Monday, March 31, 2014

Pie AND Cake!

Friday night Travalon and I went to Brocach for dinner, and then we went to the Newport Jazz Festival show, where we sat next to the local harpsichordist and his wife. I asked him how to identify if a tune was in the Locrian mode, and he said there would be a lot of tritones, so now you know. I believe at least one tune we heard was in the oft-reviled Locrian mode. Our favorite was the encore, which was a hot Latin-tinged number called “Cuba/New Orleans.” However, there wasn’t really any New Orleans-style jazz that night, and more’s the pity. That’s the stuff Travalon and I really love.

Saturday morning Travalon, Light Bright, and I met with a florist who had perfect reviews on Yelp, and she understood exactly what I wanted. So far I’d give her a perfect score too, but she hasn’t sent me a quote yet, so I have no idea how painful this will be. We’re not being too extravagant, and Ma Hat has generously given me money toward this particular wedding expense, so it shouldn’t be too bad… Then Tiffy came to visit, and she, Travalon, Richard Bonomo, and I went to Inka Heritage for lunch because we just love that restaurant. Then we picked up Kathbert and looked at yet another house, as well as the second one Travalon and I had liked. Kathbert said that was a good house, and she could understand our dilemma, but she really thought the first house we liked was the best one for us. It was a lovely day out, so we walked around in the neighborhood to get some idea what it would be like. In the evening, Tiffy and I introduced Rich to the wonders of The Chocolaterian, and he enjoyed the introduction thoroughly.

Yesterday we celebrated the birthdays of Luxuli and Miss Heartsong. Luxuli requested chocolate cake while Miss Heartsong requested apple pie, so Rich was busily trying to make both desserts and dinner as well. I peeled the apples for him while Tiffy and I chatted. A three-year-old came to the party and was very cute, especially when his father said, “Let’s pray for the birthday girls,” and he said, “No, I don’t feel like it.” Cecil Markovitch brought vanilla ice cream, which goes perfectly with both chocolate cake and apple pie. We all had to try some of each! Luxuli and I said, “It's OK, we’re working out tomorrow morning,” but this morning, hmm, no Luxuli…

Famous Hat

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Perfection of Fart

This morning I saw Luxuli at the health club, and she said she wanted to comment on my last post, but she couldn’t create an identity as “Luxuli,” so Ma and Pa Hat are not alone in having identity troubles. She said she even created a new identity on Wordpress, but it does not work on Blogspot, which uses Google identities. She didn’t want to use her current Google identity, which is too personal, and she didn’t create a new one. (It must be possible to have multiple ones, since Hardingfele seems to have five different ones she has used to comment, including Hardingfele, her real name, Rockstar Tailor, Rockstar Tailor’s real name, and Hardingfele and Plysj.) So what is the comment Luxuli wanted to post? “No comment.” (In response to the question of what she was doing yesterday morning while the rest of us were working out.)

Kathbert forwarded me the following paragraph from a proofreading friend, which appears to be something about Italian art written in French. See if you can find the error:

“Leurs ouvrages, en marbre, en bronze, en argent, élevés de toutes parts dans Florence, semblèrent quelquefois, aux yeux charmés de leurs concitoyens, atteindre la perfection de Fart, et égaler l'antique.”

This translates roughly, per my study of French eons ago and Google Translate, to something like: “Their works, in marble, in bronze, in silver, raised all over Florence, sometimes seemed, to the charmed eyes of their fellow citizens, to achieve the perfection of Fart, and equal those of antiquity.”

Yes, Fart should be l’art, but how interesting is that? Then it’s just a paragraph about a bunch of artwork (presumably sculpture) which is just as beautiful as that from the Classical era. But now it’s about the perfection of Fart, randomly capitalized just to emphasize how important it is. Kathbert forwarded this to both Richard Bonomo and me, saying it must have been written by Rich (who, as my regular readers may remember, is from the House of Petard and is “Semper Ventosus”). Rich responded, “Mai oui!  Bien sûr!” and signed his email “Rich (pronounced, in this case, “Reesh”).” Or, as Hardingfele would say, this is about “les fartistes,” of which “Reeshar Bonomo” is the most prominent one I personally know.

