Monday, July 26, 2010

Boot Camp

When I don't feel like I'll spend more than 10 minutes on the elliptical machine at the gym, I go to a class. Last Thursday, I decided to try Boot Camp. What possessed me, I don't know. As we were waiting for the earlier class to finish in our room, I asked the teacher if I was going to die during the class. He looked at me and said, "Unlikely." Those weren't the odds that I was hoping to hear.

It was by far the hardest class I've been to. At one point, he suggested he was going to get oxygen tanks for us, and one woman said, "What he isn't saying is that we don't get to use them - we have to carry them!" I was sore for days. Maybe until this morning.

So tonight I went back. I know, crazy. I walked into the gym and the instructor was waiting by the front desk to tell us that class tonight would be up on the track. Now why he assumed I was coming back for that class and not going to water aerobics I don't know. But he happened to be correct.

The problem is that 'track' implies running. And I don't believe in running unless there is a fire or certified emergency that requires me to move that quickly. So I'm thinking I should go home and get my swimsuit. But I don't.

There are 8 of us in the class tonight. We warm up with things like jumping jacks, push-ups, and lunges. And then he makes us run around the track. Honestly, it's a small track and even I think I can run that far. But again, it's against my religion. It would be like mixing meat and milk. Or wearing cotton and linen together. Or profaning the Sabbath. Unfortunately, I'm a vegetarian and otherwise not so observant. But I digress.

The thing about a class is that there's peer pressure. So when you're running in two rows of four around the track, you have to keep up. Especially when there are other people there who look like they can't run half that far. It's a dilemma. But I ran. I didn't like it and I had to pretend there was a serial killer behind me, but I ran.

Knowing now that I won't die and that the worst that will happen is taht I'll be unable to move without wincing means that I feel safe going to class again on Thursday... as long as there won't be running.

Mug Shots and a Painted Kitchen

Our kitchen is finally repainted. It's a Martha Stewart color called Lemongrass, but I'm sure other paint companies would call it Asparagus, or Leaf, or Just on the Mint Side of Pistachio. For an amateur job, it looks great. We figured out toward the end that there's wall paper underneath what now must be at least three layers of paint. Maybe in 10 years we'll strip it all and paint again. Bonus, we didn't get paint on the cabinets, stove or refrigerator. And we did find out, despite taping in advance, that paint does come off of granite pretty easily. Good thing.

On a completely unrelated note. I'm vaguely fascinated by the mug shots that are published in the Chicago Tribune. I'm not sure how often they are updated - I probably only see them once every few weeks or so. But when I do, I flip through them all. It's also hard to believe that they thought it was appropriate to go outside looking the way they did that day. I mean, really, did you honestly think that was an attractive look? This is actually from a big case here in Chicago which I didn't realize when I was first flipping through the pictures.

Once I was in an antique store in Evanston and they had mug shots from the 20's on sale. The front were sepia pictures and the back had the alleged crimes. At the time, I couldn't see spending $5 each on them, but in retrospect, they would have made an interesting look on a wall, maybe near the family pictures. I did go back to the store about a week later and was told they'd all been scooped up by a woman who wanted to use them for her Christmas cards. Clearly I wasn't on her list.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Sound of Music

It's a great musical, we all know that. Last night, spur of the moment, we went to the Wilmette Park District's Starlight Theater production of The Sound of Music. I know the person playing the Mother Superior (although it's actually a different title) and I know she's very talented, but I still figured, it's a park distric play, how good could it possibly be?

It was great! Costumes, set, actors - it was pretty impressive and there were a few hundred people in the audience for this final show after a three week run. They had some problems with the individual microphones for a few actors but they'd also mentioned before the show that they were glad to be going on after being rained out the night before and having to rebuild their sound board, so everyone was pretty forgiving. There was one actor who, frankly, wasn't so great, and sadly, his mike did work while Max's frequently cut out, and he was great. Oh well.

There were two songs I didn't remember, and at least one song from the movie that wasn't included. I didn't miss it from the nearly three hour show (including intermission). The biggest disappointment of the whole show, it would have been unseemly to sing along (which still didn't stop one of the women I was with!).

