Thursday, October 06, 2011

Follow your gut

There are many phrases to describe it - instinct, intuition, hunch, sixth sense, suspicion - whatever it may be, it's real and you should not discount it.

For the past month I have been miserable. Crying before going to work, angry at life, bored for more than eight hours a day, with each passing day I realized I was ignoring my gut. This wasn't the right job for me.

At all.

The people were fantastic - funny, smart, talented, super nice, good to work with - which made my decision all the more difficult. But at the end of the day, life is too short to be miserable for 40 hours per week (at least).

The company's actions since my departure have made it evident: I made a good life choice by leaving.

So boys and girls, what did we learn through this? Trust your gut. Don't disregard your knowledge. Do what you know is best - life is too short to not.

Way too short.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Wake Up Amsterdam

When I went to Paris, I was lucky enough to be there while the Avett Brothers were touring and was able to see a band I love, play a tiny venue, in a magical city. It was special, and such a great story.

The Avetts were on tour again while I was traveling, though I wouldn't be able to see them. I was, however, in Amsterdam while possibly my favorite band was playing -  Arcade Fire was performing in Amsterdam on my last night in the city. When I was finally able to confirm my travel arrangements, I found out the show was sold out. Boo!

I searched online, found nothing on Craigslist and couldn't figure out where Dutch people went to sell their goods online. During my OkCupid communication with one dude, he told me where to look. And magically, there were tickets!

I took a train out to a small Dutch town, met a man with the ticket, and squealed.
Yessssssss!

The show was held at the Heineken Music Hall, and housed 5000 Dutch hipsters. I grabbed a beer, settled in, found a great spot and danced my ass off.

Having seen them recently, I was familiar with their set, though Arcade Fire will always be an amazing show. They played for what seemed like a minute, but was actually a pretty long set. And they made the weird looks I was getting totally worthwhile.

My name is Iris, and even in foreign lands, I dance like a doofus.

SETLIST:
Ready to Start
Keep the Car Running
Neighbourhoods #2 (Laika)
No Cars Go
Haiti
Sprawl II
Empty Room
Rococo
The Suburbs
The Suburbs (Continued)
Month of May
Rebellion (Lies)
Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)
Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)

Encore:
Intervention
Wake Up

So my adventure ended in the most perfect of ways: listening to Win & Regine serenade me with Wake Up. It was my idea of perfect.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Kantjil & de Tijger

Before I left for Amsterdam I was told to explore the city's Indonesian cuisine.Since I really like food, I was stoked to do so. And about two days in, I followed a recommendation from a bartender at a lounge I really liked and strolled to Kantjil & de Tijger and thank goodness I did!

First, I was starving, as I mentioned previously, much of my time in Amsterdam was spent lost, so I had been trying to find the place for a good hour before finally spotting it. (I don't want to hear about how not smart I am. I get it. Not smart.)

Second, this was the best meal I had in Europe this trip. The food was fantastic. Simple as that. And there was a lot of it. Amazing! I had the NASI KOENING RAMES and it included more food than I thought could fit on a plate and it was delicious.

The cute bartender was totally right about this place and my first stop on my next trip to Amsterdam will be to Kantjil & de Tijger, yours should be too.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Mooie Amsterdam

How can I put into words how much I liked Amsterdam? I don't know that I can.

Amsterdam was the impetus for this trip. For many years I've heard many people talk about how fantastic this city is, and because they aren't dumb, I trusted them.

Strolling along the canals. 
And they were right.

Amsterdam won my heart. The city is lovely, the people are fantastic, the energy is pitch perfect and it is freaking beautiful! I wandered the streets for five days, getting lost, visiting random parks, stumbling upon ballet performances, being super friendly, getting great tips from locals, and basically thinking this city is pretty special.

I have told everyone, this is not my last trip to Amsterdam, and it won't be. Amsterdam, I will be back.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Jewish Museum

I cannot lie, I didn't do a lot of cultural things this vacation. I did a lot of strolling, a lot of socializing, and a lot of other things, but museums weren't my priority - the only one I really wanted to see in Berlin was the Jewish Museum, and it didn't disappoint.

We all know of the atrocities Jews suffered during the Holocaust, and the Museum did a fantastic job of helping us understand - showcasing a variety of personal items from individuals who may or may not have survived the Holocaust. It walked me through the progression of Germany from a country of tolerance to one fueled by hatred.

