Tag Archives: Juneau

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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Drive! The! CAR!

Traffic annoys the hell out of me.

What I don’t get is, how can it be so bloody terrible?  If the people in the front would just go.  I mean really GO, how can there be all this back up?  If we’d all just GO the same speed it wouldn’t take us forever to get anywhere.  It’s called teamwork people.

What really gets me is the rubbernecking.

It’s like watching a stupid show on TV and after it’s over you realize THAT was a waste of your time.  Slowing down to see the crash or non-crash is….guess what?  A waste of time.  For you and me!  Good grief, Mr. Rodgers could have me a song out of this concept.

JUST DRIVE the car.  You have to actually step on the long rectangular pedal that’s on the floor on the right.    It’s a novel concept, but the car doesn’t go on it’s own – you have to assist.

Seriously.

There’s a car pulled over on the side of the road.   Everyone has to slow down to look.

There’s two cars pulled over – an obvious fender bender.  Slow down, let’s all look!

If there’s cars on the other side of the highway – with lights flashing – let’s all slow down to look.  There’s even a big concrete wall dividing it and you can’t see anything!

There’s a terrible accident and people are nearly creating additional accidents just so they can see the carnage.  I mean really.  For what?  To see if their day was worse than yours?  I fucking guarantee it!  If their car is waiting for a tow truck and there’s flashing lights at the scene.  Guess what?  They are having a suck day.  They win.  Now DRIVE!

The other thing about the traffic and I’m not even going to mention the blatant honking of the horns – which is out of control in Miami.  My brain waves don’t even function that fast.  It could be a game show.  QUICK.  Try to get your foot off the brake on to the gas pedal before the jackass behind you is honking and gesturing wildly.  Yeah, well the Alaskan will get to going when she’s good and ready.  Keep your pants on.  Besides, we’re all going to be at the next light together in 200 yards anyway.

The privacy.  People, your windows may be tinted by I can still see thru them.  HEY!  Yes!  YOU!  Picking your nose – I can see you.  Unreal.  Flipping me off?  I see you!  Yelling at your partner in the car – I see you.  Thinking you are the next best thing sliced bread – I see you.  It’s exhausting.

Lastly, hang up the phone.  In today’s world with bluetooth technology – there’s no reason people need to have that rectangular block of radiation next to their face while driving.  If drinking and driving is a hazard so is anything connected to holding that ridiculous cell phone and driving.  My cat can drive better than some of these people with the phones attached to their heads.  The car was one of the last places on earth where you could escape to the solitude of your thoughts and favorite radio stations.   Not anymore.  Apparently people can’t survive 5 -30 minutes without constant technological interruption

Shit.

So here’s the thing with the traffic and the endless line of cars during rush hour.  In Juneau, it was a rush minute.  I’m not kidding.  Four minutes and you were done.  Now, some days it takes me an hour either way to or from work.  (Although, after being here a year I am working on a system to beat the rush hours.)

I love my little Yaris.  His name is Norman.   Yes, he’s a boy car.  How do I know it’s a boy car?  He’s a stick…..duh.

I’m looking to upgrade.

All I’ve wanted for years is a Camaro.  Midnight blue with the glitter paint flecks.  V6.  I want the engine that purrs to a stop.  Every damn time I see this car on the street a little bit of drool forms at the corner of my mouth.  They’re common, but not as common as the BMW here.  Which is as common as sliced bread.  If I wanted to be a trendsetter I get a Subaru!

camaro

I

LOVE

THIS

AUTOMOBILE.

It’s hot.  I’d look hot in the car.  Blue, I’m going to BE hot in this car.  I want this car.  I need this car.  This car….makes me purr.  This is a sexy car.   The curves…especially from behind….wow.  Wow.  This car makes me talk like a guy.

BUT then, as things would have it in life.  An option appeared, one I was not expecting.  Now, I am truly in a quandry.

We’re sitting at a light.  Up rolls a Dodge Challenger.   White with a racing stripe.

