Monday, November 19, 2007

The weekend that must not be named

This weekend was an amazing exercise of a daughter's love for her mom - and improving her mom's house. Yes, this was the weekend my brain had a huge fart when my mom asked, 'so...whacha doin' this weekend?' Response didn't come in time, so my mom continues 'looks like we're painting!'

And we did paint! I spent Friday mainly at Home Depot with the mother unit buying all necessary materials. And this was pretty fun, I have -

bitch! Did that just happen? Can I just say that I never get manicures and that's because I always screw it up? And right after I decide to treat myself and get one, my nail gets stuck underneath a keyboard KEY! WTF? Does this happen to anyone else? gawd!

Where was I? Yes, Home Depot. Oh how I love home improvement stores, I am not sure of the day, but it was such an amazing feeling to walk into Lowe's back in the day, look around and realize, I know where to get almost everything! And theoretically, I can tackle any home project. In practice, that's another story.

So painting of my mom's living room, kitchen, hallway and bathroom was a two-day endeavor that called upon spirits that I have not seen in a long time. Namely my XL YMCA t-shirt from my teen years as a desk clerk. That ugly ass shirt takes me back to days when old guys in their mid to late 40s (remember, I was 16, anyone over 23 was OLD) came into the Y everyday to sweat off their stress. And it got gamey in there after 6 pm, and not in a sexy dorm room gamey either. There was this one guy that was totally ripped and old, always with a beard, red workout shorts, and a tight wife beater type workout tank. And everyday he came in, we'd have to stop rocking out to whatever station I wanted to listen to and make me switch to the oldies station. Wow, sweatin' to the oldies has morphed into a lifestyle that transcends curly-haired freaks. But I have to admit, after listening to so many oldies, I do switch to those stations pretty frequently while in the car. God works in strange ways.

My dad, mom, sister, brother and I joined forces to tackle this painting project that took a lot more brute strength than I expected. Now let it be known that I work out fairly frequently, but nothing prepared my body, equipped with the upper arm-strength of a small bird, for all this waving up and down of a paint roller. Ralph Machio would have been a world class fighter had he come over this weekend. That much I know.

We painted everyday for about 9 hours daily and quit when the light went away. At this point, my brother was calling for my mom to head to Home Depot and hire some day workers to finish the rest of the project. But he and I know my mom don't play that. She has 3 kids, and I am sure in her opinion, all those hours of labor are more than enough payment for a few measly days of painting. So my sister bought dinner too. I hope we're even.

Now I am sitting on the couch with my dog, watching 'Big Idea with Donny Deutsch'. Why? Well because somehow I came down with a weird stomach pain thing that I cannot get over, so I decided to take it easy. Maybe I will take a couple miles walk. This is also the part of the year I love, when the air gets a little chilly, crisp, a brisk 61 degrees. That’s right. Sixty-one degrees. And that is cold to me. Sure I’ll need to suit up appropriately, like with a fleece, scarf and long pants, but hey, I am a trooper. My dog, my walking partner, is not. He will fight me and fight me and fight me. Running under that table, into his kennel, anywhere he can run and hide to escape from his outside sweater and a walk that will chill his itty-bitty organs to the cellular level! Yes!

And even though I am not feeling so hot in the belly arena, I am dreaming of pie. Pie. Pie!!!!

PS. Headed to Thailand over thanksgiving for CW NOW. I am just staying in Ko Samui and hitting up the Full Moon Party. Woohoo! Get ready for some crazy stories!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


So....did anyone actually see my segment on Costa Rica on CW NOW? Otherwise, check out the online version. And let me know what you think.

Ok so my next little adventure involves this crazy new fitness craze (as we're calling it) Parkour. Now many of you may know what it is, and many of you may not. Parkour is the sibling to Free Running, which is to move as smoothly and fluidly as possible past all obstacles...Parkour is a little different. It deals more with moving as quickly and efficiently as possible from point A to B. That means instead of creating a beatuiful seamless fluid movement, Parkour makes you jump, vault, run and leap over obstacles so you can catch that bus!

