With the recent recall of Similac baby formula, I started to wonder, where the fuck is the protection for the consumer? You may not know this, but the FDA has no legal power to force a company to issue a recall. The great idea is that all-wonderful capitalism will force a company to do a recall because if it harms the customer, it harms profits, and so a recall would be beneficial for both parties -- therefore, no power to the FDA. I see several things wrong with this. Since when has the corporate entity been invested in the best interests of the consumer? Case in point, McDonald’s. I know they may claim that they only provide food that is popular with the public. I call bullshit. How is upping the portion size popular? No one likes to be fat -- and it sure is hard to fight the fat when you’ve got skinny models eating huge hamburgers like it’s an everyday occurrence. How is using sub-par quality food the desire of the eater? It’s not. The company doesn’t seem to take into account the fact that eating more, eating more often, and eating high fat protein with carbohydrates, effects the health of the general populace.
Now, I will take a moment to say that as consumers we have to be smarter, we have to fight that urge (that all of us get at some time) to eat shit like chicken nuggets made from chicken goo and French fries that are only 80% potato and hamburgers that are supplemented with ammonia soaked tendons to fight rampant e-coli. We’re part of the problem too because we are, after all, the ones who keep buying it. But a family of four with two working parents doesn’t have time to worry about where the food is coming from or what its potential added ingredients are. They’re too worried about paying the bills and getting food on the table. Period. Worrying about the actions of a major food corporation is a luxury. Take me for example: I’m a DINK (double income, no kids) household. We both have our undergrads and are preparing for graduate school. I take ballet lessons, at the price of $380 a quarter, for fucks sake. I have all the time in the world to ponder the state of the FDA and the world in general. But I guarantee you if I worked 50 hours a week at two different jobs and we had two little kids to feed, I would be picking up a bag of burgers for dinner on Monday, and maybe $5 pizza on Friday. Why? Because it’s quick and dirty. And that’s all I have time for.
Why doesn’t the company say to themselves, gross -- I would never want to eat that, or have my kids eat that so the consumer wouldn’t want it (even though we apparently will eat anything for a cheap buck). But no. There’s some strange disconnect that goes on in the corporate brain that only has one focus: profits. If it’s cheaper to make chicken nuggets from processed bits of chicken livers, feet, tendons, and whatnot, full steam ahead. I hate these companies. I hate how they've taken something as simple as eating and turned into a numbers game. If revenue is to increase, and you expect that increase to be larger than population growth, that means you’ve got to have every individual eating more. How do you do that? Supersize and $1 menus and 2-for Tuesdays -- which gives us all more food than we need and yet still with a genetic imperative to eat, EAT, EAT! I find myself thinking about ‘The Jungle’; that great work of Sinclair’s that was so fierce it changed an industry and I wonder how did that happen? Why can’t it happen again? Where is our momentum as the repressed class? Make no mistake: we are the repressed class. The tippy top, the upper 9% of the income bracket, they hold all the cards, and we just while away our time in Middle Earth. The CEOs and shareholders of these corporations have lost touch, or perhaps they just don’t care; either way … something needs to change.
Our life expectancy for the current generation of children is less than mine. Aren’t we supposed to be living longer and longer? Not dying young of diabetes complications.
How do beetles get into baby formula exactly?
Why has dinner at the table died a slow and painful death?
Since when did cheap hamburger become a diet staple, and a baked potato suddenly became too damn difficult?
The FDA has several internal problems as well. It’s been essentially cut off at the knees by lobbyists and prior CEOs appointed to key positions within the organization. How can someone have the consumers interests at heart when their house, lifestyle, yacht, maid, prostitutes, are paid for by the very companies they are meant to oversee? It’s impossible. I don’t think these people are necessarily lacking in moral character. That much money blinds you. And they’ve been rewarded by the company for years, they feel loyal to them. That loyalty may be displaced but it’s hard to deny the hand that feeds you.
To those people out there who call for smaller government -- I say piss off. There is no organization with the power to infiltrate and enforce policies within these huge corporations except for the weight of an elected government. And I want safe food. Of course, I have no answers. I just can’t think of a better way to get better food into the mouths of all Americans, rich and poor alike, because I know we’re part of the problem; we’re the feeding end of a hungry hippo that can’t seem to stop opening its collective mouth, even if it’s for complete shite. But even still, knowing all that I know, my humble cry is: Government! Regulate!
4oz Cream Cheese (Reduced Fat Version)
4oz Soft Goat Cheese (Yum)
1tbls Fat Free Milk
1 Clove of Minced Garlic
1/4tsp Black Pepper
1/2C Roasted Red Peppers
1/4C Fresh Basil
8 Whole Wheat Tortillas (Preference: Tortilla Factory ... only 80 calories per tortilla!)
Starting with the cream cheese, beat everything in with an electric mixer until smooth. Then stir in the red peppers and basil, both chopped finely. Schmear that yummy stuff on the tortillas. Throw down a layer of spinach. Roll 'em up, eat 'em, love 'em.
Last night I finished Her Fearful Symmetry. There was something about this book I couldn't quite put my finger on. Something made it spectacular and difficult to put down, despite being sort of boring. I've decided it must have been an unknown quality to the writing, something addicting. Near the end of the book I found the following quote and it struck me. It was so truthful, so honest.
"'Being in love is ... anxious,' he said. 'Wanting to please, worrying that she will see me as I really am. But wanting to be known. That is ... you're naked, moaning in the dark, no dignity at all ... I wanted her to see me and to love me even though she knew everything I am, and I knew her.'"
I've been checking out all of your blogs, fellow thinkers.
