Thursday, May 31, 2007

Free porn

"... and that's my best porn story!" he exclaimed triumphantly. Driving past an adult book store had sparked the porn conversation between the two guys who were riding in my car on the way home from dinner last night.

"I've never been much for porn," the other one said. "I mean, I don't own any, or anything."

"I do," I said plainly.

"What?!?! You own porn?"

"Well, once I bought a couch from someone that I worked with, and a VHS tape labeled Puffy Little Nipples was shoved in between the couch cushions. I didn't really have any need for it, but I knew I'd never buy one myself, so I hung onto it. I figured, what kind of person throws away free porn, right? And shouldn't every well-rounded video collection have one porn tape? So I kept it."

"Dude, that just makes you all the awesome-er. Thank you, Rees, for being the girl who doesn't throw away free porn." A sincere compliment from the second one.

"You're welcome."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Venturing out

"Hey! Jess and I are going to (bleep), why don't you guys meet us out?" Thinking we had an original idea, we had decided to go out for a few drinks on Sunday night. It was to be my first real night out in a while, and I felt ready.

We walked into the packed bar, and immediately I felt myself closing off. I could tell immediately that this was not the scene that I was in the mood for. It's ok, I thought, I'll just kinda hang back and be reserved tonight. A few minutes later, our good friend and a buddy of his from college, who I had always heard a lot about but had never met, joined us. We grabbed a booth and sat down, generally having a good time.

The buddy's phone rang and he excused himself to answer it. After he'd been gone for a while, we asked our friend what was up.

"Oh, he's talking to his girlfriend who lives down in Florida. She doesn't know he's even here right now, so he's making up a story. Apparently she thinks I'm a bad influence. Ha ha."

Great. Just what I needed - to bear witness to a dude who is lying to his girlfriend.

Forty-five minutes later, he rejoined us. Someone else had taken his seat on the other side of the booth, so he shoved in next to me. And then it began.

Flirting. Intense eye contact. Questions about my job. Buying me drinks. The occasional hand on my leg. Me wanting to puke. Because the thing is, he was cute and funny. If he didn't have a girlfriend, I'd be totally into him. But I was absolutely dying inside knowing that I was being hit on by a guy who had a girlfriend.

I had to escape. Waiting in the bathroom line, my friend came up to me.

"So yeah, what do you think of my buddy? Great guy, huh?" Scarily enough, he was being genuine.

"Um, sure. Look, to be honest, he's making me really uncomfortable. He's completely hitting on me, and I know he has a girlfriend," I said, with a clear hint of sadness in my voice.

"Oh yeah. That's kinda how he is. I've known him forever."

"What, basically cheating on his girlfriend and just lining up his next conquest?"

"Yeah," with a laugh, "great guy though! Known him forever."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Customer service is annoying, not helpful. Example #1

"You know, you should really think about joining Blockbuster online. For as much as you are spending on these two rentals, you can have unlimited..."

Deep sigh.

"Thanks, but I really don't need it." Trying to be polite.

"Well, it's just that you're already spending $9 on these two, and..."

"You know what, I tried Netflix once and it really just ended up being a waste for me." Getting annoyed.

"Well, Blockbuster is only $6 a month, much cheaper than Netflix."

"I really don't rent that many movies." Teeth gritting.

"Well your account looks like it's been pretty active lately..."

"Listen, you dweeb - no one appreciates your attempt at selling the customer new products as much as I do, but do you realize that if you succeed in getting everyone to sign up for this online crap that you will no longer have a job? Yes, I've rented four movies in the past week, but sometimes I'll go six months without setting foot in this place. So leave me the fuck alone!" What I was dying to scream.

"Look, I'm not signing up for it today." All I bring myself to mumble.

"Um, ok. These are due back next Thursday."

I did, however, manage to grab my bag and storm out without saying thank you. That'll show him.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

New dish

No, not that kind, you gossip fiends. I'm very much enjoying the self-imposed lack of socialization of the last week or so. However, no woman is an island, and I do get hungry from time to time, so when a good friend asked me to join him at Mom's Siam last night for dinner, I could not resist.

Nestled at the very bottom of Carytown, Mom's Siam is a staple for Thai-loving Richmonders, and the outdoor patio is to die for. Last night was simply as good as it gets, weather-wise, so we dined al fresco and caught up on our recent life happenings.

