Monday, December 31, 2012

A Christmas Feast

I cooked for Christmas day.  Yup, I did it.  I made stuffed shells, zucchini, and mashed squash.  My mom heated up pre-made meatballs.  Next year, maybe I'll make meatballs, too, because the pre-made ones were gross.  The shells on the other hand were fantastic.  How do I know?  Eddie ate like eight.  Everyone else had two or three.  That makes me a cook, right? 

We also had Christmas Eve dinner at my aunt's house.  I did not cook for that.  We're starting small.

This is my new favorite hat courtesy of my grandmother.
Oh, and we grew an elf.   He's still growing, I think.

Or drowning.  Or both.

Merry merry.  Happy happy. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

SantaCon! Must Be A Sign

Two years in a row I've been to almost-SantaCon. Last year, Eddie and I found a lonely Santa hat in the gutter and saw swarms of people dressed up as Santa. Only much later did it dawn on us that our trip into the city had been on the same day as SantaCon.

SantaCon is a day of merriment in the form of adults dressing up in Christmas-related outfits and drinking from the wee morning hours into the late late night hours (really the next wee morning hours).

This year, we did not plan a huge see-every-Christmas-related-event-in-the-city romp. We basically saw everything over the past two years and this year we've both been pretty overwhelmed with work, so there wasn't really any planning going on for anything. In fact, the whole holiday season kinda crept up on us both, evidenced by the very few Christmas cards I sent out this year. Family only and then one or two sent to people who sent us cards early in the month. Anyone who sent us a card that arrived within the few days before Christmas will get a card next year.

We did plan a night out on the town, however. SMM and AF were going to see a play so we said we'd meet up with them for dinner. We hopped on a train, all gussied up, and headed into the city, seeing a few Santa hats along the way. We saw one guy wearing his idea of a Santa outfit using an interesting array of tight red jeans and bright white kicks--like if Santa were a hip-hop star in his 20s.

It didn't dawn on me it was SantaCon until we started walking downtown. We made it to Union Square and oh my Santas and elves and presents. Yes, people were wearing big boxes and wrapped up in bows and wrapping paper. Slutty Santa outfits in freezing weather! Why can't girls just be jolly Mrs. Claus? Big gingerbread men with huge heads! All careening around the bars and taxis. It was insane.

Also insane was the line inside of Max Brenners and their three-hour wait. Um, no. While we waited to see how long the wait was, AF and I eyed the swirling-machines of chocolate in the front. We were mesmerized until I noticed--hey, why is there a container of Huggies wipes sitting on here? Eww. So then we weren't all that upset when we chose to not wait the three hours. Instead, we took a trip around town. Everywhere we went, there was a wait. Also? Drunk Santas. Everywhere drunk slutty Santas, drunk slutty elves, drunk slutty gingerbread men. Wooden soldiers and ballerinas. Rudolph. All mosey-ing across the street all sloshed and blitzed.

We wound up eating at the Cosmic Diner in the theatre district. We had to wait there, too, but it wasn't very long. We waited longer than we should have, though, because there was a family who were most likely tourists who didn't understand apparently what the big bunch of people at the front of the restaurant were doing standing there and staring at them since they took their dandy old time counting out exactly how much money they were leaving and I'm pretty sure also ironing out each bill so that it was nice and neat. Was I a bit overdressed for a diner? Maybe but it served the best diner chicken wrap I've ever eaten ever, so nothing else mattered. SMM actually pointed out that I was kinda dressed for the occasion of SantaCon since I was decked out in a red dress and black boots. Hmm, coincidence?

Odd pose?  Yes.  Taken on a timer so deal with it.

SMM and AF made it to their play on time and Eddie and I walked back through Times Square where we found an overabundance of characters. Thirteen Elmos. Three Cookie Monsters. A whole gang of Mickeys and Minnies all together. It was like a minefield for me--how to avoid the creepy characters and take pictures at the same time.

No characters hang out by the trash can so that's where I was most comfortable.

Also, Eddie had his first encounter with the Naked Cowboy. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. He was like, Are you seeing this? I was like, Oh, sure, that's the new guy. He was like, What? I was like, Well, the original guy looked a bit like Fabio. We both looked at the Naked Cowboy again and then agreed that this whole equal opportunity thing has really worked its magic into every kind of job.

I've decided that next year, I must once again go to SantaCon. The big difference is that I'll be doing it on purpose. I don't think I'll last from morning til the next morning. I do, however, like the idea of climbing into a big fuzzy pajama onesie and walking around the city in it to go bar-hopping. It's probably the most comfortable outfit I'll ever wear out, and I have the perfect one hanging in my closet from my first Christmas with Eddie. How serendipitous.

Go ahead.  Be jealous.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I Hope You Dance, Precious

S and I noticed the cake sitting on the table in the front of the room as we jumped into the dance that had already begun, of course, I'm guessing around 7:00 AM. S had to change from work clothes into jeans. Ha! Jeans! For Jean. Anyway, she'd brought cookies and then was like, They got a cake! I was like, Yeah, I wonder how that went down. She was like, Or maybe Jean brought the cake. I wondered, Yup, maybe she brought it and put it out and said no one could eat unless we danced first.

I'm pretty sure that's how it went down because there was no mention of the cake as we danced every dance in rapid fire that Jean could think of and that people were requesting. We had a pretty full class and Jean was taking note of everyone. After dancing about five dances in a row, she stopped and was like, Now let's eat cake.

I wandered over and heard Jean say, Oh, that's what I hope for you all; I hope you all dance. When S came up behind me, I explained, They got the cake and wrote on it "I Hope You Dance." To a dance teacher. Who already explained that she was retiring from only the night classes. Which means she's going to still dance and probably would continue to dance at least once a month at the church with the Filipino child star. Then I felt only a little bad for my snark when Jan the most friendly person in the world looked over at us and the two women who are also on our side of the room (more of that in a moment) and said, Hey you want cake? and motioned for us to come over. S had cake which was berries and cream so I was like, hey they made the cake for you, because that's her kind of cake. I had hot chocolate, which they'd also brought.

Side note about "our side of the room." Between dances as Jean searched and searched for a song because she still doesn't have a playlist, S was like, People really hate us. I was like, Yes I know. She was like, No, really, look around. On our side of the room was us in the back and then Fun Hair Clip and the Asian woman who talks to us and we don't ever know what she's talking about. On the other side of the room were the four women in the clique, the Catholic sisters, the new woman, the woman who wears the Yankee shirt (although she's stopped wearing it in these past three weeks and has been more dressed up), the woman who can't spin, and the woman who likes when I stretch my arms out when I do the nightclub step. That's ten people crammed into one side of the room to get away from us. And the only reason Fun Hair Clip and the Asian woman are on our side is that they are just kinda oblivious to, well, reality.

Anyway, as we ate cake and drank hot chocolate, the clique decide to ask "the girls", aka us, how to find a song on a phone. I pointed to S. She was like, what kind of phone? They were like, Her phone, and pointed to one of themselves. S was like, I have I Hope You Dance on mine, which is the song they wanted to hear. By Leanne Womack even though I was like, I don't think she sings that and S was like, Uh yes she does. Then I realized that Leanne Womack and Leanne Rhymes are two different people.

