Um, this KICKED ASS

I saw the best thing ever today. An amazingly awesome puppeteer rocking the shit out of a two skeleton puppets!! I couldn’t have asked for a sweeter show. I gave him pesos, for sure. I used to dabble in puppetry here and there… nothing crazy… but as you can see from the photo below, getting down with a puppet is most definitely my kind of fun.

puppet master Sarita

Oh yeah, I meant it. I am SO DOWN to play with some puppets.

So you can imagine how I felt when I saw this dude on the street absolutely KILLING IT with his skeleton puppet rock band. He blew my fucking mind. Here’s a little vid I took. The sucky part: I didn’t realize my camera cuts the sound when I zoom in and out. Aaannnd, I went vertical but I don’t know how to flip it/I don’t care to go to the trouble. Aaannnd the quality does suck. No awards in cinematography in my future, that’s for damn sure. But hang in there. Turn your head sideways or something, and watch the end at least and trust me that it was amazing in person. =-D And later I heard him doing Stairway, but I was on a bus and couldn’t get over there to film it up. No Stairway? Denied.

Check out the true MASTER OF PUPPETS on the streets of Buenos Aires…

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Mo’ Bueno

I’ve been meaning to write more often, but I have this tiny-little-kinda-crappy laptop with me and I hate using the touchpad mouse, so it hasn’t been happening. But tonight I thought, “Enough of that (ya basta!),  I just gotta do it!” Do. It. My blog/life theme. Oh yeah. Right.

Another reason I haven’t written much is because I haven’t being doing a ton of stuff I considered “worthy,” but I realized today that’s also not a good reason. It has been raining quite a bit, and yes, that has prevented me from being out and about as much as I might have liked. But I’m still a stranger in a strange land, and that’s pretty interesting in and of itself.

I was surprised to really realize that I am in a BIG, BIG CITY. I haven’t been to New York (sad, I know), but I thought it might be similar and a friend recently said that’s the city her parents compared it to when they visited. Being here I’ve come to realize that I really am a small-town girl… and I think I prefer it that way.  Living here for a short while definitely is a cool experience, but it’s made me really certain that I like my little town and little cities, like SF… they’re a better fit for me.

I’ve been really surprised by a few things here. These include:

  • How stylish most people are. They look SO GOOD, everyday! I felt like I just had to buy some new boots to fit in… and I did. (I haven’t worn them much though… G-D rain. And they aren’t particularly exceptional (plain black with a low heel and a couple of buckles), so don’t get too excited. I love em though, and I will most def be sportin’ em back in the states).
  • The fact that I live right next to a massive, super modern mall that’s nicer than the mall Rich and I cruised through when we were in Beverly Hills a few weeks back. I can’t afford anything there! (I won’t waste my money on anything there, rather. Clothes are expensive and generally low quality here. I saw a super cute black dress with little white cats on it and I was tempted… It turned out to be around $200, and it was Macy’s junior section quality. No dice.)
  • Dinner is a 10 PM! I’m over this now, but it took a few days…
  • Exercise is a priority among a lot of people, and there are gyms all over the place. That surprised me because I came here expecting it to be similar to Chile, where I studied abroad in 2002… But it’s almost nothing like Chile, other than they have a lot of delish types of empanadas. In Chile, no one seemed to exercise. And another thing; I was in Chile 10 years ago already… 10 years! A lot can change in 10 years… I seemed to have forgotten that.

Along those same lines, in being here, I’ve also realized that this whole trip came about because of a 10 year old dream, and that dream doesn’t really fit into my current life. After I studied in Chile, all I wanted to do was return to Latin America. And I loved my short trip to Argentina so much, I wanted to go back from the get-go. I thought I would try to teach English and stay at least a year and really learn the language and culture. My idea for my trip to Buenos Aires was to live a modified version of that dream, but I’ve realized in being here that my dreams have changed, my life has changed, and what I wanted 10 years ago is no longer true. I’m not sorry for being here, but I don’t really want to travel solo for an extended period of time again. It feels like I’m just starting my life with my guy back at home, and I’m so excited about it! I can’t help but think, why did I leave?

