Category Archives: Miami

Beantown Observations #1

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I am approaching the 3.5 month mark of living in the Boston area.

Things I’ve learned.

1. I don’t believe they have any streets that go in a straight line. Whoever designed the road system must have been drunk or on the tilt-a-wheel ride. How many intersections have I come across where it’s not the typical four, perfectly 90 degree angled lanes, we all love. No, I’m talking 5 lanes…or 3 lanes… and every which way but straight ahead roadage. I get so confused, that I can’t figure out which stop light is my light. I pray to either get through the light or have someone in front of me who knows the area.

2. They LOVE roundabouts. Or traffic circles.
LOVE.
THEM.
Generally they have 3 or 4 exits off of them, as normal roundabouts would. But no, last night, I entered a roundabout where Elvis, on Waze, told me I had to get off at the “6th exit on the roundabout.” How in the hell am I supposed to know when I’ve reached the 6th exit? First off, I’m trying not to get killed in the two lane traffic. Secondly, it’s not like there’s any signage. Thirdly, the roundabouts are strange little NASCAR race tracks…no lines, it’s a free for all. Enter from the right and keep on going. Best to just keep your eyes shut.

Needless to say I went around this particular circle….TWICE.

3. If you come to an intersection, where you have a stop sign and the road in front of you has traffic going in both directions…you know from left to right….and right to left…..

Well, if you are waiting for traffic to clear and you don’t move fast enough, the residents here won’t honk at you. They just drive around you.

INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC.

And to think I thought Miami drivers were crazy!

The kicker is, as I learned today, when two cars went around me…… The oncoming traffic STOPS!

4. Cars here don’t have horns. Unlike Miami, now when I hear a horn, it scares the hell out of me. They are rarely, if ever, EVER used.

E V E R.

Forty thousand of us could be backed up on the main highway into downtown Boston. In fact, we are every morning, but you don’t hear a single honk. No beep. No WAAAAHHHHH. Nothing. We’re all in this together. Putting along at 7 mph.

5. Houses here are stinking cute. CUTE. CUTE. And historic. I saw one the other day, with a giant sign over the front door. It was “Ye Olde ______ House.” I can’t remember the name. I quickly scribbled it down on a piece of paper while I was sitting at the light. Researched it on Google. Yeah, it is a historic house, belonging to the wax maker that supplied the candle wax for Paul Revere’s candles. You know, the whole one by land and two by sea? Well this little house currently has 4 apartments. Oh and a guy was killed there last year. (I joke about the wax maker. Not the killing.)

6. There is history EVERYWHERE. I love it.

7. The check out folks at the two Whole Foods I’ve gone to are actually NICE! Genuinely nice. In fact, everyone here is nice. It’s odd. Strangers talk to each other. They let you into traffic. They hold doors for you. I thought Alaskans were friendly. Well, these folks here are Alaskan cousins. Of course, after this winter….I’m calling our area, “Little Alaska.” That was a whole other earlier blog…the winter. Some of these people I’ve met for the first time, I feel like I’ve known them FOREVER. Odd.

Of course, the fact that my new chiropractor said she can’t help it …..but I remind her of someone, she can’t put her finger on it. Then she said Anna from the show Downton Abby. Okay. I’ll take that.

8. They have a lot of wildlife. And I don’t mean just squirrels and birds. Right now there are hundreds of frogs outside singing in the night air. Could be thousands, but since I am not a fan of frogs (they’re so unpredictable) we’re going with hundreds. Coyotes roam in the woods behind my house and literally take down deer. Someone said to be happy it killed the deer…. as the deer has ticks. Yeah, well, I don’t think a deer is going to try and take me down on my way to take out the trash at night…..a coyote…could. And I’m small. And if I’ve just had a bath, I’m salty from the detox soak concoction I make. If anyone wants to know where the wild turkeys are hanging out ….they’re here! I hear them in the morning in the woods behind our place. Gobble, gobble, gobble. The cross the highway like they’re on the Thanksgiving Day Parade! They’re protected along with the squirrels, coyotes and Fisher Cats.

9. I see things I haven’t seen in ever time period….still operating Dairy Queens. Shoe repair shops. Nearly every gas station is full service. Of course, when I drive into the gas station, all I hear is, “Monna. Wachta servictico bolded whishtenfoul booperbump today?”

Did you catch that?
Me neither.
It’s the Boston accent.

Wicked Smarht.

Yeah, fill it up, unleaded. Fuck. Shut the door. No idea what that guy just said. Good thing Norman is only a 10 galloner.

10. The crowning glory, for the moment, which was a tie with the beauty of spring. Trees are just leafing out…whites, pinks, greens, yellows….just gorgeous. No, the crowning glory has to be the genius idea to offer a ferry from this side of the pond right into downtown Boston. Forget the driving. Buy a breakfast sandwich from the lunch truck out front of the ferry terminal, where the guy knows your name or jump on board and get a cuppa cuppa coffee. Relax and enjoy the ride. The best part of this ferry? The return trip. BAR SERVICE BABY! Oh yeah! 40 minutes….what can I get ya?

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Standing Room Only.

I’m not going to lie.
When we left Alaska, it was exciting to be going to Miami.

Daily sunshine.
Palm trees.
The beach less than a mile away.
Warm weather.
Rocking thunderstorms.
Eating outside.
Not having to wear a winter coat 8 months out of the year.
Disney was a short drive away.
Fresh coconuts.

Delightful.

After about a year, the novelty wore off.

For us Alaskans, it was always hotter than Hades.
The humidity was so thick even the cats’ fur was frizzy.
Christmas wasn’t the same without snow.
We didn’t speak Spanish.
The insanity of the drivers on I95.
Honking is relentless.

Enough already. So we started to look north to New England.

We landed just south of Plymouth Rock this February and couldn’t be happier.

Of course, we arrived in the middle of winter. And for anyone who is familiar with the legends of the 2015 Boston winter….you can only imagine what we faced. Of course, we were likely the ONLY people in the Boston – New England area that was THRILLED to see snow.

Need someone to help shovel? We’re on it.
No, it’s not too cold to go out for a walk.
Forgot something at the store? We can go.

Laying in bed at night, we were like little kids, “do you think it’s snowing yet?”

