Week 4: Unbroken, Beer Cheese Soup and Jenny Ford Zoom Latin

So…I’m falling behind.  After last week’s one-two punch of Blindness and belly dancing, maybe I expected all my new experiences to be…just amazing.  This week was a little lackluster.  I jumped right in to…

THE FITNESS

So…THIS hooker.  I found out about Jenny Ford from this article thanks to Shape Magazine.  Before I get to why I’ll never do this workout again, I must say that, upon first glance, she seems known mostly for her StepAerobics videos.  I tried her zumba one (Or Latin Zoom).

The only way I can describe Jenny Ford as a trainer/instructor is to say that this is how I imagine it would be to take a zumba class from a Sims character.  All of her moves are very sharp and defined, her hips circling perfect 360 degree angles, her jazz hands a slicing jazz blade.  It all seemed a little…less than human.  Where’s the pizzazz? The fluidity, the finesse?  The songs with actual words to them?  Perhaps Tiazza Rose just raised the bar too high for me with her indomitable sexiness.  But Jenny Ford reminds me of a certain other…SUPERSTAR.

Oh, and also…like the Disco Sweat of the first week…I just didn’t have enough room for this in my living room.  This was, admittedly, my first fore into the world of Zumba, but it won’t be my last.  I’d like to take a second crack at zumba, only this time with a real live person in a real live gym while I’m wearing real live yoga pants in public and stuff.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  In the meantime, if I ever obtain one of those plastic StepAerobics platforms, I’ll give one of Ford’s other videos a shot.  Otherwise…back to the belly dancing for me!

THE RECIPE

As you all know, last week was the SuperBowl.  As many of you may also know, I’ve never been a particularly large fan of the event (or football in general).  I have, as I say, my Own SuperBowl at the end of every February and it’s called the Oscars and it’s way more fun.  But I came across this recipe and thought it felt very appropriate for SuperBowl evening, especially since Jason decided to go to a SuperBowl party without me and I would have the entire house to myself to drink beer and watch Downton Abbey.  

Which is exactly what I did.  I got home from a quick trip to Louisville around 5 and it was supposed to do a BigSnow outside, so I swung by the grocery and got the ingredients for my exciting Beer Cheese Soup recipe and looked forward to an evening by myself.  I figured I’d pop the ingredients in the crockpot around 6 and everything would be done by 9 or 10 for the middle of Downton.

This is when it helps to read the particulars of the recipe.

First of all, there’s quite a bit of chopping involved in dicing celery and carrots and onions.  Thankfully, I have a SlapChop.  Unfortunately, it took about twenty minutes to find.  But, no matter.  The soup would be done by 10:30 at the latest, yes?

Nope.  The recipe called for the broth to simmer for SIX TO EIGHT HOURS.  Jason walked in around 11:30 (Circa my third beer) and declared that he wasn’t waiting another two hours, that it was probably fine and I should just add the cheese and, in twenty minutes, let him try it.

And that is exactly how that shit went down.  He said he loved it, but two or three days later, he still didn’t touch any of the leftovers.  When I tried it the next day or so, I thought it tasted gritty, like all the ingredients hadn’t blended together.  And bland.  And wa-a-a-y too thin.  I mean, look at it:

Does that seem like it should be the consistency of orange juice?  And yet…

I froze the remainders.  Maybe I’ll resurrect them one day and give them another few hours in the crockpot to see if anything can be salvaged.

The one saving grace of the entire ballyhoo is that I succeeded in avoiding every single minute of the game.  Tra La!

THE BOOK

The best part of this relatively stale week was Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. I decided to take up the novel after my coworker at the Playhouse told me that she liked the book so much that, when she gave it as a gift to one of her friends, he told her, “You already gave me this.  I read it.  I liked it.”

I mean, loyal Entertainment Weekly subscriber that I am, I knew the book was a runaway hit.  But I had avoided it because it all sounded so very…how do I say this?  Like the kind of book a Nicholas Sparks reader would enjoy: tragedy for the train-wreck gawking sake of tragedy.  If you’re unfamiliar with the plot, Angelina Jolie just directed the movie.  Have a look at the trailer.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

In truth, I cried toward the end of the book.  If I’m keeping it 100%, I dropped my basket a little.  Especially at this section, when a liberated POW is on the train to his freedom and passes through Hiroshima:

” ‘First there were trees,’ he told historian Donald Knox. ‘Then the leaves were missing.  As you got closer, branches were missing.  Closer still, the trunks were gone and then, as you got in the middle, there was nothing.  Nothing!  It was beautiful.  I realized this was what had ended the war.  It meant we didn’t have to go hungry any longer, or go without medical treatment.  I was so insensitive to anyone else’s human needs and suffering.  I know it’s not right to say it was beautiful, because it really wasn’t.  But I believed the end probably justified the means.’ “

I mean, what better way to illustrate the hell of war? Though I’ve heard mixed reviews, I’m looking forward to seeing the movie.  If there’s one thing I sort of didn’t like about the book (aside from the fact that it can feel like you’re being tortured while you’re reading it – it took me a little while to get through), it’s that his pilot, Phil, goes through most of the same things he does but gets significantly less glory from the public, simply because he was not an Olympian.  Maybe I’m just sensitive to him because he’s a Hoosier.  But still, I thought Phil was every bit the hero Louie was and, in my opinion, it was both their stories.

So, here’s to spicier adventures next week:

Book: Slaughterhouse Five

Recipe: Tex Mex Calzones

Workout: Pilates

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