So the adventure continues, even if it’s not what I expected or initially thought. That’s ok… I’m really learning a lot, and most excited about my upcoming weekend trip to one of the seven natural wonders of the world… Iguazu Falls! That will really be a dream come true.

Also, change of subject: one ultra cool thing that’s pretty cheap here is leather. Oh yeah…. love leather. I went to a “feria” this weekend and it was waaaay more my style of shopping: artisans selling their handmade goods. I saw this funky piece of leather and I had the vendor custom-create a belt for me — so awesome! I picked out the buckle from tons of choices and he sized it to fit me and in the end I paid less than $20. Sweet. My roommate here called it a hippie belt (it’s pretty colorful). I love it!

Here’s some pix of Enrique creating it for me:

custom argentine belt 1

custom argentine belt 2

custom argentine belt 3

It’s so cute! My one mistake… I sized it over my jeans and belt and sweatshirt, so it’s a little too big. I’m going back this Saturday to have him add a couple more holes and I’m waiting on Rich’s measurements to I can have one made for him too. Yay! Dammit, I love a deal.

Here are a few more general pix of the city… Disclaimer: I’m not much of a photographer. Sorry these aren’t more “interesting” or “cool.” 😉

Busy people, always up to something…

 

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Filed under adventure, Buenos Aires, doing it, girl stuff, inspiration, life, travel

Puppies, Parks and More Food (of course)

I just want to take a quick sec to post about one of my favorite things I’ve seen here in Buenos Aires: the professional dog walker, or un “paseador de perros.”

I totally cracked up the first morning I walked to school and saw these men headed down the street each with a band of dogs of all sizes at their side. I learned yesterday it’s a legit career and I even found a website for loving dog owners who are searching for one. Check it out. This shit is hilarious!

un paseador de perros en la calle

Un paseador de perros en la calle.

Speaking of this shit, the one problem with these folks is that I don’t think they pick it up, because it’s on every sidewalk, everywhere. Gotta watch your step, that’s for sure.

I live near a really huge park that apparently has Japanese gardens and a little lake; it’s really beautiful. I had just arrived there yesterday when I realized I had to turn around and go to class. Boo. Below are a couple of the pix I snapped, more to come for sure. And about class… I judged my little boy classmates too soon– turns out they’re pretty fun and all but one of them are pretty serious (enough) about learning the language. My classes have been great and I really like the teachers. Guillermo is from Cuba and he’s AWESOME. Florencia is our conversation instructor and she’s super dry and I love it. The 19 year old Swiss & Dutch boys have a habit of coming in late and when they do she looks at them with this serious dead-pan face and says, “Buenos noches, buenos noches, chicos.” Like, “Ah, good evening, good evening, boys,” implying they’re late but in a fun way. I’m stoked to have good teachers.

park in buenos aires, monument that looks like one in Washington

the entrance to the big park in Buenos Aires

tree near that lake at the park in Buenos Aires

avenida del libertador, buenos aires

This sweet lady is massive and in the middle of the “Avenida del Libertador,” which is a huge thoroughfare. She must have a story… I’ll have to look it up and report back.

And the last thing on my mind today are the awesome sandwiches I’ve had… mmmm. I’ve had a few with a cured type of ham that might be Serano ham with goods like zucchini and yummy cheese…. love em. Yesterday evening I went to a really nice tea house and had a chicken sandwich (also tasty), but best part was that they brought bread sticks with some kind of squash puree with herbs to go with the tea. It looks a little funny, but it was amazing! I’m going to try to make something similar when I get back home.

herby squash puree with bread sticks and tea

chicken sandwich in buenos aires, argentina

The chicken sandwich. It wasn’t particularly special, but it was satisfying and I was happy with it.

I’m off to lunch now and I have just enough time before my classes start to get something quick. I’ve been eye-balling this pasta place in the mall near my house and I think I’m going to get gnochi. The mall has some decent food, actually… I’m sure it’s not the BEST thing out there, but it’s close and a whole lot better than our malls’ food courts.

Ciao for now!

