Monday, January 31, 2005

Noses continues in America... Posted by Hello


The mass e-mails went back and forth today, with everyone outdoing each other in the hangover department. Apparently, I'm the only one that didn't spend all day Sunday vomiting, so I'm quite proud. I did drink an entire pot of coffee this afternoon, shocking Margot and Kathy, but it was highly necessary. I will say this: headaches and bodyaches and near death cannot diminish the fabulous weekend I have had. Thank you to everyone. I had a lovely time...

Sunday, January 30, 2005

nerdy, dirty, flirty, THIRTY! Posted by Hello

old ladies at 916a...

I think it's safe to say the birthday weekend was a success. In addition to a huge feast and night of drinking on Friday for my birthday, last night was Bonnie's 30th extravaganza in the private room of the Rosewood Bar. Everyone came out, including Bonnie's family from Longbeach, her friends from all over the place, and the boys from Chico.
As I was standing talking to Jason, he suddenly says, "I would be paying attention to everything you're saying but I can't help staring at what's going on behind you."
I turn around, and some trampy, disgusting, stripper-esque, mildly retarded woman is straddling Mike and for all intensive purposes, giving him a lap dance while engaging in small talk. Apparently, he met her outside and invited her into our party, escorting her past Harold, our personal bouncer. They found a trendy leather couch in the corner and put on a show. It went on for an eternity, as if it were the paid entertainment. Michael, quite possibly one of the more adorable people ever, was finally cock-blocked by Bonnie and the tramp was apparently escorted from the room.
"She was a horrible kisser!" Mike screamed as I came over to ridicule him. "Ewwwww. Get her out of here. Seriously. She's so disgusting. I couldn't get rid of her."


The story is fabulous enough at this point, but gets better when she reappears, brought back in by Bonnie's 21 year old brother, Jimmy. How did Jimmy meet her? They chatted in the bathroom line and she invited him to join her in the stall.
She must have been dreadful, because even Jimmy rapidly lost interest, and it was clear she was being mocked in every conversation. She soon disappeared.
Mike, who was complaining about never getting mentioned on the blog, certainly stepped up to the plate. Thanks Mike. Good luck getting the stripper juice off your suit.

At some point, I decided it would be a good idea to dance on the tables to Guns and Roses. And Itty, Mike, and Alex got busted for peeing in the zen garden. We ended the night with Alex, Itty, Mike, Ben, Kim, and I leaving the party and singing Scissor Sisters at the top of our lungs through the streets of San Francisco, my block in particular. We awoke this morning to a purple Post-it on Alex's car reading "Asshole."
That called for Bloody Mary's at brunch, so we piled in the car and went to Haight Street where Joe met us. As the seven of us sat down to eat, Joe immediately had to go outside for a cigarette and insisted that I join him. Not 10 seconds behind him, I found him out on the sidewalk in a screaming match with a hobo. They exchanged words for like, 5 minutes. The best part is how seriously Joe takes it. When Joe screamed back at the bum, Joe said the bum gave him a look as if to say, "Wait a second. Aren't I supposed to be the crazy one?"

Apparently, and for reasons I can't explain, I danced on a table. The best part of the photo, however, is Jimmy Rodewald.  Posted by Hello

 Posted by Hello

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

a big day...

I have good news and better news...

The good news is that my dear friend Judy is about to go into surgery and will come out of it cancer-free. Forever. She is currently kicking ass, blowing my mind, and inspiring everyone who knows her.

The better news is that Bonnie woke up this morning, 30 years old, and is still a stone cold fox.

Rock on, ladies...

Sunday, January 23, 2005

how you know a date is over...

Jason went on a 3rd date Friday night with his latest waif-like fashionista. At midnight, he called and left the following message:
"I can't believe you're not answering your phone on a Friday at midnight. I had to end my date and now I have to tell you why. If you're out, I'll come meet you. Call me back."
I was so involved in Flipstick, I didn't hear my phone. I just got the scoop this morning. Apparently, after a fabulous dinner at Bacar and schmoozing at some Moma event, Jason decided to join Ms. $1600 Moschino dress at a dance club. It's a little shocking that Jason would agree to lower himself and actually enter The Fucking Roxbury or similar, but he had enjoyed some libations and wasn't going to say no to some charmer in a low cut dress, boobs or none.
At the club, sitting along the bar, this date begins to dance on her stool. Pumping her fists in the air, she finally screams, "It's like the music is your heartbeat!"
Date over...

Friday, January 21, 2005

"do you think my skewer has become dull?"

