Things My Brain is Thinking About When No One is Looking – Part XI

  • I am fully confident that the only way I’m going to meet a guy is if he breaks into my apartment. Look, take my laptop, but you have to take me, too…because we’re kind of a package deal….

 

  • When you google “extinct furry elephant” because you can’t remember the word mammoth – it might be time to start taking ginkgo biloba. I now do a daily crossword.

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  • Why do female characters in movies pretend they wake up looking like that…with fake eyelashes and perfectly applied Lancome?  When I wake up, I look like I had a fight with the bear in the Revenant – and lost.

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  • I don’t know what Pho is. I just don’t.

 

  • I’ve never seen Rocky Horror Picture Show.

 

  • I just watched a Law and Order marathon, and I’m still not nearly as depressed as I am when I watch 30 minutes of Fox News.

 

  • The amount of times I said “That’s what she said” to myself on the daily is shockingly impressive.

 

  • Today I put a very cool chair on the street with a FREE sign attached to it. I love to think where my chair is now, and if it’s enjoying its new life! I also need hobbies.

 

  • I measure all my relationships against Tom Hardy’s relationship with dogs. Follow @tomhardyholdingdogs

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  • There is definitely a time in your teenage years where the worst thing that can happen is watching a sex scene on tv with your parents.  I remember one in particular: I was sitting on the couch with my then boyfriend. In our infinite wisdom, we decided to watch the Sopranos.  I aged 15 years in that 46 minutes.

 

  •  For the life of me, I do not understand the fascination with Cadbury Creme Eggs.  That is just gross. Don’t bring that up in here.

 

  • It’s extremely disconcerting when your dog growls for 20 minutes at your empty leather chair and ottoman and runs out of the room with all of his hairs on end. I obviously have a ghost.  God, I hope he’s cool, because I just can’t, ya know?

 

Until next time, folks.

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What’s in a Name?

So I’m in my local restaurant, Spruce.  Not right now as I type this, but weeks ago. Just setting the stage here. I’m sitting at the bar with a friend, ready for my free cheesepuffs. As I wait, I decide to strike up a conversation with the gentleman next to me who was dining alone.  Seemed like a decent fellow, and probably had a story or two: suede patches on his sportcoat…drinking a Manhattan…people-watching. I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person, but I knew this guy was my people.

Oh, I neglected to mention – he was 82 years old, give or take.

Recently, the amount of people that I’ve now blocked on social media has increased exponentially.  It’s quite freeing, but now I’m always looking to find new kindred spirits.

Anyway, we chatted, mostly about wars and Ireland and “kids these days.” Then he went along his merry way.  As I’m walking back down my street, I see him leaving his apartment and walking back towards Spruce.  I greet him, about to introduce myself again (look, I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, I don’t know what an octogenarian remembers….) and he had a CD in his hand.  He had been walking back to Spruce to give it to me.

Well the last time I owned anything that played a dvd, Tom Cruise was jumping on a couch, Destiny’s Child was a trio, and R. Kelly was trapped in a closet.

Well, fortunately,  on the 8th day, God created Spotify – and I listened to the album today.  He had given it to me because there was a song called “Eileen” on there.

My life has had approximately 7,834 moments of the song “Come On, Eileen” being shouted in bars, sung on the street at my approach, mentioned whilst still in an introductory handshake – anytime anyone gets the brilliant notion that they’re the first one to think of it.  Dexy’s Midnight Runners, be damned.

(Aside:  I just googled Dexy’s Midnight Runners, and they’re still alive, and they’re STILL PERFORMING THIS SONG, AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO RIGHT NOW. I need to collect myself).

Weekly, I get emails from kind folks over in the Emerald Isle about family reunions, Cotswolds museum reservations, Siobhan’s recent exploits with her new beau, and photographs from the most recent gossip around Cork. I always reply that I’m the wrong Eileen Burke, (“but have fun!”) because I’d hate to deny any poor old Eileen Burkes’ news about Mary’s most recent knitting results.  (Mary kind of rocks, woman’s got talent.  Tight stitches).

