This morning I have huge dark rings under my eyes because I slept poorly due to the dog snoring EXTREMELY loud* all night and me not being tired enough when I went to bed.
I wasn’t tired enough when I went to bed last night because I had taken the World’s Biggest Nap from about 3 pm to 8 pm that afternoon.
I had taken the World’s Biggest Nap that afternoon because for breakfast/lunch I had made a vegan calzone and the pure weight of it in my stomach put me straight into Sleepy-Time mode. I barely made the crawl from the couch to the bed before falling asleep again.
I made a calzone for breakfast/lunch because I woke up at about 10 am (only it was really 11 am because of the time change) and was craving some good and proper breakfast food, like muffins and french toast, but by the time I got around to making anything it was well past noon and so a calzone was the quick and easy answer.
I woke up at 10 am because the night before I had gone to see Alice in Wonderland with the idea of going out for drinks afterwards, but the 3D made me sick about halfway through the movie so I was way too queasy and my muscles were too achey to stay out drinking so I went home and stared at the wall until I felt better and then I went to bed.
My muscles were achey and I felt queasy because I had worked out like a fiend that morning, and hadn’t had enough water to drink afterwards.
I had worked out that day because I went for an hour-long run the day before, and thought I might as well keep up the working out trend, but mix it up a bit with some free weights.
I had gone for an hour-long run on Friday because it was the start of my 3-day weekend and I had nothing else to do.
And there you have it: my weekend, back to front.
* No, seriously. I mean really, really loud. Like a trucker who fell asleep after driving 36 hours straight and then downing a bottle of Jack Daniels in one gulp. When I woke up this morning I glared down at her and she was on her back, stretched out, belly up, happy and still sleeping peacefully. Bitch.
On Monday, on a tip from a friend, I went to go see Owen Pallett at De Duif here in Amsterdam. I only listened to a snippet of one of his songs before I agreed to go, and so I didn’t wholly know what to expect when I got there.
De Duif isn’t one of my normal concert venues. It is a former church located on the Prinsengracht and now (apparently) serves as an event and concert venue where Paradiso (also a former church) occasionally outsources their concerts. It was a fantastic and intimate setting, and I’ll be on the look out for more shows there for certain.
As for the man himself, I was pretty blown away.
Here are a few things I could tell about Owen Pallett as soon as I heard him talk and sing:
He’s Canadian (telltale pronunciation of “about”).
He is a classically trained singer/musician (telltale pronunciation while singing, also did things to the violin that I never dreamed possible).
Is probably pretty sick of being compared to Andrew Bird (because they used similar looping techniques).
I just looked up more information about him, and all of the above is correct. Although the annoyance at the comparison to Andrew Bird is still just an assumption.
I also found a snippet of one of the songs that I really loved from the actual show I attended at De Duif so you can get an idea of his style. The Internet strikes again! This is a few seconds from the song “Lewis Takes Action”. If you like it, you can also hear the whole song on his Myspace.
I recognize this area where he is walking, because it is one street away from where I stayed on that fateful trip to Paris when this happened.
Anyway this was a fantastic show and if you ever get a chance you should definitely drop what you are doing and go hear him play. He is also pretty funny when he chats to the audience between songs (a big plus point for me), and you can also see his sense of humor if you watch the Take-Away-Show all the way through (he starts to run away from the camera).
On Saturday I went to the gym after a loooooong hiatus (in which I ate of diet of alcohol and oatmeal and slept more than I was awake) and after a nice run and workout I stopped by the scale and weighed myself. My jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw my weight. It was a number so low that I had to think back to when I last weighed that much, and it was third grade.
THIRD GRADE. When I was 8 years old.
What this says about me as a nearly 30 year old adult with horrible eating habits, or as a chubby third grader who lived a little too close to the neighborhood candy store, I will leave for you to decide. But I will say this: living within 5 minute’s walk to a candy store when you have a sweet tooth and are about to enter your formative pre-teen years is never a good thing.
But at any rate, I took that number and held it over my head like a badge of honor.
“THIS IS THE LOWEST I HAVE WEIGHED IN 21 YEARS.” I proclaimed from the rooftops that whole day and the next. Sure, I could tell it wasn’t from any direct fault of mine. I surveyed myself in the mirror- I certainly didn’t look any better, still had a distinct lack of muscles that leaves me panting when opening the peanut butter jar. So what was it?
Years ago I worked out like a maniac- twice daily and killed myself with a strict diet, and I got down to a healthy weight and looked pretty fantastic (if I do say so myself) with lean muscles and a healthy glow. And I still weighed a kilo and a half more than I do now.