Jean then asked, Girls, what dance shall we do next? We said, Something In The Water. She said, that's a great one.

So we did Something In The Water on stomachs full of cake and hot cocoa. Despite the rumbling of the chocolate drink, I was in high spirits by the time the song was over and so was everyone else. Why? Because you just can't feel sad or bad about anything when that song comes on.

Then, when I didn't think I could get any higher, Jean played Stealing The Best. The Irish Song! The Irish Dance! S was like, I've never seen your face look the way it does when you get to break it down during this dance. I was like, It's called pure joy.

Really, all of line dancing is pure joy. The night came to the end after Jean's insistence on us doing Martini Time. No one really cares where Yolanda is, but since Jean wanted to do it, we did it because that's how these things work.

Then it was over. She thanked us. We thanked her. This went on for quite some time. Then S gave her the cookies and I whispered to Jean that they were from S's business and they are gourmet and delicious. Jean was like, Why didn't she tell us this sooner? Then S asked if we could take a picture with her and Jean grabbed her box of cookies to pose. Then everyone else took pictures with her. Jean asked if we'd see her again. I explained that the church is in my neighborhood so I'd have to come by at least once. S said she'd come by if she didn't have to work and then informed Jean that she had taught TickTock to her coworkers after we'd learned it from her. Then I told Jean I'd see her some time at the church and I'd stand near her so she could help me. Everyone laughed and we said our goodbyes and gave final hugs and then? It was over.

When we were walking out, S was like, Did you hear what she called us? I was like, The girls? She was like, aside from that. Nope, I hadn't. S said, Jean called us precious, you know, like the word you use to describe an infant. Yup, that sounds about right.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fancy Footwork Falling Down

So I almost fell at dancing. There have been close calls before with slippery floors and quick turns, but this time? This time was different. I almost literally like fell over. I don't even remember what dance it was. It had a lot of steps and a lot of turns. A whole lot of everything. I thought I was taking a step to the right but my legs started going to the left. Sometimes my feet get ahead of me. I over-corrected. Then, somehow, the weight was on neither foot. I don't know how I did that. Neither foot was holding any weight. Then, all at once, both feet were holding all my weight. That's right, both. And that's when I decided to turn, when I had no leverage and both feet were stuck on the floor. I felt my entire upper-body twist one way and then my arms flailed all about in an attempt to perhaps fly.

This all happened in a matter of five seconds. It felt like a lifetime. I got my footing without falling and turned to see S in tears from laughing so hard. She admitted, I only saw your feet so I can't imagine what the rest of you was doing. I responded, The rest of me was almost falling over. She said, I know that much!

No one else saw. What they did see and enjoy was my arms on the night club step. What I do with my arms is really what S does with her arms, but no, it's me they see. We did the step once and the woman across the room at the end of the line said, So that's what you do?, and flung her arms all the way out to the sides. She continued, That's good and I can do that. Jean nodded awkwardly having no idea what the woman was talking about. S? Still laughing. This was her fault.

Later on, much later, when we were doing a completely different dance and not doing the night club step, Jean said, Wait until I make you do these arms with the cha cha, and she swept her arm over her head and down through her short hair. Way to catch on. Also, we were not doing a cha cha step either.

Most of the night, however, was focused on what we're going to do once Jean is gone. She told us that she'd recommended a teacher and she's not sure if they'll go with her since she wants to teach three different classes of three different levels all in once night and not necessarily on Tuesday nights. But Tuesday nights are for dancing, we all said. Change? Is bad. It's very bad. Jean said that she wasn't sure what they planned to do and it was all in the works and then, to divert our attention away from the impending doom of dancing on another night, she encouraged us to go to the church and dance with Archie the Filipino child star turned dance teacher. Now that sounds like a much better idea.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Will Jean Still Love Me

When S and I walked into dance class, S was like, No seriously what time did she start?  We entered at exactly 8 PM and they were already at the END of Chronomatic.  They were dancing to the not-Rod-Stewart song, a slower version of the dance, so we weren't as disappointed as we'd be if she had played the Rod Stewart song, but still, we'd missed the pre-class-dancing, or as Jean calls it, on time dancing for people who arrive early.

To make up for it--or just because she's Jean--she immediately put on Brazil. Yeay!  Our favorite dance!  And everyone else's not favorite because it makes them out of breath.  This is how we make friends.  Jean did a quick lesson and then we were off!  It was so much fun, just like the old times!  Until Jean decided after four years of dancing the same dance over and over that the dance had a tag that we never ever learned.  Um, okay then.  Actually, I think Jean messed up and then just called it a tag.  In any case, we fell back in step to finish the dance.  Until Jean just shut off the music and was like, So you don't get tired.  I asked S, Did she just stop the dance before the song was over?  Just to be sure of what was happening.  S was like, Um, yes, she so did that.

Jean blasted through dance after dance.  She played Martini Time which prompted both S and I to ask, seriously where's Yolanda?  Then Jean announced, I saw Linda yesterday.  We asked each other at the same time, Is that a song title or is she having a conversation.  It was, in fact, the name of a dance. Which we've done before.  Which I've been calling the Blue Merry Go Round Dance.  And it's not called that.  It's called I Saw Linda Yesterday and it makes me happy.

Then we learned a new dance that, according to Jean, is half mambo, half samba, half Spanish, and half Italian.  I'm not too sure about the actual components, but I do know enough about math to know that that's a total of two full dances, not one.  Yet, we danced only one dance.  I guess it has a lot of halves.

And then?  It was fast forward dance every single dance you know non stop until we hit 9:30.  And we actually did go to 9:30 instead of the usual 9:28.  That's because it's all almost over.  Maybe if Jean ever figures out how to set up a playlist, we can put it on repeat and never stop dancing. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Being In Sex And The City

Resorts World Casino is kind of a big deal. It's a casino that's much closer to home than AC. However, it's got only video-based games. The table games have virtual dealers. It's all about the slots. I'm not much of a gambler because I don't see the point of putting any kind of money into a machine and getting nothing back. It's kind of like saying, Here, inanimate machine, take this money that I have because I don't want it and you should keep it and in return you need only to flash a lot of lights and make some noises. Eddie is more of a table player, so the video portion of that is not very appealing.

Still, it's closer than AC. Which is why we wound up going there with his mom for a big day on the town! Which almost didn't happen because even though we knew exactly where it was, we couldn't seem to find it and the GPS took us into the airport. If that's not a sign to not go....but still, we went.

The first best thing that happened was that we all got member rewards cards and that came with free 10 dollars to play.

The second best thing that happened was that Eddie WON on his first free 10 bucks. He put his coupon into a machine, pressed a button, and BAM! he's up like 70 bucks.

Of course, we couldn't stop there. We had to play more. I played with my 10 bucks and that didn't go very well. So we took a break to head over to the track.

