Sunday, January 27, 2013

Yup, I made that bad boy....

I have never been much of a risk taker, preferring to make decisions based on how much bodily pain or parental guilt will be involved. Yet, it seems that 2013 is not going to be a year for the timid.
Most recently of note: I completed the jib for our hand built sailboat. For those unfamiliar with sailing terminology, ahem, like me – A jib is a triangular staysail that sets ahead of the foremast of a sailing vessel . (thank you wikipedia.)

I was initially not on board (har har) with making the sails for our boat. However, my husband pointed out that after nearly three years of HAND BUILDING it just seemed wrong to put a manufactured sail from the HAND BUILT mast. (I am capitalizing HAND BUILT/BUILDING as I am quite sure that is how it was pronounced.) So it was with much trepidation that my twenty seven year old Kenmore portable sewing machine and I took to the task.

The sail came in 6 pieces from a company called Sailrite. They take great pride in their sail kits, offering YouTube videos and detailed instruction, some of which is HAND written on everything from using the non-spinning spool of thread to attaching the sticker that proclaims to the world that you have indeed made one of their sails.

Much to my surprise, the pieces went together quite easily with only a couple of hitches, both involving shoving pointy objects through or around four layers of sailcloth, a quarter inch thick rope and -once- my husband's index finger. My little Kenmore jugged right along and although Miss Galbrieth, my 7th grade home-ec teacher, would not approve of the rather flimsy tension of the thread in places, I think she would still be secretly delighted. Miss Galbrieth was a single woman with a boyfriend, who wore fashionable clothes and addressed us middle school girls as fellow women. I concocted many a secret life for her in the two years she was my instructor, secret life that were less than conformist.

Which brings me to the risk taking. As I was finishing the last couple of seams I began to ponder just how important this project was. Sure, the HAND MADE boat is important to my husband for many reasons. To me it had always been an interesting project which kept the garage simultaneously impossible to enter and unbelievably clean except for the 15 foot boat in it. But lets face it, I never really considered the implications of completion. I find deep and meaningful thoughts more hilarious than insightful but as I looked at the jib, a sail used to increase performance and decrease turbulence for the mainsail, it occurred to me that this piece of fabric was the leading edge of opportunity to places yet to be explored and a lifestyle I have only pretended to be living.

Of course, I still have the Main to sew. Which gives me plenty of time to get my life insurance in order...

Good to know this can double as my body bag...

Our HAND BUILT sloop - Nancy's China DC from Devlin Boats (Their name, not ours. Our name will be much better.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The First Step is Admitting...

I had an A-Ha* moment yesterday.

I was standing in the area which doubles as a break area, quietly munching my cucumber circles dipped in hummus. A co-worker walked past, paused and said, "Don't look so sad. What's the matter?"

Brought back from my reverie, I didn't have the heart to tell him. I wasn't contemplating the fiscal cliff, the declining polar ice cap or even my job. I was contemplating the fact that while I love cucumbers – with their crunchy refreshingness – and I love hummus - with its spicy, slightly grainy texture – I DO NOT love them together.

Instead I smiled and muttered something that ended in a 'no worries but thanks for asking' nod.

And that's where the A-Ha comes in. If I can contemplate my afternoon snack with such intensity as to elicit concern I must face the facts now and change my ways before I get caught fighting Anthony Bourdain for pig cheeks and raw quail.

That's right. I am a Foodie.

Would someone please get me a can of spaghetti-ohs...

*It is my understanding that The Oprah has trademarked 'A-Ha'. I scoff at trademarked words. Besides, I doubt that The Oprah is reading this and if she is – call me! According to my husband there is enough material  here for a prime time special.

** HEY!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blame It On the Ten Story Drop, Not the Giant Underwear

I may be responsible for the possible engagement and subsequent marriage of the Adorable Young Couple I met last night. It is quite satisfying, the knowledge that you may have manipulated someone to make a life altering choice, and I had not felt that devious sense of accomplishment in a very long time. I suppose you need a little back story.

