Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Return of the Iced Latte

"I'd like a grande nonfat iced latte please," I chirp excitedly to the Starbucks barista. Not just another tall cup of whatever bold note they are brewing that day, not another misto, plain or flavored, not even the ever popular (and my eternal favorite) Carmel Macchiato. No, the iced latte is a glorious happy drink. It's prepared quickly and downed just as quickly.

It must be the warmer temps that have finally graced us here in Philadelphia. Come fall I welcome the hot cocoas, the coffees, the pumpkin and gingerbread spices that flavor everything. But it's April. Actually, it's nearing the end of April and I with nutty Nor’easter weather spoiling all sorts of outdoor plans until this week, I was miserable most of the month. My distain for winter was obvious in my ordering. Normally not one to mix it up or sway from a favorite, I was all over the board - flip flopping from tall coffees to caps, to sampling the Dolce Le Leche latte (ick) to a Vanilla Cream. Many of which I wasn't finishing and leaving to ferment in my car.

Then the other day I walked outside and OMG I didn't need my winter fur trimmed coat! I actually wanted something cold and refreshing to drink. Upon my daily decent to the coffee brewery of my choice I promptly ordered an iced latte. Within seconds (not minutes waiting for the milk to steam), my drink was on the counter. Is it the quickness of service? Or the joy that comes with not having to sip this drink? I can drop a straw into it and slurp away?

Whatever makes me giddy for the iced latte, so be it. I am quite content embracing it this time of year. Now if I could just make it so there's no condensation...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sick Roxanne? Or Sick Chrissie in the Buff?

"Way to be a Sick Roxanne! Now those kids will know you as Sick Chrissie!," my sister's text screamed at me late Thursday. I know, I thought.

"Sick Roxanne" was the name my senior painting class gave to our regular model this one particular evening when she was horribly ill, coughing, sneezing, and blowing her nose. Roxanne was a wreck that class. Yet she persevered. During our critique weeks later all of us laid out our sketches and paintings and our professor commented positively on all of our Roxanne portraits we created that evening. "That was Sick Roxanne..." and we'd all laugh because if there wasn't one of us that pointed to a painting and muttered that, we all did. Sick Roxanne inspired us all and we churned out some stellar portraits.

I've been modeling at Villanova for 6 years now and never once thought about that crazy experience - until the other day. I'm am a living embodiment of What Goes Around Comes Around. I am also a living embodiment of All or Nothing.

Posing for a drawing class and feeling under the weather, I had flashbacks to that hysterical evening and the crits. God, I hope these Villanova kids have some bitchin gesture drawings of me after my pathetic state here today. Unlike Roxanne, I was not standing and sitting dealing with a cold. No, my incident is a million times more dramatic and embarrassing. What happened, you ask? I became feverish suddenly and despite taking a seated pose, managed to completely faint in front of this entire room of students. Nude. Now it sucks when you know you feel like crap and you talk to yourself, trying to focus so you don't faint even though the world is closing in on you. One minute I was talking to myself, the next I was in a dream state, and then suddenly my eyes opened and Brother Jack and Joan are standing over me, patting my face, sopping my head with cold towels and asking me if I'm OK, if I know who I am, where I am, etc.


I knew who I was, where I was, the date, everything. It hit me then what had just happened. I was more aware that I'd actually fainted (something I hadn't done since I gave blood at 17) and that I must have the flu and that I'd have to go home and I ruined his drawing class than the fact that I was exposed for all to see (I was barely aware that they'd thrown my sweater over me). SHIT. THIS SUCKS. MY DAY IS RUINED.

But wait. It gets better.

They ushered me to the back room...kids were grabbing towels and juice bottles...apparently in the seconds that I was out someone had called the Villanova security and EMT...class was dismissed...an entire EMT squad came rushing in to ask questions and take my blood pressure. What??? I cooperate and think the drama will end here and I'll have some privacy to put my duds back on and calmly skate out like nothing had ever happened.