I shed several tears during my tour of the museum. How could you not?

This was easily the best us of space to evoke an emotional response I have ever experienced. Filled with empty spaces and uneven flooring, the building itself aims to teach you how it must have felt for millions of people during WWII.

If you are lucky enough to visit Berlin, make sure you stop by the Jewish Museum. I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Beer in Public

I want to live on Max Beer Strasse
 It's no lie, I like beer. A lot.

Each week, Corey & I enjoy a new type of beer each  
week for talkfoolery and it's great. So when I was
heading to the land of beer, I knew I was in for a treat. Little did I know, it would be such a cheap treat!

Almost the entire time I was in Berlin was spent with a
half litre of beer in hand. And the lovely part was that I didn't have to feel ashamed for drinking in public and no paper bag was required. YES!

But, not only was public drinking accepted, with ridiculously cheap beer prices, it was practically encouraged! For a 1.50 Euros I was able to enjoy half a litre of Germany or Europe's finest beers. How is that even possible?!

Seriously, if beer is cheaper than water, I will always choose beer.

Always.




Sunday, September 04, 2011

Vacation Highlight: New Friends - Again!

My first full-day in Berlin was busy: jet-lag, bike tour, first date, being doubled on a bike and many beers in between.

At the end of the date, who was super cute and spoke great English, he gave me a bike ride back to my hotel and went on his way. After he left, I realized it was now 1AM and I hadn't eaten (though I'd done a good job of drinking). At that point I thought it a good idea to get something in my belly. So I went to wander to find something.

Along the way I heard these two American dudes in front of me. Since I'm alone, I have to be a little cautious of who I talk to. So, after adequately scoping them out and deciding that they seemed harmless, I stopped and asked them a random question.

Then they couldn't get rid of me. Art & Sergio became by Berlin travel buddies, whether they liked it or not.

We stayed out til 6AM that first night, went on a pub-crawl the second and strolled the streets of Berlin after a nice dinner on the third night.

Three North Americans in Berlin
How much did I enjoy their company? When they left I got immediately sad. Don't worry, I bounced back really quickly, but I did get a little blue after we parted ways.

So a big shout out to my Berlin mates - you guys rocked my world, and helped turn Berlin into an amazing time. Thanks!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Alrighty then, Cupid!

Have I mentioned how much I hate online dating? I do - I've had only a handful of decent dates from it, and I've tried them all.

At the suggestion of my friend Erin, I signed up for OkCupid recently. While the Vancouver scene has yet to pay-off for me, the Berlin and Amsterdam scenes sure did. Before I left I lined up one definite date in Berlin and two in Amsterdam.

You read that right, three dates in ten days. HOLLA!

Anyways, the fun thing is these dudes always take you to somewhere not in the guide books. My date in Berlin took me to a funky lounge deep in the heart of old East Berlin - it was so Communist-feeling! My Amsterdam guides gave me insider tips to great restos and bars over beers.

No, none of them were love matches, but they were fun ways to spend my evenings!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Berlin Bicycle

My first jet-lagged morning in Berlin was spent flip-flopping on a decision - to bike tour or not to bike tour.

You see, before Berlin, I hadn't been on a bike in 18 years. I had no idea if it would be just like riding a bike, or if I would be the one person it wasn't like that for. I went for breakfast near the meeting point, stalked it for a while, talking to myself and reminding myself that I'm an adult who can do stuff! So sign up I did and off I went.

Thankfully, it was just like riding a bike. I was able to balance and everything, though I'm still not good at turning - all of my turns were really wide. Also, I have forgotten how to ride with one hand, meaning pictures during the tour were next to impossible (for me).

The Fat Tire Bike Tour dudes were awesome. It was a 4.5 hour tour around Berlin, seeing all the major sites, getting a little random insight into the areas, and catching a wee bit of exercise in the process. And we stopped at a beer garden in the middle of it! YAY!

All-in-all, a great way to the see the city and a fun reminder that I too can ride a bike!

Friday, August 19, 2011

He's HIGH-larious!

One of the best things to happen to me this year was Corey Fischer asking me to be his podcast-partner. I jumped at the chance and haven't looked back since.

He takes the podcast to a new level with his animations - he hears a little funny bit and creates a whole world to go along with it. Pretty impressive, no?

This week he released another, and I think it's pretty fantastic - largely because he does such a good job of recreating my misadventures as a youth.

