Friday, April 29, 2011

Estamos En Nueve York

To celebrate Spring Break, my brother and I decided to go to a park and a museum. We celebrated our escape from academia by doing something rather academic. You can take the teacher out of the school, but you can't make the teacher not be eager to learn stuff. Curiosity is an asset. We were curious to see the panorama of New York City at the Queens Museum.

When we got to the museum, I paid student price and he paid full price. I am cheap. He is not. The entrance fee is a suggestion anyway, so we could have bypassed the information desk altogether, but we didn't. I don't know why it was called an information desk because the woman was not very informative. She didn't even tell us how much to pay. She kind of stood there while we scrounged around in our wallets. Then she did not give us any kind of floor plan. She simply pointed and mumbled. Thankfully, I speak mumble; my brother does not and had no idea that she said, You can start with the panorama.

We walked up some stairs in a dark hallway and then, voila:

P space A space N space O space R space A space M scpace A

I, in my infinite miswisdom, figured a panorama is a long diorama. Remember those? Take a shoe box, cut up some construction paper, add some cotton balls and glitter--instant Ice Age! So I was planning on walking into a large dark room with a table in the middle of it, under a spotlight. I apparently generate this ideas based on subconscious memories of movies about artifacts under glass cases in museums.

The entire floor of the room was the panorama. Around the edges of the room is a walkway on an incline so the more you move around, the higher you go on a slope up to the second floor. It was magnificent. The buildings are teeny tiny. The boats and planes are eenie weenie. The legends along the walkway are not helpful. Instead of relying on them, I relied on my brother.

I am convinced my brother knows everything about New York City, and by the end of our walking tour around the panorama, I was trying to convince him to get a summer job doing those city double-decker bus tours. He took me on a tour through the city, pointing out where our grandma used to live--around 88th and Lex for a rent of around 4 or 5 hundred in a rent controlled apartment--along with where he lived in the Bronx, where he lives now, where he used to work, where he works, and mostly where he bikes, which is everywhere.

While we went around pointing at things--look there! where? there, right there, where I'm pointing! I am looking there! No! There!--a rather loud Hispanic man had a laser pointer that he used to more accurately point at things. He spoke very loud Spanish. It was echoing. When we were halfway around the room, I said, That guy has not shut up since he walked in! Anthony responded, he's got a laser pointer. Then I realized at the end of the room that they were on a tour; I realized this only because another group came in at the top with a different loud Spanish speaking man with a laser pointer. I am slow on the uptake sometimes.

After the panorama, we looked at all the old posters and trinkets from both World's Fairs along with pictures of the builders building it. It was all very kitschy. There was also a small spiel about the Valley of Ashes, a very big part of The Great Gatsby. (Fascist bastards knocked down the inspiration of the Gatsby House this month. Not cool, rich people. Not cool.) (Note: I am not calling the Queens Museum fascist bastards. That's directed to the people who tore down the house. My rant seems to have been unclear after reading it back to myself). (Note: I actually did read that back to myself, which, I believe, is unprecedented. Double checking what I write as I write will not become a habit of my lazy ass writing process in which I rarely proofread and even more rarely fact-check).

We then went back around the panorama down to the first floor again. We walked further down the long dark hallway to find two big screens playing movies on a loop. Anthony said, It feels like porn is gonna start playing. I agreed so we went back to where the light was.

Having no map of the place and no idea of where to go, we wandered into a room with a topographical map. It was almost room-sized. The walls were huge photographs and drawings of pipes. The map was about where water comes from.

Then we saw some art. The exhibit was Not The Way You Remembered. Some of it was very cool. Bryan Zanksnik offers a 2 channel 5 minute video called Preserve that features his father acting as a docent in a taxidermy museum intercut with a tour of the family home, with the best part being the mom complaining about vacuuming. Also, Jason Lazarus has a collection of photos called Too Hard To Keep, Agathe Snow presented Paper General which is a collection of caption texts and non-narratives, and Jean Shin's Altered Trophies were trophies with the people on top changed from athletes into maids and gardners.

Then there was the other kind of art. I'm gonna steal this description from the guide I found at the museum: Dave Murray's 85% Of The Art I Made Turned Into A Diamond, .29 carat diamont: Dave Murray has given actual, material value to discounted artistic ideas and creative false starts by cremating their physical remnants, and transforming them into a diamond.

Now let me give you a description of what it actually was: a diamond chip on an oversized velvet stand under glass. Kind of how I pictured the panorama would be set up.

There was also a large wooden thing. We could not tell if it was part of a piece of art on display, its own piece of art, or just a piece of wood hanging around.

Then we did what everyone has to do when they go to the Queens Museum. We walked around the park, took way too many pictures of the unisphere...

...and then walked around some more. The sun came out at the end of our walk and I got overheated, having worn my Northface hoodie with the long sleeves with thumb holes. He made fun of me for wearing it, but really, the sun didn't come out until the end of the day so I was glad I wore it since he took me over the LIE to the manmade lake on the other side. It's still too chilly for waterside walks.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Heated Hot Yoga

Bikram yoga is yoga in a room at about 100 degrees. That's hot. So in comparison, 90 degrees should feel better. It doesn't really. It's still hot. So as D, AK, and I chose a space in the back of the yoga room for our hot yoga class, it felt good for maybe two minutes since we'd been waiting outside while the class before us was finishing up and the door was locked. But then, as we sat waiting, and waiting, and waiting even more, I found that I was sweating. I even took a sip of water. While all I was doing was sitting.

