TIME TO PUT-UP OR SHUT-UP

putupshutupIt’s easy to be a Sideline Advocate and stand next to the parade route cheering on the participants. Like men/women at strip clubs, I place money in their belts/garters and watch in the comfort of my home. To my credit, I also write letters to Congress. When there is a march occurring,  I lament that I didn’t know there was going to be a march. Sip my cup of tea and send another $100. While living in San Diego, I lament that the action is occurring in Washington DC while sipping a cup of tea and send another $100.

I proclaim that I am fed up enough to march, as I continue to sip my tea, scream at the TV set, send another $100, but I am now out of excuses. When I found myself yelling at the TV set this morning, I recognized that it is time to put down my cup of tea and march at the upcoming rally in front of the U.S. Capital to protest gerrymandering on this coming Tuesday (10/3/2017).

I know that gerrymandering is a political ploy to arrange voting districts to benefit one gerrymanderingparty’s candidate over the other party, which weakens our voting power. But as I was trying to explain the issue to a friend, I realized that my knowledge is shallow especially concerning the particular case being heard by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). I’m going to have to get up to speed in the next 24 hours. If a reporter asks me why I’m out protesting, I don’t want to be that Black person …. without a clue.

I am taking a break from re-reading the origin of gerrymandering and the basis of the case being heard by (SCOTUS). It’s clear that I cannot learn all that there is to know about the topic in such a short period of time. What I do know is that it is time to stand up for what I believe which is that current political tactics by both parties reduce the power of our vote and they MUST stop jiggering the voting districts to favor one party over another.

Stay tuned…

MY BUTT FLOATS

Donkey assCould have gone forever not realizing that parts of my body float (and not the obvious parts). Been looking for the right combination of exercises to reduce the overall “float”. My health club offers cardio, weight training, spinning, circuit training, swimming, yoga, barre, and pilates. Which is a great smorgasbord, but the number of options are overwhelming. In addition to the variety, I have to figure out which ones to do on which days and which times will give me the most benefit. And the last layer of complexity is which instructor to choose, because not all instructors are created equal. Oy vey!!!!!!!

I am avoiding my Type A tendencies which are crying out to “create a matrix” of classes and instructors, but I refuse to do that. Instead, I am actually trying out a different class every day until I find “what works for me”. After 3 weeks, I have just about found the right combination of classes, days, times, and instructors. Whew!

Since I work out in the mornings, many of my fellow workoutees are retirees too. And the best instructors know that some of us are dealing with knee issues, back issues, shoulder issues and a variety of other stuff. Hence the best ones give us “modifications” and constantly assure us that modifications are not only okay but good. Thanks to my feet, knee, and back, I have now become the queen of mods.

Regarding the float…. While doing water aerobics I felt something on my rear end that bounced up and down every time I jumped. I knew that things had moved south, but I had no idea it was that bad!!!

Oh well…. Just more incentive to get my fat a__  to the club.

Stay tuned……

Being Sucked

Rabbit holeIsn’t it wonderful that sites like Facebook, Netflix, and YouTube automatically launch the next video or post so I don’t have to do it for myself. When I click on YouTube it even lists videos that are similar to the ones I already watched. Unfortunately, it can’t distinguish between my viewing and Clay’s, so I end up with a lot of really weird s@#$% like “how to make knives out of nails”.

The joy of having these sites do all the work for me is akin to being led down a primrose path (which is perfectly defined as “a seductively attractive course that leads to disillusionment or a bad outcome”). The bad outcome in this case is being sucked into a vortex from which I can’t escape, and hours later I have to wrench control pied piper

from the Pied Piper (AKA Facebook, Netflix, Youtube). Even while writing this blog, my cell keeps blooping to get my attention.

Well, I have to go now because Wheel of Fortune just pinged me to return to the game.

Stay Tuned

Paris Day 5 and 6: Finally the Louvre

Clay and I next to seineBeen averaging 5 –  7 miles of walking each day since arriving in Paris. Our bodies screamed at us TAKE A BREAK… STUPID. YOU’RE NOT 25 ANYMORE. With a planned dinner cruise on the Seine for the evening we decided to simultaneously lounge, read, and nap during the day. Around mid-day, we went to a local sidewalk café for a light lunch where Clay ordered a crepe. It was filled with sugar and swimming in a liqueur. Didn’t taste great but Like Mikey… he ate it. Unfortunately, it stayed with him until we got on the dinner cruise where it threatened to exit. Thank goodness we left the boat before it left the dock. I called the boat company and they were gracious enough to make room for us on the next evening’s cruise.

