St. Petersburg Garden

St. Petersburg Garden

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Fitness Craze

I arrived at Zumba class raring to go. The instructor for the night was full of energy. His play list was topnotch. Full of club music - the kind with the beat that really makes you want to move around the room. We were all in position. The music was thumping and that's when I noticed her. She was barefoot. Ew. That was what first brought her to my attention.

I knew this was going to be an entertaining night. There's always that one person you can count on to liven up the class. We began our warm-up and things really got moving. Then it happened. Out came the cell phone. Barefoot girl started to text. In the middle of class. Are you freakin' kidding me?

Now as I'm sure you may know, I am highly amused by the goings on of those around me. Even when I am completely engrossed in my workout, I can't help but look around and see what everyone else is doing. Or what they aren't doing. Which, in this case, happened to be the in the form of the girl next to me. She kept me entertained throughout the hour. I'm not talking in a "wow she's really good" kind of way. I'm talking the "seriously? What the hell is she thinking" kinda way. She was so absolutely ridiculous in what she was doing that I was fascinated. I couldn't stop watching her.

Don't get me wrong. I got a great workout. Actually, it was one of the best ones I've gotten in a while. As I write this, my ass is still re-living the night. And yet, my eyes kept peeking out of the left side of my head to see if she was still doing it. She wouldn't stop. Well, technically she did stop.......working out. Yes, she actually stopped working out to text.

I looked around the room in disbelief. Was anyone else as amazed at this as I was? The whole class is now shuffling back and forth while this girl has actually planted herself in one spot to text. Did I miss something? Was this Text Zumba? She wasn't even watching the instructor. Her face was just buried in her phone. And then it happened. It took all I had to hold in my laughter. We were all moving across the floor.

Barefoot texter had just rejoined us. She was now trying to move and text. Was that even possible? Apparently not. It must have been too much for her. She went down. Hard. She got up fast, looked around, tried to resume the moves. Here's the clincher......she resumed texting even faster. I should have whipped out my phone too. At least I could have gotten it on camera. This was almost too good to believe.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It was Charlie....

I didn't sleep well last night. I usually don't sleep well so I'm accustomed to not ever getting a good night sleep anymore but every night as I get ready for bed I tell myself that this is going to be the night. This is going to be the one. My head is going to hit the pillow and I'm going to fall into a sleep so great, so sound that I won't wake up for anything. Never happens.

It doesn't help that I'm a light sleeper. A leaf dropping will wake me up. We even sleep with a fan and that sound doesn't mask anything to keep me under. Temperature is another thing. I need cold. Every night, I don't exaggerate, I'm talking every night, I wake up - hot - open the sliding door, change my pajamas and hop back into bed.
Back to last night. I kept having this strange dream. Mike had his arm wrapped around me and for some strange reason he kept shaking me awake. It kept happening over and over again. It seemed so real. It felt like it was really happening. Um, because it was. What the hell? Like I needed any help staying awake? He didn't do it just once. Not twice. This was the third time. I finally shoved him off and growled at him to get off me. He rolled over.

I thought it would end there. Nope. The shaking continued. This time I shook him, told him to stop. He was still half asleep and said he wasn't doing anything. Another involuntary shake. I told him again to stop. Here's the clincher.....he said it wasn't him, it was Charlie. He blamed the dog. Little Charlie was shaking the whole bed. And me. Charlie, who's at my feet and sound asleep, moving not a eyelash. I tried not to laugh. I was tired and grumpy but this was amusing.

I reminded Mike this morning of his earthquake activities. He still says it's Charlie. I can only laugh. I told him that I was a witness. I saw his hand, saw the shake in action. He insists that it was not him. It was Charlie and that's the story he's sticking to. This is why people get dogs. There's always someone to place the blame on.

He may be joking today, which is still debatable, but he was serious last night. When I told him that I was shaken awake he still went with it was Charlie and he meant it. He even insisted that he could feel him moving behind him although the little tyke was already at my feet. If only Charlie knew.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shark sighting at the vineyard

We are members at Ponte Winery in Temecula, CA. It's a beautiful place. We feel it's one of the best wineries in the region. This may have something to do with the fact that it's the only winery that gives out snacks when you wine taste but you'll learn that this is a very important factor. Snacks are key when wine tasting. Empty stomachs are dangerous. Very dangerous.