Class began late, much later than it should have. I can maybe understand five minutes late, but this was more than five minutes. If it were a private club where everyone were friends, that would be fine, but this was an open class at a business, and they should start on time. People have lives. Plus, I didn't want to be doing yoga into all hours of the night. However, it seems that the studio doesn't really care about clocks. The class before us ended late; that's why we were locked out. Maybe they're in a yoga time warp.

When class finally began, the instructor told us to lie down. Ahhh, lying down to start class again. This is something I can get used to.

What I couldn't get used to was the instructor wearing her hair down. It was making me hot just looking at her.

After lying down and breathing for a while, we did some arm and floor work. She was holding a lot of poses. This class was supposed to be a vinyasa class. (Actually, it was a power vinyasa and when we got there and looked it up to be sure, AK was like--what does that mean? and I was like--it means it's gonna be really hard). Last I checked, vinyasa is all about movement and flow. Instead, we were stuck in these positions, holding them and feeling them and breathing through them.

And sweating. We mustn't forget the sweating. Profuse sweating.

She kept saying that usually she does like 11 poses in 11 seconds but here she's feeling like holding and letting us feel the posture and the body and the breath. She kept saying she felt like doing something different and usually her classes are so much faster but now it was all about the holding. All that would make much more sense had we had her before as an instructor, but really, all she was doing was being a tease. Again, if this were a private class where we all knew each other and knew her style, we would feel the difference in her teaching style. But really, all it was for me was hearsay.

Then came the "feel bad about yourself" portion of the class, which was the majority of it. Her teaching style emerged as one-third motivational, one-third school yard taunting, and one-third bad parenting.

When D raised her hand to show that she was new to yoga, the instructor said she was in a perfect place to be modified. That happened maybe twice during the course of the class. Instead, the instructor teased the boys behind us, asking them what was going on back there, telling them they should calm down a bit, and then taunting them, saying the girls were doing much better than the boys. One of the guys kept asking the other, what'd she say about us? What'd she say? Either he had a hearing problem or he just wanted to call attention to the fact that the pretty girl was talking about them. In any case, it was slightly inappropriate.

I probably wouldn't have been bothered by it if I weren't bothered by other things. And there were so many other things, most of which had to do with her.

One thing that did not have to do with her was the sweating. The unbelievable sweating. The first time she told us to go into child's pose, I did so and sweat ran up my nose. Ever have sweat go UP your nose? It doesn't feel good.

It happened more than once.

The studio's website says that all classes are for all levels. That's a big lie. As I said, the instructor came over to D maybe twice. Beginners need more than that. Also, just announcing postures without showing them when you know there are a few new people in the room is not helpful.

Plus, doing the postures you like just to show off is not the way to instruct. Yes, it's great that you can get your ass up to the ceiling in crow. It's fantastic that you can flip right over into wheel. But it would be helpful if you show other moves that aren't as impressive.

The teaching became taunting during crow. It's balancing your knees and shins on the backs of your biceps while your hands are on the floor. It's not easy. As we were supposed to be in this posture, she admonished us that we needed to get into it. We had to do it. We should do it. Even for those doing it, they should do it the right way (that's when she showed off, er, I mean, showed us how). Everyone was in crow. Everyone. Everyone. She kept repeating it because some of us were not in crow because, quite frankly, it's difficult and some people can't fucking do it. When that portion was over, she sighed kind of loudly. I don't know if it was out of frustration about some of us not doing what she was instructing us to do or if it was because the room was hot. Very hot. Have I mentioned that?

That kind of pushing is for personal trainers, not yoginis. In yoga, you're supposed to listen to your body. Instead, she wanted us to listen to her.

I do need some pushing. When we were in side plank, she stood over me and repeated, look up. Look up. When I realized she was talking to me (it was sometimes hard to tell if she was talking to me or AK), I slowly moved my gaze to the side and then all the way up. She actually did say, good, when I did it.

Later on, when she was going into backbends, I did not feel like going into a backbend. I don't like dropping my head backwards. Plus, if you feel like your throat is closing when you drop your head back, you're not supposed to drop it back as far. Any yoga instructor--actually any human being who does not like the feeling of gasping for air--knows that. But instead, we got: stop drinking water...stop figeting...everyone is in back bend.

By the time savasana came around, my nose was filled with sweat and I was kind of in la la land, wondering if the instructor was wearing underwear. She had on tight pants but no VPL. It was fascinating.

See what happens when you're not allowed to drink water? You get a little nutty.

And now for "AK Did Not Like That Class." This was by far my favorite part of the evening. As we walked to the car and drove D to her place about a block away (she'd walked), AK listed every reason she did not like that class, most of which overlaps what I've said here. I agreed and agreed and agreed. She was like, I'm never taking her class again! I agreed!

When I got home, I had to peel my clothes off. It was gross. I took a long shower and drank more water. I'd had about four cups of water during and on the way home from class. I had two more before bed. As I started to doze off, I kept thinking about the story I read in a magazine about the woman in the sweat lodge who died several hours later. I started to freak out a little. I got up and drank more water. Then I went to bed again.

I woke up about an hour later, thinking I was dying. I had more water. Ugh. The class was late to begin with. Since it had started and ended even later because of delayed yoga time warp syndrome, I simply hadn't gotten enough water in before bedtime. It wasn't a good sleep.