Because let’s face it.  Being named John Smith creates less mayhem than being named Eileen Burke with any Irish blood running through your veins.  We’re kind of a stone’s throw of each other.

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As an avid online quiztaker, Buzzfeed used data science (AKA, pulling random names from an algorithm with likely only 14 various results).  To determine what my name should be, I was asked such thought-provoking questions like:

“Would you rather have feet for hands or have your own hands, but they’re glued inside puppets?”

After lingering way too long for answers, it revealed my name should be….

Wait for it…..

Gregory.  The quiz never asked me if I was male or female.  So…based on my responses, Buzzfeed assumed I was a dude.  #femmefatale

About 2 months ago, that website namedat.com was popular.  Go immediately – it’s a blast.  Then come back.

Ok, so by now you know how many people in the US have your name, what day of the week you’re most likely to die on, and the life expectancy of people with your moniker, amongst a world of other information that kept you entertained for a full three minutes.

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All in all, interesting and good fun.

Over the years, I HATED my name.  And while my surname still sounds like a chicken clucking in French, I dig my first name now.  Because my grandma Eileen was hilarious.  People break into song at its mention. I receive kind emails weekly from strangers who live 5000 miles away.  I meet a nice an old man who is inspired to leave his home after meeting me and give me a gift.  And frankly, no one here has it.

Did I mention said awesome old neighbor owns a 1956 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe de Ville? I will drive in that car.  Bucket list.

And it all started with a name.

Remembering birthdays of years past…

Best birthday card ever. FYI…

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I remember my 9th one very well.  My mom made such a gorgeous top and skirt for me (she made all of our clothes à la Maria from Sound of Music, but not from drapes, luckily).  We were allowed to go to the store and choose our own fabric and styles.  Such a cool experience to have had, but in 2016, there’s this thing called Netflix…and I truly believe that if she had that, my clothes would’ve been from Children’s Corner.

At my parties, we played a game my mom invented that gave everyone a different color of Skittles (mine were always green; I love lime to this day).  Then before cake, she spread out a white fitted mattress sheet on the kitchen table, and gave everyone permanent markers to draw their own designs, whatever they wanted.  I slept on those sheets through college – Pam’s rainbows, Michele’s smiley faces, everyone practicing their penmanship.

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I started hating my birthday at 16. I don’t know why; most people love their birthdays, especially the one in which they are allowed to circumnavigate the yellow-dashed pavement behind the wheel of their own free will. Not me of course –  got to be different.  I have a habit of feeling a little (A LOT) more than other people, and I realized at 16 that I was aging. Not in a negative “you’re getting closer to death” kind of way – more of a “am I the person I want to be?  Am I surrounding myself with people who love and support me? What do I want to do with my life?  Am I being the best I can be?”  As someone who never was allowed to even take Tylenol, I could’ve used some Xanax.

Tonight, I came home from my riding lesson and watched the season finale of “The Night Of” (Just do it, don’t give me a hard time).  Then I felt compelled to write. When I do, I don’t edit, I just go.  So excuse my stream of consciousness, or don’t…that’s the beauty of all of this.

In the corner of my apartment, I saw a stack of journals that I haven’t looked at in a decade. There’s literally thousands of pages…some tear-stained, some with way too many exclamation points.

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Perusing these tonight let me know where I was, who I was, and what was important enough for me to write. Keep in mind I wrote almost every day from age 12-29… but, this is not the Odyssey.  Here are the Cliff Notes.

I don’t start with 1990, when Mrs. Stey, my 6th grade science teacher gave me a zero because I left my textbook at home, and I lost my MIND.  (I only got A’s). Those journals are somewhere, most likely collecting dust in a box in North Carolina, moved from an attic in New York. So I start with what I have.  But I do distinctly remember that moment being the very first post in my very first journal at age 12.

 

1991- 1996

A brown journal (plus two black binders) I kept JUST for my horse notes from ages -12 – 17,  i.e. all the things I was learning along the way as I was riding, reading horse encyclopedias, and aiding in the care of 48 mares and geldings in Westchester County.  It turns out I was obsessed with “Eosinophilic granulomas” because I wrote often about it.  A lot…I’m talking pages.  If I remember correctly, we had a horse at Blue Chips Farms in Cortlandt Manor at the time who suffered from them – therefore, all 90 lbs of me with an advanced degree in 8th grade, had to know everything.  I wrote pages of notes on lateral movements, leg yields, and the fact that shoulder-ins required a horse’s fore to be 30 degrees in while the haunches are straight. A long release, a short release, an automatic release while jumping…obsess much?