Rather innocuously, I ordered a noodle dish for the first time, the Pad See Ew (I think there may be different ways to spell it, and since I forgot to grab a to-go menu, I'll just have to go with the one came up on google). Wide, flat rice noodles with a light sweet soy sauce, pork and broccoli, this dish was absolute heaven. Creamy in texture, and comfortingly filling, without being too heavy for the spring, I could not get enough.

I love when out of nowhere a dish hits you and suddenly becomes your favorite, beckoning you back time and time again until another flavor combination steals your heart away. Like a new lover, I couldn't resist having it again in the morning. Dinner leftovers for breakfast are something that I rarely indulge in, but it was all I could think about when I woke up this morning.

I will be back for more. Soon. Often. Tonight? Perhaps.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Currently on my nightstand...

... although probably only until tomorrow (as it is a very short book), is Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Memories of My Melancholy Whores. It is deep and haunting. Beautiful. Sad. Hopeful. Fine holiday fun! Well, maybe not quite Shrek the Third, but certainly something that could entertain and provoke you over the impending holiday weekend.

One resounding quote:

"Sex is the consolation you have when you can't have love."

Is there truth to that? Sure, sex feels good, but do we use it mainly as a way to validate ourselves, and convince ourselves and others that we are worthy of some sort of affection? Do we fall back on it so much as a society because it is the easiest go-to? (And furthermore, with all of the potential emotional and physical repercussions, how did it become the easiest go-to?)

Hopefully not always. But I'm sure that most of us have at some point, if not more often than not. I feel like even the most seemingly detached people from the act could probably trace their behavior back to some longing or lack of love.

Interesting how what should be the most intimate act that two people can share often is really just used because it is the most obvious way to validate ourselves.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Girl Power Playlist

Ok, so last week's plan of completely forgetting about everything to do with Southern Boy by Monday morning didn't exactly pan out. I'm still hurt, I'm still confused, and I'm still not sure how to move forward. So I'm doing the only thing I know how to do - packing my social calendar as much as possible, and listening to music that let's me take out aggression by emphatically singing along in the car. I call it (embarassingly enough) my "Girl Power" playlist. Not all are angry, but they all remind me of women with strength, which is what I need to reclaim for myself.

Since You Been Gone, Kelly Clarkson
Rehab, Amy Winehouse
Become You, Indigo Girls
Before He Cheats, Carrie Underwood
Stronger, Britney Spears
I (Who Have Nothing), Shirley Bassey
Independent Women, Destiny's Child
Piece of My Heart, Janis Joplin
Love You I Do, Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls Soundtrack
Irreplaceable, Beyonce
Free Man in Paris, Joni Mitchell
You Had Me, Joss Stone
U & UR Hand, Pink
Strong Enough, Sheryl Crow
Walk Away, Kelly Clarkson

(Please note the incredible restraint I showed by not adding You Oughta Know by Alanis Morrissette.)

So help me out, people. What should be added to the list???

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Back in the game

I've pretty much been sleepwalking through the last week, so when I got this text yesterday afternoon, I couldn't resist the opportunity to dive into something... anything -

Can you pick up a hosting shift at Kitchen 64 tonight? The owner is desparate!

Kitchen 64 is the newest venture for a married couple who have established themselves as Richmond restaurant royalty. A good friend of mine has worked for them on and off for a few years, and I have met them a couple of times. I was intrigued at the plea. It had been years since I had picked up a shift in a restaurant, and I'd never technically hosted before, but I knew that these few hours of working could be just the thing to get my mind off of everything and give me much needed burst of energy and self-confidence.

I'll do it, but in all honesty, they might want to use me as a last resort! It's been a loooong time since I've worked in a restaurant.

Don't be ridiculous, you'll be great. Dress cute. See you at 6!

At 5:45 I pulled into the parking lot, dressed in my favorite kelly green chinos and a sexy black v-neck, ready to hustle and have some fun.

Four blurry hours later, I sank into one of the bar stools and took a gulp of wine. My feet and back were sore, but I felt like I had worked hard and done well. Remained calm in the face of people who had been waiting for tables for sometimes an hour, kept the peace between hungry customers and busy waitstaff, and smiled through most of it.