So to finish my Groupon, I plan to go to all the non-heated classes and maybe a hot class in the morning so that I can drink gallons of water before going to bed. Then, when I win lotto, I'll open my own studio, and not taunt people as I teach.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Bigger Problem

After OC County GOP official Marilyn Davenport sent out a picture of President Obama as part of a family of chimpanzees, she apologized, saying, "at the time I received and forwarded the email, I didn't stop to think about the historic implications and other examples of how this could be offensive."

No, the problem is not that you didn't stop and think before sending it. The problem is that you were not offended when you first saw it. The problem is that if you really recognized it was offensive, you wouldn't have to stop and think about it. You wouldn't have to have that self-conversation of, hmm would it be wrong to send this along? You would have written back to whoever sent it to you and scolded them for sending you such offensive material.

But you didn't do that. You were, as you say, "an imperfect Christian."

Thanks for your guarantee that you won't "repeat this error." That's mighty big of you.

Non-Heated Hot Yoga

Groupon offers a lot of deals that I would never dream of using. However, AK found a deal that was pretty unbeatable. It was for a month of unlimited yoga for like 29 when the real price would be over 100. That's a good deal. The studio is in Long Beach and we decided to take a morning Saturday class, and for the first class, we had to be there 30 to 20 minutes early to fill out forms.

So on a cold Saturday morning at 6:45, we headed to Long Beach, where it's even colder. We walked in and it was thankfully warm. We signed in, got these nifty keychains that we can now scan when we go to class as a sign in, and walked to the front of the room. AK was like, I don't mind the back either, so we then quickly moved to the back. The woman in front of me was like, No one ever wants the front. Heh heh. True. Whenever I teach any class--no matter what it is--composition, poetry, yoga, aerobics--no one wants the front.

Two men sat behind us. I thought to myself, oh man they look like grunters. They were not. Phew.

When the class started, I couldn't hear a word the instructor said. She told us to lay down on our backs to begin and when she walked to the front of the room, I heard only music (but it was yoga music--also smelled like patchouli, mmmm). I've never started a class on my back before. Since I'd gone out the night before and gotten to bed around 1 AM and I'd gotten up at 6ish, beginning on my back was not a good idea since I was wanting to fall asleep. Ooooh, I could have slept there forever, except that the room was feeling toasty. I little too toasty. I got a little worried that the heat was going to be a problem, set off my vertigo, perhaps kill me.

My shoulder had started to hurt the night before, so I was also dealing with that even while lying down. But the heat was good for it as we started to move. Also as we started to move, the instructor's voice got louder and we were both off and yoga-ing.

I was sweating almost immediately. I'm an easy sweater (not the cardigan kind, the wet kind). In a room at 70 degrees with very little movement, I'm gonna start dripping. It was a good sweat. Some sweats are uncomfortable, like when you're all gussied up in tight tight jeans and high high pointy toed heels and a tight tight boob shirt and you're walking blocks and blocks through the city in the summer to get to a bar to milk an overpriced drink and then walk all the way back to Penn Station. That's a bad bad sweat. This sweat was a good sweat. Yoga sweat is good.

The instructor had a slight accent that I couldn't place, but it was soothing. I'm a sucker for accents (even though I can't mimic them). Her adjustments were gentle at first. She would touch my hip and I would bring it forward. She would nudge my shoulder and I would open it out.

And then the insanity began. I was in down dog and she came over, put her hands along my back to really flatten it, and then, she goes, And reach your head to the floor relax the neck good good good. Before I knew what was happening, she got my head to the mat in down dog. I've never realized how much tension I hold when I think I'm dropping my head. I was really happy that I got my head to the mat.

And then the insanity went up a notch. We were in camel. Think up on your knees and reaching your arms back so your hands rest on your heels. AK did the smart thing and switched between reaching with her right and reaching with her left. I can barely get into this pose, but did my awful best. The instructor helped me. Here, "helped" means "almost broke me in half." She pushed my hips forwards, rounded my arms back, and tipped my head all the way back. Good good good nice, she said.

As soon as she walked away, I collapsed forwards and drank some water. Surprisingly, I wasn't sweating any more than a little and I'd adjusted to the heat. The only drawback to the heat was some hand slipping at certain points.

She moved onto inversions, which I don't do. Afterwards, AK asked if I don't do them for a certain reason. Yup, I feel claustrophobic and like my neck is going to snap. I normally don't even attempt to go into them because instructors would come over and "help" me, and I freak out when someone grabs my ankles, and that's how they "help" so I avoid them. Here, however, I did slight variations, but only when the instructor wasn't near me because I didn't want her to rip me in half, literally.

The end of class came quickly. We'd started a few minutes later, and even still, it felt too soon. Coming out of savasana, I felt very sweaty but also loose and stress-free. Ahhhh, I love yoga. AK and I were like, that was a really good class! We grabbed our stuff, thanked the instructor, and went downstairs to put our shoes on. We'd taken them up with us and realized we should have taken them off at the door, which was where a pile of everyone else's shoes were. It was a cramped space to put them on, but by that point we were quite flexible. We're looking forward to the hot class at a balmy 90 degrees. I wonder what shapes I can curve myself into at that temperature.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Seeing Clearly

<--This is the best ad for eyewear ever. Here, "best" means "absolutely ridiculous."

