Touchpoint and Casual Sex

Last summer, this article popped up in my Twitter feed “I Talked To 1,400 Strangers About The Intimate Details Of Their Sex Lives. Here’s What I Learned”(I am a sucker for “I did xyz and here is what I learned” articles.)

I liked what Jared had to say and thought his Touchpoint events sounded really cool…and also really scary. In case you were too lazy to click the links or read the article:

Touchpoint is a town hall where real people
share stories from their love and sex lives.

I found this idea fascinating. I don’t have many friends who are having sex on a regular basis and/or want to talk about it.  And its not always comfortable to talk about sex with your friends, but we should talk about it!  Sex happens.  Most of us are doing it or want to do it.  And whether we do or we don’t (and how it goes if we do) has a big impact on how we feel physically and emotionally.

When I found out that these events are held in NYC every month, I added this to my “New Things in 2017” bucket list but it didn’t happen in 2017. Yeah, I think we SHOULD all talk about sex, but the idea of doing it is intimidating.  I don’t enjoy saying ANYTHING to a room full of strangers and talking about sex in a room full of strangers would definitely be a first. I was also pretty sure I would be the oldest person there.  Its hard to find group events (when I am not trying desperately to avoid them) where I don’t feel a lot older (or sometimes a lot younger) than everyone else. I am like Goldilocks in the Big City.

IMG_9433After stalking Touchpoint on Instagram for six months, I saw that “casual sex” was on the agenda for March which definitely piqued my interest. As a single woman dating in NYC in the 2010’s, its hard to avoid the topic of casual sex. In the age of dating apps, there is a perception that people can very easily “hook up” on-demand and that they do it, and like it (and that many prefer it to relationships). This is not my experience or the the experience of any single women I know, but it is the experience of many men who have come in to my life through dating apps. I was very curious to hear more perspectives on this topic.  I was also missing doing new things (since I slowed down my pace this year) and my schedule was free!


So, last Tuesday I showed up at The Assemblage in Nomad ready to learn more (and possibly talk) about casual sex.

I have to start with The Assemblage itself.

The Assemblage is a “coworking and coliving space that aims to nurture community and ignite consciousness and collaboration.”

I can tell you that the space is beautiful. Every person I saw there was beautiful (and probably 20 or 30 something). And it smelled amazing (like really awesome incense that is not too overpowering.) WeWork is cool, but The Assemblage is cooler.

I can also confirm the the director of vibes (as mentioned in the article) kicks ass at her/his job. The room where Touchpoint met had candles and pillows and feathers and an overall great vibe.  It was a good mix of genders and races and most of them were very attractive.

IMG_9451As we entered the room, we were asked to take off our shoes and handed a card with four questions about casual sex to help frame the discussion.  This card is part of a full deck that people can soon buy to encourage conversations among themselves on the topic of sex. I have to say that Jared is a great marketer and business man.  He got 100 people to pay $30-$40 each to sit in a room for 2 hours (30 minutes of that time just waiting) and listen to less than 10 people tell stories about their sex lives.  And now he is going to monetize his concept with cards.  Nice work.

We did have to wait a very long time on our comfy pillows before things got started. I said hello to the women sitting on either side of me who had both been to Touchpoint events before and found them “very inspiring”. (That was the only talking I did all evening).

Things kicked off with some very cool drumming and African chanting followed by a beautiful rendition of Adele’s “To Feel My Love”.  Off to a great start.

Then Jared opened it up, gave the backstory of Touchpoint (read the article if you want to know) and outlined the four rules of the evening that are also four rules of great sex (which was funny and also true). I can’t remember exactly what they were but they were something like this.

  1. Its not all about you
  2. Everyone should be allowed to finish
  3. Something about listening?
  4. What is said at Touchpoint stays at Touchpoint (I am pretty sure this was #4)

Although there is a rule about things staying at Touchpoint, this event was also recorded for the first ever Touchpoint podcast!  I will summarize for you without revealing anyone’s identity (not that I know who any of these people are) and you can also listen to the WHOLE thing on iTunes as soon as the podcast is released here.

