from my state – literally and figuratively – and other places. i'm not in florida any more, but i haven't given up the sunshine.

1.28.2006

sail away

what do you get when you mix lily tomlin, ilene chaiken, endless food, and thousands of women cruising down the coast of central america?


a week of r&r, gluttony, adventure and fun on the lez boat ... see you a week from monday.

brazil adventure: day 2

the next day there were just a few hours for exploring before heading back. in a small town called penha, just a few miles from paraty i visited beautiful waterfalls. people were wading in the cool water, and heading up the falls to the open air bar at the top. i made my way to the next town over, trinidade. there is one street into town that ends at what they call a natural pool – a semi-protected portion of the ocean. trinidade was a little more bohemian than parati and much smaller.

when i parked the attendant tried speaking to me. we managed enough that i understood i owed him $5 reis for parking and he understood that i can’t speak portuguese. as i walked away he called to me, saying what i imagine are the only english words he knows: i. love. you.

1.26.2006

enchanting paraty

arriving in paraty (brazil) in january with no hotel room is like trying at the last minute to find a room in key west during women’s week. so i took the first pousada i could find. it was enchanting. maybe 20 rooms. old-style keys like the ones from my grandmother’s 100+ year-old-home. and probably the farthest from the center of town, but even then it was just a short walk to the cobblestone shopping and artist district. i wandered the streets for hours watching people, looking at the beautiful architecture and many artist’s studios and shops. i had lunch along the river and watched a group of boys cooling off by jumping into the water from the bridge. the hardest part of traveling alone in brazil (aside from the language barrier) is eating. though the food is more than affordable, many dishes are served in family portions. so i ended up leaving a lot of food on the table. typical wasteful american.

small tables on the cobblestone streets started to fill up around 6pm as people returned from the beach for cocktails and dinner. while eating dinner i met wado, who was sitting outside with his friends one store over playing the guitar. i joined them for a couple of beers and found his english almost as impressive as the fact that he’d taught himself via the internet. and all the songs he played were american – from pink floyd to coldplay. as i walked back to my room the streets were packed with vendors and artists and people enjoying their saturday night.

1.24.2006

a twist

an ap story today:


"Conservative Party Wins in Canada Election
Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party won national elections Monday and ended 13 years of Liberal rule, a victory expected to move Canada rightward on social and economic issues and lead to improved ties with the United States. … The triumph for the Conservatives came with many Canadians weary of the broken promises and corruption scandals under the Liberal Party, making them willing to give Harper a chance to govern despite concerns that some of his social views are extreme.”
come election time here, wouldn’t it be great if the story read:

liberal party wins in us election
the liberal party [not sure who that will be] won national elections and ended years of neo-conservative, theocratic rule, a victory expected to move the us leftward on important social and economic issues and lead to improved ties with the world . … the triumph for all americans came with many weary of the broken promises and corruption scandals under the bush administration.”

1.22.2006

why everyone should learn to drive a clutch

when a colleague suggested i visit a small colonial beach town called paraty for the weekend i was thrilled. a four hour drive through the countryside. perfect. rent a car. good to go.

only all the cars in brazil have manual transmission; and i don’t know how to drive a clutch. (yeah, i know) luckily, hotel front desk guy helped me out and before i knew it i was renting what i believe to be the only automatic transmission this side of the amazon.

when they dropped the car at the hotel, front desk guy looks at me, eyes wide …

“it’s huge.”

“is it a van?!”

“no.”

whew.

the fiat was about the size of a honda acura.

the sad. the annoying. and the stroke of luck

three times in my fairly short career life, i have let co-workers and bosses know i was moving on to another opportunity. last tuesday the tables turned when the boss man notified us he is leaving.

it’s a basic fact of life that people will come and go. but despite months of warning signs, i was unable to avoid the sinking feeling. i like the guy and his presence in the office will be missed. he is fair; and a friend. he is brilliant at his profession and has many years of experience to share. he respects our private lives; and protects us. but most notably, he’s prone to sudden, loud – and hysterical - outbursts. sometimes intelligible, sometimes just random whooping noises.

so, life will change. last year, i traveled quite a bit for work. now there is bound to be more. it started tuesday evening at 6 when i found out i had to fly to brazil the following evening. after many mishaps trying to square away a work visa at the last minute, i was off for what i thought was a two day business trip. it turned out to be six.

unexpectedly being away from home for four extra days. that was the bad news.

a nearly all-expenses paid weekend on the breathtaking brazilian coast. that, it turns out, is great news.

i have a million pictures i can't wait to share. they'll start going up wednesday.

