Posts Tagged ‘family’

Eat, Pray, Seattle

December 14, 2012
Surprise, I'm home!

Surprise, I’m home!

Andrea turned 21 last week. As the oldest of four children, I have deemed it my unescapable duty as the eldest to properly ring in every sibling on their most anticipated birthday. I’ve flown to Florida to weather a hurricane and stalled out cars in the middle of nowhere and enjoyed the rains of Washington to celebrate with my brothers and now, it was Andrea’s turn. The trip started off simply enough. But as Day One of Four progressed, the trip morphed into not only a celebration of life but a serious celebration of wonderful food.

This is real life.

This is real life.

It started with the grande soy creme brulee latte from the Starbucks at Chicago O’Hare, the worst fucking airport in the world. If you are a cheap bastard (and I can be), you will fly thru this airport. I arrived from Boston with what I imagined was ample time to get a holiday latte before my flight. I had been up since 4am with a slue of family awaiting me in Seattle; therefore, I could NOT be groggy. I waited in line to order and receive my drink before hustling down the long walk-away all the way from the N gate to the H gate. I arrived literally as they were calling “Lora Doofy”.sazrak

“Oh, that’s me. I’m Laura Duffy,” I corrected the stupid flight attendent. I cleared through with my THREE bags (limit one with a personal item) and settled into my seat for the 3.75 hour ride. Mom and Dad picked me up in Seattle and brought the sunshine with them. The day was so clear that flying in I could see the Four Peaks: Rainer, Hood, St. Helens and Baker. It was absolutely breath-taking. Don’t see that in Massachusetts… ever. Mom and I wrecked the day with a trip to Nordstrom and a lunch date at Sazerak. The trendy speak-easy had the most eclectic assortment of small plates and we just were too hard-pressed to choose; so we got one of everything! We munched on dates with cheese wrapped in bacon, lightly salted Jordan almonds, wild mushrooms, a trio of cheese, a light apple and walnut salad while sipping on some of the restaurant’s signature drinks. Amazing.

Cheers with Dad

Cheers with Dad

Dad and I had a father-daughter day the next morning in Kirkland. I love Kirkland. We went to Trelis, a lovely restaurant inside a hotel that my dad was a part of creating. They serve brunch every morning till 1030am, so after Pops and I went for a run around Lake Larson, we set out to sample some breakfast treats. The place was dect out in holiday garb and while we were the only guests in the restaurant, Trelis was a complete success! I ordered eggs Benedict. Shocking. It’s what I always get whenever I go out for brunch. Unless of course I’m at Trina’s. When I’m there, it’s a bagel egg sandwich with a bean patty and Fernet with Tony. Anyway, the food was scrumpcious! With a cup of joe and a mimosa at my beckoned call, Dad and I gabbed about motorcycle trips, my girls’ weekend I’d recently had with work ladies

Me love cookie.

Me love cookie.

and talked about my boyfriend. The nom’ing didn’t stop there. Dad and I trekked down to Wine World in Bellevue to pick up something for dinner and bought a gourmet designer cookie as well – though we were still stuffed from brunch! I selected a snowflake cookie. It was so beautiful and perfect, I almost couldn’t eat it. But guess what happened…

Andrea claimed me for the rest of the day. After Dady and I were through shopping and eating, Andrea and I took him back to work in Seattle and ventured down into Seattle for some quality time at Pike Place Market. This is by far my favorite place to shop and eat. Sure, the things aren’t high fashion or 5-star michellen rated, but the smells and color sights make up for anything

Get me some!

Get me some!

that Yelp might bitch about. We walked around and bought flowers and painting, saw fish flying around, and took a picture for the PPM piggy. There was even an old school toy store where I found the Breyer horse figurines that I’d always wanted as a kiddo. They were always so pricey… good to see that some things never change! After grabbing a coffee at the original Starbucks, we drove in a search for the Space Needle. Where was it??? It’s not on 2nd… it’s not on Mercer… But lo, we found it near 4th and Broad St!!! So exciting, you can almost touch it! Annie B and I grabbed nibble at Tilikum Place Cafe and enjoyed a spice bean soup and split pea soup with pulled ham. They were almost closing for their hour break in between lunch and dinner but the wonderful server let us in anyways to enjoy our girls’ day out. Andrea went through my phone looking for pictures of our brother and his new finance.

