Thursday, July 31, 2008

Live from the District Drive Park and Ride!

Y'all I had to get off the bus today because the guy in front of me smelled so bad! I am serious! I couldn't take it anymore. Since I do not yet posses the ability to hold my breath for 45 minutes, I had to jump ship. The next bus will be here tout suite thankfully.

There are a number of riders with wicked funky BO, but homeslice was something else.

And now I wait. I think fresh air is worth another ten minutes.

Peace, love and bathtime to all!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Snaps for the TTA!

The TTA has been experimenting with alternative fuels recently. As I mentioned some time ago, they bought new buses. According to Lester, the TTA mechanic and my new friend, these new buses can run on anything. And they mean anything. Antonio mentioned a week or so ago that the bus smelled like fried chicken. Lester confirmed it. The TTA is using used cooking oil in some of the buses. I then suggested to Lester that if they need a fill up, the buses could do a drive through at Bojangles. We could refill the bus and the patrons at the same time!

Monday, July 28, 2008

And another thing...

Happy Shark Week!


I had quite the crazy day today. I just enrolled in school. I'll take HR course work towards a certificate in Human Resources Management. (You know we love our certificates.) Actually, it will be a great program. It's five classes total. While working full time, I expect to take three semesters. Today, I signed up, found out my company approves this and will pay for it, and that both classes I want this Fall semester are both online classes! Yay!!!! Since the classes are online, they won't interfere with the drawing and printmaking classes I also want to take this Fall through the Raleigh Arts Council. Yes, I realize my priorities *may* be a bit *different* from what you might choose.

I also learned today that Babushko goes to work everyday. Yessiree. He works for the EPA. (In his crazy polyester pants that are six inches too short!) I saw his badge. Crazy. I have to wonder what he does.

Since I can't think of anything else to say, I leave you with this. Miles Davis on the Steve Allen Show. Cheers!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Guess what I had for breakfast?

Free gift with purchase!

I bought my sofa a few years ago from a thrift store for $50. It is very large and very brown. It also happens to be filled with down, so it's super comfortable. It has a matching ottoman, also large and brown. Except for the color, it was a great find. The color isn't a problem really, because I keep it covered.

When I sit on the sofa, I have a tendency to sit on two cushions, rather than just one. The other night, I realized the edges of the two cushions were getting flat and lifted up the cover to rearrange them. I don't remember the last time I actually took the cushions off the sofa. In fact, I may never have done so. The movers wrapped the sofa in plastic leaving the cushions on. imagine my surprise when I picked up a sofa cushion to reveal a Swatch watch.

I went out the other night with to friends. The subject of Swatches came up. I bought a friend's son a Swatch for his birthday. He's not so sure about it now because no one else in middle school has one. He's eleven. What does he know? I love Swatches. Always have. Their just good fun. I have had many Swatches over the years, however I swear that I have no recollection of purchasing or being gifted this mystery Swatch. It's the "unisex" one. On the face is a face, half man, half woman. The strap has men in brightly colored wigs, the word "unisex" and a naked man. Suffice it to say, not one of my first choices in a watch. I put that on the list with the Bunny Sutra Swatch.

Once I get a new battery, I will wear my new Swatch with pride. Gay Pride.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

This is not right. Not right at all.

Did I ever tell you about the time I put a sweater on Truman? Or the first time I put him and Rocky in harnesses and leashes? I am trying to imagine getting him into scuba gear and living to tell the tale!

Today's observations.

Coming home on Wednesday after work, the bus was really full. I sat down next to a young guy, clean cut, blonde, nothing remarkable about him. About halfway home, I realize he is holding an index card. On the index card is a bible passage, 2 Corinthians 7:10.

"For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death."

He'd look at the card, look out the window. Look at the card, look out the window. It made me wonder if he'd done something that he was regretting.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Your kink is okay with me.