Andy, Bonnie, Gert and I are sitting around the kitchen, and Andy has invented a game now called "Flipstick", in which one uses a wooden skewer to lift/flip (see rules) a SIDEWAYS ticket stub into a plastic Bennigan's cup Katherine stole from the Bennigan's adjacent to Great America.
When one succeeds in flipping said stub into said Bennigan's cup, one then must tap the tip of the cup with the skewer exactly 5 times, or to the tune of "Shave and a haircut, 2 bits!"
Bonnie is Andy's nemesis at Flipstick.

note: to add to the excitement of the game, there is only one stub.

Flipstick, game of champions... Posted by Hello

oh happy day...

I am thrilled to announce the following:

I am now, permanently, and officially the Associate Producer/Development Director at work. I get business cards and everything.

Andy is now the Stage Manager at Family Jewels, featuring a transexual named Veronica Klaus.

Bonnie, Andy, and I are now sitting around the kitchen, making dinner, playing with plastic cups, "drinking wine" and having a marvelous time...

Thursday, January 20, 2005

why i love sitting at a bar alone...

This evening, after work, I was to meet my family for dinner and a lecture by Ricky Jay in the city. Getting off work at 5, I arrived at the Hayes Street Grill 45 minutes early at 5:45. On purpose. I love sitting a bar alone.
I brought a book I pretended to read, as I sipped my Pinot and eavesdropped on those around me. There was a man sitting alone one chair over, taking notes in a sterling silver notebook. He was chatting with the gorgeous yet humorless bartender (those two always seem to go together, gorgeous and humorless) and I was soaking up every word. At one point, it became clear that my fellow loner at the bar was a restauranteur. The bartender asked the name of his restaurant. He replied that he owned BIX. The bartender, having never heard of BIX, asked about it. This is when I dove in.
"Bix is awesome. We dined there last year, on my birthday, and I stop by for drinks all the time. I adore it and you absolutely must go."
10 minutes later, I am best friends with the owner of BIX.
15 minutes later I am best friends with not only the owner of Bix (and several other restaurants about town), but the entire all-male staff of the Hayes Street Grill, none of whom seem to be able to handle a woman sitting alone at a bar. Assured that my family is well on their way, and I typically need a full glass of something full-bodied before dealing with all of them, they refilled my glass and regaled me with hilarious stories of dining mishaps. Mr. Bix was attending Ricky Jay as well, and we bonded over lecture series and fancy restaurants. His friend arrived and as he left me, he handed me a beautifully engraved card, entitling me to a complimentary Bix martini and an assurance that said card would make it perfectly clear to Bix staff that I was to be well taken care of.
Reason number 457 that I love sitting at a bar alone...

in the ghetto...

This morning, my alarm went off as usual at 7:15. I turned on my lamp and blinked. I opened my eyes and it was 8:20. Fuck! I ran through the shower and into my clothes, threw together my gym bag and dress up clothes for my outing tonight, made coffee in 3 seconds, grabbed my shit and ran out the door...only to find a hobo asleep on the hood of Rhonda the Honda.
I don't have time for this, Mr. Bojangles! Haul ass...

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

the wonderful world of gays...

Have you had the Sofia Mini yet? Then you really can't be that fabulous.
Francis Ford Coppola, my favorite vintner/film icon, has released a new champagne, called Sofia. Named aptly for his daughter, it's sold in a tiny pink soda can (think Red Bull)and comes with a tiny pink straw.
Joe and I met up for drinks the other night at Cama, the bed bar, where, thank god, they serve Sofia Minis. Needless to say, thanks to Sofia, Joe ended up strewn across the beds of Cama, talking to some 21 year old opera student named, what else, Matt, and sucking on that pink straw like nobody's business.
Throw in a shot of Fernet, and it's the gayest drink ever.

Sometimes, being best friends with Andy is like hanging out with a Mid-Western Grandpa who worked in a feed store. I stopped over at Andy's today after work, and he's bitching on and on about how cold he is. As he gets in the car, coming over to dinner at 916A, he glances over his shoulder and says, "I've been eyeing a new heater at Wallgreens."
"You've been EYEING a new heater? At Wallgreens?"
I can see him stopping in Wallgreens every day, staring longingly at some cheap ass $40 ghetto heater up on a shelf in the aisle no one goes in. Each day, he debates the purchase, wondering if he really is THAT cold. And still, still he hasn't brought himself to go through with it.
Good Lord...

Monday, January 17, 2005

the golden globes...

