Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Is There Winter in Hell?

Last winter during the long, dark, cold Northeastern winter that is about to rear its ugly head yet again,  I remember making myself leave the house to venture off into the frostbitten air to walk down the street and grab a cup of coffee, some fresh air, and humanly interactions with the fine folks at my favorite coffee joint.  On my way to Dunkin Donuts a homeless man says to me "Hey, nice hat!"  It was the first conversation I had had in weeks (besides Trevor) and I remember feeling a spark of excitement like "Hey someones talking to me!  This is a great way to meet people, all I have to do is leave the house and people will talk to me!" Then I remembered thinking...this man is homeless.  He is not exactly new-best-friend material.  And he likes my hat...now what does that say about my fashion sense? ...  I am never leaving the house again.

It was a rough winter.  At the end of the winter I visited Brooklyn to see my Uncle who is a Roman Catholic priest.   He had had a bad winter too.  In the aftermath of one of our weekly snow storms, he slipped on the ice and tore all sorts of things in his knee which required major surgery, casting, and crutches.

A month or two later he is healing, but not 100% walking yet.  Springtime has arrived and my Uncle is hosting a party for my Grandma's 91st birthday.  The whole family is hanging out around his apartment when we decide we should go for a walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the lovely weather.  Because he still cannot walk very far, we rent my uncle a wheel chair from the local pharmacy around the corner.  Big, strong, coordinated me offers to push him first.  We cautiously make our way through the awfully uneven sidewalks of Cobble Hill.  I was pretty nervous (like usual) and attentive at first, but about a block or two into it I started picking up my confidence and we start picking up speed.  I enjoy my new found strength, fearlessness, and pride for about 10 more feet... Right as I am thinking about how all the people passing us on the streets must think I am such a saint for helping this poor, injured priest, we hit the mother load of all cracks.

As the front wheels hit the six inch divot in the sidewalk at cruising speed, we abruptly stop dead in our tracks.  I nearly throw my wounded uncle out of the wheel chair from behind.  My poor, Catholic priest uncle gasps in pain and grabs at his knee as I responsibly hold back from screaming  "oh sh*t" or  "what the f@%#" or "holy cr@p."  I mentally remind myself not to cuss using the word "holy" in front of a priest as I move on to my next line of exclamation words which I deem safe and appropriate and cannot help from blurting out a big ol'  "Jeeezus Christ!!!"

Before I even finish pronouncing the "t" in "Christ,"  I remember who I am talking to (doh!) and follow up with a sincere "Oh my God!  I am so sorry!"  (double doh!)

I am going to hell.  At least the winter will be warmer...

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Absolute Beginner

Last spring, I decided to take a violin class called "The ABCs of Violin for the Absolute Beginner" because why the heck not?  I have a violin.  And I would consider myself an absolute beginner, as I have absolutely no idea how to play the darn thing. The adult education center down the street offered a relatively affordable class, so I signed up.  Unfortunately the day I thought 'I should take violin lessons' was the day after the first class.  I emailed the instructor to see if it was ok that I missed the first class.  She said "of course it is fine, give me your money and show up!" 

Turns out the first class of any lesson is absolutely critical.  I show up to the second lesson.  I remind the teacher that I missed the first class and I take a seat in the very back.  The instructor starts off the class asking everyone to show her how they hold the bow and violin (i.e. what they learned in the first class).  I cheat off the person next me.  Then the teacher says "Ok, let's turn to page 5...and a 1 and a 2 and ready and a go!"  Everyone starts playing an awful version of Mary Had a Little Lamb.  Try as I might, it is impossible to cheat.  Are you kidding me?!   I move my bow (without actually touching the bow to the strings) in a motion that would make an unintelligent child believe I was playing the violin.   I cannot even guess at a note.  Realizing I am not fooling anyone, I stop and sit still like a dumb-dumb. I wait for the embarrassment to end as my face pools up with blood and my lunch starts climbing towards my throat.  I should have made it to the first class...

This is what adult beginner violin class sounds like:

My first homework assignment for violin class was to buy a shoulder rest and come back properly equipped.  The instructor recommended a music shop in Boston... someone she knows personally.  My teacher is a professional violin player, and this music shop she suggested is a store for super professional symphony players.  I show up in my hobo clothes and K-mart coat with my mediocre pawn shop violin which the smug little man tactfully insinuates is a piece of garbage.