Somehow, I got roped into getting my eyes dilated today. I went for my annual eye exam, which is always chock full of moving from room to room and resting my chin on different chin rests and pushing my forehead against different metal bars and starting at red dots and green dots and a hot air balloon and flashes going off in my eyeballs and lenses lenses and more lenses being switched at rapid speed in front of each eye so I can never really tell which one is clearer and I usually say "that one" randomly.

So in between glaucoma tests and puffs of air pushed into my eyes, the doctor said something about my usually getting dilation while I'm there instead of coming back, and then I was getting drops that sting really badly and then I could barely see as I sat down to get new frames since I haven't had new frames since 2008 and I have a new prescription. Frame after frame, we tried on and gave thumbs up, thumbs down, and thumbs sideways. I fell in love with two frames, one metal and one plastic, and chose the metal one as it's easier to adjust to my face.

I have crooked ears. One is higher than the other. So glasses always need adjustment. I also blame my ears for my not being able to wear hats. I look weird in hats. Maybe I just have a small head. Or maybe the hat industry needs to make some smaller hats for adults.

Anyway, my pupils finished dilating, they took pictures of my eyes, and then the doctor looked at the pictures, praised the frames we'd chosen, and sent me on my merry way, explaining that since the frames covered by my plan were ugly, I should stick with the frames I found and let the plan cover my contacts, which is less coverage since contacts are cosmetic, but still, it's coverage.

Blurry-eyed and bleary, I got to the counter to find out the damage.

512. Dollars. American.

That's with a discount on the frames, mind you. A 30% discount on the frames plus insurance "coverage" and I'm shelling out $512.

I asked the receptionist, Can you tell me what the insurance covered exactly?

She goes, 60 dollars.

Then she, the receptionist next to her, and I shared a silent pause and then a weird laugh.

I left after putting it on a credit card. I had decided to do some errands as I waited for my eyes to dilate since the dilation was taking me well past noon, the time I would have had to leave to go see a Silver Screen movie for two bucks with T (and she canceled anyway due to a relapse in a cold). When I got outside, I fashioned my sunglasses over my regular glasses and headed to the library. Not wanting to look like a complete idiot, I took off the sunglasses to walk into the library. I was walking with my eyes almost closed. You know, so I didn't look like an idiot doing that.

I took out a book of poetry on my list plus a book not on my list but by an author with the last name Olson because I had an Olsen accidentally left on my list and the book had a cute cover. Whoever said you can't judge a book by its cover did not work in the publishing industry.

Heading back to the car--with my eyes mostly closed--I decided to go home instead, and I've been cooped up in the house, unable to look at daylight, kind of like a gremlin. Being cooped up on a sunny day is not fun, especially when I think about the events of the morning; how can my eye care cost that much? Seriously? I don't know why using my frames from 2008 was a huge negative. I don't know why the frames the insurance covers are ugly ones.

I don't understand what a big difference 60 dollars is; actually, it's almost insulting. It's like, oh you need 500 dollars to see? Hmm, well, I'll give you this monacle I got from the costume shop for your left eye and this microscope for your right eye. If you don't using those, then you can go ahead and buy yourself your own damn glasses. Which is what I did.


The woman who asked me to play Antonia in the Sor Juana event passed my name onto an artist who is putting together a staged reading of a play about goddesses. She told him that I'm a good reader. This woman is a sweetheart, and I thought it was really cool of her to give me such a compliment. She's playing one of the goddesses as am I; there's supposed to be a third goddess, but she didn't show up for rehearsal so we're one goddess down at this point. I'm getting ahead of myself.

I read the script that I got in the mail a few weeks ago, and then I read some of it to Eddie, and the two of us were laughing hysterically. I'm not going to reveal it because it's just too much of an absurd and unexpected idea, but I will tell you, it involves undergarments and, at one point, gas.

The guy in charge called to set up a rehearsal because he does not have email. My main way of communication is emailing, so now that I'm working with him, I get to practice my phone skills. I've never liked the phone, so being forced into using it is really the only time I'll actually use it, but it's good for me since I'll have to be using the phone a lot at work in the coming months (more on that soon). The first rehearsal date fell on the date after Sor Juana, meaning I'd be driving another hour out and hour back the next night. Ugh.

It was worth it, though. The gallery we practiced in is very cool. A bunch of artists run it as a co-op, and they each have a feature show every few months. The guy showed me his own art before I left. It's all very cool. I've missed the gallery and art scene, so it felt really good to be there. We read through parts of the play.

The director asked me, Can you do an Irish accent? I said, Nope. Then, I eventually could, most likely, if I hear one over and over. I learn by hearing best.

We worked on a monologue I have that's pretty long. It's a good thing it's a staged reading and not a full-on play performance. One reason I've avoided the stage is the need for memorization. That does not entice me at all. In high school, I was always involved in plays, but only behind the scenes. Why bust my ass to memorize a script when I could write the script? Also, I was fugly and awkward in high school, so that, too, had something to do with it. Now, I'm not fugly or as awkward, and I kind of like attention.

He kept calling us actresses. He said several times that we needed to find out if the third actress would be joining us. He said that only two actresses were not enough. So, I suppose that means, in at least this instance, I'm an actress. Who would've thunk it. So now this actress is on hold, waiting for the news that the third actress has been found and the goddesses are a go.

