Friday, November 30, 2007

2008 Vacation Plans

Next summer, when your boy is turning what? 37, you can relax knowing he'll be doing it on a cruise ship in the middle of the Mediterranean with several of his very closest friends. That's right, don't hate. If I have to turn 37, then I'm going to have fun. Big numbers deserve big recognition, agree? It's all about scale.

We booked our rooms on the ship on Wednesday, and last night I bought a plane ticket. Which was more like a down payment on a house, but what is it the bumper stickers say these days? "Life is not a dress rehearsal." I'll fly direct from Atlanta to Barcelona on the evening of July 3, arrive in Spain on the morning of July 4, then we'll embark on July 5. The cruise ports in Marseilles, Florence, Naples, then onto Greece where we'll overnight in Mykonos and then spend a day in Santorini before returning to Rome, where I'll catch a plane and return to Atlanta.

And do you know that's only 9600 Delta miles? Dude, I thought it would be like, 25,000. I need more miles so I can get more free tickets. Daddy like a free ticket.

OK, just had to share my glee. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Live To Tell



Just in case you never saw this ...

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Chrimma ...

First things first, let's talk about my wants needs this holiday season. I need me a Springboard. And here's how you can get me one.

I am selling my elliptical machine and my Bowflex (holla! if you are interested in purchasing). My company offers a fantastic health club membership reimbursement benefit and I a.) would like to get a bed for the second bedroom that's serving as my gym so that I can more easily accommodate my family's visits and b.) really want to go to spin class.

It would be rock star awesome to have this Springboard on my wall, howevz.

In this season of giving, please remember those less fortunate than you. Your kind gestures are greatly appreciated.

Now, onto other things. I'm very excited to be decorating, mailing cards, and organizing gifts while listening to my Trisha Yearwood holiday cd this weekend. I have some really fun, neat gift ideas for my co-workers that I'm really looking forward to tackling. I am also going to assemble more care bags for West Alabama AIDS Outreach. I still have some money leftover from the first round, and when I took some clothing by to donate a month ago they said they could use some more.

What are your plans?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Candymama

I am probably going straight to Hell for sharing this story. I've honestly debated whether or not it is even appropriate to repeat. On one shoulder is the nice little white angel Robby (you know, the one that still has the golden halo of blond hair all hanging down into his face). On the other is the little red devil Robby. He's the one with the propensity to don a leather bondage mask at Halloween and raise a little. I'll let you guess which voice won out. Damn that Devil! Damn him!

So last night at tutoring my learner was having a great night. Her skills have really improved in the six months we've been working together. We were talking about our lesson content - a story about a class having a potluck party - and we got off on the sidetrack of Thanksgiving. She told me about her sister - who is big, apparently - and how she has what sounds like a really horrible compulsive over-eating problem. Innocently, my learner referenced her niece, who is the daughter of this sister, by calling her "Candymama."

I couldn't let it go.

"Candymama?" I asked.

"Yes," she said.

"Is that really her name? Candymama?"

The grin in her bright eyes told me she wasn't lying.

"What kind of name is Candymama? Is her first name Candy and her middle name Mama?" I probed.

"No, her middle name Latriece. Candymama Latriece."

I am sure she's a lovely child. But seriously, I am not sure I could call her by her name without laughing.

Could you?

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Time For Thanks

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend. In typical Robby fashion, I spent mine fluttering around like a hummingbird. From Memphis to Little Rock, back through Memphis and then returning to Tuscaloosa, it was a very active 72 hours. I got to visit with lots of my "friend family" and that was very special. I wish I'd had the chance to see more, but will make that a priority for the next trip.

On another sad note, my dear friend Lisa who resides near Roanoke, Virginia, lost her horse Ozzy yesterday in a very freak pasture accident. Ozzy apparently broke his neck right behind his skull and died instantly. Lisa bought Ozzy as a foal and had done a spectacular job bringing him on. She and I were teammates at the 2005 Chronicle of the Horse Adult Team Championships in Lexington, Kentucky. Our team, "Team Tilt," won the Novice division, leading from the dressage and adding no penalty points through the cross-country or show-jumping. It was very competitive but we managed plenty of time to drink sangria and practice drunk yoga on the beds of our mirrored-wall hotel room. My heart is aching for Lisa. Ozzy was special and his loss is great.