Yeah, that's right. We went to see the races. I still do not find horses very interesting. However, my penchant for horse racing has ironically continued to grow. When we crossed the threshold from casino to Aquaduct, Eddie mumbled, Here's a whole other kind of gambler.

Oh my. The place was packed with mostly older men. Er, uh, well, okay, I'm not trying to judge and saying anything to describe the men would be very judgmental. Or maybe this will help: A man with no teeth stood directly in front of me while Eddie and I were walking through and proclaimed his love for me and sang as we walked away. It was filled with people like that. Along with some women and some younger people who didn't look like they lived there. Mostly though, everyone looked like they lived there.

Eddie showed me the names of all the horses. He chose one. I chose one. We choose based on the names we like. I liked several but came back to Smokin Alice. He placed the bets and told me to hold the papers. I really didn't know what was going on. I just knew we could go outside and watch some horses. The start was all the way on the other side of the track and we stood just past the finish line.

Then they were off! The horse Eddie picked was last. Mine was close to that. They rounded the curve. Then, Smokin Alice was in second. Then, Smokin Alice friggin WON. I won my first live horse race! Man, it felt good!

We returned to his mom all triumphant. She was slot hopping, looking for a good machine. You know, one that gives money back. Eddie handed over his winnings from before and told me to play the Sex and the City game with it. There's this slot machine that makes you choose shoes and dresses and rings and things based on that show. It shows clips from the show. It plays the music from the show. The only weird thing about it was that middle aged straight men were playing it. I don't know what the appeal was for them. It was so much fun. I kept clapping every time I won something. I kept hitting the bonus that caused the wheel to spin that caused a guessing game that lead to winning even more!

And after I was up over 100, somehow, I lost it all. Eddie told me it was okay, that everything we lost was never ours to begin with. It was not okay with me. This is why I don't like gambling. The machine made me lose.

Eddie and I headed over to roulette which was stupid because it didn't let us bet the numbers we wanted because the screen was too sensitive. He wound up breaking even.

Because we wound up losing money by playing on my card, we got 40 more free bucks. Having a score to settle, I stormed back over to the Sex and the City game.

This is why I should not gamble. I try to settle scores with inanimate objects.

However, I did settle the score. I rolled and rolled and rolled. I had a system that made no clear sense--betting one, betting five, betting max, betting five, betting one, betting max. Somehow, it worked. I got the bonus. I got the spin. I got the Match Carrie's Dresses. I turned over mirror after mirror and then BAM! I found the 10000 dress. The woman next to me said, Oh wow and it's 5 times that. Eddie and I looked at each other: WHAT??   The machine kept binging and banging as it added up all the points.  The woman on the other side of me was like, that's nice.  I was like, yup and this is why I'm cashing out.

 Keep in mind this was like a penny slot, so my winnings were not in the thousands. However, when all the math was said and done, we'd come out ahead. Slightly, but slightly is still more than not. And this is why I love gambling. Which is also why I should not gamble.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Beginning Of The End Of An Era Of Dance

Dance class has never been so jam-packed with dances. With only less than half the class there, Jean jacked up the learning curve and decided to throw us into Meth-Like Learning of The Art of Dance. It's what I imagine a rave to be. Being that I've never been to one, it's quite possible that my imagination does not match reality. At all.

We started with a dance we supposedly already know, Crazy Foot Mambo, but I think S and I did it only once and weren't taught the way the Clique had been taught. It wasn't our shining moment considering we messed up the dance over and over. Jean was like, Do you have it now? And I was like, Nope but that's okay!

We did Cry Cry Cry.

Jean mentioned that they do this dance at the church.

We did London Rhythm Swing.

Jean pointed out that the arm movements are for those of us who enjoy Broadway. They may also do this dance at the church.

We did My Blue Merry Go Round.

Okay, I don't know if that's the real name of the song and I'm not sure if this is the dance we actually did, but I really enjoy the shaky camera angles, so let's say it is. They do this dance, or one like it, at the church.

What is all this talk about the church? Seriously, Jean, what's going on? Jean said that she was teaching us as many dances as possible in the next few classes. We figured it was because we lost two classes and they are giving us only one extra at the end to make up for it (how does that add up?). But then, Jean shocked us with: This is the last class I'll be teaching at night.

What???? No more dance class with Jean?????

She said, I'm not sure who they'll get to replace me.

What???? No one could ever replace Jean!

Of course, the sincerity of the moment was completely lost since she was talking into the feedback microphone so it all sound like.


Quite anticlimactic. But the announcement explained why she'd been urging us to go to the church. She was praising the teacher there. She said that she'd arrived at 7:45 and didn't get home until after 11 the last time she'd danced there. Then she pointed at me and S and said, You girls would love it. Of course we would!

But we wouldn't love it as much as we love Jean.

The clique then started making requests to get as much out of Jean as possible. They asked for a dance called Sway. They looked at us and one asked if we knew it and then another answered for us (you can guess which one): They weren't even born when that song came out!

Uh, it's the Pussy Cat Dolls. We were born. We're older than they are.

Jean had some trouble finding the song on her iPod because she has yet to figure out how to make a playlist. She found the Michael Buble version of the song, but not the one she wanted. And so S, aka Teacher's Pet, found it on her phone and handed it to Jean who at first thought she had a video of it but then settled for the song only.

We learned it and danced it and S saved the day.

Then we went home feeling a little let down, knowing that we are almost at the end of the Era of Jean.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Microphone Dance

The best thing that happened at dancing was Jean teaching us to dance while using a microphone that was not cordless. Usually, she holds a mic pack in one hand and the mic that's supposed to clip onto her shirt in the other hand, and teaches us to dance, and we need to decipher what she's saying because the audio is all staticky.

Not so this night. This night, she held a microphone that had a cord plugged into the microphone wall unit. That meant that she would speak into the microphone as she danced until she spun too far away and had to hold onto the mic at arm's length and yell towards it, the mic system not even picking up what she was saying because her head was turned in the other direction.

It became apparent to apparently only me that in yelling at the microphone, she was the most understandable and could be heard the best over any other method she usually uses.

Mostly, we repeated all the dances we've done this session except for the creepy Halloween song because we've been away from dancing for so long. No class was scheduled for Election Day. The class before that was canceled because we were having a hurricane. The class after was canceled because they were a warming and showering center for hurricane victims. They reopened for all programs, so it was nice to be back and return to some normalcy. We did hear that they were adding one more class onto the end of the schedule, which is good. So this night, via corded-mic, we reviewed.

We did learn one new dance. I don't know the name of it because since we were on time, we'd missed the first five minutes. It's a fun dance with lots of quick turns back and forth to a 1950s/1960s tune. Some clapping is involved. I have come to enjoy the clapping. I think it has something to do with everyone's reluctance to actually clap to make a sound. Then Jean said the magic words: You HAVE TO clap because it holds a count. Well, there it is. Jean said it. It must be.

We then relearned Burlesque, an apparently non-risque song about a movie about a burlesque show. Jean wouldn't teach us the dance to one of Pink's songs because it is offensive, but strippers? They are okay.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The English Language: Not My Strong Suit

Baulderdash is "the hilarious bluffing game" for anyone aged 12 and up.