Yesterday, after a lovely brunch, Itty and Joe came over to watch the Golden Globes Pre-Show and subsequent Awards Show. E! Entertainment Television begins their Pre-Show at noon, filled with nonsense pop quizes and interviews with the caterers. Much of it is hosted by E! personality "Giuliana", whom I loathe. At one point, Itty, Joe, and Bonnie encouraged me to write the following letter...

Dear Giuliana,
I'm writing in response to your appalling lack of skills in all genres. In watching the Golden Globes Pre-Show, I was forced to re-watch a lesser episode of MTV's Made because I was made so uncomfortable by your inability to function. Please explore alternate careers, preferably those behind the camera.
Warmest regards,

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Last Noses in Florence! Posted by Hello

22 hours of travel...

Flying from Florence to Frankfurt to SFO blows. There are no clearer words. My mother, in an attempt to entertain me, began throwing lime wedges from her Bloody Mary at Alex, however she missed and hit some random passenger. While that soothed the torture for 10 minutes and had us both in hysterics as we attempted to hide behind magazines, she finally handed me a librium, and I chilled out. I believe I actually slept. I'm home, and still awake amazingly, and have actually figured out to load pictures. Obviously. Although, it takes (me) for-fucking-ever to load this, so I'm done with the photos for awhile.
Scroll way down, all the way to Christmas. There's some sassy and fabulous photos of the holidays, including one of Ben in drag, sort of...

First Noses ever! Posted by Hello

Three way Noses! Posted by Hello

Noses! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

all my bags are packed, i'm ready to go...

Tomorrow, we leave at the break of dawn (probably before it, actually) and head back to Frankfurt and then back to SFO. I am not terribly excited about another 14 hours of travel, but them's the breaks. I've got my big book about the Gulag, because I'm not entertained by literature unless I'm reading about pain and suffering. Who knew the Bolsheviks were such assholes? I've got my bizarre selection of CD's, although I've exhausted those and may have to move on to Alex's. And I've got mom's cache of illegal prescription drugs, which she'd better be willing to share. We're flying something called "Coach Plus" which already has my eyes rolling. Coach Plus, my ass. Damn you, steerage!
I'm quite ready to get home and start work, as well as gear up for the Bonnie (1/26) and Beth (1/28) birthday extravaganza. I think Bon's turning 29 again. Wahoo!
Under the category of "No Fucking Shit", Italy is amazing. Jenny is doing beautifully, as she was the reason for our visit, and it was great to spend so much time with her and her rag tag gang of jet setters. I spent my last Euro today on some ridiculously Eurotrash sunglasses, and plan to stroll around San Francisco wearing them and my big hat, Euro-kissing hobos and screaming "Ciao!" at everyone. I'll be back tomorrow at 4:30, which means home by 7 and at the bar by 8. Sa-weet. Hope you didn't have too much fun without me. I'll update the blog this week with a series of embarrassing and appalling photos, so check back.
Spots is once again, en route...

Monday, January 10, 2005

how do you say "wildcat" in italian...

It's been pretty much 2 weeks of drunken debauchery, culminating in last night's meeting of ALL of Jenny's friends. I found myself in a tiny bar in Italy, with 20 kids, half of whom were from Marin and had either gone to SI or Marin Catholic. When I was introduced to one girl, I asked her where she was from. "Oh, a little town. You've probably never heard of it. Mill Valley?" Jenny fell off her stool. "Beth IS Mill Valley."
The girl looks at me and goes, "Spotswood. Spotswood. Do you have a brother?"
"Uh, yeah. He's right over there."
Screams, yells, hugs, and reunions. God Bless Marin.
My journal that I carry everywhere with me is now filled with the names and e-mail addresses of stunning, well-traveled twenty-one year olds who I've promised party invites to. Greg and Dori claimed to be joining us for an "after dinner drink" and ended up staying till closing. The best thing about Greg trashed is that he in incapable of letting anyone else pay for a drink. He's also incapable of brevity, but it's a small price to pay.

Kate and I have a new game called "Noses Across Italy." At any opportune moment, we've taken to yelling "Noses!" and having someone take our photo, nose to nose. We plan to make a coffee table book from our images, and you'll enjoy a preview when I get home and load this bizarity onto the blog. Noses will continue into the States, so prepare yourselves. We make everyone do noses, and while it sounds weird, the charm of the results are staggering.

I've become disgruntled with the fact that few Italian establishments employ the practice of regular toilet seats. I blame the understandable fear that Italian men, lazy from the drink, will find no need to lift said seat, but those of us of the female persuasion must suffer the uncomfortable and filthy consequences. Kate claims that next time she travels in Italy, she's bringing her own toilet seat.

