Monday, April 28, 2008

How Much Is That In Euros?

Is it wrong that the money I'm going to receive from the US government as part of an effort to stimulate our economy is all going to be hoarded until Fall and spent in Italy? I mean, I'm OK with it, I just hope the Fed doesn't mind that what they were hoping would be spent on baseball games and apple pie is going to go toward gelato and wine.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Salmon Diet

One day during the summer when I had finally decided to make a serious attempt at weight loss and had actually started to see some results, I got into a conversation at the beach with a family friend. Mrs. Chandler* was pleasant lady, she and my mother got along really well, though, as my dad said, “a little bit of Mrs. Chandler goes a long way.”
Quick wits and tact not being her most outstanding features, she was often the subject of good-natured joking among my admittedly hypercritical family. Once while out to dinner with my parents she asked a waiter to repeat a few of the specials and then asked for elaboration on the preparation and presentation of a certain salmon special and commented on what a good choice that was. When the waiter asked what side dishes she’d like with her salmon she looked at him wide-eyed and said matter-of-factly “I’m not having that, I don’t like fish.”

She was in fine form the day we stood by the water’s edge chatting about my school year and her job while we watched my sister doing gymnastics in the sand. After a short lull in the conversation she smiled and said “Jackie is turning into such a lovely young woman isn’t she? She’s absolutely beautiful.”
“Yeah, it’s awesome, I’m really happy for her,” I replied, with all the enthusiasm of a death row inmate when asked what he thought of the new shade of green on the hallway floor.
The subject of my younger sister’s attractiveness had long been a sore spot for me, since I saw it as a direct lead-in to an appraisal of my own looks and always imagined the appraiser concluding the evaluation with “but Ali sure is smart, knows all kinds of words- and what great dental hygiene!”

About a minute after she made this comment, as sort of an afterthought, Mrs. Chandler said “And you’re looking good these days, your program is helping, you can tell you’re really working hard.”

I suppose one could take this as a compliment. I am not that one. The translation to me was, “Your sister is so beautiful, just gets prettier every day…oh, and you’re less fat now, must be pretty tough for you to lay off those fried Oreos, eh?”
I held my tongue and just said thank you and walked away. I'm sure she forgot about immediately but you can bet that from that day on, not one wrinkle, not a single cellulitic dimple on her escapes me and every imperfection I notice makes me feel a little better...that and suggesting my parents serve fish whenever she comes over.

*Name has been changed to protect, well, honestly, me- from the stink eye

Saturday, April 12, 2008

In No Particular Order- 25 Coolest Things

- I went to a bull fight in Spain

- I went on a tour of a rural village in Morocco

- I lost my driver's license at the shore and the next day it washed up on the beach and a lifeguard who knew my sister found it, recognized me and got it back to me

-When I was twelve I told off my neighbor who was hosing off his driveway in the middle of the afternoon during a severe drought and he listened to me and turned his hose off and swept the driveway instead

- I sang "Midnight Train to Georgia" at a Karaoke bar and got a standing ovation

- I did the Running Man in the aisle of a train to Philadelphia on New Year's Eve and everyone in the car chanted my name (after my friends started the chant- the passengers didn't just happen to know my name)

- I snuck a picture of the David in Florence

- I won a TiVo at my company holiday party

- I won class representative in third grade by running an honest, clean campaign

- I read the most books of any girl in my school in fifth grade (it doesn't have to be cool to the general public, only to me- I acknowledge that I am a nerd)

- I got the number for Tina Fey's direct line at Saturday Night Live and called and left her a message (still waiting on the return call)

- I had a whirlwind romance with a handsome Italian man on a trip to Florence that included running hand in hand down a cobble stone street- very Roman Holiday

- I sent a tape of myself singing to a radio station for a contest and they played the whole song on the radio and the DJs said it was good

- I played with the monkeys on the Rock of Gibraltar

- When I was 11 I learned how to sail a sailboat, I've since forgotten but that's not the point

- When I was in eighth grade a radio station had a call-in contest looking for the best new campaign slogan for Bob Dole, my slogan won: "Bob Dole- America's right-hand man." (if you don't get it, just Google Bob Dole and hand)

- I taught a muscular Russian boy to speak fluently in Philadelphia vernacular

- I got asked to audition for lead role in Hairspray on Broadway

- I emceed the pep rallies and assemblies my senior year in high school and actually made them fun

- I met my favorite author, David Sedaris twice and had an extended conversation with him the second time

- I let Rachel Dratch from SNL into the seat next to me to watch a comedy show

- I caught a bagel- if you want to know the story you'll have to ask- it requires too much description to write it in this list

- On a trip to Universal Studios when I was six my brother and I got picked out of line to be in a show riding the giant bee from Honey I Shrunk the Kids

- I was the "May Queen" in the May procession in second grade

- I started this blog

Quater Century

I am about to turn 25. I am not totally sure how I feel about that yet but to help cope with it I have decided to write a retrospective on the 25 coolest events of my life, either stuff I have done or that has happened to me. Feel free to leave your own stories about things you've done that have made you feel awesome, or stuff that has happened to you that made you think you're not a loser.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Like A Treadmill Cowboy

I had 15 minutes to go in my elliptical machine workout when in the mirror I saw a large man walk up to the treadmill beside me. He seemed bigger than he was because of the stiff leather jacket he wore, with fringe on the sleeves and several metal embellishments. The jacket looked as though it could fully stand on its own with no bodily support from its owner. He wore a grey hat that looked like a cross between a cowboy hat and a fedora, but grossly inappropriate for the traditional wearer or either of those fashions. He removed the jacket and hat and set them on the out of order treadmill next to him. I wondered what he would have done with his things had there not been an idle piece of machinery next to him, since the 300 empty lockers downstairs clearly weren’t a secure option for such valuable pieces.

His black hair was secured around the forehead by what looked like a black ace bandage wrapped once or twice straight around his head. The hair beneath the band fell in soft waves almost to his shoulders, but was short enough in the front to reveal the dangling silver cross earring that swung from his right ear. He began a brisk walk and as he did his clothing began to shift with his body, as did the fancy earring. The large white T-shirt he wore hung down to the knees of his dark grey tapered leg sweatpants, the elastic bottoms of which just met the Velcro straps of his black hi-tops. The neck of the shirt was cut out Flashdance-style so that it draped at a saucy, flirtatious angle over his rounded, creamy shoulder. The sleeves and sides were also cut, revealing the white, dimpled flesh from his armpit down to the bunched elastic waistband of his sweatpants. After ten minutes of walking he stepped down and walked over to a machine on the Strive weight training circuit. I’ve mentioned the Strive circuit before, but I don’t know if I’ve fully explained how passionate many people are about this training. Avid Strive athletes are very touchy about keeping up the flow of their set. I almost came to blows once with a 53 year old librarian because I failed to stay two machines ahead of her, thus throwing off her timing. When this man arbitrarily sat down at the 5th machine on the circuit and began grunting out 15 pound reps he was abruptly chastised for butting in by a svelte salt and pepper-haired man in wire frame glasses. He gave the man a blank look while mumbling an apology. He feigned interest in the posted rules of Strive etiquette on the opposite wall until the collective focus of the room shifted away from him. As soon as everyone was back to checking their heart rates and numbers of calories burned he quickly exited the room, his glistening shoulder proudly leading the way as though he’d been planning an 11-minute workout all along. It was difficult to maintain such an air of self possession when, 30 seconds later, he returned to the room to retrieve his urban trail boss outerwear from the non-working treadmill. I think we all knew he wouldn’t be back.

Friday, April 4, 2008

One of My Heroes is Back

I may need to get Showtime just so I can watch the new Tracy Ullman show.