Here, for your viewing (and laughing) pleasure,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

WTF ...

was I thinking? Booking a last minute trip to Europe?! This is not me. I'm usually so researched and prepared for adventures.

I leave on Friday and I am neither.

Who JUST found a place to sleep in Amsterdam? This girl. I'm also a little stressed about the language barrier. For both Italy & France I was listening to language podcasts weeks before. This time, there were no weeks before.

blerg

AND to be super adventurous (read: slightly stupid) I've arranged for a couple of dates in each city. Thanks OkCupid!

So, play nice Berlin, Amsterdam and maybe Bruges, I just don't want to cry.

Bon Iver & Iceland

Beauty abound ...



Friday, August 12, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Changes are afoot.

For the first time in four years, I will have a new job. It's a weird, scary thought - meeting new people, trying to win them over, learning new systems and processes, not having the comforts of the job that I've loved for so many years.

Yikes.

But at the end of the day, change is supposed to be good for the soul - or something like that.

Right?! RIGHT?!?

New job starts September 6, and before I begin, I'm running away. Amsterdam & Berlin, here I come!

I'm excited. I'm nervous. I'm all atwitter. Hopefully I don't ruin everything.

REPEAT: Change is good. Change is good. Change is good.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Thank you, gay men

There's a frustrating reality for this single, straight woman: gay men.

This weekend is Pride in Vancouver, a celebration of all things GLBTQ2 and fabulous! Finely sculpted men are running around Vancouver without shirts and it's a total tease. Straight men don't look like that, and if they do, they don't talk to me.

In fact, the most frustrating thing about gay men is that they are the only people with penises who tell me I'm pretty, funny and have nice hair.

Breeder men never tell me that shit, and if they do, they're drunk.

So this is my thanks to boys who like boys - thanks for the compliments and calling me the next day. Can you teach those straight fellows a thing or two? Please?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Flip Flopper

Every day seems to bring a new option to light, or make one option seem better than the other, or something.

The more time that passes the less clarity I have. It's funny, I wake up each morning committed to a plan of action, and then something happens during the day to change my mind.

Oye vay.

I'm looking for something to tip the scales. Something that screams "THIS IS YOUR BEST CHOICE!" but alas, nothing has done that.

Yet.

Though I did have a Skype call with a ridiculously cute Swiss boy that made me wish I had a EU passport. That would be fantastic.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Come on down to the street and dance with me

How stupid is it? I can't talk about it
I gotta sing about it and make a record of my heart
How stupid is it? Won't you give me a minute
Just come up to me and say hello to my heart
How stupid is it?
For all I know you want me too
And maybe you just don't know what to do
Or maybe you're scared to say: "I'm falling for you"

I wish I could get my head out of the sand
'Cause I think we'd make a good team
And you would keep my fingernails clean
But that's just a stupid dream that I won't realize
'Cause I can't even look in your eyes
Without shakin', and I ain't fakin'
I'll bring home the turkey if you bring home the bacon.

I'm a lot like you so please
Hello, I'm here, I'm waiting
I think I'd be good for you
And you'd be good for me

Monday, July 11, 2011

This one time, I had no idea

Well, this week has been interesting. 

I spent Canada Day long weekend with two of my favorite people in the world. I drove 7 hours to Valemount, BC to visit a couple of gays and their new cabin. It was quiet, and peaceful, and amazingly perfect. I came back to face the week with some much needed clarity.

Then Monday happened, and all clarity went away. Now I'm left without an anchor, and without a reason to be logical. 

For the first time in many years, I have the chance to choose the life I want. But that begs the question, 'What do I want?'

My plan has changed several times since Monday and I expect it will change many more times in the coming weeks. I think that's normal. Right?! There are just so many things to consider! And I suppose, I will never know what the right answer is, but in the coming weeks, an answer will have to be made. No 'ifs', 'ands', or 'buts' about it.

This shit's about to get real. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy birthday

On June 16, 2006 I started this here blog. From the first post and my excitement to be in New York, to the heartbreak of giving up a dream.

This blog has seen me at my lowest - unemployed, suffering ACTUAL heartbreak, medical woes and lonely as hell. It has been witness to my humourous attempts at finding a romantic partner - every shitty date, speed dating, and even an international romance (here, here and here). It has seen me travel the Far East, Europe twice, and many many road trips.

