Friday, October 30, 2009

Vampire Ball - Part II - I'm Going to Suck Your Blood!

Well besides having a little bit of food poisoning and fever from the steak tartare and quail's egg (I think), things are OK, so let's continue with our 4th course:

Dover Sole Meuniere - this was to die for, pardon the vampire pun! This fish melted in your mouth and reminded Wendy and I about the time we went to L.A. Farm in Santa Monica. Running late for our dinner reservations due to traffic (huge surprise in CA), we called the restaurant and told them we were running late. We did not want to the snooty hostess to not seat us after we finally arrived after being in the car for an hour and a half. A pleasant man answered, listed to our plight, and assured us it was no problem. Did we dial a number in the Midwest? People are not that nice in L.A.! When we got there and were seated, the chef came out to see us. Sorry to hear that your drive here was so bad, I'm glad you made it. What? He was the nice man that answered the phone. We were speechless. This wasn't a Mom and Pop restaurant, Jennifer Aniston eats here for frick sake, and he cares about us? We were sold and had the best salmon meal of our life!

Next up, leg of lamb! I am not sure I have ever had lamb before but it was amazing in this stew concoction that they sat in front of us. This reminded of us of a great steak dinner at Whist in Santa Monica. It reminded us of how Wendy spilled a whole bag of Goldfish crackers as we pulled up to the valet at the restaurant with our clearly WT dirty car. It reminded us of the $12 Voss water they served us (we caught on after the 1st bottle) and how we were parched when we left the restaurant and ran around the block to Ralph's to buy a 6-pack of Fiji water as soon as we left this really expensive restaurant where we had had one of the nest meals of our lives!

Finally, it was dessert time - Rum Babas with Melomelo - otherwise known as yummy goodness! Since Tom was feeling left out of the L.A. memories, he declared this course to remind him of Puerto Rico, the Bacardi rum factory and the crazy amounts of food that contained rum that we ate on vacation. We agreed whole hearted and that rounded out our fun evening.

As we tried to right our full selves out of the crowded corner booth, we decided that the night was a success. Now, if only are tarot card fortunes will come true....

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vampire Ball - Part I - Let Your Fangs Hang Out

Last night, Wendy, Tom and I headed out to the Zingerman's 4th Annual Vampire Ball benefiting the local charity Food Gatherers, that provides food for those in need in Washtenaw County. As we tasted the great 6 course meal, it seemed that every plate conjured up memories of other restaurants and adventures, mostly in L.A.

The first course was Steak Tartare and Quail's Egg. This reminded Wendy and I of the time we went to Patina. We had saved our food budget for that night and still we were astounded by the prices. On our per diem, we could each have a glass of wine, Wendy a salad and me, tuna tartare. Not to be embarrassed by the situation, we casually told the waiter, "We just want something light. We have another event to go tonight." Being L.A., the land of the skinny, he thought nothing of it and still provided us with great service. Little did he know that our next event was the Dodgers game a couple miles down the road. As we zoomed there, changing into ball game gear in the car, our first stop in the park was the hot dog stand. We were starving!

Next up was a Normandian Bouillabaisse. This reminded us of Chimayo in Huntington Beach and my obsession for crab cakes one week. We spent 4 nights in search of the perfect crab cakes, going to obscure restaurants that were out of the way and they were right there at one of our favorite places. Mike just shook his head, and continued to drive us around, without saying a word!

3rd course was Loire Grape Salad. While our minds automatically drifted to France, it also made us think of the pomp and paparazzi frenzy that is The Ivy. A celebrity magnet, this restaurant has press camped out in front of it all the time. Lunch there was again an ordeal - fruit juice, lemonade, salad, asparagus and bread cost $60! As we basked in our fabulousness, we knew we would be eating fish taco's for dinner!

I'll talk about courses 4 - 6 tomorrow but we had a blast last night. Tarot card readings, a book reading by a local author, crazy table companions, and free beer and wine made the night a success! And all this fun for a good cause also!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Adventures in Atlanta!

Let's just start by saying that Helen Keller (HK) and I lived in an apartment complex that was on 20/20 because there was a murder there. Luckily, we found out about this AFTER we moved out. For us the location was good, a college friend of HK's lived upstairs and it was affordable.

HK and I never had a dull moment in ATL. Having no classes on Friday afternoons, we always set out after lunch at Taco Bell or our favorite Mexican restaurant, Los Loros for some sort of adventure. Whether it was shopping, checking out a new sight or basically driving around aimlessly, there always seemed to be a crazy person waiting to cross our path! First of all, we thought we must of worn signs on our foreheads that said "Talk to Me!" Constantly randoms would approach us and start conversations for no apparent reasons. What do we look like Oprah? We don't know you and we do NOT care what you think! We even had a sign for the other one in case we got cornered by a rambling idiot and we needed a distraction to get away!

