Standing on the Corner

The night was restless. I tossed and turned, and my room upstairs had exactly two heating options: freeze or burn. Flagstaff is cold in the winter, and I opted for the burn since the motel blankets (both of them) weren’t enough to keep me warm through the night. I woke up several times to adjust the temperature, looked out the window to see if my car was still there and in the same shape that I left it in. It was. My nose started bleeding from the dry air by 5 am and I was relieved that it was almost time for me to leave.

Motel cuppa

After a quick shower and improvised breakfast (instant oats and a Styrofoam cup of coffee), I headed out. Except the car had other plans. Of course I had negotiated with Hertz forever in order to get this car and not another one that was more convenient for THEM, so after an hour, I was ecstatic that I even received this one. Right now, it requested for its tire pressure to be adjusted. The air at the Flagstaff gas station was broken, and I headed over to the Pep Boys auto repair, where everyone was very quick and helpful and had my tires checked and aired up in no time. Beautiful. Minor hiccup. Let’s get back on the road!

The in–drive entertainment for that day was Enigma’s Fall of a Rebel Angel, followed by the podcast Serial: This American Life, the first season.

Well entertained, I made it to my first stop: the Meteor Crater off of Route 66. It doesn’t have a name; it’s simply called “Meteor Crater”, conveniently located on “Meteor Crater Rd”.

On the way up to the crater

It was cold, but I came prepared. The friendly cries of a crow on top of the administration building fascinated me and showed me the way. It was more of a screech followed by a cough… maybe the crows are different up here.

I was by myself on the rim of the crater for a good 10 minutes. It was eerily quiet, like time stood still. No evolving, no change, just stillness.

Silence

I’m not used to this anymore. I grew up in a small town, but became a city girl somewhere between Madrid and Los Angeles. Cars and neighborhood noises are soothing to me. Except when it’s your direct neighbors and you hear every peep – not a fan of that! There are places out there where you can have absolute silence (the last time I experiences this was in Marina del Rey where I went parasailing). You can’t even hear the wind up there. And everything is tiny, insignificant, quiet, beautiful.

Meteor crater

I enjoyed every moment of the silence, but then headed towards the city of Winslow, Arizona, located in Navajo County along Route 66. It really almost doesn’t get more Route 66 than this. The city became famous via the Eagles’ song “Take it Easy” which has the line “standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona” in it. So I stood on the corner, walked around, had coffee, took my pictures and a few minutes to stretch and reorganize the passenger seat, and moved on out.

Route 66, standing on the corner
Take it easy

The route took me all the way to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Very Breaking Bad. My motel, once again, was one of those typical motels where the doors lead directly to the outside which I have realized I dislike because it makes me incredibly nervous. I didn’t consider this in the planning phase. I went by the price, reviews and location, and it turned out fine. I had a nice talk with the owner while he was checking me in, and he suggested a cozy little Diner which I promptly went to.

66 Diner

66 Diner – one of the most authentic American Diners. Food is good, but the decorations and staff are what made this dining experience unforgettable.

Inside diner
Diner drinks

The sunset wasn’t bad either. 4 more travel days. I’m still alright. It’s December 1st.

Albuquerque sunset

Road Trip Part III

 

If you missed it, read Part I here: http://wp.me/p51E95-qY

Part II here: http://wp.me/p51E95-rk

Hold my door, damnit! (1/2)

It’s raining and thunderstorming… My favorite ambiance to read and write in. It makes it difficult to think of things that upset me, but dont’ fret… with a little effort, I can come up with something:

  • Stupidity

In the sense of people (even me, but seldom [coughs]) making statements about things they know nothing about. I am avoiding politics, but it would be the easiest example for this upsetting bullet point. Lord Orange just hits it home every time. I lose respect and can’t take them seriously, and I don’t like that.

  • Not meeting my own goals or thinking I’m falling short

I went running this morning and the Florida weather is getting more and more humid and hot. I’m a slow runner and am just looking to improve a tiny bit and stay in shape, even if it means one second faster than last week… The one second is never enough though. I always aim higher and end up disappointed on most runs. I also set my alarm for 6.30 this morning to avoid the crazy heat, but snoozed until 8… way too late to run because the heat is almost unbearable for me. Tomorrow, I tell ya, tomorrow!

  • Cockroaches

So maybe Florida isn’t the State for me… I do like the weather in comparison to colder States (except Cali, hah! Surprise!) and  countries and if I don’t go out running. The downside is bugs… cockroaches. I now have bug spray against mosquitos (after a long discussion of me saying “oh, I don’t mind… it’s only a few months”… It’s not. It’s Florida!) So we took care of the mosquitos (there is not one spot on my body that does not have a mosquito or gnat bite). But cockroaches… they are creepy! I’m now armed with a spray can of Raid in every room, ready to fire. Bastards!