Years ago, when our children were toddlers and we were trapped – devoted – to providing for their every whim while finding no time to express our own individuality, my husband and I would conduct tiny experiments in human nature. We would pack up the kids, take a picnic lunch and stake out a picturesque spot at a local park. There we would eat and play and lie in wait. As soon as we spotted an unsuspecting young couple, with too much disposable income and free time, jogging towards us we would spring to action. One of our kids would run past the joggers, make a wide loop and head back toward the picnic where my husband would grab the tot, swing him or her into the air causing the kid to shriek with laughter and a giggle filled 'I wuv you Daddy!'. The other would nuzzle into my lap and wave shyly at the joggers, who would now be stopped in their tracks and smiling at such unabashed cuteness. I swear, you could hear the biological alarm clock.

It felt great knowing that we had managed to take two more down with us.

Fast forward to last night and the doomed couple.

As a way to shake up our dinner club – six comfortably over twenty-year-old friends who get together every couple of months for a meal, some wine and the occasional heated conversation – we went to the City Museum. If you have never been just try imagining Dr. Seuss on acid with some help from Louis Carroll and a dash of Tim Burton. There are no words to describe the wonderful craziness except to say that IT IS NOT A MUSEUM. It is home to (for starters) the World's Largest Underpants and No 2 Pencil, an interior cave system and my nemesis, the Ten Story Slide.

It was at the top of the Ten Story Slide – which was accesses by a climb of ten stories through near claustrophobic tunnels – that we met The Adorable Couple. They were twenty-somethings at the Museum to celebrate his birthday. We began talking after I broke up some smoochers who were holding up the line. Adorable Girl informed us that there was NO WAY she was going to kiss Adorable Guy as he was all sweaty. We reminded her that Adorable Guy had brought her to this awesome place on a date so he might be a contender for Cool Guy of the Year. Adorable Guy informed us that it was in fact Adorable Girl who had brought him to this very spot, ten stories above the circular ramps of the old shoe factory, surrounded by a wall of old specimen pans and carbonation canisters overlooking a pipe organ which appears to be hanging in mid air. We discussed the pros and cons of such a date as well as the anxiety ramping up in all of us as we waited to shoot down the abyss.

Adorable Girl went first.

The museum has a camera positioned at the bottom of the slide. It is suppose to allow the Slide Monitor a way to be sure the last body – guest – has cleared the slide before the next victim – guest takes a turn. And we all joined Adorable Guy as he waited for her to emerge from the gaping maw at the bottom. When she arrived intact he took off. And much to our delight, upon landing he jumped up and into the arms of Adorable Girl who proceeded to plant a Hollywood Kiss* right on his lips. We cheered appropriately and with enough vigor to cover my screams as I took my turn.

We ran into the Couple later that evening. They congratulated us on making it down alive and then they said the words every over ^&*% year old wants to hear – 'Wow, you guys all did it? You are way cooler than our parents. All they do is sit at home and watch TV.'

They then gazed into the other's eyes and without speaking said the words – 'When we are their age we too will be the most awesome married people ever!'

My husband and I smiled. Its good to know we still got it.

*Hollywood Kiss: the act of kissing someone just like in the movies; usually accompanied by lifting one foot, dipping the kissee or in extreme instances jumping up and wrapping both legs around the kisser. Not recommended for casual use.

The Ten Story Slide does indeed take you down ten stories on a twisting ramp once used to deposit shoes into bins in the basement of the factory. The line to take your turn averages about fifteen minutes. It takes approximately forty seconds and three breaths to scream all the way to the bottom. I could not get a picture of the slide as it is in part of the cave portion of the museum and pretty dimly lit so instead I give you THE WORLD'S LARGEST UNDERPANTS:

On Beyond Tidy Whities...

Monday, January 14, 2013

And Tonight, Playing Herself....

I was telling a co-worker about a dream I had the other night. In the dream my husband was trying to save me from some LesMiz style of consumption-riddled, tooth-selling, semi-prostituting demise. But, here's the catch, my husband was played by Bill Murray. And I wasn't 'me'. I was playing someone else...who was playing me...being someone else...

