Monday, July 30, 2007

Why Journal Online... One year ago today

This blog is having a birthday! It's "one" today. My baby's growing up. *sniff* When I first started this I didn't know if I'd have much to say. Maybe now I have found I have too much to say. But over the year I've done some ponderin' as to why we read these things, and why we write them.

I started this with the hopes of passing on the good that had been given to me by a stranger, by pure accident; I hope in some ways I've managed that, and will continue to, but it has become more than that. It's a tool of connection to people you would never meet otherwise. It's a place you find out that we are all really very much the same deep down - no matter how different we seem. The blogs are mini-windows on the psyche, people reveal what they might not in other arenas and we learn and we laugh and we discover kindred spirits.

I'm a reader. I think most bloggers are. The connection between reading and writing is, naturally, a strong one. Finding a blog you identify with or that amuses or inspires you is like finding a terrific novel that you can't put down and ruin your eyes reading all night long into the dawn and when you finish you are sad to have to leave the world of that novel and you are left to wonder how the character's lives turn out after the story ends. Blogs are like being with those beloved characters on a daily basis. You are doled out portions of their unfolding lives and can never guess the twists and turns the plot will take. It's an addictive, neverending story. Unless the blogger you like gets bored and wraps the whole shebang up or simply disappears.

It's also a sort of voyeurism. You are peeking into people's personal day-to-day in a way you could never do unless you were a REALLY good stalker because you not only hear what they are up to, but how they feel about it and what it means to them. It's upsetting when someone posts bad news, it's exhilarating when they share the good. Bloggers are the characters in the novel that is the internet. It's a reader's paradise.

At least that's my take on the whole thing.

After a year of this I hope my posts are more entertaining than those first few straggling months when I tried to work out the rhythm of the thing. I hope I may have shown someone that they are not alone, that it is possible to come out of the pit of depression and walk blissfully away from thoughts of suicide to embrace the goofy, beautiful and yes, sometimes horrible that makes life so worth living. And I hope I show here that despite mental illness (which is JUST like any other illness and should NOT be stigmatized!) you can heal, and you can experience wonder every single day. You never know what's just around the corner. It may be scary, but it can also be blindingly beautiful. Only by living can we find how wonderful the world can be.

Thank you for reading along with my nonsense. I hope you'll come back. I hope you'll find the stories that touch you out there in the blogosphere and maybe share your own for someone else to discover. We're all in this together. Remember that.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gringos in Mexico - A Horse, A Horse, and other wild life

This trip to Mexico was bursting with firsts for me. Yes it was Gary's first trip to Mexico and my third, but I think I may have had more "firsts" than him, as odd as that sounds and as mundane as some of my firsts may be.

Gary's totally 'old-hand' with the horse thing,
which is good because his horse was not quite as docile as mine

I believe this horse was named El Muerte... I could just be making that up.


I seem to find more courage in Mexico than at home. Maybe it's the calming influence of the warm weather and soothing sounds of the ocean waves. Maybe it's the people who are so sweet and warm. Who knows why? But in Mexico I do seem to feel more courage to try something new, or something that has been a fear or stumbling block for me in the past. Like swimming with dolphins on my last trip - before I learned to swim. First #1 this trip. Learning to swim. And learning to float.

Another first was riding a horse. That was a goal I'd given myself at least 3 years ago! I meant to try it on my previous trips to Mexico, but never did. Mostly because it was more of a goal than a deep-seated desire. I love animals, for sure, but I was just never one of those girls who got into horses. Gary really wanted to do it, his whole family grew up riding so for him it was just a fun thing he liked to do and he really wanted to do it here, where you could ride on the beautiful Carribean coastline. And who could blame him?

For me it was a little more like. . . "ACK! Horse. High. Horse. Run Fast. Joy not go on big fast running horsie!"

Horseback riding was of those things that sounded good in theory but when confronted with GIANT HORSE I really started to re-think. But we planned to do it, as much as we 'planned' to do anything other than nap frequently on this trip, so I was determined to do it. And really, the horse I was on, named Palomino, I know, I know, kind of like naming a dog "poodle" was as docile and short as a horse could be and still be called a horse not a large dog. So it was okay. . . once I got up there that is.
The Fierce and Mighty Palomino!!