With the first snow storm coming down, the schools quickly started to broadcast on the TV who was going to be closed. Okay, when I was a kid you had to listen to the radio (1060AM) the morning of school to know whether or not you were making the trek into school. Things have progressed in the school districts!

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At any rate, we went over the public transportation again and reviewed how I would get to work on my first day. (Actually, earlier in the week we did the entire route just to be certain I knew where I was going on my first day.) I was ready to go.

Buzz-buzz-guess what?

The recruiter who had been along with me for the entire hiring ride, emailed me on Sunday night… “Work is cancelled for tomorrow. It’s a snow day.”

Really?

Huh. Okay. Well, this is definitely different than Alaska.

The next morning we awoke to multiple feet of snow. So exciting!

That night, the Mayor of Boston was on tv and says, “Due to the blizzard, all non-essential employees should stay home tomorrow.”

Well.

Am I non-essential?

I feel pretty damn essential.

How do you know if you haven’t been told if you’re essential?

Excuse me, could you tell me if I am a non-essential worker?

You see, I now work for the city, so yes…I could be essential or non-essential.

Buzz-buzz-guess-who?

My recruiter emails and tells me officially, “Day two snow day. No work.”

Apparently, I am non-essential. (Well, they haven’t seen my tiara yet…so just wait! Think that is what makes one essential. It’s really good when I bring out the confetti cannon.)

Day two snow day! Whoop! Whoop! Of course, at the end of the blizzard, approaching Wednesday. I’m suddenly filled with, like a little kid, “but I don’t want to go to work tomorrow!”

I wait in front of the TV to watch school closings. Few come.
I check my email for a note from my recruiter. Silence.

Okay, I’m going in.

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Fast forward about two weeks. Boston has been hit again, again, again and again with snow. People’s cars are buried until Spring.

You can’t see around the corner at stop signs. Wild animals are being brought to animal shelters cause they can’t find food. Even birds!

It was my goal all along to take public transportation in to the office however, lucky for me and thousands of other commuters…the snow storms have wrecked havoc on the public transportation system.

Multiple lines of the “T” are closed cause the crews can’t clear the tracks. People are left stranded. It has become a disaster. I would arrive to the T-stop in the morning along with 50+ of my closest stranger friends and everyone would stand together – looking down the tracks – waiting for the train.

We were like a bunch of penguins out there. Hands in coat pockets. Breathing into our coat collars. All positioned looking due east….anticipating the train.

If we’re freezing out on the platform, it’s okay because due to the snow levels and route cancellations….the train has become:

Standing
Room
Only

Seriously.

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NOTE: These aren’t my arms. These aren’t my body!

We all know how I like to snuggle up next to strangers. I might prefer to have lunch with a leper.

But the roads are bad enough that I don’t want to drive the 16 miles – so commute I must.

Going into the city, I NEVER got a seat. Since some routes were cancelled, hundreds of additional people crowded on the available trains.

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(NOTE: This is just the stop before mine – hundreds got off.)

After a week of riding out of the city, I figured out a system and I GOT a seat. It was euphoria when I figured this out. At the main station, my train always came into the same track. Although it was to arrive at 5:40PM, with the weather, sometimes it didn’t show up until 6:15PM.

I would wait calmly, well bundled up, close to the area where my track was outside. As soon as I saw the headlight make the turn towards that track, I started walking.

Excuse me.
Pardon me.

Sneak around this guy and that woman.

By the time I got towards the front of the pack, a few people…usually men…would start to walk down to the track. (Technically you’re supposed to wait for the train to come all the way into the gate and stop…) Nope, not happening for a select few. I was in the front herd. Those that don’t listen to the directions. I joined them.

The result? When the train came to a complete stop, I was usually by one of the doors!

Yahoo! I beat the system!

Why wait for the pack of hundreds?

When you’re small and sharpen your elbows, you can get anywhere.

Now, I too could get a seat. Not just any seat. No. I had MY CHOICE of seat as I got on.

Yeah me!

No more bumping and grinding with strangers.

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Then someone told me about the ferry. I can take a ferry from close to my home, right into Boston.

REALLY!? I checked the schedule and sure enough….it was operating.

I took the ferry into work. It was delightful.

That night, I took the 5:40PM ferry home. It left on time. But we hit a small bump.

Multiple small bumps.

Actually, some weren’t so small.

The harbor had iced over. We were hitting sheets of ice. All I could think of was the Titanic.

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No, we didn’t spend the night on the ferry, we spent an extra hour on the ferry waiting for the US Coast Guard Ice Cutter to come and free us.

This is when I discovered….there’s two bars on this ferry.

Case closed, this is how I’m traveling henceforth.

(Note: I’ve been trying to figure out how to use the word, “henceforth” so there.)

Now, the ferry isn’t what you would imagine, or maybe it is. It’s a sightseeing boat in the summer time. Some times I get the GIANT vessel that seats several hundred. Sometimes I get the cute little one. Both offer a decent selection of beer and for me…a chardonnay please… $6.

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Now I leave the driving to someone else!
I catch up on some reading.
Enjoy a great boat ride.
Have myself a chardonnay and relax on the way home!

So much easier than bringing my airplane bottles of vodka on the train. In those ass bumping moments, sometimes you need to self-medicate and it’s pitiful when you run out and haven’t even left the station yet.

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Moving…There’s Not Enough Vodka for This. Vol. 1

It all started with what I thought was a dog’s bellowing.
You know that sound.
Something between a howl and a growl.
Or it was a terrible bagpipe performance….performed by a ostrich.

In reality, it was our cat….. Monkey.
In her carrier.
Being taken out to the car.

By the time we got everyone into the backseat, the cats were carrying on a conversation that clearly they thought life, as they knew it was over. Well, buy those felines a king size bag of nip….they were correct!

We were on the way to get kitty health certificates because in two short days….they were  flying with Momma from Miami to Boston!  Are we excited? Oh yeah.

They were about as excited as cats going to the vet’s office, in cat carriers, in the back seat of the car….screaming the whole way.  We’re going to need some drugs.  Either the cats are going to need drugs for the flight or I’m going to need drugs for the flight.

Someone WILL be medicated.

Fast forward and let the chaos unfold.

Day of the flight…I am packed and ready to go.  The house is fairly boxed up and sorted out.

