Ferry Tales... can come true!!

>> Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Oh yes, I have magical news to share today! You know how I always complain about public transportation in New York, and how the coffee on the Ferry is simply heinous... WELL, no more complaining!

There is a brand new bakery right in the Staten Island Ferry terminal. They've got a real serious looking espresso making vehicle! Oh no, its not a machine... it IS a ve-hi-cle! Too bad they're on the Manhattan side and not on SI side, because I buy coffee to drink while on the ferry to Manhattan. But you know, just the mare KNOWLEDGE that good coffee is NEAR is enough for me!

So you see. What do I always tell ya, ANYTHING is possible! Good coffee installed in the SI Ferry terminal, this is pure INSPIRATION people. I say lets go for world peace next!

Side note:
I had a delicious cannoli from that bakery yesterday. I don't really like sweets, but when it comes to treats from Napoli and Sicilia, like sfogliatelle and cannolies- I forget my head!


"Hello... I'm having an emergency..."

>> Sunday, November 27, 2005

I'm about to reveal something to you that will make you love me forever and ever!!!

You remember my plans of going to volunteer at an orphanage in Dominican Republic? Well that broke up- the site where the building work is going on got flooded so all trips are suspended at the moment... so I looked into my second choice, which was an orphanage in Mexico... well a big group was already signed up to go there and there was no more room for other volunteers. At some point in the process my friend Kaiya suggested we try Costa Rica, and we looked into a few orphanages there but apparently there is a WAITING list to volunteer at a CR orphanage since its a popular volunteer destination! I will definitely adress this issue later and much more indepth because I learned that the whole non-profit world is one big interconnected mafia! (TRUST me I WILL go into details a bit later.) But this isn't what I'm going to tell you that you'll love me for.

Basically Kaiya and I were left with no more options so we just booked a pair of tickets to Costa Rica last weekend and decided that we're going no matter what!

What we didn't realize is that apparently the ENTIRE COUNTRY gets booked up for the end of December. Not only is that time considered the "high season" it is the HIGH SEASON OF the high season, where not only a ton of tourists show up, but all Costaricans go on vacation as well! Ooops.

Well, nothing is impossible at SP (unless the non-profit mafia is involved) so I stepped up. As the result last week I've been doing some creative work... and I bring you:


First of all lets discuss a couple of givens:
- always use polite, happy tone - smile, they want happy people staying at their hotels
- be empathetically- "Yes of course I understand you hotel is completely booked, right, I imagined as much..."
- and don't take NO for an answer!

OK, here we go:
"The Confused Act" - just act really confused, your tone will throw them of and make them pay attention.

"The Repeat" - Ask for availability naming each date individually. After you're done with the cycle, REPEAT. Ex: "Do you have December 27 available?" -No- "December 28th?" "December 29th?" "December 30th?" ... "Ok, yes I understand, what about December 27th?" etc.

"The Call Back" - If the confused act and repeat didn't get you anywhere, hang up, and call back in about 20 minutes. Lead in with a story how you just booked a different place for some of the dates and have new dates you want to check with them. Than proceed: "The dates I now need are: December 27th, 28th and 29th"

The good old "Bait and Switch" - This one is good because it gets the owner to start saying "yes".
Ex: "Good morning, I'd like to book a room in December..."
"Yes, Ok, what dates do you need?"
"I need 27 through 30th"
"Oh, sorry ALL booked"
"Ok, well which dates you do have?"
"Lets see we have 21, 22, and 25 ONLY"
"OK, I'll TAKE IT!"

Feel free to call back in 20 minutes and say: "Oh, I need to change my reservation... There was a full week available somewhere else, so I'd like to change the reservation to Dec 27th, 28th and 29th"

The "Add on" -
You might have caught that I left out Dec 30th when booking earlier... that's because we can always perform the "add on". Book your reservation, if you still have a few days before or after the booking, feel free to wait 20 minutes and call back. Say you called everyone and you just need the one more day.

Now mind you, its possible that these worked because they all are boutique hotels and when you call you're usually talking to the owner or at least someone related. Not sure if these will have the same effect on large hotels...

I will tell you this. All hotels always keep an "emergency" room available. Even through the high seasons. I'm not exactly sure why they do it... but there is always at least ONE room kept open, its just a matter of being that person who will be awarded the "emergency" room.

OH, and there is always the sixths strategy for booking hotels during the high season... YOU CALL IN ADVANCE!!!

