Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Flagging Down the Mother Ship

Finding the Funny

K-ster and his friend j-ster recently reshingled and resided our shop and in the process, added a new light that my father bought a while ago.

For about 6 months, we've been in PURE darkness in the yard at night because the old light was broken.  And another light we had came crashing down during the visit of that witch Irene.

I sent this picture to my sister to try to show her how bright the new light is.  Her reaction:

Is that Bethlehem???

There's a star in the east on Christmas morn, rise up shepherd and follow....

Monday, January 30, 2012

Keurig Made Me Cave

Do you have one of these marvelous money saving machines?  We bought one over a year ago because k-ster thought it might break him of the daily Dunkin Donuts habit.  I did a lot of mathematical research and determined that with all of the gift cards I  had for Bed, Bath and Beyond (thank you Discover card points!!) I could practically get the machine for free. 

You might notice we have a very snazzy version.  Or so k-ster says.  I couldn't care less.  It's digital and can be programmed to come on by itself.  And k-ster's favorite part?  It can make a 14oz beverage, which most of the Keurig models do not.  If only it could walk over to the sink and fill up its own water reservoir. 

He determined that he cannot make coffee at home to outdo Dunkin Donuts unless it is a) at least 14 ounces and b) in a styrofoam cup, complete with lid.

You may have read about my nature habits, so it should seem insanely bizarre that I condone the ordering of styrofoam cups and plastic lids for daily throwing away, but if it made him stop spending money at DD, then I was all for it.  I figure what I do to try to help the environment will offset what he does to ruin it.

I found super cheap cups, the exact model that k-ster required, for pennies each if we bought 1000.  And so, we bought 1000.  Seriously.  $25 for 1000 cups.  And then we bought like a million lids.

And k-ster has hardly had a DD coffee in all this time.  He actually prefers Tully's Kona over DD's burned tasting crapola.  Even though k-cups cost a fortune, I manage to get them as cheap as I can find them at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  They are the only place I can find Tully's Kona now that Tully's stopped making it.  I try to keep it to 50 cents per k-cup.

One of the drawbacks of having the Keurig is that now you have tons of plastic cups all over the place, either in the box they came in, or falling all over themselves.  Thankfully, someone decided to make a special drawer just for the Keurig and all of its accoutrements and I had to go and buy it.  See how neat and tidy it keeps everything?  I love that when you open the drawer, it doesn't stick and the whole thing doesn't slide around.  It was $24 at Bed, Bath and Beyond (surprise!), but I used my 20% coupon and saved a little.  They give those coupons out like candy, and I take every opportunity to save as much as I can at that store. 

By the way, the Khalua?  Not such a great coffee.  It smells like feet.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Greenhouse in January

It's hard to believe that a year ago, k-ster was just getting over his foot surgery and things had come to a complete halt on the greenhouse.  In fact, looking back, even at the end of March, I didn't have a completely finished greenhouse.

Once I got things going in the spring, after it was all assembled, I was really pleased with how everything grew.  I kept you updated all summer about things I was growing in and outside of my greenhouse.  Even into October, I was still getting vegetables, a rarity in New England.

After we had a flash frost in October that no one was expecting, things started to get ugly in the greenhouse, but I did manage to keep some things poking along for a while.  I even bragged here at the end of November.  Around that same time, I started these little guys, knowing that broccoli would probably survive all winter in a cold greenhouse.  Swiss chard probably would too.  I know this because outside, they have both held on until way into December.

Today, this is what's happening.
 Those little broccoli plants are now making little florets.

 My Swiss chard in an old wheelbarrow.  It's not doing much, but it's more than nothing.

 New broccoli and chard on my new Germination Station mat.

 Broccoli is all growing.  The two white pots are geraniums that I thought might make it, but they are pretty much brown sticks now.

 Who knew that a greenhouse is like another effing room in the house that you have to organize, and arrange and keep clean???  It's been a mess since I started because I was in a hurry and didn't know what I wanted to do for shelving.

We had a really warm Saturday a few weeks ago, so I spent the day rearranging and "building" and now there's a little more space for my walking tours :).

  I am trying not to spend any money on the greenhouse now that I spent my life savings buying the damned thing.  I'm trying to recycle as much as possible in there.  This "table" is a piece of aluminum from an awning and it's laying on cinder blocks.   I hope it's strong enough and won't bend where there aren't blocks.    My poor wheelbarrow almost broke from moving the blocks in here!

 I moved this old picnic table to the other side and those pots are waiting for the new broccoli and chard seeds to be big enough to plant. 
Now you can at least walk around.   Before, the table was where this chair is and there were pots all over the ground and it was just a mine field of branches and leaves and bamboo poles holding up beans and tomatoes.  Part of that was due to Irene threatening to ruin all that was good.  We dragged every potted plant into the greenhouse and some never left because it was almost September and mostly because we are kind of lazy.

That thing on the chair is a mattress pad.  My theory was that I could cover my plants on the super cold nights and it might help trap some of the heat from the black fabric and keep things happy.  In reality, it's a pain to throw over them, I never remember until after dark and I'm pretty sure it hasn't done a single thing for me.

When I get home from France, my Germination Station will be filled with seeds hoping to have a home for the spring. My ultimate fantasy is that I will start so many seeds that I will have to sell some and possibly make a few dollars in this process.  Huh.  Fantasy.  I know.

Wow, looking at this last picture is making me quiver, thinking back to this awful night.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Am So Not the Pioneer Woman

It's a really good thing it's not the 1800s and I'm not in charge of feeding the masses because we'd all be dead in about 2 weeks.

In the fall, I embarked on my first experience of "putting up" fruits and vegetables for the this winter.  It's something I'd wanted to do for a while, but I had some serious fears of exploding pressure cookers and bochulism.

I successfully blanched and froze a few bags of green beans and thought they would last us a while.

After my trial run of spaghetti sauce and winter squash, we went apple picking and then it got serious when I bought an apple peeler.  We got 40 lbs of apples and I went to work making applesauce, apple butter and a couple of apple pies.  Those pies were to die for.  I can't tell you what kind of apples they were, but they were really good.

I made what I thought was a lot of applesauce, a good amount of apple butter and not enough apple pies.

What I really made was not enough applesauce, way too much apple butter and too many apple pies (because they took up so many of my apples!)

Then I asked k-ster to bring me home a few cranberries because he works next to a cranberry bog.  3/4 of a paper grocery bag later and I had enough cranberries to put Ocean Spray out of business. 

This was all in October. 

Today, it's not even the end of January, and I'm down to this:
My last jar of applesauce.  I made some damned good applesauce this fall.  This batch was darker because I let it cook in the crockpot so it browned a little because it took so long.  One batch had the prettiest hint of pink.

Sadly, we have way too many jars of applebutter left and I've been giving them away left and right.  I'm not really in love with it.  I used a recipe that was USDA approved but it suggested way too many cloves for my liking.  It kind of numbs my tongue.   It took a lot more apples to make the apple butter than the applesauce and I am having canner's regret!

We have a number of cranberry sauce jars left and 2 jars of winter squash that I keep forgetting about.

The green beans have long since been eaten.

The cupboards are nearly bare.

Laura Ingalls Wilder, you'd be so ashamed!

Next year, more apples, no apple butter, and I'm going to start freezing green beans much earlier.  I had no idea how much planning had to go into providing food through the cold, hard winter!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hasta La Vista

Well, maybe there won't be a next time.

I did it.  I cut my hair all off. 

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I just couldn't deal with my nasty locks anymore.  Once I realized long hair is not for me, I started toying with the idea of giving it to Locks For Love so they can make wigs for cancer patients.  But they need 10 inches and that is a lot when my hair was already making me nuts.

Then someone told me about Pantene's Beautiful Lengths (no I am not being compensated for this post) and they only need 8 inches.  That seemed a little more feasible.  Plus, have you ever known me to do something without an ulterior motive?  If I'm going to grow this hair and cut it off, I might as well have a good reason, right?

I saw in the paper that there was a cut-a-thon at a salon on Sunday, so I called and got in.  It was for a non profit that is trying to prove there are nasty things in the water.  I dont' especially care about the foundation, but a $20 haircut was looking really good.

I met my haircutter c-ster, who swore up and down she knew me and we played the why do I know you game but never figured it out.  I told her I wanted to cut it but that it has to be long enough to put  off my face.  She got a ruler and determined that I could really get 10 inches off and still have plenty to put back.

It was  a little scary having her get the clippers and shave my ponytail off.  What if she slipped??

But here it is, in all its glory.  I still don't think it was quite 10 inches and Locks for Love won't use it if it isn't, so I sent it to Pantene.  Now someone else can deal with my less than stellar hair.

And voilĂ  the results are in.
 Oh wait, there's this.  Before I can share the remarkable results, I have to tell you how this happened.  As I mentioned, my stylist is named c-ster.  I liked her right off the bat and we chatted the whole time. 

Along the way, I mentioned that I sell lia sophia jewelry.  She said she doesn't actually work in this salon but owns her own down the road and would like to maybe sometime host a lia sophia show in her salon.  I told her I happen to have a catalog right here.  Then she said "sure, I'll host a show". 

This never happens in my life.  They always tell us to bring our catalogs and info everywhere and leave them in every place we go, but I don't seem to have as many appointments as most people, so my potential bookings from offices are limited. 

I was so excited that she was interested that when she pulled out her phone to get her calendar, I told her to wait and let me get mine from the car.  I was thrilled.  This was like textbook for how to get a booking.

While I was out collecting the hostess packet and my calendar, fearing I would get back inside and she would have changed her mind, I threw everything, including my cut off ponytail on the seat.  I backed up to shut the door and my pants got caught.  But I didn't realize, I so kept backing up and they pulled out like a foot beside me and I realized they were caught.  I undid them from the latch they were caught on, pulled my sweatshirt down and raced back inside.  I had no idea until I got home just how badly I had ripped them.

I keep picturing what would have happened if I hadn't stopped backing up when I did and just completely shredded them.  How great would that have looked as I raced back inside to book the show?

C-ster didn't seem to notice and we booked and are all set for March.  Phew.

Now, on to the results.
 When I was in high school, I participated in an All State chorus extravaganza and all I remember from the weekend is a) sleeping on a literal army cot in some stranger's house, b) sitting in an auditorium with hundreds of chorus members and c) learning from a boy that when a girl's hair does this, it's called "the web".  I strove for a good portion my life to make my hair do "the web" and now that I don't even care, it magically did this when k-ster took my picture.

I should let k-ster take my pictures more often instead of using the self timer.  You get a little more of a view of what I happen to think I look like.  And the hair is totally more me.  Clearly not a lot of work went into styling this, but I didn't have to because it's kind of fun.  I've had this haircut like 100 times in my life and I should probably stick with it.

It also doesn't really know what to do with itself.  It's trying to be straight, trying to wave, trying to sit still, trying to bounce around.  Hey, that sounds kind of familiar.

And I let it stay down ALL DAY and didn't even kill anyone!  I hardly thought about it, actually.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So Long, Farewell

My hair and I have never had a great relationship.  It was a great shade of blonde when I was really little and then it got a little darker when I was in elementary school.  I know we don't say people have hazel hair the way they have hazel eyes, but I'd say my hair is hazel.

I don't color it and won't, though I did do a henna phase in high school and I may have used some Sunin a time or 50.  Any highlighting I've ever had in my hair was due to sun and Sunin, strategically applied.

This was my senior picture in high school and it's about the only time I've truly liked a picture of my hair.  My bangs are a little short, but I love the rest of it.  My hair now has lots of white in it but because my hair is hazel, you can't tell until you get close to it.  If you look at my hair up close, it's got lots of pretty colors in it, but from a distance, it's not anything remarkable.  It looks best when it's been blown dry and is super clean, but I don't wash it every day (the horrors!) so it's not always super shiny.

Since about 5th grade, my hair has never made it past my shoulders.  I had years where it was boy short and most of my years have seen my hair between chin and shoulder length.  There have been some very unfortunate styles along the way that were not flattering or that required more time to "do" than I was willing to do.

You know I'm all natural, so putting lots of crap in my hair and styling it just isn't my thing.  I did curl my bangs every morning in high school, but that was about the extent of it.

I had a few perms along the way, but sadly, the last one was a nasty one and I think it forever changed my hair.  I think she actually burned part of my hair.

When left to its natural devices, my hair has waves and a little curl that tries to come out.  But it's kind of helter skelter.

Since I've been teaching, I've always taken my showers at night which means that I have to have hair that can be brushed in the morning and go.  I can't have a short haircut that goes every which way when I sleep on it.

I also cannot stand my hair touching me anywhere, most especially when I am exercising.  That means I require that it can go as short as you want, but it HAS to be long enough to put back when I exercise.

I used to think that a long ponytail while running would be awesome.  I wanted to be bopping along, this cute ponytail flipping along with  me.  This is because I often see a woman running on my way to school who has the thickest, more gorgeous ponytail I've ever seen.  It just looks awesome when she runs.

I however, do not have thick hair.  And now that I've let it grow, it's even worse.  I always thought I just needed to let it grow past some magical point and then it would all come together.

I let it grow to the middle of my back.  And it's gross.  It touches me all.the.time.  I keep it up and back just about all.the.time.  When it's down, it makes me hot and grouchy and SO ITCHY.  And it's just not pretty.

So, I keep meaning to call my  hairdresser but I never get around to it. I thought I might wait until I get home from France but it's making me insane.

So I made an appointment to get it cut at a fundraiser cutathon.  Pictures to follow so come back tomorrow.

Until then, enjoy these glam shots because it's sayonara after this post.

I know, I should do Pantene commercials, my hair is that great.  But I'm too busy doing stuff like this.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mother Nature's One Day Assignment

You might have heard that we had a little snow in the northeast on Saturday.

It was the first storm we've had since October, and back in October, we didn't even get the snow, but other parts of the state were hit pretty hard.   October is NOT the normal opening month for snow around here.  Late November is more like it.  I can't remember a winter when we went as late as mid January before we saw any real snow, though.  This was the kind of storm that is ideal in a lot of ways. 

1)  It was on a Saturday.  This is ideal for a lot of people because it didn't interfere with their Monday - Friday work.  It was also not a school day, so though we do love those surprise phone calls cancelling school, we do not love making the days up in June.  And it allowed for kids to sled all day Sunday.

2)  It was not frigid.  This is ideal because when it's super cold and snows, everything gets icy, things break and it's just a mess and dangerous. 

3)  It was not a super heavy snow.  Super heavy snow is never ideal, unless you are snowman builder.  Heavy snow breaks equipment and makes it really hard to shovel, thus injuring people in many ways.

4)  It snowed only during daylight hours.  This is unusual and I say ideal because when it snows at night, it gets really dangerous out there. 

5)  It wasn't a blizzard.  This wasn't a wind-howling blizzard that knocked out power lines and put ice all over everything.  Those are dangerous storms.  This was more of an inconvenience.

Don't get me wrong, we got about 8-10 inches of snow.  But since it was steady all day, it was manageable and everything was plowed by the next morning.  But when you have 8-10 inches from a raging blizzard, you get huge drifts, you get dangerous power lines down and you get icy conditions that are impossible to plow and sand.

I'm a bit of an expert when it comes to snow removal because, well, this has been the scene outside my door for most of my life:

I've even had to remove snow myself, a time or two.  It's not all it's glorified to be, especially for those who are short and don't especially love to drive.  And have very tiny bladders that need to be emptied on a regular basis from all the coffee consumed to stay awake.

I even went to the barn and rode in the middle of it.  We had about 2 inches when I got there and I was surprised to see the horses were all still out.

They all have blankets so they stay warm but I feel bad that their heads get wet.  They didn't seem to be too fazed by it and happily munched away on their morning hay.

Because of the indoor ring, we can ride all winter.  This is new for me.  I haven't ridden a whole winter before.

By the time I left the barn, we had a little more snow and then the fun began.  I'd say we had about 4 inches by then and it was sooooooooo slippery.  4 wheel drive does nothing for you when it's a slippery snow.  It gives slightly more grip to power through things, but when you're going around a curve and your steering wheel is turned one way and your butt is going the other, 4 wheel drive can't help you there.  I have never felt such slippery driving.  Never.

At least people were decent about driving.  Another thing I attribute to the fact that it was  Saturday.  Frogmama has a great post about the fury of people in her neck of the woods, just a few hours from my neck of the woods.    I'd say people were quite rational where I was driving.  They drove slowly, gave each other wide berths, didn't honk and freak out.  Had this been a weekday morning or late afternoon, I suspect there would have been more road rage, but at noon on Saturday, I think people were a little more at ease.

I like to imagine what it's like in Mother Nature's household after this kind of storm.  Mother comes home from a hard day at work, Father Time (cuz that's her husband, right?) has supper waiting on the table.  She blows through the door in a chilly wind and he says :

"Hi honey, how was work today?" 

"Oh fine dear, I gave it a good 10 hours at the office today, catching up on some work, making a few people happy.  I wanted to be home in time for supper, so I cut out a little early, made sure I cleaned up before I left."

Now let's make sure no one pisses her off for the rest of the winter and we might have a happy one!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Vintage My Itchy Ass

I sell things on etsy, as some of you know, but I rarely poke around at what other people sell  because much of what I find for sale is nothing I would ever entertain buying.

I'm also more than a little amazed at what people can charge for things and actually get.  I'm lucky if I can get anything close to what I want people to pay.

Today, I was nosing around and you will not believe what I found:

vintage highwaist undies

Old fashioned is the new best thing ever. Vintage cut has got you covered on so many levels we cannot even begin to list them.

made with upcycled merino or cashmere wool
cotton gusset with covered elastic

S - M - L - XL
machine cold wash, hang to dry

we make all our pieces CUSTOM yeahhhhhh
so.... if you want a pair you gotta tell us what you want so we can craft it +++

Ok, there are so many things wrong here. 

Old fashioned underwear- haven't we worked really hard to get away from our granny's panties???

Highwaist undies- what the heck are these boys shorts and  low rise undies for if we are just going to go back to highwasit???

Merino or cashmere wool- JACKPOT.  I can't even BEGIN to imagine the nightmare of wearing these things.  I get so itchy in wool and even soft cashmere when they are the top layers.  Layer some clothing on top of these???

Are you kidding?

I would be naked before I got to school.  That would be me, on the side of the road, between school and home stripping off all of my clothes in a fit of rage, scratching like I've got mange!!  I am so itchy just thinking about it.  Add to that the very idea of wearing anything knitted on my butt and it's all over.  Gross.  Just gross.
made with upcycled merino or cashmere wool
-I'm sorry, doesn't upcycled really mean recycled?  Like I take an old sweater, cut it up into something new and call it upcycled, right?  So you want me to wear someone's old sweater on my nether region?

$60-  this and the fact that they are wool are tied for my favorite part of the whole post.  You really expect me to pay $60 for a pair of underwear that come up almost under my boobolas, will make me scratch myself 'til I'm raw and may have been some nasty old cigar smoking man's sweater?????

