A Word About Coffee Addicts

You know you have it bad as a coffee addict when you run out of the house, late, screaming behind you as you run, “I hate you, Benedict!”, having just renamed your travel mug (formerly “Harvey”), who—yes, “who”—disappeared at a most inconvenient moment.

Fifteen minutes later, when the aforementioned coffee mug rolls out from beneath your front passenger seat, you squeal, giggle, and exclaim, “I love you Benedict!”

Life is tough for a coffee addict (and her identity-confused travel mug).

Advertisement

A Tiny, Prickly Anti-Snark

Every now and then, you encounter something too adorable for snark. (Thanks, Dave.) This little guy wins. Today is not a Tuesday, but the tiny things demand to be noticed.

Must watch with sound.

SOURCE: “Watching This Porcupine Taste This Pumpkin Is Why the World Is Going to Be Okay Today,” from Mother Jones.

The Happiest Little Introvert’s Night on the Town: A Child’s Book for Adults

The Happiest Little Introvert

woke up in time for tea,

then ambled through the kitchen singing,

“There’s no one but me!”

 

The Happiest Little Introvert

stopped dead and gave a hoot:

she’d reached a well-thought-out retort

for last week’s lost dispute.

 

Two hours hence, our Introvert

sat digging through her clutches.

The gold was nice, but much too small

to hold her Webster’s Duchess.

 

The Happiest Little Introvert

was weighing invitations;

she growled and gestured in the glass

with myriad summations.

 

At last the Happy Introvert

agreed to join, contrite,

relieved that working gave excuse

to make an early night.

Workouts for Apartment Living, 2.0

Living in an apartment has its own unique charm. Even though many apartment complexes boast state-of-the-art workout facilities on site, residents also have access to more basic, everyday forms of exercise. All it takes is a little ingenuity.

Lest you think I’m reverting to the old whine about the calf workout you get from living on the third floor, read on. Please. That was yesterday’s Workout for Apartment Living. This is version 2.0.

Exercise #1: The VacuTricExtensortops*

Don’t get sucked in by that expensive upright wind tunnel bagless turbo weightless filtered robot. Instead, grab to a $30 handheld, assume the crouch position, and get ready for the workout of your life. In the 15 minutes it takes to vacuum 700 square feet of carpet, you’ll feel the burn in your triceps, extensors, quads, and maybe even your Brachioradialis. It’s better than a one-armed rowing machine.

*Also the name for a lesser-known herbivorous dinosaur from the Mesozoic era.

Exercise #2: The Shirting Jill Drill

Jumping jacks are such a thing of the past. As every true apartmentalista knows, your average complex is constantly performing some form of maintenance that involves a man on a ladder standing outside your bedroom window at 8:30 a.m. To practice the Shirting Jill Drill, working your back and shoulder muscles simultaneously in a motion not unlike an inverse butterfly stroke, simply open your bedroom blinds and remain shirtless until you hear the ladder strike the wall. After the first clang of boot-on-rung, you have approximately six seconds to run to your closet, grab a shirt, and pull it over your head. A simply, modest workout for the average young professional.

Exercise #3: Fine, The Getting Downstairs

I told you this was version 2.0

Book-friendly Adventures

Moving to a new city solo can be an intimidating experience. If you’re like me, you might be too impatient to wait for friendships to develop before venturing out to see all that the new city has to offer.

In light of that experience, I’ve realized that bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and other gathering places need another rating system. Whereas the traditional system gives one to five stars based on the quality of food, libations, atmosphere, and service, I propose a simpler method that judges a location’s accessibility to those who, like me, who are temporarily traveling solo.

Requirements for a book-friendly rating are simple:

1. Small tables, but not too small, with one or two chairs apiece. No solo (except perhaps Han) wants to take up a table for four, and while miniature bistro sets may be fashionable, they do not leave room for Shakespeare’s collected works.

2. Corners. Nobody puts Baby in a corner, but every introverted bookworm will thank you for providing a safe place from which to observe the scene.

3. Unobtrusive, clearly marked routes from door to bar to bathroom to door. Traveling solo with a book under your arm is intimidating enough without the entire establishment paying court as you ask for directions or accidentally enter the men’s room.

4. Crash bars on all external doors, particularly if you have patio seating. Having to choose between dropping To Kill a Mockingbird or a craft IPA is one of those “lady or the tiger” dilemmas that only psychology majors want to confront.

5. Finally—and most importantly—thoughtful servers, staff, and patrons who acknowledge by a lack of stares and snickers that not all humans travel in pairs and that, sometimes, in lieu of a human companion, a book will do just as well.