So, yeah, how was your Thanksgiving? :)


Good shrimps and bad shrimps...

>> Wednesday, November 23, 2005

OK, so the doctor guy was a shrimp. He was short.

BUT its not really about the actual height, its that he LOOKED short. I do not discriminate against short guys, in fact, I had the biggest crush on a guy was was really short, but when you looked at him first thing you thought was "HOT!". The doctor guy.... first thing you think is just "short".

He did NOT have a plan of where to go! (So I suggested a tapa place near my office.)
That was basically it for me at that point. So yeah, I laughed really loudly and had my fun. Had two glasses of wine and ordered everything that had garlic in it. Olives with garlic, shrimp with garlic... etc...

Overall I had fun, and he seemed to have had a good time too. He dropped me off at my house, kiss on the cheek, and ciao.

See, eventhough I did have a good time, and it was a nice dinner... I still see the whole outing as rather pointless. I couldn't stop thinking that I was missing The Amazing Race!

Most importantly he is not someone that I would want to bring to any weddings with me... so as far as I'm concerned there would be no use out of this guy for me!

NEXT! (Get it? a little "doctor office" analogy.)

Lesson kids: shrimp and garlic is a delicious tapa for ANY occasion!


Lets talk Wardrobe...

>> Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I would write a tortured post about hating Mondays... but... this is the THANKSGIVING week! And lucky me is off starting Wednesday, so its only today and tomorrow for me!

So tomorrow night is my date with the doctor guy that grandma has set me up with. I reported how I already talked to him last week and that he seemed pretty nice. I didn't mention the fact that the city he is from and his name is exactly my very first boyfriend's. He was a cutie my whole family was pissed that we broke up because he was cute. Especially Grandma, her words I believe were: "You SILLY silly girl! DON'T break up with him! He is so CUTE. Keep seeing him, maybe you'll meet a friend of his that you'll like better and you can date him instead!" Yeah grandma, or maybe I can just date BOTH of them! I'm sure they won't mind!...

Anyway, Grandma called me the other day to make sure I'm on track...

G: Ale dear, have you picked out what you're wearing?
A: Yeah, my red ski looking pants with my of the shoulder black sweater and my cowboy boots.
G: Oh you always kid around! Seriously now..?
A: Ok, fine, I'm wearing my gray skirt, knee high black boots, and a pink cashmere sweater.
G: That's better... Now, don't eat with your hands, and don't laugh too loud...
A: Can I make out with him after the date?
G: NO! but a kiss on the cheek will be fine.
A: Yes, Grandma--

*OK, I'm SO wearing that first thing I said, I'm so eating with my hands! and I'm SOOO going to laugh really loudly!!! But I love the fact that Grandma and I have fun stuff to discuss, I seriously think that if Grandma was a web surfing gal, she would not be reading my blog due to lack of sex!

Nicholas update: He has a picture of me in the office... and he said that the views in my office are incredible- hehehe- Yes I know--


Surfs up!

>> Saturday, November 19, 2005

What a CRAZY BUSY week this has been! But definitely GOOD crazy busy. Lots was accomplished at work and I was out every single night almost.

Have you ever wondered why all the great things like waves, do not happen alone but all roll one right after the other? Well SP wondered about it and came to a conclusion that "if its good, ask no questions, just ride it". Ride the good wave that is. Because life is a balance and sooner or later the wave will wash you ashore, hopefully not via smashing you on a jagged rock, but ashore you will end up. You'll have to grab that surf board and paddle back out to the sea. So why not just ride the waves you do catch to the MAXIMUM!? Again, STOP with the questions and just RIDE!!

So here I ride....!

This Nicholas thing is progressing in an interesting way. First I have to report that I SAW his PICTURE! Ha! He is BLOND!!!! His hair is blond, his eye brows are blond, his eye lashes are BLOOOOND! And I not into blond guys!!! Just not my usual type. HOWEVER, I love the way he looks. What a very open yet mischievous smile he has. I like, I like!!!

GG the all knowing Guyal from Guyana, said yesterday: "Ale, I had some 'esp thing' that you fell madly in love with the new toy, I mean, boy."

Funny enough how right GG is! Just the other day I was really getting a fuzzy feeling about Nicky boy!!! He has been throwing out suggestions to come out for a little European visit...