Once at The Gap, I was searching the rack for the right size and color of a shirt I wanted. A lady approached, asked me my size and proceeded to use the long grabby stick to pull the shirt from the upper racks. Only when I was in the dressing room, did HK see the same woman checking out. She did not work at The Gap, she was a customer. Are you kidding me? This is taking Southern Hospitality to the extreme!

Another time, we decided to go to the Renaissance Fair and we decided to get our hands dipped in colored wax for a souvenir. We were obviously drunk at the time - what kind of souvenir is that? WT souvenirs that is! Anyways, we saw the sign that says "$15 for 1 hand, $25 for 2." Thinking we were going to save $, we know how to divide $25 by 2 people, we asked for that. That was until we found out, we had to hold hands and dip together. Um, not so much! We both came home with our individual rainbow hands (the attendant told HK she had man hands and he barely escaped the dipping alive) and they now reside in the landfill. Maybe they make a good home for a mouse when it rains!

The last adventure in ATL that I am going to share with you today is about our nights in Buckhead. We were regulars at Jelly Rolls, always called on our friend Drew to drive and were often found singing, dancing, skipping or cart wheeling down the streets at 2 in the morning!

Not one of the most dignified time in our lives, but definitely one of the most fun!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Wendy and I were in California for work (we spent a lot of time in California if you can not tell) and we were ready start our work week. We spent Sunday night at our hotel and went into the office first thing Monday morning. When I showered Monday morning, I had a bump on my leg about the size of a time. Thinking I had a mosquito bite, I thought nothing of it. As work continued, I started feeling feverish, sick and my leg was throbbing. As the day progressed the bump on my leg grew to the size of a saucer and I was having trouble walking. Houston, we have a problem. We marked the edges of the bump and checked it every hour to see if it was growing. I was the circus attraction of the day for both Wendy and the client!

After hoping it would stop getting bigger, I realized at about 11 pm that night that I had better go to the hospital. Let me tell you, Long Beach ER waiting rooms are scary. After waiting about 3 hours and being bumped down the queue for the gun shot and stab victims, it was finally my turn. I had been bit my a brown recluse spider at the hotel. Are you kidding????????? These are hard core spiders. So then it was off to a 24-hour pharmacy (again in Long Beach) to try to get my 10 days of antibiotics while trying to understand the pharmacist that did not speak English. Returning to our hotel at about 3:30 a.m., now came the task of moving to another room ASAP!

After approaching the front desk manager, looking pathetic with my hospital bracelet on, I demanded a new room. Wendy, 2 hotel workers and I packed up my stuff and moved it to a different floor! The rest of the week passed in a drug-induced blur - fever, nausea, and sickness that even Mike's apple martinis could not fix. I was so out of it, I actually did not go out that week - that proves that I was truly sick! As I returned home to deal with the medical bills, HR told me this was the strangest case of workman's comp that they had ever seen!

Monday, October 26, 2009

All I Really Want is a Drink!

This past April, 14 of us packed up our suitcases and headed to Vegas for a long weekend. Brian, Jaime, Joel, Tom and I stayed at The Mandalay Bay. The first day there, we gathered in the room for some pre-dinner drinks before venturing out onto the Strip. Brian and Jaime's room had 4 glasses so they called down for more. Housekeeping told them it would be a $5 surcharge to bring more glasses to the room. Are you kidding me? They can be washed and reused! It costs $5 to have you drag your lazy a** down the hall with some super heavy (not) bar glasses. Please! Tom and I transported ours from our room and the party continued.

Then we decided to make some margarita's. A shaker beckoned to us on the bar shelf, but it was enclosed in shrink wrap. Never a good thing. Brian called down stairs to find out the deal with the shaker only to find out that if you opened it, you would be charged $30. Are we in the Twilight Zone? $30 to use a shaker, to buy a shaker. The same shaker was $12 in the gift shop down stairs. After asking housekeeping how much it would cost us to shake our own margarita with 2 glasses and being hung up on, we settled on stirring up the drinks as best as we could!

In college, Natalie, Carrie and I spent my 22nd birthday and spring break in Key West. Not known to be shy, we decided to hit the party scene to see how many free drinks I could get on my birthday. The night was long, the drinks were many and I did my first and only Jaegerbomb luge that night!

Helen Keller and I were preparing for a night out at the dueling piano bar - see, it is the pre-partying that gets me in trouble. We decided to play Scrabble, but we made it into a drinking game! If you did not score a certain number of points on every word, you simply had to drink some kool aid alcohol concoction. As the game wore on, we were a little crazier and we spilled a bit of red kool aid on the carpet. Meaning to prevent this from happening again, we went in search of a travel mug to use so we would be more careful. Being tipsy and unable to determine where all our travel mugs had run off to, we started rummaging for anything that could be used. We found a Mrs. Butterworth's syrup holder and she became our mascot and drink holder for the rest of the night. When Drew got there to pick us up, he was definitely not as amused with us as we were with ourselves!

