Thursday, January 31, 2008

In Which I am Almost Traded for a Shot of Vodka

Its a Saturday night around 10pm on the small carribean island of Anguilla, my three friends and I are heading down to a little spot called The Pump House. It was originally an actual pump house for the salt flat that it sits on. Evidently salt was a major export at one time or another, but now the pump house is simply a kick ass reggae bar and resturant.

The band has just started warming up so we all belly up to the bar for our first round of drinks. Here, we meet up with a couple of dudes from Kentucky that my friend Jay had met earlier in the week, and what a merry bunch we are. There is much ordering of drinks, and the first round of ill advised shots that were to be a recurring theme during the night to come.

After a fair amount of social lubricant people begin to dance to the rhythmic sounds of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and a few covers of songs Im not sure should be rendered reggae (Elton John's "Daniel" for example).

I should stop here and explain that the locals on the island are extremely friendly, and the men specifically, find it the height of entertainment to dance with tourists of the female persuasion. It's all in good fun, but sometimes they get a little over zealous, so it's good to have a 6' something back up to point to and say "I'm with him". Jay was mine.

So we're dancing and drinking and dancing some more, and taking shots, and dancing, and drinking (you get the picture) when one particular guy who I had danced with several times that night twirls me out into the middle of the crowd and proceeds to exclaim that I was going to go home with him.
"What!?" I yell over the din of the music.
"You are going to go home with me" He yells back, pointing a finger first at my chest then at his.
"Ohhhh I seeee, yeah no, no I'm not" I turn to point out Jay,"I'm with him".
Jay sees my pointing and bops over smiling, extending his fist out to my dance partner in greeting. They knock knuckles in a pantently alpha male-hey-how-ya-doing manner as Mr local yells " I want to take her home for a f*!@K mon" (no lie, he really said it just like that!). I'm shaking my head no, laughing, and moving closer to Jay to take his arm as Jay says as plain as you please " Oh, no, I'm good, but you two go ahead"
My eyes, I'm sure popped right out of my head as my jaw hit the floor. He did NOT just say what I think he said! And then it dawns on me; I know what he thinks he heard (it is rather loud what with standing with our ears pressed up against the band's speakers and all). So I yell back,
"He didn't say vodka!"
"He didn't say vodka!"
"What!?" He motions to his ear, "I'm deaf in here" (no shit Sherlock).
I grab the back of his head and draw his ear down to mouth level and yell for all I'm worth, "HE DIDN"T SAY VODKA! NOT VODKA! WITH AN F WITH AN F!!!"
Then his eyes popped out of their sockets as the lightbulb went off (oh hallelujah).

Focusing our attention back on my would-be suiter, we both smile sheepishly, back away slowly, and make our way out into the street for some air, laughing our very drunk, very deaf, butts off.

Needless to say, this little episode was the running joke for the rest of the week, and poor Jay will probably never live it down.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We interrupt our previously scheduled post.....

When I started this blog back in November one of my primary goals was to focus a fair portion of my writing on my desire to get healthy and loose weight; to write about the struggles, learning experiences and small victories along the way. I have blogged here and there about it, but have not given it the attention I intended to in the beginning. This is largely due to the fact that I've found writing about my weight, and all that it entails, feels alot like standing in a crowded room. Nekkid. With no clothes on. And everyone is waiting for the monologue I was supposed to have memorized but left in my jeans pocket - which I don't have - because I'm Nekkid. So, Ive written about other things, or, as my blog entry numbers will tell you, not at all.

This, I hope, is about to change. I will still be writing about other stuff, you know, Life the Universe, and Everything, but also more of the weight stuff. My trip to Anguilla, while a lot of fun, was sort of an eye opening experience. I kept having this nagging feeling that "this could be so much better if...". Coming back to my empty little house in the middle of a cold January night was also kind of a jolt. A kick in the rubber parts, so to speak, to try to get my body in shape and my personal life in gear.

Ive been reading a lot of blogs lately by fascinating, strong, wonderful women who are all facing the same challenges I am. Some have more to lose than I do, some have less, some have already made it, some are well under way, but all of them have wisdom and support to impart in their stories. One such woman, Diana, over at Scale Junkie, started a "Healthy You Challenge" for 2008. You get to decide what your definition of healthy is, and how to get there. The idea being that everyone who joins takes on the challenge of becoming healthier this year, and by joining you get the added bonus of the support of all these other women.

So, Ive joined. And each Tuesday I'll be blogging about my progress, or lack there of. See my nifty button over there? I'm rather pleased about it. So, anyhoo - here goes nothing, or everything, depending on how you look at it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Roots and Leaves

Anguilla is not like any of the other Caribbean islands you picture when thinking of the Caribbean. Unlike Aruba or St Maarten, Anguilla is, for the most part, still undeveloped and very untourist like. This, unfortunately is changing, but for now you can still wander down a random dirt road and come across a secret little hide away spot you never knew was there.

