Monday, September 28, 2009

Miami Re-Cap: The Not-so-Restful Vacation

I’m on the plane back from Cuba South America Miami*, feeling quite sleepy, but unable to rest, thanks to the fact that my knees are smashing the seat in front of me, and some rich espresso from this morning is still somehow working and blocking my brain from shutting off.
I was envisioning more of a restful vacation—the kind where I could linger in bed, sleeping in, followed by going to the beach, swimming in warm water, and pausing to refuel at good restaurants-- perhaps interrupting my sleep with the occasional Cuban coffee. Fueled by the caffeine, I would see some sights in Miami, but return to Katie’s condo for some more, you know, rest.
All of the above occurred, but I find myself still quite un-rested, and, I would say, on the verge of exhaustion. I worked a few 14 hour days, but took comfort in the fact that at least once I got to my Katie’s condo after the work wrapped up, I would be able to sleep off the fatigue.
Night 1: We went out. She took me to Coconut Grove, a self-proclaimed hip neighborhood in Miami. We ate great sushi, and for some weird reason, the numerous sake bombs and mojitos failed to reach my brain, signaling me to stop through the fuzzying of my thinking and robbing of my coordination. Instead, what occurred was … nothing. No buzz, no register. Assuming that the mojitos were probably missing the rum component, I happily sipped on Katie’s wine. This is, of course, a blatant no-no, and a sacred rule that every college freshman (or in my case, high school freshman) learns, and actually retains: Do Not Partake in the Mixing of Different Forms of Alcohol. A particularly bad decision: mixing the sweet syrupy mojitos with rich red wine and, uh, sake bombs. I basically broke every rule.
It became very obvious a few hours later. In-between clinging to the wall in hopes that it would stop my world from spinning, and waking up with tile grout marks embedded in my face cheeks, I understood that certain rules stand and should be respected for a reason. A little fun fact I learned (don’t read this next sentence if you’re eating, particularly if your sustenance originates from the isles of Japan): Sushi nori, you know, the seaweed that houses your rice and raw fish? That stuff doesn’t digest well. Even in my un-brillant and thinking-I-would-never-drink-again-state, the sight of the rectangular nori coming back up was oddly fascinating.
All-in-all, the night ended rather unfortunately, and because I spent the wee-morning hours getting acquainted with the taste of stomach bile, I understandably was not in the best shape the next day. Even though I slept in, I wouldn’t say I felt, “rested.” We decided the beach would surely revive us, so we lugged our umbrellas, towels, and magazines to South Beach.
Last time I went to the beach with Katie, in Charleston, South Carolina, I ended the vacation with a third-degree sunburn in some choice spots on my body. Determined not to repeat the same episode, I slathered half a bottle of SPF 50 sunscreen on every available patch of skin, cozied up under an umbrella, and called it a good beach experience.
After said beach “sunning,” Katie and I took a long, late afternoon lunch, and topped the evening off at a Marlins game. Out of respect for my liver, I refrained from drinking, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of sleeping without battling a spinning head.
And now, here I am, on a five-hour flight across the country. I have to go to the office tomorrow, and will repeat that process for the remainder of the week. I’m not sure how that’s all going to go down, especially when I consider the fact that we have clients visiting and a presentation in L.A. It will be a tiring week, and I’m already hitting it on empty.
This whole experience of business travel and seeing the city only reinforces my obvious wimpy disposition when it comes to a night-out lifestyle. It also reinforces why I should never have children**: I positively would not survive those early years of late-night feedings.

*I’m still amazed that you’re not required to present a passport when traveling to Miami.
**Also, isn’t there another rule that states you can’t drink caffeine and/or alcohol while preggers? My point exactly. I’ll refrain from breeding.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Office for the Day.

This is my view today from where I'm working. I'm in Miami, but since my job supervising a morning TV program fashion show is complete, I'm now bunked at my good friend's house "working." Business travel isn't all that bad--I've been putting in long days, straddling both East/West Coast time zones and demands from clients on each coast, but the upside is that I have so much freedom. I can sit by the pool with my laptop, go for a run in the middle of the day (hint--don't try it in this climate), or chill with wine and my computer while I reply to frenzied e-mails from either coast.
This is my first trip to Miami. It worked out really well, actually. My dear friend Katie, whom I worked with in NC, now lives here, so it's a free trip to come stay with her.
Business travel all the time would for sures get old--esp. because I can't just grab my bike and go while on the road, but it's actually a great break from my routine and sitting in at the office all day.
It's very interesting being in a new city--it's almost inspiring that familiar wanderlust itch that has led me to live in multiple locales the past 10 years. I love the process of figuring out a new place and doing something entirely novel. But I'm finally learning that I love California, and even when I gripe about the abundance of people and lack of summer rains, it has an undeniable hold on me.
Miami reminds me very much of Costa Rica and Nicaragua--it's tropical, and the way the buildings are constructed, and the Latin influence--so very similar. I loved CR and Nicaragua. But I know that I couldn't live in a place like Miami, even though it conjures up great memories of my time in Central America. For one, it's flat. No mountains, no thanks. And even though I'm intrigued by all the green and palm trees and dynamic skies, after a few months here I would be all OAK TREES AND BROWN GRASS. OH, AND THROW IN SOME VINEYARDS. So I'll stay put.
But you know? Business travel every so often could be a very good thing. It may help satisfy my curiosity to experience the new.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Monday train wreck.

