Sunday, May 29, 2011

For Whom The Clock Ticks

For about a week, my heart has been racing, I've been overly-anxious, and I haven't gotten a good night's sleep. I am in a daze, a paranoid, delusional daze.

It's the clock.

The clock that replaced the broken clock is the loudest clock ever. It's not like a grandfather clock, old and prestigious and gonging. No, it's the little clock that could. It's the clock that has something to prove. It's the clock that takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

Remember that song by Heart: I hear the ticking of the clock. I'm lying here, pitch dark..... That first line ran through my head about a zillion times in the last few days. That's a low-ball estimate.


I couldn't take it anymore. It was driving me insane. Literally.

So while I laid in bed, trying to fall asleep, and hearing only tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick......

I ripped off the sheets, ran into the dining room, climbed up on a chair, took down the clock, and took the battery out, all in one swift, seamless movement.

Ahhhhhhh, silence! The best sound of all sounds!

I got the best sleep ever after doing that. The palpitations have vanished. No more ticking! No more ticking! That clock is going back from whence it came.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Who Needs Santiva When We Have Shackleford

The last time Eddie and I doubled with S and R was during the Kentucky Derby. It wasn't to celebrate the horse race, but happened to be on the same day of. Coincidentally, or more serendipitously, S and R had their first barbeque the day of the Preakness. It's becoming a trend. Eddie and I went on over to meet up with them and S's friend L in their backyard to see their new patio furniture and their large grill in action. L had brought over a citronella candle at the request of S when L asked what she should bring. I added another candle to the mix, recalling when S and R were shopping around for patio furniture and had a conversation about how to keep bugs away. So now, they are heavily armed against bugs.

The flames of the candles whipped and whirred around with the wind. The sky was half gray. We sat and willed the weather to stay clear and nice, but it got chillier by the minute.

Incidentally, this was the day of the supposed rapture. At 6 PM, we were still standing and nothing happened.


Eddie and I headed inside at race time. I still do not have any interest in horses. However, I'm becoming slightly intrigued with horse racing. Earlier in the morning, I looked at the contenders and decided that Shackleford was my horse. Why? Because it's fun to say.

The race was about to begin. The announcers were say how Shackleford was looking confused and unfocused. Great. One horse at the end, however, would not get into his gate. I was happy I hadn't chosen him.

Then they were off! Shackleford was second in the pack. The whole way. Until the home stretch. I was jumping up and down and yelling out, Go Shackleford! Go! Go!

Shackleford? Won the Preakness. Yeah, that's right! Eddie and I were high fiving. S said that the BBQ was now on me.

We went back outside to eat. R had the meat on the grill and S brought out all the condiments and the salad and the dressing. And that's when the rain began. We grabbing everything and brought it inside, leaving R to finish grilling in the rain. We ate. It was yummy. And then the rain stopped. Of course it did.

All was not lost. We took a walk to the ice place, Uncle Louie G's. Eddie ordered a shake. They didn't have the milk for the shake. Eddie ordered soft ice cream. The machine wasn't working. Eddie turned to me and was like, I don't like this place. Heh heh. I got a lime ice and Eddie wound up eating half of it because he liked it so much.


Then came the game: Clue. Playing Clue with five people is a lot different from playing Clue with only two people. You have a lot less to go on. In the first game, it took me about six rounds before I actually got into a room. In the second game, everyone kept taking my piece into a room across the board where I didn't want to be so that they could accuse me. Everyone had very interesting systems of keeping track of who had which card. By the end, everyone knew I had the library because everyone had landed there or saw other people land there more than once and have me show them the same card over and over. And everyone knew Eddie had the lead pipe because his way of showing R the card was to hold it up over everyone's head as if that somehow prevented everyone else from seeing it. P. S. I won both games. I think the high from the Shackleford win sent me into a kind of Zenned-out focus to figure out the mystery rather quickly. Or it was a little bit of luck.

We Got Our Shit

Turns out, my aunt/godmother and uncle bought us a whole bunch of stuff from our registry. We got a wok! The clock I chose was a black and white clock with the face a photo of the Brooklyn Bridge. Eddie liked it. We got all set to hang it when I found that the battery thingie was broken. The metal was bent and would not conduct electricity. That sucked. But we did get a picture frame to frame some photos my brother gave me.

We went to BB&B to return the clock and get some other stuff we needed to buy with the store credit we got when we returned the laptop bag that was too small for my laptop. We found a very cool clock--it's black and clear and the insides of the clock show through. The only drawback is that I feel like I'm in Edgar Allan Poe's "Tell-tale Heart" because the thing ticks so friggin loud.

Our biggest accomplishment: shoe racks! We put them together and put all of Eddie's shoes on them and his closet has never been neater. A neat house is a happy house. We are happy.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Favorite Blondie Song

I wonder if this is what Harold Camping was talking about:

Rapture

Toe to toe
Dancing very close
Barely breathing
Almost comatose
Wall to wall
People hypnotised
And they're stepping lightly
Hang each night in Rapture

Back to back
Sacrailiac
Spineless movement
And a wild attack

Face to face
Sadly solitude
And it's finger popping
Twenty-four hour shopping in Rapture

Fab Five Freddie told me everybody's high
DJ's spinnin' are savin' my mind
Flash is fast, Flash is cool
Francois sez fas, Flashe' no do
And you don't stop, sure shot
Go out to the parking lot
And you get in your car and you drive real far
And you drive all night and then you see a light
And it comes right down and lands on the ground
And out comes a man from Mars
And you try to run but he's got a gun
And he shoots you dead and he eats your head
And then you're in the man from Mars
You go out at night, eatin' cars
You eat Cadillacs, Lincolns too
Mercuries and Subarus
And you don't stop, you keep on eatin' cars
Then, when there's no more cars
You go out at night and eat up bars where the people meet
Face to face, dance cheek to cheek
One to one, man to man
Dance toe to toe
Don't move too slow, 'cause the man from Mars
Is through with cars, he's eatin' bars
Yeah, wall to wall, door to door, hall to hall
He's gonna eat 'em all
Rapture, be pure
Take a tour, through the sewer
Don't strain your brain, paint a train
You'll be singin' in the rain
I said don't stop, do punk rock

Well now you see what you wanna be
Just have your party on TV
'Cause the man from Mars won't eat up bars when the TV's on
And now he's gone back up to space
Where he won't have a hassle with the human race
And you hip-hop, and you don't stop
Just blast off, sure shot
'Cause the man from Mars stopped eatin' cars and eatin' bars
And now he only eats guitars, get up!

(Blondie, Jan. 1981, Chrysalis Records)

Rapture is one of my favorite words. I like how it sounds. Sure, in some cases it refers to Judgment Day, good and evil, spirits rising, despair, condemnation of souls, and world's end. But it also sounds so pretty!

We're all still here, so Camping may have to sing another tune for a while.

B&N Used To Sell Books

Now that the semester is finally over, T and I are able to synchronize our schedules and actually meet up. We met at B&N first to look at books. Book-looking is fun. It gives me ideas about what not to write. It proves that you should judge a book by its cover.

B&N has changed. The entire center of the first floor is devoted to The Nook. What happened to all the pretty book displays? They are still standing on the sides, but right in the middle is a void. No books. Just Nooks. I know the Nook is a book--many books in fact--but I like seeing lots of books in a bookstore. It makes me feel all warm and gushy. This made me feel like I was in the wrong store.

When T and I went up to the second floor, they had toys. Stuffed animals. Stickers. Shrinky-dinks. These are not books either.