Famous Hat

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Another Perfect House

Last night Travalon and I went to look at some more houses. The first three were not too exciting, so Travalon said he hoped we’d see at least one really good one to make it worth our time. The next one we saw was so good that we are now seriously considering it, along with the original one we were interested in. We are making a list of pros and cons of each house, plus I’d like to have my posse visit this new house and tell us how it compares to the other one. After all that house hunting, we relaxed by watching two movies. The Grand Budapest Hotel was a fun prison break caper and bittersweet reflection on lost love all at once, and afterwards Travalon wondered if it were a comedy or an action flick, but I had no answer. It was really good, though. Then we watched the classic movie, which was The Shawshank Redemption, also a very good flick. After two prison break pictures, I thought my dreams last night would be all about escaping prison, but instead they were about giving Easter candy to little kids, and one four-year-old girl wouldn’t try some old-fashioned candy because she said it smelled like “butt-butt.” It was some kind of hard caramel on a stick, if I remember correctly.

Richard Bonomo commented that I haven’t blogged about my arms falling off lately, but my 5.8 faithful readers are probably sick of reading about my exercise program. I’ve been blogging about it so much that the ads on my blog are lately all for exercise stuff and “Fitness Singles.” (Rich said he saw the “Fitness Singles” ad too.) There really is an online dating community for just about any special interest! This morning Rich, Prairie Man, and I got up and worked out, but there was no sign of Luxuli. I know she often reads this blog so maybe she’ll tell us what she was doing while we were lifting weights… And yes, Rich, I did take some ibuprofen today so that tells you how sore my arms are.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Healthy Wonders of Eating Almond

Yesterday Handy Woman got the most interesting piece of spam, full of factual advice in broken English and not obviously selling anything. She was so fascinated by it that she forwarded it to me, perhaps not even knowing that I regularly post Hardingfele's weird spam emails on this blog. Here is the email:


Lack of adequate nutrients in the body is one of the main causes of modern ailments that are constantly on the rise. This is why awareness is created on the importance of eating the right healthy foods that have essential nutrients. Almond is one of these foods that is classified as a nut and is available all through the year. It has numerous health benefits derived from eating it. These nutrients play a major role towards prevention or management of certain medical conditions. The cost of buying is almond is way cheaper than the expenses incurred in the treatment for heart related conditions. High level of cholesterol is the main cause of heart disease. Almond is rich in fats which are healthy to the body and helps in the reduction of LDL which if accumulated leads to heart ailments

Thanks Regards


That's it - no link to a website selling almonds or anything. Is this the new craze - spam giving health advice?

Famous Hat

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New Office Plant

This morning Handy Woman had left a jade plant in my office for me. Now some people may say I have a green thumb, but jade plants are a completely different matter. They are supposed to be so easy to grow, yet I have always managed to kill them. Mr. N’Awlins has (or had at one point) a giant jade plant that was practically a tree, and it was so happy that it would actually bloom. Not that jade plant flowers are anything that spectacular, but I’m just saying, contrast that with my experiences. Years ago I had a crazy neighbor (she always used my phone because hers was “bugged”) who suddenly ran off to Seattle, leaving me her plants. One was an organ pipe jade plant, and I had it for a few years, when it even seemed happy and grew bigger, but then when I moved to my condo, it slowly died. Maybe this was back in the days before Plant World; I can’t remember now how long ago it’s been. Some leaves had fallen off of it and started to grow baby plants, but even those are long gone. Want to take bets on how long it will be before I kill this jade plant? Unless, for some reason, it likes my office. The cyclamen Travalon gave me for our one-year anniversary has been growing happily in my office window, getting larger and blooming continuously, but a cyclamen is (obviously) not a jade plant. Only time will tell if this jade plant will meet the same fate as every other one I have ever owned.

Famous Hat

Monday, March 24, 2014

Toddler's Birthday Party

The other night Richard Bonomo, Kathbert, and I were on the Think Geek website, looking for my formerly favorite T-shirt, the one that says: “There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary systems and those who don’t.” Suddenly, we came across my new favorite T-shirt: “There are two kinds of people in the world: those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.” Must have. Another good one: “Non-flammable? Challenge accepted.”

Saturday was a wonderful day. Light Bright and I met for coffee at 9:15, which didn’t feel so early now that I’m getting up at 5:30 on weekdays, then we went to the bridal store because they had found my dress in a smaller size. This means they won’t have to take it in. They even said they would wait to do the final fitting for an entire month, in case I lose pounds and/or inches on the Richard Bonomo Fitness Plan. Then Travalon came to town, and we walked all over campus in the sunshine. What a beautiful day! OK, so it was kind of cold, but the sunshine was fantastic. 

