night we tried a sushi joint that was suggested by both the hotel staff and our guide book. We should have left after the sushi chef told us that there were no specials... Nothing had been caught special that day. Does something happen to tastebuds in the tropics?

Tuesday we packed up and spend the afternoon hunting down boogie boarding beaches and avoiding the rain that blew in. We didn't find a beach before we had to return the boogie board - I'll have to figure out how to make that happen next time - but I did catch my first body surfing wave. Sunset was spent playing in the water and just being happy.

When we got home and there was frost on the windshield. So cruel.

Big Thanks to Greg who took me on this wonderful trip.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Change or no Change

With today's decision that Webb won in Virginia, the Congress is officially back in Democratic hands. Not a moment too soon, I think. The current party, supposedly of small government has not found a spending bill or tax cut they didn't like. Which is quite a pairing, until remembers that we're paying with our grandkid's money.

While I find this cause for celebration, I've come into some resistance from my favorite male friend. His take is that it doesn't really matter which party is in power, that the effects are the same. Such a frustrating view - I can see the point, yet it makes me blue. At least we have Nancy Pelosi running the House. The first woman in that position. It warms my heart that I'm represented in Congress by women and women only.

On another bright note, I got my replacement iPod. Now with 80GB. Got a little something etched on it. Now I just need to recover all the music I lost on the last one. That will take a while. But bopping around the Jetta is more fun. Greg gets embarrassed, as I am a big fan of chair dancing. He's undecided on which he wants me to attend first: hip hop dance classes, massage school or cooking school. Which would you choose?

Friday, October 20, 2006

This puts Gavin's preference for bimbos in perspective...

So we all know about how Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, has been accused of sexual assault by 10 women. That is unfortunate. But it only caused Ehud to rise in Vladimir Putin's. Vlad commented, "He turned out to be a strong man, raped 10 women,". It is so amazingly terrible, I can only laugh... And then work on figuring out how to over-throw the Russian government.
They are trying to spin it, but it is difficult...,,1927726,00.html

But then it only gets better...
Out here in California it seems that the Republicans have requested that one of their candidates pull out of a race. His staff sent a letter to Hispanic voters threatening them with jail if they went to the polls.

Do only idiots run for office? Though I am developing a theory about men who are interested in holding public office. I'm nearly convinced that something in the genes of men who seek power is also a trigger for sexual domination as well. My beloved Clinton - total slut, Foley - pedophile, Ehud - rapist, Vlad - well, we don't yet know, or they might kill us if we find out... the list is long.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Gavin's New Girlfriend?

I had so much respect for Gavin... but now, that's all going away. Granted I have been involved with men 10 years my senior, but 20? or 19? Wait, that's both her age and the difference in their ages. Gross. Now, she may be an intellectual giant, but how many giants make a living via modeling and hostessing?

Poof. I am seriously considering not voting for him. If he can be satisfied by a woman 1/2 his age, then I'm not sure he's qualified for running my city.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Plague Never Ends

I've had a cold for 12 days now. My abs will soon be rock hard from all the coughing I've done. My nose is raw from being rubbed and blown. When will it end? I don't feel better knowing that others have had the same thing - this 2 week cold. The cough medicine isn't doing that much.

All that and I'm still at work. I just love my new job. The work, the people, the product. All very, very good. I'm not making all the calls I should as my voice cracks and fades at odd times, but I am doing administrative and organizing work that will make the coming months easier. I had it almost right at my last two jobs... at one I liked the work, but not the employer, at the other I liked the employer, but not the work. Now I've finally got it all lined up.

On another note - I got a good laugh listening to "As It Happens" yesterday. (I believe it was, but am not sure which hostess) Barbara Budd was interviewing Wisconsin Congressman Frank Lasee about his proposal to put guns in schools. You see, he thinks that we've had enough school shootings and the best way to stop this is by putting guns in schools. His aim is to put fear into those suicidal gun men. Amazing. As if the wackos that hole themselves up in schools are going to stop and say, "You know, that school is armed, I want to be sure that I'm the one who kills both me and other students... not that teacher. Better rethink this." Crazy.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Foley follies

Watching the Foley circus is almost as entertaining as Jackass Two. But not quite. Jackass has men doing really stupid things that hurt them in the end. Hmm, so does the Foley scandal:
Hastert vows to fire anyone involved in the cover up of this scandal - will that include him if or when it is revealed that he was aware of the situation?
Where's my bookie. I'd like to place a bet on whether Hastert will be implicated. This is a tough one. I really, really want to see him, as well as several other republicans, go down - but realistically? Hmm.
Which is more believable:
The Republicans truly believing that Saddam had WMD's or
The Republicans not knowing that they had a pedophile on their hands?
Either way, they are either dumb or misleading.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Giving 100%

Greg was a total doll and surprised me with tickets to the Giants - Dodgers game this weekend. I was thrilled, but got sick on Saturday, so missed that game - but he had tickets for both games, so we went on Sunday. The seats were 10 rows back from 3rd base and I was tickled.

I've always been told of the Dodgers' evil nature and was amazed to see so many Giants and Dodgers fans co-existing peacefully. The last Dodgers/Giants game I saw was in Los Angeles and there were 2 or 3 brawls within 10 rows of where we were... so I assumed that these natural enemies would naturally erupt into fits of aggression. But no - there were no problems.

At the same time, I was floored at the sheer amount of blue I saw and how the Dodgers fans were so bold as to get cheers going. To me it is all fun, the fans and the cheering and the energy.

There was one thing I was very sad about... the Giants infield. Now, I'm not a baseball expert or even close, but my amateur eye was shocked at the lack of hustle that the infielders displayed. A couple times it seemed as if they just watched the grounder bounce past them and into the outfield. On so many levels, I find this appalling. There are kids watching and the players should at least be good examples while on the field. And then it is also repugnant to think that these guys are earning more in 1 game than I earn in an entire year, yet they don't feel the urge to put on a good show. Beyond everything else, where is the pride of doing something right, of giving 100%, not doing things half-assed? Barry Bonds was doing some good running - why could weenie short-stop boy?

I'm hoping they fire those loses and get players who want to play and want to win... there is always next season.

So, to all the little kids out there - give it your all.

Have faith
Sleep Well
Love Good Music
See the Funny Side of Life
...and health and happiness will be yours

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Little Things Add Up

The last few days have been a bit bumpy. Tuesday I got a call from my doctor and had to come back for a re-test. Wednesday night a scavenger truck backed into me and banged up my Jetta. While there were good things happening, I wasn't seeing them. Instead, I was beginning to feel like the Universe was out to zap my hard drive.

I'm told that I should just let it go, but I can't. It feels like clouds are blanketing my vision. I love my job, yet I'm only thinking about going home. I try to avoid contact with people, as I'm tainted. Everything is a drag. I feel like no one appreciates me and I'm not feeling all that grateful either.

But all it takes is one or two little things to shake me out of my funk. My coworker just brought me a cup of his straight-from-China-with-the-toasted-rice-bits tea. Another coworker who was monkey-sitting Rocco emails to give me a report, "Can Rocco have a banana? He's been asking all morning." My sense of humor returns, things get to be funny again.

Thanks to Patrick for the tea. It is the best cup ever.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'm In!

Yesterday I moved into my new apartment in the Castro. Greg was a total champ, helping me get the Uhaul, driving it down to mom's, loading it, driving it back to San Francisco and then unloading it. I, on the other hand, was attacked by boxes and have a patchwork of bruises and scrapes over my body. He was a total champ. I offered to buy him dinner wherever he wanted and he just let me choose. This odd burger craving came over me - so I had my 2nd hamburger of the year. The craving was stronger than the stomach and I only ate about 1/3 of my supper.

Now that all my stuff is moved, I've got to find homes for it all within my apartment. This can be much more difficult than the actual moving of boxes. Especially as my space is small and I didn't take much of my furniture. I'm down from having enough furniture to fill a 2 bedroom apartment to a bed, armoire, bedside table, lamp and some lawn chairs - but it made moving easy. I need space to stash and stow. Mostly because I don't want to look like a pack rat.

But I'm in. I should have my bed assembled and ready to sleep in tonight.

Happy Day.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Update Take Two

Last week I started my new job. I'm the Client Services Manager for a security company. This week we had our world wide sales training. The theme is very laudable, "Integrity Wins".

The theme appeared in all of the executive's talks and we were issued a book, one of those business concepts in less than 100 pages, called The Integrity Advantage. I was reading a bit of it last night. It discusses how corporate culture often dictates how employees act. Also, how each employee represents the company's brand.
That when I go out into the world I represent the company's brand, my words, my actions and deeds. My company is committed to being an upstanding company and works to instill a culture that promotes that.

Our VP of International Sales told a story yesterday that really stuck with me. He lost a deal because his former company polluted a river 50 years ago and refused to help clean it up. Can you imagine how things would run if we all did that? Refused to do business with people and businesses that do not respect and contribute to our communities?

One of the dozen concepts mentioned was "You Know That The Little Things Count" - it may start with a feeling of entitlement, taking office supplies and then it goes on to cheating customers and on. I was struck by this. Beyond my professional actions, where do I cut corners in life? When am I thinking it is OK to not be straight forward? Who decides when it is OK to tell a white lie, or spin a concept and when it isn't?

