Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blog of the Day

You may have noticed that one of my comments on my last post was removed by yours truly. I was excited to see a comment from a new person, but sadly, "Aimee" turned out to be a link to coupons for NY and Company. I think this is like making flirty eyes with a hottie at a bar all night only to find out he wants your friend's number.

However, I should thank this anonymous user who has toyed so ungraciously with my heart. Because of her, I had to figure out how delete comments (uhh, yeah..turns out that is the little trash can that shows up next to the comment...in my own defense, it looks a LOT like a hairbrush or a seashell.) While searching for this information, I found tons of things I can add to my blog!

A few that come to mind:
"Of the Day" series:
- Quote of the day
- Spock quote of the day
- Trump quote of the day (ick)
- Painting of the day (your choice of Picasso, Dahli, van Gough, etc, etc, etc)
- NASA picture of the day
- sunset of the day
- joke of the day
- today in history

"Tools" series:
-Spell checker
-Thesauras (guess a spell checker might come in handy)
-Calorie Counter
-Exercise Tips (also available in the "of the day" series...)
-the Periodic Table (wha??)

There are also games, sports updates, stock market updates, links, "Make a Wish" icons, and something called a "Woot! Watcher". The description clarifies: "Never miss a Woot! again. This gadget will show you the Woot! of the day, or will allow you to track Woot-Off in progress." Yeah. Crystal clear.

So you may notice that other than a list of blogs I follow and those who follow me (which I have been meaning to add for some time now), I did not add anything. Ever heard of sensory overload? It is just too much. Can't. Handle. Too many. Gargh.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Gray Sort of Day

Gray are the skies over “Balmer” this day. Luckily, the clouds are finally yielding what Marylanders refer to as “snow”. Most Pennsylvanians call it a “light flurry”, while my boyfriend from Erie, PA calls it “Spring”. I do not mind cold temperatures as long as snow is produced, because I like snow. In stark contrast to my friend Cara, I detest climes less than 40 degrees. After work, I went to the grocery store and found that my gloves were not in my coat pocket, my backup gloves were not in the glove compartment, and my earmuffs were not in my purse. My backup hat, thankfully, was in place in the inner pocket. And I still had my hand warmers in the back for emergencies. Did I mention that I hate being cold??

Gray are my clothes today, for I woke this morning with a desire to wear a shirt that only matches one pair of pants. The clasp on these gray tweed pants broke about 10 months ago (give or take a month). The mission: to finally repair the clasp. It seems that I always have a pair of pants in the repair pile. This is why the expensive Talbots or Coldwater Creek pants are worth the extra buck(s). They don’t need ironing, and they don’t need mending. But sadly, a girl cannot resist 50% off sales at NY and Company. So, despite this small triumph in home economics (not my forte), I have two other pairs of pants needing mending. I am sure I will get to this by 2015. Maybe.

Gray is a hair on my head. Yes, I believe this one is official. The lighting in the office bathroom is such that I have been tricked into double-takes in the mirror, only to be relieved that the silver hair I thought I saw was just a shimmer. Yesterday, I realized the difference between a shimmer and an actual, real-life, gray hair. Home inspection under different lighting conditions confirms my assessment. I blame the architect who drove me to a near break down earlier in the week. Jerk-wad.

Gray was my face after I found some ranch dressing in the fridge, marked with the name of a co-worker who quit in September. I checked the date, saw it was February, and smothered it on my turkey sandwich for lunch. It tasted and smelled fine, but closer inspection of the label proved it was Feb 2008. Oops. Wasn’t that almost a year ago? I think my symptoms are psychosomatic, but I decided to leave work early anyway. You know, just in case.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Working Out is Fun...Or Not!

Today, I was unable to get to the gym for my usual Tuesday Step class. Correction - my usual Body Step Class. "Body Step" is for those of us who go to the gym for a cardiovascular workout, while "Step" is for those of us who plan to try out for a spot in a Janet Jackson video. I have occasionally made the mistake of attending a Step class (go figure). At best, I end up mired in frustration because I cannot dance. At worst, I twist an ankle and fall off my step. Yes, this is just as embarrassing as it sounds. Body step eliminates the complicated dance moves, and incorporates some good old fashioned squats and lunges in there. My ass has misinterpreted the intent and decided to bulk up, apparently. My ass has always been a slow learner. Se la vi.

So, today: Instead of my relatively fun class, I came home and cleaned with a frenzy. I scrubbed the toilet, swept and mopped the floors, scoured the shower, cleaned the mirrors, did some laundry, emptied the litter box, and tidied the apartment. And, according to "fit day", I burned 353 calories. No sweat! (Well...maybe a little.)

