Tag Archives: phfffftness

The Week In Review


So I got kinda lazy and didn’t feel like blogging but had things to say.  Blogging is the place where you can say things to nobody in particular just to get them out of your system, if for no other reason.  It’s like talking to myself with occasional feedback other than me thinking to myself, “OMG you’re going completely insane because now you’re talking to yourself about writing to yourself which is like talking to yourself using a computer.”  At that point it’s probably best to avoid heavy lifting or crowded conditions.  So I blog.

Monday I attended yet another thrilling session of spin class, or as I like to think of it, Try Not To Die class.  We had a different instructor, one who does not heavily favor Rock Hits of the 80’s for the musical accompaniment, and for this I wanted to clasp her to my sweaty, heaving bosom.  It is so unrewarding to spin to Bon Jovi and the like.  Am I being punished for my interest in bettering my physical condition?  At any rate, I decided that this time I would attempt to do what everyone else did, i.e. instead of filing my nails during the “hill climb” portion, I would actually set aside my beauty implements for a time and participate in the grueling activity at hand.

Okay, just kidding, I don’t file my nails during spin class, but since I am a mature, traditionally-built woman and not a teen-ager with the metabolism of a rabid wolverine, I find it challenging to stand up from my not-even-slightly-comfortable “cushioned” seat to climb the imaginary hills.  In fact the first class I think I stayed in my seat the whole time, or perhaps stood up for a short time during one of the climbs.

This time the instructor had us doing a ladder interval thingy wherein you’d do a set of three timed blocks:  sit for 30 seconds, recover for 30 seconds, stand for 30 seconds, recover for 30, sit for 30, recover for 30.  Sit, recover, stand, recover, sit, recover.  Then we’d do it again but increase the sit/stand/sit times to one minute, keeping the recovery periods at 30 seconds.  (Recover doesn’t  mean rest, it means back off on the difficulty level, still spinning.)  Then 90 seconds, then 2 minutes.  Then 2 minutes, 90 seconds, 60 seconds, 30 seconds.  Then die of a heart attack.

During the first 30-second standing thing, I thought, Well this isn’t too bad but I’ll never make it to 2 whole minutes.  Not today.  But I decided to give it my best shot, and so I went on to do the minute.  And then the 90 seconds.  And by this time my legs were getting kind of tired, but I thought, Well maybe I can do at least part of the 2 minutes.

And then I did the 2 minutes.  And that was so satisfying that I did everything else she asked us to do.  And it was the first time I was able to do everything everyone else did.  The end.

On an entirely unrelated note, The Lovely Rhonda and I ventured to Ikea this afternoon.  All that unpacking of boxes of books and china means that I need somewhere to put the books and the china.  We did not have sufficient bookshelf space as it was, and I don’t want my china to spend its life in a box.  I want to actually use it.  So we went to Ikea to find a bookcase, and found exactly the one we wanted in the as-is section for cheap.  Yeah!  And pre-assembled!

Then since we were there and all we went to look at tv stands.  We aren’t that fond of ours.  The tv sits up too high and the base is too deep and blah blah blah.  So we found one for a pretty inexpensive price.  Sadly, it was not pre-assembled.  It came in three long, slim, imposing cartons which slid nicely into the carpeted recesses of the minivan.  It was deceptively easy to buy them and haul them home.  (*cue ominous music*)

We had enlisted the help of a neighbor by promising ribeye steaks for dinner, a promise we scrupulously upheld despite the obvious sacrifices it entailed.  She came prepared with a ratcheting thingy with an Allen wrench head on it.  Clearly she has been indoctrinated into the cultish ways of Ikea.

Soon the evening found Yours Truly sauteing mushrooms for the steaks while TLR and Kathy were deeply engrossed in interpreting the arcane instructions that accompany Ikea products.  If you’ve never seen one, first of all: what rock are you living under?  And secondly, featureless, genderless humanoids are depicted wielding primitive hand tools and pointing mutely at various features, smiling inanely all the while.  It would be entirely understandable were one to view Swedish people as retarded hermaphrodites basing one’s knowledge of them strictly from these instruction pamphlets, so it’s a good thing one has the internet to round out one’s worldview.  Based on how Ikea products go together I am more tempted to view its designers thusly.  The bunk bed alone took us all day and a six pack of decent local microbrew to assemble.

