Monday, December 12, 2011

Love love love Florence...

...and The Machine.

Nah nah, it ain't like that. Life is good. Really good. : )

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

I celebrated Thanksgiving with my closest friends Priya and her husband Winston. Priya and I have been friends for over EIGHTEEN years. We all drove to Winston's brother's place in Connecticut. Priya drove the Mini cooper, Winston acted as DJ and Saimon (her precious beagle) kept me company in the back...

Saimon was a little hysterical in the car 'cause he didn't understand where the hell we were going and assumed someone was going to the airport and leaving on a jet plane for good because of all the bags of stuff (food) we put in the car, so he was flipping out (poor baby). (Stuff=vegan pumpkin pie, mashed yams with maple syrup, banana cake and vegan stuffing. Yum-ee.) We got a little lost and there was quite a bit of traffic but about three hours later, a bunch of Flamenco and Rihanna songs later, we were in Connecticut and greeted by this little guy:

That drive made us hungry as hell. We were all staaaaaarving, but we had to wait for everyone to arrive before we could start eating. Meh. And people just kept arriving! By the time we started eating there were like 40 people there: Uncles and cousins and friends of cousins and mommies and daddies and kids of all ages and a yeah, a TON of food:

And salads...

(Hey. That's not a bad couple of iPhone photos. Damn. Go, iPhone camera.)

We ate. And then...we sang:

Well, I taped Priya singing the second half of the Elton John song (we sang the first half together but no one had the guts to document that). But then I decided to Beat It:


Winston's bro (Richard) and his wife Kathy really got into it too:

Priya, Winston, Saimon and I left totally stuffed and happy. Priya and I felt like we were getting sore throats from getting so close to that contaminated mic while doing karaoke (licked by every kid in the house). But, whatever, that's what vitamin C is for. Before we even said our goodbyes, Saimon was passed OUT in the backseat of the Mini. Maybe it was from eating all the turkey and mashed plantains and all the kids tugging at him, but he also could have been wiped out from meeting a bunny rabbit for the first time.

Check it out:

And good night.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ahem. WiFi is back. So here's day one in France...

Last Tuesday (the 25th), I flew off with my Irish (half) brother to hang with him and his mom at his mom's place in Prats de Mollo la Preste. We took Ryanair. I'll tell you more about this airline soon. But for now...

Here's Aaron (the bro) very anxious to board the plane:

Ryanair is Southwest Airlines-ish in that you don't have the luxury of an assigned seat. But instead of rushing to get in line to get a good seat (like smart people), Aaron and I stayed in the waiting room until the very last second. We were just lucky we were able to find a seat far removed from the bathroom. Anyway, it worked out. We found decent seats. And as soon as our tooshies hit the (rock-like) cushions, Aaron fell right to sleep. He'd been working for many days in a row without a break, so he was beyond tired. He says that he has a tendency to fall asleep when on any form of transportation (car, plane, train,...boat?) so he would've been fast asleep whether he was tired or not. That's fine, 'cause I was also kinda pooped and drifting in and out of sleep as well. Oh and welcome to Ryanair:

Well, at least the flight was cheap. It only cost 30 pounds to go from London to France, so what did I  expect?

Anyway, we got to Perpignan on-time. The airport's very small, so as soon as you get off the plane (outside), you're only about 15 feet from baggage claim and the exit. Pat (Aaron's mom) met us at the airport and within minutes, we were in the car and heading off!

Here's Pat driving:

We made a stop at a nearby supermarket to shop for dinner and I was absolutely repulsed (sorry, Pat and Aaron!) by the large amount of beautiful animals that the French consume. Like horse and rabbit. Yes, HORSE and RABBIT. Ahhhhhhhhhh! I don't read (or speak) French so I wouldn't have known by looking at the packaging that I was looking at a dead packaged horse instead of a cow, but Pat informed me (or maybe it was Aaron?) that indeed the French eat those things and in fact, they're quite common to consume. Wow. I mean, meat is meat. I guess one can't justify eating a cow over a horse or rabbit. They're both animals and none of them are necessarily more or less deserving to live a life without fear of being eaten, but Jesus I just think it's completely unnecessary to eat these gorgeous animals just to appease our appetites (??!). I'm sorry but that's how I feel. I think it's barbaric, in fact. (I'm probably gonna get serious heat from the Irish and English fam for saying that, but they probably already know that's how I feel.) These animals might be lower in fat than cow or taste "wonderful," but there are many non-horse and non-rabbit and non-cow items that tastes even better and don't inconvenience a soul. I've been vegan for over 20 years and don't have any health problems whatsoever. I look younger than anyone else my age and it's no coincidence. You do not need meat to be healthy. There's no such thing in 2011 as a protein deficiency. There's protein in everything (fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, grains, etc.) and it's higher quality than animal flesh and we need *much* less of it than we think to be healthy and balanced. In fact we eat WAY too much protein than our bodies need which in the long run, causes serious weaknesses in the body. Eating too much protein overtaxes the kidneys, liver, gallbladder, colon, etc. So the reasoning that one *needs* to eat animals and a ton of protein in order to be "healthy" is simply untrue. If that were the case, then after eating a vegan diet for over twenty years, I should be very sick, yes? And yet doctors are always amazed at how healthy I am. And it has nothing to do with my genes, 'cause I come from a pretty unhealthy family. Anyway, enough of my rant. I'll shut up now.


I picked out a bunch of fresh fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds and called it a day. And BTW, Pat would not let me pay for a thing. The Irish are like that. They are incredibly generous in every possible way.

We left the supermarket and made our way home:

That's a thumbs up from the bro!

As soon as we got to the house (about 90 minutes later), Aaron started cooking:

He's an awesome cook.

It was too dark to take photos of the house, so I'll share house pics next time.

A couple things you should know about the house is #1: it's gorgeous. And #2: It's absolutely freezing all the time. Since the weather in France had been uncharacteristically cold and rainy and since the house is covered in tile and stone and is absolutely massive, it holds in the cold is difficult to heat. It was actually colder inside than outside. So I just bundled up and made do. Aaron and Pat are used to the cold (being from Ireland and all), so they felt right at home. : ) Luckily there were electric blankets in the beds that were absolutely heavenly and kept me toasty warm throughout the night. When I woke up the next morning I didn't wanna get out of bed. I mean, I *really* didn't. But eventually I did. But that's a blog entry for another day...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blogging will have to wait...

I've been in the South of France for the past few days! I'm staying with my (half-)brother at his mom's house (MANSION!) in a small medieval village in the mountains. They have WiFi (pronounced "wee-fee" in France), but it's not working with my computer (blehhhhh), so I'm using his mum's computer  to write this. And since I can't upload photos and photos are what make this blog cool, blogging will have to wait. I'm still taking a ton of pics, though, and will resume sharing when I get back to London. Just know that I'm having a wonderful time. Oh and it's fucking COLD here!!! Thank God I have awesome company to keep me warm.

For now I'm gonna leave you with a hilarious clip from a new British show called Come Fly With Me. It stars the two talented Brits that brought us Little Britain. Here's the clip:

Carry on...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

London shenanigans

So if you haven't already guessed from my previous entry, I'm in London. I'm staying with me cousin Shane (and yes, I meant to word it like that). He's my fah-vah's mum's son (hee hee). I stayed with him last time I came to London in January.  Remember? The main reason I'm here this time is to take a trip with my half-brother Aaron to the South of France. As I explained in this entry, we'll be staying with his mom at her place in a small remote medieval village way up in the mountains. And since it's (much) cheaper to fly to France from London, I decided to extend the trip a bit and hang with my London peeps too (Shane and my other half-brother Adam) before and after France. Why the fuck not. I've been massaging non-stop for the past month, so I deserve a a little break. Anyway, Aaron and I fly to France on Tuesday morning. But for now, let me tell you about me day in London and what-evah...

I've been on a mission to get back in shape and a few weeks ago, I started taking a ton of yoga to make that happen. So I want to keep it up even while I'm away. I found a yoga studio in London. It's called Jivamukti Yoga and since they have a studio in NYC that I used to frequent all the time, I knew that their classes were gonna be intense. Ashtanga yoga for realz. 

