Sunday, 30 September 2007

Eastern Promises

I’ve been wanting to see the movie Eastern Promises for a couple of weeks now, the story sounded interesting, very similar to the film ‘Dirty Pretty Things’ which I’d liked – I believe it has the same screenwriter - and its been getting great reviews from the critics. It also has Viggo Mortensen in it, which is no bad thing in my book. I’ve had a bit of a thing for him ever since I saw Lord of the Rings. Phew, that Aragorn, very sexy. I think Viggo probably won a few admirers following that role and even John – of John and Louise – admitted to having a bit of a boy crush on Viggo after seeing him in LOTR.

Eastern Promises had a limited release in New York a couple of weeks ago and even then my curiosity to see it was fully piqued based on the great reviews it was receiving; however chick flick loving Tel Aviv - favourite movie, ‘When Harry Met Sally’ – was having none of it. “It sounds too violent,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s that bad”, I replied “if it’s anything like Dirty Pretty Things it’s more of a thriller.”

Unfortunately Tel Aviv wasn’t to be budged, so I ended up seeing it on Friday night with Melissa who jumped at the chance. The film had been high on her list of ‘must see’ movies too.

I don’t know what I was thinking!!

I’m not going to spoil any of the movie for those of you that plan to see it, but five minutes in, when one of characters had his throat slashed rather graphically, I realised I had made a big mistake in coming to see it. In fact, as someone of a very sensitive and squeamish disposition, I realised I was an absolute idiot and should have known better than to see anything by David Cronenberg. I ended up watching most of the movie through my eyelashes and, during some of the more gruesome sounding scenes, I did my best impersonation of a napping barn owl, head tucked into my chest, eyes tightly closed; resisting all temptation to look back at the screen until the audience’s horrified gasps had abated.

Melissa however had no such sensitivities and afterwards said she found the violence so over the top it was almost comical, like watching a cartoon. She said she almost expected an ACME safe to fall from the sky and squash one of the bad guys.

I, on the other hand, went home and checked under my bed for Russian gangsters. I think I’ll be sticking to chick flicks with Tel Aviv from now on.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Would you like a large fries with that?

I haven't been able to concentrate at all today. I must have started and stopped the same piece of analysis five times and I’m barely any further along with it than I was this morning. I’m going nowhere fast and if I don’t get my act together I’m going to end up making up for lost time over the weekend. Unfortunately my heart just isn’t in it, I feel so completely overwhelmed by work at the moment that I don’t know where to start and I’m in one of those moods where I’m close to telling the powers that be exactly where they can stick their job. It’s one of those weeks where you think, 'could working in McDonalds really be worse than this?'

At least my day started well, in a most civilized manner in fact. Rather than scarf down a coffee and a slice of toast at my desk as usual I actually sat down for a leisurely breakfast at a local diner and enjoyed a cup of coffee and a toasted English muffin in the company of Tel Aviv. It was his idea and I was initially reluctant when he suggested it, since I’m not one of those people that likes to waste time in the morning. I’m very efficient; I get up, get showered, get dressed and go straight to work and I’m usually at my desk by 8am. Time spent lolling around having breakfast or reading the paper is time that could be better spent sleeping in my opinion, however the more I pondered the idea of having a leisurely breakfast for a change the more I liked it, and I didn’t have any meetings until 10am, so we ended up stopping by a local diner on the way to the subway.

It was a funny little place that I’d passed often, but had never eaten at before. I liked it, it oozed character and there wasn’t an employee in the place under the age of 60. One of the elderly waitresses had a dowager’s hump to rival
Mrs Overall’s. We took a seat in an empty booth and our waiter shuffled over with a couple of menus. He looked down at the two of us holding hands across the table and said with a wink “I can tell you two aren’t married.”

Cheeky bugger!! :-)

He picked up on my accent when we ordered and asked whereabouts in Yorkshire was I from. A surprise, because my flattened northern vowels tend to confuse many Americans and you'd be surprised at the number of people who peg me for an Australian. As it turned out though our waiter was born in Leeds, although he'd long lost his accent, but his cousin apparently still owns the Queens hotel near Leeds railway station. He'd moved to New York in the 1960s and was thrilled to meet someone who knew Leeds well and kept coming over to refill my coffee and chat to me and reminisce about the good old days living in Yorkshire, much to Tel Aviv's amusement.

Unfortunately my mood took a distinct turn for the crotchety when I arrived at the office saw I’d been copied on an email to my boss asking him if he could spare me to help on some follow up work on the pitch we worked on just over a week ago.


Given that the most recent request - ‘we just need you to help us out for a few hours’ - quickly turned into my working 11hour days over the weekend a couple of weeks ago I was in no mood to be sucked back into the pitch quagmire for ‘just a few hours’, however my boss is not generally renowned for standing up for his staff not working inhumane hours – ‘oh but couldn’t you just squeeze this in somehow?’ - so I’ve been bracing myself all day to be sucked back in and have been in a black mood all day.

