Category Archives: Bloggie

Highs & Low(e)s pt. II

 

Movin’ on up to a Deluxe Apartment in the Sky

I coerced, conned, bribed, sweetly asked my mom and nephew to help me with the rental apartment turnaround. I promised them a comfy hotel room, several good meals and the accomplishment of a job well done cold hard cash. They were both phenomenal, my nephew primed/painted everything from 4’6 and lower, my mom is a task master organizer extraordinaire. We weeded, swept, scrubbed, painted, dusted and boy did we ache. There’s still stuff left to do, but the prospect doesn’t seem quite so hopeless. My bro is in Tampa, my sister in NC, and my Dad and I both travel so much that the only time we’ve spent together this summer is taking/picking one another up from the airport. So…to my Mom and my Nephew….I couldn’t have done it without you and the check is in the mail*

If I Was A Rich Girl

As is of course standard, anytime I am about to leave the state/country major expensive type things go wrong. My car, Wander Woman, they want $1700 to fix everything that is wrong with her, Dude, the car didn’t even cost close to that. An oil change and some wiper blades should be enough, right? right?

The duplex has sprung a leak….AGAIN, after we replaced the drywall (ourselves) in unit B last fall, the leak has returned and rendered our work all for naught. Anyone who thinks rental property is sexy…run, run like the wind unless you are a talented carpenter/plumber/heating & AC type or have goo-gobs of cash. The sad truth is that I can’t afford NOT to have a mortgage, so I will just continue to thank God/the Lawd/FSM that I have resources to do what I do. And the new carpet that is coming on Thursday? Yeah, that costs more than I paid for the car too.

More About My Nephew

I made a shrimp and (low fat) sausage scampi last night for dinner, my nephew ate a HUGE portion, then went back for seconds. When he finally consented to yield his plate to the dishwasher, I caught him LICKING the plate. I guess it was good. Tonite we’re eating off of paper plates.

*and by that I mean there really is no check, but wasn’t that Denny’s breakfast GOOD?!

Currently I

Currently I would like to: find the perfect motorcycle at the perfect price.

Currently I am listening to: Robin Thicke and Mary J. Blige.

Currently I am reading: High Society by Ben Elton.

Currently I am craving: Mexican Food. Scratch that…GOOD Mexican Food.

Currently I’d rather be: Snuggled up in bed with someone special, drinking coffee and reading the paper.

Currently I am worried about: Getting the rental unit finished for the new tenants before I have to leave for New Hampshire.

Currently I am glad: That I stuck with it and can now proclaim that I am a juggler! 3 Balls Baby! Wait, that didn’t come out right…

Currently I am trying to figure out: The perfect balance between what I want to do and what I HAVE to do, and maintaining a sustainable pace of life so I can be healthy, happy and productive. Anyone figured this out yet?

Currently I am reflecting on: What a great weekend I had at someone else’s million dollar brownstone in DC, with an amazing kitchen that I got to test out with my famous Rasta Pasta recipe and grilled asparagus and eggplant and chicken-apple sausage…with the most comfortable bed in the world and icy-cold A/C…that I don’t have to pay the mortgage on.

What are you doing currently?

California Love: Friends Near & Far

  

ryan ericka and sherri, originally uploaded by funchilde.

I’m back from California. It was just what the doctor ordered in terms of feeling more energized, focused and refreshed. I went out for work of course but had 10 days between the two events I needed to attend, I hit San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Jose and finished up in Palo Alto…and of course, there was that one day in Napa that shall never be mentioned again. You know your day can only get better when you wake up to the phrase “Yall still here?” (Thanks Blaine and Tawana!).

The work part was pretty great. We laughed, laughed, worked until we were so tired we were delirious and laughed some more. My favorite saying at the end of each day was “First round is on ME!” This is for my NY client and I love my colleagues more each time we meet, there are those I miss, but our mix of personalities and workstyles keeps everything moving fast and with alot of fun. You can’t beat that.

I was lucky enough to have gracious hosts and decadent hotels, but of the two I enjoyed the time I spent couch surfing the most. I stayed with Sherri (above right) for 5 days and got to see her beautiful home complete with orange, apricot, plum, and lemon trees (and something I’m forgettingooh, pears).

