Monday, June 29, 2009

Driving 972 extra miles to see the God of Guitar

I worship this guy. The undisputed God of Guitar. Songwriter Extraordinaire. And the world's hottest 60 year old. Rawr.

Take that guitar out of your lap so I can sit there, please.

Richard Thompson is exactly my type - a self-deprecating, extraordinarily talented Englishman whose mischievous grin makes me weak in the knees. We drove from Ashland to Santa Cruz, CA to listen to him play a two hour show. It was worth every penny, every minute.

Professor X introduced me to his music when we lived in upstate New York 15 years ago. I became a very enthusiastic disciple. During our year in Ireland, we flew to England to catch several of his shows and the kids loved him. When I saw that RT wasn't playing anyplace remotely near Portland, but he was in northern California, I decided to piggyback the trip on to our Ashland adventure. And we presented the tickets to Prof. X as his Father's Day gift.

Because I am selflessly thoughtful like that.

His music is unlike anyone else's. His songs are brilliant. Some, like Dad's Gonna Kill Me, about a soldier in Baghdad, are overtly political. Others, like The Sights and Sounds of London Town, are awesome commentaries on the human condition. The melodies are deceptively cheerful; the lyrics have a very dark side, a bitterness. He's like the best chocolate mousse ever. Sweet but complex. His skill with a guitar is unparalleled. I hope he lives forever.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Unequivocally Awesome

I've spent the last couple of days in one of my favorite places on earth, Ashland, Oregon. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is home to some of the best theatre in the universe.

On Tuesday, we saw Don Quixote. It was great. They had some of the most creative art direction I've ever seen. We loved DQ's noble steed, the sheep and geese, and Sancho Panza's ass.

Wednesday night, we enjoyed The Music Man. Again, it was a given that the acting would be superb. But the set design was brilliant and really enhanced the production. It began with everything - and I do mean everything - in grey, black and white. As traveling salesman Harold Hill began to stir things up in River City, little bits of color were gradually added to costumes and set. The play's conclusion was vibrant and full of life. I'd known the lead, Michael Elich, would be fantastic, because I've seen him many times before. But I was really surprised by the beauty of the singing voice of the actress who played Marion the Librarian, Gwendolyn Mulamba. Let's face it, the movie version with Robert Preston and Shirley Jones is a tough act to follow. They were terrific. But this was really lovely too.

Today was a play I've been looking forward to for months, ever since I first read about the season's plays and bought our tickets; a world premiere of a new play about Shakespeare. Equivocation by Bill Cain explores some fascinating territory:
Truth-telling in dangerous times. What if the government commissioned you to write the definitive history (make that a self-serving lie) of a national crisis? What story would you tell? Welcome to London, 1605, and the world of King James, the Gunpowder Plot, and the Tower dungeons, as William Shakespeare and his theatre company struggle to create a play to please the king and not lose their hearts, souls, or heads in the process. In a world premiere, Bill Rauch directs Bill Cain’s high-stakes political thriller with ties to both Macbeth and Henry VIII.

This is one of those plays that only comes around every so often, where the script is so rich and thought-provoking, where the audience is rewarded handsomely for their cultural literacy, where the content is timeless, extraordinarily relevant to our current life despite the subject matter being 500 years old, where there are frequent bursts of humour that keep the corners of your mouth up and deep belly laughs emerge from your lips.

We four loved this play. Every smidgen. Up to now, I'd thought no one understood how to write about Shakespeare like Tom Stoppard. Bill Cain does.

After the play was over, and the cast was greeted by roars of approval and a standing ovation, I hustled the fam out of the theatre. We walked across the bricks to the Elizabethan Theatre, where Richard Elmore, one of the very fine actors, was to give a brief talk and engage in Q & A. It's one of my favorite parts of the Festival. We always learn something interesting and it enhances our experience so much. Elmore explained that the script for Equivocation changed over time as the small group of actors workshopped the piece (the cast of 5 men and 1 woman play an incredibly large number of characters) made suggestions to writer Cain, many of which he included in the final version. Elmore plays Father Henry Garnet, accused of being a conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot, who explains his Treatise of Equivocation to Anthony Heald's Shagspeare (Shakespeare). Garnet tells the playwright, "Equivocation. Don't answer the question they're asking. If a dishonest man has formed the question, there will be honest answer." I could see the wheels turning in both kids' heads as they pondered this. Elmore also plays Shagspeare's friend and fellow theatre owner, Richard Burbage, a very different character. When asked by the post-play discussion audience if shifting from one role to the other in rapid succession was a challenge, Elmore's face lit up. "That's what acting is all about! That's why I love it so!" Okay, that's a paraphrase; I wasn't taking notes. But it captures the essence of this man's joy in his profession.

