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Dear Boyfriend…

February 24, 2011

I don’t want to fight about this and I’m tired to keep bringing it up. What exactly do you do all day long? I come home and the house is the same way as I left it. Nothing is different. Nothing is picked up and put away, the trash is full, none of the boxes have been emptied with items been put away. The bathroom is dirty, there’s dust everywhere, the kitchen could use some putting away and cleaning too. And then you ask me to sweep the floors tonight. I mean cmon man.
Nearly every night, after a long’s day of work, I come home and do a little. Tonight alone I’ve already: put the bed side lamps on the tables, added bulbs. Moved the orange lamp to the desk. Put the clothes that were laying around on top of boxes in the 2nd bedroom in the hamper. Emptied 3 boxes and put all their stuff away organized in the closet or bathroom or kitchen. All since I got home at 7:15pm, walking the pugs and feeding them. It’s only 9:14pm. That means in 2 hours I’ve done all that!
You told me today you worked on the floor of the 2nd bedroom near the entrance. Yeah ok I see it. A little. That means you’ve had since you woke up, say 10am, until 3pm, the time you have to get ready for work, 5 hours and that’s all you’ve done? And everyday is the same thing. At this rate I will have cleaned, organized, unpacked, everything we moved here with.
Look around you in here. What’s out of place? What doesn’t have its home? Where is its home? Put-it-home!
What’s dirty, dusty, grimy? Sweep a paper towel with cleaner on it.
Look this is both our home. And you need to contribute just the same as I do. So, in the interest of not getting into a huge fight, when we were just getting back to the good times, do your part. Keep it clean. Pick up around and after yourself.


Goodbye Dear Frienemy

January 17, 2011

I remember my first puff of a cigarette. I was eleven and had skipped a class with some friends to go sit by the ocean wall a few yards from the school. It was 1987 and even in a lenient country such as Brazil, I wore a uniform, sang the National Anthem every morning, and attended Sunday school. Of course like today, skipping class and doing something ‘bad’ was utterly exhilarating. Carla pulls out a soft pack of Hollywoods, hands me one and it didn’t take all of 3 seconds for me to start coughing my brains out. I vowed never to repeat it again; in hindsight it literally tasted like licking a dirty ashtray.


It wasn’t until I was 17 that I became a smoker. I don’t even remember how it began exactly, just that all my friends smoked. They, the rich kids from Greenwich, had enough Daddy’s money to drive cool cars like Porsches and Mercedes Benz, rebelling against society by being punk/goth/emo, drinkers, drug takers. It’s been 14 years of this nasty little habit and I can finally say I’m ready to give it up.
One fine night while watching TV I saw a South Florida Quitline commercial and appreciated getting the truth, cutthroat and in your face. The warnings resonated with me, brewing inside until I logged into the quit line and signed up. A few days later I got a phone call from a woman named Lisa who would become my quit coach. We went through a 15 minute phone interview about my smoking habits, set my quit date to January 18th, and four days later my free-and-clear program arrived at my doorstep, along with the first round of the nicotine patch.
Today as with every other morning, I woke up, walked and fed my dogs, poured a cup of delicious coffee, gathered my Camel Light cigarettes, lighter and stepped outside for my daily routine. I began reading the “4 Essential Practices to Quit For Life” program booklet. Sure I had heard most of the facts before, never however so well put together in one place, scientifically and realistically poignant. It was the first time I read anything that truly treated smoking cigarettes as an addiction. It hits on tracking the routine, triggers, cravings, coping with stress and withdrawal, choosing allies, medicines, and finally becoming a non-smoker. I’ve previously tried the patch, the gum, cold-turkey, books, and even hypnotherapy, but I always gave in. I know today that it is not the methods that previously didn’t work for me as they clearly work for others, it’s that I wasn’t ready. This time I am, although I must admit I’m scared to hell of failing, of giving up, the difference is I have a plan, guidance, and I’m thankful for that.
Two mornings from today that first patch will be on me. Tomorrow I’ve gotta get prepared to replace the oral fixation by buying some hard candy, gum, healthy snacks, and toothpicks.
Here goes attempt #5 in my battle against nicotine addiction. Time to say goodbye to my dear frienemy the white stick, to be painfully dumped but replaced with a healthy and happy lifestyle; the life I moved here to live.