It was fun being back in the game and good to know that I've still got it, but it's safe to say that I'm definitely glad to be just a visitor this time, not a full on contender.

Now onto searching for the next distraction...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Working from bed

The dreary rain hitting my window woke me up this morning, and my first thought was a surge of relief. The weather was clearly going to be matching my mood, at least for the next few hours. I promptly made the reservation to do as much as possible from the exact spot where I currently snuggled. Short trips to the office and kitchen, and a few minutes later, here I am with my laptop, cell phone, and a cup of coffee.

Now if only I could figure out how to do my wine tasting tonight via satellite...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Well said, Daily Horoscope

There is tension all around you, so you are likely to be happiest spending as much time by yourself as possible, Rees. If you must interact with people, keep your communication clear and concise. There is much room for misunderstanding and misinterpretation today, all of which could result in a major blow up over a minor event. It's simply not worth the trouble of being with people today. In seclusion is the only place where you'll find peace.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Three days

On Friday, a mere half hour before I was supposed to have a date with Southern Boy, I found something out about him from a friend.

He has a girlfriend. (Not me.)

He and I were not serious. Truth be told, I saw no future with him and was planning on ending it soon, but I kept hanging out with him because it was fun. He was sweet and attentive, and it was nice having someone around. We quickly got to the point where we were spending time together three or four days a week.

And the entire time, for the last two months, I have been the other woman.

It doesn't matter that we weren't serious. When I start to count the number of times he lied to me, point blank, about everything, I want to throw up. When I start to think about the few days that he was in NYC sending me cute little text messages about how much he missed me, while she was standing right there by his side, I am just awestruck at how someone could pull that off, be that deceptive - to two people at the same time.

Needless to say, it was a bad weekend. My mother and my best friend took turns babysitting me, helping me through everything. But yesterday I made a decision. This weekend, these three days, were it. This was all of the self-pity time I was going to allow myself. When I woke up on Monday morning, I was going to start over, and dive back into my life - which, aside from this little blip, is actually pretty wonderful.

It is now Monday morning, and I'm feeling pretty good. Of course, I don't know how I will ever trust or believe anyone that I'm dating again, but I guess I will cross that bridge when I come to it. After a few months of emotional rest.

Friday, May 11, 2007

In my inbox today...

From the man who made the comment last night...


Good to see you, as always. Hope you had fun, even though it was work.

I wanted to apologize for something I said last night that has sort of been bothering me today. We were talking about sports, activities, running, etc., and you had mentioned that you didn't really compete or play any sports. I said something about you not really having the figure of a typical runner. I hope I didn't upset you by saying that. I think you have a terrific figure and didn't want to imply otherwise. It was more of an observation that most of the women runners I've seen at 10k's or the triathlon are like 12-year old boys, with no curves, no chest, etc. I think you look great.

So, if you were tee'd off at me for saying that, I do apologize. If you didn't remember and are tee'd off now that I've reiterated it, I apologize. If you did or didn't remember and it didn't bother you, I don't apologize (no, just kidding - I am sorry).

Anyway, have a fun weekend, and I hope to be able to make Wine Cellar next Friday so we can (hopefully) have a laugh about this.

Regular Guy

Pics from the trip

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thanks, Captain Obvious

I've been home for less than forty-eight hours, and haven't entirely caught up on my sleep. For some odd reason, I've been actually rocking at work - completely on top of my shit, really feeling good about everything that is going on. Sending follow up emails to people I met in California, alerting customers about products that are almost out of stock, making more stops than usual in a given day, and really on point with product knowledge. It's been great.

Of course, the down side to all of this is that at the end of the day, I've been exhausted, but the second my head hits the pillow my mind starts running again. To-do lists, new ideas about projects to take on - all stuff that I'm really excited about, but that is preventing a restful slumber.

We're all pretty much feeling this way, I think. So when my co-workers and I were forced to volunteer three and a half hours tonight at a charity wine function, we were less than thrilled. But we put our best faces forward, armed ourselves with wine keys in our pockets, and stood behind the tables to face the Richmond swirling elite who had forked over $65/ticket for this good cause.

