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Friday night glamour at Woodman’s grocery store

And here we go, our Friday night tradition: shopping at Woodman’s.

“Night, for many, especially in the tremulous expectancy of youth, can offer sudden, glamorous transformation.”

V__0572(1)Mom, you’re just standing there.

That’s because I’m just a walking debit card on Friday nights while you all run around and fill the cart.

Walking debit card! Haha. You should start calling yourself that!

She’s right, I probably should. At least being a walking debit card is a “transformation” of sorts, I guess.

Night is the time of masks, of leaving behind our daylight identities through spectacle, celebration, and intoxication. The big movie, the big party, the big game. It is dressing up, going out, putting on the Ritz of rich scents and glamours that provide us entry to worlds beyond the province of any professional work environment. The restaurant, the opera, the orchestra, the club, the clothes, the atmosphere..

The Woodman’s.

I’m not exactly leaving behind my daylight identity and dressing up. I’m still wearing what I wore to work. My co-workers would recognize me. Oops.  In fact, I have an alarming tendency to run into former co-workers here.

Night is the time for taboo, the stretching of boundaries and edges; the illicit liaison…In the night we cross boundaries that our professional personalities find hard to fathom.

Can I get a new water bottle? Popsicles? My own shampoo and conditioner so I don’t have to share?

I said no to all her attempts to stretch boundaries.

Illicit liaison? The closest I got to that tonight was when I briefly considered cheating on my usual brand of Sobe water and trying another brand. But that one was twice as expensive. Betrayal always has a price. So I passed.

Night lights are bright lights: the strip in Las Vegas, the Eiffel tower, the luminarios of Santa Fe.

The fluorescent lights at Woodman’s. Ugh. I hate flurouscent lights. The first moments of entering a store I often feel like I’m walking a bit like a drunk person until I get used to the lights.

Speaking of drunkenness:

Intoxication is foundational for most human beings, a literal or metaphorical losing of ourselves, a forgetting of the self we attempt to hold together through the controlled hours of work.

I’ll take the literal intoxication, please.

Through the window of a crowded pup in County Clare, you can look from the outer blackness of a cold, Irish night and see the lit, laughing, talking faces all pressed together…

OMG why are there lines of people in all the checkout lanes? One reason I come here on Friday nights is because there aren’t supposed to be faces all pressed together.

Night still waits for us at the end of all the drama, the fervor and the celebration. The drinking must stop, the flirtation end in commitment or aloneness. The glamour and glitter of the evening grays by morning into another, less flattering picture.

Good, I’m glad all the people having fun right now soon won’t be having fun. It’s only fair.

Night and sleep is the time of summation and integration, when we work unconsciously to thread together a bedrock identity independent of work or rational thought.

The integration of chips with salsa is the only integration I’d be interested in right now, but I forgot to buy them tonight. Sigh. That’s what I get for just standing there.


Excerpts from p. 218-221 of David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

A fitness room of one’s own

yogaThis morning, after a two week hiatus, I went to Anytime Fitness, which forced me to ponder yet again one of those ironies of middle age: not having any fond memories of gym class as a kid, yet now paying money to, essentially, go to gym class.

Immediately after I walked in the door I was confronted with the #1 thing that makes going to the gym tedious. Sartre said that “hell is other people.” I would rephrase that to say “hell is other people at the gym.”

I instantly noticed that there were far too many people at the gym, including people I’ve seen at the gym before, which reminds me that a more accurate saying might be:”Hell is other people you know at the gym.” This also explains why I can’t exercise at home, given that there are always family members around, plus exercise ruins the fun of being at home.

The only time I was at the gym when no one else was there was on a weekday morning with blizzard type conditions 3-4 years ago, a memory I still cherish. This past Mother’s Day there was only one other person at the gym in the late morning, which was a Mother’s Day gift of sorts. One would think a Saturday afternoon around 5:30 would be a time you could have the gym to yourself, but when I tried that a couple of months ago there were several young men there doing show off things with weights; two men insisted on doing vertical jumps onto a platform next to the machine I wanted to use.  I desperately wanted to say, “You are all reasonably attractive men, why aren’t you home getting ready for dates?”