Moving on …

1999-2000

In my senior year of college, I posted large sheets of paper on the living room walls of our suite, and wrote in marker ‘He Said, She Said…” across the.  I’ve always been a lover of random quotes, capturing a moment, and I threw markers around the room so that any genius would not go unrecognized.  We ended up with a plethora (I always think of The Three Amigos, when I use that word) of brilliance in an array of colors.  Upon graduation in May 2000, when we all went home, I translated them into a notebook, so they’d never be forgotten.  My college roommates know that every few years I bring it out for posterity. But I see now, that I kept it as a general quote book for years later and threw some keepsakes in there for some reason. To find them on the eve of my 38th birthday?  Maybe. But the papers that fell out included the email addresses of my NYU film school friends, and you better believe I’m hunting those folks down in the weeks ahead.  Film a movie  on 16mm film in Washington Square Park at 4am…and you develop a bond of epic artistic proportions.

2001

I wrote a screenplay about the Knights of the Roundtable.  Don’t laugh, it’s pretty effin’ awesome. I had started it when I was about 17.  I wanted my script to be more “Braveheart” and less “A Knight’s Tale” (less ‘hear ye, hear ye!’), completely flushed out from a historical accuracy perspective. So I studied medieval soliloquies, as one does when they’re juniors in high school.  (This may go unsaid, but I didn’t date). I knew that a “garrison” was a group of soldiers stationed at a castle…and that mortar was made out of sand, rock and lime. For anyone still reading, the Celts invaded Britain in the 4th century, and the we still use the term loophole, that skinny slit in the windows that men fired arrows from. You’re welcome, future Jeopardy champions. Ask me anything.

NEXT!

2002 

Do the math, I’m 23, and apparently super self-aware.  I opened the journal to a handwritten quote in my best penmanship: “Don’t let another person’s actions hold back the person you are.”  Obviously setting myself up for a STELLAR, FUN YEAR! Jesus H, Eileen.

Ah, I see now, it’s breakup time!  Also, I used the phrase “life is passing me by.” I want to hit my 23-year old self with a sledge hammer about now.

That year, I went to Key West by myself to celebrate my 24th birthday, as one does. Oh, you didn’t do that?  Just me?  Shocking.

Ok, I really went there to see a waiter I had never spoken more than three words to 5 months prior..  Yeah, I just wrote that out loud, first time I ever admitted it.  I FLEW FROM NYC TO KEY WEST to sit at his table again, I shite you not.  Overall, I meant to have a quiet, meditative birthday in solitude.  Of course, within a legit 15 minutes I met another fun guy and a gall with gorgeous blond dreadlocks who invited me out and I spent the weekend with them. Blast. And yeah, I did sit at that hot waiter’s table earlier, by myself, and took my margarita to go.

2003

Krav maga was life. I was a machine.  And in every way, I was completely, 150% hard on myself.  Reading this year actually makes me feel sad.  I beat the ever-loving shit out of myself verbally. I turned 25.  Fuck 2003.

2004-2005

Jet-setter NYer – I was living the good life.

Spent Christmas and the New Year traveling abroad with my sister, Therese. My boyfriend was very well-liked in my family (that is, um…unusual),I was making a killing working 16 hours a day on set with Oliver Stone, back in the equestrian game, having a blast out on the town. And apparently I had an addiction called “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”  I often wrote ridiculous things like “I would be much happier with a slice of pizza and working AOL.” On February 6, I was “contemplating my existence on this planet” because even I can’t make this shite up. I was quoting Oprah a lot.  Like, A LOT.

When I went to work a corporate job at HBO, I needed to make ends meet. I was working on the streets before my day job started, (not in THAT way…I would’ve made a ton more money).  I worked for The NYC Metro paper from 5am-9am before HBO started. I bought fifty cent coffee and described myself as “marvelously alone” during that time, in the early light of NYC.

