Friday, August 30, 2013

Welcome Back To Namaste

Two years ago, AK and I grabbed groupons for YogaLongBeach, and we went diligently every weekend early  in the morning until our passes ran out.  I love love loved it!  The studio zen vibed with my zen, and the instructor was amazing.  This past Christmas, Eddie aka the smartest husband in all the land, bought me a gift certificate for a ten-class pass to YogaLongBeach.  As the fates would have it, YogaLynbrook opened two months later, which is much closer to home.  Some of the same instructors, all of the same vibe, I couldn't wait to go.  Well, in my mind I couldn't wait, but physically, I had to wait until the Spring semester was over. Then the Summer semester hit, and I had to wait some more.  Then I had The World's Most Awful July.  Things happen.  The best cure?  Yoga.

This studio also has a zen vibe.  Love love love it!  The gal behind the desk saw my gift certificate and was like, You're very lucky to have someone give you this!  I was like, I know! My husband is great!  She and the girl standing next to me were like, Yes he is!

I found a spot near the wall on the left side, the spot I used in the other studio, and waited for the instructor to come in, the same one I'd gone to at the other studio.  She hobbled in, having a cast on her foot.  She had someone showing the positions for her, but she was also doing some of the positions and helping everyone along the way.  This is the same instructor who "helped" me get into a "headstand" (that hadn't gone very well on my end but she thought it was wonderful).  

I was so in my groove, so elated, so very yogic.  Until I realized I was next to a heavy breather.  In yoga classes, you can find certain kinds of people.  Everyone breathes--you're supposed to--and everyone makes some noise, of course, but there are The Heavy Breathers, The Sighers, and The Gas Attacks.  The Sighers do just that, they sigh with every change in position.  The Gas Attacks pass gas at every tweak and turn, sometimes loudly, but usually very sneakily.  The Heavy Breathers make breathing a sport itself.  Next to me was a woman who actively sucked in all the air around her as if she would have to hold her breath for an hour and then whoooshed it out as if she had to power a sail boat to rush it to shore.  In and out.  In and out.  It become somewhat distracting when we were in silent poses.

I powered through.  This was a gift, so I was gifting it up.  An hour and a half later, I was all out of sorts, feeling what a real yoga class feels like.  It'd been so long.  Sure, I do yoga, but when I'm there, I like really do yoga.  My body was screaming, but in the greatest way possible. 

So far, I've taken two classes of yogic bliss, the second one with a different instructor who was just as great as the other (as far as I can tell, the one we didn't like at all no longer works for them).  I'm looking forward to eight more sessions of bliss. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Big Month For Free Stuff

Eddie tried these.  Eddie liked these!

Think I got this from Facebook.

I have no recollection of how I came upon Vivarin.  Anyone interested in more caffeine?  Hit me up.
Oooh, expensive stuff for free!

Good for travel

Free mix-your-own lotion from Aveda from my birthday coupon.  From last year.  The woman wished me a happy birthday.  It was nice to be wished a happy birthday during the summertime.

I do not have a dishwasher.  I gave these to S and R. They were as happy as this packaging is.   
In other news, I never got the free gift card I won from Fresh 102.7 for a restaurant called Creole.  I emailed the station, and they didn't answer me.  I guess they got tired of my winning everything.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Coney Island Date Night

Lots of entertaining stuff happens at Coney Island.

The Contortionist Dancer:  If you've never seen one of those guys who does bone-breaking moves, you need to see it up close on the boardwalk.  This guy would lie down face down, arch his back all the way, and flip his legs over so that his feet were flat against the floor next to his head on either side.  Then he'd either put his feet on his shoulders and walk around on his hands or he'd grab his ankles and roll himself into the crowd that was surrounding him.  He also wiggled his arms practically out of their sockets and walk upright with his torso seemingly detached from his body.

The Iguana Guy: This guy had two larger iguanas--each at least three feet from nose to tail tip--and then at least one small one.  He could have had more.  They were hanging out on his shoulders and in his pockets.  People were paying him to pet them and take pictures with them.  Except for one toddler who wanted no part in it and basically smacked away any reptile that came near him.

