Wednesday, May 31, 2006

2 Legit 2 Quit!

Believe it or not, the fine folks at Pop Culture Junkies have given me a chance to write on a site that is seen by more than 2 people! I'm a writer! Check out my hilarious review of Last Comic Standing. If you suffered through it last night, you will probably think the recap was much funnier than the show itself (hell, I laughed more at the "Office" marathon promo!)

In other news, my sister-in-law just had a baby early this morning. Congrats Lynne and Mark! This means I am now an aunt. I am someone's aunt. Scary, isn't it? I want to be a "hip aunt" like my aunt is. She introduced me to rock n' roll (still have the LP's) and Oyster Bars, among other things. By the time my new niece is ready to be RAWKED, the only thing "hip" about me will be a hip replacement. Of course, the li'l chica will have to learn to fish first (from both Dad and Unca Paul!) Speaking of fishing...

I never detailed the excitement of the PTTS Ladies Day Tarpon Tournament down in Boca Grande a few weeks ago. I was on a team with Dena and Beth (it was the "wives and girlfriends crew".) In keeping with the long tradition (which started way back in 2005) of dressing up for the event (as no one, including the event organizers, take the ladies seriously,) we decided to do a "pimp n' ho" theme. Paul got he and Cap'n Ozzie those silly pimp hats that you find at Spencer Gifts or other fine retail locations. We gals had to bring the sexy. Last year I was in an oversized fishing shirt and baggy shorts. This year, it was a black bikini with matching mini skirt and (optional) red feather boa. At least the camera boat was around us more this year! We dropped lines at 9am and had 3 hours to land a bigg'un. I thought I had one on 2 occasions, but I merely had hooked the bottom. Beth got one hooked, but we couldn't keep it. If you've ever seen the Tarpon Tourney on TV, you'd know how hard it is to actually land a fish - boats are stacked thick and are almost on top of each other. Result? No fish (only 3 were caught in the whole tourney - 60-something boats) and a slight sunburn due to negligent sunscreen application. It was fun though!

Not much else is going on right now. If I were a psychic (which I'm totally not), I would predict a lot of changes coming up this summer and beyond....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Score One for the Goobers!

Yay! Taylor won! Goobs represent! I'd like to think I had something to do with this victory, so hey guy, you're welcome. They did give a scary statistic at the end of the show, over 60 million people voted, to which Ryan "I'm not gay, really, I'm not...but that Simon..." Seacrest said something along the lines of that it was more people than voted for A.I. than they did for the last presidential election (to my credit, I did vote in the last presidential election too, I just didn't pick a winner like I did tonight. 'Nuff said.) Noticed they let the gospel singers out from their backstage confines for one last performance until next year. How nice of them. I did finally realize, as I whooped and hollered on the couch when they announced that Taylor won, that I don't have anything to root for this time of year (no football!)and that's probably why I got involved woth this whole "Idol" thing in the first place. At least that's what I'd like to think...

Congrats Taylor!


Ok. I officially have no life. I stayed up last night so I could call in and vote for Taylor Hicks on "American Idol". He was my second choice even (I really wanted Chris - the "rock guy" - to win), but for some reason I was compelled to battle the busy signals (for 2 hours, no less) just to hear "Hi, thanks for voting for me!" I even watched the whole shebang (my defense remains that "A.I." is on right before "House" - that's my story and I'm sticking to it!) Some things struck me as funny while I wasted an hour of my life. One of the judges (probably Paula, the mistress of fluffy comments) said Taylor's dancing style was "contagious" and I thought to myself "More like he has something contagious!" maybe that's why I like him - he's a goob and has no problem with it. Yeah...that's why. I also hated the last song - how schmaltzy! Why do they do that to these poor kids (even "Boobie McBooberson's" song sucked.) And what is it with the gospel orchestra. I guess they helped out BMB, but why drag them put for Taylor? I guess the producers figured, "Well, we've already paid for them..." Yikes. So anyway, congrats Taylor and sorry to my hubby, who hates him!

P.S. Look at that picture (thanks Cold Hearted Truth for the image). He is kind of cute. But then again, I have always had a thing for kinda nerdy guys (and the complete opposite, like the hubby!)

