Thursday, February 20, 2014

That time I became an inadvertent mob boss

This morning, walking to the bathroom, I saw a shadow moving on the hallway floor. Upon closer inspection, it was a little bug, brownish and kind of weird looking, with a bunch of tiny legs. It looked almost like the Danny DeVito version of a centipede. I didn't really want it living all rent-free up in my hallway, but I didn't want to kill it either. So I went on my run, hoping it would move on to bug adventures not located in my house. Like wherever the bug equivalent of Disneyland is. I came back from my run and went upstairs to wake up Mozzie, having mostly forgotten about the bug. But Mozzie spotted it right away and his puppy nose was all over that bug. I took Mozzie outside to do his business and when we came back inside, the bug was just laying there, feet in the air, not moving. I told Mike about the dead bug and asked him to take care of it, which he did. Then, in the shower, it hit me: oh my god, I am the mob boss. Mozzie is the hitman and Mike is the fixer (or whatever they call the body disposal people. I'm not yet hip to all the mob lingo. It's my first day as a crime boss.)

Lyric of the moment: "And damn it feels good to be a gangsta..."

Monday, February 17, 2014

2014 New Things #3: Gin

The card game, not the alcoholic beverage. Mike's grandma came up with the idea of having a family gin tournament, guys versus girls. I had never played gin before, but it's pretty easy to pick up on. Basically you have 10 cards in your hand and you try to make sets of 3 or 4 of a kind or runs of 3 or more sequential cards in the same suit (for example, 3 sevens or Jack + Queen + King of spades). Each turn, you can either pick up the card your opponent discarded or pick up a new card from the face-down stockpile, then you discard a card (from your hand if you want to keep the new card or the one you just picked up if you don't want it). The object is to get gin, where all 10 of your cards can be made into sets or runs. You can "knock" whenever the sum of your leftover (non-matched up) cards is 10 or less. Then both players show their hands and add up the points scored. You score 20 points for getting gin, plus the sum of your opponents' leftover cards (face cards count as 10 points). If you knock, you score the difference in points between the sum of your opponent's leftover cards and your leftover cards. If you were the one to knock but your opponent has a lower sum of leftover cards than you do, your opponent gets 10 points plus the difference in the sum of both players' leftover cards. If neither player has gin, the person who didn't knock can play off the knocker's sets/runs to reduce his/her leftover pile (for example, if your opponent knocked and one of his sets is three Queens and you have a Queen in your leftover pile, you can play your Queen on his set of Queens, thereby reducing the sum of your leftover pile by 10 points).

I think I'm getting that right. It's easier to play the game than to describe it.

Euchre is still my favorite, but gin night was definitely a good time. And I hope I grow up to be the kind of octogenarian who's organizing card game nights.

Lyric of the moment: "I remember thinking, sometimes we walk, sometimes we run away. But no matter how fast we are running, somehow we keep, somehow we keep up with each other..." (Because we were in the car Valentine's night, driving to the movie theater and this happened:
Me: What are some of your favorite love songs? Like good ones, not cheesy ones. I like Dave Matthews' I'll Back You Up.
Mike: I don't know, Rump Shaker?
And then we both tried to remember the words to Rump Shaker and mostly failed.)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Things that are awesome: Valentine's Day edition

I like to think of Valentine's Day, not as the commercialized, cheesy, materialistic, depressing day it's sometimes made out to be, but as a day celebrating love and dessert, which are two of my most favorite things. It's another day in your life that you can make into whatever you want it to be. Ignore it, spend it with your posse of awesome humans, get some sweet lovin', treat yo'self, you know, whatever tickles your fancy.

And now, things that are awesome:

*I love that while we're at work, Mozzie makes little sleeping forts for himself out of all the couch pillows.

*Robot socks! With the robot socks Mike gave me for Valentine's Day, I now have two pairs. I'm not much of a collector, but I think I may have to start. Robot socks for every day! And then we will take over the world! Just kidding. Maybe.

