Tag Archives: Juneau Alaska

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.

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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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Hunting for a Christmas Tree in Miami

How’s that song go?….

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….NOT!

I’m not complaining.  It’s just different.

It’s humid.

I’m sweaty.

I’m writing this sitting outside on our lanai – nice.  But there is a bug flying around big enough to be one of Santa’s elves delivering Christmas gifts.  He has circled me twice now and I’ve noticed he has a sign on his back that says, “Coal Delivery.”

That explains a lot.

We finally managed to get our Christmas lights up two weeks ago.  The thought was: “it’s too damn hot but if we don’t do it now we’re not going to.”  The snowflake lights that looked so pretty on our front porch in Alaska….twinkling against the snow…. still make me smile when I come home at night.  I just snort and roll my eyes at the idiocy of the concept:

Snow in Miami?

Sure, right after the Devil goes down to Georgia and sets up a half way house for wayward souls looking for salvation on a one-way road to heaven.

Of course my four potted palms on the deck add a nice backdrop to the snowflakes.

Obviously, the next step is acquiring the Christmas tree.

In Alaska – getting our last tree involved the following:

1.  On Saturday morning you dress in Carharts, put on your snow boots and grab your work gloves.

2.  Head out to the forest with your saw.

3.  Find your tree and cut it down.

4.  Tie it to the roof of your car.

5.  Once home, wrap it in a tarp to avoid leaving a trail of needles through the house.

6.  Set up the tree!

Here, in Miami, you go to a tree circus.  Complete with red and white canvas tent.  Oh Christmas Trees…..oh no!  Please tell me they give you a shot of vodka before you enter.

Before us, in the first big tent were about 20 trees standing up on display.  It’s like a fashion runway for trees.  This is ridiculous.  Nothing like Glacier Gardens in Juneau.  We would also get our trees from Cindy and Steve.  I loved how Cindy, just a petite little thing….would wrangle them away from the pile and compare the different varieties: smell, needles, height, color…all according to what I was looking for in the tree.

You see, I’m very technical when it comes to getting a Christmas tree.

Last night, at the Miami Tree Circus…when you walk through the gate they simply ask you what size of tree you would like:

Over 8 foot, 7 foot, 6 foot or 5 foot.

My response: short and fat.

Our helper elf, who stuck to us like sand on wet feet (which is more annoying than grass on wet feet I’ve now decided) I noticed had shockingly….shockingly…..let me say it again….

S H O C K I N G L Y

amazing eyes.  They were like liquid gold.  I’ve never seen eyes like that on a human.  Which made me wonder if he might practice voodoo.  Then I thought, anyone who sells Christmas trees can’t be a bad person and I am probably just enjoying way too much of American Horror Story: Coven, this year and should probably just get a grip.

But seriously – wow.

This young man followed us from tree to tree to tree.  They were short, but not fat enough really.  If I can’t get short and fat, I’d prefer a Charlie Brown tree.  Tall and bare.  I’ll even take a few branches and stick them in a pot and call it good.

Tent two…yep.  Tent two. Had about 6 trees in various sized that were…are you ready?  This was a definite first for me.

Flocked white.

Real trees, sprayed with paper mache.

They were lovely from a distance.  Then when you got closer it kinda looked like someone  went wild with a bunch of wet paper.  Well, technically that’s what they did.  It was lumpy and fell off in your hand.  I immediately thought of the cat.  We’d come out one morning and there she’d be covered in white crap…our fat mostly black cat gone wild with the Christmas tree….now encased in a self made paper mache mold….courtesy of Oh Christmas Tree Circus.

Oh hell no, I think we’ll pass on that disaster just waiting to happen.

Next tent.

More trees lined up.  There’s a short and fat tree that I like but he tells us it’s 7 feet tall.

What?

7 feet tall.

I look at the tree and stare….eye ball to eye ball with it.  This isn’t 7 feet tall.

Blink.  Blink. Blink. Blink.

OMG.  Are you telling me because of the tree’s pointy thing on top….that one branch, which is like the tree penis? ….you’re calling this tree 7 feet tall?

“Yes, we had to cut some off the bottom but it used to be 7 feet.”

Okay well it’s only 5 1/2 feet now.

“Still 7 foot price.”

By now I’m thinking those S H O C K I N G L Y amazing eyes have some kind of trance inducing powers but I’m not buying into it.  This is obviously the tree I like, but I flatly refuse to pay for a 7 foot tree when I am getting a short & fat tree.