OSF also offers "Prefaces," short 30-40 minute talks before the plays which illuminate aspects of what we're going to see. We've heard from directors, costume designers, dramaturgs, composers and actors over the years. It's especially helpful when they explain some of the historical events in the plays, although I have to confess Professor X usually knows that aspect quite thoroughly. We did one for Quixote and one for Henry VIII, which we saw later this evening.

There is something so magical about live theatre. My kids really love going to plays, and this visit was no exception. Equivocation will be in Seattle later this fall/winter with the same cast. I think we'll go up and see it there again. And I heard that theatre companies in southern California and New York are going to be staging it as well. If you have a chance, get thee hence. It kicketh ass.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Got Yer Culture Right Here

Picture from Maryhill Museum website - the parking lot was chock-full on Sat.

The awesome thing about living here is that there is always something awesome happening. Two nights ago, we went into the Columbia River Gorge to Stonehenge near Maryhill, Washington. Portland Actors Ensemble performed King Lear out there last night. Spoiler alert: When Goneril and Regan kicked him out into the stormy heath, we could totally relate. Although the skies were blue and sunny, the wind was really strong, and it was darned chilly. What a fun setting, especially as the sun set.

The whole place was jam packed with people sitting in little chairs or standing. Some intrepid boys even climbed up on those shorter stone pillars and sat - great view, but I'll bet their butts were pretty cold.

Lear teaches an important lesson in parenting. Never trust your children, no matter how much they say they love you, and don't give them all your stuff before you're dead because you'll wind up wandering in the wilderness.

On Sunday, poor Professor X had tons of grading left to do, so Super Son and I went to the Portland Art Museum for the Escher exhibition. Escher is one of his favorite artists, and the curator was giving a lecture.

Last summer, as we'd traveled to the east coast, we'd been frustrated that there were virtually no Escher prints on exhibition in at the art museums in Chicago, Philadelphia or DC. I'd mentioned our disappointment to one of the information desk people at the National Gallery of Art. She explained the works were very delicate, and kept in archival storage.

She then told me that we could just schedule an appointment to see them!!

Which we did.

Much goodness in here!

Super Son and I visited the archivist, where he was instructed how to handle the prints, and we spent a few very fun hours looking at dozens of them. He wore white cotton gloves, and carefully lifted each piece of art out of the storage boxes. Most of the art either depicted impossible realities or morphing creatures. It was heavily influenced by symmetry and geometric patterns. We learned an important lesson: it pays off to whine complain communicate. We'd never have had this opportunity if I hadn't spoken to the nice info desk lady.

The Portland Art Museum exhibition included some very different types of pieces. To be sure, it had plenty of the iconic works like Night and Day, Ascending and Descending and Metamorphosis III. And we saw the wood blocks created to produce several of the prints on display. The exhibition gave us a better understanding of Escher’s printmaking process, but it also exposed us to some more realistic images.

This was probably my favorite:

Can you believe this was created from a woodcut? That blows me away.

Although we're about to embark upon a long road trip around the country, I feel really blessed to live where I do. There's always something beautiful here.

Choice morsels

Time to share my progress or lack thereof in the battle of the bulge. This is part of my involvement in HASAY, a blogger's support group dedicated to good eating and fitness. I've not accomplished nearly as much as I'd hoped this past week in terms of eating less fattening food and getting more physical activity. But at least I'm not gaining. And I've introduced more whole grains into the house. And I did spend Wednesday evening at the swimming pool in an exercise class with Daring Daughter. Instead of a bunch of donuts or pastries, I bought some whole grain bagels, cream cheese and lox for us all. Healthy, right?

Part of my motivation comes from some clothes shopping I did with Daring Daughter. How depressing. I resemble the women in Dave King's Beach Scene. Except my calves and arms aren't nearly that skinny. Yeah....yuck. So one of my key purchases was a pair of really good walking shoes to replace the ones I've totally worn out. I'm determined to walk my butt off.

I have a long way to go, but it's all about making good choices, one at a time.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blithe Spirits

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
Vivacious summoner: Angela Lansbury, seated, with, from left, Jayne Atkinson, Christine Ebersole and Rupert Everett in Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit."