The Giant Pendulum: Next to the non-working parachute jump that has now become an awesome light show stands two very very very tall poles.  Between those poles is a contraption that can hold three people who lie down Superman style in it.  Then it cranks them all the way up and back. Then it lets them go and they swing over the width of the boardwalk and back, over everyone's heads.  My vertigo prevents me from doing anything like this.  Otherwise, I'd totally ride it.  Poor me.  Right?  Right.

The Aforementioned Awesome Light Show From The Parachute Jump: It turns red-white-and-blue.  It flickers.  It goes disco neon.  It's so mesmerizingly perfect.

The Fireworks: Every Friday somewhere between 9:30 and 10 PM in the summer.

This Lady:
These Birds:
And, of course, The Cotton Candy:

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Plastic Is The New Black

Eddie got tickets to a Jets game from a season ticket holder, which meant a fun night of free for a preseason game.  Are we Jets fans?  No.  Are we fans of free?  Ummm, what kind of question is that?

We got there about fifteen minutes before kickoff.  That was enough time to walk from the car to the stadium through the maze of tailgaters.  When we got to the entrance, I was told I couldn't enter because my bag was too big.  The guy pointed to a small pink square painted on the table the size of a box of playing cards and said, You can't have a bag bigger than that.  He directed me towards a mobile plastic bag trailer to get a plastic bag to transfer all my stuff into.

Eddie and I walked up to the lady with the bags and she gave us two because it looked like I had a lot of stuff.  I didn't have a lot of stuff.  I had my hoodie crammed into the top of my bag.  All of my stuff could have fit into one plastic bag, let alone two, but we walked back to the car so I was guaranteed to not have any issues.  She'd suggested we go back and put my bag in there anyway.   She also told us that if we go to any stadium for any game in any state, they all had the same rules.  It's an NFL thing. 

It's all the rage.
We were getting a workout.  I also wound up using the porter pottie near our parking space because I'd been planning to go once we got into the stadium.  Thankfully, it was the cleanest porter pottie I'd ever seen. 

Once more, back across the parking lot, the team intros had already begun and play was underway.  We would have made exact timing had it not been for the bag incident.  The bag security waved me through with a look of, yes I know you have a plastic bag now.  Then we were wanded, both of us.  Girls never get wanded, but now they do. New NFL rules.  Then after the want, someone else checked my bag again.  Being that it was plastic, she was able to look at everything in it all at once.  To offset the rounds of poking and prodding, everyone, everyone, was really really really nice.  They all said to enjoy the game, have a great time, have a nice night.  Everyone seemed genuinely happy.  Hmm, how bout that?

We found our seats.  They were great seats.

The game was fun.  There were some immediate touchdowns, which were fun to cheer for.  Then right at the end of the first half, I understood why Jets fans get so frustrated, having several scoring opportunities combined with a quarterback who doesn't know how to watch the clock.  Later on, they won the game, but the frustration lingered like a bad aftertaste.

We left before the end of the game because we'd basically experienced everything we'd needed to, including a halftime show of not only the Jets cheer squad but like a hundred little girls cheering with them on the field.  Ah, that brought me back to my own cheering days....wearing a skirt in freezing weather....I don't miss it.  I'll take being in the stands over that any day.

Don't be jealous of my designer plastic purse.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hair World

So I was a hair model.  Sounds very Tyra, doesn't it?  It's not really.  The moniker, I'm pretty sure, is a way to get people to commit to getting their hair done by students learning to cut hair.  Seeing that I am terrified of beauty salons since I looked like a boy for a solid three years because I got my hair "layered" in the late 80s and after that it was one train wreck after another plus the fact that most salon reception desks are about as high as deli counters which also unnerves me because they are too tall for me (ask Eddie about when I couldn't reach to sign the credit card receipt at the Italian deli and the deli man laughed at me as did Eddie...he loves that story)....where was I?  Oh, yes, I don't go to the salon.  I usually snip the ends of my hair as the split ends appear and then go about my day.

But I was helping out someone who needs to learn.  I'm a teacher.  I can't refuse education.  Plus, my hair?  Really needed a cut bad. It's bad when you can tell that curly hair like mine needs to be cut.  Straight hair you can tell right away.  Short hair definitely shows.  But long curly hair doesn't show until it really really needs it. 

