Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Office Pooper

This is what happens when you bake in Boston!
Yes, that’s right.  I got a job about 7 weeks ago.  I have been in shock.  It is the first time I have worked in the States since 2000.  I have to wake up at 6:15am and catch the trolley at 7:30am (in Boston, they call it the “T” but it is a two wagon trolley in my book) all the way downtown and switch lines to a more decent train and get off at Kendall Square.  I can’t remember the last time I woke up at 6:15am.  I think I had to wake up that early once to catch a flight but I really can’t remember as I am not a morning person AT ALL.  So, life as I have known it has changed.  I also went from having my own broom closet and two hour lunches to working from a cubicle with two screens from 8am-6pm.

Sometimes my eyes are so sealed shut despite the fact that I have showered and filled my eyes with an entire container of eye drops that I have to clean my glasses to make sure what I see on the trolley is for real.  The other day on my 7:30am commute, I saw a guy dressed in a suit eating oatmeal out of a huge glass mixing bowl with a silver spoon.  After he slurped that down, he proceeded to put the dirty bowl in a plastic bag that looked like the trolley ran over it a few times and then he shoved that into his tiny computer bag.  There were no hidden cameras – I looked!

Luckily, I do find that trolley ride entertaining.  Most people have their eyes shut or try to bang out emails on the phone or do things that I find not entirely trolley inappropriate (read above again).  I usually send out emails or chat on Whatsapp with my friends in Spain or London or I just watch what is going on like it is a bad sitcom. 

My co-workers are great.  I like almost everybody.  We arrange activities and chat amongst ourselves and lend a hand when needed.  Assistants rule the world, don’t ever forget that.  So the other day, a woman from my team sends out a “COOKIE SWAP” email.  I wasn’t sure what a “cookie swap” was but being that I was about to go to a “Cookie Party” that Saturday, I thought it was the same thing.  The emails trickle in by the dozen.  Every EA has confirmed.  One replied that she was going to make peanut butter cookies from the roll.  Hmm? I reply, “I’m in and I’ll make gluten-free cookies.”  A day for the “Cookie Swap” email was never confirmed.

Last Saturday, I went to a “Cookie Party” at a friend’s house from 1pm to 3pm.  Perfect time.  I baked peanut butter cookies from a recipe that a girl friend sent me that she got off of 

That Saturday morning I frantically ran to the grocery store to buy baking sheets, a cooling rack, and all of the ingredients.  I, admittedly, went to the grocery store in pajamas and a massive hangover but with the great spirit of “I am going to feel like Betty Crocker!!”

“Are you going to bake?” asked the cashier.
“Yes!!  I am going to a cookie party” it was so obvious by the goods I was buying when suddenly I realize I forgot to buy the PEANUT BUTTER for my PEANUT BUTTER cookies!
“Oh, NO! I forgot the peanut butter – the main ingredient.”
“We can hold your stuff while you go get it.”
“OK, cool! Thank you so much for asking if I was going to bake! – I can’t believe I forgot the main ingredient.” Who am I trying to fool?  The cashier thought I was nuts and I was too frazzled by the number of cookie sheets, baking racks, types of sugar, types of baking soda plus ridden by a hangover, I forgot the peanut butter.

I get home and start the baking.  I reread the directions three times.  I doubled the recipe just in case and thankfully I did because the first batch turned out like peanut butter balls.  The recipe said nothing about flattening the peanut butter gooeyness before baking.  The entire house smelled of a peanut butter heaven.

As I was rolling the balls for the second batch (while eating scoops of peanut butter from the jar), I hear a weird scrapping noise coming from the back of the apartment.  We have to leave the back door open because they blast the heat and otherwise, we would suffocate.   

After about 4 peanut butter balls, I wonder,

“What the hell is el Toro doing out there?”

I continue to roll balls and I continue to hear the weird noise.  I wash my hands and decide to go check.  I can’t believe my eyes!  There is a squirrel with his buttside facing inside hanging and walking all over the screen door!!! 

My cookies must have smelled delish to the critter.  He even let me take his photo several times. 

The second batch turned out great and they were definitely presentable for the cookie party.  I had nearly devoured the 12 unpresentable balls so 12 cookies would have to do.

The cookie party was fabulous.  I met more of my friend’s friends and I had a lovely time.  We each got to take a couple of each type of cookie home and it was just lots of fun.

“So ladies, how about we do the cookie swap on Thursday?” emails the coordinator.

After many more emails trickle in, we decide for Monday which was originally my idea.

Here’s the email:
“So, if there are 12 of us, we each need to make 6 dozen cookies.”

I practically fell out of my chair – I can barely make 12 cookies!  I run over to the next cubicle.

“Is she for real?” I asked.

