Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Killer Cardio

How “killer” could it be? I wondered of the 16 minute Free-On-Demand exercise video entitled Killer Cardio. I mean, I could see if it was a full hour video, then, yeah, “killer”.  But 16 minutes minus the part where the instructor talks and minus the warm-ups – easy peasy.  I got this. And then, I can check: “make-up for eating an entire cupcake in batter form” off my to-do list.  (I don’t want to get into how it happened that I ate the equivalent of a cupcake’s worth of batter – let’s just leave at: it had something to do with being hormonal and mildly stressed.)

Speaking of lists, I’m compiling a list called “I wish they’d invent”.  I would attempt to invent these things myself but I’m too busy renting 16 minute exercise videos.  Here’s my first entry: “I wish they’d invent exercise videos that you can lose weight and get fit simply by laying there and watching it.”  Really, someone please invent this.

(Not actual instructor-chick)
So, I hit rent and the I didn’t eat a cupcake in batter form over the weekend or ever in her life instructor appeared and began explaining her video.  Blah, blah, blah – something about hitting pause if I need to at any time during the workout session – blah, blah, blah.

“Let’s warm-up”.  I’m marching in place thinking I can keep up with this chick.  Sure, she’s in killer shape but I bet – or at least, I hope – she didn’t give birth to three kids like yours truly here.  (My claim to fame is that I survived carrying twins and I didn’t complain once – Flashback: “I’m dying.  I can’t walk.  I can’t believe the ultrasound didn’t show the entertainment system that these twins have hooked up to the umbilical cord!”)

“Now, remember, you can hit pause at any time,” the instructor chick reminds me.  Okay, okay already, there’s like ten minutes left – how killer can it be? 

“Let’s begin with squats for 30 seconds” – oh please … killer, yeah right.  Okay, my thighs are burning  – but that’s good.  Bye, bye batter-cupcake: I’m burning you off.

“Squat jumps for 30 seconds.”  Bring it on!  Here we go. 

“For the next nine minutes you’re going to collapse on the floor and watch me finish the workout.” 

So, the instructor chick didn’t actually say that.  I’m not sure what she said from that point forward.  But, while staring at the ceiling flat on my back, I did come up with my first entry for “I’d wish they’d invent” and that’s something, right?

FYI- You don't have to rent a Killer Cardio video, there's plenty of excercise "recipes"  of the killer kind on Pinterest.  Will reading them make you skinny?  Someone invent that!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Home Alone, a Ringing Phone and an Unknown Ring-Tone

 Once the bus whisks my twins off to Kindergarten, I am home alone for most of the afternoon - well unless you count Riley and Brick. 

Brick the Beta

Usually the time passes uneventful and quickly (as we have established here on a previous post that I am the unofficial queen of time wasting.)

Yes, uneventful and quickly … until one afternoon, as I was home alone when I heard a phone ringing! It was actually a friend calling to chat.  But then, another phone was ringing! And that turned out to be an unknown number on my cell phone.  I didn’t answer it because this number had called two other times …and had not left a message - Mysterious.  And then, the call waiting beeped in my ear!  It was my husband asking me to do some inane chore outside that I’d rather he do (but that’s a whole other post.)  Needless to say, I hung up quickly with him and the house went silent … until … there was another ringing phone … with an unknown ring-tone!  Dun-dun-dahhh!

It wasn’t the house phone.  It wasn’t my cell phone.  There was a phone ringing somewhere in the house and I WAS HOME ALONE!  (I wish you could have seen my older son’s face as I told him this story –the way he was looking at me was priceless!)  Anyway, where was I?

and I was home alone with the ringing phone with an unknown ring-tone!  I walked down the hallway …

…followed the ringing into my daughter’s bedroom … 

… on her desk, sat an old cell phone …

The phone had been disconnected, as in no longer in use, as in unable to send or receive calls, as in not supposed to be ringing when no one was near it, as in What the hell is happening?, as in Did I mention I was home alone?

Ring, ring, ring.  Ring, ring, ring.  Should I answer it?  Who could be calling?  Crazy thoughts zipped through my head.  Obviously, it was someone trying to contact me from the other side.  I’ve watched enough episodes of the Long Island Medium to know that it was possible.

Cautiously I approached the phone.  In the long-arm stance of someone reaching for something very undesirable, I picked up the phone.  I was poised to say, “Hello.”  I was ready to speak with the “other side”.

And … and … and … I read the display … which said,

“Alarm set 3:30 p.m.