The Land of Disenchantment

January 8, 2011

I’ve never had a problem going to and enjoying strip clubs, in fact I think it’s quite nice to be entertained in a colorful way. Especially when you’re sick of the same scene, over and over again and just want to do something a little different. Last night my BF and I decided to check out Club Madonna. He had been there before and wouldn’t be particularly impressed but he knew I had never been and had been curious about it since moving to SoBe. I had read blogs and forums clearly advising to STAY AWAY, but I had to see it for myself. It can’t really be that bad, can it?

We arrive at the door at 2AM after several pitchers at Ted’s, and I’m contemplating not going in simply because of the cover charge: $20 for guys and $10 for girls but I thought, what the heck it’s only 30 bucks.
We get in line and two guys ahead of us were already being accosted by two dancers, and not the pretty, welcoming kind. More like vultures hungry for dollar bills. I’m thinking, ohh this is going to be interesting (at best).
The venue reminds me of a warehouse, square and airy with super high ceilings. There is one main center stage, and two smaller stages, and as you would have guessed it, the DJ calls it the center, right and left stages. Pretty creative. There are love seats all around the stages, building upwards like a movie theatre. Upstairs at the back and front of the building are the private dance areas.
We take a seat facing the entrance with clear views of all stages, after all I don’t want to miss a thing on my long awaited trip to the club. The first girl gets on stage and she’s definitely quite good, twirling her body around the pole in that stripper seductive manner. Then onto the floor and swinging her legs in a circle just like in the movies. She is wearing ubber high platform heels and as she moved the silver color and shiny metallic material formed a virtual circle like glow sticks at a rave. I thought she was pretty, curvy with long dark hair, and I later found out she is Mexican, American Indian and Italian, at least that’s what she told us. Strippers don’t have any reason to lie.
Girl after girl takes the stage. I look at my boyfriend with a puzzled look wondering what the fuck? Why aren’t they attractive at all?! It was clear a lot of them had had babies as their giggly bellies and deflated tits flapped about. I saw rug burns, scars, tattoos, and too much shiny make up. Vulgar I think. One of the girls sits on the lap of a guy next to us and we hear him tell her she looked like a man. Ouch, nonetheless lol!
My boyfriend goes to the man’s room and Mexican/American Indian/Italian girl sits next to me, cooling herself with a black feather fan. She is apathetic and despondent. My boyfriend returns and I tell him he should get a lap dance from her. After all she is the only decent looking chick in the place. He declines and I take his place. She leads me upstairs, and we sit down. She is still fanning herself, looking around, waiting for the next song to begin. Finally she gets up, and manhandles me by sliding me down on the couch, evidently so she is able to sit on my lap with her (quite nice) ass. This girl has a nice body and she smells good. I let myself relax and hope for the best for my $25. Then she whispers in my ear, “Now I’m going to show you the pussy pop”. Oookay? Never heard of that before. She begins bouncing her ass on my legs, and I can feel she is literally popping her pussy from the inside. Kind of like a steroidal version of Kegel exercises. I am amazed. How the hell does she do that?? Shortly after my two-for-one dance is over and we head back downstairs and while I am not particularly impressed by her indifferent attitude, I feel the BF must check out the pussy-pop so I insist he gets one. Four minutes later he returns and tells me, “eh” he wasn’t impressed. After she makes her $50 off us, she leaves. I don’t blame her.
We order a non-alcoholic Becks (it’s gross by the way) and continue watching the girls, I suppose waiting for something, I’m not sure what, maybe a pretty girl to get on stage. It doesn’t happen. They all seem like they don’t give a shit being there and I’m thinking, ‘at least TRY to look like you’re having fun, that’s how you make money honey’.
I think back to the strip clubs I’ve been to in the Northeast where the women are lively, chatty, pretty and entertaining. A table dance means you’re getting some boobs on your face, smiles and at least the pretense that they want you. As I had guessed it, the girls at Madonna don’t get to choose their own songs, which I’d imagine is part of the problem why they are so goddamn bored. Strippers should always get to choose their own songs, a tune that turns them on, that will make them give you fuck-me eyes, that etherial, lovely, you-know-you-want-me, come hither (and give me your money) demeanor.
Instead I got no fantasy, no fuzzy sexy feelings. And it’s such a shame. The only strip club in South Beach and this is what it has to offer? It’s borderline embarrassing.
I start to think of how I’d like to buy the business and completely revamp it. I share my thoughts with my bf who proceeds to inform me of the problem with the liquor license and how the owner has tried and sued multiple times, with no avail. I’m thinking, ‘why doesn’t he just make it topless?’ then he will get his liquor license.
In any case, after spending an hour at Club Madonna we’ve had enough and leave disappointed with empty pockets. I guess what I’ve heard and read is all true. Best to take the drive across the bridge next time.