It's Always St. Patrick's Day Somewhere

At Jackie Reilly's, the Belairs had a show. That's the band my brother's friends are in. I always want to go but the shows usually way too far. When he told me they were playing half an hour away, I jumped.

JR's is an Irish pub. I don't know if they just didn't clean up after St. Patrick's Day or if they are trying to remind everyone that they are indeed Irish. There were shamrocks and leprachaun hats all over along with Irish flags. It was all very festive.

AEF and I gossip gossip gossiped, even in the loud, loud, loud music, which is what happens when we don't see each other after a long time. It's a non-stop talk fest. The band played one very long set of very loud music. The last time I saw them, it was an outdoors venue, so I don't know if they usually play that loudly, but yeah, it was loud. So loud that when I left, I had scratchy voice because all the talking I did was really yelling.

My brother was rockin along the whole time, which Eddie found slightly surprising. I was like, yup if my brother were musically talented, he would totally be in a band. Then I corrected myself, telling Eddie that my brother does play a few instruments: the baritone, the recorder, and the trumpet.

He was like, What's a baritone? My definition: a small tuba.

He asked, What's a recorder? My definition: a small plastic instrument kind of like a clarinet without the buttons and reed.

Then I reminded him that I used to play the flute and I could also play the recorder. He wasn't all that impressed. I'm not either. What the hell good does that do for me now, having played the flute, and not very well, for two years in elementary school?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Muy Bueno, Sor Cristina

Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz was a nun and poet who helped the sick people during the plague. She eventually died from the plague having caught it while helping those in need. Basically, she was a really nice chick. April is National Poetry Month. NAC offers a lot of cool programs throughout the year, and April is a great time for events concerning poetry. I've participated once before, the coordinator having asked me to read part of Whitman's Leaves of Grass and then my own poem, "Circuit," from an anthology about Whitman. This time, she asked that I partake in a Sor Juana celebration.

Do I speak Spanish, she wanted to know. I took Spanish from the third through eleventh grade. I can proudly say, Yo me llamo Christina. Vivo en Valley Stream. Me gusta la basura.

Translation: My name is Christina. I live in Valley Stream. I like the garbage.

So, technically, yes, I speak Spanish. Actually, she'd asked because I could have read some Spanish poems. I can read Spanish better than speak or understand it. I would read it poorly, but I could read it. She found some other poets who could read the Spanish poems. A bunch of other poets read some English translations. So there were a bunch of poems in both languages before my part came up. I was to read the part of Antonia Mora, Sor Juana's secretary.

Sor Juana didn't really have a secretary. Well, maybe she did and perhaps Antonia Mora was her name, but the coordinator took the lines from Paul Anderson's over-1000-page novel, Hunger's Brides, which you can double as a weapon because it's so friggin heavy. Apparently, there's also a paperback version of the book that's a lot shorter and lighter because the paperback takes out the framework tale about a student researching Sor Juana and having a love affair with her professor. None of that affair was in the NAC presentation either, but it sounds really juicy. I could have read for either of those parts ;)

Anyway, Antonia Mora is a character in Hunger's Brides. The part I read was interlaced with parts of Sor Juana's poem (not fictional) called "First Dream." The actress playing Sor Juana read the English version while I read "diary entries" of the secretary. I read such things like: 28th of February--In a town in Italy, they rounded up the lepers and Jews, locked them in a barn, and set it alight; and: 5th of March--Even worse than the agony is the confusion on their faces.

It was all very uplifting.

Our part of the presentation followed a one-woman original piece, a homily for a Baroque-era German nun who was also a poet. I'm not really sure who she is or what she did even after watching the performance because I couldn't follow it. I really don't know what it was about. The performer wore a sparkly pink accessory scarf with peace signs on it over her head, like a nun's habit. A very retro-trendy nun. She ran over time so when my part came up, in the middle, the coordinator had to whisper to the Sor Juana on stage not to read any more poems and let me just finish, and it took me a moment to realize what was going on, but we pulled it off quite nicely, especially considering that we practiced once, right before the event began.

Afterwards, they served cake. We like cake. Cake is good. This cake was really, really good, and I had a whole piece of it because I was in need of a sugar-rush for the hour drive home in the dark on the wet roads. Also a rush--the people afterwards who told me I read real good. So I'm really good at playing a nun's secretary if I have a script in front of me. If there's an open casting call for that, let me know.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tony Horton Needs Cramps

Tony Horton needs to get his period pronto. Only then will he understand how grating he is when he says you can do anything for 30 seconds. Under normal conditions, that's true. Under PMS conditions, no. Under period conditions, no.

I can get through the workouts without a problem until the hormones kick in. When that happens, my endurance and balance disappear, and I wind up doing a half-ass workout. That makes me feel bad about myself because I figure I wasted time and didn't really do anything towards progress.

Now that this is the second time I'm doing the program, I have even less desire to continue considering that the first time around didn't take. When that monthly drag rolls around, what is supposed to be a program to make me feel better makes me want to never go out in public again. It's great for self-esteem.

I wonder how the women in the DVDs did it. I have a sneaking susupicion they didn't. I have a sneaking suspicion that maybe they've found a secret to avoid it altogether.

Tony Horton: Get a uterus. Then come talk to me about Superman Banana.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kickass Back Kick

I kicked Eddie.

Not on purpose.

Blame Tony Horton.

