Monday, July 18, 2011

Hammer Time

I've taken on an impressive exercise and diet regimen as of, oh, today. And even I, in my perpetual summer, know that it's a Monday, which means that tomorrow is a Tuesday... which means (statistically) my good intentioned diet could very well meet its end by tomorrow night.

The road to weight loss is littered with boobie traps. And I'm here to expose a few of them now so that, when Wednesday rolls around, I'm not sitting on the floor of our kitchen shaking my fist at the world while the cookie crumbs fly off my fingers.

Boobie Trap: I didn't go to bed one night and wake up thirteen pounds heavier. On the flip side, I'm not going to go to bed and wake up the next morning looking like Jennifer Beals. I wish it were that easy. But this stuff takes time, and not just the five minutes it takes to walk from the workout room to my apartment to see that all my sweating didn't yield instant abs.


Boobie Trap: As exhausted as I may be after an hour of clicking through pictures of my hottest facebook friends, or as motivated as I may feel after a slideshow of Jennifer Lopez (I'm sorry, how old is she?), I haven't actually done anything. In fact, I was probably eating the whole time I was surfing.

The force of these things combined is bound to make any self-respecting woman feel like poo poo. And I say, "No more." So, rather than food deprivation which is a sure killer of any diet, I'm trying distraction. I'm trying to get active, mentally or physically, when I crave to dribble a handful of milk chocolate chips down my gullet. Which is why I'm here, blogging to the universe.

Me-1, Chocolate Chips-0.

And also why I'm here:

If you've got the time and the health, have a go at one of those routines. National Dance Day is coming up at the end of the month, but really, who needs a deadline! Get up and get dancey! is also a great (free) tool for keeping yourself accountable and becoming more aware of what you eat. You'd be surprised...

Good luck to me! And good luck to you, if you're trying to get serious about your health and your ha-cha-cha factor.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

So We've Been Told

Artscape, America's largest free art festival (ho ho!) has been taking place in Baltimore this weekend. Steven and I went Friday and met up with a friend of his from the Peace Corps for a little music at the beautiful Corpus Christi church.

Is veddy veddy nice, no?

We went, intrigued by this description from a long list of events: Larksong, A Cappella Concert. Lovely melodies from the medieval era to the present, ring through the church as the Larksong voices weave and blend without musical accompaniment.

Which should have read: Larksong, A Cappella Concert. All songs from the medieval era, excepting a southern gospel and a Beatles song, which will be manipulated to sound exactly like what you've already been listening to for the last hour. All of this will ring through the church, ring into your brain, and blend into time until you can no longer remember from whence you came or where you are going. *muwahahahahaha*

The only relief was the nearly inaudible spats of witt in between pieces:

You may have noticed our clothing is a little different. *twittering laugh* It's the traditional dress of the Tudor era, however, most days we look just like all of you. *eye twinkle*

Thank you, Larksong, for your effortless entertainment.

To be fair, they did sing very well, and they did their best to entertain us with the feathers in their caps and the occasional sweeping of their velvety arms. But they overestimated people's feelings for the medieval style by, like, a million. Larksong is best suited for the Renaissance festival, where I can listen to their melodious blends as I'm walking past them on my way to the jou$ting tournament.

All in all, our Artscape experience wobbled on the bizarre side. From Corpus Christi, we went to a cafe for some free Sangria and chips and salsa. The flatscreen over the bar was playing Kill Bill (1 and 2).

Then we planted ourselves on a crazy steep hillside for the main entertainment of the evening, American Idol winner (season three), Fantasia. We stuck around for most of the show -enjoying her barefoot and laid back style- but left before the finale because, frankly, we were musiced out.

Waiting for the subway to take us home, we talked with a couple of women, one who echoed something I have been thinking since we moved here:

"Ya'll need to find some black friends."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Positive Post

After days of unpacking and breaking down boxes, we're all settled in.

We are so happy with our apartment, which is even better than we expected from our first tour back in April. After the kitchen we had at Devon apartments, this one is chef's dream. OK, no, it isn't; but it is OUR dream, as we're dreaming on a budget. We also have THREE closets, four if you count the creepy one on our patio that doesn't lock and might have harbored a dead body at one time.