That’s really all we ask. 🙂


 Certified book-friendly locations in the Triangle region of North Carolina include:

Open Eye Cafe, Carrboro

Cup-a-Joe, Raleigh

Steel String Brewing, Carrboro

Raleigh Brewing Co.

Push-ups for Tall People

I have long wondered why push-ups, in particular, are the bane of my best intentions to get in shape. Surely there must be a reason! Well, at last, I think I have found one. Behold these two visual representations of why push-ups are more difficult for tall people.

(And just so we’re clear, I’m talking honest-to-goodness push-ups, here. None of that half-hearted stuff they call “lady push-ups.”)

laddersafetyIllustration #1

The proportions are never quite right. Observe:

Imagine a push-up to be a ladder angled horizontally up from the ground. Now let’s do some calculations, just hypothetical ones:

  • 5′ 10″ tall (70 inches)
  • ~30-33″ arms
  • 70 / 30 does not equal 4.

Something is a trifle off with the ratio suggested by the experts.

Danger! Danger! Ladder safety violation!

Illustration #2.

Compare the stability and balance:

8_Rung_Combination_Ladder_One_Section_Ladder
12_Rung_Combination_Ladder_Two_Section_Ladder

The British man in the red shirt agrees. No offense, extension ladder, but I rest my case.

(Also, Newton agrees.)

Yeah. I should stop whimpering now and just go to the gym.

Grape Yolks for the Young at Heart

After a fun but hectic Saturday working at the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival with RayLen Vineyards & Winery, I was eager to read the write-up in the Elkin Tribune. Reading local news coverage about my interests produces a very basic pleasure.

But, then, this happened:

“A popular wine yolk glass holder adorned the neck of veteran wine festival goers and beginners alike as they made their rounds with diligence to fit in the possibility of tasting a total of 29 Yadkin Valley wineries during the wine festival adventure. Seasoned veteran festival goers called the yolks convenient and make for a safe day of intense wine tasting.”

No.

No.

No.

Let me clarify one simple fact. Wine does not have yolks. Wine glasses do not have yolks. They may have yokes (e.g., WineYoke). Eggs have yolks (e.g., egg yolk). Capisce?

Unless—and perhaps it is just that brilliant—they have harnessed all the health benefits of the egg yolk and married them to the fibrous regulatory power of the Grape Nut (comme this Grape-Nuts Meatloaf). Talk about synergy!

Hey: anything can happen at a wine festival.

Intent: 200%

Execution: There’s always next year…

April Poetry Dare, 2014 wrap-up

This April, in honor of National Poetry Month, I accepted a poetry dare from TweetSpeakPoetry: to read a poem every day of the month and share it with my friends. I opted for the challenge of reading a single poet per week, mingling historical and contemporary poets.

Here’s a day-by-day list of what I read.

Day 1 – “No More and No Less” by Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008), Tran. Fady Joudah

“and I write tomorrow
on yesterday’s sheets:…”

Day 2 – “To a Young Poet” by Mahmoud Darwish, Tran. Fady Joudah

“Don’t believe our outlines, forget them
and begin from your own words.”

Day 3 – “Who Am I, Without Exile?” by Mahmoud Darwish, Tran. Fady Joudah

“…Nothing
carries me or makes me carry an idea: not longing
and not promise. What will I do?…”

Day 4 – “To Our Land” by Mahmoud Darwish, Tran. Fady Joudah

“To our land,
and it is the one far from the adjectives of nouns,
the map of absence”

Day 5 – “A Noun Sentence” by Mahmoud Darwish, Tran. Fady Joudah

“…A noun sentence: my wounded joy
like the sunset at your strange windows.”

Day 6 – “I Belong There” by Mahmoud Darwish, Tran. Carolyn Forché and Munir Akash

“I have learned and dismantled all the words in order to draw from them a
single word: Home.”

Day 7 – “Motion directs, while Atomes dance” by Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673)

“Atomes will dance, and measures keep just time;
And one by one will hold round circle line,”

Day 8 – “Similizing Thoughts” by Margaret Cavendish

“Thoughts as a Pen do write upon the Braine;
The Letters which wise Thoughts do write, are plaine.”

Day 9 – “An Elegy on my Brother, kill’d in these unhappy Warres” by Margaret Cavendish

“My thoughts do watch while thy sweet spirit sleeps….”

Day 10 – “The Circle of the Brain cannot be Squared” by Margaret Cavendish

“For such is Man’s curiosity and mind,
To seek for that, which is hardest to find.”