When I was 15 I went off to a week long summer session called, Super Camp. There I learned a number of things that have suck with me. One thing is giving 100%. Don't do things half way, if you're going to do it, go all out. Another is living in integrity. I wish I could say that I have always kept my words and actions in line, but it is a goal to strive towards.

At first I was concerned about taking this job. It came along so quickly and I didn't have much of a chance to look around. This sales meeting - with over 100 Sales Managers who were energized and happy to be working for my new company. I made the right choice.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Great News for Women

What a wonderful day. Finally the FDA has approved the Morning After Pill. Not to be confused with a medical abortion, this medication prevents a woman from getting pregnant in the 1st place. I'm tickled pink.

NPR bit on Plan B

So encouraging after the Forbes debacle. This is going to help prevent abortions - how great is that?

Forbes Status

Evidently I'm not the only one who found that Forbes, aka Men's Health, article annoying:
Forbes Reply

I think they took down the original article. I guess there were too many offended readers?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Outrage of the day

Now, I realize I should be writing an update on my life, but I can't help myself to posting this link:
Forbes Career and Marriage advice

Is this really Forbes or Playboy from the 1950's?
I can't wait for next week's issue where they give "career girls" advice on who they should be marrying. I can see the headline: C-level spouses secure your happiness, you'll be middling with a middle manager, why to aim high when looking for a mate.

What also amazes me is the tone. You refers to the assumed male professional while She indicates the wife-accessory. Is this Men's Health magazine? Do no women read Forbes? Maybe they don't, I don't know their target demographic. However, I know how I'll be classifying their magazine from here on out.

I'm simply amazed.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Catching up - if possible.

I wasn't able to finish the bit about Scotland... nor include details on my delightful trip to Minnesota. Scotland - got to have a great day hiking around Edinburgh, but lost my camera's memory stick... so missing photos. Nathan and I had an adventure free return, thankfully we didn't see any arab looking people mixing strange things in their water bottles, but we were in business class and sleeping for a fair part of the trip.

And now I don't have time to finish either. Little Brother is getting married Friday and I'm up to my ears in family. Can't imagine a better way to spend a weekend!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pond Hop

So I'm stuck in the lovely Atlanta airport again. Did a quick run to Scotland. Delta was kind enough to seat me and my cousin the pilot in business class to and from Edinburgh. But now's the hard part... getting to and from Atlanta within the US.

The trip was a quick one - Thursday we took an evening flight and landed in Edinburgh. Due to a line marginally shorter than the one I found in the Beijing airport, we missed our morning train to Oban. Instead, Nathan and I ran around Edinburgh. Nathan had been born there and was there visiting just 6 months ago. We walked the Royal mile, sorted out the mobile phones and dropped into the National Gallery. That and a pint and we were on the early evening train to Oban. Was an easy ride. I got some sleep but was able to enjoy some of the scenery on the way out.

We were lucky - we had super warm weather after some rains and so it was a bright blue sky, green, green foliage and beautiful vistas. Everything I saw was beautiful. I didn't realize how glorious Scotland is.

We stayed in a little town called Connel Ferry. Right where a bridge crosses the entrance to a loch. Our host was a wonderful woman named Margaret who was friends with my Aunt and Uncle when they were living in Scotland. Her house is the oldest structure in town and so cozy.

Saturday we went to Glencoe where we visited the information center and did a hike. So green. The highlands are full of hills that rocket up 1000 feet and drop down the other side. Created by volcanoes and glaciers with some erosion thrown in. The rest of the day was spent driving through the hills and seeing the natural beauty of the land.

Connel ferry is quite far north, too west to see the Northern Lights but it is light until 11:30 every night. Which made sleeping a bit difficult, as we were naturally up until 12 or 1.

Sunday we hopped a ferry to the Island of Mull and visited Duart Castle. The first of two castle visits. I got to learn a lot about history of Scotland with an emphasis on the Jacobite problems. Nathan got himself addicted to Irn Bru ( - a Scottish drink that is like a cross between Red Bull and bubble gum.

Monday we were off to visit other friends who live in Dunblane. The afternoon we spent at Sterling Castle - built by a succession of Scottish kings and so was a bit grander than Duart. Both had charm and gave a hint at what it would have been like living a couple hundred years ago. Thinking of what life was like in a castle while it was under siege is just frightening.

Now in Dunblane we had delightful hosts, Sheena and Graeme and their sons were home from school. We took them to Indian food Monday night and I just gorged myself. The menu there was different. I was curious as to whether it was a different region of Indian food than what we get in the San Francisco area. I was once told that we in San Francisco have only food from a specific region of India. Hmm?

Tuesday was a day in Edinburgh with the boys. We visited the New Town which was built only 200 years ago. Kinda like the "New parliament" building that has been superseded by a New New parliament building...

Anyway, must check flights. Will write more soon.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Cape Cod

Time is blurring... Between the 4th and a red-eye flight on the 5th I'm not sure where or when it is. Actually it isn't that bad. I got in to Boston yesterday at 5:30 AM and am already adjusted to East Coast time.

After all the problems getting to Europe, I grabbed a jetBlue ticket to Boston. What a good decision. I made it here for a perfect summer day. My aunt and uncle have a house in Falmouth, MA - on the bottom elbow of Cape Cod. My cousin Nathan was here yesterday and we went over to Martha's Vineyard. The weather is such a contrast from San Francisco.

I spent the 4th of July shivering on Greg's roof viewing the tops of the fireworks in boots, jeans, a shirt, wool sweater and down jacket. I should count my blessings as we had a clear night and we could see the explosions not just colored fog. However, the knowledge that the rest of the country is enjoying the show in shorts and t-shirts makes me feel even colder.

Today Nathan and I ran around Main Street, this place is almost to picturesque to bear and then took a dip in the ocean. I'm hoping that the water reflects those pesky sun rays - as I'm not sure I want yet another sun burn. This not working and visiting friends/family in good locations is really working out for me.

But all that good does not go unpunished. I saw that the New York legislature stuck down an attempt to legalize gay marriage. What is so wrong with equal rights? Now, I realize the verdict was that gay marriage was neither allowed nor banned by their constitution - which does have an upside. But I really believe that when I'm in my rocking chair, that I'll be trying to explain to my great-grandchildren how there was such bias back in the early century.

Well, I'll have to get involved once I get back to San Francisco life.

Oh, and I finally had time to get the China photos up online. Drop me a line if you want the link.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ticks and Trees

What a day. Mom and I went hiking on the pristine coast between Ano Nuevo and Pigeon Point. Two hours in the sun with amazing views, birds, anenomies to poke and shells to collect.

Unfortunately we did have to hike next to some poison ivy that got on our pants. Once home my mom suggested we grab pants and then change next out in the laundry building so that we could put our oil laden pants straight into the washer and check for ticks. Well, I strip and she goes back into the house for something. As I check my self in my thong, I see a black thing on my hip. I poke it and an insect leg comes out and I'm totally repulsed.

So I do what all adults do - call for my mother. But she doesn't come. I call again. No response. Now, I'm thinking that if I pull this thing off the head might stay in me and then it will get infected and I'll be stuck on Cipro for the rest of my life. So I sprint back to the house (thank GOD there is a fence between us and the road) and into the house to get mom (the expert) advice. She says to just flick it off. I try, but then all the legs come out and wiggle around. So she hands me a tissue and tells me to pull it off. I'm about to puke, but I'm an adult, right? So I do it and then try to crush it in my hands, but am unable.

I open the tissue and all of it's terrible little legs are desperately trying to grab at me. I yelp and try not to drop the tissue, instead wave it like a flag on at a 4th of July parade.

It vanished and all was well... Until mom asked me for her help. I promptly find a tick on her sleeve. She generously asks me to use the tweezers to take it off - again I taste lunch in my throat. But do as she asks. Maybe I really am OK out here in the wilderness...

But we get de-ticked and I take some time to relax in the sun. Amazing how I'm OK with lying around in nothing risking total tick exposure. Anyway, after a bit mom asks me to help her fell some trees. I go and put on clothes that will prevent more tick access and say yes.

Took down two trees, put up chicken wire around her tomatoes and did time in the garden cutting flowers and pulling weeds. Pretty good for a city girl. I kinda like it out here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


So my plans got thrown into a tailspin. I got sick with an infection on Monday. I started the Cipro I had from my China trip and just spent the day in bed. Had some quite time reading a wonderful book that Greg gave me and reflecting on my life.

But then used all my strength to get down to my mother's house that night to pack up for my trip. I got to bed at a reasonable hour (midnight) and then was up at 5 am to get to the airport to sit wait for a stand-by place to be available to me. As the hours and flights passed me by I got more and more tired. But I met a nice guy, Lee-John who helped pass the time. We both gave up on getting out of SF and he called a friend who took us up to The City. I spent the night there, getting to bed, again at the early hour of midnight and again, awoke at 5 to get to the airport. Through all this I've been dealing with the run-down feeling of the infection and the digestive problems of the Cipro.

So this morning I got woozy in the airport. Called mom and she came and got me. Nothing like having to call a parent for help at the lovely age of 31. But my car is at her house and I needed a quiet place to be for a few days. I came here and just passed out.