Back to the first tent.  We need to wrap this up cause I’m starting to sweat….and it’s after work and I want to go home.

I go back to my original tree.  Eric and I look at each other, a little disheartened at the whole experience.  We agree.  We’ll take it.

The tree elf takes the tree to the register, we pay $65 and he puts a fresh cut on the bottom.  Eric goes to get the tarps to wrap it – thinking easier now than later.  Then we find out two things….

First, they sell tree stands, which we didn’t have, so we bought the tree stand…another $30 and our elf puts it on and levels the tree for us.  Fabulous!

Second, our elf slid our tree into a tree size fishnet stocking.  NO TARP REQUIRED!  How cool is that?!

With the short and fat tree tied to the roof of the car we headed home.

In Alaska, we always let the tree have an overnight to “rest and warm up” in the house.  The limbs relax with the heat of the house.  Obviously, we decided to let the Miami tree “rest” overnight as well. As far as I can tell there isn’t any fir trees in Miami – this poor thing is probably sweating to death.  Yes, if I look at the tree, I do think it has relaxed a bit since it’s arrived.  The branches are a little looser – not so pinched up.

The fir is saying the same thing I say every day: “Hallelujah!  Air conditioning!”

 

 

 

 

Another Typical Day and I STILL Don’t Know Where to Look

I like people.

Wait.

No.

Scratch that.

That’s wrong.

I enjoy people watching.

They’re ridiculous.

What they are wearing.  What they are doing.  What they’re saying.  Truly the world is filled with the good, the bad, the funny and the down right idiotic.    Who said that was a good idea and why didn’t someone stop you? Gut instinct is not passé  but perhaps it needs more of a designer label before people begin to listen to it.

If you only knew what was going on inside my head, it would explain why there is a constant smell of a camp fire around me.  It’s hell’s calling card.  I’m on the fast track.

Friday, I was on my way into work.  I live north of Miami and work in the port.  (Don’t ask me why I chose this location.  I am now considering a closer location under an overpass by the Arena….I’m from Alaska and have a tent.  I hunt big game.  I’m not afraid.) When I moved, I shipped my car here.  You don’t see many of my car here.  And why are the Subaru an extinct species here?  Not that I drive one but good grief.  Odd.

Of course back home I only drove a total of 18 miles a day – round trip.  It took me maybe 15 minutes each way.  These lighted signs advising drivers it’s going to take 15 minutes to go 3 miles just about causes me to swallow my tongue each time I see the warning.  Certainly it has to be incorrect.

How can that be?

I won’t even go into discussion about the new….literally stop and basically turn left into I-95 traffic, forget about any sense about a practical merge lane from Ives Dairy.  While I am not an engineer….at least an actual on-ramp would have prevented that daily disaster.  It may be faster to actually get to the port by boat or even the blimp.  Has anyone considered this?  Is anyone thinking outside the box here?

Friday.

Back to Friday.

I finally get into the heart of town and make my turn by Will Call.

Which, by the way is that place open 24 hours?  Is it like the Miami version of a 7-11?  I have yet to go past there when there wasn’t some kind of drama unfolding.

A co-worker described it as a “rough around the edges” bar.  Well, Alaska has rough around the edges bars.  I’ve been in those local, rough around the edges bars.   I’m talking about the true local bars – not ones where the tourists go when visiting the Last Frontier.  Yes, they truly are ROUGH.

Don’t ask me the intersection location because, as we do in Alaska, it’s the “Will Call” intersection. Which as I am quickly learning here….people expect you to actually know the cross streets.  When I was asked recently which Costco I use,  I said the one in North Miami.  The lady rolled her eyes and said, “WHICH ONE?!”  I sweetly said in my friendly Alaska way, “The one in North Miami on Biscayne.”  When she wanted me to confirm the actual street address it was my turn to roll eyes and I took a stab in the dark and said, “Yes, that’s the one.”  Seriously, come on, I know there’s 4,000 Walgreen’s in Miami but Costco hasn’t become THAT popular.

As I wait to turn at Will Call I see to my left….coming down the stairs…. some oddly placed pink fabric, long black hair lots and lots of skin and what appeared to be fishnet stocking but could have been thigh high boots.  All I know….I thought to myself ….WTH is that?

Wow…..a hooker!

Note:  If she was working in an office that would have been one hell of an office.