Eric will be driving up in the Honda, so I have a pile of “must go in the car” and a pile of “would be nice to go in the car” and a “can wait for the movers” pile.  Knowing how the day is going to progress, I begin the day with a hearty breakfast – a Whipped Cream Vodka shot.  Perfect.

I download a movie.  Get dressed.  Throw things in my two giant suitcases,  one under the seat suitcase, which will be checked as luggage and one carry on.

One cat, will be a carry on.  Two cats will be checked as luggage.

There is a word for this traveling style:  Circus.

The only saving grace for today is it’s a non-stop flight.

Time to get dressed.  Boston.  It’s freezing, literally.

Attire: jeans, long sleeve shirt, jacket, Xtra Tuff boots.

UGH.  Time for another shot….Rootbeer Vodka Shot.

Alright, we are close to leaving, time to pack up the small pets.  I calmly say to Eric.  I’m getting a cat.  I pick up Taku, the youngest and stuff her into a pink, hard sided carrier.

He grabs Liggy, the eldest at 15 years, and we back her into her soft sided case.  She is the one traveling under the seat.

Next up is Monkey.

It becomes a three ring circus.  Monkey is under the couch, over the chair, up the stairs.  Her tail is as fat as my arm.  She is NOT happy.  She is hissing.  Growling.  Under the couch.  Over the chair.  Under the couch.  Through the kitchen.  Behind the boxes.

We are now 10 minutes into trying to catch Monkey.

What.

Is.

That.

Stench?

Great.  She has released her anal glands.  Think musky, dirty, poopy, dank, odor from the swampy depths of cat butt.  Awesome.

Scratches on Eric’s legs as we try and grab her as she dashes past on her way round boxes, under the couch, under the coffee table, over the chair….knocking over trash cans, empty suitcases and other roadblocks.

Finally, we catch her and she is literally sweating.  Her fur is wet.

The Monkey.  Is.  Pissed.

A blood curling yowl escapes from her little furry black body.

Into the pink carrier she goes.

I need another shot…..

Now, we’re late, of course.  Damn it Monkey!  We get into the car and the felines are silent.  I think someone said two words and that was about the end of it.  They knew.

We race up to Ft. Lauderdale airport and decide to drop me, the luggage and the circus at the sidewalk.  There are hundreds of people in line for curbside check in.  You have got to be kidding me.  We don’t have time for this.  I can’t lug three suitcases and three cats by myself while Eric parks the car.  So I decide to crouch next to the felines and talk calmly to them.  There isn’t a porter in sight.

I’m sweating through my Xtra Tuffs and jeans.

Is that a whiff of Monkey ass?

Christ, please.  I don’t want to smell like cat butt.

Next thing I know I hear this man say, “Mommy, you need help?”

I look up and low and behold….A PORTER!  A PORTER ALL FOR ME!  Yes, I will be anyone’s mommy if you can help me!

Yes, yes, yes! I need help!  Checking in…with three cats!  Please!  (Get me into the air conditioning before my crotch soaks through these jeans in this heat…that would be a fantastic feat!)

Within minutes, he had me in the line and we were zipping to the check in counter.

Next thing I know we get to the counter.  My little agent guy has a helper.  The helper lady seems to be doing a lot of the work.  Uh-oh.  My little agent guy….is new.  Buddy, I don’t have time for new.  Not today.

Look, you fill out the form, you slap it on the kennel. It already has a Live Animals sticker on there.  You put the label with the arrow going UP.  You want the kennel to stay in the UPRIGHT position.  Are you kidding me?

I don’t want to tell you how to do you job – but damn – I don’t have time for this.

Then they tell me we have to take the two kennels going under the plane over to TSA and they need to inspect the kennels and we have to take the cats out.  I look at Eric.  One word comes to mind.

M O N K E Y

We tell the TSA guy, “well, let’s do the easy one first.”  Taku, who never says a word, comes out…blinks at us while I hold her…. and goes back in.  Time for the stinky, pain in the ass, but really she’s just scared to death,  one.  I open the door, reach in and grab her by the neck ruff.

WE will not be playing any games in this airport missy.  You may think you’re all that and a bag of cat nip…but I AM the momma cat and YOU WILL not be fucking around.

Fine, back in she goes.

Next, time for me to go through the security gate and I look at Eric.   What time is it? Plane boards in 10 minutes.  GREAT.  I have to give Liggy her medicine 30 – 60 minutes before the flight.

Wait!  Where is my iPad?  Momentarily I panic.  It’s in the car.  I debate, leave it or should Eric go and get it?  I downloaded a movie to watch just for this flight!  I have my book, but I really wanted to watch the movie.  He runs and gets the iPad….in the meanwhile….

I throw everything on the floor.  I grab the pill and try to shove it down Liggy’s throat while she is sitting in her little bag.

Once, twice, three times.  Not happening.

I open the bag.  Jerk her out and hold her in my lap.

You.  Will. Eat.  This.  Pill.

Liggy, however, has other ideas.

Such as…..there will be no pill going down her throat today.

EAT THE PILL!

By this time, sweat, is pouring down my face.  I am literally, a hot mess.

Eric is back and he’s telling me, “you have to go.”

Okay, well.  Here’s hoping she ate the pill.

Pack up the 15 pound cat, roller suitcase and my handbag.  Off we go through security.

I get to the X-ray machine and tell them I have a cat.  “Please take her out of the bag.”  Okay.  Liggy and I then stand there for 5 minutes while they discuss with the persons in front of me which machine they should use.  The walk through X-ray or the stand there with your hands above your head machine.

Okay, I’m standing here with a 15 pound feline, who isn’t really happy with her situation.  Could we move this along?  Is she doesn’t start hissing, I might.  We both might.

We get through the machine and don’t you know her carrier bag get stopped on the conveyor belt…..just short of arm’s reach.  There’s that sign that says, “don’t reach in to grab your bag.”  Come on.

COME ON!!!!

I get all the stuff…cat in the bag.  Luckily, for once, I was the FIRST GATE!  Eureka.  They were already boarding First Class when I arrived, so I dashed to the restroom.  Why?

Well, yes, to use the restroom, but also, because unlike most people.  My quart size bag….is filled with airplane bottles of…vodka.  Yep.  So I had a shot of chocolate vodka before jumping on my flight.

(No.  Contrary to popular belief, the only thing TSA has ever said to me was, “Finally someone actually gets the idea of what they should be using the quart size bags for on these flights!”  I can get about 8 little bottles in there.)

