Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ok, seriously? Ew.

Kate's recent posting got me thinking about gym ettiquette. I actually don't mind nakedness in the gym locker room. I mean, if not there, where else, right? Everyone's got to change. As long as you don't stare, point or take photos everyone pretty much minds their own business and averts their eyes.

However, if you can possibly sidestep bending over while being naked, all the better for us.

I credit having six really strong, wonderful girl friends from the time I was little for my non-overly neurotic body image. Misery loves company, I guess, and for all the awkward body weirdness that adolescents have to endure, I thank my lucky stars I got to do it with their love and support. Also, it was nice knowing I wasn't the only freak out there (no offense, ladies).

And, after living in Japan, where the onsen culture pretty much mandates nakedness, nothing surprises me. Like the time Emira, Erin and I did the onsen tour in Beppu and got trapped in a giant mud pit filled with the world's longest pubic hairs.

Then there was the time that Emira and I had to take a naked rose petal bath together as part of our "spa package" in Bali. Ok, well, we weren't totally naked. To their credit, they did give us paper panties (!). I'm still ROTFL about that.

So, long story short, I'm no Samantha in the lockerroom, but I'm no Charlotte either. In fact, I like to think my locker room 'skeeve' factor is a bit higher than droopy boobs and cellulite. But tonight - oh, tonight - I finally discovered my limit. A woman was undressing next to me, no big deal. I was minding my own business, keeping my eyes respectfully to the floor.

Which is when I saw Them: ten long, yellow, peeling, cracked, pus-infested toenails. Really, each one was so long you could use it to snort cocaine, if you had the notion (and the flexibility). Think Howard Hughes minus the kleenex boxes. Think yellow like Mountain Dew. This pus as in......pus.

You know those tv commercials for Lamasil? You know why they use that relatively cute Whammy-esque creature? Because if they showed you real pictures of toenail fungus, you just might throw up a little in your mouth.

But the grossest? The grossest was watching her march blythely into the tiled shower room, sans flip flops.

M is for Mouth, I Just Threw Up a Little In

Monday, February 19, 2007

Gym Mystery and Guilt

I went to retrieve my gym bag after my workout today and came across an old woman sitting in her bathing suit, quietly weeping.

It took me a while to notice that she was crying, because her sobs were very tiny. In fact, I might not even given her a second glance, save the fact that she was parked on the bench right in front of my locker. It was either undress with my lap in her face or go discreetly around the corner.

When I did so I could openly glance at her. At first I looked in askance at her through my annoyance that I'd had to move, then it was frank as I realized she hadn't moved and I was concerned she might be dead. It was only after those first two emotions registered that I realized she was out and out weeping.

And when I mean weeping, I mean slow, rolling tears of misery and over tiny, stifled gasps of air. It wasn't just a "my husband's out of viagra" cry, it was "I'm dying of diabetes and my autistic son will be turned out on the streets" cry (or atleast, that was one of the scenarios in my head. I also briefly envisoned her embroiled in a torrid love affair with Dick Cheney, but then - why would she choose to moon about it at ratty ol' Sport 'N' Health? Anyway...)

I feel like these types of awkward moments happen to me a lot - or at the very least, they bother me more than most people. I think it's because at these moments, I feel like it's my duty as a good person to 'DO' the right thing. (I mean, come on, WWJD people! That last word is a verb, right?) I feel like it's a test that St. Peter is going to re-broadcast at my passing as evidence that I was, put nicely, wasting space.

"See? Remember that time when you asked that homeless man if he wanted an orange? Stupid. He didn't speak English."

"If you'd only given that kid a pencil at the Mua Mission, he'd have written twelve novels by now. Your selfishness deprived the world of another Chinua Achebe."

"Oh yeah, remember THIS time? Your mom was so lonely - all she needed was a call from you to cheer her up. And here you are sitting in front of the television with your heathen boyfriend."

"And that lady in the locker room? She needed was a ride home. You gently handed her some kleenex and then secretly wished she'd be gone when you got back from the sauna."

She wasn't incidentally. She wasn't gone.

