Monday, June 21, 2010

When left to her own devices

Will visit the pie shop 3 times in the space of a week
Will decide to start running, and start doing it every day
Will relish the feeling of her sore muscles
Will pamper herself with foot cream, foot scrub, and foot spray
Will watch random movies fully reclined in a large comfy (faux?) leather seat, ordering her snacks from the server, grinning the whole while from ear to ear
Will get an hour-long pedicure
Will try to read challenging authors
Will take walks in the park, in the plaza, in the neighborhood
Will do all this by herself, while thinking of her loved ones
Will plot how she will pamper them as soon as she sees them again

The author waiting in the terminal

Gets reflective in airports
Is humble to a fault
(Is about to disprove the above)
Loves feeling clever
Is polite to a fault
Worries too much about what others think
Worries too much about others
Pretty much always feels safe
Loves to write, and writes to love
Has a small (but loyal) fan club
Could reach the stars
Is too humble/polite to reach above stars
/Stars above
Feels clever when performing word play
Writes infrequently and spontaneously
Lacks discipline
Fears cliché but is probably not that original
Wants to "speak up" and "be herself"
Has been informed it's time to begin boarding

Hearting Ira

I have a huge nerd crush on Ira Glass. He is so honest, perceptive, inquisitive, and vulnerable on his radio show. I have heard the most incredible stories on This American Life, stories that make me cry and laugh out loud, that make me stay up thinking, that give me fodder for conversation. Lately, when I stream his podcasts online, I hear Ira appealing for money for his wonderful show. I can't resist that man's plea. The thought of this show not being able to continue is unbearable.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The underrated dwarf

Having grumpy moments is a part of life. For instance, I've been grumpy for the past two days straight. I can pinpoint the exact time it started. I was in line to watch Sex in the City 2 (so inferior to the original).

I'm not positive as to why I feel this way, but my inquietude probably has something to do with the fact that I don't know what I'm going to be doing six months from now. You see, I'm going through my "semi-annual" check-up. I like to check up on myself every so often and make sure I'm 1) doing what I enjoy doing or I'm working towards it, 2) happy and healthy, 3) not being held back by anything (fear, insecurity, lack of resources), 4) gaining good experience/learning something, and, finally, 5) on the right path to continue enjoying those perks. So right now, I'm asking myself those check-up questions to help me determine if, 6 months from now, around January 2011, I will still be in good shape.

I'm currently in the middle of the above process, and for whatever reason it's making me restless, tired, and hard to please. For instance, despite having just bought a ticket to see some good friends I feel kind of eh. Despite the fact that my husband is going to visit me in a week, eh. I had some chocolate pie for dessert day. Still, eh.

Hopefully I can psyche myself into feeling non-grumpy very soon. Two days is too long to feel this way, especially over nothing concrete. Life is too short to suffer from long grumpy spells.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


When I sleep alone
I keep the curtains open
So the city keeps me company.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


My mom is here and it was hard to fall asleep last night.
Her snores competing with the dropkicking thunder
Of the season's first rain.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Fear itself

On my third day here I decided to challenge myself and face my fear directly. Driving in Mexico. I was scared of driving here because the drivers here are very aggressive, the roads and signage are different than in the US (i.e., they don't make sense), there are glorietas galore (roundabouts, which do not exist where I'm from), I had never driven in Mexico before (actually, I had once, but most of my drive was spent sitting in line to cross the border), and then there was the time I went to Tijuana with my family and when we came back our car was gone, and then the other time we were in Tijuana and the streets were so flooded that water seeped into our car reaching up to my shins, so besides those anxieties, I was perfectly capable of hitting the Mexican road in a strange new car. Heh.

