Saturday, February 27, 2010

A cat walks into a plane...

The journey started at 3:30am fueled by pinta’o coffee my mom made to get me out of the hammock. The Barranquilla to Panama leg of the trip was sleepily uneventful, but the volume got turned up Tocumén Airport. There were screaming children at the gate and we hadn’t even begun boarding.

After noticing the facebook and twitter New York snow reports, I had packed my carry-on so I could comfortably survive the day if I got stranded in Panama or if my flight got re-routed to Wasilla but I had failed to pack noise canceling devices.

When I got to my seat at 28E – back of the plane, wedged between aisle and window seats – I found one of the screaming children placed on 29E, and a large man whose leg was spilling out of the confines of 28F and encroaching into 28E territory.

I took my place hoping the flight might not be full and I’d be able to move a seat over. My seatmate was a chatty Spaniard. While he was sharing with me the outrages of Panamanian customs taxes I might have missed the arrival of my other seatmate if I hadn’t heard her.

She was Canadian and was carrying a mewling case.

Don’t get me wrong. I like cats, I like children, and I have nothing against chatty Spaniards or even Canadians, but not all at once and definitely not while flying and within a one seat radius of me.

When I realized my seat didn’t recline and that I was stuck with an elbow rest hogger (the Spaniard) I was ready for the longest five hours. Maybe I’d get a funny story out of it.

No such luck.

Rufus the cat quieted when he was placed under the seat. The Spaniard and the child both passed out after take-off. Elbow hogging was controlled after I staked my rightful claim on it when they distributed the meal. Whip it, Where the Wild Things Are, and Dexter helped kill time.

The plane landed, customs didn’t even sniff my bag for all the edible goodies I brought back (want some? There’s still time to enter the giveaway - the odds of your winning something are high!), and I had an easy commute home from Newark.

The problem? Now I want to play (?) roller derby.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sleep in a warm climate

Dear Bed,

The hammock days are over. See you soon.

Sleepily yours,


Giveaway: guess the fruit


A game and a giveaway, because I'm happily stuffed and feel like spreading the joy.

Name the fruit - its name or what you think it should be called - in a comment to this post to enter. Submissions that include information whether real or imagined about it get double entries into the draw. You need to name only one to qualify but are allowed as many entries as you like.

There will be one grand prize winner from a random draw and other prizes to top entries. All prizes will be edible Colombian goodies but due to customs regulations there will not be fruit - besides, I ate it all.

All entries must be made by Sunday Feb 28th 2010 at 5pm EST to be considered. Winners will be announced by Tuesday.

Rules may be changed without further notice.

Name away!





The remains of the fruit.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Grave Psychological Problems

Every day after morning mass, my great-aunt comes to spend some time at my parent's purportedly visiting my grandmother. This morning while working on the crossword puzzle we had the following conversation.

GA - Ay! Your cousin got a terrible psychological from even before her baby was born.
YT- What?
GA- She doesn’t like to answer the phone when I call or when her dad calls.

More later on the subject of grave psychological problems my great-aunt worries about, including why I shouldn't run so much.

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's a bird! It's a plane! No... It's a planter!

Dear tiny garden,

I know you're sleeping now under your blanket of snow, but I just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you. Every once in a while I take a peek and imagine what you'll look like next spring.

Unfortunately, I can't bring you anything from Colombia - immigration won't allow it - but I'll be back soon and once the growing season starts I'll do my best to get you looking this luscious.

Greenly yours,


PS. That fancy planter pictured used to be a tire.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Running hot

Dear Prospect Park,

Today was my first run in a while. Running with the warm river breeze, I longed for the day when I can run again with you.

With muscle tension melting in the heat, I had an easy run. All body parts behaved, and if tomorrow is like today, I'll be able to run more and build back strength so I can run the Al Gordon with you.

Sweatily yours,


Plane food

Dear Pantry,
I never thought I’d say this on a trip to Colombia, but I miss you. I should know better than to refuse food on a plane, but when they came around offering waffles or chicken tacos my stomach was confused.