There were a few people selected ahead of time to tell their stories so we started with those.  We heard from a woman who had casual sex with a younger man at a college alumni weekend a year after a traumatic breakup.  Then an agender man told us about his casual sex experience with a hot cop he went to high school with and ran in to on the streets of Newark. Finally, the very nice bi-sexual woman sitting next to me (surprise!) told her story about how she and her awesome, hot boyfriend (that she met on Tinder) had a threesome with a stripper in Florida (her idea). It was a long story but a good one!

After each person spoke, Jared asked them if he had permission to ask them questions (a little dramatic but intended to drill home the importance of consent). Then he asked them a couple of questions and we moved on.  The questions were not very deep, but there was a time constraint.  There were 100 people there and I am sure he wanted to give as many people as possible time to speak.

We heard from a few more people who had mostly great casual sex experiences. A couple of people (men, actually) talked about exploring casual sex after assault or to help improve body image, but in general the theme was that casual sex was empowering and fun.  The very last person to speak was a woman who said that she always has emotional expectations when she has sex with someone and she found it very hard to believe that she was the only one who felt this way.  Jared responded by saying “I say this with love…” and then went on to tell her she should “listen” and not assume that everyone’s experience was the same as hers.  To me, it felt like she was being scolded.

I get it. He is selling a safe space where people can feel free to talk about whatever their experiences are and not feel judged. So if you say your sex was fun, it was fun.  But what if your experience is that you don’t want to go to sex parties, or pick up strippers (or cops) and that casual sex leaves you feeling empty?  That perspective was not shared at all and this was the perfect opportunity to go there.  He didn’t take it. I might be projecting my own thoughts on to that exchange, so I look forward to listening to it back on the podcast and re-assessing, but it left me with a bad feeling.

In the end, I did not come away with great insights on how people feel about casual sex overall but I heard some interesting stories.  As much as I dread events where you have to “turn to the person next to you” and say anything, this event could go deeper if it there was some of that “turn to the person next to you.”  I am sure everyone in that room had something to say and 90% of them were not comfortable speaking up or needed more time to work their way up to it.  We were encouraged to stay and continue the conversation amongst ourselves but it was 10pm by then and I was tired (because I am kind of old). So maybe its on me for not mingling.

I did get confirmation that the generation after me DOES go to sex parties and have threesomes way more than people my age did back in the day.  We definitely had “casual sex” in the 80s and 90s (I think we called it “one nighters”) but I remember it being pretty traditional stuff.

So what would I have said if I had the microphone at Touchpoint?

Casual sex is a part of my life because most of the men I am attracted to can only have this kind of sex.  Some of that is on me, and some of that is on them. (Sex and attraction is complicated.) When I have the choice between casual sex or no sex, I sometimes choose casual sex.  It is not my first choice but sometimes that is all that is on the menu. Some casual sex is more casual than other casual sex.  The more connection that I have with someone, the better the sex is, always.  I can’t say that casual sex has ever served me in a meaningful way.  It is usually fun, but I know it also distracts me from looking for a deeper connection, which is ultimately what I would prefer if it were on the menu (and would also lead to better sex..for me).  To date I have not attended any sex parties or had any threesomes but I do not judge (sorry if you read this far and were hoping that was where this would go). I am not sure how fun those would be for me, but who knows what the future holds for Goldilocks in the Big City!

I have an analogy that casual sex is like eating a cookie. Some cookies taste better than others.  Sometimes the anticipation of eating the cookie is better than the actual cookie itself.  When you are eating the cookie, it might be super delicious but then its over and what do you have to show for it?  The sugar and flour cause inflammation (that mysterious condition that is killing us all) AND then you have to put in extra time at the gym to keep looking good so you have have another cookie!!!  Because after you have one cookie, you always want another one.  And so the cycle continues. I should really be eating more kale.

And that is what I would have shared if I actually had the nerve to raise my hand at Touchpoint. I wonder what Jared would have asked me?


L’Chaim! New Things in 2018

I debated how to carry my “new things” habit in to 2018. I want to keep doing new things and making my life bigger, but I want to be a bit more focused and ensure that I spend my time on activities that enrich my life instead of just checking a box on a to-do list I set for myself.