I feel like I have grown with this blog. When I look back at older posts, I can see it, in my actual writing and the thoughts behind the writing. My life today doesn't look like it did in 2006 - thank goodness. My life today is grown up, with a job that makes me happy, in a city that isn't as bad as I originally thought.

So there she be. Five years of a blog that no one, other than me, gives a shit about. Thanks Internet for making a narcissist out of me and helping me share it with anyone who wants a read. Or those who happen to Google any of the following:

  • "iris dias" bitch brown girl
  • fun things to do when your awake at 6 in the morning
  • gay morinville (My personal favorite)
  • my girlfriend invited me to passover
  • all of a sudden, i am obsessed with shoes
  • cute italian boys
  • have a debaucherous time in vegas
  • irisdias sucks shit blog
  • olympic theme jello shooters

Happy birthday blog. You've been my most stable outlet for the past five years, and for that I am forever grateful.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What have you been up to?

Holy shit, I last wrote a real post in February.

My bad. But in my defense, well, there is no defense. I suck. Big time.

So hear, to catch you up, is a catch-up post. YAY!

First, like I've mentioned before I'm now a co-host of a wicked-awesome podcast.
talk•fool•ery is easily my favorite creative outlet. I think we're finding our groove - I'm 'nervous giggling' a whole lot less - and I'm super thankful that Corey asked me to be his co-host. If you haven't done so already, you should totally check it out. As one review says, 'Good podcast for mindless indulgence."

Yes!

Second, I've been traveling a bunch. I've been to Edmonton to entertain my niece & nephew, back to Edmonton for a surprise for ma, San Fran to visit Eve to spend some time with her and her adorable daughter Dixie Mae. I have to admit, I fell in love with Dixie. We had a blast together, and she made me wish my friends with babies lived a whole lot closer.

I also went to Saint John, New Brunswick for the CPRS Conference. I was there as an attendee and to fetch an award my company won. Saint John was lovely, I ate a ton of lobster, drank a lot of beer and was hit on by a 65 year old man. A man who thought he had a shot at me! WHAT!?

The fundraiser was a rocking success, and a million thanks to anyone who helped in any way, shape or form. What a way to warm my cynical heart.

That's about it.

In four days it will be this blog's five year anniversary. What shall I write ...

Editor's Note: While I was en route home, my amazing friend Harp got her ass out of bed at 5:30 in the morning to visit me at the airport and have breakfast with me. It was fantastic and lovely and she is a wonderful source of light and inspiration in my life. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

I wouldn't be me if it weren't for Slave Lake

I grew up in a small town in Northern Alberta. About 2.5 hours north of Edmonton, with a population of 7,000. That town was Slave Lake. Though I haven't called Slave Lake home in many years, it will forever be my hometown.

Last night, Slave Lake went up in flames. The pictures are horrifying and since the full evacuation was ordered, information has been sparse. It breaks my heart thinking about pieces of my childhood being burned. And though my family and friends are all ok, I can't imagine what life will be like when they return, what devastation awaits them.

Slave Lake is where the seeds of Iris started: where I met my two oldest friends; where I learned to skate (and subsequently fall); where I made far too many poor boy choices; where everyone knew me as Bob's daughter (which I still have a complex about); where I had my first job (a janitor at my best friend's dad's clinic); where I got drunk for the first time and smoked my first ciggie.

Most of yesterday, I watched the internet in horror, realizing my childhood home, businesses my dad built, friends' homes and many other pieces of my history are now gone.

For all the times I have tried to hide my Slave Lake roots, I know (and have known), beyond a shadow of a doubt,
I wouldn't be me if it weren't for Slave Lake
And now much of the town is gone.

My heart breaks for the town, for its residents, for its alumni, for everyone that has been touched by this Northern Alberta gem.

If you feel compelled to donate (which I hope many of you do) the Red Cross is probably the best way to do it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wanted: Displaced Oilers fans in need of friendly faces #stilloilfans

The last game of a long season is almost upon us. You've been suffering alone long enough - mosey on down to the Black Frog as YOUR Edmonton Oilers end their season against the Avs and spend a Sunday with people who get you.

Date: Sunday, April 10
Where: Black Frog Eatery
Time: Black Frog opens at 11:30am. Game starts at 12:00pm.


View Larger Map

Be there or be square.

Tweeting not required, though encouraged. (#stilloilfans is the hashtag. Use it. A lot.)

If you just feel like getting tipsy on a Sunday, feel free to stop by, but no mocking or jerky comments about the season, the Oilers or Edmonton.

