Jun 232008

Visited Mom on Saturday. She's getting around great now, and has all but stopped using the cane. She still has to take stairs slowly, but otherwise the surgery pain is all gone but for her kneecap (which was split open to do the knee replacement). The original pain from the bad knee is completely gone and she can walk without limping. I helped her haul many bags of trash to the dumpster; the aftereffects of major redecorating, painting, and reorganization. Now that she's fully mobile again, she's been using the time off work to catch up on all her projects, and the house is looking great. She starts back to work tomorrow, however.

I also got to spend more time working on her iMac. Mom needed a refresher course and some fixes to things that had seemingly changed on their own (translation: user error), and I wanted playtime on it. That thing is such a joy to use that it keeps me motivated to keep saving for my own. I ran some updates that hadn't been caught by the automatic updater yet, installed the trial of Comic Life, showed her the cool screensavers (including the mindblowing RSS feed display), and, in a "Duh!" moment, found that iPhoto does indeed have basic editing functions. What it doesn't have, at least that I could find, was a way to add keywords to multiple photos at once. Very annoying.

After I left, I decided to finally stop at the Sonic in Southgate to see what all the fuss was about. Aaron was put out that I was going without him, but said that I may as well, since he has no idea when he'll be able to get down there.
I pulled into the Meijer parking lot to access the Sonic and encountered a sign in the road saying "Sonic traffic right turn only". The Sonic was to my left, and I didn't see anything to my right except the vast expanse of Meijer's parking lot, so I turned left anyway. The first of the two entrances/exits was blocked off with sawhorses, so I had to go in the further entrance and make a complete orbit of the parking lot to get in the drive-thru lane. There were two high school/college kids hanging around the entrance, getting in the way, and twice tried to tell me something but I ignored them, figuring they were gonna ask for money, or to buy them something so they could skip the line.

I got my food (double cheeseburger, jalapeno poppers, cheesecake bites with cinnamon caramel sauce, and cranberry slushie), pulled out of the lot, and discovered what it was the kids were trying to tell me: the line to get in was actually in the Meijer parking lot, where there were two columns of cars waiting their turn to be allowed into the Sonic lot. I had accidentally jumped ahead of about a dozen cars. I felt like a bastard, but if Sonic has people managing the parking, they should have them dressed in something other than scrubby shorts and tank tops so people KNOW they're actually working. Another sign of the place's popularity is that they had an entire refrigerated semi trailer on the lot to restock the store from, and I saw a couple employees coming out of it loaded with boxes of food. The place is a zoo, but the food is very tasty.

Most of yesterday was spent (after our usual Dim Sum Sunday) clearing out junk from the basement. The broken refrigerator which had sat there for about three years was emptied out, the Lovecraftian horror in the produce drawer banished through the use of an Elder Sign, the doors removed, and the whole thing hauled up the small square staircase accompanied by much swearing, sweating, gouging of walls, and cursing of the laws of geometry.

Also disposed of were the old wrought iron patio chairs, the chimenea (used once, followed by a cease & desist letter from the condo association), and boxing bag and stand, which was claimed by our cute neighbor two doors down. The Jawas* had claimed the chairs, the chimenea, the fridge doors(?!), and its copper tubing and coils, by the end of the evening. Wish they would have taken the whole fridge, and spared the garbage men the effort.

After buying some cheap metal shelving from Home Depot and organizing the camping and homebrew equipment, the laundry room is now a thing of wonder. I discovered that it does indeed have a floor that reaches all four walls, despite years of evidence to the contrary. Clouds of dust and lint no longer swirl at our feet like a Depression-era dustbowl. I finally found that damn sock. Next on the list is the basement's main room, which should go much more smoothly now that there's room to actually store things.

In order to actually start lifting weights again, I decided to give the Body for Life program another shot (but not the actual contest). The first attempt, years ago, was a failure because I didn't plan well, didn't buy enough food, didn't have good equipment, and wasn't used to the method. Now that I've spent a couple years doing something similar with the trainer, I've got a feel for how it's done, which should help my progress.