Monday, May 22, 2006

What's Your Favorite Color?

Ok. I am in a slight quandary. I get restless about any number of things – I tend to have a "gypsy" mentality – I am never completely happy where I am – both physically and spiritually. The spiritual thing is more of an issue as of late. (Physically, if we actually pull up stakes and head out of P.R., that’s great. If not, I am going to do a 100% overhaul of the house, so it will be a change of scenery in some shape or form at least.) As many of you know, I am hopelessly insecure about my looks, and to ask anyone to be honest about matters of looks is essentially futile, as no one is completely honest about such matters (although my husband said he "wouldn’t mind" if I got a boob job.) So, next best thing…I need your help - it’s time for an exciting new poll…

Find Fitz’s Perfect Hair Color!

I am taking suggestions as to which color is best on me. Here are your options:

1. Blonde – Yes, I was born blonde. Those who know me know I can be pretty dinghy, so it’s easy to believe that I have “blonde roots”! I have always wanted to emulate my role model, Marilyn Monroe (except for the bad marriages/choice in men and drug problems) and since I don’t have the bod, at least I can have the hair (although, Christina Aguliera has been doing her take on Marilyn (a slutty take, but an obvious nod) lately, and I wouldn’t want anyone think I was paying tribute to her!) I was blonde when I met and married my hubby, and I have spent the most time this color. Since I’m so pasty, I don’t now if this color works as well on me as I thought it did. When I “fake bake” (tan-in-a- can), it looks better, but I can’t afford to keep myself in fake tanners year-round! This always seems to be my “go-to color” – I think I might be too old for platinum, but who knows?

2. Brunette – This was the first color I chose when I wanted a change from the blonde. It’s my “I want to be taken seriously” color. The first time I experimented with brown hair was when I graduated from college (the first time). I thought I’d get a better job if I looked more responsible because, in my 21-year-old brain, blondes were perceived as being dumb (not that there were any dumb brunettes anywhere…) My first go-round with the brown was not too good – my hair was resistant to the change, and my hair ended up as kind of a dingy, almost gun metal color. It was pretty bad. I went brunette again in my early 30’s – just for a change (I was going through a lot of other “changes” at that time as well…) I added a few blonde streaks in the front – the overall result was kind of cool. Of course, I desired change, so it was back to blonde after a few months. See? Fear of Clairol Commitment!

3. Red – The current shade. Bowing to Ann-Margret, not Lindsay Lohan! I actually kind of like this, but if I need a change, I can’t stay this shade. Again, I came here from blonde (this was my post-wedding change. Most girls cut their hair, I opted for a different route), and my hair didn’t want the red. It still is a battle to keep it red, it mellows out pretty quickly. I just don’t know!

If you’d like to help, leave your comments here for me. Don’t know if I’ll change, but input is always appreciated!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Don't Hate the Player...

I hate to admit it, but I have been following "American Idol" this season (it's on right before "House" for pete's sake!) I can't believe it. I spent so much time trying to avoid it, but it's everywhere - even in Australia, on our honeymoon, it was on. It was on in Costa Rica too! It is too powerful to escape...

So anyway, like most of the country, I was rooting for Chris (the rock guy). After he was (gasp!) eliminated, I moved on to my second choice, Taylor (the guy with the grey hair). I like his Joe Cocker-esque voice, the fact that he hasn't dyed his hair (I'm one to talk...) and, sorry, I love his dorky dancing. My husband (also drawn in to A.I. because of it's pre-"House" time slot) hates him, pretty much for the same reasons. He had not one good thing to say about the guy. He (of course) is rooting for Boobie McBooberson (the only chick left and the reason that girls can get their husbands/boyfriends to watch the show!) I am rooting for Taylor even more now, although I don't think he needs my help! Go Taylor!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Happy Wasabi!

