Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The art of flirting

Flirting is an art. And just like any art, it’s subjective. Hard to judge if someone is good, bad or indifferent at it. An art, which I’m convinced, I’m TERRIBLE at. How am I convinced? A few weeks ago, I was at a bar with friends. A guy came up to my girlfriend and I and asked us to talk to his friend (I know, I know…) apparently his friend had just been dumped by his girlfriend and we were recruited to cheer him up. In exchange for our services, we’d be bought a drink.

The guy did genuinely look depressed. He was sitting in a suit at the edge of the bar practically crying into his gin and tonic. It didn’t get more depressing for him than this. Enter my friend (blonde, pretty, the works) she smiles at him flirtatiously and we both say “hi” she with that little extra twinkle in her eye (note- she is attached) Some mild exchange continues and then she says to him “I love your suit, I love a guy in a suit, soooooo sexy” that talked him off the edge a bit and he actually smiled. Wow. Is this what flirting was? I’m so lost. I thought that just randomly going up and talking to someone was flirting enough. Clearly. I. was wrong.

Genuinely feeling sorry for the guy (he really was in rough shape) I tried to prod the situation a bit. What did he do? What brought him here? Etc… then I just turned and told him “look, clearly whatever it is you’re upset about is serious. But I’m telling you, no girl/guy/job/whatever is worth being that upset over. You look like you’re about to step off the edge. Yes, life sucks sometimes, but we can make it through” I’m pretty sure that right there sealed my “F” in flirting. He then opened up and told me about this girl in Japan he was seeing and broke his heart, blah blah blah… I sincerely told him I was sorry for him. But if it made him feel any better, a year ago that day, my husband (at the time) walked out. Yes, he also happened to be the biggest douche in the world and a lot of the past year was crazy, but here I was out with friends (albeit a year later) with a smile on my face. Surely if I could do it, he could. Oddly enough, this cheered him up. Basically, I made him feel better by my crappy story. It made me feel better that though I was a failure at flirting, I could at least cheer someone up.

Flash forward a few weeks later… I host a dinner party at my place and invite a fellow over who I’ve met once and curious to get to know. There’s chatting and I’m attempting to flirt. I suspect there’s some flirting back. A comment here about my meticulously grommed eyebrows, a touchy tap on the shoulder on the way to the washroom, decent eye contact, you get the idea. I was trying to make it seem like I was flirting back. Did I deliver? Who knows! I guess I’ll wait to see if he calls, or do I call him? Oh god. That brings on a whole other game!!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Life lists

When I went to South America late last year, I met up with a friend of a good friend of mine in Mendoza. We were both traveling through South America alone so appreciated the company for a few days of someone who spoke English. It’s amazing the things you get to talking about with someone you don’t know that well over bottles of Malbec on the beautiful sidewalk patios of Mendoza. My time in Mendoza is one of the fondest memories of my trip. Not just for the daily philosophical conversations over wine, but for the peacefulness I encountered and adventures which included paragliding and getting a tattoo hungover, 2 hours before I had to leave for the airport to make my way back home. But I digress….

One of the many conversations that were had between him and I were life lists. Yes, life lists, bucket lists, whatever you want to call them, seem to be all the rage these days, but it’s something most of us, at least informally, have contemplated. I’ve always had ideas of things that would be on my life list but I have to say, most of them involved trying something adventurous (going skydiving) or going to a specific place (overwater bungalow in Tahiti). When comparing our life lists, I realized how item specific my list was. Though his had a ton of adventurous things, there was a lot of things money couldn’t buy on his list. Such as being a parent, getting married etc… He also told me that he had written his down, if only to remember things that were, for at least a time, significant enough to contemplate. I’m still new to the concept of idea to written thing, so I was sceptical. And, while I was at it, thought that I’d add some non-material things to my list.