I get the explanation for the “Cookie Swap” and here’s my email to the group:

“Count me out.”

I received a sad face from the coordinator.

So, I am officially the office pooper (it’s not a party after all).   

Sunday, November 6, 2011

To Floss or to pick, that is the question.


“The coast is clear”, the guy says to his wife after looking quickly to his right and then to his left. 

“Yep, the coast is clear”, says the guy sitting across from the married couple.

There we were, just another couple sitting at a restaurant, eating our dinner, enjoying our drinks, conversing in Spanish when I see the Toro’s face cringe.  I look to the people sitting at the table to our left and I couldn’t believe what I saw. 

The Toro and I love dining and having drinkie poohs out, especially on a Friday or Saturday.  We were about to go to Hillstone, a restaurant that has one of the best pork chops I have ever tried but I told him I wanted to try a new place.  So off we went to Stoddard’s.  Apparently, Stoddard’s used to be a corsetiere but the building pretty much burnt down except for the corsetiere and they were able to salvage the place and it was made into a bopping bar/restaurant. 

We were totally enjoying ourselves and I managed to overcome the fact that every time somebody opened the door a gush of freezing cold air from outside would rush into the dining area by wearing my down coat.  All of the tables are so close together in the dining part of the bar that it almost feels cozy.  The Toro and I were catching up on our weeks or lack-there-of when all of the sudden, all etiquette breaks loose!

After both males at the table beside us declared that “the coast was clear” to the petite woman, she whips out her dental floss and continues to floss all of her teeth.    After she finished her dental work, she proceeded to leave the used dental floss on her gobbled up sea scallops.

“No lo puedo creer!” the Toro tells me he can’t believe it.

I look over and my gag reflex kicks in.  This gag reflex of mine can sometimes be a total inconvenience but the flossers didn’t notice.

The Toro and I continue to comment in Spanish about etiquette, as our shock was pretty overwhelming.  Etiquette is sometimes a funny thing.  In Spain, you can find toothpicks in any establishment that serves beverages or food.  If they aren’t on the bar or directly on the table, when you order the check the waiter will bring you a little plastic barrel full of them, sometimes they are in plastic casing, sometimes they are in paper casing or you get the unsanitary toothpicks that are just hanging out in the barrel.  Toothpicking in Spain is quite common.  I thought it was pretty gross at first but then the “when in Rome, do like the Romans” kicked in and I, admittedly, would use a toothpick if I had eaten ribs.

I am not sure which one is more inappropriate at the table, flossing or picking?  What I do know is that as an American, it was the first time I had ever seen anybody flossing at a dinner table.  In Spain, a vast majority toothpick after eating.  Either or, perhaps it should be done in the bathroom. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

An Authentic Couch Potato

Our TV!

Since I have returned to the States, I have morphed into an authentic couch potato.  I have always been pretty obsessed with Prime Time TV shows but I think that I have gone a bit overboard.  My dad obviously knows how important the TV is to me because he bought us our TV as a housewarming present. 

I have been trying to find a job so when I am not on the Internet searching for a job, on the phone for a possible interview or at an actual interview, I watch TV.  I really feel no need to justify my TV addiction!  There is so much to see and I have missed so much American TV over the past decade abroad.  From catching up on American Pop culture through programs on the boob tube, I am left with the impression that American society has gotten a bit more savvy, a bit more into DIY, a bit trashy, a bit fat, a bit drug obsessed, over critical, very gossipy and very interesting, all at the same time. 

I have been putting off writing this blog entry because I couldn’t decide if I should be embarrassed about my TV obsession or not.  I really do love to read and I have the tendency to become possessed by books as well (I read the Vampire Books in about 3 weeks (I was working and could only read obsessively during the commute or my lunch hours! I read the Stephan Larson books in about two weeks and I read the Hunger Games trilogy in 4 days – Izzy actually woke up in the middle of the night to find me reading with a headlamp on at 4:00AM!).  My dad would surely classify all of those trilogies as trashy novels but I don’t care.  I earned a Masters of Art degree in Hispanic Literature so I feel I can read and watch all the trash I want and I still manage to feel like an intelligent woman.

But anyhow, back to the TV.  My dad actually bought us our TV as a housewarming gift.  It is BIG and has HD.  I figure, eventually, I will be employed and I will officially be off Couch Potato duty!  I am putting my shame aside and I will actually list all of the shows.  All of these programs are on Prime Time; I am not the scriptwriter!  So, don’t judge! 

Due to the fact that “On Demand” automatically records all of the episodes and you can watch them “on demand”, some of the shows on my list do not indicate the day or time because I will either watch them at the weekly scheduled time or “on demand”.

