Sunday, July 31, 2005
So the trip started off with a bang even before we boarded the plane. Like any center-seat fearing traveller, we dutifully checked in a few hours early to avoid being crammed between a howling teething infant and a sweaty, hairy man named Bob from the Midwest (my usual seat mates). Because I like to have the window seat, and Roy likes the aisle (long, white man legs)- we prefer to have an empty seat between us most times, or on occasion when the flight is full- a stranger between us. We're more comfortable this way since I usually read with my head up against the window and Roy watches the captivating cinematic offerings- in this case...Ice Princess...Disney's touching tale of a young girl who learns to ice skate like a champ!
Back to my tale- so we're sitting in our seats crossing our fingers that the center seat will remain vacant, and when it becomes clear that it will not, we both start to scan the passengers walking in, willing all those with howling children to keep on walking by. The last passengers to walk on the plane were a petite, well dressed woman, her husband and three GROWN kids. When they got to their seats she let out a shriek, "OH MY GOD!!! Our seats aren't together!" For no LESS than TEN solid minutes she harassed every single person around us (including Roy, but we'll get to that later) by trying to reassign EVERY SINGLE PASSENGER around her so HER family could sit together. Nevermind that she tried to break up other families, shove people with window seats into center seats, etc., this woman was on the verge of hysteria. Because she was sitting between us, she made Roy stand up and let her in FOUR TIMES in two minutes (she was standing up so she could try and demand that still others move to accommodate her family's needs). She kept theatrically announcing, "I CAN'T BELIEVE these people won't help us!"
Finally (and this is a rare exception when I enjoy his lack of patience), around the fifth time she demanded Roy let her out again, he just stared at her and said, "Are you kidding me? I've stood up and let you in FOUR times already. YOU need to figure out what you're going to do before I stand up again." And then he refused to move! BAAAAA-HA HA HA HA! Take that pyscho!
I wish I could say it ended there, but Ms. Manic actually kept the plane from pulling back so that she could complain to all FOUR flight attendants about us for refusing to sit together. She kept glaring and shaking her head at me since she knew Roy was about to kill her. I was *this close* to telling her to cut the dirty looks or she would have to enjoy her vacation from a wheelchair, but I really, really wanted our trip to go as smoothly as possible- and didn't think I would be honoring my grandmother's memory in the best possible way by beating up a neurotic woman on the airplane before we even left.
Believe it or not, that whole incident actually takes second place in our "Crazy People on the Airplane" category. About four years ago when we were flying back to Hawaii we were seated directly across from a honeymooning couple. The guy was a quiet, nerdish fellow, and his bride was a rather large woman in blue coveralls (now, now...I hear they're very comfortable) who apparently had a fondness for the drink.
Anyway, mid-flight (and twelve little bottles of airline booze later), they got into an argument. The lady started to cry and scream at the poor groom. At one point she started to rear back and punch the chair in front of her (thankfully, it was empty). This went on for minutes before I started to hear the chime of calls from other passengers for the flight attendants (I was too petrified of doing this myself for fear of being attacked like the seat in front of her).
A warm, male Hawaiian flight attendant was soon dispatched to calm her down (albeit with threats to have the police meet her on the ramp when we landed) but he soon left. Because she was no longer speaking to her husband, she kept trying to instigate loud, slurred conversations with the rest of the horrified passengers around her. Whereas I was previously captivated by her earlier boxing performance, I now refused to make eye contact with her and thankfully avoided her.
While 'interesting' passengers certainly stir things up (and any diversion that isn't some form of terrorism usually amuses me), these two crackpots were a little more drama than I'd have liked. Do any of you have any fun tales from a plane to share?
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
However, because another coworker told me it looked like I lost a few more pounds at lunch today, I got a bit cocky and swell-headed. By the time I got to the gym, my chest was still so puffed with pride that without thinking, I made a grand announcement that I was 'ready' for my first Power Workout.
So let's cut to the chase (because the details of me working out at that intensity are just ugly), I sort of finished the Power Workout. I skipped the last three machines because I was hyperventilating, on the verge of passing out and in near hysteria. I was barely able to pull myself together to drive home. Once I got there, I walked straight from the car into the house (with my shoes ON, people...so you KNOW I really was on the verge of death) and puked my guts out.