Through the years, I have drank from a coconut, a tiki head, a fish bowl and a chalice in my quest for the most delicious drink. Nothing compares to a good old apple martini especially when you can whine lovingly to a good a great friend and say "Make me an apple martini!"

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dear Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature -

I am writing to complain to you about 2009. I know that sounds like a pretty broad complaint, but let me break it down for you. Winter was horrible! There was too much snow, as I travelled back and forth to Maine it seemed there was always a new foot of snow regardless of which way I was travelling. You caused me to become too intimate with the airports.

Spring wasn't much better. The gloom is unbearable. Would it kill you to give us people living in Michigan a day or 2 of sun in a 3 month period? Truthfully, everyone would be much nicer to one another.

Summer, come on, summer is supposed to be 12 weeks not 2 weeks! Why must you give us rain every weekend when we are cooped up in the office 50 hours on weekdays! Did you set your weather dial? It is not supposed to be 95 and humid in Switzerland. They don't even have air conditioning from God's sake!

Fall - did you forget that there are 4 seasons to a year? I am either wearing my parka and scarf or I am in carpi's and a t-shirt. Where are the sunny, chilly days where I can look all cute in jeans and a sweater and my cute boots as I parade around town? I need those cute weeks to steel myself from the frumpiness of winter!

Well even though it is has been less than 365 days, we are back to winter already. No snow but torrential rain down pours that are affecting my fall softball and tailgating. Don't even think about raining or SNOWING on our girl's wine weekend!

If you do not take immediate action, I will be forced to take this complaint to your superior - El Nino and you don't want his wrath!

A very dissatisfied customer,
Weather Weary

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Just Want to see a Good Play

I love the theater! My first experience with NYC theater was a field trip in middle school to see the off Broadway show "Nunsense." Since then I have seen tens and tens or even hundreds of plays on Broadway, in the West End, off Broadway, local theaters and traveling shows. Of those, my Top 5 would be:

1) Blood Brothers - amazing and eerily similar to my life at the time. It is about twins born on July 18th. My boyfriend at the time was an identical twin born on July 18th.

2) Rent - another not so happy play about AIDs and HIV but the songs are amazing like One Song Glory and Light My Candle.

3) Avenue Q - what's the fuzz all about? Puppet Sex and the song "The Internet is for Porn" make it a must see. It is the most hilarious thing I have ever seen!

4) Mamma Mia - I never buy the soundtrack at the theater, but I stormed the souvenir booth at intermission because this play was just so happy that I needed the soundtrack now!

5) I'm still waiting for this one, but Legally Blonde, Miss Saigon and the way too long Les Miserables are on the bubble.

Now, let's talk about duds. How about one of my first forays into local theater in Ann Arbor where I dragged Helen Keller, Scottie and Bob to a play called Closetland where the actors went around yelling "99% of all women who wear black underwear are closet whores?" What? Are you kidding me?

How about the time my ex dragged my to see The Mystery of Charles Dickens because the discount ticket man who he had befriended told him it was good? That was 3 hours of a one man play that I could have done without!

Just recently, my husband and I went to see The Blonde, The Brunette and the Vengeful Red Head. Let me just say I should have learned my lessons about 1 actor plays - refer to The Mystery of Charles Dickens.

I still love the theater. I love getting dressed up, sitting in the old, historic play halls and seeing a story come to life on the stage. What's Up Next? Escanaba at the Purple Rose Theater and Christmas Carol'd for the holidays. I would not have it any other way!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Myriad of Music

This week 5 of us have been crammed into a window less, stuffy room working on a massive report generation session and it is boring, so we have busted out my I-pod for amusement. This has been proved to be a dicey situation! I need to temper the rap with the explicit lyrics against the sappy love songs to something that is PG rated for my employees. What I found out is that my music is all over the board!

We started with a Bruce Springsteen retrospective as Bruce is one of my favorites. My friend Liz is obsessed with him, and even gave up her parking spot to him in Red Bank, NJ. I still have the picture of his car that she took!

Then we moved on to Bon Jovi! I love Bon Jovi almost more than life it self! I flew home to NY to see Bon Jovi in concert. We listened to the early stuff, the young gun period and the new stuff. We almost O'd on Bon Jovi today!

We did a get a bit of rap thrown in for good measure. A little Black Eyed Peas, "My Humps" and Jay-Z "Run this Town" (since I am missing his concert tonight) but I drew the line at "My Darling Nicki!"

