Saturday, June 30, 2007

Still hanging in here

Well Im still here....still plugging away at my workshop in writing and trying to take in ...more like snatch a piece of Slovenia between the all too infrequent brakes....
we went to the capital city of Slovenia...Lubijana....the old section is just as pretty as Zurich....and the new section looks like pictures you have seen out of the Eastern block countries...functional cement apartment buildings and office complexes....whatæs interesting is the Zurich and especiallz in a section of town which houses the youth hostel....the walls are literally covered in graffitti.....amazing colorful stuff...and even the trains (which is how we got down there from Lake Bled...) often have sections covered by zig zag of designs....I canæt seem to find out if the local people accept that as art...or dislike it....certainly when it covers the bottom of some historic buildings....I cringe...because I see it as taking away from the beauty of that place....but in other places it adds a dimension architects and citz planners didnt put in the unexpected and the novel to keep places from all looking the same
well off to the hotel breakfast...which is quite hearty...a buffet will yogurt...cheeses, eggs, bacon...and this wonderful hearty rolls and bread....and coffee.......i am get quite addicted to the foamy cappocino type coffee they drink here complete with two sugars.....theres a little stand in the lobby and for less than 2 dollars....a man comes out from the kitchen and wipes it up for you....theres no take out coffee here....people still sit and this little hotel stand is as close as you get although you are still severed in a sturdy china cup and suacer....with a little spoon. 
i wonder if i could teach the men folks to whip up a frothy coffee for me when im at home.....on that very humorous thought....Ill end for today.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Well I have had a full day in Slovenia now and also with mz writing workshop group. Slovenia is interesting....I am only perhaps less than 50 miles from the Austrian border and all the little towns we passed through today....seemed like postcards of Swiss or Austrian villages...tidy absolutelz tidy chalet style houses....with window boxes on almost every window...spilling over with all types of flowers....friendly pooches sitting in the yard...mostly german shepards or a mix of the curious cat the same varieties you would see at home....sneaking around the flower pots....almost every house has a beautiful flower garden and a vegetable garden.

I walked through an old castle....which was mid way down a mountain pass and was important for trade for hundreds of years was crumbled but beautiful and there were wildflowers spilling over from crevices in the walls and pathways....

it is very different to be traveling with so much beauty and in such in Slovenia...the language is ancient...and only 2 million people (the size of the country) speak it so almost everyone again knows English and Italian or German as an alternative......there are grocery stores where you can buy Special K and Pepsi and Coke....and health store where a lady can fix you up for ailments or cosmetics and when I say cosmetics im talking about face creams.....I walked in one store and the woman handed me this glorious lotion...for my skin because I told her I forget to bring some moisturizer.....Im going to have to see if I can get this in the states because it is marvelous.....

my hotel is modest but very clean...they have doilies....under the ash trays and small flower vases.....lots of folks smoke in many folks.....that it is odd to see ash trays all over shops lobbies.....there is no air conditioning just like there wasnt in Zurich either....the rooms I have been in can get quite stuffy.....

I havent laughed a lot group of grad students that <i am taking this course were seem a somber, intellectual somewhat dramatic group.....perhaps since they are here for credit and some actually here for this to be their last class...they have that weight on their shoulder. sneaking off from the group for I can write and think.....we actuallz have writing assignments of the most interesting Why are you here...I think my answer will have to do something with seeing if I can enjoy beauty and ease....or do I need the big risk to be happy while traveling.....

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

HELLO from slovenia

Oh mz gosh I am here in Slovenia...(alas with the same german kezboard)......the town is like a little rustic Swiss village ( no i havenæt been to a rustic swiss village but if you imagined what you thought a rustic village would be like this is it)......
spent a little time walking around and met the grad students i will be working with....wowowo what an interesting group of know to go out to eat dinner and people talk about their soul, their passions, their well...pretty heady....and thatæs before the grappa arrived.....
have limited time on this computer but thought i would say hello...hopefully more stories later...we start bright an early at 7am for breakfast followed by a writing about starting at a full run....

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sex god and Chocolate or what to do when it Rains in Zurich