On Dec 23, 2005, I wrote “Kathryn (my sister) got engaged last night. (Insert Ex-bf’s name) got me flowers and is snoozing in my bed. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  Does life get better than this?”

If life were only that simple…

2006

I’m in love, albeit a long-distance relationship with (insert same ex’s name) and I’m racking up US Airways miles. We had a great run, but after 3 years our relationship couldn’t survive his decision to go to law school in Syracuse, despite him returning to NYC post-grad.  But as life has it, tonight, I just turned to a “blank” journal page and saw something for the first time: “Eileen is my joy. You are my sweet pea.” He must’ve written that when I left my journal out one day many years ago In this case, we really loved and really lost, and it was all awesome.

In my younger years, I had had a 4 year relationship…then an immediate 2 year relationship, then some time off before this ex asked me to be his date to a wedding without knowing each other….A pretty romantic way to start a relationship. And I’m proud of our years. . I mean, at the end, I almost launched him out of my 5-floor NYC walk-up, but that goes without saying. TODAY, I think he was a supreme human being. And today is what matters.  I really look upon that time proudly and with sensational laughter. I love that his kids now look exactly like him.

My sister got married which was one of the coolest times in my family’s lives. I was her maid of honor, which still makes me proud 11 years later, only beaten by me being a godmother to the coolest, most sarcastic, creative  5-year old around, her daughter, Maggie.

In 2006, I was a steadfast yogi and riding horses again, but struggling, as I was balancing all the bruises and pulled ligaments from krav maga.  So I gave up krav for horses.  But also because my boss at the time thought my boyfriend was beating me because I showed up with a black eye two times (you should’ve seen the other guy).  I still have my boxing gloves and will never give them up. But I put them aside for Zach, a 6 year old off the track Thoroughbred who so far is the closest thing I’ve ever had to owning a horse. The kind owners at Garret Equestrian in NJ let me lease him for $200 a month because his speed and lack of training scared a lot of people.  My heart soared for this horse.  I actually think he loved me.

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2007

My career launched at HBO. The people, one in particular, has been my confidante and patriarch in all important decisions in my life  That reminds me, I need to call him tomorrow for advice.

Lots of horseback riding, and I lived with my oldest sister Therese in a sick duplex on the Upper West Side. I was now working two jobs (HBO from 9-5pm, catering from 5-2am) and putting myself through an MBA program at Fordham University.  For those wondering, this is why I don’t feel bad about being unemployed for the last few months.  Do this schedule for four years, and then come talk to me. (Oh…and get a 3.9 GPA, which I did.  BOO-YAH).

For my 28th birthday, I spent the day on a train to DC to run my first half marathon with Nelse, my college roommate, who still doesn’t take no for an answer.  It was a sad time, just having broken up with (insert ex’s name) days earlier, and there was nothing I wanted to do less (or nothing I needed more) than to run my ass off. Weeks later, I found myself in London…and then repeatedly in London, every other Thursday after.for almost a year.

This ladies and gentlemen, is what is called, having a hot Irish boy-toy in London.  I won’t go into detail, because it’s likely my parents are reading.  But…HOT DAMN.

I have to skip ahead because everything else posted is unsuitable for others’ eyes.  Is it hot in here?

2008

2007 was spent working with immigration lawyers to move to London (cough boy-toy).  2008, I met Satan.  I mean the most recent Ex, with a capital E.  Here’s the highlighted version, because he doesn’t deserve a full paragraph, he already had 4 years of my life.  Boy meets girl, boy sweeps girl off her feet, boy and girl get dream apartment in NYC, boy is a complete cheating asshole, girl moves out, boy and girl don’t see each other for a year, but separately make plans to move to San Francisco (unbeknownst to each other), boy and girl think we are in a romantic Nora Ephron movie so get back together, boy and girl move to SF and live in 2 different apartments, until girl gives ultimatum, and boy walks away after 4 years. That about sum it up?  And…scene.  A slip of paper fell out of my most recent journal  – “There’s yogurt for you in the fridge.” I don’t know why i saved that note.  Possibly because him buying me yogurt was the only kindness he had shown me in a long time.

