Lobster madness

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I love lobster! My favorite places for lobster are:

  • Fresh off the island Fisher’s Island, New York
  • No name restaurant Boston
  • Any where in Maine
  • Oyster Shack Montreal
  • 100 Century Avenue Shanghai
  • Luke’s Lobster East Village New York City

What are yours?

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Cali for my kidney

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How many times have you heard people say, I would give my arm to meet Oprah, I would give my first born for that sports car, or I would give up my fake tits to win the lottery? Well fake tits you can buy again, but it seems when people want something so bad that it consumes their life, they say they’d give up body parts in exchange for their wish. I never quite understood it until one summer I was in desperate need to get money to move to California the land of hopes and dreams.

I tried to get a summer job at an outdoor lounge but no one would hire me. I looked at my resume and head shot for the twentieth time.  I was dumb founded. I comforted myself concluding either I was overqualified to pass cocktails or just too damn good looking. My obsession with California began seven years prior when I was a flight attendant living in Charleston, South Carolina. My roommate and I went to see the town psychic. It was our first time and we were a bit nervous to see what our futures held. I went in first to feel it out, I was always the dare devil of the group. The psychic was a nice Southern lady with blond curls wearing a purple linen dress. She spread out the tarot cards before me on a glass table. She told me many interesting things that hit home. She told me I was running in circles trying to take it to the next level of my life. I was satisfied with my job, yet felt stuck. I was meant for bigger things.

“What do you do?” She asked.
“I’m a flight attendant,” I said proudly as I looked her in her blue eyes.
“Well that won’t be your career forever.”

She told me I had great energy around me. I was meant to be seen in the public eye and become a household name. Did that mean I was to be married to a star or become one? She said my passion would be my success. What was my passion? I wondered as I looked around her small room filled with angels, crystals, and astrology books. I had so many passions. Was it dancing? No it was too late to become a professional ballet dancer and stripping wasn’t going to make me famous, Demi Moore already snagged up that role in Strip Tease. I loved to write, but when I thought of the public eye I thought of actresses or models. That was it … acting. Acting was something I always wanted to do since I was age three. My mom had to bribe me with a bean bag to sit down in front of our 19 inch television. I loved to imitate and repeat every word of every character in the movies I watched. The psychic ended with saying I would live in California with two kids and a husband. That night I cried myself to sleep. My sweet southern roommate  tried to comfort me.

I turned over on my side as a million thoughts raced through my head. It was hard not to think I was meant to become a star. I was only twenty years old, I still had plenty of time to start, but I knew it had to be soon.
The psychic also told my roommate she would marry a foreign man in uniform. A week later we forgot about the psychic. A year later my roommate married a pilot friend from Europe who needed his papers. A year later I quit the airline after I was accepted into a New York City acting conservatory with a scholarship. While I absolutely adored New York and it’s ways, Cali always sat in the back of my mind. I felt like I was having some sort of affair. I kept saying I was leaving, but the more I said it the longer I stayed.

Time in New York is a difficult concept to grasp. I swear there is some preternatural force that causes time to impel faster than other places on earth. Years creep up on you without realizing how much time has passed until it is long gone. A day turns into the next week, that transcends into the following month, and before you know it, you are planning for the next year. That’s what happened to me. I planned on pursing Cali after I graduated acting school and had built up my resume a bit. I knew I needed a little bit of thicker skin and confidence in my craft. By struggling to keep up with New York prices and nightlife, my craft turned into serving drinks and consuming them. I was twenty three and single in the city.  The longer I lived in Manhattan, the more there was to do. I would go to a meeting, hit the gym, one friend for lunch, gay boys for happy hour, not to mention work. Moving was a job in itself, work at night, audition in the day, go see a play, play with my friends.

I tried hobbies I never had any interest with until I moved to New York. I fought off adult drama, IRS audits, lawsuits, yearly checkups, break ups, identity theft, the list is never-ending. My roommate and best friend Carly planned the move with me for five years. Every year we daydreamed the same thing, our Thelma and Louise road trip. We’d video tape the whole trip, playing pranks on small town locals. It would be a girl’s version of Borat. Maybe we’d even rob a gas station in the middle of America for shits and giggles, just to say we did it. I wanted to live in Malibu, Carly chose Hollywood Hills, the one thing we did agree upon was not the valley. It was one thing to talk like a valley girl, or date a valley guy, but to be one? No way!

I wanted to be a surfer and I loved California men. The New York guys never really did it for me. I always heard east coasters talking down about Californians. “They are so superficial and too happy,” one lady said. She was a pale overweight lady in her thirties, but appeared to be in her late forties. I didn’t want to become bitter and pale like her. I thought about the Californians. They were a healthy bunch. Most were fit and tan. Is that superficial to be happy you’re healthy and good looking? If so sign me up, I wanted to join the club.

For the next four years I continued to tell my boss Vinny, this is it … I’m out of here for good. I’m moving to California this fall. He was immune to my threats. He’d roll his eyes and say, “Turner you are not going anywhere. Get back to work.” He told me I would be there till I was in my forties, until some sucker married me. He predicted years later I’d get a divorce and come back to the bar because I missed it. It was a scary thought that easily could come true. I had to prove him wrong.It was finally seven years after my first psychic prediction. I was now 27 and while I knew I looked 24 time was closing in on my move to Cali. I had built up some what of an acting resume and had written five feature scripts. I felt like it was Cali or bust. Carly was now living in Florida with her current boyfriend, but hated it there and was planning for Cali soon. I was fed up with New York. I was sick of thinking so fast, forgetting how to breath, not having time to date or even go out. After a week of hard work I had no energy left, and was over the whole scene. I wanted blond friendly guys with surf boards instead of ties. BBQ’s instead of obnoxious clubs. Surfing the Pacific ocean instead of surfing the net. Sunshine instead of rain, my car instead of the train. I had never felt so ready to move my whole life. There was just one little obstacle … money.