It started in Europe and now is making a huge splash especially among the females in the emerald city, Seattle. So I went up to Seattle to kick some Parkour ass. And let me tell you, as much as I practiced rolling, landing, vaulting, etc., all those things made me incredibly sore and tired. And as simple as each activity looks on TV, it ain't folks. And did I mention how i love that in most of the world, people call this Parkour, my friends and I in Los Angeles just call it running from the cops. Too true a look into my personal life? Hmmmm...

I love the girl I met...she is spearheading the Parkour movement in Seattle, Janine Cundy. She's young, hip, and makes huge blueberry pancake breakfasts for up to 50 girls who go and train on the weekends. She took me out to the odd yet gorgeous Gas Works Park in Seattle to show me the ropes. I, a journalist of questionable ground, think to myself, huh 'show me the ropes' means she'll perform some of the movements and I will take it in, like a reporter. Well no, I'm not getting off that easy. Being a scaredy-cat daredevil aka. totally chicken shit adventurer, I decide I really want to try parkour. She starts me off with landings. Sure. totally rock that. Then rolls. Ok, how? Just roll onto your neck, throw your body over as you reach for the sun. Wha????? You want me to roll and break my neck while I reach for the sky and say hello to the sun? why do I always have to make the first move with the sun? why can't he step up and be a man? GAWD, the single life is so hard.

Anyhow, after finally rolling on my neck and realizing I am not made of glass, I start rolling like a crazy woman all over the grass, unaware that the patch of greenery we chose is also the choice green for geese to come and excrete all that delicious fecal matter. Woot. Parkour is already starting to be great!

Then we get to vaulting. And I swear to god, I vaulted over a cement divider that is about 10 inches wide and hip high about 89 times - and only caught air once. The vault plan? Well, as Janine so kindly explains, just jump up and take your legs over your body. To give you more momentum to get your body weight over the divider, 'aim your face for the ground'. Oh, is that all it is? Aim my face at the ground? easy breezy. My response? 'you want me to aim my money-maker at the what?!'. Janine found this entertaining. She also asked me to join her as she jumped over a second story stairwell and slid down a 10 foot wall. She demos and says, 'now you go.' Huh. What did I say? 'I'm totally good. You slide, I'll just use the stairs. That works. Parkour for Chi-Lan!

All in all, Parkour is a huge mind-game as well as physical play, IMHO. You have to remember how you used to play as a kid, remember what it felt like to try things because you are invincible, and realize that your body can do things that it hasn't done if you try. And as sore as I ended up being the next day, there are many a rail that I pass daily thinking 'Man, I can totally just jump over that.' I have to admit, I am hooked. And I will continue to aim my face at the floor. One question - why can't parkour involve aiming your ass at the floor instead? doesn't that seem more reasonable? Go ahead - discuss.

watch the segment on CW NOW Sunday at 7 on the CW.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Costa Rica!!!!

Hello loyal readers!

I know, since I post all of once a month, it isn't fair for me to expect you guys to tune into CW NOW this Sunday to catch my two pieces on Costa Rica, the ultimate tropical paradise! But come on! Check it out. I am in a bathing suit during much of it, it is so nice and warm in that country.

So why have I not posted in over a month? Well besides my inability to sit still and type for over 5 minutes, it's because October - December, I, luckily, and really busy...In October alone, I was home all of about 1.5 weeks. Yeah!

So what have I been doing in the spooky month of October? Well besides trying to manage my crazy vicious dog, Moose, who btw, is getting a lot better with commands, I have been traveling a lot. Most recently I went to my semi-hometown of San Francisco, where I shot much of my HGTV special, '20 ways to live a greener home' or something to that effect. During this shooting, I fell in love with a pre-fab home designed by architect Ray Kappe. Can you tell I am a total modernist at heart? I am all about pre-fab housing where your house is built in some factory and then pieced together on-site. now just because I am in love with it, doesn't mean my wallet is allowing me to have it. Pre-fab housing, as much as I want it, it is still kind of out of reach for a girl like me in Southern California...come to think of it, a parking space is kinda out of reach for a girl like me in Southern Califormia. Damn it!