How to play:

One person picks a card and reads a word.

Everyone grabs a piece of paper and writes down a definition for the word, coming up with something that sounds sensible, and then initials the paper before handing it back to the reader.

The card picker and reader then reads all the definitions, including the right one.

Everyone else then guesses which one is the right one.

How to score:

Choosing the correct definition gets you points.

Having other people choose your definition gets you points.

Writing a definition that's close to the actual definition gets you points.

Now all this may seem like an advertisement for a good time. Note that this is not an endorsement. On the contrary, it is simply an explanation of why I should not be an English professor.

Eddie and I headed over to see J and C and D and D and their friends for board game night. Eddie likes the competition. I like the playing.

Fast forward to the end of the competition when all the playing was done. D had won. Eddie had come in second. Out of eight people, I came in last. Yeah, that's right. Last.

Not only was I last, I had moved only one space on the board from the beginning. Yeah, that's right. One space.

That means that I did not choose the correct definition, I did not write a definition close to the right one, and I had only one person guess that mine was the right one.

That means I suck at this game, which is really a game all about the English language, which should probably be my forte considering how many frickin years I went to school and how many frickin papers I grade.

However, I'd like to chalk the loss up to my creativity. In being overly creative, I came up with answers like [insert obscure word] is a buffet that serves only cold dishes and [insert obscure name] was a back up singer for Chaka Khan and [insert obscure company] originally dabbled in the rubber tree, amassing a small fortune.

See? All these things are very plausible considering the correct answers were things like [obscure state law] bans all roosters from crowing after 10 PM.

So at the end, with my sad little game piece sitting in the first spot after the START, there was Eddie, pointing, wondering why his wife's piece was left behind, gloating that he had come up with the answer that [insert obscure word] was a German carriage, which, by the way, no one else had chosen as the correct answer either. So there.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How To Be A Rock Star

I took my mom to the Melissa Etheridge concert.  You know, the one I won the tickets to?  Getting there was an adventure itself since Eddie had my GPS in his car since I'd moved it when I brought my car to the shop before it exploded and I kinda knew how to get to Westbury but totally missed the exit off the Northern because it's mixed in with two other exits.  My mom kept asking, How will we get there?  And I kept saying, I'm looking for a sign that just says "Go this way."  Sure enough, when I got off the the exit after the right one and looped back around, at the end of the off ramp, there was a sign with an arrow pointing to the right that said NYCB Westbury.  See?  Signs just for me.

Parking was another adventure.  My mom sometimes has a hard time walking distances so I wanted to park close.  She has handicapped parking.  In situations like these, we use it.  When we pulled up to the first group of parking attendants, they waved me through to talk to "the next guy."  I went to him and he told me that handicapped was all filled up.  Then he said it wasn't filled but it was for wheelchairs.  Then he said, You don't happen to got a wheelchair in there, do you?  I was like, um, no.  He was like, you know, just go ahead to "the next guy" and I'll forget everything.  Um, ok. We went to "the next guy" and he first told us to park in the VIP parking.  Then he stopped me mid-park and told me to park in the other handicapped spot, but to back in.  I got skillz so I backed into the spot in two seconds.  

After all that, I told my mom to make sure she appeared handicapped and she said not a problem as she slowly crept out of the car and up to the entrance.  Her usual pace. 

Our FREE seats were all the way on the side of the stage.  Okay, practically behind it.  The section was pretty empty.  These people came and sat in front of and behind us.  One of them was wearing really gross perfume.  The guy who said in front moved behind and started telling a story about how he doesn't eat ice cream because he worked in Friendly's.  Then he began another story but immediately stopped it with Oh no oh no.  Apparently, he'd spilled coffee on himself and the woman next to him. 

Seeing that the seats were not exactly filling up quickly, and seeing that my mom was about to pass out from the perfume and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to control myself once that guy came back from the bathroom and started talking about allergies or something, we moved to where we could be actually side stage instead of behind stage.  Don't get me wrong, we spent most of the concert looking at Melissa Etheridge's butt, but it's a nice butt.

The concert?  Was amazing.  This woman, who is 51 (and I know that because she said it about 23 times), can rock it hard.  I found myself wanting to be her with every song. I'd forgotten how good her songs are, how bluesy and cool.  I was sent back to when I used to play my cassette tapes from end to end, singing along with every lyric, hitting the harmonies sometimes.  She played a lot of new stuff that I don't know but I want to know.  She even gave away a free copy to someone wearing an I Heart Kansas shirt (because she's from Kansas, you see).

So then I decided, I need to be Melissa Etheridge.  Here's how I'm going to do it.

1. Learn to play harmonica.
Every cool rock person knows how to play harmonica.  She had her regular mic set up but it has several attachments for a water bottle and an extra mic. It also has a place to put her harmonica, and when she picks it up, she plays like no one's business (hey! I haven't used that phrase in a long time and I STILL don't know what it means!).

2. Learn to play other people's instruments.
Now that sounds dirty, but it's not.  A lot of the songs had musical interludes that were uh-maze-ing.  Towards the end, she tore off her jacket, took out her drum sticks, stood behind the drummer, and played WITH him simultaneously on the same kit. THEN she went to play the guitar by standing behind the guitarist and doing the same thing. 

3. Growl.
The ability to growl at the perfect moment in a rock song is key to success.  Melissa Etheridge actually has a variety of growls.  Long ones.  Short ones.  Low ones.  High ones.  Ones that work themselves into a scream.  Others that work themselves into a trail of notes.  I can growl.  So, check!

4. Wear cool boots and a sparkly shirt and a cool jacket and not sweat.
I have a variety of cool boots and sparkly shirts and two cool jackets.  I'm working on the sweating part.  She also was wearing black jeans and I have black jeans and I think we could trade clothes if only she were a bit shorter.

5. Do a little bit of Bruce. 
In the middle of one of her songs, she started singing "I'm on Fire" and it was again uh-MAZE-ing. She could have done more Bruce or more covers or more of her own songs, but she talked a lot.  A whole lot.  Like between every song, she gave a therapy session about loving yourself, loving someone else, and how sex feels good.  Lots of times.  Over and over.  You know, a good way to bond with your mother.  I get that she wants to talk about how she's been cancer free for nine years on the lead in to that "I Run" song, but all the other stuff?  The songs say it all, so I don't know why everything had to be a very long conversation.  Still, she rocks so that makes up for it.

She ended the concert with "Bring Me Some Water" which is the song that made me fall in love with everything that is Melissa Etheridge.  It also made me love Joan Osbourne because one very late night of tv watching when I was probably in junior high revealed a taped intimate concert with the two of them singing and that's the song that stayed in my head for years.  Even now, I can see them singing it clear as day.  I rocked out and danced and then they went backstage.

The lights didn't come on and I was wondering, what the heck is gonna be the encore?  She did every song I know, which means she did every song that was popular.

Oh, wait, no she didn't.  I actually forgot about one of the best songs not only by Melissa Etheridge but one of the best songs ever.