I woke up at 10am (5am NY time) and took the 52 bus to Kensal Road and then walked a few blocks to the studio. The yoga space in NYC is massive. The space in London is not. The London location is tiny. They have a waiting/welcome area, two small studios in the back, a couple of bathrooms and that's it. Like I've mentioned a bunch in my previous London entries, the United Kingdom is not cheap (more expensive than Manhattan, if you can imagine), so it wasn't terribly shocking that the yoga studio was so small. Anyway, I was REALLY looking forward to the class being taught by someone with a thick English accent. I wanted to hear, "You can roll into downward dog or what-evah. Lift mulla bunda, innit." But no. The teacher was from America of all places. Meh. That's alright, though. She made up for the lack of cute accent with her tats and overall coolness. It was funny to see all the Londoners in their yoga gear. Most of them just tend to always be on the conservative-looking uptight side (no offense!), so it was refreshing seeing the Brits dressed down for a change. I'm not gonna go through the class step by step. Don't worry. But if that woman asked me to do one more chaturanga (yoga push-up), I was gonna scream out, "ALRIGHT! Enough, Yankee Doodle. Enough." But, no. Kidding aside. I got a lot of great things out of the class.

I left the studio and took another bus to Whole Foods (wut wut) in Kensington to get some grub for the next few days. I then took my third bus of the day back to Shane's place to get ready for a night out at our friend Rob's place. He invited a bunch of his friends over to hang out and it was fun as heck. I told my FP story and it left them all on the edge of their seats. We had a blast. Oh but they kept making fun of how often I use the word "Awesome." Apparently people don't use that word 'round these parts. If something is great, they'll say, "very good" or "fantastic" or "brilliant." But nothing is ever "AWESOME!" And then for the rest of the night I had to stop 20 "awesomes" from coming out of my American mouth. It was rough. I had no idea how much I wanna use that word.

(Oh and I'll actually take some legit photos tomorrow. I swear. I just didn't feel like treking my camera all around today. Forgive me.)

Tomorrow? More yoga and...Hmm. I guess you'll just have to stay tuned, My Friends.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Don't you hate it when... write something online (or on-paper) for public viewing (or for a single viewing) and realize *days* later that you've had a complete brain fart and used a word in the wrong context? It's SO frustrating. You've edited and spell-checked and things looks good ('cause spell-check doesn't know from context) and so you post the entry or send off the email. Why not. And then a couple days later, for shits and giggles, you decide to look at the old blog entry or that sent message in your "sent mail" folder (I know I'm not the only one that does this) and you have a mild heart attack when you notice the typo. NOW it's as clear as day. A misspelled word is easy(er) to forgive, but a word used out of context? You're an idiot. The reader is now convinced you're an idiot. In my previous blog entry I wrote (and it has now been fixed), " far as getting 'sewed' is concerned." FuuUUuuck. I meant, SUED. Have you ever done that before? Written "your" instead of "you're?" Or "they're" instead of "their." Of course you know the difference between the two, but in the moment, you're convinced that the wrong one works. I feel a nagging shame. Meh.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


So three (or four?) days ago, I changed the URL on the blog to make it a little more private (to keep certain people from reading about me and also to prevent FP from tracking me down). Then I decided to change the privacy settings, so that the blog didn't show up on Google searches. Then I took it even further and had the idea to make this blog totally private (readers would actually need an invitation to read it) so that I could start bad-mouthing people and not be so careful with my posts and not worry about *any* repercussions (other than karma). So I tried this for a few days and wasn't really thrilled with the results. My stats suffered quite a bit. And it's just not as much fun having a blog if you know exactly who's reading it. It's kinda fun NOT knowing. And I don't think I've said anything that incriminating about FP, so I think I'm good as far as getting sued is concerned. And I can just bad-mouth people in my journal, I don't need a blog for that. I want a blog that's welcoming and not another fucking hassle. So the blog is flying free, Bitches! Hassle-free.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Secret celeb massage part 2

I'm not really a morning person. My head doesn't usually even hit the pillow until around 2am. So at 8:30am when I heard a loud vibrating "ehhhhhhh" coming from my cell, I thought, "This better be important." I grabbed my iPhone from the nightstand and closed my eyes tight and then opened them wide to get my orbs stretched out and ready to read. I didn't have my contacts on yet, so I had to hold the phone literally two inches from my face to make out the text. I could see that it was from my boss and immediately thought, "Ohlord, she's probably just letting me know she sent out my paycheck." But no, she was asking how long it would take me to get to Soho. Apparently, FP ("famous person") loved the previous massage I gave them on 10/02/11 and wanted another a.s.a.p. I immediately texted the boss back to say I could be there in 30 minutes (not really that sure I could actually get there that quickly, but I just said it to let her know I meant business). She told me to take a cab (FP would pay) to the Mercer Hotel and then go right upstairs to suite blah blah blah. I showered, washed my hair, shaved (TMI?), dried my hair, got dressed, put on a touch of makeup and then RAN out door. I was amazed when I looked at my cell to see that it'd only taken me 20 minutes to do all that. I jumped in a cab almost immediately and made it to Soho five minutes later...