1.19.2006

thanks!

you all made me smile which is precisely what i was hoping for ... thanks.

so i thought i mentioned this, but i'm out of blogging commission at least until monday and possibly until wednesday. i am out of the country and my moments online are few. please come back to see me :)

1.18.2006

grimace

well ... it's been one heck of a day.

and as cathartic as it would be to explain all the little annoyances of the day, i simply can’t right now.

how’s your week going?

1.17.2006

grand theft auto

my car was recently towed from my own home.

okay. so i live in an apartment complex, and no i wasn’t parked in my assigned spot. you see, the wildlife wrangler (no kidding) who’s assigned the spot next to mine isn’t capable of appropriately aligning his monstrosity between his own two lines. this left me, as it often does, with no space for my little civic to squeeze into my own spot. so i took another. *sigh*

say what you will about how this travesty could have been avoided, bottom line: i wasted 100 perfectly good dollars paying some a**holes to get my car out of jail. the whole experience just leaves a girl feeling violated.

(my apologies in advance if anyone reading has family/friends in the industry) what kind of person decides to run a towing company, anyway? it’s legalized theft. really. never mind that, working at a towing company can’t be fun. no one drives into the middle of nowhere or into the worst part of town. stands in front of a window (in this instance i couldn’t even see the guy). hands over their drivers license and car keys. shells out a wad of cash (that's a hUnDrEd FroStiEs!!). and says: thank you so much for taking my car on a little vacation.

on the other hand, it certainly could have been worse.

1.12.2006

how far will you go for a laugh?

i'd be remiss not to share (via, lauren) with you the (two) best blonde joke(s) ever.

funny. funny. stuff.

1.11.2006

happy reading

for a little chuckle check out this excerpt from w’s eavesdropping: matthew barney and bjork place an ikea phone order (thanks, kottke)

pandagon points out an all new low in the anti-gay movement – it’s amazing that these people can justify spending so much energy on preaching hate

if you think coverage of the alito hearings is getting a little mundane, head over to shakespeare’s sister for judge memento and kennedy and specter go ape

hollabacknyc invites you to photo and out street harassers

1.10.2006

a bit larger than waist size and connected by this thing called a buckle

getting a glimpse of the lower rear-end crevice of a little cutie at the bar (or the beach) is one thing. being boldly confronted with the hairy crack of the painter at the office is an EnTiReLy different animal.

belts people. please.

*updated with links
**updated to correct title (thanks, amy. wish i could say i was being funny and "waste" was intentional. how embarrassing.)

1.09.2006

funny peculiar

we’ve had a guest at our place for a few days and it’s been a nice change of pace. it’s also been a little eye opening. one brief conversation last night went something like this:

“do you think we’re too parental?”

“n-n-no. i mean, you’re definitely parental but i wouldn’t say you’re too parental.”

“really?!”

“well … you just seem a little set in your ways.”

i’m sure many of you are laughing in that oh-i-coulda-told-you-that-a-long-time-ago way right now, but to me it’s mildly surprising. having always considered myself pretty easy going it’s humorous, though a little unsettling, to realize how opinionated i really am about certain things. dining etiquette, for example, has been a hot topic at home lately. growing up, my father always held fast to certain rules in this regard: no elbows on the table. don’t start eating until your host is seated and eating, too. don’t eat with your mouth open. stay at the table until everyone is finished eating. and don’t race, nose in plate, through a meal.

is it really inevitable that we become our parents? does anyone else share these or similar peculiarities?

**on another note, this is the big week for alito. jill takes a look at some questions that need to be answered. let your senators hear from you!

1.06.2006

friday frivolity

alright ... now let's not be shy.

Your Stipper Song Is

Closer by Nine Inch Nails

"You let me violate you, you let me desecrate you
You let me penetrate you, you let me complicate you
Help me I broke apart my insides, help me I?ve got no
Soul to tell"

When you dance, it's a little scary - and a lot sexy.


wHatEvEr i am so NOT blushing!