One by one, a bit everyday.
And I started thinking --
Wouldn't life be terrible without the internet?
I wouldn't get to see into any of your lives.
Anonymity provides personal knowledge.
It's quick and easy.
Whether that's good or bad, it's the truth.
Personally, I love it.
It's plums in the pudding,
Cheese on our potatoes,
the spice of life.
I am one of those few and fortunate people who love going to the dentist. I don't love cavities, and I'm not saying that the experience is 100% positive. But. Wow do I love having a clean pristine mouth. I love to have beautiful gums and a fantastic white smile. I love to open my mouth wide and have no fillings (that show, anyway). Me and the hubs like to have our appointments together so we can laugh and commiserate if one of us has a cavity. Of course, he's never had one, so it's usually him commiserating with me and looking smug about his strong and healthy enamel. However, this time we both rejoiced in the fact that despite not having been to the office for TWO -- count 'em two -- years, neither of us had any problems. Cheers.
My feelings and thoughts on this subject were sounding familiar to me ... and then I remembered this post from the past. I'll just say, my enthusiasm for dental hygiene remains undiminished.
I occasionally go through periods where I don't feel like writing. Usually these times come when I'm feeling quiet; when I have little to say. And when I have little to say it's because I'm reading a lot. I get so caught up in the beauty of an author's words, the way a sentence is pieced together so perfectly, how the meaning is conveyed to me as clear and concise, that my own words start to feel paltry and insignificant. I'll open up a piece I'm working on, fully intending to write, only to find that all of my words are silent. They splash themselves across the monitor and look limp and lifeless. Any storytelling becomes lost in a mumble and I start hitting the delete key. I hate these periods when my brain feels mute; I wonder, am I stressed? Sick? Tired? How can a writer have no words. How can a writer stop thinking or feeling or expressing. I can only hope that these quiet times are R&R for my inner creativity -- wherever that comes from, inside I suppose. And it does seem that after these lapses in quality production, comes clarity. I'll begin to pull from my word tree with ease, as though all the fruit were near the bottom and perfectly ripened. I've heard it said that good writers write every day. I'm still working towards that goal -- but I'm not sure if I should fight the quiet times too hard. Perhaps it's some essential part of my thought process. My brain has to digest all those thoughts and feelings to make them communicable. Here's hoping I don't just suck and am actually boring and dull and the moments of excited writing are the exception rather than the norm. But how could that be? I'm nearing my 300th post. I'm writing better and more than I have before. I'm reading more than I ever have. I listen more. Yes, that's it; the quiet times are when I'm listening.
August is a big month for us; it's our anniversary and Tom's birthday. So we had to have a fun celebration with the two of us. Vegas is like our mini-vaca spot. It's becoming a tradition and we really know how to party there. We have specific things we do every time.
[First]: you must walk the strip. Vegas = walking. That's what makes it fun. No cabs, no bus, no monorail. You walk and walk and walk until you're tired and you want to sit and drink and gamble. Then you walk around slightly inebriated and laugh at the funny people ... or yourself. Whichever.
[Second]: you must play the penny slots. You find an entertaining machine, turn the volume all the way up, put in your happy dollar, and then proceed to play one line at a time, one credit per line. It's awesome. $1 buys you 100 spinnings of the reel. And if you go slow, you can get like 3 drinks in a dollar's time. How fantastic is that? Plus, you win fairly often; it's not a lot of money, obviously, but winning means the fun will last longer. I'm telling you, Vegas is only fun when you don't lose too much, and when the odds are stacked against you (because they always are in a casino) why not maximize the fun on the least amount of money?
[Third]: you must have loud sex to disturb your hotel neighbors. We hear it -- we hear the people in the middle of the night and when you walk down the hallway. You may as well contribute.
[Fourth]: you must nap. Napping provides essential energy for the aforementioned necessary activities. Besides, you're on vacation. You're on vacation in Vegas; the ultimate indulgence town. Take a nap and then you can walk all night, play the penny slots until all hours of the morning, and end the evening with some loud sex.
[Fifth]: go see a show. I know the tickets can seem a little pricey, but they're worth it. Tom dragged me to see Carrot Top (I so did not want to go) but it was the funniest show ever. We both laughed so hard the first half hour we were worried for our well being. We've also seen nearly every Cirque du Soleil show. Fantastic.
[Sixth]: eat at a buffet. You never get your money's worth and the food is usually middling to fair. You feel super fat after all the desserts. But you need energy! You're here to party and let go -- that requires food. Plus, food will help with the hangovers. Nothing cures a hangover like three plates of eggs benedict and hasbrowns.
[Seventh]: you must buy a frozen drink from Fat Tuesdays in the Miracle Mile Shops. I don't know why. The heavens demand it. My personal favorite is mango and strawberry. They're alcoholic. They're portable. They're frozen. Perfect for Vegas.
As you can see, we're old pros.
We love it and you should love it too.
So start planning your trip and get out there. I might run in to you ...
I've done this before. It's really fun. However, I'm working @ 6AM these days which means I basically roll out of bed, brush my hair into a semblance of beauty, and toss on any clothing that goes together. But. I've been thinking about giving it another go. Anytime I'm feeling blah about my closet and thinking that I need, yet again, more clothing, I do this trick. I'm still working on my fight against materialism -- so less buying is a good thing. And I'm a fatty so why would I want to buy clothes I'm hoping won't fit me on 3 or 4 months? Much better to save my money, save resources, and be creative.
This is what you do. It's so easy.