Next up, a little 80's rock to finish out the day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fashion Faux Pas

Last Friday, we went to an 80's party with the Jaycees. As I was trying to figure out the easiest way to look like I was Irene Cara's understudy in Flashdance, I wondered how I was going to find a get up without having to buy a 2nd complete Halloween costume. Well, it appears that the 80's are now retro - Claire's is actually selling this stuff again! Pink leg warmers - check, fingerless gloves - check, blue eye shadow - check, blond wig - why the heck not?

This party made me think about all the trends through the years that were probably fashion don'ts. Let's think back to the 70's when I was born. All over plaid patterns fill my baby pictures. My Mom with her waist length hair and bell bottoms kept me in Shirley Temple ringlets until I went to kindergarten.

How about the 80's? We were Madonna wanna bes with the teased hair, multiple pairs of socks over our jeans, big feathery hair and huge belts. Who in their right mind would wear a big belt now to make our hips look even bigger? Not me, I do not even like belts period, they are claustrophobic!

The 90s were kinda unmemorable. We wore crazy clothes in college - boy's boxer shorts, tie dye shirts (trying to look hippish) and cut off jean shorts as we lived the college life. We had unitards that we wore with jeans to the club, even though none of were dancers and they were a pain in the ass when you had to go to the bathroom!

The 2000's were used to build up a work wardrobe, ATL and Macy's have become Staples. I get my tanks at Old Navy. They ought to come with a warning. They do not hold up well when soaked on the Animal Kingdom Kahli Rapids! That was the end of my $2 tank this year! I like retro tees know and could live in comfy clothes? I'm probably more conservative with my fashion choices now but I do have jeweled Burberry shoes, an aqua sweater with fur trim for apres ski and a perfect pair of track pants that make me feel very J Lo like.

Fashion is my friend. Through faux pas and fashion hits, one thing is for certain, you can never have too many clothes.

Can you guess which Madonna wanna be is me?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Freaky Food

Whenever I travel internationally, I never know what kind of food to expect. Especially when I am at JCI events, during the extremely busy days, you never know when and what you are going to get to eat. I always have granola bars stuffed in my bag, as those of you who know me, know that a hungry Michelle is a crazy Michelle!

On my first JCI trip to Turkey I was out to dinner with the Senators and we all ordered fish, the house specialty. The fish arrived alright - complete with head, tail, and skins. As I sat there staring at the fish, lots of thoughts were running through my head. Maybe I should have paid more attention to my father when we was cleaning fish when I was growing up. Maybe I should have ordered steak, but what would I have got on my plate? How was I going to do something with this fish without drawing a lot of attention to my discomfort? As I sat there contemplating, one of the women grabbed my plate and skillfully boned and beheaded the fish in under 30 seconds. After thanking her profusely, I was able to enjoy the rest of my dinner with no issue.

Then it was off to Malta. After an awesome day with the Board of Directors on the island of Gozo, we headed off to eat dinner. We started down this bumpy dirt road that was literally on the side of a cliff. Had these people seen deliverance? Was I that unpopular? Would I ever get home and marry Tom in 2 weeks? After 20 minutes, we came to a clearing where an outdoor restaurant against the cliffs with the water crashing proved to be absolutely gorgeous! This was one of the best meals of my life after I realized I was going to love to eat my dinner!

Finally, I was in Switzerland this summer and we were sick of walking around looking for a restaurant so we stopped at this famous restaurant and asked for a menu. The menu only had dessert and wine on it, so I asked for the dinner menu. The waitress perfunctory told me that there was no menu, there was 1 entree - steak and fries for $40. Exhausted and famished, we said fine. What arrived was a small piece of steak (less than a palm size piece) and a heaping plate of fries. Given that we had paid $40, we all ate everything on our plates. While we were waiting for the check, another plate of steak and fries showed up at everyone place. You get 2 servings so they fries don't get cold while you are eating. Who knew?

As I travel around the world, food is always interesting. I have had Green Tea McFlurries in Korea, McMarsala Burgers in India, tofu dishes and other dishes where there is no American translation. I have tried shark (it tastes like chicken), snake (it takes like chicken), fish crackers (they do not take like chicken) and everything in between. I have tried sushi in Panama, pizza in India as well as Korean BBQ in Korea.

Whether I like it or not, I will always try new things. Who knows, I might find my new favorite food, or my most memorable meal ever?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Squirrels and Beavers

Our obsession with squirrels and beavers started at the Hoover Dam. Tom and I and a couple of friends were taking a tour of Hoover Dam while we were in town for Wendy's wedding. We were over tired, over caffeinated and generally over giggly. In the most serious tone, our friend said to the guide "How many beavers were harmed in the making of this dam?" As were we laughing hysterically, people started looking at us strangely. The rest of the tour we ran around yelling "Beavers!"