Happily my boss just gave me the surprise of my life by popping by to say that he’s going to take on the pitch work himself and that I shouldn’t worry about it. Now there's a turn up for the books. I’m still reeling with shock.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

I bloody LOVE this!!!

Radio1 are playing it to death. Couldn't resist posting. It makes me want to jump up and down. If I was still a runner (bad knees now) it would be a perfect treadmill tune. Kick back kids and enjoy a little Lethal Bizzle!! ;-)

Monday, 24 September 2007

Self Medication

A lovely but tiring weekend, I could do with a day off to recuperate. I had two sets of guests in town; Michelle and Brian were here from Oklahoma for a friend’s wedding in New Jersey, and also John and Louise – the non vegetable eating vegetarian – arrived in town from London for the week. I offered up a short prayer of thanks that neither couple had asked if I could put them up while they are in town since until yesterday my apartment looked as if I’d been burgled - that’s burglarized for my American friends ;-) I still find 'burglarized' an odd word even after 7plus years in the US, I don't know why.

Given the hours I’ve been spending in the office recently you’d think I’d manage to keep the place tidy since I’m rarely there, but no, it doesn’t quite work that way with me, as I have a tendency to throw things around when I’m rushing to get ready in the morning and if I’m working long hours, as I have been recently I barely have the energy to undress myself and climb into bed by the time I get home, never mind anything more taxing. I hate it being untidy, but I tend live with it until the weekend, so by the time Friday arrives the place often looks like it’s been ransacked. Anyway thankfully that’s not the case this week. The place is sparkly and lemony fresh after a 4hour cleaning extravaganza on Sunday morning, so I am once again fit for company.

I spent my weekend ricocheting between Tel Aviv, the office, Michelle and Brian, back to the office, John and Louise, Tel Aviv again and then home for some much needed sofa time, I felt like a human pinball, but it was great to catch up with everyone. The only negative to my weekend was waking up with a head cold on Sunday morning, watery eyes, sniffly nose, scratchy throat…I have all the symptoms. I self medicated yesterday afternoon with a couple of glasses of wine with John and Louise at 230 Fifth, an innocuous looking office building at 5th Avenue and 27th street with a bar on the 20th floor with phenomenal views of the Empire State building. It’s a bit of a meet market on a Saturday night, it's not my thing at all, but it’s lovely and low key on a Sunday afternoon, especially on a day as beautiful as yesterday when there literally wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it’s a great place to take visitors. I could do to self medicate today, although unfortunately I think it will be frowned upon if I crack open a bottle of wine at the office, although it will probably make my reports all the more interesting ;-)

Photo Credit: ryanhoya33 @ Flickr

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Time to put up my prices

So the new business pitch I spent all weekend helping out on was yesterday and it apparently went well, news that makes the loss of my Saturday and Sunday almost worthwhile, almost, but not entirely. I have to say that several times during the pitch preparation I felt the will to live draining from me, especially when the powers that be threw out the presentation at the last minute and went back to the original version that we’d put together before the weekend. Grrrrrrrrrr!!!

Anyway the good news is that it sounds like we are in with a chance of winning the business, however the flip side is that I’m half praying we don’t win because we’re so swamped with work as it is in my department. Too many business wins for our own good and not enough bodies to throw at the work. 70-80hour weeks are not unusual for the team at the moment. We can’t hire people for toffee!!

I really don’t like working investment banker hours when I don’t earn an investment banker’s salary!!

I’m getting through the work week by listening to Radio1 via the Internet and blasting tunes through my headphones. I love this Jack Penate song to bits, although watching him run in the video makes me feel a bit dizzy. Where is that? Brighton?

Monday, 17 September 2007

Belated Heaps of Thanks

Busy times at work have made me a little remiss in my blogging manners of late, so without further ado I’d like to extend a big thank you to Corey Irwin and Miss Lady Bug for their kind awards.

In the best blogging tradition, I’d like to share the love and pass these awards on to a few of the many fabulously talented bloggers out there…actually I’ll admit I swiped the ‘Rocking Boy Blogger’ award from Corey’s site and I wasn’t actually awarded this one, but I didn’t want my gorgeous boys to not feel the love :-) Pick the ones you like the best. You deserve them all.

Thanks kids!! Group hug everyone?

Alcoment at
Amel at
Britt at
HaHa Sound at
Agnes & Matt at
Heather at
Jayne at
Kitty at
Life in Black & White at
Loquacious Curmudgeon at
Mousie at
Paper Fan Club at
Patient Anonymous at
Flowers at

This song is cheering me up immensely today

I'm loving a bit of Just Jack of late. I've been chair dancing at my desk to this today, my friend Debs is going to burn the CD for me, apparently it's marvellous. Enjoy!!