For an entire week you wear the same color scheme. For example: I started with purple. In fact, I think it was all the purple shirts that brought about this idea. Monday through Friday I wore:
Purple tie shirt with black slacks
Simple black shirt dress with purple scarf
Purple dress with black cardigan
Grey skirt with purple cardigan and black camisole
Purple cowl neck sweater with black skirt
It started forcing me to be creative with my closet and wear things I don't normally wear, even though they're still totally adorable. I received lots of compliments and I wasn't so sick of my clothes. Things became new and exciting and it was fun to get dressed in the morning. The next week you pick another color and dress in it all week, like white or green. Give it a try. You'll love your closet even more than you did before and maybe you'll realize that you have plenty to wear and pocket some money in your cute jeans.
There is nothing as disappointing as a book you can't stand to finish. I've been giving this book my best efforts, but turns out, it's not worth it. I hate the prose -- it's distracting and ugly. It seems to be too self aware, as if it wants me to know that it's artful and deep. The descriptions are vague. I'm sorry; lack of cohesive writing is not "neat" or "modern": it's lazy. As the writer it's your job to paint a picture for me, to draw a character for me, to tell me a story -- not make me guess as to what is going on or who is speaking or where we are. This is not to say that I need everything spelled out for me like I'm eleven, but let's find a happy medium. Anyway. I'm giving up. The book is going back to the library, scarcely sixty pages read. I hate to be a quitter (I rarely don't finish a book, even if it's not exactly riveting) but I have far too many potentially good books on my list to stick with it. On to the next, which I hope will be worthy of my time and thoughts.
I just watched Cold Mountain. Again. It's sort of a horrific movie, and incredibly sad. Too sad, really, to make it anything more than beautiful. I would not say that it's one of my favorite movies, but for an inexplicable reason I am drawn to the characters. I am drawn to the place, the story, the tragedy. And let me add that I love the book; that is definitely on my favorite list. Frazier (wonderful writer, wretched reader) weaves the tale of Inman and Ada with the land and the war so well that they are inseparable. Inman and Ada are practically strangers when they part. They've had only moments. As Inman says, "A thousand moments! They're like a bag of tiny diamonds glittering in a black heart. Don't matter if they're real or things I made up. The shape of your neck. The way you felt under my hands when I pulled you to me." So much of love is the resolve of the heart. The mind of the lovers. The connection. The smallest thing can become meaningful. Ada and Inman feel their separation acutely. She begs, "If you are fighting, stop fighting. If you are marching, stop marching. Come back to me. Come back to me is my request."
Cold Mountain has brought up a lot of thoughts about distance and heart. And it hasn't helped that I've been home alone. I've always been the type to love closeness. I thrive on it. And what does distance really do for us? Well, it can bring your mind clarity, allowing you to focus on specific memories. And it can bring loneliness, which reminds you of how much you love the person -- because sometimes when you have daily access to them you might get a little annoyed at all the socks around the house. I know that as human beings we need change and excitement to be successful. Often that means going separate ways for a time. A relationship cannot continue if growth is not allowed -- and sometimes that means growing pains. And while distance and separation are not fun, at least it can be romanticized and made meaningful. When Tom and I were apart for six weeks a few years ago, it was difficult. I had John Donne's 'A Valediction Forbidding Mourning' hanging in the bathroom. I'd had it since high school, but during that time, it spoke to me in a truer way. Especially the last half ...
"But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two ;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th' other do.
And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.
Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun."
My husband is gone to a training summit up some stupid canyon until Friday.
My stupid knee is hurting me so I don't think I'll go to ballet tonight.
Instead, I'm going to take myself out to dinner @ Happy Sumo.
Followed by some 'Closer.'
And some in-bed reading.
For the rest of the week:
For some reason when Tom is not in the bed, I can never get warm. Hopefully it will be better with the puppy there. She's never been alone with just me for so long and I'm sure she'll start to become despondent and make her sad face. But I'll be making a sad face too. It's not that I hate being alone, and really, this is a very short amount of time (last time he went to China for 6 weeks ... ick) but I start to get bored with no one to talk to. I start to become jumpy and scared to run the water because I'm listening for killers. Who is going to laugh at commercials with me? And pat my back when the scary sprinklers turn on at 5AM?
Well, me and the puppers will have to tough it out.
We'll go for runs in the park and catch up on our trash TV.
I'm going to paint my fingernails.
Read all my library books.
But still miss him.
I love it when the date and the time coincide. For instance: August 11th at 8:11.
I love it when the time is in numerical order, like 12:34 or 5:43 or 3:21.
I love it when numbers in a phone number have a common denominator.
I love it when a phone number makes a pattern on the buttons when you dial it, like a cross or an X.
I love to pay with exact change but I never have any cash.
I love to make the tip the right price to make the total a whole number.
I love it when the syllables in a sentence match the number of words in a sentence.
I love to spell words backwards and forwards in my mind over and over again.
I love names that use alliteration, such as Mary Murphy.
I love to find typos in published novels. I mark them with post-its and brag to my husband.
Our anniversary is this weekend. On the 7th we will have been married for seven years. People sometimes wonder what makes a successful marriage ... I have no idea. Mine is working out, mostly because we just like each other. We rarely get super pissed at the other one and even when we do, we usually end up laughing about it somehow. And liking each other comes in handy because even when we do get frustrated, which always happens in relationships (romantic or otherwise), we don't want to hurt the other's feelings so we try to be nice, and barring niceness, we apologize. We always say please and thank you and we always do little things for each other. If he asks me to get some water, I will. If I ask him to do the dishes, he will. We try hard not to take advantage of each other, to treat the other like property. We make a big deal out of the good little things. He always thanks me for making his lunch. I always thank him for cleaning the toilet. We laugh and laugh and laugh. Sometimes when we lay in the bed, me facing him, him facing me, he'll have his eyes closed. But he can hear me smile and he knows that I'm looking at him. He'll tell me that I have to roll over unless I stop looking at him and I say, "I'll roll over if you give me kisses." Then the kisses come and sometimes I have to hug him tight because my heart is bursting with happiness.