After I had a dental malpractice putting me fifteen grand in the hole I had bills higher than I could see. I was depressed I couldn’t get another summer job after searching for three months. Some nights at work I would secretly drink to numb the pain of serving drinks. If a customer was rude to me I would say, “Don’t be mean to me,” before running off into the bathroom to cry. One night in my deepest despair I walked into the bathroom to make a list. I couldn’t be in New York or wait on tables anymore, I needed a plan B.

1) Give up dreams for day job
2) Run away to Costa Rica or some far away land to forget about everything
3) Jump off bridge
4) Find a way to get money for Cali

I had to get to Cali. I cried to my laid back cute boss Trey. He had sandy blonde hair and blue eyes I could get lost in. “Don’t worry Turner you’ll be alright,” he said in his sexy southern accent. “Just don’t go jumping off any bridges.” He told me that he felt the same way sometimes and he just wanted to run away to an island too. Running off with Trey was a pleasant thought. Running off to California where there were a million Treys sounded even better. I vowed to myself that night I would prove everyone wrong. I was going to California.

For the next few days I drew up some business plans on how to make money that summer for my fall trip across country. I thought about becoming a nanny, but I couldn’t bear the thought of waking up at six in the morning to feed a brat, and they would get in the way of my acting auditions.

I thought about getting a day job, but had no voice because of my night job, and the day job would leave me no time for my writing. I didn’t want to work for someone, I needed to sell something. I had my screenplays, but couldn’t find the right people to read them. My customers begged me to read them, but they were brokers, doctors, and managers. I needed a producer. I needed California connections!

I figured sex sold, so I needed something where I could put my athletic body to use. After a few glasses of wine at a cafe I came up with the perfect plan. I would set up a lemonade stand and bake brownies. I could sell them in a bikini and heels down on Wall Street.
“You’re really going to do that?” Drew the bartender asked. He always analyzed everything, and he had an answer even if it wasn’t asked for.

“Yes,” I said proudly as I plumped up my chest in my tight work uniform. “I will even have a sign that says Cali or Bust!” I thought it was the cutest idea. Selling homemade lemonade to go to Cali. The businessmen would eat it up. I’d get tossed business cards and twenties all day long. I’d probably make the Daily News.
“If you put up that sign you won’t be making nothing,” Drew said bluntly.
“Why?” I asked. As if he knew anything about marketing.
“New York guys don’t like Californians. They wont’ help finance your trip. They’ll think you’re a stupid girl for wanting to leave New York.
It sounded true. Maybe I was putting in all my time and energy into a horrible decision. I had always learned my lessons the hard way. I took Drew’s advice and continued brainstorming strategies for my trip. I didn’t have much time to save up over ten grand, or much to sell.
“Just sell your eggs,” Natalie a funny waitress said. “You’ll get at least six thousand dollars.”
The thought of selling my unfertilized eggs unsettled in my stomach. Would it hurt? I always wanted a surrogate mother. Could they possibly sell half of my eggs and freeze the other half for when I found my prince in Cali? The thought crossed my mind, but I thought of the long term emotional effects. What if ten years later I wanted to meet my hatched egg. I wanted to see what kind of genes I carried. I imagined myself scoping out ever ten year old on the street thinking they were my own child.
“No there is no way I can do that,” I told Natalie.
“But you’ll be helping out someone who needs it. Won’t that make you feel good?”
“No I don’t think so.”
I thought back to health class. Wasn’t there a body part I had two of but didn’t need?
“Hey Trey,” I said as I ran up to him with my tray full of martinis. “What’s that body part you don’t need?”
He thought long and hard for a minute. It was adorable when he tried to think.
“Well I think you need all of them.”
“Yes, but don’t I have an extra body part? Is it the liver?”
“No unfortunately not. We only got one of those. I think it’s your kidney or something.”
That was it, the kidney. I heard they didn’t do much but we had two of them. Some people needed them and were on waiting lists. For all I knew this extra kidney was a part of the extra ten pounds I carried. I happily skipped around waiting on tables for the rest of the night. I was going to sell my kidney to go to Cali!
I figured I would get at least five to ten grand out of it. I couldn’t wait to tell Drew the good news of my new game plan.
“You’re not selling your kidney. Don’t be stupid it’s illegal,” he as he rolled his eyes at me.
“I don’t care. I’ll sell it on the black market. I’m going to LA!”
“You know my buddy Chris? He only has one kidney. Maybe he’ll buy it from you,” he joked as he shook up a mojito.

It was true, I knew Chris and he was born with only one kidney. He was just about fifteen years older than me. Maybe he could buy it temporarily. I’d write him out a contract selling him my kidney and when he died I could get my kidney back. That might work, but I needed to investigate more about this body part, and how I was to sell it if Chris passed on my offer.
I stayed up until 6 am the next morning surfing the next. I found out all types of useful facts on the kidney. The kidney worked with my liver. It was located in my back so that’s where I would have the scar. While it was illegal in the United States I found there was a trend to sell them in Israel. They paid more than I even expected. There was a secret facility that they put you up in for recovery. I saved the article under my favorites file on my computer and dozed off contentedly to sleep. I told Drew the next day about my findings on the internet.