The Mercer Hotel isn't as fancy as the Mandarin Oriental, but it's still no small potatoes. The cheapest room is $525 a night and the most expensive (the "penthouse suite") costs $3,300 a night. A gentleman dressed in Kenneth Cole-ish street attire opened the door to the hotel and welcomed me with a big fat smile. I walked into the lobby with more confidence than I had at the Mandarin. Five days earlier I was a bundle of nerves, but now? I was cool as a cucumber. I strutted past the wine bar and Armani look-alikes and said to myself,

"Oh please. I got this."

I walked straight to the back where I assumed the elevators would be. Again, I was to never say FP's name. If someone were to stop and ask where I was going I was to give them the assistant's name and suite number and just keep walking. But no one stopped me. The elevators were just where I thought they'd be. One arrived. I stepped inside (you liking all these drawn out moments?). I made it to my desired floor still feeling calm. I walked down a long hallway (the decor was very minimalist and modern with low lights). I found the suite. I knocked on the door and a second later FP's assistant opened it. I quickly realized this wasn't FP's room (this was a tiny room). I was in the assistant's room. She asked me if I'd ever signed an official document saying that I would never speak of anything that I saw or heard. I said I hadn't. She found the paper for me to sign. I should have read the darned thing, but I just signed and dated it and in a flash we were both out the door. She was taking me to FP's suite on the other side of the hotel. The assistant had a ton of keys on her. Don't know if FP had more than one suite in the hotel or not, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did. We arrived at a door that was much larger and more intimidating than the assistant's door. We walked into a very expansive loft suite that held a huge bathroom on the left with a free standing bathtub (that could probably hold three average-sized people), a kitchen area with a fridge and sink and bar and I think there might have been a stove in there too but I looked too quickly to take it all in, a huge living space with couches, a dining table, a flat screen TV, oh and treadmill. I didn't think there could be any more to the suite but it kept going. The assistant walked past the dining area and began quietly walking into another door. I wasn't sure if I should keep following her, so I asked,

"Am I supposed to follow you?"

"Yes," she said.

We were now in FP's bedroom. FP was sound asleep on the bad. It was dark in there. The curtains were closed all the way. I didn't understand what was happening. The assistant then instructed me to work on FP's legs and feet for 45 minutes. I was confused. I asked if I should massage them while they slept (?).


"No problem, " I said.

FP was laying in their undies face down on top of the covers in a mountain climber position (right knee up, left leg straight). They were cuddling with a bunch of pillows. So...I just got right in there and started working. I remember FP requested deep work on 10/02/11, so I made sure to use very firm pressure. No matter what I did to them, they didn't wake up. I'm pretty darned strong, so I expected a flinch or something when I got to their shins, but still nothing. Just the sound of FP breathing softly. I finished my work on the right leg, covered it with the comforter and moved to the left side. Because of the position of their body, I couldn't easily get to all the areas on the left that I'd gotten to on the right, but I did my best. I reached under covers around their thighs to get to all parts of their legs. I watched the clock and made sure I gave them exactly 45 minutes of work. I didn't know if they were gonna be rushed off to some appointment, so I wanted to do a thorough, but speedy-ish job. When the 45 minutes was up, I quietly grabbed my things and walked out the bedroom door. I was now in their living room all by myself. I sat on the couch and slowly put my shoes on (had to take 'em off while massaging so I could get on the bed and get better leverage). I didn't wanna dilly dally too much, but I did wanna wash my hands, so I went into their very large bathroom. it looked like it hadn't been used yet, so I felt nervous about using a towel or soap and making a mess, so I just decided to wash my hands when I got downstairs. I opened the door to the outside and closed the door behind me. When I got downstairs I sat in the lobby for about an hour just enjoying the moment. I heard a young man pitching his TV idea to an older gentleman who looked like an Italian mobster. Come to think of it everyone in the lobby kinda looked Italian. I got an idea to take a photo, but didn't want to be the obvious poor girl taking a photo of the expensive lobby, so I decided I'd take a photo, but looked pissed off while doing it, so it all balanced out a bit...

And then I made my way outside and went to yoga like it was just another day...

UPDATE: The mystery celeb client wants another massage

FP LOVED it and I'm running to Soho now to rub them some more!

