I quickened my pace as the sun started to set over Washington Square in North Beach. I was twenty minutes late for the party, which seemed appropriate for it was an engagement party, and I was the girl farthest away from being engaged. In fact, being "late" had become my most prized accessory. I clipped my aversion to having kids into the brown curl that fell against my forehead, and tinted my lips with a shade of apprehension regarding the sanctity of marriage. I wore my lateness with pride for I couldn't figure out why our accessories had to change with age. Yet as I stepped into the candlelit banquet room, the soft ding of glass chilling my ears, I realized I was missing the one item that united us. The common denominator. Fortunately, the missing item was placed in my hand before I reached the newly engaged couple, and was respectfully filled with soft red wine. French, I think. For the next three hours, we danced around the room, pretending to know when the music stopped. Where and when to get off. With a bottomless glass cupped in my hand, I wrapped uncertainty around my bare shoulders, and walked out the front door. Late for my next party.



The two-lane highway leading up to the chalet was empty. I glanced curiously in the rearview mirror, but the winding road failed to tell me where we were headed. While I had been living in Melbourne, Australia for nearly two years, I was still hopelessly disoriented. Not wanting to ruin the surprise, I decided the empty tree-lined highway was a promising start to our romantic getaway. After all, it was my first weekend away with my new Australian boyfriend, the spitting image of Colin Firth only slightly shrunken in the wash. Reassured, I sat back in the passenger seat and pictured kangaroos jumping out of the bush until--something else jumped out at me.

“We’re here,” Greg announced, clearly not seeing the two gigantic nuts hanging overhead.

Not wanting to seem completely childish, I sat up and calmly read the sign that was surrounded by two flesh-colored chestnuts. “Double Nut Chalets,” I plainly stated because I couldn’t laugh. Not unless Greg laughed first. Because this was our first weekend away. Because he was kindly carrying my overstuffed suitcase into the hotel. Because this was his surprise. Two gigantic nuts hanging over our hotel.

Suddenly, my stifled laugh relaxed into a smile as his curly hair disappeared into the lobby. Staring up at the sign, I decided nuts were the perfect start to the weekend.


Hot Mess

Nothing says I’m not ready to have kids like staring into a microwaved diaper. While ten maternal woman shoved their noses into a series of Huggies, trying to work out which timeless chocolate bar had been nuked for the baby shower, I decided it was the perfect time for a bathroom break. Unfortunately, the sniffing and sorting took longer than the ten minutes I was able to kill in the bathroom reading National Geographic. No longer able to avoid taking a whiff of candied poo, I stuck my nose near the edge of Huggies Snug and Dry, but was quickly distracted by thoughts of lost youth. Picking out candy bars at the local 7-Eleven had been a great childhood pastime. But now, we were melting sweets into diapers in a quiet attempt to prepare for the next chapter in life. And yet, as I clinched the low score on the diaper game at my friend's baby shower, I was reminded that candy bars aren’t the only things you can freeze. At least until you’re ready.


Knock on Wood

I'm back from Mexico, and nothing says "vacation is over" like a slice of bad dating. Enjoy!


Donde Esta la Biblioteca?

In a few short hours, I'll be in the airport bar en route to Puerto Vallarta for some much needed rest and relaxation (oh yeah, and a lot of fruity cocktails). So, I'll have plenty of stories and cocktails for you when I return. But if you're interested in checking out where we're staying, take a look:



The Power of One (aka OFL)

I recently discovered the one true reason why you should never train for a marathon. Unfortunately, I discovered this at six o’clock in the morning after a night of margaritas at Marix Tex Mex CafĂ©. And while there are several reasons why you should never run 26.2 miles--like having to train for nine months with a group of silky short extremists--not to mention the 6AM start on Saturday mornings regardless of how much you’ve had to drink the night before--this reason stuck out above the rest.

It was just after six o’clock in the morning when we started out on our training run. Ten minutes later the realization hit me--only it wasn’t a sudden realization. It was more like a slow creeping wad of cotton rolling up the sweat on my inner thigh. Yanking my cotton shorts down at Mile 1, I realized I was sinking my own battleship. Not only was I trying to keep up with my considerably taller and more athletic friend, I was attempting an eight-mile run with a group a marathon-heads who were stuck on a natural high. Needless to say, I didn’t fit it.

As we rounded the corner, I could feel my irritation mounting because my cotton shorts were now so far up my leg--but just my right leg--that they clung to my underwear. But before I could properly adjust the problem, I froze to a complete stop because it hit me: I had one fat leg. The OFL, enough said.

So, is it wrong to name my next drink the OFL?

You decide.


From Russia with Love

I don’t speak Czech, eat pork, or drink Becherovka. But I do speak spa. And that’s exactly why I headed to Karlovy Vary, a quaint spa city situated in Bohemia, the western part of the Czech Republic. Making my way to Lazne III, I decided it didn’t matter that I couldn’t understand a word anyone was saying because all I needed to do was find “Spa III” and relax.

Twenty minutes later, an elderly woman carrying a stack of white towels shoved one into my chest, and waited for me to undress. With predictable American modesty, I positioned the towel over my private parts as I stripped down, and then waited for my next command. Finally, the spa assistant grabbed my arm, and pulled me in front of a wide wooden door, which I presumed was the sauna. A second later, she opened the door and shoved me in.

The wooden room was dark and hot, so I felt confident that I had guessed right. Slowly, I moved toward the wooden tiers in front of me as my eyes started to adjust. Unfortunately, they adjusted on a naked old man lying on Tier #1.

“Shit,” I squeaked, clutching the towel around my chest as I realized that I had just entered a co-ed spa. Taking a deep breath of hot unisex air, I quickly reminded myself that I was in a new country for new experiences. And this certainly qualified. So, I decided to stay, and open my mind (if not my eyes) to enjoy the life of an elderly Czech person.

Slowly, the heat started to quiet my mind, and I decided that I was proud of myself for staying. For being somewhat “European.” Well, if you ignored the fact that I was still wrapped in a white towel. Without warning, the door to the sauna swung open, and another guest was shoved in. Only this time it was a gorgeous Russian man. Correction: a gorgeous NAKED Russian man.

With a beautiful “hello,” he smirked at the towel covering my body. “Aren’t you hot?” he asked with a soft Russian accent that made me sweat even harder.

“No, I’m American,” I said sounding like a complete idiot. While it had only been two days since I had spoken English to anyone, it appeared I had lost all conversational skills.

Twenty minutes later, my naked Russian man asked me to take a plunge in the cold pool. In my mind, I said yes. I dropped my towel, stood up, and took the plunge with him. In reality, I sat on the second tier of the sauna, and watched my naked Russian man head for the pool, and then disappear. Fortunately, the old man left with him, and for ten hot minutes I got to enjoy spa life without my towel (and only a tiny bit of regret).

Suggested Number of Drinks:

(Translation: three shots of Becherovka)