Once I got over the changes--change is bad!--we went through the bargain bins. T saved a small white stuffed bunny from getting grimy in the bin by moving it to where all the other stuffed animals are. Then we went through the books. Rows and rows of books.

B&N wants you to read a book a day this summer. How do I know this? Every table they set up had a sign that said: Summer Reading. There were a whole lotta summer reading books--from Lolita to The Lord of the Flies from The Great Gatsby to Night, all kinds of books. I actually wanted to read Lolita this summer but the local library had every Nabokov book on the shelf except for that one. Maybe it will be back before the summer ends.

Off we went to get coffee. There, we realized that the end of the world was near. The rain was coming and going outside. A bus kept passing by the window with the announcement that the world was ending. It listed a radio station to listen to. We pondered this for a while. The rain didn't seem like an omen. It seemed like an annoyance, the cause of a bad hair day. When we parted ways, I tuned into the station in my car. They didn't say anything about the world ending. They talked about hepatitis. Unless the end is coming in the form of this disease, I think we're pretty much safe for now.

Jon Lovitz Is A Car Salesman

Imagine buying a car from this guy. We did. Kinda. Eddie and I looked around for cars online. Then we headed out, armed with a list of every dealership in the vicinity. We headed out very early and began our mission at Chevrolet. As soon as we walked in, a salesman came over and asked what we were looking for. Eddie wanted a car. The salesman showed us a Malibu and gave a demonstration about how the door makes a specific, unique sound when it closes because, hey that's quality and that's American. The whole time, I was thinking, I know this guy from somewhere.

We moved on to a smaller car, the Cruze. The inside was black and red with a very cool dash that lights up. Eddie asked about i-Pod docks. I asked about how it handles in the snow. I liked the Cruze better. Even thout it was smaller, Eddie liked it better, too.

We took it out for a test drive. I say we because we both tested it.

We left the dealership to shop around. The salesman was like, no problem. If you like the car, come back. If you find something better, then it was nice meeting you.

I don't know if that's reverse psychology or if that's the way he really feels, but I liked it. I liked not being pressured. So did Eddie. We went across to Honda to look at the Civic and the Accord. The salesman there said the un-magic words--What can I do to get you in a car today? Um, nothing. Oh, unless you're giving it to us.

We went back across the street, which is where Chevy is. I knew that Eddie was going to go back to the Cruze. So as we sat at the desk waiting for the salesman to come back with the paperwork, I leaned over to Eddie and asked, Do you know who Jon Lovitz is? Without a beat, he goes, Oh my God I knew he looked like someone! Heh heh heh.

After paperwork and going from desk to desk and signing things, Jon Lovitz came over and handed Eddie the keys. I clapped for him and said, Yeay! Then Jon Lovitz handed me the second key and I was like, Hells yeah!

And that's how Eddie now owns a 2011 black Chevy Cruze with a black and red interior, equipped with OnStar and XM Radio, both of which run out after 60 days or so. Technically, he doesn't own the car. He's leasing, which gives us a chance to see how the car runs. If after three years he still loves it, he'll buy it out. If not, we can move on. In any case, right now, he's got a way to get to and from wherever he needs to go. I suppose this is the silver lining from that stupid lady totalling his car on the Belt Parkway. Or maybe it's a bronze lining because while the car is really nice, we now have another bill to pay. The lining could be gold if the stupid lady had to pay for the new car. Ah, that would be real justice. But I'll take what we have now--a car and an almost healthy Eddie, who is still seeing the chiropractor, but things are getting better every day.

Holy Hangover

Whatever happened to Sunday? I know yoga happened. I know I showered. I know the color of my couch. I know my couch is comfortable. I know that I stayed on the couch for most of the day.

Eddie said he'd never seen anything like it. I was awake, but not really. Then, at around 6:45 PM, I fell asleep. He figured I'd be up for The Celebrity Apprentice. So he waited. Then 9 PM rolled around and I was dead to the world. He figured I'd wake up in a few minutes to watch. I never did.


(This is me: The Incredible Sleeping Woman).

At 11 PM, he nudged me and then nudged me and then shook me until I woke up. I wandered into the bedroom and crashed onto the bed, asleep before I was lying down.

Then next morning, I felt like I could run two marathons and find a cure for hangnails. I was good, real good. Eddie was like, You slept for 13 hours. I guess I was tired.

Yoga Runs Out

At 6:21 AM, my text message alert went off. I had my alarm set for 6:40 AM. Usually, I rouse awake at sunrise, lounge in bed, and then get up when the alarm goes off, so if something goes off before the alarm, I'm already up and I don't mind.

However.

Usually, I don't go out for nine hours and drink and eat waffles and get very little sleep. So at 6:21 AM, I awoke with a panic, took a good ten seconds to realize what the hell was going on, and then dragged myself to my phone. It was AK. Yes, we were still going to yoga.

She had had a late night too. We both found out that a late night is not very conducive to completing a hatha routine on a Sunday morning in a room set at a balmy 70-something degrees. Oh, it was painful. A few times I may have admitted I felt like dying, as if it were a choice, I was choosing to not go on over doing anything else. I went on, though. And when the instructor adjusted me, I felt it all over. Oh, it was hard. So very not a good idea. But, as we all know, I make bad decisions.


(Apparently this move alleviates hangover symptoms. When we did headstand practice, and I was doing this instad of a headstand, I didn't feel any better).

But we had to go. This was the last session. That's so sad. That's what made me get through the session. I kept saying to myself, enjoy it! Last time! Enjoy!

When savasana came, it was the greatest savasana in all the land.

Angels And Kings And Ms. Pacman

How do English professors wrap up a year's worth of work? They go to a bar. Okay, not really. The department had an end-of-the-year party at a faculty member's house on Friday night. Then on Saturday, sponsored by the Creative Writing crew within the English department, we had a reading at a bar on the Lower East Side / East Village / Somewhere in Manhattan on the East Side. I went to the latter only because I couldn't see asking Eddie to go to both, and I also didn't want to blow all my spending money on work-related activities.

Also on Saturday was Eddie's friend's SMM's graduation from grad school. We would be going into the city anyway--actually, into Brooklyn, where else?--so Saturday was a marathon of activity.

Also on Saturday was Grandma Honey's birthday! Happy Sweet 16 again! Unfortunately, she was feeling under the weather, so the dinner we'd planned didn't happen.

That kind of worked out for the two of us, though. Had we began with that, we wouldn't have made it through the rest. I would have dropped as soon as we got into the city. Eddie wouldn't have made it much further. I've never enjoyed doing more than one activity in a day. I don't mean like I can't go out after work. That's different. But to hop from one party to another to another is not my bag. Never has been. Eddie suggested that perhaps we've gotten old. After pointing out that he's older than I am, I indicated that I've simply never liked doing stuff like that because it diverts my attention from the fun and moves it to being on schedule. Partying should be scheduled.

The reading went very well. It's nice to walk into a bar in the city, see that it's spacious and mellow, hug a few people, and then hang out without shouting, grinding, or spilling. The vibe was bittersweet having found out the week before that several of our department members had their lines cut and would not (for now) be returning in the Fall. That's simply sad. Plus, I will never understand why administrations cut people at the very end of the semester, a time when they cannot get a job lined up for the next semester full time elsewhere. I understand why it works for the administration--they don't have to deal with people complaining or completing a lame duck period, but can't they be less business and more personal and think about how the people they are letting go will need to make a living? I guess that's why I'm not an administrator.

