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Jho in the City of…(wait for it)…Paris!!!

3 Nov

Wow, it has been a whopping four months since my last post here, four months in which I have worked at work, driven hundreds of miles and watched many, many hours of television. I also have read a few books – I’m now working on Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton, seen some bands, eaten lots of interesting (and not so interesting) things and in general, lived as my brethren do, inching (though sometimes it feels more like slaloming) into that eternal dirt pile waiting for us all.

Sheesh, sorry guys, didn’t mean to get so weird there at the end. Anywho, rather than bore you with (apparently halfhearted) promises of writing more and recommitting myself to The Artistic Pursuit, I’ll just get on with it. Perhaps some of you are still slightly interested.

So…without further ado, I bring you:

Ah, Dusk Lights the Tuileries Garden in Paris!

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Istanbul…Or How I Make Saving Make Sense

22 Jun

I’m a terrible saver. I don’t like it, don’t see the point of being good for a rainy day. I am a blower of money. I see and I want and I buy. I’m pretty sure CityBoy hates me for it. (You should know, if you can’t guess already, that he is a very good saver. One of those people who will search and search and search for the 15-cents-cheaper thing.) I could very well become a homeless hobo with very nice shoes. Everyone has a lot in life. This is mine.

However, sometimes things come across your path that are so delicious, so wonderful and awe-inspiring and must-have-able, that one such as myself, of the derelict and money-stoopid clan, would actually put together a savings plan in order to attain such amazingness.

I give you . . . Istanbul.

Ah-maze-balls

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How Jho Got Her West Coast Groove Back…

18 Jun

So what happened was that I went into work one day intending to ask about the possibility of relocating back to California (as I had diligently discussed with my hubby) and ended up giving my notice, albeit for 30 to 60 days in the future. Don’t get me wrong – there are lots of things I loved (and miss) about living in New York City, but the daily grind, coupled with a total lack of private living space and a completely unfulfilling (and often crazy-making, I-am-going-to-kill-someone-and-end-up-in-jail) work life made for a decidedly unhappy Jho.

CityBoy and I discussed the pros and cons, got out our lists of potential relocation cities, and started thinking about dates and times and tasks and things-to-do. Then I jumped the proverbial gun. I asked for a sit-down with my then boss and in a space of mere minutes, decided “fuck it, let’s just do it” and committed to my leave-taking. About two seconds after that, I remembered that I was no longer the sole decider of my destiny. Many “shit”s and “oh crap”s floated through my head.  Continue reading

Field Trip: Wave Hill, Bronx NY. . . with Bees

30 Oct

Last weekend, CityBoy dragged me out of the City for one last, pre-winter hurrah. As you probably know, Jho and cold weather do not mix. I am a very unhappy camper. CityBoy jokes that it’s always too hot or too cold in New York for me. Which is almost the truth. There are about four weeks each year that I enjoy. Two weeks of spring/heading into summer and two weeks of fall. Otherwise, it is an abominable mess out here.

But back on topic, being the impressive planner that he is, CityBoy realized that last weekend was going to probably be one of the last nice weekends we’ll have for a long while (how depressing is that?), and he decided that he really wanted to get outside of the city for some Nature, with a capital N.

the Pergola Overlook

Which is how we ended up trekking out to Wave Hill, a gorgeous public garden and center set atop the cliffside in way upper Bronx. If you’re familiar with the area and/or have taken a MetroNorth or Amtrak train heading north from New York, you’ll remember seeing these amazing red cliffs from the train as you’ve speed along the Hudson. That’s where Wave Hill is.  Continue reading

Did I Mention They Like Statues?

11 Oct

Statues of horses. Or horsepeople, to be precise.

Yup - those are giant horses waiting to trample you from on high.

They are lording it over massive fountains.

Horse King of the People

Charging over the tops of municipal buildings.

It's a bird. It's a plane. Nope, it's a giant statue of horses.

And rearing triumphantly over their self-named parklands.

Where's my charging-horse, spear-in-hand statue, damn it?

In general, swanning about, making you feel tiny and insignificant. Because they have been immortalized in marble, granite, or limestone. More than life-sized and flexing their artist-enhanced biceps.

Makes you want to go out and commission your own sword-wielding, chariot-driving, wild-stallion-driving statue, no?

Wedding gift, anyone?

I’m Alive…and Have Been to Europe!

10 Oct

[First off, my sincere apologies! A draft of this post has been sitting around in cyberspace since June 12th. June 12th! “Joder!” as the Madrilenos like to say. Some important things have changed in my life – more on that later – but for now, I give you this old, but still pertinent, blog post.]

Yes, faithful readers (if there are any of you still out there). Jho In The City lives. And she’s experienced Europe firsthand (Madrid, Spain to be precise).

Back in May, I visited one of my favorite people in the world, Ms. D, in her happy new home of Embajadores, Madrid for a blissful week of overeating, overdrinking and oversleeping. I wish I could go back right now and do it all over again.

I’m super backed up on things to tell you about, so I’m going to be snappy here.

First, a few things I learned in Madrid:

– Lisping is sexy. Especially when done by very beautiful Madrid boys. Hello, boys.

– Madrileños have a special relationship to ham, or jámon as they call it. I don’t know what pact with God they’ve made, but it was a good deal. If you go to Spain, eat the jámon, as much of it as you and your salt-craving palate can stomach. Then wash it all down with a local beer. Deeeee-licious.

Bellying up to the bar at Museo del Jamon

Jamon-flavored Ruffles?? I think I've found my homeland!

– Tapas cannot be fully appreciated outside of Spain. These people have got afternoon drinking down to a decadent science. Order a cold, frothy cerveza at any sidewalk cafe and they will give you free nibbles. Sometimes lots of free nibbles.

– Did I mention the free nibbles? Baskets of homemade potato chips, olives, chunks of ham or salami, bread with olive oil. It goes on and on and on. These are good people, my friends. Good, good people.

It should go without saying that we saw some beautiful things in lovely museums – the Goya room at Museo del Prado is a visual stunner I will carry with me forever – and laughed at many ridiculous things on both Spanish TV and YouTube (I now have even less reason to trust ducks).

But most of all, I’ll miss the impossibly long talks with my friend. There are people in this world who just get you, you know. They’re like your sisters but better, because they didn’t try to steal your clothes when you were young or get you in trouble for picking on them. Time with these people, these fabulous go-to-the-end-of-the-world, help-you-bury-a-body people, is so precious, you have to just forgo sleep and reasonableness and saving your voice in the name of soaking up all that good time, all those amazing stories, all that laughter, and bottling them up for the next time.

God help us, let there always be a next time.

Hasta luego,

Jho

Check a Bag? Hell’s No!

21 Jan

I travel a lot less these days, since I’ve only been working part-time for the past seven months, and before that I was unemployed for a year. But I have traveled a lot in my time, for work and for fun, so I thought it might be helpful to share how I roll.

My #1 rule is: Never Check a Bag. Never. Just don’t do it. Because checking a bag means that you’re okay with never seeing the possessions in that bag ever again. You may think I’m being overly dramatic, but according to Gadling.com, airlines lost 3,000 bags per hour in 2009.

Three thousand. Per hour. That’s insane. If you’re like me, you’re traveling with some of your nicest stuff, because you’re going on some fun weekend vacation, or you’re heading to a work-related tradeshow and you want to look good. I like my stuff. A lot. So I’m sure as hell not taking my chances.

So how do you pack for a week with just one roller bag and your purse/backpack/duffle?

Planning and coordination.

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