Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Trapeze weeeee!

I took my second trapeze lesson on one cold snowy January morning. It had snowed all week and due to snow route prioritizing, the side streets were all still unplowed and knee deep in snow. I signed up for the free aerial trapeze lesson (every second Saturday of the month) at a Chicago based training facility ( Now aerial trapeze is starkly different than the flying trapeze. Most noticeably, the bar doesn’t swing around…you do. I would call it posing in the air on a stationary bar that is quite possibly the most uncomfortable thing ever…or doing chin ups until you puke. Seriously, I couldn’t

Our first skill to learn was how to hang from the bar properly and then swing your legs back and forth. I learned that my bottom half is hard to hold up for long and that gripping the bar hard (so that I can keep said bottom up) peels quarters of skin off my palms. Yaaaaay! The leg swing thing was used in our next trick, getting up on the bar. Surprisingly, I could pull up my knees and tuck my legs enough to easily invert my body. I guess I have years of high jumping to thank for that…granted in school, we slacked off so much in track that I spent more time doing flips on the mat than actually jumping the dreaded bar.

We learned how to invert our bodies and entwine our legs in the support ropes so we could let go of our hands and pose. I did the mermaid where you plank on your side while gripping the rope with one hand. I also did the bird’s nest where I hooked my legs in the ropes, did a back bend under the bar and extended out a leg and an arm. I was basically a human hammock. Surprisingly, I took to this well (even though I complained a lot about the damn bar going up my butt). In fact, I was the only one in the class able to do the advanced moves. Yeah, I know, small victories…but it totally made my weekend. The next day though, I was so sore I spent the day curled up on my couch watching the world series of poker TV marathon.

Oh and sorry no pictures because the other students were not thrilled to take my camera while I smoked their asses!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Old Maid...not if I have anything to say about it

Today is my birthday. My 30th birthday. For some reason, turning 30 has this huge stigma attached to it. Will I suddenly become boring, old, drab, etc? I personally look forward to any reason to celebrate (and of course host a theme party), so don’t see why 30 should scare me…but honestly it does a little bit. I think back to when I was a little girl where eventually turning 15 would signify I was super grown up. Now that I am exactly double that, I wonder what I have done with all those years. I wonder if my original aspirations that I dreamt about as a child ever came true. I didn’t grow up to be the prima ballerina who also worked at SeaWorld on the side (dancing and sea life, I was such an odd little girl). I don’t have a million dollars and a custom built house with secret passageways and spiral staircases. I never learned to play the guitar and piano. I never married my best friend’s dreamy older brother. And I never grew boobs.

Although, none of these things happened, I still give my life an A+. I mean, I cannot count the number of wonderful things I’ve done. Some turned out better than others, but I don’t regret a single one (well maybe swimming in the Hudson River and getting stung by a jellyfish…that friggin hurt). And in the end, I am happy, and shouldn’t that be the real barometer right.

Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Asia Adventures - Post 8 (Thailand transit)

Dana, Olga, and I just finished riding bicycles around the ruins of ancient Siam capital city Ayuthaya. It was over 100 degrees and nearly 100% humidity, so we were sweaty, exhausted, and sunburned (hey it is hard to keep that SPF 50 on when you are just sweating like it is your job). We were waiting in the open sweltering hot train station to catch our ride back into Bangkok. We waited, and waited, and waited. I guess having a posted train schedule means nothing and the trains simply show up when the engineers feel like it. Meanwhile, we are panicking because we planned on meeting up with Evan and Gabby, grabbing our bags, and hopping on an overnight train to the island Koh Pha Ngan. When our train finally arrived (an hour late!!!), we made a plan to leave one person at the train station to intercept Evan and Gabby while the other two try to catch them at the hotel. I decided to be the one left at the train station to sit in my own sweat stew in yet another non-air conditioned building surrounded by strangers with probably had not showered in a while. I noticed that the locals were all listening intently to the radio announcements (all in Thai) which of course sounded like quick talking gibberish with a few shouts followed by applause. About an hour before the train was supposed to leave, I asked the ticket attendant the standard questions if it was running on time, what platform, etc. to find all was well (I even saw them start to load the fresh linens for our overnight stay, hurrah!). Shortly later, the whole gang showed up at the train station and I breathed a deep sigh of relief. About 20 minutes before the train departure, I again approached the ticket agent. When I told her my destination, she said “oh, nooo, oh no go there…revolution happened…drivers on strike….south Thailand protesting…you not go”. What!!! She then directed me to a shady travel agent who spoke English and had an office in the train station. He told me that the Prime Minster (or some other diplomat) sold a national telecommunications company to a foreign buyer and didn’t force them to pay taxes. Without the taxes, the people of Thailand won’t see any money from that huge multi-million dollar transaction and now they are furious. So mad in fact that all of the work force in southern Thailand declared a strike. Of course all of this happened in the last hour (well the protests had been occurring the last few days). The train engineer s refused to work and therefore stranded us in Bangkok. The shady travel agent then said his ‘friend’ had a bus who would take us to the island for a price (yeah totally sounded like a cash only scam notorious in Thailand). We had no other options in order to escape Bangkok so we hopped on the shittiest over night bus ever! Instead of beds with fresh sheets which we originally booked, we were stuck with semi-reclining seats that were built for tiny Asian people. Trying to fall asleep at a 45 degree angle while riding on a bus that probably sold its shocks back in the 70’s so didn’t happen. Plus the three of us spent the day sweating our balls off biking around the ruins and hadn’t showered yet (unless you count spending quality time with a couple of wet wipes). After an hour being miserable on the bus, I said, “sigh…a shower and a massage…and bacon…a bacon shower!”

Us, sweaty, tired, and stewing.

Taking a break midway at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere Thailand.

Sign at the bus stop that lets you know where to pee.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

We're still talking about TV's right...

Life lesson #124: Never take a man electronics shopping with you.
I have an old television set. Okay not old, really really old, like about 15 years (or more) old. Granted it is color and has a remote control, but that is about as luxurious as it gets. It has an antenna plug (the rabbit ears I lost some time back in college) and only a coax cable input. Yep, when I got a DVD player, I couldn’t plug in the yellow, red, and white plug thingies. Obviously, my TV is not digital and I not willing to spend $10 plus tax on a digital converter box to resurrect this relic.

I scanned the consumer reports and picked out a few top rated models/brands to compare prices on. I found a 42” LCD from Panasonic on super sale advertised at Best Buy. I called to confirm the store and reserved their remaining model. When I arrived, I was escorted around by an employee with the most severe snaggle tooth I have ever seen! Seriously, I couldn’t help stare at his front teeth and wonder how many times he slices open his lip a day. Distracting! Anyway, he checked the computers and walked the store before returning to me with a manager in tow. I knew this couldn’t be good news. He explained that the computer said they had one left and he (and a few other employees) saw the box right over there a day or two ago…so I guess the TV walked out on its own. I was disappointed and told them that I had a car for today only and that I will just head over to another store so I could go home with a TV…TODAY! I think they were embarrassed or dying to sell something because they went into full deal mode. They offered me the next model up (a 46”) with all these features (that I will never use) for just 1/3 the price difference. Honestly, I thought a 42” TV was HUGE for my tiny apartment, so the 46” would practically be an entire wall of TV. I turned to Marathon Man and asked if it was too big. After a brief pause he said “it can never be TOO BIG”! Ha!

Post script: I did end up getting the too big 46” TV. Now when I watch people on TV, they are life size.