My stomach has Indiana Jones delusions, but the truth is that it can’t handle too much change or excitement. Needing to be at the airport at 3:30am, it seemed best not to go to bed. My stomach hates it when I skimp on sleep. An anvil of tiredness hit me in the head the minute I got to my seat, but I woke up when we were taxiing and about to lift off: my favorite part.

That moment when the plane starts going down the runway as fast as it can until it feels as though it can’t go any faster and then it daintily stands on tiptoe. For a second it feels like just that, a light tilting, and the stomach does a little flip of joy and you know the improbably has happened: you are flying in the belly of a great big hunk of metal.

As soon as I made sure we were safely in the air, I fell right back asleep and woke up parched, to the waffle or taco question. I was too thirsty to even consider a sweet waffle, so taco it was. But when I lifted the lid I knew I couldn’t do it. A chicken taco at 5:30am and without drinking. Wasn’t happening.

Taking the taco out of the equation left me with a small serving or fruit and a dinner roll, which I ate. But now it’s nine am and I’m starving. Thinking of you, dear Pantry.

Once I get to my parents (late lunch!) you won’t hear from me much, Pantry. But I’ll bring you something yummy!

Hungrily yours,


PS. Camera says hi. Slept the whole way, resting up for Colombia. Not much to see on the plane anyway.

Update: after almost missing my connection in Panama City due to excessive blogging, I made it home. Glad to report there have been no more hunger incidents since then.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Come back to me

You thought you were so clever, leaving like that to see how long it would take me to notice you were gone.

I know I haven't been spending as much time with you as I should, as I said I would, but that's no excuse for leaving without a word, or an image as is more your style.

Last Sunday I looked for you. Yes! I had a Valentine for you. It was something worthy of sharing with you, but I already ate it. Sorry. It was delicious.

You're going to miss even more if you don't come back soon, Camera. Either you turn up by tomorrow evening, or I won't take you to Colombia.

Have you forgotten what it's like in Barranquilla? Remember the sun? It's bright and it spills light everywhere making colors come out of hiding. Green in particular. Remember green? You used to love it, Camera.

Then theres all the food. Forget apples and bananas. Think níspero, maracuyá, corozo, guayaba, curuba, tamarindo. Do you really want to miss all that? It used to make your shutter tremble in excitement.

Look, Camera. I understand you're upset. I'm sorry. I promise things will be better once things calm down at work come spring.

It looks like you're going to miss The Frosty Ball tonight, but don't let pride come between us. You know you want this as much as I do. We'll go to the beach and you can take some panoramic pictures of the Caribbean Sea.

You'll be able to let your focus play with close-ups of ginger blossoms, and I promise to let you zoom all you want.

I miss you. Camera, please come back.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


After extensive research (Brian's recommendation on my post - thanks!) and careful deliberation (I'm not throwing away my boots!) I came to the conclusion that it was worth giving shoe goo a try this morning.

Shoe goo was fun to work with. According to the instructions on the package, it cleans off easily with acetone while still uncured. However, I have recently developed an obsession with nail polish so cleaning up stray clots and threads of goo while preserving my sparkly emerald green nails involved awkward maneuvering with stiff fingers.

The soles are reattached to the boots and my nails survived the process, but the timing is unfortunate and my boots won't be ready to go and play in the snow until tomorrow. I'll have to wear something else for the commute to work.

No snow day for me.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pain and Fear

What's trickiest about running is the mind. Thoughts can take us far or they can put us in a dungeon under lock and key. Mine is a heartless warden.

Last Saturday I went to the Armory. I planned on doing a a cardio session on the elliptical. Since I'd been having problems with my knee/hip/ankle, I thought the low impact elliptical would be kind to me. The work-out: progressively increase speed at one minute intervals for four minutes, then drop the pace for one, repeat five times for a twenty-five minute session.

What I love about this method is that at the top of the interval you can work your ass off knowing you're only holding that pace for one minute. When you release and slow the pace, your body cries out, begging you to go faster, but you tell it no, not now. Slow, then fast, then slow. So good. When you're done, you're drenched and tired. It's a very efficient way to develop stamina.

After three weeks of not exercising (I'm not counting the broomball games or the bike rides to the co-op) it felt good to be moving. The elliptical and I, we were going places - if only on loops on the screen. When my time was up I had to talk myself out of staying for an additional interval or two.

