Saturday, February 27

Girl Power, Like You have No Idea

Allow me to tell you a story so chock-full-o-girl power you'd think I was a Spice Girl (just call me Awesome Spice):

It’s Friday night, I just finished eating dinner. On a typical Friday I would then retire to my room to shower, maybe nap, and dress for the evening’s festivities. On this Friday I did return to my room and dress for some festivities, but not the drunken kind. No, these particular festivities were far more wholesome—playing drill instructor for a fitness class.

Oh yes, kids. This little lady spent two hours kicking the asses of 2 friends, Westchester and a random dude (who is kind of creepy and annoying), and 2 RAs, Arab* and Jew** (who I’ve become very dear friends with, surprisingly). And it was, quite possibly, the most fun I’ve ever had in the gym.

These 2 RAs go to the gym almost every day. They lift heavy weights. They’re taking weight lifting as a class. How did little me manage to kick their asses in a work out? Because I know they’re weakness—endurance.

They lift heavy weights, but not that many times. They almost never do cardio. I, on the other hand, am a cardio queen. And when it comes to reps the more the merrier. So I took a workout that I do most Thursday mornings, added a little bit since we had the time, and let the good times role. And by “good times” I mean complaints.

This boys were bitching like little girls less than half-way through the first circuit. And there were still 2 more circuits to go. You have no idea how much I enjoyed watching them struggle and complain while I sailed through the workout (even doing more reps than them) with only slightly more trouble than usual.

After three circuits I finished up the class with 20 minutes of yoga (which they also found difficult). But the end I felt ah-maze-ing and they were dripping sweat. Mission accomplished.

If you feel the urge to kick your own ass (minus my lovely barking) here’s the workout.

20-20 Full Body Circuits:

10-15 minutes of cardio

20 push-ups

20 walking lunges (with weight)

20 chair dips

20 crab walks (10 per direction)(with weight)

repeat weights

10 minutes of cardio

20 curl-to-press

20 deadlifts

20 Kettle Bell swings

20 airborne Heisemens

repeat weights

10 minutes of cardio

20 crew sit-ups

20 boat touches with a medicine ball

20 leg lifts with a ball

20 side dips (10 per side)

1 minute of plank

5 minutes of easy cardio


Think you can handle it?

*Arab-a little skinny Palestinian RA who never drinks, dances, or flirts.

**Jew-a muscle-shirt wearing, tattoo-sporting RA who’s too cheap to pay for an actual latte, so he gets coffee with a shot of vanilla

Sunday, February 21

Family Bonding

Despite the fact that my room is in shambles (and Roomie-Dearest seems to have a complete aversion to cleaning it) this has been a truly amazing weekend. The amazingness of this weekend started way back when at the beginning of the semester when the Minimalist lamented that he was yet to meet my family. My little wheels got to turning and within a few days an invitation for a visit was extended to Papa and co and Brother. They agreed, a weekend was picked, and I began scouring the city for restaurants and activities with which to impress my visitors. And I began nervously anticipating the dinner at which the Minimalist and Papa would meet.

When Friday finally rolled around I almost couldn’t contain my excitement. Papa and co arrived from the north around 4 and headed straight to the hotel. Brother arrived from the south around 6 and headed straight to my (horribly and embarrassingly messy) dorm. From there he used his newly acquired Legal Drinker status to load him and up with beer (a 24oz of Fosters and a 6-pack of Dale’s Pale Ale for him, a 6-pack of Rolling Rock and a 6-pack of Natty Green’s Guilford Golden Ale for Westchester and I to split, and a 6-pack of Heineken for Roomie-Dearest) for all the weekend’s festivities.

From there we returned to campus in time to meet Papa and co outside (he would not be seeing my dorm if I had anything to do about it) for dinner. We went to a design-your-own pizza place, where we caught up, ate too much bread, I saw a picture of Papa shooting Das Boot and began planning our summer vacation. (We’re thinking Paris during the Tour de France.)

After dinner I spent some time at a party at the Olds* with the Minimalist, Westchester and Hookar** before retiring to my bed, thoroughly exhausted and eagerly anticipating Saturday.

Why was I so excited about Saturday, you’re probably wondering?

It was going to be the perfect day, of course!

Why is that, you ask?