There were at least five Jewish nuns and a few Jewish Nazis and stormtroopers. I also appreciated that they took their armbands off for their curtain call. I'm assuming they didn't have to learn that the hard way.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Know Really, Really Funny People

I'm not sure how, but it turns out that I know some really funny people. And ironically, the one who is a professional comedian, isn't even close to the funniest on a regular day-to-day basis. (But he is the only one willing to get up on stage and then, he's very, very funny.)

The upside is that they send me funny things. Earlier this week, one of them sent me to this website to watch a movie trailer. Really, there just aren't words. But the same person sent me the trailer for the new Israeli film called A Matter of Size. So he can't be all bad, right?

Several of them are funny writers. They just don't write enough, or they write things that aren't also funny. Who needs that?! One of them accidentally wears two different shoes on a more regular basis than she should. Another one agrees to consider rooming hundreds of students alphabetically by first name. All different types of funny - it's good.

I've found that the only problem with hanging out with funny people is that when I'm with them, or corresponding with them, I don't feel as funny, and I think I generally am kind of funny. So I'm left with either being funny by myself (boring) or spending time with people who aren't as funny, and that's just dumb. Hmmm.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Harmony Bay Coffee

This is a great company, and before you ask, no, they did not pay me to write that!

More than a year ago, I bought some Harmony Bay Coffee at Trader Joe's and when I went back to get more, I was told they stopped carrying it. So I went on-line and found the company to see where they sold their coffee locally. I didn't find out because I noticed that they sold coffee on-line and that they were offering free shipping (evidently a very occasional promotion).

So I ordered a lot of coffee on-line.

Flash forward to Thursday (no, this is not about LOST) and we've got one day left of coffee. So I find myself back on the Harmony Bay site about to order coffee annoyed that I didn't think of ordering last week. And I can't find any free shipping promotion - bummer. Nevertheless, I fill my virtual cart and I'm ready to check out. But there's this very tempting "discount code" box right there, taunting me.... I looked on other sites to see if there were coupons available, and found nothing.

I was about to hit 'purchase now' when it occured to me that I could call and ask if they had any specials that weren't on the website. The man that answered could not have been nicer and immediately told me that they had a 20% off promotion available this week to their Facebook friends.

So I ordered two more cans of coffee. (Dennis, yes, I can hear you cringing.) But wait, it gets better.

I ordered the coffee yesterday morning. Today, it's at my front door. I definitely did not pay for extra-fast overnight UPS shipping (though I should double-check the invoice!). And bonus - tomorrow does not have to be a caffeine-free day!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Park Hoffman

My parent's planted five trees in their backyard about 20 years ago. Now, they are huge and their yard, if you ignore the fact that they have neighbors, can be imagined as a park. It's missing a water feature, but that doesn't seem to keep the birds away.

I imagine the squirrels waking up and saying, "Hey! Let's go to Park Hoffman today!" The rabbits have their turf, the squirrels have theirs, and certain birds frequent certain trees and/or bushes - it's like the high school cafeteria all over again.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

How to Eat in the Car

We left yesterday morning, driving to St. Louis. Since we'll be gone a few days, I figured we should pack up whatever leftovers were in the refrigerator and take them to eat in the car. Unfortunately, we didn't really have much car-friendly food. In otherwords, we had too much food that required utensils, which is fine for passengering, but not so much for driving. (And it also requires remembering to bring a utensil, which we did not.)

So we had marinated tofu, cucumber salad, vegetable pitas and grapes. Okay, it's easy to eat grapes in the car, but afer that...

At some point, Ronnie remembered that we had a spoon in the glove compartment. Less helpful than a fork, but nonetheless, easier to use for cucumber salad than fingers. But eating with a utensil while driving is still a far less than ideal situation.

Unless... you get held up by so much traffic that the interstate becomes a parking lot. Then, you've got plenty of time! Thankfully for us, this happened right outside of Springfield, Illinois. We made it 3 miles in 45 minutes and had plenty of time to eat. Thanks, IDOT!