Friday, October 18, 2013

not all at once, please

It is strange when out of the blue many people contact you.  That is the kind of week I had.

First, I reached out to Bank Boy for a 7 mile hike, which I will do with him tomorrow.  Of course Bank Boy used to be a little obsessed, but he hasn't asked about getting intimate in months. I think we've developed a friendship based on our enjoyment of hiking.

Then ManFriend texted me again...slightly less than one week since we saw each other.

Of course in between this has been texts and emails with Mountain Man.

Greasy (the guy I had sex with right after SI) messaged me asking if I was still single, he wanted to set me up on a blind date with an oral surgeon.  I was surprised since he knew me when I was a train wreck, but I appreciated it none the less.

And the most shocking was when I was on LinkedIn and I saw SI's photo.  LinkedIn and I aren't getting along.  I blocked SI's emails from LinkedIn, so either he has a new email or we have a link.  First, the ex-mistress keeps looking at me, then SI's best his photo?  I was happy to see he looked wide and fat and his glasses were so dark. OK so he didn't reach out...but I still saw him, kinda.

Finally, Cop#1 reached out to me too.

All this in the last 3 days.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

considering a time-out

The government has shut down/on hold...and I am considering doing that with my blog for a while too.  As much as I have enjoyed writing regularly - and it really helped me during my depression - I am in a different place right now where it seems more like a chore.  My recent posts are all fluff and boring. I have a lot I want to share...but I have a reader or two that I don't trust/want to know what is going on, which makes writing/censoring the posts difficult, and not worth it yet.

I will post when I can, about something 'real'.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

not dying

I met up with ManFriend last Thursday.  He is not dying.  I sat there listening about his cancer and his very optomist treatment plan.  I asked him "I still don't understand why you asked to see me" to which he replied, because we are friends.   I laughed a fake laugh and since I knew he wasn't dying (yet) I let it all out.  About his selfishness, his ungratefulness, I asked if he really gifted my earrings to some woman (he said that she took them) and I told him all that made me spend a few hundred dollars in STD testing when it could have all been avoided if he acted like an adult and did that whole thing he kept talking about, being honest.  I told him that our 'love' was a sham, that it wasn't love because people don't do those things.  And when I was done, he wanted to know if he should leave, he didn't expect any of that and was truly shocked that I wasn't happy.  I didn't plan on saying anything to him, I was there just to listen...but the way he was acting and the things he was saying, it didn't make sense.

He didn't leave.  He told me about some of the woman he was invovled with in hte last four months.  The most recent was an ex-druggie, ex-convict, smoker with a child...and I was thinking, really? You gave me up for that?  Why does that keep happening to me?  SI preferred an ex-stripper, bartender, high school graduate.  It really makes me wonder about me and about the men I chose.

Then we talked about football and started laughing and enjoying the company a bit more.  When we left, he said he had a nice time and he hopes we can hang out again since he is up this way a lot.  I looked at him and didn't say anything....really?  No, I told him he could update me in a few weeks about his diagnosis/treatment but I didn't want to see him again.

So there was no kissing, there was no inviting him back to my place.  And I didn't need the closure...actually seeing him made me think about all that stuff again, and I didn't need that.  I have been so happy the last 2-3 months, which is why I knew I wouldn't fall back into a routine with him that made me a little miserable.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Iguazu Falls

This beautiful place is  called Iguazu Falls, Iguazú FallsIguassu Falls or Iguaçu Falls.  It was about a 2 hour plane ride from Rio and well worth the extra few personal days.

After we landed, we decided to take a helicopter tour.  It was $113.01 for about 10 minutes, but worth it.  From above we see the river, the falls, and the national park.  It was a great thing to see before actually seeing them, it made the experience even more majestic.
We stayed at the Hotel de Cataratas (another post about this hotel) which is the only hotel within the national park on the Brazil side.   The Brazil side has a walkway that provides amazing views and a walkway to the edge of the falls...where you get soaked by the mist.

woo-who made it to Argentina!
But who gets enough of waterfalls? One side wasn't enough so we decided to get a visa (reciprocity fee) from Argentina because we heard it was even more amazing from there.  We hired an English speaking driver for the day who brought us to the park in Argentina and then to dinner for a wonderful steak.