Seattle Sippin'

Seattle Sippin’

I just kept sipping my French 75 and slurping on my pea soup. We called it a day shortly after and headed home to help Mom with dinner. As if we needed to eat more…

Good home cookin'

Good home cookin’

Mom wanted to go for a swim when she got back home from work. Mom is a very little lady, so we must keep her that way and allow for swim time. Therefore, I volunteered to cook up the salmon and corn she craved. The recipe was simple enough: salmon steaks with flour, parsley, sea salt and pepper to taste flash fried on either side and served with black berries in a raspberry vinegar. Dad and I had the football game on and I was sipping Col Solera’s grappa in a mug so no one would know. Very naughty. I forgot I bought the eau de vie in April. It was as potent as the day it was distilled. Dad and I bought two pinots to match with the salmon, one from Willamette and the other from Santa Barbera. They were okay, I naturally prefered the Willamette-dammit bottle of Pinot although I completely forgot the name like an idiot. It was bottle I first met while working at The Purple Tooth… (thanks Dad, it’s the Benton Lane 2010 Pinot Noir).

The last full day I was in Washington started off raining. I know, it was shocking to me as well. I spent the morning with Andrea and Carter Bear while we awaited Annie’s bus to work. Upon her departure, I prepared for my day of eating the best way I knew how: with a run. I jogged around Lake Larson without ear buds or any music at all. Washington air smells so wet and fresh that I am positively convinced if green had a smell other than pine or mint, it would be Washington air. The sounds and scent of damp forestry kept me going throughout my whole run and the light rain didn’t distract me one bit. I took Bear out for a quick poo when I came home and even though he’s ancient (10 years old for a Berner is nearly unheard of), he looped alone and smiled a doggy wet grin throughout the whole .3 mile jog. He’s a good pupper!  

After locking up the house, I ventured back

Slip and Fall into Kirkland

Slip and Fall into Kirkland

down to Kirkland for a coffee and a burger. I went to Tully’s where I used to work for a nostalgic coffee but after waiting for some barista to come to the register to take my order, I left disgruntled and surrender yet again to Starbucks. Doppio compana, if you please. The girl behind the register had no idea what I was asking for but the gal on the bar knew. Thank god. I sipped on my piping bevy and walked to The Slip. The Slip is a burger joint where I would work in the summers during college. Every staff member learns to do everything there from hostessing to waiting tables and even grilling. I make a mean burger, bitches. My old haunt still featured my favorite burger of all times: the Peanut Butter Bacon burger. Serious guilty pleasure to be sure! I ordered that immediately and sipped on another favorite, the Slip’n’Fall. It’s made with gin, rum, vodka and triple sec with a splash of grenadine. Good night. Oh, and I had two. The juice burger dribbled down my chin and the side salad did nothing to make me feel better about myself. Whatever. It was simply amazing. I chatted with the staff and stared at old photos from past Slip cast members. What a Kirkland gem!

Yogurt with Andrea

Yogurt with Andrea

I had made Andrea a solemn promise that I would visit her at Skinny D’s, a yogurt shop that my Aunt Regina owns. My aunt developed a similar concept in the 80’s and I can still remember going to her shop with my brother, David, and smelling the waffle cones fresh from the griddle. Aunt Regina would watch us sometimes and we’d always hafta finish our soup before she would give us a yogurt. Fortunately, I make my own decisions now and I’ll have yogurt whenever I want, thank you! Skinny D’s is a great place filled with homemade decor like purple and green hand-painted glass on the walls and a plethora of savory yogurt choices! I always fill my cup with Taro, a yogurt based on a forest root. Andrea was there waiting for me when I finally bumbled in around 2pm. We nabbed a Starbucks across the street before coming back over to her work to check the place

Yes I will have a latte and yogurt!

Yes I will have a latte and yogurt!

out. Skinny D’s has the warmest feeling to it, you can’t help but eat everything! There are little tasting cups for when you can’t decide which yogurt is best… or if you just wanna keep eating. Andrea showed me the new computerized gadget that Reggie installed and we sat at a sequins encrusted table to lap up our yogurt. I put a little bit of fruit over the top of my treat just to make myself feel better but ruined my attempt at health when I saw the frosted animal cookies. Oops. Taro yogurt almost has this sweet purple-esque green tea flavor to it. For being some type of root, Taro really is delicious!

I took my leave shortly after we finished our yogurt so that Annie could get back to work and I could go bother my parents are their respective places of employment and snag a wax from my girl, Becca, who was guest starring as a high-demand estetisian at the Aveda salon, Habitude, in Ballard all the way from Boston. Crazy that we were in the same town at the same time!

My wonderful family

My wonderful family

After giving Carter Bear way too many human food treats when I finally returned home from my very full day of adventures, I surrendered to packing up to leave for Boston. I completely decimated the room I was given like a ticking clothing time bomb gone baserk. To make amends, I put thoughtful notes all over Mom’s room and in her things. She has the best make up ever. After playing dress up with Andrea, we were finally ready to head over to my Aunt Reggie’s house for a birthday party where some serious munching was a promised activity. It’s funny how the memory works even after a nearly a decade. I haven’t been to Aunt Regina’s house in years but I knew how to get there. Over the mountain and through the woods to Bothell we go! Reggie’s house was lit up like a Christmas tree and the interior was even more surprising. A Victorian tree, twinkling lights, candles, green garland and glittering ornaments accompanied homemade hor dourves and dessert goodies. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my. My nanny and pop were there from the East with Aunt Kerry and

Caramel turtles, chocolate crinkles and peaunut butter drops!