They've sold 100 of them!  Seriously!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Just Add Rum

A while ago, k-ster was remodeling a house with someone, and when they took out the walls, he found this recipe stuck in it.  Thinking this was some kind of destiny, I made this cake for someone's birthday.  It was either his, or his mother's.  We had some of his family here for it.
 Notice the pink post it.  You are supposed to put 1/3 cup of rum in the batter and then 1/3 cup of rum in the "frosting".  I say "frosting" because it consists of cool whip, rum, pudding mix and crushed pineapple.  That is not a frosting.  We found 1/3 cup of rum in the frosting to be WAAAAAAY too much.

 It's pretty.  It sounds excellent.  Like a pina colada cake.  I like coconut, I usually like cake, I love pineapple and I like the smell of rum.  You can't go wrong.

But, we didn't all seem to love it so much.  It was good but not great.  The "frosting" was a little overkill with the rum.  And no one asked me for the recipe.

Today is k-ster's birthday.  We celebrated it last night with a cousin, so we had a yellow cake and a chocolate cake.

Somehow, I got a bug up my butt that I needed to make this cake again for his birthday.  Now, we had a snowstorm today, but I plowed ahead (ha ha ha ha ha ha) and went to the grocery for the 2 boxes of pudding mix, the cool whip, the pineapple and the rum.  3 out 4 things I would never have laying around my house. 

I should call this fake cake.

But I make it "real" because I don't use cake mix.  I refuse to use cake mix.  Sadly, I don't make good yellow cakes.  They taste like crap every time.  It's the oil.  I learned not to use olive oil the hard way, but even canola oil I can taste and smell.

Chocolate cakes, cheesecakes, patty cakes, I can make those with no complaints.

Now, the normal person would probably not say that the issue with my yellow cakes is the smell and taste of the oil.  They are also kind of dense.  But because I am super smell and taste sensitive, all I can think about is the smell of fat.

I can smell fat from a mile away.  We have some kind of soap in our dispensers at school that is supposed to be super clean or whatever and all I can smell in it is fat.    No one knows what I am talking about.

But I digress.

I kind of thought that using my yellow cake recipe with the things that this recipe calls for would cancel out the fat taste, but it doesn't work that way.  Between the oil in the cool whip and the oil in the cake, it's like a greasefest and I can't enjoy it.

Maybe that's why I frosted it like I had actually consumed the 2/3 cup of rum first.

 Maybe that's the key.  Take some big swigs of rum and then eat it and it taste soooooo good.

K-ster still says it tastes good but I'm not so sure.  I should probably throw the recipe away because I will never buy a yellow cake mix, so I will never make this cake taste good.

Happy birthday to k-ster who spent #38 waiting all day for the snow to stop so he can now spend all night snowblowing and plowing.    The only better present would be if he owned a snowmobile and could be at Snowdeo right now.   But, it looks like my future as a pastry chef is nil, so I guess pushing snow around will have to suffice.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

When Life Gives You A Canoe

Ask your cousin to drive you around the yard with his lawnmower.

What?  You didn't do this on Christmas with your cousins**?

Is it the lifejackets that crack you up the most?

Linking with Saturday Laughs and Finding the Funny**all cousins mentioned are k-ster's cousins.  My cousins don't even own a yard canoe.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

So, Did I Tell You I'm Going To France?

You might hear a little bit about this before I go.   I'm going with the high school for 12 days in February.

I used to do a trip to Quebec City with 48 kids and 5 other adults.  It was and still is an excellent trip and the tour company is amazing.  Once we get there, they are in charge of it all and they are wonderful.  But the idea of traveling with that many kids made me nuts after 3 years, so I stopped.

My colleague at the other school we do the trip with is not pleased that I don't go anymore, but she loves the trip and apparently doesn't get too worked up over things like I do, so she still does it and takes my students.  Thank God for her.  I believe it's part of what keeps our French program alive.

I've always said I would NEVER take kids to France.

So it's a little ironic that I am now going to France with 14 kids and one other adult.  And no tour guide.

There are many things that are different between this and the Quebec trip, but mainly, it's much fewer kids, the itinerary is more flexible (which in one moment makes me panic and feel relieved at the same time) and there is a homestay for the first 7 nights.  Much less stressful in some ways.  More stressful in others.

I am sure I will elaborate on the many stressors of this trip in future posts, so don't worry, you'll know all of the ins and outs by the time I go.

However, with the trip looming, and somedays, it just LOOMS over me, making me feel a little sick about the whole thing, it's  really on my mind 24/7.  It's the last thing I think of before I go to sleep and the first thing I think of when I wake up.  It consumes me.  Some days more than others.

I've been finding myself forgetting things lately and I sure hope it's because my brain is full of pre-trip angst.

Like the other day, I completely forgot I had a class around lunch time.  Because some days I have a class at lunch time and some I don't.  So I went and ran around doing things and came upon our technology guy being very distressed that there were kids in my room without me.  "I don't have a class right now!"  I said.  But I did.

And I've locked k-ster IN the house.  Twice.  We have one of those now illegal locks that need a key to lock them from the inside and the outside.  We use a different lock from the inside at night, so we don't have to worry about getting a key to get out, but if we aren't home, we have to use the other lock because we don't have a key for the normal lock.

So, twice I've left the house to go to school while k-ster was waiting to go to work after the frost melted, and I've locked him right inside.

God knows what else I have forgotten this month.

I sure hope it's the trip.  Or I've got a lot of explaining to do.

And you're not allowed to leave comments about what a GREAT trip I'll have or how it will ALL BE FINE or how I shouldn't WORRY.  You can't tell me these things and make me believe them.

You may, however, leave comments about the sundry horrors that might occur before, during and after the trip.  I need more things to keep me awake at night.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Semifreddo Drreamm Dessert

I just came upon this picture in my Organic Gardening magazine.  It's called Semifreddo.  It's an Italian frozen dessert.  I think this might be heaven on earth.

Immediately, I knew what this would taste and feel like in my mouth.  I could hear it crunching as I ate it in the kitchen in my mind.

When I was little, my mother made an American version of this:  that yogurt pie thing with cool whip.  She used strawberry (or peach, I remember peach at least once) yogurt, actual strawberries, cool whip and a graham cracker crust.  She mixed it all together and froze it and then she'd let it thaw for a minute and cut it up and we'd eat it.  Mind you, we were so classy in our house, we didn't need fancy strawberry sauces to top it off.  We just ate it off the Mickey plate and probably licked and our fingers it clean.

That pie was a mysterious delight.  Mysterious because we never knew when she'd make it.  And because we never had this dessert again after a few times.  And because my father liked it.  I thought it was really funny that my father like strawberry yogurt pie.

A delight because of the way it all came together in my mouth.  There's something about the near frozenness of yogurt, with its crystals and frozen consistency that just makes my day.  I can hear it sort of crunching in my mouth right now.

Do you remember eating a pie like this in the 80s?  I can't explain why, but I feel like Tupperware was somehow involved in this.  Maybe they learned it at Tupperware party?

When I saw this picture of Semifreddo, my mouth immediately felt that frozen crystally sensation!

Of course, having a fancy name like Semifreddo, rather than "that frozen yogurt pie thing with cool whip" means that you need things like mascarpone cheese, heavy cream and you have to do things like whip it for 10 minutes and look for peaks and trails.   And you probably need an Italian Nonni in the kitchen whipping it with her stocky arms. 

Far more work than my American mother must have done for yogurt pie.  And far more calories too.

I have a hankering to make this, but I suspect I'll play my American card and just use fat free yogurt and cool whip.  Ooooh but I bet with Greek yogurt this consistency will knock my socks off.   When is strawberry season again????

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Going DOWNtown

Did you get caught up in the Masterpiece Classic "Downton Abbey" last year?  In my lifetime, I never imagined that I, Miss Sparkling, would one day watch Masterpiece Theater.  NEVER. 

When we first got the Disney Channel in the 80s, we sometimes watched MOUSEterpiece Theater and that was about all I could handle.

I am not a fan of movies set in times before electricity and modern conveniences.  I can't really explain why, other than I just get tired of all the darkness, the candles, the bodices, the lack of cars. 

Given the above two facts, I have no idea how I got hooked on PBS's Downton Abbey last winter, but hooked I became.  I liked the setting, the costumes (they are less bodice like), the storyline and the grandmother.  She is one conniving, hysterical lady.

Every Sunday night, k-ster and I watched it, for like 6 weeks.  Little did I know that Masterpiece Classics has this terribly sneaky way of getting you hooked on a show and then they wait an ENTIRE YEAR before they play the next season. 


Last week was the first episode of the new season and I chose to just watch it online at a time that was more convenient than Sunday night at 9pm. 

I found the season opener to be much better storywise than some of last year's episodes.  They moved the story right along, where last year, I felt like some of it dragged.  The grandmother's barbs were awesome in this episode and there was some underhandedness that was just what I wanted.  Oh, and there were cars are more electricity, so I liked it even more.

In spite of all this, someone needs to replace Elizabeth McGovern as Lady Cora.  First, I can barely tolerate her fake British accent.  It's the worst interpretation of British that I've ever heard and since she is in a cast of real Brits, she stands out even more.  Her lines in this episode bordered on ridiculous and she did a lot of LOOKING and standing there with her EYES ALL HUGE and didn't have much to say.  Not much that made sense, anyway.

Perhaps my issue is that I think she is Andie McDowell, another actress I dislike.  I can't stand Andie's voice.  I look at Elizabeth's face and I think I am seeing Andie but then she speaks her fake British and I realize it's all just fake.

The only thing I thought was a little odd in this first episode was the lighting.  Especially on McGovern.  Her face was very washed out the entire time.   They kept putting her in light colors and then really putting a washed out light on her and she was very ghostly.

Other than that, I am hooked for this season and can't wait for more.  Even though it's really hard to say Downton and not Downtown.

Anyone else a fan of this show?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Real Meaning of Teabagging

For my mother's friends, teabagging has nothing to do with tea, A tea party, or THE tea party.  In fact, it is a very dirty expression.  One that I will not explain.  I will leave you to google to find out what teabagging means in this disgusting society in which we live in 2012.

This post, however, is about actual teabags from which I brew tea.

I like tea.  I have always liked tea.

Iced tea is great, but once I swore off powdered drinks in my teens, iced tea took on a new meaning.  Spending 4 years at Vanderbilt also hammered home just what iced tea really is and why they are so fond of sweet tea in the south (the kind with sugar as opposed to an iced tea which is cold tea with nothing).

For many years, I started my morning with just orange juice because I did not want to become addicted to coffee or tea.  I also did not like coffee and still often don't like it.

Tea, on the other hand, always pleased me.  But I did not drink it every morning.  I was really worried that it would stain my teeth.  I never want to be one of those old teachers with the brown stained teeth.  I don't want to use whitening formulas either.  Dont' get me started on the evils of teeth whitening.

So, I went tealess for most of my life.

And then my dentist laughed and assured me that tea would not stain my teeth.  WHAT?????  My tea ship had arrived.

So, I drink tea every morning.  Sometimes twice.  And often in the afternoon, if I am home. I am a tea purist, so I drink it with no sugar or milk.  I like the real taste of it.  And I'll leave the teabag in for the duration of my imbibing.

I also theorize that no one ever complains about tea breath.  Probably because tea drinkers usually don't use sugar or milk, both of which create mucus in the mouth which must be what adds to bad coffee breath.  I always think of tea as a way to break down bad smells in the mouth.

I became somewhat of a tea snob, when it comes to buying my own tea.  I have some favorite brands and types.  But, if I am at your house and you say you have tea, and then you open the cabinet and your brands are nothing like my brands, I will still find something to enjoy.  Unless it is vanilla flavored.  That's a deal breaker because, as I've mentioned before, fake vanilla smells like dirty feet.

I'm not picky about tea in anyone else's house.  Pretty much, if it looks like dried leaves, I'll brew it and see what I think.  In my sister a-ster's house, I put dried tea leaves in a strainer and put the strainer in my mug and pour the water over it.  The leaves still manage to escape a little, but I don't care.  Somehow I think it's really funny to make tea like that.  I should get her a tea ball.   I'm sure the British are rolling their eyes at the shenanigans I am describing as "drinking tea".

Anyway,  in my own house, here's the current collection of teas:

It would seem the Tazo family and the Republic of Tea reign supreme around here.  I like them all, though I usually start the day with Tazo Awake.

Despite the theories that the decaffeination process actually uses chemicals that will kill us and we'll wish we just drank it regular and stayed up all night, I did get some decaf because I was going for my physical and I thought having decaf that day might help keep my blood pressure where it should be.  (it must have worked) Plus, sometimes I like the taste of tea but it's too late at night to have real tea.

For a while, I tried buying loose tea and putting it in a cute teaball that had a cute lady bug hanging off of it.  But I just didn't love it.

Recently, someone brought me a cup of black tea from Dunkin Donuts.  It was probably good old Red Rose or Lipton tea.  And you know what?  That was one of the best teas I've had in I don't know how long.