As I cleaned the bathrooms, I came to the realization that Adam has never done this since we have lived together. As with this last three months of non-cleaning, I have tested him on several occasions, and I just cannot beat him. I cleaned today due to absolute disgust with the state of the bathroom, and after a few days (ok, a week) of telling myself that I will definitely tackle the job after work. Men do not apparently have this threshold. As I continued to breathe in the toxic fumes of cleaning chemicals, it occurred to me that Adam is not alone. Nearly all men I have met have this ability to withstand potty germs. My friends from college had consistently gross bathrooms, or girlfriends who regularly cleaned. My brother and his roommates had no qualms about a toilet that involved hands in toilet water to flush. I have met men who will wear flip-flops in the shower before they even consider cleaning it.

The fumes continued to irritate my innards, and I realized that this phenomenon is not limited to my generation. I have never seen my father clean the bathroom. Nor have I witnessed my uncles or grandfathers with toilet wand in hand. One grandfather had his own shower in the basement, and I remember that he named the stains. Look, he would say, this one looks like Mickey Mouse. This did not strike me as odd when I was a kid. But now I see. The ability to clean a bathroom may be one that is lost to the male species. It happened long ago, and we women have not noticed because we women do not don flip flops in the face of mold.

I rose from my task determined. I will re-teach this skill to the men of the World! One man at a time. First lesson - chlorine and ammonia work best* when combined for Ultra Cleaning Power!
*Just to be clear, this is really not a good idea. So don't sue me if you failed Chemistry in high school!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Excuses and Muses

I have not blogged in a week. I have several excuses prepared, so please choose the one you like best:

1. The computer had some sort of problem. Adam (a computer programmer) explained the problem to me thusly: HE - The power supply blah, blahblah, blah blah blah blah, I think the garbage needs taking out and blah blah blah blah, don't I look good in my polo shirt? ME - I see. So does it work now? HE - Yes. ME - Cool. I'm going to take the garbage out.

2. We got a Wii. Our new bundle of joy! (Mom - that is funny, see, because Wii's tend to be sold in "bundles" with a bunch of accessories and games. Aren't I clever?)

3. I had, umm, stuff to do. At least I am pretty sure I did. I didn't play the Wii for hours every night, I swear. Grrr. I thought I had more excuses lined up.

OK, so I am sure you are on the edge of your seat, wondering what new and interesting things I have thought up to say. These are a few of the things that have been on my mind of late:

1. Bikram Yoga is still evil. Tiff and I went a second time, and she nearly threw up during class. Those who know me are aware that such a statement would be fairly normal for me - in fact, a session of physical activity without nausea is more worth mentioning. But this is far more rare in my sister. Hence, Bikram is evil.

2. Brunch at Jesse Wong's Kitchen in Hunt Valley, MD. Oh, the pounds I gained. They had 20 different desserts. Literally. Alas, I was unable to try them all, because they had an equally extensive selection of egg rolls, stir fries, dumplings, and sushi. I gave it my all, and they kept bringing more. Plus unlimited mimosas and champagne. Fine. It is not "brunch" in the Perkins sort of way. Let's just call it heaven and leave it at that.

3. Despite my splurge at Jesse's, I am almost on track with the diet-exercise thing we are all supposed to be doing. The spreadsheet is no more. I have graduated to the next level - I add my calories for each day and log the final number in my daily planner. I attempted skipping this level, and going to "watching what I eat", but found myself at Jesse Wong's. So it's back to tracking. I have not returned to my daily walks at lunch time. Someday...

4. The Wii is so much fun! But as I attempt to download the old Mario 64 that I played in college, and the machine tells me that I need the "classic controller" for this game, I realize: this is going to get expensive. As a kid, I had a Cabbage Patch doll, and each Christmas, I asked for all the Cabbage Patch accessories - the playpen, the stroller, the high chair...actually, this is sounding a bit like my friend's baby registry. You get the picture. I never got any of these things. But now, I am an adult, and if Mama wants a classic controller, Mama's gonna get it. It was $19.49 at Wal-Mart. They did not have Mario Cart. Guess what Mama's gettin' next time?

5. New thought - I almost retyped Wal-Mart and wrote Target. I am such a hypocrite sometimes. I know Wal-Mart is supposedly evil and they don't pay their employees well and they are driving all our manufacturers to China. I am embarrassed to admit that we went to Wal-Mart to buy our Wii accessories. But we did. They have these delicious non-frozen pizzas...

6. OK, this is to redeem myself: I resolved recently to carry cash so that I will have money to give the Girl Scouts. I have refused to buy cookies from at least three girls in the last week because I don't have any money. Or perhaps the Girl Scouts can begin taking credit cards? Ditto for the Salvation Army Santas?

Is there anybody OUT there?

Good news readers, I am back. More about that in my next post. But what I am wondering is, are there any readers out there? I thought my last entry might merit a comment*, but alas, I suppose I find myself more amusing than I actually am. Just a bit bummed, I suppose.