The pompous violin guy proceeds to give me a tour of his grandiose violin factory and repair shop, showing off his $5,000 bows and symphonic accomplishments.  He casually reminisces about this one time when he was talking to some mathematical genius guy who makes violin strings and asked him about his business and then explained how this MIT wizard went on and on about how he figured out exactly how the angle of the string should be when it is pressed down and how that is related to the tension in the string which is determined based on the ...angle... frequency...waves...emittance...  sin. or..... cos sin of the angle between the bridge and the string when you press the string down ....

At the end of his story, the chubby store owner exclaims, "Isn't that soooooo SEXyyyyy?!"

 No.  No, it is not.  You're an idiot.  And you need to find yourself some normal friends that will call you out on this non-stop, persistent pompous ranting.  Of course I do not say that.  I give him an awkward, uncertain, "yeaaa, that's great," buy my shoulder rest, and get out of there.

In the meantime on the walk home, I can't help but wonder where is the violin shop for the absolute beginners?  For violin-ers who just want to know how to play a little bit and not be a total presumptuous jerk about it, where do we go?  We should not have to be subjected to such abject snobbery.

After my second lesson, my violin teacher told me I was the most improved from last week.  As the saying goes.... when you are an absolute beginner, you are at rock bottom, and the only place to go, is closer to the mediocre beginners.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Good Food, Baaaaaad Taste

A few days ago Trevor and I had a last minute date night.  After a couple has been together for nearly a decade, date nights go something like this:

9:45pm on a random Tuesday evening:

Partner #1 (enters the apartment, stressed after a long day at work):  "Sorry I am really late getting home from work."

Partner #2 (is in the same position on the couch since 11am): "I don't really care I have been in my pajamas all day."

Partner #1: "Did you eat dinner?"

Partner #2:  "No, I didn't feel like cooking, so I just ate chips.  Did you eat dinner?"

Partner #1: "I ate not too long ago but I'm a little hungry."

Partner #2:  [doesn't feel like cooking...] "Want to have a date night?"

Partner #2  changes into socially acceptable attire and the pair head out to try the local Venezuelan restaurant.  They split a couple of delicious plantain-based appetizers and then split the yummy lamb chop special.  The tender juicy taste of the melt in your-mouth baby lamb meat sits very well with Partner #1 who asks "what kind of meat is this?!" Partner #2 replies "It is lamb chops."  A few silent minutes go by as the seemingly starving couple focus on devouring the delicious meal.  Partner #1 has subconsciously drifted to lala-land starts belting out Tom Tom's sweet encouraging words to Bo Peep who has lost her sheep from Babes in Toyland:

 [Excellent movie. I highly recommend it]

Halfway through the second line.."Neverminnnd Bo Peep, you will finnnd your shhhheeee..." Partner #1 cuts himself off with a sheepish grin.  Perhaps it is not the most appropriate song to sing as we chow down on baby sheep.   We had a good chuckle about the inappropriateness of it, then I thought to myself "I should get back to blogging."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Entertaining Myselfie

Trevor rarely takes pictures.  I take a lot.  Sometimes I will show him a picture on my iphone and then he will commandeer my digital collection until he is satisfied reminiscing through all my old photos.  

We went through these motions just the other day.  "Hey, Trevor look at the picture of my new baby niece!"  I give Trevor the phone.  He gives his sincere "heh" and smile of approval and then starts scrolling.  He flips through pictures for awhile, while I move on to other things.  Then I can hear him in the background say something like "what the heck is this?" And start gasp-laughing.... Wha?...huh!...ehhh...haha..  I immediately freeze trying to think of what embarrassing photo he has stumbled upon.  

I often take pictures of random weird things I find in stores...

Or take screen shots of web pages when I attempt to self diagnose myself on webMD.

Or I will take screen shots to remind me to look something up later:

Or I will take screen shots to remind me of things I should buy for Trevor later:

But I feel like none of the above should be all that surprising to Trevor.  What could he possibly be laughing about?

Did I accidentally take a picture of someone's butt?

Did someone steal my phone and take perverted photos?


Trevor had just stumbled upon my embarassing attempt to take what the kids call a "selfie." After a recent haircut my mother and sisters requested a photo.  So I secretly tried out my first series of self-taken self portraits.  I don't know how all those sexy people do it!