  • Ignorance

One of my pet peeves. I don’t like being very direct, but in a battle between directness and ignorance, directness wins. I think there is always a reason why we avoid certain things… for me, I avoid direct confrontation and arguments at all costs, except for the cost of ignorance. I don’t have change for that.

  • Impoliteness

Pisses me off really. I said I wasn’t direct, right? Well, as far as impoliteness goes, I just can’t tolerate it. I avoid impolite people, and I’m getting good at identifying them…which doesn’t help, but moves things along faster. I am old school and greatly appreciate, almost emphasize, when someone knows how to treat people. I believe it has a lot to do with your education and general… ummm… travelness?

It’s still raining. A distant thunder rumbles and lightning follows. I’m calm.

#30DayWritingChallenge

Day 26: Something that upsets you

 

Zero Degree Atoll

It was the same song over and over. There were 14 songs on that album and we must’ve listened to each one about 20 times. Approximately. Over the course of one week. It was monsoon season in the Maldives.

5 years. This was the high point… or low point… of this non-relationship-­thing we had. I had. In my head… I do that.

Surely, we all have had unreciprocated romantic relations, intentions, affairs, things, whatever you want to call it. That’s it though: those “things” are difficult to define, which should be a blazing red flag that it’s never going to be what you wished it would have been. Unless you just want a “thing”. I had never believed in anything so much as I had in him coming around and finally admitting “You’re right; I’ve been afraid of commitment, but I’m ready now and you’re the one”. I know… I have the same expression on my face right now… NOW, years later.

5 years of mostly dirty texts and good intentions. And one vacation that ended up with me in tears and him more stressed out than when we arrived. A f***ing fairy tale, I tell ya. It was still paradise. I remember when we had just set foot in our room and shared the bottle of welcome-bubbly, still in awe of the pool in front of our little bungalow, right by the ocean too. We laughed and had the greatest time. I think it was almost a whole week that we made it without the girl (i.e. me) asking for a definition (again) of what we were. I was still in college and had skipped an important exam to go. Ok, it wasn’t really important at all, but I still decided a vacation to the Maldives with the person I’d been wanting to be with for a year at that time was a definite priority. The professor allowed me a make-­up exam. He was cool like that.

I thought I would be more emotional writing about him and our time together… or not together, but I guess I’ve been over him for a while. Took me long enough. I cried way too many tears and spent way too many nights waiting for him to text or call or respond to a text. The headaches from estimating the right time and content to text…  After we had decided that at least we wouldn’t have a relationship, but rather a physical arrangement, it didn’t make it any easier. I say “we”, but in reality it was him who led the way and I followed. I started writing and inviting, he didn’t object. He started texting, I didn’t object.

Why would you have to try to make someone be interested in you? Or love you? Unless you thought there was a SLIGHT chance in hell that they might come around… That thought almost 100 percent of the time turns out to be toxic.

I must admit, I had fun with my friends, planning all the encounters and texts that would perhaps lure him back in and respond, meet up, etc. It always worked and made me hopeful. I celebrated every one of his texts, his responses. I needed those for my ego at the time. I cherished every date we had. Or non-­date. Whatever.

He tried to tell me so many times that he’s not interested, but I kept going back. Because I never believed him. God. How naïve can one person be?! I had this one friend, my best friend at the time, who kept insisting that I will end up with him. This was oil to my fire. Screw the nay-­sayers. And I always ended up in tears.

But then he texted again.

And everything started over.

The hope, the spark, the casual “ah, let’s just see where this goes”.

We couldn’t let go. Every date I’ve been on after him could never live up to what I had in mind with this guy. He was everything to me. And I believe he is the only one who ever truly broke my heart.

#30DayWritingChallenge

Day 12: Someone who broke your heart

It’s All About Priorities

There’s a saying that goes “You can never get enough of what you don’t really need”. According to Maslow (boy, how much did we study him in Psychology class, along with the dog and the bell and the Id, the Ego and the Superego, and ended up with a bag of chips on the couch after over-analyzing our own behavior―good times!), our basic necessities have to do with everything health-related (physiology). Security, love, self-esteem and self-fulfillment are built onto that health base, and altogether represent our pyramid of necessities. In a nutshell.

When I have $ 10 mio. (since “if” introduces a possible or unreal situation or condition, I chose “when” which indicates a reference to the time of a future situation or condition that we are certain of (source), although I should be implementing it in the present tense to create the feeling of already having it… this whole envisioning thing is so complicated!), I’ll give you a break here. Alright, let’s start again: $10 mio. I’ll try to break it down (assuming I have financial planners and bankers hired and in place, ready to rumble) :

― Definitely invest to secure stability for my family (and I’d finally get to pay my parents back for everything they’ve ever invested in me… I hope 10 mio. covers that… the bill is pretty lengthy) ―let’s say for the sake of calculation, 2 mio.