I walked in and said who I was there for.  They then offered me coffee, tea, or water.  Ahhh, so it was one of those places.  Fancy.  The salons I used to go to didn't do such things.  Unless it's been so long that I've been to a salon that this is a phenomenon that has happened in all salons that I've missed during my absence.

The consultation:
After getting a robe (really, a robe! but I didn't do anything embarrassing like take off my clothes before putting on the robe--I'm not that out of touch), I sat in the chair and consulted with both student and educator.  We discussed about three inches of length and then the educator said, Everyone's three inches is different, so I showed her where my hair could fall.  I said, if it's a little longer, that's fine, but no shorter than that. I was supposed to be there for a blunt cut, the lesson of the day, but the educator offered some long layering just in the front.  I mumbled a few sounds because while she knew best, I didn't want to screw up the lesson. 

The wash:
The shampoo and conditioner smelled really really good.  Nick Arrojo from What Not To Wear has a line of products out.  Who knew?  Well, plenty of people probably know.  Again, I'm not in touch with such things as "product."  I call it, Shampoo, not Product.  Anyway, I expressed my love of the aroma of the product, but also explained that I'd recently gone to Shecky's where I received a curly hair product.  It was free!  I didn't add that part.

The cut:
After getting a cape (over the robe across the front of it--oh, I failed to mention that I didn't know how to put the robe on and asked, front or back?, and she answered, it's like a jacket), the cut began.  Before every snip, the educator watched and instructed and the student stylist asked questions and responded to direction.  I wasn't all that worried.  Hair grows back.  Plus, I was in it now, having been draped in several layers of robe and cape.  She asked, Where do you part your hair?  Hahhhahahaaa.  What kind of question is that?  I answered, Wherever it falls, somewhere here, and I untangled my arm from under the layers to show her where my hair parts itself on most occasions.

My hair is a challenge.  It's way curly and kinky.  It's also a lot thinner and finer than it looks.  So basically, every time she did something she'd learned, the educator was like, Yes you're doing what I taught you, but in this case, do this instead.  It was the Great Unlearning.

I also was subject to hear things like, Follow the occipital...hers is particularly high, and Yes, her hair is easy in this part because it's so clear where it dries out at the ends.  You know, compliments.

The styling:
The cut took so long that my hair had dried into a big fuzzball, so we went back to the sink to drown my hair for styling.  We put through some more Nick Arrojo curly hair product, and then she wanted me to flip my hair forward to use the diffuser.  I was like, You're gonna wanna step back for this, and then whipped my head forward, my hair falling after.  She indicated how I should use the diffuser to avoid frizz.  I later told her that I'm the only curly-haired girl in the world who does not own a diffuser, admitting further that I don't even own a real hair dryer.  I use a travel sized one.

The outcome:
She took pictures of the final style.  They both asked what I thought.  The cut came out to exactly where I'd indicated at the beginning.  I then said, It's exactly what it should be and I will now walk around feeling like I'm bald for the next week.


Really, I've been in awe at how short my hair is.  However, no one else is in awe because it's still long and no one can tell that I've gotten a hair cut.  But I know.  My hair knows.  My hair stylists know.  It's out there.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Rainy Days And Tuesdays

The two year anniversary plan involved mini golf, the great outdoors, lots of sunshine.  The clouds didn't get the memo, and so they unleashed at time torrential downpours.  The plan changed to, Let's go to the bank.

The man at the bank asked, So you have any other plans for this great day?

Eddie answered, It's actually our anniversary today.

I added, Yeah, all of our plans are for outside.

The bank man then responded, ah, congrats, I was wondering if you guys were married....hey, what's up with the name?

My response, it's a lot of paperwork to change your name.

Then back out into the monsoon we went.  We completed the part of our plan that didn't require sunshine--eating lunch indoors.

Yummy food at McQuades
 Then we completed a second part of the plan that didn't require sunshine.  Since the two year anniversary is cotton, we bought new sheets.  And Eddie found a mannequin that was what he claimed my height.  Anything short is apparently my height.

The rain stopped, so we risked a walk around the corner to get ices.  It was a good risk.  The toasted marshmallow ice made up for some of the rain.  It didn't make up for missing mini golf, but it was still a win.

