In which I take a class

I started taking an American Sign Language course at the local community college. I made it through high school, 4 years of college, several post-graduate classes, and a year and a half of Cosmetology school. But this is the first time I’ve taken a class purely for fun. And it is fun!

My teacher is a bit of a stereotype. She went to Berkley in the 60s. She has long, straight gray hair that has never been touched with a curling iron or a box of color. (Sorry, it’s my job to notice these things. She also needs a trim, but I digress.) On our first day of class, she was wearing purple shoes, blue socks, purple pants, a blue and purple shirt, a purple headband, and purple nail polish. And, she is hard of hearing, which makes her a great teacher, since she is signing as she speaks anyway. She might as well be teaching us to do it too. She is a very good teacher as well – lots of repetition, practice, and knowing  where the signs come from.

She went around the room asking us all why we were here. The majority of the class was like me, just interested in learning a new language. There were a few people that had specific reasons, however. A few teachers from the same school were there because they recently got a new deaf student. One lady told us about a boy in her church who always misbehaves, but it is because he is deaf and can’t talk to anyone, so she took it upon herself to learn to communicate with him, which I commend. There were a few other reasons, but the point was that a class of 25 or so people were there to learn.

And learn we did! Or at least I did. I had zero signing experience, but now I can make a few simple sentences, mostly relating to family. I also know the alphabet, so I can spell things out if need be (albeit slowly). And the great thing is, I can practice anytime! Driving with one hand, drifting off to sleep, even signing to myself at work. I don’t seem as much of a crazy person when I’m not practicing a spoken language, so there’s that too. I still remember everything I learned, and I think I am picking it up pretty quickly. So, add another one to the list of languages I’ve got under my belt.

in which I work it out

I recently joined a gym. Not as part of any New Year’s resolution or anything (though the January specials on enrollment did help with the decision), but more of an “I need to get into shape” thing. Plus, the gym is open 24 hours and is literally across the street from where I live, so I can walk down there as my warmup. I generally do that, unless I go there right after work – which is a motivational thing. Sometimes I’m just too tired after work and I know that if I go home, I won’t go back out again. The cold weather doesn’t help with that.

But I do actually go to the gym pretty regularly. I do what I call the Hairdresser’s Workout. And no, it’s not just a clever name. Since I’m on my feet all day using my hands and arms, I really just want to tone and strengthen those muscles, and work those muscles that I don’t use every day.

I do a “second” warmup by running on the treadmill really fast for just a few minutes. That gets my heart rate up and hopefully burns some of my belly fat. Not that I have any belly fat, because I am perfect. But it gets the blood flowing. Then I wander over to the weight machines. The gym is set up in a very logical way, so I just start at one end of the row and work my way down. I do 2 different machines for my shoulders, one for my triceps, and then 2 for my abs. I put on the very least amount of weight and do a bunch of reps – I don’t need giant linebacker shoulders or anything. Then I head over to the bike, where the main motivator is that I get to read my book for half an hour. Depending on how busy the gym is, I don’t always get my first choice, which is the lean back and pedal kind. That keeps my heart rate back up, and hopefully burns some more of that nonexistent fat I mentioned.

I know you’re supposed to burn more calories than you take in, but I just can’t do that. I really like to eat. That’s probably why I need go to the gym. However, it’s too soon to tell if my little plan is working. I haven’t lost any weight yet, and I don’t feel like I have any more energy. (I still take unexpected naps sometimes.) One thing, though, is that my shoulders and upper back feel better. I no longer have as much tightness or kinks, so I guess that alone is worth it.

rainbow glitter nails: light and dark

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This time I used the same 5 polishes to add a colored glitter over either a light or dark base. It’s kinda cool how different they look!

Dark base: Black Diamond by China Glaze
Light Base: Miso Happy With This Color by OPI

glitters:
red: Ruby Jewels by Milani
copper: Ick-A-Bod-Y by China Glaze
gold: Bring On The Bling by OPI
green: Mistletoe Kisses by China Glaze
blue: Hurray Huarache by Venique

And yes, I’m wearing them both. Left hand is light, Right hand is dark.

Trying to buy a car

Somehow when I graduated college, I was able to buy myself a brand new car. A 2003 Mini Cooper, custom made for me in the factory. It was the best car ever and I had it for several years before I had to sell it. Why did I have to sell it? Because I moved to NYC. I was already paying $360 per month, but then my insurance costs tripled – equaling the loan payment. Add an average of 3 parking tickets per month at $125 apiece to a car I never drove anyway (NYC  has awesome public transport and horrible traffic), and well, it didn’t make sense to keep it. Sadly, the real cost was more than my love could afford.

I no longer live in NYC, and ever since then I’ve wanted another mini. Unfortunately as of right now I do not qualify for one because I’ve only had my job and apartment for a few months. Plus half of my income comes from unclaimed cash tips. So even though I could definitely afford a new mini (I wouldn’t try if I couldn’t), banks think I’m risky so I can’t get a loan. YET.

My current car is not, as they say “awesome”, so I’ve accepted that I need an intermediate car. I’m not terribly picky, but I do want something small, good on gas, and reliable. The only MUST is that it needs a manual transmission. Automatics are boring and far less fun. If I’m going to drive, I want to enjoy it. Most ads list the transmission type along with the mileage, year, and other mandatories. However a few don’t for some reason. So I will email and ask them. I found a disturbing correlation: Those who don’t initially list this information find it very difficult to ever give it up. One place – an actual car dealership (new and used) – kept giving me the same stock form letter but still never answered the question. I emailed, tried the “instant chat” feature on their (horrible) website, and called. The best answer I got was “I’ll have a manager get back to you with that information.” I don’t need a damn manager! I just need someone to go look in the window of the car and tell me what the gearshift looks like. Also, no manager ever got back to me, btw. So I vowed to never give that dealership my business, no matter how great a deal.

Also, lots of them insisted on calling me on the phone, even though the first words in my contact email were DO NOT CALL ME.  I put a fake phone number when possible, but some of the websites would not accept (000) 000-0000. I’ve since learned my lesson and do not put my real number, but some of them held onto it and used it. Multiple times a day. In fact, another dealership lost my business by contacting me so often that it qualified as harassment. I told them as much, and the calls and emails only stopped when I asked to speak to the general manager so I could file a formal complaint. I never did get to speak to the manager, but I have since heard that the particular harasser salesman does not work there anymore. (Don’t think I was overreacting – they were up to over 10 calls a day and countless emails that went directly into my spam folder. No lie.)

You may think that I could save myself a lot of headaches by just driving down to the dealerships and looking at the cars in person. But then the salesman wants to talk to me in person as well, and that is harder to ignore. And I would hate to waste a trip just to find that the car is not what I wanted in the first place.

So, my frustration continues. I’m hoping that someday I’ll have enough money to just walk into a dealership, point at a car, and hand over a big wad of cash. Maybe by then, it will be another brand new mini cooper.