Yesterday he asked me to stay home from ballet so we could just hang out. So I did. I was wavering, thinking that I should go, then he reminded me that it's almost our anniversary so we should start celebrating early. It's a tradition that we "celebrate" for the days surrounding our anniversary even if we don't do anything more than say, "it's almost our anniversary" and then smile and kiss and hug. Tom and I have been together for a decade now and I can honestly say the longer we're together the more I like him, the more I understand him. I've heard it said that married years are like dog years; you multiply by seven. But for the most part, ours have been blissful. My one piece of advice to anyone in a relationship is to continuously make the decision to be together; don't ever become complacent, don't ever think you're immune to problems -- that way, when the problems come (and they will) you won't be surprised and not know how to handle it, you'll just start working hard to fix it. So often as human beings we lack the will power to get what we want because we push away happiness with both hands. Instead, we need to hold on. And keep holding.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
I truly wish that I was one of those people. The people that watch what they eat naturally, like breathing. The people that can, within reason, eat whatever they want, because, you see, these people don't ever want to eat an entire FAMILY SIZE bag of salsa Sunchips. They don't ever need to eat an entire box of pasta and sauce. They can stop after, say, a small helping. I am not one of those people. I am the person who has self control -- and only by sheer willpower -- have I not continued to balloon up throughout the passing years.
I almost did, I almost became a hefty girl after my first year of marriage. But since then I have been losing weight every year. Not this year. I've been eating whatever I like. Cafe Rio, Noodles & Company, sugar cookies, donuts, potato salad, pasta salad, pie, funeral potatoes, and on and on. I like to blame it on my transition at work from swing shift (2PM to 10:30PM) to days (a blissful 6AM to 2:30PM). But really. I think I was just sick of trying. I stopped going to the gym, and opted for ballet instead. I stopped being hungry, and opted for indulgence instead. The unfortunate thing is that I'm too vain and too in favor of beautiful clothing and a beautiful body to let it all go truly to hell. And I can't be satisfied with being a bit tubby. To the normal person, I look pretty small, I'll be honest. And I'm not afraid to tell you that I know that the majority of my weight loss is purely superficial. But I have dreams about wearing whatever I want without worrying about bulges/tugs/wrinkles. And I dream about dancing with lovely lines and slender limbs. I want to run and run like the wind is chasing me until the ends of the earth.
So while I've taken a temporary hiatus ... those desires win out and I'm back on the bandwagon again. All the things I hate have resumed a prominent place in my life. Apples for lunch, all day fasts, vegetable dinner. And I don't want to hear anything about how starvation is bad for you, or about how you should eat like this or that. I know what works for me. I just have to start doing it again. As someone who loves to overindulge from time to time, I have to punish myself so that the excess doesn't catch up with my waistline. Stay posted. That elusive goal is still out there. Check out the Going Down page if you want to see my progress. If you don't, I'll try to keep the fatty posts to a minimum. And anyone who wants to join me in my trials, feel free. Misery loves company. Bwahaha.
Since the performances last week, I have had a break from ballet and apparently that translates to my brain as a break from everything. I haven't done my hair or put on an ounce of make-up all week. I haven't done any laundry or cleaned up one mess. Yesterday I finally caved and emptied the dishwasher so it could be loaded again. And today I am going to TRY and get the laundry done. And tomorrow I'm going to TRY and do some grocery shopping. I have a ladies luncheon on Sunday, for which I'm making Gourmet Mac and Cheese and I am completely unprepared.
But can I just say ...
There are few things as liberating as giving the finger to society's expecations. I can understand why people become social deviants; it's very freeing. Successful women are expected to do everything; career, school, babies, marriage -- and all the while look fabulous, eat healthy, face smiling. Unfortunately the desire to maintain societal norms plagues even the most open-minded of us. However, this week, I've said, "No thank you" and gone all natural. My face is perfectly clean. My hair has no hair spray, no back combing. When I go to sleep at night I look exactly how I will look in the morning. I've never wanted to be one of those women. You know, the women that can't just pick up and go because they have to put their face on. I mean, I may look less attractive without makeup on, but that's my face; my real, honest-to-goodness face, as nature intended. And I'm not afraid to show it to the world ... or my husband. I'm not saying that I'm not a fan of makeup. I am. I love the stuff. And I enjoy spending hours getting ready and making myself up to the nines. It's just that occasionally I like to feel simple, to live simple, to take 10 more minutes to read instead of primping my hair. I challenge all of you to give it a try. Let your beautiful self out -- uninhibited by colors and concoctions. And say hello to the mirror.
I can't help myself. I am addicted to applause and acclaim. In Judy Garland's biography, "Get Happy," (one of many but the only one I've read) the author talks about how Judy fell in love with performing; her relationship with the audience, their reactions to her performance, the rise of the curtain. I know exactly what she means. I have performed since I was very small. My mom had put me in Sunshine Generation (which I understand is still around) which was a little singing/lip-syncing/dancing group. There is a picture of me in my orange dress complete with yellow apron ensemble at the zoo. My pudgy arms poke out from the colorful dress and I smile in a big CHEESE grin. As I entered elementary school I performed in the yearly talent show, singing my heart out. And then in Junior High I started dancing at the Ballet Centre (the school I also attend now) as well as performing in the school musical. In fact, I sometimes forget this, but I was Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors" when I was just fourteen. I wore a blonde wig and belted out 'Suddenly Seymour' as best I could. Throughout High School I continued to perform -- school musicals, community theatre, drill team, dance company, summer ballet -- I couldn't get enough. Which led me to earn a full tuition scholarship in musical theatre. Ta da!