Wow.

As I tried to pick my eyeballs up off the floor mats so I could get another glimpse of this lack of an outfit, I had my chance to turn right so I took it – to avoid the ever annoying honk of friendly Miamians.

Only to find two half naked men throwing punches AND CONNECTING those punches in the middle of the street.

My little car, Norman, was first in line to encounter these idiots.

OMG – NORMAN!  Get out of the way!  Horn was blaring, as much as Norman’s horn can blare.  If these guys fall and hit Norman he is going to get dented and I’m going to be pissed.

I get around them and then as luck would have it, they run up past me.  Still yelling and throwing punches.  Now more cars have joined the crowd due to the stop light.  Horns are  blaring…..why?

These idiots….instead of following what their gut indicators should be telling them, which is, fight or flight….keep running back AT each other.  They’re running back and forth across the street, around street poles, between cars …. like a woman trying to get the last pair of her most favorite shoes on sale at Nordstrom.  Good grief.

Commit.  Commit.  Commit.  Sharpen the elbows and commit.

Idiots, complete idiots these two.

One throws a punch and runs away.   The other runs after, catches up and throws a punch.  The other returns a punch and runs away.   It was the strangest mix of sissy girl fighting trying to be manly. Dana White would have been so disappointed.

Make a commitment!  Either stand your ground, be a man and fight like a man or accept defeat, put your dick between your legs and run away.

RUN THE OTHER WAY!

Miami, you’re killing me with laughter.

 

So. How You Liking Miami?

Over the last few days several people have asked me the same thing.  It’s always with hesitation they ask.

“So.”

l o n g        p a u s e      h e r e

“How you liking Miami?”

Then I swear they hold their breath and squint their eyes.  Waiting for me to sucker punch them or something.  It’s quite odd.

My response?

It’s fine.  Honestly, I have nothing to really compare it to logically.  It’s completely different from anything I’ve experienced in the last 18 years.  Below, I thought I’d take a moment or ten, to tell you what I think…..

First off.  It is the polar opposite of living in Juneau, Alaska.

  1. People here use umbrellas.  In Juneau, we use the hoods on our coats and tough it out.    A little rain never hurt anyone.
  2. However, the rain in Miami is a torrential downpour that floods streets and the car wipers don’t go fast enough.  Thunder, lightening and rivers…..30 minutes later and we’re done with the rain.  Out of Mother Nature’s system and moving on to better things.
  3. Lots of things I don’t need to see.  Such as that lady’s nipple, as she waited for the crosswalk signal.  Her bikini top was just a little off kilter.  Or that lady in front of me on my golf course walk, with the wrinkled and saggy skin…..with her short shorts tucked up on the sides under her thong (not kidding) so anyone behind her could see the loose bags of skin that used to be her butt cheeks…..but more like an overcooked potato skin….flopping around under her shorts.  She would have made a better impression keeping the shorts down and covering the cheeks.
  4. I’ve never seen so many BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsche, Lexus and Cadillacs in one area.  So much so that I have forgotten what a Subaru looks like, let alone a pick up truck.
  5. If you are trying to grow an alien out of your stomach, hip or butt…..please, encase that in spandex, we all need to see that.  And it’s better if you can encase it in spandex that has horizontal stripes.  See below:
  6. One day I went to work in a new work outfit.  Gone are the jeans and hiking boots.  I now wear dresses, skirts and platform heels.  I texted my cousin and said, “I think I picked the wrong skirt it seems tight and short.”  Her reply, “you are in Miami it’s all about butts and boobs.”  Noted.
  7. The land of 18 languages.  Russian, French, Czech, Yiddish and oh yeah… Spanish.
  8. Hey!  It’s not all Asian food here!  What a break!
  9. It starts to drizzle and the traffic slows down from 80 mph to 40mph.  I’m the only one weaving in and out of traffic at that point.
  10. Whole cases of freshly cut fruit at the grocery stores.  Not to mention the celebrity sightings there too.
  11. Beaches without rocks.  A novelty.
  12. Sunshine.  Lots of sunshine.
  13. I can get a manicure for $15.00 and a full service pedicure for $20.  Seriously.  With a massaging recliner chair to boot.
  14. Costco…..easily twice the size of ours.  I can get my prescription, fresh flowers, produce, gas, eyeglasses AND funeral casket all in one place.