We scheduled our ride for Friday evening - the sun was lower, the temperature better. I couldn't have ridden a horse on the beach in the blazing sun that would have been horrible for the horse! Happily the people who run the horse riding out of Lafitte wouldn't have allowed such a thing either. They really care for the animals in their charge. As we were to find out on our ride.

At the start of the ride I asked Fernando, who was taking us out, where the burro was. The Lafitte burro was something I adored. Hearing her braying at the crack of dawn or as she ran along the beach doing her stint as 'burrito bar' wearing a pirate hat and a pack full of drinks, was a sound that was "Mexico" to me. When I hadn't heard her, or seen her, I was compelled to ask her whereabouts. Fernando told me she was at the new location, and happy. I think my interest in the burro is what prompted our detour on our ride.

We rode for about a half hour and then turned up the beach and went into a wooded area. I thought we were stopping to water the horses, which seemed sensible. And they did in fact water them once we dismounted (which in my case really means, practically fell off the horse) but it seemed the real reason for our impromptu stop was to visit the start of the new hotel's animal preserve. What a treat! These are shots of just some of the critters we got to meet. All of them friendly and adorable and clearly very well cared for. Not a one of them was afraid of people in the least.

C'mon people, these are baby miniature boars!!!! On first sighting I thought they were capybaras, but oh I was sorely mistaken. If you click on the photo it will enlarge and you'll be able to see the tiny start of his little bitty tusks. Also note that it looks like he's smiling. His name is Chico. Again, I know. I know.
These are the perpetually shocked looking and slightly effeminate ostriches
these huge birds had an "oh no he didn't" look at all times and ran around their corral like heavy footed drag queens late for the Pride parade. We soon found out why they had that "oh no he didn't" look. Out of nowhere Fernando grabbed a couple of feathers and plucked them out - then handed them to ME! Oddly enough it was we who got the dirty looks from the birds, not him. But it would appear this is a fairly regular occurrence and they did not shy away from him after so it seems not to have hurt anything but their pride. Gary and I were pretty much - "NOOOOO Don't DOOOO that!" Fernando was pretty much "silly Gringos". You will see the purloined feathers briefly in the video below. Blow up the picture above and you'll be able to see that Fernando has one of the ostriches in a noogie headlock. When he let her go she came back and nuzzled him in a 'do it again' way. A riot! I mean aren't ostriches usually a little fiercer than that? Hmmmm.

And while Fernando wrestled with them in a playful manner, "noogie time!" they kept coming back for more so clearly they like playing with him.
Can anyone explain why the nail polish is ALWAYS red, even on a beach vacation?
This is my "they like me, they really like me" pose after Fernando plucked something else for me: a beautiful wild hibiscus. *sigh* I do love getting flowers. I would like to point out here that this is me WITH a tan. No I am not being facetious. It's hard to tell because I sort of look like a living person instead of a corpse, which doesn't necessarily mean 'tan' so much as it means I'm exhibiting a blood flow. But I swear I'm maybe 6 shades darker than usual here and have the tan lines to prove it. I'm just sayin'.
Fernando took my camera and snapped these shots of the peacocks for us because they were not too keen on strangers. Well. Excuse me, Mr. Haughty with the fancy feathers!
Fernando ran to the other side of their pen and they followed him and posed. This is an entire family of peacocks. Mom, Dad and babies. It's understandable that they are so proud, who wouldn't be wearing that gorgeous shade of blue all the time?
The sweetest creatures ever. The miniature deer. They were licking all of our hands, it was like having a little time with my Basil (he's a big licker).
Since I had sunblock on I didn't let them lick my hands more than a quick "hello" because really, sunblock is simply not edible. However they were all over Gary - he must've been tasting mighty sweet! Fernando explained that they were all bottle-fed which is why they were so fearless and friendly. This is one of the babies, we met Daddy-deer later, he stays in another area.

You will hear many examples of my tremendous command of Spanish here, such as "Hola, baby!" Yes. Those classes stuck alright, I'm a linguistic genius. Honest, someone get me a job as a translator at the U.N.


Our one hour horseback ride became an hour and a half because of our meet-the-critters detour which meant we missed the start of the Mariachi show. Luckily we were back in time to catch about 30 minutes of it. I would hate to miss a Mariachi show!!! You know I love my trumpets!!
The dancers usually do two sets, with full costume changes. We missed the first set but the second was great and you can see some of it here!