End note: I'm so patting myself on the back for refraining from entitling the post Lesbians! Seriously, when I won the tickets, I thought, there will probably be a lot of lesbians there. Then I reprimanded myself for stereotyping and kind of forgot about it. Then when we got inside, I was like, whoa there are a lot of lesbians here, which didn't get lost on my mom either, who noted, hmmm I think there are a lot of lesbians here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What You Can Learn From Real Poets

The Academy of American Poets hosts an annual Poets Forum that presents contemporary poets discussing poetry in all its forms and avenues.  I trekked to The New School in the rain via a one block walk from Penn Station to Penn Station and then the subway since the wind turned my umbrella inside out. 

The first panel was Poetry In The Age of Social Media presented by Ben Mirov, Timothy Donnelly, and Randall Mann.  What does that sound like to you?  To me, it meant poets would discuss in detail how the specific social media they use in their lives coincides with their writing lives.  Instead, this is what happened:

The first poet began to discuss overheard language and ephemera, which was quite interesting.  Then he explained how he knew a writer who could memorize lines in his own mind and how he himself had a hard time remembering more than one line and then spent the rest of his presentation discussing this act of depositing lines into your mind except for a few seconds at the end when he explained that Twitter and Facebook were good for this, too. 

Helpful?  No.  The last few seconds should have probably been the focus here.

The second poet gave a long story about how he was reading about bees.  He offered interesting facts about bees.  Then he explained that he found these facts--which were actually really cool facts--from reading the side bar of a magazine page from his child's magazine.  He explained that he knew this magazine was print media, but the same can be said for the internet.  He was basically saying that the internet is filled with information we can use for poetry.  This from the poet who rarely uses Facebook and does not have Twitter or Tumblr.  In fact, they all said, oh yeah we don't know Tumblr that well.

Helpful?  No.  We all know the internet offers information in the same way that, oh, let's say, every type of media does, and also, the internet is not social media.  Only parts of the internet are social media.

The third poet mentioned D. A. Powell's "Panic In The Year Zero" and discussed how some poetry blurs the lines of media because the poem mentions twitter, not Twitter, but using the word evokes two kinds of things.
Helpful?  Well, more than the other two, but really, no.

Thankfully, when the three of them were finished with their "presentations," they talked to each other, asked each other questions, and finally, some ideas about social media and poetry emerged.  They discussed how Twitter offers formal restriction to force relatively succinct thoughts and how you can follow different Twitterers to find new poems by old poets you know and new poets.  They discussed how writers, especially very young ones, begin to manage a personal brand through Twitter--and sometimes Facebook--and some create an ever-evolving online persona.  One then offered a list of people who were pretty cool to follow, includings a robo-Tweeter called ehorsebooks.  I followed the list and so far have unfollowed only one because he has a serious spelling issue--not the kind of spelling that is inventive for Twitter but the kind that says "I never took a typing class, never passed a spelling quiz, and I just don't care." 

Then came the Q&A.  That's when I spotted my writer friend from Jersey, LS, sitting in the front row.  I basically stared at  her the whole time during the Q&A because this is our favorite part of poetry events.  The Q&A is usually more like theatre of the absurd with very few questions and mostly awkward comments that confuse the presenters and poets, much to our delight.  However, since she was in the front row and she's not an asshole, I knew she would not be able to make the face and say the comments she would be hell bent on doing because everyone would see her do it.  I saw the twitching--I knew she wanted to as soon as the first woman approached the mic and started asking the poets--and I'm not kidding--about how to use the Promote This button that is new on FB.  So instead of asking about poetry and social media, she was asking them how to use Facebook.  Then she asked them to spell some of the names they had mentioned.  Then she asked again because she could not understand the names.  That meant the poets on the panel were sitting there for a good minute and a half slowly spelling out names since this woman was positive everyone in the audience needed this information and she was brave enough to ask.

Then, to top it off, she then went into how she was a poet for the environment and ranted about, well, I stopped listening because it was just really ridiculous and had nothing to do with anything.  She ended with something like What's a poet to do?  The men sat at their table and then one asked, That was rhetorical, right?  Because the Academy is not paying us enough to answer questions like that.

Then I thought--they got paid to do this?  Really?

After snarking back and forth with LS and catching up since we hadn't seen each other in almost two years, we geared up for the second panel: Anxiety of Audience: Who We Write For, Real and Imagined presented by Mary Jo Bang, Mark Bibbins, and Brenda Shaughnessy.  I wasn't sure what to expect from this panel, but the title intrigued me.  I rarely think about audience when I write, so anything they said should have been new and interesting.  Thankfully, it was.

The first poet discussed Harold Bloom's Anxiety of Influence from which the panel title took its name.  Poets find themselves in a difficult spot needing to please and not be disdained by audience.  However, the audience doesn't really know what it's looking for until it finds what it wants so poets can't predict that.  She went on to discuss how poets say "I write for myself" and the "myself" is like an avatar (which has three meanings--one about a Hindu goddess and one about an alien-human hybrid!) and the avatar is a persona, not the poet, in the same way that the speaker is not the poet.  Not that the audience differentiates.  (I teach my 102 students that the poet and speaker are separate, but then the write papers that say William says as in William Carlos Williams, because, you know, they're on a first name basis).

The second poet discussed how the audience is a bunch of strangers and some poets like to road test their poems for different strangers to see what works and what doesn't as part of the writing process.  Two quotes arose: "I write for myself and for strangers" from Gertrude Stein, and "Praise to the face is open disgrace" from Hemingway.  (Incidentally, I just watched Midnight In Paris yesterday and now I'm in love with these quotes once more).  The poet went on to say that the best poets you know are your best audience.  Also, we should consider always who are we leaving out of the poem since every poem will not reach every person.  Language, culture, and poetry always exclude; variation leaves room for more inclusion.

The third poet discussed the need for feedback to see ourselves through the eyes of others.  She then said something that I've probably known subconsciously and was happy to hear someone say aloud: You become a different kind of writer when your parents die; you learn to shrug off the opinions of strangers.  That transitioned into a quick discussion of how all poems are love poems in which love is a life force; they carry the electricity of love and love becomes all verbs at once.  Now that's poetry.

Then came the bigger discussion that got even more interesting.  They discussed the tension between self-disclosure (like the confessional poets -- Plath, Sexton) and veiling through language wherein the veiling creates a type of persona.  Persona poems allow a veil to say thing things you want to say without it being the poet saying it because the persona poem shows that there is indeed a specific speaker at work other than the poet (even though some still don't recognize the two different entities).  Even ekphrastic poetry offers a veil because the artwork acts as a muse, so the thoughts come from some other place.

Mary Jo Bang then said this: Poetry is a kind of egomania.  Everyone has thoughts but poets write them down and want people to buy them.  Thank you, Mary Jo Bang; you are my new best friend.

They then went into a discussion about students of poetry.  They mistake obscurity for mystery which they think is good poetry.  Instead, we want intensity of a working mind and we should own our preoccupations and obsessions.  Ah, that made me feel so much better, allowing me to own my awkward.