Serious face:

Concerned face:

Happy face:

Glasses face:

Glasses + smile:
= double FAIL

Indoor dumb face:
Meh, that'll do...

Maybe someday little Adalyn can teach her dear old desperate aunt how to take a proper picture. She is much more photogenic...

Peaceful face:
Ok, Adi. You win!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Running Around

It is finally getting warmer out, and I finally started running again.

My first day back, I cried the entire time.  It was not the "oh-my-god-this-hurts" kind of crying, it was more like the "I-am-PMSing-and-there-is-nothing-wrong-but-the-fact-that-there-is-nothing-wrong-makes-me-feel-empty-and-why-isn't-this-run-making-me-feel-better" kind of crying.  I stopped crying after the run, so I guess my methods worked, but it is unfortunate that I had to dampen the day of all the other runners on the path who likely think something terribly tragic happened to me.  Nope, just PMS mixed with this never ending winter and my reintroduction to seasonal affectiveness disorder.

A few days later, feeling much better, I went out for another run. No tears, so it is automatically an emotional step up from my last attempt. Although my head was clearer, my tummy was not.  You see we have not gone grocery shopping in awhile, and working from home, I could only eat what we had left in the cabinets...which happened to be goldfish crackers.  Having binged on salty crackers all day long, I stuff one more handful in my mouth before we head out because it is now 9pm and my last handful was around 5pm. So, ya know,  I could probably use the extra energy.  After 3 miles of intense stomach cramping, Trevor and I finish our workout.  Its 9:30pm though and neither of us really feel like cooking dinner.  Plus there is not much food left in the house.  We decide to walk a couple blocks to a Qdoba fast food Mexican restaurant and order a couple burritos.  Before even drinking water after the run, we scarf down our burritos (because, ya know, the best solution to stomach cramping is Mexican junk food).  Trevor practically carried me home where I was up all night with heartburn.

Recently, I went on a more successful run without any emotional or physical pain, however, I did get wrapped up in some good ol' social awkwardness. I was running along a path when I had to stop for a red light. While I was waiting for the light to turn green a middle aged woman came up to me and asked me where I got my shirt.  She had a slight accent that I would guess came from Russia or eastern Europe.  I looked down to see what she was talking about.  My shirt was nothing particularly special, just a plain white hooded fleece.   I remembered getting it when I was with Trevor and his Dad and his sister in South Jersey.  I know we were not at a Sport Authority, but at one of those other sporting goods stores.  I decide I must have gotten it from Dicks Sporting Goods.

I tell the Russian lady, "I got my shirt at Dicks, which is a sporting goods store."

She asks, "Is it in Harvard Square?"

 I reply,  "No I didn't get it around here, but Dicks are everywhere, you can just google it to find one."

To which she replies, "OK, I will google 'Dicks are everywhere,' Thank you!"

I immediately regret my poor choice of words and strongly consider re-wording her google search terms, but then the light turned green and she has already turned her back to walk away.  So I go back to running... now with a smile ...thinking of that poor lady.  I get home and tell Trevor about our conversation and how I fear that this poor Russian lady is at her computer now looking at awful websites and cursing Americans for pulling dirty tricks on her (even though I didn't mean to, although I didn't try hard to correct myself).  Trevor laughs.  Then he calmly says "You didn't get that shirt at Dicks, you got it at Modells." .....oops

Monday, March 3, 2014

Gender Differences & Lavatory Logic

Every time I walk into a public restroom I try to pick the stall that I think is the least likely used.  If there is a long line of stalls, then I will go all the way to the very end hoping all of the lazy people would just pick the first available.  If there are three stalls, then I will pick the middle one hoping that the lazy person would pick the first stall and then the person who has to go number two and does not want to be right on top of the lazy person, will pick the last stall, which leaves the middle stall wide open for who knows how long...I realize there are flaws in this theory.  For instance, it will only work under the following assumptions:
 1) no more than 2 people shall ever enter a three-stall bathroom at once; 
 2) one person must always be lazy and 
 3) the other person must always have to take a dump and be self-conscious about it. 