I really don't have a whole lot to say, but I feel obligated to type something. Paul just got back from Japan for business meetings and brought back about $100 worth of Japanese snacks (my obsession). I've been unhappy and stressed a lot lately (for a wide variety of reasons) and nothing puts me in a better mood than a bag full of sweet and salty treats from the Far East. One of the highlights of our once-yearly trek to EPCOT Center for the Wine Fest is the mandatory stop at the store in the Japanese section of World Showcase, where I inevitably...
a) Spend around 30-40 dollars on snacks
b) Eat most of said snacks before I leave the park
c) Drink waaaayyy too much sake

I will also stop at any Asian market I see, no matter where I am (New York, Australia, Georgia) and not be able to escape without dropping at least a $20. For the uninitiated, here's a brief summary of some of my favorites (old and new):

- Wasabi peas: Classic. My absolute favorite. Small fried peas with a crunchy wasabi coating. There are actually places in the US where you can get a decent bag (current favorite is at Wild Oats). Paul bought me an assortment of peas and beans, which kick butt! The more wasabi there is, the happier I am. I have eaten so many in one sitting that I lost the use of my taste buds for 2 days. Yummy!

- Pretz: These are like very skinny Japanese breadsticks, but the flavors are awesome. I love the salad and tomato flavors. The regular Pretz is slightly sweet, like a plain cookie. I found some roasted chicken flavor on a web site, which I think I have to try.

-Pocky: These are Pretz dipped in chocolate or various other sweet substances. Men's Pocky is dark chocolate flavored (I don't know why...) Paul got me black sesame flavor this time around - which looks odd, but tastes like peanut butter. He also got me green tea flavor (everything comes in green tea flavor over there, and it's not bad!) strawberry, framboise (raspberry), caramel and melon. He also bought me some called Fran (a Pocky knock off), but they're named after one of my best friends, so you can't pass it up. I also got my first 2 boxes of Giant Pocky - about 10" long and thicker than your average Pocky stick (Pocky on steroids!) I will be eating these for months...

- Melty Kiss - these are chocolates with green tea filling. The prospect was a bit frightening, but these are great (this is the confection I predict will be the first gone - Paul loves them too.)

- Miscellaneous candies and salty snacks: I don't speak Japanese, so I have no idea what they are - all I need to know is that they're good!

Paul had a very interesting trip. He saw a lot of cool stuff and went to a lot of cool places. I went to Naples. Oh well...I am actually supposed to go along on the next trip, so I should probably learn more than "My name is..." in Japanese! More later...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Exciting Conclusion...

Sorry, I have been updating my "professional site" so I've neglected my blog - I apologize to my faithful readers that I've left you hanging! So, where was I?

Day 6 (continued)
So there I am at the top of this platform, with a beautiful panoramic view of Lake Arenal, the volcano, and the vast rainforest. It would have been the ultimate experience if it wasn't for the knot in my stomach that came about when I realized the velocity and angle at which I'd be returning to land. I was petrified. You could chicken out, but had to make up your mind during the first two lengths of cable, which were quite tame (they were used as the training part of the journey - one to learn how to use the clip bar/equipment and how to position your body as you go down and the other was to learn how to slow down - mainly for the heavier people.) I was in this position (chicken out or not) once before. I was in Destin, Florida on vacation with a friend who was also in my improv group (a real smart ass). For whatever reason, I wanted to go on the Skycoaster (I'm sure you've seen it, thy have them at carnivals, theme parks, and all over Orlando - you get strapped into a harness, get pulled to the top of a tower and then come screaming down, like you're flying.) There was no line and I had a few beers (aka "Liquid Courage") prior to this, so I paid my $30 and strapped in. On the Skycoatser, you control your own destiny, you have to pull the cord that sends you down. I got up to the top of the tower and thought to myself "I can't do this". Then I thought of the massive amount of ribbing I'd get from my friend and figured death was much less awful than having all of my friends find out that I'm a big wuss. So I pulled the cord and had one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. It was awesome (I don't know that I'd ever do it again, but I'd recommend the experience to anyone.) Back to Costa Rica, on this trip I was also accompanied by a smart ass - my hubby. I knew I had to do it. Paul went down first. I watched him speed down the line, his figure disappearing rapidly from view. Then, my turn. I was shaking as they hooked me onto the cable. If there was ground, I couldn't see it. The guy who was hooking me up asked "Esta listo?" (Are you ready?) I wasn't (I wouldn't ever be, really), but said "Si" and away I went. Oh my God. It was the coolest thing I've ever experienced, topping the Skycoaster and even the Sydney Bridge climb in Australia. After the initial run, I was yelling "Estoy listo!" every time I got ready to take on another line. (I ended up being a translator on this trip - a few of the guys who worked for the Sky Tour didn't speak much English, and of course all of the turistas didn't speak Spanish - there are so many English speaking tourists over there now that most Costariquenos (or Ticos, as they're also called) are pretty fluent in Spanglish. So I am translating instructions to the other turistas and teaching the staff how to say things like "side to side" and "slow down". 5 years of Spanish helped, I guess!) I was really sad when it was over!