The Rachel Ray Show – I watch this while I have my first coffee – I find some of the foods she cooks pretty nasty.  She tends to have good guests on her show (9:00 – 10:00 AM)
The Nate Berkus Show (10:00 – 11:00 AM) – He won my heart when he worked on Oprah on the interior design part of the show.  He is absolutely adorable and provides tons of great ideas to decorate your house, have a make-over, DIY, all of the ideas he provides through his show are affordable.  He has great guests on his show.
The View (11:00 – 12:00 PM) – I have always been a big fan of Whoopi Goldberg.  I like their commentaries on current events.
The Chew (13:00 – 14:00 PM) – I watch this for lack of a better show.  I have no idea why I watch cooking shows when I am very allergic to everything.
The Talk (14:00 – 15:00) – Very similar to the View only different hosts.
Keeping up with the Kardashians – I admittedly LOVE this family!
The Bachelorette – I watched that in the summer after so many of my friends kept posting on Facebook about it and I don’t think that I will get sucked in again
Ellen DeGeneres (New time – 4:00 PM) – She is hilarious and has great guests.
Project Runway (Thursday evening) – by far my most favorite show…up and coming designers have to design clothing according to the challenge presented by Heidi Klum
Dancing with the Stars – not sure how I got hooked on this one but I don’t think that Carson should have been voted off
All of the various CSIs – love solving crimes…I actually get so into it that I feel like a temporary CSI by trying to figure out the crime and who’s the bad guy.
Criminal Minds – once again, love solving crimes…
White Collar – the main character is HOT and an ex-con-man.
Fringe – Sci-fi - by far my most favorite series EVER..the third season still has some quirks to work out but I am a fan.

ETC.  As long as the remote has batteries, I will continue to click away!

While I am watching my shows, the commercials are mind-boggling.  There are so many pharmaceutical commercials.  There are so many drugs for so many different bodily functions, it is crazy!  I always pay attention during those and wonder who would actually take a drug because they have foot fungus when it causes the most disturbing side effects? At the end of the commercial, they read all of the side effects.   Here’s an example of VESIcare for an overactive bladder:

VESIcare is not for everyone. If you have certain stomach or glaucoma problems, or trouble emptying your bladder, do not take VESIcare. VESIcare may cause allergic reactions that may be serious. If you experience swelling of the face, lips, throat or tongue, stop taking VESIcare and get emergency help. Tell your doctor right away if you have severe abdominal pain, or become constipated for three or more days. VESIcare may cause blurred vision, so use caution while driving or doing unsafe tasks. Common side effects are dry mouth, constipation, and indigestion.”

Why on earth would you want to take something that causes all of that?  I would rather have leaky bladder or wear a Depends! 

The infomercials are quite impressive as well.  There is so much junk out there!!  I think the funniest products on the market are the pajama jeans and the Forever Lazy.  I have actually seen the Forever Lazy for sale at Walgreens.  That might make watching TV really comfy!

I think that the most shocking show I have watched on Prime Time TV has been Hoarders.  My cousin actually suggested I watch an episode.  I am a total neat freak and can’t stand clutter.  The show is based around people who have a psychological problem and save anything and everything to the point that it becomes hazardous to their health.  I no longer watch that program because I find it sad and claustrophobic.

If you are ever have a day at home, there is plenty to watch.  You can fill up your day with plenty of American Pop culture through Prime Time TV: re-runs, cooking shows, sports, talk shows, the list goes on and on.  There is always something for everybody and you can always learn something.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Isabella, my new idol

Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice by Anders Zorn - 1894

One of the biggest highlights since my arrival in Boston has been my visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  I went with Annabel during her visit on a rainy, chilly Boston day.  I had been obsessed with going to the museum since I borrowed the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum book from the Brookline library back in June and decided to wait till her visit to go.  I devoured the book and through Isabella’s creation of the Venetian Palazzo at Fenway, she became my new idol.  My mother raved about the museum and I couldn’t wait to visit Isabella’s Palazzo.  I even wanted to work there and the idea still consumes me.

My friend Joanna once said, “She’s the Peggy Guggenheim of her time.”  Isabella sought out to create an enchanting and wonderful cultural experience for the masses.  She was often deemed as eccentric, all the better for creating a cultural experience filled with authentic pieces from all over the world.  If I were alive during her time, I would have loved to have been her friend or at least be invited to one of the many entertaining events that she held at her creation.

When Annabel and I walked in, we were already enchanted.  The outside of the building has nothing to do with what is in the inside.  We quickly paid the entrance fee, which is a lot lower than most museums, put our umbrellas in plastic, and off we went to see the world of art, décor, books, letters, walls of leather and lace, all of which are pieces of history in a mere three floors.  Our adventure started on the top floor and we slowly worked our way down to the bottom floor.  The guards on every floor offered helpful information on each room and even told us where to see an authentic etching.  The bottom floor is a breathtaking courtyard with the loveliest flowers and plants and sculptures.  It is the only place in the museum that Mrs. Gardner did not leave specific instructions to follow upon her death.

