Thursday Things

1. I engaged in the most cliche Target run possible on Saturday, where I went for two specific items and walked out with an additional item. I was on the hunt for a carbon monoxide detector (according to my lease, my apartment apparently has one, but I don’t know where it is, unless it’s built into the smoke detector? I know that combination smoke/CO detectors do exist, but since I didn’t know beyond an absolute shadow of a doubt that my smoke detector is a combination smoke/CO detector, I really wanted an actual, standalone CO detector for my own peace of mind. Plus, they’re like $20, so it was a pretty small expense.), which initially led me to the home goods department, where I encountered this precious little appliance:


and the rest is history.

I’ve actually had this teeny tiny waffle maker on my radar since late last year. I thought I was going to get one for Christmas, but I didn’t, and then mostly forgot about it until Saturday. It was only $10 at Target, and I just couldn’t say no. Is it the most efficient appliance in the world, making one Eggo-sized waffle at a time? Absolutely not. But it’s smaller and cheaper than a regular waffle maker, and since it makes small waffles, it eliminates my biggest gripe about waffles: that you usually only get one. I’m a quantity person when it comes to food–if you gave me the choice between a bag of M&Ms and a Hershey bar, I’d choose the bag of M&Ms every time–so I would absolutely, 100 percent rather have multiple small waffles than one big waffle. Even if the caloric content is identical, I feel much fuller and more satisfied when it takes me a long time to get through my meal. Plus, a small waffle maker is a lot easier to store than a regular Belgian waffle maker. This is, by the way, the same brand that made my magical egg cooker that I love so much, so clearly Dash has my heart in the kitchen appliance department.

2. While I was making my way out of Target, the card section caught my attention, and I found what is, hands down, the greatest Easter card I have ever seen:


The inside then had a comment about seeing the friends you haven’t seen since Christmas.

It is no secret to any regular church goer that the number of attendees on Christmas and Easter skyrockets, and not just because everyone decided to bring their families to church that day. My church here in Chicago gets like 35 people through the door on the very best of non-Easter Sundays, so when there are closer to 100 people there on Easter morning, it’s a pretty marked difference. I don’t know what any of the additional 70ish people who show up on Easter do any other Sunday of the year–maybe they go to a different church! Maybe they live out of town and are only around on Easter! Maybe they truly do only come to church on Christmas and Easter!–and it’s not my place or business to judge anyone else for how they choose to engage in their spiritual life (though I will admit that I wish this many people showed up every Sunday, as that likely would’ve kept us from getting into the financial mess we’re in right now in the first place.). Everyone’s at a different place, should be granted the respect to be in that place, and is welcome to come to my church if they feel comfortable or have interest in doing so, even if that’s only on Christmas or Easter. But regardless, it still tickled me to see a card at Target that was so on the nose for how Easter shapes up at my church.

3. I started my 90 billionth (actually, 31st, but it feels like 90 billionth) session of dance on Tuesday, with instructions from one of my friends who was also starting her 90 billionth session (approximately – I think she’s missed a couple more sessions than I have overall) to take good notes, as she’d be out of town. Even though it’s not my favorite thing ever to repeat choreography I’ve already learned, I secretly hoped we’d learn a repeat combo, since it’d be much easier to send her the video from the last time we did the performance than try to sneakily record us practicing in class. (There are etiquette rules about recording video during dance classes, and while my teacher permits it, I didn’t think it’d be the best way to start off the session. While I find class recordings to be helpful, particularly for complicated choreography, I know I also use them as a crutch: “Oh, I don’t need to practice. I can just watch the video 48 times and commit the moves to memory that way.” I didn’t want to run the risk of encouraging this behavior, especially since it benefits me to have the new students remember the choreography next week as much as it benefits them [if they remember the choreography, we can move on and learn new things instead of spending an entire additional session relearning what we did the previous week], so I figured it would be best to leave my phone alone and come up with some other way to get my friend the choreography)

We started the dance, and the first couple of moves felt familiar, mostly because I know I’ve struggled to keep which foot should be doing what when straight on that move. I’ve been in class long enough that I’m pretty familiar with my teacher’s move vocabulary, if you will–the moves that appear in multiple combos–so I figured that’s where I knew it from. The choreography continued to feel unfamiliar, in fact, until the moment he started playing the music (he usually teaches us the moves first, then puts them to music). I immediately recognized the song, and certainly not because I’ve heard it on the radio: in what I cannot possibly imagine would come as a surprise to anyone, I was not, as a five year old, allowed to listen to songs that are explicitly about sex (the song, for the curious, is LL Cool J’s “Doin’ It,” and there’s certainly no question as to what “it” is, haha). I recognized it because I had danced to it in class before. A (very) deep dive into my YouTube archives revealed that “before” was the September-October session of dance in 2013, so it’s definitely been a minute, but I had done it before.