I thought about not setting a limit and just continuing to do new things and share them with the world and see how far I get. But I could see myself getting lazy with no goal at all. I may have changed the set point of my existence, but have to keep at it or I could slip right back.

My college friend Jennifer, suggested that I do 18 things in 2018. Not just because it is 2018, but because 18 has a special meaning in Judaism.  She didn’t tell me what that meaning was (and although I am half Jewish, I didn’t know) but I was intrigued.

ChaiI did a little research and learned that 18 is universally synonymous with the Hebrew word Chai and that Chai is the Hebrew word for life!  (The Jewish toast L’Chaim! means “to life!)  Chai does not refer to just any life.  Judaism emphasizes the importance of living a good, ethical life and enjoying this time we have on earth.  That is EXACTLY what I am trying to do more of with my new things habit.  Especially with the additional twist I want to add that will help me focus on quality over quantity.

Someone recently asked me what I need more of in my life.  I came up with these five things which are my intentions for 2018.  (I think you are only supposed to have one intention, but I have a lot I want to accomplish!)

  1. Fun
  2. Connection
  3. Creativity
  4. Meaning
  5. Nature

So I have decided to do at least 18 new things in 2018 and that each new thing has to involve at least ONE of my five intentions for the year. This will help me stay focused on what I want my life to be with an achievable goal that will still require some work. (If I find a new thing that covers all five, then I will win the life lottery for sure!)

I kicked things off on New Years Day with a helicopter tour of NYC. This was a gift given to me by my former team when I left my old job. They gave it to me because they knew I was doing 100 new things in 2017. It was a very thoughtful gift, but they were not aware  that I get motion sickness pretty easily.

IMG_8870This was originally going to be my #100 of 2017 but I didn’t schedule it in time, so it ended up being #1 for 2018.  Not only was I afraid of getting sick, I was afraid of dying (and it was about 14 degrees F that day so for sure we would have died if we landed in the river.)  As I feared, I was nauseous the whole time (which was thankfully only 20 minutes) and could not wait for it to end.  But I lived and I didn’t throw up all over the pilot.  I did get some great pictures and I actually looked like I was having fun!  I guess the whole adventure was kind of fun.  Especially in hindsight, now that it is over (and I never plan to do it again).  So this one counts as fun (barely!)

Thanks Jennifer for not only for inspiring three new things in 2017 (#2, #64, #99), but for coming up with a fabulous symbolic goal for 2018!!  I plan to keep writing about my new things, and life in general, so follow along and join me on my journey this year…



100 New Things in 2017

Two years ago, my sister sent me copy of a book called I Dare Me: How I Rebooted and Recharged My Life by Doing Something New Every Day. She had seen the author, Lu Ann Cahn, speak at a work event and thought of me and my ongoing struggle to get unstuck. I read the book immediately and was super excited to take on the challenge. I convinced my sister to do it with me in 2016, set up a blog for us to post our new things, and started brainstorming new things to do every day. But as January 1st, 2016 approached, work stuff happened and I got stressed out and bailed on the idea.

Fast forward to the end of 2016 which turned out to be one of the worst years of my life. My job got more and more stressful (which I honestly did not think was possible) and my body finally screamed “ENOUGH” so loud that I had to listen. I lined up a new job that would start in early 2017 and got re-inspired to take on the “new things” challenge.

Instead of a new thing EVERY DAY, I settled on 100 new things, which seemed like a nice round number. Two new things a week seemed challenging, but doable. I also decided that blogging AND doing was too much, so instead of blogging I decided to record each new thing with a post on Instagram and Facebook. Social media seemed like an easy way to record my new things for posterity AND keep me accountable. Once you tell the internet you are going to do something, you have to do it (especially if you are an Upholder)!  I didn’t have a set list of new things. I had some ideas on a bucket list, but mostly, I just winged it.

So, why did I really want to take on this challenge?  To me, “recharging my life” meant forcing myself out of my daily grind (and comfort zone) on a more regular basis. I wanted to stop using work as an excuse for not really living. I wanted to stop busying myself with to-do lists of chores and really DO things.  Fun things!  Important things! I thought it might be like changing your set point weight. It’s doable, but hard. It requires consistent, sustainable change and you have to stick with it until it becomes the new normal. My goal was to change the set point of my existence! 