But at last, and with only one partial disassembly-and-reassembly, the thing is put together.  Tomorrow Kathy will return and along with another friend we will attempt to get the TV mounted to the silly thing.  I am always convinced the Worst Thing will happen and we will drop the TV onto its face and it will shatter and we’ll have a TV stand with no TV, so I’ll probably direct the process from the next room with my hands covering my eyes.  Does anyone have any Xanax?

Old Lady Classes


So I checked out another class at La Fitnesse today.  Because I am socially awkward I did this by spying on them from the comfort of the Deathmaster where I put in a good sweaty twenty minutes of toil.  So it was a win-win.

My theory going into this was that the class would be attended largely by helmet-haired ladies of a Certain Age who would arrive perfectly coiffed and wearing matchy-matchy gym gold lame’ outfits that perfectly went with their shoes and all that.  I fully expected there to be no men at all or perhaps one.  One old guy wearing terrycloth wristbands with his t-shirt tucked into his sweatpants.  You know the one I’m talking about.

Stereotypes, people.  STEREOTYPES ARE HURTFUL.

But anyway.  There I was, perched atop the stairstepper, gawking furtively into the glass-walled classroom.  Along came a rather trim older lady, certainly well-groomed but not Yetta from “The Nanny” or anything.  If anything, she looked like she could totally kick my ass.  And then another one showed up.  And then a little older lady who was slightly less sprightly.  And then the really buff older lady who taught the class.  And then a guy.  Okay, he was older, but he didn’t have wristbands and his shirt wasn’t tucked in.  But he certainly had a raging case of White Guy Rhythm.

By “older” I mean “older than me by at least ten years, maybe twenty, it’s so damn hard to tell.”  Just to clarify.

And then someone a bit younger than me who was wearing a neoprene knee brace, and then at the last second, two girls who look like they maybe just graduated from high school.

I kept my eye on them as I finished my Deathmastering.  They were doing stuff that looked like non-impact aerobics with a lot of moving this way and that way and so on.  I’ll feel like a moron but I think I can manage this.

See you next week, ladies.  And Mr. Astaire.

Spin Class, or How I Sweated My Actual Face Off


So I decided to grow a pair (I’m not sure what of, just an otherwise unspecified pair) and check out the cycle class at La Fitnesse.

I’m adding an “e” to “Fitness” and italicizing it to make it Frenchier.  Just go with it.

So today I put on my padded bike shorts and waddled on down to the place and talked to the lady.  And she was super nice, and not too perky, just perky enough.  And she set me up on my Super Spinnerator 9000 with the adjustable seat and the adjustable handlebar thingy.  I’m an H-2, if that means anything to you.

And then she started the music and off we rode, directly into the jaws of Hell.

I had had a hard enough time just showing up for the class so I figured if I just stayed in the room for the entire session that would demonstrate my dedication to phfffftness.  Not necessarily on the bike-thinger, just in the room.

Internets, I did so much better than that.

The guy next to me went through an elaborate pre-class ritual that involved putting on his special shoes and getting out his special towel and all that.  This seemed to be pretty standard for most people in the class, and truth be told I am well enough acquainted with my own personal sweat-threshhold that I brought a towel along.  I was miffed when I couldn’t find my Lance Armstrong Livestrong Ridetm towel, but I didn’t let this deter me from my goal of occupying a room in which a spin class was taking place.  I didn’t bring my scary shoes because I thought that seemed a bit ambitious for a Traditionally Built Woman such as myself who had not attended such a class in living memory, but next time (YES I SAID NEXT TIME) I will.

But then the guy next to me did something no one else did, which was to take about six feet of fitness-club paper towel off the communal roll and fold it over a couple of times and lay it across the front feet of the Bikerator SpinMaster Plus he was on.

This was to catch sweat.  That fell.  Off his hands and arms.  And saturated the paper towels.



After class we dismounted and did some stretching.  And I lost my balance.  And I grabbed the nearest thing to me.

Which was the SLIMY DISGUSTING BIKE SEAT that this sweaty, sweaty man had recently vacated.

It was visibly moist with sweat from his personal groin region.