Tell your friends!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Listen up!

So, my friend Corey came up with the brilliant idea of creating a podcast. Then he asked me to co-host. Then we came up with the awesome name talkfoolery and now you'll be able to hear us ramble every week. EXCITING!

I think we're funny. Hopefully you do too. It's pure gold baby!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

From Hope to Reality

Last year when I got back from Paris I spoke of the hope I found. The hope that someone out there is waiting for me. Someone great. This year, my vacation brought me a fine dose of reality.

I've been asked many times if I saw my Swiss friend, and the answer is yes, I did. But not how I was planning. But a brief moment of my vacation was spent with the coolest boy I have met in years.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Shop till you Drop

I went to Italy with a plan to shop. I was saving all of my shopping for Milan - just makes sense right? We were also visiting during one of two sale seasons - yessssssss.

I'm a big fan of consignment stores, and thought consignment in Milan must be off the hook. I'm sure it was, but I couldn't find any of them. The only one I found was Milan's version of the Salvation Army, and well, I did really well in it. Everything was either 1 or  5 Euros. I bought a coat for myself, an amazing scarf, a blazer, a shawl, a silk tie and sports jacket for dad - all for the low price of 27 Euros! Awesome.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Blowing Glass

Now, let's talk about Venice. Venice is easily the most beautiful city I have ever been to. Seriously, I can't imagine living there and waking up to those views every day.

I digress. For many moons I have been fascinated by glass blowing. Even seeing it on tv, the artistry and skill required to make those delicate piece amazes me. I mean, I break everything, so I just don't get it.

Anyways, our first day in Venice we hopped a boat to Murano Island to tour a glass studio. We sat there, in amazement, as these masters manipulated, melted and coloured the most intricate designs I have ever seen. While we were there they were working on pieces for a chandelier. That's crazy!

I can't imagine how they work in the summer though. It would be awfully hot.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Boys Boys Boys

I am single and looking to mingle, so part of the draw of Italy was the cute Italian boys! And cute they were.

Luckily, I was able to travel to a few cities and get a sampling of each's male offerings. Here is my breakdown of the boys of Italy, city-by-city

Friday, February 11, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Trains, Again

Florence to Pisa, I think.
After Paris & Switzerland I fell I love with trains   and traveling on them. What a lovely way to see the country. Always on time, comfortable, speeding through the beautiful countrysides. Ah.

So, when ma, pa & I were planning the trip to Italy, I put in a demand to travel to each city via train. This time around though, we went first class and it was awesome, and for not a lot more money.

It's also fun to drink wine on trains.
Rome to Florence was beautiful. Florence to Pisa like a postcard, and though Florence to Milan was too dark to tell for sure, I'm fairly certain that it too was magical. Milan to Venice was incredible, all leading into one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen.

I wish Canada had an efficient and inexpensive rail system - I'm sure the ride between BC & Alberta would give Europe some scenery competition.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Pasta in Pisa

Our second day in Florence was spent traveling to Pisa to see some tower.

The Tower is cool - though it would be cooler if the mystery was still surrounding it.

I was adamantly avoiding tourist-trap food. We got screwed with it in Rome at the Vatican, and I was determined to find something few tourists would get to. Thanks to Frommer's we ventured to the Pisa market and found the best pasta yet.

Amazing. 
For €5.50 we were served the tastiest, freshest meal we'd had yet. Ma's was the best risotto I have ever tasted. Mine was gnochetti with sundried tomatoes, olives, rosemary in a tomato sauce. They didn't have a menu, relying on daily specials to keep their customers satisfied. And satisfied we were!

After lunch, we left the restaurant stuffed and wandered towards the train station. As we're going I pause to let everyone else catch-up. (I'm a fast walker, I've tried, but I can't help it.) Then SPLAT! something falls on my forehead, and drips onto my jacket when I realize
I've just been shit on!
But even this horrifying experience couldn't take away from what may very well be the best pasta meal of my life.

And can we talk about how lovely Pisa is? Is every Tuscan town like this!? Beautiful! And way larger than I was expecting.

I'm ready to go back, if only for the pasta.

Have I mentioned how fat I've become?

Monday, February 07, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Irish Car Bombs with Bobby

I get my party-loving ways from my dad. No one in my family would argue that fact. So when we got to Florence and he wanted to go out, I agreed and off we went.