But she was clutching my kleenex.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


My new playlist:

Touch the Sky (I actually had this one!)
U + UR Hand (I love P!nk so much...I had to stop myself from downloading her entire "I'm Not Dead" album)
SexyBack (I can't stop - besides, this is the perfect running pace for me right now)
Move Along (Because I can't stop kicking ass)
Switch (Oh Will, you sly boy...)
One More Time
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (How could I have forgotten my first college love - Daft Punk??)
Quicksilver - Bellissima (thanks for the techno, bro)
Irreplaceable (not exactly workout music, but this song has been stuck in my head for days...)
Udakwa Jalo (good cool down music courtesy of Malawi)
Beautiful (exactly how I feel after a long workout - thanks Christina Aguilera)

New music courtesy of my brother - Itunes credit = best birthday present ever!! Now, let's head back to the gym to give my new playlist a workout...

M is for Music not Muzak;

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Seeking Suggestions

I need help.

I've decided to train for a 5k (just as soon as I get some better shoes; knees = ouch!). However, I've been listening to the same 'workout' playlist on my ipod for the better part of six months. While Justin Timberlake never fails to get my blood pumpin', I'm really starting to regret stealing 'Boombastic' by Shaggy from brother in law. (I also regret admitting that!)

Here's what I got so far -
"Woke Up This Mornin'" - from the Soprano's soundtrack
"SexyBack" - Justing Timberlake
"Move Along" - All American Rejects
"SOS" - Rhianna
"Run It"- Chris Brown
"Check On It" - Beyonce and Slim Thug
"Shut Up" - Black Eyed Peas
"Give Me My Auger Back" - Fatboy Slim
"Rockafella Skank" - Fatboy Slim
"Hey Ya" - OutKast
"Since You Been Gone" - Kelly Clarkson

I need something new. It doesn't need to be pretty or hip. It just needs to keep my butt moving long enough to sweat out all those Girl Scout Cookies.


There Are Good Things, Too

Ok, for all bitching and moaning I do about my house/housemates, it does have its moments.

Like right now.

It's snow/sleeting outside, I got out of work early (office closed) and while the rest of the world is slip-sliding along the slick roadways, I'm at home, sitting in front of a roaring fire, all by myself.

Life is good.


P.S Maybe now would be a good time for some hot chocolate??

Monday, February 12, 2007

Standardize THIS

This past weekend I went downtown to the government's Office of Personnel Management to take a test for this government fellowship for which I was nominated. The fellowship offers finalists a chance to earn an entry level job in government work and it's generally considered to be a good way to start a career in public service.

Having been subjected the public school system growing up, I am no stranger to standardize tests. I was a bit miffed that this year was the first year they'd cut out the interview process (as previously mentioned, I usually rock the interview portion) but whatever. Like most things related to government, the process is less stringent than it is tedious. Of course, I say this with a certain bureaucratic fondness - this is not Italy we're dealing with.

However, I'd forgotton about those stupid, tiny circles you have to precisely fill in. And the number two pencil. And the questions that start with: "Everyone with a computer science degree, twelve managers and six monkeys attended the training. How many monkeys have computer science degrees?"

For an added bonus, there was a special "Personal Assessment" portion. Am I more, less or just as agressive as my peers? [WHO WANTS TO KNOW??] Would my previous boss (or teacher if not previously employed) rate me as strongly, moderately or mediocrely as punctual as my other colleagues? [How do they know I don't work in an office with a bunch of compulsively punctual people??]

Do you work out a) 7-billion times a week, b)4-6 times a week c) 1-3 times a week or do you opt to sit on your fat ass in front of the TV after a long day of work at, watching re-runs of taped Oprah and eating a half frozen burrito?

Why do you want to be a part of this program? a) glory and prestige, b) sex and drugs c) public service and honor to my country without having to serve in the Middle East or d) eh, why not?

I'm sorry, after four hours of this, it's hard not to be cynical.

Hopefully sometime soon, they'll put my little dots into the computer system and it will read that I am a perfect match. In the meantime, I'll just have to make it a point to be more agressively punctual than my peers.

M is for More Questions Please,

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Stomach flu = no fun.