Tuesday, December 28, 2010
As a side note, the assembly process was interesting because there were no written directions on how to put the bike together – only diagrams and drawings. I think that’s a statement on the current state of education in our country. Kids don’t know how to read, so the only way they are going to survive in this world is to look at pictures.
Yesterday, husband asked me if I had been on the bike yet. When I answered “no,” he gave me that look that said, “I knew it, you’ll never ride it.” To prove him wrong, today was my inaugural ride on our new exercise vehicle, fresh still with the new bike smell. I adjusted the seat and sat upon the fine vinyl. The bike immediately knew there was a new user on its throne, probably because my butt is a lot larger than husband’s skinny ass. I couldn’t just press “Start,” no, it started asking all these personal questions:
Mother’s Maiden Name
Last time I had an enema
After about 5 minutes of this crap, I unplugged the nosey bitch and held down the “reset” button. I finally fooled it and started my ride. After all, I am human, I can out wit a hunk of metal.
I had a nice journey, imagining myself by the river and through the woods, pedaling to the beat of Billy Joel. Thirty minutes and 7 miles later, I had only burned 150 calories. That’s only half a glass of chocolate milk. Damn. When I dismounted, I walked like I had just given birth, and my legs weren’t even sore. At least when I walk the treadmill I work up a little sweat.
Guess I’ll have to answer all those rude questions to make sure I get my money’s worth out of this digital ride.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
There are the middle-aged women who wear their excitement of the season. They are wearing the red sweatshirt (it’s 80 degrees outside) with a huge Christmas tree on the front that is adorned with lights that blink on and off, gold bells around their necks and ornaments dangling from their ears, and a Santa hat. I look around for the reindeer.
Then there’s the woman pushing her baby in the stroller. She has painted Capri pants on her hips down to her calves, strutting along in 3-inch heels, a scooped-neck tank top that pushes her peaches up to her neck, and chains of silver beads hanging around her bare skin, off her ears, and down her arms. Is she really on her way to Toys-R-Us?
The following woman takes the trophy, however. She had tattoos up and down her arms and legs – even a dagger or something on the small of her back. I could see the one on her back because she was wearing a white corset, which was 2 sizes too small. Tattooed across her chest was “God Bless Me.” Her skirt was a pink layered chiffon ballet skirt – even if it is December in the desert, I think the fashion police would arrest her for that one. For shoes she wore tan mukluks furry boots. I can’t make this up, folks. If I had been a little bolder, I would have taken a picture with my camera phone.
Women do not have a monopoly on weird. Enter a man in a muscle shirt, showing off his kaleidoscope of tattoos all over his body. The colors are actually quite lovely – for a bedspread, and the nose ring makes me wonder what he does when he has a cold.
Scottsdale is a city that breeds a different style of man. Three of them were in the Tommy Bahama store goggle-eyed over the stripe button-down collared slightly wrinkled shirts. You’ve seen them, the preppy types. Brown leather tasseled beach loafers with no socks, white Dockers ironed so the crease shows, pink golf shirt with a green palm tree and the words “Scottsdale Country Club” embroidered on the sleeve, and short hair that has been faux sun bleached spiked up with hair glue. “Let’s go get that appletini now, boys.”
Then there is the guy in plaid shorts and a blue T-shirt that says, “Spaced Out” with a picture of a Smurf. He also has Mohawk hair. Wait a minute…that’s my son…
And that’s Christmas time in the city…Merry Christmas, Trekkies, and to all a good night.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
The first step is to admit that you have a problem - so, I confess. I love to eat. I love all kinds of food, chocolate, and drink, so I have declared myself a food-oholic - but not yet an alcoholic. I have also dubbed myself the queen of yo-yo dieting. I have lost and gained the same 30 pounds for the last 40 years - each decade depositing an extra 10 pounds that never seem to go away. My niece says that I like to “eat, drink, and be merry.” Damn straight!!
My dieting schemes are a variety of what really works, the latest fad, and the down-right dangerous.
Weight Watchers is one that really works. I started WW in the dark ages when I had to make my own ketchup and eat liver once a week. My family has never forgiven me for that, and may have been one of the reasons my daughter declared herself a vegetarian. Another drawback of WW is husband - who has weighed the same 145 pounds for the past 50 years (jerk) and who loses more weight than I do when I am dieting (asshole).
