Archive | November, 2013

I’m thankful I have an oven?

27 Nov

Image Source: UnknownYou know how some people are magnets for crazy things happening to them? My friend Alison (whom I refer to as “The Other Al”) is one of those people. I’ve decided it’s time to start featuring some of her adventures in my blog for the greater amusement of mankind.

With Thanksgiving bearing down on us, it only seems appropriate to start with this anecdote, which she shared via Facebook this morning.

She commutes into DC everyday by way of the Rosslyn Metro station, which is just over the river in Arlington. Apparently she’s developed a friendship (of sorts) with one of the homeless people she sees regularly.

This morning he greeted her with, “Happy Thanksgiving. Where the f*ck is my turkey at?”

Because she’s The Other Al, she responded with, “Where the f*ck will you cook it?”

And lest you think this was mean-spirited, the guy cracked up and told her she was his favorite commuter. There’s something to be said for keeping your sense of humor, regardless of your circumstances.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I might need crutches.

26 Nov

Image Source -

About seven years ago, I canceled my gym membership and started using the money on yoga studios instead. I love yoga and believe in its healing benefits, but – no matter how much I sweat or how many push-ups I do – it is NOT a gym workout.

My body has been reminding me of that lately, most frequently when I go to wave goodbye to someone and smack myself in the face with the loose skin wagging under my tricep – something my childhood friend, Ryan, always referred to as a, “Yoo-hoo.” You know what I’m talking about.

So a week ago, I bit the bullet and joined a gym. And I can’t believe how much I’ve missed it. It feels like freedom to go whenever I want. There are three locations within a mile walk of my home, and each has something different I love: a salt-water pool, a robust class schedule, a steam room.

That said, my return has not been painless. Yesterday, for instance, I made a collosol colossol HUGE mistake. I saw that there was a 45 minute “BodyPump” class and thought, “That sounds like a great alternative to just lifting on my own.” FOOL.

Tip: anything that rhymes with “Shoddy Dump” is probably a horrible idea.

If you’re not familiar with BodyPump (clearly I wasn’t!) it’s 45 minutes of lifting/squatting/pressing free weights and barbells to techno music. The music is key because it makes you do it quickly, which means that not only are you stressing your muscles, but you’re also getting all sweaty and out of breath.

It looked harmless when I walked in, though in hindsight, I should’ve realized that there was not a single YooHoo! in sight. I arrived close to the start time, so I looked around and tried to copy the props of the women around me. A step, a yoga mat, a bar with some weights clamped on, some free weight discs…

Notice how vague I was about how much weight was clamped on to the bars? Yeah, probably should’ve paid more attention. In my rushed attempt to mirror what was going on, I didn’t actually think about how much weight I’d be lifting – or the fact that the other people in the class probably weren’t brand spankin’ new.

Let’s just agree: Bad idea. About twenty minutes into class, my mouth started salivating like I was going to vomit. Since I’m competitive, I kept powering through. Finally, at the thirty minute mark, I started stripping plates off my bar, tossing them to the floor like frisbees, ego be damned. And I STILL almost fell down the stairs when class was over.

Today I’m hobbling, which doesn’t bode well for tomorrow, since everyone knows that full soreness sets in 48 hours after the activity. I’m just hoping the worst of it is behind me by Thursday so I can do arm curls with a turkey.

My cat is either sadistic or a neat freak.

19 Nov

I bought a new pair of slippers and although they’re super comfortable, they came with two ridiculously huge pompons on each one. Naturally I whipped out some scissors and cut them off.

They are about the same size as Miss Moneypenny’s toys, so I thought I’d toss one to her to bat around. She loved it and scampered through the house with it. A couple hours later when I was putting away laundry, I noticed that the ball was sitting in the bottom of her water bowl, drenched.

“Hmm,” I thought, “She must’ve accidentally swatted it in here.”

I retrieved it and set it in my bathtub to dry.

Tonight when drawing a bath, I reencountered the fuzzball and tossed it out for her to play with. Again, she knocked it and took off chasing it out of the room. A few minutes later, when I was sitting in the bathtub, she returned, carrying the ball in her mouth.

Without even looking at me, she walked in and dropped it in her waterbowl. Then she batted it around until it was soaking and – as if she were bobbing for apples – reached in and picked up, then left the bathroom with it.

About fifteen minutes later, she came back, again carrying the ball in her mouth, and dropped it on my iPhone (which was sitting on the floor). Then she left.

So clearly her dunking is deliberate. If I imagine it’s a mouse she’s playing with, I have two possible explanations for what she’s doing: Either she’s trying to drown it, or she wants to clean it off. I’m not sure which is better.

At least I don’t have this to deal with:

Travelogue: Paso Robles, which means “Pass the Marbles” in Spanish.

12 Nov

Not really. But our trip did a great job highlighting how little Spanish I know. Alan looked at me multiple times each day as if I were Will Farrell on Anchorman, proclaiming, “San Diego. Sahn Dee-ah-go. In Spanish that means ‘whale’s vagina.'” I gave up even trying to guess the real translations.

Tuesday’s adventure took us from Pismo Beach to Napa by way of Paso Robles, which apparently means, “The Pass of the Oaks.” That’s slightly less fun than what I thought it meant – something to do with marbles or a rumble – but perhaps slightly more logical.

[Tip: If you’re ever trapped in car with someone, it’s fun to rub your tummy and wince, then loudly proclaim, “PASO ROBLES,” as if you’re saying, “DIOS MIOS.” Every time, Alan just silently shook his head and rolled down the windows without even looking at me, which I considered a victory.]