Challenger

Ohhhh well.  Hello.  You.

Now.

Look.

At.

That.

Me. YOW.

Now if that isn’t a stud car.  And boy did that have a purr.  It was like a roar….not so much a purr.  I think I broke out into a bit of a sweat.  Of course, I’d want a V8 for this car – because this is a definite boy car.  There is nothing soft about this baby.

So now I spend my days driving into and out of work – looking for my cars.  Every time I’m sold on the Camaro one of these Challengers goes past and I say one word:

DAMN.

Of course the kicker ….. as much as I love my Camaro, the other day one went past and a grandma was driving.  Not that there is anything wrong with that but then I was thinking….really?

NormanOn the other hand, I could keep on with my Norman.  He was transported all the way from Juneau.  Great, zippy, keeps up with traffic.  Although he’s not real thrilled about doing 80 mph on I95, but I’ve had him up there.  Swear!

He can out run the best of ’em – in our own minds.  Go Norman!

Of course, in a Challenger…..imagine the speed!  The tickets….no good.

The Camaro….imagine how cute I’d look!  So good!

I think I need to go for a test drive and let my heart sing.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

1957665_667444109981115_1651410991_o      1599914_662549387137254_2100850160_o  1147096_651967231528803_850012628_o

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.

 

Get Off My Ass…Unless You’re Buying Me Dinner.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

Alaskans.

We.  Like. Our. Space.

That’s why we prefer to live in a state where there’s only 1.5 people per square mile.     Love that.  In my square mile I’d designate Liggy, our cat, as the .5 measurement.  (That’s correct, Eric can get his own square mile…mine is full.) Unfortunately, however, I’ve moved to Miami and the luxury of personal space went out the window along with owning sensible shoes.

Which, by the way, if you would have told me at this time last year I’d be wearing platform heels I would have laughed myself to the point of a side cramp.  Now, I have several pairs to choose from in the closet.  Not to mention the colors.  Yes.  The shoes I get the most complements on?  The hot pink Jessica Simpsons – thank you very much.

There was this one pair I drooled over in DSW.  They were vanilla colored, satin fabric, platforms that not only had a rhinestone on the front but feathers as well.  LOVED those shoes.  Went to try them on several times.

shoes

Then I thought to myself:

Self, when are you realistically going to wear these shoes?

I’d wear them to work?

No.

Performing art?

Maybe.

Grocery shopping?

Definitely.

No.  I didn’t buy them.  Sigh.

Anyway, back to the issue.  I wish the people of Miami would do me one little favor:

GET

OFF

MY

ASS!

I have never been anywhere in this short lifespan of mine that has had so many strangers trying to climb up my ass every single day.  Not only that but they’re pissy people at that!

It would be one thing if you were a smooth talking, good looking, sweet smelling suave and swanky personality that would cause me to swoon as soon as you grinned.  However you’re not anything close to making my knees buckle Miami…..

Driving down I-95.  Am I supposed to be impressed as your flashy Porsche flies past Norman like he’s standing still?  Probably.  And I am impressed.  I’d love to go for a ride in that!  Sexy and fast.  Sign me up.

However it’s the idiot in the Honda with the stupid loud muffler that’s trying to act like he’s all that AND a bag of chips….but when in reality he isn’t even the stale pickle on the plate.  Really?  You’re going to tail me and try to intimidate me?  Okay well I’m slowing down by at least 5 mph.  Oh yeah baby, that big rip of a scrape along the left side of your car door – that’s so hot.  Meeeeoooow,

No.

If you’re going to get that close, I hope you brushed your teeth.

Then there’s the cars that when you look in the rear view mirror you already know what’s coming next.  (It’s like watching a Heat game and you just know they’re going to win….the opposing team really shouldn’t have bothered to show up.)  Before you can change the radio station with the flick of your thumb on the steering wheel….no, Norman doesn’t have that ability….it’s just wishful thinking…..the car has climbed up over your back fender and is changing lanes just as fast.