I would like to take a moment, right here and now, to thank my parents who gave my children their old phones when they upgraded to smart phones last month.  These phones have provided hours and hours of “I-can-barely-think-straight or hear-my-own-thoughts” entertainment, including my daughter unwittingly setting the phone’s alarm when I was…


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Review: Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook

 File Claire Cook and her novels under both the “feel-good” and “the pursuit of following dreams” categories.   While most people know our featured author from her novel turned movie, Must Love Dogs, I have been a fan since those long-gone sleep deprived days immediately following the birth of my twins, when my mom would pass along her paperback novels to me.  In the mix of books she had sorted as “yes”, as in I wouldn’t quit reading it after the first chapter, I discovered a witty and clever read entitled Life’s a Beach by, you guessed it, Claire Cook.  Not only did I become a fan, but I became inspired to do some writing of my own.    

 Wallflower in Bloom tells the story of a true wallflower – Deirdre Griffin’s eyes are even wallflower brown!  Standing the shadows of her superstar guru brother, Tag (who I imagined as looking a lot like Tony Robbins), Deirdre doesn’t have much of a life beyond her siblings and parents.  After an embarrassing incident involving frumpy, old undergarments paired with a new love interest; and after nearly running down her ex-boyfriend in a golf cart, Deirdre drowns her sorrows in a boozy milkshake (chocolate soymilk plus Ben Jerry’s Triple Carmel Chunk plus Russian Vodka … mmm … where was I? Oh, yeah…) and becomes a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.  What?  Well, Deirdre is herself a guru - of public relations and promotion that is.  She puts her talents to good use by convincing her brother’s fans to support her candidacy to be on the hit show.  (While I was reading this book, I didn’t know whether I ought to be taking notes or tracking down a real life Deirdre Griffin to help me!)  Of course, Deirdre is a fish out of water amongst the true stars of Hollywood.  But, rest assured, this wallflower does bloom for an ending that seems to come all too quick but is charming and heart-warming nonetheless.

Plus, I love learning something new, especially when it has to do with word-play.  Each chapter begins with a chiasmus.  (Bonus points if you know what a chiasmus is or how to pronounce it!)  Basically, (and this is my attempt to define it), it’s a super catchy way to make a quotable phrase by stating something forward and backward in such a manner it makes you think about it.  Here’s a famous example: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” And here’s a funny one from the book: “When in doubt, eat and when in eat, doubt.”
Hear the first chapter of Wallflower in Bloom read by Claire Cook. 

About the Author:
(And the reason why Claire Cook is my hero of the literary world!)
 Claire Cook wrote her first novel in her minivan when she was forty-five. At fifty, she walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation her second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. She is the bestselling author of eight other novels and divides her time between the suburbs of Atlanta and Boston.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Time’s a-wastin’ and I’m a-wastin’ time!

Yesterday afternoon, I finally sat down an hour before the bus was due to return and decided to do some reading.  The story was actually sort of good, rather entertaining.  Unfortunately, as I was getting into it - it came to an abrupt end.  That’s it.  It just ended.  Halfway through and zip, nada, nothing more - it cut off.  I would have been enraged, but then I realized I was reading my own book!  It was my own second attempt at writing a novel.  Plus, I knew where the last half of it was: lost in some time/space blackhole vacuum suck.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like bananas.
--Groucho Marx

The way I figure it, I have four hours a day (minus cutting up three bananas for my kids’ after-school snack) in a regular five day school week equaling twenty unanswered hours a week all to myself to squander how I see fit.  If I factored in surfing Facebook, Pinterest, my daily horoscope, checking out the weather, the top People headlines, some real world headlines and entering sweepstakes that I’m never going to win…

(Speaking of sweepstakes, there was this whole article that totally pissed me off in the back of All You magazine.  Usually there's a mundane write-up about moms who clip coupons, but this time it featured this woman who was supporting her family on sweepstakes wins - Bitch!  I never ever, ever, ever have won, never ever, and I enter, oh I enter, faithfully, several times a week, big prizes, small prizes and not one single win.  This woman boasted that sometimes she wins things she really doesn’t want so she posts those items up for sale on E-Bay.  I hope I never meet this woman on the street.  I think she should take a restraining order out on me right now.)

What was I saying?  Oh yes, and then there’s perhaps excercising undisturbed and the Real Housewives of NYC episodes I’d rather set time aside for watching while I’m alone - you know, without having the children around to ask me why the women on the show are always drinking alcohol. And there are definitely closets to organize which reminds me about cruising the Bed, Bath and Beyond website for stuff that I might want to buy because they went on clearance.  Plus, I could go places …kid-free… like to a friend’s house or a supermarket or a store that sold clothing in adult sizes or even, dare I say, out to lunch.    

After all that, I could actually finish that novel.  Gee, I wonder how it’s going to end.

 The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot.
--Michael Althsuler

The bad news is that I’m the pilot.  The good news is … uh … is … uh … it’s five o’clock somewhere?

Time's fun when you're having flies.  --Kermit the Frog

Change “flies” to vodka and Kermit has the right idea!