Monday, October 30, 2006

The most popular girl in the world!

Yes, I've been SO popular this week! In my last post, I mentioned my Saturday date with Tom to Laura's party. Well, soon more and more things were piling up. Chris, husband of Madrid, called me to invite me to his birthday party on Friday. Jay and Dea, my aunt and uncle, called to see if I wanted to sight-see. Tom called, mid-week to see if I wanted to go to dinner and a movie on Thursday. Yes, everone, yes! I want to do all those things and go to church on Sunday. Then on Friday Tom texted me to ask if I wanted to go to a costume party after Chris's birthday party. Yes, again, some more!

Wednesday I couldn't sleep, and on Thursday I was exhausted but I didn't care because I was excited about my date. Tom and I went to L'Annam for yummy Vietnamese food. Then we went to see The Prestige, a movie about magic which was way trippy and surprising. That's all I can really say without giving things away. After that we went to have a drink and basically spend more time together.

Friday I rushed home from work, showered, did my makeup and figured out an outfit that could use the skirt from my costume and hide the bustier. I ended up putting on a cardigan, wrap-style, which I fasted on with a brooch. I also put on my patent leather Maryjanes with the three-inch heels. Yow and ow. I printed and framed a cute photo I took of Madrid and Chris and ran out the door. I was late to meet everyone at Red Bamboo, but they were all forgiving and Chris liked his present.

Then I hopped on the train to Brooklyn to meet up with Tom. His apartment is amazing! So spacious it tempts me to move to an outer bourough...well, tempts me for about 90 seconds. He had jazz on the stereo when I came in, which was a relief. You see, he is a heavy metal afficionado, and its nice to know he listens to other things, too. The party was great. I was an evil Girl Scout from Troop 666 (I sewed demerit badges onto a sash-- see photo above) and Tom was Rowdy Roddy Piper (a pro wrestler when we were kids).

Tom's friends are hilarious. Following the wrestling theme, someone else was The Ultimate Warrior. They had a half-hearted match in which Tom hit him over the head with a chair. One group of ladies were dressed as the Golden Girls, which they played with great commitment. Hee! The party ended so late that I stayed over at Tom's place. The next day, he drove me into the city. I had just enough time to shower and throw on clothes before going to meet Jay and Dea.

We had lunch at their hotel, The Marriott Marquis Time Square. Then Dea and I chatted while Jay had a meeting. After that, they wanted to go to Serendipity III for frozen hot chocolate. I suspected they would need a reservation, but didn't think to mention it. When we got there, there was an hour-long wait and they weren't in the mood so I took them down the block for a frozen hot chocolate at Dylan's Candy Bar. Then we proceeded to Central Park where we walked around admiring the scenery and snapping photos. Jay seemed to be having a great time. I then took them to the subway station, dropped them off at the right platform and rushed home.

Due to a train delay, it took forever to get home, but I did, threw my costume (for Madrid to borrow) and Laura's present into my bag, changed my clothes and hit the road. I called Tom to warn him I'd be late. It was his first time meeting my friends, so I apologized profusely and told him to look for Laura, "the girl with the shiny, shiny black hair." He did, and according to Laura he was great. After I arrived, it came time to order. Tom was aghast that I didn't know what gnocci was. He explained, and my friend told me not to order it, Madrid or Laura (I don't remember which) saying, "You'd eat three bites and be full." Hee. I love that my friends know me so well. Laura and her man Ryan, Madrid and Chris, Riza and Pete, and Carolina had all beat me there. I felt bad that Carolina was on her own. Laura had sworn she wouldn't be a singleton, but all the other singles baled. D'oh!

Laura loved her present, which included a pair of earrings and an oil pastel portrait I drew of her as a fairy. She loves fairies.

After dinner, Madrid and Chris ran off to a kinky Halloween party. We went to No Malice Palace, aka GothHop Bar (known for its Hip-Hop music and goth decor, as well as its lack of a sign out front. There was a sad girl sitting by herself on one of the couches. We all discussed her loneliness. Carolina, in particular, expressed concern. I told her she would be the perfect one to go talk to the depressed fairy. She could use excuse of being the only singleton. But no. She and Tom decided that I, as the nice one, should be the one. So I went over and chatted with Emily (the depressed fairy), whose friends were late. I kept her laughing until her friends arrived. Meanwhile, Tom got to know my friends.