I'm really excited! I just booked tickets for the four of us to see Blithe Spirit starring Angela Lansbury.

On Broadway.

I have loved her forever, since I was a girl, watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks. As a young woman, I enjoyed Murder, She Wrote very much. My late father-in-law loved to point out that the people of Cabot Cove, the town where Lansbury's character Jessica Fletcher lived, had a higher murder rate than Detroit, Chicago, NYC and LA combined. I loved her anyway.

I've seen her very first movie, Gaslight and own a copy of the 1948 classic State of the Union, in which she tempts Spencer Tracy's industrialist/presidential candidate character to temporarily stray from Katherine Hepburn's faithful wife character.

If I had to choose one role of hers which is most beloved to me, it would be this one:

Isn't she marvelous? Her acting and singing moves me so much; it's genuine and loving. I think her mothering in real life has been a whole lot more like Mrs. Potts rather than the scary Mrs. Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate. When her son and daughter were starting to get into drugs in the early '70's, she moved the family to County Cork, Ireland, separating them from that culture. I don't know if that would work these days, but it did then.

By all accounts, she had a wonderful marriage; it began in 1949 and lasted until her husband died in 2003. She's quoted as saying

I've had an incredible relationship with my husband, with my family. I know they've had problems of their own, but we have never wavered in our closeness as a family. I've had a hell of a life.

Those sentiments sound like things my own mother says, and I hope I can say the same some day. Meanwhile, I'm tickled pink at this opportunity to see her. She's 83, so it's hard to say how much longer she'll be performing. But if you read the review, it sounds like she has the energy of a 33 year old, and I believe it. I remember watching Mick Jagger strut on stage a few years ago when he was in Tacoma. At 59, he bounced around like a 19 year old. I'm not joking. Check out this reviewer's account.

I might not have booked these tickets if it weren't for the suggestion of CockleCove, a contributor to TripAdvisor. That is truly an awesome site. People are incredibly generous with ideas and answers for travelers. CockleCove encouraged me to include the play's closing performance in my itinerary. Others chimed in, including many who've recently enjoyed the play and Lansbury. Originally, I'd just planned to get discount day of tickets for whatever was available while we were there. But this is a unique, wonderful opportunity.

I can't wait!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back to the Future: Eighth Graders Do the Eighties

Super Son will be going to high school next fall. What better way to mark the transition from eighth grade than a farewell party filled with references to that most enchanting of decades, the 1980's?

I had a total blast volunteering on the middle school party planning committee. The core group of 8th grade parents were well organized and creative. The woman who chaired the event was a delight to work with. There were many mothers and fathers willing to help that evening, supervising a variety of '80's-themed activities for the kids. One dad constructed an elaborate "pac man maze race" of cardboard walls on the floor of the gymnasium, through which teens had to traverse on little scooter boards.

Other adults spent a lot of time preparing great decorations for the event: giant rubik's cubes from boxes and construction paper, a wall-sized "We are the World" globe with adjoining butcher paper so the kids could sign their names and leave words of wisdom, a ginormous painted cardboard boom box in the room with the DJ.... everything was fun and colorful.

Yours truly was in charge of the signs for the activities. I was ready to prepare wording for the posters by cutting out letters by hand, only to learn that the school has this amazing die cut machine. It still takes a bit of time to set up and then glue everything on, but it's a fraction of the time I used to spend back in the early '90's when I prepared school bulletin boards. I'd originally planned to incorporate clever '80's song titles or lyrics into the signs; Games Without Frontiers for the board games,, I thought of Kick it Good for the hackysack area. You know, like Whip it Good? Yeah, well YOU try doing this. I gave up and just made easily understood signs. Some of the activities were timeless, like Ping Pong and a Shell Game. Others were super popular in the '80's, like Trivial Pursuit. There was even a photo booth with a Raiders of the Lost Ark theme, with Indiana Jones-style hats for the kids to wear.

Professor X and I were entertained by the '80's fashions that some of the parents and many of the students wore. Big hair, side ponytails, shoulder pads, polo shirts, leg warmers and Flashdance-style necklines were rampant. So were lots of smiling, laughing teenagers. I got my kicks by pretending to be outraged that some of the music wasn't from the right period. I was pretty sure that The Macarena was invented by Al Gore in the '90's, and although she's a talented young singer, Taylor Swift wasn't singing Love Story at the age of two weeks; she was born mid-December 1989. Still, everyone had a wonderful time even if there were egregious anachronisms. Which would be an awesome name for a band, don't you think?