It has been interesting.  Yes, living in the suburbs of Miami definitely has it’s challenges.  The traffic is something fierce but you learn to work around it.  The people aren’t always the nicest but you deal with it.  For example if I start talking to people in the grocery or Costco people automatically know I’m not from here and it either gets them interested in where I’m from or causes them to choose another check out lane.

My job is great.  I love my job.  It’s tough.  Every day is a challenge and you don’t know what’s coming next.  I’ve never slept so good – all because I’m mentally drained by the time I get home at night.

Working for a giant company is definitely odd.  The closest thing I have to compare it to is working for the State of Alaska.  Huge machine and we’re only responsible for the left big toe portion.  I’ve met two of the presidents, which is very exciting.  One of which thought I brought a great conversation to the table!  Okay!  Believe it or not he is British and I actually got about every third word he said —- rather than my usual every sixth word.

I laugh a lot every day and yet there are still lots of things I need to learn.  When the VP says, “DO IT.”  I at first think, “really?  He can’t be serious.”  No, really, he is serious.  This is soooo backwards from what I’m used to that it takes me a bit to roll it around before I swallow and say, “okay, well if he’s serious, then hell yeah!  Let’s do this.”

Many times people have asked me, “what do you do on the weekends?”  I am here by myself and it makes people worry about my sanity and social life.  The first thing I tell people is this is the SECOND time I’ve packed up and moved somewhere I didn’t know anyone or anything.  How do you think I ended up in Alaska for 18 years?  I’m a Philly girl!  Come on!

Second thing I have to tell people:  I’m an only child.

I was taught to fend for myself since third grade.  True.  While others in this world need outside people to complete them….I am comfortable doing my own thing, on my own time at my own speed.  Often times people are dumbfounded when I tell them I do all kinds of things by myself.

I take myself out to dinner and not just fast food.  Sit down, order a glass of wine, salad, dinner etc.  When I walk up to the hostess stand I always tell them, “I am a giant party of one.”  The facial expression is priceless!  What a relief!

I have gone to movies and art museums by myself.

I have even gone to theatre productions by myself in major cities.

It’s no big deal to me.  I can do it.  Contrary to what is difficult to lots of people in this world…..I am very, very comfortable being with myself.  By myself.  I don’t need a giant circle of people to validate me or my actions.  Here I am….love me or not….it’s not my problem.

Yes, I have a small circle of friends, around this globe and they are what matters.  I don’t need a huge friend base of 200 people to make me feel valued or accomplished.  I’ve been doing this since I was 8 years old and I’m proud to say I’m quite independent.

So when people are astonished I can do this life in Miami, by myself, I am perplexed because to me, this is a huge adventure.  I may take myself on a 3 mile walk and enjoy my thoughts or music as I go.  Maybe I will drive to Barnes & Noble and get lost for a few hours in the shelves of books.  There’s a great movie out….maybe I will treat myself to snacks and a glass of wine then hit the movie.  I have signed up for Conversational Spanish at the college and have a GroupOn for pole dancing lessons – all on my own.  No big deal.

I go to the gym at work during the week – first thing in the morning.  Do my work, on the third floor of the 1080 building until 6:30 or 7:00 at night and head home.  At home I cook a nice healthy meal, watch some tv or read….play Words with Friends and then off off to bed.  Rewind and repeat the next day.

The complex I’m in has a pool, if I should choose to jump in, but that’s not for me yet.

Yes, there are massages and nail appointments.  My new hair stylist Greta is great!  I have been to the beach once in all my time here….go figure.  But have enjoyed my balcony and potted plants just as much.  I have my usual weekly chores and food shopping to get through.  Snore.

It all comes from how you were raised.  My mom made me a strong and very independent person – which I am proud to be in this world.  Yet there are times when I think, “what the hell?”  Those moments come from not having experienced this life style before and just having to get used to the flow of things.

When I moved to Alaska I had no clue what Xtra Tuffs were – and I have my second pair with me now.  My co-workers are often teaching me about local customs and flavors, which is fantastic.  “OH, you have to try this Cuban dessert.”

I truly enjoy my coworkers sharing their local knowledge – especially the Cuban side of things.  As it turns out, my great-great- great grandparents were from Cuba.  They owned a tobacco plantation.

So see, I’m not so foreign in this land after all!

Move It or Loose It – Part 1

It’s been awhile since my last entry.

With good reason.

I moved out of Alaska.