Anyway, the reading. I drank one beer and got very drunk from it. I don't know how that happened. I sipped a second one as the reading started. I took pictures. My camera doesn't have a strong flash so I had to put it on nightvision, which makes the pictures come out, usually, blurry and psychedelic. Groovy.

When it ended, we chatted with a few of my colleagues a bit more, but mostly, everyone cleared out pretty quickly. So we headed out to Brooklyn. I fell into the car, kicked off my shoes, and realized that I have no tolerance for alcohol and had peaked way too soon. Thank goodness we were driving and not on a train.

We found Barcade pretty easily. It was only twenty minutes away from the bar, right over the bridge. We drove around the block a few times to find the closest spot possible. When we walked in, we saw that it was much larger than it looked from the outside. It was warehouse-like. It was a bar. It was an arcade, complete with retro games like PacMan, DigDug, and Ms. Pacman. Hence: Barcade. It was both. We met up with SMM and his girlfriend AF. It had been a pretty long time since we'd last seen them--now that football is over, our weekly meet ups don't happen. So we caught up by talking about how to get SMM to take AF to Hawaii with a Groupon special. Eddie wanted to play a game, but the place was packed. More of Eddie's friends came to meet up with us, and they too wanted to play, so they all decided they needed to come back when it was less packed. Meaning, in the day. Meaning, they are old. Heh heh. I didn't mind the crowds so much, even though no one ever sees me and I always get pushed around. Maybe I didn't mind because I was still a little drunk.

We stayed until about midnight. I was dying inside by the minute. The two of us were very hungry, so we went to a diner across the street with three of his friends. I got waffles! He got pancakes. One of his friends got bacon. And beer. To each his own.

When we got home, I barely made it up the stairs. I don't quite remember how I got into the bed. I also don't quite remember anything else. Two major events in a row? That'll wear a gal out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Sub

I used to work at a yoga studio. When I got my Nassau job, I left the studio after a while. It was too much.

I miss teaching yoga. When my summer break began (yippie!), I emailed the owner and told him I could teach a class or sub.

He responded that the summer is slow so he can't add a class, but he'll keep me in mind for subbing.

Then, wouldn't you know it, the next day, he asked me to sub a class at the end of the week. Well, yes, yes, of course, yes! So that Friday turned out to be yoga day. I have been volunteering on Fridays, so I would be teaching the class at the studio, coming home for a break, and then heading out to teach the volunteer class at the counseling center. Yoga day! Yoga day!

It was everything I wanted it to be. The studio hasn't changed a whole lot, so it felt like home. Three people showed up on time. The first one there was a very helpful woman who ran down the stairs to open the door that had locked by accident and also informed me that most people come in late. I told her about my Long Beach experiences of never starting on time and assured her I would start on time and not wait for more people.

I started and then a bunch of women trickled in and joined us. When I was done with the first part, I looked at them and said, Hi, I'm Christina, and yes I'm supposed to be here. They laughed.

The class was a stretch and relax class, so I took them through some stretching and relaxing. They kept up the pace. I walked around to offer one-on-one instruction at certain points for adjustment. Some of them took it. Some of them didn't. I didn't care.

I ended the class about two minutes late because I wanted them to get a good rest because they seemed to have pushed harder than usual. When class was over, they said Namaste to me first. I used to never say that teaching there because the studio caters to the Jewish community of devout followers, so I never mixed in the typical yoga jargon. But hey, things changed. I answered with a Namaste, and then they told me that they were sweating, I made them work, and it was good.

Yeay! It was good! I told them to tell the owner they enjoyed it. They told me they hope that I teach again. I told them to tell the owner exactly that.

When everyone trickled out and I met up with the owner to get paid, a woman I know from when I taught there came in. She told me that the women who just took my class were raving about it downstairs. I said, It's good I haven't lost my touch. I hope the owner heard all this. I want a class!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

To Clear Some Things Up

Courtesy of NYSUT:

Myth: Public employee pensions are bankrupting state budgets.

Fact: AFSCME, one of AFT and NEA’s national labor allies, represents more than 1 million public employees. An AFSCME December fact sheet clearly makes the case for publicly funded pensions.

“State and local government pensions are, for the most part, well managed and not the source of budget problems for most governments. In 2008, state and local government pension expense amounted to just 3.8 percent of all (non-capital) spending. Contributions are expected to increase in the future to cover for investment losses and many public employers’ failures to adequately contribute in the past. However, the increase in contribution rates will result in pension costs, in aggregate, approximating a still-manageable 5 percent of state and local government spending by 2014 and beyond.”

The National Association of State Retirement Administrators said public pensions have exceeded the expected rate of investment return by 1.5 percent for a 25-year period beginning in 1985.

Myth: Bargaining rights for public employees are the reason state deficits have exploded.

Fact: If you haven’t read the column “The Shameful Attack on Public Employees” by former U.S. Labor Secretary, author and professor of public policy Robert Reich, now is the time. We’ve posted it on www.nysut.org. Reich takes this myth head-on: “In fact there’s no relationship between those states whose employees have bargaining rights and states with big deficits. Some states that deny their employees bargaining rights — Nevada, North Carolina and Arizona, for example — are running giant deficits of over 30 percent of spending. Many that give employees bargaining rights — Massachusetts, New Mexico and Montana — have small deficits of less than 10 percent. Public employees should have the right to bargain for better wages and working conditions, just like all employees do.”

It’s curious, he writes, that when it comes to sacrifice, railings by Republicans don’t include the richest people in America. “To the contrary, they insist the rich should sacrifice even less, enjoying even larger tax cuts that expand public-sector deficits. That means fewer services, and more pressure on public employee wages and benefits. It’s only the average workers — both in the public and private sectors — who are being called on to sacrifice.”

Myth: The average public service employee makes far more than a private sector employee. Some governors are using this statement to drive a wedge between private and public workers and put an end to collective bargaining.

Fact: According to a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, state and local public employees are compensated, on average, 3.75 percent less than workers in the private sector.

The study factored in education, experience, hours of work, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity and disability. It found that, compared to private sector workers, state government employees are under-compensated by 7.55 percent, and local government employees are under-compensated by 1.84 percent. The study also found that the benefits state and local government workers receive do not offset the lower wages they are paid.

The EPI is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that researches the impact of economic trends and policies on working people. To learn more, visit www.epi.org.

Myth: Because of tenure, you can't fire a bad teacher.

Fact: A district can bring charges against a tenured teacher or teaching assistant for insubordination, conduct unbecoming a teacher, inefficiency, incompetence, physical or mental disability, neglect of duty, failure to maintain certification or immoral character, at any time.

What about the cost and length of tenure proceedings? In 1994, working with NYSUT and the state School Boards Association, the state Legislature streamlined the tenure law to provide a fairer, faster process that still protected due-process rights.

The reforms have shortened the length of most cases and encouraged pre-hearing settlements in countless others. While some critics point to lengthy cases that go to full hearings, the real story is how many cases are settled quickly, with little cost to districts, often before charges are even filed.

In 2007, more statewide minimum standards for tenure were enacted for teachers hired on or after July 1, 2008. And, under a new teacher/principal evaluation law approved last year, the tenure process will improve because it will be based on more objective information.

The new law, scheduled to be phased in beginning in the next school year, calls for a new, expedited process if a teacher receives two consecutive annual evaluations of "ineffective."

Myth: No one else gets "due process."

Fact: Due process, a right enjoyed by all Americans, includes a presumption of innocence and the right to a fair hearing. Tenure is not unique to teaching. School building administrators have it, too. State and local workers, including police and firefighters, as well as private-sector union members, have due-process protections similar to tenure. And, they earn those protections in less time than teachers.