I haven't puked after a brutal workout since running high school cross country. But at least back then it was because I did something puke-worthy!!! Running up and down hills for an hour at top speeds? Puke-worthy. Running seven miles in extreme heat in hot lava fields? Puke-worthy. Doing a pus%y 30-minute workout a little above my comfort zone? NOT PUKE WORTHY. How embarrassing.
In all seriousness, that workout kicked my ass. I can walk 17-min. miles now on our 6-mile walks, and I can do nearly 40-minutes of TaeBo, but I could NOT get through that Power Workout. It's not that I don't want to push myself and try it again, but I didn't even get the benefit of puking out my big lunch!!! It was just water! Bummer. Next time I do a Power Workout I'm gonna hit the Bellagio's buffet first.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
- Walk along the ocean, go for a quick swim in the ocean when we're done
- Sunbathe on a quiet beach
- Go snorkeling
- Visit with friends
Based on past experience, here is what I'll really do:
- Sit around
- Moan about how humid it is
- Worry too much about how much money we're spending
- Disregard #3, still eat out every night, and then complain bitterly about how much weight I gained
- Get stuck at our rental house fixing everything (the water heater doesn't work...are those termite droppings?...the weeds are waist high...look there's a tear in the carpet seam...how come there are so many bugs in here?)
- Hide from friends until I lose more weight
We're also hauling back no less than 14 bags and boxes full of stuff. Most of it is stuff my parents couldn't take back since they went shopping EVERY SINGLE DAY here. The rest are gifts for the nephews and about 50 soaps for friends and family. I feel like Santa Claus...the same weight and girth, but without the beard (thank god for small favors).
Sunday, July 24, 2005
His entry about driving my family around for the last two weeks is pretty accurate, however, he severely underplays how his use of "the hand" strikes great fear in the hearts of many... Check him out- Talking Mirrors
And if you'd like to visit the webpage of the person who inspired all this blogging mania, be sure to visit our friend Dawn at Out of the Box
Dawn is a real life Martha Stewart (but as far as I know, crime free...). She is a rare breed that is both technically apt (she's an architect, builds furniture and just installed a keyless entry in her car) and a very talented artist as well. (God is SO unfair.)
Though I have made mention in the past of my lack of appreciation for art (last year at the Louvre I decided to buy ice cream rather than pay the $25 to get in, I think we all know Picasso doesn't hold a candle to Haagen Daaz), even I (the one who got an 'D' in 7th grade art class) can acknowledge that the vividness of her characters/art is astounding. Check out her Products...you will absolutely fall in love with her "Buzzing Bog" characters/paintings.
On that note, I tried to rechannel my inner Martha yesterday and baked Roy both peanut butter brownies and low-carb cookies. Unfortunately, after having burned the last batch a month ago I overcompensated and undercooked both batches so they're raw. To his credit, Roy is still eating them and assuring me they're delicious (of course I do hear muffled retching coming from the bathroom periodically). This is why I am not allowed to help cook dinner. And I can't say I'm at all broken up about that.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
This doesn't mean I can never look sporty in a car though. I'm thinking maybe I can just get some gold spinners and drop the mini van a few inches, maybe add a strobe light underneath. It sure would look good with the hydraulic system I've already installed.
Friday, July 22, 2005
My dad helpfully suggested I cut back my portions (I won't even get started on that, because he's my father), but for the record, let's see how that's worked out so far...oh yes, I remember- NOT WELL.
Two nights ago a well meaning friend (Sherry...this is all on you) brought over freshly baked chichidango (rice cakes). I set my limit at two. Five and a half cakes later I had to leave the kitchen. For those of you who aren't aware of the content of a rice cake, eating one of them would set an Atkins dieter over the edge. They're little balls of glucose and I suuuure do love them.
I hate to do this to myself on a Friday night, but I think have to- it's time to whip out the Tae Bo Upper Body DVD. If you've never done Tae Bo, the best way I can describe it is to say that it is like taking a class from an boot camp drill instructor high on crack/speed. It gets your heart rate up to 1,342 beats per minute in seconds. Billy Blanks is brutal but I can feel his love.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
The concept of 'omiyage' may seem somewhat burdensome to outsiders, which is to come bearing gifts when you have travelled from afar. My mother usually spends the first 2-3 days of any vacation manically shopping (with my father pushing the overloaded cart with a glazed look on his face) to ensure they have bought enough gifts for everyone they are related to (or met once briefly in the airport lounge before take-off).