Joking aisde: I really liked Paso Robles – everyone was super friendly, the weather was sunny and warm, and the wines were rock solid.

Let me back up. We started our day with a walk down the beach to watch the sunrise and pick up sand dollars. Not bad, until those same sand dollars started smelling like the previously defined “SAN DIEGO” in the backseat of the car as they baked.

After our walk, we lounged around with laptops, writing on the balcony, enjoying our last real time with the Pacific before rolling out later that morning for Paso Robles. We stopped just short of the city, heading into Templeton specifically to visit the Turley winery.

Wine-Nerd Side Note: Turley is one of my favorite zinfandels, and I was worried that visiting their tasting room would put me off of it because they might be snobby. I could not have been more wrong. The women serving the tastings were very friendly and even thew in an extra pour and some great local cheese, and charged us a SONG ($5!) for the airplane carrier we snagged.

With our first official tasting under our belt, we headed downtown PR and wandered the square, which was quaint and packed with good looking restaurants. Because I developed what Alan might call an unhealthy dependency on TripAdvisor, we ate at a small place called the Red Scooter Deli. This pains me to say, but my reuben trumped what I’ve eaten at Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor. And was a fraction of the price. I’m wincing. (Seriously: GO THERE. NOW.)

While we were wandering around, I stumbled across this little gem, which both excited me and made me sad that I didn’t have my own winery – though I’m not really clear on how “soda works” comes into play:

Copyright infringement?

Copyright infringement?

[This town also had a public restroom in its center and I decided to check it out – mainly because I had to pee, but also because I wanted to see if all California bathrooms function as drug lairs. Apparently the answer is no, because this one was very clean and there were no creepers hanging out there.]

The rest of our trip north was uneventful – until we arrived in Napa.

We stayed in an adorable B&B on Main Street. We pulled up at dusk and the placed was super quaint – a darling Cape Cod with a large porch, picket fence and swaying trees in the front yard. When we initially approached the house, it was after dark, so I was glad that the porch lights were on.

Image Source:“This is adorable,” I started telling Alan as we ventured up the walk, approaching the house. I was interrupted as he looked up and – covering his head as if it were about to be struck by a meteor – said, “Holy shit!” And there, descending on an invisible line, was THE LARGEST SPIDER I’ve seen in my life. I may or may not have screamed, right as our host opened the front door.

I knew she was awesome when – instead of trying to greet me or look at me as if I were a freak – she turned on her heel and grabbed a broom. “Here,” she said, thrusting it at Alan. “Kill it. I mean – I hope you aren’t animal lovers, because I really want it dead.” Yes, girl.

As Alan spun around to do battle with the descending arachnid, our host asked, “Do you think that was a tarantula?” causing me to climb at least one full level on the terror scale. SERIOUSLY?

When we finally came inside and settled in, our room was a bit stuffy so we went to open the window – but it was lacking a screen. “We’ll be fine,” Alan said, cranking it wide open as sweat ran down his forehead.

“The hell we will,” I said.

And that was our first night in Napa.

40 x 40: Progress & Failures.

11 Nov
Wine country

Heaven on Earth: Sonoma.

It’s been almost two weeks since my birthday and already I need to update my 40×40 list – partially to mark my progress and partially to amend my list since I’ve already screwed up. (Too bad one of my items wasn’t to cultivate a practice of “self-forgiveness,” because I could totally check that box while blowing off the more difficult things on my list. Next year…)

So here are the updates – mainly to keep myself honest:

#9: Explore wine country with Alan. CHECK. You’re read about our adventures in Carmel, Monterey, and Hearst Castle – but we spent the last five days tooling through Paso Robles, Napa and Sonoma. I’ll blog about it soon, but the trip was all that I’d hoped for when I added it to this list.

#19: See the sunset over the Pacific. CHECK. Did this not once, not twice, but THREE times in the last week. Who’s a lucky girl?

© 2013

Please note the Spartan t-shirt – worn the day we beat the Wolverines.

#10: Completely avoid Diet Dew every day for one month. IN MOTION. It hasn’t been a month since my birthday yet, so it’d be impossible to achieve this one, but I’m off to a good start. I’ve gone 13 days without a Dew. And I really had to avoid temptation on our trip because one of our B&B hosts had even stocked our mini-fridge with a can of Diet Dew for me.

#26: Review the books I read on Amazon. IN MOTION. I’ve actually taken this a step further – I’m reviewing EVERYTHING. This might be one of those unhealthy manifestations of my compulsive personality, because I’ve already earned a “Top Reviewer” badge on TripAdvisor – and I just started reviewing things a week ago. If there’s a “stalker” badge, I might earn that soon.

#27: Swim 50 miles. IN MOTION. I snuck in two miles before we left for vacation. Snuck might be a bad word choice, because there’s really nothing sneaky about flailing around in the pool, gasping for breath as you count laps and pray the lifeguard won’t need to intervene.

#23: Write 50,000 words toward my next novel. UMMM. I’d planned to do this by participating in NaNoWriMo (kind of like Movember, but instead of growing a mustache, you write a book – potentially as embarrassing, but not quite as creepy – unless it’s about mustaches). As it turns out, that was a horrible thing to attempt when starting a vacation. I found that I wanted to write blogs and jot notes about our vacation, so we’re going to need to revisit this one.

#33: Do an inversion every single day. UMMM. I’m amending this one. It should say, “Develop a daily inversion practice.” Because that’s the end goal, and it is REALLY HARD to remember to do something every day, cold turkey. Especially when you’re staying in a hotel and you really don’t want to put your head remotely close to the carpet.

So that’s my progress. And before you judge: How are your New Year’s Resolutions going? That’s what I thought.