Damn really?  And then the traffic slows down and you’re side by side with Mr. Slick Ass.

Sucker.

And the point of that was what exactly?

More than driving, the one thing that absolutely brings me to the edge of insanity in :15 seconds flat is personal space.  I have gotten to the point where anything inside my imaginary hula-hoop is MINE.  The hula-hoop is made of titanium and can’t be broken.  You step inside the hoop and you’re going to be in my way.

BACK  UP!

Enough already.  Do I have a sign on my forehead that reads, “newbie….transplant from Alaska” which gives you the permission to try and body check me at your convenience?  Oh, there wasn’t a sign, you’re just rude by nature?  Wow.  Your parents must be so proud!

Case in point:  tonight I stopped at Pet Smart.  Liggy, was in need of kitty treats, which I can only find at Pet Smart.  I stood in line.  My purse, which isn’t a suitcase by the way, was hitched over my forearm…..comfortably cradled in the crook of my left elbow.

This woman comes up and while there’s nobody standing near me for 3 miles….manages to walk into my purse as she’s going around me.

Really?

As she gets around to my right side, where I am holding another bag in my hand….from the grocery…she bangs into that as well.

OMG what am I?  Magnetic?  For pete’s sake….you have the entire front of the store yet you are drawn to me like freedom fighters to a noble cause.  Can you really not manage to give me a few inches to breathe?  Even the casher grimaced at me with an apologetic face.

The grocery stores are even worse.  Nobody has any concept of personal space.  I don’t just mean in the check out lane, where they push their cart all the way up to the handle bar of your cart the moment you turn your back.  I’m talking about walking down the wide main aisle of Target and it’s three across going one way….large and in charge.  And two coming directly at you.

Cue the Wild West Gunslinger Music….there’s going to be a shoot out.

It’s gotten so bad at Target that I will go out of my way to avoid certain areas because the people are going to drive me crazy before I can even get to the toilette paper.  You try and go around and it’s like they have crazy ESP.  Fake left, they go right.  Fake right, they go left.  Double back to go forward and they’re right there….quietly pondering what to have for dinner….steak or chicken…as they push the cart…down the middle of the expansive aisle.

The side aisles are the trenches of warfare.  Forget trying to make your way from one end to the other if there’s another person in the row.  The rule of “finders keepers” is definitely in play.  They won’t give you an inch to spare one square.  It’s a new game of ostrich….

“While I don’t have any available sand to stick my head in so I can ignore you….if I just plain out pretend I don’t see you then you can’t see me and life is good.  So fuck off and go around me because I own this universe.  Okay, I own this aisle!”

Okay, get over yourself and move your damn cart already.

Today I got on the elevator at lunch.  It was crowded.  The last guy on rather than turning around to face the door, decided to keep his back to the door and face the rest of us.  He was busy emailing.  Good grief people!!!  Save yourselves and release the smart technology for two minutes and join in the rest of society.  Buddy, you closely resemble an ass and if you had any idea, you would have been horrified, of this I am certain.

Yes, he finally turned around and in the process moved closer to me so his screen was nearly eye level with my eyeballs.  Do you really think I give a fuzzy hamster’s butt about the upcoming meeting regarding the 42-B template for designs of toilette flush handles?  No.  I.  Do.  Not.

Stop being so pretentious.  Stop trying to put your business in my face.

I. Don’t. Care.

While we’re on the topic of elevators and people and being pretentious and putting their business in my face….I want to discuss sweatpants.  Specifically the ones with words across the butt.

I have two observations.

1.  Whoever thought of this concept obviously didn’t think about including regulations  for appropriate wearage.

2.  Just because they fit doesn’t mean they look good on you.

Dear heaven above, save my eye balls from bloody ruptures if I have to see another butt going by that rolls so much I can’t even make out what the words are:  AGNES, NAGES, ANGLES, AGILES, ANGELS, LANGS…..

w. t. f.

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!