So I woke up and it was raining....okaz whatäs mz plan B...I was thinking of taking a boat then it hit shops and chocolate...of course perfect.
My street has about 5 sex shops....all normal looking I started with one called Bellezza and it was hard not to start laughing....we are talking latex friends....lots o latex....did i know zou could get a jumpsuit totallz out of latex or perhaps just a little gummz skirt....or perhaps a top that sort of looks like the tuxedo jacket ringmasters wear (hmmmm...perhaps zou wear this when zou are leading a circus of activity?)....wild colors....and they do feel gummy....sort of like gummy bears.....LOL:::: unfortunatlez wonät be bringing any home...we are talking 450 francs for a jumpsuit and the little circus jacket will set zou back 398.....thatäs a lot of monez to feel like a gummy bear...
they also had handcuffs i could not understand except thez looked mideival....and ohhhhh they had catsuits...which are total bodz fish net stockings??? thatäs the best way i could describe them....I thought that was a hoot....I thought this would be fun to wear and get off the plane with when I get home....sorry no dice....hub....they were at least 50.00 dollars...which i thought was a bit much for nothing....literally we are talking about a package that weighs maybe 1 ounce.......they also had these cute riding crops except they had a cute little hand and i think were called flappers....but alas same thing almost 65.00 for the flapper....
they had a great selection of short short leather shorts ...his and hers....395.00 per pair....and a verz interesting reverse thong for men.....which is quite hard to ask me someday and ill tell ya....and lets just say they are for very slim
a couple stores i didnät go in...they were mostly dvd stores with lots of guys in them....the other stores were was an english named store titled...special moments....the normal variety sex shop with toys etc.....cute they had custom made carrying cases for your special personal also had workshops.....some of which i can decipher some of which i canä a course in aphrodisischs.....and dark passion in a dark room??....(are they talking dungeons?) and mit duflen verfuhren.....which i am clueless about ........
the other store specialized in toys too.....lets just say the german and the swiss das like very big tozs....LOL::::: all these stores are normal looking....they are not in a sleayz district and they are next door to cafes and dress shops and anz other store you might be wanting in the shopping district...which makes sense in a your clothes, pick up some wine...and bring something fun for loving home tonight.....
after all that stimulating window shopping....i decided i better check in with the german presbyterian god.....who has an awesome catheral type church....started 900 years was verz rustic and i liked it....i even found the crypt....which actuallz raised the hair on mz arm a bit.....lots of people dust around I think....and there were these simplistic interesting almost pen and ink religious drawings on the wall.....amazing to think these were the thoughts of people 900 years ago....
i bought some postcards in the church....and just couldnät help giggling...honest to ...well ...god.....i thought i was buying them from einsteins younger with wild bushy hair.....
after another swiss coffee that curled my hair and a nice conversation with a young russian woman (all you have to do here if you want company is lean over in the cafe and you speak english? and in minutes you usuallz have an itneresting conversation use sitting alone and not  anyways....i hit the chocolate shops....oh oh oh oh oh ...really if there was such a thing as an olafactory orgasam....i think you could have one walking in these shops....the odor is actually heady....and zou swoon a bit.....woowow....Ive had tobheler and lindt....but these speciality chocolates were intoxicating....they are smooth and creamy but not as milky as some chocolates dubbed swiss....they have a stronger chocolate taste...and they are so beautiful.....just gorgeous little dabs of can not only buy pieces but you can buy a slab of fresh chocolate......sort of like chocolate bark.....they put it on a small tough cardboard so zou can carry it home with you or on a plane......when i get back from slovenia ill have one day here in zurich again so iäm seriouslz thinking about bringing some home.
after this ...dead tired from walking for miles i went to eat at the train station...there is a cute little restuarant there with tables that zou can sit at in the center train station......the waiter was from sri lanka and thought i was a german woman from i said...ive been to africa but donät live there.....i had wonderful veal sausage with crisp crisp pommmes frites (french fries) and mineral water and watched the world go by.....on the way to trains that head towards all parts of europe......a handsome man sat down next to me with hiking sticks.....his english was not good and my german doesnät exist.....but between german, french and english we had a little conversation....he was heading to a small town in the mountains to hike......vant to come vit???? a second i thought hard about it....lollloll.....
alas i am here at the computer center down the block from mz hotel,....with gamers and emailers and tourists from all over.....tomorrow i head to slovenia....i donät know what kind of internet access ill have there.....or what kind of itneresting kezboard they will throw at me....but if i can ....ill blog......
take care all you folks....bye bye from zurich

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday in Zurich

I pushed aside mz sheer white curtain this morning and met a blue blue sky of a perfect summer day in Switzerland....I felt like I was in a dept. 56, ceramic xmas village scene sans snow.
In only a couple of small section of Zurich feels familiar...<i know the short cut down to the main street ...(right at the ladies shoe store) and <i know where the secret underground shopping center is bz the train station (trust me almost a state secret)...
Zurich is a soft spoken and calm citz and it likes to sleep in on Saturdays and Sundays.  Most of the stores are closed so zou can actuallz hear your own footsteps on the cobblestones when you walk down the street hunting for that cup of coffee and croissant.
People live in the apartments above the stores through and through their own windows zou can hear the sounds of everyday life....the clinking of dishes and glasses...the clank of pots...someone practicing Mozart on a piano....while another window has a german talk show blaring out of it (they have both Jerry Springer and South Park dubbed in German here.)
You can also hear the drip drip drip of water on stone as flower boxes drain from their early morning drink....the Swiss are creative with their flowers here.  Yes..there are the traditional gerainums and boxwoods in claz pots but there are also 4 foot high scarlet hollyhocks towering above the little window in lives on....drooping lavender and tied and bunched yellow-orange coreopsis.
Common small white butterflies flit high above the street visiting second and third floor flowers....sometimes zou can see trees and vines spilling over the rooftops...the swiss are extravagant confined space gardeners.....
all this visual perfection as I walk down the street plus a gentle breeye and the cool shade from joined buildings and narrow streets....
this is so easy.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Living in a postcard

Oh mz gosh....I m living in a postcard....honestly.....its incredible...the forecast was for rain but it is beauitful outside....sunny...fluffz white clouds....with wonderful breezes.