The Courtyard 
If you read the book, it is fascinating to learn how she acquired the pieces, how they were shipped to the USA and also about the misfortunate robbery.

Every inch of the museum has something to marvel.  If you are in Boston, I highly recommend that you add it to your itinerary.  You will be amazed and you don't have to be an art historian to appreciate the Palazzo.    

El Jaleo by John Singer Sargent - 1882

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Midsummer Night’s…

Lucky Number 7

Yesterday it was Izzy’s and my 6th year Wedding Anniversary.  We got married on August 25th, 2005 in Madrid; it was a Thursday, just like yesterday!  Thursdays have always been my favorite day of the week and I knew it was a sure sign.  Our wedding seems like it was just yesterday! 

Here’s how that special Thursday in 2005 went before we got married: In the morning, we took our guests on a walking tour of the city, stuffed ourselves with ribs and chorizo for lunch at Las Costillas, and then my sister and I decided I needed something for my hair.  Someone once asked me, “How could you have eaten so much before you got married?”  I still don’t have the answer but I can say that I cannot resist ribs and I turn into a nightmare if I don’t eat!  Who wants to be Bridezilla?  And haven’t you ever noticed that fed people are nice people? 

On the walk back to our apartment, we stopped at a florist and asked if they could make a headpiece out of fresh flowers as we saw that he was making them at that moment. 

“¿Para cuándo?” It only seems logical that he would want to know for when.
“Lo necesito ahora. Hoy mismo.”  I kindly replied that I needed it for right now and the florist nearly had a heart attack!
“Imposible.” I have never been a fan of the word “impossible”.

Apparently, the florist was on overload because of the numerous orders he had to complete for the weekend communions.  It was Thursday, in my mind and if it were my shop, I would have sold one that was already made and I would have made another in its place but that is not how it happened.  So my creative sister tells me to buy the stuff and we’ll make it.  The guy basically threw baby’s breath and wire at us and charged us nothing. 

“Buena suerte.” He said as we were leaving the store.

My sister and I run to our apartment and we braided the wire and tied in the flowers and violá; I had a handmade flower headpiece for my special day!

So here is how this special anniversary in 2011 went: We were invited by one of his co-workers to attend the HBGC’s Midsummer Night’s Art Gala at his apartment.  He lives in the South End in a Warehouse where if you have an Artist’s Certificate from the State of Massachusetts, you can live in the space and do what you wish to make it you home, art studio, etc.

I really didn’t know what to expect but I was very excited because I love meeting artists and seeing their work firsthand.  This event was to raise money for the HBGC that is only 2 years old.  One of the founders said that even if you aren’t Hispanic, Black or gay, their mission is to make the world a friendlier place and show their support, especially with so much bullying going on in the United States as of late.

I introduced myself to several people and Izzy’s co-worker introduced me to the artists and showed me all of their pieces and his pieces.  As some of the attendees were casual participants to art, he gave a nice introduction to art collecting.

Izzy arrived and saw that I had been signing the bidding sheet to outbid a guy named, “Joel.”  I decided to figure out who this “Joel” was as he was up against me on the “Lucky Number 7” by Anna Comella and who was also bidding on all of the pieces!

I see a guy in front of the Number Collection, talking to the artist and I asked,

“Are you Joel?”
“Why, yes, I am.”
“Hi!  I am Sarah and I really want that Lucky Number 7.”
“Well, so do I!”

Joel and I became friends and were having so much fun.  I finally told Joel that if he didn’t stop outbidding me on my soon to be Lucky Number 7 then I would step on his foot with my lovely high heeled shoe!  Always a lady!!  We even had the artist laughing!  We were also trying to get the other attendees into the bidding but didn’t have too much success.

Finally, bid time was over and I got the FINAL bid on the painting and we got to take home the Lucky Number 7!!  What an anniversary present!  I love the number 7!  I was born on the 7th…in the 70s, got married on the 25th (2+5=7!) in the year 2005! 

After the event, Izzy and I went to eat dinner at Legal Seafood Harborside where we lucked out and got a table right by the water!  After dinner, we had a cocktail on the lovely roof deck.

As the news is filled with updates on the Hurricane Irene, I sent Izzy out to get water and he comes back with beer!  Here is the card that my mom sent us for our anniversary and it is so perfect!

Hope that everyone on the East Coast stays safe!   

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Under-tattooed in Boston

Photo from

“¿Está llevando una camiseta?” I asked Izzy.
“No creo.” He answered.