Y'all, I met the man of my dreams last night. He's the one. We hit it off. We have the same sense of humor. I was with two friends last night who are egging me on, telling me we were meant to be together. Physically speaking, I couldn't have asked for anything more perfect. He rides his bike everywhere, and when I learned that, I realized I'd met him before. I was in a bike shop here in town and we had a conversation about parking your car and never looking back. I also remembered I had a similar feeling after that conversation then. He's really great.

You can tell there's a "but" coming, can't you?


He's gay. With a boyfriend.

I think I have good gaydar, but I never would have known. Then again, the fact that I am so crazy about him should tell me he's gay. (Long story...I have a nasty habit of falling head over heals in love with gay men...Nothing a good therapist can't resolve.)

I give up. I now accept my fate of becoming the Crazy Cat Lady. Bring it on.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's not the heat....

I have noticed a disturbing trend since I got home from California. Whenever I leave the cool, air conditioned comfort of my office, home, bus, whatever, for the Great Outdoors, my glasses fog up. It's so humid here, my glasses fog.

There's something wrong with this scenario, people. Something very wrong indeed.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Look Homeward, Angel, or Longest Post Ever.

My flight from SFO to RDU by way of Atlanta left at 7:30 Am on Sunday, July 7. I got up around 4:30 to shower and for last minute packing. It was about a 40 minute drive from Mountain View to SFO, but there's not much traffic on the 101 at that time. I went to the gate, got on my plane and up, up and away we went. I fell asleep at some point and woke up to the sound of our fearless Captain explaining that we may have noticed we're "in a holding pattern" above the Atlanta airport. (Foreshadowing, people.) After flying in circles for twenty minutes, we land at Gate B something. Any of my dear readers ever fly into Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta? If you've flown Delta, you have. It's five separate buildings, connected underground by a really, really long walk way and a subway. I got into ATL around 3 PM and was scheduled to leave at 5:20 PM to RDU. I'm sitting patiently at Gate A5, when there's an announcement that my flight has moved to Gate A29. Okay, fine. On my way to the new gate I stop for Chinese food because it's the only reasonably priced food in the place. I wolf it down because I am so hungry by this point I'm about to pass out.

Around 4-ish, my flight is delayed a little. About an hour later, my flight is now delayed until about 8:45. Oh, and throw in another gate change while we're at it. I am guessing I've walked about two miles at this point. The flight was delayed again until about 9:20 or so. The delays were due to storms all over the East Coast. I have called my "friend" Margaret, to let her know about the delays and she is telling me there's no problem and I should keep her updated. (More foreshadowing, people.) The flight is finally scheduled to leave at 10:15-ish after yet more delays. I call Margaret, who announces to me that she's had a tough weekend and she doesn't think she can pick me up at the airport after all. I'm scheduled to get in around 11:30, by the time I get my bags and get out of the airport, it'll be close to 12:30. How many people do you know that you can call at 10:30 on a Sunday night to pick you up in the airport in two hours. Buses don't run. Taxis are sketchy and freakishly expensive. I told her to forget it and called J&L, the two friends that I know I can always count on to support me. Margaret then leaves me a voicemail, "Oh, c'mon, don't be like that. Don't be mad. Call me." Don't be like that? Um, what did I do wrong? If I told you I'd pick you up at the airport, I will pick your ass up. If your flight gets in at 4 AM, I'm driving to the airport in my jammies to get you. I may not be talkative, but I'm coming to get you.

J&L were standing by to get me. I was getting on a plane FINALLY. All was right in the world. Until I found my seat, that aisle seat thankfully, next to Jeff Foxworthy and Larry The Cable Guy. Dear Lord, kill me. The flight attendant announced there were empty seats so I moved up one, next to a Japanese woman and her adorable son. They had a brief but heated debate in Japanese about how he needed to turn off his light, put down the comic book, and go to sleep. I know this because he made one last plea, in English, "but I'm not sleepy!" Within ten minutes he was totally sacked out. We begin to take off and I realize we're just driving around. In circles. Again. Doing donuts on the runway, so to speak. Us and six other planes, according to our Captain. Fifteen minutes later, the Captain does pilot double speak for "the FAA says I have to call it a night." I must admit to be confused as to how you get ready to take off and THEN realize you've logged to many hours? How? How does this happen? They bring us back to the gate and make us wait. They announce they are going to find a new flight crew and we should sit tight. Cool, I can sit tight. I've been sitting tight since 5:30 that morning. I'm getting really good at sitting tight. By this point, I'm almost a pro.