Forget organic tea, tea tips, Irish tea, Scottish tea, English tea, sleeping tea, calming tea.  I just wanted the taste of crappy old Lipton tea.

So I had to go out and buy myself a box.  It was $1.19.  Far cheaper than any of the brands above.  Probably grown in China in a former meth lab and harvested by 3 year old child slave workers.  But it sure tasted good.

Believe me, if you think I'm hard to figure out, you're not alone. I spend a good portion of my days trying to explain myself to myself and I'll never figure me out, so just stop trying and enjoy my blog anyway!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Feel Good Friday

I'm going to get paid to read!  I can't believe it!  I get to read a book, write my comments about it and get paid!

This is like the dream of every bookworm when they are years old.

I signed up for Blogher's book reviews when I registered to get ads through Blogher on my site.  Sadly, because I have a dumbphone, I can never reply fast enough to the emails when they offer a book for review.  By some amazing twist of fate last week, I checked my email like 3 minutes after it was sent out and TA DA!  I was chosen!

I'm going to read The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, which is a book I actually think I read about recently and wanted to read.

I can't wait to get it in the mail and start reading.

And do my told you so dance for k-ster.  I TOLD you all of this reading would amount to something.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tom Foolery

I'm sure you have one of these situations that you keep bumping into, but I just have to explain it to someone because it makes me crazy and it happened to me again tonight.

There is a manager at one of our grocery stores that I knew in a previous life, but whom I can't acknowledge now because I've looked at him way too many times and NOT said 'hi', so to start saying it now would just be weird.

Let's go back.

When I was in high school, I worked part time at a drugstore.  I loved it.  It was a simple job:  put stuff on shelves, make them look nice, ring people up, vacuum if you have the last shift, put little displays together.

Sometimes I fantasize about that job.  When I have 20 8th graders throwing tomatoes at me because I am "wasting their time" and being "so unfair" because I have the audacity to expect them to work.

When I'm listening to the school committee look at a budget and drop the ax on so many crucial programs.

When I'm calling back the 100th parent to explain that the reason their kid got an F is not because I don't like her, it's because she is an effing lazy liar who has not done a single thing all term and then tells you she has NO IDEA why she failed and I must hate her.

When I'm correcting my millionth paper on a day off.

Because that job was so easy.  And I didn't bring work home.  I did what I was told, so my managers liked me.

But I only brought home $4.25 an hour.  So I guess I'm comparing apples and oranges here.  I get paid a little more than that to teach.

While working at that drugstore, I met a guy, I'll call him Tom, who also worked there.  I didn't work with him often, but when I did, it was fun.  Our manager liked him, so we had a blast from 5-9 on Tuesday nights.  We laughed.  We joked.  We worked.  We had silly games we played.

He was really friendly.

And then I never saw Tom again.

Until we both ended up taking a tap dancing class together.  At 1 o'clock in the afternoon, on a weekday, one summer.

That's right.  Tom, the pharmacy guy, and I took a tap dancing class together.  The only other student was another guy.  The instructor was a VERY LARGE woman who was about 70.  She was VERY LARGE and dressed in very flowy clothes.  But she could move those feet!  To this day, I cannot imagine why her feet could move under the 100s of pounds that she weighed.

I cannot fully convey how awkward this situation was for all of us.  3 college aged kids, one female, 2 male, one VERY LARGE woman  on a weekday afternoon, in the summer.

As I write this, I feel like I dreamed this, but I know this was true.

I've always liked dance and I've always been determined that tap was my dance that I just never got to learn right.  I have tried like 4 different times, but the situations always fall apart and my lightning feet never get to perform like they so desire.

So, that one summer, I was working for my father and therefore had a flexible schedule, so I trotted off to tap class for a few afternoons after lunch.  With 2 guys and a fat lady.

It was a silent class.  Tom and I did that Tom and Jerry bug eyed "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuugaaaaaaaa" thing when we saw each other and promptly pretended that we did not know each other.   This was not easy in a class of 3.  You couldn't really just "blend in".   I was sure when he walked in with the other guy that he and the other guy did actually know each other.  But then they never talked.

I spent that entire class wondering 3 things:

1)  is Tom gay and that's his lover?
2)  are these 2 in some show together and they are totally straight but they have to learn this dance ASAP?
3)  HOW did this lady get so FAT if she tap danced her whole life?????

I remember a lot of dances I've learned in my lifetime, but other than what Tom and his buddy were wearing, and the fact that the lady was so FAT, I cannot tell  you another thing about that time.  Oh, except that it was very hot at 1 in the afternoon to be dancing in a non air conditioned space.

There was no recital.   I was too old for my mother to be driving me to class or to  be paying for it, so I am sure she has no idea what this is about.

It was like I was in some vortex of inappropriateness involving 2 guys, a fat tap teacher and the summer.  

Fast forward to some time after college when I returned home to teach.

I walked into the grocery store, the very same building where Tom and I once worked at a drugstore and LO AND BEHOLD who should appear in front of me but TOM!

My first thought was "OH GOD the last time I saw you, you were tap dancing with knee high athletic socks on!"  And I ran the other way.

We have 2 grocery store options within 1/4 of a mile of each other.  I tend to go to the non-Tom store not because of Tom but because the non-Tom store is usually offering some deal (like the current gas deal) or because they have the hand held scanner that has cut down my shopping time like 25 minutes, TOPS.  Tom's store doesn't have these.

Over time, I have seen Tom countless times in his grocery store.  He is a store manager.  I think it's ironic and kind of sad that he never worked anywhere but in this very building for his entire career.  So far, anyway.  He's probably not 40 yet.  I estimate him to be around my age, maybe a little older.

Each time I visit his store, I find myself going "hmm, I wonder if Tom still works here" and then I turn a corner, and there he is.

And I run away.

Because there are now 2 things I think when I see him:

1)  I once took a tap dancing class with you and we pretended not to know each other but there was nowhere to hide and it has left permanent scars on my psyche
2)  why does Tom look FREAKISHLY identical to the way he did when we worked together in 1991?  Like he has not aged one single bit.  He's a good looking guy who always looks ready to laugh.  But he does not age.  Like, in a freakish way.  It's been 21 damned years.  Everyone I went to school with looks a LITTLE different.

Not Tom. He still has his 1980s style permed looking hair(his worst feature).  His nice grin.  He hasn't put on weight.

Who is this enigma called Tom?

Why was he taking that class and how could he do that in the middle of the day?

How long will we play the 'I don't know you ' game?