Fast forward to the end of 2017 and I have successfully done 100 new things this year!  (#100 is till a secret, but will be formally announced in my next post, tomorrow.)  You can find the full list here with hyperlinks for more info and you can see how they all played out in pictures (with #hashtag commentary) on Instagram.

Since I didn’t post about them as I went along (which I kind of regret), we will all have to live with this very long summary post and some reflections on the year. (One of my Facebook friends thought I should write a book.  This blog post is almost as long as a book. Not a great blogging technique but keep reading anyway…)

As I look back on the list, there were some key themes. Many of my new things (17 to be exact) were new yoga and meditation experiences. These new things did not take me out of my comfort zone (except for hot, hip hip, candle lit yoga which almost killed me), but my choice to spend so much time on these activities reinforced that these are important practices in my life that I want to continue to grow.

Another key theme was my re-acquaintance with the theater. I forgot how much I love the theater!! This year I saw an interactive theater piece at The Public, Hamilton (an unbelievable work of art), Dear Even Hansen (broke my heart wide open), Indecent (beautifully done), Waitress (not a great show but Sara Bareilles rocked!) and three shows at my local theater (which I am now a member of because they were all amazing).

I also got out and about in nature.  I explored Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, finally made it to the Cloisters and Fort Tryon Park, rode a Citi Bike for the first time during Summer Streets, visited Prospect Park, hiked in the Poconos, and did some indoor climbing at Brooklyn Boulders (which was kind of like being in nature).  These activities were among my favorites for the year. I love to move and be outside and MUST do this more.

Looking at the rest of the list, these are my top five highlights:

  • Phish on New Years Eve (#1) was really fun. I had never heard a Phish song until the week before the show (and I generally prefer Justin Bieber and Kelly Clarkson), but a Phish show is definitely an event. That was an amazing way to kick off 2017.
  • Safari in Botswana (#20 – #29) was life highlight. This trip covered 10 new things because so much amazing stuff happened there! (and it was REALLY out of my comfort zone). Being surrounded by a herd of elephants (#26) and having a hippo walk under our walkway less than 10 feet away (didn’t even make the list because it was dark and flash photography would have been life threatening!) are two encounters I will never forget.
  • The night I went to see Michael Moore’s The Terms of My Surrender (#68) happened to be the night he decided to rent two buses to take the audience up to Trump Tower after the show for an impromptu protest (with some famous friends).  That was very cool (even though I didn’t make it on the bus because I had to stop to pee…but I did walk 10 blocks and met them there).
  • I decided to volunteer for a political campaign for my local city council person this fall (#76). While handing out flyers, some one from the opponent’s campaign tried to get me to switch sides and it almost turned in to a brawl between the campaign managers in Tompkins Square Park.  Then the mayor randomly showed up for some promotional shots with my candidate (who is more liked than he is) and I got sucked in to walking around with him, carrying signs while continuing to fight off the opponent’s supporter who would not give up. That was a crazy morning. I was also intermittent fasting (#73) so I was starving during all of this drama!
  • My acupuncturist convinced me to attend the Womanly Arts Experience .  The intent of Womanly Arts is to help women unleash their full power, have fun, turn on, find their happiness, let go of what is holding them back, and live big.  (Sounds amazing, right?) The weekend involved lots of dancing, female bonding, and intimate sharing with complete strangers.  It is impossible to describe and was not something I thought I would enjoy at all, but it was a lot of fun and I made some great new connections!

So what were my key takeaways?  I definitely had a different mind set this year. I always had to make sure I had something new on my schedule. Some things just happened (like Mac-N-Cheetos and Hardywood Bourbon Barrel Gingerbread Stout), but most required planning and a deliberate effort to get off my couch and do something different than I would have otherwise chosen to do. I was ALWAYS glad I made the choice to try something new and most of them would not have happened if I had not promised the internet I would get to 100.