Caramel turtles, chocolate crinkles and peaunut butter drops!

Aunt La La. All the West coast family was there too along with 20 other good friends of Regina’s. The spread was incredible! Cheese trays, quiche offerings, a goat cheese-stuffed meat roll, fresh roll and cold cut fixin’s. And that was just one room. The kitchen had egg rolls with a savory sweet and hot dip, white and red wine with soft drinks and on the kitchen table where delicable dessert treats! Pecan bars, rice crispy peanut butter drops, chocolate crinkles and caramel turtles. Then for the cake portion of the evening, the Skinny D’s girls made several yogurt cakes! You can’t make this up, people, everything was simply amazing.

I can’t believe how much family time I was able to clock in during this trip. Seeing my East coast family while on the West was just incredible. I didn’t mean to not see anyone else but my kin, I was just to selfish for time with my mom and my family. The dining treats were definitely an added bonus and made the trip all the more memorable, but being a part of my sister’s 21st birthday was irreplaceable. How do you put a price on a memory? The moment your sister tried

I love you all!!

I love you all!!

Prosecco for the first time. Drinking a beer with your dad on the couch. Snuggling your mama at 2am before your 4am flight home. The potentially last precious time you get to pet your aging dog. For everything else there is MasterCard.

This was priceless.

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Fantasy THIS.

September 5, 2012

Yes I will ring in the end of summer with a mimosa, a run around the Charles and a fit of fantasy football. My day off started similar enough to the rest: Do I go to the gym? Do I go to Trina’s Starlight Lounge for industry brunch? Is there a new Real Housewives of New Jersey in my TiVo que? A drafting session with my brothers and cousins was tentatively scheduled for mid-evening, so I had no qualms with starting my day off with a little mid-day drinking… at 1pm. Hey, it’s Labor Day (and a Monday), why wouldn’t you enjoy a beverage? And for cryin’ outloud, it’s the first drafting day of fantasy football – everyone should be in the proper spirit.

So I went to a Labor Day party. I instructed Andrew to bring over his laptop so that I could have my Iphone, my friend’s computer and also Andrew’s computer for my fantasy maddness. My strategy was simple yet sound: Pick the guy with the coolest hair, the newest smelling jersey and when in doubt; default to the Ravens or Pats. Since I live in Boston, I found the nod to the Pats to be appropriate. As for the Ravens default… well, they fuckin’ kill people so…

I showed up to Mark and Kathleen’s casa all set with warm M&M cookies and Cliff Lede sauv blanc, ready to get down on fantasy foot ball in style! Daniel call me to confirm that yes indeed, the draft would be starting at 9:30pm eastern time. I had about three hours to consume adult beverages, sample the delectable food that Chef Mark of Stoddard’s had whipped up and of course, gear up my three inter-web devises for the draft. Surrounded by chow and electronics, I would be an unstoppable force capable of massive ass kicking.

Chowin’ down prior to my draft with Andrew

Enter serious issues. I couldn’t get my Iphone to register my team name on ESPN because the usual pop-ups that go hand in hand with a sports website were boggling down my phone’s system. Plus a million other douche bags had the exact same idea I was currently trying to enact: Set up kinda early and drink for three hours. FML. I switched from my phone over to Mark’s computer but it had about 1.5 million programs running so you can imaging the cheetah-like speed that I was getting. Wrong. I started to absolutely lose my shit. I was yelling at Tony to fix it, he was yelling at me that I wasn’t drinking my Fernet shot, Mark was yelling that I needed my shock collar on again and I added wild hand waving to the equation just to be spicy. Fortunately, when Andrew showed up, he brought in his computer and I took off right away attempting to log into the guest network on a clutter free device.

Pink Drink with Tony

Except the guest network was overloaded with the party’s guest Iphones, Mark’s computer and now Andrew’s computer, so who couldn’t fit on the Internet? This guy. I was literally losing my mind. Tony wasn’t sure why I suddenly liked football and with all the guacamole around me, I wasn’t sure either. Just kidding. I had both my brothers, several cousins and it was rumored that Dad was playing too, all on the line counting on me to be that seventh useless player. C’mon, with all that at stake, you’d kill yourself for a computer too! So with my reputation and good name on the line, I left the party with Andrew on the good faith that I would indeed return after my draft to finish my shot of Fernet with Tony and continue to partake in the guacamole.