I think it's fair to say that any travelling Hawaiian's suitcase is usually 80-90% full with such gifts (which makes a very convenient excuse as to why I'm wearing the same 2 outfits on a three-week long trip). I can always tells when someone flipping through my album starts to realize that I've posed in the exact same red t-shirt from the Gap over the last 18 pages of photos... However, once I loudly announce with a knowing look, "Look! I had to ditch half my clothes in order to fit all the omiyage in my suitcase!" we both burst into relieved laughter and the tension is broken. Though not entirely true, it certainly makes them feel better about my personal hygiene on the road.
Anyway, we were just home in February, but as I'd mentioned in a previous blog (and I would link it here, but that would be assuming I know HOW and if Blogger doesn't do it for me, you people are screwed), my grandmother passed away. My father wants all of her grandchildren to sing at the service like we did at my grandfathers 10+ years ago. I will admit it was a touching scene when we were all significantly younger and cuter, and in some of our cases, MUCH lighter.
But now (at least as far as Joseph and I are concerned), it is no longer adorable and endearing, it's a little strange. Who wants to watch 20 red-faced (at least two of them chubby) off-key adults mumble a song? Aside from my father- maybe no one. But here's what I've decided after weeks of outright refusal and initial rage- if it makes my dad happy...I'll do it. And if no one else does, I'll lip synch and possibly even throw in a few Jessica Simpson/Whitney Houston dramatic moves with my arm where I wave it around and periodically grasp the air above my head.
On a side note, I did not complete the 8 miles yesterday because I had to limp the last 2.5 miles (of 6) back home. I think I pulled a muscle. All I know is that I now walk with a limp. I am very concerned that this will impede my goal of losing 80 pounds in the next week so that I can go home looking like a supermodel. I would feel somewhat better if people knew I wasn't a total screw up (not everyone has the fly mini-van that I do, for example) to offset the now twenty extra pounds that I've gained since college.
Unfortunately, despite my very best efforts, I still have not found a subtle way to brag to others in order to cover up my visible insecurities and flaws. Thankfully, this is where Roy comes in as a great prop. Right after I see great aunt Ethel heading our way (who I KNOW is going to exclaim "Boy, you sure are getting fat!!!") I'll whisper under my breath, "Tell her I have a good job!" in order to reclaim at least a tiny shred of my self esteem. And for the record- since when is it okay for older relatives to tell you you're fat?! I'm this close to telling them, "And you're old, but I can lose weight, you're stuck with those years!"
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
I can't stand the heat here...a lunatic friend of my husband's recommended that I learn to "embrace the heat." Don't worry, I didn't hit him. However hot it is here, I was waaay more miserable in Japan. This is because at least we have central air conditioning here, and you better believe we have that baby pumping ALLLL day long.
In Japan I read an article in the newspaper asking people what they do to 'beat the summer heat.' Here is my personal favorite:
"I close my eyes...lay down on my cool tatami (straw mat) floor with my bamboo pillow, and try to envision a cool place."
???!!! Personally, that sounds like a room at the Hanoi Hilton. I am also quite positive that it was suggested by a skinny person who has clearly never been 50 pounds overweight in 98% humidity. If I had written in, here's what I would have said:
"I crank my A/C down to 70. Everyone else's ideas suck."
But they never would have published it. This is because most older Japanese still believe that going from extreme heat to extreme cold is 'not healthy' and causes colds. Even if this were true, I think I'd rather take the cold then sweat it out like they all do. Every summer I was the only person in the office who would turn on the A/C. I could see everyone shaking their heads everytime I did it. But (yawn) that's me...rebellious and crazy Jo.
Monday, July 18, 2005
I took Joel out last weekend and bought him four pairs of pants/shorts, a new pair of Skechers, six Calvin Klein undershirts, and then took him to lunch and a movie. The whole time I kept peppering him with, "NOW who's the better sibling? Who pays for your cell phone every month? Who took you to Disneyland AND Magic Mountain on this trip? Who stocked the fridge with Thomas Kemper root beer and Ben & Jerry's for you?" Checkmate, Joseph!!!
Now I know how pathetic and overly indulgent this all seems. I'll be honest, it IS obnoxious, but honestly- Joel is like our child. We only see him twice a year, and he is the least spoiled child I know. He never asks for a thing, and is very, very sensitive, intelligent, and affectionate. He keeps telling me that as soon as he gets his first job he's going to pay us back for everything.