Laura was drinking away, having a good old time. Usually Laura can drink anybody else under the table, but she was good and drunk. She was saying things like, "Erin, I felt your drawing. I felt because I didn't know for sure if you did it because I didn't know you could draw. I didn't know you could draw. You didn't tell me you could draw like that and all this time you could draw, but I didn't know you could draw." Hee! I replied that she should be careful feeling the drawing because oil pastels can smear. "I know!" she replied, very seriously. Heeeee!

Eventually, a good portion of my night was spent giving Laura glasses of water and stroking her hair. I tried to talk her into going home, as she was wobbley, but she wasn't having it. Right before I left she was boogying down to the floor. Then others helped her back up. As we were leaving, the usually reserved Riza was giving Pete a lap dance. Errm...okay. It was impossible to get a train home, and the cabs were playing hard to get, too. The wind was so strong, I was almost blown off my feel. Literally.

Then we got back to my place and, sorry to yadda-yadda-yadda the best part, but, yadda-yadda-yadda, "Morning! Want a waffle?" Then I ran off to church and sang in the choir. It was so much fun. After that Then I had to run errands (almost blowing away again on the way home) and prepare my food for the week. I was invited to a party where Ryan's band was playing, but I managed to turn it down so I could fall into bed where I basically passed out. Sleep, precious sleep, for more than six consecutive hours. Hooray!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Marathon Date

Last week, Tom and I scheduled a date for Saturday afternoon just in case. You see, Tom is a Mets fan, and was hoping they would win the pennant and continue on their attempt to conquer the world. Or something.

Anyway, that didn't happen. They lost on Thursday. Friday night I went out with my best pals and he with his. Then, as planned, I called him to iron out the details. I was hoping we'd switch to a Saturday night date, thinking that would be a better sign.

"No, why don't we go ahead and get together for brunch?"

I was a bit disappointed, but agreed, suggesting we meet up at Itzocan Bistro, which I adore. The next day, there we were, enjoying a scrumptious breakfast. I had the three chile Eggs Benedict. He had crepes with walnuts and caramel sauce, the only non-egg food on the menu. He doesn't like eggs. I know! He says he's tried to like them, but it's never worked, though he likes just about every other food. I kind of like the anti-eggs thing. It makes him more understanding about the foods I don't like. Wow. With obsessive minutiae like this, it's no wonder I have such a large, riveted readership.

Anyway, after brunch we planned to go to the museum-- perhaps Museo del Bario or Museum of the City of New York. But it was such a gorgeous day we decided to walk around the park for the next three hours, zig-zagging all around. We explored the Conservatory Gardens, circled Harlem Meer, hiked through some rocks, found a few waterfalls and chatted. We somehow ended up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That's where we spent the next few hours. I'd never seen the moon viewing room which was beautiful. Then, sitting on the front steps we engaged in long-term p.d.a., which I'm not used to, but is fun. I was thinking, "Wow. For once I'm one of those couples I'm always seeing, so wrapped up in their own little world."

Then we went to Vol de Nuit, a Belgian Beer Bar where we had mussels and pommes frites and I had a lovely framboise (raspberry flavored) beer. The Bishop girls introduced me to it years ago, and it's the only beer I've ever liked.

Over dinner we discussed lots of things, including the fact that niether of us is into playing games in relationships. So later, he was giving me long, flirty, questioning looks. I looked at him with an eyebrow raised. "Are we laying it all on the table?" He confirmed that we were indeed laying it all on the table.

"Okay. You can come back to my place. We can fool around for a while, but I won't have sex with you. Okay?"

"Let's go!" he exclaimed, grabbing my hand and leading me from the bar. We went back to my apartment and made out for hours. He never pushed the issue, instead making the best possible use of where we were. It was great. He didn't even mind getting up early the next morning so I could go to choir practice and church. He was a bit surprised by it, though. As he put it, "It's one I know goes to church, so it's a bit out of left field." Sunday morning he was a total sweetheart and we shared toaster waffles for breakfast.

Anyway, the marathon date was great. Next weekend I'm taking Tom to Laura's birthday party, which coincidentally falls on his birthday. He's having his own birthday party the following Saturday, to which I am invited. Yes, we're already planning two weeks in advance. And now I've got to pick out a birthday present for a guy I've only had two dates with! If you have to have a problem, that's a pretty good problem to have.