“If I go out there in August, I’ll be healed up and ready for LA in October,” I said as I watched Drew make a fancy martini.
“Great now I can introduce you as my other friend with one kidney,” he said without looking up.
“Drew I’m really doing this. You only live once, and I need to be in LA. If it takes selling a kidney to do it, I’ll do it,” I said as I pounded tray down on the counter.
Drew started laughing. “What if they ask you to toss in a few fingers for a couple thousand bucks? Will you do that too?” He tucked a few fingers back and taunted me saying, “Hi, I’m Emily. I’m missing some fingers and a kidney but I’m a really good actress.”
“Well it will show how serious I am about making it!”
“You think you are just going to go to Israel and they are going to take out your kidney, give you a check and a big hug? No way. You’re nuts, I’m not letting you do it.”
Drew convinced me if I went there alone there was no telling what they’d do to me. Once I was under anesthesia they could take all my good body parts and toss away the rest. That wasn’t exactly the plan, but it was possible. The next few weeks I asked my doctor friends about the kidney and the scars. They all told me not to do it. I was listening to my Ipod on my way through midtown traffic crying when I saw my boss Vinny.

He pulled my arm to stop me and asked, “What’s wrong?”
I began to ramble on as tears poured down my face. “I couldn’t get a summer job. I have to sell my kidney.”
“For LA?”
“Yes, it’s the only way.”
“Don’t worry you are not going to sell your kidney. Sell your ass, you have a lot more of it,” he said as he patted my head and walked off.

He didn’t know I planned to go the following month and I had a note written in case I never returned. I cried even harder walking down Park Avenue all the way to work.

“Don’t worry it will all come together,” Drew said as he poured me a bloody Mary. “Something will come up. Just give it time.” He told me if I sold my kidney I wouldn’t be able to drink.  A week later I got a job at one of the best steakhouses in the city. The hours were easy and the money was great.
“Aren’t you happy you didn’t sell your kidney?” Drew asked with a smile.

Yes I was, because while I was willing to give up a body part for California, I wasn’t willing to give up drinking anytime soon. I ended up choosing Costa Rica over California to write and to heal my voice in solitude. Drew joked if I went to Costa Rica alone I’ll probably get my kidney’s stolen. While California is still on my to do list, selling my body parts is not. Someday I hope to make it to Cali in one piece.

I want to go glamping!

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My husband normally pulls me along on camping trips. A typical guy he loves to play survivor. Our camping trips always seem to be a bit dramatic. The first camping trip we went on was in the Adirondacks in May, and it turned out to be a bone chilling rainy weekend. The first night of camping we found out no fires were allowed. Seriously, who goes camping without a fire that is half of the fun. Once we set up our tent five men camping together decide to set up shop literally less than 50 feet away from us. So much for a romantic weekend for a long distance couple. I then find out my Davy Crockett forgot to pack utensils, pots and pans, and anything else we needed to survive. We were forced to share the neighboring camper’s supplies before snuggling in our tent for warmth and wondering if they could see our risque actions through the shadows of our tents. The next morning we woke up to find a hungry bear had ripped open our food! The sad thing was the bear didn’t even eat one crumb of the food we had because it was so granola and healthy. How was I going to eat this stuff? I’m not a junk food addict, but I am certainly not a bird, and in the cold weather I wanted some hearty food. The second night we ended up setting up our tents during a rain storm under a shed, before the sun went down I convinced my partner maybe we should leave and get a cheap motel. Luckily he agreed and two hours later we were pillow fighting after a hot shower and chowing down on all the pizza and wings our bodies could handle. Luckily his camping trips were not a deal breaker and I married him a year later.

My last trip I had with my husband David has inspired me to take control of our next camping trip, and yes we will be glamping. Once again in during a chilly May season it was just on the brink of summer yet there was still a chill in the air, my husband decides to plan a huge camping trip with friends. Of course we have to be the ones up at 5 am to drive and reserve the special campsites. David decides he wants the most secluded spot in the park, a section you have to row an hour to get to and there is only one campsite to the right of you and miles of national park and wildlife in the back. After lugging our tents, food, coolers, and gear to the island David tells me he needs to row back around 4 pm to gather his friends. He asks will I be alright if he left me alone for a few hours? What’s the worst that could happen, a wolf decides I’m a juicy meal? I assure him I’m a big girl and I’ll be fine by myself. I will pimp out our tent and read a book. He decides to leave the food down since we haven’t eaten yet, and builds a fire to ward off the bears. After he rows away I find I had left my cell phone in the car. I only had my ipod to keep track of the time, but I was so busy fighting off flesh eating flies and keeping the fire going I lost track of time. As the sun began to set I started to get impatient. Every time I heard a group of people rowing closer I would run to the shoreline as if I was  a cast away hoping it was our group, but every time the campers rowed to the left where all the campsites where. Before I knew it 4 pm turned into 9 pm. Was this his way of breaking up with me? I know I can be dramatic at times, but really? Just row your wife to a deserted island and leave her without a phone, maybe a bear eat me. I can’t believe i agreed to this. I heard a rustle in the woods a few times so I worked harder at making the two small fires into gigantic bonfires. I thought of all the possibilities. Maybe the park ranger wouldn’t allow them to come back to the island after hours and I would be surviving the night alone. Did his friends get lost? I ran back and forth for hours it seemed until finally i heard the laughter of David coming closer. I was so happy they arrived I couldn’t get mad at him, but next time we go camping it’s on my terms.

What exactly is glamping? It is luxury camping. I love nature and the wilderness, but I would prefer to do it on my terms. There have been many nights of camping on beaches where I woke up to the hard sand under my bum and hermit crabs digging tunnels under my back. As I am getting older my interests are the same but my tastes have changed, and that leads me to glamping. It is that happy in between place my husband and I can agree on. If he wants to play survivor where he lives off apples and granola, sleeps freezing on the ground, and questions why did he go camping in the first place he can do that with his friends. If he wants to enjoy nature and cooking a yummy meal on an open fire, watching the stars while hearing sounds of wild animals, and wake up comfortable next to me, then he can go glamping with me.

 

To glamp on your own just add some extras to your tent, a blow up mattress with flannel or silk sheets depending on the season.  A nice plush pillow and a colorful quilt. Add some pillar candles that are half way used to prevent fire hazards, solar lights, a soft rug, tiny side table that is easy to pop up, and add a little table and chairs with a vase and flowers for eating.