When I came home from work tonight he had already done the trash, washed, wiped and put away the dinner dishes, carefully added 'gallon sized Ziploc bags' on my shopping list because he used the last one AND offered to walk with me tonight because he knows its dangerous (case in point, we found out why our street was blocked yesterday...there was that little matter of a BOMB being in the middle of the road). Ahh, you gotta love that this happenned while my parents were here. If they stay another week I'm sure I'll have my own bodyguard.
Anyway, we've all acknowledged the custody battle is over for this trip. In fact, we're making him earn his new cell phone. Tomorrow he has to vacuum and mop both of our houses. See? With all this saavy parenting 'know how' I may be able to convince the state to let me keep my next child AND reclaim my other ones!
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Here's further proof that my younger brother Joseph is the biggest metrosexual on the planet. He has corrupted our youngest brother Joel by taking him on a shopping spree that makes Jessica Simpson look stingy. Over the last week he has bought him (brace yourself) EIGHTEEN shirts (many of them nice, Armani Exchange, DC, etc.). This does not include the new pairs of shoes, shorts and pants.
Putting this all into perspective, Joel does hail from a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific where his usual clothiers would be Wal Mart or Macy's (nothing in the middle really). Plus, Joel is trim and fit, so Joseph can live vicariously through him and buy him everything he wishes he had at that age/size. Joseph has also introduced him to a day in his life. So far they've spent 2-3 days sleeping in till noon, laying around his pool all afternoon, and smoking cigars and then drinking cognac on the porch in the evening (don't worry, Joel is restricted to one puff and one sip). Or so we're told.
I, on the other hand (and I do wonder why I've lost standing with him), have made him go walking with me in 90 degree heat a couple of times and have bought him root beer.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I am sure the Shuttle is VERY complex, but to me, this is the equivalent of my staging a massive farewell party with hundreds of family and friends weeping and waving goodbye, only to turn the key in the ignition and whoopsie...I forgot...my car won't start! Wierd.
Anyway, I heard some NASA spokesperson on the radio this morning droning on and on about how space exploration is such progress for all of mankind. Ahem. Speak for youself. While I am all for expanding our horizons, I would prefer that we do them here on Earth first. Many of our friendly neighbors here on Earth want us dead, and I won't even hop onto my platform to share my opinions on the matter since I don't handle criticism very well. I will say this- just because people oppose war doesn't make them wimps and America/solider haters. Grow up.
My feeling is this, we've spent billions on space exploration and all we have to show for it is some moon rocks and bragging rights that we kicked Russia's a** during the Cold War. Whoopie. Tell me how that helps starving Matumba in Africa, who last I checked, was part of mankind. Don't worry, I'm not going to go all Brad Pitt on you (and is that guy whipped or what?) and tell you to go picket G-8 summits, I just fail to see how space exploration warrants the $$ we've spent on it.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
You're probably thinking to yourself, well, she was probably two and not quite toilet trained yet. Either that or she was totally sh%$-faced drunk. Um, that would be a negative on either. I was dead sober and this was just 5-6 years ago (I was toilet trained at least 7 years ago).
I was in Asia when I sadly discovered that those little squatty toilets (affectionately known by most Westerners as "a hole in the ground") are not just in homes and building, but in trains as well. Like any normal Westerner I dutifully decreased my water intake and tried to 'hold' until I really, really had to go in order to avoid having to go as much as possible.
When I finally had to go, I cautiously went in- again, like any normal Westerner, holding my nose (I lived there three years and never got over the squatty toilet smell...eeew). I was instantly horrified to see pee all over the floor and walls. It looked like someone had a urine hose and sprayed it everywhere. I was mentally cursing everyone to hell who had used it before me thinking, "For the love of GOD people, all you have to do is squat over the damn hole!"
There was even a little bar overhead that you could use to brace youself...so really, there was no excuse for the little 'accidents' all over the floor. I soon got about my business and was quite pleased with my dexterity when suddenly the train hit a curve. I felt the floor sway gently...no problem, I was able to grab hold of the little bar and balance myself. No harm, no foul. Then it hit another bigger curve and the train really buckled. I nearly fell sideways. Before I knew it I was gripping onto that little bar for dear life, sliding around and praying I wouldn't pee on my ankles. It was like the Asian form of riding a bull at a bar, but with your pants down.
