Monday, February 18, 2013

Out to Lunch

       While I don't mind going out to dinner, if I'm given a choice I'd rather go out to lunch and stay home for a light supper.  Going out to dinner requires slightly fancier clothing and then there's the "how much should I drink" question. Having a cocktail out at a restaurant costs nearly as much as a trip to the Bahamas. If you have two cocktails, be prepared to leave your car as a down payment on the check. It's ridiculous. And then there's the whole designated driver issue and no one wants to get pulled over, breathalyzed, yadda, yadda, yadda. Solution? Go out to lunch. It's cheaper, just as much fun and no booze makes for safer travel.

  Today Jonathan and I went to the local French bistro in town for lunch. We found a gift certificate that we'd been given a long time ago, so it seemed like a good thing to do on a cold Monday afternoon.  When we got into the middle of the village I realized it was crowded because of President's Day. Scores of city folks clad in their country attire were parading up and down the sidewalks. Quilted parkas and rabbit fur lined caps for the men and long down coats and goggle sized sunglasses for the women.  Millbrook is a destination spot for New Yorker's who are desperate for fresh air, beautiful country views and an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. What they don't realize is that they BRING their own form of hustle and bustle to our quiet little town. Oh well, we decided to persevere with our lunch plan and parked the car.

    When we opened the door to the restaurant we were greeted by a melange of tantalizing aromas. We were also greeted by the sound of conversations. Lots of conversations. This isn't a big space and the tables are nestled into two separate dining areas, both of which appeared to be bursting at the seams. No matter, we wanted to have a good lunch and this place always serves amazing, authentic French fare. The hostess escorted us to a table in the far corner, which was nearly on top of the neighboring table occupied by a couple. I slithered into my seat trying to avoid putting my ass in the face of the gentleman next to me. I'm not going to lie and tell you that I don't like to check out fellow diners. It's not a good habit and even worse is to be busted peering at their faces as they chewed, swallowed and sipped. The couple next to us proved to be an odd match, and I knew I had to be careful in how I checked them out. Once Jonathan and I placed our orders for iced teas, I set about my surreptitious glancing. The young woman, who was facing me appeared to be much younger than her male companion. She was Korean, quite pretty, with carefully applied makeup and long, flowing black locks, which she gathered up in both hands behind her head and then dramatically allowed to cascade back down in a suggestive manner. Good Lord, I think she'd watched too many cheap porno movies. The man was a thick set Italian type, probably in his mid to late 40's. He was hairy to the point of apeish, yet the hair on his head was beginning to bald in a most unattractive manner. Thick patch in the front and back and thinning swirls on the crown, giving it a mange like effect.  Jonathan and I smiled at each and chatted quietly, amidst my stolen glances. A table of raucous folks were behind me, laughing in sporadic, deafening, hyena-esque cackles. I lamented that I hadn't sat in Jonathan's seat so I could watch them, too, but it was probably for the best since I had my hands full with our neighbor's antics.

    As we tucked into our entree's, our neighbors conversation was stilted and awkward. "What's crepe suzette?" the ape man asked in a thick NY accent.  "What makes you think I know about French food?" little missy replied giggling. "You seem to know about French stuff," he said as he reached over and stroked her forearm, causing me to choke down an ill timed mouthful of tuna nicioise. Oh gross, I thought, they aren't just friends, but more likely...lovers. What is wrong with this young girl? Why is she with Guido the pimp? Is she a hooker? A thousand questions and images swirled through my mind, all of them inappropriate and nausea inducing.  I went back to focusing on Jonathan, who has long since given up on trying to keep me from my voyeuristic ways, and we finished up our meals and then ordered a post lunch coffee.  As luck would have it, we were ready to leave at the same time as the folks next to us. Standing up to put on my coat, I watched the young woman don a large, floppy felt hat. She had on a short, tartan red skirt and tall, high heeled black boots, just like a naughty school girl outfit.  The man, who was all of 5 ft tall, leered over at me as I was busted checking out his "girlfriend". Shamed, I ducked my head and fumbled in my pockets until they turned to leave.

