WebJournal - The blog will set you free
News of no interest whatsoever except to very close and patient friends and family members and maybe people with no life

Sunday, November 30, 2003  

Still feeling under the weather, I stayed home all day, except for a quick run to the supermarket for food. Monse had invited me for dinner over at her place but I could not face a dinner.

As always when I stay home, I managed to do none of the things I had to do (finish a text, for example, or make some phone calls) but I was extremely efficient at spending a small fortune ordering stuff from the Net. Today the damage was done with a couple of Moleskine notebooks and an absurd number of songs downloaded from iTunes. I bought an astounding mix of music: Run DMC, Creedence (original, not revisited), Motown songs, a quite impressive range of different Christmas songs (yes, even a few by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), Bruce Springsteen, Brandenburg concerts, Puddle of Mudd, The Be Good Tanyas, Clint Black, Five for Fighting, Frank Sinatra, Michael McDonald, Missy Elliot. You name it, I downloaded it. Nobody can accuse me of not having a broad spectrum of musical likings.

Now I am blasting the music from my iMac through my noise cancelling earphones. The do to list will have to wait. Meanwhile, I am considering getting a new G4 iBook as my G3 is fried. I tried charging the batteries with my brand new charger but none of them will last more than 15 minutes and they go from 70% or so to zero in a flash. Also, I am unable to install Panther. Something is really fucked up. Should I write to Santa or just take my Visa for a spin?

M.A. is back in town. He says he's sunburnt. Serves him right. I hope it hurts.

1:25 AM

Saturday, November 29, 2003  

Friday five, here I go:

1. Do you like to shop? Why or why not?
I like impulsive shopping. I hate hours at the mall or shopping for something in particular.

2. What was the last thing you purchased?
Not counting food, drinks and toiletries, a battery charger for my iBook.

3. Do you prefer shopping online or at an actual store? Why?
Online. Less of a hassle, nobody around to bother me and I can get overnight delivery for about the same amount it would cost me to take a cab to the store and back.

4. Did you get an allowance as a child? How much was it?
Yes I did. I am not sure about the amount, but it might have been 100 French francs. It was not much but then my mother never had a clue.

5. What was the last thing you regret purchasing?
I never really regret buying anything, in spite of the fact tha I have been known to buy the same outfit twice or the same lipstick five times or a sweater two sizes too small. If I got a kick out of the process, that's all I am after.

12:58 AM

I am not sure whether I'll take Melissa out tomorrow or Sunday. What I know is that I should come up with better activities for us to do. Right now we are stuck up in a movies routine. Not that I think there's anything wrong with the movies. Actually, I think there is a lot to be said about them. They are magical and they transport you to other worlds and other experiences. Just like books. OK, so I take her to bookstores too and buy her an occasional book. Problem is I certainly take her to the drugstore to buy lip gloss a lot more often. Again, nothing wrong with lip gloss. Lip gloss is an essential part of any girl's life. You can't live without lip gloss. Or hair products. Maybe I should take her to a museum, but I hate museums. The stuffiness, the dullness! Should I make her do things that I don't like just because they are supposed to be good for you? I did take her to the Metropolitan once, to a medieval exhibition, if I remember correctly. Prior to that I had been to the Met twice, and one of the times I went almost directly to the bar on the terrace. I love the museum itself, I find the building gorgeous, but the art does not move me at all. Much of what's in there is really not my style and I have zero patience for staring at paintings. I can hardly believe I am the same person that (or should it be "whom"?), as a child, would spend hours looking at other people's paintings and painting myself. Something happened to me with the hormonal upheaval of adolescence that made me a much happier person but an infinitely less erudite one.
I also took Melissa to the Museum of Natural History once and that was way more interesting. But should I make museum going a recurring occurrence? Should I get her into one of those classes for kids at the Met? Am I supposed to "cultivate" her? Am I supposed to expose her to what is usually perceived as culture? I still think I am just supposed to spend time with her and listen to her when she feels like talking, not even pushing her to talk to me. Her mother said that I take her out more than I am required to do and that she is thankful for that. Still, I got the nagging impression that I should do more.

I am still at work now, waiting for Mario so we can go out for a nightcap.

12:46 AM

Friday, November 28, 2003  

Shit. I still feel lousy. And to make things worse I come home to yet more pictures of M.A. and his brother tanning on the beach. The bastards.

Thanksgiving at Pilar's was very quiet and I certainly contributed to it. I had one of those persistent headaches so I was not much of a conversationalist. I managed to prepare some food, eat a little bit and have a couple of glasses of wine but then had to swiftly switch to water and skip dessert. Right now I feel like somebody has gone over me with a baseball bat. I had no idea I was still feeling this sick until I got up to come home. Anyway, the positive side of this is that I have certainly not put on those scary Thanksgiving pounds. I might even have lost a couple of grams.

Mario and Miguel and Monse were there, and then Jordina and her husband, whom I had met a couple of years ago but was unknown to everybody else. He is a very friendly, jovial dude and he seems to adore her. A pity I could not enjoy more of his company. They were keeping us amused with war stories from their honeymoon in Colombia and all the strange jobs and even stranger adventures they have been involved in.