If you want to go all out there are glamping sites now popping up quicker than pop up tents all across the world. When David and I were dating he took me glamping without realizing it :} There is a great location in Tolum Mexico called Don Diego de la playa.

It is beach front glamping at its best in the heart of Tolum. It is on a safe property which is guarded at night. Seperate tents are set up across the property. At first glance they seem like little huts, but when you step inside they are surprisingly comfortable. Each has a dresser, bed, and lights that work during certain hours. Breakfast is included and the bathrooms and showers are shared in the common area. It is a fun and romantic retreat.

My cute little bedouin tent

Glamping doesn’thave to be like this

http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Review-g150813-d1203508-Reviews-Don_Diego_de_la_Playa-Tulum_Yucatan_Peninsula.html

Check out these glamping spots!

 

Moab under canvas, UTAH $79 per night

Lovely Tipi next to Brownwood TEXAS, $139

 

Luxury tent cabins near Spokane WASHINGTON $161

Upstate NY, $121

 

Elegant Safari Tents Canada $170

 

Spain $70 Euros

Spain $65 Euros

UK Scotland $65

UK $90 Euros

 

For more information check out these websites for availability and locations! Go glamping! Spain and the UK looks amazing!

http://www.glampinghub.com

http://www.goglamping.net

Classic Civiche

At first the thought of raw fish wasn’t completely compelling. I would eat sushi on occasion but civiche seemed like a whole lot of fish. My friend convinced me to try some at a local soda shop in Costa Rica. She piled it on a saltine cracker and topped it off with some hot sauce. To my surprise it wasn’t bad. That transpired into a civiche obsession. I literally began to crave the refreshing zesty appetizer. The juices marinating the fish actually cooks or curtirs the fish with the lime juice’s acidity. This treat is low in calories and light. It is the perfect dish for a solo lunch at home, appetizer with friends, or part of a seafood trio.

While there are many varieties of civiche which can incorporate shrimp, all types of fish, octopus, and other kinds of seafood, I prefer the classic version with a white fish. It is best to use a firmer fish such as Red Snapper. Other options I use are Makerel, Tilapia, and Mahi Mahi.

Sometimes cutting the fish into cubes can be tricky. I found that using a frozen filet and letting it thaw out about 40% before cutting works very well. I run it under some warm water to reduce a bit of the frost. Then chop it into sections easily on my chopping board. I rinse it off once more after they pieces are cubed and set them aside in a bowl.

Chop and combine: Cilantro, Red bell tomatoes, onions, and if you want you can add very tiny pieces of pepper. Mix these up with the fish and squeeze fresh lime juice on the fish. I normally use 3-5 limes depending on the juice content. Mix all together one last time and set it in the refrigerator to marinate for 45 minutes. Top it on some saltine crackers a dash of salt and finish with some hot sauce.

If you want to exchange the saltines for another base you can use plantain chips, pita chips, or even cucumber slices.

Personal size                                                             Family Size

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Just Be

Sometimes in life you just have to realize everything happens for a reason, or shall I say reasons, because eventually one thing leads to another. A certain step one has to take in life is to accept the motion of the future, yet still be in the present. I used to always teeter totter between reminiscing about the past, and daydreaming about the future. I now try to live in the moment and know the universe has a special plan for my future, and while it may not always be peaches and cream, it’s difficult to enjoy the sweet without the sour.

Wedding Dress for less

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For a girl that has gotten married three times to the same guy, wedding dress hunting is not always an easy job. I decided to take my chances when it came to finding the gown, because no dresses really spoke to me, and the thought of dumping thousands on a dress I wear once just killed me. I ordered a custom gown based off a style I chose from a China Factory off DHGate.com.

There are tons of factories, but they all have different reviews. I chose one with a customer feedback of 97% and higher positive. I gave them my exact measurements and they custom made my dress in less than 45 days. The dresses fit perfectly no alternations needed and I didn’t feel guilty when someone stepped on my gown, I spilled a little sauce, and only wore it once. With shipping each dress was under $140 bucks. I figured if it didn’t work out I could always wear it around the house or chop it into a cocktail dress, but luckily it worked and I could save my funds for a vacation.

Rooted Beauty Facial Wipes

Sometimes our skin just needs a little pick me up. Maybe you were running around the office and broke out a tiny sweat or your makeup is starting to fade off at the end of the day. Rooted Beauty is a fantastic new and natural product line on the market. Not only are their products made from natural ingredients, but the packaging is fun, bright, and environmentally kind. The products are produced in a solar powered facility and the packaging is recyclable. They go above and beyond by supporting women around the world with Women2Women, a skincare project that assists women of poverty and trafficking. You can check out the current projects on each project and the woman the funding assists.

I came across Rooted Beauty’s Raspberry Citrus facial wipes during a trip. The wipes are refreshing and have green coffee antioxidants in them. Witch Hazel is one of the main ingredients which protects against bacteria and blemishes. The aloe vera found in these wipes creates a natural sheen on my face. You can purchase them online on their website or find a selected heath food store or pharmacy near you on their store locator link.

http://www.rootedbeauty.com/store/

raspberrycitrus

Travel Bug

My first trip on my own wasn’t intentionally planned, it just started with a simple daydream I continued to build. It progressed into a real life adventure that changed my life forever. I was a single 27 year old aspiring to be everything living in New York City. I was caught between balancing chasing my dreams and balancing cocktail trays. It had been five years since I retired from the airline industry, and had thrown myself into city life.

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Ironically when I look back I rarely traveled outside of the city, including the neighborhood boroughs except to catch a flight back home for the holidays. When I did travel to see friends in other states I was constantly itching to get back home. It was as if an invisible cord tugged at my heart. I never got tired of the skyline view when landing into LGA, and I always requested an window A seat on the flight back home.