Ponte doesn't just have snacks, they have pita chips. We're talking high end snacks. These things are slammin' (translation - delicious). It's very important to position yourself in front of a basket of these bad boys when you arrive. Most people might find a spot by the wine list. That's second in importance. Trust me. It's all about the pita chips. You'll start to realize that as the wine hits your empty belly.

But on this occasion, it's a Friday night, we are at Ponte for one of their special occasion shopping nights. Ponte has these every so often throughout the year and as the holidays approach they will have them every Friday. This was our first so we were pretty excited. It's a members only affair but guests and friends are invited. We brought our crew and headed to wine country. Even though we got there early it was already packed. Ponte is the place that is always packed. Our chauffeur, ok, Mike, dropped us at the door and parked. All the wine was free tonight, as were the hors d'oeuvres and any purchases were 30% off. Free food and drink. What could be better.

We hit the bar and searched for food. No food. Hhhmm. I swear the invite said food. I'm feeling a little guilty. I told my people food. Mike leaves on a search and rescue mission. We head back to the bar. We then notice that there's a crowd at the side exit. It almost looked like a feeding frenzy. It was like someone threw food in the water and the sharks were all gathering to attack. Hey, wait a minute, food....sharks.....whoa.

Mike came running over. Apparently there was food. As soon as it came out of the kitchen and made its way inside, those sharks pounced on the servers. They never got past the door. Those greedy bastards! It was time for a new game plan. We headed outside. Closer to the kitchen. We'd stand outside the chum circle and head off the sharks before food even got to them.

We all stood around when we saw it coming. A white plate held high in the air. The food was on it's way. We all reached out and grabbed. VICTORY! A chicken kabob. Aaahhhh. This game is getting good. Who knew we could outwit the sharks. We waited for another white plate to make its way down the path. We got excited. What tasty morsel would we get this time? But wait. Holy sh*t. What the hell....the sharks....they're coming.

I've never seen them move so fast. They freakin' ran down the path. Literally. They ran down the path. They just attacked the server. She didn't even see it coming. She barely made it out of the kitchen. Didn't they get enough? It always amazes me. The same people had been hogging the food all night and they were still making a grab for the food. Would they ever stop?

We held our ground and our positions for the rest of the night. We eventually did get more food. It was all delicious and yes, we let the servers move along and pass out food to other people. I've seen people get crazy with their wine but when it comes to the food, that's an area you just done mess with. Sharks, in and out of the water, are definitely the most dangerous creatures to deal with. They'll take you down to get what they want. I know if I hadn't moved out of the way of that mini taco tray, I might not have made it out that night.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Back off B*tch

I like taking classes at the gym. I try to go at least three times a week, operative word here is try. When the music starts, I am very glad that I pushed myself to come. Of course my favorite part is the end of the class but that's another story. Getting to the gym is definitely the hard part. It used to be the usual excuses - I'm tired, it's getting dark out - but once I found the class that I loved to take those excuses weren't the reasons anymore.

Sure, getting there was still the hard part but for a completely different reason. Location. It's all about location. It's not just for real estate people. In order to get a prime spot in class, I need to arrive at least 20 minutes before the class starts. It's a tough crowd. No joke. Ruthless. I'm talking lynch mob. I've almost been trampled.

I usually take the night classes but after my near death experience I was taking a break and going for the less frightful morning scene. It's still a fight-for-your-life experience but you can leave the weapons at home which is nice since they don't really fit in the gym bag. I always go front and center. I'm not one of those people that like to be behind anyone. I know what I'm doing. I believe that if you know what you are doing, you belong in the front row. If you don't, move.

I've seen so many people who are clueless insist on running to be front and center and then are lost throughout a class and throw off those around them. This is very annoying to those of us who are trying to get a great workout and who must then be careful of what we are doing. Move it or lose it. Hey, I've been a newbie before. I've kept to the back when I was. I didn't distract anyone. I learned, I moved up.