About an hour and half to two hours in to the three hour event, reality began to hit some of the attendees. The end of their middle school days was nigh upon them, and they were going to have to say goodbye to many of their friends since they'd be attending different high schools. Increasingly, some of the girls' eyes got suspiciously pink, and the boys' faces became more somber. Excited shouts and laughter gave way to outright crying.

Not the Goblet-of-Fire-Hermione's-upset-because-Ron's-been-a-total-butt-about-the-Tri-Wizard-Ball kind of crying.

More like the Goblet-of-Fire-Hermione's-emotional-because-she-realizes-that-things-are-going-to-be-different kind of realization.

Super Son was very quiet on the drive home.

I asked him if he'd had a good time. He said yes, and thanked us for all of our work on the party. But I saw the post he wrote on his Facebook wall:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... In the beginning, it was fun, but by the end of the party I was so sad and depressed...

I've spoken with him in the intervening days, to encourage him to continue to keep in touch with those friends who will be going to school elsewhere. But we both know that things will be different. It's only the first of many transitions he'll make, one of the rites of passage we've experienced. As in so many cases, I draw upon my own life and relate tales of my past and the feelings I've felt.

I'm reminded of a Simple Minds song from 1985, Don't You, written for a movie soundtrack. Five points if you can identify the movie.

Slow change may pull us apart
When the light gets into your heart, baby

Don't You Forget About Me
Don't Don't Don't Don't
Don't You Forget About Me

Will you recognise me?
Call my name or walk on by
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down, down

Thanks to the miracle of Facebook, I've reconnected with a number of old friends from the eighties. I was thrilled to get back in touch with a dear pal from college who stood up at my wedding. (When some of Professor X's students came over for a potluck a couple of years ago, they saw our framed wedding portrait and laughed, saying "Oh, that's so eighties!" I recollected with no little amusement that my gown was a reproduction of a 1940's gown. And my hairstyle was based on Lauren Bacall's in To Have and Have Not. Stupid kids.) That's really what it's all about; no one wants to believe that they'll be forgotten, that a friendship will end simply because friends are no longer together all the time.

I'm glad that these young people are mourning this, that they're aware of the loss they're about to face, because it proves they've developed good relationships. I hope they'll use the social networking technology to keep in touch on a frequent basis, but also get together in person as often as possible. I know it was written in the wrong decade, but Bowie said it well in Changes:

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through

(turn and face the strain)
Don't tell them to grow up and out of it

CLUB HASAY Update - Making Serious Sacrifices, Sweating Profusely

I'm feeling extremely self righteous this week because I passed up an opportunity to see one of my favorite authors, David Sedaris, in favour of going with Daring Daughter to swim exercise class. How committed is that?!

Also, I was on my feet continuously all Friday night, running back and forth at the Eighth Grade Eighties party, making sure volunteers were well hydrated. Their gratitude at my presentation of cold bottles of water was quite genuine, because it was HOT in that school. I'll bet I lost 3 pounds just from all the sweat dripping off of me.

I may get brave enough to step on the scale this week to confirm that supposition. Meanwhile, I'm planning walks with friends and healthy meals each day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Beautiful Boy

My beautiful boy, about 5 years ago.

Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait to see you to come of age.
But I guess we'll both j
ust have to be patient,
Yes, it's a long way to go...

Fifteen years ago, after nine months and two extra weeks, a doctor put a little baby in my arms and I had an epiphany.

I had previously merely scratched the surface of love.

My son's arrival helped me understand the saying "I thought my heart would burst." Surely no mother had ever felt the way I did. It was incredible.

I get all blubbery at some movies. Not just the ones about romance and loss; the ones about a parent's love for their child always has me reaching for the tissue box. Mr. Holland's Opus is one of those films. I loved Richard Dreyfuss from the moment I saw him in The Goodbye Girl, (okay, technically, I saw him in American Graffiti and Jaws first, but he was AWESOME in TGG) and he gave a wonderful performance as Mr. Holland, a music teacher with a deaf son. Some kindly soul has put this movie on youtube, so you can watch my favorite bit. Go watch it and come back. I'll wait for you.

I love that song, Beautiful Boy. Lennon wrote it as a love song to his son with Yoko Ono, Sean. Sean was born on John's 35th birthday in 1975. John took a hiatus from his music career to stay at home with his son. In November of 1980. he came out of retirement to release Beautiful Boy as part of his Double Fantasy album. Less than a month later, John was murdered.