I also realize it is quite possible that everyone has the same theory and phobias as me and that they are picking the same last and middle stalls as well.  So I will oftentimes mix it up and go for the very first stall if I am in a place where I think no one is lazy (or a place where people may be more neurotic than the norm).   I wish public bathrooms would publicly display the stats on how often each toilet is used.  Sure some lazy, non-hygienic, or generally disinterested people will not care either way, but couldn't they at least give us obsessive compulsives out there a choice?!   Is it too much to ask for a little screen saying how many times each toilets been flushed? That's all I'm asking....please...

Anyway, I was out to brunch this past Sunday with Trevor and a couple friends, and midway through the meal I have to excuse myself from the table to go to the bathroom.  I open the bathroom door and there is no one in there.   There are two stalls available: one is normal; one is handicap.  When I am in a place where  I feel like there are not a lot of handicapped people around I will take the risk and go for the handicap stall.  I dread the day when a handicap person is waiting because I wanted the extra space, so I have to be fairly certain I am in a safe place.  The place we were in was a fairly hip restaurant, and although thefriend we were with was on crutches, I did not see any other canes, scooters, wheelchairs, or moms with kids in the vicinity.  I decide I should take the handicap stall assuming most people will take the normal,guilt-free, one if given both options.

But as I take a step toward the handicap stall I realize that the way in which the normal stall door opens is slightly awkward and the stall gets blocked by the big bathroom door.  You would have to walk around the main door to get into the stall. I drew you a picture so you would understand:

I decide that the extra steps and maneuvering it would take to get to the normal door would prevent people from choosing that stall... Making the normal stall the least likely used,  I head directly for it.

I do my business and when I open my stall door the front bathroom door opens simultaneously and and essentially traps me in.  Not wanting to startle or hit the incoming person, I silently, creepily back up against the wall hoping that the person will go right into the handicap stall and not even know I am there.  But alas the person must also have bathroom anxiety disorder because after initially going for the handicap stall, they hesitate, and then decidedly go for the normal stall.  In the process of closing the main bathroom door to get to the normal stall is when the person found me quietly backed up against a wall....surprise!?

The startled person exclaimed "OH SH*T!" for three likely reasons: 

1) the person was terrified at finding a strange, quiet, grown woman hiding silently and smiling anxiously alone in a public restroom that they intially thought was empty;
2) the person may have actually sh*t their pants they were so scared; 
3) it was a dude....in the lady's room...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

TBT 2 TBT (Throwback Thursday to Trevor's Brother's Trick)

These days the kids on facebook are always speaking in acronyms and I never know what the heck they are talking about.  I only recently found out that "SMH" stands for "shaking my head" as in disappointment or bewilderment in someone's stupidity.  I always just assumed it must have been something meaner like "suck my hip" or "show me hot dogs" or "shut-up mad hooligan" or "some men haters." 

Anyway for everyone else without a 13 year old interpreter or too lazy to google, let me tell you about this "TBT" or "Throwback Thursday."  This occurs every Thursday and people will post pictures of themselves from the past and include the hashtag "#tbt."

Today I did my first TBT picture post on facebook, but I could not figure out what picture to choose so I posted two, which is probably not cool, but what can I say, besides I'm a hipster and I'm too cool to care.

These were my TBT pics:

First Halloween costume.  No, I was never cute.

Playing "dress up" in Dad's work gear with my Mom.  She loves this game!

I went through a ton of other photos and here are some of the honorable mentions:

 My first doll.  Terrifying I know.

My first outdoor diaper dump.  I've been caught!!!  and also punched in the face apparently...

First sweaty rocking moose ride (#FSRMR).  From what I recall the head and neck easily came off this unstable solid wood- yet made for small children  toy.

First slip and slide!  HELP ME!

First of three long years of bowl cuts.  Mom already had her two pretty girly girls.  She really wanted to mess with #3.  Consider my teenage years your karma for this, mother. (j/k = just kidding)

I next googled "TBT" because after you say "Throwback Thursday" in your head (or out lout) enough times, it starts to sound wrong, right?  Throw back?  What are you throwing back?  Is that even the right phrase?  I would really be embarrassed if I wrote this whole blog on "Throwback Thursday" when it actually meant "tacky but true" or "time brings torment." Well, I googled it to make sure I sounded smart, and I found lots of additional meanings to "TBT" on the urban dictionary website:

It can stand for "Truth Be Told" 

or "Throw Back Thursday" but now on other days besides Thursday (damn hipsters)

People also use it is as "Taco Bell Time"

or "Turn Back Time"

or "Thinking Bad Thoughts"

or "Tall-Boy Thursday" (which is the act of drinking a 6-pack of 16oz beer ("tall boys") one day before the weekend arrives. They say it is perfect for any day, but much better on a Thursday.  If they keep using these "Thursday" acronyms on every day of the week, adults are going to be pissed (myself included - because once you get married you are instantly an adult and can be publicly irritated by facebook acronyms). 