So here I am, getting ready for class the other day. This class starts pretty early so it's empty for a while. There was no one around me. I loved it. The music starts, I have plenty of room. Ah, this is the way a class should be. 15 minutes into the class I see her. The woman we refer to as "the saver". She likes to come into class early, leave her bag in a certain area on the floor to save her "spot" and leave. You can't save spots in a class. This is not allowed but she does it.

All of a sudden I realize that I have no room next to me. That b*tch just came and stood almost on top of me. What the....are you kidding me? I look around the room. There are so many spots available and yet, this woman is practically in my lap. I am amazed. I'm trying to concentrate on what we are doing but all I want to do is take this woman out. To make matters worse, she's one of those. Yes, you guessed it. Uncoordinated, no rhythm, keeps moving in the opposite direction of where we are all moving. Ugh.

What the hell is wrong with people? Are they seriously that clueless that they don't see all the open areas and see no problem with moving right on top of someone? I wasn't about to move and I wasn't going to shorten my movements. If she wanted to be near me than she was going to hit. She must have gotten the clue a few times because she backed away although she kept inching closer to me again every so often.

However, a couple of dirty looks and some arms swings in her direction kept her at bay. I think she wanted my spot. Maybe she thought she could bully me into moving. I don't think so. Obviously she doesn't know who she's dealing with.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Screamer

Most people have dogs that bark. Many people have dogs that yelp or yap. There are even those unlucky few that have dogs who whine. Thankfully we are not these people as this is incredibly annoying. We always bragged about how quiet our little Charlie is. Doesn't make a sound. Sure, the occasional bark may come out. He is after all a four-legged individual, it's to be expected but we don't encourage it.

However, what we have recently discovered is something that came as quite a shock. Yes, it is highly amusing and we weren't quite sure what to make of it but once we got over our laughter we realized just how unique our little man is. Charlie, our little 10 pound brown fur ball, is a screamer.

We knew Charlie was a special little tyke when he started playing tag and hide-n-seek with us. Just like our nephews. He loves to chase us into a room, wait for us to notice him, then run and hide. He'll then chase us back, wait until we hide and then search through the house until he finds us. It's hysterical to watch him get scared when he doesn't notice Mike sneak up on him. He'll get scared, jump and either run through the house so fast or fall to the floor. Usually. This has always been the routine. Until the other night.

It was business as usual. Charlie was waiting for Mike to get him. The game of choice was Tag. Mike was "it". I was just a bystander. Charlie was running through the house. Apparently he didn't realize how close behind Mike was because when Mike reached out to touch his paw.......AAAAAAHHHHH. Mike and I both froze. Charlie ran. Mike began his defense. He said he barely touched him. That's when we knew. He just scared the scream out of Charlie.

Now I've seen a lot of things with dogs. My beloved first dog TeePee could unwrap Peanut Butter cups and not rip even a corner of the wrapper - that's talent. I've seen dogs open doors, hide things, cuddle with stuffed animals, the list is long but I've never heard of a dog that gets so scared that it screams. I actually don't know who I was more amazed by - Mike or Charlie. Mike loves to scare people and the fact that he actually pulled a scream out of our dog is pretty impressive but the fact that Charlie actually screamed....that tops them all.

I think Charlie tried to get me back the other day. I came home and as I walked through the door I didn't see him on his usual spot. I called to him and when I looked down he actually did it again - he screamed and jumped. I couldn't believe it - twice in one week. What the hell? For the record it worked. He scared me. Now it's my turn for retaliation. He'd better watch his back.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lemons R Us

We cook with a lot of lemons and by we, of course I mean Mike. He doesn't read this, he'll never know, I can take credit for everything. It's a safe guess to say we probably go through about 2 lemons a night. Now, this could be an expensive habit. Lemons aren't exactly cheap. Well, for most people anyway. We happen to have our own private little stash.....nah, not our yard, it's the neighbor's. Even better. No rotten fruit falling to the floor. Just a quick run across the street with a bag and we're set. What could be more perfect?