In the late afternoon B-Boy and Mo-Girl had a birthday party for their two-year-old daughter. Our end of the table was adults, so we had good conversation; the children were at the other end of the table, having a great time at Ella’s Deli. I haven’t eaten so much sugar at one time in years! The decorations were brightly colored balloons and candy, and I had a hat that said “Princess” on it. Travalon’s said “Happy Birthday.” The other B-Boy, Cecil Markovitch, my OTHER choir director, Richard Bonomo, and Kathbert were among the many guests. The birthday girl got all kinds of adorable gifts, including a little toy dog she can walk, chosen by Travalon, a dippy bird from Uncle Rich, and wind chimes from Aunt Kathbert. 

Then, to make the wonderful day complete, the Badgers won in men’s basketball, so they are in the Sweet Sixteen. Rich said he filled out a bracket using a random generation program, and he’s already out. He thought about submitting his to the contest in which the winner gets a billion dollars, but he said you had to sign up for all sorts of email updates for products he didn’t want. Still, a billion dollars? For that I could delete a few annoying emails. So why didn’t I enter? Hadn’t heard about it in time. March Madness is only vaguely on my radar as something Travalon and Prairie Man care about a great deal.

Famous Hat

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Key to Common Blog Characters

Yesterday Catzookz introduced her boyfriend (hereafter known as "Twins Fan") to my blog, and he said he needed a key to the characters on the blog. This seems like as good a time as any to introduce new names for some old characters, so henceforth "Mr. Luxuli" will be Prairie Man. (That was Rich's idea.) Banjo Player will now be Lute Player, since she has long since given up the banjo for the lute. And now, here is a key to the characters on my blog, so that readers who know us can figure out who I am talking about. (Random strangers reading this, it probably won't be very enlightening.)

Famous Hat - the writer of this blog, who is completely incapable of tanning
Travalon - Famous Hat's fiancé who is 6'4" and a Beatles fanatic
Richard Bonomo - he owns the house with the bidet
Kathbert - the one who never hugs Rich
Hardingfele - Famous Hat's feral feline fan neighbor and bandmate
Luxuli - Famous Hat's workout partner who is demure, damn it!
Prairie Man - word puzzler and southpaw of the group, he is married to Luxuli
Tiffy - Famous Hat's best friend since college, so for about five years now
Cecil Markovitch - the mischievous mustachioed man of Croatian descent
Catzookz - the vegetarian who calls bacon the "gateway meat"
Twins Fan - his name is self-explanatory; he is Catzookz's boyfriend
The OTHER choir director - at that Lutheran church down the road
Lute Player - tenured professor of something I can't even explain and former bandmate
Jilly Moose - as the name implies, she loves moose
Anna Banana II - there is no Anna Banana I, I just got this name from her email address; she moved to the wilds of North Dakota
OK Cap - she's from Oklahoma, and she's a Capricorn
A-Fooze - the salsa-loving scientist who now lives in Canada
The B-Boys - the clean-cut, well-behaved brothers
Mo-Girl - the Missouri lass married to one of the B-Boys
Ma Hat - Famous Hat's mother who lives in Minnesota and makes cuddly rosaries
A-Joz - Famous Hat's neighbor and bunny sitter
Miss Heartsong - the colorful Creole opera singer
Light Bright - Famous Hat's former office mate and current wedding planner
Toque McToque - Famous Hat's office mate before Light Bright
Handy Woman - Famous Hat's coworker who fixes everything herself and grows her own food
Ethel - the dancer who got stuck on a roof in Rouen with Famous Hat
Palm Tree Fan - the photographer who has provided beautiful pictures for this blog
Mr. Icon - he looks like he stepped out of an icon and now lives in Alaska
El Vegetariano - he's the one who is always reading a book, no matter what else he's doing
The Mothership - Rich's Sicilian mother who successfully curses all his appliances so they must be upgraded
Mombert - Kathbert's mother who always notices Famous Hat's bling
Mr. Why - the late mischievous imp who broke rules Rich didn't even realized existed

That is an exhaustive list as far as we (Rich, Kathbert, and I) can think of right now. Let me know if I've forgotten anyone in the comments.

Famous Hat

Friday, March 21, 2014

Yet Another Exercise Post

During our morning workouts, Richard Bonomo is always telling me to try harder. If I do fifteen pushups, he says, “One more for the Corps!” At first I thought he meant one more for my core, since working the core muscles is the big thing these days, but then I realized he meant the Marines. And when it comes to the elliptical machine, he is forever telling me to set it higher. It has three settings: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Then within each setting you can choose a level between 1 and 20. Being a wimp, I was using the Beginner setting and Level 5. On Wednesday Rich told me to do the Intermediate setting at Level 7, so I did. It was a little worse than my usual workout, but not much. This morning I did the Intermediate setting at Level 10, and this time my workout was nearly impossible. I was going a lot more slowly, averaging 82 steps per minute as opposed to my usual 92, and down to 62 per minute on the really difficult stretches, so imagine my surprise when I got done and it said I had gone an average speed of 2.2 miles per hour instead of 1.5 like usual.  Here’s the thing – once I got done with that awful workout, I felt GREAT, much better than after my formerly wimpy workouts. Maybe next week I will brave Level 12, or even the Advanced setting. Of course, I say this now. Let’s see how I actually feel about it on Monday morning…

Famous Hat

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Marriage Prep Done!

Did my readers have a good St. Joseph’s Day? Richard Bonomo sent an email reminding us all to have dessert, because it was a solemnity, so last night Travalon and I had tira misu after our pizza at Roman Candle. Then we went to our final marriage preparation meeting, with a couple who have been married 25 years. Travalon and I had filled out an online questionnaire with some puzzling questions, so we felt some trepidation going into this meeting. However, the couple told us that our 75% agreement rate was much higher than they were used to seeing, and on key questions we almost always answered correctly. They went through the questions we hadn’t agreed on, mostly because one of us had answered “Uncertain,” and we pondered what we meant by answering the way we did, if it was different than the preferred answer. The couple said because of our “maturity” (by which they mean “advanced age”), we had probably discussed a lot more of these issues than the twenty-somethings they usually meet with, who are often living together and just getting married in the Catholic Church because “Mom wants us to do it.” Afterwards Travalon and I went to Vintage to toast having finished all our marriage prep. Now we just have to think about flowers and decorations for the reception hall.

PS - for Rich: my arms felt like they were going to fall off earlier today, but they are only a little sore now, and I didn't even take any ibuprofen. 

Famous Hat

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rosary Ladies Party Power

Saturday a coworker of mine had a party to celebrate getting her doctorate in German Linguistics and her new job in Chicago. Jilly Moose and I went together, and I brought Moose Drool beer because, you know, moose. There were two very cute babies named Harry and Malcolm, which I think are great names for babies. They were only a day apart in age, so almost twins brothers from other mothers. OK Cap arrived a little after we did, and Luxuli arrived after Harry and Malcolm had gone home for bedtime, and she noted at that point the Rosary Ladies made up half the party. But of course – it’s just not a party without the Rosary Ladies! We told my coworker there is one more of us, in North Dakota, and just think – if she’d been there, we would have been in the majority at this party!

And yesterday I completely neglected to mention St. Patrick’s Day or my brother’s 40th birthday. On St. Patrick’s Day, Travalon and I went to Cap’n Bill's, where my health club was putting on a free dinner for club members. The place was so packed that we finally found a couple of chairs in a back corner, because who needs a table? And it turns out Travalon is not a fan of corned beef and cabbage. We left and went to Claddagh Irish Pub, where it was also quite packed but at least there was standing room. We ended up sitting at a table with another couple and a gregarious family physician from Syracuse who was in town to learn the EPIC software system. We all bonded over photos of our pets. Since it was St. Patrick’s Day, which is a church holiday in some places, Travalon and I split a very un-Lenten dessert of chocolate whiskey pecan pie. It was definitely worth the extra calories.

I don’t know what my brother did for his birthday yesterday. I wished him a happy birthday on MyFace but didn’t write an elaborate poem for him like I did when he turned 25:

Happy birthday, Loser,
So now you’re twenty-five.
A quarter of a century,
I’m shocked you’re still alive.
So now that you’re so old,
Go drink some beer that’s cold.

What a masterpiece, eh?  He seemed to like it, for some reason. Guess I should have written another one to commemorate this historical event in his life, but I’m not the poet I was in my twenties. And besides, what rhymes with forty other than “warty”? Shorty? That doesn’t really describe my “little” brother.  He’s nearly as tall as Travalon. 

Famous Hat

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Now I Knows

This morning I got up and worked out alone, then Richard Bonomo arrived after his hour of adoration, and I went home to shower and change. We had breakfast at Jerkins, and he said he couldn’t wait to see my blog post about this morning, and if I would say my arms are going to fall off. Sadly, no – I thought I’d pushed myself, but currently my arms do not feel as if they are in any danger of detaching from my body, so that impression must be wrong. They are a little sore, so it’s not as if I did nothing, but they don’t hurt like after a workout with Rich. He said Hardingfele came to work out while he was there, and he offered to spot her while she did free weights, but she said maybe some other time. She doesn’t know if she’ll go tomorrow due to weather, but I can’t imagine Richard Bonomo letting a little thing like a snowstorm stop us from going to the gym.

Today several people posted a video on MySpace of a guy doing impressive acrobatic tricks with a hula hoop. The description was in a foreign language that does not use the Roman alphabet, maybe Vietnamese? MyFace helpfully offered to translate: “Still, it's a peaceful mind creates a fascinating and drug check, people see. If not, still shows very difficult artist, because you see real, clear training. (Translated by Bing)” Not sure I’d brag about that translation, if I were Bing. MyFace always offers to translate, like when people write “ciao!” on their wall, but I have never taken it up on this offer before. I think I have enough of a handle on “ciao,” thanks. But of course when I need a real translation, look at what it gives me. Thanks, MyFace and Bing. Now I TOTALLY know what this video is about. For some reason, Grammar Check wants to change that sentence to: “Now I TOTALLY knows what this video is about.” Grammar Check must have been created by Bing too.

Famous Hat

Monday, March 17, 2014

Birthday Pie

On Pi Day my coworker came with me to Richard Bonomo’s house because we had been promised a Japanese feast, but nobody was at home. Kathbert arrived a short time later and, adding to the mystery, walked off down the street. When she returned, she told us she had just run a quick errand, but she could shed no light on the lack of Japanese cooking going on at Rich’s house. Not long after that, Rich arrived and even he didn’t know where all the Japanese people were. There was a professor staying at his house along with a grad student and an undergrad, and two female undergrads were staying at another house. Rich called the professor and found out they were still shopping for food, so all we could do is sit back and wait.

All the Japanese folks finally arrived at Rich’s house and madly began cooking, and soon the wonderful smell of curry rice filled the air. Befitting a Friday in Lent, it contained scallops, shrimp, and fish. They also gave us “Japanese pickles” that tasted suspiciously like kosher brine pickles, and some delicious purple pickled thing they claimed was cucumber. We had grapefruit juice to drink and giant oranges for pre-dessert, because I had brought a pie for Pi Day. It turned out the professor’s birthday is today, so we celebrated it that night, since they were all leaving town the next day. We stuck a candle in the pie and sang him “Happy Birthday,” which they tell us is the same in Japanese. (Not sure if we should believe them; we found the jar the pickles came in, and they were just kosher brine pickles, not Japanese at all.)

After dinner we did origami. Kathbert and the grad student made paper airplanes, and my coworker was fascinated with the little frogs the coeds were making. One coed showed the professor how to make a “camera” that clicks like it is taking your picture, and the grad student made a bird with wings that flap. My contributions were a lantern and snowflakes, requiring as much cutting as folding – if origami were a class, I would have failed it. Both my coworker and one coed knew how to make little balloons. My coworker was having so much fun that she stayed way later than she had planned. The three undergrads didn’t speak much English, but we didn’t need to say much to each other while folding paper and showing off our creations. An excellent multicultural time was had by all.

Famous Hat

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pi Day Pi-ku

Today is Pi Day (3/14) and one way to honor the day is to eat pie. A local bakery sells slices for $3.14 today. Another way to celebrate is to write pi-kus, which have – you guessed it – three syllables on the first line, one syllable on the second line, and four on the third line. Here is my pi-ku:

I love pie.
It's delicious.