Once in college, I continued to enjoy performing in the productions but I wasn't mature enough to focus on my schooling and perform. (My last year in High School had spoiled me: AP English, dance company, drill team, theatre class, seminary, concert choir, and ballroom ... not exactly scholarly.) My grades suffered and I'm sure that if I had stayed (I left to get married) I would have been on the watch list or would have lost the scholarship. After we were married I started focusing on my career, working my way up, and completing my undergraduate in English.
I hadn't been on stage for 8 years ...
Until last night. We performed the Sleeping Beauty waltz in front of a packed amphitheatre. It was grand. The lights, the rise of the music, that moment just before you step into view, the look you affix to your face. I love it all. Even the late rehearsals and stinky costumes and painful mornings, all worth it. I always feel myself drawn towards the arts, whether it be through writing or performing, and that also pulls me towards fame. That strange desire to be famous and world renowned. What's up with that? I don't think I would enjoy being famous AT ALL because, in general, I hate most people. And I really hate drama in my real life -- drama on stage, yes, always. But it ends there. I guess it's a good thing that fame is a non-existent possibility. That way I can just dream about it and enjoy my time on stage, under the lights, in front of an audience, and take a bow.
You are a worthless piece of shit. I'm sure you're not even a real person, but I must refer to you as something, so I will use "Iongge," your username on Blogger. Thank you, new stranger-I-loathe, for leaving a spam comment on 80 something posts. I appreciate it no end. Because, really, what my readers need are reminders to purchase Viagra and Louis Vuitton bags. And I absolutely enjoy opening up each individual comment so that I can delete it.
(Note to Blogger: you need a better way to manage comments ... in case this ever happens again.)
But it better not happen again. All fury and hell will break loose, I guarantee. Of course, I have no way of loosing said fury and hell on the offender, so instead my friends and family will get to hear me complain about the wrongs of the internet and the debilitating power of capitalism. Honestly, if a humble blog is not safe from unsolicited solicitations, what is? Next people will be jumping out at me whilst showering or sitting on the loo. There is nothing I hate more than shit littering up my blog. I work hard to make my blog sleek and simple. And comments, yes, bring on the comments; those are fabulous. But this trash, this litter of nonsense, does nothing but cause me a lot of work. Iongge, I will never buy Viagra and now I will never buy Louis Vuitton. Whomever you are working for, please tell them that they have caused the companies a lost customer. And I could have bought alot of LV in my lifetime.
My ballet friend Catherine and I have made some specific short-term goals for the summer session of ballet. We have both recently returned from a ten year long break and are now attempting to be ballerinas again. We are frustrated with the limitations of our "older" bodies and are working towards our ballerina bodes. It was especially motivating when we saw fellow "old" dancer (who has four children, by the way) with an absolutely beautiful body; thin, supple, muscular, and graceful.
So I'm setting goals. Goals that I WILL achieve by the end of summer session. It's time to get serious.
Goal 1 Both splits, left and right, flat. That means tushy on the floor. Goal 2 Lose 15 pounds. Period. Goal 3 Cardio and resistance training two times a week. Ballet is four times a week, two hour classes, so I'm going to do cardio and upper body workouts two other days. I can do it. My aim for weightlifting is toned arms, a ripply chest, and muscular back -- all of which look stunning when you dance. The cardio should help trim up my legs and hopefully aid in the weightloss.
I need to buy a scale. After the pee incident, read more here, I had to throw out the old one ... so it's in with the new. (I haven't weighed myself for a few weeks which feels very strange; not knowing one's weight.) But anyway, get the scale, start weighing myself, and start losing. The hardest goal is #2. That will be my main focus. You know, I think that this return to ballet has brought up a lot of body issues ... but oddly enough, I don't hate my body for not being perfect. Rather, I'm proud of it for all its accomplisments, and further still, its potential.
Your husband and friend will try to "keep up" with each other, leading to the intake of copious amounts of alcohol.
Your friend will pee in the bathroom -- but misses the toilet and hits the surrounding floor instead.
You yell and make your husband and friend clean up the mess.
But they're too drunk to clean up pee; they just keep trying to put paper towels in the toilet bowl, or yelling that you're being a bitch, or claiming that they didn't pee all over the floor, or your husband will yell out your name when the friend gets pee on his arm -- because said friend is gesturing his hand, which is holding pee-paper-towels, angrily at you.
You end up cleaning the pee, removing the rug, and the scale.
You come out of the bathroom and find them attempting to wrestle in the teeny living room.
You yell (again) and ban them to the backyard if they want to "fucking wrestle."
The dog will keep barking and growling so you head out to bring her inside ... and to find out if they are dead. No, they are not dead. Instead, they both have dog shit on their pants. And your husband has a grass burn on his forehead from his friend shoving his face into the lawn.
You clap your hands to get their attention, and then yell (again), "Get the fuck up. You both have dog shit on your fucking pants" or something like that. And as they slowly come to this realization, they wander up to the house where you ask them to remove their pants. And the friend leaves on his bicycle; he probably hates you. And your husband takes a nap, apologizing and promising never to do that again.
Disclaimer: I know this story makes me sound semi-trashy.
I promise, I am not; hence all the yelling and saying of "fuck."