I got up earlz and had a great sleep thanks to a gina made connoction of a muscle relaxant topped with nice red wine...actuallz slept....perhaps <ill patent the

I hit the streets early....and thez are beautiful streets...cobblestone and winding off the main avenue....the streets here in this part of town are lined with old buildings, shuttered windows and flowers spilling from everz balconz window....Zurich is amazingly muffled and quiet even during the busiest of hear bird chirps,,,,,you hear people talking and walking down the street....buses and trams whoooosh by quietly......its shocking compared to the roar of Manhatten.

the only trouble i have had is with ordering food....sometimes even with an english menu i get something different....yeterday i ordered sausage and vegetables and got pork cordon blue with fries and fresh steamed was excellent so i canät complain....this morning for breakfast i braced myself since the waitress did not easilz switch into english as manz people do...I ordered birchermuesli and coffee

the bircher mueslie was verz interesting....a yogurt sliced apple and raison with heartz grain concoction along with warm fresh brown bread with such a thick crust that i felt a bit bovine chewing chewing chewing.....(i am quite sure the swiss never need a laxative cause of all the fresh grains and tough healthz bread thez have).....and then the coffee... geez....if this stuff doesnät wake you up nothing will....dynamite caffeine....along with a discrete cream and two packs of sugar all of which i used to cut the potency.....everyone in the cafe was reading a newspaper or talking in polite little groups.....manz of the older men wore soft old suit jackets....and the older women had fabulous thick gray hair....

after breakfast i hit the streets to find walkers, runners and manz folks on bikes....i walked a block and hit a flea market.....verz traditional just like in the states...except thez had manz international things from africa and thailand and asia....of course....alll so much closer.....i was standing and looking at some pictures when i heard this screaching voice...and turned around....a woman....obviously from new jersey-new york ...was squawking...are you da artist of dese pictures ? she asked this loud all the market could hear...i just laughed....americans are textured...thatäs for sure.

I wasnät verz far from Lake Zurich....and spent part of the morning just strolling around this huge turqoise colored lake...there were manz sail boats out alreadz....and the mountains which i didnät know where at the end of the lake starting appearing out of the gray was a stunning site.....I decided to walk into some of the neighborhoods and could smell right awaz this verz sweet fragrance....i thought it was....honeysuckle but not quite....then i figured it out...hollyhocks....often 5 feet tall or more....were in every yard.....were we might have a little patch of grass were out cars thez make a minature flower garden and the hocks were in full bloom....and scenting the air.

I also went to the Rietberg museum....a wonderful old mansion that houses...their african and asian collection.....i spent a few happz hours among the buddhas....which made me feel very happz and calm.....I have been strolling back to my hotel...a little at a time.....stopped under a canopz of trees and had ice cream and people watched....had a cup of coffee...near the river and listened to a live small orchestra plaz waltzes as people danced among the diners.....sat on a bus park bench and admired the old buildings and green and purple and black and blue shutters on the windows and the red red geraniums in window here at the computer cafe......and probably....ill head back to mz hotel for a bit.....its easy to find......i just look for the street with the huge Lindt chocolate picture and sign....and thats where i turn.....very very appropriate.....and yes...there are chocolate as you would imagine.....small, dainty, cute and happy.....

loving in those miles folks....and come consider a hop over the ocean.....beautiful and calm and so far very easz (except for the german kezboard)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Hello from zurich

I am here....reallz ....I cant believe it...and <i had a wonderful trip over....met two a business woman from the u.s. who does business in mz state....and the other one was mz seat mate....on the plane a gorgeous blonde german woman now living in santiago Chili..she works as a translator and speaks 6 learning chinese in Chile....well in 10 hours we talked a time went by quicklz....

the airport was clean and efficient and so quiet and orderlz.....and i was mz cute little hotel in less than 15 minutes...which is as small as a shoe box but euro modern.....the mattress is like a board and the pillow is a soft puff of down and shrinks down to sure sleeping should be interesting.....

mz hotel is right on the edge of the main part of the citz.....i couldnät have picked a better spot....i found a little grocerz storz across the street and let me tell zou these folks are serious about their yogurt and cheese.....but i certainlz wonät starve.

visited the train station and had mz first meal.....excellent ham and cheese and veggies and french fries,.,,,,then found this ultra cool internet zou can see the kezboard is again a bit different and mz y^s are gone,,,,so zou have to put up with mz germanized blog.

not zet ready to fall on mz face with jet lag but i can feel it building. there are enough cafes and bakeries along the street to gain some serious poundage here LOL and it is only with much courage did i walk awaz from a chocolate shop.....i was afraid i would never come out.$

well mz meter is best go.....going to just walk around with no specific plan...its familiar here....guess what the first store <i saw was......yep a starbucks...lots of tourists....i hear german, french, italian, english....everzwhere....

oh and the place is full of mini coopers and smart cars....the mini coopers are pretty jazzie...

so off for a ice tea and more walkies

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Time to Go!