*Mike also got me a scarf with these little stones on it and the tag said they are "Rose Quartz. The stone of unconditional love and infinite peace. It brings deep inner healing and self love. It is calming, reassuring, and excellent for use in trauma or crisis. Rose quartz is known to draw love and relationships towards you and is an excellent stone for "mid-life crisis." It is known as a fine healer and sooths internalized pain." I was instantly curious. So stones have powers? Where do they come from? Who determined which stones had which powers? Which stones have the superpowers, like x-ray vision or telepathy? Is this like the placebo effect where it only works if you believe in it? If stones have so many powers, how come jewelry stores get robbed? You would think the army of super-powered gemstones inside would thwart any thieves.

*I stopped at the little coffee shop around the corner, ordered a hot apple cider that cost $3.25 and only had to pay $2. I tried to pay the $3.25 tab with a twenty dollar bill and the owner asked me if I had anything less than a twenty but I only had a bunch of twenties and 2 ones. The owner said he needed ones so he would take my 2 ones and call it even. "It's your lucky day," he said. Story of my life, dude.

*And of course, you! I hope you want to join my posse of awesome humans.

Lyric of the moment: "Baby you the whole package, plus you pay your taxes..." (because I really wish they made valentines out of these lyrics. I would send them to everyone I know.)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fortress of solitude

I've always been far more wallflower than social butterfly, but in the winter I come perilously close to the precipice of reclusiveness. I'm not antisocial; I love people (though I cannot say if the feelings are mutual). But sometimes my awkward/introvert/robot-ness holds me back. And I just really, really, really hate being cold. I have no problem getting up early to run in the cold and dark, but at night...inertia, man. A robot at rest under all the warm blankets is staying at rest until acted upon by  some serious sunshine.

Someone once told me I'm "a loner who likes people," which is an apt description. I need both solitude and company. I love being at home but I also want to see and do everything else. I can be passably human in one-on-one or small group interactions, but I'm terrible at parties and large gatherings (though I do enjoy any party that promises excellent people watching, good music you can actually listen to without being jostled about and/or delicious dessert). My default assumption is that my presence anywhere offends rather than pleases. I don't know why. It's just the way I've always been.

It's also one of the things I most want to change about myself, because people are the best part of life. It doesn't matter what else you have if you don't have people to share it with.

I'm never going to be the life of the party and that's ok. I just don't want to be the death of it. I just want to know how to skip all the small talk and get to the place where I can have a bona fide going-on-fabulous-adventures, holding-hands-in-victory-across-finish-lines, jumping-out-of-airplanes* posse.

*I think I really need to skydiving again soon.

Lyric of the moment: "Oh my darlin' keep your head up, keep you heart strong, keep your mind set in your ways. 'Cause I'll always remember you the same. Oh eyes like wild flowers within demons of change..."

Saturday, February 1, 2014

2014 New Things #2: Cancun, Mexico

We spent the past week enjoying the exquisite weather in Cancun and I also got to do a few new things, including visiting the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza (which is one of the 7 new wonders of the world. It took a long, cramped bus ride to get there, but that's how it goes. Sometimes you have to endure a little discomfort on the way to the extraordinary things), seeing a cenote (underwater sinkhole), taking a boat tour of Isla Mujeres (I can now add 'where Ricky Martin lives' to the list of things I know), eating cactus (on its own it wouldn't be my favorite, but as it was served, a "cactus tower" of mozzarella, tomatoes and cactus, it was pretty good), driving a golf cart and chasing iguanas while Mike played nine holes, exploring an abandoned hotel by the beach and being asked by a man in an alley if I wanted to hold a baby tiger for $10 (I kind of regret not taking him up on his offer, because when else am I going to get a chance to hold a baby tiger, but it was altogether quite a shady enterprise. I mean, where did he get this tiger and what will happen to it when it's no longer a baby? I doubt anyone will pay him $10 to run away from/get mauled by a grown up tiger.)

 I also got to run on the beach, swim and read to my heart's content. It was a very welcome break from the doldrums of winter.

And I love how travel always infuses me with such a feeling of spaciousness: space in my head for new perspectives, space in my heart for ever-increasing gratitude and space in my soul for an infinity of future adventures.

Lyric of the moment: "Don't worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing gonna be all right..." (because anywhere you can sit by the water and listen to Bob Marley is ok by me.)