One I thought was particularly funny was "Thought Break Time" which occurs when you are talking to a friend on the computer and you both run out of things to say.  You TBT to excuse yourself from the conversation and then it is socially acceptable to not say anything until you can think of something interesting to talk about again.  But if the other person says TBT at the same time, you may never talk again...

Now knowing all that, here is a little exercise for the acronym savvy.  Decipher this:

TBT, on this TBT I started a blog about TBT and if I could TBT I would have called "TBT!" and ran out of the house and would have never written this blog, now that's TBT. TBT.

Scroll down for the answer below.

Also, watch this video!  Remember when we got married?!  TBT!!! 

(Note: in college I often swore that I would serve Taco Bell at my wedding if I ever got married...I slightly regret that acronym is not relevant here... but maybe you can maybe eat Taco Bell while you watch this recap!  That would make me happy!  Do it! Do it!  TBT! TBT!!!)

Special thanks to best man, Damian for the mini-heart attack!


"Truth be told on tall boy Thursday I started a blog about "throwback Thursday" and if I could turn back time, I would have called "Taco Bell time!"and ran out of the house and would have never written this blog, now that's thinking bad thoughts. Thought break time!"

Sunday, February 23, 2014

2018 Olympics Preview

I watched a lot of the couples ice dancing this Olympics.  And well, Meryl Davis and Charlie White are sort of my new favorite heroes.  They make it look so easy.  So easy that maybe we could do it...We've got some skills...

We just need to learn how to skate... and work on our bow and curtsy... And maybe invest in a costume designer

There should be more butt grabbing in the Olympics

Saturday, February 22, 2014

An Olympic False Start

I love the Olympics I could not wait for them to start.  They started on a Friday and I had an opening ceremony party on Thursday.  I could not wait for them to start.

I love the Olympics but I obviously do not love them enough to really keep track of what is going on when.   I do often lack some minor attention to detail.  We do not have a TV so I was not berated with commercials telling me when to watch.  I read some google news headlines that talked about the games starting on Thursday.  Had I read the entire article I might have realized that although the games might have started on a Thursday in Russia, that the coverage was not going to start until Friday in America.  

So our friends show up Thursday night for my 'opening ceremony party' and I broadcast the NBC.com Olympics coverage on our television-sized computer monitor.  Not realizing that the Olympics had not yet started, we watched some of the highlight clips from Vancouver 2010 thinking it was Sochi 2014...  

Go Bode Miller go!  

Wow! This guy is great! He has got all these medals and all on the first day.  

They sure do a lot of events before the opening ceremony, huh? 

Is it normal to start competition before the opening ceremony?  

Wait it's not?  

When was the opening ceremony then?  

Did we miss it?

Oh it is tomorrow?  

So what is this we are watching?  

Oh this is from the last Olympics? ....Oops.

Well at least we had a nice little refresher course.

So will we see you again tomorrow night?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Spin 'Til Ya Puke

You know you are seriously out of shape when after an hour of your first day back at the gym the paramedics have to be called to take you to the hospital.  Don't worry, I refused to go.  As much as I would like to say that I am such a hardcore athlete that I pushed myself passed my limits, the truth of the matter is I am just a silly dumb-dumb who does not actually know my own  limits and cannot read my own bodily signs of when I have gone too far, and think that if no one else in the class looks like they are going to puke and pass out, then I can surely go on, and on, and on.  This is just another example of why I can't handle group exercise (see previous experiences in Zumba and step class).

Let me first start off with a little history of me "not knowing my physical limits:"

In 8th grade I was on the track team.  Up until this one particular track meet, I never ran further than 800 meters without stopping.  I never ran further than 400 meters in an actual competitive meet.  When my coach asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to run the 1600 meters in the next 15 minutes, I thought "sure what the heck."  I ran my heart out in that race, crossed the finish line (in last place), collapsed on the grass, and proceeded to projectile vomit all over the place. You could say I lost in more ways than one.