Liggy and I get to the gate and I hop in line.  I look around and smile.

Finally.

This is the first time in two years.

I have found my people.

Carhartts.

Flannel.

Boots.

North Face.

Fleece.

English is the first language.

It’s good.

As I get on the plane I advise the crew I had two other felines joining me below, they were like, “YOU’RE the CAT LADY!!!!”  Yes.  Yes.  I am.  They were delighted.  They had the slips showing Taku and Monkey were already boarded.

Liggy and I get on board and the middle seat remains empty.  I’m thrilled.  I’m thinking, this is great!  I will enjoy my movie “Chef” and order a seltzer water for my Vodka….after the last four hours, I need another Vodka.  Liggy, I’m pretty sure, hasn’t taken her pill as she keeps changing positions and mewing.

Then it happens.

I get a middle seat person.

Which under normal circumstances, would be fine.  But this, of course, isn’t normal circumstances.

Guess who sits next to me?

Nope.  A pilot.  Of course!  There goes my Vodka.  (Plan B:  have to use the restroom and take my purse, which had my quart size bag anyway after security.)

So, definitely, Liggy had not taken her pill.  Luckily the noise of the aircraft mostly drowned out her meows but she definitely could not sit still.  Well sister we have three hours to go, suck it up.

We finally land Boston and we hop off the plane.  Liggy and I meet our pick up party in baggage claim.  All the luggage arrives and we wait patiently for the two pink cat carriers to come through “special baggage”.  Apparently, animals are last off the plane.

As soon as I saw those two carriers I said, “There’s my little girls.”

Then SHE LET ME HAVE IT.

It was one big yyyyyeeeeeeeoooooooowwwwwwwlllllll….followed by…..

A where in the hell are we?

And a who the hell do you think you are?

And a what the hell was that?

And never again!

And a fuck you lady and the horse you flew in on!

Monkey.  Was.  Pissed.

By the time we got out to the car, she was exhausted and had no further words.

Now, if we could just get her to come out from under the bed….we’d be doing good!  She does laps, to make sure we’re still here.  Then back she goes.

 

Pork Me ….. I’m Gonna Vomit

It seemed like a great idea.
They were on the Nation’s BEST OF list.
So what does that mean?
We have to go try them.

After cheeeezzzzeburgers, a good chicken wing is my next favorite thing.
Although recently, I’m loosing my love for the wing.
I’ve pretty much lost all love for the bird itself.

Why?
It tastes dirty.

The bird tastes dirty.
Not just the dark meat.
All of it.
Blah.

Well tonight, the remaining love of wings, may have left what tiny bit of love remained…..on the windshield of my beloved Norman.

Blah.

So this local place – was one of the top 50 places in AMERICA to eat wings.
HERE.
IN.
MIAMI.

So we went.
I made reservations.

Yes, one of THOSE places.

NOTE: every where in Miami is one of THOSE places – even Taco Bell. You get over it.

But you know, with Open Table, you get points of reservations. You go anywhere that may take reservations, you make one on Open Table so you get a coupon eventually towards a free meal. It’s worth it.

The Mister drops me off, I go in to secure our precious reservation while he parks the car. Of course, parking the car in this area is a small two day mission. I order a glass of wine, review my Facebook, check us in, read my emails, decide what I’m having for dinner, take some snaps of the restaurant, chat with the waiter, read my work emails, search the internet about a storm hitting Alaska, comment on friends’ Facebook posting, text the Mister to ensure he’s not lost, research Pygmy goats, take more pictures of the restaurant, ponder why there’s an overwhelming amount of men to women in this establishment and then finally the Mister arrives.

Whew.

Emmett came and took our orders.

Most importantly……I had to know, “how many wings come in an order?”

Four.

Four?

Four.

…..insert my Bambi stare here….. blink blink…..blink….blink…..

Four?

In Alaska, we’d go to our favorite place, the USCG station and order 50.

Okay, let’s roll the dice. I accept the swine challenge of four.

Order UP!

We enjoy our beverages and a serving tray arrives with half a chicken. NO. It’s the four wings. It’s a drumstick AND a wing. Times four! Nicely played. These are as big as my hand!

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Let’s back up. Did I mention….if you expect me to eat wings like a lady, you’re eating wings with the wrong lady? I’m like a one year old with their first birthday cake. I’ve got sauce all over my face, up my nose, in my hair and smeared on both cheeks. No, that’s not a hickey on my neck, it’s hot wing sauce. Trust me….. Go ahead, I’m like a scratch and sniff sticker but different. Lick it.

Emmett comes back. What do we want for dinner?
We both decide….ribs. It’s half a rack.
The smell in this place is delicious.
Half way down the block you could smell the smoker. Nom, nom, nom.
Smokey wood burning.
Oh and brussel sprouts. We want those too.

Before I can finish my second half of chicken this mound of rib arrives on a wooden platter. This mound was the size of a 15 pound meatloaf. It was literally stacked three layers high with ribs.

Shit.

Yeah, well. Did I mention we don’t eat pork?

At home we’re vegetarians. No meat. No fish. No chicken. No lunch meat. No eggs. No milk. Some cheese for tacos. No pork. This is overload.

I eat three ribs. Who can eat this amount of food? Godzilla maybe. This is insane.

Yes, I’ll need a box.

We decide to enjoy a cup of coffee and split a salted carmel milkshake. I mean really, the damage was already done. So let’s really set ourselves up for misery and put our digestive tracts into a tailspin of sugar mania. We’ve lubed up our internals with fat and meat….now let’s coat them with sugar and more fat.

Awesome.

I can hear my arteries heave now.

If you listen closely they’re already sending morse code signals to Shamans in the Amazon jungle.

After about 3 hours of pure hog heaven, we hire the valets to wheelbarrow us out to the car. I truly think I need to make an incision into my abdomen to let out some of the pressure. I have eaten too much.

Two half chickens, disguised as “chicken wings”
3 ribs.
Half a salted carmel milkshake.

Either I ate too much or there is an alien about to be born out of my gut. At this point I may take the alien option. As I drive home, I am gripping the steering wheel as my stomach rolls and tumbles.

I am burping.

Hot dogs.

I

Hate

Pork.

BLURP.