Well I'm off....or will be shortly....I finally packed my suitcase only to unpack it....checked the weather in Zurich and it went from a comfy sunny interlude in the 70's to a forecast where the high might be 59 over the out went the t-shirts and in went the it'll snow ....that would be novel.
Have my maps, have my French and German dictionary, have too many notebooks and papers.....and books.....see ya there!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Which Swiss Miss Outfit Should I Bring Home?

Today was a bust.

I'm supposed to be packed....guess what's in my suitcase? My Spongebob flannel boxer shorts and a tshirt. That's it.....that's scary.

I had a long day problem-solving.... many unexpected things came up..... from car injuries to a long wait with my son at the doctor's office. Then a few phone calls....and stuff keeps heading my know when a day goes off just never straightens out.

I was headed for the bedroom to pack when I decided to check my email and discovered this distrubing thought from my friend Jason....

"Find a Swiss Miss outfit..." hmmmmm bringing home a Swiss Miss that's an interesting thought.... so I googled the image.....and here's what came up:

Southern Bell gone Swiss
Obviously this is a Southern woman.....cause she is into satin and ruffles.....and you can almost hear her drawl..."Hot Chocoloate or me...darling?"......Satin makes some parts of me stick out a bit too much so I think I'll pass on this one.
Can a brunette be Swiss?
Now I rather like this outfit....and we sort of share the same chest size....but I can't identify with a brunette I'll have to pass on this one too.

Even men can be a Swiss Miss

Yes, I found this and several other pictures of this nice gentleman who seemed to have a fixation on wearing Swiss Miss gotta admit he's got a great wig and great legs.

I like this one......

Yep....I like this one....and this summer I'm into thigh NYC....I noticed several women had them on and let them peek out from their skirts....I thought that was sexy....I wore some thighs highs with a dress to a theatre performance of the Full Monty...and could hardly stand how sexy they made me feel...LOL>>>....even though no one was looking up my skirt...LOL>>> and I could always get a few blond extensions to make pigtails.....hey I used to be a nurse...those white thigh highs would sort of be a homecoming....(let me get my old short tight uniform on and we can launch into a different fantasy)


Is this the fate of Swiss Misses?

Hmmm... a Swiss Miss outfit and some blue eyeshadow and look what Ken is up to....(besides putting mousse in his hair)

If I ever pack....and ever leave ....and ever get to Zurich.....I'll see what the Swiss Misses are wearing...and maybe bring something back.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pre-Trip Anxiety......

I fingered the German phrase book I bought this afternoon at the bookstore and could feel my heart beat harder.....on Thursday I'll be leaving for Zurich....

I feel disjointed could my trip to Zurich and Slovenia be here already? I don't have a thing packed....I had no worries about packing till I called Swiss Airlines today. I'm flying over on American but my brief hour flight from Zurich to Slovenia will be with Swiss Air.

Talk about tough restrictions.....I'm allowed one bag not to exceed 44 lbs. That's it....except for a modest carry-on. I called Swiss and told them I was planning to travel with two small suitcases from the States. In a jaunty cheerful manner, the Swiss Airlines representative told me a second suitcase weighing...let's say 40lbs....would cost me an additional $245.00 to check!!!

"Excuse me....are you joking?"

"Oh no," she said in a chipper manner....that's how economy tickets are structured......but if I was a "privileged customer"....(i.e. first class or business) I would be allowed two suitcases.

Oh......the privileged customer syndrome again....well perhaps if I had known the restriction ahead of time.....I might have offered them more of my dollars so they would recognize my inherent worthiness as a passenger. But I'm stuck with an economy ticket...and a luggage/weight restriction....and for some reason travel cleverness hasn't kicked in yet. I am quite ferklempted..

I have the jitters about Zurich. My pig French can get me a cup of coffee, a croissant with butter and directions to the bathroom in several countries. But outside of a "nien" and "yah"....I am German-clueless. Will I be able to navigate about town..... solo....without being able to read or speak German?

I did Google Earth Zurich and was happy to discover it was hilly....if you're lost all you have to do is head downwards.......and you will hit the river or lake and from there... then you can find yourself on the map...but still....Can I do this??????

I mentioned my anxiety to my co-workers today...and everyone dismisses my worries....."You've been to Africa!!! Switzerland is nothing!!!" Even hub said the same thing.

I guess after Africa I am a hardened world traveler ready for anything. But I have never faced Switzerland.....and the unknown is challenging....even if you have been successful at previous challenges.