After careful inspection, the bartender was not wearing a batik t-shirt but she was wearing a black tank top and the whole upper part of her body and arms were tattooed like a batik in black ink.  I found the tattoos quite lovely, as they weren’t filled in with all of the colors.  I have a tattoo that is well hidden that I got when I was 19 with one of my best friends and mine isn’t looking as peachy as it did when I first got it so when I saw the bartender’s intricate body design, I kept thinking to myself, “How is that going to look in 20 years?”

I remember when I got my tattoo; my friend and I felt like we were on a mission.  We got into my mom’s red convertible Miata, we blared the music, giggling the entire ride, as we followed our buddy who led the way on his motorcycle to Tony’s tattoo parlor.  Our friend convinced us that Tony was the best tattoo artist around and that his needles were “new”.  That didn’t even phase us.

We felt like the ultimate rebels, like we were the coolest of cool.  Her brother designed our tattoos to fit perfectly on the left side where the bikini covered it.  We decided not to go with the right side just in case we had to have our appendix out.  Good thinking for two 19 years olds at a tattoo parlor!!  She made me get mine first.  We each paid Tony the $70 in single dollars, tip money, and off we went back to work.  That summer, we worked at a snack bar and couldn’t wait to show our new body art to our co-workers.  They weren’t half as thrilled as we were.    

I sometimes forget that I have a tattoo and when I catch a quick glimpse in the mirror, I do a double take and then I chuckle.  My tattoo is of a blue moon with stars and Saturn (that’s my planet and I figured you only get a tattoo once in a blue moon, the stars were an added bonus).  Once again, great thinking for a 19 year old!  My friend’s tattoo is of a sunflower that her parents to this day believe she paints it on herself every day!  Any mother of three would know that there is no way she would have time to paint a tattoo on herself everyday!    

I don’t regret getting the tattoo: It is a marker of time and friendship, rebelliousness, recklessness, plain permanent fun.  I do regret that my sister was worried that Big Al would freak out so she got a little heart tattooed on her butt!

Per usual, I did a survey about tattoos.  I, personally, have mixed feelings about tattoos.  I have always thought that tattoos are thought provoking; they always make me wonder what it means to the person and I also think that my take on tattoos depends on my given mood: I like them, hate them, love them, find them gross, etc.  My dear friend Joanna has a small Native American turtle on her ankle.  She says that Indians of the Eastern Woodlands believed that the world was created on the back of a turtle.  She claims that tattoos are very personal, which they are and if you get one it should be “small and something meaningful”.  

I have a couple of friends who aren’t fans and especially not of all over the body tattoos.  One of them respects everyone's right to decorate their own body as they see fit.  She adds,

“Of course, I think tattoos all over the body are a little much, and people should put them in places where they can hide them because there are times and places where tattoos are not appropriate.

PS I think people who put their initials or names on their bodies are stupid”!

One friend has 7 tattoos on various body parts!  She likes tattoos and thinks the opposite of my other friend and thinks that all over the body tattoos “can be sexy!”

My other friend who isn’t a fan thinks that they look better on darker skin as they look “very greeny on aged white skin” says, “I also don’t think tattoos go with everything i.e. a ball gown + a tattoo looks really tacky.”

Every time my husband and I enjoy a frosty beverage at a bar or eat at a restaurant, we feel under-tattooed.  I have seen a bartender with New Jersey tattooed behind his ear.  I find it fascinating.  Wouldn’t that hurt like hell?  I think that I have seen more tattooed people here in Boston then I have ever seen in my life.  Through my exploration of the city, I have noticed that there aren’t as many tattoo parlors here as there are in Vallecas and the few that I have seen look sketchy from the outside.

I am pretty sure that I would never get another tattoo not to mention that Fruitcake would have a heart attack if I did as he constantly reminds me of the amount of mercury, carbon and numerous other toxins that enter the blood stream with a tattoo. 

If you are heading to Boston and want to have the tattooed look, I recommend going temporary.  Temporary tattoos can be found every where and if you are looking for the ones that are a bit more dynamic then the ones found in a box of Cracker Jacks, according to, Swissmiss launched a new line.  If you want to get even more sophisticated, Chanel has temporary tattoos or you can order Henna tattoos at   

If you plan on heading to Boston and want a real tattoo, you can head to the 10th Annual Boston Tattoo Convention being held September 2-5 and get one there!

Kat Von D - I loved her tattoo show!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hot, Hot, Hot!!