Myth: Good teachers don't need tenure.

Fact: Tenure's not about protecting "bad" teachers; it's about protecting good teachers. What would happen to teachers without tenure? They could — and would — be fired for virtually any reason.

It's not hard to imagine teachers being dismissed because they failed the daughter of an influential businessman or because the school board president's nephew needed a job.

In these fiscally troubled times, what would stop a school board from replacing a veteran teacher at the top of the pay scale with a first-year teacher — simply to save money?

Tenure is the first line of defense against attacks on academic freedom. Teachers can engage their students in a free exchange of ideas only if they are protected from arbitrary dismissal for doing so. Tenure prevents school boards from arbitrarily dismissing teachers for holding political, religious or social views with which they disagree.

It protects academic freedom the way the First Amendment protects freedom of the press.

Myth: Administrators' hands are tied: Tenure's automatic.

Fact: Unions don't grant tenure — administrators do. Too many school boards and superintendents attack tenure rather than hold their own managers accountable for hiring and supervising teachers and, if necessary, removing those who don't make the grade. Tenure is granted by the board of education on recommendation of the superintendent — but many schools do a poor job of evaluating and supporting teachers. That's why NYSUT's Innovation Initiative is piloting a comprehensive teacher evaluation system built by five joint labor-management teams. The model is designed to evaluate teachers comprehensively and fairly — and provide support to those who need it.

Myth: Tenure guarantees a job for life.

Fact: Tenure is about due process, not about guaranteeing jobs for life. In New York, new teachers serve a three-year probationary period, during which school officials have an obligation to evaluate those teachers' job performance. If, after three years, the local school board votes to grant a teacher tenure, it simply means the teacher is entitled to a fair hearing before a neutral third party if there are allegations of incompetence or wrongdoing. During the first three years, teachers and teaching assistants generally can be dismissed at any time for any reason.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Flowers For Not Moms

So as not to leave me out, when we were all finished eating our Mother's Day meal at the Italisan restaurant we all enjoy and the check had been paid, the waitress brought over a bunch of flowers for all the mothers, and one for me. That was fun.

Okay, That's Enough

One thing that separates me from more professional yoga instructors is inversions. I don't do them and yoga instructors do. Now that AK and I have been going to the studio every weekend, the instructor has started recognizing us and what we are capable of. As any good yoga instructor does, she also recognizes the potential we have.

And that's how she almost got me in a headstand.

After beginning class with getting in tune with our chakras and going through a plank pose series complete with down dogs during which I got my head to the mat again, we went into forearm practices. AK and I did our own thing instead of that. Then she went into headstand practices.

I got on my knees, grasped my hands in each other and put them on the floor, and then put the crown of my head on the floor. Then I hear, go to the wall if you need it. I stay where I am, content in my not trying to do anything more than what I'm doing, keeping my eyes closed.

Then I hear and even closer, Come on; let's go. Very quick. Very low. Very close.

I open my eyes and the instructor is standing there, obviously talking to me, knowing that if I wanted to, I could very well get into some sort of inverted posture, even if for a few seconds. So I go, Okay, I'll do this. I get up off my knees and push my hips up.

Next thing I know, she's got her hands on my hips and is instructing me, one leg up. I lift a leg. I'm almost in a headstand. Then she goes, now the other one. I get up on my tiptoes. She goes, lift. I lift it and I'm on my head, inverted in the most awkward way. She's instructing me and all I hear is the voice in my head saying, Nah nee nah nee nah nah you're upside down.

So I do what any mature woman in my position would do. I freak out and say slightly panicked, Okay and that's enough thank you very much.

She let me go immediately. That's why she's a dang good instructor. She listens. She did ask though, Enough?

I was like, yup, that's enough.

(This picture does not make me feel any better about myself).

She moved to the wall ahead of the people in front of us and showed the class--You can cross your arms like this, no tension, and for whatever reason if you have fear, this is the simplest way to get into a headstand. No tension.

I believe that could have been directed at me.

She moved to the woman next to me and helped her get into a headstand in the way she just showed. She asked the woman, feel tension? The woman was like, no not at all.

I sat on my mat, sipping on my water. I didn't feel any tension either.

And so ends the beautiful practice and begins the segment of awkward yoga freak out girl. It was only a matter of time.

We have one more weekend before our Groupon expires. Dare I get upside down? (Most likely, nope, and I'm really okay with that).

Santiva!!!

The Kentucky Derby is fast becoming my favorite sporting event of all time. Mostly because it reminds me of the day Eddie and I became an official couple. Actually, that's the only reason. I don't really like horses. If I see a horse, I look the other way. If I read something about a horse, I don't finish it. I skip over it. I have nothing against horses. I've had no traumatic experiences. They simply don't do it for me.

Anyway, the Kentucky Derby came on the same day as we planned to go to the Chelsea Brewing Company on Pier 59 at Chelsea Piers. It's the only brewery in New York City. Have you ever said the word brewery out loud? Go ahead and do it now. S and I had great fun in attempting to say it right the first time every time we talked about it. It was listed on Time Out NY's list of fun dates, and S is finishing the list with R. She invited us to go along.

We somehow found the brewery. S, Eddie, and I got into the city, walked to the piers because the day was gorgeous, and then walked and walked until we ran into it. We don't know how we got there, so when R texted S to see what the cross street was, we were like, just walk and you'll find it. Great directions.

When we got there, S asked about signing up for the tour and the girl at the desk looked baffled but then pointed to the clipboard. We signed up. Then we went to go sit outside and wait. S asked, we meet back here? Again, baffled. Then the girl said, yeah?, like she was asking us if it was okay to say yes. Wow.

We waited outside in the sun and it was so so so nice. Ahhhh. I basked in the sun knowing it was all false hope, knowing that Spring was going to change at any second, back into rain and wind in the next few days, but today was a good good day. We went back inside when R arrived and waited a few more minutes. One of the girls came over and said to the people in front of us, come with me.

We didn't know if that was directed to just them or to all of us--about eight or ten in total--waiting for the tour. She walked away with just those people so we figured we weren't supposed to go. The other girl came over and said to us, follow me, and then took us exactly where the other people went. So we were supposed to go. They were not very good at this.

When we got into the brew room, we were served small cups of blonde beer. I don't like light beer, but this wasn't all that bad. Eddie opted out of tasting it. He doesn't like beer at all. We listened to all the facts and figures about beer. We smelled some hops. We watched water bubble. The guy giving the tour was the owner of the company, and though he doesn't always give the tours, he was really informative and very interesting. He told us that the brewery is the only one in NYC and that he is from Brooklyn and loves NY.

We ended the tour after about 15 or 20 minutes. He said we'd all get $4 pints--discount! Love it! AND the tour was free!

We decided to eat while we got discount beer. The server seemed confused by our wanting a flight, so we ordered three pints. I wanted to try the other flagship flavor and they were out, so I got a raspberry beer which was lighter than I thought it would be and tasted like raspberry only every third sip to me. For R, however, he tasted the raspberry right away. We split a dark stout. S got a citrus beer like Blue Moon. Eddie got a coke.

He and S got kids' meals--chicken fingers. R got wings.

R: Those don't have bones do they?

Server: No, no bones.

R: Oh, cool, great.

Then the server served him wings that had bones in them. Yup.

My entree came and Eddie pointed out that it was the biggest meal he'd ever seen me get ever. Thanks, hon. And I pretty much finished it because it was delicious. A grilled chicken sandwich with yummy goodness all up and through it. Mmmmmm. Then Eddie said that the tour wasn't really interesting to him because that stuff doesn't interest him. S mentioned that it's cool that it's the only brewery in NYC. Eddie responded, see? now that's the kind of thing he should've said on the tour.

