Asses of Fire!

I've joined a gym. No, I've joined a gymnastic wonderland. Because those are the two words that came to mind after the guy showed me the free towels and individual TV screens for each machine. To be fair, gyms don't need to do much to impress me. I was at Muhlenberg when we had 4 machines (2 of them those stationary bikes) for 2000 kids. I worked out in the loft, people. Kids today are spoiled.

I was planning to attend my first class at New York Sports Club* tonight, the appropriately-titled "Boot Camp". I was sort of nervous about it, the whole deal with not knowing anyone in the class and hoping you don't do something stupid like mis-align your stepper and fall on your face. (Yes that has happened to me in the past. No it did not happen tonight).

But then, in walks our teacher, who I will refer to as McBiceps. Immediately all fear was lost and was instantly replaced by curiosity, as in, "I am curious to see what McBiceps' guns will look like when we're doing bicep curls" and "I am very curious to see McBiceps' ass during squats." I will stop there because this is a family blog.

ANYWAY, the class was hell, as you'd imagine. They don't call it "Boot Camp" for nothing, but McBiceps was very attentive and pro-active about explaining the moves to me, being that I was new. But five minutes from the end, he yells out "Ok guys, you know what time it is! ASSES OF FIRE!" and then he bails on me to go pump up the volume on the stereo, while I am left wondering what in the hell "Asses of Fire!" will entail.

All I can say is after 180 reps, I can confirm that the move is correctly named.

*I wasn't going to use the name, but what the hell. In case you're wondering, they don't pay me to advertise. In case they're wondering, sure, I'll take some cash for the mention.


Freakin' Lavender.

Dear Origins,

You know that I love you. How could I not? Your skin-care products and natural make-up is the best. And don't get me started on that roll-on beige eyeshadow! I practically wear it in my sleep.

I know that a few months ago I started doubting the amazingness of your $35 per ounce moisturizer. I am sorry that I assumed the Ponds $4.49 stuff was the same. It clearly was not. Clearly the stuff you sell for 7x the price causes 7x less dry, patchy areas and makes my skin feel 7x more like a baby's ass. I'm back on the bandwagon. Promise.

But we have to talk. Your body lotion is RIDICULOUS. That free Ginger shit you were giving out for free last Xmas... well, no one really wonders why it was free. And just now, after my post-gym shower, I decided to put on some Lavender body lotion. Relaxing, right? WRONG. I smell like the entire city of Aix-en-Provence puked on me. I just tried to eat dinner and your scent reached up and overpowered everything I put in my mouth. I was all "mm, Dad, good turkey pie... BLAGH." And I'm a little bitter because I really love my Dad's turkey pie.

Your make-up colors are so natural and subtle, you barely notice they're there until you realize you just shelled out for $30 EYE DE-PUFFER. But your lotion possesses the subtlety of frat boys trying to get you in their frat house basements. Please tone it down a bit so that when Mom gets me an Origins gift basket this year we can all still smell the tree.

Love and kisses (and keep up the good work),
xo Jen


Hipper than hip

Something insane just happened. I googled "cool hip projects" (more on this later) and you know what came up? You can't even guess. Have you already googled it to find out? You're so sneaky.

CROCHET SCARVES. On what planet does Crochet Scarves come up as the #1 cool, hip project? What kind of bad-ass knitters are out there?

The reason I was googling 'cool hip projects' is because I am doing a little collaborating for NIFW. I am so excited that we're going to feature a truly cool and hip project in an upcoming issue (see: documentary about love!) and in one of my emails to said director, I mentioned that I thought that cool and hip projects should stay together. NIFW is looking to make friends with some other innovative and creative spirits and therefore I'm on a quest to find potentials.

Since googling turned out to be a bust, I turn to you. Does anyone know of any new bands or film-makers or writers or PROJECTS, really, that we could join forces with? All recommendations are helpful and I promise to be in touch with anyone you recommend. I'd like to feature projects in which people are actively out in the world doing things.

Maybe you are the founder of a scarf-knitting club, perhaps?