Had some time to reflect on things and realized that Europe is not in the cards for me right now. However, I do not want to hang out in SF for the month of July - so I'm planning my Boston, Cape Cod, NYC/CT, maybe DC and definitely St. Paul family tour for the month. So far so good... If I can nail a flight out for next week before I crash again.

There is such serenity to be had at my mother's house in the woods. And I've got the China photos, but now I've got to find a way to get them posted up online. Give me a day or two. That said, my first priority is getting healthy.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Fine romance

The last 10 days have been such a rush. Back in love with San Francisco. Just a dizzy time visiting with friends and family... Got the Southwest photos online, finally, landed an interview for this afternoon - just looking for ways to support my living habit here in San Francisco.

Missed out on a few things... There are a handful of friends I didn't get to see. One friend had a baby last week and there isn't time to visit before I leave for the European trip (tomorrow AM).

I'm frantic. Should have more interesting things to write once I get to Italy... By Thursday if all goes well.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Keep your anemones closer

Got to visit my mother Wednesday night. What a treat. It was as if I had never gotten married or moved to Southern California. We took a hike up to see this massive boulder from a landslide. We chatted about the local water problems, my love life and she had a mound of clippings for me as usual. The sun has been out and we took advantage of it with a little sun bathing.

Thursday we got up early (if you call 7 am early) and did a couple things around the house - as usual, I was moving heavy objects and climbing ladders. She always has so much to do around the house to keep it up. John, her man, came by about 9 am and we all went to the beach.

Right now we are in a period of exceptionally low tides. So, we hiked a beach where an arch is only visible during super low tides. Just amazing to look through a large crack in the rocks. Nature does the darndest things. Then south down the beach. Before too long I realized the coffee was going through me too quickly, but we were not going to find a outhouse on that stretch of beach. My mom directs me to her usual sheltered spot where she empties her tank - she walks this beach once a week with a beach watch program, so knows it quite well.

However, this spot was a bit over grown with poison oak. I was left trying to figure out why my mom directed me there. There wasn't much shelter that wasn't going to cause my nether regions to break out in hives and her man kept walking in front of the opening. I wasn't sure what to do, but finally he went away and I could duck behind a large log. All was well - nothing like an open air pee when one skips the undies and truly has to air dry.

Back to the beach and we hike up to the tide pools. And they were filled with anemones. I love poking them! With a childish glee, I hopped around the rocks and tickled all the little creatures. They shrink back and if they are above the water line, the squirt. So much fun. I'm giddy thinking about it.

All that and lunch at a darling little spot called Gazos Creek - I highly recommend it. Just look for the large turkey out front.

The afternoon was terrible - spent in the sun with my friend Ian. I really should learn to apply sunscreen, as I'm now a lobster on the front, and only the front side, of my body. When will I learn?

Now, must get out to enjoy this insanely wonderful weather. It's like I brought SoCal weather with me.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

News and other oddities

Saturday night I was at dinner with my Father, Step-mother, brothers, current & future sisters-in-law and got to tell some tales about China. When asked how it was to be there when there was some crash in the Asian Markets, I was blank. There had been a crash?

With little access to the Internet, and no faith in the totalitarian governments, I had ceased to read papers and had no other access to worldly news. For all I know, France could have fallen into the sea.

All this got me thinking about how we get our information. There have always been filters on what is shared with the masses - be it self-censoring editors or governmental ones. Where do we put our trust in accuracy? 33% of Fox News viewers believe we found WMD in Iraq - does it even matter? The right is constantly offended by NPR and their news reporting, but I found it remarkable that, when reporting on ADM they were also running commercials for ADM. As no one wants to see Big Bird get cut, the right is now trying to infiltrate with right-wing commentators - to ruin what they cannot stop funding.

So, how do we decide where to get information? Blogs are often seen as the new source, but how much good are they? Who checks their facts? I could state, here on the Daily Oyster, that the sky is falling and there is no one to dispute it. A recluse might actually believe that the skies over San Francisco are falling - of course its God's punishment for the Gays.

How much of this matters? What amazed me in China is how easily I could function without knowing that there is a new treatment for HPV ( Well, it does matter - but how much to my daily life. The war in Iraq, the state of the Dow - so easily ignored. I'm almost embarrassed to say I have no idea if it is above or below 10,000. I need so little information to get about my daily life.

An living in such a way has challenged my news junkie side - but I'm sure that will return as soon as I get settled back in the City.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Home again, Home again

I did it. I'm in San Francisco with all my stuff. The move was much less traumatic than expected. Since I wasn't turning on or off utilities, it didn't really seem like a move. Only was it on 405 North did I realize that I had just walked out of my life in Los Angeles and was starting a new one.

San Francisco is being great. The weather is ideal - sun and no fog where I am. Driving around this city is a DREAM. No more idiots, well, not as many idiots on the road. The timed lights make it easy to go the 4 miles from SOMA to the Marina. I got to honk at the j-walking hobos - what could be better?

But I still haven't found the heart I left here...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Miss Wiggle - my new nickname!

My buddy in Bristol ( just gave me the nickname Miss Wiggle. While she contends it is a stripper name, I prefer to think that it is more about me wiggling all over the map. Oh, maybe that sounds a bit explicit. hmm.

On to more of the travel log...
Friday I slipped off to spend a night with the LOVELY Medlands. We had fun being 100% white: We danced around the house listening to Milkshake, boogying with over-bites and a total lack of rhythm. Any black observer would have shaken their head in disgust at us. But it was fun.

Saturday was a trip off to Palm Springs. I worked - hard mind you! - on my tan. Yes, I know it will look strange for a redhead to have a tan, but whatever. And we went to The Trinity Club for drinks. Ron, our host had a ball with my requests: Come Fly with me, Fly me to the moon and then he almost fell off his chair when I cried out, "Teach me Tonight". I was the youngest person in the club, mind you.

Sunday I took the long way down to San Diego via Cleveland National Forest, Anza, Warner Springs and Cuyamaca. Stopped at the neatest little place: and got myself some wine... which then I comically had to keep cool until I got home at 10 last night.

My cousins were visiting San Diego, David and Nathan. David ran the marathon while Nathan alternated between cheering him on and scouting out the girls. He even tried to pick up some Navy boys for me - knowing that I once had a thing for them, back when I was young and swinging in San Francisco.

Sunday night I had a super yummy dinner made for me by my friend Sal. Bruschetta to start, then a sausage pasta and Chicken with a wine and mushroom sauce. Dessert was limoncello and lemon sorbet with fresh mint. I think I gained 10 pounds.

Monday had time with Nathan and Polly, my grandmother. I just LOVE having such a fantastic family. Nathan is really one of the funniest people I can be around. And Polly has such history. At the same time, she's losing her hearing and so Nathan and I occasionally would get dirty or inappropriate jokes past her by speaking softly and quickly. I think she had to take out her hearing aids due to my incessant giggles. We got in a swim and a game of scrabble. I cannot believe I lost to my grandmother by 1 point!

Monday night included dinner and drinks with friend and mentor, Lee. Down at the Pilsner Room in some identity-free Orange County city.

My life is full of Chaos. I'm moving, I'm divorcing, I'm traveling, I have no home... and yet that all doesn't matter or get me down because I have so many smart, funny and caring people that love me. I am blessed.

But now I've got to cease with the blessing counts and run errands.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

China Sidebar

Since it is 5 am and my body is done with sleeping, I'd thought I'd sketch out a few observations from my trip which didn't fit in anywhere else.

First off, crotchless pants on babies. I saw these mostly in Beijing and some in Shanghai. As it was explained to me, instead of having diapers, these kids just pull on their parent's pant leg and then lifted or held in such a way that they can relieve themselves. Not the same as our Western system - which is fine, however it is jarring to see little baby bottoms running around. Good thing our memories from those time fade quickly.

Next up is the random pictures. It started with those three guys in Tianamen Square, with those three guys who each wanted a picture with me. No discussion, one would stand next to me and one of the others would take a photo. This happened again at the Great Wall. I've now been included in 2 dozen photos. Usually the person trying to include me doesn't speak my language. I was in a group photo of Philipinas in Macau. Since there was no common language, there was gesticulating and arm put around me. In my mind's eye I can see the photo with 4 short women and my head rising above like a redwood tree in the middle of a field.

On one hand I'm curious as to the cultural elements that lead to this compulsion of having a white stranger in one's travel log. How do they explain this photo while showing off their album? "Yes and here is our trip to the Great Wall. We got this tall, redheaded American woman to pose, can you believe they grow them like that across the pond?" And on the other hand, I'm concerned that if I am required to obtain governmental clearance, that these pictures will surface. Where it will be discovered that those taking the pictures are actually the secret police of Southeast Asian Nations. I'll have a lot of explaining to do.

Nails on men. This on is eerie. Long, filed nails on Chinese men. It is clear that there is a deliberate decision to have long nails, however, they aren't getting manicures. Reminds me of when guys would grow their hair out and it would be dry and nasty because no one every explained conditioner and product that we women use to make our hair look nice when it is long.