This was a random World Cup rumpus that will not occur again in my lifetime.
At least let's hope not.
I feel like reading for an entire weekend. I feel like I should take a long flight just for some good book time. I placed too many books on hold at the library -- no one can read six novels in three weeks and work. Even though I know I will inevitably have to return the book and then check it out again, I don't mind. I cannot wait for them to arrive. Some haven't even been published but they sound fascinating. I have a memoir, a historical fiction, a British mystery, a story about a mental institution, stories about the south, and more.
There is something about the weight of a book in your hand. When you read in bed you get a crick in your neck from trying to hold the book as little as possible and still be able to see the words. When you read in the bathtub the corners of the pages get pruney and crisp. Your purse is always bulging with a book, ready to be taken out while waiting in line, waiting to pick up your kids, bored at a party. There is always the anticipation of turning the page in the midst of action. The anticipation of opening a brand new book. The final closing after reading something beautiful.
When I get my new iPhone 4 (!!) I will have access to iBooks -- but will I use it? Any book that I bought in e-version that I liked would just have to be repurchased in physical form for my library. I suppose e-books would be all right for a just-okay novel, but you have to pay for it, and if that's the case you may as well partake in the richness that is the library. Ah, the library. We have a complicated relationship -- mostly because I go through bouts where I am furious at them for losing items I return, only to find them sitting on my bookshelf. (In my defense, we had just moved and they were at the very tippy top of the bookshelf completely out of sight.) But mostly we are constant lovers. For no other place in the world offers up the entire, or very near to entire, collection of literature. At no cost. Unless you turn the items in late, and even then it's a pittance, pennies on the day. And all for the joy of reading and reading to your heart's content.
I haven't written and haven't written. What have I been spending all my time on?!? Not much. Just a lot of dancing and eating. Work is good; busy and fulfilling. Life is good -- although I must admit that I have a total flaw: when transitions happen, I throw all my good habits out the window. If I held on to said habits (like daily writing and running and eating healthy) the stress levels in my life would probably be much much lower. But I'm human and destined to be flawed.
And a couple weeks ago I started receiving emails from my blog. From people commenting. And I mean people that I don't know in real life. Say what? Yes, strangers are reading this blog now. Of course, they've probably stopped because I haven't written word one for nearly two months. But get this: I have 15 followers. How exciting. And can I just say -- thank you, new readers. I don't know where you came from or how you found me but I think you're all lovely. And I hope you keep reading because you've encouraged me to keep writing. I've pulled myself from the new-house, new-job, new-everything slump (if you can even call that a slump ...) and I'm here; pouring out heart and soul again.
My mind is filled with all the things I haven't told you.
Allow me to regurgitate a bit:
I am a tubby ballerina right now. I keep trying to lose weight -- well, half-ass trying. Must try harder.
I have performances coming up at the end of next week. We're doing the Sleeping Beauty waltz (just beautiful) and Alice in Wonderland, in which I wear a pink dress and an anteater head. Don't ask, you must come and see for yourself.
I love my new house. I just bought an as-is changing table @ Toys R Us for $30 smackers. We don't have a baby; it's for the kitchen. Lacking shelves, I needed a quick, cheap fix. Hooray for innovation.
I need to read more. I've been meaning to buy "Ship of Brides" because I hear it's fantastic but no such luck yet. Also, my most favorite person in the world has sent me her latest installment in her novel and I haven't had a chance to read it to pieces.
I need to finish up my mom's blanket. I believe this has been on my "to do" list every month for a couple years. Must try harder.
I need to straighten out the following things: our change of address (which is still not processing), Tom's auto-payment for his student loan, the Comcast bill (those fuckers are trying to charge me WAY too much money), and I need to find out how to make a fabric strip shag rug for the kitchen. Anyone?
I need more time. I rush home from work at 2:30 PM, take the puppy for a walk, if it's not too hot, then go to ballet, home by 7:00 and then I just veg out. I've got to max out my time-potential. Right now I'm spending far too much time in front of the television and not enough doing stuff. Although I must say, television is very good right now. Hell's Kitchen is on, as well as So You Think You Can Dance, Big Brother starting any day now, brand new season of Entourage ... well, when I say "good" I mean entertaining.
Speaking of TV, I've been wanting to watch this HBO Documentary series called "The Alzheimer's Project" but haven't gotten around to it (story of my life). But I happened to catch a section of it today and it almost makes me glad for my laziness. It was incredibly sad. This particular piece covered the caretakers of Alzheimer's patients and it made me cry several times.
Before I forget, does anyone know if it is bad for a dog to eat bamboo sticks? We have a large bamboo plant in the backyard and the puppy gnaws on them all the time! I'm afraid she'll ruin her teeth or block her digestive system.
Somewhere in this world I have another mother. And every once in a great while, I think of her.
Mother's Day is one of those days.
Adoption is one of the greatest things a human being can do. It can also go unappreciated. I know several adoptees who feel anger towards their birth family and irritation with their adoptive family, as if their adoptive family can do nothing right by them because they are not of blood relation. My mom (the one I call mom, the one I love, the only one I know) is as good as or better than most moms I know. She raised me so well; I'm not sure how she did it. Somehow she was able to give me a childhood filled with endless hours of imaginative play, as well as build my adult socialization skills, making it possible for me to enjoy being a kid and transform into a successful adult. She also instilled me with a strong sense of self. She let me dress myself even when I looked ridiculous. She was able to separate herself from me enough to let me become my own individual. We like different things and some things we both enjoy. She respected our differences and encouraged me to work hard at anything I pursued. She showed me that life is hard so you have to push back even more to succeed. And best of all, she showed me that love is not about blood, it's about love.