Thanksgiving 2007

Happy Thanksgiving from some friendly-looking people. Doesn't this picture look like one for the holiday cards (if we just photoshop Kate in somehow and get Steve's beard away from that dangerously-close corn-cob-lit-candle)? We have the photographic skills of the wooden chest in the dining room to thank...

Also, take a look at these homemade rolls!

The cats enjoyed a Thanksgiving brunch of catnip...

then Mom kicked our asses at Scrabble...

before Steve finished us off on the second round.

Hope your holiday was just as relaxing as ours. And if you are among the CRAZY people going shopping tomorrow at 4a.m., don't forget to pick me up a little something special.


Hi Friends.

It has been quite the week and my absence on this blog is not evidence that I've picked up and moved back to Europe. Not yet anyway.

Things fall apart. And then you decide to stop letting them do so. So, in short, that's where I am at the moment. I wish that my storyline arc labeled "moving back to New York" was prettier and more arc-like, but unfortunately the truth of the matter is that it has been quite jagged. And the other day we even had a dramatic re-enactment of the Crash of '29 when I was pulled over by a cop while driving a rented cargo-van. I sobbed my way out of a ticket and then into a Sam's Club parking lot and then all the way home to Yorktown. Low point, one might say. Low point.

Blah. I hate writing about this stuff on FOL because things are supposed to be funny! and light! and interesting to read! But voila, that's how things go.

Exciting events on the horizon:
- home-made TURKEY tomorrow and spending Thanksgiving at home
- green-room-painting in Brooklyn
- Kate home for a visit from Afrique, no doubt looking like the adopted native daughter in all holiday pix
- New Year's in ENGLAND with Katie, Sarah and Harriet

Oh yeah, and by the way? I never announced nifw last week. New issue up; good poetry from boys, among other interesting stuff and a Brooklyn brunch pic I took. Check it.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving; we're supposed to think about what we're grateful for and one of my definites is this blog and the friends (both known and unknown) who read it. Thanks for hanging around despite the drama. It helps.

Happy Thanksgiving xo.


The frosty magic of PP

I spent a lot of my day making a Power Point presentation and this next sentence might shock you. It was my first time. What! You mean I didn't have to make Power Points everyday in college and I NEVER made one during my entire M.A. experience?

1. I was just above the PP generation at Muhlenberg (back in my day we used the crappy Telnet email system which was basically a step above chiseling a stone message to your prof).
2. I did my M.A. in France. Hello! My professors cleaned the chalk board with Kleenex! Power Point is still at least three French generations away from being installed.

The experience wasn't so fun until the end when I discovered a variety of "Design options" for the background. Fearing the worst for your Communications Materials presentation? Dress it in an elegant garnet-colored drape background! Some of the backgrounds are A.mazing, like the one that has fireworks coming out of the top right hand side of the screen.

Tonight (like many nights- oh! miserable existence in suburbia!), I have been sitting on my parents' couch, keeping myself warm with a laptop battery. Finally a few moments ago I had enough and revolted, changing the thermostat from 65 to 67 degrees. This revolution was promptly squashed by Master Freeze himself, who cited the cost of oil as a reason to put on a THIRD shirt. Yes, I want to save the environment. No, I do not want Frostbite.

I have therefore made a Power Point presentation about things that are acceptable at 65 degrees (bearing in mind that family rooms are not included). Enjoy.


Sweet Potato Ice Cream: a photo essay

So just in case you were wondering, yes we did make Sweet Potato ice cream, and no it was not the most amazing ice cream ever. In fact, we kind of made ourselves sick between the ice cream and Pumpkin bread. But the adventure of making something crazy with Evelyn and Tejal was the highlight of the process. There is no one I would rather fling a Mega Ball ice cream maker around in an old comforter for over 35 looong minutes than those two.

Except maybe Ben and Jerry.


Anne, party of 5

Anne moved back from London this weekend and I think we all know what that means... SUNDAY BRUNCH (and subway pix).