I think I need to go to the gym and work out some of this extra energy.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Home Again

In a recent email, a friend said, "Call me when you get settled." Such a simple statement, it made me laugh. My life won't be settled for several months - I don't think he wants me to wait that long before calling.

Anyway, I'm back in Los Angeles. Going back to Hong Kong was the right thing to do. I spent the weekend running around the Island and Kowloon. Friday I took the time to hike up to the to of the Island. Amazing how I took the elevator down from the 18th floor, went out the door and up the road about a 1/2 mile and was suddenly in this jungle. The trees were covered in vines, the bugs were buzzing - very tropical and exotic. Just loved it.

Back to the travel log... Sunday it rained and inhibited my enjoyment of Hong Kong. I couldn't find an umbrella in Sonya's house which made going out a challenge. Aside from a breakfast/brunch run, I wasn't able to do much until the rain let up in the afternoon. Now that I think about it, I could have gone to a museum, but I changed my mind.

Monday was wonderful and fully made up for Sunday's dreariness. I took a morning ferry over to Macau. On the ferry over I got seated next to a Chinese/American business man. He came to the US in 1958 and had a great time giving me advice on love, life and work.

Macau was beautiful, a mix of East and West. Pink palaces, a space needle, tiny little alleyways, scooters and the remains of a church facade. Just unbelievable. I did a walking tour around the southern peninsula and stopped in the Maritime museum. Lunch was in a Macau/Portuguese restaurant. I had an unusual chicken stew with onions and potatoes with my New Yorker for company.

The afternoon I continued the walking tours around the island. Such potent smells: bakeries with cookies and salt cod and dried meats. Like Hong Kong, there were hills and green spaces. I wandered around the British garden and took a minute in the protestant cemetery. Odd how all the gravestones noted who had erected the memorial. On a couple of stones the name of the shipping company, the kind folk who sponsored the marker, was almost as big as the name of the deceased. How's that for corporate sponsorship?

Monday night I treated myself to dinner at a classy Chinese joint. Had Hot and Sour soup with Lobster - but I prefer my old Chinese food joint out on 34th... it has more kick. Oh, it will be so good to go back there and have my favorites: hot and sour soup and green beans with steamed tofu.

The flight home was uneventful. I had sushi on the stop-over in Japan and slept through much of the flight across the pacific. Home is the same, but now I'm focused on getting the move in order.

Sleep tight all.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Back in Hong Kong

Whew, it is SO good to be back where cab drivers understand me. Well, as much as they do in the states... Jen-speak is an international problem.

Anyway, my mom had given me an article on cell phone tours and I went out and got one yesterday. Now, I'm still having tons of cell phone issues. I'm just leaving my T-Mobile phone on, as I'm switching around my SIM cards. But I'm back on the 2nd Hong Kong SIM (the China SIM won't work here). So getting this tour going was a 2 step process: 1)Find the bookstore with the tour 2)Find additional minutes for Hong Kong cell phone SIM. Nothing is easy here - but fun.

So I got the SIM and the tour and then get lost trying to get to the starting point, Star Ferry. They are doing construction and I got on the wrong side of the construction. But I got there and started the tour. It is FANTASTIC. So much interesting information and I get to choose what to listen to. It's called Walk the Talk. Wish they had this for every city.

But after an hour of listening I start shopping (a hazard here in Hong Kong). Found myself the cutest linen suit and then needed some dinner. Not wanting to partake in the Wan Lai Fong madness, I slipped up a side street and found a quiet bar with only one patron and a great atmosphere. I go up to the bar and order a Manhattan. The bartender didn't know how to make one, so I got to teach him. Fun and a nice way to have a conversation.

I'm back on my own here in Hong Kong - Sonya is out of town, so I don't get in much socializing. But chatting with the Scottish bartender was fun. As it turns out, he was short staffed. So I interviewed for a waitress position of the Manhattan and was told to come back at 9 pm. I ran home, dropped off my new clothes, ate and tossed on a low cut top (I wanted to get tips) and ran back.

My training was simple: when a glass is almost empty, go ask if they want another drink; clear ash trays; clear empty glasses; bring bills; converse with the patrons when things are quiet. I had a blast. Met a bunch of interesting people. Was running around the bar and being offered personal Hong Kong tours by a number of the male locals. Too funny.

Got finished at about 2 am. My pay? $40 and memories. Also a number of resources for getting a sales or office job if I want to stay here in Hong Kong.

Too bad today is rainy - I wanted to finish the tour. May have to wait until tomorrow. Next time I'll have to be sure not to visit Hong Kong in the rainy season.

Trains in the rain

The Beijing West Railroad Station is a bit chaotic - and worse for those who do not speak the language. My ticket information suggested that I'd be able to check a bag. So I packed accordingly - one big bag to check and then 2 little ones with books, food, toothbrush and clean undies. But as I was asking the people about where to check the bag I got directed to immigration. They then immigrated me and before I knew it, I was on the train - an hour early. Gave me time to settle in.

As it turns out, I got the entire 4-bunk cabin to myself. I spread out, did some journal writing, watched the green, green countryside go by, listened to the iPod and read a book. All very civilized. The least civilized thing was the smokers in the hallway and the bathrooms. But that is to be expected on foreign trains.

Another oddity is that they had food runners that ran carts up and down the hallways. I didn't realize this and so went to the dining car. The staff was enjoying their break (I thought 6:15 was average dinner hour - guess I was wrong). I tried to order a chicken dish and a veggie dish, rice and beer. But the waiter I took it upon himself to make sure I didn't wreak my figure, so he only brought the chicken dish and skipped out on the veggies. I was too weak with hunger to argue.

After dinner it was dark, so I read for a bit and then passed out. The bunk was pretty good, as train beds go.

The next day was much the same. No one disturbed me, I watched the lumpy mountains and fields and goats go by, read, danced to Black Eyed Peas on the iPod and wrote in the journal.

Getting to Hong Kong was great. I really love this place.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

No rules in China, more like guidelines

Moderately organized mayhem would describe transit in Chinese cities. Crossing the street - just dodge the cars. Bicycles can go just about anywhere, except Tiananmen Square. And they are like a school of fish - constantly darting and swerving; a success of near misses. Add in the rickshaws and there is even more to the migrating system. Today my rickshaw attempted to take me up the wrong side of the street. Since we were dodging both bicycles and cars, we took it to the sidewalk.

One step up again and we have the motorized bicycles, bicycles with flat beds on the back and scooters. All of these can go in either the car lanes or the bike lanes - whichever is moving faster.

Cars are more limited in where they can go, but they make the most of their designated spaces. Darting from one lane to another. Just honk and pull into a lane. If the driver honks back, he won't be letting you in, but going around you. If he doesn't honk, you're golden.

Left turns are my favorite. No need to wait for traffic to stop, just start nudging your nose out into traffic until they are no longer able to go around you. At lights it is common to jump the green to get 2 or 3 left turns across. Remarkably, I've only seen one accident since being in China and that was one car having rear-ended another.

But the fun doesn't stop with transit mobiles. Walking home from dinner the other night Dave and I spotted a team of men working on telephone or power cables. They just went out into the middle of the street, mind you without cones or lights and leaned a ladder up against the wires and started climbing up.

Forget about neat queues - just mob your way to the front. Once there, reach your hand over the person in front of you to get to the window.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Flying Solo in Beijing

Dave's taken off for Hong Kong and so I'm here on my own. Finally. Despite a bit of hesitation, being in China is like being illiterate, deaf and mute - challenging to say the least.

However, I got myself to Dim Sum for a lunch and was able to order the most divine feast. BBQ Pork buns, Shanghai Dumplings, some dumplings that Dave ordered yesterday that have meat and are in hot oil and my token steamed greens. Yum. It set me back $5 USD. The only bad part was that I broke the strap on one of my loafers so I had to go back to Dave's to take care of shoe business.

So I grab a cab and this idiot takes me 1/2 way to Shanghai. Now I know that we aren't going to the right place, but unable to find the words I need in the back of my guide book. So I'm screwed. What amazes me is that I gave him an address card with the address and a map on the back of it. Do none of the Taxi drivers in Beijing know their city?? It is astounding.

But I get the shoes fixed up and I'm out the door, this time to the train station. I've given up hope on trying to get to China's interior. Just not going to happen this time around. Too much luggage and not enough planning ahead. So I've decided to revert to my original plan of trying out the Chinese trains. I very much enjoy the trips on trains I've taken in Europe. Despite my old friend Cristiano saying that I should just fly - I like seeing the country side. As I've got extra time and want to see more than the cities, I think this could work. We'll see...

So the train station is dirty. Not what I wanted to see, but I'll manage. I find my way to the Foreign Ticket Window - which takes 3 different people to tell me how to get there in English. Then I go up to the only open ticket window and the woman helps me in English, but when I want to buy the ticket she tells me to go to window #6. So I go over to window #6 which is getting opened up special for me. And then the new woman doesn't speak English. So odd, she had to get the woman from the original window to come over and help. Ok. I eventually buy my petite ticket and I'm no my way. It takes me 3 tries to find the taxi stand... There is a level below what I thought was the main level and, not speaking the language, everything takes a bit longer.

