Friday, January 23, 2009

Getting all up in it

According to the Washington Post, Obama exercises 45-60 minutes a day, every day, no matter how busy he is. He scopes out gyms in cities and the Secret Service 'convinces' the owners to open early or stay open late, so he can get some time in.

Somehow, I doubt its hard to resist them, when they ask.

While I admire it, his dedication to the whole fitness thing, it sort of makes that
'Yes We Can' thing seem a little annoying. A little gym-teachery, if you like. I can see him in a golf shirt and knee shorts and those little slouchy socks, with the folded arms and benevolent bemusement, explaining to an athletically challenged ninth grader (perhaps one with glasses and newly applied orthodontia) that if she keeps her eye on the ball, she doesn't have to worry about getting hit in the head with it, truly. He'd probably even say, "Look." and make that intensely concentrated 'I'm going to explain it to you again' face.

Weirdly, when I try too hard to imagine it, he morphs into this guy. So I try not to try too hard.

Trying not to try is a bit of a credo for me. If I had to pick a president that personified my own fitness policy, I'd probably fall somewhere in between here

and here. (That's Bill before his ticker suggested he back off on the In-n-Out Burgers. The other guy? William Howard Taft. He got stuck in a bathtub once. Awesome!)

Still, I guess I need to do better. We've been called on to roll up our sleeves and dig in. So my walking challenge starts on February 1, where I will be undertaking to walk 30 minutes a day, every day, from February 1 to March 31, thanks to these folks, who are in Nome, Alaska and don't tolerate any guff about it being too cold, since they live in the land of perpetual frozen-bits-falling-off danger. I'll keep you posted on my ventures into the frozen tundra, and I'll be honest about the days when I stay inside and do this instead.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Its a (freakishly small) world after all

Recently I was reading a blog I subscribe to where the author was lamenting having said something that hurt someone's feelings. She described herself as someone who takes pains to be kind, and not do things like that, but despite her best efforts, failed in this one instance. I remember thinking, 'Man, I hate when that happens.'

No one likes to admit doing something dumb, thoughtless, and unkind.

I did something dumb, thoughtless, and unkind.

A few weeks ago I was stuck at the ambulance station. On New Year's Eve, to be exact. It was cold, I didn't want to be there, and I was passing the time watching TV, which I rarely do, Twittering and doing paperwork, waiting for something bad to happen so I could justify my presence there.

Jeopardy was on, which I haven't seen in forever, and I made fun of one of the contestants. I said mean things about how she looked, despite the fact that I know being on TV sometimes makes people look not-themselves, and despite the fact that my own appearance on TV when I was 17 was laughably awkward.

I have no excuse. It was simply unkind. Sometimes we forget that people we see on TV are actually PEOPLE. And I am glad that this particular person saw what I had written and called me on it, because I was reminded of that important lesson.

So formally, I apologize to Isis Uptown for the things I said. I have no excuse and a world of life experience that reminds me I should know, and do, better.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The road goes ever on and on....

....sometimes, I wish my several readers could pile in the van with me when I'm on the road.

Not just because your presence would alleviate the boredom that causes compulsive license plate memorization and the effort to sing entire Broadway shows, but because some of the special, shimmery weirdness of certain moments is lost in translation when I bring them home to you.

I have a miniature one of these in my purse. I keep it there to jot down things that happen or that I see, so I can bring them to you later. A combination of various illnesses, travel, and the Apocalypse Now-like disorientation that accompanies Christmas (without as much psychopathic demagoguery or Marlon Brando) prevented me from writing out of my wee composition book. As I turn the pages, I find the following gems:

Archibald Pothole State Park. LOL!! This was less funny when I looked it up and discovered that the Archibald Pothole is a geological formation and NOT a guy named Archie Pothole.

Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Christmas I stopped for lunch in Shamokin Dam at your run-of-the-mill Chinese buffet, but it didn't take me long to figure out that this one had very, very special music for the Christmas season. Or rather, someone locked a group of aspiring Chinese pop stars in a room with a handful of 'Christmas phrases' and encouraged them to write some songs, accompanied by holiday-tinged drum machine tracks that said less 'Happy Holidays' to me and more 'Gitmo punishment cell'. Every song sounded like the instruction manual to electronics bought at the dollar store. I accepted a special dose of karma in a version of 'O Happy Day' that was obviously learned phonetically by non-speakers of English. I am abundantly repaid for walking around circa 1985 singing '99 Luftbalons' in German.