I prepped all my food and clothes last night, turned out the light at 10:15, and was actually out of bed and headed for the gym by 5 a.m. I miscalculated how long exercises would take me, and ended up cutting the last one short (bicep curls) so I could shower and change, and that took less time than expected, so I was in the office 10 minutes early.

We'll see if I can keep this up, but if I can get through the first two weeks, it should be ingrained enough to have become a habit. The change in sleeping times will be a killer, but I've found that working out first thing in the morning makes me feel good for the rest of the day, instead of sitting in the cube for 8-10 hours, then facing the prospect of the gym afterward, when my energy is low.

* Jawas are my term for the neighborhood scavengers who cruise the streets the night before trash pickup day, hauling away any "treasures" they find. I'm all for it, as I'd rather see someone else get use from my old stuff instead of it ending up in a trash dump.

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Dec 052005

Saturday roadster_guy, brokenbryan, and I went to Somerset to get a little shopping done. While we were there we wandered into Urban Outfitters, which just opened recently, and for $10 I picked up a “Magic Tree” off a rack next to the register (they also have a snowman version). It’s two flat pieces of pine tree-shaped cardboard that you slide together at right angles, then slot it into a plastic dish/tree stand. You bend apart the branches, which are dyed green, then pour a packet of what I presume is supersaturated salt solution into the dish. Wicking action draws the solution up the tree and out into the branches, and almost immediately green crystals start to form along them. I can literally see the crystals growing as I watch, and after 1.5 hours so far (poured the solution at 10:30) all the lower branches have crystal blooms on them, and the solution has almost reached the top of the trunk. Like a real pine tree, it’s already dropping needles, as the vibrations on my desk cause some of the tinier clusters to drop off.
It also came with a plastic gold star for the top, a string of shiny red plastic beads to wrap around it, and a package of glitter to sprinkle over it when it’s done (although I could just have hamtramckkid decorate it, since he claims to fart glitter). When I poured out the solution I discovered that an inch-long salt crystal had already formed in the bag, with a small sub-crystal that I broke off and dropped in the dish to see if it would grow further. I love science!

I took a couple pics with my crappy camera phone, but forgot that I’d shut off my media service on it, so I can’t send them anywhere. I’ll have to offload them at home to post. Crap. X-(

Friday night Aaron, jamie95, and I were in the mood for Mexican (but not Baja Fresh) and since our first choice, Maragarita’s, has no liquor licencse and, hence, no actual margaritas, we ended up at Juan’s Hacienda on Dequindre. The food was pretty good, but it was no Xochimilco. Afterward we went back and split a bottle of Framboise raspberry ice wine, which Jamie and I liked (mostly), but Aaron didn’t. It was a bit sour after a couple cordial glasses worth.

Sunday Aaron went shopping while I visited my mom for a few hours and went to lunch. When I got back we met dirtyglamour at his new digs (cool place!) and headed to Beirut Palace for dinner. The chicken shwarma sandwich is far better than anything I ever had at La Shish, so I know where to go when I get the craving. We decided to try Via Novo in Ferndale for dessert, since their chocolate gelatto came highly recommended. Aaron had an assortment of gelatto and sorbet: chocolate, peanut butter, baci, and pumpkin. The chocolate and baci were every bit as good as described. I went with the caramel apple creme brulee, also mighty tasty. The service was…odd. Our waiter was a bit overly familiar, got a little too close, and after I gave him my order he kind of stared at me like he was waiting for an encore. *shrug* It was strange to walk around the place as a restaurant when I’d partied there when it was still Temple. It made for a great club and I was bummed out when it folded.

I decided to do the Body-for-Life program after all. I asked Aaron to pick me up suitable food when he was shopping, and today’s the first gym day. This means I need to take a “before” picture. Ugh. So far for breakfast I had two scoops of Eggbeaters and a cup of yogurt, and managed to NOT buy a diet Pepsi; I got a bottle of lemon ice tea instead. I’m only now getting hungry, which is a good thing. I’m really leery of doing this, because I have this lifelong tendency to not finish projects I start (yay ADD), but I suppose even I can stick with something three months, and hopefully by then it’ll have become habit.

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