WRONG. Brother Jack looks at me and says "I should warn you...bells and whistles Chris...lots of drama!" I thought he was kidding. Apparently not. The freakin ambulance comes, I'm staring at all these strangers, and what about my clothes?! I barely had time to slip on my cute purple Victoria Secret panties, fleecy pants and top before these peeps escort me out of the art building in a wheelchair, lift me onto a stretcher and place me in the ambulance, all the while smacking little sticky heart monitor things all over my body as we careened down Lancaster Ave. to Bryn Mawr Hospital. OH MY GOD. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?! I'M IN A GODDAMN AMBULANCE GOING TO THE HOSPITAL?!!?!?

At this point I'm half laughing at the drama ensuing, apologizing profusely to Brother Jack for causing such a scene and ruining his class, calling Vince and explaining the situation, and wondering how on earth was I going to explain this away. Maybe no one has to know...

I should interject here that Bryn Mawr Hospital is about 200 yards from a Starbucks and sans my coffee that morning (maybe that's why I fainted?) I tried unsuccessfully to have the driver (or anyone) stop and get me a latte.

I tried to hide at the hospital but Vince showed up and found me...and really the only reason I called him is because obviously I left my car at Villanova and I'd need a ride home...not because I want to dwell on drama or have hospital visitors. Ask anyone - I tell the family hours after something happens and then they scream at me for not calling. I sure wasn't calling anyone about being here (at least not yet) so he took it upon himself to inform the fam. I should also interject that Vince has a bigger mouth than me and loves instigating scenarios. Rumors spread like wildfire in a matter of minutes (see why I don't tell people?)..."Oh she must be pregnant!"..."Maybe it's a seizure?" (recalling my blood donation in 1995)..."Did she eat?" (duh, of course I ate that morning). I mean who cares about all that?! Forget where I am. Isn't it funnier that I was modeling? Ordinarily I don't broadcast that I model (if you ask, I'll tell), but I don't really want my grandmothers knowing, but then again I'd rather people be amused at this than initiating a phone tree that Chrissie fainted and therefore must be knocked up. Of course now that this happened (and obviously me writing this blog) it's moot.

Two hours, some tests (I even had an EKG) and poking of my veins for an IV (ick) and blood work (gross) later, I was released - Not pregnant (of course, I knew this), not a victim of a bizarre seizure. Just diagnosed as a fainting spell. If you ask me, I think the extra strength Tylenol mixed with the Robetussin gel cap taken the previous night gave me a medicine head and those chemicals were still in my body at 10:30 Thursday morning when this happened. Seriously, I'm a pathetic light weight and probably OD'd - most medication gives me a medicine head or knocks me out...

Meanwhile, Sick Chrissie went down in history with that class and certainly with me. How do these situations find me??? Being sick and being in the ER and having family talk about me and spread rumors because they have nothing else to do - that's the crap I can't stand and why I shade out and don't tell people. As it is, I'm laughing about the whole ordeal now, classic Chrissie, more upset that she ruined an art class than fainting in the buff...knowing there was a terrific story to tell.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I could feel my self confidence eroding a tad. I was relatively unmotivated to do much the last 2-3 weeks. eBay was becoming more appealing with each passing day. Even creative endeavors like arranging wedding proofs in a new album were seeming bleak. Then over the weekend a good friend flat out called me on this unChrissie behavior. It's part of starting a new business and you knew things would take time she reminded me. Yes, I admitted. However, she kicked me in the butt and told me not to lose myself, as this uncertain wavering in confidence persona was simply not me.

It was true. Situations where I would normally not think twice about doing or saying whatever - suddenly I was hiding. Not wanting to feel like a burden, a needy child, not wanting to disappoint. There are specific people I want as mentors and coaches, who's businesses and work I admire greatly. But I feel so small compared to them. Of course I let myself forget that they too have been in similar boats.

I was wandering in a desert for a few weeks, lots of nothing surrounding me, no direction, no plan, obviously dehydrated from any nutrients...Maybe I didn't want to look for the tools or maybe they just appeared - an oasis! Either way, between our conversation and a terrific book I just read - How To Make A Name For Yourself by Robin Fisher Roffer - I felt motivated this week to regroup and think about me and what makes me who I am. To return to a plan and brainstorming session and tap into stuff that excites me and motivates me.

I have a feeling this surge will help me in the long run. There may not be clients right now, but much relies on confidence. I have to get past these insecurities. I mean - It's just the ego getting in the way of making things happen, of making me don masks and be all incognito. Aside from some breakups, when have I ever been incognito?!