It was such a perfect time to contemplate such things since my trip to South America was to celebrate the fact that I survived such a turbulent (albeit short) marriage and my time in South America was to be introspective and get some rest. So I wrote. And wrote. And I was surprised that I ended up with over 50 things on my list and over half of them were “experience” based rather than an activity/place/adventure.

I have to say, I surprised myself at some of my answers (feeling good about my body, become fluent in Spanish, be in love with someone who is in love with me back). A lot of the items I can control (owning an original piece of art, volunteering in a 3rd world country for an extended period of time, having one year income in savings) And a lot of them are up to fate (having a balanced relationship, being a parent)

To not lose sight though, I also wrote a list of things I’ve already done to appreciate everything I’ve experienced so far. I have no idea whether I’ll get to experience even half of the items on the list, but it sure was a great experience to think about it and get it all down! Now, if only I could stop adding to the list…

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why online dating is bad for the ego…

Dating is never easy. Anyone that says they love dating must be lying or a masochist. Dating before there were online dating sites wasn’t fun, but I’m convinced with the onset of online dating, things are even worse.
For starters before online dating, the only way you’d know if someone was interested in you, there had to be some face to face (or at least phone to phone) interaction. Then, presuming there was mutual interest, a date would ensue. Repeat until one or both parties were bored and then there would be a conversation about ending things.

These days, with online dating, the whole face to face thing is eliminated. Thereby making the process very cold and anonomys. Online dating is a virtual dating catalogue. Flip the pages until you find an item you like. For the most part, I think men are better at accepting rejection than women are. For most of our life, we’ve been used to having to fend men off. I don’t mean in an arrogant, cocky way, but from high school on, boys are the ones that primarily show interest and us women are the decision makers of whether we’ll accept or not. Sure, some girls have defied that and instigated asking the guys out, but I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s been the guys for the majority of our lives. So with this very unused muscle of rejection, we’re introduced with online dating.

I’ve signed up with eharmony. I’ve heard and tried some other dating sites over the years, but eharmony seemed like it would weed out at least some of the flakes out there. And, besides, all those tv commercials couldn’t be wrong, could they? I should mention that the point of me signing up wasn’t to find marriage or co-habitation anytime soon, but it would be nice to have someone to hang with on some weekends and who might even humor my like of foreign movies (and I’d even be willing to watch a hockey game or two in exchange). Unlike other sites, eharmony sends you matches, you can’t randomly search or view everyone. There is apparently some loose science to it based on a very intensive questionnaire you fill in. So, a few months ago, I signed up, and I waited. And waited…

Then I discovered that there’s a little feature on eharmony called “closed”. Matches have a few options once they view you: do nothing, send you multiple choice questions or “close” you. Closing someone means that you’re not even interested in getting to know that person for whatever reason. When you close someone, there are several (reasonable) choices: they don’t have pics posted, they live too far away, the age difference is too large, you’re pursuing another relationship and other. My problem lays with other. It turns out that in just over 3 months, I’ve been “closed” nearly 500 times. On average, I’ve been sent about 5 matches a day (some a few more, quite often less). That’s right, I’ve been shut down 500 times. My little unused rejection muscle is suddenly being overworked! The best part about “other” is I have no idea what I’m doing wrong! I like to think that my pictures captured the essence of what I looked like in a variety of settings (travel, activities etc…) and my write up gave an accurate glimpse of my interests and what I’m like. Granted, I’m not the most photogenic person, but I hardly look like Cruella DeVille! I’ve been shut down by guys I wouldn’t look twice at and guys who, when I read their profile thought we had a lot in common.

I hardly have an abundance of self esteem, but I do know that I’d be considered a pretty damn good catch: I’m gainfully employed, well traveled and have a brain I like to use, but it seems like over 95% of the guys out there aren’t even interested in giving me the time of day! Well, if nothing else, at least my rejection muscle is getting exercised. Maybe a little too much, I think it’s time to give it a break…

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Never say never

Years ago, an ex-boyfriend and I were talking about trips we’d like to take. He mentioned that he’d like to go to India. My reply to his revelation was something along the lines of “if India is the last place on earth, I don’t think I would want to go”. It just never occurred to me as a place to take a vacation or visit. To me, I’d rather be surrounded by beautiful beaches or amazing waterfalls.