PS: It is FREEZING in NY! And now I'm dead tired and going to bed. Four hours of sleep every day this week...!
Buona Notte~


>> Wednesday, November 16, 2005

My coffee cup is FAMOUS!!! It is now part of the "Experiment"! (Top left corner)
I go there every day for a fresh cup of coffee! ~Enjoy~


I'm a screamer!

>> Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Yes, that's right. I am.

I was standing in the waiting terminal this morning with my coffee and my Financial Times... I was waiting for the ferry which was LATE today, anyway, I was standing right next to the big glass wall and decided to look up and admire the turbulent seas, since this morning was a bit overcast and rainy. As I calmly looked up... I saw right in front of my face... a HUGE, UUUGLY, COCKROACH!!!!!!!!!! I could not BELIEVE my eyes, it was moving his long antennas... EEWWWWW!!!!!!

I SCREAMED. It was one of those SOUL PIERCING screams that if some horror movie director was around I would definitely be receiving an immediate sign-on bonus to be the official screamer girl in his next movie!

The rush hour ferry terminal crowd turned around and after it was clear that I was not being robed, murdered or bitten by aggressive killer aliens... they all laughed! Yeah, thanks people, I want to see you face to face with a cockroach of such high caliber of ugliness!!!

Anyway, I think I made their morning...

Matchmaking Grandma update: The guy that grandma is setting me up with called last night. He sounds like a very sweet boy. (Which may be fun for me and bad for him. I'm cute and adorable here on the blog, but in real life...) I usually like guys that are rough and tough. My family is convinced that the guy I will eventually end up with will be the guy that drags me around by the hair. (If he is looking HOT in his leopard loin cloth... I'll let him drag me around by my hair.) Well, he called and we had a nice little chat. We set a date for next Tuesday, because I actually have plans for everyday this week, and he is not good enough yet to get the "prime time" of Friday or Saturday night. (That's why mostly I DON'T have any plans on Friday and Saturday nights.)

Nicholas update: I've been SUPER busy at work and haven't had much time to play with him last week... but we've exchanged plenty of emails apologizing for our busyness. :) He also sent me a card from his home town and it arrived last night! Now I have a sample of his writing and can analyze it to pieces!!!! hehehe (Thanks Handwriting wizard!)

Kids instead of a lesson, we have Concept of the day: "Force feed happiness to yourself and soon enough it will start sliding down your throat like a piece of raspberry JELLO!" - i love jello-


Sexy survival guide to seasonal blues!

>> Monday, November 14, 2005

What a cute hat no?!

Just the other week we changed our clocks and now around 5.15pm it gets dark outside and wolves start howling at the moon... 5pm people!!! That's just persposterous! Though this is nothing new, however every year this change bites in a surprising way, and NOT in a good playful way. (SP child disclaimer: Biting is rude kids, and unsanitary.)

I'm sure most of you are familiar with S.A.D, Seasonal Affective Disorder, where you feel sleepy all the time with the arrival of shorter days. (Unless of course you live in the vicinity of the equator where there is perpetual fun in the sun... YOU all, in fact, are excused from reading this post, nah, stick around we may need your input.)

Maybe you have experienced some "symptoms":

  • Feeling tired and sleepy
  • Craving bread, cakes - carbs basically
  • "Heavy" arms and legs, no desire to move around
  • Winter weight gain
  • Sleep problems
  • Feeling sad or lethargic, lazy

If you said "yes" to some of these, don't worry, there's some hope left! :) Actually, if you experience these symptoms to a certain degree, it doesn't mean that you have mental problems or that you are "depressed", it just means you are TOTALLY normal! Because these symptoms are nothing more than a natural reaction to a decreased exposure to sunlight. (congratulate yourselves.)

With decreased sunlight, we loose intake of some important vitamins that we naturally get from the sun, (vitamin D) we start getting tired and sleepy early, wanting to eat more, which will add to your feeling sleepy. We eat more, and than sleep... a formula for "winter weight". Yeah, did you really think we were any more evolved than the bears??

All of the above makes us annoyed and we feel...um SAD. For no APPARENT reason too! This starts to frustrate us and enter the feelings of incompetence in managing your emotions, which in turn frustrates us further making us even more upset. (Makes us want to dip our hand in honey and get undercovers to suck on it for the rest of the winter.)