I continue to grip the steering wheel. I think my intestines are reorganizing themselves into a holiday bow. I refuse to pull over and poop on the side of the road. In previous chapters of my life, I’ve pulled over to pee. And yes, I’ve pulled over to vomit. I will not pull over to poop. This chicky has her limits.

I’m sorry Norman, but this is I95 and you’re going to fly like you’re a Virgin Atlantic flight on a nonstop from Miami to Aventura. Landing gear is down and we’re on direct flight.

BLURP.

I hate hot dogs.

(Okay, there was a time when I liked the processed ones with the little cheese bits in them, but that was like a decade ago.)

(Oh yeah and when we go to holiday parties….don’t stand between me and the Little Smokies in the hot pot. I’m like a blue haired lady on double bingo night. Get out of my way!)

I feel so ill. It’s like the time when I was little and thought it was a good idea to eat 6 hard boiled eggs.
Wrong.

BLURP.

What compounds the problem is that I can’t get rid of the smoker smell off my hands. What I enjoyed so much at the restaurant….a wood smoke smell from what I can only imagine is an enormous smoker in the back recesses of the kitchen….is now stuck to my hands like a foul tattoo.

It’s like having hairy palms.

I can’t get rid of it.

BLURP.

I hate hot dogs.

Still….after several washings.

I tried two different types of hand sanitizer.

I get home and use lemon soap.

The cats are now intrigued and wondering how to nibble off one of my thumb pads. I’m being stalked by three furry critters who are trying to figure out how to hold me down just long enough.

Great. Every time get a whiff of my hands, my stomach rolls. This can only mean one thing.

I’m going to have to sleep with gym socks on my hands tonight.

That’s all fun and games until I wake up in the middle of the night, forget about the socks and freak out believing I’ve developed some strange mitten hand disease overnight from the swine all the while thumping The Mister in the head while screaming repeatedly until he wakes up.

BLURP.

Whole Foods…a Vortex to Acting Like 5 Year Olds.

I was thrilled when I moved here to discover a Whole Foods right around the corner from my house. Coming from Alaska, this was a brand new experience. I had heard stories about the LUXURY of shopping at a Whole Foods.

Vegetables are like diamonds encased in security sealed cases.

Cheese by the pound is on display by region.

Fresh meat all organically grown, petted daily and humanely put down for sale.

A salad bar worth drooling over.

Fresh this and wholesome that.

Vitamins, detox mixtures, tonics and fresh squeezed orange juice….oh my fucking my.

Seriously….people…this is heaven on earth.




Yeah, it’s heaven on earth if I want to be ignored by the staff, nearly run down by patrons and….on top of it all pay out the ass for a 4oz container of guacamole, of which I could make better at home.

What am I missing here?

I simply don’t get it. There are several things that slap me in the face when I go in there:

1. Their customer service SUCKS. Granted, they have good produce. Every time I dash in to pick up something, it always happens the produce guy has his little cart right in front of whatever item I need in the produce aisle:

Corn on the cob? Check.

Tomatos. Check.

Apples. Check.

Potatoes. Check.

Vegan salad dressing. Check.

Doesn’t matter, he is parked there and it never crosses his mind to MOVE THE FUCKING CART a foot to let me select my green beans, snow peas, broccoli or peppers. It annoys the hell out of me. I’m sorry. It’s common sense. You have a customer approaching, with a basket on her arm and obviously looking at the produce right in front of you.

Why yes, I would like some of those carrots with the green leafy tops still on….all five of them for $9.99. Could you excuse me?

So

I

Could

Just

Reach

The

Damn

Carrots?

Oh, no wait, I see the issue. You are too busy laughing it up with the guy who is stocking up the pineapples and grapes. Never mind. Don’t want to bother you. Let me climb over your cart. Who is the customer here?

Apparently the overhead they charge for the produce also includes a gym membership fee.

Who knew?

It annoys the shit out of me.

AND, the people who check you out never smile. Tonight, when I ran in to grab corn and tomatoes, the guy walked away from the counter without saying a word so he could go throw a paper out two rows away.

REALLY?

I always approach and say HELLO! HOW ARE YOU?! Nothing.

If you really hate your job so much that you can’t smile and greet your customers, such as Michael this evening at my local store, then you need to go work somewhere else. The lady at the corner hot dog stand has better customer service than these people. It never fails. Save the overhead and have self check out!

Wait! Do you think because people are paying $5.99 for a pack of gum….gives you the permission to ignore your customers and treat us like shoe leather? Oh wait, you thought we were the plastic shoe leather? Pleather? THAT explains so much then.

But should one of their friends come up to help bag, whoa! It’s all fun and games….my, how the tides turn. Did I just slide down the rabbit hole? Apparently you are just hard of hearing and you didn’t hear my greeting.

Maybe I should just start yelling at people.

Let’s move forward.

********* The Salad Bar *********

So the tremendous salad bar. They have a great selection of soups. If you enjoy soups.
I don’t.

The salad bar is a typical salad bar. A variety of leafy greens to select and toppings. Nicely done.

Then the opposite side is mixed salads, rice salads, weird shit and shit I wouldn’t eat as I don’t eat weird shit or limp shit, or shit I can’t pronounce.

I’m sorry but when you see zucchini and squash that has been sliced lengthwise and then grilled….placed under heat lamps….it’s not right. They’re limp. They’re gross. It’s veggie abuse. Same goes for the eggplant. It is a horror flick right there in the deli. I have to turn the other way as it makes my stomach turn. Kind of like smelling sour milk.

Imagine holding up a piece of limp grilled zucchini in your hand….it falls over. So sad. It was excited at one point, I’m certain of it. Who wants limp shit? Okay, maybe a starving Sasquatch.

But apparently someone out there is enjoying the limp shit. Desperate, hungry, rich people, that don’t know about crisp veggies. Imagine holding up a piece of limp grilled zucchini in your hand….it falls over. So sad. It was excited at one point, I’m certain of it.

The thing I hate about going around that damn salad / deli area are the people.

No

Sense

Of

Personal

Space.

Which brings me to another point of the experience at Whole Foods….

2. The regulars. Maybe it’s where I live. I think it’s a feeling of entitlement. I’ve started to wonder what’s happened to two things: personal space and common courtesy. It’s not like we’re on the NYC subway here….ass to coot-chy …. DAMN.

Bumping elbows, watches, shoulders, baskets, hips…..okay – BACK THE FUCK UP!