After breaking up with him, I changed jobs and my new job came with the opportunity to travel. Imagine my surprise when my first trip was to India! (Life never ceases to be ironic) Though it had never been a draw for me to go before, I jump at the opportunity to go anywhere and go with an open mind.

I landed in Bombay (or Mumbai as it’s now officially called though all the locals still refer to it as Bombay) at 3am on October 27, 2005. After travelling nearly 24 hours, I walked out of the airport and nearly all of my senses were attacked at once! My glasses fogged up, the air smelled like a landfill and I was being yelled at and accosted by people from every which way offering me hotels, taxis and to take my bags. It was like a foreshadowing of things to come of my time spent in India.

It was my first business trip and only my 2nd time travelling alone (the first being to Bolivia in 2000) I don’t get intimidated easily, so I wasn’t all that afraid. When I walked out of the airport (If you don’t have a plane ticket, you’re not allowed to go into the airport, this is checked by security guards at the entrance verifying you have a ticket) I was to meet someone who I met once for about 2 minutes. There was no sight of him. After 10 minutes of manoeuvring the crowd and avoiding everyone accosted me, I went to the rep of the hotel I was staying in. They checked my reservation and it was made for the next night. I had no room. Luckily, they were able to find me a room and accommodate me.

A few hours later, I woke up in my room at the Hyatt. The room was amazing. Beautiful marble floors, modern décor and a comfy bed with enough pillows for a small village. The cost of hotel rooms in Bombay is astounding. The cost of that room was over US$300. The cost of rooms in Bombay was second only to Paris and London. And, because nothing works fast in India, the demand of hotel rooms far exceeded the supply, hence the prices.

The first thing I did after waking up was open the bedroom curtains to see what view I had. I think I figured out why all international flights landed and took off in the wee (dark) hours of the morning. Before me, was the largest slum in the world. As far as the eye can see, all you could see were huts made of cardboard with kids playing with chickens in the dry mud barefoot. I was shocked.

I knew that there was a large amount of poverty in India and because I had been to Bolivia before, thought I was prepared for it. As many places as I’ve been to since, nothing can prepare you for the poverty in India, specifically Bombay.

The city is about 600 sq km, or about the size of San Francisco. It’s the 2nd most populated city in the world. Officially, the population is somewhere around 14 million (but likely closer to double that) Getting from the airport to downtown (about 20km) can easily take 2 hours (even 3 in rush hour)

A condo in Juhu beach (an upscale trendy area with lots of Bollywood types) can easily run in the US$500K. Cover at the disco at the Marriott is US$25. Yet, there is by far more poverty here than any other place I’ve been to. In Bombay, I’ve seen a woman bathe her child in an open sewer, seen lepers on the street begging for money and a 4 year old girl weaving in and out of traffic selling bootlegged English books.

I have never felt such guilt in all my travels than the time I’ve spent in Bombay. While I have a nice comfortable life, there are millions (just in that city) with no access to running water, entire families sleeping in a cardboard shack on the side of the road and kids who will never be able to go to school. The only thing separating me between that lady bathing her kid in the sewer is fate. And, in the 5 times I’ve been to Bombay, I’ve never been more thankful of my life.

Friday, March 19, 2010

10 Dream Trips

While I was driving to work today in an anti-histamine induced haze, I got to thinking about all the places I’d rather be. Well, at least anywhere with non-pollenating trees that have been making my life hell lately! I’ve been lucky enough to travel a ton over the past 10 years. Even luckier is that I get to travel for work. Maybe it’s because I’ve traveled so much that to me, staying in a generic hotel room is a soulless and boring as it gets. So everytime I go away for pleasure, I try to find the most unique (and cheap) accommodations I can.