My flight is finally cancelled around 10:45. I call J&L to let them know they can go to bed and a woman in Delta outfit gives me an overnight bag. I am then told to go to customer service to get rebooked. I find a line a mile long and stand. It is brought to my attention that some folks are going to an automated queue to get hotel assignments and new flights. Off I go. This looks innocuous since the girl on my cancelled flight just got a room in the Sheraton. My room? In the Red Roof Inn. Say whaaaa? (Snob alert) I don't *stay* at the Red Roof Inn. (If only blogger had a more condescending typeface) The machine also tells me I get $7 towards breakfast and for flight info, I have to see a Delta rep. I get back in line. A very bitchy woman in a Delta uniform comes by and barks at us to go to the 24 hour customer service desk up front because we'll be in line longer here in Terminal A. I advise her as politely as possible that there is a special place in hell reserved just for Delta and their employees and walk off to find the 24 hour desk. Please keep in mind that during all of this I was on the phone with the most patient woman from Orbitz, who was unable to get me on an earlier flight, but gave it the ol' college try anyway.

The desk I am looking for is cleverly hidden in the midst of baggage claim and has space for 24 Delta employees to serve their customers. This being a unique situation and them being Delta, they had six fresh-faced employees ready and waiting. Yay Delta! I waited in line until 1:30 in the morning to finally get to speak with someone. Her name was Eve. She was a tiny, cold hearted Irish woman more concerned with company policy than the fact that I've been wearing my bathing suit top for two days because I am so sunburned I can't wear a bra, that I have been up for 21 hours by this point, and that I've walked nearly five miles in that airport that day. My only other option for a hotel room is a smoking room in the Quality Inn. Tempting as that is, a smoking room is out of the question. Eve also informs me that I have been booked on a flight on Tuesday. Tuesday? As in two days from now? No. Oh, no. No, no. I don't think so. Eve offers me stand-by and tells me to be at the airport at 5:45 AM. She assures me that my suitcase will go out on the first flight to Raleigh and be waiting for me when I arrive. I go outside to find the shuttle for the Red Roof Inn.

Shuttles come, shuttles go. And I wait. Except I'm not waiting patiently at this point. I call the Red Roof Inn. I speak to someone who assures me that the shuttle is coming. I waited 45 minutes for the shuttle to arrive. And lo and behold, the shuttle had already come by, she just didn't let anyone know she was going to the RRI. Their logo was not on the bus. Everyone else's was. Sigh. It's now 3 AM, and I'm just arriving to the Crack Den, er....Red Roof Inn. The zombie at the desk gives me my room key and I go upstairs. I find room 231, put the card key in the lock, the light turns green, I turn the door knob and...the door is locked. From the INSIDE. As's already occupied. Young black dude opens the door, releasing whiff of smoke. (Let's put it this way, the last time I smelled that kind of smoke, I was in a beat-down orange Pinto with my best punk rock pals, Sean and Eric. Ahem.) He's looking at me like I'm from Mars and I'm chanting, "I'm so sorry," while backing up.

I go down to the lobby and as I am getting off the elevator, I begin shouting, "How the hell does this happen?" She gives me another room and I go upstairs. I was seriously *cranky* by this point. I finally have a place to sleep and I realize I have to be at the airport in two hours. Groan. I set both alarms, turned on the TV and laid down for an hour. I go off to the airport at 5 AM, after one hour of sleep.