There's a bar here called Angie's Pub where Alex and I spent New Years, and then recently, we introduced it to Kate, Matt, and Jen. The walls are covered with graffiti in a back room and it looks awesome. In fact, there's a great "noses" in front of a graffiti covered wall that really captures the essence of Angie's. Should you one day find yourself in Florence, go to Angie's Pub and read the walls. I'm responsible for a good square foot, and depending on who you are, there might be specific notes to you personally. My deepest darkest secrets are on that wall. You'll just have to come here to find out.

While wandering around the Uffizzi yesterday, I stood in front of Botticcelli's "The Birth of Venus." Mesmerized by it's size and beauty, I suddenly had a coughing fit, a huge, loud, unstoppable, distracting to others coughing fit. I think security was alerted, thinking it was an elaborate ruse to distract while my accomplice stole some masterpiece. I coughed so hard, my fabulous black hat fell off, and in my haste to pick it up, my purse turned upside down and loudly emptied onto the floor, before a monstrous group of Japanese tourists. Glasses, receipts, my camera, books, make-up, hair accessories and keyes fell in all directions as I scrambled to grab my shit and get the fuck out of there, still coughing the entire time. I had intended to wander the museum looking fabulous and artsy, and left having created an international incident. All I could do to recover was scream "Noses!", grab a Japanese tourist, slam my nose into theirs, and take a photo...

Sunday, January 09, 2005

the most disgusting event in my lifetime...

I was walking along an outdoor market with my father yesterday. He walked ahead, admiring some crap in a stall, when an elderly, filthy, and giant gypsy dressed in dirt-covered rags approached him, asking for money. Horrified, he shook his head and ran in the opposite direction. The gypsy then approached me, coming right up close to my face and making eye contact. But instead of reaching out her hand for spare Euros, she burped in my face. From deep within her decreped body escaped a visable sound and smell I cannot describe, expect to say this; My hair changed color, my eyebrows burned off, and I can't see out of my left eye...

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Friday, January 07, 2005

simon and garfunky...

The 9 of us went across the Ponte Veccio for dinner last night, piling into a little ristorante and ordering everything on the menu. After 3 hours, the 5 "kids" (ages 21-26) decided to head off by ourselves, wandering back across the river and through the cobblestone streets of Florence. As we neared the Uffizi Gallery, we suddenly heard amazing music coming from the plaza. Deciding to explore, we stumbled across the most fabulous street performers I've ever experienced.
The Uffizi is a huge museum, containing some of the greatest pieces of art ever created. It's a huge, imposing, and of course, flawlessly designed series of structures, and at the center is a huge outdoor plaza, surrounded by statues of famous Italians and all kinds of archways and columns. It's open 24 hours a day, and usually filled with an eclectic mix of people. We often use it as a shortcut from the Ponte Veccio to the Piazza Republica.
Anyway, down towards one end of the plaza, 2 performers had set up microphones, speakers, and instruments, and were singing perfect "Scarborough Fair" by Simon and Garfunkle. While a guy and a girl, they sounded just like them, and Kate, who's been obsessed with S&G for years, nearly died. The woman, whom Kate was convinced was on ecstasy, was doing all kinds of interpretive dance while singing, and her fella was playing the guitar and belting his heart out. A huge crowd of about 50 or so had formed, mesmerized by their bizarrity and talent, and we decided to stay.
It's 11 at night, we're in the Uffizi piazza, and we're listening to an amazing duo sing everything from "Winds of Change" to "Hotel California." It was like out of a movie, with the music filling the plaza. Looking around and up, we couldn't help but be amazed at the architecture and art surrounding us, before our eyes finally reached the stars, twinkling above us. And then we'd look back at the performers and the ecstasy chick's rolling around on the stone floor, humming into a microphone and throwing herself around like a dying fish.
All 5 of us were humbled into silence, except for Matt, on whom the beauty of the situation was lost. After their "set", we moved on and of course, headed over to our favorite bar.
Like Norm walking into Cheers, we crowded into Kikuya and ordered drinks. Stash was there and greeted us warmly, although my favorite bartender, "Hottie McItalian-guy" wasn't working. At one point, Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" came on and Kate and I were forced to dance. I think Matt was ready to kill himself, even begging us to stop by bribing us with drinks. Nuff said. Alex and Matt were busy working some Italian chicks, and Kate and I spied on them, finding it hilarious that our baby brothers were now drunk in some Italian bar, all grown up and flirting with foreign girls.
The great thing about this bar, aside from Stash taking excellent care of us and the fact that it's always PACKED with good looking, laid back 20-somethings, is that it's about 15 steps from our apartments. As I sat there last night, sipping my 2.50 Euro wine, I couldn't believe our drinking luck. We end up there every night, and as it's open till 3am, we always have an excuse to swing by and say hi, no matter how late we've been out.
I finally slept last night, and today plan to explore museums all by myself. I want to sit in cafes, read my books, and wear my hat. Mom and Dori rented a car and have driven off into Tuscany in search of ridiculously expensive pottery. Dad is doing some countryside train thing, and Jen and Kate have headed to the Prada outlet. Alex and Matt might tag along with Greg and let him pay for things, I'm not really sure. The great thing about being here for so long is that we can all go off and do whatever we feel like, the kids meeting nightly for cocktails before we all join up for dinner.
Greg's sister, Diane, arrives from her home in London today, which means for the next few nights, Kate'll be crashing over at our apartment. Kate, who's never had a problem napping on our couch, will be horrified when she discovers that I wake up at 4am every night, unable to sleep and obsessed with BBC's Tsunami coverage.
Our street performers return at 9pm tonight, weather permitting, and after dinner, we plan to enjoy them again. They have Cd's for 10 Euro. Any takers...