The sun was just starting its descent, so the colors and the lighting were kinda awesome towards the end.

The sun went down, the Mariachis said buenos noches and we went to dinner. A pretty full day in paradise.

Next installment: Tulum and a quick trip to a cenote!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Gringos in Mexico - The Pool... and the pool

As I said in my previous installment of "Gringos in Mexico" we arrived early for check-in and the room we'd requested was not yet ready. I had wanted to stay in Room 21 where I had spent my previous two visits to Capitan Lafitte because it was so quiet and felt so homey. Gary had seen photos of it and agreed that he wanted to stay there as well, and I had that "oh God if he has a miserable time it's all my fault" worry so I didn't want to risk a different room when I knew this one was wonderful.

I know it is not my responsibility that someone else has a good time on a joint vacation, and I'd discussed this issue with Gary. He reassured me it was not my job to worry about it. But since I'd been there before I couldn't help feeling concerned because I'd talked the place up so much.

While we sat at the bar, Luis, the main reception man, came over and told us that Room 21 had a leak in the A/C and he couldn't let us stay there: it would be annoying to us. (I LOVE this guy!) So he showed us Room 30 which was on the other side of the beach and on the second floor. I wasn't sold until we got into the room, stood on the balcony and saw the view. Gary was all for it and I agreed.
This is the front of our room (top right hand corner was ours)

The back, where you enter the room (left) up a flight of stairs (right)

view out the window from inside the room

part of the view from the balcony

I was in instant Mexico-mind set and now cannot remember what we did after checking in! I think we must have walked on the beach? Okay, that sounds viable.

a walk down the beach, Lafitte is in the distance

The first night we had a storm. Nothing bad, but fun to watch. Palm trees swinging, wind howling.

The next morning was misty at first but soon cleared
Pelicans were getting their breakfast

THIS would turn out to be a big day for me.

Really big.

If you've read here before you know I don't swim. I dog-paddle at best, and no way can I relax enough to make floating an option. Fear of the water. More precisely fear of drowning is a big issue for me.

That is now in the past tense.

As if I weren't blessed enough with a best friend who has always been there for me, and even saved my life once by driving from New Jersey to New York to drag my stubborn stupid ass to the hospital, I can now say a big THANK YOU to Gary for teaching me to swim.

That's right, it's true! Not only can I swim but I can float!
floating at sunset
a thankfully blurry close-up - but still evidence that I can and did float!
*sniff* I'm so proud

A little late in the game perhaps, but better late than never. You couldn't get me out of the pool once I found I could do it. Gary seems to feel I already knew how to swim, but while I may have had a vague understanding of the way it 'looked' no one had ever explained how to hold your hands or kick. More importantly, I had never felt enough trust in someone that I would TRY in front of them. I knew he wouldn't push me under for a joke, and that he'd grab my hand if I started to sink and he wouldn't laugh (too much) if I floundered around trying to get my bearings. Okay it was in 3 feet of water, but I panic, okay?

So I owe him a lot, and I can add the ability not to drown to the list. Hey, the guy's a teacher for a reason.

The swimming pool was not the only pool going on at Lafitte. They have a big open-air game room with a less than regulation pool table and a ping-pong table, television (it is never on - who needs television in paradise?) and a mini library. It's a couple of bookshelves where people leave their books (to make room in their luggage for souvenirs) and I have left books and taken others on my past trips. I was actually happy to see that the books I left last time were gone, so someone, somewhere in the world has my books. I can only imagine where they have traveled.
these were growing outside the game room

Gary and I have played pool in the past - neither of us is very good at it, probably because it is a game of angles. A math game really. We're not so much with the maths. But I love the sound of pool balls clacking together and I love the feeling of "ah-HA!" when I hit an angle right and the ball plunks into the pocket. So when I told him there was a pool table, naturally we had to give it a shot. Ouch. That was not intentional.
Gary breaks

We were playing one afternoon. . . or was it morning? Hard to say now. Let's compromise and call it mid-morning. Time is different there. A couple of little boys came over during our game and asked if they could play. Um. Yeah, not 'til we're done kiddies: this is a serious grown-up game here! But once we finished our game the kids still wanted to play and we were going to let them have the table but the sweet little tykes (8 and 9 years old) wanted to play WITH us! How adorable is THAT? So who could resist?