I will be boiling my left hand for an hour and have already marked this keyboard for incineration.  I WILL NEVER FEEL CLEAN AGAIN.

…   Anyway, I didn’t just stay in the room.  I stayed on the wretched bike-thing.  I even rose up off my seat, more than once, when so directed.  I sweated freely and my own special towel was rather damp by the end.

I’m going back!   In a couple of days!  When I can walk again!

But I’m not riding next to the sweaty guy.

La Fitness (It’s French!)


So I took a lengthy hiatus from the gym because I broke my foot.  And then I got busy and lazy and you know how it goes.  Shut up.

But I’m back, and today I went for a lap swim.

The pool at my gym is smallish and warmish, also shallow, because it’s trying to be a jack-of-all trades.  It has to be long enough to swim laps in, warm enough for the fragile old people to do their water aerobics in, and shallow enough so most people aren’t in danger of drowning.  There is no lifeguard.  While I’m not worried about the drowning thing,  I kind of wish there was a lifeguard just so people would be more inclined to follow those little social rules that apparently they don’t feel inclined to follow when no gym employee is in attendance.  I am speaking of the following three violations:

1. Some lady left her flip-flops right in the center of the stairs that lead down into the water.  Really?  Because this is your private pool and no one else will need to descend those steps, Your Majesty.

2. The guy sharing my lane would stand up at the end of the pool, splash water toward the drains that run around the perimeter of the pool about a foot from the edge, and then spit into the drain while continuing to splash it.  He did this at least five times while I was in the pool.  Kudos to you for at least flushing away your bodily excreta, but seriously.  Nobody else feels the need to spit on the drains.  People walk there.  If you can’t swim without spitting maybe you should take up a different hobby.

3. There was a creepy looking guy in the hot tub who was probably just trying to put some hip muscle or another in the path of the water jet, but it looked rather sexual. I am in favor of maintaining a bare minimum standard of decorum in public places, and if what you’re doing looks a lot like having relations with a hot tub jet, maybe you should find some other way of addressing your problem.

Other than that it was a good swim.  I’m a lousy swimmer but it’s easy on the feets and you certainly get a workout.  Of course, Flip Flop Royalty Lady was getting dressed in the locker room when I got out of the shower and of course we both picked the same bay of lockers to put our stuff in so I had to be semi-unclothed in front of her.  This appeared to offend her tender sensibilities.  She looked at me like I was Jack the Ripper.  Apparently this is Her Majesty’s personal locker room as well.  She hurried out of there like she was on fire, which was fine with me.

Am I the only one who can’t make a rolled towel stay in place?  I feel incompetent in this regard.  Is this a skill mastered by teenaged girls the world over, and I’m just towel-impaired?  I always spend my time clutching desperately at my towel and hurriedly pulling on my clothes over my too-damp body.  Ugh.

Once I was dressed I pawed through my gym bag looking for vital necessities and did not find them.  The gym bag is a delight, a gift for Christmas from the children, and I love it, but it did not contain the three personal care items without which I cannot function: hairbrush, hair-taming product, and deodorant.  I have longish, curly hair that is prone to frizziness issues.  And although I am not usually smellier than most people (at least I hope so), it’s hot out.  I absolutely SWEAR that I saw these things in the bag when I was getting ready to leave.   What is wrong with me?

I had intended to stop at the grocery store on my way but I had no choice but to go straight home.  My finger-combed POW! hair would frighten people, and not having deodorant on is a guarantee that I will panic and generate a flop-sweat.  Whatever I thought I needed at the store will just have to wait until I am properly groomed.

But hey!  I went swimming!



So last Monday I went to the urgent care attached to my primary care provider, because there were no appointments available unless I wanted to wait another day AND drive over a couple of towns.  There I coughed very impressively and reported my tale of woe about how I’d been sick for two weeks and now I have this cough, and for this the codeine cough syrup was awarded to me.  Also a q-tip was twirled in the back of my right nostril.  Good times!

Over the past week the crappy cold has turned into a real peach of an upper respiratory infection.  Such is my racking cough that when we were at the Breast Health Center on Wednesday, three different people peeked into the waiting room where I sat and asked if that was me with that awful cough, and did I need a drink of water or something?  And one of them gave me a Werther’s.  Also, a brittle old lady got up and moved to sit at the other end of the lobby when we were waiting to be seen.  Well, The Lovely Rhonda’s boobs were the ones waiting but TLR and I went along for (moral) support.