But I wade through the sea of people who are sitting or lying down around the outside of the bottom level. I don't know why they are there, but all they need is a bullhorn and they'd have a sit-in. I find the taxi stand and the taxi driver takes me to a place near where I wanted to go. He motions - up and to the left. And I meekly pay and get out of the cab. I had passed a Starbucks a block back and decide that I need a frapp to counter the sweat dripping down my chest.

Re-enforced with my frozen coffee, I head to where the taxi driver said and, after stumbling around, find the Book Shop. In the basement is the English section and I grab 3 books and a phrase book. Yippee!!

Unfortunately at this point it is 3:45 and the Forbidden City and Major Museums have ceased to allow entry, so I'm stuck wandering around Tiananmen Square. Something is going on, as I'm forced to go back and forth under the major street, as they've closed off areas to pedestrians. Whatever, I get into the square and snap the CUTEST photo of Rocco and the big red flags in front of The Monument to the People's Heros. While I'm pausing three Asian men come up and start taking pictures of me with them. Again, there is a language problem, so I just nod, smile and let them take their photos. They didn't even get my name. So odd. Those photos are going to show up somewhere to haunt me, I can just feel it.

But I walk down Xichang'an Jie (big main drag) and then duck through some alley ways to distance myself from the noise. After a bit the feet start to ache and I grab a taxi. Now, I'm showing the driver the X on the map of where to go and I search for my address card. Once I find the card I give it to him, he returns it and I get the idea to take a photo with Rocco and the card in the cab. The driver finds this highly amusing and I suddenly remember I've got my phrase book.

Between the monkey, the book and the driver I can now say, "Turn Right here", "Turn Left here" and "yes". So much fun! I even looked up how to say, "Bad traffic!" as we were stuck a lot. And true to Beijing Taxi form, he didn't quite know how to get to Dave's place, so I got to put my new vocabulary to work. Much to the taxi driver's amusement.

Now, I'm working on learning more essential phrases. Kindly, Marisa and Dave have given me the translation for, "My monkey's name is Rocco". Something I know I'll be saying for the next 10 days and possibly forever after. And I'll have fun at dinner tonight trying to order on my own. Or I'll just wimp out and go to an Ex-Pat place where I can order in English.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

One night in Shanghai

My last night in Shanghai was fantastic. It was Sarah's going away party. Have I mentioned Sarah? Shane and Kate put me in touch with her and she TOTALLY took care of me.

So we all meet up at 8:30 pm for the first party of the evening. I had come from a mani-pedi. Now manicures and pedicures here are a bit different than in the US and I was a bit disappointed. No moisture or massaging involved. Only cuticle trimming and polish. I felt a bit scammed, but she did a very good job and I had had that foot massage 2 days prior, so I really shouldn't complain.

Anyway, we're at this Japanese restaurant where we get unlimited sake, beer and food. I got placed next to some really cool people from Hong Kong, Australia and NYC. Such is the X-pat culture. Anyway, we gorge ourselves on sushi, sashimi, some yummy green salad, cook-it-yourself scallops, beef and mushrooms. We close down the joint... They were very excited to see us leave at 11:30 or so. And I have to mention, this orgy of food and drink cost of $20 USD a person.

We headed off to go rollerskating. I thought that Sarah had been kidding, but no. I was in the cab with my seat-mates and, since we girls were sock-free, got some of the terrible anklets that the older, fashion-sense-free, Chinese women wear. June and I double bagged our feet, just to keep the cooties from the skates off our feet.

But we only had to pay the entrance fee and then we were in the all you can skate and drink bonanza. Just like I remember from when I was 10... Skating endlessly in a circle. Thankfully the DJ didn't say, "Ok now, couples skate" and I think YMCA had played by the time we got there. But it all came back - how to go backwards and turn and do little circles. Much fun.

About 2 AM we had had enough and so went dancing. The DJ wasn't the best, but I'm spoiled. I've got a couple mixes on my iPod (thank you Greg!) that make me happy - happy house music. But it was fun just the same. I got hit on by some attractive Nigerian guy. I just wanted to sit down and I think he though I was interested in making some money... so I had to walk away and dance some more. Odd.

But I got back to the hotel by about 4 am. I would have set my alarm clock for 6 AM (I had a car coming to pick me up at 7:30 AM and I still need to pack), but there was no alarm clock in my room. I've had to keep my iPod by my bed so that I know what time it is when I wake up. But very fearful about not getting woken up in time to get ready, I set both cell phones (I've finally got a charger for the original T-mobile phone and then my dopod is running smoothly) and called down for a wake-up call.

2 hours later I'm up... and still feeling the alcohol in my system. Drunken packing. I had to be very methodical and check everything twice. Also, I needed to grab a box of lube out of the bathroom. Now, that may sound odd, but this swank hotel caters to foreign tourists. And the room has a mini-bar and at "health-bar" - or that is what it said on the room bill... and in this "health-bar" are: condoms, female genital wipes, male "love everlasting" stuff (didn't open, so I'm unsure if it is a pill or cream), lube (with instructions saying, "rub in cunt time after time with the forepart of thruster for about 1-2 minutes) and the irresistible vibrating cock-ring/condom combination.

But the car picks me up. I'm in a Mercedes and my Chinese driver doesn't speak a word of English. I should note that in China, they like these white seat covers. I'd think they are washable, but in some cabs, it doesn't appear like that happens too often. So I'm in the Mercedes on a white seat cover, mildly intoxicated and exhausted. I'm trying to sleep, but the driver has an affinity for sappy 80's love songs. I was kept awake by Stevie Wonder telling me that he "just called to say I love you". All a bit surreal.

The flight to Beijing was uneventful. Got to Dave and Marisa's swank pad. So good to see one of my oldest friends. Since Marisa is in Hong Kong with business, he and I zipped around the neighborhood on his DARLING scooter. The thing has a silver, metal eagle head on the front with green gem eyes that light-up when the bike is running.

We enjoyed Belgum beer, DVD shopping and then the most amazing Chinese food I've ever had. Thankfully he likes Chinese food, so I'm going to be eating local cuisine for a few days. It really is getting silly. 10 days in China and I've had 3 Chinese meals. But oh - last night! We had Peking Duck, which was my least favorite and I loved it. Then dried, fried green beans (think there was some pork in there), MaBoTofu, or however that is spelled, Cucumber (super yummy with some light sauce) and some picked veggies. And beer - but American here. We had had the Belgium beer at a cute little bar that served fries and pizzas too.

I got him to watch Harold and Kumar go to White Castle because I was in the mood for silly movies after talking about them with Sonya. And crashed early last night... Nothing like travel and no sleep to take the wind out of a girl.

So, today is Sunday and I'm up (too early) and trying to read my guide books so I'll know what to see here. Am thinking of getting out of China Wednesday or Thursday. It is a bit difficult to deal with things here. I'm hearing good thinks about Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Also, I'm hearing how easy it is to get down there for a weekend... which would be fun. Now I've got to find out how to make that happen.

My Junk sunburn is now peeling, so instead of being tender, I'm itching like I have lice. So I'll have to remember the sunscreen if I end up no a beach in Bali.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Unable to view my own Blog.

For some reason, I am unable to see my blog. I am unable to see if there are any comments. I'm unsure if it is this computer or if the government is involved. Probably the former.

Shanghai is better with Sun

China can be quite confusing. I'm having problems with the cab drivers here. Several times they try to drop me off at locations that are not where I tell them. It doesn't help to have the address in Chinese, or both have the address in Chinese and point to a map. They just pull over in the neighborhood and say, well, I don't actually know what they say, as they don't speak a word of English and I can barely pronouce Thanks You in Chinese... but it is clear through gestures that they think I am where they want to leave me.

Challenging world here.

Yesterday a typhoon came through. Made it very unpleasant. I tried to walk around the city - even with the rain, but I couldn't tell North from South or East from West and ended up walking a mile or two down Nanjing Road the wrong direction. Blew a whole morning. And it is hard to appreciate the sights when the umbrella truncates one's view. Finally broke down and got lunch near the hotel. Udon with lamb. Yummy.

The afternoon was another attempt at adventure. My tennies were soaked through. My jeans soaked. But I eventually made it to the Urban Planning Museum. Very fascinating. I had NO idea how big this city is or will be. Simply assounded at the vast scale of high rises they intend to build in this area. Just up and up and up. Most buildings with 10 or more stories. Wow. San Francisco seems so provencial. Took a taxi back to the hotel - he did, with some loud English and pointing, get me to the hotel, but damned if he were to drive up to the lobby. Had to leave me on the curb.

Today I awoke to sunshine. I could tell East and West and see things. I walked from my hotel on Shanxi Lu down to the Bund. This city is so vertical. And it has old, rickety alleys, and so much green, quiet park space. I'm really impressed. There is charm to Shanghai. Last night I was becoming convinced that the only charm was at the bottom of a bottle of crappy wine.

I think I need another massage...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Getting to Shanghai

I'm not getting the access to email and internet I thought I would with my new, dopod (here's the website: , but I'm in China, so it is all in Chinese, as I can't read anything. But I did see that the address is in Shanghai, maybe I should visit to see if I can get a tutorial, as I'm having a hell of a time getting all the features to work - but I've just got to RTFM). Anyway, I'm here at the Grand Pacific and they, thankfully, have a business center, but no wi-fi. I have gotten the wi-fi features up on the phone and that is really cool. I digress.