My other mother, the one who gave me birth, was able to give me a fantastic life by giving me away. I am forever thankful to her. I feel no connection to her; just an intense benevolence when I think about the happiness in my own life because of her sacrifice. She probably doesn't think of me often, and that's okay. I want her to be happy because in reality, I have lost nothing. I have simply lived another life. And I am happy.
I don't know how I survived the week.
In addition to tackling new projects at work --
Monday: Bought a new car.
Tuesday: Signed the lease for our new house.
Wednesday: Ballet -- last day in the "baby" class.
Thursday: Attend Advanced Class, then go to dinner with Caitlin and Cam.
Friday: Advanced class again, this time with pointe. Then dinner and Iron Man 2, followed by an after party that lasts until 5AM.
I was awake for 24 hours. I haven't done that for a very long time.
Now it's time to tackle the hated mountain of laundry.
It happened today, my 2nd day in the advanced class.
After we put the barres away, she said, "We're going to do pointe today." She looked at me and said, "Johanna, let's give it a try."
So I did. Not 100% perfect. But I would say I succeeded in surprising myself and my teacher.
At the end of class, as I walked by Michelle to go home, she said, "Good job."
I really love myself for not being afraid to try.
Please cross off "become a ballerina again" from my list.
The Advanced class is described as: "The sixth year we have learned how to do everything on Pointe and have learned how to execute all of the steps. Classes are now four to five days per week (2 hour classes). This year we start to really learn how to perform and must remember lengthy combinations. We also learn to dance with pain if necessary."
I was very nervous. It always helps when you have a friend there, though, and I did. I had two: Kathryn (another returnee like me) and Brittany (a brand new dancer, only 2 years in). But I was still nervous. Brittany had already been to the class once; we were supposed to go together Tuesday, but I missed it because I had to sign the lease. So it was my first time in. As we're sitting on the floor stretching, Kathryn sees my nude fishnet tights and starts to laugh. She says, "You remember Michelle, right?"
Michelle. The toughest teacher you will ever have. She pushes you hard and isn't afraid to tell you exactly what you're doing wrong. In front of the whole class. In a loud and clear voice. For example: she walks in, sees me, and says, "Hi." But not with a smiley face at the end, with a question, like, why the fuck are you in my class. Then, when we're doing plies, she says, "Those are the only tights you could find?" And I blush and say, "My pink ones were dirty." (A lie. They weren't dirty, I just like to look different from everyone else.) Or what about this: I overhear her asking Brittany very pointedly, and loudly, "What are you going to do about pointe? Who's going to give you the beginning pointe lessons? Because I'm not." Michelle is slim on the compliments, but I like it because when she actually says "good" you know she isn't blowing smoke up your ass.
Considering I had to learn all the combinations on the spot, I didn't do too badly. We didn't do any pointe. When she asked me about my dancing experience, I said, "I've danced on pointe for about 4 years, but that was almost a decade ago." I'm not sure she believed me about the decade thing. I'm not sure what I'll do when that day comes. By the end of class I was sweating hard and my calves and feet were exhausted. But I felt accomplished. I felt challenged. I felt like I had something to work for, something I didn't feel in the other classes. Part of that, I'm sure, is because of Michelle. I am so excited to improve my dancing because I am in love with ballet. I think I enjoy it more now than I did before.
On my way out, Michelle asked me not to wear my tights again, "They should be pink."
A little harmless celebrity/weight obsession is normal.
Strange. What do you think is going on there? The second toe is crazy long and then the fourth toe is non-existent or shorter than the pinky toe. Maybe the toes are moving because she's walking, or maybe her shoes are uncomfortable. God that looks weird. Like a deformed foot.
I'm not old, but I am the oldest person in my ballet class.
The girls range from ages 13 to 18.
I have only one classmate who is of drinking age.
I always tell myself that age is nothing,
but every once in a while I start to feel silly and out of place.
Then I remember what I felt like at that age:
Silly and out of place.
Let me tell you a story. Tom and I bought the '95 Saturn in 2003 for $3500. And then again when we came home from China for $1500. Now it is dying. The process has been slow but not painful. We've put very very little money into this car over the past 7 years. Over the last year its manifested a series of strange problems: the check engine light came on, then off. It stalled as Tom came off the freeway last fall. It stalled earlier this winter in the same place. I thought it was Tom's driving. So I banned him from driving it and then replaced the fuel filter, thinking maybe that was the problem -- an easy $50 fix. I've been babying it ever since.
But last week it started taking longer and longer to start. Time for another $60 fix -- a new battery. Today, however, as I was driving home, it did to me what I thought would only happen to Tom: it died on the side of the road. I thought I felt it shudder as I decelerated, and then as I went to turn I could tell the power steering wasn't working. And neither was the car. I was able to use my momentum and get it into a 7-Eleven parking lot. I waited a couple minutes, started it up, and drove it home.
I figure that I have, at most, one more week to drive this car. Let the search begin.
Here are the two cars I'm seriously considering:
The Toyota Yaris
Really cool interior
Awesome gas mileage
Super cute and little but with BIG storage capacity
Obviously I wouldn't get red. I would get white or black.
Or perhaps this:
The Ford Fiesta
Yes, it's back in style and back in the U.S.
More horsepower than the Yaris (we all know how I like to speed)
Also has awesome gas mileage.
Push-to-Start engine (NO KEY!)
