Tag Archives: lifestyle

Would You Rather….Nope.

Everyone.  And I do mean everyone, has something that makes their stomach roll.

Something that really gets your goose.

Makes your stomach lurch.

Lord have mercy, I’ll do anything but that….

It’s your, “Would you rather….” kind of moment.

When people have this discussion, the talk can turn into the ridiculous and gross.  You know what I am talking about, we’ve all been in those drunken bar talks….”Would you rather eat shit or drink piss?”  or the typical “Would you rather bungee jump or play chicken with a train?”  or the oh so dull, “Would you rather eat a cricket or a roach?”

What I’m referring to are the oddities in our lives, that to others are absolutely normal.

Example number 1: Down the street from our house are two large Asian grocery stores.  We ventured through the first one and after wandering up and down the aisles purchased a large amount of fruits and veggies.  Next we went across the street to the competition, to check out their set up and see if they had anything different.

While we checked out the produce section, my better half motions for me to come over to the fresh fish counter to see something.  I head his direction and he points to something in a large basket.  I look down and there are about 7 enormous bull frogs sitting there looking up at me.

I don’t know.  There could have been 4 frogs.  There could have been 12 frogs.  There could have been one frog.  Doesn’t matter.  I’m terrified of frogs. All I know is they were huge, like the size of basketballs.  They were dark green.  And they were ready to jump.  Of course, I would too, if I was in a basket for sale in a market…

I ran away so fast, my feet didn’t touch the ground.   I ran straight across the produce department.  Down past the paper products.  Down past the noodles.  Stopping in hot sauce.

Frogs scare me.  Big frogs.  Little frogs.  Green frogs.  Yellow frogs.  All frogs.

I haven’t been back to the store since.

Example number 2:  Every day walking into the office I pull open the front door to the building and the handle is sticky.  Why?  I’m going to come down there with my Clorox wipe and clean off the handle, but in the meantime….how did the handle get sticky exactly?

And when did it become a public disgust to touch the public bathroom door handle to exit?  Did Ralph Nadar do a report on handle germs?  Now there’s usually a trash can immediately next to the bathroom door to capture the paper towels that may or may not make it to the can upon doing their final duty of being a door grip.

And if there isn’t a trash can, people just throw the towel on the floor anyway.

Here’s the thing though…how many people are using toilet paper to actually OPEN THE STALL DOOR?  You want to talk dirty handle?  There’s the dirty handle, people!

SIDE NOTE:  If you didn’t know already, women’s restrooms are disgusting. Filthy.  I’m not kidding.  Don’t let women fool you.

Example number 3:  Traveling or hanging around in packs of people leads to one thing.  Sharing things.  I’m not good with sharing things.  There’s a reason I opted to come into this world as an Only Child.  I don’t play well with others.  Unfortunately, sometimes things get shared whether you want to or not.  It starts at a young age and continues through life.

Two words.

Lice.

Scabies.

Count my lucky stars I’ve had neither.

Although, I am pretty certain if I had either, I’d be trying to figure out how to apply said banishing cream with wood spoons while administering vast amounts of Vodka.

When you’re a kid and someone gets lice, everyone puts their coats and book bags in trash bags at school before putting them into the coat closet.  Not sure if that how it works today.  But in the “olden” days that’s what we did.  Then you go home and have your parents check your head for the lice and pray to the heavens you don’t have any.

When you get older, you can get scabies.  So here’s the thing.  You can’t put your coat in a trash bag in the coat closet, cause you own the coat closet.  And the living room.  And the bedroom.  And the kitchen.  And the bathroom.  What the hell?  The only thing I can think is one of two things.

  1. Torch the place and start over.
  2. Seal it up and bomb it with a scabby bomb.

I mean really, what are your options?  I don’t know where you get scabies.  I don’t want to know but it sounds like an version of Aliens and well, that movie scared me.  When we went to Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, that was the one haunted house that scared the hell out of me.  Damn aliens.