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Finally Feeling Bueno in Buenos Aires

I didn’t want to blog until now, day three here in Buenos Aires. I felt like I would disappoint everyone because I couldn’t report something like, “It’s so amazing here, I love it, I feel great, life is A-Mazing!” I wanted to be able to say that SO BADLY, but the truth is, it was a rough transition. And it was hard for me to accept that because I felt like it shouldn’t be; this is a crazy awesome adventure and I’m so lucky to be here… I KNOW this, but I just wasn’t feeling it on days one and two.

I know myself well enough to know that change is kind of hard for me… I love my routines, my control, having my world full of clear expectations, so yeah, I should have known that it wouldn’t necessarily be 100 from the start. I was feeling lame about not loving it from the get-go.  I was feeling super uncool. And I was missing my guy too… there was some sadness happening. I knew I would adjust and I wished it could happen immediately. Rich reminded me I have to be patient, and that that’s not really one of my strong suits. And he’s right. Like always. Damn.

I waged my own personal “It Gets Better” campaign with myself yesterday. “It’s going to work out. It’s going to be ok. It takes time,” I told myself. I found out yesterday evening that a new girl would be arriving the next morning and she would also stay with my host family, and that was cause for celebration! I had felt so lonely walking to school by myself on Monday, and I was super bummed to find that the class I placed into included 5 young boys and me, the lone lady. And the truth is, in general, I really don’t like being friends with boys as much as I like being friends with girls. And I’m calling them boys because they are… three of them are Swiss, one is English and another is from the US. Three of the boys from Europe are 19, and the one from the US just finished college, (not sure how old the fourth European is cause he ditched class today, which makes me feel pretty sure he’s young too). 😉 At 29, I’m the old maid. Yep. The one, aged lady in the group. The boys have been at the school for weeks already and the first day a couple of them were kind of being little shits, especially in the second of our two classes, our conversation class, which was taught by a sub and she wasn’t very good… I was a little discouraged.

And something else cast a dark cloud over my whole day, and it was self-induced… I was wearing THE WORST pants/shoe combination ever!! It was a combo I would never wear in the states, and have never worn before. Huge mistake. I felt so awkward! It took my already low self-esteem down a few more notches. And all day while roaming the streets and at school I felt like everyone was looking and judging me. And all of the ladies in Buenos Aires were strolling around in boots and leggings and other much better looking combinations. Even old ladies! The saying, “Change your shoes, change y0ur life” has never felt so true. And if you’re wondering what I was wearing, I had the brilliant idea to wear my exercise-type shoes with straight leg jeans because I knew I would be doing a lot of walking, since I had 4 hours to kill after taking my placement exam in the morning and waiting for my classes to start at 2:00 in the afternoon. I thought this was an awesome idea, but the shoes actually gave me little blisters because they’re new, and I couldn’t have felt more ugly or self-conscience. I will NEVER sacrifice style for comfort again… in Argentina.

But I’m sooooo happy to say that today, day three, things actually did get better! Woot!

The new student arrived and her name is Julianna and she’s 26, in medical school, originally from Kenya, super nice, totally interesting, seemingly un-phased by anything and adventurous. We took off this morning toward a part of town near our house that some people at school recommended, Palermo. We walked around a bit and the streets were much more calm and good-looking. I realized my last couple of days have been spent walking up and down the same busy, smoggy street, Avienda Santa Fe, and it was such a good move to finally get away from there.

We stopped at a little place for lunch and I had some Italian-inspired empanadas. Mmmmmm, they were delish!  The one with the greens had something like Serano ham, mozzarella and arugula, and I also had one with something like pepperoni and cheese and part of another with chicken. My first super awesome food- YES! This is the stuff that I get a serious boner for.

Italian empanadas in Palermo, Buenos Aires

While I’m talking food, I have to say, I found the best cookie ever: The amazing Alfajor. They’re sold individually, they’re huge, I’m totally obsessed, and I’m going to bring like 600 of them home with me. Yesterday, after my discouraging day at school, I bought 3 on the way home and binge ate them as a pick me up. Food makes me feel good and I don’t give a fuck if that’s not healthy, or whatever. My fave version of these sandwich cookies have something like two layers of soft, fat graham-like cookies with dulce de leche between the layers and the whole deal is coated in chocolate. Holla if you want me to bring you one back. You won’t be sorry.