One of the few workouts that are semi-enjoyable throughout the entire 90 day experience of P 90 X is Kenpo. It's kickboxing cardio. It has a lot of breaks. I like breaks. Breaks are good. It involves a lot of moves I'm familiar with; I used to teach a version of cardio kickboxing, so most of it is fun and easy.

The one thing I do not do correctly is the backkick. I have good form, but I don't look behind me when I kick. Reasons:

1. I don't care if I kick furniture.

2. I sometimes get wobbly if I look back.

3. I'm lazy.

So the other morning, I'm doing Kenpo and Eddie is pacing around the house. Since the accident, he hasn't been able to work out. I don't think he's overly upset about that, though he is kinda pissed that he began P 90 X this time solidly and was well on his way to completing it without a hitch. Now that's out of his control and it sucks.

Keep in mind, the only reason I'm doing P 90 X for a second time was to support Eddie in completing it. We were a team. Now he's out of it for a while and I can't stop because I have to finish things I start because I have a problem with OCD.

Back to the other morning. He's pacing. I'm punching and kicking. He walks behind me, back and forth, a few times. I figure, he must be watching where he's going. Plus, we both are very aware that I am in the middle of a kickboxing routine, one that he has done in the past.

Then out of nowhere, I'm in the three-kick stage and bam! I feel my foot make contact with something other than a couch cushion. Eddie goes running into the dining room, one hand clamping down on the other. I continue to kick but start saying, Oh my God Oh my God Oh my God.

I was like, I kicked you?

He was like, You kicked me!

I was like, Why did you walk right into where I was kicking?

He was like, Why didn't you look?

I was like, I never look!

He was like, I know!

Then he told me that I have a really powerful backkick. I could thank Tony Horton for that, but really, I thank only myself because, as I said before, I've been doing kickboxing for quite some time. If anyone else deserves a little credit, it would be Billy Blanks. I used to do Tae-Bo.

In fact, for kicks (wow, that was an accident and I hate myself for it), I did my Tae-Bo workout for the cardio day recently. What used to be a really difficult workout for me turned out to be really simple.

For that, I thank Tony Horton. His Power 90, the workout I did after doing Tae-Bo for a while, gave me more endurance and strength. But the back kick still has nothing to do with him or P 90 X, the workout that I can't stop doing and not for a good reason.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I made a new friend this week at dancing. S is jealous. We did our usual routine, relearning dances we haven't done in awhile. The Irish music came on for a second and I got excited until Jean turned it off and settled on Good Times. She asked the woman who wrapped the jacket around her face to teach us to do the optional jump. Then the Clique pointed at us and was like, let them do the jump. Why? Why do we have to do the jump? We're not 19!

Rebel Amor was fine until Jean stressed which wall to turn to. Then I was all kinds of messed up and was facing the entire class so I waved. Jean said, You were fine until I said that right? I was like, Yup. S was like, your face is all red.

Then we relearned Walking In The Rain. Apparently, it's my new favorite song. I'm an expert at the tag. We were facing the back, which means S and I were in the "front" line and Jean was right in front of us. She turned and asked, Do you remember which wall we do the tag. I responded with, I think it's this wall and then the next and we do two walls and that's the tag. She understood that somehow and said, Oh, yes, thank you--I knew you'd remember. Then she taught it to everyone.
Jean and I? Are best friends. S? Is jealous.

We then ended on a waltz which was highly anti-climactic. We don't have class for the next two weeks, and that's sad.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Where's Our Shit?

My mom's friends kept asking her where Eddie and I were registered. My mom, in turn, kept asking me to register somewhere. I told her that since Eddie and I aren't having an engagement party or a wedding reception, we weren't registering. She kept asking what we wanted. I kept saying nothing. It went on like this for a while until I logged onto Bed, Bath, & Beyond and created a registery. When the website asked what the registry was for, I clicked "Other."

So then, Eddie and I received a box in the mail. Neither of us could figure out what it was. It was wooden. I figured out it was a spice rack. Yeay! We own a spice rack. It was from my Dad's friend, not my Mom's.

Then we got a whole bunch of stuff. From my parents. I was livid. I was like, You told me the registry was for your friends, Mom! She was like, Did you think we weren't going to get you anything for your engagement? My Dad nodded. So Eddie and I got a vacuum, some luggage, a door mat, and a pillow. We also got a laptop bag that I had to return.

That return gave me store credit. We figured we'd go shopping with that an a gift card I got with credit points. We need some storage stuff.

So I logged onto our registry to see if anything else we listed was in the store that's close by. Lo and behold, there's stuff on there that people bought. People other than my parents have bought us stuff.

This is so odd. Congratulations on your engagement. Here's a placemat. This is why I don't get the whole wedding thing.

I called to Eddie, Someone bought stuff! He was like, What did they buy? Who? Who?

It doesn't say who but it does indeed say that some of our requests have been fulfilled. Placemats, a table cloth, a salad bowl. Lots of stuff. A wok! We're gonna have a wok!

Things not yet bought: a difibulator (that I put on there to bring to Eddie's football games in case someone keels over), a robot change counter (that Eddie found and I was like, put it on there), and some homemedics stuff like ice packs. These are not full of fancy, but they are still things we would find very useful.

So after reeling at the fact that, hey, someone bought us something, we wondered, ummm, where is it all? Who bought it and how will we get it? We're not having a party to which people would bring wrapped things (again, this is why I didn't want to register--I figured, if people want to give us something, they'll give us something). We haven't received any boxes in the mail. Where's our shit? Seriously! Knowing we have presents out there and not knowing how or when we'll get them is all kinds of mysterious. Presents please!