In college, after a few injuries obtained wile trying out the rugby team, I decided that ultimate frisbee was more my thing.  My ultimate frisbee team made it to Nationals one year out in Oregon.  It was a freakishly hot day and we had 4 games to play.  Everyone was super concerned about dehydration and not getting sun burned.  I was equally as concerned, but also concerned about trying to win at least one game and looking my frisbee finest. At some point after game 3 I realized things were not going well for me, and just as a sick dog will wander into the woods to die, I wandered away from my team and found a nice little garbage can away from the fields and the crowds, crawled up into its shadow, and passed out.  Next thing I knew I was under some really nice shaded tent on a bed covered in my own vomit with a really nice guy cleaning me up and covering me with ice cubes assuring me everything is going to be ok and that they are going to take me to the hospital.  4 hours of an IV, a few more bouts of vomit, and a nice nap later, and I was back on my feet.  "Heat exhaustion" they called it.

Before I passed out I was pretty good:

When Trevor and I first moved to California we decided to take up biking.  So we went to K-Mart and bought the cheapest, heaviest, crappiest mountain bikes and decided to take them road biking.  We lived in the foothills of Santa Barbara which, unless you live right by the beach, is ALL hills.  We road up and down for awhile until I again got to the point of death and told Trevor I needed to take a break.  So we went downhill for awhile so I could revive myself.  When you live in the foothills, downhill is further and further away from home.  My energy never came back.  I could not make it home.  The next thing I remembered was being face down on the sidewalk outside of a Baja Fresh and Trevor having to go inside and ask for ice and assure them that no they did not need to call 911, that I was just a little hot.  Guess I am never eating there again...

A few years later in Santa Barbara I have taken up running as my sport of choice.  I had gotten to the point of running 3-4 miles 3-4 times a week fairly comfortably.  So when my co-worker's girlfriend could not make the 10 mile race she has signed up for and was looking for someone to take her place, I said, "sure, what the heck?"  If I can run 10 miles in a week, I can run 10 miles in a day, right?  I run the race in sub 8 minute miles, cross the finish line, and as in my 8th grade track meet, proceeded to puke my brains out all over the finish line.  This is not an unfamiliar story now, huh?

Since we have moved to Boston we have struggled to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.  We were doing great right up until Thanksgiving.  Then it got really cold, really dark, and really icy.  We had the holidays and honeymoons and were very busy with baby showers and friends visiting, and is that enough excuses!?  I have not worked out in a month.

Our last set of visiting friends left on Monday.  Then it was Wednesday and I realized I had not left the house since Sunday.  It is time.  I pack my bag with my cycling shorts, a change of clothes, towel and toiletries, and my laptop.  I am going to take a spin class at the gym.  I will shower there, then head to a coffee shop.  I am going to be active.  I am going to see other humans.  I am going to get work done.

I get to the gym and pick out my bike for the spin class.  I am ready to kick my butt back into shape.  I may or may not have turned up the resistance on my bike too high in order to punish myself into shape.  About halfway though the workout I realized, this may not have been the best plan.  The cycling room is hot. The ventilation is poor.  The lights are off.  After the "hard" part of the workout I found myself planning how to get off my bike, and run out of the room without puking, and without anyone noticing.  Realizing that this is not going to work and that if I do not slow down I will certainly puke, I started taking it easy: turning my resistance down instead of up; not getting out of my seat when its time to stand up; resting my head on my handlebars and praying "please don't let me puke, please don't let me puke."  Finally the cycling part of class is over and it is time to stretch. I survived!

Everyone get off your bike. Done.  Now stretch your leg like this.  Can't. Can't move legs.  Can't see.  Eyes are darkening.  Voice is not working. I try to look around before I lose consciousness.  I try to make eye contact with someone to let them know I may need some help.  I remember thinking I did not want people to not see me pass out in case I didn't come to right away, but I also didn't want to frighten people into thinking I was dying...although I am not completely convinced I am not dying, but I felt alarmingly calm.  No one was looking at me anyway I was all the way in the back.  Oh well.  Then my world went black.  When I came to I was bent over the seat of my bike.  I summoned enough energy to lift my head up ever so slightly and made eye contact with the wide-eyed girl next to me.  I barely whispered "I think I need help,"  then puked in her general direction, went limp again, and fell to the floor.