And now 4 years later from that, I’m grateful. I wish him well. I wouldn’t mind if he tripped in the Grand Canyon, but if he doesn’t, that’s fine too. Because…you know when you KNOW someone with your whole heart and soul?  Like, truly KNOW them?  And that scares them so much they can’t be around you, because they are actually not the person they work so hard to be on the outside?  Yeah.  I can’t imagine anything more exhausting than to be someone you’re not. I’m glad he’s less tired now.

I, on the other hand, have fast-forwarded several years. But maybe that’s because, after reading all this, I don’t want to go back anymore.  I only want to go forward.

Rereading this,  I see how much time I spent worrying. I didn’t think that things were going to turn out okay back then.  Now, several fabulous, sometimes impossible years on my own, I have more belief that things will be okay than ever before.  Sure, I don’t know how that’s defined.  I thought I would have 3 kids, a husband and a house.  But now I’m also too wise to identify that with happiness…I know way better.  THANK GOD, I KNOW BETTER.  Because it’s hard out there – now, thirty minutes into 38 years old.  FUCK.  I know what I want 38 to look like, and it’s sure AF a complete 180 degrees from what 37 looked like.  37 kinda blew, not going to lie to you, but there was a lot of good, too. And I’ll remember that good – but also enter this next year with an empty notebook.

I’ll give thanks, show up before called, expect incredible things, never give up, and analyze nothing. Re-invent myself, take on volunteers, reject recruits, smile more, laugh everyday, and FUCKING CHILL. Global domination?…oh, hello.

 

Good Lord…

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I have been soooo mean these past few days (cough: weeks).  Just kind of generally pissed off and angry.  Not every minute, of course, just not-so-subliminally  negative. I blame it on the San Francisco winter we’re having. That way, I can sidestep all blame, naturally.

To remedy, I got a sassy haircut and a golden doodle today.  They’ve helped.

Also, random, but I just had a weird thought – I live in California.  Is that weird for anyone else, or just me…I realize it will be five years in October.  But still…how the heck did that happen? And why am I wearing fleece boots right now?

Anyway, this is an apology.  For my mood.  And scowl. But not my sarcasm, because I actually really enjoy that.

So after a fun dinner out tonight, I’m going to sit back, relax, and quietly lose my mind as this dog destroys his meat bone all over my rug, despite me constantly returning it to the blanket I set down to protect my floors.  Because it’s National Dog Day, and that’s something I can get behind.

 