Unless you are planning on popping open a bottle of wine in aisle 9 and then taking me to dinner, you are way too close to me. Knock it off.

There is no reason for your shoes to be hitting my shoes – there is plenty of space to go around me. I am all of 5’2 on a good day and it’s not like I weigh in like a gorilla. I don’t even have a cart! There’s simply no reason to be up my ass, over my shoulder, climbing up my eyeballs to get around me.

Take a breath.

Take a step to the side.

Go around me.

SAY EXCUSE ME! It’s not difficult!

If I stop to look at something, you are going to have to adjust your plan and detour. Don’t roll your eyes and huff at me. I’m not your child and am certainly not your spouse. Life does not revolve around you, jackass. Get over it. I’m putting my basket down and looking at this colon detox powder for the next ten minutes or until you stop glaring at me. If you’re going to continue, I will pick up this anal itch cream and ask you if you’ve tried it.

Don’t tempt me.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah….life sucks….get in line with the rest of us. Waaaahhhhhh.

Oh my god….if you are going to shop in here, suck it up and act like an adult.

That’s what I don’t get. To shop in Whole Foods, you have to have money, yet all these people in here act like five year olds.

They’re playing chicken with their carts in the aisles.

I’m not moving….you are going to have to climb over me if you want to get that hot sauce, fucker.

They will run you down to get to the salad bar – and block it. MINE! IT’S ALL MINE!

Missy is going to be a defensive blocker for the vegan cheese display and then at the organic wine area.

Sorry, did you want to get in the front door? I’m cleaning my cart handle off with the sanitary wipe. Sorry.

Clint is on his phone shouting about his latest trade while trying to choose what bread to get sliced. PICK ONE!

For the love of all things holy – concentrate – get your shopping done and move out of the way for the rest of humanity.

******* The End Result *******

I’m done with Whole Foods.

We have found a fabulous farmer’s market up north we go to every weekend. We can fill up bags and bags of fresh produce for just dollars. It’s fantastic. Right from the farms. I can go to our little guy and get what we affectionately call…”Hooker Vaginas”….but we have to get there early as he sells out. We get a quart for $10 and then I usually get my own for $3 and enjoy it in the car on the way home. Eric sometimes gets one as well. It’s good for us yumminess.

I would rather drive 30 minutes and go to a Trader Joe’s than go through the non-sense we continue to experience at a Whole Foods. I don’t get it. It’s not worth it. They’re not making me feel like a valuable customer and I’m not going to support them as a business. It’s ridiculous. Yes, they may be easy and healthy, but there is lots to be said about good customer service and feeling welcomed into the establishment.

Thanks for letting me vent…..I feel lighter…..like dandelion fluff or glitter in a confetti cannon.

Your Fingers In My Hair

One of the hardest things about moving to Miami is finding a hair stylist.    In Juneau, I had the same stylist for ten years and then he moved.  I was horrified.  It was as if suddenly God shouted there would be no more coffee or cheese on earth.

W H A T ?

Then I found a great new hair stylist who I used until my final day in Juneau.

Whew.

Fast forward to Miami and 40,000 salons, spas, hair cutters and strip malls offering quick cut services.  What to do?  Only one thing.  Try.  Try.  Try again.

So far, I’ve tried three salons.  The first was nice but too far away after a few visits.  The second was….honestly…..the stylist just didn’t listen.  I’d sit in the chair, tell her what I wanted and I swear she barely cut anything off my head.  Not to mention the color never stayed.  Lastly, it’s never a good thing when it looks like you’ve tried to behead me with the electric shaver.  Oh, I’m not kidding!  Big giant red cut across the the back of my neck.

In Juneau, my hair was my glory.  In Miami, it’s my struggle.

Needing to get another cut.  I was dreading having to go back to salon #2.

puffy dog

The stylist, I knew would cut off the equivalent of a gnat’s leg hair width of an amount and the end result would be my head would look like a giant q-tip.  

Yeah me – cause that’s the latest hot style!  Everyone loves that look!

Finally, due to my simple exasperation, my better half searched and found a place on line and I gave it a look.  My initial response was “are you kidding me?  Have you seen the pricing?”  A few visits and I could buy a new car…and we all know what kind of car I want.

As my hair continued to get pouffier, yes that’s a word, thank you.  I cancelled my standing appointment at the salon that doesn’t listen to me and made an appointment at the next salon attempt.  We’ll call this place, “Salon Oh La La.”

I walked in the front door and nearly turned around as I thought: oh no, this is not for me.  No.  No. No. No.  This can’t be right.  I’ve never been in such a salon.

No.  It’s not the mix of 4 different languages that make an impact on me:  Spanish, Russian, Jewish and Muslim.  That’s just a common, regular day in Aventura.  What stuns me is the 3 tiered, enormous, bigger than a VW Beetle, crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling….over a circular couch that could very well be in a porn film or posh advertisement with nearly naked men lounging on it.  Wait, in fact, I think there might be nearly naked people lounging on it.

Every square inch of space has someone in some form of processing.   There’s no waiting area, so I continue to stand in the middle of the chaos.

Well, this is awkward, as I wait to be attended to by the front desk.

My uncomfortableness is compounded as I don’t know where to look as there are people everywhere.  And, by the way….why do they have a money machine in here?

I have to yell my arrival to the woman at the front desk.  Yell.  Over.  The.  Noise.

I can only yell my name and appointment time to her as, unfortunately I have no idea who my appointment is with.  When they called me back to tell me my time (as I requested my appointment via their online system) the background noise from the salon was so loud I couldn’t hear who the name was of the stylist.

OH yes!  You’re with Suyera.

Great!  (WTF? I think silently to myself…what name did she say?)

A few minutes go by and this young guy comes up and introduces himself to me:  Hello.  I am Stoerj.  Nice to meet you.  Please, this way.

He is so quiet and I have barely understood anything of what he said.  Not that he has an accent but he is quiet.  OH MY.

We go to his station and he asks what I want to do.  I tell him I need his help.  That he is my third stylist and I am looking for someone to just do what needs to be done.  He says, “not to worry.”  Then he starts to look at my hair, which I wear naturally curly.

He looks at the back and says, “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED HERE?”  No mistaking his dislike of my shortened buzzed cut at the nape of my neck.  “WHO DID THIS?”  He’s obviously quite upset.  “TERRIBLE!”  I continued to just let him go on and he continued to run his fingers through my giant mass of hair.