Andrew and I raced home to log on with three computers: My mini, his Apple and um… the somm’s computer that may or may not have just happened to fall into my bag before I left on Sunday 😀 Jen was home and we quickly set up a small operation’s table in the living room. I looked for sports paraphernalia to wear and I couldn’t find a damn thing, so I use the only thing I could get my hands on: a Husky’s hat. (thinking back on it now, I do have a Seahawks jersey upstairs. Stupid.) I figured out my log on, changed my name to Boston-kickin’urA$$ and got ready to draft.

Small problem: I didn’t know where the drafting options were, how I could select anyone and oh my f*ck, I just had my very first QB pick washed away to default!!!! I called Daniel and started screaming, “What the f*ck is going on!?!?! why couldn’t I pick my own quarter back!?!?” The explanation was simple and logical: You select a play and push – wait for it – select player. I know. Science unfolding.

I waited with baited breath for my turn while Jen and Andrew checked stats and conferred with their own posse of people. Jen’s brother was offering advice, Andrew liked Texas and Ohio, I knew and wanted the Ravens and on my f*ck, Dad just took Tom Brady.

I called him and started swearing. He put my sister on the phone instead. My baby sister! Who does that??? I hung up on her. I was literally throwing things around the room as player after player that I knew I wanted disappeared from my available roster. I snagged a couple of dudes that I wanted: Antonio Brown, Tony Romo. My first picks kept gettin’ ninja’ed though: Aaron Rodgers, Tom of course, Eli Manning. My family was so cut throat during this whole ordeal that I don’t think Christmases will ever be the same. I was screaming and calling everyone all the names I could think of as players continued to disappear from my screen. I called Daniel twice, David hung up on me, Dad never called me back and oh my god… DAD JUST TOOK THE RAVENS DEFENSIVE LINE!!!!

My own father took the team from the state of my college career. What is this? Penalty for going outta state? Out of state tuition pay back? Hey. We don’t all wanna be cougars.

Cheers… and shakey hand syndrome is a true ailment.

I learned a valuable lesson last night. Get your quarterback and immediately grab up your defensive line. Otherwise your father will and you’ll be fucked because lo, you’ll be playing him for the very first game of the season immediately after the draft like me. I hate my life. So, concluding the draft, I immediately put civilized clothes back on (I threw my shirt during the Ravens DL theft), and went back to the Labor Day party to continue to lubricate my woes. Best of luck this season everyone. God knows I’ll need it.

Martha’s Messes

July 14, 2012

$700 a month for an apartment used to only include a room for your personals, maybe a bathroom or two, a kitchen of sorts and if you were lucky, a few doors for privacy. Well, my $700 a month also included a parking space! Right in front of my apartment, which is wildly convenient for bringing in groceries but also a safety measure since I typically get home late at night. This parking situation has carried on business as usual until just recently. Now I’m dealing a grotesque breach of contract and I feel like a paying stranger in my own living quarters. No, my roommate and I aren’t feuding amongst ourselves for parking rights or a lack of ability to cough up rent when it’s due as in most domestic partnerships. Rather, I am now struggling with a passive aggressive usurption of my lovely parking space! Lend me your ear:

I live in a three-story, multi-family house wherein the landlord lives on the right half of the house and my roommate and I live on the left. My landlord, we’ll call her Joy, has two degenerate children. I use the term children directly refering to the infant-like actions Joy’s offspring exhibit daily, but in no means does the word “children” coincide with their age. John and Martha (I don’t know the son’s name, but that’s the daughter’s real name… it’s just such a dreadful, cliché name that I couldn’t be asked to change it!!) are both between the ages of 25-31 if I judge correctly. John also has an 8-year-old daughter that lives with him as the mother is unfortunately legally barred from seeing the girl. Let’s count, that’s four people living in a small, left-sided apartment with then myself and my roomie on the right; this renders a total of six people in one narrow house. 

Wow.

Martha and John’s daughter enjoying a car ride together

Fortunately, John doesn’t have a car. He has a daughter and a drug problem, but no car. Joy has a car. My roommate doesn’t have a car. John’s daughter clearly does not have a car. I have a car. Aaaaand Martha has a car. Three cars for six people vieing for parking in front of a narrow house.

Now, apparently Joy is some kind of major property holder and gave her daughter, Martha, the keys to a house just up the road from my address. Martha fucked that up somehow when she slept with the current tenant who demanded his keys back in a 7am-blowout that happened on a warm Saturday morning when I wished I was asleep instead of peering out my bathroom window listening to southie dialect and screaming. So, Martha doesn’t live in her own house anymore and has pulled the noble move of “living with Mother”.

I wouldn’t give two shits about this new living arrangement if Martha didn’t come complete with morning drama and a snazzy white car to take up my parking space. Joy doesn’t allow me to park in front of her driveway because that’s where she parks. She once told me to move because I was blocking her garage. However, when the door opened a few days later, old AC units and impaled flotation devices spilled onto the driveway. Her true issue? I was in her personal parking space. Well, your damn daughter is in mine! 