It was nice to feel domestic and pick lemons right off the heavy branches and make lemonade. No trips to Trader Joes/Harris Teeter/Von’s necessary. Likewise, mojitos with fresh mint from her garden were the perfect welcome. I enjoyed helping out with the fruit picking and clean up, loved cooking breakfast on the grill, we strolled through the Ventura Weekend Market and checked out the San Buenaventura Mission, read (Golf for Women Magazine), napped, read (Back Roads), listened to old school Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, and read some more. Oh, and watched a phenomenal movie (Half Nelson w/ Ryan Gosling).

We’re both foodies, so it was nice to indulge and be indulged-I grilled steaks and asparagus, portabella mushrooms and chicken-apple sausage. She made a crustless quiche, salsa from scratch and an amazing breaded Tilapia. Wine was a staple, a necessity. The weather in SoCal is so amazing that I worked outside on the back deck every day.

We had a BBQ that included Ryan and Ericka (above w/ Sherri) two of our Semester at Sea students who are absolutely adorable, gracious and wise beyond their years. I also got to hang with one of Sherri’s best friends and met this guy (one of my favorite OG’s of Hip Hop-note the capitalization).

I also got word that I’ll be going back to a project with one of my favorite clients, this time for a 9 month (oh lawd) stint. So this trip represents the slow closure of my immediate sexy travels, but I’m excited to be in one place for a while and work on my fitness and health goals, get to know some people better, and plan the next big phase/trip/thing. So, back to New Hampshire I go….!

I’m already researching Mexico, Thailand and an overland Europe to Africa Trip. And I am always game for another jaunt on the Green Tortoise. Whatever it is, I hope to keep making friends around the world because there’s nothing better than re-living your journeys with people who were with you.

More than anything I missed my nephew, and I can’t believe I’m admitting this…felt a touch of baby fever, not that I want to actually birth one, but the thought of nurturing and loving a little person crept up on me. But it might just have been gas from the asparagus. And while I’m happy to be home on the east coast, I can’t say that I missed either the humidity or the mosquitos.

So what’ve yall been up to?

Napa to L.A.: Bloggers Meet Up

Dia & Adrienne Bloggers Meet up, originally uploaded by funchilde.

Lala land is certainly interesting. I think people here take themselves a bit too seriously, but they are all about individual style which I like. Anything goes. And I mean anything.

I have enjoyed hanging out w/ Stella at her fabulous place in Studio City. I can now say I have a friend “in entertainment.” I know she will take Hollywood by storm. It was hard packing her up on the east coast a few weeks ago for the move out here, but she so obviously belongs here that my joy at her good fortune eclipses all that.

I must confess that I have been working hard (really!) and relaxing hard too. Stella’s corporate pad boasts a pool and hot tub in the courtyard which are great “carrots” for getting some work done. Stella is settling in nicely and has indulged me by vacating her kitchen so that I can cook to my heart’s content. She hasn’t even been in the kitchen since I got here so I’m pretty sure I’ll be welcomed back.

I also finally crossed paths with a blogosphere friend and colleague! Adrienne who also blogs for Gadling and her own personal site, is just as charming, charismatic and down to earth in person as she is in cyberspace. A talented writer and journalist indded. We met up for some sushi and drinks and talked late into the evening about all things travel.

I’m off to Santa Barbara/Ventura for a few days. Let me know if there’s anything I should see/do. This is definitely one of the best summers ever. I hope yours is too!

Metaphors, Similes, Analogies & Comparisons

 

Photo: Somewhere In the Indian Ocean. One of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life, we had 3 nights in a row like this and Venus (the planet, not the tennis player) was very bright in the sky. The weather was warm and breezy…perfect.

Life As A House

Upon returning to the US 6 weeks ago, I attended my brother’s wedding reception then promptly slept for two weeks. I ate as many vegetables as possible and declined to turn my cell phone on. Since then I’ve slowly climbed out of my shell, and looked around only to delight in the fact that it is summer. And still early summer at that. Cookouts have been had, toes have been dipped, 18 holes of golf here and there, 9 holes there, tennis and hiking (okay, ONE hike).

