Archive for September, 2010

Zumba is the devil. Zumba kicked my ass. Kicked. My. Ass.

For those of you who don’t know, Zumba is like Broadway choreography set to Latin music. Here’s an “official” definition.

Maybe the moves are “easy to follow” for the other 99.9 percent of the population, but I couldn’t even make the drill team in high school. And they didn’t have a full squad even after I tried out, if that tells you something.

Thankfully, this fellow was not my instructor.

I felt like a “Fantasia” hippo thrown in with the Rockettes.



I’m not completely inept, it just takes me a while to learn choreography. Once I learn it, I won’t forget. But it is hard to learn when your life is flashing before your eyes.

There were weights involved also. And mats. And Desperate Housewives in cute workout clothes. I’m so glad my friend Keisha was there for a reality check. And to make sure I was breathing.

See the guy in the back? Kindred spirit.

I’m proud to say I made it through without blacking out. My face was Pantone 187, though.

It is the color I imagine Hell to be. Zumba, I’ll see you in Hell on Monday!

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I’d like to post about Trish’s birthday weekend — also known as the Shock and Awe Safari — but I need to get photos from her. To tide you over until that post, here is an update on Shelly and Jeanne.

They don’t hate me anymore, but they are still suspicious of me. (I think they’ve seen what I often cook for dinner.)

They are also lazy. No eggs yet. You may remember that Trish squeezed out her first egg on, appropriately, Labor Day.

Shelly and Jeanne have been really loud lately though, so maybe they are getting ready for egg action. And Jeanne has been pecking at the window. For what purpose, I don’t know.

Maybe she’s trying to modify our eating habits. Maybe she should worry about producing some eggs …

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It’s been a tough week for the South Bend public school system.

But that means it’s been a good week for me, the person who makes fun of errors in the wild.

Friends and students have shared plenty of tidbits from their travels over the past couple of weeks.

Royce found a new kind of crab:

Charlotte found pudding cake, but is still looking for a missing “r.”

And Austin found a sign for the grammar category. I guess I should be happy it is not spelled “yore.”

Sigh. Is it really that hard?

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I went to the gym today.

Anyone who knows me knows that’s a big deal.

I haven’t set foot in a gym (with the intention of working out) in about 15 years.

It wasn’t concern for my padded hide that drove me there. It was concern for my slender wallet.

We joined the YMCA this summer so that Dominic and Gideon could take swimming lessons. On the tour, I saw the weight room and the class schedule, and became optimistic that I could actually start going to the gym. When they said they provided childcare, I almost shouted, “Sold!”

Well, you can guess what happened: Life intervened.

I got the renewal notice in the mail this week, and told Eddie that two weeks of swimming lessons set us back about $500.

Before I renew anything, I decided I really needed to feel the burn — and not just the burn of lost money.

The girl at the Y’s front desk had to help me get in because I couldn’t even remember our member number.

This is not me. I don't even own clothes like this.

Once inside, I dropped the kids off at “kid fit,” and I introduced myself to the elliptical machine. I managed to hang on for 45 minutes without barfing. It wasn’t the exertion, but the smell of Gramps next to me.

When I first got a whiff, I was afraid it was me. I was suitably horrified. Then Gramps sped up and moved around the air a little more. I got another snootful of the aromatic blend of sobaco and culo, with a bit of aged shirt stink for extra flavor.

And anyone who knows me knows that if I could smell it, it had to be bad.

So I fled. I rinsed off, picked up the boys, and we went swimming for a while. As we left the Y, I smiled at the girl at the front desk. Maybe she won’t have to help me next time. Yes, next time.

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My friend/surrogate mother Jody came through again. And this time, it is with something I’ve never seen before:

Those, my friends, are regular-sized bags of my favorite snack food — not the snack-sized bags I’m used to seeing.

Oh my.

She said she also is on the lookout for these:

Oh my!

The bad thing is that I started my annual “eat healthy” kick this week. I’ll be limiting myself to only 13 puffs (four Weight Watchers points) every other day.

How will I survive?

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They’re heeeere!

All “Poltergeist” style, “they” have come. And by “they,” I mean the students who have appeared for fall quarter.

I’m happy the quarter has begun. No really — I am! It means I’m back to a regular schedule, and I can employ my stellar time-management skills. Plus, I’m teaching three classes I love to teach:

  • Writing for the Web (undergraduate)
  • Business and Professional Writing (undergraduate)
  • Business and Professional Writing (graduate)

What’s even better is that I only have a total enrollment of 22 for those three classes. Compare that with this summer (which shall be known henceforth as the Summer from the Bowels of Hell) when I had a total enrollment of 46 in three classes. Online. By the end of summer quarter, I needed reading glasses, and I could have used some medication.