On a totally unrelated note, as my longtime readers may remember, I was the mayor of Hell, Michigan on the day of my 40th birthday. Catzooks sent me this picture yesterday: “You know it’s cold when…”

Famous Hat

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lofty Goal

Last night Travalon and I went to to Café Porta Alba for dinner, and they were having a special on black linguine with seafood, so I got that. I’d had this particular dish years ago on State Street and remembered it with great fondness. It was so good that Travalon wished he had ordered it too. After dinner we had a delicious glass of limoncello, then when we got to Point Cinema, there was a half hour before our movie started so we went into their swanky new bar and had a cocktail called a Liquid Snickers – really tasty. We saw The Lego Movie, which was hilarious the way it mocked popular culture and movies like The Matrix, but it did have an interesting message about building by the instructions versus building from your imagination. I was always a “build from imagination” kid, and I used to take my brother’s little (presumably) Caucasian Lego men and turn them into black Lego women. They had the most fabulous hairstyles, which when you think about it is strange because I can’t be bothered to style my own hair. Now Lego probably makes actual black women figurines, but I’ll bet mine still had more fabulous hair.

This morning Richard Bonomo, Luxuli, and I did weight training. Rich said we were going to “lift to extinction,” and I assumed that was some sort of weightlifting term, but in fact it was just the early morning hour and he meant lifting to failure. If you haven’t done this before, it means finding the absolutely heaviest weight you can do the exercise at, usually for two reps before you’re like, “Okay, I am DONE.” That’s lifting to failure – you succeed when you fail. Weightlifting is so strange that way. Luxuli asked me what my goals were, and I said, “You mean like visiting Antarctica?” and she asked if I were going to swim there. I said, “Of course not, I’d take a boat,” and she said, “How is that exercise? Oh, I didn’t mean goals for your life! I meant for your workouts!” I said I didn’t have any particular goals, and wouldn’t you know Richard Bonomo has that covered too? He said, “My goal for you ladies is to get you to bench press 150% of your bodyweight.” So it’s good I didn’t have any goals, because he already had such a lofty one for me. Though if I do lose some weight, my goal will be that much less lofty.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Linguistic Mystery

Today a coworker showed me an email she got from a reviewer waiting for his payment. Now you and I know how slowly the wheels of bureaucracy turn, and it takes weeks for checks to be generated around here. Apparently this guy did not like that answer, and he was bombarding my coworker with emails that got continuously stranger. This one just said something about how he was wondering where “my who’re” was. Now if that’s a typo, it’s sure a weird one. Who’re literally means “who are,” but if you take the apostrophe out, we all know what it means. My coworker wasn’t sure if this were an insult aimed at her, considering her gender and the reviewer’s ire, but she gave him the benefit of the doubt that it was just a really random typo until talking to another coworker. He said this reviewer is, well, rude. And considering that he was using it as a noun in the sentence, it seems highly unlikely that he meant the contraction. It seems on the surface like he was asking about his check, but what word for check or payment would be anything like who’re?

Famous Hat

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Perfect House

Friday afternoon Travalon and I had lunch at the Great Dane, then we went to the credit union to talk to a loan guy. The meeting seemed to go well, but the guy needs more information, so we don’t know yet about getting the loan for the house. In the late afternoon my band had a gig, and Travalon came along and listened. He liked our klezmer music best. I thought it was a free gig, but we got paid $10 apiece… and then we each got $20 more! Not bad for a free gig! Getting paid for making music never gets old! So after Travalon and I went to the East Side Club for fish fry (only we got baked haddock since we gave up fried foods for Lent), I bought him a drink at Le Tigre Lounge. It was crazy busy in there!

Travalon stayed over at Rich’s house, and the next morning we got some coffee before meeting our realtor to look at more houses. The first one was out of our price range, and we weren’t that impressed with it anyway, but Kathbert came along with Richard Bonomo, and she’s keeping it on her “maybe” list. The second one was kind of small and was just a few blocks from Toque McToque’s house, in a lovely neighborhood in the Arboretum. The third one was, in a word, perfect. It had a two-car garage, man cave possibilities in the basement (as well as a bar with colorful lights), a sunny room for plants, two bathrooms, and FOUR bedrooms, plus a huge yard. We almost didn’t want to look at the fourth property after that, but it was a very sunny condo with a cool basement, so we aren’t taking that off the list either. Travalon and I discussed our options over a late lunch at Sofra, then I talked to Richard Bonomo and Kathbert, and they wanted to see the perfect house. So Sunday after Mass, brunch, and doing my taxes, I went with them and Luxuli to see the house again. They declared it was a good house with no outstanding issues. (Rich even looked in the attic.) Some other people were also looking at it at the same time, so hopefully we hear about our loan soon, before someone else puts an offer on it.