Then the sun came out.  We completed part of the outdoor plan by visiting the park.  We got married there.  Last year on our anniversary, we visited, too, and we found a lot of it overgrown.  This year, it was even worse.  Humid after the rain, the bug population was out in full force.  Our trip to the park was a quick trip.
Two years ago, we stood under this tree.
This year, the tree is more of a giant tree-bush-monster that we ran from.

Right before and right after this picture, I was swatting bees.

The only thing missing was Judy.

Really, it didn't matter that it rained.  It wouldn't have mattered if it had snowed or a wind storm had swept through.  I got to spend a day with Eddie, and that's really all this gal could want.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Levels, Or Cleaning Through The Cobwebs

Inspired by the feeling of accomplishment, I set out on my grand plan to clear out the attic.  Much music has been written about attics -- Billy Joel's album "Songs in the Attic," Aerosmith's single "Toys in the Attic" -- and a whole book series and eventually movie based about children being locked away entitled Flowers in the Attic, which S encouraged me and the rest of the eight grade to read.  The movie became a favorite.  In hindsight, I'm not sure what that says about the eighth-grade mind.

None of these artistic ventures quite capture the experience of cleaning out our own attic.  Maybe Eddie and I can write a song or a story called "Spiders In The Attic," and then, in current fashion, follow it up with the prequel "Spiders On The Attic Stairs."  Last week, I found myself wanting to get a jump start on the cleaning and got as far as the stairs where I encountered a seemingly uncountable number of webs with some half-hatched spiders lying around.  I cleared out the webs and then called the landlord/my mom/the resident scientist to make sure that they were only spider eggs and not something like dinosaur-dragon spawn that would hatch and eat me alive.  Yes, that's right, I called my mother to look at the arachnattack.  Because she's a scientist and knows about these things.  Also because she's the only person I know who doesn't run away and skeeve when she encounters such things.  Also, I once was bitten by a spider, hand my hand blow up big and red, had red streaks go up my arm, and then had to take a megadose of Keflex for a week after the doctor took one look at it and said, Oh wow that's not good.  Once the webs were gone (there were no dino-dragon eggs), I gave up, skeeved out, not wanting to go into the attic alone.

So instead, on a very warm day, Eddie and I climbed into the unventilated attic and started tossing around boxes.  The number of boxes up there was simply ridiculous.  Some of them had paperwork and other electronic equipment in them.  Most were empty or had packing material.  Why we had so many chalks up to Eddie liking sturdy boxes and my thought that maybe we might need to send something when we sell it on eBay, even though we really don't list anything on eBay.  We set up a system of throwing them down the attic stairs, dragging them through the pantry, and then breaking them down in the kitchen.

Except for the really large boxes, this system worked.  The large boxes we tossed down the stairs to the front door and folded and broke down on the side lawn next to the piles of already flattened boxes.  I don't know why we'd thought we could reuse them since they were covered in dust and remnants of webs.

Back up in the attic, we got out hammers and took them to Eddie's old wobbly microwave stand.  Now I know why those renovation show hosts let their homeowners swing a sledgehammer.  Breaking shit is fun!  Then down the stairs, through the pantry, down the stairs to the front door, and around the house to the back we went, piling up the crap that we would have to call the village to collect in the large garbage pickup.  Then back around the house, up the stairs, through the pantry, and up to the attic to bring back down the mattress from the old single bed I'd used as living room furniture when I'd first moved.  Then back to the attic and through the pantry and then, well, not through the pantry--the bedframe got stuck for a while.  Eddie and I put our geometry to work and figured out all the angles we could think of before he finally got it off the stairs and into the pantry without taking out a chunk of the ceiling.  Then down the front stairs and out the front door and around the house he went. 

While he was outside with the frame, I realized that I could take this golden opportunity to slide the mattress down the stairs.  Ooh, fun.  That's what I did.  I followed it down to the front door, flipped it on its side, and met Eddie as I was about to fling it outside down our front stoop.  We took it around to the back of the house.

Back around the house, up the front steps, through the pantry, up to the attic, we found fans and a sleeping bag, a CD/DVD rack and a board with pictures and words glued to it for an old school project, a large book of the history of the world and a leather bound portfolio, and two broken down sets of wheely clothes racks.  These things I brought down to my parents' place for them and my brother to go through and take.   My mom sent the clothes racks to the back of the house to be trashed, sent the sleeping bag to the basement, and then left the rest for my brother (who was thankful we'd found his teaching portfolio, which he'd been looking for for several years).