Ok, so Costa Rica! Wow, how awesome was that trip. Now if you follow CW NOW, you know my fellow correspondent is J Boogie, and he and I were originally designated to go together. Now at the last minute, the powers that be decided that Costa Rica was more 'Costa Chica' so they decided to just send me instead of us both. I felt really bad for Boogie as he really wanted to go, but now he may head to Moscow, so he didn't lose out too much. :)

As for Costa Rica, it is a magical place, humid, but magical. I, being of the warm blooded type that can only handle 75 degree weather, I didn't suffer too much with Costa Rica's heat. But then again, it was the rainy season and the humidity in the highlands were at bay. Yeah! So if you'll indulge me, this is the breakdown of my five day trip to Costa Rica. Did you hear that? I think Fergie just started singing my theme song 'Glamour-ous'. Ok not really...I'll just go sit over there.

My 5 day crazy extravaganza to and through Costa Rica started with an early AM flight from LA connecting through Miami, arriving in San Jose at 7:45 pm. Now I know most of you are like, 'girl, do you have any idea about geography? why are you going east just o go west again?' Good question teacher's pet. But let me tell you, airlines aren't exactly the most sensible people in the world, and the people of American are not exactly 'on it.' Case in point...So all the flights leave on time, so I assume we will land in Costa Rica on time. Flights have been fine thus far, but as we approach San Jose, the pilot tells us there is some thick fog that is blocking view of the runway and we cannot land. So the guy decides to circle like a vulture for about an hour. Hmmm...ok. Then I notice the lights of the city seem to be getting further and further away. Pilot finally comes on the PA system and tells us we have to be rerouted to Panama City, Panama for the night. WHAAAA????!!!!!!! Considering we were supposed to drive 3 hours away to our first location that night to start shooting at 7 am the next morning, what are we gonna do? The answer? Absolutely nothing. Can I really move a 747 or force transport of 400 people? nah. wouldn't want to intimidate all the people on the plane with my awe inspiring strength. Now if Murphy's Law wasn't just making sure I knew it was there to kick my ass, as soon as we land in Panama City, the weather clears up and the pilot asks everyone to stay put as he will fly us back once we gas up. Secret I learned since I got to sit up front and make friends with the pilot and attendants, we were low on gas!!!!! HOLY CRAP! Ok, so gassing back up and getting the 'maintenance log' for the plane takes all of 2 hours - imagine this, hundereds of people on a pretty large plane are stuck seated. A couple can get up and walk to the front of the plane where the front door is open for some air, but otherwise, nothing. And on top of no fresh air and no circulation, they run out of all supplies. I am talking water, liquids, snacks, everything! An older Asian man walks up to ask for something to drink and all they can give him are two half filled plastic glasses of (drum roll) ice! Crazy! So after waiting waaaayyyy too long on the tarmac, we finally fly off to San Jose and land! Yeah! Now that incredible ordeal on American lasted a good 16 hours. Let it be known that a direct flight takes all of 5.5 hours. As Yoda would say, pissed I was.

Anyhow, after a cab driver who works on commission from hotels gets 4 Americans (my crew and myself) to accept a hotel for the night at his preferred clean and cheap hotel, we finally get to rest. Little did he tell us, he was taking us straight into the red light district, the trannie red light district. How did he know out of all the places, that's where I'd feel most comfortable? It's like he was reading my mind....

We sleep for all of three hours and get into the car for a long ass car ride to a gorgeous spot in the highlands of Costa Rica, La Furtuna and Tabacon Spa and Resort. Once we get here, all the crap from traveling gets washed away as we look out and see this gorgeous awe-inspiring still active volcano, Arenal, and see the lush rainforest surrounding us. Now Tabacon is a five star resort that doesn't fool around. The entire hot springs is lush, green and the steam rising from each of the different pools was incredibly impressive. Then we walked through the spa treatment rooms. Now when one thinks of spas, white wall and complete silence is what comes to mind. Well not here. All the treatment rooms and yoga center are situated in the rainforest, with all the rooms' four walls open so you clearly interact with the rainforest. You hear the animals, insects and feel the wind and fresh air on you as you are being indulged in whatever treatment you choose. This experience of just seeing this area and frolicking in the hot springs made the day of travel kind of manageable.