I was flying standby for the first time so I had no idea what to do or expect. I thought I had to be first in line at the gate and look most pathetic. Alas, no. I was first at Gate A something, and I stood at the desk. A line began to form behind me, mostly people on my cancelled flight from last night. I look at the TV and see there's a gate change. ATL changes gate like I change my underwear. Of course, in this case, more frequently than I change my underwear, you know, since I don't have suitcase at the moment. I say out loud, like a dumbass, "oh, they changed our gate." Suddenly there's a mad dash to gate B whatever. I am not entirely sure I can take another step, let alone run, so I trail behind and curse these people to the fiery depths of hell. When we get to the new and improved gate, the Delta person, barks that we just need to have a seat. (Ha, ha. Joke's on them.) I sit for a few minutes and realize I am starving because I hadn't eaten since 3 PM the previous day. I hit the Dunkin' with my complimentary $7 and my breakfast costs me a whopping fifteen cents. OJ and an egg bagel in my tummy makes me feel so much better. Thinking clearly, I hit the customer service desk and finally get to speak to Robert. Robert was very nice. While in line, I concoct a story to lay on Robert. I tell him that I really can't wait until Tuesday to get home. I also tell him that I just don't feel good because I'm pregnant and I only got one hour of sleep the night before. Oh yeah, and I was supposed to see the doctor today but I had to reschedule for tomorrow because it's a really important appointment, etc. You can see where this is going, right? Robert being the dear man that he is found me a seat on the 9:55 flight. I love that guy. My next challenge is that I have to stay awake so as to not miss that flight.

I kept my eyes open and finally borded a plane that actually took off. I arrived in Raleigh just before noon on Monday and advised my boss I was most decidely NOT coming in. I got home around 1 PM.

I have never before been so happy to be in Raleigh.

The city called The Cats.

My trip to the San Francisco Bay area was great. I didn't do a whole lot, which was the goal. My BFF lives out there with her boyfriend. They just bought a house in Mountain View. With a pool. Seriously, they're livin' it up, California style. If I had to live in a suburban, small town, Mountain View would be it. It's so pretty, great restaurants, cute shops. It's also very flat, which is nice for bike riding. I ended up as Contractor Wrangler for them while they were having the bottom of the pool refinished. The results were awesome. And the resulting pool party was fun.

I got to see Lil Brotha also. He just started a new job out there at a fancy pants restaurant called Manresa. I was lucky enough to eat dinner there. They have two Michelin stars and three Mobil diamonds...the kid's gone big time. How good was it? Words fail me. We were a party of four and had the tasting menu, mine was vegetarian. It started with a red pepper gelee and a black olive Madelaine. The gelee was like a big gum drop, a little spicy. We then had the strawberry gazpacho, which was not sweet. Next I had a pickled turnip "sashimi" with seaweed ice and theirs was amberjack sashimi. I had a Parmesan churro, which was amazing, while they had a fois gras soup. Up next was The Egg. The Arpege Egg, a lightly poached egg yolk layered with chives, maple syrup, creme fraiche, and sherry vinegar. Seriously, y'all, they could have served me a dozen of those and called it a night. It's served in its shell, which I nearly punctured making sure I extracted all of the Arpege molecules out of it before they took it away. And now I have a recipe. Yee haw!

Now this is the point where what I had and in what order I had it become fuzzy. We had maybe eleven courses all together...all with wine. I think the next course was the "Into the garden" salad, which my brother and I affectionately dubbed "The Tweezer Plate." This was his first chance at cooking with the big kids. This plate is a bunch of vegetables you've never seen before lovingly placed just so over and under some kind of foamy stuff. It was not at all what I expected, but darn tasty. I had a warm soup of cepes mushrooms in a creamy porcini veloute. If I couldn't have had just a dozen of the eggs for dinner, I'd have liked a dozen of these. The best part of this was the presentation. The waiter brought me a bowl with a few of the cepes rolling around and he poured the broth from a tiny Japanese tea ceremony teapot. The dish was divine! I had a dish of roasted potatoes with a red pepper sauce and some creamy sauce I couldn't recognize. This would have been great under it's own circumstances, but next to the superstars like the porcini veloute and the egg, it was merely good. I has a dish with morrells, the tiniest squash blossoms and something else, in lots of butter. It was so good. I had a curried vegetable thing, also good. They had the same thing, but with lamb. I told my brother that I liked it but felt like there was something missing, to which he responded, "yeah, the meat." We has the Gold Dust Peach and basil salad, mine was sans soft shell crab.