I was doing pretty well. The wines I was pouring were showing well and people were enjoying them. Of course, you saw all of the regulars - those 20 or so people who show up at every wine event in Richmond and feel like they know the reps personally. Which is fine - relationships are what this business is based on.

However, given my current state of tiredness, I think that being annoyed at this particular conversation was justified:

Regular-at-wine-tastings-guy-who-always-lingers-a-really-long-time-and-who-I-have-nothing-to-talk-about-with: So yeah, I'm not sure if I'll be at the tasting this Friday because it might conflict with my volleyball game.

Rees: Oh, you play volleyball?

Regular: Yeah, in two different leagues.

Rees: I was never big on volleyball. Always kinda afraid of the ball.

Regular: Well, you don't exactly have the physique to do all of that jumping around. Hope you don't mind my saying that.

Rees: (Blink, blink) Um yeah... so why don't you try the Merlot now?

That was when I knew I was ready to go home.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I have never been so proud

I say that without the slightest bit of irony. When I got a very cryptic message from Leah last night, I knew I had to spring for paying for internet access in my Embassy Suites room. And those of you who know me, know that I'm kinda cheap about some things, so that should really show the true brevity of this situation.

People, Leah was featured and linked on The Amateur Gourmet. This is like the day a blog geek could die happy.

Congratulations, Leah!!! I'm so proud!!!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Let the true gluttony begin

Today, the rest of my company joins me in Northern California, and our week-long "company trip" begins. On the it itinerary so far - 9 winery visits, at least two formal dinners, 3 different hotels, one baseball game, and a friends and family Cinco di Mayo party at one of our wineries.

My waistline may never recover. I'm thinking it'll be worth it, though.

PS - So far, the San Francisco adventure has been great! Here are some places I've been to so far:

Raven Elite
Out the Door
Firefly *
Bourbon & Branch

Check out my new favorite website,, to get the skinny on any of these places.

*Emerged as the runaway favorite.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Twin Peaks, aka, The Glass Coffin

When I woke up this morning, I decided that my mission of the day was to seek out one of these amazing-looking taco stands here in San Fran and feast on much fresher Mexican food than I am used to getting on the East Coast for lunch. Seems like a silly "mission" perhaps, but when faced with a day of wandering the city alone, I like to give myself a little assignment to keep from napping on the couch all afternoon.

I chose a neighborhood and set off. I boarded the number 24 bus next to Jason's apartment (minor snafu - bus passes do not get scanned here like they do in NYC. My mistake caused mine to get eaten by the grumpy machine, and earned me a lecture from the bus driver.) and headed toward the Castro neighborhood. I spent the next two hours wandering into and out of little shops, snapping pictures, and scanning for Mexican joints.

Somewhere along the line, I spotted Twin Peaks, an old-school looking cocktail lounge situated at an intersection, and pretty crowded for a random Tuesday afternoon. I made the decision that after lunch, I would have to return.

I've always been fascinated with local watering holes, so later on I walked in and sidled up to the bar. The middle-aged, robust, friendly bartender poured me a glass of white wine and left me alone with my book, which was really a disguise for my eavesdropping.

The crowd was completely endearing. Mainly comprised of elderly gay gentlemen enjoying their afternoon bourbons and vodkas, some were alone, some were with partners, some were meeting other like-minded friends. Many had canes resting on the bar, and to me they represented a segment of the population that we rarely see The bartender knew them all, and everyone seemed comfortable. He chatted with one older gentleman about an ex who was in town and the impending meeting. He subtly congratulated a very old man on drinking more of the water that he always serves with the glass of white wine that is ordered. Every scene I witnessed was heartwarming.

"Oh, you were at the Glass Coffin!" Jason exclaimed when I told him about my little slice of life adventure. I supposed it is nicknamed that by the younger generation gay guys because of the abundance of windows and the typical clientele.

His snide remark made me bristle a little bit. I wanted to lecture him about the astute possibility that any of us could easily end up in this position later in life, and about instead of seeing it as something sad, seeing it as something hopeful. Hopeful because of the sense of community and belonging, at any age. To me it's nice to see that places like this exist, even in the middle of bustling cities with people of all types clamoring past the windows, looking in and seeing life happening before their very eyes.

Today's Must-read

If ya'll haven't checked The Amateur Gourmet today, scoot on over there now and check out his American Food Manifesto. It's brill.