I also really, really needed a break from everything. I am not good a slowing down, and when I do I usually stop altogether and I had to really allow myself to just sit for a good while and regroup. I have been going full out since last September, and though everything I’m doing seems (and generally is) fun, rewarding and productive, it is also exhausting sustaining that pace. So I’ve also spent a fair bit of time reading: Backpack, Woman: An Intimate Geography, Chocolate, Eleven Minutes, Fever Pitch, The Curios Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and so on. I love when I get on reading kicks, one of my favorite ways to fall asleep. I’ve also put in a fair bit of movie viewing time since so much came out while we were gone, films: Blood Diamond, The Departed, Fantastic Four: Silver Surfer, Failure to Launch, etc.

In between that I’m trying to fix up one of the rentals that was just vacated and it struck me how similar the process of fixing up a house and tending to your life can be. I had to do an assessment, figure out what the priorities were, purchase the materials and get to work, slowly but surely, realizing it won’t all get done in a day. And so it is with me. I’m working on my physical health in much the same manner. Going to the gym, eating niblets of things that grow from the earth, avoiding things that end in -ookies, -ake, and -ied. I’ve lost a whopping 4lbs in 4 weeks, I’m convinced its my MIND. My summer goals are:

Workout: Health = #1 Priority

Work: Have Fun Everyday while delivering GREAT service

Learn to Juggle: I’m t-h-i-s close…

Buy a motorcycle. I got my license last summer, and again this depends on how long I’ll be in the USA.

Travel Plans: Depending on how one of the proposals I have in turns out, I may be in the country for a while. If it doesn’t pan out, I’ll probably head back to Latin America in October. If it does, it would be totally fun to work with this group for a stretch, then I’ll probably head to Latin America then Thailand in late Spring 2008. God willin’ and the creek don’t rise, as we say in the south.

Working 9 to 5

Well, not really, but I’m LOVING it. small and medium clients are rolling, proposals out to two others, and some possible international opportunities on the table. I keep thinking..”oh, after I do X I’ll settle down and get a real job…” but I have realized a) I HAVE a real job, and I love it and b) I don’t have to settle down if I don’t want to. Indeed my worst fear is that I’ll fall madly in love and desire to abandon my vagabond ways. I’ll be out in California for most of July. Part work, Part Play. I’m hoping for some quality time with my colleagues, some Napa Valley nectar, some exercise and to hang out with some Semester @ Sea folks. I’ve already hit DC, New York, Chicago and Indiannapolis since I’ve been back (for work), so I guess I’m back in the saddle.

Friday Night Lights

I learned a couple of years ago that I don’t do Friday night dates well, especially first dates or “big” dates. I mean if you have a good friday that means you’ve hit the gym, gone to work, run errands (dry cleaner’s, liquor store-what?), maybe pampered yourself a bit (mani/pedi?) and then to go on a date at 7 or 8 pm? Not me, I am too used to being in the bed by 10:30pm. By the time you add up dinner and a movie its damn near midnight! And goodness forbid if there’s some potential for hanky panky…I’m TIRED. No wonder I’m single, call me on Saturday.

I also had a Friday night recently where I dropped in on not one, not two, but THREE different events, and they couldn’t have been more different. A neighborhood block party, a margarita dinner and a bachelorette party with a Pole Dancing instructor. Yeah, you read that right. I thought it was cute but being more of a “beer and darts” kind of girl, I watched for a little while then escaped to return to the block party. whew. that was close.

Like Water for Chocolate

One of the things I missed about life on a ship is access to a kitchen. Since I’ve been back I’ve been on a culinary run. My family loves my Rasta Pasta and I’ve even got them digging whole wheat pasta! My nephew and I have been living it up and have added a Monkey Cake (complete w/ a banana) and homemade donuts for Father’s Day to his growing list of culinary masterpieces. My favorites so far have been the fish tacos and the lamb gyros, both of which were new attempts for me.

My Mom made a Crab Crusted Steak one night, and my dad pulled all the stops out on a Crab Boil so, the fact that I’ve lost 4lbs is starting to sound like a pretty amazing feat no?

Tell me how you are doing and what your summer goals are in the comments or leave a link to your blog. Cause I’m nosey like that.