I've studied the picture of my little bed and breakfast in Zurich. I've tried to sense if it feels safe and happy and homey. It used to be a theater and is close to the train station (a good thing) and also close to the old section of the city....(a very good thing)....the rooms are Euro-modern (one should always try something new).......but still.....will I be okay here? I always tell people.... when they ask me how can you travel can you be so brave.......I get out of the plane or the taxi or the bus....and you put one foot in front of the other and just go.....

I guess I need to heed my own advice....and just go.

My little bed and breakfast ...the Hotel du Zurich....does it look like a happy place?

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Beauty of the Broken Cup

I write in a very small room that I believe was destined to be a storage closet. At the last minute, I asked the builder to put a window in the room and also a phone line...just in case I needed an office....that was a few years before I started writing and when I did begin working....this little room with its natural light, the huge oak tree outside of the window and the tight womb-like surrounding was the perfect place to work.
All writers have quirks about their work spaces. Some need silence, other need the bare bones of an almost empty place...and some of us......write in clutter...with objects that remind us of events and memories and things we feel are important.
I'm a clutter writer..... my little room holds everything from my writing fish (an old happy red fish named Faulkner) to a bottle of home made "medicine" ...a concoction my grandmother taught me how to make to cure anything....(it's about 90% what you can't're likely to forget after a couple of glasses).
One of my treasures that sits next to my my "broken cup."
Hub turns wood as a hobby to relieve stress...and one day I sat down with him and a request...I had read a story in a Buddhist book about the Japanese tea ceremony. Tea cups are prized for their plain lines and spiritual qualities they inherit with time and use. If a treasured cup is broken, it is not thrown away......the crack is sometimes filled with gold....and the cup is brought back into the ceremony after it is mended.
The lesson: the cup although broken now returns more beautiful......tragedy adding a new dimension...a new texture to the cup.
When hub handed me the cup...I was delighted....he allowed the wood to crack...he filled it with turquoise....and then I noticed he added something I had not asked for...the carvings in the wood ....which looked like twine had been wound around the cup.
It's the twine that makes me ponder...for I am already a believer that tragedy and misfortune also carries opportunity.......... when I'm stuck with words or a story or feel font pressure...I look at the cup....and wonder what holds my life together?
Like you....I've been broken ....and unlike this more than one place.....but even when I rise to the challenge and fill disappointment with opportunity and new resolve .......what ultimately holds me together? Family? Love? Friends? Inner Resolve? Tough genetics?
I have my guesses....I have preferences for what I believe and hope holds me together....but on a day to day basis....what keeps everything in alignment?.....what keeps me moving forward....despite the cracks?
It is a very good gives me much to think about.....what is the twine of my life?....what is the twine of your life? Is it there everyday in some form or another? Or only there when the cracks appear?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Gina, Jeannie, Genie, Eugenia and sometimes Barbie and Joe....

"Jeannie, I'm looking forward to seeing you at the high school reunion."

I stared at the email knowing the message was for me....yet the name she called me I abandoned just before I left for college.

Unlike most people, I've had several names in my life and lately I've found, thanks to the Internet, I'm even more flexible in what I call myself.

My parents named me Eugenia. From the very first moment I realized that was my name....I refused to accept it. My mother tried convincing me that Eugenia was a royal name.....there was Eugenie, wife of Napoleon and some "European" princess....who my mother lacked details on...except of course...that she was of royal lineage.