It was a men’s rugby day, not a men’s and women’s rugby day. This meant 1) I could watch the game with all my friends, 2) I could social with all my friends (and the social would be better since it was the only one) and 3) I wouldn’t have to explain to Papa why I wasn’t playing in the women’s game (I’ve decided to leave him out of the loop for now concerning my little breathing problems).

Before the game the fam and I hit up a little lunch shop that I’d been wanting to try for some nom-ables and Harris Teeter for a 12-pack of Yeungling bottles and Solo cups so we could have a classy family tailgate.

It was so silly to me to be drinking in public with Papa, especially since he knew it was against the rules at school and I was the one that suggested the beer. I guess I’m becoming an adult.

After the game (which we won) Papa and co returned to the hotel while Brother stayed behind for some good rugby-day festivities. First, though, we loaded up on good beer from my room. Why drink Busch when you don’t have to?

The social was great fun! Brother fit in nicely with my friends (and got to meet the Minimalist in a less formal environment, which I think is part of the reason they got along so great). He enjoyed the songs, saw 3 people shoot the boot and was thoroughly amused by the sustainable living-themed house the social was hosted at.

Before we knew it, it was 6 (reservations at 7) so I had to dash back, change into a pre-determined outfit, try to rid myself of the beer stench, grab the Minimalist and drive Brother’s car (he was too tipsy) downtown to meet the rest of our party for dinner.

This was it! All the weeks of planning and dreading; all my worries about big steps and how everyone would get along, it was all for this moment, when Papa opened the hotel door and they got to meet my man.

Luckily, everything went swimmingly. Hell, it was fucking perfect. Brother was feeling loose and thus able to keep the mood light. Papa and co was nice. The Minimalist was pleasant and charming. The food was great. And we even held hands as we walked through the hotel at the end of the night (he’s become surprisingly and wonderfully affectionate lately). Like I said…perfection.

Originally, Brother was supposed to return to campus with me to attend a bonfire spurred on by the perfect weather. But after a full day of drinking he was spent, so he stayed behind, much to the dismay of the Minimalist and his friends (who seemed to quite like Brother at the social).

Despite the weather being (relatively) amazing and no other known parties that night the bonfire wasn’t as much of a screaming success as they usually are. That was probably part of the reason that, come 1:30am when I was tired and my toe were numb and I said that I was going to head back to civilization and suggested to the Minimalist that he follow, he didn’t give me his usual reason for declining—that he, being one of the people throwing the bonfire, was responsible for cleaning up and putting out the fire at the end. This time he simply found another host to man the bar and together we stumbled down the dark, uneven path towards campus.

The perfect end to the perfect day—me curled up with the Minimalist in his warm bed watching Burn Notice as we fell asleep. I promise, we’re not an old married couple (despite the boringness of that statement).

My alarm sounded bright and early at 9:30, which gave me just enough time to dress, run to my room to switch shoes and grab my keys before heading off to meet the family for breakfast. Brother was hung over as shit. Sister displayed her horrible knife skills when trying to cut her pancakes (1-she’s 9, why can’t she use a knife? 2-pancakes covered in syrup are the easiest things to cut, they practically fall apart when you look at them wrong). And Papa expressed his very positive feelings about the Minimalist.

After our hearty breakfasts we exchanged hugs and went our separate ways. My way: meeting up with Westchester, Roomie-Dearest, the Pollock and Boy Scout*** for breakfast (I didn’t eat, but instead stole a bunch of food which later became my dinner), after which I returned to the Minimalist’s bed to share and “celebrate” (wink wink) the news of Papa’s complete lack of dislike towards him.

Like I said, the most amazing weekend ever thanks to:

My family

The Minimalist

60 degree weather

Hopefully, this euphoria will carry over through tomorrow. I can’t really see myself stepping down from cloud 9, 10, 11, 12…anytime soon.

*Olds-the oldest apartment-style dorms on campus, usually reserved for upperclassmen. Due to their style and location, they’re a great on-campus party spot.

**Hookar-a girl I’ve always been friendly with, but now that she no longer wants to transfer (and probably a couple of other reasons) we’ve been hanging out a lot more. She’s a bit of an acquired taste, but always fun.

***Boy Scout-a friend of the Pollock and Mr. Jackson. He’s a tennis player, a super-sweet guy, and a card-carrying member of the 6-pack club.

Sunday, February 14

Intentionally Unfettered

And in honor of the Day, here's my latest journalistic creation for you to sample. It's almost as good as chocolate:

The heart-shaped chocolate boxes and red stuffed bears that greet you inside most stores can only mean one thing — Valentines Day. Or as I’ve heard it bitterly called, singles awareness day.

