Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What Happens When I Don't Make the Cut (Richmond, VA)

Do not -- I repeat -- DO NOT ever leave me alone in my kitchen. If I am happy, angry, anxious, sad, bored, or even just slightly awake, I will eat anything and everything I find.

In no particular order and without feeling the least bit hungry, I have just consumed the following: a few rings of dried apple, a handful of cashews, almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds, several purple cabbage leaves and more salad dressing than they deserved, half a cup of defrosted blueberries, two cups of green tea, half a canister of whipped cream, too many purple corn chips, and an impressive chunk of Morbier (that lovely cheese with a great ash). I think I've probably also wolfed down some other stuff that I've already forgotten but which my hips and thighs will recall for months to come. This is not a recipe for success in my race to becoming the best possible me.

Had I only been able to convince my stylist to return to her salon and cut my hair, I would've taken a shower and a nap instead of cleaning out the pantry, fridge, and cabinets and filling up my cheeks as if I were a starving squirrel. I am in desperate need of a trim, but was unable to stop by the shop until I, serendipitously or un-, exited a meeting on time and close by. Alas, Donna is training to become a personal trainer, and because business was slow today, she decided to go home to study -- which sent me home to nosh.

Perhaps I can talk her into personally training me in order to help her practice and pass her exams. She'll cut off an inch or two of my locks on Saturday at nine a.m. and maybe knock off an inch from my abdomen, butt, and/or chins over the next month or two.

I might have to resort to agreeing to get my hair cut more -- and more often. Not a bad idea. If I can't win my fitness challenge by losing 20 pounds of ugly fat, maybe hair loss will give me the edge. Sure, I might end up looking (as I do when the cut is too short) like a baby dinosaur emerging from its shell, but I might emerge stronger.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Channeling My Inner Marilyn (Richmond, VA)

Although I don't resemble her in the least (she's blonde, beautiful, and dead), I am channeling Marilyn Monroe.

My voice is so low and husky and breathy that I am having some problems with my clients. When I call a family and reach the father, he is usually super-friendly and absolutely thrilled to hear from me. On the other hand, if the mother answers, I get the opposite reaction. And should I ask the mother to pass the phone to the father, it's "Who the HELL is this???"

The last time I channeled Marilyn, a concerned colleague -- who just happens to be a police officer -- asked me what I was going to do about my voice.

"I'm thinking of starting a new career," I told her. "Working the phones. At night."

She thought I'd do an excellent job.

In the meantime, maybe I can wrangle an invitation to the White House to sing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President...."

Fitness Challenged Part II (Richmond, VA)

I am, I don't know, 3 weeks into the fitness challenge to get into my best shape ever and, boy, am I ever making progress! Unfortunately, it's not in the right direction.

Due to the snows that I have been griping about, my innate lethargy, my love of food and lack of self-restraint, and my usual contrariness, I have gained seven pounds. At this rate, I will win the booby prize...

Yesterday I tried to make up for lost time by zumba-ing barefoot (but not pregnant) in the kitchen. This morning I (barely) survived my class and now I find myself (a recovering zumba-ist?) at a bookstore cafe, trying to avoid the chocolate chip cookies. As they call out to me -- "Yoohoo! We're a balanced snack: chocolate, flour, sugar, and butter!" -- I am drinking a cup of green tea (straight) that is a poor, poor substitute sugar-fix for my mouthful of sweet teeth.

Maybe I need to start a chapter of Chocoholics Anonymous?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Birthday Plans (Richmond, VA)

When one reaches a certain age (mine?), one may hope to be forgiven for memory lapses, a lack of patience, and more. I ask your forbearance and your forgiveness, both in advance and in retrospect, because I can't remember if I've told you this before...

I was getting physical therapy a while back for my broken wrist or bad knee or some other body part gone wrong when I complained about the number of visits I'd made and problems I'd been having. "I thought 50 was the new 30," I said.

"No," my 20-something therapist replied. "Thirty is the new 50."

The thought is depressing. Not that I'm 50 or anything.

Don't ask, don't tell. That's my policy when it comes to age. Oh, yeah. One more thing -- when someone asks you to guess his/her age, subtract 25 years from whatever age you think is correct.

So now that I've completed my minus 25 years, I'm swiping a plan from someone who mentioned hers in a magazine or newspaper article: I'm going to do one new thing for every year of my life. (Translation: If I were 30, I'd have to do 30 new things.) Notice that I didn't say that it has to be something good; it just must be something I've never done before.

I'm not even listing the new stuff before I do it, although I will try to plan some things. (Go to NYC for a coupla days in the spring? Guadalajara this summer?) I will keep a running list once I accomplish something, however. But I'm not necessarily going to tell you what I've been up to....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Out of Order (Richmond, VA)

Did you happen to notice that my last two entries were reversed? I think I've been blinded by the snow, my brain has frozen, and every other part of me is muddled.

No surprise: it snowed again today. I was on my way to work, stopped for coffee, and learned that schools had shut down again. I skidded back home, where I have become a complete -- maybe even a perfect -- slug.

I'm too lethargic to continue, so

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow White (Richmond, VA)

Day three of captivity.

Everything is canceled. No work, no play. I am going stir-crazy, contemplating carving the passing days in Roman numerals on the kitchen wall. Except that I don't really remember my Romans or my numerals, so when I reach 50, I'll be counting by V's.