I have often struggled with the question “Am I afraid to do this, or do I really just not want to do it?” What I learned this year, is that if you are not sure whether you want to do something (and it does not require a huge investment)…just fucking do it! I had so much fun doing things that I had no idea I would enjoy.  I definitely did some things I didn’t love (Tatooed New York, Inscape, Intermittent Fasting) but I was still glad I did them.

Did I change the set point of my existence? I think so!  I hope so! My life does feel bigger.  I always have something to talk about when people ask me what I do outside of work which means I have to keep doing stuff because saying “last year I did a lot of cool stuff” will not fly for long!!

I wasn’t thinking about anyone else but myself when I did this, but I ended up with a tribe of people following and cheering me on, which was awesome.

One of my dreams is to be wise and inspirational enough to sit across from Oprah on Super Soul Sunday and say really important stuff that helps people live better lives.  (I realize that is a BIG stretch goal.)  What did happen this year, was that people seemed to be very inspired by my 100 things and some even said they would incorporate in to their lives too!!  Maybe I changed lives without Oprah! (I am sure she would dig that.)

Looking back on how this year unfolded –  what I chose to do, what I didn’t do, what I enjoyed, and what I didn’t – has helped me get more clarity on where to steer my ship next. For 2018, I want to focus on quality over quantity and really hone in on activities that will enrich my life.  More on that to come….

Net net, 100 New Things in 2017 was definitely a huge success…and there is still one more to go!

What a Weird Fall…

It’s been forever, again, I know. Because I had a really weird fall/early winter. Before we start 2015, here is a quick summary of all of the weird stuff that happened that I never told you about! Then we can start anew…

When I last updated you, I was also having a really weird month. From there, I got my balance back (briefly). All of the weird bugs and bug bites went away. I started a daily yoga routine before work (was super proud of that) and dived back in to the online dating pool.

New  Yorker CoverI went on a couple of dates with the Tiny Jazz Musician. He was actually a very cool guy and we had a good first date and he did all of the post date follow up perfectly. But on the second date, some key personality differences were revealed, and I realized that I was not attracted to him at all. At some point during our second date, he showed me a New Yorker he had with him and pointed out that his friend said he looked like the guy on the cover (in the middle with the glasses). Bad move.  From that moment forward, all I could picture when I looked at him was this guy (who also looks like the guy on this cover, and like the Tiny Jazz Musican..but bigger.) I couldn’t recover! No third date.

Right about that time, I got called to jury duty. I ended up getting selected for a fascinating trial that lasted eight days. You can read a bit about this art forgery trial here. As a follow up, we decided the art was fake and that crazy artist Nussberg had to pay equally crazy gallery owner Tatintsian 5 dollars. (Apparently nominal damages is like 5 dollars.) What I learned from this trial experience was (1) real life court is nothing like TV. The technology in court does not work right, lawyers trip over their words, and there are tons of rules that slow everything down. (2) we are trusting very important decisions to regular people based on only what lawyers decide to share with you (or are competent enough to uncover or explain correctly). This is a bad system. (By “regular people” I mean that most are not super smart. My jury was unusually intelligent, I assume by choice, because the trial was SO complex.)  (3) this entire process would be so much more efficient (for jurors) if they recorded the whole thing before we got there and edited it down to exactly the pieces we were supposed to see and hear and play them back for us. First, it would save us tons of time and allow us to know how much time it will take. Even more importantly, we are constantly hearing things we are supposed to ignore, which we don’t, because we are human. I realize lawyers use this as a strategy but it is bullshit and just compounds the reasons why this is such a bad system. After binge listening to Serial this past week.  My theories about our jury/trial system were reconfirmed. Listen to it. It’s pretty cool….

I also learned a lot about abstract art and specifically about Kazimir Malevich (one of his pieces shown above) and the avant-garde, suprematist art movement in Russia. It was like an eight day art class. Pretty cool!