I don't know what it is about Mondays, but every Monday, without fail, I feel like a train has run me over and left me in the dust to flop. My head hurts, my hand-eye coordination doesn't function, and I have a hard time connecting brain waves to work duties. Typically, by 2 p.m. or so, this starts to wear off, and I feel like my more normal self.

See, I find this puzzling, because I'm a morning person. I love mornings. I thrive in the morning--I'm usually up early, drinking coffee, attacking my day. E calls this cafecito. He's not a morning person, so when I'm springing around the house, buzzing and ready to go, he's like, woman, over to the corner. Calm the freak down. The day is yet young. And I'm like, cafecito! Drink more cafecito!*

But Mondays? It feels more like 10 p.m. for me. I often finding myself holding my eyelids open, looking for some sort of apparatus on my work desk that will prop them open so I can send out e-mails and function in my job. I guess the weekend riding, vino, and not getting to bed at 10 p.m. catch up with me.

Excuse me. I need to go find some more cafecito.

*For all of you non-Spanish speakers out there, "cafecito" is another way to say coffee.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yet another not-so-interesting post.

I took another SLO pilgrimage this past weekend—this time for my buddy Chris’ 5th annual Tequila Party. We didn’t just drink tequila, Internet. We drank $1000 worth of really good tequila. You know what makes a really good margarita? Expensive tequila, fresh lime juice, and Triple Sec. Wow.

We also ate a complete lamb. The neighbors, I’m sure, were none-to-pleased when Chris and Co. rolled up with The Trailer Spit and parked it, with the full carcass, in the driveway and began roasting. But sometimes, that’s how you get it done. If they could have tasted the lamb, they would have totally forgiven us. Delish.

I know, I know. Lately, all I’ve been writing about is SLO and cycling. This has blog has taken the slow sad decline from a true blog--with genuine thoughts and shit! -- to pictures of my friends and our crazy, very grown-up ideas. Oh yeah—and the occasional post where I rip on Lance Armstrong and dissect the Tour. I don’t know—I just haven’t felt super inspired to write—really write. The ideas just aren’t flowing at the moment. I almost wrote a post about how Orange County has way too many people and too much concrete, but that’s a little like pointing out that the ocean here is cold. I chose to move here, after all, so bitching about the lack of open space just doesn’t seem quite fair. But in case anyone’s curious—yes. That’s how I feel. I miss a lot of open space. That’s probably why I’ve been making so many SLO trips. I don’t breathe deeply and feel truly released until I’m driving north and hit Ventura. That’s about the point where the curvaceous hills overpower the amount of concrete-laden things, and the California coastline smacks you in the face with its raw beauty. Having lived in small-ish towns my whole life, I never appreciated un-developed land until now.*

Having said all that, I'm not complaining. I'm stoked to be back in Cal. I really am.

I’m heading to Miami next week for work, so maybe in some of my downtime I’ll write a true blog post and tell you how I think the world should be run. Ha ha. Most likely, some of my wacked-out thoughts will find themselves as tangible text.

*Sorry, dad. No offense against your life’s profession.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Little 5-Hundy

FINALLY. I had my first SLO Little 500 experience. This was the fourth edition of the Little 5 oh oh, and for the first time, I wasn't across the country weeping over missing said event.

Here are the basic rules for the five-hundy:

1. Drop handlebars.
2. 700 c wheels
3. Teams
4. 32 laps around the dirt field
5. If you want to take the shortcut on the lap, you have to chug a beer.
6. Fastest team wins.
Our team came in 7th, out of--I don't know--8 teams? Obviously, we need to work on our skills. BUT, we were the only tandem team. Here is a pic of our ride. Notice the drop handlebars? We were fully legal.

We had eight total on our team. Between the attempted beer chugging and laughing, my stomach was all WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME? It punished me the rest of the night.

Some teams took it to the next level with their costumes:

Only at the Little 500 can you get away with a front shock AND aerobars. Effin' Awesome.

There were a few crashes.

A live band.

Sometimes, to get going, you needed a little help from your friends.

Eric and I passed one person. It was awesome.

Next time? Oh yeah. Our tandem team will BRING IT.

And hopefully? We'll end up here: