Infographic Monday: The Longing

My own personal Psuedo Househusband of Old Town, XFE is coming home again tomorrow and it is not a minute too soon. I’ve missed him terribly. There’s only so much remote control responsibility a girl wants before she realizes, there really isn’t anything good on TV anyway.

Where the heck is he??
Where the heck is he??

288 hours is a lot of time to fill without your best buddy/personal chef/sommelier/comedian/bill payer/grocery shopper/personal trainer/stylist/gossip sharer. There really isn’t one good, all-purpose word to accurately describe what XFE is in my world. Except, maybe, everything. Or, my safe spot. My home.

Maybe that’s why I keep engaging in the Inuit practice known as “iktsuarpok”: the feeling of anticipation that leads you to keep looking outside to see if anyone is coming. But in this case, it’s not just anyone. It’s XFE. I keep looking outside to see if XFE is coming.

The French also, predictably, have a phrase for how I’m feeling: “avoir le mal de quelqu’un” — missing someone so much it literally makes you sick. “Someonesickness.” I love that.

Ah words, they can be so clever. This infographic has some fun phrases that defy translation into English. Also: the delightful website, Better Than English, is an excellent diversion for occasions when one is flitting about restlessly, waiting for someone to come home.

11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures


The French also have a delightful word for what I anticipate I will feel when I rush home tomorrow after work and see XFE waiting for me: “retrouvailles.”  Literally translated as “rediscovery,” retrouvailles is the happiness of reuniting with someone after a long separation. Yep. That sounds right. Rediscovery accompanied by my co-captain for life.


Reality TV Time: Drama on Board – Bravo’s ‘Below Deck’ and Soccer

My main sleeping buddy XFE (Petunia is merely backup) is back from his father-son golfing trip, and I’m thrilled. Finally, someone to cook for me and make me laugh. Petunia is useless in the kitchen and her jokes are pretty lame.

For example: What did the calico say to the bowl of food? Crunch.

Petunia Garbo

I mean, come on.

But at work, I’m still Head Bitch in Charge (HBIC) for another full week (ok, to be fair, I’m HBIC over myself and maybe the intern) and to quote Adrienne from Bravo’s “Below Deck” ‘Heavy is the head that wears the crown.’ Which, by the way, is a misquote. It should be “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown,” but, since Adrienne does have a fairly big-headed sense of importance, I’m sure her head is quite heavy. Or, perhaps she was quoting the other Shakespeares of our time, Limp Bizkit.

adrienne on Below Deck

“Below Deck,” by the way, is an absolute reality TV delight – it’s got prescription drug abuse, binge drinking, co-worker hookups, and catty Mean Girl alliances. Its “Love Boat” meets “Princesses of Long Island,” and I’m loving it. (Actually, I’m giving “Princesses” too much credit. That show was total crap. Horrible. And not in a good way. Just, really, really bad.)

“Below Deck”even has an entire episode that was apparently so shocking, it was set adrift or made to walk the plank or some other sea-worthy comparison. What I’m saying is: it’s completely disappeared off the face of the earth.

Episode 3 is allegedly about the erstwhile crew of the sea vessel Honor (that’s the name of the yacht. Oh irony. How you please me.) going out and sourcing…um, “young ladies”…. to lure back to the boat to entertain the charter made up of sleezy young men. And one of the “young ladies” who stayed overnight was not a lady at all, if you catch my drift.


We cannot find this episode anywhere. Not only is it not available On Demand (while all the other episodes are), but it does not appear during any of the many multi-episode blocks that run on Bravo pretty much every day of the week. It’s also not listed on Bravo’s official episode guide. Nope, it just jumps from Episode 2 (It’s Not Easy Being Green) to Episode 4 (Luggage, Luggage Everywhere.) And, it’s not available on Amazon, despite all the other episodes being available.

The missing episode is, of course, likely available other places on the Internet, but I just find it all very, very intriguing.