See what happens when you make someone register? She acts like a twelve year old about to turn thirteen. Presents! We like presents!

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Head Start

Planning the future is fun. Eddie and I do it all the time. We live our day to day lives, all the while, listing the vacations we'll go on, the activities we'll complete, the places we'll eat, the houses we'll live in, and the cars we'll drive. All this will happen eventually, we say.

It's a good thing we do this.

This week, some idiot woman decided to drive her Honda Pilot into Eddie's stopped car on the Belt Parkway at about 30 MPH. She drove right into completely stopped traffic. She said she doesn't know how other than she wasn't paying attention.

He called me and told me while I was at work and said he was fine but wasn't sure about the car. I asked if I should come out to help him and he insisted no. So I kept teaching and texting him while he waited for the cops. The cops got there sooner than expected and then he was surprisingly able to drive home.

He said that the car was making loud noises, louder than usual from places other than where they usually come. It's an older car that typically makes noises, but those are regular noises that we've come to know the rhythm of. These noises were bad, bad noises. He also felt the back bumper hitting against the back tire. When we went and looked at it together to take pictures, we noticed that not only were the lights in the back cracked, but the wires and bulbs were dangling out from under.

When he went to open the trunk, the alarm started to go off. He's never used the alarm. He doesn't have a clicker for it. So it kept going and going. We looked at each other. We didn't have a way to shut it off other than figuring out how to disable it.Then we scratched that idea. Neither of us knows how the hell to disable a car alarm.

Actually, neither of us knows how to disable any kind of alarm.

Luckily, when he put the key in the lock on the driver's side door, the alarm stopped. I don't know if it was coincidence or if that's the way it works, but we haven't tried to open the trunk since.

So that brings us back to cars. I was toying with the idea of maybe buying a VW Bug. A bright yellow Bug. Or a Jetta. Or a car with a real third door. Instead, now, we may have to (a) forgo a new car to pay for repairs to his car, (b) find him a car while I keep my car, or (c) give him my car while I get the new one.

I think we'll draw straws. Winner gets to buy a bright yellow VW Bug that miraculously has a real third door.

Eddie, by the way, has no major injuries, but with each day, he's felt the onset of the impact all up and down his back and in his legs and just about everywhere else. Basically, he feels the way Tony Horton makes you feel after a workout, only ten times worse. So there are worse things than P 90 X aftermath.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No Third Door Blues

A third door is a door that you should be able to use to get into your car without crawling on all fours. I have a third door. It's a suicide door--it opens towards the back. It's on the side of the car. It's amazing.

I got my hopes up the other day when Eddie and I were looking at car websites. One of them said they had a car with three doors. Really? Another three door car? Could it be?

Sidenote: I realize that "third door" should not be at the top of my list of criteria for purchasing a new car, above "seat belts" or "good handling in snow." Still, I want it. Bad.

I clicked on the car. I clicked on all the images. I couldn't find the third door. I clicked on the 360 view. Still nothing. Eddie peered over my shoulder and looked. Then at the same time, we said, It's the hatch.

The car was a hatchback and he said that a lot of car makers consider that a door. I said, It's a hatch.

I used to drive around my mom's 1988 gray Toyota Carolla hatchback right before I got my Saturn. I know the difference between a door and a hatch. One is awesome and one is not. So the hunt continues for a car with a real third door and not a loser hatchback.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Different Kind Of Girls' Night Out

For the first time in a long time, T, D, and I hit the town for a long overdue girls' night of gossip and catching up. We went to a place I like to call Lolita's. Okay I call it that not so much because I enjoy calling it that, but because I always think that's the name of the place and it's not. Still, it will always be Lolita's to me. It's not in the middle of a bunch of bars, so it's a quieter place with a crowd that doesn't attend high school during the weekdays unless they teach there.

I'm pretty sure this event was unprecedented as it was the first time ever that all three of us were out having boyfriends somewhere at home. We are not single, not one of the three of us.

The night lacked mission. It lacked pressure and wanting. In essence, it was what a girl's night out pretends to be and aims to be. It was fun and relaxed. There was no scheming and searching out of the corner of eyes to pluck someone up and make him take a number.

It wasn't exhausting. It was fun. Pure fun. It was catching up and gossiping for the purpose of catching up and gossiping. They each had some martinis and I didn't, especially after taking a quick sniff of one and almost falling over, drunk from the fumes. The bartenders were nice--one went off in search of a drink menu and the other was quick to pour. The latter also looked like a smaller brother version of Ronnie from Jersey Shore. Which led to us talking about the Jersey Shore. Which led to us talking about, well, about things, anything and everything, and it was good.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Points With Jean

Jean said hi to me and S as soon as we walked in. I was convinced it was only because we made direct eye contact.

Because the clique wanted to, we learned Rebel Amor, a dance they already knew but wanted to relearn. Jean had mentioned the dance before when we did a step from it in another dance, so it sounded familiar. It was a pretty simple dance after doing it over and over. And over.

When we did Burlesque, S witnessed my feel disassociate themselves from the rest of my body. We were in the middle of a serpiente plus ochos move and I felt something sudden and jerky happening in my lower half. I'm lucky I didn't fall over. I don't know what my feet were doing, but I do know whatever it was, they were doing it really quickly.