We should have resisted.

I swear these kids were pool sharks! They must have been. No way we could suck that badly. After a while Sebastien, the younger one, got hot and headed off to the 'other' pool but David, who was really good at the game, stayed. We played a couple of games in which David kicked our sorry butts (it was him against us!). I am not a good loser, but this kid was so charming and polite - and GOOD - that I couldn't be upset to lose to him. We also got to practice our Spanish while David practiced his English. So it was even more fun.


Of course, this is not David, but it should give you an idea of what we were up against.
*sigh* Dos cervezas, por favor - pronto!


After a while his parents showed up looking for him. His mother, Elizabeth, spoke fluent English and had lived in Ohio (where Gary's mom is from originally) for 14 years as a child. It really is a very small world. When we told her how we were glad not to be playing David for money she laughed and was surprised. Seems he'd never played before. Ooops. I was sure they must have had a pool table at home. Guess I'm a realllllly bad pool player.

I ran into David at dinner one night and he called to me "Gary!". I don't suppose Joy and Gary are very common names in Mexico and he didn't realize his faux pas. He was such a sweet and polite child - and smart!

I believe that was the same day we had the wild tropical storm. We'd gone to the bar after a huge nap and we're getting some guacamole and chips and a drink. We could see the storm building out over the ocean, but it was still far out so we just chilled. One of the waiters came up behind me and plopped a huge rubber tarantula in front of me on the bar. I think I disappointed him by not screaming, but I did laugh. Satisfied with that, he took back his spider and ran into the dining room with it looking for his next 'victim'. That spider was making the rounds the whole time we were there. Have I mentioned that Capitan Lafitte is pretty much like being in your own home? It's pretty laid back. And the guys who work there are just big ol' nuts. Funny, silly, and some of the warmest people around.

Once the storm started, just wind at first, everyone was laughing and a little hyper, I guess a big storm does that to people. David (not the boy, he's on staff) turned up the music and was dancing behind the bar, it was a storm party! But when the wind started getting wild - we rushed back to the room - just in time.
this was going on outside while we played Monopoly inside!
Yes, we brought a game along - because we're Monopoly professionals!

this is the front view of our room AFTER the storm

look what happened to the roof tiles!

So much to say, so little time. I'm going to end this entry here, but there will be more. Oh yes there will!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gringos in Mexico - The Arrival

Considering we were only gone for a week, and did more sleeping and laying around than anything else, you'd think there wouldn't be too many stories or events. Of course if you believe that then you've never met Gary or me. There's ALWAYS a story!!!

The night before we flew out Gary came to stay at my place since we were going from JFK which is closer to me. Since he's never been to Mexico we both felt things would go more smoothly if we were together. That poor kid works like a dog, not like my dog who is napping even as I write this, but ... you know what I mean. Any way it seemed it would be less stressful for both of us because I'm an old hand at this particular trip and he would be able to actually RELAX for a change and not have to worry about where to go and how things work with customs and all that because I've already done that. This is actually the first vacation we've ever taken together where Gary did not have some pile of work to bring with him, either writing papers for his classes or grading papers for classes he's teaching. The week we chose fell after he was done with the summer class he was teaching and would not even have their final papers until after we were back - so there was no way he could even attempt to work on vacation.

Unfortunately this meant we had scheduled the trip so that we'd be away when the last Harry Potter book was released! NOOOOO!!! We were actually considering having it shipped to us in Mexico until we realized that would just be nutty. Instead we got our HP fix by seeing The Order of the Phoenix on Monday night. It's really dark, but really, really great - the special effects alone are light years better than in the first movie. And I'm beginning to babble. Sorry. Good movie. 'nuff said.

Our flight was at the ass-crack of dawn, which is such a lovely, gutter-mouth phrase I like to use it whenever I possibly can. Actually the flight wasn't until 8:30 but we had to be out the door by 5:45. Ouch. Whose thought THAT would be a good idea? Oh. Right. That was me. Sorry Gary. But that early flight would get us into Mexico by 11:30 a.m. and I wanted to have as much time in my favorite place as possible.

The flight was a breeze. It's just 4 hours from NYC - amazing that paradise is so close.