OH, I thought you said “Drinking Blogger Award!”

 

Though my internet connection is expensive, slow and generally non-existent, I’m still soaking up some linky-love! First, Marilyn over at California Fever tagged Funchilde for a “Thinking Blogger” award. As if that wasn’t enough, my colleague Adrienne from Gadling, nominated one of my shots from India for the “Photo of the Day” on April 14th.

So, as part of the “Thinking Blogger” award/meme, I’m supposed to nominate 5 (five) bloggers for this award. This is a virtually impossible task for me because I read so many and I only read blogs that make me laugh or make me think. So I’m going to highlight some blogs that I normally wouldn’t/don’t mention here.

Mad As Hell Club: I don’t even know how to describe this. Just read their description here. They aren’t happy with the way things are going and they’re using their brains and creative talent to give voice to some solutions and ideas. AND they are pretty funny if you like smart, fast, acerbic wit.

Lynne D. Johnson: If I wasn’t me, I’d want to be Lynne Johnson. She’s smart and her profile resonates with me, black, feminist, hip-hopper, nerd. She writes and publishes on several spaces/platforms and I have been following her off and on for about 2 years. I found her current platform through Swirl’s blogfeeds.

J. Brotherlove: Freelance writer, web designer, and all around smart guy. Love his socio-cultural view on events and personalities. Just when I think I’ve got something figured out, I wander over and J blows me away with his perspective.

Opinionistas: Reformed lawyer chick Melissa Lafsky in Manhattan. “A continuous examination of the ridiculousness of human behavior”-how could you not rush to check out something with a tagline like that? Her acerbic wit and biting commentary on the legal profession specifically, and mundane office work in general make me laugh and make me think about how I’m living my “work” life.

The Happiness Project: Gretchen’s posts are at once personal and intellectual, social commentary and scientific examination-all on the subject of happiness. She and I would have almost nothing in common except a love of reading from what I can tell (she doesn’t enjoy listening to music—WHAT?) but I dig the way her brain works and the tips, insights, quotes and struggles to obtain and maintain that elusive zen state.

So get to it, I’ve just handed you nuggets of gold with which you can further delay doing actual work or performing necessary errands.

Things I’m thinking about:

Should I head to Beijing from Hong Kong?
Tragedy at VA Tech
RIP Kurt Vonnegut
Don Imus controversy

Port Everglades, Fl: Almost Famous

Just a quickie yall. On the move to the BAHAMAS! Don’t HATE, CONGRATULATE! Sorry, I got a little carried away.

[1] Funchilde and Megan got a HUGE shout out on the National Geographic Traveler blog! Holla!

[2] I have a couple of new posts up over at Gadling (my posts are here Mom), good grazing while I get my life together over here.

Pre-Trip Planning: Courage & Inspiration

     

I’M No AnGeL But.., originally uploaded by ..Pu®e PoiSÇ’N...

So, I’ve been blogging for a year. My blogiversary was Saturday and this post was written more than a year ago as I worked up the courage to quit my lucrative career, pack everything up and rent out the house, give the nod to a relationship that the sun was setting on, and take a leap of faith. Let me know what you think, share your own story if you like.

A TALE OF TWO ELLENS

The first Ellen was a junior high school classmate. Ellen B was closer to our mutual friend Monica than to me, but we were an affable group of 14 year olds who swore we had dozens of friends and fantastically cosmopolitan futures ahead of us. The second Ellen was a professor at the undergraduate business school that I attended. Ellen W was an Associate Dean by the time I reconnected with her in 2004. And though I had never had her as professor, she was happy to meet me for lunch, where we hunched over an index card as she helped me construct a metric to evaluate graduate programs. These two women were almost 20 years apart in age, and their successive deaths in 2005 still manage to astonish me.

Initially I thought that the two Ellens were pretty different from one another, one was black, the other white, one was younger and lived on the west coast, the other more mature (in years) and a long time east coaster. But after some scrutiny, I realized their similarities were remarkable. They were both single, neither had children and both had a deep, almost tangible faith in God. They were both kind, generous and carried themselves with a humility and openness that is hard to articulate, but easy to recognize. They both had what I call a “warm spirit”. They were the kind of people that even if you don’t believe in God, it would comfort you to know that you were in their prayers. Though I failed to find much dissimilarity in their lives, their deaths couldn’t have been more incongruous.