We all looked at him. I was like, That was the first thing he said. He goes, that shows how much I was not paying attention. Heh heh.

While we were eating, I noticed that the bar was behind and above us. I wondered aloud if the people up there were watching below them. A few minutes later, the three of them were laughing. They were like, don't look up. The people above us had put their plate of food on the ledge above my head. Stupid people. A few minutes later, they'd removed it. A few minutes after that, a man's hands appeared, leaning over the ledge. Really.




During this time, the Kentucky Derby was in full swing. Everyone was wearing a hat. All kinds of great big hats.

Next year, I'm having a Kentucky Derby party and everyone needs to wear a hat.

It took forever for the race to start. I was intent on watching because earlier in the day, I'd bed on Santiva. Why did I choose Santiva? Because, it's fun to say SANTIVA!!!!! I rooted for him the whole time. He didn't win.

The horse Eddie had chosen came in third. After he saw that Animal Kingdom won, he said, I should've chosen him since we just saw the wild cat movie. So we were a bunch of losers in the Derby but that didn't matter because we'd gotten discount beer and I was slightly buzzed and we were able to finish our meal with a special dessert courtesy of S.

Eddie was eating the outside of the pastry and asking what it was. Turns out, he really really likes white chocolate. I liked everything about it. So much so that when Eddie was done picking the white chocolate off, I kind of ate the rest of his too. Who needs a horse when you can get a double dose of dessert?

Almost Bon Jovi

I actually wasn't overly excited to be seeing Bon Jovi at Nassau Coliseum. Since the last show, I'd realized that I've seen the same concert again and again the last few times I've gone because they're on their Greatest Hits tour doing their Greatest Hits album, and the album consists of most of the songs they've been playing on the last few tours. I figured after this one, I'd take a break. I was going to this one because my cousin Ka didn't get to go to the last few because she was pregnant and then had the baby. Somehow, our moms weaseled their way into our plans and so the four of us were off to see Bon Jovi, something Ka and I swore we'd never do again after the first time around with our moms when all they did was complain.

This time was different. We met up at Ka's house and off we went, Ka driving because she knew the way. Mind you, the concert was in the building right next to where I work, but since our moms said that Ka knows the way, we said, okay Ka's driving.

Once we got there, we found parking immediately and then went inside and found our section right away. Smooth sailing. Until I realized we had to walk down a whole bunch of stairs and my mom recently hurt her knee. So Ka when down to make sure we were going to the right place. Then as soon as we started our treck down the stairs, the lights went out and the opening act came on.

There was no need for this opening act. It was a rock violinist who sings back up on some of the tours. She's got a good voice and her violin thing is very cool. Still, no need.

So it took a good five minutes to get down the stairs and into the seats. We all chatted a little but mostly force-listened to the music since it was blaringly loud. I noticed my mom looking around, up and down, and around again. I asked like three times what was going on. Then she said, I have to go to the ladies room. My aunt had to go too.

So back up the stairs they went. Ka and I watched them go. I said, You know there's a 50% chance that they're not coming back. Ka agreed and then said, At least by the time they're done, the opening act will be over and the lights will be on.

Sure enough, it was a good ten minutes after the opening act ended that we spotted the two of them coming back down the steep stairs, holding hands. They were so focused on getting down the stairs that they completely walked past our row. I said to Ka, maybe they're going down and around. Ka said, No they didn't see us.

At that point, my aunt looked up and spotted me waving. She told my mom to turn around and up the stairs the two of them came, still holding hands, and at this point, laughing. So Ka and I were laughing hysterically too.

The concert soon began after that and thankfully the people in the row in front of us were normal and we had no one behind us so we had a solid time. The one main difference between this concert and all the other ones I've seen is that Richie Sambora is in rehab so instead of him on guitar, we had Phil Ex. Or Phil X. I'm not sure which one. I do know that on several of the guitar solos that are usually left up to Richie, this guy didn't do them. The guy who plays second guitar at all their concerts did them. So why that guy didn't just take over, I don't know.


The Set List:

LOST HIGHWAY
WE WEREN’T BORN TO FOLLOW
BAD NAME
BORN TO BE MY BABY
SUPERMAN TONIGHT -- during this song, the screens on stage show a bunch of people throughout history and in current pop culture and there was my mom, cheering for the people on the screens--Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, and I think Rosa Parks but I'm not sure
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE
IT’S MY LIFE
RUNAWAY
WE GOT IT GOING ON
BAD MEDICINE WITH ROADHOUSE BLUES and OLD TIME ROCK N' ROLL
LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME
WHAT DO YOU GOT?
BED OF ROSES
I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU
SATURDAY NIGHT
WHO SAYS YOU CAN'T GO HOME
SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD
HAVE A NICE DAY
KEEP THE FAITH

ENCORE

IN THESE ARMS
WANTED -- It was at this point when Jon Bon Jovi mentioned that Richie isn't doing so well right now but he's going to get better. Then he asked for our help on this song. People sing along anyway. It was kind of sad at the end of the song. Usually he raises his guitar up with Richie alongside of him doing the same. This time, that didn't happen. Sigh.
LIVIN' ON A PRAYER

Somewhere in there towards the end, some Stones came out too. JBJ was strutting around stage like Mick Jagger. Our moms really enjoyed that. My aunt also enjoyed when he gave the finger to the camera during some lyrics about people thinking something about being old. Obviously, you're only as old as you think you are. If you, say, hold hands when going up and down the stairs, obviously your mindset is "not old."
Then the lights came up and we stood and waited for the filing out to begin as we had to take to the steps one more time.

One of the best parts of the concert had nothing to do with the music. It had to do with the steps to nowhere. You know when you're in a stadium and you want to leave, you simply go to the aisle of stairs closest to you, you focus on the steps right in front of you so you don't fall, and you simply go up? Yeah, well, for some reason, one set of stairs in our section ended at the wall behind our seats. So anyone leaving the seats below and heading up didn't realize they had nowhere to go until they finally took a peek up and got to the wall. And if the wall wasn't enough to show them they had nowhere to go, there was a sign on the wall that said No Exit.

This? Was fabulous. I can't tell you how entertaining it is to watch people suddenly see a wall in front of them, look around trying to decide what to do, and then realize the only thing to do is go back down and around to another set of stairs.

Or they could hop over the wall, which is what people started doing at the end of the concert since there was a whole line of people climbing up those stairs.

We slowly made our way to the top and my mom decided she wanted to go to the bathroom. There was a really long line and I pointed that out to her. She said, no there's not, and she pushed open the door next to her. That was the door to the back of the snack bar where the workers go. Proving once again why it is we don't take our moms out in public.

Instead, we walked to the car and took 45 minutes to get out of the parking lot and back to Ka's house. We found the bathroom there with no problem.

Necessary 12 Year Olds

The last dance class this session began with a lot of unnecessary attention. S and I arrived at a minute to 8 and already, the class was dancing. We stepped into the hallway, and as soon as the class spotted us, they yelled, Hurry up we need you in the back! We're lost! Then the outspoken one in the clique added, Yeah we were wondering where the 12 year olds were! We need the 12 year olds!

That's us. Now we're 12.

So we put our stuff down, all the while I'm muttering We're here we're here and S smiling awkwardly and not making eye contact. We took up our spot in the back, and on came the music.