Then there was a very technical poetic discussion of metaphor.  Poets don't need to put all the particulars into a poem, no need to open up secrets and traumas all at once.  The function of a metaphor is to bridge the gap between the writer and the reader.  Staying in abstraction is like keeping things hidden.  Metaphor creates a world of something to look at while the speaker talks.  Words themselves are metaphors; poems are metaphors, one-sided conversations.  The more senses we use in metaphors, the more of a chance we catch a connection with each other.

There was very little snarking between me and LS after that.  She informed me that she got a free book because she was a member of the academy.  Oooh, that sounds like something I should look into.  By that time, the tea and coffee had run out as had the complimentary cookies.  Then it was time for the final panel.

Elizabeth Alexander is the fourth poet in American history who was given an inaugural poem.  She was giving the Blarney Lecture entitled, Reconsidering Lucille Clifton.  I'm not a huge fan of Clifton mostly because I'm not very familiar with all her work.  I've read some of her collections and I teach a few of her poems.  This lecture made me want to revisit her work.  Fun fact: Clifton was at Howard at the same time as Morrison and Baraka.  How's that for a poetic powerhouse? 

The day ended with a long walk back to Penn since the rain had stopped.  I'd opted to leave before the awards ceremony because the break was too long and I'd learned enough.  The walk back was fun since I challenged myself with "How Can I Take Off My Sweater Without Taking Off My Coat?" and then "How Long Can I Keep My Coat On Before I Pass Out?"  When the rain left, the heat rose in the city and after the walk, I was pretty hot.  I got to the station just in time to get my train and head home all the while reviewing my notes and pumped to write again.  What I found in my scrap notes for possible poetic assembly: the enlarged heart; canticle; because there's a slit in my boot.  Now that's poetry.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Creepy Pervert Song

When S and I walked into the dance room, the lights literally came on.  Jean had already been teaching (probably for an hour or so since it was already 7:59) in the dark.  Sometimes the light simply aren't on.  When we walked in, they came on, so we were like, Hey you're welcome!  No one was impressed or seemed to care about our joke.  Yup, everyone loves us.

 In honor of Halloween, Jean taught us a song called Spooky Little Girl (of course after teaching us dances we already knew like Automoves, the dance I like to call Chronomatic).

The song selections weren't my favorites.  She chose a slow song and then an even slower one for Chronomatic.  Then the Spooky Little Girl song was slow too.  The dance was actually creeping me out because it has these hip gyrations that no little girl should be doing.  Kinda pervy.  What makes it a bit creepier is the way this woman walks into frame:

I felt like taking a nap with all the slow songs.  I kept screwing some of them up because they were so slow.

I also screwed up some dances that we did a zillion times over because S and I were having conversations instead of concentrating on the dances we already knew.  

We did Love Letter Waltz instead of the waltz we learned last class that S lost five dollars on.  She decided she does not like waltzes.  I enjoy them, though.  They actually are pretty intricate because of the three counts.

Oh, speaking of intricate, those two new women weren't there!  So there was no danger of someone getting hurt this time around. 

We did the other dances we learned the past two classes and then I hurt my calf.  I felt it pull and then the bottom of my foot was hurting, too, so I was left to dance flat-footed instead of on the balls of my feet which makes for pretty clunky dancing.  I sucked it up to do the Bossa Nova, which S pointed out was the first time she ever remembers Jean teaching it step by step.  I agreed because it actually was the first time Jean had taught it step by step.  Well, I mean, she's taught it in the past, but sometimes when Jean puts on the music, she doesn't call out the steps.

Which reminds me.....not only did she have the mic on full blast, she also had two fans on full blast.  Perfect.  All the instructions sounded like they were coming through the Lincoln Tunnel.  Which makes dance class that much more fun.    

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's Not Paradise By The Dashboard Lights

Every time something weird happens with my car, I think it's going to explode.  Really.  When the light came on that indicates low tire pressure, I immediately thought my car was going to blow up.  The only solace came from the fact that the light that indicates low tire pressure looks like a butt.  I'm serious.  Here, it looks like this:


Come on.  Tell me that doesn't look like a butt.

Anyway, on a high from winning a bike, I galloped down the stairs and jumped in my car to head to line dancing.  When I turned on the car, the dash lit up as it always does.  Then two lights remained on.

The car was obviously about to burst into flames.

Then I recognized that one of the lights looks exactly like a button that's right next to the gear shift.  It's the tire slipping button (also known as traction).  I thought, oh silly me I must have pressed it by accident.  So I pressed the button.  Nothing happened.  I pressed it again.  The light was still on.

Now I was sure--the car was going to explode.

Plus the other light was still on.  I called Eddie to come downstairs to look at the lights.  As he did so, I looked up both lights.  The first was indeed the tire slippage one.  The second one was under the heading Bring Your Car In For An Inspection Because... and the reason listed next to the symbol was Possible Electrical System Malfunction.  The manual doesn't have a translate column, but it should because that obviously translates to Your Car Is Going To Blow To Bits In Five Minutes.

I wound up taking Eddie's car and made a plan to take my car into the shop before work the next day.  On the way to dancing, S tried to console me by pointing out I had a brand new bike that I could ride while my car was in the shop.  I could also sell the bike and pay for the car repairs.  The bill would surely be enormous since putting back together an exploded car is no easy task.

After a round of idiocy with the folks over at the Toyota dealership (when asked if there would be a charge to bring it in since it's a lease, the girl answered, I don't know, and then expected that to be a good answer), Eddie and I took it to our good friend, Roland.  We actually don't know him well at all, but he's inspected both our cars and did the oil changes and he's so honest that when Eddie didn't have small bills and wanted to pay with a credit card, Roland was like, Naw you can just bring me the cash tomorrow since it's only ten bucks.  (later on, when I called to tell him I'd pay with a credit card over the phone since the shop was closing before I was leaving work, he was like, or you can pick up your car later and just pay me tomorrow--whatever you want sweetheart--and he said sweetheart in a genuine kind of way, not in a condescending kind of way, which makes me really appreciate him).

Panicked ensued on my part for the duration of the morning since I was sure Roland would be injured when the car blew to pieces.  Eddie eased my panic when he dropped me off at work, telling me Roland would fix it.  Then my mind was completely at peace when Eddie called at lunch and not only was Roland alive, but he'd found what was wrong with my car (which had not exploded, btw).

He said that Roland was incredibly apologetic actually and didn't want to charge us for such a silly thing but he had to charge us since he'd run a diagnostic on the machine.  What was wrong?  The code on the machine told Roland to check the gas tank cap.  So Roland checked it.  He then twisted it to make it tighter.  Then my car was fixed.

Yeah, that's right.  The cap for the gas tank was loose.

The best part of the day was reading my bill for the services.  Under recommendations, it read: Fully tighten gas cap after fueling up.  It implied, tighten the gas cap, you idiot.

Technically, my car could have exploded.  A loose cap could lead to a leak that could cause a fire that could cause an explosion.  Technically.