There are three walkways on the Argentina side and you take a train to get to them, unless you want to walk the path.  Because we were there during a non-peak rainy time, we had to wait about 20 minutes for a train.
When we arrived at the park was raining, hard, but by the time we got to the furthest walkway, it cleared up.  The walkway goes over the river and brings you to the edge of the falls where you got soaked from the mist.

Along the pathways when you look at the falls, seeing a rainbow was becoming common, and really adds a nice aspect to some pictures.

The trip to Iguazu Falls was amazing, if you are ever down in that area, I say go...and stay at the hotel within the park (Argentina has one hotel within their park too) it is worth the splurge.

Friday, October 11, 2013

one two three floor

Do you know the national drink of Brazil?

It is the Caipirinha, which is made with  cachaça, sugar, ice and fruit.  I sampled this drink in lime, strawberry, passion fruit and a strawberry and passion fruit mix.

The drink was delicious and goes down easily.  But it is strong, and many people warn the tourists as they are counting their drinks, 'one, two three, floor'.

There was a day and a half where I didn't feel well, and wonder if it was all the sugar from these drinks. I don't consume a lot of sugar in my regular diet, and I think my body went into shock because it is a sugar cane based alcohol and more sugar is added into it.

The drink is definitely a must try when you are down there!



Strawberry & Passion Fruit

Thursday, October 10, 2013

a churrascaria experience

I had a dinner at Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse.  There is a large salad bar and then all the meat you can eat - utilizing the green marker to indicate that you want the servers to continue coming over with their skewers full of meat.  When you are done, you flip the marker to the red side, and they don't come around.

The servers were very attentive of me and encouraged me to eat more and more and more.  I tried little slivers of about 7 or 8 meats.

I am not a huge meat fan...I've really cut back in the last few years, eating red meat about 6 times a year.  But knowing we were going here, I was prepared to eat a lot and was wiling to try new things instead of just sticking to the salad bar and chicken thigh.  It was a fun outing.

Fogo de Chao has several locations throughout the United States and 8 in Brazil.  For those in the NYC area, a restaurant will be opening this winter.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


We took the 20 minute train up to the top of Corcovado, which means hunchback in Portuguese.  The iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer was as big as you'd imagine at 125 feet. Most of the statue was made in Rio, except for the head and hands. He overlooks the city and is visible for miles.

The panoramic view from the top was magnificent.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Copacabana Palace

The Copacabana Palace was beautiful and the service was impeccable. I interacted with the front desk, concierge, business center and event staff and they were all so nice and helpful.

The lobby was not as grand as I thought...but as it turns out, they moved the lobby so it would be off the beach - but the old lobby was so grand and beautiful as were the event rooms.

There were only two restaurants in the hotel, but many in the neighboring area.  The Ciprini is among the best restaurants in the city, and unfortunately I was not feeling well the evening the group ate there so I missed out.  The brunch buffet was expensive, but had many great options including shrimp 4 ways, lobster tails, oysters, fish, fruits, filet mignon, vegetables, salads, so many desserts, etc.

The pool area was nice and got very crowded on a nice day, leaving the opportunity to get a seat difficult.  The hotel serves food and drinks in the pool area.

My room was in the tower with the spa & Cipriani Restaurant.  The room was nicely decorated and I even had a balcony.  The closet was nice and the bathroom was huge.  There was no iron, but there was a hair dryer.  Each night at turn down service, the havaianas were placed by the bed.