It was Black Magic. S hates Black Magic. I don't mind it but I like it more because S does not like it and she shows it in her lack of effort going through the motions of the choreography, which is even funnier when the entire class is depending on her when we all turn around. So there we were, holding down the fort for Black Magic on the back wall, me giving it my all and S almost not moving.

We were even when Jean put on Sweet Too Slow Song and S danced her heart out.

We went through as many dances as possible. We couldn't possibly dance all the dances she'd taught us, especially since that one class where she taught like ten dances in an hour. We did relearn the Bossa Nova and we did some others that we know pretty well. And some that we know pretty well but forgot in the moment so that we messed up but only when the class was turned in our direction and we screwed everyone up. That's always fun.

Then we had a happy ending when Jean put on Wonderland Waltz. The clique hates the waltz. We like the waltz. Wonderland Waltz is kind of long and rather challenging and I wound up slightly out of breath, which is a good way to end a dance class and the spring session: breathless.

But of course it didn't end there on that last lovely note. It ended with the outspoken clique member asking, You going to dance at the library this summer? We said we weren't sure. She said, Well I don't know where you live but it's at the library and it's 15 for three classes. I mindlessly said, good deal; five dollars a class. She kind of agreed but then moved on to do what usually happens--ignore me. Now that's much more like it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Is The Honeymoon Over?

One year ago on May 1, Eddie asked me to be his girlfriend, I said yes, and then we went to Coney Island and I won the Kentucky Derby.

This May 1, we went to dinner at Angelina's, where they bring the food out to you pretty much before you even order it. Quick service. To our surprise and Eddie's delight, we saw they serve chocolate lava cake for dessert. He's been searching for a restaurant that sells it. So far, he's been ordering in from Domino's to eat them. Yes, that Domino's, the pizza place. They have lava cake, and it's pretty good.

Still, the hot cake with the vanilla ice cream--mmmmmmm. He had one bite and was like, we're never eating anywhere else again. Heh heh. It's nice when he finds something he really enjoys. Being a food snob, he did say that it was just a little eenie weenie bit too sweet, but still, it was good.

Afterwards, we walked down the street, looked at the puppies in the window at the puppy store, and then went to the movie theatre. Eddie likes tigers. Actually, to clear things up, he likes all wild cats. He likes lions. He likes cheetahs. He likes big cats that can kill things. But to me, he'll always simply like tigers.

I was excited during the week when I saw African Cats was playing at the theatre. So that's what we saw. A Disney documentary about wild cats in Africa. It was us, a couple that were in their 50s or 60s and then about six other people. The couple and us were the first to arrive. The woman was driving the man nuts, changing her seat at least ten times before they settled in. She would sit, he would sit, and then she would get up and tell him to follow. He would shake his head, roll his eyes, and then follow. At one point, he offered to buy our seats from us. We sat where she was originally going to sit, which were the first seats in the section so we could put our feet up on the rails, and they weren't ripped like almost all the other seats in the theater. The place is slightly run down.



The film was fun. We learned that cheetahs live alone as adults. Hyenas are the worst animals alive--which we knew already from watching one of those nature shows on tv a while back during which baby hyenas killed each other because that's what they do. We learned that sometimes the king of the jungle is a big wussypants; one of the main lions (or mane lions! get it? I can't believe I just did that) ran away from another lion and let the lionesses fight. We learned that elephants can scare away lions. We learned that cheetahs are fast but only for one or two minutes at a time. We learned that bison in Africa are moody.

I also learned that Morgan Freeman has a much better voice over voice than Samuel L. Jackson. I say that with all due respect on the off-chance Samuel L. Jackson actually reads this and actually cares. He's a scary scary man. Still, I didn't even recognize his voice and had to wait for the credits to find out who it was, and I kept thinking, Where's Morgan Freeman?

I was left with questions. How did the filmmakers film it? How did they get so close without being eaten?

When the movie was over, we realized the theatre was more run down than what we thought. Both of us said at the same time, My ass hurts. Horrible seats. But worth it to see the wild cats on our one year anniversary.

Ever since we've been together, people have made comments like, oh you guys get along like that because it's so new for you; you feel that way because you haven't been together that long; it's easy for you because it's a relatively short time; you guys are still in the honeymoon stage.

One year isn't all that long compared to five, seven, ten, twenty, fifty. All I know is that every day, I fall more and more in love, and I'm having the greatest time of my life with Eddie. I don't understand why people have to be so pessimistic. Why can't they simply say, wow, it's really nice to see two people genuinely enjoy each other. And we do. We absolutely do. I plan to ride out this honeymoon, and Eddie does too.

Beautiful Practice

The very next day, AK and I returned to the studio for non-heated hot yoga. The door to the studio up the stairs was closed. I asked her what time it was because I was going to be perturbed if they began early. Turns out, they hadn't begun. Practically no one was there again. We scanned in--mine worked this time--and took our spot by the wall towards the back. The grunter was back and he settled in front of us, so we moved back a little.

This class began with a move I'd like to call Stick Your Fingers In Your Eyeballs and Push. That's not far from what we were doing. Basically, to get in tune with your chakras, you can close off all the holes in your head, hold your breath, and concentrate. If you do it right, you can see different colors flow around. Since I wear contacts, I was more concerned with not getting them stuck up in my eye sockets so I saw no such colors. AK saw a lovely green.

We had a solid hatha class. Right off the bat, I got my head all the way down to the mat in downdog. I guess that can happen if you do yoga two days in a row. She kept the window closed because no one complained about the temperature, so the poses were easier to get into. I was also sweating more than the day before, and every time the instructor adjusted me, I felt bad about it.

At one point, we moved from Warrior I to Warrior II and the instructor was right next to me and didn't have to adjust me. She said, nice, good, and walked away. I was thinking, yup finally I got it. A few seconds later, she was pushing the pinkie side of my back foot to the mat. Dangit.

She helped me in a lot of the poses, just to get deeper. She told me where to tighten up. She does so very quietly, barely touching where I needed to work. It was a great class.

Towards the end, we were doing some binding postures. We were standing with our legs a bit wider than hip distance apart. Bend the left knee. Take the left arm between the legs and swoop it up. Take the right arm around the back. Bind the hands together. Keep the right knee straight. This? Was not fun. I was able to do it, but not to the fullest extent. I don't know why but I have flexible shoulders. They aren't flexible to the point where my hands can go over my head from behind, but they're good enough to get me into some great binds.

After doing each side, the instructor was like, now take your hands around your legs and pull your head through. Seriously. It was towards the end, so once again, I'm doggin it. I hear her come over and tell me what to do. I closed my eyes and started breathing loudly, hoping she'd think I was in the zone.

I should have never opened my eyes because when I did, there she was, her butt up in the air facing my butt so that her head was upside down, between her legs, looking at me. She instructed me from this position to get me to push my head further between my legs. I didn't feel as if I was doing anything different, but she ended with a yes, that's it, you went further. So there's that.

Savasana was heaven. So much so that I didn't know when class ended. Also, I couldn't hear the instructor once again, so I knew class was over only when I heard AK start moving around. We agreed it was a nice class. We gathered our things and as we headed out, we thanked the instructor. She said to me, beautiful practice, and I was like, awwwwwwwwww! in my head. Out loud, I said, thank you, and ran away, all embarrassed.

As we walked to the car, AK commented that the guy didn't seem to be grunting a lot. I was like, no, he kept that all for me yesterday. Because I'm lucky.

Lone Yogini

Because AK had to return to class on Saturdays after Spring break, I found myself alone on my way to Long Beach at 7 AM to take a non-heated hot class alone. When I got there, only one other person was already in the studio and one walked in right before me. The instructor from the previous weekends was there. I scanned in and she said something.