The ride back to Tabacon was amusing. There were a bunch of middle aged guys from California with us, and their pseudo-"leader" was this guy who vaguely resembled Gary Busey. He was kind of (loudly) recapping the information the tour guide provided on the tram, and I don't believe he got any of it right. It was only an hour ago...geez! No wonder other countries hate us...

After all of this excitement, we had a traditional Costa Rican buffet dinner (lots of pork, rice and chicken - and tres leches cake for desert...mmmmmm!) We heard the distinctive rumbling that came from the volcano and got to see lava coming down the side of the volcano - it was truly spectacular. The next day was "GUAPOTE!" and we had to get up early, so we made it an early night.

Day 7
GUAPOTE! Yes, we hit Lake Arenal for a little fishing. Our guide took us out on the lake and we caught a variety of bass - none were really impressive, we've caught bigger (ok, Paul's caught bigger) in our lake - but Paul did finally get his GUAPOTE! so it was a good trip. (Don't ask me what I caught - I think a tiger bass (?), some sort of Costa Rican mullet and, of course, a GUAPOTE! (actually, Rainbow Bass) of my very own! Oh, and a horrible sunburn on the tops of my legs - first one of the trip.)

We went back to the resort, grabbed lunch and then headed out on our ATV tour (no sitting around for us!) It was only my second time ever on a 4-wheeler - the first was when I was 15 and went out with my friend Suzie, I got on, started up, went a few feet and promptly crashed into a bush. Needless to say, I was a little nervous. After a few minutes of getting used to the ride in a big empty field (no bushes!), we ventured out and had a nice 2-hour journey. Since we were off-road quite a bit, I got really dirty. And we had already checked out. Great. I had to grab a washcloth and try to clean up as best as I could in the ladies room before we got a ride back to San Jose. We stayed at the Ramada Herradura, which was really nice. When we got in our room, we flipped on the TV, and imagine my delight when my favorite show, "House" was on (it's called "Dr. House" over there - if it were literally translated it would be "Casa" which really doesn't work. By the way, most North American shows have Spanish subtitles, but I did get to see the "Trapped in the Closet" episode of "South Park" dubbed (surprisingly well) in Spanish as well as "Los Simpson"!) We had dinner at Sancho Panza, a Spanish restaurant. We had a delicious paella and a few Imperials as the hours ticked down to burfday #37 (I managed to translate the first bit of 50-Cent's "In Da Club" to Spanish for the occasion - it is....)

Yo pequeno, es su cumpleanos

Vamos a celebrar como es su cumpleanos

Vamos a beber Bacardi como es su cumpleanos...

...and that's all of the song I know (even in English!)