Because of this strategy, I’ve stayed at some pretty cool places!  
An eco lodge on a white sand beach in Mexico,
the most luxurious lodge you could imagine that you get to by rafting in/out
a couple of very jumpy nights in an actual treehouse,
a posada in Argentina on an olive plantation,
a restored lodge in an old fishing village in India 
and an amazing place in Thailand with my own semi-private pool

However, anyone that knows me, knows I’m constantly researching new places for new adventures. Who knows if I’ll ever get to them all, but here are some amazing dream trips:

Haad Tien resort- Koh Tao Thailand

This place has it’s own 350m amazing white sand beach, it’s on a nature preserve and has some amazing simple but luxurious bungalows. It’s totally private yet close enough to the local town. Koh Tao is one of the smaller islands in the Phang Nga Bay and supposed to not be as touristy as Koh Samui or the gong show that is Phuket (well, not all of Phuket is a gong show, only Patong) Koh Tao is known for world renown diving and has some hiking and rock climbing too. For me, this would be more of a mellow place to snorkel, get massages (Thai Massages are awesome!), go for bikes/hikes and hopefully go there with someone you’re romantic with. If you’ve never been to Thailand, be sure to do a cooking class or two. So easy and you’ll cook better than your local Thai place in a day or two!

Amazon Tupana Jungle Lodge- near Manaus Brazil

Next February, my mom is turning 60. I told her to pick somewhere on the map (within reason) and I’d make her dream trip happen. She shocked me when she said her dream trip would be to the Amazon in Brazil. In researching places, I came upon this place. To get here, you have to get to Manaus which is the nearest large town to the Amazon. They pick you up and take you to the lodge in motorized canoes (ie no paddling required) You can do accommodations alone, or they have 2-4 night packages that include hikes, fishing trips, river tours (where you can see pink dolphins, caimans, monkeys etc…) The 4 night package has a “jungle survival” package where you build a tent out of materials found in the jungle. Not quite sure mom’s ready for that yet though!
  Hotel Mawimbi,Holbox, Mexico

After 3 times in Mexico (Playa Del Carmen, Tulum and Cozumel) I don’t really feel the need to see more of Mexico (especially the likes of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan etc…) but this place seems incredible! To get there, you fly into Cancun (which is usually cheap) take a bus to Chiquila and take a ferry to Holbox (pronounced Whole-bosh) On Holbox, there are no atms or cars. There are however cabs. But the cabs are golf carts! Holbox is still relatively untouristy and will likely never have massive resorts since it’s tiny. The main draw here is the beach and a relaxed vacation. Again, an ideal place for scuba divers because at certain times of year, nurse sharks are in the waters. I picture myself here in a hammock on the beach lounging in the shade with a great book and margarita in hand. If you don’t scuba dive, it’s probably not the most active vacation, though as a non-scuba diver myself, I’m sure I’d find ways to keep busy by snorkeling, kayaking or hiring a sailboat.

 Four Seasons Tented Camp, Golden Triangle area, Thailand

Truly a once in a lifetime experience, this place looks beyond incredible. This place involves luxiourous accommodations in the middle of nowhere, gourmet meals, massages and elephant trekking. It doesn’t get more unique than this. Located in Northern Thailand’s Golden Triangle area (where Thailand, Laos and Burma meet), you’re in the middle of the jungle (which, from my time in Costa Rica is really noisy!) The accommodations are super luxurious tents with jungle views and a huge outdoor deck. Though it’s all inclusive, it’s not in the “wear a bracelet and eat a buffet way”.  Your meals, drinks, elephant trekking and massages are included. Of course, this comes at a price! For a 2 night all inclusive stay it’ll set you back about $2000 (Canadian) so you might have to take out a loan!