WP_20150523_14_31_34_ProBut, Saturday morning it had to be today, because I had no excuse not to get in some exercise, because the rainy weather made it impossible to be outside mowing the lawn.  Last Saturday my hamstrings got a workout as I cleaned out the hall closet, which had become a purgatory for stuffed animals. The kids later had to do a “sheep and the goats” type of routine and choose which ones to save.  The Saturday before that my quads got a workout from the base running I did at the parents vs. kids softball game to celebrate the end of the girls’ softball season.

This morning, due to the crowd at the gym, I sought refuge in a 20 minute fusion workout in the special private fitness room. It is only in recent weeks that I’ve started using this private room and I’m thinking it is the best kept secret in Monona. There is a projector and you choose which Wellbeats workout you want displayed on the screen and follow along. By yourself. With the door closed. No one else there to notice if your yoga pants are accidentally inside out, or if you can’t keep up. I could just sit and read a book or the New York Times and call it a workout and no one would notice.

This room is larger than my living room. Surprisingly it is always available even when the gym is crowded. It is a perfect hiding place.  This is the smallest fitness center in town (with the largest monthly fee), but it feels like the roomiest when I slip alone into this room, which is why I keep going. Maybe next Saturday I’ll bring along some stuffed animals and softballs and incorporate those into the fusion routine.


Actually I’m not really into New Year’s Resolutions. But I found myself doing New Year’s Resolution type of things in the 6000 block of Monona Drive last week.

On Tuesday I joined Anytime Fitness. For weeks I had been deliberating about whether or not to join a gym. I hate winter and thought maybe this would be a way to fight back against Seasonal Affective Disorder. Chugging Vitamin D doesn’t seem to be enough.

Anytime Fitness ran a one day special on Tuesday, where you could get one month free and no sign up fees, so I signed up.

Listening to someone talk about their exercise routine is tedious, so I’ll just say that so far, so good. I like that nobody wears fancy exercise outfits, there are a lot of 65+ year old members, there’s a nice variety of machines and the machines aren’t off-putting like I thought they might be. I find myself actually wanting to linger instead of wanting to get the workout over with as fast as possible.

Also, as a self-employed person, it’s nice to have a place to go during the day other than the grocery store and my kids’ schools.

Last week I also took advantage of a free session of acupuncture across the street from Anytime Fitness at Dane County Family Acupuncture.

I had never had acupuncture before and, even though I have no serious ailments, I was curious to see what it was like.

The needles weren’t uncomfortable and I came away with some suggestions of things I should do on my own to maintain and improve my health. There was NO pressure to sign up for other appointments, but I want to go back.

Perhaps the best part was how well Kristin listened to me and her interest in getting the big picture of my health the past several years. If you have chronic health issues or have wanted to try acupuncture, I highly recommend Dane County Family Acupuncture.

Happy New Year!

Thank you to the UW Credit Union bank teller

I’ve been a UW Credit Union member for 18 years and go to the Monona credit union at least a few times a week. If I’m within the Monona city limits, but not in my house, then it’s extremely likely I’m at Copps, the library or the credit union.

So I was very concerned when I first heard the news on Wednesday of a possible shooting in the drive thru.

When I eventually read about the heroics of the teller (from this article) it reaffirmed for me why I’ve been a member for the credit union for so long:

The bank teller recognized the man as a regular customer and knew something wasn’t right.

“Are you OK?” the 24-year-old teller mouthed to the 63-year-old man through the drive-thru glass at UW Credit Union on Wednesday afternoon.

No, he indicated wordlessly, he wasn’t OK.

So the teller stalled the transaction, calmly asked a manager to call 911 and filibustered until police arrived.

If she hadn’t done so, Monona Police Chief Walter Ostrenga said, “who knows what would have happened?”

Thank you to this teller and all the UW Credit Union employees in Monona.

On the proper care and feeding of laptops

In September I had the opportunity to become quite acquainted with the folks at Computer Repair Pros on Monona Drive.

My 1.5 year old craptop laptop died and, unfortunately, they told me it could not be repaired. They bought it from me for parts.