A Year in Review

January 2, 2011

Ok so I’ve been slacking on the writing front. I miss it, yet can’t seem to find the time. In any case, in want to capture my year somewhere other than my ASPCA 2010 Calendar, which will just end up in my bookshelf collecting dust.
Here goes it. In 2010 I:
saw Pit Bull, Nelly Furtado, and Djavan live
used all my work vacation days
bartended for Super Bowl
spent close to $1,000 in vet bills
took my dog to have a dental cleaning
adopted a pug and named her Maggie
went to one Bachelorette party, including a male review which was awesome!
became a United States Citizen
enjoyed a potato sack race at Topeekeegee Yugnee Park
partied for Winter Music Conference
supported Gay pride
studied hard and passed my Series 7 exam
couldn’t afford the cost in going to South Africa for the games even though I had tickets so I watched the World Cup at Waxy’s instead
went on two business trips: NYC and Boston (love free vacations!)
participated in Hands Across the Sand on the BP Oil Spill
tried to quit smoking twice
bought a scooter!
took my pug to the ASPCA First-Ever Pet Care Fair at Bayfront Park
had one girlfriend get married and two others have baby girls
went on a cruise to the Western Caribbean-by myself
saw Shutter Island, Inception, Wall Street Money Never Sleeps, Iron Man 2, and the Social Network
had several friends come stay with me and party in SoBe
took a SQL class
swam with dolphins
received flowers from the BF a few times
ended up in the hospital for a broken toe
joined Police Athletic League but haven’t been able to go due to above
fallen more in love with the BF
and finally….
am near completion in achieving my #1 goal in life: closing on the purchase of my very first South Beach property!

Leap of Faith

November 12, 2010

Well as it turns out, we did get back together. After many, many, many conversations and a thorough interrogation on my end, I needed to know that he understood the circumstances and was on the same boat for the ride.

I also listened to what he had to say and am learning not to jump to conclusions (since I’m always right 😉 It’s hard work, but so far it has been paying off. Our relationship is tighter than ever, and having my best friend by my side has never felt better.

I’ve also never thought that I could be as loved as I am today. Well, when you have no father growing up, who is a girl to learn from?! You make your mistakes, and hopefully you open up and learn from them in your journey. A bit sappy I agree, but if love isn’t everything any person ever lives for, what is? And don’t say money b/c even the richest of people also need to feel love.

I guess that’s it. Taking the leap of faith has led me to find, well, love.

Stuck in the Middle

September 12, 2010

I arrive back at the Port of Miami and think thank god I’m home. As I hand my US passport to the customs officer he asks me, “who did you travel with?” “It’s just me” I answer him. “Where are the other people in your party?” I repeat, “I am by myself.” He takes a good look at me, my face puffy from a combination of too much sun and too much sadness, and asks, “What do you do for a living?” I ask myself how is that relevant?? “Finance”. He looks suspicious. “You went on the cruise by yourself?” Me, “I broke up with by boyfriend on Monday, so yes I am by myself.” He waves me through. Gaud, can’t a girl get a break?!