Thursday, January 06, 2005

gettin' my ring finger ready...

It's 1am here, and I've run across the street (from Stash) where the gang is anxiously awaiting my return. I was stressing about a work e-mail, so I excused myself to the internet cafe and have to now run right back. Who knew there'd be 17 (yep, seventeen) e-mails announcing Gavin's divorce? I think it's a sign.
Thanks guys. The family will be appalled and thrilled. I knew it would happen eventually. And thank god it happened today. My bizarre illness has made me lose 5lbs (every time I travel, I shrink) and I am finally thin enough to be first lady of San Francisco. As long as I can make it last till I get home, I think we're cool. You're all invited to the wedding...
xoxo, Mrs. Newsom

Kate and I already pissing Jenny off... Posted by Hello

i liked you better in the skirt

I was wandering around Santa Croce yesterday, and I stopped in front of the tomb of Michelangelo. I started to get freaked out, not because before me was some marble box with a dead body in it, but because that body was Michael-fucking-angelo. I looked around the church, and noticed a million tombs; Galileo, Machiavelli, a couple of's crazy. The history here is appalling, and makes anything American seem tiny and tacky and ripped off from something better and probably Italian.
We went to Mass in the Duomo the other day, and I have never been more bored. However, perhaps the designers of the Duomo knew how dreadfully boring old school Italian mass can be, because they've given us all kinds of things to stare at instead of paying attention. My problem was that I became fascinated by the ceiling, and it's hard to pretend you're deep in prayer when you're craning your neck to get a glimpse of an archangel's ass.
Last night was a fabulous dinner, with 10 of us piling into Il Latini, a very popular restaurant with lines down the block. Jenny's friend Megan joined us, and we enjoyed 4 hours of food and wine and champagne. It was incredibly fun, and more so because Jen and Megan regaled us with Thailand stories. Actually, their tales are so brilliant, I'm asking Jenny to be a guest blogger and write about Thai hookers. It's bizarre and fascinating. You'll love it...
On the Piazza Santa Croce, where we're staying, there's several leather shops along the square. Several times a day, I walk by and say hello to all the owners, who stand outside attempting to bait customers. There's this one guy, Carlo, that's taken a particular interest in me, and every day, he asks me out for a drink. Here's why I say no...
On the first day I saw him, he went on and on about how gorgeous he thought I was. While fabulous, he's old and slimy, and makes you want to get the fuck away from him. On the second day, I was wearing a tiny little skirt, and Carlo went nuts. He claimed I had legs from God and proceeded to ramble in a mix of Italian and English about the beauty of real women. On the third day, I walked by in jeans. Carlo was cold and distant, and as I walked away, he goes..."I liked you better in the skirt."
Fuck you, Carlo. Fuck you and your shitty leather jacket store. Fuck you and your Eurotrash soccer jersey. Fuck you and you're hideous naked lady/Ferrari calendar.
Now, of course, I feel like I can't wear any of the 6 skirts I brought, because I'd be giving into the sexist, sleazy whims of Carlo, the Italian asshole...

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

what's on your head...