The taxi driver dropped us off in the nightlife centre of Florence, but just like in Paris, for some reason, the first bar we stopped in to was a karaoke bar. Oye.

We were stone-cold sober, so I figured, what the hell, let's do shots!

So I ordered two Irish Car Bombs.

My pa had no idea what the hell was put in front of him. As he dropped in his shooter glass, he abandoned the drink, so I had to do both of them. Fun!

We had a couple of beers there, watched American students sing Katy Perry & songs from Grease and then continued our stroll. Stopped in another lounge, which went from packed to empty in five minutes. I blame Bobby. Finally we ended in a full-on nightclub on reggae night. I pounded my drink and got us out of there. Awkward.

Iris / Bobby time happens very rarely, so even among the drunken students, this was totally a vacation highlight.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Living Like a Local

For this vaycay we rented apartments in each city rather than staying at hotels. I did this in Paris and found my experience to be so much better because of it. Though the five flights of stairs is something I will never get used to.

Rome we had a lovely apartment in the Testaccio area. According to Fodor's this area isn't really explored by tourists. YAY! We ate mainly within a few block radius of the apartment, and often had difficulties finding anyone that spoke English. AMAZING!

Florence was again, in a lovely area, on top of an amazing bakery and across the street from a delightful deli. Milan was right off the tram line and so accessible. Venice was cool, but three flights made for some difficulties for my parents. (Don't get me wrong, I hate stairs too. They are in fact, one of my biggest fears. Stupid right?)

The thing all of these places had in common was that there wasn't another tourist in site when we left our room. For a few days in each city, we got to kinda see what life is like in each city. What living in Rome, Florence, Milan and Venice would be like.

Lovely.

So thanks VRBO.com and homeaway.com - you have totally changed the way I travel.

Bonus - each apartment was close to half the price of a hotel.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Getting Religious in Vatican City

Our first day in Rome, a Sunday, we hopped a tour bus (I really like these hop-on hop-off tours for a first day in a city. Helps gives you some bearings, you know?) and made our way around Rome. One of the first stops was Vatican City.
Me, Pa, Ma & Aunty Cherry at Bernini's Piazza San Pietro

As we walked in to St. Peter's Bascillica, my aunt noticed that they were having mass. I haven't been to mass in a very long while. I generally try to avoid anything that makes me feel like a hypocrite, but figured, if I'm going to go to church anywhere, this should be the place.

It also helped that I couldn't understand anything being said and that we walked in half-way through. But for the rest of my life I will be one of the more impressive Catholics, having gone to a mass in St. Pete's.

Question: how much money is Vatican City worth? Talk about opulent. Wowzas.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Vacation Highlight: Birthday Best

I have made no secret of my love of birthdays. They're super fun and all about you. Nothing wrong with that.

This year, I was dealing with serious jet lag. I woke up at 3am and faced the day with two hours of sleep, looking like shit.

As we started out it was clear we would be wandering around ancient Rome and exploring. From the Mouth of Truth to Teatro Marcello to the Colosseum. This was the day we wandered the city the most.

Fun little run-in: As we were waiting for the elevators at the Colosseum, an old dude gets off the elevator, and in a bratty tone says to his daughter, "I don't have to do anything, it's my birthday!" I got excited, yelled, "HEY! It's my birthday too!". When he turned around he had a 6-0 button on his sweater. He was exactly twice my age! NEAT!

For dinner we found a suggestion from the Frommer's Guide in our neighborhood. Perilli's on Via Marmorata, Apparently this was the place to experience authentic Roman cuisine. So we did.

The food was amazing. The service untouchable. And the whole experience was delightful. Also, I tried lamb testicles. What?! The comedy of errors went like this.
Me: I think the lamb sweetbread sounds good.
Aunty Cherry: iris, they're balls.
Me: (in my head) I love balls of bread!
She should have mentioned they were nuts.

Anyways, my 30th birthday was ridiculously special, but made even better when ma said 'I had my doubts about this trip but this has been really cool!'

Mission accomplished.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wrap-Up Report: Italy

My vacation highlights are coming, but I'm a seriously jet-lagged little girl with some stuff to say.

With that, forgive me for the sentimentality of this post.

The trip had its highs and its lows. An amazing birthday was followed by some intense family stuff. By the end of the two weeks, almost everything my parents said and did grated on my nerves to some extent, but today, I am so grateful to have had that time with them. So grateful to see my ma get excited about something, see my dad get a little bit sappy, and to just remember what they are like as people.