Before you cross the street,
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans.

This summer, I plan to take my son to Strawberry Fields, the memorial to John Lennon in Central Park. He may be almost six feet tall, with an ever-deepening voice, but I'll likely still hold his hand as we cross the street. After all, it's a big city, full of crazy cab drivers! I'm just joking about the hand holding; I've no desire to be one of this sort of mother. But he might grab my hand or my daughter's just to make sure we're safe, because he is protective of me and his sister. His heart is extremely loving. He's not a mama's boy, but he is caring about other people.

We'll go to places like:

• the Natural History Museum, where I'll be reminded of his love of science and clever mind as he makes observations about the many exhibits and references things he has learned already.

• the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he'll undoubtedly study many works carefully and get excited about several, wishing aloud that he could someday draw or paint as well, and shake his head dismissively when his father and I assure him that he is already an excellent artist. (He really is.)

• wonderful little bakeries and delis and small restaurants that serve unusual foods from around the world, which he'll try and enjoy with enthusiasm. He loves good cooking and is not afraid to try new things. He's careful not to overeat or eat unhealthy junk. My son appreciates a simple meal of bread and cheese as much as a feast of crab legs and steak. He likes his chocolate dark, his bratwurst with sauerkraut, and his escargot with garlic and butter. Regardless of what we feed him, he's appreciative.

We'll take him and his sister to a play or two, which they will enjoy immensely and talk about for weeks afterward. He will ask me if I really think he could be good enough to be a professional actor some day. Yes, I do think so. He will enter high school next year, and has registered for drama class. He has a quick wit and can dissect a scene to find just the right intonation or gesture to convey an emotion.

We'll visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, where he will proclaim his love for his country and gratitude that his ancestors came here. He simultaneously loves Stephen Colbert's political satire, and he also genuinely feels a deep patriotism for America. He's mindful of the nation's problems and wants to be politically involved to help lead his fellow citizens to greatness. His compassion for the underdogs in our society and rejection of greed and dishonesty convince me he'd be a fine leader.

We'll undoubtedly hear some music, even if it's not in a concert hall. The streets of big cities are filled with buskers. My children love to stop and listen, and buy the performer's CD to enjoy later, or if they don't have one, at least drop a dollar in the hat. My son will listen to someone play a piece and then despair that he will never be as good. He's been playing violin for about 7 years, and often picks out a piece just by hearing it once, without music. He can hear a song and figure it out on our piano. He plays brilliantly, yet he has a severe case of self doubt. I'd like to slip some confidence powder into his morning glass of juice. If you know where I can buy some, let me know.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I adore this child, my firstborn, my beautiful boy.

I rarely post photos of my children on this blog because I want to give them their privacy. But I'm making an exception here to show you just how sweet my boy is. I'm sure most parents have experienced their children falling asleep at a restaurant, and think it's hilarious to take a picture to preserve the moment. This was a few years ago, after a long, wonderful day at Disneyland. Our little guy just laid his tuckered head down on the table. My husband carefully folded his cloth napkin and slipped it under our son's head, then captured the moment.

I am so proud of this boy, and so grateful to be his mother. I love him with all my heart.

Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It's getting better and better.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Club HASAY - I only had one smallish piece of birthday cake

Illustration is by Mitra Farmand at fuffernutter.
She is a genius, and her cartoons are guaranteed to cheer up
even the most depressed person. At least, I think so!

So here's the deal - with my Amazing Son's birthday party planning and both kids' various musical concerts and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember right now, which is a shame, because it would make my excuse much more impressive and distract you from the fact that I haven't actually done anything this week, I need to confess that I haven't done doodly squat this week to move toward my goal. :-(

Casey's HASAY post observed

Just when I though HASAY was losing steam, we’ve had an influx of new members. Check out the member’s page to see who’s on board.

This makes me feel super guilty. I'm on board, alright. On the plank. I fear that all of those who have been working hard to get fit will kick me out. About the only thing I can say that I've done right this week is to limit myself to a small piece of cake to celebrate the birthday. That's something, I suppose. And I haven't drunk soda, just unsweetened iced tea. Tomorrow evening, I can go to the fitness center and swim because we (how on earth did this happen?!) don't have any commitments. And I can do it again on Thursday night. So, fellow HASAYers, don't give up on me yet, please!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Horse Puckey

An unattributed quote, in response to the sort of question asked
here by Craig Ferguson about whether he's uncomfortable with being selected as TV's Sexiest Man:

“I find it preposterous. I can see in some ways I am playing a sexy character. The idea of a damaged genius is an interesting, intriguing character, but it has nothing to do with me . . . I think whoever is playing this role would be in the position I am now.” - Hugh Laurie

"Methinks not. And I can think of several additional positions for him. Yes, indeed."
-FF (and my pal BD - She's a fellow fangirl.)