There was a bit more dating. All dating is weird. There was the Music Writer who I had an OK date with but he pushed too hard at the end of the date which ended up being really weird and was a huge turn off. No second date. Then there were a few guys I chatted with on Hinge or Tinder who I never ended up meeting. The Private Chef, Burning Man Guy, and this guy (who was the most promising of the three, but also disappeared mid conversation. Very common.)  There is one guy who is still lingering, The Jazz Musician with the Beautiful Face. We can call him JMBF for short. I will have to cut him off pretty soon (or he will just disappear), but he has been entertaining for the holidays. JMBF is hot and smart and kind of interesting when I can get him to actually speak, but he just does not do relationships. Also, very common in my dating world.

bhut pepperAnd then, just today, I spent 24 hours chatting with Hot Sauce guy on Tinder (he owns a hot sauce/hot pepper company in Brooklyn. I have illegally included his logo to the right.) Some of his comments/questions were a little weird but I was trying to keep an open mind. He wanted to Facebook me to “see more pictures” which I reluctantly agreed to figuring I could just de-friend him if he ended up confirming my weird suspicions. Then, when he offered to send me more pictures and I said, “Lets just meet in person and see if we click. Want to have a drink when you are back in town?” He responded by de-matching me on Tinder (or taking down his Tinder profile completely. I can’t tell which.) SO WEIRD. What is even weirder is that we are still Facebook friends but he has sent no follow up messages to explain the disappearance from Tinder after 24 hours of chatting.  SO WEIRD. I will be clearly be de-friending him.  SO WEIRD.

So dating is going really well (sarcasm). But I rock on…

Before Thanksgiving, I got a cold, that turned in to a sinus infection, that turned in to a double ear infection! So, I spent a lot of late fall/early winter sick. That was a huge drag. I am FINALLY better, finished traveling and celebrating the holidays, and am now regrouping before 2015 comes (in 6 hours). I am chilling out, watching TV (finally binge watching the Wire just released in HD on HBO), and catching up on tons of stuff on my to do list (who doesn’t have a vacation to do list!)

Now that we are all caught up, I hope to have some more deep thoughts and/or funny stories for you in 2015. Happy New Year!!!

Bugs, Ex-Boyfriends, and Suicide

The title of this blog pretty much sums up my past few weeks. Here is how it went…

After a fabulous start, followed by a rocky middle, the Recovering Musician texted me a few days after our fourth date to say “he didn’t think he was in a place where he could really open up right now.” Pretty much all of his behavior since our second date illustrated this fact so I was not completely surprised. We parted ways amicably and I wished him luck in figuring it all out. (Yes, people actually break up over text these days. I’ve gotten used to it.)

A few days  later, still a bit raw from the mini-break up with the messed up Recovering Musician, I made the mistake of having dinner with my ex-high school boyfriend. This is a guy that I got re-involved with two years ago who then disappeared, repeatedly. We got in to the same old thing where thinks he can just pick up where he left off and talks about how we have these “roots” and talks about all of these things we will do in the future. I tell him he lives in a fantasy world. I point out of all of the things he has said and done in the past and how much he has hurt me. And I remind him that he will disappear in three days.  But because I was just a tiny bit vulnerable (and I had two glasses of wine), I let him him just smidgeon and a tiny bit of my heart thought maybe he had changed. He disappeared within three days.

Then I headed off to Montauk for the weekend with some new women friends I had met on my trip to Mexico last year. Let me remind you that my bug encounter in Mexico was kind of traumatic. So much so that I have not been able to commit to any vacations since….until I agreed to a long weekend in Montauk. Just a three hour drive for a couple of days, what could go wrong? Ticks!!!  Within one day of being home, I got an email that the dog that was with us was covered in poppy seed sized ticks, I found a bite on my leg, two other women found bites, there was a lot of worrying, a lot of laundry, and a trip to urgent care. We have since learned that these were lone star larvae that don’t carry lyme disease but could carry some other stuff, including an allergy to red meat.  So weird! I had a burger on Sunday before I learned this. It was delicious. I think I am fine.

Are you wondering where the suicide part comes in? That’s next (but we aren’t done with bugs!)

Tick week ended with suicide weekend. Another ex-flame (this one from college) invited me to hang out with some of his friends who were coming in to the city,  but he said he wanted to talk with me about something before the night began. He told me his niece had taken her own life six weeks ago. Huge bummer. Since my own brother took his own life 11 years ago, he thought I would be a good person to talk to. I was (I think.) Then we had a few drinks and the night ended with what could be construed as a slightly more than friendly kiss (initiated by him!). This is not good because he is married. I am chalking it up to the many beers he had and the empathetic ear. Exes are dangerous. That won’t happen again.