Things My Brain Is Thinking About When No One is Looking – Part X

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  • It really kills my buzz when I’m nailing a keynote presentation at 2am, blasting my Spotify playlists and “Do You want to Build a Snowman?” comes on.
  • I’m in love with the Drum Solo program that the next door toddler music school is hosting for the next few months at 9am on Saturdays.  I also love sarcasm.
  • Excavating my apartment of stuff for the last few months has been primal.  Cookbooks, unflattering cashmere sweaters, gone. Some people have a disease called “Never Enough.” Now if I have to dust it, it’s not here. Except for my tube of toothpaste Halloween costume, because that shit is historically the bomb.
  • I might’ve spent last night viewing YouTube videos on mares giving birth for, like, 3 hours.  I will deny it if on the stand.  But I still can’t get over that we, humans and animals alike, make little mini things in our bellies that look like us.  THINK ABOUT IT, PEOPLE.
  • I’m going to embrace a little more French culture – like drinking and smoking regularly.  Minus the smoking, that shit is disgusting.
  • My whole “respond, don’t react” mantra has fallen by the wayside.  I’m back to my angry NYC self again. Gross. Things happen to us, but it is our reactions that matter. “Quiet your face, Eileen” as my mom says.
  • I have a feeling that something about floor humping (“fumping” I’ve decided, for short) to Magic Mike’s “Pony” 6 week dance class might release some of my inhibitions. If I had any left.
  • Yeah I don’t.
  • A slick of perfectly applied red lipstick will make you walk taller. Try it.
  • I just spun my globe to see where I should travel next.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t Prague. Bering Sea, anyone?
  • I’m still obsessed with Anthony Weiner. There I said it. Not in a sexual way, more in a WTF way.  But, seriously, surprisingly impressive. Again, in a really WTF way.
  • I still cringe involuntarily when I see Disney paraphernalia.  I miss it, hate it, love it, and want to burn it down, and am so proud for their accomplishments. It’s like that drunk relative that won’t stay out of jail.  You hate to love them. But you root for them, and want to be a part of their lives again. But also, roll your eyes when they speak.
  • Screw you, Tom Hiddleston, for desecrating my 4 year crush on you. And I like Tay – I’ve even been on her 1989 tour.  But, I’m pissed. Admittedly…possibly unreasonably pissed for a gal in her late 30s reading TMZ. But still. I’m moving on from you.
  • I was told by a random “psychic” on the street that my dog was worried about my relationship status, and told me to write down all the things I want in a mate and then burn it.  I ACTUALLY DID THIS – because who am I to say that a random gal doesn’t have super powers that reach the infinite plains of our Universe?  But I digress.  So I did it and really the most important thing on the list might be “gives good hugs.”
  • I love the word “bustle.”
  • I had a handyman mount my tv the other day, and he reminded me that the dust in my apartment is mainly skin cells, and I didn’t refill his coffee. Because eff you, Nate.  Things should go unsaid.
  • I thought I was too old for IKEA when I turned 30.  Apparently, as of yesterday, I am not.  Hello, coffee table! Or as I call it: dinner table / candle holder / frame displayer / purveyor of daily cheese plates.
  • Damn it, “Let it Go” just came on.  Time for some new playlists.  Adios, readers, Spotify calls.

 

PS – Despite not writing for ages, not hard to believe there’s nine prior to this one.

Un diario de vacaciones: Part 3

Ending my travels  at a yoga retreat in Nicaragua is one of the top three best decisions I ever made. Just what the therapist ordered.

Surrounded by a team of awesome and hilarious women, naturally most being from NYC, I’m in my natural habitat, 2834 miles from San Francisco.

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At 7am, my non-morning body now finds itself stretching each newly elongated muscle as I liquify out of bed to start the day with my fabulous eight, drinking coffee and walking up our brick mountain to a 90 minute yoga class, led by my favorite yogi, Kristen Leal.  I met her in my 3-day a week noon yoga class at HBO’s gym when I was 27, and I’ve stalked her ever since. She couldn’t get rid of me if she tried. I literally had to get a stamp in my passport to experience her class again.

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Everyday we order our food in Spanish and the patience of the wait staff is impressive.  Hell, they’re handsome 30-something Nicaraguan males and our group wears bikinis and spandex everywhere. Plus, we tip a minimum 40%. They’re just fine. And as long as Miguel brings me my ceviche everyday, all is right with the world.

Plus, our neighbor is quite cocky.  Get it?! I’ll stop –

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We start and end the day with yoga, but every day is ripe with activities –

Monday was a full day of sailing and swimming in where the Caribbean meets the Pacific (or so I’m told, I don’t care, it was aqua, cool, and lovely).

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Tuesday looked like this, and I’m not kidding:

7:30a coffee
8 – 9:30 yoga
9:30 -10:30 breakfast
10:30-12 free time
12p lunch at the bookstore
3pm 60 minute deep tissue massage
6pm dinner in town
8pm tequila at the Iguana

 

Wednesday was a beach day at Hermosa Beach, where they filmed Survivor. It must have been awful. How did they do it? #surviving

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I stayed behind on the dinner plans Wednesday night, to finish my book, write, and am so thankful I was able to see this:

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The town of San Juan del Sur is nothing short of magical – I don’t think they sell these paint colors at Sherwin-Williams.  I feel like I am Dorothy, tossed out of her black and white Kansas world (ironic, since I was born there) and thrust into the colorful world of Oz.

I drank BEET juice today and would’ve swam laps in it if capable.  Everything tastes better, looks better, smells better, feels better – my senses are sparked and at the ready for more azures, magentas, and golds…..more mango, pineapple, lime, and cilantro.