Another group shareable….pink eye.  I have had Pink Eye, in both eyes at the same time, and that was about one of the most disgusting things ever.  Crusty, slimy, yellow, oozing, sticky and blurry experiences ever.  Nasty.  Nasty.  Nasty.  Sick.  Not to mention, it was one of my “more un-cute” weeks at work.

I don’t like sharing.

Example number 4:  Moving ahead, there are definite things where it may not turn your stomach, but it does for others.  Like Mothers can wipe their baby’s butt no problem.

I have a 20 pound fat cat, who sometimes has fat flaps on her ass, if we don’t monitor her diet.  Yes.  She has these little peanut sized fat flaps on her ass, where shit accumulates.  Her ass needs to be cleaned.  I can clean her ass.  If I don’t, she gets cat diaper rash.  Some folks may have an issue with that.  Not me.  Time to wipe your butt, Wiggly.

Mucking out farm animal barn stalls….I got that.  Cow, pig, goat, sheep, chicken, turkey manure….check…got that covered.  No problem.  There are days when there is nothing I’d rather do more than shovel poop.

Bodily fluids aren’t fun. Even your own.  If you have ever had the Norwalk virus, AKA Norovirus you know what I mean.  Tends to hit large packs of people.  Schools get it, the traveling public get it.  I got it.  The problem with it is you can’t keep anything down – not a sip of water, for days.  One sip of water and you’re in the bathroom going in circles trying to decide if its coming out your ass or your throat first.  In the end you’re on the toilet holding the trash can on your lap.

Example number 5:  A friend of ours was house sitting, which is very common in Alaska.  The house came with a cat named Simon.  Apparently, while Simon loved his owner, he was not a fan of anyone else.  Simon, from the photos I had seen, was a lovely long haired ginger.  Just lovely except his eyes were glowing, but I chalked that up to the camera and reflection of the flash.

His house sitter thought otherwise as Simon had her cornered on the stairs on day and made her late for work, by several hours if I’m not mistaken.

Long story short….it was known Simon had a few matts of hair that needed to come out.

It was a challenge.  I accepted the challenge.

Enter….the Cat Whisperer.

With brush in hand.  I walked the house looking for Simon.  Everyone was certain I would be wearing an eye patch by the end of the evening, like Captain Sparrow, if not a peg leg to boot.

Upstairs under the bed – no Simon.

Behind the couch – no Simon.

Curtains – no Simon.

Tension, filled the house as you could hear him growling from his mysterious hiding location.

I sat on the floor in the living room and ever so slowly….here came Simon from across the room.  Lured by the international cat sign for “come here kitty.”  He climbed into my lap and after a few moments, I brought out the brush.  Shocking to everyone, brushed out the two large mats around his neck and happily Simon continued on his way.

Same with our wild turkeys.  Many say, “they’ll kill you!”  And I simply say, “It’s all in how you present yourself.”  If you put out you’re terrified, they know.  We’ve have a group of 40 wild turkeys surround us and they’ve been nothing but gentle and kind.

However, put me next to a lama and I will go the other way!  Shifty eyes…and they’re taller than me.  Not to mention they seemingly like to follow me.

Example number 6: Thank god for doctors and nurses.  Now there’s a bunch of jobs I couldn’t do.  Maybe it’s because you have to be a touchy person and I’m not touchy.  Maybe it’s because you have to like body parts and well, I don’t need to be about your feet or your ya-ya or bend you into various shapes to fix your spine, or continue to ask if A is clearer or B?  One word – dentist.  Nope.

Being a doctor is a special breed of person.  Patience, lots of patience.  Apparently when I saw the line in heaven for patience, because I have bad eyesight, I thought it said PATENTS and didn’t get in line for any.  Therefore, I have none.  Hence, being a doctor or nurse was not an option for me.  But I’m very thankful for all of those folks who saw the sign and got in line.