Stay tuned for another very interesting blog entry...

*A hush falls over the crowd*

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Off to London and the South of France!

Just bought my tickets to London and FRANCE. Remember when I went to London to visit my new-found family in January? Well, I'm going back. But this time, I'm also heading over to France with my half-brother Aaron. We're gonna stay at his mom (Patricia)'s place in Prats-de-Moll. It's a small medieval village in the Canigeau Valley. (Holy crap.) I checked out direct flights from NY to France and was horrified when I found out how much it would cost. But then I talked to my other brother Emmet and he told me it's much cheaper to fly out of London. Like four hundred dollars cheaper. I kid you not. To go from London to France on Ryanair costs the bargain basement price of $40 each way! And it can be even cheaper if you book it far in advance. So if you ever want to travel around Europe super-cheap, check them out.  Well...maybe I should fly with them first before I go highly recommending them. I hope it's not one of those teeny tiny peanut planes that can barely hold three Snookis.. I really *really* hope it ain't one-ah those, but...anyway...this is a positive blog entry, so glass half full NOW. It's gonna be great no matter what. I'm told Barcelona's only a two-hour drive away. I'm so clueless when it comes to geography, so when I say I was surprised to hear this, I really was. I think I was out sick when kids learned geography. I seriously don't know where things are. I am NOT proud of this at all. It reveals a ugly ethnocentric American part of me that I don't like and will do something about. I just need one day alone with a map and a BIG piece of paper and colored markers and ooh...maybe Post-It notes would be better! Yes, a map and colored Post-It notes.

In the past couple of months, I've gotten out of the blogging habit. Well, truth be told, I've just been feeling uninspired, but this trip is definitely gonna renew the spark. I'll be taking a ton of photos and blogging every day (or maybe every other day). I leave in two weeks (and two days). I'll be in London for four days (staying with my cousin Shane again) and then France for twelve days and then back to London for another week. The last time I was in London, I didn't get to spend much time with my other half-brother Adam, so I'm looking forward to having more time to hang with him. This is gonna be a great trip.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Celebrity, massage and I gotta keep the name to myself

I arrived at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at 4pm. I'd never been to this hotel before. Just to give you some perspective, the Mandarin is one of THE most expensive hotels in the world. A standard room costs $800 a night. And the suites start at around $2,000 per 24-hour stay. So yeah, I'd never stepped foot in this joint. This place is limited to the very rich and very famous or at the very least friends of the rich and famous. I don't know anyone with this kinda cash. Anyway, when I arrived in the lobby (which is located on the 35th floor of the Time Warner Building), there were male and female servants fixed at their stations (dressed in black suits with frozen smiles on their obedient faces), over-the-top crystal sculptures, a marble staircase (serving no real purpose 'cause no one ever took the stairs) and lots of wealthy people stepping off the elevator with compete confidence...looking unaffected by their surroundings. Oh and did I mention Owen Wilson walked by? Yeah. They all seemed right at home. But as soon as *I* stepped off the elevator, I felt like all the employees pushed those hidden security buttons underneath their desks at the same time and within seconds a 400 pound guard was gonna grab me by my Forever 21 trousers and escort me out the back. Okay, let's backup for a sec, shall we? I've been working for a mobile spa for a few years now. I get called to go to hotels and private homes and bring massage directly to the client. I work on hotshot VIP clients and celebrities. Well, I'd been told about the "celebrities" but in the two years that I've been working for the company, I'd never actually worked on a celebrity. Well, I massaged a fashion designer (who talked about her boob job half the time and farted the other half of the time), but she doesn't count and she can't be put in the same category as the one I was supposed to massage at 4:30pm, so when my boss explained who I'd be massaging this time, I truly did not believe her. I thought she was trying to pull a fast one on ol' Jolley. I was like, "Come ooooooon. Shut up. What????" But it was true. I was gonna massage the most "FP" (famous person) on the planet at the Mandarin Oriental at 4:30pm. I was told the massage could last between one hour and up to five hours depending on the stress level of FP. I was getting paid by the hour, so I didn't complain. I'll massage 'em for TEN hours if they want. Hell. Plus, just being around this person was gonna be so cool that I really didn't even care how much they paid me. I just wanted to meet FP and see them behind the scenes. My appointment wasn't supposed to start until 4:30pm, So before I even made my way to the 35th floor, before getting on or off that elevator, I sloooooooooowly walked around the Time Warner Building trying to kill time and not arrive too early., I didn't wanna seem too eager. So I stopped to browse in Aveda (I graduated from the Aveda Institute and know all their products by heart, so I really didn't need to be there looking confused and pretending to be interested in that shit). I had no shopping purpose, okay? All that was on my mind was massaging the most famous person on the planet and doing a good job.