― That house in the Hills (online real estate sources show some nice ones somewhere between 3-4 mio.)

―I’ll cool my SLR dream for a while, and settle for the SL (500 though! – $120,000 plus insurance, maintenance, gas)

―Flying my family and a handful of friends over (one after the other, I don’t like crowds and they don’t need to meet… they know too much) to splurge: Let’s say 10 people total, family can fly business: $20k (for flights)

―Finally treat mom & sis to that shopping spree and breakfast at the Beverly Wilshire: $10k to start out with (“Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.”) Pretty Woman all the way

Where does that leave us? ………. (calculating)….. roughly $6,150,000 spent, $3,850,000 to go.

― Travel, travel, travel. I’d invest in some new lenses and gadgets and fun stuff and capture everything along the way: the Amazon Rain Forest, Tierra del Fuego, Northern Lights and Santa’s village (yes, it exists!), Cape Town, Mount Kilimanjaro, Bali, Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Fiji. Roughly. Not super luxury hotels, but I’m not going to lie (I totally wish I was the camping type, but I’m so not), I do like clean sheets. Via AirTreks, I just calculated roughly $7600-$10k for flights alone. Depending on how long I’d stay at each destination, hotel rates, food, and things I forgot, let’s say $50k.

― Good causes (because when you have money, you have to give back, no excuses): I care a lot about animal rescues and would invest accordingly. The Water Project is also a cause I would like to support. Total for good causes: Wow, that’s tough. How can you invest so much in yourself and your own experiences and not more in making sure other people are ok? We have to save the planet, g˟ddamnit (panics)! I don’t feel comfortable putting a price tag on this at all. Let’s start out with $200,000 and go from there.

― Because I don’t want to come back to an empty house and twiddle my thumbs, I’d finally launch my own company (or several), and thus create jobs along the way, generate more income, but mostly follow my passion. $500k? Is that realistic? Let’s hope so.

― That leaves $3,100,000, of which I haven’t invested anything yet (except my company), and the house also needs maintenance, I need food, and to sustain my daily life. I’m sure the bank has options to make money grow… magically… Like a wizard.

― I’d probably invest in realty to rent out as well (for steady income next to my company)

It scares me how easy it is to spend money. Basic necessities are met effortlessly when you put everything in this $10 mio. perspective, but the higher the $ amount, the higher our sense of entitlement. This is my belief. The more money you have to spend, the more you think you want and need things that you could do without. The thing is, it’s not about what you need anymore at a certain point. If you have all the money in the world, but there is no cure for a disease you may have, your necessities shift and it’s a whole different ballgame.

So here we are: going to work, on game shows, playing the lottery, taking risks, asking neighbors, investing, waiting and hoping that everything changes while nothing changes at all. In a nutshell.

What would you do with $10 mio.?

#30DayWritingChallenge

Day 10: “What would you do with $10 million?”

Back in the Groove

I just finished my second class for the day. I’ve been sticking with my Les Mills On Demand workouts since January, in an attempt to get my body back (in the shape it used to be, or a step further even). And in support of my half marathon training plan. On non-running days, I finish one or two classes. On running days, I mostly stick to running and stretching.

I remember the cool mornings when I mounted my bike en route to the beach, movie soundtracks and a Pandora station in my ears, and leave the world be. It was just the bike and I. And the breeze. And the beach. A few time, I even made it all the way to Downtown LA. I always used the GPS and left at 6 am or earlier on a Sunday to avoid traffic. I rode my bike all the way to the Disney Concert Hall, ate my banana, and made my way back. Ice cream at the Pier by 9 am. That was my Sunday, and I enjoyed every second of it.

It was different once I took on the new job in the valley. I was able to afford my living situation and transportation there, but I was mostly stationary. You get up, drive to work, sit down in front of a computer, get up and drive back home, and by the end of the day you’re so tired, you maybe get to the store, home, dinner, sit down, bed. It was a very different change in lifestyle ― but I wanted LA so much that I didn’t care about me anymore. I loved every LA second, but I lost part of me in the process.

In January of this year, my mom was visiting my sister and her family in Maine. My sister and I had texted and I decided to make my way up there and surprise mom. Two days on the Amtrak, crossing 15 States… really? 15? Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine. Wow. I’ve crossed 15 States this year and wasn’t even truly aware until now. It was the best time and a decision I do not regret. The Amtrak was actually comfortable, even though I did not opt for a sleeper car. It had a café car with drinks and snacks; the restrooms were comfortably clean and the time passed anyway. It was good to see New England again, but most of all, my family grounded me. In those times when you’re all over the place, your family reminds you who you are, where you came from and that everything is ok. I needed that.