I am thankful that Lisa had the chance to enjoy so much success with Ozzy, and I'm thankful I had the chance to rub his soft nose and laugh at his playful shenanigans.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

AbunDANCE

I tried to snag an image from their site but damn that Flash and its little "You ain't fiddina snag me!" self.

Anyway, maybe this link will at least get you there for a minute. Try to refresh until you get to the banner for AbunDANCE.

When the ballet mistress told me about this performance I got really excited. I love creative expression that not only embraces religion, but also pushes the envelope with it.

Combining dance with Islamic, Jewish, and Christian religion, to me, is brilliant. Whether or not the Baptists will agree is a totally different story. I will, however, be there for the performance. I'm already marking my calendar!

I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving. Remember, we all have much to be thankful for, even if we are remiss in recognizing it. There is light in the darkest places.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oh Snap!

This story makes me bristle.

This story makes me smirk.

Conservative America I have two words for you:

GET RIGHT!

Monday, November 19, 2007

King Of The World

OK er'body ... I am officially trained on teaching the Essential and Intermediate Stott Pilates Method on the Reformer. Now I just have to complete a bazillion hours of observation, physical review, and practice teaching before I can test for my certification.

Here's a pic of me doing back split (thanks Nicola!) during this weekend's training. In this exercise the rear leg stays straight while isometrically engaged, and the front leg bends to move the carriage in and out.

I'm looking forward to being trained to teach the matwork in February (3 weekends in Memphis), then will test (hopefully in June) for certification for both Reformer and matwork. Then I'll be Robby Johnson, Stott Pilates Certified instructor. Yay!

The 2009 goal is to train on the Cadillac/Chair/Barrel. At which time you can bring your broke ass home and I will twist you into a pretzel in the studio and you will love me when I'm done.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Eleanor Brennan: 1986-2007

I was saddened when I read this news.

Eleanor Brennan was my email/online forum/Facebook buddy for many years. I met her in person once, at The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in probably 2004, and she was such a charming, warm girl.

Please visit her site to learn more about Eleanor. She will be missed.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Return To Life

It's my final weekend of training for Essential and Intermediate Reformer via Stott Pilates. I'm really excited about it and continue to get more engrossed with the work. So much so that I have decided to pursue my matwork training in February, then hopefully will be trained on the Cadillac/Chair/Barrel at some point in the next year or so.

The Intermediate work is really fun to do - it's intense and challenging. My new very favorite exercise ever is one of the mermaid series on the box, called "Bow." It's the extreme oblique workout. Lovez it!

I just purchased Joe Pilates' classic "Return To Life Through Contrology" and cannot wait to give it a read.

Speaking of reading, I finished Armistead Maupin's "Michael Tolliver Lives" last night at 11:30 (I forgot that I shouldn't drink a SF Red Bull at 7:00 if I want to sleep), and the new book I'm going to read is called "Bird of Another Heaven." I started reading it at the library last week when I was waiting to tutor. I'll post a review when I finish it.

What are you reading? MSJ and I are always looking for new titles!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sand In My Shoes ...

I have been redonkulously busy since returning from El Mejico last weekend, but my head is still there. Definitely the signs of a good vacation.

This is one of my favorite songs from Dido.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mentor

Now that I live in a university town, with a very active student chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, I have had an opportunity to visit with the chapter on several occasions. Once was last Spring, when a few other professionals and I gave resume critiques, and last night we shared our portfolios with them.

I saw two of the students in Philadelphia last month at the International PRSA Conference, so it's really been fun to move into the role of mentor and I'm eager to help them as they begin to grow their careers. You know me ... I love to tell people what they should think/do/feel/say. And how they should look while they're doing it. I mean, that is The Essential Robby Johnson!

All kidding aside, my new assistant begins today and I'm a little anxious. I always want to make sure I don't fail someone as a boss.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Return Of The Pomegranate ...

I heart me a pomegranate like whoa.

My adult learner couldn't make it to tutoring last night, so I sucked it up and went to the grocery store. Mostly because I wanted to use my Baggu bags again, even though the young punk doing the bagging tried to hate on me, and if you think I didn't bust out my big 36 and give him a friendly-but-authoritative tongue-lashing, you're wrong. Just because you grew up in the ghetto doesn't mean you cannot be - or at least respect - green, my brother.