Speaking of transvestites, we went to a soccer game this weekend. No, that was not a good transition at all, but I couldn’t come up with any other way to seque into a conversation about what we did this weekend. So. There you go.

Oh, actually, I did just think of something better: On “Below Deck,” one of my favorite characters is the chef, Ben. He’s funny, sarcastic, and British. Speaking of Brits, we went and saw a Chelsea play AS Roma this weekend.

Yes. Much better.

Soccer 001

I wanted to cheer on Chelsea, because (1) I had a brief stint of living in London and (2) well, Made in Chelsea, obviously.

However, we only have Roma gear since we’ve actually been to a Roma game.

Soccer 002

Plus, the Italian soccer players are just so awesomely dramatic. Whenever anyone from Chelsea even grazed or brushed up against a Roma player, the Italian would fall to the ground clutching his ankle/shin/knee, and roll around until the medical crew ran out and misted them in the face with a water bottle, at which point the injured player would jump up and limp back into their position. It’s all very “As the Soccer Ball Turns.”

You’ve got to love the acting, if not the playing.

Soccer 005

With all this in mind, we cheered on AS Roma. Who then, of course, lost after having the lead at the half.

Soccer 006

Like any sore losers, we declared bad officiating. XFE even loudly proclaimed at the top of his lungs that the “referee’s mother was a Chelsea whore” at one point. It was very in keeping with the Italian soccer dramatics. I’m pretty sure all the Chelsea fans at the game (we were outnumbered by about 10-1) mistook us for Italian natives after that little outburst.

Soccer 003

Or, perhaps they watch “Below Deck” and assumed we’d taken too much anxiety medication.

The XFE Packing Solution

(Editor’s Note: XFE is back with another guest post.)

That’s right friends I am back and not with just some hotel crashing post full of pictures, but with real, get to know XFE content.  As readers of ThePoeLog know, Poe struggles to get herself properly packed for all of the fabulous trips she takes and quite honestly the whining has to stop.  As a result, our upcoming trip will be packed using the new following approach.

Step 1: Poe will go ahead and pick her suitcases and start the process.

I am sure she will use something like this from Style BluePrint in Nashville full of great tips like “3 swimsuits, and if they are 2-pieces, make sure the bottoms coordinate with the tops so you have even more options.” Thanks for the incredibly helpful tip. You may want to also add something like “If the top of your two-piece with the detachable neck tie, you may want to bring that detachable neck tie, otherwise you will be trapped in Peru and XFE will have to MacGyver you a neck strap from one of your shoe laces from your hiking boots.” But who am I to enlighten the packing community?

This little gem of a packing list is by women for women, and although Croatia-specific it is also backpack specific, with tips like “5 pairs of underwear – Laundromats are plentiful in each town, but I just washed mine in the sink and let them air dry.” I am not sure how Poe could go wrong. Sink rinsed and air dried chonies are fine for the bunk beds at the hostels Poe used to frequent when she was a broke traveler, but not appropriate for Austrian Business class.

Who wants to brush their teeth near these things?

This list did allow me to learn about another apparently great travel invention The Diva Cup. I will let you read the article. I, however, have already been scarred enough today.

Finally, Poe will undoubtedly turn to some other general packing list, or my personal favorite, she will work to combine multiple packing lists from various sources into her own super mega packing list/approach/methodology. This behemoth will ultimately result in arriving to sunny summer in Croatia with 6 pairs of pants, 1 skirt, 3 shoes (not pairs; you can mix and match) and a handful of hair ties. It will be like last year in Austin where she brought two pairs of cowboy boots AND  bought a third pair of boots but failed to pack a sweater for 50-degree windy January days. So that is it. That will be Poe packing approach. Right until we reach step 2.

Step 2: Poe has to fit whatever pile she has gathered from above into one half of the selected suitcases.

Half suitcase

Only half.