The next day, Clay was now willing to accept that long security lines couldn’t be avoided so we went to the Louvre early in hopes of a shorter line (and in case you were wondering, we had a “skip the line pass” which did not cover security lines). But our early arrival worked out and it only took 20 minutes to get inside.

The Louvre was everything we heard and much, much more. Like in a maze you quickly find yourself retracing your own steps so we got directions to the Mona Lisa. Ended up with the herd of others who were determined to see the picture. Two days previously, our “free tour” guide [Paris Day 3: Getting in the Groove] explained that the reason for Mona’s popularity is

  • Her enigmatic smile? NO
  • The mystery surrounding her identity? NO
  • The fact she was painted by Renaissance pin-up boy Leonardo da Vinci? NO

What really catapulted the small, unassuming portrait to international stardom was her theft over 100 years ago causing her image to be splashed across international newspapers. Two years later the thief was finally caught and the Mona Lisa was recovered, becoming the best-known painting in a time before we shared images on TV, internet, and phones.

Even though we know “the emperor (aka Mona) has no clothes”, we still push to see and photograph this one picture. Below is a photo taken by Clay. As promised all pictures taken here will include pictures of others taking pictures because the crowd is at least 10 people deep.

Mona Lisa

The Louvre is not just huge, it is overwhelming, so after 3 hours we were ready to move on. But before I move our story along, let me say that I have never seen so many penises. Not sure what was going on in ancient Greece, but everyone, (men, women, and children) were nude. Hence, every statue and much of the art showed people in various poses but always nude or mostly nude. In fact, ALL of the male statues had exposed penises. I’m not a prude, but…. Enough already.

Next we went to St. Chapelle which was another find discovered from our “free tour”. The guide said it was on the beaten path but still not on most people’s radar. Letting Google lead the way, we found the old dusty building. (Oh yeah… everything in Paris is old and dusty.) Upon entering, you are looking at a lower level chapel which even in disrepair is beautiful. Then at the top of a winding staircase you find an unbelievably, incredibly beautiful, stained glass room!

NAP TIME….  time to return to our room and rest before our river boat ride.

The ride was beautiful… yada yada yada, but a weird thing happened on the boat…. an old friend from Dubai arrived with a lady (not his wife) and another couple. What made it weird was trying to figure out if we should acknowledge him or not.

Seine boat ride

He looked at me from across the boat and smiled. We hadn’t seen him in 5 years, so he could have divorced, but since we weren’t sure… we decided to play it safe and not acknowledge him. Now, I’m sorry, because I would have loved catching up. Oh well….. c’est la vie

 

Paris Day 3: Getting in the Groove

walkaboutOur last planned day of acclimation involved the equivalent of an Australian “walkabout”. No planned outings, just whatever came up. So, we had an opportunity to tryout Clay’s new toy, a camera. This was also an opportunity to be a good wife and not complain about the purchase of an expensive camera that I knew would be used a few times and then get tossed aside for the convenience of a cell phone camera… but I digress.

Walked to the Notre Dame cathedral so Clay could take pictures of the buttresses. While there, I stumbled on a tour guide speaking English and explaining the cathedral to a crowd of folks. I asked one of the tourists about how to get on the tour and she explained that it was free! Being a firm believer in  opportunities knock, I had to track down Clay so we could join.

Thanks to the miracle of cell phones,  I was able to join the tour and give Clay directions for catching up with us. What an incredible tour!

The guide was a thespian doing this gig between roles! Naturally, the tour ended in a café where we had the “opportunity” to buy more tours, which we actually did.

The tour was great! He took us to

  • Saint Michel Fountain
  • Notre Dame de Paris
  • Tuileries Gardens
  • Assemblée Nationale
  • The Louvre
  • Palais Royal
  • View of the Grand & Petit Palais
  • Haussmann’s Paris
  • Incredible views of Eiffel Tower
  • Latin Quarter
  • Pont Neuf
  • Place de la Concorde

 

Walked 7 miles….. Nap time again….

Paris Day 2: Working the Plan!

IMG_4332Awoke in Clay’s bucket-list city on the second day of our trip.  He’s been dreaming of visiting Paris for over 20 years. So, following our mantra of “do it while we can”, we decided to do Paris for his 70th birthday.