12:46 AM

Thursday, November 27, 2003  

Great. I woke up early this morning violently ill. Went back to bed. Woke up sick. Went back to bed. Woke up ... you get the idea. Now I finally managed to work up the strenght to start cooking for tonight's dinner in spite of the fact that food and drinks are the furthest things from my mind at the moment.

3:29 PM

And now after having to endure Madonna I am relishing Tom Cruise on Oprah. And he is cooking! Not only he is cooking, but he is cooking spaghetti alla carbonara, the dish we used to make back in highschool on Saturday nightparties! I want to marry this man! Desperately! I am sure my husband won't mind, after all, he wants me to be happy, and as for Penelope, I'll make it look like an accident!

Well, it's almost 2 AM, I got up at 5 AM but Tommy has me some excited that I am not sure I will ever sleep again.

1:47 AM

Would somebody please shut Madonna up? She is absolutely unbearable. She should stick to her trade and not subject us to sermons and platitudes. I couldn't care less about the 8 years she spent studying Kabbalah, which evidently were a major waste of time. And that irritating habit of hers of talking with her eyes closed! Jesus! I could smack her. So bad I had to switch to another channel.

1:10 AM

Wednesday, November 26, 2003  

Very busy day so far. Went downtown to the Apple store with my poor iBook. The guy at the genius bar was very friendly, looked into it, said the motherboard could have been damaged, that a replacement could cost me around 700 bucks. Yikes. But I was not entirely convinced so he gave me Tekserve's address and phone number to check out other options. At Tekserve another extremely nice guy (Mac technicians tend to feel your pain) looked at my baby. It works perfectly on batteries but it won't charge so his guess (and mine) was that only the plug-in piece needs replacement. The CD tray does not close, but I can live with it if I have to. The estimate for the repair, new CD/DVD drive included, was around $ 350. Now, a new G4 iBook starts at 1.099 so I was not too eager to part with 350 just like that. I asked whether they knew of a battery charger but they had never heard of any for the white iBook. Given that Tekserve could not repair it before at least 10 days I decided to take the baby back home and think about it. At home I googled "battery charger iBook" and bingo! a company named MCE makes such a charger but they are backordered. A phone call and a few clicks away and I bought one on-line. It should be delivered next week. This way at least I will be able to use my iBook until I am ready to buy the new G4 and take this one down to Argentina to repair it at a cheaper price.

While waiting at the computer store I thought of doing some bluejacking. I turned on bluetooth on my Nokia and sniffed 2 cell phones and 2 computers. But then I chickened out, there were not that many people around and I was afraid it was going to be too obvious. I'd really like to try to snap a picture and send it anonymously to some poor victim.

After all the computer saga I still had to go to the market to get the food for tomorrow. It was packed. People everywhere. But at least everybody seemed to be smiling and just as flabbergasted as I was. We were walking around the isles zombie-like, some with lists in our hands, some with vacant looks on our faces. Finally I got what I needed and came back home to drop everything in the refrigerator and come to work.

Two essential bits of information:

* Britney Spears' grooming leaves a lot to be desired. Check out her fingernails and her unshaven leg. The picture was taken at her latest appearance on Letterman.

* Leroy is dead!

6:55 PM

Five AM must be my time to be awake. Yesterday because I hadn't gone to bed yet, today because I woke up. So be it. I might go downtown and shop for Thanksgiving dinner as I am officially in charge of poisoning my friends with an attempt at cooking.

Yesterday I went to a potluck dinner at Melissa's school. On my way out I discovered I had attended the wrong event. Typical me. Fact is that Melissa's school was having a potluck dinner while the mentoring organization that put Melissa and I together was having its own event one flight of stairs below. No big deal as the idea was to be with Melissa and her mom and that's what I did. Actually, I hardly saw Melissa who was running around with her friends and only exchanged a few words with her mom and a friend of hers, but what the heck, the mom had asked me to go and I did. In any case I should have known something was amiss when I followed a bunch of little girls and their moms carrying trays of food into the building and noticed that everybody was signing a card for "Isabel". I had no idea who Isabel was but found out later she's the social worker who's leaving to start another job. The event was in her honor too.

After hanging around for a while I legt and went to pick up Monse at her place. We had a drink at Tavern on Jane (unusual place for the neighborhood: a much older crowd and lots of heterosexual males - I liked it) and then dinner at Rio Mar. The tapas were OK, the restrooms a disgrace. The place was also very quiet, not a plus for me and although there were playing American Woman when we walked in, they had descended as low as Julio Iglesias when it was clearly time to go.

Cecilia is on line now. Gotta chat with her and then I am off to the the market.

Follow up: Cecilia is amazing. She in flying into town on Monday, arriving at 6 AM, she will be home by 8 AM and she has an appointment at 9.15 AM at what will be her eldest daughter's school. She plans on the kids starting school immediately. As for my Chistmas party on the 13th, she told me she could sent her husband with the kids to a hotel for that night. I don't want her to do that, I actually want her husband to be around and we can always send the girls to my room if things get for adults-only but just the fact that she thought about it is a welcome departure from people who shove their kids down your throat.

8:51 AM

Tuesday, November 25, 2003  

Almost 5 AM and I am still up. Just finished instant messaging with my brother and should now try to sleep and/or read.