The next day, I headed upstate to walk with my family in one of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of Darkness walks to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention (hence suicide weekend). A bittersweet day because it is a nice day with my upstate family, but you know, my brother committed suicide so that sucks and its sad. He doesn’t get to read about my bugs and ex-boyfriends and I don’t get to hang out with him…ever. I did learn two new ways to say “committed suicide”.  Apparently you are supposed to say “completed suicide” or “suicided”. Who knew that was even a word? No matter what you call it, it sucks.

So I got through all of that and took a deep breath and headed back to work. On Monday, I started to feel itchy on my head and all over my body. I was checking for bugs (lice, fleas)..nothing. I assumed it was dry skin. By Thursday, there were itchy bumps showing up on my skin that became red bumps on Friday. Really? Seriously? This could not be the ticks after all this time. This was something new. I was freaking out. I checked with my upstate family to see if they had any issues (lice, fleas)…nothing. This was something in NYC. Something in my apartment. Bed bugs from the train? Was the possible? Please no…

I remembered that there are bugs I see around my apartment from time to time. I had investigatephotod them online in the past and they were not bed bugs. I had put out ant traps last year and had not seen one in a while. Could it be those little things? Were they back? I busied my self cleaning my apartment and washing everything AGAIN (I just did this last week!) Then I saw one of the little bugs and I trapped it (and photographed it for you!) Then I found this tiny little centipede thing near my bed  and remembered I had seen those before too! I went to town on Google. (I have looked at probably 100 pictures of bugs and bites in the past few days.) This thing has wings, it is NOT a bed bug. I have concluded that this is a carpet beetle. I have learned that they do not bite, but some people are allergic to the prickly hairs on the larvae of these beetles that cause bumps that LOOK like bed bug bites.  I am apparently one of those people. Crazy!  I guess they like to crawl in to bed with you and the must crawl back out before I wake up because I have not seen them there.  The internet says pest control is not necessary. You just have to keep your apartment clean.  I can do that! (I was a little busy the past few weeks so things did get a little dusty and those buggers clearly took over!)

Here’s to hoping  that I have properly diagnosed the issue and that vacuuming and washing has nibbed this in the bud. I would really like to have an awesome bug free, suicide free, ex-boyfriend free week!!!





In Limbo and on Vacation

Todos Santos 1It’s been about three weeks since I said no to my boss, turned down more responsibility and more money, and slowed down the train that has been taking me in a direction I don’t want to go. I am still on the train. I still have a job. Everything is cool with my boss. I just bought myself some time to figure out what to do next.

Things have gotten more crazy and stressful since I turned down the additional responsibility (how in the world I would have survived MORE work, I have no idea.) Luckily, I had a vacation planned. Not so lucky for the people covering for me back home in the midst of complete chaos.

But I am not in the middle of all of that chaos right now, I am in Mexico.

I didn’t think I had the energy for a fitness vacation with strangers that involves boats and sun (none of which are my favorite), but I was happy to get away from the chaos. These Escape to Shape trips are always an amazing experience, but a little exhausting (you can read about my former E2S trips to Sicily, Bali, and Hudson, NY if you are so inclined)

A typical day on my fitness vacation starts at 7:30am with exercise of some kind before breakfast and possibly climbing in to a van to drive to more exercise or adventure or shopping. We follow that up with lunch and more exercise, adventure, or shopping. We might have a couple of hours of downtime or a massage in there somewhere. We eat dinner at 7pm and are all wiped out and in bed by 9pm.

When I first arrived, I was feeling very stressed and anxious about tackling all of this exercise and adventure. I was exhausted and faced an onslaught of huge cockroaches in my room on the first night. I was not a happy camper.