Sunday, 16 September 2007

4.5hours left of the weekend to enjoy

Sunday and I’m back at my desk after yesterday’s 10hour stint in the office. I’d hoped that I’d only be giving up one day of my weekend on this pitch, I don’t know why I thought that as that’s never how these things go. Sometimes I am stunned at my own naiveté

Surprisingly I’m in a good mood despite a mild hangover from two cheeky glasses of Chenin Blanc at dinner with Melissa last night followed by a martini for dessert, and the fact that today has been a long day. However unusually in these circumstances I'll be leaving the office before midnight. Perhaps my good mood is partially due to the lovely walk I took into the office this morning, through Central Park. Today was a beautiful day in New York, a very slight nip in the air this morning, but otherwise gorgeously sunny, my favourite kind of weather. I walked through the park at around 8.30am, my peace only slightly marred by a few crazies/joggers, it was delightful. Or maybe my good humour is down to the fact that the back pain that came back with a vengeance on Friday after 4 straight hours seated on uncomfortable conference room chairs has finally abated thanks to the phenomenal pain patches the lovely pharmacist at Duane Reade on 3rd Avenue and 14th street recommended when I hobbled in like a hunch-back on Friday evening.

Friday was not a good one kids. I was supposed to meet Tel Aviv for dinner at Momofuku Ssam, because I had a huge craving for their pork buns. They’re divine. For the most part I’m a pseudo veggie, fish only, no meat, I’m just not that keen on meat, no other reason, but I just cannot resist Momofuku’s pork buns and have frequently raved about them to Tel Aviv - a very secular, pork eating Israeli boy, but don’t tell his mum, she’d be hopping mad if she knew - so we decided to stop by for dinner that night.

I hopped on the subway around 7pm Friday evening and headed downtown to meet him outside the restaurant. My back was aching a bit, but I put it down to stiffness from sitting in ill designed seating for most of the afternoon and didn’t think too much of it, however things took a turn for the worse when I sat down on the subway and almost immediately began to feel pins and needles in my legs. I broke out in a sweat as the prickling sensation travelled up my body and finally reached my head. It was horrible and for a few moments I swear I thought I was going to either black out right there on the train or throw up. I wasn’t sure I was even capable of standing and envisioned myself being stuck on the subway as it rattled out to Coney Island.

I panicked for about 5seconds and then pulled myself together long enough to get out of the train at 14th Street and once I was moving and in the fresh air, I started to feel a little better, although I was still pretty shook up from the experience and called Tel Aviv to have him walk up to meet me. The pain was still pretty bad and I was walking with the hunch of a 90year old. I was ready to go to the ER I don’t mind telling you, but then I’ve always suffered from an occasional overly dramatic streak. Fortunately Tel Aviv is a bit more grounded and suggested we pop into the Duane Reade across the street to speak to the pharmacist, a lovely woman who nodded her head knowingly – as only a fellow sufferer could- and told me that she was surprised I could walk.

She packed me off with a pack of
Salonpas and instructions to take my Advil and get something to eat, saying that low blood sugar combined with the back pain was a likely cause of my funny turn. The patches are so good, I love them, they are the best thing since sliced bread, and at $2.99 for 4 they’re an absolute bargain. The only negative thing about them is they are so heavily mentholated that they overwhelm the delicate scent of my Narcisco Rodriguez perfume and make me smell like I am wearing Eau d’Extra Strong Mint, but at least I can move freely once more. I’m going to hot foot it over to the doctor next week though just to be on the safe side.

Anyway, I’m out of here as I want to rescue the few hours that remain of my Sunday night, so I'm going to have dinner with Francesca. I was hoping to see Tel Aviv tonight, but he gave up on my ever getting out of the office around 6pm and decided to go out to dinner with a friend. A shame, because I wanted him to come up to my apartment this evening. I needed him in the way that only a woman can need a man…now that the weather is turning cooler and my back is of a fragile state I needed him to help me lift the heavy suitcases full of my Autumn and Winter clothes down from the top of the wardrobe, oh and to change a light bulb in the kitchen ;-)

Friday, 14 September 2007

Working for the (wo)man

It’s Friday!!!!!! I hope you all have lovely plans for the weekend. Me? Why, I’m so glad you asked. Unfortunately I think there is a good chance I’m going to be working. Sob!!

What’s that you say? Why will I be working? Three words for you…New. Business. Pitch!! Aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

I love working on new biz pitches as you can tell. Seriously kids, it’s a chuffing nightmare. As usual I was pulled in at the last minute, 5pm on Wednesday, and asked to ‘pull something simple together’ for a meeting with the Crazy Lady/Big Cheese/Company President today. Yesterday my nose was pressed so firmly to the grindstone I swear it has a flattened appearance today.

There's a team meeting with Crazy Lady at 1pm today when we'll gather for her input. The meeting will no doubt get pushed back to 3pm, then to 5pm, and then....well we'll finally see her at 6.30pm or something and then we’ll have to stick around for 2-3hours while she tears through the deck making revisions. No doubt the team will have to come in and work a minimum 14hour day over the weekend to prepare for the pitch early next week. Joy!!