I was supposed to drive to a party, so at 2pm I attempted to punch the address into the GPS that came with the car, to no avail. The address was not recognized. By the way, that GPS is evil. I thought, well, no problem, I'll just look up the cross streets on my handy little tourist map. Besides, I had allowed myself plenty of time to get to the party, which started at 3pm, so I thought that I would take my time going through the city and taking in my new surroundings. One hour later, I ended up on a strange kind of road, a periferico, where it was impossible to ever make a left turn, for kilometers and kilometers and kilometers. After being stuck on that road for a long time, I decided to take my chances and make a left turn. I eased into the median, noticing, as I did so, that the buses that passed through the devoted bus lanes in the middle of the road got awful close to my car as they wooshed past.

Then, I heard the unfamiliar yet unmistakable siren of a policeman trying to get my attention. He was a motorcycle cop. Feeling surprisingly relieved and, further, justified in my choice to make an illegal left turn, I calmly completed my turn and pulled over on a side street. I had never been stopped by a police officer in my life, and always guessed that if I ever had the misfortune I would undoubtedly burst into tears. I hate breaking the rules, and I especially hate getting caught doing so because on the rare occasions I do break the rules I feel like I have a good reason for it. I showed the officer my identification, explained to him that I was a gringa who had just arrived in the city, on my way to a party full of other gringos, and that I was hopelessly lost (which he could see for himself when I showed him the address for the party). After tsking at my ignorance of the city, at my predicament on the strange and scary periferico road, at my close call with the fast-moving buses, at my being a clueless girl left to fend for herself in his sprawling city, he showed me on the map where I actually was, where I wanted to be, and explained to me how I could get there. He proceeded to elaborate on the general layout of the city's roadways and explained that he would not be writing me up that day. Honestly, I wasn't even worried about being written up, I was just glad to know where I was and where I needed to go.

I pulled away, feeling refreshed from my brief driving break (I had been going for 1.5 hours straight at that point). By the way, there was extremely heavy traffic that Saturday, so everything took about 5 times as long as it would have without traffic. I went in the opposite direction on the damned periferico, missed my turn at a diabolical roundabout, and had to take the road to the very end, where it u-turned at a university (no need to break the law there), until I was finally able to swing around to where I was supposed to be. Kind of. Once I got to the road where the party had been going on for some 2 hours now, I couldn't find the appropriate street number. So I did the old-fashioned thing, stopping at a convenience store to ask for directions (rather than performing an illegal maneuver just to get the attention of a friendly cop who could tell me where I needed to go), and finally got to the general neighborhood. After that it was just a matter of circling around to look for parking and convincing the guards I was a legit party-goer and not a delinquent. No sweat.

That was my ordeal. It helped make me stronger, although it did not completely cure me of my Mexico driving jitters. But I'm proud to say that I know my way around better, that I manage to stay more calm when I drive now, and that my GPS is still evil and cannot be totally trusted (it spends a lot of time banished to the center console of my car). I'm glad I got through that ordeal early on in my stay. After that, everything else is a piece of cake.

Sunday, June 06, 2010


I can't tell you how many times I've been offended here. They're not big offenses - it's mostly invasions of space and privacy, dangerous maneuvers on the road, and cutting in line. Actually, as you will see, most of my problems come down to the cutting. It's similar to how I was offended in Italy, but here I tend to feel invaded with more frequency. Here is my gripe list, in no particular order:

1. I'm in line, and you approach from the side and cut. Or, I'm in line, and you come in from the side and put your stuff on the counter while I'm still holding on to my stuff, effectively cutting in front of me.
2. I'm driving on the road, and you push in front of me quickly, without signalling, without looking over your shoulder, with no concern for anyone's safety.
3. I'm in line and you push in and yell out a question to the cashier, again, cutting.
4. I'm in line and you move up so far that you're literally on top of me. Both men and women are guilty of this, and it makes me uncomfortable. (This happens a lot to me in the U.S. as well, I think I have space issues.)
5. I'm sitting on a bench, and you come in with your entire family, knowing that you can't all fit on the bench with me there, and start bringing out food, spilling stuff all over me, letting your kids run on top of me, until I leave and let you have the bench to yourself.

Cutters never prosper!