Enjoy my spot, Martha. Don’t get hit by a bus on your way inside

I’ve lived here now since March and I have become quite accustomed to parking in front of or very close to my house. Why wouldn’t that be a normal practice? I pay to live here! Martha does not. She takes my spot, screams at boyfriends at all hours of the morning, and her car sits there all damn day. Fortunately for her, Martha doesn’t have a job. Joy does, Martha doesn’t. Joy’s car moves occasionally but good ole Martha’s just chills in the coveted spot that used to be mine… and silently mocks me.

Not what I want to walk down after 12 hours in heels…

Now, when I come home at all hours of the night from work… or play 😀 … I am plagued with finding a spot far up my own street. But more often than not, I hafta park on the main road and deal with the drunk degenerates hollering as I leave my car to walk down the street to my house. Last Friday night, I was coming home from work in my finest weekend eve attire, and a drunk man on a bike nearly followed me home yelling his name was Mark over and over again. The next morning when I walked out to my road-side park job, Mark had left his phone number and again his name on an old lottery ticket, encouraging me to call him whenever. This is just ridiculous. Joy once said that Martha sometimes lives with her… obviously this sleeping with tenants issue is a common occurence… but I wish she would just leave.

I miss my parking space… :C

I’m probably going to go and speak with Joy about this matter in the next few days as we’re going on 4 weeks of Martha’s Messes.

I just want to park my car in front of my apartment.

Bim Ellen, the world’s angriest (smallest!) pumpkin

October 25, 2011

For whatever reason, I really lagged on getting a pumpkin this year for Halloween. It’s already October 24th and I just bought my festive gourds this afternoon. There’s no excuse, it’s disgusting. Who in their right mind procrastinates on purchasing pumpkins!? It’s like waiting until 5pm to drink on St. Patrick’s Day – it’s unexcusable. Well, I repented today by driving down to my local farmers’ market while waiting for some homemade pizza dough to rise. As a kid, my family would go to the pumpkin patch at Craven Farms. We search through fields and fields of pumpkins for the perfect (or most hideous) gourd to purchase. There was face painting, a petting zoo, a corn maze, silly treats and tons of photos! Well, sadly I don’t live near a pumpkin patch and the free time that I do have isn’t best spent driving to Princeton to find an orange friend. The farmers’ market served me well!

Which one will be mine?

Through wooden shelves of pumpkins, I searched. Not nearly as nostalgic as physically cutting your gourd from the vine, but beggars can’t be choosers. After about a half an hour, I selected three pumpkins. Not because I needed three for anything dire, I just wanted more than one!

Lemme tell ya, waddling with three rolly polly puh-kins over to your car is a joke. I almost dropped my orange friends on the sidewalk! Regardless, we made to the car

The boys!

and the boys rode baller status in the back seat. Things got a little out of control from that point on. As anticipated, one pumpkin ended up having more personality than the others. The littlest puh-kin turned out to be quite a screamer. He was fussy and liked to be the center of attention. When I was trying to gather the boys to get them into the house, I obviously had to give the larger two pumpkins some additional TLC since they weighed the most. However, little baby wasn’t havin’ that at all and he almost rolled out from under my chin onto the cement to a certain death! I had to make two trips up and down my long stairway since he was being such a bitch.

When I got everyone inside and onto the table, the smallest pumpkin demanded to have his face cut first. I was going to do something cutesy and nice, but his attitude was so ridiculous that I made the executive decision to showcase his personality to the fullest. Me, me, me!

Whatever. I put him on the window sill in my living room to display to the neighborhood that I am indeed participating in Halloween this year. I went outside and made the attempt

Are you KIDDING me right now?!

to take a photo of my new decoration but the window was too high and my pumpkin was just too small. After running up and down my neighbors’ porches in a vain attempt to capture my amazing carving job on film, I gave up and came back into the apartment only to find that the little shit was trying to eat Nick’s plant! I couldn’t believe my eyes.

He’d been a part of my life for barely half an hour and he’d made himself at home in the grossest sense of the phrase! I promptly gave him the horrid name of Bim Ellen.

Bim Ellen's delicious insu.

Carving pumpkins comes with the reward of delicious seeds, so I made a rosemary and sea salt medley from Bim Ellen’s insides. Those suckers take about an hour to make, so I tried to busy myself with other tasks like pizza kneading and cleaning. Bim blew out his candle twice before I had to bring him into the kitchen and chaperone him like an infant. I didn’t give two thoughts about eating my finished seeds in front of him until he jumped into the pan and started having a fit. I didn’t have the heart to tell him the little munchies were his guts. It just would have been so uncomfortable.

Cut it out, will ya?