This is your warning: I bought a hat and I'm never taking it off. It's a big, black hat and I think it's fabulous. That said, I know I won't hear the end of it, especially from Gert. There is no way you can see me in this hat and not react. It's huge and Euro and I look like Annie Hall, Diane Von Furstenburg, or similar.
It takes a certain kind of gal to pull this hat off and for whatever reason, I feel like that kind of gal. Maybe it's the two glasses of wine I had with lunch. Maybe it's because I'm in Italy. Maybe it's because my head is fucking freezing. Either way you cut it, I'm now wearing a monstrous, black hat and I think I look fierce. So do Mom, Dori, Kate, and especially Jenny. Thus, I'm wearing this with pride and passion. Maybe I shouldn't anticipate the un-sophisticated American backlash I know I'm going to receive. Maybe I'm underestimating my posse of pals who have no problem telling me when I look like a hooker, prison wench, or bag lady.
But I say this to you now; when you see me in this hat that's bigger than a suitcase, know that it is my favorite thing I now own and makes me happier than any man ever will.
I bought a big, black hat today. And I can't stop admiring myself in store windows...

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Kate and her "pirate wine"... Posted by Hello

toot, toot, toot on my little whistle...

I'm afraid the party has now begun.
Dori, Greg, Matt, and Kate arrived yesterday at about 3. Immediately, Kate, Matt, Alex and I went out for gelatto, and then for drinks. We knew we were all to meet back at the apartment at 7:45 for pre-dinner cocktails, and thus had a good 4 hours to explore bars by ourselves. So we did.
We all headed over the Ponte Veccio and found an Irish Pub, where Matt finally felt the need to put an embargo on the Napoleon Dynamite quotes. Tired of that bar, with the sky growing dark, we roamed the streets of Florence in search something better. After what seemed like a freezing eternity, we found a happenin' little cafe near the Duomo and got comfortable. Real comfortable.
Kate and Matt were exhausted, having flown 14 hours that day. A couple of shots of expresso later, they were knocking back the beer and dancing around to the music. Which brings me to the title of this blog: At one point, Euro-techo exploded from the speakers. Kate, still desperate to visit a discoteque, started jamming to the horribly offensive music.
"Kate." I screamed at her. "All you need is a rave whistle." And I pulled an unshelled peanut from the basket before me and said, "Toot, toot, toot on my lit-tle whist-le."
Why am I bothering to recreate this stupid moment? Because we find it the most hilarious sentence ever uttered.
Completely toasted, we dove back into the night and after walking in cirlces, found our way back to the apartments. After a quick drink with the folks, all 8 of us headed down the street to our restaurant. Seated in the basement, with an adorable waiter and tons of wine, we ate and drank...almost as much as the folks. My parents are pretty laid back, but it's not often I see them completely trashed, stumbling over words and refilling my glass just for the excuse of refilling their own.
It's at this point that Kate decided to tell the table her jokes...
"Hey Dick! What's the hardest part about rollerblading?"
"I don't know, Kate. What?"
"Telling your father that you're gay."
My dad peed his pants. It was genius. I then got the entire table to sing, "Toot, toot, toot on my lit-tle whist-le" although dad kept saying, "Toot, toot, toot, I'M a little whistle!" which sent Kate and I into fits of hysteria. Down at the kids end of the table, Kate and I decided we needed some alone time. We had men to bitch about and steam to blow off. We ducked out before the coffee arrived and headed to a bar across the street.
Packed with an international array of men, we saddled up to the bar and ordered drinks. It's at this point that we met the bartender, Stash (sp?)who reminds me of the German Stiffler. (Sean William Scott, the obnoxious guy from American Pie.) Literally, there is no other comparison. That's exactly who he looks like. But, he's German. And, I must admit, hilarious. I take it back. I found a funny German.
Kate and I sat and talking for hours, drinking and ignoring the sleazy stares from boys around us. We haven't had alone time in awhile and decided to put it to good use. Turns out, after 14 hours of flying and 8 hours of drinking and 2 hours of bitching about men, a couple of girls can get pretty emotional.
Stash appeared suddenly with hankies and shots of something pink and highly potent. "Oh girls. He can't be that bad. Don't even talk to me, okay. I just broke up with my girlfriend of 3 and a half years. She move back to Amerika."
"Oh Stash!" we gush. He laughed, leaned over the bar and kissed us.
That was the end of the tears. And that was the end of us paying for drinks. We decided, fuck it. We're in fucking Florence. We're going to cut lose. So we did. Really, really lose. I haven't been that trashed in some time. But it was so much fun and so wonderful to share this experience with the person who's been my best friend for exactly 25 years.
At 2am, we crawled down the block back to the apartments. Fumbling with the keyes at Kate's door, two Italian guys stop and invite us to join them at a disco. Kate was feeling it, but I have an aversion to both Eurotrash and elastic waist jeans and nixed the invite.
I passed out soon after, and awoke this morning with a pounding headache and apparently, a new job. (more about that from home, but I got an awesome e-mail officially offering me something I've wanted forever. Yippee!)
Today, after shopping with mom, Kate and I joined Dori, Greg, and Matt for lunch. While walking past the Duomo, we actually spotted the guys who invited us to the disco last night. I hid behind Greg and avoided eye contact.
We then went over and saw Jenny, back TODAY from Thailand. Jen's a new woman, having traveled the world for months. She's here for a year, returning to San Francisco in June, and it's so wonderful to see her. It's amazing how much she's matured, with this new confidence and sophistication. It's so exciting to see my little Jen and hear about her adventures, and I can't wait to meet up with all of her friends at some bar tonight.
Obviously, there are museums and cathedrals and culture to explore. I certainly plan to and will probably get around to it. But all I have to say right now is...