To avoid all these unpleasantries, the experts suggest:

  • Watch what you eat - not too much spaghetti
  • Take your vitamins
  • Drink water
  • exercise
  • Try to get at least 20 minutes of direct sunlight each day
  • Take a trip to somewhere sunny, or go skiing for a few days

This is all very good advice, of course, but what if you ALREADY do all these things!? As you should be all year long by the way. Fear not!! Sempre Primavera is here to instruct you! We're diving deep into the psyche to combat those winter blues. Drinking water is all good and dandy, but SP doesn't take any chances, we're bringing out the big guns!

Here is the official SPHQ (HeadQuarters) mandated list of procedures to be executed immediately upon discovery of foreign "symptoms" associated with seasonal blues. With the diminishing of sunlight our senses loose a lot of stimulation that naturally comes at them during the summer... flowers, colors, scents, light! So here's what we do:

1. Aroma infusion - get a new perfume, new candle scent... some orgasmic shampoo! This will help stimulate the sense of smell which can't go outside and smell the flowers anymore.

2. Lights - turn on the lights, light up every corner of the house, candles! (Kids, review fire safety.)

3. Lingerie!!! Get creative people, get something super sexy and naughty! There is just something absolutely energizing knowing that your bra and underwear are HOT eventhough you have like 50 layer of clothing on and a coat. And this includes guys to. Get some armani brief/shorts or something vulgar like black silk boxers. Its a well know fact that subconsciously nice underwear is equated with being prepared to jump into bed with someone at the very first opportunity. (figuratively speaking. right... of course)

4. Going along with #3 get your manicure and pedicure perfected. Eventhough no one will see those toes, (except for that hypothetical sexy stranger you'll be jumping in bed with) ready toes will lift your mood.

I've included some lovely photos for inspiration. (They're from the seasonal catalogue of Sax 5th Ave.) The blue sky is all mine though.

Funny how the guy is naked! But the girl let him borrow her furry hat, he'll be ok.

Lesson kids: Sexy lingerie is the answer to all your problems. Yeah! Now, go out there and do 1-4 and report to me later.


What women want is a "capable" young man...

>> Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ale: So what's the story with this guy you want me to go out with?

Grandma: He is a doctor!!!

Ale: Yeah, yeah... yeah...what else?

Grandma: He just bought his own house!!

Ale: bla..blaaaa...yawn...yawn... what else?

Grandma: Oh, um, he is doing some work on the house on his own.


Ale: Oh yeah... what kinda work?


More island hopping, and MORE matchmaking...

>> Wednesday, November 9, 2005

I don't know how I get into situations like these... but just now I allowed my Grandma to set me up on a date. Why do I do this to myself!!?!

Anyway, she caught me during a weak moment.

This Saturday we, my grandparents and I, went wine tasting to my beloved Long Island Wine country, and had the most lovely day! Picnic at Laurel Lake Vineyard... a bottle of their delicious Reisling... beautiful sunset! We just had such an awesome day. (This was the continuation of my Island Hopping weekend, by the way.) Maybe it was this nice time we've had that I couldn't say no to my enthusiastic little Grandma! That, and I believe she mixed in a good dose of jewish guilt, and statements like: "You are giving me a heart attack!!!" "Why do you insist on making me unhappy!?" "All I want is to die knowing that you'll be marrying a doctor... (well, that you'll be marrying period)" You get the picture. And it is true, my romantic stories are not fitting for the frail of heart, or citizens over 65.


A weekend of Island Hopping!

>> Monday, November 7, 2005

So I went island hopping Friday night! I love saying that, sounds so exotic... so Sempre Primavera ~esque!!

Well, to make this even more exotic, it was an Ethiopian party that I went to. A friend had a super idea to have a party for no particular reason. Brilliant! No need to tell me twice... I'm there!

Dulce came along, and we started out the evening with a nice walk to 59th street to take the tram over to Roosevelt island. It was both of ours first time doing that. Funny thing was that last year I lived on 59th street and my windows faced the tram... so every morning and evening the nice people on the tram got a show... Hey! I'm sure it rose their morale as they proceeded to the office!!

Anyway, now I got a chance to be on the "other side" and boy it IS fun to look into the peoples' windows as you're gliding 250 feet in the air! I say, everyone should take 5 minutes and go on the tram, its very beautiful and gives you a whole new view of the city. Feels very different... I felt like I was in Japan or something! (Ok, maybe Japan, because of the Japanese tourists that were joy riding the tram...).