Then I had a couple of yoga classes and got myself grounded and decided to look at this week as an opportunity to get in the right mind set start my next life shift. Yes, I am tired, but I am going to do it anyway. Yes, boats sometimes make me sea sick, but not always. It is a risk that might pan out in to a beautiful day with amazing experiences, or it might completely suck. There is no way to know unless I do it. Yes, talking to strangers can sometimes be boring or suck your energy but opportunity comes from expanding your horizons and your circle of connections. Yes, cockroaches are gross but they won’t hurt me and they are flexing my creativity as I have developed a whole process for capturing and killing them (side note: I wasn’t originally killing them, just putting them outside, but I think they kept finding their way back. Now I squash them. Sorry cucarachas.)

The group I am with this week is a very sweet group of women (and one sweet young man – gay, not a prospect.) They are easy to be with and one is even going through the same exact mid-life crisis as I am with her job. Our yoga teachers are awesome and have an amazing energy. Our fearless leader Erica is inspiring with her love of what she does every day.

I got my ass on the boat and some of it was not pleasant, but I did not get full on sea sick and I did see colony of sea lions in the middle of the ocean (pretty cool) and walked/swam on two different beautiful beaches on islands in the Sea of Cortez. That is an experience that I am very glad that I had. I am not, however, rushing to get on a boat again. I had to use a lot of yoga breathing and “appreciating the moment” to keep my cool through some very rough water.

I am more than halfway through the week and I said no to a couple of things (like boot camp class and a three hour hike in the blazing hot Mexican sun) but have tackled the rest and am surprisingly, finally feeling relaxed (the one hour massage I just had might have something to do with that.)

I might just return with the strength that I need to figure out what’s next and take it on. That is a tall order, but at a minimum I will return with some color and some beautiful photos.

Guten Tag!

I just got back from Germany. It was a work boondogle. I had no important meetings.  My boss just dragged me over there to “meet people.” I am not a huge fan of meeting people.  I am sure in the long run, it will lead to better working relationships, but in the short term, it was a nuisance. Here are my random observations of Germany (I was here once before 9 years ago and I barely remember it. So let’s consider this my first visit)

My office (which is a huge campus of 20 buildings) is so eco-friendly that most of the time, people work only by light through the windows (and it was very cloudy all week.)  They have the option to turn on the lights but they don’t. I feel like I spent the entire week in the dark! I pointed out to the team that they were sitting in the dark and they just looked at me blankly (I got a lot of that this week!) Is NYC unusually bright, perhaps? I need light. It was weird.

photo They have cute mini candy bars that look like this.

They eat pickles for breakfast and have an abundance of processed meats. That is awesome.

The food was very salty. I could not get enough water.

Speaking of water, what is up with the bubbles!  Not a fan. No gas is how I roll.

The Riesling is less sweet there. I wasn’t planning to drink, but the next point led me to be very bored at our evening events, so I did put a few back.

Germans are really serious. I know it’s not good to generalize, but I met way more serious Germans this week than not so serious ones. Small talk was like pulling teeth. I mentioned this to my boss and she said it is because they feel so guilty about killing all of the Jewish people. I was mortified that she said this out loud where people could hear her (we were luckily back in the US in line at customs). I just shook my head and pretended she didn’t say it. You know, like because we are so serious here in the US because we feel guilty about the slaves?

IMG_1148Those serious Germans are efficient and organized. Love that! At the airport, instead of piling up bins at the end of the security lane and having someone carry them back to the start of the line (how many times have you had to wait for someone to bring more bins?) they have a special conveyor belt for the bins that sends them back! How cool is that? I loved it so much I took a picture.

Everyone eats the same thing for lunch in our Germany office. I was expecting them to point out the sandwich line and the hot meal line and the salad bar. Nope. Everyone gets in the salad line first.  Then they all move to the main course line and can select from two options for the day (one vegetarian, one meat) and two veggie options. Then everyone grabs dessert (choice of two). Everyone eats in the cafeteria. You are not ALLOWED to bring food out of the cafeteria and eat at your desk. Not ALLOWED. This all takes about 45 minutes and they end lunch with “shall we get a coffee”? And then they get coffee and sit and chat for a while before going back to their desk. I, of course, skipped the coffee and went back to work. Fascinating. I have to say, it was kind of relaxing to not have so many options once I got over the shock of it.

It was too cold and rainy and windy to do much exploration…so my observations are limited to my office, the Marriot Heidelberg, and the airport. I think I pretty much summed it up.