A few months later, we were camping with Wendy and Dan in Three Rivers. We went out to dinner and as we were being seated, the waitress said, "I am going to seat you under the beaver." A stuffed beaver that was and of course the night deteriorated rapidly from there and we were suddenly elementary students who thought everything was so funny!

The movie "Up" was adorable. We loved Bob the Dog and his love of squirrels. At the Tigers - Red Sox game this spring, a squirrel came out on the field during the 2nd inning and ran around the entire field. Play was eventually stopped and security chased the menacing squirrel off the field, who promptly laid on the field wall and passed out of exhaustion. It was hilarious! The squirrel returned in the 5th inning to chase the Red Sox players around again and the entire stadium started yelling "Squirrel, Squirrel, Squirrel!" When we got home that night, we watched the recap of the game and the squirrel got more coverage than the players.

Now every time we see a squirrel, Tom yells "Squirrel!" and I start yelling "Beavers" at random times. I wonder what will be our next favorite animal?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

TV is Terrific!

My DVR is quite full right now. It is loaded with Eastwick, Top Chef: Las Vegas, Cougar Town, Modern Family, Bored to Death, Sons of Anarchy, The Hills, Melrose Place, 90210, Castle, Greek, FlashForward, Yankees Playoff games and The Vampire Diaries. That's not my whole repertoire - I am caught up on Grey's Anatomy and Gossip Girl and a couple of my favorite shows like Lost, WipeOut and Entourage are on hiatus. I admit it, my name is Michelle and I am a TV addict! It has been 8 hours since my last fix!

Why the interest in TV? Maybe it was my year in L.A. where every one was obsessed with movies, TV shows and the Biz. Maybe it is because TV is often more interesting than real life. In college, being near NYC, I had the opportunity to hit the Talk Show/Live TV Scene. Molly, Amanda and I went to the Sally Jesse Raphael Show. Yes, her red glasses are as ridiculous in real life as they are on TV!

A college friend got us into a SNL practice. We saw Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger (pre-divorce), Daniel Baldwin (pre-Dirty Sexy Money) and the old favorite UB-40. It was old school SNL - Chris Farley, Adam Sandler and David Spade. A once in a lifetime experience!

The David Letterman show is shot in a studio that is super cold - I wore my parka the entire time. The Drew Carey show takes over 4 hours to shoot a 1/2 hour show and they get mad if you need go to the bathroom. They are obviously not on the same page with my bladder! I am still yearning to see the Rachael Ray show and I want to take my Mom to see the Oprah show. But ya know what, as much as I like TV, my life ain't half bad :)!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Wonders of Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is so much fun! It is such a distinguished city with lots of history. I feel smarter every time I am there. During a period where I had an extreme obsession with John F. Kennedy, we went on a family trip there. I wanted to see the Zapruder film that shows the assassination of JFK so we sent a request to our legislator to ask for permission to visit the National Archives library. We arrived early (the whole fruit loop troop - Mom, Dad, Kiki, Grandma, Me) and went through the metal detectors, signed the necessary forms and were shuttled to the screening room. After 30 minutes of prep work, we went into the room and watched the 33 second video! 33 seconds! That's it? The 35 year old video was very grainy and hard to see. I made them replay this 3 times - I felt for all this effort, that was least they could do. I am not sure that I know who shot JFK but I know as much as people who were there!

Another time I visited D.C. to spend the weekend with my friend John. He was in town for a med school interview so the dates were set so I drove down from NY to hang out. Imagine our surprise when we went to first museum and found out that D.C. was in shut down because of the lack of an approved budget! Hardly anything was open - the Smithsonian museums were closed, the tours of the Capitol were kaput and you could forget about going in any of the monuments. What to do? What was open? We ended up watching a movie in Georgetown, visiting the National Botanical Gardens (this was open, go figure) to see a Poinsettia exhibit and we walked around A LOT looking at closed buildings! Why does stuff like this happen to me? Have you heard of such a thing?

Washington D.C. has been a great host to me over the years. I was just there for a work presentation and it was so much fun to check out the new Newseum. I have had crazy adventures in D.C. with my family, my friend Helen, with John, as part of my job with EF in college and it never disappoints. Who knows what the next adventure there will bring!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

College Softball - I Can't Believe I am Getting Paid for This!

I played softball since 7th grade. Except for a couple of years off recently and while I was in grad school, I have played softball for 21 years. There is not much in life that I can say I have done or ever wanted to do for 21 years, so I can probably say that I am committed to softball more than most people are committed to their marriages, their jobs, or even their kids.

