Friday, January 26, 2007

Maps on Condoms

The city of New York is attempting to battle a growing problem of AIDS and HIV.
What better way to combat this problem than to distribute free condoms. And to make them attractive for
the regular New Yorker to carry in their pockets, they will print subway maps on them! Is this just too clever, or what?
The logic being, of course, that large numbers of visitors to New York use subways. They can't negotiate the complex subway system without a map, and being too cheap to buy a map, they will gravitate to free ones. Never mind that they are printed on a condom package, after all, it is small, fits easily into a pocket or purse, and can be hidden in the palm of your hand for easy reference! Picture me, a bonafide tourist, on my way to Manhattan, determined to take public transportation over an expensive cab ride. After all, who wants to sit in traffic. The subways are safe, clean and convenient. "Oh darn, I left my map on the kitchen table. I can't remember which subway to take and where to get off." Slightly panicked, I check the station diagram and try to memorize the stops along this line. And then, lo and behold, I spot a bowl of free maps! What a lifesaver! I'll take a couple. As I board the subway, I check my map, nestled in the palm of my hand. Another tourist asks me for directions; I give one to him. It's much better than a regular map, being so compact, no one can tell I am a tourist. I get off at my stop, pocket my map and go about my evening. I now unconsciously am prepared for a night in my hotel room with a beautiful lady or gorgeous young man. It's a stroke of genius, wouldn't you say?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Energy Czar

The PG&E bill arrived yesterday, and so ended my warm evenings cuddled in a reading chair with a good book. We have morphed into energy czars overnight, glaring at those who dare to leave any unattended lights on. Heidi, sporting a new haircut, stays curled on her pillow with all of her extremities hidden underneath herself. It is a miserly existence and the inside temperature is often colder than outside, 54 degrees at night, 61 degrees in the day. My next door neighbor proudly announced to me that the temperature in his house when he got up, was a brisk 40 degrees! Is this what we have to look forward to when we are 70? How did we get to this point? 80 years from the days of Laua Ingles Wilder, and we are wearing long underwear and jackets in the house! Everyday, the newspaper talks of global warming-sure doesn't feel any warmer to me!

This weekend, we will check our energy usage with a device my brother has. It will tell us what monsters are consuming our power. We will change our lightbulbs, unplug appliances, and close bedrooms off. We'll find our heavy sweaters and our woolen socks. Nothing will escape the grips of the energy czars.


Junk seems to come into this house at a significantly faster rate than I am able to get rid of it. I think it is because there are 4 people bringing it in, and only 1 person taking it out. This imbalance creates a situation where every available space is seen as potential "storage" for goods that may be put to good use someday..... Now, this past summer, I actually felt I had a good handle on our junk, doing a major purge of our closets and basement, ridding us of all property that had been unused for 5 years. Two weeks ago, I got rid of the last stack of curtain rods and mini blinds from windows that had been replaced a decade ago. It took me an entire day to find a place to take them, load them up, and drop them off. What a great feeling it was to see empty space in the garage. I put the bright red particle board toy bins out by the street with a "free" sign on them. Lo and behold, the next day, they had found a new home. Feeling even more optimistic, I set out other items, among them, a red plastic framed poster of children that read, "children love the world, children love eachother". This had hung in Jen's room since she was a baby, a symbol of the goodness in the world, I suppose, that moms want their kids to grow up with. The next day, to my delight, it was gone! Walking by, I saw visions of maybe a teacher from the school hanging it in the classroom, or maybe our neighbor hanging it in their child's bedroom. I knew it had found a good home where it would continue to spread love and joy. Yesterday, Ray came into the house chuckling. He had traded cars with Jen, and in the back seat was the childhood poster! It reminded me of when she was 4 and I had set Ray's old office chair by the street for pick-up. Watching through the window, I could see Jen pushing it up the driveway and hiding it in the garage.

I look at the pile of redwood beams in the basement, stacked below boxes of leftover hardwood flooring. There is a roll of old kitchen vinyl flooring sitting next to our plastic sled and metal saucer. Behind that is a roll of tar paper and a large box of internet cable, all waiting to be used someday....

This week, we acquired 4 file cabinets, 2 bookcases, 2 desks, a fax machine, and a microwave, all from Ray's office. Do we really need them? Not really, but the kids might someday......Ray brought in office goods, Jen brought in CD's from a neighbor's garage sale, Robert brought in auto cleaning supplies, and me-- well, I am slowly moving stuff out, trying to at least create equilibrium.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

5 pound New Year's Resolution

Isn't it funny how the new year beckons us to reform ourselves, as if the promise of new beginnings will cause us to turn over a new leaf. My 5 year old annual resolution-to lose those darn 5-10 pounds, now becoming a fixture on my body. I am not alone, it seems, seeing as how crowded the gym has been this week. I hear that 24hr fitness wrote high numbers of memberships, so much so that people are becoming aggressive over the limited number of mats, weights and balls. 5 pounds is substantial. After all, dragging around a 5 pound bag of sugar all day is no small feat. Climbing M. Peak dragging 2 bags of sugar could be quite exhausting! I picture myself, 10 pounds lighter, floating through my day.

Problem is that I have sabotaged my own weight loss. Had I never exercised, I could easily lose 5 pounds by going to the gym or jogging a few times a week. I have created my own demise by exercising 6 days a week. No weight loss will occur unless I run faster, spend more time exercising, or adding more weights. This like many other things, has only a negative future outcome because the more I do, the more I will have to do next year. By the time I am 80, I will have to spend a good part of my day working out-how is that motivating?

I have discovered lately, that running with Heidi creates drag-18 pounds to be exact. This seems to be the reason why I have a hard time doing a full 3 miles with her behind me. In theory, if I pull her along from now on at a rapid pace, the extra resistance should expend more calories. If I tie her leash to my waist, swing dumbells in my hands, and drag her at a fast pace, I can reap the benefit of increased weight, greater resistance and increased speed all at the same time! This could be quite an efficient work out.