To take a new job, which I’m thrilled about, except for one thing.

It’s in Miami.

Today, back home in Juneau, it’s 33 degrees and snowing.  Today in Miami, it’s 82 degrees and 67% humidity.  I didn’t used to have an afro.  Now I do.  I don’t even think Oprah’s hairstylist could tame my curls at this point.  Oh wait, did I mention?  I’m a white girl.  With an afro.  (And it’s not even August.)

I’ve been here for 1 week.

It’s been an adventure.

I should have guessed it was going to be ridiculous when I pulled the cat carrier out from under my seat on the plane and the lady, who sat next to me on the five-hour flight from Seattle to Ft. Lauderdale says to me, “Oh, is that a cat?”  Liggy had decided she had enough of the carrier and was starting to tell me all about her issues.  I looked at the lady and said, “No, it’s a pygmy goat.”

REALLY?  Perplexed face.

No.  Of course it’s a cat!

Fast forward to my first official drive on the six lane highway. In my mind, I was trying to drive like a NASCAR racer, just trying to keep up with the pack.  Mind you, in Juneau we have one main road – two lanes in each direction – 60 mph is standard and we only experience rush minutes.

Here I am ….  hands at ten and two.  At one point, as I slowly pried my fingers from around the wheel, I thought….I better invest in a Virgin Mary statue for the dashboard.

Needless to say after 1 week – I’ve got this driving thing down pat.  Now I’m the one that’s yelling, “MOVE IT….”  There’s two options for driving in Miami, drive the car or park it.

My first day at my new job was interesting.  I haven’t had a new job in really 13 years.  Luckily, I’ve had the same boss all these years and just kept jumping from one new experience to the other within the companies we worked.  Easy.  Tourism, while a big industry is really fairly small.  Once you’re in – you can learn to do anything – provided you enjoy the industry.

Oh, did I mention, I took a job in the corporate offices of Royal Caribbean Cruises?  Yep.  A complete 180 from what I’m used to in Alaska:

  • No longer an actual office but a padded cell.  I mean a cubicle.  It does have a fabulous view from the floor to ceiling windows of the Miami skyline across the water.
  • Jeans, rain gear and Xtra Tuff boots are not the uniform.  Ankle breaking heels and cute skirts are the norm.
  • More computer programs to learn than a NASA astronaut.
  • An employee identification card that swipes you into the building and parking lot.
  • Personal identification number, which I refer to as my prison number, identifies you.
  • Can’t drive down the road for Pel Meni but you can go to the company cafeteria.
  • Not so much a brown bear spotted at lunch outside,  but a big Iguana.

On my first day, in my furry little mind….this is how my morning would unfold.  I mean it seemed logical to me so why shouldn’t it.  Right?

I’d arrive right on time, get my visitor pass from the security desk and immediately walk myself into HR to wrap up my paperwork.  Next, I’d go upstairs to see my new boss and on the way stick my head in the VP’s office and say hello.  (Don’t panic, it’s okay, I’ve met him before so it’s not like I’m being pompous.) Thus would begin my career at RCCL.

In reality….not so much.

I arrive early and sit in the car for 10 minutes outside.  (A/C running of course.)  Then it hits me, what I’m about to do.  Start a new job, in a new company, in a new city….I don’t even know where to find the toilettes let alone a paperclip here.

Stomach starts to roll.

Mouth goes dry.

Sweat begins to ooze.

Skin flushes a lovely red.

Here goes nothing.  I throw open the car door and march up the steps to the building.  I stop at security and get my badge.  She asks who I’m there to see.  I explain I am a new employee but need to see HR first.  Nope.  No such luck.  She calls upstairs and then instructs me to head up to the 5th floor to my department.

WAIT!

That’s not how it’s supposed to go!  I’m supposed to go, in my mind, to HR first!  Not immediately to the department!  Well now this is a pickle.

Now my entire skeletal system feels like it’s on one of those old style exercise machines, where you stand with the big band around your waist and it jiggles away the fat.  Yep.  That’s me.

I politely inquire about the nearest water closet and head that direction.

Big breaths.  Breathing.  Walking.  Upper lip has stopped sweating – now I’m just shaking like a big bowl of Bill Cosby’s Jello.  Dear Lord don’t let me break an ankle in these shoes…one foot in front of the other.  Keep breathing.