Anyway, the point of that rambling intro was that it absolutely BLEW MY MIND how quickly I picked up the choreography after I realized I had learned it before. I haven’t even thought about this dance in nearly five years, but as soon as the music was on and I was already rolling along in the choreography, I could remember nearly all of it, even the parts my teacher hadn’t got to this time around. This happened once last year, too, when we did another dance I hadn’t thought about, much less done, since 2013, and my mind was equally blown then as well. I was involved in music long enough as a kid to be quite familiar with the phenomenon of muscle memory–all it takes is learning one piano song wrong and committing the wrong version to muscle memory to realize that it is most certainly a thing–but it feels very different to be able to say that I could still, without a thought, play the four most common scales (C, F, G, Bb) on my trumpet–something I did three to five times per week for 11 years–than it does to say that I could still bust out some choreography to Doin’ It, when I only practiced said choreography once per week for eight weeks four and a half years ago. It was a really cool experience!

Are you able to stick to the list at Target? Honestly, I feel like 99 percent of the time I can. The key for me is to avoid the dollar section. That’s where stick-to-the-list intentions go to die, in my experience.

8 thoughts on “Thursday Things

  1. I more of a pancake person but we have waffle iron plates for our griddler — one appliance multiple uses so that helps reduce the number of large bulky appliances. Matt likes waffles so we do have them every once in awhile. I made some fantastic banana walnut ones once!
    Isn’t it funny how things can just come back to you like that. I haven’t played my saxophone in years but I am sure I could master some scales like no time has passed.
    I’m usually pretty good about sticking to my list at target. The key is to not go to sections where I don’t need anything like the dollar section or women’s clothing or home goods. πŸ™‚
    If I just go to target to browse though watch out!

    • I really can’t choose between pancakes and waffles. Well, I guess I almost always order pancakes if I go out for breakfast, but again, it’s a quantity thing – they give you at least two pancakes, but they never give you more than one waffle! But I find them both equally delicious πŸ™‚ Your appliance sounds like such a good solution! We had a griddle that you could put waffle irons on when I was a little kid, but then it broke, and I’ve never seen another one again. I thought they were a relic of another time, but apparently not!

  2. That is awesome that the moves all came back to you! Do you have the video from back then to share? That is interesting about noticing new people not practicing and having to repeat the previous week. That would make me insane (makes me think of a coworker who doesn’t listen at the first meeting and we spend the next one repeating everything).
    I always buy a few extra food things, it seems, at Tarjayjay πŸ™‚ Hope you enjoy your waffle maker!!! πŸ™‚

    • I do have a video from back then! I sent it off to my friend as soon as I found it. (I have almost all of our graduation performances unlisted on YouTube, but in general I don’t remember which specific songs went along with which session. That’s a project I hope to get to at some time – documenting when we did which routine, so when something like this happens again, I don’t have to watch 30+ videos to find it!). And yeah, it’s crazy how much people don’t practice! I mean, I’ll admit that I don’t practice much anymore, but when I first started taking class, I practiced almost every single day because I was terrified that I’d show up the next week and embarrass myself by not remembering anything! Maybe I’m just more self-conscious than other people, haha. (Now that I’ve been in class for so long, I’ve lost my sense of shame over forgetting choreography…oops. Haha.)

  3. We have a Belgian waffle maker that we got for our wedding and used probably a handful of times for the first 5ish years we had it, but in the last year or so we have made waffles for breakfast almost every weekend! It’s now one of our most prized possessions. And I am 100% with you, I would rather have a bunch of smaller food items than one big food item even if they equal up to the same amount. Something in me just wants to eat ALL THE FOOD and for some reason that’s more satisfying if the total volume is split up into smaller pieces.
    I think I’ve only been to Target like a handful of times since we moved to DC…the only one in the city is only about a half mile up the street, but it’s in an area that I really don’t ever go to unless I specifically need to go to Target, so that helps me avoid it! I still manage to waste plenty of money on non-necessary items in other places, but at least my bank account is mostly safe from Target.

    • I had recently gotten into the habit of having pancakes for breakfast on Sunday (waffles last week, now that I have the waffle maker), and omg. There is no going back. Haha. It’s such a nice treat on weekends! Maybe one of these days I’ll drag myself out of bed early enough on a Saturday that by the time I get home from my long run it’s still reasonable to be eating breakfast instead of lunch πŸ˜›

      My first apartment in Chicago was about as close to me as your Target is to you, but it was right on my way home from work – very dangerous, haha. But my second apartment was at least 30 minutes away (if public transportation was cooperative), and I think I only went once or twice in the three years I lived there! It’s amazing how much a slight inconvenience like that could keep me from going at all for years, haha.

  4. One thing that’s been really helpful for me to retain choreography without taking video is to immediately write down the choreo (in my own words). I usually do it in the Notes app or something like that on my phone on the way home from class. Or if the studio has a reception area and I can stick around, I’ll sit down and do it there before leaving. And then when I have time to rehearse at home, I can pull up my notes and that’s enough to jog my memory. Because I totally also do the “watch the video and assume I’m committing it to memory” LOL. I also write out my own choreography as I’m creating it because my memory is SO SHORT when I’m trying to create choreo.

    • Ooooh, that’s such a good idea! Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll definitely have to do that the next time I learn a new combo. I’m usually okayish if I practice it several times as soon as I get home, but if I don’t (and I so rarely do), it’s all gone by Wednesday morning.

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