August 26, 2014 at 7:33 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

One day last week, as I was finishing up a work out at the gym and toweling off the bucket of sweat that was pouring off of my face, I ran into someone I used to work with at my old job. This is a guy that I was never super close to but someone I would recognize and say ‘hi’ to in passing and as soon as I realized it was him, he locked eyes with me. I had kind of hoped he wouldn’t recognize me because I’ve seen people before who don’t realize the red-faced girl with her bangs pulled back and wearing a dingy tank top is someone they know, but no such luck with this guy. There was recognition in his face so I was stuck. And I was out of breath and panting, which isn’t exactly conducive to having a conversation. We each paused for a half second like a deer in headlights and then the unavoidable greeting took place. He removed his ear buds and I warned him not to get too close to me because I was so sweaty so we did one of those paltry, half-assed, one-armed hug attempt things that makes both parties feel super awkward. Especially when one party is slick with sweat.

Me, five days a week

Then we got to have the exciting type of small talk that’s specifically reserved for barely-there acquaintances. First came the whole “I didn’t realize you lived in this neighborhood!” chat, and after that we briefly spoke of people we used to work with. Then we shared how much better off we were in our new jobs and well, that about covered all we had in common. Oh, he did tell me I looked like I had lost a lot of weight (I’ve lost a little but his enthusiasm made me feel like I spent my former job dressed as Shamu) so that was nice. I think.

And that was that. We smiled and waved and I continued to wipe off the sweat drenching every part of my body as we said our good-byes. Then I saw him the next day after my next workout but we were both able to get away with a slight head nod and smile with no actual words. Hopefully that’s the extent of all future interactions because spending time chit-chatting with someone I don’t really know while puddles of sweat form under my boobs isn’t exactly my idea of a good time.

Now chit-chatting with someone I do really know while puddles of sweat form under my boobs? Sign me up! No, not really. If you see me at the gym please just wave and maybe hand me a water bottle but don’t say anything else. Unless it’s to inform me how little I resemble Shamu.

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July 15, 2013 at 10:48 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Last Thursday, I attended my first ever hardcore cardio class at the gym.  Called Piloxing, it’s a combination of both boxing and pilates, meshed together in a one hour work out.  And it was not easy.  The instructor we had was a sub for the regular woman and this girl also incorporated  a lot of Zumba/dance type moves into the class.  I’m not going to lie, I looked like Big Bird having an epileptic fit for much of the hour.  I’ve never been the most coordinated person and my sense of rhythm has always been lacking, so it was pretty funny trying to keep up with all these girls who had clearly done this type of class before.  There were a few times I almost fell over and I definitely burst into laughter more than once after catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, but it was still pretty fun.  And apparently these classes can burn up to 800 calories in an hour!

I absolutely did not look like this.

Besides the dance moves, there was a lot of kicking, punching, jabbing and running around.  We also did quite a few ballet poses and holds, which was surprisingly difficult.  I knew the class wouldn’t be easy and it definitely kicked my ass.  As in, I was sore for two days and doing anything that involved using muscles just plain hurt.  But of course, it hurt in a good way.  I was very proud of myself for sticking through the whole class, especially since two girls gave up and left about halfway through.  I didn’t even vomit once, either.  There weren’t too many of us to begin with and I really preferred that, since my flailing attempts at dance could have seriously injured someone had they been too close.

The whole class was a nice change of pace from my usual workout routine and I think I’ll try to incorporate it whenever I can.  If I’m lucky, I won’t feel like the world’s oldest and most arthritic woman after another session or two!

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Tough Stuff

July 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

So, I’m still going to the gym.  Crazy, right?  It’s been something like 9 months and I’ve actually stuck with it this entire time.  In fact, I woke up early on Saturday and went to work out before heading into the museum!  While it’s possible that parasites have invaded my brain, I like to think that I’ve just gotten into a new routine and that it’ll last for a while longer.

Mama said knock you out!

I usually do the same cardio/weights while there but recently I got re-acquainted with a long-lost hobby: boxing.  When I was in high school, I asked for a punching bag for Christmas and was rewarded with 60 lbs of awesomeness that hung in our basement.  I was never really shown how to use it or what form to have but I would wail on that bag to relieve my teenage angst and it was a beautiful thing.  Unfortunately, giant punching bags do not travel easily and it still resides in my mom’s basement.  However, the gym has a bag and after finding some old gloves a few weeks ago, I had a go.  And promptly made my knuckles bleed because I’m either a) a total bad ass or b) unable to properly throw a punch.  It’s probably the latter.  But it helped get out some frustration I was having with one particular co-worker and I felt much better afterwards, bloody knuckles and all!

While I’ll admit I haven’t lost a single pound in all this time, I do believe I can tell a difference in the overall shape and tone of things.  And I’m seeing muscles in places I’ve never seen muscles before, so that’s a bit of inspiration to keep this whole thing up.  Plus I do feel better after my work outs and in a twisted and sadistic sort of way, I look forward to them.  Plus plus, they’re taking the money for my membership each month whether I’m there or not so I might as well use what I pay for.

And my co-worker?  He better hope he never comes across me in a dark alley.