If anything, I thought, this time the weight was more like muscle deterioration from bad eating habits and spending more time in bed than out of it (what? It’s been a rough couple of weeks.). But I was ready to take my victory by any means.
And then my bubble burst. I realized that it wasn’t, in fact, that I now magically weighed less than I have in 2 decades, but rather that I had just spent a whole night vomitting followed by a few days in bed moaning and sweating off the norovirus, eating only a diet of icepops and self-pity. And just a few days before that, I had also spent a night getting sick, that time self-imposed from getting too greedy with the cocktails.
Ahhhh….suddenly my victory felt so hollow. As hollow as my intestines thanks to a week of sickness, in fact.
Surely there must be better ways to lose that extra kilo and a half than by spending the week puking.
(You hear me, anorexic people of the world?)
A proper diet and exercise might be a good place to start.
This time it wasn’t a Hotel V envelope, but rather a card-shaped envelope, and was suspiciously bulky. On the back it read “Happy Birthday Anne!”
Hmpf, I thought. Happy Birthday Anne indeed.
I sniffed and sniffed, but could only smell a pleasant vanilla aroma. Whoever left this to be mailed was pretty good, they had most bases covered.
Still, my colleague and I were convinced that something illegal was about to occur, so we gently lifted the corner of the flap and peeked inside. We could see tinfoil. Who sends tinfoil in a birthday card?
So we opened it.
Sure enough, more drugs. They were wrapped in tin foil, sprayed to death with perfume, and put into a blank card.
For a second, I had a moment of hesitation. “Do we really care if this is posted?” I asked my coworker. “I mean, it’s not wrapped in Hotel V stationary in a Hotel V envelope this time. The hotel won’t get in trouble, so really who cares if we send it?” And honestly, I don’t care if these people get away with it. Props to them and all, yay for drugs, More Power to the Smokers, etc, etc.
But then I thought that if these people were smart enough to get the stamp off of us and go across the street to that big red postbox that you can see from where I am currently sitting and mail their drugs themselves, well then I would have no way of interfering and maybe all of their hardwork would pay off. But as it stands, they continue to give the drugs to the reception desk to mail, so I will continue to play vigilante and intervene.
Because I can, and it’s funny.
This time, I wrote a message in the blank card before I sealed it back up sans drugs and mailed it:
Ha! Ha! Gotcha! (posting drugs abroad is illegal!)
Love, the Dutch postal service.
And now here is me with twice the drugs, and still not a drug-smoker. Thanks, tourists!
Wake at 6 am, get ready, walk the dogs. Leave at 7 am, marvelling at the warm spring air on the cycle into work.
Get into work at 7:15 am, feeling fresh as a daisy and ready to conquer the day.
This is where things get a little hazy…
Phone Call. Check out. Check out. Reservation. Phone Call. Problem to fix. Problem to fix. Reservation. Check out.
Can I ask you a question? Do you have a map? Where is the Van Gogh museum? How much does it cost? What time does it open? Is it open on Sundays? Where is the modern art museum? How do I take the bus to Central Station from here? No the bus. No the bus. Oh, there is no bus? OK then the tram.
Check out. Check out. Reservation. Phone Call.
Go to make a cup of tea. Whoops no wait- phone call!
Go to make a cup of tea. Whoops no wait- phone call!
Go to make a cup of tea. Whoops no wait- phone call!
Make the fucking cup of tea.
Phone call. Phone call. Phone call. Check out. Reservation. Problem to fix.
Deal with the extremely ripe-smelling homeless man who wants to use the phone. Twice.
Scowl at the young kids who screamed into the open hotel front door because they think it’s funny.
Can you print this boarding pass? Can I leave my luggage here? Can I leave my luggage here until my flight? I don’t leave until 6 tonight, is there some place I can leave my luggage until then? How do I get on the internet on this computer? Can you print this for me? Where is the Rijksmuseum?
Phone call. Phone call. Phone call.
Can you make me dinner reservations here? And cancel my reservations there? How is this restaurant? How is that restaurant? OK nevermind, make me reservations for 2 tonight here, cancel those reservations, and if the first place is full make my reservation for here.
Deal with the crying Spanish lady who is claustrophobic and doesn’t want a small room and yet booked a small room. As she speaks no English, do this entirely through the use of Yahoo Babel Fish online translator. Which is quick and efficient, as well as grammatically correct!
Her, typing Spanish to English, with gritted teeth: “I don’t request in tiny basement room for because I am sickness!”