At 4:25pm I got a call from my boss saying that FP was running late and might want me to massage them at their parent's place ten blocks away. She told me to hang tight and even if I waited there for two hours, I was getting paid starting now (including a tip), so I was cool with waiting.

The boss called again at 4:45pm to say that she would be texting me the address and then I was to jump in a cab (FP's assistant would pay) and head over to FP's parent's place a.s.a.p. It had been raining all day and JUST stopped, so it was impossible to get a cab, so I just walked. Ten minutes later, I was at blah blah blah (not gonna give you the address, Silly) and was more nervous than ever. I was never ever to say the name of the person I was to see. I was to tell the doorman, "I'm here to see "Lauri" in 1A. The guy said I should go right down the stairs and the apartment would be on the right. But before I even had a chance to get to the stairs, I hear a man's voice yelling, "Hello?! Hell-OH?" I said, "Yes. Yes, I'm here. So sorry." This was FP's father. He looked me over and then asked who I was. "I'm the massage therapist," I said. He gave me a nod of approval and told me to step inside and BAM without a warning or a ta-dah or pause FP was right there five feet from me chilling on the couch with their feet up on the coffee table texting on their Blackberry. I was so startled and unprepared that I just said "hey" like they were nobody important. In my attempt at not making a big deal out of the situation and to maintain some sanity, I got into the yeah-whatever-mode...which I thought would be wise at first, but I think it just made me seem bitchy and I quickly wanted to switch gears, but this person would just need to ask me a question and then I could reveal how nice and kind I am. I was told to never engage this person in conversation, so I just had to wait to be asked a question and told what to do and where to go and it was awkward. I was just standing there. Complete silence. Thank God two small dogs came running into the living room, they gave me a place to focus my eyes. I could not look at FP too long (more than a second), it was SO weird. I felt like I was in a dream. Finally, I introduced myself and FP scrutinized my face. Like seriously studied it. Like they had 15 seconds to take in as much of my face as they could 'cause then they were gonna have to sketch me. And then I thought maybe I didn't fit the part. Maybe FP wanted someone a little more plain- looking and the tiny bit of lipstick I had on (and no other instructed) was throwing off their idea of what a massage therapist should look like. The dad went upstairs to prepare the bed (I usually massage clients on massage tables, but FP likes to get massaged in bed...which makes things a lot more difficult for me...screws up my body's just awkward) and I was forced to stay downstairs with FP now sitting one foot from me silently texting. I did NOT know what to do with myself. I was praying that they would ask me something, so I could speak! But nothing. FINE-ally the dad called me up to the second floor to get the bed massage-ready. All I really needed to do was get a pillow and towel set-up under the sheet. Before I went up the stairs FP said, "I'll be on the left-side of the bed." I think I said, "Oh, no problem" or "Sounds good" or something like that. When I got to the bedroom and saw the king-sized bed, I had the biggest and longest brain fart ever trying to figure out which side of the bed was considered "left." My thought process was something like, "Does she mean when you're IN the bed. THAT would be the left. But if you're just looking at it head-on, the left is on the opposite side." I kid you not I was having a moment. That's how nervous I was. There were pictures all around of FP with different color hair with their family, with their sister on a skiing trip, with some random woman in a backyard, etc. It. Was. Weird. I finally realized which side was "left" and set-up the bed. I purchased some aromatherapy oils and special lotion for the occasion and set that up next to the bed. And then I was ready and I waited. And all I could hear was FP talking to their dad about some woman that they'd met and really liked because they felt so comfortable around. I listened to their conversation for over 15 minutes because it was as loud as can be and there was nothing else I could do but listen. There was nowhere to go and I didn't wanna put on my headphones and then miss FP asking me a question or something. So I stood in FP's parent's bedroom and listened to them (FP and their dad) discuss their life...uncensored. FP never whispered so I can't feel too bad about hearing everything. Finally the assistant came upstairs and laid out FP's dinner on the nightstand: two Tupperware containers of steamed veggies and one generic plastic box containing California Rolls. FP silently appeared dressed like they were ready for a slumber party (long t-shirt, no pants, hair kinda messy, etc). I showed them how I set-up the bed and they said, "No. I'm just gonna sit-up in bed and eat and watch TV and I want you to rub my feet and legs." I was so turned around and not prepared for FP to say that at all. I would have MUCH preferred they say, "I wanna be rubbed all over (well not ALL over). But this is what they wanted, so I had to do it. They jumped in the bed with the enthusiasm of a five-year-old getting ready to be read a bedtime story from mom, put on the TV, opened up their containers of food and began to eat and channel surf. They put a huge comforter over their entire body (including their feet and legs), so I had to lift up the comforter and go searching for their feet. FP is quite small, so it was an awkward minute sticking my hands underneath their comforter with a roaming hand. I finally found their feet and pulled back the blanket enough to reveal the ankles, rubbed some lotion in my hands and began to massage their tootsies. The bed was quite low, so I was completely hunched over to make it work. FP just kept changing channels every minute. They stopped on Jersey Shore for a bit and got excited we were gonna watch that show together! THAT would've been something, but then they changed it. They stopped on the Food Network for a few minutes and then changed it, But then FP found a show on A&E called Intervention and stuck on that show 'til the end. I'd never heard of this show before and I definitely would not choose to watch it on my own ever. It was extremely depressing and graphic and really fucking sad, so I just kind of tuned it out and looked at the bigger picture and just saw myself in this scene and could not stop smiling. I just kept reminding myself that this was really happening. I am really here. I'm rubbing FP's feet while they watch TV and eat in their parent's bed.  Twenty minutes into the massage, FP turned out the lights and the room was just illuminated by the television. FP chnaged positions a couple of times. Then one of the small dogs came on the bed and licked my hand while I worked (it was just getting weirder and weirder) and I kinda laughed and then FP laughed and talked to the dog and said, "You missed me, huh? Look at him enjoying Intervention." I laughed again. Like a loud laugh. This was all too comical not to laugh. Thirty minutes later, FP was asleep. I kept rubbing, though, just in case they weren't fully asleep or maybe that's their thing to get massaged in their sleep. Who knows! So I kept going. Eventually the dad came upstairs, turned off the TV (laughed at how FP was able to sleep with the TV so loud), and told me it was okay to go. So I quietly gathered my things and made my way downstairs. I looked over the room one last time to make sure I didn't forget anything and realized that FP was laying on my towel. I didn't wanna wake them up, so I left it. When I went downstairs I told the dad that my towel was there and he said he'd have the assistant leave it at the Madarin for me the next day. I asked to use the bathroom and wash my hands before I headed out and FP's dad said it was cool. I was in a such a daze by this point. I don't even know if I used soap. I might've washed my hands with Listerine for all I know. I thanked him and said goodbye.