So I tell you that story not just to show my neurotics about dashboard indicator lights, but also to tell you this one:

The next day, my dad asked me what the problem was.  I told him about the gas cap.  He said I should take it to places that have more reliable people who close the cap right.  I just nodded in agreement.  When my dad saw Eddie later on and told Eddie the same thing, Eddie readily raised his own hand and said, I'm the guy who filled up the tank.   (See? see how I wasn't the one who ratted him out?)

So my dad puts his hands in Eddie's face and gives him one of those index finger shame shame shame movements and then tells him that he owes me money for getting the car fixed.  Ha!I think we're even now anyway.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Secrets Of Winning

My mom called.  "Your bike is here."

My answer: "I don't know what you're talking about."

She explained that my dad told her that my bike was outside.

I explained that I still had no clue what she meant.

We met each other outside.  At the side of the house was a box.  The box was addressed to me.  It had a brand new albeit disassembled bike inside.  It was a heavy box.  I opened it to look for paperwork.  There was no paperwork.

First, I panicked a little.  My computer had a virus and I thought maybe there was an internet order snafu or someone was using my credit card.  Then I thought, if someone bought a bike with my credit card, they probably wouldn't ship it to me.  Just in case, I checked my credit accounts and bank accounts and nothing showed up as purchased.

I then called Eddie and left him a rambling message about a bike appearing and needing to know if he bought me a bike or if he bought a bike for himself.

Then I went back outside and wrote down everything on every label including: 20th Century Domestic and How I Met Your Mother.

What the hell does the sitcom I watch have to do with a bike arriving anonymously at my house?  Well, everything.  Because I won a bike!

After searching for 20th Century domestic and then 20th Century, I searched for 20th Century How I Met Your Mother Bike.  All of that turned up nothing, but you can see what a wiz I am at Binging things.  Then I typed in How I Met Your Mother Sweepstakes and BAM!  There it was.

I had entered a contest at the end of the summer online because my laptop happened to be on my lap when I was watching HIMYM and the sweepstakes popped up on tv.  I'd entered because the grand prize was a trip to Hawaii.  I didn't win a trip to Hawaii.

But I did win the first runner up prize--a brand new Nirve men's cruiser. No one had notified me, but who cares?  Yeah, man, I got a bike!

Actually, Eddie's got a bike.  I got Melissa Etheridge tickets.

I'd entered some random contest on 102.7 Fresh FM after going to their free concert in the park.  I got a phone call on a random day from a random number (actually, I got two phone calls from two random  numbers on the same day--more on that in a second).  It was someone from 102.7 and she wanted me to call her back.

I called back and asked for her and she wasn't there.  The girl asked if I knew what it was about.  I said I didn't know because the message didn't say.  She asked, Did you win something?  I said, I hope so.  She put me on hold to check and when she came back, she totally called me very very very old.

Actually, she didn't say those exact words but she did say this:  You won tickets to see, um,  Melissaaaa, um, Eth - er- ridge, is that how you say it?

Yes, yes that is how you say it, girl who is too young to know who the hell Melissa Etheridge is even though you work at a radio station giving away tickets to her concert.

So I got Melissa Etheridge concert tickets AND a ticket to a scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunt?  Well, you see, on the day I entered the Melissa Etheridge contest, I also went to PLJ as I do from time to time and entered a bunch of stuff on there.  When my phone rang with a random number and I didn't answer the first time, I got this message:

Uh, hey, Uh Christina?  Uh,  yeah, well, um you are going on a scavenger hunt and you should call back or just check your email.  Oh, uh, this is the radio station by the way, and uh, you won the scavenger hunt ticket.  Yeah.

Thank you, obviously first day on the job intern.

I checked my email and saw that I had indeed won a ticket.  I'd entered because I thought it was for two tickets.  Who the hell wants to do a scavenger hunt alone?  So I won that but skipped it.  Who needs a scavenger hunt when I've got tickets to an old lady concert (old lady here obviously refers to me, the old lady who knows who Melissa Etheridge is).

Everyone keeps telling me to play the lottery, but I don't think that's my kind of winning.  I'm really not that lucky.  I win stuff because I enter every single contest I see.  I know that there aren't specific odds that I will eventually win because they don't depend on each other (meaning my odds of winning each contest is the same no matter how many I enter--this is why I don't teach statistics).  I do know, however, that my odds of winning are much higher when I actually enter stuff.  So I'll save my money and not enter the lottery.  My luck is much better for odd items like turkey basters and pulse monitors (one of which I have actually won in the past and I'll leave it to you to guess).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Traffic Day

Getting from Long Island to Brooklyn is no easy task. The Belt offers much excitement like closed lanes and stopped cars for no reason. Eddie and I got to SMM and AF in about an hour which should have taken about 25 minutes.

Getting from Brooklyn to New Jersey is no easy task. Along the way, we saw a demonic clown on the side of the road, at which point Eddie revealed my distaste for adults in costumes. It wasn't so much that it was a demonic clown, I explained. It was that an adult was in a costume and thought it was okay. We also passed by one of those tubey wavey things in front of a car dealership that I am also not fond of. I'm not scared of them; they just make me unsettled. So SMM did what anyone else has ever done upon finding this out. He drove closer and stopped by it so it could wave over the car.

We finally got to Battleview Orchards some time after noon. Donuts! Cakes! Pies! Cider! I was a happy girl. We got on line to buy a dozen cider donuts, which we ate hot. At first, I thought Eddie was nibbling mine because he wanted to make sure he liked it. Then I realized he simply didn't want to get his hands sticky. Thanks. It was worth the sticky. I ate two in a row. Actually, we all did. Mmmm. When we went inside the store, it was sugar overload. They have lots of sweets for sale. I went with a hot apple cider, my first of the Fall, and I was in heaven.

Unfortunately, I had to hit the ladies room, which in this case, was a porter potty. I made Eddie come with me and stand guard even though the door locked. I got inside and it smelled like ass, which I guess is appropriate considering. It also smelled like ammonia and pee. Also? Appropriate. I began to discuss my dislike for the smell very loudly, mostly by yelling out Gross! So gross! Then I looked up and started a new yell: Spiderwebs! There are spiderwebs!

Then Eddie answered in a hushed yell, You need to stop--there are people out here.

Big stem.  Heh heh.
As if I cared. So I continued...So grossssssss....ewwwwwwww....until I was done and came outside. Then I said to him, That was GROSS! He was like, Yes, I think I understand that by now.

After being attacked by some yellow jackets that were very interested in the cinnamon sugar residue from the donuts, we headed down to the pumpkin field where they were also giving hayrides, bypassing the apple picking field because no one eats apples except for me and I really didn't have a strong need to climb a ladder into a tree where there were most likely more bugs. I had visions of swatting at insects and falling to my death, much like how Eddie hit my several times in the head with a bag of pretzels to get a bug off of me when we were on the top edge of Bear Mountain. That's not my kind of fun.