Me, typing English to Spanish, with gritted teeth: “This is problem with travel agent, not hotel. You pay 20 euro addition in larger room to place.”
Her, typing: “I no pay.”
Me, typing: “You must to small room remain finally.”
Phone call. Check in. Phone call. Phone call.
Three hours later I finally finish that cup of tea.
Check in. Check in. Check in.
Can I have a larger room? Is there another room I can move to? Can I have a higher room? Can you please change me to a room with two beds? Can I get a room away from the street? Can I get a room that faces the street?
Check in. Can I have a larger room?
Finally the next person on duty comes. Feel so relieved. Nearly grab her face and french kiss her. After a few more issues run out of the door, not daring to look back in case the phone rings again. Feel an incredible sense of relief on the cycle home and feel jaw unclenching.
Find a homeless man curled up at the top of the front stairs. Tiptoe over him, sssssshh don’t wake him!, and quietly unlock the front door.
While you were all out last night drinking Guiness and eating cabbage and shouting ‘Erin Go Bragh!’ (what does that mean anyway?), I’ll show you what I was doing:
Kiss Me, I'm feverish.
I was sitting at work until 8 pm, feeling like shit, taking my temperature, and allowing myself to panic that I was well below the average body temperature for a corpse.
I did what I will never do again, and asked Facebook what a low temperature could possibly mean. Apparently, I am anything from a zombie, to souless (three votes), to downright dead. Thank you, Facebook.
Note to self: Don’t ever self-diagnose on a social networking site again. Lesson learned.
It’s been a weird week here, and very in keeping with the last year of my life. On Sunday I went to a clothing swap and had a mini Tarot card reading for fun. The first card that was flipped over was this card. Now, I’m not sure how I feel about Tarot and astrology and all of that, but it made me laugh.
“This card symbolizes imbalance. In your past you’ve had a lot of up’s and down’s,” said the Tarot card man.
“Ha!” I wanted to say. “Have you been reading my blog?”
And then a few cards later he was all, “Do you have babies? Are you planning babies? Do you want babies? Babies, babies, BABIES!”
And I was all, “Dude, go away with your babies. It’s not happening.”
It was a fun day and afterwards my friend and I went out for a lovely Lebanese meal before heading home. I was under the impression that I had never had a Lebanese meal before, but it turns out that all of my most favorite foods in the world are also Lebanese: falafel, hummus, and tabouleh.
Correction: all of my most favorite foods in the world WERE Lebanese. I got so violently ill when I got home that I can never look at falafel, hummus, or tabouleh again without feeling queazy. I guess all good things must come to an end sometime.
So this week was about getting over that stomach virus mostly, and trying to get an appetite back, and feeling a bit sorry for myself (see photo above, re: thermometer in mouth). I watched an awful lot of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ in bed and ate an awful lot of icepops. To prove to myself that I wasn’t rotting completely, I used my newly learned poses from ‘America’s Next Top Model’ when pausing in front of the freezer for another icepop. Because, as Tyra would say, ‘you always gotta be FIERCE’. Even if you are sweating the chills and smell like 36 hours of sleep.
Then there was some personal drama, some catching up at work to do, and the highlight of the week: the 8 squad cars, two unmarked cars, two police dog vans, and 2 cops on bikes parked under my bedroom window at 1 am last night. Not sure what was going on down there, but it was all very dramatic and interesting looking, and the cops were all pointing this way and that. Leave it to the Overtoom to be the best street in Amsterdam for late-night drama (remind me to tell you about the armed robbery of the shoe store a few months back- the shoe store where I have never once seen a customer buy a shoe nor walk through the doors in the 4 years I have lived next to it).
Have a good day nursing your hangovers everybody! Muahahaha.
Guests often ask us to mail letters and postcards for them, so we slap on a stamp and set it on the desk ready to mail out. As the person who actually carries the mail to the postbox, I noticed this letter addressed to Portugal and picked it up, thinking for a nanosecond that it was chunkier than the average letter. And that nanosecond then passed and I thought nothing more of it.
A while later my boss came downstairs with her super-sensitive smelling powers, stood five feet away from the envelope and declared, “I SMELL WEED.”
All eyes dropped to the envelope on the desk.
We crept closer and all held it up to our noses and sure enough, it smelled like weed. So I opened it, and sure enough, inside was weed. (Ding!)
Exhibit B, your honor.:
Exhibit B: las drogas! (cue dramatic gasp from the audience)
There were two bags of weed inside the envelope, which had HOTEL V written all over it, and they were both wrapped in Hotel V stationary, with a map to Hotel V on one page. Which, I dunno, MIGHT GET THE HOTEL IN TROUBLE?