I’m sure if I turned vegetarian I could lose the pounds and keep them off. Remember, however, I am a food-oholic. I really love to sink my teeth into a nice-juicy medium rare steak. I live for good Mexican food - carne arsada and shredded cheese - olé. And there’s nothing like a freshly roasted turkey with giblet gravy. Besides, soy gives me the farts - which can be pretty embarrassing when walking between desks leaning over to help students.
Then there are the fad diets. I’ve tried the protein shakes, the Atkins, and the low fat.
To show my dedication, I sold Slender Now - a popular protein shake regimen in the 70‘s. I have discovered, however, that I need to experience the chewing process - the crunchier and saltier the better, actually.
Loved the Atkins - I got to eat all the bacon and eggs I wanted, not to mention cheese and beef. Can’t understand why the weight loss was not that great...
Then there was the low fat diet. My daily intake went something like this:
Breakfast: High fiber cereal made with little squares of cardboard, tree twigs, and wheat stalks and 1/4 cup skim milk (water with white food coloring).
Snack: A very small apple.
Lunch: 1/4 cup tuna packed in water on top of a whole bunch of lettuce, no dressing, and as many carrots and celery that can fit in the bowl.
Snack: 1/2 of a banana
Dinner: A grilled piece of skinless, boneless, tasteless chicken that fits in the palm of a four-year old’s hand. 1/2 cup green beans.
Starvation set in and that is what added the extra 10 pounds to my thighs.
When I reached the all-time high for my bone frame and height (a size 8 screaming to escape my size 14 body), my doctor prescribed Fen-Phen pills. These were amazing. They really curbed my appetite, I ate less without chomping on carrots all day, and I actually did lose 30 pounds. Too bad people had to die.
So husband says to me, “Why don’t you just eat less and exercise more.” What? These words came out of the mouth of a man who can eat and drink anything he wants and doesn’t gain an ounce? I almost slapped him up side the head with my turkey drumstick. And so the yo-yo rolls on - I’m unwinding on the low carbohydrate diet - until Christmas.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
If you have never been to the midwest in the summer, let me give you a complete weather report for one week.
Monday: Clear skies with a few cumulus clouds floating dreamily in front of a beautiful blue backdrop. High is 77 degrees, all day.
Tuesday: Windy and cold, high in the 50’s. Chance for severe thunderstorms which turn into tornadoes. 37 tornadoes touch down within 45 miles of where all the trailers are parked.
Wednesday: Day is overcast with cumulus clouds that are dimmed by the humidity hanging in the air. Muggy, with the high in the low 80’s. No wind. No breeze. Extremely still. Mosquitoes feast on every part of exposed skin. Deer flies buzz around freshly washed hair and finally nestle behind the ears. The sharp bite results in a swat, so they move to the exposed area around the ankles.
Thursday: Charcoal gray dark clouds threaten rain all day with patches of blue sky trying to peek through, slight breeze, high in the 60’s. It never rains.
Friday: Black clouds circle the horizon. Dark clouds float through the air in the east at 30 miles an hour. The clouds dump rain from buckets for 30 minutes, then are blown to the south. The sun comes out and dries up all the rain. Then the itsy bitsy spider...oops - wrong story. The skies clear and present a beautiful rainbow - then more dark clouds move in.
Saturday: Clear skies, slight breeze, high is 75, which feels like 82. Kids and families are at the beach splashing in the lake water.
Sunday: Cold front dips in from Canada. High is in the 60’s and low is 48.
The Minnesota weather goddess shakes her 8 ball again to see what the next week will bring.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
This is the 6th summer we have gone to Minnesota for the months of June and July. When we tell people we visit Minnesota every summer, they ask us if we have family up there. No, but husband loves to fish, and where else would there be an angler’s delight than a state that boasts 10,000 lakes? I like to fish, as long as I am catching fish. Husband lives by the mantra “A bad day at fishing is better than a good day at work.” Quite frankly, everything is better than a bad day at fishing – it’s boring. What I like about fishing is watching the ducks, catching some rays, bobbing on the lake, and pining for the lake houses.