Miss X's Mom was taking over my job as live-in servant to Basil and Nick while we were away so I felt very secure that I didn't need to worry about my furry boys. Miss X's Mom has also frequented the Playa Del Carmen area and so the two of us conspired to make poor Gary very nervous about passing through Immigration and Customs at the Cancun airport. Why? Because we're evil and it's funny. Isn't that reason enough?

If you've never had the pleasure of going through the airport in Cancun I'll fill you in. It's a very smooth and easy process and they get your luggage off the plane and on that ramp in record time (take a lesson JFK). After Immigration stamps your passport and gathers your entry papers you grab your bags and go through customs. Customs at Cancun International is an absolutely fun time. Not because I enjoy a strip search... although, really, who doesn't? But because their system of choosing who to search involves more kitsch than Vegas. (In case you didn't know, Mexican people are REALLY funny. They have the most fun and wacky sense of humor or any country I've ever visited.) They have big traffic lights set up at customs. Yes Red-Yellow-Green traffic lights. You hand your passport to the official standing next to the traffic light and are asked to "push the button". If you get a green light, you breeze through. Red means they will go through your bags and such. As a method of randomly choosing whose stuff to search I have never seen anything to compare with this one. Miss X's Mom and I taunted poor Gary with what happens if the light turns red, and there was some talk about how I might bribe the officials to "make" the light turn red on Gary just so I could snap a picture of his expression. See. Cruel. But funny!

The light went green for both of us, and I know Gary felt relieved that I wasn't mean or crazy enough to try to get them to red light him. Scaring your BFF might be funny, but it's not a good way to start a trip.

Passing through the airport to the taxi, van, pick-up area is another good time. You see they have these very official, very 'assist the traveler' type kiosks built around the entire area and if you don't know they look like information booths. The folks in uniforms offering you assistance seem very official as well. And, in fact, they are quite knowledgeable and friendly. The thing is, they aren't what you might think they are. They ask you what car service you are using and where you are staying - it sounds like they are trying to direct you to your vehicle. In fact they are time-share salespeople trying to give you a free dinner voucher or some-such to get you to attend a time-share seminar! I found this out on my first trip, had a lovely 20 minute chat with the fellow "helping" me until I realized what was really going on and skedaddled out of there. Now I know to "no, gracias" anyone asking to help me, but I had forgotten to tell Gary about this! Oops!

A very nice man asked me "who is picking you up?" and I said "no, gracias" and kept walking. Gary, however, stopped with him and tried to get me to come back because, as I had done my first time, he thought they were really there to direct us. Oh. "NO, Gracias". I got him out and explained. My bad.

Safely through customs and immigration... and the time share tunnel
into the beautiful Mexican morning

We had some concerns about being in Mexico in July because, hello HOT - and also the start of the rainy season. But we walked out of the airport into perfect weather. Hot, but breezy and it was just glorious. A brief half-hour ride brought us here.


Yes, I know. It doesn't look too impressive here. Well, not 'fancy' impressive. It's certainly impressive in it's kitschy-charm. But why worry about the 'front yard' when the 'back yard' is where you'll spend your time? You'll see what I mean.

I had warned Gary about this part of the trip. That the two mile bumpy dirt road ride through much vegetation should not concern him and make him think I was taking him out to the wilderness to sleep in a tent! Plus, you see signs like this!
Tell me that's not fun! I love a pirate theme! Arrr-me hearties!!! Welcome!

Once you get past the deceptive road and "oh my god is this place a jungle?" you get to this:

This is just outside of reception looking toward the beach. And we'd all do just what Gary did.

Just headed on down with his backpack still on! It was too enticing to even remember to drop the bags! (And really, it is more beautiful than any of the pictures). Me? I left my flip flops by the surf and promptly forgot about them for the next 3 hours! When I went back to look for them, they were there. Of course.

We were early for check-in so we just left our bags and went to sit at the bar which is outdoors, in front of the pool and gives you a fabulous view of the ocean. We ordered Daiquiris: banana for Gary, Mango for me.

Let's relax for a moment, shall we? Yes.

I will end here for now as I continue to upload photos and videos. Oh yes, there are mariachis and Mayan sacrifices to come. Hasta luego, for now, Amigos!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaack

Gary came up with the 'Corona Commercial' staging here and I think they're a riot.

Of course this was done on our last day... as we were running out the door!

