Thursday, September 30, 2010

Appreciating the little things

To all our faithful blog readers, we apologize for the recent silence in our Off-key Duets world (or maybe that’s not such a bad thing). My co-blogger and I have both found ourselves in a bit of a crazy life season lately. Namely, “eat a little, sleep a little, work…a lot.”

Busy times like these makes you focus on and appreciate the little pleasant things of life. So I’m trying to enjoy my perfect fall weather walks outside (meaning, walking from my office building to my car in the parking lot at 8:30 p.m.), meeting a friend for lunch (even if it feels rushed), and getting excited about the fact that one of my favorite movies, Newsies, is being adapted for a Broadway musical.

Incidentally, this is not the first time we’ve found a way to mention Newsies on this blog. We’re sneaky like that. If only I could make the Newsies song and dance strike strategy work for me in my job. Oh well, I’d rather be doing what I’m doing than selling “papes” for small change anyway.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Embracing normal?

As I’ve shared before, I’ve always thought the world would be a better place if life was lived out like a musical, with people randomly breaking into song and dance throughout the day. It would absolutely improve work meetings, grocery shopping, traffic congestion, and just about every other routine that normally comes with a bit of dread. However, after seeing this article about individuals who have actually been doing something like that on the streets of downtown Minneapolis recently, I’m realizing that perhaps the boundaries of my artistic expression haven’t fully embraced this idea after all. The group of “artists” responsible for this little activity are solo dancing down the street as a way of promoting self-expression in public places. Yet, I’m pretty sure I would be a little freaked out if one of these people twirled down the street next to me.

It reminds me of sociology class when we talked about social norms and how people get uncomfortable when we don’t follow them. Like the French guy who used to work in my office and would always stand in the front of the elevator facing the back…oh how I wanted to tell him that’s not the way we ride the elevator in America. I’d have similar reactions if I saw someone walking backwards or jogging with arms flailing (a la Phoebe in a classic Friends moment). These people draw stares because, well, that’s just not how we do things.

Call me a follower if you’d like, but I can’t see myself choosing to twirl and leap down a busy city street...unless maybe it’s part of some carefully choreographed group routine or flashmob. Maybe it’s the fact that I just don’t love a lot of attention, and a gimmick like that would be sure to draw some eyes toward me. I guess I like following the norms most of the time. But you never know, one of these days I may surprise even myself and let the world know that I’m indeed not so normal after all.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Defying Gravity

Broadway + Heather = Happy! What more can I say? While I love to blast the show tunes from my iPod (as I've been doing all day today), there’s nothing like seeing it live on stage. And as Broadway musicals go, nothing tops Wicked in my book. Having just seen it for the fourth time, I'm ready to paint myself green and fly around Oz for the rest of the weekend.

Nothing I can write about it would do it justice. So on this beautiful September weekend, I'll simply leave you with this clip. (Goose bump alert at the 2:50 mark.) Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Play at your own risk

Earlier this week I was walking through the mall and came across one of those child play areas where tired shoppers bring their kids to release pent up energy by climbing on things and running around (while the parents watch closely from benches encircling the play equipment). Before I ever saw it, I heard it. I heard the squealy voices of tiny children…times 50. My reaction? I did not walk by pleasantly day dreaming of the day when I would bring my little guy to this very spot; instead, I promptly shifted course to get to my store destination another way since I already had the start of a headache.

I can’t help but wonder if these crowded, germy play areas are a needed respite for parents with small children, or if they really are hell on earth. Phil and I already discussed this crazy play area and how, once our son is born, we must be careful to never bring him down that hallway of the mall. We’re thinking it might be better if he doesn’t know such a place exists. Perhaps that’s just a bad sign of my future parenting prowess.

I get it. The mall is not much fun for small children. One of my early childhood memories was of my parents asking me if I wanted to go to the mall. I excitedly said yes. However, after we arrived I realized that I had my definition of a mall all wrong. I seriously thought we were going to an amusement park. I suppose I would have been less disappointed if they at least had a play area. My parents probably would have been good enough to take me there. Here’s hoping that someday I’ll have the mental and physical strength to do the same.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Feeling itchy

So much for that cute little bedtime saying "Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite." That was when I assumed bed bugs were some extinct or mythical creature. But now, there are images of them all over my television screen. I can't possibly suffer through one more story in the news about bed bugs. I've shared with you my disgust of bugs before. Nothing's changed—despite a full summer of courageous bug killing at my house.

Sadly, my first indication that bed bugs were making a comeback was not through a media report. Last spring, I was making small talk with a friend and she casually mentioned she was dealing with a bed bug problem in her apartment. While trying to mask the extreme look of horror working its way to my face and taking a couple steps back, I think I said something mildly sympathetic. It wasn't exactly an invitation to learn more about the problem, but learn more I did! I got a first-hand account of what bed bugs do to people and homes, how she discovered them and the extreme measures she had to take to get rid of them. I'll spare you the details but "eww, eww, eww!" about sums it up. (Suddenly I'm feeling itchy…kind of like the first time I heard the story, after which I promptly went home to do all my laundry and vacuum the furniture.)

Now these insects are showing up in 5-star hotels and even invading the Toronto Film Festival. Makes me never want to travel again. I know I can't live in fear of these tiny little guys forever, but I think I might try to (illegally) get my hands on some DEET just in case. (Sorry EPA, but desperate times call for desperate measures.)

I always pictured the end of the world would come in the form of a massive earthquake or some other disaster that plays out in blockbuster movies, but if the bed bug "crisis" keeps up, I'm worried that gazillions of teeny tiny creatures might drive us all to the brink of insanity. Excuse me while I go change my sheets again.