UPDATE: Confirmed in comments below: Shethinks not too. Fortunately, she's in the UK, and I'm on the west coast, so we won't have to mudwrestle for him.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm Going Clubbing!

One of my Dad's favorite authors, Jack London (1876 - 1916), noted:
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Whilst this American adventurer/author was talking about writing, his words of wisdom can be applied to other endeavors. And so I hereby announce to you that I am joining CLUB HASAY, and you can too.

It's Casey's brilliant brainchild, a blogger's diet and fitness club. The name, an acronym for Half As Small As You is a clever wordplay by her husband Jamie on the title of her blog, Half as Good As You.

Here's the first assignment at CLUB HASAY. Please comment here if you plan to join, so I know to keep an eye out for your posts over there.

First Assignment (Anyone starting late in the game can catch up by starting here):

Write and publish a blog post on your site detailing the following information:

1. What motivates you and why do you want to do this challenge? It may be that you’re training to run a 10K or merely just to be able to walk to the mailbox and not break a sweat (don’t worry, I fall on this end of the spectrum).

2. What is your long term goal? Do you want to lose weight or just tone your body. Are you trying to fit into your old prom dress for your upcoming reunion? Do you want to want to “pump yourself up” like Hans and Frans? Spill it.

3. What is your long term weight loss goal? You don’t need to tell us your current weight, just how much you’d like to eventually lose. This can be in weight or inches. Jamie and I have a sewing tape measure that we use for our weekly measurements. We got ours in the sewing section at Wal-Mart, if you look at Target, you won’t find it.

4. What tools are available to you? Treadmill, elliptical, jogging stroller, ThighMaster, Trampoline. Maybe a rabid dog to chase the weight off?

5. How often can you exercise? Be realistic here but try to make as much time as possible. This might include stepping AWAY from the blog for a couple of nights a week. I know, *gasp*. I’m crying on the inside too but it needs to be done. Fatty. Ok, that was mean and it won’t happen again. I promise.

6. What do you plan on doing? Beer curls, switch the remote to the other hand for a few days, start smoking more. Maybe you want to actually exercise and start eating better? I hear that never works but go ahead and try if you want.

7. What has worked for you in the past? Let us in on your secrets, what has worked for you before and how you went about it. We won’t tell.

Alrighty then. Here are my answers.

1. Need to get healthy. Want to encourage Amazing Girl Child to do the same, because she has inherited my chubby bunny genes. Modeling good behavior is important, right? Also, we're doing this monster road trip and I want to be able to walk more than one block in NYC without collapsing. I have a month to pull it together and build a bit o' endurance. This is a much longer lead time than I typically give myself to achieve a goal, which is usually a day or two.

2. I want to build up my cardiovascular system so that I can walk up hills without wheezing like an obscene phone caller run amuck. I want to wear clothes without looking like a walking tent.

3. I want drop 100 pounds. Yes, I really need to. Trust me.

4. An amazingly wonderful fitness center - have I mentioned how much I love my city government and the people of this community, who jointly made it a reality? Also, friends to walk with and beautiful places to walk. Again, thanks to public lands - federal, state, county and city. (Bet you wondered if this would be a politics-free post, eh?)

5. At least three days a week, but will try hard for 5-6. Once we get on the road, some days will be all driving, but others will be exhausting invigorating, filled-with-walking adventures.

6. Walking, using the fitness machines, swimming (great swimming fitness classes!) and eating right. So long, soda pop.

7. South Beach diet worked for me beautifully, but I am a bread lover. And there are pastries in my future. NYC has a few bakeries, I've heard. And so does Charleston. So I may try a modified South Beach - cut out mediocre carbs, load up on veggies and lean meats and fish. But mostly, I will walk my butt off. Here's hoping.

I'm excited about this opportunity to build community with others who are trying to make positive changes in their lives. Especially since Casey and her clubbers all seem like a bunch of fun smartasses. Because while I totally want to reduce my ass, I certainly don't want to dumb it down. Anyone else in on this?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Party planning is coming along well. I have some super fun ideas for games.