And remote keyless entry (not sure if this is available with the Yaris)
Both are small five doors. I like the five doors because it makes room for most anything when the back seats are folded flat. I'll admit, I am leaning towards the Yaris. The price difference is practically nil between the two, but Toyota is offering 0% interest for qualified buyers, which would probably be me because I have fantastico credit and they will probably want to give it since their brand has suffered such a hit. Also, from the pics, I like the lighting and layout in the Yaris a bit better. I'm not a fan of red dashboard lighting (which the Fiesta has). It makes me an angry driver -- which I tend to be anyway. I know that Toyota seems to be a reliable brand but you can never decide until you drive it. What if it's really loud or shaky at high speeds? I know that the Fiesta is getting really good reviews. I'll have to see how loud the blinker is. Tom and I test drove a Focus before we were married and the blinker was insanely loud.
I'm going to try using the Costco Auto Program because I hate hassling with car salesmen. I will say, though, that Tom and I have a good dynamic. He's the nice guy and I'm the bitch. It throws off the salesman, disarming him with charm and then hitting him hard with an immovable price I want to pay. But if we use Costco's authorized dealer we get a certain amount off the MSRP and don't have to deal with all the bullshit.
Victory is mine! So, maybe people don't find the perfect apartment after their first trip out -- but I did it on my second try. I haven't really written about the actual getting of the apartment, even though I've known since Friday, because I've been waiting for Tom to see the place. That's right; he trusts me enough to agree to live somewhere I've chosen without even seeing it. BUT. I didn't want to go on and on about how excited I was if he ended up hating it -- a slim chance, but you never know.
We went by this afternoon whilst the landlady was cleaning and preparing to paint. As we turned onto the little one-way street we'll soon call home, Tom was a little nervous. After all, there is a semi-scary apartment building at the entrance to the street. But once you start down the road, you can see that it is lined with miniature houses like ours. I'll admit, even though I tried to prepare him for the small size of the place, he was still surprised. However, he loved the location (don't we all?) and the renovations she's made to the place are dandy. When I went to see the property the first time the tenants still had stuff in there and it was hard for me to be really nosy and grasp the space; I like to stare at a room and visualize how my furniture will look. So this time I had a good long hard look. Also, with this return visit, I've had time to assess what we have at the current apartment so I can really picture what should go where. I turned on the water. Great flow. The bathroom and kitchen are fantastic. Especially the kitchen, very open and in the center of the house. The washing machine is only a couple years old. I'm going to get a big fluffy rug for the downstairs laundry area -- to make it more cozy and less dreary.
We'll be moving in during the last week in May. This is the part that I hate: the moving. I'm hoping that we will be able to make small trips with stuff in our cars on our way to work and then make one BIG move with the furniture. And then comes the cleaning. Cleaning the old place and cleaning up all the random crap that accumulates when you live anywhere longer than 2 weeks. Maybe it will give me a chance to sort through all our mail. Nah, I'll probably just bag it up and complain about it. The only good thing about moving is that you are forced to see what items you've forgotten you had. The items you haven't seen or used since the last time you moved. I'm going to stop talking about it because it's depressing me.
And who wants to be dragged down by the drudgery of moving when they should be thinking about new furniture for the house? I only need two things: a kitchen table and a futon ... and the futon is sort of negotiable. We just would like a crash space for people in the second bedroom if they need it. We sort of want a new tv -- especially in light of the fact that our current one (thanks Tash) may not even fit in our new living room. There is a black bar-height table with two saddle style stools (which I love) for $50 that I am seriously considering. It will go well with our bar stools. They're white, but I think black and white will be cute.
I am so thrilled that everything worked out. We're signing the lease on Tuesday.
I might not have even wanted it, but it doesn't matter, it's gone.
The couple who saw the place before me loved it and scooped up the beloved place right before my very eyes -- as I pulled up to the property. Depressing. But, oh well. It was a bit pricey (@ $1150 per month) and it did have downstairs neighbors. Maybe it's meant to be. And who finds the perfect apartment on their first excursion out? Obviously not me.
But the search must go on. I'm checking out this little beauty today:
As you can see, it has a little backyard (SO cute for widdle Marie) that would be fun for get togethers and whatnot. It is a 2 bedroom teeny house so you have the whole place to yourself. It also has a great location, just off 5th South and is going for the price of $1000 a month. Fingers and toes crossed, please.
God, looking for an apartment is terrible. No wonder people buy houses and just live there forever. Moving sucks balls. Hard. Today, whilst searching on KSL, I found 2 apartments in great areas with a fantastic price. They are both gone! My lease expires June 1st, barely one measly month away. There are 2 houses on 8th East and 3rd South that look promising ... but they could turn out to be total crap holes. And the dude won't return my calls. He is listed as the seller for both properties -- another sign they could be dumps.
This could be promising. Super great location and only $800 per month.
Oh, but I just talked to Mary Ann and she said that they already have an offer pending.
Or what about this? I'm going to see it tomorrow -- but it doesn't have ANY on-site laundry.
I've used a laundromat in my apartment complex and I still hated it.
Once you've been spoiled with your own washer and dryer, you can't go back.
It would be like using an outhouse.
This, however, is the piece de resistance, the love, the want.
It is $1150 a month and is a tad bit further from downtown than we would like,
but it's a beauty. See:
We'd have a little porch.
And a fabulously new kitchen.
A nice living room with hardwood floors.
A lovely second bedroom.
Double sink bathroom.
Tub and walk-in shower.
Master bedroom with walk-in his and hers closets. Perfect.
We wouldn't have a bike in the bedroom.
I'm having difficulty contacting the tenants so I can actually get IN and see the place. I spoke with the landlord and he seemed like a friendly fellow. Cross your fingers for me. I'm hoping for this one to work out.