The point is, I looked and sounded like death warmed over.  And that was Wednesday.  Today is Saturday.

Today I got up and hacked up what remained of one of my lungs — probably the right one — and TLR  more or less forced me to go to ZoomCare, which is like a mini-clinic where you can be seen for minor stuff like owies and boo-boos.  Oh, and according to the sign in the lobby, sinus infections and abscess lancing  and vaginal discharge.  And I sat there and tried not to cough too much, and pretty soon here came another customer — a guy on tour with his band, experiencing some kind of minor malady that he kept to himself.  He wasn’t coughing, hacking, limping, bleeding from any obvious source, or vomiting that I could see, so my money’s on an abscess from shooting up or a venereal disease.  But, thanks to stupid old HIPPA, I’ll never know.

(Just kidding, I’m a staunch supporter of HIPPA, this is just humor and should not be taken seriously except the part where I conjecture that he’s got VD because that’s totally amusing.)

I met with a very nice PA who listened sympathetically to my whining, examined me and said, “Yep, you’ve got a pretty decent upper respiratory thing, I’m going to put you on antibiotics because you’ve suffered enough and we don’t want you to get walking pneumonia which is making the rounds.”  She is my new hero because between the fever, the coughing, the headache, and the raspy voice from all the complaining, I’m not feeling so great.  Also TLR is about to pack my stuff and find me a new place to live.

So I picked up my prescriptions and took my antibiotic and all that other stuff, and I should feel better in a few days.


Spring, and cleaning. Sort of.


So I have this stupid broken foot which necessitates the use of a big Velcro boot.  So attractive, and the very pinnacle of comfort.

I’m at loose ends today in that The Lovely Rhonda is at work and the children are all off at their other homes.  There’s been a lot going on lately that is not the sort of thing one blogs about, at least in my particular case, and a lot of it has been very stressful, so I’m restless.

Let’s review: hobbled by broken foot, and restless.  Oh, and it’s the nicest, warmest, breeziest, most perfect day so far this year.  The two days ago it snowed and school was two hours late, and now it’s a mild, hopeful sixty degrees out.

I was tempted to embark on some craft related tangent because I am exposed to Pinterest against my will via Facebook, but I felt that this was not really  justified in light of the fact that the house was a little messy and decided instead that perhaps I should direct my attentions to something a bit closer to home.

(Read this in an Andy Rooney voice:)  Did ya ever notice how when you clean your house, you clean everybody’s room but yours?  You’re so busy scrubbing the toilet and cracking the whip over the recalcitrant children to pick up their fifty bajillion toys that your own room remains untidy and cluttered behind the closed door.

Soooo, our bedroom, possibly the nicest room in the house next to the kitchen, is in need of some pretty comprehensive swilling-out, so I decided to start there.  And so I found the box of Christmas things laying around neglected in the corner under the comforter that disintegrated when we washed it after one of the kids threw up on it.  And there were some winter gloves and scarves and things and a few stray ornaments and such, and we keep that in boxes in the garage, and so I was forced to open the garage up.

Oh, the garage.  The last time we had any business to conduct in the garage was during the Great Kitchen Makeover when we had to paint a lot of cabinet doors in it because it was so rainy the paint wouldn’t dry on the back patio.  It’s been butt-cold since then, so it has remained disheveled with painting and sanding things strewn around.   I cracked the door open, and there was a whoooosh of that dusty, horrible tomb air that escapes this kind of sealed environment when you’ve neglected it for a while.  Once the bats and moths had cleared out and the eerie screaming died down, I knew that this was the real project for me today.

So I spent a delightful couple of hours removing things from the garage, loading certain of them into the van to be donated to charity or returned to their original owners.  There was sweeping, there was shifting of things from one place to another, there was organization.  The winter things and the ornaments were put in their respective boxes and the painting and sanding things were put back into their box, and it was all just so satisfyingly tidy when I was done.