Step 3: XFE will completely ignore what Poe has gathered and will fill the remaining half of the suitcase with bikinis, dresses, skirts, tops, and underwear.  Now, how does that sound different than step 1, you might ask? Well let me tell you: I am not over-thinking it. I am just reaching into the dark corners of the drawers where the skimpy items are tucked, and the top shelves of the closets to find all those great lost gems I have stood outside of dressing rooms watching Poe buy.

This is the Dalmatian coast; where the sun is bright, the air hot and the parties go on forever. Hotel rooms are sold with line passes to nightclubs. We will be there when the country is admitted to the EU, maybe a celebration will break out. We are staying at the #1 hotel in Dubrovnik with a balcony overlooking the city. Heels and a skirt to tour wineries and sample oysters? YES! Wedges and a dress to sit and drink through a long lunch? Yes! Heels and a cover-up to get from our room to the lounges below? YES! The smallest little G-string you own? Yes! It is vacation — YES! YES! YES!

Dubrovnik Hotel
Our hotel in Dubrovnik. Coverups: optional

This is Croatia and our summer vacation. Have I turned Poe into a Barbie? Maybe – but if it gets her packed and out the door and looking cute for the duration of vacation, it is victory. I am all for it and so should you be, my readers.  Otherwise, we are all destined to be subjected to this packing drama for all of eternity, and I am just not up for enduring that pain.

Hotel Crashing: The Parker Palm Springs

The staff over at ThePoeLog have been overworked and undercompensated (not sure how) but I, the infamous XFE, have decided to pitch in and lend a hand with this guest post.  Not sure why, but since I had something to share, I am.

I must state up front that I did pay for my stay at The Parker but it was a reduced rate arranged by the manager as the result of a prior service deficiency when I stayed at the property last year.

Overall, this stay at The Parker Palm Springs was better than my first stay, but still questions about quality linger.  Additionally, this will most likely be my last stay as I expect the hotel will no longer be n Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) member in the near future due to a series of ongoing lawsuits regarding my beloved SPG Points.  You can read about the lawsuits here

Ever since that genius Andy Cohen over at Bravo delivered us one season of “Welcome to the Parker” back in 2007, I have always wanted to visit and enjoy “the estate.” I don’t remember much about the show today, but there was always some “overbooking drama,” and a visit from design guru Jonathan Adler, who has left a fairly heavy imprint on the design and style of the property.

(Speaking of Mr. Cohen, I would like to interrupt Hotel Crashing to pitch a reality series based on the life of DJ Speckle Cat; she is fluffy, overweight, spits mad dance tracks and is loved by all the ladies. And believe me when I tell you being loved by the ladies in the club can only lead to unnecessary plastic surgery, drink throwing, and all the dress, handbag and cuff lines necessary to earn the kibble to impress DJ Speckled Cat. Oh. and by the way, DJ Speckled Cat likes to both bully and be bullied if it leads to a little RHOC cross promotion….we’re looking at you, Alexis.)

I first stayed at The Parker Palm springs in August 2012, and while my stay was fine, several service errors combined for a less than pleasant experience.  I wrote a letter highlighting the issues and the manager responded offering to personally handle my next reservation should I choose to return to the Parker.

While I thought the chances of returning were limited I found myself in Palm Springs last week for a business trip and reached out to the manager. The manager found us (traveling with two colleagues) a great rate (better than anything on the website) and waived the $30 resort charge before having his assistant make our reservations.

I am a SPG Platinum member, which entitles you to room upgrades (space available), free Internet and points or a continental breakfast for your welcome amenity. We arrived at 6pm on Wednesday evening, the valet quickly greeted us and we proceeded to the front desk to check in. Check in was a little slow but we had just been in the car for 2 hours and we were admittedly anxious to lose the suits in the 90 degree heat outside.

Parker Front Doors, fairly iconic in Southern California
Parker Front Doors, fairly iconic in Southern California

I was upgraded and given a Junior Suite in the South building which is just upstairs from the lobby, bar and two restaurants, Norma’s and Mister Parkers.  The room had a small balcony with a limited view of the grounds.

