Beauty and reconnection on the weekends

Work has been really busy lately.  I know that millions around the world work 50+ hours every week without a second thought, but I’m not used to it.  Not used to it yet.  I feel as if I wake up, drive to work, work, drive home, eat supper, read for 15 minutes and fall asleep.  That is my week-day life.  So, like everyone, I really look forward to the weekend.  I get to see my husband again.  I get to see what my house looks like in the daylight.  I get to spend time thinking about things that don’t involve numbers.  It’s quite pleasant.

On Saturday Tim and I finally made it back to the gym.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned this in the blog, but Tim came down with an “acute viral infection” a couple of weeks ago that landed him in the ER for 6 hours (his family practicioner was worried Tim had menningitis).  It took several days before Tim felt well enough to go back to the gym.  I was off my normal schedule due to the NY trip and the long work-days, so I didn’t go all last week.

It felt great to go back to the gym.  I did my leg weights and the Precor.  I could tell I was out-of-practice because I was sooo tired afterwards.  I have reverted back to the fitness level where working out exhausts you instead of giving you energy.  But I know it’ll get better.

After the gym we headed to 11th Street Precinct for some grilled pork T’s, which were delicious as always.  It was a beautiful, weird fall warm day, so we took a walk along the bike path after lunch, admiring the river, the geese, the lily-pads, and the mansions overlooking River Drive.  We crossed River Drive, so that we could get a better look at the houses on the way back.  They are so huge and beautiful.  One even has an English telephone booth (it looks like the Tartis) on the front patio.

The rich and privileged even get better moths on their grounds than do us lowly peons.  Tim and I saw the most beautiful moth.  Its wings had blue ovals on them that looked as if they had sunsets hidden in them.  This is the closest picture I can find on Google.  It was the most beautiful thing I have seen in weeks.  I don’t know how people can truly believe there is no God, when beauty like that exists in the world.

Today Tim and I have been warding off the back-to-work blues.  So we are making the ultimate comfort food – autumn harvest soup and double corn corn bread.  Cutting up vegetables while listening to a Tim-engineered mix of Modeselektor, Radiohead, and Nightmare Revisited is my  idea of a perfect Sunday.

For desert we bought some Banquet fruit pies.  They were only $ 0.60, so even if they are extremely terrible, it won’t be devastating.  The ingredients actually look fairly good – fruit, wheat flour, brown sugar – heck, these might even be good for us!  Tim and I figure these are the perfect pies for us.  We can never eat a whole pie, nor should we.  These should be perfect for one piece each.

While it’s back to work tomorrow, at least we have next Saturday and Sunday to look forward to.  We have no plans yet.  Maybe I’ll finish my Mom painting.  Maybe we’ll start on our novels.  November is National Novel Writing Month. I’ve read that one should write about what one knows.  Since I know very little and lead a quite, unassuming life, I’ve always believed that my life provides little fodder for writing.  However, I’ve been listening to Romancing Miss Bronte on my way to work, and it’s helped me realize that having an active imagination and un-lazy mind is more important than living an adventurous life.  Emily and Charlotte Bronte grew up in a parsonage and traveled very little, yet they wrote two amazing books that shattered the literary world of their time.  If they could write books out of minds that were raised on fecal-laced water and rotten rice pudding, I should be able to write something worth reading on a mind raised on Iowa goodness and autumn harvest soup.  Unfortunately, I lack inspiration.  I enjoy the actual physical act of writing – of scratching a pen across paper, of filling up pages and pages in cool notebooks.  I just need a good idea…  I have 7 days to think of something.


Art.  What is it?  What is it not, might be a better question.  I think art can mean anything and everything, depending on the observer.

My Moms and I traveled to NYC last weekend to visit my bros.  We did tons of awesome stuff, including viewing some very interesting art.

The first piece that we viewed was The New York Earth Room, which is an art installation that’s been on display for 30 years.  We ventured off of Houston a block or two, entered a nondescript door, climbed the narrowest, steepest stairs you have ever seen, and arrived in a white room that is covered in 250 cubic yards of earth.  Dark, black, earthy earth.  Earth that looks like it came straight out of an Iowa field.  It smelled exactly like my high school art room.  In other words, it smelled delicious.  While viewing the room, I was like, “Huh, why is this “art?”  But it’s strange, looking back on our trip, it was one of the neatest things we saw/experienced.  It personified that fact that we were in New York City.  To me, NYC has always seemed like a zillion small towns packed into a small place – everyone on the block knows each other, goes to the same restaurants, shops at the same bodegas, etc., especially in the area of Brooklyn in which my brothers live.  Seeing an art installation like the Earth Room really helps you realize that you are in a unique place.  No small town would ever commission a room full of dirt.  Well, they might, but not for artistic reasons.

We saw another piece by the same artist, Walter De Maria.  The other piece was the Broken Kilometer.  De Maria laid out 500 brass rods in 5 parallel rows of 100 rows each.  Click on the link to see what I am talking about.  It was an interesting display, too, but not as cool as the Earth Room.