The hayride was scary in that I thought they were kidnapping us and holding us for ransom. I figured a hayride would have someone from the orchard on board with us, pointing out what was growing where. Instead, we were corralled into a trailer of hay attached to a tractor and the worker from the orchard was in a black hoodie and was listening to his iPod. I'm not sure why he was there because his back was turned to us the whole time. Then we went around the field and saw all the dead and dying trees and rotting fruit. AF was attacked by a mosquito. I was attacked by a yellow jacket that almost went down my shirt, which SMM pointed out by saying, Um it's going down your shirt but I don't want to try to get it. Eddie took away my cider and it followed. I announced that anyone was allowed to touch my frontal area if I was in danger of having a yellow jacket go down my shirt.

We were on the trailer for a good fifteen minutes. The boys were half-hoping it would flip so we could sue. This was the fun of the hayride. We went well out into the middle of nowhere, and that's when I thought we were never making it back. However, we made it back and then headed into the pumpkin field that had the biggest pumpkins I'd ever seen.

Pretend apple picking
By the time we were through with the pumpkins, it was time to go home. I was hungry so I had another donut. Then Eddie was like, what's all over your chest? The cinnamon sugar was all over me, down my shirt and all. Seriously, you can't take me anywhere.

Getting to New York from New Jersey is no easy task. The road is a parking lot.

Getting to Long Island from Brooklyn is no easy task. The Belt sucks ass.

Getting to Garden City is no easy task. But we got there. Starving.

This is the part of the day I'd like to call Making Friends at Bobby's Burgers.  The menu is not that difficult to read, but just to make sure, Eddie asked, Do you guys make turkey burgers plain?  The counter girl looked at us, looked at the menu, looked back at us, and then answered, Um, yeah.  So I punched her in the face.

Okay, I didn't punch her in the face, but I wanted to.  I asked for a plain turkey burger.  Eddie asked for a plain burger burger.  When I ordered my iced tea, she lamely explained it would be brought out to me.  Thanks, Happy.  We found SMM and AF who were searching for seats near each other and not in the blaring sun.  That meant we were hovering over people who looked like they were finishing their meals.  You know, making friends.  Finally, two women got up and left, leaving us three seats.  A man with several hundred bags was waiting for food so Eddie decided he would sit when the bagman left.  We were unfortunately in the sunshine and SMM took to his sunglasses and Eddie was getting a tan. 

Note to Bobby Flay: Invest in some blinds, dude.

My iced tea arrived and then soon after the food.  The burger was good but also small.  That didn't matter because I was partially still filled up on donuts. 

This day was the epitome of nutrition: three donuts and a turkey burger. 

After the burgers and the actual quick ride home, AF and I set out to carve the greatest pumpkin ever.  We found a picture online.  I free-handed the stencil.  She carved most of it.  It came out pretty swell, I think.  Then we took naps as the boys played cards with a bunch of other boys who came over to play cards.  Then we woke up and watched The Newlywed Game because we're girls.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Someone's Gonna Get Hurt

Legs flailed. Arms flailed. Feet tripped over themselves. Dancing was scary as we learned not even a dance but two steps that would later be in the dance: an anchor step named so because it looks like an anchor (it doesn't) and a vine with a heel skip thing (not the exact name). Lady with the hair clip knew it already. She helped Jean figure out where the dance started with the music. She also became the woman the new women watched to get the dance. It wasn't very fast but it was a lot of steps and so there was a lot of everyone turned in different directions. At one point, Jean laughed to herself (out loud) and said to herself (out loud), if only you saw what I see. Then she said out loud, we should do that again since you're all facing different directions. The hardest part of the dance was not watching everyone else. Watching everyone else meant not doing the dance right since everyone was kind of doing their own thing.

This dance is in the top four line dances on Jean's mysterious list of all time world wide dances. She said next week we'd be learning number one. Exciting. We're on the cutting edge.

At one point, Jean put on the music and we started dancing. When we finished the first wall, everyone in front of me and S stopped dancing so we stopped, too. Then I saw the clique was still dancing. The blonde (of course) yelled out, Come on where are the girls, now?

Take note: one of the new women, the one who knows the woman who lent me the pen, brings her daughter with her. That would be a girl, right? So if S and I are girls, that would make the girl an embryo, no?

When people kept messing up, blonde said, Just because I'm in the front doesn't mean I know what I'm doing so don't watch me! That somehow caused some mumbling that somehow caused everyone to point to the back at S and me and say that they'd follow us. Great. This was just great.

We went over Martini Time again, which prompted S to ask, Where exactly is Yolanda? (listen to the song--I don't think there's an answer, but there is a lot of questioning).

We went over the second song from last week after that called This and That.

For some reason, the first time we step touch, Jean sways her arms back and forth over head. The rest of the step touches don't get any arm sways. The arm swaying really screws up some people. That leads to more flailing. I really thought someone was going to fall. I wanted to tell one of the women who stood behind us last week that she could probably improve if she just would make her steps smaller. S was like, maybe you should tell her that now. I was like, wouldn't that be rude? S answered, It would be safer. I wound up laughing and not telling her.

Then the woman danced into a wall.

We did the Latin dance from last session that we learned again the first class and then we did Come Dance With Me again, which is old but I really enjoy it.

I had to share this particular video because I need to get that woman's outfit for next week's class.

When Jean put on the music for Pontoon again, half the class decided it was time to stand around, check cell phones, and chat. It was really weird and distracting. After the dance Fun Hair Clip asked if I remembered any of the dances from last session. I said I'd remember them if Jean put on the music. She asked, Like Caballero? That was a good one!

All I remember is that Caballero was a really really long song, so I said so. She was like, Yes it is long! I guess she thought I meant long as a good thing as in it's such a great dance and we get to dance it a really long time.

Then, being ambitious, Jean decided to teach a brand new waltz. It was very similar to waltzes we've done before. S was like, You know this dance, to me. I was like, no, it's new. We went back and forth. She bet me five dollars. I was like, I don't have five dollars. She was like, You're good for it. So we bet.

When Jean came to the back to teach the second wall, I asked, Is this new? She said, Yes it is but it seems like the others, doesn't it? Then she laughed and walked away. I looked at S: You owe me five dollars. She insisted that the dance was not new even though Jean said it was. Then the music came on and she was like, Yeah, we've never done this one.

Meanwhile, the two women having a hard time picking up the steps were now forced to learn a three-count waltz. There was a lot of turning the wrong way. The front row had a lot of not doing the third step and holding instead of moving. However, no one danced into a wall and no one fell over, so that worked out well. Safety first!

With two minutes left, Jean was like, I'm going to put on a dance for those of you who know it and I'm not going to teach it.

Ha hah ah ha ha ha hah ha ha. I love Jean.

The clique turned to us and was like, Girls? Bossa nova?

I shrugged her back a sure and S smirked an okay. It's not like we had any say. They love that dance and we kind of know it. We never officially learned it but we catch on by the end. I fake it pretty well. Surprisingly, even the people who didn't know it at all picked up some of it. Well, maybe not, but they were turning the right way. Most of the time. We'll see how it goes next week because in addition to the top dance on all the charts of all time ever, Jean will be reteaching the bossa nova and perhaps burying Pontoon.