So you see, everyone has something they think twice about and would rather not encounter.  Think about all the possibilities.  Here’s just a short list to get you started:

  • eating off of public utensils.
  • trying on bathing suits – really how many others have tried on that same one
  • rotten fruit
  • bird loose in your house
  • limp, lame, sweaty handshakes
  • pop a zit
  • greasy head prints on the subway windows
  • green snot
  • food spitters, and I’m not talking babies
  • hair in your food (pet hair, your hair, stranger hair, any hair)
  • spider on your toilet paper roll – surprise
  • someone sneezes into their hand then extends it for a handshake
  • a dentist with bad breath
  • the constant cougher next to you on the plane
  • when your better half asks, “does this make me look fat?”

Yet there are folks every day that go out and face our fears head on, challenge our stomach rolling, rather not do that moments and attack them with a gleeful smile.  To them, it’s normal.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  It’s life.  Go forward brave souls, we all have our moments.

 

 

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Disneyland + The Mother = Long Shot

You ever get asked to participate in something and think to yourself, “Sure. Sounds fun. I’ll do it.”  Knowing all along it isn’t going to work?

Obviously, it’s a sign, the second you hang up the phone the Vegas bookies start running the numbers and setting the odds on the various outcomes of said adventure.  You and the bookies are fairly certain the event will have a dubious ending.  You proceed, caution flag raised proudly, you’re already wearing  hip waders.  No stopping now.  What the hell.

Yep, that about covers the trip to Disneyland with The Mother.

A few weeks ago, I had a business trip that took me from east to west coast and I worked in a quick visit to see The Mother in between meetings.  I was looking forward to exchanging cold weather for hot sunshine.  Little did I realize, I was trading snow for the “storm of the century” listening to the weather forecasters of LA.  Although, having the opportunity to drive in torrential downpours was something I haven’t had the chance to experience since I left Miami.  It was a pleasant reminder of Mother Nature’s many talents.

During my visit to southern California, The Mother  had one thing on her mind.  In the past, usually she wanted to go to a particular restaurant or a local venue of some sort.  Nope.  Not this time.  Determination was set on a new target.

Disneyland.

Apparently, unbeknownst to her, having lived in the desert for over three years, Disneyland is basically  a stone’s throw away from her door step.  Relatively speaking.

To verify, this accuracy, The Mother checked with MapQuest, AAA, the neighbors Tim & Susie across the street who frequently drive the highways and as well as with the local grocery checker at Albertson’s supermarket.

So.

If you’re a rolling stone.

In good weather.

With a decent tail wind.

Jump on the I-10 and head west out to the wild west…to the land of the Great Mouse.

Throughout my trip, The Mother had a mantra… “don’t do anything that would hamper missing the day’s adventure to Disney.”  Roger that….going to see The Mouse….got it.

Our plan was to depart first thing Sunday morning.  Day trip only.

My only request was we MUST depart early, because The Mother would definitely need an electric scooter due to all the walking.  On a previous visit we went to the local zoo.  Unfortunately, they don’t have motorized scooters thus we rented their version of a standard wheelchair.

Not quite a normal wheelchair.

Not quite a a wheelbarrow.

It was more like an adult bucket seat push cart.

I nearly killed myself trying to push that plastic contraption in the desert heat.  There’s a reason wheelchairs are made from fabric, not plastic! Mind you, I am all of 5 foot 1 an a sip of water on a good day.  I was sweating like a sumo wrestling champion sitting in a sauna.   I probably left a sweat trail like a slug leaves a slime trail.

Gazelles? Missed those.  I was laying under the tree over here, panting like a cheetah trying not to let the sweat sting my eyeballs and turn my mascara into a ghoulish creep fest. But hey, let me in to see those dwarf goats.  I’m just going to sit with them for a while and communicate with them baaaaccccck to the mothership.  I digress…..

We needed a motorized scooter for Disneyland.  If I had to elbow my way through the crowd to get a scooter, by God we were getting a scooter.