Famous Hat

Monday, March 10, 2014

Peace Through Swedish Falafel

Friday morning the crew got up and went to the health club at 6 am again; this time we did 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer after our warm-up routine. Luxuli said, “Let’s go for 45 minutes!” but I didn’t have the time or the energy for that. After I left, she attended a class at the health club. This is why she gets the Enthusiasm Medal. Cashmere hadn’t even stirred when I got up that morning, so maybe she was already acclimated to me getting up and moving around in the dark.

This morning was very painful because, thanks to the wonder of Daylight Savings Time, my body thought it was only 4:30 am when my alarm went off.  Cashmere did wake up and demand a treat, but even she seemed disoriented by the time change. Richard Bonomo was feeling it too, but off we went to the club to do our 30 minutes on the elliptical trainers. Luxuli’s husband found us and said he had come alone; she was planning to take the other car, and if we didn’t see her, it’s because she went to a class. Being curious, Rich peered into the classrooms at the health club, and he even checked the parking lot for her car, but we found no sign of Luxuli. Methinks someone couldn’t adjust to the time change…

As we were driving back to my house, Rich told me he was planning to go to Sweden for work, so he asked Kathbert what she recommended he see and do there, since she went for work a few years back. He said she was talking about the falafel you can get at the street stands in Stockholm, and she had a “look of peace and total serenity” on her face that he had never seen before. Apparently true peace is to be found in Swedish falafel. Now the secret is out.

Ma Hat is having identity issues, it seems. She sent me the following email: “We tried to send a response to your BLOG but we apparently don't have an identity.  Your dad knew what DI stood for before we got to the end of your Blog and found Rich's answer, but we couldn't send our response because of identity problems.  Dad wants to know if any DI has the hat.” I asked Rich and he said DIs do indeed have special hats, but he does not own one, and he doubts that Luxuli’s husband has one either. He thinks his father might have had one, although he was not a DI.

Famous Hat

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dove Gray Eyes

So we did it – we got up this morning and worked out. I woke up at 5:30 and confused the heck out of Cashmere, my bunny, who wasn’t sure if she should beg for her morning treat or just go back to sleep. (I tried not to turn lights on, but she woke up anyway.) I did give her a treat but told her that the banana would have to wait until I got back. (Every morning we split a banana… not equally.) Richard Bonomo picked me up at a quarter to six, and we headed to the health club and began our workout, unsure if Luxuli and her husband were actually going to wake up and join us. They did show up not long after we did, so we all did weight training together. There are entirely too many peppy people at the health club at that unreasonable hour, but they are for the most part not social, so they seemed surprised to see us traveling in a herd. I have to say that, while getting up is suffering, and working out with Rich is suffering, getting up and working out with Rich is just suffering, not suffering multiplied. It does seem like a proper mortification for Lent. I said my arms were going to fall off, and Rich said, “I cherish those blog posts you write after our workouts!” Or something like that – I was too out of it to be able to quote him exactly.

Luxuli says my gray sweatsuit looks so flattering on me, so I said, “It’s because it matches my eyes. Actually, I don’t know what color my eyes are. Some people say gray, some people say blue, and some people say green.” So Rich looked me right in the eyes and said, “They’re steel gray.” Luxuli said, “They’re dove gray,” and I thought “dove gray eyes” sounded so poetic that it would make a good blog post title.

Rich is being very organized about the workout; he sent an email later this morning that included his vision for our workouts: “I suggest that all of you simply go to the health club at 6 AM M-F.  When I can't be there at that time (usually Tuesdays and Fridays, and, next week, Wednesday March 12 because of a prior commitment), Luxuli's husband can be the DI*. Saturday and Sunday should be reserved for other activities, including letting the body recuperate.

Let's try to discuss exercise strategies this weekend. For the moment, I suggest:
M,W:  light strength training, F: max (for us) strength training,
recupe over weekend
T, R: warm-up and relatively intense aerobics of various sorts
(including multi-rep light-weight weight work).”

I already thought he was putting way too much thought into this when he sent a second email:

“I would think that if we want to concentrate on "fat burning" for the next few weeks, vigorous (I mean VIGOROUS) aerobics 3 days a week might be the way to go.  The cross-training machines (with the arm handles and elliptical foot pedals) might have a "fat-burn" program -- the ones at the Shell do. Doing the mat, Roman chair, and pull-up/chin-up exercises and then spending the remaining time on the cross-training machines might be the way to go tomorrow.”