Other than that I may be seeing Tel Aviv tonight - depending on how late I have to stay at the office - and then tomorrow I am going out to get drunk with Melissa. I’m very much looking forward to the drinking part. Tel Aviv doesn't drink you see (I know, shocking isn’t it!!) and I am of Irish ancestry, so this teetotal dating business is taking it's toll...well I say teetotal, I always have one glass of wine with dinner, but so far I've steered clear of ordering a second. Not that he nags me, but you know how it is when you date someone that doesn't drink, I don't want to show myself as the lush I truly am quite so early on in the relationship.

I don't know what it is about dating a non-drinker, but having to consider my intake around him makes me want to drink more. If my relationship with Tel Aviv works out I fear I'll end up an alcoholic.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

What’s that sexy little number you’re wearing darling?

I tried a Pilates Tower class last night for the first time since hurting my back a week or so ago. I thought a bit of gentle exercise might serve me well as the residual ache in my back seemed mostly due to a bit of muscle stiffness. Well, that and the fact that I pre pay for my classes and can't get the money back for any I miss, $37 down the drain each week. All seemed well in class, I was very good and didn’t over exert myself at all, in fact it seemed to do me the power of good and afterwards I headed home with a bit more of a spring in my step

Unfortunately today I’m feeling that perhaps it wasn’t the wisest move as I am a little more sore than usual in my left lumbar region. Bollocks!!

I’m now sat at my desk with an Icy Hot Patch stuck down the back of my trousers. Have you ever tried to put one of those on? It’s not easy, and let me just say for the record that the term ‘patch’ is a bit of a misnomer. Small blanket more like, these things are ENORMOUS. I’m wondering if I didn’t accidentally pick up the ones intended for elephants. Anyway kids, if you ever suffer from back pain in future take care when putting your Icy Hot Patch on since if you don’t stick it on in just the right spot you have to contort yourself – worsening the back injury you are wearing it for in the first place – to rip off the patch, which hurts like a bugger since they use extra strong adhesive for the backing, and re-position it. However now that I have it correctly positioned I have to say its working wonders and will no doubt bring me eight uninterrupted hours of blissful relief from back pain.

I know it will heal, I just wish the timing were better. I have date #5 with Tel Aviv tonight you see and…ahem..well I was wondering if I might get my leg over this evening, but I’m thinking an Icy Hot Patch and crippling back pain could be a bit of a passion killer. It's not exactly romantic is it? Oh well, he’ll just have to deal. Ailments are, after all, part and parcel of dating an older woman.*

*Tel Aviv is 4years younger than me.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Muddling Through

Phew Monday already. The weekend pure flew by. Still, it was a lovely one, busy, but with enough down time thrown in to be relaxing.

On Friday night Melissa, Ash and I saw a play at the
Irish Repertory Theatre on West 22nd St. It was excellent and very funny, although I didn’t have much of a clue about what we were seeing until I met the girls for dinner before the show. Ash had emailed me the details a few weeks before, but work had been so busy I'd only had time to skim read her note and had agreed to see the show primarily as a chance to catch up with Ash, who I hadn’t seen since a girls' trip to Sanibel in January can you believe. She only lives a few miles from me, but she’s totally loved up with her studly Italian boyfriend and has been a bit out of commission of late. Anyway I am glad I agreed to go because not only did I catch up with Ash, but the play was superb. It's called Tom Crean, Antartic Explorer, a one man show written and performed by Aidan Dooley.

I can’t say I'd ever heard of Tom Crean until Friday night, but he’s apparently ‘one of Ireland’s unsung heroes’ serving in the navy under Captain Robert Scott and then Sir Ernest Shackleton, and surviving not one, not two, but THREE expeditions to the Antarctic in the early 1900s. His is an amazing story and Aidan Dooley is hilarious as Tom, recounting tales of his expeditions. I was surprised by how funny the play was given the subject matter. If you get a chance to see it you really should snap up a ticket. I can’t recommend it enough.

Saturday I had a 4th date with Tel Aviv and I have to say that, despite the differences in our interests he's kind of growing on me a bit. I was also surprised to hear him refer to me as the woman he’s ‘dating’. Dating!! Hmm, now there’s a turn up for the books, to hear a man in New York refer to a woman he’s had only 4 dates with as the woman he is ‘dating’, seeing each other perhaps, but dating? Not so much. There are distinct phases of dating in New York you see and coming, as I do, from a country where our dating habits are more simplistic and include a tendency to get trollied in a bar, end up snogging the guy next to you and bingo…Bob’s your boyfriend, New York style dating can seem perplexing and over complicated. There are rules, and I am thinking that maybe Tel Aviv didn’t get his copy.