Hong Kong time has saddly come to an end. Monday I was on my own and a bit more challenged than expected by the Lost in Translation problems. I did eat at Hutong which it atop a tall building. I think didn't quite manage my rice bowl/serving bowl/eating bowl thing right, but the service only laughed at me in the back. The food, my first Chinese meal, was tasty. We tried several safe items: Green bean with tofu, Chicken with mushrooms and pork fennel dumplings. I got to savor the flavors I had never tried before while watching the boats go by in the harbor and helicopters landing on the sky scaper next door. Quite and experience.

Yesterday, as I was leaving Hong Kong, I decided that I should do some super-touristy thing. I headed up the Hong Kong Island hill. And between the cab ride to the tram and the tram up, nearly got sick at the top. I really should just take dramamine daily, as I've had a terrible time with motion induced nausia here. I also got accosted by the oddest turban topped Indian man who tells me there are two men in love with me and one is a big problem. Hmm, really? I think he says that to all the girls. I declined the rest of his $300 HKD ($60 USD) palm reading.

Hong Kong has a fantastic airport system. They've got this train that goes from the center to the airport, which in itself isn't all that, but you can check-in at the station and leave your bags with them.

So, I get to the in-city check-in on time, only to learn that my 2 pm flight to Shanghai had been cancelled. They offer to put me on the 1:35 and I accept, but then am unable to meet with Sonya (she had a 2:15 flight and we were going to train it over together) and I'm bummed, as I don't get to hug her goodbye.

I hurry to the airport, get some starbucks lunch - not sure if or what they will be serving on the plane. I also find that they have internet/business centers placed through the airport. These offer compters as well as charges for your cell phone - which I am in serious need, as both of my cell phones are out of juice. One completely and one has an ounce of power left. Just my luck, they don't have matching chargers for either.

I get to the gate and queue up. The nice lady at the gate had given me an aisle seat with the window seat being reversed and for use by the flight attendant. I'm not sure if she wanted to spare me the close contact with the natives or vice-versa. I wouldn't have thought much of it, but the only other white person on the plane was seated on the other side of my aisle in the same situation. Hmm.

The flight, which I had rushed to, is then 45 minutes late. The delay didn't bother me, but the final approach did. In the US the final approach means we get everyone in their seats about 5-10 minutes before the wheels leave their tar on the tarmack. Here, it was a solid 30 minute approach. I was wondering if we were every going to touch down.

Once in Shanghai, I had do face mainland immigration. And I got to face it for a full hour. Fun. I finished "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night" while waiting. It took so long that by the time I got to the baggage claim, my flight was no longer listed on any of the carrosels. So I then had to wander around trying to find my bag.

Next was the taxi endeavor... since my buddy Dave hadn't gotten me a hotel until the last minute and the dopod is set to English, I did not have the Chinese Characters of the hotel written down anywhere. I did have that last bit of juice and the nice Chinese woman who set up the hotel for me/Dave and called her. I did managed to get through and she got on with the cab driver and they had a 10 minute discussion where I was sure that I was going to be sold into white woman slavery.

When we get to the neighborhood, he can't find the hotel and is trying to get me out of his cab when I look up and see the sign. Thankfully he gets us across the street and I get the most amazing $80/night hotel room I've ever seen.

I'm safe. I've got to go and see the town now. Whew! And please forgive all the spelling and grammer errors in this posting, this Chinese version of does not have a check spelling option. Also the words are all characters, which makes it a bit surreal.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Junks rock.

I've got an odd bruise on my elbow. I'm sunburnt. I'm damaged my liver. My sinuses have been completely cleased with sea water and water still seems to be dripping out.

The veiws were beautiful. The water was fine for swimming. The whole thing was a fantastic dream - but my body is not very happy today.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Round 2

Well, I'm still in love with Hong Kong - even when I'm sober.

Thursday was definitely the kick-off. Friday was difficult, tackling a new city where the signs is in odd shaped characters and taxicab drivers get me car sick, even when not hung over was a challenge. However, I managed to make it down to Central in time to meet up with Sonya for lunch.

She works in the 3rd tallest building in the world. Thankfully there are no earthquakes here and little threat from terrorism. Her office is on the 21st floor and sports a basketball court. But we don't hang out there for long, we head down to a cafe with a French name and order Thai soup. Odd yes, but it tasted good and despite the spice, it eased my tender tummy.

She walked me through a labyrinth of shops. I was on a mission to get to Marks and Spenser's to find a bathing suit in Western Women sizes. For a Caucasian woman, shopping in Hong Kong is like being in the girls section of the department store - but with cool threads there. Hence, having forgotten to pack my suit, I needed to go to a store for the big.

On the way, we pass through the land of Armani. Did you know that Armani offers flowers? I had no idea. Make-up and kitchenware too. Learn something new everyday.

But make it to Marks & Sparks, found a suit that wasn't terrible, not good either, but for $40 USD, who's complaining?

Next, calls with Ken - a friend of my buddy Dave who is going to help me get my plane tickets for the rest of my trip. He tells me to get a cab and either tell the guy to go to the Landmark, and if he doesn't understand me, to call Ken (who speaks Mandarin and Cantonese) to help. So I leave Marks & Sparks, find the cab stand and then when it is my turn, I hope in. I say Landmark and the driver points to the doorway just past the cab stand. Nice guy - he didn't charge me for the directions or take me on a spin around the block. What could be easier?

I hop out of the non-needed cab and go into The Landmark. I realize I had walked through it with Sonya 30 minutes before. Who knew? Hong Kong has a good city planner - there are elevated and air conditioned walk ways that connect the important money making and money spending locations.

Which I how I see Hong Kong so far - a great place to make and spend massive amounts of money. My buddy Greg would love this place. I hope those communists don't make too many modifications to Hong Kong. Nothing like Capitalism and Consumerism to make a city's wheels turn.

So I locate Ken and we take care of our errands. One of which takes us on the subway (very fun) - but seeing the equivalent of Jersey (Kowloon) and getting a cell phone/PDA not available in the states was also a lot of fun. The shop had these great Zoolander phones - the size of 2 of my fingers put together and they come in 7 colors too.

Another first was Boba drink. They don't call it that here. But back in LA I would see Boba every where. And I had recently discussed rice with Greg who was telling me how they have "glutinous rice" here. Never heard that term before, and then it was on the multi-lingual signage. So odd. But mango, ice and boba and some other stuff. Yum.

Met up with Sonya and we rushed home and back out again. We had 7:30 reservations at Aqua ( - amazing food at the top of a sky scraper. Stunning.

But we didn't last long. The jet lag was finally catching up with me. We stopped briefly in some district I can't recall and had a drink with 10,000 of our best friends. Just amazing, almost The Castro on Halloween crowded. The street was lined with 10 story buildings all touching and the bottom 2-3 stories of each had restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Drinking is allowed on the street and most in the sea of people were taking advantage of that. Mostly Ex-Pats in shorts, suits all sorts of outfits.

Another thing I noticed: each bar had a theme. We had Beirut with Hookas, Italian joints, British Pubs and more. However, I didn't see many Chinese Themed locales, nor Opium dens which I had half expected. Which made me realize I had been in China for a day and change and had yet to have any Chinese food. I write this another day later and I'm still waiting. I've had Tapas, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Cheese plates (tonight's dinner) and Califonia-esqe food, but no dim sum or Chinese. Maybe Tomorrow?

Or maybe not - we're going on a Junk boat (why I needed a bathing suit). I'll be careful to wear sunscreen, to not get burned. Need to stop eating, as I'm not sure I'll fit into that suit if I keep up at my present pace.

Today was spent visiting another Ex-Pat and wandering around Stanley Bay and Shek O. Put my feet in the water, sweated out a gallon of water (it is HOT here) and enjoyed some pinot gris with a view of the bay.

If we ever leave, (it is after 10 pm), we're going to do the obligatory tour of WanChai and possibly hit a party. I'm looking forward to it. If there is no blog by Monday AM - please contact the embassy, I may have been sold into the brothels in that 'hood. Wish me luck.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hong Kong

I'm a bit tipsy... so this post might not make much sense.

I'm in Hong Kong. I'm in love with this city. Amazing. Beautiful. Hills. Skyscrapers. Fog. Narrow streets with cool bars. I'm in heaven. Like San Francisco mixed with Manhattan - what could be better?

My favorite person in San Diego wrote this poem that totally describes air travel.

Seated at the bar with the
Close-cropped Business types
With their sky-blue shirts
And bulging beltlines, their
Sports pages and cell phones
the TV news mutters in the
Background, the overhead
Voice chimes in polite reminders
About heightened security
Smoking is prohibited in the
Terminal area, do not transport
Any item for someone you
Don't well
Do any of these fish-eyed
Whiteys really know the
John or Bill or Jim on
The next barstool and would
They suspect there's a Poem
Being crafted in the shadow
Of this spicy Bloody Mary?
Probably not.
Bless the little-typer
And cheers to you.

I was TERRIFED to get on the plane to China. Scared out of my mind. Ended up calling a friend to talk me onto the plane he gave me soothing words. I tried to pacify myself with Duty Free - should have bought more wine. Only because it is difficult to get CA wine here in Hong Kong.