A few minutes later another gentleman joins us and my stylist introduces him as Joseph.  He and Joseph start to consult together over my hair – in Russian.  Joseph calls my stylist Sam.

Eureka!

I have a name!  Mental note to self.  SAM.

The two of them push my head to the left, to the right and to the front.  All of the sudden…. Sam’s voice goes up four octaves and his sentences start running together.  The only word I could understand was:

FUCK!

Again, he’s not happy about the shaved nape of my neck.

I’m thinking, it’s a good thing I didn’t ask him to do this again.

Joseph walks away and Sam says to me, “don’t worry, I will fix this mess in the back.  It will take a few visits, but it can be fixed.  They should have never done this.”  Little did he know, I wanted it like that.

We did color and high lights, low lights, mid lights, rough lights, sweet lights, edgy lights and I even had a cappuccino while I lighted and processed.

It was time for the wash out and he leads me over to the sinks.   A Russian girl comes out to shampoo me.  All I could think to myself was two things….

1.  Please, don’t wash off my eyebrows, I have to go to the store after this.

2.  I don’t think you need to shampoo down my neck.

No, I am not kidding.  She would hold my head up by placing her palm on the crown of my head and then shampoo down my neck.

DOWN

MY

NECK.

I wasn’t just a bird in a bird bath, I was a raccoon in a bird bath.  Water was going everywhere.  I thought at one point….if I start to squirt water of my mouth we’re going to be in trouble here.

My thought process went something like this for the shampoo session:

marilyn

Please don’t wash off my eyebrows.  Oh my god, is my mascara waterproof?

I bet I look like Marilyn Manson by now.  How is this water NOT going in my ears?  Is it necessary to wash my forehead?  Oh wait, time for the neck again.  Please don’t wash off my eyebrows.

Note to self:  Thank god I invested in the clear eyebrow sealer, thank you Bobbi Brown.

Back to Sam, we’re down to business.  He uses his index finger to push my head this way and that way.  The cutting starts normally enough.  It’s your typical hair cut.  Comb and cut.  Comb and cut.  He dries my hair and uses the flat iron.  It looks fantastic.  I love it.

Little did I know the best was yet to come.

Cue Edward Scissorhands.

images-2

I’m not kidding.

It starts with Sam pulling up sections of my hair with one hand……while he cuts wildly….as gravity pulls my hair back into place.

This occurs all over my entire head.

Step two:  He takes sections of my hair and twirls it around his finger.  These large twists of basically hair rope are cut into with his ridiculously fast scissors.   Again, all over my head.

Step three:  Get out the hair dryer.  Tilting my head to one side and then the other, with the hair dryer on….causing my hair to blow wildly….he cuts madly into the forced wind.

All I can do is keep my eyes closed and hope the scissors don’t nip my eyeballs or my ears.  He moves so fast and the sound of those scissors makes my upper lip break out into a sweat.  Talk about scaredy cat ….. I’m on the verge of scaredy cut.

Witcha….witcha….witcha….witcha….witcha…witcha…witcha… (sound of his scissors)

Not to meRollercoasterntion he leans into the chair while doing all of this so I’m also vibrating at the same time.  It’s like a getting a little massage.  No, actually, it’s like you’re going up that first big hill on a roller coaster.  That chug, chug, chug feeling, but at 100mph.

Or, I’m riding along in a POS car and it’s stuck between 2nd and 3rd gear and can’t get over it.  Goodness.

I’m somewhere between getting my hair cut and a Siegfried and Roy act.

The other thing is, when I open my eyes, it amazes me…his cutting draws an audience.

It truly is a performance.  I’ve never had people watch me with such jaw dropping (literally) anticipation.  Perhaps they too are worried about my eyes and ears.  Today when he threw back my hair and I opened my eyes there were four people standing around his station.

FOUR!

They said, “SAM! Beautiful work!”

He said, “Oh no!  She is beautiful!”

Even the woman and stylist in the station across from me yell over how great it looks.

A lady, his next client can’t stop exclaiming how wonderful it looks and wants to know if this is my natural color.  Seriously?  

Ok – who doesn’t want to go to a stylist that says this?  Who doesn’t want to go to a stylist that gets an audience when he cuts?  Is this what it’s like to be a rock star?

Joseph came back over and told Sam he did a great job.  They spoke more in Russian about my FUCKED UP area but we’ll be okay they reassured me.  HA!

hughes

I get the 360 review in the mirror and Sam walks me over to the reception counter so I can make my next appointment.  The receptionist hands me my bill and I realize I won’t be making my first car payment …. instead, I will upgrading to Hughes 500 helicopter payment.  Well shit.  But you know what.  It’s SO WORTH IT.

Now, I also see why they have the money machine in the lobby – tips are cash only.

Sam gives me a kiss and hands me his card with my next appointment on it.

Guess what.  His name is Assaf.

Apparently, I need to get my hearing checked.

Hard Bodies Apply. Yes, You!

When I lived in Juneau, Alaska…… strip clubs, porn shops and Hooters restaurants were not readily available.

Occasionally one of the local bars would host a “topless poker tournament” and of course a friend and I couldn’t help ourselves. We went.

The same bar flew in “HOT! HOT! Strippers from Anchorage!” Again, we couldn’t help ourselves and we went.

Twice.

These same “HOT! HOT! Strippers from Anchorage!” Also came to town as the ring girls for the sponsored UFC style fights. I, of course, went to those (and sat right next to one of the judges…ringside.)

Needless to say, these woman were a disappointment. I think the topless dealers were mothers of ten, who breast-fed until the kids were able to form full sentences.

Their nipples were dragging on the felt.

Who enjoys that?

The “HOT! HOT! Strippers from Anchorage!” While cute – in their early 20’s….were not anything you would expect to see in say….a strip club.

They had paunchy beer guts.

They had cellulite.

THEY WERE IN THEIR 20’s!

Girls in their 20’s are supposed to be trim and tight. Then again, this is Alaska. There is a reason, besides the cold, we are covered up in wool and rubber clothing 11 months out of the year.

Some time in between these adventures in Juneau we had a tourism convention in Anchorage. Leave it to me to pour everyone into a cab late one night and head over to the strip club in Anchorage: The Bush Company.