My Brooklyn born friend, Melissa once told me there are essentially three phases of dating in New York. “There’s seeing each other, then dating, then…no, wait, there’s going out, then seeing each other and then dating. Is that right? No, no I don’t think that’s it, it’s…. umm, hmmm, oh I’m not sure.”

Okay, so that’s clear then? Yes…as mud. If the natives don’t know how do they expect the rest of us to manage? Truth is that most New Yorkers, native or not, seem fuzzy on the details, but generally speaking, when you first start seeing someone in New York you can’t assume that he - or she - is not seeing other people too. Not everyone does this, quite frankly who has the energy, and most New Yorkers I’ve come across don’t like the idea that this multi-dating business happens at all, but it’s generally accepted that it does and whether you subscribe to the practice or not, you live with assumption that the person you’re seeing, and possibly sleeping with, is likely seeing and sleeping with other people too. In England this is referred to as ‘two-timing’, regardless of the casual nature of the relationship. At least that’s how it worked in my day. Perhaps things have changed.

In New York, before you can progress to the phase where you and your beloved are seeing only each other, you need to have “the conversation” where you both agree not to see other people. It sounds a straight forward enough, if not necessarily appealing, process except for the fact that the rules in New York do not necessarily apply to the rest of the country - oh no, God forbid it should be so simple – and when you consider the number of New Yorkers who didn’t grow up in the city and are living here and dating by their own rules, then it’s no surprise we’re all confused. A work colleague informs me there’s no such multi-dating nonsense going on in her home state of Florida, where it would be most definitely frowned upon, and when I was dating Gobshite he assured me that in the Midwest, where he’s from, they wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing, however it happens here all the time and the fact is that many adopted New Yorkers have embraced the practice for their own convenience. Often you don’t have the faintest idea of what’s really going on. When it comes down to it we are all just muddling through and time will tell as to whether Tel Aviv's definition of dating does in fact mesh with my own.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

For me....???

....Blush!! Thanks so much Agnes. I'm thoroughly touched by this award from one of my absolute favourite bloggers. I'm thrilled!! Happy Day :-) :-)

No nooky....yet!!

So, third date with Tel Aviv - the chap I am diving back into the dating pool with is Israeli – last night. It was a fun night, although I’m still umming and ahhing about our compatibility since there have been a couple of signs that maybe it’s not meant to be. However, by my estimation I’ve only spent a total of 10, non-consecutive, hours with the fella so I’m not going to make any judgements quite yet. I’m still firmly in the seeing-how-it-goes phase for now*.

Nevertheless the event of our third date caused much nudge nudge wink wink activity from my British pal, Nigel, in fact the man practically turned into Frankie Howerd before my very eyes, “third date you say, third date, oooh you know what happens on the third date don’t you missus. Oooh I say, does the vicar know?”

And he wonders why he’s still single!!

For the uninitiated the third date is often regarded as totty time, at least it is in New York. I’ve long stopped assuming that what holds true for New York is the case for the rest of US, since it always gets me into trouble.

However if that’s what Tel Aviv was hoping for then he was disappointed. Call me old fashioned, but I like to know a man for a total of at least 24hours before I decide to have my way with him :-)

*Plus he’s really cute and has a hot body going on under his clothing from the looks of him. Oooopsie, the shallow side of me just popped out there for a second ;-)

One for the Brits...

Not to worry folks, I knew you were alarmed, but you can stop your fretting.....Bet Lynch has been found. She's alive and well and currently playing in the US Open

Yowser!! I'm off to see if I can spot t' Alec Gilroy in t' audience. Toodlepip!!

Monday, 3 September 2007

Unwanted Attention

Last week I got an email from John, in London, to say that he and his girlfriend, Louise, would be in New York from 21st to 26th September and asked if I’d be around to catch up.

I emailed back immediately and said I’d love to see them. I love John and Louise to bits; they’re such a fun couple to hang out with, despite the fact that they always look to me, as the ‘native New Yorker’, to pick a restaurant for us to go to. Something that’s not usually a problem for me as I’m a bit of a foodie and can usually rattle off a list of winning restaurant recommendations at the drop of a hat, however not in Louise’s case. She’s the only person I’ve ever met who’s nigh on impossible to please, a vegetarian who doesn’t eat vegetables…or tofu!! WTF!! I’d better start my restaurant research now.

It’s been 4years since they were last in New York and, if memory serves, I think that was the last time I saw them, since the only time I tend to be in London is for a few days at Christmas and there’s not always an opportunity to catch up with everyone I’d like to see. I’ve known John since I was about 22; I met him through my friend and former colleague, Deb, who’s been friends with him ever since her family moved into the house next door to his when she and John were both 4years old.