Le Taha’a island resort, Taha’a island Poynesia Le Taha'a

One of my ultimate must do before I die trips is to stay in an overwater Bungalow in the South Pacific.  I picked Tahaa’a island as my dream desitnation because it produces 25 tons of vanilla a year. Anyone that knows me knows a) I love to bake and b) base a lot of my trips on food. Oh, and I love orchids too. And vanilla is an orchid! Taha’a island is pretty remote and pretty rugged. Yet the acccomodations are totally luxurious. Probably not a place to visit on your own because it looks too damn romantic! You wouldn’t even need to leave your room. Ever! You have the beautiful green ocean right off your room. Heaven!

Sayari Camp Serengeti, Tanzania

Another once in a lifetime trip would be a trip to the Serengeti. I picked Sayari as a dream place because it claims to be off the tourist track but there is still some off road driving allowed in spots. Imagine being in the absolute middle of nowhere and seeing hippos, lions, leopard and elephants? And amazing Serengeti sunsets? I picked this place too because it has the perfect mix of luxury in natural surroundings. Looks incredible! One day….

Madagascar would be an amazing place to visit. There are entire species of animals which only exist in Madagascar. The Eden lodge is powered on solar energy (therefore lessens the guilt a bit from the carbon emissions of getting there) Again, the draw of this place is the isolation of it, but still somewhat luxurious accommodations. All of the bungalows are beachfront and since it’s solar powered, there is no air conditioning. The only cooling is the ocean breeze. This seems like an amazing place to go after hiking through all of the rain forests in Madagascar!

Chica Brava Surf Camp, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Since I took a surf in Oregon a few years ago, I’m hooked on surfing. Then I took private classes in Costa Rica and I got hooked on WARM water surfing. Now, it just seems like pure torture to me to surf cold water. The last time I surfed, it was my first time getting up on a hard board (a feat of which I’m quite proud!) So, I’m sure that another intense camp would improve me that much more! Chica Brava is a surf camp in Southern Nicaragua about 30 minutes north of the Costa Rican border. The waters are warm and the surf is consistent. What’s better is that this is a place a girl can go on her own since it’s an all girl surf camp. The accommodations are hardly luxurious, but it would be an amazing experience to build up surf skills!

 The Spa Koh Chang Resort, Koh Chang, Thailand

Koh Chang is the 2nd largest island in Thailand and 85% of the island is protected rainforest. It’s only opened up to tourism since 2000 and as yet, 2/3 of the tourists are Thai. This means that the presence of tuk tuk’s, tailors and lady-boys is probably less (in Patong, I once heard a lady-boy solicit himself by saying “you wanna get F&)(*(@ by lady-boy- words NO ONE should have to hear!) I picked the Spa because I’d love to do a vacation that focuses on relaxation. I usually have a ridiculously hard time relaxing on vacation and want to experience everything, whether it’s paragliding off a mountain, or waterfall rapelling. Staying somewhere like this resort, would force me to relax. It wouldn’t be that hard since they fill your time with yoga and massage. They also offer health/detox and fasting plans but I have way too little self disclipline to attempt that on a vacation. This could very luckly be part of my next Thailand trip.

Private Mountain Casitas, Boracay, Philippines

Since Hong Kong seems to be my second home as of late (in 2009, I went there 3 times for work) One time, I’d like to tack on a visit to the Philippines since airfare from Hong Kong to Philippines is inexpensive. This seems like the perfect place to destress. Borcay is arguably, one of the 10 best beaches in the world. Boracay is a great place for any beach activities like diving, sailing and a great place to try kiteboarding or skimboarding. I picked private mountain, because, well it’s private! And once you brave the uphill walk to get there, you’re blessed with incredible views of the beach.

I’d love to think that I’ll get to all of these places in this lifetime. To me, traveling is always a catalyst for great memories and great stories! There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of running off the side of a mountain (Mendoza, Argentina) getting robbed on Christmas Day (Samana, Dominican) or being questioned for 3 hours by Israeli security (Frankfurt, Germany) Well, there’s my list, time to start knocking off a few of the items!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Adventures on El Al

Recently, there seems to always be something on the news about how the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv is the safest airport in the world.  The security people in charge, make no bones that they racial profile and ask you a slew of questions.  I can testify to that!