When I walked out of the apartment into the lobby I wondered if even the doorman knew who lived there or if FP comes in with a bag over their head to protect their privacy. I stepped out into the rain without an umbrella and walked to the train and made my way home. I kept saying to myself, "If people on this train knew who I just massaged and spent time with, they would not believe it. They would get so excited and happy." But I have to keep this one to myself. It's my little secret.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

8/10-11/11 Hanging with my two bros in Delaware

So when my (half) brother Aaron and his mom Pat decided to visit Emmet (my other half-brother)in Delaware, I thought it was a great idea. They'd stayed with me in NYC for a few days already and it was lovely and wonderful and I dealt with the fact that that'd be the last I'd see of them in a while. But when I got back from my five-day trip with Zack in Florida, I discovered that I'd have time to spend a couple of days with both bros in Delaware and I was thrilled. So I took a 100 minute Amtrak ride to Maryland. (Never riding Amtrak again, though. Not thrilled when I heard about a recent derailing. Anyway...) Rita, Pat and Aaron met me at the station. It was great meeting Rita for the first time. She's warm, friendly and lovely. I mean, of course she is. Emmet's great, so duh. We chatted it up in the 30 minute car ride to Rita and Emmet's place. Laughing most of the way, 'cause that's what Jolleys do. When we finally made it back to their place, we were all starving, so Aaron cooked up a wonderful Thai noodle dish and even made a special vegetarian option for me.

Here he is preparing the meal (and note that I didn't take my fancy camera on this trip, so the photos are a little on the lame low-pixel side):

Then Rita's doggie (named Majik) got in on the action:

(He's got the Jolley eyes.)