Before bed, The Mother looks up the weather for Anaheim and it’s to be cool with an 11% chance of rain.  I figure that’s a high percentage of rain for California.  I say if she doesn’t want to go, I’m okay with that.  Best not to be miserable and we can go next time.

The Mother hesitates for a moment.  Nope.  We’re going.

I go to bed, knowing….you know how you just know?  You just know in the pit of your stomach.  This isn’t going to go well.  Trust the gut.

You know you can’t talk someone out of something.

No matter what you say.

You could tell them they’re going to throw up on their shoes.

They want to go.

You could tell them they’re going to be miserable.

They want to go.

You could say 400,000 people will be there.

They want to go.

You could say it isn’t really what they will want to do.

They want to go.

You could say, this is going to make my /your eyes bleed.

They want to go.

You could say, this is going to be a disaster.

They want to go.

Why fight the process.  It’s easier in the long run.

To just go.

The day of our big adventure arrives and our plan was to depart at 7:00AM.  I am awake early due to stupid jet lag and do not hear The Mother stirring.  Silently, I think, maybe we aren’t going…..

At 5:50AM I hear The Mother yelling through the door, “Donna, are you getting up?”

 

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

I get into the shower and proceed with the morning routine.  When I get myself pulled together, I go out to the living room….there’s heavy fog outside the window and grey skies.

As I am putting my shoes on, I say to The Mother “You know, this is your last chance to back out. The weather doesn’t look so good with the fog today.”

She is surprised I suggested we not go.  What do you mean?  Of course we’re going!  After all, there’s only an 11% chance of rain.

Alright then.  Coats, sunglasses, jackets, lip balm, purses etc…..let’s go.

Two hours on the road in and out of rain showers and sun spots, we arrive to Disneyland.  The mecca of fun, happiness, laughter and of dreams that come true with the sprinkle of magical fairy dust with Mickey Mouse leading the way.

It’s starting to drizzle again.  But over that way, the skies look clearer and certainly it will clear up.  We agree, the shower will pass.  It just isn’t supposed to rain at Disney right.

Of course.

The first parking lot’s ADA area is filled, so we  traverse the lot like a drunken snake towards the exit with a neon pink exit sign flapping like a flamingo under our wiper.  This indicates to the Disney parking attendants we’re aiming to exit like mice in a maze looking for cheese….so they don’t continue to point us into a parking spot.

As we’re making our way through parking area,  a family is literally walking down the middle of the aisle.  Not a care in the world.  Why should they – it’s Disneyland!  Their minds are filled with memories from the last time they were here, where they threw up,  where they lost Billy, how Mary got ejected from the water ride because she thought it was a wet t-shirt contest and how they can’t wait to see their favorite characters.  They’re excited.  It’s Disney.

Did I mention?

Patience is a virtue.

Three.

Two.

One.

“You think these people would get a clue and move over.”  Advises The Mother.

 

Yep….as I continue to creep along behind the family.  “Well, this is how it’s going to be today.  Lots of people.  Lots of lines.  This is Disney.  You know, it’s not too late to head home.  Now’s the time. Last chance.”

Nope.  Not changing our mind.  We’re going to the other parking lot.  We’re going to Disneyland.

About 15 minutes later, we make our way to the Toy Story lot, park and make our way aboard the shuttle bus to the entrance.

NOTE: For those that have experienced any Disney park, you know what it’s like….the shuttle buses, security screening, ticket purchase and entrance lines…..all within the main entry area.  This is where we’re located.

By 10:00AM we’re through security and head over to the far side of the entrance gate to get in line for the electric scooter.

It continues to drizzle.

We get The Mother signed off on an electric scooter for $70 and head back to the ticket line, where she decided to wait off to the side while I venture into the serpentine line for our day passes.  Not long after being in line I start to hear, “DONNA!” (Can’t be for me,   right?  Ignore.  Ignore.) More people begin shouting, “DONNA!”  I look up and at the front of the line….there’s an arm flailing above the crowd with a flapping hand attached.