It's not inconceivable that we'll be snowed in for days. I sift through radio stations, hearing contradictory reports that range from a 60% chance of snow on Tuesday to the possibility of 50 degrees F and rain; from possible snow on Friday through Saturday to a possible cancellation of weather as we know it on this crazy, globally warming planet.

This is the South, for ice sake! We're not upposed to be freezing our esses off more than one day each year, or at least that is what I had been self-assured when I moved here umpteen years ago. I put up with the unbearable summers precisely in order to avoid the unbearable northern winters. At least I'd put up with them until I figured out a way to escape them altogether by heading souther for the summer, to the higher altitudes of Mexico City and Cuernavaca (the City of Eternal Spring NOT infernal summer).

Now it looks like my plan to leave one week after the close of the school year will come undone; the school year might stretch into July if predictions of more snow turn into reality. I am already anticipating the relentless heat. Wish I could just mix it -- now, when I need it -- with this horrible cold.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

AAAAAAGH! (Richmond, VA)

A. calls to try to convince me that the snowy landscape is beautiful. I remain unconvinced. It would be beautiful if I could escape it, or better yet, if it were where it belongs -- up north.

The world is twisted, topsy-turvy. Here in the Mid-Atlantic, in Virginia, in Richmond, former capital of the Confederacy and the northernmost of southern states, snow persists in falling. It's going to be 9 degrees F tonight.

In the meantime, Vancouver braces for a lack of white powder, facing the prospect of an un-wintery Olympics. Polar bears are losing habitat because their glacial homes are melting. Why not load this still pristine snow blanket onto a caravan of trucks and send it all where it's needed?

I feel as I did when I was a child leaving food on my plate. "There are children starving in China," my mother would say. The one time I suggested mailing them what I had before me was one of the few times my mother slapped me across the face.

The snow offers a constant admonition: No, you can't work. No, you can't drive. No, everything is closed. Even the bloody post office, which promises to defy rain, sleet, and other weather, has thrown in the towel.

Okay, I could put on the knee-high rubber boots I recently purchased at the children's resale shop. I could jam my body, already layered with thermal underwear and three sweaters, into my winter coat. I could pull on two more pairs of socks, pull up the hood, wrap a scarf twice around my turtle neck, force fingers into two pairs of gloves, and waddle out into this silent, alien world. I could, but I won't.

Growing up in New York, I'd enjoyed winter: throwing snowballs, building igloos and forts, sledding. But the last time I willingly wandered out into a winter wonderland was in college.

My fellow students and I were returning from Boston when a huge storm hit and raged. We didn't see the "Road Closed" sign that we plowed into and we couldn't have turned around if we'd wanted to. We couldn't see the road ahead or the road behind. Couldn't see the road, period and two days later, the car was discovered about 20 feet from the roadway. We had abandoned the unheated VW bug after we ran into a pile of snow and couldn't extradite the vehicle, when we'd run out of clothes to wrap around us, when one of the boys kept falling asleep, and we couldn't slap him awake anymore.

A dim beam in the valley guided us to slide down the mountainside and knock on a stranger's door. As I thawed out, sitting on top of a blazing radiator in the farmer's living room in the middle of Nowhere, Snowbelt, New York, my hands, ashy and stiff, throbbed with pain.

I attempted sleeping that night on a cot in the dining room, but two sadistic tabbies used me as a trampoline -- jumping on my head and running the length of my body -- until long after the sun rose. I think it was then that I lost any fondness I might have felt towards felines and any desire to spend any time in any place where I might encounter ice and snow. And my hands have never recovered; they ache and numb at the first sensation of cold.

So, even A. can't tempt me to go outside to admire the whiteness much less to play. I will stay inside, reading books, sleeping, complaining bitterly about the bitter cold, waiting for the thaw.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Homebound (Richmond, VA)

I am trapped. Like a polar bear unwilling to go with the floe, I pace back and forth on my own little frozen patch of world.

It is eerily quiet and cleanly white all around my house, which is perched atop a hill overlooking downtown Richmond. Nice views in the early morning, when the sun turns the buildings a lovely shade of salmon-pink, and in the evening, when the lights twinkle whitely and brightly from not too afar. But if I could dig my car out of its cocoon of snow and if I could rock it back and forth from its parking spot, I would face the daunting task of driving down the slippery slope and avoiding the careening cars slip-sliding at the bottom. So, I guess you could say that I am, at least for now, stuck up.

The question I ask myself is, "For how long?"

The possibilities are all unpleasant: Until I end up cleaning out the fridge? Organizing my photographs? Filing all my papers? Watching daytime television?

It's 4:20 p.m. on the second day of my captivity and I've avoided doing anything even remotely useful. I've slept late (until after 9:00!) and eaten much too much and way too often. I've sat through 15 minutes of "Men Who Stare at Goats" before becoming too bored to even stare at the swooney Clooney. I've considered doing the laundry but just looking at the heaping baskets makes me weary.

I listen to the news about the devastation in Haiti, the continuing violence in Afghanistan and Iraq -- all the bad news in the world that makes my whiny malaise even more pathetic; I am privileged enough to be able to complain about minor discomforts.

I am still cold.