But the side effect of having your one foot in a big stupid Velcro boot is that your other foot gets tired, so although I could have spent all day out there, my left foot now dictates that I stop.  Maybe later, if I’m feeling ambitious, I might consider putting a garbage bag over the boot and mowing the front lawn.

Or not.

I do what I want!

It was a dark and stormy night. Also, I somehow broke a bone in my foot.


So I’m sitting here listening to the wind and the rain.  It’s blustering out there with all its might, and I look forward in the morning to the sight of tufty little evergreen branches all over the roads.

A couple of weeks ago I spent yet another delightful hour or two at the urgent care.  I’m thinking of having my magazines forwarded there.  Okay, magazine.  Maybe then I’d get a chance to look at my beloved Smithsonian before it’s Alphabet Share Day Featuring the Letter L! at the preschool and suddenly all the Lips! are cut out of anything with a mouth.

Anyway, I was there for this stupid pain in my foot that came out of nowhere, wouldn’t go away, and about which The Lovely Rhonda had wearied of my complaints.  They x-rayed it and didn’t see anything too obviously awry.  Based on this and several other urgent care experiences, I am fairly certain that there would have to be bones jutting out of something before anyone felt it might warrant medical intervention.   “But,” said the urgent care doctor, who had a name like an Italian Formula One driver but was disappointingly ordinary in real life, “since your feet are… well… since you’ve got, um… —  Well, anyway, I’m sending you to podiatry.”

I can’t blame the poor dear.  When the podiatrist remarks, “Wow, they really are flat!” you know you’re working with something a little special from the ankles down.  I try not to gloat but is it my fault such greatness is thrust upon me?

Finally I got in to see the podiatrist — the same one who made the remark, in fact — he pressed and prodded and wiggled things around with pretty unremarkable results, and then repaired to the control room or wherever the mysterious place is where they look at x-rays, to review my urgent care images.  Then he practically bounded back into the room, seized my foot, rather excitedly asked what did it feel like when he did THIS to it, and sank his thumb into a spot that had previously escaped his notice.

After I apologized for involuntarily kicking him in the beard, I asked that he kindly refrain from touching that particular spot ever again.

He then retrieved a model of the skeleton of the foot, which piqued the 7-year-old’s interest to no end, and spread the thing apart to point at a bone.  Don’t ask me which one, I’m a psychiatric nurse, not some kind of anatomy dork.  But he said, “You’ve got a fracture!  Right there!”

Really, it warmed my heart to bring such joy to the man.  I have a feeling he doesn’t get out much.

Kettlebellter Skelter


So despite having had very little sleep the past couple of nights (thank you, school district, for having “earthquake drills” for 1st graders without providing said 1st graders some information about what an earthquake is and how unlikely we are to have one and that if we do have one it is likely to be very mild; you will be receiving a bill for my lost sleep), I did make it to the gym this morning for a lively session with Helga.

Unfortunately, owing to Pressing Matters weighing heavily on my mind, I neglected to eat before I went.  This is hardly proper and I do not advise it, and is precisely the reason I was unable to stay and do cardio afterward as is my usual routine.

I am also suffering from a mild head cold, which combined with insomnia and Pressing Matters has left me somewhat less than in top form.  So endeth the excuses disclaimers.

Nevertheless, I showed up which is all the sweeter a victory.  If this was easy I would not be inclined to write amusing blog entries about it.

Today Helga had something new up his fashionable burlap sleeve.  He brought out an instrument of torture with which I was previously acquainted with only by reputation.  To wit, a coworker shared with me his sad condition (back strain) brought on by enthusiastically embracing the kettlebell phenomenon after hearing our facility psychiatrist rave about it.  Word to the wise:  a naturally lithe, moderately athletic doctor who probably receives professional instruction is no one to take exercise advice from, particularly if you’re a bit more sedentary and somewhat more …. mature.  Just FYI.

Anyway, here comes Helga bearing a squatty little cannonball with a flat bottom and thick iron handle.  He demonstrates for me something known as the “Turkish get-up.”  This sounds like it should be some kind of national costume, but instead it is a fiendish torment, no doubt designed to break down infidels incarcerated in Turkish prisons.  I present an image stolen directly from the internet:


The idea is you go from laying down to standing up in six easy steps.  And then you reverse them.  And then you do it again for a total of six times total, three with the weight in one hand, three with the weight in the other, while planking and performing the “kettlebell swing” in between times.

