Friday, November 30, 2007

New Turf

We switched gyms. Our old fitness center (the one that featured Paula Deen's nutritional wisdom on the tv in the cardio room) wanted twelve gazillion dollars for us to renew, so we decided to forgo the fancy "club" with the spa we never used and the restaurant we never ate at, and jog ourselves over to "Joe's Gym," which charges something like thirty-nine cents a month.

Working out at Joe's Gym is rather like landing in an NFL retirement home--it's a giant open room filled with every type of old-school weight equipment imaginable, all being hefted and pushed and swung around by men who have no visible indent between their ears and their shoulders. Most days, I am the sole patron claiming estrogen as my dominant hormone; I've never once had to wait for the treadmill or the eliptical machine.

My favorite part about Joe's though, is the Zoomba class. I've never taken it, but wow does it make me happy. You see, the class is taught by a guy (possibly Joe?) who is somewhere in his 60s, I'd guess. Joining Joe are seven to ten other Italian men ranging in age from 40-70. Up goes the volume on the stereo, and Joe shows the boys how to shake their thang (thangs?) to remastered club tracks that range from Depeche Mode to Kool & The Gang. It's like watching Tony Soprano and his gang doing aerobics. (In my head, I call them Paulie, Silvio, and Vito).

Add to that the looming seven-foot presence of a former NBA All-Star's brother, and a guy who looks like the punching bag Mike Tyson trained on, and I feel like I'm in the six-degrees of separation hall of fame. Granted, it's the mob division, but hey, for thirty-nine cents a month, I'll take it.

I mean, how could Paula Deen compete with that?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bigger, better, faster, stronger

The Ryan house got rewired yesterday, with the help of a very nice guy named Mike who installed a new Fios system--internet, phone, cable, and DVR--that costs the same as our dodgy Comcast internet/cable plan that failed frequently and included no phone and no DVR.
Apparently, Comcast was under the impression that their much-heralded "On Demand" programming would keep us in the fold even without the other extras, and were shocked--shocked!--to learn that round-the-clock access to movies like "The Last Mimzy" and exercise shows from the 1980s featuring Wayne Gretsky's wife weren't enough to secure our devotion. After three years of lost calls on my cell phone (not so great for business) and missed seasons of So You Think You Can Dance, the Fios people knew just the way to my heart.

The one problem with this delightful new arrangement was that Steve and I didn't own a phone. We've never had a landline; it's one of those things we just never got around to doing. But when Fios Mike asked for our phone so he could test it, we did what most people do--we went down to the basement, assuming we had one in storage. Doesn't everybody? Now mind you, this assumption had no basis in reality. Neither of us had a phone before we got married, and no one thought to add one to our gift registry. So we probably shouldn't have been quite so surprised to discover that our basement hadn't been sequestering one all this time, just waiting for us to come and appreciate it.

I dashed out to Best Buy with cash in hand, eager to rectify this situation. What I discovered was surprising. 90% of the cordless phones featured three or more handsets. Which is lovely and generous, but our condo is only 900 square feet. Multiple handsets seemed like a sure path to us becoming one of those couples who conducts all phone conversations in tandem, each weighing in from a different line. We're at least three decades away from that being practical (I think you need to be a grandparent) rather than utterly annoying, so I searched for other options.

Over in a corner, I found one lowly cordless option that came without brothers or sisters. It had approximately the same power (GHz?) as a small calculator. Sitting next to it was the other lone ranger, a sleek silver-gray model. That would look nice in the living room, I thought briefly, reaching to pick it up. Then my eye caught the tag below it. The price for the sleek phone? $1,000.00

Here's the deal: unless a phone can 1.) read moods and block you from making phone calls you might someday regret; and/or 2.) MAKE a guy call when he says he will, it's not worth $1,000.

So if you're someone I chat with regularly on the phone, expect a call from me from my new calculator. I'll hit "record" on the DVR and we can chat :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

What's in a name?

Three things I learned this Thanksgiving Week:

1. The pies at Whole Foods go on half-price sale at 8pm the night before Thanksgiving. That's 8pm, folks. I've marked my calender for next year (it's the closest I thing I have to a holiday recipe).