Flashback to May 2007.  I had a work trip that took me to India for a week, then I had to continue onto Israel for a week.  I flew from Delhi to Frankfurt and had a 15 hour middle of the day layover.  As much as I've travelled and as excited I get about airports, 15 hours is too much for anyone!  Luckily, I knew my way around Frankfurt, so I thought I'd take the train into the city and wander around.  After a train ride into the city only to realize that the entire city was shutdown for a national holiday, I trained it right back to the airport.  After looking at every single item in the duty free shop, I wandered back to the lounge and killed about 12 hours. 

3 hours before my El Al flight was due to leave, I thought I'd at least change scenery and wander down to the gate.  El Al is supposedly the safest airline in the world.  They were the first to institute locked cockpit doors and are known to have armed air marshalls on each of their flights.  Though I was already through one security check, I had to go through another one just to get into the gate area of El Al.  Once I got to the El Al counter, I got my boarding pass, and had to go through yet another x-ray for my hand luggage.  Once I thought I was finally done all of the x-rays, I was greeted by another plain clothes agent who greeted me in Hebrew.  The extend of my Hebrew starts and stops with "Shalom" so it's safe to say we didn't exactly have a lengthy conversation.  From there, he asked me a bunch of pretty normal questions (in English) "Where are you going?" "Who are you travelling with" etc...   Then he welcomed me into a gated little seated area.  I knew he wasn't going to ask me how my trip was and how I was doing, so I got nervous.  I tend to get nervous in any situation with authority.  The one time I was pulled over for speeding, I'm pretty sure the reason I got off without a warning was because I was shaking when I gave the police officer my license!

From there, the questioning grew intense.  Who was I visiting (a factory) ? Did I have a boyfriend (yes)? Was I married (no!) ? What race was my boyfriend (White)? Why am I alone (because?)?  Why don't I have a business card of the people I'm meeting (hadn't met them yet) and on and one.  He wanted to check emails, names of my boss, names of factories in India, you name it. From there, we went into the curtained area where a very intimidating fellow was to go through all of my luggage for explosives.  When I say everything, I mean everything!  from the crumbs at the bottom of my purse, to the pages in my book, it all went through the explosives machine.  My heart was pounding.  During my 15 hour layover, I managed to come down with a brutal cold.  During my interrogation, I wasn't allowed to go to the washroom and had to be in the company of the security guys the whole time.  Though I had nothing to hide, I was so nervous, I started fumbling!  I think I even made light of this by saying "geez, this is so nerve wracking, I had no idea" to which my security companion said "well, if you had nothing to hide, you wouldn't be nervous".  

2 hours into this ordeal, a lady walks into the room and says to me "strip search" and points to a curtained off area.  I don't know if it was nerves, the cold, no sleep or what, but I just started crying.  No control.  Just tears coming out.  I thought I was in for full strip search.  I loved my job and I loved that I got to travel, but this? This was beyond any job description!  Luckily, my new friend just wanted a heavy pat down, rather than strip search.  Tears stopped.  I felt better again.  By now, my hand luggage failed to show any explosives.  The end was almost near.  Half an hour before take off, I was cleared to go on the plane.

I should mention that the whole time I was being questioned, it was totally visible to all of the other passengers.  I should also mention, I was the only passenger selected for this in depth screening.  I get on the plane, sit in my comfy business class seat and everyone gets on the plane and starts glaring at me.  Right before they shut the door, my security friend comes up to me and says "Ms. Correia, did you have beer in your suitcase" I confirmed I did (I was buying some to bring home) and thought that they'd just take it away.  He said to me "It's no problem, we've just packed it in a seperate box so it doesn't explode in your suitcase, when you get to Tel Aviv, look for a small box with your name on it"

The irony of this is priceless.  I guess they're so concerned about ANY explosives, they didn't even want the beer to explode.  And, you can imagine, when I got to Tel Aviv to pick up said box, the looks I got from the other passengers.  Here's the girl that was detained the whole time, what's in her box? surely they wandered. 