The day I arrived, was the day Bruce Springstein was leaving...he was in Rio for the Rock in Rio concert.  What a great guy...he shook hands and took pictures with his fans for 20 minutes...several times a day. I took a picture of a colleague's wife with Bruce, but when I asked for a turn he got in the car and although I was inches away and spoke a few words to him, I don't have a photo with him.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Copacabana Beach

The Copacabana Beach
The Copacabana Beach was very pretty, the only thing that took some getting used to was the small little bikini's.  The sand was soft, the water temperature was OK (I was there on their first day of Spring) and the waves were crashing.  There is a great view of Sugar Loaf and other mountains and the curved coast.

The day I was there was a Sunday so it was crowded.  It was great to see how the locals interacted.  There were a lot of fields on the beach, most were volleyball areas but then there were also enclosed areas for another sport that I didn't know.

Coconut Water
The sidewalk next to the beach had great designs for each neighborhood and shops for coconut water and other food and beverages.  The coconut water was heavy!  But it was also quite delicious and all for R$4, about $2 USD.  It is a must try if you are there.
Sidewalk in Copacabana

Friday, October 4, 2013

a possible dinner with ManFriend?

I heard from ManFriend yesterday afternoon.  This threw me off guard because I never thought I'd hear from him again, and I was OK with that.

He told me he wanted to reach out for a while, but he was re-diagnosed with cancer, and that upon hearing he contacted me because I was always so supportive and caring.

He continued to fill me in on his life and how great its been since he moved.  I felt like he was rubbing it in my face, I stayed quiet and didn't offer too much information.  Then he said something about what a wonderful person I am.  I lashed out. Modesty aside, I know I am wonderful, I certainly don't need him to tell me that, especially because in the end he treated me like a worthless nobody.  He apologized for his behavior saying that he probably needs therapy and end of relationships are hard on him.  He wishes he could go back and change things, but obviously he cannot.

I didn't want to hear his excuses and I told him I would change a lot of things too....but I can't, but there are many ways to apologize or show thanks.  None of what he said or did was sincere.

So then he asked to see me, take me out for a 'I'm sorry dinner'.  I didn't respond.

I feel bad his cancer is back...and if this is his reality check that he could die and wants to see me one last time, I can't be a bitch and not do it.  But I don't want to see him again....our magnetism is so strong.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

packing routine and tips

I've traveled enough in the last few years, where that I've picked up a few tips.  My last job required/highly suggested that I do carry-on only, so I was limited to a carry-on suitcase and a small personal item.  This has always been a challenge when I mix business with pleasure as there is not a lot of room in these bags.

I use the zippered section (left in picture) for all my work clothes, usually folded in half (a skirt, 3 dresses, a jacket, pair of pants and three tops).  I have tried to bring clothes on hangers, but depending on the length of the trip, this is a challenge for me.  The big section (right in the picture) I use for 2-3 pairs of shoes, the bag that contains all my chargers or computer backup battery, my undergarments, casual clothes (usually 1-2 pairs of jeans, at least 4 tops, gym clothes - in the grey bag on the bottom left of the right side), my makeup bag, my hair straightener and then a few last minute clothes that I tend to throw in at the last minute, if there is room.

Several years ago, I purchased some bags that help you pack along - compartment like bags, along with shoe bags.  I love them both, I find they definitely help organizing me (although this time I only used one, so it is a bad representation) when packing.

My current job does allow us to check a bag, but since we didn't ship anything to the site this time, I didn't want to check those items, just in case the bag got lost.  And since I was adding a personal trip onto the business trip, I didn't want to lug more than 2 bags around.  On this particular trip, I have a few work items in the bag (6 adapters, 3 pens in nice boxes, and a box of name badges), which really caused me packing stress, that little bit of used room makes a huge difference.  In the front of the bag, I have two pockets.  The bottom pocket is large, so I put my work binder in there with my schedule and in the top pocket a pair of flip flops and extra zip lock bags.

My small personal item usually varies depending on the trip. I have a great bag that matches my luggage with a large inside area and small pockets on the side...but this is not a great bag if you are transporting a laptop...I guess if I bought a laptop sleeve it could work.  I liked having the outside pocket, especially at the airport to throw my wallet or plane ticket and receipts in.