The night was just ruined after that. I couldn’t blog because he was just staring at me and making that damned face. I’m kinda scared to carve the other two, I can’t handle another pumpkin personality!

Can somebody spare a dollar? PLEASE!!!

May 1, 2011

Dad once came home from work and told us about a woman he and a coworker had encountered on the streets of Kirkland, WA. She was crying, pleading for $9 for a bus ticket. She only needed that $9 to see her sick son, I don’t remember where he lived. Dad’s coworker told her to get lost and snickered as the two of them walked off. Dad felt differently. He said she looked so sad and scared. I heard that story when I was about 7… I’m now 26 and I’ll never forget how I felt inside: Angry at the coworker, very sad for the poor woman, confused at how no one would help her.

Is this really what Seattle is known for?

 In the 1990s, Seattle used to scare the shit out of me because all over the city streets, bums would approach pedestrians and beg, they’d sit on curbs and stink, you’d hear them getting jeered by naughty college boys. I hated driving into Seattle on Sundays for our usual Science Center trips because we’d always pass a dirty bearded man with a “Please Help, God Bless” sign. Sometimes we’d give him money from our car windows, sometimes we’d drive by like everyone else. I still remember that feeling emanating from the pit of my stomach: hot and knotted, embarrassed for complaining about not getting an extra scoop of ice cream, grateful for my little twin bed.

Last summer, I was at my favorite coffee shop in Cambridge, sitting outside with my laptop. The breeze running through my hair felt fresh, I had a new dress on, and somebody close by was making their baby coo. Suddenly, from nowhere, a shrieking voice yelled,

“DOES ANYBODY HAVE ANY MONEY AT ALL!? I NEED A NEW SHIRT!.. IT’S HOT AN’… AN’… THERE’S NO PLACE FOR THE HOMELESS ANYMORE!! …. PLEASE!… PLEASE!!”

His cries grew louder, he started sobbing in the middle of Cambridge on the common way. I stared at him like the other people who had been enjoying the sunny day until a moment ago. Finally, a man walked up to the pacing, upset young man and handed him what appeared to be a large bill.

“HOLY SHIT!!! THANKS MAN! YOU’RE AMAZING!!!… THAT MAN IS A SAINT!” He pointed at the man who was now walking away. The homeless youth sauntered off to hopefully buy a shirt with his winnings. I never thought of him again until last week.

The Boston city public transportation system is the hub for us lower tax bracket individuals to come and go without paying the ridiculous parking fees around our jobs. While many of us try to keep to ourselves, every now and then, we crash into one another by means of the trains jerking and breaking suddenly. Or, more figuratively by a common uncomfortable experience shared by a group waiting for a late train. Last week after leaving work, I opted to take the T home and save a little money. However, I’ve noticed what I save in money, I pay for through socially awkward experiences. On that particular night, I was waiting for a very late 1am train on the red line platform with ten other people when I heard a dreadful noise from behind me. Grotesque crying and moaning follow by a repetitious slapping shoe sound. I accidentally turned around to see a disheveled young man hobbling towards the platform with one boot in his hand and his right foot exposed. He was limping horribly and quickly, trying to reach the small crowd before the train took us away.

“DOES ANYBODY HAVE ANY MONEY?! PLEASE! I NEED THREE MORE DOLLARS TO GET TO THE HOMELESS SHELTER!! PLEASE, MY FOOT IS INFECTED! I CAN’T BE OUTSIDE!”

He was sobbing and looking around at each of us. The man caught my eye and I immediately recognized him. He was the young man from Cambridge! The very same! I recognized his tone and sobbing pleases as well. Was he still homeless from the summer?

“COME ON! PLEASE, ANYBODY! I CAN’T GO TO THE HOSPITAL BECAUSE THEY ONLY LET ME STAY AN HOUR, THEN THEY GIVE ME SOCKS BUT WHAT GOOD DOES THAT DO? PLEASE! I’M IN PAIN!….. COME ON!”

Sobbing and miserable, he laid down in the middle of the platform and cried out loud. A student approached him and gave him some money. The crying continued. I had no money at all, most people taking the T don’t have a ton of extra dough. But I felt nervous about what he might do if no one else gave him anything. Fortunately, I was saved by the approaching T and I left the crying man on that awful platform. Aboard the train, a couple of girls nervously laughed amongst themselves about the whole affair. I stared off, trying to regain some late night peace. The image of the crying man with his swollen foot didn’t leave me for a few days and sometimes when I was having a meal or laughing about something with friends, his image would reappear and ruin my attitude.

For Easter, Nick and I went to his family’s house in Princetown for dinner. Surrounded by sweet ham, homemade rolls and a savory salad, my boyfriend’s uncle and I lamented about having to utilized public transportation.

“You really encounter some crazies on the T, don’tcha?” He started. “Why, just last week I was on the T at Downtown Crossing when a man started screaming and cry on the train. He was saying something about his foot being infected.”