That evening we attended an art show in Brooklyn.  It was held in a old abbey, full of interesting rooms and windows and more hipsters than I have ever seen in one place.  I felt very alien there, with my non-skinny jeans and grey hoodie.  There was some really amazing artwork and some really, really terrible artwork.  At least, terrible to me.  In listening to my brother’s explanation of “conceptual art” I’ve decided I’m probably more traditional in my tastes.  I appreciate art that takes skill and imagination.  So much of what we saw there and in many other galleries and art museums is what to me, seems so uninspired.  What was the artist who punched perfectly circular holes in a sheet of paper trying to say?  Was he really trying to say something, or was he just trying to get something done for the opening?  Is the story an artist attaches to a piece of work more important than the work itself?

Not that I should be judging artists.  At least these people are trying to create something new to this world.  I say I want to create art, and then I just end up watching Season 2 of Veronica Mars, which isn’t even that good.

What does art mean to me, personally?  What do I consider to be art?  I appreciate art that takes skill to produce, that is creative, that is beautiful to look upon.  Art can be a really great outfit (for example, black leather Vans, faded black Levis, and a grey long-sleeved t-shirt, which is the outfit I’m rocking today), an interesting hair style, or a beautifully crafted desk.  I suppose anything that makes you think twice is art – something that arrests your attention.  That is the kind of art I find interesting and inspiring.

I’m baking a chicken

And it smells delicious.  Timmy Tee is fighting a cold, and I had a weird almost-fainting spell whilst bicycling this afternoon, so we need some comfort food.  I’m using a recipe I got from Real Simple years ago.  You basically cut up 2 lemons and 1/2 a head of garlic, shove it into the chicken’s innards, rub down the whole thing with olive oil, salt and pepper the hell of out it, and then toss it in the oven.  It’s super easy, and the skin turns out crispy and delicious.  I’m surprised no one has tried to sell oiled and baked chicken skin by the bag.

It’s been another excellent weekend in the Longoria household.  Tim and I haven’t seen much of each other, since I was in NYC last weekend and in Lakeville Wed – Thursday, and Tim was doing trips the other nights.  So on Saturday Tim drove me to Iowa City where I had lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen forever (ate tapas for the first time ever at Devotay), and then we did a little shopping at Coral Ridge.  Tim found 3 pairs of chinos at Banana Republic for $7 to $20!  I didn’t find much, but it was so nice just hanging out with Tim, spending time together, laughing together, drinking strawberry smoothies together.

We made it back to Dport in time to feed the dee oh gee and then headed to Biaggis for our favorite meal combo – messina salad and chicken piccante pizza.  It was delicious.  The crowd in the joint was pretty interesting – it was full of a bunch of elderly folk and teenagers.  Apparently it was some school’s homecoming, so the place was chock-full of high heels, tans, and awkward hair cuts.  I wonder if we were that annoying at that age?

Today after reading the morning news, we headed out for bike ride.  I don’t know if it was the 3 cups of coffee or the cold wind on my hot face, but once we reached Emeis Park, I felt really not good.  I had to lay down for about 10 minutes while I decided if I was going to throw up or pass out or both.  I didn’t do either, fortunately.  I was able to bike home, albeit at a much slower pace.  It was really weird.  I hate it that my body is so temperature sensitive.  It makes me panic in situations where I get too warm.  Pass Out City, man.

Anyway, it was a great weekend – exactly what I needed after a stressful week of work.  Now, only five more days before the weekend comes again…


So, how did I do?  I got, what, two posts into the 30 posts in 30 days thing?  I started out with good intentions; I really did.  As usual, life and laziness got in the way.

I am making myself post tonight, though, because I need to get myself back on track before I get to out-of-control.  And by “out-of-control” I mean coming home from work, sitting on the couch and watching 2 hours of television while eating supper chased with some Doritos.  Not good.

Life has been extra busy lately.  I started a new job today, but I’m still doing my old job too, at least until they hire a replacement.  I’ve been working on a couple of projects and also trying to update all of my notes/standard work instructions and trying to train my 2 coworkers in a few weeks what has taken me 3 years to learn thoroughly.  We’ll get there; it’ll just be a busy October.

And when I’m busy at work, I tend to let other parts of life slide.  I don’t exercise as much.  I eat worse food and more of it, and I watch more TV.  I feel as if I’ve “earned” it, even though “earning” a tasty, unhealthy meal won’t lessen its bad effects on the body at all.

I need to get back to where I was last winter, before our Spring break trip – working out 3-5 days per week, doing yoga every Saturday, and eating healthy food in proper portions.  I felt so much better, I had more energy, and my skin was so much better. I actually had some ab definition!

So, tomorrow morning I am going to get up and go to the gym.  Unlike today, I’m not going to eat 2 cups (was it really 2 cups?  eesh) of Tim’s delicious home-made mac & cheese for lunch.  Perhaps I’ll have a PB&J on whole wheat bread with a Honeycrisp.  Whatever I do, I need to get back on the healthy wagon.

I absolutely have to exercise Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week.  Thursday afternoon Mom and I are flying out to NYC to visit my bros.  That is about 10 delicious meals that I need to prepare my body for with some preemptive exercise.

So, I better head to my tea and my bed, so I can get to sleep and get up at 4:30AM.  Good luck to everyone else out there who is trying to maintain a healthy life style.  Laura – I saw you’re doing Zumba tonight.  I hope you had fun.  You’re looking great!