Perhaps I could have accepted the exceptional princess route .....but I knew from a very young age....that the real reason my mother named me Eugenia....was not because she thought I was a princess but because my uncle, her youngest brother whom she idolized and considered her best friend, drowned at the age of 16 and I was his memorial. She would often tell me, "You were supposed to be a boy so I could have named you Eugene." But something had gone terribly wrong and I was a girl....and a compromise to my mother's most cherished dream of reincarnating her brother.
I resented the name....and I resented Eugene for dying and burdening me with a rough masculine gruff sounding title. Sometimes my resentment turned to guilt... I watched my mother and grandmother cry when they talked about him or anything having to do with could I be so cruel to them and this young teenage boy who had just died? In fact, he had died 8 years before I was born.......but grief in our household never waned for him and mourning him became a full time obsession for both my grandmother and mother.
The one good thing about the name Eugenia.... was that it was long and cumbersome.... especially if you're calling a kid inside the house from play..... so it was shortened to Genie or Gene for practical purposes.
I remember my mother introducing me to the kindergarten teacher....Sister "my daughter Eugenia".....but when she left the room....I immediately told Sister, in no uncertain terms, my named was Genie. The teacher and kids called me Genie....but my mother wrote notes about me and addressed me as "Eugenia" in public.....outside of being a mother thought the name made me sound like I was above the normal Riff-Raff of the neighborhood....which was something else that was important to her.
When I took music lessons in grammar school, I told Mrs. Rodgers right away my name was Genie.... not Eugenia......but since I didn't write my name down....Mrs. Rodgers surprised me one week with sheet music just for me....." I dream of Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair." It was some old minstrel music....the words antiquated...."born like a vapor on the summer air...happy as the daisies that dance her way." Now I took full control of my name.......not only in what I wanted to be called but how I wanted it to be spelled...I signed all my school papers and notes as "Jeannie"...and I even had light brown perfect could that be?
~ mother accepted the new spelling of my name....but my father... till this day....addresses and writes to me as "Genie."
Senior year in high school....I was part of a group.... from my all girl catholic high travel to Europe as their senior project. There were 12 girls in Italy with one nun as a chaperon. We had fun....some of us had a lot of fun.........when some cute Italian boys stood in the alley outside of my hotel room .....calling out......"Heya blonda, heya Gina....." I took my name to the next phase.....abandoning the childish name of my youth...for the more worldy and exciting name of Gina.....
I left for college with that new wasn't Italian...but that didn't matter....I had matured in my two weeks in Italy....I could see men would be wild about me...and I wanted a name to represent the new vixen in me.
Unfortunatley, the boys in Nebraska were blind....and didn't see me as a vixen or goddess or anything....but when you start a new life at some far off school and tell everyone your name is Gina....well ....that's what people call you.
Name challenges continued to plague even after college..... being an only child....I was the last in the family to carry our surname. So when I married.....on the West the crest of women hyphenating their names.....that's exactly what I did.....took two names and tried to make it one.......resulting in a legal mouthful that haunts me to this day.
There isn't a medical system or library system or school system...that hasn't fowled up, messed up....and broken apart my name....which has 4 K's in it......after a few years....I dropped my maiden name....but legally....I must keep the full mouth numbing train of names...starting with Eugenia. Trust me it's a nightmare.....and when I go to a doctor's office or get a new credit card.....I'm always in streamlining mode...."Just call me Gina XXXXX.......that's what I go by." Everyone seems quite relieved.
The Internet and passwords and ID's gave me another chance to change my name. I could now sign into websites as DorothyParker or HotVixen. I wrote some erotica under the pen name of Candy. Name freedom....the freedom from my name (and myself?).....even found me at the bookstore...I'd swipe people's name tags..... left in storage in the break room when they were not working.... and wear them for a day. There were days I was "Barbie" and "Joe" and "Tim."
Here in the south, famous for unusual names....(Stone, Steele, boys named Kimberely and Beverly) was not inconceivable that I could be called Tim or Joe....perhaps it was short for Timberly or Josephine?........and since I am blond and blue-eyed and have a nice sets of breasts....why not be called Barbie for an afternoon? After all Ken was waiting for me in the pink convertible outside the store in the parking lot.
I wrote back to the woman organizing the reunion and mentioned that I now go by the name "Gina".....
"I'll have to get used to that," she said, " I don't know you by any other name than Jeannie."
Eugenia. Genie. Gene. Jeannie. Gina. Barbie. Candy. Joe. Tim.
There are people who know me only as one entity/one name......and yet each new situation, each new day....I can choose to be who I want to be people I meet......whether I have changed my name or not.
It's an interesting thought....and I guess I can be the poster child for people who change their names to reflect change in their life.
I wonder what my next name will be and what situation will hand me the opportunity to morph again.

Friday, June 08, 2007

More Things I Learned about Traveling on My Hellish Journey

1) Always carry Kleenex. Let's face it're on your own...if you're miserable you're going to have to dab your own tears.......and even if the airlines don't give a shit about who you are and your particular doesn't mean YOU don't have to'd be surprised how much mileage a small package of Kleenex can have.....
I gave a few tissues to a woman who was standing near me pleading with the rebooking agent on her cell phone to find a plane to Baltimore. Her two small children were in the hands of a babysitter who could not spend another night at her home to take care of them.
Then there was the woman who was crying because she had a big job interview on the West Coast...a dream opportunity....that she was going to miss by a whole day.....and a key player in the interview process could not reschedule.
One man was calling several buddies to see if someone would go over and check on his cats. (He was not crying but sweating profusely.)
I gave my last few sheets to a woman...who was supposed to meet her lover in Vegas....and would be delayed a day....out of a two day rendezvous. Her pain so visible on her face....I wanted to hug her....which I know was a poor substitute but might have been better than nothing.
I was lucky to get a hotel room.
2) Remember airline crews and personnel are like politicians in training. Nobody knows anything and nobody can remember anything.
"What will happen if I miss my connecting flight?"
"I don't know."
"Will they supply a room or a discount?"
"I don't know."
"Can I rebook or will I be on stand-by?"
"I don't know."
"Was there a weather problem or a scheduling problem?"
"I'm don't know. "
3) If you're a woman...always carry a tampon in your purse. Of course it's not that time of the month...of're not scheduled for days....of course you WILL get your period at 11PM in the airport terminal when the stores are closed....(another good reason to always travel with Kleenex.)
4) Keep a firm grip on reality no matter how long you sit in the terminal. Thoughts like....isn't that cute....they put bunnies on the walls....demonstrate dangerous thought patterns. No, they did not but bunnies on the wall to entertain you while you wait....they're just crossbeams and bolts.

