Flying Trapeze

So in the continued effort to find my ‘natural talent’ I took a flying trapeze class. Coming off of my failed cliff jump in Jamaica, I’m not quite sure why I thought I could do this any better… being afraid of heights and all. But there was a Groupon, and just as they expect, I bought it since I knew I would never do it otherwise. I was able to rope in two of my friends and we set off for our 2 hour lesson. The Trapeze School was inside Jordan’s Furniture and I had seen it a bunch of times before when I went to the IMAX theatre. It was completely different knowing that I was actually going to be doing it though and my stomach sank the minute I looked up at it from the registration desk. I figured I might chicken out. We got a brief lesson and got to practice swinging and doing the knee hang on the low bar in the practice area. Then it was time to go up and just do it. They told us that the hardest part would be jumping off of the ledge… boy were they right. My brain had the hardest time forcing my legs to jump, it was almost as if they had a mind of their own and it was saying “nope”. Once I was able to slide my legs off of the ledge in the most ungraceful fashion, it wasn’t so bad swinging and using the momentum to get my legs up into the knee hang. Took me a couple of jumps but I was getting the hang of it (except for the actual jump part where my legs were just not having any of it).

Our last two jumps involved being caught by one of the professionals. We had to use the skills we learned to make sure that our jumps and knee hangs went as smoothly and quickly as possible so that we could make the catch. It’s all about timing. If you hesitate at any point the timing will be off the you will be out of sync. This posed a problem for me since after 7 jumps I still couldn’t get my legs to jump off of the ledge when I was supposed to. Apparently the guy at the top assisting us knew this as well. When it came to my turn, he had me put my feet together and when the catcher yelled “HOP!” he pushed me off the ledge. It worked great and I was able to make the catch :)

After 2 hours and nearly 10 jumps I still wasn’t any less scared than the first jump, but I survived. Not sure if I’ll do it again though, and it is definitely NOT my natural talent… as if you can’t tell by the look on my face.

Learning to Listen to Music

So, I reached the point in my Zumba career (read: obsession) where it was time for me to create my own routine. I picked the song “Mundian To Bach Ke” remixed by Punjabi MC and if you’ve ever been to an Indian wedding you’ve heard it for sure. I’ve heard this song a million times and figured I would just be able to throw some moves to it and be done. I was seriously mistaken. Zumba is not like drunken dancing at a wedding reception or in a club, you actually need to think about the moves you are doing and how they work your body. After my failed attempt at slapping together some moves, I decided I had to listen to the song again, but this time really listen and find the beats I wanted to work with. With this particular song, I wanted to use traditional Bhangra steps kicked up a notch for a cardio workout. The first time I really listened to the song, I heard what felt like ‘The Flight of the Bumble Bee’, it was madness. But that was how I heard it and these were my notes based on that (where each number after the bracket represents a step):

After getting some input from my instructor, I was advised that I would probably lose people if I kept changing steps so quickly. So I listened to the song again (for the hundredth time) and I was able to hear the base drum beat that is in the background throughout the whole song. On advice from my instructor I just changed the steps based on a count of 8 or 16… instead of 4. I ran through it 40 more times and with some tweaks I think it’s finally done.

Lesson learned from this experience: listening to music to write a dance routine is COMPLETELY different from listening to music just to listen to it. There are so many beats you can use for your steps and choosing the wrong ones can completely throw you off. Coming from someone who knows nothing about music or dance, it was an awesomely frustrating experience and I can’t wait to do it again!

Below is the song if anyone is interested and you can catch my routine on a Friday night at Latin Beat Studio in Malden, MA.

Another Year, Another Resolution

Or seven. The first being to blog more. And bake more and spend less. We’ll see how those work out.

On an extremely happy note, school’s finally over, at least all the classes for my degree and I graduate in March. I signed up for Elementary Russian I in the spring, I’m hoping to be fluent by June :) Maybe take a trip to the motherland next year. But for 2011, I can already tell it’s going to be a jam-packed year! Going to PA for MLK weekend to see some of my favorite PSU folks, going to London and Iceland first week of February and sometime again in the Spring and going to Jamaica in June. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of traveling, money will probably run out before my energy does. Which brings me to another resolution for 2011 and that is to find another source of income. I’m hoping with a master’s degree in hand that will be a little easier.

That’s it for now. I’ll be posting on the progress of these resolutions, among other things, in the coming months!

