Adventure: Crashing the Scientology Center

So, I’m fascinated by religions. My nerdy, amateur anthropologist antics extend to collecting religious icons from every country I visit (macumba charms, Buddhas, anointing oil from Greek Orthodox churches) and occasionally staying in on Friday nights to wikipedia with my flatmate (I’m looking at you, Jess).So you can imagine my sheer, anthropological joy when I discovered downtown Minneapolis is home to its very own Dianetics Center. Holy Crap! Literally! I decided that I obviously needed to poke my head in for one of their “Free Personality Tests!” and see if they could turn me into an alien.

To prepare myself, I read this, this and this. And in a perfect world, I would have worn this:


Please note the Tom Cruise tribute t-shirt (it says “Negative ghostrider, the pattern is full”), the Scientology necklace and the alien messenger bag. Too heavy handed? Probably. So I actually wore my best ‘trust worthy yuppie’ outfit.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Squeee! It’s my birthday – and my golden one at that. My birthdays actually had a way of going pear-shaped for a few years there … 23: alone and culture-shocked. 24: getting locked out of my house in the rain. 25: living without air conditioning, a refrigerator or running water during Typhoon season in Taiwan. Oh, there were some doozies.
But things turned a corner on birthday number 27. I actually met my Mr. that day! And 28 was spent in Australia, road tripping and eating avocado sandwiches. This year is significantly more sedate. Thus far, I have given my students a state-mandated test, was surprised by a big cake, left work early and took my car to the mechanic. Watch out world! But there’s talk of fancy dinners, B n Bs and a spa day, so I haven’t given up hope yet.These days, I don’t get too fussed over gifts. But if I had to put together a wish list, I think it would include the following:

1) A slick and friendly little Toyota Yaris
Stupid vintage Saab! We have tangled for the last time. Being cute just isn’t cutting it anymore – you’re always saying passive aggressive shit about my mom and you’re too codependent. It’s over! I’ve been hanging out with this cute little Toyota a lot and I really think it could go somewhere. But let’s still be friends, ‘kay?

2) Tickets to Madonna’s Sticky Sweet Tour
Madge, I love you. I don’t even hold that fake British accent against you. Material Girl is one of my all time favorites and I just about lost my mind over the awesomeness of Hung Up. I’ll even go to Chicago for you!

3) Cheese
Screw that birthday cake noise, I want a birthday cheese plate. Am I the only person in the world who would get genuinely excited over a subscription to a cheese-of-the-month club?

4) Opium
I love this perfume because it smells like a rich, mysterious, jet-setting cougar. Isn’t that what you want people to think of when they smell you?

5) Tickets to Savannah, GA
To be redeemed during the doldrums of early November. I have never been to Savannah, but I suspect it is rife with romance, history and moss. I want to wear a large hat and high heals and walk with my arm coyly tucked in my Mr’s.

6) Books
Heaps and heap and stacks and stacks. Just so many, really! Currently, I am obsessed with all things Joyce Carol Oats and Tim Winton. And the usual travel and design books.

7) The ability to speak and understand any language, instantaneously
I think it’s available through the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book.

What are your birthday wishes?

Adventure: Hip hop dance classes

I like to fancy myself a dancer. Rather, in North America, I’m good enough to hold my own in non-choreographed situations. In South America, I’m not so bad that I stand out.It has long been my fantasy to attend a hip hop dance class. I think I need to add some thing to my menu other than a) shaking it like a Polaroid picture or b) shaking it like a salt shaker. So after nearly three months of talking about it, my lovely friend Jill and I finally braved the wall to wall mirrors and popping of Essence of Prodigy dance studios.

Like all good Virgos, I knew that any adventure is best undertaken in the appropriate outfit. In a perfect world, I would have worn this:

In reality, I went to the Salvation Army and bought a pair of sweat pants without trying them on. If that’s not going a situation that spells success, I don’t know what is! When I got home, I assembled my not-particularly-awesome outfit of cut-off sweatpants, unflatteringly cut tank top and shell toe Adidas … the Adidas being my only real hope at street cred here.

On the way to the studio, Jill and I discussed what exactly we wanted from this class.
1) hot instructor who’s helpful, but not skeezy, and doesn’t do that thing where they stop class and stand next to you, teaching you the jazz square while everyone rolls their eyes
2) awesome moves we could use on our next ladies’ night, preferably something slightly slutty
3) no intimidating, professionally trained dancers masquerading as students.The latter point is particularly important, because when it comes to trying new things, I have the emotional maturity of a seven year old. I’m not immediately good at it? It’s kind of challenging? I have to talk to strangers? I’ll probably just sit at the back of the class and sneak out during the break.

But you know what? We rocked it! Or rather, I didn’t totally embarrass myself and stayed through the whole class. I persevered despite nearly falling on my face several times, the instructor spending three minutes trying to teach me (and me exclusively) some serpentine crouching move and having to watch myself crotch thrust in high-waisted pink sweat pants in an entire wall of mirrors.

I did, however, learn this awesome move, get a great work out and reconnect with my 18-year-old, danceline self. I bet she’d be really disappointed by my high-waisted sweatpants.