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December Book Club Review

December 12, 2011 at 1:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

This month, the gals in the book club and I read The Zookeepers Wife by Diane Ackerman.  The book is based on the true-life story of a family in Poland in World War II that owned a zoo full of exotic and wild animals.  The zoo was visited by all of Warsaw until the war began and the German soldiers started moving and even killing the animals in order to clear out the zoo so they could use the space for their own purposes.  The family that owned the zoo, the Zabinskis, managed to keep the location useful to the Nazis while simultaneously smuggling Jews and other “war criminals” out to safety, right under the soldiers’ noses.  It’s a fascinating story about bravery, friendship and heroics in the middle of a traumatic war and it was even more interesting to me as a student of museums and zoos in general.  Seeing how they handled such a situation was an eye-opener and made me think about how we would handle similar circumstances here.

Interesting but not riveting

As I mentioned, the premise behind the book was fascinating.  Unfortunately, the book itself had a hard time capturing the tension and drama that was surely felt by the characters in the story.  There was a lot of historical information which was of course needed for the set up of the plot but some of it went beyond that and became tedious to get through.  The girls in the club and I agreed that we would’ve liked to have read more about the emotions and points of view from the men, women and children who were being helped to escape but their stories are, much like their lives in the book, rather mute.  The Zabinskis son was a young boy during the war yet he played an important role within the zoo and yet his personal side of things isn’t really mentioned at all.  I really liked the story behind this book and there was a lot of potential but it fell short of completely satisfying.

However, all was not lost as we were completely satisfied by our food and drink at our club meeting spot of the month, O Shaughnessys Pub which is a convenient 15 minute walk from home.  I had two different beers whose names I can’t remember (they were good though, I promise) and for dinner I had a wrap stuffed with portabella mushrooms, spinach, cranberries, goat cheese and red peppers.  It was really good too but I make similar sandwiches for lunch all the time so I wasn’t totally blown away.  Apparently their fish and chips are delicious though so if you’re looking for some traditional fare, there ya go.  I had been to this Pub once before, to have some brews with a buddy, and it didn’t disappoint then either.  The place was much less crowded when we went as a club but that’s what we get for going on a Thursday night in November versus a warm afternoon in the middle of summer.

All in all, it was a good meeting.  We got to see a few new and old faces and the company is always the best part.  Next month we’re reading an old favorite of mine (To Kill a Mockingbird) because one of the members has NEVER read it.  I don’t know how that happened so we plan to rectify it next month.

On a different note – I went to the gym 4 times in the last week!  I must be losing my mind.

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When Pigs Fly

December 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

So I did something else on my day off earlier this week but I didn’t write about it at the time because it seemed so surreal and unheard of that I wasn’t entirely sure it even happened until the next day.

I joined a gym.

A bird! A plane! Me in a gym!

It’s something I’ve been thinking of for a little while and seeing as how my last gym membership expired sometime almost five years ago (thus concluded my 3 month experience of belonging to a gym), I guess it’s time to give it another shot.  I’m not a huge fan of exercising in general but now that class is over and I have some more free time on my hands, I decided to go for it.  This also probably has something to do with my boyfriend, who I think could be a bad influence.  He’s into this whole “healthy” thing and has been working out regularly for more than a few years so maybe he’s more of an inspiration than a bad influence.  I’ll let you know how I feel about that in a few more weeks.

Surprisingly, though, I’ve worked out two days in a row now.  And I’m looking forward to going back and working out more – but not tonight.  It felt good to be active and burn through some of the stress of my day last night and as I left I was already mentally rearranging my schedule so I can go back soon.  It helps that my workout buddy knows a thing or two about the gym in general and he was able to show me how to actually use some of that machinery that’s haunted me in my dreams.

In other news, be on the lookout for some airborne pigs.

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No Longer Classy

November 30, 2011 at 2:06 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Well, that’s it.  I have officially completed my certificate in Museum Studies through Northwestern University!  I won’t be getting the actual certificate in the mail for a few weeks yet and since there’s no ceremony or parade to honor this momentous occasion, a delivery from the mailperson will have to do.

Yay Me!

Not going to lie, I’m a tad bit proud of myself.  Going back to school (even for a continuing studies certificate program) is something I’ve wanted to do pretty much since I graduated undergrad and while it wasn’t always easy or financially responsible, I totally made it happen.  These courses led to my docent position at the Field and introduced me to a great new friend that I’m glad to have.  I learned quite a bit about things I’d never even thought to think about before and I’m really glad I did it.  Now, what will I do with my free time on Tuesday evenings?  Well, I’d like to say I’ll take that time to relax and take it easy but in reality I’ll probably find something else to occupy myself.  In fact, I’m “supposed” to be joining a gym with the boyfriend.  Though to be honest the thought of having an entire night to come home after work, veg out on the couch and crash early is awfully appealing.  I feel as though I haven’t been paying enough attention to my poor couch and it’s about time to rectify that.  Not tonight (food pantry) or tomorrow (visit with a friend after work then house cleaning for my upcoming guests) or this weekend (Mom and Sissy will be in town!) or Monday (Christmas shopping) but maybe…Tuesday?  Hey look at that, it might happen after all!

Anyway, my final class and final presentation went well, despite the fact that I have a cold and was a walking, sniveling, snotty, coughing mess too doped up on cold medicine to really care if I spoke in coherent sentences or not.  By saying it went well, what I really mean is I finished it without falling over and people half-hardheartedly clapped at the end.  Whatever, I’ll take what I can get, especially since it means I’m officially finished!

Your invite to my graduation party is in the mail but feel free to preemptively send a congratulatory check.

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