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