I came back around pretty quickly and felt pretty good afterwards.  The girl who called for help, the spin instructor, and the gym manager had helped carry me out into the hallway and out of the dark, hot, sweaty, and poorly ventilated spin room.  They sat around with me and we chatted for 20 minutes until the paramedics showed up.  I was feeling much better.  These three lovely women looked like they were in their late 20's, early 30's. One had recently moved from California.  They were all into fitness. We joked about how cold it has been out and how we cannot wait for it to be warm and all the BBQs and beaches and outdoor activities we are going to do once it gets warm out again.  And I thought to myself, "this is what it takes to make friends."  This is how you can strike up a conversation with strangers. So what if it took me almost dying, to ask someone for a favor?  In the worlds of Benjamin Franklin:

“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.” – Benjamin Franklin

And that's how friends are made.  So consider them my new best friends.

End of story:  the paramedics came, my heart rate was fine, my blood pressure was fine, they wanted to take me to the hospital because they thought I lost consciousness, which I probably did, but even if I did it was only for a second at most, and if they knew my history of stubborn work-outs-gone-wrong they would not be that concerned... If I got into that ambulance, I would never be able to show my face around that gym again!  I would walk in and people would turn away and whisper... "There goes that girl that passes out in spin class again...  Better call 911 and keep them on standby...don't sit next to her, she has a tendency to puke..."

Now how am I going to motivate myself to go back to the gym again?  The spin class instructor did ask if she will see me in class next week, so I suppose in exchange for her assuring that I did not die, I could return the favor and keep her class attendance numbers high, puke or no puke (hopefully no puke).  New BFF.

My two favorite things about this story were:

  1) calling Trevor after it happened and trying to tell him what happened in one breath without making it sounding alarming...and failing...

Me: "Sooooo yea I'm on my way back from the gym".....

T: "Cool, how was spin class?".....

Me: "Well it was OK, pretty hard I guess because I ended up passing out and puking and the paramedics had to come, but I refused to go the hospital so I'm on my way home."



2) sitting around at home recapping the story and thinking about that poor girl's panic who I puked on and laughing thinking "this will make for a fairly entertaining blog."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

In the Land of Ruins (the Mayan Ruins, not the Cruise Ship!)

The following day we pulled into port in Progresso which is a beautiful beachfront city on the Yucatan peninsula.

Getting off the boat in Progresso

Yes, cruise ships are the leading cause of vacation lung cancer, yick.

Although it is not as famous of a city as Cozumel or Cancun, it is very close to the famous Mayan ruin UNESCO site, Chichen Itza (or as our anti-any-other-language-besides-English co-patriots pronounce it: "chicken pizza").  Chichen Itza was one of the largest Mayan cities and the ruins are the ones you would recognize by that great huge pyramid above top which the Mayan ruler would cut off virgins' heads and watch their skulls barrel to the ground (or so the story goes,  no one knows the complete history of the Mayan culture for sure because the Spanish Catholics took over and burned all their books...but  for sure there were some human sacrifices performed here,  as evidenced by the abundant collection of human bones found nearby).

So Chichen Itza is about 2.5 hours from Progresso and you can get on a guided tour bus for $90 per person, spend 5 hours in the car and 45 minutes there with the other 1.2 million tourists who visit there a year.  Or you can spend half the amount of money, drive 20 minutes on a tour bus, to spend 4 hours on a smaller, less famous Mayan ruin, Dzibilchaltun.

We get on the bus to Dzibilchaltun, and are very excited that both of our tour guides are actually Mayan.  They were very funny.  The one guy opened up the tour speaking Spanish.  The all-American crowd tensed up.  One lovely American chimed in with "hey, buddy I think you are on the wrong bus!!"  No matter where you are in the world, everyone must speak American in front of Americans (duh!).  But the bus driver laughs because, of course, he knows all Americans only speak English and that they all get mad when you don't know this fact, and he continued on with his schpeal in English.  He was of Mayan decent, but he did not speak the Mayan language.    His mother never taught him because she wanted him to be fluent in Spanish and not to be discriminated against because he had a Mayan accent.   Don't ask him why the Mayans disappeared.  They did not disappear, they abandoned their cultural centers, but there are plenty of Mayan descendants living and breathing in the world today. His tour guide coworker only spoke Mayan.  We thought that was pretty cool.  Later in the trip he started speaking English also (joke #2).