I'm home, I'm pouring through emails and crying over the fact that I got caught in a water-free "shower" this morning (they're installing a new boiler here and started 20 minutes earlier than they were supposed to - my screams of "F*** THIS!" repeated a dozen times were heard throughout Manhattan.) So... am I glad to be home? Eh. Not so much.

But I will regale you with many stories as soon as I get the 887 photos I took to load up. No, I'm not exaggerating. And, of course, there's a story there as well. I'm going to tell that one teeeny story and then try to organize my life (and photos) so I can entertain you with tales of my Mexico travels!

Last Monday, the day before we left for the land where the sky was born, I was attempting to take some video of a very vocal pigeon uh... let's call it a 'date' that was going on outside my window. Usually I wrap the camera's strap around my wrist as I will sometimes loose my grip on things because of my messed up hands and have learned the hard way not to trust that I can hold things securely. Also I'm a klutz.

Of course it's the day before the big trip and I'm not thinking clearly, and in my haste to catch the pigeon 'porn' did not secure the strap to my wrist. I snapped the camera, got a tiny bit of the vocalizing of the romantic birds on vid and then *splunk* the damaged tendon in my hand decided NOW was a perfect time to take a rest.

The camera hit the wood floor and began making the saddest electronic death knells I've ever heard. *beep* beep *beep* beep *beep*

There was no saving my sweet little Canon.

I was sad.

I also freaked out in a really over-the-top drama queen way. I'M LEAVING THE COUNTRY IN LESS THAN 12 HOURS!!!!! Arrrrrghhhhhhhhhhhh!

True to my Internet-junkie status, I do most of my shopping on line. Which means waiting for shipping. I rarely, if ever, buy things in person. Especially something that requires comparison shopping and a good sale: like a digital camera.

So I grabbed the phone and whined to my very wise buddy Phil (who knows from the cameras and other geek-related equipment). His reply? A very calm: "Dude, you live in New York go to the store and get a camera."

Oh.

Well.

Of course.

But he was a great help and actually being in possession of his faculties, unlike me, did a quick search at Best Buy and found me some good options on sale! I ran to the store and bought a Fuji FinePix, along with a 2GB memory card that was on sale like it fell off a truck. I have to admit, things do happen for the best. The new camera is a charm and the gigantic new memory card allowed me to take a ridiculous amount of stills and video with room to spare. My old camera would never have done so well. So after the drama comes the delight. Much like life, yes? Yes.

Now that I've regaled you with that, WAKE UP! I'm off to do a million errands and I'll be back later with more photos and stories than you could possibly want.

Being alive... it's really wonderful. Really.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

MEXICO HERE I COME

I'm not leaving until Tuesday, but the odds are good I won't have time to post anything after today so I wanted to leave you with this.

I will be in Mexico BUT this FRIDAY, July 20, I want you to go see The Niagaras for me!

You have a whole week to prepare yourselves. So do it! Do it for me, if not for yourselves!


While I'm baking in the beautiful Mexican sun, you can be here (of course you'd be inside... I mean, really, these guys are not playing out on the sidewalk, c'mon!)


Experiencing the best band New York City has to offer whether dressed...


or not...

Me? I'll be hanging with these guys...

Marten on top and Rafael on the right
(who gave me a mango to take home last time I was there - shhh! Don't tell!)


and very likely these guys...



or maybe these guys...


who knows, maybe it'll be THESE guys-- YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!


And of course there will be lots of this.

This is right after dawn, it's early bird coffee time (for those insomniacs like me who can't wait until 7a.m. for their caffeine!) Note the indigenous coffee mug on the beach to the left. It's mine, not just left there randomly.The sound is funky because of the wind, but I still like it.

This little memory video I took last time I was in Mexico reminds me a lot of the movie Strange Days. If you've seen it, you'll understand. If you haven't, I suggest you rent it because it's fabulous. One of my favorites. For you Harry Potter fans, Ray Fiennes is in this one - pre-Voldemort, so he's looking pretty. Vincent D'Onofrio, and let's face it, I'm not shy about my admiration of him the guy's crazy-good, and amazingly hot for a fella with a little pug nose. And the ever-awesome Angela Basset, she's tough and oh so vulnerable in this one. Okay, that was a ramble. Sorry. Back to Mexico!