I should go to bed. It is 1:45 AM here and 10:45 in San Francisco.

The room is spinning. There are three glasses of wine and I have no idea which belongs to me.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

From 7,500 feet

I have been working on how to describe my love of the desert for the last few days. Currently I'm staying with Bill and Regina in the mountains above Santa Fe. The air is different here. Everything is dry and distilled. The views are astounding. I can see for eternity it seems.

One of the many blessings I got from my time with Michael is a love for road trips and a love for the desert. Seeing the stratifications of the rock in the mountains is like seeing history. Here we have the history and the seams of the earth. The volcanoes, the limestone, the shale and in each is reflected a time totally unfathomable. 1.2 million years ago the volcano near Los Alamos erupted. 1.2 million years. Then the ash was compacted and turned to stone. Then came the sea and the shells and then the ground was pushed up and then eroded.

The views remind me of the beauty and timelessness of the earth. I'm here for such a blip. The mountains don't even notice me. I drink in the views and the sunsets.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mountains flatter the horizon

After leaving Roswell, and briefly getting lost (I can understand why the aliens crashed here... So easy to get turned around), I headed West on 70. It took a while, but then the mountains appeared on the horizon. Just there, waiting for me to come and visit them.

I kept turning slightly south and frustrating me, as I wanted to drive straight to them and climb up to see the view. But it worked out OK, as I got the hills at Sunset and everything suddenly felt right. The hills were sharp and golden - with small green shrubs dotting them in a way that just inspires painters. Part of an ancient reef, the limestone occasionally peeked through - like the stuffing from a worn doll. But up and down, in and out - they just danced. The road traced a creek that fed green, green grass at the bottom flat.

Down there were small farms and ranches. Cows, sheep, peacocks and horses all enjoyed the fields. Rimming the grass areas were tall tress, again green green green. The houses were straight from Kinkade - almost too saccharine. Aged wooden fences with rusting equipment.

Just beautiful from Sunset to Lincoln. I ended up in a little town on the desert side. Near the Valley of Fire - at the top of the same valley where I hiked in the sand. I've got to get going. On up to Albuquerque. Finally I'm back where the mountains hem me in. Drama in landscape is good.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Roswell, New Mexico

Just a travel log posting.
Made it to Austin. Cute town. Good music. Lots of skin art. Except for the lack of views and it being in a Red State, it is quite nice.

Had fun at my friend's bachelor party. I think the highlight was when I got a lap dance. The entire crew seemed exceptionally excited about it. But got to see my friend intoxicated, for the first time really.

Been thinking about drinking. There has been too many bad things of late that have happened due to excessive drinking. Am I really to the age where I'm done with excessive drinking? Done with feeling like I made a fool of myself? Worrying about what I might have said the next day. I guess I'm officially moving into adulthood, either that or I'm losing my wildside and moving towards white knuckle flying.

After Austin I made a quick run to Dallas. Got some good time with my cousins, Dave and Nate. Got to meet Nate's girlfriend too. Very fun. Nice weather. In an effort to convince me that Texas isn't the belly of the beast, Dave took me out in really CUTE areas of town. I can say that I was impressed with Dallas.

My cousins also impressed me. Dave is involved with the local Chamber of Commerce. Both he and Nate are terribly well traveled. Educated, interesting, funny and positive - wish I could seem them more often.

But there was one bad spot in Dallas. I got attacked by a bird. Just walking down the street after having a morning coffee on Tuesday. Suddenly I had this creature swooping at me. It even grabbed my hair on the 2nd attack. I'm not sure what was more embarrassing, that I was being attacked or that I was visibly angry at a bird not much larger at my fist. I'm sure I looked like a crazy woman - swinging my book as this bird came diving at me - claws out and wings extended, in attack mode. It was terrible! I am scarred.

After Dallas I took a mystery trip and landed back in Austin on Thursday night. So good to have some quiet time with my friend before the wedding. Talking about what it means and what we've both been through. Amazing to think that we'd been friends for 14 years - even if we were in the same state for less than 1/2 of that time.

Friday started the wedding craziness. Mani-pedi's, rehearsal dinners, wedding preparation. My friend's got a large clan of siblings, in-laws, cousins and family friends and I had a great time re-meeting them after 5 years. Again, educated, interesting people... So much fun to get to know. Guests from 3 continents. The reception was a huge party. Cup cakes that were a million times yummier than wedding cake.

Sunday I barely had time to recover before making my run to the boarder. Made it to Big Spring, TX. Yes, they do seem to have a Big Spring. Not that I took a tour...

Spent this AM at the Carlsbad Caverns and Oh My God it is so big!!
Had a pleasant stroll through the International UFO Museum here in Roswell, New Mexico where I am now. Waiting to catch a flight on the next UFO that passes.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Horse with no name

I made it to Austin, safe and sound. My first day was great. Dropped a friend off at the airport, finished packing and then had breakfast with Andre. Giddy - pure giddy. The stars seemed to have come into alignment.

Until I couldn't get in touch with Nick. I was supposed to crash with him, but he was having some adventure with a chick in NYC and they were having problems getting back to Phoenix. So I skipped it all and landed at a roadside motel on the southside of Tucson. The best thing I did was figure out how to get my iPod to be an alarm clock.

Big thanks to Greg and Sal for pumping up the iPod. I am still discovering songs... and I've been driving for three days.

My stay in Tucson was short... but I did have a brief incident. I tried to find a Starbucks East on the 10 from Tucson. I stopped in a Safeway to get some water bottles (rather pay $7 for 12 than $2 per bottle) and asked the clerk. I got a look like I was from the moon. Am I really that much of a city girl??

Anyway, from Tucson I shot over to New Mexico. Stopped for a 4.5 mile hike in the sand at the White Sands National Park. I asked at the visitor center if it was OK for me to go alone and was assured it was not problem. What an experience. When I signed out I saw that the last person had come back from the hike 2 hours prior. I was on my own. No one but me, some lizards and an ant or two million. Up and down 20 foot doons - much sand in my shoes. I know how that bothers some people, but I loved it. I strapped Rocco to the back of my small backpack. Rocco is my new Monkey. When I lost Alphonse with the split, Kate and Shane gave me Rocco. He's small and very soft. I think he liked being tied to the back of my pack, but it is hard to tell with inanimate objects.

My big discovery: there are few things like deslation and solitude to help the mind clarify itself. That and tears dry funny when exposed to such arid heat. Heat purifies and releases.

Got to El Paso last night. Had some good rest. I needed it, as I was stuck in the car for a million hours getting to Austin. Did stop at a winery in the hill country outside of Austin. The Cabernet was sharp and Republican - I bought a bottle just the same.

Adam and Rose are doing well. In a bit of a flurry with their wedding. I'm excited to participate next weekend. Tonight was a tour of 6th Street in Downtown. Bars and music and too many college kids. Night and day from the interchangable aspiring starlets of Los Angeles.

Tomorrow - er, today at this rate - is another day. Good night.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Getting Crazy

Tomorrow morning I head out for the first leg of the trip. I've been trying to prepare, but got distracted by a visitor or two along with a quick trip out to Palm Springs. I know, silly of me to recharge my batteries in the same desert I'm about to hang out in for the next 3 days - so be it.

Today, however, has been a challenge. I dropped my friend off at the airport first thing and took care of filling a prescription and picking up my suitcase (it had zipper problems) and then got up online for the first time in days. Now, I had kindly been loaned a laptop for this trip, but last night when I attempted to install a wireless NIC so that I could take advantage of T-Mobile's wireless hotspots along the route, I got the blue screen of death. So, the laptop is down, the desktop is down and I'm wondering if I have some electro-magnetic field around me short circuiting things.

Friday I found that my digital camera's flash was no longer working. That will cost me $160 to fix, no thanks - I'll take a new camera. So, I'm back to old school film for this trip (sorry, no photos for the blog) and my grand ideas of a travel log are as gone as a bag of chips on superbowl Sunday.

Maybe in China next month I can find myself a cheap laptop, PDA and camera. Till then, it will be film, a calendar and my journal.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What is in a name?

I knew a guy in middle and high school who changed names several times. From Dee Dee to Max and then on after that. I never understood it very well. But it sounded like the usual for him and his family.

Growing up a Jennifer, I have struggled not to blend in. In my 6th grade class of 35 kids, we had 6 Jennifers - two Jenny G's to be extra confusing. Yet I didn't have many alternatives. I could be Jen, Jenny or Jennifer. My mother gave me a family middle name that she felt I could use if I wanted to be taken in a more serious light - Mercy. Needless to say, I have never gone by Mercy.

Briefly in college I took on the nickname Penelope. I was the head of a dormitory (at Smith College we called them houses) and since we had 5 Jennifers, I decided to take on a different name. The entire house knew me as Penelope and some didn't realize I had a different name. If felt a bit like a persona and I enjoyed not sharing a name with 1/2 the other women out there.

Getting married, we flipped a coin to determine our last name. I felt strongly that I wanted us to be a unit - a family that shared a name. But we couldn't find a compelling reason for either one of us to take the other's name. We flipped and I became Mattis. It took about a year before I could say "Jennifer Mattis" without giggling or feeling like I was fibbing.