I 've been thinking about a unified design for my website/weblog but there are like twenty different looks that appeal to me. Fortunately I downloaded the trial version of Contribute and it sure makes things easier. Maybe tomorrow inspiration will strike ...

4:56 AM

My late Friday Five, as usual:

1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year.

Lose a hundred pounds? Not likely
Other than that I don't wish to accomplish anything that could not wait until next year. As far as I concerned the holidays are meant to be enjoyed, not stressed over.

2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again.

I pretty much keep in touch with everybody that matters to me or I hunt them down on the Internet. So far I think I've only failed to reconnect with my very first boyfriend (well, second, but the first one was gay). I was 15, he was 13 (even back then I liked them young): Robert Bruce Stratman, aka Bobby, from CA. We met in a place called El Saladillo, near Estepona, near Marbella, in Spain. It was a summer thing but, as adolescence requires, a dramatically intense summer thing.
A year later (or was is two?) I went back to the same place with my family and he was there, he came to see me and told me a heartwrenching story of having to pull out his dead father from the sea. I was a bitch to him. Well, maybe not a bitch, but I was already head over hills with the guy who would end up being my total consuming obsession and boyfriend for a couple of years in highschool so basically I had no time for Bobby. I remember writing to an address I had for his family in California a few years later but I've never heard anything back.
I am sure he has grown up to be an exceptional guy. He already was. He was mature way beyond his years (it also helped that he was basketball player kind of tall), he was an outstanding golf player, he painted, he even hand stitched a sweatshirt for me, he woodcarved and he was very easy on the eyes.

3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do.

Play drums
Public speaking

4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery (no limit).

Buy a house for my sister and her husband
Set up a trust fund for my nieces and Melissa
Get the best medical insurance for JP
Buy a townhouse in NYC with plenty of rooms for friends
Throw one hell of a party and fly in all my friends

And no, I would not leave my job

5. List five things you do that help you relax.

Drink (sad but true)
Surf the Net

Thinking about question #2 my mind went to Francesca, a friend of mine in Milan, Italy. I researched her on the Web and came up with her genealogy. Eventhough I had a videoconference with her a couple of years ago, I had forgotten her children's names: Olimpia and Bardo. Can you get any haugthier?

I have another friend, in Rome, whose daughter is called Ginevra. Olimpia and Ginevra are two names I would have loved to have the guts to give to a child of mine. And I love Ludovica too. And Agatha (I don't like Agnese though, the Italian name for Agatha).

But I digress ...

Now to my long suffering hair. I love the Sunrise Tequila hue, but I would gladly do without it on my scalp. Serves me well for being so damn impatient and being unable to wait and go out and buy a brush. I just applied the color with (gloved) fingers and ended up with a badly stained scalp. I tried to wash my hair at least three times, ruining the color but not making the stains disappear. A pity. I now look like I have some sort of bright orange skin disorder. I hope to be able to get rid of the blotches with toothpaste (a tip I got from the Web). If not I'll have to walk around with a hat for a while.

12:36 AM

Sunday, November 23, 2003  

Took Melissa to see The Cat in the Hat and, surprisingly, I loved it. I loved the aesthetics, loved the colors, loved the story, loved the little girl, loved everything but Mike Myers who could not get a half laugh out of me if his life depended on it. The guy is up there (or rather down there) with Jim Carrey. They try so damn hard to be funny and that's a sure sign you ain't funny, buddy! I used to loath Robin Williams too, but I have changed my mind recently. I still can't stand him in interviews (he should really lay off the caffeine) and I couldn't care less for all those losers types he likes to play on the big screen but I have to admit he is a brilliant stand-up comedian.

I bought a semi permanent hair color today. It's called Sunrise Tequila. The instructions on the bottle are almost nil and I could not find any info on the Net, so this will be a leap of faith. More tomorrow if I haven't committed suicide after going bald.

Spoke to Liliana today, she is thinking of coming over for Christmas or maybe earlier. She is also trying to convince her sister to come over. This should be interesting. Cecilia, Silvio and their two kids are arriving on Dec. 1st and staying with me until they find a place to rent. My typical NYC one bedroom apartment might be a little crowded but Christmas is all about sharing, isn't it?

Got a message from M.A.'s brother today with pictures of them laying around at the hotel pool in Puerto Rico. I am plotting my revenge. In the meantime I photoshopped one of the photos to let them know what kind of weather they could expect tomorrow if I had anything to do with it:

Picture they sent

My take on their future

10:43 PM

Couldn't help but laugh out loud at this!

12:35 PM

Saturday, November 22, 2003  

Melissa is at a friend's so I will have to see her tomorrow. The iBook will wait untill tomorrow too. So here I am, watching rerurns of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. This guy is just adorable! One of the fab five says he wants to be adopted by this family: my feelings exactly! The guy is so damn genuine, the wife so much in love, the daughther so much of a daddy's girl ... oh, it's truly Little House on the Praire revisited!

I am also considering a change of haircolor and playing around with PhotoShop.