Day 11 – “A World in an Eare-Ring” by Margaret Cavendish

“And Lightnings, Thunder, and great Winds may blow
Within this Eare-ring, yet the Eare not know.”

Day 12 – “Man’s Short Life and Foolish Ambition” by Margaret Cavendish

“This care is but a word, an empty sound,
Wherein there is no soul nor substance found;

Yet as his heir he makes it to inherit,
And all he has he leaves unto this spirit.”

Day 13 – “An Epilogue to the Above” by Margaret Cavendish

“Thus by imagination I have been
In Fairy court and seen the Fairy Queen.”

Day 14 – “Back from Vacation” by John Updike (1932-2009)

“Gray days clicked shut around them; the yoke still fit,
warm as if never shucked. The world is so small,
the evidence says, though their hearts cry, ‘Not so!'”

Day 15 – “In Extremis” by John Updike

“And yet they were my best friends once.”

Day 16 – “Hoeing” by John Updike

“there is no knowing
how many souls have been formed by this simple exercise.”

Day 17 – “Penumbrae” by John Updike

“The shadows have their seasons, too.”

Day 18 – “Planting Trees” by John Updike

“our small deed, that hurried day,
so amplified, like a story through layers of air
told over and over, spreading.”

Day 19 – “Evening Concert, Sainte-Chapelle” by John Updike

“…so that the listening eye
saw suddenly the thick black lines, in shapes
of shield and cross and strut and brace, that held
the holy glowing fantasy together.”

Day 20 – “Fine Point” by John Updike

“The tongue reposes in papyrus pleas,
saying, Surely – magnificent, that ‘surely’-“

Day 21 – “Morning (Love Sonnet XXVII)” by Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

 “As if down a long tunnel of clothing and of chores;
Your clear light dims, gets dressed, drops its leaves,”

Day 22 – “Ode to Salt” by Pablo Neruda

 “Dust of the sea, in you
the tongue receives a kiss
from ocean night:”

Day 23 – “Discoverers” by Pablo Neruda, Tran. Angel Flores

 “Night, snow and sand make the form
of my slim fatherland,
all silence is in its long line,”

Day 24 – “Tonight I Can Write” by Pablo Neruda

 “And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.”

Day 25 – “The Dictators” by Pablo Neruda

 “The weeping cannot be seen, like a plant
whose seeds fall endlessly on the earth,”

Day 26 – “Enigmas” by Pablo Neruda

 “You’ve asked me what the lobster is weaving there with
his golden feet?
I reply, the ocean knows this.”

Day 27 – “The Light Wraps You” by Pablo Neruda

 “The great roots of night
grow suddenly from your soul,
and the things that hide in you come out again “

Day 28 – “On the Great Atlantic Rainway” by Kenneth Koch (1925-2002)

Their voicing ceased, then started again, to complain
That we are offered nothing when it starts to rain
In the same way, though we are dying for the truth.

Day 29 – “Permanently” by Kenneth Koch

“An Adjective walked by, with her dark beauty.
The Nouns were struck, moved, changed.”

Day 30 – “Paradiso” by Kenneth Koch

“Yet often, looking toward the horizon
There—inimical to you?—is that something you have never found”

April Poetry Dare – Week 4

This April, in honor of National Poetry Month, I accepted a poetry dare from TweetSpeakPoetry: to read a poem every day of the month and share it with my friends. I opted for the challenge of reading a single poet per week, alternating between historical and contemporary poets.

Here’s a day-by-day list of what I read during week 4. Learn more about my chosen poet, Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), here.

Day 21 – “Morning (Love Sonnet XXVII)” by Pablo Neruda

 “As if down a long tunnel of clothing and of chores;
Your clear light dims, gets dressed, drops its leaves,”

Day 22 – “Ode to Salt” by Pablo Neruda

 “Dust of the sea, in you
the tongue receives a kiss
from ocean night:”

Day 23 – “Discoverers” by Pablo Neruda, Tran. Angel Flores

 “Night, snow and sand make the form
of my slim fatherland,
all silence is in its long line,”

Day 24 – “Tonight I Can Write” by Pablo Neruda

 “And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.”

Day 25 – “The Dictators” by Pablo Neruda

 “The weeping cannot be seen, like a plant
whose seeds fall endlessly on the earth,”

Day 26 – “Enigmas” by Pablo Neruda

 “You’ve asked me what the lobster is weaving there with
his golden feet?
I reply, the ocean knows this.”

Day 27 – “The Light Wraps You” by Pablo Neruda

 “The great roots of night
grow suddenly from your soul,
and the things that hide in you come out again “