As I step out I am looking for my car and for my friend who is supposed to pick me up, what do I see? Nothing less than my ex boyfriend standing there, evidently he has come to pick me up. I am furious though lacking energy I go with him. He has this really annoying habit of saying, ‘can I ask you a question?’ so this trip, albeit short, is riddled with such. He starts asking me how my vacation went and blah blah blah and I simply tell him I don’t want to talk. We get to my apartment, and he asks if he can come up because he wants to see the pugs, I concede. We sit outside smoking cigarettes while he ‘talks’ to me about everything that has been going on in his head, all the ‘thinking’ he has been doing while I was away. I simply listen and nod every once in a while. He tells me he now understands why I am so upset and why I am tired of this relationship; i.e. carrying him on my back for the past two years. He tells me things will change and very soon. I don’t buy it. “Talk is cheap,” I tell him, I want to SEE change. He says he will prove to me that he is the man for me. Good. That’s what I want.
The next day I pack his things, all of which fit in 3 suitcases. As I pack I wonder if I should let him have all the nice clothes and shoes I’ve purchased for him. Hmmm.. Surely I don’t want him getting another girl on my account. But I decide so, since I’ve technically replaced his old raggedy clothes with these. And if things do not work out, that’s life. He comes to pick them up and it was the saddest thing. He says he will not give up on us, I start crying, he wants me to give him another chance, and I nod yes. He leaves.
Thursday he calls and wants to spend some time together, take the pugs to the park, and maybe grab a cup of coffee. As this plan is non-threatening, I agree. After all how am I going to know where his mind is if I don’t spend the time to find out? We make our way to the beach and while playing with the pups we sit down and talk. I want to mostly listen because it’s the only way I will know if he really has changed, and woken up to the reality of responsibility and planning for the future. He tells me his plan of updating his resume so he can get a job/internship/temp job in his field of IT; he tells me how he plans on getting a second job so he can catch up on his debts. All of that is exactly what I want and I’ve been waiting for the past two years, but I wonder if he’s doing all of this just to get me back or if he has REALLY changed. My mind goes back and forth, all the time, between trusting his words and being suspicious of his agenda. Nonetheless we spend the day, and night together. The next morning he leaves with hopes that we can have dinner Friday night, and hang out Saturday before he goes to work. “We’ll see,” I say.
Frankly if he is spending all this time with me, surely he is not DOING what he is supposed to be doing to get this life on track, so I decline both plans and explain my reasoning.
Yesterday I went to the beach and while waiting for my fabulously funny gay friends to arrive I ring my mom. My entire life I’ve had a very weird relationship with my mom. She and I have always been different in the way we think and how we lead our lives, however I find that the older I get, the more I understand her point of view, especially when it comes to settling down (after all she has been through two marriages, me zero). You know what they say that first marriages occur from love and seconds for money. My mom married my father out of love but he has always been a total douche bag, never made the time nor contributed financially to any of his children (he has four), and always glued himself onto some foolish woman who supports him in every way. A) I am NOT those women; and B) I want both a loving and a fiscally responsible man. Trouble is, does he exist?! My mom adores my ex and sees that he clearly loves me and would do anything for me (hmm anything?). But she proceeds to tell me what her grandmother used to always say, “Pau que nasce torto, morre torto” (translation: a wood stick that is born crooked will die crooked). Although this resonates with the logical me, I don’t truly believe that people cannot change. I’ve changed, and continue to do so on a regular basis. I mean, what good is living life if you can’t learn from your experiences and that of others?! Those who don’t change are average, at times ignorant. They will never participate in the wonders of life and all it has to offer. I never wanted that for my own life, why should I accept it for someone I love and intend of marrying? Mother worries that even though things may change now, surely he will revert to his old ways after marriage. Is this true? Obviously I have no idea because I’ve never been married, but I have observed that relationships tend to deteriorate after tying the knot. Why is that?? She adds that I should keep in mind that if things go back to the way they used to be after getting married, there would be a good chance I’ll be paying him, dare I say it, ALIMONY! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! There is no way in hell I will have worked so hard my entire life just to give it all away. A Prenup goes without saying.
So you see, there is a lot to think about here. I’m stuck between the first part of ‘B’ which I already have, and the lacking powerful force of its ladder counter part. And with mom’s warning, should I even bother waiting around to see? Is it even worth it?
Urg, I’m so confused…