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I thought my romance would last forever with my city. I’m sure I’m not the only person that calls Manhattan that, but I feel as if she just gets me. The city knew all my favorite hobbies and restaurants. She appreciated my fashion sense or lack of and didn’t judge. She never left me bored and always entertained. I was in over my ears in debt and the only thing I had to show for it were my veneers I was forced to buy after a dental malpractice and a bag full of receipts of my nights out in the city. For years I kept telling myself, my friends, and family I was going to move to Los Angeles. Every year when my lease was up I would get cold feet. I’d make up excuses why I couldn’t move, a career break was right around the corner, my health insurance at my stable union job, lack of a car. The truth was I was petrified of Cali. The happy picture perfect people with sun kissed hair, natural tans, and laser white teeth. I somewhat enjoyed my rainy dark days of New York where I would write for hours at cafes and people watch. I enjoyed a little attitude on the subway. My commute was never boring, and my wardrobe never went out of style. Black on black is always in style in New York.

While daily life was certainly no walk in the park. I have been mugged, roofied, in between apartments and couch surfing as if it was a sport, but I appreciated New York for the good, bad, and the ugly. So I never left.

I hit rock bottom in 2008 when my four month long episode with bronchitis led me to a top ENT doctor on Park. She gave me a prescription that would send the bronchitis back to hell. She checked my vocal cords with a camera and concluded I needed to rest my voice. My nonstop chatter and straining my voice at work had created damage on my vocal cords. Her advice was to not talk, laugh, cough, or whisper for a minimum of 14-20 days. I laughed out loud at the thought. She would have better luck training an elephant ballet than to get me to rest in silence. I’m not one to talk to myself, but I’ll chat it up with anyone who will listen, the stranger passing out flyers, the homeless man on the subway, kids, cops, dogs, birds, you name it.

As I looked up apartments in Cali for fun I began to realize unless silent films made a comeback there was no way I would make a career out of acting with my crackily voice. In general I have a deeper voice like Demi Moore, some say I even resemble her. But with my vocal cords damaged I was a Demi smokes three packs a day and has laryngitis Moore. That’s when I decided to focus on my writing. Somehow my LA apartment search led me to Tree houses in Costa Rica on Craigslist. I couldn’t believe the price. A tree house in the jungle was only $700 a month? I was spending over a grand for a room in a rat box I shared with a strange roommate I found on Craigslist.

That was it! Go to a country where I didn’t speak the language. That would help with my solitude and I could write! I went out to Barnes and Nobles and bought a book on Costa Rica. A few days later I took my book to lunch at a Chinese Restaurant. My fortune cookie was the turning point. There was no looking back after I read my fortune. It read, You will be spending time in the jungle, in the mountains, near the ocean.

That August night I requested for a leave of absence of two and a half months from my job. I would leave on my birthday Jan 23rd five months later for a solo adventure in the jungle. By the time my bronchitis was gone, I had caught the travel bug, and still have it now.

travel bug

A sky goddess is born

Life In The Open Lane

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Everyone has dreams of what they want to be when they grew up. Maybe you wanted to be a doctor, veterinarian, beautician, actor, or policeman. Some lucky children become their childhood dream after they graduate high school. The problem with me was I changed my mind as much as I changed my underwear. One day I’d wake up and want to be an archeologist, other days a dog trainer or marry a mobster. For the most part I didn’t know what I wanted to do. It was my high school senior year and it was my tenth time meeting with the high school guidance counselor in less than two weeks. She was beginning to get very frustrated with my indecisiveness about the future of the rest of my life. She flipped through her file of my academic records, hobbies, and interests. She peered up at me through her pointed reading glasses and said, “Well Miss Turner I hope you spent this past weekend reflecting on the direction you will take.” The truth was the only reflecting I did the past weekend was checking out my reflection in the mirror imitating the Laverne and Shirley characters.

“Well frankly I’m only eighteen and I got the rest of my life to figure out my life.”

Needless to say she didn’t like that response. I had never taken the any math higher than pre-algebra so SATs were out of the question. All my electives were in art and I was barely passing painting. I wanted to write, travel, and entertain, but the thought of college made me want to join a circus or become a nun. I found a list of careers and circled the ones that could work for me. That’s when I came across flight attendant. I was eighteen and never had been on a plane. My longest trip was to Lake Erie a two hour drive for fishing. I began reading up on becoming a flight attendant. It sounded like a pretty glamorous job, and no math or SATs needed. That week I made an announcement to my family about my career. My mom scrunched her eyes as she ate a plate of steamed peas and mashed potatoes, reminding me I had never flown. How hard could being a flight attendant really be? I mean all you really do is look pretty and serve people, I already had experience in that. My mom tried convincing me I might not like flying at all. The truth was the thought did cross my mine, but I put it on the back burner. The perks were far more enticing. I pictured myself in a form fitting short dress. I would have a cute set of luggage on wheels I could roll behind my five inch heels. That was a far cry from my family’s square suitcases from the seventies that you had to sit on to lock. I would live in hotels, travel to exotic countries, and date sons of royalty. All my friends would be pretty, and the pilots would all be charming Ken dolls that came to life. The best part was the downtime on the airport layovers. I was under the impression the crew drank and hang out in the airport bars. “No Emily, the crew does not drink on the job. How would they fly the planes?” my mom said as she rolled her eyes. The whole FAA alcohol restriction was a bit of a buzz kill, but I figured I could get around it. My mom booked us a cheap flight so I could see what flying was like.

My first blow of reality hit as we climbed up the stairs of a piece of metal with rusty propellers.

“Um mom why does it have those things?” I said as I pointed to the propellers.

“Oh those are propellers, they help it fly.”