Sometimes I bring a backpack, since it is nice to distribute the weight, but it is longer than it is wider, making packing with it a bit more challenging for me.  The backpack is my only bag with bottle holders, which is nice since I usually bring an empty water bottle with me.

The morning of my most recent flight, I headed over to Khols because they were the only store open at 8 am on a Saturday.  It turns out they had a bag I thought would work, although a little big and I worried about fitting it under the seat in front of me. I bought it anyway because I could return it if packing it was unsuccessful; I believe it was made by Chaps.  The 'boarding bag' has three compartments, one for a laptop and a few other thin items, and the other two compartments could be used for anything.  The middle I put my clothes for tomorrow as well as a bathing suit and the body of my camera.  The far right side I have my sunglasses, liquids and snacks. I found having the two smaller compartments might be great on another trip...but this trip was difficult because my camera with the two lens are so bulky.  I decided to use the bag, even though it is bulkier than I had hoped...but with only hours before I had to leave, I didn't have time to run around shopping for a better bag.  And this bag will be fantastic when I can check luggage and won't need to carry so much at one time.  I am very impressed with how much it can fit.

On top off all this, if I need sneakers or hiking boot for the trip, I will wear those on the plane, along with a fleece or jacket, because getting those into a carry-on bag would take up way too much room.

So everything is more or less packed tight and neat for the trip...but coming home is always another story! But, in this case, since I have such limited room, I might have to pack it just as tight and neat...good thing I took a picture, so I'll remember how it all fit in there.

Sometimes I am proud of myself for packing in carry-on for a 10 day trip that requires multiple attire.

Do you have any packing tips you want to share?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I committed

A few months ago when I was extremely weepy and emotional, Doofy said something to me, that I am fully aware of, but needed to be told from an outsider.  I have a fear of commitment.

The fear of commitment stemmed from SI of course. I thought I had my life figured out.  I was starting to settle down and I had someone there that would help me make those decisions that would affect our lives.  However, once that ended, I was very confused for a long time.  I didn't know if I wanted to move, or stay, hoping we'd get back together.  I felt like I was incapable of making any decisions because he was the one running the show, he made the decisions and I just waited.

Over the last 5 years, I have still struggled with this; how do I know if I am making the right decision? I don't like to fail, and by not committing to anything, I can't fail. I can't get mad at myself with another failed relationship or moving and hating it or finding a new job that I didn't like.  I was at a stand still not doing anything so I wouldn't end up more depressed.

But I wasn't getting out of my depression because nothing was changing.  Little by little things finally started to change.  Tackling one issue at a time helped me a little.  First was buying an apartment.  Even though I knew it wouldn't be super long term, I needed a place that was mine.  Second came ManFriend.  During our non-relationship, I had the opportunity to engage in conversation and physical stuff with one person over an extended period of time.  I had someone that I cared for.  I relearned what that feeling was like.  I started to gain confidence back because I knew ManFriend desired me so much that my outlook on life started to improve.  And when the time came to find a new job and interview, I was in much better spirits.

But something is still missing, I still feel disconnected to where I live.  Over the last few years, I saw that my library was looking for Board Members for a three year term. I figured this was perfect for me since I read so much, but I never applied because who knew where I'd be in three years.  Very recently, I saw a posting for a Board Member of a local non-profit that offers children services and applied for it.  They loved my experience and wanted to meet me, so I attended their board meeting.  I know I don't want to live here forever, but since I don't know when that will be, I can't let it stop me from doing things.

I debated about telling the truth, that my apartment is on the market or just accepting the position because it is something I wanted to do.  In the end, I told the president I was extremely interested but that my place was on the market, and it has been for a while. I let her decide if they would want to accept me knowing I might not be on the Board for years or if she thought it would be better to not be involved.  Fortunately, she said they would gladly accept me for however long I lived here, so I accepted.  I am very excited to learn new things and help and participate as much as I can.