The Twisted Bitterness of the Non-Fat I popped into a local coffee shop on a very cold, miserable day to treat myself to something hot. I placed my order and chatted with the barista while she made it, and just as she was fitting the lid on the cup a woman walked up to the counter.

"What did you just make for her?" she said, jerking her thumb in my direction.

"Hot chocolate," the barista replied.

"I figured it was too good to be true. Give me a fat free, sugar free, vanilla soy latte."

The hell? I was sort of dumbfounded. WHAT was too good to be true? Had she hoped to lick the little metal pitcher? Was she going to offer to go halfsies? Why was she so angry?

Dog Dominance and the Brinkmanship of Ducks I had an appointment way out on the rim of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. I thought it'd be kind of neat; most of the houses out there are little cabins and I hadn't been out there in a while. The neatness wore off as the elevation increased and it began to snow. The weather gets crappy up there fast. I find the little dirt road, find the cute little cabin with the laughably narrow driveway, and park. The snow is coming down in earnest and as I climb the porch and greet my customer, she says she just wants to smoke a 'quick cigarette'. Um, okay. I shift nervously from foot to foot while she languidly draws on a cigarette the length of a CB antenna and tells me all about moving to Savannah, and I exclaim my wonder at her good fortune just loudly enough to mask the sound of my clipboard making contact with the skull of a patchy, smelly akita that has just mounted my leg. Its a bit like getting humped by a frat house sofa.

"Oh, " she said, smoking, "don't worry about him. He's just establishing dominance."

I put lawn furniture between myself and the dog and grab the screen door handle with a "WELL! Let's get started." After a torturously slow process and lots of asides that made me want to alternately go to church or take a nap, the customer looks out the window after another Springer-esque anecdote about her family and says, "Gee, you'd probably better go, hadn't you? Its getting bad out there. " Uh, yeah, thanks. I make a k-turn in the driveway, coming within an inch of her chimney and slide back out of her lane onto paved road, which is by now completely covered. Creeping down miles of empty road, with no company except steadily increasing snow and moaning, frigid wind, I am lost in thought. Then there are ducks. Right in the middle of the lane. They'll fly away. Won't they? WON'T THEY? I get within 10 feet and they are still both just standing there. Does duck sepukku usually involve the 1999 Dodge Caravan? I hit the brakes and skid around them. The ducks remain, gray shadows in the whirling snow.

I always forget to ask, but please stop on over to Humor, throw me a vote (or smiley me above) and check out the other folks (like Himself) who are ranked much, much higher than me because they always remember to shake what their mamma gave 'em. (Heck, sometimes they'll show it to you!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sick Day(s)

Oh, good lord. Is this the day I should be writing the post I should have written weeks ago, yet have either been to busy, too lazy, or too sick to write? To quote a blogger dear to me, I'm sure I don't know.

Anyhoodle, Friday night I left work, went to the grocery store, came home and made dinner, and ate, oblivious to the fact that my 96 hours of house arrest had begun. We started to watch a movie, and I tried to ignore the intensifying feeling that all was not well in my GI region. Grape juice and DiGiorno thin crust supreme is less tasty on the revisit, and I will now forever associate Plan 9 from Outer Space with the intense nausea and cramping of January Virus Weekend 2009. The only upside is that we got a crap ton of snow, none of which I had to shovel, and Himself went out to buy me tea and other nice things. I slept a lot, and generally did my best Beth in 'Little Women' impression. Only I didn't die. (Sorry about the spoiler, for those of you who haven't read it in the 141 years since its publication.)

I tried to do a few things to make me feel better, though I learned that if you are going to do your nails during a movie, you should pick one without subtitles. You miss things. Just sayin'. I mixed up a fancy organic masque sample I had and applied it to my pasty face in an attempt to 'pamper' myself. It smelled like potting soil, bad breath, and vaguely toxic art supplies. The cat eyed me warily, as if he was silently chanting some feline incantation of rebuke and protection.

Monday, I stayed home, since a shower still required a two-hour nap recovery. Watched the two movies that make me feel better; Little Women and Enchanted April. Took more naps. Came to work today because the view from my bedroom window was starting to make me feel a little insane. (Tiny beige house. Tiny beige house. Tiny beige house. A car! Tiny beige house. Tiny beige house.) Fortunately today involves mostly sitting and doing things with my brain, and I think I can handle it.

I promise to post again very soon. I have dog dominance, duck brinkmanship, and strange overhearings at the coffee shop to tell you about.