Getting ready for 2 months away from our desert home is quite an ordeal. Husband believes that he has to do a summer’s worth of work in 2 weeks in preparation for our vacation. The 2 weeks before we left he trimmed all the bushes in the yard; cut back the rubber plants; pulled up bricks to fix the drip tubes; fixed the drip tubes; laid the bricks back down; washed and waxed the trailer; washed and waxed the truck; installed mini blinds on all the windows in the trailer; cleaned and waxed the wood inside the trailer; built a ramp for the elderly dog to get into the trailer instead of climb the steps; and put tin foil on two of the windows of the house.
I went shopping and made a meat loaf.
Deciding what to take in the way of clothing is another challenge. We will be gone the months of June and July – the last time I checked, this is called summer. So last year I packed summer clothes: tank tops, shorts, sleeveless blouses, etc. It was rainy and cold in Minnesota last summer, so I wore the same pair of jeans and sweatshirt almost every day. Then I came to the conclusion that Detroit Lakes, Minnesota has 2 seasons: fall and winter; whereas Phoenix, Arizona has 2 seasons: spring and summer. So, I wised up and this year and packed what I would wear in Arizona in January and February.
In past years I have felt the compulsion to pack for a year away from civilization. I packed: NyQuil (have only used it once in 5 years, but you never know), cough medicine, Pepto Bismol, 50 rolls of toilet paper, Costco-size paper towels, 200 paper plates, 15 pairs of shoes, 5 sets of towels, the list goes on. Then it dawned on me – Minnesota has a Walmart – we can just buy what we forget. The trailer is much lighter this year.
Before going on vacation, there are some people who feel it is necessary to clean the house before they go. I know this is useless. Who are these people cleaning the house for? A robber is not going to comment on how grimy the windows are before he breaks them to enter the house. And I don’t think the thief would do a white glove test before grabbing the gold jewelry. Besides, the crickets and spiders take up residence the week you vacate the house. They are used to living in grime and filth. You just sweep the little bastards away along with the 3 inches of dust that has accumulated.
Then there are those who believe that they must be sure to wear clean underwear before they get into a car just in case they are in an accident. Where is the logic in this? If you are involved in a car crash, you’re going to soil your pants, so clean underwear is optional.
A friend of mine makes sure all her diamond jewelry is clean and sparkly before she travels. Now, that makes sense – it will give the EMT’s something to admire as they strap you on the board and haul your ass away in the ambulance.
The moral of the story is – don’t stress when getting ready for a vacation. What you forget, you can buy. What you don’t to do at home will be there when you get back. Let the fishing begin.
Monday, April 26, 2010
It was a girls’ weekend in San Diego - woo hoo. I was responsible for getting the rental car – I’ve done this before – ok, twice.
The first sign of trouble was when Mary Anne’s husband asked me on the way to the airport what kind of car I rented, a Corvette?
Haven’t rented the car yet – will do it at the San Diego airport after we arrive.
We landed around 7:45 pm, all giddy with anticipation of the girls’ weekend away. The second sign of trouble was when I discovered there is no Enterprise counter at the San Diego airport. In order to rent a car, we have to go up the escalator, outside, across the bridge, through a crosswalk, and into a holding area for the local rental car vans. The Enterprise van swept us away on a 10-minute ride away from the airport and civilization as we know it, to a remotely located little office. I stand in line with lots of other travelers, snaking our way through the ropes. When I get up to the counter, I hand over my driver’s license and credit card – just like I observed everyone else do – and announced, “I’ll take a full-sized car, please.”
The sweet young thing, with long platinum hair, punched a few numbers, then asked me if I had a reservation.
Reservation? No, did I need one?
Yes. We don’t have any cars available.
What? You have a whole lot full of them. (I noticed that when the van drove into the parking lot.)
After observing my look of shock, the sweet young thing said she could probably see if another rental place would have a car.
Full sized? Yes, that would be fine. (People are so helpful in San Diego)
Now it is past 8:30 pm, and she comes back to me waiting at the counter and snickered that she found a full-sized car for me, at Airport Rent-A-Car. They will send someone over for us.
That should have been the third sign of trouble “Airport Rent-A-Car.” Not Hertz, not Avis – Airport Rent-A-Car – a red flag should have wrapped itself around my neck and strangled me.