Karli Jewelers in Downtown Crossing, Boston

My engagement ring was a full size too big for my finger which was totally a bad measuring job on my part. Apparently, since it is an eternity band (diamonds all around it) every jeweler and everywhere I read online said resizing could not be done. So I paid $100 and had 2 sizer balls soldered on the inside bottom of the band which made the band fit a little tighter on my finger. It wasn’t really noticeable, but it got kind of annoying because I knew the gap was there. Well 2 years later it was finally time to get married and I got my matching wedding band in the size that was right for my finger. Too bad when you put both rings side by side the size difference, even with the sizer balls, was very noticeable and it was very annoying since I could feel the size difference between the two rings. My co-worker suggested that I visit Kev at Karli Jewelers. He said he goes to Karli for everything and that Kev is a master jeweler and can pretty much make anything out of metal and stone. So I figured it was at least worth a call. Over the phone Kev said that if it was channel set, which it is, he could do it. I was a bit surprised. So I stopped by his store, which is situated among many other jewelers in Downtown Crossing, and showed him the ring. He said that he would have to do it with a laser as not to ruin any of the diamonds and that he would make a small slice, take out 2 stones and piece it back together. I was a bit nervous, but I trusted my co-worker and I was desperate to have the ring be the right size.

Kev charged me $120 and it was beyond worth it. I got the ring back 3 days later, perfectly clean and flawless. I spent 10 minutes staring at it trying to find where he cut the band, I still don’t see it. It fit me perfectly and it matches the size of my wedding band. He really is a master at his craft and I would definitely go back to Karli Jewelers. His showroom is clean and bright and his jewelery is beautiful and unique. Definitely go check it out!

Anita Discovers Easy Mac (with some help)

Peter: What are those?
Salesman: Well that’s a pair of red, flannel feety pajamas.
Peter: Good lord.
Salesman: See, they got a flap that opens up in the back.
Peter: Are you telling me I could be pooping and warm?
Salesman: Exactly.
Peter: No longer will I have to make a choice between the two. Sir, here is a check with my name on it. Write down any number on this piece of paper and I will pay it.

I can have mac and cheese and its done in 3 and a half minutes? I love Kraft Mac and Cheese boxes, and I am ashamed to admit it, but I can polish off a box by myself. I do remember when Easy Mac first came out and I thought to myself… microwavable mac and cheese? That can’t be good at all. So I never gave it a chance. Well, 10 years later I found a friend that is addicted to the stuff. So one day when she made a cup, I shared it with her. It was delicious! It actually tasted like the boxed mac and cheese that you boil. According to wikipedia (yes, I read up on it), an average adult will eat two cups of Easy Mac since I am assuming one cup is meant for a kid. But at 220 calories a cup, its a pretty good afternoon snack. Way better than the 266 calories in a snickers bar.

One thing that does concern me and I need to learn more about is that on the preparation instructions it says “Note: You will see loose white powder in Pasta. This is necessary for proper cooking.” I know that Easy Mac isn’t the healthiest food to begin with, but what could this mysterious white powder be?

The Silver Lining

It’s been a crappy week, I have to admit. The final project for my Ruby on Rails class is due today and I’ve been working on it for what seems like forever. The past two nights have been near sleepless and this past weekend I slacked off more than I should have. While I continually edit my application as it seems like I find a problem with it every time I look at it. I just count the hours until I pass it in and breathe a sigh of relief.

Then I was met with the most pleasant of surprises.

This morning, as I grogily pulled open the door to the Starbucks on my walk to work, the only thing I could think of was how much espresso can actually fit into a venti cup. I was standing in line to order, and the woman in front of me stepped away from the glass case that held all of those delicious sweets and I saw it. Four of them actually. The Starbucks Vanilla Bean Cupcake, in all its sugary glory. Suddenly, I was filled with energy and fully awake. I could taste them almost immediately. I promptly order 4 along with my ventri skinny vanilla latte and darted off to work so I could eat one immediately.

A little back story on my history with this particular cupcake… Over a year ago when I was still working in Back Bay, I was a regular at the Starbucks around the corner from my office. When these cupcakes first appeared, I immediately tried one and loved it so much I’d get it almost every afternoon. Then sometime last summer they didn’t have them anymore, and when I asked them why those delicious bits of heaven were gone they told me that they weren’t selling. Of course I knew this was complete BS since I personally purchased half of their inventory daily. But alas, I couldn’t find a Starbucks in eastern Massachusetts that had them. A dark cloud has followed me ever since.

Back to the present. Yes, I had a 400 calorie sugar dripping (literally) cupcake for breakfast at 8 a.m. but you would too if you only knew. It tasted just like it did when I unknowingly had my last one oh so long ago. It was just the pick-me-up I needed to get me through this day, pass in my assignment and relax.

It looks misshapen because I have already eaten the backside :)

It looks misshapen because I have already eaten the backside :)

Took me long enough…

So I guess it’s time for me to start blogging. A little behind the game, I know, but it’s never too late. I’ve got lots of things going on and I think some of my thoughts might be useful to other people. Stay tuned!