Majik was the sweetest thing ever. He never barked once. Not once. He was just a bundle of furry love that demanded a ridiculous amount of affection. I've never seen anything like it. When I came in the door he ran up to me and gently pressed his wet nose on me like a little nonverbal hello and then pried his head into my folded arms to force a cuddle and would not move away. That dog liked to cuddle like no other living thing. Throughout the day, he would lay/lean/push its body on me and then stare at me with those big blue eyes until I was forced to open up and let him in.

And get this! I never got a picture of the actual food. I'm a schmuck. Forgive me, but I was distracted by the delicious aroma of the hot chills and garlic and ginger. And then I was just so excited to eat that I forgot all about documenting. Hmph. It was goooood, though. I can tell you that. I knew Aaron was a great cook from when I was at his place in London in January and he made me a roasted red pepper soup with coconut that was off the chain. No doubt. "Tick tock and you don't stop." Anyway, after the meal Rita made me some chai tea with almond milk and also served some of her delicious baked goodies like these almond pastry things and little frosted squares:

We had a lovely time. Why don't I drink tea more often? I AM Irish after all.

Anyway, we hung out and chatted it up for hours, but made sure we were all in bed by 10pm, 'cause we'd be getting up at 4am (yes, four AY-EMM) to travel with Emmet to the horse stables to see him ride and train his horses.

I expected to hear roosters this early in the morning, but nothing. No sound. Just darkness and the sound of my slow sleepy breath. I got a picture inside the car at 4:30am:

Spooky, huh?

Even when we got to the stables, it was still quite dark...

That's Pat in the photo above...up ahead in the distance.

We were waiting around for Emmet's time slot to approach. He wasn't supposed to ride until 7:30am, so had two hours to kill and tried to make the best of it. Here's Aaron checking out one of Emmet's beautiful horses:

We also waited in Emmet's office...

This was the best place to be 'cause this was where the chairs were...and other items that one could sit on if one were so tired that one could not stand on their own. I sat on a box.

There was a (very very small) jockey being taken to the track:

The sun was coming up at this point, so we went over to the track to see some over the other jockeys and trainers with the other horses:

It was chilly as all heck. It was weird to be cold when by the time I usually wake up at 9 or 10am, it's 95 degrees, but my body adjusted well.

Here's the racetrack:

The horses were moving at a speedy pace (obviously, it's a RACEtrack):

We watched the animals go around once and then we made our way back to the stables. By this point it still was only 6:30am.

Here's Emmet brushing a horse-ee...

FINALLY it was time for Emmet to get dressed and ready to ride...


He kinda reminds me of the Marlboro Man.

We were so excited to see him do his thing.

Here he is (on the left in the pink shirt and red vest) riding his beautiful horse:

He had amazing form for a non-jockey. We (I) were (was) very impressed.

Then we walked back to Emmet's office again and I made my way over to the car and took a snooze in the front seat (I was feeling my allergies going nuts from all the hay and other barn things).

We left at around 9:15am and I felt like I was ready for bedtime all over again. How the HELL does Emmet do that every darned day?!

We made our way back to Emmet's place and I made myself some hard boiled eggs. Aaron suggested I  put 'em in an egg cup.

"A what??" I said.

Aaron and Pat made fun of me because I'd never seen or heard of an egg cup before. I grew up in the projects (and mostly vegan), so I don't know from egg cups. Poor people don't require egg cups. Anyway, here they are...

The little spoons made me smile. I mean, the whole scene was pretty cute. Then Rita confirmed that Americans don't really use egg cups all that much. Aaron and Pat were shocked.

I think I probably took a nap (don't remember) and then we all went out to eat at a steakhouse. Yes, the vegan went to a steakhouse. I got a large plain baked potato and a side of steamed veggies, thank you. It wasn't bad. Here a photo of the meat house:

If you look closely at the photo above you can see stuffed dead animals tucked away on top of chairs, hanging form the ceiling and resting on the window sill. There was even a stuffed bear:


My plain baked potato was amazing.

Then we drove back to Emmet's place and Rita and Pat dove me to the train station. We said our goodbyes.

I then took Amtrak to Baltimore to meet up with Zack at Camden Yards (he'd been there for a few days with a Watch With Zack client) and we all (me, Zack and his client) drove back to the city together listening to the Katy Perry channel on Pandora.

Wonderful two days jammed packed with love. : )