View from room
View from room

The website describes the suite as being 600 square feet and “separate shower room with mosaic tiles” which is also described on the website as a “Party Shower.”

I dropped the bags and took a look around the room.



Jonathan Adler table lamp
Jonathan Adler table lamp
A little light reading.  Funny enough this book was featured in “Behind the Candelabra”
A little light reading. Funny enough this book was featured in “Behind the Candelabra”
Bathroom number 1
Bathroom number 1


Bathroom 1
Bathroom 1
The Party Shower
The Party Shower

The Party Shower, really this is the only distinguishing feature in this room.  The Shower itself is probably about 50 square feet, 7×7.

I am still not sure how I felt about the “Party Shower.” It would have been great in my college dorm room, but for me flying solo, it really was just a big shower.  Even if ThePoeLog had been with me, there was one small shower head and not much in the way of creature comforts, like a teak bench to sit on. Admittedly,I did use the Party Shower but I think that was driven by novelty and the fact that the other option in the room was a fairly non-Party cramped shower/tub combo.

Real highlights of the room included:

Where do I get one? And….
Where do I get one? And….



Talk about your upgraded toiletries!  I have to say this is a new addition since my stay last August and was a welcome surprise.  Since I had the Party Shower, I had duplicates on the shower amenities.  This little tray included.

  • Hermes soap
  • L’Occitane soap
  • Bulgari hand lotion 3oz.
  • Molton & Brown shower gel 3oz.
  • Quercus shampoo and sonditioner 3oz each
  • Lip Medic and Q-Tips.

Since I had just come from the US Grant in San Diego where I had already acquired a few bars of soap, I busted out one of those to use while hoping to take the good stuff home.

Now before the hate mail starts, let me say that I have been a very frugal user of hotel products, typically only taking stuff when I need some at home. As a consequence, I have not bought soap in seven years, a streak I continue to keep intact.  Additionally, while on the plane to California I was keeping up with my Travel & Leisure reading and they had a short article that said hotels actually budget and expect each patron to consume a complete set of toiletries per evening of each stay. With that new information in hand, I repacked my backs and loaded up the loot.

Why? Because a.) Who wants to make Travel & Leisure a liar, b.) Who wants to disappoint the hotels by not taking their stuff, c.) Who wants to let the hotels (THE MAN) win by keeping the revenue from not having to replace the soap in my room? And finally, d.) I am really good at rationalizing my actions.

One of the exceptional aspects that I enjoy at the Parker are the grounds—brown gravel trails cover the estate winding between dense foliage revealing alcoves of chairs and fountains, croquet fields, tennis courts, two pools, giant chess sets, etc, etc. etc. There are also 12 villas and the “Gene Autry Suite scattered on the property. As we arrived and walked around, the temperate (for that time of year) 90 degree temps meant lots of people were out enjoying the property.

One of the highlights for me is that each evening before bed I can take a short walk down to one of the pools for a quick dip. Stars in the sky, the moon shining through 30ft tall palm trees and a swim alone in silence is high on my list of preferred activities. I actually think it ties back to growing up with a pool in Southern California; it is just a sense of being alone and free.

Since it was work travel and we were all fairly run down by a long week, we ate at both Norma’s and Mister Parkers on the hotel property and had a few cocktails at the hotel bar.  The service and food were both fine if a bit overpriced. I could spend another three pages on meals but I figure most have abandoned reading at this point.

In total the grounds, setting and facilities are 1960s chic and right in line with the “playground” image Palm Springs has always had. The hipster crowd is looking to kick back by the pool, sip beverages all day before relaxing into the wee hours. However, the service is inconsistent in the restaurants and other areas, including cigarette butts on my balcony for two days, dirty towels by the pool, waiters who disappeared once the food was dropped off. With service inconsistencies and overpriced food, it is more of an “experience” and not a value play for travelers.

I have been twice, but maybe I am still hoping to have an experience worthy of being on Bravo.