When the work-out summary popped up on the screen, it showed my average pace as 8:24. My last recorded pace was 13:27. Maybe I've been imagining I'm slow! Maybe I need to start running faster. I was having all kinds of lightning fast races in my head. Medals! Trophies! Then the morning after came.

I got out of bed at 5:30am on Sunday, ready to hit the Gridiron Race in Central Park and run on the lane for the Saints (Go Saints!), only to realize I couldn't walk. My calves were solid knots of twisted metal and refused to take a step forward, much less take me to a NYRR's race.

Pain plays tricks on the mind. Am I sore, or am I injured?

I'm injured. This feels like an injury. I must have pulled my calves. This will take six weeks to heal. I need to be careful not to re-injure it when I when I get back. Otherwise I'll get a tear. I'm probably going to hurt them again. I'm never going to be able to run - I'll never exercise again. I won't be able to do anything fun. I'm going to turn into a cranky old hag that nobody wants to spend any time with. I'm going to die without having had sex again!

Please don't ask me to give you any more details about how my mind gets there, but given any remotely scary or unfortunate idea, you can count on my mind jumping to that conclusion.

Maybe I should try stretching and being good to my calves before I panic about the future.

Monday, February 8, 2010


My first winter in New York, I was told I needed to get a pair of snow boots. Since back then I didn't like skidding over ice, I bought myself a pair.

Last Tuesday as I laced them, I thought they were starting to look a little shabby. This winter has given us so little snow that I've mostly been wearing a pair of light ankle boots. They're cute, but they give almost no support and my ankles had been complaining about it.

The snow boots, not too cute, but my ankles love them.

Around mid-morning and without warning, the sole came off. Rubber bands and gaffer tape came to the rescue so I could finish the day and make it home safely without tripping.

The boots have already provided ten years of service, but I'm reluctant to retire them. I get very attached to comfortable shoes. When we've had some good times together, I find it hard to say good-bye. There are so many ugly shoes out there and so many uncomfortable ones that when I find a pair that fits well and treats my soles with respect, I want to hold on to them and never let them go.

Sometimes it takes parts falling off for me to finally accept the inevitable.

Other times it's the look of horror on my mother's face. She suffers when she sees her daughter wearing hole-ridden shoes and her impulse is to want to take me shoe shopping.

The problem is that I don't want new shoes. Not this time. The sole came off cleanly, and the tops though weathered, still look respectable.

I'm thinking glue.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Better when we're together

When my pocket buzzed at around six on Friday evening, I ignored it and continued working. I had gotten an email from Mike's Tech Shop telling me Mac would be ready on Saturday by 5pm, so I assumed the phone call was from a friend I'd be meeting shortly. I was up to my gills in a client's year-end tax preparation and needed to focus in wrapping things up.

A little over an hour later, I checked the message - Mac was ready to come home. Though the shop was closed, they waited for me and opened when I banged on the door, eager to be reunited with Mac.

Mac and Mike got along very well, and Mac had nothing but good things to say about Mike and his crew. Staying at Mike's was like spending a weekend at a fancy bed & breakfast, where you can get a cozy bed and buckwheat pancakes with a smile, instead of a cookie-cutter room and continental breakfast. Though service through the genius bar had been great, it was just that - service. Mac felt that staying at Mike's had been more like hanging out with a pal.

And it was cheaper than Tekserve.

With his renewed youthfulness and vigor and the wannabe blizzard raging outside, we've barely made it out of bed. The weekend has gone by in a blur, but now it's time for things to get back to normal.

For a bit.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


That was a comforting email. Hopefully we'll be together again as of tomorrow evening. And then.. Oh, the places we'll go!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On my own again

Spa retreat this time. Mac is feeling old in spite of the new motherboard and spiffy cover. Longing for speed and lured by the fountain of youth of added ram, Mac will check in to a facility today. Tekserve most likely.

That means silence from this end for a couple of days, but it will be worth it! With a faster more supple Mac, I'll be able to pursue some video projects that have been tumbling in my brain.

An the unwieldy manuscript will be manageable again, right?