While some singles lament this holiday as Hallmark’s way of pointing out their disappointing love lives, others aren’t vowing to dress in black or eat their weight in chocolate. Being single is a choice, not a curse.

But when you can barely turn on the TV without seeing a reality show about a bachelorette finding her Prince Charming, that can be hard to believe. Yet there are some people who enjoy being unattached and make a conscious effort to stay that way.

There are several perks to going stag. A desire to maintain my independence is one reason I’ve had over the years.

To me, a Facebook-official, attached at the hip relationship conjures images of straightjackets. The idea of not only having to call or see someone every night, but of having to want to call or see someone every night seems ridiculous.

The guilt I used to feel when I would miss a call or choose to spend a night with girl friends instead of my supposedly-significant other was more annoying than heart-wrenching. And I could certainly do without the quasi-interrogation that sometimes succeeded those nights.

Another less common but valid motivation for maintaining solo status is school and work.

The people with this set of priorities may sound like a bunch of uptight, party poopers who would rather spend a Friday night in the library than out painting the town red. Or they could want to have every opportunity to let loose in their free time without the added stress of having to incorporate a plus one.

Other people, like Roomie-Dearest, would rather sample from a buffet than order an entrée. To some people college should be more about playing the field and experimenting, not finding The One or getting your MRS or MR degree.

“I would have killed for a boyfriend in high school,” said Roomie. “But now I just want to have fun.”

Roomie is not alone in that mindset. The evidence is there whenever you see people at a party swapping spit in a way that makes it seem they are as concerned with romance as with each other’s middle names. Not all of those people have emotional or self-esteem problems.

Sometimes people just enjoy flirting. And making out. And hooking up.

This may come as a shock to the people who view Valentines Day or their Facebook relationship status as a measurement of their self-worth, but not everybody needs a hand to hold in order to keep walking forward.

I’m no cynic. I believe in love and marriage and a baby carriage. I know there are some people for whome the close companionship of a relationship is exactly what they crave. I know that some people think their grandparents’ 50th anniversary and dream of reaching that golden milestone.

If you’re one of those people I wish you luck with your relationships. But I can say without a doubt that my Valentines chocolate will be delicious whether I get it from a fella or a friend.

Thoroughly Modern Martha

This has been a thoroughly sweet, thoroughly V-filled weekend.
It started Friday night with Vagina Monologues.

Vaginas can talk? What?!

Pretty much. If you’re out of the loop Vagina Monologues is a collection of monologues and short skits that are re-enactments of actual women talking about their vags. Sound…interesting? It actually was. I walked away with a goodie bag of condoms and flavored lubes, a chocolate vagina lollipop and a desire to “reclaim my cunt” by wearing sexy undies and doing something dirty. So a very worthwhile experience.

Saturday was FINALLY a rugby day once again. Sadly, due to my newly uncontrolled asthma I was unable to play. That didn’t mean I couldn’t cheer on my teams (and yell quite a few obscenities) as they slipped and tackled in the mud. The men won. The women lost. We all drank. And I finally had to shoot the boot (for messing up a song). Luckily, I was wearing my rain boots so I was able to drink my own foot sweat, not somebody else’s. Lovely thought, right?

I woke bright and early Sunday morning so I could trek over to Starfucks (slipping on some ice and busting my knee in the process) in order to study. After which I spent a lovely afternoon laying in the Minimalist’s bed, watching Rescue Me and talking about which woman was craziest and which woman we would bang. Not terribly romantic, but enjoyable nonetheless.

One would think I would romance on the BIG day. The day far too many people are bitterly bitching about. To those people I say:

Shut the fuck up. Valentine’s Day was not created by Hallmark (though they may perpetuate it). It was not created as a way to mock single people for being unloveable/undesireable/ugly. If you don’t want to celebrate it, then don’t. But for the love of God and all things chocolaty, don’t ruin the holiday for everyone who wants to celebrate it with your constant complaining and woe is me attitude. Suffer silently.

I, as you can probably tell, adore Valentine’s Day. Not because I have a Valentine every year who showers me with handcrafted candies and roses and champagne. I had a Valentine once and I don’t even remember what we did. No, it is because I relish any opportunity to channel my inner cooler, more modern Martha Stewart. This year, I really went above and beyond.