At Marymount, I decided to go out for the softball team as a freshmen and made it along with several of my friends that I then spent the next 4 years playing with. Softball was a welcome distraction from the Chem lab, where I had been known to start a fire or two, and it got me off campus as we played various colleges in the metro NYC area.

One of the first games I remember playing was in Brooklyn. We boarded the mini bus/van and made the hour or so commute due to the heavy traffic. The field was in what looked to be a city park, a shady park to say the least. Homeless people were sleeping on benches, shady deals were being made, it would have made a great movie set! I knew things would be interesting when the Police showed up to supervise our game and make sure we could use the restrooms safely. I felt like we were playing a pick-up game of softball in a prison yard!

Surrounded on all 4 sides by streets as I stood in the outfield, I could hear the music emanating from the cars, rude men yelling stuff at us as they walked by and could feel the hustle and bustle of the city. Quite a different playing experience from the secluded Marymount field on a quiet suburban street.

As the game progressed, I was doing pretty well concentrating on the ball instead of the crazies all around until the 3 of us in the outfield heard a gun shot and we all dropped to the field like we were doing suicide push-ups. We all thought we were pretty smart in getting out of the way of the cross fire until the umpire trotted out to let us know that a car had just back fired and could we get up so the game could continue? Let's just say, the end of the game couldn't come too quickly!

As my years at Marymount passed, I was always looking for ways to make more spending money. I worked as a guide for the International School on Campus, prepped basic lab classes for my mentor, gave tours of the school as an Ambassador, ushered at events on campus, until I found a really sweet deal. I became a mini bus/van driver. So now as we went off to play softball, I got paid for the entire time I was gone and got to do something I loved! The team would load up, we would pile into the van and it was like our very own Partridge Family road trip every time! I had hit pay dirt with this job!

Now I play softball in a Rec and Ed league in Ann Arbor. There are no cattle calls, gun fire or crazy van rides. I don't get paid to play. But as an adult, there is at least beer, and that somehow makes it all OK.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Great Race through Old Delhi

Let's get this straight - New Delhi is not Delhi and Old Delhi is not Delhi and Old Delhi is not New Delhi. Very complicated stuff trying to learn our way around the cities referred to as New Delhi when we were there for JCI World Congress in 2008.

The first day there, Lori and I decided hired a guide and a driver for an 8 hour tour. After the guide looked at our list of 12 things we wanted to do, he said it would not be possible to see everything. I said it would and we will, so start driving! The first stop was at the Parliament where we got out to take pictures. It was all great until a monkey ran by us. We are not used to having monkeys scampering next to us, I mean, they have zoos for a reason, so we flew back into the car and were off to the next location.

As we zig zagged through the city, dodging rickshaws, elephants, cows and other cars observing no discernible traffic rules, we arrived in Old Delhi for a rickshaw ride. With our guide in the bike behind us, Lori and I squeezed (and I do mean squeezed - I was practically sitting on her lap) into the rickswhaw and we were off through the narrow streets. Narrow Streets is probably a misnomer, the pathways were more like single lane alleys where street vendors, animals, rickshaws and thousands of people jockeyed for a spot. As we zipped through the area, we firmly had our purses secured and were holding onto to each other and our possessions for dear life.

It was an exhilarating experience seeing the sights, hearing the sounds, and smelling the scents (at least the good smells) of this old part of the city. 2 weeks prior, The Amazing Race had run through these same alleys looking for clues. As we squealed as we went through narrow passageways, prayed that the live wires that had been cobbled together would not fall on us and kill us, we were enjoying ourselves and our adventure. That was until we turned to the right and a cow was literally inches from our faces. Then we started freaking out a little bit, much to the amusement of our driver/pedaler.

As we were speeding through one less crowded pathway, a young kid about 10 had his hand up high fiving people as they biked by. We were afraid he was going to try and steal our purses (we had been warned numerous times about pickpockets) so we steeled ourselves for attack and tried to look alert and vicious. Little did we know that the high-fiver would turn into a boob groper as he went by the Americans. Are you kidding me? Did that just happen?

As we continued the remainder of the trip, we were now sitting on one another's lap, holding onto our purses and cameras with a death grip and facing each other so we were not groped again. We looked like crazy and we became our own tourist attraction!

Who knew - things aren't always as they appear!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Buses are Never Boring

Buses are usually not my thing. Growing up I did not ride buses that often - cars, trains and planes were my usual modes of transportation. In college, I took the train to/from Marymount until I got a car. While Amtrak is not great, it got me where I needed to go. One time I decided to take Greyhound from Albany to NYC on my way to visit Liz. Let me tell you - I was one and done with Greyhound! It was extremely crowded, smelly and I thought I was going to be mugged the entire way. Armed with too many bags (do you see a theme here?) and my pair of ice skates, I nearly bounded off the bus into Penn Station. Who would have thought that Penn Station, where homeless people live and commuters rush through daily would be a welcome oasis? As I rushed to my commuter train, I decided that I was taking Amtrak home.