3:05 PM

3:11 AM

I've been a bad bad girl. On my way home from work, at 1 in the morning, I stopped at a 24 hours deli and bought some Kinder chocolate and practically eat the whole thing. I may now feel appropiately guilty.

Tomorrow I absolutely must take my iBook to the genius bar at the Apple store and see what's wrong with the power supply and the CD tray (well, I know what's wrong: I dropped the thing) and whether it can be repaired. Then I'll go pick up Melissa and spend the afternoon with her. In the evening I'll be going to a little get-together at a colleague's though I am not planning on staying long. Not that I have anything against the people who are going, but I know it will be a pretty family oriented thing, very low key and there is only so much low key I can take. Maybe I should really work on my extraordinary capacity for getting bored very fast. It's always been like that. My father used to say I had no "internal life" and that's why I got bored so easily (yes, I guess he was calling me an imbecile). It might well be. It might be that I need to be constantly entertained. It might also be that I don't have much patience for the things I do not enjoy. The way I see life is about enjoying it and I enjoy doing, as opposed to watching or, even worse, "contemplating". Maybe it's not only about enjoyment but pleasure it's a big part of the picture for me. This pursuit of happiness of mine might explain why I tend to be happier than most people, or maybe just more vocal about it. I stay away from the things I do not derive pleasure from and I pursue with a vengeance the things and the people that make me happy. Obviously, I am not talking only about immediate gratification. I do understand that some pleasures are only enhanced by delaying them and that happiness is a complex experience that does involve conquering challenges and all that. Still, I like to enjoy every step of the way and I am not wiling to waste my time with things or people I do not throughly enjoy.

I was in the mood to reach out to friends today but was unable to reach almost every one of them: Adriana in Milan, Italy; Valeria in Paris, France; Liliana and Cecilia in Montevideo, Uruguay and Monica in Rome, Italy. I did manage to instant message Cecilia (who was actually in Buenos Aires) and to talk to Adriana's daugther. I also had a videoconference with my brother in Madrid aroun noon. We used iVisit but I could not get the audio to work. We will ty again on Monday.

M.A. is leaving tomorrow for a week. It'a a real bummer but the major one will be when he goes back to Spain at the end of December. I got so used to having him around all the time I am going to miss him like hell.
I am planning on going to Argentina in January and hopefully hubby will be moving in again with me in February. That should keep me busy, and happy!

2:36 AM

Friday, November 21, 2003  

Just in case I needed another label, I can now define myself as a flexitarian, after a couple of years of almost hard core veganism (well, I had fish but no milk or eggs, which means I probably was a pescetarian).

So about this Gary guy I met at UPW. Big guy, former football and basketball player. Married to his high-school sweetheart, whom he knows since 2nd grade. He started his own nursery business with some ridiculous amount of money, say 200 bucks, and makes several millions a year now, with something like a couple hundred employees. He also started a food programme at his company when he noticed some of the guys were not eating properly. Not content with just taking caring of business, he is also on the lecture circuit to teach people how to have happy employees and coaches both a basketball team and a high-school girls' soccer team - both several times champions. Talk about accomplishments. His daughter started her first business at 12, running it from a computer at home. His son same kind of thing. On top of that they are all half-deaf and looking forward to complete deafness in the future. He now wants to start a childrens' programme to teach Tony's technologies to kids. Five minutes into a conversation with this guy and I felt like a blob of useless humanity.
He was at UPW as a volunteer and he has signed up for special needs assignment too. At the beginning I did not remember him but when he told me about his nursery business it all came back. He was one of the "special needs" people I took care of last year. He needed to sit at a certain angle so he could lipread Tony and hear him too. It sure felt good to have him back so soon.

Yesterday after the falling men incidents we were talking with M.A. about the passive versus active attitudes. He said I seemed to know what to do while he didn't really know. Fact is I had no idea what to do. I really waited for the alpha male, or female. I usually sniff the air for the "leader" but if none shows up I have no choice but to step up. And when you step up you just play the part. I am just as clueless as the next person but I act as if I knew. I try to think what would I do if I knew what to do. I totally believe the person with the most certainty wins and you can fake certainty if the situation calls for it. It's amazing how it's all about common sense most of the time and how when you just do what feels right it usually is.
I don't think I am defending a phony posture in life but I am convinced that one must decide what kind of person one wants to be and then play the part of that person. It's all about raising your standards. Having said that I also have to confess how pitifully short of my own expectations I come most of the time.

Great ... I am going home ...