My cousin Jamie sent me a text that may bring a few of you out of the woodwork. She asked how she could comment without getting a gmail account, and I found a setting for that!! So now everyone can add their witticisms and praise! And, Jamie did make her comment. It's a pretty good one, but on an older post - click here. Thanks Jame!

BTW - thanks ever so much to my regular commenters, Cara, Mel, Danielle, Tiff, and Liz. Now, on to the blogging...because I guess in all fairness, a few of you may be wondering...

...Is there anybody IN there?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Confession of a Complacent Citizen

It's gone.

For the past two months, I have arrived to work and parked in my normal space below the parking lot. There are the same familiar cars each day, but one caught my attention. It was a silver BMW with Texas license plates. For those who are geographically challenged, I should point out that a daily commute from Texas to Maryland (about 1500 miles) seems unlikely. Yet each day, it was parked in the same place, and it was always there before me. (In itself, this is no great feat. I have a love of sleep, and a recent propensity to hit the snooze button.) But, it was also always there after me, even when I worked until 6:30pm. A few weeks ago, we went out for Happy Hour at the bar next door, and I returned to my car at about 9pm. (umm...4 hours later...) It was then I realized that this car was just always there.

Quite possibly, there was a reasonable, boring explanation. Like there is some sort of Army recruiting office that has fleet vehicles parked in the same general area. They all have government license plates, but perhaps this was newly acquired, and they hadn't registered it yet. This was plausible, perhaps even likely.

But...what if this was a get-away car in a crime? What if there is a dead body in the trunk? What if is it stolen? What if someone had figured out an elaborate scheme to avoid long-term parking fees at the airport? What if the battery was dead, or the engine had failed? What if the car itself was a spy, transmitting information via satellite to top secret government agencies? No, that is not very likely. A spy car would probably have to park on the top deck.

After two weeks of this, I finally decided to tell our office manager. She sent an email to the building managers to see if the car was registered to any of the other companies in our complex. Another week went by. The car was still there, and beginning to collect some dust on the trunk. One day, I considered writing "wash me" on it, but decided it would be better to keep my fingerprints to myself. I found myself sniffing the air, trying to catch the scent of decomposing body parts.

Isn't this sick? Why didn't I just call the police and get this settled? I don't know. I considered it, then decided that my suspicions were a tad far-fetched. (Or worse, that the spy car theory is true, and it is given instructions to shoot on site...) Plus, if someone has figured a way to beat parking fees, more power to 'em - as a senior in college, I did not register my car with management in time to secure a space, and I spent the whole semester obsessed with free parking. I feel this person's pain (even though they do have money for a Beemer...) Honestly, I think one reason was shame. The operator would surely ask how long the car had been there, and I would say...well, I definitely noticed it on October 14th, but its probably been there for two months. And what other information do I have? Nada! Whack-job theories concocted by a crime show obsessive who loves Stephen King novels! Oh the turmoil! To call, or not to call!

And today?
It's gone. Probably got beamed back to its home planet.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rock the Vote

I want a fat,
a black,
born handicapped,
old single mother lesbian with a high IQ
for President in the White House.
(courtesy of Pork Tornado)

What ever your beliefs, get out there and vote!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Little Helper

I have been pretty lazy lately, sort of in a funk. Slowly, I am emerging back to my normal self. This is why I had not, until today, gone through the semi-annual exercise of switching the clothes in my drawers to the winter wardrobe.

Luckily, as I began to fill a box with my short sleeved work shirts, I had a helper:

Nothing like a little cat hair to keep out the moths until next summer. After gently removing my purring beast from the box, I turned to put it into the closet, to find:

Again, I gently removed my purring beast from my drawer, and replaced my sleeveless tanks with fuzzy sweaters. Nearly each day, the cat runs into the closet when the door is opened. The closet is not insulated, so we keep the door closed to try and salvage what little heat/air conditioning we can. As a result, the Puss is often locked in the closet for several hours before we hear the whine from within, and we must keep a careful watch on her as we pack our bags for a trip. Thankfully, she has not been locked in the closet for a weekend. You would think this would be traumatic for a cat. But no:

I did not need to gently remove the cat before shutting the door. As we go through this daily, she stood there looking bewildered as I attempted to call her out, but she zipped through my legs when I made the move to physically remove her. Will she remember this in the morning? I doubt it.

Extreme Yoga

Over the summer, my sister went to a BikramYoga session while on vacation, and she loved it. It just so happens that a Bikram studio is near my house, so I bought her five classes for her birthday. I also bought five sessions for myself, so that we could take the classes together. I have been faithfully attending a yoga-based class at the gym for years, and I occasionally pop in my "Power Yoga with Rodney Ye" DVD and practice at home. I have found that yoga, above all other things, has improved my strength, balance, and stress levels, and I highly recommend it to everyone for improving overall health and peace of mind.