My sister got me back into my gym routine, and I’m pumping and combating and balancing and running almost every day. Mom kept encouraging me, as did my friends.

I have a feeling that I am where I’m supposed to be. However, the journey is far from over. I’m curious, as usual, where it (or I) bring/s me. I’m ready, and I don’t regret a thing.

 

 

#30DayWritingChallenge

Day 8: What decision/s are you glad you made?

Sleep With One Eye Open

 

I wake up in the middle of the night, staring at the ceiling and wonder if I switched off that coffee maker that I haven’t used in a few days because I opted for tea―for the nerves. I turn to my phone and remind myself not to check any emails, social media or news before a decent hour. I obey and open my music library. Enigma finally made a new album and I press play on the first song. I set all songs on repeat on my drive from California to Florida. Even the first notes remind me of that time. I was worried back then. Am now.  And it reflects on my now as the musical association doesn’t untangle my sleepless loop of thoughts. In general, I worry too much.

I cannot just sit there and do nothing. I have to keep active, even if it just means making a list and checking it off as I go along. Not making progress or the feeling of being useless irks me. At my last job, I felt completely expendable. I was always on time, always did my job, quicker and more diligently and friendlier than most of my colleagues. I wouldn’t show my displeasure or unhappiness or if I felt that a way of doing something as ordered from above does not seem efficient in my opinion. I generally take orders very well and I work until my job is done. And then some. I quit because I felt stagnant. Idle.

I’m at this party, which is unusual in itself because I don’t like crowds (which to me is more than maybe five people). Except maybe at someone’s house, with only two or three others, playing board games and tasting wine. I was never the life of any party; and if I was, I probably had an exceptional day or left my bubble for a second. I prefer to stick with the people I know, but I’m not afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger, especially when I feel that the vibes are right. Humor has always helped a great deal in those situations. I wish I was more naturally outgoing and less shy. There are so many girls in high heels at this party who just wink their fake eye lashes and contort their lips to a fake O in amazement. Or maybe they’re not fake, they’re just not shy and not introvert, like me. And that’s ok. Most of them are fake though.

Bullies annoy me. As does stupidity. Cue political situation, but I won’t. And I tend to take some things the wrong way if something doesn’t comply with my inner checklist. I may take some things too personal that were never intended to be. Classic sender-receiver-missed-message triangle, and a great deal of over-sensitivity on my part.  We learned that in Linguistics. I hated that class because everything was so methodical and didn’t make sense to me back then. It does now. I love it when a method works out, and when a plan comes together, to put it in A-Team jargon.

Practical, analytical, hard-working, cool front (hey!), witty, reliable. In a nutshell, yes, I believe I’m the poster child for the Virgo zodiac sign. I love it and I hate it. I love it more than I hate it, but I definitely must stop worrying so much and trust more. Period.

#30DayWritingChallenge

Day 7: Your zodiac sign and if you think it fits your personality

Trump Ages Backwards

The Benjamin-Button-phenomenon has sprung to life in none other than US President Donald Trump, a recent medical hoax confirmed. Except the subject is becoming more stupid the younger he gets. “Herdergerherder bah lerderner sok itstrue hergerder”, POTUS proclaimed in a meeting at London Heathrow airport’s international departure area (this is as far as he got).

This explains his utter lack of higher register, class, international understanding, humane intention yet abundance of opinionated suggestions. The 70-year-old hair aficionado took several breaks during his two-and-a-half minute visit, which was paid for in its entirety by US tax money, to have his diaper changed.

What does this mean for America? A rise in daycare prices, to say the least (someone will have to take care of this sh!t), orange hair-dye and white eyeliner shortages will have to be met, and we assume that the conveyor belts for extra long neck ties won’t be standing still in the next four years (if we’re pessimistic).

As Major Orange steps down from Heathrow’s international podium, his wife Melania smiled. Or cried. Or died. Who knows. In a recent interview, FLOTUS expressed her hope to soon move into the White House as her husband becomes younger:

“I am willing to share a house with him in maybe another 10 years”

– “First Lady Trumpleton, your husband will not be president in 10 years”

– “Oh. Oh, that’s too bad. I was looking forward to being his wife…”

– “…”

– “…”

– “…”.

Both, Mr. and Mrs. President Trumpinsky, were escorted to Air Don’t Force This 1 by their security team (our scientists and medical experts in disguise – they will never find out, but are in need of constant supervision due to their unusual conditions).  They will try to stop TheDonald from blowing his own trump(et).

As always, we will stay on top of the developments in the White House and refer to DT’s latest Twitter rants and Instagram posts, which are clearly more important than establishing international relationships and a national feeling of security.

 

#30DayWritingChallenge

Day 4: “Write a tabloid story about a celebrity” (ok, it said “favorite” celebrity, but I love my favorite celebrities too much to rant about them)