Bunnies ? or artistic crossbeams?

5) Never visit Brookstone in the airport. In your fatigued state, you may actually think a 35.00 personal hair trimmer is a good idea for the men folks at home or a photo ball that lights up when you touch it.... will be a smashing Christmas gift.

6) Watch food combinations. If you've had bran flakes at the free breakfast bar in your hotel, it's not a good idea to eat M&M's in the airport...even though you're bored and the chocolate might help your psyche. You may discover another reason OJ jumped over those suitcases and ran through the airport in those old commercials...and it has nothing to do with car rentals and everything to do with getting to certain parts of the airport quickly.

7) Talk to everyone and listen to all the cell phone conversations around you. You might get a stock tip or stock idea, you'll relearn business speak if you've been away for it for a'll learn buzz words and positive slants...for example there are no problems in the corporate world... just "challenges" and " opportunities." You'll hear how other people talk to their mothers and husbands and kids and you can learn fascinating there is an anatomy and physiology teacher's convention, there's a shuttle that leaves from Chicago to Bloomington, Illinois at 10:05PM sharp, there's an interesting movie out about bestiality based on a true story, and some people feel the best cure for jet lag is to go against the advice and actually sleep when you land instead of staying awake. Fascinating.

Long rebooking lines are perfect places to talk to everyone about everything.

8) Volunteer to skip your flight....If you're two days late...what's a few more hours? can get a voucher.... at least you can get something out of this bad deal....unless of course.........they call your name and tell you...thanks but no thanks....You can board the plane there is room.....they'll open the cabin door just for you.....ah geez thanks.

At least my bag made it home...listing....and crooked and bent....but still intact.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

What I Learned on my Hellish Journey Home Thanks to American Airlines.....

How my day started.........

Early morning beach scene on Long Island

It was time to go home....time to leave NYC and return to my normal life. After a week in the city, I decided to leave Manhattan and meet the ocean......I rented a car at the airport and spent my last morning on Robert Moses Beach, a thin strip of sand off the south side of Long Island.

I arrived at find the beach almost empty except for a few folks fishing.... a few nudists (one with a sock on his penis....either to prevent sunburn or because it was cold...I'm not sure which and I didn't ask) and a few beach myself. Pounding surf, isolation, was gorgeous. I reluctantly headed back to the airport for my afternoon flight.

I was supposed to arrive home Sunday evening.....I returned Monday afternoon. American Airlines had some type of meltdown in across the US were affected.......I could regale you with minute by minute grisly details....but instead.....I thought I would share 20 things I had learned on my hellish journey and unanticipated stay in Chicago overnight. So when you can benefit from my experience.

Things I've learned on my hellish journey:

1) American Airlines prefers certain people....that's right...they value some people more than others......they like them and wish there were more of them....I am not a preferred person. I have no knowledge of offending anyone at American.....I pay taxes, I fly as much as I can...and often pay a hefty amount for a ticket....but they still don't like me. They prefer other people...and they're quite public about it...."Preferred Customers can begin boarding."

The people American Airlines likes stand up with smug little smiles and head towards the plane....the rest of us are left to look around....and realize we are the dredges....the filler on the plane.....they don't like us.....they let us on....because they have to.......and when they say there's a life vest under your seat or the oxygen mask will pop have to wonder if one is really there....because if you don't value everyone....why go through the expense of putting expensive equipment near them to save them in case of an emergency??

2) Never stick your credit card in Internet kiosk at the airport. Bored and not able to hook up to the concourse Internet system.....I decided to use one of those Internet check-your-email kiosks where you pay 5.00 for 15 minutes of net time. I stuck my card in....I moved the cursor....I pressed enter...nothing happened....I pressed other buttons nothing happened....I hit a number and it send me to a weird page on line.....I pressed ....I hit....I even waved over a friendly teenage boy who looked amused and asked him if he had suggestions.....he gravely shook his head....and pronounced it hopeless.....but the timer was still running....I was now up to 6 minutes....10 minutes with no way to stop the charges.....I thought of walking away....but the meter kept running....I called Hub ..."Google this damn company and see if there's a customer assistance number".....12 minutes.....15 minutes......."it says the site is under construction"......16 I called my credit card......"help! it won't stop charing me"...they cancelled my card. I will have to dispute the charges.

3) Be nice to your nipples. Airports can get very very cold after long periods of time. Your nipples weren't designed to be permanently "on".....carry a camisole or t-shirt in your purse......return those missiles to their normal resting state....besides you really look silly trying to hold your breasts for prolonged periods of time in public.

4) Always get a no fuss haircut before traveling. When you in-room hair dryer doesn't work and when the hairdryer housekeeping brings up.... is missing a button'll be glad you can just shake and toss your wet hair into a style... knowing hours later in the subartic environment of the airport it will dry ....and no that's not hair's a little frost...which works just as well.