I had pictured a gigantic plane, a staff of beautiful blond flight attendants with French twists and brunettes with the short mod bob; all would have Orbit white teeth and sky caps. They would pass out peanuts and say, It’s a lovely day to fly welcome aboard! My mom clutched my hand as the plane wobbled through the clouds. I think I made our flight attendant nervous as I watched her every move as if I had just awoken from being frozen for sixty years. I observed everything about the plane.

“Mom where is my parachute?” I asked a bit worried. I was shocked as I was informed we didn’t have parachutes. I always thought if a plane was crashing the passengers stood in a single file line and jumped out of the plane with their carry-on luggage. It was a whole mess of unsettling information, but I was determined to become a sky goddess.

After using a flight attendant recruitment service for $100 in the spring of 2000, a small commuter airline called me for an interview in Washington DC. They flew me down for free. I was so excited it didn’t even faze me I was on a thirty passenger plane. I smiled at the flight attendant and told her I was about to work for her company. The interview went exceedingly well. The in-flight supervisor, Mrs. Brown, a tall black lady with strong features smiled and said, “One last question. Where would you like to be relocated?” Although anywhere was better than my hometown, I had the option of DC, Chicago, or New York City. It was a no brainier the Big Apple was my first choice. Little did I know when I chose New York I would have the rare opportunity to start a new airline, train with the FAA for six months, automatically be in the top ten in seniority, and be a supervisor at age nineteen.

I lived in a long term rental in Sterling, Virginia paid for by the airline with the other first class flight attendants. I was the youngest out of the class of fifteen so my nickname became Baby Em. It was my first encounter with gay men, and to my surprise they were nothing to be scared of and they all had their own distinct personalities. Greg was the whiner, a splitting image of Richard Gere, ex-wife and two daughters at home, recently came out of the closet. Marcos a bald straight shooter from New York always had something to say and most of the time it was condescending. Kavin was my favorite. He had ice blue eyes, black hair, and style. He didn’t talk a lot but when he did it was something sarcastically funny. I’d slide out of my seat laughing.  Kerri, my new best friend was a curvy blond with blue eyes that glowed. Her laugh was infectious, and carried for miles.

The training was intense. Normal in-flight training lasts five to six weeks, and that’s what I was packed for. Our first day we were informed we’d be in the first class of flight attendants to start a brand new airline with brand new jets that were coming in from Germany. The six weeks turned into six months. The hours were long, seven in the morning till late at night, then later nights playing pool and drinking margaritas. When we’d see pilots on the weekly trips to the airplane hanger we’d all get a little giddy and flirt. The gay flight attendants loved the trips.

“Oh he goes both ways,” said Kavin.

“What’s both ways?” I asked confused.

“He’ll do me while he’s kissing you.” The gay men scared me at first. They had a stronger sense of sexuality, one I couldn’t compete with.

After the wings were on and the airline was approved by the FAA, we were shipped off to New York. I had only been in Manhattan once when I was ten. After seeing a robbery and a man piss on the street, I knew one lucky day New York would be the place I called home. Eight of us shared a crashpad for a few hundred bucks a month. The crashpad is where the trip starts and ends. A group of crew members paid to have a place to crash at in between trips and commuting home. It was a diverse mix of flight attendants and pilots. Some crew members would crash one time in two months, others practically lived there. It was an adult playground with bunk beds, and blow up mattresses, pizza boxes,  mini liquor bottles, posters of Madonna, DVD’s of Star Trek. Sometimes there would be only one crew member alone, other nights four flight attendants piled on the deflated air mattress. Our crashpad was in Jackson Heights, Queens and it was nothing like Manhattan. I felt like I lived in a third world country. I got a lot of attention at the bus stop. I made some friends, Lolita, and Chimos. We drank Presidente beer on our stoop and went dancing on the nights I was home alone.

Whenever the crashpad was in need of supplies we obtained it for free from hotels, and the service galley. We had mini ketchup, packets of sugar, mini bottles of water and wine, Westin bath robes, toilet paper, bags of pretzels, and silverware from a diner in South Carolina. Kavin was in charge of the crashpad and he loved to collect trash. He got me involved in bringing it home on occasion when he was drunk and couldn’t stand straight. “But baby it’s beautiful, can’t you see it’s like art work,” he said one night as he stroked the head of a Moses statue.

Work was always entertaining. The security agents knew my latest gossip, the rampers gave me rides in their go carts, and flirting with scheduling got me out of on call days with pay. I was literally on top of the world. Sean the only straight flight attendant joined our crashpad. He’d take the ladies back to our crashpad, sleep with them, and in the morning put on one of the pilots extra uniforms. It worked when he wasn’t getting busted by the pilots who called him out on it.

The crashpad was the home to many pillow fights and late night snacks in the kitchen which turned into all night affairs with crew members. The crew lounge is the center of the universe for the crew. Pilots would be propped up sleeping on bags of pretzels. Flight attendants being bitched out in the office for having the wrong color purse, and crew scheduling calling the office phones. It was a tight space with one round table. Not all the crews got along so sometimes the tension could feel intense. Mixing cocky pilots, dramatic flight attendants, and sassy gay men in one space is a volcano waiting to erupt. The crew was one sky goddess and two pilots. If the pilots were lame I’d order in pizza to my room after a trip, do a beauty spa, and watch a Lifetime tv movie. Boring crews made five hour days fell like fifteen hours of hell. Some pilots didn’t even want me in the cockpit. The fun pilots became buddies of mine. If they were as senior as me we would bid for the same trips. They’d want me in the cockpit as much as possible. They’d tell me to quickly do service then get my butt up in the cockpit to hang out. I’d receive a call from Captain Dixon, he’d say, “Em I need a coffee with cream, and your right thigh. What the hell are you doing back there? We need you up here!” Sometimes they’d let me talk to the other planes on the head set, “Hi there it’s fallen eagle 342, we are fifty miles due south of Greenville … do you copy?”