2. Matrimony is a great book. I read it in four hours.

3. I have the same middle name as Alanis Morrissette. Future parents take note: the middle name Nadine may destine your daughter for a career entertaining the world with stories of her numerous dating failures. (Behold, my Jagged Little Pill.) I think the baby name books should note this, no?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Holiday Logistics

Stacy has finished all of her Christmas shopping.

I, on the other hand, haven't figured out where to buy the one pie we've been asked to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. (We haven't been asked to contribute something home-cooked to these family meals since the Great Squash Debacle of 2004. WHO KNEW that if you put nutmeg on squash when it comes out of the oven and then drive it across town, that somewhere en route it turns newborn baby poop brown??? I could have used a warning from the kind folks at before I brought that bowl of tasty goodness to my brand new in-laws...)

Anyway, there's a chance I'm a little behind. Is it possible, do you think, to reschedule Christmas for sometime mid-February? Would that be so wrong???

Monday, November 19, 2007

Giving Thanks

THAT DOG and I saw the first flakes of snow this morning. It wasn't exactly a magical Gilmore Girls moment, what with the ominous gray sky and the poop to be scooped, but it felt special, nonetheless. This has been the longest, most beautiful autumn (not just fall, which sounds rather negative when you think about it, but autumn) I can remember. I can't really begrudge the snow when there have been gorgeous, just-ripened pear colored leaves outside my bedroom window for almost a month now, which is kind of a miracle here in the city. That makes the top of my thankfulness list this year.

THAT DOG is thankful that I can't cook without dropping food on the floor, and that the cozy winter comforter is back on the bed for her lounging pleasure.

How about you?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Cooth Cooth Chronicles

As some of you may know, one of my larger challenges since I embarked upon the wife life has been cooking. Or figuring out how to cook. Or, more precisely, even remembering that dinner is coming AGAIN tonight and we're probably going to want something to eat.

The truth is, I spent the first three decades of my life doing very little that involved the combination of food and heat. Sure, I learned to whip up mac & cheese from both Kraft (everyday) or Velveeta (for special occasions), and my baloney sandwiches are the stuff that lunchtime dreams are made of. But my Italian husband was raised on meals that came from INSIDE the oven, a place I rarely ventured near. Today, I decided that things were going to be different--I was going to go all out and whip up a gourmet meal for my man.

Dreaming of America's Next Top Chef, I boldly bypassed the potatoes, the rice, the pasta...even the mac & cheese...and pulled out a box of couscous to accompany our basic steak dinner. It sounded so exotic! Now, I'd never made couscous. I'd never even eaten it. I watched my four year old niece wrestle it down once this summer ("I don't think I like cooth cooth," she admitted sadly as she pushed the bits of grain around the bowl). But it came in the same type of box as the rice pilaf I know and love; I figured, "How bad could it be?"

Well. Hmm. Here's the thing: It tasted like the little rocks at the bottom of a fish tank might taste if heated and covered with salt and butter. And it went EVERYWHERE. Under our plates, on the rug, in my hair...honestly, they should sell this stuff in the pet section of the grocery store, because without a dog I can't imagine how you'd clean it up. We were tempted to lift Kylie right up onto the table and just let her lick up all those tiny grain dots. Guessing that this would unfairly raise her expectations about family dinner etiquette in the future, we instead opted to leave the room for a few minutes. And miraculously (?!?) the table was clean when we returned!

(Don't judge! If it wasn't for THAT DOG, we'd be picking up amber waves of grain until Thanksgiving!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Eight words

I've been finding inspiration in some unexpected places lately. Sometimes I feel like a giant idea collector--as if the only way I can make sense of the world and figure out who I am inside it, how to negotiate the path from A to B to Z--is by gathering all kinds of thoughts and opinions, other people's stories, really, and then letting them knock around inside of me for awhile to see what sticks and what falls away. It's like some process inside me synthesizes them, and I await the "Ah-ha moments."

