Monday, April 27, 2009

In Which Melissa Escapes a Burning Bus...

Oh, so you thought I was kidding. I was not.

There I was last Saturday sitting in a little shuttle bus getting ready to cross the George Washington Bridge, just minding my own business, or maybe putting the finishing touches on my makeup (in defiance of Goal 80), when it suddenly started filling up with smoke. People jumped up and demanded that the driver open the door--a couple of guys opened the emergency exit in the back--and we all got out into the heavy bridge traffic and made our way to what little shoulder there is on the bridge. (I decided to jump out the emergency exit in the back, because that was way cooler than going out the regular way.)

So there I was on the side of the road with all kinds of people crawling by and NOT ONE offered to give me a ride over. I was on my way to a dress rehearsal, so I called my contractor and told her what had happened. (It turned out later that someone going to the same rehearsal had just driven past the bus and had seen the smoke and people getting out.) As I was talking to her, the fire escalated and flames started bursting out, so I decided to get away from it in case it exploded. Oddly enough, I was the ONLY one who left. I don't know what the rest of them did, maybe they walked across to the other side.

Owing to my quick thinking--I walked through the (now-not-moving-at-all) traffic back through the toll gates and up to the taxi stand and had a taxi take me over the bridge on the lower level, which was somewhat backed up by people diverting, but not too bad, and then deciding to take another taxi downtown because the damn A train wasn't running from the bus station--I got to my rehearsal only four minutes late, and they hadn't even started singing yet.

It turned out that another singer had been in a taxicab accident right before that and she was a lot later. What a day... I still think mine was the more dramatic excuse. People are in cab accidents every day; but burning buses...

I took the picture because I looked back at the smoke and it was getting bigger and blacker...and I thought, hey I have a camera on my iPhone! I hardly ever remember to take pictures. Too bad you can't see the bus and the flames, but really, I'm not such an intrepid photojournalist that I was going to go back in for a more dramatic shot.

The construction guys didn't say boo to me when I walked right through their worksite. You can tell from the photo they don't seem too concerned. No doubt they see buses burst into flames all the time.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

St. Melissa

Okay, I did put on a pound because I had to go to a gala dinner, and I seem to be hanging on to it. But I'm working on it. Less than two weeks to go on the FatBet, and my dear, dear friend and co-bettor Michele is gaining on me. I mean losing on me.

I am very proud of myself, though, because I have processed all the mail this week as it has come in. Nothing has been added to the piles! And it's not hard to do, hello!!! I've also been chipping away at the piles, and maybe in a year or two that will all be taken care of and filed.

I am also mostly exercising my new habit of getting my makeup on before I leave the house. Mostly.

And, I very rarely leave my shoes in inappropriate areas of the house any more.

Melissa's Recipe for Developing Good Habits

1) Figure out what really annoys you or disappoints you about yourself.
2) Pick one aspect that you know you can change. It's good to start small.
2) Decide how you're going to change your behavior.
3) Write down what your new behavior will be.
4) Publish it in a blog. (not optional)
5) Then do it.
6) Post regular progress reports.
7) Pat yourself on the back a lot.
8) Remember, if you're anything like me, you're probably going to be reading all your old posts later in life. So it better be a good story.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Goals 76 and 80 - Virtuosity!!

I knocked off Goal 76 yesterday! I returned some music and books I had borrowed years ago. Several months ago I thought to put them in the foyer where they would be a constant reminder that they didn't belong in my house--and there they've been sitting waiting for inspiration to strike me about how to transport them. The last couple of days I carried them around in my backpack, which was a pain, and then yesterday the iron was hot, so I struck it. I was fifteen blocks from their destination, so I called the owner and hiked uptown and delivered them! He didn't even remember they were gone.

AND, I have decided on a new virtuous habit (Goal 80 - Develop 5 virtuous habits):

Bust that Clutter!

Most of the clutter in my house is paper. Specifically, mail that has arrived and not been dealt with.

So I hereby resolve to absolutely deal with the mail as it comes in every single day. That is: 1) throw away junk 2) open all the envelopes 3) put whatever it is away, i.e. file anything that needs filing, or put whatever it is where it's supposed to be, like in the ScottieDog pile. Yesterday I did two days worth. And of course there are huge piles of backed up mail sitting around (see illustration above--NOT MY ACTUAL PILE, because I don't drink sodas, but you get the idea) that I will have to try to deal with in pieces...I guess I can tackle some of that along with my daily mail duties, and then eventually it will all have gone away! That's the plan, anyway. Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Goal 61 - Read all the books on my reading list

The Poisonwood Bible
Barbara Kingsolver

Interesting Fact that I Didn't Know until I Read the Wikipedia Entry Just Now: Kingsolver is a member of the Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock and roll band consisting of published writers, including Amy Tan, Matt Groening, Dave Barry, and Stephen King among others. Also, she grew up in rural Kentucky, like me.

I loved this book so much, I'm not sure how I can possibly convey it in this stupid little book report that I've been wondering all week how to write so as to do the book justice. I now have to put all Kingsolver's other books on my reading list.

My decision to read this book in the first place came from an odd place: one of those peculiar quizzes, "What novel would you be if you were a novel?" I can't remember where I came across it. I have this vague idea it was from one of Cranky Fitness's Random Friday posts, which are always entertaining. So I took the quiz, and I came up as The Poisonwood Bible. This meant nothing to me at the time, but I thought the title was interesting, and I had heard that Kingsolver was a great writer. So I noted it down, and when I got around to making my reading list, on it went.

Having now read it, I have to say I am hugely flattered at the idea that I would be The Poisonwood Bible if I were a book. It makes me impressed with myself.

The bulk of the story takes place in Africa, but it's about Americans from the state of Georgia (USA). This bare plot fact didn't speak to me that much, and I might not have read it because I'm not that into Americans in Africa, so I'm glad I had an impelling reason to read it, or I would have so lost out.

I can't reveal any more of the plot than that.

This book is so beautifully and, yes, entertainingly written, that it took me forever to read it, because I had to go so slow and savor every word, and sometimes go back and re-read sentences because they were so great I had to "hear" them again.

The last part of the book becomes slightly less musical and more historical than the first, but it is all riveting. It is also heartbreaking, so be warned.

Read it, and you'll not only find out a lot about Africa that you didn't know you wanted (needed) to know, you'll experience incredible adventures with some truly amazing characters.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Weekday Update

I'm really having a spell of frantic activity here. Just to get up to speed: the FatBet is going strong, I'm still in the lead with almost five pounds lost (out of the goal of ten). We're more than halfway through though, so I really need to buckle down to it.

I finished The Poisonwood Bible and am working on my book report. What a book! If you haven't read it, get a copy and get going right away.

I need to review my goals list. I'm working really hard on several big long-term goals, but I need to see if there are some I can knock off pretty quickly. I'm not really stuck at 11/90, but it kind of feels like it.

And it refuses to be spring here in the New York Metro area. I hope it's better wherever you are, all you out there in the blogosphere.