I was stunned. We both saw the same man! He was really making the rounds!

“He kept it up for a while and just as a buddy of mine reached into his wallet, a stranger yelled, “Don’t give him a fuckin’ thing! He’s been doing this act for the whole week! He’s faking!” And the weeping man shut up after that! He walked off the T at the next stop. You really can’t help anybody, they’re all actors,” the uncle concluded.

“Wait, he just walked away? No limping?” I asked.

I for one appreciate the honesty!

“Nothing, he walked away perfectly fine. He was acting,” claimed Nick’s uncle. I was annoyed…. and very angry. I had felt so badly for this “bum” with his plight seared into my brain for the past week but everything had been a sham. Who’s to say who’s a real bum and who’s an actor? Was the young man acting last summer in Cambridge too? He made some very compelling arguments if he truly was an actor.

Yesterday, I was shopping at the smaller Whole Foods in Cambridge when I was greeted by a man at the front door.

“Spare Change for the homeless. Remember us on your way out,” he said, holding up a newspaper advocating for the homeless and services for them. When I concluded my shopping (I was making bacon-wrapped scallops and sweet chili pork chops for dinner!), I started to drive off, passing the Spare Change man. But I stopped. I had just been paid, so why not give him a couple bucks? I got out of my car and gave him some money in exchange for the newspaper.

“Thanks hon, have a good day!” He smiled and I walked back to my car. As I drove off, I noticed the man pull out a BlackBerry phone and make a phone call. WTF. Wasn’t he homeless? Where did the nice phone come from? Maybe he was a writer for the paper? God, I hope so! It was just a little ridiculous to have someone begging for money with one breath and talking on a BlackBerry with the next breath. Which leads me to wonder, are all bums frauds? Actors and swindlers? How can you tell if you’re providing food for a homeless person or simply funding an actor’s ticket to California?

April has left me jaded towards beggars.

$25 and a pair of Kate Spade booties

January 3, 2011

I flew to Seattle for a whirl wind Christmas. It was even more jam-packed with to-dos than my suitcase! My best friend, Kristin – who I didn’t even get a chance to see! – said this trip was probably my busiest, save one other trip a few years back. I don’t remember which time she was referring to but my god, this trip bit me in the ass. One possible reason why everything was such a cluster f*ck was I brought my boyfriend to Seattle with me. Trying to visit with my family that I see once a year and attempting to keep my honey entertained/comfortable as well proved to be something of yard sale: All over the place. However, Christmas Day this year was aaaaaawesome! I received everything I asked for and more, the key gift being a pair of perfect black Kate Spade boots with perfect red bows!

Would you like to go bare foot or wearing my boots?

I left Seattle only four days after arriving to battle the nasty N0r’eastern storm that was rocking the New England area and leaving hundreds of flights delayed or cancelled. To be honest, I shouldn’t have been leaving in the middle of a such a storm but I had to cut my trip in half to work. Whatever. So, my boyfriend and I drove back to the SeaTac to return our rental car, leaving behind a slew of fun things left undone. I had no idea that our adventures were far from over!

The estimated cost of the Dollar Rental car was $96 for four days. I have the confirmation code to prove it. The actual price we paid was $172. Taxes, they said, and literally stopped talking to me about it. End of discussion, get the F outta here. I always end up spending more than I anticipated when I travel but I didn’t mean for it to be on something so lame. Jeans or wine perhaps, not a stupid car.

Ma gave my $25 for travel money moments before I tried to keep my shit together when I bid my fam a dieu. I figured I’d just spend the cash on booze during our layover in Denver. After returning our lame and over-priced car, we made it to the airport ticket counter to throw our bags into someone else’s hands.

“Your bag is just at the limit,” scolded the ticket lady. “Next time, put the heaviest bag up first.” Apparently we ruined her system by putting Nick’s bag on the scale before mine. I am ashamed. We waded through the line of other tourists and visitors, sauntered through customs and finally made it to our gate. Fine, no incident. Our flight to Denver was short and cramped. Nick and I played Angry Birds on his Ipad and caught up on the zzz’s that we missed during our vacation. Whoever said that vay-cays were relaxing has never traveled with me!

We landed late in Denver and I barely had time to pee. We ran to our gate and I specifically remember commenting to Nick, ” I have no idea how old people would have made this connecting flight!” I had missed my seat position of A45 because our Seattle flight took its sweet time taking off and I didn’t get to pick the seat I wanted. Who cares right? Well, I hate babies so I need to make SURE they are nowhere near me or I start to kinda freak out and get anxiety whilst they scream and their mothers just stare at them. No joke, on one of my previous flights years ago, this stupid woman was just staring in dumbfounded wonder at her wailing infant. An older, wiser woman got out of her seat, walked over to the idiot and said,

“You need to walk your baby around and bounce it.”