You know how we'd had problems hearing her during class? I thought that maybe the music had something to do with it. Or maybe it was because we were in the back of the room. Once we were about a foot and a half away from each other and she said something, I realized, no, she's just a low talker.

Not hearing what she said, I asked if she could tell when my membership ran out. She said that my scan didn't go through. Ohhh, that's what she had said--didn't work. So I scanned again. Again, it didn't work. Jeez. Of course, the day I go by myself, I'm like out of the club. I gave her my name and she found me in the system and told me the date my membership ended. It's too soon! Only until May 16. Not enough weekends between now and then :(

I set up my mat where AK and I had been the last time. Several more women entered along with one more man who put his mat smack dab in the middle of four of us--two of us were kind of next to each other and two women were behind us and so he went right in the middle to make a fifth. The woman next to him moved over and he was like, You don't have to move.

She didn't have to but she WANTED to, buddy. She graciously told him, there's PLENTY of room so I'm giving you more space. I couldn't move because I was near a wall, so I'm happy she moved.

This class began (late! again!) with alternate nostril breathing. I figured that out when I saw the woman in front of me begin to do it. I couldn't hear what the instructor was saying exactly. At first, I thought she wanted us to sit in a pose that imitates Buddha, our left thumb and pointer touching with the back of the hand down and the other hand up with some fingers in the air. Then I saw the woman move her hand to her nose and was like, ohhhhh, breathing. It's a very calming exercise.

After the hot horrible class, this class was a blessing. Aside from the instructor being a low talker, she's great. She has a soothing quality about her. She eases us into the poses using the breath (that's hatha for ya).

Some people were not as eased as others. And by some people, I mean the man who plopped down in the middle of us. Every move, he gave an uh! ug! ung! owowow! errra! It was torturous.

The instructor adjusted him as she adjusted everyone else. She's so great at adjustments. At one point, I was in updog and she came over, grabbed my bun at the top of my head, and pulled it back to pull my head back. No joke.

In the middle of the class, some of the women in the front were really hot. The temperature was a bit warmer than it had been the last time I was in the non-heated class. It wasn't up near the hot class, but it was warmer. The instructor opened the front window, which meant the curtain had to open as well. I like a darker room with less noise, but now the breeze was coming in along with the sound of cars and the occasional truck. The breeze makes getting into the postures a little more difficult. I did not want the challenge.

Towards the end, we were getting into fish. I was just about done with moving, my body having gone through P90X hell all week, so I was doggin it. This instructor? Does not let you dog it. But instead of taunting you, she comes next to you, lies down face to face, and says, Now this is how we do fish. How can you not do the pose when she's on the hard floor with no mat next to you showing it? So I stopped being lazy and did it and she said, good good, got up, and adjusted ouch!oomf!ow! man. (FYI: I am aware this picture looks like one of those dummies you use to learn to do CPR on. It also looks like a bald albino child in 70s polyesther pants that you know his mom makes him wear though he's unhappy about it--dang, isn't being albino enough of a challenge?).

That's pretty much why I enjoy taking classes. I can't get away with being lazy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bang On The Drum All Day

Health and wellness and beauty, oh my. A free fair for all things associated with these three categories is right up my alley. S's sister was presenting at it, so she invited me, AK, T, and D to participate in the activities in Island Park, at a place where I used to go on the weekends to drink and dance. My, how different places look through sober eyes.

At the front table, stacks of free bags stood for the taking. AK took one of each because that's what she does; she's really good at getting free stuff.

The two of us made our way to the back room where most of the presenters were. We walked by a booth that had health bars. I tried a peanut butter bar. It did not taste like peanut butter. I don't know what it tasted like other than bad.

We found S, D, and T standing near a window, admiring the gazebo. T decided that we all needed to get married there because it was so pretty.

We walked around to see what free things we could get in addition to the bags and Natural Awakening magazines that we'd received at the first table. We saw some very cute shirts that had fun sayings about fitness. I nudged T and was like, that's the wrong its, right? The shrit said: If its physical, its therapy. She was like, no one cares about apostrophes any more. So then I continued, yeah but it is the wrong its, right? She was like, yes yes it is.

We then went to another table to taste the chewable vitamins. They stuck in my teeth. The guy at the booth then got in my face and was like, do you want to support your illness? I was like, no, I don't want to support illness--that sounds bad. He started to talk again but instead, I asked to see the bottle to read what was in the vitamins. Basically they were an overdose of Vitamin C--anything over 100% daily recommended dose you pee out--and an overdose of Vitamin A--which can be toxic because it's a fat soluble vitamin. Accutane users beware. This booth was a sham so I walked away.

We found a Tupperware table. Those ladies are pushy. I signed up for the drawing. That turned into my signing up to host a party. The head woman shoved a plastic stick at me and suggested I have a Tupper Tini party. My best guess: a party at which I show Tupperware and serve martinis. My friends were very supportive of my hosting a Tupperware party. I looked at them and was like, you guys think this party is actually happening. The women were persistent so I told them that I was a teacher and no party would be happening until the summer months came. The head woman then exclaimed: You can have a Patio Tupper Tini party!

FYI: The plastic stick turns out to be a citrus peeler. I don't know how to use it. I do know that T was the only one of us who didn't get one so she went back inside to get one when we had started off to the other room.

Then came the raw balls. D, T, and S had overheard one of the many, many chiropractors there tell the woman he was working on that she had to try the raw balls.

In any context, that sounds dirty. In the context in which a man has got his hands on a woman and suggests it, it's even dirtier.

D and I decided to try to them. Turns out, they were macaroons. We got samples of the banana berry. I liked it. At first. D liked hers, too. Then mine took a turn for the worse. S said that the look on my face showed that I wasn't really enjoying it. No, no I was not. So to recap, everything I put in my mouth that night was horrible.

We went to find something to drink. I desperately wanted to wash off my tongue. Wewent to the front room and found a coffee table. They had samples for free and cups for sale. All I wanted was a sip of something to get out the tastes lingering from the chewable vitamin and raw ball. However, the girl behind the coffee table had something else in mind. Actually, I think her mind was completely blank. The five of us stood there waiting and waiting for her to help us and she kind of stared off at us and didn't acknowledge we were there. Nice sale. We left.

Thank goodness for almond milk. A woman was giving away free samples of the milk she makes. It was good. My tongue was happy to have something other than horrendous.

The next table we found was for pure cotton tampons and pads. The girl had run out of samples but explained to us that we should be very careful not to put synthetics or chemicals near, on, or in our vaginas.

S's sister's presentation was coming up so we headed to the center of the room. She was conducting a drum circle. The chairs filled up so we didn't have to stand in. We got to hold percussion instruments. We participated by drumming to our own rhythms. It lasted quited some time and attracted the attention of a guy with a video camera and microphone so T and D spent some time angling away from the camera. It was a lot of fun. S's sister obviously loves what she does and was really excited, which made everyone in the circle really excited. She was good with the younger girls who were there too. It was fun to watch little girls participate alongside the adults.

When the circle was over, we started go to get more bags from the front table but then instead went to see the raffle. We won nothing but did get bamboo plants from the feng shu booth. For free.

To recap, the free stuff we'd gotten: a reusable bag, a magazine, a citrus peeler, a piece of a peanut butter bar that tasted like crap, an extreme chewable vitamin that tasted like crap, piece of a raw ball that tasted like crap but only a little bit, a small sip of almond milk that tasted like heaven (but that judgement can be skewed because of the prior crap intake), and a bamboo plant. I'm very happy I did not pay for this event.