While Supplies Last, Part Deux (plus a frozen Padre)

I spent the afternoon flipping through books at the library and then wandering aimlessly through bedding stores in an attempt to find the perfect duvet cover. When I walked back in the door, I didn't see my Dad anywhere and figured he was in the garage. Imagine my surprise when I happened to see him out of the corner of my eye, sitting in a lawn chair on the deck, wrapped in bathroom rugs.

"Oh. my. god. he has LOST it," I thought to myself. "My poor Dad is sitting outside in 40 degree weather, staring off into the woods wrapped in white bathmats from Sears! What could have set this off?!?"

Then he saw me and started waving frantically towards the sliding door. Turns out he went out to shake the rugs and accidentally locked himself outside. He is lucky that my tolerance for Linens 'N Things is low... we could have had a hypothermia situation straight out of Grey's Anatomy going on here.

In other news, Dove has announced another irresistible offer and here is what this year's looks like:

Free tote bag 2007, here I come.

Obama '08

Just watched him on Leno and he is SO what we need... maybe Bill could be his running-mate?


What about Sweet Corn?

Good news for those following the middle child's adventures in Togo: Kate will soon be enjoying a relief from the Togolese heat via an electric fan. ELECTRICITY. IN AFRICA. Huh?

Kate's Peace Corps service doesn't end until December 2008, but she's just been hired to work for PSI in Lome (Togo's capital) for her final year. Hopefully this means better access to Internet, but I'm pretty sure all she's concerned about is having even a 10-minute reprieve from the billion degree heat.


Funniest voicemail message in recent memory:

"WHOAH. There's a runner in the road. I almost ran him over! Why don't runners at night just wear light bulbs all over their body?!?" -Evelyn


How is it that pumpkin is such a DELICIOUS choice for an ice cream flavor but I cannot think of any other vegetables that could conceivably be another viable choice? Can only imagine sweet potato as a possibility... and, as Evelyn points out, cucumber could make a decent sorbet. Leave your veggie flavor suggestions and insights in the comments and maybe, just maybe, E and I will attempt a vegetable ice cream-making adventure with the best idea.


OUTRAGE at the voting booth

I enter town hall to vote earlier this evening, tell the woman my name, and wait.

Woman Knitting Patriotic-colored Afghan: Oh you're the third one of those tonight.
Me: Oh, yeah, I guess my Mom and Dad came down. (third one of those??)
WKPA: Please sign right here.
Me: Do you need my license?
WKPA: We don't do that anymore.
Me: (don't do what, verify my IDENTITY when voting? great...) Sorry, I haven't voted here in a while, I was abroad.
WKPA: Oh, where was that?
Me: In France. Paris.
WKPA: France! Those bastards!
Me: Excuse me?
WKPA: Those people hate us.
Me: Uh, no they don't. There are obviously strong feelings towards the French in this country too. (gesture in the general vicinity of her hate-spewing mouth) And they just don't necessarily agree with our government; for that matter neither do I, but that's besides the point...
WKPA: I was in Paris a few years back and they were all bitter and hostile.
Me: Well, maybe that was around the time that the Iraq War began.
WKPA: No, it wasn't. What's so awful is how they treat their women. They don't let women work after they graduate from college! They send them here to get jobs!
Me: HUHASLDGHASLDHGASLDGHASDGLAHSDG??? (fights urge to shove Banana Republic handbag down WKPA's throat). Ok, I'm.... I'm just done.

At this point I walk into the voting machine and am so flustered that I don't understand anything I'm looking at and just vote for three female Democrats. I still cannot even process what kind of unbiased dipshit this woman was and why on earth she was allowed anywhere near a voting machine.

I understand that lots of people don't know about other countries or maybe just aren't interested in places outside their nation. I don't agree, but I accept it. But to spew pure lies about a culture you clearly know nothing about? OUTRAGEOUS.


Wise words from Elizabeth Gilbert during her talk at St. John's University*

"A quest is the process by which a human being becomes a question."

*a two-hour subway + bus ride away from civilization in the far-away land known as "Queens"...


Tweedledee and Tweedledum do Halloween

Can't you just smell the humiliation?