"Well, that was different," I said to Jonathan as we walked through the cold wind to our car.
"Yup," he replied. "I'm pretty sure he was looking at naked pictures of her on his phone during their dessert."

We giggled about our "lunch dates" all the way home. Looks like I've turned Jonathan into just as much of a voyeur as I am.  Have I mentioned how much I love going out to lunch?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

One step at a time...

       The time has come in my life where I'm not as nimble as I once was in my youth.  My back is stiff, my shoulders are stiff, my neck is stiff, and I bruised my chest plate a year and half ago, which is still plaguing me to some extent. I feel like a fossil. A piece of ancient rock, with the flexibility of an iron rod. Yet, I soldier on, day by day, mucking stalls, throwing around hay bales and riding horses, like I always have, but I've decided that at my age I need to be in better shape. And working through pain is B.S.  Last week I set up an appointment with a personal trainer and today was the day that we met. I could feel her assessing me when I walked in. I decided a black workout outfit was a good choice. Black stretch pants, slight flare and a black t-shirt, not too tight. At first glance, I look like a strong, fit, 40+ yr. old, with Popeye arms and strong thighs from wrapping them around young warmbloods day in and day out (get your minds out of the gutter folks, I'm talking about horses here!).  She asked me a bunch of questions, I filled out some forms, which included an emergency number (good lord!) and then we got down to brass tacks. Exercise and stretching.

    The first few exercises were tolerable. I could feel my tiny abs (deeply ensconced in a layer of belly fat, to protect them from being cold, it's what I tell myself, Shut up!), straining, but it was a good strain. My legs did their duty. In my case that means they took some of the brunt of the exercise to keep the poor petite abs from working too hard. Twenty minutes into the exercises I could smell that my deodorant was beginning to fail me.
"Damn you, Old Spice!! C'mon," I said under my breath.
     I could hear that whistling from the vintage Old Spice commercials and see the brawny man, chopping wood with a smile on his manly, 70's mustachioed face. He didn't stink. But I was getting riper by the minute. Ugh. More exercises, more leg lifts. Help me, God.  Then we moved into a laying down position on a mat. Much more my style. Prone. However, my trainer asked me slowly bring my body up, with my arms reaching forward. I actually chuckled when she asked me to do this move.

"This could be interesting," I giggled. She didn't giggle. I struggled upwards, like a quivering mass of jello, swaying from side to side as if a stiff wind was blowing through the exercise studio, whipping my aching body to and fro.

"Okay," the lithe, young trainer said. "Let's make it easier by bending your legs."

 Well, that helped a little. Also, the two large cracks from my protesting spine made the exercise more plausible. Okay, 40 minutes into the workout. I was still alive. I must say, this trainer was so patient, very attentive and didn't push me to the point of near death. We did a full hour of stretching and exercises that paid special attention to my weak points, but kept clear of hurting my old injuries. At one point, my ab muscles were trembling while holding a pose intended to work on my lower back and abs. Try as I might, I couldn't make the trembling stop. I felt so pathetic. My lack of muscle tone in my core had reached the brink. I realized that I'd failed to impress the trainer with my preternatural ability to fight through muscle fatigue, so I just gave in to the quivering muscles and hoped she couldn't feel the studio floor moving as the earthquake in my gut reached Richter scale proportions. I grimaced, shut my eyes and kept going.

   Trying not to look at the clock on the wall, I refrained from asking for a "High Five" when the hour was up. Sarah was a total professional as we went over the next step in my new fitness routine. However, she showed her first sign of a sense of humor when a smile slipped over her lips and she said, "Well, you look a lot stronger than you really are. I was surprised those exercises were that hard for you." I refrained from saying, "I told you so, Bitch! That's why I'm here! I'm an aging, out of shape, on my way to battle axedom woman!" Instead I told her that I'd be in touch for a follow up session. I'm determined to get in better shape. Tonight, thanks to Advil I can still move. I did stalls, body clipped a horse and various other barn chores when I got home this afternoon. My core is sore, but my determination is intact. An acupuncture appointment on Fri. will help my creaky bod get back on track so I can go back for more punishment. This is going to be a slow process. One step at a time. One slow, small, painful step at a time...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Grody to the MAXIMUM!!!