Once the bumps had subsided and my tears stopped, I made a quick exit, and swore I would never pass judgement on others for their seemingly poor aim. Ah...how quickly we forget.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Final note- one of my coworkers made the fatal mistake of telling me it looked like I had lost a few pounds. In hindsight, this may have been because I had been moaning ALL DAY LONG about my weight and she wanted to shut me up. In any case, now that she's given me the slightest bit of encouragement, I find myself sucking in my gut everytime I walk by her desk hoping for more compliments. ;-)
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
However, this does not mean we are exempt from having to alter our behavior. For one thing, we have to wear more clothes around the house. Well, I guess we don't technically have to. But we're not from Alabama so we will.
Another main issue (and this is always the toughest one)- NO SPOUSAL FIGHTS FOR TWO WHOLE WEEKS. When your spouse is lipping off in front of your family, all you can do is sit, smile through clenched teeth and promise yourself you'll remember to pummel them later that night behind closed doors. (Remember Josie..only in places they CAN'T see...)
The rest is pretty straight forward- remember to actually CLOSE the bathroom door when you use it, make a more conscientious effort to observe speed limits (or least keep it to no more than 20-30 mph above the actual speed limit...hey parents are resilient), and recognize that "chips" are not always an acceptable dinner for guests and that you actually have to cook them something (damn them!).
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
A. Find a hobby to distract you; or
B. Stare intently at a picture of a place that makes you feel warm and secure.
Hmm. Interesting. Let me think about this. I know the picture thing isn't gonna work. Maybe the first option is a possibility since I do like to make soap. Now lets see...I could take out all my soap, colorants, fragrances, additives, molds etc. and create soap for a few hours, OR...I could lay here on the sofa and eat this bag of Cheetos. Gosh, this is a tough one, but you what? I think I'm gonna go with the Cheetos. Thanks for the thought though.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
A. Suffer from adult-onset ADD; or
B. Am very shallow
This is because I have no appreciation for paintings or art galleries. You know how you read stories about someone scoring a long lost Renoir from a garage sale for $25? I would be the shmuck who sold it to them. Of all the "greats" in the world, I have only ever gotten Michelangelo. And that's only because of the Sistine Chapel. But I give myself no credit there, even a third grader 'gets Michelangelo'.
I do, however, appreciate various other art forms. I love visiting churches (I love, love Gothic architecture), am obsessed with visiting all UNESCO sites (the Auschwitz/Birkenau camps are the most memorable) and am an absolute sucker for every castle/palace in existence (loved the Russian Hermitage).
Whenever we travel, I do all the historical research, and Roy is the human compass. When we're on the road, we tend to travel ALL day, but we actually move at a very relaxed pace. This is because we love soaking in the ambiance of the places that that we visit. Sometimes we'll sit under a tree in a park and write in our journal for hours. Last winter in France we were so taken by a Basque church that we ended sitting in a pew watching/listening to nearly an entire service in French.
But there are also times when the ADD (I prefer this to being shallow) kicks in. Case in point- when we travelled through Europe we kept visiting one castle after the other. I thought it was hysterical to stand at the top of each castle's grand staircase and beg Roy to blow his imaginary bugle so that I could wave proudly to the adoring crowd below while descending the staircase. He was mortified. I was thoroughly entertained.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Ahhh, but it was all for naught. Because somehow, I lost 4 pounds. Which means I've lost around 10 pounds in 3 months. Not bad for someone who eats enough for two grown men. I work out at Curves three days a week for 30 min. at a time, do aerobics one day a week (at HOME, I would die before I let others see my bouncing around off beat), and walk two days a week (6 miles each day) with a miserable Roy (who doesn't need to lose weight and hates walking).
Today we were supposed to walk but we did some serious lawn maintenance instead. I laid ten bags of mulch and poisoned/pulled weeds while Roy dug up the backyard to install a new sprinkler head. Exciting stuff. Now we're off to go grocery shopping. We're entertaining two other couples tonight who will be here in 2-3 hours. And do you think the woman of the house has bought one thing for dinner yet? No, I have not. That is Roy's department. I took a giant step by learning how to make soap this year. All things in due time.
This morning I also slept in. Why? Because we darkened our bedroom curtains a week or so ago to fool our brains into sleeping in more each day. Today I slept in two more hours than I normally do. So yes, I would say it's worked. I am so weak.