12:12 AM

Thursday, November 20, 2003  

Yesterday was a day of men falling at my feet - for all the wrong reasons.
There we were in the cafeteria, after dinner, ready to pay for our coffees and go back to work when we heard a loud thump. I turned and saw a guy a few feet away, laying flat on the floor. I waited a nanosecond for some alpha male to take charge and when none appeared I rushed to the poor guy. For a moment there I thought he was dying and my hand automatically went to his chest while I tried to remember the right way to give CPR (being a fan of real TV is a plus in these circumstances - I must confess too that I checked the guy's mouth and dentures and wished very hard mouth-to-mouth resuscitation would not be needed). The man seemed to be having some kind of seizure, his eyes were rolling, his head and upper body were shaking, maybe the effect of banging his head on the floor (he did end up with a major bump and a small cut). I just did the Florence Nightingale routine, held his head and his hand and talked to him to make sure he was conscious while we waited for the Security guys to arrive. They sure took their sweet time. I strongly recommend not having a heart attack in our cafeteria unless you are totally determined to die.
Finally, after this little incident we payed our coffee and went back to the office.
By midnight I had finished my work and so had M.A. so out we went. I was raining cats and dogs but that has never stopped anybody and certainly not us. Also, I happen to love the rain and the city looked glorious in an eerie grey light.
We walked into the first bar, into some sort of commotion. M.A. alerted me to the fight going on but it did not register at first. Then a huge guy landed at my feet. I had to stay. I love fights. I know it's pathetic to go through the whole womens' revolution, liberation and yada yada yada just to be turned on by a primitive display of testosterone but what can I say, it definitely works for me. Not the drunken pushes and shoves, but the real thing. My mind immediately rushes to the scene from An Officer and a Gentleman where Richard Gere kicks some serious ass outside a bar. Aaaaahhhh!
Gotta go now.

2:45 PM

Wednesday, November 19, 2003  

Today's Wednesday already. Yesterday Mario and I finished our work before 1 AM and went out for a drink at an Irish pub a couple of blocks from home. I did not return home too late (before 3 AM that is) but this morning I slept through several alarms and woke up exactly 13 minutes before M.A. rang me from downstairs to go out for lunch. I am really getting good at grooming at the the speed of light. By the time he walked into the apartment I had showered, washed my hair and was halfway through my make-up routine. We had lunch at a Chinese place he likes and that was indeed both very good and very cheap, a perfect combination. I came back home to send some e-mails and do some paperwork before heading to work in a couple of hours. So, as to the backlog ...

I finally took a car to NJ - you know me, if there's a way to do it that's at least 50 times more expensive I will not pass it by. I got to Convention Center for registration before going to the hotel and going back to the Center for the first crew meeting. As always with these seminars, I feel a little awkward at the beginning, but then I see familiar faces and the unfamiliar faces tend to belong to very friendly people anyways so I end up chatting up and down.
I met Andrew, the guy who had made my hotel reservation. Nice guy, cute guy.

The firewalk. I just love it. I did not do it myself this time because it was way too cold and I was soaked from hosing feet on my knees but I enjoyed every minute of it.

I met Antoinette, who had traveled by train from Canada and was looking for a room to stay. I also met Janet, Andrew's friend and my other roommate. We had lunch with Roby, who was staying in Andrew's room and who I know from previous seminars. More on her later.
I spent a lot of time talking to a guy named Gary. He was in the special needs group I had taken care of last year and was now crewing with me. More on him later too. A fascinating man.

M.A. and I arrived in DC at about 3.30 PM. We went to Pam's though she was not there yet and waited for her. She came in a short while later and took us for a tour of DC in her parents' car. By then we were ready to go for a drink but the parking situation was a nightmare and we had to come back home, leave the car and get to a pub in her neighborhood.
After a while we left M.A. at the pub and Pam and I went home to change. The first stop of the evening was at Agua Ardiente, where Pam has designed the curtains and know the owners. The tapas were great, the drinks were not (totally watered down). Our waitress had an attitude and the crowd was very weird. It almost felt like Geneva, Switzerland. An international clientele, very Washington, lots of South Americans, Indians, Arabs, lots of wanna bes. The DJ was supposed to start at midnight, then at 12.30. When he finally started he played maybe three great songs and then it went downhill from there. M.A. and I had been ready to leave for quite a while and finally just decided we could not take it any longer. By then Helen and her sheriff had left (I finally got to met the sheriff!!! Cute guy of the quite variety but that was to be expected given that Helen won't stop talking for a minute) and everybody else was sort of sitting and calmly. Pam and I were both very much into a young (29 y.o.) Indian guy at our table. Adorable, interesting guy who looks a lot like an Indian version of Joey from Friends. Born in India, raised in Madrid, Spain, until his teens and then in Kansas for a year and the East Coast ever since. He was an investment banker in NYC but has quit to travel the world. He was leaving DC in a week to go to Sri Lanka. So ... handsome, nice, intelligent, daring and also touchy feely, the kind of guy who hugs you and the kind of guy who enjoys women. Too bad I am married. He could have been one hell of a fling.
Eventually M.A. and I left, dragging Pam along with us. She tried to get us to a certain type of places, we managed to lead her to an overcrowded second floor bar with a 20something crowd and beer all over the dance floor. I gave her some idea of the house rules and told her eventually somebody would end up dancing behind her, which is what happened but she got rid of him pretty fast. I, on the other hand, enjoyed my posteriorly attached dancer song after song. The secret is not looking at them (I would have no idea what he looked like if it wasn't that he tapped on my shoulder when I came back to the dance floor after a trip to the bar) so they stay anonymous dance partners and not actual men on the prowl that you need to get rid of. In any case, the bar closed at about 2.30 AM and we barely had time to pop in into the Irish bar downstairs so M.A. could jump around to Irish music for a few minutes. As usual, I was ready to go somewhere else and had gotten a couple of addresses from a guy on the street but Pam was tired and M.A. wanted to wake up sort of early on Sunday to go visit the city. They ganged up on me and no amount of pleading and cajoling worked.