The blonde woman who is always one step away moved across the room. So S and I were able to dance alone, taking up the entire back of the room, which came in handy when we did Mango Smoothie.

Twice, S and I screwed up royally. Twice, we were really committed to our screw up. She did it first. She was turned towards the back and I was turned towards the side with the rest of the class. When she looked up, I was staring right at her and said I admired her committment. Ten minutes later, I was fully turned around and couldn't quite get my bearings. This was after the crazy legs mcgee incident.

On our way out, Jean asked me, what dance did we do last week that has the same step as Rebel Amor? I said I wasn 't sure and then I asked, what was the new dance we did this week? She said, Rebel Amor. I felt like an ass. Then I said, I think it was Walking In The Rain. Her eyes lit up and she said, Yes you're right thank you. Redemption! Thy name is Walking In The Rain!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Legend Is Not A Job Description

I do not like Dionne Warwick. I never really had a problem with her before, but after watching Celebrity Apprentice this season, the only opinion I could develop about her is a highly negative one. That's unfortunate because I was looking forward to liking her and admiring all her psychic powers. I'm quite aware, I'm totally dating myself. And I'm also aware that in using the term "dating myself," I'm dating myself even more.

Dionne Warwick is 70 (or thereabouts--that's what I heard people on the show say). As the apparent matriarch of the women's team, she deserves respect because, as a common courtesy, we respect the elderly. We allow for them to move more slowly, speak loudly and over people, and sometimes do less. They are old. They have earned that. NeNe Leakes of the Housewives of Atlanta took to calling her Miss Dionne automatically because Dionne Warwick is an old lady. That is respect. (I mean calling her Miss Dionne is respect, not calling her an old lady as I just have. I have no respect for her right now. I'm also not a fan of any of the Housewives shows, but NeNe, well, I'll get to her and why I like her more than I'll ever like Dionne Warwick).

Dionne Warwick was, and I suppose still is, a singer. Aside from "That's What Friends Are For," I have no idea what she has sung. In fact, I'm only iffy on whether or not she participated in "That's What Friends Are For." The 80s were quite some time ago. Since then, what has she done? Better yet, before then, what did she do? I used to confused Dionne Warwick with Aretha Franklin because out of every song Aretha Franklin sings I would guess that at least one was Dionne Warwick. That never was the case.

So her career is singer. However, Donald Trump would have you think her job is "Legend" since that's how he refers to her. That's how a lot of the people on the show refer to her. She's an older singer who made a name for herself and then went on to promote the Psychic Friends Network at 2 AM on Saturdays. That translates to legend, I guess.

Some of the women were delicate in describing her actions to Trump in the boardroom. Others would not complain at all. There's a thin line between respect and fear, and I think they mostly feared her.

Dionne Warwick fights dirty. When Niki Taylor was running the project, Dionne basically picked a fight in front of a bunch of clients. When Niki Taylor asked Dionne to speak to her like an adult, Dionne insisted she was being an adult, and then called Niki Taylor a hussy when she walked away. That's what legends are made of.

Then, after leaving a project early when NeNe was in charge, she lied to Trump in the boardroom, saying she asked if she could leave. No, she packed up her stuff and walked up to NeNe. NeNe was like, Oh you're leaving? She said, yes. That's how legends ask.

So after Dionne Warwick gets herself fired for not contributing and saying that if the team thinks she should go, then she should go, they all walk out and she calls NeNe a coward.


Here's a woman who has gotten her way and been in charge for a very long time. Here's someone who sings for a living and, because of that, has been called a legend. She's a legend in her own mind, a mind that replays reality in a very different way from the way in which events actually happened.

Even in being called a coward, NeNe calls her Miss Dionne. And that's why I like NeNe Leakes. She doesn't let a supposed-legend get the best of her. In fact, she seems upset that the legend thinks of her in such a way. Dionne Warwick insists she asked permission to leave and that NeNe lied to save her own ass.

If I were on the team, I would have said this: Dionne doesn't do much, she moves too slowly, she needs to be told step by step and bit by bit what's going on around her, she's too territorial, and quite frankly, she sucked in the commercial they made. It was weird. Why was she a host mom in France? Why was she wearing a beret? Inside the house? But perhaps, that's the only thing that wasn't her fault. Unless she told wardrobe that she was a legend in charge of her own outfit, too.

Marlee Matlin explained the situation best. First, a sidenote--Dionne Warwick had a difficulty time recognizing that when Marlee Matlin's interpreter was speaking he was speaking for Marlee Matlin and not for himself, so she kept addressing him instead of Marlee Matlin and he had to kept saying, This is what Marlee is saying.

Anyway, Marlee Matlin said this in the boardroom: "She intimidates me as a person. She has a very strong personality...People tell me that she's a legend and I respect that, but I just don't get it."

Trump responds: "What do you mean people tell you? You don't know that she's a legend?"

Marlee Matline: "Well, I'm deaf!"

And what made that twice as good was that her interpreter said it with a look on his face like "What the hell is wrong with you?!"

Exactly. You can be a legend in your field, but that does not translate into life. You can't write down legend on your resume unless you're going into that same kind of job. Plus, if you need to send out a resume, you're not a legend to begin with. Legend is subjective. Respect is earned and easily lost. And a sore loser is simply sad, a sad 70 year old with a God complex.