Of course it almost goes without saying that right after losing this laptop, another laptop in our home came down with a virus and I had to schlep back to Computer Repair Pros.

Tom at Computer Repair Pros gave me some advice about how to extend the life of a craptop laptop, so I thought I’d pass that on:

* Clean the fan with an air compressor every three months or so.

* Use a cooling pad or laptop stand with a built-in fan. This prevents overheating (which is apparently what did my laptop in).

* Close the lid before moving the laptop to another location. The hard drive has moving parts so if the computer is in motion while your computer is on this can wear out the hard drive over time. If you have a laptop with a solid state drive you don’t have to worry about this, but only the expensive models have that.

* Run the defragmentation sequence once a week if you use your computer a lot.

He also said that Sony and Toshiba make the best laptops and they rarely have to service those brands. We’ve owned a Toshia laptop for three years and I can vouch that it is not a craptop. My new laptop is a Toshiba.

Although I never like it when I’m faced with a computer tech problem we can’t solve at home on our own, I’m glad to have a fast and reliable computer repair place right here in Monona.  At Computer Repair pros I’ve paid  $39-99 range for the types of services I’ve needed over the years, and they usually have it fixed within 24-48 hours.

An easy way to help local businesses

While reading the Monona Rag recently I came across this article that talks about how businesses in Monona Drive are losing business during the construction.

In addition to supporting your local businesses with your dollars, here’s one quick way to help out local businesses… write a review on Google or Yelp.

How does this help them?

Let’s take restaurants as an example.

About 1200 people per month type “Monona WI restaurants” or something similar into Google. At the top of the search results is a map of Monona and a list of restaurants.

Part of what determines a high ranking in that list is the number of reviews a business has. It’s super easy to add your own review.

Yelp is another popular review site and it’s also an iPhone app.  When people travel they often check Yelp or Google Maps to see what local restaurants, etc. to visit and the reviews play a role in their decisions.

Obviously reviews have a downside because by nature people are quick to complain but often don’t take the time to write a positive review.

Yet businesses shouldn’t fear or dismiss negative feedback. Sometimes it can be turned into something positive. For example, here’s how a pizza place in San Francisco made something positive out of their 1 star Yelp reviews. They put the one star comments on their staff T-shirts.

It only takes a minute to write a favorable review about your favorite Monona businesses and I’m sure they’d appreciate the effort.

When you have to go to a pharmacy several times per month to pick up prescriptions, it sure helps if the pharmacists are kind, quick to help and always remember your name. And offer free delivery too.

Such is the case with the Medicine Shoppe in Monona.

As much as I like our doctors – especially my daughters’ pediatric endocrinologist – the pharmacists at the Medicine Shoppe deserve a lot of credit too.  Having a disease that requires ongoing medication isn’t fun and can be lonely at times, so it’s ever so helpful to have pharmacists who care as part of your support team.

When one of my daughters was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a few years ago, that was stressful enough. But then add to that the negative side effects she had to our insurance company’s preferred brand of insulin, and that company’s insistence that we pay close to full price for the insulin she didn’t react to, and I was on the verge of a meltdown.

One of the pharmacists at the Medicine Shoppe stepped into the gap for us and spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone with the insurance company to help me figure out what to do. It eventually got resolved and I was very grateful that he ran this interference for me.

I don’t mean to overlook Walgreens in Monona. There have been times when, say, an insulin bottle has shattered and we needed a replacement immediately but Medicine Shoppe was closed. Walgreens came to the rescue.

Walgreens is also the place I go to at least once a week when I need to quick pick up an everyday item like a greeting card, Claritin, school supplies and, most importantly… coconut M&M’s.

And if you ever have the pleasure of having Donna H. as a checkout clerk, it will be an awesome transaction. She adds that extra human touch that makes you walk away with a smile. Because she’s so nice you may even find yourself taking her up on her offer to buy two Butterfinger candy bars for $1 even if you don’t like Butterfingers.

Walgreens and Medicine Shoppe cover lots of bases. I’m glad we don’t have to manage our health without them.