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Two more days, and while I LOVE being here and feel as though divine intervention could’ve been involved in my present teak seat, I still do look forward to home.  And eternally grateful that I, surrounded by New Yorkers, am still excited about putting my keys in a quiet little door in Presidio Heights.

PS –

Favorite quote of the week (so far):

Megan: “I’m afraid of three things: Sharks, seaweed, and Dakota Fanning.”

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Un diario de vacaciones: Part 2

Not having had too much experience with international travel outside of bi-monthly weekends in London six years ago, I forgot all about the time it takes to get through passport control and then customs.  In the 90 minutes after landing in Buenos Aires, I, in my own mind, had recreated a new system that bypassed the dual check points, creating efficiency where there was none, and cutting down on time,effort, and payroll, before I remembered I was supposed to be on vacation.

Finally through the duplicitous checkpoints, I was met at the gate by my great friend from NYC, Rachel, and her adorable almost 3-year old twins, Max and Emma.  Max and Emma were insistent upon me coming home with them, and I let them think the whole thing was their idea, naturally. “You comin,’ Mommy’s friend? You comin’?”

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Forty-five minutes later, I arrived at Rancho Pampa, Rachel and Martin’s horse farm and training facility that I’ve only ever seen on Facebook. I was accosted immediately by five dogs, two of them the cutest and most precocious puppies.  With the neighing of horses in greeting, needless to say I was in heaven. They probably were just hoping I had snacks, but I like to think they were saying: “Buenos dias, new friend! My ears need a good scratching, if you feel so inclined!”

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One of the most detestable jobs at the barn is of course my favorite – feeding the horses at night for their last feeding. Granted, I would hate to do this every night at 9pm, but it brought me back to my 13 year old days when I was responsible for the gastro-intestinal tracts of over 60 horses.  Although, I don’t miss the hay getting stuck in my bra. You feel it for days.

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And now I write with a cat next to me – the only cat I’ve ever met who loves belly rubs.  This place is an animal anomaly of peace and calm.

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Scratch that – Max and Emma decided to wake me up daily by jumping on my head.  Probably the most trusted alarm clock I’ve ever had, I’m obviously going to have to hire some three year-olds when I get back to San Francisco to do just that. It must include riding my spine like a bucking bronco for the full effect.

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My week stay in Buenos Aires was the perfect combination of city life (I did the tourist city bus thing) and farm life.  I rode a horse named Picaro, and was thrilled, despite knowing that my thighs would be screaming at me the following few days. We had a nice 30 minutes workout – he in much better shape than me.  As I was walking him out and watching the local gaucho wrangle his stallion a few feet from me (who needs cable?), I was suddenly feeling myself being lowered.  Yes, my numbnut horse decided it was time to lie down.  While I was on him.  And then roll on his side with me underneath him.  I’m on a horse for the first time in a few years, and I killed him.

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Almost.  I rolled off, got my leg secure from under his body, and after a few failed attempts, I got him to his feet, where he looked dazed and as shocked as I was. Nice work, Picaro.  Scarred for life, big guy.

My favorite gent was Broadway – he had incredible personality and would get  vocal when I paid attention to his neighbors, and not him.  He stamped and nickered for me to come back and would slant his neck while I scratched his ears and try to catch my t-shirt in between his lips.  He thought this hilarious.

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One of the greatest gifts on this trip was meeting the people in Rachel and Martin’s  lives: Martin’s mom in her gorgeous apartment, with her painting hanging and surrounded by this view:

…a boat trip on Martin’s dad’s boat, to see another area of Argentina named Tigre…

a night out with the infamous Philippe….

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…a night in for dinner right in the barn with Martin’s students and friends. I’ve never had wine while inside a barn before, surrounded by horses and dogs and friends.

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Outside of that, the only person I really ‘spoke’ to was Lynn, a middle-aged woman I battle on Words with Friends.  You’re going down, Lynn. All the way from South America. I detest your constant play of “Xi.”

Too many great memories to mention, and everyday to begin again when I was awoken with a knee to the ear drum by Max. “You sleepin, Eiween?”

No.  No I am not.

Next stop, Nicaragua!