Now don't envy me being in paradise, because I'll be envying YOU. Yes I will. Because you will be able to go see the Niagaras doing THIS


and I, very sadly, will not.


I'll miss The Niagaras, especially since this is my favorite venue to see them, but I hope you will go for me - I'm counting on you! Go!! Then you can taunt me with all the fun I missed!

Friday, July 20th ---- Red Lion, corner of Bleecker and Thompson, West Village, NYC, 10pm, 2 shows! MORE FUN than should be legal!

After I leave my favorite place outside of New York City...

I'll be back on the 24th with fabulous tales of my adventures in Mexico. Such adventures meaning laying around in a hammock reading, and staring at the ocean, but still... you know... exciting.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

C.C.S.I. (Closet Crime Scene Investigation)

The Vic

The Accomplice

There's a reason the serious, crazy cleaning only comes over me once a month. It's not because my mother was a terrible housekeeper (she was a firm believer in paper cups, plates, napkins and pretty much anything else that could be used and disposed of - the environment be damned, Maureen was NOT washing dishes!). It's not because I'm easily distracted and tend to disrobe as I walk in the door leaving a trail of whatever, where ever. It's because it's DANGEROUS!

Cleaning around the house (or apartment) is a battle-ground. When your supposedly inanimate objects start coming after you, looking for blood, you know that Pat Benatar was dead wrong. Love is not a battlefield (Love Hurts, but it's not a battlefield). Cleaning - THAT'S the battlefield.

This morning I wanted to vacuum before I ran out to do the laundry. Just one room, just a quickie. But I tend to get carried away. With most everything. Moderation is not my strong suit. Never was. Never will be. So I headed from the newly vacuumed and pet hair free (for the next 5 minutes anyway) bedroom into the hallway. I even thought I'd get the kitchen done and why not venture onward and hit the living room again for good measure!

The Witness

The hallway closet has sliding doors. They sit above the floor so the pet hair hides right inside the closet doors. No big. I slide them open, run the vacuum over the inch or so of space that is actually floor (there's a lot of stuff in that closet) and it's all sparkly and hairless again. Usually.

Today as I happily entered into the breach, all empowered and Martha Stewarty, I slid open the closet door and the satisfying feeling of seeing the wood floor instead of a carpet of white dog and cat hair was replaced by a horrible, intense pain in the back of my head.

THIS, encouraged by its cronies in the closet, decided the time was ripe to give me a concussion.

The Perp

I keep it here. In front of the spray starch. (I do not want even one single crack about the fact that I use Niagara Spray Starch. Not one. I know it's tempting but control yourself!)

The Scene

Not once in the 16 years I've lived in this apartment has it ever 'fallen' off the shelf, much less propelled itself with venom at the back of my head. You cannot trust these things - they wait. Oh they wait.

I swear it felt like a brick hit me. Of course the iron may actually weigh more than a common brick. Plus it has that handy sharp point at the top. Nice.

After the initial shock of being attacked by the iron all I could think as I held my throbbing head was: OH NO!! Not NOW! I'm going to Mexico next week!

Currently my apartment is in shambles. It looks worse now than when I started cleaning because as I said, moderation: not so much. I have pulled out all sorts of things that were safely stored out of sight, fully intending to get them OUT of here before I leave next week. Clean slate and all that. So here I am, a searing pain in my head, fearing hours upon hours in the emergency room waiting for a CAT scan to see if I have brain damage that will require surgery (note the drama), worrying about how I'm going to get this place looking habitable by Tuesday.

Everyone thinks this way, right? Right?! Oh all right: I think this way.

When the pain started to subside I was pretty sure I was not going to need to go to the hospital. (Quick: someone ask me what day it is!) But I had another fright when I took the pressure off the wound (see, drama again) and saw the blood all over my hands! YIPES! I am sparing you pictures of the blood because I don't want to be responsible for people passing out. A 20 minute set with an icepack seems to have cleared it all up, though I definitely have a lump. Which I suppose means I won't be shaving my head any time soon. Nothing worse than a lumpy bald head, right?

So here I am, amidst the wild disarray of my apartment, surrounded by appliances that are out to get me, a dog who just watches it happen (yeah, good dog) a big ouchie lump on the back of my head and I STILL have to go do laundry.

Ah well, the day is young.