Unfortunately my first meeting with John is rather more shameful than Deb's. I met him on a Thursday night out with Deb and made a complete arse of myself by getting totally trollied on Tia Maria and Diet Cokes at indie music night at the Mean Fiddler in Harlesden. I ended up dragging John, and then his friend Chris, out into the middle of the dance floor where, for some reason, I doh-si-do-ed – square dance style - with the two of them. Yes I was THAT drunk and YES, they did serve Tia Maria at the Mean Fiddler can you believe. Deb had to call in sick to work for me the next day; such was the horrifying nature of my hangover. She’d conveniently booked the day off. That was 14 frigging years ago and John still hasn’t let me forget it. He’s that type of friend.

John’s email also served as a reminder of Chris’s visit a few years ago. Like John, I’ve known Chris ever since that fateful night at the Mean Fiddler 14years ago, however Chris and I didn’t really become good friends until 8 or 9years later when I’d already moved to New York and he started to travel to NY fairly regularly on business.

Previously Chris and I had only hung out together as part of a larger group of friends, but we’d always got along well, so when he came to New York it was lovely to hang out with him one on one for a change. He was great company and the one thing I always liked about spending time with him was his eagerness to explore New York beyond Manhattan. The words “I've just read about a great sounding bar/restaurant/art exhibit/music venue in Brooklyn” would be barely past my lips before he’d be hailing us a cab to Williamsburg. However, much as I liked spending time with him, I never viewed him as a romantic prospect and never had the impression he saw me that way either, especially as he was one of those guys with a ton of female friends. I never thought of myself as more than one of his friends, so I was extremely surprised by his behaviour when he came to visit me in September 2004.

Chris came to stay with me in my teensy two-bedroom apartment from Fri 24th Sept to Sun 3rd Oct. Just over a week and wayyyyy too long in hindsight, although not helped by the fact that he’d originally said he’d be leaving on an afternoon flight from New York on Saturday 2nd, meaning he’d leave my apartment for the airport first thing Saturday morning and I’d have the weekend to recuperate from having a guest in town for a week before going back to work on the Monday. Unfortunately when he arrived, I learned that he’d changed his mind and booked himself on a flight departing at 9pm on Sunday. I was a bit peeved at that since, much as it’s nice to have visitors in town, it’s really cheeky when they take your weekend without asking since with Chris leaving late on Sunday I had no time to relax.
As it happens I also had my erstwhile ex, Alan, crashing on the futon in the living room, since he’d given me some sob story about needing to stay with me while his apartment was fumigated and of course I fell for it, so a house full. Initially I was a bit niggled about Alan sleeping on the futon in the living room while I had a guest, but in the end I was quite grateful for his presence since, after hanging out with Chris on Friday night, most of the day Saturday and most of the day Sunday, it quickly became apparent that I had other reasons for concern.

I’d been told In the past - the distant past - that Chris was keen on me, but that was a decade ago and I no longer thought it applied. At the time of his visit I thought we were good friends and, even if he did have a crush on me in the past, I didn’t take it too seriously as Chris is one of those guys that have crushes on almost all their female friends at some point or another. As far as I was concerned we were just friends, and I thought he knew this, especially since I’d recently been very upfront about having a huge crush on another guy.

Just goes to show how much I knew, since the problems pretty much started as soon as Chris arrived. We went out for cocktails when I got home from work on Friday evening and I noticed he was a lot more tactile than usual - he's renowned for not being very touchy feely among our mutual friends, so I realised it was out of character - and all too flirty, reaching over to touch my ankle when I was describing a pair of shoes with an ankle strap I’d just splurged on in Barneys and similarly tracing my neck when I later talked about a necklace I liked. I KNOW, who'd have thought that accessory chat could turn a man on, but I have to say the attention was unwelcome and I stopped talking about accessories pretty sharpish I can tell you.

I still couldn’t quite believe it though and shook off my suspicions of his interest as a result of an overly active imagination. This was Chris I was talking about, my friend, my buddy with whom I explored New York. He was like a brother to me and the thought of being romantically involved with him gave me the creeps in just the same way it would have had someone suggested I shag my brother - if I had one that is.

However I was faced with more evidence of his attraction to me on Saturday afternoon when we stopped by a jazz festival in Tompkins Square Park, organized the club Nublu. It was a picture perfect day and we plonked ourselves down on the grass to listen to the
Brazilian Girls - a fabulous band, who are not Brazilian and, for the most part, not girls. Chris sat down extremely close to me - we're talking millimetres apart - and I shuffled away to put a normal, friendly, amount of space between us. Unfortunately Chris would move closer each time he decided to impart his wisdom about the band on me, or lean into me if I spoke as if to better hear what I was saying, thus closing the distance between us so that our bodies were once again touching and feeling uncomfortable, I'd shuffle away. The process was repeated several times over so that by the end of the Brazilian Girls’ set I was practically across the other side of the park.

Still, I was in denial about his reasons for trying to get so close, and hopeful I was just reading too much into the situation. When we got back to my apartment that afternoon I decided that we'd probably just been spending too much time together and took myself off for a mani-pedi for some alone time. Whilst at the spa I sent a text to Ash, who had her gay friend Michael in town from Dublin for the weekend.