Just this past July in San Francisco, I decided to try the bus again. The concierge assured me it was the quickest way to get to the restaurant in rush hour. I was too exhausted to walk, had already deposited my car in overnight parking and was contemplating a taxi. I hopped on the crowded bus and not 2 blocks later, a really drunk man got on the bus and decided to drop his pants. Really? Could he have not waited for the next bus?

Buses in Europe are so much different. I went every where in Geneva on a bus. I went downtown and all around, I was able to navigate all over, even without a total command of the French language. In Monaco, Ben and I boarded a bus with no destination and toured Monte Carlo. Once we figured out which direction we were going (after about an hour), we reversed directions and got back to the hotel.

No smelly people, no safety issues, no naked people! I like European buses, but don't expect me to spend much time on any in the U.S.!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Misadventures in Sporting

Sports are a passion of mine. I love, love, love baseball (Go Yankees!), dig the hometown Tigers and the Pistons and have been swept up in the mania that is U of M football. However, put some sporting tickets in front of me and it doesn't matter if my favorite team is playing or not, I am there! As we've previously discussed, my adventures at Dodger Stadium are always crazy, but at other times, I wonder, did this really happen?

Let's start when Murph and I decided to go tailgating for a U of M game. Neither of were married at the time so we decided what the heck? Off to the golf course to tailgate with the Volvo, 2 bottles of vodka to make apple martinis with and some martini glasses. Wow! We were sooooo under prepared. No chairs, no food, nothing to amuse ourselves with. As we stood there deciding what to do next, we saw Murph's ex-boyfriend and off to crash his and his wife's party. Let's just say we were a hit with the guys, not so much with their wives and were very tipsy before heading into the stadium!

Then it was off to go old Tiger Stadium. 9 girls packed into 2 cars to go see the Yankees beat the Tigers when Paul O'Neill was still playing. Sitting only 13 rows from the field on the right field line was probably a mistake. Stone sober, we stood up, yelled "Paul" and all threw him air kisses! I have never seen an MLB player so embarrassed! Another time, the girls went to celebrate the arrival of Gary Sheffield signing with the Tigers. Dressed in chef hats, holding wooden spoons and signs, we looked like a bunch of deranged Julia Child's running around the stadium!

Finally, Lambeau Field was awesome when the Packers played the Colts. Having never been there, I needed a cheese head. I wore this cheese head the entire game as I continually apologized to people that I poked, prodded and pushed anyone in my 360 degree area with this hat. I can assure you I was the only one on the plane on Monday morning with a cheese head as a piece of carry-on luggage.

Sporting events for me are never boring. I have worn Yankees apparel and cheered loudly in Atlanta as they were beating the Braves in the World Series, I have gone to play-off games between the Tigers and Yankees in Detroit and taken lots of ribbing, and I have been on ESPN when a home run was hit to the NYY bleachers. All in all, definitely worth the price of admission.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New York City on Crutches

NYC on crutches suck. Even on a good day, I am not coordinated on crutches. I resemble a cross between Frankenstein and someone trying to learn how to use stilts. I start, I stop, I trip, I complain. I get bruises under my arms and callouses on my hands and I yell and swear a lot! In 2004, I hurt my leg playing softball on a Thursday and was scheduled to leave on Friday with NYC with Wendy and another friend.

The trip was a debacle. First of all, navigating through the airport was ridiculous. Trying to get me, my suitcase and my crutches through security and to the gate was a 3 person ordeal with one person pushing me in the wheel chair and the other wrangling 3 suitcases. We looked like refugees walking to a camp with all our worldly possessions. People walking parted like the Red Sea as we passed them in order to protect their appendages from being run over or hit with suitcases.

Once there, the whole escapade at La Guardia was repeated and then we were finally picked up by Wendy's brother and off to dinner. The next day we were off to a NYY game. What a cluster! Randy drove us to the stadium and dropped us in front but finagling my way to my seat was exhausting! I was like a fish swimming upstream trying not to get steamrolled by the rabid Yankee fans.

On Sunday, we were walking around Midtown and came across the Gay Pride Parade. Before you knew it, we were swept up in the excitement. We met Harvey Fienstein, were dancing in the streets like they do in Ferris Bueller's Day Off and saw so many interesting sights. It is definitely unlike any parade that I have ever attended!

As I hobbled back to the airport like an old man, I decided that I would never do NYC on crutches again! The weekend concluded with meeting Renee Zellweger on the plane ride home. She was rude, thought we were crazy and would not even pose for a picture for us!

