Thursday, November 29, 2007

There's a New Gang in Town


For future reference, if you walk into a crowded bagel shop, pay for your lunch, and make your way to a table only to find that said table is sporting a week-old college newspaper with a salt shaker placed on top of it, keep moving. That table is being saved.

Here's what went down. Danny and I were 75% finished with our lunch and our New York Times when one of the (BSOL) Bagel Shop Old Ladies approached our table. I'm now convinced they're a bona fide gang. They probably have it out after hours (6:30pm) with the baggers from Publix next door. I'm pretty sure I saw one old lady taping hard candies onto her knuckles today. And I wouldn't be surprised if underneath their embroidered Alfred Donner sweater sets are matching tattoos of lox and cream cheese on an onion bagel.

Anyway, I made the mistake of sliding the newspaper/salt shaker centerpiece aside and sitting down to enjoy my lunch. Well, Barb (code name: Barbed Wire) just couldn't let me get away with that. She came over, sweet as nails,"Excuse me dear, could I have my paper back? We thought we'd be able to save this table but…well, that paper belongs to my friend."
Nevermind that Barb's friend could have picked up another (free) week old college newspaper from the enormous stack by the door. I think this was purely an intimidation tactic. I'm putting it all together, the Jedi mind trick lady, the old woman who hogged the free samples last week. They think they own the place and can just push (subtly chide) people around.

Well, I for one am sick of it. Next week I'm going to take up a whole big table all to myself. I'm going to take two, no, three brownie bites from the tray. I'm going to put out a napkin and a couple grains of salt and call it saving a table.


It's on ladies. Bring it. It….is…ON.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Four Little Ditties


My dermatologist's
answering machine:
It says, "If this is a life-threatening situation, please hang up and dial 911". I'm glad he said that, because I know that when I am in a life-threatening situation like say, a bear is attacking my tent while camping,
the first person I think to call is my dermatologist. And I'd probably even stay on hold hoping he'd pick up, so I'm glad he not only reminded me I should call 911, but also that I should hang up first before doing so. Thanks man.


Modern day research:
If I can't find information on the internet, it either
a) does not exist, or
b) is not worth knowing
If someone has not taken the time to make the information available so I don't have to leave my chair or home but merely string together the correct combination of words to find it on google, then it must not really be that important

Old Ladies in Bagel Shops:
If I were an anthropologist, I would do an entire study about old ladies in bagel shops. This woman moved around in the line as if no one else was taking up that space. She went backwards and forwards to look at the pastry display, check out the salad selection and read the menu. People parted ways for her easier than the red sea parted for Moses. She took not only one, but two or even three free cookie samples from the tray. And she didn't balance on tip toes and delicately pick out a cookie crumb from the tray like everyone else, she took the tray down from it's perch and perused it's contents with her fingertips until she found what she wanted (the much-coveted brownie bits). I cannot wait until I am old enough to do this.

Talking windshield wipers:
Yesterday I saw a commercial for windshield wipers that "talk" to your brakes. According to the manufacturer, when it starts raining the windshield wipers tell the brakes to start drying, so they can stop better. But how can we be sure that's what they're saying? It's more likely the windshield wipers are saying, "Hurry up asshole, I'm getting wet out here!" I've seen enough sci-fi movies to know that I would like my mechanical car parts to just shut the hell up and do their job while I'm driving.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

30 Random Facts for 30 Random Years

Since today is my 30th birthday, here are 30 random (and sometimes innapropriate) facts about me...(actually 31, one to grow on as grandma always said)

1. My closet is organized by color
2. Before my wedding I had a two-page list of things to do that made my mother-in-law shriek in anxiety—but made me feel more relaxed.
3. I usually skim the end of a chapter or book to see how things end up because I'm impatient and can't take suspense.
4. There are movies I didn't care for in the theater that I will watch again and again on TBS—like The Wedding Planner.
5. Public speaking doesn't scare me, I'm quite good at it.
6. In fifth grade I started my period while learning how to divide fractions.
7. I peed my pants in public---at the age of sixteen.
8. I once weighed over two hundred pounds
9. In my catholic grade school, I used to invent sins to tell the priest in confession.
10. I am the oldest of four children, I have two brothers and one sister.
11. When I was five I got my arm stuck up an elephant's trunk.
12. I used to fake sick so I could stay home from school and read Nancy Drew books.
13. I can't stand being late.
14. I still sometimes check my closet and under my bed before going to sleep at night.
15. My wedding dress cost $84.73
16. I once lived in France with a family who didn't speak English.
17. My favorite part of Christmas is wrapping presents.
18. I like baking and gardening (but I'm not very good at either).
19. I still have CDs and books that I borrowed from people in middle school (such as Patty Drechsel's Whitney Houston CD).
20. I have a mild fear of lakes and oceans.
21. I love going to thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets.
22. My first pet was a poodle/spaniel mix named Gin Gin.
23. When I was 13, my brand new, blue, ten-speed bike got stolen (I'm pretty sure Danielle Delisio is the culprit).
24. Daydreaming is my favorite pastime.
25. I started watching MTV at the age of six.
26. In sixth grade someone started an "eraser burn" fad, I still have the scar on the back of my hand where Jenny Patronik convinced me to rub off my skin with a number two pencil eraser.
27. I often have nightmares that it's my wedding day but I don't have shoes and/or a hair stylist. 28. At one point in my life I was "too radioactive to be in the general population."
29. I don't like commercials where funguses and mucus have personalities and wear clothes.
30. I lost my virginity when I was 16.
31. All my life I have been disgusted by doggie kisses….until I got a dog.