Toot, toot, toot on my lit-tle whist-le...

Kate and Stash, the greatest bartender in all of Italy... Posted by Hello

Monday, January 03, 2005

italian men...

This morning, I was walking along the piazza and began to pass an Italian man sitting on a stool smoking a cigarette. We made eye contact and all of a sudden, " Ciao bella! What a beautiful girl. My-a-god, I never see a girl so beautiful as you, signora." And with that, he clutched his heart and actually threw himself off his stool, feigning death at my stunningness. I laughed, thanked him, and walked on, feeling like the most glorious woman in all of Italy.
Sophia Loren who?
I went and sat in a cafe, sipping cappuchino and reading my book, thinking over and over how much I love Italian men. Glowing from my lovely compliment, I finished my chapter and my drink and then headed home. Again, I approached my suitor, although this time, he was speaking to a middle-aged Japanese woman. "Oh, such a beautiful woman. Signora, you are such-a beauty, I've never seen."

And with that, I pushed him off his stool.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

murder on the fourth floor...

In an interesting twist on the hobo, they have gypsies here. I regard that as far more visually acceptable, as gypsies, while beggars, tend to wear colorful costumes and bizarre hats.
I couldn't sleep at all last night, suffering from the worst case of jet lag in recorded history. From 2:30am until 6am, I read my book and convinced myself our ancient apartment was haunted, which it probably is. At around 5, I believe I heard a murder committed upstairs, or perhaps the murder was committed hundreds of years ago and it's re-enacted every night by the specters who suffer in limbo, unable to rest in peace because of their many gruesome atrocities. Either way, it freaked the shit out of me, and I lay in terror for hours, debating whether to wake Alex so I didn't have to suffer alone. I chose to let the boy sleep, finally falling into slumber myself just as the sun rose. I'm on a mission not to nap today, and thus, perhaps tonight, I'll actually sleep.
Because God has always made it clear that I can never have my cake and actually eat it too, I'm sick. Coughing and sniffling, with headaches and body aches, I don't feel like eating or drinking. I know, I know. That's the whole point of Italy. We're going out to these fabulous restaurants and all I feel like ordering is zuppe and tea. But Dad and I visited La Farmacia today, where I procured some curious syrup which will apparently cure me instantly. We shall see.
Mother and I headed back to our favorite outdoor market, where I bought Bonnie some crazy and fabulous jewelry and got Dad a man-pashmina, as I'm unable to visually tolerate the unfortunate plaid monstrosity he brought from home. He now looks like The Godfather or a similar Italian patriach, and I'm quite pleased with myself. Tonight, it's dinner someone along our piazza, and then heated games of SET back at the apartment.
We're all quite excited for The Ryken's to arrive tomorrow, as Alex and I have discovered several bars we plan to frequent with them. It's still terribly freezing, and I hope Kate and Dori received my e-mails encouraging them to bring long johns and mink coats. Speaking of which, many, many women wear full fur coats here. While, yes, I think animals are great and cute and everything, I've always maintained that they make better apparel than pets. Thus, as soon as I get home, I'm pulling out my grandmother's old furs and bringing back the 80's. Throw red paint on me, call me a puppy killer, I don't care. I dig the fur and the confidence that these women seem to have wearing it.
I'm currently surrounded by a bunch of too-cool-for-school American's who are bitching about someone named Heather while wearing Dolce and Gabana head scarves and planning mini-breaks to Lisbon. I feel as if I'm the loser in the background on a European season of the Real World. Now, making me look like an even bigger tool, my father has just approached, frustrated and disheveled, and asked me how one "forwards" an e-mail. Good lord...

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Clearly after midnight, New Year's Eve 2004... Posted by Hello

the greatest new years of all time...