P.S. My job is terrible, but I've decided to just try my best and not dwell.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The First Date with Tom 2.0

After Lex's birthday party, I told you all about the smart, funny guy who asked for my number. Unfortunately, he happened to be a math teacher named Tom. I decided not to let that strange coincidence get in the way and gave him my digits.

Then, on Tuesday, Tom 2.0 (the newer, better Tom) called to ask me out. I said yes and asked him what he had in mind. He began, "Okay, this may be a dorky suggestion, but there's this think called Hell House." According to Wikipedia, a Hell House "is a haunted house-style attraction typically run by fundamentalist Christian churches [...] Hell houses frequently feature exhibits that are meant to depict sin and its consequences. Common examples include abortion, homosexuality, suicide, use of alcoholic beverages and other recreational drugs, pre-marital sex and occultism."

I replied that that sounded awesome. A Brooklyn theater group decided to put on the Hell House. They're not really mocking the original. They want expose people here to a different view of the world. It's really up to the audience how they take it. That's why the writer of the Hell House script gave them the rights to put it on. He said he felt it would cause some New Yorkers to convert.

I found the extremity of the script to be funny, but if I'd seen it when I was twelve, I would have been scared to death. In fact, I think I would still be traumatized to this day. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Friday night, I rushed around to be ready for our date. He's said he would aim to pick me up at 6:30, but with traffic might not make it until 7. At 7:10, I hadn't even heard from him. I was pacing around my aparment, looking hot but steaming mad. I thought he'd stood me up. Then the phone rang. He apologized for being late and told me he was stuck in traffic. At 8, he finally picked me up. I was a bit crabby until I saw how upset he looked. He'd been on the road since 4:30. It turns out, a major route from Brooklyn was recently closed (and will remain closed for the rest of the year). Now all the other bridges between Manhattan and Brooklyn are packed.

Anyway, we went straight to the Hell House. The actors were amazing. They managed to play every scene straight, tears and all, while the audience laughed. The script was just so over the top.

After the show ended, we went to a quirky French restaurant. The food was great and we talked and laughed. Then we lingered at the table. Tom 2.0 said, "I don't want to go home, and we can't go to a bar..." (since I'm on antibiotics) "...I've got an idea. There's someplace I want you to see. Let's go."

He took me to the Brooklyn Promenade (see photo above, which I downloaded from Petite Pomme). "This is why I live in New York," I said with a sigh. The view was gorgeous. It's also kind of surreal because it looks so serene, but the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is humming away under your feet.

Anyway, it was 1 a.m. and we strolled along admiring the view. He was casting these little sideways looks at me. I just smiled at him and raised an eyebrow, as if to say, "What are you going to do?" And he kissed me.

When he kissed me I was disappointed. Kiss. "Damn," I thought. Kiss. "And I really liked him." Kiss. "Now I'm going to have to find a way..." Kiss. " tell him I'm not interested when he calls, and..." Kiss. "Wait, what was I saying?" Kiss. Kiss. Kiss.

We kissed, on and on. I was bent back a little, and we kissed until my back began to ache. I stumbled, and we ended up leaning against the railing, which was helpful. We kissed for a long time. Suddenly, a bunch of people showed up, even though it was about 1:30. We ignored them and kept kissing until they went away. We kissed until we were both shaking. Once in a while, we had to stop to get my hair out of the way. "Buzz cut," I whispered. "Don't do that!" he replied, laughing. We kept kissing.

He kissed me with his hands in my hair. Once in a while, he would grab a handful of it just hard enough. Other times, we would stop with our foreheads touching (which I've always been a sucker for on TV and in the movies, but had never experienced so perfectly in real life). A couple of times, we paused with our lips almost touching, each daring the other to be the first to close the distance and start the kiss. I apologized for my cold hand against his face. He took my hand in his, and placed both our hands just below my collarbone on the skin exposed by the v-neck of my shirt and coat. It was sweet. Then he said softly, "You know you don't have to go home."

"I know," I replied, "but things are moving really fast. They've already gone further that I'd usually take it on a first date. I don't think I've ever kissed for so long before."