I walked outside to wait for the van from Airport Rent-A-Car to come pick us up – and waited – and waited. It is now going on 9:00 pm.
I looked for the sweet young thing with platinum hair and asked her to check on the van coming to pick us up. She called and said they were turning into the lot. That’s when we met Arab Jay – driving the Ford Taurus. We loaded ourselves and our luggage into the car so he could take us to Airport Rent-A-Car’s office – a 15-minute drive. He was very nice – showing us the sights and offering suggestions on where we could eat – almost too nice – hmm…kind of like giving cheese to a mouse before you snap its head off.
The fourth sign of trouble was when we turned into a dirt lot with a singlewide trailer: Airport Rent-A-Car’s office.
Now what were we suppose to do? It is 9:15 at night, we are hungry, we need a car.
We stepped up into the trailer and he proceeds to fill out the paperwork, pausing at every little line, writing down numbers, multiplying times 2. I don’t think he’s ever done this before.
“I don’t suppose you would take my AARP card, would you?” Arab Jay looked at me like I was crazy – the single light bulb swaying from the ceiling.
That’s when Sandi noticed the message on the whiteboard behind the counter, “Daily goal, 2 per day.” Below that was “4/21: 1 - 50%” That would be 1 car rental on 4/21 – 50% of their goal.
I wonder if we are # 1 or # 2 for the day. If we are # 2, we would be 100% of their goal – better treat us nicer – or at least accept my AARP card.
Gazing out on to their lot of fixer uppers, we asked which of the 2 would be our car?
The one that brought us to the single-wide, the lovely Ford Taurus, the one with 73,000 miles.
I decided to get the insurance.
Arab Jay asked us when we were going to return it.
Sunday – our plane leaves Sunday evening, we chanted.
We aren’t open on Sunday - the niceness leaving Arab Jay’s voice.
Now, that is a problem. After staring at each other for a few minutes, Jay told us we could park it outside the locked gate, leave the keys under the seat, and lock the doors. They would get the car Monday morning. Do it all the time. (for all the cars they rent, no doubt)
I decided to get more insurance.
Now, I am used to driving Fords – had a Ford Escort one time. I am familiar with Mazdas, Buicks, and Toyotas. Mary Anne and Sandi, on the other hand, drive a BMW and Mercedes respectively. Mary Anne was going to be one of the drivers because she is familiar with driving around San Diego. I could tell by her body language that driving a Ford Taurus was definitely going to be a big adjustment for her.
Finally, at 9:30 pm we drove off the lot and headed for P.F. Chang’s for dinner. It was in the parking lot when we discovered the remote did not work, and we had to manually lock and unlock the doors. More body language from Mary Anne – could have heard an expletive or two also. Once we were seated, I excused myself to go to the restroom – more to throw up than to pee. When I got back, the girls had ordered me a vodka – figured I needed it – that is not the last vodka I would need this weekend.
After dinner, we found our way to the condo at 10:30, without incident – too late for a movie – so we went to bed.
The Ford drove us downtown the next night to the Art Walk near Little Italy. We found a “pay first” parking lot and parked the car. I was reading the instructions when a young woman handed me her parking pass and told me to take hers – it was an all day pass – good until midnight. I offered to pay her, but she declined. We had fun walking around looking at the art and had dinner at an Italian restaurant – remember – Little Italy. Then we decided to drive to the Gas lamp District a few blocks away because we did not want to disturb the transients spreading their cardboard boxes in the doorways for the night.
Found another “pay first” lot, and that’s when Mary Anne noticed it. The Ford Taurus had expired plates – yep, 2009 was the last sticker. I looked in the glove compartment for some paperwork on the car – dust bunnies - empty. Oh my God, Arab Jay rented us a stolen car!! Blood pressures started to rise, I had another vodka, and we decided to take our chances driving back to the condo.
This is when the back and whites all seem to be driving down the streets at the same time – cruising - looking for expired plates – stolen cars - drugs. One turned on his flashing lights – more expletives escaped from Mary Anne’s mouth – stay calm – don’t draw attention to ourselves - but then he drove down another street – safe – hurry home.
Sunday – the last day of our girls’ fun weekend escape – and one more leg of our journey with the Ford Taurus, whom we have now named Big Bertha. We called Yellow Cab to pick us up at Airport Rent-A-Car.