Once I got into Israel, it was a beautiful and safe country.  It's no wonder it's safe if it takes that much to get into the country!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


You gotta love targeted ads.  Even though, on facebook, I have my year of birth and marital status hidden, they somehow still manage to target ads.  One of the latest ads I keep seeing is an ad for what must be a dating site.  The ad, which keeps showing up in my facebook profile says "new dating site for classy cougars like you".  Well, I guess I should be honoured that at least they call me classy.

I'm not sure what's worse, the fact that a website for "cougars" exists, or the fact I'm considered a cougar! *sigh*

Monday, March 08, 2010

Vanishing Act

It looks like not much has changed in the 5 years since my last tour on the dating scene.  And though I can't say there's comfort in that, there is a certain element of comedy (though maybe comedy in the way Shakespeare meant it as opposed to Mr. Bean)

The story always seems to go like this: boy meets girl, boy likes girl and calls her constantly.  Girl is unsure and overwhelmed but proceeding with caution.  This game continues for a few weeks, months etc... and as soon as girl slightly relents and shows interest back, boy vanishes. 

The part that's comical about this is that it's happened to me more than once.  I used to think it was all about me.  Was I not pretty enough? Was it something I said? Didn't say? Should I have shown more interest? Less?  Now, I just laugh.  I know enough that it's happened to pretty much every person who has ever been single.  Likely more than once.  What annoys the hell out of me though, is that the other person doesn't think that a quick little "geez, you know, I've changed my mind, not interested anymore" or something similar would go a long way in the respect and admiration category as opposed to the slinky douche category.

p.s. though the pic above has nothing to do with the post, it's the best stain remover ever!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Awkward. Dating with a dog.

I love my dog.  I've had her since she was 8 weeks old.  She's a Jack Russell/Schnauzer.  When I got her, I knew that because of her breed, she'd be a handful to raise.  Well, a handful is an understatement.  In the past 4 and a bit years since I've had her, I've experienced every up and down there is in a dog owner's world:  joy (the amazing tricks and intelligence she has), fear (eating a bottle of vitamin E pills, falling down a 50ft cliff) anger (you can't find a more stubborn breed) and comfort (there's no better feeling than coming home to her) and now: embarasment. 

You see, my dog has a very unnatural love of males.  Electricians, plummers, my brothers, friends, you name it.  This has now extended to males I date.  If I meet a guy, I make sure I tell him about my dog.  I mention her many neuroses, as well as all her quirks that make her fun.  However, nothing can quite prepare anyone for a night over. 

Four years ago when I got her, I tried to crate train her.  However, the incessant crying all night got to me after a few nights.  In a moment of weakness (and extreme tiredness) I relented and she jumped into bed.  I've been trying to get her out ever since!

I've tried every tactic known to man. Bribes, comfy dog beds, angora blankets, anything to make not my bed more comfortable than my bed.  Nothing's worked!  I even hired a dog psychologist to address this (and some of her other issues)  For the past few months, I've been reasonably sucessful.  Lucy is now the proud owner (and sleeper) of her very own dog bed! 

I've been super encouraged that this new turn of events will help any future relationships.  However, I recently had someone stay over and all my training went to hell!  The night before (and night after) she was the perfect angel.  Sleeping away in her bed.  I even had the bedroom door open.  The night this someone stayed over, she just sat beside him and stared at him (like he was a raw steak I might add)  I locked her out of the bedroom but she wouldn't stop crying at the door and using her paw to scratch at the door.  All. Night. I assured my someone that this wasn't normal (anymore) I don't think he bought it.  I can just hear him now talking to his friends "cool girl, crazy dog".  I wonder if I'll ever hear from him again...