That night, as I collapsed on my bed, I decided that I would try to be more careful playing softball.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

General Hospital Rocks!

My first memories of watching General Hospital (GH) was when my mother was home on maternity leave with my sister. We would watch every day. We saw Luke and Laura get married and the evil Cassadines cause chaos and bedlam. It was probably a little "too heavy" for a 6-year-old, but I was hooked.

Through elementary school, middle school and high school, when I wasn't at sports practice, I was perched on my Grandma's couch watching General Hospital from 3 - 4. When I went off to college, I met my friend Molly and found another GH lover. We tried to schedule classes around GH and I even dumped a Quantitative Analysis class because I was missing too many juicy story lines!

One summer, I was off to Columbus, OH for an internship and I was faced with no VCR. DVR was not around then, so I was in a panic. I was going to miss 10 weeks of GH - how would I survive? Well, it was Molly to the rescue. Molly taped all 10 weeks of GH and when I got home from my internship, I sat on the couch at home for ~33 hours and got caught up before going back to school!

I hit the mother load when Wendy and I met Ingo Rademacher (Jax) from GH on a plane from Detroit to L.A. He was so dreamy in person! I got his autograph, his picture and we spent an hour chit chatting with him and his manager. I could barely control myself as we hurried off the plane as I was bursting inside to call someone, anyone! Too bad, I was dressed in sweat pants and was ill on the plane ride, otherwise, I would be married to him and living in L.A. now.

As life gets busier, it is harder to sit down and watch GH everyday. I still catch it when I have a day off and I go onto and check out the recaps once in a while. My favorites - Sonny, Jax, and Carly are still there and there is always the usual quotient of blackmail, murder and sex. I watched the short-lived really bad spin-off "Port Charles - Night Shift". But you know, a girl has to have her guilty pleasures!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Movies Are Magic

Few people are as addicted to movies as me, with the exception of my friend Bob and sometimes Wendy. I love movies - no scary ones, but I love rom coms, mysteries, action flicks, and the independent films that make me scratch my head and think I am too shallow to understand the deeper meaning behind them. I thought I'd share of few of my favorites to see if you agree:

* Die Hard - my all time favorite movie of all time. How can you not appreciate a movie where a barefoot hero screams "Yippee Kye Aye Mother F'er" as he runs around killing bad guys. I am such a sucker for Bruce Willis.

* Napoleon Dynamite - this movie has the funniest lines of all time. How can you not love, love, love this movie? "Tina, eat your ham!" "You are ruining my life and eating all my steak" and "Gosh" are 3 phrases that really have hundreds of uses in real life!

* Twilight - I admit, I am one of the following of grown women who have read all the books, have the DVD 2 - disc special edition set and can not wait for New Moon. I am Team Edward (except for the first 200 pages of book 2 and 4) and I want a Twilight Calendar for 2010. How can you not love this movie? It is a classic love story like Romeo and Juliet.

* The Usual Suspects - this movie is brilliant! Every time I watch it, I find something new. From the hilarity of trying to understand what the heck Benecio Del Toro is saying to the pure genius of Kaiser Soze, this movie does not disappoint.

Right now my Blockbuster queue has over 250 movies on it! I have countless movies that are coming this fall that I will be heading to the theater for. I want to see Couples Retreat, Fame, New York, I Love You just to name a few. I love the movie experience from entering the theater to the yummy buttered popcorn to the last credits. I might never be a movie star, but I can be one at the movies!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - Make Up

Sephora is the mother ship. Ulta, Real Beauty, Lush and department store makeup counters all have their niche, but there is nothing better than entering the harsh lighting, music pumping Sephora where everything looks so pretty and reasoning goes out the window. I admit to being a little crazed when it comes to makeup - Wendy and I have known to buy 3 - 4 lip glosses at a time just because.

Our addiction to Sephora is deep. We ran through the rain, risking a fall in Santa Monica just to get to try on eye shadow. We got escorted out of that same Sephora when Wendy decided to start taking pictures. Apparently, we were working for the competition and their store set up is top secret.

On numerous times, we have hit all of the Sephora stores in Vegas, armed with Starbuck's in hand. That was fine until Wendy put her cup in her basket and the mop had to come out to clean up the spill!

We have had birthday makeovers at Sephora, we have went in and put on a whole new face for an evening out without buying anything and we have gone in to smell colognes that remind us of our ex-loves.

Now, I am on a PIP (performance improvement plan) when it comes to makeup. My drawers won't close, I have boxes of lip gloss and eye shadow that I need to clean out and my 20 bottles of perfume are taking over my dresser. So I have decided it is time to USE the makeup or LOSE it! While I know my friends at Sephora will be sad for a while, once I get this under control, I'll be back!