At Sea

September 7, 2010

Waking up every morning and looking out of my balcony, into the dark blue sea water swaying back and forth like a ballroom dance, romantic and majestic makes me feel blessed. The sound and the feel of the wind rushes deeply into my soul as I open the doors of a new day at sea. Breathing in the salty scent of Mother Nature, welcoming you, to pure life. I love the ocean. It gives me insight into a simpler life, one in which fisherman and surfers live day by day, and depend on it. I think of how many fish, coral, dolphins and wales live in it. The sun glistening onto it, creating streams of color dancing with the waves. I feel grateful that I can be here, in this moment, experiencing the greatest of gifts. The powerful offering of personal reflection, looking within, deciding this is YOUR life, no one else’s, the words ‘make a choice’ repeat over and over in my mind.
I am struggling, like never before (I mean that literally, this has never happened to me before), with making the choice between being with the man I love and is my best friend, with all his faults, including two top ones that don’t belong in my list of musts for a forever partner; or taking in chance in finding someone more suitable for me, my life goals, my lifestyle, knowing that he may never appear.
I’ve always said, ‘it is better to be alone than with the wrong person’ with such conviction and determination, but after this trip, after countless meals eaten alone, I’m not so sure anymore. I doubt myself, surely like many have, and perhaps now I understand why, with the idea of settling. Not particularly for the wrong person but for the possibility of ending up alone. Either way, it’s not a pretty picture.
I live in the most beautiful place in the country, the closest in memory of my home city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However South Beach is the playground for the young and fake, where boob jobs, plump lips, and bleached blond hair rule over education, intelligence, and financial independence. At thirty four, with a demanding career, and auto biographical values and goals I simply don’t think I’ll find true love here. Maybe if I had a frontal lobotomy I’d be able to compete. Then I think of Manhattan, a place polar opposite, where happy hour is a networking event. Where the first question asked when you meet someone is ‘where do you work?’ and the response inevitably sets the tone for your relationship with that person. ‘I’m in Finance’ I answer. ‘Oh yeah? Me too. Which firm?’ Effortless. But although living in Manhattan speaks to the intelligent me, Miami has my heart. It has my culture, my personality, and the essence of all that is me, deep in my soul.
Here is the other thing. I like younger men. I am intrigued by their curiosity, learning experiences, and their ability to be overtly passionate. I am sexually drawn to their slim and toned bodies, the careless way in which they carry themselves, and the ardent way in which everything they do seems so meaningful. They are always in the moment with you, and if you’re lucky, for you. My point is, it will be hard to meet someone with all the qualities of yumminess and the responsible and mature mind of an adult with goals in his life.
In any case, I haven’t yet made my decision about what I’m going to do. I know when I return, he will try to get me back, and in the past I haven’t been able to resist. This time is different though, and this lone trip, albeit ridiculously sad, has helped me see my choices. What will happen next is left to seen, I mean read.
But I’ve arrived in Mexico and soon I’ll be swimming with dolphins, the most loving and sweet animal on Earth. I cannot wait to see and touch this creature, one that roams my loving ocean, whose home cruise ships invade daily. I wonder if they are well cared for, or if they are merely puppets of human entertainment. I look at the brochure and their man-made home appears soothing, certainly beautiful. It will be ok I tell myself. Stay positive. The horn sounds telling me it’s time to go. I valiantly breathe in deeply, ready for another day of facing the crowds, alone.