Do you have these situations?  I can't be the only one, right?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Technology Cross I Bear

I have no idea what I am doing in blogland.  I just wing it.  I read things, I look at how people do things, I copy them and I have this magical blog.  It keeps me entertained.  It also keeps a record of things that I forget (except for those pictures of last year's goregous amaryllis that I can't find!).

And recently, it has been pretending that since January 1, I have posted nothing.  INdeed, I have posted almost every day since then.

Something is amiss with my feed.  And this is where it all falls apart for me.  I fall right into the abyss of ignorance once I utter the word 'feed' because I really don't know how it all works.

I followed the feedburner directions, I copied, I pasted, I clicked, I checked, I authorized.  And all was well.  I had subscribers.  They got my updates in their google reader.

And then it all stopped. 

I tried looking for ways to figure out what might have gone wrong and was steered down a path that had so much html, I sat down and tried to find myself a techie.  But k-ster was busy, and a-ster was busy, so I got busy pretending I am a techie.

And I think I might have failed.  Because I think many of you still think I fell off the blog on January 1, never to be heard from again.  I even put myself in my own blogroll and I can't get back up to the top. 

This is when I hate technology.  When I get to the point where I think I know it all and things are going so smoothly and then it all goes kaput.  And it's no longer as simple as 'well, did you turn it ON?' 

Now I have to have a phD in html to make it all work. 


Monday, January 9, 2012

This Is Only A Test

I don't know how many of you out there only read me because you subscribed to my feeds, but I think I'm having a feed issue.

I haven't seen much of you regulars lately and my sister recently asked me why I haven't been posting.  But I have been!

When I leave comments on other people's blogs, it says that my last post was Deep Thoughts but that was 8 days ago! 

I've been posting, I swear!

Can someone help me figure out how I can figure out what happened?

My Long Lost Sister

My sister a-ster was a techie long before I was and started a blog and an etsy before me too.

Then I jumped on the bandwagon and it wasn't cool anymore, or something, so she stopped.

And then she moved.

And then she had a baby.

And then she came back to the blogosphere!

So I added her back into my blogroll so we can keep track of her latest inventions.

Go see her crafty brilliance!  She has made some cute clothes for l-ster already.  And she's planning to participate regularly in Project Run and Play.

You better add her to your blogroll if you are at all crafty or like to stand in awe of those who are.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Pool Boy

K-ster is secretly a fish and when we're in the doldrums of winter, he starts to moan and groan about how he can't go swimming and why can't we have a pool and if only he could go swimming, all would be well.

We called Sea World, but they don't need anymore aquatic animals this winter.

For the past few winters, he's had a pool membership at a local hotel chain that charges up the butt for a winter pool membership and then has restricted hours.  I don't care about swimming, so I haven't paid much attention.

This year, I went to an auction and got a pool membership for a different hotel and thought he'd like it.  I didn't know the pool is smaller in this one and it's like 2 miles further away.

I tried to sell it for what I paid on craigslist, but no one cared.

So, we sucked it up and went today and activated the membership.  This one actually allows to people on the same card, so I can actually go. 

Nothing screams POOL to me more than resin chairs and tables, umbrellas opened up inside and fake plants.

And I assume this is some sort of indoor pool clientele secret that weren't privy to, but apparently you go to the pool on a Sunday afternoon to hang out.  You bring coolers, wine, books, children.  And you think and act like you are at the beach.

It sure isn't Richmere but it will have to do.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Feel Good Friday

So it was exceptionally cold for a day or two this week, but that didn't stop me from thinking like a farmer.  UPS is my enabler.

I've seen heat mats that you use to start your seedlings and I always thought they were for mambsy pambsy gardeners who can't start seeds the natural way.  Sadly, I too cannot start seeds in an unheated greenhouse in January, even though I can get the actual plants (the hardy types) to grow.

So, I bought myself a Germination Station.  You might be surprised to learn that it is simply a plastic mat with heating coils in it that sits under a little plastic greenhouse.  In my greenhouse.  Gee how clever. 

I theorize that during the daylight, it gets warm enough to encourage the seeds to start growing, but because it gets so cold at night, they freeze. 

Enter my brilliant idea to plug the Germination Station into a timer so that when the sun goes down, the heat comes on. 
I worried I might melt the whole place down, but it's not hot, not by any means.  It's supposed to be 10-20 degrees above the room temperature.  So when it's 10 degrees out, it might be a whopping 30 degrees on that little heat mat.
I have no major results so far, but I'm willing to believe my greenhouse in a greenhouse trick is going to work as we get into early spring.
As I was looking online for a Germination Station, I also realized I needed to get some of those peat pellets to start my seedlings.  Except I want them to be 100% free of anything that will start my seedlings with a boost of nutrients or fertilizers.  And I don't care if they are peat.  Since "they" have decided that peat bogs aren't a renewable fast enough, peat is now considered a terrible thing to use.  I don't know how much I believe that, but I do see that most peat pellets I find have something added to them for growing.
Last year, I used some coconut husk ones that people claimed were terrible but I found them to be 100% excellent.  Except for big seeds like beans and squash, I start every seed in a little pellet and I find that it really works.  But I lost track of how many I used last year.
So I bought 301 and this year.  Why 301?  Because I had to buy one more so I was over the minimum amount to get free seeds!  I know that sounds like a ridiculous number of pellets, but I don't think it is.  Remember, I start every seed this way and I try to plant successively all summer and into the fall, so something is always starting.

I usually buy my seeds from an actual store here, but for some reason, I thought I'd give these free seeds a whirl.  There isn't a lot of variety for organic seeds here.  These packets say they are organic and they are some new types that intrigue me.

Some pumpkin mix, an heirloom mix of tomatoes (where the hell am I going to grow MORE tomatoes???), some long cucumbers that are "armenian" and some giant Swiss chard.  I grow chard well, so this giant kind intrigues me. It will  be one of the first seeds I try when I start my new batch of seedlings in the germination station.

The greenhouse is really just laughing at me.  It and the Germination Station are just sitting back, having a grand old laugh at my foolishness.  This is New England.  We have cold winters here.  If you're not going to heat a greenhouse, you can't grow anything.

We'll see.

Inside, I have my amaryllis collection.   The one you see on the right is full of huge leaves, but no flower.  This was the one I had last year that was so spectacular that I didn't put pictures up.  (??)  It was gorgeous with red blooms, all 4 at once.  I let it die off like it said, and then I put it out in the greenhouse for the summer.

In November, I planted it again, gave it water and it shot up instantly.  But sadly, no bloom.  I didn't fertilize because I don't do that, so now I am left to wonder if it will ever bloom again.