The Mother.

The Mother waving at me.

…..along with the crowd shouting my name, “DONNA!”

Good lord.

I start to duck under the rope barrier.  Excusing myself  along the way…

“Sorry, that’s me….I’m Donna.”

I get up front to The Mother….” What’s going on?”  I’m thinking maybe she played the ADA card and got our day passes some magical easy way without waiting. I mean this is Disney, anything is possible.  Right? The Mother says, “Let’s go.  I’m not waiting in line for this.  There’s too many people.  It’s raining and I’m not paying this price. It’s so disorganized.  Do you want to stay for this?”

Nope. I nodded my head.  Looked at my watch 10:37AM.  Knew it. Okay, let’s go…..

On the way back to the car in the shuttle, The Mother asked if I was mad….as she pinched my cheek, no less. I told her sometimes you can’t talk people out of things they want to do, but I knew we’d end up going home.   It’s kinda like going to the dentist and getting a shot of Novocain, which you don’t want to do in the first place.  But you take the shot and as an added bonus….you get to talk funny afterwards!

 

Alright then. Who placed the bet for: 37 minutes at Disneyland’s entrance?

 

And yes,  I was able to get a full refund on the electric scooter.

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Kona: Pride Parade Adventure

Check that off the list: Marching in a Pride Parade.

A friend of mine called and asked if I was interested. Well, let me see….
It’s fun.
I can be silly.
I’ve never been in a Pride Parade.
I get to ride in a trolley.
Yes! I’ll do it!

For the weeks leading up to the event, I was pondering what I would say to the spectators. You see, we were going to be on a big trolley and handing out Hawaiian leis. So the possibilities are endless, but generally came back to the one comment, “I wanna lei you.” Terrible. But funny.

I, however, can’t say it with a straight face.

Three nights before the event my friend calls. “What are you dressing up as for the parade?”

What?

“Aren’t you dressing up for the parade? You did all those Wearable Art Shows….you have to dress up.”

Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Wearable Art Show 2011.

Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Wearable Art Show 2011.

Well shit. I didn’t think about it. Then it smacks me in the forehead, like a mosquito, this is a perfect excuse to dress up! How could I have not realized this? I love to dress up! What the hell am I going to do? I can’t believe I almost went as a normal person!

I pressed the urgent button. Must. Get. The. Creative. Juices. Flowing.

Now, I don’t have months to prepare, I only have two nights. This is going to be a mess.

We’re doing leis, so Hawaiian would be good. That’s a no-brainer. What kind of Hawaiian stuff do I have on hand? Nothing. Not a floral shirt. Not a lei. Flip flops. I have flip flops. Well that’s not very Hawaiian.

Where are my wigs? In the storage closet. UGH. I don’t have time. Do I even have a long black wig? No. Eyelashes! Has anyone seen my eyelashes? I know the little box they’re in….but where is that box? I’ll worry about that later.

To the drawing board I go….which in this case, is the party supply store.

Lo and behold, they have a big selection of left over Halloween items. Thank you! First I pick up a cool mask, with giant beak and feathers out of the top. I find different colored table cloths to match the feathers. Then I look and say to myself….THIS is NOT Hawaiian themed. This isn’t going to work.

I put everything back…then stumble into the Hawaiian section.

Two grass skirts.

Four pretty silk flower leis.

No, they had NO coconut bra tops. Trust me – I was looking. I did flirt with the idea of using real coconuts but the thought of trying to successfully crack it open and then drill holes for a string to hold it together….was too much comedy of errors for me.

And on the way out…one last pass through the Halloween section. YES! A long black wig. They call it a fashion wig, I’m thinking…seriously? Whatever, it’s long and black. When I check out the cashier advises me there is no returns on the wig. Okay, she doesn’t know me, but I NEVER return a wig. Miss Kona Supplies

Next stop. The Dollar Store. Yep. I hit the jackpot! Pink flamingo plastic table cloth, fishing nets, sequined butterfly things and clip on flowers.