For those of you fortunate enough to not be acquainted with the kettlebell swing, it is described in detail elsewhere on the internet.  I found this particular passage the most compelling:  “At this point in the swing, you should have your forearms push up against your groin and the kettlebell extending out behind you. After the kettlebell reaches its peak decline, you will simultaneously squat up and thrust your pelvis forward.”

Sexy, no?

I’m not sure what “squat up” means, only that it frightens me a little.

Monday again?


So it’s Monday again.  I’d really like to speak with whoever’s in charge about how the weekends fly by and suddenly it’s Monday and I didn’t get half the shit done I meant to do and now I have to go to work again.

It started oh so fantastically with waking up abruptly and realizing that there was light filtering in around the bedroom curtains.  Um, why didn’t my alarm go off?  Oh of course!  Because my phone decided to turn itself off in the night, and that way the alarm wouldn’t go off, and now I’m late for Helga.  Dammit!!  Lucky for me Helga, although only a minor demon in the grand scheme of things, still possesses the ability to reschedule gym appointments for slightly later in the morning without regard to the usual rules governing time and other peoples’ schedules.  This isn’t the training session you’re looking for.

Okay, fine, he didn’t have any other appointments until later in the morning.  But my version is more fun.

While bench pressing a bar with ridiculously tiny weights perched on it, I came up with a great idea: instead of these very dense itty-bitty petite little weights that look like Minnie Mouse is taking up powerlifting, they should make an outer shell you put over them to make them look much larger and more impressive.   Because really, these weights looked like little birds, like tiny sparrows resting on the bar.  Tiny cheerful little sparrows that announced to the entire gym that I am weak and pathetic.

Of course the drawback would be that someone with real strength might accidentally fling them up and hit a ceiling light with them, but a certain amount of discreet maneuvering should keep them out of the hands of brutes like these.  And, says Helga, you could use them for flotation when you do water aerobics.

Poetry in Motion


So I went to the gym again today.  It’s starting to become some kind of habit or something.

Helga made me do the usual unspeakable acts, and afterward I retreated to the safety of the DeathMaster.

Now, I’ve been sick lately and you’d be surprised how much it takes it out of you to have a Chronic Digestive Ailment That I Am Mercifully Not Describing in Detail, You’re Quite Welcome.  I go to work and come home and sit like a zombie for the rest of the evening.  Probably this is how The Lovely Rhonda got me to watch the first episode of Glee; first hit’s always free and now I’m hooked.  But that’s another blog post.

So I fires up the DeathMaster and I punches in the info: program, weight, level, time.  Enjoy your workout! it tells me.  I begin to trudge.

Silly me, I thought I could just suck it up and continue on at my former pace as though I had not spent the past three weeks in hedonistic indolence, eating nothing but processed foods (doctor’s orders!).  Twenty minutes?  Ho ho!  It is to laugh!   I completely bonked at eleven minutes, even after pausing the machine twice for a quick breather.  I toyed with the idea that I could just turn it down a level, but no.  Almost without conscious thought I found that I had turned the machine off and dismounted.

Speaking of the dismount, is it just me or is there really no graceful way to lob one’s carcass onto and off of the DeathMaster?  This is partly because of the exercise-related accessories that I find I simply must have: water bottle, small towel (for sweat-related issues, ew!), and MP3 player with headphones.  There is no way to hold these many things in your hands and grip the handrails firmly as instructed per the very detailed litigation-prevention decal pasted prominently on the DeathMaster’s sleek metal  carapace.  So it’s a clumsy sort of hyurk! that happens and with luck my various accoutrement don’t get ejected in the process.  Then may I place my items in their appointed places and the trudging can commence.  The dismount is no better.  The lowest step tilts at a weird, ankle-threatening angle and so I must perform an ungainly reverse-hyurk! to get down from the second step which is at roughly chin-level.

It’s ever so much more wonderful to do this with one’s back to the glassed walls of the racquetball courts full of sweaty old guys in terrycloth wristbands whacking their blue balls around.  (Heh.)

First world problem of the traditionally-built gym member, yes.  I know.  May this be the worst of my trials.