Eddie and I can now follow up our two-part masterpiece with something entitled "In our The Empty Attic (except for two boxes and a set of snack tables)". Catchy, huh? In one box are our Christmas decorations.  In the other is packing material.  The set of snack tables are the three of the four that have broken in some way.  We hope to refurbish them in the future.  We'll probably throw them out in a year.

Keeping in the mode of getting rid of stuff, I took the stereo that I'd tried to sell on Craigslist for a while and put it out at the curb.  While no one was going to take a broken down microwave cart, someone might snag a cassette-deck stereo with speakers.  In under an hour, one speaker was gone.  Eddie and I watched at the window to see if anyone was coming back to take the other one to no avail.  My dad later told us that the guy next door asked if he could take the speaker, and if it worked, he would be back for the other stuff.  A few hours later, the whole stereo was gone.

All that's left at this point, for now, is to figure out what to do with the Dr. Pepper menu boards that we found in the basement.
We have two, one in slightly worse condition than the other, but they are so kitschy.  If I collected soda-related trinkets, this would be cool to keep.  But in the spirit of cleansing, they need to go.  Antiques Road Show, here I come.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


One of my favorite places in Brooklyn, one of the prettiest views by far, is the Fairway in Red Hook.  Fairway on its own offers terror in the form of too many aisles, too many smells, and the possibility of never finding the exit.  However, the Fairway in Red Hook sits on the water, Lady Liberty a short distance away.  Mesmerizing sight. 

S's plan was simple.  Take the cans from her house and recycle them.  Since Fairway recycles Polar Seltzer, and since R drinks gallons by the can of Polar Seltzer, I knew I'd get a trip to Red Hook.  Additionally, S and I both got a trip to every single neighborhood in Brooklyn. 

The traffic on the Belt was normal--awful in some parts and only slow in others.  The traffic on the BQE was the worst I've ever seen.  I never know what I'll find when I merge on because there's always some sort of lane changing blockage structure.  This time, there were like no lanes.  Trucks were like perpendicular to the lanes.  When you are perpendicular to a traffic lane, you are doing nothing right, even if you can't tell where the lines are for the lanes.  The lines will never run perpendicular on the same side of the highway.  I was at a loss and made my own lane for a while until I realized I was actually in a lane and it was the line of cars to my right who were totally wrong because they were driving on a shoulder that disappears.  S laughed this whole time because it was simple unbelievable. 

We took about 45 minutes to go two exits. 

Knowing the the BQE is the road to Hell, we found a different way to go to Fairway.  Ah, the backstreets.  Unfortunately, even on a weekday afternoon, we found every Sunday driver out and about in Brooklyn.  We got caught at a light that stayed on red for five minutes, changed to green for a nanosecond, and then changed back to red.  We were there so long that I warned S not to get scared if she looked out her window because a truck had just pulled up to it, but it wasn't next to us. It was perpendicular to my car, its massive grill filling her window view.  Apparently, it was Perpendicular Day for all the trucks.

A good thing about Fairway, once you get there, is that it has a parking lot.  Any place in Brooklyn that has a parking lot is a great place.  We dropped off the pre-counted cans and bottles.  There were a lot.  We found the exit.  We were able to leave.

Flat-hair head

Then came the ride from Fairway to Key Food, one that had a parking lot (score!) and recycling machines.  Lots of traffic.  Lots of wrong turns. Lots of Suri not being helpful.  Then we found it.  They were down one machine already, so we made the most of it until we broke another machine.  However, we'd gotten down to almost no bottles and cans left.  It was like 300+ and we were left with some of those tricky bottles that no recycling place seems to want back, you know, the ones that take a joy ride through the machine and spit back out at you, and just a few that the machine would have taken had it not broken.

S brought her receipts in to customer service and the girl told her to take them to the cashier.  Then S told her that two machines weren't working and the girl stared at her silently before awkwardly saying, Yeah ok.  I told S that I thought she'd offended the customer service girl.  Clearly.