"You're fun," he said with a laugh. When we got to the car, it was 2 a.m. He drove me home and called the next day to see how I was doing. So far, so good.

A Weighty Issue: Part 2

My mom always referred to a bare midriff as a "credibility gap." So why am I baring my credibility gap on the internet?

Well, it's to tell you about something very near and dear to me. It's the diet and exercise system that has changed my life. It's Megaloozalux 2000, and it allows me to eat what I want and still look hot and trim in just seconds a day.

How does it work? Simple! You just inhale!

Sorry. I saw an infomercial for an exercise system (which came with a diet plan). It was called "The Bean," and I found myself wanting it. I had to be firm with myself: "E.J., you barely find time for yoga anymore, let alone the Yoga Booty Ballet set you bought. And that dance hoop system? You almost broke a mirror. So, no. No, you cannot buy The Bean!"

What's more, I knew the photos were likely fake. It's easy with fat suits and Photo Shop. Then I decided to see just how easy it could be. I tucked the bottom of my shirt into my bra and stuck my tummy out as far as possible and took the first picture. Then I inhaled, flexed my abs, changed my posture into a very uncomfortable position and snapped the second picture. (My sucky-inny abs do look kind of cute. Hee!) The real me is somewhere in between, and that's all right.

Look, people, I fall for it sometimes, too, but lets stay strong together, okay? We'll eat a little less and move a little more. It doesn't really require giving more money to what is already a multibillion dollar industry. Right? Right?

Monday, October 09, 2006


It's Columbus Day (a.k.a. Our People Conquered Your People Day), and no school, so YAY! I had daydreamed about having a fun NYC day. I thought about sight-seeing or hanging out in the park. The thing is, I've started feeling sick again...or still? I don't know. So I spent the first half of the day lying in bed in my room and the other half at the doctor. I had to wait for hours, but I've got medicine now, so hopefully I'll get better.

Speaking of my room, yesterday I did a little bit of nesting, decorating my room (see photos above). I love my quilt. My bed doesn't have a headboard, so I decided to put up curtains. The red curtains aren't that shiny in real life. Another cool thing is, now that I've got the curtain rods in place, it would be easy to change and put up whatever curtains I want. I need to pick some art for the wall on the right. I might use a portrait Val created. Anyway, I'm loving my new room!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Happy Birthday, Lex!

Last night I stayed out until after three and had a great time. I didn't feel tired even though I'd only had four hours sleep the night before. What magical gathering kept me going into the madrugada? Lex's 25th birthday party!

I went to dinner with Carolina and Laura and Mills Korean (which is not just a few blocks from my apartment--Yay!) and had gorgeous fried dumplings and a beef dish fried up in a hot stone pot. After that culinary exstacy, Carolina drove us downtown to the party. On the way we stopped at Bearded Papa's, a reknowned cream puff store. I didn't have one, but I got one to give Lex, along with her pop-up surfing birthday card and a few drinks. Then we looked for a parking space FOREVER. Okay, it wasn't forever, but with the stop-and-go traffic steadily increasing my nausea, it felt like it. Then, when we got out of the car and started walking the many blocks to our destination, Mama's, I began to miss the car.

You see, I was wearing a beautiful dress, thinking, "This will be the last time it will be warm enough to wear this dress this year." Turns out, I was wrong. Last time I wore it was the last time it was warm enough. Brr. We got there early and waited at a bar across the street which had no name, but looked gothic and played hip-hop music. I nicknamed it "The Goth-Hop Bar." I snapped a lovely picture of Laura and a silly one of Carolina.

When we went to Mama's, I saw a group of people that I instantly assumed were Lex's crew. Lex laughed that I could look at a bar full of people and instantly know which ones were her friends. Then we realized we'd left the cream puff behind. "A pastry?" Lex asked. "You better run and get it, woman!" We did, and rescued it before anyone at Goth-Hop even realized it was there.

Lex flipped for the card (see downloaded picture at left) and enjoyed the cream puff (although her girlfriend, Jen, loved it even more and demanded to know where it had come from. It looks like Bearded Papa's has a new devotee to join its fanatical customer base).