5) Always bring food with you on board. Airlines are tricky now. They tell you to get on....they lull you into thinking you're going to leave the area.....and then you sit on the runaway for an hour or costs 3.00 for a bag of chips travel like my grandmother used to on long car trips... she always kept a bag of goodies with her....cause you never know and you never know.

6) Never sit next to a businessman with a Blackberry. They are fucking annoying...reading their email.....making phone calls....punching little messages out with their big fat fingers on the tiny keyboard...and you have to listen to them call their secretary or "administrative assistant" and say things like...."Mary make arrangements for a taxi to meet me.....Mary change my meeting schedule....Mary pull all the internal memos on the new project out for me and have it on my desk....Mary do you have a suggestion on how I can wipe my own ass because no one will do it for me here."

7) Never wear fancy sandals when you're flying. Oh they look cute....they make you sweet little manicured toes stick out so sexy.......but they aren't really meant for walking....and when you have to hoof it to K18 from K1 and then they change your gate a couple times or perhaps you need to walk to ground transportation on the other side of the airport.....those blisters will remind you ....fancy sandals are for show not walking.

8) Use down time in the airport to promote oral health. When you check into a hotel unexpectedly because you're flight is'll have some choices...razor and shaving cream? or toothbrush and paste?....take the toothbrush and paste and bring it with you to the airport....brush hourly......your teeth will gums, though bleeding, will be fresh and germ free....and let's face it's something to do....and easier than shaving your legs in the airport bathroom sink.

9) Save your energy....positive thinking does not work on thunderheads. They didn't tell you this in "The Secret" but positive thinking should be saved for more esoteric things...thunderheads and the resultant turbulence will not go matter how long you visualize a clear sky.

Thunderheads do not yield to positive thinking

10) Never fear a seat assignment in the last row of airplanes with rear engines. Yes, it's quite startling to look out the window and see nothing but the metal wall of the jet engine. But views are over rated.....and the hummmmmm and extra heavy vibrations you feel from sitting a foot away from a jet engine is rather special....bury those fears there's some kind of electromagnetic danger from sitting hours next to a whirrling engine .....consider the roar hypnotic and try and go to sleep ....remember to carry something along to make ear plugs for just such a situation.....Kleenex is a poor substitute for a proper ear plug and may not completely come out of your ear canal when you need it to.....remember the bright'll be the first to know if the engine falls off.

More lessons on my next entry.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Ouch feet and arms....Conference fatigue

Another beautiful day here in the city....the weather is just perfect and I'm glad since I have to do a fair amount of walking to and from the midtown bus to get to the convention center.

I stopped at the donut/coffee man stall across the street this morning....and after my purchase told the owner I wouldn't see him anymore....since the stand is not up on weekends...."See see I knew you were not from smile so much..." which was a nice compliment.

It was a gorgeous walk to the bus and I love looking at all these handsome business men walking by in their dockers and ultra starched shirts.....sometimes if you get in back of a group of men.....their aftershave wafts after them....and hmmmm that always smells so nice and

If you can believe this.....A tourist stopped me to ask about the bus.....whoa.....I must look confident to be mistaken for a local....or very serious...since most folks here wear a very serious mask for daily

The convention started today with a children's session that was just a hoot.....I think they booked comedians instead of authors......then the convention itself opened.....the trade show of trade show in books....there was just a massive swell of women (the show caters to librarians) with huge bags....waiting to get their free books, merchandise or trinkets.....some of them were serious.....really serious.....grim-faced often with an accomplice and they were just scooping up the was just picking a few things here and there....because I thought of the walk from the mid town bus to the hotel....and also thought about the 50 lb weight limit.

The Javits convention center lost their air con for a there were thousands of people packed in the aisle sweating profusely....and carrying heavy bags of books. Not pretty....I finally gave up looking for a seat and found a hallway off to the side of the convention and just sat there on the floor for a while....cooling off....trying to cool down and calm down from the energy of the crowd.

As I was leaving the convention site...the last booth I saw had little Dr. Ruth there...the sex lady....she was signing some books about an the Druze....some pre Isreal pre Arab people that have lived in the Middle East? She was very cute and animated and very a bright peach you couldn't miss her.

On the bus on the way back to the hotel...I looked up at the purse that was dangling at eye level in front of me (which belonged to a woman who was standing) and was shocked to find little brown eyes looking back at me....a tiny black poodle hunkered down in her purse. Good looks like it goes everywhere and knows how to behave.... it seemed happy to be gazing out over the rim of her bag and I'm sure if you weren't looking very wouldn't even have noticed it.

Have to jump into the shower because I'm both exhausted and stink....don't think I'll have Internet access till I get home on Sunday... I don't want to buy another round of access from the hotel...laptop addicts list they are wireless but you have to pay at least 12.00 a day for the privilege.. New York is not fact the dollars have been flying out of my wallet...especially since all the service people at the hotel have their hands out.

Have only taken a few pictures.. I'll share those when I get home......

tah tah.