I still had my $25 at this point and I found some suitable seat. I took my chances with the baby situation and put my carry on luggage above me. My carry ons included a large bag of shoes and a picture of Seattle that Mom and Dad had bought for my house. It was carefully packaged in a flat, large box so not to be dented. The box itself was a present wrapped neatly in green and gold wrapping paper and one little boy said, “I wonder what she got!” Legos… a PSP… thousand dollar bills. No, just a photo. So this old guy got on the plane and wanted the space where I just placed my present. Nevermind the open bins around and behind him, only my bin will do! He took my package out and tipped it over. Sure, we both knew that there’s a flat picture in the box but what if it couldn’t be tipped over!? Dick. So, he shoved his goofy bag into my bin and tried to shove my present back on top of his luggage.

“Easy does it,” he sighed. I get up, this dude is out of his mind. My present won’t fit! I help him turn my box around a bit. “This is mine,” I said with annoy. Whatever. Everything worked out and we took off. The plane landed in Boston and the place was covered from a heavy snowfall. Our bags, or rather, the Southwest Airlines people took their sweet ass time getting our luggage out of the plane and we left the terminal about an hour after landing. Not bad, you say? TRY FLYING FOR TEN HOURS THEN COME TALK TO ME. Nick wasn’t happy about my bag collection. I had four, he had one. Sorry. I have a vagina so I pack more stuff. Plus most of the gifts were in my bag! Aaaand most of the gifts came home in my bag too. We waited and waited for the Silver Line bus to come and get us. As we’re waiting, I’m standing with our bags and Nick is trying to see where the bus stop is. During this process, he discovered the lack of airport courtesy and slipped on a patch of ice that wasn’t salted. He cracked his head on a garbage can and started bleeding! Things went from shitty to shit storm. My honey is bleeding, the bus is late, it’s cold outside, I’m tired, where’s the damn bus, I keep hearing about how many bags I have, I’m sorry, I’m sad, it’s okay to be sad, we need to stop being mad, oh look! it’s the bus. Five bucks for the ride, fine! We went from the bus to the T and rode into Harvard Square to hail a cab. Big shocker, the taxi driver didn’t speak a lick of English and I’m tried not to worry. You all remember that story from The Metro about that psycho cabby who got made at his patrons and stole the girl before she could get out at her stop? Yea. Same guy, I’m sure. We somehow managed to get to our house and everything was just lost under a mountain of snow! I whipped out my $25 from Ma. Nick had to drag all my shit around with him, so I paid for the cab. The cost was $5 something and I asked for $13 back out of my $20. We pulled our bags out of the taxi trunk and stood in a foot of snow before our house. The next question was where are the cars? In Boston during a “snow emergency” the city tows everyone parked on the wrong side of the street (you have to be all-knowing to understand which side of the street!) and they make a pretty penny before lifting a finger to deal with the snow itself. Plows come out, make a mess and return to base. Nick and I were frightened that our cars would have been claimed by this nonsense. We prepared ourselves and peered down the road. BOTH CARS WERE ON THE GOOD SIDE OF THE ROAD! I was and still am amazed. I really thought Nick parked on the bad side of the road! It was incredible. God knows how much the towing fee AND storage fees would have been! Sheesh.

The next day I took the leftover $13 I had from Ma and went to Johnny’s Foodmaster. The place has wall to wall carpeting… don’t buy the produce! I bought the fixing for breakfast (and inevitably, some other random things too!) but upon return, I realized I didn’t get eggs! I’d just used all my money so I gathered up all our empty beer bottles and returned them for the deposit fee. $1.95, aaaaaaaalright! Now we have eggs.  After a hearty eggy breakfast, we set to the task of digging out the cars. Enter my awesome boots!

That's my car and Nick's behind it.

Previously, I was apprehensive about buying galoshes. I thought they were kinda dumb and made you look like a duck. The polka dot booties are simply dreadful. But after careful research, I sent Mom three different pairs that I deemed acceptable and had her pick one out for me. I could not have asked for a more opportune time to utilize my boots, hell, I wouldn’t have asked! Nearly two feet of snow mauled Boston and had to be shoveled away in order to life to continue. My boots received a thorough christening! It took Nick and me about two hours to not only dig our cars out but also to help our landlady shovel her drive way. That wasn’t my idea, it was Nick’s. She has a perfectly fine driveway where we should be allowed to park. She can’t drive anymore because she’s really old and choppy, so her car just chills in the driveway. If we had been allowed to leave our cars in her driveway while we were in Seattle, I would have totally been fine with shoveling. But that didn’t happen at all. We busted up our backs for charity. At least I had my Christmas boots though. And I made up a banging breakfast with my $25.

 Thanks, Mom!