I was thrilled, however, to see that quality pomegranates were in the hizzouse! I had to buy two, at $2.99 each so they were 10% of my grocery bill, but they'll be worth it, just like I'm worth it, dammit!

I have the Vacation Chubby to sort out prior to Thanksgiving. You can only eat so many guacamole and chips before your PermaBelly v.2.0 is like "Oooooh, my my my, we must be in upgrade mode."

Uhm, no. No, we're not.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hurry Back To The Land Of The Living ...

Greetings and salutations amigos!

I am back in Alabama and marveling at the wonders of modern travel. There it was Saturday, mid-morning, and I was sipping champagne in lovely Puerto Vallarta, only to find myself a few hours later in the washing machine cycle of US Customs in Atlanta.

Because I have the world's most generic name, I got flagged during one part of the process and had to sit in a waiting room for 30 minutes before an agent finally called me up and asked:

Agent: Do you live in Ohio?
Me: No.
Agent: Have you ever lived in Ohio?
Me: No.
Agent, returning my passport: Have a nice day.

I was ready to shiv a bitch but I counted my blessings, endured going through security once more, and finally was able to get my shit, get in my car with my friend who came to collect me, and made it to another friend's house to sofa crash. I was out of Atlanta yesterday morning by 7:15 and back in Tuscaloosa by 9:40 - the miracles of sugar-free Red Bull and an empty interstate - and threw my baggage in the floor, took a shower, and then set about another 1:15 drive to Thomaston where I met my mother and father at the Alabama Rural Heritage Center to pick up Maddie!

I was so happy to see her little fat self. Her MeMe has been feeding her well - I swear she's gained five pounds. We had an awesome brunch at the bistro there, did some browsing at the studio (they have really amazing folk art and crafts), and home by 2:30.

It was a lot to do in a day, but also really fun and while my apartment needs serious Consuela time, the good news is that I actually feel pretty relaxed and chill as we enter the holiday season. Just what the doctor ordered.

I miss my vacation buddies already and hopefully will be in touch with new friends in the very near future!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Estoy en El Mejico!



Greetings y'all.

I am in Mexico and I'm having a fantastic time.

One of my friends shares my strong penchant for Stupid Pool Tricks and yesterday I was giving him a Roblates session on the pool island, when this bloke came up and told us about 90 degree push-ups.

I'm speechless. I do not see these being added to the Roblates essential repertoire. And now I'm off to do the elliptical machine. I will post some pics later.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Mexico: II

Just a note to say I will try to blog a little from Mexico next week. I'm taking my laptop so I can get a little bit of quality work done (my office is ridiculous when it comes to distractions), but not to worry - it's not MUCH work. I can devote a few early-morning hours to organizing myself professionally, as I do that every morning anyway.

Look for something next week!

PayPal is Ca-Ca ...

I'm just doing my part to spread the word here ... if you use PayPal I would highly recommend you break-up with them. They're sort of a whore about breaking-up - there's not a really obvious way to do it on their site. No "It's not you, it's me," no "Just quit calling, you sociopath," no splashing of a glass of water in their face after which you storm out of the restaurant or, for that matter, no running through downtown Dallas to a Ramada Inn with only your Exxon card wearing a white leisure suit. But whatever works for you in break-up scenarios, you must do something.

About a month and a half ago I checked my bank account online - something I rarely do because quite honestly, I'd just rather not know. However, upon inspection, it appeared I was getting billed by PayPal $13.90 oh, every 10 minutes, for a Skype related charge. Now look here, I don't even use Skype and I damn sure didn't give anyone access to my PayPal account. I never open phishing emails or anything like that. Fortunately I only had 3 charges but am sure I'd have had 30 had Fate not forced me to check my account that Sunday morning.

I will say PayPal was excellent in resolving the matter for me and put the cash back into my checking account but where stuff like that is concerned I'm very much a once-bitten twice-shy kind of guy. Plus, a few weeks earlier my friend Walt had his checking account completely obliterated by PayPal which was all the more reason for me to say "ahhhhhhhh, feck it!"

I removed both of my attached checking accounts from the PayPal account, causing them to tell me that doing so would make me "unverified" but quite frankly I don't care. Goodbye PayPal. I really do wish you the best and hopefully you'll meet someone one day who will make you happy.