Day 8
We got up early (again) and jumped on a bus at 6am to head out on a whitewater rafting adventure (See? I am an action figure!) When we got on the bus, there were a bunch of loud, boisterous guys (about our age) already there. They were loudly boasting of their maids and Porsches, so I was not looking forward to spending a few hours with them. Then we went to another hotel to pick up another group and they were late. Real late. They finally got on the bus, we pulled out into the street and immediately turned around and headed back, because one of the new people had the wrong kind of shoes! (I never thought we'd ever be leaving San Jose!) We drove for a few hours to the "operations base" for the river rafting company, loaded up on breakfast (I'm not even going to tell you what I had!) and made our way to the Pacuare River. Since there were only 2 of us, we had to go with some of the loud guys...great. Our tour guide was named Abel and as we headed out, he became less of the friendly tour guide and more of a drill sergeant ("What part of paddle forward do you not understand??") The loud guys became our allies (the ones on our raft were actually nice - they were from Ft. Lauderdale) as our hatred of Abel intensified. At least he was a good guide. We never got caught up on any rocks. The scenery along the river was beautiful - there were tons of waterfalls and cool grottos. There were also some very intense Class III and IV rapids. One group did actually hang themselves up on the rocks and Abel went out to help them, while we waited on the shore. Abel swam back and was floating in the water, asking us to come out in the raft and pick him up. We all just looked at him for a moment - and in that moment, Abel realized what a jerk he had been all day and his demeanor magically changed. The whole ride was 14 miles and took us about 3 hours. It was a lot of fun! We went back to our hotel and dined at the sushi restaurant there (pretty good). Of course, you can't seem to go anywhere in Costa Rica anymore with out some loud North American bragging about his business acumen, finances, golf game, whatever - no wonder they hate us....All in all, an excellent birthday!

Day 9
Sniffle! Today was our last day in this beautiful country. We had an early (of course) flight, but had time for the obligatory souvenir shopping (the coffee there is awesome, so we picked some up, as well as gifts for family and friends) and no trip overseas would be complete without a stop at the duty-free store! We went from paradise to hell in a matter of hours...Miami Airport was a zoo (as always) and the traffic (on a Sunday, no less) was awful. When are we going back? Soon I hope!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Christine's Costa Rica Adventure - I'm an Action Figure!

Ok. Now, where was I...

Day 5
Today we left Crocodile Bay and headed back to San Jose. We were headed for Tabacon, a resort and spa that are very close to the Arenal Volcano. The place is about 3 hours from San Jose. We took a cab (!) there, as there was only one (inconvenient) flight there via puddle jumper. It was a beautiful drive however, as we wound our way up and down the mountains, passing through small towns, souvenir stands and one very odd toll booth (it was a rickety little shack with hand painted information on the side. Our cab driver stopped, said hello to the lady in the booth and drove on, without paying a dime (or a colon, the currency in C.R.) We deduced it was probably a toll only for the gullible "turistas"! And then we were there...and it was beautiful!

The place was gorgeous - lush landscaping, beautiful architecture, friendly staff. Our room was luxurious as well (really comfy bed). This part of the trip was dubbed "mine" as there was nowhere for Paul to fish. Until...

If there's an opportunity to fish, Paul will find it. He went over to the concierge to make sure all of our eco-tours were booked and discovered he could go fishing in Lake Arenal for indigenous Costa Rican rainbow bass, or Guapotes. So, of course, he booked this and this part of the trip became "ours". (And "GUAPOTE!" was Paul's battle cry for the next 3 days!) One thing I noticed while Paul was talking with the concierge was the video running behind her desk. It featured all of the eco-tours that were available through the resort. They showed zip line tours (which we were going to do) ATVs (which we also were going to do) horseback riding and such. The video also spotlighted the hot springs - which I guess sell themselves, because the folks in the video did not provide any additional temptation! It was 5 minutes of pasty, old, fat white guys shuffling along and sitting like a lump on a log in the water. Eeeewwwww! But I digress...

As soon as we settled in, we walked down to the hot springs. "Hot springs" is definitely not a misnomer! The scenery was breathtaking, with natural waterfalls and even more beautiful flora and fauna (and one little iguana scooting across the walkway.) The volcano was awesome, I had never seen one before. It's an active one, so we could see smoke coming out of the top of it. The springs are hot because of the volcano - some were so hot, I couldn't even get in. Paul, of course, plunged right in to each and every one! The swimming pool was really the only place where I could stay in the water for more than a minute or so (maybe it was because it had a pool bar? Yay, pool bar!) We had a light lunch there because we were having our big dinner that night (it was also my birthday dinner.) The restaurant was lovely, and very fancy-schmancy (with the 9 million forks, knives and spoons on the table - "Oh, that's your asparagus fork!" and even sorbet!) The food there was so good (we didn't have a bad meal on the whole trip actually.) We were sleepy after dinner, so it was off to sleep and onto our next day's adventure.