To which my co-worker replied, 'Oh my!'. She then muttered something about wondering what it would be like to take a little trip through the avenues of my mind.

And she moved her chair to the far end of our desk.

But it left me wondering about the dream. Could it be I am unhappy with my husband and wish to replace him with a former comedian turned serious actor? Am I seeking a way to become someone else? Do I want to experience the squalor of pre-revolutionary France or is is just that I really want to lose thirty pounds by what ever means necessary? Is this some cosmic way of telling me to embrace the inner me and learn to love a Chicago accent?

I have no idea. But when I mentioned the casting choice to my husband he said he was okay with it, stating that Bill Murray really has come into his own as an actor. And then he inquired as to the physical attributes of the woman I was 'playing'.

In your dreams your dreams...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Buddy, if I had the dime to spare...

Things I want to say to panhandlers:

No thanks, I'm good but, hey everyone, this guy's giving away money! Anyone need some?

Hey security! This guy needs money for a train ticket.

Here's a dollar. Now you give me your crack pipe, stash and that diamond ring and we'll call it even.

You PROMISE to buy beer with this, right? Don't go wasting it on a sandwich or fruit. You get a nice IPA, or maybe a pumpkin ale.

I'll give you a dollar if you swear you will wear underwear next time.


Oh honey, money won't fix anything. Lets hold hands and sing. I find a good song always cheers me up. (Grab hands and sing Get This Party Started. Invite everyone else on the train to join in.)

I don't speak English. (Say in perfectly enunciated English.)

I'll give you 5 bucks but first you give that burly TSA agent a sloppy kiss on the lips. There's another 10 in it for you if you grab his ass.

Sure, here's a dollar. But I must keep back 6.2% for social security and another 15% for Federal Bd State taxes. And wait a minute. Lets deduct $100 for your major medical and really, you should put 10% in your 401k.

(Don't get me wrong. I support many charities and have a few friends that have had to panhandle in the past. However, when I get hit up by the same two guys multiple times over multiple days I assume a conspiracy. Maybe they should just incorporate and get it over with.  Besides, the Coast of Illinois has many great organizations dedicated to assisting those in need. Like St. Patrick's Center - they provide housing, job training, and placement but you have to follow the rules.

Just like the rest of us.)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Buddy, can you spare some time?

So, here is the list of things I am suppose to be doing in the New Year:

Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day
Eat 5 fruits and/or vegetables a day
Drink 8 glasses of water...a day
Brush teeth two minutes twice a day and floss
Drink a glass of wine
Don't drink a glass of wine because it is wasted calories and
Lose a minimum of 15 pounds this year
Write a minimum of 30 minutes a day
Get at least 8 hours sleep

Oh, and work 10 hours, four days a week.
Not that bad, really.

 Well, lets do the math:

Exercise 30 minutes. By the time I put on the work out clothes, visit the little girls room, put on my cross-training shoes, fix an ice water, visit the little girl's room, set up the treadmill and the DVD player to a tolerable program...Exercise adds up to more like 45 minutes.
Post work out shower and shopping for cute new exercise clothes: 2 hours.

Eating really shouldn't count but it is so much easier to eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies when they are pre-cleaned and displayed attractively in the fridge: 1 hour.
Kitchen decontamination from knife wounds: 1 hour.

Drinking water – 3 hours.
Who am I kidding, 6 hours.
(Sorry to burst your illusions but I am a 50ish year old woman. Do I really have to spell it out?)
Thanks to my new self timing spin toothbrush, my dental goals are easily met in about 90 minutes. Sure, two minutes to brush. 3 or 4 to floss. 30 spent gagging on toothpaste, floss and gigantic toothbrush that SPINS. 55 minutes cleaning spit off the bathroom mirror = 90 minutes.

Everyone knows it takes a good 40 minutes to really drink a nice glass of wine.

Don't drink a glass of wine because it is wasted calories and
Lose a minimum of 15 pounds this year. SEE ABOVE

Okay, it took 26 minutes to put this together.
Lets increase that time to 60 minutes a day, okay?

And sleep?
Does the nap I took while practicing yoga this morning count?