It was Pam's birthday. M.A. woke up not feeling too hot or maybe he was just being polite and was really bored out of his mind and decided he was going to go out and sightsee the city a bit and then take an early train back to NY. Pam and I went to her parents' to prepare a very ladylike tea party. The cake, the sweets, the finger sandwiches. Reem came with her daughter Tamara who is now 9 years old. I adore this child. I feel like kidnapping her and taking her home with me. She is the cutest little thing, slim, tiny, almost birdlike, darkskinned and extremely articulated, animated and bright. A pleasure of a girl. I also met Janis' niece, Vivian. Another adorable little girl. She is still only a baby, but one of those happy smiling babies you are irresistibly drawn to cover with kisses. There were 6 of us adults, we sat at the formally set up table and had a very pleasant conversation. I like doing the ladylike thing now and then and this time I had a truly good time. After everybody had left I sat down with Pam's parents and kept her father company while he was having an early dinner. I don't remember what time we left but we ended up having a late dinner at a pizzeria near her home.

Keeping up with my spending habits I traded my regular train ticket for an Acela and was back in NYC barely in time to drop the luggage at home and get to work.

... was a double lunch day.
Antoinette, the girl I met at the seminar, called me on Monday from Brooklyn and told me she wanted to see me before going back home, so I invited her for lunch. She was supposed to arrive at noon but she did not show up until 1.30 PM, when I had almost given up hope.
M.A. showed up instead so I ended up having lunch with him and later on with her too.
Antoinette is originally from Bulgaria, but lives now in Canada. I met her the second night and she came to stay with me at the hotel. Within 10 minutes she was weeping. It seems I have a knack for making people cry. I am Barbara Walters II.
But her story was beautiful. She left Bulgaria and an abusive relationship. She met Enrico, a 10-years younger Italian. At 42 she came to NY to study fashion, with his full encouragement and supports. She goes back to Canada and he is dead within very little time.
She still gets very emotional when she talks about him, and it has been over 5 years now. Emotional in a very beautiful way. She talks about him like I have hardly ever heard anybody talk about somebody else. She says they did not need to leave the house, they had everything they needed within themselves. They had fun, and friends over at their house constantly.
She is a very poetic woman. She used to be in the Bulgarian skydiving team and when I asked her what it feels like to be freefalling she answered with an open-arm gesture and said that it feels like you are embracing the globe. Now I want to skydive too ... almost.
I like Antoinette. She is not your run-of-the-mill kinda gal, she is even a little too "spiritual" for my pragmatism, but she is very genuine and sweet.

3:56 PM

Tuesday, November 18, 2003  

I am back! I have three full days of backlogged post to publish and I need to write them first. This will not be an easy task, I will have to rely on my feeble memory and a few notes scribbled on a Moleskine notebook, the preferred medium of snobs like myself. I am actually using the new nifty Volant Pocket Plain Notebook. But all the blogging will have to wait until tomorrow. Now I'd like to sleep some.
Tomorrow I will be having lunch with a girl (woman?) I met at Tony's seminar. She called me today to say she wanted to see me and to tell me the seminar went beyond her expectations. Can't wait to hear the details.

2:05 AM

Saturday, November 15, 2003  

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11:02 AM

Friday, November 14, 2003  

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6:17 PM

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12:26 AM

Here I am, trying to post from a 10 bucks TV Internet connection via a flimsy infrared kyboard. Sorry about the typos, I will get rid of them once I have a regular connection.
This afternoon was neverending. I had to slip out at 10 PM when the fire lane training was about to start because I had only eaten a couple of hard boied eggs at noon and I was afraid it was going to be too late for room service or any kind of food.
I have to be up by 5.45 tomorrow and at a crew meeting by 7.45. The day will not end until 2 AM at least so no blog tomorrow. Nighty nite!

12:08 AM

Thursday, November 13, 2003  

Done. I uploaded a gazillion new pictures.

A car is coming to pick me up in less than two hours and I am frantically throwing things inside my carry-on. Only God knows what I will end up wearing these days!

12:38 PM

9:14 AM

Wednesday, November 12, 2003  

Tuesday night was a quiet night. Monse, her friends and Pilar were having an Afghan dinner down at the East Village but I didn't feel like trekking downtown for what I assumed was going to be lousy food. I worked later than usual and came home to wait for M.A. who was working even later, not an unusual circumstance at all. We started with a margarita at this Mexican place we've been going to lately (but will probably stop patronizing very soon if they keep the same obnoxious bartenders) and then went to a new place just across from the Opal. I don't know how long it's been there but it can't be too long or I would have noticed it. It's got a very modern sort of look, white and clean with two bars on the first floor and another bar on the second floor. The music is the same as Opal's so I am not complaining. I think I'll grow to like the place a lot.
Francia joined us there and then the three of us went over to the Divine for the usual flight of wine and tapas.
Tonight I stayed home with every intention of packing for tomorrow but haven't done anything yet. Something tells me I will do everything at the very last minute tomorrow morning. Around noon I will leaving for Secaucus , NJ for Tony's UPW at the Meadowlands Expo Center. Unfortunately Beatriz found out today she can't make it but I will be sharing a room with a girl who will be there as a participant and that I should meet on Friday. Tomorrow I will also meet the guy who got me the great rate at the hotel and most probably some of the people who post at Tony's boards.
I'll be at UPW Friday for the firewalk (yeah!) and Saturday morning and then come back to NYC to catch a train to DC for Pam's birthday.
I will not be taking my iBook with me but the hotel should have a computer for me to blog away. If not it will have to wait until I get to Pam's.