This is exactly what happened the second afternoon we were there, and what we found was this little bar called KoKo's. It was at the end of a long and twisty dirt road speckled with the most bizzar alien cacti I had ever seen. They looked otherworldly

The bar seemed unassuming enough, very picturesque, with happy little coconut fishies bobbing lazily in the breeze. But looks can be deceiving.

Upon closer inspection my friend Katie discovered these large glass bottles of "infused rum". The girl at the bar placed her hand over each one as she described them. Lemon and Ginger, Orange and Cinnamon, Roots and Leaves 'mon.
Huh? Did she just say roots and leaves? Roots and leaves. What kind of roots and leaves?
She just smiled and started pouring shots.

If this doesn't look like trouble, I don't know what does.

So we all bellied up to the bar, totally willing to throw down whatever potent potable was placed in front of us. We were on vacation after all, and who needs brain cells on vacation?

They were all surprisingly tasty! The roots and leaves in particular - kind of like licorice, but not quite, and the rum left a warm spicy heat as it traveled down your throat. Needless to say there were many rounds of roots and leaves with a few umbrella drinks thrown in for good measure, and we all managed to get our island on. Here's my partner in crime, Jay, up to no good. Later in the week he would inadvertently try to give me away to a local for a shot of vodka, but that's a story for another post.

Once I peeled myself off the bar I stumbled around taking pictures. They came out fairly well considering.

I wanted to lay down here, but thought better of it once I realized Id have to get up again.

This is a shot of Scilly Quay (pronounced silly key), in the middle of Island Harbor (thus the name). Supposedly if you wave from the dock they will come in a boat to bring you over to snorkel and swim. We waved but no one showed - I can't imagine why.

I have no idea what this is, other than rock and water, but I thought it was really pretty at the time.

The next day we were all basking(recuperating)in the sun, describing our find to another longtime resident of the island who said he was very familiar with KoKo's. In fact he claimed to know the secret to the roots and leaves infusion, and wondered out loud if any of us had come down with a case of the munchies after we left the bar. Hmmmm.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A First Look from Tortue Villa

The happy vacationer has returned! And what do you know? I had a wonderful time! I have to say I'm more than a little embarrassed at how I worried and whined before the trip. It was, as I had suspected (and was continually assured), all for naught. I have tons of pictures and stories, and hardly know where to start(Sort of like the pile of coconut and salt water smelling laundry still staring at me from my bedroom floor). I guess the best place to start is at the beginning.

The morning I flew out of RDU was a little stressful (read shaking hands, nausea and hyperventilation), but I downed my pharmaceutical courage along with my orange juice and felt equal to the task of getting myself on the plane for the first leg of my trip( Raleigh to Charlotte). Again, I felt a little silly once on the plane ;we were no sooner in the air than the captain was announcing our landing.
Did I fall asleep?
These pills are great!

I met up with my travel companions, the kids of the other couple sharing the house with my parents, and until we had to board our flight we killed time with morning Bloody Marys and a lot of catching up. We were a motley group boarding that flight; I had popped another xanax, and was looking forward to being poured into my seat for the duration of the flight. Excessive pill popping? Perhaps, but I was taking no chances. I just made sure my peeps knew to make sure I got off the plane and pointed me in the direction of baggage claim once we landed.

We landed in St Maarten at 4:15, and should have had plenty of time to catch the 5:00 ferry to Anguilla, but the best laid plans and all that. Baggage claim took a life time, and by the end we were laying bets as to who was going to be shopping for new underwear. Then we hit some crazy traffic jam on the way to the ferry (of course) and we missed not only the 5:00 ferry, but the 6 and 6:30 as well. We did manage to catch the last ferry heading to Anguilla at 7, so by the time we got through customs and loaded our luggage into the two cars waiting for us (along with a celebratory Carib beer) it was pitch black. I had to wait until the next morning to check out our view.

It was worth the wait. These were all taken from the veranda off the living room of our villa, I don't even know if I can put into words just how gorgeous(breath taking,really)it was(do you hate me yet?).

I'll be writing more about the week's happenings and posting more pictures as well. There is just too much to put into one post! But for now I'll leave you with one more picture. This is a view of our villa (we're on the top floor) from the beach below.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I have vacation head..

And should not be confused with vacation hair,which for me - in a tropical (read humid) setting-is something akin to Peruvian bush woman gone wrong. Either way, I can't concentrate at all (as this post will undoubtedly illustrate). Ive been staring at the same billing issue for half the afternoon(did I mention I work in billing resolution for a corporate telecom co? No? Well, that's what I do. It's oh so glam, let me assure you). It's not like anyone else is working that hard. The all male members of my group are discussing the finer points of football(again), and listening to sound clips of Dirty Harry movies. Mark my words, in about 4 minutes the Nerf football will come out and all pretences of work will be gone. I am so immersed in testosterone around here I might just grow an appendage soon! But I digress (it's that kind of day).