One of the things I love most about living in San Diego is having a supply of fruit trees in the yards to pick from. Our neighbors have lemons, limes and oranges. Since we moved here 4 years ago it's been the best part. We haven't bought citrus fruit in years. Yes, we're friends with them and they give us free reign which is great because it saves us the trouble of waiting until after dark to collect our fruit. It's been a great run. Most days when we realize we need a lemon we can just run across the street and pick. Yes, I say most days because lately someone else has been hitting our stash. We noticed a few weeks ago that our little lemon tree was looking kind of empty. We confronted our source about it. We told him he should know better than to let others pick off "our" tree. It was almost bare!

Apparently, there have been others. Can you imagine? We thought we were the only ones but he was letting other neighbors pick off our, ok, his tree. We told him it had to stop. Another neighbor dropped by while we were in crisis mode. We find out he was our competition. We told him he needed to find his own tree and get this.....HE DID! He found another source just around the corner. There's only one drawback - it's a hostile environment. He was already attacked while picking. Even though the trees are on the street side, outside the fence, technically this makes them free game but the homeowner didn't think so.

This can only mean one thing. Operation Midnight Pick is in full effect. No one gets in the way of us and our lemons.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What a Boob

For most of you this won't come as a shock - I have big boobs. People always seem to think having the big guns are a great thing. You're so lucky, they'll say. Sure I am. I have to double up on the sports bras so I don't knock myself out. Why they think it's a great thing I'll never know. I've always thought it's a pain in the ass, well, actually the chest. I always have to search for that bra thats just right which is no easy feat. I remember walking into Victoria's Secret and searching the shelves for my size. At the time I was a 36D. I asked the girl why there weren't any hanging up. She told me, and I quote, "Oh we don't hang those. They don't sit right. The're too big." Nice.

After losing weight I thought I was a 34C. I was pretty excited. I wasn't a D anymore. Yet, the bras were so uncomfortable, they kept riding up. I decided it was time to get a proper fitting. I went to a new shop called Intimacy. This place was amazing. Not only was I properly fitted but the bras were fab-u-lous. Sadly, I was still a D although not a 34, but now a 32. Confusing I know but as long as it fits and it all makes sense. Sure, this place is more expensive than Victoria's Secret but not only do you get a proper fitting, they also will re-fit your bras when they stretch after the normal wear and tear. WOW. I was feeling pretty good. I filled out my information form and was on my merry way.

Imagine my surprise a few months later when I received a phone call telling me that I had won a drawing from the boutique. A gift certificate of $250. Holy shit! I won, I actually won something. I didn't even know I had entered a drawing. Perfect timing too as I was just thinking about getting more bras. I arrived early for my appointment. The girl that helped me was great. Thankfully I had brought my previous purchases and she saw they needed to be adjusted as well. I had already gone down a size and now needed a 30. After I made my selections, the very helpful salesgirl took my old bras to send them out for re-work and I got my things.

As I was preparing to leave the room, what I believe to be the manager appeared and asked if I was the girl who one the gift card. I said yes. Here's where it gets interesting. So called Manager said, "I'm so glad you came. When I heard you were from Oceanside I knew you could use that gift certificate". Um, are you f**king kidding me? What the hell just happened here? I think the fact that my jaw was on the floor might have clued her to the fact that I was in shock. I actually didn't know how to react. Hindsight - I should've taken off my giant shoe and hit her in the head with it.

The irony of the situation is that there are many homes in Oceanside that are worth millions of dollars. This is, after all, a beach town and real estate is still high. I just don't know what shocked me more - the fact that this woman thought the entire city of Oceanside was poor or that she actually had the nerve to tell a customer, one that had already purchased from the store previously, that they were poor. I think she might have realized her mistake. She followed me out, kept telling me how she tried calling me for days. I told her if you don't leave a message I can't call. She said I didn't have an answering machine. It's a cell phone, it comes equipped with voice mail. I eventually did get a message which is how I knew I won.

I then told her it's political season, I have political pundits calling me daily and I can't be answering every call. She looked confused and walked away. I also whipped out my Coach wallet from inside my Coach purse to pay for my balance. Guess she didn't notice that. She probably couldn't see past my tailored jeans and black leather jacket. They probably looked too poor for her. I think it screamed skid row. Oh well, it's back to the bowery for me.

Customer relations for Intimacy is outstanding. They not only got back to me in less than 24 hours but they will be taking care of the situation (as well as taking care of me - wink, wink). I can feel better knowing that they honestly do care about their customers. I didn't want to look for a new store. Who wants to run around town showing your boobs to new fitters?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

NYC Tradition

Ahhh, Les Sans Culottes. This is always one of the first things that we think of when planning our trips to NYC. I'm serious. This is no ordinary restaurant I'm talking about here - this is tradition. Years of tradition. Always a night of fabulous fun. We have never been disappointed in how our evening turns out when we go to our French restaurant.

Yes, I said "our". We've been coming here for so long, we look at it like "our" place. We have "our" table. No one can sit at our round table in the corner when we are coming for dinner. That's where we sit. It just wouldn't be right. We even have our assigned seats. We always sit in the same seats. It's just common knowledge. Everyone knows. Even the owner. When she sees the five of us walk through the door, recognition immediately passes across her face. We're treated like family. At Les Sans, you can sit back and relax as everything is brought out. There's no rushing here. The atmosphere is fantastic.

It always starts with the giant basket of vegetables and huge array of salami brought to the table. Of course there's also pate and delicious crusty french rolls. This is what we have to enjoy until we decide we are done. After dinner and dessert - which are always amazing - we are given after dinner drinks, usually Amaretto or Grand Marnier. Even at this point we are never hurried along. We can still sit and enjoy our drinks, enjoy our conversation. I always feel so alive when I leave. Perhaps it's because it combines the best of both worlds - NYC & Paris. Who knows, but I do know that once a year is definitely not enough to go. My future is calling for upping the tradition.....I'm seeing once a month. Yes, that sounds much better. I like the sound of that.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Big Apple

It was great to be back in NYC during the best season - Autumn. It's my favorite time of the year which is why living in San Diego is never my ideal during the fall. I was so excited to be going back to New York and of course I couldn't leave without the little furry guy so Charlie got his suitcase packed & to the big city he came. And yes, he packed his own suitcase. Charlie is a dog of many talents.

Our first adventure was apple picking. What's a fall adventure without a little apple picking? It was a first for many - Charlie and Liz. Not all behaved. This time it wasn't Liz. It started out great. The weather was perfect. Blue skies, not too warm, not too cold - just right. We all hopped in the mom mobile and headed to Warwick, NY - otherwise known as "upstate". Hey, anything north of the Bronx is upstate.
Charlie had his friends too - Mia and Ziggy were along for the adventure as well. We arrived, parked and started to pick. It was great - Mags, a.k.a. "mom", and Liz got in the trees and started to pick. Empires, Cortlands, Macs, they put them in the bag. None of those Red Delicious though. Blech. We were having fun, walking and picking, taking pictures. That's when it happened. I was only in the tree for a second. I guess that's all it takes. A few barks, a leash falls, Charlie flies through the air. You just take your eyes off the kids for one second and the trouble they get into. I don't think I've ever moved so fast. I flew through the air after the little tyke. Thankfully the other dog owners were understanding. No harm done. Just a bark and run.

Charlie had a time out in the car while we resumed picking. I think all that fresh air made him elated. Who can blame him? He just wanted to run free, run wild, be one with the farm. Besides, he had new friends. Or partners in crime depending on how you looked at it. I guess I could understand - I let him out of the car.

It seems that Charlie has found himself in NY. He became a fan of running around in the grass, rolling in the dirt, chasing squirrels & birds. This is the same dog that tiptoes through the grass at home because he doesn't like to walk in it. Who would've thought. Charlie is a New Yorker in disguise. I guess I know where his vote is on where to move.