I go home and assemble the costume.

The next night I realize, I didn’t have a headpiece. You always need a headpiece! So using a headband, some shells and glitter…I fastened together a sea princess crown.

I also realize I can’t find my eyelash box. Yes, besides wigs, I have an assortment of eyelashes. I look in the obvious places. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Then, literally, while I”m on my hands and knees looking under the bed….(side note, we just moved into this little place…which causes me to still not remember where things ended up. It is plausible the eyelashes ended up under the bed, not likely, but possible.)

Yes, I’m on my hands and knees when I break out my Catholic education and say a prayer to St. Anthony.

“St. Anthony, please can you help me locate my eyelashes? Thank you. You know it’s in that plastic box. Please help me find them.” St. Anthony never fails me. Whenever you lose something – pray to St. Anthony.

Tah-dah! Try the bottom dresser drawer.

I did and under a bunch of other stuff….there’s my eyelash box! YAHOO!

Now that I have my outfit assembled, I fall to sleep as a big day is coming tomorrow!

Rise and shine at 7:00AM. I have to be at the trolley by 10:00AM. I’ll be driving into Boston, parking at work and then taking the subway to where the trolley is staged at the Copley Center. I’ve written down my subway directions…..have them in my pocket. I’m ready to go.

I put on the top of my outfit, which consists of a white flimsy tank top blouse thing, aqua colored bra and sequined butterflies. My eyelashes are on. Big glittery eye make up is on. Lip stain is on. Body glitter is on….of course!

I look like a drag queen stuck in a disco ball.

Before I leave, I decide I better wear a zip up hoodie. I’m taking the subway after all. I grab my sunglasses, tote bag with various paraphernalia and my grass skirts in a big trash bag.

Okay, now I look like a hobo in a disco ball.

The transportation adventure begins. I zip right into Boston – SWEET! Every day should be 20 minutes.Park the car and walk to the first subway stop, which is three blocks from my office.

Silver Line to South Station….I’ve done this lots of times. No sweat.

South Station, I hop over to the Red Line going to Alewife. Okay, got this. I’ve been to South Station lots of times. Just have to look for the sign for this particular line. Easy. I get to the platform 1 minute before the Red Line arrives.

Next, I get off at Park Street and have to transfer to the Green Line. Well, this is an experience. Never been on the green line. And I need to find the C Berth for the train that goes to Connelly Circle. That’s what it said on the website for the transit system. A berth? That’s for cruise ships. Why not call it a platform? A berth? Okay, whatever. C Berth.

I still have my sunglasses on and hoodie zipped up.

I arrive at the Park Street station and feel like I’m wandering through purgatory. Dark, old, hot and fierce. At any moment I fully expect to see an elevator that says Hell? With an arrow pointing down. The signs here say C berth is also track 1. I’m at track 4. Well where the hell is track 1? I see a little old man walking across the tracks and I’m thinking, “that’s not the smartest thing to be doing….”

Then I see a sign that says C with an arrow down. There’s more layers? Or is this the elevator to hell I’ve been expecting to see here?

I hit the elevator button and wait. Nothing.
It finally arrives and the door opens. Apparently, lions have been using the elevator as their litter box. The smell curls my eyelashes even more. I turn around and look for stairs.

Down I go, along this hallway that could have been in a hospital horror flick from the 50’s. Then another sign says to go up for my berth. I truly am a mouse in this labyrinth.

I pop up and there I am on the opposite side of where I started. Four tracks, yellowing light and stale air. Big industrial floor fans running to try and keep people cool. It’s old. Old. Old. Some of the lines coming through are only 2 cars. People run and push to get on the car.

Dear lord. Please don’t let this be a long wait.

