Sunday, March 28, 2010

Viva Cuba!

Take one part no kids, one part IronMan, one part kick-ass beach, several parts gin and mix for a perfect vacation. Ola amigos! I am back from a week of fun in the sun. Aside from one day trip to Santa Clara, it was all butt on lounge chair either on the beach or next to the pool (with a convenient swim up bar).

The highlight of our day trip was a stop at a cigar factory. What a process! Each person is an expert at one thing and every cigar is quality checked at least 6 times before it goes into a box. They even have a machine that tests if a cigar is too tight or loose (insert your own joke here) by sucking air through it (insert your second joke).

It was a little uncomfortable as our group of 20 plus people went tromping from work station to work station seeing what each person was doing. If that many people came by my desk to watch me work, I would have suggested a few places they could stick their cigars.

I did manage to exercise my brain somewhat by reading four books ~ The Sisters – The saga of the Mitford family, Versailles, eclipse (granted, this was more junk food than exercise. Jacob, stop being such a wilt! Bella is a tool) and Nicholas Nickleby.

Let’s see if you can match some of my favourite quotes back to their book. I’ll start with an easy one. “It’s always better to make something out of nothing – that’s the French way.” Then there is “no one seemed to care what became of the daughters, least of all their father, they were ugly anyway.” “You can generally count on a sodomite to appreciate the company of witty and fashionable women” truer words were never spoken!

This next one is not only a quote, but can be used as a macabre conversation starter at your next dull dinner party “is it contrary to the rules of etiquette for a dying person to exploit the pity of their friends to make them do what they want?” Discuss.

And did you know, after the French revolution the hearts of the Kings of France were sold to a painter and used as pigment in a painting called “A cozy view of peasants at work”.

My brain indeed needed a little stimulus. I couldn’t very well give my liver all the attention. “All inclusive” can be dangerous when you have a swim up bar and people bringing you drinks when you can’t even be bothered to get wet. G&T was in order most days, but Cinzano helped me fantasize about Tuscany and Pastis fondly reflect back on Provence. Ahhhhhh.

Part of our package was a massage and body wrap. I didn’t know Looney Tunes opened a spa in Cuba. Only in cartoons have I seen a massage where they use the “slap chop” method. It was 25 minutes of having your back pulverized by the ‘masseuse’ (who I swear was also part of the ‘Musical Extravaganza’ show in the theatre) and then being flipped over, painted with a seaweed paste and wrapped in a plastic sheet. I ended up looking, and feeling, like Laura Palmer.

He was explicit in stating that I should NOT take off my underwear (weird, but as it was a shoulder and back massage only, I went with it) but when he sent me to the shower said not to get the black seaweed on anything as it would stain. Hello, you painted my legs and I am not wearing my Velcro side-release gitch!

Oh well. It was a something to do between defeating IronMan on the Alice in Wonderland size Chess and Checker boards. I will concede that he beat me at Crazy Eights, but let me assure you all, when it came to gin, I was the undisputed champion.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ciao Italia!

Ever since our successful, 12 person-no-fighting-and-yes-we-all-got-along soiree to France last spring, I have been somewhat addicted to VRBO looking for my next European fix. And let me tell you boys and girls, I have found IT!

Look out Tuscany, here I come. Oh, I and the first 15 people that sign up ~ it’s just like the Glee club! Actually, there are only 14 spaces left as I need the Winnipeg Diva to make my little plan work.

Provence, in part, was funded by three communal garage sales. CJ’s island this summer is being similarly funded. By 2011 (maybe 2012 if people are REALLY willing to commit) we will surely all have purged our homes nearly to death. I suppose we can start yanking down the drywall and selling that and copper wire will fetch a good price as metals are at an all time high.

Spot #2 then is for the aforementioned Diva at the house, nay, villa, I have discovered. Replete with its own Roman amphitheatre “located in the wood of centuries-old oaks above the house and is in perfect harmony with nature”. I figure, the first night we hold her back from drinking and have an all Italian opera for the locals. The money we, or should I say ‘she’ raises pays for the Villa and in return she gets the pick of rooms and our undying gratitude. And she doesn’t have to cook that week.

Fauntleroy will open on the piano (with Kitkat lounging across the top singing show tunes) and close with the harp. Blue doll will run the ticket booth (after a day of selling in the village of course), I will run the food stand ~ charging outrageous prices for even the smallest treat and we will surely find things for everyone to do. Oh, Boobers’ McGee can do security detail. Perfect! Or maybe he could hold people upside down by their ankles and shake out their pockets? Hmmmmm.

Anyway, applications are now being accepted for Italy 2011 (maybe 2012). You must be able to cook (look at that FREAKIN' kitchen) and/or have another talent that makes you fabulous!