Doors open on the 5th floor and I’m greeted by the department’s true angel, the woman who makes us all look good and I swear she must be part of a set of triplets to accomplish all she does in a day.  She gives me a big hug and escorts me to Director’s Row – that’s my name for where all the Directors sit with obviously the VP’s office at the top of the line.

As we approach my boss’ office I see movement in the VP’s office out of the corner of my eye.  Well, I can’t very well pop my head in there now since we’re heading straight for my boss’s office.  My plan has been turned into a right kerfuffle.

We stop short of my boss’s office.

I now realize the VP has come out of his office and is standing directly behind me.

Well shit.  My entire plan has really gone to pot.  This isn’t how I envisioned the start of my day.  Now what do I do?  And I know he’s a hugger.  So there’s that awkward moment of…to hug or not to hug.  If you’re going to hug is it a full hug or a side hug.  I’m short so it’s always awkward anyway.  But today I have on heels so I have gained 3 inches for sure.

Dear Lord, is that sweat dripping down from my armpit?

There’s only two solutions:  Stand really still and hope he doesn’t see me.  Or turn around and acknowledge him.

Let’s just say I may have startled him a bit.  Why?  Well I think I actually yelled my greeting at him.  It happens.  When I get nervous.  It’s like a nervous tic but different and it’s not quite like Turrets Syndrome either.

I turned around, threw my arms open and said:

HEY!  HOW ARE YOU!!!  I MADE IT!

Or something along those lines was shouted and then promptly echoed over the 5th floor.  I’m fairly certain the people on the other side of the building heard me.   The upside is at least I’m starting off my employment with a bang!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really, This Is Dressed Up!

The other day I was walking through our grocery store, Fred Meyers.  If you aren’t familiar with the store, you can literally walk in one side and buy your produce and deli items….exit out the other side with your new firearm and ammo.

I would say “fresh” produce but that would be a big fat lie.  Due to the travel time to Juneau, Alaska nothing arrives fresh.   Recently I’ve started to use asparagus as bows on gift bags….bendy and decorative… yet can be recycled into the evening’s meal.  You mean peppers aren’t supposed to be wrinkled up?

Anyhow, I pass by a guy talking on his cell phone and hear him say:

“I’m tired of dating girls that dress like men.”

Welcome to life in Juneau, Alaska.

I smiled to myself and reflected on all the cute clothes I have in my closet.  Strike that.  Closets….multiple.  God bless Macy’s and my dear friend Ginny….who keep me looking cute.  Big relief to know I’m not in the, “dresses like a man” category.  Then I realized, I was wearing my Carhartt jacket.    Well hell.  It’s warm.  It’s purple.  At least I wasn’t wearing my Carhartt pants at the same time.

In Juneau, dressing up means wearing your freshest flannel shirt, cleanest Carhartt jeans and newest pair of Xtra Tuff boots.  By newest, I mean the ones without the duct tape.  You could walk into any wedding, funeral or religious service wearing a combination of the above and fit in perfectly.

Sometimes, I can’t help myself.  Just have to do it….be a normal local.  Please note, my humorous foot attire for a winter ball I attended a few years ago.  Don’t worry, I did bring my heels and changed into them after the photo.  Only in Alaska…  And yes, quite a few Alaskan brides have had their photos snapped wearing these oh so attractive boots.

Honestly, you could walk into the fanciest restaurant in town and nobody would blink an eye.  Actually, that’s a lie.  Some people would blink an eye and would be shocked.  Those would be…

Tourists.

They’d be wondering what the hell was wrong with you.

Certainly they came to dinner in their linen pants (because it’s summer and doesn’t Juneau have summers like everywhere else in the world….warm?) and breezy resort shirt while reviewing travel guides and local tour brochures.  Here you come with your lover and look like you just got off a fishing boat.  The tourists are dumbfounded while sitting there all prim and proper, looking down their noses at you…. saying under their breath: This is a linen table cloth restaurant and they let anyone in here – can you believe it?  Those people look like they just hiked in from the back woods.  Must be a homeless sympathy meal.

I’m serious.

Recently, I was talking with a friend who had visited Alaska for the first time this year.  They commented on all the reality shows featuring Alaska now.  You name it, there’s a show about it.  Yep, people still mine for gold, fish for crab, drive on ice, get arrested, mush dogs and survive on the bounty of Mother Nature.  My friend commented how apparently some of the people in Juneau were obviously living off the land.  Because they resembled the people in the reality show:

Tough.