It was a privilege being a supervisor. Being the only sky goddess working a flight I made my own rules on the plane. Being bases out of LGA a.k.a. La Garbage meant two things, neurotic angry New Yorkers, and an infinity of delays. Nothing was worse than a 90 degree day in two layers of polyester convincing a passenger he did not want to turn the plane around and get off. “Please just sit down,” I would say pleading with the passenger. “We are already twenty five in line. I bet we will be in Boston in five hours.” It killed me to see their tears and glares so I took it upon myself to shake things up. I’d get on my intercom and say, “Ladies and gentlemen you see that little flight attendant button? Well we’re gona use it. I got a load of wine and beer and you all look very thirsty after that long wait on the runway.” I would ask random questions and have passengers ring their call button for a shot to answer and drink. They were ridiculous questions I heard come and go such as what animal causes the most human fatalities in Africa? How long does a pigs orgasm last? Where is our Captain from? By the end of the trip the whole plane felt like a group of friends on a charter flight. Passengers would slap me and the pilots high five as they left the plane.

Other days my pilots and I played jokes on each other. “Please congratulate your flight attendant for a new contract with Avon as a hand model!” The pilots would say on the intercom. I’d strike back in revenge the next flight leg saying, “Please congratulate Captain Brady on his new triplets and recent divorce!” Some days it got pretty ugly. The best part of the trip was the overnight. Every overnight was different. From the city, to the interests of the crew, it was always spontaneous and fun.

Pilots and flight attendants have an mandatory rule no alcohol eight hours before work. Normally company policy kicks it up a few hours, but that still gives many crews time to party. Sometimes we’d have the hotel van driver pull over to pick up a case of beer if we got in on an early afternoon layover. We’d fill our tubs with ice, jump on the beds in our pjs, order in pizza and watch cartoons or HBO’s shows. At night we’d always start at the hotel bar for pre-briefing call time for the next day, and drinking agenda for the night. Some nights were mild, dinner and a beer then call it a night. Other nights cool crews would find their way to each other on a mission for a blast. One night in Columbia we stole silverware from a diner. Our first officer Daniel shoved fourteen forks into my back pocket. Afterwards myself and another flight attendant and four pilots in their late 30’s crashed a frat party. We just followed the sound of music to a big white house and let ourselves in. Two hours later we jumped the gated pool fence and all skinny dipped in our Ramada Inn hotel pool. I looked up to see some seventy year olds from a national bingo tournament staring down at us. The beautiful thing about having a hotel contract is we never got in trouble.

A clear sky, pleasant passengers, and laid back crew equaled a great day. After serving my passengers I would entertain myself for hours like an only child. I read magazines, made to do lists, did my nails, told passengers stories, and meowed like a lost cat into the back intercom , it was amusing to watch the passengers look around for the kitty. I would make myself sick by playing all you can eat galley games with the pilots. I once had thirty biscottis and eight bags of party mix down in less than an hour. Sometimes I’d lock myself in the lavatory and pretend I was having sex with a passenger. The truth was in two years of flying I only saw one or two men I would join the mile high club with. Sometimes I would stare into the lavatory mirror and practice my Oscar awards speech, and I was humiliated when I got caught. On very turbulent flights I would buckle myself into the jump seat located in the front of the plane. I loved turbulence and had a very bad habit of dozing off. I’d dart my eyes open and peer around the plane to see who saw me sleeping. Was it thirty seconds or ten minutes? One time after a nap flight a customer de-boarding said, “Nice nap?”

Downtime in between flights could be painful, especially when I was broke. The airline paid the crews in peanuts, so sometimes I had to find ways to kill time on a budget. If I had an extra ten bucks it would be spent on food, if I was lucky enough to be on a stopover at my own base things could get rowdy.  There was one flight attendant Tommy who was as silly and ridiculous as me. We were always daydreaming and goofing off. Being that we were on a smaller commuter airline of a large corporation our office was downstairs. To enter it the crew had to walk down the 737 Boeing ramp and enter from outside. One day the ramp was vacant.

“Hey Tommy, are you bored?” I asked. Tommy was making a giant rubber band ball.

“Um how did you know?” He asked as he snapped the rubber band ball across the crew lounge. “These are not the rubbers I want to be using. I have an idea … you want to pretend we are super high tech FBI agents on a mission to find a top criminal?”

We snuck out of the lounge and to the outside of the ramp. We ran up the stairs and climbed up the ladder on top of the ramp leading to the roof. We spun, intertwined our fingers into guns, and cocked them in the air ready for fire. Tommy and I climbed down the stairs and entered the ramp as secretively as we could. We looked around to ensure no spies were on our tales. Once we were in the ramp we jumped in the air.

“Fire!” Tommy shouted. “Rigby we lost them!”

“Five O’clock,” I screamed. “I see a shadow!”

We rolled onto the floor and summer saluted down the ramp. We jumped up smashing into each other as a customer service agent stood in her red jacket at the entrance of the ramp.

“What are you two doing?” She asked in a stern voice demanding an explanation.

“Playing cops and robbers,” I said innocently.

“Not on the ramp! Off!” She shouted as she pointed us out the door.

Tommy and I took our mission onto the airport gates. We scurried past passengers and hid behind pillars.

Hangovers are an elongated suicide. I always made sure I had extra airsick bags after a night of boozing. Nothing was worse than shoving my face into the lavatory toilet after it hadn’t been emptied in over five hours. There is one thing worse than flying with a hangover, flying with wicked passengers. The variety of them was as bright as a bag of skittles. I once had a whole plane of thirty two foreigners who didn’t speak a lick of English or wear an ounce of deodorant. I almost passed out twice because of the stench. During our decent into New York I tried to motion them to sit down and fasten their buckles. Instead they all stood up and stared out the window waving their stinky arms in the air. Some passengers attitudes were as foul as my grandpa’s socks.