You guys are all just waking up, and I'm about to go to dinner.
Crazy, this planet of ours.
Last night, Dad and Alex picked a restaurant across the river, which turned out to be awesome. We sat in a huge outdoor tent, packed with heaters and Christmas lights. Our waiter was adoreable, stopping periodically to do New Year's shots with his compatriots. At one point, he brought over these metallic bags, filled with fabulous Eurotrash t-shirts from our restaurant. Free apparel? Hells yeah!
Dinner was exceptional, with me even diving into Dad's caviar ravioli, it looked so good. I had gnocci in a cream sauce, then covered in cheese and baked. My jeans will never fit again, but it was definitely worth it.
After dinner, we strolled around looking for action. We came across some piazza, which is actually the piazza where The Bonfire of the Vanities took place. Apparently, a billion years ago, this Florentine guy got all riled up, feeling that Italians were too hedonistic and obsessed with themselves. He took it upon himself to gather all of the art and books he found offensive and burned them all in the piazza. Finally, the Florentines got fed up with his constant need to judge, and, in turn, burned him.
The piazza was packed with revelers, partiers, and vendors selling champagne, beer, and wine on card tables along the sidewalk. You could literally buy a bottle of wine for like, 10 Euros, and then walk around drinkning it from the bottle. Mom, Dad, Alex and I headed into some fancy bar, where the most stunning man I've ever encountered mixed our drinks. In the background, a band played "Volare", as we sipped on Grappa and wine and toasted the New Year.
Mom and Dad decided to shove off, only after attempting to point Alex and I in, what I felt, was the wrong direction. I decided to ask my new boyfriend, our waiter.
"Mi scusi. Where's the Piazza de la Croce?" I asked, batting my eyelashes and pointing left.
"No, signora. That is America." He smiled and then pointed right. "Go right for Piazza de la Croce."
I couldn't help myself. I was drunk and in love. "Well, aren't you just the most adorable thing I've ever seen."
Frightened, the love of my life ran off to help someone more attractive, and Alex and I were left to wander the streets of Florence alone, looking for a cool bar with ample seating and a bathroom. We stumbled around in the cold, until suddenly, there it was before us. At our feet, mere blocks from the apartment, was the most adorable, low lit, little Irish Bar, called Angie's Pub. We went inside, and ordered drinks.
There are tons of really good looking young people in Florence, and Alex and I were anxious to make it clear we were siblings, open to chatting with anyone hot and charming. In the line for the bathroom, I met Maurizzio, you taught me my new favorite word, "Fratello." I'm going to have a t-shirt made that says, "I'm with fratello" and an arrow pointing towards Alex.
We moved to the back room, packed with a mix of foreign students and hot Italian girls, all eyeing Alex. Lex and I drank and talked, amazed at where we actually were. I mean, really. Sure I could be dressed to the nines in San Francisco, downing Claret, and forgetting all that I did by the next morning. But, last night, I found myself in Italy, in a great little bar, with my fabulous brother and nothing to do but eat and shop for two weeks. We toasted ourselves as the hot girls counted down to midnight.
"Cinque, Quatro, Tre, Duo, Uno... Buon Anno!!!"
With that, they all came and piled into our table, and essentially, onto Alex. There were probably seven of them, all stunning, all 19, and all drunk.
"You brother so handsome. He look a like Hollywood."
"Well, ladies. I believe he's single."
They were all adorrable, taking turns chatting us up. The leaders, Julietta and Elisabetta were fascinated by American culture, particularly celebrities. Ladies, ladies. You've come to the right American. At one point Maurizzo came over and sat with us, but was perhaps intimidated by the raucous vibe at our table and thus left. We were having so much fun, it was suddenly 1:30am. The Italian supermodel troupe had to go, but not before giving me all of their e-mail addresses. Then each of them lined up to Euro-kiss Alex goodbye. It was hilarious, and I don't know if Alex will ever recover.
We stumbled out onto the cobblestone streets, so trashed and thrilled with our circumstances, we could barely stay upright. Horribly lost, yet finding it hilarious, we stopped a gay couple from Maryland who pointed us in the right direction. Finally home, we threw off our scarves and mittens and dove into the fridge. I passed out pretty quickly, only to shoot out of bed wide awake at 4am. Alex found himself in the same predicament, and we decided to give up and watch the ever present tsunami coverage on CNN and BBC.
Today, I did absolutely nothing but read and sleep, worsening my jet lag and feeling like ass. It was well worth it, though, as I could not imagine a better time.
I hope you all partied safe and fabulously, as I thought of each and every one of you.
Happy New Year, gang! I love and miss you...