This is the new one I got for Christmas this year. I was excited about the color. I had no idea it would bloom so quickly or remain so short! It's like 8 inches tall!


Here is an experiment gone wrong.  My sister a-ster knows I love these jars from IKEA, so she got me another one and thought it would be fun to put in some paperwhite bulbs that she got last year.  She never let them grow last year and thought maybe we could toss them in here and make them grow.

Sadly, they are doing nothing but stinking up the joint because the water is starting to smell bad.  I will give it a few more days and then it's sayonara because I can't stand the smell anymore!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

One Hot Pussy

It's my own fault.  I bring these things upon myself.

The 8th grade students that were formerly making my life miserable have mysteriously turned over a new leaf and they are currently almost entertaining me.  I just have to stay one step ahead of the biggest mouth in the room and everything is fine.

We are currently working on the most bizarre unit I have:  the body.  There isn't a chapter in my book for this, so I have to wing it.  And it seems that the more bizarre we get with aches and pains, the more they learn the words.

Because in French, to say that something hurts is more difficult than in English.  Ironic, because if I am hurting in France, the last thing I want to do is the mental gymnastics to make it come out right.  If my leg hurts, I can't say "my leg hurts" because it would mean that my leg is detached from my body and flogging me.  I must say "I have bad in the leg".  Which brings no end of hysterics when I try to teach this unit.

Along with explaining your pain comes the explanation that you are hot, cold, tired, wrong, thirsty, etc.  All requiring the verb to have, rather than to be.  So, I can't say " I am hot", I must say "I have hot".

It's all very ridiculous to try to convince 14 year olds that this really is what you must say and if you say it the wrong way, you will be not only wrong, but in some cases, you will be offensive to someone.

Because, if you say "I am hot", rather than "I have hot", well, then you are saying that you are sexually hot for the person you are talking to.  And of course, I never explain that piece or I'd never get the right answer, ever.

Today, someone decided that Justin Bieber was hot.  She does anything she can to incorporate him into her work.  So she wrote "Justin Bieber has hot" a correct phrase, grammatically, but not correct for what she meant.  That sentence just says he is dying from the heat, not that he is HOT.  This generated lots of giggles.  From the boys, mostly.

Despite my trying to explain that you can't use the phrase that way, they still try to.  Year after year.  I've seen it all.

And I should know better than to make my own worksheets for practice.  A long time ago, I used to do a lot of stuff where they had to translate, but these days, this is frowned upon because it's not really a legitimate way to use the language.  And I completely agree.

But, since knocking a kid down the stairs to ask him how his leg feels is frowned upon, sometimes I dig up my old stand bys to make them practice a little.

And on that sheet, along with "we are hungry" and "the girls are tired"  there is a sentence that says "the cat is hot".  And for some reason , I always have to clarify that the poor feline doesn't like the heat, not that it's a HOT cat.  We aren't talking about Kitty Softporn Softpaws here.

And as I was explaining, I heard the biggest mouth in class say "that is one HOT -----" and I knew exactly what was going to come next.

Because I was thinking that if someone said that it would be really funny.

Because after 45 minutes with those nasty 14 year olds, I am a 14 year old.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Boys In the Gym

Most of my gym experience has been at a women's gym.  It all started when my sister a-ster was home from college one year and we joined for 3 months or something like that.  My intention was that I would work out until I could run well and I'd probably extend my membership for a while after she went back to school.

Well, many years and fitness certifications later, I still teach and work out at that same gym.

I've taught at a couple of co-ed gyms and I didn't see a big difference.  It was strange to have men in my classes and I had to stop myself from saying "ladies" and "girls" all the time.  And telling everyone to "grab your balls and lay on your backs" had to stop.  Otherwise, it wasn't too different.

I have always stayed at the women's gym and probably would stay even if I didn't teach.

And it all comes down to smell.

Because one time, I worked at a co-ed gym that was mostly a boxing gym.  And it STUNK to high heavens.  Like sweaty mats (or sweaty Matts, I guess!)  It just always smelled soggy.  And DIS.GUS.TING.

And I think I've mentioned my smell issues.

At my gym, no matter how sweaty the ladies get, it never seems to smell sweaty.  Sorry boys, all one of you that read my blog, but I really think the sweat smells different.

Or maybe there were always just 2 of us working hard at the ladies gym, so nothing smelled.

Until now.  Now we have 2 men who are trainers.  At a women's gym.

Some of the ladies dont' like it.  And I am sure some left at the scandalousness of men in a women's gym.

But they teach specialty classes so that you would know who was teaching when you signed up.  And there are women trainers if you want a woman to train you.

I don't really care if men work at a women's gym.

I think it's fascinating to watch what happens.  Women who are going to their specialty classes or who are using them as trainers are suddenly becoming fit.  They are not afraid to get sweaty in front of these guys.  In fact, they seem to LOVE it.  They are doing crazy things that they won't do when women tell them to do them.

I took a group training class today that is usually led by a woman trainer.  And the girls gripe and whine and fuss the wholedamntime.

Bring in a boy and suddenly it's quiet, people are working so hard you can practically hear their bodies burning off the calories, they are sweating and all the while just about asking MORE PLEASE!

They tease, they cajole, they practically demand MORE PLEASE.

After that class, the other trainer came in with a woman for a one on one.  I see these all the time because the training room is the same room as the spinning room, so when a spinning class is going on, there is often personal training going on and everyone just manages to get along.  When I teach on Fridays, there is often someone being trained by one of these men and since the instructor's bike faces them and no one else can see them, I can't help watching to see what goes on.

The guys  also teach boxing and all my boss had to do was bring in the pink gloves and suddenly, they are lining up to box with these boys.  And you have to pay a lot more to do so.  And they do!

It is amazing how much harder these women will work for a man.  I'm sure they would deny it 100% and claim they work just as hard for anyone.  But it seems to me that they love every second of this one on one time with the boys.

And if it means women are getting fitter  because of it, I'm all for it.

Just please don't let those boys sweat on my mat!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Back To Reality

Well, it's January 2nd and you know what that means. 

A whole lot less of this:

And a whole lot more of this:

Not that I spent my entire vacation laying around on the couch, but I might have spent more time than usual sort of lounging, reading and watching TV.  What else is there to do in the winter?

And I won't get much of a February vacation because I am going to France with some high school kids, so I thought I'd savor what I could get right now.

I have to go, I'm breaking out in hives.  Because I'm going to France in February with some high school kids.