Now we get to test our “plan” to systematically see Paris without exhausting ourselves. So, our plan was to take the Hop on Hop off bus (HonHof), but Travelocity got it all wrong. We went to the address provided by them to pick up our tickets, but it was an apartment building with a buzzer system. Being in a foreign country, we weren’t sure if this was how they do things in Paris, so we decided to enact part 2 of Clays dream, which was to visit as many sidewalk cafes as possible. We selected a café within eyesite of the HonHof door so we could see if anyone opened it.

After waiting 20 minutes, we decided not to let no stinkin bad directions disrupt our “plan” so we began working on Plan B. We could try the next address provided by Travelocity but remembering the “fool me once…” saying, we nixed that idea. Thanks to Google, we were able to find a HonHof bus stop where we hopped on, traded our voucher for tickets, and began our tour of Paris…. Okay the Plan is working!

Originally, we planned on staying on the bus and just sightsee, but when we reached the Military Museum of the Army of France (Les Invalides), my bladder suggested that we should stop. This was my first opportunity to learn about the culture of toilettes in France which translates to “no tickie… no laundry”. In other words, you must pay to use toilets. In this case, we would have to purchase a ticket to the museum to access the toilettes ☹ A little ingenuity got us around the ticket problem….

After our HonHoff tour, we returned to our incredibly beautiful boutique hotel room where art decorated the ceiling and every wall!

Recharged after our afternoon nap, we started looking for evening entertainment and remembered the jazz club, Chez Papa. Naturally they were all booked up on a Saturday evening, but since it was so close we decided to take a chance and drop by.

A lady met us at the door (maybe owner?) and naturally she told us all seats were reserved. Not sure why (maybe it was the grey hair or the American accent), but she decided to seat us at a table by the front door which was far from music. She told us she could move us if someone cancelled. Being a skeptical American, I didn’t believe her, but was happy she seated us. Later in the evening, she actually moved us up front!

Hubby is very adventurous and he ordered Escargot (snails). I am not as adventurous, but I tasted them and they were actually good!

The club reminded us of Blues Alley, a jazz club in Washington DC. Chez Papa is intimate with seats within 1 foot of performers. The club is small (maybe seats 50) and has an upstairs half balcony overlooking the performance space. The night we were there, they had a 3-piece combo that played straight up old school jazz.

Chez Papa Is magical! If you like jazz, this is a place you must visit.

Great ending to our second day in Paris

Chez Papa

 

Paris Day 1: The Best Laid Plans

Blog - Seine

Maturity primarily means that the mature person has made mistakes from the low of 0 (no big deal and laughable) to a high of 10 (a story that we will tell in our rocking chair). Since we (hubby and I) count ourselves among the mature, we developed a loose plan for our Paris visit beginning with our “goto site”, Tripadvisor. Tripadvisor is where all mature people post their experiences, plans, advice and questions so others can learn.

Tripadvisor taught us to underplan because we would not be able to do all that we wanted, and we took that advice seriously. Additionally, we built time into our schedule so we could rest. This resulted in having three anchor activities…. the Louvre, Versailles and Notre Dame around which we built everything else.

Day one was our acclimation day when we allowed ourselves to begin adjusting to the 8-hour time difference. The only plan for the day was ticket purchases and strolling. It was a good thing we hadn’t planned anything because we laid down for a nap and disappeared into LaLa Land.

When we awoke, my cellphone said 10pm, but that was clearly incorrect because we could see that it was light outside. Apparently we were more tired than we knew and had slept through the night. Then our concern was that we would miss breakfast that was scheduled to end at 11am. I quickly dressed and went downstairs to grab breakfast and something for hubby.

When I reached the reception area, I confirmed with the attendant that breakfast went until 11am and went to the lower level for the buffet. When I reached the breakfast room there was not only no buffet but no people! Now I’m wondering what’s going on and go back to the desk clerk to explain that breakfast was in fact NOT being served!

He looked at me quizzically and explained that breakfast began at 7am and lasted until 11am. At this point, it began to dawn on me that something weird was going on and I asked him for the current time. He responded that it was 10:45pm. Oy Vey…. The time on my cellphone was correct after all!!! We hadn’t really slept through the night. We were fooled because it is still light outside at 10pm in Paris.

No one on Tripadvisor had mentioned that sunset is around 10pm in mid-June, with twilight lasting almost until 11pm. So hubby and I undressed and got back into bed 😊

Stay tuned……