This is probably because when he asked me what I wanted to do tomorrow, since he could not be there, I replied, “Sleep.” Hey, you ask a simple question, you get a simple answer. 

* I don't know what he means by DI either, but clearly it has to be a male.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Invitation Adventures

Sunday I did not feel very well, but I dragged myself to Richard Bonomo's house to print up wedding invitations and response cards while he and Kathbert made an angel food cake for Mr. Luxuli's birthday. Monday night I went back to Rich's house, and we printed a bunch of maps and instructions on how to get to various wedding-related sites. The maps are in color, and his color printer is slow, so we set it to print draft quality for a few maps, but they were terrible. If you get one of these maps in your invitation, I apologize, but it seemed smarter to send them to locals who don’t really need them. Even the maps we printed with better quality varied a lot; some were beautiful, and some were low on red, although every time we ran a diagnostic on the printer, it said it had plenty of red and would spit out a beautiful test page. So if your map seems a little low on red tones, well, I can’t explain it, but there it is. It was a late night, so I was hoping to get to bed at a more reasonable hour last night.

As we often do on Tuesdays, Light Bright and I planned to get together and do wedding-related stuff, this time stuffing the envelopes so I could finally mail off my invitations. (It won’t be much of a wedding if I never get around to inviting anyone!) However, yesterday she sent me a text: her band had an emergency recording session, so she wouldn’t be able to meet with me. I sent out desperate messages to Kathbert, Luxuli, and Jilly Moose: pizza in exchange for help stuffing envelopes! Kathbert and Jilly Moose showed up and helped me label, stamp, and stuff envelopes, and we didn’t get done till well after 10, so it was another late night. Thanks for all your help, ladies! I couldn’t have done it without you! Then I finally put the invitations in the mail, so you should be getting one soon.

For Lent I was going to give up sleeping in, and Rich, Luxuli, and I were going to work out at 6 am today, but I begged for an extension so I could get a little sleep last night. Tomorrow is another story, and I’ll have to be up at 5:30 for a very early morning torture session, just to add to the tortuousness. (Apparently that is a word, because Spell Check has no problem with it.) So farewell, sweet sleep, and maybe we’ll get together again after Lent is over. This is what happens when everyone has such a busy schedule; exercise gets pushed into the wee morning hours. Sigh… 

Famous Hat

Monday, March 3, 2014

House Hunting

Saturday Travalon and I got caffeinated at Moka, then we went to look at houses in Monona with our buyer’s agent. She doesn’t have a name on this blog, but she was the same buyer’s agent who helped Richard Bonomo buy his beautiful house. (She says every time she sees a house with a bidet, she thinks of him.) Travalon and I (but especially Travalon) are putting a fair bit of dough into our upcoming nuptials (and the honeymoon, in Travalon’s case), so we are looking for an affordable house in the $160K range. We looked at a really cute one and then one with foundational issues. The cute one had just what we wanted in the downstairs: a man cave for Travalon, and a sunny room for Plant World. However, the upstairs is very low, and since Travalon is quite vertically enhanced, we thought that might not be ideal. Plus the buyer’s agent said the upstairs might make it harder to sell. At least now we have an idea of what we would like in a house, and it seems we can afford it on our budget!

After Travalon and I had lunch at the Village Tavern, we joined Rich, Kathbert, and Pete the Sailor Man at the cemetery to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Mr. Why’s death. It was very cold, so after Pete shoveled aside some snow and still couldn’t find the marker, we just lay the flowers on the ground and got back into our warm cars.

Travalon and I got some coffee at Espresso Royale to warm up, and then we went to a newer place called the Red Rock Saloon or something, with a Texas theme. There is even a mechanical bull in there, and we watched a middle-aged guy get thrown off of it. After dinner we met Rich and my coworker to see The Mark of Zorro, a silent film from 1920 starring Douglas Fairbanks. At Duck Soup Cinema they always precede the movie with a Vaudeville show, and this one starred a woman doing acrobatics in a giant wheel, a very funny juggler, and Yid Vicious featuring klezmer Theremin, and I’m not even kidding. That alone would have been worth the price of admission, but my coworker (who will have to have a name besides “another wildebeest” on this blog sooner or later) scored the tickets for free from a friend who went to Mexico instead of Duck Soup Cinema. I would rather have been in Mexico myself, but Duck Soup Cinema was a fun consolation prize.

Famous Hat