One Week in the Life of a Patio

I am so sore. So, so sore. Lemme show you why.


Yes, I’m sore from drinking beers. No, sillies. This is what our backyard USED to look like:


So yeah. It was a small plot of grass with some rose bushes along the perimeter. But here’s the thing: We’re not rose people. Or even, grass people. We don’t have children who need to frolic barefoot in blades of green. We don’t have a dog, that might need to eat grass for digestive reasons. The roses, while nice, are a bit old lady-ish for us. And, we were not about to buy and store a lawn mower for that tiny plot. No way. We have grills to store in our fancy shed. In fact, last year, we used a weed whacker to “mow” our lawn.

But my landscape-decorator-for-life XFE had a vision. A vision that included a water feature. And parking for his car.

We went back and forth for months with our contractor Rob. Apparently, pavers or materials or whatever have to be special in order to drive on them.

nicolock rustico

Once our initial dreams were dashed, we finally, after several weeks, agreed on our third or even fourth option finally. Then work began. Ever so slowly.



Nope. I don’t need to get in the backyard at all.

no grass


There was a lot of work that first weekend. Three men of medium dark complexions worked their asses off while we held down the guacamole fort. Somebody had to do it.


But then, things came to a halt. Bad weather and material delays dragged the project on and on.

wheelbarrow and dirt


Wednesday turned into Thursday.

midpoint view from above


Thursday into Friday.

dirt standstill


Finally, Saturday came around and we woke up bright and early to go to a bunch of different garden centers (oh, and a rock place. Because you can and must buy rocks, apparently, they are not
Continue reading One Week in the Life of a Patio

Date Night Redux

The components of a good date night (from this last Saturday).

Peru perusing


Perusing a book on Peru with a cosmo.

XFE drink


Chef XFE’s cocktail of choice.



Steak waiting to be grilled with it’s little friend, asparagus.

domino potatoes


Domino potatoes waiting to go into the oven.



Wine decanting.



Howard on demand.

Judge Toons

Petunia, acting like she doesn’t really want to be around us, but also, doesn’t want to miss any of the action.

Steak finished


Potatoes finished



Everyone all together now.

(Not pictured: excellent conversation with XFE)

How Not to Do Date Night

My super significant other and I had one of those so-called “date nights” the other night. Well, I guess you could call it a “date night.” We put on real clothes and left the house for a pre-planned activity.

This is one of those things you have to do when you’ve been together for seven years to remind yourselves that you have a life together outside of the confines of your own house and things to talk about besides what TV show to watch that night.

However, this date night was missing a particular ingredient that I am quite sure is necessary for a true “date night” – wine.

A few months ago, when XFE’s family was coming into town for Christmas, I was looking around for activities to keep people happy and occupied. That’s when I stumbled across Sur La Table’s cooking classes. While I didn’t find anything for that particular timeframe, I did see that they had an upcoming January class called “Date Night: Exquisite Spain.” Since we had just been to Spain, I thought it might be fun for us to learn how to make some Spanish foods.

slt kitchen

(Not that we—supreme smugglers of chorizo and paprika—don’t know how to make any Spanish foods, by the way. But work with me here. I was trying to do something cute.)

We went a bit early to swing by DSW and buy some terrible ugly but knubby shoes for hiking in Peru. Of course, being fully dedicated to “date night,” we bought matching shoes. That should help solidify our “taken” status on Machu Picchu. Pretty sure these shoes guarantee no one’s going to try to steal either of us away from the other.

Please note the Petunia photobomb

With time still to kill before our cooking class (ugly-practical shoe shopping took less time than we had allotted), we stopped at an Irish-themed bar for a drink and a small snack. While tucking into some mediocre calamari, we talked about the last time we’d taken a private cooking class at an Italian restaurant – which had included wine – and wondered whether tonight’s Spanish cooking class would include any of the wines we had had in the Rioja region.

“They might not serve any wine at all since they (a) aren’t a restaurant and (b) don’t sell wine,” XFE pondered.