Below is a picture of my mom taken just 2 months before I made my worldwide debut (Note the "Baby" t-shirt). What is she doing you ask? She's preparing to skydive. Lucky for yours truly, when she saw the unnatural sight of others falling from the aircraft she decided against it. Thanks Mom!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Skydiving

So last Saturday I jumped out of an airplane 13,000 feet in the air and dropped to the earth at 120mph. It sounds scary when I say it that way (better dramatic effect).

It's one of those things I've always wanted to do. I'm sure everyone has at least one thing they think, I've always wanted to _________ (see the sunset over the Pacific, ride a Gondola in Venice, see an ex boyfriend when I actually look good etc). It is quite a powerful accomplishment when you actually do one of those things. For two days I've had this feeling that if I can jump out of a plane I can do anything. (I chose appliance shopping and folding laundry)

Two years ago we almost did it, Danny wanted to surprise me for my birthday so he sent in a deposit for us both to go. The day before my birthday he came to me and said, "Ok I was going to surprise you and take you sky diving but the company just called and said one of their planes crashed and if we want we can have our deposit back. So do you still want to go?"

"Uh…No, let's wait on that one."

This time around we got no such call. But in the days leading up to our adventure I was very nervous. I wasn't nervous to jump out of the plane or that the plane would crash but I woke up in the middle of the night worrying about three things.

That I would fart and/or throw up on the dude strapped to my back
That the "relaxing" float down after the parachute opens would just be one long awkward silence between me and the dude strapped to my back.
That I was too fat to skydive. I got butterflies in my stomach at the prospect of some 24-year-old guy yelling "Hey Bob! We're gonna need the X-tra large chute over here!"
I got over my fears and we headed out to Palatka bright and early with our friend Alisa, who we found out on the drive has an incredible amount in common with both of us (including causing trouble in Catholic school and being a Scorpio).

We were all jumping tandem so we didn't have to take a class but we did have to watch a video made circa 1985 that featured a lawyer who was perfectly, neatly manicured except for his 6-foot-long ZZ Top beard basically telling us that if we died or got hurt we couldn't sue. We signed about 18 pages exempting people from fault. And I mean EVERYONE, we can't sue the pilot, the jumpmaster, the parachute manufacturer, the landowner, the butcher the baker or the candlestick maker.

After we signed it was time to pay up. That's when I saw the footnote on the price sign.

*Persons over 230 lbs must pay $1.00 per pound over the limit

Holy shit, how embarrassing if you had to stand there and calculate your poundage. Would they trust your estimate? Or would they make you get on a scale like a package to be mailed?

We went to a covered outside area where Art (the owner) explained all we needed to know. The ground rules were pretty basic.

Try to curve your body like a rocking chair.
Do not grab a hold of my arms or I will bite your ear off.
All around us people were on the ground packing up parachutes. I felt a prickle of excitement when I looked over in the field further on and saw chutes dropping out of the sky and people in jumpsuits landing at a run.

I imagined that the plane ride up would be the scariest part. And it was. The plane is tiny tiny tiny. It fit about 12 people, all straddling two long benches and there's no room for shyness, everyone spooned the person in front of them. The comraderie was a lot of fun though. We all teased and laughed. Gary, my jumpmaster, threw a tattered shoestring in my lap, "Oh my god something just came off!"

I was fifth in line to go out. My grandfather told me weeks ago that there was no sensation of falling, so I wasn't scared like the way I feel when a roller coaster is cranking up to the big fall. I honestly did not feel scared. That is, I didn't feel scared until the door opened and people started leaving the aircraft.

I cannot do justice to explaining JUST HOW WRONG it looks to see people tumbling out of an airplane and dropping like rocks toward the ground. It goes against everything your brain tells you is natural and right. That's when I felt scared. This is the image that will forever be burned in my mind. There is my friend Alisa sitting in front of me…and there she is rolling out the side of an airplane 13,000 feet above the ground.

Holy Shit.

But when it was my turn to go it felt too hectic too be scary. I scooted my butt to the edge and hung my legs out just like Gary had told me to, and then we were gone, in a crazy wind tunnel. When I opened my eyes I could see the fields and earth like I was seeing them from space. It was hard to look straight down because of the wind. We were going fast, so fast it was hard to breathe. I saw one of the other men from the plane dart past us like superman diving down in a straight line.

And then out of nowhere everything was still and silent. (Because the parachute opened…not because I died). It felt amazing. We were unfathomably high in the air, just dangling. Gary did some twists and spins and pointed to Danny whose chute had just opened. After 30 years on this planet it's not very often I get to see something I've never seen before. It was an odd sensation to watch my husband dropping through the sky like a pebble and then abruptly stopping under a blooming orange balloon.

Five minutes later we were coming in for our landing. To be honest, a lot of it is a blur (I'll have to go again to remember what it's like). To sum up, it's all thrill and no scary roller coaster feeling. But the adrenaline high has lasted for days.

On the car ride home we talked about how weird it was to continue on with our normal lives after a morning spent jumping out of an airplane. Alisa went home to do her laundry and Danny and I went shopping for appliances.

But in our heads we were planning the next adventure. So who wants to go hang gliding????