Next morning we headed into a canyon to go canyoning. This activity allows you to move through a canyon by hiking and rappelling, and was crazy fun! Now being slightly afraid of heights, it was an experience to be told first and foremost, this is a 165 foot drop. Wha?!!???!!!! No one told me this. And since we hiked there and I couldn't turn back, that and there was a camera on my face the entire time, it was kind of hard for me to say, 'I'm good this round. go on without me. next time for sure.' Also, once thing I noticed is that Costa Ricans don't really care to 'ease' you into anything. The tallest rappel down a waterfall was my first. There were 4 more. Really? you couldn't set a sister up with a 65 footer first? 100 footer, even! Anyhow, I am glad I decided to say fuggetaboutit and get my harness hooked up and took the plunge. Now being not the heaviest participant and it being my first time at the rappel, it was hard to figure out how to get the weight to start pulling me down the rope. Gravity was giving me the finger during this first rappel. He obviously wanted me to look like an ass on TV. You win this round gravity. So soon I had to start pulling the rope up so my body could slip down. Crazy! And after two runs or so, we encountered a waterfall that really wanted to make us all wet. And it did. We rappelled straight into a waterfall, making for good wet t-shirt contest entrants. And let's not forget the sneakers. Because if there is one thing I absolutely love, it's walking in soaking wet sneakers. Yes!

After beautiful waterfalls in the AM, let's talk about the PM. Did I wrong Murphy's Law in another life? Anyhow, we started driving to get to Jaco, a beach town and our next location at a good hour after caonyoning. What should have been a 3-4 hour drive turned out to be a 6 hour ordeal in a rainstorm, which ended in us knocking on the door of a private apartment hotel (popular in that area of Playa Hermosa). Now it would not have been so bad had the matron of the apartment hotel not been a complete and total 'security-guard-drunk-with-power-of-a-sewn-on-badge-and-plastic-baton.' You know what I'm talking about....anyhow, this woman, who we ended up calling 'Militant Millicent' wore only bathing suit bottoms and a t-shirt, didn't really welcome us. Rather, she showed us our barren rooms, which we were expected to share. And please note, I am the only girl and I had just spent the last 6 hours in a CAR with 3 GUYS. I needed my own space, but was cool. I didn't say anything...but my sound man, being a chivalrous man, jumped to my defense saying I needed a private residence, at which point, i think I saw Militant Millicent's head slowly start to release steam through the ears and her head almost explode. Lovely!

So what was the first thing I learned about lovely Jaco Beach while there? well I learned that is is almost solely known as a 'working girl's town' and an overdeveloped beach town. ok, win win is what I am hearing. That would explain all the signs telling me not to invite prostitutes into the hotel which is family friendly. Damn, wish I would have seen that sign sooner. I wonder if she gives refunds.

So what else did I do? What about zip lining through the chicklet trees, releasing sea turtles into the ocean and taking a surf lesson? That's right. I fit about a week's worth of activity into 3 days. Lemme tell you, I am still exhausted. But I loved sending those little sea turtles out to the ocean. Seeing them move to the water really makes me realize how in tune with mother nature all beings are, except us...I didn't know the baby sea turtles were born that morning, but the vultures circling above knew right from the get go. Damn.

Long story short, as long as we were traveling, like from one location to another, in wheels, with wings, whatever, it was pretty much the most torturous time of my time in this foreign country, but afterwards, it was pure paradise - on 4 hours sleep nightly. Costa Rica was a great experience. But not cheap, unless you REALLY try. My emotional high? the itty bitty sea turtles! They were so extra cute! they made me want to get a black mini cooper. :)