1.05.2006

put your money where your mouth is

when whole foods opened up in midtown atlanta it became one of THE places to be. it’s great that fresh and organic became trendy. and while whole foods is certainly not the ultimate utopian market, it is a triumphant step up from traditional chain grocers. similarly, a small market chain in portland is banking on a new trend in buying local. the result is fresher, better tasting food for customers; a boost to the local farming economy; and a helping hand for the environment. ‘new seasons market’ also stocks many of the usual suspects, but the store encourages patrons to buy local and clearly labels items that are. and they’ve taken a stand on certain products:

… the chain has stopped selling the rockstar energy drink… rockstar's chief executive is russell goldencloud weiner, who developed the company with the help of his mother and his father, michael savage, the far-right talk radio host. mr. rohter said he made the decision because he vehemently opposes mr. savage's views. "we have a few products we choose to make a stand on to help influence the direction of our community," he said.
particularly in our capitalist society, every dollar we spend is a vote. the idea of “influencing the direction of our community” is important but often overlooked. i often think about balancing the convenience of going to the closest store versus buying at the store most worthy of my hard earned cash.

is it necessarily better to buy organic and local from stores like wild oats versus encouraging large chains as they explore the profitability of social responsibility, including what they choose to stock on their shelves (a la publix greenwise products and method brand at target)?

1.04.2006

how many ways can you say whoo-whoo?

when i was a kid there wasn’t much, well any, sex ed talk in my family. rather i was sent off to church camp – no kidding – to learn all about the bird, the bees and the street lexicon used to describe the acts and anatomy involved. what parents didn’t realize was that extracurricular activities included a little unsupervised experimentation. oh, that and the first nitty gritty details we’d all learned actually came from the playground.

1.03.2006

patience, perseverance … and the quest for effective impact

for four years, i spent a november day joining thousands of people from all over the u.s. in columbus, georgia protesting the school of the americas. (video) with our tax dollars, the school provides training to soldiers from latin america which has resulted in injustices from peasant massacres to murders of many human rights activists in countries to our south. at times these weekends seemed like festivals with booths pushing politics, patches and petitions from all walks of liberal life. other times the somberness was chilling as the crowd chanted, in memoriam, the names of the dead and disappeared.

i haven’t been in the last two years, disenchanted with marching and watching others – nuns, college students, vets for peace – get arrested with no readily apparent progress toward the goal. but human rights awards, legislative progress and solidarity from organizations like the catholic peace movement show that momentum is building, however slowly.

although sometimes hard to recognize, there truly are compelling stories out there of victories accomplished by a group of souls who band together toward a cause. it’s the recipe for success that’s difficult to distinguish.

a recent mother jones article points out 2005 david (vs. goliath) style victories like those of the coalition of immokalee workers, and cindy sheehan and supporters.

the moveon 2005 report is particularly poignant. a movement that could have died along with our hopes of ousting w in 2004 instead grew to more than 3.3 million members and raised more than $9mil for candidates/campaigns (with an average single donation of $45). more importantly, moveon has built an important voice.

a note senate democratic leader harry reid asked me to send on to all of
you:

to the members of moveon: i know congress can often seem very far away. but when you folks call, and write, and hold events that demonstrate how much you care about something we’re doing, it really wakes people up. your voices remind me and my colleagues that democracy works. i see the impact every day—you’re forcing congress to answer to the people, not the lobbyists or the white house. and i’m looking forward to fighting alongside you next year.

and here’s what a bush aide in the white house told a reporter for the conservative weekly standard: “obviously the bombardment of . . . ads and the earned media by moveon et al. had an impact."

1.02.2006

welcome to 2006

i generally balk at new year's resolutions as a means of setting oneself up for disappointment. but goals are good for guidance. and after a rather awful 2005, perhaps a few goals will help make 2006 a better year. and what better pressure than making them public.

1. exercise at least three times per week (cliché as that may be)
2. straighten out the finances and bulk up the savings account
3. choose friends wisely and do a better job of maintaining those relationships
4. do more interesting things, socially – less going to the bar and more dinner parties, kayaking, cycling, bowling, stupid touristy stuff, volunteering, whatever
5. learn spanish and/or portuguese
6. make ‘sunshine’ more purposeful, meaning regular posts with min two, preferably three, activist-oriented reads per week
7. make meditation part of my routine; practice being constructively assertive (beyond the workplace); remember balance
8. don’t give up on making a positive impact on my corporate culture and business practices
9. learn to choose a decent bottle of wine
10. be, generally, more responsible: organization is a good thing; the dogs need regular exercise, too; bills must be paid on time; the car will last longer with better care


happy new year!