“Pshaw. Of course there’d be wine at a cooking class. How absurd!” I scoffed.

“But what if they don’t,” XFE queried.

“Well then, we should just leave immediately,” I countered hotly.

Then we made our way over to Sur La Table.

This particular Sur La Table cooking school is apparently the most busy in the franchise. Our kitchen contained two steel prep tables, with space for approximately 8 people at each table. In front of us were name tags, an apron, some utensils, including a chopping knife and board, and our recipes for the evening.

slt recipes

Our instructor, Chef Anna, invited us to grab some water or make ourselves a coffee from their very fancy coffee machine. And those, dear reader, were of course the only two beverage options to part Chef Anna’s lips.

“Excuse me. Where’s the wine?,” I asked.

“Oh, we unfortunately don’t serve wine. We don’t have a liquor license,” Chef Anna said.

slt coffee
Probably the only time I was not excited to see coffee.

At which point, I wish I could say we made good on our earlier pledge to abort the whole fiasco. However, as XFE pointed out, we’d already paid our $79 per person, might as well suck it up and stick it out.

Things pretty much went downhill from there. Not because of the lack of wine, mind you. Well, not entirely. But primarily because of the complete skills gap between us (fairly proficient kitchen masters) and the other students, who apparently, did not know how to chop garlic, heat oil in a pan, and were puzzled by the term “brown the chicken.”

slt apps

slt work
10 pieces of chicken prepared by 8 ‘chefs’

Each step of the very simple recipe confounded our cohorts. And, let me remind you, we had very simple recipes printed out for consultation right in front of us AND a kitchen staff who were on hand to answer any questions and clear away used utensils and even finished off cooking our desserts for us.

slt main

Since there was literally not enough work for all eight of us at the table (two garlic cloves and two onions to chop, two burners/skillets to oversee), XFE wandered over to a bookcase near the door and began perusing the ginormous, six-volume Modernist Cuisine set gleaming away in it’s acrylic cube.

I hesitate to call it a cookbook. It’s more like an amazingly photographed encyclopedia of contemporary cooking. We’d only heard about it (it was a prize on an episode of Top Chef several seasons ago), but we’d never seen a set in person (at least, I hadn’t. XFE probably had.)

He was absorbed the whole class, which was fine by me since I was feeling so apologetic about the whole enterprise at this point. We spoke to Chef Anna during our much-deserved (HA) break, and she told us they actually sold the set at Sur La Table. A quick conversation with the store manager confirmed they had just one set left, and that it was on sale, and we also had a 10% coupon, thanks to our cooking class.

The behemoth set came home with us and is now occupying a large amount of space on our kitchen counters. We celebrated the purchase with a well-earned bottle of wine, and a vow to avoid “date nights” for a while. I guess the evening wasn’t such a bust after all.


Girls Gone Wild in the OT

My parental guidance counselor, XFE is out of town for work this week, leaving Petunia and I to fend for ourselves once again. So, there’s been a lot of this:

foot warmer

And this:


And this:

wine and cheese

Actually, that last one is a big, fat, wishful creamy lie. Because even though XFE was also out of town for work last week, he breezed in on Friday and made a fantastic dinner for a small dinner party we had on Saturday night. He made two beer can chickens on the Big Green Egg, while I made a chili-lime roasted butternut squash salad, and we collaborated on a lemon-dill ice cream.

We also got oysters. Did you know that you can have them shuck oysters for you at Whole Foods? And they put them on a tray with ice for you and everything. Pretty nifty. It’s a discovery that’s  about to revolutionize all our months with an “r” in them, I can tell you that much.

Since we drank multiple, hangover-inducing bottles of wine and champagne (my brain was trying very hard to escape my skull all day Sunday), there was plenty of chicken left over to eat throughout the week. (Petunia also had a hangover on Sunday. Too many catnip-tinis.)