We were on the bus to the ruins and Jose was explaining about the birthmark that all Mayans are born with on the base of their spinal cord near their tail bone, called the Mongolian Spot.  In the middle of him discussing how the Mongolian spot is an example of how the Mayans are a pure and ancient species of humans and how the more pure-bred you are the longer the spot lasts (it usually disappears by the time of puberty, but if you are only a quarter Mayan it might disappear by the time you are 2 years old)...the bus breaks down.

We pull over to the side of the road in the middle of no where Mexico.  I fear that in choosing the cheapest tour that I have made the wrong choice and wonder how the Chichen Itzans are doing on their bus ride.  The bus driver, the "Mayan-speaking" tour guide, and two other tour people get off the bus and start tinkering away at the engine.  Jose is still on the microphone in front of an ever increasingly impatient American crowd and starts to tell us about the animals around here... iguanas!  panthers!  After 15-20 minutes or so the engine rumbles to life and we are back on our way.   Catastrophe avoided... or perhaps planned?  Either way the crowd is relieved that they do not have to sue Carnival cruise lines for the awful tour recommendation and we are on our way.  After speaking English, Americans second favorite thing is complaining and suing.

We make it to the ruins and are let loose to explore.  Another major advantage of picking the second rate/less famous tour, is that if it is not a UNESCO world famous, crazily protected site, you can climb all over it...  And we did.  While walking around we heard some others tourists discussing the Mayans saying  "ya know, I believe they were reasonably intelligent.." He had a very similar accent to some bum Trevor and I once overheard at a bar discussing how "chap stick comes from oil wells."

Mayan ruins!

Ruins ruins everywhere

The Temple of the Seven Dolls in the distance where archaeologists found little carvings of seven disfigured dolls

stadium seating, excellent acoustics

And in the middle, we shall put a Catholic Church... Err wait,  that came later

The sinkhole where the Mayans likely got their freshwater

Playing goddess

Scouring the overgrown ball field

The ball field

interesting tree growing pea/bean-like pods

The Mexican jungle

Escaping the tourists

There's a cool bird in this shot.  Can youspot it?

Temple ruins

This is what Mayans wore to the temple

some weird beehive inside the Temple

pretty epiphyte (a plant that grows on another plant)

Our favorite tree

check out the roots on her!

Climbing the pyramid, Mayan style, just like they did some thousands of years ago

view from the top

The road to the temple

Temple of the Seven Dolls.  On the vernal equinox, the sun rises so that it shines directly through the middle window of the temple.
The freshwater sinkhole called Cenote Xlakah is thought to be where the Mayans got their freshwater (makes sense).  It is up to 150 feet deep in the deepest area and is thought to be connected to the ocean although the divers could not get through far enough to prove it.  You can go swimming in it.  We just put our feet in and we received a lovely little pedicure from the native sardines who enjoy a healthy all-you-can-eat lunch in the form of tourists' dead skin cells.  It tickled.

These fish pedicures go for $100 in NYC.  In Mexico, they are free!

They liked Trevor's feet a lot better than mine:

They liked Trevor much better than me, although I can't say I am that offended...
Look closely to the right of Trevor's right foot.  Whatever he's growing down there, the sardines were loving!

mine, not so much....not that offended

Hard to tell in the photo, but there is a Coca Cola stand on the left selling Cokes and a Pepsi stand on the right selling Pepsis seemingly out in the middle of no where.

Progresso beach

Our boat in the distance

beer bottle washed up on the beach

some cool black birds hovering down the coast

A man selling I don't know what out of I don't know what

The walls of the parking lot and the walls of lots of neighborhood homes had broken beer bottles glued to the top of the wall, perhaps to keep people from climbing over?  or birds from resting and pooping?  Either way, was very resourceful.

Here comes fun.  This guys was with a group of cougars who when a Mexican guitar player came down the bus aisle asking for tips after he played a few songs, refused to tip him and instead said "I'm not giving him a tip, I'll give him a tip if you give me a CERVEZA!  Hey!  Where's the Cer-Ve-ZAs!!?"  Guess who's boat he's on?

I didn't catch it at the perfect angle but there was a pelican flying with the bus right outside the window.

Back to the boat...