Once again, we headed to the front door to get more bags. Instead, we got snagged by the Fios 1 guy, the guy with the camera. He asked something about us knowing each other. No one knew how to answer that. He asked again and I figured out what he meant, so I said, we came here separately but we know each other and didn't meet for the first time tonight. I don't know why that mattered because he said all he wanted to do was get a few answers from us so he could go home. At first, T decided to hide behind me because that's the best place to hide, behind the shortest person. But then she ducked out of the shot totally. I wound up answering most of the questions.

What was the best thing we did?
The drumming (duh--I'm good at promotion).

How did we feel afterwards?
Relaxed, such a sense of release.

What else?
Umm, we got plants.

At this point, I started to have flashbacks to the interview after the Revlon Run Walk. That did not go over so smoothly either.

What else?
We got other free stuff.

Is it a girl's night out?
AK said, yes but with no alcohol.

Then he asked the same question. His asking skills were not great. I said yes again and echoed what AK said.

Then he asked us to say a lot of stuff all at once, like a sign off line, and we were like, what the? He quickly did a countdown and we all laughed instead of saying it so he counted down again and we said it as if we were born to say it. Don't ask me what it was. I can't remember it. It was something about watching Fios 1. We're famous. Or we're in some Japanese porn. Again.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Same Old Toes But New

We learned no new dances at dance class. S pointed out that we "learned" Toes because that's what Jean began with and this semester we hadn't done it yet.

We were two weeks out of practice. That meant a lot of turning in the wrong direction. The whole time. For everyone. It's actually pretty entertaining to watch a group of people doing the same dance but facing in all different directions. At one point, I was turned completely around and the class was coming towards me. I kept on turning.

By the time Jean decided to do Mango Smoothie, a lot of people were tired. That meant that lots of people dropped out midway through the song for various reasons: tired, bored, lack of coordination. The latter is probably the biggest reason. The dance has a lot of steps.

Under her breath, S kept asking for Quarter After One but didn't ask out loud seeing as how that leads to never doing the dance again. Then, Jean decided to play Quarter After One on her own. Coincidence? Probably. That or Jean was trying to see how many more people she could make sit down. People ususally stop dancing after the first few seconds of it. When she turned on the music, a bunch of us started dancing right away. However, Jean screwed up and the asked why no one remembered the steps, and then stopped the music and retaught it to all of us who already knew it and everyone else who sits out anyway was sitting out already.

One more class left. Sigh.

Yellow Is Not Sunkissed




There's a big difference between being tan and looking like you have jaundice. Tony Horton, take note. I understand that when you are in front of the camera, you do not want to be so white as to reflect light and blind people who are trying to complete a workout. However, your kind of-tan that appears in some DVDs and not others is disturbing and distracting. How am I supposed to complete dive-bomber push-ups when I can't look away from your complexion in an obsessive effort to figure out if you are suffering from malnutrition or from a bad tan accident.


Phase Three. Week 1. Still look EXACTLY the same. Grrrrrr.

No Bonnet, Lots of Eggs




This Easter, Eddie and I had good food with family, but more importantly, we learned that we can follow directions on the back of a box and get perfectly edible Easter eggs.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

UFC At TFF

Tribeca Film Festival needs to go back to its roots. The ticket prices are ridiculous. The fest used to focus on independent films with no-name directors, actors, writers. Now, every third film has some superstar in it. Me no likee.

This year, the schedule sucked. Few daytime showings during Spring Break. T and I did not make it together this year. Sigh. Next year, TFF needs to run things by us first.

The silver lining: this year, Eddie got a taste of the experience. He needed to have another film fest adventure after our last very absurd one.

ESPN supports several films about sports, so when the day came to buy tickets on AMEX presale, I was all set to snag two tickets to Catching Hell, a documentary about the fan who interfered with a play in baseball and received death threats. In two seconds, the show was sold out (or as they say in Tribeca, all the tickets were now RUSH, which means you stand on line for three hours, not knowing how many tickets are left and if you'll get it). The only one not sold out was the one on Easter, which we couldn't go to. So instead, I found a film about Anderson Silva, the ultimate fighter, called Like Water. It was a ten PM showing, which is way past my bedtime, but it was on a weekend, so I could do it. He would just have to poke me a lot if I was tired.

Turns out, I wasn't tired. Despite the letdown of everything else, I was excited. I was excited to see Eddie's experience, I was excited to be part of the experience, and I was excited that TFF was here, which means it's Spring and it's wonderful.

We found the theatre (after I got turned around for a while after getting out of Penn and couldn't find the Q train--every now and then, it happens). We got our tickets from Will Call after the girl in the booth had a verbal clawing match with the girl running the line. Fun Fact: TFF charges you $3 to hold a ticket at will call. That's in addition to the $2 charge for handling. What's the difference, pray tell?

We got snacks from the deli across the street because once you go into the theatre, they keep you in a herd and you can't break free. We saw that the line was at the other end of the block and was getting longer by the second. We waited on line while people passed by, asking what celebrities were supposed to be there. Who knows? We walked passed the largest security guard known to man and hustled into the theatre. We found good seats on the aisle and watched the rest of the place fill up. We saw lots of MMA jackets. Lots of these people were fighters.

Then a woman announced that this is the fest's tenth year and the film would begin. She said that the director was there to take questions afterwards. Then we heard a few people behind us say that Anderson would answer questions too. Eddie and I looked at each other--Did you hear that? Yup, the fighter was there.

The film started with a clip of Bruce Lee explaining how an athlete must move like water, hence the title of the film. Then Anderson Silva appeared on screen. Then he began speaking in Portuguese. Uh-oh. It never dawned on me that the film would be subtitled. I didn't know how Eddie was going to fair with that, but afterwards, he said that he got into it and didn't mind it. I did find one grammatical error in the subtitles--your's. What's that mean? Teaching English is sometimes a curse. I'd bet no one else caught that.

The film was pretty good. It followed the training up to a certain title fight that Eddie and I had watched on Netflix, so it was very apropos for us. I'm sure the filmmakers had us in mind.


The lights came up and the woman came back to announce that there would be a Q&A and she kind of glided over the names of the people including Anderson Silva. Then he stood up. He was five rows away from us, wearing a Yankee cap, white t-shirt, and jeans. As he walked forward, people realized who he was and started cheering.

The Q&A was great. He answered some things in English and some in Portugese. Someone asked a question in Portugese and he answered in both languages. Then someone asked why he doesn't always speak in English and he explained in Portugese and his manager/translater explained in English: sometimes his vocabulary isn't wide enough to say exactly what he wants to say.

What we did understand was this: when someone asked if he would fight Chael Sonnen again (Chael Sonnen is the loudmouth who ripped Silva all the way up to the fight, basically kicked Silva's ass, and then LOST when Silva got him in an arm bar who also condemned Lance Armstrong for taking steroids and giving himself cancer and then later was banned from the UFC for testing positive for steroids), Silva said he wasn't sure. "Good fighter, but...no win." Then they asked about another fighter. Silva responded, "Good fighter, but no win."

For the last question, someone asked what Chael Sonnen whispered to him after their title fight. Silva answered in Portugese. His translator said, Chael said he loved him, but he doesn't think that's true. It was a good way to end the night.

Silva is one funny guy. He's affable. He stood up at the front and greeted people. Eddie went up and took a close up shot. He wanted to meet him but there were too many people and they were kicking us out of the theatre. We tried to hang around but the largest man in the world was telling people, you can't stand here so keep it moving people keep it moving. We kept it moving. We didn't want to incite the wrath of large man.





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