“I’m the CEO of Lotus advertising. I want the pilot to drive the plane to the gate,” one old man in a three piece suit demanded one morning. I smiled and said, “I don’t care if you are the President, you have to get on the van like everyone else per FAA regulations.”

One old bitter lady asked for a 7up. I poured Sprite. “No I didn’t say Sprite. I want 7up,” she said with attitude. I cocked my head, gave her a look of power, snatched up her drink and said, “Now you get nothing.” Service was expected by passengers, but our number one priority is safety. I didn’t have to serve passengers, but I did have to give CPR if someone choked on a pretzel.

I know most of us flight attendants seem like flakes, a bit like airheads as we bounce around the airport, but after hours of flying you get a bit dizzy. Jet lag can be equivalent as a mild dose of laughing gas. When shit hit the engine, our flight attendants were super women in skirts. Flight attendants have the training and knowledge of fire safety, how to detach a bomb, child labor, heart attacks, death on a flight, high security prisoners, broken nails, and broken hearts.

When a flight attendant tells you to wear the seat belt, drop your ego and do the rest of the passengers a favor, wear it. You don’t want to be the asshole grounding the plane in Indiana or Kentucky because your head is stuck through the overhead bin when your plane’s destination was the Cayman Islands.

Being that I started a new airline with new jets each month a new one arrived. Every jet had a story attached to it.

402 – My first plane I flew on.

407- Jen had sex with Captain Jenkins in seat 3C

432- Diana Ross’s plane

413- Poop plane passenger left us a treat on the floor

In reality everything breaks eventually. Just as a car can have a simple malfunction so can any other machine. I never once felt unsafe flying. I was prepared for anything, and I had complete confidence with every pilot I flew with. I was fortunate enough to never have been handed a high risk situation. There were a few close calls. My captain informed me our whole windshield cracked into a spider web. We had to do a steep dive in altitude before the windshield blew out. Luckily there were no airplanes in our air traffic. Life in the open lane, sometimes you the only airplane in the sky for miles. Other times the air traffic control is signaling twenty planes in a section. After a smooth forty minutes of flying my plane dropped harshly. I told the passengers to fasten their seat belts because the turbulence was rough. Moments later the captain came on the intercom with a shaky voice. “Uh hi guys. We’re alright. Everything is ok. Uh we just did a quick dive because a 737 got in our air traffic. He was only 600 feet head on, but we missed him.”

Sometimes details should be spared, but in a life or death moment such as that the pilot was probably just comforting himself. If something on a plane is defective, but the plane is flyable the crew ferry flies it to a maintenance base without passengers. Ferry flights were my favorite. I could sleep, clean, sit in the cockpit for takeoff. Some crew members got their mile high status in the passenger seats, others played games. One little pilot, Ralph who was bred to be a jockey used to ride the service tray up the aisle for takeoff.

The airline career for the most part if fun, rewarding, and light. I loved my airline job, but couldn’t see myself serving peanuts for thirty years. I quit after getting accepted into a Manhattan acting conservatory. I wanted to go to college to be a writer, FBI agent, or lawyer. I didn’t get accepted into college because my math and nonexistent SAT score. I did get accepted with a scholarship to the School for Film and Television with a scholarship after I prepared a scene with Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blond.

I learned a lot about life and people through the airline. Passengers can have different job titles and bank balances, but once they were all crammed into my commuter jet it was all the same to me. I only showed favoritism to the pilots. They were the ones who fed me dinner and drinks after a hard day.

One thing we hate cleaning more than when a baby pukes and poops? An adult doing it.

Even though we get paid in peanuts, airlines discontinued serving them so don’t ask.

If you don’t fit in a seat belt, just ask for an extender, just don’t ask us to autograph the extender as a gift. It’s mandatory we have three per plane, and we never know when we are going to fly a team of sumo wrestlers or a group of kids to fat camp.

When a pilot asks a flight attendant, “What have you been up to?” It’s air lingo for what pilot have you been using your air miles on since our last trip?

It’s acceptable … different area codes = different lovers.

Never date a pilot.

After I quit I was in New York at a café on the Upper West Side. I should have been studying a monologue, but I was making a list of places I wanted to travel. A charming man in his thirties kept glancing my way.

“Do you mind me asking what you are writing?” He asked after we both got our checks.

“Sure,” I said as I held up my list. “All the places in the world I want to travel.”

He got up from his table and sat next to me amused. “That’s funny, I’m a pilot for American.”

“Well I used to be a flight attendant for AC Jet.”

We talked for a bit, then he said, “I don’t date flight attendants.”

“Well I don’t date pilots.”

“Can I get your number.”

“Sure, I don’t fly anymore.” I said as I slid him my number.

My highlight of my career was my last day flying. I had a big plan for a grand finale, and I was prepared. It was a late afternoon flight up from North Carolina. I informed the plane I was leaving the airline to become an actress. The plane cheered, I think the bulk of the load was from down south. I gave away all the alcohol. The passengers all hiccuped and hobbled off the plane. The captain looked at them and asked, “What did you do to them?” I just shrugged my shoulders as the Delta van drove them to the gate. I exited the plane and stood on the tarmac as the plane next to us boarded. I stripped off my uniform, jumped into the air in my underwear and screamed, “I quit!” I quickly tossed on my jeans and a sweater, handed my supervisor my uniform. He looked at the uniform and said, “That’s the quickest I ever got a returned uniform.” I quickly exited the airport before the rumors started hitting the fan.

Years later I’m still an airline legend. I’ll never forget my life as a sky goddess. The airline employees are some of the most hard working, down to earth, people I have ever met. If you want to get ahead in life, start miles above the rest in the airline industry.

I kept a uniform. I wear it sometimes in my apartment as I reminisce about the high life, life in the open lane.

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