I was surprised to see Drew there, because Lex and I thought he'd bail when he found out I was coming. It was a little awkward at first, but he made it a point to come and talk to me. I congratulated him on his career. He told me about his new rooomie. I told him about my move. He made me laugh until my stomach hurt, just like old times. I don't think that the party changed anything, though. At the end of the night, Lex's former roomie Ken and I were splitting a cab uptown, going right past Drew's apartment. He declined to share the cab even though it was late and cold. I suppose it could be a money-saving thing, but he looked...pensive. It was disappointing.

Here's a funny side-note: the beatiful dress? At one point a strap fell, exposing the entire right cup of my bra. Whoops. And even when it wasn't falling down, it exposed a lot of cleavage. Well, cleavage isn't quite the right term, because I wasn't squished together, but it was a plunging neckline. Anyway, Jen had made a bunch of t-shirts labeled "WWLD?" on the front and "What Would Lex Drink?" on the back. When Lex saw Drew talking to me, she gave us shirts and insisted we put them on "to show you're with my party." Later, I thanked her for making me less self-conscious. I didn't want to seem like I was flaunting myself in front of Drew.

"I saw you two talking," she said, "and I thought, 'Erin, for God's sake, cover those up!' Although I am glad I got to see them for my birthday. It makes me like you even more."

"You like me more because I'm apparently unable to dress myself properly?"

"Basically, yes."

I had such an amazing time hanging out with Lex and her friends. I’ve been missing Lex a lot, and we keep giving each other the whole “Let’s get together soon. No, seriously” treatment. Her friends were entertaining. I also met an adorable, smart, funny guy who asked for my number.

There's just one problem: he's a math teacher named Tom. What are the odds? Lex told me, "I think he likes you." I replied, “Well, he’s great. He’s adorable. But he’s A MATH TEACHER NAMED TOM! I just got out of a relationship with a math teacher named Tom.”

“Okay, that is a little weird, but if you’re going to make an exception, make it for Tom. I never advocate for my friends in romantic situations, but in this case, I will. You should flirt with Tom some more.”

All night, Lex had been suggesting I dance on a table or the bar. I ruled out the bar because it was covered with candles, but replied, “It’s your birthday. I’ll dance on the table if you will.” Somehow she talked Tom into it, too. She wanted to, but she was a little bit scared. I said, “Look, what’s the worst that could happen? The bartender gets mad and tells us to get down. We get down.” And that’s precisely what happened. Hee. It’s all for the best. Those tables weren’t very sturdy anyway.

Happy birthday, Lex! Congratulations on 25 years of life. Thank you for welcoming me to the city, for giving me love and support (even when you were put in the uncomfortable position of being the go-between) and for all the good times. Knowing you is an adventure, and I love it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

This week I’ve learned

Being lonely can be tough.

So can having someone. An independent friend of mine is having relationship problem because she’s become too dependent on her mate. She doesn’t know how to be independent with someone. And from experience I can tell you, if you’re too independent in a relationship, the result is just as bad. On one side of the spectrum, your partner feels smothered. On the other side, your partner feels unnecessary. It’s a tough problem to solve, and I don’t envy her that.

My phone is not meant to be a music player. My MP3 player is gone. It was either stolen at school, lost in the move, or lost or stolen somewhere/sometime else that same week. One way or the other, it was very sad. It was a present from Mom and Dad, and I loved it.

Instead of paying a lot of money on a new Shuffle that might get lost or stolen, I decided to just spend a little cash to use my phone’s music capabilities. My Verizon store sold me the wrong kit. I went back and got the right one, then went home, used it and found there was room for exactly three songs on my phone. I made several calls and discovered I needed an external memory card. Nice of them to tell me after the fact. The guy at Circuit City sold me the wrong one (“You’re sure this is the right one?” “Yes, I am sure.” “Really?” “Of course! It’s my job.” Ha.). I went back and got the right one, but for some reason it’s still not working. AAAaaaargh!!!!!!!! Sometimes I hate technology. [I have since gotten it to work, and it was cheaper than buying a new MP3 player, but it was such a hassle!]

The people at my church are cool! Apple picking and the church picnic at lovely Rockland State Park were so much fun. I was afraid it was going to be me and a bunch of married people and their small children, but I was wrong. There were tons of young adults around, many of whom are members of a group that has brunch every Sunday after church. Pastor Bill calls it “The Brunch Bunch.” I rode up in a van with them, and two girls and I sat in the very back discussing linguistic stuff. At one point we realized the people in the front were listening and discussing our conversation. “We were just marveling at your conversation, that’s all,” said Pastor Sara. Then Mike piped in, “I thought the cool kids sat in the back of the bus. “Well,” I replied, “that’s the sad part: we are the coolest kids on the bus.” “Oooh!” everyone exclaimed, before complimenting my quick thinking and advanced skills in mocking.