Roosevelt island is TINY, with mostly residential buildings and some parks, Dulce said it reminded her of a college campus. I agreed.

The party was in a lounge of my friend's building with large glass doors and a look out onto the patio. She decorated with lots of candles, and there were plates with grapes, and many wine bottles. Very nice. Everyone was super friendly and international. There were people form Ethiopia, of course, South Africa, Bermuda, Trinidad... it was a fun crowd. The Trinidadians brought a BIG bottle of home made rum drink... Let me tell you- sweet delicious and strong, but you don't feel it. In fact they called it "Rum Punch", even thought it didn't look like punch, they assured me that the "punch" will come later!

We danced to all kind of beats and I learned that Ethiopian dancing is all about the shoulders as opposed to Brazilians being all about the butt for example. What a freakin' awesome time! It was just really great, and reminded me of crazy international parties my Brazilian friends used to throw back in Chicago... aaahh.... Even though the Fire department didn't show up this time, the party still had a deliriously HAPPY vibe!!

What wasn't so grand is the island hopping back to my own island, Staten Island. It involved a quick hop to the island of Manhattan... and than a ferry boat ride to SI. But thanks to "Rum Punch" it was all good in the hood. I guess I do live on exotic islands... and don't even realize...


You are French Food

>> Friday, November 4, 2005

You Are French Food

Snobby yet ubiquitous.People act like they understand you more than they actually do.
What Kind of Food Are You?

Ok, so addicted to these tests. (Saw this one on Cousin's blog.) I think that's part of the reason I used to job hop is because I love interviewing. Talking about myself for 2 hours! But I also like to know random things about random people... that's why I like blogging, gives you an excuse to ask anyone anything! And of course talk about myself some more!!

I need a substitute boyfriend... Nicholas is out and I need a distraction!

PS: Honestly I've never had French food, nor has it ever appealed to me... Does this mean I wouldn't get along with myself if I met me?? Hmmm... maybe not... but I'd for SURE make out with myself! I'm so hot!




>> Wednesday, November 2, 2005

All day today I've been having flashbacks about my time in Italy. The aroma of cafe latte, cornetto di cioccolata, whinny Fiorentinas gossiping about each other and giving foreign girls evil looks. (Don't worry ladies, we won't take your men for ever, we'll just play and give'em right back.) Aaaaa I enjoyed everything when I lived in Italy. Even silly mundane things felt new.

As I mentioned before I studied and worked there for about a year. Even though it was five years ago, that time period was so highly concentrated with experiences that it took me a good two three years to digest... Ok, fine: to RECOVER! One year for complete return culture shock, one year hating everything Italian in sign of "protest", and one year to finally get enough strength to look at and organize your pictures.

Coincidentally enough "Il Piu Bello" text messaged me today. We text once in a while and call on all major holidays, birthdays etc etc. I guess for me, checking up on him is a way of remembering that I really did have this "Italy" experience. (And making sure the foolish boy didn't get married yet... well, not until he serves as my date for the wedding in Italy!!)

Seriously, I may act all tough and sarcastic like I don't care, but the truth is that this Italy thing really threw me for a loopy-loop. I made a decision 5 years ago to leave Italy and go back to the US and have a "real" life; only to find out there is no such thing as "real" life. We MAKE our life.

I thought choosing to stay in Italy... working at an internet cafe and being in love with an italian boy (not il piu bello, a different one actually) would not be grown up, would be like ESCAPING real life... NOW I realize that leaving Italy to come back to the States was in fact exactly that, an immature escape. Do I regret not staying there? I did (year 1-3). Now I know that with my "brain set" back then it would have been a total mess anyway! If I was as "smart" as I am now, I could have done great things but I definitely was not at that time, so regrets are not needed.

The good thing is that I learned my lesson...

1. Always have a GOAL!
2. Always have a PLAN of how to achieve that goal.
3. Keep that Plan FLEXIBLE!!!!! (Realize that there are more than one way to get there!)
4. Listen to your instincts, even if they tell you to do wacky things.
5. Get plenty of exercise and drink lots of water! (To keep those instincts sharp.)

I sure hope I don't mess up again...

Kids: Lots of notes today, I know. Have them memorized for tomorrow, and don't forget to bring me an apple!

PS: Talking about messing up... Nicholas is going away on a long weekend, who am I going to play with at work!

**Check out more pictures that Mr. Christopher took in Florence, they're awesome!

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