Me: How is visitor? Had to escape mine for mani pedi. Driving me crazy.
Ash: Need to find M a hotel. Parades around in black Y-fronts all time. Dresses just b4 going out & strips off once in door
Me: Ugh. At least Chris keeps his clothes on
Ash: M just emerged in only towel. Currently stretched out on couch. What's the number for Hilton?

She went on to say that the only good thing about Michael’s exhibitionism was that she was so put off by the sight of his hairy and spotty back that she couldn’t eat and was feeling very slim.

Although I was thankful that my visitor had, until that point, kept his clothes on, I was still jealous that her visitor was only staying for the weekend.

Post mani pedi, Chris and I met my friend Melissa for dinner at
Grotto - fabulous food and a lovely garden, I highly recommend it if you’re ever in town. We were half way through our entrees when Chris excused himself to nip to the loo and Melissa turned to me to say, quite unprovoked, that she could tell he was obviously smitten with me because of the way he looked at me.



Until that point I was still hoping it was all in my imagination, but clearly not. Other people were imagining it too and Melissa is a down to earth type and not one for saying something unless she means it. Given how tactile he was being I started to feel a bit squeamish about Chris being in my apartment, especially as he was here for another 7 days and despite my initial irritation at Alan manipulating me into letting him stay while I had a guest in town I felt grateful he was there since it meant I didn’t have to be alone with Chris.

Not that having Alan there wasn’t necessarily un-troublesome, especially when he and Chris started to bond over things they found unacceptable in the women they dated. They were reeling off lists of what I would consider minor things, stubbly legs, bad dress sense, a little extra weight, that sort of thing. I couldn’t believe it since these were two men that quite frankly wouldn’t look out of place sleeping on a bench outside of Central Park. I wasn't exactly hosting a couple of well groomed metrosexuals. Chris had been wearing the same pair of jeans since he arrived, which he’d also travelled in, and I know from experience that Alan wasn’t averse to turning his underpants inside out to get a couple of extra days wear out of them. The $%&*@#$# cheek of them criticizing women. I went to bed in a huff before I turned violent and banged their heads together.

I had a little bit of a break from Chris on Monday and Tuesday, but by then the damage had been done. I was so freaked by him invading my space all the time and trying to flirt with me that I just wanted him gone. I know, I sound totally awful, but I just couldn’t take it. He was making me feel uncomfortable in my own home, the one place I’m meant to consider my sanctuary. Work was a breeze by comparison. I would get into the office and breathe a sigh of relief to be away from him. Unfortunately there was still another 5days to go. I won’t go into too much detail about the next few days, since it's just more of the same, suffice to say that things just went from bad to worse and I watched a friendship I’d once treasured go down the pan.

On Thursday night we had tickets to the ‘Fall For Dance’ festival - held each September at City Center with tickets priced at a mere $10 for 15-30 minute performances by 5 dance companies - as Chris had suggested we catch some culture while he was in town. I thought the show was great, but then I love contemporary dance, since I’m a frustrated dancer having taken ballet lessons for 11years as a child. Chris thought it was okay, but seemed very argumentative all evening claiming he didn't like some of the dance pieces because he couldn't follow the story. I responded that sometimes there isn't a story, that you’re just meant to appreciated a piece for the sake of the dance - which is something George Balanchine – the choreographer of the piece he'd commented on – had intended by much of his work- to which Chris snapped "I disagree, EVERYTHING is about SOMETHING, even when it's about NOTHING!!"

Uh-oh, okay!!

There were other such spats over small things, where rather than appreciate I had a different opinion Chris would argue against me and then bring it up again later. He even argued with me over the length of the interval, asking me how long they usually were. I said they were about 15mins, maybe 20. He said okay, I’ll guess 20, you guess 15. When the bell rang I laughed and said “I win, it was 15” and he got quite irritated and abruptly said “no, I think you’ll find it was 20.”

Like it mattered!

I was thankful that for much of his last weekend in town Chris did his own thing. He took off to see a movie on Friday so I was able to hit the gym and chill out at home alone – Alan had back to back AA meetings, and on Saturday after brunch at Paris Commune, he went up town to check out the Cloisters. We met up later that evening for dinner at Sea, a great Thai restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with Gina, Melissa and Ron. Later Gina coerced us into going to a karaoke lounge, prefaced with a “we don’t have to sing” although no sooner had she got us in there did she hand out song books. Rather appropriately Chris chose to sing “should I stay or should I go” by The Clash. Accidental I think, but telling all the same as all the way through the song I was thinking “you should go, you should go.” I just couldn't wait to be rid of him.