I made my own Valentine’s candy. White chocolate covered pretzels, cayenne chocolate pretzels, white chocolate truffles, cayenne chocolate truffles. They were time consuming to make. The chocolate wouldn’t cooperate. I spent too much on supplies. But they can out wonderfully delicious, so it was all worth it.

I packaged them up in adorable little goodie bags for all my loves.

I decorated my room with cute little cupcake window gels. Because they were cheap and the little draddle window gel I stole was lonely.

I made my own cards. While the little packaged cards you gave out in elementary school are fun, I couldn’t find any that weren’t Twilight, Hannah Montana or SpongeBob. So I collaged my own. They were far cheaper (as in free) and not in any way annoying or corporate.

I’m wearing a pink shirt, pink bra, frilly pink undies and pink socks with little red heart-puffs on the back (a Valentine’s present from ChiChi a few years ago).

I helped Frenchie decorate her room. Honestly, it is bordering on nauseatingly pink and sparkly. I’m sure her roommate thoroughly appreciated it.

Frenchie, Westchester and Roomie-Dearest and I even had our own little party (in Frenchie’s room, again to annoy her roommate). We gave out goodies and played Secret Cupid. I pulled Roomie and gave her the softest little bear ever. Westchester drew my name and gave me a stuffed cupcake.

Adorable, right? There’s more.

It’s a pupcake!

And of course there were the usual plethora of candy.

Frenchie is gave out more equally adorable personalized M&Ms.

Roomie-Dearest gave me a cute card. (For several reasons, some people call me Hampster, so this was relevant.)

And for the icing on my modern Martha cake:

I’m learning to knit.

Right now it looks like shit, but it will improve. Then I want to make a pair of the warmest, fuzziest socks ever (hopefully sometime before summer).

But for now, Martha 2.0 is exhausted. I hope your Valentine’s Day was lovely. G’night, m’non-bitter bitches.

Tuesday, February 9

Pink Highlighter

Sorry for being a stranger lately. It’s not that I’ve been terribly busy, it’s just that things haven’t been terribly exciting. So let me hit the highlights (done with a pink highlighter, to be festive):

I made some delicious drinky drinks that you should try as soon as you get that chance (which probably means as soon as you get Triple Sec, because very few people have that lying around).

Despite the fact that I am taking a class on the history and literature of New Orleans I did not watch the Super Bowl.

I did get some super cute personalized Saints M&Ms, though, courtesy of Frenchie.

We have our first rugby game of the season this Saturday and I’m scared shitless. Why, you ask? Because yesterday was the first time we’ve touched a rugby ball in weeks because the fields have been closed due to snow that refuses to melt. And I’m still yet to make it through more than one complete practice this semester.

Why, you ask? F-ing asthma has either got me coughing up a lung or seeing stars. Oh, and the icing on this cupcake—we still don’t have a full team. But as always, if we don’t win the game we’ll be sure to win the social.

Papa and co, and Brother are coming to visit soon. I’m really excited to see them all. AND the Minimalist is going to finally meet my family. I’m nervous about that. Not so much that they won’t like him (which is probably 50-50), but that this is a big step. I don’t know if I’m ready for any big steps.

Mother sent me a Fargo hat because that is the one piece of cold-weather gear that I was lacking. It’s great.

My inspiration.

Up? I feel Russian.

Down? I’m a bunny.

Valentines Day is coming up. Whether the Minimalist will actually do anything for it is highly doubtful. Luckily, having a Valentine has never really been that important to me. Westchester, Roomie-Dearest, Frenchie and I are planning our own little party to ensure we get yummy pink and red candy (and to annoy Frenchie’s horribly cynical, bitter and generally unattractive roommate).

I’m beginning to get involved with an amazing viral art project that benefits the children of New Orleans. It’s called the Fundred Dollar Bill project. The gist of it is that there is an extremely high level of toxic lead in the soil in New Orleans, which gives anyone (mainly children) who drink the water lead poisoning, which has been linked to learning disabilities, lower test scores and higher rates of violent crime. All bad stuff, right? Well the artist, Mel Chin, found a way to fix the lead problem all for the low low price of $300,000,000. Mel said he couldn’t raise the money, but he could make it.

So he made a blank $100 template and is asking anyone and everyone to color it in and he’ll trade them to Congress for real money. That’s about as condensed as it gets, but it is super cool. Have you made your Fundred?