I see on the transit map I could take lines C, D, E to get where I’m going. However I stick solidly to my C plan as all these tiny cars….and I’m hoping C is multiple cars.

People are coming in obviously going to the parade, which makes me happy to know. I’m not lost.

Unfortunately, I’m sweating like a banshee. I don’t know, do banshees sweat? I’m still wearing my glasses and zip up hoodie. I’m dying. I can imagine the tank top is plastered to my back. Sweat is breaking out on my upper lip. This guy in front of me won’t stop pacing….like a caged animal. Okay. Enough.

I unzip my jacket and put my glasses on top of my head. AIR. Sort of.

Within a minute a big guy comes over and asks, “How did you get your eyelashes to do that?”
They’re fake.
“Oh. Are you with him?” (There is a young guy with a pull cart filled with signs about gay rights standing next to me.)
No, but we’re going to the same place obviously.
Then guy then says something and more about his wife….not sure what he was saying…as the noise from trains, fans and people were deafening in this crowded subway pit.

Another train comes in and he walks away to get on one of the two cars.

I put my glasses back on and patiently wait.

Hark! A train on my track! It says Connelly Circle! Thats’s the one I need. Whoop Whoop! AND it has a bunch of cars! I jump on the first one and get a seat. I sit down and immediately want to hug the conductor….the A/C is on high and I feel like I’ve walked into an ice box. Thank you, sweet fairy godmother of the subway system. And whoever invented A/C.

Three stops later, I hop off and continue to wander the lackluster white tiled subway….(which note, some people actually put this tile in their house….why?) I continue to follow signs that say, “Exit. Street.” I climb the stairs and pop out into the sunshine, like a mole who has been underground too long. To my surprise, I am actually where I should be. I didn’t get lost!

I walk 1 block and there’s my trolley, waiting in line with all the other vehicles, for the parade to start. Yahoo! It’s a small miracle I didn’t get lost. Or loose my patience and hop in a cab. Yeah me – high five!

My friend is waiting for me at the trolley and I think may be surprised I made it as well! I’m thinking, I needed a shot after that. Not a vodka shot but a tetanus. And I didn’t bring any handiwipes!

I pull up my glasses and SURPRISE! Hope it’s okay that I’m planning to dress up!

Then I start to pull my outfit together. Skirt on. Wig on. Crown on.

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Tah-dah! Two people, that I’ve met before, didn’t recognize me. It was great!

One of the guys looks up my Hawaiian name online. Apparently it’s Kona. Okay then call me Miss Kona.

I walk off the bus and a lady approaches me, “Are you going to do the hula on top of the trolley today?”

Ahhh no, but thank you.

If I had a dollar for every time someone took my photo, I’d have enough to buy a round of drinks in the bar. I walked down the street before the parade to see the floats and people were stopping me left and right. I didn’t think my outfit was that amazing, but apparently it was different enough.

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The parade starts and our music on the trolley was the best. We were literally dancing in the street. I spent most of the time walking in front of the trolley, which was great, so I couldn’t loose the trolley. And they couldn’t loose me! Win-win on that one. We were handing out leis to anyone who wanted them. Must have handed out thousands. I decided to aim for kids and people in wheelchairs along the route. I also asked many, many police officers if they wanted one – all but 6 declined. Those who did take them, gave them to the people next to them. Of course, when someone mentioned that was a Congressman in the suit standing over there, I immediately ran over. He didn’t want a lei either. Well, I tried.

One lady, who obviously was a parade organizer, due to the enormous headset she was wearing and clip board she was carrying…said to me, “You better move over to the sidewalk, there is a trolley behind you. You don’t want to get hit.” I told her I was with the trolley and I’m pretty sure they’re not going to run me down.

What a great time. Miss Kona had a hoot. I was exhausted and slightly sunburned when I got home. The energy of the crowd, the excitement of being in a parade and running from side to side wore me out….and a 4 hour nap was enjoyed when I got home.

Let’s do this again next year! Game on!

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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!