      I think my animals are having a contest this week. It's called, "Who can gross out Michele the most".  Becks, the Aussie was in the lead after his beautifully executed rat assassination in the barn aisle the other night. I applauded the kill, but not the fact that I had to pick up the wretched dead thing in a pitchfork and escort it to the manure dumpster. Super gross. The thing was enormous. I think Becks killed the rat equivalent of a latter years Marlon Brando. The rat group in my barn just lost a major player. A head honcho. They must be in mourning, because I haven't seen one since that night. Becks seems disappointed, but I admit that I'm not. Those fuckers are creepy s.o.b.'s. And I thought that was bad...

   This morning I was sitting at my desk, sipping a cup of coffee and playing around on the computer (read:wasting time on Facebook). Zeke, our large teenage tiger cat who was born in our tack room16 years ago, moseyed into the room and went into the litter box that lives behind the door to take care of some business. I payed no attention as he scratched around in the box, but as he was exiting he paused, and then he began the inimitable "cat retching maneuver".  Anyone who has had cats knows what I'm talking about here. No cat can just quietly puke. They have to draw it out, just to make sure we know they're puking. After four, or five good retches, he managed to expel the majority of his morning feast of very expensive Wellness moist cat food, shook his head and politely left the scene.

"I know how you feel, Big Zekie," I called after him. "The litter box has that effect on me sometimes, too."

 Now since I was busy catching up on all my FB friends business I didn't jump right up to pick up the barf. Then a smell wafted over to my quadrant of the office, which I tried to ignore, but it was too powerful, too fresh, too disgusting. One might think that was the gross part. It wasn't. I grabbed a giant spool of paper towels from the kitchen and steeled myself for a moist, still warm, cat barf pick up. Never a good moment, but I've done it before. I love cats, but they do puke, shit, piss and kill small animals and birds in my house. Good Heavens. Most people would probably look away from the pile of barf they're about to pick up, but I'm a sick bitch and I chose to look right at it. Holy shit, the barf was moving!!! Amidst the expensive, recently expelled vomit was a VERY LARGE tapeworm!!!! EWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!  With a shudder, I carefully layed down the paper towels over the pile and backed away. I just couldn't pick it up. Not right away. It was f'ing MOVING! A GIANT TAPEWORM!!!  A huge, writhing, long white worm!!! Like your worst nightmare, or the grossest horror movie. I can see the title, "The Giant Tapeworm Who Reared Up and Ate Your Face".  Good Lord. I knew I couldn't ask Jonathan to help (he always says the cats are my animals, though he does love them-secretly, but whatever, I catch him patting them all the time and Marbles, the calico has a huge crush on him).

  After much teeth gnashing, pacing and another cup of coffee, I managed to pick up the disgusting pile of MOVING barf. I just went to my happy place. La la la la, I'm not picking up a giant disgusting worm, la la la la. Gahhhh!! Eww, into the trash it went and then out to the garbage dumpster. My life is ridiculous and macabre. Fortunately, I have a fabulous small animal vet who dispensed cat wormer pills with no trouble. She cackled when I told her what I had to deal with this morning. I love this woman. Honestly, she's the best small animal vet I've ever used. She gave me careful instructions about giving the pills to avoid being bitten, which I took seriously. She's good. I know this. I ended up coating Big Zekie's pills in butter and wouldn't you know the little devil gobbled them up like candy! Of course! He's had a tape worm that's a mile long living in his body! He's starving!!! So ironic and gross at the same time. It's Big Zekie's fault, because he likes to supplement his diet with small rodents, moles to be exact. They carry this disgusting parasite, so alls fair. Serves him right, but I'm scarred beyond belief. Thanks, oh mighty hunter.

So, phew let's hope this little contest is over. I cant take much more. Really, I can't. Did you hear that animals?? I can't!!