That being said I felt bad after he'd left on Sunday afternoon. I hated to think of him having a horrible time and I’m not proud of the way I behaved towards him. I wasn't very nice at times and think I should have been more upfront with him and told him from the outset that I wasn’t interested. In short, I should have behaved like an adult, but it’s not easy to reject someone, especially a friend and I think he expected way too much of me. I was furious with him for making me feel so uncomfortable in my own home.

Suffice to say we haven’t spoken since, except for a text I sent to check he was okay after the July 7th, 2005 bombings in London. However recently we’ve connected on Facebook, so maybe we’ll eventually mend a few of the bridges we burned.

Photo credit: MiFrizKa @ Flickr

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Sharing the love

Recently my blogging buddy Amel gave me this "Blogs I love award"

...and it's high time I passed it along to a few of the blogs I love and visit on a daily basis. So, without further ado I'd like to present this award to....

Alcohol, condiments and cigarettes
Almost a dad
Hex My Ex
The Wishful Writer say a big thank you for lifting my spirits on a daily basis


Old age is a bitch

I’ve happily returned to New York after my business jaunt to Fort Lauderdale. It was a worthwhile trip, but bloody hard work. I like my clients, but working with them in their offices for 3days straight is like being on a 72hour job interview. I am thrilled to bits to have a long weekend to recover before having to go back to work again. Although can you believe that some of my co-workers tried to coerce me into working on something for them this weekend? Ha, I should cocoa. Usually I would be amenable to helping them out, but this time I put my foot down and said no.

Fabulous as it is to get away and see other places the best thing about leaving New York for me is the tingle of excitement I get when I come back. I got goose bumps while sat in the back of the cab from Penn Station, heading back to my apartment through the streets of Manhattan. I’m just so completely smitten with this fabulous city. The only blot on my otherwise perfect long weekend in New York – you should see the weather here, it’s heavenly; it’s sunny, low humidity, a light breeze, it’s a dream – is the fact that I’ve done something horrible to my back. I suspect it is a suitcase carrying related injury, although it’s not as if my bags were particularly heavy. I pride myself on being a light packer – roll, don’t fold – and my ability to fit a week’s worth of clothes into the smallest of suitcases is renowned across the tri-state area. Well…okay…it’s not renowned. I lied about the last bit, but when it comes to packing I am a bloody marvel, if I do say so myself.

Back-wise I am not sure what happened, but it came on suddenly on Saturday morning. One moment I was feeling fine and the next I wasn’t. Unfortunately the timing of realising I wasn’t feeling so good wasn’t so great. It happened about 15minutes after I had stepped out of the shower. I was still wrapped in a towel after drying my hair and it was not a good moment to discover that it hurt like hell to bend down. Have you ever tried to put your knickers on when you can’t bend so well? It took me about 3minutes just to put on my undies. Fortunately I am relatively limber of hamstring and was able to stand upright while dangling my knickers in one hand and then raising each leg in turn to stick my feet through the leg holes and pull them on. I’d intended to wear trousers that day, but after the knicker experience I decided I wasn’t going to make further attempts to put clothing on my lower half and threw a dress over my head instead. How happy was I to have been born a girl in that moment!! If I’d been a man I don’t think I’d have left the house at all yesterday. I'm not sure I'd have been able to get dressed without assistance and although I like my neighbours I am not quite THAT friendly with them.

I didn’t let my back pain hamper my day too much though and headed out to meet Francesca and Jacqui for the last of the Warm Up parties at PS1, a converted school in Long Island City, Queens, which is now part of the Museum of Modern Art. They hold outdoor dance parties there from 3-9pm during the summer months in what used to be the playground. They have amazing DJs and musicians and it’s a great place to sit around and soak up the atmosphere. They also decorate the playground in some sort of theme. I’m not sure what this year’s theme was called, but they’d erected these big pink tree type things with hammock style seating underneath. You can sort of see them in the picture…sort of!!

Photo credit: Verseguru @ Flickr

My favourite theme was the year they had these giant igloo inspired canopies stretching across the playground and a cool room with huge blocks of ice you could stand on to cool down. It can get very hot in the playground at PS1. Yesterday we got lucky and managed to snag a hammock seat for the three of us and lolled around for a few hours listening to the music, chatting and people watching. It was a lovely afternoon.

I’m feeling a bit better this morning; I can almost touch my toes without screaming in pain, so a good sign, although I was very stiff when I woke up and initially thought my back was worse. Still, I was undeterred from hobbling over to Starbucks for my Sunday morning Grande Skim Latte, perhaps not my wisest move as on the way back, while balancing a latte in one hand and a New York Times in the other, I sneezed and a shooting pain went through my whole body. Thankfully there weren’t any small children close enough to hear the stream of profanities I uttered through gritted teeth as my body went into spasm.

I have to say I am already finding aging quite tiresome and I’m only 36 for chrissakes, I’m fit, I’m healthy, I eat the right foods and go to the gym regularly. This sort of thing should not be happening to me yet!! Harumph!!