I could not sleep last night, nor do I expect to get much sleep tonight, and we can just forget about tomorrow night. I'll be lucky if I don't vomit, much less actually be able to close my eyes. I suppose that will make the flight all that easier as long as I don't drool on some stranger's shoulder and someone at least slaps me on the back of the head when we land. (See that? I'm being all optimistic and going on the assumption that the plane will actually land and not crash in a flaming ball of metal and carry on luggage. Yay me!). I'm mostly packed, Ive shaved the winter legs (yikes!), and I go get my pedicure this afternoon. Things are mostly done, so all that's left is to try to stay calm. Aside from the flight, I'm actually starting to get excited about the actual trip. I think writing all my crazy shit down in my last post was actually therapeutic (who knew!?). So were all the encouraging comments, thank you! You have no idea how much that helped.

Wish me luck! I will probably not post again until I get back as I don't think the internets are free at the villa, besides I plan to be in a liquid (and thus illiterate) state for most of the time. Have a great week, and I'll toast you all with a rum drink. Cheers Mon!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Crazy is as Crazy does

This is going to make me sound, at best, like a total ingrate, and at the worst, barking mad, but it's where my head is none the less. Next week - to the day- I'm hopping a plane and heading down to a small Caribbean island for a week of sun and rum with my parents and another family we have known my entire life. This was my parent's Christmas/40th birthday gift to me, an all expense paid week at a beautiful villa on the small but stunning Caribbean island of Anguilla.

What's the problem you ask? Well, here's where my particular brand of crazy comes into it - I'm totally stressed out about it. For one thing, I hate to fly. I think I would rather undergo a root canal than step foot on a giant metal tampon with wings and trust some random yabo not to plunge me to an early death. Seriously, I only fly if armed with mighty Xanax (which I have) and equally mighty pre-flight cocktails(who cares if it's 7am, I'm having a panic attack dammit!).

But that is only a part of where my anxiety stems. If I'm totally honest with myself, and with you dear reader, and look deep in my darkest heart of hearts, the biggest portion of my stress comes from worrying about my weight. There, I said it. I'm letting my fat girl fears color every aspect of what should be a fabulous adventure, and that makes me very sad(and more than a little ashamed of myself to boot).

I worry about getting my fat ass on the plane and if I will fit into those ridiculously small seats (don't even get me started on the seat belts), I worry about laying around in a bathing suit with "the skinny girls", I worry about the countless land mines that will crop up, from snorkeling to embarrassing moments of big girl meets small space, and I worry about the unavoidable run ins with well meaning natives (strangers, mind you) who try to make you feel better by pointing out what you want so desperately to ignore and then discuss it at length while you look for the nearest exit. And yes, I've had plenty of time to remedy some of this by trying to lose weight and get in shape before I had to leave, but we all know how time and procrastination get the best of us. It pisses me off none the less.

So there you have it, my own private Idaho laid bare. I'm certainly not proud of any of it, and I will do my best to get myself in a better place before I leave, but Ive been having a hard time doing anything more than obsessing over all of this for the last several weeks. It's insane, I know. This charming little character flaw of mine to focus on the bad, so much so that I ruin the joy of anticipation, is something I truly hate about myself, and know I have to work to change. I also know, that once I'm back, I will be writing about how much fun I had, how beautiful it was, and posting amazing pictures of views and beaches and sparkling water. I know this, I always do this before any kind of trip. It's ridiculous really. One would think I would learn and actually do something about my weight sooner than later. One would think.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Been Gone too Long

Ahhh, the blank space of a new blog entry, how you do vex me. It's been so very long since Ive posted anything, and it seems absence does not make the heart grow fonder, it causes the brain to grow empty. So, what to do with blank page and empty brain you ask? Torture you with (aack!)photos I took with my new "Merry Christmas to me" camera!!!

I went home to my parent's house for Christmas, and it was lovely. I sucked up as much of the view as I could get.

There was the usual familial tension and stress, but it was delightfully muted by grape juice - of the fermented variety (is that wrong?). My Grandfather and Aunt came down from Mass. as well as my two cousins. There was much merry making;

And eating of roast beast

And waking of the neighbors

Our resident pyro/chef - My Dad

I also got to spend some time with my nephew(only after I knocked my mother out of the way - first grandchild and all that).

All in all, not a bad holiday. New Years Eve was a quiet affair, I hung out over at the Tap dancer's eating sushi and swilling champagne,and we rounded out the week celebrating her birthday this weekend with all the trappings, including a pilgrimage to our favorite Chinese restaurant, Neo-China. Mr. Tap dancer even picked up the tab - what a nice guy!

So, here I sit, another holiday season past, and Ive come out relatively unscathed, sanity mostly in tact. Normally I would be going into January hibernation mode, but I have to get ready to go to the Caribbean with my parents next week, and that, while wonderful in itself, is causing all sorts of anxiety, much of which I will be spewing on the pages of this blog as the week progresses. Neat!