Chocolate Alfajor from Buenos Aires

Alfadors, fruit & chocolate

I had two more today… Tried the fruit filled, white candy-coated one and had to have another chocolate, of course.

Other than food, I really do enjoy looking around and exploring this big city.

I took a couple of pix of the street and a city garden and that was a nice way to spend some time, or “pasar tiempo.”

un calle in Buenos Aires

apartment building, Buenos Aires

subte, plaza italia, buenos aires

pond at the jardin botanico, buenos aires

kids at the jardin botanico, buenos aires

historic house in the jardin botanico, buenos aires

There’s much more to say but I’m tired so it will have to wait till next time. =-)

Buenos noches!

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Filed under adventure, awkward, Buenos Aires, do something crazy, doing it, inspiration, life, travel

Boobie Dreams Do Come True

Yesterday on my drive home from work I was listening to the ’90s radio station in my car and I heard this song by Sophie B. Hawkins, “Damn I wish I was your lover.” Ahh, I still love it! Kids of the 80s- 90s, do you feel me?

I never saw the video as a kid, and sidenote here: What’s up with that diaper-ish thing she’s wearing?

What I do remember this song from is Baywatch, which was totally one of my favorite shows. I think they used the song in some beachy montage one time and so that’s my main association with this little ditty.

So I was in the car and I started thinking about Baywatch and how it is kind of odd that that was one of my favorite shows as a little girl and I just went off on this random thought process about why and it dawned on me pretty quickly: the boobs. And Hobie. But I think it was more about the boobs. Those big boobs on pretty girls. I wanted to be like that when I grew up so bad! A pretty girl that was stacked. Yep… that was one of my childhood dreams.

I wanted boobs SO BAD when I was a kid, and I never felt like I was going to get them. My mom has a very small chest and I felt like boobage just wasn’t in my genes. Not possible. And I waited and hoped, but by high school it was pretty clear that the boobie thing was not happening. I wasn’t actually flat chested, but I dreamed of numbers like “34” and letters like “D”… I dreamed and I dreamed, but I always felt like it was hopeless, just not in the stars for this girl.

In childhood, high school and even college I also felt like I didn’t measure up to the likes of the Baywatch ladies in another way: I thought I was not very cute, not so good looking, or that I had my moments, but I had to try a lot whereas all of my pretty friends were just naturally beautiful and they let me tag along. I think most girls, if not all girls, go through this at some point or for some period, so I know this isn’t some startling revelation. In those moments in the car listening to Sophie B. I started to think about how I compared myself to those Baywatch babes and I also started thinking about going through my old high school and early college photos a few weeks ago. I was thumbing through my big box of pix when I realized something for the first time…  I looked at these photos from my glory days and it hit me: I was cute. I was never ugly. I was never THAT awkward. I was a cute girl and I was totally trippin to think that I wasn’t. My thinking, like so many girls, was warped, and I started to feel sort of bothered by that because this warped thinking kind of held me back a lot of times. It lead to me acting awkward, because I felt awkward, and it lead to me being jealous of friends at times, because I felt like they were so much prettier than me. What fucking a waste. I’m glad I’m past that and I can see the truth about myself and my looks, I thought then.

But wait a minute… maybe I wasn’t totally past it. I had an experience about a month before that that proved to me I don’t know what I don’t know, (I think that makes sense…? Stay with me here).

It happened when I went bra shopping. I avoided the experience for a long time because it just felt like a pain in the ass. My bras hadn’t been fitting for a while and I couldn’t figure out why and I was still not happy with what felt like an inadequate chest, so why spend money on it by buying a bra? But I had to do it. I went to Vickie’s and started looking around. I was browsing in a “36 A” drawer when one of the sales ladies came up to me, “Can I help you? Have you ever had a fitting? Would you like one?” Hmmmm, I’ve heard of these fittings, and I have actually always wanted one, just to see what they would say. I wonder if I’m really an “A” or a “B” cup… don’t know. She seemed not-so-intimidating so I went for it.

“Ok,” she announced, “You’re a 34 D.”

Come again!?!! “What? That doesn’t even seem possible!” I seriously challenged her on it, because I was totally in shock. She told me that most women don’t know what size bra they should be wearing, and it’s all about the size of the cups and this and that, and then she put a box full of 34 D’s in my dressing room and low and behold, they actually fit. And then she said she noticed me looking at 36 A bras and she totally laughed at me for it.

*Disclaimer here: I know Vickie’s bras run a little small… And you are probably a size smaller in bras by other manufacturers. I know this, but I don’t care! This was a life-long dream come true! A crazy moment I never thought would happen! I bought two bras that say 34 D, and they fit, and no one can take that away from me. (Serious tone here: Don’t ever mention that their bras run small again, ‘aight?).  And I’m gonna keep bra shopping there because I like the way that shit feels.  😉

So yes, at 29 years old I realized I STILL see my body differently from the way it actually is. It’s weird, because I don’t consider myself one of those girls who thinks she’s fat, but wears a size 4, or whatever. Basically, I consider myself someone with a grip, but this boobie thing proved that I was wrong; I was stuck in this thought pattern I’d had since childhood and it took a stranger to break me out of it. And even though it’s just a number, and my cups still don’t runnith over, and I have the same body I had before this lady did her magic measurements, I still felt stoked. This truly arbitrary number has built some of my confidence, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that! You gotta take the wins wherever you can.

So it’s weird, how we get stuck thinking things are true about ourselves… I thought I was just not cute and practically flat chested; I couldn’t see my physical self for what it actually is, and I let that affect how I acted, which is really where trouble lurks. What’s the message here? I think it’s not to let your own thoughts get in the way of what could be true. Don’t box yourself in, physically, emotionally, or mentally. You might just have big boobs too. 😉

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Sippin’ on Haterade

When I’m fearful and insecure I become a hate-spewing, crap-talking, negative-thinking bitch.

I think it’s a habit I’ve had for a long time, and it’s not that easy to break.

In the last couple of weeks or so I’ve found myself hating on anything, everything, anyone, pretty damn often, and my life has been a lot less pleasant because of it. I haven’t been able to focus on all of the good things that are happening in my life, like my upcoming month-long trip to Argentina, and the move my fiance and I want to make to the Bay Area, and a career change, which frightens me but is actually really exciting. Instead I’ve been a bundle of negative thoughts and energy, radiating out into the world and frequently into the ears of all of those around me.

I’ve found myself acting this way A LOT lately, and today I talked about it with my certified and kick-ass life coach, Sally Hope. As always, she really helped me put things into perspective and she helped me re-orientate my outlook so I can begin changing the yucky garbage that’s been coming out of my mouth and swirling around in my brain so I can again act like the cool lady I know I really am.

It’s funny how sometimes we need people to tell us the stuff we’ve heard a million times; things we already know are true but we haven’t applied to ourselves recently, or ever. In our discussion today Sally pointed out the fact that this well-known cliche stands true for all of us: whatever we find ourselves criticizing and hating on in other people is really a projection of own problems and issues with our self.  Damn. So it is… so it is. We’ve all heard that one, but sometimes you have stop and take a good hard look and then let it settle before it can hit you. Once she said it, I could think of a bunch of examples of how I’ve been projecting recently. I’ve been telling my man daily he needs to work out; he’s been lazy lately. Truth: I need to work out. I feel like I’ve been really lazy lately and I’m sick of myself because of it.  Another one: I found myself perusing the internet and seeing my pretty friends dressed cutely and looking gorgeous. Initial thoughts: Ugh. They spend so much time and effort on their looks. Geez, so not worth it. Truth: Maybe I’m seeing a little vanity, and I have that too, and I don’t feel up to par. I wish I could look like them.

A big one that really stands out happened recently with a good friend who is also getting married soon. We were with a group of our girlfriends when we started talking about wedding photographers. I recently started looking into them and I was truly surprised about how expensive they can be. My friend mentioned how much hers cost, and right then I started going off about how pricey it was, how it was shocking to me how much photos were, how crazy it is that they have the nerve to charge such rates, and I think I even called them “rapists.” Dramatic? Yes. The truth: I was trying to make myself feel better because her photos are amazing, (seriously, she and her fiance look like supermodels in their engagement pix), and I wouldn’t be able to afford the tops for my wedding and I was jealous. I actually realized this truth within the next hour or so and told her all of that. “I didn’t mean to put you down. I was just trying to convince myself I don’t need that, but the truth is that I would love that photographer.” I’m pretty sure she knew that was the real reason for my rant, but I probably still hurt her feelings a little bit in the process.

It’s so much easier for me to hate than accept what I’m really feeling, which is insecurity, fear and jealousy.

I have a lot of fear with my upcoming life changes, and my reaction has been to bottle it up, and it’s turned into negativity.  I have this feeling that I shouldn’t been fearful, I shouldn’t be so anxious; super exciting things are coming my way and I know that so it’s not right to feel upset about them. But, as Sally helped me realize in our conversation today, bottling up these feelings is causing them to turn into anger and come out in unintended ways, and so instead of trying to suffocate them, I need to honor them, acknowledge them, and let them happen. However it is they should play out…. I can’t control every emotion, so I have to stop trying.

Sally encouraged me to do these two things when the fear and hate starts comin’ on strong. The first is to acknowledge what I’m feeling, let the feelings happen and then ask, “What is this really about? What am I really upset for?” And the second thing to do when I’m hating is ask myself, “How is this something I do?”

They’re simple actions, but they’re genius.  I already feel a little relieved that I have this process so that I can start to purge some of the negativity by questioning it, reflecting on it, redirecting it, and getting at the real issues underneath it all.

So if you’re ever toasting life with haterade, like me, consider the above. And if you want to make some changes in your life, I highly suggest connecting with an awesome life coach like the fabulous Sally Hope. She rocks! Investing in yourself is one of the best things you can do, both for yourself and for every person in your life, (I’ll definitely write more about this later on).

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Filed under awkward, being shitty, doing it, girl stuff, haterade, life, not alone

Cat Lady: It’s a state of mind

Being a cat lady is something I do not shy away from. And why should I? I love my kitties. I think of Will Ferrel as Buddy the Elf, “I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!”

They are wonderful people who make my world a better place. Ok, Ok, yes… that’s a little much. I don’t consider my cats “people.” I’m not quite there… yet. But they are fabulous little creatures who I adore and I have no shame admitting that. And I said the same thing even when I was single for 3 years and living alone with 3 of them, (yeah… those were dark days).

Just look at Carl, my cow-print kitty, and Princess Fluffy Feet (AKA Fluffy): they are adorbs!

Mr. Carl, dirtiest cat in all the land

Cats are supposed to like being clean... not Carl. This guy actually is white and black, but he's the dirtiest little fucker ever. His hobbies include hunting unsuspecting rodents and drinking out of the toilet.

Fluffy kitty

Fluffy is a true lady. She moonlights as an Ewok.

This “I’m a cat lady and proud of it” ‘tude is strongly related to the sentiment that makes me feel comfortable, even extremely confident wearing my gym clothes to work 2-4 days a week, (I work in a warehouse complex, so in this case, it actually is ok!). It’s the same kind of mindset that lets me feel perfectly fine about the fact that I have probably been blocked, hidden or “un-friended” on FB by tens of people because I put my political opinions out there on a regular basis and share links to article and videos that are totally serious, and therefore, 100% uncool.

Sharing my cat lady-ness, dressing comfortably and rarely on-trend, spouting out my opinions on my blog and FB page; these are all things that I do knowing full well that they won’t help me in being perceived as really cool or popular. Not now, and probably not ever.

But, that’s me, and everyone deserves to know what I am about, even if they think I’m crazy, or bitchy, or way too opinionated. There’s no way to please everybody, and if you did, what kind of person would that make you? So I say, let it all hang out, even if you are a crazy cat lady. And if you’re not, embrace the state of mind just the same. That’s you, and your true friends will love you for it, or maybe it will be part of the stuff they put up with, because they love you.  😉

Put your true self on display. When you do, you give people the gift of knowing the real you, and I truly believe that’s something people appreciate and really value because it’s not easy to do, and it’s not always easy to find.

And now, some of my favorite cat-related stuff from the internets!

Cricket!

Simon’s Cat!

Maru!

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Filed under doing it, inspiration, life, So what?, you