Petunia Garbo

After XFE bailed on us, we spent MLK/inauguration day away from any form of fermented adult beverages and focused instead on staying warm in the plummeting temperatures and Arctic winds. I am chilled to the bone, despite the fact that I’ve raised the temperature in the house up to a non-XFE approved 72 degrees. But try as I might, I cannot get warm. Especially my feet.  I’ve been making hot tea like it’s Downton Abbey up in the shizz.

The cold weather is also causing my house to make very creepy, scary, strange noises. I woke up at least 8 times last night CONVINCED that someone had somehow broken into the house in order to try to get with my freezing cold feet. (I’ll take ‘Strange Noises’ for $50, Alex.)

insomnia jeopardy

And they may or may not be scaling the roof to get to these ice-cubes-that-need-a-pedicure. Or trying to get in through the bathroom ventilator vents. Or running their hands along my bedroom wall behind our headboard. And scratching on the downstairs windows. Or making the floorboards creep. Let’s just suffice it to say, it was not a restful first night.

(Also: I discovered this morning that my coffee creamer had gone bad and since I had already made coffee, I thought I’d try to use almond milk instead. Newsflash: Almond milk is not the same as creamer. Not. At. All. So if this would-be creepy-house-roamer is reading this, please put some creamer in my fridge. And I don’t mean that in some sexual way. Seriously. Creamer. Low fat, if you can swing it).

Crap like this right here below doesn’t help with my nerves. That’s my tension shower rod on the floor in my bathroom. We know how to party up in here.


Petunia is embarrassed by my jumpiness. And lame partying skills.

aloof petunia

“Don’t worry: I will protect you with my scary glow eyes.”

creepy eyes

It’s Not a Fad If In Fact You Do Get Fit

My personal-trainer-for-eternity XFE is making me try new workout classes lately. He’s talked me into going to BodyPump a handful of times. Tonight, he’s got me doing some CXwork class, which sounds intimidating as all get out.

sauna suit
The happy couple. That’s a pretty accurate representation. Me, standing useless. XFE, trying to get his fitness on.

(Where on my body is my CX located anyway? Are we absolutely sure it needs work?)

We’re trying to get beach ready for Croatia and we know it’s going to take more than a couple of SlimFasts and a walk around the block at lunchtime to get there.

cow bikini

The whole class thing gives me so, so much anxiety. It’s paralyzing enough to go to the gym and get on a treadmill. It basically requires me to have my ipod blaring at full blast and a pair of blinders so I don’t look around and fall off my treadmill.

But classes take that drama up another notch. Whenever I walk into a class and start gathering the puzzling myriad of equipment necessary for a BodyPump session, I look around at my fellow classmates and size them up. “Well, she’s pregnant, so pretty sure she won’t make it through the class. That lady over there is at least 114 years old, so she’ll probably fall over at the halfway point. That mini-lady over there is about 80 pounds, so I’m sure I’ll be able to lift more than her. That girl in the front just looks all loose and disjointed. I’m not sure what’s going on with her.”

(By the way, why does BodyPump have to be one word? Is that meant to convey some sort of intensity?  Same with CrossFit? Why? Why not two words? You could even have some sort of lightning bolt logo or something between the two words, if space is an issue).

Of course, I’m invariably wrong about all my classmates. While I “BodyPump” my measly 5 pound weights and fall into a sweaty heap whenever there’s an opportunity for floor work, our pregnant protagonist is opting for all the more challenging move options; our geriatric heroine is crunching her well-worn heart out; and Thumbelina is adding another 20 pounds to her already bowing weight bar.

So here are some exercises and fads that I think are better options for someone with my athletic abilities.

Stretching. Stretching is nice. No weights. No steps. No gravity working against you.


If I can’t just lay down and stretch, at least I can balance on my knees. And if it’s good enough for NeNe, it’s good enough for me. Plus, the footwear is much more attractive.

leakes workout

These Trim-Jeans actually work in two ways  – they’re supposed to help you burn calories through metabolic heat or something or other (“a sauna for your belly” according to the promotional materials.) OR, if you don’t lose the weight, you can just wear these to cover your pudge. BONUS: you’d probably float in water! Although, maybe floating butt-up isn’t how you want to spend your vacation.