Now, going back to the clan name is a bit of a relief. At the same time, I have adjusted to Mattis. I called an old friend with whom I had lost touch during my married years and said, "Hi! It's Jennifer Mattis, oops, DeLano - or whoever I am..." I don't think it will take as long to revert... less time than the divorce paperwork. I'm happy to be returning to the DeLano family - we're an odd bunch.

Moving and Shaking

It is my last day here and I'm counting the minutes. Who doesn't when all is done. I've got the 1:30 pm exit interview and I think that might be it. Was waiting to see if the department guys might want to do lunch, but I'm not hearing any noise on that front.

Between here and the initial departure date I've got a totally packed schedule. Got the teeth cleaned this morning, will get the health check-ups Monday and Tuesday. Will need to get the Visa in line for China as well as paperwork to become a free woman again. Seems daunting... But I do have some treats, like getting my hair done (and nails - I'm dying for a mani-pedi) and a trip to Miss Kitty's in the coming days. I hope to get in a bike ride to Santa Monica or possibly a quick trip out to Palm Springs. We'll see.

Closing this chapter is hard. My dentist's office overlooks my former apartment. Needless to say I was a bit sad at seeing my old stomping grounds. Growing up in the shadow of San Francisco I was raised to believe that Los Angeles was evil, especially the Dodgers. But having had time here, it wasn't easy or perfect, but I can see good in this city. I guess even Satan has a good side?

More later, got to work on changing my primary domain to reflect the return to my clan name.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Women's Work

Since completing my project at work and being 18 work hours away from leaving my job, I've got a little extra time on my hands. I took a gander at Arts and Letters daily and found an interesting article on the cost to society of having women in the work force.

What I found striking in this article was its focus on what society lost by, in some sense, allowing women to go into the work force. A breakdown in the existing order... That society depends on women being the glue, running the charities, doling out the compassion in addition to having the next generation of children. The big whole I find in this argument is that it seems to assume that women should be the glue. Why is that? Why are men exempt? Why must we provide the free labor at the expense of the pursuit of our interests?

Women entering the work force has fundamentally changed society, no doubt about it. However, I think that the problems created by that change should be addressed so that women still have the options available to them. State sponsored childcare would promote working women to have children. Value, not just lip-service, on education would also be beneficial. A larger tax credit for children would be good too.

Telling women that society's ills are our fault and to get back in the kitchen is old.

Friday, April 07, 2006

American Life circa 1950

I have been fortunate enough to come into contact with Charles Phoenix on a couple of occasions out here on Los Angeles. He's got a remarkable collection of photos from America in the 1950's combined with a wicked wit.
Check him out:
And do go to one of his shows, they are very amusing.

What is making me laugh this week

While driving on the 10 heading east I pass a white delivery truck. Now, I'm sure long time Los Angelinos have seen these and I'm showing my newbie status. Anyway, The Culver City Meat Company is very proud of their product. They boldly declare that, "You Can't Beat Our Meat" on the side of their trucks. Well, next time I'm looking to beat meat, I'll be thinking of them.

Updates and Posting

Sorry for the vanishing act. We went live on the new software product. No problems. Smooth as silk. Like butter. Shooting fish in a barrel... You get the picture.

I was stationed at El Monte this week. Which was a bit farther of a drive. They have a great staff there, really nice women. One of the lower volume clinics, however the staff adjusts and the days are long. I very much admire the staff's interest in learning the new computer system, even when they are very, very week on computers. I taught them all CTRL+C to cut and CTRL+V to paste. They were thrilled. My most trying moment came yesterday, I instructed the nice woman to press enter. She presses the Tab key. I say, "Press Enter". She presses the tab key again. I had to physically indicate to which key I was referring. hmm.

Back at Central today. I've got 3.5 days of work left, but who is counting? Andre is coming out for lunch with me and my poetry writing buddy sent me this:

Lock up the desk it's
Closing time
Hand in your passkey
Change all the passwords
Throw out the papers
The memos the crosswords
Half-solved while
Waiting on the phone
Shut down the systems
Pull all the plugs
Flip over the "in" stack
And tonight when you get home
It's time for tonic
With a twist of lime
It's closing time
No reason to ever look back.

If only everything were that easy! But I got 2 guide books for China that I will try to review today: Fodor's China and Loney Planet. Also got two William Gibson novels. See, has that gold box thing and it knows I'm a sucker for cheap versions of books by authors I enjoy. I think they will be good evening companions for my road trip.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me!

31 today. Yippee. Sucky that I'm in the office with a GO LIVE and will be tomorrow too - which means I'm not celebrating tonight. Bummer. I see this as a slow start to the best year ever.

Have a good, rainy Friday on me.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Modern Warfare or Ain't Misbehaving

I think the game was simpler for my grandparents. The rules clearer... girls don't call. No kissing on the first date. Sex was saved for after an exchange of rings.

Now a days we're making up the rules as we go along. The end result is several shelves at Boarders Books and the eternal feeling that one is not playing the game right. Even my roommate and I disagree on which actions are OK, which make a girl seem easy and which get us closer to our goals... whatever that goal is. Some days it's the conquest - unlike my grandmother, not a gold ring, but rather the guy wrapped around the finger. Other times it could be the Long Term Relationship. Others, just a good time; entertainment. So many options of connections unheard of before. Also unheard of in the more religious and conservative parts of the world. Lucky us.

Finding the balance between Ain't-Misbehaving-saving-all-my-love-for-you with the A-Lot-Of-Livin'-to-do can make a person crazy. It is human nature to be unable to see the existential value of a person when confused by the relative value. If things just work with the right person, do games really need to be played? How long does one have to wait before calling, again?

My roommate errs on the hard to get side... I'm of the existential value kind. I have a fear that if one plays hard to get that when one finally gets the person, that they will lose interest and go after the next unavailable. The thrill is in the chase with no joy or satisfaction in the having. Whereas the flip side is that one values more the thing that s/he had to work harder for. This does not seem like a win-win game... But I think we can learn from each other.

We'll see. Neither of us are in a place to really test our theories. I'm leaving in 20 days for the first of 4 trips. And I should mention, this will soon become a travel blog, keeping friends and family up on where I am and my latest folly.

Poem from a Friend

My cool friend sent me a poem. I like it. I hope he's OK with me posting it.
It made me happy.

here it is another wednesday
night the wine is sweet
my skin feels tight
and fingers tapping on
the keys create a rhythm
all life's a rhythm
feel it in your heartbeat
it's alive

thinking of your pearly
skin makes my quickened pulse
begin I know you're gone and
I'm gone too but
we're immortal in our minds
it's in your mind
feel it think it say it
it's alive

roll those dice, the outcome's twice
as unexpected when you see it
for the first time

almost through, this note to you
on the eve of revelation
feels divine

steppin' off that eastbound
plane I can imagine once
again this downward spiral's
been completed
and another one commences
I'll take my chances
my heart getting stonger
it's alive

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Rolling Stones

Last week I gave notice. Yesterday I purchased my ticket. I'm doing it. Travel for over three months - or until the money runs out.

Lucky me - I have friends all over the planet who will put me up for free. Hong Kong, Beijing, NYC, DC, Boston, Cape Cod, Italy and France. Anyone have a place for me to crash in Amsterdam or Berlin? How about a chalet in the Alps? So the trip isn't going to cost that much, as I have free places to stay 50% of the time and for 3 of the remaining weeks I've got cheap places. That leaves 3 weeks of paying dearly...

The next question I seem to get asked is, "Are you doing all the travel alone?". Yes, but I am going to be staying with friends - so I get the benefit of being on my own, but with friends when I want. I am looking forward to being 100% in control of my time. I choose what I am going to see. I am responsible for my schedule and I am to blame if I don't get to do what I want to do. Strange feeling after 4 years of being 1/2 of a couple.

Now, I need to start collecting the guide books. Any recommendations for China?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Science Diet

If you read the New Yorker regularly, you may have seen the article from a week or so ago about how our current Administration is giving science the old Heave-Ho. Instead of looking at and assessing all the facts, they search out the outlying, fringe scientists who support their Right Wing Agenda.

One of the Right Wing's pet peeves is the medically induced abortion. The process involves two medications that cause the uterus to expel its contents. If the contents include a fetus, an abortion happens. This product has been used for decades around the globe, safely and effectively giving women control over the physical, emotion and financial fate.

Two women have died ( from the use of this medication and the right-wingers are clamoring for it to be pulled from the market. Why aren't they screaming about Viagra which has killed, as of 2003, 564 men have died from that medication ? ( What about the men?? Who is fighting to prevent such a horrible, erection filled death from happening to other men?

And another puzzle... how anti-depressive were found to cause more thoughts of suicide in depressed teens. Ok, so this teen age girl is depressed and not feeling that life is worth living and if she goes on the medication, she will feel MORE like killing herself. But she'll be less depressed? Is it just that the medication isn't very effective?? Very confusing.

In the end, I just want science to be left to the scientists. No other Administration had scientists resigning left and right out of protest. We've got to get back on track in the realm of science. Not all scientists agree, but there tends to be a consensus.

Happy St. Patty's Day to all.