Can’t pick you up on car rental property.
Ok, how about at our drop-off point - outside the locked gate?
See you at 5:30.
After almost hitting a light pole, a few wrong turns, and driving down a dead-end street, Big Bertha was parked safe and sound in front of the locked gate of Airport Rent-A-Car. We locked the keys in the car, and scurried into the Yellow Cab – the meter already at $10 - driven by Ali.
I hope I am invited back to San Diego. IF I am invited back…I will not be in charge of the car rental. I’ll buy the airline tickets instead.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Now, I have been to Chicos before – and never been assisted by the snotty little size 0 18-year old wanna be’s. But, just last Christmas I had wandered into Chicos with my $75 genuine Coach bag and all of a sudden they were all over me – explaining the sizes – asking if I needed help. When I was making my purchase – extracting my American Express card out of my Coach bag – that’s when it happened – they actually offered me the ultimate prize – a Chico card that would give me discounts for every $1,000 that I would spend. Pay Dirt!! I was finally one of the Scottsdale elite.
Today was the ultimate humiliation. It was my own fault. I didn’t ask how much it was. That’s for people who shop Target – not the Lancome counter at Macy’s. How much could face moisturizer cost anyway. So this sweet little thing in her black French smock seemed very excited that I had not only chosen an age-reversing moisturizer, but also a night cream that was certain to lift and tingle the wrinkles away. She was scurrying around dropping samples of eye shadow in my bag, filling out a personalized information card on me, and making sure I received the right color lipstick – a 24-dollar value. Great – all done – goodie bag filled up - sign here on this little electronic pad that can’t possibly read your signature. I almost choked when I saw the total staring back at me. What do I do? My Coach bag is sitting on the counter. My Rolex watch is blinging on my wrist. The sweet-young clerk is smiling with a star shining from her tooth. As I steadied my hand, I signed the glass that reflected several hours of salary in American dollars. The box that contained my purchases must have been made from 24 carat gold. So what if I don’t buy groceries for a week – and besides that, I have 30 days to pay on my credit card. My complexion will be beautiful – the wrinkles will all be gone - and I will look 20 – no – 30 years younger. Just repeat after me - I’m worth it, damn it.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Once I took her to a pampered pet place not far from my home. Walking into the place, it felt like a palace for a princess. Everything was decorated in pink, rhinestone crowns, and individual little boudoirs with pink puffy pillows. Like the dogs really care what color their bubble bath is going to be. When I picked my little princess up, she was wearing two little pink bows tied with itsy bitsy little rubber bands on tiny little hairs on her ears. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud – and wonder how and why the hell they did that. She’s not a poodle, for God’s sake. I left them on for the next week just to let loose a good chuckle every once in awhile. My pooch – who likes to eat rocks and dig in the garden – was wearing little pink bows. Then the itching started. The poor dog would scratch here, and scratch there. She must have been allergic to the shampoo – or pink princess sparkle – or rubber bands – or maybe the bows.
The most recent journey was to a place with the word “corral” in it. I should have known better. I walked in, and it did indeed look like a corral. There was one short fence separating me from the menagerie of animals wandering around on the other side. The lady who greeted me had several tattoos – the one that was most prominent was the tear below her right eye. She was very nice and helpful, but I still looked at the windows for bars, or a handgun on the shelf. She asked me if I wanted the dog shaved, and I wasn’t really sure how to respond to that. She showed me a card with rectangle drawings of various widths and wanted me to tell her which length I wanted the dog’s hair. I guess I am supposed to envision the flat drawings as hair length. I was at a loss for words. I just said I wanted the dog’s haircut shorter than it was at that moment. When I returned to pick up my dog, I realized my golden retriever had had an out-of-body experience as they replaced her with a shorthaired yellow lab. She had definitely been shaved, from head to toes. All her hair was gone - all her pretty little white “feathers” on her back hips were gone...plucked...shaved...nothing left. In fact, her whole body appeared naked – all except for her tail - which was still shaggy - and the green shamrock bandana. Green bandana?
It’s a good thing dogs aren’t vain and don’t have a clue what they really look like. Just to be on the safe side, however, I have hidden the mirror from her.
So that’s it. It’s back to the back yard romp where I chase my dog around with the clippers and hose spray.