...But, I would not recommend starting out with Bikram Yoga. Sure, the body feels great after the class - the same way I imagine torture victims of the Middle Ages might feel upon being returned to their cells.

It is very unlike me, but I was totally unprepared for the experience. I did no research on the topic, figuring if I could handle Rodney Ye, I could handle anything. Tiff told me the room would be hot, so I at least knew that much. It is actually at least 105 degrees according to the website.

We are told by the teacher that our goal for our first time would be to stay in the room for the whole class. This was when I began the have second thoughts. She then asked if I had water and a towel for over my mat. Towel? I thought, why the towel? When I suggested that I could get by without it, she silently handed me a rental. Likewise with the water.

After stowing our belongings in the locker room, we enter the "hot room". As the name suggests, it is hot. "At least 105 degrees" really does not do it justice, because most people liken it to a very very hot summer day. I would liken it more to purposely walking into a room sized oven. It is stifling. A few of the other pupils are sprawled out on their mats, meditating. We quietly unroll our own mats and situate ourselves near the back, talking in whispers as other people filter in, each one letting in a refreshing tease of cool air when they open the door.

We begin the class with breathing exercises, and Tiff and I are told to watch the other students before attempting it ourselves. Everyone then begins to inhale with their hands clasped below their chins as they extend their elbows upward. They make this weird near-snoring noise as they breathe in, then let the air out slowly with an audible "haaaaa" sound and rotate their heads until they are looking at the ceiling, and their elbows until they are touching in front of the face. The process is then repeated, and after a few times, I begin to mimic this rather odd behavior. It is very hard to inhale for 15 seconds straight, and I am unable to produce the weird snoring sound. Also, the movement of the head seriously stretches the neck. I am actually a bit sore today (though the neck is the least of my problems.)

After that, we do the "half-moon" pose in which we lift our arms above our heads and then lean the upper half of the body to one side as much as possible. This stretches the long muscle that runs from the pelvis to the shoulder-blade. We are approximately 10 minutes into the class at this point, and I realize that I am exhausted even though all I have done is stand there, breathing and stretching. After a back bend and a hamstring stretch, it is "party time" and we are permitted to drink some water in small sips.

I am truly wondering if I can manage to stay in the room. Our next pose is the eagle, which I have done before in the gym class. It stretches the upper back and shoulders, and normally feels wonderful. However, it involves wrapping the arms and twisting the legs around. To keep the legs in place, one must hook the one foot around the opposite leg's calf. This is extremely difficult to do when one is drenched in sweat. At this point, I am slimier than a greased pig.

That brings me to the towel. The man in front of us has a very nice towel that exactly fits his mat. However, he begins to sweat to the point that it is dripping off the bottoms of his shorts, as if he had hung them out to dry before the spin cycle had begun. At the end of class, he is standing in a literal pool of sweat that had soaked through his towel, through his mat, and left a dark spot on the carpet. Ah, that is why the room smells faintly of B.O. Turns out they sell the towels out front - 50 bucks. I think I will bring a beach towel next time.

Finally, after a few more poses, we do my favorite pose, Savasana. This is sometimes referred to as '"corpse pose" in my gym class, and practiced by lying on the mat, hands by your side, feet flopping out as they feel comfortable, and breathing deeply. Ahhh...now if only the teacher would open that door! My heartbeat is so dramatic that I feel like my entire body is moving with it, and my ears drums are in danger of bursting with the sound of it thumping.

We are directed to begin the next pose, and I reluctantly oblige. We sit on our knees, then push the legs out until our "costume" touches the floor. (This is the endearing phrase the teacher uses to refer to the general crotch/buttocks region.) Then, we are told to reach behind us and support ourselves on the hands, then the elbows, and finally, to lie on our backs. I feel pain in the knees and ankles at step one, and remain supported on my hands, waiting for release from this torturous pose. We do a few less challenging poses and I collapse once again into savasana. This time, the teacher actually does open the door, and wonderful, inviting, cool air slides over my body. She closes it again, and I realize that I may actually hate this woman.

I fair somewhat well when I am told to sit with one leg out and lean forward until my head touches my knee. Perhaps that is because it is purported to be our final pose. However, when told to sit with both legs outstretched, we are directed to touch our foreheads to our toes. I stare at my toes, drenched in sweat and glistening about a foot away from my head, and decide that this is not a literal direction when the girl in the front actually succeeds in this task. Perhaps she has short legs.

At last, the class is over, and I painfully roll up my mat. I feel a bit nauseous, a bit tired, and well aware that I have just strained muscles whose existence was previously unknown to me. I enter the hallway, and the air is so relieving, that I feel like I could cry.

Are you coming back? Several people ask. Of course I am. I already paid for five classes.