We picked a few apples, but mostly just enjoyed the fall air and the scenery at the orchard. Everyone engaged in an almost constant stream of witty banter, which made me feel very at home. The more a conversation sounds like dialogue from an old screwball comedy, the happier I am.

Then we went to Rockland State Park for the picnic. For quite some time we watched ducks and swans, as well as one enormous caterpillar. Then we played with a Frisbee for quite a while.

At one point, the minister dropped trou, which shocked us until we realized he was merely stripping down to tennis shorts in the hopes of getting someone to pick up a racket and play. Then we all ate and ate and ate. We went home tired and full just before it started to rain.

Singing with the choir on Sunday was great, and some of my old singing skills are coming back. Afterward, I joined The Brunch Bunch. They’re supportive, dedicated to community service and Christ-centered, yet surprisingly and pleasingly sarcastic. I hope to spend more time with them in the future.

A Weighty Issue

It amazes me, the amount of time my friends and I spend thinking about and talking about weight. We are strong, educated feminists. Most of us do not read fashion magazines. Most of our mothers didn’t pressure us about weight loss. And yet, how much time do we spend thinking about, talking about, lamenting, our weight, caloric intake, exercise regimens? Do less-educated or non-feminist or fashion-mag-reading women worry about it more, or less? Well, as I see it, the problem has many layers:

1-The mate-snagging thing/the media

People don’t want to be lonely. They want to…well, snag a mate. And because we find people on TV shows and in the movies attractive, we think we’ll be more attractive if we look like them. (Do we remember that the people we are attracted to in real life don’t often look like The Desirable Men of stage and screen? Not often enough.) TV and Movie chicks tend to be tall and thin, yet improbably also have slamming curves. If you move into the realm of models, the degree to which The Desirable Women are genetic freaks only increases. Genetic freakiness aside, we know that their appearances are also a product of dieticians, personal trainers, and in some cases drugs and plastic surgery. Does that stop us from trying to look like them and feeling inferior when we do not succeed? No, it does not.

2- The shared-vulnerability bonding thing

In the movie Mean Girls, there’s a scene where The Plastics are all discussing their bodies. Each girl complains about one of her body parts. If she’s lucky, her friends quickly reassure her that she’s wrong. It quickly becomes clear to Kady that she must find something to hate about her body if she wants to fit in.

It was that way when I was in high school, too. I never liked playing that game, so I didn’t, and alienated me from a lot of my classmates. Now I find myself playing the game from both sides. It’s a surprisingly cozy ritual. You confess a weakness. A friend responds by telling you you’re wrong or confessing a similar weakness. You end up feeling closer.

The same conversation gets played out over and over: L-“I want to lose ten pounds.” M-“Why? You look fabulous!” L-“I don’t like my tummy.” E-“Shut up! Your tummy is adorable.” M- “And if you’re too big, what about me? I’ve been trying to lose all this weight FOREVER. I’m all…crumbly. I just…I really used to love my body, you know?” E- “I know what you mean, but I actually think you look nice with the weight. I think you’re actually prettier. I on the other hand keep inexplicably losing weight. I’m getting kind of…gaunt. I eat! You guys see me eat.” L-“You are kind of skinny. Maybe you should eat more.” E-“I eat a ton already.” M-“Shut up, Slim.” E- “Sorry.” Over and over, as comforting as Mr. Rogers’ ritual changing from jacket and tennis shoes to cardigan and house shoes.

So it turns out…

There are actually only two layers. Okay, three if you count health. We always say its about health, but I don’t really believe it. “Health and physical fitness” is the same excuse beauty pageants use to defend the bathing suit competition. We’re just embarrassed to admit that we all want to look like Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition hotties. Well, health is important and our nation has an epidemic of obesity, so we should consider our health when forming our diet and exercise choices. I’m just don’t think most people really do. All I know is we all keep trying to improve ourselves. We eat healthier and exercise more. We accept ourselves more and support one another.