For all of our familial quirks and difficulties, this little group of three is all the family I think I could ever want or need. The life my parents have given me blows me away on an almost daily basis. And though each of us has our faults, I am so blessed to have two people that love me in such an unconditional, big way.

So the overall impression of this trip: I am one lucky chick. In so many ways.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Here we go

I leave tonight. I'm both excited and nervous as shit. Two weeks with my parents.

Oye.

I will get a wee break in Milan for the weekend - I was supposed to meet a friend there, but it doesn't look like it will happen - so solo I will be. I think I'll be ok.

When I return from this little adventure, expect me to be a whole lot fatter. When I went to Paris the only food I was genuinely excited for was the pain au chocolat. This trip, I'm so freaking excited for all the food!

I'm going to be single for a while after I get back.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tenderoni You've Got To Be

Honey, come set me free
Don't you know now is the perfect time
We can dim the lights
Just to make it right
In the night
Hit the lovin' spot
I'll give you all that I've got

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I think I need you to be here with me

We all want a better life
I think I found it in this place
Everything is so sublime
You should come with me
We all want a better life
I think I found you just in time
And I feeling so divine
We all want a better life
And I'm not going home
I'm not ever going home



Esthero will forever remind me of Jarod, NYC, Hiro Ballroom and an incredibly drunk performance.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Before I forget

The first week of December was spent in Houston with my family. All the kids, my cousins & their husbands, aunt and ma. As an added treat I also got to hang with Roberto, one of my Paris-vacation highlights - how fun is that? Thanks internet!

Anyways, I have to say the highlight of this trip was, not surprisingly, the kidlettes. These kids are pretty awesome, and they still think I'm pretty cool, so that's fun.

I took my nephew skating for the first time - he was a super trooper and did really well with a couple of decent falls, was willing to let go of my hand to try and skate on his own, and just had a lot of fun with it.

I got to watch my niece during her swimming and ballet lessons, and then had the most incredible experience.

My second last night there I was helping my niece with her homework - the usual reading & writing. I've never helped a child with homework before. I've never had the chance to see a young mind learning something totally new. Reading, to my niece, is totally new. Words like 'why' and 'pox' were unknown, but by the end of our study date, she knew stuff.

I've probably done a poor job articulating how amazing it was to witness this. How incredible it is to see her now, at age 7, when I first saw her as a newborn.

Amazing.

I also went to have lunch with my niece, and had to explain to my nephew that he's my only boyfriend, when he was getting jealous I was meeting up with Roberto.

After explaining to my niece how Justin Timberlake is my talented boyfriend and showing her a video from a concert, she says to me "Aunty Iris, if he's your boyfriend, why is he dancing with another girl?"

Because Aunty Iris doesn't do jealousy.

And then there was my two-year-old niece who watched attentively as I did my make-up one night.

So cute.

But at the end of right now, they aren't cute enough to want. I was exhausted for a good chunk of the vacation, because there is no rest with kids. I wanted to talk like an adult and not worry I was corrupting a young mind.

So now I'm going to sit on my couch, finish watching an R-rated movie, maybe curse during a phone call, and sleep in tomorrow, because I'm an aunt and the kids aren't mine.

That doesn't make them less awesome though.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Make a memory

In two weeks I leave for Italy for my birthday trip with my parents. It should definitely be interesting, and so many people have asked me why I'm doing a trip with them, rather than the previously suggested trip to Vegas.

Simply put, I need to make some memories.

You see, the idea of parental mortality has become an all-too-real thought for me. Ever since ma's open heart surgery, I have become obsessed with making sure that I am prepared for the day that they won't be here any more.

I want tons of pictures. Lots of videos. And just memories that will last me through the rest of my life without them. It's depressing, I know, but I'm all too aware of the reality of mortality.

When my cousin died we held on to every piece of him that we could. Voicemails, photos, videos. I have very few photos of he and I, and because I lived so far away, my memories are limited as well. For a very long time I didn't like to talk about my memories of him because I worried they would get diluted or overshadowed by someone else's.

I don't want to worry about that when my parents pass away.

To prevent that from happening I'm preparing for two weeks with ma and pa Dias. I figure, at the very least, I'll get a few good stories and a million memories. Ma and I have never been, so it should be pretty freaking cool.

And yes, I'm sorry I was born in January when things won't be quite as pretty, but fuck it, we're going to Italy!