But school is back in session, and all is well.

As Tangina said, “Cross over children. All are welcome. All welcome. Go into the Light. There is peace and serenity in the Light.”

Ah yes. Peace and serenity (and maybe some progress on my dissertation).

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So sayeth the “Impressive Clergyman” from “The Princess Bride.”

Eddie and I celebrated 15 years of “mawwage” on Thursday. We chose an easy-to-remember date — 9.9.95 — because neither of us has a good memory for important dates. (Charlotte, you can attest to that.)

A marriage that lasts this long is, sadly, rare among people our age. However, we are fortunate to know plenty of couples who are still married after many years. And then there’s Al Gore. Why would he and Tipper divorce after 40 years? That makes me sad.

We were at a wedding last weekend (congrats Deanna and Chris!) and the DJ asked married folks to dance together while he noted total years married. Couples were supposed to leave the dance floor when he passed their total. Most of the couples left the dance floor after he said, “Five years.” After “10 years,” we were the only ones left of our generation. Everyone else had a good 15 years on us.

An anniversary is a good time to reflect on the good times and the bad. Eddie and I have had our share of both. Our trip around the world was a good time. Watching my mom die was bad. So bad.

Some of our friends are going through a rough patch, and some are planning a wedding. If any of these friends asked us for words of wisdom, here’s what we’d say:

  1. Real life is not Hollywood. You don’t ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. You can be happy, but it takes work.
  2. It is the hardest, but most rewarding work you’ll ever do.
  3. Make sure you know how to work together and how to argue constructively before you have kids.
  4. Kids do not help a relationship, so don’t have them trying to “fix” it. (We didn’t do this, but we know plenty of people who did.)
  5. You can’t change the other person, you can only change how you react to him/her. (And you can gently point out some modifications you’d like to see.)
  6. A marriage is not only a love relationship, but a roommate situation as well. You are not always going to get along, but you need to learn to pick your battles. Argue about the things that really matter, and argue to compromise, not to win. (And if you say you do always get along and never argue, then you are either lying, or one of you has stopped caring enough to argue.)
  7. Some days you will not like the person you married. You will love him/her, but you will also want him/her to get the F out of your face. That’s OK, because you’ll feel differently the next day. Or the day after that.
  8. Trust is crucial. Live your life as if your partner is there at all times. If you wouldn’t do something (or say something) in front of your partner, then you shouldn’t do it at all.
  9. Because he/she is not there all the time, you have to be honest, especially if there is any potential weirdness. (For example, if I went out of town for a conference, and went to dinner with an old friend who happened to be male, I’d tell Eddie in advance. Like this: “Eddie, I’m going to LA at the end of October and I’m going to hang out with Matt.” See, that was easy.)
  10. Take time to cultivate. Especially when children are involved, life can turn into one big “to do” list, and conversations more often start with “Can you …?” or “Did you remember to …?” Remember why you married this person in the first place, and spend some alone time doing fun and/or romantic things.

Remember to always “tweasure your wuv.”

So sayeth The Rev.

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I am a lucky woman. Guess what the man below is carrying.

Loyal readers have guessed correctly, I’m sure. Yes, it is a box filled with bags of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Puffs.

The man is Toby, one half of the Jody and Toby team.

They are very dear friends of the family, and not just because they tracked down my favorite snack food.

My dad tried to help, but bought the crunchy version instead. (It is the thought that counts.)

I also received the following message from my friend Kelly:

All of these folks live in the Atlanta/North Georgia area where Puffs are plentiful.

Eddie thinks these kind people are enablers. Yes, that’s true. And I say, “Thank you, Enablers! Now I have Puffs aplenty.”

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Why are apostrophes so difficult for some people? Either something is possessing something or it isn’t. If it isn’t, then it just needs an “s.”

The person who writes the promotional materials for Monkey Joe’s needs a refresher course in the rules.

Let’s take a closer look:

What is that apostrophe doing there when “fundraisers” should be  a simple plural word? I’ll tell you what: making the person seem dumb.

And since I’m on the subject of appearing to be dumb, let’s talk about this phrase:

I could care less.

If you really could care less than you do, then that is correct. However, people usually use it to mean, “I don’t give a rat’s ass.” In that case, the correct phrase is:

I couldn’t care less.

And that means the speaker really doesn’t care at all.

If you use the wrong phrase,  you seem dumb to people like me who care about proper usage. And then I couldn’t care less about you.

Harsh? Maybe. Truthful? Yes.

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