Monday, December 30, 2013

Lazy days
My birthday was full of "adorable-ness" thanks to my two VIPs, F & T. They put photos of our family from the beginning on balloons and served eggs-in-homemade-toast for breakfast. Our budha mural looked extra cheerful as T tacked the letters to spell out "YAY!" over his head. F wrote me a beautiful poem and T wrote me a really nice letter to go with the picture she made me at Christmas. I got a photo of the earring cuff that I have been pining for which will arrive eventually; the promise is plenty good enough.

In the evening, despite all the good intentions, at dinner I had a brief collapse of morale that I chalk up to a mini midlife crisis sprinkled with questions like 'how has so much time gone by'? and a total panic attack that high school is going to end eventually and the knowledge that T will probably move very far away. To pick me back up we all got under the covers and had a very fun family gossip session that I will remember always. All in all, it was as good as forty-fourth birdays can get. Oh and F made us homemade oreo cookies that were very satisfying and, as he kept reminding us, all natural.

The other night we went to Elena's for pizza and a film. Our attempts to connect our laptop to their television were a failure so we went upstairs to Elena's father who I will now always think of as a pirate, hat and hook included, for his long list of illegal movie downloads. We didn't recognize many of the Italian titles, and he was pushing an obscure German movie, so I quickly steered us towards The Life of Pi. It was up for an Oscar, wasn't it? How bad could it be? I thought it would be a tranquil little boy and tiger make friends with a hint of Disney Buddhism thrown in for good measure. I would be wrong, really extremely, super wrong. The film started out very picturesque. So much so that Elena had her parents who live on the top floor of their palazzo send little Alice who is about 7 years old down to watch with us.

Alice provided the comic relief for what turned out to be a rather grotesque and tragic tale of the animal kingdom all wrapped up in a metaphorical punch to the jugular. Alice kept piping up, despite her father Angelo's reminders to do the opposite, with hopeful little questions: "But why is the boat filling up with water?" "Zebras are my favorite animal. Why is it being eaten to death by that tiger?" And then our favorite moment of the evening when the protagonist lands on an island swarming with meerkats and his tiger joins him and starts eating the cute little buggers left and right. "Ah well," Alice declared wistfully, "I suppose those meerkats could use the extra space."

T has since torn up our permission slip for her class trip on her Latin professor's boat.

In a burst of new year's exhuberance I asked my faithful student Francesca if she wanted to really move our workouts up a notch in the new year. I even proposed a holiday eating plan which she rejected out of hand. Then she surprised me by proposing that we start walking around the walls at 7:30 every morning, beginning January 6th. Not when it's raining, I said hopefully. She replied that it would be a fixed appointment independent of weather or anything else. I went online immediately and ordered an extra pair of sneakers and toe protectors and blister deterrents of every kind. F told me that I could even borrow his raincoat. All of this has made me feel super virtuous despite the fact that my workouts have been low key for the last two weeks due to laziness and some annoying cold symptoms like achey ears that just never fully go away for long. I posted our intentions with a general invitation on the internet only to receive every kind of indignant and totally unnecessary refusal from the most unlikely people. Every time I wrote a reply, I promtly deleted it. The main thing is that I get my behind out there first thing in the morning not everybody else's. I figure I can knock back my agoraphobic tendancies and my lack of cardio in one fell swoop. Well, I'll keep you posted anyhow. It will be a cruel awakening on cold mornings, that is for sure.

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