Yes.

Yes, I did.

It was a lot of fun.

The women – were “better.”

Not Vegas standards.

Not even midwestern standards.

Definitely better than topless poker tournament dealer in Juneau, Alaska standards.

We bought a couple of lap dances for various members of our party – those people know who they are….ahem. Of course, we picked out the best looking dancers in the lineup. I was not one who received a lap dance – thank you.  I don’t need that drama.  But appreciate the gesture.

Now I am living in Miami where very little is left to the imagination.

VERY.

LITTLE.

Here is my latest issue. Which was discussed at length today with my “kinder and gentler Mister.”

As we were driving along….there pops up a Hooters. Now, one of our missions on this earth is to find the best chicken wings. Granted, at home we are vegetarian / vegans. Out of the house we will go for fish or chicken wings, a pizza now and then. On a really bad day I will call home and tell him, “I need a cheeseburger…..meet me at …..”

THAT is my weapon of choice.

CHEEZZZZEEEE burger.

Just dip me in the blue cheese, and let me lick myself clean really. CHEEEZZZZZZEEEE burgers are my weakness.

Last meal on earth?

CHEEEZZZZZZZZEEEEEEE burger.

At any rate. We go past the Hooters, which I have been to numerous times before throughout my life span.

What is the deal though? Why is it…you get a Hooters with the woman in the shorts and tank tops.   Really?  I’d like a well-built man to serve me some time. He doesn’t even have to serve me a meal – just bring me drinks.

The Mister says, “Yeah it’s called Chippendales.”

No.  It’s not.  What I want doesn’t exist.  I don’t want the dancing and the grinding….that’s extra nonsense that detracts from the beauty of the body.

It’s embarrassing for him and for me. I don’t need that agony. Thank you. Or else he’s gay.  Or he has a girlfriend who is stalking him outside and the whole thing goes to hell in a handbasket in 17.4 seconds.

NO thanks.

Women have beautiful bodies. Soft curves. 

Men have hard bodies by nature. They are strong and protective creatures. I don’t want to see a man who pumps enough iron that he can pull a tractor-trailer – that to me isn’t attractive. You know the “Arnolds” of the world.  I don’t want to see the veins popping out of their necks.

That isn’t hot, sexy or anything in between.

I want a well-defined, nicely built man with a charming personality to serve me a drink.

Shirtless.

With abs.

And those nicely cut muscles along his hips……those ones…… you know the ones I’m talking about ladies.  Those muscles …..as a man would say, “hips I can grab on to” muscles.

M E O W.

Men have a plethora of bars, strip clubs, peep shows, restaurants …..all hosted by exotic women. Barely clad in anything resembling a uniform. Let’s not even get started on the magazines.

MEN!

You know exactly, what I’m talking about here.  You go into the club.  The ladies greet you.  A gorgeous woman give you whatever you ask for.  She smiles and asks how has your day been?  Hair is being flipped.  Eyes are wide.  Lips are licked.  Oh my.  Totally interested in you.  Cleavage is exploded, oh so sweetly.  Innocently.  A touch on the forearm or thigh.   Yes, whatever you want.  How was your day – oh that sucks….so tough.  A laugh and giggle.  Another big smile.  Can I get you a drink?

Jameson – check.

Double vodka – check.

Budweiser – check.

Chicken wings – check.

Completely and totally into you.  Whatever you say and ask for can be yours.

I WANT THIS!

Yet in reality…

What do women get?  Jack shit.

Certainly not the same level of peep shows, bars, strip clubs, restaurants or other establishments…hosted by nearly naked men. I am sure they are out there, but not nearly to the same degree. It’s no wonder women are going after the pool boys!

Why is that do you think? Men are visual animals no doubt.

The Mister says this is because, “Men aren’t going to feel comfortable going into a woman’s version of a Hooters.”  Yeah well you  know what men?  You need to buck up and grow some thick skin and get into the game.  Woman have had to fluff and puff, pull and tuck, nip and inject themselves to mold themselves into what you find sexy and gorgeous.

Grow a big hairy pair and get some fucking confidence in yourself and get out there.

You know who has confidence in themselves?

Europeans.  One word:  Speedos.

If you need the name of a great waxer, let me know.

Or, could it be that woman simply don’t have time for the lusty skin bullshit?  We simply have more important things to do? Would we rather spend our time elsewhere? We never gave that type of establishment the type of recognition it needed?

Or are we voyeurs behind masks of annonineminty? What the hell?! Imagine, if you will. …. If we were cut loose in a sex club. I’m just saying.  Chaos and mayhem.  Would you be the one hiding behind the curtain or jumping into the swing?

Look at all the bacholorette parties every year and the must have requirement: the for-hire male stripers. THAT says something. Open an old fashioned phone book and look up “escort” try and search for MALE. You’ll have to wade through 25 pages of female before you can find anyone sending out the boys.

You can pick out men with hookers more easily in a bar than a cougar with a pup.  WOW!

Honestly.

Whatever the reason, ladies, we need to be enjoying the view. Pure and simple.

Every day, I pass by giant billboards for mens entertainment clubs: Tootsies. Scarletts.

I pass by sex shops. There’s one the name just make me laugh every damn time, “The Sexy Box.”  Yeah, well, the only time it was busy was right before Valentine’s Day. The other I’ve seen billboards and have driven past is “Hustler.” You’ll be glad to know….they also sell….”couples” gifts. Well, thanks.

I’ve been in sex shops. The one thing I regret is I didn’t buy the penis straws when I saw them. Seriously. Saw them in Juneau – didn’t buy them. Now I wish I did. Damn.

HA!!

Ladies, The boys are going to “the bar” to watch the game. To meet the boys. To discuss a business deal. Yatta yatta yatta. Whatever, that’s fine. It’s their inner caveman coming out. Let them go and oogle. Fine.

Well you know what?

We may only get the pleasure of the ridiculously bad PlayGirl magazine. The yearly calendars with firefighters or the Chippendales. But….there is a great photographer out there….check him out.

Michael Stokes…..find him on Facebook  and his book on Amazon.com:  http://www.amazon.com/Masculinity-Michael-Stokes/dp/386787428X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347800523&sr=8-1&keywords=michael+stokes Amazon  Amazing.  It’s time to stand up and say

Yes, please, I’ll have a martini…make it a double.

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