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September 30, 2010

Now we need to get our area to pass something like this.
September 21, 2010

I hate gyms. I feel like I'm on display, which is a guaranteed 'ok I'm leaving now' situation. I'm glared at by the older women, eye-rolled at by the permanent resident gym bunnies, ogled by the men, and peeping tommed in the showers by three year olds whose mothers don't bother to teach them any sort of locker room etiquette or to even stay by their side in public. I thought maybe going with someone else would help, but no luck. While I just want to turn on my music, shut my eyes and pretend I'm somewhere else, my husband wants to play games. Games that require me to look all around the room to come up with a thing for the other person to guess. Trust me, you don't want to look around a busy gym. Nasty, gross places and people. Ugh.

Having said all that, I readily admit that exercise is important and should be done. I also admit that I need to get back into it, especially since I discovered that all of my gym shorts are too tight. I'm not comfortable walking around the neighborhood (playing human Frogger is really not as fun as it sounds) so my concession is a small stairclimber. I would have preferred a treadmill, but they're really expensive and take up a lot of room. My stairclimber has a roughly 24 inch square footprint and can be shoved under the bed or in the closet if needed. It even came with arm poles for balance and arm exercise, but I could never get them tightened enough for proper resistance. It's a simple machine that even includes a timer, a step counter, and it calculates calories burned and other things. It took me a year to dig it out of the corner in which I first stuck it when I moved and place it upstairs for use, ideally 30 minutes a day, but realistically it hasn't happened yet. 30 minutes is about my limit, I get motion sickness on it and it takes a while to adjust!

Now that I am on it again, I'm back to my old problem - what to do with my brain in that half an hour. I get BORED. I tried television and just got motion sick within 10 minutes. I tried reading, which I could manage, but the books I NEED to read are my textbooks, and it's not a good combination. I finally turned back to my trusty iPod, and spend that half an hour trying to match songs to fit the beat of my feet.

That's right. I spend that half hour self DJing. I have a stairclimber playlist. I critique songs based on the speed of the beat, its consistency, and speed. I get excited when I hear new songs on the radio that I think would work well. And yes, I DO sing along and wave my arms about like a fool, because it's that kind of music.

I have certain requirements that need to be filled. If there's a long, slow intro or a slower interlude halfway through, it messes with the pace. The lyrics need to be upbeat and exciting. The song also needs to be fairly short - I don't have much of an attention span. Also, a few years ago I adjusted the length of the step and discovered that the songs I had been working out to no longer matched the beat! I think I managed to fix it and now I'm afraid to touch anything else on it.

I was rather disappointed that my swing music didn't work, but the beat is wrong. Dance music works well - Kesha in particular has been rocking my afternoons. Techno music sometimes works, but tends to be too long in length. I shouldn't have to touch my ipod during a workout. (I don't WANT to touch my iPod. The stupid shake-to-shuffle feature is a problem if I accidentally knock it.) I'm pondering posting this playlist in the hopes of getting even more suggestions.

The result of all this is that I'm actually enjoying myself. If I stay on the stairclimber just a few more minutes because I like the song, well, all the better! I'm getting more energy, and hopefully soon I'll be able to fit into those gym shorts again. I don't want to buy new ones.
September 19, 2010

I've never been much of a kitchen person. Sure, it was where the food was, but food never interested me all that much. I took a home ec course in middle school, and was generally around to help make desserts, but otherwise I had no interest in being in the kitchen.

Sometimes I wondered if it was just that the kitchen was not a place I felt welcome. Sure, my mom tried to encourage me to use it, but she turned out to be a kitchen tyrant. She hovered. She said, 'here, let me do that.' And eventually took over. I found it very frustrating, but I imagine she did, too. My mother had a system. It worked very well for her, and she didn't stray from her routine. Watching me trying to figure out step 1 when she would have been on steps 6 and 7 simultaneously must have been painful. I didn't end up learning very much.

While Brian was sick I realized just how helpless I was when it came to the kitchen. It was rather humiliating to not be able to cook for him when I came over to help him through chemo days. (not that he wanted to eat, but still!) After we got married, it was HIS kitchen and HIS routine that I had to learn. Yep, another kitchen tyrant, but this one had different food allergies and a primitive style to cooking. ("Measuring cup? I just eyeball it." "I'd be perfectly happy cooking over an open fire.")

The whole first year, I struggled with work, school, a ton of painful commuting, and trying to settle in to a bachelor's house and its subsequent renovations. I avoided the kitchen as much as possible. Brian cooked, or we ate out. I was too exhausted to think about it.

Now it's a year later, and I've left work to concentrate on getting out of school. I have more time and less commuting on my hands, and the insane whirlwind has slowed to a fresh breeze. I have hours alone at home so I can think without having hoverers nearby. I feel mentally ready to take on learning to cook, but it's taken me a long time to get to this point.

I have the feeling that when I'm done, I'll be yet another kitchen tyrant.