So we divvied up the goods and called it a day. Of course we weren’t going to send it, but someone suggested later that we should have sealed the envelope up and sent it empty. Ha! Wish I had thought of that.
Anyway, so later in the week, I was again behind the reception desk when I got a call. A call from Portugal.
“Um…..hello……I um…..stayed at your hotel this past weekend and…….um…….I gave a letter to mail…….” the caller was nervous, and I immediately knew who it was.
“Yes?” I asked politely.
“I want to know….um….did the letter…..did you send the letter?”
Here I put on my sweetest, overly polite voice. “Actually no, sir, we did not mail the letter. You see, it is ILLEGAL to mail drugs abroad, so we opened the letter and threw everything away.”
“Oh.” That one little “Oh” had so much disappointment behind it, I had to slap my hand over my mouth to stop the giggles. He didn’t say anything else.
“See you next time!” I chirped, and hung up. I should have added “Thanks for the weed, dude!”
Ah, bless his little cotton socks, he had probably promised all his friends that he’d get some Dutch weed for them, and now his reputation was at stake.
Oh well, it made my day! Now I have this weed and I don’t even smoke weed (anymore). Any takers? And before you ask, no I will not mail it to you, so don’t even try.
I managed to make it to 3 of the 4 invites last night, and I am severely suffering for it this morning.
Here let me show you:
Self Portrait of a Hangover
It was all fine and dandy until it wasn’t, as the story normally goes. I fled to the bathroom in the club (clubbing on a school night?! Yes, sir, I was.) and texted my friend that I didn’t feel so good.
Being the great guy that he is, he came in after me to laugh at me as I got sick. This continued out onto the street, during the taxi ride home, and when we stopped the taxi to get money out of the ATM machine.
“Yes, miss? Good night? Had a bit much to drink?” the taxi driver asked as I threw open the door when we stopped and gave it my best for Holland. He was probably laughing at me too.
I know this sounds like a horrible ending to the night, but really the whole night was brilliant. I needed a night full of laughter. I wouldn’t change a thing about it….except maybe the last 4 cocktails. I don’t think it’s normal that my pee smells like cocktails this morning.
Or that I flushed one pajama bottom leg down the toilet by accident, come to think of it.
People, you should see the downright FILTH that some spam commenter is trying to leave on my blog. It is both disturbing and highly hilarious, and I would totally approve it, but I don’t need an R rating for my little ol’ blog. We like to keep it PG-13 for the kiddies round these parts.
But still! Here’s a wee gem of a sample, spelling mistakes and all.:
They’re juice scattered on they are legs and allover her large schokohäutige butt in UK cinema also it was so wet and sticky… The location smelled like sex in the city….She sat down and kissed Manuel’s wormy.
I think someone deserves a Pulitzer for that comment alone. I especially love the “also it was so wet and sticky” bit. Almost like it was an aside that they just couldn’t leave out of the story, as if we couldn’t come to our own assumption that it would, indeed, be a wet and sticky situation.
Not sure what a “schokohäutige” butt is, but I can pretty much guess what they meant by “wormy”. …which is now my new pet name for those, by the way. Thank you filthy spammer!
In other news, did you know that Wednesdays are apparently the most socially insane? Screw Fridays and Saturdays. The truly hardcore say yes to every Wednesday night invitation that flies their way. And there are plenty.
Now the only question is how to be at 4 places at once?
Retiring my boots for the summer (I’ve lived in them this long winter)
Late afternoons spent on a blanket in the park
Stopping for breakfast on a terrace of a cafe on my way into work some mornings
A very social March
A possible trip to the States soon enough
Leaving the house without a coat, 2 scarves, and gloves
Trips to the beach with the dogs
The need for sunglassses and my parasol again
It’s not that I’ve had nothing to write lately. On the contrary, I have loads to say, but it’s all going into my real diary, in real words scrawled in ink, meant only for me to get it off my chest and capture this time in my life for my own sake, not so much for the sake of the internets.
But I am still on the look out for blog fodder, and since March is building up to be very full socially, I don’t think that will be much of a problem. What I want (need) more than anything is the distraction of friends right now (check), a busy work load at the hotel (check) and maybe a hardcore gym routine to make me sweat (no check…not yet anyway).
But right now I’m off to meet a friend for lunch, because this week is Restaurant Week, and I’ve been fully taking advantage of that as an excuse to get together with friends and check out some new places to eat (6 in total, if you must know). And later on I am going to go see Hot Chip with a good friend, so all in all yes…I’m getting what I want: Distraction.