It's misty out there now. I went out to shop for some toiletries and was overcomed by the beauty of the night. There's a severe weather advice for tomorrow morning but right now the city is engulfed in a gray misterious, exquisite haze.
This city is beautiful.

Penelope Cruz is on Jay Leno's. What, God, what does Tom sees in her?????? She looks like the offspring of a lizard and a bird. An ugly lizard and an ugly bird at that. A bird with bags under its eyes and a duck's mouth. And she's not even particularly nice or funny. Tom!!!! Tom!!!! Why not me?????

11:18 PM

Tuesday, November 11, 2003  

Evolution of an evening of cooking:

1. M.A. was coming home on Sunday evening to cook something for that night and to take to the office on Monday.
2. At noon we decided to call Monse. She came with her two friends who came with their 2 friends.
3. We called Pilar. She came in late, after dinner.
4. We called Nicolas. He came.
5. John, a friend of a friend, called me because he had a problem with his Mac. I told him to pop in later with the Powerbook. He came with his friend but left before dinner.

Somehow we ended up cooking for an army. I made penne alla siciliana (eggplant and mozzarella) and he made a potaje de Cuaresma. I actually bought a 20 quarts pot, but the preparations were fun, the cooking was fun and the eating was fun too. Monse's friends are all extremely nice, one of them in particular.
Now we have enough food to feed the neighborhood. I tupperwared six portions to take to the office today and will do the same tomorrow again. There will be plenty of food left anyways.

Before going on the frenzy food shopping spree we had lunch at the only Sri Lankan restaurant included in my 2 years old Zagat guide. Briefly: it sucks. The place was deserted and we should have known better. My veggie curry was not bad but not good either. The flour "tortillas" (well, pancakes) tasted very much like uncooked flour. M.A.'s dish was a poor rendition of a Tex-Mex fajita, with lousy beef. Don't bother going.

This evening after work I went to a silent auction for Reaching U, a foundation for Uruguay. I was outbidded on a painting I really liked but ended up signing up for a sponsorship which might be a better way of spending my money. After the event I dragged home Silvana, a very young colleague from Argentina, and proceeded to feed her.

1:17 AM

Sunday, November 09, 2003  

The temperature has dropped sharply in the last two days. Yesterday afternoon I went out shopping with Melissa. We got a present for Vivienne and Randy's wedding anniversary and we paid a little visit to the Apple chapel so I could get Panther (so far I haven't been able to install it though). We had a late late lunch together but it had gotten so cold after the sun had gone down that we had to go home.

The party was great, no music but lots of people. I mostly stayed in the kitchen with a a couple of fashion designers from England, a Bloomie's salesperson, a graphic designer, a guy working in publishing. Fun friendly people. Bob was there, as well as Ming, looking great as usual. There were plenty of artists and some post-graduate students. As usual in NYC, a broad mixture of ages, races, nationalities and occupations. I love the exhilarating feeling of working a crowd. The stimulation you feel when you get to a party where you might know nobody or only just a handful of people and you are keenly aware it all depends on first impressions. Oh, the possibilities! You might just have fun. Or you might find the love of your life. Or your best friend. Maybe a new job. It's like when you land in a place you've never been before. So exciting.

Today's another gorgeous, cold day. I am off to get a manicure and a little backrub and maybe lunch with M.A.

9:41 AM

Saturday, November 08, 2003  

Wednesday: dinner at Cowgirls Hall of Fame with Monse, her friends, Nicolas and M.A. with a brief last stop at Barracuda's before coming back home.
Thursday: out to the Mexican place and the Divine Bar with M.A.
Today: fell asleep by 8 PM, wide awake by midnight ... ugh ...
Looking forward to Vivienne's party tomorrow.

This week's Friday Five:

1. What food do you like that most people hate?
Brussels sprouts.

2. What food do you hate that most people love?
Milk, heavy cream and any kind of animal internal organs.

3. What famous person, whom many people may find attractive, is most unappealing to you?
Antonio Banderas, Gerard Depardieu (this one I actually find revolting).