So there you have it.  While all of my own recycling sits in a large black garbage bag in the back of my pantry, we recycled over 300 of S's stuff.  That, my friends, is an accomplishment.  It's not really my accomplishment, but it still is one, which made my day.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How This Non-Athletic Non-Sports Oriented Gal Won (And How The Athlete Lost)

Eddie's family hosted their reunion in a newly-built park post Sandy flood in Jersey.  The park has a small children's playground.  Because we are children, we played in the playground.  I asked him to put me up on the monkey bars.  He did.  I hung there, unable to move, so he grabbed me so I could get back down.  The playground can be a dangerous place, you know:

 I opted to go on the swings instead.

And then came the game play.

Despite my inability to do much on the monkey bars, I took a crack at Baggo, a bean bag toss game. Eddie and his cousin versus me and his cousin's friend. Guys versus girls. It was a very heated match, especially because I could not for the life of me keep track of the points. His other cousin, the owner and apparent master of the game, explained all the rules and then kept track of the points. When he asked the rest of the family who had winners because the game would take only another five minutes, I thought he was nuts because the score was rising at the rate of maybe a point per every fifteen minutes. After five minutes, he did admit that the game was taking much longer than it usually does. So while it was a very heated match, that was mostly because we were over-exerting ourselves and not earning any points while doing so.

The object is to throw a bean bag through a hole. Get it in the hole to get more points. Get it on the rampy thing that the hole is cut out of to get less points. Your points cancel out the other team's points. All I know is that I was throwing lefty when I usually play sports righty, but that's what naturally happened, and my aim was off. My aim is always off, which is how I knew I was using the correct hand. I tried throwing righty once and it was really off, so lefty it was. My partner was carrying our team. We were in the lead, but then Eddie found his sweet spot and they caught up. The game came to three away after about twenty minutes of several rounds in which no one scored any points. Then, somehow, I tossed my bean bag into the hole. Like right into it. Swoosh. I jumped up and down with my hands over my head. Eddie stood stunned in disbelief as in, You didn't get any points the whole game and now you hit it in the hole. Yes, yes I did. Also, I did get maybe two other points during the game.

I've never known what it's like to play two games in a row because I always lose. It's a rule. I'm okay with that. I get to go sit down when the game is over. This time? Well, we had winners. We won. We were the winning team. Unprecedented!

Eddie, a bit in shock and somewhat dismayed, roamed around the game area, figuring out what to do with himself. This is pretty much the first time he's lost any sporting-related game in the history of sports. Because he's an athlete and he doesn't lose.

My team went on to play Eddie's other cousin and his wife. They own the game. We gave a respectable effort. The game did not last as long as the grueling first game had. Perhaps we were tuckered out from it. Or, really, we just weren't as good, and we lost.

However, the main takeaway we learn from this tale is:

I WON I WON I WON I WON and Eddie lost.

Seeing that I was now top athlete extraordinaire, we moved onto Bocce. Another game that I don't quite know all the rules for. I did remember that when the big ball touches the little ball, it's a bocce because it's as if the ball is kissing the other ball and that's what bocce means. I'm so bilingual.

So Eddie and I were on the same team up against his cousin's two girls, who are like 17 and 14. Probably not their exact ages but around there, much younger than us. They are also all about a foot taller than I am, but that's not surprising now is it. I was not so bad at this game. I was playing right-handed because I'm weird. Eddie took some time to warm up and had his ball hitting mid-court, nowhere near the pallino. Then we got into the groove of getting closer but the girls? Well, they clearly are ringers and must play every day early in the morning with the old Italian men in the neighborhood. The final score was something like 19 to 2. I'm not really sure how high their score was, but I am sure that we got two points. 2. Dos. Due. Deux. In any language, that translates to sucky score.

Some highlights:

After our crushing score, Eddie, having to now cope with two defeats (you see, I'm used to losing, so I quickly reverted back into my automatic joy of getting to sit and watch mode), took over the scoring and the measuring.

Using the professional tree branch
The most precise measurer on the planet, my husband

I assisted in his efforts every time his measuring skills were needed by calling out, Stick! Get the stick!

The girls won every game. The last game was cut short because we were getting all together for a group photo. However, they were well on their way to winning that game with an already ten or eleven point lead. Ringers, I tell ya.

We did other non-sporty things. We ate.

We celebrated birthdays.

We saw a deer.

We didn't move the tables.

It was a great day really. I left exhausted. I mean, winning takes a lot out of a gal.