The desserts were sublime. The first one was a Napoleon with chocolate, blackberries and cucumber. (You heard me. Cucumber.) For me, blackberries can be a little had to eat because they are usually so tart, but the cukes toned it down. There was a nectarine dessert with sliced fruit, a sorbet and lots of basil. That was good. Manresa ends your dinner the same way they start. We ended with a strawberry gelee and a chocolate Madelaine. During our mint tea, the waiter brought us a house made amaranth truffle. He later escorted us out the door with a giant bowl of house made sea salt caramels.

I know I am leaving something out, but hey, sue me. Towards the end of the meal, I had several wine glasses in front of me. I mean, c'mon, even if I'm having 12 half glasses of wine with dinner, that's enough to make me feel no pain. All in all, the experience at Manresa was better than I thought it would be. And I had high expectations going in. We sat down to dinner at 8:30 and were leaving at 12:30, well after my brother left the kitchen. This dinner was definitely a once in a lifetime experience and the highlight of my trip. If you find yourself in Los Gatos, California, hungry, and with an extra $300 in your wallet, you have to go. I can't adequately describe this meal. There were vegetables I've never seen, tastes I've never tasted, etc. I have never been to a restaurant before where all I told the waited was that I was vegetarian and that dairy was okay. I was not disappointed.

A few days before, Lil Brotha and I went to Los Gatos to walk around. It's really cute and completely loaded. How can I put this? There's enough money in Los Gatos that there is a Lamborghini dealership down the street from the Bentley dealership which is across the street from the Rolls Royce dealership. The Bently dealer was selling Lotuses and Aston Martins too. Not one of them looks like they are hurting for business. When we first parked the car and started to walk, I saw a red Lamborghini (I think) and started to walk over to it to look. My brother said, "We're not going to get very far if you stop at everyone of those." He was right. These cars are to Los Gatos like SUVs are to Raleigh. It's nuts.

I went to San Fran a couple times. On my second trip, I went to Britex. (WARNING: Only Rae may be interested in reading this part) It is a four story fabric store in Union Square. It is just walls and walls of fabric, with giant tables of fabric in between. It was almost overwhelming. I gave up when I finally found a fabric I loved. It was $50 a yard, Liberty of London. I should have known. There was an older man there with a younger man. The younger man was wearing very nice dress pants, a very crisp white button down shirt and a dapper vest presumably from a three piece suit. He had a tape measure peeking out of his pocket and an Italian accent. This guys was so incredibly sexy, it was all I could do to not stare at him. He was the older guy's tailor and they were picking out fabric for him. It's that kind of store. Overall, their fabrics were reasonably priced. I kill to have this be my local fabric store. The button section took up practically the front half of one floor. This place was unbelievable.

The trip was really good. The trip home was a disaster. I will save that for later this afternoon. The local homeless guys woke me up at 6 AM this morning. I think I'm going back to bed now.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I left my heart in San Francisco!

Y'all....I am seriously tired. I'll type up an extra long post this weekend detailing my trip to the San Fran Bay Area and my subsequent trip home.

Here are a few highlights:

1. I had the Best Dinner Ever (tm). (Oooh, that poached egg...)

2. My brother lives in a pink house in the Hispanic hood.

3. I found The Perfect Swimsuit (tm).

4. My sunburned skin is now peeling.

5. A stroke of seriously bad luck led to my first and last stay at a Red Roof Inn. Terrifying.

6. I have no doubt that I walked 10 miles in the Atlanta airport over the course of two days. When I die and go to hell, it's not going to be all fire and brimstome. Nope. It's going to be Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Or Nieman-Marcus. I haven't decided yet.

7. I found The Best Fabric Store Ever (tm). Seriously.

All of this and more when you tune in next time! Of course this will all have to wait until I see the new Hellboy movie on Saturday morning.