4. What famous person, whom many people may find unappealing, do you find
Richard Dreyfuss.

5. What popular trend baffles you?
Can't think of any. I must be unbafflable.

12:39 AM

Tuesday, November 04, 2003  

Yesterday after work M.A. and I went out for a few margaritas and a little chitchat. He was supposed to leave today for a few days and it was good to squeeze out another evening out with him. Problem was he ended up not leaving after all and as sorry as I am for him, I am ashamed to admit I am delighted for myself. If this makes me a selfish bitch, then I guess that's what I am.
Plans for tonight were dinner with Monse and a bunch of friends of hers. I met her around 8 PM on Union Square. She was with a couple of friends I instantly liked very much but who left almost immediately (though we are going to have dinner together with them tomorrow and I am looking forward to it). Two other friends of hers showed up a little later but unfortunately they were not as fun and finally another guy, a new colleague freshly imported from Switzerland, joined us too. We had dinner at Republic or more exactly, they had dinner while I ordered a mango mojito, sent it back and settled for a beer. The place looks trendy enough but is extremely noisy. I am not sure whether this was good or bad. On one hand it made it very difficult to mantain a conversation, on the other, it provided a great excuse for the lack of it. Curiously the restaurant is packed with Spaniards. Go figure. It must be on some Spanish tourist guide.
After dinner Monse, Benjamin (the new colleague) and I went for a relaxed drink over at the Coffee Shop half a block away and I was home by 10.30 PM, like a good girl.

Cecilia e-mailed me today. Her travel schedule is confirmed, she will be arriving on December 1st. Youpee!

11:17 PM

Sunday, November 02, 2003  

My throat is still killing me. I can hardly swallow and every time I try to talk I croak or I cough. Not that this had stopped me from blabbering out a lot of nonsense while being interviewed by the French radio today. A totally unexpected event buy hey, stick a mike in front of my mouth and I'll start going. I am such a fake! And you probably don't need to bother with the mike, just ask me something and go take a nap while you wait for me to shut up.
Today was Marathon Day here in NYC and my friend Daniel was running. His wife and kids picked me up in the morning and we went over to 67th and 1st to see if we could catch a glimpse of him. I did see him (there's no way I can miss a tall guy with long legs running in tiny shorts, it's just against everything that defines me) but by the time I told his wife he had passed us. We then went over to Central Park to see if we could catch him again on the 25 mile but missed him. I did get to see P. Diddy though. Much handsomer in person than on TV, I must say. He stopped to get some water just feet from where I was standing. I had forgotten everything about him running but I quickly remembered when a bunch of young girls to my right started screaming bloody murder.
The worst part of the afternoon was trying to reconnect with Daniel at the family reunion spot. There was no way to cross over to 72nd St. and it took us hours to finally make it to 85th. Eventually we all met on Columbus and went into a Japanese restaurant for lunch (at 4 P.M.) and then walked all the way home. Daniel was on a runner's high so he kept going and going, basking in the compliments from strangers and the occasional applause but Beatriz and I were beat. We got home (funny aside: my doorman came out extremely excited thinking I was the one who had run the Marathon. Poor thing. I had to disappoint him. I also had to ask him if I look stupid or what) and a short while later they left for a post-marathon party and I got to babysit the kids. They are very cute and sweet kids. They are also little demons, so I adopted a German nanny demeanor and had them in bed by 7.30 PM. Daniel and Beatriz were back in no time so now it's me and my blog once again, interrupted by several phone calls as the evening progresses.
Yesterday I went "blush blonde". I had a Miranda kind of color in mind but it did not come out exactly as expected. I loved it yesterday. I am not so sure today and I don't know how I am going to deal with the roots or if it fades away too quickly. What's sure it's that I needed a change and I got a change. Change is always good in my book.
Before going fake redhead in the late afternoon I spent the day with M.A. as my regular mousy brownhaired self. It was probably one of the few great weather weekends left so we took advantage of it. We walked around a bit and had lunch at Zen Palate and then I had my first Starbucks' double espresso ever and I think I might be hooked already. It's uncanny how easily I acquire new vices. We then strolled to the Park for some lazying on the Sheep Meadow before strolling back home, or, to be more precise, before he went to the gym and I came home for some tranformational coloring. In the evening I went out with Francia (who did not scream nor faint upon seeing me - a reaction I took as a good omen) to Solera, a tapas restaurant a few blocks away. The place is always empty but I really don't know why. It wouldn't be my first choice under other circumstances but it was the perfect place to go have a chat with a girlfriend. The tapas were fine and the waiter, an older gentleman with a beautiful smile, was adorable. We ate a little bit, shared a bottle of wine and a couple of sweet wines and caught up with the latest in our lives, as we hadn't gone out one on one in a long while.
As for Friday night, Halloween night, we skipped the party at Zanzibar's and went directly downtown to the Parade (of which we unwillingly were a part of, as fwe ound ourselves walking right in the middle of it, surrounded by people in costumes), stayed there a short while and then headed for a bar nearby (can't remember more details at the moment) where we were joined by Monse. We got there, I had a drink, then put on my mask and danced until it was time to go (early). This was not a dance place nor was anybody else dancing, except maybe two or three people, but what the heck. Putting on a mask has a marvelous liberating effect.
I have all sorts of photos from these last weekends but I don't feel like uploading them today. Might do it tomorrow.
I don't quite know how to say this, but I have bumped into this pastor over and over again while zapping up and down and I have always found him and his blinking utterly ridiculous but I never stopped and actually listened to what he was saying. Sometime last week I did and, surprise!, I happen to love his message. I have him on right now. Except for the minor detail that I am not religious at all and that I am even quite anti-Christian, this guy is striking. I am not sure his message is very Christian, in nature but that might be why I like his sermons so much. Or maybe it's just that I am going senile.

11:51 PM
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