Ellen B died slowly, over the course of two years, battling daily to gain the upper hand over an aggressive disease. The last time I spoke to her, she sounded like she was winning. Ellen W died suddenly, over two days, succumbing to a merciless virus without warning, healthy on Friday, gone on Monday.

I was heartsick over Ellen B’s passing in that human way we all react when someone our own age dies. I wondered if she ever got the chance to fall in love? Did she travel to foreign lands and eat foods she couldn’t recognize? Did she dream about marriage or children? I wondered if she had ever been so happy, that time slowed down and she could feel the earth’s movement moment by moment for a split second, with a grin on her face and people she loved around her? I did not know these things because we fell out of touch after high school, I kept up with her through mutual friends, but our personal spheres never crossed until I called her when I learned that she was ill.

I was heartsick over Ellen W’s passing in that human way we all react when someone we have recently spent time with or laid eyes on dies. And I wondered about her life and loves too. I hope that both Ellens had the joy and heartbreak of a full life. That they were not strangers to love (people, places and things), and its inevitable companion: heartbreak.

I do admit to hoping that both found work that they were passionate about and utilized their gifts and talents. I hope that they both had many moments of heart-bursting joy, to temper the inevitable pain of a human existence. But mostly I hope, for my own selfish reasons, that neither died alone. That each was comforted by both earthly and heavenly creatures. That on one side of the divide of time, there were warm hands pressed into theirs, soft skin stroking foreheads and whispers of psalms and peace. And I hope that on the other, there were unmistakable celebrations of divine welcome and promises of harmony and rest.

I of course recognize that I wish these things not only for them, but also for myself and for all of us who have yet to make the final journey home. And it gives me a comfort that I cannot name, to think that when my time on this earth has come to an end, that I will be greeted by two warm spirits that seem at once familiar and breathtaking, but happy to see me. I wish this for all of us. And so I go, because time truly waits for no (wo)man.

Let’s get this party started.

Pre-Trip Planning: But Kind of Not

  

[1] Do you think Gadling knew what they got themselves into when they asked me to write for them? I don’t think so either. Check out my initial blog post and my official introduction, then stick around and take a spin through the archives. The site is hella fun, chock-full of info for all things travel, and we don’t mind if you leave us comments (Thanks Blindian! You know who you are!).

[2] PhD application status: 5 down, 1 to go. After all the blood, sweat and tears I have put into this journey, if somebody doesn’t let me up into those ivory towers, I’m gonna burn ’em down. But don’t tell them I said that because I think that’s “pre-meditated” and right now I’m just “under-medicated.”

[3] Remember my nephew? The one who is 10 going on 50? I forgot to mention that this fool is in a BOWLING LEAGUE! I swear he’s got a smoking jacket and tobacco pipe hidden somewhere. I asked him what he’d do if he had a million dollars. He said: “Probably exacly what I’m doing now!” and proceeded to make himself a PB&J – so I guess that is evidence of a well lived life, even at 10 years old.

[4] Travel update: I’m burried under paperwork right now, invoicing clients, updating travel insurance, the whole nine. I have to wrap up my project here at Dartmouth and figure out how to get my shots without paying a damn fortune. Nothing sexy going on over here…but stay tuned.

T-minus: 19 days and counting to Semester at Sea.

First stop: Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Nassau, Bahamas.

Pre-Trip Planning: Paging Dr. McSteamy

 

The Funchilde International Base Camp (FIB-C) is rather a mess these days. And by mess I mean I have commandeered my parent’s dining room with my paperwork, printer, files and various electronics. This week I will concentrate on finalizing my vaccinations (International Yellow Card pictured) and avoiding filling my anti-malarial prescription (if you’ve ever taken anti-malarials you’ll sympathize).

If you’re planning your own adventures outside of the US, check out the State Department’s updated travel/health advisory(ies).

T-minus: 22 days and counting to www.semesteratsea.com.

First stop: Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Nassau, Bahamas.