Day 6
Today was my favorite day on the trip. We had a bountiful breakfast buffet (more gallo pinto for me!) and were off to the Sky Tram tour. This was the canopy tour through the rainforest. I always thought that they were laid back affairs, where you move yourself leisurely across zip lines from tree to tree. Imagine my surprise when I got to the base and found out that "laid back" was definitely not happening today! We had to get into harnesses and those helmets that would even make Albert Einstein look like the "Ding, Fries Are Done" guy. We the got into a tram that took us waaaaaayyyyyy up into the mountains. That part could have been laid back, if I wasn't starting to freak out about how we were going to get down. You could see the zip lines - they were long and, instead of taking you on a horizontal, tree to tree path they did an almost 90 degree drop from platform to platform (guess that's why they're called zip lines, huh?)Guess what? I'm spent! I will give you a be continued...

One more...

I know most of you couldn't care less about Peter Frampton, but I adore him. Posting the videos I find of him here is so convenient for me - I can watch these a million times - so the heck with you all if you don't like it! I am still clinging to the hope that I will actually be able to meet the man before I die. So if you Googled "Peter Frampton" and ended up here, and you actually are Peter Frampton...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ahhh...You Tube...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get harassed by many people about my obsession with one Mr. Peter Frampton. But, hey, he rocks! Thanks to the wonder of the Internet, I can now share his genius with you! (Isn't it amazing the things I can find to fill my blog in lieu of actual writing?) So anyway, here is the song that I tried to have as my wedding song not once, but twice! I will post another song I found in the next post...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Christine's Costa Rica Adventure - As Many Days As I Feel Like Recapping Here!

At long last! I am back to relaying my adventures in paradise! So, here goes...

Day Two

We head off from San Jose to Puerto Jiminez, which is on the southern end of the country. To get there, you have to take a puddle jumper. The first time I went to Puerto Jiminez was right after Aaliyah died in that plane crash. I was a little nervous to be getting on a small plane. Before you fly on Nature Air (Costa Rica's puddle jumper airline), they weigh you and your luggage (at least they don't yell out your weight to everyone in the tiny terminal), the owner of them lodge and his wife were on that flight and had what appeared to be 10 tons of luggage with them. Needless to say, I was a little nervous. Add to that the plane was about a big as a van with wings and our pilot looked to be about 12 years old. I survived that (obviously), so this time was no sweat. The "airport" in Puerto Jiminez is basically a landing strip and what looks like a bus stop. One interesting, but slightly disturbing thing is that it is right next store to a cemetery! We were picked up there and taken to the beautiful Crocodile Bay Lodge (about 5 minutes from the airport). The place is beautiful - airy and bright with no TV's in the room (so relaxing!) We got there in the early morning and had enough time to grab breakfast (I had Gallo Pinto - the typical Costa Rican breakfast, which is basically beans and rice, but it's so good!) and then we were off to do some inshore fishing. Our captain's name was Wilbert and he was awesome. We caught a lot of fish - the most of any of the boats that were out there that day - lots of snapper, jacks and needlefish. For some reason a full day of fishing really wears one out! It was Easter Sunday and the Lodge had quite the spread for dinner - a full buffet featuring some of the snapper we caught! Delish! After dinner and a few pina coladas it was off to bed and our next adventure...

Day Three
We woke up early (of course), scarfed down some Gallo Pinto and headed off for some offshore fishing. I caught my first sailfish, which weighed in at a hefty 80 lbs! Of course, Paul caught a sail too - it was a great day! Went back to enjoy libations at the swim-up pool bar (if I ever get a pool, I am so having a swim-up bar!) and another great dinner. Then (pooped again!), off to bed...

Day 4
More inshore fishing at the Lodge. Went out with Wilbert again, and Paul caught a fish he had never caught before (very rare for him!)- a Cubera Snapper -which also proved to be quite good eating!

More to come...