Chihuly - Ceiling installation
It is the hottest day of the year here in Boston.  According to the news, it hasn’t been this hot since 1926.  They have been interrupting the trashy shows I have been watching all morning with HEAT wave warnings.  I am sitting here in our apartment, SWEATING.  I am tempted to take the shelves out of the refrigerator and get in!  My mom had sent me about 20 text messages about the sales at PC Richards on various air conditioning units and perhaps we should have bought a couple.  The hot temperature actually reminds me how it is in Madrid on a daily basis during the entire summer.  I am glad that this will be a passing heat wave.  A friend’s status on Facebook sums it up with, “No, it's not too hot out. It's the end of July... If you don't like it, I will find pictures and posts about when you complained that it was too cold and snowy out and tag you in them.”  I, for one, can’t get the song, “Feeling HOT, Hot, HOT!” out of my head.

I have been trying to keep myself busy and out of the city.  I haven’t been that impressed with Boston thus far and the latest news releases haven’t helped.  I miss Madrid, my friends, my vinitos, and even my job!  I feel quite lonely here and I am not sure how to fix it other than getting a job so I can meet new people and get a social life going.  I have seen a few friends here and there which is beyond wonderful but I need more!!  I think boredom is the pits.

Boston has just recently been voted by GQ as one of the worst dressed cities in all of the United States and it was surveyed as the “least friendly city”.  I am trying to be positive and keep an open mind but it is proving to be difficult.  I am hoping that I will get on the ball and find a job soon and that in the fall, when it is a bit cooler, I will see more glamorous apparel but who knows.  I know I sound fake but I LOVE fashion and accessories!  Looking cute is not all about spending a lot of money and sports shorts should be worn at the gym or at home.  I went shopping the other day and beaded sandals are on sale at almost every store and they are cuter and they are about the same price as the Reef and Havaiana rubber flip flops I see everybody wearing. 

In the past couple of weeks I have seen two art exhibits.  My mom came up to visit and we went to see the Chihuly Through the Looking Glass exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.  The exhibit was amazing as is the museum.  We rented the audio guides, which I think are always necessary at museums so you learn more.  The audio guides had videos about the installation of the glass exhibits that is a very complex process and ends up creating the marvels in front of your eyes.  His hanging glass chandeliers were actually inspired by the chandeliers that were hanging at a restaurant he ate at in Barcelona.  Dale Chihuly revolutionalized the art of blowing glass and made “craft art” into something spectacular.

One of his hanging chandeliers
I drove down to my hometown with my mom the next day and stayed there for a couple of nights.  My hometown hasn’t changed which in some ways is refreshing but in others, I am not a particular fan of time standing still.  I saw a bunch of great friends and then headed to New York.

Once I arrived in New York, I caught the 6 subway uptown to go see the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibit at the Met.  I was told that I could drop my carry-on case, which I refer to as a trolley at the museum.  So, I walk into the left entrance where they have a coat check all excited and suddenly, I was surrounded by 5 security guards.  I felt like I was back at the airport in Tel Aviv.  They all informed me that suitcases couldn’t be checked in.  My trolley didn’t have a bomb in it but it is reassuring to know that the Art and people viewing the art are safe!

I left the museum with my trolley in a flash, caught a whiff of the greasy hotdogs from the hotdog stand right outside the museum and caught a taxi.  I hightailed it up to my brother’s apartment and left my bombless bag with his doorman.  I took a taxi back to the museum and decided to enter through the main entrance.  I bought my ticket and got the audio guide, which wasn’t as high tech as the one in Boston but it served its purpose.  I was then informed that there was a 45-minute wait to see the McQueen exhibit.  The time passed by quickly because I kept punching in the numbers to learn about the art along the way.  Suddenly, I see a woman on her cell phone.  She proceeded to make herself at home at the museum as she put her elbows on a Rodin statue!  I was in such a state of shock that I couldn’t get out my phone to take a photo.  She was talking with her elbows on the Rodin for about 4 minutes before an irate guard told her that if she didn’t remove herself from the statue, he would have to escort her out of the museum.  She didn’t even apologize but look annoyed!  Don’t touch art!

Then whilst on the queue, a woman and her friend had tickets to see a show at 2PM and she was trying to bribe the woman who was making the line move with a buck to cut the line.  What are the rest of us, chopped liver? 

Finally, my moment to enter the exhibit arrived.  I was in aw.  I loved all of the pieces and videos on display.  I found the exhibit spectacular and the commentaries on the audio guide were amazing.  Some complained that the exhibit had no "ready wear" but it left me breathless.  Lee was a pioneer of fashion who often looked to the ugly things in nature to inspire his collections.  I had goose bumps and I thought it was wonderful.  It made me wonder what the Duchess of Cambridge dress would have really looked like had he designed it himself but some, like the Clothes Whisperer has an idea about that.  If I had my trolley with me, I probably would have been tempted to put a couple of the pieces in there!!! 

I went through the museum and aside from the impressive collection, I was most impressed by a group of kids painting famous paintings.  It is so inspiring to see kids inspired by art.

A child painting Monet's Water Lilies
I decided to walk back up to my brother’s to retrieve my trolley.  I got an ice coffee along the way.  I love coffee in New York.  Once I got to my brother’s, the doorman told me the best and easiest route downtown would be to take the bus down 5th Ave.  It wasn’t peak hour so there weren’t many riders but there was one in particular that caught my attention.  A big colored lady was talking on her imaginary cell phone and every minute or so, she would give the bird out the window to the passersby on the sidewalk.  The conversation in her fluctuating voice from sweet to mean went like this: 

“I didn’t ask you to do that….now, why would you do that?...why would you cheat?...I’m still on the bus….going downtown….to the bank….yep, I am still on the bus…You are so sweet…that was so nice of you.”

A psychologist would have a field day with that one.

I love New York.  I actually felt at “home”.  I stayed with my former boss at Christie’s and we had the best time.  We walked around the Chelsea Market, ate at Dos Caminos in the meat packing district, went shoe shopping where we tried on some of the ugliest shoes ever and had a good laugh and then we had a cocktail party at his apartment with some of my dear friends and then we ate at a Thai place right around the corner.

The next night, I had a soiree with 5 sorority sisters that was fabulous.  I hadn’t seen some since I graduated last century and it was like a day hadn’t past.  It was a true delight to see them.  We started off at Bar’rique on Bleaker and then we ate Mexican at Florencia 13.  The night ended with a few of us smoking a hooka at Le Souk, which I will refer to as Le Sketchy. 

I took the train back to Boston and it was the second time I had ever been to Penn Station.  As I was entering the train station, a bum told me that I looked like a famous actor from “Too Close for Comfort.”  Things that make you go hmmm.

On the train ride, there were a couple of highlights.  The girl who sat next to me was reading The Valley of the Dolls which I think is the BEST book EVER and she had borrowed it from the LIBRARY!  It is the Sex & the City of the 40s – you have to read it.  Behind me, I had a man of whom I can name from JP Morgan talking business on his cell phone the ENTIRE three and a half hour ride to Boston.  I could tell you the latest deals and how one of his PowerPoint presentations should be revamped so the deal will “run up”.  He ended each conversation with “Have a nice weekend.”  POR DIOS!! 

Once back in Boston, the toro and I played tourists.  We walked through Harvard and I rubbed John Harvard’s brass foot.  Apparently, an image of John Harvard doesn’t exist and the sculpture used a person who looked similar to him after his death.  According to legend, rubbing the foot isn’t lucky, tourist like myself do it while students pee on it.  Don’t worry; I washed my hands after I read about it on the new toy.

Stay tuned for more!! 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Always double-check your receipt…

A US Post Office

“Do you know where the post office is?” I asked two girls sitting right outside the public library.
“Post office?” They both looked at each other with a surprised look and giggled.
“Yes, the place where you send paper mail and buy stamps.”
“I have no idea.” replied one.
“Me neither.” said the other.
“OK, thanks.” I said to them both while feeling like the last dinosaur on Earth who actually buys stamps.  They both went eagerly back to their iPhones, giggling.

“To get to the Post Office, you walk to the end of the street and it is right on your left.” an eave’s dropper about the same age as me informed me.

So off I go to the Post Office.  When I get there, there was a long line and it was moving very slowly.

“Yes, I would like to buy these two cards, a pre-stamped envelope, a stamp for the US and 4 stamps for Spain.” I said to the Postman.
As he prepares my not-so-complicated order, I took out a $20 to pay him.
“That will be $13.69.”
Hmmmm, how could all that be so expensive?” I thought to myself.
I hand him the $20 and he hands me the change and receipt.  As I am stuffing the change back into my wallet, I decided to review the receipt despite the evil glares from those on queue and meanwhile, the Postman disappears.

A new Postman appears and I tell him that I think that there has been a mistake with my order. 

“Who helped you?”
“The little Asian man.” I was hoping that describing the former Postman wasn’t politically incorrect.
“OK.  I have to go get him.”

As the queue continued to grow longer, the stares were throwing daggers in my back.

So the little Asian Postman reviews the receipt and explains that he made an error.  He had accidentally typed the "1" twice.  The only way to resolve it was to give me 10 US postage stamps that “are good forever.”

So, if you would like a post card from Boston from yours truly, please send me an email with your physical address and I would be more than happy to send you a post card that you receive in your mailbox like the time of the dinosaurs. 

Remember, always double-check your receipts no matter where you are.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

First Impressions

I have been Stateside for almost three weeks and boy do I have my blog abandoned!  I haven’t felt much inspiration to be quite honest and I wasn’t sure who really wants to read about my Stateside adventures!  The transition has been quite easy being that my husband, dad and many other people all worked together to have the apartment “ready to live in”.  It is amazing how people reach out in the States.  My mom lent us dinner plates and cleared other things out of her basement such as silverware, bowls, quilts, etc.  A friend of the family gave us her old sofas which if I must say, they are quite ugly and they smell of dog pee but they serve their purpose for the moment.  My dad’s girlfriend who is an avid fan of tag sales found us a day bed that is brand new and is perfect for houseguests.  I think that is one of the things that has impressed me most; all of the people who have crossed my path thus far has been very polite with the exception of a few who have attitude problems that just gives me a bit of a chuckle.  I am so overwhelmed by how excited my family and dear friends have been about my return “home”.

Some of my first impressions; the grocery store is ENORMOUS with so many varieties that I got a bit overwhelmed and actually had to call my mother about a couple of products, there are a lot of obese people here that it is a bit worrisome, vegetables and fruit are more expensive than meats, too many flip-flops, the streets aren’t as well lit up as in Europe, people can be VERY loud in enclosed areas but surely they are educated so it doesn’t count, right? 

By the suggestion of a friend, the first bar I went to in Boston is called Drink, it is downtown.  I went to finally have that Sutton Cellars Dry Vermouth.  The bar is REALLY cool and Joe the bartender can stir up some fancy cocktails with his magic potions!  If you go for a cocktail, make sure you try the "Little Sutton"!!  

The toro and I went to see one of my hometown buddy’s band play.  We met up with a couple of others from my hometown for cocktails at the Cactus Club beforehand and yet again, it was like a day hadn’t past!  The last time I had seen my friend’s band play was in 2004 in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat when he sang a couple of songs at our friend’s wedding.  I had previously seen him play in NYC in 2000!  They are good!!

Jamie McLean Band

I drove for the first time in 10 years!  I should have warned everybody to clear the roads but I didn’t!  My dad bought us a welcome home TV that he had sent down to his house in Connecticut so I had to rent a car and drive there to pick it up.  Renting the car was a piece of cake.  I actually walked into Enterprise rentacar and violà, I had a car rental.  I insisted on a SMALL car which I have learned that the smallest car is a mini but the TV wouldn’t fit in that.  So off I went.  The toro had set up the GPS beforehand and for some reason, it was set to take me on the back roads down to Connecticut.  After about an hour, I was FED UP and thankfully, I had read the directions on my toy, the iPhone 4, so when I saw that I could get on a highway, I was at my dad’s in no time.  I stopped at my hometown best friend’s house on the way.  It was like a day hadn’t past since I had last seen her.  My sister and her kids had just flown in from Denver so I was a pleasant surprise!!

After I dragged the ENORMOUS TV into the house, I had to pick up the toro at work.  Little did I know that I would be driving through the center of Boston at peak hour.  Suddenly, that sangre española (Spanish blood) came out and I found that my road rage comes out by yelling Spanish profanities at other drivers!  Hopefully no one understood me!!  That was scary!  I think that my knuckles were white by the time I got to the toro’s office!!  I let him take the wheel from there!

I managed to get a library card.  I haven’t borrowed books in over a decade!  I love libraries – so many books, so much to learn!  I just read about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  She is my new idol and I can’t wait to go visit her Palazzo on Fenway!

My other tasks have included getting cable and Internet installed in the apartment.  As soon as it was installed, I had them put Wimbledon on.  

“Why isn’t the picture very clear?” I asked the Comcast guy.
“You have an HD TV and this is a digital box.” He replied in Greek.  He then explained the digital versus HD TVs and I could speak Greek.
“OH! The person on the phone never asked me what type of TV I had, how do I get the HD box?”
“You have to call and arrange it because unfortunately, I don’t have an extra HD box in the truck.”

I honestly thought this type of stuff only happened in Spain!!  So after yet another phone call, I get the HD box installed today!  Woohoo!  Love watching TV!

We spent last weekend with the entire family at Fisher’s Island.  I bumped in to yet another childhood friend on the ferry ride over!  We had a lovely time with the family on Fisher's.  It was a lot of fun.  The island is very beautiful, full of hydrangeas  and it was great to have the entire family under the same roof after so many years.  We went tubing, my pyromaniac mother and brother set off fireworks, watched a two second July 4th Parade and toured the small island that is off the coast of Connecticut but is part of New York.

Fisher's Island
“Are there fireworks in Boston?”  I emailed a couple of girl friends on the train ride back to Boston.
“They are a big deal.  At El Esplanade but you will have a great view of them on the Boston U Bridge.”

So after el toro and I had a nice dinner at the restaurant Hillstone, (order the pork chop) off we went to the bridge.  I am not sure what was better, the odd conversation I was listening to or the fireworks.  It was fun!!

So here I am!  Hasta Pronto!! 

Boston Fireworks from the BU Bridge