Friday, March 30, 2007

Spanish Spinning

I've been going to gym every day, in an attempt to get ready for this year's Danskin Triathlon. I am determined to beat the swimmers who are using pool noodles this year.

To that end, I decided to go to spinning class this week. I was 5 minutes late (which I HATE. I really don't like showing up late--I don't like people noticing me in any athletic situation.) The instructor wasn't wearing a microphone, and I thought at first that I just couldn't hear her, but as it turns out she was speaking Spanish. In fact, everyone in the class seemed to speak Spanish except for me. So there we are in the dark, with our towels and lint glowing purple from the black light, and a crazy rainbow discoball, AND she was playing really bad techno, and screaming in Spanish. I would catch the occasional "andar le" (is that how you spell it? Senora MacKenzie, my spanish teacher, would be so disappointed.)

Fortunately now and then she would point at me and scream "FASTER!" Her mouth was open so wide I could see all her bridges. She was vicious and wonderful. Nothing motivates you to really push up those "hills" like screaming Mexican ladies at a disco.

When the class concluded, everyone gathered around her and they were all talking very fast and rolling their r's and slapping their own butts with an appreciative body-weariness. I would like to learn some Spanish and return again next Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tuesdays with Pirates....

This job is so much fun...

Tonight at rehearsal we spent the whole time going through the "With Cat Like Tread" encore--which uses Chorus Line choreography including gold shiny hats. I can't tell you how hilarious it's going to be, though I'm sure you can imagine it. If you can't I've created this image here to give you an idea. (Please note the tiny parrot.)

Know this, however. We are SERIOUSLY dancing. It's still funny, but mainly because we're Pirates and men (except me.) But as for the dancing, there's nothing funny about it. We are dancing it out here, people.

We all look pretty much like these young people here. We all have svelt dancer's bodies. But we add to it a Pir-attitude which is unprecedented. We put the "Argh" in "Chorus Line." And how.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Weathermakers

Well, I thought I'd try to find this "Tim" to let him know about the Saints we talked about, and to ask him on their behalf not to propagate the idea that they were demoted. So I typed "Tim" and "Climate Change" into Google. Turns out that his book The Weathermakers is on the New York Times Bestseller List, and he was just named the 2007 Australian of the Year. Now I feel like I should have thought of something more important to say, or at least thought of some sort of question of great significance to ask him. Guess you never know who you might sit next to on a plane.

Saints Alive!

I sat next to a very interesting man named Tim on my way to North Carolina. He was an Australian biologist on a book tour, and he writes about climate change and global warming. He was reading a book about cave paintings and I was reading the latest issue of Glamour, so to all appearances, he was definitely the most interesting of our row. We started talking about Texas, and about the most interesting Doctor's names that we've encountered- for me Dr. Teabaggy (who I worked for at the Department of Digestive Disease) Dr. Will Harm (my dentist) Dr. Thrasher (my physical therapist). For him- Dr. Bugger (his dentist whose office overlooked a cemetery and who was found bludgeoned to death by a man he took home with him one night).

We started to talk about Saints (we were both Catholic) and he informed me that many of my favorite old standbys were "sacked." He told me that his mother had statues of many patron saints and he remembers when they went under review and many of them got "the boot" as it were. He said that she piled up the statues by the rubbish bin, but couldn't bring herself to actually throw them away. I found myself doubting my saint knowledge--which, as it turns out, is pretty strong due in a large part to the card game Saints Alive!-- the only game that I could convince my dad to play on a regular basis.

Tim, I hope that your mother didn't throw the statues away, because I've done a little research and have found that most of the saints we discussed are still in the game, as it turns out. They would probably appreciate some kind of a formal apology.

Some of the saints we discussed:

Saint Christopher: "The Christ Bearer" who was not as turns out "sacked" (decanonized) but rather was downgraded in 1969. I was glad to find out that he is still a saint. Having grown up in an Italian Catholic school, I didn't want to be the one to have to tell all the Italians to get a new patron saint.

Saint Aloysius: "The Patron Saint of Youth" who I came to know as the patron saint of parking places. My mom still invokes him whenever we park anywhere. Which is often. Also not sacked.

We talked a lot about our mothers, and I mentioned that mine called one day to tell me that she sent a very long and heated e-mail to the Pope and was waiting to see whether or not he would actually read it. She said if he did, she'd probably get a letter soon excommunicating her. It is true! You can e-mail the Pope!

The website:
His e-mail:

Incidentally, in case you're interested, today's Saint is Margaret Clitherow, a convert from the Church of England and a Martyr. She is the patron saint of businesswomen.


So I have arrived in Charlotte North Carolina for a production of Pirates of Penzance. It should be great fun, my colleagues are quite excellent and the schedule is wonderful. We get free memberships to Bally's while we're here, and our day doesn't usually start till 1pm, so I have no excuse not to go.

The chorus members at Opera Carolina have been wonderful so far. I've gotten very many restaurant recommendations, including a sushi place which has named a roll after one of the chorus members. Of course, I will have to go and try eat his namesake, no matter how raw and fish-y. When in Rome after all...

I am enjoying learning another southern dialect. Carolina is different from the strains of the Texas accents I've learned so far.