But sometimes I come across something that just strikes me as compelling, funny, and true enough to accept on its own, no synthesis necessary. Jerry Seinfeld's interview in Oprah's magazine this month falls into this category. He has some great things to say about creative process, but what jumped out at me was his basic advice for life. I think he came up with these for a commencement speech he gave. Whatever the genesis, I think these are just dang good thoughts to keep in mind as I wander around trying to make my time on Earth count for something. So here, for your consideration, are Jerry Seinfeld's Three Rules For Living:

1. Bust your ass
2. Pay attention
3. Fall in love

Check out the interview (Nov. 07 issue) for Jerry's elaborations if you're curious, but I think these eight words say a lot, even without embellishment. (And I fibbed about the no-synthesis thing; I've been mulling these over all week!)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Big Fun

Very cool weekend. My groovy new friend Kristen (thank you, Lynette for the great connection) invited me to see these guys in concert, which was awesome. I'm a sucker for good music combined with a good cause, and these guys brought both. "Can You Feel It?" (the song they have on their MySpace page) is a happy addition to my jogging playlist. And the band is collecting socks & towels for local homeless shelters in every city they visit--how cool is that? It got me thinking: Could we do something like that?

So here's a question for you guys: if there was a way to make a donation to a local women's shelter at book signing events--say, for example, a collection of toiletries and makeup items--would you bring a lip gloss and a stick of deodorant to contribute to the cause? Just a thought :)

In other news, we saw Dan in Real Life (fun, although I didn't really buy Juliette Binoche and Dane Cook together) and took THAT DOG for a walk in the woods (where she showed her country-dog prowess by sniffing out the poop of small woodland creatures and rolling in it).

That, my friends, is a weekend!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

One thing, but then quite another!

Okay, so I had this whole post planned in my head about the bizarre sign I saw on my way home from the library today, advertising that the senior center here in our fine town is holding a MEAT RAFFLE to raise funds.


I have all sorts of thoughts about what it means for humanity when our elders need to entice us to bid on beef to keep themselves in bingo chips...

But that's gonna have to wait. Because when I logged onto Amazon just now to add Rosie O'Donnell's latest book to my "Books read in 2007" list (yes, I've finally emerged from the weeds...THANK YOU for all the awesome words of support), I saw this and had to share!

Now, if you're wondering, "Does it bother Trish that her Amazon ranking is #1,588,799?" The answer is, Nope....that just means I HAVE AN AMAZON RANKING!!!! Which to me is pretty cool, especially as the manuscript is sitting on my dining room table right now as I go through the final proofread. (I guess that's why they're offering the extra 5% discount for pre-orders; they've seen my last attempt at editing and figure there's a good chance I might miss something...)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

2 random thoughts

1. No one told THAT DOG about daylight savings time, and she is NOT happy. She kept staring at us last night, pacing between the living room and the bedroom, trying to herd us off to bed. She'll be 12 next month, so I guess we're approaching the moody teen years...

2. Jesus has a cooler MySpace page than me. I guess it goes without saying that he has more friends. I've resolved to put more effort into Facebook.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Low visibility

I'm still in the weeds. Still in my pajamas. Still mainlining coffee and hiding my phone so I don't answer it and lose my grasp on the narrative thread holding my new proposal together.

I'm reminding myself of the wise words of my law school friend Jon, who'd watch golf in his bathrobe all day while the rest of us studied for finals. "Things tend to get done," he'd say, "things tend to get done."

I got an extra hour Saturday night thanks to daylight savings time, which I promptly lost on Sunday morning when I gave in to the need to eat and shower. None of that wussy stuff today, though, not until I'm done...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Slipping Standards

Am working very, very (very, very) hard on the proposal for book two. I've spent most of this week in my pajamas, which sounds far more lovely and relaxing than it actually is, especially as I live in the city and have a dog that often needs to be taken outside and emptied at times when the rest of the world is not in pajamas (I think she sometimes holds it until Steve gets home, just to avoid being seen with me).

I didn't realize how long it had been since I'd had a normal day until yesterday, when I was up and dressed by 9:00am for a haircut. I was absolutely GIDDY as I was driving to the salon--you'd have thought I was going out for chocolate martinis. I felt all swank and together, being dressed like other people at that hour. Sigh.

Today, not so much. It's pajamaland for me (I've noticed that THAT DOG has been steering clear of food & drink) until this evening, when we'll be going to an author event for this hysterical guy.

I'll have to look at my blog photo when I'm getting ready tonight for reminders of where the makeup goes...