I do enjoy a good sit down and this thing seems like a good way to tone up.

vita master

If I absolutely must stand to get more toned, then maybe I can use this thing called a Hyper Bike. They’re saying it goes 5o mph and has the backing of NASA — an agency replete with really buff athletes. On the upside, since this one has big wheels, your workout probably take half the time, no? It seems to have worked for this lady.


Or, one could go the human hamster wheel path. Even hipsters seem to like it.

human hamster wheel

This one is my absolute favorite though. This Fit Wet combines a stationary bike with a hot tub. And it looks like she’s doing all of this in an evening gown whilst drinking a beer. Yep, we have a winner.


Weekend Gorging: When Petunia Wasn’t Looking

In between attempts to feed much-needed medicine to wiggly fur face residents, we celebrated the gift of life that is our cat by eating lots of good things, including these guys.

When your personal chef for life wakes up on a Saturday morning and declares (while cleaning out the magazine holder stuffed with six months worth of cooking magazines) that he feels like making something, you don’t argue. And, for some reason, XFE felt like making lobster rolls.

But first, we had to drag out our large lobster pot. Because, yes, even though neither of us is from New England, and we’ve never made lobster rolls, we have a specially-designated lobster pot. (We have made lobsters before. And crab boil.)

We still have no gas in our house. I know, right? So our house is (was?) all electric, including the stove. This does not work for us, so we had a gas line run into the kitchen for a stove, and we swapped out the electric stove for a gas one. We got all our permits from the city, filled out all the paperwork with the gas company and now ….well, nothing.

Our gas line has protruded from the front of our house uselessly since we moved in late July. We need the gas company (or their subcontractors or whatever) to come and connect it to the main gas line under the street. In the meantime, large pots of water will be boiled outside. We’re seriously hoping we have a stove by winter.

Eventually they came in like this. Well, they had bodies, but this picture is post-body removal.

And the lobster gods got really angry and turned the sky into this (actually, there was a tornado warning for our area. I even got a phone text! Not from the lobsters, I don’t think. More probably from the weather service or the city or something. Lot’s of excitement).

We went a bit crazy on the ingredients front. We added green onions AND chives (living wild up in the OT). American chives are apparently not from America. They’re from Israel.

As I said, we went crazy with the ingredients. Besides Israeli-grown American chives, we added celery, mayo, and, of course, sriracha. Which is why it’s a weird peachy color. We cannot resist sriracha. We’re hardly lobster roll purists. We realize this was a pretty bastardized version.

Served on a crusty buttered french roll with a side of grilled corn and a nice white wine. The lobsters gave up their lives for a tasty cause. Actually, we both agreed we’d gotten too crazy with the mayo and sriracha and we’d probably leave those off next time (or at least use less).

Also on Saturday, before the lobster massacre and the tornado, I accompanied my friend Katie to some torture session called LA Kickboxing. It was one hour of pure hell. While it is very motivating to have an incredibly strong young man yell at you and threaten you with push ups, his penchant for burpees and squat jumps guarantee that our relationship will probably not go much further.

BUT, since I had almost died doing that, I figured I could do whatever the hell I wanted for the rest of the weekend. Including eating delicious chicken wings while watching the Red Zone.

XFE made two kinds of wings on the grill: Old Bay coated wings, and a new (and welcome) contender to the kickboxing ring: sriracha wings. They were amazing. Even more amazing than stumbling into a Starbucks after an hour of kickboxing and gulping down a mocha light frappaccino. Not that anyone did that. Or something.

So weekend lessons: cat medicine, always, always bad.

Poe and kickboxing: Mostly bad but a good excuse to eat too much.

Lobster and sriracha: good in moderation.

Chicken wings with sriracha: a match made in heaven.

I feel smarter already.