Scary.

Hard-core.

Only in town to stock up on supplies before heading back out to their cabin hidden away inside the forest or out into the sea for the next big catch.

Hate to break it to you my friend, those are just the regular locals.  Scruffy around the edges.  Yes, it’s true, even the women are scruffy.

I didn’t think much about the attire of our locals until I overheard that guy’s phone conversation.  Then I began to seriously look around at the people near me.  For example the other evening we went to a concert in town.  “Break of Reality.”  They were exceptional by the way.  Before departing the house, we both changed into nicer attire.

He wore a nice sweater and jeans.  I had on a cute top with jeans and heels.  As we sat in our seats, enjoying our glasses of wine I took a moment to survey the fashion scene.

What color flannel did you need?  We’ve got it all covered.  It was a virtual sea of flannel shirts.  Red.  Green.  Blue.  Mustard.  Black.  Amazing.  Quite a few women were dressed in what you’d normally wear to participate in outdoor sports.  Fleece tops and black cotton exercise pants.  Really?

On the other hand, there are people that show up to business functions and you can’t make up what they’re wearing for professional attire.  Recently I attended a function where a lady, who I was unfamiliar with, arrived wearing:

Purple sparkly sweater.

Sparkly black stocking.

Mid-calf black boots.

>> drum roll please <<

Black spandex exercise shorts.

Crap, now we must have an Alaska reality show about “What the Hell NOT to Wear.”

Yes, I will take that glass of wine now, thank you.  Did she even pass a mirror on her way out of the house?  What magazine said that was the new look for the 2012 winter season?  That’s at the polar opposite of wearing your pajama pants out into public.  And by public, I’m saying you’re where other people can see you, not just on your front porch waiting for your dog to piddle in the morning.

Since we don’t have a mall – there are no make up counters.  The concept of enhancing your features is akin to suggesting you reuse toilet paper. WTF?  Luckily, the salon where I get my hair cut has a great make up line and my hair stylist did my make up on my last visit, while my hair was “processing.”

There was another lady getting her make up done next to me.  She was amazed at what a little eyebrow definition can do.  I told her, the one thing I never leave the house without are my eyebrows!  Thank you colored powder and pencils!

Note:  It is the one facial feature I can choose to create every day.  Angry eyes.  Crazy eyes.  Shocked eyes.  Thin, thick, inverted V shape….endless personalities to choose from every day.

At the salon, I bought new foundation, eye shadow, eye liner and lip gloss.  The lady next to me was paralyzed with fear about the idea of purchasing an eye brow pencil.  “It’s just so dramatic.”  No, it’s just enhancing what you’ve got already.  Just like if we lived in a warmer climate, I’d be wearing tank tops that show off my boobs.  Similar, but different.

I am a girlie girl.  I like to get manicures and pedicures.  I like my hair to be done.  I like the color pink, fluffy things, glittery things and sparkly things (which could also qualify me to be a magpie…)  I enjoy dressing up and was probably living back in the day when corsets were a regular fashion necessity and Marie Antoinette was eating too much cake.

I’d wear giant dresses with crinolines and trains, silk stockings, button boots, powdered wigs and painted lips every day if I could.  Ruffles, pleats, layers and layers….oh my.  I’d need a separate carriage just for my dress when going out on the town.  Which leads me to the Wearable Art Show.  It’s the biggest fundraiser for our local arts council, raising tens of thousands of dollars.  For the last 5 years I have designed and modeled an outfit on stage.

Each year, my outfit gets bigger and bigger.

And let’s not forget my love of huge fake eyelashes, wigs and the 6 inch acrylic hooker heels.  Yes, I did purchase my last pair in a porn shop in Vegas.  They’re perfect!

Needless to say, it is that time of year where I have to start creating my next fashion statement.  So many people want to know the who, what, how, why….about this process, I thought I’d share my process with you through my blog.

I have a few videos of my performance from the previous years on You Tube – hope you’ll check them out and see what a great treat is coming up this February!  I can’t wait.

http://www.youtube.com/user/littleminxyAlaska/videos?view=0

Currently, I’m pondering my design.  As always, it will be a dress.  As always, made from throw away items.  And I’m thinking Marie Antoinette will be making a come back this year.  As for the style, I’ve got my history of fashion books down and tabbed…ideas are swirling around in my head like a vodka and tonic……

Put on your seat belt….we’re ready for the countdown!