The bedroom is huge, the tub isn't from the 19th century (a negative on days when I'm playing at being especially Victorian), and best of all, WE HAVE A WASHER AND DRYER.

This is what we look like. (This is not what our washer looks like.)

And even if this isn't home, it's got the feel of home with the two of us, our Harry Potter books, and our pictures.

We are so thankful to have gotten here safely and without any hiccups in our giddy up. I was just sitting on the front steps of our building today thinking about how glad I am for what we have saved and what we have been given that's made it possible for us to live in a safe, quiet area. And not only that, but we've made some runs to the grocery store and have stocked our fridge and cabinets with food.

If I'm not mistaken, having food and a place to rest safely are some of the most basic human needs, and we are more than satisfied there.

As far as our other needs go, we visited a church on Sunday. It's called New Hope Community Church; a non-denominational satellite church here in Pikesville. They meet in an old stone chapel, named Old Stone Chapel, located on Stone Chapel Road. The most interesting piece of information, however, is not mentioned in any of those names, and it is the very old CEMETERY located on either side of the path leading to the front door.

I can't really explain the experience of walking past the graves on the way to the door. It was very sobering, and at the same time very moving to be walking on ground in which, nearly 100 years before, people were burying their loved ones. The small plot of land felt removed from time, and yet more real than anything else I had experienced so far in MD. Everyone dies, everything returns to dust, but it isn't the end.

Anyway, we're planning on visiting some other places on the Sundays to come.

Steven has started looking up job options for me, which is both exciting and scary. Prayers would be appreciated there. *sweaty palms*

We went to the library today and, though it was a little disappointing in its variety and odor, we came away with some good books which I expect will help to ease the home sickness a bit.

Cooking for two is an art I have yet to master, as evidenced by our growing stack of leftovers in the fridge.

Two of our neighbors, we've never seen. A man across the hall helped us get the piano up and down the stairs and into our apartment, but has since disappeared... (related?)... Our upstairs neighbor greeted us by saying "Oh, you'll hate it here. I wish you had asked me before moving in; I would have told you not to." She's a little crazy, a lot lonely, and a TON "cat lady." She's opened her apartment to us, should we need anything, and gifted us a few (ugly) plants.

All in all, there is more good in this than bad.

We miss you all and invite you to come visit as soon as you can.

Seriously, we're desperate for friends.

Can't you tell?

The Negative Post

I've adopted a new phrase since our move -one that has nothing to do with becoming a hip Baltimorean and everything to do with how moving has reduced me to a child- and it is:

"I hate this."

I know. So negative, so immature. But maybe you're shaking your head, thinking At least she isn't puffing out her bottom lip, raising her voice into a whine, and stamping her foot...

Oh, but I am.

You see, it's easy to be ridiculous in isolation. Tucked away in our gated* community, stashed away in our corner apartment, we are alone and I am at liberty to express just how completely done I am with...

...And this is where the list would be:


And it would be long.

Because the truth is, I miss Topeka's library. I miss midwestern drivers and the open space around the highways. I miss I-70, God bless it, and Wanamaker for how user friendly it actually is. I miss our family. I miss my friends. I miss being in a place where I once had friends. I miss the beef and the dairy, just because that's very Kansas of me. I miss Kroger brand.

Suddenly, I understand the fierce pride people have in their homestate. I know what it feels like to be walking down the aisle of a grocery store or to be standing in front of the DVDs at the Baltimore library reading the sign that says "$1.00 a day," thinking "Bulls**t. This would NOT happen in Topeka." I've even gone so far as to say to people, "Well, in Topeeekaaaa..."

Topeka is awesome! Topeka is better than all of Maryland!

Kansas, beloved Mother, today in an alien land,
Yours is the name I have idly traced with a bit of wood in the
The name, that, flung from a scornful lip, will make the hot
blood start;
The name that is graven, hard and deep, on the core of my
loyal heart.

-excerpt from The Call of Kansas, Esther M. Hill

*Not actually gated very often.